Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!

I have admit that 2011 was one of the toughest years in my life. But, I'm looking forward to the new year with perhaps a bit more fervor than I have in recent new years.And here are a few reasons why:

-I want to take better care of myself both spiritually and physically in 2012. I spent the greater portion of the last several years taking care of others. It's time for Cathy to take care of Cathy.

-Learn new things. Meet new people. Keep open to different opportunities. Enjoy stuff outside work. Work is a means to an end and certainly does not define who I am.

That's a few and a good start, don't you think.

Happy 2012 to you all. Best of health and all possible happiness.

Love ya,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Review

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to read the "year in review" articles covering celebrity comings and goings. And I also like to take "stock" of my personal events in the year which is soon to pass into the history books. I find it very helpful in making plans for the new year - because after all, how does one know where they're going without looking back for direction?

The first four months of 2011 were all but consumed with taking care of Michael and saying good-bye to Michael. In a way, those good-byes began years ago and are on-going to this day. But in looking back, I try to glean whatever good things I can from the trial of losing my spouse. I'm a kinder, gentler person than I was even a year ago. Stuff which would have infuriated me in the past only mildly irritates me now - life is too short to worry about office political crap and things which honestly don't make any difference in the long run to my happiness or well-being.

My reliance on God has increased dramatically. During the months leading to Michael's passing I prayed every night for God to show me what I was to learn from it all. I think he has. I've read some of my blog posts from the time frame in question and I wonder now: how did I ever get through that? I know that too - thank you God!

And there were some good times in 2011 - the NQA show, the International Quilt Festival, the Sharonville quilt show. Interesting to note: thanks to Facebook and the NQA, I've re-connected with a dear friend from high school.

Andrea and I took a long-promised trip to Florida. She loved every minute at the theme parks.

I've become more active with my Sunday school class activities, the church-sponsored quilt group, and Bravehearts - a group recently formed for folks who have lost their partners.

The children, family and friends all joined me in October for the Hospice Memory walk. We helped raise nearly $500 for Hospice of Cincinnati. I am deeply, immensely grateful to that organization for all they did for us in 2011.

My kids are finding their paths in this world as young adults. Danny is on track to graduate with honors from UC at the end of summer quarter. Andrea is not quite sure what direction she is going with education, but she will find her way. She obtained her driver's license, graduated from high school and obtained a solid job in 2011 - all good indicators.

With all the train gear sold at auction, my sewing room moved to another part of the house. It's fabulous to have a large retreat room for my quilting passion. Also, room enough for the Handiquilter machine I purchased at the NQA show. It's especially nice this time of year to look out the window above my sewing desk and see the blue holiday lights.

I have been blessed so much this year - and in some way I feel guilty about it all since much of it wouldn't have happened if Michael were still alive. However, it was meant to be and serve as a "launching pad" for 2012 - which I'm hoping will be a happier year for all of us.

I'll post my plans for 2012 in a day or two.

Love ya,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cleaning and Clearing

Since I had the day off yesterday and since my children dashed off to the local malls, I took the opportunity to clean and organize my sewing room. It truly was a mess after all the last minute sewing projects and recent fabric purchases.

There were a few things I tossed into the donate basket - three yards of University of Michigan fabric (nephew decided NOT to attend school there)and various railroad fabrics (for quilts I never made for Michael). I'll find good homes for all of them.

Once everything had a "home" I drove to Walmart and purchased a label maker. Now everything has its place AND knows where it is - rather where it should be!

I'm not finished, however. There are sewing things still in the original sewing room and in the room Michael used for his modeling. Sounds like a project for another long weekend. I certainly haven't missed these items and perhaps they're slated for the donate basket.

All-in-all, well pleased with my progress. It is so much nicer to create in a clutter-free environment. Speaking of which, I do need to get busy with at least four quilts for the coming year - one wedding, two graduations and one baby. And once my nephew shows me how to post photos using my new laptop, I'll keep my blog visually up to date on my progress.

Love ya,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I made it through it through Christmas with no major meltdowns. Oh, to be sure I did tear up a few times, but that was not something I couldn't handle or explain. My children are happy with all their presents. They're currently on their way home from their trip to Columbus, spent part of the day with their grandparents and their dad's side of the family. I took a nap and then went to my brother's house for the evening. Nice that they're so close.

Both kids wanted to maintain our traditional Christmas morning breakfast which Michael started years ago - toast with scrambled eggs and baked beans = a typical English breakfast. I was so pleased to prepare that for them and nice to know that something of Michael is going to continue with us this Christmas and more to come.

So my friends, I'm continuing to feel happy and peaceful. It was a wonderful, blessed holiday. Looking to the future and continuing to learn from the past. I hope you all had a lovely holiday.

Love ya,
Love ya

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Yesterday I received a Christmas card from Michael's son and daughter-in-law. They also enclosed two photos of their baby boy, Alfie Michael - born in August. Their little boy certainly has his grandad's eyes. Such bright, big brown eyes! Life does go on.....

Andrea asked me to make purses for two of her friends for Christmas, so I worked on one of them for a couple of hours last night. Almost finished it - just have the strap to attach. Then, I'll begin work on the second one - should go a lot quicker now that I know what I'm doing. (Only had to rip out two seams last night!)

Thanks to a dear partner in quilting "crime", I've gotten hooked on Connecting Threads fabric and their sales are wonderful. Got the latest parcel in the mail yesterday with the newest Thimbleberries Christmas book (half price!) Wish I had gotten this earlier - there are some fantastic patterns in it. There's always next Christmas to sew for. I ordered a set of their "Charlottesville" collection - a layer cake - for my church's quilt club's next project. I may end up using one or more of the "Charlottesville" fabrics for my new kitchen curtains.

Trying to take charge of the mess in the sewing room....purchased five clear totes to organize things. I put all my flimsies together and they barely fit in one tote. NOTE: resolution for 2012 - get the flimsies quilted and bound.

One of my co-workers is retiring next month. He and his wife already have their retirement home built and she's living there already, leaving him to lead the life of a temporary bachelor during the work week until January 14. I invited him to our house tonight for dinner. He's a nice guy and I will be sad to see him leave. Yes, I have a quilt ready for him - it's a scrap quilt with all kinds of cat fabrics - just need to get the binding done. (Yep, he's crazy about cats too!)

Our medical director just gave each of us a bottle of wine for Christmas. REAL tempting to open it up and have a bit of Christmas cheer, but somehow I think management would frown on it. LOL. Our good doctor may be retiring this coming year as well. Seems like 2012 is going to be another year of change at the office in personnel and practices. Let's hope I'm up to the challenges.

