Jammies, Coffee, Relaxing

Coffee cup with steam11:34am and yes, I am still in my jammies, sipping my coffee. Just a lazy kinda of day as I work for the next 4 days, at the part time job I’ve picked up, my full time job, and with any left over time, my shop business might get some attention.  I hope.  I am nearly finished with a really beautiful item and want to get it listed so I can move on to the next project.  :)

I had such a great week this past one, from staying with my grandson during the day a few days while his parents were in Las Vegas, to working on this project, and getting my second job, and crocheting, and then only having to work one day at the full time job because I burned some PTO days to watch the baby, it was SO relaxing. Then I went back to work and half way through the day my body was screaming in pain, I’d forgotten how physically exhausting my work can be. Mentally and emotionally is can be rough too, makes me wonder if after a day of listening to one resident yelling nearly constantly, and the other sobbing hysterically and yelling out, if maybe we don’t leave there with a temporary form of PTSD. When you work with residents, most of whom have dementia, it takes a toll on  you.  While it is a series of routines for us in caring for them, it is brand new every single day to them, the previous days are gone, sometimes even the previous few minutes.

Not all of those in my care suffer from dementia, some simply can no longer care for themselves. They cannot use the bathroom without assistance that includes wiping their bottoms, or maybe need to wear adult diapers, cannot shower but instead have to sit humbly naked in front of you while you wash their bodies, shave their face because they can no longer hold the razor safely, some cannot even pick up their utensils to feed themselves and rely on us to do that for them. Unable to walk or stand, they are at the mercy of their aides to get them into a sling and use a stand-up or Hoyer style lift to move them from the bed to their wheel chairs or Broda chairs. Dressing someone unable to help requires rolling them back and forth as you work first the diaper into place, then their slacks, then shirt. It is physically intensive, and time consuming. I hit the floor at 6am and on a good day, with a float getting up one person for me, I’ll have everyone up, dressed and the first meal of the day over at 10am. I have 9 in my direct care, and backup/assist others on my unit as needed. Plenty of days I’m bumping up against lunch time by the time I finish with the morning rounds, which includes making their beds.

Growing older is not easy or pretty, and in fact sucks if you ask me. Sure, it is only 4% or so of the elderly population living in long term care facilities, but there are plenty at home requiring assistance from family or paid care takers.

So, today I’m hanging out later than usual with my coffee and jammies, still wincing from pain at times, knowing the week ahead is going to be brutal. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’ve found my calling.

Shop Talk: FREE Shipping

We decided to run free shipping yesterday, then had a glitch in the shop, so we extended this offer through midnight tonight!  All U.S. orders ship FREE today only! Come check out what we have in stock!

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Sporting Pink & White Cheetah Jammies

Last night we finished the last episode of Blue Bloods on Netflix. We divas are huge fans of the show so we started at the very beginning and watched each season, a few episodes a night, over the past few weeks.  Once we finished, we were a bit bored.  Boredom and the Diva Den are not a very good combo.

3 of us are into Pokemon GO, so we went out hunting them, after dark, around midnight, after a thunderstorm, on our street. Because? Well a Pikachu was in our vicinity and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to catch one! My niece was in shorts and a jersey, sis was wearing white jammie pants with tiny, navy blue hearts and navy blue top, also navy slippers.  Me? The fashionista that I am, wore a black jammie top, baggie pink and white jammie pants with black cheetah print on them, black slippers with giant, hot pink bows on them (Hello Kitty baby!), what can I say, I looked hot of course! Our neighbors already think we are a bunch of crazy cat women, why disappoint. We did not get the Pikachu though, too bad.

20160730_103020-1And now? Same jammies, bed head, with my pink, Hello Kitty coffee mug full of my favorite daytime beverage, and a colby cheese on wheat toast sandwich.  I know, you are jealous, but not everyone can be this sexy and cool. Just embrace your own inner freak and it will be okay. (those spots are not on the top, but on the mirror, which I clearly need to clean!)

I’m on day 2 of 7 off in a row! I need this break, not only to crochet and work on items for my shop, but to physically recover from working this job. My 53yo body cannot take a lot of that for an extended time without some chance to recover.

