Sunday, December 31, 2006

In One Short Year

I've managed to get my mojo and lose it, let my oldest child go forth into the world, been terrified, seen and heard some great music, tried not to smother my youngest child with attention, keep my blog fairly consistent, complete a mini triathalon, make a good friend, help with the care of those I love, challenge myself creatively, not participate in the cq ornament exchange, have some good camping trips, celebrate 21 years, use what I have, buy too much stuff, please some people, let some down, been intollerant, not achieved some goals, set new goals, finish some projects, start some new, not finish some that should have been finished, went to familiar places, said Goodbye to a dog, watch those I love struggle and come out on top, felt and been inadequate, been insensitive, participated in service projects. There has been more. It's been a well rounded year, with struggles and triumphs, frustration and elation. Shouldn't it be this way?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Guess what today is?

It is the anniversary of my blog. Wow! I can not believe that I maintained this for one year. In simple terms, it makes me happy. In honor of my anniversary, I'm spending some time updating. Enjoy some of my new links. Thanks for being with me this year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Self Portraits

For some reason, blogger won't load the last five, even in a new post, so I give you this. They are all there in their glory! We had a delightful day, delicious food, presents, games, and family in and out. The girls, typically, did not get out of their jammies all day. It was a good day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

I needed today, home by myself, to clean, to renew, to read this, to center myself, and to wait, with hope, joy, peace and love for the birth of a king.

Merry Christmas all, may peace be with you.
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Gifts

Okay, I really tried for the days of the week posts but gift making, gift shopping and getting ready for carpet really got in the way. Today I feel that I can post a couple of the gifts I made as I am giving them away tonight. The recipients read my blog so did not want to ruin the surprise. This is a stole made for my father who is a minister. The tag inside reads:

This stole started with a wool jacket of yours. To it, I added a top that both Rachel and I wore, a tie of Pat's, and dresses from Emma and Audrey's wardrobe. Wear it in Peace, Dad. I love you.

This is a knit, felted bowl for his wife. It was too tall so I scalloped the edge and dry felted some yarn along it. The whole reason I scalloped it was because I had folded down a brim and it looked too much like a premie hat and here is Audrey modeling it on her head. Sheesh!
That's it for the gifts tonight.

Earlier in the week, we attended the high school choral concert, this time to see Audrey performing in the treble choir. The treble choir is a group that meets after school for 1/2 hour, 1 day a week. It was a strong group of women and much better than the Beginner's concert choir that meet daily. It was such a joy to see my other daughter up on stage, looking confident and happy, singing Christmas songs.

Today we attended NC Idol at the high school. What a fun time! Three contestants, along with some guest performers (Emma included) and an audience vote. I am reminded what a good school my daughter attends. Emma having graduated, succeding in college, definitely prepared. Audrey just beginning her education. Yes, there are frustrating things within the school, county and state, but for the most part, it is good.

Now time for the really good, family time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

W.I.P. Thursday

Some creatures for nieces and nephews and brother

wool of green, red, and ecru waiting to be knit into bowls

pretty wrappings for all

Meanwhile the destruction of the house continues, the classes continue, work continues, school and some social fun. Tonight I am going to see Raul Malo sing Christmas songs at Ramshead Tavern with a girlfriend from the Y. She bought the tickets so I'm treating dinner. I had my knitting out during my 30 minute break between classes and one of my seniors sat beside my, hands outstretched with the fingers waving - like gimmee, gimmee, gimmee. She knit several rows and we chatted about knitting. I've found my sock helper. Gotta get back to work. I've a little more sewing to do before I store the machine away.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday - Humpday

Wednesday is humpday, the middle of the week. The day I'm the most sore and the most tired. Today is no exception. I've wasted quite a bit of time on this. I've taken photos of almost everyone and put them in. I even put Sammajamma in there. The dog keeps running over to see what the fuss is all about between the elf speaking and me laughing hysterically! I never really got my groove today. After Audrey got home, she went to get beautified and we went out to dinner, girls night out. We went mexican. I really can never satiate this mexican food fever I have. I wish there were more choices out our way for authentic mexican food. Mmmm, carnitas for breakfast. Sounds like Homer saying, "Mmmmm, beer."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Early Tuesday

Some people have days of the week underwear. I don't. With this in mind, I'm trying for days of the week posts this week only. Even if I had days of the week underwear, it would never be worn on the correct day. I could not even imagine trying! With everything I do, I'm always trying to get there but never quite succeding. Imagine my surprise this morning when I left the house on time and got to class early! By early I mean 15 minutes early. I have no clue how that happened.

