Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A quick post, after a day of Christmas cookie baking with Conor, Travis and Alyssa. Lots of fun, and good cookies made. We have cut the types of cookies down considerably. We decided the types that were required to make each of us happy, and that is what we are making. Peanut blossoms (with Hershey kisses on top) were favorites of everyone and we had to make Candy Cane Cookies because I don't think there has been a Christmas that I haven't had those cookies. The original recipe was torn out of a woman's magazine in the 1950's by my mom. We made date filled cookies for my brother Tim and chocolate chip cookies, using the original Nestle's Toll House Cookie recipe cut from the back of the package by my grandmother, for my brother James. It's nice to be making these memories with my children. We listened to old fashioned Christmas music as we were baking. The kids have gone to get Taco Bell now. Ah, to be young again and able to eat fast food at 1 a.m.

We didn't do much decorating this year, but the Christmas figural candles were brought out and put out by Caitlin and Travis last week. We have just a few. I couldn't get them all into the photo, so had to take two. Some of these are from my childhood, some friends have given me, and some I have bought on E-bay. It's not Christmas without them. It turns out that the tiny Christmas tree in the first picture in the front to the right of the cat in the boot is the favorite candle of both Travis and Caitlin.

I must go to bed. Tomorrow is our 2nd annual White Christmas viewing party. Travis made homemade French Onion dip, which is awesome and he's making more appetizers tomorrow, and it's going to be a fun time. Andrea is coming, and has never seen the movie, so I'm excited to be initiating her into the White Christmas tradition. I can't wait to see Bing and Rosemary and Danny and hear all those wonderful songs again.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!

Today my beautiful, kind, gentle, caring, funny and other adjectives too numerous to mention, daughter is 22 years old. I don't know where the time has gone. She had to work today (boo), but doesn't have to work tomorrow, so she can enjoy a little get together with her friends tonight.

Happy Birthday, darling daughter!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A quick post before bed. I am very tired from shoveling ice bergs from the end of the driveway. I've never seen such large chunks of ice created by a plow. And that darn Conor has been going to school, so he wasn't here to help. Advil and a heating pad will be my friends tonight.

I spent the afternoon making my portion of the December Spindies paint box. The color this month is champagne. I combined cormo wool, milk fiber, soysilk and angelina. They are very beautiful, if I do say so myself, but I haven't had a chance to photograph them. I need to build a light box now that I can no longer count on being able to take photos outside.

I have some good news. My cousin did very well with her surgery and there is minimal speech or vision loss, and what has been lost should return in time. She will be going home soon. It is a wonderful thing.

My niece Emma, who has been severely anemic, and was told she might have Crohn's disease or Celiacs was found to have a polyp, which is a runner's polyp and was probably the cause of her anemia, so that was excellent news also. I have been saying for years now that exercise is really not all it's cracked up to be, and this is positive proof. It can actually endanger your health.

Jane is feeling a bit stronger. She made a trip to the grocery store with Marty, something she hasn't done in a while. Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference

Tim has spent a few days in Melbourne and is enjoying it, and is now heading to Tanzania, which is a 12 hour ferry ride from Melbourne. I told him about the lovely weather we have been having, and he tried to make me feel better with the news that the temperature is in the mid-50's and it is rainy, but it didn't help much. Here is a link to photos of his trip from Sydney to Melbourne.

Yesterday was a snowy, freezing rain, windy day here in Massena, but the wonderful school superintendent decided not to cancel school, despite the fact that all the other schools in the area closed. He did an early dismissal at 1:45, which is 40 minutes before school is normally out, right when the freezing rain was starting. We were not very happy with this decision. I drove Conor to school, got stuck going up a hill, finally got going and spun out and had a lovely slide from lane to lane, but was not hurt. The traffic coming toward me stopped and I got the car under control before I reached them. It was quite an adrenaline rush. I came home and spent the rest of the day knitting. Trina came for a long visit, as did my neighbor Neeny who was off from school, and Suzanne stopped by as well. It was wonderful being inside with knitting and friends.

My third red scarf is done. I ended up doing a basketweave out of some Knitpicks Alpaca I had in my stash. I am now going back to frantic Christmas knitting. I am making Travis a Rasta hat. It takes a long time to knit a hat that will contain all those dredlocks. Right now Gerard is guarding it while sleeping.

