Saturday, December 30, 2006

On being thankful to live in this century

In doing family history, I've also read some other source material about the experience of living on the plains in the 1800s.

For the past 3 days, we've had clouds, snow, and almost constant wind.

Imagine living in those conditions out in the middle of the plains, no neighbors for miles, no electricity, no internet, no cable --- nothing but a little cabin, a fireplace and the sound of the wind howling around (or through) the cabin.

No wonder those women looked so dour in those pictures. How did they keep from going literally crazy in those conditions?

They obviously were made of very sturdy stuff -- I'm not sure I would measure's to our great grandmothers --- what great ladies they were!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A wonderful Christmas was had by all......

As I write this, I'm sitting in a pool of lovely full spectrum light from the new lamp my DH got for me. After having "burned up" two smaller lamps that were full spectrum bulbs but used a transformer in the power set up, I had hinted broadly that a more efficient lighting system was probably a good idea. TA DA! I now have wonderful light to work under!!

He had quite a story to tell about one of the other presents he got for me too, and it goes like this.

Not long ago on Mason Dixon Knitting, there was a lengthy review of a Rowenta iron. Now the iron I've been using is about my daughter's age, and has seen me through many projects, but after reading the review of the Rowenta, I went on at length about its virtues, especially since it was clear that an heirloom quality quilt for our daughter's wedding was in our future.

So, the ever faithful DH set out on his quest to make it happen. Off he went to the store where he picked out a very nice model of the Rowenta, one with a very "pointy" sole plate which will be great for all that quilt work!

He goes to the check out, and is his usual thing, he was telling the clerk how this is a present for his wife for Christmas. Well, he nearly couldn't get it out the door until he made a long explanation about how thrilled I'd be to get it for the quilting. She simply didn't think an iron was a good Christmas gift! What a hoot!! BTW -- I am thrilled!! Can't wait to get started on the next quilt project and get to use it.

Today's picture should probably be labeled "Queen Elphie". She's pretty much taken this chair as her personal "throne". At the time I took this picture Christmas morning (before we tore into the presents as you can see from behind her), she was keeping our daughter's dog from getting into "her" chair.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas too!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Snow pictures and household projects

The snow and the wind made lovely scuplture! This is our back yard, where the wind blew the snow around into a kind of "half pipe" really looks amazing......I'm wondering if there's some way to capture this look with beads.....something to think about

The picture below is an icicle hanging from the blue spruce tree in our front yard.....the storm decorated the tree for Christmas!

And these would be the latest knitting adventure. Both knit from the same pattern, but in one the texture runs vertically and the other it is horizontal.

These are covers for my "Swiffer" which I love using because it picks up the dog hair so well, but I'm not thrilled with the "use the cover once and throw it away" issue.....

The reason I knit these two different directions was to do a semi scientific test.....which pattern picks up the most stuff before it must be changed? After a test use to figure it out, I will be making a few more of the most efficient pattern of course!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Why can't we play nice?

I keep wondering about that question as I keep hearing the replays (over and over ad nauseum) of Rosie and Donald slinging insults at each other.

What ever happened to a civilized nation?

I'll give Donald the benefit of the doubt here, he's giving a girl a chance to clean up her act and turn her life around. I'll forego that he probably has a financial motive here (see, even I'm cynical), but I can't for the life of me understand what Rosie can be thinking.....

Has our national culture so deteriorated that everything must be negative? Is this the legacy of living in fear?

It makes me want to stand on the street corner and scream at people "just play nice"!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


One of the side attractions of having anywhere from 1/4 inch to 7 feet of snow in your yard is the fun you get to have clearing it out.

Today's excursion was done in 2 stages.....we had been asked by the post office folks to clear a path to our mail boxes so they can resume delivery service tomorrow, so we did that first.

It took a while to clear the knee deep drift across the sidewalk right next to the garage, but then we chugged along down the driveway on one side of the car, and on to the front walk to the edge of the post box.

