Category Archives: Family

The New Job I WANTED

If you know me or follow me, you know that I have been transitioning in recent years.  I have been working very hard to get qualified to be able to earn a permanent position.

I have recently had a couple of very nice, life affirming events, and one kind of bummer.  Bummer first, lol.  My Daughter and her  family followed me here about 1.5 months after I arrived.  It was a little tight for me, but probably quite a bit for them since they shared a bedroom, but with it’s own bathroom though. It was the first time in at least eight years that both of my children and their children were all in the same state. They have decided to go back to Florida and I am missing her very much even though I know they have to do what is  best for their family.  I am enjoying having my place back to myself, but, still missing her 😛

My Son graduated in the top 2% of his class and has been blessed with a new job that he loves.  It has greatly improved his overall outlook on life, and who can blame him, after all, less struggle, more togetherness, more happiness 😉

I have finally been offered a full time, long term position. Since I’m not actually working for the parent company, I’m not considered permanent, but it’s almost as good with great benefits.  I’ve not done this specific job before so I am slightly apprehensive, but excited to meet new challenges. I am one of those that will work very hard to measure up.  I also try very hard to be at or preferably, above the learning curve in most things.

The title is On-Site Program  Liaison. Which means, I use my company’s contract employee suppliers to fulfill any needs in the parent company and maintain any files relating to the contract employees, myself included presumably, since technically, I am one of them.  It’s pretty straight forward, but the trick is learning the system and how best to meet the demands on time!

I have also been doing all kinds of knitting projects between my temporary assignments, since arriving in Asheville. My last temporary assignment was with the Asheville Citizen Times.  I very much enjoyed that one and they did too 😀

I have recently gotten a few of my creations into a local shop to be sold.  This is very exciting for me because it was one of my initial goals before arriving here.

for sale in Home Crafts 212-2013_Set for Missy$75 First dog sweater 2013 Molly

The purple set are in the window at the shop down town, the red set, yes, it’s red, are sold already! The little puppy sweater for Miss Molly is my first one.  I looked at quite a few patterns on  Revelry and finally decided on an amalgamation of a few of them.

I also finished a few of projects I was working on;

  IMG_1042[1]  Thneed for Jude 2013 2

The finished sweater for Xander, a little shawl for around the house, and Jude’s Thneed!

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To all of my…

 

To all of my...

 

  • To all of my friends and family,

    For the past nine (9) days, Holli Valentin and I have been going through a very difficult time that we have, for the most part, kept to ourselves out of respect for certain individuals. However, we feel that we are finally ready to let everyone know what is going on, in part from our need for a strong circle of support in this difficult time and part from a realization that this can only be kept quiet for so long and, rather than let the rumor mill continue, we’d rather be the ones to come out with this.

    On Thursday, September 27th, my son, Xander Kai Valentin, was admitted to the Pediatric unit at Mission Hospital and the next day, Friday, September 28th, Xander was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He has spent every day since the 27th in the hospital and will most likely be there for another two or three months until his white blood cell count is high enough to once again ward off any minor infection he may receive, at which time he will be released from the hospital, but will need to be under close supervision. Xander underwent minor invasive surgery to have a medical port implanted just below the epidermis and muscle tissues of his left pectoral/armpit area and began receiving Chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday, October 2nd. His treatment will span the next 2-3 years until he is in remission. So far, Xander has been a beast and has handled his Chemotherapy like a champ, although we understand that there is a long road ahead of all of us which to travel and this is only the beginning.

    We would like to ask for all of the support, well-wishes, prayers and positive energy that you can send to Xander, Holli and I, Jude and Chenoa during this difficult time and give a personal ‘thank you’ to everyone who has been there for us, including but not limited to, Erica Valentin Frith, Kathleen Elders Valentin, Jeremy Boyd James Enright, Julie Tallman Pat and Joel Maurer, Michael Maurer, Chenoa Shannon, Dee Shwartz-Shannon, Michael Shannon, Mineko Shannon, Dr. Beatty, Nurses Amy, Chris and Will, and the entire Pediatric Staff at Mission Hospital for all of your love and support; we could not be as strong as we have been without each and every one of you.

