Wednesday, May 7, 2014

around here

Hello friends ~ sorry it's been awhile since I last posted. Life has been busy
and I haven't been online as much as usual - which can be a good thing.
I recently read Jen of the Cottage Nest's post on "stopping to smell the flowers".
What she said in her last paragraph about not being so frantic about your to-do
list and being easier on yourself really hit me. I am a doer. A list-maker. A 
perfectionist firstborn. I like to get everything on my list done in one day and if
I don't, I sometimes feel like a failure. Nevermind that I'm away from the house almost
 every day because of physical therapy twice/week, doctor appointments, yoga class,
 and errands. I also do a lot of physical therapy exercises every day at home.
And then I have the battle with spending too much time online. I'm really working on 
that one, especially with the weather being nicer now. I have a lot of yard work to do. 
And walks to take. Exercise is important!

Anyway, here's some of what I've been up to lately:

Clearing out all the dead leaves, twigs, and other winter "yuckies" from the
butterfly garden and cutting back the perennials...

It's a start!

Bought starts of buttercrunch lettuce, a mesculan mix and spinach...

and today will plant in this pot that hubby kindly filled up with a mixture of potting
soil and our own compost.

Hostas are starting to come up on the south side of the house. We will need
to re-mulch, as we do every spring. So much outdoor work to do!

Indoors, I made a huge pan of mostacolli and a pan of blondies for friends
who lost their 27-year old son/grandson last week.

In the downstairs family room, I moved the black IKEA cube from under the
Chicago print and put the sofa table there instead.

I put an unused coffee table in back of the sofa to use as sort of a sofa table.

 The black IKEA cube moved upstairs into Tim's room. We're still working on this
room and got some things done recently, but still have a lot more to go. We also
made an IKEA run and got this chair. And I found gray and white pinstripe curtain
panels that will have to be hemmed and put up.

We moved the TV and TV stand from my office into Tim's room
Still need to put the closet doors back on.

This is just temporary bedding. I'm looking for a masculine bed cover or comforter
using the colors of black, gray, and white. I will then fold this red and white checked
quilt at the end of the bed. The white nightstand (turned around since the drawers
aren't in it - I still have to paint them) is not staying and neither is the lamp or the
teddy bear. Clementine definitely is a keeper! I think she's waiting for her boy to
come home. He'll be done with finals today and will be coming home for awhile on 
Friday.  I'm not even going to start hanging things on the walls until everything else
is done in this room.

 Speaking of cats, this boy is 15 years old today! He and his two brothers, whom
a friend adopted, showed up on our property when they were about three months
old. We think someone dumped them, as they were healthy and friendly. Zippo is my
faithful fur companion ~ one of those overly-sweet, cuddly cats who is always by
my side and sleeps with me every night. For being an elderly cat, he still has lots
of energy and can jump up on the bed and even the kitchen counter. He's starting
to lose his muscle mass though, so looks a lot thinner through the hind quarters.
As with humans, I believe in feeding my pets a healthy diet too, and I believe that's 
what keeps him in such good health. Sure, the food costs more, but I feel my pet's
health is worth it - and it saves on vet bills!

I went to a meeting the other night to join the planning committee for 
Overdose Awareness Day. Some of you who've been with my blog for a long
time know that my oldest son, Philip passed away 4-1/2 years ago at the age
of 21 from a heroin OD. I have always felt like I wanted to do something to spread
awareness and information about this epidemic that is sweeping our nation and
killing so many of our young people. Did you know there are 100 overdose deaths
in the US every single day?  I mentioned the death of my friend's son/grandson (the
mom and the grandmother are both friends of mine) above. He also passed away
of a heroin OD. Seems everyone I talk to knows someone who is either an addict
or that has passed away from drugs. I don't have any answers - but I can at least
work on education and awareness. If something like this can happen to me and
my family, it can happen to anyone. No one is immune. And I have met many parents
who have said the same thing. "We would have never dreamed this could happen
to us." So, with that all said, the meeting was emotionally draining, but this group
is planning a week-long awareness campaign here in the suburbs of Chicago in
August. The actually OD Awareness Day will be August 31st.


 Thanks for visiting and for listening to some of the things that have been going
on around here. Please leave a comment and let me know what you've been up
to as well ~ and if you feel some of the same struggles as me with getting everything
done. Do you feel like you're merely spinning your wheels most days?



