Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happiness is the feeling you’re feeling when you want to keep feeling it

Time to do a post about things that are making me happy right about now.  I figure the more I focus on the positive, the more positive there will be.  Even if that doesn't happen, it's nice to take a break from the negative.  Sometimes, feeling happiness is so fleeting.  So I guess I need to grab it while I can, big or small.
*My nails having recovered and looking good
*New books to read
*Mark getting his cataract surgery (and the fact that we have funds in the HSA to pay for it)
*Flowers in my kitchen window
*Not stressing about my job when I am off (this is HUGE)
*Homemade banana bread for my peeps
*Mark being happy and fulfilled in his new job
*Got a new pair of shoes today and I love them!
*The Girl coming to visit in a couple of weeks
*The trash and recycle dudes arriving late today, giving me time to get all the extra stuff out after I cleaned house
*My clean house that is quiet and calm and smells so nice... and a glass of wine as reward
*Getting things crossed off my To Do list - I feel accomplished!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

No good deed shall go unbitched about

Recently an attack of "niceness" came over me.  I'm recovered now, but for a while there it was touch and go...
You know how a well-known photo gift company likes to send out freebies?  Well, they do.  About half the time I get the offer on a Sunday and am at work, so I don't have time to put photos together for it.  Or, I will think "oh, I should order that for so-and-so", but I don't have the address with me, so I don't order it before it expires.  After all, I don't want to have to pay for postage twice.  But a couple of weeks ago, I happened to get a code for 2 free 8x10 prints, and since a relative of mine remarked how she loved Dylan's work, AND I had her mailing address with me, I ordered her two prints.  I didn't even tell her I had done it, wanting it to be a fun surprise.  Because it's fun to do nice things.
Well, that received:

Subject: Thanks
For the photos you sent me.  It is just a shame they are so dark, can’t make out much in them.  And Dylan’s name is cut in half. I’m sure the originals were very nice, but Photo Company does not produce a quality print.  Don’t know that I’d use them in the future.  How about emailing me the digital and I’ll make my own copies.  Thanks!
Love, Relative

Why does this make me feel bratty?  I mean, it's not like it's worded in a nasty way or anything.  It's not like Dylan's art is being called into question.  It's not even like that person is insulting me personally with my choice of giftie surprise.  I guess it's just the whole idea of doing something fun and unexpected for someone and instead of them just saying thanks and leaving it at that, it has to be critiqued.  The thought behind the gift is not being called into question, and I have zero control over the way the photo company prints.  But, my goodness.  The only person out time, effort, and $4 for shipping is me.  I wasn't looking for thanks and praise.  I only wanted to do a nice thing.

And no way am I going to email my son's professional work without his permission.  For all I know he may have wanted to charge for it. I shouldn't have printed them in the first place, I guess.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


One of the things I have let slip the past few months is crafting and sewing - creating.  I can't really blame it on not having a crafting space any more since Spencer moved out over a month ago.  It's just that I seem to get caught in this loop of the To Do list that never gets completely done.  And I prioritize things so that "fun" seems to fall off the list more easily.  Time to let some of the drudge go, for my own piece of mind, and get engaged in creating.  And not just cooking or planting - sewing.

Even when I was in college I made time to sew, so I know it's more of a habit thing.  I just have to start adding it into my schedule so that it becomes a regular activity.  I keep pinning and bookmarking things I want to make and I know that once I get started, the creativity will flow, and possible spill over to other areas of my life.  The crafts I have going right now are: making a bunting for the mantel using an inspiration I saw at this site, sewing myself a couple of skirts, and cross stitching something for Grayson.  Plus, I want to move on to bigger projects (like maybe a quilt, or clothing) , and I feel as tho I've been away from sewing big things for awhile.  So, I intend on picking easy things and move up from there.  Gotta start somewhere!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The weight of a quilt

Let me preface this little tale by saying:   You cannot, should not, give someone something as a gift, and then ask for it back.  It's not yours to ask for.  And trying to make the person feel guilty or sad for you is underhanded.  It's something I think most of us learn as children.  But I also think that as we get older, we become more like children, no?
Last week I visited my mother and admired a quilt that she had just finished for a great great nephew of mine.  I helped her with it, even.  It had little boys appliqued in calico, each holding a toy or a treat. See?  I drew the things the boys were holding or playing with.

