Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meme. That word didn't exist when I was a child. In fact, according to, the word was coined in 1976 to describe a behavior or piece of culture that is passed from one person to another. I have been tagged for the 8 Random Things about Me meme. (I really love the word meme, I think of it as Me Me!)

1. I don't own a hairbrush. Really. My hair is short and I wash it and towel dry it and put some stuff on it and in the warm weather, let it dry itself. In the winter I give it a shot with the dryer. I am sorry if this upsets all of you who spend hours blow drying your hair.

2. I love wind- up toys. I have several on my desk. I have an airplane that does somersaults, a bunny that hops and my current favorite, a little green robot that does the twist. They are there to remind me that life is fun and we should not take ourselves too seriously.

3.I really don't like more than one thing on the needles at one time. I am sure this is a control thing with me but right now I have 4 (!) projects going at once. I am not sure how this happened and I don't like it. I am trying to finish them up one at a time but my snowflake socks need to be worked at home when I am awake and I needed something to knit on the train and I needed a scarf and I want to make a puppet for my niece......

4. I like my bra and panties to match. I know, I know, this is silly but I feel better when I know I am coordinated (I think it's that control thing, again).

5. I love to cook. And I would like to own my own neighborhood restaurant /bar someday. Maybe if I win the lottery.

6. I teach crisis management. I am certified in two different crisis management disciplines and have helped design a training course for the people in my agency.

7. I cut my own hair. When it was curly, I used to stand in front of the mirror and just cut away until I liked it. Usually it was good, but sometimes it was not so good. You can get away with a lot when your hair is curly. Now that my hair is straight, (it's too short to be curly), I let the hair stylist cut it.

8. I have a mild anxiety disorder. I don't like crowds. I feel like I can't breathe. It is the most frightening feeling I have ever had. I know the anxiety attacks I have experienced are mild compared to others I have heard, but they are no picnic.

So, there you are. 8 random things about me. I think I am supposed to tag others but I think I am one of the last people on the internets to do this so if you haven't, please consider yourself tagged. You're it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Amy wanted to know "what brings you joy"? I have been trying to come up with a good answer to that one for a few days. It's easy to say my family because they bring me the most profound joy. After some minor (very minor) teenage turbulence, my girls have grown into lovely women. My relationship with them brings me joy. I am always amazed that they seek out my company. I am their mother but it feels like we can become friends as well.

Coming home at the end of a work day when I managed to make it through the bureaucratic red tape that is social work in the 21st century and actually helped someone. This brings me joy. Most of the time my job is paperwork and phone calls. But sometimes there is real human contact where I can make a positive difference in someone's life. When one of my clients says "thanks. talking to you always lifts me up and makes things better" then I know that I am doing what I was meant to do. This brings me joy. I can't imagine doing anything else. (Although I need to remind myself this when the phone rings and the paperwork calls!)

Finding a gift and giving it to someone gives me joy. I love to listen all year when someone says "I would really like ...." and then hunt it down and watch their face as they open the gift on Christmas morning, or for a birthday. Surprises like that bring me joy.

The new friends I have made this last year writing this blog. You all bring me joy. I have laughed and cried with you. We have celebrated victories and commiserated over losses. It is a world of support that I was not aware of and now cherish.

Music brings me joy. The Fur Elise by Beethoven has brought me to tears. Hearing the Star Spangled Banner or America the Beautiful sung by a crowd makes me cry with joy for the wonderful dream that is our country. It's still there under the cynicism.

Watching my husband gives me joy. He is so darn cute most of the time. A 12 year old who refuses to grow up, an appreciative man who still thinks I am beautiful, a father who tried so hard to be the best he could be, a friend who I can grow old with and with whom I am never bored.
Learning new skills, meeting new people, reading new books, smelling new yarn, touching old furniture, looking at old paintings, golden days and starlit nights, camping in the woods, stories around the campfire with the light golden on my children's faces.....all these things bring me joy.

My children tease me because I believe what Walt Whitman said about there being a miracle in every square inch of creation. Well, there is an awful lot of joy in there, too.

