Sunday, December 11, 2011

A month without my mother

It's the little things that catch me off guard - an email I would like to forward to her, a picture of my granddaughter that I know she'll love, a memory of something she said.  Grief is an odd thing.  It's unique to every person.  All I can do is focus on the positive in my life, and accept the moments that take my breath away.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

When your mother dies

My mother passed away just over a week ago, and I've learned many things about myself and her, since then.  I've learned how important my roll as a mother is to me.  I thought I knew, but, there's always room for more knowledge, especially self knowledge, I guess.
My mother was 83, so she had made arrangements to cover the cost of her cremation, etc.  She had written emails for my brother to send, once she was gone, telling each of us how much we meant to her, and what she wanted us to do with a few hundred dollars she was leaving each of us.  My mother never had much money, and her favorite gift was the checks I sent her, on special occasions, holidays, etc. when she could go shopping for something she wanted and the pictures I sent her. Otherwise, she seemed content with the visits, emails and cards we all sent.  She was elderly when she learned how to email, and happily forwarded everything that was sent to her.
After she had taught herself how to use an older computer, my brother bought her a new one, and it opened up the world for her.
This past year, she was having more confusion, especially at night, and falling.
As she lived far from all of us (it wasn't that we never tried to get her to live closer or with us, it was just that she enjoyed living near her sister.  Even when she briefly lived with my one sister, she was glad to return to Texas).
Then, my aunt started making irate phone calls to my brother because "you all aren't doing enough.  One of you needs to move here and take care of your mother."  Needless to say, with family commitments, jobs, etc. of our own, that wasn't practical.  So with the help of the internet, my medical training (I'm an RN), telephone calls and some fighting with my aunt, we started doing what we could.
We found out part of the problem with our intervention, was medications my mother was taking.  My sister spent several days there, trying to figure things out with my help, and just when everything seemed under control, a day after she returned to Kansas, my mother fell, breaking two bones in her leg.
She didn't react well to medications they used for pain, and then after a long distance family meeting, my brother drove from Georgia to Texas and convinced my mother that the rehab hospital in Georgia near his home would be better for her.  She also agreed to live near him, with a live in caregiver, "since Georgia is warmer than where the girls live" (Pennsylvania,  Kansas)  We all helped with the move, either physically or financially.
So he moved her there, got medical care for her that didn't involve multiple doctors prescribing for her, and she got better.
My mother asked if she could move in with him, after the hospital, and he agreed.  She was so happy living with him! We thought we would have her for awhile longer.  One of my sisters was going to stay with her for a couple of weeks in December, so my brother could go on a vacation he had been planning for over a year.  I had planned a trip to Georgia in the spring, when I could afford to go.
Then, she started having TIA's (mini strokes), one after the other, until, within a few days of getting her hairstyled, going shopping with a new friend, having a great time in general, she no longer knew who my brother was.  It was his birthday, and she had no idea who he was.
The doctor gave choices - aggressive treatment that wouldn't change her condition, or hospice.  My brother, at this point was making all the decisions about treatment, but, we all agreed, hospice was what she would want, so it started.
As the strokes got worse, she became more and more confused.  I talked with her on the telephone, and one of the few understandable words she could say, was my name. 
Then abruptly she was gone, with her decline, and hospice all within a week when the trouble started.
Regrets are the hardest.  I wish I'd done more, understood more, let the past go sooner.
That I did what I could, with what I had, matters to me.  That I wrote her a long letter before her health failed, telling her that our arguments and misunderstanding from the past didn't matter, and I loved her, and that she read it, meant much.
I wish she would have lived a while longer, so that I could see her again, selfishly.  Not, to suffer, but, to enjoy the peaceful place she found the last few months of her life.
I finally realized that she just didn't know what I needed from her, and I never told her, because I didn't realize what it was myself, until now.
Mother and daughter relationships are fraught with love, misunderstandings and memories.
I have three grown daughters, and I will be telling them, that they need to tell me what they need, if emotionally I'm not giving it, because I don't always know the right path, the right words.  I have a good relationship with them, and love them dearly, but, I don't want them to regret anything about us, someday.

