Wednesday, February 28, 2007

And the cookie says...

Your winsome smile will be your sure protection

Fortune cookies can be so full of it, sometimes.

Yes, my “winsome” smile is back, despite a rather trying couple of days. I was sorely tempted to crawl back in bed this morning;

  1. My foot was particularly painful when I got out of bed & I found that we’re out of Ibuprofen;
  2. The sun was brightly shining after 4 days of pouring rain, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find my sun glasses (I have to wear them when I drive- tis the reason I have almost no wrinkles);
  3. I tossed some sheets into the dryer just before leaving the house; I stopped in the kitchen to drink the dregs of my morning tea & thought to myself “There is an awful lot of thumping going on in the dryer” & started out to the car. Then I heard a wee, small “Mew”. Coming from the laundry room. OMG- the @#$%$*#@ CAT is in the dryer! I pulled Dahlia out (who else would be that dumb), panting & eyes rolling, but none the worse for wear.
  4. Walked out to my car in the driveway, put my stuff in the back seat, started the car & backed up of the driveway… something felt weird; put the car in park & walk around in front- flat tire. (Fortunately, we have an air compressor in the garage- I was only 15 minutes late)
  5. Got to work with a blinding headache (having to squint while driving across town); went to turn on my little Zen fountain & meditate a little… nothing. It’s dead. ARGH!

Turns out, it was not just me; everyone in the back office was having the same kind of morning. I told them there is some bad mojo going on & we need to either close up for a Mental Health day, or call Feng Shui master to realign the office chi. Needless to say, I was over-ruled; some people just have no imagination.

Okay, you all aren’t having too much luck with this guessing game yet; I guess the clues are a little obscure. Here’s where we stand:

v A pair of women’s gloves

v A fundraiser tea party

And today’s hint:

v Index cards filled with notes

I will tell you that I have mentioned this activity in my blog archives~ check out the first 4 months on MSN.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Hey, kids! Wish I had time to visit right now, but certain individuals have decided to forget how to do their jobs, so I am currently up to my tuckus in corrections (work), adjustments (attitudes), & good old-fashioned hollering at the idiots who are paid enough to know better!

Here are a few Blog Things I've been collecting for just such an occation; I'll be back later with a weekend update & another clue. (I do have to say- you all have me in a really alturistic track with your guesses; I'm not nearly as selfless as you seem to think I am!)


Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ISTP)

Your personality type is reserved, methodical, spirited, and intense.

Only about 6% of all people have your personality, including 3% of all women and 8% of all men
You are Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving.

How Rare Is Your Personality?



You Are a Chocolate Cake

Fun, comforting, and friendly.
You are a true classic, and while you're not super cutting edge, you're high quality.
People love your company - and have even been known to get addicted to you.

What Kind of Cake Are You?


Your Quirk Factor: 43%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

How Quirky Are You?



You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.
However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

What Mythological Creature Are You?



You Were a Cat

You are an independent person who inspires others with your dreams.
A calm protector, you will fight when you need to.

What Animal Were You In a Past Life?

Cat Haiku

Wanna go outside.
Oh, poop! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

  Cat 8  

Author Unknown

Friday, February 23, 2007

Now that's just silly!

One year ago, I was perched in a hospital bed with an ice pack on my tummy, surgical hose squeezing my legs (leaving a blood blister on my tuckus), morphine drip trigger in one hand, and TV remote in the other. My room looked like the walk-in cooler at a florist shop and there was a steady stream of visitors from church, each telling me how good I looked; personally, I thought I looked dreadful- pale, no makeup, hair gone wild- but I just smiled and said thank you.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of my hysterectomy, I humbly present:


