Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cakes we baked last night for coffee hour at church this morning. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A wonderful Christmas! Posted by Picasa

Learning new things and ready for a new year

The new edition of blogger is out on January 1 and I am going to have to learn a new way to blog. Always something. Sometimes it seems to me that just when you learn how to do something, everything changes and you have to learn something again. I guess learning new things is always good.

We had a wonderful Christmas with Mike and Michelle. Four days of fun, with lunch out with my brother and his family, and Christmas dinner with Michelle's parents and brother's family. It was all fun. I got so many wonderful Christmas presents I can't even remember them all, but a high point was the new organizing system that Michael bought for me and taught me how to use. With a new job, it is a great thing to have.

George and I meant to leave their house at six in the morning the day after Christmas. We set the alarm on the television set in the guest room, because we didn't have a clock alarm. I fell asleep late, and...when the tv came on, it was on a channel that wasn't broadcasting, and George and I snoozed away to the soft light of the tv set. We woke up at 6. In a half hour we had packed up the car and were on the beltway on our way home. We drove through Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, and only stopped for necessary breaks and a Starbucks or two. We drove into our driveway at 4:00 in the afternoon. It was a great trip, no snow or ice, all nice weather, and everything went great. I was in bed early that night in honor of the start of my new job the next morning.

Christmas was great. New Year's Day is almost here. 2006 was a wonderful year, which saw a lot of improvements and changes and blessings.

I could not ask for more.

Have a great day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Getting Things Done

Michael has been teaching me the organizational system based on the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. He is convinced it is the answer to life itself, and I tend to agree with him. Yesterday we went to Staples and we bought the elements: a beautiful notebook case with a carrying handle, three hole punch, calendar insert, a contact list insert. Michael printed the sheets for me that he uses, and even bought me the pens that I write my lists with. Starting out with a "stuff" list on a small notebook, you then capture all the things that are taking up space on the great TODO list in your head, and write all that "stuff" into the project list, the action list, the waiting for list and the agenda list. Clicking things off your action list seems much simpler, and you move onto the next best action, until you check the project off as finished.

Does this sound like fun? It is! I am very excited about this and I haven't even read the book yet. I have already written four pages of stuff which is now safely ensconced in my new planner, with action lists ready to be acted upon. I finished two Christmas projects yesterday. The shopping list for the cookies we are baking today is in there. The list of what I would like to do while I am in Washington is in there, including a nice drive along embassy row to see the tasteful decorations.

The key is to carry the book with you and not be afraid to use it. I'm excited. Like mother, like son.

Have a great day.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas in Washington DC

George and I arrived at Michael's house today. We left at noon yesterday, got involved in rush hour traffic around New York City, stayed overnight in New Jersey at a nice Marriot, and arrived here at 2 today. Great trip. We stopped at a couple of malls for some last minute shopping. We bought a fruitcake at Harry and David's at an out let mall. Who knew that fruitcake would be so hard to find. I think it has a bad reputation, and no one seems to want any. George and I had not had any for years, and this year we were ready once again!

Tomorrow we meet my brother and wife and daughter for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and wrap, bake some cookies, and look forward to family time together.

Have a great day!
Jingle Bells!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and splendid New Year. We are heading for Michael's house today, and will be gone for the holidays. Have fun and be safe! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Somehow, Thunder never misses a chance to nap under the Christmas tree. Posted by Picasa

Gearing up for Christmas

It is that time of year when things always get a little bit hectic. This year I was able to do most of my Christmas shopping early, so that is basically done. I have to mail packages to Oklahoma at Christmas, and it is always a challenge to get those presents bought, wrapped and mailed first.