Love ya,

Monday, December 19, 2011


Right now, I'm at peace with my world. Sure, there is a big "hole" since Michael is no longer with us. But I'm starting to enjoy the season and all the activities. My shopping is all done, the parties are over and I'm ready to start baking and wrapping.

The oddest thing happened today. I was driving home and listening to the Christmas music on Sirius when I thought to myself I hadn't heard my favorite version of "Deck the Halls" yet despite hours of listening. What do think was the very next song! I honestly believe Michael had a hand in it.

Back to the sewing room tonight to finish a few things.

Love ya,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

It's a known fact that time speeds up on Saturday and Sunday. POOF! Then you're back on Monday, sitting in your office wondering what the devil happened to your precious time away from work. LOL

Well, at least it seems that way.....especially when the weekends are filled with activities like shopping, sewing, get the picture.

Bought myself something on Saturday - a new laptop computer. It was on sale Black Friday but was unavailable until now. Gotta love rainchecks! Without even opening the laptop, I took it to my nephew, William, for him to install a better office version and anti-virus programs. William said I got a fantastic deal on the laptop. I've had little time to play with it, but I'm very pleased with the purchase. Until now I used Michael's old laptop or the desk PC - both of which were old and not working properly. Danny now has the old laptop. The PC? It's not working at all now. Another William job for later.....and I'll have him show me how to post photos on the new laptop.

I believe I am finished Christmas gift shopping. Andrea and I went shopping on Saturday and I returned to the fray after she went to work yesterday. There may be some last minute purchases, usually are.

Sewing! It felt wonderful to have a few hours on Sunday to quilt. I made a pair of potholders and four placemats for gifts. The only quilted items left to create for gifts are two handbags for Andrea's friends. Those won't take long. Making plans for 2012 quilting projects: Before I begin any big projects, the sewing room needs a ruthless clean out.

It was a good weekend - few tears. I held my sister-in-love while she cried on Saturday. She told me about walking through the English food section at a local market and how sad she was that she didn't need to buy a food basket for Michael this year. Last year she gave Michael a HUGE basket of all his favorite foods. So, she cried, and I cried with her. Yesterday marked eight months since Michael left us, so he was never far from my mind.

I mentioned that to my son during a phone conversation yesterday. "We're going to have a great Christmas even though Michael's not here," he promised.

And we will.

Love ya,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grief and Chocolate

I haven't posted in over a week because I've been going through a rough patch as of late. As we get further into the holiday season, I'm not able to control my emotions as much as I'd like. Shed a few tears at church on Sunday - not that unusual. But, crying at the office is taboo. I broke down and cried at the office yesterday. Suppose all the stresses from work in addition to everything else just bubbled over and hit me at the wrong time. Thank goodness I have caring cubicle mates who understand. Just don't like showing that particular emotion at the office since it can be and will be taken the wrong way by certain managers.

No matter how I try to handle it, I have to be honest with myself that Christmas IS going to be rough. Michael always loved Christmas and celebrated it with gusto. But, I was reading somewhere that for a person who has experienced a recent loss, the anticipation of the holiday often is worse than the holiday itself. After all, it's only ONE day of the whole year we're talking about folks.

Trying my best to make Christmas a good one for my family - most of the presents are purchased. Started to get the house decorations put out last night and I found the oddest thing.

Remember how I found an English chocolate bar hidden behind the bread box after Michael died? When I was taking the stockings out of their storage box, one of them was heavy - something was still in it from last year. In the toe of Andrea's stocking was another one of those English chocolate bars!

It's not like either of my children to forget about a gift. Or for me to overlook a bar of chocolate when packing away the stockings for the year. In some small, stupid way I'm taking this Yorkie chocolate as a sign from Michael that somehow, someway he's still caring for us.

Take heart, I will get back to blogging about my quilting activities soon.

Love ya,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sausage Rolls

Just when I think I'm over my grief and doing well emotionally, WHAM, something happens that sets me off.

Last night it was finding several bags of sausage rolls in the freezer.

I suppose a note of explanation would help, huh? Every year at Christmas, Michael would make cheese straws, scones and sausage rolls. The mess he'd leave in the kitchen is legendary. He'd bake enough for a small army. Usually just him and his best friend, Martin would eat the sausage rolls. Andrea and Danny would scarf up the cheese straws.

In an effort to make more room in the freezer last night I started tossing out things I knew were dated and came across these bags of sausage rolls tucked in the bottom shelf. He was well enough one day last December to bake. That evening he felt so poorly the Hospice nurse had to make an emergency visit to the house - he simply had pushed himself too hard. His appetite wasn't what it used to be either so many of the sausage rolls were put in the freezer for later consumption.

He never got to eat them.

Never even felt like eating them.

I felt so bad throwing the rolls into the trash. Big reminder that he's no longer with us.

But he used to be. The sausage rolls proved that.

It still doesn't seem real that he's been gone for nearly eight months.

Thanks for listening.
Love ya,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sales Report

Andrea talked me into going to Best Buy last night at 11. I have never joined the "crazies" shopping these sales immediately after Thanksgiving other than Joann's. OMG I could not get over the people waiting in line!!! We stood in line nearly two hours to get a deal on an XBox 360 the kids and I wanted for our family gift. In my warm bed at 3 am. AHHHHHHHHHHH! I thought, I'll just set the alarm for the regular get-up time and head on out to Joann's. Stupid me.....

I don't think I'd ever hit that alarm off so hard and fast......

But, I was at Joann's by 10:30 am and got some batting, a new ruler, some binding clips....nothing earth shattering. I plan on returning tomorrow with another 25 percent off coupon as their quilting fabric's on sale - door buster bargain.

Thanksgiving was lovely - loads of good food, family and friends and of course some football. All too soon, it was over.

I thought about Michael a lot yesterday. Nothing different or special about that - just the usual - feeling like there's a gap in my world that's never going to close completely. The odd thing is, I'm slowly filling that hole with other relationships (no, I'm not dating - yuch!) and activities. But, like I said, that hole will always be there.

Danny and Luka went back to Clifton this afternoon. Andrea's at PetSmart working, so it's just me and the pets again. Prime sewing time, so if you'll excuse me, I think I will get at it.

Love ya,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Chaos

Danny arrived home for the holiday and brought my grand-dog, Luka, with him. Luka's a beautiful white Alaskan Huskie, with bright blue eyes and a sort of dumb expression. Andrea says he looks like he's stoned all the time.

The kittens hide when Luka visits, which was a real problem last summer when Danny lived with us for a few months. Both of them lost weight since they were too frightened to get near their food dish. Andrea's French bulldog puppy, Emma, adores Luka and they played well together until last night. Andrea and I had to separate them several times when their "play" got too rough and we were afraid somebody was going to get hurt.

