Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy...........

So, we made it through the Arctic blast last week.  Only had water pipes freeze once. That's a plus.  Got our first real snow yesterday - roughly 4".  It looked like a real storm coming, but tapered off by lunch time.  We're supposed to get into the mid/high 30's later this week.  Hopefully it'll all melt.

BH decided he was going to get "back on the horse" today.  After taking all last week off, he's out doing chores and catching up.  Though I don't believe he's cutting wood for a while.

Been at the spinning wheel almost every morning.  I skeined, washed and "caked" the 8 1/2 bobbins of the painted/blue/copper yarn.  Ooohhhh, I'm thinking "sweater"!  Or at least a vest.  Anywho, I'm trying to finish up the mate to the pale green sock.  Going e-v-e-r s-o  s-l-o-w-l-y.  Crap.  But just keep plugging away, right?  Right.

Well, we achieved one of our New Year's resolutions and are working on another.  We opened a savings account!!  Our first!!  A real savings account.  Just for me!!  For my -- ahem -- widowhood.  Not to be touched.  Never.  Ever.  Till the time comes.

We also have a new budget in place.  We have a goal to pay off some debts in the next few years.  BH wants us to be "debtless" before anything happens to him.  So we are going to become "misers"!!  We're going to be smart.  We're going to be frugal.  We're going to "simplify" and "scale down" our life.   Ok.  I'm game.

And --- we quit smoking.  Yes.  I know.  Hey, quitting is easy ---- we've done it 6 times!  So, we'll see how long this lasts.  But I'm determined.  Being that we're now both retired, collecting Social Security, I don't intend on spending any more money on my one and only bad habit.  Not MY money!!     Adding to the savings account should give me a lot of incentive.

As part of our new budget, we've also decided on grocery shopping once a month.  Stocking up.  Of course, there will be another gallon of milk, loaf of bread or other perishables to be gotten, but the bulk will be done.  And no more looking at the shopping ads every week!  I'm a sucker for grocery sales!  No more.  Done.  I hope this works. 

We've also informed the kids that we will not be taking any unnecessary trips - i.e: meeting half way (80 miles - one way!) to pick up grandchildren to take home or delivering something you forgot.  We can no longer afford the gas money!  Hey, if they can't (which is what we hear often), then neither can we.  We are on a fixed income!!  (This was my mother's mantra for everything!  "No, I can't; we're on a fixed income"!.   That, and "I can say that if I want to; I'm a senior citizen!")

I've been trying to keep up with things around the house, keeping every thing neat and tidy.  Doing some extra laundry; washing curtains, blankets and such that smell of smoke.  Getting rid of as much of it as possible.  Hopefully, if the weather co-operates, I can open some windows this weekend.  That will definitely help!

Not bad for the first month of the year if I do say so myself! (God grant me the wisdom and strength to make it through the next 11 months!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So You Want to Live in the Country.........

So, I woke up at 3:15am, bathroom call.  Oh geezz, better check the water faucets.

Yep.  Frozen.  Only have cold water in the kitchen; the bathroom pipes and kitchen hot water are frozen.  Get out the hair dryer.

There is a specific spot in the pipeline, an elbow to be exact, that goes from the main line to the hot water tank.  This is where it freezes.

So I worked on it for 45 minutes.  Got a bit of a trickle from tub and sink.  And then the sink stopped trickling.  15 minutes more; nothing.  Time to wake BH.  See, this is not my field of expertise.  I've only defrosted water pipes once before.  But it's not working this time.

BH gets up and takes over.  Tries for another 45 minutes.  Nope.  He's gonna have to get into the closet - to get to the other closet - where the water heater is.  I have to clean out the first closet.  Boxes, bags, totes, ironing board, telescope -- oh yeah, a real production.  After another 1/2 hour, success!  Running water!  Now to keep it running throughout the day.  This will be a challenge. 

It is -17 with a windchill of -35.  Not to get much better today.  Zero degrees for a high, -14 tonight.  Through my studies over these 20 years we've been here, I have found that the magic number is -12.  At -12 air temp, the pipes will freeze.  Not -10; nor -11.  But -12.

