Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Patchwork Day

It seems I haven't had much computer time lately.  I think part of the problem is that I don't have a computer desk set up.  I use my ipad, but haven't read many blogs lately, nor written any posts.  I seem to keep busy all day, so I guess that's good, but I feel like I need to drop in once in awhile and write.

Today I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to take my mother to the BYU art museum.  It's a small museum, but they had several nice exhibits.  One exhibit was of movie costumes.  They even had the outfit Johnny Depp wore in Pirates of the Caribbean, and a dress worn by Emma Thompson in "Howards End".  One of my secret unfulfilled passions is to be a costumer for plays or movies.  I don't know why it draws me so much; I'm not even a very good seamstress.  But I would love the chance to do it.

Another exhibit had to do with India.  They had a huge collection of special blankets from India and Pakistan.  The quilts were incredibly intricate!  I couldn't imagine all of the many hours of work that was put in to them.  They also had a "Vishnu" art collection.  It included many sculptures and other forms of art.

Of course they have a sort of permanent exhibit of religious art.  There is also an exhibit of American art.  I know they rotate some, but most of these must be on permanent loan.

After we finished there, we stopped by "Deseret Industries".  My mother and I are always looking for "treasures" at this church owned thrift store.  She has been making quilts, so has been looking for fabric to use for the backing.  We didn't have any luck finding anything today, but we have gotten quilt fabric for three quilts.  She has finished two, and is working on the third.  I think she likes having something to do, even though the last quilt was difficult to quilt, and she had to use a pair of pliers to get the needle through the fabric.  She also enjoys "picking" my garden, and will often go out to look for ripe vegetables.

I got another bee in my bonnet and decided to make some "fidget" books.  They are used by people who have dementia.  They had buttons and beads, and other things with which to "fidget".  My husband's sister's mother-in-law has advanced dementia, so I wanted to give one to her.  Also my Bishop's mother-in-law also has advanced dementia, so I'm making a second one for her.

So that's the patchwork day I've had.  A little of this, and a little of that.  That's kind of how my whole month has gone.  I'm a lot more busy than when I was in China.  That's a good thing.  :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When it Rains, it Pours

Last night I was working in the kitchen while the men folk of our household worked together to move a large desk from the back of our truck to our downstairs.  There is a cement sidewalk that winds down the side of our back yard.  Although it is a long path, it is the easiest route for moving furniture.

Here's the weird thing.  As I was working in the kitchen, the thought occurred to me that they might need my help.  I decided to finish with the cucumber I was cutting before going out to see if they needed my help.  I should have followed my first prompting, because about thirty seconds later I heard a "Wham!" and then an "Ow!".  I hurried to the back upper deck and looked down to see my husband lying on his stomach in the garden.  My kids' reaction was something like, "Dad, did you hurt yourself AGAIN?!"  I heard them say, "Are you all right?", and I heard his answer, "No."  I looked and saw a trickle of blood starting to pool on the cement under his head.  I immediately hurried in to the kitchen and grabbed an old kitchen towel and soaked it in water, and then put a few ice cubes inside.  I hurried down the deck stairs and went to assess my husband.

I remember one Christmas when I got a pair of roller blades as a gift.  I went with the kids down to the school driveway to try them out.  As I was coming down a slight incline, my feet went out from under me and  I landed flat on my back.  Wow that hurt!  It hurt so bad that I just laid there groaning for awhile, and didn't get up for a minute.  I think that's pretty much how my husband felt.  As he was walking backward carrying the desk, he tripped on the side of the sidewalk and fell backwards.  He hit his head on the wooden supporting post of the deck.  After laying there in the same kind of "groaning" posture that I had assumed after falling those many years ago, he finally sat up.  I took one look at his head and said, "Well, I hate to break this to you, but you are going to need stitches."  He had about an inch and a half cut in his head that was kind of gaping.

