Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

One Down.....One to Go

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

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

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

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

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

What I'd really, really like to do is get back to my spinning.  But wheels and wool are put away until Dec. 26......my favorite day of the Christmas season!  I can do this.

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

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So now, on Thursday, I will have time for a glass of wine or 2....3....how many glasses are in a bottle, anyway?  Don't have to worry about something burning or forgotten about.  At 12pm, the wine starts flowing.  My daughter exclaimed one year, "Mom, wine already....it's only noon."    And you know the standard response:

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's all good.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But health problems started rearing their ugly heads.  Neuropathy in his legs and hands.  He can't run any more and his hands shake so bad, it's difficult to manage fine motor skills.  No more fishing.   OMG!  I just realized....I sound like a real Bitch!!  Complaining about him being home all the time.  Well.....I feel like a Bitch today.  Sorry.

Anywho.....my plan is to clean the house today.  But I'm trying to talk myself out of it.  I haven't won yet.  Who wants to waste time cleaning house when you have the whole day to yourself.....to do whatever.....just relish the day.

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


Monday, August 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for something completely different:

Blue/grey twisted rib tube socks

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

 Embossed, brass-tone buttons

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

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

Wishing you all a fantastic week!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Is It Over Yet??............

Summer.  I'm not a big fan of summer.  It's ok for the first few weeks, but now we're into the middle of it.  The beginning of the worst of it.  The heat.  Humidity.  Bugs.  Incessant weeds and grass mowing.  Ear shattering thunder storms.  Torrential rains.  And the ever present  tornado warnings.  No thank you; I've had enough.  Let's move on to the next season.  Fall.  How I love Fall.

Anywho, so since we last visited, some housecleaning and yard work has been done.  Unfortunately, it needs to be done again.  We'll get to that.  The hot, humid days have been upon us with a reprieve or 2 in between.  That's a good thing.

All boxes that were packed up for the "big move" 2 years ago are now unpacked and most things have been put back in place.  There are 2 boxes marked "Keepsakes"......things I definitely don't want to throw out, but don't want to be dusting off anymore either.  Then there's 2 boxes marked "Donate"....which will go to one of the SecondHand stores here in town.   One of these days.

Yesterday was a gray day, threatening rain all day (which didn't arrive till we got into bed last night), so I spent the day setting up a page on FB, supposing it to be a link to my Etsy store.  Hoping to get things back in there for sale by the middle of September.  Since it's all woolen apparel, I didn't see putting it in now, paying the fees and have it sit there.  Am I wrong?  Hmm.....How many people realize that, yes, there will be another winter;  yes, there will be another Christmas shopping season.  And it'll be here quicker than you can say "Bob's your uncle".   So.....plan ahead.....shop now?  I know there's such people out there....but I've never really been a stalwart.  I do admire them immensely, though.

We've heard from granddaughter a few times now by FB messaging.  We've got the webcam all set up, got Skype downloaded, ready to go.  Just haven't worked out times we can video chat together.  9 hours difference over there.  And she does spend a lot of free time chatting with her fiancé.   That's quite understandable.  Also, her work schedule is the afternoon shift....from 4 to midnight.   We'll figure it out pretty soon, I'm sure.

Remember the new landscaping lawn mower that I bought for BH a couple of months ago?   The one that made his eyes almost pop out of his head  and me choke when we saw the price?   Yeah....well Monday we had to take it back....to be serviced.   I wanted to throw up.   Right on the show room floor.  In front of all the shiny, clean, brand-spanking-new mowers.

Yeah.  It seems the engine revs started dying the last time he used it.  Quite a noticeable change in the engine sound.  BH checked it out on the "net"....called the service dept.  Yep.  Most likely needs a new air filter.  No, no, you can't rinse out the one in there now.  It's made of paper.....it'll disintegrate.   A new one will be $5.00.

Now the price isn't bad.  What's bad is he mows the grass every week, sometimes twice a week.  Probably 2 acres at least.  The mower is 2 months old.  So through the season, we're probably looking at 3 or 4 filters.   And for the original price of the mower....well.....you'd think they'd have a better, reusable filter, right?  Ppffftttt.

