Saturday, November 30, 2013

Where is Christmas???

I simply do not get it!  My son sent me a link late last night.  As I looked at it, I felt ill.  Seven deaths and 88 injuries reported yesterday.  All caused by Black Friday shopping.  I am confused and distraught over this.  A teen fell asleep at the wheel driving home from Black Friday shopping.  Was anything she bought worth the fact that now her family will never have her there for another holiday?

Or the stabbings, beatings and other stupidity over parking spaces at Walmart?  Did the guy at Target need to be shot carrying home his television?

I refuse to participate in the frenzy of gift buying that happens on Black Friday.  I refuse to turn such a beautiful time of goodwill into something crass, ugly and mean spirited.  I did have to go out for a minute or two yesterday.  We actually ended up going to four shops.  I had been so busy earlier in the week that I had neglected to plan. 

Shame on me. 

I needed supplies to finish orders, dead lines cannot wait.  I live within two miles of all the stores I went to, if it hadn't been so cold I would have walked.  Maybe I should have.  It took almost four hours to purchase yarn, buttons, ribbon, a zipper repair kit, a few groceries, and to have lunch with Hubby.  I could not wait to get home. 

I loved going into Savers, it wasn't crazy and I actually managed to spend a whopping $22.  I walked out with a Christmas gift for a loved one and a lovely leather dress jacket for me, it needs new buttons (bought those at the craft store) but in mint condition other than that.

Lilly of Lilly's Restaurant

How did we miss this place?
A quick stop at a locally owned restaurant, Hubby and I had never been there, it is now a new favorite! We've driven past it for the almost 11 years I have been here and always wondered how they stay in business, question asked and answered!  It is amazing!  True, authentic Greek food.  I was transported back to the Crete I knew as a kid. 

Two craft stores (only slightly nutty) and a grocery store later we were heading home.  None of the time in the stores was long, it was the massive amount of traffic.  Luckily we know the back roads, but in a two mile radius there are only so many back roads.

Is buying presents helter skelter actually worth it.  Or it is today's version of the hunt, or Hunger Games.  Is it the one that scores the best cheap crap the winner kind of game?

Maybe the reason I feel this way is that I have had the opportunity to see it first hand.  Mom and Dad want their children to have everything they think they want.  Tons of gifts under the tree means success right?

Our twins don't live with us, so it is glaringly obvious when they don't wear, play with or heck even open gifts. Most kids probably don't, but when they come to visit so rarely it is easier to see.  The other day I was looking for a warmer sweater for grand baby to wear, as the twins haven't cleaned out their clothes in years I was fairly certain I would find something stashed in their drawers.  What I found was years of birthday and Christmas presents unused. 

Is it because they didn't like them?  Didn't want them?  Or was it as simple as there was not a need for them and therefore they didn't use them.

Maybe it is age, maybe it is that I am not a materialistic person, maybe it is the fact that there aren't any young children in my house anymore.  I don't feel a need to have piles of useless gifts to find homes for.  I would rather give each one something they truly want and need and just enjoy the good things the season brings.

I follow a page on Facebook, a little seven year old is making dog blankets to raise money for her favorite charity and even setting it up so folks can buy a blanket for donation to a local rescue/shelter.  WOW!  In my world that is definitely what this season is all about!

Making a difference in others lives. 

I love a handmade gift, because I know the person that gave it to me thought about me.  Even if they didn't make it themselves, but bought it from someone like me that thrives on being creative, that is powerful.

Years ago, many, many years ago my ex-father-in-law came for our first Christmas as a family.  I had spent much time making sure his gift was something that had thought and love put into it.  And as it came time to open presents I was so excited.  I ended up feeling crushed, oh he'd loved it, and thanked my ex profusely.  He'd put much time, energy and money into shopping for my ex and daughter.  Bought them so many gifts that never got used. 

Me... well, I knew my place after that.  He'd even been kind enough to leave the tags on the misshapen sweater he'd picked up for $2 and the scratched earrings that matched for fifty cents.  It wasn't the amount he'd spent, he could have picked a bouquet from the yard.  It was the feeling it left that he didn't know me nor want to know me (even though I'd known him for about 8 years at that point). I was kind and wore it while he was there, the sweater didn't hang right, one side was significantly longer and the earrings caused my ears to become infected.  There are many pictures to remind me of that time.  But I wouldn't have hurt his feelings for anything in the world. 

Funny, the only thing that remains almost 30 years later are those earrings, they are in my jewelry box, to always remind me...

Last night, listening to cars zipping by, remembering the harsh voices of people struggling to be the first at everything.  Thinking about the flashing lights of police cars and ambulances.  I wondered if people had truly lost the beauty of the true gift of Christmas. 

 My fingers were zipping through a few projects, a gift for a new baby, hats for someone's Christmas list.  When my cousin posted a question about a gift for a boy and then posted about it being started right then... A few minutes later I got a picture of an adorable little guy wearing a hat that I had made, someone had bought it for a gift. They loved it...

