Meet “Blueberry Hill Jazmine”

July 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm (Uncategorized)

Our sweet Tessapoo died on January 23, 2011. My Post, “How Do You Say Goodbye.”   I vowed we’d never have another dog.  My heart was so broken, I didn’t know if I could recover.  Then Darling DannyO started wearing me down.  We made compromises, which is why we just didn’t go to a shelter — I wanted a dog that did not shed (I was NOT EVER sweeping each and every day again).  He didn’t want a little dog, but a hunting buddy.  Friends B & G posted pictures of their dog, Crockett on Facebook.  I asked what kind of dog he was and where did they get him??  We found out Crockett was an Airedale Terrier.  Someone we actually knew, Jeff Varner, breeds them.  Circumstances prevented us from actually purchasing one until this year.

Because she is AKC registered, we had to come up with more than “Jasmine,” her original name.  So, she is “Blueberry Hill JaZmine,” because her Mom is Mountain Summit Black RaZberry.  Of course, I’m already calling her “Jazz” or “Jazzy” or “Scoobydoo”(not sure why!?!?)

She is smart and really wants to make us happy, except when she wants to make herself happy :-D.  {{sigh}} it will all work out!

At the breeder's home

At the breeder’s home

We are crate training her. She stays in her crate if we cannot watch her 100% of the time.  She sleeps in one too.  Now, to be sure, she has accidents — she is only 9 weeks old.  They are down to about one a day.  We are learning her “signs.”

 

Second Visit to the Breeder's home

Second Visit to the Breeder’s home

Home at last!!

Home at last!!

My deal with DannyO was that the dog would be his (registered in his name) and when he was home, he would be her primary caregiver.  He is holding up his end of the bargain.  Of course, he works 8-10 hours a day so that leaves me and Jazzy a lot of bonding time.

Already causing trouble

Already causing trouble

Eight weeks old

Eight weeks old

what a cutie!!

what a cutie!!

Nine weeks old

Nine weeks old

She loves to sleep on the tiled kitchen floor

She loves to sleep on the tiled kitchen floor

An odd sleeping position

An odd sleeping position

Amanda came home to give me a much-needed rest -- her "walk" with Jazmine

Amanda came home to give me a much-needed rest — her “walk” with Jazmine

With me battling MS and TN, this is indeed a stressful time for me.  I am not afraid to put her in the crate when I need a break or a nap.  She complains because she’d rather be sitting ON my feet, but she’s surviving.  I know it is temporary — Jazmine will become part of our family and to be honest, she already has my heart :-)

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Baby Dresses and Bracelets

July 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm (Jewelry, Sewing Projects)

I have been sewing non-stop for the last month.  My daughter’s friend Sarah and her hubby are having a baby girl.  She was Amanda’s roommate when she moved to the DC area. They lived together until Sarah and, six months later, Amanda got married.  I knew I wanted to do something special for Sarah’s baby shower.  I decided to dust off my sewing machine and make one of those tutu dresses that are so popular.  Of course, being the thrift store maven I am, I chose to re-purpose two skirts I purchased for $2.99 each.  I decided to make two dresses just in case I screwed one up royally… I would have a back-up. I always have complete confidence in my abilities.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into!!

I made the 6-12 Month

I made the 6-12 Month

For the tutu dresses, I used Violette Field Threads – Chloe. I re-purposed a skirt for each bodice. I had to purchase three different fabrics for the skirt, 2 yards each, netting, tulle and chiffon.  They suggested nylon chiffon because it doesn’t fray, but my local Joann fabric store didn’t have any, so I had to get the kind that frays like mad — and it frayed madly!!  I decided to interface the fashion fabric because each skirt piece had a slight 4-way stretch. I wanted it to be firm. Again, re-purposing is about giving pre-worn garments a beautiful second life.  It was easy to do and, once I interfaced it, the material cooperated 100% !!  I also used buttons from my Grammy’s stash.   I fully finished the bodices, buttons and all, before I even started on the skirts.  That was a good decision on my part.

