Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010, Animals Spayed, finances

Christmas sure did come and go fast!  We work so hard towards getting everything right and then, boom, within minutes it's over and done with.  Then it's on to the next holiday, preparations, then boom, that's over and done with, too.  As a kid, it just seemed so long before Christmas day would arrive and the excitment and anticipation was so much fun.  But, I suppose, it's only as fun as you make it, right? 

Our Christmas was an itty, bitty Christmas.  I really thought the kids would complain as they are used to getting lots of goods, but we all are feeling the recession or whatever you want to call our financial state.  And so we all did itty bitty, but it was just fine.  We got what we asked for and a little bit more and we weren't so overwhelmed with 'where do I put this' syndrome.

I had bought a spiral ham and rolls, with potato salad and other stuff.  That was our Christmas dinner...just easy.  It was really laid back. 

So now that brings me to the New Year.  Our son has to work (he's a police officer) so he probably won't be here to help us ring in the New Year.  I think I mentioned that last year my daughter went on a ride along with him last New Year's Eve so that was the first time we weren't together to ring in the "new year."

Well, as I'm trying to adjust to the empty nest, I try not to hang onto the kids, either.  It's hard, though.  But I'm realizing that sometimes, they throw me a bone and actually want to call me or visit me.  I'm not saying we aren't a close family, just that they are learning to live their lives now as I'm adjusting to living mine without children under my wing, young or older.   It's an adjustment, just like it was when I brought them home as a newborn. 

During inbetween preparing and celebrating we had our dog spayed.  She still have stitches and goes back to the vets in a week.  One of our 10 cats had pyrometra (uterine infection) which wouldn't clear up.  I had been treating her for it, but really she needed to be spayed, but the doctors I had been taking her to said she need the infection to be gone before they would spay her because if the uterus broke open and all that infection went into her system she might die.  So, we treated her but the infection just kept getting worse and worse.  Finally, I took her to another vet who said the uterus needed to come out and that there was not way the infection would clear up because it was very bad.  When we picked Velvet up after surgery, the vet showed me her uterus and they said it was the biggest and most infected uterus  they had ever seen.  She saved it so we could see and I just couldn't believe my little cat was not sicker than she was.  A vet tech that was helping in surgery said she actually stepped back when she saw the uterus and hit her head because she was expecting to see a small infection and it turned out that they had to cut most of my cat's stomach to get the uterus out.  It was bigger than my cat.  I'm so thankful to get this done and it was just a weight off my shoulders, as I wanted to help my cat, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere until this vet helped me.  For that I'm grateful.

I also worked on our checking account as it's been messed up for years.  It's hard knowing how much money you have when you don't know how much money you have., I finally got the checkbook balanced!  Yea.  I was so happy. 

My next project is creating a household budget and getting our insurance and tax papers straight.  I was beginning to work on that when husband came home from work and daughter called.  We agreed to meet at Chick-fil-a for dinner.  Love spending time with my kids!

Now, I'll probably go watch some tv, read and think about working on the budget tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On my Quest to Cook More at Home---

On my quest to cook more at home I made a pot of chilli today.  I can still remember the day, a long time ago, when my mom stood in my kitchen and showed me how to make chilli.  I was so impressed at how she just browned the ground beef, added onions, showed me how many cans of stuff to add.  She told me to get the one pot cooking while I was browning the beef and onions.  I don't know why.  I suppose that's the way she always made it, so who was I to question her? LOL  Then I add chilli powder to taste.  I usually serve chilli with saltine crackers, but I looked in my cabinet and I don't have any!  So I gotta come up with a plan b.  I don't know what it is yet.  Now that I think about it, I have Ritz crackers; that might have to do.  I thought about cornbread, but I don't have any of that either!  Stocking the pantry is gonna have to be another thing to keep up with in the new year. 

I went to the store last night to get all the Christmas dinner stuff.  We just have ham sandwiches, potato salad, chips, etc.  Nothing fancy.  Again, that's my mom's tradition.  I don't know how or when she started it; I don't remember my grandmother doing that.  I remember always big meals at grandmas, never sandwiches, so I guess maybe mom wanted to make things easy on herself.  That's okay. 

