Sunday, September 21, 2014

WOW...Has it Really Been That Long??!!!

Holy buckets....has it really been that long?  2 1/2 months since I've written.  I read your posts every day....just didn't have the time or the subject to write about.

Things have been pretty busy here these past weeks.  Nothing exciting...we didn't go anywhere....just muddling through.  BH decided to do the logging and get all our wood ready for this winter.  He finished last week; now he'll start gathering wood for next winter.

After a few bad experiences, we decided not to sell the house; we're going to stay right here.  Our contract is up in February with the realtor.  We'll see it through, but then, that's it.

So....I've been doing all the seasonal house cleaning, fixing, painting, re-organizing and re-decorating. 

The one thing I never got to last year was the dining room.  It was driving me NUTS!!  So....that was our major project.  Now I can relax.....till next year...shhhhh.....don't tell BH.   So....Ta-Daa.. here's the before/after looks:

Old look with the wallpaper (13 years!)


And here's the new look:



Switched the placement of the dining table;  and that area rug!!  Mmmmmm.....I fell in love with it the moment I saw it!!

We didn't want to rip up the wall-to-wall (too much trouble and aggravation right now), so I thought maybe an area rug on top...one to match the blue.  Already knew I was painting the walls "cocoa brown" and making cream colored curtains.

It took us about 10 days to complete.  First order of business was removing the wallpaper and border. OMG, how I hate stripping wallpaper.  But BH helped with it, so it went fairly quick.  Now he jokes (?) with me that this is our "Viewing Room"....no entry allowed.  Little does he realize, that's exactly my plan!!

My sister and our dear friend came for a visit at the end of August.  They were here for 3 days.  We had a great time....spent a whole day at the Casino, then a day with our daughter.  They went to the Cities and spent the day with our sons, granddaughter and grandson, and then visited my brother and his family.  Wish they could've stayed a little longer.

My very dearest friend from NY and her hubby are coming to visit us near the end of October.  It'll be her first time here.  Can't wait!!!  I hope they stay for a week.  We've never met her husband...they've been married of just a year and a half.

No spinning has taken place since last I posted.  I have been knitting; started another vest in white w/iridescent firestar, but ran out of yarn.  I blended another pound and it's waiting to be spun.  In the meantime, I knitted a pair of socks and now working on a scarf and hat.  It's a slow.....go.......

I saw a comment somewhere that Christmas is less than 100 days away.  Why do people insist on writing such depressing things??!

We got our propane tank filled a few weeks ago.  $1.65 a gallon!!  It ain't going any lower, folks.  We have a 500 gal. tank.  This should carry us through till next summer....thanks to all the wood BH has ready.

Our daughter continues to have health problems.  Her right knee has been swelling, aching, sometimes giving out on her.  She's been to the orthopedic doctor and physical therapy.  She's also fallen a few times....on the same knee.  The problem comes and goes.  I don't even want to think what's coming down the road......a knee replacement, possibly.  She's not a good candidate for surgery to begin with.  I keep saying prayers.

Well, I think that's all the news from our little corner.  I'm so happy Fall is here....my favorite season!  We'll be cutting down the perennials and putting all the yard ornaments, lights and such away in another month.  Then batten down the hatches and get ready for our hibernation.  Maybe I'll be able to get some spinning in before the holiday rush of activities and preparations.





Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Do I Think My Life Is Boring??..........

Wow, time is flying by.  2nd week of July already.  Well things have been happening over the past month or so.  I tend to fall into a funk every once in a while.....thinking "I'm soooo bored; same-ol-same ol every day".  Then I start to reflect, like when I'm planning this post.

Here's a quick (?) rundown.

Well, the realtor called at 1:00pm on Father's Day to say a gal wants to come see the house.  She'll be at the office at 3:00 and they'll head over.  Ok.  Father's Day.  Who looks at property on a holiday?  Whatever.

I planned a nice dinner; it was just BH and me.  Told the boys...no. no. no visitors this weekend; we just want a nice quiet weekend to ourselves.  So....steaks, baked potatoes, salad, garlic bread and raspberry cheesecake for dessert.  Plan to eat between 4 - 4:30 so we can enjoy the rest of the evening.

3:00....no show.  3:30....no show.  3:45 I start seasoning the steaks; wash the potatoes, salad is made.  4:00.....realtor calls and says the gal got delayed, but she's on her way; they'll be here at 4:30.  I'm doing a slow burn.  How should I delay the dinner?   4:30....no show.  5:00, they arrive.   Yadda, yadda, yadda......and it's over.  Oh,  the prospect LOVED the house and the property, asked about the bank, who to contact, what arrangements, blah, blah, blah.  And they left.

We ate dinner at 6:45.  Yeah.   And.....not one further word from the realtor.  Pffftttt.

A few weeks ago, we're going grocery shopping at the BIG store...25 miles away.  BH says....lets take the van.  OK; I was thinking the same thing.   Off we go.  5 miles down the road, I pulled over and stopped to let a logging 18-wheeler pass by.  Pulled back into the road and.....the speedometer starts jumping all over...it's reading 100mph!!  But we're not going any faster, thank God.  BH says "pull over; turn off the engine and start it again".  Ok.   Apply the brakes......no brakes!!   The ABS light is on, the speedometer is still dancing the hoochie-koo, and the brake pedal is as hard as cement; won't depress a hair.

So we coast another couple miles until the engine can be turned off safely.   Call the tow truck.   Long story somewhat shorter.....it took almost 2 weeks for our mechanic to figure out what the problem was, concluding with the computer.  New computer (actually, one from the junk yard....saved us about $400!!).   So, coming home from the repair shop, 1/2 mile down the road, the ABS light is on.  Sonofabitch!!  Pull in the driveway, turn off the engine, wait a few seconds, turn it back on....the light is off.  Whew. Must be the computer was re-configuring.

Last week, we're going to the grocery store....in the van.  You guessed it.  Pulling out the driveway; stop before pulling into the road.....the ABS light is on.   No. No. No.  We're not taking this anywhere....I don't trust it, I tell BH.   So....we pull back into the driveway and take the car.  The van has been sitting ever since.

In the meantime, the car has been making funny noises, acting weird.  It needs to go to the repair shop....it also needs shocks all around.  This will be many $$$$.  A big hit to the budget.  Next week we'll see about getting it into the shop.  I want to scream.

