Sunday, December 30, 2012

Knitting at Last

Evidently I’m easing back in with a small project—house socks to keep my toes toasty.  I thought of this before we moved, but I wasn’t sure how slick the floors would be.  Even the tile is not slick at all, so I can wear some snuggly warm worsted socks to keep my toes cozy in the evenings.  Bell Lace Socks, available on Ravelry.  Yarn is Plymouth Encore from my stash.

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For those of us of a certain age, the assassination of JFK was THE pivotal historical event.  I was a 9th grader.  I just listened to the audio book of Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.  I found it to be a very compelling lesson, and I think the book does a good job of setting the horrible event in the context of the events of the day.  Because I lived in a section of the country where Kennedy’s policies were not popular, I was aware of that background.  I also think the book endeavors to be fair and not to muckrake about the less flattering aspects of Kennedy’s personal life that have come to light after a number of years.  This is not a book that purports to solve any remaining mysteries about the assassination, but it was interesting.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A No-Photo Christmas

My last post was written in the peaceful afterglow of Christmas Eve lunch—before the gastrointestinal bug hit me and the respiratory virus hit my husband.  Christmas Day was a blur of napping in bed, trips to the bathroom, napping in the recliner, etc.  Yesterday was much better although I had the energy of a sloth.  This morning I’m still not eating, nor do I want to, although I did down a few vanilla wafers with a cup of warm broth.  I do, however, feel a little more ambitious and have emptied and put away six boxes in the master bedroom and closet.  I think my symptoms were somewhat aggravated by too many pain-reducing pills for my knees, which were suffering somewhat from the extra work in moving and the switch to concrete slab from a pier-and-beam house.  Today, I’m going slow and easy with the box unpacking and so far I’m quite comfortable.

Nevertheless, it was still nice having a quiet Christmas in our new home.  My father passed away at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve several years ago, and my husband’s mother passed away a few years later on the 26th.  Some years that makes the holidays hard; this year we had more to focus on and a new place to do it in, even if we weren’t feeling well.  Besides, we have another Christmas still to look forward to with our daughter’s family.  We’ll have it eventually—they’ve been ill as well.  A friend of mine back in Friona, whose daughter’s flight from Ohio was cancelled due to the weather and postponed until Spring Break, is making plans for leaving her tree in place till April.  I have enjoyed looking out the windows at the white Christmas we are having—already more brown than white.  The old house had high windows that didn’t allow for seeing out unless you were standing there and looking.

A highlight of my Christmas Eve was watching A Christmas Carol on the bedroom television.  I had never seen the version featuring Patrick Stewart although I had listened to his reading of the classic.  I thought the movie was outstanding, even through my miserable physical experience.  Had I not been ill, I would probably have been too busy to watch it.

Shortly, I am headed for a hot shower, a warm lounging robe, and KNITTING NEEDLES.  I promised my son a new hat, and I think it must be time for it.

Peace!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 

Nativity-Cross

Today we had our first dinner in our new home.  “Dinner” as in guests.  My son was here with his friend Amber and her son Parker.  Lunch was fairly simple.  We had ham, potato salad, baked beans, broccoli-rice casserole, carrots, and a traditional family dessert.  We did not have out the china and linens.  The china is in place, but I still haven’t unpacked cloths.  Yesterday I bought a Christmas heavyweight plastic cloth at the grocery store.  It is muted red, green, and blue snowflakes on white.  It actually looks good in the space.  Complete with clear plastic disposable plates, it looked very festive.  The two little ones sat at the little kiddie card table.  That much independence is always a thrill.

Now we’re settling in for the quiet part of Christmas.  I had intended to go downtown tonight to Christmas Eve services, but an unfamiliar parking lot in the dark with a storm coming in does not sound like a good idea.  So, after DH wakes up from his nap, I’m going to try to snag him into a trip to top off the gas tanks and get a soft drink before we settle in for perhaps a couple of quiet days.  If the storm doesn’t materialize, I’m thinking about a movie tomorrow.  If it does, we’re all set with leftovers, and I have my knitting needles back, thanks to the generous efforts of my son and his friend.  I had promised him a hat earlier in the year, so now would perhaps be a good time.  Now that the sofa is in the living room and the kitchen is is relatively organized shape, it’s beginning to feel like a home. 

In a few days, we will get together with my daughter and her family.  They are busily passing around a virus of some sort at the moment, so we are sticking to virtual contact.  Then it will be Christmas all over again!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all of you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Notice

In case you’re not on my Facebook list, let me say that packing ALL your knitting needles in one tote when inadvertently hiring a minimally competent short-haul mover is as stupid as packing all your meds in checked luggage.  When you are unbelievably and increasingly nervous because you can’t find certain stuff, your tranquilizer is among the inaccessible.  It is particularly frustrating when the stash arrived, complete with rather sarcastic comments from the movers. 

I did check references with two people I knew who had used this company, and both of them had good results, which, of course, because I am who I am, makes me feel that the failure must be a. all mine because I have done something wrong or b. personally directed at me.  Neither attitude is productive.  In the great scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter, but I hate being taken advantage of when I tried very hard to make all this go smoothly and when the “taking advantage” involved someone lying about me. 

I must get a grip and think about Sandy Hook. . . ..  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We Are Here

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Moving slowly, but here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Passage

Tonight I am sleeping for the last time in the childhood home that I first slept in at the age of eleven.  Although we are not quite ready to sell the property because there is still work to be done and items to be sold, after tonight the furniture will be gone to our new home.  The bedroom set we’re taking is the one that belonged to my parents, so in that sense, part of this home is going with me.  I’m not finding this thought as hard as I anticipated.  We are ready to move on to a new phase of our life—we are moving closer to our children and back to a city where we formerly lived and were happy.  Even though I know the Amarillo of now is not the Amarillo of 1984, we have lived near enough and visited frequently enough to keep up with most of the changes, and we are looking forward to it.  I am also tired.  Looking for a place, finding one, and preparing for the move has been almost a two-year process.  We are still not quite as prepared as I had hoped, but on the other hand, we don’t have someone moving in on our heels, so we can take a more leisurely approach to the process of letting go and getting set up.  I think my parents would be happy for us.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Amidst the Pseudocarnage that Is my Home

at the moment, with scattered skeletal remains of packing materials and dismembered cardboard boxes, a brief moment of glory stands out.  Thanks to all the audio book listening that I have been doing the last few weeks and in spite of the fact that I haven’t had the time to read an actual dead tree or electronic book with my eyes—at least without feeling guilty—I’ve finished my 125 books for the Goodreads 2012 Book Challenge!  Of course, this doesn’t get any of our things moved up the road or UNpacked at the other end, but I’m still glad I did it.  Some of the reading was fluff, and some was modern literature.  I may not do this challenge next year because I have some personally designed reading challenges in mind, but I will inevitably try to read in some organized way, probably in a way that contributes to more than just number of books read.  The goals are fun.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Still Packing, Packing, Packing. . .

I’m to the point where I am packing boxes of miscellaneous objects because there’s not enough of anything to fill a box.  I don’t do well with that.  I have never done well with those last loads of laundry with the odd items and the unaccompanied socks because they got left out of an earlier load. 
I am also finding out that packing an organized stash of yarn is nearly impossible!  No matter how carefully I pack, I find that after a box is taped shut, another skein or ball appears.  It’s like trying to herd baby chickens!

