Hurricane Irma – A “What if?”

Just 22 months ago, I was walking the streets of St. Thomas and St. Maarten, as our family joined together on a cruise to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. I’ve been in tears the past couple days, seeing the devastation of places I recognize and connect with so many special memories and people we met on the islands. It’s so difficult to truly imagine what they must be going through, and with so much destruction in Texas, the islands, what ever is about to happen in Florida… and now a serious earthquake in Mexico… so much help needed in so many places! It’s absolutely overwhelming.

So I’ve come up with a wonderful idea.

Today in my email, I received a badly timed ad from Holland America suggesting I might like to go on a nice little cruise to St. Thomas and St. Maarten in a month or two. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really think they are going to be up to having visitors in the near future. However, many of these islands depend on tourism as their primary industry. And if you look at the cruise itineraries, it’s clear to see that it’s a symbiotic relationship, especially during winter in the northern hemisphere.

So, what if?

What if each and every cruise line that sails the Caribbean would donate one big ship for the space of maybe 2-4 weeks to help out? Each could sail with about 1000 volunteers, rounded up from their own employees, passengers, mailing lists, social media… people who are ready, willing, and able to work at cleaning up, repairing, and rebuilding? Each ship could choose a port and arrive with 1000 volunteers who won’t need housing on the devastated island. Once on the site, the remaining rooms could be filled with local people who desperately need food and shelter. During daylight hours, the able-bodied locals, any spare crew, and the volunteers all work toward restoration, and at night they are able to return to the ship for meals and accommodations. Food would not need to be “normal” cruise fare. In fact, most of the ships we’ve been on lately serve a perfectly good buffet for all three meals, which would be quite adequate.

This seems like a win win win situation. Locals would have safe temporary housing and much needed help, and hopefully a much more livable and visitable town after a couple thousand people have worked there for a few weeks. The cruise line would have built good will both with the island and former and future passengers, as they surely would receive major media coverage, as well as tooting their own horns via email to their entire customer base. Additionally, they would be that much closer to having a favorite stop ready again for “company.” Volunteers would have the opportunity to help in a much needed project, feel fantastic about their contribution, and get a “free cruise” so to speak, as they worked hard by day, but were able to relax at night in a safe and secure environment.

I’m sure that in this day and age, there are regulations that would have to be dealt with, and it would require someone with skill and vision to make an operation like this happen, but no one can convince me that it’s something that could not be done if the right people wanted badly enough to make it happen. So, Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, and all the rest of you, how about it?

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Amazing Myself 

I don’t know about you, but my life ebbs and flows with busyness. Although I am never lacking for things to do, occasionally I hit those weeks or months when I’m running like crazy. Last week was one of those. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I ran that hard for eight straight days. I was so totally exhausted that I almost skipped out on my last day’s activity, but I have to confess that I’m really glad I didn’t.

Our weaving guild had scheduled a workshop which was advertised as silk dyeing. The teacher was our speaker our monthly meeting, and at that point I found out that it was silk painting instead. I was really disappointed, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic about her finished painted projects. That, combined with my utter exhaustion gave me every excuse I needed not to go. However, the teacher had been hired based on a certain number of students, and I really didn’t want to let the guild down. So I dragged myself out of bed, packed my lunch, and headed off on yet another hour  long drive.

Since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was very pleased to discover that our teacher had provided each of us with a piece of unhemmed silk to practice on. And additional blessing was that she had brought some sketches we could use for our designs. This was a good thing, because I can’t really draw my way out of a paper bag. 😉 I quickly snagged the dragonfly. All week long, when ever my thoughts turned toward the silk class, I kept thinking about dragonflies, so I was very thrilled to see that particular pattern! I traced it on the silk, and had no problems picking the five analogous colors I wanted to use. But I did have problems with was my sporadically tremorous hands. It turns out that my crazy week had produced hands that were at their worst, so my resist lines went on looking like Arabic writing. Happily, applying the paint is not a detail oriented activity. 🙂 I love working with resists and flowing paints! My little dragonfly came out looking not too bad. Then I figured that since this was supposed to be our experimental piece, I would try an idea I had for the background. I like the concept, but with only one brush, and using paints, which dry quickly, I could not keep a wet edge. So, my colors did not flow together for the most part. I’d like to try this again with dyes, or perhaps with one brush for each color. I’m glad I tried it, even if this particular experiment didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, because I learned a lot by doing it.

