Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sewing Is a Satisfying Hobby

With all the holiday busyness one would think sewing would be the last thing on my mind.  But, alas, some of the gifts I gave were indeed items I made.  Three years ago my husband encouraged me to purchase a new sewing machine.  My Singer that I bought in 1967 needed several parts and a newer machine, likewise, need repairs.  So we bit the bullet and made the investment in a closeout model of a Pfaff at our local "Quilt Sampler" store.


Mom in 1933 in one of her
creations.
My mother was with me the day we made the sewing machine purchase.  She was almost as excited as I was.  My mother has sewn most of her 94 years.  A neighbor lady taught her to make her own patterns when she was very young.  Mom was only 15 when she married and she had been sewing several years before then.

Mom at my wedding in outfit she made.
1967 Adcock wedding.  Mom made all attendant, flower girl & jr. usher outfits.
Mom made all kinds of dresses for my three sisters and I.  Did all the bridesmaids dresses, her dress and hat as well as white dinner jackets for my nephews for my wedding.  She created the pattern for my youngest sisters wedding gown.  And then made the dress and all the bridesmaids dresses, too.  

Powell wedding.  All dresses were made by my mom.



Mom working on bridesmaids sashes
for her granddaughter's wedding, 2007.
My niece's wedding in 2007 marked Mom's swan song for wedding attire.  She made sashes for the ready made bridesmaids dresses.  For a tribute to my Mom's sewing you can read my post of March 18, 2012.  Due to failing health and a broken wrist 2 years ago, Mom's Singer sits idle these days.

One of the big, driving forces for Gene to encourage me in the investment was language.  Yes, language.  My less than stellar language when attempting to use the newer, inexpensive Singer machine. I cursed.  I yelled.  I cried in frustration at thread backlash.  Skipped stitches would bring torrents of condemnation on the poor, needing repair machine.  I had recommendations for places to put the machine like landfills, ditches and dumpsters.

Working on puppets for church in Honduras. 
Today the sewing project was a sling for our log hauler thingie to help keep log trash off the new carpet.  Reference posts from June through August of 2012 for the complete carpet story.  But I digress.  Only one time did I have to re-thread due to a problem  And it was not the machine's issue.  I pushed the thickness a little too much.  At some point during the 6 or 7 hours of sewing, Gene noted how much different it was for him when I sew now.  A much quieter and calmer atmosphere was his observation.

Well, I still make plenty of boo boos that have to be ripped out and re done.  But all and all I really enjoy the business of making things.  No pattern, just an idea, an object, some extra material and a wonderful sewing machine makes sewing a satisfying hobby for me.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Slacker

According to dictionary.com the first definition of slacker is a person who evades his or her duty or work;  shirker.  Second is a person who evades military service.  The third definition includes such adjectives as:  purposeless, apathetic as well as being in a dead end job.

Yep, that is what I have become, a slacker.  In the 17 days since some minor surgery, I have pretty much blown off at least 3 days in a lateral position and really did not care.  The doctors and nurses told me to expect, "the recovery to be similar to recovery from childbirth.  Only, a 66 year old woman recovering from childbirth."  They were not wrong.  So I am slacking off as reaching stretches long forgotten tendons, ligaments and muscles.  Sitting can still be a bit of a challenge especially on hard chairs.  Even a deep breath can catch me off guard with a twinge of discomfort from innards that were temporarily relocated during the surgery.  But each day is better with less soreness and more flexibility.

However, this new state of slackerness could become habit forming.  I rather enjoyed not caring how the table was set for Christmas dinner.  Well, I cared but not enough to get out the silverplate flat wear.  I did manage to get the grocery store china out for us to use.  When I was working on the 8 child sized aprons, I did not use the edge gauge to make certain the hem stitch was perfectly even.  Oh, my.  Half of those were done before the surgery.  Oh, no.  It has happened just like my Momma said it would, "If you drink a little you will kill a little or cheat a little."

Doomed to hell is my soul.  I have become a slacker.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rogers' Family Christmas

For over three quarters of a century my dad's family has gathered to celebrate the birth of Christ.  There is usually a lot of food, even more laughter, gifts and the Christmas story read at some point.  Daddy died in 2004 and is still missed.  There is no male in our line of the family to carry the Rogers surname.  The closest is my son whose middle name is Roger.  Yep, that was my nod toward tradition.

Today, right now my family including my son is gathered together at my youngest sister's home in Argyle, TX.  My mom will have all 10 grandchildren surrounding her, three of her four daughters, countless in laws, nieces, a sister and so many great and great great grandchildren I lose count.  It is hard to not be there this year, again.  I have missed a lot of these gatherings over the last 37 years but have made several, too.

They misspelled Daddy's name!
I will close today with a picture of a Christmas card sent to my dad around 1918.  Not sure I will be back to this blog till after the 25th so here is wishing anyone who stops by a Joyous Celebration of the birth of my Savior and yours.

Ok, this is 4 days late as it is not the 26th but it took a while to have time to get the disc with the card scan in it.  I am including a picture from the family gathering for 2012.




Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012

While the hours of light may have been shorter by a few minutes today, my day was a productive one.  The last week or so my sewing machine has brought me pleasure.  I have made 8 child sized aprons and one for me.  The fabric is penguins, of course.  I had purchased 5 yards of the material on a whim a couple of years back.  As with any fabric person, I just needed the material with no idea of a use at the time.  Earlier in November I had the bright idea to make aprons for three young ones that occasionally come to visit.

