Friday, December 28, 2007

The Coming New Year

And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury
-Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.- Thomas Hood

In my heart I know this coming year will bring our family even more adversity. I wish this "New trial of time" would give me "hopes of a kindlier dozen" but we don't think it will be although we will hope for the best.

Oddly in the midst of all of this are some true positives - we have become closer than ever before. We have spent more time together in the past year than in the past five. I know for me because we range so widely in age, the impressions of my siblings from my youth were always there and they have changed as we spend more time together as adults. Another positive is that we are more thankful for smaller things - Christmas was a prime example. It was not extravagant and was probably the cheapest one in years but nobody cared. Also even though we always say "good bye, I love you" when one of us leaves or hangs up, I now tend to send random emails or leave notes just so they know it is not done as a habit but that I truly do love them.

So there will be no resolutions this year. It will be a day to day process with each day offering it's own challenges and idiosyncrasies and it will solely be up to me how to face each and everyone of them not to be forced by promises made when things were different. I don't need the guilt of breaking a resolution.

So I am off to knit out the old (sweater) and knit in the new (koolhaas hat). I will be back in January. And if you are like me and are not into resolutions try this...

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin Franklin What more could you really ask for.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Last night the man called me outside to see this....The small dot under the moon is Mars. You can read about it here. There is some folklore that says "The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the harder the Winter." I will have to watch and see.
Earlier in the year I had joined a KAL called Holiday Headstart under the delusion that I would not have last minute knitting. Well from previous posts you know how well that went! I was bad and just knit with no idea why or for whom, trying new things. Prior to November I had done two stockings(one for the man and one for #1 son), a keyhole scarf for a friend and one set of crocheted towel tops which will be used for Christmas presents. Somethings were just given away prior to the holidays.
But to get back on course, this left me with alot of work to do and people adding their requests whenever the mood struck them. Enter Ravelry! I am truly in love, so much to inspire-so many people putting their designs out there. It has been my saving grace. So since November I have managed to knit or crochet...
Peekaboo Mitts for #2 son
Afghan for the man's daughter
Afghan for #1 Son's gf
Bread bunting and 2 oak leaf washcloths for sister
Cabled Mitts for #2 daughter
Pocketbook slippers for friends two daughters
Afghan for daughter to give to her friend
Crocheted towel tops for various people
Fidget for friend
Stockings for #2 Son and #2 daughter
Sock Monkey hat for #2 daughter
Ice scraper Mitts for various people
Hat a friend wanted for her son
Stocking for #1 daughters bf
and still on the needles is a hat for #1 daughter's bf. The chart is 1/2 done and it is easy sailing after that. I have knocked somethings off the list, such as cat sweaters for #1 daughter's two cats who never leave the house. I am sure they will thank me for that!
"As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same. "- Donald E. Westlake
So since the gifts were just about done, yesterday I was stressing over something else. #2 daughter had awoken us with a stomach virus Saturday night and I was worried we would all succumb...so far so good! I stress each year and then last minute it all falls into place. So I am going to follow this advice....
Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing:
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again. - Grace Noll Crowell
I wish you all A Very Merry Christmas with plenty of time with those you love.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Solstice & Concerts

Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.
- Yule Lore

As we do every year #2 and I are making pinecones for the birds. Elder sister was picked up at the airport yesterday and things are falling into place. Need only to make eggnog, take the ham out of the freezer and finish wrapping. On December 26 I will sigh a huge sigh of relief that we pulled another one off!

It has been a busy week but we got some rest while going to #2 daughters concert. #2 Son has his concert in January.

Here for your viewing pleasure are some clips from the concert. The first is the schools bell choir(truly awesome to watch and listen to) playing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
video
They are wearing Hershey Kisses hats as they just let everyone know they have been accepted for the third time to play at the PA Music Teachers Conference! The next little clip is #2's band playing Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers.
video
Truly amazing for 7th & 8th graders who only picked up instruments for the first time last year.

Now I am off to find a duck as #1 wants duck for Christmas again along with ham. I can not wait until she is married with kids of her own and is cooking dinner for everyone. I am going to find the most obscure foods and ask for them!

Here is something to toast the Yule. What my sister says they call eggnog where she lives in Puerto Rico. It is called Coquito.