    As disappointing as it is, I feel I also need to say this: to any of my “friends” who are going to feel the need to tell anyone that I have shared this status on Facebook, please make sure to mention ALL of the people who are sending us, as Xander’s family, and Xander himself, their love, support, prayers and well-wishes during this time. This is not a cry for pity, but a a request for all of the support that we may ALL receive during and through all of this and anyone who believes or expresses otherwise should go ahead and remove me from their friends list.

    For more information about Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), please visithttp://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/cancer/all.html#cat136. For more information about medical ports, how they work, and the benefits of having a medical port implanted, please visithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_(medical).

    I will be posting pictures and updates from now on to let everyone know how Xander and we are all doing. Again, thank you all for your love and support; we appreciate it more than we could ever express in words.

    –Jacques

    Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

    kidshealth.org

    ALL is the most common type of leukemia, affecting nearly 60% of kids who have this cancer of the blood cells. With treatment, most recover.

f my….

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One Last Goodbye

I had the pleasure of meeting one, Mrs. Emma L. Spence at the young age of 91, while I was doing the driving for my Step-Mom, Rachel, back in June of 2011. (The Lady in Red) She is the mother of Rachel’s first husband and pretty much her “Mom”. 

Grandma Spence and Rachel 2010

Some people have a lasting effect on you, you know.  She had me doing the driving when we went out to lunch while we were there and tried to tell me that she wasn’t as sharp as she once was.  I laughed and told her she wasn’t fooling me. She was giving me instructions on how to get around the base and then the town and even where to park, lol.  She was one sharp lady, let me tell you.

The reason for this post is to say my very fond farewells and GOD’S SPEED. I know how much she missed every one already on the other side and she was ready to go when last I spoke with her, but she would abide by the Lords will and wait until he said she could come.  She was officially diagnosed with lymphoma and refused to do anything about it. It was either discovered too late or when it was it was in the last stages.

She slipped away peacefully, I’m told, late last night.  She will be missed.

I am a richer person for having been in her presence if only for a mere week in 2010.                                                                                                     

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My Proposed Projects

This is my next project. 

Grandpa Cardigan

Click here for the website and pattern

I think I’ve purchased the right amount of yarn. I usually can’t afford the yarn suggested by the designers, but I do pretty good with my substitutes 😀

If it comes out as good as it looks, almost always, operator errors are to blame when they don’t, I will be making a FEW of these since all of the grand children up till now are male.  I’m praying for PINK yarn for the one still in the “oven”,  due in November from Jacques and Holli.

My next proposed project will be,

A little something for me, hopefully before its too cool.  I would like to wear it in North Carolina maybe for Christmas…. wishful thinking, IA, A girl can hope 😉 Again, I couldn’t afford the intended yarn so I started by buying one of these                    

     Fishermen's Wool<SUP>®</SUP>         Cobblestone   

(click pictures for sites)

 because I know I can get more easily and it’ll match. I know because I did it for Jacques when I made the Jared  Flood – Cobblestone sweater for him one year (right).

Don’t get me started on that young man, what a gifted person, amazing! Click here to go to his Awesome site. He’s even gotten his own line of yarns. I’d kill to be able to afford LOTS of that stuff!! lol. It’s not over priced, don’t misunderstand, I’m just not in that income bracket. They are SOOOO worth it though 😛

Alrighty then, now that I’ve come back from wool heaven, the next project I hope to do or maybe sooner is this shawl by another talented young man that I think may have a pattern in one of Jared’s new pattern books.

Boneyard Shawl By Stephen West

Of course, there are the projects that I haven’t quite finished.  The hat that is almost finished shouldn’t be much longer.

I’m sure I’ll be working on the red,black,and gray Entrelac until I am overwhelmed with the need to finish it so I can give it to her before Christmas. Lol, I hate it when I can’t stay interested even thought I love that project, who knows. 

I know, right? Nothing for a couple months then and explosion of words.  The truth is that this is the first opportunity I’ve had that I could sit in front of my computer and not do something that NEEDED doing and didn’t NEED to sleep, lol.

If anyone cares, I’ll try not to be so lame in the future.

                                                                                                     

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A/C and Wedding Update

Initially the compressor, which was replaced before I bought it because it blew on the test drive (Thank God!), checked out fine and so did the leak test.  That was Friday afternoon at 16:55 when I walked out of there.  I got into the car and It didn’t seem as cool as it should be but, hey, it’s Florida and it was HOT out so I thought maybe that’s all.  So I carried on, went and got a pair of shoes to go with the new dress for the festivities at the Wedding on Saturday night.

