Monday, August 21, 2017

Back from the beach

What a week!  My mom, daughters, and I went to the beach for 4 days last week.  This year we decided to drive straight through to our destination instead of staying at a motel.  It was a tough 11 hour drive but so much better than having to unpack for an overnight stay only to repack and head off again.  It was so nice to have that quiet time with my mother and daughters. We never have that opportunity to just be ourselves and laugh and tell stories and just enjoy being in each other's company.  We spend time in the ocean and on the porch of the beachhouse just soaking in the sounds and smells of the sea.  As always, it was really difficult to have to bring a close to such a perfect week.

I also took my youngest son for move-in weekend of the school he will be attending for the next 4 years.  That was tough.  I'm so proud of him - it would have been so easy for him to decide not to go. He has a ton of skills in machining and had several places offer a job.  I knew it was going to be hard to leave him but I so hate that feeling that my heart has been ripped out.  I now have no babies at home.  In a few days, I won't miss him quite so much and I'll be able to focus more on the fact that he is where he needs to be - that I've done my job - after all, I've been through this 4 times before.  I'm so thankful that this will be a really busy week at work so I won't have time to stew.

I had a lot of plans to sew today but I prefer to hang out with my daughter before she needs to go back to college tomorrow. My other daughter who is in college will be returning from a trip to the beach and will leave for school next Sunday.  So all five of my kids will be away from home and I'll have to figure out what to do and then actually do it.  Maybe tomorrow I should actually start on that quilt!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


This is the duck that we nursed back to health. She is now back and part of a pack of three.  At the first crack of dawn, she and her duck buddies congregate in front of the porch and quack loudly until a toss some dog food out to them.  I love watching them waddle over to the side yard to eat their breakfast.  From there, they go out on the front road.  I know this because as I'm getting my lunch ready for work - a neighbor honks their horn at them.  After they get chased off the road, they waddle out back to hang out with the goats, cats, chickens, and pony.  
 It has been beautiful in central PA. We had a few days of unbearable, sticky heat but it has been rather tolerable lately.  As much as I complain about the heat, I do love that between the rain and the hot weather, my garden is growing like crazy!  I didn't plan nearly as much as usual because it is always heartbreaking when my garden doesn't produce as I expect (which it never does).  I have 3 tomato plants with lots of tomatoes - they should be ripe in another couple weeks, I've had a good bit of lettuce, peas, and am currently picking yellow squash.  My pumpkin vines are looking good - hopefully I'll have some baby pumpkins before long.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sweat Things

I started a new blog thinking it would be easier for me to add photos.  Nope.  So Ill keep with this one.  It has been nearly 10 years in the making.  Another blogger who I really enjoy reading mentioned that she is counting down to fall.  I understand completely.  Last night I baked a cake and the sweat was just pouring off me.  I hate that.  I hate that more than freezing in the winter.  I hate it more than having to go outside at 3:00 am to throw wood in the wood stove.  But I guess if I didn't have the sweaty days of summer, I wouldn't enjoy fall and winter nearly as much.  And yes, I complain about winter but only about having to wear a winter jacket.  So its the jacket that bothers me NOT the weather.

I had a horrible dream last night.  As I've written about several times, I am trying very hard to embrace the notion of my soon to be empty nest.  In a month and 4 days, my youngest will go off to college.  He's my buddy, my toilet plunger, my start-the-wood stove-back-up guy, my go-to if the goats get out or the fence needs fixed.  That's just the stuff he does around the house.  He's just a fun kid to have around and I realize that it is going to be quite an adjustment for me - not only learning how to function without someone else to care for but how to occupy my time when I dont' need to rush home to fix dinner to take someone somewhere.  Just like when my oldest son left home, I'll get through it alright.  I'll miss him like hell but it is how life works.  I guess maybe I've been kind of successful as a parent.  My horrible dream was that i was at Walmart looking for sweatpants for my family and I realized that I didn't have family at home for whom to buy sweatpants. I remember looking at the 2T sizes and sobbing because I had no more babies at home. It doesn't sound like such a terrible dream but it left me with such a soul breaking sadness when I woke up.

Anyhow, back to sweating...........Mr. Weatherman says that the temperature is to get down to 55 degrees tonight. The dogs and I can't wait - for a bunch of little dogs who love to burrow under blankets, they are definitely not loving the heat.

So maybe I should get up and accomplish something today.  Like basting a quilt so that I can actually start handquilting it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Am I a ghost?  Over the past several months I've been thinking about my place in this world. I've questioned that many times over the years - what is my place, do I even deserve a place.  One thing about working at a large University is that one is constantly surrounded by so many people doing grandiose things for humanity. Everywhere I look, there is someone better, someone smarter, someone who reads more, someone who is more in tune with the struggles of the world. Then I look at myself and think 'wow, I've babied a duck who was hit by a car'.  Ugh.

