Quilt, Cook, Stitch, Breathe!

I just have to VENT…Mike and I found out this weekend from his niece in Alabama, during a phone call, that Mike’s mother’s grave has been unmarked ever since her funeral in 2008. Mike’s middle brother apparently paid for the funeral from the proceeds of his mother’s insurance policy (and complained about it, because he wanted to keep as much of the money as he could) but he didn’t buy a headstone for the grave. Mike was upset beyond words. He didn’t expect that his brother would care so little that he would let his mother’s grave be unmarked. We are both very upset. The sad thing is, NO ONE in Mike’s family in Alabama bothered to let him know his mom’s grave needs a headstone. All this time **6 years**, and Mike wasn’t told. This summer, I had enough money in my savings account–from my dad’s estate to pay for a headstone, if we’d known. I would have GLADLY given Mike the money to order a nice headstone, one that would match his dad’s headstone.

We are upset too, that Mike’s oldest brother knew and didn’t say anything either. Mike’s older brother went to Alabama this summer. According to Mike’s niece, she was the one who told her Uncle that his mom’s grave had no headstone. He came home from his trip, and didn’t say anything to Mike either! The man lives less than 15 minutes from us, yet he couldn’t come over and tell Mike, or call him?!

Mike is continuously left out of the loop when it comes to family news. They act as though he doesn’t exist, they’ve done this for years. His niece and sister don’t treat him like that, but his brothers do. We just don’t understand it. I am further upset because Older Brother-In-Law KNEW I had money from my dad’s estate. He knew because I told him when he came over to see our new car. I had used some of my inheritance for a portion of the cost of the car as well as insurance.

Now Mike is stressed out. It gnaws at that him his mom’s grave is unmarked. We are going to save the money for her gravestone. It will be difficult to do, money is tight, but we will. I only wish I could get my Beachbody biz going, that would help a lot. There will be hell to pay if Mike’s family gives him grief over the headstone he does choose, whenever that may be.

My last post was 6 months ago, in April…Right now, I’m going through something I’ve not acknowledged before. I have been dealing with depression. I sat and thought about this the other day and realized that I have been depressed off and on for a long time, probably years, and have just not dealt with it. So now I am. I am getting off of Facebook for a while and staying off social media in general and just trying to deal with problems and get my head together. Mostly, the depression is about our bills and the lack of money to fix up our house so we can move. We’ve wanted to fix our money pit of a house for years and as far as that goes, we can only do two small fix-up jobs a year, not like we want–a gut job to our living room and kitchen. So, I’m dealing with the realization that our hoped-for dreams for our later years (moving to a better neighborhood) are not going to happen. With this realization, we have to figure out what we’re going to do. I guess this is what poet Langston Hughes meant by ‘dreams deferred’.

Will I be taking Paxil or Buspar? No. I once took one, then the other years ago when I was depressed. Neither one helped. In fact, I felt worse. I was suicidal and took myself off of the offending med the minute I realized how I felt…then I reported it to my doc when I saw him for my scheduled blood pressure check. I think it was Paxil, but not sure. I don’t know enough about meds today to know if there is anything new I could take. Right now, I want to deal with this depression myself and see how I do.

In cheerier news, Brian finally got a house. I’m not going through the long story, which spanned 3 months…Brian had to deal with a jerk seller who kept screwing with him–signing the purchase contract and then cancelling it in anger when the appraisal was too low, (he had been warned). Then, he changed his mind after a bad storm, which tore up some trees on the property and, I guess made the seller realize he didn’t want to deal with the house anymore…so he asked his agent to get in touch with Brian and started up the process again. (Brian’s bid was the only one the seller got in 5 months the house was on the market). Then, there was haggling over getting the price down. It was a mess. But, Brian got the house he wanted…a ranch, with 2 bedrooms, Central A/C, a 2-car garage, new siding, new doors, new driveway, all appliances, new floors, a beautiful bathroom. The house is totally NEW inside and out. It had been a flip purchase and the seller gutted it to the studs and rebuilt it. The seller erred in the fact that he thought he could buy for $8,000 and renovate then sell for $60,000. Not in the area we live in, not realistic…some houses a block away have sold for only $48-50K. Brian’s house is a tiny place, but gorgeous. Everyone who’s seen it has been shocked that he got such a nice house for 50K. Brians house