Ode to a Uterus

In my teens, you bore promises

In my twenties, you bore fruit

In my thirties, you bore trials

In my forties, you bore grudges

Not one to slip gently into the quiet night

You fought age and obsolescence

Like any dame worth her salt would

Demanding the spotlight though your day had past

Flows became floods, cramps became crippling

Until we could no longer co-exist

And parted company

I like to think that you are where

You have your f-tubes propped on a stool

Tossing back estrogen poppers

And bragging about the time

You produced a 10 pounder with no help

Rest in Peace- you done good


The scones are done- all twenty-one dozen (that’s 252, in case you were wondering); the scent of oranges still lingers in the house, drawing all who enter to the kitchen, in search of samples. For those who asked (and those who didn’t but want it anyway) here is the recipe:


1-3/4 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup currants (or chopped dates if you prefer)

Pre-heat oven to 425°; line baking sheet with parchment paper; Mix above ingredients together in one bowl; in separate bowl whisk together:


2 large eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp orange rind

2 tbsp orange juice


Reserve 1 tbsp of mixture for egg wash; Mix remainder into dry ingredients until just moistened; turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times- add additional flour if too sticky; pat out into a 1/2 inch high round; cut with 2 inch round biscuit cutter and place on cookie sheet; brush tops with reserved egg mixture; bake for approximately 15 minutes, until lightly browned; Cool slightly before serving; Makes 1 dozen

The trick to scones is to handle them as little as possible, to keep them tender. They can be tightly wrapped in plastic, then foil, and frozen for up to a month- just re-heat them in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, until just warm and softish.


Okay, since I’m too ornery for my own good, I can’t just tell you what my new project is (see #4 in A rousing chorus of cheers)- you are going to need to guess what it is. I will give you some clues and if after a reasonable period of time (to be established by the panel judge, me) no one guesses…I’ll keep giving hints.

The first clue is: a pair of ladies gloves.

Have fun!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Not excuses, just explantions

I’ve been shamelessly neglecting my Space & friends this weekend. My only excuse is that the weather has been too lovely to stay inside beyond what was absolutely necessary, as the weather is due to change again Tuesday. Many apologies and I will be by to visit you all soon (probably when I get back to work )

We had a nice dinner Friday evening, once we found some place we could actually get a seat: Texas Roadhouse- 2 hour wait; Olive Garden- hour & a half; Chevys- not answering their phone. We finally remembered that we hadn’t been to our favorite Chinese place, Happy Dragon, in a while. It’s a little, family run place, near where Sam takes karate, and everyone knows us there. We got all our favorites- pot stickers, orange chicken, sweet walnut prawns, & Dragon chow mien- and as usual, had enough leftovers to have late night snack & lunch the next day.

Saturday was spent running errands, after heading to the gym. I signed up for another Swap-bot exchange and I had to get the package in the mail; this one was a Winter Warm-up Kit: a mug, two servings of a hot beverage, yarn, needles, & a pattern to make a cozy scarf. I did a Costco run, and then home to get some lunch before doing the rest of the errands. Chris saw I was dragging a bit (for some reason, I woke up at 6:00 am) so he offered to go to Target and Home Depot for me- isn’t he a sweetie? I grabbed the opportunity to take a nap- Ahhh, what luxury! - I awoke to the guys washing and vacuuming my car. Yes, I know that I’m a blessed woman.

That evening was the Sweetheart Banquet at church, an annual tradition for us, particularly when Valentine’s Day falls during the week. The meal was excellent, catered by a member who is a local restaurateur, and the entertainment was fun, featuring… the audience! The evening was a series of contests, starting with one couple from every table, with the top 50% moving to the next round; there were word puzzles, a pillow race, match the show to the wife, a G-rated version of the Newlywed Game, & the final contest- dressing each other while blindfolded. Prizes were awards, bragging rights earned, and plenty of laughs all the way around. Lol 