When cousin Phyllis came for a stay she mentioned the grands and she would be making cookies.  So we whipped out 4 of the child aprons for her grandchildren last week.  A mention of the process to a nurse at Cox during a pre surgery exam resulted in making a single one for a staff person's grandchild.  Finally today I made the three for the anticipated young guests and one for me.  Such silly fun and no harm done.

For the historical context of winter solstice you can check on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice.  Living in a time with heat, lights and plentiful food makes the reading a little more meaningful.  More than one pastor has suggested that Christianity co opted the birth, death and rebirth theme from the ancients.

For me, this December 21, 2012, I am feeling a year with the hope of new beginnings.  A new knee as well as additional minor surgeries to make my 66 year old body more user friendly has given me new life.  I am thankful I live in a situation where this work can be done.  I want to be a productive member of this blue planet.  To relish the feel of material, of watching a garment develop from a flat piece of fabric.

And if you do not take a few moments on this day to visit Gretchen's blog for Dec. 17, you have missed a real treasure.  And a good belly laugh or two!  Hope you have had a rejuvenating Winter Solstice 2012!

Second Blooming

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Friends

Tonight I am being tired from working on trimming shrubs.  Yep, it is the time of year to trim those evergreen shrubs.  Just in time to make about a half dozen arrangements with yew, cedar, holly and flaming bush stems.  A few years back I saw an example for making arrangements for outdoor planters and containers.  That has become yet another one of my holiday traditions.  And the outdoor arrangements will hold well into February.  Adds interest outside the windows during dreary winter days.

Another tradition we have is knocking on our neighborhood doors on Christmas morning with a gift of fresh homemade breads for breakfast.  It is wonderful to see the pleasure this little gift does to a neighbor that we only wave across the yard with the rest of the year.  Last year as we were leaving town a few days before Christmas, we made the "Christmas bread" deliveries early.  One neighbor that has been receiving these breads for about 12 or 15 years now had a gift for us, Christmas angels.

Tonight after coming in from doing the yard work, the Christmas angel neighbors showed up with a gift before Christmas.  This gift is a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I immediately set up the tree with the neighbor watching.  I had almost bought one for our guest bedroom.  Just for the fun of having yet one more room with Christmas cheer.

What a blessing it is to live in a neighborhood for 20 years.  To watch as children grow and mature into grown men and women.  To see neighbors as grandparents or like the Christmas angel neighbors, dressing as Mr. and Mrs Claus.  These two visit neighborhood children just to give a special treat.  Yes, I am blessed to have such wonderful Christmas Friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unforgettable Christmases

Last week the Spin Cycle assignment was for Christmas memories.  We had a lot going on last week and blogging time was not on the list as a priority.  Today, life has settled down a couple more notches has provided me with some extra time.

By far the most memorable Christmas Season was in 1972.  Four years earlier Gene and I had been told we would never conceive children.  After a period of time we decided to go for adoption.    We started the long adoption process in 1970.

By the first of December of 1972 we had been deep in the process for well over a year.  We were so close to having a baby placed with us.  One of the final steps was a physical exam.  During the exam I joked about the fact I was "late" this month.  One thing led to another and on Friday, December 22, just 3 days before Christmas I received a call from the doctor's office.  I was pregnant.  WOW!  To say we were very pleased is like the world's biggest understatement.  Talk about a December to Remember.

In 1982 I had the opportunity to write and perform a bit of prose in the Aurora Community Theater Christmas program.  Gene and John Roger ( our only son ) were performing in several of the musical numbers for the group.  They had been in several previous productions.  I was not one to perform scripted material.  Not a lot of good memorization nodes in this brain.  Anyway, here is the "bit of prose" that is part life experience, family history and fiction.

First Christmases
by Janice Adcock, 1982

My sisters,
Suzie & Margaret
The first Christmas I remember was at PawPaw's house.  I remember my sisters, Momma, Daddy, Aunt Sissy, Uncle Claude and their kids.  But mostly I remember Nona Pat.  She was Marsha's beautiful, new doll.

The first Christmas I realized that one did not always spend Christmas with family was the year a neighbor boy was in the service.  We spent hours cooking goodies to send to him so that on December 25 home would not be quite so far away.

Aunt Sissy's children,
Marsha is the infant.
The next big "first Christmas" held two new experiences.  A man named Jake, big and handsome ......... and so full of love.  Not a showy, bowing, loud kind of love but a quite, sky, smiling kind of love.  And salmon soup for Christmas Eve supper.  Definitely two new experiences.

Then, there was our first Christmas with our infant son.  We felt so akin to that Holy Couple.  Jake allowed as how, "God had a powerful lot of love for us all to allow His Only Son to die on that tree to save us wretched souls."

There were so many joyous Christmases with our folks and our children.  There were weeks of gettin' ready, cooking and cleaning.  Making a fresh wreath for the front door.  And the tree, it had to be just right!  I near drove Jake mad that first Christmas in our new home.  That tree Had to be Perfect!  It took two trips before the perfect one could be found.  And then it was too tall!  I could tell just by looking at my man that he was pretty upset.  But some hot chocolate and a batch of fresh popcorn and maybe a little peck on the cheek soon had things set right.

I know the tree mattered to him 'cause I remember how he fussed the first Christmas we had electrified lights on the tree.  REA had not reached our house yet so he strung flashlight bulbs and a car battery somehow or other and cellophane over the bulbs and it was beautiful.

