Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I can tell Hallowe'en is coming.  There are skeletons on our front door (these are George and Charlie), 
And there are more hearty meals for dinner, such as stew baked in a yorkshire pudding.
This is one of Peter Kevin's favorite ways to eat stew but it's not for the warm weather.  It is delicious.  But this week it's too warm.  When I left work today it was nearly 86 degrees.  In October.  I've already put away the summer clothes.  We always leave out short sleeved shirts because it often turns around and gets warm after it's been downright chilly for a few weeks.  I love a bit of surprise warmth but it's been a bit uncomfortable when my body has decided that IT should be the warmest thing in the room.  Gotta love the menopause.......

I have taught myself a new skill using youtube (what did we do before youtube?  Oh right, we talked to each other).  I have learned to knit a pair of socks on two circular needles.  I have a friend who wants to learn to knit socks but can't use the dpns.  I found some short circs and some bright stripey yarn (so she won''t get bored and throw it across the room) and started the sock.  It's surprisingly easy but still a little fiddly.  She can't figure out what to do so I'll show her tomorrow.  

We had our health fair last week and a lot of people asked if we were going to have the knitting group again.  I've gotten permission from my supervisor to take the time and I'm going to try for the third time.  I hope that if I set it up for a 2 hour time frame that more people will want to come.  I think that they were reluctant to travel for an hour.  I am hoping that there will be a mix of people who know what they're doing and people who don't.  I'd like to be able to sometimes just sit and knit and talk.  I've had  clients tell me how helpful they've found crocheting or knitting can be when they are feeling anxious.  It can be calming and centering.  Well, it can if you're not knitting double sided lace with complicated charts....

My favorite part of the autumn weather is being able to bake bread again.  I made this herbed loaf to accompany some escarole soup last weekend.  Before it was summer redux.  

We had a discussion in our poetry group about the difference between sports and games.  We couldn't come up with a satisfying definition between the difference.  We decided to ask people around us what they thought and come back together and talk about it.  Any thoughts?

Friday, October 7, 2016

I hadn't intended for it to be a month between posts but you know how it is, "the best laid plans".  There have been some good things, like that beautiful rose.   It's called an Evelyn rose.  We planted the bush in July and were prepared not to see any blooms till next year (you're supposed to cut off the buds on the first year to encourage root growth.

One morning, Pk was out back communing with the wildlife (talking to the birds and threatening the squirrels) and he came in to show me a photo of a rosebud.  We were so pleased.   We decided to allow it to grow since it's the end of the growing season.  It blossomed into this palm sized, delicate pink (with a pale yellow center) flower with a gorgeous scent.  It felt like Evelyn was speaking to us.  We bought a bush for Kate and Patrick and theirs got 3 blooms.  Our bloom is hanging upside down to dry so we can keep it.

Two weekw ago, we went to Allaire State Park for their flea market.  It's usually a good one and this year was not different.  I got the best deal!  
8 place settings (7pcs each) and all the serving pieces of Noritake china.  This is Geneva.  I paid 40 dollars for the entire set.
It looks like it was made for our china closet.  I have china.  I have 4 place settings of a beautiful pattern that we got for a wedding gift plus a set that was my grandmother's and of course, the holiday china my family gave me a few years ago.  So we didn't "need" china.  But this spoke to me and Pk actually sad he liked it, too.  I am looking forward to using it over the holidays.  

We went to the Garden State Sheep Breeders show in September.  It was a glorious day.  Sunshine and sheep and knitters and spinners and 4H kids showing off their animals.  
We had a geat day.  Pk fantasized about buying goats (but then his brother the farmer, introduced him to the cold hard reality of goats and he decided to pass).  I bought one skein of yarn and a pattern for a shawl, a bag I couldn't resist and some roving. 

One of my (younger) cousins died in September.  I'm still not sure of the cause of death but it shook me up.  We were not close but I felt the loss.  It reminded me once again that none of us know how much time we will have.  Live accordingly.....

