Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Past Few Days in Pictures and Thought.

Just a quick burst of words and photographic evidence that I am still on the right side of the dirt. It's been another one of those weeks where ailments are doubling up on me and I don't want to bore you with the details. Other than,  I would like to poop sometime in my lifetime. And the green slime that has taken up residence in my head can leave anytime it wants. So basically... I have the usual ills plus constipation of nose and rear end. I'm fun to be around, trust me.

Tomorrow is another baby checkup. This one will also have an ultrasound so we'll be able to get another peek at Taush-tin's little strawberry. Or kumquat. Or whatever produce it is this week. I'm immersing my self in baby blogs, baby stores, watching an unnatural disturbing number of childbirths on youtube. The deal I have with Tasha is that I will only be where she is completely comfortable with me being and I will do my best to be anywhere she needs me to be. Those are my Granny Vows, "I'll do the best I can to be as supportive as I can be, any and every time I'm needed".

Austin was complaining about me and Tasha working out a plan for tomorrow's doctor visit without really including him in the process. I told him - as plain as I could without being mean - because Tasha is carrying MY grandchild, I now have a relationship with Tasha that doesn't require him to be a go-between. She and I can (and will) communicate about the well-being of my grandchild and my grandchild's mama. I am a part of the equation. And if I have nothing in the way of material goods to offer this precious one, I will dig deep and work hard to PRESENT in whatever capacity works for Taush-tin.

I also had a heart to heart with Austin about him pulling away from Tasha because of the heated words they've had over the past few weeks. I said, "I stuck with your dad through 14 years of marriage because it was so important to me for you guys to have a dad and I knew that without me in the background their dad was going to have to hit rock bottom before he became a presence in their life. Ain't none of us got perfect parents but I want my grandchild to have two parents giving it an honest effort to create a peaceful world for him to grow up in.

I've learned over the past few years of dealing with this whole back problem and disability that there are a precious few who will stick with you throw years of uncertainty, put up with your sorry/broke self, want to come over and hang out without because it's hard to get out. I've done a lot of withdrawing over the last three years and there are times I look around and realize how insulated I've made myself. The thing is... the battle to continue to have a will to live when you know every day will hurt... you wont be able to do what you want to do, go where you want to go, have money for anything you want or need. That battle to survive the physical pain leaves me no reserves for dealing with any emotional drama. So I have just pulled back from almost all human interaction. I don't invite people to come see me because I'm boring and I don't want to be hurt if they turn down the invite. And even when people are here visiting I just feel like I can't connect. My life is about surviving the night... then surviving the day... all the while trying to avoid anything that would be discouraging or hurtful and all that because... I just need to only deal with what I can't escape, the pain.

Anyways... so the relationships that I nurture and pay attention to, they're ones that are of extreme importance to me. My nieces. My sons. My parents. And my grandchild/ren and their mamas. Doctor visits are painful for me physically but this baby - and this baby's mama - want me there and so I will be. They matter most.

So. All of that. Aren't you glad I quit blogging every day? How much of this will people read before they decide... "nah... I'm tired of her pity party."? But there are good things and I wanted to show you a few from this week:

 Sunshine outlining the trees...
 Little Kitty napping under a blanket
 Another misty morning with a little fog on the lake

That text above should read, "saving pine cones for an upcoming craft project with muh gurrrrls!" We're going to spray paint them, glitter them and hang them from the ceiling because... why not?

More loveliness from my back porch.

 Evidence of work in my la-bore-atory....

 Making a pillowcase for a special girl. Got a lot done on it today which makes me less freaked out about "how am I gonna get all this done before Christmas?". A nice two day project here and there tells me that I can do IT!
 This was last week's work and it's a secret so SHHHHHH! Don't show my Jamie! It will be a pillowcase. And yes, I did embroider every word of the 23rd Psalm for her. And re-memorized it in the bargain.
 Hmmmm wonder who would like this? It's a work in progress but always fun to work on . I'm having to make my own patters and it's not easy.
 Mr. Penguin will have a couple of penguin scenes around him. That stack to the left took way more time than you might think.
 My briefcase is a sewing basket. My fingers are callused. But I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas Day.

