Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blogging for the Cure - Final Post

See the squirrel? He is praying that you will give money to support
Penny and her beautiful daughters in Relay for Life. Poor?  Even $1 can help.  Broke?  No excuse, pimp out the cause on your blog, journal, facebook, or twitter.  Money does not have to be in today.  I will be sending money myself next Friday on payday.  Maybe that will work for you too.

My posts may be over but you can still help. Payments can be made until June 7th. You can even mail your check to
Penny directly. Just send her an email and she will share her address with you. Her email address is available on her journal.

With this, I will bid you good night. Thanks to those of you who laughed, cried, and smiled along with my posts. You're the greatest. Thanks for taking a trip with me down memory lane. We've visited my Grandma Ake, Emily Bell, Granny Anne, and even my Aunt Quatzey. They all suffered from various forms of Cancer. The goal of this blog-a-thong was to do our part to eradicate the evil C from all of our lives. Thank you for your help.

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - My Hubby!

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

  • He just went to the store and got me some bananas and milk. Those are a few of the things that I seem to be able to eat lately. Well, that and Mylanta!
  • He planted my gardens today after mowing both the front and back yards.
  • He works hard every day - sometimes 14 hours a day just to take care of our little family.
  • He is nice to my parents
  • He tolerates people for me (not my parents)!
  • He gets my medications out for me every single night. I honestly don't think I know what exactly I take each night.
  • He adores me!
  • He loves our "kids" and even lets me take pictures of him with them.

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Grandma's Sewing Machine

There are only a few items that my Grandma Ake left behind. She did not have much that was worth anything significant. Working class poor people rarely have items that can be passed down to children and grandchildren. When her mother died, my mom had some serious problems. These problems went on for years. She finally realized that she would need to get rid of all things that reminded her of her mom. Looking back, it sounds pretty ridiculous but I guess the idea was "out of sight, out of mind". She gave her mother's sewing machine - a 1920's Singer brand treadle machine to Aunt LaQuata (yeah, names in that family were pretty crazy)! Surprisingly the red ladder was allowed to stay in our house.

That is me in front of the machine. That is the ladder too!

When I was 17, the summer after I graduated from high school, my mom, her sister Doris, and I went on a trip to Chattanooga to visit family. While there, I asked Aunt Quatzey (LaQuata's nickname) for the machine. She was battling Cancer at the time and I wanted my wishes known before a time came that she was gone. She promised that upon her death, I would get my grandma's Singer.

When I moved out of my mother's house, the ladder came to live with me. I painted it blue and it still resides in my house. However, I still did not have the Singer.

Aunt Quatzey moved in with Aunt Hazel who helped to take care of her as her Cancer progressed. Aunt Hazel claimed the machine as her own when her sister died. My mom would not ask for the machine. She was not comfortable asking for it after they had it for so very long.

Flash forward to 2005, my mom and I went to Chattanooga for my Aunt Matt's funeral. Aunt Matt is on the other side of my mom's family, however, while we were there, we attended a birthday party at Aunt Hazel's house. While riding to Hazel's house in my cousin Charlie's car, I reminded my mom that I wanted her to ask about the machine. I did not want to take it out of her house, but I really wanted it when she passed away.

We're at the house and Charlie pipes up with "Hey Hazel! Shirley needs to talk to you!" Well, mom stammers a bit before he says "Shirley's daughter wants her mother's sewing machine!" Hazel insisted that I take it right now so that she would know I was enjoying it. Before we left for home, Mom and I got it wrestled into her minivan which we thankfully had the middle seat removed.

The machine now lovingly resides in my living room where every time I see it, I think of my Grandma. She may not have had much to leave behind but she did leave me with something I love!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Let's Talk About Food

Another hour has passed. Another post needs to be made. I'm pulling one out of a hat here. Let's see...what can I talk about?

Food...that seems to be the topic here. We were thinking about cheeseburgers here a few minutes ago. Or at least we were talking about the way Matty says the word. Of course, that made my stomach growl. Sure, I have food here but it all needs to be cooked. And my messy kitchen is on strike today. I guess I need to get something to eat. Hmmmm...

If you like frugal cooking, you should really check out Depression Cooking on YouTube.

Gramma Clara makes yummy dishes and talks about living through the depression.

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Let's Get Dirty!

Hubby got the other part of my garden tilled and asked me if I'd come out and bless this section. Like I said before, it is a tradition for me to go out and stand in the soil before it is planted. I thought I'd share a few pictures with you of the adventure!

If you look closely you can see what remains of the ink on my hands!

