We are all ok, including mom. A team of many family members has been working hard to clear her house and get it ready for sale. No small task, let me say! We have put in several 10 hour days and still not 'there'. Ninety-one years of life leads to a grand accumulation of stuff and it is not easy to purge when it is someone else's treasures. We have made great progress and are united in our efforts to preserve the important keepsakes yet remove the unnecessary items. I'm proud of us!
There has been little time for my own continued unpacking and in fact, I've re-cluttered some rooms in the new house...for now. I'm trying to be patient with myself and not panic but it can also be very overwhelming - both physically and emotionally.
Everyone who sees my multiple machines asks if I actually use them and sew. Oh, how I would love to be able to start a new project and simply stitch away the hours rather than cleaning and sorting, packing and removing! Soon...I hope! I also have the new task of scrapbooking years of photos from my mom's stash. It might take me ten years to get to it at this rate!
Hope you are all well!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, "no news is good news" does not apply. My sister called at about 10:30 to say that mom was on her way to the hospital in an ambulance. She had been found in the night on the floor and despite seeming well, by breakfast she was complaining of pain and that was that. I'm awaiting updates and will keep you posted. :(
I have been M.I.A. for over a week! Last week my mother went into her new retirement home after being at my sister's for a month. My niece stayed over for the first night and nurses checked in regularly. I couldn't believe it but I got a call saying mom had been admitted to hospital that very first evening! What a disappointment.
X-rays showed a mild pneumonia but as you might imagine, I just didn't feel comfortable not being there. We all know the elderly (mother is 91-1/2 now!) can have a hard time getting over an infection and in her weakened condition, I was just so worried about her. I got this news in the afternoon and DH, DD, and I left as soon as we were able to get the dog in the kennel. My family left the next day but I stayed with my sister for a week to visit mom in the hospital and offer support to my poor sister who has been dealing with this. I know how it feels as I did it for 13 years and when there is illness it is absolutely very stressful.
I have never been away for that long without my hubby and not on vacation. I also didn't have a car so it was challenging for me. Add to that the emotions of seeing mom uncomfortable and confined to a hospital bed and it was not a very pleasant situation. After 5 days the patient was discharged and we got her back to her 'new' home and settled. We hired care workers for the times we couldn't be there but that will take a bit of adjustment on mom's part. I stayed with her the first night back and I didn't sleep at all. She was very weak and disoriented and she is struggling with her breathing. It was not a good start.
However, the next few days saw much improvement. She has been eating well and feeling better. The services we've arranged have made her feel more secure and at home and we have been visiting 2-3 times a day. She came back to my sister's for an afternoon getaway and everything seems to be stable. I really needed to come home so my hubby and kids came to get me. We spent a couple days together there and now I am finally back!!!!! I was so excited to see my dog and since I'm still unpacking my house and organizing, it felt awesome to walk through the door again! It smelled so nice. Last night I had a wonderful soak in my tub and a pretty good sleep in my own bed. There is a ton to do to catch up with my life and I'm hoping to reschedule my missed appointments. One of those was to install my new cutting table countertop so that was a real bummer to have to cancel.
Mother spent her first night last night without a family member sleeping over so I was a little anxious. I'm hoping it all went well. She had the same caregiver tuck her in as dressing her for breakfast so that continuity perhaps provided a bit of security for her. This has been the most stressful year of my life I think! I am looking forward to working on some new-old machines I've rescued and sharing them with you. I am excited for some fall baking too. I don't know but this summer just slipped away and was one of the weirdest ones yet. I'm keeping my finger's crossed for a more even keel in the autumn!
Here are some gorgeous roses I found for my mum as a house warming. Mauve is her favourite colour and these were just the right shade! It was a massive bouquet!
I was very organized when the kids were little and I would film them often using an 8mm camera. Immediately, I would transfer them onto VHS tapes so they would be easy to pop into the machine and watch. Fast-forward 18 years or so and we are on our last working VCR/tv combo! With the move imminent and feelings of nostalgia, AND seeing a sign in my copy store that they provide a DVD transfer service, I knew it was time to get this long-neglected task done. Such precious memories are too valuable to leave to chance (VHS tape breaking, no player in existence left on Earth, fire, etc.) and deserve to be protected.
