Busy busy busy

The last two weeks have been very busy! I have been trying to catch up on things at the new house as the list of things to do continues to grow. I did manage to finally finish the entertainment center and run the new TV cable through the wall into the living room.
TV Center
Spring is finally beginning to show itself every now and then and I spent all three days off this past week in the front beds. One side is done: monkey grass gone, weeded, lined with beautiful new stone edging, and topped off with red rubber mulch. That stuff is fantastic! It’s a bit expensive at first, but in two seasons it will have paid for itself and doesn’t have to be replaced twice a year! It’s a deep maroon color and guaranteed to hold the color for 12 years. I helped a friend landscape his mother-in-law’s pool six or seven years ago and we used the rubber mulch. It’s still there and looks like the day we put it down! Will add some more plants when it gets warmer.

Left bed 1

Left bed 2

Finally got Daphne’s car stereo she got for Christmas installed but now the factory amp has gone bad and is constantly draining the battery. Waiting for a new one to come in and will hopefully get that fixed this weekend. Got my new truck stereo I got for my birthday in and it is fabulous. Should have done it years ago! Also got a new LED third brake light installed and I love it. New tail lights are on the way after having to return the ones I ordered that didn’t fit. I decided to spiff up the old truck with some cool accessories instead of buying a new one. It’s only got 25,000 miles on it and barely a scratch anywhere.

3rd Brake Light

Tail Lights

Work has been quite troublesome lately and retirement will not come soon enough. I love what I do and most of the people. But there are those that will never be happy and have an air of negativity around them that is as offensive as the plague. I’m serious, it’s like they have a virus akin to Ebola, and their horrible attitude oozes from their pores. Only four years, 1 month, and and 18 days to go!

I’ve not done any quilting at the machine in weeks but I’ve been working quite a bit on my hexagon Grandmother’s Flower Garden pieces. I realized I miscalculated on how many muslin hexies I need to go around the flowers. I thought I needed about 400 but turns out I need about 1400. That’s in addition to the 235 flowers that each have seven hexies in them. All in all just over 3,000 or so hexies. I’ve done about 250 of the muslin ones and about 78 flowers (550 hexies). So I’m not even a quarter of the way done with the hexies much less sewing them all together. Good heavens, me and my gynormous projects!

50 ain’t so bad

My 50th birthday came and went and I am still alive. Not that big of a deal I suppose, just weird to have to say I’m 50. I had a great birthday with lots of good wishes on Facebook, many calls and texts from friends and family, and a surprise birthday dinner with my good quilting friends! And to top it off, Karsyn came to dinner and spent the night!

My quilting friends all got together and gave me a quilt top with each one taking a task to get it done. Linda made the top, Karen is providing the batting, Daisy is providing the back, Charlene is quilting it, Kate is binding it, Beth is making the label, and JoPaula is putting the label on. It’s a quilt top that I was coveting at a retreat and it is so awesome my friends are doing this for me!

My great-nephew Skyler had his mom and dad help him make me an awesome huge card with his own pictures and handwriting. My friend Kate gave me a new Tervis tumbler, my friend Joni gave me a funny t-shirt, and Daphne and the kids gave me a new stereo for my truck. My brother gave me an Amazon gift card and my sister Stephanie and her family took me out to dinner with a cake afterwards. Mom and Dad came down for a visit and there’s a surprise coming from them in the near future.

All in all it was an awesome birthday with the best part being time spent with family and friends. Here’s to the next 50 years!

You never know!

One of my guys at work had a heart attack this week. He was working at the shooting range and felt bad the last couple of hours with pain in his chest. He went home and then collapsed and couldn’t stand up. His wife took him to the small new OLOL triage center in Walker and his heart rate was 180. They shocked his heart and got it back in rhythm but then sent him to the hospital by ambulance to be admitted for Supraventricular Tachycardia (fast heartbeat). As it turns out, he had a “significant” heart attack and had immediate surgery for a stint. One artery was blocked 100% and another at 80-90%. He will go back in a month or so for the second one to be treated.

Now this guy is not a fat old guy. He’s only 35, a former marine, and in decent shape. He might could lose 20 pounds at the most and be at an optimal weight. He does smoke and he likes good country cooking (eggs and bacon, fried fish, etc.), but he also likes/eats lots of vegetables and is active.

