Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Few of My.........

Part I.

Christmas is just around the corner.  If I stay in my own little world, my own little mind, here are a few of my........

Favorite Things:
  1. Christmas music.  I love Christmas music.  It bothers me that on Dec. 26, there is no more Christmas music played on the radio stations.  What's up with that??

  2.  Christmas decorations.  If I had a million dollars, I'd spend half of it on decorations.  Both inside and outside.  I would love to buy a set of those lighted deer for the front lawn.

  3.  Christmas lights.  Lights everywhere!!  Inside and outside.  White only, please!!  They're on all the windows, all around the deck and over the door, wrapped around Canadian garland and festooned above the kitchen cupboards.

  4.  Christmas trees.  We used to search for the perfect tree; not too big, not too small; not too bushy, not too skinny.  Just right!!  Perferably a scotch pine or balsam because I love to see the white lights and the ornaments hanging delicately from the branches.

  5.  Christmas cookies.  Christmas cookies for breakfast is my favorite!!

  6.  Lots and lots of packages wrapped in Christmas paper under the tree.

  7.  Snow.  You've gotta have snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  Light, fluffy snow.

  8.  Christmas cards.  I love getting oodles of cards to tape up over the doorways.  I love sending them, too.

  9.  Christmas Eve.  What a magical time.  It seems like all the worries, hustle/bustle,  frustrations have just melted away.  There's a kind of eerie, but beautiful, peace to the evening.  And you realize that everything has been accomplished, everything's in order.

 10.  Christmas Day.  It's all done.  Time to relax, to enjoy.  Time for long distance phone calls, opening gifts, cookies for breakfast, fresh coffee, Christmas songs on the radio all day, dinner in the oven, and alcohol --- yes, you can now drink yourself into oblivion for the day!!  The dinner??  Forgetaboutit!!  Someone will take care of it.  Who cares if you eat at 4:00, 6:00 or 10:00! 

 11.  The day after  Christmas.  This is my all time favorite!!  Because for the rest of the season, our time is our own!!  We can truly enjoy the fruits of our labor.  It's done.  It's over.  Stay in your pajamas all day if you want to!

12.  Midnight Mass.  Is there anything that makes your heart swell with the true meaning of Christmas more than Midnight Mass? The reverence and beauty of it all makes you feel like you've been granted a new beginning on life.

13.  Handel's Messiah - The Hallelujah Choir.  I have to turn this up as loud as my cd player will go.  I wish I had huge speakers outside the house so the whole neighborhood could hear it!!  If it doesn't bring the joy of Christmas to your heart and soul, I don't know what would.  It makes you stop, think, reflect, fills you heart with peace and love.

14. A house filled to the rafters with family.  All ages, shapes and sizes.  The hours and hours of cacophony; laughter, singing, story telling of Christmases past.

15.  Memories.  Of Christmases at my grandparents' house; my parents' and the traditions we embraced every year;  of Aunts and Uncles and dozens of cousins popping in for a visit; when I was a kid; when I was a teen; when my kids were babies; when they were older; when the grandchildren came along; Christmas shopping or crafting for that very special gift for that certain person; the looks of surprise, appreciation and love on everyone's face; the love that permeated the house.

What are your favorite things?

What is Going On??.........

Is anyone else having trouble with blogger??  This is the second day.  Asking me to "sign in".  I never "sign out".  Then my "dashboard"  "blogs I follow" is empty!!  What the hell is going on??  This is very irritating.

Just asking.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Onward and Upward.......

So, Thanksgiving turned out ok.  Food was good.  Except..........I think there's something wrong with the oven thermostat.  Thankfully, the turkey did get done......even if it was an hour later than planned!  I was getting pretty nervous.  "Oh, please, please, please don't crap out on me now! Pleeeez let this bird get done before you decide to totally die on me!"

.......OMG!  This post was waaayyy longer; hit the "publish" button; wanted me to enter my password.  Did, 4 times.  "not valide password".....????  I had to reset my password, and this is what appeared in today's blog ---- 1 paragraph!!  Is anyone else having problems with Google blog?

Anyway, as I was saying before I was soooo rudely interrupted...... so, I started thinking maybe that's why the pies were taking so long to bake the day before.  Crap.  Now I spent the rest of the afternoon panicking over what we would have for dinner should the 24# bird and stuffing need to be "86'd".  Geezzz.  Are the restaurants open today??  Should I order a bucket of chicken now?  Is there any meat in the freezer I can pull out quickly?? (only hamburg).  Ehh, we'll have enough with the sweet potatoes, squash, mashed potates and stuffing.  We'll all have a good laugh!!

Well, the turkey eventually got done and we had a nice dinner.  Sonwhoisthetechie left for home yesterday afternoon.  Sonwholivesnearby and daughter are still here.  I suggested to BH last night that we would take them home today.  He seemed sort of disappointed.  But, hey, I gotta get back to my routine.  There are things to be done.

I set up the wheel this morning and spun for about 1 1/2 hours.  Yeah. It had to be put away on Wednesday to make room for extending the dining table.  The knitting also had to be hidden from "grandchild" bunny, who loves to explore the knitting bag.

While perusing the store ads yesterday, I see that one has a couple of items we planned for Christmas gifts on sale.  I would really like to get there today and pick them up.  You know.  Before they're "out of stock".  Yeah.  The sale price is soooo have to wonder if these things are really "in stock"!!

