Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!


Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

Just attaching a photo of my nativity set - I did put it up this year - not on the window sill as planned, but inside the stable which was at my Dad's house. It's really not big enough for the figures I have. At least, the spot I have it sitting in is not big enough.

I'm about to head out to the store for some last minute munchies for this evening. My DH is not home - he has gone hunting this weekend, and so will be spending New Year's Eve with his sister. He's not the party type and is usually asleep by 10PM.

I have to give the kids a call to see how little Justin is. He's been under the weather since Christmas with an ear infection.

Have you all made your resolutions yet? I have - to be stronger and to try not to let others make me feel inferior. To take off some excess weight. To be healthier overall, including swimming at the YMCA.

By the way - "Santa" brought me a gift certificate for an introductory flying lesson! I've been wanting to try that for a long time now. A couple of people have laughed cynically when I told them I was going to do this, but boo on them! If they can teach a pre-teen to fly a plane, I'm sure I can learn.

We had a little bit of snow this morning - just enough to make it look like a Christmas card. It's already melting. Hope you have a happy and safe New Year's Eve, and a prosperous new year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All! Happy Holidays!

Good morning, everyone. A happy and blessed Christmas to you all. Be sure to take the time to relax, enjoy time with your loved ones, and remember the reason for the season!

We are spending time with my brother, who lives alone, and I'm so happy that he was able to come to see us. We are also awaiting the arrival of my son and daughter-in-law and baby Justin. I'm afraid we spoiled him terribly. I know that his mother's family also did the same. He received a lot of toys, from what I understand. We purchased a few for him, but I did buy him some footed pjs and overall sets. And lots of books for his mom and dad to read to him.

Can't wait to see him! I'll update later with some photos or videos.

I just realized what a strange looking Santa this is on my background. He's not staying long! I'll be updating that again for the New Year - soon! LOL!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 2009 Snowstorm

Well, Philadelphia took the brunt of the storm. We had about a foot of snow fall here in our neighborhood. I have to say it was pretty. Driving wasn't too bad either. At the start of the snow season, the road crews pretty much stay on top of everything. It's when the snowstorms keep coming and the winter drags out that they soon start rationing their salt and counting their overtime, and some roads are left undone.

This photo is from our neighborhood:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

We are waiting to see what we actually end up with, but I've heard snowfall forecasts ranging from 6 inches plus, to 10-20 inches of snow. The more, the merrier I say. At least for this snowfall. After a while, snow gets wearisome. The only thing that would have made this better is if it had fallen on a Sunday night into Monday. Hoping for a white Christmas too - I hear there is another storm coming later this week.

They've just updated the snowfall totals on the news. We are in a band forecast to get 12-18 inches of snow! Yippee! I'll give credit to our local meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz - last night he jumped right in forecasting 10-20 inches of snow, whereas everyone else was hedging their bets with 6+ inches. Calling it as he sees it must have something to do with that bow tie he wears!

I'm going to spend the day wrapping (always a last minute struggle before), making my list and checking it twice (to make sure I didn't miss anyone), and just generally taking this snow as a sign to sloooooooow down! DS Dan and Nicole want to do some shopping today, hoping the stores won't be too crowded. So Dan will pick me up and drive me over to their place to watch Justin. Another bonus!

Well, gotta go make breakfast for DS Tom. I grabbed a grilled cheese sandwich. I'm making him pancakes.

Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

13 Days And Counting

It's getting closer to Christmas - I am anticipating it for the first time in quite a while. I went shopping yesterday to purchase indoor decorations for my home and it's probably been more than 15 years since I did that.

Wayne called from the Bahamas. He's been on his liveaboard scuba diving trip and loving every minute of it. During one call in the middle of the week, he sounded very very tired. He said he's dived with sharks, mantas and even saw an octopus. I'll be glad to see him when he arrives safe and sound this evening.

It's early in the morning, the heater has been acting up, and I turned the oven on to add a bit of heat to the kitchen. I figured I might as well add a batch of cookies to it, and put it to good use.

I'm also in the midst of two loads of laundry - one in the washer and one in the dryer. I'd like to duck out to Kohls sometime today and look for a couple of cute pillow to dress up the living room.

Off to tackle a couple of other projects - but before I go, I'll share a photo of grandson Justin with Santa Claus.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving To All

Well, my turkey defrosted. Dinner went very well. I cooked the turkey in an oven bag and it came out so moist that my DH raved about it. He's not a big fan of turkey due to the fact that it can be dry at times. This was perfect and fell apart when we opened the bag.

DS and his family made it to NY to have Thanksgiving with Nicole's family. Little Justin tried out a swing for the first time. He loved it. He also tried a bit of turkey and loved that too. They had trouble taking it away from him. LOL!



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here's Where We Stand...

Our invitation to my sister's house - I've declined it. Due to my son's illness (bad cold, maybe?) and my nephew's flu, I've decided to spend Thanksgiving at home. That means running out yesterday to buy a turkey and all the other fixings for dinner.

The turkey hasn't thawed out at all, I've got to make the stuffing tonight before I go to bed, and my hands are shaking so bad I can't type very well. I'm not going all out - just some mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy, some veggies and salad. No rolls, no sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce. No homemade pumpkin pie - store-bought. Just thinking of those few items is wearing me out.

I stopped at the Amish Market yesterday to pick up a few things there for dinner. Purchased a nice piece of fish for dinner tonight. Looked all over for it and couldn't find it. So we ordered pizza instead. My son found it in the car just a bit ago. So it ended up in the trash. Oh, well. At least we caught it before the car smelled bad from it.

Spent the morning with my grandson. He is something to be thankful for. He wants to walk so badly - he grabs hold of your fingers and toddles so precariously. He is getting very good with his "bye-bye" wave. And he doesn't do the army crawl as much as he did before. He is up on his hands and knees more. He learns so quickly, as each day you can see something else that's new. He's very good at How Big and responds when you ask him "How big is Justin" by raising his hands up in the air. What a doll!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What a Night!

As in difficult! My GERD has been acting up and last night was unbearable. Won't gross you out with the details, but suffice it to say that I was awake from 3:00 on this morning, and each time I tried to drift off to sleep, poker-straight in the chair, I woke up choking. I hate nights like that.

I think it's flaring up with the thoughts that I will be returning to work on December 1. The group sessions, as intensive as they were, were a safety net for me. I've not been as diligent with taking my medications on time, and I know how critical that is. My fear is that I'm not ready to return to a situation that caused me to plummet into a depression in the first place.

I'm trying, on the doctor's advice, to get back to the things that used to make me happy. Glad to say that my fish I bought last week are still alive. Even been thinking about trying to get back to that sweetheart ripple afghan. As it is, my blogging has been limited at best. I spend most of the time checking my e-mail wanting to get in touch with others and finding it difficult to do.

We had planned to join my sister at her house for Thanksgiving but her son has H1N1 flu, so we will be staying home. Hope I can get some help in the kitchen. I went out earlier to pick up the dinner fixings and I'm so tired that my butt is in the chair and I can hardly move. But that's been my status for the last 2 months.

Bought another skein of yarn today. Looks like good yarn to make a donut pincushion. It will be a homemade gift Christmas this year. I have two sisters who sew and would probably like these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yarn and Hook Today, I Hope

I've decided to try to pick up yarn and hook today and work on something small. Why does something I love so much feel like such a chore? I've also given fishkeeping a try again. This weekend, my husband helped me clean out the old 5 gallon tank (the one replaced when the 20 gallon shattered last Christmas) and some balloon-belly mollies and some skirted tetras have moved in. The little balloon-belly mollies are my favorites.

