Saturday, December 30, 2006

step one

Paint is done and the color in this room looks rich! KC and I had a great time working together today. I'm thrilled with the color.

Tomorrow, step two... building furniture and reloading this room.

...may there be mercy as we enjoy our friendship and working together.

Friday, December 29, 2006

empty room

The cluttered sewing room is empty of everything save this computer. Walls have been spackled. Still need to vacuum... in the morning.

Morning will see me up early to see my sweet husband off to work. Then it's a fast shower, several cups of coffee and back to work.

Gotta tape off the whole room, shut down this computer, cover it with a drop cloth and then add enough drop cloths to protect my carpet.

One coat tinted primer, two coats color. KC and I can do that tomorrow easily. Still can't believe she is giving up her birthday weekend to do this room makeover with me.

Yep, tomorrow is KC's birthday. She doesn't know it, but I've made a quilt for her. It's a quilt that is all about friendship. More on that another time and in my quilt blog. Too tired right now!

Sunday will see us back at work putting together furniture and loading everything back into this room.

Monday... I'll start sewing again on a project just for me. After all the stuff I made for others for Christmas and December birthdays, it's my turn!

...may there be mercy and joy in friendship as we paint.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

makeover magic

Am in the middle of a complete room makeover... turning my cluttered but functional sewing room into a beautiful Quilting Studio.

KC is going to spend this weekend helping me to do this, but I've got a lot of work to do before Saturday morning.

It's gonna be like one of those TV shows, but instead of a surprise to me, it's my Christmas gift from her... a gift of her time and talents. Yay!

...may there be mercy and I get all my pre-work done before Saturday!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I had thoughts of a lengthy blog for today... expounding on what Christmas means to me. But it seems a far better thing to plagiarize straight from scripture.

...for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)

... may there be mercy as we celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

sucky days

Have been having a few sucky days. Hoping things will get better soon.

I definitely want my Mommy... and she is 1300 miles away!

...may there be mercy and a better day tomorrow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


My friend and almost-brother stopped by my office on Friday. It's been enough chaos trying to get the last of the Christmas gifts quilted that I'm behind on updating this information for those of you who read this and pray.

He brought me a latte because he knows I love coffee. Just a thoughtful little gesture that says that he is starting to climb out of the pit.

He is doing better. His eyes didn't show the same level of deep pain. There is pain still, yes, but the level is better.

I'm so very relieved to see this!

...may there be mercy and continued healing for my almost-brother.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

safety and healing

My sister moved today... away from her abusive husband.

She is safe.

...may there be mercy and healing for her.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

great company

Tired. Long day. Overtime.


My company rocks. Totally and completely rocks.

We were told today that each employee will receive a very generous bonus and checks will be handed out on Friday.

Did I mention that my company ROCKS? !!

I'd hoped for a bonus, because they historically have given one as a thank you at the end of the year. I never count on it or spend it until money is in hand.

But I dream of what I might do if a bonus shows up!

This year's dream... make over the sewing room. Change it from a functional, but cluttered and space challenged room to a Quilting Studio that inspires creativity.

The dream included all kinds of budget options. How very cool that I can go with a higher end budget for this dream room!

...may there be mercy and joy as we do this room makeover!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My sweet husband has been waiting months to hear about a job opportunity. Today we found out that the job has been canceled completely.

...may there be mercy as we manage disappointment tonight.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

mama's hands

Maybe because today is Mama's 74th birthday, I've been thinking a lot about her this week. About how much she did for us as kids. About the things she taught us to do. About the things she taught us to love.

When I was 18 months old, I had corrective surgery for crossed eyes. I actually remember being in the hospital and kicking the doctor in the chest because he wanted to look at my eyes with a light... but my eyes hurt and I didn't want him to look.

But I remember more the fact that Mama stayed with me the entire two days I was there. Waking up every hour in the middle of the night, scared because I was not in my bed and there were bandages over my eyes so I could not see, saying, "Mama?"

And her hand on my forehead, smoothing my hair back, her sweet voice in reply, "yes, baby, I'm still here."

When I went home from the hospital, I had a brand new pair of glasses that Mama let me pick out. Smart woman that. Knowing that if I got to pick my favorite color, I'd wear them. Never caring when I picked pink, red, purple... didn't matter to Mama. She knew I'd wear those darn glasses because I got to pick them. And because Mama made me new dresses to match my glasses!

Yep, I was a clotheshorse that early.

I learned to love sewing by watching Mama make my dresses. When I was really small, I'd stand on a stepstool, elbow on the edge of the machine, chin on my hand, eyes riveted to the movement of the fabric... head bobbing up and down in time with the needle. As I got older, the only change was the stepstool. Didn't need it anymore since I got so tall so early.

And I could hardly wait for Mama to teach me to sew. She made such pretty things with all that sewing. Dresses for my sister and me... and our dolls. Shirts and pants for my brothers. Curtains for our windows. Purses and aprons and pillows. She could sew anything!

And my favorite part of watching Mama sew was to see how her hands held the fabric... and how she used them to pin... and how those beautiful hands would guide the fabric through the machine... fingers jumping out of the way of the needle. Pop, pop, pop... out of the way, one by one, just at the last second.

I saw Mama's hands today as I sewed.

My hands hold the fabric just like she did. My hands pin fabric just like she did. My hands guide the fabric the same way... fingers jumping out of the way of the needle. Pop, pop, pop... out of the way, one by one, just at the last second.

It was very cool to realize and felt like I'd gotten a big hug from Mama today.

Happy birthday Mama... I love you so very much.

...may there be mercy and many more birthdays for Mama.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

peaceful evening

a lovely evening.

a nice glass of wine.

a wonderful meal.

dear, dear friends.

great conversation.

lots of laughter.

my godchildren's smiles.

...may there be mercy and many evenings like this one.

Friday, December 08, 2006


This morning, on the spur of the moment... or maybe at the gentle prodding of my Heavenly Father... I called my friend to ask him if he had plans for lunch.

My almost-brother who introduces me to others as the "sister he never wanted."

My friend for whom I've been praying mercy and peace in his time of distress.

It was an intense conversation. Everything in his life seems to be falling apart. His pain is very real.

He talked about everything with me. His face would turn red from his efforts to hide his tears from me. But he talked.

... and admitted that he had planned for suicide.

... and that he is seeking professional help to get past it.

We had a long talk. Long enough that I was late returning to work. But I didn't care about that. Time can be made up at work. Encouraging this friend was more important.

But most important was the promise he gave me - that he would call me or someone if he got to his breaking point again.

My heart breaks for him...

... may there be mercy, healing and peace for my friend, my almost-brother.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I'm sick...

...may there be mercy and I get well without bronchitis.

My sister is leaving her abusive husband...

...may there be mercy and safety her.

My friend is still in distress...

...may there be mercy and peace for my friend.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

closest book

These instructions and initial commentary are taken from my friend Paul's blog (Paul's Thinking Place)... and below is my response.

From Paul's Thinking Place: "I have no clue what a "meme" is, but I saw this one on Mark Ostreicher's blog, and thought it was pretty cool. Most of the time, I find reading other people's "memes" somewhat interesting at the best, silly at worst, but this one actually struck my fancy for what it might say about what people are reading... and authors are writing. So here are the rules:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!"

Okay, I can follow these rules.

I grab the closest book and since my computer is in my quilting studio, of course the book is a quilting book! The Magic of Quiltmaking, A Beginner's Guide by Margaret Rolfe & Jenny Bowker.

Page 123... hmmm... in the middle of a quilt pattern, okay. Here goes:

Square up one end of each strip. Measure the strips to fit the length of the quilt, referring to "Butted Corners" on page 73. Cut the strips to this length. Pin and sew the border strips to the quilt sides. Press the seam allowances toward the borders.