The weather this week is supposed to be mild and sunny.  Sure hope we can get the lights up outside.  Then I have to go over to the storage house and dig out the acrylic yarn (ack, ack) for daughter-in-law's slipper boots.  You don't want to make anything out of wool for this girl.......everything goes in the washing machine....with other assorted articles of clothing (read: jeans, jackets, towels, blankets, etc).  I love her to death, but she has no regard for "handle with care".

Well, everyone is still sleeping, so now is the perfect time to slice myself a piece of apple pie and get a fresh cup of coffee.  Then it's back to spinning.  I love routine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Letting Go........

A sad commentary.

This is the beginning of the holiday season, the first without my parents.  My father passed away in June, 2010, and last Thanksgiving was my mother's last.  Unbeknown to all of us.

We tried to make it a "happy" day for her.  My sister did all the cooking and baking; brothers and nephew/family were coming to her house as well as Mom.

Only Mom didn't go.  Said she just couldn't do it.  Wasn't feeling well.  She stayed home, alone, because that's the way she wanted it.

She did get to my sister's for Christmas, but only because she stayed overnight on the Eve with my son and his family and he drove her out there.  But after Christmas Day, everything went down hill.  And she passed away on New Year's Eve Day at 4:00pm.

This year brings back so many memories of years past.  I find myself barely being able to carry this off.  I don't want to.  I have no festive spirit.  This is a real chore for me.  I just want to sit and cry and cry and cry.  I have not allowed myself to have a breakdown, to let it all out since my father's death and then my mother's.  But it's welling up inside me like a tidal wave and I don't know how much longer I can keep it at bay.

Family is not what it used to be.  This is not the family I grew up in.  This is not the family I worked so hard for my whole adult, mothering life.  There are those who don't speak to each other; there are those who don't care to be around another.  There are those who have caused hurt and pain but are oblivious to it.  There are no apologies.  There is no soul searching.  There is no sense of responsibility.  And, unfortunately, not only is it our kids, but this refers to my siblings as well.  Those who know better because they were brought up in the same house, with the same parents as I.  The same background, the same memories. 

And so, the holidays trigger no emotions, no memories, no thought of putting things right.  For the sake of the parents, if nothing else.  They have not yet realized that "family" is all there is.  Without the unit, your life is pretty much helter skelter; in free-fall; whirling out of control.

So today, with only 3 of the 5 living near us coming for dinner, we will put on a festive "face".  Make the best of the day.  Turkey and all the trimmings.  Maybe there will be a phone call or two from my siblings.  And after today, I will forge ahead with plans for the upcoming Christmas.  But my heart won't be in it.  I will not go crazy with the decorating and baking.  Just a few things to say "Christmas".  Seriously, I can't wait for January 1.  Then it's all over and we can get back to our regular life.  No mental, emotional reminders that we are a fractured, frayed, separated family.

For those of you who have the love and consideration of your children and grandchildren still, who have close-knit family ties, who are there for each other no matter what, who have the respect of your offspring as their parents, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  May you always find peace and love in the hearts, minds and arms of your family.  May the memories you have created over the years see you through the rough patches and make your family ties stronger with the years, for all generations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing you and your families a very blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving Day! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

So How Was Your Weekend?.......

Pretty good here.  Pretty... pretty..... pretty.. good, to quote Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm").

I finished the first mint green sock; I put the yarn aside and moved on to something else.  I've been itching to make another Norwegian hat, so I started on that.  Last year I bought a package of plastic bobbins that flip into themselves to hold small amounts of yarn for colorwork.  Haven't used them yet.  As a matter of fact, I just remembered I had them this morning.  So I will attempt to wind the colors onto them; we'll see how it goes.

Also stripped 8 oz. of the copper roving into narrow strips and started spinning it this morning.  At least, I weighed out 8 oz.  But after tearing it into strips, the bucket is full.  And that holds 4 oz.!  This should be interesting.  I bought 2# of the stuff.  Weighed out 8oz, and got 4 balls -- 32 oz. = 2#, right?  And I still had 3 oz. left over.  That's a plus-no complaints about that!  

The roving is a bit touchy to spin.  It feels like it's a long wool, so I have a longer drafting zone.  If I don't do this, the wool gets too thick and twists past the zone.  Then it's hell trying to get it untwisted and draft some more.  But I'm getting the hang of it.  And I finished plying the blues -- got 7 1/2 bobbins.  Add that to the other 5 --- a sweater?  Hope so!

Son called Saturday to say he and fiance won't be coming up for Thanksgiving or the weekend.  She has to work Wednesday and Friday, and the finances are kind of tight right now.  No extras for gas money up here and back.  I kind of expected it; he mentioned it last week.  So that's 2 less for dinner/weekend.  Now we'll see what son #2 has planned.  And son #3.  It might turn out to be BH, me and daughter ---- and a 24# turkey!  Ah, but I have freezers!!  I love freezing food.  No problem.

Yesterday I had a burst of energy, against my better wishes, and made Chicken Alfredo for supper.  It turned out great!  Salad and warm Italian bread.  Also made Tapioca pudding -- one of BH's favs.  Defrosted a dish of strawberries and had them on top of the pudding.  Deeeelish!!

I woke up this morning at 3:15 ---- yep, A.M.  Turned the coffee on, put wood in the stove and went to the wheel.  Don't ask me why.  It happens quite frequently.  Must have something to do with "old age".  My mother used to get up at 3:00am every day!  for the last 10 years of her life.  Not that she had anything in mind, or was busy doing something.  It was coffee, sit in the recliner and cat nap all day.  You could be talking to her one minute, turn your head, and she'd be out like a light.  This went on all day and evening.  Holy crap!!  I hope I never get that bad!!