Here's some good news.....I finished the raspberry vest.....turned out very nice, despite being ripped 4 or 5 times.  AND  the Aran sweater is done!!!  I can't believe how great it turned out....especially since the pattern was for a child's sweater.  I had to tweak the stitches, measurements and patterning a few (HAHAHAHA!) times.  But it's done.  There was enough dyed yarn to finish it (whew!).  And it fits beautifully!   And the buttons for it....wait till you see the buttons!!  Hope to post the pictures next week.  Right now it's blocked and drying.  Ohhh, I can't wait till Fall to wear it....everywhere!!

I started spinning the wool for another Aran sweater.  This one for my brother, who has been asking me for the past year if I could make him one.  "Hey, could you make me an Irish sweater like the one you made for Pop?"....."ehhh....sure."  "How much would you charge to make me an Irish sweater?"......."ehhh.....you don't have  THAT much money!"  
"How long would it take to make me an Irish sweater?"........"ehhhhh.....about 2 years".     "REALLY??!!" ....."ehhh....you don't understand; there's a lot involved to spinning and preparing yarn for knitting".

Well, anyway, so the guilt has gotten the better of me.  Over the winter, I purchased more of the wool for the purpose of his sweater.  Then I start thinking.....maybe I should just buy the acrylic yarn and get it done.  For one thing, I can see the wool sweater being thrown in the washer and dryer.  Neither he nor the wife have any concept of "WOOL".   Butttttt.......the sweater  will be made of wool; spun, plied and knitted by his sister and will come with a forceful warning....."DO NOT WASH THIS SWEATER; GIVE IT TO ME; I WILL WASH IT FOR YOU.  IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO IT, I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN!  DON'T EVER CALL ME AGAIN!"  I'm thinking of having the clothing label made with that warning.

He's a good guy, my brother.  Always been there for me; always there for our sons when they need help.  He's also in an Irish band, so I can't wait to hear what the other fellas say about his sweater.  There are 6 bobbins of plied yarn so far.  Another thing....this will be no quick and easy task.....my brother is 6'2" and weighs about 270#s.  A big beer gut, to boot.   Why, yes.  That would be Irish beer.  This is going to take about 8#s of wool.  I'm definitely going to have to buy more.

 This weekend both our boys from the 'burbs are coming up to visit.  BH's birthday was Wednesday.  One kid is bringing steaks and the trout he caught; he'll cook dinner tonight.  Tomorrow is my turn.  More on that later.

So we've got the new charcoal BBQ grill all put together; used it last week when other son who lives closer was here.  And we finally managed to get the screen house up, as we had a few days reprieve from the constant rain.  Now.....just to get out there and actually use it!   Hopefully this weekend....but the weather report says......rain off and on.   I think there are more mosquitoes in Minnesota than people right about now.

And the humidity has been a killer.  I suspect the electric bill will be 3 digits this month.  Just can't catch a break.  I really gotta get outside and take care of the flower beds.  Noticed that the marigolds in the wheelbarrow look like they're dying.  No....it's just that there's soooo many  dead ones.  Really need to dead-head them.  But this weekend is calling for......rain.   More rain = more mosquitoes.  If Einstein were alive and living in Minnesota today, I'm sure he could come up with a mind-blowing equation for this!

Wishing you all sunny skies, beautiful temperatures and pleasant days!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Update......

Not breaking news or anything like that.....just what's been going on in our neck of the woods.  This might be lengthy.

Well, BH and I went to the Lake Elmo Fiber Fest; had a good time; bought some roving in beautiful shades of mottled greens, burgundy and brown.  It's stashed away right now.  Also picked up a pair of hexagon circular needles.  Hexagon!  Husband and wife started the company; they've been in business for 4 years, he told me.  I know I've seen these advertised somewhere, but they weren't familiar with anything I said.

Anywho, I was looking for circulars with a shorter connecting band than you can find.  And there I was.  They also make hexagon straight needles.  Well, these cost me $30.00! For one set.  Yikes.  But...what the hell.....I'll get plenty of use out of them.  I deserve it....my yarn deserves it.

Kind of disappointed, though, that there didn't seem to be as many accessory vendors.  I wanted stitch markers, but saw only one vendor with them.  After perusing the buildings a few times, I forgot where that vendor was.  C'est le vie.

We've been keeping up with the yard work, keeping the house clean, just in case a prospective buyer should appear.  We had 1 person go through the house, gush and squeal about how beautiful everything was, said she would bring her husband back the following week; was thrilled at the price.  2 weeks went by.....nothing.  We chalked that off.  Then, Monday, our realtor called.  Yeah....well, the looker started telling her this is wrong, that's wrong, "the roof leaks",  "there's asbestos shingle siding on the old farm house",........yada, yada, yada.

Here's a little background.....the gal is the granddaughter of the lady we bought the house from.  She knows all the "ins and outs" of the property; we have been good friends with all the family over these 20+ years.

First off, the roof DOES NOT leak!  Anywhere.  I don't know where she came up with this.  Second....the old farm house has been sitting on the property since the 1950's; it's used for storage....no one lives there.

BH says the realtor hinted that because the family knows what we paid for the place almost 23 years ago, they think we're trying to make a big pot of money on the sale.  So....BH added up what it cost us for all the remodeling and updating we've done....near $20,000; not to mention, we have an equity mortgage on the place that needs to be paid off.  We think our asking price is very reasonable.  We've never cheated or taken advantage of anyone .....ever.  For this family to think that of us makes me downright sick to my stomach.  I was soooo pissed!

BH told the realtor in no uncertain terms that we're not giving the house away...for nobody.  I say, even if they come back with an offer, or decide to meet our price....we will not sell to them, no matter what.  We'd hear nothing but complaints and problems  and they would probably besmirch our name all over town!

Last Sunday, the realtor calls to say she has a guy who is really interested in the property and wants to see it Monday evening when he gets off work.  We set up the appointment.  She will call when they're on the way....between 5 - 5:30pm.

BH cuts the grass....4th time in 2 weeks.  I go through the house, dusting, vacuuming, straightening up.  Monday evening.....5.....5:30......5:45......6:00.   Call the realtor.  Oh, she just got back in the office and was just about to give us a call.  Yeah....the guy called to say he's stuck at work, can't get out, doesn't know when he'll be leaving;  we'll make it for another time.

