Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's my Anniversary!
I have a program on my computer that keeps track of the time that I have been smoke free. This morning, it said this:

I have been quit for 2 Years, 4 hours, 52 minutes and 46 seconds (730 days). I have saved $6,014.19 by not smoking 36,510 cigarettes. I have saved 4 Months, 6 Days, 18 hours and 30 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 1/31/2005 6:55 AM

What it didn't say is that I smoked from the time I was 15 until I was 54. Some days I only smoked one or two, many days I smoked 40, some days I smoked 60!

I'm ashamed to say that I smoked while pregnant, even though it was only a few...but since they say smoking causes low birth weight and all three of the boys weighed over 9 pounds (some significantly over), I can't help but think that I might have given birth to adults if I hadn't smoked.

I's nothing to joke about!

I'm ashamed to say that when Mark had a heart attack at 43 and the cardiologist said to him: YOU DO NOT SMOKE!, I said I am not ready to quit.

I am ashamed to say that I walked out of a SMOKE ENDERS class that the school district provided when they made all campuses smoke free.

I am ashamed to say that my younger sister's death from lung cancer at 45 did not shock me into quitting.

But I am proud to say I did it myself. I set a date three weeks in advance, bought a ton of sock yarn, a truck load of bubble bath (the only two things I did that I didn't smoke while doing) and quit with two cigarettes to my name.

I tried the patch for a few days, but it made me hyper. I did it cold turkey and alone. I had one bad day (the fifth), but as a rule, I was no more grouchier than I am usually (but it's hard to be more).

I told one friend in advance, but not my family. I didn't say anything to Mark until he asked, three days after I had become smoke free.

My house, my car, smoke free.

YEE HAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who's kissing him now?

Last night we had coffee at the coffee shop that is within spitting distance of our house, with friends. We do this most Tuesdays.

It was snowing...again...Mark plowed the drive before we left and cleared walk ways when we came home. I guess Linda was appreciative because she did this:

Now, before you ask, YES! This picture was taken yesterday. YES! Those are Santas on the shelf behind them.

I collect them. I started when Tony was young and now have from 140 to 150 in all sizes. The smallest is less than an inch and the largest is five feet tall. Each year, Tony helps put most of them out. Each year, the display changes and EVERY year, they stay up until at least February. When the collection was very small, they stayed on one shelf in the family room year round.

There is another shelf, just as packed, on the other side of the kitchen as well as many still in the living room. My house looks so pretty with Christmas lights and trees...(YES, I said TREES, as in five or six. I love Christmas decorations!) that I wish I could leave them up all year!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What the well dressed, well trained, insane and partially frozen dog owner wears...

As I have mentioned before, Linda Lou is a new member of our family. She's now 14 months old, gaining weight (she was emacited when we adopted her from the shelter. She's a purebread Mastiff and should have weighed 115 when we got her. Instead, she weighted 88), she's now up to about 115, only 10 pounds underweight. Fully grown (Mastiffs tend to grow until they are 3.5 or 4 years old), she should reach 150 to 175 pounds. Yes, that's a lotta dog!

She seemed to be partially housebroken when we got her, so I only had to reinforce her training. I found a great article on training a dog, and I followed the instructions to the letter.

Linda does well, but her internal clock is slightly off. According to her ability to tell time, she is programmed to live somewhere about 210 miles off the coast of New Jersey. She gets up every day at 4 AM.

The program is to take the dog out to the same place each time, not to make eye contact, but if they 'perform' their duties, you are to praise and give them treats.

Has Linda gotten with the program? I think so, with modifications. Who really understands is Arnie, our 6 year old purebred brown dog.

The first modification was that I am not a patient woman at 4AM. I began issuing verbal commands: "Pee, Linda!" and of course, "Linda, poop!" Each 'act' is followed by a cheese nip cracker and verbal praise.

Now, I cannot take one dog out without the other tagging along. Arnie, with all his wisdom, joins us. His ears perk up when he hears the "Pee!" command. When he hears praise, he knows it's cracker time and runs back to get one too. Yes, the dogs have me well trained.

Last night, it was snowing. As I wandered around the top of my driveway, I wondered what the neighbors would think if they could hear me out there, giving commands.

Then I realized that if they did, the worst would happen: they would look out their windows and SEE me.

Would you like to SEE what a well trained dog owner wears at 4AM on a snowy day? Since I'm already dressed for the day, you'll have to be happy to see the components. You may never see the entire outfit on one body at the same time. I'm pretty grouchy at 4AM and might do bodily harm to anyone who aims a camera at me.

First, there is my happy flannel night gown:

The patten and color changes daily, blue one day, pink or purple another day, but the style stays the same: mid calf length.

Then, because it is cold out there, I wear Mark's terry bath robe:

Bright blue and light blue vertical stripes!

And those favorite socks:

And of course, the crocs and my coat:

And because it was snowing last night, I added a hat and just before I walked out the door, gloves and of course, Cheese Nips!

Now aren't you glad you don't live next to me? Come to think of it, the only person (besides me and the dogs) that might enjoy my colorful outfit is LynnH from Colorjoy!, and that might be a little (ahem) colorful for her!

But it works...and that's what counts, isn't it?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blogs, Dog, Jogs and Clogs...

No, I have not been jogging, but I have been blog jogging...This past week, I've been reading blogs. Some, I have no clue how I found them, some I forgot to put in my favorites and will probably never see again, but some, those of old 'invisible' friends, made me feel like I was back home again. I tried to leave comments each time, but there were quite a few that I didn't. What a shame, comments are such fun!