We were going to stay up all night last night.  Or at least take shifts.  But by 12:30, neither of us could keep our eyes open any longer.  Threw caution to the wind and went to bed.  That won't happen tonight.  We'll have to take numerous naps today to prepare.

There is another stickler.  Because we have no snow on the ground for insulation, there's a good chance the septic pipe is frozen.  This is found out while taking a shower.  And the bath tub starts filling up with water.  Yeah.  Frozen septic.  We do have the pipeline covered with hay.  As a matter of fact, BH really loaded the hay on this year, more than ever.  Hopefully that will prolong the freezing effect.  We'll see.

Thankfully this blast of arctic air is only supposed to last another day.  Then it will be single digits above zero at night.  We'll be safe.  And pray there won't be any more nights like this.  But there will be.  We still have February.  The first 2 weeks have always been frigid.

I remember one year we had 2 weeks straight that it never got above 0 degrees for a daytime high.  2 weeks straight!  I don't know how we did it because we didn't have all the new fangled heaters like we do now.

Speaking of which, I suggested to BH that we put the smaller "SunTwin" quartz heater in the closet to keep the pipes warm. It's one of those heaters that cost an arm and a leg, that you can let your child sit on top of because it doesn't get hot; no heating element, just a quartz something or other that warms the air in the room and blows it back out; know what I mean?  There's plenty of air circulation, the closet is open, the water heater closet is open.  So that's what I did.  We'll see how that works.

I'm on the second pot of coffee; BH is napping in the recliner.  I might spin or knit for a while.  But I don't know, my eyes are getting very heavy.

I pray we have an early Spring.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Is Up With This?............

It's been kind of a quiet week here.  Went to daughter's on Monday. We undecorated her apartment of Christmas and went shopping for a new recliner and pair of sneakers.  Had dinner - she made a great goulash ("hot dish" in Minnesota).  And then I proceeded to change her living room furniture around to accomodate the new recliner to be delivered this Saturday.

Tuesday was a dentist's appointment for me.  Yikes - he found a small cavity, so another appointment is required.  Next Friday.  So goes my idea that all my obligations have been met as of 2 days ago.  It's always something.

Got the pictures of the little electric "wood" stove.  I wish the flames would've shown up better, but it is what it is.

It's the cutest thing! Love it.

Yeah.  See that discoloration on the bottom of the door?  There was a "Caution" sticker there.  A sticker that did not come off!  I wetted it, used cooking spray (which usually dissolves the glue) and isopropyl alcohol.  Nothing.  Along with scraping it with a plastic knife.  To which the sticker just shredded in teeny tiny little pieces. No hunking piece to grab and pull off.  Well, anyway, I didn't want to risk scratching the paint, so this is as good as it gets.  What the hell was up with that?

I am still  plying the painted/blue/copper singles.  Yep.  Still. Plying.  I don't know what is going on here, but I will be starting the 9th bobbin .  9th bobbin.  Of 4 ounces of painted Targhee along with the other 2 colors.  And the other 8 bobbins are full!  I try to get as much on a bobbin as I possibly can.  There's gotta be at least 3 1/2 oz. plied yarn on each.  I feel like I'm in the middle of the "Groundhog" movie!  It's never going to end!!  Aaarrrggghhhh!

So to settle my nerves, I pulled out a batt of BFL.  White.  For the sweater.  Of which the aforementioned yarn will be the colorwork for the yoke.  Hell, I could switch it around and use the aforementioned yarn as the sweater, and do the yoke in white patterning!  Crap.

Anyway, I have rediscovered that I am not a fan of batts.  Great.  There are 2 more sizeable ones in the storage totes.  I don't like unrolling them, dividing, stripping or spinning.  Too hard to keep the drafting consistency going with strips of batt.  Haven't spun a batt in a few years.  How easily we forget that which we are not fond of and swear never to do again!

But, I just started on it, gave it a half hour.  So I'm sure once the dreaded 3 ply is done (soon??), and I can concentrate on spinning this mountain of fluff, it'll all come back to me.  Everything will smooth itself out and be easy peezy. (hahahahaha!)