I checked the turkey, defrosting in the fridge, this morning.  It's still solid as a rock.  It's been sitting in the fridge since late Saturday afternoon.  This has me concerned.  I think I'm going to have to start giving it a boost --- 2 hours out of the fridge a couple times a day.  Don't you hate it when you go to clean the bird and the inside is still frozen??  And you try to hurry up because you fingers are getting frost-bite??  Omg, and then you can barely get the stuffing into it because you have no feeling in your hands??  Yeah.  Me too.

Well, I gotta go shower, change the bed linens, make breakfast, do the dishes and then some knitting.  Before all this energy subsides.  And I pass out.  Like right around 10:00 this morning.  Thank goodness there's leftovers for supper tonight!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crap!........  Didn't get the Christmas lights up outside yesterday.  It started out a sunny morning --- but cold, 17 degrees.  No problem.  By the time I get done with breakfast, laundry and straightening up, it'll be warmer.  BH advises not to go outside til about 10:30 or so.  He's always got my back!

Well, as we're sitting in the family room, with our toast and coffee, watching Matlock (love that show), the sun disappears, the clouds take over.  It's extremely grey outside - threatening snow - and the temp doesn't seem to be moving any.

I don't function on grey days.  Especially not outside.  This job gets put on hold for another day.  Besides, what am I thinking??  I never put lights up before Thanksgiving!!  Please.  One holiday at a time.  Give it a chance to come and go, let the hoopla subside before moving on to the next big all-encompassing season.

And it did snow.  A nice thick dusting over everything.  The temps never did get to the projected 39 degrees.  The thermometer stuck at 33. 

Besides, we always put lights up outside when it's 20 degrees or less, 2 feet of snow on the deck and winds blowing 30 m.p.h.  And grey.  Definitely grey.  It's the challenge that inspires us.

Today....I don't know.  There's still the bathroom to scrub.  There's the comforter from the guest room that needs to be washed.'s "Law&Order: Criminal Intent" day.  Vincent.  All day.  Good thing there's plenty of knitting to be done.

Speaking of knitting, I was putting the burgundy socks away the other day and I see that there are 2 other pair of mint green socks in storage.  Eeegadsss.  Yeah, they're different patterns.  One is actually the painted white with green heels and toes.  And I'm knitting a 3rd pair of mint green with painted white heels and toes. Yeah. I'm innovated that way!  Geezz. Why?  Because it's there! The last 6 ounces of it.  And the color doesn't really strike me as being knitted in any other item.  A mint green beret? scarf?  mitts?  I don't think so.

We're under a winter storm warning for today.  2" - 5" of snow predicted.  This should be interesting.  BH will be in the house with me all day (then I won't have to tend the woodstove! Yay!)

This week our local chain pharmacy is having a sale on Christmas paraphenalia.  They inserted a grocery bag in the newspaper: "Fill this bag and get 20% off everything inside".  What a deal!!!  I need more lights, some pine garland, Christmas cards, candy, maybe I'll even find a gift or two.  So off I go........oh, that bag was filled all right!  Brimming over the top.  A feeling of triumph and satisfaction overtook me! (Usually, the pharmacy is out of everything I'm looking for when they have these sales).  I got it all!!

Proudly and somewhat smug, I put the bag on the counter for check-out.  The cashier immediately tells me: "You know the 20% doesn't apply to items already on sale".  Why no.  I didn't know that.  I suppose everything I have is on sale....yeah, I think everything I have is on sale.

"Well, let's see how it rings up", she says. "Sale; sale; sale; sale......"  On and on it goes.  But, it turns out, everything in the bag was at 50% off!!!  Hurray!!  And we all know from elementary school math class that 50% is much more than 20%!!!  Now I'm doing the happy dance in my head!!  So, I said to her: "I think I made out better!"  She whole-heartedly agreed: "You certainly did!"

When I got home, I relayed this episode to BH.  "Wow!  Good job!", he says.  "Yeah, well you can take this stupid brown bag with the '20% off' written all over it and use it in the woodstove", was my final comment on the subject.

Take that, Pharmacy that thinks you can dupe people into thinking 20% off  full price (3x the price of a big-box store) is some kind of a deal!

You don't know who you're messin' with!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Moving Along.........

Yep.  Defrosted the freezer yesterday; just the upright.  The chest never seems to accumulate much ice, so that'll be done next Spring.  Now to get all the stuff transferred back.

Well today is supposed to be 39 degrees.  I'm thinking we should get the Christmas lights up outside.  Do the deck railing, over the door, cut boughs from our pines for the top railing of the deck and whatever else I get inspired to do.  This means going over to the storage house and digging out the tote with the lights.  Not an easy task.  Although the Christmas decorating totes are stacked  in one spot, there is a mountain of crap in the way....that will need to be moved to access the specified totes.  Because I never did get over to the storage house to clean it out and re-organize.  Oh I know where everything is (for the most part), it just takes some military planning to get at it!  Anyway, that's the plan for today.  Tomorrow, I'm thinking of tackling the bathroom.  Get it scrubbed.  Then I am truly done!!

The weather people are calling for our first significant snowfall of the season on Saturday.  2-5"s.  This'll be interesting.  Monday is barber day for BH.  Yep, I cut his hair; have been for 20 years.  He needs his "holiday haircut".  Tuesday will be regular housecleaning; Wednesday, baking and preparing for Thursday.  Then the weekend will probably entail more cooking and entertaining.  Sunday, everyone will go home; we need to take daughter back home.  And Monday, the planning begins for the next 3 weeks to come.  Thankfully, I can do this while sitting in the recliner, cup of coffee, TV shows, and notepad on my lap.  I will seriously need that recliner.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How's By You?..........

