Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Vacation - R & R 2014

As many of you who follow Janie's Porch or my personal Facebook know, Eddie Dale and I recently went on a week long vacation.  Call it some "down time" for unwinding after Sam & Savanna's wedding at the end of May.  (Trust me....more to come on the SAMVANNA wedding in a later post!)

For us, the typical Summer vacation means hooking up our 24-ft. fifth wheel to the ol' F250.  This year was no different.  We pulled out on a Friday morning and headed south to spend the first few days with extended family and friends at an annual gathering on the Guadalupe River.  

Loading, parking and set up have definitely gotten easier and quicker since we first acquired the RV.  The old saying "Practice makes perfect" certainly is true in this case!  The more we do it, the better we get - working together is definitely the key....that, and loads of patience.....

Here is a little glimpse at the interior of the trailer about 5 days into our week away.  (Read here, "Pardon our clutter and mess....there is only so much room, you know.") 

It is snug....and oh-so-dated....but, it is a nice little home away from home.  Most everything has a place, but it doesn't always end up in its spot.  However, we do clear the table and set it up for dinner when we're going to do some fine dining.  Like for this evening, after we packed up and moved over to Blanco State Park for the last half of our trip.  Eddie Dale set up the portable little grill and we picked up a couple of steaks at the local market....perfect for grilling....

See what a nice little set up this is???

And that was a delicious dinner, by the way!

Now, about Blanco State Park.....we have wanted to spend a few days there for the last couple of years.  However, the timing has never been quite right.  There was simply never a spot available when we were going to be in the area.  It is one of the smallest state parks in Texas, nestled along the bank of the Blanco River, right in this small Hill Country town, about 45 miles north of San Antonio.  

This year, we planned far enough in advance and got a spot for three nights.  Just the two of us....the Blanco River....and these toobs!  (Remind me to tell you a funny story about how these got inflated with the hair dryer....)

Simply floating in the river, our toobs tethered together, was pretty much perfect!  Afternoons turned into nap time; evenings were reserved for sitting outside, looking up through the canopy of trees and watching the stars wink back at us.  When the skeeters got too bad, we would head inside to curl up on the sofa and watch some of our favorite movies - you know, the ones you can watch over and over and never get tired of....

The area is absolutely beautiful - with an abundance of awesome sunsets....

and beautiful moonrises....

Do you have any special vacation plans for this Summer?  Maybe even a "staycation" that you can share with us below in the comments?  I would love to hear what you're up to in the way of relaxation and recreation this Summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Autumn at 1....Priceless!!!

It is hard to believe that a year has flown by since Autumn Newley made her appearance.  Such a joy and blessing she has been to Bonnie & Matt, Ansleigh & Trayden, and the entire family!!!

From the beginning, she has had the most expressive little face.....quite interesting, in fact.  Here she is less than an hour old, and look at all the silly little faces she was making! 

At the age of three months, here she was while Mommy & Daddy were out "house shopping" - and this was her first diaper change in the house that would become their new home. 

And now, she is already one year old!  Such a happy, happy baby......and so excited for her birthday party to begin (and to have hold of her grandpa's reading glasses!).....

Bonnie worked so hard at putting together a diva princess theme party, with everything in pink and sporting zebra stripes!  Everyone brought side dishes, chip & dips and the guys cooked hamburgers and hotdogs out on the grill.  It was all just leading up to this, though.....

And, of course, there was a special bright pink cake for Autumn to tear up as everyone watched and cheered her on!  Oh, my......

She made a wonderful and delightful mess and kept us all entertained with her attempts to walk.  (She still scampers around like a little sand crab; but, every once in awhile, she gets completely upright and takes a couple of steps before she gets so excited she lands on her bottom!)  

You know, it will be only another couple of months before our other little granddaughter, Paisley, turns one....and we will get to do this all again!!!  

Covered up with Mimi blessings!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

What the Heck Happened the Last 5 Months?!?!?

Well, I realize it has been months and months of "no posts" over here on Janie's Porch.  It's been shameful, the way I have neglected the blog!  But, I had myself a dilemma....

Sure, I can whine and tell you how busy I've been....work, work, work.  Blame the lack of content on having no time!  It wouldn't be untruthful.....I have been busy......

But, that wasn't really the reason......

You see, it all started when I bought a new "tablet", back in January.  Oh, I love it!  It is a Surface Pro and I can do just about anything - personal or work - on it.  And it fits in my bag and can go with me everywhere.....including the easy chair, bed or sofa.....which is where, to be totally honest, I do most of my blogging.  

