Saturday, April 30, 2011

Responsibility Will Set You Free

I've spent the past, oh, 4 to 6 weeks doggedly keeping at my Spring Cleaning.  I've been hard at it knowing that May would be bringing visitors and celebrations the like I haven't seen in 15 or 20 years.  This past week I crossed off my final Spring Cleaning to-do's (that's not to say there won't be last minute touch-ups) that I really wanted ta-done.  Including finishing off my wispy, shrug-like cardigan:
I am creating a project on Ravelry (complete with photos) for anyone who may want more details.  Check back for the link! 

With this sense of completion comes a tremendous source of satisfaction and ENERGY!  I'm so excited to have the hard stuff done, that now it's on to the fun stuff.  There are fabric buntings, paper garlands, and flower pot cozies to make.  Whee :)!  The past 2 days I've spent some time scrounging in my stash for the necessary items, and taking a final sweep into town for anything I didn't have on hand.

I will post more pictures, and tutorials in a bit, probably after this week?  I must say, I might be taking a break this week from the blog.  I don't want to disappoint by not doing any of these projects justice with diluted posts, but I am thrilled to have met my goal of 10 postings this month.

So I will wish you all a thrilling week, and please do check back next week for more surprises!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Home Stretch

It's almost time, I have about 2 more rows, that's all, just 2 more rows on the Whispy Cardigan.  So why do I find myself blogging instead of knitting?  I guess I'm an excellent procrastinator.  But, why really?  Why not sprint to the finish line?  I guess because I've learned over many years and many more projects, that it's the doing that is the most satisfying.  The imagining, while creating, of all the things you will do with this new something.  And somehow, reality never quite lives up to the imaginings.  Perhaps that's one of the reasons driving my insatiable desire to create?

Be that as it may, I do want to finish.  I have plans to wear this adorable little shrug-like cardy for my Niece's graduation, which just so happens to fall on the same weekend as Mother's Day AND my Birthday.  So, I will CAREFULLY find my way back to my needles, and oh so patiently knit those last 2 rows, bind off, weave in the ends, and Block my piece.  Probably the first time I've ever blocked a piece, but this yarn and this cardy-like shrug deserve, no, demand it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Spend the Day . .

You can't take it with you."  I never need to be reminded that life is short, but sometimes I need to be reminded not to fill it up with only things that need to get done.  This past month I have been busy as a bee between work (at the local Methodist church - I have renamed this past week "Holy Moly Week"), Spring cleaning, Putting the Garden in, and Preparing the house for company.  Oh yes, and there was that little jaunt down to Texas to help Mom unpack. And a Graduation Party to plan and organize. Such a busy and industrious time of year.  Easy to feel a bit overwhelmned at times.

So, did I really have time this week to make Easter candy?  I was grumbling and pondering such things as the week progressed towards my date with Aunt Betsy.  I'm so glad I had the discipline to stick with my committment.  We shared a wonderful afternoon, of course, and the candy making was fun.  But ultimately, it was a great excuse to get together and share the time and a lot of laughs.

Colorado Candy Girls
Which got me thinking, of course.  Why is it so hard to set time aside from our own to-do's?  And ultimately, why is it that those are the times that count the most?  I would have to guess that it has something to do with serving.  Funny thing is folks, for as much as we're serving something or someone outside of ourselves, we really end up serving ourselves the most.

Great Granny's Chocolate Covered Coconut Easter Eggs - Makes 6 Dozen Eggs
For filling:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb confectioners sugar
1/2 bag coconut (8 oz)

Combing the filling ingredients.  Form smallish (less than a teaspoon) egg shapes and roll in confectioners sugar before placing on cookie sheet.  Refrigerate overnight.

For coating:
 8 oz. of chocolate flavored candy coating (sometimes known as "Bark")
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chips

Melt the chocolate either in Micro (we didn't have such good luck) or double boiler.  When melted, drop eggs one at a time in chocolate and cover.  Remove with fork (tap tap tap the excess off) and place on cookie sheet.  Refrigerate until cool and set.  Sorry the instructions are a bit vague, but that's how our family rolls.

