Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am on the podium!

I mentioned earlier that I was competing in the Ravelry Olympics and I completed my race last night. I had two very competent judges critique my results and I was awarded a silver medal!

The awards will be given this evening and will be covered by CNN (Connie’s News Network) exclusively.

Daughter Joy finished her race before I did and chalked up more points. She won a gold medal, judged by the same two competent judges.

On a Ken note, I now have the pictures ready to post. We spent several hours there yesterday and I was amazed by how quickly he has recovered to the extent he has. Not that he’s well, by any means, but he was sitting up without support from the bed, sat at the edge of the bed for almost 5 minutes with his feet on the floor, ate ice cream and pudding and cottage cheese. Plus, he ordered a cookie as part of his supper. He went from not wanting to open his eyes to look at anyone to watching TV briefly. Ken is not being a hero but is taking his pain meds on a regular basis and is asking for more (he’s allowed more if he wants) when he feels the need.

Of course, most of the improvements came because Joy was there. Joy, Bill and I went yesterday. Norm and Bill will go with Joy today while I stay home and beat up the girls.

Norm will go home tomorrow morning and then come back next weekend to collect me. That way I can be here to help Joy and be with the girls. Ken asked that they not go up to see him until tomorrow, when he hopefully is feeling more alert.

So, here are the pictures … 

Bill is resting in the recliner

Our little corner of the world

Friend Emily who was knitting on my scarf (Joy taught her how to knit just a few weeks ago)

A harper came in to tune her harp before playing for a patient and played for us for a while

Sisters Yvonne (left) and Michelle

The judges with my silver medal place mats and the silver medal

 Joy's socks - gold medal

It was above 30º yesterday and will be the same or higher today. It feels like spring up here in the Cities.

It is going to be a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day.

PS ... I recieved a medal from Yarn Harlot .. it is a knitting one, but Joy says I am allowed to display it as I finished in the allotted time.  So, here it is!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A long but successful day!

First, and most importantly, Ken is out of surgery and resting comfortably (within reason). We all here would like to thank all of you for all your prayers, circles of light and candles burned on his behalf and on behalf of Joy and the girls. All of them survived the stressful day with calm and grace.

For those of you who missed my post about Ken, he had (HAD) an acoustic neuroma on his brain – it’s non-cancerous but it was pressing on his facial nerves and his hearing related nerves, etc. It was growing and if he had not had it removed, it would have grown to a size that would have killed him.

Okay, the day – here goes!

We (Joy, Ken, Bill – Ken’s father – and I) headed to the hospital at 5:00 AM. Norm stayed home with the girls, Peanut and Tasha (their dog, our “grand-dog”). Ken drove – last time of driving for a very long time – and we went to the University of Minnesota Hospital. We chose to have the valet service park our car as it was a couple of blocks to the parking ramp and it was +5º. Bill didn’t want to spend the extra money but we discovered that they did not charge for the service – the cost was only for the parking.

We arrived at the check-in place in time and waited for Ken to check in. I did not go into the prep-room with Joy and Bill as they only allowed 2 people there. So I waited with all our bags, blankets and a pillow for them to come back. Ken was prepped and rolled into the operating room at 7:30.

We then moved everything to the surgical lounge, a fancy name for a waiting room. The room is rather large and set up with little pockets of chairs and tables and recliners, so the family can be semi-isolated while waiting. We picked a far corner and settled down for the long haul.

Joy and Bill had talked to both surgeons before joining me; there was the surgeon who opened Ken’s skull and the surgeon who removed the tumor. Then the 1st surgeon put the skull back together. They were told that the “taker-apart” surgeon would take about 5 hours just to get the hole made. Then the tumor surgeon would take about 4 or 5 hours to get the tumor out and the rest of the anticipated 12 hours would be for closing up the skull.

We checked in with the volunteer at the desk, who then would call Joy to the phone when the nurses called with updates. At 8:30, she got the call that the surgery had started and Ken was asleep.

Joy had brought boxes of instant pasta and rice meals for us to eat as well as fruit cups, yogurt, Clementines, pretzels and water. We did not have to purchase any snacks (although I did get a Tootsie Roll) and did not have to spend money at the cafeteria. She’s very clever and organized that way (must get that from her mother! But not me … I swear she was either adopted or switched at birth!).

