Thursday, January 31, 2013

Phone Conversation, or How I Spend My Day

Actual conversation:

Caller: Hi. Do you have any federal tax forms?

Me: No, I'm sorry. They haven't arrived yet.

Caller: Well, when will you have them?

Me: We're not sure. When the federal government sends them to us, we'll have them.

Caller: I called the IRS and they told me they haven't finished the tax forms yet.

Me: Right. 

Caller: So, do you guys have any tax forms yet?


I love my job.

It makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teeny Tiny Trees

The Man doesn't think I do any knitting at knitting class. He says there is no evidence of my knitting. And he probably thinks this because I talk a lot about the snacks we have and the laughing we do.

Imagine his surprise as I sprang this little cutie on him tonight when I got home.

A teeny tiny knitted pine tree. 

I am going to make a whole forest of them. A great way to use up all the wine corks I have saved.

If you'd like to make your own forest, you can find the pattern here.

He was not very impressed with this teeny tree. 

I proudly showed it off and he barely glanced up. When he did, he gave a smirk and said, "That? That's what you've been working on at knitting?"


Wait until I have my forest.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Downton Abbey thoughts

My favorite Hummel.

The little sweeper girl.

I think I'll call her Cinderella.


I'm sitting here watching the most recent episode of Downton Abbey. Again. I've already seen it once.

I can't stop crying. 

One of the saddest television episodes I've ever seen. 

So many things to make me weep. The dowager countess walking across the room, leaning heavily on her cane. Cora sitting vigil with Sybil's body. Tom begging for help as Sybil was seizing.

So many things to make me mad. Mary telling Edith they probably won't be friends, while standing next to the bed where their deceased sister is laid out. Sir Phillip's arrogance. Lord Grantham's bullying ways. Mary berating Matthew for usurping her father's role.

I seem to take extra issue with Mary. I find her to be a very self-absorbed character and not much to like there. She is much too focused on the estate and not focused enough on the people. And she doesn't treat Matthew very nice at all.

I have to keep reminding myself these are NOT REAL PEOPLE.

Does anyone else get so invested in this show?

Monday, January 28, 2013

So Nice to See You Again

Well, hello there. So nice to see you again, little blog.

I would like to say I've been away on a fabulous, tropical vacation in the Bahamas. Or Hawaii.

But nope. I have just been flat on my back with a horrible cold. Or the flu.

I do not think I have ever shivered so much in my life. Five blankets was not enough to keep me warm. And that was with the heat turned up to the mid-70s. 

The Man could not believe I was so cold.

But I am feeling much better now, thank you. And wanting to pick up my camera again.
This little guy is oh-so-very old.

I made him about fifteen years ago after we cleaned out the Man's great-aunt's farmhouse. I found an old quilt in one of the upstairs rooms made from scraps. It was full of holes from mice. The batting was just about gone and lots of it had to be discarded. The house had been in the Man's family for over two hundred years so we were not exactly sure how old the quilt was. But we could tell it was older from the fabric.

I was able to salvage enough of it to make two small snowmen, one for me and one for Mom. I used some old buttons I found for the eyes and body. I forget what I used for the mouth but it has since worn off and now there is only a little bit of glue left in its place. I like it. 

A tiny little half smile.
I forgot to wear shoes without holes today.

And it snowed.

Not my brightest move.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Price Inflammation

So K and I are having a conversation tonight about iTunes.

She cleaned her room today and discovered an unused iTunes gift card. It's amazing what you can find when you clean your room, I said to her.

Hmfpfh, she snarled at me.

Then she started shopping. At iTunes. The store she has been boycotting since they changed their prices from $0.99 to $1.29 for a song. She thought that was a ridiculous jump in price and hasn't bought anything from them for over a year.

Good K. Standing on her principles. I like that.

Until she found this gift card. Once she started shopping, she found they had some of her favorite bands priced at $.79 a song. That made her happy.

But what about your boycott? Most of their songs are still $1.29, I said to her.

Well, I've come to terms with inflammation, she replies matter-of-factly.


You mean inflation? I ask.

She giggles. Yes, that's what I mean. 


This is the girl who got an A in Calculus. 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trip Down Memory Lane

Our home is on a diet.  It's lost about a couple hundred pounds so far.

I am quite the trainer.


Some things I just can't part with. Not yet.

Like the hobby horses above. 

They are very tiny. And obviously home made. I remember making them with J and K one winter day when they were very young. We had been out shopping and seen some hobby horses in a shop and they wanted me to get them each their own horse. But, like lots of other young couples with very young children, we had a limited income and I could not buy them. 