Unedited, unfiltered me at the end of the day. Low on the glam,  off the charts fatigue but... I'm still here!

Love and hugs to all of you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Tangled Web

Yesterday morning. There's lots more color than my little camera can capture. It's a beautiful world.

Remember the blog entry where I talked about being a grandma? My fears about something happening to the relationship between Austin and Tasha? Yeah. Their relationship has really gotten rocky which has my anxiety ramped way up. Neither one is all right or all wrong. I've tried to keep the lines of communication open between them but we've had to put an embargo on overnight visits after a knock down/drag out hulabaloo at midnight the other night that resulted in a broken iPhone. She's hormonal. He has Asperger's. It's a dangerous combo. We're at 11 weeks, two days pregnant. You have no idea how stressful it is to want to be supportive to your kid, who really, honestly, feels overwhelmed... but to know that there's a baby involved who needs to know his dad and who I NEED to know.

I've never gotten over - and I doubt I ever will - the estrangement of my youngest brother and his four kids. Y'all know what kind of aunt I am. It breaks my heart that those kids aren't getting to be a part of all the great times that I have with my two redheads. That brother was born when I was 14. Trust me, he was MY baby! And we just... we have such a great time with my nieces even when one is a sassafrass and won't give her "bibby" (what they call each other) the remote... there are no bad times with them. This picture is Sarabeth with her presents on her 12th birthday. Mawmaw made a cheesecake. I made a bookmark and she said, "how did you know? This is what I say every time I read!" How do I know? Because you're my niece. And I know you HAVE to be a bookworm. The My Little Pony books my parents found at an art shop last week. And the cash? Because...

As far as my grandbaby is concerned,  I've been able to keep the lines of communication open with Tasha. She knows that she's important to me and that I'll do everything I can to support her. I've given her tips for handling Austin and encouraged her as much as I can. The way it's supposed to work is .... a couple falls in love... they get married... they set up a home together and plan to share that life with a child. They took a few steps out of order and are quickly discovering differing opinions about the kind of world their child will come into. I felt a huge, HUGE amount of anxiety when we did the ultrasound two weeks ago because the other grandma was very pushy with Austin (and me) about how "he did this" "it takes two to tango" "he needs to step up"  and how our family needs to pay for things because they don't have much money. Well, I haven't worked in a year and a half. What money my parents have is their LIFE SAVINGS that they planned to live on for the rest of their lives and they're already having their retirement home invaded by me and a kid.

Getting Austin to find a job - any job- has been the most frustrating endeavor of MY LIFE and baby mama's folks are telling him that a fast food job isn't good enough, that he needs to get a factory job, like, a month ago and he's just shutting down. The impression he's getting is that they don't want Tasha to have to work - ever. Tasha worked a day, didn't feel good and just didn't go back. That pushed Austin closer to the edge. I mean, the kid is really stressed out. And for me, nonstop Austin stress means the only time I get a break is when I'm sleeping. Cue full dose of ambien after a year, almost of being on a half dose. I just keep cautioning them both to not say anything that's going to jeopardize their ability to parent together in the future. And I'm trying to do the same. Above it all... I really do like Tasha and want her to have as little stress as possible in this pregnancy. Sometimes, though, doing the hard thing is what gives you the softer pillow to lay your head on at night. The road that looks the rockiest is truly the easiest path in the long run.

So I'm grieving the possibility of having a grandchild that I don't get to know, knowing how heartbreaking it is to have nieces and nephews I don't get to know and have I mentioned how stressed I am? Ok. I guess that horse is dead enough.

The picture above is Sarabeth showing that she's ALMOST as tall as her full grown cousin. They fuss and fight and tease each other like siblings. The other day there was a pool noodle sword fight. In my living room. We put a duster cloth on the end so that when it hit the wall it would also dust. This picture is her turning on him when he said something... Austin-like.

