Friday, December 26, 2008


Christmas 2008 is finally over but still more gifts to give.

Christmas 2008 is finally over, but I still have more gifts to hand out to some family members who didn`t make it on Christmas Day. So far, everyone seems to love the gifts I gave to them. I also still have more gifts that I was not able to deliver in time due to both the weather and my Uncle`s Funeral. I do feel God was with me as I drove down and back to the Funeral place alone on Wednesday. All of my children were working and unable to drive me there. I knew the roads were a bit on the slippery side and that the snow would be changing to sleet and later rain that morning and early afternoon. Since the hours were 10 to 12 noon for the Wake and the funeral was to start immediately after that, I stayed alert throughout the morning and early afternoon. It was just snowing lightly when I left home. It never started sleeting until I was on my way driving back home and the heat on the windshield kept melting the sleet so it didn`t get real bad seeing through it. It did have me being extra careful for a few minutes when the sleet was freezing on the windshield and I had to lean my head down to look through the small area that was still clear. That brought back many memories of the old days when I had a car with wipers that stopped working. One time I drove home from my mothers home with my head stuck our the open window so I could see to drive home. The wipers refused to work . Glad I never passed any officers on the road while snow had completely covered my windshield making it impossible to see through it. I can imagine what other car drivers were thinking as the watched me driving with the window wide open and my head stuck out that window . An other time Walt and I had made the trip to visit my step son and his family who lived in North Carolina. It was snowing hard as we were driving up the winding steep hill through Virginia on our way home. You couldn`t see anything through the windows. So, that time I also kept my head out the open window so I could see where the car lights showed the road only in front of the car itself. The difference this time is I wasn`t the one driving the car. We had to keep driving for miles and miles because we could not see any roads to turn off the road. We ended up driving from Virginia, then threw the other stated this road entered and left. Finally we reached the state of Massachusetts before we drove out of that bad storm. We were so relieved to be able to see where we were and with my map I was able to direct us from Mass. back into New York State where I directed Walt till we were back in more familiar territory. To get back to my ride home from the Funeral Parlor with the ice forming on my windshield, once I turned the heat onto the dash the sleet melted off the windshield in just seconds letting me see well again. My many years of driving in bad weather sure came in handy again. One daughter said she could drive me there before she left for work and suggested I hail a Taxi to bring me home. But I guess I had seen too many accidents over the years involving taxies. As I told her you never know if the taxi driver would be one who had plenty of practice driving in bad weather, or if it might be a new driver with little practice. So, I felt a bit safer driving myself. My new car held the road very well. Too many of the older experienced Taxi drivers have now retired, so there are a lot of new ones now.

It was -17 F when I got up that morning and had only gotten up to -15 by 8:30AM , so was still very cold when I started driving, but got up into the 20`s by the time I was driving back home. Later it warmed up to 31, and soon after the rain started. We did not get much rain , so it never lowered the high snow banks any. When I was getting into my car to head home, my sisters came over to put some Christmas gifts in my car from them. I have been having pain in my back and it had gotten worse and the pain started going down my right leg, so it was giving me some trouble walking and even sitting. I thought about putting the gifts in my car for my brother , sisters, and sister-in-law -knowing they would all be there, but it was too painful climbing up and down the porch steps. I would have had to make a lot of trips up and down those steps to carry everything from the house to my car. I was afraid if I tried, then I might not be able to go to the Funeral home, and I felt I had to be there for my Aunt and cousins, plus I thought a lot of this Uncle. He was the last one in my mother`s family. Now I have no more Uncles and the only 2 Aunt`s left are the one married to this Uncle and the one who was married to the other Uncle who died earlier this year.