This weekend came and went without nary a word from the realtor....or her supposed looker.   I give up.  I want to take the house off the market.

And that's the name of that tune.

Today is my "baby"s birthday....he's 35.  I don't know which makes me feel older....him or my first born, who turned 46 in February!!  Where does the time go??   And how can these kids keep getting older when I feel the same age (almost) as I did 25 years ago???

So....Father's Day is Sunday.  We're planning a nice, quiet day at home.  Just the 2 of us.  One of our boys called Tuesday asking what we're doing for the weekend.  He thought he'd come up with some steaks and trout for a cookout.  Nope.  We want a nice, quiet weekend; just the 2 of us.  But thank you, anyway.

We have a new screen house to put up....and a new charcoal grill to be put together. I thought we could do this Friday or Saturday, have our quiet little cookout (bought steaks for the occasion) and.....shhhhh.....bought BH  a new chaise lounge.  So he can nap and relax in the screenhouse....out in the fresh air.

But......Friday will be the only nice day, weatherwise.  Rain is in the forecast for the weekend.....with Sunday being the worst.  Now I can't even take him to the casino for the day....because he wants to be here for the phone calls.

I spent 5 days with daughter last week.  She was scheduled for a colonoscopy and a stomach scope Monday.  The original plan was to go there Sunday evening, spend the night and take her into the hospital the next morning.  Until I got the word that the doctor ordered injections for 5 days to take the place of her Coumadin that they wanted her off of before the procedures. 

So....Thursday off I went.  Friday came word that her doctor was going to order 5 more injections for this week after the procedures.     Oh no....I can't stay another week!!  So....I started showing her over the weekend how to give herself the injections.  She's been giving her cat insulin injections 2x a day for the past year, so I knew she could do it.

Well, when it was all over, the surgeon said he didn't see any reason why the injections would be necessary if she started back on the Coumadin the following day.  He called her doctor, the doctor relented....so no more injections.  And I was on my way home Monday evening.  Hallelujah!!

I haven't touched a spinning wheel in......2 months?  I am itching to get back, hopefully starting today.  But knitting.  The raspberry vest is almost done.  Have one more front side to do (V-neck).  I'm happy with the way I planned out the purple/white combination.  And I could increase it to my size!  Because.....I had too much raspberry yarn left over from a smaller size.  Yeah.....that meant ripping out the whole back and starting over.  Again.  For the 4th time.

And the Aran vest has been sitting for a month.  Almost to the decreases at the top of the sleeves.  Still not sure if there will be enough yarn or have to dye more.  Time....and knitting.....will tell.

Talking to my sister a couple weeks ago.  She said she's planning on coming out for a visit at the end of June.  This will be great!!  Haven't seen her in almost 3 years.

And  son who's birthday is today.....got hired on at the company!  He'd been working for them through a Temp agency for the past 8 months.  So now he's a full-fledged employee with benefits!!  And a raise in pay!!

Well, that's about it.  Sorry about the rant about the house.  Today is rain all day.  Good day to get the wheel back in action.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Still Waiting.......

May 16.  It's still not Spring yet.  Not quite.  Oh, a couple of teaser days here and there.  But in the long run.....we can't plant flowers outside yet;  can't take the storm windows off; can't totally turn off the furnace;  can't cut the grass; can't do any painting or replace the screens; can't leave the windows that are accessible open....nor the door.

It's still cold during the day for the most part and near freezing at night.  There is rain 4 - 5 days out of 7.  And the winds!.....don't get me started.

But there's plenty of spinning and knitting.....mostly knitting.....going on.  I've finished the back and sides of the Aran sweater, and I'm about 5" into the sleeves.  Knitting both at once. There haven't been too many hiccups (read: rip-outs) along the way, so that makes me very happy.  There is, however, still the question of enough yarn.

Right now I'm just about finished spinning the light grey, which will be plied with 2 bobbins of the variegated green.  And they're not full bobbins.  So, there might be a small problem.  But I'll just salley forth until the very end.  If more wool has to be dyed, so be it.

We took a trip to the "big" city this week.  No, not that BIG city, but the one 53 miles from our home.  We need a new BBQ grill.  A charcoal grill, not propane.  And sure enough, the big box hardware store has them on sale for the month.

Oh....it's a beauty!!  Much bigger than our old one.  With tables on either side, 6 hooks for utensils and pot holders, a warming shelf inside the grill, a deep charcoal well and a thermostat on the lid!!  Our old grill is about ..14 years old....and the bottom is starting to rust out.  Last year we kept it on the ground instead of the deck.  Because I could just see the bottom giving way as something was cooking..full of hot, hot coals....and setting the deck on fire!!

Both sons are supposed to be coming up for the holiday weekend. So I said to BH:  "hey, if we have sandwiches and snacks on Saturday, Ryan can put the grill together for us; then we'll have a cook-out on Sunday".   BH thought that was a great idea.  It saves us from monkin' around with it.

I also wanted a screen house that was on sale.  Haven't had a screen house in maybe 4 years.  This year I really want one.  So nice to be able to sit outside, day or night, and not get all bit up....or burnt up.  Anywho, the one that was on sale was very nice....12' x 12'  but it had a polyester "floor" inside.  Never had one with a floor.

Upon further discussion, BH says: "do you really want one with a floor?"  Ehhhh.....not really.  If you don't have it pulled taught, you're gonna get ripples in the poly.....and somebody's going to trip over them......like you....or me.  Nah.....that's an accident you don't want to see happen.

So, we forego the screen house for now.  But still keeping an eye out for other stores.....other sales.

This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous!!!  In the 60's!!!  I'm planning on getting the flower beds in shape (thank goodness they are perennials), spot painting the propane tank, and got some painting to do on the roof of our conversion van.  Yeah.......

Whilst in Virginia for granddaughter's Army graduation, our hotel room was on the 2nd floor.  One evening, looking over the balcony to the parking lot, I see the top of the van.  OMG!!!  It's rusted right along the rain trough.  Crap.   Bought the Rust-o-Leum a few weeks ago.  This weekend may finally be the time to get roof painted.