As I was finishing my practice piece, I had a sudden inspiration. I loved my color palette, but I knew I needed a different type of background. Not only did the technique not work well under the conditions I had to work in, but my dragonfly “vanished”  because of the similarly sized and shaped motifs. I wanted my dragonfly to pop out! I needed straight lines and some contrast. Then I remembered some batik quilts I’d been looking at on Pinterest recently. With a  wide range of colors, all of a similar tone, the large silhouette appliqués on them had popped out, producing some really stunning quilts. Bingo! I was going to duplicate this affect on my scarf! The only problem was that I would have to draw my dragonfly. LOL…

After getting my scarf mounted in the frame, I took a deep breath and set to sketching a dragonfly. I convince myself that: 

  1. This is a silhouette, so details weren’t that big of a deal. 
  2. It doesn’t take a whole lot of details to make something look like a dragonfly. 
  3. My hands were shaking like crazy, so everything was going to look a little wonky anyway. I could just go with the flow. 😉 

Well, I drew my dragonfly and the basic grid to break the background into 16 blocks, and it was exceedingly wonky! In fact, it was so wonky that when I put the resist on, I didn’t exactly stick with my drawn lines, and I actually think I did better than the original drawing. I decided to dry that before I doing the rest. There was just too much wet resist for me to keep my hands out of! Then I went back and added the details to the log cabin blocks. I did all of those freehand, as I wanted it to be somewhat organic in feel rather than regimented. This was actually starting to look good, and I couldn’t wait to see it with the color on it. 

It took a long time to paint that much silk, and I was racing the clock, trying to get done before class was over. I did not make it, but the teacher and a couple of my fellow students hang around to let me finish my painting. I owe them a big favor! 😉 I dried the paint there with the blow dryer, but I brought it home to heat set and wash it, which I did almost immediately, despite the fact that I was dead on my feet. It was looking so wonderful, I could not wait to see the finished project! And I have to admit that for a class I almost skipped out on, and for a person who really can’t draw… let’s just say I’m really happy I went. 😉 

Things I learned:

  1. It does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.
  2. My teacher put my scarf into the frame instead of just telling me how to do it. I normally do not allow my teachers to touch my class projects, and I wish I had not this time either. She did not have the tension even, so some of my primary lines that were reasonably straight when I drew them turned out extremely wavy after washing the scarf and pressing it square. So back to doing my own thing, and if I do this again, square is important!
  3. I want to make my designs, then have somebody with steady hands put the resist on! Then I can do some beautiful painting… 🙂
Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Summer of Dreams Warm Up

I’m getting so excited about starting my Summer of Dreams projects! And I’m also excited about our group! I started a Ravelry group a couple days ago, and it’s grown quickly to 20 members from across the USA and Europe! There’s still plenty of time if you want to join us. Find Summer of Dreams HERE on Ravelry. My yarn is wound for the Waffle Blanket I’m knitting. How about a big pile of yarny goodness? I sure wish I knew where that missing skein was. The last thing I want to do is finish my blanket and THEN find it!


So, I finished my three fabric projects for Loopy Academy, and I’m so itchy to cast on my summer projects that I can scarcely bear it, so in order to defuse a bit of that energy, I decided to work on a shorter term dream project today. I’ve wanted to play around with some Nuno Felting for several years, and just to get a toe in the water, I’d purchased a couple kits last autumn from Heartfelt Silks. Today I dug them out, along with the other gear I’d collected for the project, and I decided to tackle the “Lightweight Scarf” project. First thing I discovered left me a bit puzzled… I had not one, but three lengths of colored cheesecloth for a backing. My BFF was the one that solved the riddle by discovering online that I should be able to make 3 scarves or one wide shawl. Not sure why that info wasn’t in the package… After trying to figure out what I’d do with 3 scarves, I decided to try to blend them into one shawl instead, but this will definitely be an experiment. Figures I’d end up making my first project harder… 😉