Time for me to get back to the needle - sewing needle. Cross-stitch... take me awayyyyyyy!

Happy Thursday. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Work In Progress

I thought you might like to get a peek at what has been taking the place of blogging (and cleaning and everything else) over the past few weeks/months. These are a few of the projects I've been working on... these will be gifted to people who don't follow my internet presence. I think. There are four more that are super cute that I can't show without ruining the surprise. Some of these will be pillows, some will be framed. And there's a bookmark...


This is my third attempt at a bookmark. The first one was adorable but I cut the border too close and it unraveled. The second one I used a second piece of cross-stitch fabric and sewed the two pieces together which took FOREVER. This time I had the genius idea of using decorative duct tape for the back instead of trying to sew that delicate lace. That would have been a super idea except for trying to sew the border THROUGH the tape. Hello blisters and calluses! Next time I'll do just enough tape to secure the lace, sew the border and then cover that with tape.

I am nuts about this red-headed shepherdess. I'm going to do Psalms 23 as a backdrop, if it works out like I hope.  This was two patterns put together and the colors adjusted. That's my favorite way to do things... get a basic pattern and adjust it to suit me. I think this will be a pillow. Not sure.
 Incomplete penguin. There are some other penguins and background stuff I'm doing on this and it will definitely be a pillow.
 I took a photo of an Amish carpenter's wheel quilt and adapted it. I think I'd like to do this same pattern in just two or four colors. It's definitely meant to be a pillow.
This was a kit. It's small but took forever because it has a lot of half stitches. I'm not crazy about it but I think it would be nice framed.

And there are a few other works in progress. Hoping I'll finish it all before Christmas! It's great for morale because at the end of the day I've done more than just watch television... I've actually created something. I've got my sewing nest set up where I'm not putting pressure on my back and it doesn't give me carpel tunnel.

Then when my eyes start getting crossed and I start making mistakes I set it aside for the evening and go see what's been happening in cyberspace without me.

Hope you had a great weekend! Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap

Yesterday was an eleven on a pain scale of 1-10. Evil gut pain that feels like it goes all the way through to my spine. Even the "good stuff" didn't make the ouch go away. It sucks. Today has been better but the EGP (evil gut pain) is on it's way back and I had an hour of sitting upright at the Vet. More on that later.

Sarabeth and Jamie came over yesterday and we made two count-down chains - one for Christmas and one for Grandbaby #1. Jamie was HILARIOUS trying to keep straight that we were making links for 11 weeks through 40 weeks, a total of 30 weeks. I wish I could recap it for you. She's sassy in a totally adorable way. "So I need to make it to 30 weeks?" "No, it's weeks 11 through 40, which is a total of 30." "WHAT???"  Seriously, cute beyond measure, especially trying to keep her pattern of pink/blue/yellow. Sarabeth and I were trying to figure out how many days we had until Christmas. My mom was trying to find out by asking Cortana (her knock-off version of Siri) and by the time three of us tried to put in her password and find the right screen Sarabeth had counted the number of days on the calendar. Technology isn't always the quickest or best way to go. I don't do complicated craft projects with the girls because it seems to work better when it doesn't feel like a chore. The chains were a good, stress-free project.

Little Kitty caught a salamander on the back porch and brought it down to the Whine Cellar - his personal torture chamber. It's amazing that my sweet, little cuddler can be downright evil when he catches creepy crawly things. I always say, "don't let that thing get your mommy". He works hard at protecting me. What's gross is crunching on a salamander tail in the middle of the night. (reason number 2945 that I sleep with the lights on!)