Thanks, Amy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Well, Fall is officially here. This is what I came outside to find today. Our tree, which has been a slow learner this fall, has finally dropped it's leaves. Well, they are still falling as I write this. To say this has been an unusual fall is an understatement. On Thanksgiving day, Emily was changing the battery in her car and Peter Kevin was helping her. I sat outside, without a coat or sweater, in the 70 degree sunshine, to knit and keep them company. Around 5 pm, a cold front came whisking through and the temp dropped 20 degrees in half an hour. And today, Saturday, it is 33 degrees (close to 0 celsius). No wonder everyone is complaining of sinus headaches.

Yesterday morning we attended my cousin's funeral. He was only 44 and died suddenly of a heart attack. It was a shock. People who are younger than you are not supposed to die first. The cool thing was that he was a biker and they had him laid out in his t shirt and jeans with his jean jacket with his motorcycle club emblazoned on the back. His brothers were looking dazed and I think it will take some time for the reality to sink in.

After that, Peter Kevin and Kate and I took a drive to Lancaster to the Bird-in-Hand farmers' market. This was outside the vegetable stand. The pumpkins are still coming in and we saw fields full of the orange globes. We bought some cherry apple cider and a variety of other goodies that we can't get here.
I did this in the car. It is my one row scarf. It is perfect car knitting because it is mostly mindless and easy enough to find any mistakes. Now that the weather is cold, I need to make an effort to finish it.

Our Thanksgiving was really nice. Em's boyfriend Jim and his sister Colleen came to dinner. We expected their mother but she was sick. We sent her home a plate of Thanksgiving goodness. The day was quiet and restful. We are not a football family and often have gone to the movies. This year we couldn't decide what we wanted to see so we stayed home. The weather was so warm it felt like very late summer. The food was good and the company was pleasant, what more could you ask for? After dinner we sat around in a food coma and played a vague game of trivia connections. No one had the energy to play the actual board game so we just sat around and asked the questions. We are a family of people with heads full of trivial things!
Today we are taking a semi-day off. Peter Kevin and Katie and I are heading out to the movies to see The Mist. It is a Stephen King adaptation and I love his work. I know, I know, it is not intellectually stimulating but I love a good story as much as the next person and he is a good story teller. Then it's off to the grocery store to do the biweekly shopping. Tomorrow it it laundry and then Monday back to work already. Before you know it, we will be getting out the Christmas decorations and it will be January. I want things to slow down. I don't want time to fly by so quickly.
My cousin's death has made me thoughtful this week. We were not really close. Our parents were close and we saw a lot of each other growing up. Now we only see each other at major life events like weddings and funerals. This is ok. We are very different people. What it has made me realize again and with force is that we don't know how much time we have. It is so important to let our loved ones know that we love them. Today. Right now. So, take a moment and say I love you to someone today. You'll make two people happy, you and them.
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner, part 2. This year I am a little sad because my aunt who always joins us for holiday meals is not feeling well and is staying home. Her daughters are fixing her Thanksgiving dinner and will be there for her so she won't be alone but it will leave a hole at our table. I am particularly close to this aunt and it is hard to see her get old. In her place we will have Em's boyfriend, his sister and his mother. I like Jim and his sister Colleen. I don't know his mom well so this will give us an opportunity to remedy that. There will be 8 of us around our table, a bit of a tight squeeze but I prefer it that way. It makes us rub elbows with the people who are most important in our lives and remember that we are grateful for them even when they drive us crazy! Kate and I are going out to try to find some folding chairs that won't break the bank so we can comfortably accomodate everyone.

I have one last recipe for you. This is a recipe that I came up with many years ago. We only eat it with our Thanksgiving turkey and it is delicious.

Cornbread and Sausage stuffing
-1 13 x 9 inch pan of cornbread. Make your own or buy it store made. No matter.
-1 tube Bob Evans sausage. You can use any kind of breakfast sausage. If it's links, cut them open to cook the meat.
-1 large onion chopped
-2 stalks celery chopped
- chicken stock
1. Break cornbread up in a large bowl set aside.
2. Cook sausage in a frying pan with the celery and onion
3. Add meat mixture to cornbread and mix thoroughly. Add enough stock to make it moist.
4. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This can be cooked inside the turkey or in a pan in the oven. I usually bake some inside the turkey and the rest in a serving dish for about an hour at 350 degrees.

Kate and I are shortly on our way out as soon as I wash the color that keeps me from looking 50 out of my hair. We all have our vanities.