I really do want to help......everyone!  I want to help people who are abused and unwanted and discriminated against. I want to help everyone who has been negatively affected by the political debacle. I want to do so much but really? Some days it is all I can do to get out of bed. Some days it is all I can do to leave my office and go home. But what I can do on my good days is to smile and be kind to everyone I meet regardless of who they are.  Maybe sharing some simple kindness is all that humanity needs - regardless of who they are.  I'm thinking that may be some orange-skinned, crazy-hair old man wouldn't be so hateful if a few people had been kinder to him when he was a boy.

I know how I feel when I try to be friendly and am ignored. I remind myself that I don't want to be someone who makes other people feel unworthy and invisible. A smile may not cure all the world's problems but it's a start.  And that duck? I think I've mattered to her. She's walking again. 

Monday, May 1, 2017


Scrap quilts are my favorite type of quilt. I love how something beautiful and useful can be made of bits and pieces of discarded items - things that have been tossed out because they are seemingly ugly, past their prime, no longer needed.  These old bits can be sewn together into a quilt that is new.  I wish the same could be said of people. I see hints of this everywhere I look and I am as guilty as anyone else in not appreciating what I had when I had it.

So if you took a whole bunch of old people with all of that life experience and put them together - would it make something beautiful? If they were all identical to each other, that could be a problem. But people - regardless of their age - are different. We may all have been impacted by the same historical events, have grown up in the same eras with similar family types, socioeconomic status but our reaction to those events are very, very different. And I guess when our reactions clash, it's much too easy to argue, ignore, hate, or hurt.  It's amazing to me what can spark such great hate: religion, money, power, generational differences.  Honestly? It makes my heart hurt.  If you try to help one cause, you are ignoring something else. So I guess I'll stick with my fabric scraps. The greens and purples play together quite nicely.  Blues and oranges? Ok!  And I can put together all these supposedly unrelated bits together and give them to someone else who can enjoy the whole.

Monday, December 19, 2016


What you see here are two naughty dogs.  Why are they naughty? They sneaked cookies.  Saturday we were baking cookies - lots of cookies.  I don't have an excess of flat space in my kitchen so we put the trays of sugar cookies on the kitchen table to cool with a linen towel covering them.  When I walked into the kitchen after taking Casper outside, I heard the clicking of little doggy toenails across the kitchen floor.  During the day, the pups generally stay in the living room sleeping in various spots on the couch.  I didn't think anything of it - nothing looked out of place. I stepped out of the room again for just a moment and when I came back in, Tipper had just jumped off a kitchen chair. The kitchen chair that was directly under the tray of cookies.  I followed him and found Tucker with 3 or 4 sugar cookies under the piano bench.  Knowing they were busted, they left the cookies on the floor, jumped up on the couch, and went back to sleep as if nothing at all had happened.

Friday, December 16, 2016

End of beer.

I haven't had a drink since August 30th - not a sip of beer, not a nip of wine.  Did I hit rock bottom? No. Did I black out? No. Nothing happened to me.  However I found out that a friend of mine WAS involved in an accident over the summer. That friend had a couple of drinks and decided to drive.  This story isn't common knowledge. I found out about it by accident and then read about it in the paper.  I believe that this friend was just drinking so socially but then was called by a child to be picked up or taken somewhere or something like that.  And like any parent, my friend went when her child called.  Only she didn't make it to pick up her child. Instead, my friend was in a car accident and severely injured someone else.  I don't know what will happen to my friend, I don't know what happened to the person in the other call.  All I know is that there will be consequences - as there should be.
That could have been me.  That could have been anyone.  I love to drink beer, it helps dull my anxiety and my worries.  But I have kids.  I have grandkids. I have a mom.  If something would happen to one of my kids, I would go to them in an instant.  Regardless of whether I was sober or under the influence of a few beers.  I would go to them.  Any of them.
But what if I hurt or killed someone? What if I hurt or killed myself because of my drinking? Am I an alcoholic? I don't think so, I guess it depends on your definition.  I know that for a couple of weeks after I made that decision to not drink again, it was really hard to drive past the bottle shop and not pick up a six pack.  It was nearly agony over the Labor Day weekend to not have a beer and play the piano.  It's been easier over the past few months.  In fact, the only drink I've thought of is eggnog and then I remember my promise to myself and decide on a nice hot mug of tea.
It hasn't been easy - so much of our culture relates being social to hanging out and having a drink or two.  Except that I know that if I allow myself to have just 1 drink, that will be the end.  I am pretty sure that I'm seen as a bore at work - I like to be around my co-workers but they don't understand - nor would I tell them - that going to a wine-tasting or a local bar just can't be my thing anymore.
I feel so much better - my thoughts are clearer, my thoughts are clearer, I'm getting things done.

In other news, Dirt - the indoor turned outdoor turned indoor again cat - has moved into the bathroom and as a result, Sox the former bathroom cat, has moved onto the kitchen table.