Perhaps, that is the true legacy of my mother leaving.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Multitasking your way to failure and exhaustion

I am a multitasker from childhood, I think.  Sometimes I even overwhelm me!  My daughters seem to have inherited the pesky quirk, and I have learned much about myself from watching them.  My youngest daughter who is impressive in her bright, energetic whirl of accomplishments taught me something this week.  Still in college, she has done climate research, completed a grant proposal (which she had to present to the committee) done a presentation on the Salton Sea research she and a team did last summer at the annual GSA meeting, and carries a full load of math and science at school, does volunteer work and committees - well I'm tired just thinking about it all.  So this week she had to drop out of another grant proposal for the climate research because Calculus is kicking her butt.  Okay, I never took Calculus, especially college Calculus, but, I think it is HARD stuff.  So there she is, feeling bad because she can't do it all.  Guess what, none of us can do it all.  As I heard myself reassuring her of this, and praising her ability to prioritize what she needs to do this semester, I learned something.  She prioritizes better than I do.  I would have failed Calculus before I figured out why I was so exhausted.  Instead, she spoke with her mentors, her advisor, got tutoring for the Calculus, and made the very adult decision to drop the one grant proposal, because she didn't have the time.  She also went to the gym twice this week..  How did I get such a smart kid?  Did I mention that she and her High School sweetheart are also "taking a break".  I'd be huddled under the covers of my bed.  But, not her.  I hope that means she's learned from watching me crash and burn a few times.  I already know she's smarter than me.
So why do we work ourselves into oblivion?  I always do more work, at work, than my peers.  I have responsibilities that exceed what I'm actually required to do.  Yes, my boss "loves" me.  I work hard, efficiently and accomplish much.  I earn the decent wage I'm paid.  I take one break a day - lunch (which took a long time for me to figure out didn't mean eating at my desk).  I'm not a smoker, so I'm not busy taking multiple other breaks throughout the day, as are a few others.  Why do I care that they feel entitled to all those breaks?  Human I guess.  But, I am trying to allow myself more down time lately and it helps.  Because I need a break once in awhile, too.
I'm not trying to work through a headache or exhaustion anymore.  If my body says "enough" it means it.  If a break doesn't fix it, then maybe it's time to go home.
This is my sweet baby girl doing her presentation at the big to do in Minnesota. (in the picture)

Friday, September 30, 2011


The play room is almost done!  Hurray!  We still need to buy the new flooring and install it.  A little bit of touch up painting and Quinn's play room can officially open.

Angry People and Kindness

Why are some people so angry?  They blow the horn at you if you pause too long after the light changes, bump you with their cart in the check out line (now really, is it going to make the underpaid cashier check me out any faster if you bruise my leg?), complain loudly when the underpaid waitresses, short order cooks, cashiers of the world aren't fast enough.  Do they kick their dog when they go home?  Do they want their kids treated the way they treat others?
The world is  a hard place on a good day.  I learned to be more patient with others as I've grown older.  I've learned to tip more after my daughters served others before finishing college.  I learned to be patient with the new checker who is struggling to remember a multitude of details, because this is someone's child.  They are trying to be a productive member of society.  Most low paying jobs are mind numbing at best, terrifying at worst.  I worked my share before I found out I needed a real education to do more than survive in this world.  Let's all be a little more patient, a little kinder.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The reason for the project!

Today, watched my granddaughter at her house.  Watching her roll and crawl and explore her world made me realize anew why she needs a special safe place to play and nap at my house.  Will be back to work on her playroom tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My project continues

