Change Is Good

I’ve been a bit silent of late because, quite honestly, I was a bit down. As in depressed. Not lay on a shrink’s couch and spill my childhood and blame it on someone depressed, or “mommy’s little helper” medication needed depressed. Just bummed.

I love my profession, caring for the elderly, and have a passion for memory care patients. When I took the position at my sister’s facility I felt I had found the place I’d stay for many years. But when your sister is the Executive Director, and policy says no family can be a direct or indirect report (never mind it was approved by the corporate HR), sooner or later someone is going to become disgruntled with management and pitch a hissy fit.  Some nurse who didn’t like the E.D. enforcing policies decided to stick it to the facility and complained. She has no idea the can of worms she has opened because many people there are direct and indirect reports to family, and now that will have to be addressed because my coworkers and resident families are very unhappy about my having to resign and go else where.  50+ fellow employees signed a petition, resident’s families lit up the integrity and friends & family phone lines, but it did no good. I gave a 30 day notice and started hunting for a new job.

The first job I found was very close to home, so much so I could walk if I wanted too. But one look at the very clinical feel of the memory care unit and I simply could not stomach it. I oriented and the entire time it felt like an institution and not a good way to care for our elderly with dementia. I was really in the dumps over it. I prayed and sometimes even yelled at my Father in Heaven, not liking this one bit!

Then…I found it. I knew of a local place that was just opened, and is all memory care assisted living. At this point, figuring I had nothing at all to lose, I walked in and applied. I was interviewed and hired on the spot. My 3 day class from Teepa Snow’s organization on caring for dementia residents was a huge plus.

I found my dream job folks! You know those places you see on Facebook with the cute little front porches inside the building? The ones that don’t look like a nursing home but more like a neighborhood from long ago? Well that is what this new place is like! In fact they call each ‘unit’ a neighborhood. And it is all person centered. If grandma wants to sleep until noon, she does. If she wants to sit in the living room and sip coffee in her jammies, she does that too. Court yards that wrap around the entire building, all secure and feeling like you are strolling along past outdoor porches with rocking chairs and smiling old folks keeping them moving. Inside the dining rooms and living rooms feel like home. As you walk around the square past each neighborhood porch there is furniture that feels like outdoors and mimics true days of old. The pace inside is gentle and loving. We serve their meals in chef’s jackets so they feel like they are dining out in a fancy place. It is amazing!

I now look forward to going to work every day. It is like being at home! I do dishes (in a dishwasher), set tables, make beds, assist with activities of daily living…and I’m expected to sit outside in the rockers with my residents and engage them! Yes, paid to spend time watching a movie or tv show, walking the court yard paths, or working a puzzle or playing a game! We are care partners, like family members, to our residents.

Sure, we have some who sun down and become difficult, but with the training I have I know how to redirect them, validate their feelings, empathize and help them through those bumps in the road.

Who knew that when forced to change, it was because God had something better in store for me! This job has blessed my life so much, in ways I could never have imagined.

When The Scale Goes Down

gobigJanuary usually brings out the new year resolutions for most folks, but not for me. Just not my thing to make a decision to do anything in particular only to have that resolution die in flames 3 weeks later. My son goes to a local gym where I used to attend, and for the first few weeks of the year it is packed to the walls, but come the end of the month only about half of those people are still around. By the end of February 90% will have stopped going, forgetting their resolution to drop weight and get in shape.

For me, the need to get some weight off is tied to my blood pressure. Being a Medication Aide now, I take vital signs on residents so I purchased a higher end electronic BP cuff. I’ve been monitoring my own and yikes, it was starting to get into the lower end of the high blood pressure scale. Actually some times it is more like moderate. Being a blood donor (if it is too high they won’t take your blood), and a member of a family full of high BP folks, this is a cause for concern. Between my weight and my serious addiction to coffee, I knew I had to start making a few life choices to protect myself. I’m not getting any younger and I want to live a long, healthy life.

