Friday, December 02, 2016

A-a-a-n-d . . . WE'RE OFF!

Or, as I put it in our Christmas letter (which I wrote two days ago; check): "We’re already sprinting down the bobsled track that is the holiday season and soon it will be all I can do to hang on for the ride." Then I pasted in this photo.
My first idea was a ski-jumping analogy, but when I found a photo, that ramp made my stomach knot up and I decided NO holiday season deserved to be compared to THAT; ha!

So, bobsledding it is. The first curve was getting that Christmas letter written. Another major curve is getting envelopes addressed, cards signed, and mailing it all out; I'm hoping to finish that this weekend. I did deliver two Christmas cards with gifts today; first to a neighbor when I walked down to pick up two packages the mail carrier left there, and the second to Brian's violin teacher. So there has been a bit of gift-wrapping, too!

One of those packages contained yarn (you'll have to check my horse blog re the other), so a Christmas gift for my nephew is now on the needles. This precocious almost-five-year-old requested a scarf "in his size" – and red is his favorite color.
The "whee hills" in this run are the three scheduled Christmas parties. Usually I can only make it to two, as there are either conflicts, child care constraints because of Rick being out of town (an annual veterinary convention occurs in early December), or both. But this year I get to go to all three! The first one is tomorrow evening, so today I made some biscotti to take – my first Christmas 2016 baking.

There will be more baking and more parties and more gift-wrapping, along with the Christmas greetings to get off. Oh, and Brian's birthday is Tuesday so I'll be making a from-scratch German chocolate cake for him on Monday, and basketball season has commenced which has us all hopping 3-4 days a week, and I have to take my MIL to at least one more doctor's appointment in Portland next Wednesday. I also need to find someone to do chores while we are in Texas for Christmas, and work, and....

One of my best friends is famous (to me) for saying, "You need to cut off the bottom half of your list!" – or offering to do it for me. Well, believe it or not, we HAVE cut a big item off the holiday to-do list; we're foregoing a Christmas tree this year. I tentatively suggested it to Rick since we are going to be gone for Christmas, but he thought Brian would rebel at that idea. Then Brian asked me in the car a day later if we were going to get a tree, following with, "I don't think we should since we're not even going to be here." Rick waffled a bit more, but finally agreed. I'm feeling a wee bit sad, worrying that I've become Scrooge and wondering where we'll put our Christmas presents, but mostly I'm feeling rather light and free about it. I think having two fully decorated 15' trees crash to the hardwood floor sucked the joy out of that particular holiday tradition – at least for now.

We'll enjoy our evergreens out of doors this year at . . .

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Grabbing the last brass ring

It's late on the last day of November – just barely time to grab for that last brass ring. I missed posting just four days this month – not too shabby, considering all we had going on. I'm not sure posting every day is a great idea, though. I've noticed that page views and comments have gone down some this month (not that have I ever have lots of either); perhaps followers got blog fatigue!

In honor of this tail-end of the month post, here are some "tail-end" photos.
The last Red Sex-Link hen died this week, leaving the six young black hens, two old Speckled Sussex hens, and one ancient Welsummer from our first year of keeping chickens (2008!). Chicken longevity seems highly variable, and I don't have a clue what the factors are.

My big Japanese maple is pretty much naked – except for this little spray of delicately colored leaves nestled between their trunk and the spirea bushes. Most of the trees look like this now,
which I still find beautiful . . . beautiful "bones."

I usually show you sunrise photos; here are some sunset pictures for a change. I snapped these from our lane yesterday while riding my mental health mustang.
Lovely remains of the day!

That's it for November from . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

"It just depends which cloud you're under"

Today I wore my chauffeur's cap. First I drove Brian to school in Salem, then drove back home for a quick shower and to let the dogs out briefly. Then I drove the other way to McMinnville to pick up my MIL and take her to a doctor's appointment in downtown Portland, then headed down I-5 to pick up Brian in Salem (not enough time to take the MIL home first). I drove Brian home to start on homework, took my MIL to McMinnville, then turned around and drove home again. I was gone nine hours, and don't even want to know how many miles were logged. (Thankfully I have a little diesel car for fuel economy and longevity!) It was one of those changeable weather days: sun, clouds, showers, and one brief downpour. When my MIL commented on it, I responded with the phrase in my title. I've been thinking there must also be a life lesson in that.
Right now it feels like my time is not my own – like my life is an open appointment book for others to write in their obligations. Sometimes I want to yank back that appointment book, write my OWN SCHEDULE, take care of MY OWN to-do and wish lists! Then I reprimand that selfish beast and work at staying flexible.

I did start test-driving my new spindle during that doctor's appointment, though. I'll have time to spin some more on Wednesday; my MIL has another appointment in Portland.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2016

All over but the blocking

While Brian was in basketball practice #2 this afternoon (his first game is next Thursday), I finished binding off Simee Dimeh. This was an exceptionally satisfying project. It looks much more difficult than it is, thanks to slipped stitches and the genius of designer Romi Hill. Here it is, draped over a school planter:
This outdoor photo op was made possible by a welcome break in the precipitation. It "spit in the wind" off and on today, but the daylight hours were mostly dry. It's raining again now, but I got a ride in, chores are done, and the wheelbarrow is loaded with firewood so I'm fine with that.  :-D

What shall occupy my hands now? I can't cast on any of the three gift knits in my Ravelry queue until yarn arrives; sounds like a good time for me and my birthday spindle to get acquainted. I'll be spending most of tomorrow playing taxi driver, but should have some spinning time during my MIL's doctor's appointment.

That's it for now from . . .