  1. Hi Melanie, I am so sorry about the loss of your son to heroin. I know words are inadequate for his loss. I have an older sister and a nephew who take drugs who have just about nothing to do with me. It is a difficult issue to deal with. I have been in North Georgia for two days on a little shopping trip. It was exhausting though. I am still in PT three times a week for six more weeks which makes twelve total. My shoulder is better. I hope your shoulder is improving-shoulder pain is tough. xo, olive

    1. Thank you, Olive. Drugs will (obviously) tear a family apart. There is a support group out there called Families Anonymous that is just for that. I had no idea about this group until just the other night at the OD Awareness meeting. There were several people from FA that attended. You might look into it if you have any interest. Like you, I am still going to PT for my shoulder. I only go twice/week though. And my doctor just ordered "more time", so now I'll be going 'til the end of June. That'll be 10 weeks for me. Who knows; perhaps I'll need more. I'm making progress too, though it's verrry slow.

  2. Only being fairly new to your blog I hadn't realised what your son had died from, I am so so sorry to hear this. It is so sad that your friends are going through this as well, I am sure that you will be a great support to them at this terrible time. I hope that your efforts to bring awareness to this issue will be of some help to you and also to others to help stop this awful thing from happening. I do hope that your efforts to be less busy with your to do list are successful and that you can find some time to relax in the midst of everything else going on in life. Take care. xx

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support, Amy. It really means a lot to me.

  3. Hi Melanie;
    Once again, you have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved son Phil. As do all the others who have lost loved ones due to drug overdoses. I cannot even imagine such pain! Also love your kitties, we have two, brother and sister who are 3 years old. They have such different personalities. I have been dealing with illness since December. So, I don't get much done. My son and grandson said they would be over soon to help, but we shall see. He works a lot of hours and is not home much, so I do understand his family wants to see him too. But I have been planning some downsizing in the flower beds, I just can't keep up anymore. I wish we lived closer, I have tons of plants I want to give to a good home. Have a super-duper week. It always makes my day when I see your blog in my email. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Hugs, Nana

    1. Thank you, Nana - you have always been so sweet and supportive in all ways, and especially with the loss of my son. I am so sorry to hear you've been ill. I wish I lived closer to you, too - I'd love to be gifted with some of your plants! I hope that your son and grandson are able to help you out a little bit. If you ever see my replies to your comments, could you please send me your email address? When I click on your name, it brings me to your google page and profile, but there is no contact information. Thank you!

  4. Hi Melanie - I always enjoy catching up with what you've been up to. Hearing about your friend's son reminded me again of the funeral we went to around the Christmas holidays for the son of good friends of ours who died from an overdose. Can't even begin to imagine the pain of his parents as well as the sadness and pain that you and your husband live with.
    I'm like you with a to-do list and loving to cross off things I've accomplished. But lately it's really hard to get to that list the way I should. I'm so easily distracted. I don't even have our screened porch ready for the season.
    Mary Alice

    1. I am so sorry that your friends lost their son as well. It is unfortunately so much more common that one would think. I had no idea that heroin was so prevalent - and now it's even worse - ever since my son died. Prescription pain killers are another huge problem in our society; in fact, many people start out with them and then progress to heroin. And it happens to people from all walks of life. Drugs do not discriminate. Anyway, I can also relate to being distracted where you don't get things done either! I think it's a woman thing. :-)

  5. You have been busy. I love the look of your lettuces, it will be so nice to have fresh greens to eat. I'm very sorry to hear about your friends' son. I think it's wonderful that you are working toward helping others to be educated about drugs and the consequences of their use. I don't know a lot about it but I do know that they bring a lot of pain into people's lives. I'm sorry that you have had to experience this yourself. I look forward to hearing more about this new chapter in your life, I think you will be very good at it.

  6. Hi Melanie,

    I know how you feel with regards to spending less time on the blog. With me, it's due to my vacation, which has been a lot of fun, and most importantly, I am spending some time with my daughter, even though she is juggling three jobs! You have been very busy! How kind of you to help out your dear friends during this very sad time for them. Your involvement in the planning committee must be very rewarding and I hope the organization manages to complete their mission, bringing awareness to the Illinois population about the dangers of drugs.

    Keep well, my friend!


    1. I'm glad you're still enjoying your vacation and that you're spending time with your busy daughter...three jobs, wow! I hope being involved in this group will indeed be rewarding. Even if I can be of support to other families, then it will be worth it.

  7. I'm so sorry about your dear son, know you've got a broken heart. It's wonderful that you are helping spread the word, awareness is so important. Your treats to your friends will be so welcomed, I'm so sorry for them. Prayers for comfort and blessings to you too.

