Thursday, December 16, 2010

JYC 16 gratefulness

What am I grateful for this holiday season? I am always grateful for family and health (or at least the medical care available to monitor health.) We have a warm home, transportation, the ability to send Heidi to college and talents to share.
All our needs are met.

JYC 15 visitors

We rarely have visitors. All of us are too withdrawn to invite people over and I am the only one that really enjoys visiting. This year we will visit Erin and Sean's home in Fruitport on December 21 to see Mike's family and Anna's family who are visiting from out of town. Christmas day we usually do not visit anyone but this year we have an invitation to the Krupiczewic's home for dinner. That will make it a little more special. The day after Christmas is our annual trip to my brother's home in Dearborn for the Guerriero side family. I also hope to get together with Steve's sister Mary and her family during the holidays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JYC 12 Christmas Past

Christmas past

JYC 10 Wrapping Paper

Wrapping presents is not much fun for me. It does seem kind of crazy to spend a lot of time on something that is just going to be thrown away. I don't care if the gifts would not please "Martha Stewart." She is not going to see them anyway. I do think that most gifts should be wrapped though. It is much more fun to open them if you do not know what is inside. I found great owl paper at Target this year and have been using it a lot.(because I like cute owls)

JYC 11 Christmas Trees

I remember as a child that our tree did not go up until a day or two before Christmas. We would go to the corner lot and choose a tree. That might happen a week or so before Christmas. Dad then had to cut the trunk evenly and put it in a pail of water outside. My mom liked doing this because the branches would start to open up after having been wrapped tight at the lot. We would pester our parents to put the tree up. Most all the ornaments were glass--we would add to the collection every year by going to Hudson's and choosing a few more. We always had an angel on the top--she was partly fiberglass so it was a little dangerous. Dad put her on first. Mom was pretty fussy about the tinsel and so we often let her do that part. Single strands only--no clumps.

One year the tree was so crooked it fell over a couple of times. Dad put nails in the wall and we tied it up so it would stay steady. That was kind of funny. I still remember some of the ornaments-little glass houses, decorated bulbs and the bubble lights (our favorite.)

As a grownup on my own, I purchased an artificial tree and that is what we have had every since. Steve was never fond of all the real needles that would get into the carpet and I am slightly allergic to evergreens. This means that the tree gets set up the day after Thanksgiving. Heidi loves to decorate it and we enjoy the tree until well after Christmas. A new artificial tree was purchased this year at Menards for $180. We looked on and off for many years, but finally Steve found one he liked.
It is very beautiful and with its all new led lights very sparkly at night.

JYC 13 Christmas Music

My favorite Christmas song as a child was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Everyone could sing this song as loudly as they wanted and it never sounded bad. We also had the Gene Autrey record which was played often on our record player. Christmas music is not too bad. However, we really do not listen to it very much at home just because we rarely have the stereo or radio on. I purchase one Christmas CD a year--this year it was Glee's Christmas with a mixture of old and new songs. Now that Heidi is at college we don't even get to hear her choirs sing Christmas songs. Note to self: I think we should put on the stereo system more regularly and have more music during this time before Christmas.

JYC 14 Gift giving

Gift giving in our family is contained. We no longer draw names with the Schmuker family and give everyone in my family gifts. So for me that just leaves Steve and Heidi. Heidi is pretty easy, I know what she likes and she usually has an email list of her wants. The last couple of years that she is in college, the list has really shrunk even though some of the gift prices have risen. Steve is much harder to buy for, he really doesn't need much and without a hobby ideas are difficult. Christmas eve, we all roll dice and decide who goes first. After that we take turns opening our gifts to each other.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Traditions Dec 9

Traditions meant a lot to me when I was younger. As a child our family always visited the Ford Rotunda's Christmas display, had Christmas Eve with my dad's family and spent Christmas Day with my mom's family. I remember looking forward to all these traditions and anticipating Christmas morning so much.