A gift for a baby not born yet...

Hope is not lost.  Not everyone is trying to buy Christmas... Today is Small Business Saturday, I am not hearing as many cars dashing past.  Sad. But ... I will be supporting small businesses today as I order my candles and shop for a few items I need.

I will not get lost in the chaos and madness of holiday shopping, it is not my thing.  For those that love it, I don't judge. I just hope everyone remembers what the season is truly about and that it can't be found in Wal-Mart, Target or any other shopping mall. Unless it is groceries for a family that is doing without or clothes for that child that won't have any... you get the picture right... It's in your heart.  It's pure and beautiful.  Enjoy...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday... I think not!

Sun slowly rising, sleepy eyes from a "long winter's nap" (I will take 8 hours anytime I can get it!), steaming hot coffee, peace and quiet, a snuggly cat and a big comfy chair yep... that is how I do Black Friday!

I hate shopping as a general rule there is no way on earth that I am getting up and going out to subject myself to the misery (yes that is how it appears to me) of shopping with hundreds of my non-closest friends. 

I tried it once.  For me... no go! Now I will brave the crowds at Strange Folk or another quality craft show. But there is nothing my family or I need that is worth doing that.  Oh I do need to go out later today, and I will.  I need a zipper for hubby's coat, a few balls of yarn, some buttons and ribbon, some water and Amp.  That is it.  Sadly that equals two stops, but I am okay with that.

I am a traditionalist.  When I saw tons of cars and police cars at so many stores on my drive home from my daughters house last night it really made me sad. Maybe it is because I grew up on military bases so far removed from that, or in European communities where stores close early (never open 24 hours), half day on Saturday and never on Sunday.  Where family and community are important and the consumerism isn't.  You plan ahead and then do without if you forgot.

The sun setting as we head into the unknown territory!

Since Tuesday I have simply had such a great time!  Work was sprinkled in, but that was it.  My girls and I had a date on Tuesday night to get our hair done.  My daughter has a friend that is a hairdresser, and I was needing a bit done, when a bun is the best style you can come up with it's time to trim at least.   She picked me up from work and off we went.  I felt like I should have been hearing dueling banjo's.  This place was seriously in the sticks, there wasn't even a street light.  Just the faint glow of two fluorescent bulbs struggling to stay lit in the cold.  It wasn't flashy and glitzy, it was homey and friendly.  My sweet little grand daughter was fed cupcakes and there was laughter and chatter all around.  If you have ever seen Steel Magnolia's then you know exactly the kind of salon it was.

Resting and watching a movie while we get our hair done
Keeping self entertained just beyond the elephant!

Taking a picture of Gramma, and being silly
After our appointment and the long drive back, at least to my house, the four of us went for dinner at the most charming little Mexican place.  I don't as a rule do Mexican food, it tends to not like me, this was delicious.  The waiter was so polite and delightful, his accent beautiful.  He did everything to make sure everyone was happy and loved their meals. It was a perfect end to the day.

Wednesday involved taking grand baby for her annual trip to the Fabulous Fox Theater, Grandpa and I have done it since she was little, she was two or three the first time we took her and she fell asleep. Now we have created a little monster that needs a steady diet of live musicals to survive! This time it wasn't Grampa and me though... it was her mom and I and it was truly fabulous!!  We've been trying to get Mom to go forever, but she wouldn't.  For some reason she decided she would go this time. I am so glad she did. 
So precious!

Styling for her night at the Fox!

Dinner for three
Dinner with my girls, both dolled up and ready for a party, and then Sister Act on stage.  It was perfect! Grand baby was mesmerized, her little shoulders moving with every song.  Momma was smiling and enjoying it too. And I was delighted to be sitting between my two favorite girls, enjoying them both!! As we were leaving, walking past the orchestra pit, my sweet little one as charming as can be thanked the conductor for a great movie!  At seven I guess that is a perfect reference for her.  He smiled so big and thanked her for coming.  She'd told everyone who would listen that she had been to the Fox many times before and listed all the shows she'd seen.  It was simply perfect.

My girls!

The trees at the Fabulous Fox
My girls!

We were blessed to be able to snatch her for the night so Mom could enjoy some pre-holiday fun with her friends. And when we got home she regaled Grampa who woke up to visit with her, of her evening as she enjoyed a late snack before bed.  She was so excited.  She'd taken pictures of the High School choir that was singing on the steps before the show, and told us that some day she will be on that stage.
Grand baby singing with her cookie
As her curls were drooping and her eyelids getting heavy I tucked her into bed. She is so precious, she makes her Grampa and I so very happy!

Yesterday was like the perfect conclusion to a trio of events.  I don't do Thanksgiving anymore, my girl does and she does it great! So I made a pie and green bean casserole and over the river and through the woods to daughters house we did go.

