December 30, 2012

Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

First of all, I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  My youngest son asked me this afternoon if I had shut down my blog as I hadn’t posted anything since early December.  We had internet problems for a week and then after that problem was resolved, I decided to take a break from blogging over Christmas. 

I had the best Christmas I have had in three years.  What was the difference?  I scaled back on the decorating and the baking and the cooking.  The end result was less stress and more fun with family and time for reflection. 

The last two years I have faced depression that raised its ugly head in late November and came into full force in December.  In October of this year I resolved that I was going to do anything and everything to make sure it didn’t happen again this year. 

I do not suffer from chronic depression; but more of what you would refer to as Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder that leads to depression.  Knowing this, I decided to get out of the house and go for long walks in the fresh air with our labradoodle, Molly.  I walked anywhere from 2 to 3 miles in the morning which was a great way to start my day.  Then I made sure that I got to bed by 10:30 p.m. and I would sleep to 7:00 a.m.  In other words, I got exercise and sleep and I was taking better care of myself.  In the late afternoon when the darkness closed in, I worked more in my kitchen where I have lots of lighting.  There are lights over the sink, under the cabinets, over the stove and a big ceiling fan with lights in the middle of the room.   If I were to turn all of the lights on, it would be extremely bright and that is what I need some times. 

I am amazed that for me getting exercise in the great outdoors and getting enough sleep has worked wonders for me and my mood this winter.  I now realize that for the past few years I would just succumb to the expectation that during the winter this was going to happen and I just had to live with it.  Yes, a mild anti-depressant helped, but I didn’t like the side effects.  However, if I need an anti-depressant I would go back on one and live with the side effects and be happy rather than unmedicated and miserable.  Does this make sense?

I realize that not everyone can control depression with exercise and sleep but I have found that for me, this is working along with taking the time to read and do fun things that I enjoy.  I also think that having a plan beginning back in October has helped, recognizing the signs that I may be slipping into depression and knowing that if I need to I can call my doctor and get a prescription.

This week will test me.  We have scheduled an appointment on Wednesday January 2nd to have our black lab put down. She is 12 ½ years old and has cancer and other problems.  It is time to say good bye to her.   I met with the veterinarian last week and wanted her to examine Griffey so we could make a decision.  The veterinarian told me that we shouldn’t take her on walks anymore because of her declining health.  This left sleeping and eating as the only thing the dog could really do.  This veterinarian has cared for Griffey since she was a puppy and she knows our dog.  Finally the vet looked at me and told me that the time had come to make the decision.  So, I decided that it would be best to wait until after New Year’s Day. 

What do you do when you have one week’s notice that you will be putting your dog down?  Well, you make her last days great days.  I have given her little bits of chocolate knowing that it doesn’t matter.  We have taken her for a car ride – something she has always loved and we have also taken her on walks – very slow ones.  I am hoping that on New Year’s day we will be able to take her out on the recreation trail that skirts around our community and let her smell the good country air. 

We will be with her at the end.  I’m not sure how our 10 month old labradoodle “Molly” is going to react to this.  She has always lived in a household that has another dog but we have no plans to replace Griffey.  Molly will just need to adjust somehow. 

I will always have a dog.  It is sad when you have to say goodbye to a family pet, but I would never let that prevent me from opening my heart to another pet.  We have owned some great dogs over the years and we have lots of wonderful memories of each dog. 

I don’t want to end this post on a sad note after all I have talked about depression and the death of a pet. 

I have been pondering about what I want to do in the year 2013.  The year 2012 just flew by and I didn’t really accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.   I was way too busy most of the time with stuff that really didn’t matter and I regret that. 

So what am I going to be doing?  Well, concentrating on making my house more of a home.  Back in 2008 I subscribed to a mentoring website called the Homemaker’s Mentor.  Two times a month I would receive e-lessons on homemaking.  I was working 50 plus hours a week at the time, but my heart always wanted to be home.  I subscribed to these lessons and knew the day would come when I would actually work on them.  In 2009 when I lost my job and stayed home, I thought that I would begin the lessons then since I was home full time.  But that year went by and I accomplished little.  I was too busy adjusting to being home and living on less money and while I wanted to get to those lessons it never seemed like I had the time.  The accompanying years of 2010 and 2011 seemed to be spent enjoying the last few years my youngest son would be home and they were also spent learning to live on less and volunteering my time at our church. 

