Year in Review…. Looking Ahead.

Wow! 2014 has been a year of ups and downs for us. It started out great! Mini was doing well in school and Cowboy was finally past the retaliation for making a safety report.
Over the summer, Mini spent a few months with my side of the family. I hit the road with Cowboy. It was a blast!
When Cowboy and I got home, Mini soon followed. We began some minor advanced training of the family dog. She already knew sit, stay, and lay down. So, a few packs of hot dogs later, she now knows “sit and shake hand” “hide” “Abbie home” and “wake up Mini.”
Then, in September, the year went to hell. The community in the game we play fell apart. It has not been the same since.
Then, Cowboy got hurt. His truck tried to run him over and he broke his leg. He was out on worker’s comp for a few months, working 8 hours a day in the office. It was nice to have him home every day.
When Cowboy went back on the road, his fellow drivers started treating him like a rookie, disrespecting him and his experience. Stuff has happened he is not comfortable with, much of it just on the line of illegal. He was outright told to fudge something. (And people wonder why Tracy Morgan’s accident happened, it’s industry wide). I will cover the industry stuff at another time.
His reputation was threatened by a coworker who told Cowboy to drop an issue before something happens. We lived through the starvation miles and retaliation for 12 weeks last year, we can do it again. He will not risk his life, health, or CDL for you.
Then today the gaming group began to fall apart again.
I just hope 2015 is better.

A Smoker No Longer!

With little breaks for Basic Training and pregnancy, I have been a smoker since the day after I turned 16. After doing a bit of research, I decided it was time to quit, but I knew I would fail if I quit cold turkey and if I just cut down, I knew I would fail also. I decided the best way for me to quit would be to vape instead.
I decided to get myself the vape set up instead of cigarettes when I ran out one day and have not looked back since!
Right away I noticed a difference in my health and well being! Right away, my clothes and hair stopped smelling like smoke. My cough went away and my blood pressure is no longer in severe stroke range (it’s still high but not as severely high). After two days, I had that throat scabby feeling and taste as my throat healed from the years of abuse from smoking.
After a week, I could breathe better and had more energy. I can walk with my son without getting winded. I was able to take full, deeper breaths.
Three weeks after switching I began tasting things again. My skin looks better, too.
All in all, I am glad I made the decision to quit.

More Christmas Crafts!!

This is the scarf I made for Mini’s home room teacher. It’s a 1 skein, 90 minute scarf using an 8mm (L11) hook and loose tension so the scarf feels very comfy just folding it.

This is the afghan I am making for Cowboy’s parents. I am not sure how big it will end up being but it is getting there. I’m going to cut down the pattern, so 2 maroon 1 white for a few rounds, then maybe do 2 rounds of 1 round of each color to end it. All I know is I want to end it with white.

Well, back to crafting and wrapping!

Reminded Again

I was reminded again how truly blessed we really are. This year things are tight because of Cowboy’s injury at work and the worker’s comp pay cut, so Christmas was going to be lean.
But, the family at 2nd Baptist here in town (the church Mini attends) adopted him for Christmas.
I am so thankful to the community at the church for helping. They brought everything they got him over the other day. They got him a nice new coat, a pair of jeans, a shirt, sweat shirt, and lots of little stocking stuffer things. Those things have allowed me to get him a few more toys than I had planned since I do not need to get him those items now.
I was very touched when they dropped off the stuff to the house. I did not ask for it, I didn’t whine about our financial situation, they just did it. I will be forever grateful for these people.

Yes, Mini goes to a different church than I do. We have decided to not force a faith on him, we are letting him choose. Cowboy and I have decided to do it this way so Mini’s beliefs are true to him, what he feels in his own heart and soul, and not just what his parents have forced on him.
He enjoys church and has his own personal relationship with God and I think this being his choice is the important part. I don’t stress denomination, I’m just happy that, at 11, he has faith.

The Angels at his church will be in my thoughts and prayers for thinking of us and helping us this year. And next year, I hope to be able to return the kindness by helping a child at Christmas time the way we were helped.

Some Crafting is done!!

Mini asked me to make stockings this year since he was tired of the “boring red ones” so I told him to go to my stash and choose the fabric. He chose some naughty or nice flannel I got last year after Christmas for 50 cents a yard. So, I sat down with him and we traced an old stocking on a sheet of laminated paper (an old wall map I got from Fishnet, 10 for a dime!!). I showed him how to extend the pattern enough to sew it properly and cut out the bases of the stockings.
Now, we needed cuffs…. Back to the stash we went.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/19d/40815981/files/2014/12/img_0115.jpg The stockings cut and laid out to make sure everything looks good and it all fits together.