And because I am trying to have a positve body image and have tried to raise my girls to be proud of their bodies, whatever the shape, here is the pinup photo I had taken for Peter Kevin. I don't look like this in real life. I look like the photo from the birthday post. This was a day for dress up. Someone else did the makeup and hair and posed me . I would have made a terrible model. I hate people messing with my hair. I have debated long and hard with myself on whether I had the guts to post this but somehow today I found the courage. So here I am as a pinup. It's hard to see but that's a garter I am holding in my left hand.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a peaceful one filled with good food and good people. If you don't, have a lovely Thursday. And remember only one month till Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner. Those two words strike chill in the hearts of many American men and women. There are several reasons for this. One is that they usually mean that your family is getting together. All your family. Even the parts you don't get along with too well. The other reason is that it is arguably the most important meal (food wise) of the year.

Each family has its own set of traditions and special dishes. I know lots of folks who would not eat dinner without the famous string bean casserole. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. I prefer my green beans cooked just until hot and served with butter and lemon. In our family the menu, and it never varies, looks like this:

Turkey, of course, the bigger the better, even though some years there were only 5 of us.
Stuffing, cornbread and sausage, only made for Thanksgiving.
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans
Cranberry sauce and Fruit Relish.
Pies, usually apple and pumpkin

When I say it never varies, I mean it. I suggested a small change and there was an uproar and someone said, "Well, you might as well cancel Thanksgiving!". We are nothing if not attached to our traditional foods. So, I thought I would share our recipe for fruit relish. It is an interesting alternative to cranberry sauce.

Fruit Relish

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 8 oz can of chopped but not crushed pineapple
1 8 0z can of pears cut into chunks
1 8 oz can peaches cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
1 c walnuts
Orange Juice
sugar to taste

1. Put cranberries into a good sized pot and just cover them with orange juice.
2. Cook them until they pop. You can hear them pop and they start to get mushy.
3. Add sugar to taste.
4. Add chopped fruit, raisins and walnuts
5. Stir well and let cool.

This will make a good bit of relish so feel free to cut it in half. It it good and not too sweet. It gets better as it ages so make it the day before you want to serve it.

This year we are only having 8 for dinner. It will be a squeeze around the table but I love it.

Tomorrow, Cornbread with sausage stuffing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A few weeks ago I put a hole in the leg of my favorite pair of jeans. I was heartbroken because it was in a place that made a seamless looking repair impossible. So, I came up with this as a solution. It is right above my left knee. I put a small flower on the pocket to help make it look intentional and now I can wear them again. It must look ok because Kate asked me if I would embroider her jeans. I'm just glad I can wear them again.

I have finished one waving laces sock and am about a third of the way through the second. The yarn is soft and real nice to work with. I also started the yarn harlot's one row scarf (k2,ktbl,p1) in some lovely baby alpaca that I bought when I bought Emily's 'bribe' yarn. She calls it that because she thinks I am bribing her into not giving up on the whole sock knitting thing by giving her really nice soft yarn to play with. It's a wonder it hasn't felted with all the petting it gets. I realized that I have never made myself a scarf and I need one so I am making the one row scarf for me. The yarn is deep fall colors and the pattern looks nice and it doesn't require much attention on my part. Since my sinuses are giving me a hard time (it's the weather, temps up one day and down the next), I can't always pay too much attention.

