Thursday, March 23, 2017


Happy spring, everyone!  I've been adding bits and pieces of things to my home that are light and fresh as we wait for the day when we can truly say winter and it's unpredictable weather is behind us  Last week we had a terrible snowstorm that left us with 10 inches of the white stuff, and it surprisingly melted within 2 days.  We've also had thunderstorms and lightning and just about every weather element you can think of.  

Thanks so much for all of your well wishes for whatever disease (virus) I have.  ;)  My infectious disease doctor thinks that based on some of my blood work, I have something very similar but different from mono, and wants to pinpoint it as there may be some medications that can help.  I donated more of my precious blood last week and I'm waiting to hear what will happen next.  Last week was terrible as far as my lack of energy and the amount of time I spent sleeping.  From Monday to Wednesday night I slept almost around the clock but for a few 3 hour periods when I moped around and wondered when I'd ever get my life back.  But I do tell myself all the time, in the realm of all the illnesses and diseases out there, I'm fortunate.  I have days when I really perk up and feel energy and that's when I get caught up on laundry, cleaning and cooking something somewhat normal for The Husband.  I even managed to put in some time to get 2 newspaper columns finished up.  I'm also trying to make the rounds to visit all of you.  I want to mention that I've had a glitch in sending email replies to comments.  It's definitely on my end, something pops up that tells me the email is unsuccessful and I simply can't figure it out.  So please know I'm reading your comments, listening to your experiences, advice and get well wishes, and I really do appreciate it.  

My new and improved reupholstered sofa was delivered back to me on Monday.  I'm really happy with it.  I shared a picture of the sample fabric in THIS post if you want to see it close up.  It's sort of a window pane pattern, cream on taupe.  It looks nubby but it's actually soft.  

I mentioned that I've been looking for a new coffee table as the glass one I have now is just not safe with the little ones visiting.  I was going to look for an ottoman like the one I have at the lake from Pier 1 (you can see it in that same post I linked to earlier).  That was a real bargain and it's very well made if you are considering a small ottoman.  But then that little Jane voice inside said, "Sounds like too much fabric in the room, Jane."  And then that little voice was saying, "A lot of beige here, too, Jane."  So I have food for thought and I may want to have this little Jane exorcised out of me as well.  I'm actually ready to make some decisions tomorrow...I'm sleeping on it.  Hahahaha...

Another view, it looks like it has a sheen to it but it doesn't.  It's actually very cottage~like.  I'd like to go to Hobby Lobby, someone told me that they carry pillow covers.  That sounds great as I have a ton of outdated and ugly pillows and to be able to slip on a new cover is like, well...reupholstering a sofa. 


Our little Madelyn was Christened this past Sunday.  She looks like a little bride here, doesn't she?  She should because her dress was made out of Emily's wedding gown.  There was one other baby being baptized at the same time and I couldn't help but notice her gown.  As I clawed my way to the front of the group to get a photo when they were pouring the water on Madelyn's head,  I noticed a woman who looked grandmotherly (like me) and so I had to whisper to her, identify her relationship to this baby (indeed the grandmother), and learned that dress was actually almost 100 years old, and the woman;s father was the first to be christened in it and 5 more babies thereafter.  It was beautiful.  And of course, so was Madelyn. 

The church was having a fundraiser and selling sweets so just before we had to enter the church, I made a beeline towards the tables laden with cookies, cakes, brownies, pies...and then tripped on an uneven sidewalk and made a very graceful fall down on to my knees and then rocked back on my rear end.  I was so appalled all I could do was sit there, my face red with embarrassment.  But I guess if you ever have to fall you may as well do it in front of a Catholic church.  Within seconds I was surrounded by concerned men and women helping me up, one lady offering me her handkerchief for my bleeding knee, a man not a day younger than ninety offering to help me inside to a pew.  It was so, so sweet, but all I kept thinking was how much I wanted a chocolate chip cookie.  Still, very nice people.

The after party was close to home and it was a great time.  A smallish neighborhood restaurant that set up a buffet of baked potato soup, stuffed pork tenderloin, green beans and roasted potatoes.  The cake came from a local bakery.

These gorgeous cookies are made by a lady in the neighborhood who is known by word of mouth.  They are about 1/4 inch thick and the flavor is unbelievable.  The cake and cookies disappeared.   We've known Mike's family forever so it was a huge family get together and I enjoyed seeing all of these people on his side of the family that love Madelyn as much as we do.  

