Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's Going to Go, What's Going to Stay Put?

I've mentioned off and on here that my daughter -who has been my support system here for the past 10 years now -has decided to move away from this area this summer.

Obviously, I'm not super happy about this change in my life -actually, this entails a whole bunch of changes -but anyway, one of the things I really do worry about is the way this is going to affect the grandkids and how well they will adjust to the new area then.

Sometimes, they seem like they are doing fine with changes -whether big ones or small ones and other times, the least little thing of what is the ordinary to their world creates a bit of panic for them.

One thing for sure that I don't see being feasible to move away from here is the swingset Mandy acquired for them about 2 years ago when a neighbor here moved out of the house he and his family had been renting and they left this swing set behind. It's super heavy -made of wood, not metal and the kids do enjoy it a lot, especially Kurtis.

They're going to have enough problems already trying to move furniture and oodles of clothes to start with plus, they need to have something left here too that they can play on/with on the occasions they come back home to visit.

If they were to take this swing set, it would be akin to traveling a couple hundred miles down the east coast and getting swing sets Chesapeake Va for the kids, ya know. Either way, it would be totally not feasible a venture, would it?

I'm still very much just dreading this change though to my life and to the kids' lives too. I suggested the other day to Mandy that perhaps it would be easier if she left the kids here with me for a few weeks after they get the furniture moved and such and just get a bit settled in before taking the kids down there.

Judging by the look she gave me, I don't think she thought too highly of my idea as being a game plan though.

Guess I'll just have to play the wait and see game now, won't I?

Change Up Crafts....

I've been meaning to take some photos of some of my recent or fairly recent craft projects to post them here but somehow, like so many of my plans and projects, it's something that I just haven't gotten around to taking any pictures of the stuff.

Till last night that is when I finally took some picture of somethings I made in the past two weeks and one, I made about a month ago now. Bear in mind I am sure no photographer and I'm also not an expert at crochet either but have been trying to upgrade my crochet skills and knowledge by making dishcloths in different patterns.

Sorry, but this post only has something else I've been experimenting with along the crochet lines and that would be mats -bath mats, to be precise!

This was the first creation and originally was intended to become a baby blanket for my little beauty, step-greatgranddaughter, Lola Rae. However, the yarn -which is a very thick yarn and the label on the package said one should use either size 13 or 15 knitting needles but when I tried to knit with it, using the needles in those sizes, the yarn was not very cooperative with me. So, instead I thought I would switch gears and find a crochet pattern and found this one which called for a thinner yarn but I was on an improvising kick and forged ahead.

This turned out to be just the right size to put either in front of the tub or the vanity and it is thick -very plushy feeling actually -and works better as a bath mat than as a baby blanket. As a blanket, this yarn, to my thought process is too think, too stiff, not enough give to it. It's not exactly the best color, really, for this house what with kids tracking in and out and muddy shoes often abound, but Mandy and I both like it.

This one started out as an experiment too except it began with the idea in mind of it becoming a dishcloth but then it sort of grew until I ran out of the blue color yarn. I discovered then this might be a good way for me to use up some of the many skeins (balls) of furry type yarn I have in my yarn stash from back in the days a few years ago when I was on a big kick of making the furry scarves that were very vogue for quite some time. For this piece, I used up some leftover turquoise yarn I had in a worsted weight and a skein of the foxy fur yarn in white together and crocheted this piece until the turquoise was used up. It is a lot smaller than the first "mat" (above this) I made so it's more like just a little mat for a quick shower ya know but it too is nice and plushy, soft, furry!

After I finished that little project, I was really on a roll then and decided to try making a mat more the size of the first one and using some of the multi-color furry yarns I had. There is no rhyme or reason to the design of this item as I just used a few skeins I had that had maybe a color in them that could tie to the previous color or a color two colors earlier. I started with multi-color yarn in an aqua, pink and lavendar-purple shades and with it I combined some purple yarn in worsted weight I had leftover. After using up the multi-colored yarn (2 skeins), I changed to using the purple with some pink/rose multi-color and when I ran out of the purple, I switched to a white yarn for my second color. It worked okay except for the fact it was a little bit lighter weight yarn than the purple but I still liked the feel of it anyway.

When the rose/pink yarn was depleted, I switched over to an aqua solid that matched the aqua in the larger end portion of this piece and used that skein up. After that, I went to a multi-color yarn that had a little different shades of pink, blue and lavendar and ran through that skein. Then I used a different type of furry yarn in a purple and when that was finished, I used up a skein of a very dark purple in the foxy fur yarn and did a few rows with it and then, crocheted around all four sides for I think 3 rows, maybe it was 4 rows then to finish it off. 

Granted, it's a little weird in that the various colors don't have the same number of rows but Miss Maya really likes this rug -a lot! And the good thing about this one is it really doesn't show the dirt very easily either! Anything that doesn't show the dirt immediately after one use is a darned good thing to have in my book, ya know.

Now, I am working on a baby afghan for a gift of a close friend of my kids and me who just had a little baby girl last week. I'm using a pattern I've made up before and the yarn I chose is a very pretty light mint green. The pattern is an easy to crochet ripple pattern so I shouldn't have any problem making it! And I love the yarn as it is very soft and lightweight plushy feeling too! I just started this project two days ago though and what I have completed isn't near big enough to photograph as yet but I will try to remember to get a picture of it when it's completed to post on here.

I'm also going to take some pictures over the weekend of the dishcloths I have completed now too. I do enjoy making them as they tend to work up fairly quickly and I'm just playing right now with patterns that are simple so I can get more familiar with more crochet stitches and patterns as well as hopefully getting a knack for doing edgings on these projects. The multi-colored rug above has a lot of issues (meaning mistakes) in the edging that I need to keep practicing on that kind of stuff and some day, hopefully get it right!

I also have some embroidery projects I completed this winter and spring too that I need to take pictures of that stuff sometime soon now too!

So, more to come that I can show you without being too embarrassed by  the number of mistakes each item contains!