Sweetie pie was sick, not a happy thing.  But one of my sister's, her hubby and daughter showed up and one of the twins. Son, daughters, grand baby (sick as can be) how can it be more perfect! Hubby and I both love being surrounded by our family.  It was wonderful!  The way a holiday should be.

Brother and Sister crashed watching football

Is daughter burning evidence? Or simply starting a fire?

Hubby didn't make it long either...
I am so thankful for the wonderful loving children that I can proudly say are mine.  Their hearts are so big and the love they give unbelievable!  For me... surrounded by loved ones, laughing, talking and sharing is how a holiday, or any day for that matter, should be. 

Today... no, I'm not tackling Black Friday... today I am cleaning up my house and yard, putting up Christmas decorations will start, maybe even starting on my Christmas cards - I love to send and receive them - and I will work on holiday orders, while the turkey, I am cooking for our house, is roasting in the oven.  The peace of the holiday is much more important to me than rushing from store to store.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In an instant....

There is a car sitting on the lot outside our building.  It's an old Ford Escort. The color is simply black primer, it is meticulously clean for a car of its age and use.  I mean clean in a pure clinical sense.  Not like Hubby means it when he is talking about a "trailer queen".

That old primer black Ford, is held together with Bondo, duck tape and screws.  The seats are covered in plastic wrap over the soft cushions that cover the threadbare seats and springs.  There is not so much as a spot of dust or dirt inside that well worn, but obviously well cared for vehicle. 

It's owner was just as much of a character.  His personality was bold and vibrant.  He was a tiny frail appearing man.  But that was in appearance only, he was one tough fellow.  For hours he would do push ups and punch that heavy bag.  His grunts as he pounded on it echoing through the upper levels of the building.  Yeah, he might have appeared frail, but that was a complete deception.

Snippets of hair clung to his head, his clothing was as well worn as his car.  He'd often have safety pins holding the minor tears in his daily "uniform" of black pants, white shirt/t-shirt depending on the time of year and well worn dress shoes with white socks.  He would always have them mended by the next time he would arrive. He always had a toothpick in the corner of his mouth.  And never a harsh word for anyone. His blue eyes always sparkled as he smiled that kind smile and drawled "hey doll...".

His gym bag, well worn, was stocked with the basics he needed for his work out.  An equally well loved set of gloves, with duct tape on the palms.  He was a boxer to his very core. He would always pull out his wallet, black leather held together with two rubber bands, one that he'd tied together, to get out his membership card.

He wasn't wasteful or boastful, he was a humble man.  He cared for his belongings and kept them in good condition. He cared for his friendships the same way.  He had a few long time buddies, people that he had known for years.  People that he fussed with and disagreed with and always remained friends with.  He was not one of those cranky old men, in fact he was just the opposite.

For almost seven years we've talked, laughed, and shared stories as he picked out his boxing gloves.  He'd served his country proudly. It was the only time in sixty years that he'd not been a member of our Y.  A wiry little guy that always talked about all the beautiful women he'd had the privilege to know. Never was it said derogatory, it was with reverence. I am sure in his prime he was quite the dapper fellow and a great conversationalist.

He was so courteous and kind.  He would always talk for a few minutes, it always ended with "I won't keep you doll, you are busy..." as soon as you were needed to take care of something.  He was definitely a charmer!

Yesterday, he went home, doing what he loved the most. A couple of push ups and a few good punches to our heavy bag.  Oh please, his heavy bag! His heart simply wore out.  I wasn't there, I am thankful.  My heart is breaking just thinking about it.  I don't know if I could have been the one to watch it happen, to be beside him waiting for the ambulance, helpless and unable to do anything. His breath shallow and his heartbeat faint. 

At 82 years young, he went home.  His family had all gone before him, he was alone.  I am sure when that gate opened for him just in time to celebrate the holidays with his loved ones, I am sure those blue eyes sparkled, there was a toothpick in the side of his mouth and he softly drawled "hey doll... it's me Al"....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Snippets and bits...

There is a solid coating of frost on the windows, the garden is officially done for the year, and sadly we have no snow!  I am ready for a bit of the white stuff!  I don't mind cold weather, in fact I do best in it (strangely enough I don't hurt as much in the cold).  But if I am going to have dark gray skies, with heavy laden clouds, well... I want snow!

Since I didn't get any snow, I did the next best thing... I stayed inside all weekend and never even got out of my jammies.  It was such a productive weekend, so many projects finished.  Quality time with both my kids, Hubby tidied the house and watched a ton of movies. And I simply existed!  I really need that sometimes.

The queen sized quilt is done.  It only took about six hours, I am guessing.  I spent nine hours working on it, but I took a lot of breaks.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.  I hope the owner is too.  I also finished four sets of wristers, four snowmen hats, and started a fifth.  I am rapidly working through my list of orders.

Today before work I will start on the layette that was ordered.  I plan to get it done today or tomorrow at the latest.  It has the earliest delivery date of everything on my list.  I know she would like it before the holiday.  I have an order to send to Arkansas.  I want to have it done before the weekend.  We might have family coming up and it would be great to send it down with them.