I also find that the mess--being surrounded with boxes, having items I need already packed, and dealing with different personalities and people about the move--is getting to me.  Yesterday, I listened to Christmas music on Pandora in an effort to calm down (while swilling down caffeine, of course).  Today, a poem that is not a Christmas poem popped into my head.  It is a reminder that I can go somewhere peaceful in my mind while a busy life is bustling all around me.

The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Do We Know How to Celebrate?

Today is our 35th wedding anniversary.  We actually celebrated yesterday by lunching at The Cotton Patch in Clovis and dropping bags of donation clothes off at the shelter there.  Today, with most of our kitchen packed up, we dined on corn dogs and macaroni and cheese.  In a few minutes we’re going to have more wine from our very expensive bottle—the one that came from the title company for the house closing.  Neither one of us actually likes wine, but we sort of feel compelled to drink it for some strange reason, perhaps because it was technically very expensive.

I’ve packed more boxes today, thrown away more trash items, and come up with a furniture arrangement plan for the living room/dining area at the new house.  In case I can’t win a race with the movers to get there on moving day since I want to stay on this end to make sure everything is properly loaded, my daughter is going to be on the other end to direct furniture placement.  As a backup, I’m tagging all the furniture items with fluorescent flagging tape with the room written on it in Sharpie.  If I’m paying to have things moved, I don’t know why I should have to move them all around again.  There will be a tad more furniture than I had hoped in this space, but I am down two end tables, a chair, 2 lamps, a piano, and a large desk exchanged for a small one.  We’re not getting new furniture, although we hope to invest in a new sofa eventually.  There are a couple of items that I could technically do without, but those are family heirlooms, so I’m keeping them.  I’m afraid that instead of the modern more minimalist 2000s look, my new house is going to look something like grandma’s house, but guess what?  It IS grandma’s house.  I know that the look right now has emphasis on mid-century modern furniture used in some new ways, but I remember that period when it was the new stuff—had it in a couple of apartments, as a matter of fact. 

I had a similar discussion with my son over using white appliances in the kitchen.  Let me say that I do like the look of stainless steel.  If I were young and building a great big cooks kitchen for a family and could justify the professional stainless range and Subzero refrigerator and so forth, I might go for it.  However, I’m going for ease of cleaning and cooking.  I may do really big meals once or twice a year.  I have lived through the following appliance color periods—white;  pink or turquoise or white; copper tone or white; harvest gold or avocado green or white; black or white; black or bisque or white; stainless or stainless on black or white.  Do you notice a pattern?  Right now I have a fairly inexpensive stainless sink that I hate.  I am sure that a quality stainless sink would be a different matter, but unless I could justify the real deal in professional-look appliances, which I can’t, I didn’t want to go for the cheaper stuff.  As for black, it’s getting really hard to read the buttons on a black appliance.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bone Marathon

I am off to pack more boxes shortly.  First, however, I need to reload my MP3 player.  I just finished a marathon of Cornwell’s The Bone Bed and Kathy Reich’s Bones Are Forever and need to exit the autopsy suite for awhile.  Both audiobooks were good listening.  I need only 4 more books to finish my Goodreads goal of 125 for the year.  I think I’ll make it, in spite of the move.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upcoming Treat

I like to listen to audio books while I do certain tasks or while I knit and spin.  I do listen while driving on the highway.  Where we live, highway driving is relatively empty and monotonous.  I know that driving and listening is controversial, but if I weren’t listening to a book, I would listen to the radio.  I do not listen to a book while driving in town or in traffic because I do find it distracting.  Audio books are much too expensive to buy, so I make do with a system of free books from Librivox, 1 credit a month from audible for those new books that I just can’t stand to do without, my local public library consortium, and an annual membership to the Free Library of Philadelphia.  Because ebooks and audio books are so much in demand now, I keep the Holds section of my library account at the maximum of ten books.  Some of them have quite a waiting list, so I am never sure when one will suddenly become available and pop up in an email, giving me three days to download.  Tonight, I was surprised by the announcement of The Bone Bed, the latest Patricia Cornwell mystery.  I used to really like this series, but I have found some of the later books to be too dark in personal matters for my taste.  I have no idea how I will react to this one, but it will make interesting listening as I am packing more boxes tomorrow. 

Plans!!!

The movers are scheduled for the 13th.  Yippee!  I’m busily packing up the fragile, fragile items from the china and crystal cabinet today.  I think I’m going to send those in a separate, hand-carried load instead of letting them go on the moving truck.  Right now, I’m trying to pack three larger pieces of Roseville Pottery.  VERY carefully.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movie I’m Going to Try to Avoid Seeing

unless my curiosity gets the better of me.

Jack Reacher, the protagonist of the novels by Lee Child, is a favorite literary character of mine.  When I saw a preview starting, I was excited.  Then I saw Tom Cruise.  Then I looked up the film on the IMDB.  Hollywood, the whole background of Reacher’s ethical character is informed by his background, ex-MP, growing up as the son of a Marine and a French mother, ex-Major in the US Army.  His outstanding characteristics are his size—6’5” and 250 lbs, his fighting skills, and his unassuming style of dress as he wanders across America.  So the movie has made him into a PI, played by Tom Cruise?  I can’t imagine Reacher without the military background. 

I’m going to have trouble accepting this one. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quiet Friday

Today was a quiet day around here.  We ate leftovers from yesterday’s casserole.  I did a little more moving prep.  Cyber shopping worked out well.  I had a couple of items for the new home in my cart on Amazon awaiting the pay period that just arrived.  Imagine my surprise when they both showed up on cyber discounts today!  I saved just over $120 with free shipping and 2 day delivery.  Yea!
This afternoon I took a nap.  I had the post-menopausal not sleepies last night until very late.  Then our telephone rang about 4 this morning.  Hubby was already up, but he was on the front porch.  By the time I got there after the 4th ring, there was no one on the line.  When you have two children, even grown ones, and you know that one was out doing some Black Friday things at 2 a.m. and the other one had a child throwing up the last you heard, you do not overlook strange telephone calls.  The caller ID on our old phone—replacement purchased today—does not work reliably if the call is not answered.  I never did find out where it came from, but I did investigate.  Those of you with babies, or toddlers, or teenagers, take note—the idea of a right to a full night’s sleep goes out the window with parenthood.  It jumps back up to bite you when you least expect it!

And, my son and his girlfriend called to say they had moved the twin bed into the craft room.  I'm going to dress it in antique quilts as a daybed/granddaughter sleeping space.  Now Matilda has company.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Plate_thumb[4]
This plate, made a few years ago by my oldest granddaughter, always makes me smile.  It is not on display this Thanksgiving because it is already packed to move, but the picture is a good reminder of family when we can’t be together for the holiday.
Since it’s just the two of us for dinner this year and since almost all of the pots and pans are packed, I settled for chicken and dressing prepared in the crockpot.  I think I made way too much, but the big crockpot was the only one not already boxed and stacked.  I had to do the mixing in the crockpot as well because there were no big mixing bowls left either. 
We are going to have a quiet and thankful day.  Then we are going to observe “No Shopping Friday.”  (One of the things that I missed most when we left Amarillo to move back here in 1984 was that I lost the ability to sneak in little shopping trips when the stores were almost empty.  After we move, I can do that again!) 

