Monday, September 23, 2013

Good Monday Morning!  It is an almost perfect day.  It would be perfect if I were having a day off but that is not to be.

What have you been up to?  As for us, we had a lovely lovely weekend.  It started on Friday with a very full, busy day for me at work.  I had a very large (30 people) Handle with Care group.  It was the last one for the year and since it's mandatory, all the folks who skipped out during the year showed up.  Clarence and I did the take down three times and my muscles felt it by the end of the day.

I had time to scarf down some lunch and then it was off to a Sanctuary training for an hour and a half.  I like the concept of taking care of ourselves as well as our consumers.  It was an interesting training on being mindful of positive things in the environment.

I got home from work with enough time to change my shirt (the training makes me a bit sweaty) and pick up Elanor to go out to dinner for her 30th (oh my god, I have a 30 year old daughter!) birthday dinner. 

We got her a Galaxy tablet and then went to The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield.  We had a good dinner of pub sandwiches and El and Pk had pots of tea.  Kate made a cake and brought some balloons and it was really nice.  El had a good time.

Friday night I was exhausted and Saturday morning I woke up feeling groggy and disconnected.  I showered and did some laundry and putzed around while Pk watched some soccer.  He is really enjoying being able to see the games live.  And in HD, it's like seeing the folks in person.

We went grocery shopping later in the day and ended up forgetting several things (like tea bags.  Who forgets tea bags?) because it's a new store.  Today, we'll be going to the store on the way home to complete the shopping trip.

Sunday was pedicure/manicure time for me.  It feels soooooo good to sit in the comfy chair and soak your feet in a hot whirlpool bath.  I think that's my favorite part.  Pk decided to make sausage and he took over the kitchen chopping meat with the stick blender and making patties.  It was not as difficult as I thought since we didn't stuff it into casings.

Squishing the tomatos

He also pulled out the Squeezo.  This is what it looks like when it's put together (I pulled the photo off of a google search site so I apologize for the quality).  The last of the tomatos were harvested and put into the hopper and squished them down.  The beauty of this thing (which we have owned for about 25 years) is that it makes puree out of the innards and shunts the skin, seeds and anything else off to the side. The puree runs down the slide and right into a bowl or a plastic freezer bag.  You can see the skins falling into the bowl. 

It makes perfect tomato puree and if you let it sit in the refrigerator, the water will separate out and the tomato puree will be thicker.  We just put it into freezer bags and put it into the freezer for making sauce or soups later. 

We also got some absolutely wonderful beefstake style tomatos.  They have such intense tomato flavor.  This is what I miss most during the winter/fall months.  Tomatos bought in the store are just not the same. 

I still have some jars of pickles in the fridge.  I gave some to my brother and he texted me "holy crap! these are good pickles!" so I think he liked them.  We enjoyed the garden this year.  The weather was pretty good with lots of rain and warm temps so the plants set fruit and it grew prolifically.  We have the last of our cucumbers in the fridge and it will be time to strip the tomato plants of all the fruit left.  We didn't get to sit outside as much as we might have liked because all the wet weather brought lots of mosquitos but it was still a good summer.

And now we begin the slow inevitable slide toward the holidays.  Hallowe'en is in a month and then before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be upon us.  Now that Em's wedding is over, we have to go back to working on the house. (and thinking about Kate's day next October).

Does it feel like life is rushing by?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Here we are at the end of the day.  That's our entire family.  Patrick, Kate, Peter Kevin, Emily, Jim, Me, Elanor, Daniel, Anna Marie, Maggie and my brother Rick.

These are the people I hold dearest in the world all in one place.

But, let's start at the beginning.

Thursday, I went to the doctor because I had several bites on my upper left arm.  It turns out I was having an allergic reaction to the bites and the skin blistered.  The bites developed into cellulitis and I had a red, inflamed arm.  I was given an antibiotic, and directions to come back on Saturday morning to make sure it was working.

Friday I suffered the diaharrea that often comes with antibiotics and felt yucky.  We ran our errands and I sat around most of the day.  Saturday I could notice that things looked better and the dr confirmed it.  Phew.  (although I still have 10 days of antibiotics to get through).  It itches and is still pink and slightly warm but much better.