I have NOT been clogging, but I did have a clog event. Some of you know, but many don't, that I have foot problems. Last April, I had foot surgery on TOP of my right foot, only to be told that the problem was on the BOTTOM of my foot and that more surgery was needed.

I procrastinated because they told me that the minimum time of absolutely no weight on my foot (and that includes driving) was 2 weeks, possibly 3. Procrastinating was probably dumb since I walked with a cane from January through September. Not because my foot was bothering me, but because I was walking wonky and it threw my knee out of wack.

In September, a friend of mine suggested I try Crocs, or as Vicky calls them, Tupperware shoes. I was sceptical, but I bought a pair. In two weeks, I was walking without a cane. I called them my magic shoes! After a month, I could not imagine wearing regular shoes.

Since they are 'ahem' unfashionable, I decided to buy them in every color. At first, I had navy with vent holes. Next came bright blue and then when Mark's father passed away, I bought black ones (to be saved for formal occasions). Formal crocs...hmmmmmm....

Because they are plastic, and I have a young dog who loves to chew, I keep them under my bed, lined up neatly. I just reach under the bed and pull out a pair and put them on. No muss, no fuss...until last week when hours after I was dressed and active, Mark asked about my shoes. I looked down:

Guess I'm going to have to be more careful in the future. One bright note...if I lose them, I do have a pair almost like that up in my bedroom. There should be a double space here, but this @#$@#$ blogger won't let me have one.
It's been a pretty uneventful week. I did not one creative thing other than gather supplies. New colored pencils, yarn, thread, even a batch of wool sweaters from the thrift shop. I think last week was my 'feed my creative spirit' week. This week, I'll have to make my spirit get busy and burn off some of those calories.

Oh, and speaking of calories...I was sitting at my computer, surfing, when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. It looked amazingly like a roll of paper towels flying past the door way. Since I was home alone, I felt the need to investigate:
Yes, we have to thank Linda Lou for protecting those paper towels after the cat did it! And I would love to have a double space here, but once again, @#$@# blogger will not let me have one no matter how many times I edit this post!
Other than a trip to the dentist for Mark, who claimed that his dental work hurt worse than having a baby...(excuse me, you had a 9 pound, 14 ounce filling????) and one for Tony who said he'd rather have a baby, at least people sent you flowers and cards, it was a boring week.
Maybe next time?
Peace out,

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The stuff I'm made of...

I've been blogging, journaling, note keeping, calendar marking and talking to myself for about six months now. In keeping with my OCD personality, if I could not blog perfectly, I refused to keep a blog. I missed the opportunity to share many experiences, accomplishments and observations.

I don't do resolutions. This year, I made a mental list of those things I'd like to do. This far, January 14, I have broken every one, so it's a my INTENTION is to blog once a week...

If you don't hear from me by next Sunday, make noise...I'll hear you!

Now, what you have missed since July 5, 2006, the last time I posted any personal news on my old blog, One Red Sock:

Andy started his new job at Castcon Stone, Tony worked all summer at improving his golf game and working at the country club. I knit socks...

Mark and his father (Dave) went to Geneva, NY, for their third annual 'farewell tour.' They also made a side trip to have breakfast with our dear friends, Patricia and Sandro, who own Riverqueen Housboats in Ivy Lea, Ontario.

At the same time, I attended an 80th birthday party for my uncle Tony. More than 100 of his friends and relatives came. He promised to come to my 80th...

At the end of August, we celebrated Tony's 18th birthday...

And early September saw Andy turning 20...

Andy and Kailyn...where you see one, you see the other!

September also saw Tony going back to school for his senior year. In October, we all got together at our home to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday. It was the first time we were all in one place since Christmas!
That same weekend, we added to our family...with an 11 month old English Mastiff pup named Linda Lou. She was a skinny 'rescue' when we got her, about 88 pounds-that's almost 30 pounds underweight! She's up to 110 now, about 15 pounds underweight. She's quite a character...and a cuddler...

In November, my mother's cousin, Walter, and his darling wife, Jenny, came from Canada. Mom and Walter had never met! We got to celebrate Walter's birthday, take them to see Pittsburgh from the overlook and Tony and Walter got to talk sports

(Tony even got to point out the stadiums from Mt. Washington)!

Christmas came all too soon. The boys are men now and the threat of coal in their stockings was not enough for them to pretend, for mom, that they still believed in Santa.

We all got together at my mother's again. This year was just as much fun as last...As usual, the stockings were hung, and filled...and once again, we did the family picture. As usual, some of us didn't quite get with the program (I'm not naming names!). Sadly, on December 26, my Father-in-law lost his long term battle with cancer. Like my Mother-in-law, he generously donated his body to science. We held a beautiful memorial service on January 6. Each of the 14 grandchildren and his great-grandchild placed a yellow rose in a vase on the alter. Mark P, my brother-in-law, Lauren, his daughter, and I spoke and Pastor Tim said the most wonderful words to share with us. It was an honor. Dad will be missed by his family and many friends.

Mark, Andy, Kailyn and her parents managed to stay awake until midnight on New Year's Eve...a first for Mark!

And here we are...almost to today. I'd like to share what I said at Pap Dave's memorial, but it's all too new for me to share yet. I think he'd be proud. closing, my knitting tally for 2006 was:

  • 3 Irish hiking scarves
  • 4 hats
  • 18 pair socks
  • 2 pair clogs
  • 2 clapotis
  • 1 shawl
  • 30 dishcloths
  • 2 doll sweaters

It's been a very good year!