My first step was drinking more water. Like a LOT more water. I’ve read that you should divide your weight by 2, and that would give you the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day. This meant 97.5 ounces of water a day for me. Yes, I was sitting at 195 pounds, and that much water made me feel like I could swim with the whales. No one believed me when I told them my weight, seems I carry it well, and being large chested it helps to make the poundage more balanced and less obvious. My blood pressure, however, doesn’t lie.

The second step was to cut back on portions. I’ve not stopped eating my favorite things, I just eat less of them now. I don’t measure, per say, I just eat slower and eat a smaller portion than normal. Especially with dessert, IF I have it at all.

Step three was cutting down on the caffeine consumption. This was really difficult because I LOVE coffee, this girl runs on it. A few months back my daughter introduced me to the wonders of Dunkin Donuts iced coffees. Mama here was in love with the peppermint mocha, but after Christmas this amazing flavor vanished and won’t be back until we roll in to the holiday season again. Now please understand, this girl doesn’t mess around when it comes to her coffee, you go big or you go home. I don’t go home when it comes to java. A large, iced coffee, with the flavoring and NO cream or sugar is 260 calories or so. Um, that is just dandy if you aren’t eating anything but I am good for a breakfast sandwich too, and then  at work once the residents have breakfast we can chow down on the left overs. I rarely passed up some bacon or a small danish, maybe a pancake or french toast. I wasn’t gaining a pound, but I wasn’t shedding any either.

I was under the mistaken impression that I needed all that caffeine for energy for my day. The sugar that comes in flavor shots wasn’t hurting the cause either. So, to scale back on the intake of my liquid motivation, not to mention the money spent daily at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, I started making up the coffee at home, the night before, so while getting ready for work my coffee is brewing. I grab a carton of muscle milk, my go cup of coffee and head out of the door for work. My calorie intake dropped significantly with the home brewed cup, it is less coffee than I was drinking in the very large, iced variety, and with the minimal calories in the muscle milk I can nibble on a half piece of french toast or pancake at work and not come near what I was consuming.

And last, but not least…SLEEP! I’ve read countless places that not getting enough sleep will impede on weight loss. Now I am in bed and asleep in time to get 8 to 8.5 hours a night, sometimes even more. Once in a while there is an exception, but over all I make it a point to get enough sleep. Between that rest, and the fact that I’m now down 10 pounds for January, I have more energy without the caffeine over load.

Thankfully, the numbers on the scale keep creeping down, so I must be doing something (or things) right!

A Little Therapy Session

Have you checked out the shop blog? Drop by and see what I’m working on both for the shop and myself!

By Hook And By Hand

I’m busy working out of my basket of cotton yarn today. I had an exam this morning and now I need a little hooker therapy. I’m making wash cloths from the 100% cotton yarn, and will have these in the shop soon.

I ordered the yarn for my temperature blanket 2 days ago, and in impatience I’m waiting…and waiting, for the UPS man to show up. I’m pretty certain it hasn’t even shipped yet but I’m really excited to start this! 🙂

What are you working on today?

Screenshot_2017-01-19-15-56-53-1.png My basket of cotton yarn

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Saturday Coffee Clouds

My brain is in hyper drive this morning, thoughts rolling through and then vaporizing like the steam clouds off of my coffee cup which is sitting next to me. I’m propped up on pillows on my bed with my lap desk and laptop, enjoying my ‘nest’. My room is my haven, it is a crazy collection of things that make me comfy and feel happy. I do some great thinking, resting, sleeping, laughing and relaxing here. No negatives permitted in the nest of the marvelous one.