1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (re-use the evaporated milk can) of rum either dark or white
Mix all the milks together add vanilla, cinnamon and rum. Run a whisk thru to blend well. Place a cinnamon stick in the bottle or container you are storing it in. (You don't have to put in the cinnamon stick, it is more for astetics than flavoring).
It goes down quite well!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deadline

“A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.”
Like I need any more drama in my life!!! Oh well I have only myself to blame for this one.
Saturday we went to the man's sister's and BIL's apartment as they are giving us some furniture because they have finished redoing the house he grew up in and the furniture won't fit. The storm was approaching but the sun was trying to fight it's way out. Not to say we don't trust our weatherman but we quickly loaded, got home and unloaded everything. The man left to help get my brother out of a ditch and I got ready for his company Christmas party. We had a good time and left just in the nick of time because as we were driving home it was starting to rain and instantly freeze to the windshield.
Sunday I was busy knitting to reach my deadline. I had finished #1 son's afghan for his gf. I had finished one more stocking and had started this one while it rained, sleeted, snowed and the winds gusted. Today I was able to finish that stocking. This stocking is modeled after a picture on a Christmas card. I wrote about it here I didn't have a pattern so I just fudged it. The limbs on my tree's go down and their's went up but other than that it is as close as I can get.I only have to finish one stocking to be done with what I had planned. However, I might do another hat but I have until the 26 to finish that! Yes a whole extra day! I feel pretty good, I was even able to get the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce done today also! Now I just have to basket and wrap things! It can be done! I have....


Friday, December 14, 2007

Kisses from Heaven

Snowflakes are kisses from heaven. ~Author Unknown

Kisses fell all day yesterday and for the first time in a long time I had to drive in it. Normally there is nothing that can't wait until when the man is home that would force me to drive in snow but yesterday we had mom's chemo appointment.

The schools had cancelled school the night before so #2 daughter decided to ride with us. There was about an inch on the roads when we left....there were 6 inches on them when we left the hospital. The half hour ride turned into an hour and a half ride.

Now picture this...
a fat middle aged woman with a deathgrip on the steering wheel, fingernails piercing the palms of her hands,
her mother -nervous but not saying a word for fear her daughter would tell her to get out and walk, and
driver's daughter sitting in the back, praying we stay on the road as she would be the one to push us out of the ditch or go for help
...inching thru 6 inches of snow on unplowed roads with a river on one side, a canal on the other, ice building up on the wiperblades again...screeeching out Christmas carols to the radio!
It was actually fun!

I had started a scarf using the Woodland Shawl pattern before I left for the hospital, but didn't get much done on it. I got home and ripped it out as I didn't like the yarn. I restarted it using another skein of yarn like the one I used on the Fidget. This one skein of yarn I have is much thicker than what is called for and I am using size 8's so I may not make a full scarf out of it, it might end up as a cowl!

Today I hope to finish Allyssa's afghan and the stocking.

And just in case you missed out on some kisses from heaven, you can go here and make your own.... http://snowflakes.lookandfeel.com/

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

...while cares drop off like autumn leaves.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
Yesterday was actually a day of peace and I did return home with energy although I did not climb any mountains...I did however drive them, does that count? It was great. It started with a phone call from Cyndy whom I haven't spoken to in far too long. We both have so much going on and it was nice to hear her voice. They say a good friend is cheaper than therapy and it does seem to be. Since I was going out to run errands, I stopped by her house to pick up the buttons for my Fidget.
Then it was off to take Mom to the bank, post office, another bank, McDonalds and home. At the post office I got another gift...It was my winnings from Greenberry House. I have decided to put the yummy yarn away until I feel "springy". I tend to knit with colors of the seasons, stupid I know but I am afraid if I push the rhododendron color into the dark time of year I won't do it justice. But boy is it tempting, merino and angora....poor pic but beautiful yarn.

I am however going to put those needles to use. Grace started a scarf using the Woodland Shawl and it is beautiful. When I was putting an order into KnitPicks, two skeins of Palette Rainforest and Brindle Heather fell off the virtual shelf and into the virtual cart! The Brindle is going to become a scarf using that Woodland Shawl pattern.

But I digress, I came home with a renewed energy. I added the buttons to Fidget. I tied in the ends of the two other ice scraper mitts, added buttons to another towel set that I had done earlier in the year, tied in the ends of a keyhole scarf. Took pics of all that, although not very good pics, but I got them done.

#2 daughter asked to put on Christmas music while she was making dinner (Yeah!!!) and I don't want my duldroms to rub off on her so I said sure. Oddly enough by the time we turned it off I was singing away or at least that is what I called it -the family had some other words for it!

