Monday, December 31, 2007

Such an exciting life I lead

This holiday stuff is wearing me out.... Party, party, party...... And inventory, inventory, inventory ! The end of the year bring festivities, and the dreaded task of counting every needle, book, skein, pattern, in the shop! Oh, and the buttons! I counted every single button! Well, it's finished and today I can relax a bit.
All the partying has given me gout in my toe... not fun... It's a good thing I don't need my toes to knit! More later.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow Globe

Emili and I are making snow globes today.

Mother Nature is providing a natural snow globe all around us today, perhaps for inspiration.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family holiday

This day was all about family, all at the farm,,,

My daughter Megan and my Dad, Jim
Me with a gift Emi chose all by herself for me
Big, tight, hug
My mother, Mercedes watches while her dog Whiskers opens a gift
Emili in her new coat

Me and my niece, Amber
My husband, Dave opens his gift from Emili
Emili toasts with sparkling grape juice
Ghen likes his new hat
My sister, Gwen , keeps her blood sugar up

Amber plays the piano, Ghen sings for us

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Laid back holiday

It started in October. My grown children made the suggestion that we not exchange gifts this year. Instead, we will spend a weekend together at an indoor water park in late January.

Without the pressure to shop for gifts, we had the freedom to prepare for the holidays in whatever fashion we wanted to. So we did just that,,,, what we WANTED to and not we thought we must do. Of course, the expectations of the season are what we put upon ourselves,,,,and we decided to set the bar lower this year. SO...................

I sent out store bought Christmas greetings!

We put up the trees, but never got around adding the tree skirts.

I did NO baking.

I made only a few small gifts, and only what I was sure that I would enjoy doing.

Very simple outdoor decorations.

All this scaling back .......and guess what? We have the luxury to enjoy just what is happening in the moment! It's proving to be great fun, and we still have treats and surprises, the season feels just as special, really even more special.

One of my good friends recommended a good book last summer,,, and the main idea that I took from the book is "the universe will provide" if we just be open to it.

My friend Mary Kay gifted our household with some fresh from Florida citrus fruit, a lovely treat. And very sweet, as Mary Kay is.
Another friend dropped by with freshly baked butterhorns.

Our heirloom Christmas cactus is blooming again, it's over 60 years old.

A gift from Mother Nature, we had a cold wind, ice and snow today, and we all stayed at home and did only what we wished to.

Maybe Christmas day will bring the drama and tension back,,, but I don't think I will open the door to it.....This feels much better. Christmas Peas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mix it up

Caution! Pun Warning !

What do you get when you mix an old felted sweater, some phone wire, ribbon, felt balls, and some good cheer?

Christmas Peas!

Not an original, I would like to take the credit, but I got the idea from another blogger.

Christmas Past

When I was little my Nana had this plastic Christmas tree, and she let us play with it. Big mistake,,, We( I ) broke it eventually.

This year, I found a similar tree for sale online and had to have it. Original bill of sale says $2.98. I paid more. MB , do you remember?

Monday, December 17, 2007


Yesterday,Dave and I spent a few hours decorating my parent's Christmas tree. Dave did the lights. The big old-fashioned kind that must be clipped on. I unwrapped ornaments and hung them on their huge, freshly cut, tree. My Mom remembers a lot of the ornaments from her own childhood... I found lots of ornaments that I have made for their tree over the years. Some are really nice and some are just plain ugly. But they go on the tree every year.

I have made millions holiday decorations in my life,,, but I personally own very few. I have given most of them away,, and my basement flooded some years back, destroying a lot of my earlier efforts. I looked around my house today and snapped a few shots....

The teddy bear is crocheted, and wears a felt vest.

A crocheted, starched snowflake

A stocking patched together in 1982. I have made many stockings,,, most were lost in the flood. My son Clay has the 1984 model at his house,he was born that year, and it also has his (and my former) last name embroidered on it.

The "Polster" stocking was done in 1998.