Now that the delivery has been made, I wanted to share the custom order By Hook & By Hand made. We were a tad nervous about how it would turn out in the earthy tones, especially for a baby blanket, but we were very pleased. The new mommy was too! Delivered in person, I got to meet and hold the little man who will snuggle in this blanket for many years to come, and see it in his room which is very close in color to the green in the blanket.

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Coming soon, another Bavarian throw, a new baby blanket, more wash clothes and scrubbies, a poncho, and one very cool Halloween throw.  Hoping to get a lot accomplished while off these remaining 6 days. Boo is working on the Halloween one at this writing, and I’m hooking the Bavarian.  Coffee and hooking, the best therapy ever! Time to get to it, this day is slipping away fast. Y’all have a great one!

 

Hooker Shop Talk

Hooker Shop Talk is going to be my new heading for all things related to By Hook And By Hand, from what I’m currently working on, ideas for future items, newly released items, and anything else crochet related that strikes my fancy. 

13680871_1076108255808031_8434021617286095772_nThis morning we released cotton face scrubbies.  These are made from 100% cotton yarn that is left over from making wash cloths.  Often there isn’t enough for another cloth to be made but plenty to make a scrubbie or two. Not fans of wasting precious yarn, we decided to make scrubbies with the left overs.  These are so simple to make, I can usually hook 5-7 in a 1 hour television program, with breaks to eat popcorn and sip wine.  I know, this is the life!

Why use these cotton scrubbies?

We were purchasing makeup remover wipes to the tune of $5-8 a pack for 30 wipes. With 4 women in the Diva Den this means we spent a lot of money on something we were throwing away. We also bought those cute little cotton circles or squares for our eye makeup removing. I decided to give these a try and I’m hooked (no pun intended). I have a hook in the shower that I use for my cotton, crocheted wash cloth and I stick the scrubbie over it too. Machine washable, I simply toss it in the laundry after using it and grab a new one each day (I use each one twice a day, once in the morning and evening). Cotton breaks down in the landfills very fast because it is natural plant fiber, so that is a plus when it is time to toss these in the trash, though based on others sharing their stories these and the wash cloths last for years.

While making them it dawned on me these make terrific little hostess gifts at your direct sales spa, makeup, or skin care product parties. They also are perfect as stocking stuffers or teacher thank you gifts. If you haven’t made the switch to handmade, cotton wash cloths and scrubbies, why not do it now? Check out the shop for these and other items!

Hodge Podge Of My Brain

Work….

I’m so sore this morning.  More so than most days following a shift, from my toes to my neck. My hallway has gotten heavier, some residents declining to needing more care, the addition of a new one with different needs, and me just jumping in and busting my tail with refreshed gusto results in a morning after of wincing and moaning.  I’m going to be such a treat when I’m on the other side of this arrangement, body all broken down from caring for others and over doing it at 53yo.

As of this writing it is 33 days until class starts and I’m off of the floor for a month. I’m taking the med-tech certification classes so I can pass meds, which is a raise in pay, and likelihood of moving to night shift. But with the shift differential and raise just for being certified, it will be worth it.

Crochet/Shop Talk…

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Rough prototype of the face scrubbie coming to byhookandbyhand.com today!

I have discovered the joy of cotton face scrubbies!! Removing make-up or just washing your face is uniquely delightful with these little gems. I’ve seen them in shops and hunted down a pattern to give it a shot and I’m hooked. Yes I’ll be adding them to the shop. If you are of the go-green mindset, these are so up your alley. Wash and use again and again! Cotton, being a plant fiber, breaks down quickly in the landfills which makes it environmentally friendly. As these are 100% cotton, it is a win all around. Watch for a deal on an assortment package later today!

Pokemon Go…

Seriously addicting, do not do this to yourself!!! It is insanity and I love it. Nice distraction in a world full of crazy headlines and off the wall concerns. I’ve lost 3 pounds over the weekend just walking in the cemetery and other places to catch virtual beings on my cell phone. While it does have that advantage, I just don’t see myself sticking to this one for long. Life is too busy to be obsessed with anything that doesn’t come to me. Which, I have found some really interesting ones in my family room!  ;)

Avon…

c17Yes, I still sell, though have moved my business to mostly online ordering. This works much better for me as I just do not have the time to go out canvasing for customers.  I always welcome new ones to my family of Avon fans, so feel free to check out what is on sale now!

