Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Decorating Agreement


We moved into a new home almost 12 years ago (WOW) after living in a single wide trailer for over 15 years.  Nearly every wall in the trailer was covered with testaments to the hunting prowess of my beloved husband Marty.  I grew up with hunters, so this decorating theme seemed normal but I did pine for at least a corner to call my own.
I had big plans for the new house!  We agreed that Marty could do whatever he wanted on the walls in the basement and I could do whatever I wanted on the walls upstairs.  This agreement has worked very well.  One small problem, Marty's walls are covered with many interesting things


 and my walls are basically bare!!  Turns out a corner is about all I can handle :)
I had the walls painted in  Fall 2011.  Prior to that, there were some pictures on the walls and I was adding things I liked as I found them.  I had big plans again, even posted a few pictures.








Here I am a year later, again trying to decorate.  It's a difficult process for me.  I don't feel gifted or comfortable in the decorating arena.  My sisters have offered suggestions and free labor but it's hard to organize an event when you don't know the expected outcome.  However, something has happened, I have a theme!!  So, I have some ideas brewing and some plans for the winter months.  I am hoping, well, praying actually, that spring with bring a better look to the upstairs!  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Jack Reacher

I just read this quote from Lee Child in the Post Gazette about Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher -- "Cruise, at his core, is a character actor in the most literal sense. He really gets into a role. He understood Jack Reacher. He projected his vibe. But the only real answer to that is, go see the movie. I guarantee you will come out thinking, 'What was I worried about?'" 
I hope you're right Mr. Child!! I really enjoy the Jack Reacher series of books and Tom Cruise is not who I would have picked but I have appreciated his talent in other movies so I'll hope for the best.
Premiere in Pittsburgh 12/15, opens nationwide 12/21. 
Would love to win a pair of tickets to the premiere...imagine me on the red carpet with Tom Cruise!
I know, BIG imagination!  More likely me rolling up the red carpet after Tom Cruise walked it :)

I enjoy movies in general, recently saw Skyfall  and Flight -- highly recommend both!  I have quite a long 'want to see' list right now.--

Lincoln - a different view of a man we all know
Argo - a time in history I lived
Silver Linings Playbook -- Bradley Cooper when he's not hungover in Vegas or wherever
Anna Karenina-- like period pieces
Jack Reacher 
Life of Pi -- special effects are critically acclaimed.  One of the reasons, I loved Avatar.
The Sessions -- will make me cry and laugh
Taken 2 -- kind of iffy on #2 but like Liam Neeson
Killing Them Softly -- enjoy Brad Pitt, wish he wasn't always so ornery :)  Ray Liotta is a fave too
Any Day Now -- this will make me mad, I'm sure
Playing For Keeps -- I know but I love these kind of funny/sincere movies  Love Rules!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vivianne

It has been a bit over 3 months since we lost our Parker.  There are days when it seems like yesterday but overall we are doing OK.  Part of the reason we're surviving is Vivianne; "Cat" as Marty calls her now.  She has helped in ways we never expected.

Parker was here first so he ruled.  They learned to tolerate each other and I believe had a special bond as Parker began to fail.  Vivianne was never far from his side. I think she knew what was coming.  We believe she missed him too.  It was very obvious that she was looking for him those first couple of weeks.

Vivianne has blossomed since she became the Queen of her home.  She talks to us a lot, she's much more playful and her antics helped us laugh, if only for a moment, during those first dark days.  Obviously she has become the center of our world and she knows it.  Don't get me wrong, she can still be as ornery and as solitary as she was before Parker's passing but her personality has definitely changed for the better.

I never thought I'd see Marty 'love' a cat but it's happened and it's been good a good thing for both of them.  He plays with her, talks to her, pets her and pesters her.  They too have developed a special bond.  It's different than the one she and I have.  I hold her (just for a minute) and hug her, brush her, talk to her, let her jump up on my desk (like right now) so she can walk around and see what my fingers are doing.  She sits on my lap when she wants to and occasionally when I want her there!  She's my girl :)

The three of us have weathered a tragedy and survived.  We are starting to come out of the dark.  It's been a rough road and I'm thankful I had Marty and Vivianne to travel that road with me.  We are still family, it's just a slightly different configuration now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's that season

Time to get humidifiers ready; cleaned out (just in case you didn't do it before you put it away) filters changed, positioned in the room, filled with water and turned on.  I LOVE my wood burning furnace!  Not always crazy about throwing in wood when it's 10 below, but in my opinion, no warmer heat can be found.  Unfortunately, it also really dries out the air.  Every thing I touch shocks me, even the loving lips of my sweet husband Marty!  He says he never feels it but I sure do, OUCH!   My fat pants stick to my legs, static makes my hair flatter than normal and my already dry skin begins to flake all over everything.  I'm sure I help keep Bath & Body works in business. I love the soft lingering fragrance of Warm Vanilla Sugar or  Sandalwood Rose or Japanese Cherry Blossom body lotion.  Those subtle smells are good aroma therapy for me in the middle of a hectic day.

I fill this old Wagner cast iron tea kettle and enjoy the nice curl of steam, the slowly simmering water pushes out the spout into the kitchen.  When I know I'll have a few minutes to enjoy it, I put a flavored tea bag in the pot.  That curl of steam does double duty then, adds a sweet aroma to the air along with the much needed moisture.
Can't over come winter and it's dry air, so I may as well enjoy it, however I can.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Grand Night for Singing

My mom and I are in Pittsburgh for our annual mother - daughter weekend.  We're late this year, normally we try to do something when the weather is still nice.  SNOWING in Pgh this  morning!!
We went to the CLO Cabaret Theater to see A Grand Night of Singing -it was a wonderful show.  We had a front row table!  We went out for a nice dinner before the show.  We played a good game of Scrabble before we turned in for the night....my mom kicked my butt :(
During the night I could feel the temperature dropping in our room.  Got up several times to elevate the thermostat without any warmer results.  Maintenance man just came in to say, "your computer board is fried, no heat for you this morning"---- Wonderful news on this snowy morning :)
Memories from another time....almost like being a kid again.  We had very minimal heat upstairs; we'd run downstairs on cold mornings, stand over the big floor register in the kitchen, letting the heat fill our flannel nightgowns as we waited our turn in the bathroom.  Catch another blast of heat, run back upstairs, get dressed under the covers and head off to school.   It was always a circus on school mornings, 7 girls, 4 boys in our blended family.
Planning to have lunch with my niece who lives here and then head home.  If the snow keeps coming down, we might have to share the road with some 'snow crazed' drivers and that could be scary, so we'll head home early!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Last night I did