Now onto some much needed housework.  And then -- tackling these never ending yarns and fibers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Ok.  The first 6 days went well.  I did get that folding 4 ft. table at the store. Destined to be a sewing table.  However, it was not on sale.  We see the sign on the store shelf "Was $39.99 Now $29.99". I've got the sale paper in my hands.  I tell BH "No. That's wrong. It's $19.99; we'll take it".  Up to the register.  Gal rings it up along with 4 cans of coffee, also on sale - $8.00 each; Folger's; French Roast.  "The table did ring up as $19.99, right?"  She looks at the register tape.  "No. It's $29.99".  "That's not right" says I, showing her the sale paper.  She immediately points to the top of the page, "that sale was for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 only, see?"

Oh Crap!!!  Yes.  I see it.  "Did you still want it, or....?"  "No, no.  I'll take it".    Crap again.

Friday I woke with severe pains through my hips and pelvis again.  Damn!  What the hell did I do now??  My mind goes through the events of the last couple days.  I did not lift anything heavy.  I did not twist my body in any contorntionist pose.  What is this all about?  Anywho, I'm still trying to recover from this episode.  Which brings my spinning time to a limited amount.  Sitting too long only aggravates the situation.  Crap!

During that limited time, I'm trying to finish plying the painted Targhee with the navy blue Merino and copper generic wool.  The Targhee is the key because I had only 8 oz. of it.  So I spin 2 bobbins of that; 3 bobbins each of blue and copper.  I want to make sure that there's enough to insure all the Targhee will be plied.  On to the third bobbin of copper and blue.  Wait.  There is no 3rd bobbin of copper.  Wait a minute.....I'm sure there was a third.  Looking all over.  Check the other wheels.  No.   Check the storage tote.  No.   Aaarrrggghhh!!!

I never got the 3rd bobbin done because.......Christmas came.  All spinning had to be set aside.  Hidden from view.  Put on hold for the Holiday season.   Crap.  I have about 2 ounces of Targhee left to ply.  But I have to finish the bobbin of copper in order to continue.  Crap!!

This puts a damper on my mood because I was sooo looking forward to pulling out the oatmeal colored batt and start spinning.  All of this is envisioned to be a sweater.  Oatmeal body with Norwegian patterning on the yoke in the painted/blue/copper yarn.

On the plus side, I did put a new socket on daughter's lamp; gathered up all the stuff to take to her place; re-organized the Christmas wrap/boxes/bows/etc. into a much larger storage tote and pulled out some acrylic (ack;ack;ack) yarn for future dil's slipper boots.  She informed me at Christmas time that she loves them; wears them all the time; in fact, one pair is worn through on the bottom.

Really?  Funny.  I never saw them anywhere when we stayed with you for 5 days this past summer.  Not to mention that you never said anything more about them after receiving the 2 pair last Christmas.
Oh well.......I will make her 2 new pair and send them off.  Who am I to judge...........

Well, I gotta get off this chair and get into the recliner.  So I can........recline.  For my hips.  Sorry.  Tomorrow I want to tell you a couple of stories from "Crazy Town - The Disfunctional Family".  Also post the pictures of the "faux" wood stove.

Have a great, restful day!

Friday, January 6, 2012


No.  This isn't an "OWS" mantra; it isn't a "Unionize" chant.  At least not here.  Not at this moment.

There was a post here this week(?) about how everything was put back to normal in the house; Christmas just a memory now.  Back to our regular lives.  Spinning and knitting on the daily schedule.  Two more obligations -- one with daughter, the other with the dentist.  Then we're free.  Time to hibernate.

But....it seems some things have reared their ugly heads; a "fly in the ointment", if you will. 

Inside my head, the movie "Goodfellas" is playing.  The scene with Joe Pesci in the restaurant, ranting at Ray Liotta.  Except the dialogue has changed just a little, it's myself talking to my brain.  It goes something like this:

"Do I amuse you?  Do you think I'm done here?  You think everything's hunkey dorey, that I'm going into hibernation now?  Do I look like a clown to you?  Do you think you can fool me with a clean house, bills paid, groceries in stock?  You think I got nothin' better to do??..................