My Roller Coaster Week

What a week! And no I do not mean the sad events all over this country.  I do not post political or racially sensitive/divisive things to my blog, that is for others to do.  All I will say is that where you see a divide, kneel and pray.  Per 2 Chronicles 7:14.

No, this week was a roller coaster ride in my life and that of the other Divas.  We stumbled on a house we were interested in, but it wasn’t what we had hoped for at all. That same evening we knew of another, the agent was able to get us in to see it, and we all fell in love. Downsizing is the name of the game for us, and it was smaller, totally brand new inside from being flipped, and we were all over it.  An offer was made and for 48 hours we purged the Diva Den like we were moving to a tiny house so we could list it for sale.  We had our hopes up and prayed…and we didn’t get it.😦  Yes, we are all sad and bummed. That house is wanted badly by others too, and a bidding war got going and they accepted an offer for more than the asking price.  We know financing for that buyer could fail and we might still end up able to have it, but for now we are simply continuing to make our home ready for sale and  watching for new listings. The market here is very tight and a well priced home that is updated and nice…doesn’t last but a few days, sometimes even hours.

Meanwhile, things sat on hold for the shop, so the promised release of new wash/dish cloths will end up posting later today. I also will post a photo on my Instagram of the custom blanket I made from a shop order. But don’t want to ruin the surprise for the customer, they get to see it first. Connecting with her has been a fiasco from my side because of work, mom and other commitments.  The next projects are a really pretty Bavarian blanket, perfect for a wheel chair user, a baby blanket, and some chemo caps.  We feel the calling to have a health care category since we work in long term care and know what those needs can be.  I also have yarn and patterns for ponchos and pray shawls. We’re going to be very busy hooking around here!

Last night we celebrated my youngest grandson’s 1st birthday. The party was held at the ex-hubster’s, which others probably find incredibly weird but it is getting to be par for the course that we are in the same place at the same time.  Weird too to be back in the old homestead I suppose, but for me it was not at all like it had been when we were married and money was way too tight to make such renovations.  It is very beautiful, what they have done, and does not at all resemble the house I called home. It got me thinking a lot as I was falling asleep, how different my life is now too.  I don’t make nearly the money I did then, and while I very much enjoyed my job back then, I LOVE my job now.  It is a calling and ministry, or it is a paycheck, but there is little middle ground for a nurse aide.  Back bones, foundations of the the long term care industry, we are paid peanuts.  Yet I cannot imagine doing anything else.  I even applied for a 911 operator, but it ate at me inside to leave this line of work, so I dropped out of the process.

My sweet, confused residents, physically and mentally weak and broken, they are what I get up for and pull 12.5 hours shifts that physically kill me.  I used to be all about making the money in life, now I’m all about how can I help someone else, what can I do to make a difference. Yes, I do need an income, but I don’t work for more, just for enough.  Sure, Avon empowers women, as does Mary Kay, Pure Romance, Tupperware etc….but not like this.  You can make a good living doing that, but really you empower them to make money, you don’t really do much for their heart and soul.  I had a big team for a while in Avon, got nice leadership checks, and my full time job then paid very well, but it was empty money. Now, when I see my check, every dollar is a smile of appreciation for the little extra things I did, for the laughter I was able to bring to someone, a hand I held to steady them on their feet, or comfort someone in pain, or a goodbye because I knew they were leaving this world, a thank you and hug from a family member of someone I care for, and tears shed with coworkers when we watch one cross over to eternity.  I cannot bag groceries, sell makeup, enter data, etc., and ‘get’ that.  This job has changed me, made me appreciate little things like a very simple and limited wardrobe, a decent vehicle, and laughter and love of family and close friends.  The things that make life rich and memorable.

This week I’ve came to the realization that I have an abundantly better life now than the one I left behind 6 years ago, that I am a far better person than I was then.  I’m still under construction, God is far from done breaking me and removing the dross, but we’re closer now than ever before.

Coffee And Raisin Bran Musings

I know, sounds like the typical senior citizen breakfast, minus the prune juice.  I’ll have you know I have eaten raisin bran since I was a kid, it’s yummy.  Coffee is part of adulting in this household.  Coffee is the life blood of the Diva Den.  The really amazing part of this dark, brown liquid is I’ve managed to finish a cup while it was still very warm, something that simply never happens at work.  This is because I never sit still long enough, and with a handful of dementia residents who wander, nothing is safe left sitting, not to mention we are not permitted to have food/drinks on the floor.  By the time I get a minute to grab my cup in the nurses station the contents are cold.  Monster or Spark are the caffeine drinks when at work, they are meant to be cold so I can just stop by the fridge for a swig and keep going.