Danny went out with some friends last night and I have no clue what time he got home. All I know is that at 3:30 this morning I heard scratching noises on my bedroom door and a soft whine. Yep, Luka wanted out, so I opened the back door and he ran out - must have been busting. A few minutes later, I opened the door, no Luka. Have you ever gone outside at 3:30 am wearing nothing but a bathrobe, jammies and pink muffy slippers when the wind is blowing cold? Finally, Luka decided he had enough of the back yard and bolted back into the house. Took me a while, but I eventually got back to sleep. Six am came too soon today.

The kids and I are going to my brother's home for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I'm grateful for that. Andrea fusses that my sister-in-love cooks weird and she will miss her traditional Thanksgiving meal. I promised her if she was at all disappointed, I will make our usual holiday dinner later. My contributions to the meal are the pumpkin pies and the green bean casserole, so she'll have at least those items to tempt her.

Loads of things to be thankful for this year. Despite losing Michael, there are so many, many positive things all around us. And that, dear friends, is what I want to remember and celebrate tomorrow.

I wish you all health, happiness and togetherness every day, but especially tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Love ya,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fire and Fast Weekends

Yesterday morning, something in the kitchen smelled like plastic burning. Checked the fridge - nope, still OK. Looked around, nothing else was turned on. Chalk one up to my over-imaginative nose. A few minutes later, I turned around and saw flames shooting out of the laptop cord! I quickly unplugged the charger and blew the flames out. No harm other than the canisters sitting on the counter were a bit singed. The power cord's toast and was quickly tossed into the trash out in the garage. But, talk about scary! What would have happened had I not been at home? Thank the Lord that wasn't the case.

I must not have been in the mood to sew yesterday as I spent most of my day shopping. Managed to put quite a dent into the Christmas shopping. What hasn't been purchased yet will have to wait until next payday or until my son tells me what he'd like to have. Honestly, I don't have a clue for him.

After church, I dropped some can goods off at the local food drive and went to WalMart for a few things. Then, I got to sew, but the phone wouldn't stop ringing. Typical!

I pieced and quilted a tabletopper for my mother's birthday gift and got the binding ready for another quilt. Pleased to have gotten at least that much done.

So with all that done, the weekend's drawing to a close and it's back to the office tomorrow.

Hope you all have a pleasant week!
Love ya,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Long Time-No Post

I know it's been months since my last post and for that I don't really have an excuse other than time slipping away. Has it really been seven months since Michael died? Yes. Has a lot happened? Yes. But where to start......

Andrea and I took that long-awaited trip to Florida at the end of August. It was great simply getting away for a few days. We visited Universal Studios - Harry Potter World, Magic Kingdom, Disney Studios and Epcot, capping off the week with a trip to Cocoa Beach. That brought back some memories as the first vacation I took with Michael was to Cocoa Beach eleven years ago.

At this time, Andrea's approaching the end of her first quarter at UC. She is struggling with the course load, so she has decided to take fewer classes until she knows what she can handle. She adores her job at Pet Smart and I swear she'd bring home every animal she sees.

Me? I'm still trying to create a life without my spouse and be happy. I have counseling sessions nearly every week, some weeks better than others. Tonight's session went well. I think they go better if I have specific topics in mind to talk about,as I did tonight. Lyenna has helped me through some pretty tough times over the past year. I'm grateful for her help.

My church family is becoming more important to me. I'm active with the quilters group, my Sunday school class and the new widows/widowers group our pastor created this fall.

I've made several purchases which have made life much easier. First, new gutters on the house with leaf guards. Now when it rains, it no longer creates a waterfall on the front porch, something which vexed Michael to no end. Secondly, a long-arm quilting machine - an Avante 18 from Handiquilter. I'm still getting used to it and constantly marvel at how fast I can quilt. Several of my friends have been over for a "test drive". Look out flimsies! And last but, not least, a new car - a 2012 VW Beetle - bright red and oh so fun to drive. I did need new gutters on the house and I did need a new car. But the Avante? Need had nothing to do with it! LOL Neither does my continuing bad habit of purchasing fabric. Somethings never change, dear friends.

That's it for the big purchases, but Christmas is coming. No doubt the holidays are going to be tough. But, as I told my friend Diane this morning, I don't have to make that bloody awful Christmas cake this year. Michael was the only one who ate the thing. We're going to use the money we normally spent on Michael to purchase things for families at our church who otherwise wouldn't have a decent Christmas for their children. He would have liked knowing that.

So, I hope to post more often to keep you all apprised of my quilting adventures, friends, family and my new life.

Love ya,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

Question of the day: How does any mother get through a high school graduation ceremony without shedding any tears?

Please let me know by Sunday. I really would appreciate it.

Andrea's graduating on Sunday with 700 classmates lovingly watched by her parents, all four grandparents, two aunts, her brother and assorted friends. The end of an era for her and the beginning of bigger and better things.

Sad for me in a way: All my babies are through high school. No more school buses at the crack of dawn. No more teacher conferences, school assemblies, concerts or permission slips.

Ah, well, it's not THAT sad.

I'm so proud of my daughter. She's definitely had more challenges than most young people her age. Yet through it all, she's become a hard-working, loving young woman.

And that is worth celebrating!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Life Goes On!

After days of clouds and rain, the sun is out and it's an utterly BEAUTIFUL day in southwestern Ohio. When I took Daisy for her walk this morning, I was so happy to see the sun, I sang. Good thing the neighbors weren't awake! Only God appreciates my singing! At least Daisy didn't run and hide, lol. Today is the best I've felt in ages.

Tomorrow is a BIG day - all of Michael's trains, models, equipment, etc. get packaged up and taken to the auctioneering facility. I have no clue how long it's going to take. Every time I venture into one of the train rooms, I open a drawer or cupboard and find more stuff. I am so grateful to have found an auction house which will take care of these things for me. Otherwise, the task would have quickly overwhelmed me.

AND, today is a big day for Andrea - she starts her new job at Pet Smart. She will be a pet bather. Andrea is so excited about it.

My girl has a lot of positive things going for her right now. She has a boyfriend, got her driver's license, graduates in a week and now has a job. Once we get her schedule at Pet Smart and can find the time, I'm taking her to Florida for her graduation gift. And, of course, she starts at the university in September. Exciting times!

Michael's eldest daughter, Leah, e-mailed me yesterday. She has "custody" of Michael's ashes at the moment and finds herself talking to him throughout the day. It sounds like my family in England are going on with their lives much as we are here in Ohio.