Each of my children has a little stuffed "hand" embroidered with the individuals name and the year of their birthday. I traced their actual hand at Christmas time that year, and sewed the ornaments according to the traced pattern. The fact that the third child's hand is machine sewn and embroidered shows how much more time it takes to manage three kids...... My granddaughter's is hand embroidered,,,, I have more time again, now. These ornaments are not in my house, they are on the trees of those grown-up hands. I do have a "hand" ornament on my tree, though......Ghen's handprint in paint from 1993, when he was just four years old. His Mom shipped it to me when Ghen came to live with us, she thought it should be on the tree where he is.

I made the camel ornament before any of the kids we born, is he a Bactrian camel? I don't know, and I don't know what possessed me to make a camel, but there he is!

Speaking of oddities, one of my most prized holiday decorations is a "TREE" made from a pine cone , smushed into a pile of putty. It was made by my six year old husband in 1955!! It looks more like a dog turd than a tree, but I love it, and him. If you look close you can see his initials scribed into the putty base.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature has provide plenty of holiday decor this year in the form of snow. Lovely to look at, I don't have to shovel it, I have the liberty of enjoying the white stuff. Here is Dave doing what he say is:"preventing ice dams."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to Stay Married for 58 years

Last evening, my parents came to visit.
They were in town for a physical therapy session for my Mom. My Mother has been suffering from pain in her leg, especially in the morning. The therapist gave her a list of exercises to do BEFORE she gets out of bed in the morning.

With a sly grin, my Dad said to me , " I told your mother that I would gladly help her exercise in bed every morning, all she has to do is ask."

My mother blushed a little and said "Oh, Jim!"

That is how to stay married 58 years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Crafting

Emi learned how to sew on buttons yesterday. I sewed a felt gingerbread man for her to embellish. She added the buttons and red felt apron. Cute, aren't they?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday music

No longer frightfully enferma (sick)......I have re-entered cyberspace with Christmas tunes running through my head..... Today is December 9 and I have just loaded some of my old and new favorites onto my I-pod.

Jolly old Saint Nicholas, Lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul What I'm going to say;
Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man,
Whisper what you'll bring to me; Tell me if you can.
When the clock is striking twelve, When I'm fast asleep,

Down the chimney broad and black, With your pack you'll creep;
All the stockings you will find Hanging in a row; Mine will be the shortest one,
You'll be sure to know.
Johnny wants a pair of skates; Susy wants a dolly;

Nellie wants a story book; She thinks dolls are folly;
As for me, my little brain Isn't very bright; Choose for me, old Santa Claus,
What you think is right.

As a child, going to Catholic school, I preferred the religious over the secular. Silent and Oh Holy Nights beat out Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Rudolph....Although I was rather fond of "Up On The Housetop"

Hearing The Little Drummer Boy brings a grade school Christmas program to mind, with my childhood sweetheart (K.M.) with the starring role as the drummer, must have been 1966 or so. Those "parupapum pums" made him seem like quite the dashing young man.

I met my first husband while were both in high school, and John Denver's " Please Daddy" had just been cut,,,, he bought me the LP, for those of you born after 1980 here is a definition.

Please Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas I don't wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this ChristmasI don't wanna see my Mumma cry
Just last year when I was only sevenAnd now I'm almost eight as you can see
You came home at a quarter past elevenFell down underneath our Christmas tree
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this ChristmasI don't wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this ChristmasI don't wanna see my Mumma cry
Mumma smiled and looked outside the windowShe told me son, you better go upstairs
Then you laughed and hollered Merry Christmas
i turned around and saw my Mumma's tears
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this ChristmasI don't wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this ChristmasI don't wanna see my Mumma cry
No, I don't wanna see my Mumma cry

No, my first husband was not a drinker, but hearing that song reminds me of him. In a good way, it is a pleasant memory. Another one of my current favorites reminds me of him, too. It is Dwight Yoakum's rockabilly "Santa Can't Stay"

Cold tears fall from his eyes As he turns into the night and walks away
Lucille runs outsideJust to see if there might be a sleigh
Little Bobby stares downAt the plate where cookies still lay
And tries to understandWhy momma said Santa can't stay