I did the first batch of 16 with #5 missing because when I went to re-wind the tape (oh boy, remember when you had to 'be kind and rewind', lol!!!???) and check it was working I suddenly had a very big Al Roker telling me what the weather was going to be for that day in 1993! That particular year was copied over with the Today Show. Bummer, but it was really interesting to watch the news in hindsight! It is not an inexpensive process so even though I had a few more to have transferred, I started with 16.
When I got them back I checked the first CD. It was so funny to see ourselves at the beginning of our marriage in our first home. Now, 24 years and 4 houses later, here we are and re-living those early days is so amazing. To witness life as new parents of a darling daughter, and later a set of boy/girl twins, you realize you did pretty well. What a flurry of energy!! Of course, I filmed the babies' arrivals, holidays and celebrations, sports and school events, and visits to special places. But, more importantly, I made sure to record the mundane. The kids frolicking in the sprinkler, the interactions with grand parents, eating meals and just playing with toys or splashing in the bath. Those are the most heartwarming to watch and my kids are able to actually see what they were like. There were so many sweet moments between us and the siblings...kisses and tickles, laughing and dancing. I captured some of the squabbles too, (one twin was a biter!), stolen balls, eye patch from a thrown one, and the like. I filmed each house too (originally to prove the condition we'd left it in for each new buyer) which may seem boring but is a wonderful keepsake when looking back. I will do it for this house too.
We were a little melancholy to realize just how long we've been in this particular home and how young our kids were. I filmed as we drove down the road for the first time to show them the house and back then it was a new neighbourhood with tiny trees and open fields. Oh, how things have changed!
As I wax nostalgic for the years gone by I look forward to the next phase in our lives. I tell this tale to encourage you to gather and preserve your home videos and photos and to cherish those representations of your past. My children have joined us each night they are home to work through the CDs and remember their childhood. There was one disc copied from a tape my siblings and I made for our parents long ago. It contained mostly old home film from the 50s and 60s when my brothers were young and it is absolutely fascinating for me to see. The outfits, cars, and homes are so cool (especially now that I'm into vintage machines and adore period shows like MadMen) but seeing my mother and father as young parents themselves, pretty much doing the exact things we did (swimming, hockey, Christmas morning, visiting family) it was just one of those 'Circle of Life' moments. There is only about 30 seconds of footage of me (projector slides and a busy life took over for the movie camera) but it is wonderful to see my sister and me skipping around and playing in the sand. I know how much I enjoyed seeing those 30 seconds and happy I could give my kids HOURS of footage for them to experience.
I have been working from sun up to sun down. Not sleeping past about 4:00 am, up just after 5, and non-stop thereafter. We have made great progress and I don't think my house has ever looked cleaner, tidier, or more spacious! I think everyone should pretend to move every year or so and really declutter and spring clean.
I am totally exhausted and very sore. On the bright side, I have been losing some weight and I was rewarded for my hard work when I found a whole bag of Ethel's chocolate bars from Vegas! I guess I hid them away to make them last and not eat them all at once. Well, it has been about 6 months since our trip so I guess I succeeded on that front! :) No promises for the coming week though...(there's already one missing!).
Tomorrow we list our house and the next day the agents come through and the professional photographer does her thing. After that it should be much easier to keep things clean and sparkling. I miss sewing so much and my workshop is so inviting with all the counter space and floor space. I know I can't start anything big and messy but I'm hoping we get some offers quickly and can get back to living until closing. Until tomorrow, my friends! I do have one last project to share and I'm really excited about it!
I waited a long time to attend the Creative Festival and was so excited when the day finally arrived. Despite missing my exit on the highway I found my way back to the venue and had an awesome time shopping, learning, shopping, and visiting with my favourite vendors. I spent my allotted budget (and maybe just a wee bit more on some heavenly Aurifil thread, my personal weakness!!!) and have so many fun and cool things to share. I'm getting behind on my product reviews because I have been buying so many lately. You are all going to think that all I do is shop for stuff for my workshop (which wouldn't be too far off the mark!!!).
However, after my terrific day out I spent all of Sunday in the hospital emergency room with my mother. It has been a terrible couple months for her health wise. After the cut-short Florida trip where she ended up in the hospital we finally got her home after 5 weeks of recovery. She was home for a couple weeks and then had to return to sis's house for a follow-up. Well, didn't she end up falling and back in the hospital! We got through that and home again and today she had pain from the drain she has in and we ended up back in emerg. Mother has once again been released and I hope we have some smoother sailing in the weeks to come. We are both exhausted!