Yesterday was a bit warmer and no storm all day. I went to a son`s home for Dinner with him, his wife and 2 children, plus my stepson and his friend also joined us. Most of the children phoned to tell me Merry Christmas before I left. My youngest son showed up with his friend as soon as he knew I was back home. No more than he left my youngest daughter came with her little 4 year old daughter. One of my other granddaughters visited me on my Anniversary Date- 23rd. She has meet a nice lad and wanted me to meet him. She had phoned me a few days before to tell me she would be bringing him with her. So we exchanged gifts on my Anniversary. It helped make that day a bit more pleasant for me. Out of all the days in the year my Anniversary is the hardest one to handle. So, I was happy she decided to come then. After she left, I was invited to another daughters home to celebrate Christmas with her, her husband, her son and her three grandchildren. It was this daughter`s only night off as she sits with an elderly person and had to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. So I exchanged gifts there with all of them. We had already celebrated Christmas at her home over a week before when her daughter was visiting from out of state. She is the mother of the newest great grand daughter who was born in Sept. on my birthday. So, we finally got to see that beautiful little Dakota. I tried to scan her picture to add to this post, but today my scanner is acting like it has a mind of it`s own, I will need to check it out again. I usually can get it working after I fool around with it for a while. Maybe I can post the picture later.

I was happy that I managed to finish all the hanging towels for everyone. OH, here is one to smile about. When I was at my daughters and gave my grandson`s wife her gift- which included 2 of the towels among the gifts- She said that mike asked her where are all the kitchen towels? So, after he arrived from work and was opening the gift I gave him, I also gave him one of the towels. I told him his wife mentioned he had asked where all the towels went to and now he knew where his own towel was. That brought a smile to his face and others got in with the laughs. This grandson was one who grew up living next door to me and any time he came over and saw me cleaning, he would always say he wanted to clean with me. One thing he was always doing was checking out my bathroom sink. Back then I had two sons who were always working on their cars or motorcycle and getting the sink dirty. They sometimes waited till they finished getting dirty to wash out the sink. They would always rinse it out, but if any grease mark was left, they would scrub it better when they finished what they were repairing. If Mike saw a dirty sink he would tell me " Grandma, they are doing it again", meaning the boys left the sink dirty. I would find him using the sponge and cleaner and was scrubbing my sink clean. My daughter once told me that she wished I could teach her son how to help her the way he kept helping me. He is still a great grandson today. Oh, I do have such a nice family where any one of them would help me if they saw I needed help. Can`t be a luckier Grandmother or great Grandmother than I am.
Here is part of what was written on the card I received with the gifts on Christmas Day from my youngest daughter: "In all my 40 years, you have been my strength. You have taught me so much and when I need you, you are there. If not in person, then in thought. Just knowing all that`s needed is to pick up the phone and you are there. You let me talk and at times you don`t say much about the reason I call, but I gain much from listening to what I am saying to you. When those calls end, I do feel so much better and re-focused on what I need to do. .... "At the very end of the writing she said "Thank you for being my Mom! ,and I pull my strength from you. I have had many others write such nice things to me over the years. It sure helps make all those hard years raising a big family so very worth while. Nothing makes a person more happy than to know their kids both love and also respect a parents advice. Yes, God sure did Bless me with a wonderful family.
So, all in all, even with the pain, my family brought me lots of pleasure and helped make Christmas a lot happier. As soon as I have a better feeling day, I need to take the gifts to my brother and sisters. I know they understand. When I was heading for my car after the Funeral, I heard one of my sisters yell to me asking me if I would be alright. Of course, I told her yes and my older sister came over to my car to be sure I would be able to drive home ok. Before leaving I had told my brother that I would see him after Christmas and when I went on-line this morning there was a message from him telling me the present wasn`t important, all the family cared was that I feel better and that I would be ok. I am so lucky to have such a close family that we all love and worry about each other. I am so glad I decided to buy the new car as right now I wouldn`t have been able to drive my standard car as it needed two feet for pushing both the clutch and brake and I only could use the left foot till the pain lets up. With the new automatic car with power steering, I knew I would be able to drive ok without using that leg. Must admit that I was happy when I finally got home so I could take the pain pills. They make me sleepy, so won`t take them if I am going to be driving the car. Christmas day my son came to pick me up to go to his house, so I was able to take the pain pills and have a better time while I was there. I know all the therapy exercises by heart and am back doing them to help with my back and I think the leg is from the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Been there many times in the past. The only difference this time is I think I have arthritis in the joint that connects the spine to the leg as the pain started there. I always manage in time to put everything back in place so the pain lets up. It just takes a little time. I am due back to my Dr`s on the 15th, so then I can find out if I am right about the arthritis being involved.
I hope everyone had a wonderful , very Merry Christmas.
Next thing on my mind is wiahing everyone a very Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas

