Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Month of Highs and Lows

What a month December turned out to be, a time of highs and lows.  Where do I start....I guess at the beginning.  I completed Ronny's I Spy quilt and then finshed up another baby quilt, just barely.  My Bernina started having issues that I couldn't resolve and so I had to relearn my Pfaff to finish it up, but it all worked out in the end. Then I moved on and made eight pillowcases for gifts and stocking stuffers.  I had plans to make more gifts, but life happened...maybe next year.
On the morning we were leaving for Christmas with the boys and Nolen's graduation I got the call that Momma was in bad shape and was on her way to the emergency room.  Talk about a HARD decision to make, do you go to your children or to your mother? I guess it was a compromise, we drove to Nashville and met little Ronny and stayed overnight, then drove to Atlanta the next day for a very hurried visit with the boys and attended Nolen's graduation at Georgia Tech were he received his Master's Degree, then headed back home to check on Momma.

It was touch and go for more than a week somehow though lots of family visits, prayers, and tears Momma pulled though.  I don't know how long she will be with us, but I was able to hug and be with her this Christmas, which was a blessing!

This was the strangest holiday ever, no decorations, no kids home, no chaos of wrapping paper and cooking, just waiting for the beginning of a new year.  Looking back though what a great ending...Robert found Alicia and has had many wonderful adventures and is happier than I can remember!  Nolen and Brittany moved to Florida, received his Master's and is on his way of full filling his dream of becoming Dr. No!  Stay tuned for more of the year in review!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Few More Miles...

I have to admit that I'm not posting as much as I had anticipated, but we all know that sometimes life gets in the way! That, of course, is not always a bad thing.  I have been busy and stressed out regarding my Mom's health issues.  It's not easy for me to cope with these situations. I am the one that always feels guilty and inadequate, I can't help it, can't stop it, but I hope I am learning to deal with it.  I do try to forgive myself, I have to in order to survive.  Enough of that, Momma is doing better and seems to be getting stronger, but I have to remind myself she is 88 and can only improve so much.

Now, the fun part was my weekend trip with my friend, Brenda, to Dogwood Canyon in Lampe, Missouri!  It was wonderful and I can't imagine owning such a beautiful place and have the funds and vision to improve on nature. It seems like all of life's problems just slips away the moment to enter! If you are ever in the Branson area, it's worth a visit.  Here's a link to the Dogwood Canyon.  Not only do they have 7 waterfalls, horseback riding, bike rentials, a wonderful wedding chapel, miles of hiking trails and much more, but they have deer, elk, bison and longhorn steer all within reach...literally!  The animals are contained, but you get the sense that they are free roaming and the fun fact is they are all on the Arkansas side of the Canyon.  I hope to be able to go again in the Spring when all the Dogwood trees are blooming!

The next day we went to The Butterfly Palace in Branson and had a great time.  The butterflys are so colorful and photogenic and there are also rain forest creatures to view as well.  I definately thought it was worth the price of admission, especially at the senior discount (LOL)!

On the way home we made a stop at Maplewood Cemetery in Harrison.  There are 700+ sugar maples planted, some had already peaked, some were at peak and some weren't there yet.  It was beautiful but a little surreal at the same time.  There were people, actually taking family portraits with tombstones in the background.  It was a little disturbing to me.  Granted the trees are beautiful, but how much of the leaves are you getting setting your baby in front on the ground.  Oh well, to each his own. Most of my photos are shot looking up, just beause I didn't want to get the stones.  It was a great weekend which I desperately needed!
My plane ticket has been bought for my HUGE adventure!!  April 3 - April 21st Hong Kong and Australia with Robert and Alicia!  I'm so excited!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Miles Behind Me

What a journey I've had the last couple of weeks!  I drove to Atlanta to take a photography class at the DeKalb County Airport and had a wonderful time.  The day didn't go quite as planned, but all's well that end's well.  I managed to get a few photos that I was happy with, but I tend to keep my questions to myself so I don't learn as much as I could.

From Atlanta I travelled to Gainesville, FL to see Nolen and Brittany. Their new house is wonderful and I felt right at home! We visited the Butterfly Rainforest which was wonderful and I would love to visit again.

The next day my cousin, Diane, and her husband, Ron, drove up from Ocala for lunch! It was so great to see them both!  I haven't seen them in years, but since we keep in regular contact, the years melt away!  I wish we had had more time, but was thankful for what we had.  She made me a darling little doll and sent one home for Momma!  So sweet, but she always has been!! After we parted I decided to go to Payne's Prarie and hoped to see the wild horses, but it was a rainy, dreary day.  I did see some deer and enjoyed the afternoon rain and all!

Then I travelled from Gainesville to Daytona Beach to see Ken and to meet his wife, Vickie! It was a fun day with lunch. time at the beach, and good conversation. The visit was short, but it was wonderful!  I felt like I had known Vickie forever and look forward to a lasting friendship!
On the way back from Florida to Atlanta I stopped at Andersonville, GA to tour the POW Museum located on the grounds of Andersonville Civil War Prison!  It was worth the stop, it's very moving. Then on to a little retail therapy at the Scarlet Thread quilt shop!  After an overnight stay with Robert I was homeward bound!!  I got home just in time to get the laundry done before Momma had a health crisis! It was a scary couple of days, but we were blessed that she is recovering! 

