Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let Me Give Thanks

This Thanksgiving I plan to spend the next 4 days at home, alone and in my pajamas.

The fall has been a roller coaster ride of events and emotions for me and those around me. I'm tired, I'm weary and I need my 4-day holiday to step back, reflect and recoup! Soon I will haul out my quilting, which has been put aside for a couple of weeks, and start sewing to my heart's content.

My father died November 18th. Although I mourn his loss and miss him, at age 90 with Alzheimer's and unable to walk, it was his time. He wanted to live to be 90 and he made it with several months to spare. I believe he is now reunited with my mother, his love for over 61 years, as well has his family and friends. He is in heaven, strong and healthy and singing love songs in Mom's ear.

Dad went into hospice care in September. The fall was spent going to work and 1-2 days a weeks (as well as at least once during the weekend) traveling out to see Dad and feed him his lunch. I thank goodness for the Family Medical Leave Act which allowed me to take precious time from work to do this. I am also grateful for the fire department for which I work for understanding my need to be with Dad in the day time hours, when he was most aware. I am actually looking forward to returning to work Monday and starting the week without plans to leave during the day! I crave "normality" whatever that is!

Yet the last 2 months with Dad, even though most of the time he didn't know me and slowly lost his ability to move, talk and sing, I have felt the closest to him. I have always said I was blessed with the best parents in the world. It's true.

Philip has also been dealing with his father. At age 86 he needed more care and attention. At one point, Phil went out to New York five weekends in a row to make arrangements with his siblings to move his father into an assisted living facility. Phil's parents lived in the same Long Island home for over 54 years. The slow process of cleaning out the house has begun. It has been a stressful and sad process for Phil. Even though this meant our time together has been limited between dealing with our father's, it has brought us closer as we are sharing the same thoughts and emotions.

I was suppose to spend this Thanksgiving week in Atlanta with my sister and her family. This, of course, all changed when Dad died. Philip rearranged some of his plans to be with me and my family and now, this Thanksgiving week, will undergo medical tests that should have happened last week. The tests are hell, but we are very optimistic as to the outcome. Next weekend he travels back to New York to spend time with his father, who is not adjusting well to assisted living. While my sister and brother-in-law still welcomed me to travel to Atlanta with them after the funeral, I knew we all needed this time to relax and process the events of the past couple of weeks.

After Dad's memorial service Phil did spend a few days in Oklahoma with his daughter and son-in-law who are expecting their first baby (Phil's first grandchild!). Phil painted the baby's room, put up a chair rail and a panda bear wall mural. I am thankful Phil did this and spent time with Colleen and Rick. I know working on the baby's room brought this tender hearted man great joy. Now he is home this Thanksgiving day, preparing for his tests which start tomorrow.

Phil and I have postponed several things we planned this fall until later this winter. We need the time to relax and get into our routines again. We both have other family issues we will be dealing with in the next couple of months and need time to process. It's OK. We are a strong couple and know that this time will bring us even closer together than pull us apart. Plus, we have a baby to look forward to in late March!

Life is full of the good and the bad times. I'm remembering both this long weekend. It's OK and what I need to do this weekend. For all the sad things that happened these past few months, behind all of them are wonderful memories. I am so grateful for these memories. So very grateful.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Achin' Back!

It's been quite a few years since my back has hurt me this much. This time it started with a "stitch" like feeling on my left hip. I went to the doctor's office on Monday where he took X-Rays, did lab work, ruled out a kidney infection and lectured me on my scoliosis and offered me pain meds. I declined the meds thinking I could tough it out. Silly me.

The pain had been waking me up for the past 3-4 nights. Every time I wanted to change positions shots of pain occurred in my left hip area. Then it started spreading to my tummy and lower back. OUCH!
Wednesday afternoon I took a few hours of vacation time to deliver some specially ordered pants to my Dad's health care facility. By the time I got home the pain was so intense I called urgent care and managed to drive myself to the clinic.

Now I'm home and going crazy. I am on a muscle relaxer and pain killer so when I take my meds I sleep. Because I am not as mobile as I should be I am starting to get sore. I can't win no matter what position I'm in. OUCH!

This has been a rough year on my health. I've missed more days this year than in the past 3 or 4 combined. All legitimate. I one of those people who feel that when you are sick, stay home. So far I've been off 2 full days with this back problem. It is now Saturday night and it's not much better.
I'll go to work on Monday, but if I'm in pain it's off to the doctor once again

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Quilting Frenzy

I'm a little obsessed with quilting! This is the first item, a table runner, I ever made. Don't look closely - it is full of mistakes, but I think it turned out OK.

I have started my second quilting class this fall. We are making a "Buckeye Beauty" wall hanging. I have the same wonderful instructor, Diane, and the only other classmate is Lisa, with whom I took my first class with. I look forward to these classes and getting to know Diane and Lisa while we cut, square off, sew and rip!!!!

Below are pictures of the results of my first quilting class, where we learned how to make table runners. I made seven table runners! Most will be holiday presents, but two will be for myself. I used the "stitch in the ditch" method for quilting the runners below. Two runners are being professionally quilted at this time - the only way to go for me at this point. I hated the "stitch in the ditch" method.

In between making the table runners, I made a baby blanket to be given to friends of ours (Phil and I) who are becoming grandparents for the first time. That, too, is being professionally quilted. It was an easy project, but I still did a lot of ripping out! I learned by making it and I think the end result (after quilting and binding) will be darling. And, since Phil will be a grandpa in late March/early April, I have plans to make another baby quilt!

In the meantime, I also have the squares all cut out for a twin size quilt (216 squares!) as well as the material purchased for two queen sized quilts. However, my 30+ year old Kenmore sewing machine died on me. I am a little sticker shocked at the costs of new machines. While I know I will be quilting for years to come, right now I can't justify the cost of a really good brand machine, which start in the $700 range for a basic machine. Even a lesser brand, basic machines start in the $200-300 price range. And, I need one by the weekend to get my class project done and start to sew the twin sized quilt together. Oh, well . . . I guess I can learn hand quilting!

"Coffee" themed runner, front & back (notice little coffee beans on the back fabric). I made two runners like this. One I am still hand stitching the binding on.

Wine/grape table runner with "cork" fabric backing. Turned out a little too green, but, again, I learned from it.

Seasonal table runner with matching backing