Heart disease is a huge killer in the United States and although I’m sure some hereditary issues may have come into play, what we eat and how much we move has a lot to do with it. I had just started wearing my FitBit again the day before this happened. I’m working my way up to 10,000 steps a day and I’ve got to cut back on the bad food and junk I eat. I’m not going to go P90X crazy right now, but it’s a start!

Birthday surprises

birthday goodnights

I had a great weekend with family this weekend! My mom and dad came down for a visit. My mom and I quilted and my dad piddled around. My sister Stephanie and her husband and son surprised me on Saturday and came to spend the day to celebrate my birthday a little early. Marlin took us all out to eat and then we went and goofed off at Bass Pro and got some camping equipment for my nephew William. He just made Boy Scout and Marlin just earned his Wood Badge, the highest rank in the Boy Scout Association! And to top off the weekend I got to spend the morning today with Karsyn. It was a great weekend!






Birthday cake a little early

Birthday cake a little early

My sister Stephanie wasn’t quite ready to admit she has a sister about to turn 50! Hence the 49+353 (days) on the cake!

It’s the little things…

It’s been a long week, both on the home front and at work. The house didn’t burn down and the workplace hasn’t imploded. It’s mostly the constant barrage of minor issues that gets you. It’s frustrating how a bunch of little things can pile up and turn into big trouble. But on the flip side, sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact.

I came in to work this morning with a less-than-excited attitude. I just wanted the day to go by fast and go home. When I walked into my office, there was a beautiful bouquet of roses on my desk. I was very surprised since I’ve been single for many years and really didn’t even think about it being Valentine’s Day. There was a simple handwritten note stuck to my desk from a sticky-note pad. It said, “Happy Valentine’s Day from ALL YOUR GUYS.” I can’t explain how much it meant it to me, on that particular day. I just know it meant a lot.

We never truly know what’s going on in the lives of those around us and sometimes we could all use just a little something to brighten our day. Try it! It may mean more than you ever dreamed.

It’s the little things…

A Stitcher Turns 50

I turn 50 this month and it is hard to believe that my parents have a child this old! Turning 30 was fun and the big 4-0 wasn’t such a big deal. But jumping…well stepping…over the half-century line is getting to me. Mentally I feel like I’m still 25 but my body reminds me that it is time to slow down. Muscles hurt that I never even knew existed. My joints don’t like mornings, cold, or rainy days and my hands hurt when I sew. I can’t seem to do anything physical without hurting myself. You know, physical things like changing a light bulb (and straining my back) or folding up the ladder (and cutting my finger). My hearing is going and my memory is gone. I have fat where fat should never be and my upper arms don’t stop jiggling until long after the waving is done. My arms aren’t long enough to provide ample space between my eyes and the page for reading. Threading a needle even with my glasses on is at times a super-human feat. I’m not even the same color anymore! My hair is turning gray and I’m getting brown age spots on my hands. I get tired much sooner than ever before and I go to the doctor more often than I go out on the town.

It’s not just the physical things either. Learning new stuff is getting harder and things seem much more complicated these days. All of my siblings are now over 40 and my nieces and nephews are growing up and having children of their own. Officers that work for me weren’t born when I took my oath to protect and serve and boys whose diapers I once changed are now men carrying guns for a living. My grandparents have all been gone for more than a decade and the older I get I miss them more and more.

I am ready to embrace a quieter more peaceful life but I worry about the inevitable things that go hand in hand with getting older. I have already lost friends to illness and tragedy alike. My parents will age and will someday become the child and I the parent. And with no children of my own, who will become my parent when I again become a child?

But while I think of all these things I also look back on the life I’ve had thus far. I was raised in a Christian home and my parents are still married after 50+ years. I was able to go to college and be a part of the LSU Golden Band from Tigerland, some of the happiest memories of my life. I have friends that love me and are there for me when I need them. I have a best friend that has stood by me through thick and thin and has allowed me to know the joy of motherhood by including me in the lives of her children. My brother and my sisters are saved. They have wonderful spouses that love them and are saved as well. They have blessed me with delightful nieces and nephews that they have raised in Christian homes. And they love me unconditionally. I’ve had a rewarding and honorable career serving next to the bravest men and women I know that do so much for so little. A career that has allowed me to have so much and go on many adventures. I’ve seen the sun rise over the beautiful snow-covered mountains of Canada and the sun set over the Australian ocean a hundred miles out to sea. I’ve soared through the air tens of thousands of feet above land and I have dived alongside God’s creatures in the deep ocean. I’ve known the love of God since I was a small child and I rejoice in joy over the grace of my salvation.

