August 3, 2013

EZ - Yes, Easy - No!

Bean wanted to knit along with Elizabeth Zimmerman's book The Knitter's Almanac.  She asked me to join her and I agreed to join her several times.  It never got beyond the agreement part though.  We wouldn't start at the beginning in January.  We would jump in and knit the May mittens.  She wanted to knit her mittens in Noro.  Not having Noro, we had to go the knitting store.  Oh the sacrifices I make for my girl.  Then she started knitting.  Needle sizes were changed.  Stitches were ripped out.  Needle sizes were changed again.  Stitches were ripped out again.  May was coming to an end.  Yes, I joined her.  No, you cannot see my mittens.  Why?  Because I didn't finish my mittens!  Luckily I used stash yarn, so I didn't waste any money - if you call buying yarn a waste of money!
It is rare for me not to finish a knitting project I start.  I'm one of those really weird knitters who only knit one project at a time.  My heart was not in these mittens, so they are sitting in a box waiting to either be finished or frogged.
Bean's mittens got finished though!  They are beautiful.  She decided to take pictures of them at Old Salem.  She took pictures on the beautiful old brick sidewalks but the colors didn't show true.  This one was taken in the parking lot behind the car.  Knitting photographers and their photo ops!  But I think this is a really cool picture.  As soon as she weaves the ends in, she can stick a fork in them because she will be done!

July 11, 2013

Harper's 4th

My Grandma is letting me do the blog today.  I feel like "Dog With a Blog"!
 My Mom made her brother a patriotic bow tie, but he doesn't wear it.
My Mom thinks I look 'dashing' in it.
I got to wear it for the 4th of July.

Here I'm being 'cool.'

Here are my patriotic poses.
I'm being 'thoughtful' looking at the flag.

  Here I'm introspective.

There you go sweet thang!  Hope you had a good 4th too.

June 30, 2013

Children's Books

Bean and I found ourselves in Old Salem last Thursday.
Well, we didn't exactly find ourselves there.  We went there with a purpose.
I love to wander the shops.  They are actually setting up Christmas now!  In some ways that scares me to death, but in other ways it's exciting.  We walked through all the future Christmas displays and the Moravian items.  Then we went downstairs to see the books and children's section.
I don't think I have ever stopped loving children's books, even though I have two grown kids.  And when a children's book is mixed with a love of knitting - well, let's just say it's heavenly to me!
This book just screamed that it wanted to come home with me.  Of course I had to oblige.  The illustrations are so cute.  And a mama kitty who knits is right up my alley.  Since I don't have any little ones to read to anymore, I read to Harper.  I don't think he was as into it as I was.  He's got this things for cats, you see.  But he does have a thing for yarn, so he was able to at least tolerate the book, when he wasn't trying to eat it.
Somehow this next book also found it's way home with us.
I love his books!  We have several of them and the kids have always enjoyed them.  I have to admit that I read this one aloud to anyone who would listen.  Bean didn't seem to mind!  He was such a good author.  He didn't 'speak' down to the kids for whom he was writing and he also includes a couple of recipes in the back.
And that concludes today's book review.

June 27, 2013

Do You Know How Much I Love My Therapist?

I love my therapist a whole bunch!
For a year I have been going to therapy almost every Thursday afternoon at Wake Forest.  It is a free service that is provided to caregivers of Alzheimer's patients.
I started going about two years ago.  My first therapist was actually a student at Wake Forest.  However, he graduated and was thrust out into the real world and didn't leave a forwarding address!  :)
After he left me (sniff, sniff) a new therapist came in who wasn't a student.  So.....I started seeing him on a weekly basis.  We had a great deal in common.  One thing that really made a connection for me is that he is a native Floridian and I am a native Floridian.  However, one major thing we DO NOT HAVE IN COMMON - he is a University of Florida alumni and I am a Florida State fan.  We worked through our 'differences' so the whole therapy thing would be productive.  Once he wore khaki pants and a garnet shirt.  I complimented him on his FSU outfit.  Ruined his whole day!  HA!
With therapy coming to an end, I wanted to make something for him.  He knew I was a knitter and it was my own little kind of therapy, so I decided to knit him some HIS school colors.  Yes, it was the ultimate sacrifice for me.  It didn't go unnoticed today when I gave them to him.  He asked me how I managed.  I let him know I did throw up a little in my mouth, but I got over it.  He's his job to!

