Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Now, I must admit that the ones I sometimes get that only talk about "our trip to Fiji" and "little Susie having to choose between Harvard and Yale" are a bit hard to take. Give me a break, people- I knew you when and you ain't fooling nobody!
But the GOOD ones- the ones that really keep you in touch, even if only once a year, with people whose presence in your life has been meaningful, THESE I LOVE!!!!
I got a great one today. It was from my journalism professor when I studied at the Journalism Institute at Catholic University in the summer of 1969. Sr. Joanna at my high school taught me to love writing; Jim taught me to appreciate and value newspapers. He tried to teach me to write concisely, but regular readers here know that he was not as successful at that, lol!
He not only wrote a great newspaper article, he writes a GREAT letter! Although I have only met his now-18yo-son once, I feel like I know him because I have gotten the yearly letter and followed his life. I've met his wife only a few times but the same applies. I feel that I have a *now* sense of the man I knew almost 40 years ago in spite of our IRL visits being few and far between in the intervening years.
I'm repeating a theme here, but the power of the written word, be it in a letter, an email, an IM, or a blog, can make and maintain friendships through years and across miles. One of my favorite movies is 84 Charing Cross Road, the (mostly) true story of an amazing friendship that spanned the Atlantic and many years between two people who never met. It reinforces for me how real the friendships I've made in the last 15 years on the Internet can be, and are.
So, I have written a letter back to him, and will mail it tomorrow inside a Christmas card, even if it is the ONLY Christmas card I get mailed- as I have not finished them yet and I do not mail any until all are done, even if that means, as it has several times, that none ever get mailed. For this special friend, who gave me such a gift when he taught me to write better and to read perceptively, and who continues to share his talent and friendship with me after all these years, I will make a notable exception.
To everyone who has taken the time since I started this blog to comment, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation. For someone who craves the written word in all its forms, as I do, it means a lot.
This gorgeous version of O Holy Night was first presented on the Christmas episode of Studio 60. The musicians, portrayed as displayed by Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans, are in fact musicians displaced from New Orleans by Katrina. This video has had the dialog track removed. I have always loved this beautiful Christmas hymn and here is a version to treasure.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Speaking to one of them after the fact, I said, "how did the murder go?"
"What murder?" he asked.
"You murdered your Christmas tree. I'm asking how it went."
"It isn't murder!"
"Sure it is. The tree is alive when you get there. It's dead when you leave. Murder one, man."
"Well then what does everyone else do? Is that murder too?"
"Oh, no. Cutting down a live tree is murder. Buying one at a lot is just disposing of a body."
I love Christmas.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Everything that should guarantee that DH and I loved them.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
And, when I get here, look what I find! A wonderful award and really nice comments on Sandy's blog Herwig Happenings. This certainly cheered me right up! Thanks SOOO much, Sandy!
So, here's how this works:
The rules of this award are:
1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.
Five Fabulous Blogs I love to read:
1) Wonders and Marvels Holly Tucker writes and supervises a fascinating blog with lots of history and quite a bit of medicine (historical) plus a few other things thrown in. I love her writing and her topic choices- she's a really interesting woman.
2)Mirabilis This is a dream for the "I like to know 'stuff'" types like me. Christine posts news stories from around the world- all the stuff that doesn't make the front page and to folks like me are way more interesting than the front page. Just an example: I created quite a stir at the lunch table last week by announcing that "they've found D'Artagnan's grave"- especially since everyone at the table thought he was only fictional! Thanks, Christine, for your almost daily doses of fun and fascinating information.
3)Word Wenches I recently discovered this blog by a group of Regency Romance authors. I've read books by all of them and one of them (who shall remain un-named so as not to insult the other very talented ladies whose books I also like) is one of my favorite writers in the genre. It is a LOT of fun to hear from the authors in their "now" voices as well as through their books.