But I knew we could make them.

So the very next weekend, the Man took an old broomstick, cut it in half and sanded the edges for us. The kids and I drew out our pattern, cut out the pieces from leftover felt I had from some past halloween costumes and started sewing. By hand.

They worked so hard on those horses. When they were done, they each picked out a couple buttons from my button jar and sewed on the eyes. I helped them with the tassels, made from an old pair of curtains, and made sure everything was glued down nice and tight.

We stuffed the heads, put the broomstick in, and away they went!


I am not sure what they will do with their horses. Maybe give them to their own children one day. But for now, they are a memory for me.

And I am definitely not throwing those out.
Look what the Man found in a box of tins his father had collected over the years.

An Educator tin. 

My father and uncle were talking about these crackers this past summer. I can't wait to show them the tin. 


I remember those candies in the green tins very well. My great-aunts used to buy them during the holidays and we would get to pick one out when we would go for a visit. My favorite were the peanut butter filled candies. 

It was such a treat to have a special candy at the holidays. 

A simple thing, really.

But oh so special. I wish I could thank those great aunts for making such great memories for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Too Much

Pretty bottles at our new favorite burger joint.

Got to have lunch with the kids this week at the new place. The Man is a bit skeptical. He says they only have lunch with me because I have the cash.

That may be.

But I say any day they want to have lunch with me is a good day.


More cleaning out today. So many empty boxes.

So many bags of stuff.


We have accumulated too. much. stuff.

Cold Simplicity

The year of simplicity continues this weekend. I'm being cold and ruthless. But only with the Man's stuff. I'm much more soft and lenient with my stuff.

Seriously, I can't stand the clutter anymore.

Box after box is being opened and looked at with a stink eye. If I haven't used it in the last year, it's going out.

Except for my Winnie-the-Poohs. I can't throw those out. I've had them about forty years, for Pete's sake. I got them before I was born. Ha.

I tossed out so much stuff last week. Stuff I may feel bad about later. 

But right now? It feels liberating.
My cup of hot cocoa tonight.

It was perfect for a cold night, along with my snuggly red blanket and a pile of knitting in my lap. I finished up an Irish fisherman's watchcap for J. He's been a wee bit upset with me for not knitting him anything.

I tried once.

But that hat was too small. The ear flaps were coming out of the top of his head. Ridiculous pattern for a  pinhead.

So I finally made him a hat that fits. 

He's a happy guy, especially since he's going ice fishing with a buddy tomorrow and it will be cold. He better not drop it in an ice hole.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Mathematical Certainty

I love his happy feet.

Dancing feet.


Just got in from seeing Les Miserables. Again.

For the third time, in case anyone is counting.

M wanted to see it and she wasn't sure the Hammer would want to see it with her. I knew K wanted to see it. Well, er, I knew I wanted K to see it. And a dear friend from high school, L,  posted on this blog a few days ago that she would love to see it again.

So I put the three together and got this formula:

(M + K + L)  ∙  3x(Les Mis) = Happy!

With x being me, in case you couldn't solve the formula.


Stick around this blog and you'll learn stuff. I'm tellin' ya.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Which I Sound Like Dr. Seuss

I love winter skies. Blue skies. End of day dusky skies.

And I love

Bare trees. Dark trees. Full of promise spring trees.
Went to knitting tonight. 

Just a few knitters this dark winter icy night. Too cold for some. To wet and snowy for others.

Just right for me.

It was a small group. A good group. A cozy night for talking group.
Warm house. Light house. Welcome me back inside house.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The Man and I had to bring our iMac back to Apple tonight.

We just got it back. Some sort of problem with the hard drive, causing a recall and replacement, forced us there last week. While it was there, the technician found a problem with the LCD panel.


Of course they didn't have the part we needed. So they had to order the part and it came in and back we went to Apple-land.


While we were there, waiting and waiting and waiting, we noticed that door you see above. Lots and lots of Apple employees go in and out that door at a rate of about a thousand per second.

You never see the same face twice.

Our Apple employee went behind the door and never came back. Another one showed up in his place and took over for him. About fifteen minutes after we lost the first one.

We discovered something, having been there three times in the past week. As a consumer, your goal is to keep your Apple employee on the floor, with you or near you. Do not let them go behind the white door.

Something strange happens back there, like some sort of time warp. And the Apple employee gets shot out a couple days later or something.

But...and here's the tricky part....their goal is to find a reason to go behind the white door. And they try to get back there as soon as they can.