Run the vacuum throughout the house
Bake the birthday cake
Arrange and set the table
Remove the Cool Whip from the freezer
Cut up celery and onions for the stuffing
Figure out something to wear
Find some colored plastic glasses that look nice on the table
Leave work before midnight
Cook the turkey giblets
Thank my husband for all his help
Get to sleep longer than I thought I would
Remind myself that I am very blessed
Thank my Lord and Saviour for the gifts He has given to me

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why can't I

Manage my time better
Get more done
Not wait till the last minute to finish something I've known about for months
Lose weight
Stay focused on one task at a time
Figure out how to extend 24 hours
Get up and go to church every Sunday
Win the lottery
Find a purse that I really, really like
Remember what this sticky note means
Find pants, bras, underwear that fit
Get a good nights sleep every night
Eat more healthy things
Resist that Peanut Butter Cookie from Tim Horton's
Remember where I left my "fill in the blank"
Keep in touch with my family & friends
Write on my blog more often
Post to Facebook more often
Be rich instead of dependable
Ride my bike back and forth to work
Make time to read the Bible every day
Write letters instead of emails
Learn to use the word NO effectively
Keep up with my online accounting class
Find the bottom of my sewing/mending basket







Saturday, November 3, 2012

Marty's tabletop

My very talented husband finished the table top for his bar in the Steelers room. It looks great! It was a tedious process; it took him about a month overall. Sanding, base coat, placing and attaching decals, first coat (not perfect in his mind) second coat, cleaning up edges and reattaching to base. We haven't cleaned the top yet (sanding dust, etc) he wants to be sure it's very dry and the glaze is set. I can't wait till we can sit there to eat and watch the game.
He is so meticulous about things, which, overall, is good, but for projects like this, that trait causes him pain and agony.  This doesn't look right, that doesn't look right, the corner isn't square, the logo is crooked and on and on. Some of the things he points out are valid but really???  Bottom line, he's not going to take the chainsaw to it because the logo has bubbled!  He's going to enjoy the accolades he'll receive on Thanksgiving (always at our house) and be proud of his handiwork.  I'm proud of it and him.  I'm blessed with a husband who cares about the little things:)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kip Winger

I attended a Kip Winger (solo) show with my brother Russell on Friday night at the Soft Rock Cafe, Centerville, OH, near Dayton. We collectively traveled 670 miles to be there, my brother from IL and myself from PA.  It was an acoustic show and we were fortunate to have a table close to the stage. Kip talked and interacted with the crowd all night. The highlight of the evening, my brother (who is jumping up & down, shouting "I'll do it!!") is randomly picked from the crowd to go up on stage and sing with Kip!
Finally a picture for this post!!
My brother is a natural entertainer.  He told jokes while Kip tuned his guitar and then he and Kip practiced some 'hairband' moves, with the crowd laughing and clapping in appreciation. When they finally got around to singing, they sang Miles Away and my brother rocked it!  It was totally cool watching my brother be a rock star :) 
Unfortunately, Russell didn't give me any notice of his intentions, I did not have a camera to take even one picture!  Very disappointed about that but he (who is social media savvy) is checking to see if any one else who attended Friday night might have photos to share.  Keeping my fingers crossed!
We sure enjoyed the night and we definitely created a great memory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What a guy!

There are days and sometimes weeks when nothing goes right, your truck breaks down not once but twice in one week, you can't find the bill payment check that you just wrote, you gain instead of lose, reverse stops working on your sewing mac
hine and your chin has a zit as big as a quarter. You're going to be away from home for several days. When you finally get to your motel room, open your laptop and get ready to work into the wee hours, you find this and the dam breaks, you can't hold back the tears anymore and at the moment you don't want to because you're so thankful for your wonderful husband -- the tears transition from frustration to joy and the world seems right again. At least for a few minutes :) I'm blessed.






Saturday, October 13, 2012

I won!!

Emily, everyone's favorite Dish Rag Tag inventor, over at Yarn Miracle has been educating the knitting community about some amazing yarns and related Eco-friendly practices.  Each month with her Mindful Fiber post, she graciously offers a give away to a lucky follower, randomly chosen from those who leave her a comment.  Yours truly won in September!!
This photo does not do the color justice.  I would describe it as a softly muted teal.  Morehouse  Farm describes it as  Silver Birch.  Either way it's beautiful and I was thrilled to win, Thank You again Emily!
If you don't already follow Emily at Yarn Miracle, please take some time to read her Mindful Fiber posts.  You won't be disappointed.  I've gathered all the Mindful Fiber posts here for your pleasure.  Who knows, if you comment in October, you might be the lucky winner !!  Good Luck.

Mindful Fiber - Begins
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

One down, ??? to go

I think back in February I mentioned that I had not finished one of Marty's Christmas presents for 2011 :(
I was looking through pictures today and found a photo of him with the finished gift.  He really likes it and it felt good to finish it and see him enjoy it.  I did actually finish this back in March, it's not an early Christmas present for 2012 ;-p
I made this blanket about 7 ft in length to make sure Marty is entirely covered when he's stretched out on the couch, plus has a little to snuggle around his neck.
This time of year, before we start our wood burner, our basement room is a bit chilly; this is the best keep you toasty blanket we have. That double layer of fleece really holds in the heat!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An end to vacation

I got side tracked with posting vacation photos because we lost our beloved Parker.  It seems rather like old news now but it's dreary and raining in NW PA this morning so warm sunny vacation photos seem like a good idea!  A few of my faves and that's that until the next vacation...
Acadia National Park.  The people were following a trail up the mountainside!!  You would never find me in  a picture like this!  I am not afraid of heights but the only thing that appeals to me about this type of  hike is, the view from the top :) 

We watched this loon for about an hour looking for 'her' supper.  She was swimming against the current, diving and coming up further inland each time.  It was fun to try and guess where she was going to come up.  We saw her one time with something in her mouth but the photo wasn't good enough to keep. 

