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Always in My Heart

My Sweet Twin Grandgirls

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About Me

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My passion is decorating with vintage and antique finds on a budget. There was a time when I wouldn't have dreamed of going into a goodwill. That day has passed. :) My second love is scrapbooking all those special family moments for posterity, and I recently set up my very own scrapbooking room. I have three beautiful children, two sons and a daughter as well as a sweet (albeit full blooded Yankee) daughter-in-law and two grandgirls. I also enjoy gardening, meeting new friends and relaxing on my patio in the evenings with a glass of fine wine. During the summer of 2001, I spent two glorious weeks at Kennedy Space Center. I've been somewhat of a space geek ever since....

My Favorite Blog

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fresh Pine Wreath

I had a hunkering for a fresh wreath to hang in my dining room window like all the pretty wreaths I've been seeing across blogland, so Johnny and I drove over to Lowe's last night hoping to luck up and find one.  There were some wreaths marked down on clearance, but the greenery was dead and brown.  So for the first time in FOREVER, J and I walked out without purchasing a single thing.

I'm a hardheaded old fool, though.  I cooked all day long.  Stuffed pork tenderloin, broccoli rice casserole, fresh green beans with new potatoes, fruit salad, and red velvet cake.  And every time I stopped off at my kitchen sink, I noticed the old pine tree in my yard.  Hmmmm......

Decorating is much much more fun than cooking so one tall ladder later I found myself making a simple wreath.  It's certainly not perfect, but considering what I had to work with, not bad.  I bent a coat hanger into a circular shape and then used florist's wire to tie the pine pieces on.  What do you think?

Here's a close up shot.  I'm just loving the soft green in my newly repainted dining room and the Belgian linen drapes from Restoration Hardware.  The room seems so much lighter and airier since we painted over that deep red.

Johnny surprised me with the dinner plates to match my Twas the Night Before Christmas salad plates that my BFF gave me year before last.  I just LOVE them!  And that same BFF gave me the most GORGEOUS mercury glass piece this year.  Isn't it the perfect nostalgic touch for those toile dishes?

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Life

I know I've been neglecting my lil old blog lately.  I've been on a whirlwind ride of emotions from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.  My health is good but the future scares me silly.  I feel great most days.  When I have those random unexplained nights where the hot flash monster won't allow me to sleep, I struggle with exhaustion and brain fog the entire next day.  I'm returning to MD Anderson on January 22nd for a check up.  That's what life is like post-cancer, it's measured from check up to check up in 90 day blocks of time.

But retirement beckons.  I have 10 more days of work!  Losing the stress of a job that could keep two or three people busy every day will be a positive thing.  I love the wonderful folks I work with and will miss them dearly, but not the stress and the never-ending feeling of never being caught up on my work.  I'm planning to do something FUN on a part-time basis, something crafty and creative.  I have a few ideas that I'm tossing around....  Stay tuned...

We had a great Thanksgiving.  Every holiday gets a bit easier, the whole "sharing the kids with the ex on special occasions" deal.  Here are my two sweethearts hanging by those Thanksgiving turkey cupcakes that Kait and I made.  Those two love their chocolate!

Now for me, on the other hand, it was that luscious Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods that was calling my name.  I've given up sweets (cancer loves sugar) but sure did indulge in a big slice of that yummy cake after dinner.  YUM!

I gave the girls a "Santa in a Box" kit that included a hat, glasses, beard, and Christmas book and they had fun with it.  That's Haylee with Kait.

And here are both girls, Haylee with the Santa hat and Brooke wearing Kait's LSU Santa hat.  Kait graduates in May!!!  Woohoo!!!!

Thanksgiving got packed away and out came CHRISTMAS.  I kept the same color scheme for my tree this year except I added some white garland to tone down the bling a bit.  I love how it came out and sure wish a picture would do it more justice.  The lighting in my family room isn't the best.