Sunday, we headed down to San Jose after church, the cars loaded with boxes, tools, paint, and cleaning supplies. Why? Because Saturday was Jessica’s 21st birthday, and we were giving her a birthday present. She is without a roommate again, and is being forced to move out of her apartment (something I’ve been encouraging her to do since September), so we decided to clean it for her. I won’t go into too much detail, but it will suffice to say… YUCK! It took us 5 hours, a full bottle of Lysol, and 25 garbage bags to get the place just approaching respectable. That girl is definitely missing the “clean” gene; our home is lightly cluttered, but clean, and her father’s house is nearly hospital sterile, so I’m not sure what happen with Jessica. She was absolutely no help whatsoever- she had been out “celebrating” since Friday night, so was extremely hung-over. Once we did all we could and received mumbled thanks and hugs, we headed home for In & Out burgers. I ended the evening filing her tax return online, and thinking about all her unpaid bills & collection notices I found all over the apartment. (Can you tell I’m feeling some stress over this child? A few nights ago, I had a dream that I had given her poison in some orange juice, then buried her under a tree in my Mother’s backyard; I woke up thinking I had better go to the police and confess, since I couldn’t bring her back to life, and wondering if they would let me knit and does the prison library would have cozy mysteries. It took a full 5 minutes for me to convince myself that it was just a dream, and even then I couldn’t go back to sleep.)

It was so nice to have another day off and I spent it being domestic. I managed to sleep in for an hour, cleaned up the kitchen, started some chicken stew in the crock pot, and then headed out for a wind-blown walk. After a quick run to the grocery store, the rest of the afternoon was spent baking orange currant scones- eleven dozen so far, and nine more to complete. Huh? I know you are asking “Why so many?” Well… I’m not going to tell you yet! It has to do with my new project, part of my goals for this year, but I’m still not ready to reveal all. Not to worry- I will ‘fess up soon, once all my ducks are in a row, so to speak.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I decided to redecorate today, to reflect what is growing on in the garden. I feel the sap beginning to rise; the weather has been unbelievably beautiful, flowers are blooming in the planters I put together this winter, and I’m looking forward to a three-day weekend with more then a little pleasure.

I’m having one of my rare emotional days- tears & smiles are battling over my countenance. I sat this morning, reading the local newspaper; the first article was covering the Mass of Christian Burial for the young man who died in the car accident I wrote about in “Too young, too soon”. You should read the article here- the tribute to Mike Ucci was so life affirming; the tears came when I read young Bret, the driver of the car, attended the service. I respect the courage & strength he has shown- he will need it in the years ahead.

I can’t help but ponder the fragility of life, and how we never know what each day will bring. You see, we are commemorating an anniversary in our family: six years ago today, Sam was struck by a car while riding his bicycle to school. Someday, I’ll share that story, a living illustration of God’s grace and mercy towards us; but today, I just can’t- the memories are too close and painful to focus on right now. I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude that my child was spared, and sadness for the Ucci Family, burying their son today. I look at Sam, tall, straight, and whole; he is full of life and dreams, plans and schemes, and I am thankful for having another day with him. Tonight, we’re going out to dinner to celebrate the boy who lived and will honor the boy who didn’t.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happily Ever After?~ Parte Due

Okay, okay, Weimie- here's the rest of the tale!

I arrived in Kansas the end of August, just in time to start school. Chris & I spoke on the phone a couple of times, but it was too hard to keep it up. We each started dating again & the first part of December, I met B, who I would eventually marry. He was five years older, with a good job & a nice car, & was ready to be in a steady relationship. He had a close knit, friendly family who enthusiastically took me in as one of their own- I think half the attraction was his family.

After a year, I went back to California for a visit, but Chris wasn’t there. He had gone with the Young Rebels on a 4 week performing tour of Poland, Romania, & Czechoslovakia, & wouldn’t return until a week after I returned to Kansas. What he did do was send a huge bouquet of flowers & a cassette tape of music, with a recorded message telling me how much he had missed me, how sorry he couldn’t see me again, & that he would always care about me. I wish I still had the tape, but B wasn’t comfortable with me remaining friends with an old boyfriend- I think he threw it out, along with the few pictures I had of Chris.