We drove the back way to Sea Isle City and thoroughly enjoyed the drive.  El and I packed jeans and sweaters because it was a breezy day and the temps didn't get over 70 F.  We got there in time for me to help Em finish getting dressed but she really didn't need help.  She and her girls had everything under control so we focused on staying out of the way.

Em looked beautiful.  Here she is walking down the "aisle" with Peter Kevin.  He looks so proud and happy (and handsome in his shirt!).

There was another wedding at the same spot on the same beach at just a few minutes before we were scheduled to start.  They were much more formal with women in heels and men in suits.  We were in bare feet and no one had on a suit.

The ceremony was perfectly Em and Jim.  They wrote their own vows and I think they got it just right. 
The wedding party switching roles.  The girls took the guys' sunglasses and gave up their shawls and flowers. 

There were many many photos taken and Em smiled through them all.  I think she was truly happy (and what else could I ask for?)

The group made their way back to the house (2 blocks up the street) for a meal of delicious barbecue foods.  The tables had sea shells and candles and looked festive and fancy.  Em and her girls did a great job of decorating.

And here's the happy Bride and Groom.  My brother told me it was one of the best weddings he had ever been to.  The ceremony was not stiff and formal but casual and personal and suited to the people involved.  Everyone seemed to have a good time. 

We hung around for a bit and headed home about 7:30.  We got in the door around 9 and went to bed about an hour later.  Today I feel like someone beat me up and I really didn't do anything yesterday.  It's a good thing we had today to just loaf around. 

Pk watched a soccer game and I found Dr Who's seventh season on the On Demand part of the cable and watched two episodes.  I'm rationing them.  Pk and I are going to check out Broadchurch since it seems to be well regarded.  I just don't want to get into the habit of sitting in front of the television.  There are so many more interesting things to do.

Tomorrow we'll go back to work and I'll share the photos and life will fall back into what passes for normal around here until next year when Kate and Patrick start planning their wedding.

Elanor is turning 30 this week so we'll be taking her out to celebrate.  I don't know how she can be that old, I don't feel old enough to have a child that age!

I'll end this in the best way I know how,

And the all lived Happily Ever After.........

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The days here are losing the light so fast.  We've lost an hour at night.  By 7:30 we are well into dusk.  It seems to take so long for the days to grow and they just seem to slide away so quickly.

We are at W-2 here (2 days until Em's wedding).  Tonight Pk, El and I will make several pounds of potato salad and pack it off to the caterer tomorrow morning.  The wedding is on Saturday afternoon down at the beach.  The weather has been incredibly humid and rather warm all week but Saturday?  70 degrees.  I am taking a nice warm alpaca shawl and a sweater just in case.  When I'm not suffering power surges, I am still easily cold.

I am also, evidently, a frail fragile flower of femininity.  I got two bites on my arm (presumably mosquitos) that are large, painful and have small blisters.  I think it's an allergic reaction to whatever bit me.  I've had reactions before but never blisters.  I put a call into the doctor because I don't want to end up in the ER with an infection on Saturday morning.  I've been hospitalized on bags and bags of IV antibiotics twice and been seen in the ER for them several times.  All for cellulitis.  I am a MRSA carrier and I get a bit nervous when there are warm red spots on my skin.

Peter Kevin an I spent most of last Saturday building this.  Em wanted a shelter to put on the beach for the wedding.  Something romantic.  Pk used bamboo and we bought about 40 yards of tulle and some silver stars and blue ribbons and made this.  It flows softly in the breeze and the bits hanging in the back have glitter which catches the light and sparkles.

Sunday was the Garden State Sheep Breeders Show so you know that we saw some of these.  Don't you want to bury your hands in those curls?  These are young goats and they were so curious.

And of course there were some young alpacas who were more than willing to pose for me.  

 I expect to see all of these but I don't expect to see one of these in a pen at a sheep show.  This guy was very quietly looking around.  I'm not sure if someone found him on the fair grounds and put him in the cage or he belonged to someone.  He had pretty markings on his feathers.