Isn't he cute. It is a good thing that he is cute. I just went to make a cup of Stash Lemon Ginger tea, yum, and walking past my spinning wheel noticed that something has chewed through the drive band. I am 99% sure it would be that cute cat-maybe that is why he is hiding his eyes. It's not really a problem except that the last time I remember having the string I use for the drive band was when I gave it to Travis to truss a roasted chicken. What are the odds that it was returned to my spinning basket? Not very high.

My typing has become dyslexic, so I thinkcit is time to toddle up to bed. Clean flannel sheets tonight-yippee.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Friday to All!

It's the 4th of December and my third post in December. I hope I'm not setting a precedent I can't live up to.

It snowed again today, but not for long. I guess winter is really coming our way, but I'm not getting the winter dishes out until December 21. Yes, I have winter dishes, fall dishes, and spring/summer dishes. It's crazy I know, but it is a small thing that makes me happy. I am on a hunt for some spring dishes, but haven't come across the right set yet. I'm thinking vintage dishes with some spring flowers. It's good to have a goal to work toward. I am also working at replacing all the Pyrex bowls that have been broken over the last few weeks. It makes going to garage sales and thrift stores fun to have something to look for.

I received good news this evening. My cousin had brain surgery today. She had a non-malignant brain tumor, but it had been growing for 20 or so years, so by the time it was discovered it was quite large. It was successfully removed, but she will probably have some language impairment and also possibly some vision impairment. They won't know for a while, so I would ask that you keep Gail and her family in your prayers.

More good news! I just received an email from Tim that he arrived safely in Melbourne. It was about a thousand mile drive, so I'm glad that they made it safely. He was too tired to write much, but I appreciate his letting his slightly concerned mother know he was OK. I am improving all the time-no longer anxiety laden, just slightly concerned. A few more weeks and he won't even need to write to me. No, I don't think I want to get that relaxed.

Can you stand it? Even more good news. I finished my second red scarf, and I even have a photo, although not a very good one. It's been raining or snowing here for several days, and since I take my photos outside, I haven't had a chance to take a good photo. As much as I am not loving the scarf knitting, I think there is time to squeeze a third one in. This was an easy knit, and I would link to the pattern but I can't find it. I thought it was on the Red Scarf page, but it seems to have disappeared.

My sister is feeling better since she had 18 pounds of fluid drained from her abdomen the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, I said 18 pounds-that is 8 liters of fluid. She said for the first time in a long time she could enjoy sitting at the kitchen table. It's the small things in life that matter. I am hoping to go and spend some time with her next week. I also have a child going through a difficult time, so that may keep me from visiting, but I hope we are heading in the right direction with him, and things will be better next week.

I'm thinking it might be time to get out a few Christmas decorations. I need to get my advent table set up too. I know I'm a bit behind, but that's OK. Time to get the candles and begin gathering the bits and pieces that will be added each week. The first week is stones, shells, crystals and bones. I can do all those things except the bones-lots of stones and shells thanks to many years of young boys and girls gathering treasures at the beach.

Look, cats sleeping in Tim's chair and on his ottoman. The bad thing is that Tim is very allergic to cats. I wonder how they know this is the one chair they shouldn't be sleeping on. Last night Gerard got up in the chair and pushed Seamus off. I've never seen them fight over a chair before. It must be the fine Ikea craftsmanship that is attracting them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Thoughts

I know this is shocking, but I am posting two days in a row. Don't get used to it though. I recently rearranged my wool room, and now have an actual desk with my laptop on it, which definitely makes writing posts easier. And now that I have organized the room, I actually enjoy being in here. Maybe it was a good thing that Tim brought his whole household here and deposited it in my house.

Today was a very fibery day. Spinning group during the day, and knitting at the library in the evening. We asked them to turn the fireplace on in the library, which made it very warm and toasty, but also sleep inducing. We broke up a little early because we couldn't keep our eyes open. I was knitting my second red scarf and that may have added to the soporific feelings. I now know that I really do not enjoy knitting scarves. I would rather knit 10 pairs of socks than one scarf. I have always wondered why scarves are often suggested to new knitters as a great beginner's project. They are boring and dull, at least in my humble opinion. I'm more than half way done with my second red scarf though, so should be done in plenty of time for the December 25th deadline.