This will be the first year my kids won't be here sleeping on Christmas Eve.  Our son has lived in our basement and our daughter would usually come over Christmas Eve to spend the night, but this year she is sleeping at her brothers (he moved out in May) which is okay.  They will be coming Christmas morning.  Last New Year's Eve was the first time I didn't have my kids home.  Our son, who is a police officer had to go to work and he took his sister on a ride along with him.  Just as the new year was ringing in our daughter called to say they were on their way to the hospital to check out a dead body.  Crazy.  So that's how my kids rung in the new year.  And it was the first time husband and I had been alone for New Year's in over 30 years.  Awkward is a good word to describe how it felt.  A mother duck lost with her ducklings.

I don't care how old I get or my children get they are my children, my babies and I will always feel that way about them.  I will always see the little boy and little girl in them.  Some days I just want to squeeze them and pick them up like I did when they were small enough to do that and just show them how much I love them, but they really aren't into all that kind of love anymore.  They allow me to hug them and give them a kiss, but they have outgrown the playfulness of all that tickling and stuff.  *sigh*

The dog went to be spayed today and the cat is having female problems and she had to go to the vets.  She is scheduled to be spayed next Wednesday.  I wish I was rich. 

I keep putting off cleaning the house.  I don't know why.  I never used to be this way.  The husband used to have a saying, 'just do it' and we were good about getting our chores done, but honestly as we've gotten older we just don't commit to chores like we should.  I believe I totally understand older people now that I've become one myself!

Now I need to go stir my chilli.  Until next time..

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ledos Free Pizza

The other day in the mail I received a customer appreciation coupon from Ledos Pizza.  It was a coupon for a free small cheese pizza!  It's a $5.49 value.  Cha-ching, again!  Tonight, I was feeling a hankering for pizza, so off we went to Ledos.  I will be starting a coupon savings jar..the money I save will be going into that jar for our vacation.  I want to watch the savings grow....8-). 

I was searching the internet the other night for a menu planner I could print out.  I found a couple I could use, but decided to make my own.  I know, it's in color and uses ink to print, but I thought it was kinda neat:

My Menu Planner ©
That's an avatar of me and my husband...hehehe.  I didn't want my menu planning be boring to I jived it.  Not only am going to try to plan the meals, I'm also trying to get a budget set up.  Somehow, the finances have got to get straighted out!  I have to be honest here, we have gotten lazy about the finances after our children got older.  I honestly believe that I got burnt out; there for awhile I just didn't care about anything.  Some days I'm still that way, but little by little I think I'm getting better about it.  It's much like depression for which I suffer.  Unless you have or had depression it's almost impossible to explain other to say that you feeling like a living dead person.  Or maybe it's a resemblence to a ghost now that I think about it.  You know how on haunted ghost shows the ghost hunters say the ghost hasn't left this world and still thinks they are living here, but in truth, they aren't.  Maybe that's how depression is.  It feels as if you are alive, but you cannot connect with anything around you.  You are totally disconnected, but it's not as if you don't know what's going on around you, you just don't feel it.  I know it's strange, but that's why depression hurts not only you, but all those around you.  Well, anyway, that's my plan. 

Losing weight-yes, I have been trying to lose some weight.  The last two years I have lost 12 lbs, but I've got 50 more to go.  That's another goal I really have to work at.  The other day I was on the Food Lion website where I found some nutrutional pages which I think might help me out.  Food Lion has also implemented a new program in their stores called the Guiding Stars.  I don't know how well it will work for me, but it's something to look into.

Christmas will be here in a week.  I am done shopping, almost.  Just a few more things and ta-da...I'll be done.  Oh, and I'll still have to get our Christmas breakfast and dinner foods.  Time to get out my coupons, again!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Surprise Gift card and..

Yesterday was interesting.  I had to take a present back to the store because what was in the box wasn't what was suppose to be.  Go figure.  The time I was out running errands was around the time the husband got off work, so I c-phoned him and told him to meet me at Chick-fil-a. When we got our food and sat down to eat he was telling me that he won a $25 gift card to Target during his lunch.  His company has some kinda of holiday lunch and husband took it out of his pocket and gave it to me.  Funny, I was heading to Target after I had some free money!  Then, while walking into Target I looked down and found a brand new shiny penny.  It's not beyond me to pick up pennies.  I love finding pennies.  There's something exciting about finding free money on the ground (at least for me it is)...oh, and not only that, husband reached into his pocket and must have brought out about 50 pennies.  I asked him where he got the pennies and he said around the vending machines at work!  He said, "I guess people don't like pennies."  How sad, I think.  Money is money to me.  So yesterday, you could say we were blessed with about $25.51 of free money.  Cha-ching.....what's another savings! 