I went to quilt club at church on Monday and we finished piecing one of the charity quilts we're going to donate. I also finished piecing a project I picked up at the International Quilt Show the day before Michael passed away - a wall hanging with verses from Psalms. It will be so nice to have it quilted and hanging on a wall in my bedroom. Don't think I'll get much quilting time in the next week with all the cleaning, yard work and graduation preparations. Top on the quilting list though are the lap quilts for the Hospice angels. I want those done and presented by the middle of June. It'll be a good closure for them as well as me.

Love ya,

Friday, May 13, 2011


It seems each week that passes brings a new "milestone" without Michael. Easter, Mother's Day and coming up graduation. He's been gone one whole month. Just doesn't seem possible - at times I think it's been longer than 30 days. In my mind, it seems like yesterday.

We've had our share of things going "KAPLOOEY" around the house. First, the oven quit last weekend. Three days later - $117 and it's fixed. The truck tire on the passenger side kept going flat - pulled the screw out of the tread and $21 to Firestone - it's fixed. I'm quite proud of myself for being able to take care of these things without a melt-down. But, what happened last night made me lose my composure.

Monsoon season appearing to be over, the back yard grass was in dire need of a trim, so I pulled the push mower out of the shed. Filled it up with petrol. It started OK and cut the grass just fine - for about ten seconds. After struggling with the machine stopping and starting for 20 minutes, I had enough!

I pushed the thing into the driveway and started to yell, "YOU STUPID MOWER! WHY WON'T YOU RUN????!!" Then I kicked the thing into submission, twice. "Yeah, that'll show it," I thought to myself. My neighbor witnessed it all and was laughing hysterically.

Then, I pulled the cord. VOILA! It started and sounded normal. I was able to finish cutting the grass afterall.

The moral of the story: If it don't work; kick it.

So, I'm learning to survive and thrive. Not to mention improving my kicking game.

Love ya,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sweet Surprise

Last night I was tidying up the kitchen, when I found two English chocolate bars hidden behind the bread box. Andrea swore she knew nothing about stashing them there. So, it must have been Michael.

The last time I purchased Yorkies and Crunchies was at Christmastime. The only thing I could figure out was Michael put them there to hide them for future consumption and to keep them away from the resident chocoholics.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed a piece of Yorkie last night. There is nothing like good English chocolate.

Thank you, Michael!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A New Month

Each week seems to bring another "first" without Michael. Last week it was "first" Easter. Now today, it's first new month.

My mood seems to be all over the boards the last few days. Friday was by far the worst day for me in three weeks. Work was a disaster - I had to decline a lot of business which my friend wrote. I know it was the proper thing to do from a risk standpoint, but that fact certainly didn't help when I knew I was contributing to my friend's worst work week in 30 years. I also had to cancel my counseling appointment this week because of work. After nearly two hours of overtime, I drove home and found the life insurance check in the mail.

I suppose some people would think that was a good thing - Michael's way of helping me out in the future. However, I saw it as an "official" telling me he truly was gone. I couldn't talk to anybody on Saturday without bursting into tears. I deposited the check into an account and I will "forget" about it for a few months.

Today? Much better. I went to church and celebrated the Lord's day with my friends. No tears! How's that for an achievement? Andrea's out with her dad, so I took the opportunity to get some sewing done - finished the paper pieced blocks for my church quilting group and two blocks for a super secret project. As soon as Andrea returns, we're headed to my brother's house for dinner. I made a pineapple-upside down cake for dessert - my dad's favorite. I hadn't made one for years since Michael wasn't a big fan of that cake.

I talked with a friend at the "Raise the Walls" event at church yesterday. She lost her husband a year ago and has offered to be my "mentor" through the process I'm going through. She explained the roller-coaster of emotions I'm going through is perfectly natural. But, it will get better, she promised.

Some good news - Andrea passed her driver's license test on Thursday. I'm not sure who was more nervous about the test - me or her? LOL The relief on that young woman's face after the test was priceless. Now, she can concentrate on getting a job.

So, life goes on. Every day another hurdle crossed. Sleep gets easier. And I'm doing things I LIKE to do and am not making any plans beyond tomorrow. Last night I watched "Doctor Zhivago", one of my favorite movies to watch when I want to feel better. I have a handle of movies like that and I intend on popping them each into the DVD player when the need arises in the coming days.

And you know what? My sewing machine seemed happy to see me again.

Love ya,

Friday, April 22, 2011


Ever since Michael passed away, I've felt numb and full of fuzz at times. Does that make sense? Sort of like this huge fog has drifted into my body and is just now slowly lifting from the landscape.

I thank God for my family and friends who have been so very supportive. My mom's phoned me almost every night since she returned home last Saturday.

One night, Andrea and her buddies went to another house for a sleepover which meant I was alone in the house for the first time. Around 9:30, I started to have a bit of a panic attack and texted Andrea.

"Are you OK?" I asked.
"Fine," she replied."Are you?"
"Not really. I'm a bit nervous,"
"Do you want me to come home?"

So I drove to her friend's house and picked up ALL the girls and they camped out in my living room for the night just because I didn't want to be alone just yet. Dear Andrea has been "mothering" me for over a week now. She's gone everywhere with me in the evenings and polished my scruffy nails twice.

I returned to work on Tuesday. Many people were surprised I returned that soon after Michael's death. But, honestly, keeping my head buried in files and doctor's reports is good medicine for me at the moment. It felt strange being here at first, but by Wednesday, it felt routine and comfortable again.

Monday night I went to my church's quilting group and was surrounded by my friends with love and comfort. I also learned how to paper piece log cabin blocks. Each of us are sewing three blocks (at least) for comfort quilts for our congregation members who need a bit of, well,comfort. The pastor's wife will determine who receives the six quilts we're working on. It was an idea I proposed after seeing how much joy Michael had when he received a comfort shawl from a church in Texas.

For the first time in two years, I'm going to my mother's house for the weekend. It will be nice to celebrate Easter with her and my step-dad's huge family. One of Andrea's friends offered to watch our pets for two days.

So, dear blog followers, this "Catquilter" is slowly getting back to ordinary things and life. Each day gets better.

Love ya,

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My husband, Michael, passed away in his sleep on April 11.

It's taken me nearly a week to have the courage to get on-line and blog about it.

Last Sunday was a rough day for him. I planned on attending the International Quilt show in Cincinnati, but his breathing and stamina were so poor, I hesitated to leave him.

"You've been looking forward to that show for over a year," he stated, "Go, I'll be fine." He insisted I leave, so I did. I drove home at 2:30 and returned to his room. He woke up and yelled at me, "I thought I told you to go to that show!" I did, I explained, you've just been sleeping the whole time. We laughed a bit about that.