Life with the dog has settled down. Cody’s not as frantic as he was in his puppy days. Cody still has some days where he seems to bounce off the walls, and he still doesn’t mind as well as we’d like, but things are better. We dealt with huge holes dug in the yard, those don’t happen now. We dealt with Cody eating almost every non-food item he saw (yard furniture, plastic trash cans, part of our barbecue grill, aluminum downspouts…that’s a short list. I don’t know how he didn’t hurt his intestines and his teeth and the inside of his mouth. I swear, for a while, I though Cody was a goat, not a dog. He loves my cats, especially Buddy (the yellow cat) and Buddy tolerates him to a point. Apollo has hissed and swiped at Cody ever since Cody was 8 weeks old and Apollo still looks at Cody as the devil. Hissing and swiping from Apollo still goes on; I think it always will.

I haven’t been quilting in a while. I got burned out on it. This summer wasn’t as hot as last summer and I thought I’d be able to do some quilting or just some needlework in my sewing room, but it turned out the room was too hot. Brian had warned me that his old room was a hotbox in the summer. Even with a fan it was still too hot, so I avoided the room. We’d been so busy helping Brian move and clean his old apartment that I didn’t think to put aside any time for myself. Now that Brian’s settled in his place, I have time.

This July, I signed up to be a Coach with Beachbody. I did this because I had worked out to 21 Day Fix and loved it. I lost 14 pounds and 10 inches, and my back pain is gone. I have gained some of the weight back, but I now really like working out. I can’t do any running, so Beachbody’s DVD programs fit me pretty well. There are so many workouts available, I found a couple I really like. I’m not sure if I can build a business with selling and doing this Coaching thing, but I’m trying. I admit it’s been tough getting customers. I’m not a sales-y pushy person. My main reason for wanting to make a business is to make enough for Mike to retire and also to get us moved to a better home.

I’m not required by Beachbody to be perfectly fit and not required to do workouts with the public. Coaching is done online, mostly on Facebook, (yes I am taking a break from FB, as I mentioned above) merely helping people to figure out what they want to do to lose weight, and then encouraging them through the process with their food and exercise. I’m finding though, that an awful lot of people don’t care about their health or how much they weigh, even if they know they’re overweight or their health is bad. At first, it was frustrating to me, dealing with people who KNOW, but don’t care. Now, I’ve gotten to where I can ignore it if a person isn’t interested in feeling better. Right before I signed up to work with Beachbody, Mike was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He has lost weight and has done a good job taking his daily Metformin, but he still has a long way to go to get to his prefered weight. Our doctor is very happy with what Mike has done. This summer we really went at fixing up our eating, getting rid of junk food and we did very well. We haven’t had soda pop in our house in years, and now no longer buy chips, pretzels, pie, cake, and so on. A little ice cream is our only splurge. (I have to have ice cream in the house, makes me feel less deprived). We buy fruits and veggies and cut down on our portions We feel so much better. We are now thinking IF we can get some breathing room in our bills, that sometime next year we may be able to get a Total Gym. We were thinking we wanted a workout bench to go with our weights, but Mike said, “Why not just get a Total Gym and use that instead of the weights?” It’s up in the air, we’ll have to see if we can afford it; it may not happen. The main thing with me right now, is getting through this fog that is depression.