This evening I staked a claim on our large, covered, concrete porch and started to work on part the first, not finishing until it was dark. Sigh… No good photos of “so far” and no part the second. However, here’s a teaser:


I’m hoping against hope that overlapping the two layers and adding wool will “glue” them together. I most certainly wish that: 1. She hadn’t cut the cheesecloth in the first place, as it’s easier to cut it apart than put it back together again. 2. She’d put in more wool, as my 1/3 of simply didn’t cover the entire length of the cheesecloth, so I ended up shortening it. 3. That I’d not run out of daylight! 😀 What I did right so far – watch LOTS of YouTube videos! I think I would have felt totally lost reading the directions if I’d not seen the process demonstrated.



Published in: on May 31, 2016 at 5:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Summer of Dreams

I’m going to try something new. It seems like the only blogging I get done anymore is explaining why I’m not blogging. I’ve decided that’s a total waste of time. So I’m just going to pretend like I’ve not been AWOL and go for it. 😉


For the past few years, along with my BFF (joylinnknits on Ravelry), I’ve been participating in The Loopy Ewe’s Summer Camp and having a lot of fun. However, there’s been a nagging feeling growing as I work on those projects that perhaps I’m being more true to The Loopy Ewe (which I love, so don’t get me wrong here…) than to myself. As the last half of the final project sped across my needles last August, a plan took shape in my mind which seemed a most excellent alternative – now dubbed “Summer of Dreams.”

Very logically, in order to win a skein of prize yarn, The Loopy Ewe requires participants to purchase their project yarn (on sale) from them during the month of the particular challenge and to fulfill their specific inspiration and yardage challenges each month. I have absolutely no pick with this, as they always have a nice prize, and it’s a very well run event.


I also have some very nice yarn in my stash, and I have a LOT of projects favorited on Ravelry and planned, and by spending my summer buying new yarn and starting projects that fit the criteria for the Camp challenges, I wasn’t getting anywhere on them. This was making me a little sad. And I’m sure I’ve started hearing fuzzy little sobs coming from a few particular tubs of yarn.

What to do?


This summer I’m still doing a challenge, but it’s a challenge of my own design – Summer of Dreams. Requirements are:

  1. Using new or recently purchased yarn, make a project that I’ve been wanting to make for a good while. (For my purposes, it’s been “at least” a year.)
  2. Make a project that’s been dreamed of and stashed for awhile. (See that “year” business in #1.)
  3. Complete a UFO that got pushed aside (probably when I started working on a Camp Loopy project!).
  4. As with Camp Loopy, this will start June 1 and needs to be completed by August 31. However, the three projects don’t have their own months and can be worked in any order or simultaneously if that suits.
  5. As with Camp Loopy, the total yarn usage is at least 1800 yards. However, there isn’t any yardage requirement on any particular project, just the overall total, so if you’ve been dreaming forever of making a couple of headbands and a full-sized Shetland Lace shawl, then go for it!

As with Camp Loopy, there is a prize at the end, BUT it’s something of my own choosing (think “DREAM”) and it’s purchased with the money I didn’t spend buying yarn. I’ve already picked out the Taj Shawl knit in the Moroccan color way of some ridiculously delicious Artyarns camel/silk – something I’d have never splurged on otherwise, but which is definitely less expensive than a summer of Camp purchases.

I’m excited, because my BFF is committing to knit Summer of Dreams with me. I have my projects picked out, and I’m chomping at the bit to cast on! I’ll FINALLY be knitting a Strandwanderer, using some (need I say yummy?) Wollmeise I purchased this past spring, Ana Sancho Rumeu’s Waffle Blanket from the brown Plymouth Marley yarn I purchased a couple years ago, and I’ll be finishing my barely begun Gallantry, which I started April a year ago and put down within a week or two when vacation, then Camp, took over my life.