Small problem, though.  When I updated to Windows 8.1 shortly after I got it, my browser also upgraded to IE 11.  Well, Blogger simply hasn't gotten up to speed and isn't compatible with IE 11.  So, I would work and work on composing a post and, when I went to drop in photos, it would just sit there and spin and spin.....and spin.....and frustrate the living heck out of me!  

So, I just walked away from it.....until I had the patience to finally figure out that I simply needed to install a different browser - one that is compatible with Blogger.  After researching it a bit, I spent about 30 seconds installing the Google Chrome browser, and voila!  I can now drop those photos in just as easily as ever!!!! 

Here is the photo that started it all - the one I tried to upload for about a week......and I don't even remember the nature of the post that went with it, after all this time!  I know it is a photo of the house I grew up in, but I will need to work on remembering the words it inspired......

But, at least I am once again "operational", or maybe a better word is "functional".  Maybe I can begin to nudge my brain back into blog mode after such a lengthy layout.  

I did try to keep posting little blips over on my Janie's Porch Facebook page - lots of photos there.  If you haven't visited and "followed" over there, I hope you will.  It is so much more "instant" in nature and easy to communicate quickly on Facebook.  And, I will share links to new posts there (just in case you're like me and don't always make it over to check the blog reader for new posts!).  There is a link to my FB page in the right column....down there somewhere>>>>>>>>>

There is sure to be lots of catching up to do in the coming days and weeks!  Feels fine to be back and looking forward to more "visits" soon!!!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Toughin' Out Winter....

And Old Man Winter just keeps hanging on!

The temperature just keeps fluctuating, with front after front pushing through.  We have had some of the most bitter cold this season - seriously, lows in the single digits make it mighty hard to get moving in the mornings!

As we get into February, we have ice on the ground.  Granted, temps today edged up slightly above freezing, so everything is dripping.  But, it still cuts right through me every time I take the dogs out!  I cannot state emphatically enough...


Oh, so ready to work in the flower bed out front, cutting back the brown and tangled mums and lantana.  The large flower pot is filled with freezer burnt geraniums.  Leaves are piled up in the beds and we need a new layer of mulch.  I am eager to get my gloves on and get out the clippers and rake and get down in the dirt!

One side of the house is scraped, sanded and primed, just waiting for a fresh coat of paint.  All we need is warmer weather so we can get out there and get started.  This is a photo of the way we left it at the end of Summer.... not so good, to say the least!

Not only does the dreary weather affect me physically, but emotionally, as well.  Some days, I find that my outlook and mood are as gray as the day outside. 
I know that most of the rest of the county is also locked in this "deep freeze" pattern.  Are the gray and dreary days starting to wear on you this Winter?  Maybe if we all close our eyes and wish together, very hard, for Spring to come early, it will!  Who is with me in a concentrated effort to "wish" on Spring???
Stay warm, Friends!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting Into A Groove!

With the new year ticking away, I am struggling with getting back into some sort of a routine around here.  What with recovery from my total hip replacement and having a flexible work schedule (meaning, I've mostly been working from home the last six weeks), I am finding it difficult to re-establish a daily routine.

Oh, I know what I need to do.....without a doubt, I do!  

However, I find myself slipping into a routine that will need to be modified as I continue to heal and life returns to "normal".  I have fallen into the habit of sleeping until I wake up naturally most mornings.  Even though my room is situated on the southeast corner of the house, the sunlight doesn't even have me stirring until around 8:30 or 9:00.  This is probably due mostly to the fact that I have turned into a night owl - crawling into bed with a book or my laptop and reading long after the house is quiet and Eddie Dale and the pups are asleep and snoring.....

When I get up, my only thought is getting into the kitchen and starting that pot of coffee.  If I don't have an appointment outside the house, I find myself dawdling around.....I can easily spend an hour or more just settling in with a cup of coffee and checking e-mail and Facebook!  So, it's already mid-morning before I even think about showering, which seems to make me feel guilty about the dawdling.  Feeling like I need to get moving, I will skip doing my physical therapy at this premium time of day and move on into the showering/makeup process.  I've deliberately scheduled most of my physical therapy appointments in the afternoon so I can have my "pokey" mornings.  In the evenings, I will hang out in the recliner after dinner and watch television until at least 10:00 pm, then retire to bed and do that "reading thang" for hours!

In the last week, there have been some changes.  I have been getting out of the house more and more - not only for the physical therapy appointments, but to go to the office for a bit, even a run to the grocery store with Mom or lunch out with Eddie Dale.  A couple of days, my appointments have been earlier in the morning, so I've set my alarm and gotten up by 7:00 am.  It actually felt really good that I was able to get up and around and be on time.

