Thanks to all you wonderful folks who stop by here and leave such wonderful comments! I read them all here and at 4Shared too! It's definnitely helping me to realize that human beings out there in cyber world DO have care and compassion. I'm feeling more chatty tonight, and have finally found a quiet time in 24 hrs. where I can focus with you. I previously felt I had progressed to having a good thing going with this blog, but having been out of touch with you all for so long makes me feel I need to start all over and rebuild somehow. I'm also aware that I hope for my blog to be a happy place for you guys to check in when time allows, so that's at least somewhere in my New Year's focus. (I don't call anything a resolution, I resolved years ago not to make New Year's resolutions, and that's about the only one I've kept!)
I'm going to do things a little reversed tonight: Treat you first, and then you have the option to stay and finish reading if you desire. Good, right? Going to share some happenings that occurred last week with you, and some regular photos I've just snapped on the fly.
Your FREEBIE - I'm back to trying my hand at designing in PSE6 (even though PSE8 is sitting here patiently waiting for me to make more room and get it installed). I've been working with some tutorials and enjoying that, so you benefit from my creative moments. These are called "word frames" and my word for this 6-pack was "Snowy" in keeping with the weather and chill still felt most everywhere. Here at the beach, we are way too cold at night; it's just not normal at all. The days warm up well with the sun out, but the nights are way below what's normal for this area. Burr! Several of these frames look like suede, one bears a paper design I made which remotely reminded me of snowflakes falling about, and one is more like woody. I tried to keep them vivid enough to stand out well against your snow photographs. Here you go! Enjoy!
This is like getting 12 frames in all because you can rotate them to the left on your layouts and put them in the portrait orientation also. Let me know how you like these so I'll know whether or not to keep them coming at you. I have all kinds of ideas for them myself, and it's fun to muse over and then make.
Currently I have almost 150 downloads on the freebie in my last post, the photo mat/mask; and that's the most downloads I've gotten ever, including the blog train I participated in while CT'ing. Go figure. I was thrilled to see the number roll over 100! Just a personal triumph!
Alrighty now, here comes the chatter part. We've been staying home quite a bit for numerous reasons, the main of which is we have both been unemployed for quite some time, the economy is what it is, etc. We are definitely to the point of getting on each other's nerves from being housebound so much, it's never been our style. We both have worked since we were pups, at times each doing multiple jobs because we are what people call "go-getters". We have never been among the idle. Our minds and hands are busy even when we are in our leisure time. That's our style. Our couples' nickname in our neighborhood is "youngbloods", and we are both in our 50's (which I am quite sure is not helping us in today's job market either). So much of the job applications of today is done online rather than in person, one never has a chance to show face to face that being in your 50's doesn't mean you are ready for the pasture. Heck, you never get a chance to impress anybody with yourself, your knowledge, your skills, your personality, your PR capababilities, etc. I'm afraid we've just become faceless names and ages on pieces of paper that get tossed aside. At any rate, back to topic; I love DH but I'm so ready for him to have somewhere to go and be on a regular daily basis. I'm tired of watching him tiddle through the house trying to stay busy every day. It isn't normal for a man. We are both creative and know how to utilize time, but it's getting to the ridiculous point now. When you are so busy with working too much, you dream about this kind of time on your hands. However, when it's forced upon you for a lengthy period, it's nowhere near how you dreamed it would be. We keep busy doing everything we can think to do, and we still have too much idle time to kill. It's made us realize that we feel we must be too young to even think of taking retirement at the early age of 62. We've always been overly talkative with each other, shared common interests, etc, and had lots of noise around us all our lives. The house is too quiet no matter what we do, I'm sick of TV running 24/7 for "company", and things like that. Everything is on my last nerve, and there is no place to run. Okay, I've vented, I feel better!