Now that y'all are bored outta your ever-lovin' minds with my closest book... but it was a good reminder for me on adding butted corner borders... take your turn and do the closest book thing on your blog.

...may there be mercy and enjoyment in our reading.

...and may there be continued mercy and peace for my friend in distress.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

mixed emotions

Today was one of those really lovely days of fun with my best girlfriend. KC and I had planned to have a girl's day out on Thursday, but the weather just did not cooperate and we postponed it until today.

We talked and shopped and found gifts for her kids (my godchildren) for both kids birthdays and Christmas and fun things for ourselves and lunch and... just fun. Nothing huge in the way of a big deal or big event. Just the simple pleasure of girlfriends enjoying time together.

What a great day to end my vacation.

And at the same time... I am still so very concerned about another friend. For those who read this blog and pray, please just pray much for my unnamed friend in distress. It really is a big deal.

...may there be mercy as I return to work.

...may there be mercy and peace for my friend.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

a friend in distress

...may there be mercy and peace for my friend tonight.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

cool day

Spent today just dinking around town with my sweet husband... a nice lunch out... talking... simple supper followed by a movie and some snuggle time.

...may there be mercy and many days like this one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

fabric, fabric everywhere

With the crazy winter storm we've been having... during my vacation... I've been spending a lot of time quilting. Since I lost 3 months of prime quilting time for Christmas gifts, this is not such a bad deal.

Freezing and beyond freezing outside - 6 degrees with the wind chill yesterday! - so what else would I be doing?

It would be nice to go to the museums in Seattle or over to the San Juan Islands with our cameras, but since we can't, we're just enjoying the absolute rest of this down time.

Since Monday, I've made 2 lap quilt tops, gotten those 2 plus a twin-sized quilt "quilted" on the long-arm machine my friend has, a 4th quilt is almost completed with the quilting process here at home, all the binding has been done, and tomorrow I'll start on a quilt for my sister-in-law for her Christmas gift.

It's been a very productive vacation!

...may there be mercy and plenty of fabric.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

another blog

At the request of a sweet friend, I've started a quilt blog to share the quilts I've made. It's going to take a bit of time to get it current with lots of pictures, but it's started now with the first quilt I made.

my quilt blog or click on the "my quilt blog link" in the links section on the left.

...may there be mercy and plenty of time to enjoy my quilting!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


...may there be mercy and blessings on each of you as you give thanks.

... may there be mercy as we travel.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

another little list

  • splitting my pants at work and being able to laugh about it.
  • spending the weekend with dear friends.
  • the 4th Annual Day After Thanksgiving Breakfast.
  • finishing packing early.
  • the RML Gang... you know who you are, I hope you know how much I love you guys.
  • being on vacation.

...may there be mercy as we travel.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

continued little things

  • time to shop when I want to.
  • finding what I need at the fabric store... and enjoying everything else they have.
  • finishing a quilt.
  • my sweet husband running errands for me.
  • being able to wear jeans to work tomorrow.

...may there be mercy and an appreciation of these little things each day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

cultivating an attitude

I'm sure it's been noticed that I'm being a bit repetitive with my "little things" blogs. When I find that I'm stuck in a funk, it helps to find those simple little daily things that lift my spirits.

I've also noticed that we skip straight from Halloween to Christmas without pausing to enjoy being thankful... as in Thanksgiving Day. Somehow the celebration of Thanks got changed to a celebration of a well cooked turkey and a lot of side dishes, each containing butter.

So the rest of the week, while I'm still home and have access to my computer, the blogs on little things will continue... helping me to cultivate that attitude of being thankful.

  • lunch with a friend.
  • strength for the day.
  • my sweet husband's smile.
  • not being rained on!
  • laughing with co-workers.

...may there be mercy and an attitude of thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

still more little things

  • a nice cup of hot tea with honey on a rainy day.
  • encouragement from friends.
  • dinner with my father-in-law.
  • a warmed up rice bag keeping my toes cozy.
  • listening to music while I sew.
  • quiet mornings.

...may there be mercy and a thankful attitude for the little things.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

more little things

Still trying to focus on the little or day-to-day normal, positive things that keep me going...

  • a good night's sleep or three.
  • a gift of fabric and a new pattern for quilting.
  • great cards in the mail that make me laugh out loud.
  • uncompromising love of God.
  • a boss who understands.
  • a lovely glass of wine.
  • anticipation of vacation.
  • leap frog.

...again, may there be mercy and lots of little things.

Thursday, November 16, 2006



seems like I'm racing to meet too many deadlines right now.

Vacation starts next Wednesday at 5 p.m.

... may there be mercy until vacation starts!

Monday, November 13, 2006

little things

It’s the little things that keep me going.

v Being able to sew all weekend long.

v My sweet husband’s hug when I get home from work.

v KC inviting us to dinner.

v Hearing about my goddaughter’s teenage life.

v Making 2 fresh cookies each and enjoying them with my sweet husband while we listen to the rain.

v Being able to tell my godchildren that I love them.

v The adorable innocence and grin of a 6-year-old boy as he replies, “I love you more.”

…may there be mercy and lots of little things.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

feeling yukky

…am sick…

…need sleep…

…may there be mercy on my pitiful self.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

high and dry

After driving home tonight, which does entail crossing the bridge over our flood-stage river, I am once again so very happy my home is on the hill.

Sandbaggers worked hard and got the downtown area as protected as it's gonna be. The river should crest tonight, they say around 10 p.m.

Tomorrow it will be interesting to see how much water is "out" of the river. I'm hoping that it isn't much more than already has happened.

...may there be mercy on our community.

Monday, November 06, 2006

night before flood

The river is going to flood tomorrow. The predictions are that it will be pretty bad. The next 48 hours will be hard on everyone here.

My home is safe, which is good... but we have friends who live in the flood zone.

Sandbaggers are working through the night to try to protect what can be protected. How I wish my health allowed me to help them.

...may there be mercy on our community.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

feeling funky

Right now it feels like I live in Crabbyland.

I’m doing all I can to get out of it, but I’m in a major funk. Too much pressure at work, issues at church, hoping my sweet husband will get called for an interview with a particular company, body not being completely recovered from surgery and post-surgery fall, sister in an abusive marriage, still dealing with grief issues as a family, continued sleep/health issues, Mama is going to be laid off soon and financially she needs her job, two brothers about to have surgery, …

… I could go on but it just makes the funk worse.

And yet, I function in the normal day-to-day world as if there isn’t anything going on. As if every single detail of my life is just fine. Nothing is getting to me.

Or if it shows a little, I blame all the crabbiness on lack of sleep. And we all laugh because everyone understands being tired equals being crabby.

For those of you who tend to fret, don’t. (pray instead!) I’ll be okay. I’m a little stuck right now, but I do NOT plan on staying here permanently.

I’m thinkin’ that the myriad number of big things and the massive number of small things that have happened since December 15th have finally hit that over-saturation point for me. It will take a bit of time to get back to a more normal, cheerful self.

Hoping that my upcoming vacation time will be a big boost for that. I always take the week after Thanksgiving off since it gives me an extra bonus of time that way.

Three weeks from today, I’ll be on vacation. Not sure yet exactly what that will be or if we will go anywhere… but looking forward to 11 days of rest… and missing the end of month chaos for November.

…may there be mercy on my funky self.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

a day for me

I'm glad I've scheduled tomorrow as a vacation day. Current plan, at almost 10 p.m., is to sleep a LOT, sew, read books and watch movies. Mostly just a very lazy day. Partially a hide out day. And partially a mental health day.

No matter what it is, it's going to be good for me.

...may there be mercy on the rest, the lazy, the hiding out and everything.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

too, too, too

…too busy…

…too tired…

…too crabby…

…too headache-y…

…may there be mercy on my “too-too’s”.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

great weekend

Quilting retreat was a blast! Much laughter, much conversation, much pampering, much good food... and much productive quilting time. Yay!