This afternoon Oscar the dachshund managed to get a fishhook in his mouth. Pop came huffing and puffing up the hill with him and I grabbed my shoes and my purse and headed out the door to the Vet's office. I figured Pop was too stressed to drive, plus he had driven to Atlanta and back to see Grandma this morning. It didn't even occur to me until hours after we got home that I had gone out without brushing my hair. I was a scary, Medusa looking mess with no makeup. Fortunately the vet got him in and sedated him so they could remove the fishhook and we were out in just over an hour. Poor puppy was high as a kite on the way home! We think he will be fine. He has to take antibiotics for a few days. It's really bizarre to not hear his frequent barks from upstairs. Anybody who has been around Oscar will tell you that he's quite verbal. God love him. It doesn't feel right not to hear him.

In other, "this wouldn't happen in Riverdale" news... not long after we arrived at the vet's we see a dog running across the parking lot with a girl in scrubs chasing him. She yelled for help and two other girls from the office joined the chase. The vet's office is right on the main drag heading into Cleveland and late Friday afternoon traffic on an October day is really heavy. I was sure that poor runaway was about to be road kill. There was a guy in the waiting room with a big dog and a little dog and a five year old little boy. He remarked that he would help chase if we could watch his kid and dogs and we eagerly agreed. That would never happen in Riverdale - leaving your kid and dogs with complete strangers to chase down the dog belonging to a complete stranger. The good news is that they caught the dog. Austin had turned in an application for a job there the other day. I couldn't help but say, "my son applied for a job here the other day and he's GREAT at catching runaway dogs". *crickets* Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I switched from frantic "Christmas gift" stitching to "birthday gift" stitching today. Sarabeth will be 12 next Tuesday. I am about 75% done on her gift and will finish up tomorrow and get back to Santa's Workshop. I've made a lot of progress but still have miles to go on my Christmas gifts. I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination but I usually keep things fairly tidy. Lately I've been too focused on sewing to clean. This is how the nest looks now due to my lack of attention:

 My bed piled with clean clothes. The floor piled with dirty clothes and clothes that need to be sorted. I've been sleeping on Jamie's nest in the living room so my bed only gets cleared off when Tasha spends the night and sometimes not even then... she just pushes them to the side.
 Jamie's nest / My cross stitching nest / last week's newspaper / empty snack packages. #mess
Boxes of craft supplies, wrapping paper and other assorted things that found their way to my living room. At least I can say it looks lived in.

This is the funny one (to me). For a few toilet paper changes nobody bothered to throw away the cardboard tubes. They piled up and someone made a pyramid of them. The pyramid has grown and grown. Little Kitty always supervises my bathroom visits and manages to knock the pyramid over half the time.

The leaves are really starting to look beautiful right now, especially the reds. One day I'll take photos. These will have to do for now...
 just a tiny bit of change...

And... I guess that's about it for now. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Lot of Words then A Lot of Pictures

Sorry it's been so long since I updated. Life has been happening a lot around here and in the pauses in the action I'm either (a) too drained to write or (b) it's better if I don't share my thoughts until I can make them more Christ-like/positive/uplifting/etc.

We went to the OB with Tasha on Thursday which was interesting for so many reasons - not the least of which having to "pull over right now, she's going to throw up" and the closest place to stop was The Demorest City Cemetary. The kids are sure that the zombies are going to get us for that one. They did an ultrasound so we both got to see the bitty baby AND hear his heartbeat. Due to his heart rate of 174, my early gender guess is BOY. We asked the technician about the whole concept of placenta placement revealing the gender and she said... well this one is posterior, not left or right. Austin says that means it's a hermaphrodite. :shakes head: Austin is very tactile - must touch everything - imagine that in a OB/GYN office. Fun times.

At any rate... the baby looks great, his due date is 5/5/15 which is such a cool birthday, even though I know first babies never come on their due date. Except my brother Jim and if you know Jim, you know how perfect that is! So we have a Cinco de Mayo baby.