June 25, 2013

Hey! It's My Birthday!

Hey you!
You there!
Today is my birthday.
I am two!
This is what my life has been like since I was adopted.

Sometimes my Mom kisses me and leaves lipstick on my head!

 Sometimes my Mom will open the window so I can watch the squirrels in my yard.  Stupid squirrels.
Sometimes I am a gentleman and will shake my grandma's hand....but sometimes I just like to bite it instead!

 Sometimes I can be suave.
 When my Uncle still lived at home, I liked computer time with him.
 When my Great Granny comes over, I like to take naps next to her.  See my toys on the floor?  I like to keep them right where I can see them!
 Sometimes they take me outside when there is white stuff on the ground.  I like to eat that white stuff.  Hey!  Where is that white stuff now?
Sometimes I like to hang upside down and pretend I am a bat!

Yum!  I taste pretty good!

Sometimes I like to party.

Happy Birthday to me!

June 23, 2013

Birthday Books

I mentioned on my birthday post that I got a couple of books from Barnes and Noble.  I wanted to share what they were, but I'm new to posting pictures from other sites.  I hope I did it right.  (Is it okay to buy books from Barnes and Noble, but post pictures from Amazon?  Yeah, I though so.) 
A month or two ago I found Ree Drummond's book:
It was in the clearance section for under $6!  I couldn't pass it up, but I wasn't sure I wanted to read it right away.  Then I pulled neck - or so I thought - and had time on my hands.  Perfect reading opportunity.  Man, what a great book!  Some nights I read parts of it to Bean while she knitted.  I think she enjoyed it as much as I did.  Their love story reminded me what a special relationship I have with Ran.  So....when my birthday came along and Ran told me to get whatever I wanted, I jumped at the chance to get one of her recipe books.
I think the thing I like the most about this recipe book, well, besides who it's written by, the photography, yadda, yadda, yadda.... would be the great recipes.  So many of them are definitely on my list to try.  I found one recipe on her website that I've already tried:  Knock You Naked Brownies.
They didn't turn out as pretty as hers, but I don't recall anybody complaining!
I cannot wait to make something out of this book!  I have been admiring it online since it was published.  I have soooooo many fat quarters around this house that are crying out to be used.  I sure hope this book provides that opportunity.  I've got to get those fat quarters to quit crying.  My sock yarn can't stand the competition.

June 21, 2013

CRASH - Morning Has Broken!

My boyby is in Florida visiting his girlfriend and her family.  He left for a two week visit, waaaaaay back on March 30.  I haven't seen him yet.  Well, if you don't count Skype.  And I don't count Skype!  Boyby and his girl have an etsy business and when they are together they are brainstorming, designing, printing, packaging and shipping.  Plus her Dad has an etsy business and they also work for him.  I miss him like crazy and carry on about my baby being gone and boo hoo hoo until everybody - E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y - around me is sick of it.  I finally reached a point where I dried up, sucked it up and get on with life.  I realize he'll be home when he's good and ready and if they aren't ready to throw him out on the street, he must be a half way decent houseguest and that's got to make a Mom proud.
So....when I got a phone call this morning that woke me up....and it was him.....and he starts the conversation off with something like, "Hey Mom.  Don't worry.  Everything is okay."  Well, it gets this Moms heart jumping.  Then when the next line is, "Could you please scan my insurance card and e-mail it to me?" the heart stops jumping.  It just kind of stops in general. 
He needed to see a doctor because he was feeling bad.  He was right, it was no big deal.  Everything was okay.  However, I am almost 600 miles away from him.  Never mind that he is 22.  Never mind that he is a grown man.  He's my BABY!
I wanted to jump in the car and get down their NOW!  I wanted to get on the next airplane!
What was I going to do once I got down there?  Who has time to think things through?!?
I do.  And that's what I did.  I called my sister.  Somehow she can get me out of panic mode and into semi panic mode.  She has three grown boys and a wealth of knowledge.  A prayer request was made that all would be well.
My boyby and his girlby last October at Pilot Mountain.
And you know what?  It was well.  He got to see a doctor right away.  Prescription was filled.  And he is in good hands.  His girl has got the situation under control.  Sometimes it's not easy to let go and let someone else take our place, but sometimes it's just what's needed.  I think it's all gonna be just fine. 