After dinner I started working on the stocking that has been sitting here while I worked on everything else and things just clicked and it sped along and I am at the heel flap now...I should finish it today! Sometimes I guess that is all we need - just one good day to get us through, I am very lucky to have received that.
Looking forward...tomorrow is guilt free knitting day so I need to decide what to bring for that. They are calling for 1-3 inches of snow which I am hoping will hold off until we get home. We were so lucky that the ice storm here was nothing like Missouri got. I do have my ear to the weather channel for this weekend...I have heard if all goes wrong we could get a foot of snow! Maybe I should bring wool for more mittens to guilt free knitting!

Monday, December 10, 2007

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Ice!

Ice on the earth, bitter black frost, and a winding sheet of snow upon her withered breast, and deep within me, dread and ice.- Jessica MacBeth

We had the ice storm last night. The kids knew they had a two hour delay before 7PM last night so they happily slept in this morning. The school ended up cancelling class for today as towns have closed roads because they are so bad. This is the road to my house... I was suppose to go do some banking and pick up a prescription for my mom but the road there is closed so that is not going to happen today. I also had a Dr. appt for #2 to get another check up to make sure the pneumonia had cleared up but they called to cancel that. Boy Scouts is cancelled for tonight.
So what does one do with all this unexpected free time? Well, after skating our way around doing the chores, we take pictures so sis in Puerto Rico knows to bring her woolies when she comes home for Christmas! After posting said pics, we grab a blanket, some Christmas DVD's, and present fiber project and enjoy!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Annual Christmas Tree Hunt

The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!- Charles N. Barnard

Today we went on our annual hunt for two Christmas tree's. We go to the same place every year. The woman who owns it is in her 80's and uses her chain saw and a 60 something Ford to haul them back out to the edge. Every year I walk out of those fields amazed at this woman. They don't make them like her anymore.The view is magnificent. Of course we are on the shady side of the mountain but at 38 degrees it was fairly balmy after this past weeks temperatures. It has been so cold even the waterfall froze already. Area ski lodges are opening for business early....making up for last year so it seems.
So with the big brother trees looking on we traipsed thru acres of trees looking for the perfect ones. According to #2 daughter it had to be "pouffy". I am more worried about height...they all look so much smaller out in the fields but then get them home and reality hits.... the ceiling!
Some tree's came with their own decorations.... and some were overly decorated. Eventually we found ours and had snowball fights while waiting on the owner to come cut/haul it for us. On the way thru town we stopped for some hot cocoa to warm us from the inside out. We dropped the one tree off at my mom's and brought the second one home to be put up at a later date.
After a quick supper we went to our town's first tree lighting ceremony in the park. The local business owner's donated everything from the tree and decorations, food and drinks to the teddy bears Santa handed out. It was nice. We stayed for about an hour and a half but the whole day out was taking it's toll and we were exhausted. I sat here thinking about working on the afghan but for the life of me I can't find the energy to do it so I am going to bed. I still have 17 days!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Do You Believe?

Let Us Keep Christmas

Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
It's poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again
~Grace Noll Crowell

#2 daughter and I were curled up on the couch watching Rudolph the night before. #2 daughter is 13 years old and an honor roll student, so no dumby, but she is soooo naive. She still walks outside and just looks at birds flying over, clouds moving across the sky or stands listening to the wind blowing leaves and branches in total amazement...because of this she is not always the most graceful. She, however, has a huge capacity for love of all, forgiveness, understanding and I am in awe of this- she is completely and utterly innocent.

#1 daughter keeps telling me I need to wake her up to the real world because she is only going to get hurt. Maybe it is cowardly of me but I can not be the one to do that. In a time where kids are growing up long before they have too, I want her to enjoy this time as she will never get it back. Lacking naivity never stopped others from getting hurt so why would I want to take it from her.

But moving on...She said "Mom do you still believe in Santa Claus?"I sat there stunned because she asked. OH how to answer THAT question! I don't want to disillusion her but I don't want her getting her butt kicked in school she is after all 13! I don't want to tell her not to believe in anything. I want her to believe that all things are possible eventhough there are days I that want stay curled up in bed.

Like everyone we have our trials right now. Because we want to be mortgage free, the house we are building is draining the lifes blood out of us. Other things keep popping up that need the time and money before the house so I doubt we will be in it before Christmas as planned. My mother's cancer is taking it's toll, the drugs are dilapidating her body and I can't fix it. According to the DoD's report my daughter is going to be deployed again and won't be home for Christmas next year and I haven't even bought one Christmas present yet!