By the time we had recovered and returned back outside to do the second stage, the neighbor on one side had run his snow blower from his property line to where we had cleared in front of the mail box, so we didn't have to do that piece (we thanked him profusely!!)

So, we concentrated on clearing out the rest of the now when our daughter comes down for Christmas, there'll be someplace for her to park.

I can definately say I got my exercise today, but this evening my back is letting me know I over did it....OUCH!

So, its off to the alternating hot and cold and a good dose of advil before bedtime..........maybe I should just go lay in a snow drift!!

Meantime, I'm trying to find out how I can get some help for my folks to get dug dad was talking about going out with a shovel to dig out the truck and make a path to the wood shed, but he really should not be doing mother says she thinks she can get some one from the city to help, but I worry about them decided to do it for themselves.....its hard for them I know to admit they can't do everything for themselves --- we're having some of those issues ourselves -- but I worry about it anyway.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's not time yet!!

I'm yelling that actually to all the folks that are currently celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.....being a bit of a purist is a pain I guess, but just in case someone is actually interested, the 12 days of Christmas are AFTER until Ephifany......Ok, I'm done with that rant for now.

I'm in a semi pre Christmas funk.....working away on the last of the Christmas presents that must get finished post haste and really wanting to work on a whole lot of brand new things that I've got all set up to start on (see the studio blog from early in the week) and having a couple more new ideas floating around in my head.....nuts!

Meantime, I can say that my Christmas shopping is done (just waiting for another package to arrive in the mail); all of the cards are mailed; the first package that had to go out of town was mailed yesterday and the last one goes tomorrow. We're deep into gift wrapping, which at some point every year looses its attraction, and becomes a chore, but we aren't there yet (see if we would only buy one present for each person.....ha, like that will ever happen!)

Anyway, I'm meantime worrying a bit about my sister (a 5 day migrane is a BAD, BAD thing); my brother in law (he's having surgery on his shoulder next Thursday); my dad (bronchitis on top of COPD is another BAD idea) and my husband (he fell on his knee 2 weeks ago today and is still having a lot of pain and the knee looks seriously like he needs to scrub off the mud, except its all discolored beneath the skin -- he's going to the doctor tomorrow). This is an official request for prayer for all of them!

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, what glorious rose colored vestments in evidence, I enjoyed listening to the mass from Notre Dame this morning. We are reminded here to rejoice, the Lord is coming!

Today is also the 3rd day of Chanukkah, and we honor the Jewish traditions that lead to our transformation into Christians.

May all of you, whatever your belief be blessed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The decorating is done!

Actually, its been done since Sunday, but it took me a while to get the pictures taken, and then it took me a while longer to figure out how to load these up on the "new and improved" (NOT) blogger.

Anyway, here is a little "tour" of all the Christmas crazyness......

This is the family room tree, complete with all the hand made ornaments from my friend in California, and the pictures of my daughter with Santa, and the ornaments she made as a little girl. This one has bubble lights and shaped bulb lights (bears and snow men)
Right inside the front door this little table is the place I set the envelopes waiting to go out to the box for the next day. I've had the little mail box and the lantern for a really long time.

This is the little wall tree in the kitchen with its wooden jumper toys around it.
Going up the stairs the banister is wrapped with greenery and lights and tied up with green, gold and burgandy ribbon. Between each rail is a wooden jumper toy and there is a little wood sleigh and a candle on each step.
Candles and Russian style art (there is no place in our local parish church to light a candle, but I can do it here). The Icon in the middle is St Nicholas, and the egg on the left has a nativity scene inside.
This is what we call our Russian tree -- really its an Eastern European tree as all of the ornaments and figurines under it are in that style. There are a lot of real eggs that have been painted or otherwise decorated on this tree. This tree is on one side of the buffet in the dining room.

