Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas is coming

This is my annual winter soup-making day. Chicken and veggies.
What I've done - some of it at least - and some of these things are weird
I took this from Pseudopiskie.

What I've done... (in bold)

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child - does fostering a child count?
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David - the one at the Ringling Museum in Florida
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - for being a woman and again for being a lesbian

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and Christmas

I've already given thanks for my many friends, virtual, at a distance and up close. So, partner and I celebrated Thanksgiving by making 53 jars of apple butter. We bought the apples as we passed through Virginia on the way home from Cleveland. Um, um, good. This stuff is dark and tasty and well stirred - we spent three days getting it all done. And, other than being tired, we had lots of fun doing it together.

The letter from the doctor summarizing my visit to Cleveland Clinic said exactly what I expected, and I'll be making an appointment with my primary care physician here to sort out all the details of follow-up. However, the Requip XL seems to be working well. I tried taking the Cymbalta at the same time and slept all the time; so we'll have to work out a lower dosage or a different schedule.

But, Christmas is officially on the way. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. Next Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent is our tree trimming party - I've been doing it for 20 years - minus the three Christmases at Yale when we didn't have room for anything but a miniature tree. I think this is the 9th one that we've had together.

We'll have homemade chicken/vegetable soup - well, stew really - with garlic bread, cheese dip, spinach dip, fresh veggies and chips for dipping, cupcakes from the best baker in town, salted and praline pecans and other nuts (besides our guests), shrimp platter, and probably some other things as well. We invite the guests and provide the food; they decorate the tree. Usually everyone leaves with a goodie bag, but this year they are getting white crocheted stars about 2 inches in diameter - my design and my handiwork. In years past I have made hot chocolate mix, but everyone's on a diet or diabetic or something; so I'm not doing that this year either. Traditions change as we grow and change ourselves.

This year, I'll have to go through the ornaments and put away some that aren't as special - just so we'll have room on the tree for them. Partner has some from her childhood, and I've collected many from my special friends over the years; so we have far too many for one tree even if it is seven feet tall. Jimmy always helps put on the lights, and Laura's birthday is always near the party date - right on this time. We've invited some newer friends from partner's various activities.

Partner has been practicing her piano playing and made up a songbook of carols for us to sing. One of the church's good singers will be here; so we'll have someone to help lead the singing.
Paige plays while friends sing in 2004

Christmas Tree 2004 with Stuart still decorating it.

As I write this, I remember the many years of tree trimming parties and think of all the friends who helped put up the many decorations. Godson John in Chattanooga and his friend at the time, Libby. My student worker Andrea. Other college students. And, before that were high school students whose faces I still see in my mind and pray for when I do. Neighbors and co-workers, church friends, volunteers in the non-profit where I worked. And, Mom's 75th Christmas when all the family and friends crowded into her home for the last gathering in that house - the tree was so big that we had to walk around it in the living room. We laughed and told family stories, ate good food, opened many presents, went outside and played frisbee in the street, played cards and ate some more.

We'll have an interesting mix this year of friends from many areas of our lives: church, gays and lesbians, boating, 12 step program, and kite flying. Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Home from Cleveland Clinic

Hi, Folks. We are home safely with some good suggestions and unexpected diagnoses - all of which are good and not life-threatening. I'll post more about that when i've rested.

Basically, fibromyalgia, exercise asthma (if any asthma at all), possibly vocal cord dysfunction, microbacterial spots in lungs (haven't changed in a long time), sleep apnea (getting a c-pap machine), restless leg syndrome (changing to extended release Requip which is just out), changing from Prozac to Cymbalta since Prozac has been shown to exacerbate the RLS. All doctors think that, if I get sufficient and efficient sleep, I will be much better, easier to lose weight, able to exercise. Also got a shot in my hip for bursitis.

More later - or maybe not until we see what the changes do. I have other things to write about. Thanks for prayers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Report on the trip to Cleveland

We spent the night in Beckley, WV, with a light covering of snow on the ground and enough on the bushes for me to make a very small snowball, which disintegrated in flight.

Today we drove through rain, sunshine, sleet, snow, and mixtures of a food court at the mall, the weather changed in a matter of yards sometimes. The little Prius drove like a dream in the changing weather. It was a bit slow going up the mountains we had to cross in West Virginia, but going down the mountains, we coasted and put all that power into the battery of the hybrid. It was strange to be going 70+ miles per hour and see the gauge registering at 100 miles per gallon. LOL We are expecting some accumulation of snow here tomorrow.