We will have two garden spots this year. One is for tomatoes and other veggies. The other, the one pictured here, is our watermelon patch. This was the site of our former pool. The sand was tilled into the ground so we have a nice loamy patch. I'm hoping for a few good melons!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Remembering Snow!

It is hot outside today. Jack is mowing & tilling up the garden. I went out to sink my feet into the dirt (a tradition of sorts) before he plants our lil tomatoes and cukes in the ground. I can't wait!

In thinking of snow right now so I thought I'd share pictures with you!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Remembering Granny Anne

I wish I could come up with a poignant post like the beautiful just posted.

I can tell you Granny Anne. Anne was my mom's friend. Mom has a tendency to make friends that are the age her mother would have been. I think this is her way of coping. Anne came into our lives when I was in 8th grade. My mom started working at Tupperware (the factory) and Anne worked there. They became close. After a time they were on opposite shifts. Anne would routinely bring home cooked meals to the house so that I would not have to make dinner. She would show up and sweep me off to one adventure or another.

I remember once when Anne went with us to Jackson to go shopping. My mom runs in and out of stores. Anne shops! She went and looked at all of the bright and colorful stuff.

She went with me to try out for Governor's School and it made me feel better just knowing she was there.

She took me to Memphis to see Annie at Playhouse on the Square. She took me to Union University to see her granddaughter's performance. She treated me like I was one of her own.

Long time readers of my journal remember me asking people to send cards to Anne back in 2002/2003. She was in a nursing home recovering from her 3rd battle with Cancer.

The last time I was able to talk to Anne was on July 5, 2003. It was the day after her birthday. I took the girls to see her in the hospital. Granny Anne was showing off her newest grandbabies to anyone who would listen; nurses, staff, and passersby. Tegan was camera happy that day (as usual) so we got tons of pictures of Anne and the rest of us.

The next time I saw her she was on day 6 of no food or water. She was ready to go. I massaged her hands and feet with a really nice vanilla sugar lotion that I had in my bag. She and I had a talk. I explained to her that Tegan was turning 14 on Monday so that was not a good day to die. I also told her that Tegan's birthday party was scheduled for Saturday so that day wasn't good either. This was all teasing her. I guess I wanted her to know that I knew she was ready to die and that it was okay. Granny Anne was listening.

Mom and I left the nursing home in Covington and headed back home. I dropped her off and headed off to get Jack so that we could go get the girls. Just after we picked them up, my mom called and said simply "she's gone".

Even now, nearly 6 years later, I can close my eyes and see her smile. I love you, Granny Anne!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - I'm Awake

It's 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday and I'm awake. I only do this for a good cause, for something I believe in. So here I am, blogging again. Pimping out there to let you know that Cancer is a real and is deadly. While treatment has come a long way, there are still people dying.

Remember how I said yesterday that for generations, women in Mom's family have died from Cancer? I thought I'd share with you a bit about that.

These women were the salt of the earth. They were sharecroppers wives. They were poor. I'm sure you've seen the movie Coal Miner's Daughter. Well compared to where they lived, Loretta Lynn's folks had a mansion. Anyway, these mommas would get "pregnant" and then die. One woman (my great grandma?) went out under a tree and her stomach exploded. Always the uterus area, always. These women left behind children, many times babies. They left behind husbands who in their grief would marry (or hook up) with women who were mean to the children. My grandma was raised by one such woman named Arby. Arby took pride in being as mean and as spiteful as possible to the Chapman girls but that is a story for another time.

The American Cancer Society is 92 years old. This means that Cancer has KNOWINGLY been destroying lives, separating families, and damaging children for at least that long.

Think of a cure or even a successful treatment. Wouldn't it be great to be able to see that in YOUR lifetime? Wouldn't it be awesome to know that by its 100th birthday the American Cancer Society was a bit of a relic? This is a possibility but in order to make it happen, we need YOU.

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

The Safe way to pay online!

Relay for Life donation page

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blogging for the Cure - This one's for you Mom!

My mom always warned me against writing on my hands. According to her, it would cause cancer. I'm sure it was just one of those things she told me in order to get me to stop. As you can see, it did not work!

I love my mommy. Even though we've had numerous times when we have not seen eye to eye, she is a good person. She stepped outside of the normal boundaries of her comfort zone to donate today. I'm quite proud of her!

And with this, I bid you adieu. It is time for bed. My medication cocktail is starting to take effect and I am on my way to the land of dreams. I'll be back in the morning posting again. Please take the time to donate if you can. If you're unable to do so, post a link in your journal. Get the word out there!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - SuziBlueTube!

I have to tell you that I adore SuziBlue! She tells us that we can all be artists. If I can do it, anyone can do it!