I'm still watching her on Mondays when Emily works downtown.  With this possibly different virus, the key is to wash my hands often, especially after using the washroom.  It's passed on through urine. I cleared that with the doctor because I really love having her for the day.  I do get very tired but I keep her little cradle next to my bed and when she naps I rest and read and doze a little.  She's getting very accustomed to the atmosphere in our home, and when I look at her she always recognizes me with a big smile.  I just love this little darling.

 This has been a good week so far.  I came down with some sort of chest congestion thing with a cough that sounds like a cross between a dog barking and a foghorn.  Thankfully I still have some cough syrup prescribed last week for when I had some sort of bronchitis thing.  I'm just going to keep catching things, that's the deal.  But in my lucid moments I use disinfectant everywhere so its safe for people to come and go, and I guess its best that I really just stay close to home since so much is airborne.  We have several family members down with some sort of flu going around.  Today I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of 11:00 and the thought of going to the grocery store loomed in front of me.  All I wanted was a hot shower and clean P.J's, followed by a little nap.  We were literally down to nothing though, including Milo and Layla's little snacks.  While I was making coffee and contemplating Plan A, I was reminded of that little nursery rhyme, "Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard..."  So it was more like a hot shower and then out into the 30 degree cold and wind and boy, it's been a long time I've done a big shopping with feeling so down, so my cart was overflowing.  Before I left home I had grabbed a page from one of my notepads with several new recipes to try and the ingredients I needed and I picked those up as well.  It's such a nice feeling to be stocked up and ready to cook and eat healthy again.  We've been having a lot of frozen pizza, Chinese, and occasionally, Corn Flakes for dinner.  But as fate would have it, I was so tired once I got home, well...frozen pizza it was.

See you soon!

Jane x

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Looks relaxing doesn't it?  This was last weekend at the lake, just relaxing with my coffee, looking out at the sunlight glinting off the lake.  As the sun moves over our house to the West, and you are on the actual lake as opposed to the bay, there is a magical time in the late afternoon when the whole lake seems to light up with diamonds.  Hence, the name Diamond Lake.  There is actually a book written about the lake, Diamond Sparkles, and you can find it on Amazon if you'd like.  

I pretty much finished up this corner of the Great room.  You may know we reupholstered the furniture, which was in super shape.  The glider rockers may be 80's 'country-ish', but if you ever had the pleasure of sitting in one of these babies...heaven!   We have to oil them pretty regularly, its second nature to rock and look at the water.  This is my favorite reading spot in the summer (in the winter I'm in front of the fireplace).  The details...the reproduction railway lantern from Target from their line of Farmhouse decor, Beekman 1802.  I also bought 2 additional, although different lamps  from this line for our bedroom.  At about $30, they are perfect for my budget and decor.  You can only find these online, by the way.

The last thing was looking everywhere for an area rug, getting discouraged at the lack of round ones, and so undecided if I wanted a natural or shag, beige or gray, or just use the one I had before.  And then while I was looking at the lamps online at Target, lo and behold I found this, The Eyelash Rug! If you look at the fibers up close they look like little eyelashes, or in my case, the faux kind that I've been known to use Elmer's Glue to reapply for social functions.  Since the furniture is angled, a 5x7 rectangle worked fine.  I was happy, The Husband was happy, and of course the dogs.  Funny, The Husband was very much wanting to have a say in everything I chose in putting the rooms back together but I don't think he really had much patience and he now lets me have my way.  :)

All we have left now is to hang the curtains for these humongous windows.  We have them but whenever I look in that direction, The Husband busies himself with something 'important'.  It's really only the winter nights that creep me out sitting here.  One night I saw the moonlight reflecting off a huge opossum ambling along the shore.  Another, a few pairs of eyes glowing at me, I'm sure raccoons.  

I'm off and running with buying flowers at the grocery store again.  It is just so dreary out and I don't really have many plants.  I did buy some shamrocks to put in  pot last Sunday.  The Southside Irish Parade always takes place the Sunday before St. Paddy's Day just a few blocks away.  It's actually the largest St. Patrick's Day parade outside of Ireland, beating out the one in downtown Chicago.  We always make our corned beef and cabbage the day of the parade.  On the 17th we'll probably have lasagna or Wiener Schnitzel.  ;-D

I really wanted to share this picture so you can see my glass coffee table which sadly, I have to say goodbye to.  I've only had it about 3 or 4 years but if you looks closely at the corners, they are lethally sharp.  When Elsie started walking we covered the whole table with a heavy quilt.  I understand you can find some sort of thingies to attach to corners of furniture at stores which cater to little ones.  We still aren't reassured.  What happens when the kids decide to jump on the couch or have a pillow fight?  And so, the old domino effect started.  I wanted a fabric ottoman to replace the table which could double as seating, but what sort of fabric?  I'd been wanting to reupholster our 15 year old floral sofa so I really needed to work on that fabric first.  Sounds like I do a lot of recovering furniture...what can I say?  You can't beat a quality piece.