I've been yearning for Night Before Christmas plates to match my salad plates but just didn't see room in the budget to buy them.  So Johnny bought them for me!!  Of course, I have to wait to receive them so I'm using my plain white china with them.  I'm still without napkins, haven't found any just like the ones I envision anywhere, so will probably make some.  Here's what I have so far....

So what do you think?  I'm thinking a plaid red and green fabric for the napkins.  Or maybe solid green with berry napkin rings.....

Here's my promise to myself.  I WILL get out of bed every day and thank God for his mercies.  I WILL not dwell on the what ifs.....  I WILL enjoy my good health and work toward ovarian cancer awareness in every way I can.  Knowledge is POWER!  Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Finishing Touch

I have this bad bad habit of starting a project and then moving on to a new one before finishing up the first one......  I knew I wanted some artwork over my bed and a nice neutral chair next to it but had trouble finding what I saw in my mind's eye so it's gone undone.  Well, low and behold, Johnny and I were in Lowe's of all places and found the perfect pictures to hang over the bed.  We wanted something  light and upbeat to counter all of the antiques I've acquired.  Whatcha think???

It's amazing what a little artwork can do to warm up a room, isn't it?  Here's another shot.....

I'd seen the chair at World Market and decided to wait until it was marked down to purchase it.  And on the way home from Savannah I got an e-mail saying that all chairs were 30% off so I called the store and asked them to hold me one.  I had a 15% off coupon for my birthday month so when I went in I asked if they could apply that discount as well and guess what??  They were happy to do so.  So a bit of patience got me that chair for half the price!  I LOVE a bargain, can you tell??  Here's a shot of the chair......

I'm so happy with the lighter brighter look of my room!!!!  Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Break in Savannah

Fall Break rolled around again and Johnny and I headed out on a quick trip to Savannah to celebrate my wonderful news.  Savannah is a BEAUTIFUL city and we had a great time.  The weather was absolutely perfect, a bit cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoons.  We stayed at a lovely B & B called the Dresser Palmer House.  This is a view from the front porch where we relaxed with our coffee.

The garden out back was so pretty.  I can only imagine how gorgeous that wisteria vine is when in full bloom in the spring!  There were strands of white lights interwoven all along the balcony railings.

Beauty was everywhere.  Look at the gold dome on this stately building.  There are art galleries and antique shops everywhere and we walked and shopped and walked some more in an attempt to walk off all the scrumptious food we ate.  Unfortunately, I brought two lbs home as an unexpected souvenir. :((

Where else in the world can you ride in a passenger car pulled behind a genuine steam powered locomotive?

Here it is on the turn around.  That's a platform that rotated to enable the locomotives to head out down the rails.  We rode right up front where we could experience the smell of the coal burning and hear the hiss of the steam.

All that walking helped us work up quite an appetite.  The Lady and Sons Restaurant was SOOOO good!  We were hoping to get a glimpse of Paula, but she was in New York.  :((

Our waiter was nice enough to take our picture.  We were STUFFED, can I tell you?

We visited Colonial Cemetery where the Union soldiers kicked over grave markers and defaced them by changing the dates to make it look like people lived hundreds of years or died before they were born.  These markers are mounted on the wall because no one knows where the actual graves are.

Bonaventure Cemetery has many beautiful statues carved to replicate the likeness of the deceased.  This sweet girl died of pneumonia at age 6, leaving her daddy so grief stricken that he was unable to speak.

We visited St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, an amazingly gorgeous church.  As difficult as life was back in the 1800's, somehow there was always time to build beautiful places of worship.

We drove out to the ruins of Wormsloe Plantation and watched these guys hard at work creating links for an iron chain.

On our last night in town, we dined at The Olde Pink House.  What a meal that was!  Yum!

It was a fantastic trip from start to finish.  Now it's time to DIET!!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Most WONDERFUL News!

Traveling to Houston, Texas last Monday via the New Orleans airport on one of the last flights out before it closed to prepare for Hurricane Isaac's landfall was somewhat of a harrowing experience to say the least!  But my sister and I made it safely to Houston and I had my cancer staging surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center as planned only to discover that the return flight back on Thursday was cancelled due to the continued closure of the New Orleans airport!

