Monday, November 29, 2010

What a wonderfully full week!

We’ve been busy this past week.

It all started with last Saturday when we went up to the Cities.  We stopped at Jody’s to drop off my rug loom.  I had torn it apart, marking the pieces so that we can put them together again easily, then Norm and I put it in the van.  Jody also got the chair that went with the loom.  Norm and I had discussed this and I found that one stool I had worked better for “Harriet Dare” so the chair (which fit the rug loom better) went as well.

The studio is much more open now, and when I do more organizing, it will be even MORE open.

We then went to Joy’s and spent some time, then the whole family followed us to Old Country Buffet where we met Jill for her birthday dinner and spent over two hours visiting and catching up.  Eric did not join us as he was fighting a cold, so stayed home.

Sunday morning we helped Joy get ready for the in-law Thanksgiving - where twenty-five were expected.  Norm and I headed out to Jill’s to spend the day; I have gotten a new phone with a navigator in it so used that to drive right to Jill’s townhouse without any human directions!  (How neat is that?)

We watched the Viking / Packer game while there - it’s strange to be with Eric and Jill during those games as we are used to Ken’s and Joy’s reactions; they are Vikings fans while J&E are Packer fans.  I sit in the middle - I like both teams and cheer for either team.                        

Our weather was tricky last weekend.  It started freezing rain while we were heading home to Joy’s on Saturday night; the freeze continued during the night (I nearly went head-over-teakettle while taking the dogs out during the night) so we borrowed Ken’s 4x4 Ford Ranger to go to Jill’s.  But it dried off and warmed off for the trip home Sunday evening so there was no worry getting back to Joy’s.

Monday morning was relaxing; the girls did school work and I did some knitting and reading; Norm worked on a spoon he needs to finish; Joy did some house cleaning and computer work.  Joy and Norm went to Papa Murphy’s to collect pizzas, then Joy drove me to the airport to collect sister-in-law Donna for her week here in the “Nort Country” ... she has never been north of Oklahoma.  

Even though Donna and Charles had been married just three months, they had been friends, then a couple for several years.  This was the first Thanksgiving without Charles so she asked to come up here to be taken care of rather than spend time taking care of her children.  She “ran away” for a week.

I had a winter coat for Donna, as her “winter” coat would only work for our spring / fall seasons.  However the weather was very mild on Monday so she didn’t have to wear the heavy one that day. After we picked her up, we drove to Joy’s for a late pizza lunch and then headed home, getting home in time for a late-ish supper, visiting and bed.

Tuesday, Candy came over to see Donna and we made pies!  Donna has a recipe for pie crusts that calls for oil, not lard or crisco or butter.  Also, she brought Oklahoma pecans for the pecan pies.  I have never made one nor have had one for Thanksgiving or Christmas ... so she made two and I will have to make them again, they were such a hit!

Tuesday night I received a text message (I’m getting hooked on texting!) from Joy, saying they were on the way; they arrived about 12:30 that night.  I was so received because the roads were supposed to be nasty the next day!

The plan on Wednesday was that Donna, Candy and I would go wandering around the area to show Donna places.  And also spend some time with Candy at her house.  I debated going over to Candy’s, but it was still dry underfoot when we left - although Ken stood in the window complaining “Where’s the rain?  They SAID it would be here by 9:00!”  At 9:30, while we were on the way to Candy’s, it started (only half an hour late, Ken!) and we had freezing rain on the way over.  By the time we headed home (no wandering today!), the windshield was iced over and Wayne had to scrap it for us.

So instead of wandering, Wednesday was full of getting ready for Thanksgiving, playing cards and visiting and watching the freezing rain fall.  Ashley has been asking me to teach her how to play the harp, so I got my beginning books out, explained how to play and let her go.  It was pleasant to hear harp music while we worked in the house.

Thursday, of course, was the big “T” day.  Candy, Wayne, Cookie and Binni had their turkey at their house while we seven had it here.  Then Candy and gang came over for pie and cards; by late afternoon the frozen roads had cleared enough for safe travel.

Friday, then, was our wandering day.  Donna has loved Laura Ingalls Wilder and the “Little House” books since childhood. We took her to Walnut Grove; the museum was closed, unfortunately, but the store was open.  We wandered through the store - I found a box of “old” (1961 copy write) patterns for many of the crafts we all do and Donna got a fridge magnet.  We then drove past the homestead site (road closed due to weather) and saw the monument that was put up close by.  Then to Westbrook and also to a few lakes in the area so that she could see ice on the lakes.

After dropping Candy off, we came home; everyone started packing as they were heading home that night.  Joy was going to take Donna to the airport on Saturday morning and they wanted to make sure that she got there in time.