The skirt… ahhhh… the skirt… three different fabrics cut 10 inches long (10 1/2 for the chiffon because I had to hem that), 2 yards wide.  The fabrics were hemmed, side seams sewed, lined up, and then I began to gather… 72 inches to 20 inches.  Each skirt took about 2 hours to hem, sew, gather BEFORE attaching to the bodice.  The one thing I will do differently next time is I WILL learn to use my serger and I WILL use it to combine the three fabrics.  I also will be purchasing a gathering foot for my machine in the hopes that it will make this step easier — quite honestly, there probably is not much that will make it easier except to use less fabric, which I won’t do because the finished product is AMAZING!!!!

Madeline's dress

Madeline’s dress

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

Both dresses turned out beautifully and I was only giving one dress to Sarah.  I decided to give the second dress to my friend Tab who is having a baby girl soon too.  (You can click the link on Tab’s name to read her wonderful blog).

Dress for Tab's baby girl

Dress for Tab’s baby girl

...the back (using buttons from Grammy's stash)

…the back (using buttons from Grammy’s stash)

A sane woman would have stopped at two beautiful tutu dresses.  But I have never said I was sane!!  Sarah and Tim have named their girl Madeline.  I decided to use my machine embroidery attachment to make a pillow for her room.

Madeline's pillow

Madeline’s pillow

It took me as long to reacquaint myself with the attachment as it did to embroider the pillow. Of course, I didn’t stop there.  I had some beautiful sparkly beads that I sewed around the embroidery and I found a beautiful butterfly that I hand-stitched on.  I don’t have a picture of the back of the pillow, but it has three buttons/buttonholes.  I used buttons from Grammy’s stash.

Simplicity 1547

Simplicity 1547

Then, this crazy woman decided to make a winter dress for Madeline.  I used Simplicity 1547.  I found a sweet corduroy fabric.  I made a small pink felt flower to match.

Sweet corduroy dress

Sweet corduroy dress

And then… Sarah has always loved the earrings I made for Amanda’s bridesmaids.  She will often email me when she wears them.  I had a few of the stones in my stash…

Sarah's bracelet

Sarah’s bracelet

Now she has a matching bracelet.

And then… I went through my iTunes and made a music mix for Madeline.  I chose all women artists, including my darling daughter.  For Sarah’s music mix, I gathered all of the worship music that heals my heart and encourages me.

The baby shower was beautiful!  Sarah’s friends did a wonderful job.  I helped Judy put the little teeny-tiny appetizers together.  Of course, I forgot to take my camera and didn’t get a picture of me and Sarah :-(

Judy's beautiful "little bites."  I only helped assemble them :-)

Judy’s beautiful “little bites.” I only helped assemble them :-)

I was putting together the mailer to send Tab her dress and decided to make her a bracelet.  I don’t know her favorite color, but green is my “go-to” when I don’t have a specific inspiration color.  I used one of my “joy” beads just to encourage her.  She is going to, very soon, have three kiddos all under the age of five and two dogs and a hubby and a blog and a business… she’s one busy, inspirational lady.  I pray she is reminded to simply en”joy” each day, no matter what it brings.

Tab's bracelet -- always remember to have JOY

Tab’s bracelet — always remember to have JOY

Oh, and last week I spent five days helping Amanda decorate her and Hengyi’s new townhouse.  We walked and walked, looked and looked (she says I touched and touched… I must confess, I touch everything!!), bought and bought (again, another story — I have to put my credit card away for a while).  I hemmed drapes and curtains and, when we got back to my house, I made two pillows out of the fabric that was her inspiration for all of the color choices for her first floor.

Amanda's "jumping off" point for her house

Amanda’s “jumping off” point for her house

Whew!!  No wonder I have been tired all week.  I am sleeping and napping and sleeping some more.  And then on Friday, we get Jasmine.

Jasmine

Jasmine

I have two sewing projects on the list.  First:  Learn how to use my serger!!  I think the tutu dresses would have been easier had I been able to use the serger.  Second:  repurpose a maxi dress I got at Goodwill into a vintage summer dress.  The dress is a newer Target dress. I love the fabric but it hits me in weird places.  I am going to use a vintage pattern, 1963 McCalls 6712.  So, in essence, I am going to do things backwards — take a new dress and make it old :-).  I want to have that done before we go to the beach.  Here’s hoping…

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

1963 pattern, which is awesome!!

Oh, and I was going to make baby shoes.  I made one sample successfully but I ran out of time.  Another project for another day :-)

Sample baby shoe -- too exhausted to even think about this project!!

Sample baby shoe — too exhausted to even think about this project!!