So yesterday we took the jaunt into town.  Picked up 2 - 20# bags of rock salt, 2-40# of black oil sunflower seeds for the chickadees, a 15-roll pack of paper towels, a new battery for the house phone, son's Christmas gift, and some odds and ends.  Now I have 2 people taken care of on the Christmas list.  This makes me very happy.  We know what the others are getting, but that won't be done till next month. The budget, you know.

Then we went grocery shopping for the Thanksgiving feast.  The store had a sale on turkeys -- you paid per pound according to how much you spent.  Hence, I got a 24 1/2 bird for ------- 39 cents a pound!!!!  That's right -- $9.55 for the bird!  Of course, you had to spend $100.00 or more.  Hey, it's the holiday meal, no problem!  Some of the groceries were everyday meal items too.   So we're set for the next 2 weeks or so.

And it was cold yesterday!  Yikes!  The high was 27 degrees (I really wish the keyboard had "cents" and "degree" symbol).  The wind was pretty strong, too.  So it felt like 14 degrees!  Then it started to snow.  A light, but blowing snow.  Didn't accumulate, thank goodness.  I need a few days of local traveling on snow covered roads before I have to venture onto highways for long distance.  Gotta get my "snow feet" settled in.

After next week I have to get started on a couple of gifts to crochet -- slipper booties.  It's been a standing joke with my daughter in law in NY; has been for about 6 years now.  I told her she's in the "Slipper Booties of the Year Club"; 2 pair every Christmas.  I made 2 pair for my son last year also.  Wasn't sure if he would like or wear them, but he did --- as well as the grandson.  He immediately took 1 pair for himself.  So, we'll see how much time and stamina I have this year, maybe whip up 4 more pair.

Also hoping to get the gifts accumulated boxed and wrapped.  I'd like to get a jump on it so it doesn't have to be done all at once - like the day before packages have to be in the mail.

I'm thinking of defrosting the freezer today.  Oh, I got all the seasonal housecleaning done!!  Except for the bathroom, but that won't take long.  Yeah, so, I need to get that freezer done and re-organized.  Before the baking begins.  What's that?  Defrost the freezer?  Well, yes. It's about 50 years old, bought at an auction 18 years ago.  And still going strong.  Thank God.  Because it weighs a ton.  If it ever quits, it's going to take an Amish village to move it outta here.  Oh, and that's not all.  We have another one; purchased 17 years ago.  It has the sticker on the inside of the top "International Harvester, 1950".  Yeah. 2 monster freezers. Sitting side by side.  One is an upright, the other a chest.  Both weigh a ton each.  That's empty.  But there's food inside them.  The upright is the "everyday-go-to" and the chest is for "stocking up".  Right now everything is helter-skelter.  Need to be organized.  Will do.  I hope.

We got the storm windows up Tuesday night.  I scrubbed the metal frames clean on them.  After 20 years, the gunk that accumulated was disgusting. Blaahhhgg.  Now they're all shiny and clean.  BH washed the windows after the scrubbing. He prides his window washing abilities.  So I think that's it.  We're now officially ready for winter.  Bring it on!  But....not too much til after all the long distance shopping is completed, I hope.

Still plying the denim blue singles.  On the 4th bobbin of plied.  Looks like I should wind up with 6, maybe 7+ bobbins of yarn, approximately 3 1/2 ounces each.  That's a good thing.  Of course, all this playing around will take a back seat in a couple of weeks.  The wheels will sit idle til Christmas week, if not after.  That makes me sad.  Makes my fingers itch.  Gives me the heebie jeebies.

Well that's enough fodder for today.  Hope you all have a great day, great weather and accomplish all you set out to do.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Catching Up.........

So, I had a bunch of stuff to do today. Futzie stuff.  First let me share this with you - our first snowfall!  BH saw it first when it became light outside.  It was still snowing; that soft, straight down, big flakes snow.  I call it "Rocky Mountain" snow.  Beautiful.  I started singing the "Sleigh Bells" song.  You know, "just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling, ting, ting, ting-a-ling too.  Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you........" (I wish I could insert musical notes here).

My day started with spinning at 5:00am.  Til 6:15.  Then it was check email for pictures my sister has been trying to send me for 2 days.  Pictures I need to send to future daughter-in-law.  Finally they came through.  So I add them to my FB page because I have a whole album there of my parents that f.d.-i-l. wants for a project.

Now I want to send the whole thing through email (she doesn't have, doesn't want, a FB page).  Okey dokey, then.  That took a good hour and a half.  Apparently, you can't send FB albums by email.  I had to do all sorts of configuring, moving it here and there, until finally got it to go.  What the hell is up with that???  Any moron or psycho can hack into your FB page, put you can't send a damn album by email??!!  Agrivating, to say the least. Yeah --- geniuses!!

Moving make the bed, put dishes away from the dish drain, get dressed, make breakfast, wash up the dishes.

BH: "what are your plans today?"  ME: "I think I'm going to putz around with wool.  I gotta block and press the shawl, wash the burgundy socks and I'm going to try to get whatever those dark spots are in the white tam out.  I bought some new stain remover".

He's bringing in wood, feeding the birds, getting the mail, bringing over the storm windows.  We plan on putting those up tonight.  He washes all the windows for me.  Nice, huh?  Very!

