Saturday, December 30, 2023

Goodbye 2023

 Jeff and I are in Auburn resting and relaxing for a few days. It feels good to be quiet. It is cold! I am not a cold weather fan and even pulled out the jacket that I really only wear every couple of years up here. We will ring out the year out quietly. I will write more about that in a bit, but let’s share a picture or two from the last week. 

We celebrated Christmas with our little family on Friday, the 22nd. We had to share Lindsay this year but honestly doing it early since we are all agreeable makes it easy on both kids and their families. We don’t mind. Paul Allen and Lindsay usually work out a date together and Jeff’s sister and brother-in-law are fine with it too. 

The grandsons are at a wonderful age. They remind me of Lindsay and Paul Allen at that age in the same living room oh so many years ago. 

Here they are jumping on bubble wrap from a gift. It was quite loud, but little Miles was not timid at all. He couldn’t find space on it but he just jumped next to Tucker and Palmer. He stayed right in the mix of things with the big boys. What a difference a year made!

Mother spent the night with us on the 22nd since we would be opening presents until past the closing hour at her assisted living place. We got up the next morning and ate a big breakfast and leftovers for lunch before we took her home for the evening on Saturday. 

I drove her back and it was such a beautiful day that I slipped away to stroll on the beach while Jeff went over to a friend’s house to take a gift.

It was about 4:00 in the evening and let me just say I could have stayed forever. A lot of emotion was left out there on that stroll and God met me there for the walk.

Christmas Eve morning was church and such a beautiful service. Again, God met me there with comfort. After church we got Mama out and brought her back to our house and we made a pot of spaghetti. We all 3 sat down to watch a Christmas movie. We watched A Christmas… Present with Candace Cameron Bure. I highly recommend it. A nice family movie.

Donna and Al have modeled what to do with Christmas when you have adult kids. They have their own little traditions for Christmas Day. They take a drive down 30A and back. On Christmas morning Jeff and I took us a walk in the beach. A storm had blown in from the Gulf overnight and the water was still kicking and made for fun watching. I am pretty sure the waves were 7-8 feet at the second sandbar. We again picked up Mom and brought her to our house. She slept for most of the day on the couch. I think all of it had worn her out but one shouldn’t be alone at Christmas.

Still not too tired of the beach, Jeff and I once again made beach trip on the morning of the 26th. We drove west to Opal Beach and it was a bit chilly that day. The shells were heavy and made for fun scouring while we walked. 

I began taking Christmas down on that afternoon and finished the next day while Jeff and Paul Allen fished. I love the decorations but I am always ready for a clean slate.

I think it was Christmas Day evening I read or skimmed all of this past year’s blog posts. What a year! It has been a hard year… sinus surgery, 2 cataract surgeries to start with. I can breathe and see better:) Mom’s fall, spending a month in rehab and then with me, then moving and selling her home and having to get rid of a lifetime of things… then Jeff’s Parkinson’s diagnosis and retirement. That is A Lot to take in and really the year before had been hard too with Jeff’s brother passing. 

If you want to know the real honest truth I am not thinking 2024 is going to be a piece of cake either, not just with my family but with our country. You can’t have an invasion at the southern border and things not get wild very soon. Listen my own little town is seeing big problems already. 

I think I am going to need a lot of courage for the next year. I do know however that my Lord will walk with me through every hardship and provide me with the courage I need. 

I am going to rest these few days before going home. We took Mama to her sister’s to visit. I don’t think she will be able to make that trek again. I could be wrong but she really wanted to go so we took her. My Aunt Faye will try to get her to eat and cousins will drop into visit so she should be fine. 

I finished my last book for this year today. Kinfolk by Sean Dietrich. It was my 23rd book this year. A prime number and a nod to something in the book. A good one to round out 2023.

I am going to give January a couple of weeks to get used to a new routine with Jeff home before I blog again. 

Thanks for following along….


Friday, December 22, 2023

Stitching and More

 Oh the troubles I weave sometimes. I stitched like a madwoman--- even when I did not have time. I quit working on my Florida sampler and ---went down a rabbit trail. I was obsessed in stitching the Christmas Bells. I remembered the pattern from the past and ordered it this year after seeing Faye (Carolina Stitcher) finish them for a client with blue ribbon like on my Christmas tree.

