Sunday, October 28, 2012

26 days of thanks?

I try to join in the 30 days of thanks thingy that everyone does this time of year because it's really good to stop and think about what you are grateful for.  But I've missed a few days.  Honestly, though, since Hubby's heart attack, I do this every day, anyway.  I have so much and I'm very grateful.  Even the little things make me smile. 

I used to say when things went wrong, after whining about them (ugh), that, "At least none of us are sick.  We don't have kids with leukemia", things along those lines.  Our babies made it through pregnancy, delivery, and infancy without a hitch and other than their asthma that freaks me out when it gets bad, they have been healthy and strong, and are oh so smart!  Whiz kids, I've got here, if I do say so myself.  I'm so grateful for every second with them and I've loved them since I saw those silly, purple lines on a pregnancy test stick.

Hubby also freaks me out when he's not well, but still, even though his troubles have been ongoing and serious at times, because they scared me I appreciate him more and have felt even more thankful for him at those times.  We always mention his toes, now.  When we do, we are referring to the first e.r. the ambulance took him to the day of the heart attack, when he was lying on the gurney and the e.r. doc. was trying to fill me in on his situation before I'd even had a chance to get to my husband.  I saw the outline of his feet beneath the blue thermal blanket they had tucked around him and all I wanted was to at least get to those toes.  I inched my way over until I could reach them while the doctor talked, and would glance at my husband every now and then, still wanting to get to his face so I could kiss it.  One of the saddest things I've ever seen was his look of apology when our eyes would meet.  Kills me to think about.  He didn't have to speak to tell me at that moment that he was just plain sorry that we were there and that he'd caused us worry.  He wasn't scared or sad for himself, just for us.  An added bonus to just being grateful every time I see his sweet smile is that I don't fear the same silly things I used to, and I'm grateful for that, too. 

It's been a good year.  Life is unbelievably good.  I always felt that if things went well, we'd have to pay somehow, but I think we've paid our dues.  It's definitely getting easier to just enjoy life without waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I'm also, in this election time, more aware of my freedoms and how thankful I am for them, especially as a woman, knowing women before me worked hard to make it so that I can vote.  And how ridiculous is it that 100 yrs. ago women weren't even allowed to vote?!  If I only had a Tardis...

And now I am thinking how grateful I am that we have running water and electricity and heat and a freezer full of frozen food, because in a few days we might not.  This storm, Sandy, is missing us but smacking into a cold front that's coming our way which may bring snow, and as I always say, a hedgehog can't fart in the woods around here without knocking the power out, so we may be in for a crazy ride.  I have a pantry full of emergency water, however, and Hubby just cracked me up when he came home from a trip to town with two packages of store-bought sliced bread, of which I am very grateful, knowing I won't have to make bread this week, and two jars of jelly and a can of peanut butter.  So, worse comes to worst, we can eat pb&j sandwiches for a while and cook frozen food on the outdoor grill.  I'm thankful that we have almost a full tank of propane if we need it.  Oh, and one more thing I'm thankful for is camping supplies already packed for our upcoming Florida trip.  It's not often I have new flashlights and tons of back-up batteries ready and waiting in the sun room.  They will come in handy if the power does go out.

Now I wonder what I will be thankful for in a few days when the blogging bug hits again.  I hope it will be that we had enough snow to play in but not so much that we were sent back to the Dark Ages.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not the rant I'd intended...

I'd intended to food blog this week about poor customer service and instead I find myself feeling cynical about so many other things.  I'm just frustrated when I look around me right now, and am thinking that for the sake of everyone I come in contact with, other than my sweet little family members, I'd better just go hang out in the woods and farmyard and not read Facebook or blog posts or hang out in crowded places for a few days.  People are bugging me, plain and simple. 

The main problem is that we have been visiting festivals and crowded places a lot lately and I am simply overwhelmed by it all.  I realized I was done and needed a respite last night at a concert, usually one of my favorite ways to unwind while just wearing myself right out with the intensity that goes along with such an event.  I saw very quickly that the only person I could relate to in the building was the shy lead singer of the Lemonheads who couldn't make eye contact with anyone but his band members.  I love going to concerts by myself and just silently being for a few hours and enjoying that world outside of my usual world for a bit, but it just wasn't happening last night.  In fact, by the time the headlining band, the Psychedelic Furs, who I was there to hear and had thoroughly enjoyed seeing live last year, came on and sang two of my favorite songs from my teen years, I was ready to go home.  Too much.  I was floored by my own desire to leave and became convinced that I'm getting old, old, old.  The muffled ears and joint pain I'm experiencing today serve to emphasize this fact. 