Today is my busy day, too. Two classes in the morning, deliver papers, 2 classes in the evening and work until 9pm.
I have a new class these days. I teach Senior Citizens. It's an interesting class. They like to dance and have choreography. I haven't choreographed classes in 20 years! It's been a challenge and fun to come up with moves. We usually have 20 minutes cardio and 20 minutes strength. It's a sweet bunch , they like to tell me I'm doing a great job (3rd class today), and tell me they don't care what they do they just want to move. Then they proceed to tell me what to do for the next class, specifically.
Audrey and I have struck a deal on the paper route. She folds and prepares the night before, I deliver, and all proceeds go immediately into her savings. She's not allowed to actually have the money until college. I don't mind walking the neighborhood. We used to live in town, walk to get the mail, videos, school, park and pool. We are only 5 miles out of town now but it makes a difference. At one time, while pregnant with Audrey, My Handsome Prince, Emma and I were out on one of our walks to the hardware store. There was a sign out front of the house next to the hardware store, advertising for sewing help. I immediately went home and called. They turned me down upon discovering I was 8 months pregnant. Can you imagine?! Anyway, for some reason, I was determined to get that job! I walked, again, over to the studio with a recently finished, totally machine pieced and quilted quilt. She hired me on the spot. It was a great job. I learned to sew and design custom window treatments. I gave birth sometime soon after starting, MHP had a couple surgeries, and during this time the couple bought a playpen, a bouncy swing, and other baby paraphenelia so I could come back to work. There were some questionable things about the job, like the cleanliness of the studio and house, but for the most part, I loved it. We talked books, listenened to music, even took some trips together. Emma would get dropped off from pre-school and the daughters of the owners would take both girls. And they would pay them to watch my children and pay me to work for them. After a while, they got busier, our lives changed again with MHP's leg, the place got filthier, and I had to quit. I cried. I cried again when a good friend of mine was hired to take my place, and again when she offered it back to me. I ended up working there again for a short time but it was not the same. By that time there were two other employees and it was not the family I had originally. It is no longer a business and I walk by it everytime I deliver papers.

This is the building I worked in. It looked a little better (not much). There was a pool and trampoline in the yard that the girls would play on with the owner's girls. My sewing machine was at a window and I could watch the girls play.

On my 30th birthday, my boss called and offered me the morning off or the morning off in their hot tub with tea delivered and child care. I can remember thinking my 30th needed to be more significant than that but later realized it was perfect.
This is the apartment attached to the house. It has always looked like this. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

Glorious Monday

It's hard to believe it's December 11. It's hard to believe that Christmas is only two weeks away. It's hard to believe that it's sunny and 60ish when last week it was below freezing. It's hard to believe that we ordered carpet to be installed on 12/19. What were we thinking?!

Here is Gus enjoying the day.
It's his favorite thing, to be outside, in the sun, guarding the yard from those who should not enter, like this visitor, whom I've taken a liking to. He comes and visits, sits on the edge of the hot tub while I soak or waits with Audrey on the bus stop. I know I've rambled.

We have spent the day gutting the basement, more specifically, my sewing/crafting area. My fabric is in the laundry room, my documents are in the shower (yes, the shower!), my books and magazines in a large storage tote outside. It's really hard to touch all my stuff and not want to make something. Like this:

Oh my! If I didn't have yo-yo fever before from this, this, and this. I certainly do now! I know there are more yo-yos out there that are just as beautiful. I just could not find them right now.

Cynic the Lamb at Knottybits and I had our own little ornament swap. She sent me this lovely!

Believe me, the photo does not do it justice. It is just perfect! Her sewing is excellent and the shape and size are larger, which I love. She has these on sale in her Etsy shop if anyone is looking for a nice ornament. I'm just thrilled with it!

I have all kinds of crafting going on here despite the destruction and movement in the house. Only, I can't show you as there are some people who read this blog who might be receiving some benefits from the crafting. All I can say is, between me, Audrey and My sister, we are coming up with some fun ideas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Signs of Christmas

Here are the signs of Christmas in our house:
My half decorated big tree in my half done sunroom. Yup! Everything is half done around here. The decorations on the tree are all the ones we chose from the party and the extras that were left. Many people made more than they took. The tree is perfect for this room, though. Thanks Aunt and Uncle!

