Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Night Recap

After spending the entire day Saturday parked in my recliner, embroidering the table cloth project and watching the funeral for Senator Kennedy from start to finish (one could almost say it was a "dawn to dusk" deal), it was, for me, a very sad day indeed.

I know, I know -it's already been said here about the errors he made in his life, but too, I do believe the man tried his level best to turn his life around and to do good wherever he could. And as far as I'm concerned, for those of us who teeter on the edge of poverty much, if not all of the time, have lost a great champion.

Watching the funeral, hearing the eulogies given by his sons and President Obama, the tears came as I listened to his older son talk about losing his leg and he and his Dad going sledding together. Trying to climb that icy hill when the boy was ready to give up, to call it quits but his Dad wouldn't allow that. Now I can relate to that kind of thinking because it is what we do here in my home Every. Single. Day. with my grandchildren. Persevere! Keep on trying even when the kids are screaming and crying and things can get pretty difficult very quickly, you can't simply give up. You just take a deep breath, pray that someone will give you earplugs for your birthday or Christmas and then, keep on trying!

I cried too as MSNBC showed fillers between the funeral mass and the arrival of the funeral procession at the Capitol and again, at Arlington Cemetery as I heard and watched again and again, clips of Senator Kennedy giving the eulogy for his brother, Bobby Kennedy, and how he struggled to keep the words coming while stiffling his own grief and tears.

It was difficult to watch all of that and yet, I felt that I had to watch. That it was the only way that I could somehow show my respect for this man who had worked so tirelessly all these years and tried, time and again, to give of himself so that others could receive some bit of help in some way or other.

But enough of that. Today was a new day.

One that found Mandy, the kids and I going to my older daughter's house for a Pampered Chef Home Party. If you've never seen this stuff -all kinds of utensils as well as serving dishes, cookbooks and such - it really is a fun thing and they do have some great, quality merchandise too. I took my tablecloth along and after I had written out my order (which I knew in advance what I was going to buy) my daughter Carrie and I sat out on her front porch and talked over a cup of coffee while watching Maya and Kurtis run their little legs off as they zipped around, racing and chasing, all over the front lawn. Carrie then took the kids for two very long walks -kind of in hopes that all that sunshine, fresh breezy air and walking (great exercise, ya know) would bring an added bonus tonight once we got home and it was time for them to go to bed. (And though it took a little longer than I thought it would from them to come to a crash landing and go to sleep, finally around 10 p.m., both of them were down for the count without too many hassles!)

But the best thing of all happened as we were finishing up supper and my neighbor and good friend, Shirley, stopped by. Shirley is my neighbor who LOVES counted cross stitch in particular, but just about all embroidery in general. And like me, she loves a good bargain too.

Now I have a "membership" account with my favorite craft store (Herrschnerrs) and through it I get a 10 percent discount on anything I purchase from them. So, since I also know some of the items that they offer and that Shirley would like to get, if I see them on sale at a really good price, I let her know and if she decides she wants to add more stuff to her "stash" then I order them for her when I place an order for myself. It works quite nicely for both of us because sometimes the company also throws in a bonus of free shipping too but to get that free shipping, your order generally also has to be above a certain minimum. About two weeks ago, there were two things on sale that I knew Shirley was looking to purchase and there were a couple things I wanted too but my order alone wasn't enough to satisfy the minimum order requirements -that is until Shirley decided to have me get two of these things she wanted which gave me the minimum order requirement.

The order had arrived last Thursday and this evening, Shirley stopped by to pay me and pick up the items I had purchased for her.

Of course, since she hadn't been here in a little while, I had to show her the tablecloth I'm working on now, the sweater I finished about two weeks or so ago for Maya and also, the stuff I had purchased last week too.

We were standing in the living room, talking about the tablecloth and Kurtis came running into the room. He stopped in front of Shirley and then gave her a big "HI!" She was a bit surprised because in the past when she has stopped by the house, he usually would just pretty much ignore the fact that there was someone besides the immediate family here. But that was Kurtis before he started going to school and today, he was showing off that he can be very friendly and a lot more open now.

She remarked about how much he has changed and I spoke to him, asking him if he could say "Hi, Shirley." He stood there a couple seconds and then said it -"Hi Shirley!" Okay, the Shirley part wasn't clear as a bell but it was more than obvious that he was trying to say that. So we praised him, told him that was really good, great talking, etc. And that, he understood -the praise part. And he then got really excited -also very loud too -and began repeating that over and over again!

In the past, he would never have come up and spoken -or tried to speak at all -to her much less also repeat the words "Hi, Shirley" over and over! But today -well, I'd like to think it was a bit like young Teddy Kennedy trying to climb that icy hill and just as he succeeded, so did Kurtis.

Different battles, you say? Well, maybe it is. But then again, speech is not something that comes to autistic children very easily in many cases. In some cases, if it does come at all, it is a much longer, more drawn out process taking years and years to achieve what to the rest of us is a simple little sentence of greeting.

I can't guarantee that the next time he sees Shirley that he will remember her name but the odds of that happening are greater now than they were yesterday.

He's still got a long, long way to go but at least he's willing to try to exhibit a little friendlier demeanor and also, trying to listen to the words and repeat them too.

And for us -well, we'll just take the good part of this and keep on working with him, encouraging him at every opportunity to keep climbing up that icy hill!

Now I need to check the yarn sales for this week and do a little figuring here of which yarn I want to purchase so that when I am ready to start work on the cape pattern I got about two weeks ago, I'll have all the skeins I will need to use, ready and waiting for me to tackle that!

Time for me to climb a hill of my own now too as I also need to get back to working on my tablecloth as well. Got lots and lots of projects just waiting for me to dig into and get as many of them as possible done between now and December 25th, ya know!

And so it goes -upward and onward. Right?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Youth Vs. Age

I've been busy here for the past week now, working on my newest embroidery project. This one is a tablecloth with the dimensions 52x70 inches and it is a design that is for the Christmas season. It has a garland type design in the center that has a cardinal perched amongst holly leaves and berries. with some pine cones in two of the center garland corners plus it has more leaves, berries and pine cones down the sides with a chickadee there. Very pretty -well, I think so anyway -but also lots and lots of work.

Now, you know too that I do frequently tend to keep really late hours too and for the past week, that has definitely been the case as I want to get this project done as quickly as possible. Christmas may be four months away but in terms of time to finish projects -such as this one -it may as well be next week. Gonna be a rush for sure.

But last night, I was up till the wee hours of the morning -not falling asleep until about 5:30 a.m. and then, I had to be up early too this morning to get ready to go to my monthly luncheon meeting with some high school friends. So I ended up getting about 3.5 hours of sleep.

The 17-year-old here on the other hand, went to bed probably around 1 a.m. and when I left the house at 11:45, she was still sound asleep. When I got back home a little after 2 p.m., she had just gotten up oh, maybe a half-hour earlier. She must have a cradlesoft mattress on that bed to be able to sleep that soundly and for so long! I really do envy anyone who can lay abed for longer than a 5 hour time span and get up then without being all stiff and sore from being in that position for so long.

