Monday, May 2, 2022

It's May!

So much for writing every day! How am I going to remember who I was when I can't remember anymore? Oh well!  

They finally bloomed!

I'm loving the weather and everything coming to life! I've been waiting for weeks for my daffodils to bloom and they did! My lilac tree is getting prepared, my mock orange has little buds, and my lilies are at least 8 inches tall!

I've gotten a lot accomplished since the last time I wrote. I have a quilt almost completely quilted, I've finished the month of May (2021) for my temperature quilt, and am almost halfway done sewing the binding on a quilt from last fall.  I have 3 blocks nearly completed for my daughter's wedding quilt. There is a lot of hand-applique so that's nice to do while sitting on my deck in the evening waiting for Booboo the bear to show up! There is a bear roaming around the area.  Last spring, he knocked down my bird feeders, bending a cast iron shepherd's hook almost in half! Last week he was spotted down the road so I won't be surprised seeing him making his way along the creek.

Ugh. A doctor's appointment this afternoon which sends my blood pressure sky-rocketing! I'm switching providers to someone more local and today is just a get-to-know-you appointment since last year I had a zillion appointments and was examined stem-to-stern!  Also changed my eye doctor out of necessity - the one I'd had for ages closed shop and moved out west and is now working on a reservation. But it is nice to have everything close by so that I don't have to drive into the 'big city'!

Kind of a gray day but I think I'll go for a lunch while I still have a bit of lunch time left - I'll see if I can't relax a bit! 


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday.

I must say that I'm a little disappointed in today's weather. It was supposed to be rainy/snowy, cold, and dreary. I did feel a few drops of rain this morning and then later, driving home from the store, saw some sleet pellets.  And then boom! The sun came it. The wind is still howling a bit - howling partly because it is indeed windy and partly because I have the windows cracked a bit in my sewing room because I love the sound of howling wind. 

Last night, we celebrated a birthday with lasagna and chocolate cake. I took a half day of vacation to come home and cook but it was lovely outside and I didn't feel like spending much time inside (especially since gray, grumpy weather was in the forecast). So I made the lasagna and bought the cake! One of my daughters came over early and we took the dogs down to see the creek. Over the past 2 years, this little run has flooded so many times that it is hard to see the original banks. We have some little waterfalls and it is just beautiful! 

Anyhow, I am disappointed that today was not a day to curl up on the sofa with my pups to snooze, read, watch movies, and basically, just waste away the day! But honest, the was pretty much exactly what I did but I felt guilty.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is chilly, rainy, and gross. A perfect day for napping and reading and watching movies.  We'll see.




 

Friday, April 8, 2022

The circle is getting smaller.


 This has been a week. My mother-in-law (technically my ex-mother-in-law but she will forever be my mother-in-law) passed away on Saturday. She was 87. This was not unexpected. I saw her shortly after Christmas and it was apparent that she was simply biding her time. I loved her. We had our differences, that's true. She was the mother of my first husband, my first love. Oh, I loved that family so much! They bickered and fought, got irritated with each but never cut each other down. They always forgave. I remember when my husband left - it was a very long and painful process and at the time, I didn't realize what was happening. But when I figured out that he had left me, had created a life somewhere else, with someone else, to say I was heartbroken was a gross understatement. It was the most painful time in my life. But I had Ruby and Don, his parents. They loved their son but they loved me too and were crazy about their grandkids. They never made me feel as if I wasn't welcome in their home. I was included - not just invited - but included in their Christmas's, their family dinners, their celebrations. I remember Ruby telling me that I would always be her daughter-in-law and they always made sure I felt that. Don passed on years ago and now Ruby and Don are together again. As they should be.

I found out about the death of someone I loved very much. They died over a month ago and I only learned about it yesterday through an internet search. This was a very unlikely relationship, truly happenstance. This person was a friend to me when I was going through a terrible time in my life - not catastrophic like the breakup of my marriage - but a time of great uncertainty and really poor decisions. They helped me get my head on straight and were simply just a really good friend. And a good friend is something that I needed - I never had one before and haven't had one since. We helped each other get through some rough stuff. I can't believe that this person is no longer in the world. I hadn't seen them in many, many years but I always believed that our paths would cross again someday. 

Today I found out about the death of an old quilt camp buddy. I know that she had been ill, had overcome cancer years ago. It's been 3 years since the last quilt camp and apparently during that time, the cancer returned and was fatal. I feel empty knowing that when quilt camp comes around again, she won't be there.