I found a family owned business here in Chicago a few blocks away.  And this is the fabric I chose for the couch.  It's hard to tell the color but the owner, Manuel, kept insisting it was gray.  Perhaps since I had said I wanted gray.  And it should be done any day now.  In the picture with the coffee table you can see the club chair, a sort of light beige. I'm flipping out over an area rug.  This whole decorating/redecorating/designing stuff is not for me.  If I were an artist I'd definitely be a starving artist.  Nothing would get done.  I'd pick up a paint brush, put it down, and then sleep on it a few more weeks.  

I'll keep you posted.  

Madelyn turned 4 months old on the 10th.  It is amazing how fast she is growing.  And while we thought she looked like Emily so much in the first 4 weeks, she has totally morphed into her daddy, Mike.  She is being christened this Sunday.  Her gown was made out of a part of Emily's wedding dress.  I can't wait to share pictures.  


I've been really down for the count health~wise, and I had so many of you wish me well that I thought I needed an explanation.  

For almost a year I have been taking a powerful medication to suppress the immune system.  Primarily used to help rejection of organs in patients who received donated organs, it was found to help in a lot of other diseases, in my case, severe and advanced eczema that hadn't responded to any other treatment over the past 25 years.  You can read more about all of this in my post here.  The main reason I'm telling you about this medication is that it suppresses the immune system in an effort to keep it from attacking good cells, and it leaves you wide open to infections.  

In January, what was thought to be a suspicious lump in my left breast, was diagnosed as an enlarged lymph node among many others, after a mammogram, ultrasound and needle biopsy (no walk in the park).  And then finally, given my fatigue and the nodes indicating signs of infection, I was tested for Mono.  Bingo.

I hope I haven't gone on too long.  I think when we share experiences we can feel connected, and in some cases, give others the courage to seek out answers and not give up.  I know that I was trying to put on a happy face a lot, not only on my blog, but in my everyday life with family and friends. 

 I was so incredibly tired, I simply could not go on telling myself it was because I wasn't twenty anymore or that it was the doldrums of winter.  The truth was I had to set my alarm for noon.  Yes, 12:00 p.m. or I would sleep all afternoon.  12 hours a night was not sufficient.  I would jump out of bed at 9:00 a.m., get dressed, straighten up the house in flash (and a terrible job at that), and meticulously make my bed.  Then I would crawl  back on it under  a throw with a book next to me, all in an attempt to look like I had drifted off while reading in case someone popped in.  I slept for hours on end.  I stopped answering my phone, I didn't have the energy to speak.  I did my grocery shopping at a little 'Mom and Pop' store nearby where I could get in and out in 15 minutes (and you know that grocery shopping is like Disney World for me).  I would pick up sandwiches, chicken dinners or any sort of entree the store made up fresh.  

I don't think The Husband really suspected my lack of activity but this was at the time that we didn't have a diagnosis.  Before I was diagnosed I was just filled with shame.  Watching him go to work everyday, hearing my kids talk about the stresses of their jobs.  I would go to the doctor or the post office or whatever and I would stare at the workers and ask myself, "How does this person get up at 5-6 a.m., shower, dress, eat breakfast, commute and start to think at that early hour?"  It all seemed unreal, surreal.  I'm sure I was/am bordering on clinical depression.

Well, I'm seeing an infectious disease doctor now.  He's not so sure it's mono, which he explains is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.  It could be any type of infection in any part of my body.  And it can be reactivating itself over and over.  I donated a ton of blood last week and I hope they have more answers.  He believes some of my symptoms can be treated.  I'm very grateful for all of the wonderful, emphatic doctors I've had but I am so tired of needles!

I'll keep you all posted.  Feel free to share any of your experiences, we can all certainly learn something from each other.  Moreover, let me know what you think of the furniture!  Please...I didn't write about this for so long because I didn't want a lot of attention or drama.  Now that you know the whole story I'll give you updates but other than that, I want to focus on fun things...if I can stay awake that long!

Jane x