My half decorated handmade ornament tree. All the ornaments have not come down from the attic yet and will not until after the 20th. We are idiots and decided to have new carpeting installed on the 19th, entire main floor and basement. Ugh! What were we thinking?! See my Gay Christmas ornament? I love it! The snowman in front was a paper mache ornament I made a few years back. All the kids got them filled with candy.
A Rosemary tree given to me by my sister, complete with beads and a melted bead star. She bought 10 of these at Lowes for gifts. I'm heading out tomorrow to buy 4 for gifts. It smells heavenly..
The List. There is a list tradition that started when I was a kid. I'm not sure how my parents came up with the idea, but it has carried into my family and my sister's family. No Christmas is complete until you put The List up, regardless of when. Like this year when all the shopping has already been done. My sister keeps her lists (I think). I do not. Audrey likes to make The List. So this is this years list, just put up last night. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Our ornaments

More ornaments from the exchange. This one is another one of Audrey's made from whatever she could find in my stash. I kept this one, for two reasons. I love the fact that she just used whatever. We also made the clay buttons years ago when she was home sick. She is definitely her Mother's child. For some reason she collected pop tabs. Ho has two meanings, obviously Christmas, but also the girls have taken to greeting me or each other with "What up, ho?" It has to do with spending a lot of time with military people.
Audrey's mouse, too cute!
My mitten made from a recycled sweater. Knotty bits, I have another one of these! Posted by Picasa

And a good time was had by all

This year we hosted the 2nd annual ornament exchange. The particulars were:
Each person brings 1-3 ornaments
Each ornament must be handmade and one you would be pleased to receive
Each ornament is unwrapped and ready to hang
Each person goes home with as many ornaments as he/she brought

As everyone arrives, they hang their ornaments on the tree and take time to covet the ones they want. We wait for everyone to arrive. Each person receives a number for each ornament they brought. I think our numbers went up to 100! But, I think there were only about 80 ornaments. We had everything under the sun, crocheted snowflakes, wired robots made from junky stuff, felted, beaded balls, felt cardinals, pipecleaner christmas trees, button wreaths, and more! You saw ours. Needless to say, number 1 has a tough job to choose from all the ornaments! Not everyone can fit in the sun room where the tree is so they mingle in the kitchen or living room. I had a guest book out so people could sign it along with a favorite Christmas memory or ornament or whatever. I also had sketch paper, markers, and crayons out for people to draw self portraits. It was great to see them and the interesting ways they portrayed themselves. We did this a couple years ago at Family Christmas celebrations. I have a lot of self portraits to hang, now. I had just enough food. The first Friday night in December is perfect. The other events have not really started yet. It was wonderful! I plan on hosting again next year. Oh, our favorite ornament that we received was huge, tacky, hilarious, and extremely creative. It consisted of glittery leaves arching in a rainbow in the colors of a rainbow, stabilized by white fringe yarn (lots of it!) with a framed photograph of our male friends, underneath saying "Have a Gay Christmas".

Our ornaments

These are our ornaments for our annual ornament exchange.
This is one of three penguins My Handsome Prince made for the ornament exchange. They went quick!

This is one of Audrey's made from a recycled jar lid, paper, and whatever bits she could find.
This is one of mine. I felted acorns. I got the idea from littlebirds. I think they are adorable. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Out to Breakfast

It seems we can't stop eating. After a week or so of no appetite, the handsome one has got it back. We went to lunch yesterday and out this morning to this local joint. We used to be able to eat (2 of us) for under $5. It's gone up in price but it's still the local hangout. The town guys get their coffee everymorning. Today there were some hunters still in their garb and local families whose tradition it is to eat there every Saturday morning.

Halloween weekend found us taking pictures of each other trying to lift one eyebrow. Today was the open mouth shot.

I would say he is feeling better. What a goof!

Oh, and I just finished her. She is spoken for but I will be making others. Her name is Morgan. She is from this book.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thinking Small

After making those adorable baby booties, I was still in that baby size frame of mind. So...for this years ornament exchange, I present Winged Angel Booties, made from recycled wool, vintage rick rack, card stock, and of course with Christmas crafting, you have to have glitter! I love the fact that the feet look somewhat large. I clipped this idea out of Country Living magazine and saved it for a long time. I finally got around to making one. I'll be making a few more. Posted by Picasa

Images I wish I had captured today

The sight of my youngest daughter, sound asleep, with her two cousins all in one bed

Me, with my hairdressers two week old baby, asleep on my chest, while I lay back in the chair getting my hair shampooed. You never lose that wonderful feeling of a precious infant asleep on top of you.

The septic tank guy, after having pumped out our system, telling my husband the bill is $200 and a cold beer. How can you deny a man a cold one after he has shovelled out your you know what?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Miss me?

That was the email I received yesterday morning, while in the basement, doing laundrey, checking blogs, and general puttering. Would you like to guess who that was from? My Handsome Prince, upstairs in the lounge. I was gone maybe an hour.