 

 

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Link to My Guest Blog Post – Tab’s “Mom Next Door” Series

July 6, 2014 at 11:48 am (Multiple Sclerosis)

I know this terrific lady. Her name is Tab. I met her through her sister.  She is an amazing mother and wife and an even more amazing woman!!  I am sure that, if we were both raising children, she would be one of my best friends.  As it is, we are blogger friends and each other’s encourager.

She has a fabulous blog, which I read faithfully.  I love the way she is teaching her children how to find their places in this world and how to be people who make a difference.  I know that I didn’t thoughtfully raise my children the way she does…  I was mostly flying by the seat of my pants.

About six weeks ago she asked me to participate in her “Mom Next Door” series.  I was honored to answer the questions she posed and I included pictures of our family throughout the years.  Interestingly, she said the photo that prompted her to ask me was this one…  I was getting an IV steroid treatment (notice the makeup and earrings and new nightgown I made).  Dan would bring the kids in to see me.  I got treatments every three months or so until my stomach couldn’t handle the steroids and I developed bleeding ulcers.

http://studerteam.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-mom-next-door-series-melodye-o.html

1994-95 -- I was in the hospital having a solumedrol treatment.

1994-95 — I was in the hospital having a solumedrol treatment.

Take a few moments and read my guest post:

http://studerteam.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-mom-next-door-series-melodye-o.html

Thanks, Tab, for using my life experiences to encourage other Moms and, most of all, thank you for being an inspiration to me!!  I am honored to call you my friend!!

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Finishing Projects (Yay me!)

June 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm (Jewelry)

I’ve been a busy bee in between bouts of vertigo and trigeminal neuralgia pain.  My OCD kicks in big time every once in a while and I work to finish projects.  I have a brand new project I’m working on but the first version was an epic (and I mean epic) fail!!  However, I will not be deterred!!  I have the second version half-way done.  When I am successful, I will show you both the “epic fail” and the “fabulous” versions!  The weird thing about creating is, at least for me, I don’t ever feel I’ve wasted my time if I have to trash something and start over (which I did in this case).  It’s all part of the journey!!

My butterflies -- I cannot get a non-blurry picture for some reason :-(

My butterflies — I cannot get a non-blurry picture for some reason :-(

Bracelets for two sweet young girls' birthdays and something for their Momma.  Unfortunately, this isn't a final photo.  I forgot to take those :-/

Bracelets for two sweet girls’ birthdays and something for their Momma. Unfortunately, this isn’t a final photo. I forgot to take those :-/

A bracelet for Marissa

A bracelet for Marissa

A bail I made to hold some charms for my son's chain.

A bail I made to hold some charms for my son’s chain.

 

There you have it!  Now I need a nap :-D

Postscript…  Marissa loved her bracelet.  The two bracelets I sent to the birthday girls must have been stolen.  Shown delivered, but didn’t arrive!!  Grrrr… Apparently, according to the post office, if it is marked “delivered” is it out of their hands so I am out three bracelets and a pair of earrings.  Oh well.  I am not wasting negative energy on the situation.  I will just make more :-D

 

 

 

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And so began the rest of her life

May 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm (Memories, Multiple Sclerosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

“One day she decided to listen. Really listen. Not to the noisy chatter of her mind that told her she couldn’t, but to the voice within her heart that knew she absolutely could. And so began the rest of her life.”

I cannot take credit for that quote — I just found it today and it spoke to me.

In my devotions today, Jeremiah 33:3 was the verse I studied. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

I have been really struggling lately, struggling with intense TN pain, with my weight, with the continued MS deficits, with my place in this world.  I am over half-way through my life and I spend most days just barely making it through, with pain being my battle.  I am my own worst enemy.  I have so many creative ideas, but no energy.  I wake up in pain, and then must medicate, which makes it impossible to really, truly function.

This past weekend, I tended both of my sets of grandparents’ graves.  I was blessed to know all four of them.

G&GSaveringGrave-2014

G&GGayGrave-2014

Grandma Amelia died when she was my age, 54, in November 1969, killed by a drunk driver.  I spent the summer of 1969 with her.  We spent lots of time in her garden.  She entered me in the Garden Show and my flower arrangement won first place!  I remember her as a strong woman — not afraid of any man, of anything.  If she wanted to do something, she just did it.  She told me there was nothing that I could not do.