We finally made it to the park for dinner.  We sat there (surrounded by people of all ages looking for Pokemon-it's evidently a hot spot) until the sun went down over the Delaware River and the ranger told us it was time to leave.  It was just too hot most of this summer to enjoy picnics out doors.  I missed that.  
Next week, Pk and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.  We are going out to dinner on Sunday (our day is Monday) and will probably go to work as usual on Monday.  It's hard to believe it's been that long.  Somedays it feels like we've been married forever and others, well, it feels like it was yesterday.  The love of my life and my best friend.  35 years ago, we joined hands and boldly marched toward the future.  And here we are, all those years later, still holding hands and holding each other.  There's no one I'd rather have by my side.  "For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part".  We took those words to heart years ago and we live them today.  And I am not unaware of how lucky we are.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

           Good morning.  I'd like you to meet the newest member of our "family".  Peter Kevin calls him Cornelius but I think that is much too civilized a name for this fierce creature.
  As you can see, he is BIG (over 8 feet tall).  His wings move back and forth as if he is fanning flames or getting ready to fly.  His eyes glow laser red and his belly is full of purple fire at night.  He is so cool.  It's hard to wait for Hallowe'en to allow him to be blown up and outside.

Labor Day has come and gone already and even if the calendar says it's summer for another 2 weeks, the feeling around here is that the "lazy, hazy, crazy" days of summer are gone and the more industrious days of Fall are fast upon us.  It was cool enough over the weekend to pick up some roving and spin for a while.  I pulled out the Starry Night roving I got in Maryland and made one skein of n-plyed yarn and have 4 bobbins of singles waiting to be plyed.
It has mohair in it so it has a bit of a halo which I like.  It's been just lovely to spin.  I hve nice even singles and my plying is getting more even. 

The weather was cool enough for some baking so I made a family favorite, Whoopie Pies.  
I don't know why they're called Whoopie Pies but they are so good.  Elanor and Pk helped in the making of the cookies and the putting them together and of course, the Quality Assurance part.  We packed them in pairs and put them into small brown sandwich bags for a picnic at Valley Forge with Em and Jim.  We were in our usual spot but were beset upon by bees and had to pack up a bit earlier than we might have.  Em and I are both allergic to bee stings and while we carry EpiPens, we'd prefer not to have to use them (they'd be very expensive to replace!)

Elanor turns 33 this month.  We got her a hummingbird feeder.  She and Pk have had such a good time all summer watching the birds come to the feeders in the yard and she mentioned that she'd seen a hummingbird.  It was a bit early but they migrate soon and if we waited till her actual birthday, she'd miss them altogether.

An email from Pk's brother last night informed us they are planning to come east for a visit in a few weeks.  It's a perfect time of year, before the holidays take over.  I know he's looking forward to it.

This coming weekend is the Garden State Sheep Breeders' Show.  I really like this one.  It's small and never that crowded so you can spend time talking to vendors and actually ask questions about their products.  I also enjoy watching the 4-H kids showing off their animals.  It's endearing to see a kid with an animal who is as big as or in some cases, bigger than they are showing sheeps and goats in the ring.  There are sheep dog demonstrations (those Border Collies are a wonder)

And I almost forgot.  They always have Kettle Korn.....
Other than that, it's quiet around here.  We are setting up to get some house chores done after the heat breaks and before the cold sets in.  In October Pk and I will celebrate our 35 wedding anniversary and in November I will be 59 (and I don't know how that happened).  Time flies not only when you're having fun but when you're not paying attention!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will recognize this character as a Pikachu.  That's all I know about it except for the fact that it plays a large part in various Pokémon games. 

I am not a Pokémon player (and I think it's funny that blogger automatically adds the accent over the e) but my girls were when they were growing up. 

"But Donna Lee" , (I can hear you saying), "why are you sharing this with us?"  I'll tell you.  After several weeks of ungodly hot and humid days/nights, we have been finally blessed with a few days of absolutely delightful summer weather.  The kind you think about but don't experience very often.  It was sunny and warm but with a breeze and low humidity.

Just the kind of day you might think to yourself, "Hmm, it might be nice to have dinner in the park by the river tonight".  And so you make plans and rush home and pull together dinner and chairs and drinks and pick up your spouse at the train and head for your favorite park.  Only to get there to find that there is no place to park because the lot is full to bursting and that the park is full of people. 