The first Christmas our kids started leaving home, well it seems that Christmas became even more special because we could all be together again.  Next the Christmases started changing faces as first one parent then another went to meet The Maker.  Those were hard.  But, Dear Lord, that first Christmas without my Jake ..... that had to be the hardest.

Now my first, wide-eyed, great-grand daughter has just bounded in the front door with a new doll in her hands to show me.  It is beautiful!  Do you think that just maybe she might name it Nona Pat?

First Christmas with a camera that had a flash!  Note the tree has a power cord strung to the  light cord hung from the ceiling.  This was the "front room" at Paw Paw's house, the Farnsworth homeplace.






Second Blooming

And do not forget to visit the other Spinners!

Comfort and Joy

In the wake of yet another shooting all I can do is pray for comfort.  The song, God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, reminds us to let nothing bring dismay.  As a person of faith, today I am certain there are families and friends living the horror of the loss of family members.  The tragedy of the shootings in Connecticut is but one of many tragedies throughout our world.  Today is a time for comfort and a prayer that joy will eventually seep back into the lives of people worldwide.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another Busy Day

While it is the time of year to expect to be busy, it just seems this year is being a little extra busy.  Maybe it is because I am attempting to get things done before some minor surgery next week.  Yes, I scheduled a simple procedure one week before Christmas.  With the prospect of a trip to Disney World sometime next spring, I am just wanting my stuff in working order.

Besides, I am 66 years old and several of my parts are due for some tuning up this year.  New knee is doing outstanding.  Hoping this little procedure will take care of a nuisance problem.  Then if I can just get the correct combination of shoes and arch supports to get the left hoofer to being a little happier things will be set for a while.

But today was busy getting cookies for an exchange made.  Christmas cards for the group designed, printed and addressed.  Cookies and secret sis gift wrapped and myself dressed.  It was just really busy trying to get all this done.  How did I ever work full time, share care for our son and generally be a a productive member of society?  Now it is all I can do to just get the basic things done.  So much for my simple life and just another busy day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cycles

Today we went to church where The Real Story was presented by our church choir, orchestra and actors.  The joy of watching young children participate in this centuries old tradition brought tears to these eyes.  To see the cycle of life from the 95 year old lady that walked up to the balcony just behind us to the infant in "Mary's" arms was reassuring.

After church we did a little grocery shopping preparing for a guest that will arrive tomorrow afternoon.  As we were walking up to the store,we had to stop for Gene to find the member card so we would be allowed to enter.  One of the young women from church came up to us just to say hi. We were both so pleased with this brief interaction with this expectant mother.  Kim is a beautiful young woman with two daughters.  This child is her husband's first child.  They are both teachers.

Yes, it is wonderful to see the cycles of life as traditions such as faith is being handed from generation to generation.  During our recent trip to visit relatives in Texas, we did our part for the cycles of life and the passing of traditions.  This is now the third year we have spent Thanksgiving with our son and three grandsons.

For decades I have made breads, sometimes even took orders and sold for a little cash.  The last three years I have made homemade cinnamon rolls for The Boys love them.  This year the oldest grandson who is eleven gave me a totally unsolicited, genuine hug when he saw the size of the rolls.  The rolls were about 4 or 5 inches across so they would have lots of icing as requested him.   Pretty sure that hug assured more rolls in years to come.  And The Oldest ate five of the rolls as did The Youngest.

The other tradition that has kind of just happened is doing crafts for games with the boys.  This year The Youngest was needing some farm animals so we crafted some sheep and a pig out of felt, pompoms and pipe cleaners.  The addition of wooden feet made these critters stand alone.  Reports are The Youngest is still having fun the the homemade animals.

This year's game was actually a puzzle of TCU's football helmet.  The Boys loved the challenge as did I.  Time spent with The Middle Pickle playing Battlefield or some battle game as well as making his recipe of homemade pizza was a treasure for me.  And the pizza, including home made crust was excellent!

Tonight I close with nothing more than wishing each and every person that might stumble across this little blog a life filled the the joy of positive cycles.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Light the Night

Been working all week long on the interior Christmas decorations.  I am finally down to a little something in a couple of rooms ..... and the penguins.  My plan is to have a couple of special young ladies come and help with the penguin collection.  I have about 150 separate penguin items that will require some work to have enough area to display all the little darlin's.

These two young ladies are such sweet girls.  They have stayed with us a few times while Mom could do some errands.  One of the times they were here I had the penguins on display.  They loved them especially the mechanical ones.  E even brought a penguin to a meeting where she knew I would be just so she could show me.  I have some penguin material I want to get made into either pillowcases or aprons for the girls before they visit.  Hope it works out for them to come visit.

Today Gene rewired one of the mechanical deer for the yard.  He figured that the dollar set of lights we already had would work.  And sure enough he was able to remove the old lights, rewire the frame and solder/splice the new light string to the portion that was still working.  Sure am glad to have him around.  Handy as a third hand.

While Gene was rewiring the deer, I was in the backyard hanging the lighted garlands on the fence. I plugged in the first 60' of garland and it was good to go!  The second set was the older length.  Only one section of lights were working ... bummer.  I had picked up about 10 sets of lights a couple of years ago during the end of the season.   So Mr. Third Hand came out back and did more than his share of stripping burned out strings of lights and putting on the new strings.