This tree stands at the other end of the buffet in the dining room. Every ornament on it is hand blown glass, there are a lot of Radko ornaments and a number of Italian blown glass pieces.
The top of the stereo cabinet, all decorated with tin toys, santa mugs and candles.
Its not yet the night before Christmas, but the stockings are hung by the chimney with care! I have done the knitting of 3 of these in the last 2 months.
In the family room on the wall opposite the big tree is this little wall tree that is all decorated with Disney ornaments and keepsakes from our trips to Disneyland.

This little tree is on top of a doll case next to the piano. The star on top is the last rennant of the decorations my grandmother used to hang in the windows when I was a child. The ornaments on this tree are the little ones that would get lost on a big tree. There is also a fiber santa that my DH made as a child on this one.
Not exactly a tree, but we count it anyway. The Lladro bell and ball ornaments are a little heavy for a regular tree, but they look good on this stand. And I like the look of the other bisque porcelian pieces under it.
The top of the curio cabinet always has this clock (it was made by my DH's grandfather), but at Christmas we add some ceramic and porcelain figures too.
Decorating the coffee table with greenery and candles has been a long time thing, but this year I added some eggs with inside decorations too.

Under the living room tree, the bears are all dressed up and ready for the occasion.
The Crystal Tree. Every ornament on it is clear glass, most of them lead crystal. This is the tree my daughter is still afraid to touch, but now days she adds to my 30+ year collection every year.
Standing next to the piano is the Bear Tree. Every ornament on this one is a bear, and that means there are a lot of Coca Cola bears on there!
The nativity set is in its usual place on top of the piano (some day soon I'll have to find a new place when the piano goes to my daughter). We use some traditions from other places when we set it up. The 3 Wise Men are always to the East, not right at the stable (I believe this is a French custom), on top of the stable is the angel and a rooster (the rooster is a big symbol in the Russian chruch) and there is no baby in the manger until after midnight on Christmas Eve.

Yes, that's the end......there really are NINE trees!!

And now you know why it takes us 2 weeks to get it all set up.....

Consider this my Christmas Card to you all. May you have a wonderful Christmas, and may the world find Peace in the New Year.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Having been "tagged"

by Jason (see his blog at here are some little known things about me.

Five Little Known Facts About Me

1. I taught myself to play the piano. I wanted to be able to play Moonlight Sonata, so that is where I started. At one time I actually could play it all the way through. (its been a few years, and it would take a lot of practice to get it back)

2. When I was in high school I wanted to be a fashion designer. I worked for a while with two guys and made outfits for rock bands. I wonder sometimes where I would be now if there had actually been money for me to go to college and pursue this.

3. I have only 2 or 3 memories of my mother before I was 5 even though I remember a lot of things clear back to when I was 2. I spent most of my time with my grandmother (my mammy, as I called her), and she had a profound impact on my life -- teaching me to sew, knit, crochet, cook, iron, and all those other "girl things" she also taught me to love flowers and poetry. At one time after her death I had a dream about her that was so vivid I could actually feel her touch. (ah, a truly mystical experience)

4. Most of the time when I was in school I felt I had more in common with the adults than with the kids my age.

5. The dream to be a published author has been with me since I was about 10.

And there you have it......there are probably at least 5 more, but some things are better left in their dark little closets!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the insurance company's annual greeting

arrived today.....the health insurance company that is, and why they feel its neceassry to ruin my Christmas every year is beyond me....

This year's greeting.....the premium for the health insurance for just me is an increase of 25%!! Yeah right, like our income will keep pace with that....ha!

The sad thing about it is that basically I'll be paying the $350 a month to have the insurance just in case I fall and break my leg or something since they will not pay for my blood pressure medicine, so I'm footing the bill myself for my meds.....

I have to admit that in a way I'm looking forward to being old enough for least the monthly premiums will be less because I'll actually finally be part of a group

now I'll just be wondering where that extra $$ will come from every month.....{sigh} guess I have to sell more jewelry or animals or another magazine article every month