By the way, for any family reading this, you might like to know that Pappy used to get a fresh coconut and make a big production of cracking it open with a hammer on the back porch and then grate it fresh.  All with great flair, of course.  I love that Great and Pappy would spend their holidays like this.  Sharing time, doing the little things together.  They could just have easily bought the ingredients ready to go, hell, they could have just bought the candy!  But they made this candy, together, year after year.  That's how they built a life together for over 70 years.  What a great example, lucky us.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Confessions of a DIY Addict

I'm all for the Do-It-Yourself Movement.  I love growing my own food, sewing my own clothes, knitting my own sweaters.  But there are limits.  And sometimes these limits are not so obvious, until one has crossed them and into "DIY Madness."

What on earth possessed me to throw all caution to the wind and say, "What the heck, 'hair' goes nothing!"?  Not a good thing to say when standing in the Hair Color aisle of the local supermarket.  I've experimented a few times with luke-warm results: "Really honey?  You colored your hair?  I hardly noticed."  To be followed by such comments as "I don't know, I think you could go lighter."  For as much as I would love to pin the blame on my husband (as I am so used to doing) I really only have myself to blame, and possibly Rachel who grabbed a new shade and said "Try this color Mommy. You will look great!"

So, bolstered by my false sense of infallibility, I purchased the box and headed home knowing that a good time to dye would present itself this weekend.  But maybe I shouldn't have chosen 1 hour before we were due to Bar-B-Que with the neighbors (the woman of the household being a hair dresser of all things!)?  This go 'round the dye sure did tingle a whole lot more, and I wasn't so cautious about not rubbing it into the scalp.  Or doing a test strand first.  Or setting a timer from the start of application, instead of the end.  All NOT good things.

Long story short, I have glowing roots.  The box promised VIBRANT color, but this is taking things a little too far.  But no fear, this is only the semi-permanent variety of hair trajedgy.  It will only take 40 or so washes for it to be out, and I read if you washed with Grape Kool Aid, the blue tones will counter balance the "brassy highlights" a.k.a. ORANGE HAIR.  Great, no problem, back I go to the supermarket for a year's worth of Grape Kool Aid.  Not such a bad home remedy, it even smelled pretty good.  But did it have the desired effects?  Hmn, hard to say. 

My niece and I got a good chuckle over my excapade when she came over for Sunday Supper.  She even suggested I blog about it.  "Really, people like to read about this kind of stuff."  Ok, so why not?  Quickly my mind raced to think about what photos I could post, because I certainly didn't want to be post a picture of me doing my best "Bozo the Clown" impersonation.  So, off I trot to the recycle bin to pull out the hair color box.  And then I see it.  "Natural Instincts" Vibrant PERMANENT Hair Color.  Well, I don't know whose instincts they were talking about, but they certainly weren't mine!

Quick emergency call to our gal who cuts the family's hair.  Yes she can see me this week (after we attend a Seder for 25 - thank you very much).  She suggested I bring in the box, so she can see what the base color is.  "Why is that?" I ask.  "Oh, because I sure wouldn't want to turn your hair purple or green!"

Sounds like someone is going to be enjoying a colorful Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

X Marks The Spot, with a Dot-Dot-Dot and a Dash-Dash-Dash

and a BIG question mark!  Isn't that just life?  There have been a lot of questions swirling around in my brain lately, and I just have to wait for the answers.  It's that simple, and that hard.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have a higher brain, just a simple low-level brain, kinda like the chickens.  They don't worry about what the purpose of their lives are.  They don't question what they are supposed to do when their chicks grow up.  They just are.  They can just be.  Simple living: when its cold outside, seek shelter; when hungry, go dig around for some food; when its sunny, take a dust bath; when a hawk swoops by, duck and cover!; or when the impulse strikes, lay an egg.  Over and over again.  Day after day.  Season after season.
But our human lives involve just a touch more than that.  So many choices.  So many decisions.  As my "kids" grow I find myself quesitoning "what next?"  I don't really want to head down the wrong path, because I don't want to waste time.  The clock is ticking, and I want to make every moment count.