It's a game. A very sneaky game to make you wait in the Apple store and drool over all their shiny new iPads and iPhones.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Special K

The winter mantel. Minus the clocks. I took those down. I really only had them up for New Year's Eve.

I like clocks, grouped together, all pointing to midnight on New Year's Eve. But I forgot to take a picture.



I got the sparkly snowman a few years ago at a local gift store. I bought one for each of my sissies too. The way he looks up at the heavens, holding that star, always makes me think of God.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Psalm 8:3-4

Humbling. And loved.
K painted this for Mom for Christmas. She's taken a few art classes and really enjoyed this particular technique. She uses a black and white photograph as a base (to get the shading right) and then takes two complementary colors, blending them together to get the different tones she needs. 

She worked on this for hours. And more hours. She kept tweaking the eyes, and the teeth, and the chins, and the hairlines. Until she got it just right.

She is amazing. 


Mom cried.

She couldn't stop looking at it. She kept saying to herself, "This is just....good. Very, very good."

Then she would look at K and smile, and tear up, and then look back at the painting.


Good K. Thoughtful K. Full of love K.

Special K.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

An Ordinary Day

Not a thing to blog about tonight. 

No photos to post. 

It was a plain day. 



Potluck social. 

Setting up the books for this year's treasurer work. 

A little football. Very little, really just background noise. 

Fell asleep on the couch. 


Life's ordinary moments. 

I don't want to forget them so today I choose to blog about them. 

Double Date Night

Last Christmas tree of the season. 

M and the Hammer still have a tree lit outside their cozy home. I love it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to the holidays yet.

It was so welcoming tonight, in the foggy night, as we drove up to their home. We were picking them up for an impromptu double date to dinner and the movies.

And oh what fun we had.

M and I were giggling like schoolgirls in the back seat, while the Man and the Hammer mocked us in the front seat. Which, of course, made us laugh even harder.


We talked about this, that, and the other over dinner. Nothing too heavy, just enjoying an evening out with friends.

So we're sitting at dinner, in this local Chinese food restaurant and after a while, a couple slides into the booth behind us. I noticed M and the Hammer looking over my shoulders and the Man's shoulders, eyes widening and then confused looks on their faces.

The woman behind us was unscrewing the light bulb in the lamp hanging over their table. Which made our table get a bit darker. 

Hmmm. That's a bit odd. I've never seen anyone unscrew a light bulb in a restaurant before.


The couple got up and went to place their order in the next room. M and I started egging on the Hammer and got him to go over to their table and screw the light bulb back in.

Which he did. With us giggling the whole time. Well, not the Man. He doesn't giggle.

After the Hammer fixed the light, he promptly went to the Men's room.


The Man, M, and I got up and started getting our coats on. As the Hammer rejoined us, the couple came back to their table. We hightailed it out of there.

I looked back through the window and the light bulb was unscrewed again.

Very odd.


On a side note, we went to see "Jack Reacher" tonight. And, yes, this was my third night in a row at the movies. I feel like a movie critic.

My critique: Very good movie. Funny. Over the top adventure. 

I highly recommend this film. 

All of us can't wait for the next one.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Les Miserables, Night Two

So I dragged the Man and Mom to see Les Miserables tonight.

I had to see it again.

I loved it just as much tonight. And I cried just as much as last night.

What a truly marvelous story.


"Mom, did you like it?" I asked, as we walked through the theatre lobby.

"I couldn't really hear what they were singing," she admitted, sounding a little sheepish.

"So, Mr. Man, did you love it? Did you love the movie?" I asked, as we walked to the car.

"Mmmm," he mumbled, dodging rain drops and not meeting my eye.


I'm not sensing the level of love that I have for this movie.


I waited until we were driving home.

"So, Mr. Man, did you love it? Wasn't it a great movie?" I asked again, hoping for a more enthusiastic response.

"Mmm, well, there was a lot of singing," he answered.


Of course there was. It's a musical, for Pete's sake.

And I told him it was mostly music and singing. In the interest of full disclosure and all that.

"I couldn't really hear what they were singing either, " he added.

That's it. I'm not taking him to see it again.

I'll take K. She'll love it. I'm sure of it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Les Miserables

Sissy and I went to see "Les Miserables" tonight. 

I have never seen it before. I kind of knew that it had something to do with the French Revolution. It just did not interest me. So when Sissy asked if I wanted to go see it with her, I was lukewarm about actually seeing it, but said I would go just to spend some time together.

As I sat in the theatre before the film began, I was thinking about Victor Hugo. And the other book he wrote, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Not exactly light fare. 

Hmmm...this may not be the happy-go-lucky musical I am expecting. As a matter of fact, it might be a bit depressing. Uh-oh. Too late to back out now.

