Sunday, November 17, 2019

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 along than this.  I have 2/3 of one sleeve to finish and then the washing, blocking and weaving in.  The yarn comes from a small collective in Mongolia.  It doesn’t feel like much in the ball but once it’s knit up, wow.  What a transformation.  I put it away for the warm weather and now I have the boring boring boring part of just plain knitting around and around....  I looked a long time to find a pattern that would work with my yarn.  I wanted enough design to make it interesting but not too much so that the yarn itself didn’t shine.  It’s too much to carry to work for my lunch time knitting or my knitting group, so I should be faithful and work on it at home every night until it’s done.  The operative word in that sentence is should.  

Friday night, Pk and I went on a date.  We had dinner and a concert of old folk singers.  The dinner was unforgettable but not because it was good.  The concert was wonderful.  Chris Eberhart, Patti Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka and Christine Lavin.  Not heard of them?  I’m not surprised.  They are singer/songwriters and they have stories to tell.  John Gorka is a NJ native.  He won the night with his song, “I’m from NJ”.  The chorus is, “I’m from NJ, I don’t expect too much.  If the world ended today, I’d adjust”.  Of course at a concert in NJ, that would go over well.  We were in a small, old theater which added to the charm.  We got lucky and the 2 seats next to me were empty and I could move over so we had some extra room.  The seats were close together and build for a population that was less broad in the beam.  It was interesting to be in an audience full of white haired people watching a stage full of white haired people.

Yesterday, I was productive.  All of the laundry got done and put away, the bathroom got cleaned and I spent a good part of the day cleaning our bedroom.  It really wasn’t a mess but we have a tendency to just put things on shelves and in the corner and eventually it piles up.  I cleaned up my little shelving unit of yarn/wips and what a difference.  I stirred up a lot of dust which made me sneeze.

I wanted things straightened up because I want to put some holiday things in our room as well as the rest of the house.  I ordered a duvet cover with snowflakes (we have a duvet and are waiting for our everyday cover to come.  It’s a new thing for us).  I also got a holiday shower curtain.  For some reason, I am feeling very holiday like this year.  I can’t wait to have Thanksgiving dinner and then perhaps go out to Lancaster for the day after to do some holiday food shopping.  That weekend will be decorating time.  

I slept for 10 hours last night.  I must have been more tired than I thought.  Today is a low energy day.  One of the ways I am always reminded that I am no longer 18 is that if I spend a day doing physical work, the next day is a slow day for me.  I don’t mind.  I watch movies, listen to books and knit or spin.  Today it’s Star Wars.  I can do the boring sleeve knitting and say the lines along with the characters.  

My car is back from the shop (again).  This time for a brake line.  Sigh.  It’s time to put it out to pasture and look for a newer car.  I really don’t want another car payment.  We have 2 years left on our Rav4.  It would be nice if my old car could last til then

.  Our grandson has decided that he is a superhero. He likes to have his blankets tied around his neck.  His mother thought she would be smart and made him a cape with some of his favorite fleecy material.  Does he use it as a cape?  Nope.  He goes for his blankets instead.  He is growing up so fast (I know, I know, they all do).  He’s a superhero to me.

Well, time to go back to my sleeve.  Soon it will be time to start the jambalaya for dinner.  A perfect dish for the cold grey day we are having.  

Have a superb week.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Guess who is 62 now?  That’s right, it’s this woman.  I wore my witch hat for Hallowe’en and my tunic with stars and had my familiar with me.  I enjoyed the day.  We had a party at work and then I came home and gave out candy to the few kids who came to our door.  There are fewer and fewer houses participating and fewer and fewer kids.  

We had a Chinese food celebration on Saturday night and the girls came for my birthday.  I got to introduce my grandson to fried dumplings and udon noodles with chicken.  He was more interested in playing with the noodles than eating them but he did a good job managing the little fork to pick them up.

Monday was my actual birthday and Elanor sent me flowers at work.  They’re just beautiful.  Daisies (one of my favorite flowers) and pink roses and pink polka dotted ribbon.  She knows me well.

We have begun the quick slide into the holidays.  I absolutely love this time of year.  I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner, even though it will be just 3 of us.  The number doesn’t matter, it’s the ritual of the baking of the pies, the making of the fruit relish and the baking of the cornbread for the stuffing.  I have one month to practice baking in our new oven.  It’s been a long time since I really worried about something splattering in the oven or boiling over on the stove.  Now, I feel honor bound to scrub all the messes up right away.  I know the time will come when we pay less attention to these things but the stove is still new and shiny.  