Which brings me to where I am now -

I need to establish a routine, where I will be getting up each morning and having a cup of coffee and then moving right on in to my physical therapy time.  Getting moving and exercising loosens up the stiffness I feel after lying in bed all night; and it energizes me to boot.  So, I need to do that pretty quickly.  At the opposite end of the day, I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour each night and get enough sleep so that it feels "natural" to wake up earlier and still feel rested.  (No more reading til 1:00 or 2:00 am, as that just encourages "sleeping in"!)

As I begin to head in to the office a little more frequently, and for longer periods of time, I think it will be beneficial to have P/T out of the way and be "limbered up" early in the day.  Perhaps another benefit of starting out the day earlier and working on building my stamina is that I will naturally feel more tired in the evenings and fall into bed and sleep better?  At least, that is what I am hoping.  

As for recovery - Nearly at the six week mark, and I am still chugging along.  At this point, the discomfort is mainly from the incision site and scar tissue.  It is just going to take time for those severed nerves to calm down and heal.  The hip joint, itself, doesn't pain me.  No clicking sounds, no "catches" or odd sensation upon moving it.  I do have some muscle soreness from the physical therapy exercises, but "muscle soreness" is much different from "joint pain".....and I can deal with it, knowing that it will ease and get better as time goes by. 

I know I am getting pretty much back to normal when I find myself cleaning house!  My mom is still helping with vacuuming - but, that is mostly because she really wants to help.  (And, I don't want her to feel like I don't need her!)  Yesterday, though, I even mopped the kitchen while she vacuumed the carpets.  (That was really rewarding because that floor really needed to be mopped.....it was disgusting.....) 

Next step - driving again.  My surgeon said to wait six weeks.  Honestly, I don't think my thigh muscles were strong enough - or quick enough - to attempt driving until about this past week.  But, now that I am feeling stronger, I'm itching to get behind the wheel! 

However, the thing I am most excited about is losing these dang compression hose!  Today is my last day to have to wear them.....and, I shall not miss them one iota!!! 

I promise my next post will not be about my post-surgery progress!  Although it has been my total focus for the last six weeks, there's a lot of other stuff to talk about.  So, time to start moving forward!!!

Enjoy your day, my friends!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Well, I have been thinking about it.  And, I've come to the conclusion that I really did need to work on a post about my "one word" I selected for 2013.  Since it has been a whole year, here is a quick link to travel back in time and read my original post about my word selection for last year - TRUST.

Looking back over the year, "trust" was a word that really played a large role in my life.  I've admitted many times - I am a control freak.  I instinctively want to "trust" in myself.  But, myself lets me down quite a bit of the time.  

Face it, I need something - SOMEONE - bigger than me to depend on!

Early in the year, I came across an affirmation that I wrote up on a sticky note and attached to my mirror.  (You can read about it here.) This became my mantra for the year.....

In an effort to foster an attitude of "trust", I would say this out loud as I dressed each morning.  When I would get stressed, or worried, I would repeat it - even though it was done through clenched teeth, at times. Sometimes, when I felt like I was sinking below the surface, this mantra literally got shortened to "Oh, God, help....". 

2013 was one of those years when I either had to "trust" or worry myself to death!  

This year saw my business grow, but in this business there is a lot of work up front, with the payoff coming later.  Somehow, the payoff always seemed to come in the nick of time.  

This year saw the arrival of two new grandbabies - both girls - and both healthy!  

This year saw my oldest son pick up and move to San Antonio, without a job; but, now he has his insurance adjuster's license and a career with a great company.  

This year saw my youngest son get engaged.  

This year saw me dealing with chronic pain from advanced osteoarthritis in my right hip, ultimately resulting in a total hip replacement - from which I am still recovering. 

Without "trust" there were points in this year when life would have been overwhelming or unbearable.  But, this little word hovered in my mind throughout the year and spurred me on - mostly because I made an effort to stay focused on it.  When I felt the focus slip away, I felt the calm that resulted from the focus slip away, too.  

To sum it up, maybe the whole point of this concept of "one word" for the year is to bring deliberate focus and awareness.  For me, that is what it did in 2013.  It got me honed in on a spiritual attitude that I needed to incorporate into my daily walk.  

I haven't selected a word for 2014 - I've been so busy recovering and rehabbing that I am just taking it day by day.  It's taking all my energy just to heal and get well right now.  I don't doubt that some word will creep into my mind over the coming days and weeks and settle in for the long haul.  Until then, I am still focused on "trust" - after all, my need to "trust" is ongoing!  

If you are doing "one word" for this year, I would love for you to leave a comment and share.  Hopefully, I will be able to settle on a new word and share that with you soon.  Hopefully, we can be an encouragement to each other with our "words"!  