This is a popular park but not usually on a Tuesday evening.  There were over 100 people milling around.  As we sat there, we noticed they were all looking at their cell phones and it dawned on us that they were Pokémon Go players.  I stopped a young woman and asked what was going on and she confirmed that indeed, these people were playing the game.

We had to turn around and go on home because it would not have been peaceful and/or relaxing to have all of these people milling around as we tried to eat our dinner.  I had no idea that there was more than one "release" of characters for people to find.  I have since learned that there are something like 7 generations of characters. 

So, we will find a new park for the time being.......

We have turned of the a/c for the past few days and it's been so nice to air out the house and let in fresh air-except for Mr. Skunk who seems to have taken up residence in either our yard or our neighbors. He (or possibly she) gets agitated around 2 in the morning and the smell is strong enough that it wakes me up.  I am all for Live and Let Live but I think he/she should live somewhere else. 

On Sunday, Pk, Elanor and I went to Smithville Inn for brunch and to walk around.  It was warm but not uncomfortablly hot.  We bought some chocolate flavored coffee and some toasted coconut flavored coffee and if you mix them, it tastes like a warm Mounds bar.  Just delicious.  I also was talked into this.  It holds Jelly Belly jelly beans.  I love jelly beans and these are my favorites.  It is sitting on the file cabinet in my office and has become very popular.  The machine itself was not expensive (it's all plastic) but keeping it filled with jelly beans might get to be.  I'm thinking I could use M&Ms as well. 

I am no longer teaching Handle with Care as my body protests (and I promised Pk I would give it up after my detached retina surgery last summer).  My supervisor asked if I could do a presentation on the verbal parts of HwC and I said yes.  I have been teaching it for over 12 years and have a good deal of information on handling aggressive patients.  I don't particularly enjoy speaking in front of people and if I start thinking about it, my heart rate goes up but I will be presenting my information on Sept 21 at our All Staff meeting.  I am using a book called Verbal Judo (G. Thompson).  If you have to deal with people all day, it's a terrific book on how to talk to people and defuse possibly volatile situations. 

Other than that, life is moving along.  We have a long weekend coming up for Labor Day and Pk and I are going to stretch it an extra day and possible make a day trip to the beach.  We haven't been for a while and we both love the beach.  Today, I am going for the final dental visit of the summer (it's number 5).  I have had 2 crowns, a root canal and a filling.  Today the last crown is placed in so it's a relatively easy visit.  No drilling or needles or other painful stuff. 

Time to get some work done.  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We are hopefully coming to an end of over a week of "heat warnings" today but the temps are still in the 90's (it was 85 at 6 o'clock this morning).  I spend time each summer reminding my clients that they should use good sense in the summer.  Medicaitons can make you more vulnerable to the sun and getting heat exhaustion.

But do I listen to myself?  Apparently not.

We had a very warm (record breaking) weekend and our a/c (which is only in the bedrooms) had a hard time keeping up.  On Monday when I was coming home from work, the train car had no a/c.  It was unbelievably hot and I could feel my bod reacting to it.  I got headachy, nauseaus, dizzy.  Did I pay attention?  No.  I kept on doing what I needed to do and went to bed.  When I woke up Tuesday morning, I had a blinding headache and the room was spinning.  I called out of work and spent the day  drinking and eating lightly and binge watching Call the Midwife.  Today, I feel a bit better but not great so I am once again home.  If today were noticeably cooler, I might have gone to work but since it is another day over 90 degrees, I am going to be kind to myself and stay home.  My bedroom is cool and comfortable.  I keep a glass of unsweetened decaf tea or a glass of water at my side and drink all day.

When it's this hot, we don't open the front curtains to keep out the sun.  As a result, Pk has a crop of rather large yellow mushrooms growing in his fern.  I have no idea what kind they are or if they're poisonous.  They just look funny growing there.

I got in on a swap that I have wanted to do for a few years.  Molly at Celtic Swan Forge makes hand forged needles.  They are beautiful.  One year I bought a paiir of strights with rose quartz on the ends for Emily.  Molly likes handknit socks but doesn't knit.  She offers a set of 5 dpns in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  I think this is a good deal!  I enjoy making socks and would love a pair of her needles.  I am making a pair of purple socks for her and will get a pair of size 2 dpns in exchange.  How cool is that?
I finished this pair for Kate's birthday.  The yarn is a single and the colors are fall-like.  The pattern is Stout Grove from Fiiberwild's Sock of the Month club.  This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service so all of their selections have something to do with National Parks or trees.  These are wonderfully soft and will be warm when this summer finally lets go and winter moves into the neighborhood.

