Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And Life Goes On......

Another kidney stone, 3 surgeries, 2 weeks on pain meds, vacation and a very sick son-in-law all happening at once. Add to that a thriving online business, preparing for business changes at the Non-Profit I work for and getting my son ready for college........I couldn't drive for three week until 2 days before we came home from vacation. Not the way I want to spend my vacation but there were so many blessings in the midst of all that - I have a wonderful family and my grand-daughters are worth more than their weight in gold. Their smiles, giggles, laughs and kisses made us all so much happier. Now that we are home, getting back into our regular routine, again life throws some more at us. But we are together and we will get through all this. And, hopefully, this time next year we can look back and be grateful for each other and the strength God gives us.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yesterday, 4th of July, 2012

Ever have one of those days you know you're going to look back on and remember. Yesterday was one of those days - my husband and I took our soon to be college bound son and one of his friends to the NC Mountains. We started with lunch at Louise's Rock House Restaurant in Linville Falls, NC. The food there is always good - we know Louise and all her daughters. Her oldest daughter, Shirley, owns the place now. Just as we got there the bottom fell out of the sky. We sat and ate lunch while the world outside cooled off and had a good long drink. From there we went to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Falls Visitors Center, hiked down to the Upper and Lower Falls. While Louis, Al and Cynthia hiked up to another overlook, I walked back to the parking lot and met a couple from Vail, NC. She was walking with a cane and he was walking very patiently beside her. They are 78 years old and still hiking the NC mountains. Made me think, "That's how I want to be 22 years from now." They told me about hiking up to Table Rock with 5 of their grand-children about 5 years ago. (That's a short but strenuous hike - Moderate Rating) They have 30 in their family now with all their children, grands and great-grands, almost too many to house together on vacation but it sounded like they all get together and still have fun. We shared stories about our grand-children and I'm pretty sure all three of us were grinning pretty big when we came out of those woods. Met up with my guys and we headed to Wiseman's View. (Cynthia had never been to this part of the NC Mountain so we were giving her a mini-tour of some of our favorite places.) Wiseman's as always, did not disappoint. View was clear, humidity was starting to climb again since the rain, which we could see in the distance over Morganton. Just enough of a breeze - I stood still at the bottom of the stairs and couldn't help but think of the cold night we came up there last Fall and watched the Milky Way and more stars than you can imagine. Showed Cynthia the top of Table Rock from there and said, "That's where you're going to be tonight." Her eyes about fell out of her head.

After the walk back out, we drove up to Table Rock while the heavens opened up again. It started to hail HARD just as we came through Gingercake Acres into the trees at the beginning of the dirt road. We waited in the car for a few minutes for the rain to stop, got out and stepped into a luscious, green fresh fragrant world with a few drips from the trees above. I started a charcoal fire in a grill that was still HOT from someone else's lunch (DON'T EVER go off and leave HOT coals in a grill, especially in a National or State Park. Have you seen the damage in Colorado and Utah in the last few weeks???). Tried to start a camp fire as well, but everything was too wet. While I waited for the coals to get red hot, Louis, Al and Cynthia hiked out beyond the chimneys on the other side of the parking lot from Table Rock. Cynthia came back and said she got some great panoramic shots of Linville Gorge and towards the setting sun in the western sky. I forgot plates, of all things, so we used tin foil and ate kosher hot dogs, my homemade potatoe salad and had s'mores as dessert (that's why I was trying to build a camp fire but the charcoal did just fine).

At 8:00, they set off for the summit of Table Rock, one of my favorite places on this Earth! I couldn't go because the last time we were up there, about three weeks ago, I smashed my big toe and still can't wear anything but sandals. So, I waited in the car, crocheting until after 10:00PM. There was enough light from an almost full moon that I didn't need any artificial light. Then I lay back in the seat and watched the stars starting to twinkle between the leaves of the trees above me. Yes, people came and went and I DON'T recommend waiting in a car in a parking lot alone at night anywhere, but I felt very much at peace. There were people camping just beyond the picnic grounds and I knew if anyone bothered me I could make enough noise to get their attention. And, I had the car keys -I'm not beyond moving the car and getting out of there if someone starts something. But everything was quiet and I found myself going over things in my mind that I hadn't thought about for a while. At 10:45PM my guys showed up - the light from the moon was so bright it was like light pollution, but it was beautiful. On their way back down the mountain they helped two other groups of people who had ventured up there without flashlights. I've come down that trail before during a full moon with no flashlights (not recommended), slow going and we had to be careful especially since we had two small children in our group. But it was fun. Everyone piled back into the car, Cynthia went out like a light, and we talked on the way home, watching that bright moon accompany us all the way. A good day, a wonderful 4th of July celebrating some of this country's rich wonders. I love living in North Carolina.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Game Informer Magazine link to my Journey Scarf

