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,