Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cote d'Azur BFF Finally Finished

These socks have been sitting in the back room without toes for two months. Inspired to action by notification of a Slackford Studio yarn shipment headed my way for Brother Dave and Karen's Christmas knitting, I picked them up and finished them last night.

It felt good to knit again.

No, I do not need another pair of socks. I seem to collect socks like other knitters collect stash. This is only depressing because I have enough socks to last the rest of my life with many left over and no excuse to knit more. But I did anyway. And I'm looking forward to knitting socks for other people now.

Pattern: BFF by Cookie A. 56 stitch size.

Yarn: Stalwart Sock Yarn from Slackford Studio

Color: Cote d'Azur.

Needles: Options 2.50mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Retaining Walls

Michigan winters will do this to concrete after many years of thawing and freezing. It was past time to get this structure looking presentable again.

This repair was actually on my "B" list and I wasn't even going to think about it until spring. Then I saw an ad in the Flashes, our little free advertising paper, and since I was still on my post-death adrenaline high I called, they came, I liked what he proposed to do and signed up to have it done.

Two weeks ago when it was time for the guys to actually come and do the work, I no longer had any adrenaline keeping me going. In fact, I was wishing I had never signed up to have this done and muttering about how I should have followed the standard advice, "Don't make any unnecessary major decisions for at least a year."

Thankfully, it turned out to be a good thing. The workers were very professional and knew what they were doing. Now I have a nice, fresh front to go along with the beautiful new chimney in the back and this is one less thing I need to concern myself with in the spring.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for September 27

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY September 27, 2011 ...

Outside my window...
It's raining.

I am thinking...
That Bob would have found humor in the fact that when he died his two teams, the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions, finally started winning. Especially the Lions who have been the laughing stock of football for years now.

I am thankful for...
The young men who came and removed the 30 feet of willow branch from the creek and cut down the remaining tree. It was huge and not in a good location to access. One more thing off my "A" list of things that needed to be done before winter.

From the kitchen...
Two recipes from Taste of Home's Cooking for One or Two.

My favorite of the two is the Orange Spiced Pecans. I want to grab a handful every time I go into the kitchen.

I also made the Lemon Thyme Cornish Hen. The basting sauce had butter and garlic along with the lemon and thyme. The result was OK. Interesting and eatable. Not something I'll likely make again, but it was fun to try the recipe.

I am wearing...
Jeans, a plain royal blue sweatshirt, handknit wool socks and New Balance shoes.

I am creating...
Nothing today.

I am going...
To miss the hummingbirds. The residents have all left but I'm still getting an occasional migrant stopping by for a drink.

I am reading...
Just finished Anna's Book by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. A wonderful book spanning three generations that is so much about the people I forgot I was reading a mystery until it all came together at the end. Totally enjoyed every chapter.

I am hoping...
That the bathroom remodel gets done the week of October 10, the week it is tentatively scheduled. I'm not looking forward to having men in the house for five days and trying to keep out of their way and keeping the dogs calm. I want it over with. I need some quiet time.

I am going to be very happy to enjoy the results of the project, I just don't want to go through the doing of the project.

I am hearing...
Quietly falling rain with an occasional car splashing by.

Around the house...
I know that once the bathroom is done the rest of the house is going to need sprucing up. A new coat of paint at minimum.

One of my favorite things...
The new retaining walls in the front of the house. There will be pictures in a separate blog post so I can record the old and the new.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Glory had her urine check today and I already got the call that she passed with flying colors on a preventative dose of half what she was taking. So for the next week, we're going to try half of that.

Pappy goes to the vet Wednesday to make sure his anal glands are infection free.

There needs to be shopping for new bathroom supplies: A light fixture, towel bars, paper holder, curtain rod, and paint. I'll start with Home Depot and hope I can finish there.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Lake Michigan Sunset. Taken September, 2004 after a Doggy School picnic.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chat Back for September 24

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

AnnP wrote . . .
I love the wild bird pictures you post and hope there will be more!

There will be more. I'm even eyeing a new camera with a more powerful zoom lens. Maybe that will be my Christmas present to me.

Dorothy asked . . .
The Herbed Scallops made my mouth water - were they as tasty as they looked.

They were good. Not wonderful, but definitely good. The second night leftovers were better than the out-of-the-oven first night. When I make them again, I may refrigerate them over night to let the flavors blend before I eat any of them.

Dorothy asked . . .
How are you liking Max Lucado's book?
Too soon to tell. It's not a serious Bible study like Bible Study Fellowship. The book is more a challenge to service with a few Bible verses mentioned in each chapter.

Second meeting of our fellowship group is tomorrow evening. It's going to take a few meetings before I get a good feel for the group, but I can tell it's more fellowship and not so much Bible Study. And there is lots of good food and eating. I'm making Orange Spiced Pecans to bring.

JoLyn asked . . .
Are you knitting?
Not yet but soon.

I know I keep saying that and I think it's true.

There will be some socks for Christmas gifts for sure.