About the only things I've ever made that I consider to be "error free" would be my three kids though so don't look too closely at the craft projects then! LOL

Kids and Music?

Music is something that has roots -long, long roots -in my family, and from both sides too.

My paternal grandmother and her father -my great-grandfather -I've been told, used to play a pump organ and some other instrument -most likely a fiddle, considering one of my uncles had a fiddle and could play it -and they used to play at barn dances in the little coal mining community where that branch of my family lived in the 1880s and 1890s. My Dad's baby sister was quite an accomplished musician -played piano and organ, was church organist and choir director for many years as well as taught music too in the school district where they lived.

On my Mom's side, her Dad and two of his brothers, sang as a trio, performing frequently at many church related events. My Grandpa's baby sister, somehow also learned to play the organ and was church organist too for some time in this little village at the church we used to have up the street from where I live. My Mom took piano lessons and was a good pianist and could also play the old church pump-type organ too for Sunday School back in the day when I was really small! Her younger sister could play the piano but couldn't read music as she played by ear!

And me -well, when I was about 8 years old, my Mom had designs in her mind of my becoming a wonderful pianist. So I started taking piano lessons then and from then till I was about 13 or so, I had sporadic piano lessons from 3 different teachers. None of them were able to get all that far with me because at that time, I had a thing about practicing -I hated it!

When I was in 4th grade, our school music teacher somehow or other, scrounged up instruments and kids in our township schools who wanted to learn to play instruments, could often find a way to acquire an instrument from the music teacher. We were also asked to check within our families too and find out if maybe, somewhere at home, there might be some instruments laying around, unused for years, that we could secure and use them to learn to play.

In my case, my Dad's brother who I mentioned above here who had been a fiddle player at sometime in his early life, still had the violin and lucky me, it was stored at the old homestead of my Dad's family.  After a little discussion between my aunt (the music teacher) and that uncle, it was decided I could have this violin to use to learn to play the violin!

And so, for the next three years in elementary school, I took violin lessons! My grandfather was quite impressed that I wanted to learn to play this instrument but fortunately too for his sake, it was quite a blessing that his hearing had begun to fail him about that time when my lessons began with the violin. If you've ever been in a situation where you had to hear someone struggling to play anything at all on a violin in the really early learning phases, you'll understand what I mean by that comment about Grandpa's hearing loss. He would sit and watch/listen to me try to play and the sounds -the most god-awful screeching you'd ever hope to hear would come out and he would nod, pat me on the back and tell me how beautiful the music I was making was!

By 6th grade, the music teacher at our school had decided I should try to learn to play yet another instrument and so, he picked out a nice (a bit old, a little beat-up, but still usable) French Horn for me to get acquainted with then! After about 6 months of lessons on that instrument, he also decided I was ready to move up and play with the "big kids" in the school's marching band.

That man sure did have a lot of faith in my but sadly, it was very misplaced! I didn't really have a clue what the heck was going on with trying to just play that horn, much less to do it while marching on cue no less and reading music at the same time! Just not a good mix and shortly after I had insisted my Mom spend the extra bucks on a pair of nifty white bucks needed specifically for marching in the band, that I abandoned that instrument!

So you see, from my own experience I do have a modicum -or did, anyway -of musical interest and some might say, talent, but I never had the fortitude for practicing the way I should have done to really be able to play any of those particular instruments I had access to as a child. Today, I could kick myself for having been such a lazy and also, spoiled brat!

Now, with my own kids, my son was at one time interested in learning to play the drums and actually, somewhere along the line, he did learn a little about the drums and can do a half decent job of accompanying others in jam sessions and the like. Mandy took saxophone lessons too in elementary school but it seems her musical interest was pretty much along the same vein as mine -a bit too lazy to keep up with the needed practice and she dropped that. Later, when she was in high school, she realized she had screwed herself out of being able to go with the school band to several trips to Florida to Disney World, which would have been available to her, had she persevered with the saxe!

We do get too soon old and too late smart about lots of things, don't we?

So these days, with the grandkids, I'd really love to see them find their way clear to learning more about music and especially, to learn to play an instrument -any instrument, really -just so they learn and enjoy the learning process.

The grandkids Dad plays drums -kind of like my son, except he does fancy himself to be an accomplished drummer. I don't know enough about playing that instrument to know how much it takes to be a really good drummer so I can't cast judgement there. But I will say this, when Maya was very little, one of the things we noticed early on with her was her interest in watching her Dad drum out a beat just on the table and try to imitate him and the fact that quite often, she could do that. Kurtis too likes to drum a bit but he doesn't have access at this point to anyone or anything either that would help him to learn this better. His Dad, several years ago, did have a nice enough drum set but today, I don't know if he still owns that or not.I did see something on the internet though where one can build a new cajon drum, apparently from a kit and who knows, maybe something like that would be a reasonable starting point for Kurtis to learn to play the instrument. At least, it wouldn't break the bank at Monte Carlo, as the old expression goes, if when he gets a little older and if his interests and abilities in that area still show some promise, that might be a way to start.

Now, if I can just get my son to replace the plug (that shorted out) on my Hammond organ I received from my late Aunt's possessions so I could at least then be able to turn this lovely instrument on and try to see if I can possibly improve my skills at this late stage of my life!

However, I don't look to see much progress in my playing abilities on the organ if Clate does get the plug fixed mainly because I've found it's really difficult to try to read music and play an instrument when you have to wear bifocals! The neck gets stiff really quickly then from all the bobbing up and down to find the right keys and make sure it's the right note on the page too then! But, I do enjoy trying more now than when I was a kid.

Again -slow learning process, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things Happen....

Boy, seems like this week is one filled with not such good news around this area.

We (Mandy, the kids and I) went tonight to a viewing for a lady who was a good friend to me and also, to my kids -especially to my son. She had two boys -one about the same age as my son and the other, the same age as Mandy -and last Thursday, a friend of theirs found her lying in her yard. She was life-flighted to a hospital in Pittsburgh but passed away late Friday night. My son, her boys and my nephew, growing up, were quite the foursome! Always up to something and often, getting into little scrapes here and there. Nothing really bad back then, just boys, being boys -rough riding with their bicycles around town and such, building ramps for skate boards and really just pretty much being a general nuisance at times with those escapades. And this lady often put up with all four of those boys at the same time so she probably should have been nominated for sainthood back then!