Today I baked some chocolate chips cookies. 
I bought this from my niece last April.  Her school was having a fun raiser...I had bought pizza in the past, but thought I'd try something different this time around.  With this cookie dough, it says on the instructions that you can thaw and refreeze which I've done a couple of times.  The cookies come out tasting the same.  We also got our tree up, but don't have it decorated yet.  We're getting there slow, but sure.  Tonight I'll be wrapping presents. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Savings on Christmas shopping

It's been snowing here all day (Maryland).  It's quite chilly in the house as I've had to turn down the thermostat due to high electric bills.  I'd love to have a fireplace going, but all's I have is a fake one.  I love this little blinkie of the Christmas tree, fireplace with stockings and a nice comfy chair.  The perfect thing to do on a day like today.  The only thing missing in the blinkie is a nice thick blanket to snuggle up in and a really good book!  But, Christmas is gonna be here in the blink of an eye and I still haven't gotten the house decorated.  It's almost a waste at this point, I'm feeling.  I will put up the tree and since it's gonna be in a room this year that has a door on it, away from the cats, I think I can actually put my presents under it instead of bringing them out Christmas morning.  When one has pets, it's very hard to have a Christmas tree with presents under it.  The pets either pee on them or tear them up.  And it's almost needless to mention the things pets do to the ornaments on the tree and eating icicles.  I can't tell you how many years I've spent pulling icicles out of cats throats.  Even when we don't use them, somehow, somewhere, the cats find an icicle.  Strange. 

I went out to do a bit more Christmas shopping last night and I had my coupons with me.  It's always such a great feeling when the total price on the register goes down, down, down.  So here's my savings:

1)  Bed, Bath, Beyond I used a $5 off coupon and a 20% off coupon saving $7.60.
2)  At Pac Sun it was buy one get one half off so I saved $22.25.
3)  At the Family Christian Bookstore I had a 25%  off coupon for the entire purchase plus George Bush's book was listed for $35.00 but was 20% off, another savings so total savings there was $62.66.
4)  For dinner we stopped at Longhorn where I had a coupon for a free appetizer which was worth $6.99.
Total savings:  $99.50

This Christmas is gonna be an itty bitty Christmas as finances aren't nearly as good as they used to be.  I'm hoping in 2011, I'll have a better handle on them, although we did pay off two loans which is a great relief. 

I still have Christmas cookies to bake and next week I will probably go get the Christmas dinner fix'ins. I usually have ham, rolls, potato salad, chips; we just have sandwiches all day long.  It was a tradition of my mom's and I've just done the same. 

I'm already thinking about things I want to accomplish next year.  I'll have to make a list to publish. 

Always so much to do!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Today we went to our daughter's and my parent's gravesites to put Christmas deocorations on them.  We do this every year.  Since our daughter, Katrina, passed away in 1992 (18 years ago--oh where does the time go?) we haven't missed a year where we don't do this.  Sometimes it's so emotionally draining to be there where my parents and daughter lay.  I believe in broken hearts.  I believe happiness is but a fleeing moment here and there, but the rest of the time life is negative and sometimes even evil.  The excitment young people feel when they are starting out (I'm talking about people in their early twenties) can be so exciting because they have their whole life ahead of them.  Dreams, goals,'s wonderful.  I had that too, for a short time. 

Donald at Katrina's gravesite
Me at Katrina's gravesite

Me at my parent's gravesite "Spaar"
It was rainy and cold when we were there.  Lots of times it is freezing cold with the wind blowing.  I didn't really feel like going today, but it's suppose to get colder as the week goes on and better to do it now than not be able to later.  I did not get to decorating the house today.  Maybe I will put some decorations out tomorrow. I still need to get some shopping done! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Niece's school Christmas Concert