I thought I'd share a page in my art journal with you!

I used to think I could not do an art journal. I was not sure where to start. I wasn't sure that other people would get it. But you know what? I does not matter WHO sees my posts. If they like them, great! If not, that is okay too. My journal is MINE. It is written and drawn and colored FOR me.

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure: Talking About Matty

Another hour, another post. Aren't you excited?

Matty, the two year old who is visiting me says some of the cutest things. My name & chicken seem to be the same word. Yeah, he is that cute. Here is a picture of him that I took in April. Isn't he a cutie?

Matty loves coming to my house. He loves to come over and take a bath. Yes, a two year old who loves to take a bath. How cool is that?

Matty says "doneee manty" (donate money)!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - And We're Back!

Folks ended up coming later than planned. I ate my Mexican food and I feel so much better now. :) They bought our dinner. That was so very nice of them. It wasn't expected and that makes it all the better. Afterwards, we went to Sonic for ice cream cones. Yum.

Now I'm hanging out with a friend and her 2 1/2 year old. He is so incredibly cute. His mom is having to build block houses just so he can knock them down! Oh the joys of being 2.

Another post is coming soon. I promise something of more substance if I could get a prompt or two from my friends!!!

Blogging for the Cure - Soft Paws

Freyr has a sore by his eye. He keeps scratching it open again and again. Even though we've put meds on it, the spot is not healing right. Solution? Soft paws! We have used these in the past and they are wonderful! I ordered the Soft Paws on Thursday evening and they were in my mail box today! How cool is that?

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Remembering Emily

Emily Bell lived across the street from us when I was 15. Her older brothers, Mike and DJ, were in the same grade I was so I saw them often. Emily was 9 years old and was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was very hard for me, watching this young girl fight and lose her battle. I don't want to focus on the sad times but rather on a happy moment.

When Em was sick, everyone did whatever they could in order to make her smile. I remember one time, she asked for a solid white kitten. Solid white, not white and black or white with a little bit of black or anything. Mom, Granny Ann and I went all over Dyersburg, Ripley, and Halls looking for this kitten. We would run off to where someone supposedly had white kittens only to find they were tan or solid black or something. Disappointment settled in and I was near tears myself when we pulled up to this house that was within Halls city limits. There we found three kittens. One was white with a tiny touch of black on his head. We decided to take him and try to convince Emily that he had been touched by a faerie or something.

We took him home and had to give him a bath. The people who had him were leaving the kittens outside and Emily needed him clean for inside her home. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found that little dark spot was nothing but grease! We found a white kitty after all!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Hungry

The squirrels who live in our yard are quite tame. They come and eat on our front porch. Here is a picture of one of the cute ones.

My folks are on their way over so we can go eat. My stomach is pretty upset and I haven't eaten much in the last few days. I hope I can eat lunch because I'm hungry!

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Posting Early...

...just to let you know that it is not likely that I will be posting between now and 1:30 pm CT. I hear the bed calling and I'm going to answer. Yes, that means I am going to take a nap.

I have FMS. I am not feeling so great. I nap. Don't mock me. You know you wanna nap too!

I will leave you with a picture that makes me smile.

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure: My Sister's Keeper, St Jude, and More!

I am 34 years old. There, I've said it. It is likely that I won't, in my lifetime, give birth to children or win the lottery or even see man living on Mars. However, it is possible that I can live to see a cure for Cancer.

Have you read the book My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult? You can read about the book/movie on Jodi Picoult's website. If you haven't, I recommend it HIGHLY. The reason I bring it up is because it is about a girl with cancer. If you're not a reader,I have the audio book available via Mega Upload . If you don't do audiobooks, that is okay too. The movie comes out on June 26th!

When I was just a little girl, I remember sitting in the living room watching the St Jude telethons and crying my eyes out. I even wrote a few poems about cancer. They were typical young kid stuff and not very good. The one thing they showed was my heart. It was in the right place. Once I convinced my mom to call the telethon line for me. Back then, the monthly donation was like $20. Mom convinced them to take a monthly donation of $5 since I was so young. For me, a kid of 8, who got an allowance of $10 a week (half went to my savings account, 10% to church), that was a lot of money! I don't remember how long I donated but I do remember the joy I felt to know I could help others.

You can help today by donating to help find a cure for Cancer.  Here are the links:


Blogging for the Cure - Showing Off

This is a page I did in my art journal. I pride myself on using mostly found items. The pages you see here were done just last week. I'm always amused when I see the things I create. This is my first art journal and I am so happy to see it getting "thick".

