First Snow of the Season!

I wish everyone was here! The snow is even more beautiful than we imagined. I called Christopher this morning to thank him for wearing his pajama’s backwards and bringing the first snow of the season. My view from the loft is incredible and I am so glad that I ended up in this space. My Uggs are perfect for indoor toasty feet.

Marie (my cleaning lady) and her significant other’s Mom and I are going crafting today and then Jim and I attend the big Hughes event tonight. Hope we can get out of the driveway. Looking forward to both. 

Spent the whole day in Hagerstown yesterday. Have an epidural scheduled for the 4th of January and depending on that will probably be looking at neck surgery a few weeks later. It is just day surgery and I will be back to work within a day. If I can schedule for Friday, I will have Sat and Sun to recuperate and be back at work on Monday – Nothing like the hip arthroscopy. It appears that I will be able to continue to throw clay because they can restore the spacing on C6, C7 and the weakness in my left arm will not continue to progress. They go in from the front so they aren’t even near the spinal column.

I have rearranged some of the Christmas stuff and added ribbon to the tree which made a big difference. I never made it to the Christmas Tree Store in Hagerstown yesterday (a very nice GTM type store). The Joann’s in Hagerstown is dismal compared to Frederick. And the Wal-Mart was decimated. But my GPS took me home through Rouzerville and I got what I needed that Wal-Mart was sold out of at Lowes on the way home. I got 2 of the 4 strings of icicle lights up around the deck railing last night and will do the other 2 next week after the snow melts and it is warmer.

Jim is out using his blower to see how well it blows snow from the pathways and it seems to be doing a decent job. He used it to blow the leaves from the grass in the fall and got a high end machine that claimed to also do light snow which describes our climate and snowfall.

Fall is Here

The temperatures are starting to drop and the leaves are starting to turn on some of the trees. I got to wear my new Costco winter jammies last night after lounging in them after dinner and it was very cozy with the fire going in the fireplace and CSI on the television. Jim got some hot dogs from the Mennonite Butcher Shop in Waynesbourogh and grilled them for dinner. They were very yummy with fresh corn from the farmers market on 550. While I am sorry to see the green leave us, I am also looking forward to the autumn color and the possibility of snow during the Christmas Holidays.


I finished our house numbers yesterday while monitoring at the Pottery School and I am anxious to see how they turn out. We planted some of my end-of-season marked down perennials and have the rest to plant today after it warms up a little. I would also like to plant our blueberry bushes, but there probably won’t be time until next weekend. Jan and Kim are visiting from Buffalo and maybe Jan and I can make apple butter from the apples from our apple trees while the men work on other stuff.


Now that we have been in the house for awhile, we are changing our ideas about how we are going to use the space and finding that we are going to have to re-arrange a lot of the furniture. We are going to locate the craft area down in the Family Room and put Jim’s Office in the bedroom on the main floor. We are going to "convert" the office space downstairs into a workroom for Jim but will need to install a fair number of cabinets, counter space and different floor for that room. This arrangement seems far better for the use of the space given I would rather be throwing than sewing at this point in my life. Jim uses his office on a daily basis. I am a little afraid if his office is downstairs that I will never see him. I am glad to have a plan in place that seems to make good sense. Perhaps when we have the Slocum’s here we can move some furniture to get the project started. Both Ryan and Wes and their respective families are coming to visit while the Slocum’s are here giving us 3 guys to perhaps move some of the lighter stuff. It depends if Kim wants to help with that type of project. Otherwise we are going to BBQ and play cards until we are tired of both!


My health issues continue to cause me some anxiety and one of the medications I was on for the neuropathy was causing serious mood changes so I am discontinuing that one over the next week or so. The side effects were not worth the relief of the numbness and tingling in my left arm. The good news (if you want to call it that) is that the symptoms in the left arm are caused by carpal tunnel and not the osteophorytic ridges in my neck pressing on a nerve. I am in wrist braces at night and when it is practical during the day. I have not had the follow-up appointment since the nerve conduction study to find out what the long term approach for the carpal tunnel will be. I am going to a large medical center in Baltimore for my hip on Tuesday. The condition I have is so rare that no one in Frederick really wants to treat it. I am trying to stay optimistic, which will probably be easier once I am off of the neuropathy medication.


Best get moving on the projects for the day. This is the last weekend day we will have to putter for awhile and we need to take advantage of it.