I hung a few more lights around a tree, on the outbuilding and it was dark.  With the addition of a lighted wreath at the end of the garland on the fence and the bows along the garland, I was done for the day.  Well, for the night.  And the view out our back windows is looking a little more festive now that we have added Light to the night.

 

Friday Fun

The Christmas decorating in the living area and dining area are almost done.  Just need to press a few things for the table setup and I will call that part complete.  Gene has most of the front of the outside of the house decorated.  Still trying to decide if I want to do the back yard this year.  A lot of work for just 2 or 3 weeks or enjoyment.  I will see how the left hoofer is feeling tomorrow.

Yesterday David and Mary dropped by to pick up a table and chairs for a Christmas gathering they are having this weekend.  David of the helped put my tree together has been pining for a beautiful set of chimes he heard at a relative's home.  He kept speaking longingly about the perfect pitch of the chimes and their beauty.  Repeatedly I suggested it would be a great gift suggestion to give his grown sons.  Or he could use those miles points on Amazon to get a set of the chimes.

All was to no avail as the old farm boy in him just could not justify the expense in his mind.  By now Mary had even joined the chorus saying the wind was too strong for chimes at their home.  So my final suggestion was to record the pitch perfect chimes.  Then he could play the sound and even pipe to his patio.  This suggestion sent them both into gales of laughter.  Mary rushed to hug me for being such a special friend.  And they drove away with a table, four chairs and a project of recording chimes.

At lunch on Thursday I had been treated to a birthday lunch with 3 friends.  The time even included gifts of earrings, wine, wine glass, Christmas sweater and a holiday scarf.  The highlight of the gift opening is always the cards.  My friends seem to always find the best, funny cards.  Gene even chuckled when he read them.

Tonight was our sorority Christmas party with friends and spouses.  Met at Logan's then moved to Fran and Bill's for yummy desserts and warm drinks.  The conversations covered everything from new grandchildren to movies to book series each of the women were reading.  Not sure how all those busy women have time for reading entire series of books.  I do good to get the cooking instructions for reheating the frozen pizza read!  Just hearing the ladies visit about their lives made for some Friday fun.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree ....

Today I put the decorations on the tree that was put up yesterday.  A very kind gentleman worked to stack the 3 pieces of the tree together.  After David, the kind gentleman, and Mary, my friend and his wife, left, I spent time shaping the limbs of the 9 foot tree.   This is only the second year for this pre lit tree so I am still learning how to work it the best.  I pulled the main extension cord down the trunk and plugged into the nearest plug.  Of course that required a chair, lamp table and various room decor to be moved.

The middle part of the tree lit perfectly.  I failed to get the plugs for the lights fished to where I could plug them in before the pieces were stacked together.  Oops.  And we had not thought to attach the plugs to a point where we could easily see them when putting the tree away in 2010.  I wiggled, contorted and crawled all over that tree looking for the plugs.  Finally located the plug for the top of the tree and fished it through to the main receptacle.  Now 2/3's of the tree was lit.

It had become woman against tree now.  I dug out the trusty head lamps.  This is a flashlight attached to an elastic band that fits on one's head.  These are great for campers.  We first used one for reading to each other after a major ice storm left us with no power for days.  Irregardless of the overall look I hit the floor staring up through the tree limbs.

Headlamps, quite the fashion statement.
Please note that by this time I have been wrestling the tree for 2.5 hours or more.  But I was able to locate the elusive plug.  Like a deer in headlights the white of the plug glowed in the light from my headlamp!  More reaching and maneuvering for the plug to meet the receptacle.  I had 100% of the lights glowing.

Time for a coffee break and some time off the gimpy foot.  A banana and a couple of crackers were tasty additions to the coffee break.  But success could only be savored for a short while as there were still two tubs of garland and ornaments to be added to the 9 ft. tree.  I was only able to get the 4 bolts of bronze and blue poly mesh garland applied last night.  Then it was birthday dinner time.

Back at it by 10 this morning.  It was time for all the ornaments, icicles, snowflakes and one "partridge" for the top.  All of these "new" decorations are in the bronze, gold, silver, cream and white tones.  Once these were all up, older, special ornaments were given preferential consideration and placement.  There is only one red ornament on the tree.  It is a flat ceramic box with a first grader's face smiling back at us.  Our one and only child.  I love that ornament cause he made it for us 33 years ago.

And an only begotten Son is what this whole season is all about for me.  Not my son but God's.  So we Christians many centuries ago co opted the various ancient Druid, Roman, German and other Northern European celebrations.  The use of evergreens to represent new life evolved into the Christmas tree.  Today I completed the decoration of our tree.  Oh, Christmas Tree .....

"

Birthday Goodies

My family and friends spoiled me today with gifts, cards, calls, emails and food!  Our son started the day with a call.  That always pleases this mom and I get all happy.  Then a friend drops by with a card and calender for devotions.  Gene disappeared for several hours on a mission for John Roger and himself.  His return brought a book from the son and a love bracelet from him.  More cards in the mail.  Emails from sisters and a call from my 94 year old mom ended the pre dinner out greetings.  A perfectly cooked steak and shrimp dinner rounded out my birthday goodies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All I Want For Christmas .....

This week's Spin Cycle assignment is our Christmas List.  You know, a letter to Santa.  Oh, my gosh.  Can I really just sit here and tell the world, or at least the viewers of the blogs what I want?  Right out there.  I am 66, yep, it is after midnight, so I am officially 66 years old and I can't think about what I want for Christmas until after my birthday on December 4.