Then about 6 pm, he went into respiratory distress and asked for me to phone Hospice. The emergency nurse arrived and together we got Michael back into his normal breathing pattern and comfortable. It was the worst attack I'd seen. But, he seemed OK. At 10, he wanted something to eat; he had not eaten all day - just didn't feel up to it. I told him I would fix whatever he wanted or even go out to fetch a meal. He wanted rice pudding and toast - two of his favorites.

I delivered the meal to him in bed and he turned on the telly - there just happened to be a show on PBS about the Orient Express. He was happy - his favorite comfort foods and a train show. "Go on to bed," he ordered. "You have work in the morning."

"Are you sure you'll be all right," I asked.

"Go!" he said "I'll be all right," and he smiled and waived bye-bye to me.

The next morning, I got up, started a pot of coffee and made a cup of tea for Michael. I opened the door to his room and could tell at first glance he was gone. I called out his name three times, no response. I started to get a bit shaky, but I knew what I had to do. Phoned Hospice, the on-call nurse was here in ten minutes, listened to his chest and confirmed that he had passed on probably around 4 am. The respiratory attack the previous night probably weakened his heart, already compromised by congestive failure, and he died in his sleep.

The rice pudding was gone, but the toast was untouched and the television was still on. He probably fell asleep and just never woke up.

I don't remember who I phoned first. My mom, brother, work, my friend Diane, my son and Michael's ex-wife. My brother was already with a patient in surgery, but he left as soon as he was done. Mom and my step-dad made the four hour journey and were here by 3. My dear friend, Diane, was here by 10. What a comfort they all were and still are! Pastor Tom and his wife were here at 3 - my sister-in-love phoned them. Michael's ex had just made plane reservations to be here for two weeks to help me care for Michael. I asked her to cancel those and please visit another time. She phoned all of Michael's children for me and his mum too. Andrea was here also and was a huge help keeping the pets happy, answering the phone and door. It was a flurry of activity all week.

We had a luncheon here at the house yesterday in Michael's honor. We shared a lot of happy tales, celebrated his life and comforted each other. It's how he wanted it.

Now, his ashes are on their way to his son who will host a memorial for Michael in England. Again, just what Michael wanted.

I went to church this morning, thanked my wonderful Sunday School class for catering the meal yesterday. During the service this morning, the church organist - an extremely talented musician - the pianist, the bell choir and the chorus performed "To God Be The Glory". It was by far the most beautiful rendition I've ever heard of that hymn. Until then, I had held off my tears, but mid-performance, the tears tumbled out of my eyes. A combination of joy in the glorious music and a celebration that Michael is in heaven. My friend, Donna hugged me and we both said how appropriate it all was.

Throughout everything this week, I knew Michael was and is all right. And so am I.

Love ya,

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Challenges

Each week presents its own set of new challenges, especially with Michael's health. His legs/feet are so swollen from the congestive heart failure his doctor has decided to increase his Lasix at the peril of his already low blood pressure. It seems like we chase away one "demon" and another takes its place with these medications. Dr. Peerless has also prescribed another anti-biotic to combat the thrush that's creating so much discomfort in his mouth and throat.

Irregardless, these prescriptions are just for comfort and do not stop his heart failure and lung disease from worsening. It's just a matter of time.

Debbie, our Hospice nurse, said to expect it any time.

So, Andrea and I had a talk the other evening: What to do if you happen to check on Michael and don't get a response from him. Horrible thing to to discuss with an 18-year-old girl. But, the beautiful thing is, she understood and is displaying an unexpected amount of maturity with all this. She's trying her best to protect me.

As much as I'd like to hide in my sewing room, Andrea's not letting me. Every night after dinner, let's play a game, let's go pick up a few groceries, let's practice the driving, etc. A bit of that is healthy, but frankly last night I was tired and wanted nothing more than to sit in my recliner and finish some hand sewing. Eventually did, but by then it was 9:30 and almost time for bed.

The weekend is almost here and I will get a bit of a battery re-charge the next two days. Catch up on my sleep (maybe), get some sewing in (perhaps), clean/do laundry (will think about it) and take care of Michael (definitely). Michael wants a few thing re-organized in his bedroom, for which I may enlist Danny's help. I tidied up the room a bit last night in an effort to make things more reachable for him.

One has to remember his "universe" is limited to just the area around his hospital bed now. So we have to bring it to him - hence the doorbell he rings when he needs help. Once in a while, the doorbell goes off either because it's in his shirt pocket and he presses it accidentally or (as in last night at 10) sits on it. It causes quite a stir - Daisy, our dog, starts barking, the kittens scatter and Andrea races to the bedroom. It does the job!

I hope we all have a lovely, relaxing weekend.

Love ya, Cathy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Love Sundays!

It's quiet in the house at the moment except for the steady hum/whoosh of Michael's oxygen machine. Andrea is out with her dad and brother for a few hours of fun. The kittens are sleeping on the kitchen chairs - dead tired from playing with the new laser pointer toy. Michael's quiet too for the time being - I just took a cup of tea to him. Once he drinks it and eats his snack, he'll soon be sleeping again.

I adore these quiet moments - a brief respite in an otherwise noisy, stress-filled week. Could be that I begin most Sundays with church and Sunday school. It's one of the few things that I truly do for and by myself.

Don't get the wrong impression - I'd love for Michael to attend services with me. However, that's just not possible. He's only attended church once with me and that was ten years ago. Andrea? She's rather sleep in - don't blame her. I've been tempted on more than one Sunday to do that as well. I find if I DO NOT attend church though, the whole week's warped and by Tuesday morning chaos rules.

I fear the lack of oxygen is affecting Michael's thought process. His facebook posts are short and very often filled with typos - something that vexes the man who is proud of his proper use of the English language. He starts conversations with me and mid-sentence he forgets what he was talking about. I politely try to get him back on course, but even that's not enough.

He complains a lot about his aide and hospice nurse not listening to him or his concerns. I KNOW that is not true - Debbie and Priscilla are quite good about listening to their patient. Michael, unfortunately, has never learned the difference between listening with empathy and listening with action. If there's no action after the listening bit, he assumes he hasn't been heard. With his disease, there's little action that CAN be taken, other than providing comfort.

I sewed this afternoon as well - a couple of potholders and a hot pad for a dear sister-in-love's upcoming birthday. Tidied up the sewing room a bit. Andrea and I have been shopping at Joann Fabrics three straight days. NEVER send me a coupon worth 25 percent off the entire order which can be used multiple times AND put batting, Debbie Mumm fabric, and licensed prints all on sale. (LOL) I bought enough John Deere fabric to make a quilt for a co-worker who is probably going to retire by the end of the year. If I know it will need to purchased at some time, best to get it when it's on sale is my motto.

