Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Dear Cousin

I am heartbroken.  My cousin Joe's son passed away on Monday.  Kevin was only 35 years old.  We are all in shock.  Joe just lost his wife, Joanne two months ago.
Joanne was an invalid and Joe was her caregiver for many years.

My son was 34 when he died in December of 2011.   I understand that part of my cousin's pain.
When I heard about Kevin, I felt helpless.  I wanted to be of comfort to Joe.  After all, I should know what to say to him, to ease his pain, shouldn't I?

I read the condolence messages people were leaving on my cousin's Facebook page.   Of course there was the standard "Sorry for your loss."  There were several "There are no words..."   Many were keeping Joe in "their thoughts" and praying for him and for his family.

I remembered that the comfort I received was not in what someone said, but rather I felt cared for simply because they reached out to me.

Joe always had an upbeat  positive outlook all throughout Joanne's illness.  But losing his son so soon after Joanne.  I wondered how he was going to be able to get through this.

I then recalled a post Joe wrote a few months before Joanne passed away.  Here is what he said:
"How to deal with down & out problems in our lives.Inspiration! Every day! Wake up! Deal with whatever! Live your daily life! And make it work for you! And drag as many people as you can with you! The big word? Positive. The big phrase? Be the best as you can be for you! Starts with you & spreads from there!"

Joe, you once told me that I was an inspiration for you.   But, Cousin,  you are truly the one who inspires!

My heart goes out to you Joe.  I am so sorry for your loss.  And you are in my thoughts.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rico fell off the bed at 2:00 a.m.  I heard the thump.   It woke me up.  It was unusually dark in the house.  Still sleepy,  I remember curiously thinking, It's very dark in here.
I couldn't see where Rico was.  I felt around the bed for him hoping that he was in his usual spot, which is right between Ross and me.   When I couldn't feel him, I reached over to turn on my nightstand lamp. Nothing happened.  That's when I realized the electricity was off.
I stumbled out of bed and groped my way over to my dresser, which is where I keep a flashlight.   I turned on the flashlight and found Rico sitting on the hope chest at the foot of the bed.  He must have rolled over onto it. He was whining a little.  As I picked him up, the electricity came back on.
The house jolted as it came alive with sounds and lights. The microwave chirped and the refrigerator burped. The treadmill display started to flash, and the lamp came on.
The red, blue and green LED lights on each of the many and varied electronic devices we have plugged in popped on and the bedroom lit up like a Christmas tree.
And I thought, No wonder I only get 4 hours of sleep a night.  
After Rico and I settled back down, I noticed the display on the Treadmill was still blinking.  I waited a few minutes, hoping it would stop.  It didn't.
I got up out of bed, hopped up on the treadmill and started pushing buttons.  The darn thing wouldn't turn off.   Finally, I remembered the safety key,  pulled it out and the blinking stopped.
When I tried to get back into bed,  Rico had commandeered my spot, with his head on my pillow.  I pushed and prodded him until he moved.  He growled the whole time.   We both eventually fell back to sleep.

When I woke at 7:30, Ross was just waking up.  He mumbled,  "Why were you on the Treadmill last night?"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Please!

Okay, it's been raining and blowing for two days straight.  If it were 30 degrees colder, well you know, we would be socked in with many feet of snow.

I've been recovering from a little bout of gastritis.  Details are not necessary.  Really, you don't want to know.   So, I've been taking it easy.  And after two days of no exercise, no walking and rain, rain, rain, I'm officially stir crazy.

From where I'm sitting I have a direct view of our entry door sidelights and transom windows.  I can see out to the front yard trees.  They are thick with still dark green leaves.  The branches are waving back and forth and bouncing up and down.  With each gust of the wind the leaves turn their backs desperately trying to hold on.
At times, the wind calms a little,  the foliage stills and I catch a glimpse of unrelenting sheeting rain.
The grayness makes me sad.  I pensively ponder what might have been as I desperately try to hold on. 