Supper that night was leftover turkey and trimmings and pie.  (Oh! Did we have a lot of pies?)  While visiting for the last few hours, Bitty asked Donna what she learned in her educational trip up north.  

Donna learned that: we put fences up to keep snow out (her first and foremost laugh and learning); snow does not always come down from the skies - it sometimes (mostly, here) comes sideways; you plan all events and trips by the weather and listen carefully to what is expected; you wear a hat - she never even HAS a stocking cap!  Also, you dress in layers and LIVE in layers; most of the houses she saw (most of the older ones) are two or three (or four) stories high - there ARE one story houses but they are usually newer ones.  Ice is DANGEROUS to walk and/ or drive on; she knew that, as Oklahoma sometimes has ice, but not for more than a few days - definitely NOT for a week or more.  Let’s see what else?  The entry ways have a million coats!  Actually, we only have four or five coats, each, but when we add everyone else’s coats.  And (as Joy mentioned), when they come down to snowmobile, there are four sets of snowsuits, coats, boots, hats, mittens and scarves.  In Minnesota, as well as most Northern states, you need at least three different coats / jackets.  Fall and Spring lightweight ones, Summer ones and Winter heavy ones.  Also, Donna learned from stories, not from actual experiences, that the snow can go over the snow fences and can become crusty so that you can walk OVER fences if you want.

I think Donna was happy to get back to warm “normal” winters.  We had loaned her a heavy winter jacket, a stocking cap and gloves.  She rode in the car with a blanket on her legs, even though we have good heaters in the cars.  She was comfortable, she said, in the house - we boosted up the heat a bit for her, but we still keep the rooms in the high sixties most of the day.

So, now Donna is home and we are quiet here.  Having seven people in the house might seem crowded but it was not - but it did tend to get noisy sometimes, especially during card games.  Having eleven people for pie and cards just added to the fun.

The weather stayed around the mid thirties, but Donna was shocked one morning to wake up to +2ยบ.  Sunday it was in the low forties but today the temperature has dropped below freezing, the rain has turned to snow.  And, yes, it’s going sideways!  But it’s a beautiful day, none the less.  You have a beautiful day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weaving things

I have not posted about the Stitches in Time day that we had a few weekends ago.  It was a fantastic time and we had a lot of people there, for once.  Usually Candy and I are the only ones there with a pop-in from regular, Betty, for an hour in the morning.

Things were different this time.
Candy, Cookie and Betty's mom, Sophie, with Binni behind the computer
First of all, Norm and I went south-west one Sunday to assist a weaver-wanna-be in getting a “new” rug loom set up and to show her a few things that she needed to know to get started.  I invited her - Brenda - to join us at Stitches and she showed up.  I took
“Cherry,” my 15" loom to show her what a loom looks like all warped up and to show her exactly how you weave.

Joy and the girls came down for the weekend, so Joy came with me - it was her first time there; even though we’ve invited her often, she has never been able to come on Stitches weekend before.  

Niece Cookie also joined us and brought daughter Binni.  I had not told Bitty and Bubba about her being there, so when Norm brought the girls (after their late breakfast and chores), there was excitement abounding.  They stayed for a bit, then Norm took all of them home to be able to “hang out” (they are too old to “play,” I am told) and not have to be quiet.

Brenda came and we talked weaving for awhile.  Betty came and brought her mother, who wanted to re-learn how to knit.  Lois came; she is a semi-regular.  She had started a baby dress and had forgotten how to finish it, so Joy promised she would do it for Lois.  Brenda decided that she wanted to learn how to knit - she had a “learn-to-knit” kit.

Lois is working as well - you can see Cherry in the foreground.

Joy and Betty
Table runner and matching placemats 

 Finished table runner
Joy took over the knitting instructions, which was great for both Candy and I.  We can both knit but Joy can not only KNIT, she understands!  Cookie was doing some knitting, too.  She is learning to make socks, toe up, with the magic loop that I have never figured out.  So Candy and Joy took over her instructions.

 Joy teaching Brenda to knit while Lois looks on
Brenda, Lois and Betty
Joy's table cloth - handspun, dyed and knit
Candy helped Betty figure out a pattern on a crochet project she has.  She was given a partially finished doily and the thread for it, so between Joy and Candy, they got her started on that.  Joy not only crochets, as well as knits, she UNDERSTANDS crochet!  (I don’t think Joy is mine ... she must be adopted!)

I sat and wove — and nearly finished the table runner that I needed to get done.  With help from the gals, I decided not only how long to make it but who to give it to.