Spackling is done.  Will go over for final sanding/sponging tomorrow.  Not going to prime/paint until this weekend, when DH will help me move the hutch out of the room, onto our enclosed back porch, and pulling up the old carpet.  I had fun painting letters for my granddaughter's playroom.  Someday, hope to have several names on that wall!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Well, finally picked out the paint for the playroom.  Home Depot even tinted the sealer and chalkboard paint to go with the color I picked.  I decided to go with a light green that matches a green stripe in the valances I've had for awhile now.  Anyway, took down the dusty roman shades, cleaned out the room (almost completely), removed the molding trim around the windows so they could be repaired/sanded, etc.  Spackled and taped imperfections, spackled, sanded, sponged - you get the idea.  My house is a disaster (okay, a very organized pile of STUFF).  Anyway, ceiling fan is going, windows are open, and boy am I tired!  More later - with pictures!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Junk drawer

Well, my next baby step went well this week.  The irritating junk drawer!  Here are before and after pictures.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I am so happy!  Despite a long hot day at work, I came home, visited with my husband and daughter, and then after dinner dishes ORGANIZED!  I switched the two cupboards I mentioned in yesterday's post (pots and pans, storage dishes and large serving bowls) and it works!  Of course I had to wipe them out, sort the junk out (you know, the containers without lids, etc.), but it totally works!  Wish I'd taken a before picture, but, even my husband loves it!

I feel like I'm really going to get this all done - one baby step at a time!
Of course this is my granddaughter doing her baby step thing, but, she's way cuter than I am!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hot weather and organizing

Today I dried multiple loads of wash on my clothesline (and sorted and folded and put them), sorted through a stack of papers (and threw half of it away), washed the siding on the back of my house, and half of the other side (I need another hose to finish, as one is too short), finished a book I started reading a couple of days ago and visited with my youngest daughter.  I rearranged the furniture in my living room last night before I went to bed.  Why all this hard work?  I really wanted to go see my granddaughter this weekend, but, my husband has a nasty cold, so, I kept really busy.  My organizing projects got a nice little boost with a book I'm also reading called "One Year to an Organized Life" by Regina Leeds.  Being the impatient sort, I of course skimmed through sections of the book without reading the whole introduction, then had to go back and read it when she lost me partway through a chapter (which all made sense after reading the beginning).  Every organization book I read gives me a nudge in the right direction.  Partway through the kitchen chapter a light  went on in the brain and I realized that the reason two of my cupboards never seem to work, no matter how I organize them, is that they need to have the contents switched from one to the other.  It made so much sense, I couldn't believe it.  The cupboards, about 11 years ago, when we remodeled, made perfect sense to me, the way I organized them.  But, they have been a messy problem ever since.  I had it in my head that they were where they should be, even though it didn't really work.  My aha moment was when I realized how much more sense it made moving my pots and pans to the corner cupboard right next to the stove.  After all, they were only a couple of cupboards over, etc., etc., so every time I read in any book that you store things where they are used, I thought I had them there..  The corner cupboard is more open and taller, so I will actually be able to put the lids on the pans and see what I'm reaching for, with its two curved shelves.  What is currently stored in that handy corner cupboard?  My storage containers and lids, a few extra serving bowls, etc.  Not the best use of the space.  Don't even get me started about the other corner cupboard which is overloaded with not one set of good china, but, probably, counting the special Christmas china, three sets of good china, several different sets of everyday china, bowls, platters, etc.  This book recommends keeping your favorite stuff and gifting the rest, either to family or charity.  Because, the reality is, we don't really use most of it - ever.  Another thought for another day.  But, the hard part is of course parting with the pretty things.  As for the picture?  My gorgeous granddaughter, who I miss! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Work work work work work.............................................................

Okay, I know that the hot weather makes me grumpy.  But, what is it with people?  You work hard, do more than you have to do (alot more), help wherever and whenever your help is needed.  Did I mention covering four positions one day last week?  Then, something goes not as planned and someone quickly tries to make it your fault (it wasn't my fault by the way), and gets all surprised, when (surprise!) you tell them that a) it was their job to do it correctly in the first place, b) you followed the schedule they had (supposedly) reviewed and c) if you are going to get blamed for anything that doesn't work out when you help out (surprise!) perhaps they shouldn't ask you to cover for them.  Of course, what they want you to do is take the blame so they are blameless, and still have you help whenever they can get someone to free you up to do that.
Did I mention the hot weather makes me grumpy?!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My project