Friday night we were invited to my niece's Christmas concert at her school.  She had a solo violin part and she was very good.  She is also in the dance group for which they performed, too.  My niece says she wants to study dance and her violin is her ticket to a scholarship.  Wow...I hope she still holds onto that when she graduates high school.  For my own daughter, I wish I had money so she wouldn't have to take out student loans and be in debt when she graduates.  When people are young, they think they have things figured out, but when they are old they realize they don't have a clue!  (I'm talking about myself.)  One of the boys dressed up as Santa Claus and was sitting next to a fack fireplace.  They have a person there to take pictures, so since the family was together I asked them all if we could take a picture with Santa and reluctantly they agreed.  My cousin was there, but she got up and left immediately after the program was over.  She has a hard time driving in the dark and I think she just wanted to get home.  Here is our picture.  Starting from the left is my sister-in law married to my oldest brother, my sister-in-law married to my youngest brother, my youngest brother, my niece who happens to be a little over three months pregnant (and is the daughter of my oldest brother), my husband, my older brother (in the back hiding), my niece (my younger brother's daughter), and me.  What was kinda funny was that my sil (older brother's wife) is a special ed teacher and she realized that the music teacher that teaches our neice was in her class quite a few years ago.  The guy must have been in his late 20's or early 30's.  He has four children, too.  I just see how we can be so old now. 

So now the music teacher is teaching our niece.  You just never the circle in which life brings you around. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas 2009

Last Christmas was fun.  Daughter came down to help bake cookies.  She makes the best chocolate chips cookies..she definitely has a talent for that!  She rolls the dough in balls, puts them on the cookie sheet and bakes them just right.  Me, well, my cookies come out too hard sometimes.  I guess I'm just in a rush to get 'em done.  The son hates holidays.  He thinks he always has other places to be or other stuff to do, which he doesn't, but I just think he doesn't like the fact that he is expected to participate.  LOL---but he does anyway.  I got him to decorate the tree a little last year.
I don't think I'll get him to do it this year, though.  Considering last year he lived in our basement apartment and this year he moved out to live with two other police officers.  This time last year I was painting the living room.  I bought this blue paint which I had custom made, but when I got it on the walls it looked awful.  I had three gallons of it and didn't want to waste the money, so I used it anyway.  A year later I still haven't gotten my pictures on the walls.  Which only makes me wonder, what have I done this past year?  I was hoping that I'd get life in order, but I think after my son moved out of the house, it was another emotional hit and I fell short of my goals.  I think I'm better now and am determined to get stuff done.  My #1 goal right now is
to get menus made up for the following year.  We eat out way too much and I believe it's because my table is empty; no children.  I remember when husband and I were married I would look at our table anticipating the day when we had children around it.  It's hard to believe those days are behind us.  It's very sad.  But I am also happy for them as they are hard workers, have good jobs, nice places to live.  That is what I want for my children.  It's just I want them with me, too.  I haven't gotten out the decorations yet.  We are planning to do that Sunday as we'll be going to our daughter's gravesite and my parent's gravesite to decorate. 

The Canters Christmas 2009

Monday, December 6, 2010

Little Drummer Boy

When my brother and I used to watch Little Drummer Boy I dreaded the part where the lamb got hit and almosted died because I would cry.  Then my brother would laugh at me.  I was a teenager and still I cried.   The same scenero happened with Frosty the Snowman.  Oh, when that mean old man opened the greenhouse door and melted Frosty I would cry.  My brother would make fun of me.  And you know what, I still cry when I watch these shows. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mountain Man

Here's the master and the 'goat'...I mean dog.

And what he does with one he must do with the other as not to show favortism!

Thanksgiving 2010 and Black Friday

Here is our Thanksgiving of 2010.  The kids are secretly clowns; every holiday picture they are always making funny faces or doing something odd.  Memories...that's what they are making. LOL  Usually we go to my brother's house for Thanksgiving, but this year we decided to stay home.  Our daughter did go to her uncle's, then came to our house.  Our son had to work and didn't get off until 4pm, then came to our house.  My turkey did not cooperate this year and still was not thawed when it was time to cook it, but I worked with it (or fought with it) and it came out just fine.  I cheated this year as I did not make anything really homemade.  Stuffing came out of the box as did the gravy came out of the jar.  The potatoes were peeled, cooked and mashed; rolls were
baked and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert was great! But, really, no holiday is the same anymore.  I remember back to when I lived at home with my parents everything just seemed so magical.  Maybe that's the spirit of being a child.  When the husband and I were young parents, it was so much fun making the magic happen for our children; to see the sparkle in their eyes on Christmas morning; the excitement, the Christmas breakfast...well, getting back to Thanksgiving, we just always so looked forward to it.  Now with the children being grown-ups, having their own jobs and time restraints, it's just not the same as it used to be.  That's why I need to learn to re-adjust to this way of life now