 So….long time, no see!  There have been so many things going on lately, I don’t know what to talk about first. I guess, leading from November’s post, I should mention that we finished the second bedroom, it is now my quilting/sewing room. It is painted in pretty light blue, I wanted a relaxing shade. We got the carpet steamed cleaned by Stanley Steemer, though the people who represented them and did the steam job didn’t do the best job, the carpet took two days to dry! There’s an awful lot of furniture crammed into this 12’x12′ room, more than I expected. Mike decided for me that I would have our bedroom’s 37″ flatscreen TV in my sewing room. I didn’t want it, but he said, “Okay, we’ll pitch it”.  What? Pitch a perfectly good LCD HD TV, only four years old?? (My sons have larger and better ones, so they didn’t want it) So, the TV is in my space. I don’t turn the TV on much, but I suppose with warmer weather coming and storms happening, I will have it tuned to the Weather Channel. I am a weather geek. I wanted to put my big oak desk that’s downstairs in our dining room up here in this space, but no one was willing to move it up here. To be fair, I decided we needed the desk to stay where it is, even if just to junk up the top with all sorts of stuff and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The desk drawers hold office supplies–all sorts–from files to boxes of tape to pens, so I didn’t want to give that up. We have one closet in this house, the upstairs hallway and so we store stuff wherever we can, in crates, desks, etc.  I had to get a new desk for my Mac computer and I found one that fit perfectly between the room’s window and a table I have set up for cutting fabric. It’s large enough to hold my printer too, so in all, I’m happy. I have storage in here for fabric and a large IKEA shelf on one wall that Brian left when he moved. It’s so nice that the room is finished, I didn’t think it ever would be. It’s my space to sit and unwind and think while I fiddle with my fabric or read quilting blogs or books or whatever I want to do. Have I been productive? Not yet!  I’d love to be, but I come up here mostly in the evening after Mike is home from work and I’m frazzled from dealing with the DOG and the house and everything. I have a quilt in progress, one that has hundreds of little pieces that have to be sewn together to make blocks, so that is progressing. Photos will be up even though the space is messy.

Mike is back to mandatory OT. I don’t mind the money, but I worry about him, he is 58 and the OT is tough on him. Thursday night he didn’t come home from work until 10:45 p.m., almost a 13 hour day. I do my part by not hasseling him about stuff and only asking for help around here when I really need it. I am doing almost as much work around here alone as I did when Steve and Brian were living with us. I keep lots of lists, because some days my brain is somewhere else, and I keep Mike abreast of oil change for the car, appointments on his days off, and stuff that needs fixing around here. So, my sewing room is a refuge to me.

We had a little scare back in January/February. Mike had severe pain in his right shoulder, which started suddenly last summer. For a long time, he thought the pain would go away, but it didn’t. Long story short, he saw an Ortho doc. The doctor said Mike had some muscle tearing (rotator cuff) and some wearing down of bone, but not badly enough to need surgery. Doc said all that is due to working and age. The Ortho doc was very nice, not pushy at all about surgery, telling us that shoulder surgery should be avoided until it’s a last resort, as the recovery is long. Mike and I both breathed big sighs of relief. Mike was so nervous that he was going to be laid up after surgery and not be able to pay bills. But, crisis averted–a couple of cortisone shots and then, Physical Therapy was prescribed by the Ortho doc–and Mike went faithfully and did everything the therapist said to do. Mike’s shoulder is 100% pain free now. While going through therapy, the therapist mentioned to  us that we should buy a kneepad (like a soccer kneepad with soft foam, not hard) and make a pad for Mike’s shoulder, to use at work. The top of Mike’s right shoulder had a very obvious dip in it, like a ‘v’ and Mike had very little strength in his right arm and hand, and the therapist was concerned. Mike and I went home and drew up on paper what Mike needed in a shoulder pad for carrying his ladder on his shoulder, and I sewed one for him, with–believe it or not–two kneepads–one on top of the other–with seat belt strapping sewn on with velcro, so he can remove the pad when he wants. Mike wears the shoulder pad under his coat and it has worked great, the ‘dip’ in his shoulder is gone and Mike carries his ladder on his shoulder all day with no problem. Strength has returned to his arm and hand. We took the shoulder pad to the Ortho doc for Mike’s checkup, to show it to him, and the doc freaked–he’d never seen anyone do anything like this. He suggested we patent it! He was so pleased when Mike told him he’s fine, he put Mike through some exercises and said “Rarely do patients with such severe pain and with loss of strength in their arm recovery so quickly without surgery”. He had a big smile on his face.

