Saturday, September 21, 2013


Not sure if this is all men, or if I am so blessed as to be the fortunate 'owner' of this particular type.  First of all, I love my husband.  He is a great husband, Dad, provider...and friend.  But he has one particularly annoying trait that, even after 36 years, has gotten to be a real pain in the rear!

He will not throw used items away.

Now, I am not taking about things that we could reuse.  Not things that someone else could ever use for anything...things are by definition ...trash!

For example, he loves to save...paper towels.  Seriously!  He will use a paper towel and set it on the counter to reuse.  Does he ever actually reuse it?  No.  I could leave it there for a week and he would not reuse it...however, it WOULD end up with several dozen friends to keep it company.

I understand that he was raised by his grand parents.  Their philosophy was you never threw anything away if it could be used for something...but paper  towels? 

I even made some reusable 'paper' towels.  I took some flannel and made squares...they can be rewashed after every use and voila...they are ready to use again and again.  Nope...he considers that gross.

But laying a used paper towel on the counter is not?

It is the same way with the K-cups for our Keurig.  I have a reusable one that I refill with my freshly ground coffee.  (besides being better for the environment it is a bunch cheaper!)  No...he uses the regular K-cups.  And then stacks them up on the counter.  I am sure there must be some craft project that they can be used for, but not one that I am wiling to save materials for!  Once the plastic is pierced, they can not be reused. 

And those plastic containers that powdered creamer comes many of them do you really need?  At any given time I can put my hand on a dozen or so...and I am not talking about those individual things...I am taking about those large containers of CoffeeMate..(or is it Cramora...I can never remember).  I am not really sure what they can be used for.  I did save a few of them for storage in the sewing room once...and discovered they didn't really work the way I had planned.  I am sure I could make pencil holders or something to hold paint brushes...

I could go on and on...but I think you get the message.

Now, I  on the other hand, only save important cereal boxes.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013



A lot of you may know about the trip our family took with our youngest son, Mr D.  But here is something not a lot of you know about…simply because it is something I have not even shared with my family.

A bit of background.  Mr D and his sister came to live with us when they were 1 and 2.  This was the second time they were placed in our home.  The first time Mr D was only 6 months old.  They stayed with us for a few months and then went back to their bio mother for a while.

When Mr D came to live with us he was practically non verbal…a few grunts was all you heard from him.  Since all of my older kids were talking way before the age of one (as was Miss B, Mr D’s bio sister), we took him to the doctor.   He had severe ear infections and As a result could not hear very well and this was preventing him from talking.  Once those nasty ear infections were cleared up he started talking to beat the band!  His little personality started showing STRONG!

He was a normal, happy, little boy who loved to learn and get into things!  In fact, to keep him busy during church and other quiet times, we would hand him an ink pen.  He could take it apart and put it back together easier than I could.  He loved to do this over and over.  In fact, he loved to use tools of any type to take things apart. We had to keep buying new vacuum cleaners because he loved to take them apart.  He didn’t have a lot of problems putting them back together…he just had a problem with losing some of the parts!

He had found a way for a lefty to fit in a righty world.  It never seemed to bother him.

All that changed on April 22, 2005.  He was a passenger in the car my mother was driving.  He was in his safety seat behind her.  She pulled out in front of a car and was instantly killed.  Damien suffered severe head injuries. 

While we were at the hospital, both Eggelston and Scottish Rite, the nurses and doctors and therapists were fantastic!  They did every thing in their power to make us as comfortable as possible.  While we were in the CRIB unit (rehab with extensive daily therapy) they had a few older kids visit.  These were graduates of the TBI section.  Looking at these kids, I had no clue how they were supposed to help us.  They could talk and walk…neither of these things my baby could do.   They were all in 
school.  I could not imagine how my baby could ever go to school. 

The nurses wanted us to join the program and bring Mr D around to help the other kids after we graduated.  I could not understand what on earth we could do to help anyone.  Showing someone the hopelessness that is TBI?  Reminding them that the chances were their child would never recover?  I wanted to get as far away from that unit as I could as fast as I could.

It became a daily thing.  The nurses would tell me “Johnny and his parent s are here today and we would like for you to meet with them.  We think it could help both you and them to talk about what you each went through and are going through and will have to look forward to.” 

Johnny was walking, talking, feeding himself. He was at least 10 years old, maybe older.  I failed to see what we had in common, other than a terrible diagnosis. 

The nurses and therapists kept insisting it would be good for all of us, and urged me to talk to my husband about it.  I never did.  I never told him, because I was afraid he would want me to do it.  I could not bear to discuss the accident with anyone, much less strangers.  I had stayed busy with Mr D’s hospitalization and therapies and refused to even think about what happened, including taking the time to grieve for my mother…or even to think about what Miss B was going through.  She was also in the car.  She saw her grand mother die and heard the original EMTs say that her brother was dead.   She saw the helicopter come and take her brother away, and thought it was an angel taking them to heaven.  She was only 4 at the time.

Today, Mr D is an active 5 year old in an almost 12 year old’s body.

So, why am I writing this?  I have been following Tripp Halstead’s journey. I have read all the joys and heartbreak that his family has gone through.  I read how his mother goes through what seems like irrational bouts of self-pity.  And I know it all too well.  That time when you see parents with their ‘normal’ kids and mourn for the fact that your baby will never be like that.

 It does not get easier.  But it does get ‘different’.  You stop morning for what you will never have again, and start mourning what will never be.  You realize that THIS is your new normal.  You learn to embrace it.  You learn to enjoy it.  You learn to cherish it.

