Friday, October 2, 2015

One year ago today DH went into the hospital with a diagnosis of Bipolar. It was horrible. I was at my end with trying to appease him or please him or understand him. I would do the same thing in the same circumstance again...maybe sooner. It has grown me: I am more confident in doing hard things.
But I miss him deeply, my best friend is gone on his own free will. I ache constantly for my children who have lost their father. I mourn what we all miss because of the illness.
I am thankful for my support system and for God's provision.

Taken last fall after he left the state, before he said he was never coming home.
In the last year:
I got a job, after 18 years at home, as an RN making 3 x minimum wage. I love being a nurse. It was like riding a bike. The positive feedback from my co-workers is amazing
DD#1 got almost straight A's in her first year of community college; was hired as photo editor of the school paper (she wants to be a photo journalist); is now working almost 30 hours a week in addition to classes. Was proud that she provided meat for the family with her pig that did not make weight...home grown ham, yum.
DD#2 got a job that pays enough to pay for all of our animals' feed. Earned her way to the state 4-H horse show. Got her drivers license and learned how to back the trailer the 600ft down the drive to our barn. Coordinated a group of retired men from our church to enlarge our horse pasture by 3 fold.
DD#3 earned 2 best of show ribbons at the county fair. Has cooked more dinners than I have. Has organized and hosted 2 rabbit workshops with attendees from more than 2 hours away.
DS joined Boy Scouts and achieved his first rank. Attended Scout camp for a week. Mowed the lawn many times. And jumps in when I need things done.
DD#4 finished a tap class and started a second year. Started practicing with the JV homeschool volleyball team. Learned to read, but still says she can't. Cared for her leased horse more than her sister did. Learned how to spin yarn. Showed a pig in the county fair for the first time
DD#5 finished a tap class and now is taking a jazz class. Learned how to read and has a passion for it. Participated more in caring for the pigs.

As a family we were blessed beyond measure with gifts of food and clothing and time.
We also camped (in our restored '74 trailer) at fair. I thought I wasn't going to make it through the week: We took about 35 animals entered in 80 classes and 88 still exhibits entered. I don't remember much of it.
Then we camped for a weekend at a Tractor show to be night guard for our 4H club's petting zoo.

Now I face more challenges as I am trying to get the legal separation financial details taken care of with no cooperation from my husband and a lousy lawyer that I am done with.
My job was nights, I have been so sick recently that I can't work nights any longer, working mostly evenings now. Now I may have an opportunity to work in a hospital 12 hour shifts. Tough decision.
Homeschooling is difficult when I am not around much or exhausted, but the older children are learning time management and prioritization.

So we have some a long way and we hurt everyday he is not here. But I received the best end of the judgment. The house and our friends and our kids (mostly) bring me joy despite the struggles.

Thank you for your continued prayers and reading my first blog post in forever.

In the heart of Todd's home with my olive branches (Josie 11/96, Gabbi 9/98, Natalie 5/00, Daniel 9/02, Mary 9/04, and Tabitha 7/06) around my table. Ps 128:3

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kool-Aid Meets Mohair

I have been wanting to try Kool-aid dyeing for years.  I finally made it happen last night.

I found lots of tutorials online but followed these directions at more than any other:

I added 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar to each package of Kool-aid.  I was disappointed that the Kiwi-Strawberry that was packaged in green was pink, so I combined it with the extra cherry package I bought.  I will have to search for a green another time.

I weighed 1 ounce of fiber for each package of Kool-aid then soaked it in room temp water for about a half hour.

Mostly I used Ellie's Mohair, but I made 2 batches (blue and purple) with Lama that we got a few years ago from a 4-H friend.

I drained the wet fiber and put it into the jars with the dissolved drink-mix.  I had to ad about 1 cup of water to cover the fiber with the dye.

Then I put three jars at a time into the microwave for two minutes.  After two minutes I stirred the fiber in the jars.  I continued to heat the jars until the water was clear and the dye was absorbed by the fiber.  I was very surprised how fast this happened.  The yellow absorbed the fastest.



Sunday, April 15, 2012


I usually just post pictures and some captions but today I am doing something different.

I took J, G, and N to the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra concert tonight as my birthday present from my dad. I am sorry to say that I haven't been to seen this particular orchestra even though I have lived in Saginaw since 1995. I have seen the Indianapolis Symphony a few times at Conner Prairie since then. In the early 90s Todd took me to the ISO twice for New Year's Eve. I was so nervous the first time my mom had to reassure me that my small town boyfriend could do the symphony. He was fine. And I appreciate to this day him doing that for me because it was something I enjoyed.

I was amazed at how I reacted to the music, but not just the music but the musicians or rather what they remanded me of.
The SBSO is actually smaller that my high school's orchestra: the winds and percussion were about the same, but only 5 cellos, 6 violas and 18 violins. I think we had 25 or so violins, at least 8 if not 12 cellos.

The concert was:
A Night at the Movies: The Music of John Williams
Star Wars: Suite for Orchestra
Theme from Jaws
NBC's Mission Theme
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Raiders March
March from Superman
Olympic Fanfare and Theme
The Cowboys
Theme from J.F.K.
Theme from Schindler's List
Theme from Jurassic Park
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: "Adventures on Earth"

My favorites were Jaws because of the featured all of the bass instruments and Schildler's List because of the beauty and the amazing violinist.