All of these deaths, one not unexpected at all, one a complete surprise, and one not expected. It's crazy how life goes on. It does go on, even without those we though we could never live without. It will be different, that's for sure. Life is still sweet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Dodging worms.

 It is frustrating to encounter hurting people and to not be able to do anything. Sometimes all I can do is pray.


But today. Today I could dodge the worms on my walk to work. Doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things I suppose except to a few worms who got to live a little longer.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Mondays in April.

 

In my retirement, I plan to join a few clubs. I spotted this jacket on campus last fall and thought it was appropriate for me and for many of my co-workers. I will not be joining the Anti-social Social Club. Lol. 

In my retirement, I want to not be such a recluse. I think being an introvert is fine as long as I can do it with a group. Or something like that. I like activities that put me near people but don't necessarily require me to interact. Heaven knows I have the social skills of a rock. Hahaha.

There are so many things to do, so many ways to help, that don't cost money and instead, use other resources. I can sew, I can walk a dog, I can drive people places. 

I'm so happy to be retiring but am a little afraid of becoming lost. My kids are grown and have all moved away. I have my dogs and cats. I think I've found a purpose. I just don't want to disappear.


Ugh. I wish I could learn to turn off the predictive text. It is making me sound dumber than I am!

April fools.

 The weather in State College is playing an April Fools joke. I took a walk at lunch - 5 hours of sitting in a basement office with no window - I needed a break!  So I took a walk 

to Starbucks which in the library in the next building over. I did take the scenic route and I experienced 3 seasons. When I stepped out of the building, I encountered winter with a light wind and pretty little flurries. Those flurries quickly changed into what I can only describe as Oobleck (remember Dr. Seuss' book?). After the oobleck which morphed into Styrofoam chunks, I entered into spring which ended shortly before walking back into Sparks by turning back into winter. Pennsylvania. Even the temperature changed! Unbelievable after yesterday's high of near 65! 

Which reminds me that I need to finish up my 'temperature quilt from 2021'. It is a daily textile record of precipitation and temperatures for one year.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

3 seasons in one.

 That seems to be the theme of March! Wake up in the winter, go to lunch during fall, and then drive in summer! Keeps things interesting.  I'm hoping that next week stays relatively mild so that I can work in my garden a bit. I'd like to get my onions planted.  My garden-goal this summer is to plant 6 tomato plants, 3 pepper plants, 3 broccoli, 1 zucchini, add to my strawberry plants, and then onions. That list as already grown since I first decided to downsize it a little bit for this year! Oh and pumpkins! I want lots and lots of pumpkins. My plan is to have lots of pumpkins and then a few weeks before Halloween, sneak out in the dead of night and put pumpkins on fence posts, stone walls, and other places. The chances of that actually happening is slim to none because a. once I'm in bed, I'm in bed, and b. I'm afraid of getting shot while sneaking around with my pumpkins. 

I told my colleagues about my retirement - my last day is exactly 6 months from today.  I'm really excited to be able to join the local quilt guild and to participate in some of the charity sewing groups they have. I'm excited to be able to participate in the monthly sewing days for the local Quilts of Valor program. I'm excited to be able to get the 10+ quilt tops from my aunt quilted and returned to my cousins and may actually go to Fairbanks AK to deliver my oldest cousin's quilt. And have a sip of the beer he brews - just a sip though. Alcohol, as it turns out, is very bad for my body even in small quantities. I wonder if he will remember me? I don't think I've seen him for close to 40 years. 

The more I talk/think about my retirement, the more it feels like the right thing to do. I know I could work for several more years where I am right now but it doesn't feel right. I think that I have outlived my effectiveness in that role.  I just feel as if I am being led in a different direction and I am SO excited to find out where that is!  

So looking at the weather forecast, although we are currently in the midst of a wintry mix, it looks as if it will be spring this afternoon with warm-ish temps and a little bit of sun. I'll make Casper very happy and take him for a romp down to the creek. And while I'm there, I'll look to see what good things are sprouting!


 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Spring.