So… Now that I’ve said all this, I’m issuing an invitation. Do YOU need a Summer of Dreams? Are there projects you’ve wanted to do “forever” that just aren’t happening? Here is your chance to join us as we make some dreams come true! Perhaps you just love the idea and want to set up your own challenge, or perhaps you want to knit along with us using the same rules we have set. If so, drop a comment at the bottom of this post saying you’re joining us on this adventure. If we end up with at least five knitters, I will come up with a prize and have a drawing at the end of August, with everyone who completes the Summer of Dreams challenge being eligible. So not only will you have made 3 of your dreams come true, but maybe you’ll get a prize, too. Sure can’t beat that combination!

So, what do you think?


Published in: on May 28, 2016 at 3:23 am  Comments (1)  
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Next Best Thing?

This time of year always leaves me longing to have another Fiber Adventure Week, but there is just no way I can pull that off this year – just too much on my plate. I tried to come up with an alternative for myself in hopes of at least scratching the itch, and as a result, this past week may not have been a fiber adventure, but it’s been as fiber rich as I could make it. While running errands (fix the A/C on my car, replace my disintegrating shoes, get my blood work done, etc.) I’ve worked on gathering supplies for near future projects, including some Christmas gifts I’m planning. During my evening knitting time, while working on a near deadline project, I’ve been previewing some of my Craftsy classes, choosing which class projects I think I want to approach when. Late afternoon and early evening has found me out on the porch weaving another near deadline project. And I’ve snuck in some online shopping and browsing for some special supplies I can’t find locally. It may not equate to a Fiber Adventure Week, but I sure have been up to my ears in fiber stuff this week, and I have to admit that it takes the sting out of those drudge task when I’m focused on fiber for as much of my day as I can manage. 🙂

One thing I’m plotting for myself is some felting – nuno being the first target, I think, but there are also some other techniques I want to play with. I found some lovelies on Etsy, and placed orders with two sellers. The goodies from CarinEngenFiberArts on Etsy have arrived already, and they are so gorgeous that I’m half terrified to use them as a first, solo experiment! I’ve also managed to pick up all the tools of the trade this week, so I can make it as soon as I get my nerve up.


To the left is a silk scarf and matching merino fiber “kit” I picked up from her. The scarf is woven like the two-toned Dupioni silk fabric, so it’s iridescent and breathtakingly gorgeous. The merino is a perfect match, splashed with greens, pinks, and golds. I love it! I also ordered 4 bundles of her “extra merino” to play with, and all are fabulous! Coupled with the quick shipping, she gets two thumbs up. 🙂

After getting my A/C fixed, I stopped by my “local” (only an hour away) yarn store. She’d done some remodeling since I’d last dropped by, and I was curious to see how things looked (much improved!) The bad thing is that it had been a substantially long time since I’d been there, and I found some super “new to me” items, including gorgeous buttons handmade by Alice Hunt of AliceHuntStudio, the new Noro Rainbow rolls, and Araucania’s Lontué cotton/linen yarn. I also got a killer deal on an 8 ounce handpainted roving bundle and some yummy Kathmandu I found in the clearance bin. All in all, it cost me dearly to pop in to see the renovations. On the other hand, I also got to hang out awhile and knit, and the slice of quiche lorraine ordered for lunch from the diner around the corner was almost worth the trip on it’s own! 😉



Noro Rainbow Rolls

Noro Rainbow Rolls

Button - obviously...

Button – obviously…

Mystery Merino Roving

Mystery Merino Roving



The good thing is that I am really pleased with all this stuff from the yarn store; the bad thing is that I’m not sure what I’m doing with any of it, which makes me feel dreadfully guilty in regard to my personal goals for the year. I haven’t earned the right to buy it at all, and I can’t even justify it yet! Oops! I’m thinking we can just mark yarn rationing off as a mega-fail…

Another project this week was to order “potential” yarn for Loopy Academy. I found that the first semester of the Sophomore year fit pretty well into my personal goals for the next few months. If I get done before deadline, I’ll be pleased, and if I fail, so be it… I’m not going to drive myself insane trying to make it, but I thought it was worth a try this time around. The blue is for a cabled Christmas gift requested by hubby. The multi/green is for a travel project, Perfect Retreat Shawl by Susan B. Anderson, as I finished my other travel projects this past winter, not knowing we were taking this trip. It has lace panels, so will qualify for my texture. That leaves the green, which I will be using for my pillow, as the one thing that I didn’t really need to make, and I’m hoping I can squeeze it in around the corners – perhaps social knitting. The purple/blue is my Camp Loopy prize for this past summer of frantic knitting, and I’m thinking about using it for Screendoor. I think that shawl is simple enough to look good in a variegated yarn, and I’m hoping it won’t take me forever to get around to knitting it. because the yarn is gorgeous!