As the family grew and children made their own lives, the big family celebrations began to ebb away. I don't even remember the last time I spent any time at Christmas with my mom or dad's families. When we were first married and engaged, our Christmas Days were spent at the in-laws in Kentwood. These were pretty chaotic and crazy events with too many gifts and too much commotion. Now Steve's parents are usually gone over the holidays so we don't see anyone in his family. Our little family has a couple of traditions for Christmas Eve. We spend some time at a local museum or at the Meijer Gardens. Steve makes spaghetti bake for dinner and we have that with garlic bread, sparkling juice and salad. After, we open our family gifts. Last year Heidi still did not want to give up Santa Claus gifts on Christmas morning so she saved some out to open the next day. We have attempted occasionally to go to church that night, but finding the services very crowded we usually do not try anymore.

I wish my Christmas season was filled with much more celebration and events.
Right now as I write this on Sunday morning, Heidi, Steve and the cats are all sleeping and I am feeling very alone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 5-Advent Calendars

We had advent calendars sporadically as children. They were the paper ones with glitter and had little pictures behind the doors. We had to take turns opening the doors since we never had more than one at a time. I don't remember them being much of a Christmas item back in the fifties and sixties but I do remember that we liked having one around.

When Heidi was old enough, I purchased a felt Advent calendar from Lilian Vernon. It has little pockets on it with felt ornaments and you place an ornament on the tree everyday. Heidi has a little pattern that she does with it and the last two years she has taken it to college and then brings it back over vacation to finish up. I have also purchased Steve one from Starbucks a few years ago. It is made of cardboard and has 24 little drawers which you flip around each day. The best part for Steve is that it has a little piece of chocolate in each drawer. We have been using this for three years now.

I doubt that we will have an advent calendar at home when Heidi is living somewhere else. I know that day is coming and it makes me sad:(

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perfection--Dec 4

I think I was able to let go of perfection a few years ago. It only took 50 some years but it finally happened. Now I look at Christmas as family time. I try not to have any expectations about how it will all work out and just try to enjoy the time. I hardly bake anything, do not do Christmas cards, we don't exchange many gifts so the stress is much reduced.

I think for many years my mother's unhappiness and moodiness at the holidays affected my feelings. It seemed to me that she never had a good time. There was so much cooking, entertaining, gift buying, package mailing and it seemed she did not enjoy much of it. She maybe would get a tiny bit of joy in her baking and giving but I didn't see much.

Every since 1972, I have had to travel to be with my family at Christmas. This can be stressful (Look at Dec 2 pages) but it is so much easier to not go if the weather is poor. I always think that other people are having more fun at the holidays. I don't know why and it has taken a long time to be realistic about this. One of the reasons I am doing Journal Your Christmas is to understand and enjoy the season more.

December 1 JYC

The winter weather--I have very mixed feeling about winter weather. On one hand I hate the cold and the snow and the terrible driving but on the other hand, snow is very beautiful. I love the way it covers up the landscape making everything white. Winters as a child were magical, we lived on the other side of the state and really did not get that much snow. When it did, we loved to play in it, sled (not too many hills though) and throw snowballs. After college, I spent two winters in Hawaii, where I learned that 40 degrees and rainy in a non heated house, could be very cold and damp. But I missed the seasons changing like they do in the Michigan. Since living the last 30+ years on the west side of the state where we get this lovely phenomenon called lake effect snow, I have learned a lot about the sparkly white stuff. Sometimes it is snowing like crazy just 10 miles away, sometimes we get dumped on with inches and inches of heavy wet snow which is difficult to remove and difficult to keep from getting very icy.

Today, December 1, it snowed for the very time this season. This is much later than we usually have snow (another sign of global warming perhaps). We had 5.5 inches of heavy, wet snow that caused a lot of slide offs and accidents. I had to cancel my trip to my monthly breakfast because it was too bad for me to drive. I hate that part of the snowy wintry weather. However, I will tolerate it because I live here and I need the changing seasons. I just need to deal with it better.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3rd

Wow. I got my Christmas present a few minutes ago--the cute little die cutter from Tim Holtz and Steve:) I am waiting until he comes home to actually open the suitcase box. I am excited to use it soon.

