Friday, January 20, 2017

And I feel fine....

 "It's the end of the world as we know it....."

It's January 20 and I woke up with that song running through my head.  I am not truly looking for the end of the world, just the world as we know it.  I am one of those people who truly believes in the underlying goodness of people and so I can't help but hope that all the dire forecasts I keep hearing for the next 4 years will turn out to be overly pessimistic.

Here in the behavioral health field, where many folks live on SS money or disability, there is a great fear and apprehension about benefits and how they will hold up.  This increases the level of general anxiety.  It means that we spend more time just being encouraging and trying to be reassuring.  Sometimes it helps and sometimes people are just too wary.  

And there is anxiety in our home as well.  Pk had 3 phone interviews and has 2 in person interviews next week.  It's been 6 weeks and we are still waiting for Unemployment to rule on his application.  It won't be a lot of money but even a little is better than none.

We are still fighting off the ends of the Cold That Won't Go Away.  There doesn't seem to be enough Mucinex in the world for this.  I've had a bit of insomnia for the past 2 nights so I am extra glad it's Friday today.  I got up and put jeans on (nice, dark jeans) to go to work.  I feel a bit beat up, like someone has been beating me with a stick and these are comfort clothes.  If I could get away with it, I'd wear flannel pants and a sweatshirt.  But, this is a professional environment so jeans and a sweater will have to do. (Our dress code says no denim pants but we are in a new department now and they are a bit looser in their enforcement of these things).

That photo on the top of the page is the sky at 7 AM in Center City Philadelphia.  I had just turned down the street of my building and it was spectaular.  In a few weeks, it won't be quite so dark in the morning.  I look forward to not coming into work in the dark.

And I'll end with a few words from W. Shakespeare

"Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none".

Words to live by.  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

No 2

Here it is January 8th and I have yet to go back to work.  I think the last time I was off for this long was when I had eye surgery to repair the torn retina.  

In all fairness, I was ready to go back last week but we became a House o' Plague and I had to put off returning to work until tomorrow.  Pk got sick right after Christmas.  He was not back to himself so we stayed home on New Year's Eve and were in bed just after midnight.  We watched soccer games and ate good food and drank the end of the egg nog.

I was all packed and my clothes were all washed and ironed and hanging in the closet. I even shined up my shoes.  But then, I became the next to fall to the plague and didn't make it back to work.  The head cold became a sinus infection and it wasn't until the antibiotic had a chance to work that I began to feel better.  (Of course there are all the downsides to the antibiotic- intestinal distress, vague nausea and my favorite one:the yeast infection). 

I did the laundry but not much else this weekend.  I did some spinning, took some more photos of the tree and took naps.  We sat and watched the snow come down on Saturday.  Pk took care of me today and told me to just relax since I have to get up early tomorrow.
 This was all you could see of our snowman lights.  They glowed under the 6 inches of snow.  It was a perfect snow.  It was Saturday, so no school.  It snowed light and fluffy and then we had a sunny day today to help melt the ice off the sidewalks.
 It was so beautiful to watch.  Peter Kevin went out for a ride with his brother in law but thankfully got back before it started coming down very hard.

Today is so gorgeous.  The sky is as blue as it gets in the winter and the sun is reflecting off the snow making sunglasses more than just a good idea.....
Pk made omlettes for breakfast and I made some carrot cake-like muffins (delicious).  We are watching LOTR and I'm working to finish my mittens because I think I may need them.

 Our backyard pets got a new house for Christmas.  They aren't getting fed as regular because Pk hasn't found a job yet and we have our own bills to pay and food to buy.  We don't have any birdhouses, just feeders.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone nests inside.  I don't know anything about birds and houses/nests.  I hope they like it.  

If I had gone back to work on Tuesday, I had plans to clean out drawers and clean out folders and get ready for a new year.  But, I have no idea what I am going back to.  I have a feeling that my voicemail might be full of people cancelling their appointments.  Philadelphia doen't do a great job clearing out the small residential streets and often people can't get out.  Whatever happens, I'll have to deal with it tomorrow.  I don't work from home.....

 I take lots of photos of our Christmas tree every year and then keep the one or two that are my favorites.  Today she looks like a woman "of a certain age" all dressed up for Bingo or drinks with friends.  I have another week to take photos and then she comes down.  Last year our outdoor lights stayed up until the end of Feb because of weather.  Our aim is to take them down next weekend , but we'll see what happens.

When do you take down your decorations?  I put up boxes and boxes of favorite family bits and bobs and it takes all day to put up and then all day to take them down and wrap them and put them away.  We'll collect the things from all over the house this week and then put them away and regain our living space.  That's the part I look forward to .  Space and light, especially now that the days are slowly getting longer.  2 more months of winter......

Sunday, January 1, 2017

No 1

 Happy New Year!  And farewell to 2016.  I know that some years always seem like they've been harder than others but damn, this past one felt rougher than most.

I've been off work for the last week and it has quiet and filled with pj days.  