A young man asked me to make him a Journey Video Game Scarf - I looked up the game, learned as much as I could about the scarves, came up with an original design and sold him the scarf. Then I listed the scarf as a custom order - they take a little over a week to make. Today, June 29, 2012, Game Informer Magazine found my listing and posted a link to it. Holy Cow! My hits are out the roof. Anyone who convos me and mentions Game Informer Magazine will get a 10% discount off the price. I will convo them a special coupon code to be used at the time of their order. Thanks so much Game Informer Magazine!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Balancing Act

Ever feel you've committed yourself to too much? I left Child Protective Services a year ago in April to babysit grandchildren and make a committed effort to work on Child Abuse Prevention here in Gaston County. There are days when I do a real juggling act - between the girls, my family, Prevent Child Abuse Gaston, Arts on Main (Gaston County Art Guild) and my online business, I am VERY busy. Choices and priorities, then dealing with day to day crises as well as people who want to tell me what to do - some days I just want to move to the NC mountains and hide! But today, today was good - meeting with Project Committee with Prevent Child Abuse Gaston, volunteering to help build a play ground with the local YMCA, Kaboom, ESPN and Disney, meeting with a young woman writing a book about her great grandmother and the struggles during the Loray Mill Strike back in 1929, and then spending some good quiet time with my son who is about to go off to college. Very busy day. Tomorrow I must contact some folks about designing a website for Prevent Child Abuse Gaston, do some laundry, clean at least one room in this old house and then spend the afternoon at Arts on Main. Louis comes home and we get ready for the weekend. Don't EVER let it be said that retirement is boring. It can be whatever you want it to be. Oh and somewhere in there, I'll get some crocheting done.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feeling My Age

This past month has been very busy and very difficult for me. Starting on March 26, 2012, I had a kidney stone attack and ended up in the hospital. First ride in an ambulance - that was an experience I don't want to repeat, but the EMTs were fabulous. Then two weeks later another attack two days in a row that made me extremely sick and I landed back in the hospital for pain management and surgery. When my urologist went in to get the stone, it disappeared so they ended up doing an exploratory all through my kidney. Had a stint for two weeks and when my doc took it out we discovered I had a raging infection. So now we're battling that. Through it all I've had tremendous support from my family and friends; I still was able to plan and host the 1st Child Abuse Prevention Month Candlelight Vigil here in Gastonia and attend the Presentation of the Proclamation from the City Council (the one by the County Commissioners was the night of my surgery so a Board Member of the Prevent Child Abuse Gaston stood in for me). I attended our other functions this month as well, just moving kinda slow. And, my progress on my custom order list really took a toll, but I'm getting caught up. I'm not complaining, just stating that when you really want to do something, despite whatever obstacles may get in your way, you can do it. And, I had the help of a very attentive family - for that I am forever grateful. Don't ever take being pain free for granted because it can change in a heartbeat. And thank God for every day you are healthy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Selling my Molly Weasley Sleeve Pattern

I get asked all the time to sell my Molly Weasley sleeve pattern. The one I use now is my own design and there are several good reasons I don't sell it.

1) It changes every time I make a pair of sleeves.

2) I have no desire to write it down - it's in my head.

3) This is how I make my extra money now.

I'm a retired Child Protective Services Supervisor. I worked in that field for over 25 years and now I'm the Executive Director for a Child Abuse Prevention Agency on a voluntary basis until we get our funding set up.

My crochet is my art and maybe someday I'll consider writing down the pattern and selling it. But right now, that does not fit in my plans. My crochet continues to be a great source of release and therapy for me. And, this past year it has been very lucrative for me. So when that day comes, I'll announce it and then put it out but not now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Designs

Been a while since I posted anything here so thought I would talk a bit about my new designs. 1st - my new sleeve design is much more intricate, stitches are smaller, tighter design, more complex. Some stitches are overlaid and considered the most difficult crochet. Counts must be perfect to keep the correct pattern and all ends must be tucked in a way that you cannot tell where one strand ends and another begins. No Knots! There are also two hallmark stitches in each CCDZS crocheted piece. One is a sideways shell stitch, the other is a "window" effect.

The bodice is about to change as well. I'll leave the description for the pictures that will be posted on my facebook page in about another two weeks. It's going to be gorgeous!