B & I got engaged 2 days after my 18th birthday, much to the dismay of my parents, particularly after I told them I wasn’t going to college. Never one to sit & do nothing, 3 months before the wedding, my Mother called Chris & asked him to contact me. She was obviously hoping that hearing from him would cause me to reconsider getting married, & as much as I hate to admit my Mother was right, I nearly did. I was sharing an apartment with 3 other girls, students at the University; I came home one evening to a message written in big red letters “Chris G called & want you to call right away!” I phone him back & we spent a couple of hours talking, catching up on the past 2 ½ years, when he played his trump card: “I just wish I could see you again, now that we’re older & on our own- there is so much that we missed, so many things we couldn’t do back then.” Okay, that was not fair- I had pretty much settled in my mind that it really hadn’t been the Grand Passion & forever-after love, that I had just romanticized what was an ordinary short-term relationship. Suddenly, all those memories & feelings flooded back- here he was telling me it had been special to him as well. I got off the phone feeling very confused & restless; I spent the next couple of day mulling over the whole conversation in my mind, & decided to call Chris back. I went directly to the point: if I were to come back to California right now, what would our relationship be, where would we stand?

This is where the flaw in my Mother’s scheme showed up- she neglected to find out what was going on in Chris’ life at that time. He stuttered a bit, & replied that we would be “very good, old friends”- you see, he was living with someone & they were talking about getting married! Well, that torn it- I told him have a nice life & said goodbye. Then I got married.

I won’t go into my first marriage- as I said in my “101” it wasn’t really bad- it just wasn’t good. Mistakes were made by both of us & forgiveness was hard to come by. Suffice to say; at the end of 5 ½ years, it was definitely in the midst of death throes. The last year had been horribly stressful, after both the children had been injured in separate accidents, Robb quite seriously. I had taken the children to visit my Mother in California for a week in December; I needed some time away, as we had decided to separate after Christmas.

One evening, while talking to my sister, she asked me if I ever heard from Chris. I told her that I hadn’t spoken to him since before I got married & asked why she wanted to know. She told me how he used to come by to visit them every few months or so, but they hadn’t heard from him in nearly a year & wondered if everything was all right.

This got me to thinking about Chris again (as if I had really stopped), wondering if he was happy, if he had any children, etc; so I decided to call his Mom to see how things were going. His brother answered the phone, & after I explained who I was, he said that he remembered me, & that Chris wasn’t there right now, but should be home in a day or two. Huh? He was living at home again? Last I had heard, he had his own business & was getting married. Well, it took Chris two days to call back- 45 minutes before we were leaving for the airport to go home. We really only had time to express regrets for missing each other again & exchange phone numbers & promises to talk later.

I finally screwed up the courage to call him a week later. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t particularly impressed with him at 25. He had lost his business when the construction boom ended, had gotten involved in drugs, lost his house, his fiancée (they never got around to getting married) & his driver’s license; he was living with his Mom, helping out after she had cancer surgery, & spending entirely too much time partying. I was politely winding down the conversation, with no intentions of ever talking to him again, when my husband came into the room & demanded to know who I was talking to- when I replied “An old friend,” he began yelling that he knew it was a man, I wasn’t allowed to talk to men, etc. Chris could hear him, & asked me if I was in any danger- was he going to hit me? I assured him that I was fine & said goodbye; then proceeded to have a huge flaming row with B, one of many over the past year.

The following morning, Chris called me back to make sure that I was really all right. I thanked him for his concern- he really was a good friend- & explained about our situation, that I would be moving out the first of the year. He asked if it would be okay to call every so often- we were both going through hard times & it would be good to have a friend to talk to about things. So that’s what we did.

In the beginning, we would talk once a week; then twice a week; after a couple of months, we were talking every day. Through what Chris credits to my influence, he went off the drugs cold turkey; he started staying home in the evenings so we could talk & really applied himself to finding a new job. Once we got past all the macho posturing- I told him it was a lot of B*S* & he needed to drop it- I saw that kind, gentle boy I had known nine years before. Jessica & I were living with my Dad, while I worked at the local fabric store for barely over minimum wage, so there was no money or time for any kind of social life. I depended on Chris’ friendship & encouragement, since he understood how difficult it was rebuilding a new life from the ashes of the old. I also shared my faith in God with him, something he had walked away from after his father’s death.