This afternoon, however, I think I'm realizing what the underlying irritant is. It goes along with my tendency to be judgemental of the human species in general, like the Grinch who stays up on Mt. Crumpet, rarely coming down to interact with the others of his species. (Oh wait...I don't know if they are the same species, but, yup!  That's exactly how I'm feeling right now.)  It's awful and pretty hilarious, actually. I am always working on just being a nicer person but can't ever seem to get there.  I know now that these traits are textbook HSP introvert qualities (not that HSPs, introverted or extroverted, are unkind people), but I still need to work on being less judgemental.  I tend to notice and want to correct injustices when I see them, so end up getting critical.  You should see what a tizzy these election debates have had me in!  DON'T get me started.

BUT...the situations that have me rolling my eyes stand out because I have been seeing examples of how well some people handle adversity as opposed to others who create their own problems and then whine all day to everyone about them. 

"Every piece of this is man's bullshit. They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!' " ~ Ruby Thewes, Cold Mountain

I couldn't have said it better.

I have one dear friend who became a single mom after her husband had an affair then left her and the kids when their second child was born.  Over the years that we have been friends I have watched her work hard to single-handedly grow those children in a loving home, while attending college at the same time.  She has just learned that she is well into a third pregnancy and in just a few months will have another child to parent on her own.  Is she whining?  Is she complaining?  Has she expressed one bit of fear or negativity toward her new life direction?  No.  This is BIG and I'm sure she's had moments of panic, but I am so impressed with her attitude.  It's inspiring!

A sweet lady I know had cancer for a year.  A year.  I didn't hear a word about it until it was over, or very nearly so.  Did she complain to everyone she came in contact with?  Nope. No public displays of "woe is me", or "I don't understand why I'm being punished in this way".  No, those are the things I hear from people who are having trouble picking tile colors for their kitchen back splashes, and I am ashamed to admit that I am guilty of this type of petty whining myself.

Another friend has moved her family, with only a month's notice, if I recall, to an entirely different part of the country, from a house and property they owned to an apartment complex, and I am just seeing all the positive comments she makes about her new life and exploring their new area.  No whining, no complaining, she's just adjusting and making the most of the change.  For someone who experiences insecurity when even good changes occur, I am truly impressed with her attitude.

This week I read a heartbreaking story of a couple whose baby lived for only two weeks.  Are they cursing the heavens?  No. They are expressing gratitude for those two weeks.  Another family's married daughter who suffers from sickle cell disease went into a coma and is on a ventilator.  She has awaken, and her family shows gratitude for every toe wiggle, eye focus, and reaction to their voices and presence.  No complaining.

My boys are friends with two children whose mother, a single parent, died of cancer three years ago.  Are those kids in pain?  Certainly, they are, but they hold their heads high and carry on as normal teenagers.  That is daily inspiration for me.  Every single time I look at those kids and remember their mother and remember seeing her with them before she became ill, my eyes sting and I have to bite my tongue.  I feel sorry them, and I pity them.  As a mother I can't help but feel that way, but when I see how great they are I am so proud for her sake.  They didn't just adapt, they are good kids, hilarious, and the centers of their own circles of friends, not because of what has happened to them but because of who they choose to be and how they have decided to face what life has given them. 

And now would be the perfect time to list examples of the other sort, but that wouldn't be very nice, and I'm trying SO hard to just be nice.  But, seriously, some of the things people say and do make my head spin and my bp go up and my face flush and make me want to work hard to be a glass is half full person.  I don't want to be one of those others.

I can do it.  Some day I'll make it.  See?  Already, I'm thinking more positively from all the inspiration!  ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Steampunk this and steampunk that. Steampunk dandy clothes and hat.

I've been trying to decide what to do with all the steampunk materials I've been collecting since we attended a steampunk con last winter. 

I hand-stitched this corset and just need boning and laces for it.  I'm thinking leather or black lace for the lacing, depending upon what I decide to make for the skirt.  For an inexpensive boning, I decided upon basket weaving reeds.  It will be worn over a white or black peasant blouse.  I'm thinking white blouse, brown skirt, leather laces, brown boots?  Opinions are welcome to anyone who reads this!  I have trouble making decisions.