Our stove hood should be delivered next week and then we have to choose tile to go up on the wall behind it.  Slowly but surely, we are doing the things we’ve wanted to do but have not been able to since Pk’s job was not secure (it still isn’t secure but it’s less insecure now than it was before).  Being a contractor is not conducive to long range planning.  

We have to wait to see how Kate and Patrick want to work out the holiday visitation schedule.  James has 5 grandparents who would all like to be with him for Christmas morning.  There is just not enough room and it would be too much commotion with all of us and the dogs.  We figured, Kate will let us know what’s best for Jamie.  

I got Lindt chocolate advent calendars for the girls for December, Peter Kevin got one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (it’s a pop up tree with 24 little birds to put on, one for each day) and I got a yarn advent calendar.  24 little skeins and then a pattern to use with them at the end.  

We wrapped up the fig tree and are putting the garden to bed for the winter.  There are 2,000 bulbs waiting to be planted for next spring.  Pk does not do things halfway......

One more hour and I can head home.  I have 10 more angels to finish for the ornament exchange and if I’m lucky, I’ll finish them today.  The crocheting is all done, just the assembling has to be done.  
Aren’t they adorable?  Otherwise, I have no firm plans for holiday knitting.  If I finish the Swedish Fish socks, I’ll wrap them up for Pk, I have some other things otn that may become gifts.  I haven’t done much spinning lately.  I think I might enjoy that for a while.

How about you?  Are you making plans?  Are you already in the midst of preparations?  Do you enjoy this time of year?

Bye for now!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

These scary things are on my front yard. We’ve been collecting the minions for a few years and the tree is a new addition.  (We have a great fondness for the minions).On the other side are these plastic jack-o-lanterns and real pumpkins.  They are colorful in the day and just a bit spooky in the darkThe light on the wall says Beware!  I love Hallowe’en and Peter Kevin loves decorating outside.  The outside is mostly his.  He asks for my opinion but then chooses what he wants to do.  I’m ok with that since all of the indoor decorating is to my taste.

Life here has been good.  The weather is getting cooler.  I wish my allergies would go into hibernation but some days they seem to be worse than they were all spring/summer.  I’ve been feeling tired and I am starting to think it’s the statin that my endocrinologist has started me on.  My cholesterol numbers are good but she thinks they should be lower because of the diabetes.  I reluctantly took the statin and for the last 6 weeks or so, I have felt lethargic no matter how much sleep I get.  I don’t like feeling like this and I looked it up online.  Sure enough, statins have a few minor side effects but one of them is increased fatigue.

I am going to stop taking it and see if it makes a difference.  I know she is only doing what she thinks is best for me but I don’t like feeling like I have no energy.  There are too many things to do!

Last weekend we took Jamie to Allaire State Park to go to the Flea Market and ride the Oak Creek RR.  The flea mkt was a hit.  He seemed to enjoy walking around and touching all the things (and talking to all the dogs because grandmom would not let him touch them).  Then he heard the train’s whistle.  Not really a whistle at all but an air horn.  Holy moly it was loud and jarring and his poor 19 month old self couldn’t handle it.  No train rides this year.  Maybe next time.

Peter Kevin and I went to Smithville for our 38th anniversary brunch.  It was elegant and delicious as usual.  We walked around a little and then hit the flea mkt of a small town on our way home.  I bought something I’ve never seen before, a wooden folding rocking chair.  It’s small and low to the ground but really clever.  I want to clean it up some and put new fabric on the seat and back.

I am loving our new fridge and now we are on the lookout for a new stove and then a dishwasher.  We figured we should probably get the appliances while Peter Kevin is still working.  I’ve never bought new appliances before the old ones broke down before and it’s been interesting.  I like shopping and examining all of the various models.    And then we look at cabinets and try to decide what we want our kitchen area to look like.  

I got my hair cut last week and I love it.  It’s rather short and I’m thinking of asking Kate to put some color on it.  It’s so easy to take care of.  I do miss my curls but it could be worse.  

Well, off to an All Staff Meeting (not usually very exciting but mandatory).  Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Image result for fall clip art free imagesGood morning and Happy Friday!  I am sitting at my desk and eating some soda bread I made in March.  I found it while I was transferring the food from the old fridge to the new one.  I always make 4 or 5 loaves and freeze or give away all but one.  We take them out once in a while and slather them with butter.  Mmmmmmm.

Image result for fall clip art free images

Peter Kevin has managed to catch Jamie's cold (you will remember we had him most of last weekend).  This is unusual.  I am the one that usually catches whatever germs/viruses happen to be near.  I have not gotten sick.  My arm is sore from my mandatory flu shot though.