We arrived about 3 pm and checked into the hotel. The shuttle bus will pick me/us up here and take us to the correct building in only a few minutes, and shuttles run frequently. The restaurant downstairs is very expensive but good food. We met a couple who had been here before - several times all the way from Southern California - and their confidence level is high. We also talked about grocery stores and other places to eat. There are hospitality shuttles that will take us to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, other attractions like Nordstrom and other stores. Probably not any yarn shops on the list though - and just as well.

Partner and I are both tired, but I'm glad we drove - I could bring enough choices of knitting to satisfy any length of time that we may be here. LOL - one whole bag of yarn, computer, books and stuff.

My appointment is tomorrow afternoon, and I'll post an update then.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How much do you spend?

Legos, legos and knitting needles

2008-07-31 at 11-46-39
Originally uploaded by brellachild
I love this, and I still have all the legos from my craze a few years ago. Don't know about doors and colors, but I know I have castle stuff. Maybe I can do something for my crochet hooks or all my collection of medical pens (you know the kind the drug reps give out and will quit having in 2009). What else could I store in something like this!!! Jennifer, I need your help.

Omnivore's 100

I nipped this from Whorled Peace Handspun Below is a list of 100 things that every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers. But, I didn't check Wikipedia - I just ignored the things I didn't know.

1) Copy this list into your blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Italic any items that you would never consider eating.

The Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

angel wing begonia

Dear Anonymous who left the comment on the picture of my grandmother's angel wing begonia and did not leave an address for follow-up,

I have seen some begonias similar to this at plant stores. Lowe's usually has at least one of this type (maybe not exactly like this one) every year. I would suspect they are only found in the southern plant stores.

This is a cane begonia and eats a lot of plant food, water and light. Most state plant laws prohibit individuals from sending plants via mail across state lines, otherwise, I could send you a clipping to root.

I did not take care of the plant much during this winter or summer and it has bloomed only once, but I expect it to be beautiful again next year.

Good luck.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Too many and not enough of the right kind. The problem with being a sale freak is that you end up with lots of black t-shirts - dressy ones, regulars, printed, embroidered and not enough that match the pants you have. The mix and match separates are okay, but seldom do I find matching tops and bottoms of the right sizes. So, I end up with pants that fit but don't have matching tops or even contrasting tops of the right kind, or tops that fit and leave my bottom hanging in the breeze without appropriate pants.

Today, I sorted through the pants again - having changed sizes when I lost a bit of weight with Weight Watchers, and prowled through the larger size pants that partner had left when she lost 40 pounds. I found one pair of jeans and a pair of non-cotton knit pants that look halfway decent. And, I found a whole tubful of turtle necks and mock turtle necks. Now, I don't know how many of them fit or are fit to wear, but I'll bet that I find at least one black one with the tags still on it. The white ones get stained and wear out quickly.

I did send a whole tubful of stuff to the thrift shop. I really like some of the short-sleeved t-shirts that I sent away, but I do think that two tubfuls of short sleeved ones is enough.

We bought me some blouses yesterday to wear and some black pants. The only colors available in my size this year are black and brown, and I hate brown. Now I have good black pants, working black pants, knock-around black pants and almost worn out but still comfy black pants. And, I have various colors and stripes of blouses/shirts to wear. So, I guess I'm set for the winter and my trip to Cleveland Clinic later this month.

But, the real topic of today's blogging is the excess of clothing I have when little of it goes together. Being mis-matched is the bane of people like me who shop the sales and whose tops and bottoms are not the same size.

Friday, November 07, 2008

cat blogging

Heath,weighs about 16 pounds. Sorry about the bright eyes. I lost my good photo editor when I changed computers, and I've been too lazy to download another.

Cliff weighs about 10 pounds

When the both decide to sleep on top of me, I wake up. LOL. How else.


This is my own five-point star pattern made in various yarns - Skacel glittery stuff, worsted and double worsted Peaches N Creme, Peaches N Creme Article 960.

The garland at the back is chain 10, add three 4dc clusters and repeat until length desired.

Close up of the double worsted Peaches N Creme star.

Snowflake chain made with worsted Peaches N Creme. Pattern from

sharecropper's five point crochet star:
Chain 1
Round 1: chain 3, 2 dc cluster in first chain, chain 3 *3dc cluster in first chain, ch3* repeat from * until 5 clusters, join in 2nd chain at beginning.
Round 2: *sc, dc, trc, picot, trc, dc, sc* in each 3 chain space, join, and leave tail for hanger.