Now I'm going to take all that and turn it around with last weeks small occurrences. Bet you can't guess we stayed at home for New Year's Eve, just a quiet evening, watched the Ball drop on TV, saw the new year in pretty quietly to be a resident of this beach. In the mid morning of New Year's Day, I received a phone call from a person on the other end who explained to me who she was and that we had a mutual friend who had fallen just after midnight in the bathroom of a local pub where there was water on the floor. She and another female were at the local ER with our mutual friend and had been since the fall. X-rays had been taken, there was a bad fracture of our friend's right ankle, she was in and out of consciousness on pain meds because the attending physicians had to manually put her bone back into place so they could apply a soft splint and wrap. She was to be discharged by late evening with an appointment to return on Monday morning to see another physician to decide and schedule surgery on the ankle. I thought it strange that they would discharge her at all so quickly, but . . . . . OK, there's another dynamic here, our friend doesn't live in this area, she was merely traveling back through from WV to TX where she had journied to visit her relatives over the Christmas holidays. She used to live here a few years back, but not presently. Her friends with her at the hospital have 2-3 story stilted homes on the beach, and SN, the patient, would not be able to hobble up that many steps on new crutches and woozy from pain meds, etc. I offered my place right away even though mine is 2-story, I do have ground level entry and could make a level playing field for the new patient who has never had any kind of injury before now. I was happy to pitch in to help! It gave me something worthwhile to be doing. I'm a mom and a "mimi", and nurturing happens to be at the top of my job performance list (although it won't help me get a real job). Haha! Before her arrival to my door, DH and I scurried about feeling useful, cleaned up the downstairs area, sanitized everything for her, and readied a fouton to the fully linened and fluffy state with all the bedding and pillows we could find in the house. We have a queen sleeper fold-out in our wrap-around sectional sofa in the living room, but there was also the fouton which is in direct line with the TV when made into the sleeper position. So, we decided the fouton would be the best, and it also is in direct line to the closest downstairs powder room. Ahh yes, it was going to work just fine. I set up a bedside table with Christmas placemats, a candle, DVD movies, napkins, tissues, just stuff I figured may be needed but with some holiday cheer added to it. We got SN in the house, to the fouton, and her two other friends bought in her personal things. By this time they were exhausted after having spend almost a complete 24 hr. period wrapped up in this unfortunate accident, and they needed to check in to their own homelife. They did make another large road loop to retrieve SN's car, luggage, and stop by the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions the attending physicians had written for pain for over the weekend. No surgeons were on call because of the holiday weekend. Hmmm. Bad time to get hurt, right?
Meantime, I made phone contact with SN's mom back in WV who happens to be a nurse I worked with for 26 years in a medical clinic, she got in touch with the doctors we all worked for, and some decisions about where the surgery was going to take place began to happen. It was decided that Mom and her DH would pack up their car and head down to retrieve SN, leaving WV early in the morning on Saturday. It would take them about 8 solid hours to make the trip, and the temperatures up there were like 9 degrees, lots of snow and ice on the roads. Burr again!! The orthopedic surgeon's appointment inWV was to be early Monday morning, Jan. 4th. The hospital where the surgery was to take place is 2 hrs. west of their home in WV, a family trusted and doctor recommended referal. The plan was set and in motion. SN would then spend her recovery weeks up north with her parents. Meanwhile, SN was in and out of being awake with us, but when she was awake she was feeling a little hungry; then when she ate the comfort food I fixed she felt nauseated. This is the aftermath of anesthesia and pain meds. She wasn't really conscious too much of her right ankle and leg which was basically casted from her toes to almost her knee. We'd help her up to the powder room, back to the fouton, fluff her pillows, change TV channels, make sure the barff pan was closeby, fix some hot mashed potatoes and gravy (love that when I'm sick, doesn't everyone?), green beans, ham, fruit salad, crackers, gingerale, cookies and just whatever goodies we still had on hand from all the holiday cook-festivus. My fridge was loaded, no joke. I wasn't looking forward to the holidays this year, so I cooked like a wild woman to entertain my mind. So, my point is that this was no imposition whatsoever for me, and I was glad to do it. SN kept thanking me and so did her folks, but to me it was like isn't that what we are here on earth to do for each other? I am my brother's keeper. To me, it was like getting a chance to do a Christmas good deed. It was not quite up there with the kind Mary needed when ready to give birth to Jesus, but it made me feel good like that anyway. Here's a pic of my guest patient I snapped when she was out; mean aren't I? She will get me for this one!
To wrap up this segment, her parents arrived over 2 hrs. later than they should have, having gotten lost on a misleading road sign along the way. Her mom was wanting to put her in the car and drive halfway back to WV that very night so they could get some rest at home on Sunday after driving the last 4 hr. leg of the trip before having to get up early Monday morning and make another 2-hr. jaunt to the orthopedic doctor. Whew! The woman must have some stored up energy! But that's moms, isn't it. When one of their chicks is hurt, they simply go into overdrive. I made them all sit down and eat a complete fried chicken dinner and some coffee and cake for 30-40 minutes before thinking about doing anything that late at night. They needed a breather! They even managed to squash in a quick call to the manager to the pub where SN fell on the wet floor to begin the exchange of insurance info as is a necessary evil. Our beach temperature felt like about 20 degrees that night as they repacked their car, stuffed SN into it, and I sent them on their way with food goody ziplock gallon bags of finger foods and a homemade loaf of bread my wonderful bread machine finished up as they finished their dessert. The house smelled good, and it reminded me that it somewhat then felt like Christmas. And, poof, all were gone just as quickly as Santa and Rudolph disappearing into the night, and the house once again was silent.