Note:  The water damage to the new house was minimal.  My son's gallant efforts were just in the nick of time.  The repairs will be minor.  The builder's supervisor checked all the possible structural damage and gave it his ok.  In addition to taking more donations to the charity thrift shop yesterday, I moved another breakable that I won't trust to the movers--Matilda, my Ashford Traveller, is sitting in the craft room.  Admittedly, she is attired in black plastic and the way the points of the mother-of-all stick up makes her look like a giant snail in disguise, but she is nevertheless present.  Her flyer is boxed at her side.  Fiber equipment OFFICIALLY makes it craft space, right?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Any Day is Brighter

when you stop for gas and find the Weinermobile!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rant

My son did a drive by on the new house after work yesterday.  He saw water running from the garage.  It seems the new washer—the one that replaced the dented one—had a hot water line that had not been properly tightened.  It was spraying water over the top of the machine.  Fortunately, the carpet was not affected in the other part of the house.  However, the walls in the utility were sprayed and water had run not only out the door but under the plate on the concrete slab on the two sides of the laundry room that form garage walls.  In addition, it had run under the adjoining wall of the dining room, covering the tile, and into the kitchen, accumulating in the “no tile” space under the dishwasher, soaking the bottom of the drywall at the back of the dishwasher space.  It also affected the outside wall of the dining area somewhat and may have run into the space under the pantry cabinet.  After he dried the main part of the floor, he said that water still kept oozing out from the walls onto the tile.  I know that the base plate is treated lumber, but I’m worried about baseboards and the drywall.

What really has me in a spin, though, is the treatment I’m receiving from Sears.  I called them immediately.  I got a very gracious run around that says they have 72 hours to deal with this.  In 72 hours, more damage will have been done.  They did offer to send someone out to reconnect the washer immediately.  Like THAT is going to happen.  I intend to insist that their insurance take care of this, and I do have homeowner’s, of course, but I’ve been unable to reach my agent.

I am not there; I am here because Sears insists that they must call me on my home phone, not my cell.  They seem unable to deal with putting another number into their computer.  That said, when I know how I feel at the moment, I can always remember all of you out there who still have unresolved issues with Hurricane Sandy or the kind of unresolved issues that can’t be fixed by human hands and a little lumber.  God be with you all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unintentional Information

The replacement, undented washer was delivered today.  I was not happy with the placement of the set because the doors opened the wrong way.  I can remember when doors were reversible, but these were not.  However, the installers determined that all the hookups were long enough to reverse the position of the appliances, and the set is now just as I want it.
I did get liner in more of the shelves.
I also discovered that the same code that let me turn off the alarm system also set off the panic feature.  How did I discover this?  The policemen and patrol cars.  The problem is now taken care of, and I now know that a. the alarm company really does notify the police and b. the response time is quite adequate.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bye, Bye

Today I managed to package a lot of unused cooking/canning equipment for donation to someone who can use it.  The “fluffiest” part of it was the equipment my mother used for processing fruit into jellies when we had grape vines and a number of fruit trees.  Yes, I can still make jelly—some skills are never forgotten—but I don’t have a semi-orchard to harvest anymore.  I’ve known for a long time that I needed to get rid of those, but sentimentality was stopping me.  Now perhaps they will be purchased at the Thrift Store by someone who will use them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Uh, oh!

My Friday trip to work on the house was successful in that the blinds are up, thanks to my daughter’s installation skills and my son’s measuring.  Shelf liner is in the kitchen, at least until we ran out, but all the parts that I can’t reach are taken care of, and I can finish on my own.

Then there is the “other stuff.”  Not everything went well.  The washer and dryer unit that I bought on layaway, timed perfectly with the closing on the house so that it would be installed before we moved in,  was indeed delivered and installed.  The washer, however, is dented, so there will be another trip on Tuesday to deal with a second delivery and installation--

Which is just as well, because sometime after I came home on Friday night, leaving a locked and secured house, THIS happened:

IMG_7418

That’s the custom-made shower door.  I did open and close the door, but that was some hours before I left, and we walked through the bathroom to the master closet after I closed it.  Thank heavens, it is safety glass, so it shattered into the little squares.  I think these fell out before my son left the house on Saturday afternoon.  I have the number of the company to call tomorrow morning.  I’ll make an appointment for them to come out on Tuesday while I am there.  I have more shelf liner and drawer liner, so while I’m waiting on deliveries, I’ll finish prepping cabinets and vanities and linen shelves! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Excuse and Technology

I know that I have failed in writing an entry every day; however, in order to make sure that the Internet was going to work at the new house, I was transporting my laptop back and forth.  I have a rather unhandy docking station here, so I was essentially disconnected for awhile.  Now I’m back.

An early morning visit to one of my granddaughters yesterday morning while she was in a rush to finish some forgotten homework caused me to reflect on education and technology.  She was using a Sharpie to define some items on a turkey costume.  That’s a costume FOR a turkey—a Thanksgiving disguise—not a costume as a turkey.  Her turkey was disguised as a dog.  Her combination of crayon and Sharpie and construction paper led me to contemplate technology in education.  (It was a boring drive home last night—nothing but football on the radio and I had forgotten my audio book.)  By the time I retired, “technology” referred to Smart Boards, digital projectors, and portable computer labs with a desktop for every student.  When I began teaching, “technology” was an overhead and a 16mm sound projector.

cartridge pen

However, when I was an elementary student, technology took different forms.  We still had some desks that had inkwells—no, we didn’t use them, but they were there—but we were required to learn to write with fountain pens.  Most of us used cartridge pens, but a brave few kept an ink bottles in their desks.  Fourth graders were recognizable by the ink-stained fingers.  Ball points were just coming into use, but the product was not really expected to last.  In fact, I continued to use a pen even after I went to college because I liked the physical act of writing with one.  Finally, however, I gave in to ballpoint convenience. 

Now, what does this have to do with my granddaughter’s turkey?  Two items—When I was a child, primary school gluing involved white glass jars of paste with a brush or the glass bottles of clear yellow mucilage (lovely word, isn’t it?) with a rubber slitted tip that you pressed down.  Either bottle was quite capable of breaking in someone’s desk and making a mess.  When Elmer’s Glue hit the market, it was a big improvement! 

wigglue

Yesterday, however, my granddaughter was using a non-messy glue stick!

Secondly, I am relatively sure that I was in about sixth grade when felt tip markers hit the school scene, at least locally.  I think that Marksalot was the first brand.  I remember staying after school for some committee that required posters, which formerly had to be drawn on poster board with pencil and colored with crayon, and having Mrs. Adams hand us the new product which drew marvelous BRIGHT and easy-to-read pictures and letters!  Now we have Sharpies and all sorts of tip designs and washable and permanent and disappearing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Random Wednesday

It’s absolutely amazing how much junk can be accumulated in a home office area.  I’m not through dejunking it yet, but I’m closer than I was this morning.  Getting this down to a smaller area, since I am no longer teaching or doing the bookkeeping from our store, is going to be absolutely wonderful.  Yippee!  More room for yarn!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Huh!!!