Just a short note to wish everyone a wonderful very "Merry Christmas". If you live where you do not celebrate this Holiday, then i wish you also a wonderful day.I have been kept real busy every day for the past few weeks with the gifts I was crocheting and shopping for other gifts. My family has grown to about 57 to buy for, plus my brother, 3 sisters, 2 sister-in-laws and 1 brother-in-law. Christmas is just getting to be too hard for me to keep up- with the family adding on every year.

The 23rd would have been my Anniversary and out of all the days in the year, that one seems to be the hardest. Then yesterday the 24th I attended a Wake followed by the Funeral for my only remaining Uncle.

Today I will be having Dinner at one of my sons and his family. As soon as things calm down around here I will be around to visit all the many interesting friends blogs. I just didn`t want anyone to think I had forgotten them. I miss reading all your blogs and can`t wait to find time to get back reading them. Thanks for being such great understanding friends.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Will I finish before Christmas

Will I ever get finished in time for Christmas? Seems like I ask myself that same question every year. I am making those towels with the crocheted hanging tops to help with the gifts for the daughters, daughter-in-laws, married granddaughters, sisters and sister-in-laws. If I haven`t missed anyone and I make 2 for each, I will need to complete 54 of them to add to the other gifts . Already gave 2 of the 54 to a granddaughter who won`t be back up before Christmas. I just finished # 31, so just 21 more to crochet, then I still will need to tack the flower into the shape I want it to be -on all 52 towels and sew on the 52 buttons. Every year I hear them asking for more , so here I go again this year. So, every year I try to figure out a different pattern. This year I am adding a colored yarn flower on each of the crocheted tops. Hope they like it as much as other years patterns. The most expensive part is the cost of the buttons. Well, it does cost more for the towels, but I feel they are worth the price. $1.25 for every package of three medium large buttons seems high with little to show for it. Just a few years ago I was getting 5 buttons for just one dollar. That would have cost me only $11 and given me one extra button for 54 buttons , instead, this year it cost me $18 for 54 buttons. What a difference. I remember my mother once telling me she wish everyone gave her back the buttons when the towels wore out. I wish she were here to see the new pattern I am making this year. I know she would have asked me to teach her how I am doing it so she could make them. We used to cut each towel in half making two hanging towels from each towel. Was a lot cheaper that way. Now, I just fold the towel in half which makes the towel dry better as it is double thick. Cost twice as much this way, but I like them better. Still makes nice gifts without spending too much. When starting the crochet work on the top of the fold, I use the nut meat picks to push a hole through the double thickness where i need to pull the yarn through the double thickness. Seems like we seldom ever used the nut picks any more since they started selling the nuts already shucked. So, I found a new helpful use for one of them and it stays in with my crochet needles. I also have those 3 sided rubber enlargers slid onto my crochet hooks so I can hang onto them. As they say- Where there is a will, there is a way. I was asked the other day how I ever crochet and knit and work in my wood shop. Told her I use extenders to make the crochet needles larger around and when knitting I let my knees support one knitting needle with the head of the needle tight against the seat of the chair I sit on so one hand can hold one needle and my right hand is free to wind the yarn around the needle between my knees. Doing this allows me to keep knitting and crocheting. As for working in my shop, the tools are large so my hands can close far enough to use them.

Tonight , I was able to finish one more top while waiting for my computer to go through the defrag.. Hadn`t defraged in a long time, so thought I should get it done. Now my fingers are needing a rest. Little harder using my hands when a storm is on the way. If it storms tomorrow, I will stay home and can maybe get three more done, I hope. UPdate- did three more today and added them to the numbers above.
Glad I already finished the baby afghan and the hooded baby sweater that zips down the back.