I got them all stitched last week and dreaded the cutting, because I figured it would be hard to get it just right.

And things went fine for  the first one I finished up. I was feeling confident. 

It turned out quite cute. I am just going to tell you straight up; the second one was a big ole bust. I cut it out and things looked promising once again, but when I stitched it things didn't come out so well. It simply was not repairable, so this pattern will be set aside until next July when I will stitch some Christmas in July. Sometimes it just doesn't work out!

So my Stitching Post is not all that noteworthy. I will share some oldies, but goodies.
The next 2 ornaments are from the early 80's. I stitched them both for Mom. I retrieved them this summer to bring to my tree.

The next 2 are also from the mid 80's and have graced our tree for all our married years.

Some of you probably did these too way back in the day.

That is the stitching post. 

Lesson moving in to '24. Stitch for fun and at a slower pace. 

Oh and I have mentioned many times that I would love to transition to a more Blue Christmas in my home, but have never been able to actually do it. One thing I have learned this year about actually pulling it off is that GREEN would weigh huge in that idea for me. I love the blues, but the green ribbon I have used this year would be the key to making that kind of transition. All that said....I really like what I have done this year. It is the right combination of traditional red and green and tartan and a nice amount of blue and green that matches my house

Now, for the more....

This week was about so many things to do each day and night. 

We had Jeff's retirement party at church on Monday evening. We decided to do it at church rather than at the schoolboard since it would be much prettier and take lots less work to decorate. The church is simply beautiful right now. We have a lady that is an interior designer who attends our church and is a worker bee and giver of her time to make everything just amazing each year...well, actually year round. 

I can't say enough about how nice the reception was. My good friends showed up and helped me get everything in place. Paul Allen was our worker to move tables and such. Lindsay kept me calm and all was so pretty.

Here are a few snaps of the goings on while we were getting it all in order and the tables of food and such.

I have kept my mom's and my mother-in-law's punch bowls all these years. I am so happy to see them making a comeback. They have even been borrowed by the young girls. I decided a while back to let go of all my decanters and just go with them. They are no more trouble and actually don't make the mess that those spout things do.

The memory table was a last minute thought. I am so glad Lindsay thought of it. I was more organized than I thought. I pulled out some highlights from each place he worked. I think Jeff loved looking back. I hope to make him a scrapbook in the next year. I did that for myself when I retired.

One of the ladies who works in his office made this wonderful cake. So much thought and love was in this. And then, she stayed and just worked behind the scenes to make sure the punch and food trays were full. I could never thank her enough.

My friend who has a lunch restaurant also put so much thought into the food. She had all Jeff's favorites from her restaurant.

At the end, my friend Anne grabbed all the tablecloths and took them home with her to wash. My friend Cindy was there early helping me set up and brought the flowers. I am blessed, people.

Paul Allen caught this picture of me after we had finished setting up and were waiting on the guests. It says it all for me. My happy place....

Lindsay posted this on social medias that evening. It was perfectly said. Jeff will be missed but I am gaining him at home.

Night of honor went well and Thursday was his last day.

Tuesday evening we went to see Tucker's little Christian school Christmas concert. I wish I could show pictures of how cute, but I don't have the time to blank out all the kids' faces. They were so precious. It was just the right amount of time and just perfection all around to this Mimi. 

I couldn't help but remember all the ones my own children were in. My favorite memory of those performances  is Paul Allen being Baby Jesus. He was 6 months old and they were going to sing a song where the younger girl would hold him while the adult lady sang. He was sheer perfection in all the practices. The night of the actual performance was different. The lights were different. They popped a spotlight on him about halfway the song and he erupted. I was standing up in the choir alcove and my heart sank. A nervous mama ---worrying about him and hating that he was messing up the performance. I couldn't wait for them to hand him to me so that I could comfort him. Everyone was so nice later and said that surely Baby Jesus cried. 

It wasn't until I actually saw the recording of him that I realized it sounded much louder and unnerving in the little alcove I was standing in and he didn't ruin anything after all. 

Moving on....