I have settled myself in front of the fireplace. No fire.  I have a few necessities around me. 
Rico to keep me company. He picks his head up every once in a while to whine because he's not on my lap.
My cell phone, to take photos, play Candy Crush and browse Facebook.  I rarely get phone calls on my cell.  Oh, and when I'm not doing any of those things, I listen to my latest downloaded book - "The Girl in The Spider's Web".  I just started it.  So far I like it.
My cordless home phone, in case Ross calls from the grocery store to ask, "Are you sure there is nothing else you want beside Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean (no fat, no sugar added) ice cream." (He called I told him, "No that's all I want, thanks.")
My laptop for obvious reasons, yes blogging.
My knitting, for when I get bored with electronics. I've been steadily working on my shawl and it's growing quite nicely.
Oh and there, in the corner of my ottoman, see it, it's the Franciscan Pottery, Desert Rose pattern, sandwich dish with crumbs from my no salt saltine crackers.

Ross has settled himself in front of the TV.  He's waiting for the Navy/Airforce football game to start.   He has his necessities around him.   His cell phone, to do whatever it is he does on his cell phone.   A nine-inch stack of magazines to read during commercial breaks and time outs,  and a snack of honey roasted nuts, crackers and hummus.

It's just that kind of day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Knitting The Cane Bay Shawl By The Light Of the Red Moon

I was lucky enough to capture the Red Moon on Sunday, Sept. 27.  I took the photo at 10:17 p.m. EST.

We went up to Connecticut last weekend for my nephew's wedding.  Which was lovely, by the way.  Coincidentally, my favorite yarn store, WEBS, was a short 30 minutes from where we were staying.
There are lots of ways I can describe the feeling I get when I walk into that store.  "kid in a candy store" comes to mind.
Needless to say, I left the store with bags full of goodies,  adding a considerable amount of yarn to my already bulging stash.  One thing I know for sure is this addiction to yarn is universal among knitters/crocheters.
For example, a few weeks ago we were browsing around a local flea market when I spotted a fellow knitter.  She was one of the vendors. She was sitting under her tent with a lap full of delicate, cobwebby, glittery yarn.   I approached her, a little hesitantly, me being the shy one and all and tentatively asked her what she was making.  She said it was going to be a scarf and the stitch she was knitting is called Entrelac.
          Entrelac is a knitting technique used to create a textured diamond pattern. While the result resembles basket-woven strips of knitted fabric, the actual material comprises interconnected squares on two different orientations.

The stitch looks like this:

We chatted for a while.  She told me about a few websites she uses to find free patterns.  I admired the yarn she was using. She thanked me and talked about the number of bins in her closet which are filled with yarn  That's when she admitted her addiction.  I understood.

Anyway back to  WEBS.  They have a nice sitting area, right in the front of the store,  with comfy club chairs for the person who is not shopping, usually the men.  
Whenever we go to WEBS Ross brings his Kindle and settles himself in one of the chairs.   He invariably winds up commiserating with a fellow non-knitter (usually another guy).
Like many other yarn stores, WEBS displays many finished works.  One of the items on display was a shawl.  Actually, Ross pointed it out to me and suggested that it would look great with the dress I'm going to be wearing to the next wedding we are going to in October (my niece).

The name of the pattern is Cane Bay Wrap designed by Sarah Smuland.   

I chose worsted weight yarn from "The Fibre Company" called "Canopy", the color is crocus.  The content is 50% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino & 20% Viscose Bamboo. 

I started knitting this on Sunday by the light of the Red Moon. 

The wedding is only ten days away so I’m getting’ busy.   I am one-third of the way done. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Doctor Will See You Now, Finally!