4) Stampin' When I Can Allison has a stamping blog that is fun, includes some off-topic stuff that I always enjoy, and that helps enlarge the blogging world because she has a regular feature listing "Newly Discovered Blogs".
5)StitchBitch Just the name of the blog kind of clues you in- Anna is a needleworker with a wicked sense of humor!
Now for the hard part- five fabulous addictions!
#1 is easy- books! I am sitting in a room covered floor to ceiling with no walls showing (yes, they are in bookcases, lol!) with books! I don't remember learning to read- I just always did. Books have always been my friends, my teachers, my comforters, my inspirations. I get them from the library, I borrow them from friends, but mostly I buy them. I *can* bear to give them away later- some of them, anyway- but I cannot, have not, will not, COULD not EVER throw a book away.
The rest are in no particular order.
2) Tea. I love tea. AND, only the way I had it as a kid. In my family, tea is good for everything. My grandmother had a pretty cut glass high sugar bowl that always stayed on her table- full of teaspoons, so you didn't have to go get one for your tea. I've been drinking tea since before I can remember. As a little kid you got a tiny bit of tea with mostly milk and lots of sugar. As you grew up you were supposed to diminish the milk and sugar- which I never really did. One of my students once called my concoction "cream tea", a title I like.
3) Collecting needlework and craft stuff. Yes, collecting. The stitching and the scrapbooking and the other activities are hobbies or even passions- but the collecting is the addiction. If I quit my job tomorrow, stitched and crafted every day for the rest of my life, and lived to be 200, I would only need to replace things like needles and two-sided tape.
4) Kitchen gadgets. I love to cook and "mess about" in the kitchen. Not listed in #1 are the 200+ cookbooks in the kitchen. More than cookbooks though, I love all the great variety of kitchen utensils, tools and equipment. Could I get rid of at least 1/2 the stuff in my kitchen and still cook everything I do now? Of course! Would it be half as much fun? NO WAY!
5) Things with meaning. I like having THINGS that have memories connected to them. I get SOOO mad at the people (sometimes even Flylady) who say things like "you don't need objects, you have memories". I like tangible memories and reminders. I like having my maternal grandmother's dishes- even though by the time I got them I already had both regular dishes and "good china". They were my Grandmother's and I like having them. I love the old chair in the dining room even though it is clearly old and probably not safe for anyone over 100 pounds. It was my paternal Grandmother's, it was used in my father's office and I like just seeing it even if no one sits in it. I love the little construction paper stocking that's been on every tree since first grade; I love the old candlesticks that totally do not "go" in my dining room; I love the broken-handled beer mug from the brewery in Switzerland. So, my house is over-full of stuff with memories- and I like it that way!
This is now WAY long and it is WAY later than whatever time the post will show. DH and DS are downstairs having on of their discussions which could go all night- currently DH is predicting that the Eagles will beat the Giants tomorrow. THAT would be GREAT!
Off for some Nyquil and some sleep!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I guess these never got given away because they were not originally stitched "for" anyone!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This song always seemed to me a good Thanksgiving song. The line "it turns me on to think of growing old" always makes me a little sad because he did not get to do so.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and can spend your evening sitting around with family and old friends and talking of "poems, prayers and promises".
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I have been stalking eBay, hoping to get lucky with "Butterfly" but with no luck. However, a few months ago I did win an auction for the beautiful EMMA, seen here at the left as she hangs in my dining room, and even better seen (due to, I am sure, a better photographer) HERE at the Noel website. This print is also exquisitely beautiful and it makes me smile just to see it.
Meanwhile, the eBay stalking has continued.
This lovely child is SARAH, whom I found just a few days ago. She was listed with a corresponding quilt square which was framed to match. I fell in love AGAIN!
The quilt square is a Dresden Plate, one of my favorite quilt patterns, although not a true Amish quilt design.
But I saw these, and the design of the frames and even the colors of the matting looked like someone had peeked into my dining room and made them just for me.
