Category Archives: Jo’s Journal

I Should Have Known

I should have known.  I should have been ready.  I wasn’t.

It’s been over two years since Kramer passed away.  Monday the 26th was my second wedding anniversary without him here.

I’ve been doing so good lately.  Really, really good, so I didn’t think much about it.  I planned about going about my business like any old other day.  He was gone…there was no anniversary to celebrate.

I seriously have been doing so well.  I haven’t had a bout of tears sneak up on me.  I haven’t randomly started crying when I was alone for a long time.  I hadn’t had the talks with myself telling myself that I was going to be okay.  I just was okay and didn’t need the self-talks.

I didn’t build any buffers.  I didn’t visit the cemetery days before my anniversary.  I didn’t talk about it in advance with the kids.   I didn’t write a blog post to work through it all.  I didn’t do any of the things I usually do in advance to help get past the bigger days. It was going to be just another day.  I’ve been doing this grief thing for a while.  This was just going to be another day.

It was a good plan…or at least I thought it was.

It turns out, it wasn’t.  It was a bad plan.

Somehow, without me knowing, grief snuck up on me and caught me.

All I could think to say was…Hello, big-time grief.  It’s been a while since you were here.  I was hoping you were gone for good.  You weren’t.  You really fooled me, but here you are.

I thought I wasn’t a rookie anymore.  I thought I was getting to be an old pro at grief.  I thought I had it in control.  I thought I had tamped it all down.  This time around, I was reminded I am still a rookie.  It is not all tamped down.  It is not all under control.

I have no idea what did it to me.  I have no idea where it came from.

Some of you might remember Kalissa’s blog post about the ball and the box and how grief works.  If you missed it.  You can find it HERE.  It’s an excellent post.  It accurately describes how grief works.

Monday my ball was BIG.


People who crossed my path that day didn’t know or remember it was our anniversary.  It was sad.  No one said anything.  I didn’t want to say anything as I knew it was one of those days I was on the edge.  Those are days when I just know if someone says the right or wrong thing, I might just lose it.

I was working so I didn’t want to lose it in the middle of work.

Then the why’s flooded in.  Why him?  Why me?  Why us?  UGH.  There is no answer to that.  I know that.  Why did I let my mind go there.  It’s never good when it does.

I knew I had to pull myself out of that.  Then came the…why not me?  Why not him?  Why not us?  Also, not good.

I knew I had to pull myself out of that too.

So I planned a little intervention with myself.  I’d go to the cemetery. I’d water the flowers there.  I’d stitch on a cross-stitch sampler to commemorate our anniversary.  Once everyone was gone, I’d allow myself to grieve.

But life happened.  It didn’t work out like I hoped…like I wanted…like I needed.

It would be so easy to slide down a slippery slope and get stuck there.   It would be so easy to curl up and cry for a day, a week, maybe more.  But I know that’s not me.  That’s not what I do.  I can’t let myself slide.  It would be too hard to get out.

There are people here to love.  There are things here that need to get done.  I still have work to do.

So…a good cry in the shower.
Some stitches into the sampler.
A few looks at our wedding pictures…

This is a favorite of mine.


A few words with Kalissa…a few with Kelli.
A little extra sleep and I’m back on the path.

A little self-talk reminder that for 32 years I was loved and cared for by one of the best…yes, our time was cut short, but I had 32 great years.  That is many more than some people get so I’m going to embrace what I had and not get lost in what I don’t have.

My ball is still a little bigger than I’d like.  (Read Kalissa’s blog to understand that), but I’m back in motion.  I’m moving forward.  I’m not letting myself get stuck where I was.

Thankfully I’m not a newbie.  I know bad times come.  I know grief can sneak in.  I know I can deal with this and shrink that ball in the box.  I also know it takes a little time and I know to give myself the grace I need.

I’m okay.  Don’t worry about me.  If you’ve dealt with this yourself, you know this is completely normal…and if you haven’t dealt with grief like this before, when it’s your turn, know grief has an ebb and flow.  Know you’ll have a good year and then a bad day or two can slip in.

Also know that like me…you can do this too.

My Week Off

I had a busy week off of childcare.  I told my own kids that they were free to get in touch with me, call, or drop by…but, I really wanted and needed some time to catch up around here. They were great and let me get quite a bit of stuff done.

I worked on organizing my embroidery floss.  You might remember a few months ago I found a started set of DMC embroidery floss.  I got more in the pages and figured out which ones I needed to get a complete set.


I cross-stitched later in the evening and even finished a piece.  I’ll tell you more about that in my next cross stitch update.

I met two different groups of volunteer quilters and gave them goodies from all of you.  I stopped goodies off to my friend who make the baby kits for Lutheran World Relief and gave her all of the baby gowns, diapers, and flannel sheets you all have sent her way.  She was thrilled.  She said her goal is to always make 100 baby kits so keep the goodies coming.  We aren’t there yet!!

I took a van full of things to the thrift store…and then shopped there too.