Labor Day

It rained a little last night and the weekend’s weather has been cool and dry. We have been working on the house and unpacking boxes. It seems like an endless task. And, of course, finding the time and right mood to get it all done is difficult. We are going to have a lot of furniture to sell or give away and that alone will be a major project. We will need to hire some help, yet again to move furniture and load a truck or trailer to haul the extra pieces to auction or antique store. At lease Frederick is antique heaven, so we should be able to get some help in that regard.
We started on the perenial garden yesterday. Jim spent most of the afternoon digging out a stump. He mentioned he was glad we wern’t trying to be farmers. I hope that the Crepe Myrtle gets enough sun to bloom well. Otherwise, we will have to move it and I’m not sure we will be able to find a place with much more sun.
I am making a clay plaque with our house numbers and hope to finish the design part today. The cardboard we are using now probably won’t make it through the winter. Everyone is hoping for lots of snow since the summer was so cool. I am amoung those that are wishing for snow. I will be able to work remotely on those days. It will be a pleasure to set up my work-laptop and sit in the living room and watch the snow while I work.
We emptied a fair number of boxes yesterday. I swear the boxes reproduce in the night. I did laundry last night in addition as Jim is wearing longsleeve shirts and dockers. His inventory of long sleeve shirts is limited as he didn’t need long sleeves in San Diego. He has lots of Dockers, however they do not last well and he keeps pulling out pants that have holes at the wallet pocket and side pocket. I sense that Christmas for him will be easy this year. Especially with the traveling I am sure there are some travel gadgets he would enjoy using. I will post pictures of our projects later when they are finished.


A thunderstorm is passing through this evening and I hope we get enough rain to keep things green a little longer. I am struggling to get the invitations for my father’s 85th Birthday made and sent. When I get home it just seems like I don’t have the energy to compose and address envelopes. I am recently off of the HRT and had a smallpox vaccination for work last week and wonder if that hasn’t provided a small undercurrent of fatigue and anxiety. The smallpox vaccination itches like crazy and is very distracting. The hormones boosted my energy level and I seem to be lagging now that the hot flashes are starting to return. They are not as bad as a year ago, so I must be on the downhill slope of this age change. I considered starting swimming again to boost the energyu levels except that I can’t get the vaccination site wet for another 20 days.


Jim left today for San Diego and I thought he would have called by now. He missed his flight this morning in spite of being at the airport over an hour early. He took a later flight, but his day was not as planned and he was very tired to begin with. With Mick and Cora’s visit, his time got over-planned and he didn’t get much sleep last night. He will have no chance to recover when he returns as he starts work almost immediately. He is relieved to have found employment, but I sense that the unknown of his job is adding a current of anxiety for him also. All of the changes have been good – but stressful in certain ways. I looked downstairs this evening and wonder where the extra furniture is going to go. . . . .


We have had fresh berry pie from the berries on the property – yummy. We love the house. Wish everyone could visit, but I know that time off and travel expenses are an issue .  

Shannon is pregnant with baby #2. She sees a new OB today and is 12 weeks along. Hopefully she will be over the first trimester morning sickness in a couple of weeks and things will be a little easier. She just had her 30th birthday and is feeling old. She started bleeding and then spotting last week but the baby was fine. Turns out that this is the time that the placenta really settles in and bleeding is not uncommon. I hope that the new OB is more understanding than the previous one that never returned her calls after the emergency room visit.


The rain is really coming down now. I will have to wait to change the humming bird feeders. We have a handful that fight over 3 feeders and keep them empty before the mold can grow. In this climate, that is pretty fast.


I am hoping that the lightening bugs don’t disappear before Torsten arrives. They are so pretty and here in the mountains they stay up in the trees as well as near the ground. Jim took a walk with Cora and Mick night before last and he said that they were so plentiful that it looked like the trees had been strung with thousands of tiny blinking Christmas tree lights. They aren’t so plentiful near the house.


Enough for now – I need to get back to invitations. . . . .




More Changes

The biggest news to report is that Jim has accepted a position as a Technical Manager for Hughes Communications in Germantown. It is a full-time position and is a good opportunity for him. He is in charge of the call center in India and will be traveling there 2-3 times a year. I hope to tag along on one of his trips to see some of this country. I have heard that it is beautiful but the poverty is overwhelming. I would still like to visit at least once. He starts on the 24th of August. Because he is starting work and they do not want him to start and then take time off, we have changed our September plans. I will be attending Torsten’s and Daddy’s birthday celebration alone. Jim will be flying to S. California on the 11th of August and drive the remainder of our belongings to Sabillasville before he starts work. Sal is going to drive back with him again and hopefully stay a little longer this time to see some of the sights on the right coast. I wish Sharon would also come and visit. I think she would enjoy stitching here as well as in San Jose. Jim will also be bringing the remainder of Wesley and Julie’s wedding presents and items still in storage at Bestemor’s and Bestefar’s.