We immediately tried to reschedule but all flights out from Friday through Sunday a.m. were booked solid so we rented a car and drove back home.  It's only a four hour drive and the whole idea of flying was to have an easier trip home post-surgery...... but the best-laid plans can fall through, can't they?

I've been on pins and needles all week awaiting the pathology results.  My doc called this morning to report that ALL PELVIC WASHINGS AND BIOPSIES WERE NEGATIVE FOR MICROSCOPIC CANCER CELLS!!!!!  What a relief!!!!!

That means NO CHEMOTHERAPY FOR ME!!!!  This lady is one happy camper today, can I tell ya?????  Thanks to all who've prayed with me and for me.  God is good!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Change is Good

I'm linking up with Susan over at Between Naps on The Porch to share my master bedroom redo for Metamorphosis Monday.  I've been trying to lighten up my house a bit.  When one has lots of antiques and vintage treasures around, things can appear somewhat stuffy.  My bedroom was decorated in deep reds and golds and I just felt the need for a change.  Here's a before shot of a rather dark and dreary room:

And here are the after shots of a much lighter, more upbeat room:

Don't the lighter colors make a HUGE difference????  I'm just loving the throw pillows I picked up at World Imports.  They were the inspiration for the entire room.  I searched high and low for new lamps and ended up bringing the pretty blue ones home from Kirkland's.  They are wired for three-way bulbs and that's a nice feature I'm enjoying a lot when reading in bed.  I haven't put the dust ruffle on the bed yet as I'm still not supposed to be lifting anything heavy.  I go for my six week post-op appointment tomorrow and hope I get released to do more....

I've been on the look out for some nice artwork to hang above the bed.  Since the headboard is curved, I'm thinking three smaller pictures with the middle one hung slighter higher would look nice.  Feel free to jump in there with suggestions, ladies!!!  Talk to me!!!

The next pic is a bit blurry but I wanted to share the wall sconce that I picked up at a yard sale for $3.  It was gold but I dressed it up with some Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint and distressed it a bit so just a bit of the gold shows through.  Love it now!  I stacked a couple of old books on it and topped it off with the "bluebird of happiness" that my sweetie gave to me shortly after we began dating.  It makes me smile just like he does!  The frame holds an advertisement for Sunshine "biscuits" (now known as Oreo cookies) from a 1927 issue of Ladies Home Journal magazine.  That frame will soon proudly wear a coat of Old White paint as well.....

Here are the Belle Vigne drapery panels I ordered online from Ballard Designs.   They were on sale for $89 per panel and I am SO impressed with the workmanship in them.  They are heavyweight and nicely lined and weighted at the hem.  I love Ballard Designs!!!  I want to frame the window with white moulding to dress it up a bit.  J and I did that quite easily and inexpensively to my family room and breakfast area windows and it really finished them off nicely.

Here's one last shot of my new bedding......  Hmmmm, might be time for a cat nap.....  :)))

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Foyer Tour

I'm joining up with Kelly over at Kelly's Corner to share my foyer pictures.  When my mom passed away, I inherited her beautiful antique foyer hall tree.  I absolutely LOVE all of the intricate carving on it.  Isn't it awesome?

As with most antiques, there is a story there....  When my parents built their last house many years ago, my great aunt gave me father this piece to use in their foyer.  Problem was, it had been stored in an old barn for years and looked nothing like it does now.  When my dad arrived home with it, my mom took ONE look at it and announced that she didn't think she was interested!  Not one easily discouraged, my dad used several entire jars of wood filler to plug the large holes and gouges and restore it back to its former beauty.  I think he did an AMAZING job, how 'bout you?  The seat lifts up to reveal a large storage compartment.  It's where I keep all of my photo albums and scrapbooks.  That old worn straw hat belonged to my dad as well.  It was his favorite hat and he wore it out he used it so much when he gardened or worked in the yard.  At one point, he used some staples to try to secure the edge to the brim.  My older sister bought him a brand spanking new hat to wear but he preferred his old broken-in one.  I will always treasure that old hat.  It's a testament to how hard my dad worked all his life.  He was born a poor country boy whose father left the home when he was just a few years old but he worked hard, earned a scholarship to attend college in the "big" city, and was very successful in life.  I miss that man SOOO much.  Here is a shot of my front door with the starfish garland I made a couple of summers ago.  I LOVE summertime because I don't work then!!!!!

