Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Things Aren't Always as They Seem

My last post was about seeing a man dozing outside the grocery store in the AZ heat and humidity on Sunday afternoon. I have thought a lot about that man in the past few days. Not him, personally maybe, but the image that he left on my foggy brain.

Was it real? Was he homeless or mentally ill or was he pulling something to get something for nothing? How can we ever know in this type circumstance and how can we make the right decision about reaching out or helping someone like this. I don't think there is any way of knowing, you just have to go with your gut at the moment. Chances are you are having your good side stomped on by someone who knows how to take advantage. But, there is always that small chance that you will somehow make a difference in a human life, even for a short time. Hopefully I will be able to somehow trust enough to try in the future.

I have written about my son who is mentally and physically disabled because of an accident. Our family spent several years going to various rehab facilities and nursing homes to visit him before he was released to live on his own.

You are constantly bombarded with sad situations when you visit these places. You see lonely people, you see needy people and you ache all over for them and their situation. You are one person and you are stretched to the limit with caring for your own family member. So you sometimes leave just hurting all over because you are so helpless to HELP.

But, you quickly learn that things are NOT always the way they seem. If a patient seems to never have visitors, you tend to think that they have a uncaring family. Then you find out that the patient is so demanding and mean that they have driven anyone who cared completely away. You see someone who is wearing old clothes and shoes and you wonder how family could let that happen. Then you learn that they have a closet full of nice things that they refuse to wear. In other words, its not always the families fault.

They have tried to do the right thing but the illness or age of the patient prevents them. This is not always the case, but you never know.

Personally this has happened with our son. There are things we would chose to be different in his life. He is an adult and makes his own choices. So when someone sees him, they might say, where is his family? From experience, we are right here, we try and we try but somethings are just not up to us. We do as much for him as we can within limits and hope for understanding.

So, you have to learn not to judge. You also have to learn to just let what is out of your control go. And, you have to develop a thick skin to those who wonder why it is that you aren't doing something.

So, back to my guy outside the grocery store. As I was driving away, he was lighting up a cigarette. My first reaction was, if he had money for that, he could buy water. But, I don't know the story or the circumstance, and I came home knowing that no matter what, if he needed water, he had some.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Heat and Humidity

When I was at the grocery store this afternoon, there was a homeless
(I think) man out front. He had a pillow and two back packs and was dozing on the concrete in the shade outside the store. It's really miserable and to be out in it like that just pulls at your heart strings and makes you count your many blessings. I bought a big bottle of water and gave it to him on my way to the car. He gave me a big smile and said "Thank you!" I got much more out of it though as I drove to my air conditioned home in my air conditioned car full of groceries for my family. I will NOT complain about the heat today or tomorrow either!! I would like to say I will never complain again but, sadly, I am human.


My circumstance in life...........if I just give thanks for that today as much as I should its plenty.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not In Step

I am not in step with the rest of the world. Not sure why, it just happens that I notice it sometimes. I don't try to be in step but then I don't make a effort NOT to be in step either.

Good example here is Harry Potter books, movies, what have you. I haven't read one of the books or seen one of the movies. When the first two or three came out, my DD brought copies to me and said, "You just have to read these." I read all the time and have books piled all over the house so that seemed natural. I sat down to read the first book and could not get into it at all. It just did not catch my interest. I tried a couple of more times and then gave the books back to her and told her to pass them on to who ever was next on the list. When more books and movies came out, I just moved right on by. Now it seems everyone is Harry Potter crazy and I am wondering what my problem was??? With all the fuss, I still don't feel like I am missing out on much.

The same thing happened with the movie "Titanic". When it first came out, you could not get near a showing it was so crowded. I have a friend who has watched it over 25 times and still cries at all the right moments. I never watched it completely through. Personally I thought it was rather sappy. The only thing I felt like I missed was I couldn't really hold my own in a conversation about it! Now I do like love stories and movies with great music but this one didn't cut it.

When I had emergency gall bladder surgery this fall on a Sunday night, there was a delay while they waited for a dr to come from another hospital. The nurse told me that the nurses were hoping he would get there in time to do my surgery before "Desperate Housewives" came on so they could watch it. I have never seen the show or "Lost" or any of the trendy shows this season. I watch "Big World Little People", "Jon and Kate plus Eight" and I get a huge kick out of "Dog, the Bounty Hunter." Oh well, what is that saying, "Different strokes for different folks"?