After leaving the funeral home, we stopped by to visit a bit with Charmaine -who used to own the restaurant where Mandy waitressed and/or tended bar for a about 5 years or so until Charmaine and her husband Jim, sold the place. Jim died last July though and then, Charmaine's Mom (who was one of the best friends I've ever had) passed away about 2 months ago, so it's been a rough year for her, along with her two sisters too who live near here. It was funny though when we pulled into her place tonight as Kurtis immediately asked Mandy if this is the place where they have the funny face trees? This was something new to me as I had no clue what he was referring to but Mandy knew immediately what it was. Charmaine and Jim have these funny, crazy, faces hanging on many of the big trees around their place and she was surprised that Kurtis thought of them right away considering he hasn't been to Charmaine's place in at least a year now. Funny, isn't it, the things kids remember?

While there, we learned too that a cousin of Charmaine's who happens to be my ex-sister-in-law's brother, is in the hospital as he had a heart attack either last night or early this a.m.! Brother! This guy has had a whole lot in recent years of medical issues but thankfully, he's always before been like the proverbial Timex -takes a licking and keeps on ticking! Considering he is only in his mid-to-late 50s, I sure do hope things go that way this time for him too!

Last night though was very upsetting for me but it turned out, it was all for nothing!

Mandy had planned to go out to our church last night to put the garbage out for the collection this morning. She's the sexton at our church so that's part of her job, you know. About 11 p.m., she started getting ready to go out there - yes, that late, but she can come and go as she pleases there. Well, I was busy on the computer and heard her getting ready to leave and then, the house was quiet. Except for me typing and of course, the tv on in the background.

I figured she'd be back home by midnight but then, I realized it was well beyond midnight -like about 1 a.m. and she hadn't come back. However, I figured no big deal, she probably stopped by the place where she worked a couple years ago to visit with the owner there a bit. Then it was 2 a.m. and she still hadn't returned so I thought then, boy she must be getting a real earful of stories of events around so will be interesting to hear about that stuff when she does get home.

By 3 a.m. and no Mandy yet, I was starting to get concerned. She never does things like that to me unless she calls and lets me know where she is and what's happening.

Before I knew it, it was well after 4 a.m. and still no show of her!!! By then, I was almost ready to call the police and see if there was an accident or something. Yes, I do still worry about my kids and often, more than any of them realize too!

By that time then, I was really concerned but also, was getting very, very sleepy so I decided I'd go to bed and hope that there was nothing bad going on, ya know.

When I went out to my room, I noticed the outside porch light was still on so I decided since it was starting to get daylight outside, to turn the light off. When I did that, I also noticed that there were two cars in our parking area out front too! What the heck!!! How did Mandy's car get there and when did she get home and upstairs without my noticing it?

In the meantime too -before I went to bed -I had posted on Facebook a note to her -"Time to come home, Mandy!" But seems like she was here, upstairs in bed the whole time I was sitting downstairs fretting away that something had happened to her!

When I got up this a.m. -after the kids had gone to school -she asked me what was behind that message and when I explained that I thought she was still out all that time, she informed me she had never left the house after all and that's why her car was still out front and why I hadn't heard her come home!

Tonight, she informed me that her boyfriend, Jeff, had seen my message and had asked her what that was all about and when she told him, he had howled laughing at my worrying over nothing!

Ya know, I do take great comfort though in saying to both Mandy and to Jeff, not to laugh too long or too hard over my doing that because in a few more years, their days to really worry about the whereabouts of their children will really have begun!

What goes around, does come around and especially is true for all parents and their children at some time or other!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Season Begins....

Yesterday marks the day that many people associate with the start of summertime. It isn't really, but because it's a big holiday weekend and schools in some areas are done for the year while in other areas, the kids are operating now on "short-time chains."

Here, the kids have roughly two more weeks of school as they don't finish up until June 7th.

Yesterday, being Memorial Day -or as many in my age range often still call it -"Decoration Day" I had been involved last week with picking up three planters that my cousin down in Texas had ordered from her ex-sister-in-law (who has a greenhouse here and does a very nice job with a just-the-right-size not too small but not too large planter). I had offered a couple years back to my cousin that I would be more than happy to pick up any planters she wanted to order and purchase from her sister-in-law and take them to the cemetery where here parents are buried to put them on their graves as well as, this year, an extra planter to put in front of a large family headstone that is now on my aunt and uncle's plots.

I had picked up the planters last Wednesday and took them to the cemetery. So that was taken care of and then, I just needed to get two more planters and a couple extra small flowers that I wanted to plant on the graves of my maternal grandparents, as well as my parents too. The extra small flowers were to go on the graves of my older aunt and her husband as well as on my older daughter's Godparents graves. But I was waiting until Sunday to do that so as to have my older daughter available, along with her son, my oldest grandson, to accompany me and to do the actual planting of the smaller plants. I don't have the strength these days to do the digging needed plus, if I get down on the ground to actually plant stuff, I then need someone there to give me assistance in getting back up on my feet!

Considering the fact that the weather that had been pretty decent off and on last week, was predicted to turn to a freeze on both Friday and Saturday nights, I was a bit concerned then that I maybe should have waited to put out the planters for my cousin, but thankfully, if there was any frost those two nights, it must not have affected that area of the cemetery.

Sunday afternoon, Carrie, Alex and I got the two remaining planters and extra flowers I wanted and away we went, first to the cemetery near here where my Grandparents are buried, as well as my aunt, uncle and Carrie's Godparents. After we finished there, my daughter and grandson had to leave to return home so Maya and I went then up to the other cemetery about  8 miles from here which is where almost all of my Dad's family is laid to rest.