My sons are doing fine. Steve is happy living where he is and happy working at the high-end tattoo shop (about an hour north of us) and to see him, we have to make appointments. I should post a photo of him and maybe some of his tattoo work. Brian is fine, but is going through more stuff in his life. Sometimes I worry about him. He finally got rid of his mooching roommate, they aren’t on good terms anymore (gee, wonder why) and Brian knows he’ll never see the $5,000 that the guy owns him. But, lesson learned. He is alone in his apartment and is lonely, but is not, for some reason, too social. I think he has Social Anxiety Disorder. He doesn’t have a girlfriend and says he doesn’t want one. But, living alone, he has more money now and is eating a good healthy diet, he got tired of feeling bad all the time and has cut out fast food and stuff like ice cream, he’s lost weight and looks good.

Brian’s up for a promotion at work and is waiting to hear if he gets a second interview (of three or four–what a pain). He was JUST about to apply for a mortgage (I mean, the same day he asked me to go to the mortage company with him–he got the call for the first interview) and now that he is up for a promotion (a computer repair position with Comcast–repairing servers and the like, not residential computers) his house plans are up in the air. The job is an hour west of us, and so now Brian doesn’t know whether to get a house where the job is, or where we are and drive two hours a day…he doesn’t want to be late for work, BUT, home prices in that other area–WOW, big time prices, WAY too high for Brian, well for most folks, $150,000 and up! 

To make matters a little interesting, our next door neighbor died last month, she was in her 80’s. We liked her and had a good relationship with her and her late husband. Her house is JUST what Brian is looking for and now that it’s vacant, Brian is wating to see (via what we hear from our neighbor’s family–they like us and talk to us every week or so when they are next door cleaning the house) if the house is going up for sale. Brian told us if it does, it would be very hard for him to not bid on it, if list price were in the range he can afford. I told him I didn’t think he’d want to live next door to us, but he said “Why not?” (I honestly didn’t think Brian was so attached to me! Mike said he isn’t surprised at all.) The house is very simple, small, one story, with a small yard, central air and a garage, that’s it. I think a good sale price would be 37K. The city we live in is quite run-down, it’s a steel mill town; U.S. Steel laid off over 16,000 workers in 2008, many people moved away and our city went bankrupt. There are empty houses all over and lazy (absent) landlords who don’t keep up their rentals, so I don’t think our neighbor’s family would get 40K for the place. But, right now, they don’t know what they’re going to do, so we will see. I told Brian the Catch-22 is that he may want to live next to us, but he’d likely not be able to move if he wanted to as not many homes sell in this town without a big reduction in list price. So, Brian’s waiting to see what shakes out job-wise and otherwise.

I’ve written a novel and it’s time for bed, almost midnight. I’ll have to post about the DOG and cats later!

As usual, my life moves slowly, not much excitement. Carrying over from the last post, we decided for sure the roof is not going to be repaired. I talked to my youngest son, since some of my inheritance money is promised to him for a down-payment on a (someday) house, I wanted to see how he felt about that promised money possibly being used for a roof repair. While he didn’t much care what I do with my money, he said, as Mike and I did, “No sense spending thousands on a roof that isn’t leaking in order to save $700 on our homeowner’s insurance.” So that’s settled.

Since last posting, I have almost no pain in my left hip, as I have had for three years, and NOW, I have intense muscle spasms in my left hamstring and all the way down my left calf. It’s really bad. The spasms and pain is almost 24/7. I was up at 2:30 a.m. this morning and didn’t get back to sleep. I just laid in bed, trying to relax. I don’t know what to do about the spasms. I’ve tried ice, heat, massage, ointments, mild exercise, stretching. Nothing works! Mike has even massaged my leg and that doesn’t work either. My muscles won’t relax. I’m taking GNC Woman’s Ultra Mega Vitamins and 400 I.U. Vitamin C in hope that supplementation will help. The pain’s getting to be too much.