Well, although life has been throwing some painful curve balls my way, I'm still moving forward with my playroom project.  Now, the biggest change right now, is I've swapped off which room I'm planning on using.  Downstairs is a room I use as a sitting room, with a large hutch and tons of sewing projects.  Trouble is, as I've been trying to use it for the rest of my stuff from the upstairs bedroom, there isn't enough room for everything.  I don't want the room that Quinn plays in to have mixed uses - it's for her and any brothers, sisters or cousins that join her for play at some point.  So after some hard thinking (after all, I've gotten rid of tons of stuff already, organized even more) I decided that the downstairs sitting room might be better for a playroom in the long run.  It has three windows, has nice carpet that I may or may not keep in there, and the walls were done not that long ago, so except for the usual minor filling in here and there, it will be easy to repaint.  Right now, it is a deep rose, but, I want a minty green for the upper walls and chalkboard paint on at least part of the lower walls.  There's a newer ceiling fan with light, and is bright and airy.  I think the storage in the upstairs bedroom will be better suited for my sewing stuff.  The hutch takes up all of one wall in the downstairs sitting room.  I won't get rid of it because a) it was given to me by a dear friend who has since passed away and b) I love displaying my collections in the upper glass doored part.  My husband will look it over and help me decide if it stays put or gets moved (I have no idea exactly where - it weighs a ton and is huge).  On the plus side, the lower doors could be child proofed until Quinn is older, and/or she could keep her toys in the bottom half.  The upper half is more problematic, but, we have time to think it through.
However, with some planning, I think this room will be perfect for the child(ren).  Will add some before and after pictures as soon as I have some good ones.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Visited Quinn and family this Saturday.  I love how she makes me feel with her giggles and smiles.

My own mother, who I am not close to physically or emotionally is having some medical problems.  She won't live closer to any of us (or with us), because she prefers Texas and being near her sister and brother.  Which makes it hard, when my aunt contacted one of my three siblings to tell him that he needs to "come and stay with your mother and take care of her".  He lives in Georgia and is working on a degree.  I have two sisters - one in Kansas, one in Florida, and I am in Pennsylvania.  We all work and/or go to school and I am sure they are as busy as I am.

Although I am an RN, my mom doesn't like to discuss her "personal" medical needs.  That includes medications.  She doesn't want me knowing her "business".  So, I had to be sneaky, telling my brother what questions to ask, etc.  For whatever reason, she feels he will be more knowledgeable about all things medical, although that isn't really his area of training.  Well, it only took a few minutes for him to discover an alarming amount of medications that interact with each other, that she is taking, prescribed by different doctors (he was emailing me as he looked into things).  So now she has an appointment this week to visit one doctor with all her medications.  I think a good medical workup and review of her medications will help alot.  We are also looking into caregivers who can be there more than the 3 days a week she now has someone come in.  In a perfect world, we would all be closer, geographically at least, and able to take a more hands on approach.  We handled things, and will continue to, as best we can.

On a more cheerful note, here is my grandbaby, yesterday:  My extended family may not be close, but, I hope my immediate family and I will always be.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Bunny!

Some pictures just say it all.  Here is my granddaughter with her first Easter picture.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter weekend

Finished reading Already Home by Susan Mallery last night.  Highly recommend for a good read.  I discovered Susan's books when I started reading the Fool's Gold series.  Family, self doubt, insecurity, love, redemption, it has all of those and a good group of characters.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The world goes on

It's been a tough week, but, holding my little grandbaby in my arms this afternoon really picked up my spirits.  Something about the warm, wiggly body in my arms and the big toothless grin just makes me feel better.  Well worth the two hour round trip.  Love that little girl!
There is something about a child that makes you believe the world will go on!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Death, funerals, and really living your life