Momma said Santa can't stay
Said she told him that twice yesterday
Then a car just like Dad'sPulled out and drove away
After momma said Santa couldn't stay

They both heard him comingSaw Mom run down the hall and holler wait
Doug you're drunk don't come insideI'm not joking I've had all this I can take
He threw a present really hardThat almost hit Mom's new boyfriend Ray
And yelled ho-ho lucky for you she's hereAnd said that Santa can't stay

Momma said Santa can't stay
Said she told him that twice yesterday
Then a car just like Dad'sPulled out and drove away
After momma said Santa couldn't stay

My first husband left me at Christmastime,, and while the lyrics are dark and gloomy,,,, I can really identify with this song.... not exactly Norman Rockwell. I think a lot of families have holiday memories that are far from perfect.

O Come, O come Emmanuel reminds me of Ghen. When he first moved in with us, I heard him singing it in the shower, and that has stayed with me. Ghen has a deep, rich bass voice. His rendition was haunting...
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

On the other end of the musical scale, The Friendly Beasts conjures a memories of Clay's six year old voice in a solo at the school program. High, sweet and clear, he sang the verse about the dove, and I CRIED!

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.
“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,

“I carried His mother uphill and down,I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.
“I,” said the cow, all white and red,

“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;I,” said the cow, all white and red.
“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,

“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.
“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,

“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.
Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,

In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.
That little boy is now a grown man, but I still love to hear him sing.

Other favorites include:
"Pretty Paper"
"Run, Run, Rudolph"
"Christmas in Dixie"
"Fall Softly, Snow"
As you can see, my tastes are leaning deciedly to country music.. Fall Softly Snow has a line that hits my maternal instincts :

The time is here.
Oh Holy Night, the angels sing.
And from on high, heavenly hosts proclaim the King.
In the manger by her side, Mary's eyes are filled with pride.
Fall softly snow. Fall softly snow.
Another country song tugs at my heartstrings as a mother, I brought my firstborn (twins) home on Christmas Day 1979 to the music of John Denver's "A Baby Just Like You"... babies bring hope for the future,
The season is upon us now
A time for gifts and giving
And as the year draws to its close
I think about my living
The Christmastime when I was young
The magic and the wonder
But colors dull and candles dim
And dark my standing under
Oh little angel, shining light
You've set my soul to dreaming
You've given back my joy in life
You' ve filled me with new meaning
A savior king was born that day
A baby just like you
And as the Magi came with gifts
I've come with my gift too
That peace on earth fills up your time
That brotherhood surrounds you
That you may know the warmth of love
And wrap it all around you
It's just a wish, a dream I'm told
From days when I was young
Merry Christmas little Zachary
Merry Christmas ev'ryone

Oh, I cannot forget to mention "White Christmas"..... Not one of my favorites, but it was the only thing that would calm my colicky granddaughter as an infant. While her mother worked, I took care of this crabby baby, singing White Christmas and rocking her fast and hard would put her to sleep........ I hope this long ,wordy post has not done the same for you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


My daughter, Lauren translates for a living,,, Spanish to English and the reverse. I do not speak Spanish, but a few words have sort of crept into my vocabulary because I have heard her say them often,,, and they just stick in my head. Like a song you can not forget,,,,,,

Infermo is just such a word. I may have it spelled wrong. And I think being a girl, it should be inferma when applied to me.
Anyway, I like that word, it sound so much more descriptive than "sick". Infermo sounds like inferno.......just hotter than hell with fever, and miserable.

I am inferma,,, but just a tad, not burning up,,,, maybe I should just say sick and be done with it.
Thanks for your concern,,, I will live.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No longer lurking

No longer lurking in the basement, the ball of mystery yarns has knit itself into a lovely wrap....

Monday, November 26, 2007

What lurks in my basement?

It's more than normal scary in my basement.

The usual "cellar" things are there, old stuff too precious to throw out, all covered in cobwebs....

Christmas decorations, canning jars, crutches from injuries past... you get the picture.