Every day except one, this is the view we had from the deck on the backside of our room.   I know I mentioned this in a previous post but this spot was really our favorite.  It was quiet, we watched harbor activity and it was a fabulous way to start every day.  We started the day in a positive, relaxed mood and ended each day exhausted but glad to be back on our deck to enjoy the evening sky.

A cliff view in Acadia.  Marty took the picture and I just enjoyed the sound of the waves slapping, splashing against the rocks.  Most of that day was filled with brilliant sun and blue sky even though the temp was only in the high 50's.

This was about the 'depth' of our ventures into the water.  IT WAS COLD!  But, after you walked away from it and went back in again it wasn't as bad as the initial splash :)  There were some young adventurers actually in the water challenging the surf as it hit the beach.  Their older and smarter parents were in hoodies, sitting in lawn chairs with blankets over their bare legs :)

There are a number of these stone crossings throughout the park.  I particularly  liked this one because of the walk-thru  either side.  The talent and patience used to create these works of art amazed both of us, especially Marty because he creates a lot of stone walkways around our place.

Not sure this picture does this amazing bridge justice but it was definitely amazing.  We crossed it on our way to Acadia.  The peak of the other pillar is actually a watch tower for Fort Knox (Maine), see much better pictures
 here Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory.  We thought we would have time to go up in the watch tower but the day's activities didn't go as we planned.  Next time!  There will definitely be a next time, we loved this area.

As we started across the bridge.


Our one bad day!  The sky reflecting off the water gave the entire area a very eerie feeling.     It made you feel like something bad was going to happen any moment.  Thank goodness that wasn't the case but it sure gave you pause.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A first

Recently I experienced a first, meeting and speaking with a Congressman!
File:Seal of the United States House of Representatives.svg
Back in the day, we were taught to respect our elders and our government and at that time, WAY back when, I did.  I have always respected both categories but held the government  in a little higher esteem.  As I've aged and learned that not all those running the government are worthy of my respect, my opinions have changed. I've admired and been thankful for those who feel the calling to govern on any level but for the most part, have never had any one on one with them or a reason to reach out for assistance.
That changed 3 weeks ago because a civic group I'm involved with was experiencing some trouble.  We've been seeking funding and have been rejected numerous times for the same reason, the location of our project.  I attended a local round-table with the Congressman and voiced my disappointment.  He said, "Call me."  I did.  My group was given 45 minutes with the Congressman a week ago.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to resolve the funding issue, though he did recommend some other options that we are pursuing.  As a respectful 'boomer' I was a bit awe struck. I was amazed how 'normal' he acted and amazed at myself for being confident enough to speak my mind.  I found the whole experience to be refreshing.  But, I'm not so awestruck that I believe his genuine interest and interaction in a quiet, group setting is anything more than him doing his job or being a politician.  For now, I give him the benefit of a doubt.  I will keep this first experience on the positive side in my memory banks.
I encourage everyone to reach out to your local, state and federal legislators, attend public meetings when offered in your area and most of all, don't be afraid to speak up!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Old project, done



I bought 5 sections of old wrought iron fence 3 or 4 or 5 years ago.  At the time there was a  plan for what to do with it after I got it painted.  It took me a couple of years to get it painted and by that time the original plan was scrapped. 

In 2010 my dream of a potting shed was realized.  About 2 weeks ago this idea sprang into my head.  I think a little serendipity came in to play here because we had to work around trees, roots, stumps and rocks to set the sections in place. The pieces of fence are random in size so my intention was never to hook them up like 'real' wrought iron fence.
So the floating, if you will, aspect of the varied sections was perfect !!
The area just in front of the fence on the right is a small flower bed in the making.  We put down some weed barrier,  in a semicircle shape, covered it with some left over mulch and I have been slowly puttering away with getting the bed dug up and amending the soil in preparation for spring flower planting.  I have some hyacinths, daffodils and crocus that I'm going to plant on the sunny side of the bed (lots of trees as you can see) and the rest with packaged wildflowers.
This was a belated birthday gift from my husband.  It's the greatest thing, I love it!  All four sides of the wagon fold down so I can haul just about anything around  with me.  When I have things like water buckets that I don't want to bounce off, I pull the sides up.  The mesh bottom isn't always full of dirt like a solid bottom and when the water splashes all over, that's no worry either!  One of my favorite birthday gifts, I have a wonderful husband.

Friday, September 7, 2012

More change is good


I've been moving things around at my house, a new view of old stuff, attempting to create more simple surroundings.  Marty & I do not have children, so someone who isn't as obligated as a child would be to a parent, will be charged with taking care of my stuff.  I don’t follow trends, I don’t have a decorating theme or a coordinated color palette, I just buy things I like and usually those things are old/vintage/antique-ish.  I have discovered that the things I like, like stars, violets, baskets, quilts, table linen, lace, books; I buy, buy, buy.   
These colanders all have different arrangements and types of stars as their drain holes.
Small stack of books. At least these are on a bookshelf
I had 3 times this many baskets last summer.
pictures 
 I like it, so I should take it home, right?  I’ll find some place to put it, honey :)  BIG MISTAKE!  Over time I now have all these piles, boxes, stacks, bags of stuff. Unfortunately, I buy more stuff than I can use, display, or enjoy.  Several different times I've weeded through some piles, keeping only the items that I truly adore.  Why this burst of 'let's change things around" has happened now is unknown to me and it has come at an inopportune time because garage sale season is over.  But I've resolved  that I am not storing anything until next summer, so, it's time to be ruthless!

 Do I adore it         Where can I use it         Put it there NOW      Or it's gone  


The whole process is keeping me busy at night and that keeps me from munching or eating or just sitting around which is GOOD on so many levels!!  Hope it lasts for more than a day or two, because it's helped my weight loss efforts considerably.  Onward!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dill Pickles

A bit frustrated with my camera and I truly believe it's the camera, not the operator!  I took several pictures while I was making the pickles but for some mysterious, unknown reason, only one was available on the camera card when I tried to down load them this morning.
The finished product, 4 quarts plus a few :) I commented after, I would not win a blue ribbon at the fair because my presentation was less than stellar.  I  gathered an appreciation for the fussiness needed to make a pretty jar!

Marty found a Ball Dill Pickle Mix that makes just two quarts, all you need besides cucumbers, is water & vinegar.  It was very easy and I made two batches in just over an hour.  I did the Refrigerator version; there is a regular canning option as well.  For best flavor, they have to sit in the frig for 3 weeks.  I'll give you a report when Marty tries them on 9/24.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Today is better

Whew, my last post was a 'bit' dreary; sorry about that, it just came out.  Feeling 100% better today.