Grandma and Grandpap Gay

Grandma and Grandpap Gay

 

Debbie, me, Susan and Grandma Amelia

Debbie, me, Susan and Grandma Amelia

Pappy Savering was a hard worker who spent lots of weekends fishing.  My first real memory involves him.  I had cut my chin on a plastic cup while in the bathtub.  Pappy held my head while Dr. Ebandjieff stitched my chin.  I remember seeing my Momma, sitting by a big Coke vending machine, with her head between her knees.  Pappy was very tall and handsome and could be intimidating, but his hands were gentle, that I remember.  He died in 1988 from a stroke.

Pappy and Grammy

Pappy and Grammy

At their 50th wedding anniversary party

At their 50th wedding anniversary party

Grandpap Gay lived until 1999, with terrible issues as a result of the accident that killed my Grandma.  He was a prayer warrior.  I used to go over to see him and, if it was a while since I had been there, he would say, “Did you lose the map?”  He had strong opinions.  I can just imagine that he and Grandma had some knock-down-drag-out fights!!

Grandpap and Molly

Grandpap and Molly

Grammy lived the longest, until 2009.  She prayed for me every day.  As my sister said, “she loved, more than anything, she loved!”  Grammy never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She would find positives in every situation.  She was very quick to tell you that “outer beauty” wasn’t as important as “inner beauty.”  She’d tell us that we were still in our “ugly duckling” stage.  She was the one who handed out nickels for us to put in the offering plate and could split a piece of gum into five pieces (it was usually very stale so it broke easily!).

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

I shared brief memories with you, but there are so many more!!  As I tended the graves, while I said hello to Grandpap and Pappy, I had conversations with Grandma and Grammy as I loosened the soil, removed the pansies from their temporary pots, dug some more and planted.  As I planted a purple-themed bed, because she would have liked that, I told Grandma Amelia that I missed her and that I wished that I had her strength.  I used many different colored pansies for Grammy, because she never saw a color she didn’t like!! I told Grammy that I missed her and that I wished that I had her sunny outlook.  I told both of them that I was looking forward to seeing them in heaven.  As I left each grave, I kissed their names, told them goodbye.

This morning, I found the quote, I remembered Grandma’s strength, Grammy’s positive outlook, and realized that I was listening to the wrong voices.  For reasons I do not know, the Lord still wants me here on earth.  I need to accept where I am, what I weigh, my physical limitations, my pain issues, in order to live my best life!!!

So, today I am listening… remembering my sweet grandparents’ advice, waiting for the Lord to reveal the “great and mighty things” I do not know.  Above all, I am hearing only the voice that tells me what I CAN do… and so begins the rest of my life.

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Three Subjects, Starting with Tuesday-Shoesday

May 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm (Jewelry, Musings..., Shoes, Social Anxiety, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

Subject #1

“Life is not waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain!!” I know this statement is figurative, but it can be taken literally too!  In the middle of March, it was raining buckets.  I had a neurologist appointment in Altoona.  Of course, it figures, all of the handicapped spots were taken!!  Now, I am not pointing fingers at anyone, but I do know that when it rains, anyone who has a placard, even though they don’t need it on that particular day, is more likely than not to use the HP. I needed my rollater.  It is nearly impossible to manage a rollator AND an umbrella.  I parked WAAAAAYYYY far away from the entrance.  By the time my feet, in slow speed, made it to the entrance, I was soaked through to my undies!!  {{Sigh}}

It was at that point that I decided to buy a pair of rain boots.  I already have a pretty rain-resistant coat.  Since I am not going fishing, just getting from point A to point B, it will suffice.  It is pink.  I looked at many styles and colors of boots, but the yellow ones made me happy :-) .  So… Rain, give it your best shot!!!  I am ready for you!!! (Plus, I will look stylish dodging rain drops!)

My Awesome Rainboots!!

My Awesome Rainboots!!

Subject #2

Weekday 12 of no daytime television.  I am on a roll!  This morning I went to the high school (Subject #3), came home, took a nap, planted my herbs, took another nap, am blogging and plan to start supper soon.  Last week I finished a bracelet for my sweet niece, Kristi Brinklie (Really!!  Her last name is Olsavsky). She liked it.  I am very happy with the finished product.  I used one of my wire-worked hearts.