What makes my basement scary is the amount of "unusual" stuff down there.....Boxes of fur. A roll of fencing wire. Neat stacks of what looks like bandages. It's actually old bedsheets torn into strips and wound up.

Don't ask why. Trinkets and doo dads, too much to explain, or sort.

Once in a while I find something that surprises even me! Today I found this ball of yarn....I have only a vague memory of winding up this ball... About 5 years ago, I knit a Crayon Box jacket...and I think I took all the leftovers and tied them together to make this massive mystery ball. Or not,,, I don't remember, but the suspense is making my fingers itchy to knit... this is a lot of yarn... A big ball. That's a quarter for scale in the first photo....

I am thinking about trying something like this.... Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The last week

What have I been doing since my last post? Lots, much more than listed, but here's a start.
A to Z

Ate my moms cranberries, yum!

Baked pies, pumpkin and cherry

Cooked Thanksgiving turkey

Decorated Loose Ends window for Christmas

Evacuated a closet,,, and then promptly filled it up again, just different stuff.

Fell down, hurt my knee

Grocery shopping, yes, I really did enter the land of food shopping. Scary, but I survived.

Hunt, hunt,hunt. I welcomed the hunters home, along with a nice 8 point buck.

Irritated Ghen to no end.

Justified blowing my budget at the bookstore, by telling myself that all those knitting magazines I bought are " market research"

Knit a gnome, an Alan Dart pattern, great fun!

Lost, and then found my favorite crochet hook many times. I blame Nick.

Missed Dave while he was gone hunting.

New Dwight Yoakum CD, I bought it, I did, Dwight Sings Buck...... a great tribute to the Bakersfield sound.

Olivia, I visited with both my friends named Olivia at the same time, one Olivia is close to my age, the other is just a few months old. One of them wanted a bottle very much,,,,

Purchased holiday Cards,,,, see this post,,,, okay, I caved under pressure, but I found some nice cards that will do....

Quit reading,,, time only for audio books until Christmas,,,,I must keep my hands free to knit.

Relaxed with my family on Thanksgiving Day,,, after the meal, that is.

Scrumbled a Christmas stocking

Taught scrumbling Class at the shop

Updated my website New classes !

Visited my parents, and took photographs for their holiday cards.

Water, water everywhere,,,,,,While Dave was gone the toilet overflowed....twice!

Xrayed Ghen's foot......well, in reality, I took him to a Doctor who did the actual xray, the foot is fine.

Yarn,,,, no explanation needed

Z....ZZZZZZZZZ, snooozed

Friday, November 16, 2007

Advice from the Herd

These are some of my parents' cattle,,, I took the photo today....they all seemed to look so concerned,,, maybe they are worried about deer season starting tomorrow.......

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Go north, old man

Well, he's gone. My darling husband is gone. Gone to deer camp, that is.
For those of you who don't live in Wisconsin, deer season starts this Saturday.
One may define deer season as the weeks that the white-tailed deer may be legally shot, usually in mid to late November. This is way I thought about deer season for many years.

As I grew up, my father hunted raccoons, foxes, coyotes, rabbits, and he even shot a bear once. The deer were also fair game..... Deer season was short and intense, but my Dad stayed at home, and hunted on the farm. The rhythm of life was slightly disturbed by the hunt, but it was never that big of a deal..... My Mom did not let us take any walks in the woods during deer season.but that's about it..

Years passed, and I married a man who hunts deer. It is different that the deer hunting I knew as a child.... For him, it is the high point of the year. The deer camp is "up north", away from home, a bastion of masculinity. At least five days to be with "the guys", eating, drinking, telling stories, and maybe a little hunting. Dave thinks deer season should be a national holiday..
He prepares for weeks ahead, marking his territory in the woods.....with orange plastic tape.....but I think he would pee on the trees if that would keep other hunters away. Looks for sign that the deer are in the area, tracks, and rubs and scrapes..... Yes, rubs and scrapes.... if you don't know what that means read on
During the mating season, also called the "rut," bucks fight for territory and the privilege of mating with the most female deer. Bucks will crash antlers to claim this territory. A buck will also mark his territory by stomping on the ground to make "scrapes" on the land and rubbing his antlers on trees, called a "buck rub."