On the flip side...I had a mini stroke in the Spring yet I am doing fine now and I am here with my kids this Christmas. Before the end of the year I am going to marry a guy who would do anything for me or my kids. My mother is here to celebrate another Christmas with us. My daughter is here to celebrate this one. I have a roof over my head even if it is not the one I want. We have 3 freezers full of meat and vegetables, a pantry full of canned goods and a root cellar so we are NOT going to starve and some can be used for presents. And I have the wool and know how to make a lot of Christmas presents so the needles have been flying!

So how did I answer her question? ...I said - Yes, I do believe in Santa Claus. It may not be one person like they show but lot's of people doing little things which add up to big things. It is the believing in the miracle that wasn't suppose to happen. It is believing that there is a reason for everything, even though we may not know it right now. Like they say in Santa Clause 2 "Seeing isn't believing, Believing is seeing" So I told her to see all the miracles that happen at this time of year and continue to believe.

I am so thankful for this child, a rare gift, who with the simpliest question can smack me upside my head and wake me up. I believe in Santa Claus and I hope everyone else does too. Now I am off to knit more presents.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bad Luck and Good Luck

“All of us have bad luck and good luck.
The man who persists through the bad luck
- who keeps right on going
- is the man who is there when the good luck comes
- and is ready to receive it.”Robert Collier

Yesterday was such a day and boy was I ready to receive it. I awoke with a migraine to find the kids had a two hour delay. I laid down on the couch and promptly fell back to sleep. #2 daughter woke me up yelling at her brother to hurry up he was going to miss the bus. The man had already packed his own lunch and left for work. I sat up started telling #2 son to hurry up. He leaves to walk down to the main road. A half hour later, I tell #2 daughter to go to her grandmother's to fill her bird feeders for her while I go take a shower so we can leave. She comes back telling me #2 son is still standing down by the road. I look at the clock and realize I sent him down an hour early! I send her down to tell him to go into my brother's house which he does.

I go out with the broom and start cleaning my car off. It has an accumulation of Sunday's snow and Sunday nights sleet and freezing rain. In the process I break my windshield wiper blade off. I have to take #2 daughter to her doctor for a re-check as she had pneumonia....a 20 mile ride to town, you know I am going to need those wipers.

We start out...I don't even get three miles up the road and my low gas light goes on and the dinger dings. Yup, the man I am going to marry left me on E again! Well I realize everyone has to have faults and he is near perfect and I can deal with this on a normal day but not on a I have to drive on these bad roads day. So, I have to take a detour up a twisty hill to get to the closest gas station so I can make it into town. We make it up the hill, get to a flat twisty part and the car starts sliding. I know the man's ears were burning because I was cursing him up oneside and down the other. I just knew we were going to end up in the ditch because I had to detour for gas that he should have put in. But we make it to the gas station.

We then made it to the Dr.'s where I threw snow on my windshield to get the mud off. We go in and find out her left lung is not clearing up so she has to go back next Monday as well. We go for groceries and buy/install a new wiper blade and head home.

We stop at the end of the road for #2 daughter to get the mail. She gets in the car and I start up my mom's road and I am told "I didn't get grandma's mail". Now we do this everyday so why she didn't do it, I have no idea. I back down the road, look at her like she has two heads and she gets out to get the mail. We deliver it and start up my road where I proceed to drive over somthing that puts two punctures in my tire.

I get in the house with my groceries and Cyndy calls telling me "Congratulations". As I have no clue what she is talking about she tells me I have an e-mail stating I won a contest. Leslie over at http://greenberry.blogspot.com/ had a "Name the Doll" contest and I won! I picked the name "Woolma" and won two skeins of yarn and Rosewood knitting needles! Needless to say that was the highlight of my day. How cool is that? Thank You!!!!

Eventhough things seem to have righted themselves in my little universe upon my return to home I didn't want to chance it and since I did not trust myself with yarn or pointy dpn's no work got done on the stocking last night.

I did however finish the Fidget this weekend and it only lacks two hand carved buttons from Cyndy to be complete.

This AM I did somthing stupid... I started an afghan for my son's girl friend- as if I didn't have enough on my plate. I wanted to do a spiral as it is Bernat Softee Chunky in various shades of pink and orange (her favorite colors) but son said no round afghan it's too weird.So I am just doing the solid granny square that I used to do daughter's boyfriends afghan. I have used one skein already so it is moves quickly at least!

Today the kids have another two hour delay due to snow squalls. I have to drive mom to a doctor's appointment and visit my aunt in the nursing home....We are taking mom's car which has a full tank of gas! Wish us luck!