Saturday, November 28, 2015

One Down.....One to Go

Thanksgiving is over and done.  We had a really great day; son and girlfriend, other son and our daughter.  Dinner was a little later than I like, which meant the cleanup was later.....but we still managed to get in a couple of games, a movie and a LOT of talking and laughing.

Now to clean out the fridge and put a ton of leftovers in the freezer.  Gotta make room for Christmas baking ingredients.  Today I'm hoping (hahahahaha!) to get some decorating done.  I would like to get the deck.....decked.....with lights, wreath and such; get the lights on the windows all over the house and get the lighted garland above the kitchen cabinets.  That should do it for now.

Doing the usual slipper boots for gifts....I have 6 1/2 pair more to go.  I have about 1/3 of the other gifts ready to be wrapped.  Made my lists yesterday of things to bake, ingredients to buy and the rest of the gifts yet to be purchased.  I've cut the list of baked goodies in half.  Have you seen the price of eggs?!!  What is up with that?!

 BH suggested I make my lists now, including finishing up the decorating.  Then there's daughter's apartment to be decorated, put her tree up and take her Christmas shopping.

AND, best of all.....our granddaughter will be home for Christmas from her deployment in Kuwait!!!   2 months early, to boot!!Ohhhhhh......Happy Dance!!  Can't wait!!

What I'd really, really like to do is get back to my spinning.  But wheels and wool are put away until Dec. favorite day of the Christmas season!  I can do this.

We don't do anything special for New Year's, happily.  Haven't had company for a few years now, except daughter, who will probably be here for a few hours in the evening.  But definitely not near or past midnight.  She can't manage to stay up that long and neither can we.  But that's ok.  It's a perfect, quiet, restful end to a very, very hectic season.  And by that time, I'm happy to see it end.

Cold.....very has come upon us as of Thursday night.  But not more than a dusting of snow, thankfully.  I wouldn't mind if it stayed like this till Spring.

Well, here's hoping the rest of the month goes smoothly with just a minor hiccup here and there.  Because, you know, there's always a hiccup somewhere.  Onward and upward........

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a blessed day filled with plenty of good food, warm homes, warm hearts, family and friends around the table and wonderful memories of days gone by.   May you be thankful everyday and remember all your blessings, big and small.

We have a roof over our heads; we have wood in the stove to keep us warm; we have the means to fill our table with delicious foods.  No one in our family has ever suffered from an incurable disease, had a life-altering accident or found themselves without shelter or employment.

Everyone has struggles and sometimes we wonder how we're ever going to climb that mountain.  We fret over why bad things happen to us or those we love; how are we ever going to get through?

But we're not being bombed everyday; we don't live in fear for our lives every minute of every day.  We're not living on the streets or in shelters; we don't have to wonder where our next meal is coming from.  No one is in danger of being killed by gangs, drive-by shootings or drug addiction.  Our children are well taken care of, not abused or neglected and left to run wild.

And those of us who have loved ones in service to this country are thankful everyday for their lives, thankful that through the grace of God, they will be home with us soon.  We pray for their continued health, well-being and safety.  And we mourn for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, their life, in an endless, incomprehendable, unnecessary war.  We pray their families will have peace as they cling to each other for emotional and physical support.

We have so much to be thankful for, from putting our feet on the floor each morning, to just being able to live our lives day by day.  Give thanks every day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Got a Freezer....or 2.....You're Golden!

My mother always drove herself nuts when holiday dinners rolled around.  She would cook all day.  And back in the day, when we were all young kids, a 27 -28# turkey was the norm.  We had to eat dinner by 2 or 3pm because my father would leave about 7pm to get back to the woods for deer hunting.

So, she'd get up at 2 am, get the turkey in the oven by 3am and spend the rest of the day, peeling, chopping, cooking, mashing, and getting the table finery ready.  One year, my grandparents decided they were coming to our house for dinner.....don't get me started.  Suffice to say, if tranquilizers were the norm, Ma would've needed a whole bottle.  Thank goodness there was beer or wine to cut the edge.

Of course, pies were baked the day before.  Insight is a good thing.