You can see the Noel website picture of Sarah HERE, which is where I learned, after I had purchased the print, that SARAH was Nancy Noel's first Amish portrait. That just made this set even more special!
My taste is very ecletic when it comes to what I like hanging on my walls. DH and I bought several prints last year and they are very different from what I showed here. I also have family pictures, scenery pictures, pen-and-ink drawings, all kinds of stuff. One of my most treasured wall occupants is a GORGEOUS whitework sampler stitched by my friend Etha. One of these days I will post some more pictures and show off that prized possession!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Over the weekend I sorted out all my projects that are kitted and un-started. It was a lot more than I thought! So I decided to get started on categorizing all my stuff ( we will, of course, ignore all the unkitted charts that I am going to "do someday") and see where I am- and how many centuries I need to finish it all, lol!
So, I'm going to start here with a quick list of the ones that are REALLY WIPs- those that I have made significant progress on but just never got around to finishing. The list of UFOs- which will be those I started but haven't made a big dent in yet- will come later. Maybe looking at it every day on the sidebar here will encourage (embarrass) me into getting more done?
I'll add some pictures when I get a chance to take some so you AND *I* can see where I'm really at.
The "current project" is Sekas' Watercolour Dragonflies which is getting close to done- and which I need to finish because I need the q-snaps for the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler.
The WIPs are: Lavendar & Lace Celtic Christmas, L&L Angel of Mercy, Shepherd's Bush Road to Bethlehem, Just Nan Star of Wonder, and an old EGA Group Correspondence course piece that I cannot remember the name of right now.
One I get some pictures, I'm going to set up links to my photo gallery at photobucket.com and keep track of my progress. (For now I'll just link to a finished picture so I can set up the sidebar and not have to completely redo it.)
Sounds like a plan, huh? Let's see how I do with it!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I really need to update my snaps on my sidebar, but there are many pictures there if you want an idea of the kinds of things you can see. The pictures are neat but seeing it live is the BEST. Under "links I like" on the sidebar you will find several of the African camera sites where you can visit various parts of Africa and watch the animals. Most of them are just permanent cameras without commentary, but the WildEarth camera runs two love safaris every day. CHECK IT OUT!
I am interested in a lot of different things- and one of them is Egyptology. I love learning about ancient Egypt- one of the, I think, most fascinating periods in human history. If you share my interest there is a show on tonight at 9PM ET on the National Geographic channel. This is a taste of what's coming. Read more about it at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081114-pyramid-room.html
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
In June of 1995 I had major shoulder surgery, following almost a year of terrible pain and significant functional loss in both my arm and my hand. What they found, and the long term outcome, ended my career as an Optometrist. The surgeon did a great job- my arm works almost perfectly and the problems with my hand are only intermittent- but working on people's eyes was now out of the question.
The damage I had done before the surgery (yeah, I did it- who knew about repetitive motion injuries in 1995? Not me!) combined with re-injuring the shoulder in October set off a cascade that developed into Fibromyalgia. By Christmas that year I was seeing 5 different doctors and spending most of my time in bed. By spring I was sure I was dying. A traumatic incident in May 1996, when I lost half my vision- everything on the right side of the world disappeared!- WHILE DRIVING!!! sent me running to the smartest doctor I knew, and the only one I had not yet seen- my mother's oncologist. He made an instant diagnosis and sent me to my wonderful Rheumatologist where I first learned about Fibromyalgia.
There is no recovery from Fibromyalgia, there is no cure. There is only treatment, and for each patient finding the treatment that helps can be a long process of trying a variety of medicines and therapies. For me, the process of returning to some semblance of a normal life took more than 4 years. I am one of the "lucky" ones- less than 40% of Fibromyalgia patients ever work again.
Fibromyalgia(FM) is a neurotransmitter condition- the chemicals in the body that act as the conductors for nerve information carried to the brain malfunction. They send BAD messages. They send LOTS of bad messages. FM is a "syndrome" because there are a lot of seemingly unrelated problems occurring simultaneously.
