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

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Half Way

We are nearing the end of January - and in my mind - we are reaching the half way point in winter 2016.

And what a winter it has been.

I live in the Maryland - and this past weekend we had the worst winter snow storm in the history of the state - in my county we had 32 inches of snow over 2 1/2 days.  Crazy crazy weather, because just one month ago in December it was so warm I briefly thought of turning on the air-conditioning.

We had days of warnings and predictions.  The reaction was also predictable.  HUGE runs on the food stores were reported.  Empty shelves, store staff struggling to keep up with the restocking and one story told of a person selling a loaf of bread on Facebook for $10.   Good grief.  You really only need enough food for your typical week - sometimes less.  But panic in this area hits even when one or two inches of snow are predicted.  When 2 feet are predicted, the mob reaction is breathtaking.  

And then the storm arrives and you are trapped in your house.  We had strong winds, thunder, and very very cold temperatures to accompany all the feet of snow that got dumped on us.  I always think I am going to get soooo much done while nature does it's worst.  I will cook up a huge feast, I will knit tons of things, I will read several books and I will cuddle up on the couch with a dog.  I did cuddle with a dog wrapped in a blanket, but mostly I watched the storm rage outside - except for when I was out in it shoveling.  My grand dog has short legs.  Three feet of snow would be impossible for him.  So many many trips with the shovel were made so that I could manage the snow accumulation in smaller bites.  I also made sure the birds were fed on my back deck.  Food is what keeps them warm during these severe conditions.  And I watched a lot of TV.  The storm coverage was constant.  Images of stupid people who just had to get out in the storm - stuck in their totally ill equipped vehicle were common.  Really, those folks should be fined for obstructing roadways.  If they had to be somewhere due to the nature of their jobs,  they should arrive before the storm and plan to stay over.

I survived the "snow-ma-geddin" of 2016!  And we didn't lose power - thankfully.  Today it was bright and sunny.  I am still shoveling, of course.  It will be another day before things are mostly normal.

We are half way through winter and I am keeping my fingers crossed that Mother Nature has expended all her energy on this storm.  Please, let the rest of winter pass peacefully.  My back isn't as young as it used to be.

Any big weather in your area?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

God's Plan for Aging

With the popularity of Facebook now-a-days, I rarely get fun stuff circulated in my email as I used to.  That actually is a good thing.

But today a friend forwarded this piece of 'wisdom' to me - it is worthy of sharing.  I would love to give credit to the one who wrote it originally, but that information seldom follows with the text.

Since my theme this year is 'Move', it seemed somewhat appropriate - except I plan to 'move' far more than this piece implies!


God's Plan For Aging.

Most seniors never get enough exercise.  In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so the would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things thus doing more walking.  And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise.  God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it's God's will.  It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.

Nine Important Facts to remember as we Grow Older 
(my personal favorite is #6)

  1. Death is the number 1 killer in the world.
  2. Life is sexually transmitted.
  3. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
  4. Men have 2 motivations: hunger and hanky panky, and they can't tell them apart.  If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.
  5. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day.  Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
  6. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
  7. All of us could take a lesson from the weather.  It pays no attention to criticism.
  8. In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird.  Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.
  9. Life is like a jar of jalapeƱo peppers.  What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.
Don't ignore this message.  
This is your only warning.

Happy Thursday to you all!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Word!

A common practice in blog-land (and other places I discovered) is to pick a single word to describe the intent or focus for the coming year.

I have enjoyed reading some of these posts and recognized some repeating themes - especially if you have watched from the side lines for years like I have done.  Some popular ideas are Peace, Simplicity, Nourish, Downsize, Joy, Family, Organize, Love, and Happiness.

Did I ever pick a "word" for myself?  Never.  I always thought it was a good idea, but I never seemed to have the energy to sum up my life for a year into a simple single thought - and keep that as my focus.

But as I look back over the last decade - one word does seem to pop into my mind without any effort now.  It is more of an after thought, but very true.


Funny, in all the years I watched others select a word for their coming year, never once did I read 'survive' as a word for the future.  I guess 'survive' mostly becomes evident after you do it.  And I did do it.  I survived a long caregiving experience despite some pretty significant set backs that had nothing to do with mom.  Sometimes you just don't know what you are capable of doing (and surviving) until you get through it.

But what about 2016!

You know ... I am thinking this is the year I just might pick a word.  When I started thinking about it around the New Year I bounced around all the typical words I had heard before.  Who doesn't want 'peace' in their lives?  And God knows, I have strived for 'simplicity' and 'downsize' for two years!  I am big on 'family.'  Family and eldercare ... well, that is like putting your money where your mouth is.  On and on, my brain rolled those words around and around.  Nothing seemed to fit this coming year.

Then it came to me.  I have a word.  It fits perfectly with my current focus.

I am 68 and I feel the weight of my accumulating years as well as the impact of past emotional stress.  I know that action always makes me feel better - even though I struggle with consistency in exercise.  My word should be an action word.  'Action' seems to slip out of the vocabulary of many older adults.  And from what I have seen, 'sedentary' is a killer.