June 19, 2013


Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 49.  Not 49 and holding.  Not the anniversary of my 49th birthday.  Just plain old 49 for the first time - but maybe not the last!
Ran and Bean took me to the best restaurant!
Sweet Potatoes in Winston-Salem.
Ran and I had the opportunity to get to know the owners of this place and they are fabulous people.  Their attention to detail is evident.

While we were downtown we couldn't just eat and run.  It's rare when we are there, so we had to walk around and take in the sites.
The side of Sweet Potatoes.
Looks like a sweet like oasis in the middle of town.
Roses growing next to Sweet Potatoes.

Art?  Graffiti?  How about both?

Fancy place to lock up your bike in front of a/perture

Cherry Pie Bar.  To Die For!
A special treat from the Camino Bakery.

June 18, 2013

Baby Knitting

It has been too long since there's been a baby in the family.
And that's a terrible thing because babies are fun to knit for!
The joys of baby knitting are endless.
You get to experiment with new techniques....
You can try a new yarn and not go broke....
When Randy's nephew and wife announced they were expecting I didn't think 
"boy or girl?"
"due date?"
No.  I thought,
 "what can I knit for this baby?"
Out came all the baby knitting patterns books.
Ravelry was my new best friend.
Then I saw a blanket my old best friend, Karen, had been working on.  She's been my best friend since junior high and has this great aunt thing totally under control.  She and I started talking about the "Sweet Pea Blanket."

Ran's nephew and wife are POSITIVE, without a shadow of a doubt, 100%, ain't no way it's not happening that this baby is a girl.  Now I know technology has come a long way since I had my babies, but sometimes ultrasounds can be wrong.  I just didn't want to spend a great deal of time on an 'heirloom quality' - my words, not theirs - gift that was going to be the wrong color.  I fondled a beautiful berry color, but settled on a creamy white.

I really love the way it ripples.  The baby will be here in August - perfect blanket weather for a Florida baby, right?  And whether it's a girl or a boy, the color will be just fine!


March 18, 2013

I'm still here!