So the symphony is not part of my normal life...unlike laundry and cleaning and all the other stuff that goes with doing what I do.

It used to be.

I started playing clarinet in sixth grade. I moved to the bassoon early that year. My desire to be different and the band director's recognition of my big hands being the motivation. So I guess I was a band geek. I took lessons on and off depending on my mood or what boy I was trying to impress that year. I probably could have been pretty good if I had practiced everyday like the good musicians do. Being one of only a hand full of bassoon players I did manage to be first chair in middle school and most of high school. In the middle of my freshman year I was honored to be asked to play with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the top band at North Central. That also meant I got to play with the orchestra. It was very exciting.

I remember many seniors that I only played with for part of my freshman year. We had a senior that played harp. We played the Waltz of the Flowers for every concert. We finally played it for State Competition and won. I remember Marcus the tuba player who was super nice and had big fat fingers. At the end of the year somehow someone managed to get one of the awful polyester dresses we wore as a memento for Carrie, a talented flute player who despised the dress. I played in the pit orchestra for South Pacific. I loved being in the pit. It was first suggested to me to play in the pit by a red headed trumpet player who complicated my life tremendously that year. I believe that was the year we marched in the 500 Festival Parade. I carried the banner with another band member. It was hot and a long walk. Also at the end of that year as every year I played in the graduation band for commencement. It was at the coliseum at the state fairgrounds. Kind of a strange venue.

The next year I had to march as I was in the SWE in the fall. I had avoided it my freshman year. You can't march with a bassoon, so the summer between my freshman and sophomore years I tried to learn to play the saxophone. I never really succeeded. But I got through that marching season without any major embarrassment. There was a saxophones/clarinet player who was greatly encouraging though. We had a female drum major who I looked up to and decided I wanted to emulate. Football games were fun. We also had a pep band for basketball and our team did very well that year. The other bassoon player got to play in pit that year for Oklahoma. I never liked him much. I also never knew when he was going to be there. Now looking back I am sure it wasn't his fault, he was probably in a tough situation and missed a lot school often because of it. He played first chair, but in a concert he missed he had a solo that I hadn't practiced much and I got in trouble for not paying it. I still can see Mr. Dennis glaring at me. I did play that solo during the state orchestra competition. To this day I can hear the judge saying on tape of remarks "good job bassoon, don't go sharp..." But I did. It was a high F that I had to hold it for a measure and a half. We didn't win that year. We came in second to our arch rival. This year graduation was at Market Square Arena. We sat on plywood on top of the ice. My feet got cold.

My junior year I was able to play in the pit orchestra for Brigadoon. Lots of oboe and bassoon solos. I played saxophone again in the marching band. We had a new Marching band director. He kind of shook things up and changed things around. Now we had to memorize our music...I could barely remember how to play the sax that fall let alone learn the music too. I did more marching than playing that year. What I remember most of that year was the seniors. I had played with many of them for 2 years. I would miss them when they left. I was never close to any of them (except that one clarinet player) but for whatever reason I really wanted to be friends with them. Those pesky trombone players and their spray bottles picked on me endlessly.

My senior year I tried out for drum major. There was a new girl who had been drum major at her old school. I didn't make it. But I didn't have to worry about the saxophone that year. The bass drum line was made up of two oboe players, a clarinet and a bassoon player. We were used to playing together. I had known one of the oboes players for years and the other since seventh grade. It was kind of fun as the drum line is the star of any marching band, but something new is always a challenge. The freshman started to learn the basics of marching. I helped out during a semi-free hour. It kind of fulfilled my desire to be drum major. The Wiz was the musical of the year...the jazz band provided the music. I was kind of bummed. I always loved to listen to the jazz band.

I don't remember being terribly sad about giving my bassoon back to the band director that year, but I must have been. I probably didn't realize in the excitement of graduation how much I would miss making music with the band and the orchestra and the directors of both and the people who worked together an hour or more a day to make music.

Now as I look back I try not to be sad. I try to be grateful for what I learned in my short music career; I am sure that the list would be endless. I remember with fondness the people I worked with. I am happy that I have reconnected with some on Facebook. I think the thing I enjoyed most was being in the middle of a group that worked hard together to make something enjoyable for others. Since I graduated I haven't found the joy and excitement from being part of such a large and varied group. I think some of the excitement comes from age...the ups and downs have mellowed.

I do think, as I did tonight, that every time I see a symphony in action I will see the faces of those I grew up with and made music with: Kenny and Charlie (percussion); Ward, Valerie, Brad (clarinet); Liz, Mellie, Carrie, Tina (flute); Mickey and Mari (oboe); Steve, Emily, Dave, Cam (trombone); Mike, Ron, Richard, Steve, John (trumpet); Eric, Nancy (sax); Derek, the young concertmaster, Chicca, Jessica, Catherine (strings); the crazy Hungarian who loved to teach and the steady Purdue fan who was a quiet and steady director. And of course many many many more.

The music alone is moving and powerful. The people who are part of the memory are priceless.

Thanks you all for helping me to grow into who I am.