Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hello!

I think I see a new face or two coming for a visit to my blog.


My name is Elaine, and in some circles I am called Retired Knitter.


I am participating in a Grow Your Blog event, sponsored by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  This creative fiber artist decided it was time to say "Thank You" to the blogging community for all the support she has received over the years by helping bloggers to grow their readership. I love these events because I love to discover new blogs.

Vicki suggested several elements for the event participants to follow.

  Start with an introduction ...
Who the heck are you!

 So here goes:

  • I am a blogger.
  • I am a knitter.
  • I am a sometimes crocheter.
  • I am a new-be weaver.
  • I am a wanna-be spinner.
  • I am a walker.
  • I am a grandmother and dog sitter to three magnificent dogs (Meathead, an English Bulldog, Grimace, a Pug, and Milo, a French Bulldog).
  • I am a wife of 43 years, and a mother to 2 grown children and 1 new daughter-in-law.
  • I am a caregiver and daughter to my 86 year old mother.
  • I am retired, and thank God for that because ...
  • I am completely out of time or energy with the above stuff for anything like a real job.
Before I begin the next segment (Why I blog), I plan to bore you for just a few minutes with pictures of my "grandchildren."  I am a typical grandmother, after all.  So please stick around.

Just pretend I have taken out my wallet, and I am sharing some family pictures with you.  And you, being a good blogging friend, can't back out gracefully ...  you smile,  show enthusiasm, and remark on how cute they are.

Left is Grimace.  Yes, his tongue is sticking out.  It is one of his charming features.
Right is Milo.  Yes, his ears are sticking up.  He is doing his "deer imitation."
This is Meathead.
This is how he looks most of the time.
Meathead is 10 years old and that is very old for an English Bulldog.
I caption this picture as
"Sleeping dog with heavy lips."
There!  That wasn't so bad.  I think we are going to get along just great.  :-)  Thank you for sticking with me this far.  Now we can move on to the next part of my participation.

Answer the question ...
Why do I blog!

It started innocently enough.

I discovered blogging through my friend, HappyOne, at Life is Good-Smile. I always felt better after visiting her blog.  The posts weren't exciting or unusual, just a chronicle of her daily walks and the activities that filled her days.  But reading her blog was like a short visit to a peaceful island where life was calm and orderly ... when my own life was anything but peaceful.  That was July 2010.

The blogging seed was planted ... maybe I could have a blog too.  

You see in July 2010, I was in my 3rd year as primary caregiver for my elderly mom.  She lived with me.  The intensity of her care had not reached a critical point in 2010, but it was growing in challenges and responsibility, and it was constant - 24/7.  In fact, I retired early from my job to care for her.  The story of my journey as an elder caregiver can be found on my blog under the label Through My Caregiver Eyes.

I didn't start out wanting to write about my caregiving experiences ... I just wanted a way to express myself about fun stuff, life observations, my goals ... a distraction of sorts.  Caregiving was rapidly shrinking my world as I became more and more house bound with mom.  I wanted this blog to be about the life I wanted and to focus on stuff important to me.  I did not want to write about caregiving. It was important but private.

A year of blogging passed!

On August 15, 2011, I changed my mind and decided to write about my life with mom.  That year was terribly difficult.  Like the valve on a pressure cooker, I needed to let some of the steam out.  So I posted my first caregiving post on August 15th - and closed it to comments - private.  Just a place to sort out my conflicting emotions - because they were spilling out of the cracks in my life anyway.

But bloggers are persistent people. I got a few private emails ... readers wanting to share their own experiences with me and to express a camaraderie.  It was surprisingly comforting.

Then I received an email from Doris, a Nursing Home Social Worker, who blogs at Hold My Hand.  She wanted me to Guest Post on her blog - sharing two of my recent caregiving posts.  I remember the overwhelming emotions of that moment like it was yesterday.  One morning ... sitting at my kitchen table in my pajamas, facing my computer with a cup of coffee, struggling to read Doris' email through my tears. Someone saw and understood.  No judgement, no criticism.  And this nursing home professional thought I could do something good for someone else by sharing my story.  (The link to the Hold My Hand blog above, takes you to that post on my mom.)

I agreed to the guest posting.

And I put the comments back on my caregiver series of posts.

Mom has now moved to Assisted Living. I am still her caregiver, but my primary role is now "daughter" ... as it should be.  I have taken back most of my life. And the experience of caregiving has changed me forever.

My blog has evolved as well.  I share all sorts of things ... my entries are eclectic.  I have written about vacuum cleaners and tree bark, family life and all my dearly loved crafts, my grand dogs and my cats, my walking and my couch sitting (I won't lie, the walking habit is a struggle.)  I write about everything. And I still write about Mom on occasion.  But my life is now more balanced, more normal (well, except for writing about vacuum cleaners and tree bark - how normal is that?)

 :-)

This blog was there for me when I really needed it ... as well as my blog friends ... during the most difficult months of my life.  It was a life line.  And unconsciously, I think I knew that at the time.