Over the course of the next 5 months, friendship grew into love; but this was a different kind of love than before. We became intimate on a different level, sharing our hopes, dreams, & disappointments. Although neither of us said it outright, we knew we wanted to be together, yet we were still separated by 2000 miles. Chris encouraged me to come out to visit, to look for work &, more particularly, see if we really wanted to be with each other. So, the end of April, the day my divorce was final, I flew with Jessica to California.

I was so nervous- I hadn’t even seen a picture of Chris- all I remember were flashes of a skinny 17 year old- & here I was, a mother of two, built nothing like I had been nine years before. I drove up to his Mom’s house, & there he was, leaning against the fence, watching for us to arrive. He was so handsome, & definitely full-grown, but there was still the tenderhearted boy in his eyes. We hugged & kissed, then I introduced him to Jessica- she has never known what a stranger is, so she took right to him (women often do). That evening was really our first date; the three of us went to dinner at the local Italian restaurant & sat for an hour talking & eating. Since it was Friday night, there was a small combo playing music in the lounge; Chris asked me "Would you like to dance?" I replied, "I'd like to, but we can leave Jessica sitting here alone." He gave me a surprised look, & said "I was asking both of you!" That is one of my favorite memories- the three of us dancing together to "Unforgetable".

We spent the next seven days together; I found a job & a babysitter for Jessica within 4 days, & then Chris’ Mom asked me to move in with them, instead of sharing an apartment with strangers. I was overwhelmed; this woman was willing to take in a virtual stranger & her child for her son’s sake- but evidently, she had decided long ago that I was the right one for Chris. I went back to Kansas & gave my notice at work; 3 weeks later, Chris flew out, we packed up the car, said our goodbyes, & drove to California to start our life together. (Little aside- Chris had just started a new job 6 weeks before I moved out there. I was planning on driving by myself, since he couldn’t take off work so soon & really couldn’t afford to fly out anyway. When his boss, Pat, found out about the arrangement, he told Chris to take off four days- with pay- & used his frequent flier miles to give Chris an airline ticket. Pat & his wife are an awesome Christian couple & blessed in so many ways over the years, & Chris stayed with his company for 7 years, only leaving because we couldn’t afford to live in the Bay Area anymore.)

It was a three day drive from eastern Kansas to the San Francisco Bay Area; we stopped in Reno on the second evening, & called his Mom to tell her we were staying over- but she threw such a fit about not being able to drive up there on short notice, we decided to drive on through. We were married four months later, on September 2, 1988- but that is another story.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happily Ever After?

With Valentine’s Day creeping up on us again, thoughts inevitably turn to thoughts of romance; in particular, I think about the road that brought Chris & I where we are now. I think it’s time to share the next part of our story.

As I wrote in Isn’t it Romantic”, Chris & I met 28 years ago, when we were sixteen. While it wasn’t love at first sight, we did come to love each other- it just wasn’t time for our “happily ever after” yet.

Let me back up a bit. The year before we met had been really rough for each of us. Chris’ father had been killed in a canoeing accident on a trip with the Explorer Club- Chris had been in a boat behind his Dad & witnessed it overturning; his Dad’s body wasn’t recovered until the following day. He became “the man of the family” at 15, & had bottled up most of his emotions as a defense mechanism. I had been battling clinical depression, after a series of failed relationships & bouts teenage hormones. My stepfather & I had always had a tenuous relationship, civil at best; the arrival of my youngest brother (when I was 14) put enormous strain on that situation, which deteriorated into loud arguments & a shoving match one evening. By the time Chris & I started seeing each other in May of 1979, it had already been decided that I was going to move to Kansas, to live with my father for a year.