This has been a hard, exhausting week.  One of my son-in-laws lost his mother, and I lost a friend.  We weren't BFF, but, we were nice to each other, shared occasional family meals and valued each other's adult child.  Her son is also my son.  My daughter was also her daughter.  So, this week, we all lost a family member.  As I wept at her funeral, it wasn't just that she had died so quickly following a cancer diagnosis.  I wept as we remembered a life well lived.  I wept realizing how much she had treasured her children and her grandchildren.  I wept as her husband of over 30 years gave the moving eulogy of his history with her.  There was admiration, love and respect in his words.  There was the memory of laughter.  There was the pride in a a wife who did so much and meant so much to so many people.  The viewing had been crowded.  The church, on a workday was full.  The funeral procession was long.  In sixty short years, this strong willed (and very stubborn) woman had left her mark.  She had survived so many things, had many losses and disappointments.  But, she had still lived her life with dignity, love and generosity.  People remembered her cooking and hospitality.  Everyone remembered her warmth.
I remembered her worry, when our two (now grown and married) teenage children had been becoming "too serious" at 19.   It was an unbelievably uncomfortable telephone conversation, as she worried out loud to me about where their relationship was "going" (yes, she meant sex).   How she had supported their love as it had grown and matured.  How joyful she was at the wedding reception when they married, after they had both finished college, found their niches in life and known that they were ready to be together forever.
I think, today, sad as we all are,  now that the funeral is over, and somehow the sun has come out, that joy in living and loving must be remembered. 
I will try to be there for him, my friend.  Not the mother you were for him, I know.  But, I will encourage and support and love him, since you have moved to another place, and can't be here to do it.  I will be his mother as much as I can and he will be my son, in my heart.
Rest in peace, for the groundwork, the foundation you have left behind, from a well lived life, will support us all as we learn how much we will all miss you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Back from babysitting

Back yesterday from watching my granddaughter, while her other gram was on a trip.  I give her other grandmother alot of credit - Quinn's fun, but she keeps you busy.
The playroom I'm working on is for her.
She is teething right now, but except for the brief fussiness she's pretty pleasant about the whole thing!
When she looks at me, I feel the most intense love.  Who would have thought being her grammy would be so great!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finishing Projects

Went to see my gorgeous granddaughter this weekend, now that we're no longer all germy (husband has now recovered, too).
An interesting thing has happened on the way to organizing the playroom for the munchkin aka granddaughter.  I am FINISHING THINGS.  I have often thought I could start a thousand projects, but, lose interest before completed.  Something about this mission is organizing my ways, too.  I finished several pillows I had been working on for months, for her window seat and floor in her nursery.  The smaller pillows involved machine and hand sewing, so they had been languishing in my to-do basket (it's a really BIG basket) for months.  The first one was finished before she was born on December 3rd, and I started off fine, but, now they are actually in her nursery.  I have another fleece pillow for a floor pillow started, but, seems more likely I'll finish it.  I lined up the smaller ones on the window seat, put the big one on the floor, and got busy playing with her on her play mat, took pictures of her (of course!) and totally forgot to photograph the pillows.
I also have resumed work on her cross stitch quilt (did I mention I start alot of stuff!!!??).
So, here's a picture of the mighty and beautiful Quinn.  The pictures of the pillows can wait until she is also with them!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm still working on it

So after the flu, the bronchitis that was awful, etc. etc.  I'm much better, and trying to attack my mission one babystep at a time.  Today I reclaimed the bookshelves at the end of the playroom to be.  Still too much stuff, but, books sorted by author are now on some of the shelves, with books in boxes, already sorted by author, waiting to join them. The lower books are doll and craft books that wanted to stay.  Also some jars of buttons (I LOVE buttons) are there, for now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I hate being sick!!