I did get FIL's quilt top done, with the exception of the border. Once I got it to that point, I decided that the fabric I'd chosen for the border just did not look right and would not work. It was too busy. So I stopped there and worked on another project.

Missed this wonderful man who happend to be my sweet husband. Need to spend some time with him now.

It's good to be home.

...may there be mercy on us tonight.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

packed and ready

In spite of the fact that fabric lines the walls and is stacked on my cutting table, there is an empty space in my sewing room and it looks funny to me.

I've packed up to take everything to the quilting retreat at my friend's beach house.

Sewing machine... check!
Cutting mat and rotary cutter... check!
6 sizes of Omnigrid rulers... check!
components to FIL's quilt... check!
extra thread, bobbins, notions, etc... check!
book with pattern in it... check!
extra fabric... check!
iron and ironing board... check!
new camera... check!
clothing, jammies, toothbrush... check!
corkscrew and a bottle of wine... check!

I'm good to go and excited that I'll be able to dedicate the entire weekend to quilting. Even better, someone else cooks and cleans up for us... and the someone who does all the work is my mentor, spiritual mom and very dear friend. Extra cool that I'll get to spend some time with her.

... may there be mercy as we travel and enjoy a little pampering as we quilt.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

a quilt for father-in-law

Been busy cutting out the pieces for a quilt for my wonderful father-in-law. And already I'm very pleased with how this one is going to turn out.

My father-in-law, or FIL, is an amazing man. He has taught me much over the years, and I'm certain he has no idea how much I've learned from him.

Mostly I've learned about how to truly love someone who has become very unlovely. (I still hate Alzheimers.)

But I've also learned a lot about how to enjoy what I have... about generosity... about joy in small things... about perseverance... contentment... planning for what I will do in 20 years, even if I was over 80 years old... staying young no matter my age... learning something all the time...oh, how the list can go on!

Last year, FIL gave me this very cool quilting, sewing and embroidery machine. And then I exploded into the world of quilts, quickly falling headlong into a love affair with fabric and stitching that will last me the rest of my life. And FIL has been encouraging me every step of the way. He praises my every effort and rejoices for the person who will receive the current "masterpiece".

It's time he got to be the recipient.

I've been planning this all year, but only found the pattern I liked enough to make for his quilt a few weeks ago. Found it while I still could not quilt and had my wrist in that splint. Didn't matter that I could not actually do the work at that time, the picture zinged in my head and screamed, "make this one for FIL!!!"

So... fabric has been chosen and cut. I've started sewing pieces together. And thankfully there is a quilting retreat this weekend so I can get it done fast. Hiding my projects from him is hard!

...may there be mercy and he get to enjoy this quilt for a long time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

needs, wants, quilting and camera

Weekends fly by too quickly for me. There is just too much I need to do that interferes with what I want to do.

It’s that whole need vs. want thing cropping up again.

I need to get my house more in order. I want to spend all my non-work time quilting or playing with my new camera. Hmmmm… wonder which one is getting done?

Hahahahahahahahaha! Quilting and camera, of course!

And need vs. want is a topic for another day.

Friday was a very hard day covering that other desk. It wasn’t supposed to be too bad at this time of month, but it was. Glad I don’t have to cover that one for another couple weeks… and hoping that day isn’t equally as bad!

Yesterday I slept until 9… which was very good for me. I soooo needed that! Dinked around the whole morning while my sweet husband was at work. We had arranged to have him come home for lunch if the work was going to last long enough to require a lunch period. It did. Yikes! When he called to let me know, I hadn’t even gotten a shower or out of my jammies yet!

Race to start his lunch, jump in the shower while it was doing the beginning of cooking, throw on clothes, (no makeup or drying hair!) set the table, finish cooking lunch… he walks in the door. Enjoy lunch; send him back to work and start quilting for a while.

After he finished work, we ran a couple errands and went to a waterfront park up in Bellingham. Very cool… fun place for playing with my new camera!

Of course we had chosen that spot because it was on the way to our friends home where we were going to have dinner.

Lovely dinner with great conversation, wonderful food and wine… and just enjoying a long-term relationship.

Today was a good day.

With all our running around the last few weeks, we haven’t been to church for a few Sundays. Sermon was on a good topic and held my interest well. Been thinking on that one all day.

And it was really good to see my friend, having enough time to really visit over lunch after worshipping together. (Thanks sen5ei, for taking the time to drive up here so we could enjoy such a great time.)

And yes, I’ve quilted this afternoon. Another step in the process of the 36 placemats I need to complete for Christmas gifts… and all the fabrics chosen for a quilt for my amazing father-in-law.

Actually, his gift is the only one that really matters to me if it gets completed in time for Christmas. Anything else can be late.

This week… overtime, of course. Hoping to join a Quilting Retreat on Friday that will be already in process. It’s another group that I do not know the women, but it just might work out for me and KC to join them for the weekend. We’ll see. If so, I’ll spend the entire time working on my father-in-law’s quilt… and hoping I get it done!

Nothing terribly interesting in all that, just a quick synopsis of the last few days.

I still need to work on my house. But I want to quilt.

…may there be mercy as my needs are met… and a little of my wants, too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a little overload, a bit of random

At this point, I'm overloaded and cannot wait for the weekend to arrive. Tomorrow I've got to cover a desk that I do not enjoy at all... but I'm the only person in the office that knows how to back up this particular job. Ugh! So my own desk gets a little more behind.

Thankfully my Q-friend has kept me sane most days with funny email conversations about our day-to-day stuff. Thanks Q-friend. You rock.

Saturday I'm sleeping until I cannot sleep another minute. Then I'll do some house cleaning, but I am soooo setting a timer. Noon hits, I'm eating lunch and spend the entire afternoon quilting.

Sunday will be a time of refreshment with church and brunch with a friend. We do not get nearly enough time together, so it will be good for me. I will totally enjoy conversation and down time with her.

At some point this weekend, I'm going to take my new toy... a new camera that was a gift from my sweet father-in-law... out for a REAL test drive.

Waaaaay cool.

Have I mentioned that I adore my father-in-law? I would adore him even if he didn't give me lovely gifts. He just happens to consider me one of his kids, so he includes me when he gives lovely gifts to his biological children.

It's fun for me and I know he enjoys spoiling us all a bit.

Last weekend was very cool. Spending time with our friends, their son and his new bride was a blast. It's very funny, but the new bride has many of my attributes. I took it as a great compliment that he admired some things about me and wanted them in his bride.

Hoping for good sleep tonight. I've been on the edge of tears all day and no real reason for it that I can think of... just a bit of an emotional mess right now.

Too much happening here... and too much that needs to happen here that I don't have time to accomplish.

Tonight's mercy is a repeat for Jenna... because sometimes it's just what we need, eh? Definitely calling her for a long overdue coffee time soon.

...may there be mercy on my random stuff.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

yep, did that

This morning, I woke up and wished Daddy a happy birthday. It's a tradition with me even though he's been gone for 11 years. I still wish him a happy birthday, telling him that we'll celebrate together someday in heaven. Then I go about my day and I'm fine.

Got very busy in my workday today. I'm back to working overtime again. Yeah, I know, take the splint off and I go back into full-speed-ahead mode. Can't be helped, I've got clients calling every day wondering where their policies are. Gotta get a little caught up.

So I'm in my day, working hard at this getting caught up thing. Feeling like I'm starving since breakfast was at
5:30 a.m. instead of 7. Grab a snack. Work more. Grab another snack. Work more. Eat lunch at desk. Work more.

Actual lunchtime came and I went for retail therapy.

Now the problem with retail therapy is that sometimes I end up at places like Target where they have a candy aisle in addition to anything else that I might need... like lipstick and makeup remover.