Jewelry-5

Subject #3

MelodyeJoy – 2  Social Anxiety (SA) – 0

I have spoken about my struggle with social anxiety.  I am working so hard to “behave my way” through it.

Last week, my friend Michelle and her group, New Journey, were singing at EBC.  I really wanted to hear them.  I waffled throughout the week.  On Thursday, I made it Facebook official.  I was going!!  I ran one errand before heading to the church.  I started panicking when I hit the Elton Road exit.  I kept driving… I parked… I pulled out my rollator… Michelle’s sweet hubby, the V man, met me at the door with a big hug.  I am so glad I went to hear them.  They blessed my heart.

Some of you know that I was the accompanist for the Central Cambria School District for 12 years until 2009.  What was later diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, made it necessary for me to “retire.”  I have not been back to a concert, at first, because I was so very sad that I had to stop doing something I loved.  Then this stupid SA reared its ugly head rendering me helpless to even attempt to go.  Two weeks ago I texted Paul, (the director and a wonderful friend) and asked if I could attend the double-period rehearsal the day of the concert. He said yes and to text him Monday to remind him to tell the office I was coming… Monday… every time I started to text, I couldn’t.  I promise you this is a real feeling.  Unless it has happened to you, it will make no sense at all to you!!

Finally, I figured he was home from school and couldn’t tell the office I was coming so I texted him, apologizing for not texting earlier, but not telling him the whys of it.  His answer to me was “No worries!!  It will be chaos but I would love to see you!!”

I set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. and, fortifying myself with coffee, dressing to the “nines” with my new Toms and my favorite Isaac Mizrahi scarf (and my goodwill jeans), I went to the school.  I spent two hours listening to wonderful music and talking to two of my favorite friends, Paul and Tom (Tom now accompanies the choirs). Again, I am so happy I went!!

Graduation-2004

Tom, Me and Paul Graduation-2004

PaulTomMe-2

Paul, Tom and Me One of our themed concerts (I re-made my sweatshirt)

I am feeling more confident that I can win this social anxiety battle!!

 

 

 

 

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“Here Comes Everything I Need”

May 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm (Anniversaries, Musings...)

Fair warning… lots of pictures!!!  How can you celebrate 34 years without pictures!!

Happy 34th Anniversary to darling DannyO and me!

We were dating in this picture. No digital "do-overs!"

We were dating in this picture. No digital “do-overs!”

Wow!!  34 years!! That’s something to celebrate in this day and age.  We were married on a Friday night, May 16, 1980.  Our best friends, Buck and Mary, John and Janet stood in for us. My Grammy and Momma and Daddy came.  We spent our “honeymoon” on the Christian Diplomat bus, as we already had booked dates to sing Saturday night and Sunday.  Reverend Jenkins married us at a church in Ebensburg.  I won’t go into the details why we weren’t married at Pike, but let me just say, times were different than they are today :-)

Danny, me, Momma and Daddy

Danny, me, Momma and Daddy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

TBT-3

Just Married!

Just Married!

Danny worked in the coal mines and I worked at the Domestic Relations office in the courthouse.  We rented a tiny one-bedroom apartment on Margaret St in Ebensburg for $185.00 a month, including utilities!!  Our landlords, the Griffiths, became real friends to us. To get to their washer and our dryer (yes, they let us use their washing machine), I had to go outside and around to the basement.  Within a week, I was knocking on their door, (with their permission) walking through the connecting door to do laundry.  Often, I would hear Danny’s F-150 and knew he was home, but then I would hear the door to the Griffith’s house open.  I’d hear him playing with Misty, their miniature collie.  When supper was ready, I’d call down and he’d come up and we’d share a meal in our tiny kitchen.  We bought the kitchen table and chairs.  We were given the couch and end tables and coffee table.  The couch wasn’t in great shape so I bought a throw for it, which had to be adjusted each and every time someone sat on it.  We also had a black and white television, which, of course, didn’t have a remote!  The Griffiths had an extra bedroom set.  We cuddled on a borrowed bed.  I did purchase some beautiful yellow curtains for the kitchen.  When Danny worked 4-12 or hoot owl, I felt safe.

In love!!

In love!!

As I am writing this, memories are flooding back to me.  I won’t write them all down because this would be a novel, not a blog post.  Someday I will write the story of how we met. :-)

We met in November 1979, so we were still learning about each other the day we got married.  I will tell you that we had some outside conflict the first year we were married.  We faced it head on together, giving each other strength, standing shoulder to shoulder.