We closed on the house today.  When the realtor was giving me directions to the title company, I said, “Oh, I know where that building is.  That’s where we hid our car when we got married so that it wouldn’t get painted.”

She replied, “I had no idea this building was that old.”

Monday, November 05, 2012

Today

to-do-list-time-management

Today I have lots of laundry to do—the kind of laundry that means I want to pack some items so that they are all ready to go on the other end of the move.  There are, of course, many boxes still to be packed, but, in addition, I need to stock the SUV today with items that I will need at the new place on Friday when my daughter is going to help me put up blinds, prepare the kitchen with shelf liner, and all those sorts of tasks.  I’m taking a folding table to serve as a work table and some chairs to sit in.  I know it’s a long time till Friday, but I can drop these essentials off tomorrow after closing so that I can haul something else on Friday.

Addition to yesterday’s post—Excellent audio book readers on Librivox:  Elizabeth Klett and Brenda Dayne (yes, the Cast-On lady). One of the great things to discover about audio books is that listening to a book that you may have read many times is a different experience when it processes audibly.  I don’t know why.  I first discovered this when listening to Klett’s reading of Jane Eyre and found myself noticing themes and motifs that I had not noticed just reading the book myself.  Of course, the same thing can be said for reversing the experience, but I think everyone expects that to happen.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Goal

Lavery_Maiss_Auras
I’m still 15 books short of my Goodreads goal of reading 125 books this year.  Let me be specific—I am counting audio books that I listen to while knitting or playing computer games or cleaning or driving on the highway or, more recently, packing boxes.  I do not count books that I am rereading that are already on my Goodreads list from a former year.  I also do not count books that are “false starts,” and I do have a few of those.  I have noticed in the last year as ereaders become more common, that more library resources seem to be devoted to buying ebook versions rather than audio.  That’s just fine—I have ereaders, but there are a few specific authors that I like to listen to because the narrators who do the reading are absolutely superb.  Also, if I want entertainment to accompany one of the aforementioned activities, I need an audio version.  Right now, I have an audio book on my player for working, but I have also downloaded the newest Alafair Burke to my Nook Simple Touch, so I’m going to read for awhile with a glass of iced tea, and then I’m going to watch Upstairs, Downstairs.
Favorite audio readers on commercial audio books—Dick Hill, Will Patton, Rene Auberjonois, and Joshilyn Jackson (reading her own novels).  There are a few others, but the names escape me right now. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Miscellaneous Day

Well, the day that I had intended to devote entirely to packing boxes took an unexpected turn.  I did pack some items, and I’m going to load a couple of them into the car in a few minutes.  These fall into the category of items that I want to take by the house immediately after closing.  One box is because I will need the items there on Friday.  Another item is my Traveller spinning wheel.  I took the flier off, boxed it, and bagged the wheel and then decided that I did not trust putting it on the moving truck.  I know I could hunt for a week or two and find a box, but it is just as easy to tuck it personally into the closet of my studio in the new house.  That way I know it’s safe.

In addition to that, I’ve been hunting for reasonably priced bar stools that I think I can live with.  The “live with” refers less to d├ęcor than to the idea that I don’t usually like sitting on bar stools.  Thanks to my daughter’s kitchen dream redesign archives, I think I’ve found some for a very reasonable price.  I may decide to attack them later with some spray paint, but they will do for the time being.  This was a budget problem because I didn’t plan for them because I didn’t know the kitchen was going to have a bar.  It’s nice that the half wall in the kitchen turned into a little breakfast/coffee bar for us, but I hadn’t expected it, so there was no furniture budget for stools.  I also spent a few minutes attempting to configure an alarm system for the new place.  I was intending to wait a week or so, but there is a sale on that ends on Monday night, so I just sent what I think we want to our son for his approval.  He’s been doing research.

What a pleasure to be doing this instead of what all those people in the greater New York City/New Jersey area are doing!  And, speaking of that, how is Rhode Island?  We keep hearing reports describing damage in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and Rhode Island is never mentioned.  Surely, the storm couldn’t have skipped them. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Blue Marble

Inspired by the move to a smaller house, by the feeling that I’m being covered in clutter, and perhaps a little by Alice Walker’s “The Blue Bowl” and the idea of divestiture, I’ve been making lots of trips to the donation bin and the dumpster. (Actually, I’ve been filling trash bags and my dear husband has been going to the dumpster when he fills the pickup bed.  There is a lot of junk.) However, some things are going to be keepers.  I know that’s a self-evident statement, but some things are going to be keepers just because I like them, no practical reason otherwise.  Here is one--the globe that I got as a Christmas present when I was nine, I think.  I need to do some research.  I was very proud of this globe, and the grandkids like it.

globe

Look closely.  I took an Africa/Europe shot because the political map has changed more obviously there than elsewhere.  However, what makes this globe really unique is something else.  See that gold ball?  That is a satellite tracker.  If you knew the coordinates of orbit--and when satellites were new, they used to be published--you could set two points on the ring by scooting the brackets and then you could see where the rest of the orbit fell.  In short, you could find out if that satellite was coming over YOUR house.  Who cared?  Well, in those early days and even for awhile after the beginnings of manned space flight, it was possible to see some of the bigger satellites at night if conditions were right and you had a telescope.  Echo 2 was visible to the naked eye.  I can remember spreading sleeping bags on the backyard grass that summer and lying out there at night with the family watching it track across the sky.  I suppose this globe reminds me of a simpler time when we didn’t take space exploration for granted and above all, of parents who were interested in what was going on in the world and who bought me what was then a fairly expensive Christmas present because they cared about my education.  The house I’m leaving this month is the house with that backyard, but the globe is going with me.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Definitely Insane

We’re moving this month.  The house closing is set for the 6th.  I am still not completely packed.  What am I signing up for? NaBloPoMo

Actually, I have my reasons.  Here’s a background story:  I have a tendency to be really insecure about insisting on something, telling myself I can “live with it” or “make it work somehow.”  It’s sort of the “adapt and overcome” philosophy of the Marines, without the “overcome” part.  Then I will spend miserable years wishing I had insisted on what I wanted.  For example, yesterday we had to go to Amarillo because I had bought a washer and dryer on layaway from Sears so that it would be held until I was ready for it.  To get delivery next week, I had to make the last payment in person in the store, rather than on-line.  Of course, we went by the house.  My son and I went inside; my hubby concentrated on wiring, plumbing, and sewer cleanouts and other exterior things.  We had to view the bathrooms from the doorways because they had just put sealer on the grout, and the carpet layers were there.  Yes, carpet!  I noticed that the space that was tiled for under the kitchen dining area seemed smaller than I had anticipated.  And there was no way that the table could be centered under the pendant fixture without having about 1/3 of the table on the carpet.  At least, I thought I noticed that.  Instead of investigating, I assumed  that either the untacked down carpet was covering about 3 more feet of tile or that I could change the pendant fixture to a flush ceiling fixture, scoot the table against the window, and “make it work.”  We drove home after lunch, and it took me all afternoon to decide that I should have investigated and then insisted that more tile be added.  So today, after a sleepless night because I don’t like confrontations, we drove back, I met with the project manager, who immediately saw what I was talking about and said “no problem at all.”