And those Hot Tamales just jumped right into my basket, whimpering for me to take 'em back to work with me. I swear they did. The popcorn did, too.

Yep, I ended up on a full-fledged eating binge today. It took me until
4 p.m. to realize that I was eating every treat thing that Daddy loved... guess I missed him more today than I realized when I got up and wished him a happy birthday this morning.

I'm not going to beat myself up over this because it isn't my normal pattern. Yes, I struggle daily with maintaining the 50 pounds I lost on Weight Watchers. Some days are easier than others. But normal days I don't eat everything in sight and more.

So this is for the unofficial record... yep, did it... comforted myself with things Daddy and I enjoyed together... will face what the scale has to say in the morning and accept that... and moving on to tomorrow now.

Tomorrow we head to
Portland to see our friends, their son and his new bride. It will be a first time meeting with the bride... and we will go winery touring together. Should be a fun weekend.

...may there be mercy as we travel.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

mine, all mine

Doc gave me the go-ahead to remove the splint today... yay! My wrist is mine, all mine again! I've got permission to use as I will, but if I hurt, I've got to wear the splint again. Not a chance!

I've got 36 placemats, 1 twin-sized quilt and at least 6 other quilting projects to complete for Christmas. Can't do all that if I have my wrist back in that splint.

So I'm going about my business and will be setting timers so that I don't overdo any single task and re-injure this wrist.

Sadly, I'm just too tired tonight to quilt. Combination of end-of-month exhaustion from work and the exhaustion that comes from another sleepless night due to a series of "private summers".

Whoever said that hot flashes are "power surges" was full of crap. There just ain't no power surging anywhere close to these suckers!

...may there be mercy and rest for this weary household - and no re-injuring!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


As you have seen, most times I post a blog it ends with "may there be mercy." And obviously I don't usually remember to mention the mercy given. My fault on that - many, many times mercy is given that I acknowledge privately in my prayers and not here publicly... but really should.

So tonight I'm taking just a quick moment to mention that there was mercy this weekend - refreshment granted with those simple joys, a banishment of the crabbies....

... and a safe arrival home in spite of another driver who changed lanes too close to me... coming within very slight inches of my back bumper... 70 mph and a little over full speed on the freeway... just about 50 feet before my home exit. I'm still wondering exactly how the driver missed me.

But I am grateful for that extra mercy.

...may I see and recognize the mercy given each day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


For whatever reasons, and there are a lot of them, I've been terribly crabby all week. But I'm putting all that behind me and planning to just enjoy the weekend. Simple plans for simple pleasures.

This morning meeting a friend for coffee, followed by a manicure and pedicure at the local beauty school.

Company picnic this afternoon, catered by a great BBQ place.

A movie, a glass of wine and snuggle time with my sweet husband this evening.

Tomorrow is a drive to a little town just north of Olympia to meet with dear friends. It's the halfway point between the northernmost and southernmost persons meeting. We haven't had an opportunity to be together for quite a while, and so much has happened in each of our lives. Loss, health issues, kid issues, family stuff, work stuff, general stuff, fun stuff, etc., etc.

We have a lot of talking, catching up and laughing to do. Not to mention squealing and hugging!

Simple plans, simple pleasures... and a booting out of the crabbies.

...may there be mercy and refreshment with simple joys.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I'm crabby and I want to take this splint off so that I can quilt.

...may there be mercy and the healing time finish quickly.

Monday, September 18, 2006

chasing trains

In case you haven’t noticed, steam trains are a passion around our house. My sweet husband was clued into the love of trains at his 4th Christmas when Santa, in the form of his grandmother, gave him his first Lionel Train set.

The love affair with trains has not ended… and never will.

Of course my husband has his favorites among the steam engines. And the Southern Pacific Daylight #4449 is his all-time favorite.

Southern Pacific #4449
Built in 1941 as a 4-8-4 GS-4 "Northern" type locomotive, she is 110' long, 10' wide and 16' tall. With locomotive and tender weighing 433 tons and a boiler pressure of 300 psi, her eight 80" diameter drivers and unique firebox truck booster can apply 5,500 horsepower to the rails and exceed 100 mph. Retired to Oaks Park in 1958 for display only, in 1974 she was completely restored specifically to pull the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train throughout the United States to the delight of over 30 million people.

The only remaining operable "streamlined" steam locomotive of the Art Deco era, this grand Lady of the High Iron pulled Southern Pacific "Daylight" coaches from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the scenic Coast Route and then on to Portland until 1955. She is arguably one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built -- and kept that way by the all-volunteer Friends of the SP 4449.

(excerpt from the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation website

This last weekend, we put 1025 miles on our car - chasing the 4449 all over the Columbia Gorge and down into Bend, Oregon. I’m absolutely beyond exhausted today, and will pay for it trying to recoup my energy levels over the next week, but it was a blast!

It was a rare and very cool event, the 4449 on the rails. ( The journey started Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon, crossed the Columbia River into Vancouver, Washington and headed up the Columbia Gorge to a very small town called Wishram. From Wishram, it crossed back over the river and headed down the Deschutes River Valley. Once out of the Deschutes canyon, it continued south to Bend, Oregon for an overnight stay. Sunday they reversed the entire process.

It would have been very cool to have been able to ride the 4449 for this event, but tickets were $650 to $850 per person… and we just couldn’t do it right now. (check the 4449’s website for the fundraiser info and that explains the reason for the steep price)

Instead, we chased the train.

We drove down to The Dalles, OR on Friday night, staying over in a hotel there. Got up early Saturday morning, drove across The Dalles Bridge and to a lovely spot on the Washington side… where we discovered Dan and Leslie, who were camping in their motorhome there. It seems Dan and Leslie are rail fans, too.

We got to chatting and seem to have struck up a new friendship. Lovely folk. It was early morning, brisk and cool with a bit of wind off the water. Leslie was kind enough to give us coffee… and as anyone who knows me will agree, give me coffee and you become my new best friend! I now call her the Coffee Angel.

Pretty soon, a bunch of cars come tearing into the Avery Siding where we were waiting for the train. About 10 minutes later, here comes the train… excellent! Cameras blazing away, and when the engine was past us, waving like fools at the passengers… who were waving like fools back!

Everyone jumps into their cars and we all race away to the next good spot to get pictures. We leapfrogged and chased the train all the way to Bend, Oregon in this manner, meeting folk from all over the country who had come just to do this. Fun, fun, fun.

Highlight of the trip was standing on the abandoned highway bridge over a 300 foot deep canyon taking pictures of the 4449 as it passed on the railway bridge over this canyon… with the Three Sisters in the background. What a glorious place! Unfortunately my pictures don't show the intensity of the canyon depth... but I'm not sure at that time of day anyone's camera would have gotten past how little light was available in the deeper portions.

We met a bunch of really cool people chasing the 4449 from Portland to Bend and back. Exhausted ourselves and will definitely pay a price for it. But it was marvelous fun!

My sweet husband has a lifelong love affair with trains… and personally, I’d rather he chase trains than younger women!

…may there be mercy and rest for those who chase trains.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

new verdict

So... I go back to my doc and get new x-rays today. Still clear and no break in the wrist. Apparently, based on the exam, I've torn a ligament.

Another two weeks in the splint... no quilting... no camera... no nothing... ugh!

At this point, I can't even open a bottle of wine on my own!

I keep reminding myself that it will heal... it will heal... it will heal...

...may there be mercy!

Monday, September 11, 2006

same stuff, different day

Still leaking a bit and stuffing my bra with gauze... but I haven't ruined any of my clothes. (looking for the bright side here)

Wrist is still quite painful... will be heading back to the doc on Weds for another round of x-rays.

I'm ready to change the channel... this is getting to be pretty tiresome.