All the kids are officially moved back in and my space and time have shrunk considerably! I won't have as much time to create but I'm sure to have more opportunity to write blog posts as I hide out with my computer! I promise to get on here tomorrow with something new! Please hang in there with me and check back. I appreciate you all so much for visiting! :)
So I've had a problem with my i-Phone camera since early December. I use my phone for almost all my photos, personal and for the blog, and of course was horrified to see a big, black fleck suddenly appear in all my pics. I took it to Apple and they opened it up and tried to clean it but determined the fleck was IN the camera lens itself and said it was most likely a scratch. I also thought it could be a crack from dropping my phone on occasion! The fleck was obvious enough in a regular shot but huge when I cropped or zoomed. Can you spot it??
It really sucked because the convenience of having a camera on me at all times has made me dependent on it and even though I have a 'good' camera, it's bulky (and expensive) and a pain to carry around. I'm not eligible for a phone upgrade under my contract for another year and a half so I figured I was really stuck with creatively situating the 'fleck' in dark areas of my photo compositions, editing it out, or switching to my Nikon for important subjects (which I did for blog posts & Christmas and it really does take fantastic pictures!).
Then, and you can file this under the 'must be living right' category, I think I dropped my phone again and the fleck disappeared! I suppose it was a hair or shaving of plastic or something and when the phone got knocked, it bounced out of view! I am so, so happy and thankful and truly relieved that I have my camera back in my front pocket. It is amazing how reliant I am on my i-Phone and I'm just so glad it is now back to being my camera too!
(Also around Christmas time my i-Pad stopped charging. I hadn't done anything differently and I'm super careful so I was irritated it wasn't working all of a sudden. I hadn't realized just how much I use it until the battery life was ticking away and I couldn't do anything to restore it. Apple said it would be an outrageous $200+ to replace the connector but I tried an off-sight place and they quoted $110. I left it there and within an hour or so they told me it was just a loose connection and the $35 pre-paid deposit was all it would cost and I was all set to go! I was really relieved then, too!).
We were planning a trip south this fall but something came up at work and we had to postpone our plans. One reason I was really looking forward to going was a visit to the Vera Bradley outlet in Orlando. I've never been before but the clerk at the VB store in the mall there told me about it last time and I've been anticipating it ever since.
Disappointed, I decided to check on-line and was pleasantly pleased to find out they have an outlet that ships to Canada. I was looking for a tote and found a great one. I'm not fussy about getting a particular print because I think most of them are really pretty and I get overwhelmed choosing. Narrowing down the selection by only looking at the retired/discounted ones makes it easier for me! Of course, I had to add a couple more things to my order.
When the shipment arrived I was so excited - especially since it was a honking box and so beautifully presented, complete with tissue, VB seal, and a good length of grosgrain ribbon tied in a bow! The tote is massive and full of pockets inside. I will totally be able to use it for a weekend getaway bag, nice since I bought a small duffle bag last year and ended up giving it to my daughter. The large Get Carried Away tote is in Venetian Paisley and retails at $92. I got it for $45. I added the Cosmetic Trio set in Very Berry Paisley. They are all cute bags - narrow but great for so many uses. They retail for $40 and I got them for under $15. I also got a Small Cosmetic since I have admired the one I gave my daughter ever since I bought it. It was also under $15 and I got the Ribbons design, which supports the VB Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Here are some pics of my mini-haul! (You can click on any of them to see them close up).
This summer's binge t.v. recommendation is Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece. Very similar in form to Downton Abbey, the series follows the life of American retail tycoon Harry Selfridge. While the man and store are real, I'm not sure how much licence is taken regarding the soap opera story lines of his staff and acquaintances.
I am catching up on past episodes through the wonder that is Netflix and making good progress while hubby is away on business. There is just enough intrigue between repetitive scenes of scarf arranging, shocked faces of staff upon hearing of Mr. Selfridges' newest advertising idea, and the shot of the clock hands at 8:59 a.m. before the store opens, to keep one engaged and loading up the next episode.
The Oxford Street department store is still open today and is the second largest in the U.K. I love that it has survived since 1909 and there is the real-life basis to the show. The series is adapted from the biography Shopping, Seduction, & Mr. Selfridge and I believe, being a lover of non-fiction (and biographies in particular), this might just have to be my vacation read this summer!
Check out Seasons 1 & 2 of Mr. Selfridge if you enjoy period piece drama!