In truth though, when I was her age I was able to sleep for long -way long -periods of time but I can't do that any more.

However, when I said something to her about how long she had been in bed, she was seemed to think that being in bed for roughly 12 hours was no big deal and that she really needed her rest.

That is until I reminded her that I had been up and out of the house, off to my little luncheon on a mere 3.5 hours of sleep.

Considering my age versus hers -I'd say age trumps youth then any day in the ability to get up and get moving on a whole lot less sleep, wouldn't you?

Bargain Hunters

I think most people who meet me and either already know my daughters or meet my daughters after meeting me may think there are no resemblances between me and them. And in many respects, that is true.

One thing for sure is that in build -height/weight, we are quite dissimilar. Both my girls are taller than me -Mandy is about and inch and a half taller and Carrie is almost three (yes, 3) inches taller than me. Because of their added height, they also, thus far, don't have the same issues I have with weight too. Lucky for both of them!

But my girls and I do share a few things in common. One is that all three of us love books -love, love, love to read. Mandy and I are both very big fans of Jodi Picoult's books although Carrie has not yet been bitten by that bug. But she still enjoys reading other books that Mandy and I both loved too -like "Marley and Me" for one example but there are many others. We trade books back and forth all the time which that way enables us to be able to devour more reading materials then.

But one thing Mandy and I especially share is the fight when shopping to find the best buy possible. Our searches may differ because our interests -other than in books -are different but both of us scour websites, in search of the best deal we can possible find. I wouldn't quite go so far as to say it's anything for a bargain, but it's pretty darned close to that aspect for us.

But because Mandy gets out and away from the house a bit more than I do, she also is an avid fan of yard sales, Goodwill Industries stores, The Salvation Army and thrift shops and many of the clothes, as well as toys, the kids have here have come from her ability to find good quality items at those places as well as online.

Plus, there is also the added factor in all of this -which I suppose could be labeled as the thrill of the kill, in a manner of speaking.

If you haven't tried these methods, you really should. It can sure be a lot of fun, ya know.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Today has been very upsetting for me. Ever since I heard the news this afternoon that Teddy Kennedy had died, there have been many thoughts rumbling around in my mind.

For openers, I am of the age and era wherein for many of us, JFK was our hero -cut down tragically in Dallas in 1963. I thought he was absolutely the best politician ever! I suppose one could perhaps say I kind of did worship him.

I also admired his brother, Bobby Kennedy too and mourned when he too was assassinated. And my thoughts then -and still to this day -often went to the Matriarch of this clan -Rose Kennedy -and all the grief she had to bear in her lifetime. Losing a son and a daughter in plane crashed, then having to bury two sons in the prime of their lives from being gunned down -plus the pain and anguish of having a child with special needs -how much should one mother have to bear anyway was the question that often passed in and out of my thoughts then.

I will be honest here and say that I didn't always approve of some of Ted Kennedy's antics -so to speak. Sometimes, I thought of him as being just the spoiled rich kid who got away with just about anything because his father had the money and connections to get him off.

But, still and all, there was something about Teddy Kennedy that made me believe if he had been running for the U.S. Senate from my home state -Pennsylvania -more than likely I would have voted for him because he did always support the same causes I felt deserved more attention and he frequently wielded enough power too that he was able to get many of the bills he supported passed into law. Bills that did much good over the years frequently for the segment of society I find myself a part of -the lower economic echelon that often gets forgotten, pushed aside, regarded as being "low-life" because of economics, pure and simple.

Yes, Ted Kennedy did do things that were wrong in his years on earth. But haven't we all done things that were illegal or immoral at some junctures too? Granted maybe not to the extent he did but were our "sins," our failures out there for the entire world to see and cast judgment then on us forever and a day after the fact too?

Frankly, I believe whatever bad this man did, he did more good in the 47 years he served in the U.S. Senate than many of the other members of that institution all rolled together have done!

He was often referred to of late as a "lion" and I do think he was that -ferocious in his fervor to work for the common good of all in this country!

Tonight, while watching the news broadcasts and also, the special tribute run by CBS on Ted Kennedy and his life -the tragedies he had to deal with, the triumphs of his work, his life, his family too -each time I saw them replay the excerpt from his eulogy for his brother, Bobby, hearing his voice crack as he gave that speech, brought me to tears again, just as it had when I first saw and heard that speech.

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

And I think those words are most fitting with respect to the life of the late great "Lion" of the U.S. Senate -Edward "Teddy" Moore Kennedy too.

Certainly, my little post here can never reach as far as to his family members for me to offer my condolences to them in this loss but I do wish I could express my thoughts to them and to tell them too how grateful I am for all the hard work this man did on my behalf, for the benefit of my children and grandchildren and that I recognize as well as sympathize and empathize with them at this time, in their grief.

We -all of us in this country -whether some want to recognize this as fact or not -have indeed lost a tremendous fighter and great statesman.

He will certainly be missed!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sink Your Choppers In!

One of my favorite bloggers -Suldog -has posted several times on a topic that I think about a lot. It's one that has affected me, my children and grandchildren too but it is one that I've steered away from because it is a source of sensitivity for me. It's caused me a lot of grief over the years in the form of embarrassment and being very self-conscious.

But I've decided if Jim can be brave and talk about his problem with this stuff, so can I.

And that would be teeth!

For me, this has always been something that made me wish for someone like the Plano cosmetic dentist and I'd be willing to wager that all three of my kids and my older grandson too would vote with me on that!

As a child, the shape of my teeth -that they came in and protruded, bothered me and was also a source of teasing by kids back then too. Even family members made comments about my teeth. Some of my relatives told my Mom the reason this happened to me was that it was an inherited thing passed on to me from my Dad's one sister who had what was then referred to as "buck teeth." As a child, going into my teens, I wanted my Mom to see about my getting braces but the dentist we had then advised against that. It was his thought that my teeth were too soft and that braces would totally rot them out so that ruled the aspect of straight teeth out then and there.

After I got out of school and began working, I sought out another dentist for a second opinion. His theory of the cause of my crooked teeth was that it was because my second teeth came in before my jawbones were fully formed and that pushed the front teeth out that way. (I got my 6-year molars at age 4; 12-year molars at age 8 and my wisdom teeth by the time I was 12. Not that they gave me any abundance of wisdom though.) That dentist extracted two teeth near the front of my mouth and fitted me with a brace -of sorts -just a retainer thing, not the wires directly on my teeth for months on end. This did move the two front teeth back a tiny bit but not much.

Years passed and my teeth went "south" on me and I ended up with an upper partial plate about 15-20 years ago and then 10 years ago, a full set of dentures. The first upper partial actually did improve the appearance of my mouth a little bit but the change over to a full set of dentures did more damage -in my opinion -of my image than good.