I stopped at Walmart and picked up this Pioneer Woman salad plate.  I didn’t have this design yet.  I also picked up… Continue reading

Bananas…the icky kind

I belong to a Facebook group that features recipes.  Someone posted this picture of bananas that were past their prime.  They asked what they could make besides banana bread.  That brought a smile to my face.


My immediate response was pancakes!!  I’m guessing that’s not what you were thinking I’d say.

Let me tell you a little story.

Growing up, my mom took bananas like these, and she would smash a couple of them, add a little sugar and a little milk then stir it up.  She’d make pancakes and we’d pour the banana mixture over the pancakes just like you might put syrup or mashed strawberries on your pancakes.

I vaguely knew that other people had syrup on their pancakes but I thought it was entirely normal for people to eat pancakes with mashed bananas on top.

Fast forward.  Kramer and I got married.  It was 1986.  I was a young bride of 20 and I was trying to keep the grocery budget low.  I asked Kramer one night what he might like for supper.  He said, “How about pancakes?”  Great idea I told him, only I didn’t have bananas so I couldn’t make them.

He didn’t say anything…we moved on and had something else for supper.

A week or so later I was getting groceries and saw bananas were discounted as they were past their prime and I bought some bananas thinking I would pancakes like Kramer previously suggested.

I was the proud little wife.  I was so happy to be making my husband the supper that he requested.  I happily made the pancakes.  I happily made the banana mush.  I put it all on the table so pleased with myself.

Kramer grabbed some pancakes.  I grabbed some too.  I loaded mine with bananas.  He got up and went to the refrigerator.  I didn’t know what he was doing.  He got the butter and then asked, “Where is the syrup?”

I said, “What?”.  He said, “Where is the syrup?”  AHHH!!  I completely forgot that other people use syrup.  It was so normal to me to have pancakes with bananas on top.  Oh my.  I had to tell him we didn’t have any syrup.

He looked at me odd…then looked at my plate and asked me what I was doing.  He had never seen anyone have pancakes with bananas on top.

I explained to him that this is how my family ate pancakes.  He looked at me like I was pretty weird.

Then Kramer, who never cooked at all, walked to the cabinet, pulled out brown sugar, white sugar, and a saucepan, and started to make syrup.  His recipe was: Continue reading

A Visit from Connie

Connie came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t tell you about it yet.  Connie lives a jaunt from me.  2 1/2 hours I think.  It’s actually further than that if you consider all the stops between my house and hers that offer great thrift store shopping.

Connie is a thrifter like me and enjoys stopping at the shops which is good for me as they entice her to come my way.  HA!!

Connie rarely comes without goodies.  Like many of us, she’s been cleaning out goodies…so she passed some on but she also shared some great quilt finishes she’s recently done.

I can’t remember exactly which one but I think this one was from “Just Get Done Quilts”.  I had not heard of them so it was interesting to learn about someone new.  Connie said this was so fun to make.
Next up Connie went crazy making Bonnie Hunter’s last year Leader and Ender challenge Easy Breezy.  Connie said she was tired of all of her fallish fabrics and wanted to use them up.  She cut out and finished not one…


Not two…

..but three tops.

She chose to put a sashing between her blocks and I really love it.

She also said she cut out enough blocks for her mom, daughter, and granddaughter to make a quilt.  Holy WOW!  That must have used up a lot of fall-colored prints.

She also made a quilt using up some of her Thimbleberries collection.  I believe she said this was a Gudrun pattern.  How fun.  They almost look like elongated nine patches.


Connie brought goodies for the kids.

…and lots of batting scraps which I will be passing on.

Connie brought me this AMAZING ladder.  She thought the ladder was designed for cherry pickers.  Long ago she picked it up in her travels and was now ready to part with it.  I’m thrilled she thought of me.  I love it!

I tried it in the living room.  The ladder didn’t work for the spot I was thinking of.  It was too wide at the base.  So I took it up to the spare room look…it’s perfect.  I need to put another quilt or two on it.  Oh my.  I really think I couldn’t have found anything better.


If I leave the bedroom door open, here is my view when I come up the stairs.  Isn’t it great??


This was my only room without a quilt rack and now it has one.  The wall space was perfect.  Call me HAPPY!!  Thanks so much, Connie.

There were other goodies from Connie too.  A roll of homespun fabric big enough to back lots of quilts, a bag on Minky, and other goodies too.

Remember I told you Connie stopped at my thrift store on the way to my house?  Check out what she bought.

It’s a cute little metal stove that she picked up to put in her flower garden.


Didn’t she set it up so cute?

Connie showed it to me when she came but it looks even cuter than I imagined.

It was so good to see Connie.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a chance to get together.  She thought she hadn’t seen me in person since Kramer passed away but I think she was through one time for a really quick stop to pick up a bed frame.

Whenever it is, it’s always good to see Connie.  I count her as one of the blessings of starting the blog.  Without the blog, I would have never met her.

Thanks so much for the goodie Connie but mostly thanks for the friendship.