(At this point, I discover that the photos will no longer upload. Sorry! Not sure what is up… but just use your imagination for the rest, okay?)

Next project was to order the thread I’ll need for the upcoming Doubleweave workshop that our weaving guild has scheduled with Jennifer Moore. We had so much fun with her last spring that we are having her back again already! I also realized I’m going to be short on the warp I’m weaving off right now, and I picked up a few more cones to mix and match with the new workshop colors for more versatility with my leftovers, so my box was pretty heavy when all was said and done! I’m always mail ordering from The Woolery, and the gals have been a great help to me as I’ve been learning to spin. One of these days, I’m going to make a field trip down to see them in person. 🙂

And the last preparatory acquisition I’ve worked on is something I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned doing in my blog. I went fabric shopping (while waiting for my pizza one evening…). Several of my Craftsy classes are bag projects, and although my fabric stash is pretty much as healthy as my yarn and fiber stashes, I didn’t really have anything quite right for these projects. Pity… I still need to pick up some various interfacing and such, but that and time are the only things standing between me and some fun, quick sewing projects now. I love it when beginner sewing projects are cute. I don’t have enough free time or mental energy to sew complicated right now, so these will be perfect. I’m actually thinking it would be fun to have everything pretty much kitted and take it with me the next time I go out to see my daughter, as I enjoy doing more out of the ordinary projects when I visit her. Funny… I can’t believe I’ve sewn so little in recent years that it seems an out of the ordinary project… sigh…

Now it’s time for true confessions… It took me 3 weeks to get this one post finished and published. That would indicate I’m entirely too busy! My Academy pillow is nearly done – but temporarily on hold as I drill through some short deadline projects – like prepping for the weaving class. The weaving yarn I picked for the workshop turned out not to work with the draft they gave me, so I “had to” place yet another order with The Woolery. (I assumed 2 colors, but my draft needed four.) I’m madly in love with my class warp, and I won’t have any problem using the other stuff I bought – probably sooner than later. Eventually I’ll manage to get some more updates on here… but don’t hold your breath unless you look really good in cyan. 😉 One thing hasn’t changed, though. I’m definitely prepared with a blue ton of projects to complete over the next few months. Boredom is not an option!

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Do Over

One of my biggest goals at the beginning of this year was to get back to blogging. I have really missed it! Then this year actually happened, and it started out with a bang. I’m the person who never goes to the doctor, but by the end of May, I did the math and realized I’d sought the help of a medical professional on average of once every 8 days. What a jolt for the person who only had an optometrist when the year began to suddenly have a whole list of medical phone numbers in her contact list! I’d also packed my suitcase for a trip on average of once every 21 days – which, admittedly was a lot more fun than all those medical doings. ;o)

Hmmm… I think I know why I didn’t start blogging – or accomplish much else – during the first half of the year…

As June began marching by, I decided I needed a do over. 2015 had to this point been far from the respite I needed after struggling with 10 deaths close to me, 2 more incidents that came very close to making it 12, and 9 trips in 2014. What if I tried to start fresh on July 1? Seemed worth doing, so I did a modest restart, and I’m happy to say that in at least some ways, it’s been a good thing. Life isn’t ever perfect, it would appear (only took me how long to come to that conclusion?), but so far the back half of this year is going a good bit better than the front half did. What a relief!