Two of my three girls have moved out and have homes of their own.  We are tying to find new holiday traditions to accomodate this very natural part of life.  We used to decorate the tree on Christmas Eve and then get together the next morning to open our presents.  This means that Em and Kate don't get to enjoy Christmas morning in their homes.  We tried the "open the presents on Christmas Eve" but I didn't like that so much.  It felt rushed and not relaxed and joyful. I am pondering other options so that everyone can enjoy the holiday and have it stll feel specal.  It feels funny to talk about it while it's still so warm but it will be here before we know it.

I am also working on a Saroyan for my sister in law for Christmas.  It's an easy pattern and I'm using a skein of Zen Yarn Garden't Serenity Silk (merino, cashmere, silk).  It is so pretty and so very soft.  This pattern is a small shoulder piece and will work well under a winter coat.  I am keeping the scale close by because this is measured out in percentages.  The increase are 27.5% and the middle is 45% and the decrease is 27.5%.  I weigh the skein and keep going until I reach the percentage I am aiming for and then begin the next part.  It's a new way for me to knit.  I'm used to just eyeballing it but this yarn is so beautiful that I want to use it all.

NOAA says it's 85 degrees with 67% humidity with storms headed this way tonight.  There is not a breath of air outside.  I think I am ready for summer to be over.......

We are planning to go to brunch at Smithville Inn this Sunday.  They do one of the nicest  brunches around.  They are in the middle of a "village" of shops.  I like to get some scented soaps for Christmas stockings and they have a coffee/tea shop that is filled with imaginative food stuffs.  I also never miss a chance to walk through the Christmas store.  It's a lovely way to spend a Sunday.  

How do you end summer?  Kids going back to school (I admit I miss the smell of new notebooks)?  Vacations?  As much as I enjoy the relative ease of summer's lighter schedules, I look forward to the days shortening and wearing sweaters and cooking (I cook as little as possible in the heat).

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's been six months since my last post.  I wish I could say it was because Life was so boring there was nothing to write about but that is not the case.  2016 has been an interesting year.  So, let's explore what's been going on in my neck of the woods.

In January, we attended the memorial for Peter Kevin's sister.  It was lovely, as these things often are.  Her daughter (who looks so much like her mother, it was eerie) gave a wonderful and loving eulogy and the minister kept calling my brother in law Ronald, "Roland".  We thought there was another man involved somewhere.....

In February, I learned to make Danish. These are just out of the oven before they were glazed.  Oh my goodness they are good.  The pastry is buttery and not sweet and the fillings (which came out of a can) were so tasty. Peter Kevin liked them more than the ones we get at the bakery.

In Feb, I was Employee of the Month and Peter Kevin turned 58 (so he can stop calling me the older woman).

I finished the Moria mittens.  They came out just perfect.  I had to alter the pattern a bit since it has a pointy top and Pk doesn't like that.  He likes them and since he lost his gloves somewhere, they came in handy.

In March, I learned to make yogurt and it was good.  Then I caught a noro virus and the last thing I ate before I was sick was yogurt so I am (still) not able to eat it. I also learned to make poviticia.
It's a bread from the Ukraine area of the world.  The filling is chocolate and chopped walnuts.  It was delicious.  And surprisingly fun to make.
And I almost forgot!  We paid off our mortgage in March.  THAT was so very cool.  

Easter came and went and we got snow again on April 9.  Huge flakes fell and covered the new, green growth on the rose bushes

I did a bunch of baby knitting for our anticipated grandchild and then in June, our granddaughter was stillborn (after an uneventful full term pregnancy).  Our entire world collapsed around us and we wandered around like zombies for a long while.  Kate and Patrick are picking up the pieces of their lives are moving forward.  This tiny person left a huge hole in our family.