My sister has extended an invitation to her home for Thanksgiving. I think our family will be joining her. We'll cook a small turkey breast at home the day before so that we have some left-overs here at the house.

We will get together with family for Christmas either the weekend before or the weekend after, leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to celebrate with our own families. I can't think about Christmas yet. At this point, I want to ask my husband if we can forgo the tree and decorations this year. I don't want them - not yet.

This is my grandson's first Christmas - he will be one spoiled little boy...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

That Reminds Me...

I was watching a story on the news tonight about a little girl dropped off the bus and left alone on a corner because there was no one there to meet her. That happened to my son at the age of 6.

I made arrangements for my son to get off the bus at the babysitter's house. One week into the school year, my babysitter went on a planned vacation. I made arrangements to start work a half-hour early and leave a half-hour early, so that I could be there at 3:30 to pick him up when the bus dropped him off. It worked fine for the first 3 days of the week.

On Thursday, I got to the stop and waited. 3:30 - no bus. 3:45 - no bus. 4:00 - still no bus. At this point I was frantic. Do I leave and go to the school? Is the bus late? Was he dropped off and someone grabbed him? I'm freaking out at this point.

A woman came up to my car, tapped on the window and asked if I was there to pick up a little boy. I said yes, and she told me he was in her living room, having milk and cookies. I almost flew to her door, and there was DS Dan! She said she didn't know what time the bus dropped him off, but she heard him crying and decided to take him in until someone came looking for him. I thank God she was a kind person and not some weirdo.

I was ecstatic and angry at the same time as I headed back to the school. I pounded on the door of the convent and when the sister came to the door I asked for the sister in charge of running the school. When she appeared, I asked how they could just put a child on the bus and send them home early! She had explained that something happened to the water at the school and they had to dismiss early. I went on to tell her that my son was left standing on the sidewalk with no one to pick him up. I'm afraid I ripped her a new one! The sister apologized.

By the beginning of the following week, the school had a plan in place to make sure all parents were called to notify them in case of unexpected early dismissal. At the same time, I delivered some flowers to the woman who kept my child safe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mindfulness and Long Promised Photos of Chemo Caps

Monday's session was hard to get through, as the group focused on me and my problems. It made me not want to return on Wednesday, but I find that my desire to get well outweighs the bad feelings dredged up during sessions. I went in and found that one of the topics was Mindfulness and how it can work for you. I've had a session on mindfulness already and I had some problems wrapping my mind around the idea.

I was super-stressed out and kind of zoned-out during the session. Some of it must have sunk in however. Today, I walked out on my way to another appointment and was struck by the sense of the sun trying to break through the clouds - the warmth, the bright light. For a moment, I didn't notice my overwhelming feelings. A few minutes later, as I drove along seeing the trees mostly denuded of leaves, my attention was captured by 3 trees still wearing their autumn attire. One bright gold, one burgundy and one rust, all standing in a row. "Wow!" I though. "How cool is that?" Again, mindful of my surroundings and not my feelings for a change. I must remember to tell the moderator of the mindfulness session about my experience. Not sure if this is what she meant by mindfulness, but it's what I think I took away from the session.

Lastly, these are the photos of the chemo caps I made for my sister-in-law. Made from patterns found at Yarncat's website.






Thursday, October 29, 2009

Relatively Good Day Today

I have been taking my meds almost on schedule lately. Today wasn't too bad a day. Didn't cook dinner, but had plenty of leftover stuffed pepper soup in the fridge. I did remember to keep my appointment for a haircut. I usually make the appointment for a cut, color and highlights, but being out of work on disability, I'm watching the pennies from one check to the next. Thank God my husband is working.

I like the haircut. What necessitated the cut was the fact that my sister offered to help me color my hair this weekend. I couldn't have her see me looking like a dust bunny with legs, so I made a date with the hairdresser. I am trying to save pennies, but honestly, my hairdresser is the only one I will allow to cut my hair. She's done it for years, since the days when highlights were done when the hair was pulled through thin caps with (sharp)crochet hooks. Remember that? I still remember my little one who accompanied me saying "Gee, Mommy - you look just like Beetlejuice!" For months now I've been unwilling to leave the house for any reason except to work - on days when I felt I could handle it. Most of those days I haven't been able to. So the hair's been growing out and looking a little wild.

Anyway, my standard summer cut is short - Jamie Lee Curtis in the Activia commercials short. The winter version is a touch longer.

Wondering what the day holds in store for tomorrow. Painful? Cathartic? Most days I come home in tears. I hope that lets up soon.

Forgive me, readers. I hope to get back to crochet-related posts soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tomorrow is Another Day

These group sessions I'm attending are difficult at times. It's comforting to know that others find themselves in a difficult situation, but once it's your turn to speak...

The pain, the insecurities, the grief, the guilt...this is what we're dredging up, little by little.

To parents out there who feel that their child is "just doing what kids do" when they tease or make fun of other children - shame on you! You have no clue what you are condoning! Have the guts to make your kid stop victimizing those who are different from them. If you were teased or, worse yet, if you were the bully - stop the cycle now.

I went out the other day and bought some yarn, hoping to get a project started. Hasn't happened yet. This overwhelming lethargy and apathy is unbelievable.

I did make an appointment to go get my hair cut. I haven't had it done for months. I usually wear it very short, and it's gotten to an annoying length. Yesterday I washed it and let it dry. Looked in the mirror and said "What the hell is that on my head? Looks like something the cat coughed up!" I trust my hairdresser will think of something good to do with it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday

Creative title, huh?

Yesterday I wrote that my brain is empty. I have been feeling for a long time that my heart is empty too. I don't want to go to therapy today, but I will. Monday was a very difficult session and I don't want to relive it again. But I must if I want to feel again.

I can't tell you how much I love my husband, children, brothers and sisters for sticking by me and supporting me. I do love them but I have so much trouble expressing it.

I'm already in tears and I still have 20 minutes before having to leave for therapy.

I feel like I'm broken and impossible to fix.

I hate this feeling. Thank you, cyberfriends, for checking in with me.

To others in my situation - I may sound down right now - part of the bipolar disorder, I guess. Please follow through with treatment - I do intend to leave here on time and make my session, as difficult as it will be.

Old wounds have been festering for a long long time and it's time to clean them up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brain Is Empty Today

I've been wanting to post, but I haven't a clue what to post about.

Since I can't make a decision, I even left dinner up to my son. He decided on cheesesteaks. Thank goodness for delivery...

I've taken my new medication and I think I'll settle down for the evening. I so wish I could pick up my crochet hook to pass the time, but I haven't any interest in it lately. It's killing me.

Another session tomorrow. Hope it goes better than Monday's session. This is so difficult...

Thanks to all for your prayers. Please keep them coming.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fighting the Fight Again

I've been struggling again with depression. I've decided to try talk therapy in addition to medication. My days have been filled with tears and with an overwhelming sadness for many months now. I hope that the new medications and the therapy will make a big change in me. My singular joy in life has been visiting with my grandson. I haven't picked up a crochet hook in ages, with the exception of those chemo caps I promised to my sister in law. I finished them and sent them on their way. I will update this post with photos of the finished caps.

Please forgive me for not posting on a regular basis. I do enjoy writing and miss blogging.

Please keep me in your prayers, good friends.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Power of Words

I've been perturbed by things I've seen and heard lately. Children who use foul language, backtalking their parents. Worse yet, parents using foul language or saying mean, hurtful things when speaking to their children. Wonder where the child's reactions come from?