Last week I found some of the flimsies in my sewing room closet which would make excellent thank you gifts for the hospice workers. After Michael has joined God, I'd like nothing better than to show my gratitude to those women via a comfort quilt. So, I'll get started on these now and hope to have three of them ready when the time comes.

Well, the silence is gone - Michael has rang the "door bell" from his bedroom. I need to close now. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Love ya,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fiber and Friends

Michael yelled at me last night about (of all things) a Fiber One bar.

Two days ago, I left a fiber bar on his nightstand with a package of apple pastries in case he got hungry during the night. He ate the pastries but the fiber bar was unopened. In a rush to get my lunch packed and on my way to work yesterday morning, I grabbed the bar in question, shoved it into my lunchbag and didn't think any more of it.

Michael, however, did not forget the fiber bar. He claims to have spent HOURS searching for it. (Mr. Exaggeration Man strikes again - at least that's ONE thing that hasn't changed about him!) "I took it in my lunch," says me," we've got more in the pantry, do you want one?"

No response, so I continued to change for bed.

"You aren't dressed," he yelled when I came out of the bathroom. "I thought you were going to the store to get more fiber bars."

"We have some in the pantry," I replied.

"No you did not."

"I asked you if you wanted one," I continued.

By that time he was seething, mad at himself and me, so I fetched a bar for him and plunked it on his table.

I don't know if he ate it or not. But I'm certainly not going to take any food item from his room again.

These days I spend so little time on Facebook and the internet whilst I'm home. So, it was a bit of a surprise when Michael's best friend hailed me via an instant message on Facebook late last night.

"I have something to ask you," he wrote. "Michael keeps telling me not to visit that he's either real tired or busy with the hospice aides. Tell me the truth, is he angry at me or is he just being cantankerous?"

I know how much Martin values his friendship with my husband, so I mentioned to Martin that today would be an excellent day to try again since the hospice aide won't be there. I also put a "bug" in Michael's ear, "Hey, since Priscilla's not going to be at the house tomorrow, why don't you call Martin and see if he's up to a visit?"

"Mr Friendly" (aka Michael) is not real keen on having Martin visit. I'm not 100 percent certain why, but I think he doesn't want anybody beyond our little family to see him in such a deteriorated state. I don't understand that.

There are a lot of things about Michael which I don't understand anymore. Pulmonary fibrosis has robbed me of my husband, stolen Martin's best buddy, and left in his place somebody we don't recognize.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is It March Already?

I apologize to my friends and followers for not posting until now. My life has been rather hectic which means blogging unfortunately has taken a "back seat".

Michael's health continues to deteriorate. Each week brings a new medication, a different piece of medical equipment, or procedure to follow. He spends nearly all his time sleeping, which is probably a combination of his disease and the medications. Once he told me the only time he's truly comfortable is when he sleeps. Even sitting up in bed taxes his ability to breathe. His legs and feet are swollen from congestive heart failure and poor circulation. The hospice nurse offered to increase his medication for that, but Michael refused it. Debbie (the nurse) told me over the phone his blood pressure is very low and going lower each week. Increasing the lasix could depress it even more. Here's the dilemma: Take one pill; it causes a problem which requires another pill. The morphine creates constipation which requires the use of another drug. Last week, Michel complained of a sore throat and we discovered he has thrush - more medication.

Priscilla comes every day now to bathe Michael, monitor his symptoms, change his bedding and spoil my pets (LOL - Daisy's gained weight since Priscilla arrived at our house. She feeds Daisy biscuits.) If she notices something different with Michael, she's on the phone immediately to Debbie. Knowing that Priscilla is with Michael every afternoon, removes a huge bit of worry from my shoulders.

I cannot express how grateful I am to Hospice of Cincinnati for all the care, love and support they have given Michael and me.

Michael's children continue to disappoint me. They know their father is dying, but they don't call very often, they don't write, and until last week, they didn't even e-mail. He rarely talks about it, but I know it troubles him.

My son, however, boosted the Michael's spirits last week. He wrote an e-mail to him (As he said, it's easier to write these things) and told Michael how much he loved him. "You have contributed more to who I am today than my real father has," he wrote. It was a very loving e-mail and I'm so proud of my dear boy for writing it.

Speaking of Danny, he earned all A's winter quarter at UC. One of his works is slated for a gallery show next month.

Andrea's practicing her driving for the licensing exam. She's applied for a few jobs without success, but I'm sure she'll find the perfect little job. She's been a tremendous help with Michael as well.

Me? I find comfort in my children's successes obviously. LOL I work, attend church, shop, clean, watch a bit of television now and then. Quilting? Sometimes, but it's sad. The kittens spend more time in the sewing room than I do. I finished a quilt for a co-worker's wedding gift a couple of weeks ago and a lap quilt for a silent auction at the office. That's been the extent of my finishes. I'm working on Easter placemats - handsewing the binding. I am going to take a day off in a few weeks to attend the International Quilt Show in Cincinnati.

My mother was here two weeks ago to watch my nephews whilst my brother and his wife were on a cruise. We spent a lot of time together, which felt wonderful. I admit I cried when she went back home.

The one thing I do for myself each week is a counseling session. My therapist is a wonderful, insightful lady. Her advice is sound and I try my best to follow it. But, she asked me a question last week that I could not answer. "How much longer are you going to be able to keep doing what you are?"

Still can't answer with any degree of certainty. As long as it takes, I suppose. Only God knows when Michael will leave this earth. I do know, however, that everything is going to be all right eventually. This whole experience has drawn me closer to God and if that is the one thing which remains with me then it has been worth it.

Love ya,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Downhill Slide

Michael's health continues to deteriorate and along with it comes new challenges. He's now hooked up to a catheter because going to the toilet challenged his lungs/stamina so much. Morphine has also been increased. The combination of that drug and his impairments makes him sleep nearly the entire day. That's a blessing of sorts.

Hospice was at the house every day last week, including Sunday night when he was in a lot of pain. Thank goodness for 24/7 response from that organization. The aide is going to increase her visits beginning next week. She is a God-send!

Work ordinarily would be my refuge from the home front. But, even the atmosphere at the office appears toxic these days due to a firing of a long-term associate, upcoming changes which my manager tries to keep hidden from us, and a power-hungry auditor who wants to squash us all into submission. (LOL)

So, my counselor says to look for the bright spots. Believe me, I try, but they are hard to find like a "Where's Waldo" game. Never was good at that stinkin' search and find crap. Sometimes stuff has to smack me in the face before I recognize it.