I do best when I have serious time to devote to creating.  It balances me out.  I was watching a show yesterday that was talking about how the majority of people today do not have the ability to do what really makes them happy.  That we work jobs that we are okay with, but we are not passionate about.  And then we come home in the evening and immerse ourselves in our passions.  It kind of startled me out a bit. It was like he was talking about me.

I love my job, I love the people I work with and the people I work to help.  But it is not my passion.  My passion involves fibers, threads, paint, wood... any medium that I can create useful beauty with. If I lost that... I am afraid I would lose the very essence of me.

There was a period in my life that I simply couldn't create, my soul felt void.  For almost three months nothing was created, touched, even dreamed about.  It was a horrid, dark and miserable time for me.  I felt lost.  One day I saw a pattern and I knew that I had to make it.  It was a terrible struggle, I was very ill at the time and quilting when your hands shake and quiver is not easy.  But each stitch, every little bit of it, healed my heart.  I hope the child it was made for has it or even liked it.  I don't know.  The whole situation was odd and incomprehensible.  I never even took a picture of it.  As it was during a time I have only slight recollections of, I can only vaguely remember it.  I know it was a teddy bear, and I know I still have the pattern I used somewhere.  

What it looked like wasn't the important part.  What it did for me was. It healed my heart, my spirit and my joy.  It was a turning point for me.  To create for me is what keeps me whole.  I used to be embarrassed by it, I used to think it was simply odd.  I mean what reasonable person carries a ball of yarn and needles or a zip lock bag filled with quilt bits in their purse?  I am seriously the person that shipped all of their belongings from Germany to their new home, including most of their clothing, but packed in my suitcase my Pfaff sewing machine and a king sized white on white quilt in my carry-on so I could work on it on the flight back.

Back then it felt like it was a flaw.  Like I was too childish to leave my toys at home.  Now I realize, it is simply me.  I am a creative person.  My hands need to be moving, my mind exploring and it is simply a part of who I am.

I'm OK with snippets and bits of yarn around me, every tote bag I own is full of yarns, fibers, or fabrics. I am surrounded by the things that bring me joy.  Hubby makes sure that I have quality tools, the days of the $2 needles (with burrs and dull points) are long gone, and for that I am grateful. It only adds to the joy when I hold those beautiful needles or hooks in my hands.  To feel them sliding though the fibers is therapy.


My house is not spotless, but my mind is at rest.  I will choose the peace and sanity that comes with creating every time. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

sadness... what is happening?

Good morning.  I am so sorry that I haven't been posting.  I have really been struggling.  It is hard to write anything when your head is mixed up and too much is running through it.  I have been observing. 

And feeling sad. 

In this time of Thanksgiving, when people should be thankful and blessed.  It seems like more and more people aren't.  I am struggling to find that happy place.  To find people that are feeling and doing just that.

I am sad. 

Sad for my country, sad for my state, sad for people I know, sad for what I keep seeing around me, just sad.

I know first hand why I hate "Obamacare", Hubby and I lost all of our doctors as a result, still waiting to see how much my monthly payments go up. I know that luckily my plan was grandfathered, but no one else can get that plan, and who knows how long we will get to keep ours.  I know so many that are now facing insurance costs that they cannot believe, rising so much.  But hey it's okay, it's just for the people, not the "ruling class" that created the mess.

I don't recognize my country anymore.  That is where my stress is coming from.  Instead of stressing exceptional-ism and being the best you can be we are stressing mediocrity and excepting the lowest standards.  It makes me ill.

Each day there is something else that is simply horrible and unacceptable glaring at me.  My cousin could not believe that the book from a local town was for real.  She is dubious where Common Core education is concerned.  And she is a teacher.  Luckily for her, she is not a teacher in area's that are striving to make everyone the same.  She is still able to enjoy educating and helping young minds stretch.

We are not all the same, one size does not fit all.  Whether it is physical, emotional, mental, intellectual.  We are all different.  I long for the days that we recognized and celebrated the seven intelligences.  Now we are cramming everyone into the same mold and we are focusing on the lowest common denominator.

There are cookie cutter houses... how I loathe driving by neighborhoods where the only difference might be the color of the flowers planted in the window boxes.  My daughter summed it up perfectly for me when she was shopping for her new home and we went to a few that were in those kinds of neighborhoods and she said "I would hate to come home drunk one night and try to figure out which house is mine."

Moving forward individuality is stripped away by putting uniforms into place in school.  The whole point of uniforms is so that no one is any better than anyone else, I get it.  But isn't individuality more important than uniformity? I've heard all the "reasons", kids don't follow dress codes (isn't that the adults responsibility to enforce?), some kids can't afford as nice of clothing (so....), it will help them concentrate on their school work (really?)... So many of these things are just wrong, but people buy into the hype without digging into it a bit deeper.