You see, by the time I got the full set of dentures in place, it was more than obvious that the problem all along was not just the way my teeth came in too early but also that I have the same bone structure in my lower jaw that my older daughter -and my older grandson have -a maloclusion of the lower jaw!

Translated that means the lower jaw doesn't meet properly to the upper jaw so with my "new" full set of dentures now my lower teeth extend out and do not meet with my upper teeth! This, to me, is just as bad, if not worse than the situation was with the damned upper teeth protruding out!

And it makes eating a lot more difficult too.

Now that last bit there should be a big of help to me if eating is difficult then maybe I wouldn't eat as much but unfortunately, I have learned to worm my way around that problem.

But, considering all the dental problems there I've had over the years and that proper fitting teeth -whether they be the ones the Good Lord gave us or ones the dentist made for us -should work to provide complete and proper mastication which in turn, is an aid for proper digestion. And, with that in mind, perhaps as I grew up if my teeth had been fixed then or the maloclusion corrected, my digestive processes would not have come under attack and who knows, perhaps I wouldn't have ended up with colo-rectal cancer then either. Well, that might be a far stretch there with the cancer thing since colo-rectal cancer as well as stomach cancer both run in my family so that still might have ended up on my doorstep anyway.

But one thing is for sure, had I had proper care and straightening of my teeth early on, it sure would have helped my ego immensely then -and even now!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Ah, the glory of being an entrepreneur! Via the lowly yard sale, that is.

Here's a look at what our front yard looked like early today when Mandy opened for business again. Keep in mind, this is after having had a pretty decent day of sales yesterday despite the light rain we had in the late morning hours.

She had, in front of the living room bow window, six long table set up. Five were arranged in an "L" shape and these all held nothing but clothing. Of that clothing, it would probably be safe to say that 95% of it was children's clothing in sizes 6 down to 6-12 month sizes. The baby clothes were not from Maya and Kurt but rather from Mandy's sister-in-law's little girl. Then, off to the side, along the sidewalk, she had another long table with a true mish-mash of stuff -a little of this, a little of that. You know the old adage of one man's trash is another's treasure and that was what was on that table -pretty much.

Along the rock wall, just below the parking area, she had a card table set up with nothing but children's shoes. Imelda Marcos apparently will someday be Maya's idol if she keeps up with accumulating so many shoes.

Then there was a old, longish coffee table piled with toys of all types, plus books and stuff. Amazingly, Kurtish made his way to that table, over and over and kept removing toys he hasn't touched in the better part of a year and to him, these were all like new toys as he had apparently forgotten that he once had them!

But anyway, here's the pictures. (And, if I were still using a little camera with film instead of my digital, you can bet your bottom dollar there would NOT have been all these pictures being taken. I would have opted to take about 5 maybe 6 shots -from afar so as to show as many of the tables at once as possible, but then, you wouldn't have been able to get a closer look at the merchandise Mandy was peddling so the overall affect probably would have been lost then, wouldn't it.

But anyway, here's the pictures and maybe a little bit of commentary here and there, in between.

Here's some stuff stashed under the table with the "mish-mash" items.

This got put under that table for lack of space to put them on the table.

The "mish-mash" stuff. Very little of this stuff was sold so it is probably packed away now in the storage shed and may make its way out for the next yard sale I suppose.
I was surprised no one bought the little plaque cause I think it says it all about today's economy, don't you?

More of the above -odds and ends. The large picture was still there this afternoon too when we were packing everything up.

All things that were stashed under the tables and brought out and put on the tables if/when any spaces came open for them.


More clothes!

Still more clothes.

Oh yes, and here's still more clothes. The dark green item in the picture -with the large white lace collar -a very pretty little girl's Christmas dress in dark green velvet. I was really surprised it didn't sell!

A single day bed that was gone by the end of the day but the Christmas tree -it's still ours.
Then there is the shoe table! See what I mean about Maya being in competition with Mrs. Marcos?

And here we have the section Maya and Kurt totally enjoyed looking over yesterday. Rehashing good times of days gone by with these toys and books. And still there are way too many toys left for them to strew around the living and dining room floors!

Now, can you believe that Mandy priced the children's clothing at a quarter per item -or fill a plastic bag for $2.00! Same prices went for the children's toys too. The shoes -I think she priced at 50 cents a pair though.

This morning she added about 10-15 books -adult books (Belva Plain, James Pattersoon and a couple others -mostly paperbacks but what the heck -at 10 cents a book, this brought a rise out of my friend, Kate, who told Mandy at the yard sale she, her sister and her sister-in-law had a couple weeks ago, they priced their books at a quarter each so when Kate paid for the four selections she had picked out, she gave Mandy a dollar for them and told her to give Maya and Kurt the 60 cents in change.

I do think Mandy could have upped her prices a little -maybe 50 cents an item and a bag for $3.00 and still would have sold the same things but the objective was to make a little bit and CLEAN HOUSE as much as possible with this whole shebang!

But there was one item not shown in the above pictures that left the house today too. And this one -well, it was a freebie and even had a bag of goodies thrown in with it -for good measure, ya know!

Yep, "Sweetheart" -the last of the kittens -went home with a family who stopped by! The woman spied her climbing up the inside of the front screen door and thought she was just such a cute little kitten and she said she just LOVED orange kittens and cats so I asked if she'd like her. "Only if it's a female kitten," she told me, explaining that she didn't like male cats because of some of their little quirks about spraying things, ya know.

When she realized I was serious -and I realized she really, really was interested, Mandy then offered her a big ziplock bag of cat food to take along too, just to sweeten the deal and it worked! So "Sweetheart" is now residing with a very nice family in the little village of Moshannon, about 8 miles northeasterly (sort of) from here! Now, to find someone who would like to claim Nina -the Mama cat -as their own too and I will be very happy and content to be done to being a "one cat only" family once again!

However, since Maya was not here today -she spent last night and is staying over again tonight at friend, Jen-Jen's house -it will be interesting -maybe not too pleasant, come to think of it, when she comes back home and discovers that Sweetheart is now longer living here. But, she is also very fond of Chino -the grey cat and Chino is also very nice and makes no protests when Maya and Kurtis start lugging her around, laying on the loving that they do in what is not always the most gentle of ways, so I don't think she will be that upset by Sweetheart's moving out after all.

I had mentioned on my Facebook yesterday about how we -and several others who took part in the Community Yard Sale were upset because of all the yard sales set up in town yesterday and today, only seven of them had agreed to help share the advertising and set-up costs. Yesterday, we thought there were six "interlopers" who paid nothing towards the Community Event and today, we learned of 3 others who hadn't contributed to the fund.

Now, apparently some misunderstood what I was trying to explain yesterday when I mentioned we were upset by this -that they thought we were feeling these people were taking our potential customers and I want to set the record straight about that.