Have you given up on me?
I'm still here.  Just having new stuff happening around me.
As many of you know, my Mom has Alzheimer's.  She has her good days and she has her bad days.  Dealing with her good days and bad days creates good days and bad days for my family.  And dealing with all of that creates a great deal of stress.  My Mom doesn't live with us and I don't know if she could.  Our house is small and we cannot build on.  Mom's house is small and we can't build on.  It was suggested by my Mom's sister that we break up our household and have two of us live with Mom and two of us live in our house.  A lot of people have good intentions, I'm sure, when discussing Alzheimer's and what YOU should do.  However, not many of them are willing to actually help do the day to day stuff in the trenches.  And, although I do not live with my Mom, I pick her up every day and bring her to my house for dinner, take her grocery shopping, keep up with her prescriptions, watch her take her pills daily, take care of her cats, take care of straightening up her house, arrange appointments, pay her bills, and deal with anything 'emergency' she has.  The emergency can be anything from finding a TV remote, finding a channel on her television, plunging a toilet, finding a pair of glasses..... notice 'finding' is something we do a lot.
All of this is stressful.  It would be nice to have an evening of just the four of us.  It would be nice to go out to dinner and not feel guilty that Mom is not eating a decent meal that night.  A vacation is totally out of the question.  Traveling would be a nightmare.  So, when there is traveling to be done, RL does it with one of the kids.  His Mom was widowed the month before my Mom, so he tends to things she needs from time to time.  She lives 600 miles away, so that involves more than a short drive or a visit for just an hour or so.
What can happen when you are stressed out and have no idea what to do next?  Well, it can manifest itself in other ways.  Thankfully, the memory clinic at our hospital has a wonderful support system and offers monthly support groups as well as counseling.  We take advantage of whatever they have to offer when we can.  However, that type of support can't take away ALL of the stress in our lives and stress can manifest itself in even more ways than mentally. 
In October RL started having some pain in his shoulder.  We didn't think too much of it.  Thought maybe he had strained it or even slept funny.  The pain didn't go away.  It actually spread a little.  Over his Thanksgiving vacation, we had a wonderful and relaxing week.  Christmas was coming and we couldn't wait for the three week vacation he was going to take.  He still had the aches and pains though.  A trip to the doctor ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Whew!  Dodged a bullet there.  Christmas vacation came and we had a decent two weeks.  Then the day after Christmas, his pains got worse.  His joints were sore.  We noticed he had an increase in dandruff and it even looked to be in and behind his ear.  Strange.  His wrists got red and swollen.  His right index finger swelled, not twice it's size, but got close.  Then his knuckles on that hand started swelling.  A trip to the doctor was in order again.  More tests, a referral to a rheumatologist and some meds.  In January we saw the rheumatologist and walked away with a diagnosis:  Psoriatic Arthritis.  X-rays have shown he already has damage to his joints.  We had never heard of it.  Sure, we had seen the commercials with Phil Mickelson, but never really paid attention because it wasn't something that affected us.  RL hadn't even had symptoms of Psoriasis until maybe October.    Guess what causes a flare up?  Stress.  Guess what we have in abundance?  Stress.
So, we are dealing with it the best way we know how.  He has started taking meds, has monthly blood work to make sure the meds are not messing with his liver, sees his Rheumatologist every few months, and has to rest quite a bit due to the side effects of the medication. 
The reason I am putting this out there is because we really don't know anything about Psoriatic Arthritis besides what we've been told or can find on the internet.  Apparently it's not extremely common.  When we mention he has Arthritis, we hear, "Well, who doesn't?  We all get it as we age."  But this isn't that type of Arthritis. 
So, if you know anything about it, please let us know.  And if you don't know anything about it, we could sure use your prayers.

February 4, 2013

The Great Chicken Run 2013

Our day started off very slow.  We got out of bed late and were complaining about all chances of any fun or excitement were shot.  As we were sitting around bemoaning our situation, Harper started barking.  No cars out in the driveway.  No kids playing in the street.  No trucks going down the road.  Upon closer examination, R found what he was barking at:  Chickens!  We live on a dead end road.  In our cul de sac there is a seven acre lot which has never been built on.  The family decided to put a garden, bees and chickens there though.  Unfortunately, the family doesn't live in the immediate area.  Due to 'No Tresspassing' signs we haven't ventured too far down that way.  But that didn't stop the chickens from venturing up our way!  First we thought we saw one, then three, then realized more roaming a neighbor's yard.  She had pulled into her drive just as I was approaching and seemed more perturbed than helpful.  So I became a chicken wrangler!  How do you wrangle chickens?  I've never had any experience with them.  So I just started saying, "Here chicky, chicky."  What do you know!  They followed me - just like I was the Pied Piper!  Seven chickens followed me down the lane to their chicken coop.  R brought some bread with her to help lead them into their coop.  Three were easily persuaded.  One was touch and go - she would go in and then come back out.  Three were not having anything to do with it!  They were free range baby!  I finally noticed a name on the no trespassing sign and looked them up on the computer.  A phone call and they were on their way!  We got four fresh eggs for our effort.  It pays to be neighborly!
Not yet, I'm still enjoying the great outdoors!

The three renegades who didn't want to return home.

Finally!  All seven of them safely home.

Chow time.

Our reward for the afternoon adventure.