I find it unbelievable that this will be the last spring that I will have to walk through campus on my way to work. Future spring walks through campus will be completely voluntary and I'm excited for that.  It's funny.  I thought that I would feel sad about retiring so early but I can honestly say that I have not experienced that. Last week I gave my official notice and it felt so right. I am so looking forward to my next career/life that utilizes my more artistic side. How I ended up doing the work I currently do, was totally happenstance.  I worked in banking of all things. That's where I started immediately after high school. I didn't really like the work but I was amazed that I could do it. I actually spent 13 years in banking, beginning as a clerk recording treasury rates and ending as secondary marketing underwriter. Around this time, a quilting frame fell from where it was propped and landed on my head. After that, my abilities changed a bit. I no longer had a head for anything mathematical and I switched to human services since that was a field that always had openings. I worked as a clerk/typist for the county base services/mental health and the department of welfare. Around this time, I may some changes and some rash decisions which led me to abandon where I was living and begin a new life with my 2 kids in a different part of the state. I wanted to go to college - I was the only one in the family who hadn't. I pressured myself into believing that I needed to attend the same university that the rest of my family had attended so off we went. In college, I had a wonderful professor who encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree in counseling. She taught a few of my 'chemical dependency' courses and said she thought I would excel in this kind of work. Since I really had no idea of what I wanted to do, I went ahead and applied and was accepted into the rehabilitation counseling program. Since then, I've worked in the counseling field - for a bit as a vocational rehabilitation counselor where I discovered that I really liked working with students transitioning from high school to college - and then on to advising in several capacities.

But it has all changed or maybe it is just me who has changed.   Does it matter? I think it will matter again one day. 

But the campus is beautiful and strolling through on a beautiful spring morning is a wonderful way to begin the day.



 

Monday, March 14, 2022

A mess.


This is a wall-hanging I just finished. I think it looks messy in this photograph - probably because it is so little.  The pattern is Bonnie Hunter's Rhododendron Trail - her mystery quilt from 2021. It was a challenge for me because not only did I make half the blocks, I made the blocks half-sized. For mathematically-challenged me, recalculating the block sizes accurately required me to focus fully on the task. Being able to focus for any length of time on anything is unheard of.  This photo doesn't really do justice - the wall-hanging isn't really that messy looking! There are a million little pieces and because it is a 'scrappy' quilt, lots and lots of different fabric.  Scrappy quilts are a Godsend for people like me who have been collecting fabric for a very, very, long time! 

So what isn't a mess?  These little beauties!  Glimmer and Tipper! I love them so much and look forward to spending lots of time with them when I retire later this year.  

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Miracle.


From May 2021:

My daughter has a bloodclot in her brain. As I am writing this, there is a new medication flowing through her body that is slowly dissolving the clot and preventing her from having a stroke. This medication is resolving a problem that was caused by another medication. 

So where is the miracle? My daughter is alive and laughing and living and being my daughter. The miracle is that her bloodclot - a 3 or 4 in a million occurrence - was discovered by a doctor in a podunk little town hospital. The doctor treating her recognized it for what it was, started treatment immediately, and then shipped her out to a larger hospital with more sophisticated equipment. The miracle is that instead of planning a funeral for my child, I am planning for her trip home to attend her brother's wedding in a couple weeks. God had his hand in this. There are too many coincidences for this not to be divine intervention. 

6 months later - my daughter is off the blood thinners and continues to do well.  She is as feisty as ever.  

I never posted this because it revealed too much and hurt too much.  It also seemed rather selfish for me to post because not all people have been blessed in the same way. That said, this Christmas I will be a little more reflective, a little more grateful. I'm going to not worry about whether there are gifts or if there's  enough cookies, or enough any thing else. I've got so much to be thankful for! I am blessed. Every day.


First Monday in Autumn

 

I'm not sure why this wasn't sent when I wrote it but here it is!  I've been loving being able to focus on my artistic side these days! I've been painting, quilting, building stuff - I finished our deck railing and built a set of stairs for it.  I thought I took a picture of it but maybe not.  
Scary Gary says 'hello'!

Autumn is my favorite season, my most favorite time of the year. For that reason, I decided to begin my retirement next year on 10/1.  

Miss Glimmer gets spayed
I'm hopeful that I am able to enjoy day until then without have a mental countdown of the number of days until I retire.  I love my job, I love working, I really do.  But what I ended up doing for my career was by default. I never really thought about counseling but I certainly did well in all of my counseling classes. Good enough that a professor suggested that I apply for a master's program in Counselor Educaton/Vocational Rehab. I think I'm good at what I do and what I did but I'm of the mind that people generally only need a nudge to get back on track. 

I'm ready to focus my life in a more artistic direction and the thought of it excites more and more each day! So bring on autumn! And winter and spring and summer! I'll enjoy them all!


Another season of spaghetti sauce



It's May!

So much for writing every day! How am I going to remember who I was when I can't remember anymore? Oh well!   They finally bloomed! I...