I'll show you my Christmas tree now. Most showed their trees in layouts in December, but I'm behind, so better late than not at all. I asked my DH to take a picture of me in front of the tree, had to ask becaue nobody ever thinks to take my picture . . I'm always the one behind the camera and thus, I'm nowhere in the stash of photographs. (Correcting this fact is one of my scrapping goals in 2010.) Here are the two shots he snapped quickly:
So, having the photo, I scrapped it:
I used a beautiful kit called "WINTER FLANNEL" by Tiger Lily's Digis which can be found at Designs in Digital. I had a fun time cutting some paper shapes using Curvalicious Border Templates by Delicious Scraps, so be sure to hop by and visit these talented folks. It's always inspiring! You'll note another of my own word art frames in this layout. Hold on, they are coming to this blog soon!
Here are my three little grand-angels posing in front of my Christmas tree! It's getting really hard to get a photo of all of them without one of them making a weird face; just at those ages!
Here's a closer up on my bow at the top of my tree. I always make these myself, two separate large bows the same, then wire to each side of the middle top branch.
Here's a close up at night of the ornaments, but I was too lazy to put the camera on a tripod and do it correctly, so this is not as good as it should be. I usually do some photos like this to use for cards, but I'm thinking now since taking up scrapping that I'll probably work them into being papers eventually when I learn more about designing.
Here's a photo of one of DH's passtimes, and he made this for our son's fiance' as a Christmas gift (we do a lot of that, homemade gifts from the hands and heart). He's done so many different shapes, and I have a weeping willow that I would never ever part with. He has a killer Northern Pine one, and he's even done one with miniature leaves on the branches. Each one is very individual, no way to make the same one twice type of thing. These are trees fashioned from wire. The more they age, the more realistic they become. He always finds each one a very special base to be mounted upon. She was thrilled with it and almost cried. Of course, we couldn't wrap it either! Haha!
Second incident of last week: DH and I were sitting in our lazy-boys watching the evening news on TV in our den. Between our chairs is a small oval glass-topped table, and a small lamp sits on that table for reading purposes. It's been there for almost 14 years. We were commenting on the news and happened to look at each other both uttering the same words simultaneously which were "do you smell smoke?". Yes was the answer, and we both jumped out of our chairs. You know men have better periheral vision that women, right? It's a known medical fact. They have wider peripheral vision. He caught sight of the smoke before I could fine it for that reason. It was coming from the outlet that small lamp was plugged into right on the wall between and behind our two chairs! That was the only thing plugged into that outlet, too!!! I dashed for the fire extinguisher while he went to work on the outlet with a screwdriver. It was smelling pretty bad and looking not so good either. In a very small amount of time that lapsed as we feverishly dashed about for the fire extinguisher and the screwdriver separately, the smoke had made a not so nice 12-inch smutty streak up the wall, and the part of the outlet that you actually plug into had melted completely from the heat!! Yikes! I'm still freaked out about this!! DH got the outlet out of the wall after I had dashed off to cut the breaker in the breaker box which I'm amazed didn't trip off by itself!!! I've always had a healthy respect for electricity because I use it, love it, and it makes our lives so much more convenient; but more than that I've always had an extreme fear of fire; it's my worst fear probably. Love fire only when it's contained in a fireplace and that sort of thing. Now, one of you peeps out there reading this is bound to have an electrician husband, father, brother, friend, neighbor that you can ask for me why this happened. I'm baffled about it. The house is only about 14-15 yrs. old and was built by a contractor. The breaker box has plenty of circuits in it, plenty of spare ones yet, and we really don't think there is too much on any one circuit. We have been running a small space heater in this den room since the temperatures this winter seem to be below normal for us here in the south, and the den is my coolest room in winter and my warmest room in summer. It's also the room we spend the most time in. The space heater is very small and plugged into a completely different outlet across the room from the wall this happened on. Was the space heater pulling too much on the circuit which caused the weakest link to catch on fire, or was the fire just the result of a complete breakdown of that particular outlet?? Should I think there is possibly something wrong with the lamp that caused this??? How am I to think???? My DH is a handyman sort, does everything, but we don't understand electricity that well because we aren't certified electricians, have never studied it. If anybody can answer this puzzle for me, I'd sure feel better. My BFF's hubby is also a handyman sort, and he said the space heater had nothing to do with this, that it is either a complete breakdown of that particular outlet OR there is something wrong with the lamp that was plugged in there that caused this to happen. Hope to hear from some of you cyberland electricians!! Would appreciate knowledge. We have purchased a new outlet which my DH will install, that he knows how to do, we just don't understand the cause. I have smoke detectors upstairs and down, but there wasn't enough smoke to make them go off yet. The outlets are all gounded, and that's probably why the breaker didn't get tripped off yet. But just think, if we had gone out to dinner or been at a friend's house that evening and left our little table light on like we do sometimes in that room, we would have returned to a burned down home, a pile of ashes, a tragedy of sorts! I shudder to think!!! I haven't slept well since this occurred and wasn't sleeping all that well before this happened. I may never sleep again!! And remember me complaining above about staying in around home so much? Well, just another good reason to keep on staying home!! Geez!!