Image result for fall clip art free imagesPeter Kevin had jury duty yesterday.  I don't know anyone that says "Yay! Jury duty!".  I have been called for federal level jury duty and local and state.  I don't really mind it but the waiting around to be called or to be sent home is so boring.  Our local court is in a neighborhood I am not familiar with and looks a bit sketchy.  He didn't get called and got sent home at 11:30.  Not a bad thing and he got to rest so he could go to work today.  When you are a contractor, you only get paid if you work.

We have one of those weekends coming up that has no scheduled activities.  We will get the old refrigerator out of the living/dining room and put it into its new place in the downstairs area next to the chest freezer.  It will come in handy during the holidays when I am looking for a large space to defrost a turkey or hold extra cold beverages.  The new fridge is so shiny.  Everything is in its place inside.  I give it 2 weeks before things are all over the place.

Image result for fall clip art free imagesI have vague plans to switch out the summer/winter clothes and I want to put up the Fall decorations.  Inside the house, these things are mostly orange and brown.  The girls used to call it "getting out the orange stuff".  Outside, it involves finding placement for the 8' dragon, 10' Hallowe'en tree and 3 3' minions in costumes.  Yes, I am afraid we have become THAT family.  We have inflatable decorations for most holidays (including an inflatable Peep for Easter).

One of the things I like about it is that from now until January, our house will be decorated.  Usually by the time I take down the Christmas decorations, I am tired of all the things on all the surfaces and look forward to our everyday stuff.

One weekend soon, we have to clean out the rec room area.  We use it as a basement, mostly for storage.  I also have to clean up the craft room.  It is a disaster and it get on my nerves if I have to go in there for something.  I think I'm going to have to do one of those things where I set a timer for 15 minutes and do it in stages.  Otherwise, it will never get cleaned up.

Well, that's about it for my part of the world.  Once again, I have managed to prattle on for a full page without saying anything.  But, since it's Friday, here are a few things I am thankful for this week:
-cooler temperatures
-crock pots
-soccer games on television
-trees that change color and evergreens that provide some of the only color all winter long.

How about you?  What are you thankful for?  Have a great weekend.

Monday, September 30, 2019

This is what the sky looked like as I waited for the train this morning.  It never got really nice (nor did it get dark and stormy).  It was just a cool, cloudy day.  Very,very nice after the hot, humid weekend.

You know how you have vague plans for your weekend?  Grocery shopping, swapping out the summer clothes, cleaning out the craft room (which has become the “I don’t know where to put this so I’ll put it in here” room), yardwork, etc, etc.  Our weekend plans mostly went out the window.  Thursday night, my sweet, innocent grandson poked his father in the eye.  He scratched Patrick’s cornea causing him great pain.  They went to Urgent Care on Thursday night and by Friday morning, Patrick had a red, swollen, very painful eye.  I left work and took James so they could do what they needed to do.  He is young enough to need constant looking after and Kate had her hands full with Patrick.

So, twist my arm reeeaaalllly hard and make me take care of my grandson!  Jamie ended up spending most of the weekend with us while Kate and Patrick got his eye sorted.  We had things that had to get done and things that could wait.  We went shopping for a new refrigerator.  There is nothing mechanically wrong with our current one but we have not liked it since we bought it 12 years ago.  It was a quick purchase when our old fridge broke and it was what we could afford.  

The new one comes as a result of a surprise bonus from work.  It didn’t pay for the entire fridge but about 1/3 of it.  We were able to decide what we wanted/needed and spent a lot of time looking online before we went out to the store.  And we took James.  He enjoyed the day.  He opened every refrigerator on the sales floor.  We chose a french door refrigerator with 2(!) ice makers.  We use a lot of ice.  

It’s being delivered tomorrow.  It means I am taking another day off, and will have Jamie with me as Kate takes Patrick back to Wills Eye Hospital to get checked.  I don’t mind the day off but I am going to be stretched tight when it comes time to take off the time at the holidays I usually take.

Saturday we took James to Johnson’s Corner Farm to take a hay ride and pick a pumpkin.  Unfortunately, the line was so long, and he is so little, it would not have been worth it to stand in the line.  We walked around and with all the things he could see and touch, what did he choose to play with?   The mulch.  We chose several pumpkins

        Of all shapes and colors.  Some of them will get carved.  Some we’ll just save the seeds and plant them next year.
It was too crowded to easily shop in their farm store so I got some blueberries so James could have a snack.