Thursday evening was a church staff and elder's dinner. I had thrown a pity party for one earlier that day and was dreading going. Pity parties are never very fun, but sometimes they just come.  They seem to come despite our knowing full well they are not all that fruitful. The dinner ended up being just what I needed. 

This has gone on long enough.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Christmas Tour 2023 Part 2

We move in past those glass doors in the distance to the rooms that most of our time is spent in other than sleeping. There is  a new chair in the mix in this room, so shall we get started?

The burgundy recliner gave up the ghost and that sent us on a search and thoughts of a new chair to replace it.
The day I took the pictures it was so cloudy, so I am sorry about the quality of my photos. I am not a photographer. Maybe after Christmas I can talk Jeff into taking my blog photos!
The chair on the right is the new one. It is smaller and spins. The one on the left used to be on the right and was considered my chair. It is very large and I couldn't touch the floor when sitting in it not even with a pillow behind it. I brought the idea  to Jeff that he might like it and we could get a smaller one for me. He once had a chair like this and an ottoman. We had a leather set forever here and he liked it. 

Now, I would honestly love a good old fashioned wing back chair but I decided to stay with the look we have achieved in here. The chair doesn't look that much smaller but it is not nearly as deep and I can sit and keep my feet on the floor. Ha Ha. I brought home the fabric we chose and laid it against every item in that room since the goal was to tie things together. I love the pattern and the chair. Not sure about Gus since we don't fit as well together as we did in the big chair.

Now, the funny thing is when we got it in the room, we tried them out and decided that the new patterned chair looked better in the opposite position that pictured here. SO...we thought one evening we would try sitting in new positions and see if we liked it and then we could swap our belongings. Well Folks, that lasted maybe 15 minutes and we looked at each other and decided looks weren't everything. We are both quite attached to our spots in the room.

I have a pillow cover ordered for a lumbar pillow that I already had to go in my new chair. I just like a lumbar pillow.

Now, back to Christmas tour. The tree is lovely. 

One of the best things about this room is the placement of the tree. 

Full of old and new ornaments... 
The gold one and the icicle are from Mom's ornaments.

Along with the blue one below...

And I just stitched myself one of those little reindeer with the cardinals on his back...

Pulling out all the old favorite decorations is always fun. My little drummer boy that I repaired 2 years ago.

Whether it is all the reindeer that my mother-in-law picked up at all the craft shows of the 80's and 90's, or the little tins, or the candle holders, or the wooden tree that Paul Allen decorated with glitter in preschool so many years ago --all hold such special memories.

I shortened the garland above the palm tree print this year. It looks so much better. Don't know why I didn't see that the last 2 years.

Oh and tucked away in the reindeer cart is my little Christmas carol stitches. 

The stack of Christmas books on the table is another fun thing to pull out. Miles is taken with the baby Jesus. He points to it all the time. I don't think it is because it is Jesus but just a baby. He will learn though.

Turning towards the kitchen which is in heavy use all the time especially keeping grands. Almost couldn't find time to capture a photo. AND lo and behold it has had a change.

A good change. Mother asked if she could take the tree to her place. I had thought about taking it to her but didn't think she would say yes. When the decorations started going up over there and by the way it is so pretty over there she thought of it. I took it up and set it on a table right as you walk in to her room. It can be seen immediately if someone opens her door. She has kept it on so that is awesome. 

I kept the scene here the same and just replaced the tree with a little oval Christmas plate that I had and all is well.

I am just loving all my stitches lined up. The cardinals are bringing me joy, so they will probably stay up through January.

That is the end of the tour, but the reading glasses made me think to update you on my eyes. I finished my drops on Tuesday. A month long regimen of drops is over and done. Reading glasses are not on the top of my head nor hanging from my shirt. 


I don't have to have them to read my phone, my computer, or even a book. I do occasionally need them so I am laying a pair in strategic places and keeping a pair in my purse for the occasional need. I still have to have to stitch or sew but I didn't think that I would ever not have them on my body somewhere. I have my eyes officially tested next week. I am thinking I am all good. 

My completed drops chart. 31 days of drops!

I think it took doing both eyes to see the best results. Now they are still 63 year old eyes and I miss the eyes of my youth, but I miss a lot of things (smooth and toned skin for one). Aging gracefully is important too. There are many beautiful older women. 