Getting ready to make dill pickles...first time!  Husband loves dill, I'm a sweet girl myself, so for him, I'm giving them a try.  We've had a productive holiday weekend.  We finished a couple of OLD projects...a great way to improve your outlook on life, I highly recommend it.  I ironed all of Marty's fall shirts that have been hanging in the back bedroom taunting me for months!  I always vow to iron them right after I wash them but for some reason, I don't, so I end up with an ironing marathon day....thank goodness for the SVU marathon :) that sure helped.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sadness

You can't put your finger on it.  You know it's there at the back of your day.  You try to ignore it.  You put on that fake smile.  You take a deep breath, wipe the tears and keep working.  You know it will get better...won't it?  You just can't find that magic wand.  You pray.  You remember. You share.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It hurts!

Our beloved Parker has left the loving arms of his parents and passed into a better, more peaceful life. 

During the past couple of weeks his physical condition has dramatically declined.   He was unable to walk with confidence or get up and down with ease.  His eating habits deteriorated and when he did feel like eating, he was not able to keep it down from more than a few hours.  He stopped greeting us at the door and the sparkle of life was no longer evident in his eyes.

After his cancer diagnosis, Marty and I promised Parker and ourselves that we would make that most difficult of decisions when his quality of life was no longer what he was accustomed to living.  We made that decision today and with the help of our very caring veterinarian, we cradled him in our arms as he left his earthly body.  

We are so thankful that we were fortunate enough to share nearly 12 years with our 'buddy' Parker.  Our home will seem empty for a time but our hearts and minds are filled with love and wonderful memories of the life we shared together.  

We were blessed the day Parker came into our lives and we were blessed today by the trust he placed in us to love and care for him.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vacation was over too soon.

Our final destination was Belfast, Maine.  We stayed at the Belfast Harbor Inn and absolutely loved the place and the people.  We highly recommend it.  Nothing real fancy, $140 a night included nice continental breakfast, heated outdoor pool, small decks/balcony on each room with chairs and a wonderful housekeeping staff.  The only complaint we had was the size of the vanity area.  Because we stayed several days, we had dishes,  a coffee maker we brought for our room plus toiletries for each of us.  The vanity had room for a couple tooth brushes and toothpaste, a water glass and a couple hair brushes.  Marty said, "Next time we need to bring a small collapsing table for all our extra stuff".  We really enjoyed the facility.  We plan to stay there again, soon and we will  request the same room, 31, again.  

Our room, bottom LH corner, end of row.  You had entry from an inside hallway and from the outside deck door, which was perfect for Parker and his needs.  The vet gave us the OK to take him but we took medical records with us just in case.  He did very well except for the last 2 days.  We were glad  he got to go with us because it will most likely be the last trip we'll get to enjoy together, just the 3 of us.



The view from our little deck and  that's our truck in the foreground.  It was a nice walk down to the water's edge.  The beach wasn't made for swimming but it was nice for walking and picking up whatever caught your eye.  We both brought bathing suits but never used them.  We discussed getting up in the morning to swim several times.  We enjoyed sitting on the deck together with our coffee and juice, every morning, watching the harbor activity, so much, that we just never made it to the pool.  Plus there was many other things to do during the day and by the time we got back to our room, we were ready to just kick back. enjoy the deck and the evening sky.  We did have to buy a couple citronella candles because the mosquitoes chased us inside the first night we were there!
Marty & Parker.  This is a good picture of them and one that we'll have framed after Parker is gone.  We laughed at these pictures-- Marty is in shorts and flip flops-- I have on a shirt, a shawl, longer pants and water shoes.  I get 'chilly' easy!
Parker has never been to the ocean with us on other trips so the sights and smells were totally new for him.  He was very interested in all the shells, seaweed, etc. we found on the beach.  I LOVE the smell of the ocean.  It was a little windy that day but we spent about 2 hours out there checking things out.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blogging

As you can see, I did not post during our vacation but I will be putting up some posts now that we're home.  My family (sisters) beats up on me a lot because I don't 'do' Facebook so I promised I would while we were gone.  Unfortunately, because I don't 'do' Facebook on a regular basis, it took me a lot of time to figure out how to post pictures, create an album to update and write the posts.  Most often I was doing this at the end of the day, 11pm or after, so when I finally finished with FB, I didn't 'do' my blog.
Over the next several days you'll see snippets of our trip to Maine and whatever else I throw in.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Almost ready!

In about 1 hour, my family and I will be headed down the driveway on a long overdue vacation.  We have a purpose in our destination, Belfast, ME, but being away together will be the biggest benefit.  I'm happy, even though a bit frazzled trying to get ready!
Hopefully this is the start of my blog's rebirth.  I'd like that.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Good Endorphins

I just walked for 15 minutes, a measly 1/2 mile.  But. I. Walked!  Yeah for me.  I feel good. I have walked at least 10 minutes 5 days in a row.  It feels good.  For a very long time I haven't been able to FORCE myself to walk or do anything that related to better health.  For reasons unknown to me, I just started walking last week while on vacation.  I shall not question, I shall just continue.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The same but different

I've not had the gift of children but I have sisters, brothers, nieces & nephews and the feelings I've experienced over the years are very similar to what you describe but from a slightly different chair. 
There are days that my heart breaks and days when it swells; but there are never days that it's not filled with love.



I posted the above comment earlier this morning on a blog that I follow.  It just spilled out of me after reading the post that spoke about "golden times/memories".  A mother speaking about her children, wishing to, maybe, do some things over, to have savored others more and to savor where she is now in her 'empty nest'.  Those were golden times to her but the times yet to come for her and for me will be golden too, just in a different way.

Time always seems to drive me, hurrying me to the next task.  I took time to read my Joyce Meyer daily devotion today and she talked about being childlike.  Childlike in our approach to each day.  Enjoy it, no matter what it brings because there will never be another day just like it.  Children choose to make fun during the day.  We adults are older, wiser and supposedly more intelligent but can't seem to find the fun and enjoyment in the gift of another day.   