That wasn't the issue at all. It was the fact that Mandy, our neighbor down the street (Linda) and another lady up the road from us (Cindy) had all worked to get signs made to direct people down to the village from the main highway and to make up flyers to hang at the grocery stores, post offices and other places around the area as well as to put ads on Craig's List, the Pennswoods site too -both online and also, to place ads in the two local newspapers -and those newspaper ads are far from being free!

It cost Mandy $20 to place an ad in The Progress -the Clearfield paper -and $41 for an ad in the Centre Daily Times -the State College newspaper. That's a lot of moola to shell out and to try to make any money then off your own sale too.

What had been decided and what Linda and Cindy had done last year -and in previous years, was to tell those who wished to participate that the fee was $4.00 per household to cover the advertising fees and try to be fair then to everyone to be able to make a little profit.

If each family who had a yard sale yesterday and today had contributed $4.00 per household, that would have given Mandy $64 -which would have covered all the advertising costs in the newspapers as well as the cost of making up the flyers too! Instead, since only 7 families paid that fee, Mandy ended up paying the balance out of her own pocket then which means she shelled out $36.00 that she had to recoup from her sales before she cleared any cash from her own yard sale. And those who chose not to come forward and contribute -well they benefited greatly from the advertising -just as the rest of us who had kicked in the money did but there's no way to actually stop that from happening again so what probably will happen is that in the future, no one will be willing to organize the event and then when folks do have yard sales, they'll have to pay the advertising costs by themselves. So see how much advertising they would do and how brisk their business will or will not be then as a result of the lack of advertising of such an event.

And that -if that's how things may very well go next year -is a shame because operating a yard sale is a good way to generate a little bit of extra cash for sure but it is also a great way to help others to find some really great bargains, get quality clothes for their kids too at extremely affordable prices and also, to have a good time doing it in the process. All the while, also an added benefite -they are cleaning out their homes to make room for -as George Carlin spoke about this in one of his great routines -"More Stuff!"

When we packed up the clothes left unsold this evening -along with the toys too -Mandy and Bill then loaded boxes and large (leaf collection sized) garbage bags on to the truck to take those items to the "Lifeline" organization in Clearfield where they will be donated. These clothes will then be given out to families in need -whether it be from the terrible economic times or from fires and things like that -so they will then be given another chance to make other kids warm and well-clothed and happy too that they might even find a new toy or two as well.

And the past two days worked well for me too as I sat out in the front yard with my latest embroidery project in my lap and stitched away on that while meeting, greeting and occasionally tending the "till" too if Mandy had to run an errand, feed or change Kurtis.

I got a good bit of stitching completed on a tablecloth I started this past Wednesday that way. This one is a 50x70 Christmas type scene that I figured as slow as I am with the embroidery at times, I'm going to need a lot of time to get it finished and still be able to whip up some other items before Christmas too.

To show how effective the advertising campaign was for our yard sale, one couple who stopped here yesterday, we learned in talking to them that they were from the town of Port Allegheny which is up fairly near the New York border -probably about 80 miles or so from here, at least. Now that's a pretty good drive for folks to make just to track down a bunch of yard sales but that's what this couple had done and they found out about our Community Yard sale event through the advertising Mandy had done!

So to those people who came here yesterday and today and whether you bought something or not, thanks for visiting our quiet and pretty little village. To those who participated in the Yard Sale by helping to get it off the ground and paying that little $4.00 fee, thanks again to all of you -all seven famlies that is -Linda, Joan, Cindy, Crissy, Shelley, Irene Mandy -you all were great to help out that way.

Now to those 9 other families in town who couldn't cough up $4.00 to help your neighbors make a success of this event, to prevent one person from paying the freight alone, of letting two others do all the printing and such and organization of the yard sale, a pox on you and your future success in yard sales is about all I can say -or do -to you I guess!

And now -I better pack up my embroidery stuff for the night and start getting my mind geared towards a big day ahead today. Gotta cook a big dinner -ham, mashed potatoes (hopefully some good ham gravy too) along with veggies, some salads and of course, a dessert to have as our celebration of the two birthday boys in the family this week -my grandson, Alex -who was 12 on Wednesday and my son, Clayton, who was 36 today -well, actually yesterday since it is now going on 3 a.m. Sunday as I write this!

And boy, my son, his girlfriend and her daughter better show up for this too or there really will be hell to pay!

Peace, Happy Birthday Alex and Clate and Happy Yard Sales in everyone's futures.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy -But Wet!

It's time again to join forces with Shelley Tucker -over at This Eclectic Life and do the Only The Good Friday event with her. If you've never participated in this, go to her site, check it out and then, go do a post of your own to show how optimism can turn lots and lots of things from the downside to upright and positive.

As I write this, we are in the early phase of a two-day yard sale event here. Mandy and another lady from along our street were the coordinators of this year's big "Grassflat Community Yard Sale -Rain or Shine" and sad to say but this is not the sun shiny day that one would prefer to have when having a yard sale!

It's rather surprising to me though how many people have shown up thus far -a little over four hours since the gates "opened" ya know and I mentioned to Mandy that it does seem to me that we've had more traffic this year -even with the sprinkles, then drizzle and now, back to sprinkles again -than we did last year when the weather was really great. No fair weather fans apparently these folks! And by gosh, by golly, that is really a good thing! Mandy is hoping for lots and lots of sales so she can at least recoup the expenses entailed in advertising this in the two newspapers in this area. The really local paper charged her $20 bucks for her ad and the a little further away but still semi-local paper charged her $41 to advertise the yard sale! So, since she has clothes the kids have out-grown (oodles and oodles of 'em) plus a bunch of other stuff, mostly priced at either a quarter an item or 50 cents an item (adult stuff, mainly) she's going to have to have a whole hell of a lot of sales today and tomorrow to bring in at least $60 to cover her costs!

She said the first people here this morning showed up around 7:30. I didn't hear anything in the way of strange voices talking till about 8:10 a.m. Considering the front yard, where she has everything set up, is just outside my bedroom window, I was lucky to get that extra half hour's sleep in before the voices woke me.

Although it's raining there is good in that ya know -it's cooled things off a bit from the heat of the past couple of days this week and boy, that is a good thing! Is it ever!!!

But I'm still a bit bummed with the darned rain as I had hoped if I had to sit out in the yard and hold down the fort from time to time that I could use that time by working on the big tablecloth I just started the other day here. This one is a Christmas cloth and is 50x70 inches so I can use all the time I can garner to work on this project and nothing else, ya know!

Maybe tomorrow the weather will be better and I can sit out in the yard, embroidering away to my pea-pickin' heart's content, huh?

Yesterday, we took a gamble and went to DelGrosso's Park over in Tipton, PA. We missed the big picnic this year over there sponsored by the Agency that provides the therapists for the kids because the day it was scheduled, the park ended up being closed. RAINED OUT! Now that was a bit of a bummer. But this trip yesterday -rescheduled from Wednesday so older daughter (who works midnight shift) would be able to have some sleep before coming to the park and the intent was that this would be a way for all of us to celebrate my older grandson's 12th birthday then. Well, we -Mandy, the kids, Kurt's wrap-around aide and the young lady who is the Behavior Specialist who supervises the aides and I made it to the park but as things turned out, older daughter (Carrie) and Alex (the birthday boy) ended up not making it to the park after all.