We also bought a deck brush.....for scrubbing the deck, of course.  Last time I did that (a couple years ago), it was on my hands and knees with a household scrub brush.  That's something I don't want to do again.  So....the deck brush with stiff bristles and a long handle!  So that job is on the "TO DO" list.

Then there's the siding on the house.  Put on about 10 years ago, it's never been washed.  I can't stand it anymore.  It needs to be scrubbed and hosed.  BH never heard of such a thing (men! pfft) and thinks I'm either crazy or making this up (he's probably leaning towards crazy).  I don't care.  I'm sick of seeing the streaks of dirt...or whatever.....and there's some kind of funky growth that I noticed last summer.  Little bits here and there.  Looks like a mold....or bug eggs....I don't go poking around, just know it looks like hell.

The rest of this week is ice making and 2 dozen more hard rolls to be baked.

Oh.....this weekend is the Lake Elmo Shepard's Harvest....a fiber fest; just northeast of St. Paul.  Oh geezzz.....I forgot about that.  I love that fest.  Not too big; not too small.  And.....I do need different knitting needles.....I could use a blue "Firestar".....more stitch markers and holders...and always...more white wool;  maybe the lady from Wisconsin who sells Border Leicester for $1.25 # will be there!!  She wasn't last year; I was disappointed.  And BH will most definitely try to talk me into buying more bobbins.  'Cause I always need more bobbins.  And the price keeps going up every year....what's up with that?!

Yeahhhh.......those projects will have to wait another day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Baby, the Rain Must Fall......

(Remember that song from the 60's?)  Yeah....but every day??  Every...frikking....day???  It's a bit much.

So, we had 5 or 6 (who's counting) days of pouring rain....and cold.  Yesterday was gorgeous!!  The next 3 days.....yeah.  Rain.  I don't even know if the ground is thawed out; can't get out there to try and dig in the dirt.  But on the bright side....no more snow!!  (shhhh).

Well, it's been a while.  Last month we drove to Virginia for granddaughter's graduation from the Army training.  She graduated top of her class in helicopter repair and maintainence; was promoted to PFC; and got an award for excellence in her courses, her PT (highest of the women's scores) and her leadership (squad leader for 3 months).  And she got her Wings!!  We were so proud of her and so happy to be part of this milestone in her life.  And....we brought her home.

Now she is with the MN. Guard out of St. Paul.  She hopes to pursue the training with the Aviation Regiment.  When she called the base to inform them she was here, the sergeant said "we've been waiting for you! We definitely need your abilities; yes, we know who you are!"  That made her feel sooo much better.

And it's also time to look for employment and an apartment.  She's a bit nervous about it all...kind of overwhelming, especially for an 18 year old.  But with her determination and "grit"....she'll be just fine.

On the homefront, not much has been happening.  With a few good days, BH has been out gathering, sawing, chopping and stacking wood.  A chore he's been chomping at the bit to get back to since.....March.  If he ain't busy, he ain't happy.  Crazy.

Not much spinning going on.  I started the Aran sweater with my hand dyed painted green Shetland.  Got the back done; knitting both front panels at the same time; 16 more rows before the raglan shaping.  God, I hope I have enough yarn for the sleeves!  Because of my increased body volume over the winter (ahem), I had to add on extra stitches at the sides of the largest pattern size.  But if you've ever done Aran knitting, you know those sizes are always smaller than a regular knit.  You know, all that cabling takes up a lot of yarn and pulls the stitches in, making the sizing much smaller.   That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

Our daughter-in-law is graduating from college this Friday.  6 years of schooling....while raising 2 boys and working 2 jobs.....and she finally made it....a  BA in Social Sciences.  We're planning on having a dozen red roses delivered to her Friday, and sending her a gift card so she can indulge in something that doesn't have to be figured into their budget.

She's the type of person who doesn't like to be in the limelight; no accolades, no parties, no fuss, no recognition.  She just wants to keep it quiet...it's just everyday life.  That's just how she rolls.

I can't believe Mother's Day is this Sunday.  The months keep flying by, but the seasons are having a hard time keeping up.  Like we're in a time warp or something.

Our son from the Cities is coming up with his buddy.....because it's "Fishing Opener" this weekend.  So....guess what I'll be doing.....cooking and entertaining.....and not for my benefit.  I was kind of hoping that the lakes would still be iced over.  I know....that's bad. 

Today we're going to take a ride and look at some apartments....at least from the outside.  We found a few areas that we didn't know about last year.  One in particular is what they call a "patio" apartment.  One floor, like a little ranch home, with an attached garage and a bit of ground right out your door.  Just what we're hoping for.  Of course, we're still waiting for some action on the sale of our house.  But....a girl can dream, can't she?  That's one thing the rain can't stop!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

 
A Blessed Easter to All
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What is the Meaning?

When we moved to Minnesota 22 years ago, we learned that "Minnesota" was a Native American word meaning "land of sky blue waters".  Whether this is the correct translation, I'm not sure.

I am sure that if it's relatively close, the meaning is all wrong.  It actually means "winter that never ends".  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

This past Monday, we received another 6" of snow.  Not just snow....but high winds...blizzard conditions.  This was followed by a night of moderate temperatures and pouring rain.  Temps dropped, rain froze and the snow and winds began.  This lasted till about 11:30 Tuesday morning.  The temp reached 34 - 37 for the rest of the day.

The week has been uneventful since, with temps in moderation again.  Ahh....but starting this evening.....another major snowstorm is about to slap us silly.  Depending on where you determine the demarcation line to be, we'll be looking at  3 - 6 inches, or 6 - 12 inches.  Lovely.  This "hiccup" will last until tomorrow morning sometime.  Then we're projected to be in the 40's into next week.

We're leaving Saturday for Virginia.  BH and I are both tickled pink!!  Which is a big improvement from being ticked blue....with the cold.  However, upon perusing the weather system, I see that there are major rain, wind and tornado systems coming in from the deep South, traveling.....you guessed it.....to the east.  Across the Carolinas to Virginia.

Mother Nature is on some sort of vendetta.  And we just can't get out of her way.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Is Up With That??.......