Well, I finally got the  bug that's been going around at work - nasty stomach bug.  I sat in bed and sorted through paper files yesterday, so I felt like I got something accomplished.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cold weather, sorting and the mission progresses

Too cold!  That's my main complaint this week.  The tumble I took on ice covered snow wasn't fun, although I wasn't seriously hurt. 
Busy work week, but, I did get some progress made.  I sorted all the trims by color, into containers I already own.  I have the fabrics sorted into the dresser I already had, by color, which makes several containers empty.
So, for a cold, miserable, sore week, I've gotten things done.
It amazes me that things that took up so much room when they were messy, take up far less, when tidy.  Who would have thought?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Progress on the mission

Well, just when I didn't feel like I was making much progress, I reached the dresser.  I emptied the drawers and sorted fabric by basic colors (pink prints fills two drawers, so I seem to have a strong preference for these), a blue and green drawer, a drawer for solid fabric (like you use for backing some of those pretty prints), a panel drawer with specialty print panels, and a totally empty drawer (for now, trust me, got loads more fabric).
My plan is simple (until I make it more complicated, which I am prone to doing):  I have all my sewing stuff sorted in mesh hampers (and one large clear plastic bin), by what type of fabric/what it is used for (for example, one is full of fabric I make dolls from).  The clear plastic bin is full of trims (have I mention I LOVE trims?).  As the drawers fill up, the hardest part begins - what I want to keep, and what I don't.  After doing downsizing of fabrics for the last couple of years, it begins harder to make that choice.  I also have a better idea of how much room I will have for storing these goodies.  Sigh.
Here is a before picture.  I will post an after, once this side of the room looks more after.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ongoing mission

A few of my collection of dolls recline on the antique fainting couch I had stored in the clutter room.  Yes, I knew I had it, but, it was so buried in "treasures" that you couldn't even see it.  Now the velvet treasure has some of my "girls" enjoying the velvet softness of it.  These ladies are antique boudoir dolls, who allow me to take care of them.  The charming lady in purple is a French silk face doll.
I am still inching along, but, had to work all week, so incremental progress on my mission to redo my grown daughter's old bedroom (now officially called 'the clutter room").  Tomorrow, hope to get more progress, as I am off from work.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Continuing on with the mission and soring things out for myself in a dream

Well, today emptied two more of those giant plastic bags (they are banned from my use forever).  I now have separated and sorted everything I removed from the future playroom, yesterday.  Everything either has a home already, or has been assigned a home location.  Nothing has been left homeless except for a small wicker basket of odds and ends that is amazingly small, considering what I started with.  In the process of assigning homes, I cleaned out my huge steamer trunk, which I use for sewing stuff (it has drawers and looks so cool) and reconfigured what I was keeping in it.  MUST REMEMBER: Do NOT over fill drawers.  Put only what belongs in each drawer, there.
One of the joys I've discovered this last year, is actually using the stuff I collected to benefit my home, not just let it take up room.  I lovingly refinished this old steamer trunk over a long hot summer.  Now, instead of just looking really cool, it serves a purpose.

I also have some little vintage dresses hanging on the old wooden hangers that came with it.
Feeling quite pleased with myself, today.
Last night I had a dream that although wasn't factual, was scarey real in terms of my subconscious sorting out why I hold onto stuff the way I do.  The people in the dream followed behavior patterns I had pushed deep in my memory, because they were ways I had been really treated, in the past.  I woke up anxious, until I realized that the life I live is vastly different than back in those days, and that it is up to me, what I keep, what I let go of.  No one else makes those kind of choices for me, at this time in my life.  What a difference that self reassurance made in my approach today.  It wasn't about how much stuff I could get rid of, but, rather how I felt about keeping it, what I was keeping it for.  One rule:  everything has to have a home.  The purpose can be as simple as the little vintage dresses, quilt, vintage gloves (they are beautifully beaded), shoe button hook - the purpose they serve, is the way I feel when I look at them.  These are things I gathered over the years because I enjoy their history, their texture and the pleasure they give me.  They have a home, I like them, I want them, so they stay.  Wish all things were that simple!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Insight: Do we own stuff, or does it own us?