Today's prompt at JYC 2010 is about greeting cards at Christmas. We hardly get any anymore--a couple from family and friends we don't see much and the ones from businesses (I throw those away.) I have not sent cards for many years--no particular reason. Those days of long lists, addressing cards and stamping envelopes are in my past. I remember sitting at the kitchen table at 4750 Helen, helping mom with the cards. She had beautiful handwriting so we often were regulated to stamping and sorting. There would probably be about 100 of them. I think nowadays, people do not send cards because of the electronic age, the fact that friendships and families have been reduced in numbers and the cost. We also want to see that our work was appreciated and a card just doesn't do it. What do you do with old cards?? I think I still have a box or two to dispose of now.

I made 6 cards at the last crop I went to at Jolenes. After spending over an hour, almost 2 to make a single card--and not even knowing who to send them too--I decided that making cards really wasn't my thing! However, as I am going through old cards before I discard them--I feel a little sense of loss. Getting snail mail is always fun and seeing what cards appealed to people was always interesting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter wonderland??

JYC 2010

Yesterday was December 1. Yesterday was our first snowfall. A lovely 5.5 inches of heavy wet lake effect snow. It kept coming all day and made roads extremely slippery. That means I did not go to the retiree breakfast in Standale and it meant I did not go anywhere! That's what I don't like about winter. The snow's beauty and the idea that nature is sleeping and resting up for spring is all about hope. Here it is very cloudy in the winter even if it is not snowing. Combine that with cabin fever and isolation is a recipe for depression. I am going to attempt to change that this winter. I am going to catch up on projects, start writing on a daily basis and get a handle on my stuff and housework.

I have lived where there is no snow and my heart yearned for the change of seasons. In spite of the hardships, winter is important for our states tourist business and for families to spend more time together.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

My weigh in was yesterday and I lost 5.6 for a total of 13.4 in two weeks. I am very happy with this. I have not felt hungry or too deprived on this Very Low Calorie Diet of 800-900 calories a day. I see a doctor with this program every week for a while and then every other week later in the 12 week program. There is blood work every two weeks so I feel confident that my health is being monitored. We also have a one hour group meeting each week. Yesterday we did different types of exercise for balance, strength and flexibility.

I found out too that I don't have eat what I don't like so that is good news. There are probably about 50 products (food) to choose from.My favorites are Cinnamon apple oatmeal, hot chocolate, chocolate decadence bars, and the vanilla wafers. I went for my first meal out and had a diet coke and didn't feel too awkward. They didn't know I couldn't eat real food. Tomorrow is my family reunion/bbq at my sister's house. I will be bringing my own product food to eat.

Yesterday we went to Carol's house. Some of my family noticed that I did not eat and I told a couple of sister in laws what I was doing. I wasn't hungry but I was a little teased by some of the sweets as well as the corn on the cob(one of my favorite things to eat in the summer)

We had a nice time in spite of the 85+ heat and little breeze in her backyard. Steve ate and then stayed inside the rest of the afternoon. I drank over a half gallon of water and soda just to stay hydrated. Heidi and Adam were the only young ones there because Brian and Ana are grownups now and have their own life. Mike and Sue brought Livia who was their exchange student 3 years ago. She is lovelier than ever and attending two colleges and working at her home in Brazil.

Sunday was a cloudy and warm day-we spent it inside. I did not sleep well last night so I did not get up again until 11:00 which to me seemed that I wasted half the day. We are going to watch new episodes of Drop Dead Diva and Army Wives tonight and we are all very sad to see the end of Season Three of Chuck. We just have to wait until fall to see season 4.

