Sunday, July 8, 2012

I AM Still Alive....

Thank you so much Mandy & Cindy... your thoughts mean so very much to me that words just can't express. 
Things went beautifully at the Soc Sec hearing.  I had the best lawyer so that I was approved without even seeing the judge - though sitting in the "pit", awaiting my turn, not knowing what was going on, was excruciating.  When my attorney came out of chambers and called me into an adjacent room, I was sure it was just for preparation counselling.  But no, it was the great news.
So the reason I have not shared this awesome news with you is because in the happiness of my success, stupidity stepped in to bring me back to earth.  When I returned to the hotel we packed up, went for lunch and checked-out.  You know how packing up goes... toothbrush-check, shoes-check, laptop-check.  When we got home, Gigi pulled out the laptop to send a quick fb message before I blogged and asked so sweetly, "Nonna, the laptop is dead - where is the power cord?"  What?  What?  What?  Gigi, didn't you pack the cord with the laptop?  (Nonna, you packed the laptop.)  What? What?  What? 
Needless to say, that it has taken 3 weeks to retrieve my laptop cord (and finally received thanks to my sister-in-law running to the hotel after they had said it was actually mailed on the 14th!) and here I am as soon as technilogically possible!

That's about all the news on that front.  Well, except that... it seemed that from the time I found out about the hearing to the actual day went by in a flash;  but the time since, you know the time it's taking to get my check and Medicare started and life started, seems to be going as slow as molasses.  Every day seems a week long waiting to hear something.  It's literally driving me crazy.  Well, that and...
It occurred to me last week that, as much as the money is going to mean to my family (especially to GiGi as she finally gets braces!), the daydreams I was having about it aren't exactly going to be realized.  More to the point, I have been dreaming of a little scrapbook space of my own ever since moving from our house in 2010.  Actually even before moving I had an overpowering need for an Expedit bookcase for my scrap space (yes, you know exactly what I'm talking about).  Finally I can afford the bookcase and organization doodads that will make my scrapping more proficient.  But like all daydreams, reality doesn't always work its way into the fantasy - where the heck is this scrap space supposed to be?!  I have been living in an RV up until the end of April when I started staying here to help with my mom and dad, then my grandkids and daughter.  We are still ALL staying in this little house.  And while I've actually started missing the privacy of my little RV, I really can't go back as long as everyone else is here - that would leave everyone's care, as well as the housekeeping, up to my mom who is definitely not well enough to deal with it alone.  And yes, I've had some very bad days that absolutely have not allowed me to be of any help, yet I am still the most able-body in the house it seems - and most organized when it comes to the constant (and I mean appointments that have to be kept up with.  When I first realized that I would probably be staying here full time, there was still a plan that I would take over the guest room with its walk-in closet as my space.  But my daughter has been there for over 2 months - and it has been since that plan that the depths of my daughters incapacity has been realized - no, she will not be living alone with the kids anymore, ever.  So, for over 2 months I have slept on the couch with my things stored in the coat closet and a few of my scrap supplies in the pantry of the laundry room. (Needless to say, I am not one of those scrappers who packs everything back away after each little scrap session so even though I appreciate the storage space and the fact that I can scrap at the dinner table, it's not conducive to getting anything actually done - and I'm a TV fanatic that really needs the TV where I can look up and see it and listen to it while I am scrapping (especially the History and Science channels)).  So time not spent wondering when I can start living again monetarily is spent wondering how I'm gonna start living again physically.  The "high" from the success of my SocSec ordeal has worn off and been replaced with another stress-ridden ordeal.  (Did I mention that I suffer from Manic Depression?  Hmmmm).  I am sure God has a plan, but I sure would like a hint!!
As I read back over this post, I am shocked at my own selfishness.  That every adult in my family is becoming more ill and disabled, that I have two grandchildren who have to adapt to these changes while going through their own separate mental/emotional abuses and deal with the added stress of adolescence, that I myself have days/weeks/months that I am incapacitated - in the light of all these things, my scrap room dilemma seems foolish.  But honestly, my scrapbooking is my escape and thus my sanity.  I don't mind caring for my family in every way I possibly can:  I don't mind cleaning up after them, I don't mind cooking for them, I don't mind picking them up off the toilet, getting them out of the tub, pushing wheelchairs, driving when I can, and bitching at them when it's called for.  I don't begrudge anyone their own space - even understanding that at 13 (and with some of the emotional abuses she has suffered by her dad) how GiGi is even more desparate for her own room than I - but at 50, I cannot maintain mentally or physically without any personal space.  It's not part of who I am.  So whiner or not, it just is what it is.