I've become addicted to drawing the little swirly things. They seem to be incorporated into everything I doodle and everything I draw.

I need to find something better to write about. Can anyone help me out with a topic?

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Remembering

Grandma & Me, 1976

There are so few photos of my grandma and me out there. Most of them, like this one, have partial images and are candid shots. I am told that I was the apple of her eye, though. It is apparent from the look in her face the amount of joy her first granddaughter brought.

There are few things I remember about her. Considering that I was just 2 when she died, even those memories are fuzzy and faded over time. I remember climbing the stairs to her second floor apartment and yelling that I was "home". Yes, home. I suppose that I felt comfortable there, spoiled by the grandma who loved me so much. I remember going to the hospital on the day she died. I remember the candy that we got in the gift shop. I remember the elevator.

While I have these few memories, I don't remember her. I cannot tell you what it felt like to sit in her lap or to have her smile at me and tell me that she loved me. I cannot remember her smile or the crinkle of her eyes. I cannot remember (though I have been told the stories) about her popping out her dentures to scare us little kids. I simply cannot remember.

I'm sure that some of you who have been around her for a while remember me telling the story of my treadle sewing machine. Well, that machine belonged to her. She used it to sew dresses for her family. It was not just a pretty piece. It was USED. The thread holder was missing so she attached a nail. The wood is worn from hands running across the front piece of wood. I could, in theory, replace the nail she used to hold the thread. They are available and are not expensive. And yet, I don't have the heart to do so. I do plan to get a new belt for it and learn to use it. I want to make a quilt top using that machine. I don't know why but for some reason, it seems like by using it, I will, for just a few moments, have her with me.

If you have your family close to you, take time to tell them that you care. Tell them you love them. Tell them to see doctors regularly so that if something like this ever happens, it can be caught quickly and hopefully won't end in death. Most of all, show everyday that you appreciate what they have done for you.

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for the Cure - Why?

I'm sure you're wondering why I stepped up to join Penny & her family in their quest to raise $1, 000 for Relay for Life. I thought I'd share a bit with you here.

In 1977, when I was just 2 years old, my life changed forever. My mother became a stranger who had more bad days than good. My young aunts, ages 9 & 11 were split up. One lived in rural Tennessee for a school year, quite a shock after living in Chicago her whole life and the other was put into foster care. My grandfather gave up caring about himself or his children. All of this happened because of cancer. A form of cancer that has robbed my family of women for generations. It struck my grandmother and by age 47 years old, she was gone.

They say you eventually get over a death. They say life goes on. Well, let me tell you what really happened in our case. My mother never again celebrated a holiday without tears or anguish. Even now, 32 years later, she shuts down. The younger daughters have battled everything from teen pregnancy to anorexia. One dropped out of high school. One tried to change who she was and t become someone else. The family unit was shattered. In the past 32 years, never has the family gotten together for holidays. The close bond they once shared was broken and the family became a dysfunctional mess. None of the girls wants to go to their annual ob/gyn exam. They are all terrified of what might be lurking there unnoticed. The eldest, my mom's older sister, was diagnosed with a form of uterine cancer at age 44. Luckily they were able to remove it. We live in fear of the dreaded C and that is not a life.

We cannot get my grandma back. I cannot give my mom the past 32 years she missed with her mom. I cannot fix the wounded and fractured lives of all of those people around me. But what I can do is help raise the funds needed to find a cure for cancer. I can help save another 2 year old little girl from growing up with a huge hole in her family unit.

This is my grandmother, Mearl, just before her death in 1977. See the "pregnant" stomach? That is cancer. Please help find a cure so that other families are not torn apart!

If you've enjoyed my post, please donate!

Relay for Life donation page

Blogging for a Cure

A dear friend of mine and her children are Blogging for the Cure - the cure to cancer that is. Please see the initial post here on her Live Journal.

Penny & her oldest two daughters will be posting hourly tomorrow, Sunday, May 31, 2009. In addition, a few of us will be assisting her with public posts on our own Live Journals. Please feel free to visit mine. Since Penny has obligations today, we're stepping up to post today as well.

The goal is to raise a mere $1,000. This can EASILY be accomplished. Just think, if everyone who sees this can donate $1 and then pass the link on in their own journal and/or blog, we can make this BIG. I'm hard pressed to think of one family that has not been touched by cancer in some way.

So stay tuned here for more updates. Check out the posts on the following Live Journals as well:

As soon as I hear back from Penny, I will have the link here for donation. We're working a few kinks out in the link, etc.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I opened a craft blog...