On the drive over, we encountered some sprinkles as we meandered down Sandy Ridge Mountain but by the time we got to Tipton, it was all sunshine and all systems go at the park! And the nice thing was that even though it did cloud up a couple of times while we were there, it didn't let fly with any raindrops fallng on our heads!

And boy, what a difference a year makes in the behavior of small children at amusement parks tooo -especially when those kids are also autistic -which sometimes can prove to be risky business when you take them to an amusement park, ya know. Last year, a lot of the kiddie rides, Kurtis was more than a bit fearful, fussed over a few of them but this year -at age 3 -he was "well, maybe I can try this but excuse me if I don't" and as a result, he was okay for all but one ride. The one ride that he pulled in the reins and absolutely WOULD NOT go on -of all things -was the merry-go-round! He went on it last year with me -not on a horse though -but he sat in one of those bench things with me and was fine. This year not so much fine. As a matter of fact, this year when Mandy suggested it and as Maya raced to pick out a horse, Kurtis kicked up his heels but not doing a happy dance. But it was the only "meltdown" we experienced with him all day at the park and then shopping too, after that! So that is still a darned good thing that he was that into the rides this year. He even rode this caterpiller-type thingy -sort of like a mini-roller coaster and we kind of expected him to freak out over it and have a hissy fit but instead, he rode it with Mandy and Maya and was fine. However, though Maya wanted to ride it again, he drew the line there. Once around on that ride was apparently adequate for his tastes.

Here;s some pictures of the kids enjoying the park rides. Pretty much self-explanatory who's who in the ride pictures I think.

The last two pictures -of the adults here -were Mandy and Kurt's TSS (Sam) and the kids BSC, Renee -who were able to join us at the park.

All in all, with the exception of not getting to see and share the day with Alex -my birthday-boy grandson -it was a really great day.

After leaving the park, we were able to run up to Altoona to the mall there and Grammie got to do a bit of shopping at one of her favorite stores -A.C. Moore Crafts! It was imperative I get to a craft shop soon because I started working the other day on a new tablecloth -a Christmassy design with a cardinal in branches on two corners of the middle of the cloth area and another bird (chickadee, I think) in each outer corner of the cloth. It's a 52x70 tablecloth and even though I have five plastic storage containers filled almost to the brim with various colors of embroidery floss, wouldn't you just know it but this cloth required at least 7 different colors that I didn't have in my floss stash? So I was able to pick up those needed colors and oh, just a few others too -for a grand total of 60 skeins of floss! I managed to find a couple other little things that I really didn't "need" but I wanted them badly enough -and the prices were right on them, so home they came with me! Yay, me!

Earlier this week I finished the sweater I'd started last week for Maya and I'm pleased to say she was happy with it and so was I! Here's a picture, maybe two -of Maya showing off her new blue sweater that Grammie made!

And, last but not least -a little other information that made this week a really good one for me.

First off, if you recall my post on Tuesday (or Wednesday -I tend to loose track of days here anymore) I mentioned about being ticked off that J.C.Penney's didn't have an online presence where people like me -who don't leave the house very often, forget about the U.S. Postal service to mail payments in too -could make payments on their credit cards online (and hopefully then, on time too.)

Well, I found a website for J.C. Penney's and on it -in kind of smallish print -a place there that says "My Account" and people who have a J.C.Penney's card can use that site to pay their bills online! And the nice thing about this one -compared to the other store I have a card for (Peeble's), there is NO FEE to use the online site! Peeble's charged the user $10.00 to make a payment online! How absurd and insane is that, I say! Talk about money grubbers, huh?

And the other nice -and for me, exciting thing too is that the other night, while on my search and destroy mission for a knitting pattern for the cape I knitted my Mom 35-36 years ago I found a pattern that is very, very similar to the cape I made for her and purchased it! And, it arrived in the mail yesterday!

I was going to scan the card to get a good picture of the cape but it is a size that won't fit in my scanner so, not to be put off by that problem, I took a picture of the card just so I can show you this cape! The one I made my Mom had cables running down each panel whereas this cape is the same design but no cables to mess with and I think I can live with that!

The cape shown in this picture in the tan or taupe shade is the one almost identical to the one I made my Mom. Now, all I need to do is find the right color (and texture) of yarn -that is affordable too -so I can make myself this cape someday -hopefully in the not too distant future!

Now, all I need are days that never end so I will have time galore to sit and knit or embroider my life away!

But you know, that's a darned good thing isn't it -to have a hobby that you enjoy and that when your project is completed you have something that is really useful in the way of clothing or new pretty things to display in one's home. Or, to use as Christmas or birthday gifts too for adult children who you have no clue what size they wear now, and you know they probably are never going to get involved in crafting to make "pretties" (as Maya likes to call the embroidery stuff and some of my knitting and crochet things too) to have in their own homes.

All in all, just some really good things that came my way this week.

Here's hoping you all have had some really neat things take place that turned your world to the upside too! I'm betting if you give it just a smidgen of thought, you'll find some and you can post that to tell the rest of us all about them!

I'm waiting for your Good Things now!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random Acts

I titled this post "random acts" because, that's just what it is. A mish mash -which isn't really unusual for me -but this time, that's the intent -not accidental.

Mandy has a girlfriend here who she's been friends with since back in high school. Said friend, is married and has three children -ranging in age from 13 to 17 and Maya loves to go visit Jen-Jen and Nick-Nick (which is what Maya calls this couple). Their children -although a lot older than Maya -are among Maya's favorite people too -probably because all three of those kids cater to Maya, engage her in games, and well, just spoil her.

Last Friday, Maya was spending the day with Jen-Jen and her family and they happened to venture over to State College. They decided to stop at the Outback Restaurant for supper and this is a report from Jen-Jen of what transpired there.

They were seated in a booth and as kids of Maya's age (she'll be six in October) often do in places like this, they wiggle and jiggle around and in the process of doing that, quite often they gawk too at other people in their surroundings.

At some point with Maya doing a lot of squirming and bending her neck to see everything she could possibly see, Jen-Jen told her to turn around and sit still.

Maya began to turn around but in the process spied three older ladies seated near them, enjoying a bit of an outing.

And that's when Maya made this comment.

"Look, those ladies all have the same blue hair!"

Jen-Jen managed to keep her composure fairly well but told Mandy that her husband, Nick, spit his beverage all over the table and himself as he was laughing so hard!

Ah yes, out of the mouths of babes, huh?

We have a gas grill -that needs some work done to it to make the gas flow better, evenly, etc., and we also have a medium sized charcoal grill too -for a backup, in case the gas grill won't light or we run out of gas for it -whatever.