My neighbors across the street have the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. It is big and round, a maple that has become the prettiest color this fall. Yesterday morning, about 9 am, I went outside to get the newspaper and my street was silent, a little unusual for a Saturday morning. I just stood there and absorbed some of the silence and realized how nice it was to have the quiet. Some geese flew overhead, quacking away and I could hear them but not see them. It was one of those still, quiet moments when you just listen. As we rush through our lives, it is a great blessing to just stop and listen to the world and breathe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amy was curious about people's first projects. Well, my very first projects are long gone. They were mostly crocheted baby blankets and scarves. They were all acrylic and were lovely, at the time. My husband wanted a sweater, well, actually, the story goes back a little further. My brother and his wife went to Ireland and brought us back sweaters because we asked them to. I asked for a pullover and Peter Kevin, a cardigan. Well, I ended up wearing his cardigan all the time and it came to live in my closet. The problem was that now he didn't have a sweater. I offered to knit one. Now, at this point in time, I knew how to knit and purl but the concept of gauge and yarn thickness had not entered my head and I didn't know what I didn't know. I was a complete newbie but very enthusiastic about this project. Peter Kevin chose this very chunky wool/acrylic blend and I started. I found a cardigan pattern and without any regard for sizing, except I knew it should be large, I cast on. About 4 inches in, even I knew it was too big so I ripped it out and measured how large PK wanted the sweater to be and cast on stitches until I had an approximate size. I worked diligently and was so proud of my first ribbing and my button bands were exquisite, large but exquisite and I loved the buttons I chose. When I was done this is what I had:
It is so large that we call it "the blanket with arms.". I have often offered to knit a new sweater but PK swears he loves this one. Can you see how much he has to roll up the cuffs? If he wants to , he can wrap it completely around himself like a kimono. It weighs almost 4 pounds and takes up the whole washer when I wash it. It makes me laugh when I look at it but he loves it and so do the girls when January comes and it is cold here they like to snuggle inside the sweater.

Bells showed off her tattoo and was interested in other's tattoos and the stories behind them so here are mine, although I am pretty sure I have shown them before.

Here is the tattoo on my wrist. It was chosen because it matched the tattoo on my ankle:

I have had them for 3 years. Emily and I had been to Atlantic City and admired the tattoos and talked about it incessantly. We scoped them out online and finally, on a girls' trip to AC, decided this was the day. I got the ankle first and loved it. Yes, it hurts but it stops hurting as soon as he turns off the gun. The second tattoo came about 2 months later on another girls' trip to AC (we did that alot that summer!). The colors are pretty accurate (even the veins in my ankles) and I love these. If you look at the wrist, you can see the bumps in the middle in a circle around the flower. In March, I had my mammogram and they saw something "suspicious" and I was ordered to have an MRI done. I told them I had tattoos and they said not to worry. I was more scared of the MRI because of my claustrophobia and anxiety about small spaces and the tattoos faded into the background. About a week after the procedure (it was horrible but with negative results), I noticed that the tattoo on my wrist itched and was raised. It turns out that the ink used in the inside colors has a high concentration of iron oxide. MRI's use magnets. The magnets pulled the iron to the surface of my skin and now I have a Braille tattoo. It is not unsightly but slightly weird. The tough part was that I have a metal allergy and the darn thing itched for a long time until it settled back down again.

I also have a belly button piercing. I got it the year before the tattoos. I did it on a whim because Em wanted to go but was nervous so I went, too. It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would and now I really like it. I have a gold hoop in there and it is a part of me at this point. I think I would like a small gold hoop in my eyebrow but PK says no more. He likes the tattoos because they are "feminine", or I guess as feminine as tattoos can be but he has requested that I stop here. For a while, I wanted another and I can see how folks end up with them all over their bodies. It is addictive. I chose the places I did because they are less likely to give way to gravity as I age. It is amazing the number of people who ask if it is real and if it hurt. And then they touch it. Thank goodness I don't have a phobia about being touched! I also have seen more tattoos that ever before as folks want to show me theirs. It's kinda neat and I have seen quite a bit more of some people's bodies than I wanted to....

Ok, class, show and tell is on. Show us yours!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It doesn't take much for the people around here (here being my house) to drop what we are doing and take a drive through the woods. It goes like this:
Person 1: So what do you have planned for today?
Person 2: Yard work, work work and some computer stuff.
Person 3: Laundry

Person 1: I have no plans.
Person 3: (as she is cleaning up after breakfast), we could just take a drive through the woods but we all have things to do.

Everyone: Let's go!