One bright spot was Valentine's Day. My darling daughter made a lovely card and necklace for me. Andrea's love and support have truly been a blessing, boosting me up. She's seen me at my worst, too, like last week when I couldn't stop crying because I thought I hurt Sophie.

Sophie had crawled into the dishwasher when I wasn't looking. I slammed the rack back into the machine and was shocked to hear the kitten shriek and bolt from the dishwasher. Oh, she was ok, but I think it was the "last straw" in a horrible day for me. I cried as I held poor Sophie, her black fur sopped up some big tears. Rather confused by it all, Sophie is and was fine and hasn't crawled into the dishwasher since.

And then there's my I ever relish my time in the sewing room. I finished piecing the wedding quilt and the mystery quilt for my church's quilting club. In addition, I made great progress with the blocks for "Buckeye Bouquet". I hope to get the wedding quilt on the frame by the weekend. I've also been asked to donate a lap quilt to the company's Fine Arts Fund week auction. Thank goodness for flimsies all ready! They do serve a purpose.

I've also gotten into the habit of reading a bit each night before going to sleep. It's also my prayer time. Honestly, I look forward to that spot of time every night.

Today I read this:

"The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung around our necks. Yet, in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while he is searching for pearls." - Julius Richter

I'll keep looking for my "pearls".

Love ya,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes

I found my sewing room! The door managed to open without piles of fabric crashing on my head. LOL Seriously, I decided to move some things around and made some changes between the sewing room and my bedroom. The large metal shelf unit is now in my bedroom, so I can go to sleep and wake up - last/first thing I see each day - MY STASH! Loads more space in the sewing room, so I can put up a design wall. Made it much more pleasant to work in there.

What joy! I sewed for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. Finished the main part of the wedding quilt top - now on to the pieced borders. I also made some progress on the mystery quilt for the church quilt club.

Michael and I had a chance to chat last night whilst dinner was in the oven. He's felt so much worse the last week or so and is blaming the change on the weather. It seems like no matter how the weather changes, it gets the blame for his increasing discomfort. That's what he likes to think, not that it's his deteriorating health. Now, I could spout medical/clinical reasons why his lungs/heart are getting worse. But, he cannot comprehend it. The fatigue, constant sleeping, difficulty breathing even with two oxygen supplies, memory problems, etc. can all be attributed to his pulmonary fibrosis and congestive heart failure.

Today's shower and aide day from Hospice. So a change of bedding and a cleaner "outlook" may be just what the doctor ordered for Michael. I can't say it enough - I'm so very, very grateful for Hospice.

One other person I'm particularly grateful for today and every day is my mother. After I described what happened Friday at work, her response was wonderful. "Don't let it rob you of your joy," she advised. And that has promoted the change in my attitude the last few days. I still have weepy moments, but I'm doing loads better.

All this is changing me for the better - of that I'm certain. I'm not 100 percent sure of all the things I'm to learn through this experience. But, I am learning patience, humility and that God is in charge. AND: Everything will be OK!

Love ya,

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Need To Sew

Why I need to get some serious sewing done this weekend:

-I had the day from h-e-l-l today at work.
-Counseling tonight was tough - no tears though.
-Michael had a rough day.
-It's supposed to snow tomorrow.
-I just bought five more yards of adorable cat fabric at Joann's.
-The wedding quilt needs to be done in less than a month.
-The cat quilt for my church group needs to be done in two weeks.
-My cats think all the fabric stacked in the sewing room is for their benefit only.
-My stress level definitely goes down after an hour or two of sewing.
-All those lovely pieces of fabric don't do anybody any good just stored in the sewing room.
-I have to clear out the sewing room to make room for all the things I'm going to purchase at the International Quilt Show in April.

Today's good news is from two sources:

-Andrea received her acceptance letter from UC-Raymond Walters regional campus today.
-There's a good chance Danny may be headed to Australia this summer for a college co-op program.

So, I celebrate my children's successes. How very blessed I am to have them!

Love ya,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Phil Did Not See His Shadow!

The silly ground hog in Pennsylvania did not see his shadow, so we'll get an early spring, or so goes the old theory. Spring can't come soon enough! It was so windy last night, the ice from the trees surrounding our property blew off and smacked into the house. Sounded like we were being bombed at 2 am!

I always remember that my grandmother's birthday is on February 2. So, when I was listening to the groundhog broadcast on my car radio, I wished Grandma a happy birthday in heaven. It choked me up and I cried a little - not good to bawl when you're driving down I-75 at 60 mph! LOL. Then, all of a sudden I felt like she was right next to me! Strange eh? The feeling didn't last too long, but I sure was comforted by it.

You all probably think I'm losing it, but lately I've had these feelings that people are hugging me or with me and there's no one else around. I told my mom about these episodes and she feels the same way at times. Her pastor told her once that it happens when people are praying for you - you feel oh so comfortable like when you're wrapped up in a big 'ol comfortable quilt. Good to know prayer works at least on that scale.

Back to reality: I got some more sewing done last night on the wedding quilt. Each night I sew until 1. the bobbin runs out or 2. Michael needs something. It was the latter last night.

With the weather changing for the worse the last few days, Michael has really struggled. I think the good spell he had is over at least for now. Other than that, it's a normal "Michael week" with nurses' aides and nursing visits.

Milly's back to her normal Milly-self: chewing on Sophie, jumping onto the fireplace mantel, sleeping on table runners, etc.... you know .... normal cat behavior. She's forgiven me for squirting medicine down her throat. She sat on my lap last night for an hour. Of course, that had NOTHING to do with the flannel quilt I was wrapped in. LOL

My co-workers are all asking if I'm excited that the Steelers are in the Super Bowl. For some reason I just can't get all worked up about it and may not even watch the game. For one thing, I don't want Andrea filming me whilst I'm yelling at the television and it ends up on You Tube. She had her camera ready during the Division Championship game! No kidding! This is the same kid who filmed her grandmother (my mom) dancing at my cousin's wedding in November. The title of the You Tube post? "Grammy Gone Wild!"

Love ya,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Bit Of Sewing

Even fifteen minutes of sewing makes a huge difference! I managed to sneak away and stitch up three scarves my mom asked me to create for her. The hand-stitching needs to be done, but not bad at all for only 15 minutes.

My poor sewing room is such a disaster! I have Buckeye Bouquet squares stacked in one area, Winnie The Pooh squares on top of a half-finished Log Cabin. AND 18 half-complete squares for a Thimbleberries quilt for a wedding gift due March 3. I won't even mention the project for my church's quilting club - that's neatly tucked away in a tote bag. God created doors for a reason, so I cheerfully closed the door on my sewing room, the mess out of sight for now. SIGH!