Let me tell you that words are powerful things. They cut deeply, like a knife, when used the wrong way. Those cuts reach all the way to the soul, and are difficult to heal. Sometimes they never heal.

If you know a parent who fits the description above, please advise them to stop. They are wreaking havoc with their child's psyche.


Such simple words! But words are mighty things;
They cast us down, or lift us up to rest;
They charm and strengthen, till our angel sings
The last of all the life-songs, and the best.


SARAH DOUDNEY, Some Words

Words once spoke can never be recall'd.


WENTWORTH DILLON, Art of Poetry

Use your words wisely - walk away before saying anything destructive. But blurt it out when you want to tell your children you love them.

I'll step down from my soapbox now...

Friday, October 2, 2009

I've Been Absent For a While

Sorry - I've been absent lately. I haven't been feeling well and hope that I'll be back to blogging on a regular basis soon.

I'm about to head out for an appointment this morning, and want to leave early enough to pick up a cup of coffee.

I really miss blogging and hope to be back every day - very soon. I do still check in with my favorites whenever I stop by here. Hope my cyber friends are doing well.

Take care, everyone.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Is It About a Sleeping Baby?


I have this photo on my desktop at work. It’s my dear little grandson, Justin. I am holding him in the photo, and he is sound asleep in my arms. When things get bad, I minimize all my applications and just gaze at the photo. His little face has some strained carrots on it near the corner of his mouth, his little apple cheeks just begging to be squeezed. He looks like one of those Anne Geddes babies – an angel.

That photo has helped me get through some rough days – days when I consider just dropping everything and fleeing for my sanity.

I thank God every day for my beautiful little grandson.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chemo Caps

I'm working on chemo caps for my dear SIL who was diagnosed with leukemia. She has had a transplant and is currently undergoing treatment in Hershey PA at the Hope Lodge. She said that her hair has been falling out from the treatments, so she allowed them to shave her head. She asked me for chemo caps, so I've pulled out hook and yarn. I've finished 3 hats to send to her, and hope to get a few more made.

I would like to have at least a dozen, so that she can share them with others at the facility.

With each one I complete, I say a prayer for my SIL's complete recovery.

Hope you are all having a good night. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We Have a Winner

I pulled a name at random from the responses to my previous post. The winner of the book of crochet patterns for purses is Therese!

The winner will have 5 days to contact me via my blog so that I can get your mailing address. In the event that I do not hear from the winner by midnight on 9/18/09, I will choose an alternate winner from the remaining 4 names. Waiting to hear from you.

Today is a special anniversary. My DH and I have been married 29 years. I can't believe I was so lucky to find a great guy like he is!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mystery Destination Was...















The Poconos! The surprise was blown (at least to my thinking) when I turned on the GPS to start out our trip. Up pops the address! Of course, it didn't tell DH where we were staying but it did tell him we were headed for East Stroudsburg PA! Dang! He was thinking we were headed for the Jersey shore. Then the GPS took us on a trip! I thought it would put us on the PA turnpike, taking the northeast extension. Wrong! It actually sent us up the NJ side of the Delaware River. So it was an adventure for both of us.

We stayed at the Fernwood Hotel and Resort. I'd read excellent reviews and also some very bad reviews on the place. I was hesitant to book it, but it was the most reasonably priced lodging with availability on such short notice. There were restaurants on the grounds and lots to do in the resort and the surrounding area. We arrived at 10:00 pm on Friday to discover that the king accommodations we reserved in the hotel proper were not available, due to service problems. So they gave us a villa (a condo with a queen-sized bed, sofa and dinette set and partial kitchenette). HUGE bathroom with whirlpool tub and full-sized shower. Gigantic walk-in closet with plenty of room to stow your baggage. Very nice - I was quite pleased.

We visited the Mount Airy Casino on Saturday morning, did some shopping at the Outlet stores in Tannersville and did some sightseeing. It was a great weekend.

On the way home we stopped at the Delaware Water Gap Scenic stop. My husband pointed out the area where he and his dive shop friends were scuba diving in the Delaware. It was a lovely view there.



I think that I wouldn't mind staying at this resort again. I also would plan another mystery weekend. It was nice to get away.


I picked up a crochet book while on my trip - a book with 15 patterns for crocheted purses and bags of varying sorts. I will offer it as a prize to someone who takes the time to post a comment. I will choose a random winner on September 13. Consider it a little "thank you" for reading my little blog!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Four Hours Until The "Mystery Weekend"

I've been packing the car and getting ready to leave for...Oops! Almost let it slip! We'll be on the road when my husband gets home from work this evening.

It was another hectic afternoon. DS Tom and I chased the min pin up and down the street again! The dog slipped out the side door while I was on my way out with some items for the trip, and off he went! Up and down the street - both sides - at least 5 times! I was half tempted to just sit on the front step and wait for him to tire himself out, but I am just afraid he'll get hit by a car. We live on a street that people like to use as a "cut-through" from one main road to another. They come flying around the corner above us sometimes like a bat out of you-know-where. So up and down the sidewalk I trudged after him, alternating between "Oh, you cute little monkey!" and "Wait'll I get hold of you, you little #!%@^*#!@$!". He did tire himself out eventually and came trotting up to the front door and into the house.

Got to visit with Justin today - my son stopped in with him. I'll miss him this weekend. I'm sure we'll find a gift shop in the area and I certainly have to bring something home for him.

I'd like to thank Beansieleigh for the award on my sidebar! I also want to thank Beansieleigh once again for the great cell phone cozy she sent me. What a great little accessory that is! I have to tell you that before I got it, I would fumble in my purse looking for my phone. I'd pull out inhalers, compacts, mirrors and other items before getting my hands on the phone. Now I've got a nifty little yarn cover for it, and I have no trouble locating the phone now. Thanks, Tina!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Can You Believe It's Almost Over?

Summer, I mean. Where did it go? It seems like it paid us a brief visit, as it's mostly been rainy and chilly. In fact, it's like autumn weather out there this morning - I feel like I should take a sweater with me.

It's Thursday and I'm getting ready to leave for work. I am off tomorrow, and will be packing for our surprise getaway weekend tomorrow. DH has been trying to wheedle clues out of me - he still doesn't know where we are going. Tomorrow, he has to work so I will be packing the car - anything to keep him from guessing where we are headed. The street address will go into the GPS and off we go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Musings

I am waiting for Dan and Nicole to drop off Justin. The kids are headed to a Phillies game today, and I am going to spend time with my little angel until his parents get home. I can't wait to see his smiling face.

Things have been difficult at work lately. I feel so burned out in my present position, but it could be the blues working on me. I again passed up the opportunity to bid on a job that opened up in another building - a job that would have meant a promotion - but the way I am feeling lately, I don't think I would be able to do it. I have no confidence in myself at all. I'm working on trying to "fix" myself - seeing my physician about changing my medications and talking to someone through the EAP at work. I just hope that, when things are better, this all doesn't come back to bite me in the butt. I'd like a chance to bid on a similar position when I'm feeling better about myself, but don't want my employers to hold anything against me. You know what they say - Once burned, twice shy. All of this started at work 4 years ago, and I can't believe it's taking this long to get over it. It was emotionally devastating.