It was fun to see the art I had drawn, all embroidered on the quilt.  And as usual I complimented her on it.  We had an okay visit - I helped her locate a ring she though she had lost, ran her over to a feed store for seed potatoes, and took her out for lunch.  {Visits with my mother are all about listening to her, doing for her, helping her.  Seldom is she interested in what I have going on...} But after lunch she zingered me by telling me that she wanted a baby quilt back that she had given me when Grayson was born.  She said I guilted her into giving it to me.  I don't even remember having a conversation about baby quilts when Gray was born - I'm sure it was the last thing on my mind at the time!  If my mother wasn't interested in my first three babies, why would I assume she'd be interested in the 4th?  Having her make a quilt for him is not even something I would have mentioned to her. 

In the above photo, the quilt in question is the third one from the bottom, with a turquoise square between tiny red and white floral.  Its a lovely quilt - made of vintage and antique fabric, and I really assumed that when she gave it to me, it was a GIFT.  For a new baby who also happened to be her 17th grandchild.  And something about her telling me she wants it back makes me dig my heels in even harder and make sure she understands that I wouldn't consider doing so, no matter what.  Because why?  What does an 87 year old person want with a baby quilt she gave to me as a gift?  Why would she have relinquished it to begin with if it were so dear to her?  And why wait 18 years to tell me she regretted giving it to me and wants it back?  Um, too damn late.  And, rude.
     The short answer, of course, is no.  But I wrote her a letter today and mentioned the quilt at the end of the letter.  I told her I hoped she wasn't serious about wanting it back.  That I had it stored away in a safe place awaiting it's future owner - Grayson's firstborn.  And I just left it at that.  And I am hoping she and I won't have to have words over it.  Because that would be ridiculous.
     I feel as though I will never fully understand the woman.  If Chloe came to me and wanted just about anything of mine that had meaning to her, I would give it to her.  Especially things I have made with my own hands.  I would be both pleased and flattered that something I created would have meaning for her.  And I would never ask for it back, because I would give it fully and freely to begin with.  Things are not love.  Love is love.  But asking for something back that you gave in love, is like asking for the love back.
     So that's about what it boils down to - she cannot give freely of herself without regret.  And apparently, an 18 year old baby quilt is weighing on her mind.  And now I have that off my chest, so it isn't going to weigh on mine...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I didn't make a whole lot of New Year's resolutions this year, but I am resolved to do some things differently.  Speaking my mind on this blog will always happen.  I don't have any room for regret on doing that.  This is my space to journal and I feel like I should be able to speak freely.  However, there are a few things I thought I would aim to improve in my daily life, and in moving forward.

I want to get Rustown projects done - the backyard landscaping, the deck removal, painting all of the ceilings, and replacing the bathroom floors.
I intend to get my nails back to healthy. Healthy skin and hair would be awesome, too.
A vacation this summer is in order.
I intend to move off of the weekend shift and work hours that accommodate time off with Mark.
The boys are going to get pushed closer to the edge of the nest....shove!
Simplifying the stuff we own - a must.
I've started on a few of these things already, so I feel like I have moved out of the resolution phase into the action phase.  I'm also trying reeelly reeelly hard not to vent so much about work to my co-workers.  I'm sure they understand, but it would be hard for them to only hear the negatives come out of my mouth.  So, I am trying to make an effort to narrow down who I chat with and how often I lapse into ranting.  Very hard to do. What I say to myself for redirection is somewhere along the lines of  "focus on self-improvement and health".  This helps me understand, at least on a conscious level, that I can choose to refocus on what I want for myself, not what others who don't have my best interests at heart see fit for me.  
I guess if resolutions were easy we wouldn't have to make them.  We could just decide we wanted something for ourselves and strive to make it so, on the daily, without giving in or giving up. So, I know these things won't be easy, but are they do-able?  I think so.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I want it back

There are so many things that I feel like I have lost - some of them temporary, so many more permanent, and I want them back.  My craft room, my clean house not full of people always coming and going, my hair, my general day-to-day health without pain, loving my job, a happy husband...I think my list could go on for quite some length.