I've been thinking that I have plenty of time to create outfits for all four of us, but for a person who can only sew straight lines but can't actually sew a straight line to save her life, if you catch my drift, I think I may have put this off for too long.  We only have a few months until the next con.  That's three outfits per person, four people.  I don't know about this...

For the last convention, I put no time into creating my outfits, but was amazed that I could pull two together for myself from what I already owned.  That was pretty cool because I was able to spend time helping my son get his elaborate aviator contraption and outfit put together.  I did have fun with some of his extra copper pipe, an old toy pistol the boys were more than willing to part with, and whatever decorative pieces I could find in my craft stashes to decorate a leather purse and cell phone case, and to make a pistol for my "steampunk homesteader" day 2 outfit.

Today, while checking my calendar, I realized that another convention is coming up at the end of November.  I thought, no problem.  We'll catch it on our way back north from our Thanksgiving trip to Florida.  The timing is perfect.  Then I remembered that we are camping for days and days for that Thanksgiving trip.  There is no way we can camp with top hats and velvet and leather and taffeta/damasky type clothing hanging in the back of our van.  When we camp I use the back of our van as a kitchen prep area.  So now I have to decide what to do.  It's also my older son's birthday that weekend and I have neglected to tell him about the convention.  When I do, I know that is exactly what he will want to do to celebrate and I'll be committed.  Ha!  "Committed."  Trying to get us ready for a week of camping and outfits for a steampunk con in three weeks may just get me committed!  Giggle.

The other day we went to the Biltmore Estate to celebrate my husband's birthday.  It was a special one, considering all of the health issues he's had over the last few years, and especially this last one.  I decided to don some of my "steampunk every day" clothes, feeling nostalgic and old-fashioned just thinking about Biltmore house.  I came around the corner in my "normal" clothes that looked just a wee bit Helena Bonham Carter, minus the top hat, peacock feathers, pig, etc., and there stands my son in full steampunk gear, top hat and all.  He looked fabulous!  We started cracking up when we saw each other and then began exclaiming over the baubles and doo-dads each of us had added to our outfits.

He bought this hat at the steampunk con.  It was made by one of the owners of Only Ducks.

The boy.

I made these earrings from pins.  It only took 3 finger stabs to urge me into yanking the straight pin backs off with a pair of pliers.  It's really hard to drive when your finger is bleeding all over the place, just FYI.  Duh!  Should've done that when I added the earring hooks!

One of my "steampunk every day" skirts.  I made this from one of Hubby's old polo shirts.  The collar became the rose.  The sleeves became the ruffle.  A piece of scrap lace finished it.  I cut the sleeves off and stitched up the openings, but I think that next time I will just turn them inside out and stitch up the arm hole so the skirt has pockets.  I like pockets.  I was a dingbat and only realized after I cut out the v-neck with the buttons and was stitching in a zipper that I could have left the buttons in as the closure and forgotten the zipper altogether.  Live and learn...

That boy of mine is so much fun!  I love that he can walk around dressed differently than everyone he sees and have the confidence to hold his head high proclaiming to the world, "I'm different and I know it and I love myself for it!" with his manner.  I am so proud of him!  Especially since others, at times, have attempted to convince him that nonconformity is to be frowned upon.  An attitude that would have sent me slinking into the corner reevaluating my outlook on life, my likes, dislikes, and general weirdness, had the opposite effect on him.  It's fabulous to see.  I am so grateful!

The only problem for me that day was, that even though my outfit was "steampunky" it wasn't over the top.  I can't do over the top, but I love my style of frills and crochet and lace.  It's me.  But when we walked together around Biltmore property, people stopped us, thinking we were part of a special group.  It was great for my son, he loves it, but I was happy to have a tall boy with a top hat to "hide" behind when he drew attention and comments  He looked great.  I took lots of photos of him and he just fits so well with that beautiful, old building.  And apparently, there is a group that meets in full steampunk attire to frequently tour the Biltmore.  Now that I can do.  A nonconformist in the midst of other nonconformists all dressed alike. lol  Yes, I can do that.  We look forward to steampunk Biltmore days with the group.  What fun!