One huge goal is to be back here somewhat regularly. No magic wand is going to do catch up for me, and so much has happened since I was writing regularly… I’ve been wondering how I could ever find my way back into feeling comfy in my own blog with so much missing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, like me, it’s just going to be a little different, at least until I get settled back in. I also thought maybe a quick summary would help me get my sea legs. To that end…

Things that are still the same:

  • I still knit – a LOT! (despite what the counter says on my sidebar)
  • I’m still spinning – but not enough
  • I still love my dolls, though my primary focus has shifted a bit
  • Remodeling is still a slow, but ever present entity
  • Clutter is still an ongoing problem
  • I’m still sponsoring Compassion children – though my little crew has increased a good bit 🙂
  • I’m still fighting to have enough hours in a day – and days in a lifetime, actually…
  • I still need to lose weight… again…
  • I still have a slightly off kilter sense of humor 😉
  • I’m still reading lots – but not likely to make my 100 book goal again this year due to “some” binge watching of YouTube offerings
  • My immediate family is still intact
  • I still believe that no matter what it may seem like at any given moment, God’s still in charge of it all
  • And my BFF is still just that! 🙂

What’s new:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Permanent vision damage
  • Weaving much more seriously – though not enough, IMO
  • Studying Spanish in a deliberate manner
  • Practicing Irish whistle and bowed psaltery (Christmas gift from daughters) consistently
  • I’m an Apple girl now – computer, iPad, and phone
  • Geocaching
  • Pathtags (son of geocaching…)
  • Reborn babies
  • Sticker charts

What’s gone:

  • Several treasured friends have passed away
  • My father-in-law also left us at age 91
  • We now have only 2 cats, having nursed the others through their last days over the past couple years, single-handedly supporting our veterinarian in the process
  • My sweet Reya pup is also gone after being our faithful companion for 17 years
  • Several previously dear friends are no longer part of my life
  • Ten 30-gallon garbage bags full of clothes my daughter helped me weed out of my wardrobe during a grueling weekend – possibly the best birthday gift I’ve ever received! (Not to mention it’s the only thing on the “what’s gone” list that I’m actually glad is gone!)

Okay… Onward and upward!!!

Published in: on August 5, 2015 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Savannah Smiles???

I’m really hoping someone can help me out here. Hubby bought me a box of Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies for a “treat” yesterday. He knew it was only second best, as I’ll never get over the loss of my beloved Lemon Pastry Cremes, but he was trying, and for that I give him credit.

So anyway, I opened the box – or rather ripped the top off the box, as it was glued so tightly it simply wouldn’t open gracefully, pried open the bag and looked at the cookies inside. They don’t look like the cookies on the front of the box. They don’t even look that appetizing, nor do they look like I remember Savannah Smiles looking a couple years ago when he last treated me. These look a bit shriveled, but my big concern is that they have these brown patches through them between 1/8th and 1/4″ and when not covered with sugar, rather shiny. Not to be disgusting, but they remind me of beetle wings.

Not looking like the box pic...

Not looking like the box pic…

I tried contacting Little Brownie Bakers, but their contact form just gave me an error message. Bummer!

Does anyone know what’s up with the brown spots? Do all Savannah Smiles have these now? Do they all look like mine? I’m oddly averse to eating them until I know for sure!

Please, someone come to my rescue!

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 9:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Shame on NBC!

Have you been watching the Olympics? For someone who doesn’t otherwise watch television, it’s always a bit of a culture shock to have it blaring for hours every evening during the Games while I knit frantically on whatever I’m doing for Ravelympics er… the Ravellenic Games. It’s tough not to be moved by so many people who have put so much heart and soul into something they love, and I’m the probably rare American who can root loudly for athletes wearing something other than those weird Ralph Lauren sweaters Team USA was sporting at the opening ceremony. Show heart and have a great back story, and I don’t much care where you were born; I love heart wherever I see it. However, I digress…

What shocked me this past evening was the editorial presented by Bob Costas – that one about the Ukraine. It started out sounding like a good human interest piece, but it disintegrated into a political attack on Russia and Vladimir Putin. No, I’m not wearing blinders regarding the political situation, but there is a time and place for everything, and this was neither. In the opening ceremonies, there was a clear and distinct call from the International Olympic Committee to keep politics out of the Games. For these 16 days and within this venue, the plea was to let the focus be only on the incredible skills of this worldwide gathering of champions.  Much to the shame of Bob Costas, as well as NBC for allowing it, that line was more than crossed, and in prime time programming.