The fun part of unpacking is done and now we are getting to the boxes with harder decisions attached to them. We are committed to 2 boxes a day on the weekends and 1 box an evening on the weeknights that we are home. Jim is setting up shelving in the garage today which will help a lot. The garrage was so full that we couldn’t move anything to look for something. Unpacking will continue to the end of the year I am sure and it will take us a while to determine if the kitchen is the way that we want it. I have finished decorating the upstairs guest room and I am very pleased with the results. I had to work around the paint that was already there and managed fine with boarders from Ollies (a GTM type store in Frederick) and curtains from the Thrift Shop on base. I have posted pictures so you can see. My computer space is functional, but I need a plant to hide the cords and a different printer stand. Once we have a few of Jim’s paychecks available we can make some of those adjustments.


I have gone nuts with the number of plants available here and found a Peony on sale for $15 at Stadler’s Thursday. It is double pink and I am having trouble determining where to put it. The yard is beautiful the way it is and simple. But I want to have growing season blooms to enjoy. The yard is so large that it is a little difficult to determine where to put something. I want to have a plan rather than just start putting things here and there. But I am also anxious to get things in the ground so that they can establish and start growing. Thank goodness that grapes are bare root. That will give us some time to get the vineyard area ready provided we don’t have a really snowy winter. If it is as mild this winter as it was last year, there will be no problem getting the vines in the ground.


Shannon’s pregnancy is solid at this point and I am looking forward to February when I can go visit and be a Grandma for a while. I’m also looking forward to their visit at the end of this month. Jim found another toad in the garage this morning and I think that Torsten will have a lot of fun with Aunt Julie and Uncle Wes as well as exploring the property and finding his own toads with Grandpa Jim’s help. They are so cute. And just the right size for a four-year-old to hold. They have the advantage over lizards in that they don’t bite.


We are enjoying our heirloom tomatoes and farmers market produce. We have also found a really nice meat market in Jefferson and the meat is wonderful from this shop. Jefferson is close to the Pottery School so we will probably start going there on a routine basis. It is near a to-die-for bakery shop next door (bad combination) which will strain our will-power I am sure.


It rained all day yesterday and everything is soaked. It is partly sunny today but still really damp everywhere. More thundershowers are on the way tomorrow. The Winchester Lukeharts are visiting tomorrow for BBQ and Wii gaming now that the Wii is set up. Christopher and Alex had a game that they wanted to share with Grandpa Jim and teach him how to play.


That is all I have time to write at this point.



We are Moved!

We are settling in fairly well. We entirely out of the rental on Tuesday of this week and are relieved to be entirely in the new house in Sabillasville. We have made a good effort to make the main floor livable even though we still have lots to unpack. The bottom floor is packed with boxes, a lot empty, but about ½ full. Even though should be fairly easy to organize. It is the garage that proves to be the biggest challenge. It won’t be until Jim can get the shelving where it needs to be until we can start loading the shelves and get some room in the garage. I wish I didn’t have to go to work for a couple of weeks; it would be nice to just stay home and get things organized. Jim is still planning on moving the rest of our belongings from San Diego in September. I am anxious to have the rest of our furniture and, of course, the pottery studio. Jim will be working full time within the next couple of weeks and we are feeling the time crunch as we think of all of the things that he does during the week on the part-time work status. Our progress at organizing the new house will slow as we are both away from the house for our respective 40 hours a week.


The appointment for my hip and neck issues was disappointing. The orthopedist wanted an MRI to help diagnose the extra length to my right leg as the x-ray did not reveal anything to account for the pain nor the extra 2 inches that have developed over the last 10 years. I can’t have an MRI because of the metal in my ears so he has to settle for a CAT scan which does not have the clarity of an MRI. I am discouraged. The tingling that has developed in my left arm did not respond to the course of prednisone (although my hip did feel better for a week or so) so I don’t know what is in store with that; probably another irritation to live with and more muscle loss to that arm. I hope that I continue to be able to do pottery in spite of the nerve damage. 


The house and surrounding property make up for a lot of the age-related deterioration at this point in time at least. I stopped by a Farmers Market that is on the way home yesterday and discovered a gold mine in fresh fruits and vegetables. The owner grows everything except the blueberries that he gets from another farmer in the area. Everything was picked that day and fabulous. We had the fresh beets this evening with a chicken breast, the beet greens and a green salad. It really doesn’t get any better than that. We had left-over berry pie I made with wine berries, boysenberries and blackberries picked from the bushes that grow at the edge of our lawn. It was a surprise to find that we had so many berry bushes growing wild. The berries are a nice touch to an already awesome property. In addition, the hummingbirds that I have tried for 2 summers to attract in Frederick are present here in the mountains. I have seen at least 2 hummers – one with a red chest and the other with a yellow chest. The yellow one is small and very skittish but keeps visiting the feeder outside the kitchen window.