The rest of the day was sitting, walking, resting, napping on the recliner, visiting, talking on the phone, waiting – waiting – waiting – waiting! Joy and Ken have a large base of church friends who support them. In fact it seemed like Joy was almost drowned in affection and attention yesterday. I suggested she put a message on her phone, saying “This is the latest update; if you want to help, call Kathy (who is in “charge” of the family’s needs); don’t call me, I’m knitting!” But of course she didn’t – she knew everyone wanted to assure themselves of Ken’s progress and Joy’s mental health. As far as knitting, a dear friend gave Joy a pretty ladybug bag with yarn and pattern for making socks with ladybug patterns on them. She did not get very far – in fact my first sock on circular needles (with birthday yarn from Candy) is further along, but then, I’m just doing plain knitting and she’s doing 2 socks with the magic loop technique and was interrupted often.

I got a new MP3 player from Joy, as my birthday present player was faulty. I had loaded it up with music and a book by Dick Francis, but didn’t listen as much as I expected because Bill and I talked quite a bit.

The pastors from Joy’s church came to visit; Joy’s very good friend Cindy came with her family; Ken’s sisters, Yvonne and Michelle came around supper time with snacks and gifts and spend the rest of the time with us.

So, back to Ken – the expected 5 hours of opening the skull turned into about 6 hours. We later found that they were concerned that the tumor was stuck to the skull. Never DID find out if it was or not – at least I don’t remember hearing. Joy might know. Joy WOULD know. That little girl kept so calm and seemingly relaxed and sure that things would go fine. I was the basket case. I knew he was going to be fine, but I couldn’t help thinking about the pain he would feel when he woke up. I’m allergic to pain, you know, and I hate seeing it or knowing about it in those I love.

They called several times to say work was in progress and Ken was stable. I loved that … we knew approximately what was going on most of the time and knew he was not in danger.

They finally called and said the tumor doctor was starting to work. We kept an eye on the clock, knowing it would be about 4 hours. Again, they would call and say – progress is progressing and Ken is stable.

I kept in touch with Norm to tell him of the progress and check to see how the girls were. Joy talked to the girls several times. Norm said the girls were concerned and worried in the morning but seemed to gain control of their emotions and have a good day, all in all. I also texted my sister, niece and daughter Jill with updates all day.

A friend of Ken and Joy’s is a nurse in ICU and his staff is in charge of Ken. He was not on when Ken came out of surgery but he handpicked the nurse to be in charge of him. He sat, after his shift, and explained some of what would be happening to Ken and what we would expect in the next few days. I learned a lot about ICU from a nurse’s eyes. (A joke they often use …. The hospital gown is called an “I SEE YOU” gown.)

So, here we go … into the 12th hour … 13th hour!!! Oh! my aching back! Oh! my sore knee! We walked, we stretched, we sat, we talked, we did things to keep our minds occupied. Finally at 9:00 (12 ½ hours from the start) the tumor doctor came out and talked. He took so long because he wanted to make sure that he didn’t damage facial nerves. He was disappointed because he had to leave 20% of the tumor in, as it was wrapped around or stuck to a nerve and he would have damaged the nerve to get the rest of the tumor out. However, he says it is manageable and they will keep an eye on it. It is small enough that if it grows they can (in the future) get rid of it with radiology (or something). He apologized to US for the long wait we had. WE HAD????? What about the long amount of time HE spent bending over Ken’s head working with that tumor?

The tumor was about the size of a golf ball, which is large for that type of tumor. Ken will not have hearing on that side of his head as they had to destroy something connected with hearing to even get to the tumor.

Now it is 9:00 and the other surgeon is fixing the hole in Ken’s skull. And the time crawls on. 9:30 – 10:00 – 10:30. The computer screen that keeps track of the patients’ procedures finally (at 10:30) showed that he was in recovery. And we waited more. Michelle and Yvonne had over an hour (possibly 2) to get home and discussed heading home but wanted to actually SEE Ken and hold his hand, for however briefly we would be allowed to see him.