We came home exhausted and hot and dusty.  There was DinoTrucks on the television and chicken fingers and french fries for dinner.  It’s part of the beauty of being a grandparent.  I don’t worry about his eating healthy for every meal.  I just feed him what he likes.

Saturday night we had to make sure he was asleep before we put him into the porta crib because he can climb out of it now.  He’s tall and strong for an 18 month old child.  We all watched the movie Babies (if you’ve never seen it, watch it. It follows 4 babies from different cultures from their birth to their first year) and James finally fell asleep hard enough to be picked up and put in the crib.  He slept through the night and we got up early Sunday morning and did some of the other chores we had put off.  The bed linens got changed and the laundry got done.  The rest of the groceries were put away and things were generally cleaned up.  We collapsed into our chairs when Kate came and took James home.  

And today was Monday and the week starts all over again.  I have groups of Temple Univ. students coming to my group this week.  They will be with us for 8 weeks.  They’re rec therapy majors and for some of them, this is the first time they’ve met individuals who have mental illness.  It is an eye opening experience for them and my group loves it.  I think they get tired of hearing my voice all the time.

Tonight we are making pizzas on naan bread.  I hope it’s as good as I imagine it will be.  I can hear Elanor upstairs laughing.  I’m going to go see what’s so funny.  I could use a good laugh.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Deja vu.....

It will be October soon and my thoughts are already turning to Hallowe’en.  It’s one of my favorite holidays.  I have decorated my office window with some friendly looking guys.  The best part is that when you walk down the hall, you can see my window.  It’s very popular.  I have had an office to myself for 2 years now, since my office mate retired.  I cleaned out years of saved papers and got a new floor lamp so I don’t have to use the 
                                                                                                              Overhead lights.  They buzz and it drives me crazy.  I bought the witch’s hat for myself from a crafter on Etsy.  She is in the Ukraine and I am glad I thought to order it in August because it came last week, plenty of time for me to put together a costume for Hallowe’en that is work appropriate (and comfortable.  Mustn’t be uncomfortable all day at work.)  I found a tunic with stars stenciled across it and a cartoon witch’s broom.  The best part will be wearing my hat.  

I know I haven’t written a word in almost a year.  I don’t want to bore you with a long explanation of what I have been doing and why I didn’t keep you all informed.  I’ll give you some bullet points:
-I stopped coloring my hair and started dyeing it in rainbow colors.  It’s now naturally a silver/white color so the blue and purple and red and green and yellow show up brilliantly for about 2 weeks and then they fade.  They look pastel and rather pretty as they fade.
-my grandson is 18 months old and cute and very smart.  I am glad to be the grandmom and not the mom for this kid.  He is a handful.
-Pk has a job as a contractor for a company that monitors/manages the electric grid for several states.  The commute is a long one but they pay him well.
-I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes after a blood test showed a glucose level of 853 (which put me in the hospital in intensive care for 3 days).  I have lost 50 pounds and have been trying to be more mindful of my portion sizes and what I eat.  I learned a new phrase, “insulin dependent diabetic” and also learned how important those 3 words can be.
-I will turn 62 in a few weeks and the word Retirement keeps cropping up in conversation.

THAT is an interesting topic and everyone has their own idea of what that should look like.  Me?  Well, my retirement will be the pension my employer has for me and my SS payments.  If I put off retiring until I turn 70 (sounds really really old but it’s only 8 years away), I will collect a significant amount more each month.  My job can be mentally exhausting but it is a desk job and I could easily work another 8 years.  I like what I do even if it means most of my day is spent entering my client interactions into the medical records database.  I HATE EMR.  

My family is all well at the moment.  Well, Patrick has a scratched cornea courtesy of his son.  He is in quite a bit of pain today.  Hopefully, he will rest some tonight with the pain meds they gave him and tomorrow will be a better day for him.

I continue to knit and spin.  I am spinning some quivit that I got for Christmas last year.  I also have 2 sweaters in progress for myself and one for Jamie.  I finished a sweater for my nephew’s 4 yr old daughter and their soon to be born daughter.  I am really a process knitter.  I enjoy the feel of the yarns and the look of the rows piling up to form a garment.  I knit slow but I am very ok with that.

We will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary in 2 weeks.  I have no idea what we are going to do.  They have been far and away mostly good years.  There were some tough times but we got through them and will get through the ones to come.  One of the good things about being long married and knowing your partner is knowing your partner.  I know I can disagree, sometimes strenuously, and while we may never see eye to eye on a subject, we can still discuss it and can agree to disagree.  And I know the love is there. 