Third occurence last week: This one is on a happy note! Had to run to Costco (my favorite store - COSTCO ROCKS!) to restock on staples we buy in bulk. I had a little Christmas gift money but had no plans to spend it that day there. Famous last words, right? I also am fairly frugal these days because of the unemployment crisis we are both in currently. I had my Costco coupon booklet with me that comes in the mail and was cutting the appropriate coupons for my necessary items, when I came across one for this thingy that looked interesting. So . . . . I decided to locate this "thingy" in the store and have a look-see. They had a lot of them in boxdes on the end-cap of one isle and one was on display to play with, or inspect I should say. I pondered this "thingy" and decided to walk away from it and finish my normal shopping for the staples. I was good, I didn't buy anything but what was on my list, and that's pretty abnormal for me, at least when I was working. But like magnetism, before I could get out the door of that store, I was drawn back to inspect this "thingy" for a second time. I even asked DH was he thought. He thought this "thingy" may be pretty nifty, so we both pondered over it. Well, ultimately, this "thingy" ended up going home with us; and, after I put all the staples away at home, we jumped on opening that box and assembling this "thingy" like two kids at Christmas. Well for us, it was Christmas. We didn't do much for ourselves this year, did for the grandkids mostly since funds are limited. Want to see a picture of this "thingy"??? You'll laugh out loud, I'm sure!!
Okay, you can stop laughing now! I know, it's not what women are supposed to buy with their Christmas money. Not a cleaning tool, not with your Christmas money, Janytime!! Here are the facts that tipped the scale to decide to purchase this steam mop: See that tile floor? There's a lot of it. I have two geriatric Yorkies, one of whom is so blind these days that she can't see where she is going, so she goes where she is. Get it? I've spent the last several months bent over or on my hands and knees cleaning her puddles, and the Clorox Spray bottle stays strapped to my waist, and there is a roll of paper towels hanging on my left arm like a cast! I have pee pads down in two spots for my pooches, but the oldest one is the blind one and she just isn't finding the pads anymore. That causes the younger one who is 11 yrs. old to get off course also, they do the scent war thing still. At any rate, we figured if this thing could make life any easier and save us Clorox or paper towels, maybe it could pay for itself in short order. Alas, we filled up the reservoir, plugged it in, chose the medium mop head, and off I went like I was having fun or something. Half way across the entirity of my tile flooring, we turned the mop head over to use the second side, and OMG how dirty the first side was!! I had to fill the reservoir three times, but it was worth it. MY FLOOR HAS NEVER BEEN SO CLEAN!! I'm elated with this purchase and just had to share that!! After cleaning with this steam mop and getting down with the Clorox and paper towel to wipe up yet another puddle, the paper towel came up snow white, and that's a first ever!! Mind you, I mop often, use Spic & Span liquid (my favorite cleaning agent), then I rinse with clear water, then do a rinse over with Lysol water. That's my normal tile floor routine with a normal sponge mop. Yet, with all that, a paper towel has never come up snow white after wiping something up. So I'm impressed. It's made by Shark and works like a charm!
Alas, if you have made it this far with me, I shall end your misery now! Teehee! I'll be back soon with more freebies, and lots of new ideas! This blog will be a happy place!