So, for my 48 years of preparing my own family holidays, I did what my mother always did.  As the years went on, and the kids disappeared for other venues, the turkey got smaller.  But somehow, there were always others to take their place.  Other relatives and friends who found themselves to be alone were always invited and welcomed to our table.

Also as the years progressed, I've begun to lose interest in cooking and baking.  Holidays have now become a drudgery I would just as soon leave to someone else.  But I don't.  I salley forth.

Last year, something was going on.  Maybe I was in the middle of Christmas preparations along with Thanksgiving.  Maybe some people didn't know if they were going to be here; maybe there was a danger in the weather.  Anywho, it occurred to me: "why not prepare most of the dinner and put it in the freezer?"  Just about everything can be frozen.  Everything.  Except the mashed potatoes and maybe one more fresh veggie side dish (green beans).

GENIUS!!!  So, I spent the week before preparing candied yams, butternut squash, 2 kinds of stuffing (we now have a vegetarian in the family......), cranberry relish and roast turkey.  Even the gravy is made and frozen.  Come Thursday, it all goes in the oven to warm through (except the cranberries, of course).  The potatoes are peeled, cooked and mashed, green beans done.  Table is set beautifully as we await the family.

I do have to say, the only way this can really all be accomplished is because we have 2....yes 2.....freezers; a big upright and a big chest.  If only my mom had freezers.  Even 1 would've eased her crazy cooking day.

So now, on Thursday, I will have time for a glass of wine or many glasses are in a bottle, anyway?  Don't have to worry about something burning or forgotten about.  At 12pm, the wine starts flowing.  My daughter exclaimed one year, "Mom, wine's only noon."    And you know the standard response:

"Ahhhh, but it's 5:00 somewhere!"

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ohhhhh....This is Going WAYYYY Too Fast!.........

In about 5 - 6? (I try not to look at the calendar from this point on)weeks, we'll be in the throws of the Christmas season.  Christmas!!  What the hell happened here??!  I'm not ready.  I'm not getting ready.  I don't want to get ready.  This could be a problem.

Well, that's not all true.  I have a tote filled with gifts I've been accumulating over the past couple of months.  And I do have a LOT of handmade crafts of all kinds in storage for just such an occasion....that being that I'm bogged down, don't want to go out and shop, don't know what to buy, don't want to spend the money when I have totes...that's right, totes, plural..... FULL of handmade crafts.

Anywho.....enough about that.  Spinning and knitting have taken me over!  I know I'm an addict, but this has been full on!  Hence, the lack of posts for the past month plus.  So, one day a month ago, I was perusing my magazine and book collection.  Low and behold.....what I thought was just 1 Aran pattern book became 2!!

Honestly....I don't remember buying 2 Aran books.  Of course, the one was purchased some years ago....maybe 8.  I either bought both of them or the Irish knitting fairy has been very good to me.

So I found a new pattern; one with all twisted cables intertwined.  Just what I was looking for!  And there it was!  Not just one, but a whole book of new Aran patterns.  Well.....that just called for knitting a scarf immediately with one of them.  Long story short, (HA!) the scarf is done.  But then I started thinking, how about a hat?  But to do the vertical pattern wouldn't work. about the cables lay on their side, around the head, and then I knit a 1" rib on one length (the forehead) and pick up the stitches at the other side and continue in a stockinette crown?!  This looks like it might work. It sounds like a LOT of work.  Almost done with the cables, slipping the first stitch on each row for an easier pick-up.  I'll have pictures if it turns out.

I had to break down last week and super clean the house.  Hadn't been done since the beginning of September.  Nothing more than a little dusting, vacuuming, clean kitchen and bath.  I couldn't tell the "dust bunnies" from the wool.  It was getting bad.

I just finished spinning 2#s of the most delicious, dark, dark, chocolate brown fiber.  It wants to be a Fair Isle sweater.  I think I have enough complimentary yarns to do the job....after the shhhhh....holidays.    And now there's the softest, beautiful top being spun.  It was purchased a couple years ago at a little shop while coming back from vacation.  The tag said "8oz.  Corriedale".  But, geezzzz, it feels and spins like Ashland Bay merino colorway. It's striations of grey, white, sky blue, teal green and a light brown.  But when it's spun, it's a beautiful steel blue/grey.  Loving it!!