My 2016 word is:


All righty!  Got the word.  Now let's see just where it goes!  Or rather, just where I go!

Do you have a word for 2016?
I'd love to hear it if you do.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Get Reading - A 2016 Challenge

I have been a member of Good Reads for many years, but never an active participant.  I would visit the web site, look around, occasionally get some ideas about books, once in awhile I would update my reading list.   Really ... not much of a 'member' ... more of a window shopper!

This year I decided to get more engaged - more engaged with everything - and I decided to join the 2016 Book Reading Challenge.  To join this challenge you pick a goal of how many books you will read in 2016.  The books are logged on the Good Reads web site and you can track your progress.  I added a tracking device to my blog on the right.  I picked 26 books - or a little over 2 books a month - which I felt was reasonable goal.

I sincerely had no clue how many books was a reasonable number for me.  I frequently read or listen to books.  Listen more than read.  A few years ago I got a Kindle Paper White - and my actual reading dramatically increased, but still listening outranks reading.  I can listen to books while doing many other things.  But I never tracked how many books were completed.

This year will be different.  And shockingly - today, January 9 - I have already finished 3 books.  I have two others in the works.  I suspect my guess-timate of how many books was reasonable is way way off.

But I won't be changing my first estimate.  I will stick with 26 books for 2016 and see just how far off I am.  If I had to guess what my final total will be ... (you know, just between you and me - and not Good Reads), I will probably complete about 100 books this year.

It will be fun to look back and see what the total actually turns out to be.

Are you on Good Reads?
  Are you doing a reading challenge this year?
  If so, what is your goal for 2016?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Floors and curtains!!

Love it!  

The wood floors are in, the kitchen and bathroom even have tile floors, curtains on the windows, and cutest of all (you have to look closely,) in the Master Bedroom on the second floor (right), there is a Pug on the floor near the foot of the bed.

Looks like more the the miniature accessories have been added as well.  I will have to take some close up pictures to show off the details.  Wonderful.  Great job, dear daughter!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Doll House in Development

A farm style house with a turn of the century interior.
(Turn of the last century!)
When my daughter was 12 she wanted a doll house.

The front porch.  There are steps that lead off the porch to be added.
Not a toy version, but an actual adult-style doll house.
  I say "adult-style," because these kinds of doll houses are really aimed at adults
 due to expense and the delicate nature of the accessories. 

I love looking in the window as if it was a real home - seeing the furniture and the lights.

We purchased a fully assembled doll house - not finished or decorated.
  This house was unfinished brown wood inside and out the day we carried it out of the toy store.
  You can buy these structures as kits - all in pieces with assembly instructions.
  I knew our assembly skills were lacking - just not our thing.  
Better to pay extra to purchase an assembled house than to have pieces laying about for years. 

Adding lights really contributes to the charm of the house.
  Many gift giving occasions focused on doll house furniture and accessories.
  My mother-in-law and I joyfully shared my daughter's enthusiasm
 by purchasing items at other times as well.  

The living room.
I wired the house for electric.  We painted the rooms and added some wall paper.  It was basic even then.  But creating a doll house is a long term commitment - a hobby.  We knew it would take time.

The daughter's room

But as with many childhood activities, my daughter's interest in the doll house faded as she grew through her teen years.  I kept the house, but dismantled it.  I packed away all the little pieces for a future time.  I loved it enough to become the caretaker.

Bathroom - with old style toilette in the foreground.
About 10 years ago while my daughter was spending time at our house, she started to take an interest in the doll house.  She finished off the exterior by adding siding.  She repainted the roof tiles.  She added a few little interior pieces.  But her life got busy again and the doll house sat idle again.

The foyer.
I continued to keep it.  Maybe I would do something with it once I retired.  But my retirement years were filled with care giving.  No time or energy left for a doll house.  It remained in storage.

The kitchen.
There was never any though of getting rid of it.  The house was just in hibernation.

This old time stove was a fairly expensive piece when we bought it in the late 1980s.
But we all fell in love with it.  The various drawers open.  We even have copper pans for it.
Last year during a major town house clean out,  I asked my daughter if she wanted her doll house.
  I would still keep it if she didn't want it.
  She did want it and her brother moved it to her condo in his vehicle
 because it is too big for a standard size car.

The den.  The desk is a roll top desk.  The top actually closes.
Since taking on full ownership, she has made many improvements.
  She has rewired the electric, repainted, wall papered,
 and replaced a few small pieces of furniture that did not survive 25 years in storage.

Attic boy's room.
The blanket on the bed was made by my mother-in-law who died in 1997.
The crocheting and yarn are not totally to scale for the furniture,
but the item is priceless because it was made with love.
It is a work in progress.
  The pictures are missing many of the smaller items like dishes, the resident family,
 some pets, and household decorations - final refinements that can be added towards the end.
Many of those items we already have. 
She has ordered new flooring and curtains. 
At some point rugs need to be ordered. 