The lines at the post office this year were long. As I stood one day in a line with 17 people in front of me, I heard the lady at the counter says over and over, "Unless you ship Priority, it is not guaranteed that the package will arrive before Christmas." That was on December 11th, a full 14 days before Christmas. She said over and over that the postal workers only mail non-Priority boxes after all the Priority ones are taken care of. It sounded like a threat to me. So, I mailed everything Priority, and spent almost $50 doing that. Some other people, I noticed, took their chances on common sense, and mailed their packages regular. I could see the little thought balloons over their heads...14 days should be enough to get anywhere!

So, I braved the postal lines, and am now back home looking at the pile of gifts that is on the bed upstairs. Today is wrapping day. We are driving to Washington DC for Christmas on Wednesday, which makes me very very happy because I am a heavy packer, and I like to take what I like to take. We will have large bags of wrapped presents in the car, and a lot of happy thoughts about spending Christmas holiday with Mike and Michelle and Michelle's family. It is SO NICE to have a whole new family in the family, if you know what I mean.

Christmas cards are another stresser. I don't send out many, but even those that I do tend to go out at the last minute. This year I made many of my Christmas cards and tags using gold and silver embossing powder and a heat gun. I had fun learning about how to emboss rubber stamps, and I took advantage of having the time to do that this year. But, of course, I have more to do. It ain't over till it's over.

Today is a full day of Christmas prep, and by nightfall, much of the wrapping and writing of cards will be done. Then comes the hot chocolate.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday School

Of all the jobs that I have volunteered for at church, the best is being a Sunday School teacher. I don't have young children at home, and it has been decades since I did, and I am really getting a kick out of these youngsters. They have gotten used to me and I have gotten to know them, and we just have a great time together.

When I first started, I told them that I had only one rule: no interruptions. And that rule has stood by me to help me calm the excitable and keep the chaos down. I also started something called "Catch-up", which is a 10 minute period at the beginning of the class where they all get to talk about their week, or whatever is on their mind. We go around the room. This idea has really caught on, and now they love talking about themselves, and sharing with each other. It has also really helped me get to know each child and I think they all love getting to talk with NO interruptions. Listening to each other is such a gift I think!

We do crafts. Sometimes the time is short, so we have only 15 minutes or so. We often illustrate the Bible story using polymer clay, and I take home the little works of art and bake them and bring them back the next week. They really enjoy working with clay, and children are natural sculptors. I could NEVER do what they do so naturally.

The Bible story of the week is read by them, going around the table, and then we discuss the historical context, the geography of the region, the personalities of the Bible. My goal is NOT to interpret, but to hopefully give them something about the story to remember. We discuss issues both great and small, and I let them ask all the questions they want, and if I don't have the answer, that is ok too. I tell them that the Bible has been studied by scholars for centuries, and no one has the answers. Yesterday we studied the birth of John the Baptist, and talked about what it must have been like to be a prophet, walking in the desert, and baptizing people in streams and rivers. We often talk about the climate, the foods, and how it must have been to travel on foot.

Every week we have a different fruit to eat. One week I brought in a pomegranate and we talked about different Bible verses that mention this fruit. Yesterday when I asked what kind of fruit they wanted next week, they all yelled "Pomegranate!". Who knew.

Have a great day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The next pair of socks! Posted by Picasa

Another addiction

Some people are addicted to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, Coca Cola, scratch tickets...all kinds of things. I am addicted to making socks. I have just finished my third pair using Sockotta sock yarn, a mix of cotton, wool, & nylon which is perfect for socks. The wool makes them warm and pliable, the nylon holds their shape, and the cotton makes our feet comfortable in all conditions. This yarn is also superwash, which means it will last through lots of washings. One would hope these socks last awhile. They take a lot of hours to make. It takes me about 10 hours to make a pair of socks, and I usually can do a pair in about four days. George watches TV. I knit socks. And while I'm knitting away on these little cramped needles, I mull over why I like doing this so much. I used to think that this yarn was too fine, and that holding those tiny #2 double pointed needles too hard on the hands, but something has changed, and now I love making them. And, my hands do hurt. Sometimes I go to bed at night with both hands sore from cramping around the tiny needles. Well, we always have to pay for our addictions one way or another.