Kids not following dress codes is an easy problem to fix, the adults are adults and make them.  For actions there are consequences, teach them that.  Come to school in an inappropriate outfit, go home, change, come back and try again. Pants sagging, go home and put on a belt. No one wants to see your underwear, it makes you look stupid. Shirt too small, go home and change.  What is so hard about this?  If a child pulls the same clothes from their closet every day for 12 years, when do they learn about fashion?  When do they learn to make acceptable choices?  Oh yeah, they don't... that explains the hoochy mama's at the mall and the boys (and some girls) that are going to have serious orthopedic issues in a few years from walking and running in such an abnormal stance to hold up their pants.

Some kids can't afford as nice of clothing?  Seriously?  I mean what are we smoking here?  There is no rule that says we all have to have the same clothing.  And where is the incentive to improve?  And FYI folks... guess what... some of those kids are still wearing designer "uniforms" and some are still shopping at Goodwill.  That is called life.  Deal with it.

Now I personally don't shop at Goodwill... the one near our house smells bad and I can't get past it.  But I love to shop at Savers! I could afford to buy my clothing at an upscale place to a large degree, but I don't.  Heck my daughter could, and I will tell you I had the biggest laugh of my life last night when she admitted to me that for the first time in her life she paid $40 for a dress!!  And she dresses like a fashion model, and 90% of her wardrobe is from second hand stores.  So sorry... not buying into that particular brand of brainwashing!

As for concentrating more on their school work... I cannot even go there!!  If it improves concentration so much then WHY do we have so many struggling school districts?  Why are our children not exceeding educationally? Why are there so many drop outs? 

Why does our biggest concern lately seem to be based on McDonald's paying a living wage?  When did fast food become the pinnacle of success? The ultimate goal to have a life and raise a family from?  Why aren't we aspiring to be doctors (although that is rapidly becoming a dangerous career choice), scientists, engineers, etc.  Oh yeah, when we said that everyone could all be winners, there are no losers, and we are all the same.  Because making everyone dress the same improves their concentration and school work so much that they are all doing so excellent.... Stop it!

Yesterday this frustration was really driven home to me.  We are a "safe place" for a local high school to come in the event of a fire or other disaster at their school.  Well right at lunch time one of those brilliant, dressed the same (sort of - khaki pants and navy blue polo can take on a million different versions when kids are trying to still be individuals), concentration improved young geniuses decided to pull their fire alarm.  My guess is it was one of the ones wearing their coat already, because the temperature was dropping and it was not at all comfortable for those kids. 

I have never, ever encountered what I did yesterday, I felt defeated and sad.  There were a few great kids in that bunch, and they were mortified by their peers.  Apologetic and hurt that they were being represented by the rest of those monsters.  I can't use the word animals, because that would be hurtful and untruthful to the animals who are better behaved. Those monsters were foul mouthed, pushed staff out of the way, were abusive and completely out of control. 

Their intelligence was further driven home by the fact that just minutes, probably seconds, after the words left the mouth of the teacher that told us one of them had pulled a fire alarm in their building our alarm screeched to life.

Strobe lights flashing, ear piercing noise, panicked members rushing out of showers and locker rooms in towels, business disrupted in the offices and rude, entitled little monsters laughing about it all, protecting the jerk who had done it.   All the while the majority of the teachers huddled together embarrassed and seemingly frightened of children that had never been taught right from wrong. 

Instead of being grateful to have a warm dry place to stand since their peer had been an idiot and picked a particularly foul day to set off an alarm.  They were loud, rude, disruptive, profane, and just flat out inappropriate.

After it was over, we had calmed people that had been dragged into their stupidity, and I was reflecting on what I had witnessed I was deeply disturbed. 

I don't think all of the "changes" going on are good.  We are teaching entire generations that it is not their fault, that someone else must dress them, think for them, will take responsibility for their stupidity.  And we are moving further and further down that slope.

Instead of teaching Common Core, instead of lowering everyone to the lowest level, why don't we push them to learn?  Make them stretch.  Those kids that pulled that alarm, maybe they weren't just jerks.  Maybe, just maybe no one had taken the time to teach them, guide them, build them up as people.  Maybe they were bored, because no one was challenging them.  That kid might have been a genius, they might have simply been bored. Why don't we celebrate the differences and help them grow to be exceptional?

I watched a video of one of the kids that had been playing the scary "Knock Out Game", he was shot by his intended victim.  In the interview he said the reason he did it was because he was bored.  Give them chores, make them responsible.

I am a firm believer that at the very core of us all is a desire to succeed, to make a difference, to push ourselves to our very outer limits and revel in the feeling success brings with it.  I think we all, at our deepest point, want to be everything we can.

I am tired of our governments, local, state and federal, working to keep people down.  Way down.  It's a method of control.