And I am so very glad I stayed in my seat.


I am totally enamored with this movie right now. I came home and immediately went to YouTube to listen to some of the soundtrack. And see some of the clips.


Redemption, forgiveness, love.....this movie has it all. 

The actors and actresses did an unbelievable job, vocally.

Real voices. 

Real emotion.

I can find few words right now. Outstanding. Overwhelming. Heart-wrenching.


I included a clip from one of my favorite songs. Samantha Barks played Eponine just beautifully. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beloved Dog

This is not a technically good picture.

It is too dark. It is too grainy. It is underexposed in some areas and overexposed in others. The white balance is wonky. Even the composition is a bit funny with those pillows taking up a third of the picture.

But I love it.

It is real. It is emotional. It touches me.

I can feel how much K loves Jack from this picture.


We had a bit of a scare with Jack tonight.

His back legs are giving him some trouble and he was finding it very difficult to stand on them. He fell down some stairs because his legs kept giving out on him. And when he finally found a purchase, they were trembling something fierce.

He was so shaky. And disoriented.

We decided to take him to the vet. I did not want to go. I told the Man this. 

"No, I'm not going. I can't do this!"  I was scared. I did not want to hear anything bad.

He gave me a look. And Sissy told me to go. She was there to pick me up for knitting class. I'm glad she was there. She is a very calm person in an emergency.

I was a train wreck.

I love that dog so much.


When we left for the vet, Mom was crying. She loves Jack more than I do, I think. 

We told her we would call as soon as we knew anything. She stood by the kitchen sink, tears in her eyes as she watched us drive away.


The vet thinks he injured his back legs somehow. And that he has arthritis. I am not sure this is what is causing the problems. But I am not a vet.

She sent us home with some pain medication and muscle relaxers.

When we got home, Mom was so happy to see him. She kept petting him, saying, "He's not just a dog, he's a member of the family."


He's sleeping now. The muscle relaxer seems to be working because the trembling has stopped. We will see. 

But for now, we are all doting on him.

Beloved dog. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Small Town Girl

“This town of churches and dreams; this town I thought I would lose myself in, with its backward ways and winding roads leading to nowhere; but, I found myself instead. -Magic in the Backyard (excerpt from American Honey)”
― Kellie Elmore


My computer is in the shop. Photos are going to be limited to iPhone shots until it comes back.

Saw this in Anthropologie.

I think I can do this.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Quest for the Cutest Hat

J and K and I ate at a burger joint on the other side of the big city tonight. We had the place to ourselves since there were very few people out braving the chilly weather.

We were taking a break from doing a bit of shopping. J was looking for some winter climbing gear and K and I were looking for cute winter hats.

I thought this hat was super cute. I love the pompoms on the bottom. So I put it on and was marching around the store looking for the kids.

I found K looking at hats for herself. She glanced up, took one look at me and said, "Nope." Then she turned around and walked away. With a little bit of speed in her step.

J saw me from a distance, shook his head, and wouldn't come any closer until I had taken it off. Then he told me it was a cool hat if the pompoms on the bottom were removed. 


This is the one I bought. I love it. It fits, it looks nice, it flattens my hair.

You can't have everything.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


The Efficiency Experts

The Man and I met his sissy and brother-in-law today to pick up Mom from her two week visit with them.

They suggested we meet at the Vermont Country Store - a very unique shop, if I may say so.
They have all kinds of goodies and treats. Toys and tableware. Clothing. Household items. Most of their goods are items you can't find anymore. Nostalgic items.

Mom had a blast walking around the store. She kept picking things up saying, "I remember this! My mother used to....." or "I remember this! I had one of these for....."

The sales clerks thought she was a hoot. One woman spotted her showing me something and came over, put her arm around Mom and said, "Are you still reminiscing?"

It was great to see Mom smiling so much.
A very old looking refrigerator.

I couldn't figure out if it was truly old or just made to look that way. Either way, it was a beautiful piece.
We wandered around the store for about an hour or so and then went and had lunch together before we parted ways.

It was a perfectly lovely way to spend a winter's day.
Thought this was interesting. 

There were metal tracks all around the store, way up along the ceiling. Mom pointed them out to me, telling me what they were used for and how they were in use well before her time.

The money used to travel from the cashier to a central cash office, who would then return change to the cashier to give to the customer. Advertisements from the time period claim it was the most efficient and economical way to handle cash transactions in a retail store. 


I don't think people today would have the patience to wait for the cash to come back. 

It's funny how our definition of "efficient" changes as time passes.