Guess I will spend my time my way and let the rest of the world enjoy Harry Potter and friends.

I Knew Someone Would Like It!

I turned my back and look who came and claimed the Chinese Coins! Now is that the seal of approval or what? What is it with cats and quilts? Boy, have I got news for her!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chinese Coins

I had so many strips left over from my son's hot colored quilt that I decided to use them in one of Mary's Chinese Coin quilts. It goes really fast, even faster than a strip quilt that you use a foundation for the strips. Not sure where it will find a home as it is pretty loud but I am sure it will appeal to some one in my family.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baby Gifts

I have been busy with handwork. I love to do blanket stitch, its calming for some reason.

DD bought this baby fleece at Joann's and I blanket stitched all around it for a baby gift for someone in SIL's family. I buy flannel remmants and make a bunch of burp cloths and save them for when we need a baby gift. She will add three of these to the blanket for her gift. She doesn't sew herself but sure likes to give handmade gifts! LOL

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rain, rain go away..............

Here in AZ we talk more about the lack of rain than the actual thing. We need it bad most of the time.

So, this weekend we loaded up the RV with our DD and the two grands. Head up to the Rim country for camping. (if you call going in a RV with two TV's and a microwave camping). The idea was to get the kids out in the woods, go for a walk, relax.

The RV seems really spacious but put three adults and a six year old and a four year old in there and park it and have it rain for hours.............not quite what we had in mind. It poured most of the afternoon, including some pretty good size hail. There was a break where we got outside for a while in the late afternoon and the kids played in the never ending MUD. Then right after DH finished cooking our dinner on the grill, it started again and rained well past midnight.

Luckily, by morning the sun was out and the mud was drying up enough to let us get out and on the road home.

The kids didn't seem to mind. They made tents with the quilts I took, they colored and did art and saw the whole thing as just another adventure. The adults were a little concerned about all the mud and a couple of leaks that we found but we did ok too. We got some reading in and DD and I did some stitching. We talked a lot.

There were two horses in a corral just down from us that the kids went to visit and this morning fed carrots. Then when DH was hooking up the Jeep, another group came and the people let the kids sit on one of the horses. As we were getting ready to drive away, two riders came by and they got to talk to and pet those horses. So to a little girl who sleeps with a blanket and pillow with horse pictures on them, it was the perfect ending to her weekend! Her brother enjoyed them too!

He sat on the steps yesterday afternoon singing "rain, rain, go away". DD commented that if we were home where we need the rain so desperately, she would tell him not to sing that but, ya know, at that point, we all just joined in.


A great weekend in spite of all the water

Nice people with horses that helped make the kids happy

Rain.............no matter how it affects you, got to have it!

Friday, July 20, 2007

My twin?

I think I have found my twin, except I am old enough to be her mother, maybe if you fudge a few years, her grandmother.

writes about how she knew she wanted to be a "stay at home wife" from the beginning. She wasn't happy working or going to school because home was where she wanted to be.

Well, rewind that tape to 1966 and you find Norma. I didn't have the chance to go to college but I had a good job when I got married. I quit to move with DH, who was in the AF at the time. His mother had always had to work when he was growing up and he hated it. So when I wanted to look for a job (that is what a good wife would do right?) it came out that he hoped I would just take care of business on the home front. OK, that was fine with me.

Three children and a AF career that meant moving every four years made staying at home make even more sense. Our kids were older when he retired from the military and went to work in Phoenix. I felt I needed a outlet to meet people so found myself the perfect job that I loved. It was at a school...........which translates to no weekends or evenings, Christmas and Spring break and summers off. Perfect match all the way around. I quit that after 15 years to, again, "stay home" with the grand kids. I had people tell me that they would NEVER quit a job to stay home with little kids again. I was thrilled that DD and SIL asked me to do this. The thought of those babies going to day care was more than this "stay at home" could handle.

So, grand kids are not going to be here this year, and I am still "Stay at home".
I have people ask me if I get bored.............NO. I learned long ago how to stay busy and if you do it right, staying home is a lot of hard work! I cook from scratch, I bake, I clean...........I take care of business.

The real key in all this is...........a husband who is willing to work double hard so I can stay home. We have had to be very careful with our money to allow me to do this. That is part of my job, to make the money stretch as far as it needs to go.

You can live on one income, but believe me, it is work.