Back to my I did exactly what I said.  Only now I had to pull a lot of stuff out of the closet to get to my storage bins to put the shawl away and get out the tam.  If you could see how much stuff is stored in that closet, yeah.  You'd walk away, too.  But I persevered.

The discoloration in the tam did not come out.  I am pissed.  Now I'm thinking it was already in the wool, I just didn't see it when spinning and knitting. And I don't remember anything I did that would cause the stains.  I've tried everything: oxy stain remover, White Brite (which whitened up the wool, but didn't touch the stains!), the new Tide stain remover.  I even went so far as to put Soft Scrub on the stains (I know. I know. That's liquid bleach!). It didn't harm the wool (thank God), but it didn't....remove.....the....stains.....either.  I give up.  It is what it is.  I'm afraid to dye it because I think the stains will come out darker than the rest of the hat.  Aaaarrrrggghhhh!!!  Crap. 

 I may have to knit another tam.  Which I'm trying to avoid.  Because it has beads.  Beads that were added while knitting.  I didn't care for that process, and really not looking forward to doing it again! I prefer adding the beads to the singles as I spin.

Anywho, here's the shawl after blocking and pressing the points: (Beads added while spinning)

It measures 58" across the top and 33" long to the center point.  I'm happy with it; it turned out ok for my first attempt at a triangular shawl.

So I put all the paraphenalia away, wiped up my messes, laid out socks and tam to dry.  I think I'll go sit and knit a while.  Ohhh wait a minute!!............there's a mess in the family room.  Wood crumbs all over the floor.  Crap!!!  Get out the electric sweeper and clean it all up --- from one end to the other.  Aaaarrggghhh! 

Well, I guess I will try to get some knitting in until nap time.  I could really use a nap today.  Tomorrow we're going into town (57 miles one way) to pick up a Christmas present that is on sale, then to the BIG grocery store for Thanksgiving shopping.   I heard a joke on "Ellen" yesterday. She asked her guest "so what're you making for Thanksgiving?"  And the guest said "RESERVATIONS!!".  Although that was pretty funny, that's something I dream about saying every year.......and that's no joke !!

You all have a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Photos..........

 The Targhee roving; "Indian Corn"

 The colors don't show up as dark as they are in the roving photo.  This is really nice roving.  Going to be plied with copper color (yet to be spun) and navy blue singles.

 The blues.  Merino in the middle; Romney(?)/Columbia on the two ends. Working on plying this now; got 8 bobbins of singles.  Hoping for a sweater with 5 bobbins of 3 ply of similar colored blue.

 3-ply yarn, first bobbin of those above.  Color above is truer - light denim blue.  Damn camera.

 These socks are soooo soft and squishy! Waffle patterning; I think it's more of the Columbia/Romney wool.  (I gotta do a better job of tagging my wools).

 UFO; hand dyed, painted Merino, both the mint green and white.  So soft! Barred Rib is the pattern.

 Apples from our tree; dehydrated.  Turned out very well --- according to BH and son --and his bunny!

Still haven't gotten the black shawl w/beads pressed yet; hopefully before the week is out.
That's all for now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I LOVE Vincent D'Onofrio!!.........

There, I said it.  I've been wanting to say it for a very long time.  BH knows it; he's cool with it.  He affords me my Saturdays for the "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" marathon.  9:00am to 5 or 6 pm.  Depending if there's some sports thingy.  Or the station decides to air "The Unit".  Geezz.  Really???  You put that on instead of another hour of Vincent?  Unbelieveable.

Anywho, I try never to make plans on Saturday, especially to be out of the house. Yes, there were the craft shows last week, but that was kind of my way of saying "I do not have a L&O: C I addiction.  I can give it up any time".  Secretly, I missed it; thought about it all day.  What episode was I missing, was it one of my favorites?  Can I make it through the rest of the day not hearing his voice and seeing his face?  I had to shut my mind off from it completely - I can handle it.

I  admit that this might be getting out of control.  I now find myself perusing Netflix to see if there's any movies with Vincent that I might have missed.  I did find one recently.  Oh yeah. It's on my list.  Coming here soon.  A couple months ago, son was telling me about a movie I never heard of.  About an Irish gangster in Ohio.  He never heard of the lead actor; I never heard of him.  Son started telling me all the actors in the movie.  As soon as he said "Vincent D'Onofrio", I said "that's it; I'm sold; don't go any further; I LOVE that guy!"  And I ordered the movie.  It came in a couple of days and BH and I watched it immediately.  It didn't disappoint!  I still never heard of or saw most of the actors in it.  Who cares.

And it doesn't bother me that he's gotten older, more grey, a bit heavier (haven't we all!).  It's all so appealing!  He's brash, rough-around-the-edges, no-nonsense.

Unfortunately (and this is heartbreaking), I can only watch the show's repeats.  We don't have cable, so I can't tune into the new episodes (if they're even still playing) on the cable network.  Damn.  I keep trying to convince BH that we should get cable -- you know, for the Yankee's baseball games, boxing matches, old movies.  He isn't buying it yet; but I'm not giving up.  Still, I can handle this; it's not a problem.

Not to sound fickle, but I LOVE Tom Selleck too!  I'm addicted to "Blue Bloods".  And, of course, the "Jesse Stone" movies.  I've loved him since "Magnum P.I".  Oh yeah, he was younger; I was younger.  He lived a lifestyle I could only dream about.  He was a ladies man.  I didn't care.  But now that we've both gotten older better, there's just something about his mature, suave, handsome persona that makes my heart flutter. Totally, the other end of the spectrum. So Friday night, at 8:00pm CT, no one calls, no one visits.  No one better! I will not be denied!  It's my hour to escape, to dream, to...........never mind.