Why do I blog?

I now think you know!

Hope you come back to visit again soon.  And I will be searching out your blogs, because the real joy of this kind of event for me is discovering new blogs.  

Finally
Offer a contest!!

Be sure to leave a comment - maybe introduce yourself if you are new here.  All commentors will be eligible for a prize if they include an email address - my first contest ever - more on that next time!

Be sure to come back on Monday, January 21st to find out more.

Like seriously!
I can see it in your face.
You know you want to come back!!!

Cheers!

Elaine
   Retired Knitter,
   Caregiver,
   Daughter, and
   Blogger

PS - A final picture of my 3 grand dogs - sleeping! The most blessed of all times!!


PPS - Ok, so it is not the final picture.  No sense in starting off our new relationship with a lie!!



43 comments:

  1. This is a terrific start to your blogfest and who wouldn't love those pictures of your grandkids.

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  2. Thanks for the blog mention. : )
    Always enjoy stopping by here my friend.

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  3. Your grands are oh so cute and I liked reading a bit about what inspires you to blog.

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  4. I enjoyed seeing a photo of you, reading your story, seeing your grand dogs . . . and learning, connecting. . . . a few months back you put some pep back into my step! Nice to hear more of your story . . .
    Love, Lynne

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  5. Elaine, I was so touched reading your intro, it seems we are kindred spirits :) I laughed at the photos-my granddaughter is part bulldog! I can't wait to go back and read so many of your previous posts, I'll be following you for sure!

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  6. What a wonderful post, Elaine! I enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to following your story here.

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  7. I've enjoyed traveling with you down your blogging path. I've always enjoyed your writings and could relate to the caregiving journey having been on a somewhat different one myself. Loved the pictures of your grandpuppies and especially the one of you! My blog journey has changed a bit, but hoping to get back on track (just in a different place!).

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  8. Your grandchildren are adorable. And they seem very happy. I love needle work and writing and photography and gardening. It is so nice to meet you, and I really enjoyed my visit. I found you through the Grow Your Blog party.

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  9. 43 years! WoW!
    I am at 30 1/2.
    Happy Weekend!

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  10. Hello, Elaine. I was very moved to read how blogging has helped you. I've also just looked at some of your knitting posts and love the photo of the knitted wheel cover. I will enjoy following your exploits. Best wishes, Una, Great Balls of Wool blog.

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  11. Hi Elaine! Good to meet you and thanks for dropping by today. I think we have something in common as I was my Dad's care-giver too. And now I am his son again....as he went into a nursing Veterans Home 3 months ago and is thriving there!!!
    Looking forward to following you on your journey through retirement. I love it!
    Jim

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, LOVE your grandchildren!!

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  12. oh, i love all the doggies. always wanted a pug ... need to take on the dream. can't pick a favorite. so cute!! i would love it if you would stop by my blog & learn more about me. i wish you a great week. take care. ( :

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  13. Hello, Elaine, just want to thank you for stopping by my blog earlier today. As I read over your post, I thought, now this is my kind of blogger. Truthful, transparent, real. A dog person. This is good. I don't really trust people who don't like dogs. Or cats. I'm signing up to follow you because I just know that we have lots in common. Tree bark?

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  14. Swinging by from the hop! Check out my blog www.highheeledmama.com and follow if you'd like!

    Happy Saturday!!

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  15. Hey, nice to be here again! I'm following you since our A to Z challenge. Have fun at the party!
    Evalina, This and that...

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  16. You are amazing everything you get yourself wrapped up in! I know you blog continues to grow, who couldn't find you facinating? :) I'm glad to see Meathead is doing well again, very close call. Stay happy and smiling, and keep walking, oh and love your new picture posted, smiling!

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  17. I love the name of your blog and the opening quote, one of my favorites. You did a great job with your intro! Thanks for visiting me and my blog. Happy hopping!

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  18. are you twenty now??? same with my brother,,, hehehhehee :)
    i like ur post,,,, keep spirit..

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  19. Hi Elaine, that was a heart warming post. First I had to laugh out loud and then your story really touched me. Thank you for sharing. Thank you also for visiting my blog. Hugs and wonderful day to you, Wendy of AppleApricot.blogspot

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  20. Elaine,
    So glad I stopped by. I'm following and plan to come back very soon to read your previous post about decluttering. haha. I need that!
    ~Diane

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  21. Love the Mark Twain quote.

    Popped in from Grow Your Blog hop.

    Give me a visit some time ~
    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  22. Hi Elaine: Thanks for visiting my blogs. Enjoyed reading about you and your interests. Happy Continued Blogging! from Marlynne Snare mmsnare@gmail.com

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  23. Another visitor from the GYB Party!

    It's lovely that you became able to share your experiences as a caregiver in a way that helped others. Not easy...the care or the share.