I want to live in a world where it is okay for mom and dad to correct their children without fear of reprisal, and with genuine care and concern for the adults they will grow to be.  I want to live in a world where children have to work hard to do their homework, they are forced to learn, not just drift along aimlessly.  

We are making critical mistakes in this country, and we are being distracted by stupid stuff, smoke and mirrors to keep us from seeing what is happening.

I am sad.  I am really struggling with all of this.  I am having a hard time sorting out what is happening in our world.  Dealing with how it affects me, the people I love, even strangers.  I am struggling to understand the terror that has caused North County to actually make the front page of the New York Times.  I have dear friends that live there, it terrifies me for them. All of this is making me crazy!

I am trying to find my happy place, I am trying to find a way to survive this insanity and still be me on the other side.  My old fashioned values don't mesh with what is happening and it is slightly damaging me inside.

When did this happen?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am a Christmas Addict...

Okay, I admit it... I am one of those freaks that can listen to Christmas time any time of the year.  And I love when the local stations switch to all Christmas music.  Oh I admit that some genre's drive me insane, but shouldn't we all have those beautiful melodies however we like them?  I try so hard to be respectful of folks that don't like Christmas music, I really do.  I limit my listening so that it doesn't offend or aggravate anyone, although I truly do not know how you could not love Christmas music!!

It's calming to me.  Maybe it is the simple reminder of what the season and holiday is about, maybe it is about the gift it represents to me.  It's possible that it is reminds my heart to be generous and giving.  I don't know, but it is a surefire way to calm me and center me.

Although I do have to admit that the house in full Christmas lights last night while driving home was a bit jarring to me.  I do try to wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate. This year though... I think we might put it up a bit early.  It's the first holiday season in a long time that my boy is home, and I want to make it lasting.  He is like me and loves it!

I am also excited because so many of my friends and family have small businesses, and so many people like me are choosing to focus on those small businesses to fill their Christmas lists.  They aren't rushing to the mall to buy something mass produced.  They are putting some thought and energy into their lists and supporting small at the same time!  I love it!  I have a crazy list of requests and as my fingers work on the projects at hand my heart is full.  Just like when I am looking at the list of candles my friend makes and ordering Thirty-One from my cousin for gifts. I fully believe in supporting small.  It makes me happy when I can do that.  It isn't about the quantity of the gifts, it's about the love and thought that goes into what you give. 

Right now, I think I am going to turn on that station that plays my Christmas tunes and get out my needles and make some progress before I start that "schnitzel with noodles"...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time for a Reset!

So... that quilt... yeah quilting and me were not friends today.  It simply wasn't going to happen.  I tried... but after ripping it out three times, giving myself a backache, and about having a complete meltdown, I decided it wasn't worth the frustration today.

Came upstairs, fixed a coffee and started to knit.  I never did look at my horoscope today, but I am fairly certain under creativity it said "horrid, run, avoid at all costs!"  I had 4 more rows on that set of wristers and was luckily able to finish.

My sweet hubby heard my meltdown, knew that I was loosing it, saw that even though there were fluffy clouds the temperature was in the high sixties and it was looking like a motorcycle kind of day.

Quickly getting dressed, getting ready to head outside and we heard it... rain!  Where did that come from?  Seriously?  This day was not getting better! Three frustrating hours fighting with quilting, the slowest 4 rows known to man trying to finish a wrister, I was simply feeling so stressed and the tension was outrageous! My arms, neck, back were so tight that I wanted to cry and now it was raining?! Yep... pretty sure it was time to crawl in bed and cry.

Yep there are several buildings over there...
 Hubby derailed that thought process... he took me out for lunch as we watched the pouring rain, winds so strong that we actually saw a tree on someone's car in the next lot.  In the middle of lunch we got a text from our oldest... seems parts of her roof were in her backyard.  She lives west of us, and she was right in the path of a nasty storm.  For another hour we had some nasty rain and high winds.

Bumming around Barnes and Nobles for a bit, looking for a few books (they had none of them - disappointing -  par for the path of the day) and browsing magazines (hoping to recharge those creative juices - yep - no luck!) we strolled outside to see what appeared to be a beautiful spring day minus anything green! Temps had hit the 70's, rain was gone, the only thing left to remind us of the mess was an incredibly strong wind.

An hour later...

Hubby was all over it, like a duck on a June bug as he says.  Taking us directly home and getting out the motorcycle.  He was determined to restart my day and get it back on track.  I love this man!! He always senses these things, he has a sixth sense where I am concerned and he manages to find the missing piece and put the puzzle back together.

I have to admit, I was a bit unsure of riding. I knew the storm had passed, but that wind... That was unnerving.  Hubby was sure it would be fine and off we went. Hard to believe sunny and warm in the later half of November.  It was amazing, absolutely amazing!