This morning, Marty made me laugh until my sides hurt, I couldn't love him anymore than I did at that moment.  He is the golden part of my life and I'm looking forward to each future day with him.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

OH MY

I have been lost.  Still not sure where I am but I'm thinking I'm leaning more toward the light.  I'm beginning to believe I've been lost in a little cloud of depression.  The world was feeling pretty heavy on my shoulders.  I'm starting to sit up straighter, I think that's a good sign.  I so enjoyed writing on this little blog of mine, I really thought I'd found a good spot to be me; rephrasing that, I know I did.  I couldn't wait to sit down and write sometimes.  So why have I been away so long?  Not sure.  But I'm feeling better and the typing I'm doing right now proves that to me; it feels good.   Aaaahhhhhhh

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Anteater

I like poems that rhyme.  Poems that rhyme make me smile.  Shel Silverstein is really good at making me smile.  They all make perfect sense and I wonder why I didn't think of them first.

Anteater by Shel Silverstein
"A genuine anteater,"
The pet man told me dad.
Turned out, it was an aunt eater,
And now my uncle's mad!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's OK

My brother had his second back surgery in as many years yesterday.  The procedure went well and the doctor is optimistic so we shall be as well.  I'm sitting in a motel room in Buffalo reading blogs and listening to my mom snore; she's doing a great job (sorry mom).  This is my favorite part of travel, not my mom snoring, it's sitting in my room feeling no guilt looking over my shoulder as I sit reading blogs!
Today over at Two Story Cottage I was inspired to be myself again.  Biggest mystery for me is finding out who I am.  I often feel like Julia Roberts (that would be awesome) in Pretty Woman when she responds to Richard Gere's question, "What's your name? with "What do you want it to be?"
In my mind, I've been a people pleaser nearly all my life.  Not the kind of person that does it for personal gain but the kind of person that tries to put other's needs before her own.  I'm not unhappy about that at all but what I am discovering at this later stage in my life, I don't know who I am or what my needs are.  I also acknowledge that I did get some personal gain, a family place if  you will..."Call Corsy, she can figure out what to do, how to fix it, make the arrangements, etc."
My sisters, brutally pointed out to me, around the table a few months ago, that unless I'm 'mothering' them or helping them or someone else in the family do one thing or another I'm absent from their lives.  Absent in the, every day life way, so to speak; I'm always there for them but not there 'with' them. Boy did that hurt, but I admit they might be right.
As Erin pointed out on her Two Story Cottage blog, it's okay.  This place I'm in right now is not great but if the Lord put me here, He did it for a reason and I'm determined to figure out why.  When that sense that something is wrong is constantly in my mind, I know He's trying to tell me something.  I also know that He'll help me figure it out, one way or another.
It's a change in the season of my life.

Another page in my adventure for 2012 has been written.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ice Skating

Taking my mom to Pittsburgh on Saturday for her Christmas present, an evening with  Stars on Ice
She and I followed ice skating all through my high school years, we both really enjoyed it.  My interest has waned but hers has not so my sisters and I knew she'd enjoy a weekend getaway that included skating!
Merry Christmas Mom...finally :)
It's at the Consol  Energy Center- Home Ice for the Pittsburgh Penguins!!  I'd much rather be going to a hockey game, Go Pens, but, Mom wins out, this time.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blind

Before I left to go to Pittsburgh last week I had intended to make Marty a cake for his lunch pail; my good intentions failed.  Instead of putting everything away, I gathered up all the supplies (except perishables of course) and placed them together on a corner of the island ready to go upon my return.
A short time ago I turned on the oven, cleared the counter and got ready to make the cake.  Greased & floured the pan, got the eggs and sour cream out of the fridge, put the beaters in the mixer and was ready to roll except for one thing; I couldn't find my regular mixing bowl.  I started looking for it-- not where it normally belongs, not in dishwasher, not on island shelves, not in an odd cupboard (sometimes Marty puts things away for me), not anywhere.  I started down the stairs to wake Marty from a nap to ask him if he knew where the bowl was, I glanced back for some reason and guess what, I saw the bowl hiding in plain sight :-)

What a dork I am !!  Crazy when you can't see the forest for the tree, eh?  That's my humor for the day!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home

I'm finally home; it was a nice trip, successful studies and great food.  My eyelids keep dropping over my eyes, better get to sleep.  Still thinking about that great brown purse...sometimes Penney's gives out coupons to preferred customers (I'm preferred) maybe I'll get one in the mail this week.  Feels good to be at my own desk tonight.  Sleep is hammering me on the head....night, night.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

why

Our Parker is such a good dog.  He's friendly, playful, well behaved, he even opened his home to a cat,  it just doesn't seem fair, why should his life end like this?  I wanted to sob earlier today when Marty said, "I want to take him to the cancer center so they can fix him".  I've only seen Marty cry two other times in all the years I've known him.  He's been crying a lot since Monday.
We lost our last dog, Kodi, just after her 13th birthday.  She had been sick for about a year with heart problems.  It was horribly hard to choose a day but for her sake, we did what was necessary.
Parker looks fine, acts fine and his 13th birthday isn't until September.  In fact he looks so good, we were sure  he'd be with us long past number 13.  Now he won't even make it to 13!    
He loves us, we love him, we're good parents, we've taken good care of him, we take him every where with us.  We talk to him all day, everyday.  He and Vivianne are our kids.  What's she going to do without her brother.  What are we going to do without him?  What are we going to do?  It just isn't fair.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brown, really?

Normally, I am not a fan of the color brown but twice today I've been taken in by that color brown.  I'm traveling to Pittsburgh for work.  I started feeling hungry and realized I was near the exit for Pittsburgh Mills, what a coincidence ;-) Anyway, wandering through Penney's in the purse section, I found a stunning chocolate brown, kind of like a Hershey bar brown,  purse with silver embellishments.  Normally brown is accented with gold; I don't like gold so I rarely even consider a brown handbag.  BUT, this shade of chocolate was just gorgeous with all the silver and I immediately wanted to own it.  But of course, the purse was Liz Claiborne, $70.00, way, way out of my purse price range, darn it!
Now, I'm in my motel room reading blogs and see some lovely photographs of brown and white transfer ware over at Marnie Jane's . She did a wonderful job with the photographs and her arrangement of items is very appealing to me, warm and comforting somehow.
For the second time today I'm suddenly a fan of brown.  What about you, been surprised by something lately?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pain, no, agony