And...because he is so comfortable in his own skin within his favorite clothing style, my boy won first prize at a costume contest at a fall festival this weekend when he chose to dress in the steampunk aviator costume he made himself, complete with jet pack and spinning propeller.  I NEVER could have stood on that stage.  He's an awesome kid!  The blade rotated at the steampunk convention with the help of a motor he installed.  He had it taken apart for improvements at the time of the contest, and had shortened the propeller on a smaller copper shaft, but the wind happened to blow right when the judges were deciding on a winner, and that propeller just spun away when he bent his head forward to let it go.  It was awesome!!  I knew he had it when the judges got excited and pointed to the spinning blades, so had my camera ready when the winners were being announced.

I rarely post my kids' pictures on my blogs but I'd guess that 100 people have already taken his photo in this outfit the two times he's worn it, so what can I do?  We had the hardest time at the convention just getting through the hotel lobby because so many people stopped him to take his picture and to ask to see the propeller rotate, and he even ended up on the convention's website.  The same thing happened at the festival. So here's my own photo of Aviator Boy.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go get stitchin'! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

These are a few of my NEW favorite things...

So here's a silly, silly little blog post related to my intention to be aware of the things that I enjoy and am grateful for. 

I have a few new obsessions that I find I need in my daily life.  These are things that were foreign to me a couple of years ago or yet undiscovered or splurged upon.  I have decided to gab about them here, (A) so that I don't get so busy that I forget about them or forget to use them or how much I adore them, (B) so that maybe anyone who stumbles across this blog will find them useful and enjoyable, as well. 

1.  Fels-Naptha ~ the first time I smelled it I was so taken back in time by the fragrance that I began asking family members if my grandma had used it, as far as they knew.  Nope.  Apparently she always used Tide, but the scent is still so pleasant and comforting to me that if the aroma in my laundry room is fading I go shake up my jug of homemade detergent so it can act as an air freshener.  And I'm not even going to go into how well this stuff cleans, deodorizes, and stain removes!

2.  Soft towels ~ I have never, ever splurged on expensive towels.  My grandmother and godmother gave me an enormous, high-quality set when I was a teenager to put away in my hope chest for the time when I would leave home.  Those towels must have lasted a decade.  But ever since they finally bit the dust I have bought the cheapest, rough, junk towels from discount stores, not realizing what a difference a slightly higher quality towel would make.  All of us in this family are sensitive to textures.  You'd think I would have figured this one out, but no.  It only took 20 yrs. before I stepped up my towel purchase and bought some really, fluffy extra big cotton ones.  YUM!  And #3 on this list, the new love of my life, makes drying off after a hot shower or bath extra luxuriant.

3.  Method Fabric Softener ~ So we went from years of the cheap, earth unfriendly detergent and el cheapo fabric sheets to just Borax and baking soda, or just Borax or just baking soda and no fabric softener, on to the popular Fels-Naptha or Ivory or castile soap/Borax/Arm & Hammer Washing Soda recipe for homemade laundry detergent you see everywhere with no fabric softener.  Then I discovered Method.  Oh my!  I can have soft, smelly clothes again without hurting the planet.  AND those soft, fluffy towels are like giant marshmallow puffs with the addition of fabric softener.  Heavenly.

4.  Lavender oil ~  I am always singing the praises of lavender oil so why would I stop now?  I use it all the time, everywhere.  Nothing calms and relaxes me like this scent.

5.  Gavin Rossdale ~ Okay, this is silly, but this voice does for me what lavender oil does and I'm truly addicted.

6.  Bon Ami ~ I have always loved Comet.  My FAVORITE cleaner ever!  Toxic.  No way around it.  Bon Ami is missing the chlorine bleach smell I love (I know that's weird, but it just smells so clean!) but works so great at scrubbing tile grout and baked on pan messes and bathtubs and sinks and even cooking stains and odors from my hands such as beet juice or shellfish and onions.  And it's made in my area of the country, so every time I buy a can I'm buying local.

7.  Pillowcases ~ I change my pillowcase almost every day because I have rosacea.  And fresh, fresh ones, preferably sprinkled with lavender oil (a handy tip from a friend), are just so comfy. 

8.  Boots ~ I have four pairs of boots and that's all I wear when the whether turns cold.  Two pairs of hiking boots, one brown, one black, two pairs of knee highs, one brown, one black.  I love them and I don't like cold toes.  And, oh yay, it's boot season again!  You can keep flip-flop season. 