Pk had a car accident and we had to buy a new car.  So we had 2 months of having a bit of extra money and now we have a car payment.  
I made jam and pickles and as we come to the last part of summer, we were planning to can some tomatos but we have not harvested a single fruit.  The weather has been weird.  Very hot or very rainy.  This week we are having some perfect summer weather-sunny, warm and low humidity.  It's so nice for a change.

Last week we traveled to Indiana to see Pk's brother and his family.  It's been such a long time since we saw them.  He is sick and may not have a lot of time left.  Three of Peter Kevin's sisters came with us and it was a nice reunion for them all.

Our life goes on and we are all well.  Peter Kevin likes his job and is settled there.  I am still in the same job and am content with that.  We are so fortunate in a lot of ways.  Life can be full of awful but it is also full of good and mostly they seem to balance out.  

Tomorrow my "baby" turns 27.  Kathryn Margaret is such a wonderful young woman.  She is hard working and loyal and smart and funny and just a joy to know.  She is endlessly creative and has just opened an Etsy store to sell hand painted nail art.  The young woman who didn't want makeup or nail polish when she was a teenager now has a shelf full of nail colors.  

As for this blog?  I have taken the last 6 months to decide that I do want to keep it going.  I think I missed it.  I want to get back in the habit of taking photos to share (when we were at MDSW, I took 2 pictures all day) and noticing things around me to write about.

So, what have you been up to?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So, as I'm sure as you all know by now, we got a bit of winter precipitation last weekend.  We got about 18 inches.  It was enough to make it fun to sit by the window and watch it fall.  We were not the only ones who wanted to stay inside.  These are the footprints of all the birds looking for shelter from the blizzard.  We have a bird feeder and Peter Kevin has been enjoying watching the power struggle as the little brown birds push the much larger birds out of the way.  
Our stars were mostly buried and you can just see the lights from our snowmen there.  Yes, our Christmas lights are still up.  The weather was too wet to put the ladder up under the window to take them down.

And then Pete's sister died.  She has been fighting cancer for over 20 years and suffered two strokes late last year.  Her poor body just had no fight left in it.  Her memorial is this Friday.  She was what my grandmother would have called a "gutsy broad".  She was funny and smart and one of the most giving people I had ever met.  If you needed it and she had it, it was yours.  No questions asked.  

So, our lights will come down eventually.  I was not sorry because I got to see them covered wth snow and that was beautiful.

I spent the snow weekend watching soccer games and movies and knitting myself a new pair of mittens.  
  It's the Hansa Mittens pattern.  I have a pair in pink and brown but I wanted to see what a variegated yarn would look like and I love it.  

I'm also continuring to work on Pk's Gates of Moria mittens.  One is almost finished.  I love the sparkly blue yarn and the way it just gives the mitttens a bit of a mithril look to them.  I am trying to finish them this winter but I've been a bit slow.
I saw the eye surgeon two weeks ago for the last time and he told me the reason my vision in the left eye is so blurry is that there is a cataract there from the surgery.  My optometrist told me he can get me  better vision but not all at once.  Right now, the vision in that eye is 20/200.  Yea.  Bad.  He can eventually get me back to about 20/50 which is much better but it will take two steps.  Otherwise my eyes won't work together.  These are my new frames.  It's so hard to pick them out when you can't see!  These have torquoise arms and bits of glitter in the front piece.  They are a huge change and I can't wait for them to be ready.
I take terrible selfies.

And one more snow photo.  This was Saturday afternoon during a lull.  I stuck my head out the front door and you can see how the snow is so smooth and gorgeous.  You can't even see where the street is supposed to be.  They hadn't plowed at all at this point.

So, life here has been its usual round of ups and downs.  An interesting thing has happened at work.  Two different individuals have let us know that they recorded their sessions with the doctor (and me).  We were surprised.  This hasn't come up before and we're not sure how to handle it.  On the one hand, nothing that is said is secret or improper.  But it scares me just a bit because digital recordings are so very easy to manipulate and how would we prove that we did not say something?  In PA, it's illegal to record a conversation without the permission of all parties.  We are going to have to come up with a plan because I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.  (One of the individuals has threatened to use the recording to make trouble for us).

I'm not sure how I feel about this.  What do you think?


About Me

I am a woman with a family and a job and a love of making things with my hands. I like to cook and sew and knit and laugh, always laugh.
It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~chinese proverb