I opened a creative and craft blog - GypsyCrafts

When Life Gets You Down

It seems like I'm forever picking myself back up from one pitfall after another. 2009 has been filled with medical issues like crazy. Thankfully nothing serious but I really feel as if I've been pulled through the proverbial ringer a few times.

Instead of letting life get the best of me, I'm going to move forward. I greatly admire those who unschool their children and quite frankly I try to unschool myself most of the time. An unschooling family I know is doing Project 365 where you take a photo per day to chronicle your year. If they miss a day, so what. If they get 50 pictures in one day, great! I'm learning a lesson from this family and learning that whatever happens today is what is meant to happen. My projects and goals for 2009 may have been left by the wayside for a while. That is okay. Life happens. I have to learn to accept the limitations and challenges in my life. I will move forward from here. If it takes me 3 years to get 365 days of photos, that is ok. If my photo blog only gets a challenge once per month, that is perfectly acceptable.

Life happens.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Contemplating A Second Blog

I know, I have a hard enough time keeping up with this one. Yet, here I am, thinking about making a crafty and creative blog. I have been reading quite a few artsy blogs and I am not sure that my "frugal" blog is going to attract the people. Heck, for that matter, I'm not sure if I attract readers anyway. Maybe a whole new name, new account, new everything is needed.

What do you think ?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Comfort Dinner - Beef and mushrooms

Last night's dinner was absolutely wonderful. It was a nice comfort meal. It was low in cost and very filling. I thought I'd share the recipe. I concocted it myself after looking over several different ones online.

Beef & Mushrooms

  • 1.5 pounds of some sort of beef - I used ground meat patties from the local meat market.
  • 2 cans of mushrooms, liquid included - I use the small ones from Aldi
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • Soup mix - you can use the packets of onion soup mix (2) or use seasonings - or you can do what I did. We buy wonton soup base from an Asian market. It is a good sized can that makes quite a few quarts of soup and only cost $1.59.
  • Onion powder (omit if you use onion soup mix)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • White rice - we use Jasmine rice here - or Egg noodles
  • Put the mushrooms and their juice, cans of mushroom soup, soup mix, onion powder, and black pepper in the slow cooker. Mix this together a bit.
  • Toss the meat in the slow cooker and stir it together.
  • Put it on low for 8 - 10 hours or high for 4 - 6 hours.
  • Just before serving, make rice or egg noodles
  • Serve on top of the rice or egg noodles
It was quite good. I had a lot of sauce left but little meat. That was a nice lunch for me today.

If you make this, tell me about it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grocery Pictures

I took pictures of my grocery haul last week. I just cannot post it right now. I had to reinstall everything on my laptop and have not yet gotten the photoshop reinstalled. I will post it soon. I promise!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! Its off to the Grocers I Go!

I need to do a big buy at Aldi today. Wednesdays are my day off of work so I go during the day when I'm normally working (between 8 and 1) so that I can, if need be, still take my afternoon nap.
So, I'm convincing myself that I need to get moving. It is time to get going. See you on the flip side. I'll take a picture so we can see what $150 or so worth of groceries looks like. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On days like this I wanna throw the towel in...

The past few days have been pretty rough for me. I made the above icon when I got up yesterday morning. It felt as if I'd been beaten in my lower back region. Today has been no better. This means our meal plan has been off kilter. I did toss stuff in the crockpot yesterday so we had a pretty good dinner last night. Tonight hubby made dinner - however, I hate when he does this because I'm left with a huge mess. I would have been just as happy with a sandwich or something. :)

I'm going to take my meds early tonight and find my way to the bed. Here's to hoping I can sleep tonight.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Clutter Be Gone!

More and more of the clutter is leaving our house. I'm amazed as how things that used to bring me comfort now bother me. The fiction books I used to almost horde are slowly finding new homes and leaving me with breathing room. I am keeping all of my herbal books, my how to books, and certain fiction books I may actually read again. I used to, as a child, reread books. Now, I only do so with those that are favorites.

I never thought I would see the day when I would be getting rid of books. Yet, here I am, begging the clutter to leave my house. *sigh* I hope hubby is happy when he sees how much cleaner the house has gotten in his absence.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Meal Plan Flushed...

I haven't given up, per se, but I will be reevaluating our menu next week. Hubby's busy season has started and cooking dinner needs to be something that can be easily reheated. If I'm here alone, there is no reason for me to cook at 5pm only to have dinner dry out.

This week, we've eaten at home each night but dinner Tuesday was leftovers from Monday. Wednesday was spaghetti with sauce I made earlier and froze. Thursday was eggs because they are quick and simple and light at 9:00 at night!

I guess it is back to the drawing board. :)