And we did. Fall is spectacular in this part of NJ. Now that the temperature has finally decided to be more seasonable, the trees have brought out their Sunday best. This tree was completely yellow/orange/red and it was like standing in a patch of sunshine. It made me smile just to stand under it. When we get to where we cross
Route 206 and head onto Quaker Bridge Road, it always feels like I have come home. I can breathe and the air smells like pine, not Pine-Sol pine scent but real pine. It's like the air is brand new and no one has ever breathed it before. There is a peace here in these woods and it speaks to me somewhere deep inside. There were quite a few other folks out there today. That's unusual but I guess they all thought like we did, that this may be one of the last really nice days before all the leaves turn brown.
Dinner is in the crockpot and there is bread in the bread machine. It's been a good day. Now I have to go deal with the deep sink which has overflowed while the washer was running. The blessings just keep on flowing!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Roxie tagged me with this meme. I haven't done many of these so here goes;

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?My husband, he is always good for a laugh
2.What were you doing at 0800? Getting in the shower to go to the farmers market and the grocery store.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Reading blogs and wasting time
4. What happened to you in 2006? I took on more responsibilty than I can handle at work, thus this year's goal "to say NO" I did an awful lot of laughing and knitted my first sock.
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Thank you for cleaning out the closet, hon,"
6. How many beverages did you have today? One cup of coffee, two milks, a glass of water and a glass of iced tea.
7. What color is your hairbrush? I don't own one. My hair is short and I use my fingers.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? Lots of groceries.
9. Where were you last night? Home with Peter Kevin and all three girls(doesn't happen often)
10 What color is your front door? varnished wood color
11. Where do you keep your change?Pennies go into a mug (actually there are 3 mugs)
12.What’s the weather like today? 52 degrees (11C), grey and misty.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip, hands down.
14. What excites you?My husband, surprises, news that GWB will be out of office soon, seeing comments on my blog.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? My hair is already pretty short.
16. Are you over the age of 25? Yes, slightly (he he)
17. Do you talk a lot? How much is a lot? II love to talk and love to listen to other's stories.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes
20. Do you make up your own words? Sure, doesn't everyone?
21. Are you a jealous person? No, not often
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Alicia,an intern this year
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kate,my daughter
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? My husband
25. What does the last text message you received say? OK.
26. Do you chew on your straw? Nope.
27. Do you have curly hair? I did until I was in 8th grade and got scarlet fever. It is only wavy now.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?Work on Monday morning.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Depends on what you mean by rude? Are we talking language rude or manners rude?
30. What was the last thing you ate? squash soup and grilled cheese.
31. Will you get married in the future? Probably not. I have been married to my best friend for 26 years and how can you best that?
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? It wasn't the past 2 weeks but Death at a Funeral was the best recent one.
33. Is there anyone you like right now? Lots and lots of people. Including my wonderful daughter Emily (she is sitting here and made me say that)
36. Did you cry today? No. Not yet.
37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I had nothing better to do on a Saturday evening and it was interesting. And it provided my great daughter Emily a good laugh.
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

Ok, here goes
Emily, Katie, Amy, Sheepish Annie, Olivia

Have a good and interesting weekend!

Friday, November 9, 2007

I'm at work. I'm done for the day. The phone is not ringing. I have nothing to do and 3 hours to do it in. sigh. I would feel guilty leaving this early, it's only 12:30. I think I will wait until 1:00 and then leave (like that 1/2 hour makes any real difference!) I know my supervisor wouldn't mind but she is on vacation and I don't want anyone to think I am skipping out (but I am).

In knitting news and follies, I have ripped out the waving laces sock and started it over on smaller needles. I almost always use 2.75 needles when making socks for myself because I have wide feet and I don't like my socks too tight. As I was knitting the socks I noticed that they looked big and they are a fairly stretchy pattern so I slipped them on and they were too big. I sat there and looked at the 4 inches of beautiful stitches in my hands and just pulled the needles out and wound it back up. Ouch. Now I am working with 2.5's and it seems better. Of course when I try it on it it's too tight then I'll have to rip it and go back to the 2.75's and I will probably cry.
Ok, I couldn't stand it and pulled off my shoe and sock and slipped it over my foot and it fits. phew. And thank goodness my office mate went off to get some charts. I don't need to add to the perception that I am slightly batty.