It was the only ball the proprietor had, or I would've bought more.  It's spinning up laceweight; will be 2-ply.  It wants to be a shawl.  And so it shall.  With steel grey glass beads knitted into it.  And maybe....the other single will be white merino...blended with iridescent Angelina.  Doesn't that sound divine??!! 

Well, BH has been hard at it cutting down trees, cutting logs, splitting and stacking.  He's working on next year's supply!  What a guy!  All the yard work is done for the season; just the storm windows to put up next weekend.  We're supposed to have moderate temps all next week.

We finally went and got a futon for the spare room.  Gave my brother the twin bed for his grandkids.  What a job putting the futon together!  I told BH we're really, really getting too old for all this heavy lifting and construction!  But, knowing us, I'm sure there will be another project in the not-so-distant future.

Anyway......the spare room looks great.  "Looks like a sitting room" says BH.  Indeed.  Sitting.  And spinning.  Or knitting.  Maybe sewing.  Reading.  Napping. 

It's all good.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This Can't Be.......

It's almost the middle of October!!  Whaaatttt......????   We have 1 more month....1 more month, chickies....till the hurrying, scurrying, nerve-rattling, mind-blowing holidays start rolling an avalanche.  Already the stores are bringing out the Christmas decorations.  WAIT!! Fall just started!!  The kids are back in school barely a month.  I don't even have the Autumn wreath on the door yet.

There's still apples to be picked, perennials to be cut down and lawn ornaments to be put away.  I'm behind schedule already.  We've been waiting for a couple of heavy frost nights for the apples.  I think we've had one.  A hard frost came through the other they will be picked tomorrow, regardless.  As for the perennials....well, they haven't quite died back yet.  Maybe this coming week, at least the yard paraphernalia can be gathered up and stored.

But Fall Festivals are everywhere!!  Every little town, village and burb is having a celebration.  Craft shows have begun and the apple cider is flowing.

For 2 weeks we've had temps in the low 50's for daytime highs; mid to low 30's at night.  Today....71.....tomorrow....83!!   83 in October is more than I can bear in northern Minnesota. No. No. No.  It's just not right.  A/C's were removed last week; the fans were cleaned and stored away this week.  Of course.  At least BH didn't get the "bug" to put up the storm windows yet!

BH is happy.... he's back to logging.  So every afternoon, I get a tally of how many trees, how many cuts, how many total pieces are stacked for next year, how many more trees he needs to cut, how many more pieces that will give him....yada,yada,yada.  You get the picture.  But at least it gets him out of the house for a few hours.

I've been knitting and spinning like crazy.  For no particular reason other than I really want to get as much fiber spun up as is humanly possible from now till next Spring.  There's a LOT of fiber.  I should live so long.

Just a few things off the needles this summer/fall.  Haven't taken any spinning pics for some reason.  Hmmm......

We took a trip back to NY to see family over the Labor Day holiday.  Stayed for 10 days.  It was good seeing family again.  We haven't been back in 5 years since my parents passed away.  It sure was a different feeling, one that was uncomfortable and makes us realize, yeah, this will never be the same again.

Daughter and I have been spending a lot of Saturdays out and about.  Traveling around to different areas, just having a good time.  Today, we're going to a craft show in the next town.  First one of the season for us.  It'll be fun.  She really enjoys our time out together.

Skyped with granddaughter earlier this week.  She tells me that rumors are going around they'll be home for Christmas!!  She's in Kuwait, been there since June.  Their tour was supposed to be till the end of January.  Don't know what happened; don't care.  Just bring her HOME!!  We're soooo excited....I pray this comes to fruition.  She tells me the took a lot of tools to another base to be re-calibrated; they were told to inform family no more packages or mail is to be sent to them after Oct. 15 and the troops will be moving from barracks to tents next week, making room for their replacements coming in.  