Black Friday:
I have never been to a Black Friday in my life, but this year was different.  Daughter has been wanting to get a tv for her room, but they have been so expensive she just couldn't afford it.  Walmart had 32" tv on sale for $198.  Can't beat that deal, so off we went to Walmart at 3am to stand in line.  Honestly, I didn't know what to expect because in years past, I have seen horror stories on tv of people getting trampled on rushing in the doors of stores to be the first to get their item.  I had visions of pushing and shoving and getting yelled out as I pushed and shoved my way to get my daughter the tv she wanted.  However, when we arrived at the store, there were no lines outside.  The line was inside and it zigzagged down the aisles in a very well organized manner.  I was very impressed at how everyone stayed in line when the tvs were being handed out.  There was no pushing or shoving or name calling.  There was only one incident of someone accusing another of butting in line, but that was all! daughter got the tv she's been wanting at a very good, low price and all was happy. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and stuff

1968 Thanksgiving at Grandma Hammett's

Thanksgiving is almost here.  I have the turkey in the frig thawing (I hope it's thawed by Thursday) and, of course, there's always last minute items I need to run out to the store to get.  Thanksgiving isn't what it used to be.  When I was a child I used to go to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving with family, but most all of my family has passed away now.  But it was so exciting to go to grandma's to see how she decorated her table.  Grandma would make the best egg noodles.  After she would get done rolling out the dough and cutting it into noodles she would let them sit out on the counter to dry.  However, I couldn't help but to sneak a few raw noodles to eat and grandma would tell me if I ate all the raw noodles there wouldn't be any to cook. 

Me with the turkey

Sometimes, though we didn't have Thanksgiving at grandmas...I think it was after my aunt moved to Florida  it became my mom's job to cook the turkey.  Mom's kitchen wasn't very big and I know it was a great stress for her to do all that by herself.  But I think she pulled it off nicely and even decorated the table, just as her mom did.

Mom and her Thanksgiving turkey

So where did all the tradition go?  I miss it.  I miss having a big family around me, smelling all the different foods cooking in the kitchen; waiting in anticipation of eating so much you'd feel as if you'd bust open!  And the leftovers....homemade dressing...yum.  If my grandma made the best noodles ever, than mom made the best stuffing.  Hours after the big feast. I would reach into the refrigerator and grab a handful of leftover homemade dressing and eat it cold.  Then a few more hours later I would heat up leftover noodles and eat a big bowl full.  And the pumpkin pie with more whip cream than the pie...oh so good!  My children have never really had a huge family to have traditions with.  Their grandparents passed away when they were small so they have missed out on the excitment of family gatherings for holidays.  I have tried to do the best I can to make them feel excited about holidays, but in the back of my heart I know what they have missed. 

Last Sunday:
My daughter called up and asked if her dad would take her for a motorcycle ride.  She gets a hankering for a ride every once in awhile when she wants to clear her head or go somewhere for a little while.  I suggested they go to the beach, Beverly Beach. The husband and I used to go fishing in a little pond at Beverly Beach when were dating.  Of course when I told daughter that little bit of info, she was like 'oh yuk.'  Hahaha.  From the pictures they took, though, it looks like they enjoyed themselves.

Beverly Beach used to be the place to go back in the day.  Everybody went was the beach.  Now it is privately owned and no one is allowed on the beach.  Shhh..don't tell anybody these two trespassed.  Husband's family took their kids to the beach there and so did my parents.  I often wonder if husband and I were at the beach at the same time.  How cool would that be knowing we were little kids at the beach at the same time? 

Daughter decided she wanted to go to black Friday.  I have never been, so it should be interesting.  I hate to shop and I hate crowds so I'm gonna have to be on my best behavior!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Time sure does fly by.  Sometimes the days just seem to run together.  Considering I'm a night owl and don't usual get to bed until 4 in the morning I suppose my days do run together.  I'm up when the rest of the world seems to be asleep and I'm asleep when the world is up. 