Get the picture?

 While buzzing around the house doing this and that, I notice "wow, I never did re-glue those loose tiles in the kitchen"; "oh geezz, I need to re-glue that stripping around the tile behind the woodstove".  "Oh crap! How did that scratch get on the door frame?"  "Yeah, I should really touch up the chipped paint on the cupboard frames".  "Oh man! Those closet drapes need to be washed again".

And on it goes.  So, to the "list".  Make a note of all that has caught my eye this past week.  I'm sure there'll be more as the days go on.  Then get started next week.  "Git 'er done!!" has become my slogan, spoken aloud to BH for a while now.

We went shopping yesterday.  Some for BH's wish list using the gift cards; a lot for household items that have been put on the back burner through the Holidays.  Got it all.  And bonus........we picked up an electric heater that resembles a little wood stove!!  Complete with fake logs that light up like burning embers and fake flames dancing in the background.  L.o.v.e  I.t!!   So we set it up in the dining room.  One of these days I'll post a picture of it here (gotta put that on the "list).  This was not a totally impromptu purchase.  We have been talking about getting another heater for one of the rooms.  (Remember....we live in a mobile home with a huge addition and heat with the wood stove.  Which sometimes just doesn't cut it).

So, with the electric "wood stove" in the dining room, the quartz floor heater in the kitchen and one in the spare bedroom, we're ready for our Minnesota winter.  Which is out there somewhere.  And will probably show up with a vengence any day now.  Hasn't been around yet.

I just finished balling (caking??) 7 skeins of yarn.  There are 5 recently plyed bobbins waiting.  Still working on finishing up that color - 1 1/2 more bobbins to go.

No knitting as yet.  Just don't feel it right now.  There is the mate to the pastel green sock that was completed before Christmas that still needs to be started.  And, of course, have not finished off the Laplander hat.  But it's on the "list".

Today's schedule includes re-organizing the tote with the Christmas wrap/boxes into a bigger one;  replacing the socket in daughter's bedroom lamp, so I can get it back to her; and loading up the car with all the paraphenalia that needs to go to her.

Oops.  And there's a load of laundry in the dryer to be folded.  Laundry is always on my "mental list" vs. the written one.  Ehhh, maybe that's why it sits in the dryer for a couple of days until my little brain chucks that job to the front of the "list".

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Year....New Goals......New Dreams

A very Happy New Year to you all!  Hope it's off to a positive start.  Been busy around here for the last week.  Had a quiet New Year's Eve, just BH and me.  New Year's Day the same; made a nice dinner of  Filet Mignon (thank you son in NY!), shrimp cocktail, baked potato, broccoli and garlic rolls.  Yummy!!  Son in NY sent us a box from Omaha Steaks.  Lots of great meats and treats!  Love it!

Well then it was on to getting back to reality.  Paid bills on Monday and started undressing the house and tree.  Of course, with this, you know there's cleaning to be done.  Packing away all the decorations, gathering up all the boxes, papers, gifts, etc.  A place for everything and everything in it's place!  The dusting, vacuuming and a few extra loads of laundry.   Finally everything is done; we're back to normal -- like it never happened.  Except when I pay the bills.  Then I realize that it did, indeed, happen!  Yikes.

Anywho, it's over.  A new year has begun.  As well as thoughts and plans of things to come.  I'm back to spinning.  Working on the 5th bobbin, plying. Sunday I skeined and washed 7 bobbins of a medium blue yarn.  Last weekend I finished the color-stranded earflap hat (I call them Laplander hats).  Still have to turn the hem, attach the I-cords and give it a wash. Thinking about what to spin next; what to knit next; maybe bring out all the dyeing equipment.  Hankering to do some dyeing.

But all this will have to wait till next week.  Going to daughter's on Monday to undress her apartment.  Then shopping for a new recliner for her, as well as new sneakers.  I'll be staying overnight there because of a dentist's appointment on Tuesday.  The office is halfway between her place and ours.  We always try to consolidate our trips to minimize gasoline usage.

