Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Proof that I am an organizing dork

So, invariably, I'm at the checkout counter getting ready to buy something when BAM!, I remember I've got a great store coupon...at home. I've even forgotten that I had one in my purse or, pulled one out to use only to see that it's expired already.                            

I've tried many different methods of organizing and documenting said coupons and, more importantly, making sure they're available to actually use. I've been thinking for a while that some kind of binder system that I can keep in my car would work best but kept getting stuck on the particulars. At my local scrapbooking store, Archivers, I found this great binder from We R Memory Keepers, http://www.weronthenet.com/ .The binder's cool and all (a little pricey but you could use any binder you wanted)but what really sealed the deal for me was that they offer three different formats of pages for different photo sizes which, for organizing different sizes of coupons, works great!

This size, below, is great for 4 X 6 photos OR, in this case, medium sized coupons :) 

Next, you got your basic wallet sized photo page, perfect for coupon "cards"

And, finally, for your full scrapbooking page or big coupons, a 8 1/2 X 11 sheet

To try to keep a record of what I've got, what the "offer" is, and expiration dates, I just made a list and when I've used a coupon or it's passed the expiration date, I just scratch it out (very lo-tech!). Since there's not a pocket in this binder, I  taped  in a pocket divider to keep my list in. And, finally, on the outside of each coupon pocket, again, extremely lo-tech, I taped on a piece of post-it label with the expiration date pencilled in, then just erase it or scratch it out when I put a new coupon in.

Ta Dah! Proof Positive that I'm a true organizing dork...lol! I'd love to hear any suggestions on how to make this a better system or, even better, what has worked for you.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just a quick note

Just wanted to check in briefly; it has been a whirlwind summer not just physically but mentally as my mind and heart are struggling to adjust to life without my dad. He passed away after a 9 month illness on April 29, 2011. As I'm not prepared to adequately write about this right now, I'll move on...

Many trips throughout the summer, both to connect with my sister and her family, and to re-connect with hubby. Want to post some pix of our most recent trip, to New York City, soon. Wow. Talk about a culture shock. I'd been before with my mom and sister 20 years ago and Jack had been a couple of times on business but we hadn't been together so it was lovely being able to share the wildness and uniqueness of NYC. Looking back, though, a spa in the hill country might've been a better idea as far as reducing our considerable stress.

BUT, then I wouldn't have been able to see adorable Daniel Radcliffe and hilarious John Larroquette in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". That and gazing longlingly at the brownstones in Harlem made the trip worth it, really.

And now, before heading off to a Texans game with hubby, son and daughter-in-law, I want to check out a new blog that a friend of mine told me about over dinner out last night at The Backstreet Cafe off of Shepherd (great place for a night out in Houston, can't wait to go back when the weather's nice and sit out back). I think the blog's called Cote de Texas and it's a blogspot blog. Will check it out...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Out of Step

18th day of dad being in a hospital. What's really wierd is when I leave and go home and I feel so out of place. A lot of times I go somewhere to decompress before going home. We've had some beautiful weather here in Houston lately and I'm such a flower/garden geek that those are the kind of places I've been choosing to go to. This is a lovely place that I literally stumbled upon on my way to pick up daughter, Meg, from school one day. It's Nelson's Water Gardens in Katy, Texas and, my gosh, I felt like Alice in Wonderland when I walked through their shop and went out back. They have these magnificent 5 ft. wind chimes that make the most beautiful, deep, zen-like gong noises. There was an almost constant breeze and everywhere you looked, there were these beautiful, tranquil fountains.

Really, it was exactly what I needed to erase all the beeps, smells, and sights from ICU for a little while and be able to re-enter "regular" life for a little while before going back the next morning.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

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WWDD or What Would Dad (want me to) Do?

10th day in intensive care with my dad. Acute renal failure brought us in, brought on by bladder cancer. He has so many different issues going on at the same time that treating him is a real challenge. I want, so desperately, to know what he would want me to do if he had all his faculties about him. The thing about hospitalizations with him is that every time he goes in for something, his vascular dementia gets exponentially worse til he gets back to the rehab facility which, sad to say (or thankfully, depends on which way you look at it) is like home to him right now. So do I opt for 5 weeks of radiation which would mean staying down here in the Texas Medical Center til treatment was done? And this is only if the infection in his left kidney can be lessened by a bigger tube that they're about to insert here in about an hour or so. Or do I "throw in the towel" as one doctor so hurtfully said? When the folks in Palliative Care talk to me, they say I need to do what Dad would want me to do and that there's a lot to be said for "comfort care". Dad does have a Directive to Physicians but it's a pretty broad document and mostly references life support, not really answering my dilemma of what to do right now. Decisions really don't get much harder than this.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I try, but...