Here's a view looking into my family room...... Kindly ignore that not so flattering image in the mirror....

As you can see from the reflection in the mirror, my dining room is still an outdated deep red color.  That's the next room up for painting in my humble abode, my friends.  I've been considering what color to go with in there.....  I'm WAYYY too heavy on the gold and need to venture out a bit.  My illness put quite a damper on my plans for the summer, I can tell you.....

I hope you enjoyed the mini tour of my foyer!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ovarian Cancer: Everything Can Change in an Instant

When you're diagnosed with cancer, the first emotion is denial.  I went into the "NO, NOT ME" mode the very instant the words Granulosa Cell Tumor came out of my doctor's mouth.  I've felt like a million dollars with bountiful energy the last few years.  I eat really well, lots of fresh fruits, nuts, salads, and veggies with virtually no bread and limited red meat.  The girls I work with always tease me about my healthy lunches.  I don't even keep cookies or candy in the house.  In this world of overweight Americans, I weigh only about 6 pounds more than I did when I was 21.  I saw my mom's gynecological oncologist for my yearly check-ups for years after she did my mom's cancer surgery, all the way up to her retirement in early 2011.  The only area that I struggle with is my stress level.  I tend to internalize my feelings.  I hold them in where they fester.  When people make decisions that I don't like or approve of, I don't speak up and say how I feel.  This is the area I intend to work hard on.  Now don't get me wrong, I intend to continue to document all of my fun home improvement projects on this blog so don't feel that you have to run for the hills.  Ha

I finally got in to see the gynecological oncologist last week.  He is the only one in our metropolitan area since my mom's doctor retired.  His office was packed with women when we arrived and it didn't appear that he had even taken a cursory glance at my file.  He said we needed CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis and I had to remind him that they had already been done.  He looked on his computer and said he didn't see them and asked me what they showed.  I had to tell HIM that they were all clear.  Things went downhill from there.  He was extremely noncommittal and kept saying "whatever you decide."  He gave me three treatment options:  1.  Watch and wait with blood work and CT scans every 3 months,  2. Have a second look surgery in order to stage the cancer,  or 3. Assume that cancer cells remained behind and begin chemotherapy.  I said that I'd read study after study that concluded that chemotherapy doesn't work well for my type of slow growing cancer and he agreed that was true.  My sister asked which option he'd pursue if it were his wife and he said probably a second look surgery.  I asked if he felt my cancer was related to my mom's and how this might impact my daughter and sisters and he said he felt it was a fluke and totally unrelated since my mom's ovarian cancer was the epithelial type, not a sex chord tumor.   He presented my case before the tumor board on Friday and called late Friday to say they had the same recommendations except they added obtain a second opinion.  I have an appointment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for August 14.  I WILL remain positive.  I WILL remind myself that this cancer can remain in remission for 20 or 30 years before it returns.  And I will live my life!


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Bluebird of Happiness

Some years ago when I first started blogging, I posted a list I called Ten Things.  It was a bucket list of sorts, things I'd been dreaming of doing for a long long time.  I posted that list before my separation and divorce around the time that I realized that the state of the union was definitely NOT improving and that divorce was my only real option if I wanted to live the life I'd dreamed of.  I took that quite scary step forward and didn't look back.  And found the most wonderful man who treasures me in every way.....  A while back, he gave me a blown glass bluebird.  He called it the bluebird of happiness.  I treasure that little memento of his love.  Johnny is not one to give lavish gifts or send expensive bouquets of flowers.  Instead, he shows his love in small but frequent ways...... lots and lots of grocery store bouquets of roses or mixed flowers and small but meaningful gifts.  After dealing with my ex-husband's financial irresponsibility for all the years of my marriage, I can truly appreciate such a man.  Expensive bouquets of flowers lose their appeal when the bill comes in month after month and isn't paid.