And I wish my phone did a better job of handling the lighting. 

The sewing and spinning room.
This room needs some skeins of yarn!!  
I am glad the doll house is now with its rightful owner - being improved and valued - and
 for now it is adding a lovely interior decoration to her condo.  
And someday this lovely house may be handed down to another family member to love and enjoy.

A charming little spinning wheel.
Note:  Updated pictures will be shared once the other major improvements are completed.

Finally a light picture that is reasonable.
Master Bedroom

Ceiling Light

Friday, January 1, 2016

Start the New Year Right!!

I am starting the New Year right. 

Meet my adorable grand dogs who fill so many of my retired hours.

Grimace - my senior guy.
Grimace inherited the role of "King" and elder statesman of
our canines after Meathead died.  Grimace never wanted to be King, but
we all have to do things we don't want to do sometimes.
Dear, dear Grimace is my heart and soul.  All dogs have their unique inherited qualities.  Pugs are known most for being companion animals.  They are happy, cheerful, devoted, and, well ... stalkers.  I use the word "stalkers" in the most loving way.  Pugs MUST be at your side - even when you are planted on the toilet.  I know all dogs want to be with their owners, but Pugs value it at a level of importance equal to breathing.  No place is too horrible for them to follow you.  He has chosen his Grandma as his special person.  Grimace managed to squeak ahead of all the other pets in my heart  (including my own cats) through his blind devotion to me.  I think I am tied with his Papa, my son, in his heart.  He is an old guy now - about 13 years old.  He can't hear a thing and his vision is terribly compromised, but his heart is bigger than ever - and full of love.  Me too, dear Grimace.  Me too.  When your time comes to cross over the rainbow bridge to join your buddy Meathead, your Grandma's heart will be more than broken.  It will shatter into a million pieces.  Live a long long life my little buddy.

Milo - who has Napoleon tendencies!
Milo wanted to be 'king' from the moment he knew there was a 'king.'
Wait your turn, Mr. Milo.
Look at that cute face - how can you deny him anything!
Ok dear Milo, I will give you France!
Milo is a French Bull Dog.  That should explain EVERYTHING!  He is a handsome, affectionate, and cuddle bug who has delusions of grandeur and world domination - and who loves his mom (my daughter) above all others in the whole world.  Grandma is mom's back up and second in line.  French Bull Dogs are natural alert dogs. They alert you to all kinds of things.  Bad guys, good guys, delivery folks, kids playing outside, squirrels, leaves falling from the trees, a breeze.  There is no filter on that alert thing (barking) that they do. It is a busy life when you are a French Bull Dog.  He is at his best when he isn't sharing ... not sharing his toys ... not sharing his bones ... not sharing his peoples.  I know how you feel, dear Milo.  I am not a big sharer either.  Grandma loves your quirky little personality - and she wouldn't change one thing about you.  Well ... maybe you could be nicer to Grimace since he is the "King" now, but otherwise you are perfect.

Olivia - or Livvy for short  (Sometime I call her 'girlfriend')
She is a polite, sweet, sensitive lady dog
 with baggage left over from a previous life.
Livvy is the latest addition to our family.  Olivia was rescued from a local no-kill shelter.  She was first adopted as a puppy by a shelter volunteer.  Two years into her 'forever home' her owner got cancer and died.  She was returned to the shelter after the adult children of the deceased owner determined they could not keep her.  She lived another month in the shelter until my daughter-in-law noticed her and recognized her worth.  At the time our family was recovering from the death of our beloved English Bull Dog, Meathead.  For Livvy and my daughter-in-law, it was love at first sight.  Livvy is a hound and Swiss Mountain Dog mix.  She is living proof that given enough time, patience and love, a shelter dog with a rocky start in life can make a sensational addition to the family.  My own status with Livvy falls somewhere behind my daughter-in-law (1st) and my son (2nd). And I have worked very hard - very, very hard - for 3rd place and her trust.  She is a gentle soul with many insecurities but we love, love, love the sweet charming personality she has finally let us see.  Livvy, you are now, finally, in your forever family!

As in past Christmases, I made my grand dogs their own holiday cookies ... from this book.

Yes, I bought this book mostly because there was an English Bull Dog on the cover!
But the recipes are very dog-dietary healthy and tasty.

The liver cookies are made with whole wheat flour, brown rice and, of course, liver!  What else would a loving grandmother do for her grand babies.

The first time I made these cookies I didn't have a cookie cutter.  I just made round disks out of the rolled out dough.  I had a plate of baked ones sitting on the kitchen counter cooling that year - when my husband passed through the kitchen.  He came into the living room munching and said quite causally, "so these are not chocolate chip cookies, are they."  Ha!

The next year I had a dog bone cookie cutter!

Anyway, today is New Year's Day!
  It is the first day of what I expect will be a sensational year!
  What better way to start the New Year then with my sensational grand-dogs.

All admiring comments
of my terribly good looking grand-dogs,
gratefully accepted!

Happy New Year All!