9.  Crookshanks ~ Our new kitten.  So I used to be a cat person and then decided I was a dog person.  Then we adopted a kitten last summer.  He and I don't really like each other much.  He's an ornery, grumpy, old-beyond-his-years kind of kitty cat, named Puss 'N Boots.  I didn't realize how much I loved him until I accidentally left a window open and he was gone all night.  That was awful and he and I have been buddies ever since.  But still, we pretty much steer clear of each other but for a daily rub down.  A few weeks ago, however, we adopted a second kitten.  We had looked all summer for a 6-toed Hemingway cat after seeing Ernest's home in Key West and all of the adorable polydactyl descendants that live on the property and passed on many cats in our search "the one".  When we saw a car in a parking lot with a free kitten sign and saw one lone, tiny little mouse of a kitten sitting in the open hatch back, we had to stop.  We all decided within seconds that he was "the one" and took him right home.  I LOVE THIS CAT!  I can't believe how much I love this cat.  He's halfway grown now and only gets cuter.  He is the sweetest, most loving cat I've ever seen.  He just plops in my arms and goes to sleep, whether I'm standing, sitting, or trying to fold clothes.  He's just the best and I am so grateful for this silly, little kitty. 

Just look at that cute, little guy!  He's just like a little toasted marshmallow!
10.  Power naps ~  I have always been envious of people who can take naps.  I couldn't.  I barely sleep at night, my brain works so hard at things, so naps have been out of the question.  But lately...not only am I sleeping through the night most nights but I am exhausted around 3 in the afternoon and can lie down, crash, and wake up 8 to 10 minutes later and go on with my day.  I don't know what's gotten into me (Old age, maybe?), but I am loving being able to sleep.

11. Calgon ~  I have a friend who always jokes, "Calgon take me away" when she's stressed.  I remember that line from the old commercials and that blue powder that would turn your bathwater the color of the Caribbean, but I didn't know the stuff was still around.  For Mother's Day my boys gave me a big plastic container of floral scented Calgon.  I only use natural shampoos, conditioners, soaps, eco-friendly detergents and even toilet paper, but since May I have been soaking in whatever possibly toxic ingredients make up Calgon.  So it's become my guilty pleasure.  I'll kick it one of these days, but in the meantime I'm not content unless the arms I fold under my head at night smell like English Garden.

12.  Waking up next to Hubby ~ there is nothing like spending all day, every day with the love of my life.  He's been working from home for about two months now and it's been like a dream.  Some days we don't get much work done and spend the day out gallivanting and other days we work so hard sitting side by side that at the end of the day we realize we actually missed each other's company and hadn't shared a single conversation, but it's okay, because we are together. 

13.  Chai/yoga ~ as close to simultaneous as possible.  Sigh...

14.  Mead ~ It takes us two weeks to get through a bottle, but I have found that it pairs wonderfully with fall.

15.  Horace Kephart ~  He is one of my favorite historical figures and I love learning about his life and explorations.  He loved the Smoky Mountains, and by seeing them through his eyes my love for their misty peaks grows.

16. Himalayan Salt lamps and amber light ~  I've blogged a couple of times about how much I love the glow from these lamps and how warm a room full of them feels.  We are up to four lamps and three votives, now, thanks to a half price sale.  Woo hoo!  We have also added an amber shaded floor lamp and amber crackled glass candelabrum, which goes very well with a burgundy shaded table lamp that is also set up in the living room and gives off that subtle hue when lit.  All I can say is, ahhhh...  

17.  Bookshelves ~ Books in the closet, books in the attic, books in the basement, books on shelves, end tables, they're everywhere but never seem to have a home.  I am not a fan of particle board, but since Hubby started working from home we have bought three small, black, particle board bookcases, the ones you put together in 7 minutes, and they have been a godsend.  Finally, our books can be on display for easy access.  And it's amazing what a case of books can do to cozy up a room.  Should have done this a LONG time ago.

18.  Frasier ~ This show makes me laugh and laugh and laugh!  I turn it on while I'm cooking because the t.v. is a half wall away from the kitchen and, even though I can't always see what's going on, I laugh and laugh.  Last year I watched the entire series this way on Netflix and I don't even usually watch television, other than educational shows. 

