Spring Is In The Air

Happy Weekend friends how was your week? Mine was really busy. We have been busy at work and I have been on this new work out regimen and it is just kicking my butt. I have been sleeping great though and getting a lot of fresh air and exercise. It really makes such a difference. Not a lot of pounds down yet but a few and that is a good thing.

Can you tell that spring is coming? Well it is in our area anyway. You can hear frogs croaking and buds are starting to pop out on the trees. The Bradford Pear trees are starting to bloom. I noticed several on my way to work yesterday and then by the time I came home several more blooms had popped out.

Look at these Bradford Pear Trees. I know a lot of people don’t like them because they are really weak but I love them!!!!

We were able to visit for a few minutes today with my mother in law. The assisted living center where she lives called Mark a few days ago and told us we would be able to visit for a short time. We had to sit outside and wear masks and stay six feet apart but she seemed so happy to see us. It is worth whatever we have to do to get to see her. Each living center and nursing facility gets to make their own rules. So hopefully in a few weeks they will lift more of the restrictions.

I woke up this morning and forgot it was Saturday. I was in bed thinking about getting up for work and then it hit me that it was Saturday. Don’t you love to do that?

We had made arrangements to visit my mother in law at 11:00. I wanted to buy groceries early. I let the window of opportunity slip by without doing an online order so I was faced with dealing with people. I drove into town early around 8:30 but it was starting to get crazy already. Saturdays are always like that.

Our local Walmart is about the only place to buy groceries in our area. The aisles at this particular Walmart are very narrow. The online shopping is great but you have the workers gathering items for the online shoppers and they use these huge carts as tall or taller than the average person. Each cart is about half as wide as the aisle and has several blue bins where the groceries are placed. When one of these contraptions is in the aisle it is almost impossible to get around them.

Today it was Sorority or best friends shopping day at Walmart. Three women were shopping together. Each woman had a cart. At almost every stop they would park their carts and chat about what had been put in one of the ladies’ carts. Many stories were shared as well as recipes. I know it was probably a great girl time for them but please go grab coffee somewhere!!!! I will admit one of the recipes I heard sounded pretty good but I was in a hurry to get the groceries and get home so we could visit my mother in law.

The visit went great!!! My mother in law was so happy to see us and we talked and talked.

After the visit I wanted to stop at the Estate Sale in Madisonville. Remember I told you I went a few weeks ago. They are held periodically at this one particular site. This sale did not have a lot of antiques but I found a couple of things. I spotted this rather large heavy box with a lid. It was only $6.00 (because everything was half off today. Yesterday it was $12.00) It is gorgeous. What would I do with it I pondered. I walked past it a few times. I went back and took the lid off noticing once again how heavy it was. It was just so freaking unique and it was only $6.00!!! I got it and I love it.

Look at this isn’t it gorgeous!!! I love the muted colors. I ran into a friend outside the sale and he ask what I would put in it. I have no idea and that is part of the fun.
This book was only $5.00 (it was $10.00 yesterday). I just couldn’t pass it up. I love the southern craft traditions. Making quilts and baskets and rugs are just so lovely. I will share some of these stories with you soon.
Look at these precious flowers peeping through the leaves. Spring is coming!!! the signs are everywhere.

After we got back home I did some reading and cooked dinner and Mark and I took a 30 minute walk. We have been doing this every evening when we have a chance.

How is your weekend going so far???

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!!

A Wild Wonderful Weekend!!!

Hello friends and happy Monday!!! How was your weekend. Mine was really good because it was extra long. I took Thursday and Friday off to get some extra things done around the house. I made sure to add some fun things in as well.

Thursday Mark and I had some cleaning up to do around the house. We planned to move some things to the basement that we weren’t using and work on tax prep to have our taxes ready to drop off next week. We didn’t get as much done as I had hoped but we had some good walks in the sunshine with the babies.

On Friday I went to Knoxville with my sister Sandy to do a little shopping. It has been almost a year since we have had a real shopping trip. We were so excited. We had a great time. We went to our usual favorites, TJ Maxx, Target, Marshalls, and Ulta.