Sometimes BH and I get on the subject of what I will do after he has passed away. It's not as morbid as it sounds.  We talk of finances, where I would live, what I would do with my life.  And he always brings up "yeah, you'll probably find yourself a big, rich woodsman to marry; you'll forget about me".  To which I reply:  "Ohhhhh Noooo.  No more men for me.  I've had enough.  No one could take your place; I wouldn't want anyone else.  I will live my life alone and stay busy with the kids and grandkids".

But, that's unless I hear from Vincent or Tom, which I don't tell BH.  It'll just be my little secret.  Right now I'm hearing the song "To Dream the Impossible Dream......"   Great.  That'll be stuck in my head all day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ehhh.....My Bad.........

So, we met with daughter's Social Security rep yesterday.  I was ready.....boy, was I ready.  I had every piece of documentation and more.  We sat down, she started to explain to daughter the reason for the re-certification, and started about why she couldn't talk to me.  Here's were I stopped her.......

"yeah, about that....I called the main SS office and talked with Mr.--------.  He said my name is indeed listed as person to share info with.  He told me to tell you it's Special Message #2.  It's been there since 2007."   To which she responded.....

"Yes, well, that's just a calling center."   WHAAATTTT??!!  Against my better judgement and rising blood pressure, I immediately shut down; took it down a few notches.  And started listening.

She did this and that, asked some questions, plunked away on her calculator, noticed discrepancies in daughter's SS record.  Things that were never changed in her behalf, things that were never explored previously.

It turned out all was good.  Daughter will be well taken care of for the rest of her life ----- or until the government really screws it up.  We came away very satisfied and happy that all is well.  The rep was a very nice and examined everything thoroughly.  I felt like a dufus; I was embarrassed by my previous thoughts and voice.  But I thanked her sincerely and shook her hand as we left.  And I hope this is a lesson I will remember.

Now, about crafters: (I'll try to be nice here, remembering my "lesson")

When I decided to get into crafting, it was not to become a millionaire.  I was sick of seeing things I really loved, only to realize that I couldn't afford the price.  I am innovative, creative -- I know the costs of supplies; I knew I could do better for others who felt like me.

So I sallied forth.  Mostly creating my own designs, sometimes tweaking an object that appealed to me.  I took great care in all I made.  I put a lot of detail in my work; I asked a fair price.   I had great success over the years.  A lady who sold my crafts on consignment once told me my prices were too low, I should increase them.  I explained to her that I know what it costs to make a piece, I add a profit for myself, and that's it.  If something is fairly priced, I can make more money by volume, quality and variety than by pricing an object that only a few can afford.  My goal was to appeal to the masses.

And I did so for 10 years.  That's why I have a problem with those who think they can just throw any thing together, call it a craft and put a Macy's price tag on it.  No thought, no quality, no detail.  There is no "craft" in the process.

When someone says "you couldn't afford what it would cost for me to make this for you", I cringe.  Or how about "well, my supplies costs $x, and then I add my time multiplied by the hourly rate."  Whoa!!

For me, crafting has always been a love, a passion.  Something I wanted to share with others who sincerely appreciated the quality of my work; who became repeat customers, who recommended my products to others.

The beautiful comments I received about my work, diversity and detail is something I couldn't put a price on.  Don't get me wrong --- I didn't short change myself.  The money made was very satisfactory to me and I had a lot of pride in knowing customers went away knowing they had something beautiful and they could afford it, it was fair.   It was a craft .

So that's my diatribe.  I decided to give up creating decorative objects and concentrate on spinning and knitting.  So what I create, I plan to sell.  Right now I'm trying to stock up until the inventory is sufficient.  Hopefully, next year.  But if not then, I'll keep on with this passion that has taken over and I'm loving every minute of it.  Maybe the time will come when it'll all just be given away.  But the love that was put into every piece will fill my heart, if not my coffers.

And there you have it.  Wishing you all a beautiful, peaceful day.  And may you love whatever you're doing because it brings you happiness.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Craft Show Update........

Thank you Denise and Judy for your nice comments.  So here's what I have to report:

Yep. Just as I thought.  In some cases, worse.  Our school show has been reduced to a handfull of crafters; the rest were "Home Party" reps - candles, spices, jewelry and home decor.  There were a couple knit wear booths;  Mostly baby and toddler items, because they can be knitted up quickly. Plain stitches; no designs, no colorwork, no imagination.  (I'm sorry this sounds rude; I'll explain later). 

There was a couple of piecework booths.  I say "piecework" because though the item was created from a quilt pattern, there was no quilting done! The pattern blocks were sewn together and that was it.  Oh the front and back were sandwiched with batting and a border added for the finishing.  No quilting!! But quilted prices!!

There were a couple of floral design booths, very pretty, but outrageous prices!  Moving on........

And, I guess the big craft this year is felted mittens.  Not knitted and felted.  But made from wool sweaters that are felted and cut from a mitten pattern and sewn together with a felted liner made the same way.  Some had a hand-whipped blanket stitch around the opening.  Yeah. They were kind of nice.  If you weren't a knitter, didn't know wool, never designed and felted your own fabric.  Mmeeoorrww...pssst....psssst.  Sorry.

Anywho, it wasn't until the 4th and final craft show that my heart went "ZING"!  Now this was a Craft Show!!!  Oh yeah, there  were a couple of "Home Party" people, but just a couple.  The whole church hall was packed with crafters and shoppers.  Just like the old days!  I was like a kid in a toy store at Christmas.  And I bought a couple of handmade pottery pieces, a huge  covered casserole dish (for moi) and a pedestal cake plate for son's fiance, for Christmas.  Beautiful work! 