So, Leah, you are lucky that you know what you want and how to go about getting it. Don't EVER let someone put you down for being a "STAY AT HOME". ( has happened to me, more than I care to say).

Super Spoiled!

I am so spoiled, no doubt about it, I admit to it.

I have the big 60 looming in a couple of weeks and not too thrilled about it. Fifty was one thing but SIXTY? Yikes.

Anyway, my hubby got a package in the mail yesterday.............and inside was a beautiful ring that he had ordered for my birthday. I tried to take a picture but, a ring is just too small for my photographic skills! You have to take my word for it, its pretty special.

And the guy I married is pretty special too! He gave me a surprise party for my 50 but I think the ring is it for 60..........and that is ok by me!


That DH is as thoughtful now as he was when we met.

It FINALLY rained last night.............a little anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Random thoughts

Did you ever feel like you were just talking to thin air? I do. I didn't start this blog to gather a readership but more as a way to make some quilting, sewing friends. That has happened as there are two or three who I feel I have made a real connection with. Past that I feel like I am just talking and talking and there is NO one out there.

So I wonder why a person would post pictures, share their private thoughts and never get any response back? Is my blog not good enough..........therefore, do I not measure up? Am I not a skilled enough quilter to hold my own with the community? I have a counter and I know people stop by but no one even says "Hi".

You know, at my age, I really don't need these feelings of insecurity. This is like being in High School and not being part of a "in group". Never wanted to be part of the "in group", just wanted a group of friends.

So, thinking it over but I might just give this one up. It takes too much time I could be using for other productive things. Thank you to those who have commented, many thanks to those who commented more than once! (Fitzy, Katie and Niki) I hope to keep those friendships going as they mean a lot.

I will let you, whoever you are out there, know in a few days.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I promised DD a quilt a LONG time ago. She wants one to display in her living room. We took pillow that had the colors she wants to Joann's and bought the fabric, then she decided on this pattern because it was similar to the pillow. So, this is the sample.............and even though it is really easy to do, not too sure I like it. But then, its not for me and not going in my living room. We will see what she thinks now that it is made up. Might need to regroup and call this guy one of Finn's orphans.

Aunt Cora's Peanut Butter Cookies

This one is a family heirloom, having been in my family for over 100 years. Aunt Cora was my great aunt. She helped raise my mother when Mom's mother died when she was eight years old. We lived with her in her house and she played a big part in my life when I was growing up. She was a grandmother to me although she had no children of her own. She was a great cook.

When I first tried to make these, there was no oven temperature in the recipe. She baked them in a coal range with no temp. control and they were always perfect. I dug out my cookbooks to find out what temp. to use.

I made these this morning for DH to take to work along with some chocolate chip cookies. I try to bake about once a month for the folks that he supervises. Our theory is you have to go to work but who says it can't have a little enjoyment now and then to make it a little more fun.

I love to share my recipes but if you try this or even save it for later, please leave a comment.


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening

Blend above ingredients well. Add 2 well beaten eggs plus:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
About 2 Tablespoons water

Mix well.

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Shape into balls, flatten with fork dipped in flour. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven.



I had someone in my life as a child who made the difference.

Great memories every time I make these.

That the guys and gals where DH works love my baked goods beings I can't eat much of it myself.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Papa!

We are getting together today at DD's house to celebrate DH's birthday and DIL's way past birthday. I made his fave, coconut cream pie (100% from scratch) and a angel food cake (from a mix) to have with strawberries for DIL. We are going to cook hamburgers and hot dogs and swim with the kids.


Special family times

time to bake

another year to celebrate

Friday, July 13, 2007

Weekend Enjoyment Ahead

When we did the MEME there was no question about females you admire. Eleanor Burns is my quilting diva! I have other women that I have great respect for but she is it for quilting. I love her "throw it on the floor don't sweat it" attitude. I admire that she picked up the pieces after her husband left her and built a successful business out of "Quilt in a Day" and raised her boys alone. I also greatly admire how honest she has been always about that situation. As women, we have to acknowledge when rotten stuff happens in our life and not cover it up and just smile sweetly. Too, her books are pretty visual and clear to understand and I need that!

DS #2 and his wife give me book store gift cards for Christmas, Mother's Day and my birthday. There are two reasons for this, first is that he shares my love of books and my need to have them.........lots of them. The other reason is that he knows that I am way too frugal (as in cheap) to pay full price for books at a chain book store. My haunts are used book stores and used book sales.

