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 garland.......you 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.
Penguinski!

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
Sugar
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

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I've been trying to write this for a week but this software is old and my newer ipad doesn't play well with it.  I'm experimenting with doing the writing on my desktop and then adding photos on my ipad.  We'll see.

I don't have much to day about last week's election result.  Except maybe for one thing.  It's been our way in this country to accept the outcome of an election whether your candidate won or not.  We all work together to pull our country forward.

Some years are harder than others......

In some more pleasant news, last weekend as I was getting dressed, Pk called up from downstairs and said, "Quick, look out back".  I did and I saw 3 young deer wandering in our yard.  We've lived here for over 30 years and never once have I seen a deer in our yard.  We were enchanted.

This might have been a different story if there was still a garden for them to attack but since the garden is done for now, they were welcome guests.

I only got one photo of the neighbor's gorgeous trees this year.  Shortly after I took this, the weather got windy and now most of the trees are naked.




Emily has a long time friend who is having a baby in January.  I pulled out a crochet hook and my rusty crochet skills and am working on a lacy receiving blanket.  It's really pretty with a nice, soft halo.  It's an acrylic blend but part of that blend is mohair.  Now, I like mohair as much as the next person but it is a PITA to crochet.  Especially when your basic skills are not as sharp as you might like them to be!  I have started over a few (ok, 10) times and have cut off large swaths of the fabric because I didn't like the way it looked.  I have until Dec 3 so I have to stop dithering and finish it. 


Image result for thanksgiving clip art imagesThanksgiving is coming up next week here in my part of the world.  It's one of my favorite holidays.  Family, good food and togetherness.  I am cooking this year and Emily and Jim are coming for dinner.  We will make our traditional menu (there will be a mutiny if I change a thing) and watch the parade and maybe a game or two. 

Friday, we took off and will make Fruit cakes and perhaps on Sunday we will make a trip to the Columbus Flea market.  It's absolutely huge and a ton of fun to walk around.

So, how are you doing in the wake of this tumultuous election season?  Are you settled back down?    I think the next 4 years will be anything but smooth.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I'm With Her



I was trying to figure out what to say about today.  Election Day.  It's been a long slog of a campaign and I am so glad it's finally here (although it feels like it's been an eternity, it also feels like BOOM! It's suddenly here!).  And Randall Monroe said it perfectly (he writes the online comic XKCD). 

In the Grand Scheme of Things, one election cycle is not All Important and sometimes it can feel like it doesn't matter for whom you vote.  Just getting out there and casting your ballot makes your small voice become part of a larger one. 

This is my 20th Presidential Election.  I've voted for men who've lost and some who have gone on to win.  What I've never been able to do before was vote for a woman.  It feels like we're taking a giant leap forward to catch up with the rest of the world.

Image result for clip art vote
Is the woman candidate better just because she is a woman?  Of course not but she brings such a wealth of experience to the table and a different perspective.  I really like her "stronger together" ideas.  It takes all of us in our wondrous diversity to make a country that has an "open mind and a good heart".  When has a candidate EVER spoken of our country having a good heart?  Never in my experience.

This newly 59 year old woman can't wait to see how she'll work out. (yes, I am an optimist.  Why do you ask?)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Image result for clipart halloweenToday is Hallowe'en, one of my favorite holidays.  And not just because of the chocolate....

I always loved indulging my girls in whatever they wanted to be for Hallowe'en.  When I was a kid, my mother wouldn't let us be princesses.  "Hallowe'en is not for princesses.  Be a witch".  I always wanted to be a princess (I think it was the dress)

So I let the girls choose whatever they wanted, as long as we could make it.  Elanor was a shark one year but we couldn't convince Emily to be a bloody water skier.  She was a princess and won a prize in a contest.  Kate was a Dark Angel, a Pink Power Ranger and everyone was a butterfly at one point.

Image result for clipart halloweenThere was one year when El wanted to be an Indian Princess so we made the costume.  She was beautiful but she would not be allowed to wear that in school if she were young this year.  Cultural Appropriation.  I understand it academically but I don't understand it emotionally.

 
 
For instance, we were walking at the farmer's market on Saturday and there was a shop selling moccasins.  I've always wanted a pair because they look so comfortable.  But there was this niggling feeling in my head telling me it wasn't right.  And I felt sad.  I wouldn't be wearing the shoes to appropriate the culture of someone else, just to be comfortable.  But I left them there.  I couldn't bring myself to buy something that might offend someone else, however unintentionally. 

Image result for clipart halloweenWe are staying home this year for the first time in a long time.  I am looking forward to giving out candy and seeing the kids.  We've been at my aunt's house or my brother's house for years so we've bought candy and didn't give it away (not so good for the waistline)

I'm leaving work early and going to the fabric store to find some Mead Felt (a fabric store owner told me that's what felt that is made with a good percentage of real wool is called).  I want to make ipad cases for Pk and I.  We got new ipad pros and I want something to protect it.  (for the record, the thing is huge and I am still getting used to it but overall, I love it).  I don't want craft felt which will be too thin and is not often washable.  I could order it online but some things I like to touch with my hands first. 

However you celebrate, have a Happy Hallowe'en.  And if you observe it, Joyous Samhain. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I can tell Hallowe'en is coming.  There are skeletons on our front door (these are George and Charlie), 
And there are more hearty meals for dinner, such as stew baked in a yorkshire pudding.
This is one of Peter Kevin's favorite ways to eat stew but it's not for the warm weather.  It is delicious.  But this week it's too warm.  When I left work today it was nearly 86 degrees.  In October.  I've already put away the summer clothes.  We always leave out short sleeved shirts because it often turns around and gets warm after it's been downright chilly for a few weeks.  I love a bit of surprise warmth but it's been a bit uncomfortable when my body has decided that IT should be the warmest thing in the room.  Gotta love the menopause.......

I have taught myself a new skill using youtube (what did we do before youtube?  Oh right, we talked to each other).  I have learned to knit a pair of socks on two circular needles.  I have a friend who wants to learn to knit socks but can't use the dpns.  I found some short circs and some bright stripey yarn (so she won''t get bored and throw it across the room) and started the sock.  It's surprisingly easy but still a little fiddly.  She can't figure out what to do so I'll show her tomorrow.  

We had our health fair last week and a lot of people asked if we were going to have the knitting group again.  I've gotten permission from my supervisor to take the time and I'm going to try for the third time.  I hope that if I set it up for a 2 hour time frame that more people will want to come.  I think that they were reluctant to travel for an hour.  I am hoping that there will be a mix of people who know what they're doing and people who don't.  I'd like to be able to sometimes just sit and knit and talk.  I've had  clients tell me how helpful they've found crocheting or knitting can be when they are feeling anxious.  It can be calming and centering.  Well, it can if you're not knitting double sided lace with complicated charts....

My favorite part of the autumn weather is being able to bake bread again.  I made this herbed loaf to accompany some escarole soup last weekend.  Before it was summer redux.  

We had a discussion in our poetry group about the difference between sports and games.  We couldn't come up with a satisfying definition between the difference.  We decided to ask people around us what they thought and come back together and talk about it.  Any thoughts?

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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