Son bought a new car a couple months ago.  So he's in 7th heaven!  It's his "dream car", he tells us.  My caveat to him:  "if I hear you bought 1 replacement part, I'll never speak to you again!"   He likes to "soup" up his cars.  His apartment is loaded with boxes of new parts...including a transmission and 2 engines.  It's a sickness.  Kind of like someone buying pounds and pounds of wool, stored in large totes

Well, that's about all the news.  I think we're caught up now.  See you before the snow flies.......I hope.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Absense Makes the Heart........

SING!!!!  Yeah...that's right.  Retirement 24/7/365 is not all it's cracked up to be.  Can I get an "amen"?  

So....BH is going to son's for the day.  They're going to chop wood (but it's raining now, and supposed to all day).  They'll probably sit and yammer all day.  I gave him a warning:  "DO NOT come home by noon!!"

We spend a LOT of time together.  Every day.  Every hour.  The only time I have to myself is when I get up in the morning at 4am till he rolls out of bed at 6 - 6:30.  Sometimes he's up at 5am....don't get me started.

I love him dearly!  Don't know what I'd do without him.  We've been together for 28 years...married for 26.  But COME ON!  It didn't used to be so bad....when I was working.  But then I retired.  Now I'm just tired.  Badabing, badaboom.  (old joke).

I do manage to get out with our daughter, taking her grocery shopping, to appointments and occasionally, we have a day out together.  One time, he suggested that he go grocery shopping with us so he can pack the bags (our grocery stores don't do that for whatever reason) and carry them.  Aaarrggghhhh......NO....that's ok; it's not that bad; I can manage.  Whew...escaped that one.

The poor thing.....he used to bowl every Thursday night.  But we had 2 teenage sons at home then.   He used to play softball every Monday night; quit that at 65 and became an Umpire.  That was great!!  He was gone 2 nights a week, just about every weekend....for.....hours!!  He gave it up at 69 years of age. Fishing in the summer, too.  Just about everyday he would be gone...from 5am till sometimes 5pm or later. 

But health problems started rearing their ugly heads.  Neuropathy in his legs and hands.  He can't run any more and his hands shake so bad, it's difficult to manage fine motor skills.  No more fishing.   OMG!  I just realized....I sound like a real Bitch!!  Complaining about him being home all the time.  Well.....I feel like a Bitch today.  Sorry. plan is to clean the house today.  But I'm trying to talk myself out of it.  I haven't won yet.  Who wants to waste time cleaning house when you have the whole day to do whatever.....just relish the day.

Well, we're taking a trip back east in a week and change.  Visiting family.  Haven't been back there in 5 years.  It'll be fun.  Just the 2 of us.  Together.  24/7.  Again.  I'm thankful for small blessings.  No. Really. 


Monday, August 10, 2015

The Good....The Bad.....and the Aggravating !

Well how've you been?  Oh things are just great here (note: sarcasm).

We've been bopping right along.  After a bout of hot, humid weather, we finally had some decent temps, no humidity last week.  It was heaven!!  I got to bake 4 dozen hard rolls.  Good thing, too, because we were on the last dozen.  This week's temps look pretty comfy, too.  We had a couple of nights in the 40's.  Yeah...bring it on!

Finally got to Skype for the first time with granddaughter last week.  What a kick that was.  Never used a web-cam before.  It was great seeing her face to face.  We talked for about 20 minutes.  She works 2nd shift, finishes at midnight.....which is 8 hours ahead of our time.  Well, by the time she ran to the PX, then went out in the yard to be under the flood lights so she could see better, it was 2:30am her time.  She's always been a "nightowl", so this is right up her alley.  

She sounds good, looks good (just a little tired, maybe), but everything is going along well for her.  She loves her job and is enjoying the camaraderie with her fellow soldiers.  6 more months, God willing.

BH and I have been keeping up with chores around here.  We finally emptied out all the boxes we packed a couple years ago for the big move.  Last week we got over to the old farmhouse (used for storage) and re-arranged everything else and cleaned up a bit.  Whew.....that's done.

