Hello, little blog.  It's been awhile.  Have you missed me?  You're a good friend, just hanging around until I check in.  Kind of like a loyal puppy.  Only, no peeing on the carpet, for which I'm grateful.

I could start off by saying it's been busy around here, but isn't everybody's life busy?  Especially now that commerce has decided Christmas preparations should begin before Halloween.  It's nutty.  I'm trying not to succumb, but I have to admit I purchased a couple holiday dish towels last week.  I'm making a few gifts from dish towels and potholders.

I saw this idea at a craft fair a few years ago.  With a basting stitch, I gathered the center of the towel to fit the width of the potholder.  Front sides together, I sewed the center of the towel to the center of the potholder. You can then sew a button onto the top edge of the potholder (non-loop side) and latch the towel on your oven door.  

Or, whip stitch the potholder closed at the top and hang it on a pantry door.


This pantry door is close to my sink, so this is a good location to hang my towel.  I have several of these I swap out when one is in the laundry.  I get a kick out of simple, practical items like this. 

There's your Martha Stewart craft of the day.  It's a good thing.

In other news, two weeks ago, my husband went to get into his car and the door handle came off in his hand.  He came inside and said, "I think I need a new car."

So, we purchased this.

It's a silver Hyundai.  Other than that, I know nothing about it, except, it has door handles that don't come off.  This is important.  Merry Christmas, honey.

In all fairness, my husband's old car had seen better days.  It was probably time to retire it anyway, but just a warning for all cars - if your handles come off, you're on your way to the trade-in lot.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I have to backtrack in my head, because, as you can see, I've been sucked into the Christmas wormhole.  I'm excited about  Thanksgiving this year because a friend is bringing a roasted-outside-all-night turkey, stuffing, and a pumpkin cream pie.  And I'm catering in three side dishes, because of this.

I'm making a cranberry Jello salad.  I think I can manage it.  I might plan an injury pre-holiday season next year.  Or, maybe I'll still be in this boot.  AUGH!

In the spirit of giving thanks, here is my grateful list for 2014:

1.  I'm so thankful for good doctors.   From Parkinson's to chronic UTIs to torn tissues, we have a slew of nice docs that keep us moving.

2.  I'm grateful my husband has a good job.  We have more than we need.  I feel guilty about this sometimes.  I share and donate to try to compensate.

3.  I'm grateful for the hard workers at my folks' ALF.  They don't get enough kudos, so I bake goodies for them once in a while.  They have difficult jobs, which I could never do. 

4.  We had a door replaced in our home, and my folks got new carpet in their suite. These are material things I know, in the long run, don't matter, but in the short run, they're very nice.

5.  I had a wonderful vacation at the beach this fall with my sister and her sisters-in-law.  I always forget how nice it is to do nothing for a while.

6,  The new show Madam Secretary.  I look forward to it.  The writing is very good. By Sunday night, I need to plop.

7.  My new gym, which has a pool.  I need to swim for exercise and for ankle therapy.  I'm not great at it, but I'm working on it.  Oh, to bring back those 1920 swimsuits that covered all the blobbiness.

8.  For Fuji apples dipped in soft caramel.  The taste of Fall.

9.  For my Kitchen Aid mixer, my Sonic toothbrush, the supplement MSM, my clothesline, the Christmas music of Josh Groban, and all my blogging friends. 

10.  For good friends who bring roasted turkeys, and for the love of family.  And for Jesus, who enables us to love one another, because some days...

Thanks for popping in!  Have a blessed week!


Hobbling Around

So....here's what happened this week.

It matches the tile grout in my kitchen, don't you think?  I now try to just hang in the kitchen, so I always look coordinated. 

Apparently, I've had some small tears in my paroneal longus tendon since the summer (tendonopathy.) That's one of the tendons that runs from calf to foot and and slides back and forth under that bony protrusion on the side of your ankle. 

I've also developed plantar fasciitis (I swear this word has too many 'i's, but Webster says no.)  Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and micro tears in the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs from heel to toes on the bottom on the foot.  My left foot is aging faster than my right.  However, with my now cock-eyed gait, my right foot is acting up.  I really need a third leg.

What's bugging me this week is that I've had pain in this foot for about six weeks.  At first I thought it was part of the fibromyalgia I'm still learning about and treating with supplements.  So, I went to the beach two weeks ago for vacation and began running again.  This was absolutely the wrong thing to do.  But, I didn't yet know the results of my MRI, and I wasn't feeling any worse. 

So, I ran a bit.  And walked on the lumpy beach, and walked on the street, and walked up and down flights of stairs several times a day.  Two days after I got home, I learned about these injuries, and then began kicking myself with my good foot. 

How are we supposed to determine aging aches and pains from injury aches and pains?  That's the question.  Clearly, I'm a bad judge of that distinction.  So, now I'm in a gray boot for a month, maybe more.  If things are healing well at that point, I'll get a brace for another few months.  Yes, I said months.  Plantar fasciitis takes six months to a year to heal.  Geez-o-flip. 

The doc said tendons don't ever return to their former state, so this foot will always be a vulnerability for me.  That means no more running.  Ever.  I'm not crazy about running, but it was the best tool for me when it came to weight loss.  Nothing knocked off twenty pounds as quickly as running. 

Pooh.  I might have to befriend this twenty pounds.  ACK!

The doc said swimming is my best option from now on.  So, I closed my membership at my current gym and joined a gym that has a pool.  I can't tell you how excited I am to squeeze into a bathing suit that reveals the extra twenty pounds. 

Oh well.  Life is full of surprises and adjustments.  There are many people in worse shape than me. And I still have one good foot. 

For now.