SORRY... let's get back to grander things.  If you are ever in the Mobile Alabama area, there are several siteseeing adventures of which you can partake.  But the best bet in my book is the MardiGras museum on Government Street.  Mobile actually began their Mardi Gras celebration before New Orleans and for $5 entry fee you can get an extensive tour of its history to include the king/queen gowns/robes/capes (there's a word for this but as usual my brain can't grasp it now - it'll probably come to me in the shower!).  GiGi went with my mom and I stayed out in the car with my dad as he didn't want to go, but she took plenty of pix with my phone and I'll give you a little sample (I know they're not perfect but at least you'll get the hint):


Also want to share a few little things I've been doing while sitting in waiting rooms.  (The first two layouts were done from photos taken at the hotel in Mobile).

These were all done on the free DCWV 'escraps' app for the iphone.  Thank goodness our scrap companies love us!

Lastly, a few pages that I have actually completed in the past couple of weeks:

(Cardstock:  Colorbok; Patterned Paper:  Cosmic Cricket; Letter Stickers:  Cosmo Cricket (blue), Paper Studios (yellow); American Crafts (green, red); Thread:  DMC; photos:  hipstamatic via iphone)

Journaling:  "Months of splints and casts - Apr 25-May 7 = splint; May 7-11 = green cast; May 11-Jun 5 = orange cast; Jun 5-21= red knee=hi cast; Jun 21-??? = knee brace & ankle brace.  It's been hard not able to go out, but you have been great - so proud!!"

(Cardstock, Patterned Papers, Stickers: Cosmo Cricket; Letter Stickers:  American Crafts; Punch:  EK Success (border); Fiskars (circle); photos:  hipstamatic via iphone)

Journaling:  "So happy to celebrate (Fathers Day) each & every year"

(Cardstock:  Colorbok; Patterned Paper & Journaling Spot:  Cosmo Cricket; Letter Stickers:  Cosmo Cricket (blue), American Crafts (cream), Paper Studio (teal); photos:  instagram via iphone) 

Journaling:  "In the spring, before the blonde peekaboo & stripe, we said you could have pink in your hair throughout the summer.  But when it came down to it, your heart was set on teal."

Just a couple of notes about these layouts:

1.  JC is finally out of his cast but has a knee brace and ankle brace.  His leg seems totally turned in from about the knee down.  He is in physical therapy but we are very concerned.  Moreover, his dad is extremely unsympathetic and expects nothing less than perfection (his version anyway) from his son; so how this plays out it really has us very stressed.  And sadly, JC is a very active boy playing baseball, football & basketball - the Dr has said all of these are out for the next year and he is very worried about any future sports endeavors.   
On the scrappy side of this layout, let me just say I love it when I can credit my scraplift - this one from that great Shimelle weekend a couple of months ago.  The four-square challenge was my first thought when I knew that I had to scrap this experience.  Even if JC had not had 3 different casts, I would have used it with the splint/cast/brace photos; but these 3 colorful casts definitely gave me a layout that is now my favorite. (Also, sorry about the crooked photo of the layout but more on that later.)