So, not only that, but then I find out the pull cord is stripped of it's cloth covering, right down to the plastic wire core.  How the hell did that happen???  Aaarrrggghhh.   BH is not the most observant or careful person when it comes to .........anything, really.  It was no surprise when he said he never saw the damage being done.  (There's a very funny story of our visit to the DMV for renewing his driver's license and the required eye test....I'll tell you later.  It's hysterical, trust me!)

Well, anyway....it's in the shop.  "Can you give me a rough time estimate when it'll be done?"  BH asks the service guy.   "Well, we'll take a look and see what's wrong; probably have to order the parts; we'll get to it by the end of the week.  You should have it back week after next".     Are you friggin' kiddin' me?????   A garage can put a new engine and transmission in your car in less time than that!!   We're not talking a riding mower here; it's a push...ok.....self-propelled...woohoo.....mower!!   Probably 'cause it's under warranty....yeah, that's it.  Not making any money on it, so push it back to the end of the line.

Well, I'm exhausted now.  Get a cup of coffee and see if that restarts my "engine" for the day.   I'll be checking in again soon....unless the heat and humidity do me in.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Holy crap!  This season is going fast.  Not that I mind all that much.  Fall is my very favorite time of year.  So...hurry up, Summer....get it over with.

Whatcha doing for the 4th?  We've got son and daughter coming on Saturday.  A cookout is planned.  Something simple and not too expensive, I'm planning.  Today is grocery shopping day....and other assorted errands.

Good news!....I am totally done with the inside work. The last room was scrubbed and freshened on Saturday.  So,  yesterday I weedwhacked, pulled weeds, fixed the little fencing around the hedges, trimmed the annuals back so they bush out instead of growing tall and "leggy", and Miracle-Gro-ed the gardens and planters.  Yea for me....a gold star!!

Now on to the rest of the outside work.  I want to scrub down the siding on the house.  First time in 12 years.  BH is very nervous about this....he thinks the color of the siding will get all "splotchy".  Oh, for crysakes.  Well, that will be accomplished next week.....great weather is predicated all next week.

Then it's the car.....washing inside and out, preceded by a good vacuuming inside and then shampooing the upholstery and carpeting.  And if time, weather and energy allow.....I just may tackle the van.  And, of course, there will be the old farm house...which needs to be straightened up and re-organized.  And boxes.  Need. to. be. unpacked. ugh.

We're planning a trip back to NY at the end of August to see family.  Did I tell you that already?  Anywho, we've been trying to plan this out since last year.....but something has always come up.  Fingers crossed, it'll finally happen.

Other than that, nothing new going on.  Tomorrow should be a very relaxing, puttering around kind of day.  Maybe I'll get pictures of the latest vest and get them posted.   Oh.....a coconut/banana cream pie will be in the making tomorrow for Saturday.  At the request of BH.  His birthday is the 9th.....so a little extra celebration is definitely called for.

You all have a very safe and happy July 4th!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

In Case You Were Wondering.....

What am I doing right now?  Well.....dinner is on the stove, staying warm.  It's 4:50pm.  BH is out in the back 5(acres), behind the old farm house, throwing the rest of his chopped wood into the basement.  He said there was about 200 pieces left.....out of the 5200 he had stacked outside.  You read that right.....5200 pieces.  Which is our wood supply for next winter.  "It'll only take me a half hour or so".

I'm assuming there should have been an underline in the "or so".  We had no lunch today...so I'm starving.  I wanted to eat before 5pm so the kitchen would be cleaned up at a reasonable hour and we could relax for the evening.  I think I missed that train.

What's for supper?   Grilled (in the house) salmon, rice/w stir fry veggies, Waldorf salad and wheat bread.  Jello for dessert.  I haven't made Waldorf salad in many moons.  Can't wait to have it again!

Well, they're calling for thunderstorms tonight.  I opened the windows about 4:15 after having the A/C and all the fans running all day.  85 we had for a temp and a bit on the humid side.

I also blew a fuse.  The second one in 2 days.  The first time in about 20 years.  I guess I need to watch what's running on the same circuit a bit better.  I think it's because we moved the higher BTU  A/C into the family room on that line. 