I loved this wreath at TJ Maxx but I have many many Easter wreaths and certainly don’t need another one.
I loved this little cookie set especially the pastel colors. Did not buy because I am trying to be really conscious of what I bring into my house. I have to ask myself if I really need it.
O.K. This bunny is just too freaking cute. I passed him by and then I saw him again at Marshalls. Maybe this was a sign that I was supposed to have this bunny. But I was strong and resisted and marched myself right on by.

Saturday morning I got up kind of late for me. I was contemplating the day. I planned on doing nothing but lounging around with the fur babies on my lap. Maybe working on a couple of projects and that was about it. The sun was shining so bright like it was saying are you crazy you know you have to get out in this beautiful sunshine today. Come on Girl!!! Think about the steps you can get in today.

It was almost as if all the planets aligned when my nephew Tyler messaged me and said ” wonder what I can do today on this beautiful day?” I said ” well I have been thinking about taking a drive across the Cherohala Skyway do you want to come?” He said yes. We made plans for him to meet me at the house. I grabbed a quick breakfast and off we went.

A beautiful day to be on the Skyway, not a cloud in the sky.

First let me tell you about the Cherohala Skyway. The Cherohala Skyway is a 43-mile National Scenic Byway that connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee to Robbinsville, North Carolina. So half of the drive is in Tennessee and half of the drive is in North Carolina. I hate to tell you but the North Carolina roads are much nicer than the Tennessee side. There are some great spots where you can pull off the road and get some amazing photos. Of course the trees were really bare and not as beautiful as it is in the spring and fall but still a beauty all it’s own.

The National Forest Scenic Byways are roads that have been designated by the U.S. Forest Service as Scenic byways. The program was initiated in 1987.

First stop was Hooper Bald trail. It was at the very height of the Skyway, elevation 5,290 FT. There are several hikes you can do on Hooper Bald. We chose the one mile easy walk. I am at the early stages of working out so my stamina and leg muscles are not yet what they need to be for a longer hike. We made plans to come back and bring Mark and more supplies and do a longer hike. Plus Tyler was excited about bringing his friends back to the area for a longer hike.

A small flowing stream in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

Hooper Bald trail is a very easy trail even though the first half mile is all uphill. You come out at a beautiful meadow with no trees and wind blowing gently. It’s just so peaceful. But there are several trails in this area you can do.

We traveled on. I wanted to stop at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. I knew there were a few hiking trails there that we could do. Joyce Kilmer is almost at the end of the Skyway coming from Tennessee. There are a couple of different hikes you can do at Joyce Kilmer although the easier trail was closed for trail repair. We did the longer one that was over two miles.

We then drove the 43 miles back over the skyway and stopped in Tellico Plains to get a late lunch.

A great day, I got to spend time with Tyler, it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of an eighteen year old. I got lots of sunshine and steps in for the day. I had over 12,000 steps recorded for the day.

On Sunday I did the usual laundry, catching up on email, knitting, watching some TV and doing some baking for the upcoming week. And I was soooooo tired from the hike on Saturday.

But alas, 5:00 AM came quickly this morning and I had to return to work. Remember when I said a four day work week would be great? Well I change that to a three day work week. That would be really awesome!! It would give you lots of time to catch up around your house and have some fun too.

So how was your weekend? I hope you got to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

I almost forgot. Starting Wednesday I am adding a post called Wordless Wednesdays. You know how I love to take pictures and share them and this will be a way to just share photos and nothing else. Let me know what you think when you see the first post on Wednesday.

Have a wonderful week.

Always remember

Love your day your way!!

A Look Back at February

I know I say this at the beginning of almost every month but wow!!!! Can you believe it’s March? I wanted to share with you some February happenings. February seemed to go floating by like a cloud you couldn’t quite grab onto. So grab a coffee or a glass of wine and join me. Oh and just to let you know March came in like a lamb. Do you do that at the beginning of March. The beginning of the month either comes in calm and peaceful like a lamb or windy and stormy like a lion. I have always thought of the first day and the last day of March like this. We will see what the end of March is like.