Come Saturday after the prerequisites of showering and drying hair, applying all stuff eye related, I don’t wear “make-up” unless it’s and EVENT in the dead of winter and I look like I was dug up. I hate not being able to touch my own face not to mention getting that stuff on my clothes and it never fails, I’ll rub my eyes and voila I’m scaring children with my “raccoon eyes” as my Mother use to call it.

I’ll be using it to carry stuff to work with now.

So, I’ve got a dress of synthetics, an Abya, of the same synthetics, a scarf…..you get the picture. I’ve got all the little sewing things I MIGHT need to repair any emergencies before/during the Wedding and it all fit into this adorable  little container and the scarves and stuff all neatly fit into the carry bag I decided to whip up because I didn’t want to walk into a formal occasion with a granted, nice, but still, a Publix “green bag”, hence the cool one I made of the same material I made a bag to bring my sewing machine along on trips. That bad is one of my best creations. It’s lined and has pockets just for scissors. They’re “V” shaped without a bottom to poke into.

This is the “emergency repair” kit, coincidentally with a sample of the material I used for my new bag.

ANYWAY….I get out to the car all ready, start her up and get the air blowing, and the !@##$$ING thing is blowing hot air, needless to say I am on the verge of a meltdown. To keep me from getting all upset with all of this “stuff” already on my face and now all of that synthetic material is stuck to me, I just force myself to say “FORGET IT FOR NOW!!!”.

I did call the A/C people right then, he said, “Well bring it over, we’re open till 4”.  It’s a joke on me from the Universe because I’ve already paid the $98 to have it all checked out and recharged. Of course, at 14:30 on THE DAY OF THE EVENT and I’m due at 15:00 ish  I can’t go there.  I was blessed in that it was actually cool outside because there was/is a big storm brewing to the NE just off the Atlantic coast of Florida and it’s having a blessedly cooling effect.

On the wonderfully up side, everything went swimmingly well. The scarves were all just right and as it turned out we were still one short, but that was unforeseeable, and therefore acceptable.  The cape turned out very nice, I loved it the way it matched so well, especially because I wanted the mini Perl trim to accent the ones on the Wedding dress and the poor frazzled  bride let me do it and was pleased with the end result. The Bride was just as calm as could be on the day of the Wedding and just as sweet as she was all the way through the madness.

I was lucky enough to be off today and they were not at the A/C repair place so I ran over and they did some testing that took longer and found the problem. To be fair, I got there at 16:35 on Friday evening and they got the tests done and charged it, all in 20 minutes.

After recharging it, because it had leaked out, twice during this stint of testing.  The real culprit was found. The first time it stopped being “cold” I took it into the dealer and when the lot guy took the cap off of the low pressure valve it literally blew away and he never found it.  So I bought one and went to the repair place that the parts store recommended.

Anywhooo, the same thing happened to the tech while he was testing it and he replaced the valve again.  The final diagnosis is that the threads and the in line filter that the valve screws into are not good anymore.  They are holding for the moment, but it will leak out over a couple months unless it has a blow out. That’s how long it took the first time.  The line pressure is about 50 psi more than it shoud be so that’s what determined the the filter replacement. The line its self is going to be costly, but the filter is only $7 so by the time it’s done, it’ll be $395 😛  Yes, it’s a luxury, but this is Florida and the Summer has officially arrived and it’s already a very muggy 85 degrees Fahrenheit  when I walk out the door at 06:30 in the morning!!!! I would like to arrive at work looking clean and crisp as opposed to crumpled and sweaty, so I’m going to be “working for A/C money” for the foreseeable future, lol.

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Last Minute Wedding Scarves

A Lovely Purple even thought the lighting is bad 😛

 Sr. Alice arrived with the material we’ve been trying to track down for days! The Wedding is on Saturday evening! I LOVE a good challenge 🙂

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On The Mend, Again

I spoke to Rachel, Ma-maw or Mom2, this morning and she is definately sounding much better. 😀  Her daughter passed away on the 6th of January and she was hopitalized late the next night with double pneumonia.  I really believe her grieving and being exposed to the cold weather to the point of exhaustion weakened her immune system even for a healthy person, but she lost her spleen in a nearly fatal car accident a little more than 20 yrs ago.