Can't write much today, just the essential part, Parker has cancer.  The vet says it's a fast growing bladder cancer and his time is short, maybe 2 months.  Our hearts are breaking and refuse to accept what our minds tell us we must do.  It hurts so much.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aaaah

Yesterday I was a bum, nearly all day, a bum.  I can't tell you the last time I did not have to go somewhere or do something the minute I got out of bed.  Yesterday, though unplanned, I slept in.  I went back to sleep after Marty left for work and didn't get up until 7:30A, which is late for me. 
While I was reading the newspaper, Marty called from work asking me to record the Penguins game.  As I searched through the channels to find the appropriate one for the recording device, I came across a movie named, "Three Wishes" with Patrick Swayze and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.  I am a Patrick Swayze fan, so after the all important recording duties were completed, I flipped back to that channel and watched the remainder of the movie.
A simple movie, a bit of a tearjerker (not much of a stretch for me, I cry during Hallmark commercials) with a lesson to be learned.  I was surprised by the lesson imparted--- Jack made a wish for Tommy, "you always wanted what you couldn't have, so I wished you'd be happy with what you were given".   Isn't that a truism!  It's me on many days; wish I had more time, wish I had more friends, wish I was smarter or thinner or whatever.  I have so many blessings I can't  begin to write them all down or even list them in my head.  I have a lot, but often want more.  Happiness isn't something we are given, it is something we can learn and cultivate and something that doesn't cost us a dime.  
But I digress, when the movie was over, around 10:30, I felt guilty; I just wasted 2 hours.  At first I was mad at myself for even turning the TV on; it was Marty's fault though, wasn't it?  I could have loaded the dishwasher, put some laundry in, got the vacuum cleaner out and picked up the loose stuff on the floors,  getting ready to clean.
Just then Vivianne hopped up on my lap, stretching and nuzzling, waking up after her morning nap.  She sure wasn't feeling guilty for napping already on Saturday morning.  You know, there isn't anything wrong with me sitting down and watching a movie.  There isn't anything wrong with me sitting down and watching a movie.  There isn't anything wrong with me sitting down and watching a movie or reading or knitting or just plain sitting down!  There isn't anything wrong with that.  I drive myself and try to squeeze in one more thing, "I can do that", which is why I"m often late, "Just a minute, I'm almost done", which is why I don't sleep enough, "Wow, it's 2AM already" which is probably the real reason I'm such a poor manager of time, I'm always squeezing in one more thing.

I need to think on this personal revelation. Did wasting 2 hours suddenly turn on the light bulb that will change my life; could it really be that simple?  I think it can and I'm going to find out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Topsy-turvy

When you're an anal sort of person who functions best with a routine and a plan, sometimes the slightest little glitch throws you into a tailspin.   I've had a few glitches the past week or so and finding the time and summoning the wherewithal to write seemed out of my reach. I'm happy that things have improved, today I'm writing and I'm blessed with room to breath.
My mom has been struggling with some high blood pressure issues since the beginning of 2012.  Last week she was in the ER twice (195/90) and admitted the second time.  She was experiencing the classic heart attack symptoms on the second visit which is why they admitted her.  Tests were a bit abnormal but nothing further developed.  Mom has had a heart attack that included quadruple bypass in March 2000 so we tend to be extra cautious.  She was discharged with a list of further testing and we'll see what happens from here.
The husband of a good friend did have a heart attack last Friday.  He's home, being cranky and stressing his wife to the nth degree.  Men!  On top of that, my friend's refrigerator quit working (it had been repaired several times in the last couple of months) and the blower on her furnace malfunctioned!  Talk about a tailspin...my friend was over her limit for excitement to say the least :)  But like me, this week is better, she has a new frig and the part for the furnace should be installed today. Now if she could just fix her husband that easily, a new one perhaps, nah, just some adjustments on both sides!
With  a lot of trepidation, I had also set up a meeting with the other two founding members of my PKP team.  Pennsylvania Kinzua Pathways (PKP) is a civic project I've been involved in for almost 4 years.  If you're curious, check out our website http://www.pennsylvaniakinzuapathways.com/   Anyway, I have some added responsibilities at work that will include travel to Pittsburgh, I have to adjust my priorities for a few months until I get the hang of my new 'routine' and still do all the other things that life requires of me.   I have decided I need to back off on my PKP activity.  That was a really hard decision and I felt obligated to discuss it with my friends face to face.  I'm not good at saying 'No' or 'I can't' but for my own sanity, to keep the job I love and to not shortchange PKP, it was required.  My friends, Joe & Ines, were totally understanding and I'm so grateful and relieved.  Also, PKP recently added 3 new members to our team which couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me.  The answer to prayers if you will, thank you Lord!
This collage of mine continues to speak to me but still  not
sure what it is trying to say ! 
Speaking of the Lord, I believe He gives us these topsy-turvy times so we can appreciate the calm times more and be thankful for them.  I wish I could remember that when everything seems upside down!  It is said that He doesn't give us more than we can handle, but sometimes I feel like He's stretching me too thin.  As hard as that is for me, it's a good thing too because finding new sides of me, learning to do new things both personally and professionally are part of the goals I set for myself this year.  I do wish He wouldn't throw so much at me or my friends all at once,  but in my case, He certainly knows what a bad time manager I am, so maybe He's just helping His little lamb along :)  I'm pleased to have made it over these hurdles and I'm happy for today, another gift from Him.



Monday, February 13, 2012

About me

Reading one of the blogs I follow hit home for me yesterday.  Erin at Two Story Cottage  described herself and it sounded a bit like me.  I'm just learning how to talk about myself (one of my goals for 2012), I don't update my FB page and I don't promote my blog.  My blog is more for me than it is for you (no offense), a way for me to journal or talk out loud about myself until I'm brave enough to do it face to face.  I could ramble on about how I'm trying to psychoanalyze myself, improve my self confidence and become a better person but... that's not the purpose of this post.
I commented to Erin that she had inspired me to join her in posting 25 things about Me.  Me being me, I tried to figure out what I should write, in what order and how I should phrase everything but in the end it sounded fake.  It sounded fake because it was, sort of; the list was contrived.  So, here is another go at it, no advance thinking, just what ever pops into my head.