Shades of Gray - Part 6

I spent a week at the beach in NC with six great sister-friends, and I realized all but one were not coloring their hair.  This surprised me, as my housemates and I were, within five years or so, the same age.  I was impressed with Mary's naturally curly mop.

I love this do.  The curls, the waves, the pattern of color.  This is what I want.  Mary colored her hair off and on for years and finally said, "whatever."  She's as down-to-earth and bubbly as her hair.

I love the patch of snowy white on the top, like the spouting of a little halo.  It cascades down to shades of silver and then ends with darker curls at the nape.  Such cool variations. 

My own silver tones are looking pretty unremarkable.

Dull, nondescript color.  But, clearly my natural dull, nondescript shade.  In fact, what looks unnatural to me now is the orangey-tawny-dark hair dye.  I have a ways to go before it's all gone, and I may hate the full head of dull, nondescript color, but right now...I'm less pleased with the leftover dye.  It looks, dare I say - fake.

Did it always look this way?  I know I've seen some heads of color that were clearly from the bottle.  Many dye jobs look artificial - too dark, too flat, too brassy. Was I one of those?  I'll probably never know.

What I do know is that I don't want to color my hair anymore.  Even if I'm not crazy about the wisdom highlights I'm accruing.  I think I've crossed the threshold from being afraid to give up the bottle, to "whatever."  I've enjoyed not having to find time to cloister myself in the bathroom while I mix up dark chemicals and gag my way through the toxic fumes.  Women, why did we ever start this?!?

If you're twenty and want to play with hair color as an accessory, that's one thing.  But, to assume (and that's what we're doing here, ladies) that once grays appear, it's time to lock into the dying ritual?  We need to break free of that notion.  I've said it before, I'll say it again: for all the hard-won freedoms women have fought for, the lie that we can't be gray is the dumbest.  It doesn't make any sense that we still buy into that one.

I'm noticing silver-headed women these days.  And I'm complimenting them for their courage and their insight.  And yes, their wisdom.

We need to do more of that.


39 Years and Counting

This week my hubby and I noted our 39th anniversary. 

1975 - Engagement year

As it approached, people asked, "Are you going to do anything special?  What are you going to do?"

The hubs and I discussed it as well.  We decided what we wanted to 'do' was nothing.

We 'do' a lot of stuff already.  He works ten-hour days as a manager; I'm a caretaker for my folks. We have a big house we're always trying to repair, or clean.  We have two cars that need maintenance.  We mow and run errands and take my folks to doctor appointments.  Most nights, we doze off watching the news.  Coming up with something else to 'do' just wasn't appealing.

We decided we'd go get a couple of soft serve ice cream cones and call it a day.

Then, Dad got sick, and things changed.  I took him for his first antibiotic infusion, and the hubs went to bed.  It was fine.  The next day my husband helped my dad take a shower, and then our daughter and I took the folks to Mass.  The hubs came home from the drug store with ten bottles of seltzer water for me (my choice of fluid these days - .99 a bottle), and I made him a pan of brownies.  We gave each other a kiss before I headed out the door to Dad's second infusion appointment.  It was a perfect anniversary weekend.  We didn't have to dress up, or overspend, or even stay awake.

We're moved with the Air Force eight times and raised three children (and a dog.)  We've invested in two weddings and buried four siblings.  We've 'done' a lot already.  In his down time, the hubs plays Angry Birds; in my 'free' time, I write.  And we're content with that.

At the 39-year mark, it's wonderful to have a guy who helps my dad bathe and brings me bottled water.  I pack his lunches and line-dry his L.L. Bean shirts to keep them crisp. These are the things we 'do.'

And it's really enough. 

Happy anniversary, babe.


15 Shades of Gray - part 5

I got my hair cut this week for the first time since I've been allowing my wisdom highlights to grow out.

If I turn my head to the left a bit, they're not too noticeable.  If I zoom into the mirror and check the top of my noggin....yep, there they are.

Still not crazy about the gray streaks, but I have to admit...it's not turning out as awful as I first imagined.

I colored my hair for twelve years, and the greatest trepidation about stopping was facing the natural (at this point) unknown color.  How gray was it?  Would it be more silver?  Would there be any brown/black tones left?  What the heck color was my hair anyway?

Now I know.  I'm happily surprised to see I'm not as fully gray as I expected.  Not that it should matter.  I'm doing this so I can face, and accept, whatever color my hair is.  It would have been fun to discover my hair was really fuchsia, but that didn't happen.

I'm also finding the hairs at my hairline are still mainly dark.  The hairs at my nape are mainly dark.  The top of my head, towards the back, is the lightest.  Maybe that's my halo sprouting.

As I get my hair trimmed, more of the dye job will disappear, and the wisdom highlights will become more dominant.  That's when I'll really know how this new do will fit my pale face.  AUGH!

So, I'm coming along on this journey of giving up the bottle.  Encountering other women who have done the same is inspiring.  Like Stacey.

I met her at the hair dresser's; she just received this cute cut.  She started dying her hair in her 20's.  She's delighted to be done with it.  "Go for it!" she said.  Her husband encouraged her, she told me.  I love stories like this!

While I'm waiting for my wisdom highlights to fully appear, I'm working on a few other things.  I cleaned out our son's old room, which had become a dumping ground for stuff I didn't know what to do with.  After a trip to the thrift shop with things I decided I could part with, I set up a crafting area.  Storing my various crafting supplies posed a problem.  I went to the thrift shop in search of a bookcase, and I came home with this.

A changing table!  It stores everything beautifully, and I can wheel it next to the table where I create masterpieces.  I love it.

The best part is that it was only $16.00!  Sometimes I hit a home run here in the Ballpark.

How's your week been?