Three people on my Christmas list are getting a pair of socks, and probably more people than that before I'm through.

I tend to knit in stages. One stage, in a winter, I knit 18 hats. I made up my own patterns and got quite good at it, and I am happy to say that at a Stow, New Hampshire Knit-In Event, I won first prize for one of my hats. It was a hard audience to impress, and I am very proud. I'm all through with hats now, and have also knit through my shawl stage, my Lopi sweater stage, and my furry scarf stage last winter. Now I'm all about socks!

Hey. No hangover.

Have a great day.

So cute Posted by Picasa

Hand-knitted socks! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Wreaths from Connie and Yvonne

My friend Connie and I have been busy assembling the elements and making beautiful wreaths. I am giving some away to family and friends, and selling three on Ebay under Treasuresfrommyhome.

Connie is a real artist and these wreaths are very pretty. I have enjoyed the whole process of shopping with her for the balls and ribbon, and going to her house to pick up the finished product. She does the design. She does the work. I do the admiring and shipping.

The creative process is even more fun with a friend!

Enjoy the day.

Bubble colored pink and silver wreath with polka dot bow that hangs on my front door Posted by Picasa

Blue and Silver Posted by Picasa

The "Mexican Fiesta" Wreath Posted by Picasa

The wreath I sent to mom for her door. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Land of the Lost

My home office is in the diningroom. Recently, at Thanksgiving, when I had people over for dinner, I moved a lot of my work to other areas, and reorganized my papers and put them out of the way. Big mistake. I have misplaced several things that are important. I lost a bag of pretty jewelry pins that I had bought to give to friends and family as stocking stuffers. This was all very pretty sparkly stuff and I miss it! I have torn the rooms apart, looking in every box and basket, bag. Yesterday I realized that I have also lost my little red Moleskine address book. Losing one's address book just when Christmas cards are supposed to go out is a very bad thing. Today, I found out that I have lost a bill, which never got paid, hence, a surcharge, and another unhappy search for lost stuff. Somewhere I think there is a box, with a neat fitting lid, and in this box is all Pandora's stuff!

It isn't like I live in chaos. I don't. (I live in a houseful of yarn and knitting projects.) It is just that some gremlin had moved things, and I think the gremlin is me. Moving my stuff out of the way, and putting things away can be a bigger problem than just leaving it out where it can all be seen. Now I am threatening never to have anyone over for dinner again.

Someday I think that the Christmas gift pins and the crucial little red address book will show up. They will be found in a box, a basket, or a tote bag that I have neatly squirreled away somewhere.

Now WHERE????

Have a great day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Better late than never! Posted by Picasa

Post Thanksgiving Thankgiving

We went out with the family for a big Thanksgiving Dinner this year. It was a lot of fun, and the food was delicious, but...alas, since it was a buffet, there were no leftovers. And even more than that, I didn't have any turkey. The salad bar, baked salmon and shrimp was so good, I feasted on that, and didn't have room for turkey. So I've been hungry for a good roasted turkey ever since.

Last night, George came home with a 20 pound turkey. Just for the two of us. The turkey at this time of year was no bargain. It thought that maybe we'd find a sale priced one, since it is post Thanksgiving...but alas, it cost $30 for this bird!

Today we roasted the turkey, and I made sage dressing, green beans with almonds, a perfectly nice jellied cranberry sauce out of the can, creamy mashed potatoes with homemade gravy and creamed onions. What a dinner we had. And after dinner, we put away enough for several meals of leftovers, as well as the turkey bones and carcass which will make a drop dead tasty turkey vegetable soup for even more meals to come. Leftovers galore!

It seems a little crazy to make a whole turkey just for two, but...when you want it, you want it, and it was a lovely dinner.

Happy Post Thanksgiving. Now, bring on Christmas!