Images from our week at home:

Nightime shuffling from bed, to recliner, to sofa, trying to find that position
Mornings, Audrey quietly getting ready for school
coffee together every morning
Afternoon Delight, consisting of a movie and and a long nap
Good food that only I ate
rain, rain, and more rain with wind
Evening movie
Crying over an email
Trying to watch "Jackass" and turning it off within the first 5 minutes because it made him laugh
A slow walk down the road
Emma's room, The Lounge, being a nest and haven for all of us
Us, one holding the other in time of need

Walker, Texas Ranger

Friday, November 17, 2006

Baby loveliness or Lovely babyness

This is one bit of handiwork I managed to get done this week. Despite my big plans, I needed almost as much rest as My Handsome Prince. The shoes are courtesy of a tutorial by Stardustshoes, the lavender hat from "One Skein", and the popcorn hat, me. These are for two of my cycle students who were expecting girls this month. I've heard of one healthy, happy delivery and hope to hear of the other soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Christus Consolator

"Come unto Me
All Ye That Are Weary and Heavy Laden
And I Will Give You Rest"

When I was younger, my parents were involved in the Eucumenical Institute, now known as Institute of Cultural Affairs. We would be hauled off to Fifth City in Chicago at some awful hour for a weekend of (at that time) torture. We would complain, moan, and complain some more, yet it provided a foundation for my life and some of my beliefs now. We used to sing that verse to the tune of "Bye Bye Love". In our many trips to Johns Hopkins so far, I have only been to visit Him in person once(this year), for this photo. Yet I know He is there, so I hum "Bye Bye Love" singing to myself "Come to Me, all who are weary and a heavy laden, and I will give you rest, and I will give you rest." My FIL claims to be an atheist. His older son has been a patient, on and off, of JHH for over 30 years. The last one was a close call and afterwards, he bought a replica of the statue for his home. It's not spoken of but is prominently displayed. Comfort comes in many ways.

The surgery went as expected. The nodule was metastatic, from his bone tumor of almost 15 years ago. No other treatment is expected. Hopefully, this was it. As a friend wrote me, a slight detour, not the path.

Relief flooded me after the surgeon spoke to us. My Father and Father in Law (named Big Dad by Audrey - the youngest grandchild) stayed with me that afternoon. I had trouble maintaining my calm (okay, I tried not to cry) as I called each of my children to tell them the good news. My Dad left and Big Dad stayed, he was taking me home. Finally we were able to see My Handsome Prince in ICU.

When we walked in, the nurse kept the small talk up, commenting on how well he was doing, wanting to know what I was making (I had knitting in my hand), yada, yada. Poor baby, grimaced and groaned with every breath he took, yet managed to sweep his hand towards me and tell the nurse "She is beautiful". I did not want to cry. He kept talking about it hurt to lift, as he lifted his head. I kept telling him, don't do it. Finally, he said "No, it hurts to live." I've never been a queasy person, but at this point, I was sweating, cold and naseaous and had to sit down. I didn't want them to mop me off the floor. This was my husband, in a state like I had never seen before. If I felt like this, I can't even imagine the helplessness my Father in Law felt that evening. Finally, a good dosage was set on the morphine pump that he could administer every 5 minutes. He snoozed, woke, assured us he was fine, snoozed, wanted to watch Walker, Texas Ranger (a private joke - check out the Chuck Norris page), and wanted us to leave. We made him anxious and he could rest if we left. We did and it was probably the hardest thing either one of us had done in a while.

Friday, 6:30 AM, phone rings. Shit! Panic. It was My Handsome Prince, saying he has his own private room, he was out of ICU. Amazing guy, thinking of me.

Todays visit was very subdued. He slept. I knit. My Mom read. My Dad came and a friend from church came. Later, after I arrived home, Big Dad called, MHP had been up walking and was sitting up in a chair. He is battling the naseau from anesthesia, but the morphine has been cut off, and he is doing well. His color is good, his breathing is good, he's doing what he's supposed to do. He is such an excellent patient.

This husband of mine is the bravest soul, the most thoughtful man, and the most amazing man. He has had many battles and has come through with faith. I am a lucky woman.

Emma is coming home tonight. All three of us will visit tomorrow. I will show them the statue. I hope it will bring them comfort. I will call my sister and get all the words to the song and teach it to my children. And we will sing.

Post note: Saturday, we brought him home. It's tough, but he's here and we can take care of him. Through his fog of pain and meds, he hears the girls laughing and I think that brings him comfort.
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Welcome to the Lounge

This is Emma's room. It has been renamed "The Lounge" for a short period of time. My Handsome Prince goes in for surgery today to remove a nodule from his lung. He will be home for a month recuperating. We moved a tv, complete with dvd player, recliner with afghan, and another chair for visitors. Actually, it is quite comfortable. The three of us, or should I say five because the dog and cat like it too, have spent a few evenings in here practicing, watching movies and tv. Sorry Emma, you'll get it back in time for Christmas break, if not Thanksgiving. I'll report in within the next day or two with results from surgery. I know there are lurkers out there who read. My love and thanks to all who are praying and thinking of us. Posted by Picasa