I was so pumped because that went well that I asked for one more change in the kitchen.  I know that above-the-range microwaves are the latest thing, but I’m a little short and my range of motion in one shoulder is not the best so I had told them I didn’t want one.  They were nice enough to build in an under cabinet spot for the microwave.  However, I really didn’t want to have to lean over to get things out of a low microwave or try to read the numbers.  Sailing on my euphoria about the tile victory, I asked them to put doors on that cabinet section and I’m sticking the microwave on the corner of the cabinet at a convenient height. 

I know that’s a boring story, but the point is that I do this all the time about all sorts of things.  I settle.  Of course, there are times when everyone has to or needs to settle, but I do it to avoid confrontation and then I spend the rest of the lifetime of whatever it is seething with unexpressed resentment.  I feel good about today.

Anyway, the reason I am going to attempt to blog every day during this stressful time is so that I can concentrate on having at least one pleasant story to tell each day at a time when it is easy to be tired and snarky.  Even if it’s something very small.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Random Friday, barely

This week began with a very graphic reminder that life is precious and to be treasured.  Thanks be to God for watching over us all.

The house is winding up faster than we are getting ready to move.  By Monday, they are going to be installing the appliances; the tile is completed, I think; the painting is completed, I think.  It’s not that I wasn’t up there this week, but on the day I was there, they had poured the concrete sidewalk in front, the driveway, and the back patio.  Unless I wanted to climb in a window, I could not have gotten in.  I’m relying on communication with the builder right now.

Today, I made absolutely no packing progress.  I did, however, do a little house-related shopping, and we broke down and bought groceries.  We have been “using up,” but we were out of likely combinations, so we bought a bare minimum of items.

I also went to the courthouse about 25 miles away to vote absentee since I have absolutely no idea what I’ll actually be doing on Nov. 6.  That was my first absentee vote ever.  I must say, it was a nice experience.  We are in such an sparsely populated area that we still mark paper ballots.  Our local election judge complains if you don’t stick the ballot in the box the right way.  The County Clerk didn’t care.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mostly Silence, with Breaks

I’m still sorting out and packing.  Much is going to the donation pile and the trash, so the boxes aren’t filling as fast as you would think.  That means, though, that I am doing a monumental-sized declutter, and I’m glad about that.

For recreation, I’m checking the net, watching Presidential debates, listening to audiobooks while I work, and watching a daily episode of the Cadfael series on Netflix.  They posted some that hadn’t been on before.  Alas, I will run out of episodes before the packing is done.  I mention them because the episode that has "Rose Rent” in the title has interesting connections and glimpses to wool processing and weaving in that time period.  I didn’t spot a spinner, which seems like an interesting omission, but perhaps I missed it in the background.

Off to pack another box while listening to The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber. 

Random observation—I know I read somewhere that one of the most easily identifiable smells is new crayons.  I think one of the most easily identifiable sounds has to be tape being pulled off a roll.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Opinion Needed

I’m tired of packing boxes right now, so here’s a decorating question for you.

I have a small collection of blue and white Staffordshire historical plates.  They are all of historical events, places, or persons.  Most of them are roughly the size of dinner plates, although that definition varies somewhat.  In addition I have a few of the Bing and Grondahl Mother’s Day and Christmas plates from the 1970s that are 6” and 8” in the same blue color ways.  I also have a small commode table.  I want to create a display in the entryway of the new house.  I’ve always tended toward more formal arrangements of the plates before, and I found this photo on Pinterest:

plates 2

The ceiling is not this high, so any arrangement I would have would be similar to the bottom section of the arrangement.  My setting and table are also nothing like this formal.

On the other hand, I’ve been seeing arrangements that are more informal.  Some of them even have overlapping plates, but I think that would be difficult to pull off because of the shapes of some of my plates.  I did, however, find this photo:

plates 1

What do you think?  Do I dare do something like this?  Would it still be effective in all blue and white tones?  The floor will be a natural looking slate type tile, and I’m planning to use an oriental type rug that I already have.  Please give me some ideas; pictures are welcome.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Weekend Adventures

Last night I babysat with my granddaughter and a little friend while the parents were at a charity event which lasted until very late.  We all piled into the big bed together to watch movies—little kid movies—and I finally did what I had never really anticipated:  I read an entire novel on my iPhone Kindle app.  It was a fairly decent experience.  No, the parents were not gone that long, but I drank two very large, very strong cups of coffee in the late afternoon.  I finally went to sleep sometime after 5 a.m.!  The novel is reviewed on my Goodreads page, link to the right of this post.  It’s the second book in the Gray Whale Inn series.

Today, we went in the house.  There was much more progress than I anticipated.  The walls are all textured; almost all of the crown molding is up.  In the master bath, I actually sat in the shower.  There’s no tile, but the pan and the bench are there.  The area around all the windows was finished so that we could measure for the blinds.  My son measured, and I wrote.  I used to sell blinds, and I was pleased to see how very little difference there was from window to window and from top to bottom, taking 3 measurements in each direction.  We used a foreign made tape measure, so I’m going to double check against an American one before I order.  This way, however, I won’t have to fuss with those temporary blind things—the real thing can be installed before we move in!

And, the kitchen cabinets were mostly in place.  Here are some pictures:

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Pantry

 

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Refrigerator, corner appliance garage, lazy susan cabinet

 

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Microwave slot, another corner setup, range area, sink, dishwasher

This is where I need some help.  If you look at the top picture, you will see that the pantry cabinet—it has a double door, I think—consists of an upper cabinet, a lower cabinet with a large upper compartment with a stationary shelf, and lower pull out shelves.  I need organizing suggestions.  We are from the country, so even though we will be living in the city, we will want to maximize food storage.  We like to have a large variety of canned vegetables and fruits as well as frozen, some canned meats, soups, and staples such as broth and tomato sauce and such.  We also will want dry staples, and items such as beans and rice.  And then of course, there’s junk food and mixes.  Suggestions are welcome.  The cabinet is the depth of a lower kitchen cabinet.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Looky, Looky

Must pack faster; must pack faster. . . .

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

House Update

I made pictures yesterday.  It appears that most of the drywall is also up on the inside.  Here are a couple of pictures of the outside.  I didn’t go in because there were too many workmen and I was by myself and getting strange looks.  The yard was also still a little bit muddy from weekend rains.

A side view:

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A front view, taken looking into the afternoon sun:

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I don’t know if it shows up much, but we will have a “sittable” front porch, as well as a covered patio on the back.  The thin posts that you see in the picture will be brick columns.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weather Report

I have no new construction photos to post today.  That is because it has been raining!  This is a really big deal because we have been having such a drought for a couple of years.  The recent three days of occasional storm at the house location have brought the total for this year up to a little under 11 inches.  I think the average is something like 16.  Unfortunately, the house was not yet weathered in, so I am not sure how much this will delay construction to let things dry out, but it is worth it.