What is going on with the blog?  When I have to sign in, I get an error message saying that the browser is unsupported, telling me to pick a supported one, giving me a list.  One of which is XP/7.....which is what I use.  Then when writing the blog, sometimes and error message pops up at the top saying "sorry cannot be saved; try again later".  However, the blog is saved....no problem.  Whaattttt??????

Anywho......


Exactly.  This has been too much.  Way too much.   Last week, we had a few days of beautiful, melting weather.  Spring is on it's way!!  Not so fast......Friday, we're supposed to take daughter to doctor.  It was snowing.  At 7 am...snowing pretty hard and fast.  Left the house 1/2 hour earlier than planned.  Got 5 miles from home, told BH  "this isn't good...we should go home"; he agreed and so we did.  Couldn't see a mile ahead, couldn't see the sides of the road; kept hitting the "rumble strips" in the center lane.  Snow was piling up that fast.

And it's still here.  Minus below 0 temps at night since then; low 20's during the day.

About daughter.....a couple of weeks ago, she called to say she was having trouble.  I'll spare you the gorey details...but the signs were all there for Diverticulitis.  Gave her some instructions; she carried through for a few days; signs came back, things got worse.....call the doctor.

She (Doc) put her on 2 antibiotics; told her what to and not to do; took a white blood count, which came back normal, and sent us on our way.

All last week symptoms came and went.  Then came and stayed for a few days.  Call the doctor.  Well, Friday had to be cancelled, but daughter was feeling much, much better by the afternoon.   Fingers crossed....we'll see how this goes.

Yesterday was a "banner day" for me!!  While I haven't done any major housework in almost....a......month......I decided to bake and make a great dinner.  So....2 mixed berry pies were done (1 in the freezer) and a batch of chocolate/peanut butter chip cookies baked.  For granddaughter.  We send her a package of goodies every other week.   And some for us, of course.

Ah, then dinner.  Chicken breasts done in the electric fry pan (to save on the propane) with a new spice I came across....."rotisserie flavor".  Deeelicious!!  A side of rice done in chicken broth instead of water, with stir-fry veggies that were.....stir fried.....and added to the rice with a few dashes of Teriyaki sauce.  A nice salad and crescent rolls.  Mmmmm....mmmmm.   Of course, pie for dessert.

Granddaughter graduates from Army Tech school on April 10.  We're heading to Virginia earlier that week to pick her up and bring her home.  Can't wait to get her home!!  I miss her so.  She's my spinning and knitting buddy.

On the fiber front.....yeah.....the raspberry vest.  Well, it's 4" to finishing the back.  And....yeah.....there won't be enough yarn.  It'll have to be frogged.....again.  New plan.  I'm in the process of plying white yarn.  So the next time the vest is started...it'll be raspberry/white.  I'm thinking every other stitch white.  I know it's probably going to be a hassle, but what the hell.  It can always be frogged.

Still working on the green.  3 more bobbins of single ply done; maybe 2 more ounces yet to be spun.  2 bobbins of the grey are done.  So when the white is finished, it'll be back to plying the green/grey.  That should give me another 6 bobbins plied.  12 total.  Maybe 30 - 36 ounces of yarn. Then maybe the Aran sweater can be started.

To quell my rattled nerves and frustration from the vest, I started a hat.  Blue heathered/tweedy; Merino wool.  Doing a slant ribbed stitch.  So far, so good.  Plan on mittens to match.

Trying to talk myself into starting some housework.  It seriously needs to be done.  At least the bathroom and kitchen are always kept clean; the bed linens always changed, the TV dusted off every few days and the sweeper ran over the carpets every so often.  But the dust bunnies swirling around the floor and gathering noticeable amounts on the furniture are really starting to speak to me.  And I don't like what they're saying.  Time to "clean house".   Seriously.  Clean the damn house.  Yuck.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's My Own Damn Fault.......

So, I'm not a fan of swatching. Never. Or reading yardage, ounces or grams on the cakes I so carefully weigh and tag.  I fly by the seat of my pants.  Well, my pants are on fire.

I was knitting a vest of raspberry Shetland.  Got to the arm holes, roughly 17" into the thing, when I realized.....I'm not going to have enough yarn. Now I start reading all the tags on the 7 cakes.  Yeah....this isn't going to work.  So, what to do.......I'll try the next size smaller and use smaller needles.  Yeah. That'll work.  That's the ticket.

Off I go.  Put the 17" on the needles aside, pick up a smaller set, mark the smaller size and begin.

After 10" into the re-configured vest, a horrible feeling comes over me. I'm beginning to think.....I'm not going to have enough yarn. Oh, be serious. Continue.  Now it's roughly 12", a few more rows and I can begin the armhole shaping, and.....I'm definitely not going to have enough yarn.  In the meantime, I have ripped out the first attempt.  The 3 balls are sitting there; there is a cake and 1/2 left for the newly knitted half, and I'm trying desperately to convince myself that it'll make it....probably down to the last 2" of yarn.

I don't think so.  There's a tweedy yarn in my stash....6 cakes.....that just might work as a complimentary color.  I can alternate the solid with the tweed.  There should be enough damn yarn to get this thing done.  Just have to rip the 12" and start over.  My eyes are starting to glaze over.  My brain is on overload. 

There's a lesson in all of this.  Swatch?  Never!!  I should've gone with my first inclination and used both yarns from the very beginning.

Meanwhile, here's this:

                                                  The cursed vest.


                                                        The pattern.


 Finished hat and mitts. Yay!!

 Yarn destined for my Aran cardigan.

 The rolags blended from the hand dyed Border Leicester below.

                                          Said hand dyed BL.

Next time....pictures of the almost finished vest, using the 2 different yarns.  Seriously.  No. Really.  It's gonna happen.  Trust me.  I refuse to be defeated.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yeah...About This "Daylight Savings" Thing.....

I'm an early riser.  Like 4 - 4:30am every day, with an occasional 3:30 thrown in just to keep it interesting.  For the past couple of weeks or so, it's been very heartening to see the beginnings of daybreak just before 6:30.

Now it's "Daylight Savings Time".  An hour later for daybreak.  At 7:00am, you can barely notice the midnight black slowly turning to navy blue; barely make out the silhouettes of trees and such.  Don't like it.  At all.

It's 7:00am, for Crysakes.  Daylight should be in full bloom.