The primary symptom of FM is pain- widespread pain all over the body. EVERYTHING hurts, all the time. Along with the pain comes sleep disorders, Irritable Bowel syndrome, chronic migraines, stiffness, numbness and tingling, sensitivity to light and sound, and a whole host of other things. The other "main" symptom of FM is fatigue. Patients with FM are almost always tired. How tired we are, and how much pain we are in, depends on how well controlled the FM is at any given time.
Which is why I am home, sitting with my feet up, and unable to do anything more strenuous than typing. (And, even typing is getting tough- my arms are starting to ache from that little effort!) My FM is flaring up- big time!
I slept until 12:15 today and I am still exhausted. Everything hurts. I am battling to control an incipient migraine- it has been waxing and waning for almost a week. When I "walk", I shuffle like an old lady because my legs are so stiff and sore. Climbing one flight of stairs leaves my leg muscles screaming like I just ran a marathon. I feel AWFUL!!!
Now, this post is not about sympathy. I have dealt with this condition now for many years and I know what I need to do. I am doing it- which is, basically, doing nothing. The heat in the house is turned up to 75°. I am sipping hot tea. I am staying mostly stationary and mostly horizontal. (Courtesy of a good recliner, I am actually mostly horizontal now!) I am doubling all my meds. I am going nowhere.
This post *IS* about education. Do you know someone with FM? Do they "look fine"? Is it hard to believe that loud noises, or stress and aggravation, or rooms kept too cold, or nothing in particular could really cause all this pain? Well, BELIEVE IT!!!!
The hardest thing about having an "invisible disease" is that most people don't understand. The less empathetic don't believe. The really rotten ones assume you are lying or malingering. FM patients do not need sympathy- although it is nice, lol! We DO need understanding, and allowances made for our daily battle.
So, if you know someone with FM, give them a break. If they tell you they cannot be cold, believe them. If they cannot do something, accept it. If they suddenly change plans and disappoint you, they are as unhappy about it as you are.
My bad day at home here is a result of a confluence of little things. The weather turned really nasty. I've been cold too much for several weeks now. Work has been hectic, busy and stressful- and I foolishly let the stress get to me. I've been overdoing. I've walked way too much in the last few days. The totally unrelated Osteonecrosis in my legs and the probably related Arthritis are also being affected by weather and activity, and exacerbating the FM. The holidays are coming and I've been doing a bunch of "get-ready" stuff. Any of these, or even several of these, would probably not set off a flare, but all of them together were more than enough to put me down.
I tell everyone that I should be a "poster child" for FM. I've mostly beaten the %^&* thing. Do I have the life I had before FM? NO WAY!!! I have restrictions and limitations and I MUST follow a pretty strict regimen of what I do. I must carefully choose what I do each day. I have an "energy bank" that is similar to my back account or my car's gas tank- if I use it all up, there is no more. If there is an emergency, the "funds" are not there. Every day I must carefully choose how to use that energy and I make tough choices about things I must not do. My house is a wreck because I can either work or take care of my home. I choose work because I love it and DH and DS would rather have me happy than have a neat house. When I get home from work I settle in my recliner, and except for MAYBE making dinner, I stay there until bedtime. Even when I am doing well, I have to take a couple of weekend days each month and stay in bed. I have to turn down invitations for things I really want to do if they are worknights. I live with a LOT of "I can't"s.
BUT.... if I follow the "rules" I have a good life. I feel pretty good most of the time. I pace myself and do most things others do. I go to work almost every day. I love my job! I go on vacations (DISNEY WORLD!!!) and have a great time. I attend parties and go on scrapbooking weekends and stitching festivals. I lead a "normal" life, within the context of my FM.