I’m thankful to live in a country that allows freedom of speech, but having that freedom doesn’t negate the need to be honorable. Where is the honor in the primary voice this fortnight of the Olympics in the USA bashing the host country within the confines of the broadcast of the Olympic Games? Would he, being invited into someone’s home for dinner, boldly diss the host during dessert? There are just things honor doesn’t allow, and Friday night, Costas crossed that line. Shame on you, Bob Costas, and shame on NBC!

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 7:58 am  Comments (2)  
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Rainbow Bridge

Just a short post to say that sweet, shy Smokey Jo quietly crossed the Rainbow bridge at about 1:30a January 27, 2014. One of the three kittens gifted to us by Inky in 1998, her tough appearance led us to first identify her as a male. Once we straightened that out and our younger daughter convinced Daddy to let her stay with us instead of becoming a barn cat, she became a much loved part of our family.

Smokey was the very definition of “Fraidy Cat.” The first time we brought a Christmas tree into her world, she disappeared upstairs, where she remained for the next month, forcing us to install food, water, and a litter box to our second level. Whereas her brother, Tyg, would rush to meet visitors at the door, no one EVER saw Smokey. That would include the folks who cared for our pets when we travelled. We received more than one panicked call from caretakers who were greatly concerned that she’d gotten out or died, which was never the case, of course. Smokey would no sooner have slipped out of the house than I would jump off a 200′ cliff.

Despite her fears, Smokey adopted our 55 pound dog as a second mother. I’ll never forget Reya’s agonized expression the first time this tiny gray furball snuggled up for a nap, but over time the adoption became a two-way agreement, with Reya also taking over the job of cleaning Smokey’s ears. Most of Smokey’s final days were spent curled up beside Reya on the dog bed that our cats occasionally allow Reya to use.

Smokey’s other distinction was being our premier – and actually only – biscuit maker. None of our other cats has ever held a candle to the kneading that little gal subjected our laps to when she decided to settle in for a nap. She spent countless hours napping on my lap while I did my computer work, doing wonders for my ability to stay on task. It’s oh so hard to boot a sleeping kitty off my legs!

Smokey’s last few years brought many visits to the vet as she battled thyroid problems she inherited from her mother and shared with both her siblings. Her lifelong problem with her sinuses developed eventually into an infection that we just could not beat, and after a valiant struggle, her little body had just had enough. It was time for her to leave. Although we miss her greatly, it’s a relief that she’s no longer in pain. And it’s nice to picture her reuniting with her mom and brother in a world beyond.

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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24 months and more in review…

It may not look like it, but I really do love my blog, and I really miss blogging regularly! Oh, to be able to publish blogs straight from my brain without the necessity of finding time to actually type them out… I’d really love to catch up by posting all the blogs I’ve written in my mind, share all the amazing (both good and bad) things that have been keeping my life anything but dull, but of course, the reality is that if I didn’t have time to write about them over the past two years as they happened, I’m never going to have time to catch everything up now. And maybe it doesn’t really matter. I mean, do you really want to know  all the details about what was happening in my life two years ago?

That’s what I figured. 😉

So, I’m going to do a capsule summary and share more about stuff if it happens to be germane to a future post. With no further ado and in no particular order…

Yes, despite what the sidebar shows, I’m still knitting and spinning, though especially in 2013, my production was dramatically down. Why does time have to be so finite? Maybe I’ll be able to share some of my favorite finished projects with you in the future.

I’m also now weaving somewhat seriously instead of just dreaming about it a lot. 🙂 I’m loving it and sure wishing for more time! I’ll share some of what I’ve been making in future posts. I still have to take pix – when I find the time…

I was introduced to Geocaching in January of 2012. I took to it like a duck to water, and though he didn’t fall headlong quite so quickly, hubby eventually caught the bug, too, making it the one hobby we enjoy together. In my first two years, I’ve cached in 11 states and over 125 counties, and am approaching my 2000th find soon. I will add that this winter has been brutal for geocaching, and I’m really glad that I completed my 1 year streak, finding a geocache everyday for 366 straight days, last spring instead of doing it over THIS winter! Whew! In addition to hunting caches, I’m really enjoying placing them when I can find the time. My favorite placements are the puzzles I’ve created, and this past Saturday, my most recent one, Alley Cats, was published just after the caching event I hosted. Like so many other areas of my life, my ideas far exceed the time I have available. I probably have another year’s worth of puzzle ideas queued in my head!