...may there be mercy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Incision busted open again today. Got to see my doc, who advised me to let it drain. Apparently it's "old" blood, not fresh bleeding. Could be as old as from surgery, could be something I've done since surgery. Either way, it needs to be managed. Sometimes this is the way the body manages it.

So I've got this great splint on my wrist and one side of my bra stuffed with gauze.

Just about as cool as it gets, eh?

... may there be mercy and I don't ruin all my clothes!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Took today off work. Still hurts too much to be able to work a full day. Besides, typing left-handed/one-handed is hard!

Not to mention I write all day for a living.

...may there be mercy and I feel good enough to work tomorrow.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Queen of Klutz

Stanley Park Seawall... lovely place, eh?

Note the great walking trail closest to the water.

Red painted line separates bikes/skaters to a separate trail.

Benches are on far side of bike trail.

Run fast between bikes to get to bench to change camera battery.

Trip on uneven and odd height curb between trails.

Fall flat out in front of God and everybody...

Land on both knees, both hands and wrists... and camera.

Cause two strained knees, a severely sprained right wrist and a massive hematoma to the incision site from the recent surgery...

... that bursts open from the pressure about 2 hours later, gushing blood everywhere.

Try to get into a Canadian ER... hahahahahahaha!!

Drive to the border holding tightly to your breast, crying because your right arm and left knee are in terrible pain.

Pray as the customs agent/border patrol guy stares in your car probably worried about what terrible person has hurt you... and looking at your sweet husband like he is a monster.

Drive another 30 minutes to St. Joe's Hospital ER in Bellingham, still clutching breast to keep pressure on the incision to keep bleeding under control.

Wait in ER with 45 other people for 90 minutes before being called to the back... still clutching breast with all the dignity one can muster.

Explain to the 5th person, finally a doctor, what has happened, who finally gets the bleeding to calm to a minor, but continual ooze.

45 mintes later, x-rays indicate no breaks in wrist or knee... but lots of swelling in both, plus other knee.

Big splint on wrist, instructions for ice and immobilization... and no quilting for another 2-3 weeks... crap!!!... and painkillers... and then we are off to drive another 45 minutes home... and finally my own bed.

At least my camera still works!

... may there be mercy and I heal fast.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

another day trip

Yesterday turned out to be quite a fun day. We just enjoyed the sunshine, the long drive down back country roads, the train and each other. There was a little talk about JM while we road the train, but that part was a happy memory of him.

Today is a trip to Stanley Park. We love to explore in Vancouver, B.C. With the weather in the 80's... it should be a really good day for photography.

Packing an overnight bag... just in case we decide to stay over!

... may there be mercy on our day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

day trip

It’s been a terribly busy and tiring week… end of month. And, end of month with a key “commercial deal” guy out of the office on vacation. Of course 6 of his big commercial deals came to a head while he was gone. So my boss, me and a couple others put our heads together and made a great team to get it all done.

I was totally too tired to even consider blogging or anything else fun during the evenings all week. Brain just turned off. Found the energy one evening to work a little on my quilting, but only once!

It’s great to have 3 days off to play!

Today we are going to see theMt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. It’s a steam train that we’ve visited before, but it’s been at least 6 years. The last time we were there, it was with my sweet husband’s best friend and his wife.

It will be interesting to see what memories of our friends this trip brings up. Sadly, 4 years ago this man took his own life… and my sweet husband has never really gotten over it. Nor have I.

I can’t even begin to describe the emotions of hearing that JM had died… and then to discover it was a suicide.

JM had massive health problems that were causing him horrific pain. The doctors were not giving him any hope that they could control the pain at all… but that he could “learn to live with it”. He tried. Oh, how he tried, to learn to live with that level of chronic pain.

I don’t condone his suicide, but I do understand why he did it. Well, as much as anyone still living with chronic pain and health issues can understand someone else’s pain and decision making process.

But at the same time, four years later I’m still very angry with him for doing it. Mostly the anger flares up when I see the look on my sweet husband’s face if he very carefully mentions JM’s name in conversation.

Today should be an interesting day. I’m planning on fun with my honey… and expecting a bit of emotion for each of us as we remember JM in this setting.

…may there be mercy on our day.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

quilting day

Today I started working on my Christmas gifts. I'm making quilted placemats for my family. Need to make 36 at this point, plus a couple other quilted items.

In January, my local independent fabric store had a private, by invitation only, sale. It was a great sale… 45% off of everything in the store.

Since I was on the invitation list, I came up with a simple pattern for placemats, figured out how much fabric I needed, and bought it all at a huge discount.

A few days ago, I realized that I simply did not want to make these placemats in the pattern I’d designed. It was boring!

So I started searching the internet for patterns that might work. There are a boatload of websites that provide free quilt block patterns. Several of those websites have over a thousand free patterns available.

Found something I liked, figured out if I had enough fabric for this pattern, and started cutting this morning.

Ended up cutting:

Light blue speckle fabric:
144 – 2.5 inch squares
72 – 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles
72 – 2.5 inch by 6.5 inch rectangles

Medium blue with multi-colored squares fabric:
72 – 2.5 inch by 10.5 inch rectangles
72 – 1.25 inch by 14.5 inch rectangles

Dark multi-colored print fabric:
72 – 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles
72 – 2.5 inch by 6.5 inch rectangles

Green print:
36 – 2.5 inch squares

It takes some serious time to get all that cut! But… I was able to start sewing also. I got part of the fabrics sewn together and then decided I needed to see one of the placemats completed before going further.

And it’s good that I completed one first. I wasn’t certain how it would look with the border I added to the 10 inch block pattern… but I like it!

I had opportunity to go to KC’s house today to sew with her, but I decided that would be too much work. Oh, KC isn’t work. It’s just that I’d have to pack my sewing machine and all the supplies into the appropriate cases, load up the car, drive 40 minutes to her house, unload it all, sew for a few hours and then pack it all back up, load the car, drive 40 minutes home and unload it all again.

Have done this before and it’s been fun. But… this weekend was about rest and relax time. That just felt like too much work. KC totally understands that concept since she's still recovering from her surgery.

I know I spent the day working on this project, but I puttered at it most of the day. Stopped to read for a while, spent time chatting with my sweet husband about his trip to Chehalis yesterday, looked the train pictures he took, etc.

Besides, quilting is such a stress buster for me!

I’m not quite as refreshed as I’d hoped to be, but am feeling much better than I was on Friday. Tonight will be early bedtime so I’m ready to work tomorrow.

… may there be mercy on our rest.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

caring for myself

It's harder than one thinks to do nothing but care for oneself over the course of a couple days. It's harder than I thought to NOT do housework and cleaning and all the other things I normally do on the weekends.

I have to confess that I'm not so good at all this.

I did spend about 90 minutes working on doing a couple loads of laundry, changing the bedding out to fresh sheets, cleaning the kitchen and a quick run to the grocery store.

Then, it was a marathon of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. I decided to put on movies that I'd seen before. That didn't matter if I fell asleep or paused to go get a snack or whatever.

It was good.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but know that tonight I will sleep a lot more.

... may there be continued mercy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

plans for rest

Head and chest are still congested, but I’ve reached the point wherein I think I’m going to survive. Been sleeping a lot, and only working 8 hour days this week. Yep, no overtime. We figured out that most of us at my office have been working some overtime each week for the last 4 years. No wonder we’re all exhausted and sick and crabby all the time.

I decided last Friday that I’d take a week off of the overtime and see how things go. I’m still quite behind at work, but it’s okay because my body and mind needed a break. I actually need a whole lot more of a break, but this is all I’m going to get for a while since my scheduled vacation is the week after Thanksgiving.

Will probably take next week as a “straight 8’s” week, too.