As we pulled in and off the road near the family lot site, I saw a car parking on the lane right beside the family's lots and realized it was a cousin of mine and his wife. I haven't seen, much less talked to this cousin since the funeral of our last aunt, who passed away 5 years ago this April! I don't really know who was more surprised to see who there -me to see him or them to see me and Maya. A little bit of contention you could say I suppose between us but on Sunday, there was no hint of that in our conversation. Perhaps having Maya with me may have served as a bit of a buffer between us although I talked mostly with his wife, asking how their daughter and her children are doing, telling her what's been happening around here too over the past five years.

I'm glad that we did have this chance meeting and maybe things between us will return to a normal state in the future.

Monday, I went to the Memorial Services at our cemetery -something I grew up doing every Memorial Day -with my Mom, Grandparents and usually several of my aunts or uncles who almost always came home for the holiday weekend. Attending that service was considered to be as important a thing as a lot of folks think about going to church on Christmas and Easter! After the services, there was a lot of milling around, reuniting with people the family didn't usually see except maybe at this service once a year. And the attendance back then, when I was a kid, was generally pretty high too -usually at least between 80 to maybe 100 people would show up. Yesterday, I counted 27 people there. Seems folks don't pay much attention to honoring their ancestors much less the veterans the way they once did, ya know.

After the service and back home, my daughter, her boyfriend, his two kids and my two grandkids -Maya and Kurtis -and I had a nice cookout here -burgers and hot dogs, grilled asparagus, pasta salad and just enough macaroni and cheese leftover from Saturday's meal to satisfy the kids! Nothing fancy, that's for sure. Plain old white styrofoam disposable plates and plastic utensils -no special effects type stuff like snazzy patio dinnerware involved here!

And, tonight the kids polished off the leftover hot dogs while Mandy had leftover baked chicken she'd fixed for Saturday's dinner. Since today happened to be my day for my monthly lunch with my high school classmates, after which I am generally still pretty stuffed by suppertime and don't care to eat much then, I'm going to have myself a nice rather healthy meal for my dinner tonight -cottage cheese and fruit! Simple, yes but tasty and refreshing for me!

So now, we've officially kicked off the start of summer -vacations soon to begin for those lucky enough to get time off and who can afford to go some place special.

I'll still be camping out here -same place, same station ya know -probably still messing around with some kind of craft stuff -either embroidery, knitting or crochet to keep my mind occupied and trying not to think about how my life is about to take a drastic change sometime around the beginning of July!

Confusion -Children and for Me!

First off, I'm asking here if anyone can explain what the heck is going on with my blog anyway? If you look at my last post, it appears that I don't have any break at all in it -no separation by paragraph!

Now, I know I didn't type it that way and when I looked at it on Blogger, using the "Edit" feature, it all showed up fine and dandy -paragraphs in the places where they were intended to be. This has happened to me on several occasions now and I haven't clue one as to what the heck causes this! Okay -that's MY confusion issue of the moment -not necessarily of the day or the week -but just at this point in time.

 Now, I'm moving on to tell you a couple little stories of confusion, I guess, on the part of both my younger grandkids. Sometimes, they get things with no problem. By "Get" there I mean, "understand." Sometimes, they are a bit off-center though. And these are the most recent instances for Maya and Kurtis.

Tonight, at the supper table, I don't know how the conversation turned to this, but according to their Mother, they were discussing what goes into various things and she asked them about "Pig's Feet." Maya's response to that was "Oh yeah. They go in Pigs in a Blanket."

 This morning, as I stood at the front door with Kurtis, waiting for the van to arrive to take him to school, he informed me that "Bear-Bear" (which just happens to be his most treasured possession, his security item, ya know and "Bear-Bear" is a big old fluffy pillow type item that Kurtis has to have when he goes to bed and occasionally, Bear-Bear goes with him to church or other places when he's got a bit of trepidation)-well, Bear-Bear was going to school today according to Kurt. So, knowing sometimes when he's a bit antsy about something, he's been known to stuff Bear-Bear into his backpack, so I asked him if he had Bear-Bear in his backpack.

 "No," Kurt told me, "He's going to preschool in the afternoon!"

Hmmm. Interesting concept there as I have no idea what form of transportation he thinks Bear-Bear may have to get to pre-school and don't know which pre-school it may be either that Bear-Bear is supposed to be attending!

 And, my last little humor tidbit here concerns Miss Maya and our walk on Saturday with the mutt.

 I walk the dog, usually twice a day, taking him down our road to where the woods begin and then, back home again. It's not a long, long walk -about 2/3 of a mile maybe, round-trip. Lately, when I walk Sammy in the early evening hours, Maya has been wanting to go with me, and I appreciate her company and the conversations we often have during those walks too.

Saturday evening, about 5:30, we set out to take Sammy for his stroll and in passing my good friend, Kate's home, saw her husband out front, mowing the bank of their yard. We nodded and waved to Jim and kept walking.

On the way back to the house, as we came up to Kate and Jim's house, I saw that Jim had completed his mowing job and remarked to Maya that "Jim's yard really looks very nice now, doesn't it?" Maya looked around, a bit confused and said "Where?"

I realized she didn't understand exactly what area I was talking about so I gave a wave of my hand to indicate their yard. She nodded and then said to me, "You mean Kate's yard, don't you?"

 "No, Maya." I went on to tell her the yard was Kate and Jim's yard to which she stopped dead in her tracks and with a very astonished and shocked expression on her face said "You mean they LIVE together?"

Uh, yes they do as they have been married for a good number of years -going on 48 or 49 come October and they have three daughters as well as 4 grandchildren I explained to her. "Oh yeah, I think I know one of their grandchildren," says Maya. "Her name is Sierra." At that, I stopped and said "What?" and then Maya corrected herself, saying "Oh no. It's Katie!"

 Apparently she somehow got my friend Kate's granddaughter's name confused somehow initially and decided her name might be Sierra because Maya's half-sisters are named Katie and Sierra, respectively by age. That's the only explanation I could come up with as to why the name Sierra popped into her head. But anyway, I must say that I cracked up laughing about her consternation of Kate and Jim just living together.

