Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Here we are Easter Morning sitting in the sunshine.  Pk was watching a soccer game and I was just leaning on him and photosynthisizing.  The air was a bit cool but the sunshine was just lovely.

I brought some flowers inside to enjoy the color and forgot how smelly daffodils are.  I really don't like the smell.  I also don't like the smell of lilies (that actually gives me a headache) or eucalyptus or cilantro.  That is my favorite small pitcher/vase (once it became a vase, it was never a pitcher again-something ewwwy about that).  It's made of local clay by a local artist.  And it's just big enough to hold a small handful of fresh cut flowers.

My roses are here!  We stopped at the garden center on Monday to get some grass seed and just happened to notice that there were roses.  These are Knock-Out Roses.  There is a white one, a yellow one with flowers that fade to cream and a pink one.  Pk dug the garden bed just for them as an anniversary present last year.  We have been haunting the garden center but everything is a bit late this year due to Winter's seeming unendingness.  The bushes are in the ground now and with any luck will start to bloom soon and will bloom all summer until we have a hard frost.

Knit picks advertised some limited edition colors in their sock yarn in neon colors.  I don't know about you, but I couldn't resist.  We got purple for Elanor and Pk and I both got neon green.  He wants his socks to be a solid green color but I decided to stripe mine with navy blue.  I'll make the heels and toes blue and then it's 5 row stripes.  I'm going to carry the alternate color up the side so I don't have many many ends to weave in.  I started one last night to see how it would work and I love it.  And I'll have enough to make2 pairs.  I'm thinking of doing one in Fibonacci stripes and one with regular stripes.

And sadly, tomorrow is the funeral of the last of my mother's siblings, my Aunt Elsie.  She was born in 1925 and was a preemie.  She was so small that my grandfather's wedding ring fit all the way up her arm to her shoulder.  But, she survived.  She was one of the funniest and loveliest women I have ever known.  She loved to get down on the floor and play with the kids.  My girls adored her and when her grandson was born, she was over the moon.

On Hallowe'en, I used to take the girls to my Aunt Joan's house and she and I would cook dinner while Aunt Elsie took them trick or treating.  It was dark and she would shine the flashlight all over saying "Lightning! Lightning is everywhere!".  She wore a pumpkin hat and got as much candy as the kids some years.  I will miss her so much but I am thankful to have had her in my (and my girls') life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We are all about the Spring here.  I say that even though it was only 32 degrees F (0C) here this morning and I pulled out my woolen mittens so my hands didn't cramp up on my way to work.

But all around the house are dozens of daffodils and tulips and grape hyacinths all hopefully blooming.We had a few days of 70-80 degree sunshine and boy did those bulbs make the best of it.  They are so beautiful but then a frost hit Tuesday night with actual snow in some areas and the fairly fragile spring blooms are not going to last very long.
 I am sitting here trying to psych myself up for the day.  It's Thursday in the real world but for me, this is my Friday.  I took off Friday and Monday to give myself a long weekend.  Although there have not been any immediate ramifications of Peter Kevin getting laid off, I can't seem to stop my mind from going to the "what if" place.  What if he doesn't find a job by September? (when his severance ends).  What if I can't pay the mortgage, what if we can't buy food?

I know this is a useless thing and just makes me grind my teeth but I can't seem to help it.  I am generally a positive person deep inside I believe everything will work out but some days.......Added to this, they are changing our insurance at work and I have lost the plan I've had for the last 20 years.  I understand that we are a health system and they want us to use our own doctors.  I really do.  But I live in NJ and the health system is centered in Philadelphia.  If I have to be hospitalized, it'll have to be in Philadelphia which is a bit of a pita for Pk.  Parking alone could bankrupt a person.

Fortunately, my current pcp accepts the new insurance but my copays will be higher because they are not one of the Penn Health doctors.  But they're MY doctors and we have a relationship that's been built over the last 15 years.

But, enough of that.  Things will work out.  They always do and whatever happens, we'll deal with it.  We always do.

This weekend is Easter and that means cooking.  We are going shopping tomorrow which will include a trip to the Russian market to get some kielbasa and some breads.