Robert came home to retrieve his car in Dallas.  We made a one day trip and amazingly his car was in perfect condition!  So happy that it's finally stateside, now to get his household goods delivered so that he can put that chapter behind him!  Sula and Max went to their new home in Atlanta, so our house is quite once again!  Wow, what a wild couple of weeks!  I spent 45 hours in the car driving and several stressful days with Momma!  You know, I think I need a vacation!

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Fear Factor

My fear factor is "how will I age"!  My dream for aging is to be fun, mentally sharp, and engaged in life! I'm fearful that I will age like my Mother.  Please don't misunderstand me, I LOVE my Mother, but I'm so afraid of how she's aged and that it will be my destiny.  I've been thinking about it alot since I've retired and more pressure is being placed on me to visit more and call more.  I am happy that I have my Mother (she's 88), and that I can talk to her, the thing that bothers me that these needs are delivered and clothed in guilt. I'm made to feel less than a good daughter and that I don't do enough, but I know that it will NEVER be enough. I've joked for years that my epitaph on my tombstone will be "She tried, but it was never enough!" I am NOT looking for sympathy, for I am very lucky in life, but I wan tto put my thoughts, today, in writing, so that I can read them back to myself and not forget! 

So to my boys here is want I want in my old age: 
  1. I do not want to DEPEND on my children for my social life.  I will use social media. activities, and clubs or goups to keep me connected with loved ones and friends and engaged in life. You have your own lives to live, independent of me.
  2. I do not want my children to be care givers for me.  Yes, put me in a facility, if necessary, but be an advocate for my care and well being (make sure they have Wi-Fi and I have a working device)! Don't worry if I don't like it, I probably won't, but deep in my heart I know you have a life to live; that's what I've wanted for you since the day you were born! 
  3. Call me when you want to connect, which I hope is because you love me and miss me or you are excited to share your life with me. Don't call out of a sense of duty or guilt.  Facetime or Skype is awesome and I promise I will call you also, and not just sit and wait on you to initiate contact. 
  4. I don't expect you to read my mind or just "know" what I need.  I know you are not physic, I will let you know what I need! It's MY responsibility, not yours.
  5. Know that some days will be dark, that's just life. Don't hold it against me or let it ruin your day.  I love you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Time Passes Quickly

Wedding Quilt
Wow, it's already the middle of September and today there is a hint of Fall in the air.  It's difficult to believe that I've been retired 5 weeks already. I haven't been very productive, or at least not as much as I had hoped.  The good thing is that I only have to live up to MY expectations and I can increase or decrease those on a whim. So what is going on in my life?  I finished the wedding quilt for my sister-in-law.  I was disappointed that it turned out much smaller than I had hoped, but I do love the quilt.  It's bright, fun and meaningful.  In the corners it has embroidered "love", "faith", "hope" and "joy".
Dr. Steven & Robyn Murray
Robyn and Steven's intimate wedding was beautiful. It was held at the Pillow Thompson House in Helena, one of the Victorian houses preserved in all it's glory. I wish Robyn and Steven a lifetime of happiness and joy.

Of course all things in life are not joyful.  Butch lost his oldest and dearest friend, George Collins, on Monday.  In August, his high school had a all class reunion and George was able to attend.  Back in the day five friends had a band called The Gallows.  Fortunately, all the living members were in attendance.  From all accounts it was a wonderful reunion and everyone was so grateful that George was able to be there, perform and swap stories with longtime friends!

The Gallows - l to r Danny Cargile, Nicky Nichols,
Butch Scaife, George Collins

Saturday, August 30, 2014

So Far

Here it is August 30th and it's the end of my third week of retirement.  I've been surprised that there hasn't been much need for adjustment. I have slipped into it quite eassily. I haven't thought about work as much as I expected, which is a good thing.  I've been busy working on a lap quilt for my sister-in-law and running errands. Wednesday, Susan and I went shopping and had lunch.  We had a nice afternoon, especially since it was on a week day!  I look forward to more days like that.  Robert and I have signed up for a photography class in Atlanta at the end of September which should be fun! It's at the DeKalb county airport photographing vintage airplanes.  Keep your fingers crossed that the weather is good and I learn something!!
Taken at the North Little Rock Airport 2014
I hope to make it to Florida to see Nolen and Brittany too, just not sure how long I'll be there!  My friend Marybelle called and asked if I was serious about going to Ireland. I said.....YEAH!  I'm waiting to hear more specifics and hoping it comes to fruition.  I'm so excited; it's on my bucket list. She's going for genealogical research, me I'm going for the experience, a little Christmas shopping and photographic opportunities!!  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two Weeks In :)

Well, I'm two weeks in on my retirement and I LOVE it!!!  I've had a few moments where I missed work, but they passed quickly.  The biggest adjustment has been reaching for my phone to check my work email and realizing it's not there. It's like the final disconnect. I admit have talked to the office a few times, but I expected that. The best part was waking up on the first day of school, and it was raining, and I didn't have to get out in IT!