Know what I noticed about being 50? It doesn't feel any different than 49. Hmm. It does sound different and I have discovered I like telling people how old I am. They are always surprised. Does 50 sound that old, or do I act like a kid? No matter. I think I am happier at this point in my life than I ever have been. No, I haven't won the lottery, in fact, some days I swear I owe just about everyone on the planet. I think happiness comes from contentment with yourself. I can't change a lot of the things in my life but I can change how I choose to deal within them. What you think on grows. Since I have read that statement and have subscribed to the Buddhist quotation of the day, I have become more aware and thoughtful. What you choose to focus on becomes the most important thing around you. I am choosing to focus on positive aspects of my life. Will this make the negative ones go away? No, but maybe it will make them a little less important. I don't believe in heaven or hell. I think we make our own heaven or hell in our own lives with our attitudes. I have known some people who have minor problems who just moan and groan. I also know a woman who has had more "bad" things happen (death of a parent, serious mental illness, serious life threatening condition, breast cancer) in the last 6 months than any one person should ever deal with. And you know what? If you ask her how she is feeling, she smiles a huge smile and says "Wonderful!" Her attitude is that things can always be worse. She is an inspriration to me when I start to feel sorry for myself.

Where did all that come from? I think November is my contemplative month. Maybe because it is my birth month and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

It's time to go home now. Have a good weekend everyone. Check out the buddha website. They have some great chachkas! I personally like the "enlightenmints".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. We celebrate birthdays around here in a big way. I think it's important for everyone to get at least one day each year when they feel extra special. There is (almost) always crepe paper and balloons. I say almost because Kate and Elanor have summer birthdays and sometimes it is just too humid for crepe paper. These flowers were waiting for me on the table at the Inn. That is my Aunt Elsie. She is in her 70's and is still a kid. She keeps saying maybe someday she'll grow up. She is a great inspiration.

I finished my lacy mock cable socks and they are beautiful. Now, the dilemma. Do I put them away for a christmas surprise for someone or put them on my feet? The devil on my shoulder says "wear them, you know you want to" and the angel on the other side says "now wouldn't one of the girls just love these socks?". The answer to both is yes.

Another woman at work today suggested I sell my socks. I gave her the spiel about the cost of the yarn and how no one would pay what the socks were worth. She said "what if they buy the yarn?". I told her what good sock yarn costs and she cringed. So, once again, I only knit socks for the joy of the project and the joy of giving them away (or wearing them myself).

I started a new pair in a pattern from Knitpicks called Lily of the Valley socks. (I have tried to link to the pattern but for some reason it is not working. It is on knitpick's website under patterns.) Lily of the Valley is one of my favorite flowers. I love the little bells and the smell is my favorite of all. So, with great anticipation I started the pattern. And I don't like it. I'm not sure if it's because I don't like the yarn (patons superwash sock yarn in ivory) or I just don't like the pattern. I did the cuff and started down the leg and I am not in love with it. So I frogged it and put it away. Maybe some other day it will speak to me but not today.

Instead, I started these. The Waving Laces pattern from 25 favorite socks. The yarn is a gift from Olivia. It's from the Knittery and is called Moonlight. It is so soft and beautiful and I am enjoying knitting with it. It is one of the first sock patterns I ever tried and I had so much trouble with it. This time, it is going more smoothly and I am really pleased with it. These are definitely my socks. Snowflake socks, you ask? What snowflake socks? Oh, those snowflake socks. I am through the first pattern repeat on sock number 2 and have had to rip it back several times. I don't know why I am having trouble but it is in a bag until it is ready to play nice.

This is the November yarn from Art Walk sock yarn club. It is taken from a Monet painting and the colors are so springlike and beautiful. I am thinking it will be great fun to use when Feb rolls around and I am sick to death of being cold and need some spring in my life.

This is the lovely wood that Peter Kevin was going to make my swift out of. It's Australian Lacewood or Silky Oak. It is lovely and so unusual. Can you see the lacy grain in the wood? It was hard to get a photo because the flash kept drowning out the grain. Did you notice I said "was"? That's because my husband who is not allergic to anything and hardly ever gets a cold and when he does he "toughs it out", is allergic to the dust from sanding this wood. And not just a little sneezing but great patches of itchy skin and bumps all over his hands. It required a trip to the doctors and a course of prednisone and some prescription anti-itch cream. It looks like we will have to choose another wood to use. It's ok because I still have the k-nex swift. And that is fun to use, just hard to store.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

If you take one of these
and add some of these

and mix in family and friends and you have a
birthday party. Today this is what 50 looks like:

When Peter Kevin asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I said I wanted to go out for brunch. I chose Smithville Inn because I really like it and the Sunday brunch is out of this world. What I didn't know was that he invited my brother and his family, both Em and Kate's boyfriends and my two favorite aunts. As we drove through the beautiful fall leaves, they were all waiting for me to get there. I was surprised and of course cried when I saw everyone waiting for me. It was a really nice day. We feasted on breakfast foods and hot entrees and then we walked around and admired the shops. We saw Swan boats, along with sea gulls and the young folk rode the carousel. It was lovely. I got some beautiful rust colored alpaca sock yarn from Emily and a book and gift card from Elanor and Kate tells me that my gift is on its way from California and it will take longer because of all the fires they had there recently.
I have been fretting about turning 50 because it sounds so old and I don't feel old. It's all a matter of what's going on in your head. In my head, I am not much older than when we got married, although I feel like I know more and feel more strongly about some things and less strongly about others. I am convinced that there is not enough niceness in the world and we should all try to promote it as often as we can. I no longer care what celebrities choose to do with their time. I strongly believe that there are miracles in every square inch of life and the world around us and all we have to do is to be aware and look for them. I no longer believe that one person can't make a difference in the world. I have seen in my lifetime the difference one person with strong convictions can make. I also believe that I am one of the luckiest people around. Not too bad for a 50 year old gal.
Now, everyone, get out there and start looking for some miracles!

Friday, November 2, 2007

How was Hallowe'en in your neck of the woods? Here, it was relatively quiet but colorful. Unfortunately all the photos I have are of children and I am uncomfortable posting their photos. Too much weirdness on the internet. I planned and pulled off a Bingo party for my Social Rehab group. There was music and prizes and pizza and of course, chocolate. Most of the group went along with the idea but there were a few who were less-than-thrilled and let everyone know how they felt. I counted the day as a success anyway. One of my older individuals called me and left a message thanking me for the travel cup she won. She said "I put water in it and it works". After asking myself, it's a cup, how can it not work? I was just glad that she took the time to let me know she had a good time.

We went to my brother's house to have dinner with his family and my aunts and cousin. In years past, we took my girls to my aunt's house to go trick or treating and then had dinner and then the kids would sit around and have a "candy swap". They traded back and forth to get their favorites and get rid of the ones they don't like. This year because my girls are grown, they either had to work or had plans with their friends. Peter Kevin and I went alone and still had a good time. I gave him a bag of assorted candy to trade back and forth with the kids. He had as much fun as the kids. Although, our candy bag was considerably lighter when we came home. I think he made trades that were heavily weighted in favor of the kids!

I am off from work today. My supervisor lets everyone have their birthday off and since my day is a Sunday, I took today. It is less disruptive for me to take a Friday off than a Monday. I will probably do some house cleaning and laundry so we can all have a weekend off. Peter Kevin is downstairs trying to start the heater for the first time this year. It is always suspenseful as we wait to see if this is the year it finally dies. Fortunately, he is pretty handy and has kept it running. And we are lucky the weather has been warmer than usual so we haven't really needed it yet.

Last night we went to a concert by a group called Serenata Guayanesa. They sing Venezuelan folk music. The music was fantastic. It was bright and lively. The whole evening, from the introduction to the encores was in Spanish. How much Spanish do we understand? NONE. Maybe an occasional word (taco, burrito, salsa-you know the important food words) but on the whole we are not speakers of Spanish. This would not have been a problem because I really liked the music but it was folk music. We were at a concert where all the intros to the songs were in Spanish and we didn't know what everyone was laughing at and when they all sang along, we were silent because we didn't know what the song was about, let alone the words! It was strange. We bought a cd because we really liked it but it was odd to be somewhere where we were definitely the minority.

And I will leave you with photos of my fierce watch cats. Don't be afraid. Calvin, on the left, is a needy boy and will let you in the house to leave with the silver if you pet him. Hobbes, on the right, is more stand-offish but will run and leave the doors unguarded. They like to sit on the front steps and look like they are guarding us but in reality, they sit close to the house so they can run inside when they feel scared.

The cat photos are a distraction from the fact that everything I knit this week has had to be ripped out. I must be in a fog because whatever I was knitting, wasn't what I was supposed to be knitting. Who knows? I just know that it is probably time to take a break and try again to get it right. Maybe later today. Have a good weekend.

Happy Sunday!  I am sitting here working on my sweater made with the cashmere yarn my husband gave me for my birthday last year. I’m further...