2014 in review and plans for 2015!

Wow – can you believe that the first month of 2015 is almost half over?  I’ve neglected this blog for far too long, often being tempted to forego posting totally in favor of FB.  But, while I enjoy FB it certainly isn’t the same as putting pen (fingers to the keyboard) to paper (monitor) and seeing what transpires.

If I could sum up 2014 in one word it would have to be “TRAVEL” – and yes, all in caps.

  • I was able to go to California 3 times to see my daughter and her family.
  • I saw my daughter in San Antonio about 8 times.
  • I went to Georgia and saw my eldest daughter & family.
  • I went to Hilton Head, SC with my eldest and her family.
  • I took my Mom to see the Dalai Lama in Atlanta where I met up with my eldest daughter & her hubby.
  • Another trip to GA and my daughter and I went to see OneRepublic.
  • I went to Indonesia via Hong Kong.

Now, no matter how you look at it, that is a LOT of travel!  2015 won’t hold as much travel, but in October my California daughter & family will meet me in Kauai for nearly 2 weeks of fun in the sun!  We’ve rented a house on the northern shore, just steps from the ocean.  I cannot wait.

My folks had a lot of health issues in 2014, which reminded me that the decision I made to move here was the correct one!  2015 and they are both doing well.

Christmas saw my eldest and youngest visit.  It was nice, really nice.  We did miss the middle daughter greatly tho.

My fibermyalgia worsened and then I was finally able to get some relief with new meds.  And joy-oh-joy — I have osteoathritus in my hips and thumb joints.  What is all of this teaching me?  I have to MOVE more!!  Tonight my Mom and I start water aerobics.

Speaking of exercise – 2015 will be the year.  My lazy bum is back on the treadmill (mainly thanks to iFit which is having a Jan challenge of walking (or running) a mile a day each day in Jan with pre-programed routes).  While I am missing some days, I do enjoy the days I do the walks.  Yoga has entered my life again (more than just thinking about it, LOL) and on Wed my oldest daughter and I do a practice together thanks to Skype.  Next month I want to add weights back into my routine as well.

I stopped the soap business (although I still make soap for myself) and started making quilts again.  I even purchased a long-arm!  My middle daughter in So Cal and I will be doing FaceTime sewing dates.  I’ve also become a volunteer seamstress for NICU Helping Hands, a non-profit out of Dallas.  We take donated wedding gowns and turn them into burial gowns for premie babies that don’t survive.  It is certainly a bitter-sweet task but one where I hope the garments I make can, to some small degree, help a grieving family.

I picked up a second consulting job.  Between the two I’m pretty busy!

2014 saw us have to put our Siamese cat to sleep.  She was 18 and went into total kidney failure.  That was hard.  My youngest daughter and her boyfriend came home to be with her (and me) at the last.  Then then thoughtfully invited me into their home so I wouldn’t have to be alone that first week.  What a comfort they were during that time.  2015 will see a new Siamese kitten entering our lives.  Hopefully in April.

In mid-March I’ll be heading out to So Cal to visit my daughter & family there and watch the grandkids while their Mom goes to a conference for Breast Feeding.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the new kitten (breeder is in San Diego) and bring her back with me when I return home.

So, that’s 2014 summed up and 2015 planned out.

I am so grateful that I have such a life and that my family and friends are with me always!

There and back (again)

Wow – what a difference 2.5 weeks makes!  I just returned from another trip to San Diego and San Antonio.  I had a blast and it is so wonderful to see my daughters and grandkids.  When I left the tendrils of winter still had its hold on everything.  Yes, we’d had some daffodils and a few of the trees had their flowers, but basically it was a stark landscape.

I’ve returned to lush green and all the trees in full leaf!  My back yard is amazing and I am so enjoying the green, green, green.  Especially after the desert of El Centro!  (Sorry Steph)

The cats are delighted to be home, running around and exploring and becoming reacquainted with their favorite spots.  The plants are back on the porch and I can sit out there and enjoy my morning cup of coffee.  I am resting and enjoying being back in my own spaces.  It is surprising just how much travel takes out of me!

Today the house is open (windows) and fresh air is all around me.  I’m catching up on laundry and finishing unpacking.  Life is good!

Where does the time go?

I know I’ve asked that question many time before – but really!  Here it is the middle of March – how does this happen?

So what have you been up to?  Things have been pretty busy here.  I’ve decided not to put in a garden this year.  I spent so much time and money on last year’s garden, and I only got to harvest a few watermelon, 3 very tiny tomatoes and some beans.  The deer ate the rest.  I’m sure my neighbors will be sorry I’m not putting in the garden – the deer ate my veggies and left theirs alone last year!  I was going to put in a bunch of herbs, but since I’ll be traveling over the next few months I decided that wasn’t a very wise choice either.

