Mom, Tell Bryan I Love Him 

It was sudden in the sense she was home, had been talking to us pretty well, and didn’t seem in any worse condition that the day before. I can look behind me and see her kidneys and bowels had been shutting down. 
She was just at the doctor Wednesday and he didn’t seem concerned. He increased her lasix and ordered a bowel softener. I spoke with him after hours Thursday and he didn’t seem worried. But we also discussed how delicate of a dance it is to treat the heart without damaging the kidneys. 

She couldn’t get to the bathtub so I gave her a sponge bath around 5. She got her evening medicines then seemed a little groggy, but they did that to her. She kept throwing her leg off the bed, sat up a couple times but didn’t want to go to the recliner. Her legs were ice cold, but I blamed that on the fluid she was holding. I kept going in to lift her leg back onto the bed. 

I could see her from my seat at the dining room table and around 9 I could tell she wasn’t right. We called 911, got her to the floor, and I started CPR. The medics got there around seven minutes and worked with her another 20 minutes or so. Nothing worked and there were never any signs of her coming back.

We knew things were bad, but not that they were near the end. She would get a little better but we knew she wouldn’t get well. 

We spent the past days getting things arranged, finding out if there was enough insurance for the service (there is), and ordering flowers. I hope to spend today catching up my housework, getting clothes ready, and only going out to vote and meet with the pastor at Dad’s at 11.

I believe Scripture tells is there is no communication between the living and the saints in heaven. I also believe we do not take memories of this earth to heaven with us. If it were possible, I would only ask Mom to tell Bryan I love him. 

If you don’t make it out I totally understand. I just wanted to let you know. You don’t use Facebook and we aren’t in any forums that you would have seen it. You know me well enough to know I won’t be mad if you can’t make it.
Talk soon,

All the signs of dementia. 

It has all the signs of a dementia. Dementia explains many of the things we witnessed over the past couple years. 
What we thought was addiction behavior was probably dementia. It wasn’t that she wanted to take too much medication, it is likely she didn’t remember taking it. 

Once we got a handle on her meds we started seeing the underlying confusion. She got angry, refusing to speak with me because I dispensed her pain meds. She cursed my sister for not getting her french fries. She told my dad to ___ himself because he checks her blood sugar religiously. 

It has snowballed since her long hospital stay in September. Her heart disease and diabetes complicates her treatments. It hurts us because we aren’t sure what to do to help her. 

I had a lengthy conversation with her doc last evening. I told him this is just like having your first child. You are never sure if you need to go to the ER or not. 

She can’t be left alone. The sister and I are trying to work out our schedules so one of us is there most of the time. Dad is there also. But he is beside himself watching his wife decline as she is. 

I know some of my friends have gone through this already. I saw how hard it was for a few as you posted about it. I have been mostly quiet because she has a FB account and would read posts. I doubt she can now at all. 

Cheater Cheddar 

I finally did it! I made my first small “wheel” of cheese. 

I have been itching to make cheese for a long time. I ordered several books on homemade cheese from Amazon. I even attended a small workshop a couple weeks ago. 

The workshop helped make sense of what I found in the books. It also fueled the itch to gather up the tools to make my own. Yesterday I took the plunge.

I have a book on one hour cheeses. Some are true soft cheeses. Most are knockoffs. They all seem easy for a novice like me. 

I couldn’t get photos during the process. With one hour cheeses it is important to pay attention to the thermometer and clock. The following is the finished product. 

This is a cheddar knock-off. The flavor is fair, more like a colby. It is pretty crumbly. That may be from  the curd being too dry. It may be from letting the curds get cold. For my first go it isn’t bad. 

I plan to make more one-hour cheeses then work my way to traditional cheeses. I will need to make this in a fee more times. Maybe Mr. Holstein will be my photographer. 

Cheese making is my new obsession! 

Homecooked Ketchup Memories

Spending time with the kids is fun and exhausting! Add a kettle of steaming tomatoes and it gets tricky!

With the remodel and move, I did not plant the sized garden I did last year. The little I did plant isn’t growing well at all. So, I picked up a half bushel of canning tomatoes at the farm stand.

After church I asked Tori if she wnted to help me make ketchup. I cut the stem and any bad places out of the tomatoes. Tori cut them up in quarters.

Thirty minutes of simmering then into the Squeezo. From there it was back to the stock pot. It was a great day of fun. We didn’t like that particular recipe, but the kids got some good hands-on experience, and memories.

2016 WV Book Festival is coming …

WV Book Festival

The 2016 WV Book Festival is October 28 and 29 this year. The list of authors is impressive, as always. The Charleston Gazette-Mail posted this article on them: This year’s Book Festival to feature more authors .

Online registration for some of the events is handled through the Kanawha County Library Calendar of Events. Search for the month and day, click the event title and the registration form should come up.

I really hope to attend for a few hours. I love the Book Festival!

Everyday Upcycle Facebook book launch this Friday.

I am VERY excited to share that I am hosting an online book launch for my new book Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items.

Do you have mounds of items you know could make great things? Are you scrapped for cash and looking for easy ways to make gifts? Does your desire for unique decorating ideas clash with available cash in your wallet? In Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items you will learn to make fun and environmentally friendly decorations and gifts.

I share quick and easy crafting ideas using materials found in almost every home. I encourage readers to take advantage of what they have instead of buying new from big-box stores.

In this slim volume you will learn:

  • Turn children’s pants into flowerpot bottoms
  • Mark your plants with flatware
  • Salvage broken mini-blinds
  • Help a little seamstress

You know that jelly jar has more life in it. If you are looking for ways to reduce waste but need ideas and instruction, with 13 full color images this is the book for you.

There is no need to register for the online launch, but if you’d like you can using this link: Free Ticket. Registering for your Free Ticket will give you an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.

Get your questions ready! I will try a live stream through the event page.

So wish me well!

New book on-the-way: Everyday Upcycle

Everyday Upcycle

Most of you know I write a column on upcycling for Two-Lane Livin‘. I started in 2015, sharing many of the ideas I had, along with improvements on things I learned elsewhere. I cobbled together 15 of my projects into a small book titled Everyday Upcycle; 15 projects from everyday items. It will be available through Amazon and Kindle.  I hope to have it ready by October 1.

In the slim volume you will learn:

  • Turn children’s pants into flowerpot bottoms
  • Mark your plants with flatware
  • Salvage broken mini-blinds
  • Help a little seamstress

You know that jelly jar has more life in it. If you are looking for ways to reduce waste but need ideas and instruction, with 13 full color images this is the book for you.


If you are interested in reviewing the book, shoot me an email.


everyday upcycle book cover