This December birthday thing is sort of a pain for me.  I do not really like the decorations up till after my birthday.  For years I would spend my birthday work holiday decorating my house.  I am getting so slow now that I cannot get everything up inside in 3 days.  Another 2 days for the yard stuff.  And then there is still time for shopping, baking and most important, partying.

Wish 1:  A crew to help put up my decorations.  I checked online and found one down in Nixa.  A quote can be requested.

Besides as the name of the blog indicates, I got nothing in the way of answers to simple questions like what size of coffee or what show to watch.  And most of the things I really would like to have are not necessarily tangible.  You know, stuff like:

Wish 2:  Watching the grandsons open gifts on Christmas morning.

Wish 3:  Gene's mom being able to make the 25 mile trip to our home to eat a meal.

Wish 4:  Having my Granny Chandler's hot rolls one more time.

I am beginning to feel the child bubbling to the top so here comes another!

Wish 5:   A pair of custom made arch supports or if OTC fits the gifters budget one pair of each of these would be good.  Reference my Wish List on Amazon for size and pricing.

Here's another!

Wish 6:  A pair of New Balance 928 walking shoes, 8.5 wide in tan, please.

http://www.newbalance.com/New-Balance-928/WW928,default,pd.html?dwvar_WW928_color=Tan&start=2&cgid=400745

Yes, I am beginning to really get into this whole Dear Santa thing.

Wish 7:  A high rise commode!

Wish 8:  And a couple of new caps for some of my teeth!  Just a slight change from my 1953 Christmas wish.
Wish 9:  New pajamas that are slick on the outside and fuzzy warm on the inside.  Size needs to be enough to cover my double wide trailer behind size.
http://www.pajamagram.com/Category/leopard-short-leopard-lounge-ss-gallery.aspx


And I will stop with this one last request as I am feeling the greed begin to slip into my soul.

Wish 10:  A new car.  Not much as my current one has 209,000 + miles.  




And, Santa, that's all I want for Christmas....



Second Blooming

Monday, December 3, 2012

Friends From The Past

The week before and after Thanksgiving was spent in Texas visiting family and friends.  Friends from childhood, grade school, high school some not seen since 1965 the year of high school graduation.  Others not seen since 1975 when I moved to Missouri with my husband and son.

Women of the Chambersville Methodist Church.  Some are relatives as one patriarch headrighted several sections of property in Collin County.  His descendants inherited the fertile farm properties and remained to have their own families.
Congregation of the Chambersville Methodist Church around 1944-45.  I have grandparents, sisters, parents, aunts and innumerable cousins in this picture.  This building was replaced  by the red brick building just after the end of WWII.

It still amazes me how friendships can just pick back up so easily.  Close friends that have not seen each other on a regular basis can still use code to catch up on the missing years.  Reba Jane my friend and cousin that has graced the blog previously was at the Chambersville UMC Harvest Festival.  Best we can figure out the festival started when we were about 2 or 3 years old.  Both our mothers worked to cook turkeys, pies, turnips, mashed potatoes and dressing for this major fund raiser for this small, country church.

Anyway, Reba and I were able to discuss in just a few looks and sentences our recent presidential voting.  Yes, it is secret ballot but not between BFF.  Still in agreement and happy with part of the election results.

Two other ladies with whom I spent one entire day were high school friends.  Carolyn sat in front of me in sophomore English with Coach Barton.  Dona was part of the 14 member class in Allen where I attended 10th and 11th grades.  Both Dona and Carolyn were in my wedding party.

Janice, Carolyn and Dona, 11/27/12 at Dona's home in Collin County, TX.
Dona's home set in the crook of a wet weather creek was the setting for our day long visit.  We spent time remembering other high school friends and catching up on each other's lives.  Our own small children that we had when I moved to big MO are now parents themselves.  And all three of us are now experienced grandmothers!

Picture from telegraph.co.uk
So it was a great couple of weeks.  But I am worn down to a nub.   I have refreshed myself today by watching mindless TV.  Then tonight I watched a Downton Abbey and was once again was reminded of one other friend, Donna Glenn.  The actress Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey bears a striking resemblance to Donna.

Donna was a lovely woman that I knew during my Litton/Northrop Grumman years.  Donna had a beautiful, pale complexion with just a hint of freckles.  Her dark brown eyes could melt steel when she was upset.  She was smart.  Her memory about every 60's singing groups was amazing.  Donna passed away almost 5 years ago from pancreatic cancer.

Thoughts of Donna make me so glad I took the time to reconnect with friends and family during Thanksgiving holiday.  Time to hug so many of my friends from the past.



 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Disaster

You know disaster to a child can be not getting the toy at the checkout counter.  When you are a teen a disaster can be a pimple on the day of The Dance.  A really bad tasting meal or burning the toast when a woman is a young wife can send some into sobs.  Finding the baby diaperless in a fecal covered bed, wall and child can be more than a disaster, it can send some parents running for the nearest trash can or stool.

Natural disasters are measured and rated by the Richter, Saffir-Simpson or Enhanced Fujita scales.  Never been near an earthquake that I felt.  Live too far from the ocean for hurricanes.  We have had tornadoes withing 1/4 mile of our home.   We met a skidding car on a narrow, ice covered overpass the regained control about 10 feet from our car.