On the quilting front, all my quilt fabric is stored away, so I can’t get to it. My sewing machine is put away too and as a result, I can’t do any quilting or sewing. I am bored stiff most of the time. We were making progress on the bedroom/sewing room and then everything ground to a halt when my muscles spasms started. I can only stand up for about 20 minutes at a stretch and then I have to sit. We have only a ittle prep left to do, most of the taping–for painting–is done. The rest I can’t do–Mike will finish it on a stepladder. Then painting starts. It’s getting to painting that is driving me nuts. But, the other day, we finally ditched our 1980s oak entertainment center in our living room for a small glass TV stand with a floating mount, so now the TV ‘floats’ and our living room looks so much bigger. Mike now has to buy storage for his 400+ DVDs (and counting). We settled on ‘Billy’ shelves, with doors, from IKEA. It’s getting Mike TO IKEA to buy them that is tough to do. He is a super- procrastinator. He’ll make excuses on top of excuses. Most of the stuff done around here is done by me, because I get tired of waiting for Mike to do it. Only the most physically demanding stuff I leave for him to take care of.

The pets are doing fine. Apollo still doesn’t like the dog. Cody loves everyone, even the cats. Buddy is warming to Cody, but still hides if Cody is too rambunctious. We had a dog trainer come here last month and he spent about five hours with us. He helped us with Cody and Cody now is calmer, minds somewhat better. He is still really bull-headed, and I think he always will be. I worry that he is getting into bad habits that we won’t be able to break.

I was, however, somewhat taken aback by the trainer and his demeanor in our home. He is an older man, and given his many years of experience with dogs, he is a controller. He sat down and proceded to tell us what to do with our dog crate. He said “Move it out of the room”. Well, there’s no place else for it go but where it is. It is right behind my computer chair. Who is he to say what is best for us in our home? Then, he said the floor (Pergo) “Will be all scratched up if you don’t move the crate”. Well, the floor’s not scratched, I move the crate and vacuum under it every other day. After that, he was upset with us that Cody was neutered. He couldn’t understand why we would do that. (Probably looking for future business). All of our pets have been neutered. Then he really got me upset when he bossed us about how many treats we give Cody. We give him four or five a day. The guy got mad and said “No, no no! Too many! No more than two a day and give Cody mothing bigger than a nickel, break the treats apart!”. What the hell? Unfortunately Mike had already paid the guy, otherwise he wouldn’t have been paid. If we had known this trainer would be a bossy pain in the ass, we would’t have called him. That was not the last of his bossiness, he said a few other things. I held my tongue, which I don’t usually do. I nodded my head and listened to him; waited until I could tell he was getting bored, then I mentioned we had to leave and run a few errands, just anything to get rid of the guy. He quickly packed up his bag of training aids and left. Good riddance!

Brian is still wanting to move from his apartment, but is stuck for the time being. His credit isn’t up to snuff for a house yet and now, with home prices going up, it is discouraging for him. He is trying to get rid of his mooching roommate; the guy owns him close to $5,000 for rent, etc. Never paid a dime to Brian the entire 2+ years. Brian knows he’ll never see the money. I guess roommate is ‘supposed’ to move out next month, we’ll see if that actually happens. He’s not on the lease, so Brian has leverage.