On a happier note, I am planning another getaway weekend with my husband. It was nice to spend the time alone with him in Lancaster. I've made arrangements for Labor Day weekend in another "secret" location. I'm not telling him where we are going. I plan to plug the street address into the GPS and just drive. I'm even going to have him leave his car at home on Friday (he is working) and I will pack it, so that he doesn't know what we are taking along. I don't think he reads my blog, but I won't reveal the destination anyway. I don't want any other relatives who might read it to let it slip.

My greetings to my cyber friends - Sweet Mama Jones, I hope you are feeling better soon. I keep you in my prayers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

OK - I Couldn't Wait Until Christmas...


I gave my grandson the blanket I made for him. I was going to make it a Christmas gift, but I went to visit him tonight and he is just toooooooo cute! Dan and Nicole are doing such a great job with him. He is so healthy and happy!

He sat on the floor and I spread the blanket out in front of him. First he caught the fringe with his toes! I couldn't help but laugh. Then he reached over to touch the figures on the blanket and he seemed fascinated with the monkey.

Here's his furbuddy Brody investigating the blanket along with Justin:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Been a While...

I haven't been blogging in the last few days. I'm still trying to get my bearings with a new medication, and I've had some sleepless nights caused by GERD. Some mornings I go to work and would just sooooooo love to put my head on my desk and go to sleep!

Anyway, my cyber-friend Sweet Mama Jones has tagged me and challenged me to post 6 things that make me happy, so here goes:

My husband, who has stuck by me through thick and thin for almost 29 years now (God bless his patient soul!)
My two sons who make me proud every day
My sweet little grandson and his lovely mother
My brothers and sisters, who are so supportive
Our furbabies - 2 dogs and 2 cats. Nothing like coming home from work after a long hard day and having 2 dogs make a big fuss over you. The cats - well, they say "I love you" in their own special way...
Crochet

I've lost my crochet mojo lately, and hope it comes back soon. I've got lots of projects to do - just haven't found the motivation to get started on them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Grange Fair Started - On a Day Full of Surprises!

My brother and I went to the grange fair yesterday. One of my sisters and her husband are there this week, selling water ice to the crowds. I wish them some great water-ice weather – hot and sunny – and lots of customers!

I stopped in the needlework building and checked out all the needlecraft items that had been submitted for judging. There were beautiful handmade dresses and skirts, afghans, quilts, dolls and toys, table runners and placemats, potholders and purses. I had three crocheted entries in this year. My crochet mojo left me a while back so I wasn’t able to complete all the projects I had hoped to have. I was lucky to have 3 to enter. However, I was pleased with the results. My giraffe-ghan won a blue ribbon. Justin’s “forever pants” with the matching sweater and hat won a second place red ribbon, and the women’s crocheted hat I worked up also won a first place. I’m anxious to pick up my items at the end of the fair. I often find comments written by the judges on the backs of the entry tags. I’m curious to see if they had any suggestions or if they liked any particular attribute for any of my projects.










A second surprise awaited me when I returned home from the fair. I found a box addressed to me from Simon and Schuster. I didn’t remember ordering any books recently, with the exception of a few patterns from Annie’s Attic. But it’s too soon for those to have been delivered and they wouldn’t have come from S&S. So I opened the box to find two advance copies of the upcoming Crochet 2010 Calendar (formerly called Crochet Pattern A Day). Two of my original patterns have been included in the calendar! I’ve been published! I’m excited to see them in print, especially since one of them also includes my original photos. I don’t receive royalties for the use of my patterns, but at least I retain the copyrights, so the patterns will always remain mine. One of the patterns is for a toddler-size ripple poncho and hat, and the other is a Christmas Mouse/Cat Toy (done in a standing position).

Another surprise – my dear husband pulled out all of the dead marigolds in the front yard and replaced them with colorful mums! I love him dearly – he’s so good to me. There are still a few marigolds left with flowers on them, and I will be pulling off the blossoms when they are finished and drying the seeds for planting next year. I really loved those creamy white marigolds and will miss them, but the mums are cheerful and will look lovely!

Since my desire to crochet has waned in the last 6 months, I haven’t spent that much time with hook and yarn. I did complete the 3 items mentioned earlier for the fair, some charity items for my sister, doll clothes for my great-niece, and tried to work on the sweetheart ripple to complete it. I know that sounds like a lot of crocheting, but really – for me – it’s not. I have been known to spend every waking minute crocheting, including my time during lunch at work. And definitely all weekends. But I’ve been doing a lot of reading instead, and I sat down yesterday to figure out how much reading I’ve been doing. 14 novels in the last 6 months! Thank God for the Kindle. That’s 14 novels I don’t have to make room for in my house. The best of the books I’ve read has to be “Nights in Rodanthe” by Nicholas Sparks. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.

Harry Potter Prize Package!


Beansieleigh sent me a prize packet chock full of handmade items from her recent Potter-palooza posts. Let me tell you, she does nice work! I have a cat magnet, an owl bookmark, a cell-phone caddy, a tissue-holder, tea, lip gloss, a recipe for Butter Beer and Quidditch Players Pie, socks, the cutest tiny doll I've ever seen, some candles and a crochet pattern.

Not pictured is a pencil – like one found in this post:

The reason it’s not pictured is because I’ve already taken it to work and it’s sitting in my pen and pencil mug on my desk!

Beansie, thank you so much for your kindness. I’ve really enjoyed the surprise package!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Starting The Week Off With a Bang - And An OUCH!

I'm a klutz. Always have been. Take the Grange Fair. For years, if there was a hole anywhere to be found in the fields where the fair is set up, I'd find it - and fall in it.

Well, I started off early this year. I didn't wait until the fair was up and running and do my falling on the grass. This year, I tripped over the doorsill when I went to turn my crocheted projects in for judging. Never mind that the door had huge signs saying "Watch Your Step!". Never mind that the doorsill and the bottom of the door were painted bright orange! Never mind that the fair isn't even open yet this year! I pulled open the door, misjudged the height of the step, and fell forward on my hands and knees, then collapsed on my face onto the floor! Talk about humiliation. Nothing is as embarrassing as that. No, wait - I had to have 4 people help me off the floor! Yeah, that is more embarrassing. I was afraid to try to get up on my own, having had both of my knees replaced in the last 3 years. You know, they give you these nice shiny new knees and then you find out you can't kneel on them anyway! So I was stuck there until they could locate a crane to come pick me up. Just kidding - it was 2 ladies and 2 gentlemen. Sheesh! My left knee is a little swollen this morning. Can't tell if it's going to bruise yet or not. I scraped it a little when I landed on it.

I hope this isn't an omen as to how my projects will do.

I will be posting again with updates on my weekend in Lancaster, and with photos of the Harry Potter package that Beansieleigh put together for me! You should stop by and read her blog - she's quite entertaining. There is a link to it on my sidebar.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Poor Marigolds

We used to have a crabapple tree on our front lawn. The crabapple was affected by carpenter ants and was weakening. It broke my heart to see it come down, as each spring we had beautiful pink flowers on it. I was reminded, each time I looked at the tree, of my dear father-in-law, who passed away a few years back. He trimmed the tree back one year for us. I cried when I saw how much of the tree was cut away! He assured me that it would come back even nicer, but I didn’t believe him. But the tree did come back, and it was lovelier than ever! My FIL was right.