19.  Lost ~  Now this was a surprise addiction.  I still don't know how it happened.  I missed the whole Lost hype on prime time when I was cooking in restaurants in the evenings and never even watched any television series much, probably since Seinfeld and Frasier ended, and even then I missed the last few seasons of them because I was busy with newborns and then toddlers and small children.  But my boys had seen Lost on Netflix and begged until we agreed to watch the first episode.  That was all it took.   We watched the entire season as a family within a few months, minus a few inappropriate episodes in the midst of season 4, and are now suffering major Hurley, Sawyer, Kate, and Jack withdrawal.  I get aggravated with myself for being so shallow that I let a stupid t.v. show affect me.  But it was FUN and I'm tempted to do it all over again.  But all the surprises would be ruined.

20.  Adobe Illustrator and 2D graphics tile sets ~ At the beginning of the year I learned to create and manipulate graphics using for my husband's mobile app development.  I loved it, but for an uneducated someone who likes to sketch with pencils and dabble in watercolors, it was difficult to learn and downright nerve wracking to learn in a hurry, as I needed to do.  The end result was passable, but with the program we were using, not the quality we were looking for.  He ended up using my work for rough drafts to show his customers and hiring someone to do the final versions which were amazing.  We knew we were missing something.  Now we have Adobe and it's like a dream to use, but I have also found tile sets that you can purchase, ready-made, to create scenes and high quality graphics.  Copy and paste!  I am still drawing away with that old cursor and prefer to do my own work, but for things like city scenes, vehicles, etc. the tile sets are going really help in the near future.  

21.  Chocolate ~ Oh wait.  That's not new.  The obsession continues.

22.  Ernest Hemingway ~ He makes me sad and he makes me happy.  I love how he was who he was and you could take it or leave it, all gruff and rough on the outside but inside, obsessively creative and passionate about life.  He loved life.  So ironic. 

23.  Think Geek ~  I've been a fan of this site for a long time so this is also a long-running obsession for a dork like me, but definitely worth mentioning.

24.  Old buildings ~ Another ongoing obsession that just seems to grow.


25.  Wine labels ~ Why are they so beautiful?  I've been taking pictures of them and then coming home and sketching them, feverishly.  My handwriting is hideous but I love caligraphy and sketching and painting lettering, go figure.

26.  Steampunk anything~  That is all.

Oh wait.  One more.  Long Hair.  I cut all of mine off in July and have been obsessed ever since with getting it back.  B Vitamins and Mill Creek Biotene H-24 shampoo, conditioner, and Silk Protein Styling Gel and good ol' Tate's Miracle Conditioner, which I use for everything.  It's working.  Phew!  What was I thinking??!  I could hardly get it into a pony tail.  Grr...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waking with a smile.

So before I even opened my eyes this morning I felt excited and relieved about something and had to ask myself why.  Oh yeah!  Like a kid on Christmas morning, I remembered.  Hubby finally got the results of his echocardiogram yesterday and was told that his heart valve looks fine.  The technician who performed the test on his heart when he had been experiencing a period of chest tightness had seen and heard back flow into his left ventricle and claimed that everything was enlarged.  A cardiologist confirmed it in his notes, but we have been waiting weeks and weeks for him to send the test results and his notes to my husband's group of doctors.  It took forever!  Pins and needles, needles and pins.  Anytime something great happened we were able to get excited for a minute but the shadow of that cloud hanging over heads would only seem to grow, refusing to go away. 

I have always felt that when anything good happens we have to pay for it somehow.  And it never fails.  Always, it seems, we have to pay.  So I was afraid that though our lives were going so well and we were so happy, in a week or two or seven I would find out how we were going to have to suffer for it.  It's a sick mentality, I know, and I do spend a lot more time these days being thankful than I used to, but there it is.  And I know life is short and anything can happen at anytime and that bad things happen to good people with no explanation.  I know that.  But it's a lot different to just be aware of that fact than it is to look at one of your favorite people all day, every day, checking their breathing while they sleep, rolling over first thing in the morning to see if they are okay, watching them take an arsenal of medications twice daily that you've been told keep them out of danger, all while wondering what is going on inside that body of theirs.  You've been told something is wrong and you don't look at that person the same and nothing feels right no matter how "happy" you are.  Then you feel guilty for not "counting your blessings" 24/7 because there is that dang black cloud haunting you.

Well, the sun came out this morning with a soft fall breeze accompanying it and, wouldn't you know, I didn't see that cloud all day!