I’m amazed at how much time can be wasted through the use of social media apps. I’m not knocking them or you for using them, I’m a serious addict myself. For example, we get a 30 minute “break” at work, it is our lunch time so to speak, each shift. Often I just hit the break room and crochet for the 30 minutes as that calms my soul and recharges my attitude battery. But if I make the mistake of picking up my phone when I first plant myself in the chair, that 30 minutes flies by while I’m scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. When I first woke up this morning, I reached for my phone and burned 45 minutes, seemingly in the blink of an eye, that cannot be used again. And that was before coffee! Time is our most valuable possession, each second is a one time deal with no refunds or do overs. And I wasted 45 minutes looking through a lot of crap for a few nuggets of humor.

iStock_000019755169SmallIt occurred to me during those wasted moments, that I have a social media relationship with my heavenly Father most days. My bible study is on an app, She Reads Truth, (Currently working through a 28 day study in John), which I typically read in the parking lot at work. I arrive 20 minutes or so early and spend that time on the app. It is a good way to get in the Word of God and start the day, but it really doesn’t replace the feel of my good old bible in my hands, or time on my knees in deep discussion with my Abba. It is my old friend, onion skin thin pages full of God’s Word and my notations in the margins, highlighted sections that meant something to me, quotes I loved from pastors over the years and so on. I fear taking it in my car, as I don’t want to have anything happen to it. But then I don’t spend time with it at home very often. My prayer time is often of the social media style too, 140 or so characters shot up to the Lord before I start my day, but it hasn’t been deep, meaningful prayers that I need alone and quiet time. My ‘Facebook relationship’ with my Savior of late needs to be addressed. Instead of scrolling through umpteen political posts I need to reach for the Word.

I need to start using my planner, NOW. So much needs to be scheduled or it simply doesn’t happen. Work of course does, but then I need to study for my exam this week, make time to be in the Word and prayer, work on projects for my shop, run errands, do some laundry, write blog posts and other social media posts for my shop, get to church this weekend, watch the services from last Sunday, well as you can see I have a lot to do. It is funny to me that at work I am a time management freak, a multi-tasking champion who can get my work done and kick start 2nd and 3rd shift by doing their laundry assignments. But outside of work I’m a hot mess of too much to do and zero organization. Maybe because at work there is a definite deadline and I do my best work under pressure. I’m hoping by actually scheduling it in my planner in time blocks, it will put enough emphasis on the importance of the tasks that I will get it all finished. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Temperature Blankets

By Hook And By Hand

I’ve been seeing a trend of posts on Pinterest lately of temperature blankets. At first I was confused as to the point of row upon row of changing colors, why and how you would change them. So I did some research and discovered that the outside high temperature of the day is what dictates the color of the yarn.

Obviously this would take some planning and a color chart. I’ve seen a number of these done as one row per day, others as one row per week. Some pick their colors to represent 10 degree ranges, others 5 degree ranges of temperature. In the end the blankets have a look of those beautiful blankets from Mexico, but are a record of the temperatures for that calendar year in your particular area.

I’ve found the photos over at Beneath The Rowan Tree’s blog, her pattern there might help you in…

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Baby Hats!!!

Check out the latest!

By Hook And By Hand

I’ve got the baby bug. In the mood to make a baby item this morning, I pulled out my gear and made this adorable little baby girl hat. Too cute if I do say so myself. On that note I’m going to be adding it to my shop, and a blue version. This particular one is for newborn to 3 months, but I can make them in a variety of sizes (and colors!).

I think some baby booties are a good pairing for this item…what do you think?


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Random Coffee Musings

My brain is full and needs a bit of a mental dump.