At midnight a nurse came in and had us move up to the waiting room near Ken’s room. We were not expected to go in for at least 30 minutes, as the nurses had to “prep” him; we were only allowed to go in 2 at a time, but there were 5 of us. However, the nurse called us and said …. “It’s so late, come in and we’ll prep him around you and all 5 of you can come in.”

We went in to talk to Ken and put our hands on him – I had to touch him to make sure he was really there and “fine.” We said a prayer over him then said goodnight and headed out of the hospital.

However, our adventures were not over. Since Yvonne and Michelle had used the valet parking as well as we, none of us had the keys to the cars or even knew where the cars were parked. But valet parking closes at 8:00. The gal at reception had told Yvonne and Michelle to go to the parking ramp through the tunnel between buildings and the cashier would have the keys and send someone to get our cars. However, the receptionist failed to mention that the cashier was going to be gone by the time we were ready to leave (although we didn’t know how late that would be).

At 12:30, then, we found the tunnel and headed 75 miles to the elevators for the parking ramp. But a gal that was walking by said that there was no one there that late at night and we had to go back to the lobby and call security. But going back to the lobby was 300 miles back up the tunnel. So we called on a “house phone” to security, told the person where we were (# ?? phone and # ?? elevator). We were told to go to the emergency room. Yvonne grabbed a courtesy wheel chair, put me in it, piled pillows, bags, blankets on my lap; Bill pushed, using the chair as a walker and we headed back to the main lobby. But the doors to the hospital lobby were locked!!! We were stuck!!! There was another house phone and Michelle called security again. We could see the security vehicle parked but couldn’t get out. However, Bill turned around and discovered a door opening to the outside; he pushed it open, walked around the little bump in the building made by the elevator and walked to the security van. We all said “OH!” and did the same. The lovely young, good looking knight in shining black armor put us in his van and took us to the parking ramp, got our keys for us and said goodnight (good morning).

We 3 were home by about 1:45 and were in bed, asleep by 2:00. Almost 22 hours between getting up and going to bed!!!! (YAWN!!)

This morning, now, Joy will call the hospital and we will go back up to see Ken in, hopefully, a more alert stage. We are going to wait until he’s out of ICU and in his own room before having the girls go visit.

I have pictures that I will post in a few days – I’m so tired that I don’t have the energy to even go find my camera!

Again, thanks to everyone who sent positive thoughts and prayers to the family. The longest, worst day is over; the rest is recuperating and recovering.

It is a beautiful sunny day today – I’m sitting in Joy’s sunroom with the sun on my back, enjoying the lovely winter view (with less snow that we have back home). You have a beautiful day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Work done and work in progress

I finished weaving the four placemats I wanted to get done during the Olympics. I have not hemmed them, yet, but will do so this weekend. Then steam press and they are done!

I finished a small table ‘square’ of Wall of Troy pattern on “Matilda” (36” loom); I have a long, LONG white warp on so I rethreaded it for a Birdseye pattern and started a table runner today. I might use it myself or I might gift it --- I’d love to sell some of my work but it doesn’t seem like hand-woven is selling on Etsy, so it doesn’t seem worth the effort to attempt to sell.

 Wall of Troy

Bird's Eye
I found a “new” weaving blog today; “Weaving Spirit” designs kits for Cotton Clouds, the place I purchase my cotton for weaving. She does exquisite work!

I heard on the news last night that of the first fifteen days of February, we had snow on eleven days. Technically, the Cities had snow that often. Down here, we had it more. When we snowed, very likely it wasn’t snowing up there. So I would guess out of fifteen days, we had about thirteen.

We DO get sun once in a while, though. After yesterday’s blowing us in, we had sunshine today and a warm fourteen degrees with very little wind.
Sunset through my window
This morning we head to the Cities to be with Joy and family. Ken’s operation is on Friday. I will spend about a week there; Norm will come home and then drive back to pick me up next weekend.

I’d like to stay longer but we have our New Ulm event in two weeks and I need to get ready for that.

Please keep Ken and family in your thoughts and prayers. We are confident that all will work out well, but the more people involved, the better it will be.