On another note.....we're supposed to start warming up, temp wise.  Yesterday was pretty good, even if it never got above freezing.  29 degrees was the max for the day.  Even so, the sun was shining and all was right with the day.  Today...we're hoping for high 30's.  Something on the weather report last night said the cold will return...blah, blah, blah.  I wasn't in the room, so I didn't hear all the specifics.  Not sure I want to.

There's something to be said for having a "Polyanna" attitude.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putzing......

Tonight will be the first in over 70 days that we will not be below 0.  So says the weather guy on TV and BH (aka: Polyanna).  To me, it remains to be seen.

Tomorrow we plan on doing the grocery shopping because tomorrow night into all day Thursday, it's going to snow.

I've been keeping an eye on the ceilings because there's about 8,000 pounds of ice and snow on the roof.  I can faintly tell where some of the ceiling looks as if it has bowed....I can also tell by the ceiling strips between the panels and some of the moulding that has pulled away every so slightly.  I sure hope it returns to its place when all this ice is gone.

Spinning and spinning and spinning.  Like a mad woman.  Got 7 skeins of the green plied and caked.  Still have half the fiber yet to blend and spin.  I could start on the Aran sweater, but while experimenting, I found I really, really like the 3 plies of the painted green!  It's not as bright as I thought it would be.  And maybe there would be enough left that I wouldn't have to use the light grey as one of the plies.

Then it would just be alternating the green/grey with the green.  I think it would perk up the color a bit more.  But first.....the other 8 oz. of green need to be spun, seeing how many bobbins will be filled.  The first 8 oz. gave me a bit over 3 bobbins.  The 3 singles gave me almost 4 bobbins of 3-ply.  Hmmmm......

I finished a hat and fingerless mitts.  Done in another grey with FairIsle patterning of blue, black and a little brick red.  Gotta get them washed and blocked today.

Started a vest in raspberry Shetland.  It's solid raspberry.  I didn't know what to do with it.  I'm not real fond of solid colors.  I love heathered and ombres!  There's a nice V-neck vest with a cable on either breast side, which also continues on the back.  Never made this one before, so started on it yesterday.  We'll see how it goes.

I've been up since 3:20 am.  Yes.  Three. Twenty. A.M.  Did I go to bed at 8 pm??   No.  I did not.  It was 11:20 pm.  4 hours before.  Don't know why.  But it happens every so often....like maybe once a week.  So I spun for 2 hours, then went to the knitting.  When BH got up at 6:30, I made the bed, got dressed, put the dishes away, watched 15 minutes of Cspan, and fell asleep for an hour.  There will be a few cat naps today.

And a load of laundry.  A little more knitting.  Maybe some spinning later this afternoon.  Homemade turkey pot pie for supper (taken out of the freezer this morning).  Easy enough.

Well, that's all the news that is news around these parts.  Hope to post pictures of the greens and the hat and mitts very soon.  Just too tired to play with the camera today.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Why, Thank You......Thank You Very Much

One negative thing about spinning or knitting....it causes me to think.  Too much.  And not just about what's being spun or knitted.

One of the "golden rules" when we were growing up was always saying "please" and "thank you".  Everyone of my generation was taught this; all my children and grandchildren were taught this.  What the hell happened??

Even those of my generation seem to have forgotten those magic words.  Magic because they went to the heart of those spoken to; magic because they could lift a person's self esteem, lighten their heart, validate their existence as a fellow human being.  They also related appreciation for another's time, money, thoughtfulness.

It irks me to no end that those 2 magic words are becoming less and less of our daily lexicon.  No.  Actually, it pisses me off royally.

"Please" is still pretty much spoken.  But "thank you" seems to be fading into oblivion. 

In our own family, graduation gifts.....no "thank you";  shower gifts....nada; wedding gifts.....not a word.  Even Christmas gifts are passed over with as little comment as possible.  I'm talking handmade gifts, hours and hours of creation;  I'm talking wracking my brain to figure out the perfect gift for someone....something that has meaning to that particular person.  And if it needs to be purchased, money is (almost) no object. 

It's gotten to the point that I really don't want to be part of anyone's celebration.  I will say a silent prayer, a blessing for you and think of you on your special day.  I believe that's enough.  No thanks needed.  Not that any would be forthcoming anyway.

I always thanked the kids for doing the dishes, cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash, etc.  This would irk BH..."you don't need to thank them for doing their chores"  he would say.

Ahhh....but, I would retaliate,  "everyone needs to know their appreciated, whether it's something expected of them...their job, their chore, their responsibility....or just of their own doing".   Everyone needs to be validated.  Everyone needs to know they matter.   In this crazy, impersonal, dangerous world.....everyone should know they matter.

Sorry for the rant; I feel much better now.   Thank you for "listening".....thank you very much.

Friday, February 21, 2014

It Goes Like This......

So, after 2 glorious days of temps in the 40's...above 0!  We are back to reality.  Anyone in the Midwest knows where this is going.

Yep, it started snowing yesterday afternoon....and hasn't stopped.  The winds are gusting 40 mph.  We have 4 ft. drifts in front of the house and I'm sure, in the driveway.

BH says last night that he's getting out at first light this morning to start shoveling. 

Me: "want me to help you shovel?  I can shovel, you know.  2 shovels are better than one; it'll go quick".
BH: "no, no.  I'll be ok; it's not that bad".

This morning.  It goes like this.........

Me: "so, you're waiting until it's light outside, right?"
BH: "yeah".
He looks outside.  "Maybe I'll be lucky and the snow blew right over the mounds on the sides of the driveway".

I didn't have the heart to tell him that I can see the 2+ ft drifts sitting in the driveway. Without his glasses, he can't see worth a damn.  That, plus my knickname for him is "Polyanna".

Now he's dressed, putting on his boots.

Me: "do you have longjohn's on?"
BH: "nah..I don't need them"

Me: "oh for God's sake, you should put them on"
BH: "I'm not going to be out there that long; I'll be coming in off and on"
Me: "you should wear the scarf over your face; it's blowing pretty bad out there".
BH (slightly agitated): "I gotta keep adjusting it and have to stop shoveling; I don't need it".

Well, alrighty then.

He opens the door.  No. He tries to open the door.  The wind has blown drifts of snow inside the storm door.  He has to push with all his might just to get it open.