When I was doing the only two crafts I made over the Christmas season, I came across this jar in the bottom of my supplies tote. {Side note:  I don't want to have to store all of my sewing and craft stuff.  I never see any of it and that makes it hard to get crafty when I have the time.}  This is a decorated Ball jar that Chloe made up for me when she was in Brownies.  I think it originally had cookies in it, but now it is home to buttons.  I guess what I really want back most of all is some joy in life.  I don't feel much joy right now.  I'm not sure where that is coming from exactly, but I will blame the holidays since there is so much stress involved with them.  Deadlines for things, the cost of things, the buying/wrapping/storing/cleaning/cooking/working/missing out on time at's doing a number on me.  I was ready for the holidays to end, and I think that for me that will be complete when we get further along in January.  I want to have the joy of the holiday season back because it used to be so much more fun.  But for now I want the calm back.   No more nasty surprises at work, either. I want to look forward to this year, knowing there are good things ahead.  I want some optimism back.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the year thoughts

I'm not going to whine about how bad this year has been - there have been good times and bad, as there usually are.  A lot of good, even.

We started the year on a sad note, having to put Sugar down.  It was terrible to see her suffering.  In the midst of that, I got hearing aids for both ears.  I could mope about losing my cat and my hearing, but everyone has their cross to bear, right?  What's the difference between hearing aids or eye glasses?  Same same.  And maybe a new kitty will make her way into our lives next year.  The stress surrounding changes on the weekend shift was a little harder to take.  Maybe because my boss acted like a cretin.  Extra hours at another hospital this year gave me some perspective on it, though.  Applying for three positions in one year is not something I will ever do again.  And I will start speaking up for myself a little more forcibly - what do I have to lose?  My new co-worker turned out to be nicer than I initially thought, and the weekends are tolerable, but not as fun as they once were.  I am looking forward to changing shifts in the coming weeks, and though I know the change will be tricky at first, I believe it will be better for me.  I did a lot of venting to co-workers this year - thank goodness there were people who understood and were willing to listen.  Wine clubs added fun to the time Hubby and I spent together this year.  It mostly involves sitting with your feet up, listening to live music and enjoying a great view while you nosh on delicious things and drink wine.  There are no downsides to that I can see.  Unlike Hubby's new job, which was not the answer to a prayer we thought it was going to be.  But since he flip flops a lot on the issue, I don't really know what to think.  Is there a perfect job out there?  We are in no financial straits, which is good.  The drought ended this year and  we got a lot of rain - too late to save our backyard, but that can be something I spend time fixing in the spring, now that we have a new fence.   Grayson had a successful experience at Philmont and Hubby and I took an interesting road trip.  It was so good to get home, but overall I did enjoy getting to Go and Do, so we should plan something like that again in the new year.  Getting started on physical therapy for my elbow was a smart move - turns out it was tendonosis, which is harder to address and takes longer to resolve.  At this writing, it is still hurting but less so.  And the PT thinks it will continue to improve.  One thing I know for sure is that I will be more careful with treating elbow pain with Motrin - the ulcer I got from that was not worth the very small amount of pain relief it provided.  The Fall was crazy busy and I was not sad to see Grayson's senior year of marching band come to a close.  My guess is, neither was he. Finishing up his Eagle Scout work was stressful, to say the least.  But it's DONE and I know that he and Mark are thrilled.  My years of diligence with saving and paying bills on time paid off BIG as we were able to swing a purchase of land in Burnet.  It has given Mark something positive to focus on and will be a great investment for us. Spencer boomeranged home for a couple of months and I have been good about not doing his laundry and not making comments about his beer drinking and vaping and incense burning.  I am ready for him to leave the nest once and for all, and since he has found a place, it looks like that will happen soon.  Dylan is still stuck in a happy neutral with his photography job and girlfriend but things are going to change soon for him, too.. I had hoped that my mother could continue to live alone for a few more years as she is fairly capable and in good health.  But breaking her arm in a fall may be a game-changer.  In the new year, I will have a frank discussion with her.  Thanksgiving was great at our house though we were all tired from moving Chloe the day before.  I hope she will be happy and comfy in her new place with no roomie to cause her stress.  She told me that she wants Teddy classified as a therapy dog and that her outlook without him was so bleak.  That makes me feel terrible for her, but grateful that she found her furry companion when she did.  I look around at my clean and comfy home and feel so lucky that we have this place.  I have many fix-it projects to do in the new year, but we will have the resources and time to do so.
So I have to say that maybe 2016 qualifies as equally good and bad, although I miss some of the "things" in my life that I really want back.  
Real life rolled up into 12 untidy months.  
Bring it, 2017.