Sunday, March 22, 2015

In-Laws: So Much More Than In Law

Another gray and rainy day.

Last week we got together and with Grandpa and went over to the Crawdad Shack and got him and Oyster Po'Boy.  On Wednesday he was admitted into the hospital.  After a minor surgery, he was out on Friday.  Today, we went over to see him again.  He was doing well.

Here are some old picture of him when he used to come out to the soccer fields to watch the boys play when they were little.




Granny passed away in early January.

She meant so much to all of us.  She was the one I could always call at any time day or night when the boys were small.  When my oldest was in the hospital so much--because of leukemia we'd have to report to the emergency room for the slightest touch of fever and then sometimes we'd have to stay overnight, or sometimes they might have to do unexpected tests that lasted all afternoon--I would have to call Granny.  She would come right over to the hospital and pick up my youngest, who was a toddler then and keep him until life normalized again. 

She'd take my oldest boy to the zoo and spend hours in just the reptile house.  She'd let him pour beans all over the floor in her living room and drive his little dump trucks and excavators through them and dig and load.

The boys enjoyed going over to their grandparents' house and spending the night and watching TV, sewing with the sewing machine, and making things to eat.  They also like to shoot grandpa's b-b gun in the backyard.

Here are some funny pictures of that:



Granny was 81 years old when she passed.  Grandpa is 84.  

Granny used to come to visit us in Italy every May and I would always look forward to it, wondering if April's rains would ever subside.  She was there when my oldest was born.  She arrived the day before he did!

They both came to Turkey.  Grandpa liked it there especially.  He and I are both spoiled since the fresh squid we ate right there right off a fisherman's boat as it pulled into the harbor.  No squid will ever be as good as that again!  I'll never forget the night Granny drank too much raki and beat a Turkish man in backgammon! 

The first time I met Granny she gave me the biggest hug of my life right outside of the hospital where she would lose her son twenty years later, where Grandpa hugged me in the wee hours of that fatal Sunday morning, saying, "It wasn't a matter of if, it was just when."

It's funny how life circles along, pulls us along with all of those we are connected to.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gray and Rainy

Well, after what seems 100 years, I have returned to my blog!!

Yesterday was another overcast, wet day.  I have to say I love those kinds of days.  I love the sound of rain on the roof and the windows.  I love fog.  I think sometimes of moving to Seattle.  People here say,  "Seattle?  That's a depressing city.  Too rainy."  But, I think I might like it that way.  Maybe.

Anyway, despite the wet, I got out and ran another 5k.  I was very happy to do so.  I ran that one back in the fall, and then hurt my foot and then it got cold and I got into hibernate under blankets mode.  I really needed to sign up for this run and go out and do it to get moving again.  So, I did it.  And I am not really sore at all--rather miraculously. But, it isn't like I haven't been walking and I have been a jogging, biking, hiking person for many, many years. So.




I am also crocheting a sweater (my first ever!) in mostly gray.  I love a mostly gray sweater. The button band will be either a blue or purple color and there's trim to add too.  Hopefully, it will look something like this in the end.


I gave up on knitting the mitts.  I wasted so many hours trying to get one made.  I had it to the thumb and lost my way and had to rip it all out.  I cast on so many times it was depressing.  I couldn't get the thing to join correctly.  I finally quit.  Maybe I was just at the point of breaking through to the light at the end of the tunnel, but I just couldn't go on.  I'll just have to get back to that some other day.


Meanwhile, spring is in the air and today we cleaned up the raised beds and planted sugar snap peas, cow peas, and some bush beans.

I've still a million things to do, but I really want to come back to my neglected blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

First Makes of the Year

Oh my!  I haven't been here in forever it seems.  January has been a time of reflection and readjustment.    Here is my first make of 2015!  Hooray!  A knitted hat!
Last year I set myself the task of learning to knit, and here I am at a hat--so exciting to follow a pattern and knit in the round.  The pattern is the free beginner one from tincanknits.

I have also started work on the mitts, which has been a fun challenge.  I wrestled with the double pointed needles, but found them too fiddley, so I'm now trying the magic ring which is going much better.

Plus, I ordered yarn--enough for a sweater!  I have never made a sweater before.  I figure if I crochet a sweater or two, work these short row, circle, and tube shapes in knitting, then I will be pretty good and can eventually knit a sweater.  I'll have to do a check back next year and see how it's going.