February was a great month. A lot of things happened. We got a huge work project finished. Most of that took place at the end of January but ran a couple of days into February. I guess just the relief of not having that hanging over my head made me feel much freer. We have a huge metal tunnel leading into the cave attraction where I work. The tunnel is 135 feet long and as soon as you enter you are going under the mountain and underground. The tunnel is painted yellow to help your eyes adjust to the darkness quicker so you are ready to enter the dark cave. The paint was peeling terribly from the previous horrible paint job we had had a few years ago. We had to have a crew come in and blast off all of the old paint and repaint the entire thing. We were closed for over a week to get this done.

Blasting all of the paint off of the tunnel walls was quite a job and took several days.
Finished, doesn’t it look like a sci-fi movie?

We celebrated Gotcha Day for our Scruffy. We got him on February 16th. 2018 so we have had our precious boy for three years. It is so hard to imagine just what our life was like before we got him. But again I say that about all of our fur babies. He is so happy he loves his big sister Molly and his little sister Kitty Kitty. He is such a snuggle bug and loves to sleep right up against me. I love having him this close to me.

My Scruffy

We celebrated the 10 year anniversary/birthday of Mark’s kidney transplant. This is such a blessing to us I can’t even describe it with words. You can read more about that if you want to here.

I had a much needed physical and blood work. The physical was something that had been pushed to the back burner because of COVID. It took me a little longer to get in and see my doctor. Blood work and everything was fine. When I tentatively asked my doctor “but what about my weight?” I had not lost ANY weight as we had planned. He said that considering my blood work, blood pressure and everything looked good that I just needed to MOVE!! I am not getting enough exercise. But more about that later I do have a plan and I am on it. You know I love to knit and knitting usually involves sitting. Pioneer women used to knit and walk with the wagon train at the same time. I may have to try that. HA!!!! I am a bit clumsy can you see me trying to knit and walk at the same time.

I worked on a lot of knitting projects this past month. I have about five going right now. I Know!!! I know!!! I need to finish some of them. And I will. I have a Saint Patricks Day wreath I am working on and I will show you the project as soon as I am finished.

I read three books in February. Two were great and one was just ok.

The first one was The Girls of New York. I loved this book. It is set in the forties, a love story about Vivian an amazing seamstress who moves to New York and works in her aunt’s run down theatre designing costumes for the actors and actresses and the show girls. The story is Vivian at 89 years old telling her story. I loved it.

Dear Edward: I also loved this book. Edward is a twelve year old boy, he and his family are on a plane headed to California along with 183 other passengers. The plane crashes, and out of all of the passengers Edward is the only survivor. The book goes back and forth starting with the crash and then going back to the time just before the crash letting you see a little of the other passengers’ lives. Edward moves in with his aunt and uncle but still can’t go forward from the crash. He doesn’t understand why he survived. A lot of tears with this one but still a great read.

Days of Awe: This book was kind of boring. I hate to say that, but this was yet another book that really wasn’t about anything. A story about 42 year old Isabel. In one year Isabel loses her marriage, her best friend and her ten year old daughter’s adoration. It is not funny, or interesting. Again, a book I had invested some time in before I realized that it was just “meh”. I continued reading and I will have to say the very end got a little more interesting. Luckily it was a fairly short read.

I have several others that I have for this month and I can’t wait to get started on them.

The weather here this past weekend was 75 F. Lots of walking with the fur babies and I even spotted some blooms along the way. Now let’s just hope this crazy unpredictable Tennessee weather doesn’t bring us a hard freeze and kill all the budding trees and plants.

So hello March, bring on spring and warmth and flowers and blue skies and happy times.