About a week before the season, the plans and anticipation really ramps up... Orange clothing appears hanging on my wash line....
Dave buys new socks and underwear.
The LIST is made.
This list has all the essential "deer hunting supplies" on it. Worse than Santa, Dave checks this list more than twice... everything from gutting gloves to brandy is diligently packed, and checked off the list. For a few years , early in our marriage, being a good wife, I would try to help Dave pack..... Now I have learned it is best to stay out of his way.... I answer when he hollers "Where is my Thermos?", but mostly I just watch him scurry around, collecting all the required accoutrements. Ten pairs of wool socks, piles of long underwear, and and orange beanie.

Deer camp is our cabin, and they "guys" are Dave and Clay, and two or three friends that have hunted together for years. Many years. This year, one of the fellows, Ronnie, will not be there, he passed away last spring. In fact, deer hunting is how Dave was introduced to the north woods and the Goodman area. Ronnie and his father took Dave along hunting in Goodman way back in the 1960's.
Deer camp holds many memories for these men.

Once in a great while,,,, someone shoots a deer. Getting a deer IS NOT what this is about. It's male bonding, tradition, and relaxing... I am so glad he does this every year....

Friday, November 9, 2007

Here's to you, Helen

My mothers' family, by her own admission was "odd". Not her immediate family, but her relatives on her father's side. I believe that her father, Ferd, was the only sibling to have children.... that's not so odd,,, but kinda unusual. My mom had two uncles that according to her, spoke very seldom, never married and died young. Of course, I am only repeating what she has told me, they all had passed away long before I was born..... I did not know any of this family except my Great Aunt Helen. Aunt Helen seemed very old and very odd to me as a child. She lived with her husband, known to me as "Uncle Ted", in a big house in a nearby small town. Since they were housebound, we visited them at their home on holidays. I remember their house as a dark, yet fascinating place, everything was SO OLD.... and they had a player piano!

Despite the player piano, visiting them was not my favorite thing to do...Uncle Ted was not so scary, but Aunt Helen, oh ,,, she had a witchy look about her, long nose, flowing white hair, dark eyes, and always in her house dress and bedroom slippers. I have heard that she was rather glamorous in her youth,,, but the bloom was definitely off the rose by this time....

They were good to us, always had presents and huge bags of candy for each of us,,, but I was still afraid of Aunt Helen, She never left the house.... a recluse of sorts. Well, neither one of them could walk very well..... every now and then Aunt Helen or Uncle Ted would be hospitalized for something or another, then my Mom and her sister would scurry around, finding nice clothes for all the children, in case of a possible funeral. And they would always get better, and back to the house they went. ( I was an adult when they finally did pass away)

My Mom tells a story about her Aunt and Uncle, before they were housebound, Uncle Ted would drive the 8 or 9 miles to the tavern that the family owned. In my mind, I imagine him driving, with a long line of cars behind his,,,, he walked very slowly, he probably drove at a similar speed. Uncle Ted would go in the tavern for a beer, but Aunt Helen would not get out of the car! So, he brought his wife's drink out to her.... this was a daily event, so I'm told. Aunt Helen's drink of choice was Kimmel. Kümmel, also called kummel or kimmel, is a sweet, colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel.

Last night at knit night, Fluoride and Betty informed me that they were planning a shopping trip to a nearby upscale clothing store and I was going along, whether I wanted to go or not!

I hate shopping! I told them I would go along only if I could stay in the car and drink Kimmel, like my Aunt Helen.....They could bring items of clothing out to the car for me, if they wanted to.!

Well, this led to a discussion of Kimmel,and before I knew it, Fluoride skipped over to the liquor store and came back with a bottle of the very stuff! I rather like the taste, but it is tooo sweet, I think. Everyone at knit night drank a toast of Kimmel to my Great Aunt Helen, may she rest in peace.

I am still refusing to get out of the car