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Friday, January 30, 2015

Reading and Knitting and Knitting and Reading

Almost to the end of January, halfway through winter, boy am I ready for spring! More snow forecast for the weekend, we have had some very dreary days, cold temperatures and ice, everyone is looking forward to the longer days, sunshine, and warmer weather.

My knitting this week is going gang-busters, over halfway up the back of my cardigan, and I just love the yarn I am using. When I popped into our local branch library earlier this week they had a special display of knitting books, of course I picked some up, I enjoy browsing through knitting books.

Yesterday I while listening to BBC Radio 4 I heard an interview with author David Lodge, he wrote many books through the 60's, 70's and early 80's. David Lodge is now in his eighties, he has been with his wife for over 60 years, has written many books, and was a super interesting interviewee. It was hard to believe he was in his eighties, he sounded like a man in his thirties! Anyway, I looked up a few of his books, thought they sounded interesting and then looked to see if our library had them and I was in luck. I checked out four books, the cover synopsis on each sounds good and I am looking forward to getting dug into them this weekend.

Last week on another quick trip to library I picked up a book by Spencer Quinn, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, a Chet and Bernie mystery. It is a pretty fun read. Bernie is a private investigator and Chet is his partner and dog. Chet, the dog, tells the story and it makes for a good read hearing the story from a dogs perspective. Good bedtime reading :)

Little grandson Henry started Kindergarten this year, reading is a subject he picked up quickly and he can now pretty much read anything.. His new skill makes it fun to take him out to buy a book, he likes chapter books and really likes the Lego series of books, last weekend I was amused as he lay sideways in the recliner with his nose buried in his new book. I ordered him another Lego book this week and it arrived in the mail yesterday, I am looking forward to giving it to him when I see him later today. Henry is also quite the artist, I like this Star Wars Christmas picture he drew recently.

This winter I have inadvertently been collecting up cat t-shirts, not sure why, except they amuse me to no end. Yesterday I found a Rasta Cat t-shirt that made me laugh out loud, so of course I had to buy it ;) It goes well with my little dancing cat earrings.

I have spent a lot of time this winter working on collecting music for our MP3 player, this has involved many searches at the library, they have an excellent music collection, and the purchase of some harder to find CDs. I would say that the bulk of the music is from the seventies, lots of good stuff, and we have collected a lot of disco. I can't say I was a huge disco fan way back when, but it is sure fun to listen to now and we always end up dancing. It is great to have on when working around the house and you can be sure that you will be dancing all the way as you clean and vacuum and it just makes you feel cheerful and alive on a dreary winters day.

Well that is about that for today.

Peace be with you,


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Little Nothings

Well here we are almost at the end of January, it is cold, it is snowy, yet the mornings are crisp, still, icy cold and beautiful in a way only a January morning can be. We have had some warmer days giving us a glimpse of spring time, but are quickly reminded again that we are in the middle of winter. When the weather cooperates I like to get out and walk, I have really increased my speed and last Saturday did four miles in fifty-eight minutes. I need to slowly incorporate jogging, as I plan to run a four mile Turkey Gobbler Fun Run in November!

I haven't been very busy with crafts/hobbies this winter, I think I blew myself out after crocheting an extremely large bedspread for our queen size bed. The large, very warm, marigold blanket has been a wonderful addition to our bed and we stay warm and cozy all night. There is a picture of the blanket in an earlier post.

But all of sudden I have an urge to knit, I saw a lady on a tv show wearing a nice colorful sweater, obviously hand knitted and thought to myself why have I never knitted myself something in variegated yarn, and got really psyched up about knitting something. I went off to JoAnn's and found a lovely yarn by Deborah Norville, it is knitting up beautifully. I decided to use a pattern that I used several years ago to make a "barn jacket", the cardigan I knitted way back when, in a lovely blue is a favorite and I wear it often. I started my new "barn jacket" two days ago and cannot wait to finish it, it is good to be back in my knitting groove, or should I say row :).  Along with yarn for my cardigan I picked up some primary color, variegated yarn to knit matching sweaters for grandchildren, Alivia and Charlie, they are both two and are best friends forever! I think they will look very sweet together in their matching sweaters, they are just so cute, they always greet each other with a hug and they play together very well getting up to all kinds of shenanigans that generally include much giggling, so sweet.

Working on the back of my new cardigan
Last fall I started suffering a lot of heel pain in my right foot, I believe I was suffering plantar fasciitis, it was very painful first thing in the morning, or after sitting for any length of time. I did a bit of research and determined that the best course of action was to find shoes that provided excellent arch support and plenty of cushioning and support for the heel. I researched funky orthopaedic shoes, I didn't want anything boring, and came across a brand called Alegria. I ordered a pair of Alegria shoes, my first pair had a purple flower print, and I cannot tell you just how comfortable they are, I wore them pretty much every day for several months and my heel simply got better, so ordered another pair, neon heart pattern, and I will probably order more as needed. One issue I had with the Alegria shoes is that they squeak when you walk, it is annoying, a little more internet research and I found a remedy. Simply remove the insert, sprinkle some talcum powder over the bottom of it and then holding the insert upside down and the shoe, place the insert back inside the shoe. The upside down bit helps keep the powder where it needs to be. Well this simple remedy works a treat and resolved the squeak! Another treat for my feet, are my new Mahabi slippers that my sister Michelle gave me for Christmas, when we celebrated in November. They are simply the most comfortable slippers I have ever owned and they are my go to pair every day, light weight, well fitting, comfortable and warm, what more could I ask for?