As exciting as all of that is it has been an emotionally exhausting week for me. Austin in relationships means him not always getting all the social cues of knowing what is expected of him in this situation. It's all new. It also, unfortunately, adds a new group of people with opinions about how he is supposed to act - people who don't yet really understand his quirks and how the surest way to lose him is to make him feels pressured to behave a certain way. And in our situation it's a clash of parenting styles among grandparents with hers being much more confrontational and mine being my tried and true - "sit back, let them figure things out between them and offer advice/support when asked".

All of this means that Austin wants to be where he feels safe and supported and loved and comfortable - which is the Whine Cellar - and Tasha feels sick and exhausted and overwhelmed with all that is happening and wants to be where she feels safe and loved and so forth, which is her home with her parents AND Austin. It has been a huge bone of contention and I, as usual, am Austin's ambassador to the world and the world's ambassador to Austin and it. wears. me. out. We love Tasha and I enjoy having her here but I'm a homebody myself. I know that when I'm not feeling good I want to be where I'm comfortable.

We've also been blessed to have some precious time with people who are precious to us - Uncle John (my mom's youngest brother) and Aunt Gerri, our usual weekly visits of the beloved redheads and two brief visits from Cody and Marquee as they dropped off/picked up Sammy on the bookends of their trip to Disney World this weekend. Many people who make our lives richer and deeper and a lot of social time for this introvert.

I had one big cross-stitch project that I was working from a Spanish pattern that I snagged from Pinterest that the further I got into it, the more I realized something was lost in translation because it just didn't look like the picture at all. It drives me nuts to start a project and not finish it, not to mention the lost time and materials but it was never going to be something that I would be proud to give. I'm so excited to put a little love and a lot of prayer into every gift I give this year and I love that it's something that I can do with my "budget" (of no money at all). However... the days are ticking by and I've still got many, many projects to do.

We're also, as collective grands of the wee one, in very different places on this "getting ready for baby" planet. I have no money at all and medical expenses every month put me in the negative but... almost certainly before he gets here, I will have had my disability hearing and either (a) received a chunk of change or (b) be even broker than I was before with a huge attorney bill to pay. Under situation (a), I'm happy to take care of many baby needs. Under situation (b) I have nothing to contribute. They (the other grands) want me to participate in the shopping process NOW which I can't do because... I can't just wander around stores, I don't have that luxury and I can't share in the expense because I have no money. I know there's a limited amount of time to get ready but that doesn't change my circumstances. It is returning me to Darby-level anxiety (but not Darby-level depression, I'm ok.). Her mom wants to bond. I'm not a bonder. I once was but life - and pain - has changed that. And pushing me towards that makes me want to run and hide.

So that's where I've been. Dealing with stuff. Seeing people. Sewing. And now some pictures:

Dipped into the thirties here last night therefore we have had a lovely fog on the lake this morning.

Pop made a big batch of chili yesterday. Perfect for football watching! I had my chili over fritos and topped with cheese, sour cream and guacamole. IT WAS SO GOOD! Totally worth the heartburn / reflux and pain that comes any time my belly is full. Oh... and that cornbread beside it... cracklin' cornbread cooked in an iron skillet because, is there any other way?

What are mama and Oscar looking at?

 My grandpuppy Sammy loosing his MIND because he got a wee bit wet going outside to potty.

Old folks on the dock + Austin. Austin said, "they're SLEEPING while they fish!"

 Stepped outside for a second without Little Kitty. First he raps on the glass with his claws and when that doesn't work............
Full on begging, "PLEASE don't leave me!"

A little  less stressed in this one.

Jamie loves Pop's electronics. She's a whiz.

 Mom and Pop's combined birthday celebration. Grandma spent the weekend with us. Grammy (my sister-in-law Angie's mom) loves spending time with Grandma. And we love having extended family around.
Mommy and Daddy to be...
 I'm always at the kids' table - by choice. That's where the fun happens!
Is there any doubt these folks are related? Grandma and Jamie have the same grin, the same cheery personality and are, at least for the moment, the same height.