I am sitting here yawning. Not much sleep last night. Brother-in-law called me about 7pm last night to tell me that my brother went to the hospital as he was having problems breathing. I called the hospital to see what I could find out, but they just handed the phone to my brother and he kept me on the phone for over an hour. I think it helped to calm down his breathing while talking to me. I never went to bed till after one AM and woke up at 5:30 this morning. When I called the Hosp at 7:30 this morning I was told he had gone home. I called down home ( used to be the home place where I grew up) and I was told he came home around 2 am and was still sleeping. We know nothing more now than we did when he went in. I am sure nerves is playing a part since he has bone cancer and it isn`t good.
He can use all the Prayers he can get. Update since writing this- they say he had an infection between the ribs causing the pain.

Hanging on one of the gold knobs on my daybed is a straw hat, similar to those farmers wore while working in the fields. I remember the time I got it. I had taken my mother shopping and one of the stores was giving away a straw hat to everyone who bought a banana split. Back then a banana split consisted of a banana sliced the long way with three scoops using three kinds of ice cream spread over the banana ( vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream). Then the ice cream was topped with three different types of ice cream topping with whipped cream piled in the top center. Chopped nuts were spread over the topping and it was topped with a cherry. Delicious!!!

When I worked, right after graduation, every week I allowed myself one Banana Split on payday. That was the only money I allowed myself to waste. Glad they were real cheap back then since i was only earning $18 a week. Did get a raise- up to $21 a week after working a full year. But, I quit and got married and only saw that raise for about 4 months. Today I sometimes miss those banana splits and make them here at home. That day, in the store, I bought one for my mother and one for myself, My mother often used her straw hat while working in her garden in the hot sun. One time I asked my brother what happened to my mothers straw hat as I knew it was still in one of the upstairs bedrooms for years after she passed away. I would have liked having it because of the nice memories connected to it. But it seems to have disappeared over the years. There is another cap that has memories for me. My husband used to say " Where`s the beef ". It was a popular saying back then. One of the sons-in laws heard him saying it and the following week he showed up with a baseball shaped cap with this writing on the front of the cap " Here`s the beef". He had made it in his father`s shop. His father used to work for the newspaper and had bought the equipment for printing on shirts , caps, etc.. Walt got a big kick out of that hat. I still have it today. I look around my home and know it would look nicer if I got rid of lots of things. But, I hate giving away or tossing away anything with happy memories connected to it. Guess that is because i know there will never be any new memories made with Walt, my 2 brothers or my parents, so what i have from the past is twice as important to me. Like I still have the old Navy winter dark blue sailor pants with those thirteen buttons on the front flap. I can`t imagine having to button 13 buttons so many times a day. Think of the amount of time that could add up to in a month or a year. Seems like they could be a danger in a war as who can take time for that many buttons when being shot at. Leaves me wondering what the officials were thinking of when they added all those buttons.
I often wonder if the 13 had anything to do with the original 13 states that joined the Union making up the original United States. I will have to look this up when I have extra time.

Now these warm sailor pants kept my achy legs warm when I was a kid out sliding down the long roads in the roads, or skiing and skip jacking down the other steeper road. I remember how I used to come in the house after playing outside in the cold and my legs would ache for hours. One day my brother told me he had something that would help my achy legs and he came back carrying his heavy winter weight sailor pants. He was right, they did help keep my legs warm and I was able to enjoy being outdoors a lot more. Thinking of those sailor pants reminded me of how small and skinny my oldest brother used to be when he was just 17. Later he grew up to be a tall, nicely built handsome man. He had my fathers big broad shoulders and large strong hands. He was no longer that skinny 17 year old. But, I have to be happy he once was that smaller fellow for me to be able to wear his sailor pants.