We bought one bag of charcoal and lighter fluid for the charcoal grill back in early June but have only used it once this summer because Bill had a terrible time getting the charcoal to light and to stay burning.

But this past Sunday, since the gas grill is acting up a bit and Bill hadn't had a chance to work on it, we were forced to use the charcoal grill and of course, again Bill had a heck of a time to get the charcoal to light, stay lit, burn, etc.

So yesterday, when I had to make a run to Clearfield to pay on my J.C. Penney's bill -which was due yesterday and I forgot about it until about 8:30 last night when it was then too late to get over to the store before closing time so now, for being one freaking day late I will get billed $29 in late fees on my next bill. This could have been avoided if that company would get itself into the current century and set up an online payment site for card holders. That's my opinion anyway. Can you believe it that a company as large as J.C. Penney's doesn't have an online presence where customers can pay on their account online? Makes me wonder too about people who say that they pay "All their bills online" if any of those people have a J.C. Penney's card then how do they pay that bill online?

But there I go -digressing a tad. Yeah, I know -that's pretty much my norm. I started out talking about charcoal, here didn't I?

Well, after leaving J.C. Penney's I ventured up to good old Walmart to pick up a few items in their grocery department and decided I would go get a back of charcoal there so we could then pitch what's left in the bag we have that doesn't want to light much less stay lit and heat up properly.

Surprise, surprise! Walmart had absolutely NO CHARCOAL today. The clerk in that department told me they sold out completely on Monday!

Dang! Now I have to go back to the store where we got the first bag of charcoal and get another bag and take our chances that the new bag will light and stay lit and heat up properly.

Now when I arrived at the Walmart store yesterday, as I got out of my jeep I noticed some previous shopper had just left a cart there in a parking space -right in front of where I had parked. They hadn't bothered to take the cart over to the place almost directly behind where I parked where you can leave carts in an orderly fashion. Things like that annoy me.

So I took the cart and wheeled it back into the store, taking it with me then as I made my rounds. And as I walked past the greeter at the door, the elderly gentleman thanked me for bringing the cart back into the store.

I remakred to him that it seemed to me the nice thing to do since I needed a cart and why make the job harder for those people who have to go around the parking lot and round up the carts and then, push them all up to the store. Especially on a day like yesterday when it was hot, sunny and also, very, very humid.

The greeter told me that I would be surprised at how many people never think to park the carts where they belong nor do many of them think to just grab a wayward cart to use in the store -as I had done -either.

I made my rounds in the store -got what I figured we needed and while doing so, I saw a lady from down home there doing some shopping too. I haven't seen her out and about for a long, long time and I know she's had a lot of health issues too but today, she looked great, recognized me and informed me that today just happened to be her birthday too. She was 82 years old today!

Although I wished her a very happy birthday then, I jsut want to give a shout-out to her and wish her many, many returns of the day! Happy Birthday, Bernie Humenik! And kudos to her son Paul, who came home last night from Pittsburgh to spend the day with his mother on this occasion too!

As I was leaving Walmart, putting the bags in the trunk of the jeep, there was a lady loading up the trunk of her car right next too me. We both finished transferring our groceries at the same time and closed our trunks. I started to push my cart over to the cart rack behind us and she reached out, took my empty cart and said, "Here, let me take that over for you!"

It brought my mind that I had taken a cart that hadn't been put where it belonged and in doing so, had done sort of a random act of kindness then and now, about two hours later, this woman was doing a nice deed for me. I remarked about that to her saying that this was evidence that "one hand does wash the other" doesn't it? Not that this was a big deal or anything -just a nice friendly gesture on her part but I just felt it all kind of played together with my having taken the cart I did and using it in the first place.

This week's been a big week for the family here -a lot of special occasions to celebrate, you see.

Monday -the 17th -was Mandy and Bill's Seventh Wedding Anniversary! Today - Wednesday -the 19th -marks the 12th anniverary since I first became a grandmother! Yep, today is my grandson Alexander's birthday! It is just so hard to believe that little baby -well, actually he wasn't really all that little as he weighed in at over 8 pounds and was I think 22 1/2 or 23 inches long at birth -but for most of his life, I have referred to him first as "My LITTLE Prince" and these days, I just call him "My Prince" cause he's not very little anymore! He's taller than me and as tall as his Aunt Mandy -which is 5 foot 7 or 5 foot 7 1/2! (I'm not quite sure how tall Mandy is but I know she's taller than me!

Tomorrow, Mandy, the kids and I are going to DelGrosso's Park (formerly known as Bland Park) over in Tyrone and we're meeting up with daughter Carrie and grandson, Alex there to spend the day together with him in celebration of his 12th birthday.

Friday and Saturday is the big Community Yard Sale that Mandy and a neighbor lady have coordinated, getting ads placed in both the Clearfield Progress and the Centre Daily Times about the big Grassflat Community Yard Sale. Hope all those participating have a good turnout for this -especially Mandy, since she had to spend a small fortune to place those ads about the yard sale!

Then, Saturday we celebrate yet another birthday. This time it will be my son, Clate's turn as he will turn 36 that day! But, because of his work schedule, he won't get home till late Saturday night so will have to see if he can squeeze in a visit here with us on Sunday for dinner or at the very least, some birthday cake. I'll have to make sure to have some strawberries and whipped cream on hand for that as his favorite thing is strawberry shortcake. Strangely enough though -neither Maya or Kurtis will touch strawberries -not with a ten-foot pole! What the heck is wrong with these two and their weird tastebuds, anyway? Probably just as well though because strawberries tend to give Kurtis a rash on his behind!

If you're doing any blog reading today, here's a little head's up too for you. There's a blogger who is celebrating a birthday today too and I was going to direct you to her place but I can't cause the site I have on my reader is now closed off. I thought I changed that but guess I didn't. Anyway -if you are an invited guest and follow the blog of "Smalltown RN" stop by and say hello to Mary Anne!

So that's what's happened and is happening for the rest of the week in my end of the world.

What's the latest now in yours?

Happy Birthday to grandson, Alexander William Genet and son, Clayton Michael Ertmer! Here;s the men in my life, sharing a toast and sporting their matching peacoat jackets that Uncle Clate got for Alex and for himself for Christmas last year!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Seek and Find (or Search and Destroy)

I'm on a mission of late. Actually, I have been on this mission for several months now but not always really actively searched as in every.

But last night and this morning, I combed over 80 pages -consisting of 50 entries per page -on EBay in search of one thing!

And what is that one thing?

It's a knitting/crochet pattern leaflet, that's what it is!

The one I am searching was published probably in the late 60s, maybe very early 70s but definitely before spring of 1973.

I'm not 100% sure who published this leaflet/pamphlet but I think it may have been done by Leisure Arts as I used to purchase a lot of their leaflets with patterns/instructions for knitting and crocheted stuff.