Several hours, a couple of incredibly strong Jack n' Cokes and a wander around the flea market later, we ran out of daylight and warmth.  It was time to go home.  We ended the fun by sitting on our front porch kicking at the leaves (that will wait for another day) loving on our dogs.
Shhh... he didn't know I was watching him get ready to ride...
Reset complete!  Sunshine, laughter, giggles, holding on tight and enjoying the ride... he really does know how to make me happy, even when I don't know what will make things better for me.  I never did pick up my needles, I didn't quilt anything, I never cooked, but I got two loads of laundry done, my mood got reset and I laughed.  I feel better now, tomorrow I will pick up those things I couldn't do today.

Looking out at the full moon tonight, I know it is all okay!

A rambling mind on a breezy day...

Left behind in the heart of Missouri...
Waking up to the soft twinkle of wind chimes and the smell of coffee is really not a bad way to start a Sunday!  It's unseasonably warm so we have the attic fan on and the windows open. Not even 6:00 am and the temperature is already 65 degrees.  Did someone trick Mother Nature?  It is the later half of November already!

I am enjoying it though.  I haven't had time to get my leaves raked nor put the garden to bed.  I seriously need to do something about my lack of time management skills.  I can't seem to tell people no when they are wanting or needing a special something to give as a gift.  And my poor house shows it.  I love to make things, I am passionate about creating.  Maybe not so passionate about chores. This could start to become a problem.

Today is going to be a busy one, I probably shouldn't have played most of yesterday with mini-me.  This coming week is packed solid, so the stuff that I normally do on Monday mornings will have to get done today.  I will be in a training all day before heading back to work until 9:00 pm.  It is simply going to be a long one.

I wonder if I thrive on keeping my schedule so full? I must I do it with great regularity.  I simply don't sit still well.  I honestly don't believe it is just me, I think it is more human nature to be busy and productive.  Now that isn't to say that everyone's interpretation is the same as mine, and that is one of the greatest things in the world, that we are all different.

I do admit that I believe our country was in a much better state before things got too easy.  As humans we used to have to work hard for what we wanted and needed.  Many of us still work hard, but its not the same.  Before the advent of grocery stores you grew and raised your food, you traded, or purchased at a general store or did without.  I get ill when I have to throw away something that has gone bad.  Particularly meats. A living creature died for that and the waste makes me sad, it feels senseless.

If you needed clothing, you didn't dash out to Wal-mart and pick it up, you made it. Everyone wasn't dressed the same and you made do. Same with your bed clothes and furnishings. We have so much waste anymore. So little concern in our rush to own stuff, we throw things away always wanting more and better. 

I am struggling with that right now.  I am trying to focus my energies on local and small.  My Christmas list is nothing like it used to be.  I don't want to spend hours in the mall or online looking for something unoriginal and mass produced.  I don't want to waste my hours searching for gifts that I feel the recipient will simply love and use, only to find out it went to a thrift shop, was regifted, returned or worse never even used stuffed under the bed somewhere.  I want and need things to have meaning.

I am not suggesting that we go back to the way it was.  It was hard or we wouldn't have found a way to improve it.  But now the pendulum has swung too far to the other side of things.  Now it is too easy.

We have kids making up games of beating people up, why?  They are bored.  They haven't been taught the value of things.  My sweet grand daughter may never sew again, but she has now experienced the value of making something useful for herself.  Kids need to be exposed to those things.  Maybe it isn't their favorite thing, maybe they won't ever do it again, but they have learned the skill.  They have been exposed to it.  Maybe if those kids roaming in packs hurting people, much like a group of feral dogs and cats, were exposed to things it would make a difference.  Taught skills and chores, made to rake the leaves or care for the people in their neighborhoods that were down on their luck, maybe they wouldn't be hateful and uncaring.

Today... well today there is a quilt waiting for me and a few chores.  Tomorrow starts things over again.  No I don't think I am alone, I am fairly sure there are more like me than the other way around!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Savoring the Simple things!

Sometimes... simple is the best.  After dinner last night with our oldest two and my beautiful grand baby the weekend got off to a great start!  Quality time with my kiddo's is always the best thing on my list!  I love the laughter, the conversation, the smiles and happiness!
A Princess Arrived at work... making Papa jealous!

Haha... letting me know she'd found him too!

Mama is ignoring all of us... she is up to no good!
We had plotted to steal our grand baby... it's been weeks and we missed her!  Lots! She'd had her hair cut, the color changed, celebrated Halloween and we'd missed it all! We live just far enough apart to make it difficult.  So we conspired, plotted and stole her!  Gramma and Grampa have to win sometimes.
Why yes... Hubby does know how to make the girl smile!

Excitement uncontained!
Today was a really awesome class at our Y.  It was a sewing class to make pajama bottoms taught by one of our volunteers. And I wanted her to go with me... a few pleading calls to mom and we got her!

After dropping Hubby off at Savers last night, Uncle and I took her shopping.  She had her heart set on something Christmas, because she loves Christmas.  After much searching, a bit or worry because we couldn't find any Christmas fleece, we finally did it!  We found a beautiful Christmas tree fabric that made her happy!