So our romance began, knowing that it would have to end in a few short weeks. Our time together was very limited- we lived in different towns, attended different schools, & neither of us was driving yet. I think in those six weeks, we saw each other maybe seven times, & talked on the phone once a week. We only had one afternoon alone together- we went into downtown Oakland to have lunch & do some shopping- all the rest of the time we had other people with us.

The most memorable time together was when my Mother invited Chris to join us for a weekend at our house in Carmel Valley. To say I was astonished would be an understatement- my mother was inviting my boyfriend to stay in the same house with us for two days- but I was glad for the time together, even it meant sharing him with my younger siblings. Not surprisingly, that weekend Chris & I became intimate; it was the first time for both of us, & while I know now that it wasn’t how God wanted us to begin, I can’t honestly say I regret that decision.

A week later, I left for 5 weeks in Spain, on a student exchange trip that I had been planning for a year. I missed Chris terribly & wrote him several times, but he never wrote back. I began to doubt that he really cared about me- what I didn’t know at the time (& he was too embarrassed to tell me) was he is dyslexic & very ashamed of his handwriting.

When I came back to the States, I had one week before I was to leave for my new home in Kansas. Chris & I saw each other only once that week; there was a dance that our club attended in another city, so we rented a bus to take everyone. Chris was very distant that evening- he chose not to sit with me on the bus & only dance with me once the whole evening. I felt that my fears about his feelings for me were confirmed- he’d got what he wanted & now was trying to brush me off.

After returning to town that evening, I was standing in the parking lot, waiting for my ride home. Chris came up behind me, wrapped his arms around my waist, & held me. I was surprised, given the way he had been avoiding me, but I didn’t want to argue at that point. We didn’t really talk much- I suppose we were just trying to ignore the big purple elephant in the room. He asked what time my plane was leaving & said he wanted to come to the airport with us; I commented that the year would pass by very quickly, since we were both going to be starting new schools. Then my ride came; we hugged each other tight, & as he let me go, Chris said, “I really do love you, you know.”

I left two days later. I didn’t call Chris to tell him when the flight was leaving; instead, I wrote him a letter that arrived that day after I left. In the letter, I told him that even though everyone was saying I’d only be away for a year, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with my family again; that even though he was willing to tie himself to me, it wasn’t fair to let him wait for something that wouldn’t happen; & that I as much as I wanted to see him again, I couldn’t face having our last memories being tearful goodbyes in a crowded airport, with people looking on. I also told him that I would always love him, regardless of any distances or time that would separate us.

To be continued…

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kids & knitting- Do we need anything else?

Happy Tuesday (grunt, grumble)! Thanks for the all blessings for Sam’s birthday- the day was a big hit with everyone. He decided that instead of a big party with lots of people, he wanted to take five of his friends to a movie & then dinner at his favorite restaurant. We all met up at the movie theater, bought the tickets for the kids, then Chris & I wandered next door to Barnes & Noble (we decided to take a pass on “The Messenger”). The next two hours past very quickly- not unusual when I’m surrounded by books & not looking for anything in particular. Books 

When the movie let out, the kids did a little shopping in the mall, then we drove over to GK Mongolian Barbeque for all you can eat stir-fry. Sam & I had been there before, however it was the first time for all of his friends, so they had a lot of fun experimenting with combinations of food & sauces. Man- can those kids pack away the food- even the girls had 2 or 3 bowls!  Chinese Restaurant 

We gave Sam our gifts: a 4-mega-pixel camera, 512 mb memory card, camera case, a mini-tripod, & the newest “Monk” mystery book. After dinner, we swung by Cold Stone & then home for some ice cream cake, where a multitude of pictures were taken of completely inane things. Once the cake was decimated, the kids all headed upstairs to play blackjack & watch a video. Most of the kids were picked up around 9:30; Sam’s best friend, G, ended up spending the night.