So now I have 2 projects done and ready for gifting.  And have started dressing “Cherry” for the next project.  I have figured out what I want for “Harriet Dare” but haven’t started yet.

One major project, semi-non weaving was deciding to give my rug loom away.  I have not woven a rug for over a year and decided the space was more important than the loom.  I offered it to Candy but she can’t find space.  I offered it to Joy, but the same ... no space. So Jody decided to take it - it is torn down and sitting in the van waiting to go up to the Cities this weekend.  I am now in the process of rearranging the studio to give me more useable space and more area to actually walk in, not weave around in.

I am also cleaning up other parts of the house, preparing for my sister-in-law, Donna.  She asked if she could come up for Thanksgiving; we are picking her up at the airport on Monday and we will have part of a week to visit.  

When we go up to the Cities, it will be to visit Jody and drop off the loom, stay with Joy and family and also be with Jill for awhile. She and Eric arrived HOME last week and are unpacking in their new place.  Eric plans on going up to his parents’ cabin to go hunting this weekend so we won’t see him this time, but there will be others.  

Joy plans on coming down for Thanksgiving but Jill can’t, as she starts her new job on Monday so can’t get enough time off to travel for a long weekend.  But there is Christmas (and Valentine’s Day and Easter, and my birthday and Norm’s birthday and all other times to visit) now that she is HOME.

It’s a cold, overcast day, but beautiful, none-the-less.  You have a beautiful day and a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jill!

Besides Veterans Day, today is also Jill's birthday!  I won't say how old, because most girls are sensitive to their ages until they hit around 62, when they get excited about retiring and getting Social Security.  And then, in their 80s, they get proud of being "so old" and aren't ashamed to admit how old they are!

On this auspicious day,  Jill is traveling with Eric and Remy and heading home.  After too many years away from easy visiting from me, they are moving back to Minnesota and will live in the Cities.

This picture was taken when we were in Australia, where Jill was born.  She is balancing on a see-saw.  Notice the hat ... over there, the sun was so hot that no child was allowed outside in the summer without a hat to protect their heads.  When we first moved there and didn't realize it, I got scolded by total strangers until I got into the habit of putting hats on the girls' heads.

Happy Birthday, baby!  May you continue to balance well in your upcoming years as a wonderful daughter.  We love you!

Veterans Day

On Veterans Day, we honor all who have served for our country.  Beginning with the Revolutionary War (and even before) up to today, there are thousands and thousands who have willingly put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us and to protect our freedoms.

Myself, personally, I have to thank my father (World War II and the Korean War), my brother-in-law, Darrell (Korean War), my brother-in-law, Wayne (Vietnamese War) and my husband (Vietnamese War).

Fortunately, they all finished their service records with good health.  None of them were wounded or killed while serving.

But then there is my brother, Charles.  He was in the Vietnamese War and, unlike the rest of my family, was actually IN Vietnam when he served.  I posted earlier (on his obituary) Charles' service record.  But on this day, I feel it should be mentioned again.

 During his military career Charles was awarded the Soldier's Medal, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, was  twice awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a bronze star, and received the Meritorious Service Medal.

Although Charles returned from Vietnam with no wounds, he suffered the rest of his life from the result of being there.  Mental suffering, as many veterans had, and then physical.  The Army took responsibility for many physical problems that resulted from Agent Orange.  Charles was one who had many of those problems.  He developed diabetes and heart disease from the chemicals. 

In fact, although Charles died many years after his service in that war, I feel that he is truly a victim of the Vietnamese War.  He is a hero who gave his life for his country that he loved so well.

Thank you to all who served; my prayers for those families who suffered losses because of their services.  A special thank you to Charles who willingly and devotedly gave his heart and soul for his county.

God bless America!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I have done my duty

Voting day is a fun day for us ... we go have breakfast at the Shady Drive Inn, then go vote.

It's fantastic to walk in and have our township "judge" say - "Hi, Connie ... here's where you sign!"

We had more people at the time than normal ... I was voter number 61!  I did not take a picture but if you can imagine 6 tables about 8 feet in length and a wooden booth.  I had a choice of using the booth or sitting at a table.  There were 1 or 2 people at nearly every table, making their marks on the ballot.  Then I walked to the machine that sucks in your ballot and talked to the gal in charge of the machine while I got my pretty red sticker.

What a difference than most of you have or will experience!  I have been to city voting places and have experienced long lines, bringing out my driver's license to identify myself, standing in long lines to go behind a booth to vote, either by machine or with a pen or pencil.  I will take small town voting any day!

Have YOU voted yet?  ARE you going to vote?  Do your duty to God and Country!

It's a beautiful fall day - you have a beautiful day.