I do not know of a scale to measure a health disaster.  Irreversible damage, life threatening, near death, at the brink, on hospice care and septic shock come to mind as terms used in the conference rooms with doctors.  These doctors were accessing the condition of our fathers' conditions in the days and hours prior to their passing.

In 2007 after driving for about thirteen hours in a blinding snow storm Gene evidently developed a blood clot.  It took several weeks for any symptoms to manifest.  After a few days of xrays, antibiotics and a CT scan, it was determined Gene had a massive saddle blood clot in his left lung.  Imaging, also, revealed what appeared to be pneumonia in the bottom of his right lung.  He was immediately admitted to the hospital and anti-clotting meds were begun.  That was on Wednesday, April 19.

On Friday morning, April 21,  Gene, who had been somewhat uncomfortable, experienced a sudden, sharp pain.  Tests were run all day.  A morphine drip was installed.  Gene's pain just continued to increase.  Our son and his family from Texas arrived after lunch.  All indications were that Gene was doing okay.  The pain was probably just the pneumonia spreading as a CT scan had shown over half of the right lung now showing problems.  The morphine drip was increased.

Around 5 PM John Roger, our son, took his family to our house to get some dinner.  He would help get the boys to bed and return to spend the night with his dad allowing me to go home for some rest.

At 9:40 PM my husband went into coronary and respiratory arrest while I stood holding a pan for him to throw up.  His assigned nurse who had been working to determine why Gene's blood pressure was dropping dangerously low had stepped down the hall to consult by phone with a doctor.  Alarms were sounding at the nurses' station as the young PA crawled across my husband to pull the cord signalling a code blue.  All I could do was repeat very loudly over and over, "Not now, God, No, No, No, it is too soon."  I was inconsolable.  I had seen those dead looking eyes before at my father's bedside.

Within seconds the nurse was on Gene's chest beginning CPR.  As the room filled with the Code Blue team I was escorted to the hall by a nurse.  From nowhere the chaplain was by my side trying to get me to stop screaming.  She got my cell and we called first my son who did not answer.  I left a message for him to call immediately.  Everything had been "fine" with Gene when John Roger  had left the hospital so he was not keeping the phone "on him".

When unable to get through to our son, the chaplain had me call my sister who was in Texas.  Arlene was a dinner.  She was a little short telling me she could not understand anything I was saying and I should calm down and quit crying.  She had no idea till months later that the code blue team was working on Gene as she and I spoke.   I managed to calm down enough to tell her it was not good.  She had asked earlier in the week if it she needed to come to be with me.  I told her no then.  But this time I said yes without any hesitation.  Meanwhile the team pulled Gene back from the brink of death.  A nurse pulled me to the bedside while another nurse finished the conversation with my sister.

Gene was moved to CCU where he would be for the next 8 days.  Our son returned my call.  I had to say the words that we had lost his dad for a short time.  The team had gotten a heartbeat and he was breathing with difficulty.  Everything was extremely critical and unstable. That his dad was transferred into CCU and what floor that was on.  I instructed our son which door to come to get inside the hospital at this time of night.  We hung up both being in shock at the turn of events.

I returned to the room to gather belongings to take up to CCU.  There were all the electronic gadgets Gene loved to have around him.  His cpap machine, my stuff, his dirty clothing and I was still gathering stuff when my son walked into the room.  He had made the trip from our house to the hospital, walked through the emergency room entrance, gone to the CCU and came to look for me.  It seemed to be only minutes since we had spoken but it takes 10 minutes just to get to the hospital from our house.

The next 48 hours had doctors in conference rooms with John Roger and I.  The doctors were saying all the words I had heard before.  In addition there were new words like infarction, ruptured, bled out till no room for heart and lungs to work.  That is called a thoracic event not dead.  It is not dead till there are no brain waves.  Vena cava filters, arterial heart monitor, intubation, pump assisted abdominal drains and dopamine drips.  Then the "if he makes it the next 24 hours he might have a chance" talk.

There were wonderful health professionals.  The nurses in CCU worked very hard to keep Gene alive.  Dr. John saved his life by coming back to the hospital in the middle of the night to install the thoracic drain that removed enough blood to allow the re-inflation of the lungs.  This procedure also gave room for the heart to beat with less stress.

The next day Dr. John said the dark part of the lung had not been pneumonia but was an infarction.  The bottom lobe was dead, it ruptured and Gene's chest cavity had become filled with his own blood.  Later Dr. Rivers, the hospital doctor, said research had not turned up anyone who had lived through this type of event.

My husband has almost no memory of most of the events of Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of 2007.  This amnesia is due to the heavy pain medications and a merciful God.  At one point Gene recalls how good it felt to quit hurting and thinking it would be okay to stay at the "not hurting place".  Then he remembered me, his son and his son's family.  He decided we all still wanted him in our lives and he should not let go of the pain. And he started hurting again ... for us.

Gene just went to bed here on November 14, 2012.   Our grandsons via an email from their dad said they are looking forward to seeing us in a few days.  So is our son, my sister and her family.  Life is good.  And I still believe in my heart of hearts that yelling "not now" was really a prayer from the Holy Spirit.  A prayer that was answered when Gene decided not to let go of the pain.

Second Blooming
Second Blooming

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Honor of Family Veterans

 My Mom had four older brothers that were "too old" to serve in WWII.  Her two younger brothers both waited per Granny Chandler's request to be drafted.  Having grown up on a farm in Collin County, TX, during the depression, Uncle Clay had a different take on being in the service.  He said it was the warmest coat and the best pair of shoes he had ever owned!