Steve is moving in a few weeks. He moved last August into his girlfriend’s (Nicole) grandmother’s house. It was vacant because grandmother has Alzheimer’s and had to be moved to a nursing home. Nicole’s parents were worried about the house being stripped. The rent was really low compared to rent in the area, so they agreed to move into the house. Well, since Steve started working (in August) at a tattoo shop an hour north of the house, his commute quickly got to be a bit much–an hour each way, five days a week, and driving home late at night. So, they found a rental house about 10 minutes from his job. Nicole is a graduate of Aveda (Hair) Institute and is looking for work in the same area. Steve is very happy at his new job, is making more money and seems much more relaxed. His clientele is more of an upper-income level and he doesn’t deal with bikers looking for tatts now. He said he did a tatt for a film producer (new Transformer’s movie) that was in the Detroit area for the movie and the guy gave Steve a $200.00 tip. So, Steve is as happy as a pig in a mud puddle.

Time for me to stop and get dinner. Hopefully, I will post again later this month.

Mike went to work Friday, hoping that nothing bad would happen to either of us, or, that we wouldn’t get bad news, since it was the 13th. Everything was fine until around 4 p.m., when I opened an email from our Allstate insurance agent. It said: ‘Unfortunately, I can’t re-write your homeowner’s policy. The inspection report said that your roof has ‘clawed, curled, uneven/wavy shingles’. Therefore, I am unable to do anything unless repairs are made to the roof. Please accept my apology, and if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.’ I read the email, did a ‘double take’ and had to read it a second time due to the shock to my system. Then, I said HUH??

When I told Mike about the email he was shocked. He said, HUH? WHAT?! Then, we told a neighbor, who was a roofer for many years and he said WHAT?! He looked at our roof and said, “NOTHING’S wrong with your roof!”

Here’s why our reaction: (Open for larger photo)

The photo clearly shows that the main roof and the smaller porch roof, to the far left, are both in good shape. The two roofs were done in January, 2000. The shingles have a certain coloring, from light to dark, that I think makes them look like some shingles are wavy. I chose the shingles when the roofing company came out to give us a bid years ago, (Mike was working) and I think they look good.

I asked Mike if it’s possible the inspector was at the wrong house. But, I thought about it and I don’t know how he could have been, as our last name is on our mailbox in big gold letters and our address is done in large numbers. I mean, DUH?

We may have to go to the Allstate office and look at the photos of our roof the inspector left there. We really, really like our Allstate insurance agent, and his staff. They have been very diligent in looking for ways to save us money on our house and car insurance. We have been with them since 2004. We are just baffled by this. Hopefully, we can talk this out and see if we can fix this situation. We don’t have the funds to replace our roof and frankly don’t see the need!

IMG_0227Since this blog is supposed to have some food mentioned, I thought I’d show this photo of some meatballs I made for tonight’s spaghetti dinner. Meatball recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray from the Food Network. My spaghetti sauce is not homemade, just from a jar. About half of these meatballs will be put in the freezer for another meal, and I have 10 more cooking in the oven.

This summer has flown by so fast! I’m alone here at home most of the time, due to Mike’s work schedule. Last year, Comcast was hassling supervisors about allowing OT for their crews, now things have changed and OT is the norm now. Mike is lucky if he has two days off in any week. Ninety-eight percent of the time, he works 6 days a week, at least 10 hours a day. He’s so tired that even if we do go out and do our shopping and usual errands, he lasts only half a day and he falls asleep. On one hand, I can’t blame him, he’s exhausted. But, it is tiring to always be home alone and have to do stuff that he would usually take care of around here, and it’s kind of a bummer to want his company and I can’t talk to him or enjoy a television program with him because he’s sleeping.

I’m hoping some time this month I will be back to quilting. I’m sort of unsure, because I don’t have a lot of room to do quilting, and our puppy, Cody is always wanting to get into stuff. I’m not sure how I feel about putting my stuff out for him to see. My cats are bad enough, jumping up on my table and lying on my fabric, and getting into my sewing notions. I have given up on the second bedroom being a sewing room, at least this year. (Bummer). Mike works so much and there are things around here I can’t do by myself, I need his help. He has been bugging me to sew and do cross stitch, but I just don’t feel that I have the time, I’m busy with keeping the house together. And, I shop alone now, plus take care of the dog. He thinks it’s easy and I should be able to do everything quickly, but I am a lot slower than I used to be. I wish I wasn’t–I’d love to get my flexibility back; nothing I do for that seems to work all that well.