It pains me hearing her cough, but have learned to recognize it as “productive” so it bothers me a little less than it did in the past. While we were speaking this morning she had a very productive “fit” of coughing, but recovered quickly, thank you God!  She’s looking forward to getting back to her own bed and being surrounded by her own possesions.  I think anyone can sympathize with that sentiment, lol.  She’s been in hospital since last Saturday, the 7th so home is over due in her estimation.

She has a Thyroid problem and if she can get well for long enough she can have a quick surgery to remove it and maybe then she’ll be able to gain some weight and actually keep it 😀  Back in July of 09, she had gained up to about 126-27 Lbs, I think, and looked quite healthy.  Since then there seems to be a conspirecey, by her body, to keep her just weak enough that she couldn’t withstand another surgery.  We did manage to go and have her cataracs removed in two seperate sessions, between two bouts of pneumonia, again.  As it turns out she has been carrying a fungi within her lungs that kept flarring up so at least THAT has been discovered.  My understanding of that is the lung is a Very moist place, by it’s very nature so that perfectly enables it to persist.

At any rate, the point is that I’m pleased to hear the life come back into her voice and she was actually able to convers.  It takes air to talk and being able to talk even for 15 minutes was a task for her earlier this week, so this is a pleasent step in the right direction.  Yes, I do see these little victories as a reason to rejoyce, hey every little thing means she’ll be here a little longer for us to enjoy.

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My Sister, My Friend

I am feeling ANGRY and so completly lost, knowing my step-sister, Belinda, will miss the birth of her daughter’s first child and all of the wonderful things associated with being a parent and grandparent.

Her Son’s daughter is already convinced that her Grandma is the best one in the whole world.  I can’t imagine trying to tell a three year old that Grandma has gone to heaven and you won’t get to see her until you get there, provided that this assumption on man’s part is even close.

I keep praying that her exit was accidental and not intentinal.  I keep thinking, I just spent Christmas dinner with her and we were laughing and enjoying having family around us and spending time together.  Funny, we were thinking that Mom, her Mom, was laying down because she felt a little sick, that happens sometimes still since her stomach surgery. It turned out that Mom was just lying there listening to the conversations going on, the two of us talking and laughing together and the girls also talking about their pregnancies and how exciting it was that they were pregnant at the same time and their children would get to grow up together also.

As all of these things run through my mind, I get angry again and then all I can do is cry and make dua for her soul, that Allah will make it easy for her in the next life and to please, please ease the pain of loss for her children and grand-daughter and her Mother who will miss her terribly for the rest of her life.  You know, you aren’t supposed to out live your children.

This event has made me look closely at my own life and to be sure that MY children know just how much I love them and how incrediby blessed I know I am to be their mother.

I look back at the memories of each of their childhoods.  They are six years apart so only a few years of thier growing up actually overlapped. It was almost like having two only children.  The years of the youngest following the eldest around and making him crazy and then the years of the usual bickering, “He’s touching me!!”, lol.  Now that I’m on the other side of it I can laugh, but sometimes you felt like you may not make it through, just let me get to the “down time”  = bed time.

Now I watch thier children doing things and saying things I prayed so hard to get to see.  You know if your children are adults, you pray that one day you will get to hear those holy grail of words, “Mom, I’m sorry I gave you so much hassel, you were right, and I love you, and thank you.” No matter what the subject is that brings those most precious of words, that confirms all of those trials and tears shed were worth every moment.

As I re-read this post I’m thinking of the first time I met my sister, Belinda, God, can it be that it was 27 yrs ago.  She was pretty young, we’d both come home to Nashville.  Her mother, Rachel had married my dad, Tom.  I had no clear memories of my father as a person, other than the Daddy figure, so when I finished my tour of duty in the U. S. Air Force, I went to TN.  She, Belinda, got there a couple of days before I did so she got the room and I got the livingroom floor.  We’ve laughed about that so many times over the years.

I got to know my Dad pretty well and Rachel too and I gained another step-sister. We had so much fun running around together acting like kids. Hell we were kids. She’s six years younger, but we hit it off right away.  My father had four wives in his life, my Mom was his second and I gained a sister with his third and fourth wives, who I am blessed to still have in my life since both of my parents have passed away now.

Many years later the darkness crept into her life and has been gradually taking her away from us all.  It finally won on the 6th of January. It’s an epidemic in this country and it’s been killing people in her life for the last couple of years too. No matter the form, pills or some other substance, it’s taking our loved ones away and we seem powerless against it.