I got this book yesterday with my Mother's Day card. I would have gotten it before but the store I was at just had one copy and the punch out templates in the back of the book were not in good shape, then I forgot about it. So, I am spending quality time with Eleanor this weekend!!

Who is YOUR "quilting diva"?

A Journey in the Makings

That Meme made me think and after rereading it, I am way too hard on myself.

So.............things I can do should say that I am a good listener, that I have compassion and that I put my family over myself to a fault. I am positive, believing that the glass is always half full and that things happened for a reason and that you will eventually know and accept that reason. I was taught that you NEVER said what you were good at..........that was a no no to brag about yourself. So, I will work on changing that.

I have always faced up to what I can't do, hey that is how it is and we are all different. Problem is I feel sometimes that what I can't do makes me seem less of a person. That was how I felt when I finished yesterday and I will work on that one too!

The opposite sex thing just seemed odd to me at my age and station in life. But I am and always was attracted to DH because he is such a good caring person. He loves little kids and animals, is giving to a fault (to the point that people are embarrassed when he gives them a gift because he goes so overboard) And like I said, we laugh and have a good time together. He supports me in every way..........and he really likes my cooking!! When my children asked what attracted me to their Dad at the ripe old age of 15, I always told them he was really cute walking down the street. He still is!

So, thank you Katie, for making me think about these things and taking me on a journey to know me and to work on ME. Sometimes we all need a wake up call and we never know what direction it will come from.

And Fitzy........thanks for the lesson, I will give it a try. Like I said, before I die this computer and I WILL be friends!! (or else!!!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Katie tagged me for a MEME.............so here goes.

5 things to do before I die.

1. Go to Australia. My husband was scheduled to go on a business trip about ten years ago, so I was going along. I had my passport and we were making plans, then his company canceled the trip and he changed jobs and that was the end of that.

2. Learn how to throw a pot on a pottery wheel.

3. Go back to Hawaii.

4. Spend as much time on the beach as I want without time constraints

5. Make friends with the computer..............we are often at odds.

5 things I can do

1. Cook and bake, two things I absolutely love to do.

2. Really relate to little kids. Seems like I have spent my life with a kid attached to my leg starting with younger sisters, my own kids, many, many from when I worked at a school and now my grand kids. I have good kid instincts.

3. Talk your arm and leg off!

4. Hand work..........I do a great blanket stitch.

5. Wonder about something else I can do?????

5 Things I cannot do.

1. Swim well................never quite mastered that one. I love the water but I just float.

2. Drive well............I hate to drive so only do it when I have to and never far. It really stresses me out.

3. Spell................I learned to read by sight and my comprehension was always high, but my spelling is horrific!

4. Walk and chew gum at the same time............just a little klutzy!

5. Computer or high tech anything. Just give me my cassette player and forget the IPOD!

5 things that attract me to the opposite sex

1. Ok, I have been with DH since I was fifteen and he was sixteen. Three kids and 40 years of marriage and you ask me that???

2. Laughter...............make me laugh and I will follow you anywhere!

5. Celeb crushes

1. Robert Duvall................cute little balding man that he is, I love his movies

2. Sean Connery

3. Used to be Barry Gibb of the BeeGees but saw him on American Idol and he has NOT aged well.

That is enough for a less than a month to go until I am in my sixties!

I tag Niki and Fitzy..............



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blogger let me do a title and I lost the post, now it won't let me do one...............what's up with this?

I learned to stitch as a teenager. I made a set of "day of the week" tea towels for my "hope chest". When the time came to use them, I decided that was a real waste of work on something that took such abuse in my kitchen. Later I did a set of quilt blocks for a baby quilt. Then life came along in the form of husband and three kids and I moved on. When I discovered counted cross stitch, I did that for a long time until I couldn't focus on the charts enough to get it on the cloth. (old age!)

Here lately though, I have seen such neat things that have been stitched on the blogs and neat patterns to buy on sites, that I wanted to try it again. It went well but I need to practice to get my stitches more even. (and my back neater..........my mother taught me that your back should look as good as your front..............yeah, right!)