Picot: chain 3, sl st in first chain.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A crafty woman

Yesterday and today at work I used a mask when straightening or putting away yarn, and it helped greatly with my breathing. What a difference in the way I feel tonight - and I checked in and bagged a huge box of Plymouth yarns today! As I was leaving work - already a half-hour later than scheduled, our UPS lady came with a big box and said, "Ok, just turn around and go back in." So I did. I like our UPS lady...and I love unpacking boxes of yarn. Besides, this had some yarn that I had requested in it - to make Christmas presents - at the bottom of the box, of course.

Oh, I love the colors and the different textures. Right now, I'm working with Misti Cotton/Silk - what a great yarn. Making a scarf as a Christmas present for a friend of mine...ribs with a single off-center cable. Slow, but pleasing.

And, I'm on the second ball of Knit one Crochet Too's Ty Dy in a rainbow color, tropicale, making a shawl for another friend. This works up as a DK weight cotton in beautiful stripes. This is over half done, but up to over 120 stitches per row now. It's about 10 inches deep...don't know how long.

Besides that, I'm crocheting in between knitting - can't knit too long at one time. But, I'm making stars for package ornaments and rainbow flowers and potholders and hot pads. And, if you're on my Christmas list and you don't want a potholder or hot pad, now is the time to speak. Otherwise, thou shalt be ecstatic when opening such a hand-made gift. Some are peaches N creme cotton (worsted and double worsted) in various ombres (that's multi-colors for those of you who don't use this yarn), red, green, and a couple of other colors. Also using superwash wool because wool is such a great insulator. No, if you're allergic to wool, I'm not making potholders for you with this...only hotpads that you don't have to handle much.

I'm really excited about the stars, and I'll try to take some pictures this week. And, for anyone who crochets, I'll add the star pattern.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No energy

No energy. Not really, really sick. Just very tired.

Thinking about those people who were saints in my life: my Aunt Clyde and Uncle Lester who loved me without condition. He made me a wooden stove that was wonderful when I was 7, right after Dad went back into service. She made me clothes and took me to vacation bible school and let me be her "page" at Eastern Star. Big Auntie and Uncle Jake, who lived down the road from us and invited us to watch television every Saturday night so that Mom could see Lawrence Welk. Uncle Jake and I lay on the sofa and watched until I got too big for that. Big Auntie would pick tiny little butter beans and shell them and cook them for Uncle Jake and me. She let me play in her living/dining rooms where she had lots of fascinating stuff that I could pick up and handle and pretend with. Grandma Woods, whose grandsons were David's friends, and who let me eat cold biscuits at her kitchen table and watch her cook on a wood burning range. We never told my Mom that because she didn't think the kitchen was clean enough. And, Grandma let me play her old pump organ even though I didn't know a note of music, I learned how to pump and hit the keys and what all the stops did. And, I got to bring the bunnies in the house, one by one, and play with them through the house, making a big circle with the bunny happily hopping along and waiting until I could catch up to continue our romp. And, Caroline and her one armed husband, whose name I've forgotten, who cooked me turtle soup and made me eat on a white cloth at the sewing machine rather than at the table with them - 'cause it wasn't fittin'. Caroline also cooked on a wood burning range and her biscuits were better than Grandma Woods. And, Mrs. Pettijohn, the town librarian who entertained me many days after school with stories and with books she had chosen for me. She let me read anything I wanted to read in the library, but I could take home only books she thought Mom would approve. Mrs. Eason, my fifth grade teacher, who believed in me. She gave me the best part of the Christmas performance that year. But, Mom couldn't come to watch because her boss' twin sons were also in the class and had parts - so the boss and his wife came to the performance. Mrs. Eason taught us songs and took us on trips and made us think about life and the earth. She disciplined us and made us work hard. Mrs. Denton, who taught Latin (and had also taught me in sixth grade) and who probably instilled in me the idea that I could go to college. She encouraged me and praised my work. For the first time, I was in a class with people who expected to go to college - all of them; I guess, I assumed that I would go also - even though we had no money for college. When I finally graduated, my aunt wanted a picture of my degree so that she could hang it in her house - the first one of our family to go to college.

These are a few of my early life saints. Who were the saints in your life?