This spring, I asked my husband to dig up a circular area surrounding the stump so that I could plant some flowers. I decided to plant white marigolds. My brother picked up a flat for me at the Burpee outlet. I planted the marigolds, added a garden gnome and a solar light to the stump, and watched the marigolds come to life. They were beautiful! Until about 2 weeks ago, that is. The plants stopped producing new flowers, the leaves started to turn black, and now the marigolds look like someone took a flamethrower to them! They are nothing but black skeletons! I could cry. I’m not sure what happened to them, but I suspect that either some kind of fungus or maybe simply too much rain at once brought about their demise. I’ll have to have them cut down now. I don’t know if there is still time to plant something else in their place, and I’m not even sure if that is a good idea or not. But right now, my front lawn looks like Morticia Addams’ flower garden! If I have any gardening friends out there, maybe you can let me know what might have happened to my marigolds. If it was a fungus, can you tell me whether I should add something to the soil before planting new flowers there? It might be getting close to the time when mums might be a good choice. I welcome your comments!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Healing Weekend...

I spent Saturday and Sunday with my dear sister and her husband at their home in S. New Jersey. It was a relaxing weekend, spent in the company of two wonderful people. My sister is kind and caring and spending time with her is special. We didn't have to talk a lot - just being there, away from the workaday world, was enough. I am very grateful to my sister for being there for me. I love her so much!

I am fortunate to have such a caring support system around me - brothers, sisters, husband. A lot of people aren't so lucky.

Last night, I went shopping on Amazon for Kindle books. Found some bargains. Downloaded 5 e-books - all of them free!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bounty From The Garden

I am visiting my sister this morning in S. New Jersey. I picked some potatoes from my garden before leaving the house. One of my plants was quite yellow-looking, signaling that the potatoes were about ready for picking. So I pulled the plant out, dug around in the dirt with my fingers (got dirt under the nails to prove it!) and voila!


That's before cleaning - they look much more appetizing now that they are washed. I left two at home for my husband, in case he wants to try any tonight for dinner. They really are a nice size, and no blemishes! The medium sized potatoes in the photos are about the size of a baseball. Here they are after cleaning them up:



I am surprised and pleased at how many I got from one plant - unless some of these came from the plant next to it? Can't wait to try them!

Waiting for a call from dear Nicole to see how Justin is this morning. I hope he had a restful night, and that his parents got some sleep too.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Justin Is Home and Resting

Thank you for your prayers. Justin is home from the hospital and resting. We were just visiting with him. Due to the effects of the anesthesia, he is sleepy. But he did wake up long enough to wave to us and take a bottle from his mom. He must have been hungry, because when he saw her coming with it, he held his arms out for it.

I'm so happy that the surgery went well, and that he will bounce back, and especially glad that he's too young to remember it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prayers For Baby Justin

I would like to ask my cyber friends a big favor: Please say prayers for my grandson Justin. He will be in the hospital tomorrow morning for some outpatient surgery. I ask that you pray that God and his angels will see Justin safely through the surgery and deliver him back into the loving arms of his mother and father, so that they may continue their blessed vocation as parents to this wonderful little boy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A String Around My Finger…

I have been reminding myself of all the good things I have in my life. It’s been hard to focus on the good lately. So here goes – probably have listed these things before, but I need to list them again.

A dear sweet husband – we’ll be celebrating 29 years together in September.

Two wonderful sons who really have been the light of my life

A darling little grandson who I love more than I would have thought possible, and his sweet lovely mother- I would be proud to call her my daughter

I have loving brothers and sisters who care about me

I have a job (ugh) to go to – some folks can’t say that these days

I have a roof over my head and food on the table

I have all of these things to make me happy - why am I feeling like I'm stuck in the mud? Reminds me of the little old lady I saw at an Atlantic City casino last year. She was walking in the wrong direction on the moving sidewalk. For every forward step she took, the sidewalk moved her backward an equal distance. Fortunately, someone finally pointed out to her that she was heading the wrong way. That's me, on life's moving sidewalk - I need to get turned around.

My DH came home yesterday from work and told me that the open water diving class that was scheduled for a week and a half from now has been canceled. He suggested we go somewhere for the weekend. It sounds good to me! It could be just what I need - time away from it all. I'm thinking Lancaster PA. We have gone there for the weekend a couple of times, and it's always been a nice little trip. The Carter baby outlet is in the area, and I could do some shopping for little Justin. We just need to decide on a place to stay.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Evening - Back To Work Tomorrow

This is the end of a four-day weekend for me. I didn't intend to take a four-day weekend, but I've been having something of a rough time changing over from one medication to another. I hope to be able to make it back to work tomorrow.

DH Wayne was on a scuba-diving weekend, and it was just DS Tom and I at home. DS Dan stopped by yesterday to have dinner with us. I threw some hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and we had a nice little visit. I only wish he could have brought baby Justin with him. Justin was spending Friday and Saturday with his other Grammy. It was nice of her to take the baby and give the kids some time off. Of course, she also had the pleasure of Justin's company! He is such a sweet baby, with a smile that melts your heart.

The kids just had his photos taken again and he is a charmer. Take a look at this face!



Wayne had a good weekend at Dutch Springs, working with an open water diving class. He is really enjoying the sport. I'm happy for him.

Nearby Trenton NJ must be getting a severe thunderstorm. We can hear the thunder in the distance. Right now, we are having a gentle rainfall. Good for the gardens. I brought my first red sandwich tomato in on Friday. I couldn't help myself. I picked it while it was still orange, and it had to finish ripening on the counter. We are getting cherry tomatoes, a handful at a time. When they start coming in all at once, I'll have to take some to work and leave them out for people to take.

I guess I'll finish up this post and see if I can't get a load of wash done before I turn in for the night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Updating With Box Turtle Video

turtle burying eggs

A big thank you to my sister Karen for allowing me to share her video with you! This is a box turtle spotted in Karen's back yard, digging a hole for her nest. She eventually laid eggs in this nest as well (not sure how many) and covered them back up. My sister will attempt to make sure the nest is kept safe from predators and will be watching for the young'uns to make their appearance in the fall.

She occasionally finds turtles swimming in her pool as well!



If you want to share this video or photo with friends, please link to this page - thanks! I am using it with my sister's permission - she holds the rights to the video and photo.

KINDLE-ing a New Relationship With Literature - A Shameless Plug!

When I was younger, I loved reading. I always had my nose buried in a book. Before I got married, my soon-to-be mother-in-law taught me to crochet. I set the books aside, and soon crochet patterns filled the bookshelves where hardcover novels and paperbacks once resided.

Late last year, I purchased an Amazon Kindle, and I’ve read more in the last 8 months than I have in the last 8 years! It’s left me in sort of a dilemma. Now my crochet WIPs are sitting idle while I take some time off to read a novel. Yikes!

I just finished 3 (yes, 3!) books in the last week and a half. I started with “Blood Brothers” by Nora Roberts. I hadn’t read any of her works before. “Blood Brothers” is the first of a trilogy of horror fiction novels. The second and third of the series are, respectively, “The Hollow” and “The Pagan Stone”. I enjoyed the story line for the most part – fast forwarded through the love scenes, which were a little too descriptive for my liking. But hey, that’s why I like the Kindle – I just hit the next page button until I got back to the supernatural story line. I also like the Kindle because, when I finished the first story, I was so involved in it that I wanted to read the next installment as soon as possible. How about less than a minute later? All I needed to do was hook up wirelessly through the Kindle with the flick of a switch, press a button and you have it within seconds. No more purchasing books the way I used to - wandering into the local B&N or Borders and scratching my head, trying to remember what book I was looking for, getting sidetracked by a dozen others that look interesting. That’s why I was able to read all three in such a short amount of time. For the most part, I did enjoy the novels – not Stephen King, but quite readable nonetheless.