Cody is almost 5 months and we’ve decided we aren’t going to breed him. I’m happy about this, mostly because breeding him would require traveling (to home of female dog) and traveling is not a strong suit of mine. Then, there’s the cost of all the tests required before a reputable breeder would even consider Cody for a stud dog. Hip x-rays, and blood tests and a couple of other tests. Cody’s temperament isn’t the best. He is REALLY WOUND UP…Cody is what Mike calls ‘really rambunctious’. Even more rambunctious than any other dog Mike has ever had. We’ve had problems with him, for sure. Cody’s favorite thing to do out in our yard is to pull the downspouts off the house. That takes some doing, some strength in his jaw to do that, but he has. He has pulled two of them off; they were bolted on. I have made countless trips outside to put them back on. He also has done some other stuff that Mike says none of his past dogs have done. We considered a pen, but decided the cost of having cement laid and the pen itself was prohibitive. We know Cody would just bark all the time anyway. We know that Labs mature slowly, so we have probably another year or two of puppy-like behavior. Neutering will calm him down a little. We know the next step is obedience training. That is a problem too, because I can’t take Cody to training alone, I just can’t handle him right now. He’s 50 lbs and he pulls me over when he’s on his leash. All we can do is work out these problems one at a time.

Neither Mike or I have heard from our families in several months. I guess my brother thinks I fell off the earth or something. I’ve never had a good relationship with my dad or brother. I don’t know why. My brother keeps me at arm’s length, though we’ve never had a fight. He is just standoffish. He wasn’t that way when he worked. When he worked, he had tons of friends and was quite social and closer to my folks and me. Since retiring and dealing with cancer, he is a whole different person. I guess I’m naive, I didn’t think cancer would change a person to the point that he or she would not want to associate with family. Though Mike points out, it’s us my brother pushes away, but when it’s my sister-in-law’s family, they go to all events and dinners and Christmas’s, etc. Mike’s family isn’t any better. Those who are down in Alabama seem to have decided I’m not worth having on their Facebook friends list. I was a few months ago, but not now.
When Mike calls his sister, she stays on the phone for about 10 minutes and ‘has to hang up’. But, the thing is, we’ve heard they don’t understand why *Mike* doesn’t want to associate with them. It’s crazy.

I’m feeling much the same as I mentioned in my last post, I can move around better, I still have pain. But it’s mostly in the morning when I get out of bed. Last year, and before that, my hip hurt all the time. My left foot is giving me problems still and I figured out it’s not my shoes, it’s just my foot. I land on it differently due to the surgery I had on it four years ago. I have to actually think about how my foot strikes the ground. If I pay attention, my foot doesn’t hurt so much.

I wonder what this month will bring!


I looked at the calendar and realized while I was online that I haven’t posted on here in ages. A quick update on that baby quilt I made…it still is not done. I am the worst procrastinator when it comes to my crafts. Now that it’s summer, it’s too hot to sit in my un-air conditioned house and work on a quilt. The quilt will not ever go to the person it was meant for. Mike’s nephew, Paul, and the mother of the baby are worse off than before, not speaking to each other and she filed a restraining order against Paul. Mike’s sister said now her son has a lawyer so that when the baby is born (late July or first week of August) he and the lawyer are hoping Paul can get custody right away. Supposedly, the mother is a known drug user and, ahem, ‘lay around’, allegedly for money to fuel her drug habit. Apperently, when Mike’s nephew mentioned the name of the mother of his baby, the lawyer knew right away who she was. It takes a lot of drug use and/or a heck of a police record to become known in the city you live in! Anyway, the lawyer had Paul give a DNA sample, and there will be one taken from the baby’s cord blood. IF Paul is the father of this child, then they will see if the mother’s blood shows presence of drugs. If so, I think the baby will be taken from her right at the hospital. Mike was upset that Paul didn’t have enough sense to get to know this girl first (say, for several months) before sleeping with her. He is upset that an innocent baby is now going to be bought up by Paul, who works full time, and by Mike’s sister (who is 69 years old) and also Mike’s niece, Becky, who has her own family to take care of.) Paul, in his haste to have a serious relationship, now has inconvenienced a number of people in his life. He cannot take care of the child alone.