Jessica dropped to introduce her new boyfriend, Davíd (more on that another day), & say “Hey” to Sam; they only stayed for maybe 15 minutes, long enough to share a piece of cake, drink some water, & give me her W-2’s & signed tax forms to fill out & mail.   Accountant 

Sam must have told me at least 4 times in the past 2 days how much he & his friends enjoyed themselves Saturday; I keep thinking it was no big deal- just dinner & a movie- but he says it was his best birthday ever, so I guess it was a big deal. We are so fortunate that he is such a great guy & has chosen his friends well; they are all polite, respectful, & well-mannered kids, even when they don’t think we are in earshot.  I listen to them talking, & other then the occasional swear word, they are articulate & funny, & treat each other with kindness. In many ways, they are all still quite young & innocent, & I pray they stay that way for a long time.  Angel 1 

I completed a couple of knitting projects this week. I finished my sister’s scarf- I just need to weave some ends in & mail it off to New Mexico- & I finally finished Chris’ felted clogs. I started these way back in October & they were 85% completed when I put them aside to complete some deadline knitting for the holidays. I pulled them out of the project bag last week & realized I would be short maybe 25 yards of yarn in order to finish them.  Annoyed And Disappointed I also saw that one of the cats evidently had an upset tummy in the past month, because someone barfed cat food into my bag! Fortunately, it was dried & these clogs were just about ready to throw into the washer, so I brushed them off outside, sprayed them with Frebreze, & set them in the laundry room while I finished the last sole. I have to say- I was disappointed with how this set felted up; I had to wash them 4 times longer then any of the others & they still came out a little too big & different sizes. I even did a test swatch before I started (which I rarely do) since I was using a different yarn than before, but it felted really well- almost too tight, actually, so I went up a needle size just in case. Oh, well- it was a lesson learned (stick with Cascade or Knit Picks) & Chris probably won’t even notice the difference.

I even started a new pair of socks last night.  Sock 2 I bought this cool new yarn called “Tofutsies”, which is a blend of superwash wool, soy silk, cotton, & Chitin, which is a fiber made from crab & shrimp shells! According to the manufacturer, Chitin has natural anti-bacterial properties, which would make it great for socks, & with the superwash wool, I’ll be able to wash them in the machine. I’m trying a new, toe-up version of my regular sock pattern, using two circular needles- it’s a bit challenging in the beginning, but I like how it looks so far. For you knitters out there, I found a very cool site for knitting help videos- - which has beginner & advanced techniques, as well as free patterns & an open forum for questions.


Cat Haiku

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
sitting on your hands.

 Sleeping Kitty On Monitor  

Author Unknown


Friday, February 02, 2007

On the lighter side

It hasn’t been all gloom & sadness in the garden- the weather has turned almost spring-like, & our schedule of activities is starting to look promising. The bulbs are starting to push their way towards the sun, & before long I’ll be enjoying a planter box full of tulips, similar to what I saw at Filoli Gardens last year. Chris spent last weekend digging in the flowerbeds & cleaning up the yard; we are both itching to start putting things in the ground (drat those garden catalogs- harbingers of false hopes) but we have to remind ourselves that it is only February.