Last note on Christmas decorations. I see so many pictures out there of garland that I love, but I know that if I added one more thing to my house I would be overwhelmed. The art of loving your decorations is to know when to stop and to put out what you love.  I love nothing more than looking at a Christmas magazine, but I also love to be realistic and enjoy what I do. Even when I lived in a smaller home, I lived by that rule. I can feel overwhelmed by too much quickly and be ready to take it all down rather than just do a smaller amount and love it. 
January will be here before we know it and possibly the only thing about I like about winter is a clean slate with decluttering and deep cleaning.

I hope to have a Christmas stitch ready to share next week.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Christmas Tour 2023 Part 1

 I didn't do a tour last year and I missed it for myself. I love looking back as I am a reflective evaluator by nature, so this year I am doing a picture heavy post. I will do a life update at the end, so scroll on through if you feel as though you have seen it already. I did make some changes in the dining room.

The Christmas cactus has started blooming. This was a week ago when it first started poking those little blooms out. It fell over 2 years ago and this year it is filling in all those holes.  The plant is about 9 years old and was a tiny thing from Walmart I believe.

Then looking into the house. I took these one morning so it is kind of dark in the rooms that I am sharing today.

Nothing has changed here and it is still one of my favorite spots in the house. Oh and the camellias (the flower on the table is a camellia) are late blooming around here this year. They are all loaded with blooms and I simply can't wait for the explosion of color on my street. I did see one little red one Tuesday on my walks.

Moving into the hallway not much changed. I am still loving the little banister sashes I made and am choosing them over the traditional garland drapes. I think that was one downsize that is here to stay. 

You may have noticed the herons got a new color ribbon this year. It is the most delightful Christmas green and I am loving it. You will see more in a minute.

Next up is the Auburn tree and the start of presents being wrapped and stored on the pool table. Gus is past the point of shredding them, but I love sorting them all out on the table and seeing what I still need to buy.

The other set of banister sashes and a wee bit of ....

of decor to draw your eye to the stairwell. It is hard to see, but just a little red truck.

Now, turning to the dining room, there is a new table runner. Mother fretted over all her decorations and I have to say the girls got most of it but the table runner was left and I decided to use it this year. 

This led to the ribbon color change which I actually am loving so much.

The sconces got the green ribbon this year as well as a few other things like the corner of the rocker which I have not pictured.

Lights off.

Lights on.

I added a bit more green and some real pinecones in the bowl of ornaments on the table to pull in all the green.

The last stop on the tour for today is the guest bathroom where I added that green to the top of the tree and a little tartan which I so love on the lantern with a favorite little pot of ornaments.

This end of the week post is sort of working for me, so maybe next week I can share the remainder of the tour. There is a change in the living room. It doesn't take me long at all to put up Christmas since all of it is things I have had for years. My issue is finding time to communicate with others. I have never been worse than this year on reading all my favorite blogs and commenting. It is a season of life and not the easiest one if I am being truthful. 

Mother received her procedure to deaden the nerves in her lumbar region on Monday. It has a long name, but we will just skip that. The doctor said in could take up to 7 days to start working and the amount of help it provides is a wide spectrum for each individual. It seems to have helped and I am grateful for that. It will last from 4-6 months. I am just hopeful it can give her some good days. She has 3 appointments next week, so more running. 2 are orthopedic and one ENT. Run, run, run!

Jeff has had a variety of issues which are quite troubling. This Parkinson's diagnosis has been a gut punch to our family and honestly more so for him. I went to my doctor in Pensacola yesterday and spent most of my time talking about Jeff. He reminded me this is a marathon. Marathons are hard. I was a runner at one time. 

I am stitching and reading when I have time. I did go back and make me one of those ornaments with the reindeer and cardinals. It is hanging on our tree making me happy. I hope to share some stitching with folks before Christmas. 

I take each day as it comes thankful that I live near my kids and that I get to see grandsons often. Lindsay is good about always getting us to take our picture. Last Sunday, we were all there for the same service time. Typically one kid goes early and one late which matches them to a Tee, but they were both at the same one with us. Hence, family picture.