The upcoming week looks like it might be busy--something scheduled for every day but Friday and an all day crop on Saturday. But busy is good--distracts from food.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4, 2010

It was a quiet day here. The temperature was in the low 90's with heat indexes even higher. Due to that Heidi has decided to skip the fireworks this year. I wasn't going to go anyway because of the heat and the new food program. Or no food program.
So far we have watched 3 Chuck episodes and we are planning on watching some more.
We lost power for two hours so we played triominos--I won all three rounds and the game easily with 574 points.
Talked to Alice today==might visit tomorrow. Heidi's bathroom is done and it looks very different=so orangy and bright--I really like the shower curtain with the flowers.
Might do some shopping tomorrow--

Grateful for the freedoms we have in the United States

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday July 3 Day 9

I woke up early this morning even after being up a couple of hours in the night with hiccups. That never starts my day right. I switched things around a little with my food today, ate the wafers for breakfast and oatmeal for a snack. I had intentions of doing some shopping today but did not do it. Steve and I watched a couple of Chuck episodes-we only have one left in season two. Otherwise, I kind of finished up cleaning my scrap area. It is 7:00 p.m. and I still have not exercised. I am going to do that during Jeopardy. Sarah did not leave until 5:00 p.m. which was good--I think she wore Heidi out for the rest of the day.

I voiced that I really did not want to go to the big firework show in Grand Rapids due to the predicted heat indexes in the high 90 's, a long walk and still being unsure about the food program and side effects. I don't know what Steve or Heidi will do. Steve really doesn't like going and Heidi is reluctant to call any friends.

I am off now to scrapbook and exercise. Happy fourth of July.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2 Fourth of July Weekend

I am having such a hard time lately staying focused on anything. I finally spent the last hour and a half cleaning my scrap desk (still not done) and walking on the treadmill. I need to go eat shortly--I am behind on my calories and water today. My niece Sara has come for the next day or two to visit with Heidi--that's great--it keeps her busy and not bugging me for things to do. She made her first trip to D&W today to shop-mostly for her and Sara but she picked up few things for the house. She was extremely disappointed in her paint job in her bathroom-I am sure Steve will clean things up for her tonight. It really wasn't too bad but they are both perfectionists. We don't have any plans so far for the fourth. I am going back now to cleaning after dinner.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last week I began a Very Low Calorie Diet--800 to 900 calories a day. It is under a doctor's supervision and part of a medical weight loss program. Today was my first weigh in--I lost 7.6 pounds. I have to eat food provided by them which is high protein, low carb and low calories. So far I have not gotten hungry-the food is very filling. The biggest problem is the taste, texture and smell of some of the food-especially the entrees that are in non-refrigerated boxes. You just open them up and heat them in the microwave. I am really struggling with this and when I mentioned it at the session today, I did not get much sympathy. I am going to try the rest of the entrees--there are about 10 different kinds. Has anyone ever done anything like this?
The other patients said to doctor them up and I have to figure out how to do that. Fortunately,my husband is being very supportive-he makes dinner for himself and our daughter. Wish me luck--it is definitely harder to do this at my age (61).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1st

We are back from our 8th (I think) trip to Ann Arbor/Chelsea in the last 3 months. Today Steve had a different procedure done on his nerve hoping to calm the omnipresent headache. We won't know for several weeks if this procedure worked. Waiting is difficult--it seems like that is all we have been doing this year so far. From the hospitalization in Jan/Feb to the trips for tests and procedures--waiting. Right now his right side is relatively pain-free. However it is difficult to tell with the left side being very painful. Today's procedure should eliminate or lessen the pain on the left side. We are hopeful but not too excited yet.

It is becoming very wearing on both of us. I have changed so many appointments, missed classes and social events because of this crazy schedule we have had. It is difficult for me to express my weariness to him because it just makes him feel worse. I have really never had to deal with a long process such as this and my heart goes out to him for the pain and suffering he is dealing with.

Right now I am waiting to pick up Heidi from her downtown class. She only has 5 sessions left and is grumbling a bit about it. However, she is learning a lot and is enjoying viewing some of the films shown.