Then it's off to the produce place and then Shop Rite and then the liquor store.  Then someone has to come home and put away all those groceries.

Saturday we will make baked beans and potato salad and I will bake babka and maybe some sugar cookies (we'll have Easter mooses and bats and dinosaurs of course.  What else would you have?).  On Sunday, I'll have to just put the ham in the oven and cook up the kielbasa and pierogies.  There will only be the three of us so I'll cut back on the amounts.  When I suggested that maybe we didn't need quite so much food, Pk said "Why don't you just ruin Easter?".  So, I'll humor him and make his traditional favorites but just much less of them.

The garden center folks said the roses bushes will be in at the end of April.  The season is a bit slow this year due to all the cold and snow.  By the time they come in, the bulbs wil be done flowering and will just be photosynthesizing to make more bulbs.  We're going to put 3 or 4 rose bushes right behind the daffodils and tulips.  I am so excited.

Work is busy.  We have an inspection coming up in about 10 days.  It's an important one because it's mostly financial.  They want to see notes for every service we billed for.  Fortunately, I am not much of a billable person so I don't have many notes to worry about.  But everyone is a bit on edge because you know, it's all about the money.

The sun is shining and the tree outside my window is full of ugly smelling flowers (although they are rather pretty) with their bright yellow pollen.  Yes, the pollen is flying and starting to cover most surfaces.  I am ready with antihistamines and extra tissues.

I hope y'all have a joyous Easter (if that's your holiday), a warm and happy Ostara (if that one's yours) or a happy and healthy Passover.  And if I've forgotten one, I'm sorry.  Whatever and however you celebrate, I hope your weekend is happy and healthy and filled with all the good things in your life.

"Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look."

~Pema Chödrön

Monday, April 7, 2014

The crocuses managed to fight their way through the snow and ice and bloomed into these lovely purple and white beauties.

And the yellow ones are so intensely yellow that they glow in the sunlight.  They were well worth the wait.

We have some hyacinths and the daffodils have finally decided to throw off their green coats and show off their frilly yellow dresses.  I think they are my very favorites of all the spring bulbs (at least until the grape hyacinths come up-they're so darn cute)

(photo from celtic swan website)

We had a birthday dinner for Em over the weekend and Pk and I gave her some hand forged needles from Celtic Swan Forge.  They're bronze and silver with rose quartz set in the end.  They are gorgeous.  We gave her some cashmere yarn to knit with them and I think she liked them.
And of course we had cake!  Em wanted chocolate so I called the bakery and asked for chocolate cake.  They made fudge cake and then put fudge on top of it.  It was delicious. 

Sunday I did the laundry and tried not to give in to the nervousness that is waiting just below the surface.  Peter Kevin got laid off on Thursday.  They gave him a modest package (he'll get 8 paychecks going forward 4 months and then that's the end).  Theoretically, if he finds a job within that timeframe, it's all good.  I am not so optimistic and our job market continues to be dismal so the nervousness sits just below the surface of my day. 

This is the first of two baby sweaters finished this month.  I think I'm caught up now.  Most of the folks who work here are young-ish and in that baby-making stage of their lives.  This is such an easy pattern to make and it makes a nice, unisex sweater.  I used a cotton/acrylic blend so it's washable and also a bit soft. 

I'm hoping the baby machine will slow down a bit.  I have to get started on Kate's wedding dress.  I'd like to finish it before the heat of the summer sets in.

I was given a gorgeous skein of red laceweight yarn and bought a pattern that uses roses as its main design because I thought it would be pretty.  The pattern has 6 charts.  SIX.  I am not good with charts and I am having second thoughts about this but I just put it aside for the time being.  I am cleaning out wips that are never going to get finished and looking for things to make that will require some concentration and will teach me something.  I'd like to try the roses but SIX charts gives me pause. 

Life goes on here like it does everywhere.  We will keep moving forward (as you do) becasue what other choice do we have?  There may be some belt-tightening going on but we are so lucky and have so much that we'll be fine for a while. But, if you run across any spare job finding mojo, could you send it our way?

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...