I feel a little lost today, as in no navigation tool on board.  My custom project is complete for a shop order, and my laundry is all caught up as of Sunday.  So now I’m not sure what I want to do.  I only have today, as I work the next 2 days before a 3 day weekend.  With nothing pressing to do, I’m not sure what I want to get accomplished today.  There are many By Hook & By Hand projects int he works, but no special orders, all are just things to be added to the store.  While that is my second ‘job’, today is a day off of everything unless I feel like picking up my hook and continuing to make things.  No doubt, I will get to it as that is also therapy for me.  Heck I might not even bother to get out of my jammies today!

(break from writing…..)

Okay I not only got out of the jammies, I showered.  And brought in the mail, had lunch, chatted on the phone with my daughter and a coworker, and now I’m back here in front of my laptop.  Pretty relaxed day so far.

If you like wash cloths, cotton ones that are hand made, we’ll be loading the shop later today with a bunch!!! New colors and sets that we’ve been working on while watching a marathon of Blue Bloods in the evening.  I’m also working on a really pretty lap blanket for those in wheel chairs who get chilly.

I also recently made the decision to sign up as a Jamberry nail wrap consultant. I LOVE the wraps and figured it was worth the discount so if you need wraps, please don’t hesitate to buy from me, I’ll love ya bunches!

Okay, off to hook some and do my nails.🙂

My Etsy Shop Finds

I am a big fan of folks trying to make an extra buck by selling things they make, and when I find something I love I like to share!

The first shop is Jacqueline Jane Customs, she makes really great hats!  As a woman who sometimes is on the go before I can grab a shower, I like to have a hat handy to wear so I don’t look entirely like I crawled out from beneath a rock.  I stumbled on her via Instagram one day and found out she was getting ready to open an Etsy shop.  I waited less than patiently for it to open, then purchased my first hat for my mom.  With chemo making her hair fall out she needed a hat to protect against sunburn and to wear when she doesn’t feel like wearing her wig.  It had to be a FUN hat too, so this is what I bought for her:

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Mom loved it!  So once it arrived I decided I needed one too, that expressed my faith as well as keeping my messy hair covered when running those early morning, bad hair day errands. This is the one I purchased for me:

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I fell in love with the ‘distressed’ look and the cross has rhinestones so it glitters. Gotta have that bling!  Both are really great quality, adjustable hats.  Well worth the money!

My next fun find is my yarn bowl.  I hate when I’m pulling yarn and the skeen goes flying off the coffee table or couch.  I’ve been eyeing yarn bowls for a while, hoping it would solve the issue and at the same time look pretty when not in use so I could just put it on a shelf or my dresser.  It needed to be affordable, practical and attractive.  I found many that I liked, but then found this one at Birdland Paradise and it is too cute!

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Very pretty flowers, well made and has done the job at keeping my yarn on the table while I’m working on a project.

These are great gift ideas if you are in the market for something different, I recommend both of these great shops!

Marvelous Musings Over Coffee

Hot cup of fresh coffee on the wooden table and stack of books tI have had a lot on my “decisions to be made” plate of late.  With too many irons in the fire some things just need to be trimmed from my life and time in order for me to pursue other things where my passion resides.

Anyone who knows me is aware I LOVE direct sales.  At one point I was a consultant/representative for 7 or so companies.  That was narrowed down to 4, 3 of which I basically keep so I can purchase things at a nice discount for myself.  I share them at times, heck who doesn’t like a nice commission check when one has bills to pay, but they are primarily to get a good deal on things I use.  The only one I ever really worked to any degree is my Avon business.

Now that I’ve launched my Etsy shop, By Hook And By Handalong with my sister, I really don’t want to mess that much with the Avon.  It was good to me, had a team of 52 at one point before I let that all fall apart while racing around the country side on a motorcycle with a 1%er (hey, it was that crazy time after the divorce, we all make mistakes).  I love the products etc, but just don’t want to pour the amount of time into that it takes to build a solid income, time I would need to spend away from home.  I’m moving my customers all to online ordering and mailing out brochures and samples periodically.