Blood tests for Hubby this week and a repeat ECHO in December and then we can put this year behind us.  It was a great year, despite the worry, but I really am looking forward to seeing the results of all the positive changes we've gone through (which includes my aunt kicking the heck out of cancer's butt, and health and peace in the lives of friends who have also been through a lot) and leaving the rest behind.  

Now if I can just have the president I'm rooting for end up in office...;)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Avoiding the rant to bask in the glow.

What a crazy month we've had!  I say crazy, but the biggest change has been the most calming mellowing, peaceful one we could have asked for.  A dream come true and the last on the list of life goals my husband and I established years ago, probably the first year that we were married.  I keep saying that no one is supposed to get everything they've ever wanted, but we officially have. I sit here on a daily basis absolutely in AWE and I almost can't stop smiling.

Here was the list:
A.  Live on an island.  We ended up living on Oahu for 4 yrs. through no choice of our own.  Funny how many times life has given us what we've asked for w/o us even trying.

B.  2 children within 2 yrs. apart in age.  They are actually 2 yrs. 4 mos.

C.  Live in Washington state.  We hit that one, too.  Another four years of our life together.

D.  Settle in the  Southern Appalachian mountains on a little farm.  Here we are!!!  Though we are avidly working to settle permanently on a larger one with NO NEIGHBORS.  You have to take the good with the bad and this beautiful, fabulous little farm happened to be across the street from a whole lot of bad!  And again, this was our choice, but even when we were willing to move to places like D.C. or Chicago when my husband ended his military enlistment, this was the only area he was able to find a job following 9-11 and the job freeze that followed.  Love it when our wants and not just our needs are considered in the big plan that has been set before us.

E.  Homeschool our children.  CHECK!

F. Work from home. YES.  DONE.  OFFICIAL!!!

My husband worked for a tax software company and was determined after his heart attack earlier this year that he would be out of that place before tax development season began for this next year.  It was close.  He was miserable.  He was coming home red-faced and stressed like last tax year, when he had the heart attack at his desk at work.  He kept telling me he was going to have another one if he stayed, he was certain.  I was sure, too, if only because he was so certain and was going to have a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Then the chest tightness started.  Not a cold, not bronchitis, no other symptoms.  His dr. kept an eye on him but after weeks, ordered an echocardiogram.  The technician saw obvious problems during the test that could lead, worst case scenario, to lifelong problems and heart surgery. 

We sat down together and decided that if there was more wrong with his heart we would hate to look back in a few months and see that he had wasted precious time at his current job; a job which kept his blood pressure elevated which was the whole cause of his heart attack in the first place.  We decided that no matter how scary taking the leap and working from home would be, it was nothing compared to the angst we felt on a daily basis knowing he needed a life change and had to leave his high-stress job.  On top of that, many of his teammates had left the company over the summer for the same reasons which left the job of several people on the heads of the three remaining. 

He did it.  He gave notice and finished his last two weeks. 

His chest tightness continued after he left the job and we are still waiting for more tests and a final diagnosis on his condition.  I do my best not to think about it, which includes avoiding blogging.  I have been so angry that he is not fully recovered and furious with one of his health care providers for sitting on this problem and failing to pass his test results on to his primary care provider so we can get answers.  It's terrifying to know that he may be in danger because someone is sitting around slacking on their job.  So avoiding the rant and basking in the wonderfulnesses (it's a word if I say it's a word) of our new life has been #1 on the list. 

We have also started school in the last month.  My boys are loving studying world history.  Our German is improving.  Math is going to go much better with their math genius daddy home, for me anyway.  I'm washing my hands of math teaching for as long as I can get away with it.

I have also started a new graphics business in the last few weeks and have finished the graphics for two mobile app games and am working on a third.  My husband is developing them.  I am almost to the point where I have the confidence to bid on my own graphics contracts.  I love it.  I get to sit and create, create, create.  Ahhhh...

But the most important thing is that just when we were wondering if we could make it with my husband working from home on the contracts he had already won, he received two long-term contracts of full-time work.  Kind of reminds me of the two times we said, "Yes.  We are ready to start trying to have children." only to find that we were already a few weeks pregnant. 

It all reminds me that you must set goals and work hard to accomplish them, but there is still that guiding light that gives you what you need when you need it and sometimes what you want most in life.  Sigh...I don't have anything to rant about, really.  Just lots of things to be thankful for.