If you know someone with FM, be a "Fibromyalgia Supporter". Be understanding. They are doing the best they can. And, if you really, REALLY want to be a supporter, learn more about this condition. Here are some sites with lots of good information:
The National Fibromyalgia Association
Fibromyalgia Network News
The Mayo Clinic site about Fibromyalgia
WebMD on Fibromyalgia
The NIH site on Fibromyalgia
A CNN report on Fibromyalgia
Thanks for reading all this. With necessary breaks it took almost two hours to put together. If you have a little more understanding for your family members or friends with FM, it was a good effort. Now, I'm off- more meds and back to bed, and hopefully a better day tomorrow.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Not gold, but only man can make
A people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honor's sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly --
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
I was an Optometrist (before health issues forced me into early retirement) for many years. I was also the third generation in my family in Optometry and I practiced with my father until his death in the early 80s.
My Dad served in World War II in the Army. He spent his wartime at a remote small base in Greenland where they did weather forecasts for the naval convoys crossing the Atlantic and also supplied some of the information for the D-Day landings.
In November of 1994 I had a routine office visit with a 70 year old patient who had been with Dad from the time he opened his office- he was a high school classmate of Dad's. We chatted, as we always did, about how my kids were and what was new with him. He started to tell me about his visit to Normandy the previous June for the 50th anniversary of D-Day; he had landed at Omaha Beach in the first wave. He told me of seeing men he'd known 50 years before and of visiting the cemeteries there.
Then he began to cry. He told me that although he and Dad had been friends for years "I have always been jealous of your father because he never had to kill anyone".
My heart broke at that moment. In that one sentence he had summed up all the suffering, pain, trauma and regret that millions of men have had to live with all their lives. We take young boys, train them to be killers, and when their service is done they are sent back to live "normal" lives. In that moment I understood why all my uncles who had seen combat never told "war stories".
Everytime I remember that story I think of all the wonderful men I have known who were not blessed, as my father was, and who did, indeed, "have to kill people". I think of how they adjusted, raised families, were kind and loving husbands and fathers, and were good men in whatever they chose to do after their service.
My father and my uncles served, my brother and my cousins and my friends served and now my children's friends and my former students are serving. Thank you to them and to all who do now or ever have worn the uniform.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Obviously, this is the Beatrix Potter's Quaker Sampler. I stumbled across it a while back, and found a Stitch-a-long that is starting on January 1st. I can't say exactly why but the piece really appealed to me.
So, I joined the group, got the chart- an ebook version as this beautiful version is long sold out- dug out some special fabric I've been saving for years and just last night ordered the silks.
You can see lots more details at some of the links in my sidebar. The gorgeous ivory linen came from Brunner Haus- which I just heard will be closing (or already has) due to the retirement of the wonderful owner. What a loss- their linens are incredible! The group is the Needleprint Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler SAL. The silks came from HDF- I ordered the Tiger Lily which is close to the originals called for but much richer as it is variegated. I even bought new, GOLD needles!
I spent part of the weekend doing some (of the inevitable, interminable) re-organizing in my so-called craft room. Made a little progress. Other weekend work included laundry and getting all the summer "stuff" (the table and chairs from the patio, the grill from the alcove- you know the routine) put in storage in the garage to await the return of warm weather.
We didn't have a good "house" day. I'm increasing the amount that goes into my retirement account each payday significantly starting with the next paycheck. (Put us in the category of those who are now forced to rethink our timetable for retirement after the last few weeks.) So, I've been shopping and spending like crazy in anticipation of less money and Christmas coming. Have you heard that timing is everything? Well, last night the microwave finally gasped it's almost last- about which there are no complaints as it was 24 yo in July!- and today the pipe under the sink sprung a leak! So, we need a new microwave AND a plumber in the immediate future. Yeah, timing is everything!
I got my twinks into their new storage box today, got a big dent made in the Thanksgiving food shopping and got some paperwork done.
The Eagles are playing, and already losing, and I am exhausted from a bad case of insomnia last night. I think I'm going to make it a really early night and head to bed with a good book.
Hope everyone reading has a good week!