I’ve been quilting up a storm – and yet now accomplishing much.  I’m working on 2 baby quilts now, Baby Boy is due in April and Baby Girl in May.  These little ones aren’t part of my family, but their Mums are special.  The first weekend in March my Mum and I met my Texas Sister in Dallas for the Dallas Quilt Show.  We all had a good time, and discovered a new restaurant.  If you’d like to see some of the quilts featured at the show, stop by my quilting blog, Quilt Gecko.  We also found a wonderful place to have breakfast, Cafe Brazil.  YUM!  While there I “test drove” all of the long arm quilting machines that were there.  I fell in love with Crown Jewel by Babylock.  When I got home I found a dealer in Shreveport and yesterday Friday I paid them a visit.

The shop, Shreveport Sewing Center (link is to their FB page) has the CJ set up so I got to see it again.  I spoke at length to the lady in charge of it.  I want it so much, but the price tag is WAY more than I want to spend.  I went back yesterday and spoke to them again.  A young man (14 or so) was there and he put a quilt on the machine and quilted it.  They rent the machine out at only $30/hour.  So, I’m going to rent time on the machine to do my quilting and we’ll see where that goes.

In April I’ll be going to San Antonio to visit Chelsea and then to San Diego/El Centro to visit Steph and family.  In May it’s back to San Antonio for Chelsea’s graduation (Master’s degree in computer science) and then to Georgia to celebrate grandson Gabe’s and Heather’s birthdays.  In June I’ll be heading out to Nashville for a yoga retreat.  I just LOVE being retired.

And I’ve decided to close my soap business.  There is too many things going on in my life and you can’t run a business when you do a lot of traveling.  I’ve got all my soaps on sale for $3/bar so if you are interested head over to the FB page or Etsy and stock up.  The business will code at the end of March.

Yesterday I stopped by one of the home improvement stores and boy was it CROWDED!  Apparently the shops have in the spring plants.  So I headed over to my favorite nursery, Ellis Pottery, and had a blast.  They have a huge space that is enclosed where they have their palms and other tropical plants.  It is my favorite place to be (if they put a comfy chair in there I’m not sure I’d ever leave).  I love these type of plants and while looking at them I thought it would be a great idea to get my back (east facing) porch in shape and have my own “palm house”.  So I did.  Here’s the result:

My Happy Place!!



So, our New Year is here.  I wonder what 2014 will bring…  Happiness and health I hope.  Christmas was really wonderful this year with all my girls and their families here to celebrate AND my Mom and Dad.  It was especially great because all 3 of my girls live in different states — one in Georgia, one in California and one in Texas.  So it took a lot of coordination and work on their part to get here at the same time.  Thank you daughters!  You made not only my Christmas but my entire year!

I find it more and more difficult to blog these days.  FB has become such an easy tool to use — and not much is expected.  However I’m not ready to give up my blog nor my occasional post writing.  Perhaps this year I’ll blog more and find more balance in my life.

Speaking of balance, I’d pretty much decided to close SoapGecko the end of December.  But my eldest daughter stepped in and is taking on the responsibility of marketing the soap (which I hate) and leaving me to create.  I’m much happier with that situation so I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will work.  I do enjoy making the soap!  In fact – I’ve got the lye cooling right now for a new batch of….  well, lets just wait and see.

So I’ve got some pretty big trips, and a few small ones, planned for this year.  I’ve decided that I want to spend each of my daughter’s birthdays with them.  So in a couple of weeks I’ll be flying to California; in May I’ll be going to Georgia and in October to Texas.  In the spring I’m going to go on a cruise to the Panama canal and then in the fall on a trip to Bali.  I’m so excited!

And I want to spend more time on fun stuff this year.  Quilting, soap making, photography.  I think I’ll have a busy, busy year.

Finally I’d like to wish each and every one of you a healthy and happy New Year.

Christmas Eve

Happy 24 December to everyone on this side of the International Date line – and Happy Christmas to all who are on the other side!

We celebrated our Christmas on 21 December when I was lucky enough to have all my daughters, their partners, grandkids and my parents here.  12 for Christmas Dinner – it was magnificent!  The eldest two and their families left on Sunday, so my youngest and her boyfriend are the only ones left.

Our Christmas Day was stormy but a nice warm 75.  Today it’s overcast and 29!  The weather is in a state of flux.  I’m the only one up and I’m enjoying the peace and quiet for a bit.  I will enjoy the company of my daughter when she wakes up.

Breakfast this morning is fresh raspberries and cappuccino.  Yum!

Sending you all hugs and warm wishes.  Enjoy your day, no matter what you do with it.