It was a beautiful day today; you have a beautiful day.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Martha Georgina!

Today is George Washington’s birthday! Now, I don’t care what people say about celebrating “President’s Day;” I am of the “old school” (which means, my children, that I am OLD and I look to the past more than I look to the future) and I want to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday as well as Washington’s.

I will admit that I didn’t get a mention of Lincoln on his birthday (shame on me) but I did celebrate it quietly at home and I am celebrating two birthdays today.

The first, of course, is the Father of Our Country, as he is often called. George Washington was a brilliant young man in all that he did and was a brilliant soldier as he grew older. He was also a brilliant president. He founded many of the traditions of presidency, including refusing to be called “Your Majesty” and refusing to be treated like a king. The reason we have a limited two-term presidency now is mainly because he refused to run for a third term; it was a tradition followed by all and only made into law after Roosevelt ran for (and won) a third term during World War Two.

His wife, Martha, was a very gracious First Lady and started many of the traditions still followed by most of the following First Ladies.

When they retired from public office, the two of them went home to their beloved Mount Vernon and lived happily and lovingly the rest of their lives.

The second birthday I am celebrating is that of my cousin, Kathy. She is two years older than I am and has been a constant in my life. When she was born, my mother wanted my aunt to call her “Martha Georgina,” but (thankfully for Kathy, they named her Kathleen Kay).

As I was growing up, our family would spend vacation time in North Dakota. Our hometown, McClusky, was where my mother was born. Nana, her sister, Auntie Pete (Mildred), and her brother, Uncle Hooky (Hugo) lived there with their families. We even lived there one year while my dad was stationed in Greenland and I experienced for the first time the joys of a small town life. I was also able to spend more time on my uncle’s farm and learn more about driving tractors and milking cows, both tools in my future life.

So Happy Birthday, Kathy! And many, many more!

Kathy is in the middle on the couch.  I am on the left, Cara on the right, Charles below us.
Candy was just a baby so not in the picture.

The barn on the farm where Kathy was born - they later moved into town.

We may get tired of struggling with the snow but we don’t get tired of looking at it!! 
Mail, anyone?

Sunrise the other morning

It is a beautiful day today, with the temperature near twenty, the wind blowing slightly and only a dusting of new snow. You have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My world is crumbling to bits!

All kinds of things are happening to make this a difficult winter.

Let’s start with the weather. Now most of you know that there has been measurable snow in forty-nine of our fifty states this past week. Even Northern Florida got snow! At least enough to make a snowball!!

Now here … we gave up counting inches at forty. Every day that it “promises” snow, we get at least two, if not more. But the depth of the snow is not the problem. It’s the wind. The blasted, everlasting, eternal wind!

Our drifts are up to ten or twelve feet deep in some places. Norm cleans out the driveway and the lane; there are some days that the wind blows the snow right back in after less than a couple of hours.

This last storm (not a blizzard, just a couple – well, four or six – inches of snow) blocked us in again. We managed to get out to Westbrook on Thursday for a doctor’s appointment. Norm managed to sneak into Windom for a dentist appointment on Friday morning, but had trouble coming home. We went to our neighbor’s .. LeAnn and Art … for lunch on Saturday. (They live three miles east of us,) On those three days, it wasn’t the drifts; it was the visibility.

But on Sunday … bright and sunny and not very windy, Norm headed to church. He was back in ten minutes – he had made it a quarter of a mile before turning around … the drifts were getting deep already. On Monday, Norm was going to go to the Farm to clean them out – there was a guest stuck who hadn’t gotten out on Sunday. The snowplow had gone through so he knew he could get to work. He drives the four-wheel drive pickup (with chain on the back wheels) and came back less than ten minutes later. He had gotten stuck trying to get OUT of the lane onto the county road.

And as he looked down the county road, he saw that the drifts were building again, even though the snowplow had been by only a couple of hours before. So he wouldn’t have been able to get to work (three miles away) if he HAD been able to get through. So he spent most of Monday with the shovel and snow blower clearing the intersection.