January 25, 2013

Winter Mix

A winter mix sounds somewhat nice.  It could be a mix of Christmas music.  Maybe it could be a mix of something good to eat like Chex mix.  But no, it is the stuff of winter horror stories.  Being a native Floridian I am fascinated by snow.  I like to build snowmen and sled.  I don't even mind driving in it.  A winter mix scares me to death!  Sleet and freezing rain aren't for me.  However, Harper still has to go outside and tend to business.  And he actually loves snow and ice.  You can be freezing your buns off and watching your finger tips fall off and he'll be laying down eating the snow and ice!  Dumb dog.
The little red bird on the mailbox is encased in ice.

My car window.  I'm not going anywhere anytime soon!

Doesn't look bad, but all those little pellets really add up to one slippery mess!
This is Harper's new sleeping spot.  He thinks he's a cat.
This is what he does when he's tired.  Dumb dog!

He kinda looks like a bat, doesn't he?

January 21, 2013

Happy New Year!

I know, I know.  I'm a little late wishing everyone a Happy New Year.  This has been a long butt year and it's only the 21st!  Since I last posted, we've had a lot of excitement, good and bad.
Late October, Ls girlfriend came to see us for a week.  I would share pictures of that, but my computer crashed and took all those pictures with it!  I'm working on getting our pictures off of the hard drive and when I do, I will share them.  We had a wonderful time with her.  While we were showing her all the neat things in the area, we got to see some sights we'd never seen before.  She's a very sweet girl and we look forward to the day she is a part of our family officially.
Things calmed down just a wee bit so we could get geared up for the holidays.  I stress the 'wee bit' part because it didn't really calm down much at all.  Somewhere in December, L started having pain in his right jaw.  The same jaw he had a wisdom tooth removed from in November of 2010.  The same jaw he had the remainder of his wisdom tooth removed from in December of 2011.  Or so we thought......  L had a flight planned to spend a week with his girlfriend's family in mid December, so we were eager to find out what was going on with that jaw.  Off to our new dentist we went only to find out that the old dentist had left the roots of that wisdom tooth in his mouth!  We were furious!  A week of antibiotics and a consultation with the oral surgeon were scheduled.  His flight was delayed until after everything was taken care of.  The morning of his surgery we were all a little nervous, but we were prepared.  Five minutes after they took him back for the procedure they brought him back to us!  He had some sort of an infection in his tonsils and they refused to do the surgery until it was cleared up.  On the way home we went to our family doctor to find he had mono! was cancelled.  Bed rest was ordered.  We got creative with our Christmas activities since he wasn't able to do much but sleep.  While he was sick, R got a flu that wasn't covered by her flu shot.  A week later, she was doing better.  Thank goodness she had Christmas spirit for our entire family!  If it hadn't been for her, I don't know if our house would have been decorated.  She got the tree decorated almost single handedly.  She also kept us focused on getting all the other Christmas activities finished.  It was a low key day.  Mom spent the night with us and we shared our Christmas gifts and relaxed as well as we could.  Christmas is very interesting since Mom has Alzheimer's.  She used to really get into it, but it's just another day to her anymore.
R, or Bean as we call her, got this travel Scrabble game for her and me so we wouldn't have to worry about Harper messing up our tiles.  This was spelled out for me when I opened it.
Christmas day was also a tough day for RL.  He started having some shoulder aches and pains in October which slowly started taking over other joints in his body.  A trip to the doctor and some blood work told us it wasn't rheumatoid arthritis.  However, the pain just got worse and turned into swelling in the wrists and fingers.  Christmas day was the first day he was experiencing pain at it's worst.  Another trip to the doctor and more blood work and still same conclusion.  The doctor is leaning toward psoriatic arthritis now.  We will know more after seeing a rheumatologist on the 14th.
RL and his canine heating blanket during his arthritis flare up.
R got a new camera for Christmas as well as some great little bunny slippers!  A lot of experimental photography has been going on!
R had her birthday last week.  At least one party animal showed up!

Harper after a little too much excitement over the holidays.
Everybody started feeling better, wisdom teeth have been removed, Christmas decorations have been put away and we are trying to move forward with this new year.