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

I Gave My Husband A Kidney

It was a Thursday exactly ten years ago on this date February 24th 2011. It was 3:00 AM. My husband and I were about four hours from home in a hotel room in Downtown Nashville, TN. We had been awake most of the night. Several of our family members were staying in nearby rooms. At 5:00 AM we would all drive the short distance to Vanderbilt Medical Center and check in for surgery. My husband Mark was getting a new kidney and I would be the donor.

This picture was taken as we were leaving the hospital on the Sunday following the surgery. We were headed to a local hotel that would be our home for a couple of weeks.

My husband discovered he needed a kidney in the summer of 2010. He didn’t even know he was in kidney failure. A routine blood work-up revealed that he had a really high creatinine level. Many many more tests were done that summer into the fall and in October of 2010 he was put on the donor list to receive a new kidney.

Fortunately he did not have to wait long. I knew that we were the same blood type and I wanted to be tested to see if I might be a match. The doctors told us not to be too hopeful because the chances would only be about 15% that I would be a match. One test after another was given to me and I kept being compatible. The doctors decided not to test anyone else until I was ruled out as a donor match. We had to go through counseling and lots of the same tests but yet we had different doctors. Each doctor had to make a separate ruling on whether I would be eligible. Then when that decision was made by the individual doctors the results went before an entire panel of doctors at Vanderbilt.

My tests were finished in December of 2010. Mark did not have to spend one minute on dialysis and for this we are so very grateful. But we knew dialysis could happen if he got the flu or pneumonia or anything that could compromise his health.

So we waited and waited for the results. In mid January of 2011 we got the answer we had prayed for, I would be the donor. The surgery was scheduled for February 24th 2011. We had a lot of work to do before that day. We made arrangements to take time off from work. I would need to be out two to four weeks and Mark probably six weeks. We made arrangements to board our baby Patches our basset hound. We had to get a living will and a medical power of attorney. Normally I would have been Mark’s medical power of attorney, to make a medical decision about him if needed, and he would have been mine. But because we would both be having surgery at the same time we had to pick someone else. We chose my sister Sandy who was with us through the entire journey.

At 7:00 AM on the morning of the surgery date I was taken down first to the operating room and my kidney was prepared for the removal. At approximately 9:00 AM Mark was brought down to an adjoining room and he was prepped for his surgery. They took the kidney from me walked through the adjoining room and placed it into Mark’s abdomen. I guess if this had been Grey’s Anatomy this is where they would have dropped it HA!!!! I was really surprised that it was put in the abdomen but that is much simpler than putting it back in the original spot. So technically Mark had three kidneys. The other two have long quit working.

My surgery was done laparoscopically so my recovery time was very short. Mark’s recovery took a little longer. We spent three days in the hospital and left on Sunday. Since we had doctor visits three times a week to keep a check on the kidney we had to stay at the hotel in Nashville to be close to the hospital. If we had had the transplant closer to home we could have stayed at home and gone to the doctor visits from home. My two sisters, Sandy and Pat stayed there with us at the hospital for almost two weeks. They took care of us, took us to our appointments, did our laundry and brought us take out. They were and still are angels and we will never ever forget them.

We don’t have children so we named the kidney Baby Kay. We celebrate every year and this year Baby Kay is ten years old. Mark takes anti rejection meds every day and will for his entire life. He has done great. He works full time, works out and we travel with no problems. He sees his doctor three times a year. I am on no meds and I sometimes forget I only have one kidney. I can’t tell the difference.

There are 93,000 people on the kidney transplant list. Over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month.
13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list.
The median wait time for an individual’s first kidney transplant is 3.6 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility and availability of organs.

Mark and I have been truly blessed with the path his transplant took. But there are so many many people needing a kidney to live. If you are ever faced with the decision to donate for someone I would encourage you to really consider it. At the very least I would encourage you to sign your driver’s license and discuss with your family if you choose to be a donor. I would be happy to share more of our experience with you.

I am linking with the weekly smile this week over at Trent’s World. Thinking about Baby Kay being ten years old and going strong makes me smilingly happy!!!!!

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!