Saturday, February 6, 2016

Of Mice and (Wo)Men...........

My day was planned as of 5:30am.  Lots to do, lots to do.  Lots of wool things to do.

I have this black wool, purchased at a yarn store for cheap!  Because the owner says there's no call for fiber anymore.  People want yarn.  ok.  $10 for 8 oz....it's got blue glitz in it!!  Sold!

It's terrible stuff....lots of VM, nepps and second cuts.  But I sallied forth because I have 2 lbs. of black top that I want to ply with it.  Already I'm thinking of making a felted, Fedora-style hat with it.

Then I happened across 3 bobbins of white Corriedale that I forgot about.  Hmmmm....well let's get those babies plied and I'll have 3 empty bobbins.  That's going well.

2 days ago I started blending Merino and silk for granddaughter's wedding shawl.  I've had the silk for about 4.....yep....4 years.  Waiting for the right project.  The Merino was purchased this Fall when it was on sale from my favorite fiber place.  Also iridescent Angelina.  So, one single is with silk, the other, Angelina.  A beautiful 2-ply yarn will be the outcome.  At least, that's what I see in my head.

I've also got 1 more inch on the back of an Aran sweater being knitted.  A 4-ply grey and white.  Looks very nice.  Love the patterns.  It's just the beginning.  4 more sections to knit.

So, housework has been hit or miss for the past month (or so).  If I can see it, it gets cleaned.  If it isn't noticeable, it's good for another week or so.  So far, it's working.  It's winter, afterall.  And my penchant and energy for housework is nil.

Got the blending board set up this morning, ready to go.  Working on the 3rd bobbin of Corriedale 3-ply.  1 bobbin of black top is done, another needs to be.  The crappy stuff with the glitz is all spun up.

Going into a drawer in the kitchen, I discover little.....black.....dots.  Ovals, if you will.  Yeah.....we all know what that means.  Especially those of us living in the country.  Damn!!!  Go to the spice drawer, one of their favorite eating establishments......yep......they got the dill.  Dill.  Who knew?  Checking all drawers.....2 more with evidence.  Clean the drawers, get rid of all the damage.  Tell BH, "we had a mouse in the drawers".  He says "well, better set some traps tonight.  You want to go pick some up later?"  Sure.....there's a new thrift store in town I'm dying to check out.  Not for mouse traps, mind you.  Just for fun.

We do have these little sonic thingies all over the house.  Plugged into the outlets, they let off a low hum.  We've had them for 3 years now and they seemed to be working just fine.  But...there's always that one little son-of-a-gun that thinks he's Mighty Mouse.  We'll get you, my pretty.....we'll get you.  Warn your friends and family.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is It Just Me....or......

Every year at this time, I feel yukky.  It's my medical term for "not quite feeling good, not quite really sick.  No cold or anything; just yukky.  Every year.  I feel anxious, tired, uninterested, bored and sometimes, nauseas.  Eh.....maybe it's the weather, the season.  Does anyone else go through this at this time?

In other news, I don't think I mentioned this before, but took daughter to the Orthopedic Doc for a cortisone shot in her elbow (every 3 months), and had him check her knees too, which have been giving her problems for quite some time.  Xrays show.....both knees are shot....no cartiledge in either....replacement surgery is required.  Yeah.  So he'll do one at a time, 6 months apart.  We'll have to make the consultation appt. for March, hoping surgery for April and the next in October.

She just missed 2 weeks of work with the horrible congestion, cold, sinus trouble.  That has finally abated, and she's going back to work today.

Granddaughter called yesterday afternoon to say her fiancĂ© surprised her with a puppy!!  Oh yay.  A puppy.  A brand new puppy.  Born in November.  He got it from a pet store.  "No Refunds".  So, they went to the office of their new apartment they just moved into 3 weeks ago to pay the pet deposit.  Only to find out....no dogs or cats allowed in their building.  They would have to move to another building (3 in this complex)....and there is no apartment available until April.  

So, I gave her all the "ooohhhh nooooo's" I could think of, and I knew why she was calling, so I also had to say emphatically that since our pets passed away some 5 years back, BH and I decided no more pets.  Not at our age.  We don't want the responsibility and really don't have the energy level for it.  And we took damn good care of our pets, dog and cat, that lived to be 14 yrs. old each. I made suggestions about their friends, getting the word out at work, even calling my brother who lost his dog last year.