Just too doggone comical how kids understand some things and yet, not really. She knows Kate, my friend, quite well, as she occasionally accompanies me down to Kate's house and Kate often stops here too but apparently she has rarely been there when Kate's husband Jim is around, plus at church, Jim sings in the choir so he rarely sits in the pew with Kate at services so I guess it's understandable why she didn't realize they were a couple and were married.

 And, that's my little interjection of humor for today!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fickle Entities!

Thought today I would address somethings in my life (maybe in others too) that are annoying little tidbits. Not necessarily life threatening or announcing the end of the world being near but just, well -annoying as all get out at times. Here's one that I personally am not experiencing but a good friend of mine is having some difficulties this week with her Facebook account. Seems because she got a new e-mail address a short while ago that she had to change her Facebook account then to make that reflection there and since she did that, she can still get on to Facebook, can read and share but can't comment on any posts on there! Now I have to say this that I haven't seen this particular lady friend in 55 years -since SHE graduated from high school -but she was a good communicator (i.e. talker) back then and subsequently, she is usually a very active and good communicator still when she's on Facebook. And to be able to read all the posts from her many friends but no being able to comment on them -well, this is about to drive her completely over the edge, ya know. She says she has tried about everything imaginable to be able to get her Facebook back to working the way it should and all to no avail. Not being a really techie type person myself, I know I would be in quite a pickle if I had a problem like that crop up on my Facebook and so, I can totally empathize with her issues there, can't you? Yesterday, I managed to talk to two different mortgage consultants about the possibility of getting a reverse mortgage in place on my property -so I won't have to try to sell my beloved old homestead -and each of these two gentlemen checked about the regulation I had been told on Tuesday would prevent me from acquiring this type of mortgage -and both of them then informed me that they could process a reverse mortgage for me after all, with no hang ups on it due to any FHA regulations! So, that was a nice bit of information given to me, for sure and improves my thoughts processes and attitude a whole lot, as you can imagine. But it also has me wondering why the loan consultant at my local bank would have told me there is an FHA regulation that would block my getting a reverse mortgage? Ah, the fickleness of big business, maybe? But the thing that is really annoying me of late is the fickleness of good old Mother Nature! I'm thinking maybe someone should try to check and see if she is perhaps being inflicted with a very severe case of PMS or perhaps -at her age -even worse, she might be dealing with menopause. Judging by the way the temps have been veering up high one day, extra humidity factors to really make a person sweat big, big droplets and are akin to those obnoxious hot flashes many of us have had to endure in our "golden" years of life, one day and the next day, the temperature is often any where from 15-20 degrees lower (in some instances even a larger gap than that) to the point of running fans and/or air conditioning one day and having to turn the furnace on the next day because it's just that chilly then to need a little bit of head to prevent frozen fingers and toes! And tomorrow, it's supposed to be even colder here with even the threat of frost! Holy Rip! Enough is enough, isn't it? I am however still standing by what I said during the cold winter months when I told friends and family that come summer, no matter how hot it gets, if I start to bitch, remind me that I said I wasn't going to do that this year. And I still intend to follow that commitment. However, I never said I wasn't going to complain if this fickle wench can't decide which season she's dropping on us! It's spring, getting close to being summer, and we shouldn't be needing winter coats, hats and mittens! So, please Mother Nature, take your meds, get your inner thermostat regulated and bring on the sunshine and warmth we've craved for long enough now!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flock a Duck

We all have our own little sayings we use when things don't work quite right or other things happen and they are a way of expressing some type of feeling.

If you accidentally bang your finger with a hammer or slam a door on your hand or foot, what's the first thing you say -either out loud or perhaps, just mutter it under your breath?

I have a lot of these type of expressions I use -some of them are just silly things but, depending on the seriousness of any given situation, some of them might be downright vulgar and obscene.

Yeah, I have a very colorful vocabulary at times!

And today, the things I was saying to myself were not nice, not at all.

The title of this post is sort of one of my favorite sayings except I use the big bad "F" word instead of the word used in the title. I know, to say it the way I say it virtually makes no sense but boy, it works wonders when you are trying to express just exactly how angry, disgusted, fed up and having lots of other bad thoughts in your mind of what you'd really like to do to some person or some rules and regulations that seem to exist solely to bedevil the living daylights out of a person!

Today was a very bad day for me. My hopes of getting a "reverse mortgage" which could/would save me from having to give up my home -the house I've called home for about 60 years now -were dashed and ground into sand -very fine sand at that -today.

I got a call from the lady who works at the bank I deal with here and she is in charge of processing reverse mortgages.

We talked a bit as she asked me a few questions about my house -age, size, description, etc. All seemed to be going along fine and dandy until the first problem area cropped up. This one pertained to a codicil my Mom had put on the deed to the property when she transferred it to my name 47 years ago and it states that the property can not be sold or conveyed unless all heirs of my grandparents are given first option to purchase the place. The lady said this might possibly be very problematic but perhaps, if I get a copy of my deed and have the lady at the branch were I bank fax it to her, she can check it out and see if it can be worked around.

Okay -I think I can get to the courthouse and get a copy of the deed and do that so maybe all is not lost then after all.

But then she asked if the property has any leases attached to it and yes, it does as two years ago I signed a lease with one of the oil companies flooding this area with leases and a bit of money to go with them for the drilling rights. This all pertains to the Marcellus Shale stuff that's been a big and ongoing deal in this region.

Oops! Seems that my having done that will put an end right there to the FHA granting their approval of a reverse mortgage on my property.

 Now, I don't understand the ins and outs, whys and why nots of much pertaining to real estate transactions and loans and such, that is for certain but this bit of information really boggles my mind as to why this would be such a hindrance that the FHA will not budge on this regulation. Not. At. All!

So now, apparently I am going to have to face the reality of losing the home I've lived in almost my entire life. The home my grandparents built back in 1903, where I was born, grew up here and love this old house very, very much.