If you would like a chance to win one of my Hand Dyed, Hand Carded Batts, visit the Phat Fiber Blog and enter the contest. You just have to visit my Etsy shop and leave a comment on the blog telling of one item from my shop that you like. Jessie said some very kind things about me, which I really appreciate. I think she is pretty awesome too, so I guess it is a mutual admiration society. This is the batt that is being offered in the giveaway. It is very lilac and very soft and sparkly. Sparkly is one of my favorite things in batts.

I'm listening to Christmas music as I type this. We had the annual official beginning of the Christmas music season driving to Tim and Lisa's on Thanksgiving with the playing of our John Denver and the Muppets CD. We also had an album and tape, and this is the second CD, the first having somehow migrated to Saranac Lake and returned scratched and unplayable. I was very sad when I discovered it was no longer being made, but Tim found me on on-line last year, thank goodness. It wouldn't be Christmas without John and the Muppets. I'm sure my children feel the same way, or at least they do in my imagination. Do you have a favorite Christmas or holiday CD? I'd love to hear what it is. I am also very fond of Peter, Paul and Mary, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill's CD's, and of course the perennial favorite of Bing Crosby. Christmas isn't Christmas without White Christmas, both song and movie.

I was going to show you a Christmas picture, but it seems that I have none on my computer. That makes me quite sad. They must have all been lost the last time my computer crashed. How about goats in the snow-it's almost as good as a Christmas photo. Aren't they cute?

I must go to bed now. My friend Judy is coming to Massena tomorrow and we have an exciting lunch planned, so I'd better rest up.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Never Knows, Do One?

The day I have been fearing for months has arrived. It's snowing! When I lived in New Jersey, I couldn't wait for it to snow. I looked forward to those beautiful flakes gently falling from the sky. I now realize the reason for the love of snow was that it never lasted more than two days. That is not the case here though. I know that now the beautiful white stuff has begun falling, it's going to keep falling until March at least. And this year I witnessed a snow storm on May 30th in Saranac Lake, so I view the advent of snow with more trepidation than wonder. I do appreciate it's beauty still, but wish it wouldn't hang around so long.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at Tim and Lisa's house. The turkey was nice and juicy, cooked to perfection by Lisa and carved to perfection by Travis. Lots of good food and good company, and I really appreciated celebrating the holiday away from home this year.

Here is a photo of the festive table before dinner.

And this is some of the delicious food waiting to be eaten.

Cousinly love-that's Blake, my nephew on the left, and Conor on the right. Silly boys.

We were able to video chat with Tim Thanksgiving night, which was Friday afternoon for Tim. He had picked up a camper and was setting off on a journey south for a few days with two German tourists he had met-one a doctor and one an engineer. I believe after he returns to Sydney from the trip, he is headed south to Melbourne. He really is having a great adventure, and says Australia is one of the happiest places he has ever been. I guess it would be quite a change from New York City.

Travis and Alyssa were able to stay for a few days, along with Begonia. She is a very funny dog, and we enjoy having her here.

I don't think the cats like having her here quite as much as Conor and I do. This is where Seamus spent most of his time while Begonia was here. He also hung out on the tall bookcase in Conor's room.

We had some very devastating news two days before Thanksgiving. My sister Jane, who has been battling breast cancer for 11 years now, was told that she has no more treatment options. Her liver has basically stopped working and she has anywhere from two weeks to a few months to live. She has fought this disease with such grace and strength, that I think I believed that she would be victorious over it, but that is not to be. Jane lives in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, which is about 4 hours from here. I had plans to call her on Wednesday, but instead my brother called and asked if I wanted to go and see her for a couple of hours. I said sure, packed enough knitting for at least a week, and we went to see her. I think she was very surprised and pleased. We told her we came to have lunch with her. I felt better having seen her and am going to try to go over every couple of weeks if I can. That's another reason I hate snow. I drive a car that is horrible in the snow, so it limits what I can do. The plan is to get snow tires though, and that will help. Now I just have to sell a lot of yarn and fiber so I can buy the snow tires. So if you are reading this, and you believe in prayer, I would ask you to keep my sister Jane and her husband Marty and children Ethan and Emma in your prayers.

I will leave you with a foot photo. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that I like to take photos of my feet. It actually came in handy recently when I was trying to remember what I had worn on my feet last fall when going to a particular activity. I just looked at old photos and found the answer. This is Lisa and me on Thanksgiving. Look at those nice cozy shearling lined slippers we are wearing.