My little corner of the world remains pretty much the same.  I’ll be getting “the orange” decorations out at home soon.  It’s always exciting to me because it is a signal that the holidays are fast approaching.  The weather is all over the place, 90’s one day, 70’s the next.  There have been gorgeous sunny days and there are some leaves just starting to turn color.

And to end with, here is a shot of my hair done rainbow colors by my daughter Kate.  I love it like this.  It is fun and I figure I’m old enough to do what I want with my hair.....and it’s only hair.  Since Kate is in school now and has an 18 month old toddler to keep track of, it’s harder for her to find the time.  I wait until she’s got some time and let her do what she wants.  I am never disappointed.
How are you?  Are you doing anything new and different?  Finish something you’ve been working on?  Start some new grand project?  I am feeling the pull of lace knitting.  It’s been a long while but I have so many wips now.  I really need to finish a few more things.

Have a peaceful weekend. My intention is to get back into regular writing, but we all know what is paved with all those good intentions, don’t we?  


Saturday, November 3, 2018

November (already)

Hallowe’en is over and Fall is underway here in the northeastern US.  The warm weather kept the trees from showing off until this week.  Just as we begin to notice them, there is a storm that blows them off the trees.  Such is the weather in these times of climate change.  It was 75 degrees yesterday and today it will be 20 degrees colder (and windy!).  

October was a good month.  Pk and I celebrated our anniversary and had a lovely dinner talking about us and our lives and our dreams.  You’d think after 37 years we’d have run out of things to say but we haven’t.  One of the perks of a long relationship is that you can sit quietly without talking and it doesn’t feel awkward.  But there are always things to share.  Peter Kevin is the first person I think of when I hear something funny or sad or profound.  And thanks to technology, I can share it with him immediately.  

Tomorrow I will be 61 years old.  I keep asking myself, “How did that happen?”  In my mind, I don’t feel like a senior citizen but my white hair (well, right now it’s rainbow colored but the white is there) gives me away.  And the achy joints on a cold rainy day remind me that 18 is a long way in my past.  But I like myself more now than I did when I was 18.  I am more comfortable in my (less stretchy) skin.  I’m more likely to speak my mind, something I didn’t always have the confidence to do at 18.  I am more patient with people but say less patient with time wasting.  I am increasingly aware that I have lived more of my life than I have left (I’m pretty sure I will not live to 120) and things that cause me to wait and wait and wait make me irritable.  

For my birthday, I asked for some cashmere yarn from a kickstarter company in Mongolia.  I got enough to make a sweater and chose this one
.  It’s called Amun.  I have natural cream colored yarn and my pattern but realized I don’t have needles.....isn’t that always the way?  Amazon to the rescue.  They will be delivering them today and I can start on it.  I have been playing around with the pattern with some needles that may actually be the right size but since I always have trouble using the needle sizer (I can’t tell if the needle is supposed to slide through the hole or be stopped), I’m not sure.  The pattern has german short rows and I’m not familiar with them.  I like the fabric it’s making though.  It’s a bit extravagant but (this is me rationalizing it) I am a slow knitter and will get hours and hours of pleasure out of knitting it.  I’m still working on a sweater for me but I’m at the “just keep knitting around and around to make the sleeves and body” part of it.  It’s mindless.

Jamie is growing by leaps and bounds.  Literally.  He got used to the jumping chairseat we got for him and he just jumps up and down for long periods of time (his grandfather cannot keep up with him).  This is what they do best
Peter Kevin seems to be the only one he just falls asleep on.  Aren’t they precious together?

Life is good.  This is my favorite time of year.  What used to be the long slow slide into the holidays has now become the steep slope.  Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away.  I am going to try a new apple pie recipe today to see if we like it.  The sun keeps trying to peep out from behind the clouds, my neighbor’s trees are a gorgeous copper color and are waving in the wind.  Peter Kevin and I are heading out for breakfast at a diner and then to Lowe’s to look at some holiday lights before they are all gone and then to Walmart to buy a new crockpot. (Our last one was rendering suet out in the garage and got knocked over.  Yes, it was an ugly mess.  All that liquid fat just poured out all over the cement floor).

What’s on your agenda?  Do you fill your weekends with errands?  Do you give yourself time to recharge or are you always busy?  I will make sure I get time to decompress and recharge.  My job is not physically demanding but it is often mentally and emotionally demanding.  I usually find some peace in a quiet time with the spinning wheel or a knitting project and a good audiobook.  Last night we relaxed and laughed watching WKRP in Cincinnati.  It’s very dated but the characters are familiar and loveable.  

And now we are heading off into the Fall morning.  Have a good weekend and don’t forget it’s the end of DST! (I get an extra hour of birthday!)

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...