Anyway, at the end of September I decided that I would get a part time job.  Who can't use the money?  I haven't worked in over 30 years so it was a challenge for me to pick the right job.  I went on snagajob online and found one I thought I could do.  The job description had to do with tagging clothes and putting them on the floor.  The job was with the fancy department store that sponsors the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I applied online, got an interview time, went for my interview, got hired, but never heard back from them until today.  And guess what?  They have decided they didn't need my 'field of expertise' at this time.  Can you believe that?  Why would you tell someone they are hired and two months later tell them they are unhired?  During this waiting period (this is a seasonal position so I wasn't going to start work until the middle of Nov), my car's engine blew up; another huge expense.  And I was worried this department store was going to call me to come in and I didn't have a car.  Yesterday I got my car back and today I find out I don't have a job.  This is how my life has been all my life.  It's hard to hope for anything because I know there is only disappointment at the end of the line.  It's true.  I've always said if something's going to happen, it'll happen to me.  My dad used to say if he didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.  I must really take after my dad!

I have filled up the last week or so painting my bedroom.  Only thing I need to finish now is painting the closet and getting my clothes hung up in it.  Painting is not my favorite project.  I hate the clean up. 

So I will continue to push onward.  What other choice do I have?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Most of my life I have not been one of those wonderful, great cooks.  I make food just to get by.  I've prepare my share of Hamburger Helper, boxed mac and cheese, etc.  It's almost shameful because I remember mom making scalloped potatoes from scratch and delicious macroni and cheese right out of the oven. And my grandmother made homemade egg noodles (oh, so good!).   I never really learned how to do that kind of cooking, but I sure do miss it.  I have a shelf full of cookbooks.  From time to time I take them down and look through them.  I vow to make this and make that, but it never happens.  One of this year's resolutions was to make a weekly menu plan, but that never got started either.  I have a drawer full of recipes, too.  What to do with them all I kept asking myself.  I thought about typing them all into one of those online recipes sites where you can eventually publish your own cookbook.  So I googled some sites and found this one:  This is not just a regular 'type in your own recipe then print them off' book.  For about $20 you can order your own recipe book on glossy paper, in a spiral book that opens so you can add more recipes.  Not only that, you can import recipes from other food sites.  You can also design the front cover of your book and title it with whatever you want it to say.  And, you can download pictures of whatever you want...either the dishes you've made or your family or whatever.  I've never seen anything like it before and I was thrilled to find this.  I have already download a couple of recipes.  Finding this site has kinda kick started me into cooking because I want to try out recipes before I download them into my cookbook.  This has also prompted me to want to watch that movie Julia and Juliet.  Maybe I will plan to watch it this weekend.

Another site I have been looking at is this one:  This lady is something else.  After watching the movie Julia and Juliet, she came out of the movie wondering what kind of impact on people she could have.  So she decided that since she is creative with sewing she would give herself a $1 a day allowance to buy a dress and re-create it.  Well, they aren't dresses that she would wear, she buys things people have given away and turns them into cute outfits.  It's amazing what she had done with discarded clothes.  All her outfits that she buys she gets at the thrift store in the $1 pile.  She is day 340 and has only $28 left to spend.  She's amazing.

Some people find their niches and can share it with the world.  Others have something worthy to give but seem stuck as to how to share it.   I guess some people are suppose to be an inspiration to others to get them out of their cocoon and find what they are good at.

Off to the kitchen I go to make meatloaf.  I'm gonna carefully measure my ingredients so I can put it in my cookbook!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of our daughter and sister.  Anniversary is a word that sounds as though it's something to celebrate, but it's not.  Katrina was twelve years old when she lost her battle to cystic fibrosis.  That's when my family's lives changed; we felt the pain of broken hearts.  It's when five became four.  Parents lost their firstborn daughter, siblings lost their older sister.  Nothing to celebrate about that, for sure.  We felt as if we had been thrown into the sea and had to learn to keep our heads above water or we'd all drown.  Swimming against the current is the best way to describe it.  I had to learn to take four dinner plates out of the cabinet instead of five.  I had to look at the place at the table where Katrina used to sit.  Awful.  Whoever said time heals all wounds never experienced the death of a child.  It's certainly one wound that never, ever heals.  It's not something to get over, either.  It's always there, that knot in my stomach, the hole in my heart.  Dreams, goals and future is gone.  Furture grandchildren, gone.  It's all gone with the death of a child.  Katrina was a tropper, though as most cf kids are.  She never complained and always had a smile on her face.  Oh, if she was here I would grab her up in my arms and plant kisses on her face and tell her how much I love her.  Instead, I have to wait to be reunited with her.  It will happen someday.  I have missed her for eighteen years now.  I can't believe it's been so long.  Where has time gone?  Katrina, if you can somehow hear me, I love you; I miss you and I can't wait to see you again.