We decided that this weekend, while my husband goes seeking a particular steam train to photograph on Saturday, I’ll stay home. We both recognize that my body just won’t allow me to do anything more for a couple weeks. Between moving my father-in-law and being sick, both hitting on top of the combined stresses of losing my mother-in-law and recovering from surgery, I have crashed hard.

The plan is for me to just sleep as much as is humanly possible from Friday night to Monday morning. When I’m awake, I might do some quilting, reading or watch movies. Nothing big, the only allowed activities will be those that are very quiet and relaxing for me.

There are books and movies galore in this house. I’ve got a bunch of fabric all set up to start cutting out quilted placemats as Christmas gifts for my family. There are clean, fresh jammies ready for me to wear each day.

Have to say, I’m really looking forward to it!

…may there be mercy for true rest and refreshment in my downtime.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm not sick, am I?

Started feeling cruddy this afternoon.

...ears ringing and full of pressure...
... head stuffy...
...chest congested and coughing...
...lots of "ugh/ick" and mucus... (eeeuuuwwww!)

...and now I'm pretty sure I'm actually sick. But I'm not quite ready to admit it yet.

I might not really be sick if I don't admit it. Right?

Until I know for sure, I'm going to bed. Sleep is a great curative.

...may there be mercy and this crud pass quickly.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Long, long day.

Moved most of the heavy stuff for my father-in-law to his new apartment.

Very tired.

Lots of wine as a reward.

Need sleep!

...may there be mercy on the rest of this move!

Friday, August 18, 2006

random thoughts

Very random thoughts tonight.

Random thoughts part one:
It was a rough day. Gotta consider it rough when, at my desk at work, I've quietly said every curse word in the world except dropping an F-bomb... all before 8 a.m...

I hate days when I lose my cool, professional exterior like that. I just get angry with myself for the rest of the day.

Of course it also didn't help that after the particular thing happened that had me cursing like a drunken sailor on leave in a foreign port... I went to the ladies room (yeah, I know, like all that cursing was ladylike) and had a little cry because the thing that happened not only made me mad, it was hurtful.

I do not deserve to be treated in that manner and I'm glad I turned the situation over to my supervisor.

But... it's over. I'm movin' on from there and into my weekend.

Random thoughts part two:
Talked to KC this morning. She was bored out of her skull and wanted O-U-T of that hospital! We had some scheduling changes and were able to sign up for a quilting class for tomorrow. (more on that on random thoughts part three) She is still on for going to the class, so that's cool. We'll meet for breakfast and coffee and then go enjoy learning another aspect of quilting.

I'm just so relieved that she is okay after this allergic incident!

Will also be very glad when I hear from her husband after Monday's surgery.

Random thoughts part three:
My blessed father-in-law was approved to move into a fantastic apartment today. It's a low income senior community. Not assisted living... no nursing care... no meals prepared by a staff, it's a senior community. They have potlucks and social stuff, which is cool. He can go to the movie nights they set up if he wants. There is a game room which includes a pool table, and a computer room, and an exercise/workout room. All included and available for him if he wants to use them.

We have already moved some things into the apartment for him so it will feel like home each time he goes there. A lot of his stuff will be moved over the weekend. So some of the train stuff will be moved to another time... or my husband will have to go by himself to more of them. We are okay with that because this place is worth what it will cost in scheduling issues for us.

I haven't seen my father-in-law this excited about anything in years. To see his smile light up like it did today... definitely worth missing out on any kind of weekend time.

In case no one noticed it, I just adore my father-in-law!

Random thoughts part four:
Sleep... neeeeeeeeed sleeeeeeeeepp!!!

... may there be mercy on my random stuff.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

friends and allergies

When my friend KC called me at work today, she was laughing and thanked me for “sharing” my iodine allergy. We’ve joked for years that we “share brain cells” or “share” other such nonsense. Sometimes it’s scarily true! But… thirty minutes later, she was in the ER with breathing troubles and all the accompanying allergic reaction issues.

Now, everyone who knows me knows that I’m allergic to practically the entire world of medicine. Including an apparently inherited atypical iodine allergy from my birth father. We can eat shellfish, (that’s the atypical part), but cannot tolerate other forms of iodine. Mostly this involves the types of contrast dyes used in surgery or CT scans.

After my first allergic reaction to an iodine dye, they told me that a second allergic reaction is usually fatal… so try to avoid the use of these dyes.

A few years ago, I had to have a CT scan at the University of Washington. I told them I was allergic to iodine dyes/IV contrast. So they had me take a set formula of medicines to preclude an allergic reaction… or to minimize the symptoms if I had one.

I followed all the instructions, took all the pre-medications, went for the CT scan… and had a monster reaction. It was horrible. Even scared the medical-type people there at the hospital… enough that they told me to NEVER allow another use of iodine dye/IV contrast because it truly would kill me.

As a result, I wear a Medic Alert bracelet that advises of the problem. Just in case I’m in a car wreck and can’t speak for myself… they don’t need to kill me trying to figure out what all might be wrong with me!

But KC hasn’t had any allergies and has always been healthy. At least until the last few years when she got a diagnosis…

KC has Graves Disease. She did a course of some medication that was supposed to put her in remission… and it did, for about 18 months. She and her husband spent time examining all the appropriate treatment options, the most likely being using radioactive iodine to completely irradiate the thyroid or removing the thyroid completely. They decided that the best course of treatment for her would be to remove the thyroid. Surgery is scheduled for Monday.

In preparation for this surgery, the doctor wanted to “calm” her thyroid. So he prescribed a course of some iodine based medication. Which she duly took as prescribed.

When we were at her house for dinner on Sunday night, she was describing how awful this medication was. How she put it in just a small amount of water to have the least amount of medicine to take. How horrible it tasted and all the things she ate to try to get that nasty taste out of her mouth… and that nothing worked. We were laughing about it and agreeing that it was a good thing that she only had to take that medicine for a week.

Sunday night was one of those great nights with friends. The kind where everyone laughs until they almost pee their pants and no one wants the evening to end.

Tuesday, KC emailed me at work to check in and tell me she was tired. We made funny comments to one another by email as we had time through yesterday. This morning she was laughing when she called.

Told me how red and blotchy she was… how itchy she was… how swollen her face was… how she now had a better appreciation for what my allergies meant in real terms...

… but she was going in to work because she might as well be there as home feeling this bad. Besides, too many people in her office are gone this week so someone needed to be there.

She wasn’t laughing 30 minutes later when she called me back to tell me she was in the ER. Neither was I.

Apparently the swelling got a bit out of hand and her breathing became troubled. She was given medications for breathing, for swelling and for itching. She’s still at the hospital tonight. They admitted her overnight for observation since they don’t want to give her certain medications that might mess up the scheduled surgery on Monday.

I know she’s going to be okay. I’ve known that since she said she was in the ER because I knew they would take good care of her.

But I spent some time today thinking about what it would be like without her… if something had gone wrong. I can’t even begin to describe how that thought took all the air out of the room, how awful that thought felt.

Then I spent time praying that I would not have to face that. We’ve been friends for 20 years and it’s not nearly enough.

I spent the day thinking about my friend, praying for her health and being glad that I am one who says, “I love you” to my friends and family.

… may there be mercy as she recovers and for her surgery on Monday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

in a funk

I’ve been in a funk the last couple days. A foul mood that just doesn’t have any place in my life right now. And yet, here it is, taking up space and spilling out of me onto everything.

So I’ve retreated from everyone in the hope that it will pass soon.

Mostly I don’t want this mood to spill out too hard on any one person, causing a rift in a relationship. It certainly isn’t a reaction to any person or hurt feelings. It’s a more difficult to overcome reason why I’m in such a funk.

My body is taking longer to recover from surgery than I want… and than it has before.