Tuesday (yesterday), the snowplow went by three times in the morning. Norm was able to get out with the pickup but I had to cancel my dental appointment in town because we couldn’t get the van out of the lane. So he drove to the Farm to clean them out and let the guest go home (finally).

And came home and nearly got stuck again on the county road. The road was drifting closed again.

So that’s the weather / snow report as of today. We have sunshine, very little wind and no snow coming down. Norm is working on the intersection, hoping to get it cleared. He finally found the mailbox (covered up to the very top) but the drift in front of the mailbox is about three feet so our mailman can’t get to it.

However, the rest of the “crumbling?” Well, the water softener has gone kablooie and we need to get another one --- have just been waiting until better weather when we can guarantee that we can safely get to town and back; also we have been waiting until Norm has TIME to go to town for a serious sales discussion about softeners.

Then this weekend, the refrigerator started making noises like a loud motorboat. A call to the appliance center assured us that it would cost too much to get it repaired – it’s ten years old – and we need a new refrigerator (sigh).

Brother-in-law Wayne called yesterday and said that HE had gotten HIS lane open and HIS snowplow man had gotten HIS road open. So, since it seemed nice, could we meet in Storden for supper? I called Norm and he said “No” but didn’t go into details. When he got home, he told me that we still couldn’t get the van out of the lane. And we can’t take the pickup into town even if he took the chains off the back wheels … the front brakes of the pickup are dead! And there ARE no back brakes (didn’t know that – he never told me)!!! (Sigh.)

Norm brought the big snow blower home from the farm to use; when he took it out of the pickup, the tires were flat and they had come off the wheels, so he had to fix THEM before using the blower (SIGH!!!)…..

Oh, Lordy!! When will it ever end? Norm is out there now using the fixed snow blower, trying to get the intersection open so he can take the van to work. We will have to do something about the brakes for the pickup, soon.

On a better note, the sun IS shining; the temperature has climbed to almost twenty degrees. Spring is “just around the corner,” so I’m told.

And I have a foot done on the second place mat. I should be able to get that one done today.

I did catch a pretty picture last night at sunset that I want to share.

Today is also the anniversary of my sister’s birth. Cara would have been sixty-two. Happy Birthday, Cara!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My little ol’ heart goes pitty-pat!

A couple of days ago I got a phone call from my darling Bitty. Now, she is 13 ½ and really growing UP in all kinds of ways. It’s amazing that this “little” girl is my granddaughter, but it won’t be long before she tops me in height! (But many people say … What’s new? Nearly everyone does!)

Anyway, she called to talk about weaving. She got a 24” 2-harness loom for Christmas when she was 10. For Christmas this year, she and Bubba requested warp for their looms (Bubba has a 12” 2-harness loom that SHE got for her 10th Christmas).

She wanted to know what kind of patterns you could do on the 2-harness. When she was here for New Year’s, we warped up her warp and I gave her instructions on how to dress her loom, which she did with many phone calls to me for assistance. Now she is ready to weave; she told me she had purchased some Peaches and Cream for the weft. (For those of you who don’t weave --- most of you, I bet --- the warp is the long threads that go through the harnesses and the reed. The weft is the threads that go sideways and interlock with the warp.)

When Bitty was here, she helped do some weaving on “Cherry,” my 15” 4-harness. She wanted to do “twill” on her loom, but you cannot do twill on 2-harness. But I promised her that if she got “into” weaving more, her Grandpa would convert her 2-harness into a 4-harness.

So, when she called (long story to get to this point, isn’t it?), we talked about what she could make on her loom. She has a 20” wide warp so she has many choices; I cannot tell you what she has decided to do because she thinks she’ll make presents for somebody on the loom. (I told Joy that if she needs help to help her and forget what Bitty was doing so that if it was for Joy, she could be surprised.)

So, again, we talked for a very long time about what I was doing and what she could do; it was a very exciting time for me. I love it when I “convert” someone to a craft I love; to have my very own favorite granddaughter (with brown eyes) fall in love with weaving, my all-time favorite craft!