And that's all, folks! Love and hugs!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last Weekend in September

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Her brother John and his wife Gerri are in town from Florida. John is the youngest brother. There were four boys in a row and then three girls in a row. My mom is the middle girl. Anyways... John and Gerri are here for the week, staying in the house of a friend of theirs? Or something? I'm not sure. They're not staying with us. They came over yesterday and then we went to Wendell's for lunch. Wendell's is sort of a meat and three type place. Everyone except for me and Pop had liver and onions. :shudder: I had fried chicken and Pop had grilled chicken. The food was good. The company was great. The stress on my back was unbearable.

Afterwards we visited the little thrift store next to the restaurant where I picked up this amazing picnic basket for only $5!  I knew it was perfect for a sewing basket so that I could organize my embroidery supplies. Sidebar: whenever I type the word "picnic basket" in my head I hear Yogi Bear's voice saying "pick-a-nick basket". Anybody else have that problem? Gerri found a great deal on some dishes and made arrangements to go back and pick them up later this week when they've been packed for travel back to Florida.

During lunch Uncle John entertained with stories about mom's early childhood when they lived in Cohutta, Georgia. Cohutta is near Dalton, Georgia, in the far northwest corner of the state. It was (and still is) primarily rural and poor. Their house - my mom's first home - didn't have electricity or running water. The barn and the chicken house had water and electricity but their home didn't. They used well water to drink until a cat fell in the well and ... well, contaminated it. Then they finally piped running water into the house. Can you imagine having seven kids without running water and electricity? Ironically, the year they got electricity was the year that the last child was born. Apparently they found something else to do at night.

All was well with the grandbaby at the doctor on Wednesday. They did not do an ultrasound, she goes back for that next Thursday and I'm taking her! I've heard this thing on the internet about how the placement of the placenta in early pregnancy is an indication of the sex. I mean, I know that's probably as much of an Old Wives Tale as the peeing in drano thing or the swinging wedding ring or how you carry... but I'm still going to take note of it, if possible.

I'm so proud of Tasha because she has gone back to work! I've been there... I know how hard it is to work in early pregnancy. I also know that she wants to give this baby the best life possible, which was always my motivation. Every job I ever worked was to provide for my kids, especially those last few months that I worked full time while Austin was finishing high school. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to just give up... how many days I came home in extreme agony... but I had to give him that stability for his last few months of school. Thanks to help from family, we didn't have to move out when I lost my job which would have been devastating.  I hope that seeing Tasha work hard to provide for their baby will be inspiration to Austin to do everything he can to find a job. There are a lot of places hiring.

Going out to lunch yesterday was painful. I wanted to push myself because we don't see Uncle John that often, just like I pushed myself last weekend when Grandma was here and the result was the same. I was in such horrendous pain by the time we got home - after a little detour through Helen - that I was pouring sweat and sick to my stomach. Today my spine feels like it's on fire and in a vice. I'm having muscle spasms and my legs feel like they're made of lead. It's crazy. I was out and about for just a little over two hours and not all of that time was sitting. Two hours of activity takes me out of commission for days. That's just ... frustrating.

Mom and Dad went this morning to watch my niece Jamie cheer. I sent along the camera and Sarabeth took a bunch of pictures for me. Jamie is the one with red hair, in case you can't spot her.

And now my parents are at a Sunday School social and I'm dog-sitting while watching the Florida State game. I've been a Gator fan ever since the Darby era. I mean, I lived in Florida at the height of the Tebow reign and it was great to be a Florida Gator. At least it was then. I'm not a fair weather fan but I did promise my children to change my allegiance whenever they gave me a grandchild. Even though Austin knows nothing about football, the older boys insist that a grandchild is a grandchild and they have invoked the Grandchild Clause. I'm told a FSU sweatshirt is in the works. I'm watching FSU vs. NC State. And trying my best to pull for the right team. I figure it's the least I can do. Go Noles. 

I guess that's about it for now. Can you stand a few more Jamie pictures? I love my sweet girl!

she's spotting in this one

Happy Weekend, y'all!