I've been searching for this one particular leaflet for about the past 18 months now. In the process, I have found a few other knitting/crochet pattern books that I once had but somehow have mysteriously disappeared and I've been able to purchase I believe four or five of those through a little shop I found online, up in Oregon, that specializes in Vintage Pattern Books and such. And, the nice thing was I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg to replace those books either plus the service was very fast and efficient.

But anyway, back to my search for this one particular leaflet.

As I recall, it was a leaflet that pictured I believe four items on it and they were capes or ponchos. I am pretty sure this leaflet had a photo of a cape or poncho that was crocheted and was shown in red. The item pictured in this leaflet -and which is the reason I am searching for it -is a cape, shown in a white or ecru yarn. It is knitted and the cape has slits in the front for one's hand. The hemline of this item is such that the panels -which have a beautiful cable unning down each one -come together then in points at the hemline.

That's probably a pretty crappy description of the hemline but its the only way I can describe it from my memory.

Why do I want this leaflet and for that pattern in particular?

Well, back in the late winter/early spring of 1973, I bought this particular leaflet and decided in a moment of insanity I might add, that I was going to make this particular cape and give it to my Mom for Mother's Day that year.

I had about 6 or 7 skeins of a nice, very pretty sort of forest green bulky weight yarn by Bernat that I had found on sale at a terrific price (I think I picked the yarn up for like at most, $1.00 per 3.5 ounce skein) and I figured this yarn would be perfect for that particular cape pattern.

Keep in mind that back then I was truly a novice knitter but a very bold, daring one too. I am -36 years later - still a lot the "novice" knitter actually. I have knitted several things -yes, but I am still far from an expert and not really what one would term a fast knitter either although I am a tad faster with the needles now than I was then. Plus now I don't have the responsibility of the TOTAL care of a toddler, 7-year-old, a husband, house, etc., so now, I could be termed maybe a "Lady of Leisure" type of knitter and can concentrate more on a project to its end today than I could do back then.

Anyway, back to my cape story and the reason I am searching for this particular pattern leaflet.

I began working on that cape probably around the end of March of 1973. And though it was the only the second time in my life I had ever done anything involving a cable stitch, surprisingly enough, it was looking pretty decent from the start.

But my progress -due to all the other responsibilities I had back then, plus my newness to the craft itself -was still slow. Too slow, obviously, for me to finish that cape in time to give it to my Mom for Mother's Day that year.

But, to my credit, I did persevere with the work on it and told myself, okay -I'll get it done and give it to her for her birthday which was in early November.

That deadline came and passed and I was still working away on that damned cape. So I moved my deadline up to "I'll give it to her for Christmas."

Christmas that year did NOT have that cape under the tree though. But I was so close to finishing it that I think I put a note in a card to my Mom that said your gift will be along very shortly just as soon as I finish the last touches on it and about a week after Christmas of 1973, I did get it completed and presented it to my Mom as a belated Christmas/Birthday/Mother's Day gift, kind of all knitted into one cape.

I wish I had taken a photo of it that I could post here because to be honest, it was one of the best projects I have ever conpleted. Certainly the largest as clothing items go! (And also probably the most complicated too -what with the cable stitching and the way the cape hung, etc.)

But the thing about that cape that makes me want that pattern to try to make another one like it is that it is the ONLY item I ever made -knitted, crocheted, sewn, embroidered -whatever -that I gave to my Mom and that she actually liked and used!

My Mom was not a big knitting fan although she could knit, she wasn't that interested in yarn and knitting or crochet for that matter either. She could embroider too -and was quite meticulous with that but it wasn't that high on her crafting favorites list either.

But she was a seamstress -and again, a very meticulous one. (I am NOT my mother's daughter -as that expression goes -where the term "meticulous" is applied! And that - my bad habits and practices with respect to sewing in particular -used to drive my Mom totally berserk!)

Mom made many of my clothes when I was a child -beautifully sewn dresses, skirts, blouses, even made me two coats too -one was a spring coat and the other, a very heavy -VERY, VERY warm, winter coat crafted from a very good piece of wool fabric she picked up at a mill outlet store over in Altoona.

My Mom also was the seamstress on our street who our neighbors would come to with clothing in need of a bit of repair or alterations. She could take a skirt my neighbor's daughter bought and which, to fit over her backside, she had to buy said skirt in a size about two sizes larger than what she needed for her waist. And Mom altered it so the waistband fit her although as I recall, she grumped a good bit about that job as she felt the skirt was "Skin-tight" to begin with.

My Mom also made me a gown when I was a junior in high school so that I had one if, on the rare chance, I was invited to go to the Prom. (I wasn't so the gown wasn't needed for that.) But, I did need one to wear for the high school's spring concert. All the girls in the school chorus were to wear a "prom-type" dress when we performed the spring concert so I was all set for that event at any rate.

However, due to my Mom's tailoring of clothing -but this only applied to clothing for me, I might add -the only time I would ever wear that gown was to that concert.

Although she could sew from start to finish or alter any garment to fit like a glove for others -or for herself -when it came to my clothing, particularly once I was in my teens, this was a task she found impossible to do then. My clothes would have been much better in the "fitting" department if they were oh, say A-line dresses to begin with -no waistline to worry about doing a nip and tuck there to them, you know.

That gown, though beautifully sewn -of a taffeta fabric with a tulle overlay on it and spaghetti straps -fit so tightly across my bust that it totally pulled my boobs flat as a pancake. It had a very full, gathered skirt which, obvious where it attached at the bodice -which was intended to be the "flattening" portion of said gown -did not fit my actual waist. No, indeed. Instead it flared out at the waist making me look much, much heavier, out of proportion than I actually was. (Truth to be told here, back then in high school I was not overweight at all -just the standard for a person of my height and bone structure.)

When Mom would fit anything on me with respect to the waist and hips, as she would check the sizing while I was trying a item on, she would put not just her finger in between the fabric and my waist or hips, but she would insert her hand and then, not have that hand flat against my body to do the "fitting" but rather, she would have the side of her hand against my skin and hold it that way between my skin and the fabric, all the while announcing to me "Well, you certainly can't have that any tighter there or you'll never be able to get into it!" Hmmm. She never saw a darned thing wrong with that picture either, ya know!

My Mom -as I mentioned above -was a meticulous seamstress and along with that -or because of that -she was also a slow -very SLOW seamstress. Of course, she -like me in this respect -was also very good at procrastination too so she might start a project, work on it a bit, put it down and not pick it up again for oh, maybe a year of two -sometimes even more. (After she died and I was going through her stuff, I came across a dress she had started to make for me when I was about nine or ten years old -a lightweight wool fabric -intended to be a special occasion dress for me for Christmas that year I believe -and the farthest she had come in working on it was that she had the pieces basted together and then, she put it down and never picked it up again!) But, to her, if you were going to sew something, it had to be done so every. single. seam. was exactly straight, done to the specs on the pattern, trimmed around the curves just so -no margin for error at all in her workmanship!