And, now that we are speaking of weaving, I can finally show you the gift that I finished and sent off. This is for my brother and his soon-to-be wife; their wedding is today! I wanted to be there, but with weather problems all over the nation, Charles talked me out of coming. Well, Norm did, too. Calmer, more logical heads spoke and I had to listen. But I did get his runner done. Actually, technically, it is for Donna. I picked some of her favorite colors and it will fit on her dining room table. It’s about 14 ½ inches wide by about 7 feet long.


Now that it is done, I have finished a short bread cloth for my own use and have re-threaded Cherry for my next project.

There is a group called Ravelry that is mostly knitters, but other fiber crafters are welcome. The group has an Olympic event going on (Yarn Harlot has one, too); you start your project on Opening Ceremony night and have to have it finished by the Closing Ceremony. I have chosen “Blooming Leaf” for the pattern – the warp is white and the pattern will be Prussian Blue. I have enough warp to do more but my goal is to finish this project by the end of the Olympics.

My project is 4 place mats that need to be off the loom, at least, if not hemmed and pressed and ready for sale or gifting. I have the loom ready to weave now, and will start that this afternoon. I have been preparing it this weekend so need to get moving. I will probably put a movie in on my portable DVD player (from my mom) and watch while weaving, if the treadling is not too difficult to keep track of. It would be nice to watch the Olympics themselves during the day, but I’ll just not weave at night, since I don’t have a TV in the studio.

It is a beautiful day today …. Sunny and “warmish” --- +7º but strong winds, again. It’s a sunny day for Valentine’s Day … so you have a warm day today, even if it’s only in your heart.

PS ... here's a picture of the place mat, started.  I like how it looks; what do you think?


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eleven years ago today

I cannot believe that it’s been eleven years since my sister Cara left us.

Cara was a very special person from the time she became a “person” – not just a baby.

Words cannot describe her. She was stubborn, talented, smart, clever, wise. She was always there when I needed her for advice. She may have been younger than I, but she was an “old soul,” and knew more than I did about the ways of life and the ways of living.

Do you ever get over losing a sister, a brother, a parent, a child? Cara’s loss was the first big loss I had ever suffered and it was a shock to my innocent soul as well as a shock to my heart.

Many times I have a dream about Cara … she is either showing me that she is happy where she is or she is giving me advice (although often I do not remember what she said when I wake up).

I will always miss you, Cara. I will look forward to seeing you again in the future. I know you are waiting for Candy and I to join you. I love you.

Candy (left) - Cara (right)

High School era


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My head is spinning!

(And those of you who know me personally will say, “What’s new?”)

Yesterday my youngest son-in-law, Eric, emailed me with an idea. Could I weave a towel, place mat or runner with the Pac Man symbol on it?

Well, not with a four-harness loom, but with an eight-harness, is it possible? It boggles the mind (well, at least MY mind!).

So I went looking for patterns, looking for ideas, looking for anything to tell me if it could happen.

Now, I am going to let all of you in on a little secret … I am getting an eight-harness loom! For real! Honestly! I have made arrangements to pick it up from Deanna – former boss, current friend. She lives in the Cities and I’ve been planning on picking up for almost a month. 

Oooops ... Just found out that Deana's loom is a four harness.  Oh, well, plans for more complicated  weaves is going out the window but I'm still excited about getting another loom, just a little bit wider.

However (however!) the weather has not cooperated … we have rarely had one safe day for travel, let alone two; when we go up to the Cities, I need to see Jody and Deanna, as well as spend time with Joy and family. We WERE going to go up for the Super Bowl, but no!

So I am planning and looking at patterns. Last night I dreamt of finger weaving PacMan into a warp while Eric looked on. I hope he was approving – I can’t remember that!

While looking around, I found a fellow weaver, but SHE is a weaver extraordinaire! I may have been weaving for many years, but she has skills I could only dream of! Her blog is: Dust Bunnies Under My Loom.

I have finished the gift and it’s in the mail “as we speak” … it should get there on time for the special occasion. When I hear that he (she / it) has received it, I will post pictures and details. I also just finished a place mat / bread cloth with the rest of the warp.

Norm is going to do some fine work on a problem on “Cherry” before I start my next warp. I plan on doing some place mats with “overshot” … like the old fashioned coverlets. I’ve wanted to do overshot for a long time … now is the time!