The boys (Cowboy and Mini) will have green cuffs and I will have red. They look great and I can’t wait to see them filled next week!

The finished stocking. I think they came out really cute!

13 Years

There was a warm breeze as I walked into the courthouse on that mild West Texas December morning. Cowboy offered to wait so I could have the big wedding most girls dream of, but I never wanted that. Small and simple were good for me.
With one of my best friends watching, we exchanged our vows. Words were said, rings exchanged, and we were man and wife. The memories of that day are forever in my memories.
I wore a hand-me-down white dress, and he was as handsome as ever in his dress blues. Our wedding dinner was the local Chinese buffet. I was on top of the world.
It hasn’t always been easy. We have struggled, we have sacrificed. We have faced things no young couple ever should face. Over the last 13 years, we have moved across the country, made choices we did not think we were able to make, and matured a lot quicker than most people our age, together. We said goodbye to two children and were blessed with Mini Cowboy.
There have been fights and sleepless nights. Times of tremendous sorrow and blissful, wordless joy.
13 years ago we were two kids who fell in love after a whirlwind courtship. But, now, through all we have been through, the tears, the joy, the sorrow and laughter, we have matured and grown up together.
Every year we prove the statistics about tech school marriages wrong, we prove the cynics wrong.
I love you now more than I did on that warm winter morning at the courthouse in West Texas. You are my best friend, my confidant, my heart, my soul, my partner, my love, my husband. Every year I think I could not love you more, and every year I prove myself wrong. You have sacrificed so much to provide for Mini Cowboy and me, to give our family the life we deserve. You are the man who has captured my heart.
I love you with all that I am. Thank you for 13 amazing years, and here is to about 90 more, my love.
Is breá liom tu.

Holiday Crafting time!

I am not spending money on crap gifts this year that will be forgotten about a week after Christmas. I plan on hand making a lot of gifts this year.
My sisters have 3 kids between them, 2 girls and a boy. They are getting scarves.
My sisters (3 of them) are all getting aprons. My brother I am not sure yet. His girlfriend is getting a scarf.
My in-laws will be getting an afghan that is almost done. My Hand Made Gift Exchange partner is getting an apron and a quilted ornament. I’m also including an ornament in Christmas Cards this year.
My son is getting an afghan and my husband an Irish Quilt and a Vape Case with his family crest stitched on front.
My sister-in-law and her kids I am still not sure of yet, lol.
But I have most of it done already and will post pics soon, I promise!!

“Death with dignity” my view


This month, two stories in the news stood out to me. They were about the same core subject but could not be more different. There was Brittany Maynard, the young newlywed from California who was told she had an inoperable brain cancer, so she moved herself, her husband and her parents to Oregon because OR has a so called “Death With Dignity” law. This law allows terminally ill people to choose when they will die and do so on their own terms by swallowing a lethal dose of medication from their doctors. Juxtapose that against Lauren Hill, a college freshman who was also given 6 months to live because of terminal brain cancer. Miss Hill is not choosing to end her life, rather, she is choosing to hold on and hope for a cure.
Mrs Maynard moved to Oregon so she could choose to end her life, choose to stop breathing, stop enjoying sunsets in the arms of her husband, stop her illness, just stop. Where medicine is now compared to two months ago is, in many fields, light years of advancement. 90% of people with illnesses like Mrs Maynard’s are taking sleeping pills at night. Why move instead of just saying “Ok, when my symptoms become too much for me I’m just going to take a bottle of Ambian and go to sleep?” Why go public? You could have just as easily killed yourself at home in California. You wanted a shot at your 15 minutes of fame everyone feels they are entitled to before shuffling off this mortal coil. I get it. Being the face for doctor assisted suicide does not make you brave. You are every bit as much of a coward as every other miserable soul who commits suicide. Now, though, your family must deal with the backlash of your decisions after you are gone.
Lets spend a moment talking about the doctor in doctor assisted suicide. This is something as old as the debate, as old as the Hypocratic Oath itself. Isn’t part of that oath to do no harm? How can a doctor prescribe a medication with the express purpose of it ending someone’s life? How is that ethical?
Now, lets look at Miss Hill for a bit. You want to talk bravery in the face of terminal cancer? Miss Hill is 19 years d, yet she has the courage of 15 Maynards. Knowing her time is limited, knowing she is getting weaker, knowing there is no cure for her cancer today, she is still living. She is attending classes and going to college. Her dream was to play NCAA basketball, so her school got permission to start the season early to make sure she got to play. She even scored the first points for her team this season! All while in a state much more progressed than Mrs Maynard was when she ended her life.
It amazes me that, in 2014, this debate is still raging. Morally and ethically, I don’t see how the death with dignity movement still has steam. It seems to be revitalized whenever a pretty girl wants to speak on behalf of the movement. It is still a coward’s way out. And to prove my point, one needs only to look at Miss Hill.