The year before I decided to tackle this knitting project for her, I had come on the idea of sewing a coat for my older daughter -who was in kindergarten then. (Yes, I was a bit cocky about what I could or could not sew too back then but my theory was if my Mom could sew not just one but two coats for me and if I could find a pattern that was labeled as "easy to sew" then I surely could do the same, couldn't I?) I did find an "easy-sew" pattern for my daughter -a coat with raglan sleeves (I hated trying to contend with set-in sleeves -still not a huge fan of that come to think of it). Purchased the fabric and liner at a little fabric shop in Philipsburg (for anyone reading this who grew up around here or still lives in this area -yes, back in 1973, there was a very nice little fabric shop in Philipsburg and I still miss it not being there any more!) and decided one Monday morning when my ex had to go to Pittsburgh for a two-day training class for his job, and my daughter was home sick from school that day, that it was the ideal time for me to begin work on said coat. I could cut it out, sew and sew and sew -not having to stop to take her to school, not having to stop to cook a big supper, do dishes, etc., etc. and I could stay up as late as I wanted or needed to work on this coat then too.) I did that and by 6 p.m. the following day I had it all together with only the buttonholes left to do. Another of my nemesis things -buttonholes! I had no buttonhole maker for that machine so had to try my best to do them by hand and they were not dismal failures but they also were far from perfect too. Thankfully, the buttons I picked pretty much covered the buttonholes! And, voila -the coat was done.

Carrie -my daughter -LOVED it!

When we came down from Philipsburg a couple days later to see my Mom and Carrie had that coat on, she announced as soon as she got inside the house to Grandma "LOOK, Gram! My Mommy made this coat for me!" And my Mom, knowing how my skills were drastically apart from hers and that I had to have made tons of errors on this because, reason number one and foremost, I had made the damned coat, proceeded to take the coat, turn it inside out and inspect every. freaking. seam! And then she pointed out to me -in her snarkiest voice too -every freaking mistake that existed on that damned coat! (Yes there were many but as long as they were in the inside -not a seam that showed to the outer world that wasn't perfectly straight, I had ignored them and that was a terrible sin in her book, you see!)

My ex-husband was so angry at her for doing that with that coat, he grabbed it from her, told Carrie to "put the damned coat on, we're going home NOW!" and home we went. With my Mom standing in the doorway sputtering away, still, at me, that I needed to learn the correct way to sew and that to make a coat, well it would take at least 4-6 weeks to do it right so it certainly couldn't possibly be done in say 36 hours or so, ya know!

Well, that was pretty much how my Mom's and my relationship was throughout much of my life. I rarely did anything that managed to please her. Our time together generally was pretty confrontational -a lot of yelling, screaming (cursing on my part) usually ensued between us.

I always wished we could have had a better, much closer relationship but then too, I probably was so bull-headed and obstinent as to not be willing to bend at all to do any of her biddings either then. If she were alive today, I might be better able to cope with her ideas -maybe. I like to think I may have mellowed enough in the past almost 30 years now since she passed that I could do that. Maybe.

So anyway, I think you can see now why I would like to have that pattern again and to try to make another cape -for myself this time around.

And I'd like to do it as a means to remember my Mom and the one thing I did make that pleased her as well as to show myself that if I did it once before, I can do it again.

So if you have -or know anyone -who is an avid collector of knitting pattern books, leaflets and the like -would you check or ask others to check their stash and see if they might possibly have a leaflet that has a picture on the front of a cape -in white yarn with cables and pointed ending along the hemline from around 1970-72 I suppose and let me know.

(I used to have a couple boxes of craft magazines, knitting book-magazine, leaflets, etc., that I had acquired from about 1969 until the mid-90s but they mysteriously disappeared -all ut a couple of them. Methinks my daughter and sil packed them up and they are stashed now either in my son's attic or the garage at his place. Hopefully, they didn't meet up with a flaming death by the sil's bent for burning things as garbage that he doesn't know/understand, much less value, for what these things really are -treasures and collectibles of mine!)

Now, I think I shall move away from the computer to my lovely recliner and continue working on the sweater I am knitting for Maya -probably for her birthday in October b ut maybe for the early, chill school days of September too! I have the back and one sleeve completed thus far and have only been working on it since Sunday or Mondy of this past week.

Maybe, just maybe, some of the knitted things I have made -and hopefully this sweater too -will pass muster with Mom if she's looking down from wherever and watching me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Customize This!

For the past 37 years of my life I think I have been inundated with talk about cars, trucks -virtually any kind of equipment that is vehicular.

How did that happen?

Well, for openers my ex-husband was an automobile mechanic and then after a few years of that, he switched over to heavy equipment mechanic. So for the entire time we were married -all eight years of it -I heard lots and lots about cars, gears, motors, etc. I saw a lot of repairs being done as he frequently did car repair work in the evening, after his regular work hours had ended.

My daughter, Mandy like her mother here, is also married to an automotive mechanic and since they live with me, I hear more automotive talk ALL the time from the son-in-law.

My son is one who is very, very into cars and trucks. He loves Volkswagons but only the old models -from the mid-to-late 60s and he worships old American vehicles too -primarily being a Chevy man. He currently has two pickup trucks -one is a mid-90s smallish truck and the other is a 1970 or 71 truck that his Dad restored at his home in Nevada and sold to the son last summer for what Clate regarded as an "excellent" price. Getting the truck from Nevada to Pennsylvania however required that Clate fly out to Vegas and then, drive the truck back east -a distance of probably around 2,000 miles, one way.

Here's a photo of the truck his Dad restored and that Clate drove cross-country to bring it home to PA. Pretty spiffy, don't you agree?

But I swear between my son and son-in-law and all their talk about cars, repairs, souping up vehicles, getting these tires, this carburetor, this horn, steering wheel, ad nauseum at times, by this stage in my life I should soon be an expert on all kinds of stuff automotive related, don't 'cha think?

But with a mechanic living in the house, a son who is really "into" anything automotive and mechanical, that my daughter and I would surely have the best running vehicles in the village but remember that line about how plumbers and electricians and construction people often have the homes most in need of repair and that holds true in multiples with auto mechanics!

Although the SIL has worked on the jeep and has fixed several of the "kinks" it has, there are still some areas remaining to be corrected. Thankfully though, not near as many as my daughter's car -an older model VW Jetta needs though.

Right now it needs a new water housing unit replaced. Mandy, once she found out what it needed, decided not to wait for her Dear Husband to get around to locating the part because she took it on herself to track one down at a place over in State College. Her car has windows that are controlled by the good old push-button feature which on her car will operate the window on the passenger's door but will NOT operate the window on the driver's side. She's been waiting several months for Bill to look at that and get it fixed.

Considering this was almost always the issue I had with my vehicles and my ex-husband, I have thus come to the conclusion that it is something that affects all people who are auto mechanics!

My son -who can do a certain amount of mechanical work himself (but not any or all) is actually much better about getting things set up to work the way they should or how HE wants them to operate.

Wish that aspect would someday rub off on the son-in-law here!