10 minutes later, he's in the house.

"I'm going to wait till the plow comes down the street; there's no sense in shoveling it all now; the mail won't come till the street's plowed; we don't have to go anywhere today, right?"

"Yep", says I.  "You should put your longjohn's on".

"I'm ok; my legs are warm enough", says he.   Whatever.

Now, I don't know if he's had a mental lapse or it's the "Polyanna" talking, but when the plow comes by, the 2+ feet at the end of the driveway will become 4 feet...of compacted snow.  Yeah.

"You should see it.  There's 2 feet drifts just on the walkway; I shoveled a path down to the end of the driveway", he updates me.

Our driveway is about 50 ft. long from the deck to the road.  There's another 10 feet along side the house where the car is parked.  We do not have a snowblower.  He shovels....with a shovel.  Refuses the idea of a snowblower.  He'll be 78 in July.   I'm glad the life insurance is paid.

"Do you want me to call around for someone to come plow out the driveway?"  I offer, in my most caring tone.

"No. No. It'll be alright.  This is going to be the last of the snowfall", is his reply.  (remember: "Polyanna")

Okey dokey, then.

So, my plan is to bake chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies today.  I'm going to have plenty of time...alone in the house.  And keep the coffee hot and fresh for his intermissions.

The sun is supposed to come out this afternoon.  But the temps till next Wednesday will be in the teens with the occasional single digits below 0 during the night.

So....is it still warm and wonderful in Alaska?

Friday, January 31, 2014

How High's the Propane, Mama

(A take on a Johnny Cash song), but really.....$4.69/gallon and rising.  Last week it was near $3.00.  I ask BH  "isn't this price gouging??...and isn't that against the law??"

He checks our tank every other day.  So far we're doing ok.  Provided the "Polar Vortex" doesn't last into April.  Fingers crossed.  It's Minnesota, after all.

It figures, doesn't it....our first year with a furnace and we have unending days and nights with the coldest temps in over 30 years.  Murphy, you son-of-a-gun.

Well I've been on a muffin binge these past few days.  Probably not the best idea....the oven going for hours....using more propane.  But sometimes you just have to look adversity in the face and say "screw YOU!"  Although....who gets screwed in the end remains to be seen.

Oh, yes, muffins.  A couple of weeks before Christmas, I told BH what I would really like is the big, honkin', "Texas" muffin pans.  I'm sick of puny, teensy, tiny, little bitty muffins and cupcakes.  What a waste of time and energy.  I want BIG ones.  So....while out shopping one day, I picked up 2 pans.  Because one makes only 6.  I almost choked on the price...a little over $6.00 each.....but I guess that's the "Texas" price tag, too.

Anywho,  I decided this was the week for muffins.  I'm going to freeze a bunch of them; I can make all different kinds; give some of them away; have a quick breakfast for family.  And so...the freezer is just about full of bread, streudels and muffins.

Banana nut, blueberry, brown sugar streusel and apple cinnamon.  Next up is raspberry/blackberry and then I want to try strawberry/cream cheese.  There are a dozen plus 2 or 4 of each kind.  I found the recipe for basic muffins on the internet.  It's a simple recipe and works great for adding whatever you want.  Maybe things really are better in Texas!

So Sunday is SuperBowl.  Big deal.  Son who lives nearby will be coming over to watch the game with BH.  And staying until Tuesday.  Because on Tuesday, he and BH are going to the Casino for an overnighter.  WooHoo!!  Hallelujah and thank you, Jesus!!  I'm getting him out of the house for a couple of days.  I've got so many things planned to do!  I can stay up all night!  Do whatever I want....watch whatever I want....eat whenever and whatever I want. 

I haven't felt such freedom since...well, I don't really know when.  But it's been way too long.

I used to have a bit of that freedom throughout the summer when BH was still fishing.  He would leave at 4 am and not come home till 6 or 7 pm.  The whole day!  To myself!  I'd get up with him, see him off, do the housework, laundry, prepare dinner, run errands and be done by 11 am!  Solitude!  Love it!

It would make winter bearable just knowing that as soon as the ice was off the lakes, he'd be out enjoying his only hobby. Well, he gave up fishing a few years ago.  So, aside from cutting the grass all day or out chopping trees down, he's with me all day.  Every day.  Every hour...of every day. 7 days a week.  Winters are almost unbearable.

Our son used to call him and invite him to come over for poker night.  No. He didn't want to leave me alone in the evening.  Whhhaatt?!  Get real!  But he wouldn't go.  Damn.

Oh, he's not a bother.  He lets me do whatever I want anytime; never says a negative word about anything.  But it's just the fact that he's a man...and he's here.  I keep telling him we all need our space, our alone time; this being together 24/7 isn't what it's cracked up to be.  And then I feel bad because I've hurt his feelings. 

But, anyway, he's going away for 2 days!!  I'm going to love every minute.  Until it gets around 10 pm.  It's dark.  It's quiet. I'm alone.  I miss him.  I can't wait till he gets home tomorrow.

And that is what love and marriage is all about.  Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cold Enough For Ya?.......

Ok...that's a sentence that is no longer funny.  Or needs to be repeated everywhere you go.

So we're in our 35th day (it sure does seem that many) of double digits below zero...daytime, nighttime...it doesn't matter.  Cold is cold.  Freezing is freezing.

Thank God for the furnace this year because I don't know what we would've done.  Between the wood stove, 2 electric heaters and the furnace, we manage to keep it somewhat comfortable in the house.  However...BH has informed me that there is a couple more days of wood left.  UhOh.

He normally would have enough wood for all this season and some for next, but the Spring and Summer threw a couple of monkey wrenches into his wood gathering calendar.  So we wound up with less than we've had in many a year.

And we've been trying to keep the furnace a minimal operating capacity because he's leary as to how much propane it's going to use.  And the fact that propane prices have doubled in the past week.  Being as frugal (read....cheap) as he is, he just about has a cow when thinking we might have to buy more to get us through the "vortex".  Me....any cost to keep my butt warm is fine by me.  It is what it is.