Driving back over to Savers I asked if someone could call Grampa, thinking he would love the call to be from her.  She smiled and said "I can't.  I only have Gramma and AT&T in my phone, and I don't call AT&T"... oh my if that didn't make my night! One quick call by me later we had Hubby and were heading home for Angel time! 

We didn't stay up too late, she was so excited to get to learn to sew and actually wanted to go to bed early.  She was so tired from being up early for school that she feel asleep really quickly.

Pining down the pattern

turning it right side out

First fitting... Thanks for the help!

Putting in the waist band...
Hemming the legs...

taking after Mama in the excitement category!

Off for a lunch date with Grampa... gonna wear my jammies!
As we headed out this morning she was saying how much she wanted to learn to sew and was so excited!  Three hours later, little Miss Thing was dancing and celebrating in her new pajama bottoms.  I was so proud of her when she gathered the other two little girls to do some coloring and letter writing to Santa after they were finished sewing.  Her natural leadership qualities shining through.

Mom struck back and talked her into coming home tonight, although I was looking forward to another evening with her.  I hate to let her go, but I know that little princess that only has Gramma and now Grampa in her cell phone, will be back.  We will make more wonderful memories and I will cherish each and every one of them!

Hubby is sleeping, he's managed to catch a bug, so sadly he didn't get to have as much fun as I did.  She'd already gone home when he woke up briefly.  Tomorrow he will sleep and I will quilt.  I have a quilt to get finished for someone.  It is beautiful, the other mystery quilt.  WOW!  I wasn't sure, those colors were so bold, not like me at all, but WOW!  It is so beautiful, so gorgeous, I hope I can do it justice.

Well, the rain that was promised has finally arrived and I think I am going to finish up a couple of projects before I head off to bed myself.  I hope that everyone has had time for some simple things.  A moment or two to enjoy the day with their family, to laugh with a child or learn something new.  Those are the things that create wonderful memories!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Spinning away a Cold...

I have been very bad about posting... work, a cold and a minor flare, have all conspired to give me the give-a-darns about everything.

I have simply wanted to curl up in a ball and rest.  Luckily, it feels like the cold is moving on, either that or the medicine has me completely fooled.  And that is a distinct possibility!  I can admit that I am really glad today is Friday, even if I am going to "work" tomorrow.  Although I am strictly going to play!

Before finding this miserable cold laying around in Kansas City, I was able to get 8 ounces of the softest, most beautiful wool spun.  Now even though there are projects on the needles and things I need to do, I am wanting to create something with it.  I don't know what... just something.  Anything!  It is such a beautiful color with the softest drape, I love playing with beautiful things.  Freckleberry, you will not have to wait for long.

After finding this cold, I could have done without it ya know, I only managed to spin 4 ounces.  It is even more beautiful (if that is possible) and I wish I had bought more of it at the time, sadly I simply wasn't sure I could see it's finished beauty at the time. But I do believe there is plenty for a hat, or a mobius, or maybe a set of wristers.  It's simply breathtaking, and perfectly named.  Happy Place.

My wheel sure didn't want to let me finish that one.  I am still a tad cranky at it.  The tension band snapped several times and finally gave up.  If I hadn't been feeling so miserable and looking at that beautiful bag full of fibers just waiting to be, I am fairly certain it would not have created the childish meltdown I had.  But throw a tantrum I did.  My frustration level was off the charts.  Hindsight being twenty-twenty... it was all good.  I needed to rest, so it just forced me to do so.

Hubby and I managed to stretch a 4.5 hour trip home into almost 9 hours neither of us was really wanting to drive so far without a few stops.  First stop took us to the Harley Davidson Factory.  How could we be so close and not stop in?  It was really interesting. We both sat on a few of the sample bikes, and I discovered that I am no where near tall enough to even consider being able to ride one of the models they make there.  I will stick to being a passenger.

We had lunch at a Mongolian Grill, Hubby proposed to me the last time we had ate at one.  Ours closed shortly thereafter. Seemed every place we went in KC had fried oreo's on the menu and inquiring minds need to know... so we tried them.  I am going to say, skip that particular dessert... ewwww...

I didn't even manage to complete a set of wristers on the drive back.  I simply wasn't feeling up to it.  Yesterday it was all about work, and today ... well we will see what today brings?

Just when I was feeling at my lowest yesterday, the cold seriously winning out on all else, struggling to get through the task at hand.  Wondering if my career choice really made a difference in anyone's life, feeling like I was doing stuff simply out of habit and really not making a difference at all....When one of our members came by my office to repeat to me the story he had just been sharing in the lobby.  I almost cried, because it was so awesome to hear "I love this Y, it is my second home, in fact it is my son's second home too.  In fact I think that because of this Y my son stayed out of trouble and is in college now." Wow! Just WOW! That is what makes it worth it!

Today, with a slightly clearer head I will tackle the day, maybe being that difference for another.  And wait for my grand baby to show up!

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...