Mahabis, best slippers ever!

My first pair of Alegria's

My second pair of Alegria's

I think the other things that helped heal my heel is regular exercise, a good weight loss, and a very healthy diet. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables each day, lots of fiber, very little sugar, limiting coffee to one cup a day, drinking plenty of water, eating lots of fish, has definitely made a huge improvement in my overall health. Another discovery I made has to do with my rosacea, if you are not plagued by this problem thank your lucky stars, I now know what the biggest trigger for a flare up is, red wine! As I changed my diet last fall, slowly, yet surely I found that my rosacea began to clear up, it wasn't inflamed and was much less noticeable. I had some red wine over Christmas and New Years and suddenly the rosacea was inflamed and broken out and burning, I didn't understand why, then realized that the inflammation was at it's worst the day after drinking a couple of glasses of red wine. I eliminated wine from my diet and the rosacea cleared up beautifully. So no more wine for me.

Today I plan to make a new skirt, I purchased some denim yesterday, I have washed it and am waiting for it dry, I always pre-shrink denim! I purchased a three tier skirt at the Goodwill years ago, I wear it several days per week, it is one of my favorite skirts. Last year I took measurements off of the skirt and made one just like it in a dark blue denim. This past weekend I was cleaning out the pantry and while kneeling on the floor I felt my skirt give, my old trusty skirt simply gave out, the fabric split in several places, I will darn it on my sewing machine and still wear the skirt, but it needs to be replaced. The denim I purchased yesterday is a nice medium blue, probably the color old faithful was many years ago, and the new skirt should last for a long time. I like three tiered skirts, they are easy to make, they look nice, and they are roomy and comfortable to wear. I like to sit "Indian style" and the three tiered skirt is very accommodating.

Well I guess that is it, a little nothings update, but it is the little nothings that make up the days of our lives.

Peace be with you,


Sunday, January 4, 2015

WOWSERS 85 Years!

Yesterday we celebrated my father-in-laws 85th birthday. Ralph was born in 1930 when America was in the depression, he is the oldest of seven children born from 1930 - 1938. Can you imagine 7 babies in 8 years!  Life was hard for his family, his father worked in the WPA, a program that was part of the New Deal to get Americans back to work.
Ralph's mother, Nellie was one of many children, she had an older brother Bob, known to Ralph as Uncle Bob, who was a lawyer and worked in Hollywood, CA for RKO Studios. Uncle Bob was well off, never married, a strong Christian and made sure his family back home were taken care of. He purchased a home for his sister Nellie and her family. Ralph remembers well the day they moved to their very own home, he said it looked a bit like a small barn, but was roomy enough for a family of nine.
Times were hard, life was a struggle, but the memories are all good. Ralph remembers his father coming home in the winter, his clothes that had become damp during the day and slowly frozen, were hung over the wood stove to thaw and dry overnight ready for the next day of hard work. His mother's hand so raw and chapped from hand washing the family's clothes that she would smear them with grease and bandage them each evening to bring some relief. Ralph and his brother Don would hang out by the railroad tracks and men would toss chunks of coal down for the children to collect and take home. Memories of Christmas morning, all of the children sneaking downstairs to see what Santa had left beneath the tree and their Dad yelling that they all needed to get back upstairs, and little sister Delores, who had polio, hadn't yet made it down the stairs as all the children charged back past her on their way back to bed.
Ralph graduated high school, for a short time he worked a wealthy man called Clarence Schust, who owned a farm and raised champion cattle. Ralph helped take care of the animals and enjoyed his time working for Clarence, he left to join the Marines. He went to Korea, he came back and married Sharon. Ralph and Sharon had eight children, Christopher, their fifth child, and second son, died in a fire when he was two, and their last baby and fifth son, Philip was still born.
Ralph and Sharon worked hard to support their large family, all six grew up, married and started their own families, grand children, eighteen in all started arriving in 1973 and continued to arrive for the next twenty years. Those grand children grew up, married, started families and to date there are around thirty-four great grand children, the oldest is fourteen, the youngest is one month, and three more are on the way.  Sadly Sharon died in 2002 after a courageous battle with leukemia, we all know if she were alive today she would be amazed with all of her great grand children and she would be loving on all of the babies.
Eighty-five years is a long time to live, and Ralph lived an ordinary life, no different to the lives lived by many others, and yet it is an extraordinary life too, because it is his own story. Because he and Sharon fell in love so many years ago there are a whole bunch more people in this beautiful world and it was wonderful that yesterday so many of them were able to come together to celebrate with him on his birthday.

A good handful of the many, many great grandchildren

Twelve of the eighteen grandchildren

Three of the six children, Angie, Mike and Cindy are missing.