Oh it’s coming along and I am healing. But I want the healing and recovery process to be completed so that I feel back to normal. Normal strength levels. Normal energy levels. Normal feeling tissue instead of this rock hard lump of scar tissue in that breast. And the soreness and pain need to go away!

In my perfect world, I would not have any of the health issues that have caused me to have 26 surgeries. My body would work exactly the way it is supposed to work. It would not produce tumors. The immune system would be so strong… it could fight off even the slightest hint of illness with such rapidity that the germs wouldn’t stand a chance. Anemia would never rear its ugly head. Chronic bronchitis would flee in fear. Migraines would cower in terror. Bladder issues, faulty heart valves and all the other stuff wrong… gone.

And of course, I could eat all the chocolate I wanted while maintaining a perfect body that did not gain an ounce!

But… this body doesn’t work that way.

At four weeks post-surgery, I’m still struggling with bruises, soreness and periodic sharp pain… and I’m just plain old tired all the time. Oh, I do things and work overtime, but I’m exhausted. I just do the things I need to do anyway. The bruises and soreness will eventually go away. Impatience is the problem for that part.

I know I should just sit back, rest up and be grateful that the lump wasn’t cancer. And believe me, I’m grateful!

A large part of my struggle is that I’m getting older and things take longer to heal. I can’t bounce back into working overtime 10 days after surgery and expect my body to cooperate. Well, I expect the cooperation; I’m just not getting it!

I’m also really bummed that I don’t have the energy to do all those fun trips that my husband wants to do together. If we had about 6 additional weeks of “train season”, I could make it. As it stands, we figured out which ones I can do and which ones he will have to do alone or with his dad.

To do them all… that’s the wish to fly.

To accept that I can’t… that’s the reality of plodding along on the ground.

…may there be mercy to lighten my mood as I plod along.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

exhausted ramblings

My husband and I love to take our car and go on adventures. Might be a trip down a country road just to see what might be new. Might be a spur of the moment ride down to Seattle with our cameras. Could be a quick run up to Canada just to have lunch. Many weekends, we just throw our cameras in the car, get in and say, “north or south?” It’s always fun.

Right now, he wants to plan every single weekend between now and the end of September… with a long trip to see a train somewhere.

Ah yes, besides me, his loves are photography and trains… preferably together.

Steam trains are his favorites, but those are run by volunteers and only during the summer. Obviously this summer has been taken up with a bit more than being able to run around the state, and Canada, chasing steam trains.

We looked at the calendar last night, trying to find a way to get to as many trains as possible… and not kill me in the process. My body just is not cooperating right now to be able to do it all.

I think the combination of major stress issues has knocked me on my keister – and hard. I’m so exhausted right now that all I really want to do at all is sit and cry… and then sleep… and then cry more… and then sleep more… etc.

But that isn’t what happens. I paste my smile on, go to work, do overtime, come home and do the normal daily stuff that has to be done, have a little time with my online friends and collapse into bed hoping that I feel better the next day. Repeat daily.

Add in my father-in-law being so ill this year, taking care of him for 2 months, finding a lump in my breast, my mother-in-law passing, and having surgery to remove the lump… and I’ve hit the wall terribly hard.

It isn’t that these trips he wants to take would not be a lot of fun for both of us. It’s just that I don’t have the energy for any of it. My body has reached the point of just saying no.

And I hate it.

I want to be able to go and have all this fun because the earlier part of the summer was so awful. To have the energy and the joy in planning fun time with my husband.

Instead, I’m trying to figure out how I can force my body to do enough of these trips that I feel like we did something and send my husband on the rest of them by himself.

Did you notice that I wasn’t figuring out how to enjoy the trips? It’s more of a plan to just get them done. That’s what I hate.

More on this series of ramblings later. Right now, I’ve got to get to work… for some overtime.


Friday, August 11, 2006

lunchtime discussion

A friend took me out to lunch today to celebrate the fact that I do not have breast cancer. It was our first chance to really talk since I told her that I’d found a lump. In the interim time, my sweet mother-in-law passed away, my friend went on a vacation to Denmark and England, and I had surgery and got my pathology results.

It was a busy July!

In our conversation, we got to talking about how surprisingly hard it is when someone you love dies… even when you know it is coming. Interesting that she brought it up when I’d been contemplating this issue over the last few weeks.

When my beloved Daddy died, we knew it was coming. The doctors told us all that there was nothing else to be done… to prepare him and us for the inevitable… and that it could be at any time. For 9 months, every single time Mama called, I knew it was going to be “The Call to let me know he was gone. We prayed for his suffering and pain to end. My expectation was that when it really was The Call, I’d feel relief that his suffering and pain were finally over. How wrong I was!

When The Call came, it was my sister on the phone… and my heart broke with the shocking amount of pain and sadness and loss. It took a long time to grieve and come to terms with the loss of Daddy. (see my thoughts on Daddy here: In Loving Memory )

In January of this year, they started preparing us for my sweet mother-in-law’s passing. In March, she stopped eating. They told us it would be a matter of days. Once again, I thought we would feel the relief of her suffering being at an end. I was even angry at times that she lingered… why prolong this agony for her? Please, I prayed, just take her home.

When The Call came in July, I was once again shocked at how heartbreaking the pain and sadness and loss were. We are still in the grief process and the pain is still quite fresh.

My friend said similar things about how she expected to feel relief at the end of the suffering when her Daddy passed. How she was surprised at the pain and sadness.

We talked about that for a while and then I told her what I’d been thinking about all this.

I think it’s painful because we are designed to be a hopeful people. We hope for the best outcome in every single thing in life.

We hope for a cure for cancer.
We hope for our children to grow into responsible citizens.
We hope that we go to heaven.
We hope that …
We hope that …
We hope that … you fill in the blanks… you know them as well as I do.

In these situations, we hope against all that we know… that there will be a medical miracle and that beloved person lives.

It is my belief that God designed us to be hopeful. As a Christian, I believe in the hope of eternity in heaven because Christ gave that to me. (I know others believe differently, but this is my blog, so I’m writing about what I believe and think here.)

Being designed as a hopeful people is a great thing. It allows us to persevere and grow and continue to push ourselves to learn and become more than we thought we could be.

It allows me to trust God for the hope that I need for each day and for my eternity.

My friend and I talked about some weighty issues today.








It was a great lunchtime.

…may there be mercy as I hope… always.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

need sleep

Mercy on last night's rest was given to everyone... except me.

All my friends who have sleep issues had a much better night's rest. My sweet husband had a good night's sleep. Not me.

Not sure why I couldn't sleep, just that I was awake most of the night. Much of it with hot flashes or night sweats.

Fall into light sleep, wake too hot, throw off covers, get increasingly hotter, throw off nightshirt, sweat more, turn over to find a cool spot, finally start to cool down, start to doze, get actually cold, come back to full awake status to locate covers, pull covers back over me, start to doze and begin the process all over again.

Yep, sometimes menopause bites!

When that process wasn't happening, my mind would not turn off. Still working through the grief process with losing my mother-in-law last month. Also there are other stressful issues that seem to pop up in the middle of the night on nights when I am awake so much.

Now I am just too tired to do anything more tonight. Somehow, heading to bed at 7 p.m. on a lovely summer evening just seems wrong.

Whatever. That's where I'm headed right now... armed with a sleeping pill as added insurance.

... may there be mercy and my hormones settle for tonight.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

too tired

Long, long day and I'm too tired to say much of anything tonight. Hoping for a restful sleep for us and for several of my friends who also have sleep issues.

I know most of my exhaustion tonight is from the stress of the work day while covering someone else's job. But the added stress of waiting to find out why my blessed father-in-law wanted to have a family meeting didn't help any.

Thankfully, it was to discuss moving him to a new apartment building. It's one that we like and want him to live there. So that plan is now in motion to get him moved.

Exhaustion is winning. I'm off to bed.

... may there be mercy on our rest.