Daddy and Amanda taking a wee nap.

Daddy and Amanda taking a wee nap.

Two years later, March 25, 1982 our precious daughter, Amanda, was born.  By then, we were living in a trailer on a piece of property across the road from my Mom and Dad.  The winter of 1982, Bobby Jo  moved the trailer across the road, up a 1/4 mile lane, turned it around in the back field and settled it on the two acres Dad and Mom so graciously gave to us (we actually paid them $1.00 so we wouldn’t have to pay inheritance tax).  Our ground was one big hill and the front of the trailer was cribbed up very high to level it.  It was warm and cozy and we settled in with our little family of three.

Amanda "helping" her Dad

Amanda “helping” her Dad

In 1984, we had enough money saved to start building our house.  Danny would work in the mines, come home, grab a bite to eat and walk 30 feet to the house.  Amanda loved to go over and “help” her Daddy.  On December 8, 1985, sweet baby Brent was born.  We moved into the house in 1986, although none of the trim work was done and we still walked on sub flooring.  But… it was ours and we were debt free.

Sweet baby Brent

Sweet baby Brent

Sweet Baby Brent

Sweet Baby Brent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1987, Dan’s mine closed permanently.  Because we had no debt, he was able to attend Penn Tech in Pittsburgh.  He went to school four days a week, and worked for Jerry Varner Friday and Saturday.  He and Amanda studied at the kitchen table together.  I had to go back to work.  I began by working for Kelly Services — my paycheck was $144.00 a week – net!! Amanda was in school.   Janice watched Brent a few days a week.  Ann also watched them in the summer.  My Momma graciously watched them one day a week.  On Friday’s, after putting Amanda on the bus, Danny would head out to Varner’s with Brent in tow.  Brent had his big wheel and loved to ride the ramp between the two horse barns.  Brent called him “Jerdy Farmer.”

Probably taken at a concert.

Probably taken at a concert.

Taken at the Crown American Building opening

Taken at the Crown American Building opening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny graduated in December 1989 with an associates degree in electronics.  By this time, I had been working at Crown American for two years.  He immediately found a job.  In December 1989, I had a pain behind my eye.  By February of 1990, my legs stopped working.  I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

I will not go through the next 24 years in this post except to say that DannyO was my rock. We worked as a team parenting Amanda and Brent.  He held my hand when I was afraid, held my head when I was vomiting uncontrollably from vertigo.  He came home early from a fishing trip when I had a seizure and ended up at the bottom of our stairs in a puddle of urine.  Amanda found me — what a scary situation for her!

Back in the 1990’s, solumedrol was the main treatment for MS exacerbations.  They required a 7-day hospital stay and I had 3 to 4 treatments each year.  When I went to the Cleveland Clinic for more extensive testing, DannyO, without complaint, took personal days off to make the drive with me.

The kids visiting me in the hospital

The kids visiting me in the hospital

The Deetscreeks, Bud and Ernie (or “Bert and Ernie” as Brent called them) put the finishing touches on our home, including the hardwood flooring and the deck.

Fast forward to today.  I remember the year we bought each other the same anniversary card.  One year, we each forgot… and remembered a few days later on the same day!!

A "selfie"

A “selfie”

Has it been all fun and games??  No!  Have we every considered divorce?? No!  As I would often say, “murder, yes, divorce, no!”  We had some rough years while we were in our 30’s.  Looking back, we were so stressed, the kids were growing, I was sick, we had, it seemed, never enough money. But, back then, we could “float” checks.  That is why I still balance our checkbook to the penny!! When the balance hovers around $20.00, you’d better be sure you know exactly everything that has been debited from the account.  We pushed through, working to communicate, learning how to disagree without saying hurtful things.  We used to have knock-down, drag-out fights.  We’ve learned that some words, once spoken, are so hurtful that irrevocable damage is done.  We don’t say those words any more. There really is an art to fighting!!

:-D I love this picture!

:-D I love this picture!

Thanksgiving (I don't remember the year)

Thanksgiving (I don’t remember the year)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sisters will tell you that my DannyO has made me laugh more.  I was the oldest, serious sister.  My children will tell you that their Dad is the hardest working person they know.  So much, that when he finally sits down in the recliner, he is out like a light within five minutes, remote in hand!!