Well, she sent me a message last night that they took the puppy back and explained the situation to the clerk.  She did not say, however, if they got their money back.  But, even if they didn't, sorry to say....it's a hard lesson learned.  She already has a bunny, who's 8 years old, so it's not that they're "petless". 

What else.....well,  I finished those colorwork socks, and started on another Aran sweater.  Grey.  From a new book with more patterns.  So far, so good.  I'm half-way up the back.   I've been spinning this black wool with blue glitz.  Got it really cheap from a yarn shop that no longer deals in spinning fiber.   Yeah.  It was a challenge.  Lots of nepps, second cuts and VM.  And....8 oz. of the stuff to boot!!  Well, now I'm spinning a black "top" to ply with it.  I think there's over a pound of that.  I've still gotta prepare some white Merino and get it spun laceweight for granddaughter's wedding shawl....that will then have to be knitted.  What am I waiting for?  I don't know...it's just the way I roll.  I work better under pressure.  They haven't set a wedding date yet....whew. 

Weather has not been too bad.  This past weekend we were in the high 30's.  And it doesn't sound too bad for this week.  Let's keep it going...Spring can't be far away.

Today we're going to the Casino for an overnight.  Can't wait!!  Maybe that's just what the doctor would order for my malaise.  Sounds good to me.  And maybe.......just maybe.......there's another Jackpot with my name on it!   Oh, that'll cure the winter yukkies just fine!




Friday, January 22, 2016

I've Got 12 minutes......

12 minutes till I have to leave to pick up daughter for a doctor's appointment.  She's been down with a horrible cold....head, chest, sinuses for a week now.  Missed all week of work.  Today is Friday....time to get to the doctor.  Because tomorrow is the weekend.  And we all know what that means.....if any medical problem is going to get worse....it most DEFINITELY will be worse on the weekend.  We're talking Urgent Care or ER.   Ugh.

So, had trouble with the car last weekend.  No power steering.  BH is saying it's probably from the cold.  -25 overnight for like 4 nights in a row.  That's actual temp, not wind chill.   Yeah, but we've had nights...and days....like that every winter.  Why is this different?!

By Sunday, it was no better...and the temps were warming up a bit.  So he suggested we call the garage and take it in.   Well.....got the call yesterday....yeah....there's NO power steering belt.  It's gone.  Just gone.
Well....alrighty then.  That kind of explains it.

So...we picked up the car today....but had to walk a bit over a mile into town.....because the van wouldn't start.  Again.  If it gets below 0, it will not, it refuses, to start.  Ah....but it was 14 degrees overnight....ABOVE  0.  And it's 16 degrees now.   We walked into town to pick up the car.  To pick up daughter.  To take her to the doc.  She's sick.  And the weekend is upon us.  And we all know what that means.

Time to go.

Have a nice day.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Is It Cold Enough For Ya........



Another ridiculous question asked all too frequently at this time of year in the Northwoods.  Pppfffftttt.   Makes you want to smack someone in the face....if only you could move your frozen arm into a 45 degree angle and forward with force.

Anywho.....yes, after a very, extremely mild beginning to winter, we are where we always find ourselves in January and February.   It has been -25 degrees overnight for the past few nights...reaching 0 during the day.  We've been lucky, though....no strong winds added to the mix.....just yet.  Then we're looking at 30 - 40 below.  Yeah, you've heard all the horror stories on the Nightly News.

This is the first week since Christmas that I can actually, aimlessly, putz around the house wondering what to do, what to do.  So....I'm trying to spin and knit.  Finished a hat and scarf that was sent to Limbo before the holidays.  And then had the brainstorm to try a pair of colorwork socks.  Which are almost finished.






Now I have to plan the next project.  I'm spinning some random fiber picked up at a yarn store some months ago.  And I have to get started on spinning the yarn for a wedding shawl I want to knit for our granddaughter.  The wedding date hasn't been set yet, thank goodness. 

Speaking of which....she returned from Kuwait a week before Christmas, had to spend a few days in Texas for out-processing, and got to MN just a few days before the holidays.  She and fiancĂ© came up on New Year's Day and stayed overnight.  We had a great Christmas/NYD celebration.

And then 1 week later, they had found an apartment and were moving in that weekend.   We had all their things stored here while she was overseas and they had been staying with his parents a few months before she left.  