A fellow cacher introduced me to pathtags about 2 months after I found my first geocache, and another addiction was born. I’m waiting for delivery of my 30th design right now and have several more in the works. That doesn’t count all the designs bopping around in my brain.

I finally got to Wisconsin for the first time in my life last June. Beautiful state! I can’t wait until we can go back again for longer. One step close to Bucket List item of visiting all 50 states…

By some miracle, we made it clear through 2013 without a death in the family – primarily our furry family being the concern. With 4 chronically ill pets on a total of 7 for-the-rest-of-their-life prescription meds, and the dog now being nearly 5 years over her life expectancy, we never dreamed we’d still have the entire menagerie into 2014. That’s about to change, though, as sweet, timid Smokey Jo is bravely padding her way toward the Rainbow Bridge as I type this. Her little body is just too tired to go any longer, so she’s going to join her brother, Tyg, probably within hours. As sick as she’s been, I thought this loss would be easier. I was wrong.

Another loss that wasn’t so easy to bear was the death of my sweet, stubborn father-in-law. He lived 91 really good years and 19 really lousy days, blessed in both, we feel. His death hit me far harder than I ever imagined, and though I wanted to blog a eulogy for him, I found myself totally unable to actually put it into print. Honestly, that was when I really slipped out of regular blogging – and many of my regular life activities. (I’d hate to tell you how many thousand unread emails my inboxes are currently harboring, and I just can’t seem to catch up…)

I discovered Megapolis and HayDay – probably mostly to my detriment, but such fun…

I also discovered Craftsy. For the most part, totally awesome, except they have condescended to partnering recently with a yarn company I don’t admire. Also, if you order multiple skeins of yarn from their supply section, they won’t guarantee matched dye lots, so caveat emptor. I’ve been on the phone several times over that particular problem and will notate my order in the future to cancel my order if they don’t have matching lot numbers. Otherwise, I’ve really been having fun with the site and have completed or at least partially completed a number of classes now, including Tunisian Crochet, Double Knitting (have done before, but learned some great new techniques), basic rigid heddle weaving, and making my own lip balm, body butter, and salves, among others. I’ve signed up for quite a few that I’ve not watched or that I have viewed without doing the projects yet, and have found them to all be very well done. Check out when you get a chance, and sign up for their newsletter to get all sorts of specials. I chose a new class last night on a special offer that let me pick any class on the site for $19.95. For lifetime access and great quality, that’s a fantastic bargain, and with everything from cooking to fiber to sewing to fine arts and photography, there’s something to appeal to pretty much every creative spirit. Oh, and they also have quite a few free classes available!

Hubby cracked the floor of his shower, so the kitchen ceiling is soaked and collapsing yet again. It’s a true thorn in my side! For now it means a bucket on the kitchen floor under the split. Eventually it means he’s going to get his bathroom remodeled for the second time whilst I wait impatiently for the first time for mine. Sigh…

My reading record last year was more dismal than it has ever been. Thankfully I’m off to a much better start this year!

I also started out last year with the delight of music, as I resurrected my dulcimer, dug out my Irish whistle, upgraded my flute, and finally got a violin. Things were busy, but delightful for a few months, then life gave me too much else to deal with, so they are all waiting patiently for me to come play again. For now, the whistle, which lives at my computer desk and can be picked up and tweedled for a moment here and there, is by far the happiest of the lot.

And I’m now sponsoring 5 little girls through Compassion International, the newest of which shares both my name and birthday. So much for saying 4 of them would be more than enough. 😉

Okay, that’s enough for now, I think. Besides, I can’t think of anything else to add to the list, though I’m sure I’ll have more the moment I publish this. Isn’t getting older a wonder? 😀

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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