So I guess the A/C, 2 fans and the dryer can't be used at the same time.  Ohhhhh.......Oleeever......Oleeeever..........(my favorite saying from "Green Acres").   Remember how Lisa had to unplug the coffee pot to plug in the toaster?  Yeah....it's that kind of thing.

Ok.  He's here.  Time for supper.   Mmmmmmm........

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Pretty much this month.   So we took son to the Martina McBride concert last Friday.  It was amazing!!  She is a great performer.  We thoroughly enjoyed the evening......and son is still talking about it.  I took videos with my camera and converted them to a DVD for him.  He got to shake her hand at the end of the concert...he was the first and only one at the edge of the stage for the last song.

Yep...that's him in the first photo.  He says he'll carry this memory with him forever.....no doubt!

Got the word from granddaughter 2 days ago.....her unit will be leaving for Kuwait on June 30.  There's talk they'll be serving in Iraq as well.  God bless them all.

I've got 1 more room to do for the annual cleaning.  Plan to get at it today.  Then I'm done with all the inside work; time to move outside.  Not my favorite thing....outside....in the summer.  The heat, humidity, bugs......LOTS of bugs....of every species.  Of course, no shortage of mosquitos.....the state bird of Minnesota.

No knitting has taken place this month.  Lots of spinning though.  However, why does it always seem that the closer you get to finishing a fiber, the longer it takes.  It seems like there's no end to this particular color.  And my patience is running thin.  I want to get it done and move on to another.

Grandson's graduation party is today.  We will not be attending.  A very, very long story.  Lots of drama from our son and his fiancé.
They have pulled us into a nasty situation which we have nothing to do with.  And now there's a lot of anger on their part at us, and a lot of hurt on our side. The fact that invitations were sent out a couple of weeks ago....but we received ours just Wednesday.  Grandson was supposed to stop by our home Sunday to invite us personally, but never showed nor called.   It makes us feel like it was never intended for us to be part of the celebration; a last minute thought or decision on their part.  Oh well.  We've been through this before with another adult kid.  This is NOT the family I grew up in.  This is NOT my parents' family.   Never will be.  What a rotten shame.

So....cleaning today; taking daughter grocery shopping tomorrow.  That takes a few hours.

More rain in the forecast for tomorrow.  We've been getting quite a bit of rain.  I wanted so bad to douse the flowers with MiracleGrow to make them "thicker and lusher" as the advertising says, but they're wet enough with Mother Nature's help.

Still don't have the screen house up yet.  BH promises it'll be up by the Fourth of July.  We'll see......

And that's all the news from Upnorth, MN.   Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Catching Up.......

Well, it's been pretty busy here in the beautiful land of loons.  Talked to granddaughter a couple of times; she's doing well in Texas.  Still no news yet as to when they'll be shipping out for Iraq.

So I've been catching up on the Spring cleaning.  2 more rooms left to do...I'm thrilled!  Then it's on to finishing up some outside projects and doing the unpacking of boxes.

There's been plenty of spinning going on; some knitting, though I haven't been "feeling" it for the past couple of weeks.  The white vest got washed and blocked yesterday...pictures coming soon.

My uncle died a few weeks ago, 84 yrs. old.  He's had Alzheimer's for a number of years and cancer.  My father's younger brother. Now there's only 1 sibling left....their youngest brother who will be 80 next month....and I might add, in very good health.

BH and I are taking sonwhomovedherefromSCsome years ago, to the Martina McBride concert in southern MN. tomorrow.  We ordered the tickets about 3 months ago, as a surprise for him and a "thank you" for all the work he does around here when he visits.

Not to mention that he is TOTALLY in love with Martina!!  He has every album and a few video concerts....that he watches over and over again. 

It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our home to the event.  And we're planning on driving home tomorrow night.  Not looking forward to that.  I hate driving at night....especially when we start getting back into the rural areas.  And....it's supposed to rain/w thunderstorms all day and into the night.  But we're taking an overnight bag just in case we feel it necessary to stop somewhere for the night.