Our son drove down yesterday and helped immensely with clearing and packing and taking things to the trash.  He also took a whole car load of boxes of the really delicate things that you don’t want a mover to handle back with him to store at his house.  Tomorrow to take a combined car load of things to go to the charity thrift shop and items that we were storing for my daughter. 

The first item on today’s agenda is to put boxes together.  Onward!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Progress Report

I worked at home today, bagging items for trash and for donation, and packing a very few boxes.  I’m working in an area where most of the items won’t be going with us.  My son did a check on the house progress after work this evening.  Here’s what we have since I last looked:

brick, sheetrock, shingles

That’s brick, sheetrock, and shingles on the roof,

ductwork

ductwork and wiring,

bathtub

the bathtub for the hallway bathroom, 

address plate

and the “official” address plate that will be set into the brick.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A New Book

A local writer, Teddy Jones, published her first novel this month.  I halfwidewaited for the e-book edition since I’m trying to have as little to move as possible.  I downloaded earlier this evening, having tried earlier in the week with no cooperation from AT&T.  Then I discovered I couldn’t put the book down.  If you want the publisher’s description, it is available on Goodreads or B & N or Amazon, but here is the review I just posted:

It is now almost midnight. I read nonstop.

Since I come from West Texas myself, I can attest to the authenticity of the characters in this novel. They are the type of people who populate our own special part of the world. Since I am a long-married woman "of a certain age," I can also identify with the struggles that Dorothy Faye has dealing with the changes in her life and in the relationship with her husband Harold and in finding a purpose after the immediate challenges of job and mothering small children are in the past.


I also found it interesting that with recent emphasis on the many contributions introverts make to society, someone whose skill is listening should arrive at an appreciation of her talent so late in life.


Finally, let me add that this book is not just a superficial coming-of-middle-age novel with local color--it is extremely well-written. The dialogue is spot-on for this section of the country. The narration is complex, combining the protagonist's journal entries with standard third-person narration. The use of crossword puzzles is intricate and unique.

 
This novel is an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The View Inside

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“Open-concept” view, standing in living room looking toward dining area windows.  (I just had to use the OP term—too much HGTV.)  This side of the living room is open to the hallway, with only a column as a divider.  The kitchen is open to the dining area, and the sink area has an angled view into the living room, but the half-wall with the sink is high enough to provide a view without a view of cooking disarray.  The windows are insulated, low-e, and filled with argon.  For our climate, that is very adequate.  When I watch programs about insulating homes “up north,” I realize how very different construction methods and requirements are depending on the climate and the amount of rainfall. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Discovered Treasures

In my sorting and packing, I’m exploring a few boxes of items my mother saved.  It’s been a trip through family and local history, with decisions about what needs to be discarded and what I want to keep.  I have, however, come across some interesting things.

Isn’t this lovely? 

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My parents married on November 28, 1931, in the middle of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  This is the Christmas card they sent that year.  This particular one had gone to Mother’s brother, who died in 1941.  She must have gotten it back from his things.  The postage stamp was 2 cents.  The card is printed on heavy card stock.  The very “30s” style envelope is actually lined with beautifully colored tissue paper.  This is definitely going into my “to keep” box.

A second interesting item was the hospital bill from my 1957 tonsillectomy—3 days in hospital, operating room, anesthetic—$57.00.  Sort of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

One of my granddaughters has been particularly fascinated with losing her teeth and with what happens to them.  Well, I just found ALL of my own baby teeth in a box.  I am not including a picture!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wow!

The previous photo was at about 1:00 pm—this one was taken at 6:00 pm:

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The South Wall

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Practicality in the Extreme

In making choices for the new house, I have leaned heavily toward the practical—easy to keep, both because keeping gets harder as you get older and because I want to spend only the minimum time on housework, and durable.  Getting back to the city means a knitting group or two and places to go and children and grandchildren.  So I’m trying to select colors and finishes that will please me and still be functional and low maintenance.  Therefore, I found myself rejecting the quite lovely tumbled marble kitchen backsplash that was the standard choice.  It was indeed lovely, but my sense of practicality told me it would be too porous to be easy to keep behind the stove.  We are both rather careless cooks, and although I know it could be sealed, the sealing would have to be renewed occasionally, and I don’t want to have to put sealer maintenance on my agenda.  I am having some porcelain tile that has almost the same appearance installed instead.  However, in the back of my mind was the thought that I knew the marble would not retain its lovely matte finish but would wear and get slick with age.  Then it dawned on me how I know this fact.  I know it because of this:

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See how shiny those steps are?  They are every bit as worn and slick as they look.  I scooted down on my rear end when I was in my twenties.  Of course, I was looking at a few thousand YEARS of wear by thousands of human feet.  Probably not the kind of wear a kitchen backsplash would have, but the lesson did stick with me.  (The photo is looking down from the top of Mars Hill (Aeropagus) in Athens.)  I do think there is a lesson to be learned from my rather over-cautious backsplash conclusion, and that is that live, hands-on (or in this case, bottom-on) experiences have a lasting impression that is more vivid than a list of facts. It’s a pity that education cannot provide a sensory experience for every fact that needs to be learned in the classroom.  (For the record, the natural marble on the top of the Acropolis was worn fairly slick as well.)  However, I have high hopes for the durability of the porcelain tile—just think of potsherds and ancient porcelain vases. . . .

And, on a less-philosophical note, the weeks of hard work finally kicked in and riding a bicycle worked.  After repeated trips down the sidewalk at the park, dad and daughter made the first bicycle trip to Meemaw and Grandpa’s house. 

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saturday Report

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Not a member of the construction crew!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Progress of a Sort

After a week of being thoroughly miserable with allergies—the downside of finally getting some rain; EVERYTHING is either pollinating in a last-ditch survival effort before fall or molding a little—to the point where I kept falling asleep all the time, I am at last back into packing boxes.  I am waaaay behind my self-imposed schedule.  This morning, however, lunch is already in the Crockpot (Pinto beans, with a fast batch of cornbread to bake at serving time), and I plan to spend the rest of the morning packing some more boxes.  I would have started sooner, but I paused for The Pioneer Woman.

I didn’t drive up to look at the house this week, but my son snapped some construction pictures.  I know you will be excited to see dirt, but here’s one anyway:

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That’s a bathroom and a bathroom, I think.

For my breaks today, I’m going to be experimenting with diluting some Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap into some empty foaming hand soap dispensers.  I’m starting with a ratio of 2 T. to 8 oz. of water because that was recommended to me.  We’ll see how that goes.  This is my little salute to green and organic.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Knitting Distraction—Advice Needed

Right now, when I absolutely, positively do NOT have time to think about anything else except getting ready for this move, I am, of course, thinking about some knitting.  At least, it would be for the new place.