A home would just be a house without the happy and yes, sometimes the sad, memories that made it a home. I have seen some houses that look like a million with all their rich looking furniture that no one dares to sit on for fear of breaking it or getting a stain on it. I have no stains on my furniture, but I do see happy memories each time I look at them. I could have afforded to own more expensive items, but I never wanted a show place. I wanted a place where people laughed and had fun. Where they were not afraid to cuddle up together watching TV. Cuddling with Walt on the couch to watch TV together- makes me smile just thinking of it. When the kids were small, they would often climb up to sit with us, or sometimes climb up on our laps. We never worried about how many crowded onto the couch at the same time. we just had more there to hug. As they say, a family that is close when the kids are small, if often a family that stays close when they grow up. Had a brother who was a millionaire. One of his children once told me that he would gladly give away all the money his family had if his family could have even half the kind of love he saw in my family and in my younger brother`s family. We were at the younger brother`s funeral at the time. He told me they might be rich, but they don`t have the closeness my family has. Money doesn`t buy happiness, love does. This nephew might be the youngest of 6 kids, but I think he is also the wisest. Also lost this wonderful brother this past summer and I see his family is not as close without him holding them together, so his son, my nephew, was right about having money and missing out on the closeness. This brother had nothing handed to him, he worked hard to get where he was. He started out drawing patterns for our local Lace Factory. Then he saved for a small factory of his own in New Jersey, which he later sold and went into partnership with a friend on a much larger Lace factory. He had a smart business head and wasn`t afraid of hard work. I always looked up to him. He has helped our family and our mother many times over the years. I can honestly say that I am the only one in the family who never accepted a hand out from him. I am proud that Walt and I were able to raise our family on our own without asking anyone for a penny. I always knew my brother would help if I needed help, but am glad Walt and I, working hard together, accomplished whatever we needed to accomplish to give our kids a decent life. As they say, life doesn`t just happen, you have to be willing to work hard to get ahead . So, I feel that baring medical problems, life is what we make it our self through our own actions, hard work and good deeds. No matter how a person grows up, if he keeps his record clean and is willing to work hard, he can end up giving himself-or herself- a future where they can feel proud of them self and proud of what they have accomplished. A person doesn`t have to be rich to feel proud, he -or she- just has to be proud of their own actions and how they treat others. Their children will grow up feeling rich as long as they are surrounded with the strong family love that makes them happy. Having enough to eat, a roof over their head and clean decent clothes to wear is important, but without love, it will not bring them any happiness. Material things are not as important as giving of yourself to make each child feel they are special. Not one special child, but all your children should feel this same warm loved special feeling. Guess I learned this growing up knowing our mother did have her special pets. OH, we all knew she loved us, but just some more than others. I wanted to be like my Dad who had no special children, we all felt special in his eyes. I can honestly say that my mother changed after she was laid up and needed constant care after her hip operation and one of her pets wasn`t willing to move in for a few weeks to help her, while my youngest brother, his wife and Walt and I were there every day and night till she was back on her feet. Took her into her 80`s to see what her spoiling her oldest daughter turned her into. To be fair, this sister did help out, she just wasn`t willing to stay for a week or more to help. What bothered my mother was that she could stay away from her home to spend the whole winter down south, but she had to get back home after just a couple days when she needed her. As I told our mother, I grew up loving Nursing and had over a years training on the job at our local hospital, while my oldest sister was one who didn`t do well around the sick. So, it was much easier for me than for her. I remember mom telling me she wondered what this sister would do if her husband was ever sick. Well, if she had been still here to watch, she would have seen this sister taking good care when her husband was seriously ill and needed her. My mother would have been proud of her actions all over again. I am sure she was watching with a smile on her face knowing she hadn`t failed with this daughter. Probably if there hadn`t been other family members living closer who were able to help our mother, I think she would have taken over caring for mom, but she did know I was better trained for the job and that I would be willing to do the work. Plus another sister also lived close by. She just had no training and didn`t know what she should or shouldn`t do and I was the only one who knew how to handle the bandaging etc. after the first op.. Yes, first they tried to repair the broken hip, but a few months later they had to do a full hip replacement and again I was the only one who knew the exercises and what was needed to get my mother up and back walking again. My Hospital training caring for all kinds of patients sure came in handy. I will always be happy that I was able to help her and she did appreciate it very much.

Thought I would explain what I was working on for Christmas gifts to let all my wonderful blog friends know that I haven`t forgotten them and I will be around to visit as soon as I have more time. I miss reading your blogs and hope I can finish the towels soon and get back to reading your blogs.

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