As the doctor stitched him up, he told me that it had cut clear to the bone.  "shiver"  But it only took 5 stitches, so I guess we are lucky.  He did hit the bone that is right behind his ear, so they did an x ray to make sure his skull wasn't fractured.  Then the doctor educated me about head wounds, and about signs to watch for.  I paid close attention.  You see, about a year ago, a cousin of mine fell down her front steps and hit her head.  She went to the doctor, who couldn't find anything wrong with her.  But she had an internal bleed that they didn't know about, and died within hours.  Died from a tumble down her front steps.  So even though my husband appears to be okay, I'm still watching him closely.  These kinds of brain bleeds can occur up to a week after the incident.  Some signs to watch for are:  uncontrolled vomiting, nausea, difficulty walking, speech problems, and bruising that increases in size over night.

About a month ago my husband fell while moving our belongings from California.  He thought he had broken a rib.  We read online that there isn't much they can do for a broken rib.  He never did go to a doctor, so he took advantage of the time spent in urgent care to ask about his rib.  The doctor said he thinks it is what people call a "separated rib".  He gave my husband good advice on how to help it heal.

Today I was browsing Facebook when I got a message from my neighbor in California telling me that my house there had caught on fire!  Someone took pictures and in one of them I counted at least 5 fire trucks that showed up.  It sounds like they caught it just in time, and that the damage is relatively minimal.  Mind you, it will be expensive to fix, but no one was hurt, and most of the damage is external.  Thankfully we have insurance that will take care of this.  They think the fire had something to do with our gas meter   I'm just thankful no one was hurt.

Tonight my son was talking to my husband about something to do with our roof.  My husband said, "I could go up there and check on it."  I said, "You are NOT going to climb up on the roof while you have the black cloud of bad luck hanging over your head!"  :)  I sure hope that bad luck comes in threes, and that we are done.  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Busy Bees

image source

My mother and I have been very busy these past few weeks.  She came the day we were moving in, so has been helping me unpack boxes.  But right in the middle of the move, the fruit on my peach tree came ripe, so we stopped and started canning fruit.  We did 12 quarts of peaches, and 6 quarts of peach jam.  Then I saw strawberries on sale and decided to make strawberry jam.  We did 6 quarts of that.  About that same time, the green beans in my garden were producing like crazy, so we put up 4 quarts of "dilly beans".  Then I thought, "Make hay while the sun shines", so I bought a lug of tomatoes and made 6 quarts of salsa.  I want to make 6 more, and I also want to bottle some plain tomatoes.
My mother also had a reunion of her mother's family, so we drove to her home town for that.  I have to be honest, I didn't know very many of the people there.  This particular reunion is held every year on Labor Day weekend.  For 18 years I lived in California and only came to visit my parents in July.  I couldn't make a second trip in September.  The last time I went to this reunion was probably 20 years ago.  At that time, a certain family member gained a lot of notoriety for his crimes, and his family was in attendance at that reunion.  My husband was quite shocked to see his family there in the flesh.  Anyway, because I haven't attended it regularly, I didn't know many people there.  But my mother was in the height of her glory and went from person to person, hugging and talking the entire time.  Her Aunt, who is only 4 years older than her, (my mother is almost 89) was also there and when her son started playing his guitar, she did a little jig.  :)
Another task for us has been to acquire furniture.  For years, my husband and I have been talking about "when" we would go back to China to live.  We knew it would happen, it was just a matter of when.  So we purposefully lived with used furniture.  When it came time to move to China, we just gave it all away instead of paying to store used furniture.  But now that we are back, we are having to start all over.  We do have our beds, and a kitchen table, but not much else.  Luckily, my son, who is now living again with us, brought his college couch with him, so we are using that until we get something better.  It's a lot of work, but the hunt is kind of fun.

The one bit of work we are having a hard time getting used to is the mowing.  Our house has 1/4 acre of land, and much of it is hilly.  It is quite a job to mow this, and I'm not sure how well a riding mower would work.  We have a nice mower, but it's a little more exercise than we have been doing the past two years in China.  But it turns out we have a Mrs. Kravitz in our neighborhood who drops hints if our grass is getting too long, so we have to break down and mow it regularly.  :)

The garden is still producing and needs regular picking.  I'm not complaining.  I love that I get to reap where I didn't sow.  But that's one more thing that keeps us busy these. days.  I haven't even had time to read blogs regularly.  I'm sure things will settle down soon.  I hope I keep busy though.  In China I was bored, so I'm happy to have more work to do now!