I have a busy week coming up--appointments, cropping (yea), breakfast and shopping. Sometimes it is good to be busy but right now I need a day or two with no one around and nothing I have to do. Renewal of the spirit and mind--

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Books and adult conversation

I went to my first book club meeting at OLLI Aquinas today. I tried to reread the book, The Color of Water by James McBride, but my reserved library copy did not come in on time. I decided to go anyway and give the club a test, i.e. would I like the set up, the people, would someone dominate the conversation and just the general aura. I had a good time. The professor that was running the group was extremely friendly and warm. The people were intelligent, polite and made good points about the books and about the writing we did. The book was a memoir so we had to write about something in our life that was inspired by the sentences she gave us from the book. Dennis was the eldest and the pioneer in our family. Momma could not cook to save her life. My brothers and sisters were my friends until it came to food. I chose the first one to write about and ended up telling the story of leaving home when I was a junior in college and essentially never returning but chosing to live 3 hours away. Out of the five of us, only my second brother, Dennis, did the same--living about 3 hours north of our childhood home. I always felt like the problem child, the oddball, but when Dennis and I were talking at the hospital the night Dad died, we discovered we both felt that way. Too bad that it took 30+ years to discover that about each other.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Keeping on toward those goals

I used WII Fit this morning. I bought it early last fall and like so many other things that are good for me, I had only used it a couple of times. Since I wanted a fresh start, I deleted my old information and started over. Balance is one thing I really need to work on. The game said I must be fidgeting too much because it couldn't get a read on me. Finally, I started to play some of the balance games. I had a hard time with putting the ball in the hole on the tray, skiing downhill (a good thing it was just a video game) and trouble with other things that needed balance. At one point, the game asked me if I tripped a lot because my balance was so bad. However, this afternoon Heidi told me that she knocked one of the feet off when she moved the balance board yesterday.
So maybe I am not so bad after all. I will test it out tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Blahs

It seems in my family we suffer from the Sunday blahs. Steve is always very tired and likes to nap a lot on Sunday. When Heidi is home her preference is to sleep too. I get up late and usually take all morning waking up, reading the Sunday paper, using the computer, etc. I used to try very hard to get them interested in some sort of family activity but I have pretty much given up. I get through Sundays by doing a lot of scrapping and putzing around. Before retirement, I really hated Sundays because most of the time, I really did not like going back to work on Monday. Now that I have gotten over trying to be a social director, they are better. In fact, I usually look forward to having the house back to myself on Monday. Not this Monday though-the kid is home for another week:)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Steve and I are having a quiet anniversary. Getting married during the holidays 22 years ago, seemed like a good idea but when you want to stay somewhere or eat out, sometimes your options are limited. We slept in today after having an early morning conversation around 4:00 a.m.
Johnny Carino's was Steve's choice for lunch. I don't particularly care for most of their menu because it is country Italian which is a heavier type of meal. But my fettuccine Alfredo was good and we had a relaxing lunch with some fun older music playing--like Frank Sinatra singing Fly Me to the Moon. We were going to attend the movie Blind Sided with Sandra Bullock but when driving home through the theater parking lot (Johnny Carino's is in the same area) we could tell the theater was packed. Since there we no parking spaces except two lots away, we came home and watched Alien on tv. I had rented it as well as it sequel Wednesday and since none of us had seen it, we enjoyed it--especially after the alien appeared. I think we are going to watch part 2 after my homemade (Chef Boyardee pizza mix) dinner. Tomorrow is January 3, I hope to get some scrapping done.

Friday, January 1, 2010


After some discussion about how this year is pronounced-two thousand ten or twenty-ten, the second one twenty ten seems to be the most desired. Anyway, welcome to 2010. I, for one, am glad last year is over--there were a couple of big rough spots and I am glad they are behind me.

I have so many goals for this year that already I am feeling overwhelmed. I need to analyze my time better and make sure I get the things done that I want done and have peace about the rest.

Here is my hefty list--

1. Finish all my on-line classes. Believe me this is huge!!

2. Blog on a regular basis-at least once a week but I would like to do this daily.

3. Get serious about my health--exercise, eat right, control diabetes better.

4. Attempt to have a positive and happy attitude about life. It makes it so much easier to get out and accomplish these goals.

5. Join a Red Hat club in the area.

6. Organize my personal scrapbooks and decide what is important to scrapbook.

7. Organize my spaces--this may take all year and I am all right with that.

8. Love my family by showing them love in various non-food related ways.

9. Buy a headboard for our bed.

10. Get house painted?