Update on recovery - Physical therapy continues!  Each time I go, my therapist pushes me a little more.  But, he says I am ahead on recovery.  My incision has healed enough to start doing tissue massage daily, in an effort to smooth out the collagen fibers and soften up the scar.  I am walking without the cane, unless I feel really tired or sore and start limping.  I have less than a week until I get to burn my compression hose and start driving.  I made my first trip to the grocery store with my mom yesterday and I've been doing more and more of my own housework.  Feeling good, folks!!!

Until next time, stay blessed and warm, friends!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts for the End of the Year....2013

New Year's Eve.....only hours away from 2014.  How the heck did that happen!?!?!?  I know this much for sure - it snuck up on me when I wasn't paying attention. 

At any rate, I don't have any resolutions for the new year.  I don't have a post about my top ten projects or posts - a "year in review" post, if you will.  I don't have a word selected for 2014 - or even a post about the word that I chose for 2013.  I honestly don't have a plan or direction for "Janie's Porch" for the new year.....

However, I am not going to let that deter me from writing. 

Sure, there are days I would love to have one of those beautiful, glossy blogs that never fails to impress multitudes of readers with professional quality photos and original craft or decorating ideas.  You know - the ones that are always perfect and on target with blog trends?

As much as I would like to have a blog like that, it's just probably never going to happen.  I don't have the time to "develop" a blog that would be a widely followed, money-making machine.  But, even if I did, would I want to? 

I look at it this way -

Janie's Porch is not a "crafter" blog because I'm not a really crafty person.  Face it - if I did a craft project a week to share on the blog, I would have to find a place to use the crafted project.  Never mind the fact that we have a small cottage and our style is growing increasingly "pared down" and "simple", so there's not room for lots of projects.

Janie's Porch is not really a "decorator" blog because the number of decorating projects in our modest home is limited.  While it was lots of fun to show you the transformation of our living room this past summer, the only other decorating I did for the year was shifting a little here and there and finding new curtains for our two bedrooms.

Janie's Porch is not really a "foody" blog because I don't cook much.  Honestly, my wonderful husband cooks way more than I do around here.  So, recipes and kitchen tips are going to be pretty darn sparse over here, folks.

Janie's Porch is not really a "spiritual" blog because my faith is very personal to me.  I have a daily walk and relationship with Christ that is an extremely important part of my life.  However, I am not a devotional leader or teacher who feels qualified to try to guide others.

Janie's Porch is not really a "family/motherhood" blog, even though you do see a lot of family related posts crop up.  However, we are empty nesters, so there is not a lot to share about the trials and joys of motherhood on a daily basis. 

Goodness, I've just given you a huge list of what Janie's Porch IS NOT.  But, at the same time, I was really giving you a pretty good list of what Janie's Porch actually IS.  Because, you see, Janie's Porch is a little bit of a lot of those things.  Someone once asked me what kind of blog I wrote.  And my response was that it is a "life blog".  I just write about my life, our life, on a variety of different levels and topics.

That's actually pretty simple, when you get right down to it.  Janie's Porch is just about whatever suits my mood when I sit down in front of the computer.  I don't have a posting schedule - heck, I probably post at the wrong time of the day.  I do have a Facebook page, because I really enjoy Facebook.  But, I am sure I don't utilize social media in a way that "grows" my blog.  But, heck, my blog is not my business!  It is my hobby!  It is a fun and creative outlet for me.

SO, I'll just keep it that way.  I post when I can and when I feel like I've got something to share.  I love to hear from folks that they enjoy a post now and then.  I like to look back through my own posts and relive events and feelings that I've written about.  It works for me, though.  

I hope you will keep dropping by, even though I am just flying by the seat of my pants over here.  I know I will keep writing because Janie's Porch is a labor of love for me!  

P.S....a quick update on my recovery: 

Today marks four weeks since my surgery - anterior approach total hip replacement.  It's been a bit of a blur for me - albeit, the first few days were a drug-induced blur - but, still it's hard to believe that it's already been nearly a month.  My recovery continues and I notice small improvements almost daily.  Physical therapy will be ongoing for a while yet, but I get around the house pretty well now.  The mornings are still stiff and painful, until I get moving around.  I still can't find any other comfortable position to sleep in other than flat on my back.  The area around the healing incision sight still feels like a big block of cement embedded in my thigh rather than my own skin and muscle.  But, the healing continues and I only have a couple more weeks of wearing these awful compression hose and no driving!!!  Hope to have more good progress to share next time.  

Check back "next year" to see how things are going over here in my little corner of the world....Janie's Porch.  Until then, wishing you a blessed new year - stay safe!

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