Yesterday he was out shoveling, bringing in wood, getting the mail, feeding the birds, etc.  When he came in for a break, I said..."don't you want a scarf around your face....you're nose is turning dark".  Well, that scared him enough to agree to the scarf.  Men.  Just mention a part of their anatomy might have to be cut off...or fall off.....and they're as meek as a lamb!  You can really get your way.   Mind you....this whole winter with frostbite so prolific....he has not had anything cover his face.  I consider myself lucky he wears an insulated hat, his Carhartt jacket, long johns, wool socks and heavy boots.  But the face...gotta cover the face.

What's been going on inside?  Well, a big pot of ham/bean soup on Sunday; 2 days of baking Apple Streudel (4 streudels); a pan of brownies; many wool dyeing experiments, with more happening today.  And I finished the poncho...almost.  The collar needs to be knitted on, but first I have to try it on because it looks like the neck opening is much narrower than I remember from previous ponchos.  May not need the "shirt collar" style...maybe a "Mandarin" style will be enough.

And spinning.  I don't know why, but I can just about manage an hour's worth of spinning a day.  Just can't get into it full bore.  I want to.  Just can't get that mojo going.  And there's a lot of spinning to be done! 

Of course, it doesn't help that my sister has gotten me hooked on playing scrabble games with her on the internet.  This from a person who "poo-pooed" the thought of getting connected on a "social media" website.  Well, she's hooked now!!  I couldn't possibly play that many games!! There would be webs from ceilings to floors, dust 1/2 foot thick, nothing to eat and no clean underwear.

Speaking of which...there's a load of laundry waiting for me...and a ton of fiber calling my name.  Gotta go.




Monday, January 20, 2014

Blending

Oh...forgot to post the pictures of the rolags created with the blending board.  I'm finally getting the hang of it; just gotta practice not making the rolags so tight and big when rolling the fiber off the board.  Good tool.




Shetland wool in batt form, blended with iridescent "Firestar".  Sure beats trying to separate and spin the strands of firestar with the fiber while spinning.

That's all.  Have a great day!

Dyeing......

So the green experiment turned out beautiful.  I'm so happy with the results; can't wait to get it spun up.  2 pounds of each, the painted and the mottled.  I'm planning on blending both together on the blending board; maybe add a little black wool to make the colors "pop"!!  And then....knit it into an Aran sweater....for myself!

I'm calling the colors "shades of Ireland".

 

The top picture isn't color true.  The shades are actually much darker green.  Don't know what happened there.  When I downloaded them, they looked just fine.

Anywho, the brown mottled didn't turn out as brown as I thought.  It's more of a peachy/gold ombre.  That's ok.  It is beautiful.  And will be blended with a solid light brown.  I hope.  But that's the fun with experimentation.  Never know what's really going to come out of the pot, but as long as it's within the same color range, I'm happy!

So the peachy/gold is just about dry.  Pictures to come soon.

Now....onward and upward.  Gotta get out the other tote of white wool.

Wishing you a day of fiber fun!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Update......

Nope.  It's Merino.  6#s.  Dyeing the last 2 today.  Trying for light brown with splashes of light pink and maroon. I'm doing the overall brown with tea bags; never dyed with them before.  Fingers crossed.

I'll post pictures of the green....2#'s painted and 2#s ombre soon.  Gotta download them from the camera.

I think I've got about 5#s of white Border Leicester yet.  Ooohhhh, envisioning more colors!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

All is Right with the World....

Well, here in my world.  Things are starting to get better.  But...next shoe to drop?  I pray not.

I found the buttons!  Yay!  About the 6th box, there they were.  Happy dance.  Quickly got them sewn onto the vest.  Another project done.

The socks are finished, washed and should be dry enough to put away today.

I'm dyeing.  Wool.  The tote says "Shetland", but I'm thinking it's Border Leicester roving.  It's not hairy like Shetland.  I know there's a lot of BL, maybe in another tote.  I haven't taken the time to go look.  I really need to keep my tags on the totes updated better.

Anywho, I've been dying (pun intended) for a green yarn.  So yesterday's batch is a pound of painted roving.  It turned out pretty good; I do like the colors.  Today is kettle dyeing another pound of solid dark green.  At least, I hope it'll be dark green.  It looked dark green when I poured it into the kettle; the roving looks dark green as it sits there waiting to be warmed and simmered.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

But if it comes out lighter than expected, well, there's a beautiful black roving that will just be blended in or plied with when spinning comes around.

Granddaughter called Thursday night.  She's feeling much better; the meds are working and she's been scheduled for physical therapy, which she says made her feel much better.

The issue with the new sargeants has been resolved.  The Sargeant Major confronted them and read the "riot act" to them.  Their attitude towards the soldiers has tempered down quite a bit.

Funny story she told me....it seems last Saturday they all got 1 hour of personal time.  A bunch of the guys had to get their hair cut at the base barber shop.  Being that there's quite a few of them and 1 hour wouldn't work, they started called their CQ, saying they would be late because of the wait.

This one nasty, cruel, ruthless sergeant  (one of the new ones) goes to the barber shop and starts screaming, cussing, degrading and belittling his men.  Lo and behold, there happens to be a Captain standing by...from a different platoon.  He makes a phone call to the company commander and then calls Brigade Headquarters and reports this a**hole.  Then he confronts the sergeant and in no uncertain terms "lays him out in lavender".

Everyone was so happy when they heard this.  Finally.  Justice.  So, needless to say, this particular sergeant has an attitude adjustment towards the company!

Don't you love it when those who seriously need it get their come-uppance!!  Thank you, Jesus.

So, back to granddaughter......she's feeling better, her company got their "green status" back, which means they can leave the base on the weekend, and her aviation instructor is giving her leaway to complete her course at her pace so she can graduate on time.   Thank you, Jesus.

I still pray every night.  Always have; always will.  Prayers for help, many prayers of thanks.  I pray for everyone and everything.  And sure enough, most of them are answered.

Well, Tuesday, BH and I are off to the Casino!!!  For an overnighter!!  It's going to be great getting away for a couple of days.  Knitting will accompany me.  I love it when I can go up to the room, relax, watch TV and knit.  BH can play all the BlackJack he wants, as long as he wants.  Me.....give me the peace and solitude of a comfy room and I'm happy!  Oh, I'll play the slot machines for a few hours, but then it gets boring and the surrounding noises start fraying my nerves.

Now....if my prayers could be answered for a.......jackpot!!