I saw this item in a catalog or magazine—I’ve lost the source.  I pinned it to my Pinterest page.  It is obviously knitted.  It is made of rope.  It is described as 14” x 16”.  I need some baskets about this size for the new place and this kind of looked like fun.  However, I can’t figure out how to shape the bottom.  Any ideas out there?  And needles?

rope basket

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Priorities

Last night, there was RAIN over the region.  Unfortunately for some people, it came with high winds, thunder and lightning, and electrical outages.  I understand that in Amarillo, rains came so quickly that there was flooding in the underpasses along I-40, but there was the blessing of rainfall in drought.  Here, at least, I think we got 0.8 of an inch.  I know that doesn’t sound like much to people from some areas, but in “this part of Texas, we measure precipitation in hundredths, even in “wet” years.  We seldom get huge rainfall amounts. This year is our second successive year of drought, so we are grateful for every drop.  Locally, this may be a “million dollar rain” as far as the corn crop goes because the farmers won’t have to irrigate.  Of course, blessings are mixed, and those who are presently cutting their unripened corn crop for ensilage will have difficulty getting into the fields for a couple of days.  I only hope the fierce winds did not blow down standing crops.

I started to automatically send a text to my son to ask him to check to see if they were starting the concrete work on our house, but then I remembered that it is likely to be delayed a little because of this, and I find that I really don’t care even one bit.  We need rain too badly.

Note:  In cleaning out some of my mother’s quilts to pack for the move, I found some unexpected stashes of yarn.  Sorting those items into my stash is on my list for today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Semi-Productive Week

The most important and fun thing I did last week was driving up each day to stay with my youngest granddaughter while her dad went to work.  This was my last chance before she hits the wide world of kindergarten.  I think grandparents, who are not having to focus on the practicalities of clothes, shoes, and school supplies, really appreciate the fact that this is one of the big changes in a child’s life.  In spite of a broad variety of experiences as a toddler and preschooler, this is when life gets serious, and after this point, childhood goes all too swiftly.

The week was almost unbearably hot, much too hot for being out in the Texas sun jumping on a trampoline.  M is a very active little girl, so we compromised.  I didn’t particularly want to cook, so we went to lunch one day at McDonalds and one day at Chik-fil-a.  Both of those places have indoor playgrounds.  You know the kind where you give your children a few minutes to play after you finish eating?  Well, this grandma had nothing better to do than stay in where it was cool, so we stayed just as long as she wanted to stay in both places.  She even got to be a hero at the chicken place by helping a toddler who had climbed much too high find her way back down to her mama!  Then on another day, we went to the mall so that I could buy a washer and dryer for the new house.  There was a really good sale, and I could put them on layaway until I needed them.  While there, we visited a special indoor playground that has unique climbers and slides with a Palo Duro Canyon theme.  And cushy seating for the adults.  And hand sanitizer.  We followed it up with lunch at Panda Express.

This is a picture of the REAL Palo Duro Canyon.  This formation is adapted as the central feature in the playground.  This canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in the United States.  The Comanches used to overwinter here, and legend says that this was the site of the first European Thanksgiving in America.  Coronado’s exploration party had travelled for an extended period time with little water or food, and then they came to the Canyon, with its stream and wildlife.  They celebrated with a feast of Thanksgiving for their survival.  If you visit here, there is an excellent musical production in the summer evenings in the bottom of the Canyon.  There are also camping facilities, but the summer months can be very hot down there in the daytime. 

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Something else happened this week.  House progress!

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Nope!  That’s not our house.  Our house is the wet spot.

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And then after lunch, they packed down the area for the slab, alternating with more sprays of water.  I think the water actually contains a soil-stabilizing chemical.

I spent Saturday and Sunday in recovery from all the getting up very early in the morning, and today I am back to decluttering, packing, and a little computer repair.  Going through all this junk is definitely slow going.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I’m Not a Quilter, but

I really love quilts.  The problem is that I already have too many.  My mother and grandma (her mother-in-law) pretty much quilted their way through the Great Depression.  Mother stored many of the tops until the ‘60s, when they were hand quilted by a neighbor, mainly because until we moved into this house she didn’t have room for the bulk.  She did the bindings herself, by hand.  That didn’t mean that we didn’t have plenty of quilts to use that she and grandma had previously quilted, because we did.  Dealing with wintertime, was a matter of putting another quilt or two on the bed.

One quilt that she never finished, however, was a set of blocks of the state flowers.  They were not her usual style.  I think they are done with some sort of fabric paint or crayon and then outline-embroidered in a silk or rayon thread with a running stitch.  Ever since I moved back into her house in 2000, I’ve been looking for those blocks, and I had just about decided that she had thrown them away.  In removing the very last items to pack from her cedar-lined quilt closet, I was startled when a manila envelope fell on my foot from the very top shelf.  It is the blocks.  I am not photographing them at the moment because she had tissue-wrapped them very carefully, and I also discovered that the envelope holds the original newspaper advertising for the pattern, a handwritten list of the blocks and states, and two pages of about-to-fade documentation.  I put everything back in its envelope and put the envelope carefully into a dresser that will be moved with the drawers intact.

Now, I have a question, what do I do with the blocks when I get settled?  Do I preserve them “as is,” or do I make them into a quilt?  If I quilt them, how do I preserve the nature of the craft used?  I suppose I can look at the original newspaper illustration and see what I can determine that would be authentic.  It’s an interesting question, and I welcome suggestions.  There are only 48 blocks because there were only 48 states at that time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Random Weirdness and a Question

Disclaimer:  Although this is primarily a knitting/craft blog, no knitting or crafting has taken place since my last post.  The rest of this post is devoted to miscellany.  Which reminds me that a week or so ago I loaded my granddaughter into the car to run some errands.  When she asked what we were going to do, I said something that included the word “miscellaneous.”  After several stops, we headed back to her house.  As we drove into the driveway, she protested that we had forgotten to see “Miss Elaine.”  I think that was one of her teachers at church.  Anyway, it provided an opportunity for a vocabulary lesson.

I have not been knitting because I’ve been too unsettled to knit.  I’m trying to decide what to keep and what to discard before the move.  Some of those decisions are easy—there’s an amazing amount of just junk and an equally amazing amount of stuff that I just don’t want.  It’s the items that have at least in the past had sentimental value that give me trouble, as well as the tendency to keep anything that has “some good left in it,” even if it’s some good that I will never need or want.  I’m going much more slowly than I anticipated because I’m finding it exhausting.

We’re still living without a microwave.  I’m finding it difficult.  I am so much in the habit of being able to defrost instantly—because of shopping inconvenience, almost all of our meats are frozen—and having to plan ahead is an unaccustomed chore.  In addition, when you are only feeding two, you have leftovers to heat up.  It’s so easy to put them on a plate and pop them into the microwave instead of getting out a bunch of little pans to heat them on the stove.  Much more work.  At least, however, the replacement dishwasher is in and working.