  • My go too coffee has changed..I’m hooked on iced coffee thanks to my daughter. I was seriously addicted to Dunkin Donuts Iced Peppermint Mocha, but that is seasonal so now it is a fudge brownie. I avoid cream and sugar, because this large drink already has like 260 calories. It is liquid motivation, energy, common sense, and get the job done all in one big cup.
  • My feet and body are just done. Really. I’ve worked so much lately, including a double shift the day before yesterday, then 8 hours later back on the floor again, that I’m just finished. I even spent the night at the facility in an empty unit because I was too exhausted to drive home after the double shift, which meant an extra 1.5 hours of sleep so it was well worth it. Just packed a go bag and extra uniform and showered there too. I work another double tomorrow, with an 8 hour break before being back on the floor Monday. I cannot wait for Tuesday to just sleep in for a change.
  • I love my job, and my residents, even when I get punched, clawed, kicked, rammed with a walker, and nearly bitten. Those behaviors are summed up by one of my residents, a tiny little darling who, when I wake her to get her up, always says, “I’m scared”.  96  years old, tiny little thing, and terrified. Poor lady just wants to go home to her home town where she was raised, it is the last place she remembers living because dementia has stolen much of her present and past and that is all she knows most days. That and where she worked when she retired. I just hug her and promise to protect her, she hugs me back and says “I love you”. Makes the whole crazy mess worth it.
  • I have so much studying to do! Need to take my Kentucky medication aide test so I can pass meds at this facility. I’ve worked so much lately that my brain just doesn’t have what it takes to study. Must work on that.
  • Is it just me, or does red lipstick on women over 50 tend to make them look like the old hag living on the corner? You know, the one who is bat poop looney and dresses like she robbed a thrift store drop box or granddaughter’s closet? A Baddie Winkle wanna be? *shudder*  Sorry just my opinion.
  • I managed to kill my air plants. Seems soaking them in water for 20 minutes, twice a week isn’t just a suggestion. I did well for a while, but now they are but dust. Guess I’ll be ordering more because I rather like them.
  • Do people realize when they are in their cars picking their nose that we can see them? Seriously you are not invisible and that is flat out disgusting, especially when you lick your fingers off!

Just some random stuff, now there is room for more random thoughts.

Staying Warm

Have you checked out the shop blog? Show some love over there!

By Hook And By Hand

Winter has moved into our area, though with it being 59 degrees today one would be hard pressed to prove that! Have no fear, in greater Cincinnati one only needs to wait a few minutes before the weather will change. Snow and cold will make an appearance before long.

15673038_1067450206697553_1784120851927591983_nWhile waiting for the snow to fly I’ve been working on a number of scarves to sell. These are nice and thick, 72 inches long, and I can customize the colors to suit a variety of preferences. I’m currently working on matching hats. The hat pattern that comes with the scarf pattern simply isn’t working up to look right, so I’m on a quest to find a new one so I can make them and get them on the shop. I have 3 more scarves that should release later today in the Etsy Shop. Currently I am working on the…

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Random Thoughts For 1/1/2017

I’m the only one awake at the moment here in the Diva Den. I was awake for the change of numbers at the end of the date, and then I went to bed. Being a very early riser for work (4am) I was wide awake at 6:30am today.  That darn little switch in the brain click to the “on” position and here I am, sipping coffee and doing laundry before I head over to watch my youngest grandchild.

Hot cup of fresh coffee on the wooden table and stack of books t2017..oh what will happen over the next 365 days? God only knows for certain, but I have a few predictions/thoughts and plans:

  • Mom will keep taking chemo, at least for a bit. The tumor has nested itself against her hip, so this latest chemo (the one that nearly killed her last summer) is being given in a reduced dose, spread over time, in the hopes it will shrink the tumor away from the bone so it doesn’t eat through and fracture the hip. We’ve dubbed it “Pandora” and we know in the end Pandora, being terminal, is going to win, but mom isn’t going down without a fight. I will be beyond happy if she is here to roll into 2018, but it is highly unlikely. Meanwhile we take it a day at a time, making memories in ways I never imagined.
  • I will be making better money as I get my certification to pass meds in Kentucky soon. I’ll keep working in memory care, where my heart now thrives with my adorable, challenging, if you don’t laugh about it you’ll cry, residents.
  • The shop is getting a serious focus, I’m going to be doing more research, pre-planning of what to make, and doing more to schedule releases of stock. I’m taking this more seriously now, not just a fun hobby to make a little pocket money, but to really focus on it as a business.
  • I’m leaving Avon behind. I love the products and believe it them, but I am one woman with entirely too many irons in the fires and need to simplify my life. With so much anticipated in this new year, I have to do some serious pruning.
  • Purge..that is the word, my word for 2017. Purging things I don’t need, wear, have time for…and it will include not just things but activities. If it isn’t building me up, doing something positive for my faith or life, it has to go. If I don’t wear it anymore, it doesn’t fit, whatever the case, gone it will be. This includes other blogs I have, those are being done away with and everything I do post will be here. It is possible I will keep a blog for the shop, but I’m not certain of that just yet. If my faith posts offend, well then I suppose folks will have to skip reading those.
  • In the spirit of simplifying my life, even my page here got a small makeover, just a cleaner look.
  • My novel…oh the changes I’ve made, rewrites, restarts…it will be written this year but with a new direction. I’ve started, stopped, changed things, and started again. But I’ve purged all of that and starting over. As for the non-fiction work? Well, there is much I could say about that, but it is suffice to say at Woman Camp this past Fall, with my church, I freed myself by God’s grace of the burden I was carrying. I thought writing it about it would be healing, but instead I talked to my new friends, other sisters in Christ, around a fire one afternoon. Then I walked through a guided process, alone on the edge of the woods, prayed, cried, prayed some more, then took the veil of guilt and shame that was covering me, and literally dropped it on a fire and watched it all blow away in black smoke that diminished and became clear, crisp air. I’m free from that, washed in the blood of Christ, it is behind me. Perhaps I will write about it one day, here in my blog, to help others be free of the veils holding them back. Time will tell, and God will direct that path.