My pathology report came in on Friday and it was a total shock to discover that despite my healthy lifestyle, low fat healthy diet, and yearly checkups there was something growing inside of me, something that we all dread.  That is all I am prepared to share at this point.  I am being referred to a specialist and until then, I'm trying not to fret or stress.  Emphasis on the word "trying".......

Here's that list:

1. Share the magic of Disney World with my grand girls   COMPLETED!
2. Visit a vineyard in Napa Valley   IN THE EARLY PLANNING STAGES
3. See my children obtain success in love and career   ALMOST THERE!
4. Work at a job that's really really fun   ELEVEN MONTHS LEFT TIL RETIREMENT
5. Learn to speak Italian   HAVE THE DVD, JUST NEED TO USE IT
6. Watch a live space shuttle launch   NO MORE SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCHES :(( 
7. Live long enough to cherish my great grandchildren
8. Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
9. Become a more loving, giving person   CONTINUING TO WORK ON THIS ONE
10. Rejoice as my son walks his girls down the aisle one day ... (Casey -1, That Stupid Cancer - 0)

Asking for prayers, my friends.........


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Life

We had a great time at Disney.  If nothing else, Johnny and I learned that we have WAYYYY more energy than my kids!  We were ready to see it all but they insisted on a more leisurely pace.  Here's a shot of Johnny and I with my oldest child Casey and DIL Angela in front of Cinderella's Castle.  All in all, it was a great trip.

One evening we ate at Chef Mickey's buffet and met a lot of the characters who made their way around the room and posed for pictures.  Here I am with Goofy and my sweet twin grand girls, Brooke and Haylee.

Here's our entire group on our first day in the park.  That's my other son Bryan and his girlfriend Amanda on the left and my daughter Kaitlyn and her boyfriend Matt on the right.  This was one of the few days that it didn't rain while we visited.  We just put on our rain ponchos and ventured forth.....

I haven't posted much lately because I've been having some health issues that took priority.  While so many bloggers were enjoying the Haven Conference in Atlanta (I so wanted to attend!), I was in the hospital undergoing surgery.  My mother had ovarian cancer years ago and about a month ago the doctor discovered some strange things going on with my right ovary.  For years I had my annual checkups with the gynecological oncologist who had treated my mom, but she retired a year ago and I transferred to the group of doctors she recommended.  In mid May, I had some post menopausal spotting so I went in and had some tests run.  The ultrasound showed an enlarged ovary and a thickened endometrial lining, both issues that are not characteristically seen after menopause.  My doc ran all sorts of tumor marker tests and did an endometrial biopsy and even though all the tests came back normal, she recommended that I have a complete hysterectomy done robotically after I got home from vacation.  The surgery went well and I'm recovering nicely.  Robotic surgery is pretty amazing!  I was up walking the hall the next morning with virtually no discomfort.  I will receive the biopsy results in a few days.  The doctor said that nothing looked out of the ordinary and she does not feel that the biopsy will show any sort of malignancy.

I'll end with a pic of the girls at dinner at Cinderella's Castle......

Here's to health and happiness!!!!!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summertime and the livin' is easy.......

Ahhh, it's the first weekend of summer and I'm hopping from task to task trying to get caught up....  A little housecleaning, a little scrapbooking, a little shopping and packing for our trip to Disney World.....

My beautiful girls turned 7.  They are SO excited about the big vacation that's quickly approaching!

We'll be eating at The Royal Table at Cinderella's Castle so I ordered them princess costumes as one of their birthday presents.  Brooke wanted to dress as Arielle and Haylee chose Sleeping Beauty.  When we got out to shop for shoes to go with the costumes, Brooke protested that mermaids DON'T WEAR SHOES!!!  :))

I found them the most precious crocheted hats with detachable flowers to keep the sun out of their eyes....


I LOVE LOVE LOVE my girls!!!!!!