Another Kindle perk is the option of ordering a sample. As you are shopping for a book, you can order a free sample of anything that looks interesting. I’ve read some of the samples only to find I didn’t care to follow through. Better that than purchasing the book and getting stuck with it when it doesn’t live up to its promise after the first chapter.

What a boon the Kindle would be to school kids and college students everywhere. Imagine multiple textbooks in a portable electronic form! No more toting a backpack that weighs more than the student carrying it. What a savings it would be to our environment too! I own the first generation Kindle. With it, I can subscribe to newspapers if I want to, magazines (love the Reader’s Digest) and blogs. Amazon has already come out with an updated version, and somewhere along the lines, I can envision a color version. But my present reader suits my purposes just fine. It is easy to operate, and the screen is viewable in all sorts of daytime lighting conditions, even bright sunlight outdoors. My laptop computer screen is virtually impossible to view outdoors. You can download books in every price range, and if you search Amazon.com’s library by price, you will even find some that can be downloaded for free. Want to read that new release? If it’s on Kindle, it’s a fraction of the hardcover price. My purchased books are all backed up on Amazon’s server too. If I finish a book, I can remove it from my Kindle and store it on the server. If I want to read it again, I can move it back to the Kindle or have it copied to my computer. I’ve even sent some of my original crochet patterns to Amazon for conversion and transfer to my reader. You can also transfer photographs to view or music files for playing on the Kindle.

There are other electronic readers out there – haven’t tried them, so I can’t tell you how they stack up to the Kindle. I just like the technology. Will it replace bookstores and libraries? Probably not. My husband is a die-hard paperback book fan. He’s tried reading my Kindle and yet he still goes out to the local bookstore to pick up his reading material. Just as well – more Kindle time for me!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend In New Jersey

I am visiting with family members in southern New Jersey this weekend. We are attending a graduation party at the home of my sister and her husband. They live in a beautiful wooded area, with a great pool and barbecue area. My sister is a wonderful hostess and they always have such a great selection of food and drink for their guests. Along with hot dogs and hamburgers, we had potato salad, macaroni salad, "sloppy joe" barbecue, pasta, baked beans and more. Another of my sisters brought along a fruit salad, and my brother made a unique salad, using watermelon, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Sounds weird - must admit I made a face when he told me what it was. But it was delicious! Recipe here.

When we arrived, my sister showed us a video she shot on her camera of a box turtle digging a nest to lay her eggs! That's something you don't come across every day! I am hoping that she will be able to share the video with us via e-mail. I'd love to ask her to allow me to post it on my blog. I did some research on the internet and see that Eastern Box Turtles lay their eggs and leave them unguarded, just like the sea turtles do. The eggs start to hatch in late summer or early fall. I told my sister to keep an eye out for the babies when they hatch to make sure they don't accidentally end up in her swimming pool! From what I read, the female box turtle will lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime (3-8 in a clutch, several clutches a year) and out of those hundreds only 3-4 babies will survive to adulthood. How sad that is! I hope that by keeping an eye out for them, maybe the hatchlings from this nest will all be able to grow up.

Off and on during the afternoon, my mind would wander and I'd find myself reviewing my videos of my grandson Justin. I miss him! Unfortunately, his parents weren't able to join us for the party this weekend.

Time to set the computer aside for the evening. Hope you all have a good night.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shark Sunday!

The shark dive at the aquarium was great! Wayne had a real blast! He didn't think he'd have so much fun and he wants to do it again. So I guess we know what to get him for Christmas this year.

Putting some videos on: video

video



Dan, Nicole and Justin were able to come to the aquarium to see the dive too. The baby is sooooo cute! He won't remember his grandpap in the tank with the sharks, but at least we have it on video for him when he gets older. It was so cute to see Wayne waving to the baby from inside the tank! video

Today Is The Big Shark Dive!

We are going to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden today. For Christmas, I gave my scuba-diving fanatic husband a gift certificate for one of the "adventures" at the aquarium. Diving in the big shark tank! We'll be there to cheer him on at 3:00 and I'll be taking videos! My husband has logged over 150 dives since taking his first introductory lesson a couple of years ago. He is always disappointed that he hasn't seen any sharks on his dives. (Me? I'd be thrilled not to see any sharks!) So if he wants to see sharks, this is his chance. Best to do it in a controlled environment, I think. One where they've already fed the sharks, so they won't be inclined to take a nip or two!

I'm anxious to meet up with my son and his little family too. They have been on vacation in Atlantic City and had a wonderful time. I missed them so much! Nicole posted the sweetest little video of baby Justin at the Atlantic City Aquarium. I could watch it over and over! In fact, I have! I hope to have some videos or photos of the baby to add to my blog later this evening.

Hubby just ran out to get some coffees for us this morning, so I'll end this post and be back to update later this evening, hopefully with some videos! In the meantime, I'll be working on the Sweetheart Ripple again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Sweetheart Ripple Weekend

 












I've been working on the Sweetheart Ripple afghan before work and at lunch time. I really need to spend a good bit of time on it this weekend. Maybe Sunday?

I've got a bit of a headache right now - disagreeable ride home from work today. Don't you think there is too much noise pollution these days? Ever sit in a line of traffic next to someone with their radio at maximum volume? Ever feel your steering wheel vibrate from the bass emanating from two cars over? (((shudder))) I'm glad I only live 20 minutes away from my job. We had to listen to a racket at work too. They have been updating our sound system and PA system all week. Someone decided to put an obnoxious radio station on, with lots of electric guitars and pounding drums and they cranked up the volume to levels that made you cringe! OMG! It took two days of complaints from employees in various departments, but someone finally changed the radio station to something a little more mellow. When you’re cooped up in a cubicle 8 hours a day and listening to heavy metal rock, your nerves quickly frazzle and the voices in your head start telling you to hurt someone! Anyway, they are sacrificing one of the speakers in our area in order to keep the volume down.

Thank God for the end of one rough week at work! In spite of the fact that I was off Monday, it seemed to take forever to pass. Like a kidney stone – painfully! It’s Friday – need I say more?

All of this has sent me packing on a mental vacation. Don’t mind me – right now, I’m in a lounge chair on a Caribbean beach listening to a steel drum band playing on a veranda. I have an “umbrella” drink in my hand. Gentle island tunes and shore birds calling, soft breeze, warm sunshine…what else could you ask for?


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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Middle of the Week


On my computer’s desktop at work, I have a photo of my grandson Justin and his lovely mom, Nicole. It makes those difficult days bearable to be able to look at their sweet smiling faces! Nicole is such a good mom – I am really glad my son found her! As always, Justin is just too cute for words!

I brought my afghan to work with me today. Since DS Tom has no work today, I won’t have to leave at lunch time to pick him up and drive him home. I had hoped to complete the Sweetheart Ripple afghan in time for entry into the Grange Fair in August. It is slow-going, however. I’m finishing a little less than 4 rows an hour, so working on it solely at lunch time won’t work. It’s single crochet, with some treble crochet front post stitches thrown into the mix. I also made it slightly wider than the pattern called for. I really do love the look of the afghan, though! It was designed by Kim Guzman – kudos to Kim!

I’m awaiting delivery of two doll patterns. I love making dolls. I have no little girls in the family to crochet them for, though. My nieces and great nieces have all outgrown baby dolls. I’m sure that the fact that I love to make girls’ things has something to do with the fact that I only had two boys! I miss not having a daughter.