Tomorrow we're going shopping -- to spend our gift money!!  Woohoo!!  And wouldn't ya know it ---- our little big box store has the folding table on sale this week.  Oh, it's been on sale a few times before Christmas, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money at that time.  It's a 4 ft. long resin, legs folding flat under it.  Perfect for my new sewing table.  Can't wait to get it set up and get started on some projects for next year.  Quilts to be exact.  I'm itching to quilt again.

BH had a couple of things he wants/needs.  A couple of trickle chargers for the vehicles.  Hopefully to keep the batteries from going dead when it's -20 degrees.  We're gonna give it a try anyway.  Neither vehicle has a "plug-in".  If you don't know about this, find someone from Minnesota, South or North Dakota and ask them.  You'll be awakened to a ritual you probably never knew existed -- an be very, very grateful you live in a temperate climate!!  Oh yeah.  It's quite the ordeal.  If you do live in the tundra regions, I can see you shaking your head "yep" and rolling your eyes.  You know what I'm talking about!

This has been a weird winter so far.  Weird and wonderful!  Just enough snow to cover the ground; cold enough to freeze that snow and make it treacherous for walking and oh so cozy in the house with the wood stove running 24/7.  Temps keep fluctuating from cold to moderate.  Hey, 40 degrees predicted for tomorrow!  High 30's through the weekend.  I'll take it!!  It can stay like this for the next 3 months.

So my goals for this year, as of today, are such:

1.  To spin the wool and knit 3 sweaters - cardigans because they get more use than pullovers.

2.  At least 2 of these sweaters will have color stranding across the yoke. You know, like Norwegian sweaters.

3.  Make a quilt for everyone. That's 2 couples, 2 singles and 2 grandsons.  That makes.....6...quilts.  They don't have to be "bed" size.  "Lap" size works well too.  (see, already I leave myself an "out" to keep the momentum going).

4.  To spin at least 1 complete batt and one of the storage containers full of wool.

5.  To paint the family room.  Yep.  I've been trying to get this done for over a year.  Always a plan.  Never a completed job.  But this year......   .   I told BH the other day that I want to get this done in March so when Spring and Summer come, I'm not holed up in the house rather than being outside or traveling.  Good plan, eh?

6.  Also want to rip off the wallpaper and border in the hallway and re-paper, border and paint it.  Want to do the  wallpaper that looks like plaster designs; you can paint over it.  We did  this in the bathroom and it turned out very nice.  The current paper in the hallway is on the upper half of the wall only, then the border, then the bottom of the walls are painted.  Will do the same with new paper.

7.  Clean out the old farmhouse; organize stuff for a yard sale (or many); get rid of all the unused, unwanted crap.  ie: throw it out!   This has been on the "to do" list for .....3 years now.  But this is the year!  I'm serious.  Trust me.  It's gonna happen.  No.  Really.

8.  We're going to travel this summer.  Yeah.  We've been saying that for the last 2 years.  But this is the year.  Absolutely.  No question.  We're gonna do it.  For sure.  No "ifs, ands or buts".  Come hell or high water.  It's a plan.

9.  We have these photo albums, purchased many, many moons ago.  With the intention of constructing one for each of the kids beginning with their baby photos all the way through the years.  For Christmas.  One of these years.  Well, this will be the year.  We're gonna bring out all the boxes of pictures, purchase cases of printer ink, reams of photo paper and carts full of "scrapbook" embellishments.  Yep.  Check it off.  It will be done.  This year.  For sure.

10.  In the same vein, it came to me this season that I would like to put together an album for each one of the kids of my mom and dad -- their grandparents.  From the time they were very young, through their 61 years of marriage, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  A rememberance for each family.  This is a goal I would like to achieve this year.  We'll see how it goes.  And if it doesn't get done before next Christmas, at least it will be in the planning stage.  Always on my mind, on my list.  Until it's done.

Now I should save this post.  So as the jobs get done, I can look back at this and think "well done!"     Or......."well, that wasn't done.....again".

Anyway, it's a new year!  Some new goals; some old.  But always dreams!!!

Hope your year is off to a fantastic start!