Saturday I'm planning the Father's Day doings....because there's more rain and thunderstorms predicted for Sunday.  Hopefully, Saturday will be ideal for a cookout.  I cut up a watermelon this morning; got the potatoes on the boil for salad; going to the store and pick up some cheap steaks(??) and throw in some brown beans.  Daughter who lives in town now will be coming over, son will still be here, so it'll be a good day.

Next weekend is grandson's high school graduation party.  South of the Cities.  Another 3 hour drive down there.  And we will be coming home that night.  For sure.  Unless, of course, we're not invited.  That remains to be seen.  A huge problem has developed over the past couple of weeks between son, fiancé, granddaughter, and has spilled over onto us.  But more about that later.....or...not.

I'm so looking forward to July!  After the 4th, of course.  I hate holidays...except for Christmas.  Then we'll be free from any obligations....and can get on with our own plans.  Fingers crossed.

We still don't have the screen house up yet...too much rain, grass cutting and cool weather.  The A/C's have been sitting in the house for a few weeks....not set up yet.  We've had some very cool weather lately.  But, hey....that means the electric bill won't be going through the roof for another month.

Well, chickies.....gotta get to the store and continue on the tasks for today.   Wishing you all beautiful sunshine, comfortable temps and peaceful days.   Happy Father's Day to all your BH's !!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Flying By.....

Wow....another month has gone by with barely a notice.  All the days seem to be running together lately.  The calendar for the past 3 months have been filled with appointments, reminders, birthdays, graduations, etc.  It almost looks like we're really very socially active people!  Not.

So, I finally heard from my brother and SIL about the sweater.  She absolutely loves it!!  Was sooo happy to receive it.  Even sent me a note from herself.   Whew.

I finished the white vest, but it needs to be washed and blocked.  Actually, I haven't even had time to do that, much less pose it and take pictures.  But I will....eventually.   So I started a pair of socks a few weeks ago.  Which, sorry to say, have been languishing in the tote bag more than being worked on.  Lost the mojo, I guess.

You know how it is when you have a million things on your mind, hundreds of things to do, and everyone seems to have a problem with something or someone.   Good grief.

Granddaughter left on Sunday for Ft. Hood, Texas.  She'll be undergoing more training before being deployed......to what was supposed to be Kuwait.....but she found out last night, may most likely be Iraq.   For 7 months.  Possibly 1 year.  

I'm sick.  We love her with all our hearts; we pray for her every day; we support her totally; she's very strong and determined for a gal-soldier who just turned 20 last week.  But when is this INSANITY going to END???
14 YEARS!!   REALLY????  How many more battered lives?  How many more deaths?  How many more destroyed families??   Have we REALLY made any difference in an area we never should have stuck our big, arrogant, self-important noses in???  No.   How much more money are "we" willing to spend on a fruitless endeavor while our country is going to hell??

We're BANKRUPT, remember??!!!  

Sorry.  This is just one of a half-dozen issues we've been dealing with over the past month.  Sometimes you just have to blow it all out before getting back in the game.

So....here's some photos.  We met her fiancé's family for the first time....wonderful, wonderful family.   My brother, SIL (not the sweater ones), our youngest son, were all there for her Deployment Ceremony and saying good-bye the next day before the unit boarded the bus for the airport.

We love you, honey.  God bless and keep you and all your buddies safe and bring you home soon.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2 Down.....12 To Go......

Yes, it's that season again.  Spring.  Cleaning, re-organizing, repairing, etc.

So one job on my list (it's been on the list for 2 yrs now, actually), was to replace the screens on the 5...count them, 5....dining room windows.  And get rid of the sun filter film that the previous owner had on the 2 windows on the west side of the house.  It had been peeling off since....forever.....a little more every time I washed the windows. 

Well, once I got into the swing of things, the screening went pretty well.  It's an old mobile home; screens were attached to the wall....behind the window moulding.  Geesh.  So it really took some ingenuity to figure out a way to put up new screens.  I won't go into the gorey details.

The window film was, let's just say....a bitch to get off.  Maybe the fact that it's probably been on the windows for 30 + years.  And each window has 3 glass panels; you know, like louvers.  Well, after hours and hours....and hours.....it's done.  They are clean and bright and we can see out of them!