I had intended on going back to the quilt vendor (place mats, table runners, pot holders) and the floral vendor (a railroad lantern w/miniture lites inside and surronded by winter florals - gorgeous!), but the pottery lady and I started talking.  She and her husband are retired art teachers.  I told her I was a spinner and knitter.  She asked me if I've been to The Tin Shack in Isle.  "No! No, I haven't, but I've heard about it".   "Oh, you would love it", she says.  "She sells her own wool; all her sheep have names; she's a very friendly, talkative person.  You and her could talk for hours! Besides, she's having a sale today".
I immediately forgot there were any other vendors there.  This lady had just hung a carrot on a stick in front of this donkey's face!

Well, alrighty then!!  BH says "let's go out there".  Hey, I'm already there!!
Off we go.  I had a general idea where it was; the sign said "Isle 35 miles".  Ehhh, more like 50, but who's counting when there's a wool shop I haven't been to, and there's a sale!!

What a nice proprietor!!  What a cute little shop!  And yes, we did talk.....and talk......and talk.  Definitely on my "go back" list.

So what started out to be a bummer turned into an exciting, gratifying day!  Next year we'll only be attending 1 craft show........and a very special fiber store!!

I will explain my rant on crafters in the next post.  Right now I've got a bunch of things to get done.  Time is short today.

You all have a beautiful, peaceful weekend!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oh Yeah, Baby!!.............

Ok, this is a "gold star" moment...I got the utility room cleaned!!  A big "Yay"!! Yep. Scrubbed. Ceiling, walls, storage cabinets, shelves (even took all the stuff off, wiped everything), bookcase (did not remove the all the books....5 shelves x 20 mostly hard-cover....I'm not that crazy); removed and washed the window screens, washed the window, wiped all the katchki's hanging on the walls and even moved out the dryer, washing it down, wiping up the floor, washing off the vent hose.  Hung the new blind, ironed the curtains and hung them (they were washed a few weeks ago in anticipation).

Alrighty then.  And so my reward we're touring around a few towns for the annual "Deer Hunting Opener Craft Shows".  Yep. It's a big thing here.  As big as 4th of July celebrations.  The idea is, the men go hunting, the women go shopping.  Every townhall, school gym and church hall is transformed into a Crafter's Marketplace.  This should be fun.

It used to be that our school was the only one to have a craft show on the hunting opener.  That was some 30 years ago.  I got into it about 18 years ago, shortly after we moved to Minnesota.  I did it for about 10 years. It was fantastic! We had shoppers coming from the Twin Cities, Duluth, Wisonsin, and all points N.E.W.S in our state.

 Then it seemed like every town started to jump on the bandwagon. It didn't matter that other places had 3 or 4 craft shows a year, some even a couple of weeks or a couple of months after the Hunter's Opener.  They saw the opportunity and took it.  Competition became fierce.

Our big buyers began to drop off, and in a town of only 400 people, minimum wage or less, that was a big hit to some of the "big ticket" items.  People who haven't made a "craft" since summer camp began to make stuff to sell.  And I do mean "stuff"!!  Like from the latest craft magazine.  Imagine 20 crafters all selling the same "hot" craft item for the year!  Ridiculous.  And, of course, started the pre-made, mass-market people.  They bought their China-made knick-knacks wholesale and sold them at "Craft Shows".  WTF!!   Then there was the invasion of the Avon, Mary Kay, Watkins and the Fuller Brush reps.  That's when I quit.  C'est le vie!  This was no longer a "Craft Show".  Serious, conscientious, original, detailed,truly creative crafters were pushed aside.

So today we will peruse the market places.  I want to see what is passing for crafts these days and what prices are.  I'm curious.  I also need a good laugh and a "tch, tch, tch" head shaking.  Maybe I'll be surprised.  That would be great.  I will have a few bucks in my wallet, just in case. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ehhhh.......No Thanks..........

Ehhh. Yeah. So I went to the NaBloPoMo website, perused a bit, and signed up.  Went back and perused more, reading thoroughly (as much as my brain would allow), checked different links.   Ummm......nah.  Never mind.  Too much work.  I don't like contests; I don't like "chats"; I really don't have time for all that fiddlin' around.  Not for me.

So that's the end of that venture.

Anywho, we never made it to the recycling center yesterday because a pressing issue came up Tuesday night.  My handicapped daughter called to say she got a phone message from Social Security, informing her she missed her appointment Monday; they've been trying to reach her numerous times; and unless she contacts them in the next 2 days, her benefits will be terminated.

Holy Shit!! Now my blood is starting to boil; my stomach is doing flips; I am pissed!  Daughter is very upset, to say the least.  She tells me there has never been missed calls from them; she checks her caller ID every day, even if the light's not blinking.  They said they sent her a letter about the appointment; she doesn't remember receiving a letter.  "Ok. I'll call them tomorrow and get this straightened out", says I.

Daughter calls me back a bit later.  She found the letter.  Yep. Dated Oct. 6; scheduled appointment for Oct. 31.  Aaarrrrgggghhhh. I never received a copy of the letter, which I am supposed to get copies of anything sent to her.

So, I begin the foray of contacting SS and arranging for another appointment, and finding out what it's all about and what she needs to do.

After many attempts to reach the office - phone number that rings and turns into a FAX machine whistle and excessive pinging; automated recordings that have nothing to do with what I'm calling about and give me no other options; an extension number for the contact person, that, when her phone is answered  on the other end, suddenly disconnects; and when I do get through, it's her voice mail.

