Sunday, April 24, 2011

" I Ain't No Martha Stewart ! "

Oops I did it again! This makes it about the fourth year in a row. You would think that by now I would know better but I guess I just ain't no Martha Stewart!!

I think I mentioned in a past post that I had been weeding a bit, well, quite a bit, last week and the week previous between the rain drops. One particular spot that I've been wanting to get into was the Lilac bush and the bush that grows on the fence along the side of it.

As you can see in the above photo it is quite overgrown as I have been neglecting it more and more the past few years. Well this time I literally was climbing inside of the bush with clippers and a saw. I was quite proud of my progress as I managed to get a lot of dead wood out of the bush and trim quite a bit of the bush next to it although it's hard to tell from the above photo. Lots of weeds were yanked out as well.

I was in a weeding frenzy I tell you and never gave a thought to the fact that I wasn't wearing long sleeves and pants but shorts and a tee shirt instead! So here I sit a week later admitting to the world that 


The only difference from this year to the last three or four is that this time it is poison Ivy instead of Sumac. Yes I know what poison Ivy and Sumac look like. Yes I know how allergic I am to both. Yes I am an idiot. Why I even took a picture of said Poison Ivy after it attacked me.

See how easy it is to notice there? Unfortunately I never notice until after the fact. Will I ever learn? I don't know. Martha would have known the proper weeding procedures I'm sure. Actually Martha probably has people that weed for her. I wonder if they know to dress properly BEFORE getting into a weeding frenzy? Probably. Everyone probably knows but me. 

Perhaps if I write one hundred times " I will always wear long sleeves and pants when weeding." I might have a chance. I have a container of strong weed killer as well. We used it last year on the poison Sumac that was growing all over the place, I'm sure that it's come back now too.

Well at least I learned my lesson early this year and you can be sure that now I will be on the lookout for anymore poisonous plants. Yes I want to make Martha proud of me! For now though, it's calamine spray and ice. The sad part is that I haven't yet finished that spot, I have to go back in there!

But enough about rashes. We had a big storm last week that blew over our neighbors huge pine tree. 

The white garage is ours and if you look through all of those weeds and trees you can see his brown garage that the pine is leaning on. I must say that I'm glad that his garage was there or that pine would be in my yard!

I'm going to leave you with a photo of the sunrise peeking through the Lilac bush. I took it after the poison Ivy incident!

Hopefully I have learned my lesson this time. Long sleeves and pants, long sleeves and pants, long sleeves and pants!!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Just Checking In "

I had no intentions of doing a post in the near future but here I am, unable to stay asleep. Waking at the wee hours of predawn for the second morning in a row.

I have once again quit smoking and it is affecting my sleep patterns but I'm not fighting it. My energy levels have gone through the roof since I haven't smoked, one of the reasons being that I would use a cigarette as an excuse to sit and take a fifteen or twenty minute break.
Any of you who know me, also know that I have troubles sitting still and relaxing so this endless amount of energy is a bit more than my OCD personality can handle. But I also know that it's all for the best and this too will level out eventually.
This is about my fifth time quitting over the past forty years and I've got a good feeling about this one. My husband hasn't smoked in over four months so now I have no one that smokes around me anymore. Except on occasion.
Good things have been happening to my family. This isn't something that we are used to, I am not complaining. It seems that we are in an "UP" time right now and I have only God and all of my friends who have sent prayers out to him to thank for this time.
I received my shots of cortisone and Synvisc in my knees on April 6th. It was four days before I could walk without discomfort which happened to be on my birthday. On that day I was able to actually walk, for about one block and I can tell you, That was a birthday gift!
While at the Ortho doctors office I had to get new ex-rays as it had been a year since I've had them. My doctor looked at them and told me that I had the knees of an eighty year old. I was a bit stunned by his statement even though I knew that they were bad as I was to the point of using a wheelchair in the stores.
I did a lot of thinking that following week. Some mulling things over in my head and with my husband. I called the ortho center that week and scheduled the surgery. 
At first the surgical coordinator had scheduled me for the left knee which is a bit worse than the right. I told her that I would like to have both knees done at the same time to which she replied that the doctor only did that in extreme cases. She would have to check with him on that first.
A few days later I received all of the surgery information and appointments for a bilateral knee replacement surgery. Both knees. So for now the surgery date is August 16th. They would have done it sooner but I needed to wait until my husband could be home for his vacation which wouldn't be until anytime after August 1st.
There is also a big "If" involved with this. We have to come up with our share of the surgery costs and post-op visits five days prior to the surgery. So this "If" is a big one. I am scheduled for an MRI in July which will eat up all of my deductible, which is good, it will help.
In the meantime the Ortho center will work with my insurance and give me an estimate sometime over the summer. So for now, my husband and I are saving every penny we get!
We may not make it and if not well, we'll just reschedule for a later date. But Lord knows I just want this to be over with. I understand all of the rehab that will be involved but I am so willing to go through it all to be able to go for a walk. To be able to work for more than three hours without having to sit for the entire rest of the day and night. To be able to walk up and down the stairs again, normally. And to be able to go to my grandchildrens events and babysit without fear that my knees will give out at the wrong time.