    v February is birthday month in our family (over the course of the next 27 days, we will acknowledge 10 birthdays) & first up is our Sam’s 16th birthday on Saturday, February 3rd. No, he will not be getting his driver’s license any time soon- he hasn’t even started driver’s education yet (probably next fall) & honestly, after the events of this week, I don’t think he’s in any hurry either. I’ve posted an album here of “Sam through the Years”, showcasing the joy of my heart. This was my promise child; as I wrote about here, Chris was my first love & my memories of those first days were decorated with dreams of someday. Our road took several unexpected turns & we were parted for nearly 10 years before we were able to finally build a life together. As I said in my “101” (see “About the Gardener”) it took 2 years to get pregnant with Sam, & from the beginning, it was a tough pregnancy. I started spotting at 8 weeks & the doctor ordered a sonogram for 3 weeks later, but began to prepare me for nothing to be there. I remember how Chris & I nervously gripped each other’s hands, while the technician searched for a heartbeat; I will never forget the moment when she smiled, turned the screen to where we could see, & there was my little man, waving his arms up & down, like Rocky Balboa. It was one of those rare, horrible pregnancies- 7 months of morning sickness, heartburn, edema, pre-term labor, & then bed rest. Sam held on; he arrived one day after his due date, in spectacular fashion (which has been his modus operandi ever since) 10 minutes after we arrived at the hospital in the labor room. He weighed in at 10 lbs 1oz, & 22-½ inches long- the size of an average 6-week old! Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had developed gestational diabetes & began to hemorrhage after delivery; I guess things were touch & go for a while. I had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days, & when I went for my post-partum visit, my doctor suggested that maybe I might not want to have anymore babies (between you, me, & the lamp-post, that was perfectly all right with me- giving birth naturally to a 10-pounder was enough to put me off giving birth for good!)
    To tell the truth, what we lack in volume (child wise) we made up in quality- Sam is one of those people everyone loves to be around. He’s cute & personable, quirky & bright, with a genuine & kind heart. God really took our best qualities & combined them into a living representation of our marriage. So, Happy Birthday, dear boy- you are our Sam-Man & we thank God for you.

    v Back in October, I wrote about a quilting group being formed at my church. I didn’t mention it before, but the idea came about through a series of serendipitous events. Someone gave my friend, H, several large bags full of really nice coordinated fabric, some with full bolts. She is a beginning seamstress & want-to-be quilter, so this was a wonderful, yet overwhelming, gift. H called another friend, A, who is also a quilter, & asked if she would like some of this fabric for her projects. In the course of sorting through the fabric, A mentioned an idea she had to raised funds for Women’s Ministry by making & auctioning off quilts. H enthusiastically offered to donate the fabric if A would make the quilts. A then called another friend, G, who has a vast library of quilt patterns for all skill levels, to get some ideas of how to use the fabric; G caught on to the vision & started calling other people who like to sew, asking if they would be willing to help. Well, we finally had our second meeting this week, since we decided not to try to meet in November & December. There were five attendees this time & we had a great time! G picked out 2 patterns to start with- a nine-patch & an album quilt- & three sets of coordinating fabric. We met at the church for about two hours, & cut out all the squares & strips for the tops of 2 nine-patch quilts. We’ll be meeting again in three weeks, to start piecing the blocks- we are planning on meeting once a month- I wouldn’t be surprised if we have both of the quilts done by June.

    v It’s my least favorite time of the television viewing year- Pledge Drive Week on PBS. I love the specials they show to drum up support, but it plays havoc with my viewing schedule! I tuned in to watch my favorite BBC comedy As Time Goes By with Judi Dench & it was pre-empted by another show, so I decided to go with the flow. They were showing the new Celtic Woman show & though I’d seen it before, I enjoyed watching it again. Then came the first in a multitude of pledge breaks, & I wandered over to the computer to do some blog strolling until the program came back on. Suddenly, the words “tickets” reached my brain- one of the gift packages being offered was a CD, a DVD, & two front row tickets to the show in San Jose. Hey- didn’t I just get a letter saying it was time to renew my annual pledge? Online I go, & see that for only $10 more a year than I pledged last year, I can get the show package. Hot Dog!!! We’re going to see Celtic Woman live on stage in May 16th- since the concert is on a Wednesday evening, Chris is going to take a couple of vacation days afterwards (we don’t handle late nights as well as we use to) leading into the Livermore Games weekend, so he can help set up the dance stage without having to juggle work & traffic.
    So, that’s the rest of our week. Weimie already noticed this, but I put up a list of my goals for the year (on my Spaces site), to help remind me what I want to do when I visit my page every day (who am I kidding- I’m on my page a dozen times a day!) If your interested, you can follow along on how I’m doing- just keep the comment encouraging & PG rated!