At Kari and Brad's wedding

At Kari and Brad’s wedding

Me and Darling DannyO at Amanda's Wedding

Me and Darling DannyO at Amanda’s Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fell in love with Daniel Gregory because he was funny, cute, drove a nice truck and treated me like I was his found treasure.  I now know that love, while real, wasn’t the sustaining love needed to live in the real world.

I love Danny now with every fiber of my being because he is the kindest, most faithful, hardest working person I know.  And he still loves me, with everything that goes along with loving me.  I love him more every day.  I also have learned to say those words early and often each day.  Saying “I love you” goes great with breakfast, typed as a text, said when he is so weary at the end of a long day, but he has to go out into the dark and cold on yet another call.

At The beach!!

At The beach!!

Amanda's Wedding 2012

Amanda’s Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach!!

The Beach!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, I know that there is one person in this whole universe who has my back, is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and, when necessary, pick me up and carry me.

The card I got for him this year says…

“I love looking for you in a crowded place, spotting you at last, catching your eye, seeing you smile, watching you walk my way… In that moment, every other thought drops away.”

“All I’m thinking is, here he is.  Here comes everything I need.”

Christmas party 2013

Christmas party 2013

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Little Changes… Can Make a BIG Difference

May 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm (Jewelry, Musings...)

I am an empty-nester hermit whose darling hubby works long hours and I am okay with that!!  I’ve written before about my battles with MS, TN and social anxiety.  This latest battle,and a victory if I’m being honest, will make a big difference in my life.

Last week, my blogger friend, Tab, announced that she and her family would have an “unplugged, screen-free” week. (Tab, I miss you and will be glad when you are back).  That got me thinking… I have the television on during the day just for noise.  However, I’ve developed a bad habit, especially when I’m not feeling well. I fritter away good hours just watching mindless television (any Law and Order series and {{Yikes}} shopping channels).

Follow my logical thinking. If I only have a few good hours each day and I spend them watching television, I am not only wasting time, but I am not being a good steward of the days the Lord has given me.

So… I did my own version of “unplugged, screen-free.”  I did not turn the television on until 4:00 p.m. for Judge Judy.  I am usually preparing supper at that time and reasoned it was the natural line of demarcation for me.

What a difference it made!!  My week was filled with fabulous music, wonderful books and some real serious hours of creativity!!!

Instead of watching the Today Show as I drank my coffee and ate my greek yogurt, I opened my Bible, read some verses and spent time in prayer.  Instead of sitting and watching Live with Kelly & Michael, I did one load of laundry each day and spent 30 minutes in my kitchen, cleaning, sorting and organizing.  By the time Ellen came on, I was in my art studio, working on a Dooney & Burke inspired tote and bending wire and stringing beads.

Noon is the usual time my body starts falling apart. Instead of turning on the noon news or Law & Order, I had a good Paleo snack and closed my eyes for 20 minutes or so.  One of the days was very rough and I stayed lying down for a few hours, but I had my iPod set to shuffle and I enjoyed wonderful music as I dozed.  Two days, as the weather was beautiful, I took my walking stick for a walk through the back fields, came home and took a shower before starting supper.

Even as I write this, DannyO is at a call and, instead of watching TV, I am listening to music.

The week went so well that I am going to continue my version of  “unplugged – screen-free!”  Thanks Tab!!!

These are the projects I worked on this week…

The lining for my tote

The lining for my tote

Jewelry-1

A bracelet I designed for my Momma for Mother’s Day.

Jewelry-3

Earrings — these are pretty cool!!

Jewelry-4

“Marissa.” These are aptly named for my son’s girlfriend. They are a new design and I hope she likes them :-)

This coming week, I hope to deep clean my bathroom and laundry room in those 30 minutes each morning.  Of course, if the Pirates are playing or there is a NASCAR race on, I may have to re-negotiate with myself.  I hope to finish my tote and work on a water color that I’ve had prepped for a few weeks.  I will also blog more because I am not squandering precious time.

 

 

 

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Tuesday-Shoesday

May 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm (Shoes)

I  bought my very first pair of Toms!!  I wanted the pink glittery ones, but felt that might be a bit too much of… everything.  I followed my cousin, Sara’s advice and ordered them 1/2 size smaller.  They are beautiful!!  I cannot wait to wear them!!