Saturday will be busy, I guess. Some of my brothers and sisters are getting together at my father’s house. We are hoping to be able to put it up for sale this year. I will be sad to see it go. I had hoped at one point to be able to purchase the house. My husband put the idea in my head when he mentioned that he would like to look into buying it. It sits on a large lot, and there are wood floors throughout and a fireplace in the living room.


My husband and I were married at that house, in the back yard, almost 29 years ago. I still remember that as though it happened yesterday. I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to buy it. Sentimentality. But knowing how my husband and I can butt heads over home improvements, and knowing that there would be things in the house that have to be fixed up, I wouldn’t want to see those 29 years going down the drain! I’ll be tearful when it leaves the family, but that’s life. Instead, I will look ahead to planning a future when my husband and I can retire. I’m thinking we might head down south a bit. I’m tired of dreary winters, sloppy icy roads and cold weather. I’m thinking the Carolinas…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rants And Ramblings


I am so disillusioned with the human race today. Yesterday the news covered a story that took place in Darby PA. Some sick little SOB set fire to a cat! A young boy was reported to have been seen in the area where the cat was discovered by an animal control officer. The officer found the cat was alive – just barely. A vet tried to save it, but it died. They say that by the look of it, the young cat – a year old at most – had been mistreated all of its young life. Multiple older injuries were present before the cat was ignited. In fact, the last few hours it lived were probably the only hours it was given love and caring attention. That is too too sad! There is a $1600 reward for the identification of the person responsible for the cat’s death. I hope they find him. That person needs help, before their cruelty escalates to unspeakable proportions. This is how serial killers get their start. Our pets give us so much love that they deserve to be treated with the utmost care and kindness. I still miss our Brutus and can’t imagine my life without our pets.

Pushing these dark thoughts from my mind, let me tell you about my canine buddies. Both dogs are on diets! At their last checkup, the vet said he would like to see about 4 pounds come off the min pin and 8 pounds off the beagle. Since the dogs have come to live with us, my husband and I have been at odds as to how to feed them. He has always been a firm believer in “grazing” – their food bowls should always have something in them. I wanted to feed them once in the morning and once in the evening and not have food out for them all the time. So many times my husband and I would take part in the following exchange:
DH enters after work at 8:00 pm and the sound of kibble hitting the metal bowl reaches my ears.
Me: “They ate already – don’t feed them!”
DH: “Their dishes are empty”
Me: “That’s because they ate already – don’t feed them!”
DH: “Well, they’re still hungry – look at them eating!”
Me: “That’s because their stomachs are twice as big as they ought to be – DON’T FEED THEM!”
Me – enter kitchen, pick up bowls before dogs can wolf it all down and dump the kibble back in the bag…

Well, I’ve finally convinced hubby not to feed the animals. He is "encouraged not to" (read "don't you dare")touch the dog food bag with the exception of carrying it into the house for me. LOL! In fact, when the dogs beg, he says “Go see Mommy!” Mommy stands firm. The Little Scamp min pin is looking rather dashing these days, and feeling much better for it, as evidenced by the fact that he can now jump up on the bed himself like he used to do. For a while there, he was forced to submit to the humiliation of having a human PICK HIM UP (which he hates) in order to sleep under the covers. I'd say "Sleepytime!" and he would sidle up to my feet, with ears pinned back and a mortified look on his face – you could read his expression like a book! Now he makes a beeline for the bedroom and leaps up to find a comfortable place to curl up at the foot of the bed. I don’t know if he’s lost the whole 4 pounds yet, but at least he isn’t looking like 10 pounds of sausage stuffed into a 5 pound casing anymore!

We’re still working on the beagle. I don’t see much of a change in him yet. But he’s not the high-energy dog the Little Scamp is. So it may take a little longer to see a difference.

What a nice weekend it was – 4 days off and the best weather we’ve had so far. It did my heart good to see my husband in his element on Saturday. He and one of the diving instructors were working with a student at Dutch Springs on Saturday. My husband has really found his niche in scuba diving. He has been so unhappy at his day job lately and I worry about him. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for him for peace of mind.

On a crochet note, I pulled out my project bag (love those reusable grocery store canvas bags!) with the Sweetheart Ripple afghan in it. I start a new bag with each project I pick up. The hook and the pattern remain in the bag with the WIP. I currently have 4 or 5 project bags in and around the house. I really have to work on reducing that number! The sweetheart ripple has been sitting idle since March (found a catalog inside the bag reminding me that Easter is (was) April 12. I find that if I set a project aside too long, I tend to have a few gauge problems – stitching too loose or too tight when I get back to it. But it hasn’t been as long for this one, so my tension seems fine so far. I can’t imagine what will happen with the afghan I started two years ago which has been languishing in my attic. It’s pink and white, reversible with hearts on both sides. I still have pangs of guilt over that one. Someday…

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day Three of a Four-Day Weekend

Hubby is home safe and sound. The dive gang did a wreck dive off the Jersey shore today. The Stolt Dagali was the wreck they dove. I worry about these wreck dives, but Wayne assures me that he follows all the safety rules. He dove to 105 feet, but he wasn't inclined to investigate the interior of the wreck. The captain of the boat advised them not to. He expected heavy traffic on the way home, and I was surprised to see him arrive about an hour earlier than I expected him. Glad he's home! He reports seeing a pod of dolphins and possibly an ocean sunfish breaching while he was on the boat! I wish I weren't so afraid of the water - I'd like to see some of these things!

I've been watching the Deadliest Catch marathon on TV, ran a couple of errands and did a little crocheting today.

Here's a photo of my latest acquisition. A giraffe tea kettle! I had one of these years ago and it was broken. I thought I'd never be able to replace it, but found this one on Amazon. My son had given me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas, so this is my Christmas gift! I love it!


One more day off before returning to work - ugh!

I've started a scarf, but I'm not feeling the love, if you know what I mean. So I think I'll set it aside and maybe get back to my sweetheart ripple afghan. I was making some progress on that and need to pick it up again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth!

What a beautiful day it is! Happy Fourth of July to all!

I took a walk through the garden today. My friend called me the other day and said she had something that looked like little tomatoes growing on her potato plants. I had never heard of such a thing, so I took a look at my potato plants. They are growing like weeds, and I also have "pomatoes"! I googled them and they are actually the fruits of the potato plant. They show up on the plants when the weather is cooler than usual. We have indeed had a cool and rainy June.

They aren't edible fruits - toxic, in fact. But they say that you can remove the seeds and plant them as a novelty in your garden. Seeds must be sown indoors in the winter as they take a long time to grow. If you actually want potatoes, though, your best bet is to grow them from seed potatoes, as we did. My cherry tomatoes should produce a nice crop. I already have a lot of little green cherries now. There are a few larger green tomatoes out there too. I have an eggplant starting to form, and a few more flowers on the plant. The cucumbers my brother gave me are spreading fast!

I also have blackberries. Not to the extent we had them last year. Wayne dug a good portion of the plant out last fall and transplanted it on the family farm upstate. He said they didn't grow this year, but if I'm not mistaken, we waited over a year for these plants to grow. He may see them take off next year.


Today is a lazy day. I have some laundry and dishes to do. But that's about it. I think I'll pick up my hook and get a little crochet time in today. I'm thinking about working up one of the Airport Scarves in this month's Crochet World magazine.

Friday, July 3, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring - The Old Man Is Snoring...

He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning...

Doesn't that take you back? I was at Dutch Springs today with my husband, who was helping to teach a student diver. I was waiting for a pizza at the restaurant on the grounds, and the sky was a little overcast and it was "spitting" - just a few drops of rain. A little boy was singing the above rhyme as he played beside his parents. It made me think of myself at his age. I sang the very same ditty on many a rainy day when I was a kid! Some things never change.