Where is Rummuser?

I've been clicking on the links to Ramana's blog lately, but each time I do, I get a message saying that the page doesn't exist.  Dang it all, I know it exists because I'm getting the notifications in my blog roll!  Does anyone have a suggestion for how to fix this problem?

Thursday, August 28, 2014


My Mom is living with us right now, but we have already broken her.  Well, actually she broke herself.  One night she turned out the bedroom light and was going to get in bed, but decided that instead she would walk to the window to open the shutters on the windows.  But because it was dark, she accidentally ran in to one of the shutters and got a bump and bruise on her forehead.  The next day her eye started turning black.  Over the next couple of days her other eye went black too.  She sure is a sight!  The bruise on her forehead is starting to turn yellow, so I think it's starting to get better.  The funny thing is that it didn't hurt that much when she did it.  She tells everyone that she had a fight with herself.  :)  It sure does look bad for me, the daughter, to be walking around with a beat up looking mother!  We went out and bought a small lamp for her to keep next to the bed, and also a flashlight, so hopefully this kind of thing won't happen again.  I had tried to convince her of using a nightlight, but she said she would just turn on the light if needed.  Yea, right....

As bad as this injury looks, I'm just glad my mother hasn't fallen down any stairs!  She is VERY independent, and will go wherever she wants to go whether I think she should or not.  One day I came in to the family room and couldn't see her.  I looked out and found she went down the stairs outside and out to the garden.  I asked my husband to fix a gate at the top of the stairs so that it wouldn't be so easy for her to go down them, but he hasn't gotten it done yet.  She is pretty agile though, and can climb up in to my husband's truck in the blink of an eye.  But I don't want her broken any more on my watch!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Root Beer Contest

One of the nice things about living closer to family is that we can get together more often.  Recently we were celebrating the birthday of one family member, as well as "National S'mores Day".  One family member suggested that we have a root beer tasting contest.  My husband's brain loves tasks such as collecting different kinds of root beer, so he scoured the stores for as many different kinds of root beer as he could.  In all, they were able to find 21 different kinds!  I'm sorry my pictures turned out kind of blurry.  :(

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive ones weren't the best tasting!  One of the favorites was a 2 liter bottle that they bought at the dollar store!   Some of them were down right gross.  We had small cups and just took a teaspoon or so of each.  It's surprising how different they all were!  They don't really drink root beer in Asia because it tastes very much like a medicine they use.  But in America, it is a tradition!  And in case you are wondering, there is no alcohol in it.  We were thinking that next time maybe we could try tasting something else like cheese, or cheese cake, or maybe chocolate!  :D  We also talked about doing a salsa making contest.  We would make that ourselves instead of buying it.  Now that is something I would love! 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Can Never Go Home

You know that saying, "You can never go home"?  Most people use it to refer to the past.  Even when you go back to where you lived before, things have changed, and it can never be what it was.  I really agree with that thinking.  I believe we should just live in the moment, and make home where we are now.
That being said, it sure would be nice to be in our home.  We are buying a house, but haven't signed the papers yet, and can't move in until at least Saturday.  But we won't have our stuff from storage that fast.  We have been staying with relatives in the mean time.  We are so grateful for their generosity and hospitality, but I know it can't be easy on them.
There is one sight that always makes me feel at home.  The picture below is of the mountains in the town where my mother has lived for many years.  She grew up in this town, and after my father returned, they moved in to my grandparents house.  I may not live there now, but it still feels like home!  Hmmm, I can't seem to add a picture from my ipad.  Here is a winter one for now.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Limited Internet

I'm staying with my mother for awhile, but she doesn't have Internet.  I can drive over to the church parking lot to use their's, but I haven't done that much.  But I'm still alive.  :)