  1. I've been married 3 times. Third time has been the proverbial charm, 23 yrs married in September and 26 years together!
  2. I own at least a dozen dictionaries; they are scattered around the house and at my office.
  3. I knit, I love it but I'm very slow to complete my projects
  4. I am a veteran, served in the US Army back in the 70's.
  5. I'm planning to get a new hairstyle next week, I've been searching the web for styles I like.  Very unusual for me, normally I let my stylist decide how to fix my hair.
  6. I'm Native American- Seneca Nation, Bear Clan and have never lived on a reservation but other maternal generations of my family did and do.  
  7. As a young child I aspired to be an elementary school teacher.
  8. Any time the opportunity to take a self examination quiz, survey, DISC, etc presents itself, I do it.  No real answers yet!
  9. I wear only silver or white gold jewelry, except for the pendant I have that belonged to my late mother in law, it is yellow gold.
  10. Purple is my favorite color.
  11. I am a terrible manager of time.
  12. I love to travel as often as I can, though most of my trips are centered around family or work.
  13. I had cataract surgery in 2011.
  14. I have 2 sisters and 5 brothers and both of my parents are still living--I'm very lucky.
  15. I want to get in better shape this year and I hope that leads to losing weight.  
  16. I drive a Toyota Tacoma pickup with a cap, a hand me down from Marty after he got a brand new truck and traded in my beloved Subaru :(
  17. I love to dance and danced my heart and butt away in my 20's & 30's; a fixture on several local dance floors; personal enjoyment only, no real talent. I should take up dancing again but good bands and bars seem to be a thing of the past.
  18. I had my first pedicure when I turned 50.
  19. I love coming home, it makes me feel good.
  20. I'd love to drive a really fast car but I'm so afraid something bad will happen.
  21. It's hard for me to work in clutter, I need to have a sense of organization to function well.
  22. I was once a New York Jets fan and thought Mark Gastineau was ' the man'.  I wised up and realized that Clint Eastwood was my Man; I have loved him since I was a young girl watching Rawhide with my Uncle Frank.
  23. My Dad is the second most important man in my life.
  24. I would like to sky dive.
  25. If money was no object I'd love to have a large two story house, with beautiful curtains in every window, a wrap around porch, rocking chairs, abundant hanging plants and game boards and sweet ice tea at the ready for neighborhood porch parties every weekend.
Well there's a numbered list of random things you didn't know about me.  Erin had a linky party going with someone else but I'm not up to that yet and maybe never will but at least I posted my list ! YEAH!










Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Priorities

Tonight I cleaned off my dining room table.  I've been in and out of the house so much in the last month that nothing has found its way to its home.  The item on the bottom of the pile is one of Marty's Christmas gifts, a fleece Steelers blanket.  I always seem to find time to finish projects for others, for church, civic groups, my family, even my friends long before I finish his projects.  He's so understanding and I probably take advantage of him in that regard.  Why is that?  Is it because I think I'll always have time to finish it later, is it because I know he can see I'm working on his project bits at a time or is it just because he's less important in my mind???  I adamantly deny that last option.  But, honestly, in a sense, I think that's the truest option.  He sees me all the time, sees what I'm doing at home, sees what I'm doing for others, sees that I'm busy.  Therefore he should understand why I don't get his stuff done, right?   On the outside he might but on the inside, he's probably feeling cheated.  It's the inside I should be worried about.  I have talked to myself about this many times, about putting Marty first, finishing things for him before I do things for others.  I do really well for a spell and then I'm back to the bad behavior.  He is the best husband ever!  I love him more than I ever imagined I could love another but yet he some how, still falls to the back of the line, just ahead of  me.
Tonight I promised myself and Marty, though I didn't tell him, that I will finish his blanket before Monday morning.  After that, I will again find the projects for Marty that are at various stages of completion around the house and concentrate on finishing them before I start other things.
I have experienced some unexpected changes in my life recently and that split second change should remind me to put my husband first.  I want him to feel valued because he is and to know, on the inside, that he's my number one, today, tomorrow and forever.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whew!

Last week was an emotional week.  In many ways, more emotional than my wedding day!
  • I lost a very dear friend, she was 85.  I spoke at her memorial service, which was very hard but it was something I really wanted to do.  She meant a lot to me. 
  • I had an unsolicited face to face talk with my general manager about ways I thought we could improve the communication level between him and I and ways I thought we could improve the overall function of our small (6 people) office.  Face to face is very hard for me.  Face to face, one on one, causes me to formulate and voice my opinion and then be accountable for what I say.  It went much better than I thought it would.
  • I traveled to our Pittsburgh office on Wednesday to have my first ever 'goal setting' meeting with my immediate supervisor. I know my job, I do it well and I do anything else I am asked to do.  Simple, right?  Not now. Our company has decided to use an evaluation system to help monitor our individual progress.  I'm not scared, well, maybe a smidgen, but I'm confident I can meet the goals we set without any trouble.  What I am concerned about, can I meet them in a timely manner?  I am not a very good time manager.  I am actively working on improvement in that area and have been for about a year now.  Perhaps I need to work harder and more efficiently :)  This new policy may get me going in the right direction.  What appropriate timing!!
  • My step mom's aunt, she was 96, passed away on 1/31/11.  She was a wonderful person and I enjoyed visiting with her at every opportunity.  Because of a funeral home backlog (who'd da thunk it) the funeral was not held until 1/4/12.  To my benefit, that allowed time for my sister and I to make a quick trip to IL to pay our respects and see some of our family.  
  • Travel time to and from IL also allowed my sister and I to discuss some personal issues between the two of us.  We discussed ways I could improve on some of my shortcomings in the sister department.  Actually,  probably in the human being department as well.  OPEN UP, share, ask for help (that will be the day), enjoy time with your fellow man/woman, stop the isolation.  God meant for us to be social.  Even my church newsletter alluded to this topic last month. Hello Coralee, how much harder do you need to be hit; do you need to have a house dropped on you?
See what I mean, definitely emotional!!  It will take me a few more days to process all of this but I am grateful for this past week.  Saddened by the loss of life but encouraged by the new beginnings; it's a cycle of sorts, isn't it?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life passes

My sister and I traveled to Illinois yesterday for a funeral today and we will travel back to PA early tomorrow morning.  My Dad thinks it's silly for us to drive 1100 miles to attend a funeral but we do not because there are other benefits.
My sister and I are both in our mid fifties, relatively healthy and capable of making this trip; we drove.  Aside from paying our respects to our stepmother's dear aunt, we also have a bit of time to visit with our family here in Illinois.
Death of family and friends can impact our lives at any moment.  We don't know if this visit with our father, or 2 of our brothers or our stepmother will be our last; we pray that it won't be; but the realization of that possibility  looms larger with each passing minute at this point in our lives.
It is a bit sad that we wouldn't chose to make this quick trip, just because, but, time spent with family, for whatever reason, is not time wasted. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

I do believe.