Haunted History

Last year, I brought you the story of the most haunted place in Ireland, which just so happens to be one of Cowboy’s family’s ancestral homes. This year, I bring you yet another story of lore and history, one that has much speculation and suspicion, but very little fact. I invite you to draw your own conclusions to the origin of the story’s characters.

Today’s story takes us 2 1/2 hours north from last year’s story, to the original family home in Ireland, Rathfarnham Castle in Dublin.

In mid 1880, a crew was working to renovate the ballroom on the middle floor of the castle when they removed heavy wood paneling from a hallow wall. What they found there held a shock. Dressed in a sky blue silk ball gown, her hands bound, was the skeleton of a young woman, estimated to have been between 18 and 22 at the time of her death, estimated, by the decomposition of the corpse and the style of her gown, to have been 130 years before the discovery.

Rumors spread about the origins of the girl, how she got there, how she died, and why she was at Rathfarnham in the first place. One can speculate with assurance she was not a direct relative of the Loftus family, for her disappearance would have been noticed. Instead, she is a young woman who has remained nameless to this day. She is thought to have been a beautiful young woman and two men were competing for her attention. The two suitors decided they would duel for her affections.

It is unclear exactly how she got into the wall, but it is believed that, during a ball, the two young men assisted her in getting into the wall, binding her hands so she could not get out to view their competition and turn the tides one way or another. Because their actions would have been frowned upon, they told no one of their plans or that the girl was bound in the wall. After replacing the heavy wooden panel, the young men went outdoors for their duel.

The plan was that the victor would free her from her prison and he would be the winner of her favor. As you might expect, the young men were equally matched, so much so that they were both mortally wounded during the duel, neither surviving to free the girl, or to even tell anyone of her predicament.

No one knew of her existence in thee wall for 130 years, until that fateful day when her skeleton was discovered behind the wood of the paneling of that hallow wall in the middle floor ballroom.

When she was discovered, the lady of the castle at the time had her silk gown made into cushions for chairs to be used in the dining room. It is said that at several times during the year for the next century, a young lady in a sky blue silk dress has been seen in the ballroom, the ghost of the young lady searching for the winner of the duel, pining over the man who would have won her heart.

Was this story of innocent young love and desire the true origin of this young lady? Or, did her presence behind the wall indicate a darker side in the history of Rathfarnham? Is her corpse older than originally estimated in 1880, making her placement part of a game played by the Hell Fire Club that inhabited the castle during the time it was not in the hands of a descendant of the Archbishop who built the castle?

Her specter began to appear when her body was found and the gown she wore used to upholsterer a set of dining chairs, haunting the dining room, which she would have known as the ballroom of the castle. Has her soul finally found its rest? There have been no sightings of the young woman once the castle was placed in the hands of the Irish Government and declared a national landmark.

The real reason she was placed in the wall will never be known, the story of the two dueling suitors is the most popular tale of her origins. It is up to you to decide the who, how, and why or the story.

Personally, I believe the dueling suitors story, but perhaps that is my romantic soul wanting to believe the romantic notion of dueling for the favor of a lovely woman. Was she pining away for the man she hoped would win all those years? Searching for him? Waiting for him to rescue her from her prison before she could fully leave this world and cross over to the other side?

Today’s projects

Today, I am going to be working on some more Holiday crafting again. Hopefully I can get some actual progress done.
The first project I’m working on today is this:

I have been working on this one for a while. It’s a maroon and off white square afghan done in never-ending rounds. Four rounds of maroon, two rounds of off white.
This is going to be a gift for my in-laws for Christmas. I don’t have a goal size in mind, probably just how large my yarn supply will allow.

I also need to begin to cut and stitch the quilted tree ornaments I am going to put in my Christmas cards this year, plus start a few Jelly Roll quilts. I think I’m making Mini’s Alpha teacher a Christmas lap quilt for Christmas as well.
Also some scarves for other teachers will be worked on and some other odds and ends.