This is what I missed by not being part of the ‘graduates’.  I missed being told that I was going through normal stuff.  I missed knowing that there would be life again, just a bit different than what I had expected.  Not better, not worse, just different.  I also missed the chance to let other families hear the same thing. 

Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock and change just one thing that day; one tiny thing that may have made the outcome better.  Then I realize that if I did I would have missed out on so much more that God had in store for me. I realize that my life would have still changed, maybe for the worse, but doubtful for the better.

If I had one chance to talk to Tripp’s mother, I would just tell her it is normal to have the feelings you are having. That it is ok to mourn for what you don’t have any more, but to cherish what you do have and hang on for the ride… it will be exciting!  And then I would hug her!  She is a member of an exclusive club that no one EVER asked to join.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My youngest daughter just compared herself to Cinderella... as in she has to do 'everything' around the house!

When I was younger...much much younger, I thought that summer break was just that...a BREAK!  Right up until the year my mom started working outside the home.  My little sister went to day care and my brother and I were left at home... can you say, sleep as long as you want and eat what you want and watch tv all DAY!

That lasted for about a week.  That is when my mom realized that she had evidently failed to teach us the process of putting away stuff you got out.

After that we were expected to get up at a reasonable time, we each had or own 'chores' we had to do and then...and only then....were we allowed to watch tv.   However, the loophole was if we went outside we did not have to do our chores first....  I think I was about 12... from that point on I realized that putting up something after you used it was a pretty good plan.

My first 'set' of kids sort of understood this idea.  They knew they had 'chores' to do...and somehow it tied into some sort of responsibility...but they didn't really care what that was all about, just as long as they could figure out the least amount of work they could do to get 'by'!

With my second 'set' of kids things were different.  By the time they were old enough to help out much around the house, I was no longer working.  I have always had a problem wanting Mr D not to feel 'different' .  Makes for a problem when trying to give them 'chores' as they got older.  (Equal but separate?)

Now that summer is in full swing...we are attempting to give the kids more responsibility...more than just keeping their own rooms clean (although this is a quality they have yet to master).  Sort of a  "everyone living in the house has a job to do " type thing.

Currently, they are given a choice between 3 'chores' each morning...  (not a single one has included cleaning the cinders out of the fireplace!)  They choose one.  That is it...just one.  It takes them a total of less than 30 minutes.  (I could do them on my own in less than 5)

That chore seems to have been the breaking point for my daughter.  I mean we have so many rules!  Like you have to be out of bed at a reasonable time...because breakfast is over at 9am.  If you miss it, you don't get anything until lunch. 

So, even though we are going to leave next week for a short Disney then beach vacation to celebrate "someone's " thirteenth birthday; even though the pool is now open on any day that isn't raining and the temp reaches 80 degrees; and that same someone has everything she has ever asked for....we are treating her like a maid...and worse!  I am now the evil Step Mother ...just without the step.

OK, fine...if that is the way she wants to be... I just reminded her that Cinderella married the Prince....  of course, if there are any mice showing up to do the exterminator will be called!


Friday, May 3, 2013

I save every manual known to have ever thought about coming into my house!  Even way after the item has long died the manual can be found in my house (I just recently threw out a manual for a Commodore 64 computer system!)  So, how come the one manual I need right now I can't find?

I NEED the manual for my pool pump.  Something isn't working right, and in order to get a replacement part I need the model number of the pump.  The manufacturer no longer makes that one, so I need some info that can only be found in the manual to find a generic part.  (and of COURSE, the model info is no where to be seen on the actual pump!)

I was able to find the manual for the OLD pump that was replaced last year.  I was able to easily put my hands on the manual for the Dyson vacuum that has left the premises 3 or 4 years ago.  But zero on the current pump!

The pump is still under warranty.  Usually this particular company wants you to send back the old part before they replace it.  At this point I am still trying to find out what is I am not sure WHAT part is giving me the problem...which is why if I could read the manual I would have a better idea.  I have been working on this particular problem for over a month!  We are seriously considering just purchasing a new pump and be done with it. 

Maybe I just need to pay someone to come in and organize my 'stuff'!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

When did you first get paid for sewing?

When did you first get paid for something sewing related? 

I vividly remember mine...I was 6.  It was the summer between kindergarten and first grade.  My grandmother was a professional seamstress.  She made wedding dresses and Trousseau's .  I got a quarter for each seam I ripped out.  If I cut or otherwise marred the fabric...I did not get paid.  It made me learn very quickly how to rip seams effectively and safely!

To keep that in perspective, at home I made a quarter a WEEK in allowance! (My younger brother made fifteen cents!)  The new house we lived in did not have a finished basement...but the expense to have the builder do it would bring the cost of the newly built house to a price point that my family thought was 'expensive' would have topped $9,000!  So my dad finished it himself over time!

I remember a couple years later, our house payment going over $50 a month and my dad complained we needed to find a new house we could afford!  (we didn't)  My mom spent $20.00 a week in groceries...and we ate like kings!

When my husband and I bought our current home 11 years ago, my mom was appalled at the price we paid...saying it wasn't much bigger than the house I grew up could I pay that much?

So, my first sewing job made me RICH!  I had more money than I knew what to do with...and I was hooked on sewing! 

I sometimes think I still work for that wage..... but I don't fell as monetarily rich as I did back then...

Have fun sewing today!