One of my cousins thinks I am way to sentimental about this old house and that he thinks I am living my life in the past because I told him when I walk through this place, there are many times I glance at something and it brings back memories to me of days long since gone by, of people who were the most important people in my life then and are long departed now. Little things -trees out in the yard, dishes in my china closet, the old fireplace that never worked right. Just all kinds of little things that spark a memory for me and give me the feeling that my grandparents or my mom or this or that aunt, uncle, cousin, good friend, is beside me for an instant and I get a sense again of their presence or a mark they made on my life.

Crazy? Is that so crazy? Well perhaps it is but it's my own particular piece of insanity then if that's the case I guess because that's what this house does and what it means to me.

I feel the same way about this little village too where I have spent so much of my life -I love it here!

When I walk Sammy and look around at the houses around mine and think of the people who reside there now and the people who once lived here, it brings to mind so many things that I can't really describe the feelings I get other than that I love that I knew so many of those folks and what kind of people they were to have as neighbors. Some were more like another whole set of parents and a side family to me as I grew up here!

And I don't want to leave these familiar surroundings and move into some senior citizen tiny apartment complex somewhere away from here!

For all the talk and writings you may come across in which this study or that one points out that it is more feasible for people to stay within the surroundings that they are most familiar with, why then can't I utilize the one avenue that would allow that luxury to me?

Right now, I get the feeling that the news I got today fits right in with one of my ex-husband's expressions (and boy, he had oodles of these, many not very ladylike though) and this is one he said last night to my daughter in a conversation he was having with her about some repairs needed to the car she just got about a week ago.

He told her if she didn't repair something on it the way he told her to have it done that she will have just "been screwed without taking her pants of and also, without even a kiss!" Maybe I didn't get his wording there 100% correct but it was to that affect and you get the idea he was conveying to her.

That's pretty much how I'm feeling about this whole business with my house right now.

Stewed, screwed and barbequed!

And, I'd really like to tell FHA to "Go whiz up a rope, if you please!"

But guess I best go try to get some sleep and maybe, wake up in the morning with some ideas floating in my head, people I can try to call/contact for more information, other alternatives that might exist that I don't know about.

Here's hoping it will work out that way but just in case, I better start collecting boxes and packing up my "treasures" that I would want to take with me when I leave.

And then, if that really does come about that way, bet your bottom dollar I'll be saying my not-so-nice expression of my feelings on that day. Just change the spelling a tad and you'll know what I'm saying!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I have had so many things on my mind of late, I forgot completely about posting -and also, about reading posts on my reader as well! I really need to get some kind of meds -like the kind they give to kids with Attention Deficit -to help me keep on task and on target!

Okay -tonight I have to share two videos with you though! These were both taken at church this morning and are of our Children's Choir doing two numbers today. As you may recall, my granddaughter, Miss Maya, is in this choir and has been doing quite well with the group. (Kurtis is supposed to be in the choir but usually pays no attention to learning the songs, much less to the directives given by the lady from our church who is in charge of this group.)

The kids' songs this morning hold special significance for me though. First, since it was Pentecost Sunday, all the candle holders in the church -one at each row of pews -were in use and lit -very pretty, very special service in that aspect. And, the Children's Choir singing today was to be their last performance till the end of the summer so, since my daughter is planning to move the end of June or early in July, to the Harrisburg area, this might possibly be the last time EVER that Miss Maya will have a chance to sing with this group of kids and in our church here.

So, as much as I loved hearing and seeing these kids in action, enjoyed every minute of the times they have sung for a service at church, it really is a sad thing for me as I realize that next year, Maya will not be present with this group. Tough time accepting that aspect coming about in my life!

But anyway, the first song the kids did this morning was "Children of the Heavenly Father" and they sang it before the service started -so it was the prelude to worship today. Because the founders of our church were early settlers who immigrated here from Sweden back in the mid-to-late 1880s, we have always taken great pride in that part of our ancestry and as such, love to hear music that reflects our Swedish roots. And this song definitely is a favorite of just about everyone in our congregation who has Swedish ancestry!

The kids sang a couple verses in English and then also, sang the first verse over, not once, but twice in Swedish! I thought I did quite well this morning in that I didn't break out in tears as I often do when I hear this hymn, as I think it is so beautiful -lyrics and melody both -plus the fact that I learned the words to it from my Grandfather by the time I was 5-year-old. I knew all four verses by heart in English and the first verse, in Swedish. It was one of his favorite hymns and because I suppose that he was my favorite person, it easily became one of my favorites then too! Maya learned the Swedish verse by the time she too was five and I hope she retains this as one of her favorites all her life too!

So, here is their rendition this morning of this lovely hymn!

Later, in the service, the children sang another number. The second song -"A Place in the Choir" is quite a lively song and gave the kids a chance to really let it all out and revel in their music! I loved this number and especially watching Miss Maya as she turned into a bit of a "dancing queen" then for it! What a ham she can be at times! Actually, all the kids really give it their all, don't 'cha think?

Last night, I had to bake something to take to services this morning for a treat to accompany the coffee time we always have after services have ended. I was debating what to fix but ended up making two items. One was a cake -the original recipe I received for this cake was titled "Chop Suey Cake" and I've never been able to figure out why or how it got that name! But a few years ago, I saw it on a recipe website where it was named "Swedish Nut Cake" and of course, with my Swedish ancestry being mentioned (plus the fact I love this cake) I decided to rename it for my use then as the Swedish name. The other item I made was from a mix that I thought was a cake mix but didn't realize until I started to mix it up that it was actually a muffin mix! The name of it -Cinnamon Twist Coffee Cake (I think that's what it was called anyway -don't have the box handy now to verify the name.) But anyway, I mixed it up according to the directions but added a can of apple pie filling to the batter and baked it!

Both items went over very well with the folks who stay for coffee and refreshments after church! The one with the apple pie filling went over exceedingly well with Miss Maya too, I might add! Just getting her to try something new can often be quite a chore but she tried a sample of it last night and came back asking for more so that serves as a good recommendation in my book!

Yesterday afternoon, I was at church to attend a special party for a very special pair of friends of mine!