So I find joy as I realize what all of these changes mean. My sore muscles are from the many years that I have been blessed with good health and have been able to lead a physically active life. And when my joints ache when I sew I am thankful that God made me creative and skillful with my hands. I’ve got some extra layers of fat only because I have always had food to eat and enjoy. My gray hair reminds me of all the crazy things I have done in my life and survived but by the grace of God. Losing my memory means that past hurts are long forgotten. The age spots just mean that I’ve been around long enough to hold my great-nephews and see my parents reach their golden years…together. My arms are plenty long enough to hug those that are dear to me and my eyes still see the good in people. My old ears hear “I love you” more times in one day than many hear in a lifetime. And when I am old and return to childish ways I will not be alone for Jesus is always with me. And when my time comes I will enter the kingdom of Heaven and see my family and friends that have gone before me that I long so much to see again.

So as I reach this milestone I will not just fade into the background and go quietly into the rest of my life. I will play as hard as I am able, I will help as many as I can, I will love beyond measure, and I will thank God for the wonderful life he has blessed me with. I no longer fear life after 50, I welcome it with open arms!

To Blog or Not…I Think Yes!

I haven’t been here in so long that I had to reset my login and password! I think it is time for me to start blogging again. Mostly because I need to put stuff here so when I forget I have a place to look for it! Many blogs have gone by the wayside with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, etc. At one time I was on Facebook a lot but instead of keeping up with old friends and/or family, half the time we end up arguing about stuff that doesn’t matter with people we don’t even know! So I think I will come back to my little spot in the swamp and those that want to know what’s going on in my life will have to come here to find me!

Much has happened since my last post over a year ago. I have stopped cross stitching for the most part and have been quilting away. I still love cross stitch and have so many beautiful pieces I still want to do. When I retire I hope to have the time to do both! I started quilting in April 2011 and since then I have made 48 quilts. Almost all of them have been given away but I have managed to keep a few here and there. My first few years have been mostly easy patterns with the exception of the quilt from hell, my parents’ 50th anniversary quilt, and Mario. I’m starting to steer away from the easier ones and get into more difficult patterns. As with cross stitch, I tend to lean toward ridiculous projects. Like the hexagon quilt that has over 10,000 half-inch hexagons. Or the Rainbow Jane (a bright version of Dear Jane) that has 240 4.5″ blocks with a lot of intricate applique. How about the Judy Niemeyer “My 2 Big Sisters” paper-pieced quilt that I will begin in April? Or the Jacqueline de Jonge Colorful quilt? These are all in my stash along with about 30 other quilts that are kitted up and ready to be sewn into something beautiful. Now to find the time to do them all!

I have made some great friends in the quilting community and have been lots of places. I’ve been to the Houston International Quilt Show twice and going again this fall. I traveled to a crazy place called “Paducah”, a quilter’s paradise of sale fabric and shopping! Who knew a drug store called A&E in Pensacola, Florida would have thousands of bolts of fabric hiding behind the pharmacist? Day trips to quilt stores, classes with friends, and weekend quilt retreats have become my favorite activities. Gotta love quilting in the south. It has to be the only place where quilting classes have to be scheduled around football! I’ve joined three different local quilt guilds and I’m impressed with the charity work these ladies do year in and year out. I even bought a new house where I have been able to set up an awesome quilting and sewing studio! Looking back on the last few years it is amazing how much quilting has changed and enhanced my life.

I hope to update my “Quilt” page soon with photos of the rest of the quilts I have made and use this blog as my virtual design wall. Check back often to see what I’ve been up to!

Christmas fast approacheth and I have done no shopping nor creating! I feel I shall be busy for the next few weeks. I don’t know why I blog, no one reads it but me! Hahahahahaha

The quilt from hell is finished!

This quilt was a major pain! Although is shouldn’t have been so difficult, it was due to errors in the pattern. But even with the problems, I love how it turned out and now that I know the pattern has been corrected I might make another one. NOT!

Taylor quilt