So I leave a message, hoping she'll return my call within a half hour. Hehehehe!!! Never happened.  At 1:00, I call again.  She answers.  Hear the "Halleluja Chorus"????  So I start to explain the situation, telling her that I am the mother, I'm listed as the contact/share info person.  After a few seconds of her checking my daughter's account, SS woman tells me I am not listed.

And here we go:
"I have been her contact person for many, many years.  How did I get unlisted?"
SS rep: "Well, we've changed systems and there are new rules that now apply"

ME: "But I still receive a copy of her monthly benefits statement every month"
SS rep: "It's probably a glitch in the computer system.  The only way you can be re-instated as the contact person is you would have to apply to be her "Payee".

ME: "No. no. no. no.  I have NEVER been her Payee.  She's been on SSI for many, many years.  I don't understand why this is such a big problem now!"

(Ok. Take it down a notch. You're speaking with a govenment rep who has the power to screw up your daughter's life.)

ME: "So what do we do? Can we schedule another appointment? What does she need to bring in?"
SS rep: "Yes, we'll reschedule.  You can come in with your daughter.  She will have to bring in 2 years of xyz and 1 month of abc."

Done.  Rescheduled.  But I'm not through.  Later that afternoon I try to call back to speak with a supervisor.  Of course.  Automated recordings; none of my subject; "I'm sorry. I cannot understand what you are asking for. Perhaps if I list the categories......." (automated recording). And there is a waiting time of 20 minutes before a rep may answer.  I try the main phone number.  I just want to ask a question.  "Enter your SS number".......I hang up. I'm shaking with rage.

I go to the website.  After much bally-who, I finally find that the main office is open at 7:00am. Ah Ha!!! That's the ticket.  I will be calling at 7:01!!  And I did. I got a very, very nice and apologetic rep.  He found it immediately.  I AM listed as a contact person, and have been since 2007.  How do I tell this woman at our SS office how to find this information?  He gives me the "special message" number and section where it's located.  "It's right there", he tells me.

Haaalllleeeeluja!  Haaallleeeluja!!! Thank you! Thank you!  He was soooo helpful, answered a few more questions, gave me some other information.  But he apologized -- for the threatening phone call daughter received, and for the local rep's carelessness.  He apologized!  You know, sometimes that's all you need to feel vindicated; to feel human again.

So, come Monday morning, I will have all my ducks in a row, all the information required, the inside scoop.  I will be loaded for bear!  And there might even be a request to speak with the Supervisor.  Oh yeah. I will get my 2 pounds of flesh!

I'm thorough that way.  Haaalllleeejjjuaaa!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So I've been seeing this on everyone's blog: NaBloPoMo (did I get that right?) I had no idea what the heck this meant.  It took me several blog sites to finally see what the hub-bub was about.  Oooohhhh. Ok. I'm game.  I guess we're supposed to blog every day for the month.

Ok.  I've just finished writing out some bills; gathered the rest which will have to be paid next week.  Because for #1: we had to order propane last week.  Usually get 200 gallons; it lasts us 2 years!  But this time it had to be only 100's $2.64 a gallon!!   Of course, BH has to remind me that when we first bought the house, 20 years ago, we were paying $.78 a gallon.  That's seventy-eight cents. What the Hell!!!  Oh, and then there's the separate bill from the propane company for the service call.....when I thought I smelled gas.....yeah. $ tell me my imagination was getting away with me.  Well, it's cheaper than a psychologist to tell me that, so I guess I came out on top on this one.

Oh. And #2:  I get my first Social Security check next week!!! Yahooooo!!!  Big money, big money!!!  Ehhhh, yeah.  That should be enough to pay the rest of the bills.  I hope there's money left over for Thanksgiving grocery shopping.   No. Really.  Thank God the freezer is full; won't need any groceries til then.  And we don't mind eating leftovers.....and more leftovers.

We're taking a trip the aluminum recycling center.  BH has 4 big bags of cans and stuff.  They're paying $.52 per pound.  Hey, every little bit helps!  Maybe it'll be enough to cover the gas we'll use to get there....50 miles way.  BH's thought is that he's getting rid of them; making room in the basement.....for more wood.  Okey dokey, then.  Whatever floats your boat.

Let's see....what else is going on.......nothing.  More spinning, of course.  And knitting.  I did take some pictures yesterday; want to take more before I post them.   Soon........pretty soon.

You all have a great day!  And remember: NaBloPoMo!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not Exactly.........

Well we had a good time at the casino.  We were there a little over an hour.  No big money.  No surprise.  But......I got my free card swipe; you could win $5 - $500.  Pick 1 of 4 pumpkins; I picked #4.   $100!!   That's right.  I won $100!!  BH won $5.00.  That's five dollars. Hehehehe.

And the best part ---- I didn't spend a dime of it in the casino! Walked out with my money.  I did, however, have $15.00 in free play coupons.  Oh yeah. That I played the slots with.  Their money; not mine.  It did cost me $2.00 though.  You have to put a dollar in the machine to activate your free money!  I messed up the first time and had to put another dollar in.  Thank goodness I had 2 bucks on me!!

So on the way home, we stopped for gas:  $20.00
Then I had to buy coffee on sale at a discount store, $8.00 a can x 3 cans:  $24.00
And pick up a couple of things at the grocery store: $19.00

My net winnings: $37.00.  Easy come; easy go.  I'm putting that away for the next trip.  Afterall, it's still their money!