Seems that yesterday just happened to be the 50th Anniversary of the marriage of my very good and long-time friend, Bridgett, and her husband, Ron! Bridgett and I have been friends from way back -like first grade and yes, that is a long, long time ago now -like over 60 years! Their two daughters, Pam and Penny, planned this gathering to honor their parents -family and friends -and it was really a very nice get-together!

 Here's Bridgett and Ron -alongside their younger daughter, Penny, as they entered into the church social hall to a big surprise get-together for them!

And, here's the happy celebrants at their own special table -flanked by their daughters -Penny on the left and Pam to their right.

They don't look any the worse for wear after 50 years of marriage, do they?

I've been busy otherwise this past week playing with yarns and crocheting dishcloths! I love the handmade crocheted dishcloths and have been experimenting with different patterns in making some of these items. That way, I can (hopefully) learn a few more crochet stitches and get a bit of general practice in too in the craft of crochet!

The joke of today though -I have to tell you about this one -started last night, late -around 11 p.m.when my son phoned me and during the conversation, he asked if I was going to be up for a while. Silly question for him to ask me, the original night hawk, ya know. Anyway, I told him yes and he said he was going to take a run down to the house to have a chance to talk to me for a little bit. I told him to dig out a pitcher and draw a pitcher of beer to bring with him because I was really thirsty and a good cold brew sure sounded like a good thirst-quencher to me.

He said he'd see if he could find something and would be down shortly.

Well, when he walked in, he was carrying a jug that had formerly held Arizona iced tea -a whole gallon jug that he'd filled with some of his good Yuengling Draft he runs on tap at his house. We had a couple glasses of beer together and he left around 2 a.m. and I put the jug in the fridge with about 1/3 of it still holding that good tasting stuff. He hadn't been able to locate a cap for it though so there it was, uncapped in the refrigerator.

Late this afternoon, Mandy was fixing a bite to eat for Maya, me and her herself, and she reached in the fridge and pulled out this jug. She was ready to pour some into a cup and remarked to me about there being no lid on this jug of Iced Tea. I glanced over just in time -before she poured some of the beer into Maya's glass and informed her that was beer in that container!

We got a good chuckle out of the whole thing though, especially since she had just fixed some scrambled eggs for Maya so the joke was that she almost gave her beer with her eggs -instead of the old line of "Egg in your beer" ya know!

See, I'm not the only one who does silly things around this place, am I?

And there you have it -a little glimpse into my life over this past weekend!

Tomorrow begins another week and with it, I will have Kurtis home all day tomorrow as he got sick this morning, just as Mandy was getting ready to leave to take the kids both out to church for Sunday School and practice for the children's choir performance this morning! Poor kid! Mandy had to run Maya out and drop her off, hurry back home so I could leave then to make it to church while she stayed home then with Kurtis. Because he was definitely not up to par all day, running a low grade fever, upset tummy and that stuff, Mandy decided she isn't sending him to school now tomorrow -or today as you read this. Miss Dawn, his TSS/therapist, will be spending the day here with him instead of at school.

So, considering that, I suppose I really should call it a night and get some sleep so I can be bright-eyed and bushy tailed to start the week ahead!

Yeah, right! Like that's gonna happen with me being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Hurry Up Slow Down

Why is it that some days, some weeks actually, the more I try to hurry or get this or that accomplished, the slower things seem to move for me?  It's like I can't get ahead no matter what I try to do.

Or so it does seem to be at times.

Last week, for example, I had planned -in my mind -that I was going to bake a batch of rye bread probably around Friday to have fresh bread for Mother's Day and some then to freeze as well. Guess what didn't get made?

I put my embroidery stuff up on the shelf about 10-11 days ago in order to give my right thumb and index finger a bit of a rest as they were both getting really raggedy from way too many pricks with the darned needle. And, in the interim, I started to play with some of the yarn I happen to have in my stash. Seemed like a really good idea to me.

I have had this pattern waiting in the wings for about 3 years now that I wanted to make a cape for myself from the leaflet. I had initially purchased this particular leaflet oh, about 40 years ago now and had made this particular cape before -made it for my Mom and was quite pleased with the way it had turned out. I was not then (nor am I now either) a very fast knitter but back then, I also had a 6-year-old and a 6-month-old to tend to, along with a house, husband, a growing Avon Route as well so didn't have much time to spend sitting and just knitting then. As a result, I had started this particular project in early spring that year (1974) with the grand idea in mind I could have it finished in time for Mother's Day that year and could present it to my Mom then for that occasion.

You know, don't 'cha, that old adage about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, that sure applied to my timetable with respect to making that cape! Mother's Day arrived and I was no where near being finished with my project so I thought, oh well, I'll get it done for Mom's birthday (which was in November). Surely that would give me enough time? Wrong again. November came and went and no finished cape so I moved the plan up that the cape would be my Christmas present to her but even that whizzed by and the cape, although much further along, closer to being completed, still wasn't done.

I finally managed to get it completed in late January of 1975! Took me close to a year to get it done but I was very happy that I did finally finish it and gave it to my Mom as a very belated Mother's Day, Birthday and Christmas gift.

I had a lot of trepidation about giving this to her though as she was very much a perfectionist about all things hand made and prior to making this cape, anything I had tried to make for her came under really heavy scrutiny and often, she would even be seen taking seams out, resewing things -stuff like that which had a tendency to anger my ex-husband and needless to say, it did hurt my feelings at times when she would get a bit overboard on the perfectionism stuff.

Amazingly, she liked the cape! I was astonished, really I was! But she liked it, wore it a lot over the last four years of her life then too. I don't know today what eventually  happened to the cape after she passed because I can't remember giving it to someone else and definitely can't picture that I would have possibly discarded it because for me to throw something out, it has to have virtually no usefulness whatsoever left in it! I tend to be very much on the "packrat" side of life. Not quite up to being a hoarder although my kids accuse me of hoarding embroidery, knitting or crochet supplies and kits, etc.