I am sentimental about stuff connected to memories.  A little dress that my girls wore, old winter hats, baby shoes.  I have totes in the attic for each of the girls, filled with special items from their childhood.  I have to remember that letting go of old shoes, etc., that they wore doesn't mean letting go of all those memories.
Growing up, I always felt poor.  We moved so often, that if it didn't fit in the station wagon with us, it didn't have value to my parents.
When I finally stayed in one place long enough to graduate from high school, all my belongings fit in my bedroom.  I moved out when I was eighteen, my mother was angry at me, and threw everything into an appliance box and pushed it down the stairs.  When I left for the Army, everything fit in in a suitcase.  When I was assigned to Fort Bragg, a suitcase and duffel bag held everything.  When I moved into an apartment, everything fit in my car.
When Robert and I first married, we lived in a mobile home, which we took to Pennsylvania after he was commissioned as a Reserve officer and finished training at Fort Sill.  Everything fit in that mobile home (two bedrooms) and our car.
When we moved into a house (an old house that we will be working on forever), with two (and later three) little girls, they had their own bedrooms that filled up with stuff.  Over the years, we have filled up the attic, the basement (which I cleaned out this past year), an enclosed porch that we added to the front of our house (which is now a separate sitting room full of sewing stuff and entry (which holds a display cabinet, antique desk and a closet that my youngest daughter now uses).

Still working on not holding on to so much stuff.  The pictures show the new and improved entry, and the dolls explain alot about why I have so much sewing stuff.  I love sewing dolls.  These two were finished after classes I took three years ago in Ohio at the Dollgatherers Gala.

An afternoon well spent

Since I couldn;t go to see my sweet Quinn today (I have the sniffles), and we've had enough health scares with her this winter, I made good use of my time:
I actually reached the bed and look what I found!  Still tons of stuff to sort, but learned some valuable lessons:
1)  I will NEVER buy those huge storage bags again.  I went through and emptied SEVEN of them.  I now have a give away bag started with one of them, a bag full of trims, a bag of yarn and two containers of sorted fabrics (by color).  I love to sew dolls, and have a mountain of supplies.  It used to be three mountains, but, I gave away two thirds of it last year.  Now, sigh, will have to go through the current mountain and keep only what I will really use and love.
2) Although my bed was a great place to sort and fold, and it was convenient, I have to remember to leave enough time to put away stuff next time.
3) The way I've gained control in the rest of the house was in little steps, sometimes only a few minutes at a time, and maintaining what I gained.  So, I vacuumed downstairs today, did laundry, and ran errands before tacking my new project.  I'm not talking hours of cleaning - just the daily picking up and touching up that I've learned from FlyLady.  So, I will try to do a few minutes every day.
4)  If I stick it in a bag, basket, drawer out of sight, I forget I own it (or haven't a clue where it is).  Then I begin layers of piles on surfaces.  Got to work on that every day, and with the door shut, this room became a huge HIDING spot for HOMELESS ITEMS!
5) I can't create a new area where stuff is piled, while sorting the old stuff in the old place.  It finds a home or it LEAVES.
Never fear, as this is what waits on the other side of the door:
It will take many days of sorting.  That's why it is a Mission.

I have a mission for the New Year

For years I have been struggling with clutter taking over my life.  With the help of the books written by Julie Morgenstern, like "SHED your stuff", I've really tried..  But, I always got mired down with the having too much stuff and getting rid of it part.
With online support (what did I do without the internet??), especially, Flylady, I have made progress at times, and at other times, not so much.
So, I have a mission:  turn my daughter's old bedroom into a safe place for my new granddaughter to play in.  Sounds like a fun project, doesn't it?  Except, for years now, the room has become a repository for all things WITHOUT A HOME that take up space in my house.  Here is an example of what it looks like now:
I remember when you could actually see the bed (it's under the pile against the wall).
Well, the baby was born on December 3rd, and her first birthday is my goal date.
I am going to blog as I teeter along.

Why did I accumulate so much stuff?  More on that later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Motherhood, Grandmother stuff - Did we gain more or give up too much?