Perfectly pink

Perfectly pink

For real Toms!

For real Toms!

Side view -- love the soles!

Side view — love the soles!

Shoes make me smile!!

Shoes make me smile!!

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Pepperoni-Mushroom Stromboli

March 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm (Recipes)

This is for Katie Gregg – she is married now, but in my mind, she will always be “Katie Gregg.”  :-)

I got a free book for my Kindle through bookbub.com, The Art of Perfect Bread Baking.  I have made a few of the recipes, including the cinnamon rolls — they are fabulous!! Another day… another blog post…

Have I mentioned lately that I love my Kindle??? :-)

Have I mentioned lately that I love my Kindle??? :-)

It has some wonderful recipes in it.  I perfected this recipe, molding it to work with our preferences.  One of the tricks is to not use too much sauce.  Another trick is to never over-work the dough!!  That’s why I like using my Kitchen Aid – it mixes without over-doing it!!

I am going to be very specific in my instructions, partly to help the young ladies who read this and don’t have much cooking experience.  I also bolded the ingredients in the instructions so you can, at a glance, see what order they go.   I promise you, it is easy!!!  I didn’t intend to blog the recipe so I didn’t take any pictures.  My plan is to, when I make it again, take pictures and then edit this blog post to include the pictures.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attached for the dough.  It makes quick work of kneading.  If you don’t have a Kitchen Aid, you will need to knead the dough for about 8 minutes before the first rising.

Pepperoni-Mushroom Stromboli

Tools:

Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook

Pizza stone

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

¼ cup lukewarm water

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

½ cup cold water

1 2/3 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour plus more for kneading (only a teeny bit more if you are using the Kitchen Aid)

¾ teaspoon salt

Filling:

8 ounces crimini mushrooms (you can use any type you’d like), sliced

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

Pizza sauce (I like Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce)

15-20 slices of pepperoni

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Oven will be set at 450-475.  Set a pizza stone in the oven while it preheats

 

About 1 ½ hours before serving…

  • Prepare cold water… add a few ice cubes to ½ cup cold water
  • Hand whisk 1 ½ teaspoons of yeast into ¼ cup lukewarm water.  Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Re-measure ½ cup cold water, eliminating the ice cubes. Hand whisk in olive oil and cold water
  •  Add ½ cup flour and ¾ teaspoon salt.   Hand whisk until smooth
  • Attach dough hook to Kitchen Aid.
  • With mixer going, add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, 1 2/3 cups total, until the dough comes together in a rough mass.  You will have to scrape down the sides a few times.
  • At this point, scrape the dough hook off.  This will be the “kneading” time.  Knead at Speed “2” for three minutes. (if you do this by hand, turn dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes)
  • Hand form the dough, coating it with a bit of olive oil.
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover it.  Set it in a warm spot for 50 minutes

Meanwhile…

  • Slice 8 oz. crimini mushrooms
  • To a skillet, add 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil and mushrooms.  Cook until they are softened.
Sauteed mushrooms

Sauteed mushrooms

    • Shred the mozzarella cheese if you didn’t buy pre-shredded

    While the dough finishes rising, make a salad to accompany the Stromboli.

    To finish…

  • Place pizza stone in the oven and Preheat oven to 475 degrees
  • Divide dough into three pieces
This picture was taken before I had perfected this... divide into THREE pieces, not two :-)

This picture was taken before I had perfected this… divide into THREE pieces, not two :-)

  • Roll or pat each piece into an 8×8 square
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce on the square, leaving ½ inch or so around the edges
  • On 1/2 of the square, layer
    • 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese
    • 5-7 pepperoni slices
    • 1/3 of the sautéed mushrooms
    • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Fold dough over and seal the edges well with a fork.  Poke a few holes in the top.

Place fully assembled Stromboli on a floured sheet (or you can use a bit of corn meal to keep the Stromboli from sticking to the pan).

When oven is heated, carefully place the Stromboli on the pizza stone.  If you don’t have a stone, you can pre-heat a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Finished stromboli!!

Finished stromboli!!

That’s it!!  I know it sounds complicated, but it really isn’t!!  You can also use a dough mix to eliminate the rising time.  However… this dough is worth the time.  It is the softest dough I have ever worked with!!  You can also make a pizza using the dough recipe.

There you have it, Katie Gregg.  Let me know what you think!!!

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