So far the lawn mower is working great (fingers crossed every time).  And it was repaired with no charge to us.  A new pull cord and somehow the throttle spring was missing.....that's why it wouldn't start.  They replaced that too.   BH is in his element again, and all is right with the world.

I finally got into the totes with the hand knitted wear and pulled out the pieces that needed to have photos taken.  That's done.

Last week, I was visiting my very favorite fiber supply website when I see they're having a sale.....a 2 day sale.  Choice of merino, corriedale X or cheviot X.  OMG!!  I've been waiting for this!!  Told BH about it....."order 10 pounds" he says.  He's sooooo easy.   "no, that's too much; I'll just order 5....5 pounds will do it".   Ohhhh but merino!!  Ohhhh but I really need corriedale.   After a few minutes of discussion, it was decided by him and I......4#s of corriedale and 4#s of merino.  Yes!!

So, now I had to go through my stock and see what can be re-packed to make more room.  This is not an easy task.  But it was done.  Thursday the fiber arrived. Mmmmmm......luscious fiber !!

I love to dye the corriedale.  The merino is for a special project.  Well, 1/2 of it anyway.   I've been thinking for months.....I want to make our granddaughter a Wedding Shawl.  I have some silk that's been waiting for the perfect project; and a LOT of crystal beads.  I've been perusing websites and books for shawl patterns.  I have a handful to choose from.   In a month or so, I will start blending the silk with the Merino and prepare it for spinning.  Probably start around the holidays if not right after.  Granddaughter is scheduled to come home at the end of January.  And it takes about 6 months to plan a wedding properly, right?

OK.  So you know that into every life a little rain must fall.  Well, it came our way on Saturday afternoon....through the night....all night.  Only it wasn't just rain.  No sir.   It was a friggin' monsoon.  It was so bad, daughter and I went on a shopping excursion an hour away in the morning.  By 3pm as we were on our way home, it hit.  It took us 2 hours to get home.  We stopped twice because I couldn't see the road and the highways were flooding.  What an adventure!!  By the time we were a couple miles from home, we could laugh about how crazy it was.  All the streets in our neighborhood were getting flooded.

Well, yesterday morning, BH takes some things over to the storage house, comes back and tells me there's water all over some things; he had to wipe it up.  WHAT???  Did it come through the windows??  No. He didn't think so.  Did it come through the door?? No. He didn't think so.  "Come over with me and take a look; you'll know what I'm talking about", says he.  Well. Well. Well.  What the hell happened???  The ceiling is buckled and water is dripping through in large areas, in numerous places.  There's a 2nd floor on this building.  But how did water get through to the first floor if there's no water upstairs???  Aaarrrgghhhh.

Well, we cleaned up, covered up, moved things.  And then we went outside.  And I looked up at the roof.  And there it was.   The torrential winds and rains had ripped up the roof right over the door, about 3 ft. wide and long.  Oh the wood is still there.  Only it's in splinters and raised up (ripped up).  Ok.  Now what??

After a cool-down, gathering of thoughts, we discussed and concluded that a new roof was going to have to be done.  So we called our son.  This is his profession.  He told us what the options will be.  We're going with a steel roof.  He's going to talk to his boss and get his input.  Because the roof is at least 75 years old (that's right....75), and no one can, for sure as hell, stand on the roof without fear of breaking through somewhere.

We're praying for good weather all this week, because it probably won't be gotten to until the weekend.  And then I hear on the radio this morning......possible rain showers tomorrow night and Wednesday morning.  Oh what the hell. 

And I live by these words:   "Nothing's so bad that it can't be worse".  It's my mantra.

And now for something completely different:

Blue/grey twisted rib tube socks

 Brown ombre watch cap and scarf
 Green/grey twisted rib tube socks
 Maroon/grey twisted rib tube socks
 White Border Leicester/w iridescent Firestar  Cabled vest

 Embossed, brass-tone buttons

I LOVE this pattern!  It's my 4th(?) vest, different colors of course.

The tube socks are really fun to knit, too.  I've gotta do more of those. 

Wishing you all a fantastic week!