Enough on that! I have been busy and it’s because we now have a dog. We have a yellow Lab. His name is Cody. Getting Cody happened suddenly. I found a breeder about 2 hours north of us, put our name on her internet wait list and two days later, she called, asking if we wanted one of two males left in a litter. Truth is, I wasn’t sure, even after months of talking about it, but I figured since Mike has had to live with cats since 1997, I could bend and let a dog into our home. Thing is, *I* am the one who takes care of Cody. (Mike’s work schedule is super crazy, he works most of the time now 10-12 hours and one day last week, he worked 14 hours. It’s nuts!) Cody is now 12 weeks. We got him when he was 7 weeks. He has been quite the handful. He tries the puppy biting thing on us ALL the time. We’ve learned to avoid his teeth. The chewing is also bad. Yesterday, Mike caught him trying to get into a trash can. The other day, he chewed apart a section of one of the stairs leading to our back yard. We know in time and with training these habits will disappear; it’s the gap between now and then that’s the killer. But, Cody’s also sweet too. His most favorite thing is to get up on my lap for affection. At his age, he is already too big for my lap.

I have been feeling much better. My back is not 100% better, but I’d say it’s improved 75%. Certainly enough for me to get around during the day without a lot of pain. Some days I have no pain. We got a new bed back in May–we went back to a Sleep Number bed and we are very happy with it. We splurged with some of my inheritance money and got a Split King adjustable. We had to get King because we have a heavy Oak bed frame. We ditched a fairly new Tempurpedic memory foam mattress. I CANNOT sleep on memory foam. I tried one in the Sleep Number store and my back immediately hurt. Now, when I get up in the morning, my back pain is more like arthritis pain, stiff and sore; not disc pain. I no longer have ‘sciatica pain’ (down the leg). I believe very strongly that I have SI Joint displacement. I can feel it pop in and out. I am working out to Jillian Michael’s ‘Body Revolution’, a 90 day program, and it has helped me feel better. I cannot keep up with the pace of the exercising due to my balance, but I do most of the exercises on Disc 1 and there are 14 Discs to go. I don’t know how far I can go in the program. I’m not doing the exercises every day for 90 days. I will go as far as I can, accounting for my balance and back stiffness. I also have the Fluidity Bar. I didn’t think I would ever get this; I saw the infomercials and thought there was no way it worked. To my surprise, Mike pushed me to get it, and I have been using it twice a week–to start–and it’s been great. It’s really toning my muscles. I can get into some jeans that I couldn’t wear last year.

It’s time for me to get new workout shoes. I dread this, because my feet are so weird. My left foot, cut into for no reason a few years ago, now doesn’t feel the same and I walk differenly on it due to some muscle being cut out of it for a ganglion cyst. (My current foot doctor said surgery was not necessary). I underpronate badly on that foot, always have, but as I said, it’s a little different. So, I don’t like buying shoes. I have an awesome pair of Asics, they are minimalist shoes. I didn’t think I’d like having no cushion, but I find I have adapted well. These shoes, the Gel-Lyte33 #2, are very flexible for gym use, but forces my left foot to remain stable and not roll outward. What I wanted most aside from stability, was to feel like I was wearing very little on my feet. I like to walk around with only socks on or, barefoot. Maybe I will get another pair of Gel-Lyte33 #2. It’s just that I can’t find the colors I like. The ones I have now are bright green and I love them. I’ve had many compliments on them. They are a limited edition, though and cost $$$.

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