Thursday, September 29, 2016

help ~ i interrupt your regular blog post with a blogger problem

 In all my years of blogging with Blogger (nine years! ~ I used to blog under a different blog name), I have only had two problems. The second one is happening now.

I noticed last week that my Blogger signature line was gone. Aggravating, yes, but really no big deal. I did some Google searching to see what the problem could be, but didn't find any answers.

Now my Blogger signature has magically reappeared, but my blog roll that I used to have on the right side of my screen has disappeared! Now that I'm upset about because I used my blogger roll to visit my blog friends.

If anyone has any clue why random things are disappearing from the Blogger Layout, I'd appreciate any help! 
Thank you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

seven years

Today marks the seven year anniversary date of my oldest son, Philip's passing. He was only 21 years old when he passed away on September 25, 2009. Brian and I had just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in San Francisco, CA and were still feeling wonderful from our vacation ~ and then our son was taken from us just 10 days later.

What more can I say right now except that our hearts are forever broken and that Phil's loss has left a lifetime of grief, but yet also beautiful memories not only for us, but for our family and friends, too. It's amazing how many lives are affected by a young person's death. It really has a ripple affect. To this day, I still hear from people that knew Phil and they tell me how his passing affected them.

If you haven't read about Phil and his story, you can click on "Dedication to Phil" tab at the top of my page. 

{Phil with sunburned nose in Cancun, Mexico at age 15.
 He had such a sweet, beautiful face.}

"I am not without hope, and I know I will see him again someday. But who knows when that day will come, so I've had to learn a lot about grief in these years - or at least learn a lot about how I grieve. I've learned that you don't get to practice how you'll handle something like this....

I've learned that life can be fun again, and I can laugh and enjoy it. At the same time, grief is like a giant block of granite: The sharp edges may have softened with the passing years, but it remains as hard and as heavy as it was the day it first crashed into my life. But I've discovered that sorrow has its own beauty. It brings depth and context to all the blessings in my life."
(Matthew Wahlberg, "What 9 Years Since my Son's Death Have Taught"
Chicago Tribune, Sept 27, 2015)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

anniversary, mri update, and a catastrophy

September 15, 1984 when we were just "kids" in our early 20's, we said "I do" in front of our beloved family and friends. My sister was my maid of honor and one of our good friends ~ the guy who introduced us two and a half years prior ~ was our best man. Thirty-two years of marriage...we've been through just about everything together, both good and bad. Like I was discussing with my aunt this weekend, when you say "for better or for worse" in your vows and you're just starry-eyed kids thinking everything is going to be just perfect because you're in love, you have no idea what the "for worse" part even means. We've had financial troubles, illnesses and surgeries (that'd be moi), problems with kids, and numerous other stuff...and have gone through the deaths of Brian's mother and one of his sisters; my father and grandparents; and worst of all, the death of our oldest son. If we can make it through that, we can make it through anything.

As you know from my September 11th post, we had gone to Shipshewana, IN for a getaway weekend in early celebration of our anniversary. But because our anniversary was the 15th, Brian took the day off and we spent the day in our go-to place: Evanston. What a perfect day to walk around to our favorite shops, grab a bite for lunch, then relax at our favorite beach park. We spread out a blanket in this area and laid down and closed our eyes while listening to the waves in the background. Like Brian said, he could've stayed there all day.

Our view of beautiful Lake Michigan...

A trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without a stop at Secret Treasures. I found this cool bracelet, just right for fall. And yes, that's my pant leg and foot that is photo-bombing. That's what happens when you take an arm selfie.

Love the pretty button clasp in back.

The only other thing I found at Secret Treasures was a small yellow McCoy planter, which I put on the window shelf in my office.

I had also mentioned in my September 11th post that I was going for a MRI on my knee, as the orthopedic doctor suspected a meniscus tear. Well, it was confirmed. And the news I got was worse than I expected: I need arthroscopic surgery. I thought I could get away with waiting until next spring, since after the surgery I will need a lot of physical therapy. I wasn't too keen on the idea of going back and forth to PT several days/week in the winter, especially when I'd have to walk with a weak knee on the snow and ice. But, wouldn't you know it, ever since I saw the doctor my knee pain is worse! There's no way I can wait until spring. And from what I've read online, it's not good to wait because arthritis sets in. I was upset about the news at first, and the anxiety of the thought of another surgery (I've had two in the past, but that was for "female" stuff) and a painful recovery and then all that PT had me awake at night, but now I'm OK with it and thinking I just want the surgery over and done. It's inevitable - and the problem and pain will only get worse with time - so why worry about it longer than necessary?

 (Sunflower and mexican sunflowers in my neighbor's yard)

I have always wanted some kind of outdoor cat run for my kitties so that they could enjoy the fresh air and chomping on grass, but we never knew how to make a simple run. When I saw a cat run on another blog, I emailed the blog author and asked where she got it. She told me it was just metal crates from Home Depot and that they snap together with plastic fasteners. Perfect! Brian set it up in the front yard the other morning and Zippo and Clementine seemed pretty happy out there.