I guess I'll just follow the hens' example: when an egg has been laid, some gal will find it (if it isn't gathered) and decide she needs to tend to it.  So she sits and waits.  She sits and keeps this promise of new life warm.  She may get testy if you try to grab her egg, she may even peck.  But she won't move.  She sits and waits knowing that through patience new beginnings will emerge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pins and Needles

I took our dear, sweet Lucy to the Vet today to have her teeth cleaned, and I'm nervous.  The procedure involves anesthesia, and you just never know.  She is such a sweety, notice I didn't say angel.  An angel she is not.  In fact, she is a rather "bad dog."  Those words are in quotes because they are often repeated around our house.  Whether she has stolen cookies from the kids' rooms, swiped a cake from the counter, or stolen lollypops from the family room, it's all the same.  The stealth, the swoop, the glee and the chase.  Then the inevitable words, "bad dog!"

But one look in those doe-brown eyes, and any anger melts away.  How can you be angry at a dog who is just doing what they love?  And who can't relate to a love of food, especially the sweet variety?  And she is one of the most peaceful, loving creatures I have ever met.  Just don't come between her and any food!
Bless you dear Lucy, we all love you and pray for your quick recovery.

+++++++++++++++++Added some time later+++++++++++++++
Pepper misses you as well.  Just having gotten home from work, I've discovered I have a new shadow.  He is looking forward to you coming home!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hold On To What Is Good

and hold onto your seats, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.  Let's just say re-entry into my life on Brigadoon Farm hasn't been easy.  Perhaps I was spoiled by my get away.  And it's not that I didn't work, I did, but on one thing.  Thoroughly and to completion.  I wasn't distracted by laundry, cleaning, feeding, driving, going to work, or caring for anything else but that one task.  See what I mean?  Spoiled.

I guess I had my own unpacking to do this week.  It was more than a bit overwhelming to come back to all that I have created for myself.  The family, animals, property, job, house, you name it, none of it was good enough and none of it was getting what it deserved.  I felt so torn in too many different directions. 

And now I must say "THANK YOU" to my husband, children, friends and co-workers for weathering the storm with me.  I am so incredibly blessed that I have such loving people in my life to hold me up when I don't think I can hold myself up.  With their help, I will get back to taking life one day at a time, and allowing myself some grace when I don't measure up to my own expectations.

And a "THANK YOU" to my sister, Allison, who gifted me this incredible yarn so that I can continue to do what I love best, create with gorgeous yarn!

Allison's Color Way
And Anna, thank you for the house call and your healing hands.  And Pam, thank you for your kind listening, and lovely poem:

Hold on to what is good,
Even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if I've gone away from you.

Pueblo Indian Prayer

May all of you receive many blessings today and through this weekend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

Do you ever feel like, "What was I thinking?  Why did I want this or that?"  I know I have.  But not about this past weekend.  My parents have moved their home of 35+ years, pretty much on their own, and they will be the first to admit they are no Spring Chickens, but boy do they still have it.  My mother and I powered through unpacking her Crystal and China collection, and let me tell you, she loves to collect!  When I showed up she said our job was to unpack the 10 dish boxes (you know the ones that are about as high as your ribcage?) sitting in her Dining Room.  I wonder if today she is thinking, "What was I thinking?"  I sure hope I didn't push too hard, but not only did we get the 10 boxes unpacked, we got 11 boxes unpacked.  Plus the boxes of red dishware stowed in the huge walk-in pantry. Quite an accomplishment.

She was really hoping that we would be able to go through some of the things handed down from my grandparents, and we did.  More specifically, my grandmother's tea cup collection.  My grandmother would bring a cup home from her travels, and her collection was lovely.  I was able to pick out these four:
Grandmother Mercker's Tea Cup Collection
As you can see, they are all rather proper, well loved, English, and they all have Spring flowers on them, heaven!  I sure do look forward to having a Tea Party with them soon.  But perhaps the most valuable take away from the trip was the time spent together, going through her collections, hearing the memories of trips made and family no longer with us.  Time together, priceless!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Well Howdy Folks!

Made it to Frisco Lakes (Dallas) Texas to visit with Nan and Bump.  Beautiful home, even more beautiful sunsets. 
So glad they made the move safely and happily.  It's going to be a great weekend helping them settle in and celebrating.  What a thrill to be one of their first visitors!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Here!

Finally!  After much anticipation, I awoke to temps not in the 30's, not in the 40's, in the 50's folks!  That is cause to cheer, much like the hyacinths, daffs, and bees!

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