In 2012 we had the two college girls living with us and it seemed that the urgent and day to day household tasks seemed to keep edging out those homemaking lessons.  The girls have moved out and back into the dorms.  Last week as I was cleaning the upstairs of our home I came across those lessons gathering dust on my desk and I decided then and there I would make the changes in my schedule in order to do those lessons that I knew I would enjoy. 

So the year 2013 is going to be spent on my homemaking skills.  I’ve shared before that my mother never taught me to really “keep house” and I struggle with keeping a household schedule of cleaning, baking and cooking.  I have always looked at the past – 1920’s to the 1950’s as the “homemaking” era when more women took pride in keeping their homes clean and relatively neat.  Women cared about sewing and making things last.  Yes for a lot of women they didn’t have the choice except to be  homemakers.  The beauty of my life is that I have the choice in what I want to do and this is the choice that I have made – to be a homemaker. 

I want to learn to crochet, take the time to sew more and improve my sewing skills.  I have closets to go through and re-organize, pictures to put into albums and some to be scrapbooked.  There are rooms that need painted and wood work to be stained.  There is a yard that needs to be seriously re-landscaped (I know nothing about this).  Yes, it is ambitious but it is everything that I want to do.  And I need to get on track with cleaning and I need help to know how to clean some things and to establish a regular cleaning schedule and upkeep schedule for our home.  This is how I want to spend my time. 

When I tell people this they look at me as if I have frogs coming out of my ears as more women feel that they were freed from the “bondage” of homemaking in order to have great careers away from home.  That’s fine for them but for me I want my second career to be in homemaking.   I am going to truly embrace homemaking in 2013 and will report on what lessons I am working on and how I am doing.

I hope that I can encourage other women to improve their skills in homemaking or learn new ones.  Let’s get back to homemaking and really take the time to make homemaking a priority.  After all, we all end up coming home sometime – let’s make it a welcoming and loving place to live.  Are you with me?      

December 10, 2012

Technical Difficulties, Literally

Our internet service, actually our router, has died so I have been unable to post for awhile.  Hopefully it will be fixed by tomorrow.  I am busy making homemade Christmas ornaments for Christmas, deep cleaning my house and I have been reading a book that is helping me focus on planning my life so that I stay focused on doing the things I want to do.  I am also making a plan to make sure depression doesn't sideline me this winter season and lastly I am inventorying all our food so that we can go to a minimal grocery budget a.s.a.p.

I have been posting in Microsoft Word and will upload as soon as our internet is up and running.

Thanks to a wi-fi signal I was able to post this.

December 01, 2012

Christmas 2012 Ornament

I should have blogged earlier this week, but I got caught up in a craft project and I just couldn’t put it down.  I have been making Christmas ornaments out of grosgrain ribbon and beads.  The beads are in muted tones of pinks, creams, sage greens, bronze, and silver.  I have used brown, cream, pink, sage green and silver ribbons. 

Why are these ornaments on a cookie sheet?  I put them on these so that they will lay flat and I can easily put them up high enough so the dogs won't get to them.  Yes, I am constantly trying to keep things away from our puppy, Molly.  I should have straightened them out a little more for the picture, but I am not a photographer and didn't think about it.  

The cost of this project isn't too bad.  The beads cost $10 and the ribbon was around $1.50 a spool.  So I figure that when all is said and done I should be able to make around 30 to 40 ornaments for a total cost of $20.00. 

Of course these can be made out of Christmas plaid ribbon and children’s craft beads, but I wanted to go for something a little more elegant.  I found the picture of these on Pinterest.  I found the best directions on how to make these at  Sunshine Yellow Creative Stitching.

Now, if you decide to make this craft, don’t give up after one ornament.  I was on my third ornament before I really got the hang of it.  If you can sew a button, you can make this ornament.