OK, my question, at least for those of you who are older.  In the new house, one of my goals is to have things that are easy to keep and require as little maintenance as possible.  I want more time to do things I enjoy doing.  So I am trying to devote thought to having things ready to fix right the first time as I move in. The laundry room will have room for a washer and dryer together on one side.  Above the washer is a wall cabinet that goes all the way to the ceiling.  It is the depth of a regular kitchen “upper.”  The side above the dryer will have a small cabinet at ceiling height with a hanging/drying rod underneath.  I need to figure out how to use this storage space efficiently.  I considered stacking the appliances and moving the set to the dryer side, but I know that the drying rack above the dryer works well for clothes that are hung to dry.  (My son’s house, built by the same builder, has this setup, so I have experience.)  However, my days of easily climbing on a stepladder are over, so I would like to maximize my use of the storage space in some way that is efficient.  I plan to have the backdoor “Landing Area” on top of the washer with some sort of container or cubby arrangement.  Because of the door swings and the entrance from the garage, that’s about the only place to have it.  In the cabinet above, I can easily reach everything on the lower shelf, so that will be for detergents, etc.  The second shelf and above, however, are out of my reach when I consider the fact that I have to stand in front of the washer.  What I need is some way to “containerize” items that go on those shelves so that I can handle them with a reacher/grabber of some sort.  Considering that the cabinet depth is only about 11”, the best I’ve been able to come up with are these:

 

 

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These are the baskets to the Closetmaid Cubeicals.  The one on the left is fabric.  The drawback would be that it would be so flexible that it might dump contents when grabbed with the reacher.  The one of the right is obviously wire.  It would be a little harder to grab and would obviously leak small objects, but it would be sturdy.

My question is:  What would you do to make these storage spaces useful and accessible?  Surely some of you must have some sort of solution that I’m not thinking of. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Randomness

This is an almost totally random post because my life is pretty much random right now.

  • Knitting, personal—Some progress on the Mitered Cross Blanket, my constantly-in-the-car-just-in-case project.
  • Knitting, granddaughter—She has gotten the hang of the knit stitch, mostly.  She still has the attention span of a 5-year-old, so two rows (5 stitches each) is about all she can stand at a sitting.  We did do some hot pad weaving, however.  She has probably inherited a multi-fiber-project gene.  Alas.
  • House—in the past two weeks, I’ve selected brick, window shape, carpet, tile, interior paint, and outdoor trim color.  Oh, and a front door and kitchen cabinet stain color.  I’ve also approved electrical and coax cable placements and bath customization plans. Oh, and decided on blind type and found a source.  That wasn’t much actual work, but it involved a lot of thought and research.  Thanks to both of my grown children and all three granddaughters for helping with various parts of the project.  And, of course, to my Dear Husband, who is graciously putting up with all the craziness while planning his own parts of the project.  He is, however, colorblind, and that makes discussion of all those picky details his idea of a day in hell.
  • Moving—alternating between decluttering and either trashing or delivering to charities and packing into boxes.  We will be using a moving service that rewards having as much as possible packed into boxes for ease of moving.  I know because I discussed the subject with the mover.  This is a relatively short move.
  • Planning and finding sources for what needs to be done to the present home to put it on the market as quickly as possible after we move.
  • Olympics—I have enjoyed watching some of the events and been sorry to miss others.  Part of the charm of the Olympics for me is seeing things that I don’t ordinarily get to see, and some of the quirkier sports seem to be missing from the coverage.
  • Olympic uniforms—The ceremonial uniforms were not as bad as I thought they would be from the modeled pics.  I’ve appreciated the change in the Beach Volleyball uniforms; however, the Beach Volleyball dancers were horrible!  I realize that’s not a Team USA problem.  The Women’s Gymnastics leotards are gorgeous, in both color and style.  And, I must admit that I really like the sweats they are wearing this year.  All too often sweats have that bottom ribbing that rides up in the rear.  The bottom styling of the longer top and the shaped hemline is very flattering on the women athletes.  On the guys, it looks nice, too, but looks like sweats.
  • Olympic Opening Ceremony—an absolute joy for someone who is an retired teacher of British Lit.  One question—that was the real Queen with James Bond, but were those the real royal Corgis or stand-ins?  And, I know why it wouldn’t have worked for today’s audience, but I really felt the need for Sean Connery.
  • Photo—House progress as of the time I left Amarillo yesterday afternoon:

 

dirt

  • Political correctness in election “silly season”—Granddaughter and I were singing songs while driving around town.  She is VERY fond of “B-I-N-G-O.”  I decided on “Ten Little Indians” because it is good practice in counting backwards and I was really tired of counting jumping monkeys.  The thought did cross my mind that I should probably say “Native American,” but that phrase does not fit into the song.  Then I noticed that she is not saying “Indian” anyway; she is saying “alien.”  She is sure—and very firm in her opinion--that she is repeating exactly what I am singing.  Since we live where we do—relatively close to the border with Mexico, but where the shortest route to that country goes through Roswell—I’ve decided that we are not politically incorrect—we are singing about creatures from another world. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Going Naked!

Sorry!  Nothing really exciting here except the failure of technology.  We’ve been using my mother’s old microwave because ours gave out and hers was here—having been used by her and both grandchildren and then returning to this house.  It was bigger than I needed, but it did the most perfect job of defrosting thoroughly without cooking the outside, so I really treasured it in spite of the fact it took up too much counter space.  It is my understanding that a built-in, or at least a microwave with a built-in spot, will come with the new house, so this one only had to last until Election Day.  Ha!  It died just a few minutes ago.  Actually, it is not dead, but it shoots off sparks like crazy all of a sudden.  I think it is about 15 years old, so I’m not surprised.  We could buy another one, but we can think of a number of uses for even that small amount of money.  I suppose I need to confirm that one is coming with the new place.  If not, we can go ahead and buy one, but if it is, we will wait and see if we can remember how to do without after 30+ years. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Very Important Knitting Post without a Picture!

I tried, but her not-noticing-I’m-taking-a-picture time span is less than my focusing span, even with an I-phone.  My 5-year-old granddaughter is knitting!  I got some of the Pony children’s needles from Jimmy Bean Wools, made a little ball of some orange Red Heart (her favorite color), and cast on 5 stitches and knitted 8 prep rows for a bracelet.  I’m using a suggestion from a Ravelry group.  It will have a button loop at one end and a cool button closure.  We have about 2/3 of a bracelet now.  I’ve been letting her stop and start when she wanted to.  At first, she would only do a stitch or so at a time, and I had to hold the left needle.  Yesterday, it was a whole row, and I had to hold the left needle.  Today she did two rows, and she held her own needle for almost all the stitches.  I think she would have done more, but we were interrupted.  Tomorrow will be our last day for a week.  Then we will have another week to work on it.  Maybe I can get a pic of the finished object!  And then there are the other two granddaughters. . . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looky What I Found !

I am in the process of cleaning out Mother’s hope chest, given to her by my father before their marriage, and passed on to me long ago.  Over the years, it had become a repository for precious mementos and assorted junk that didn’t seem to fit elsewhere.  I’m keeping the mementos and getting rid of junk so that I can use it to store quilts in the new house. 

While sorting, I found this:

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It’s a sewing/knitting bag that I never remember seeing before.  There is one little snag in a cross stitch on the bottom left, but otherwise it seems to be in excellent condition.  The fabric is made of weave-it loomed squares of wool yarn.  I know that my mother owned a weave-it (I have it.), but I do not remember this bag or remember her mentioning it.  It is possible that it came from the estate of one of her sisters, but none of them were given to needlework.

Here is a close-up of the bag showing the sateen lining and the detail of the squares:

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And, on the inside I found this:

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Mother always used a thimble, but this one looks like a slightly smaller size than her usual one, and I know that she had never been to Galveston. 

‘Tis a mystery!