    Love the heavy lips picture :)

    Quinn at http://comptonia.blogspot.com

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  24. Hello Elaine, it is great to meet you here in blogland! You have a lovely blog, and I enjoyed your party post. Your doggies are adorable! I have two of my own doggie babies. I loved hearing about why you began to blog, and what it did for you. I look forward to seeing what you are creating now that you have more time. Yay for you!
    Hugs,
    Terri
    artfulaffirmations.blogspot.com

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  25. Visiting you from 2 Bags Full. I have followed you blog. I would like to invite you to visit mine. www.everydayruralty.com. You might enjoy a weekly blog hop I do called "Chats on the Farmhouse Porch". We have met for 76 weeks and have ended up being a small community of blogging friends. Please join us. We meet on Tuesdays. Have a good week!

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  26. Hi Elaine. Though I am already a regular reader of your blog, I just wanted to say that this was a lovely introduction. It is great that your blog and blog friends have become a part of your life that you enjoy, but also how they helped you through some difficult times. Love the photos!

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  27. When I commented yesterday, I forgot to ask you to enter me in your giveaway. Thanks, Patrice

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  28. Thankyou for following my blog - I have decided to follow you too - as I am so interested in your weaving hobby and you have such a story of life to tell. I would certainly be so pleased to win your giveaway too. Betty (betty-thewoodfairy.blogspot.com)

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  29. Good Morning, Elaine!
    I knew you were a special person when you took the time to leave that beautiful comment on my blog. Welcome! And thank you!
    I have just read a few posts and am so glad to have found you. Your writing is so heartfelt. I don't have a clue about knitting or weaving, but I wish I did! I'll just hope I win your scarf! My focus, as a former high school art teacher, is to enrich my grandkids, as you have observed for yourself.
    I know eventually you will have little souls in your life too and you will love every second of it. And there will still be room in your heart for your cute pets, too! Love your pictures of them!
    Looking forward to lots more!

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  30. I could feel my heart warming to you as I read your intro. I was a caregiver to my former mother and father in law before they passed and know full well the strain in places on a woman. We cook, clean, love, mow lawns, pay bills, play nurse chauffeur, parts runner, (you get the idea) and all the while, we still hold down a full time job. But all of it makes us who we are, so we can't change a thing.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment, I've entered you in my contest! Please throw my name in the hat for your prize, it looks positively yummy.
    BTW-I smiled at every dog picture, what a lovely family.
    Kelly
    okacres.com

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  31. It was nice to meet you Elaine. Blogging is so good for the soul and I can feel your sincerity even in just this first post I have read. Take care, Tracy.

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  32. Elaine, I have so enjoyed reading your posts and perusing your wonderful blog. You have such a fun wit about you - a spunk!

    I have become a follower of your blog and look forward to frequent visits. :)

    blessings, denise :D
    http://tomorrowstreasurestoday.blogspot.com/

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  33. Hello Elaine,
    Its good to meet you here at the party. I like your weaving stories. Weaving is on my to do list. Its always good to have new things to try to keep us interested.

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  34. So happy to meet you! and thank you for visiting me. You may be retired but it sounds like you have a lot to keep yourself busy. And all with a beautiful smile!

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  35. What a wonderful blogging story you have! I can so relate. You are a lovely writer.

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  36. Thank you for your touching comment on my blog post.

    Your weaving is amazing.

    Your grand-dogs are adorable.

    Terry
    tlummer1@gmail.com

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  37. This is a very touching post, especially the part about your mom and your caregiving. I will go to the Hold my hand blog. I am not a caregiver myself, but I do understand how hard it can get. I still regret that I couldn't do more for my mom when she was dying - I was living on a different continent with a third grader... but I am still thankful that I could fly over and spend many hours at her bedside, saying thank you and good bye. She already was in a coma by then, but I do think that she heard everything I said.

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  38. By the way, Elaine, your "header" is my most favorite quote and one of our "guidelines" when we decided to move to the US.

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  39. Elaine - your blog is beautiful. I am so glad to come and visit more so will follow... Please stop by if you haven't already and sign up for my giveaway. (I'm tardy because my motherboard died and went to the grave!) But, I have a replacement now! Hugs from Alaska. Karen (kareninkenai@gmail.com)

    www.alaskabluemoose.blogspot.com

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  40. Hi Elaine, I really enjoyed reading your background story, and your candid, honest style of writing. I must now become a follower, so I can watch the progress of weaving the luscious purple giveaway scarf! Fascinating to see how you've set it all up on the loom, and those colors together are gorgeous. It's a craft I've long loved but never tried. (and your dogs are darling!)

    Stop by my blog and giveaway if you get the chance.

    maggie
    www.themagrag.com

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  41. Happy to have found you on the GYB hop! Love seeing your critter pics! I have 3 pet chickens and a couple of birds.... also 1 grand-cat and one grand-bird.
    DeniseB
    deniseb777ATgmailDOTcom

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Yes, you do want to comment! I can see it in your face:-)