Anyway, over the years, I had somehow managed to lose or misplace the leaflet with this particular pattern in it. Once I got my own computer and learned about things like Vintage Shops online, I went on a search and destroy mission and lucked out when I found a little place in Oregon that had two children's/babies knit pattern books along with this particular leaflet I'd been hunting and so I ordered the three items. I've now been keeping this leaflet under close wraps (so as to not lose it again) and planning to remake this particular cape for myself.

This winter, I found some yarn on sale that looked like it would work to use to make the cape, so I purchased more than enough quantity to make it. Last Sunday, I decided with the embroidery stuff on hiatus for a little while, the time had come for me to get brave and try again to make myself this cape.

I started work on it and things were progressing -not exactly by leaps and bounds, but moving along all the same. That is until Friday evening when it all came to a stop as I completed the 23rd row of the pattern and realized there was an error some where along the way. Actually, I had made some earlier errors in the pattern but had found them early on -except for one that I had to rip clear back to the ribbing at the neckline -but anyway, I had cleared those errors, reknitted up to row 23 and boom! My count was off by 2 stitches which I couldn't find where I had erred to end up with these two extra stitches on my needle. What was even more disconcerting was that in the beginning of that row, it appeared there that I would end up short stitches, not with two extra ones and being sort in that part of the pattern would throw the entire appearance of the finished product way off center!

I posted of my dilemma on a knitter's forum site I subscribe to in hopes someone who participates there and is a much more accomplished knitter than I would see my post and be able to offer a solution. Although I did get a tiny bit of feedback on that site, no one -thus far -has come forward to offer me any type of suggestion to fix my problem! So there I am now -stuck!

What really annoys me about this though is that when I made this cape 40 years ago, I had no problems interpreting the pattern -just mainly had delays due to lack of free time to work on it. Today, I have a good bit of "free" time to spend and here I am, confounded by the damned pattern! Go figure that one out, will ya?

So, the cape stuff is now on top of my mantel, waiting patiently -unlike me, as I am very impatient about this mess -but anyway, that's where it is right now. In the meantime, I picked up some other yarns (since I have a pretty healthy supply of that substance to choose from) and have crocheted 3 wash clothes and a place mat since Sunday! Not any major feat for anyone who is a really accomplished crafter-knitter-crocheter person but good for me because I tried two new patterns and got them  finished then without any major ripouts or screwups!

I'm still in the process of trying to learn more too about how to go about applying for a reverse mortgage -not sure how to start that process yet -as I think this may possibly be the only solution possible for me to remain in my family homestead for whatever length of time I may have available to live independently. So far, I haven't come across anything that sends up alarm signals to me -as my one couÇin warned me about things that he had heard about this process that could be detrimental but I'm trying to be very cautious about how I proceed with this idea.

Last week was also a very upsetting week for both Mandy and for me with respect to Kurtis. His behavior issues had resurfaced and he was becoming borderline for even possibly being suspended -if you can picture a first grader being suspended! Well, it could happen! Or, he could possibly be held back too and have to repeat first grade because of his poor choices and bad behavior. That would be a shame too as academically, he's doing very well. Just has a whole lot of difficulty following behaviorial directions though. Thankfully, none of the behaviors this time involved mooning other students or teacher like we had to deal with back during the winter months! Just hope thing finally settle down for the kid because he is basically such a little sweetheart.

Mother's Day here, came and went -older daughter and grandson came up for dinner and my son joined us for Sunday's main meal then too of baked chicken breast with provolone cheese and ham, candied sweet potatoes, creamed corn and two different desserts -strawberry shortcake or chocolate-peanut butter cream pie! Just the type of meal any diabetic really needs, isn't it? Heavy duty on the carbs and starches and sugar content!

So that brings me pretty much up to date with today now. Still having frequent bouts dealing with the depression but I keep telling myself to work through it, things will iron out, eventually -just hoping that it irons out without scorching too much in the process though!

Hope everyone else had a great Mother's Day celebration with family surrounding you. I am very blessed in that all three of my kids, all three of my grandkids too, are close enough to where I live that we were able to be together. This will probably be the last year we will be able to do that with relative ease once Mandy and the children move down towards Harrisburg sometime this summer.

Maya told me one day last week that she doesn't want to move away from here and she hopes her Mom changes her mind about this. Well, I wish she would have a change of heart about that too but I don't really think that's ever going to happen now. Just hope whatever move she does make that it all works out for the best for her.

And that's pretty much how my last week here as moved along!

Hope yours has been a whole lot better!

Monday, May 06, 2013


There have been some issues at school this past year with Kurtis -issues that are not of the academic sort but rather "Socialization Skills."

I think I'd rather deal with the academic issues because making headway with him on these socialization skills things is like beating a brick wall -or so it has often seemed to be.

For several months, over the winter, we had problems with him using the bathroom. Not that he didn't use the bathroom appropriately for what it's meant to be used for but because almost every time he went into the bathroom he came out exposing himself -primarily, his back side!

Yeah -not even 7-years old and already trying to moon everyone!

At home though, he frequently becomes "Mr. Modesty" himself! If you happen to open the bathroom door and he's in there, regardless of his mission, he's likely to scream at you "No come in here! No loooka me!" Okay, okay! And we've learned to back off and slink away until he vacates the premises.

Now, his "mooning" has tapered off lately -hasn't done that in about 6 weeks or so, and perhaps -if we're lucky -maybe we've seen the last of those episodes. But the modesty attacks at home still continue.''

However, the other morning, I had just gotten out of the shower and was standing on the mat in front of the tub and he came charging in there (knocking is an unheard of entity, ya know) and there I was in all my naked glory, with only a bath towel wrapped as far around me as it would reach.

He glanced over at me and began to giggle so I decided to give him a dose of his own medicine as I yelled out at him,  "No look at me! No look at me!"

Mandy and Maya were both in the bathroom with me as Mandy was doing Maya's hair and both of them totally cracked up laughing as Kurtis scampered as fast as he could go, out of the bathroom and to a safer place at that time.

One with no X-rated views, I would imagine!