So we offered to load up all their belongings and bring them to the new place.  Otherwise, they would've wasted a day traveling back and forth, loading and unloading.  It's a 2 hour trip one way.   And after the great, uncommon temperate weather we'd been having....wouldn't you know it....yes, weather report says below temps that weekend with winds, double digits below 0.  Of course.  Why not.  I told her we would unload the van, take the tour of the apartment, and leave for home.  We did.  It was 14 degrees in her town when we left;  at 3:30pm when we got home, 2 hours away.....it was -3.  Minus 3.  Yeah.  We made the right decision.

But we got the job done and they were very thankful and appreciative.  We were very happy to be able to do this for them.  I also loaded up 3 grocery bags of food and the picnic cooler too.  Just so they wouldn't have to worry about running to the store first thing to stock up.  Cereal, pancake mix, syrup, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, crackers, salsa/nacho cheese, homemade bread and hard rolls, ketchup, mustard, mayo, sugar, salt and pepper.   Lunchmeat, cheeses, bacon, eggs, milk, butter, hamburg, and a big bucket of homemade chicken and rice soup.   Food.....that's how I roll.

Yesterday I started a group on FB....."For the Love of Irish.....Aran Knitting".   Got 27 members already and some great discussions and comments.  This is going to be fun!!  I love Aran knitting and couldn't find a group.  I do belong to 10 different fiber, spinning, knitting groups but nothing this specific.  Although, it's not intended to be strict.   So if you're looking for something different....check it out.  The more, the merrier.


I should really be doing some house cleaning (spits on the floor), but I'm just too busy....and it's waaaayyyy too cold outside, which means BH is in the house with me 23 1/2 hours a day (someone's gotta bring in the wood and empty the compost bucket.....and it ain't me, babe!)  You know or can imagine what it's like to have a man....a retired man.....in the house with you...23 1/2 hours a day !  Yeah.  It'll make your head spin!  And I'm still recovering from all the holiday/post holiday hoopla.  Ehhhh....maybe a little dusting and run the vacuum today.  Yesterday it was cleaning the bathroom and straightening up the house.  Tomorrow it'll be laundry; Wednesday, grocery shopping.  You have to build up the stamina slowly. It's the only way.

 
  
 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Do You Believe?.........



Ohhhh, yes, yes, yes.   I believe in the miracle of Christmas.  From my own personal experiences since I was a child.....

There were 6 of us siblings.  We didn't have much money; my mom did not work out of the house.  My dad was a life-long alcoholic who tried to do what was right.  He worked on the railroad.  And he worked.  But times being what they were, between sketchy paychecks and my mother's inability to manage money, much less a household of kids, things were tough. But....we did live in our own house, we did watch out for each other, we DID love our parents.  We didn't have birthday parties or gifts.  We had a cake, invited a few neighborhood friends, got kisses and hugs.   So Christmas for us was the highlight that we waited for all year.  That was our magic moment.

My mom would bake all the cookies, the house would be scrubbed and cleaned from top to bottom, and decorated beautifully. 

And no matter how hard times were, come Christmas morning....we had a ton of gifts!  Almost all we asked for and some we never thought of but were so happy with, all the same.  How did they do it??  My mom and dad would be smiling from ear to ear at the excitement, laughs and giggles of us all going through each and every gift.

Back in those days, all the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents came to our house Christmas night.  My dad had 4 siblings, their spouses; my mom had 2 siblings and their spouses.  And there were 21 cousins at the time.  Our house was shaking from the rafters, all the laughing, running, playing, eating, talking!  Great times.

Since I've had a family of my own, some 47+ years now, I've tried to recreate the same Christmas feeling.  Back in the day, things were not easy.  We went through a lot of rough patches during the years.  But, come Christmas.....the kids had all they asked for  and more.  I did work part time when they were small; I worked full time when they were older.  One year, things were so bad and I won't go into the sordid details of an ex and his shinanigans.....but my kids had the most wonderful Christmas thanks to my brother and sister.

Bakings dozens of cookies, decorating the house to the hilt as best I could, and the tree.....oh the tree.....it had to be decorated just so....as if it came from a magazine.   It was the magic of Christmas.  It all came together and turned out to be a wonderful time.  I would sit in quietude and wonder "how did this all come together? How did it all finally work out? Where did it all come from?"   A miracle, for sure.

Then we would all go to Mom and Pop's in the evening for more Christmas magic.  Now they had 11 grandchildren with more on the way.  All our kids, cousins, enjoying the excitement, the thrill, the love and the Magic of Christmas.