Monkey, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the cat run and clearly showed his displeasure.

Brian and I were sitting on the front porch, watching Zippo and Clem enjoying the run; sniffing the air and munching on grass. Zippo then started pawing at the cage and biting the metal bars. Next thing we knew, he stuck his head through one of the squares! We ran to Zippo and tried to get his head back through the square, to no avail. Zippo was freaking; I was freaking. Brian ran into the garage for the wire cutters. Zippo was actually strangling...I could hear gurgling in his throat. I was hysterical while Brian was trying to cut the cage from around Zippo's neck and in all the chaos, Brian got bit. Zippo got loose and was fine; Brian's finger, not so much. He had a couple of wounds on his pinky finger, so he washed it with soap and water, then held a clean towel on it for awhile to stop the bleeding. Then we put antibiotic ointment on it and bandaged it well. Later, our beekeeper friend told us to use his honey on the bites instead. We had totally forgotten that honey has naturally healing properties. 

("Sorry I bit you, daddy")

All's well that ends well...human and cat are both fine. 
Hope you're having a good week!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

slowly transitioning into fall

The signs are here. Squirrels are all over the place, running up tree trunks and fences and darting back and forth across the street, all the while with walnuts in their mouths. I see the evidence of buried treasures in my potted plants (thanks for the holes in my planters and dirt scattered everywhere, silly rodents!) and in really strange places like my grapevine wreath that's hung on a trellis!

The Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflower are drying up.

The trees are already changing color, if you can believe that. Seems earlier than usual this year but I think it's because we've had such a dry summer.

Sunlight is softer and fuzzy, casting a magic spell on the evening.

Technically, it's still summer. I don't like to push the seasons (except for winter - that could last a week and I'd be happy), so I'm not decorating for fall yet. I did change some things up for more of a smooth transition into fall. I'm now using subdued colors on the buffet and cuttings of sedum from the butterfly garden.

I traded the summer cotton throw for a more textured one and am using the gold tray on the coffee table again.

 I love pottery, both vintage and handmade by loved ones, so I'm using a mixture on the ladder bookshelf. The two handmade bowls on the second and fourth shelves and the vase with the leaves on the bottom shelf are all made by my son.

I kept the china cabinet in the kitchen simple with more pottery...thrift shop bowls on top, my son's mugs on the other two shelves.

Otherwise, everything in the kitchen is still bright and cheerful!

Hanging on to this last week of about you?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

amish country and the rest of the weekend

Hello friends ~ sorry it's been awhile since my last blog post. Life's been really busy and with all that's been going on, just not in the mood to blog. Thanks to those who emailed to check in on me.

 My latest happening is that I probably have a meniscus tear in my left knee. I'm having a MRI tomorrow morning. This will be my 6th MRI (I've had them on my back, uterus/ovaries, shoulder and twice on my brain) so I'm an old pro with these. However, still not something pleasant. I've learned to close my eyes before going into the machine and I do my best to take deep breaths. To take my mind off the fact that I'm in a coffin-like space and the noise around me is like jackhammers, I totally remodel my house in my mind. Whatever it takes, right?  

Our 32nd wedding anniversary is this Thursday, but we celebrated a little bit early this weekend by taking an overnight trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. Every year for our anniversary we take an overnight trip, and this year we wanted to go somewhere we'd never been before, but within a three hour drive. We had to drive through downtown Chicago on our way to Shipshewana. It was overcast and this photo was taken through the car windshield so it's blurry, but I always get a little thrill when I see the Willis Tower Sears Tower. (It will always be the Sears Tower to me!) 

In case you're not familiar with Shipshewana, it's a small Amish and Mennonite community. We'd never been to one of these communities, so we were fascinated with seeing the horse-drawn buggies everywhere. The rhythmic  clip-clop of the horse's hooves on the pavement was beautiful and serene.

I managed to get a close-up of a horse and buggy when the owner was in a store. I felt a little sorry for the horse. She was clearly agitated...tossing her head and stomping her feet. I saw she left a "gift" for her owner, too. These "gifts" were also all along the roadsides where the horse and buggies travel. I wonder who's responsible for cleaning it all up?

 This is the kind of horse my hubby was comfortable with. ;-)

We spent the day walking around to a bunch of shops, but were disappointed to find that most of them were all the same: gift and home decor shops, but nothing unique. Basically the cheap made-in-China stuff that you can find anywhere. There were a couple of Amish stores where they sold bulk dry goods and quality meats and cheese, so we came home with homemade noodles, 7-grain hot cereal, a block of raw, organic cheese, grass-fed beef, and fresh, nitrate-free peppered bacon. Oh - we did find a Lang store and I found a 2017 planner that I really liked.

I especially liked this one because it's filled with cheerful coloring pages. 

And then today was one of those picture-perfect days...the rain cleared out, the sun was shining brightly, and temps were in the 70's. In the afternoon, we walked down to the lake to our little town's car show. There were about 200 cars - not too shabby for a small town!

Our friend's '55 Chevy...

 Hope you had a lovely weekend ~ thanks for your visit!