The Bible Study group I'm in has been studying Revelation.  The main focus of Revelation seems to be worship, even in the worst of times, worship Him.  My 'worst' time right now, the loss of my friend, does make it difficult to worship.  However, I had an 'ah ha' moment because of it.
Because my friend lived alone and died unexpectedly, no one is sure exactly when she died.  That fact troubled and hurt me greatly when I first heard the news.  Why hadn't I stopped by last week?  And more than anything else, the thought of her being alone at that particular moment caused me great pain.
I took this photo last fall because it was so breathtaking.
Today, it seemed to fit this post, because it is so breathtaking.

After crying on my husband's shoulder for a time on the night I found out, I went to the chapel at our church.  As I knelt at the rail, I felt a sense of calm, a sad and tearful calm, but a calm none the less.  Elsiemay was not alone! Jesus was with her, at her side as she crossed from this life into the next.  That realization strengthened my faith, removed the little bits of doubt that niggle your mind and heart in times of sorrow.  I was comforted by this spiritual assurance.  I cannot explain why, perhaps some would say it's what I wanted and needed to know, but I choose to believe, because I'm always asking Him something, whether it be in prayer or in conversation, that at a profound moment, He chose to give me an answer. An answer, I chose to believe.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sadness

I have lost someone very special and I am heartbroken.  I have only known her for 11 years but her impact on my life has been significant.  I have learned many things by watching how she lived her life and served her Lord.  When I am 85, I hope the Lord will bless me with the zest for life and the love for family and friends that Elsiemay Draper showered upon so many of us.  There was no doubt in my mind that she loved me.  I pray that she was as sure of the same in return because I did love her dearly.  I can best celebrate my friend by fitting her life principles into my life.  She was never far when someone needed a hand and she always extended hers.
I miss you today Elsiemay and I will miss you tomorrow but I know one day I will see you again so I can let you go, for now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Miele

To say that I am in love, with this piece of housekeeping equipment, would be both a proclamation of affection and a realization of a dream come true.  I have owned this beauty for almost 2 years and I pay  homage to it each time I put it to use.
I've been married to Marty almost 23 years and I am ashamed and frustrated to say that I have owned nearly that many vacuum cleaners.  I've tried numerous brands and styles,- bags, no bags, wind tunnel, super glide, self propelled, whisper quiet, pet hair exterminator, upright, canister, shoulder mount - honestly, you name it, I've probably tried it.  During those years of disappointment (you get what you pay for) and repeated complaints about one thing or another, little did I know that my knight in shining armor would gallop into my life when I least expected him.
I was shopping for fabric that fateful day and discovered this store just happened to also sell sewing machines and vacuum cleaners; what a combination eh?  Anyway, I wandered over to that area, started reading some of the literature, got a free demo and two weeks later, brought my love home.  My heart wanted to buy him on the spot, but candidly, the price was a lot more than I was willing to spend without talking to Marty first.  We discussed it, Marty went to the store to see this piece of technology that had words of praise, contentment and pleasure rolling off the tongue and out of the mouth of his wife.  A wife who previously loathed this category of cleaning machinery. "Are you sure, really sure, this is 'the one'?", Marty asked. I was.  I still am.
Marty would probably say he loves my Miele too!  No more vacuum cleaners accidentally (wink, wink) tumbling down the stairs, no more unhappy tirades, no more complaints of any kind and best of all , no more  new vacuum cleaners!!  Had I met my Miele sooner, we would probably have a bigger retirement account :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A list

Many of the blogs I've read recently have started the new year by resolving to do 'things' or to participate in challenges to organize, create, cook, read, knit, etc.  Not wanting to be left out of the trend, I've contemplated the past couple of days about what I could do that would improve my life throughout the year.  I definitely need to lose weight, I've promised Marty to spend more time at home vs work, I'm working on a better personal budget and as many of us crafty sorts do periodically, I've asked my self to please "use what I have before buying more".  All of these things will benefit me and I hope that I will continue to pursue success in all, throughout the year.  But I came up with another idea that will nourish me personally and spiritually.
I try to consciously break away from whatever is happening at some point in each day to pray.  I have a couple of things that I ask for everyday, just like most everyone else but I also try to include a thanksgiving.  I have so much, on so many levels that I never want to take any of it for granted, though I'm sure I do.  So, yesterday I spent some time adding some gadgets to my blog, including a list.  I want to record something different everyday.  I'll exclude my Savior Jesus Christ, my husband and my family because there is not enough space to list the blessings they add to my life each and every day!  Recording the little things, the unexpected moments that add or maybe detract from my day is my goal.  I'm late starting so I won't have a full year but 345 thankful things isn't too shabby.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Never too late

Aren't these pies beautiful??  I made them and they didn't just look good, they tasted good too!!  This is a big accomplishment for me and I am very proud of myself.
My step-mom is the pie maker from heaven.   Marty & I believe she makes the best crust on this side of heaven and the filling isn't bad either :) I have watched her make pies many times, I have written down her recipe and I have attempted it at home, without much success :(  A couple of months ago, I asked her if she would give me a hands on lesson and she agreed.
We peeled the apples, set up the necessary equipment for pie crust making and began.  She instructed me in a step by step process and offered tips at various stages.  The lesson went smooth as silk and you can see the awesome results.  It's never too late to learn!
Later, what amazed me about the whole process was, how easy it really is to make pie crust when assisted by the knowledge of experience.  Alone, technically, I did exactly what the two of us did that afternoon but the pauses for "mix it till it feels like this", "use cold water and ice" or "maybe you need a different pastry blender" made all the difference.  I purchased a pastry blender like hers and it works 100% better than the one I had.
You can have a PhD or read 1000 books but nothing beats learning it face to face, heart to heart from someone who already knows how and is willing to share.
Maybe I should consider an entry in the pie baking category at our local fair?  Something to consider over a piece of good apple pie.