I really thought she’d beat it a couple of times in the recent past, but somehow it always snuck back in.  I have finally gotten over feeling guilty, but it was a struggle to remember that I had children to raise and a spouse to be a part of.  I was available to her a few times while I was there for a couple of weeks at a time, each year, but I couldn’t be there to do it for her, it was a fight only she could actually fight herself.

I will stubornly hold in my minds eye, everytime I think of her, that Christmas dinner, sitting across from her laughing and talking and how good she looked.  She’d had her hair redone in that cool color thing she does where the underside is dark and it blends lighter to the top layer. She’d lost just a little weight so that she was comfortable in her skin and her make-up was perfect, as usual.  He hair was naturally wavy and just above her waist, she looked so damn good.

I keep praying the anger will fade so I can just cry and get it out of me, but the anger keeps creeping in and then the tears follow. I guess I’m being a little selfish as my other step-sister would remind me, that Belinda is no longer suffering through the addiction, she’s finally free of it!

I will miss hearing what her grand-daughter said to her the last visit they had together, she’s such a whiz-bang that little one. We hadn’t had a chance to talk about the next grandbaby other than being excited about waiting to learn if it will be a boy or a girl soon.

If you’ve ever lost someone you love, you know there are stages of grief.  I will be glad when I can wake up and not hope that it’s not true and not need to struggle to get through the next few moments when I can hopefully tuck it back into that little place in my mind and pretend I’m good and get on with the rest of the day.  Getting to that place takes time and determination.  Just because I knew it was inevitable if things didn’t change doesn’t mean that any of us was prepared. Unfortunately for me I’m getting better at this struggle, having lost so many people I love, not to the current epidemic, but in my life, so many gone now.

Usually this happens to us as we get up there in age, but I’m only 50 and it started happening when I was 8 with my biological sister, firends, husband, grandmother, mother, father and now my 3rd sister.  We will blessedly be able to keep the 2nd sister, God willing, now for many years to come. She won her battle!

I will close for now as my eyes are full and it’s getting hard to see and it’s time to pray again, inshah Allah, life will go on with the renewal in our children and grand children. This life is so short, we have to grasp every moment and remember to enjoy it fully.

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Thanksgiving 2011

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My beautiful daughter, Erica and the pumpkin her son, Tiylor made for Thanksgiving.

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My brother, Cole, myself, his wife, Lisa at Nana Dee’s on Thanksgiving.

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Cole and Lisa Elders

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Their boys, Brandon and Nicholas.

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Tiylor Frith, Erica’s son attacking his Thanksgiving Day treat.

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My girls and I. Erica and Rhea. Rhea wasn’t actually mad, her sweety, Travis, was playing around with her camera. We laughed so hard through that, He probably took a good 5 or 6 pictures 😛

Such a wonderful day and soul restoring. How can it be any better when surrounded by family and loved ones other than having the ones there that were in other states?

 

My daughters,  Erica and Rhea

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Sea World! Yayyyy

Where to begin….

After going to Busch Gardens with my daughter and her son, we planned to return that Friday with herself and her husband, just the adults to ride, rides 😀
It turned out the did it together so they could have some “Parents Time”. I remember those days, they are a very necessary part of a healthy Psyche for the parents.

Anyway, my daughter suggested we go to Sea World together that Sunday, just us.

I have to say we were greatly disappointed that Manta was malfunctioning while we were there. We stood in line for something like 40 minutes and then got on the ride, waited about 15 mins, got off, got back on about 15 mins later, got back off and then we were invited to get on  again, I wasn’t about to get stuck on it so we got out of there.

What was the most fun though was just spending the time together. The last time we’d been able to do that was in the summer of 02.  We went to Williamsburg, VA to their Busch Gardens and also into Williamsburg the historical sights.  It was really WONDERFUL for me because I loved all the “learning” involved with reading the landmark plaque and speaking with all of the personnel in period clothing performing daily activities of the time.

This is in the Penguin exhibit. We are standing in front of an amazing picture that shows the eco-cycle /food chain. The picture itself was really amazing in it’s detail.
 
This is the last thing we did that day before leaving. It was a really fun show with Dolphins and a whale I’ve never seen before. It was very long, slender and quite able to frolic with the Dolphins.  I checked the website and there is no mention even of the show we saw, much less the whale in question. 😛

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