My coffee has grown cold in my cup, the washer is finished, and I have to be over at my daughter’s in 2 hours to spend a day with my grandson while his brother and parents enjoy a football game.

Happy New Year to all, and God’s richest blessings upon each and every one of you reading this!

What If…Challenge Accepted



I attend a great church, and yesterday despite being off sick I was able to attend services live via online streaming. The message was powerful and played right into things I’ve been contemplating of late.

What if…

we didn’t post a single, negative thing on social media? Our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all of it was so amazingly full of good, positive things, that it wasn’t necessary to have it be private because there is nothing to hide? Only good, only things that edify and lift up, bring smiles and laughter? No politics, no news sources questionable stories (face it most cannot be trusted these days), just the good stuff, the happy stories, the zen moments in life. Could I accept that kind of challenge?

we didn’t remove folks for not believing as we do. Suppose I just removed those so full of negativity that I didn’t want to see that in my feed anymore so I kept only those as friends who spread love, peace, kindness? Could I accept that kind of challenge?

we all stopped watching and reading the news for one month and took a break from the negativity in the press and instead of sharing news on our social media, we shared blogs and Instagram posts that were filled with good, kind, thoughtful things? Could I do that for a month? And what if that became the norm, to just share what warms the heart, would the world start to see a change?

we prayed for our enemies, and those we hold bad feelings toward. Prayed for their lives to be filled with peace, love, kindness and all other good things from God. And we did this every, single, day. Make a list of those who we dislike, hate, hold a grudge towards, and pray forgiveness over them, and pray FOR them. Good things only. It would change our hearts toward those people (trust me on this I’ve done it).

we prayed for our president instead of bashing him? Pray for God’s wisdom to be given to him, for wise men and women to surround him, for his heart to be open to God’s leading, for his safety, his family’s safety, and for our nation. Instead of throwing up nasty things, we reminded folks to do this, we did it. What could happen? What could it hurt?

I wear a sterling silver ring on my one hand that says be the change you wish to see in the world and I think change begins with each of us.

Challenge accepted.

If you are on my Facebook, and post things that I find disturbing, negative, attacking, etc., then don’t be shocked to be unfriended.

It isn’t you, it is ME.

I want to let go of this type of thing in my life. Yes, evil will still be out there, but we don’t have to give it free rent to live in our hearts and minds, it is time to evict this from our lives. Hold a door, let someone merge into your lane rather than speeding up, mend a fence…mend them ALL, see the good in everyone, smile, say hello to a stranger, pay for someone’s coffee behind you in line, start spreading positive, loving kindness and see if in your wake the same is not so contagious that the world will change. It will be slow, but we can dig in our heels and refuse to be swayed from the goal.

Are you with me?