Napping with Stinky under my beautiful retirement quilt by Shari Sherman
So what have I done with my time?  I've been to Arkadelphia twice, spent a weekend with Brenda photographing, met Alicia, worked on a quilt, picked up a little bit, cleaned a little bit (LOL in keeping the the blog name), napped, watched movies and let the dogs in and out, in and out, in and out....  Nothing earth shattering, just easing into it.  It's still like a vacation, but I expect now that I won't get a pay check this week reality will set in.  That's scary, but we've planned and once we get over the initial "hump" and settle into a financial routine, all will be well!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life

It finally arrived....retirement!  My final days were mixed with laughter and tears.  I am going to miss the day-to-day interaction with my friends that I was fortunate to work with for so many years.  I won't name them, they know who they are!  Everyone was so kind and they made me feel respected and that I will be missed, but I'm also mature enough to realize that the space I left will be filled and life goes on!

I was gifted with some AWESOME parting gifts, posters, cards, unexpected visitors and lots of hugs! Here's a link to the blog post on the quilt that my friend, Shari, sweated over (literally) to make my final day spectacular!   I've included the slideshow I sent as my "farewell" which includes the Anna Kendrick version of the Cups song or "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone"!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Turning 62

What a day!  It was a good day, it was a sad day!  It was fantastic that so many of my friends and family across the country and at home acknowledged the day with warm, happy wishes!  How wonderful it is to be remembered and connect!  Facebook is great in keeping connections!  I had a lovely lunch with a dear friend and an earlier in the week lunch with another friend, with more lunches scheduled next week!  The day finished up with Italian Cream cake from my husband!

The sad part were a couple of goodbyes at work.  I didn't expect to get emotional, but knowing myself so well, I should have known better.  I was doing great until a heartfelt (I think) hug was received from a person I would have never expected.  I did manage to hold it together until I was alone, but it seemed to set me on a downward emotional spiral for the rest of the day.  I know.....I know and why I do this to myself I will NEVER understand.  I think I now realize that the final days before retirement may not be as carefree and emotionally neutral as I had expected.  We shall see, but I think I will need to keep the tissues close at hand.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Arkansas' Loss....Florida's Gain

The day finally came when Nolen left for Florida.  I've been dreading this day; I'm going to miss him. My excitement for him does outweigh my sadness, though. He's embarking on a new adventure which I'm sure will benefit him and his wife!  Education is NEVER a waste and I can't wait for the day I can call him Dr. Scaife. He's prepared financially and mentally for this and with Brittany's support the time will pass quickly.  Of course, the benefit for me is that I am looking forward to having a vacation place for the next four years (LOL)!

Butch,  Brian (friend) and I met him early this morning for breakfast in North Little Rock.  We were missing Robert, he has headed for a weekend trip to Nashville, TN. Breakfast was good with lots of laughs and hugs!   With both sons on the road today I'll be watching Glympse until both are safely at their destinations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Edging Ever Closer......

Retirement is edging ever closer....YEAH!!  What will I do on the first day?  It will be a new life full of possibilities but knowing me, on the first Monday, I will probably do nothing!  Yes, that's right!  I will probably wake up a little before 6 am, make my way to the computer and surf my favorite sites, turn the TV on and do NOTHING!!!  Oh gosh, I might even take a nap. The beauty of it is that I CAN do nothing!  No traffic to fight, no parking. no questions, no meetings, no phones, no speaking when I don't want to, no employee issues to deal with.....nothing!  On the other hand, no lunch with friends!!  I'm just like a little kid, I like recess best, so that I'll miss, but then I can go for lunch any day I want!  I won't have to go in the rain, in the snow, in the cold or in the heat if I don't want to!!  I know it won't last forever, I'm getting older, husband's getting older, mother's getting older, but for as long as I can I'm going to enjoy days of endless possibilities and yes, do NOTHING if I want!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


It's hard to believe that I am only three weeks from retirement!  I thought this day would never get here and I thought I would never be ready to retire!  It's funny though how when the time is right, you know, you just know and my time is NOW!
I have had the most incredible career which offered me so many opportunities to grow, travel and make friends that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.  All this was done at a time when a college degree wasn't necessary to be valuable to an employer.  I had only two years of college, but thanks to genetics I was good with my hands, head and paperwork.  I steered away from anything to do with math and found my calling in the courts; timing was essential.  Today my resume would not even be looked opportunity.  Can you say "right place at the right time"!  I guess that 29 years counts as historic, but how can that be!  I'm referred to in the office as the person with the "institutional knowledge" not necessarily the way I would like to be known, but certainly better than it could be (LOL)!  I've seen so many people come and go; some by death; some by workforce reduction; and some by age.  Now it is my turn in 19 days and I prefer the way of age!  I've been so lucky to be valued all these years and to leave on my own terms.   I have financial security, my health and enough hobbies to keep me busy until......