Meanwhile, it's warmed up here and I'm not sure we'll get any Snow Days.  I didn't hear if the groundhog saw his shadow or not.  I'm satisfied to move into spring, though I do love winter trees.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Nights

What a fabulous holiday we had!!
Christmas in Italy. What a dream!
Way back in August, a friend of mine offered us the use of his empty apartment in Florence.  And who in their right mind could say no to that?
So, we held this voyage in our minds and thoughts for months (which is indeed half the fun!) and finally the time came to actually go!









This last one was taken in Parma where we were treated to glorious snow!  Notice the odd guy in only a hoodie walking along the right hand side of the street? Of course that is a crazy American boy who did not listen to his mom when she told him it would be cold.  Tch, tch.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Driven and Determined Soul

Now for something completely different!

This is my son-(gulp)!






I can hardly stand to look at these, though they really are amazing.

When he was five years old he was diagnosed with leukemia.  I had taken him for his routine back-to-school check up and you know that little pin prick blood test they do?  Well, his came back with a low white blood cell count.  The doctor said not to worry, but to feed him lots of red meat and peanut butter, etc. because he may be anemic.  She said if he showed any concerning signs like unusual tiredness to bring him back, but bring him back in six weeks regardless.
Well, right on the nose at six weeks he was being really draggy--very unusual for my little active man who was always bursting with plans and up at the crack dawn to get started on them (I called him my rooster).
So, I took him back to the doctor and she sent us on the hospital for full blood work.
I knew I was in trouble when the doctor at the hospital came back with the results and told me to sit down.  I didn't know much about leukemia then, only that it wasn't good.  She told me it probably wasn't as bad as I thought, that it was survivable, especially by five year old boys.
I had to make some phone calls, and we were admitted to the hospital and they started aggressive chemotherapy that very same evening.
It was the beginning of a long journey.
He was in treatment for two and a half years, and under observation for another two and a half.
I learned how to give him shots at home myself.  His hair fell out twice.  We had countless trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night.  He took so much medicine that his little toddler brother asked me when was he going to get some of that too?
I wanted my son to live and enjoy life.
And look--he does!  It is a crazy was to do it, if you ask me, but he has told me he is the happiest he has ever been.
A skater is a determined and driven soul.  Skating is falling and getting hurt again and again and again. But my boy's motto from a long time ago is "pain is temporary."
I have never tried to stop him from doing this.  I'm one of those mom's who just holds her breath and holds on.  I can't stand in the way of this passion.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Busy as a Bee

Well, I finally got my Olive Twist Shawl blocked and when I wore it to school I got many compliments (which I agreed with--It is really pretty!)
I like wearing it more so that the pointy part is forward.  It looks great that way paired with a dressy denim jacket.  Thanks Ms. Micawber  for this excellent pattern!



I also finished knitting and blocking this Shawl Collared Cowl, my first "real" knitting project in that it included increases, decreases, button holes, and short rows.  What a lot to learn!  And it turned out pretty good.  Crochet experience certainly helped.


And then finally, I made this hat.  I loved the color work.  Thanks to Little Woolie for her tutorials on tapestry crochet, or I would've had a much harder time with this.  I liked making this so much, I am going to make another one with different colors.


I guess I've been pretty busy with the yarn this fall!  I don't know what has gotten in to me.  True, I have not baked much or even cooked dinner all that much, or done at home grading.  I haven't read too much either.  I have been rather addicted.  Ah well, it's a cycle I guess.

Now though, to prepare for the last week of school before holidays.  Always like keeping ponies in a stable!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gray Days


Mostly it has been gray and wet.  The kind of weather that makes me want to stay in bed and listen to the rain, or read a book snuggled up in the covers.
I love gray weather, fog, and naked trees.



This is one of my favorite plants.  Anyone know what it is?


Here's someone with a sense of humor!


I remember I was so bad at Atari games.  My brother would entice me to play by letting me have the  first turn, but I was so terrible, I would get out right away.  Then his turn would come up and he was so good his turn went on and on.   I'd get bored and leave the room saying, "Call me when it's my turn."

By the time he called I would be involved in something else (probably reading a book), and I'd just yell back, "Nah--just take my turn."  

So he would end up playing alone. 

I just didn't have the interest or drive or whatever it is for video games.  I still don't.  I see people playing games on their phones now, and I just cannot do that.  Nope.