I have replaced half of the wall paper boarder in the guest bedroom. I think it looks very nice and goes with the Ethan Allen furniture and paint in the room. It cost a whopping $3.00 for the whole room and replaced teddy bears in tu-tu’s. The bedspread even matches everything. I think I will get lace curtains to cover the windows and then all I have to do is figure out the valence. . . .


Obviously our computers are up and I am glad to be back on line. Tomorrow starts a new week and then a visit to Buffalo next weekend. We are looking forward to the drive and visit with our New York friends.



Snow Flurries

We had snow flurries today. I cut 1/2 of my daffodils as it is predicted to freeze again tonight and I don’t want to lose them entirely. Jim is hard at work on taxes and I am anxiously waiting for him to hear from either of the job interviews. The one yesterday seemed to have gone well but the waiting is getting to me. Jim seems to be doing much better on the wait arena. After helping Julie and Wes with their house I am so anxious to get a place of my own to fix-up and make mine. We were told by our realtor that the next wave of ARM forclosures will happen in September and October and will be worse than any of the rest. If Jim has a job by then, we may be able to find what we want in a price range that we can afford. The way that I am feeling, I think Wes and Julies house has precipitated a sort of grieving on my part. I think that once this transistion in the weather is done and I don’t feel the loss of gardening opportunities, it will be a little easier. Right now I just want to garden and fix the inside of the house and I can’t because we are in a rental. Like Julie, I wish we were at the next step. But we have to wait for employment for Jim and that is just the way it is.
Work is too busy and my to-do list there is starting to get to me. I need to step back and get some perspective I suppose. I am tired and am going to bed.


We have daffodils in the backyard! And actually it looks like we will have some in the front yard in a couple of days too. The lawn needs mowing and the dogwood tree’s buds are swelling. Another deer escaped from the base and is on the road in-between fences. It is frustrating to watch them not be able to figure out how to get back home. I am so disappointed that my body is lacking cooperation with my desires to help the kids with their new house. The stairs are impossible for my hip and my knees and when I take codeine then my GI track is sore and grumpy. I just can’t win. I am hoping to rest today. I got one set of strips pinned to Torsten’s bedspread only to be so sore I had to stop bending over the table to pin the fabric together.


We are sorting out what to do with Trevor’s situation. I am hoping that the solution will make it’s way clear. Other than that we are hoping that Jim will get a job soon and that we can get a place of our own to fix, decorate and garden in.


Spring is Here?

It is gray and wet but the temperatures are up in the 40’s and the first trees are starting to bloom although most are still bare. The bulbs in the front yard are too crowded to bloom I’m afraid. If this wasn’t a rental I would dig them up and replant but that is not a necessity for a yard that we are only borrowing. The robins are back and the finches are more active than they have been for the winter months. It is a wonder they didn’t freeze in their pine tree-homes. We are planning on going to see the Cherry Blossoms at the end of this month.
I received my first immunization for the civilian job yesterday. Now both arms are sore; the left from the shot, the right from playing Wii tennis over the weekend with Jim. We finally took the time to make our own Mii’s so that we can save our scores and chart our "athletic" progress. We both enjoy the sports games and Jim does really well with the other type.
Wes and Julie should find out today if FHA has any problem with their new townhouse. This is the last hurdle to jump before closing at the end of the month. They are so excited planning the move, planning the interior design and determining how to approach acquiring the appliances that they need. I am anxious to see the inside and hear about all of the plans. Have to get ready for work today. I was up early so decided to write.

Raining Today

I spent all day at the Pottery School Saturday. Chalice’s dishes still are problematic. I am considering re-throwing in porcelain. The practice will be good for me and she will have the seconds for a banquet! It is still damp, cold and overcast today. I want to see Wes and Julie’s house if possible and continue with scrapbooking and work on Torsten’s bedspread so that I can bring it back with me in April. That is only 4 weeks away and will be here before I know it.


My actual birthday Dinner at Palettie’s was wonderful and the spaghetti was delicious. We all had a good time and Mom had a birthday bouquet delivered to the restaurant which was on our table when we arrived. It was a very special evening. I realized that, for the first time in my life, I have good friends that I want to spend time with. We had the same experience gallery sitting this Friday. Karen was a stranger to us at the beginning of the evening and by the end of the evening, we were good friends offering to help each other when needed. Frederick is such a comfortable place for us to be – so much more so than San Diego ever was. I really can’t decide what the difference is about this place, but it is working for us and that is all that matters. Now I just need to get Mom and Dad here. I miss their company and it was fun to watch Mom enjoy the new sights and activities Frederick had to offer when they were here for the holidays. Daddy was not so pleased with the change in scenery and that will continue to be an issue with them I suppose. I am hoping as time goes by that the desire to have family support near by will out-weight the need to stay independent and in San Diego.

 I left my cell phone at the Pottery School and need to go retrieve it so will sign off for now