Your prayers have been heard. And I need them now as well. My husbands job has been improving and he has another company that is calling him all of the time that also has good insurance. For now he is staying put as he has the three weeks vacation coming which if all goes well we will use.
It's mostly in Gods hands now but we are being pro-active. I have been riding my bike and trying to do as much work as I can since getting my shots. Trying to lose weight and strengthen my legs as much as possible. I have four months to do it and lots of inspiration. Also one of the reasons I quit smoking again.
Summer is quickly approaching and my Katie is excited about summer camp. She will go the first week of June and then she will be a camp counselor for four weeks through the summer. This means that she will be gone for five weeks this summer! It's going to be very lonely but as my daughter-in-law said, it will give me a taste of what it will be like when she leaves home one day.
I have a parent, teacher meeting this morning with all of her teachers and I expect to hear good news. We shall see!
 It is Holy Week and I have been busy already with churches, yes churches. I've went to mine and Katie's. I will also be attending at least two more services this week and have been reading the book of John.
There has also been a lot of gardening going on around here. I have transplanted several Hostas and cleaned several spots in the yard. Getting the shots has enabled me to do some extra work and it's a good feeling. My son Frank and his wife Amy bought me a beautiful Celtic Cross to put in my yard for my birthday. Now I just have to find the right place for it! 

I had the great privilege of watching over my little guy, Jack, yesterday and we were blessed with the perfect day to go outside. At first I was a bit worried as my yard isn't fenced in and I can't run.

But fortunately I soon discovered that he was perfectly contented to sit and play with Grandpa's old trucks for hours and hours!

He was even more than willing to pose for me as long as I showed him the photos! I took him up on his offer, naturally!

We spent hours outside and I was able to get some more weeding done. I'm feeling it this morning but it was worth it. Jack took his first nap at my house yesterday. I was happy that he finally felt comfortable enough to sleep here. 

He woke up happy! He stayed for seven hours and didn't want to go home! That was a first for us. It was a good day.

I haven't been online much at all the past several days. Which means that I am way behind on reading blogs. There's been quite a bit going on around here and honestly I just haven't felt like being on the computer. With all of the rain that we are supposed to have this week, I suppose that I will find the time!
So if I haven't visited you, hold on, I'm comin'!!

I'm going to leave you with these beautiful words that I read last night and that are the focus of my belief.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

"Have a Blessed Holy Week."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

" Electricity. Friend or Foe ?"

I just had to ask this question today and my answer was a resounding, YES!!! Of coarse electricity is my friend.We've had it for years and I really rely on it.

Seriously I can't think of anyone who doesn't like it. It's very handy and makes us all so comfortable and happy. I will admit though that the cost of it has me reeling at times but I just try to cut back to do what I can to help lower that monthly bill.

That monthly bill can be a huge thorn in our sides. I know I am not just speaking for myself. Sometime I find myself getting down right angry about it's cost but then we may as well throw in the cost of everything today instead of singling out electricity.

On the other hand I have also thought of electricity as my foe. I would like to think of myself as being of an age and generation that could, if need be, survive without electricity. Let me just fall back in time a bit to explain.

The year was approximately 1970. I was 12 years old and I was a talker. Some of you will remember when our telephones were attached to the wall. I don't think that squiggly cord could ever be long enough for me as I would pace back and forth talking to whatever friend I would be talking to at that time. 

I would talk for hours on end. There was so much subject matter back then to talk about. School, teachers, other friends, Boys. The usual girl conversations for hours on end.

I remember one particular gab fest ( That means talking a lot, for those of you who haven't heard of this term. ). This time I was actually sitting at the kitchen table just chatting away. I had a bobby pin ( A small metal pin used to keep hair in place, for those of you who have never heard of this.)  in my hand that I was playing with at the time. Now here comes the really stupid part. As I was talking and playing with the bobby pin, I stuck it in the electric socket that I was sitting next to !

I got a little shock and remember thinking, "Why the heck did I do that?". I knew what would happen as my parents did teach me the dangers of electricity but I did it anyway. I didn't do it on purpose and I walked away from it but I never forgot it. I suppose my mind was very deep in the conversation at the time. 

That was the day that I learned that electricity could also be my foe. As my husband would eventually learn of this story he also learned to have a bit of fun with my fear. He is very handy and knows how to do electrical work safely. Yet each time he works with electricity he suckers me. Even when changing a light bulb. Whatever the electrical chore may be, even when I KNOW that the power is shut off, he likes to wait for just the right moment to let out a "Shocking scream" only to manage to scare the bejeezus out of me !

By the way he almost always gets a smack in the arm from me for this cute little joke he likes to pull on me. You would think by now I would be used to his little electrical pranks wouldn't you?

Since I was twelve I hadn't had any bad experiences with electricity thank goodness until today. 

For years now I have been collecting old license plates. Yes it probably sounds silly but there are memories of old cars, my son's first pick-up truck that he worked so hard for, my mom's "Cats" plate. The car my husband owned when we first met and fell in love. Yes it's all so romantic!