I try to keep myself busy during this time, so I don't have to remember (but it doesn't work).  Husband and I went to the mall last weekend.  They had a pumpkin contest (different stores make a pumpkin to enter it in a contest).  Here's some of those pumpkins:

My daughter and her friends dressed up for Halloween and went out on the town.  She went as a dead bride.  The above picture was how I thought she'd look and it wasn't far from it.  Below is a picture of my daughter:
Why she chose this as her costume, I don't know.  After the mall we stopped by a farm down the street that has a corn maze and other activities, but since it was 10pm we didn't do much except look through the country store.  Then later that night I carved my pumpkin:

Honestly, it isn't as fun without my kids.  I know they are grown, but still, it was always a tradition and now it's kinda gone.  How I miss the giggles, the 'oh gross' when the kids would reach their hands inside the pumpkin to pull out all the guts and seeds.  Holidays = kids and laughs.    Those two just go together.  Now, it's time to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas.   A friend in Ohio had said that their forecast has mentioned snow for this Friday.  Please tell me it can't be..already. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Husband's Birthday

The 24th my husband turned a year older.  I baked him an orange cake and frosted it with white icing.  I made a good dinner; chuck roast with potatos, mixed vegetables, and bread.  It was so good!  The kids arrived in the afternoon and spent the whole evening with us.  That was the best treat, if you ask me.  It's always fun when the kids come for a visit.  The house just isn't the same with them being gone from it.  If I ponder on it too much, I make myself sad.   Anyway, I think dh had a good day with his family here all together. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bedroom Makeover

It's finally come to pass that I started clearing out my bedroom to repaint and 'resparkle' the place that is a suppose to be a peaceful, tranquil space to lay down my head.  I've been waiting, putting off doing this because the clutter, okay the hoarding in my room was so bad that I couldn't even get my mind around where to begin to declutter (or de-hoard) or in what corner to begin packing stuff away.  I do watch hoarders on tv and I so believe I hoard.  I can remember when I was a child I would not throw out things because I emotionally got attached to them.  I don't know why.  I cannot think of anything in my childhood that would make me so insecure that I needed to hang onto stuff.  Although, I did have a blankie until I was 9 (or a piece of it).  The only reason I become detached to that was because I left it on the couch one night and when I went back to get it it was gone!  Can you imagine how devastated I was when I couldn't find my blanket to take to bed and cuddle up with?  Well, I was.  It was not until I was married that I asked my mom about my blanket and she told me that when I left it on the couch she found a great opportunity to throw it in the trash.  Maybe that incident made me feel insecure and therefore everything become a part of me.  So, instead of going through my bedroom stuff, I bought plastic bins to throw everything in as a way to get it packed up and out of my room.  I will deal with it later.  But for now, I have pulled wallpaper and borders off the walls.  I have also washed them down and now they are ready for spackling and painting.  My goal for this time next month is to have a peaceful, beatiful room to lay my head; to study my Bible, and just to listen to calming music.  Peace, that's what I'm going for. 

Now, my daughter recently moved into a new place.  The bedroom walls were painted eggshell and had been lived in by people before her.  Which means marks on the walls.  Since she is renting the place, she had to get permission from the owners to paint her room; to change the color.  Below is the before picture. 
When we got done painting  and decorating (and yours truly making the curtains and accent pillows), well, I just think it's now a great place to find peace and comfort for her.
I want mine to turn out as pretty.  I just have to keep my eyes on the prize!  As far as all the stuff in the bins that I just threw in there, I will go through them little by little until I've either used it, donated it or sold it. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feeling the Fall