We wandered around, petting animals and of course, petting wool.  When we go to these things, I am not looking to spend money on things I can easily get every day.  I touch everything but only buy things that strike me as unusual.
Sunday,  I came home with a sheep key chain and a penguin cookie cutter to add to our menagerie of animals for holiday cookies.  I bought a bag of alpaca that is mostly light grey with darker grey tips, just beautiful.  Like putting your hand in a warm fuzzy cloud.  I didn't know alpaca had crimp in it and was surprised to see it.  It's been way to humid to even think about touching this but it's on the top of my list of things to spin when the cooler weather comes in soon.

We watched a sheep dog puppy named Diva who had only just seen sheep the day before, run circles around them (literally) in a counter clockwise direction.  The sheep looked like they just wanted to be left alone and here comes this whippersnapper running around and round.  The older, more experienced dogs put on a display of their prowess and they were amazing. 

Oh and we bought the biggest bag of kettle corn we could.  I love this stuff. 

I am off to a meeting for the upgrade of our computer program.  I am the SuperUser.  Pk finds this humorous since he knows exactly how much I don't understand about computers and the way they work.  We are updating our system and moving to Win7 at the same time.  It should be hell on wheels for a while around here.  Maybe I'll take a vacation that week.......

Have a wonderful Thursday and then a great weekend.  I'll take lots of wedding photos and share the joy with you all next week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here it is a week later already and what a difference.  Summer isn't over for almost 3 weeks but there is a definite change in the air and the attitude. 

solution 1

solution 2

Our new dress code started yesterday.  I was proud of myself for remembering it and then realized I had on a skirt which meant my tattoo on the ankle was exposed.  This was my first solution.  I have a basic first aid kit in my desk so I pulled out some gauze and tape.  After listening to people asking "what did you do to your ankle?" all morning, I took up some spare yarn and a crochet hook and came up with this.  It's not beautiful but it serves its purpose. 

Peter Kevin (who has a devious mind-one of the reasons I love him) suggested I cut and sew a piece of white cloth and embroider or draw the tattoo design on it and wear that.  He figures it complies with the letter of the law by covering up the actual tattoo.  One of my coworkers suggested a leather band with spikes because it isn't outlawed in the dress code.  My ankle will only be an issue for a short time and then not till next spring.  My wrist may be more of a problem. 

If there was an award for Slug of the Year, Pk and I would be in a tie for first place after last weekend.  He watched soccer games and I read and knit.  For four days.  It was just too humid to go outside and do anything so we stayed inside.  If you sat still and had the fan running, it was bearable.  I cooked some good food like sweet and sour pork. 

When we got married, Pk's dad gave us a wok.  Our wok has gotten a lot of use over the years but this is one of our favorite dishes.  The sauce is pleasantly salty/sweet and the pork is crunchy and tender.  It's a bit of labor to get it ready but it is so worth it. 

Em came and tried on her dress and it juuussst fits.  If she gains an ounce, it won't fit anymore.  She is very happy with it and I am very happy to hand it over to her.  We have ordered the cake and all that's left is to make potato salad for 40 people on Thursday night so we can give it to the caterer along with the cakes.

Pk has been making shawl pins.  It's amazing to me that he turns these delicate pieces of wood on his lathe.  He asked Elanor to make him some bead toppers for decoration and she came up with a few nice ones.  I am the proud owner of two.  One has a bead on the top and one has a hand turned piece of wood. 

His next experiment is to make pens as holiday gifts for his coworkers.  He likes trying new things as much as we all like trying new patterns.

The garden state sheep show is this coming weekend.  We're planning to go on Sunday since Katie has off and can go then.  I like this one.  It's relatively small and the crowds aren't overwhelming.  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous and we are looking forward to a day outside for a change.

I finished another baby sweater for a coworker.  The baby is due in October so the colors are perfect for a fall baby.  I love te colors in the yarn.  And I love using colorful plastic buttons.  Baby clothes are so darn cute.

My workplace is undergoing a process to become a 'trauma informed' center.  This means we are more sensitive and knowledgeable about trauma.  One of the things that I am finding useful in my daily interactions with people is the questions I'm learning to ask.  When you come across someone who is having a bad day or is in a bad mood, instead of asking "What's wrong with you?", ask "What happened to you?".  Can you see the difference?  It feels much more supportive and takes all blame out of the question.  People stop and actually think about their answers and it is a very useful tool.

It's small things like that that make a difference.  Have a good Wednesday. 

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...