Miss Milly is recovering from her operation and is quickly returning to her typical kitty behavior. I have to give her medicine twice a day which is rather challenging. The vet gave us pre-loaded syringes, very helpful.

So, for the time being, I'm the resident medicine dispenser gal at our house. At least I don't have to prop Michael's jaw open to slide his pills down his throat. LOL! He's a lot more willing patient than Milly is!

Yesterday was "Nursy" day for Michael. The hospice nurse paid her weekly visit and promptly ordered Michael a different oxygen concentrator. That thing is so noisy - it scares the kittens. What concerned me is the fact Michael was struggling for breath even when he just sat up in bed. This morning, Michael was sitting on the edge of the bed at 5:30 - never a good sign when he's up at that time of day. His aide will be with him today. Lovely girl - she's learned to bribe Michael into the shower with pastries from Servatti's. Seriously, she brings cakes and turnovers to him every visit and he LOVES it.

Andrea's been accepted at UC - the regional campus for the first year. She was disappointed at first that main campus wasn't offered, but she'll end up there ultimately. That's one more hurdle crossed! She's going to New Orleans with her dad for a week in early March. I think the time away will be good for her. She's been helping out with Michael so much.

I took a sneak peek at the list of vendors for the upcoming International Quilt Show in early April. WOW! No more fabric or notions shopping for this chick - I'm saving my spending money for that show - it's going to be great!

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writing From The Heart

Each day brings with it a different challenge. Some easier than others. Michael was having a few good days last week - he was happy and feeling OK. Even talked about spring and summer coming. He does admit that it may be wishful thinking, but it does boost his spirits better than any pill can at this point. And for him to be happy on a drab winter day is a real accomplishment.

This morning when I got to the office, I found an e-mail waiting for me from Michael:

Each day, I see my lovely little Cathy and each day I cry. I wanted to grow old with Cathy. I wanted to take her to England every couple of years to meet up with the rest of the family. The love and the laughter at these events was so much fun. We didn't dream too big did we? We weren't asking for too much? Twenty years or so to spend together. Tending the garden, mowing the lawn. Watching the odd sunset now and again.

Cathy, my love, I'm so sorry I can't make our dream come true.

But know this my dear wife - I loved you with all my heart.

He told me he was crying earlier that afternoon, and now I know why. He was writing the above.

My response:

You do not need to apologize for not making my dreams come true. Dreams alter at every stage of life and often are forgotten in the day to day scheme of things. But is nice to remember them and dust them off from time to time. And I'm pleased to say that although my dreams have changed, you are and always will be a part of them.

Sweety, you have made so many of my wishes come true and for that I will be forever grateful. I look at things vastly different now thanks to you. We have spent time in England and with your family. We have cut grass. We have seen sunsets, spectacular ones, eh? Those are memories that I will have forever.

And even though you won't be with me in person, your spirit and love will remain in my heart. I'll always have you there.

Writing e-mails back and forth was fun during the early stages in our relationship. It never dawned on me that we'd use this medium now. But it's helpful. Some of the things we shared are really too painful to speak, but much easier to write. Honestly, I couldn't speak the words mentioned above without the tears flowing.

Michael's probably the same way. He's asked me to help him dictate letters to each of his children. God give us the strength to give each of those four letters the love and respect they deserve.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Sewing

Stash busting report - nope
Design wall - none to show
Fabric acquisition - 0
No mystery quilt, monochromatic quilt, no flimsies, UFOs, or PIGS worked on

S*I*G*H! The kittens spend more time in my sewing room than I have lately.

After feeling awful for a couple of days, I got checked out at an urgent care on Saturday afternoon. Yep, I had the creeping crud that's going around. Two shots in the hips (OUCH!) Two prescriptions too. I slept from 7:30 pm Saturday until 11 am Sunday! Missed church on Sunday, work on Monday and finally began feeling half-way human by that evening.

It also meant I had to keep my contact with Michael to a minimum. That was probably the toughest bit.

Monday morning Michael had another of those attacks when he feels like he's drowning and can't get any oxygen. Managed to calm him down and on more medication before the hospice nurse came by for an emergency visit. We've made some changes - he's now in a hospital bed, has a potty chair by the bed. His doctor wanted a chest x-ray, so a company was contacted which performs home x-rays. They paid us a visit last night. Michael's not doing well, folks. He confided to me that he asked God to take him home. Please keep him in your prayers.

My brother and nephew came over yesterday to tear down the king-sized bed in our bedroom to make more room for the new bed and equipment. They also cranked up the snowblower and helped Andrea clear the walk and driveway of snow....which was snow-covered again this morning. Ugh! But, I'm soooooooo grateful for Jimmy and his family's help and love. Jimmy phones me nearly every night to ask how things are going.

Keep warm and safe!

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Buckeye Bouquets

Hooray for THE Ohio State University winning the Sugar Bowl last night. I'm glad I didn't stay up for the entire game since the ending would have stressed me out to the max and little sleep if any would have been possible.

In honor of my Alma mater, I began working on a quilt last weekend - pattern is named Buckeye Bouquet. I've completed all the required 300 squares and hopefully will start piecing them together this evening. There are several other projects on the go as well - one is an Eeyore quilt for Andrea, who needs to instruct me on block placement before I go any further.

The sewing has proven to be an excellent stress relief the last few days when I've managed to sneak in an hour or two in the sewing room. That's not always possible. I can't hear Michael from the sewing room so I may move my sewing machine and desk into the family room for the time being.

The last several days haven't been too bad for Michael. He actually found the energy to sit at the dinner table on Sunday and Monday nights. However, he did fall asleep sitting at the table after the meals. His appetite just isn't there any more and there are times he barely touches what we've prepared. In addition to the electric-based oxygen supply, he now needs a portable tank whenever he walks to the bathroom or kitchen. Even with two lines, he still struggles and has to take it slow. No wonder he rarely ventures out of the bedroom. He had his evening meal in bed last night - the home health care aide visited yesterday and showering, although it feels excellent to be clean, wears him out. His attitude has dramatically improved since Thanksgiving -very few angry outbursts. I attribute that to his acceptance of God and him finally realizing what a stress his situation has placed on the entire family.

Sophie, the little kitten we adopted last fall, spends a lot of time in bed with Michael during the day. There have been plenty of times I see Sophie's little black head pop up on the pillow next to Michael. She always makes him smile too! I'm sure if he were healthy and able, he'd spoil that kitten rotten.

Tattoo Boy's birthday is this Saturday - he's supposed to let me know what he wants me to cook and we're having a meal at home so Michael can participate. One thing he's certain of - He wants a chocolate chip cheesecake.

So, not much new at Chez Howe. We're just trying to make the best of each day as it comes.

Love ya,