Both brothers served in the European theater under Patton.  Uncle Clay was in a tank division.  Uncle Bud was a conscientious objector that served in the infantry.  He loaded the guns for the others to shoot.  Uncle Bud would literally not even swat a fly ever.

Uncle Bud's infantry group advanced with and actually rode on the tanks of Uncle Clay's division on the road to Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.  Uncle Bud was not part of the campaign as he had trench foot and was hospitalized at the time.

The brothers returned safely from the war.  Neither spoke much of the war until later years.  I did not get their stories on video which saddens me.  Uncle Clay did have a piece of shrapnel in his right arm.  I remember as a child touching it when sitting in his lap.  He was my Claydie and I was his Sam.  I miss both my uncles.

There were no males of age to serve from the Chandler side of my family until this year.  Aunt Opal's grandson Zach Whitehead is active duty in the Navy.

Home on leave for funeral of older brother killed in a truck wreck in Texas.

Gene's Uncle Raymond was the only one of the four brothers that went into the service during WWII.  He, too, at his mom's request waited to be drafted.  A farm boy from the rocky soil of Lawrence County, MO, the war opened up a new life for Raymond as it did for so many of the era.   Raymond spent much of his service time working in a psych ward for soldiers.  But he did end up in Germany during the final year of the war.
 
These pictures were made of a couple of the souvenirs Uncle Raymond brought back from Europe.  The Hotel was captured by the Allies.  In its basement Uncle Ray found a false wall hiding a huge stash of wine.  He was a popular guy with the officers when he showed them the find. The second picture is of a memorial service program in May of 1945.  It was held in Germany for the fallen Allied soldiers.


Uncle Pete Muth, who would not fall for him!

Gene's Aunt Jo married Pete Muth.  Pete was a sailor in Pearl Harbor on that infamous day in history.  Best we remember he was on the ship next to the Arizona.  He made several trips back to reunions with his shipmates until his passing.  His grandson, Josh, is committed to 20 years in the Air Force.  He is currently stationed in Germany.
Muth grandson, Josh

Gene's Aunt Lorene married Atwell (Pete) Young.   Pete served in the Air Force during WWII until retiring to Missouri in the early 1960's.  I do not have a photo of Pete in uniform.  Uncle Pete and Aunt Lorene were stationed in Germany during the Berlin airlift.  Uncle Pete was a maintenance crew Chief.  He is our only surviving WWII vet in the family as of today.
Uncle Pete (Atwell) on his 90th birthday in 2009.



I have two cousins that served in the Navy.  Phil was a "lifer" beginning his career in 1959 or 1960 and staying in for 20+ years.  His younger brother, Ronnie, served in the mid 60's.  Ronnie's daughter, Danielle, is currently a Navy nurse.  She has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as other areas supporting those two war zones.
Ret. Chief Phil and Chief Danielle

Danielle and proud Uncle Phil are celebrating her promotion to Chief.  She is wearing Phil's fouled anchors.  In addition Phil's grandson, Jessie Malvaney is active Army having served in Afganistan.



No picture of Gene in uniform is scanned in as of now.  Gene served three years in the Army beginning in 1959.  My late brother in law, Jack Baldwin served in the Air Force in the mid fifties.  Those were the Cold War years along with the Korean Conflict.


I am ending with such a benign looking picture until you realize who it is.  Evil.

Postcard to Granny Chandler from one of her boys after the surrender.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hateful Weed

I hate henbit.  I hope that God will forgive me for hating this plant.  It invades my flowerbeds and walkways. The last three days have be joyfully spent working in the back yard.  I love being outside and getting the yard "in shape" for the winter.

But part of the process is eradicating the henbit.  It sprouted almost overnight it seems.  I pulled, hoed, cursed and sucked up any that come in contact with the leaf blower.  Gene even pulled some out of the front flower beds.

Tonight I googled henbit weed killers.  All the sites recommended an application of a preemerigent to be applied in the fall.  Now to see if there is a place I can purchase some of the stuff.  Or possibly a call to the Greene County Extension Office or the Greenlawn service.  I have weed murder on my mind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pre Production

For about 20 years of my work life I was in a department that was defined as a preproduction group.  The work done by the different sections within the group prepared the artwork used to image circuit boards.  Factually, I worked in this type of work for around a total of 25 years for three different employers.

Production was considered the driving force for getting the artwork made to the highest quality possible.  When I first started in the circuit board work it was actually in the integrated circuitry chip imaging process.  The next job in a preproduction setting was working as a touchup artist working on the phototools.  With opaque ink, a sable brush and an exacto knife the tools were prepared for layup and eventually the tools sent to the imaging areas.

The size of the defects that the touchup folks were to correct were at times only about .001" of an inch.  That was an exacting talent to remove small specks or cover pinholes in the circuits.  This work was done for many years perched on a stool looking through bifocal microscopes.  In later years more of the work could be done on computers leaving the phototools requiring almost no touchup.  Machines would scan the phototool for defects and mark for final touchup.  The circuit board industry has mostly moved out of the US.

A thousandth of an inch is equal to about 5 human hairs.  That is small.  I am so glad I do not have to do anything that accurate any more.  I missed being exposed to and learning the technology advances through the years.  Other than that, I have not missed working outside the home.