I try to live a somewhat normal life, feel like myself (sort of), go to little shops that have what I call cutesy-wutesy stuff, plan a craft, try to get organized, and then I go see Dad in the rehabilitation center and everything goes to hell in a handbasket (East Texas slang for "it all went to s---).

Starting last Monday, Dad's personality has changed/shifted (very common in Binswanger's Disease) and it's a real struggle to stay "up" around him. Last Tuesday he had forgotten that I had come to see him twice the day before and he said he was not happy, not happy at all, that there was nothing "family" about him being there, he never saw me, etc. I told him I had been there twice the day before and that I was so sorry that he was in this situation. He sort of just "deflated" and said, "I know, Honey, you're doing all that you can and then more".

I am exhausted, worn out, always feel so torn. I feel myself, as I'm walking into Grace Care Center, "girding" myself with a protective shield as I come closer and closer to his room, never knowing quite what I'll find. Will he be sitting in his wheelchair valiantly trying to feed himself, will he be sitting out by the nurses station because he has fallen recently and they're wanting to keep an eye on him, will he be curled up on the top of the bed fully dressed, will he be in physical therapy, gamely trying to do his assigned exercises? Rest assured, whichever of these scenarios it turns out to be, my heart breaks a little more as I mentally reinforce my protective shield and brightfully, cheerfully, say "Well, hey there, Dad - it's so good to see you!"

Must go now because as I write this, tears are overflowing, stomach is clinched, and I know I need to quickly do a few things around the house, shower, and then get up to see him. It has, after all, been almost 15 hours since I last visited.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Enough dreariness already!

When will this cold, dreary, yukky Houston weather go away? It's even worse because in between bouts of rain and 20 degree weather, we'll have a "tease" day, where there's not a cloud in the gorgeous blue sky, the wind chimes are tinkling merrily (instead of angrily crashing about in cruel north winds), and the pansies are lifting their sweet little faces, being kissed by the sun. And even those days are tainted, somewhat, knowing that another mean squall is on the way. Oh, well. Before you know it, it'll be summer, and I'll be griping because of the heat.

Something fun I did recently just for myself - there's a wonderful little shop in Katy (a little town west of Houston which as the years have passed, just blends right into our far west suburbs) called The Shop on Third. I had about a 1/2 hour before I needed to be at M's school to pick her up and I was feeling pretty low; it was the 4 year anniv. of my mom's death and that, combined with watching my sweet daddy struggling with physical therapy that morning, had taken it's toll on me. I thought what would Mama do if she was depressed? I know ~ go shopping!

What's so cool about The Shop on Third is that it is one of the oldest houses in Katy and when the resourceful owners bought it, they kept it just as it was; they didn't knock any walls down or anything, so you really feel like you're in this late 1800 farmhouse. The kitchen is my favorite - lots of antiques mixed with new stuff and it's all kitchen themed. The bedrooms have great bedroomish type stuff - great antique furniture, mirrors, old hatboxes, you name it. And the porch - omigosh! It wraps around on both sides and they've got all kinds of old farm equipment repurposed, old screen doors with adorable stuff hanging on them, watercans, etc.

I'm hoping they'll let me snap some pix next time I go and I'll do a photo blog of it. Words just don't do it justice. And what lovely things did I come away with? A new decorative oval bowl type thing on a pedastal (I bought some lovely spheres on sale yesterday at Pier 1 for it), an old children's telescope case, and wierdest of all - an old prescription bottle of ear drops dated 1953 from a Katy drugstore and a little bottle, about 1 1/2" tall labeled "Tips" - "for smokers, alcoholic", it's contains chlorophyll (!) and mint and it's from the "Tipsco" company in Hewlett, NY. I know. I'm wierd. I have no idea what I'll ever do with the things but they were $3.00 each and, you know what? It made me happy and that is what I had hoped for when I walked through the doors of The Shop on Third! I'd love to hear from anyone out there has ever bought something "wierd" that they're kind of embarrassed about (no, no, no, not that kind of stuff!). You know what they say - there's comfort in numbers!