Fall is everywhere in the Panhandle of Florida. This is truly such a pretty time here. The next picture was taken Tuesday late afternoon.  Yesterday it was bright and sunny and lots of color across the bayou. It is cool this week, but it looks like fall anyway.

That is it for this post. 
Remember to hug your people.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Bunch of Randomness Before Christmas

 Well, let's let the brain roll...

The USDA planting zones changed. They have made my little coastal zone 9a instead of 8b. I am not sure I agree, and I am sure my lemon tree would not agree. I do know the actual coast doesn't get as low as the inland areas, but I am just not sure about 9a. I have to research it more and the nerd in me will do so over Christmas break. It has been chilly this week. Miles, Gus and I have had to wait until about 10:30 instead of 9:00 to do our morning stroll. I am not a cold weather fan and I know I must look like I live at the North Pole going out for the walk. 

But as you can see, living on the coast has its advantages. I am in that no freeze zone. Suits me just fine!

In other local news, the next picture explained why Tyler and Lindsay's garbage was strewn all over the road one morning this week.

Yep, that is a bear strolling on the sidewalk of the neighbor's right across the street. That is actually common around here. Living near the reservation and it being North Florida those guys are very common. Tyler will have to wait until daylight to take the garbage out for a while.

Well, let's get the Iron Bowl stuff over with. What a horrible ending for us Auburn people! Actually, I am very proud of Auburn for staying in the thick of it until the end. I account some of that to home field advantage. Jordan Hare is special. I am excited about our new coach and if those little people who have big money can keep their paws off of Auburn, we could have some good years going forward. That is if NIL and the transfer portal hasn't ruined college football already. Nothing stays the same. We count on that. I am super hopeful that Beau Nix of Oregon wins the Heisman.  We did not go to Auburn as Jeff has had a couple of rough weeks. More on that later. Lindsay and Tyler and the boys did go and had a wonderfully relaxing weekend until the end of the game. I didn't tell you how I did after that game, did I? Well, I must say it took about an hour of walking around the house and trying to distract myself to soothe the downfall. If I am at home for the game instead of Auburn I usually decorate the tree, but I had actually done that Friday night. Boy, do I wish I had waited. Decorating the tree has helped more than a few of those losses. If you think I am are right! I did grow up across that state line and it is a different kind of game. Not one I am sure I like, but....

This was cute though....

I am sure he caught the glimpse of one of his parents. They had been hyped all day and had planned to go to Toomer's Corner if we won.

Palmer is just the cutest right now. They went to one of the favorite spots to eat. It has been there since Jeff and I went to school. 

Miles said it all. Actually, he just wanted to go outside and play.

I got a new coffee mug to drink my coffee and hot chocolate for this season. The mug and a spool of ribbon are the only new things I bought for decorating.  The mug was just too cute to pass by.

Tomorrow is December and I am in shock as to where this year has gone. I suppose that comes with age, but I also think daily life is a little more speedy with the advent of technology. I have a full calendar of events. Be it going to a play for Tucker, parades, church events, friends gathering and lots of doctor appointments. Mother has 4 on the books right now. Two for the 2 different orthopedic doctors she is seeing and 2 for the pain doctor. She has the nerve ablation procedure on Monday. I am praying it will give her some relief so she can enjoy Christmas. It is supposed to help with pain for 4-6 months. 

It's busy and that means we have to work a little bit harder to make sure we have the important stuff in priority. Faith and Family first. 

The house is decorated and I have pictures of it except for the kitchen. I can't keep it clean long enough to take a picture. Imagine that! I might just have to take one with real life, won't I?
I really just want to go bake some cookies and I am going to soon no matter what else has to wait on me to do it.

That is about it here...just trying to squeeze in some reading and stitching and cookie baking amongst all the things. Other than worrying about Mom and Jeff I am all good and looking forward to the Christmas season. I love the lights of the tree. They really help with the darkness of this time of year. 

Jeff has had a rough 2 weeks. Looking forward to getting him home in a few weeks. He has had a pinched nerve in his neck /upper back. That has not helped all the other going on. Today he seemed a wee bit better, so I am hoping that is getting better. He got some steroids and muscle relaxers for that. The kidney stone has passed or lodged somewhere since he is not having that issue anymore. 

That is it for this week.

Tis the season to be jolly... 
 and grateful.