I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to accompany my husband on his dive outing. I'm not a diver, so I took a bag of soy yarn and a crochet hook and pattern with me. I figured on whipping up a scarf while I was waiting for the divers to finish up their three dives. I took my Amazon Kindle with me in case I wanted to take a break from hook and yarn and read a bit. I actually started out with the Kindle and never did get around to the yarn! I read my latest downloaded book "Still Alice". It's about a Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. Sad story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day. The weather was sunny for most of the day, with just a few passing thunderclouds and those little "sun showers". I had to duck into the car a couple of times to stay dry.

Here is hubby, and instructor Teresa and student Heather. Nice folks, those divers!












After watching them set up and get ready to enter the water, I'm glad my hobby involves just some yarn and a hook! I don't know if I could tote all that equipment or carry that air tank on my back! I have to tell you - after they completed their third dive, they looked pretty tired as they made their way up from the water!

Never did get the scarf started, so maybe I'll give it a try tonight.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weaving In The Loose Ends

My friend’s daughter-in-law asked me yesterday to tell her how to weave in ends – over the phone. I was at a distinct disadvantage, having come home from work with a miserable headache. I had taken a couple of Tylenol PMs, extra strength, and was semi-conscious in the recliner when she called. I tried to describe to her what I do when I change colors or add a new skein of yarn to a project. Even as the words came out of my mouth, my brain was saying “What on earth are you trying to say?” I can only imagine the poor girl wondered the same thing, and wondered what I had been smoking… She gave up trying to decipher my utterances and said she’d call back again another time (politely omitted the phrase “when you’re not stoned out of your gourd”). Honestly, it was just Tylenol! The PM stuff in it got to me, I guess. I even slept through dinner time!

This morning, I came to work extra early and whipped up a small swatch using two different colors. I wove in two of the loose ends without pulling them taut and being sure to weave the brown yarn underneath white stitches, and vice versa, so that the girl could see what I did. I then started to weave in a third loose end, but left the needle in place under the stitches, and sent the swatch home with my friend. I’m sure that her daughter-in-law will be able to interpret from the swatch what I failed miserably to communicate the night before. Next time, I save the Tylenol PM for bedtime!

I’ve actually been trying out a no-weaving technique when changing colors or adding new yarn. I have made it a practice to work over the loose ends, but now have found a way to “weave” the loose end back on itself to lock it in place, simply by working over the yarn. Photos below – I hope they illustrate the technique. My apologies if someone already has this posted out there somewhere in cyberspace. This I stumbled across by trial and error, and thought I’d put it out there for your perusal.

Make sure you leave the tails long enough to do this. You will crochet over both ends after folding them back on themselves as shown in the photo.



Crocheting over all strands, work until you reach the point where you have two small loops formed by the doubled-over ends.



Insert your hook into the next stitch but also through the two small loops. Complete your stitch as usual.






At this point, all that is necessary is to pull the ends taut, but not so taut as to distort the stitches. No weaving necessary. This method ensures that your loose end has been threaded through in two directions and locked in place.



This method is best when adding a new skein of the same color yarn. To minimize any color show-through on the back side of the work, I will sometimes pick up the stray color on my hook when I insert the hook into the corresponding stitch on the next row of crochet and work over it again. Remember to leave long tails on the yarn and not to pull taut until you are finished working with the loose ends. If you have any questions or need more illustrations, please let me know.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Completed Giraffe-ghan!


It's finished! I had such a good day and was able to get so much work done on the afghan. I think I am quite happy with it, and the only other change that I might consider making to it would be to add a couple more leaves to the tree on the side with the large giraffe. I bought the pattern here.

I fashioned the clouds without a pattern, working them from the top down instead of from the bottom up as the pattern called for. I also worked the larger cloud with a larger hook. The original pattern called for 2 clouds of the same size.

I added one more character to the mix as well. I hope you can tell what it is (clue - it's not the beagle!). Worked without a pattern as well. I hope it doesn't spoil the look of the afghan.

I can't believe it's finally finished.

I know that I will enter it in the Grange fair, but to be honest, it won't matter to me if it doesn't win a prize. Do you know what will mean the most to me? I will give this afghan to my grandson for Christmas. I hope that little Justin will make this his "blankie", dragging it around behind him from place to place, and curling up with it at nap time. That would make me so proud!




I have to say that, for all the work involved in making this afghan - crocheting individual pieces and sewing each to the afghan separately - this was worth it! Definitely one of my most memorable pieces. I believe I will add it to my slideshow!

Time to move on to another project.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Progress On The Giraffe-ghan? Sew-Sew...


I had plans to have the giraffe-ghan finished this weekend. It didn't happen. I did finish the two giraffes and sewed their spots on. All that was left was to sew them to the blanket and crochet two clouds to be sewn on as well. But it was a busy weekend, nonetheless.

On Saturday, I met a couple of my sisters at my Dad's house and we did some more clearing out. I was late arriving, and my sisters had made a lot of headway before I got there. My job was shredding. My dad kept every document he ever received, I think. We found papers dating back 45 years. I even found papers older than that - "cheat sheets" from the US Army for their soldiers with various phrases in English and their Japanese translations. Those I kept. But I resolved to turn over a new leaf and not let my paperwork pile up for my kids to shred one day, and the first thing I did when I got home was to go through my junk mail and shred it!

Sunday - again, I didn't pick up the afghan until late in the evening. But I had a good excuse. My little grandson Justin came to play! I babysat with him this afternoon while my DS Dan was good enough to mow the lawn for me. The baby is soooooo cute! I just love him to pieces.

This evening, however, I did sew the smaller giraffe to the blanket and crocheted one cloud and attached that as well. I improvised my own cloud design. I like the way it turned out and will work another one using the same method. I sewed it on in a way meant to make it look rather puffy. There will be an adult giraffe on the other side of the tree and a larger cloud in the sky above the baby giraffe. I will pick up the crochet hook once more before I turn in and start the second cloud. This will be finished in a couple of days. After the remaining pieces are crocheted and attached, I will just need to add the single crochet border around the green section of the blanket and add fringe to top and bottom.

Back to crocheting and the movie "Hancock".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transitions

On June 25, 2009, two celebrities passed away – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Ms. Fawcett’s death was not a surprise, as she suffered for 3 years from anal cancer. Mr. Jackson’s passing at the age of 50 was a shock to all.

After viewing the special aired in May detailing her fight against cancer, I admired Farrah Fawcett’s bravery and hoped that she would beat her illness, but it wasn’t to be. I am glad that she was surrounded at the end by those she loved. I can’t think of any better way to go than in the loving arms of family and friends.

What can I say about Michael Jackson? He was an immensely talented person – I still stop whatever I’m doing to watch his Thriller video. His achievements in music and dance have inspired so many people. There is no one today that I can think of with the talents he possessed. I must admit, though, that I have not been a fan of his for a while. His obsession with plastic surgery and his downward spiral in the last 10 years saddened me greatly. I think he was a deeply troubled man. I am sorry he passed away, but I can only imagine that he is in a better place now, freed from the memories of a troubled childhood, pressures of life and the scrutiny of the media. Those must have been difficult things to deal with.

The transition from this life to the next is most difficult on those left behind. We grieve deeply for those we love and it’s hard to imagine life without them. I pray that their families find comfort in their memories.

May they rest in peace.