Since I had recently cleaned out the basement while spring cleaning all winter long, I decided that I would finally hang these old plates in the hallway that leads down to the basement. That had always been my plan for them, it just took me twelve years to act on it.

I first had to find the right size and type of nails. I looked at the little picture hanging nails but the heads were too small. I looked at the carpet tacks but they looked to short. Then I remembered that we had a box of common nails. About an inch and a half long with a good size head. Perfect ! Or so I thought. 

I was measuring and nailing on the west wall and had three already hung. This is pretty cool, they looked good up there. Still had about ten more to go though. I turned on the stairs to face the east wall, the wall that the back door is on, and started to measure and hang.

I had two hung and started to nail in the nails for the third plate. The first nail was a bit hard to get in but after one more good hard hit with the hammer, it was positioned right where I wanted it. The second nail went in easy enough. Great! Now lets hang that plate.

I put the left side of the plate on the left nail and then proceeded to put the right side of the plate on the right nail, when all of a sudden I hear a "POP" and see a small flame come out of the nail whole!! What the...?

Honestly I don't understand how I didn't get shocked. My husband said that God was really watching over me. What apparently happened is I had hit the electrical wire that runs from the back door light into the basement. The rest was a bit unclear. I know that I took the plate off of the wall but did I use my hand (Which would have been stupid) or did I use the rubber handled hammer? This part I don't remember.

I was still pretty FREAKED OUT ( A term used in the 70's meaning scared.) at this point but figured I had better get that one nail out at least! So I took my rubber handled hammer in hand, looked at my shoes to make sure they were rubber bottomed, said to my self "Oh God!" and as quickly as I could, yanked that nail out of the wall!

I checked the light and the circuits to see if I had blown anything and I didn't. Now the fun part. I have to call my husband and tell him what happened. He was pretty freaked out himself and was not happy that he wasn't home. Once he knew I was alright his biggest fear was that there may be exposed wire in the wall that could catch fire. 

After he got me settled down (I was about in tears)
and we hung up, he called my son. Frank came over and took the piece of wood off of the wall and checked the wire. He knows electricity very well too. He rewired his entire old house himself. Frank said that all I did was put a small indentation in the wire and checked the whole wire that ran horizontally along the wall to the basement. He said that it was amazing how I missed this wire by a hair, with 5 out of six nails! They were that close to the wire!

Needless to say I stopped hanging license plates today. I told my husband that I had no idea that the wire would be there. That's when he said that he had told me never to hang anything below a switch or socket. If he did, I don't remember. There's a surprise! 

When Kate came home I asked her if she knew this and she said "Yeah dad told me that." At least she remembered this important little tidbit! Well lesson learned I suppose. And as I sit here typing on my computer with my lights on, I would have to say that electricity is my friend. But friends can turn on you if you aren't careful!

Monday, April 4, 2011

" Birthday Blessings to a Very Special Man "

Today, April 4th, was a very special day for me. Thirty-three years ago today, I gave birth to my first child, a perfect baby boy. He was named after his grandfather Francis.

Frank was a beautiful baby boy born with blond hair and blue eyes. He truly was a good baby and as he grew older, he was your average rough and tumble boy, yet he always had a kind heart.
Well, there was that time that he and his little sister decided to play barbershop and he lopped off the whole mid section of her long hair up to her neck, but hey, how was I to know that he wouldn't grow up to be a barber or famous stylist?

We celebrated my son's birthday this past Saturday. We did this by having a final barbecue at my son and daughter-in-laws house. They are selling there one-hundred and six year old house to move to a newer one that is further out in the country. So it was a bittersweet day. We've had many dinners and barbecues at this old house and I will miss it. It was at this house that we all last saw my mom on Thanksgiving Day, two months before she passed away.

Frank, Sarah and Mom. Thanksgiving 2009
But life goes on and I understand why they wanted to move. Frank has done a lot of work on this old house which is actually a landmark of sorts. It was the original bank in this small town and still has the original bank vault inside!

We had a wonderful day Saturday. My daughter-in law, Amy, took me out to the new house which, as of today, they have already moved into. It is really beautiful and is only one story! Thank goodness, no more stairs! It really is out in the country and I only hope that I remember how to get out there, I'm not the greatest with directions.

My daughter Katie, her friend Natasha and I went out there in the afternoon before everyone else arrived. We helped prepare the food, lots of food, and just enjoyed each others company. My Daughter-in-law has a big family and they all started coming over here and there. I was even able to have a couple of beers as I now have my very own designated driver!!
Frank and I share a lot of the same traits and mannerisms. I don't think that he looks like me so much as he did his father, except for maybe our hair...

 Frank has given me so much in my life. 

A beautiful and loving friend, my daughter-in-law Amy...


He has also given me my very first grandchild who holds my heart in her hands, Sarah....

Then just for good measure he also gave me a little fireball of a grandson, Jack...

Jack also shares the same haircut as his daddy and grandma!
God blessed me the day that Frank was born. I had no idea that he would grow up to be such a hard working, dedicated father and husband who has never shown me anything but love and respect.

I have been so blessed to receive Frank into my life and I thank God for him everyday.

Happy Birthday my son. 
You've made your mama very proud!!