2.  Fathers Day was just my dad and us girls - his children (who live in Mobile) didn't come even though they hadn't seen him since his fall.  I felt extremely sad for my dad because of this.  But I will say that his son came yesterday and mowed the yard and spent the whole day so my dad was happy when he went to bed last night.  Thank you God.

3.  When I did the first of GiGi's hair pages ("{{{ rockin' the hair) it was done on that funky mustard cardstock (which I actually like) with navy and red & cream dots... little did I know at that time that just a week or so later I would be painting teal hair color on those blonde tresses.  So in order to make the two pages cohesive, I carried the red & cream paper as well as the 'cream giggles' thickers over to the new teal layout.  It actually looks pretty good in the album so I am pleased.  But my "summer-" does not look as slanted on the actual layout as in the photo, but more on that later.

4. I know you're probably tired of seeing all this Cosmo Cricket but  it's the newest thing I have, it's almost the only thing I have with me, and honestly I really like it.  Also (and here's what you've been waiting to hear) I really have started to believe that I "see" slanted.  Yep, that's the only answer as to why so much of my stuff is crooked.  Uh-huh, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Okay, so sorry this was so long, but I had so much catching up to do.  Actually I have even more stuff (yes, I took notes on my phone about little things I want to write about) but this is definitely long enough.  I have missed this blog and I have missed everyone's blog that I love to visit, and now that I have let you know the great news about my SocSec, I am going to be spending the rest of today and tomorrow (at least) playing catch up on your blogs. 

I hope all is well with each of you.  I can't wait to see what you've been creating!  And if I miss someone, hey throw me a line/link and I'll swim on over!


P.S.  GiGi has asked me why I sign off Cheerio if I am not in England.  Well, that's multifaceted: (a) I am a big genealogy buff so know that I have a good deal of that British blood coursing through my veins (yes, I can actually feel it fighting the Irish, Cherokee and Chippewa on some days); (b) I have always dreamt of going to England (okay, Harrads - nnr, LOL) and told GiGi that I am going to try to save enough money to take her once she graduates high-school; (c) really, doesn't it sound happy and just a little funny to us Americans.... you know in that cheery new morning kind of way!!  I just really love that word - it always makes me smile!!!!!!

"Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling." - Madeleine L'Engle


  1. Oh, goodness. It just seems there should be an end to all the bad stuff at some point, right? I'm so glad your Social Security issues have worked out for the good. That's a blessing for sure! And I'm VERY glad you're OK and back in blogland!! Hugs and prayers! =D

    1. Cynthia... I have missed you!!!!! I am so sorry I haven't gotten to your blog yet, but I am just now reading Shimelle and then going to bed - I will see what you've been up to in the morning, I promise.
      Girl, honestly the most terrible stuff I don't even talk about here but it just is what it is! Our bad stuff is pretty bad I suppose, but it's what to do with it all that becomes the real problem. Does that make sense? For instance, we can't continue to all live in this little house or someone will certainly die of unnatural causes before the natural ones catch up to them! But at least with us all here, we can help each other as much as possible and, thank goodness, mom and I sort of rotate our bad days (how that happens is a true hand of God) and I am very thankful for that.
      I suppose that stressing over the fact that I was blindsided by the realization that I would not finally have my dream scrap space (5'x5', that's all I wanted!) is utterly ridiculous in the midst of all this.... how bizarre that this fact hit me like a ton of bricks and dropped me to my knees!!! But that little dream has been keeping me sane for quite a while - it's hard to let go!
      The rest of it is just about getting through each day. Thank you so much for the prayers and I swear I feel the hugs all the way over here!!!
      Oh, but didn't you love the Mardi Gras stuff?!! Have you ever been to a Mardi Gras parade? We have a small one here in this one-horse town and you are welcome to come make a pallet next to me here in the living room next year and we'll go together!

  2. Where ya been, girl??? I hope it's all good and you're keeping out of trouble. ;-)

  3. *sigh* It's so quiet in here...all by myself...