Yesterday I went for my annual eye exam.  It's one of my least favorite appointments.  Why? Because my introverted personal space is seriously impinged upon. I'm referring to that brief minute or two when the doctor leans in with her pen light and our faces practically become one.  I grasp on for dear life and hold my breath until it's over.
By the way, I also hate those eye drops!
Anyway, on the way home after my visit,  I thought about how many people I had come into contact with during my visit.
First, the woman at the desk.  The one you who signs you in. The Greeter.  The insurance card checker.  The one who tells you to take a seat because, "It will be a few minutes."
Person number two was the young woman who came out into the waiting room with my records folder in her hand.
I'm not sure what her title is.  She took me into a room, asked me a few questions, had me read an eye chart, which I looked at through a machine.  Then she took measurements of my eyes.  At least that's what she told me she was doing.  After we were finished she brought me into another room and told me that "Someone will be with you shortly."
After "shortly" the third person came into the room.  He was an eye doctor.  Anyway, he introduced himself as Dr. SoandSo.   He also had me read an eye chart through a machine.  "Is it better with one or two?"  Yeah, that guy.  He was the first one of the blue-pen-light-carrying-personal-space invaders.  And an eye drop administrator.  Once his portion of the exam was completed, he wrote my prescription.  My vision hadn't changed, "But, just in case you want new frames," he said.
Then, after waiting 30 minutes for my eyes to dilate, I saw my eye doctor.   She's the one I actually had my appointment to see.  The woman whose name is on the door.
She is the other personal space invader.  She determined that I needed an additional test, which required more eye drops and more close up and personal attention, and another attendant, the eye photographer.  Another fancy machine that I had to stare into and not blink.  "Don't blink!  Don't blink!"
So, the eye photographer became the fifth person I had contact with.
No, not done yet.
On the way out, I met with the person who scheduled my next appointment, which will be one year from now.
So, in case you haven't been keeping track, by the time I left that office, I had interacted in one way or another, with six people.
I wondered about this.  I wondered what effect the employment of these six people might have on the cost of my visit.
The most important question, though, is "Should I go for the over-size red frames

or the sparkly cat eye ones?"

Of course, that will entail interactions with at least one or two more people.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Gracefully Inspired

Like small puffs of dust being shaken off a throw rug, taking flight to destinations unknown, I have scattered bits and pieces of my life out to the blogosphere.
Perhaps, I think, that could be one of the reasons I have been encountering longer periods of blogger's block.  Could it be possible that I have revealed it all?  Do I really have nothing left to say?

A couple of days ago I decided to broaden the scope of my bloggy neighborhood.  It's time, I thought, to wander beyond the safe boundaries of my tried and true reading list.  Exposure to new blogs might be inspiring.

With millions of other blogs available, though, I wasn't sure how was I going to navigate past the comfortable familiararity of my corner and venture out onto the Blogabahn.

Blogger, which is the app I use as my blogging tool, has a search feature which allows you to view the "next blog".  There seems to be an attempt to narrow the blog selections down to what "Blogger" thinks may interest the searcher.
The search box displays at the top of my personal blog's home page.

It looks like this:

Most of the blogs that came up for me were about knitting or sewing. Five out of ten "next blogs" were not kept up to date.  A few had not been updated in years.  I am a knitter but, I don't sew.  And anyway, I already follow several knitting blogs.   

I can't specifically or even generally explain why one blog will attract my attention over another.  I do know that I most likely will take a pass on "mother's of young children" blogs,  blogs about video games or posts in which the author reviews movies or books in infinite detail.

So, then I tried a generic google search and after several layers of links I actually did manage to find a couple of new blogs to add to my list. 

One of the blogs which I found addicting was Margie's Musings.   Her posts are written in the style of a daily journal recording her mundane daily activities.  I suppose it's a little like peeking through the neighbor's window.  I wondered who Bob was and why he didn't come to dinner last night.  I hope Margie is feeling better today, she had a stomach thing last night. 

The most unusual blog I happened upon was one titled "Phil In The Blank".   His "About Me" was certainly intriguing.

For sure it was the "how to draw camels" that drew me in.   

I did leave a comment on two of my new blog discoveries and got a reply and a return visit from one, titled “Grace Found Daily”.    


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

The Fitbit Challenge
In the over 60 age group standings on August 9, 2015, I ranked #289 out of 847 members in total number of steps - 67,529 - for the first 9 days of August.
I was #342 in miles -26.02 - Hey isn't that a marathon?  A nine day marathon :)

 Here is my final ranking for all 31 days of August.  Although I didn't quite catch up to Joe M.  I did move up quite a bit in the standings.
From  #289 in total number of steps to #151. (wow 369,300 - averaging 11,963 steps a day)
I went from walking an average of 3 miles a day to 5.

So, if I had walked continuously for 140 miles, I could have visited whoever lives (?) at 6597  Big Stone Beach Rd in Milford Delaware.

I, of course, would have to stay for dinner before beginning the trek back.