It’s a beautiful day today. Started out this morning with snow and ground blizzards. Now we have sun and ground blizzards. The tracks Norm made going to work this morning are gone and he’s going to have to blast through, again. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Since it’s snowing out

Norm and I are having a quiet day inside. Well, I ALWAYS have quiet days inside, but Norm is usually out in the shop or shoveling snow or something more active.

But today he decided to fix the linen closet door. This door is an original from when the house was first built. It stuck and wouldn’t close properly. So he took it off and planned it down on top. Then it wouldn’t stay closed! So he had to move the striker plate. It still wouldn’t stay closed, so he loosened up the hinges and put a thin piece of wood there. So the door closes and stays closed! And even opens!! But he asked, “Why does a 15 minute job always turn into an hour job?” The rule around here is “Never ask why” and the answer to this question is “Because!”

Now Norm is working on the steps. I will post pictures of them when they are finished. If you are not aware, when the last owners built the addition on that is now my studio and our bedroom, they made five steps, all at different heights and different depths. We have had way, way too many people fall or almost fall, including me, on these stairs. So he tore them apart, measured, re-measured, and made the five into four even ones. It’s taking us a while to get used to the last step, as that one was only three inches from the floor. This one is seven and three-quarters inches, so we feel like we are going to fall when we step down. I don’t know how long it will take to get used to the “normal” step down.

I am working on the present for person (or persons) un-named, but thought I would give you a glimpse, especially since I don’t think the recipient reads my blog. As you can see, this has squares. It’s called “log cabin;” it’s hard to see the squares now, but they will show up better when the article is off the loom, washed and “fulled.” I have circled (well, squared, to be exact) two squares – if you look closely, you can see that one square has stripe-y things going up, the other one has it’s stripes going sideways.

Those of you who are weavers or wanna-bees, log cabin is pretty easy. If you have no interest, then come back another day, please, or avert your eyes for the next few paragraphs.

You warp your threads with every other one being a different color. The squares are more pronounced if the colors are drastically different. As you thread through the reed, you go for a certain width. I chose an inch width for my squares. I went blue / mauve / blue / mauve for an inch. Then went two blues, then mauve / blue / mauve / blue for an inch, then two mauves and back again. Understand?

As you are weaving, you do the same … alternate the colors for an inch, throw two of one color, then go an inch, throw two of the other color. Log cabin.

There is a log cabin in quilting, too. And my shawl that Joy knit me (purple one) is of knitted log cabin. I love the pattern!

I can’t wait until it’s done. I am so excited. At the same time, I’m dreaming of the next project …. Here is a picture of what it is supposed to look like.

The snow has slowed down some but it’s blowing some. I am listening to a favorite CD – “Civil War” by Frank Wildhorn. He composed the music for “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Scarlet Pimpernel.” I am so glad that I don’t have to go outside unless I want to. When the wind and cold are bitter, Norm does the chores (well, he SHOULD doncha think? … he EATS the eggs!) and I just do inside things.

It’s a beautiful day – it’s warmed up to +19º and there isn’t a whole lot of wind. You have a beautiful day!

Living History Fair

This was the 21st year of the Fair, but Norm and I have been going there only for 4 years. It’s a struggling thing (most are) but keeps on keeping on! This year there were more than 1,000 school children that showed up! That was a record, so faces were bright when we looked at each other and talked about the day.

Okay, we got there on Thursday afternoon. It only takes 2 hours to get there, which is a big reason for us going – ease of travel! We drove to the Swiftel Center, got Peanut checked in (they needed to see her shot record) and started setting up. It takes a while to set up because we are always interrupting ourselves to say hi to friends.

After setting up – Norm was in a different area for the school tours this year – we said goodnight to people (although it was only about 5:00), headed to the local grocery store, Hi-Vee, and picked up supper. Hi-Vee stores have delicatessens and most of them have Chinese available; since we have no Chinese close to use, we usually get that when we are near a Hi-Vee. We also picked up some turnovers and juice for breakfast and picked up some groceries for the up-coming week, as we will not be near a grocery store for a while.