This is a pattern by Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart. I bought it for applique and was really thrilled that it had a stitching pattern included. I love her things, have several of her books. Still plan to applique this for Christmas gifts. Not sure if this one will be a wall hanging or a pillow.................I am off to Joann's to look at the Christmas fabric to see what inspires me!


that the brain still remembers after 40 years

baked chicken and mashed potatoes

the good feelings that come from finishing something

that the MVD sent me a letter extending my drivers license for five more years and I don't have to go stand in a long line to renew it!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

For some unknown reason, blogger will not let me put a title on my post. I was going to use, "What I did on my summer vacation". This is pretty much it! Above you see the dream that DH and I have had for the last few years. Saved and saved and finally last year we bought it. We took it to California for a week last year. I have got to tell you that you have not had fun until you drive through LA in a motor home. The drivers merge right in front of you and that is a lot of weight to slow down in a hurry.

This year we loaded it up and went to the White Mountains here in AZ. The idea was to get out of the heat. Haha...............they were having record temps. there too! Must say that 98 degrees is much cooler than 116 degrees but hot is hot.

We had a really good time, except for the day we got there. On the way up, my husband remembered that he had forgot to close one of the overhead vents. I got up, closed it and we thought it was fine. Then on a rather sharp curve, the bedroom sliding door goes crashing into the wall. Seems the strap that holds it in place has broken. I get up and prop it open with a tote bag.

The trip went well, the RV resort we had reservations at was great..............time for set up.

First thing, the wind picks up and the vent we forgot to shut, comes flying off the roof almost hitting hubby. Apparently it was not fine when I shut it. So we have a gap in the roof. Then when DH puts the levels down, one of the slides will not open. Then he discovers that the levels won't move, up or down. After several tries, nothing. Now if you have the levels down, that is it, you can't move the home. Here we sit on a rented lot that other folks have reservations on later in the week plus this thing costs $33 a night, and we can't move.

We hop in the jeep and head to town to the RV place. We did find a strap for the door and a replacement vent cover. The service people said it would be THURSDAY before they could even come look at the levels and if we needed a part it would take a week to ten days to order it. This was Sat. and we had one week..................I was afraid I would have to stay there while DH came home to work! Then there was the matter of the space rent and the other folks with reservations for our spot. I asked the service people could they please try and squeeze us in and they just flat said no. They also told us they were the only ones in town qualified to work on RV's. The attitude was just "too bad".

We got a card from a new company at the resort office. I called and they said they were out of town but when they got home they would let us know if they could come the next day. Later they called back and said they would be there in about an hour. They showed up, fixed the problem, put the vent cover on and charged us a very low fee. All was well in our world...........the dream turned nightmare had just turned back to a dream.

These people had such a can do attitude. Their idea was to get those levels up so we could get home and take care of it there. They cared about our problem of being stuck and needing to get back to the valley on time. I am encouraged that there are such good people out there.............and I sure hope that their business booms and they always provide such good service! (and maybe take some business from the guy who quite frankly could have cared less if we had to sit there for two weeks!


A safe trip

quiet time for a much needed break

Angels in panel trucks that fix RV's

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fourth of July

To most of you, this is the day for fireworks, hot dogs and celebrations. At my house, it is the anniversary of the worst day of our lives. For the most part, after 15 years we have moved on, but the day will never come without all of us remembering what we lost on this day.

To make a long story short, my oldest son was in a accident that night that, although it didn't kill him, took his life away. It took a lot away from the rest of the family too. It was one of those life changing moments that we all dread. It was caused by heavy partying and carelessness. But we are past with the why part of it because you can only ask that question for so long before you realize that you are never going to get an answer. It was just his fate, our fate and something that we had to deal with as best we could. We all deal with it still on a daily basis, him most of all.

He had a head injury that left him without the use of his right hand and leg. He is wheel chair bound and mentally disabled. He has short term memory loss.

He was in a coma for 8 days, then spent months slowly coming back to us. This was followed by years of rehab and retraining. The results were better in some areas than they had hoped, and not so good in others. He was in a nursing home for several years, now lives in a disabled apt. complex. According to the state, he is able to care for himself. He is not, but that is another story.

I don't have the space here to tell you what this did to my family, my other children and our lives as we knew them. But I can tell you, we survived and moved on. None of us will ever be the same but, we are making the best of a bad situation.

Now, every time I hear a siren, my heart lurches. Somewhere out there, there is a person who maybe having a life changing moment, their family is having a life changing moment, and they will never be the same. Then I pray for them because at that point, they really need the prayers.