Monday, August 07, 2006

mission accomplished!

Thanks to my friend SuziQ, I have mastered the mess of making the links work.

It wasn't an easy task today since I've been covering another person's desk at work. That desk is a much faster pace than mine, and very high stress. So I'm exhausted tonight and feel a bit beaten up. This has potential to be a tough week and to test my commitment to avoid stress eating.

In spite of being exhausted, I really wanted to tackle this making links thing. I'm glad I did. Makes me feel a bit better that I was successful.

If I can be successful when exhausted and figure this out, then I can be successful tomorrow and keep that commitment to avoid stress eating.

So, thanks much Q... and for much more than the email directions on how to do this, dear friend - you rock!!!

... may there be mercy and rest for all of us tonight.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

can't figure it out

Well, I've tried following the directions on adding links to this silly blog. I've tried changing the template to one that has links in it.

I still can't figure it out!

Tomorrow I'm changing the template back to the lighthouse. I like that one better.

... may there be mercy and some friend email me some simple directions!

Friday, August 04, 2006

bits and pieces...

We had a great time in Portland and this week has flown by. Worked some overtime in preparation for covering someone else’s desk next week. My work will sit and wait, which makes me a little nuts because I hate being behind. Guess I’ll be back on overtime after next week.

I actually don’t have a lot to say tonight, just trying to get back into the habit of blogging and finding things that pique my interest enough to write.

I got back on track with my weight this week. I’ve allowed myself to slide right into a 10 pound gain which really is not good. Mostly stress eating since Christmastime when big brother had that aneurysm, but also a bit of just indulgent behaviors, too. But, this week I’ve really gotten back on track. I’ve paid attention to portion sizes, what I’ve been eating, no wine all week and following the Weight Watchers plan. It shows on my scale in a 2 pound loss for the week. Yay!

Next week won’t be that big a loss, but I’m going to keep plugging away until that 10 pounds is gone.

Tomorrow morning, I’m meeting a friend to go to the Anacortes Arts & Crafts Festival. We make plans to go together to this event each year. Our sweethearts don’t like this “girly” kind of thing. Meet for coffee early and then just enjoy the day… fun!

Part of the fun is in browsing the booths, but part is in watching the people and seeing who we know as we wander. Many times I find that I don’t spend any money in the artisan’s booths, but have the most fun talking with folks that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

And this weekend I am free to start quilting again… yippppppeeeeeeeee! While I still hurt some and get sore pretty easily after minor exertion, I’m going to spend a bit of time on Sunday working on a project. A co-worker has asked me to make her one of those Christmas table runners that I made last year and will pay me for it. Since I’ve already got that cut out, I’m going to sew some on it and see how far I can get. Once that is done, I’m starting on this year’s Christmas gifts!

But for now, I need sleep.

… may there be mercy on this weekend’s fun.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Portland bound!

Packed and ready to head out of town for the weekend and fun with friends in Portland.

…some we’ve known for almost 20 years
…some I’ve known for a few years
…one with whom I’ve been corresponding for 2 years, finally meeting face-to-face.

All of whom I am privileged to call friend.

...may there be mercy on our travel.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

mornings at the river

Every morning, I drive across the bridge to get to work. Several years ago, I noticed that the sunrise over the river was particularly glorious. Every single day since then, when I hit a certain mid-way point in the crossing, I look to the east to see what how beautiful the river is at sunrise.

Some mornings, it’s all misty grays and smoky fog. Others there is a fabulous blue sky and the pinks careen off the clouds as the sun comes up behind the hills.

No matter what, all of it is reflected in the water of the slow moving river.

I have a concept idea of taking my camera each day for a year. I’d take it to the exact same spot each day and take pictures. Just to show what glory there is in each day of creation.

It’s a concept for my own pleasure… something for me and God to reflect back on and enjoy together.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

little gripes

It's really nice right now to be able to just have a little gripe session about something stupidly normal... like the weather is too hot for our area and isn't it a bummer that we don't have air conditioning in the house.

Silly, but after the last couple months, something small and innocuous to gripe about feels so ridiculously normal.

So my sweet husband and I are griping about being hot right now, but what we are really saying is…

… isn’t is wonderful that we feel like we’re normal people with normal, small problems today?
… I love you
… aren’t we glad I’m healing well?
… I love you
… I’m so glad we are not facing chemo
… I love you

Little gripes, but oh what a wonderful feeling of normalcy… in spite of being hot!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

relief and gratitude

It is NOT cancer!!! Hallelujah! I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed that the news is good. I told my sweet husband tonight that I was certain that this time, we would not dodge the cancer bullet. That it would finally be a reality for us.

I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since I left Dr. M’s office. Just pure relief and gratitude.

Funny story on today’s doctor visit…

Dr. M tells me the good news. Then wants to look at the incision site to make sure I’m healing well. Flips open the gown, grins, flips the gown shut and says...

“Somebody beat the crap outta you!”

He then grins again when my husband asked him if Dr M had had a fight with his wife last Friday!

I’m sitting there just cracking up at the two of them teasing each other and me about how bruised I am at this stage of healing.

He finally takes a real look and says I’m healing, keep doing what I’m doing, etc…. and to go enjoy my summer.

And... friends have told me that they knew it would be fine and not cancer all along. Well, they may have known this was not going to be cancer, but I sure didn't know it! Not after the way the docs all looked (and what they said) after they each first felt the lump.

I told my husband that even after Dr. M showed me the pathology report and explained it all, it still didn't sink in to me that it really was not cancer until he was walking out the door saying that we should go enjoy our summer.

Even then it didn't really hit until about an hour later when all I wanted to do was cry from relief, but had to hold it in because I was already back at work.

Let the healing continue… and we are so thankful for this mercy…

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

ready or not

Well, I've made it through 2 complete work days now. Exhausted beyond belief, and mercy, but I'm sore! But I've done it.

Tomorrow is the post-surgical doctor appointment with the complete pathology report.

I have to admit to being scared again and at the same time, peaceful. Back to that I'm not in charge of the universe thing.

Tomorrow is coming fast... ready or not... and what will be, will be.

...may there be mercy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

almost made it

I almost made it through the entire workday today. Around 3, I just started hurting too much, hit that exhaustion wall and came home to rest up.

Guess my body knows more than I do about what to do after surgery.

Tomorrow's another day, eh?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

no more hiding

Today’s bruises are even more impressive. Think Greg Kinnear in “As Good As It Gets” after he gets so horribly beaten and you see him in the hospital scene… purple, magenta, blue, red, wine, maroon, and burgundy and…

…yeah, that’s what it looks like now. UG-LEEEEEE!

I realized today that as much as I don’t want to tell my co-workers why I was out sick on Friday; I don’t really have a choice.

  • These bruises come out along my armpit, around my shoulder, down my arm and across my chest. Can’t really hide ‘em all.
  • I’ve got an additional bruise that covers the entire back of my left hand. It’s from where they missed with trying to put in the IV the first time.
  • Swelling… oh, yeah, still swollen and lopsided and looking like I’ve got two different people’s bodies attached to my chest. Sheesh!
  • And, I can’t lift my right arm too high, or anything heavier than a coffee cup in that right hand, without pain… or busting stitches. Guess the research books and stacks of files at work count as heavier and on the “don’t do” list.

So, I guess I’ll have to tell ‘em tomorrow. I really didn’t want to deal with 30+ people asking all those questions about cancer and surgery, etc. I really wanted a place where I had a great distraction from it all… work!

Guess I’ll have to tell ‘em and then tell them that I don’t really want to talk any more about it until I know final pathology reports on Thursday.

Will be interesting to see who listens and respects my wishes… and who doesn’t. I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that… but it will be interesting nonetheless to see how accurate I am.

It will also be interesting to see if any of this swelling goes down before morning!