Well, youngest daughter is back at college (just in time before the drive would have been REALLY nasty), daughter #2 has returned to work after giving us an amazing granddaughter, other daughter wishes for a family.  I had a long conversation with DD #2 recently, about how motherhood has changed for most of us.  I was fortunate to stay home with my oldest two when they were pre-school age, and my youngest until she was two, and yet still get an education and a career in the mix.  Do I regret some of the opportunities that no doubt passed me by, as others fast tracked into upper management?  Nope.  I'm old enough (and mature enough, I hope) to see what some of them have given up (and they are welcome to all that stress).  I was on that fast track, but, stepped off, and have declined the opportunity to climb back on.  Why?  The things I regret weren't promotions, more money, impressive titles.  The things were moments in time that I can never reclaim, that were fleeting.  I remember being on call, and being called away from my youngest daughter's soccer game, rushing back, only to find out I missed her first goal.  I remember my oldest daughter, dressed in a long green dress, heels, etc., coming to the hospital where I worked (and couldn't get the evening off) to let me see her before she went to a formal dance (I remember medical residents and doctors gawking, too, but, that's another story).  For her senior prom, I did take the whole day off, did her hair for her, and even sewed her into the dress (another long story). 
I remember not being able to drive my middle daughter to cheer leading practice, because I was working. 
The moments I most treasure were fleeting and special.  First days of school.  Graduations.  Halloween parades.  Parent teacher meetings.  Each birthday (except one when my daughter decided to go to Canada for her special week - which was totally beyond my control).  Weddings.  The first hours of my first grandchild's life.  The ghosts of memories run through family pictures and echo in the empty nest of our home.
My daughter faced returning to work, leaving her six week old baby in capable (other) grandmother hands.  What did we gain?  That was her question, after she asked me what it had been like to stay home with my babies for so much longer.  What did we gain, giving up so much with our children.  I tried to describe the women I had known, growing up.  Capable women, who gave up professional careers, because it was expected "once you get married and have a family".  My grandmother who had taught school, loving every minute of it, and then stopping when she married, because she was "expected" to.  My grandfather was a good man, a finish carpenter and farmer who could create magic with his hands.  A man of few words, a little education.  They had a happy marriage and loved their three children. 
It was my grandmother who told me  "You can be anything.  You can have everything.  You won't have to choose."  She was wise, and far ahead of her time.  It's true in some ways - two of my daughters have college degrees, another is in college (and I have a couple of degrees myself).  We have opportunities, choices, that my grandmother didn't have.  She taught me to love books, explained the intricacies of heart chambers (with a chicken heart), tried to teach me to sew (I'm still working on that).  She didn't know, however, that you can't really have it all.  You have opportunities, choices - and responsibilities.
My husband and I both earn roughly the same (my hourly rate is higher, but, he works more hours).  Our house isn't as nice, or as expensive as the ones our married daughters have.  My youngest daughter's car is newer than mine (she earned every penny of its purchase price, working throughout high school) and has more gadgets.  Our house has been mortgaged multiple times over the years, paying for educations (yes, we've paid it off several times), medical emergencies, etc.  I haven't had the financial ability to stay home for years. 
My daughter doesn't have that choice, either.  She still has student loans (we couldn't pay for it all), car payments, a mortgage.  Her husband also has student loans, a car payment, etc.  They both have busy careers and a beautiful baby daughter.
So, yes, we gave up moments we will never have.  We will have choices of quality vs. success.  I wish I had the wisdom to say it's totally worth it.  I can't.  You just have to make time for the moments that matter, and try to make the right choices.
I wish I could give my daughter the time with her baby she's struggling for.  Because, you never know what it is to love a child, until they crawl into your life and enlarge your heart with so much love you can't believe how it feels.
No answers here.  Just thoughts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wonderful Group

Test Results

Quinn is discharged from the hospital.  Test results for 24 hours are good.  I'll go if they need me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Spent the day at the hospital with her.  Her fever is down and she is eating again.  I never saw anyone with an IV that was as good as she is.  Except for poking herself with the arm board that She has her right arm strapped to, she leaves the IV alone.
No definite answers as to what made her so sick, but, the more serious ailments have been ruled out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Grandmother

Yesterday I was so excited and happy to be taking care of my granddaughter.  Just a month old yesterday, she made me laugh with her silly faces.

Today, she's in the hospital.  I need to reach beyond my fear (or terror) and reach for a way to pray.