We made cookies
 I put eyes on most everything because for some reason, it struck me as funny.  We also made babka and our chocolate torte.  It was 2 days of work (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, baking) but by the late afternoon of the 24th, we were ready for the girls.  We had hot sandwiches and egg nog and punch and decorated the tree.  It was/is beautiful. We opened our polyana presents and laughed and generally had a good time.  Everyone left and we were in bed just after 12.  El and Pk and I got up the next morning and opened the rest of our presents and ate babka and spent the day in our pajamas.  

On Tuesday, Em said she didn't have anything for the top of her tree so Pk and I sprang into action and created this lovely creature for her and Jim.  We had a good time doing it.  She is mostly made from scraps and some feathers we found at the hobby store.  She has plain cream colored merino roving for hair.
 We finished her on Friday, just in time to give her to Em and Jim on Saturday.  And then Kate was saying she wouldn't have any babka (a family tradition) because Patrick doesn't like it and she didn't want to make a whole one for herself.  So, I made a small one for her when I made ours.  

I got a set of Weldon's Practical Needlework books and I will never complain about how a modern pattern is written again.  Those women of yesteryear were raised to know things that I need to have written down.  The patterns are so vague and they assume a knowledge base that I just don't have.  They are fascinating to read and one day, I am going to try one.  

I am finished one mitten and will spend the next two days trying to finish the other one.  I really like it.  The variegated yarn made the pattern look gorgeous.  
 They need to be blocked but you can see the pattern.  I am finished the initial repeat and getting ready to start the thumb on number 2.  

I don't make NY resolutions as a rule.  This year I am going to try to keep better track of my diet by using My Fitness Pal more faithfully and my mantra for the year is "all is well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well". It's a soothing phrase and keeps some of the anxiety gremlins at bay. Pk is still looking for work so I'll be needing that mantra for a while.....

Do you make resolutions?  Have you ever kept one?  If so, how did you do it?  Inquiring minds and all of that......

I wish everyone a Happy Healthy New Year filled with blessings and peace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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Good Tuesday morning!  Only 5 more days till Christmas!  I can't wait.  I love this "week before".  It's full of anticipation and glee and joy and cinnamon and sugar and baking and secrets and just plain fun.

I've had to get a new app to keep blogging from my ipad.  I adore the new ipad pro that Pk and I treated ourselves and have had fun learning how to use all the new features.  And then I discovered that some of my old apps were useless.  Take Blogger.  I would get a paragraph typed and then have to delete something and it would delete EVERYTHING.  The first time, I was surprised.  The fifth or sixth time, I was annoyed.  Finally, I decided I should look for a replacement.  I hope this will be it......

So, back to Christmas.  You know our family has a thing about penguins.  Well, I found what I think is the perfect penguin gift for Pk this year.  Only since it's really kind of a decoration, I decided to give it to him early.
 And so here we have a penguin nativity.  There are kings, and shepherds and an angel and a Holy Family.   All penguins.  He loves it and today is making a manger for them to live in.

We have been slowly but surely getting ready for the holiday but that doesn't mean we don't stop and enjoy the beauty around us.  Like this sunset early in December
 The sky was on fire and I just stopped and stood there staring.  

I made Elanor a pair of mittens.  I finished one of them in one day (something I have never done before).  They're made with some handspun called Iris. They came out just beautiful and she loves them.  The yarn is a wool/silk blend and El didn't wait for me to block them.  She put them right on her hands.  That's how we know our gifts are appreciated. I made a loaf of challah.  It's such a pretty bread.  This recipe uses orange juice and it has a light citrusy flavor which was nice with some turkey soup for dinner.

I bought new dining room chair which are brown seated with black legs so Pk painted our old table to match and it looks like a new set.  I always feel lucky that I am married to such a handy man.  He is always able to figure out how to fix something or make it work.  

All of the gifts we ordered have arrived and are wrapped and everything!  We have curtailed some of our spending because of Pk's unemployment but we will still have a festive holiday.  The baking will start this week.  I am not baking quite as many cookies as we have in the past.  The reality is that there are only 3 of us in the house and we do not need a million calories of cookies sitting around with their seductive come hither ways.

Are you ready?  Is the holiday sneaking up on you?  I don't know how often I'll feel the urge to post over the next week so in case I don't see you, 

Merry Christmas.  And by that I mean, "have a lovely, wonderful holiday.  Whatever you celebrate, may you do it with joy and wonder".

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's that time of year again and today we went to get our tree.  It's a nice size around and not so tall 
That we'd have to cut a lot off the top.  For the first time, we had to have a tree delivered.  It was too fat to fit through their baler.

It is now standing in the living room and it you take a deep breath, you can smell pine.  It's wonderful.  I am having a hard time accepting that it will be Christmas in just over 2 weeks!  

I have decoratedusing lots of hand made things we have collected over the years.  My cousin made this handsome fellow and my uncle made this one
Before I was born.  It's a candle.  He used to put wax into rubber balls as molds and then whip some wax to make loose snow.  My mother gave him to me when I got married.  I look for him every year.

And of course the very 1970's styled tree that my Aunt Joan made and gave to me just before she died.  
I saw one that looked just liked it at the flea market.  It makes me miss her every year.