My passion is my crochet shop.  Hooks and yarn are like therapy to me, even with custom orders and deadlines, I LOVE to crochet.  And with 5 sales already, while having limited inventory, I see the higher earning potential doing something I absolutely enjoy.  Higher potential being that I can do this truly from home.  Avon and other direct sales rock, but you have to go out and do parties, recruit, sell etc. All good and fine if you aren’t working a full time job that is kicking your tail physically, then want to go out and ‘work’ another job.  I put in my work week in 3, 12.5 hour days, pick up an over time shift a week, sometimes more, so the last thing I want to do is get out there and try to do parties etc.  I want to relax, and hooking things soothes me.  If I can make money on what I crochet, well it is a win/win to me. Hooking just doesn’t feel like work!

Being home means spending time with mom, and that time we have is growing shorter with each passing day. I can crochet my heart out while we talk, sit out on the deck, in front of the fire place (when it is cold), and if she needs to be at the infusion center or doctor, well my hooker bag goes along for the appointment and I keep right on crocheting there too.  It simply makes sense to pour myself into what I love and grow this business.  I’ve started a blog for the shop in case folks are interested in seeing what we are up too.  We’ll also share links to patterns we find so other hookers can enjoy making things, so feel free to follow those writings. And feel free to share it, we love that!

I cannot yet share what the other decision is, but will when it is time.  But prayers for the success of that would be much appreciated!

Well, off to work on the custom order, it is nearly finished and will be delivered next week.

Y’all have a fantastic day!

 

I’m Not Okay…

Mom is doing good, for now. All things point to her recovering from this really crap bad round of chemo that nearly took her from us.  But she is a fighter and my sister has a good instinct so despite the infection etc, mom is doing good.

But will she ever have the same strength she did prior?  Like she had a 6 weeks ago? That is a great question.  My guess is…maybe?  It took 2 full weeks for it all to knock her square on her butt, so maybe 6 weeks to recover?  And hey, it IS terminal cancer so we know it won’t ever be perfect again.  In the beginning of May the doc said she had one year, best case.  That means between it and worst case, she may fall in between some where.

She has more folks praying for her than one could imagine.  But the fact is we are in her last months, weeks and days.  Right now, months. We’ll face the weeks and days later.  I am not in denial, I accept it is coming, I just don’t want to cross that bridge until we arrive there.

My co-workers all know my mom, have worked with her as she visited our facility as a hospice case worker and nurse for like 15 or 18 years now.  They are all as devastated as the family, feeling like she IS their family.  I cannot explain how much this helps me, as they know I am wrestling with her mortality and my emotions and they are there with me in this and I love them all.

I go to work and care for my residents with the utmost love and concern.  I pray on the route in, every day, for God to give me His eyes, ears, hands, heart and love for them.  And what no one sees is what I carry in my heart, the knowledge that all too soon my mom will be one of those I care for, at home rather than in our facility.  Like them, I will watch her decline then slip from this world.  And it will crush me.

cropped-589343-1600x1200-angel-on-her-knees_zpsfc5c9b9dNo…I am NOT okay with this.  I never imagined being here.  Yes, God blessed me when I prayed to get out of the horrible, sinful lifestyle of swinging that my ex didn’t want to leave.  I had no clue He would pull me out of my marriage to a man I adored, cherished and loved beyond words.  That I’d never be able to love another man on that depth.  I had no way to know that when I was released from that sin, that I would be given the blessing in return to spend my mom’s final years in her company, under her roof, laughing, loving and living life side by side with her.  It is a gift only God could give and that I cherish, making 6+ years of memories I would not otherwise have had.  What someone else meant for evil, God has turned into much much MUCH good.  But make no mistake, while I am brave, strong, and trust God knows what He is doing…I am far from okay.  Inside I’m dying emotionally.  I am not ready to say good-bye, not ready to wrestle with decisions that will no longer have her input.  It is far from being okay, if freaking sucks.  But I know my Father in Heaven is beyond all comprehension and power, and will guide me along.  My coworkers who love her will wrap around me, as will my family and friends.  And while it will never be OKAY, I will prevail.  I am NOT a survivor, I am a fighter.  I am not passive, I fight my demons, emotions, trials etc, and I win.  Wounded and worn, I am going to make it.  Okay? No, I am not okay…but I will be…one day.