Today, we're much older. My parents are gone 5 years now; the kids are grown with families of their own, and we're spread out all over the country.   Some have chosen to leave the family because of their own feelings and that's a shame.  My energy is waning, and some years I just don't know how I'm going to pull this off.  But through persistence, and a LOT of Christmas music playing throughout the day, it all gets done.  The baking, decorating, shopping, crafting a lot of gifts, wrapping, boxes and Christmas cards sent out, phone calls all through the weeks.  It all comes together.  And come Christmas Eve, we sit back in amazement at the beauty and wonderment of it all.  We reminisce of holidays gone by; we pray for those who don't take part, that some day we'll all be together again; we wish them well. 

And we celebrate with our small family still within driving distance.  We revel in their excitement and joyfulness of another Christmas at home.  We thank God and Baby Jesus for all our blessings, not just today, but all through the year.  For giving us the means, the health, the energy to give to others;  to instill in them the meaning of family and being together through it all. 

It's the time for new beginnings.  Put the old behind us and start fresh.  And if this proves true through the year, then, yes.....it is the miracle of Christmas.

May you all have a very Blessed, Magical, Merry Christmas.




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

So....Are You All Ready for Christmas?.........


Have you noticed that this is the usual refrain from everyone you meet this time of year?  I generally smile and say "oh yeah, just about".  It's a lie.  What I really want to say is....."ask me on Christmas Eve; I'll have a better idea."

Well, this year, I..am..ready.  Sort of.  If the next couple of days work out as planned, I will have a whole week of nothing to do!  Yay me!!

Oh, of course, there's Christmas Eve dinner to prepare, but that should be a breeze....if all goes as planned.  Now, I don't want to waken the Christmas gremlins, so we'll just leave it there.

Did a new theme for the tree this year.  Our 2nd year with our artificial one.  I love this tree.  I've been doing white ornaments for years now....little angels I made in my crafting days; small glittered snow flakes, acrylic icicles,white lights and white garland.  It was very beautiful, in my opinion.

But this year, the thought of doing all clear glass ornaments that our older son's girlfriend had been gifting me with for years, and some my mom made for me many years ago, seemed like the way to go.  So, I got them out and proceeded to hang them on the tree.  I had forgotten how many there were.....quite a few.....and soooo beautiful!

I also came across a dozen small, glittered fruits I used years ago while crafting things for sale.  Since I'm not crafting any longer, I thought these would add a nice touch.  And they did.

How about candy canes?  Haven't done that for a long time.   I came across a dozen red/white pipe cleaners also used for crafting.  So, I cut each one in 1/2, formed the hook and hung them on the tree....perfect!  

There's also the white lights (the tree was bought pre-strung with lights), my favorite, and of course, the white garland and acrylic icicles.

Ta-dah!!




Well, besides all that, all the gifts are wrapped....all the gifts that needed wrapping, that is.  We still have 1 person to shop for tomorrow and there's a few things coming in the mail.   Cookies are done and in the freezer as are the breads.   One box has to be packed tomorrow and taken to the post office.   I can remember when we used to send out 10 - 12 boxes each Christmas.  And I'm not talking small....oh no.  These were boxes from the grocery store that they received cereal stock in.  Huge!  BH and I used to laugh (sort of) at which cost us more.....the gifts in the boxes or the postage to send them all out!!  And back then, we were going "hand to mouth".  Geeesh.

Dinner will be on Christmas Eve, as it was last year.  Due to our youngest son's girlfriend. They will travel to her mom's on Christmas Day, and then on to a very close friend's party that evening.  A tradition she's had for a handful of years.  We don't mind.  We tell all the kids the season runs from Eve through New Year's Day.  Whenever they can make it here, that's when we celebrate.

Oh, yeah, dinner.....well, girlfriend is a vegetarian.  Last year, we had 2 pans of lasagna...one was meat-eaters, the other veggie.  Ah, but this year....we're having all seafood.  Fish filets, breaded/fried and broiled; crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, macaroni salad, chef salad and yummy rye bread.  Dessert is, of course, cookies and....Baklava!!  A surprise for GF, who grew up in Greece.  I didn't make it last year for whatever reason, but I'm ready to tackle it this year.  Because.....I...have...all...this....time...on...my....hands.   If all goes as planned.




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. 26......my 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 cold.....weather 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........