But it bothers me that so many people complain that me and others like me are living off the government.  I thought all those years of work where I was building phototools to be used in the production of everything from rockets, radios, computers, data servers, satellites to CT scanners that I was helping build a future for our nation.  I was helping build the things soldiers used to make this land free.  I was working sometimes 13 days straight with only one day off to meet production requirements for IBM, Burroughs, Intel, Schlumberger, AT&T, Texas Instruments and Nortel just to name a few.

Now I read posts on Facebook about all the lazy people cashing in on today's hardworking folks.  Yes, I draw a Social Security check and I use Medicare.  I paid FICA taxes, Medicare taxes and federal income taxes that help support the needs of the Greatest Generation, Gen X and what ever the heck folks in their 20's and 30's are now.

So while I did not report to work for a paycheck today I did clean my own home.  Vacuumed leaves for 3 hours and dug up weeds in a couple of flower beds.  No, it is not paying a dime in taxes to have me doing these things, I was still productive.  I am realizing all those years of supporting other folks needs by working and paying taxes were my preproduction years of a time when someone else is footing the bills for me.  Thanks for taking care of me.  It was my honor to have cared for your needs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Memoriam: Willie Frances Farnsworth Rogers

Grandma in profile, Christmas 1958 at the Farnsworth house.
This week is In Memoriam week for The Spin Cycle.  I decided that instead of creating something new, I wanted to honor Grandma Rogers.

My Grandma Rogers was a dignified, former schoolmarm when I knew and loved her till her death in 1974.  Grandma was a profound Christian.  The closest to a swear I ever heard cross her lips was, "Good Sakes!"  She was a single teacher in the rural community where my widowed PawPaw Rogers was raising my dad, Arleigh, and my Aunt Sissy/Amelia.

I do not remember the story of how PawPaw and Miss Willie, as my dad always called her, became "an item".   Anyway, she and Paw Paw met, courted, married and Daddy eventually had another sister, Billie Frances.  And my Great Aunt Lillis, PawPaw's younger sister, was no longer the primary female caregiver for Daddy and Aunt Sissy.  But that is a story for another day.

My dad, Arleigh Rogers, passed in 2004.  Aunt Sissy passed on Feb. 22 this year.



I guess I really do not know a lot about my Grandma Rogers as a young child.  She grew up in the house I called the Farnsworth house.  It was located on Thompson Lane in the community of Chambersville, TX.  Grandma's name was Willie Farnsworth.  She graduated from from The Nazerine College in Commerce, TX.

Grandma had several brothers and sisters.  Dave is the only name I can recall tonight.  Of course, there was Great Grandma Farnsworth who could be quite rude to any and all.  She was "a little touched in the head" in her later years was the explanation for the behavior.  There are a few other names from the Farnsworth side of my past that float into my mind.  Mary, Kenneth, Novella, Rusty and Aunt Clara, the last is Grandma's younger sister.

Grandma lived with Aunt Billie almost as long as I can remember.  Aunt Billie, omg, divorced an abusive husband sometime in the early 1950's.  With a very young daughter to support it just made sense for the now widowed Grandma Rogers and and "grass widow" Aunt Billie to join households.  So that left Grandma caring for the child, Brenda, while Aunt Billie worked.

Aunt Billie at Community Drive home, 1957
Brenda and I were only about 3 years apart in age, many times I spent Christmas night with them after the big Rogers' Christmas gathering.  As we grew older summer vacations were opportunities for me to visit Brenda.  In our teen years summer visits included summer romances with Brenda's male schoolmates!

Brenda, Christmas, 1957, Community Dr., Dallas TX
Aunt Billie had bought a home on Community Drive in Dallas by the mid 1950's.  It was directly in the landing path for Love Field.  Indoor plumbing, rollerskating on sidewalks and playing in the sprinklers was like visiting a 5 star resort for this country girl.  Back at the Farnsworth house there was at best running water in the kitchen by about 1957.  We still bathed in a galvanized tub out on the screened in back porch there on Thompson Lane.

Oh, my!  Grandma Rogers was a patient woman with Brenda and I during those visits.  And she made some of the best teacakes for us while we would use her peddle sewing machine for making doll clothes.  The teacakes would just melt in your mouth.  Around 1959 Aunt Billie moved the trio of  (shemales as Daddy would say) to the Irving Northgate community.  A brand new home with all the fancy cooking stuff for Grandma and the teacakes were still melt in your mouth good.

Once Brenda was making us a snack.  I am sure we were just making another mess for Grandma to cleanup.  I surely remember her saying another one of her favorite phrases, "You are just messing and gomming in here!"  That expression matches so many situations!  Gene and I have copped its use especially for some of my yard projects!

Now my challenge to myself is to show the patience and respect for my friends, family and especially my grandsons!  The next time one of them does something that might not be the best choice, I need to just say, "Good Sakes".  Thank you Grandma Rogers.  I still love you.

October, 1961, last Sunday living at the Farnsworth House.  Grandma Rogers is the second from left with Aunt Billie and Brenda next.  I am to the right of my mom who is holding a grandson.  Daddy is the tall guy in the back.  My older sisters are on each side behind me.  My baby sister is in front of Grandma Rogers and Brenda.  Two brothers in law, four nephews and Grandma Chandler, who passed in 1969, complete the group.  Jack Baldwin, one of my brothers in law,  is squatting holding his son.  Jack passed in 1999.  Miss these loved ones.


Second Blooming