Donald with the farm animals
Since it's beginning to look like fall around here I wanted to start feeling it.  I wanted to visit pumpkins (and buy a few to carve), so I suggested to Donald we go to the local nursery.  When we got there, they were having a fall festival for children.  Pony rides, pumpkin bowling, decorating pumpkins, face painting and a couple of farm animals were some of the activities that were taking place.  Without any children or grandchildren we felt out of place.  No sooner had I mentioned that to Donald that my cell-phone rang.  It was our daughter telling me that she was sick.  She didn't have any food in the house so we went to the store for her to get her some chicken noodle soup.  So we ended up spending the the rest of the day with her, nursing her back to good health!  ***Three days later she is feeling better, not wonderful, but she is back to work and school.***

There were some homemade jellies, pies and cakes one could buy.  There was a big harvest of fall vegetables.  It was an interesting day, that's for sure.  I still want to do some scare crow hunting!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Nighttime Stroll on the Boardwalk

Friday night Donald and I took a stroll along the boardwalk in North Beach, MD.  North Beach is an old town along the Chesapeake Bay.  The town has really changed over the years.  What used to be a huge beach is now taken up with townhomes, huge rocks and the boardwalk.  The beach is there if you look really hard!  I remember my parents taking me there and it was awesome seeing the huge body of water.  I remember walking out on this wood thing that went way out into the water and almost falling in while my mother stood on shore telling me to turn around so she could take my picture.  Then my little brother did the same thing.  There's a huge fishing pier at North Beach that used to have a sorta house on it.  The house is no longer there and the fishing pier is huge now. Here's a picture of it; you can see how far out into the water it goes.  Today, though it is not made of wood--the wood has been replaced with those plastic milk carton fake wood planks. 
Anyway, we went out onto the fishing pier and I was surprised to see how many people were fishing at night.  While we were watching, a man caught a fish and another man catch what I thought was a needle nose fish, but rumor was going around it was an alligator. 

Sitting on a bench on the North Beach Fishing Pier
So we don't know what it was.  After we walked for an hour or so at North Beach, we drove over to Smokey Joe's for a bite to eat.  Smokey Joe's is on the other side of town, but is in the city of Chesapeake Beach.  It was karaoke night (we didn't know or we wouldn't have gone.  However, when we got seated and Donald was looking at the karoke guy, he realized the dude was a man he worked with but had recently got laid off.  So Donald went over to say hi to him and to catch up on what was going on with him.  You just never know, do you?  We had a great night out!

Smokey Joe's in Chesapeake Beach, MD

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Couple of Things...

Time sure does fly by.  As I get older days run into the next, it seems.  When one is young, the days/years are so long, but when one advances to the other side of the hill, the years are so short and go by so fast. 

Some of our members who went on the covered bridge ride
Donald and I are  part of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.  In September we had our tri-state rally in Woodbine, MD at the Ramblin Pines Campground.  It consisted of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.  All the members from those state get together each year to fellowship and praise the Lord!  It's a wonderful time.  We have bike games (that's motorcycles!), campfire, food, rides...and we don't let the rain stop us, either.  We all really look forward to it every year.  Next year it's Delaware's turn to host it.  We'll be going to Herrington, Delaware at the Fairgrounds. 

Adams Birthday

Our Beautiful Katrina
The end of September was our son's birthday.  Another year and he'll hit the big 30!  Our daughter, Katrina who passed away would have been 30 this year.  Just can't imagine it.  Her and our son were only 16 mos apart in age and people would ask them if they were twins!  Both are redheads.  So we went to our son's house for his birthday; asked him where he wanted to eat and he said the Olive Garden.  His roommate went along with us.  Then we went back to their house to open presents and have cake.  I bought him an ice cream football cake and it was so hot in the house that it started melting before we got to eat it, but we plopped it on our plates anyway.  It was still good!

Last weekend Donald and I took a ride (in the car) to the National Harbor.  We have never been there before and it was a nice Friday evening, so I suggested we go. 

I didn't realize it was a little city with apartments, hotels, shopping, restaurants and a marina.  I told Donald I might be able to live in a place like that.  There is also a convention center there.  And the sunset is gorgeous!  Of course, you have to pay for parking, but it was worth the view and the walking.  The entrance to the place reminded me of entering Disney.  Same kind of set up.  I liked it.  We'll probably go back, maybe to shop or just to walk around again.