  8. I started a comment and lost it. You know I'm sorry for missing your last three posts, I hope our emails help make up for the misstep. I just can't find the time or energy lately. But I did read them all.

    The group/committee you are in has to be gratifying and close to your heart. I wanted to mention an article I read in this months Ladies Home Journal magazine. It was an essay contest and the woman that won had a teen daughter who was addicted to heroin. The part that caught my attention was that heroin was so cheap...cheaper than prescription pain pills that were $30.00 for one! I had always thought that heroin was expensive. I think that is such a big part of the epidemic. So, so bad. I hope you find a sort of relief or challenge, whatever it takes, to use your experience in this problem. You are so intelligent and well will add so much to this committee. Just don't overextend yourself with dealing with your medical issues at the same time. I know you know that, sweetie!

    I love what you have done with your home. I never knew your basement was so out of sight! I could totally be comfortable and happy in that space. The new shelves are handsome. Good job.

    Well, I tried to get caught up. Your trip sounds like it was fun...Brian looked so happy and the last picture of looks so pretty and relaxed. Vacations! Yes!


    1. I read that article in LHJ. Heroin is indeed very cheap - as cheap as beer and very easy to get, too. That's one reason why it's so appealing to teenagers. Glad you like my basement. I'll have to do a "tour" of the whole thing sometime.

  9. Melanie, while I don't know the heartache of losing a son to heroin, I do know what that loss has done to friends and their families. In the past year, we've lost 3 twenty-something young men in our neighborhood to heroin overdoses--and a fourth one two weeks ago. It is a horrible drug, and sadly so easily accessible. And you're so right--it can happen to anyone. Thank you for telling us about the awareness campaign--I will watch for one in our area.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about the losses of young people in your neighborhood, but honestly, I'm not surprised. This is happening all over. So tragic.

  10. Well, it certainly sounds and looks like you are keeping extra busy. I have lots to do at work and deadlines to meet so I've gotten to the point that when I come home, things will get done whenever. I am not gonna stress about the dust or the mess anymore. So sorry to hear about your friends' loss -- it is an awful thing to lose someone unexpectedly and for preventable reasons. Good luck with the group. Best wishes, Tammy

  11. I love, love, love your book shelves. Happy Birthday to Zippo. He is a beautiful kitty. I was just thinking how you are honoring your son's memory about being so open and honest with others his death. I am sure you are a great comfort to many and they are helping you out, also.


    1. Glad you like my bookshelves! I can only hope that I can be of some help and comfort to other parents going through the same thing. It does help to have some support.

  12. I understand the blogging break. Sometimes I have to say to myself, "just step away from the computer!" We all have busy lives and the blog sometimes needs to wait. I am sorry to hear of the tragic deaths of your son and your friends. We live in a small rural community, so I don't hear about DO deaths much, but there is an active DARE program here, so I know drugs are everywhere. That is important work you are doing to help inform others. If it makes just one person change their life, or keeps them from getting started, it is worth every minute.

    Blessings, Deborah

  13. Ahhhh...sweet Zippo! He is looking good for the old man he has become. *grins* I agree that what we feed our cats is soooo important. Dagi made it to 16 years old before he passed and that was twice the age they normally get to for his breed. And how sweet that Clementine is awaiting the return of "her boy". Is Tim enjoying school? And being out on his own?

    I know how much it takes from you when you are constantly back and forth with physical therapy. When I was in the hospital rehabilitation center, my physical and ergo therapy just consumed my time for a couple of years. Are you finding it is helping? I hope so.

    Your house and garden looks wonderful. It is good to sometimes just close the laptop and get out in the garden. It makes me smile to be out among my plants and flowers. It looks like you are not so far along yet as us with the weather. Our spring blooms are now fading and summer will be taking over. It is all so early this year. We had no winter at all this year.

    Hugs from Holland,

  14. You have been very productive! I didn't know about your son and I am so sorry for your loss.

  15. I was thinking that you should not apologize for spending less time on your blog! Maybe you should just make a statement that you have decided to only blog two days a week, or whatever you think is best. That way you are in control of the situation yourself, right? Spring really stacks up those yard chores, doesn't it? My to-do list is a mile long, and it won't stop raining! Lettuce is actually quick and easy to start from seed, and you don't have to wait for the frost free date either because it likes the cool weather of early spring. Some things are slow to get going from seed, but lettuce is quick and easy and grows like crazy.


I read and appreciate every comment!