Curtains and shades were washed, ironed, and put back.  Now just wash the furniture with Murphy's Oil Soap, and this room is done.

Moving on.  The kitchen, hallway, spare bedroom and bathroom are next.  Family room then.  Our bedroom will be done or put on hold till Fall.  Oh....and washing the siding, repainting the skirting.  Those jobs have been on the list for 2 years also.

Then comes the fun part.   Unpacking the 20-some boxes that were packed when we anticipated moving.  Yep.  All to be undone, things placed back where they were.  Most importantly, all the crafts books, the spinning and knitting books and all the quilt patterns.  Because I've really gotta get started on quilting some time this summer.  Christmas gifts are being planned.  You can never have enough time to plan for the following Christmas.  Never.

Next week I'm hoping to get the yard work done.  Flower beds cleaned, fences up, decorations set out, weed-whacking done, seeds planted in the flower planters.  Going with marigolds this year.  Because I saved a gazillion seeds last year.

Of course, because of all this planning, there is rain in the forecast.  Today and every other day (a lot of thunderstorms predicted) for the rest of the month, it looks like.  Boy, if there was ever a time for the weather forecast to be wrong......

So with any luck, all will be accomplished and we can really enjoy the summer!  Finally.

BH suggested last night that he take me out for dinner on Mother's Day.  I've never been out for dinner on Mother's Day.  Who is this man sitting on the deck with me???   I told him I invited our daughter to come for dinner, so we would have to take her to the restaurant with us.  AND....he'll need to make reservations, I'm sure.   Well....this plan is still up in the air.  I'm really not crazy about spending the money for dinner when there's soooo many other things it would be better spent on.  Like all the gardening supplies.

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Dyeing Here.......

So...I joined a few FB groups.  Onc is fiber dyeing.  After a month of perusing everyone's beautiful, beautiful dyeing jobs, the bug finally hit.

Hey, I've got plenty of white fiber....at least 8#s I can play with.  And we're off......

I spent the last week dyeing.  Thinking of a color....and dyeing.  Hey, what if I did......and dyeing.  This would really make a great complimentary color for.....and dyeing.

Meals were prepared; dishes done every day; laundry kept up; bathroom cleaned; bed made; a little dusting, a little vacuuming.  That is all.  No time for heavy cleaning. 

Well, I think I'm dyed out for now.  But not for long.  Anywho, the heavy housework got done; plans are being made for some Spring fix-ups and yardwork.  The website and email gets checked every day to see if there's another BIG sale on white fiber.

And spinning....oh yes.  There's like 3 different spinning projects that were started before the "sweater from hell" took over.  And now they must be finished up.  Still knitting on the vest; the back is almost done; one more side to do.

But I'm still dreaming and planning colors for the next go-round.

This pink/green/lilac/blue roving is the first set of balls pictured below.  The color was off down there for some reason.

All but the yellow were dyed with food color pastes.  The yellow was dyed with turmeric.  I never used a spice before.  Love the color!  They were all kettle dyed, each was a planned color that came out something totally different.  But such varigation in the rovings!  Not a bad one in the bunch.  There is approximately 1# of every color.  Oh man!  I can't wait to start spinning these.  And dyeing some more!

There's about 2#s of white left.  I sure hope there's a sale very soon.
I'm hooked...and I got it bad.....real bad.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm Too Young for This....and She's Not Old Enough! (sob sob)

Saturday our granddaughter posted some pics.  Here's the most revelant:

Yep...they're engaged!!  Her first serious boyfriend, now her fiancé.  She'll be 20 yrs old the beginning of June.  She's also in the MN. National Guard.....and being deployed to Kuwait the first week of June.  She'll be over there from 7 months to a year.

It's the sweet with the bitter.  As I guess most things are in life.

I'm very happy for them both.  He is a great guy and they seem very happy together.  She deserves everything good life can give her.

Excuse me now.  I need to go sit and cry.  Tears of happiness; tears of worry; tears of memories from years gone by.  My cup of love over-floweth.