Then headed to the motel. The one we chose to go to is very inexpensive and a little run down, but clean, warm, with comfortable beds. I set up the computer; we unloaded the car and got Peanut comfortable. Then sat on the beds and ate supper while watching news and surfed the TV for something good to watch.

Speaking of Peanut, I took no pictures of her this time – she spent most of her time in the crate. She has developed a great dislike to the noise and feels safer in there. So I keep the crate closed when school children are wandering around but let the door open for her to come out if she chooses when it’s quieter. We put a blanket over the crate so no one knows it’s a dog crate and only people in the “know” realize I have a dog. She did come out at the end of each day to visit people and look for treats. The children were eating a lot of that crystallized sugar candy and a lot of it fell on the floor. We had to make sure that Peanut didn’t eat that, as she does NOT need sugar in her diet!

Friday morning we got to the center bright and early to finish setting up and get ready for the mass of children. Each group that we have comes for about 25 minutes of education. Norm shows the way that spoons are carved; I give the history of fiber in that short time. I show how the ancient ones spun yarn with their fingers, made nets, discovered crocheting, knitting, weaving, invented spindles, looms and spinning wheels. Then I tell them about the machines in the factories that now make our yarns and materials.

After the children left, Peanut came out to wander some and I wandered, as well. I visited friends and looked at all the goodies that were offered for sale. And goodies I found! Some handmade lavender soap, a magnifying glass with a brass (gold) handle, a large Chinese scissors with brass (gold) handles, honey butter, beeswax. Norm picked up some honey, as well.

Friday night was a special dinner at the Elks Club, catered by the Hi-Vee. Wonderful food and lots and lots of it!! Good company, too. Peanut was in her crate in the car. The temperatures had risen from –13º that morning to +8 that night. We had lots of blankets in the crate, then covered the crate with three warm blankets as well. When we took her out, she was toasty warm!

Then “home” again to TV and computer time, a little bit of desert – oranges shared with Peanut – and bedtime.

Saturday morning we headed out – Norm had moved from the other room over to where I was so we were united again. We demonstrated all day, still wandering around at times (my doctor said I was to sit for only 15 minutes at a time to help my back). I did weaving all day, rather than spinning, because my friends Kelly and Marie had a group of spinners with them and I felt me spinning would be over-kill. Besides, most people have never seen anyone weaving or even seen a loom (some people call it a “weaver” but I’ve had mothers or fathers say “Look, child, she’s sewing!”) so it was fascinating to most who walked by. We had Joy’s yarns out for sale and sold a couple of skeins; Norm sold a few spoons and traded for some, as well.

At 4:30, everyone started to tear down. It doesn’t take long; I have 3 plastic tubs that I put most of my things in – shawls, spinning tools, pillows for sitting, etc, as well as the “Sisters’ Thing” items for sale. We made sure all food was in the cooler, I whipped off the table cloths and put them into the tubs and voila! I was done.

Norm tore down his shave horse, put his spoons and tools in HIS tubs and HE was ready. In 45 minutes, we were ready. Grabbed KFC for supper in the car got gas and headed home. Peanut, as always when it’s very cold, slept on my lap, under my lap robe. And you might say “How can you eat chicken with a dog on your lap?” Easy as pie. I’ve worked with her so that if I say “Nose down,” she burrows under the blanket and doesn’t even try to eat what I’m eating … unless, of course, it’s oranges, apples or popcorn! But I share those with her (Norm taught her that those three things are G*O*O*D!!!).

So, now the pictures …

On another note, I “met” a new blogger – she calls herself “Dogsmom” and just started blogging this month. Go visit her and encourage her in her new venture.

A note about Captain Jack Sparrow -- he was great!  The hand in his picture was me ... but it was a really horrible picture (trust me... it WAS) so I had to cut me out.  But I got my hand kissed by the Captain!

It was a beautiful weekend – the temperatures “warmed” up to about 15º both days, the sun was shining and there was little wind. Yesterday the sun shone most of the day and it was warm, too. Today we have snow, but are not sure how much we will get. So it’s back to snowy days, but still beautiful. You have a beautiful day.