We well be curtailing our Christmas a little bit since Peter kevin lost his job last week.  He's got a few leads and we are feeling optimistic.  I'll be taking my usual week off from the 23rd (also known as Christmas Adam) and going back on the third of January.  I look forward to pajama days with some knitting I have been putting off and some spinning and perhaps a trip down to Winterthur.  

The girls will come for Christmas Eve and we'll decorate the tree and then exchange our pollyanna gifts.  After that, we have no plans just like normal.  

Are you ready?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Here it is another Monday Morning.  It's cold.  The car was covered with frost and needed a good scraping this morning. 

We had a wonderfully restful long weekend at Chez Wood.  Wednesday after work, Elanor and I baked pumpkin and apple pies.  Thursday we got up and put the turkey into the oven and then got prepared to watch some parades.

To quote Inigo Montoya, "I don't think that means what I think it means.....".  In my mind, when you say Parade, I envision marching bands and floats and some movement down a street.  The parades in Philadelphia and NYC have become production numbers and not so much parades.  They have performances by dance troupes and singers in staged areas and there is a decided lack of marching bands.  Being a former band geek (a majorette for years), they are my favorite part. 

Em and Jim came for dinner and it was good.  We had a good meal and talked and just enjoyed each other's company.

Friday, Pk and I planned to go to the grocery store to do our regular shopping.  We kind of got sidetracked.  First, we went to the diner for breakfast and then decided to take our car to get a good cleaning and a coat of wax put on for the winter. 

The next stop was to Lowe's to get 2 things, a light bulb for the refrigerator and a leaf rake.  We came away with some paper for the front door, 2 containers of LED lights, a 9' blow up Stewart, 2 lengths of lighted get the picture.

This brought us to noon and we decided we'd had enough and went home.  We did get up early Saturday morning and get the groceries.  Pk and El put lights up outside and I put away the groceries and did the laundry and cleaned out my spinning supplies.  I made a big pot of turkey soup for dinner and it was a good day.  Oh and we made 7 Fruitcakes.  Yes, we like fruitcake.  These are dark and deliciously flavored with rum and spices and lots of citrus flavors.

Yesterday, we got up early and went to Columbus to the Flea Market.  It was a very good day!  My favorite cookware is Calphalon.  We own a set that I've cooked on for over 35 years and it's still going strong.  I picked up a large frying pan with a lid, a new double boiler set up and a wok-like pan that will work for a number of dishes and a cast iron dutch oven.  All at really good prices. (the calphalon still has the stickers on it and hasn't been used and it's so expensive in the stores).

Pk got a couple of woodworking hand tools-something called a "scorp".  I swear I think he makes this stuff up because I don't know any better.....

And then we ended our weekend laughing out loud at Despicable Me.  It was a good way to ease back into a work week mentality.

And now we are at the point where it's 4 whole weeks until Christmas, really plenty of time, but people will start the "OMG!! Buy ALL the things!!There is no time!!!".  That is so not my style.  I'd have an ulcer if I let it get that way.  We will decorate next weekend and then buy our tree the week after.  There is a plan and it will ease us into the holiday season with our sanity intact.

Are you ready?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Good Monday Morning!  Three more days until Turkey Day!  I love Thanksgiving.  I get to cook and spend time with my family.  This weekend, I made Cranberry Fruit Relish.   Years ago (more than 30!), I found this recipe and tried it.  It has become one of those, "it will ruin Thanksgiving if we don't have it" things. 
Usually, I put it in a container and put it in the fridge but this year, I remembered I had a few pint jars left over and I put it in them.  Much easier to store. Isn't it pretty?   And so easy.  Here's the recipe

Cranberry Fruit Relish

I bag fresh cranberries
Orange juice
1 can peaches
1 can pineapple chunks
Approx 1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can mandarin oranges

1- Put cranberries in sauce pan (pick out the ugly ones)
2- Add enough oj to cover them (this is a judgement call since they float and are hard to cover)
3- Simmer until the cranberries pop (they actually make a popping sound. It's very cool.)
4- Taste and add sugar to taste.  Turn off heat
5- Add remaining fruit and nuts and stir together.

You can use what ever fruits you like.   I imagine fresh fruit would work as well but since it's Fall around here, canned is easier to obtain.  As it cools and you stir it, the relish will take on the ruby color.  It is delicious with poultry or pork.

I will un-pin this when I get home today but here it is.  One crocheted receiving/stroller blanket for Em's friend Amy and her husband Mike.  I am rather proud of it.  It came out better than I expected.  Now I can get back to knitting my socks to trade for hand forged dpns.  

But, it's Monday morning and I have to get to work.  Today is our Thanksgiving Luncheon here at the center.  We serve over 250 folks a full on Thanksgiving meal.  It's one of my favorite things we do.  I have a clinic full of people so today promises to be busy.

And today's quote seems vry appropro. "There is only one happiness in this life.  To love and be loved" -George Sand


About Me

I am a woman with a family and a job and a love of making things with my hands. I like to cook and sew and knit and laugh, always laugh.
It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~chinese proverb