Carrie asked . . .
We know how Glory is doing, and you're taking great care of her. How are the little dogs doing these days?
Sunny had some muscle spasms last week to the point where she couldn't climb her stairs. She has severe spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis, a degenerative disorder that causes loss of normal spinal structure and function.)

A Xanax (for her, not me) worked magic, and she was back to her normal walking the next day. Xanax is a magical doggy muscle relaxant.

Pappy is much happier since his anal gland infusion a few weeks ago. He goes back for a checkup next Wednesday.

Kathleen C. asked . . .
How are the birds?
Well fed. It's been a good year for growing weeds and hatching insects. They have plenty to eat in the wild, but I know it's time to start thinking about buying seed for winter feeding.

Vickie asked . . .
What is the special order yarn you're getting? Would you recommend the Slackford Studio Stalwart Sock yarns?
Stalward is my very favorite sock yarn. Great stitch definition, machine wash and dry, smooth on the needles.

I ordered two skeins of a colorway called "Out of India", a very wild, bright mix of colors to knit for Brother Dave. He always says he wants wild socks and these will be.

For Karen, his partner, I ordered "Woodgrain", a beautiful mix of medium browns.

Susan has the yarn dyed, but last I heard it's not skeined and ready to ship yet. When I get it, I'll post a picture.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The ABCs of Me

A meme I swiped from Kathy B..

A: Age: 66
B. Bedsize: Full.
C: Chore that you hate: Vacuuming.
D: Dogs: Glory, Sunshine (Sunny), and Pappy.
E: Essential to start your day: Kava coffee, small bagel, and cinnamon oatmeal.
F: Favorite color: Green today. Ask me tomorrow and it will be different.
G: Gold or Silver. Gold.
H: Height: 5 foot 4.
I: Instruments you play: Clarinet in my youth. Trumpet very poorly. Piano very out of practice.
J: Job title: Retired IT professional.
K: Kids: Heather and John. Both over 40 but still kids to me.
L: Live: With love and compassion.
M: Mom's Name: Margarete Louise
N: Nicknames: Mom, Grandma, Grandma B.
O: Overnight hospital stays: Several many years ago.
P: Pet Peeves: Service people who don't call back and don't come when they say they're going to come.
Q: Quote from a Movie: "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
R: Right or left handed: Right.
S: Siblings: 3.
T: Take-Out food: Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a small Frosty.
U: Underwear: Plain for comfort, lace for pretty.
V: Veggies you hate: Squash.
W: What makes you run late: Car trouble or slippery roads. I'm habitually early.
x: Xrays: Dental, Dexiscan for bone density.
Y: Yummy food: Ice cream, cheese cake, steak, ribs, Blondie at Applebee's.
Z: Zoo Animals: Tigers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for September 20

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY September 20, 2011 ...

Outside my window...
There are little hints of autumn color change in the trees.

I am thinking...
That I should use my cell phone more often. I always give people my landline number and then end up waiting around when I expect a call. It really doesn't make any sense, it's just habit from decades of doing it that way.

I am thankful for...
The Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library that lets me have access to any book in the Kalamazoo Public Library catalog even though I don't live in Kalamazoo County. It's near the Meijer store where I grocery shop and is a weekly stop for me.

From the kitchen...
My goal is to try two new recipes a week from Taste of Home's Cooking for One or Two. Most of the recipes are two servings, so that's four evening meals.

Tonight is Simple Herbed Scallops. Second adventure in small amount cooking is going to be Lemon-Thyme Cornish Hens. Have all the ingredients and looking forward to fixing and eating.

I am wearing...
Jeans, a navy sweatshirt, and some old but still nice handknit Opal socks.

I am creating...
Space by sorting out drawers, cupboards, closets, shelves, bins, and piles. It's totally amazing how much stuff in this little house I never cared about seeing again, and I'm still working on it. Have barely started in the basement.

I am going...
To be getting some new special order sock yarn from Slackford Studio soon and will start Christmas sock knitting for Brother Dave and Karen.

I am reading...
Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference for a Sunday evening church small group.

I am hoping...
Readers will ask me questions in the comments so I'll have something to blog about Saturday if I write a "Chat Back" post.

I am hearing...
The humming of the refrigerator and Sunny snoring on my left.

Around the house...
It seems like it's always time to vacuum, my least favorite chore. Maybe that's because three dogs live here?

One of my favorite things...
Photographer Granddaughter Kimmy.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Once again taking Glory's urine sample to the vet. Grocery shopping, library, lunch with Mom.

Maybe getting some new retaining walls, maybe not. The guy that is supposed to be doing it hasn't done anything he said he was going to do including show up the last time he was going to show up. I'm not calling him again. If he comes, fine. If he doesn't I'll find someone else to do it in the spring.

I'm very tired of calling people who sound interested and don't show up. I'd take it personally, but everyone else seems to have the same problem. My advice to all the unemployed people in Michigan: Learn how to provide a service people need and then run it like a business. Don't say you're going to do something unless you're actually going to do it, and SHOW UP. And, if you need to change your schedule, be polite enough to call.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Time for every living thing to get ready for the coming winter.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chat Back for September 17

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

It's been a long time since I've done this, so today I got to go back and read all the encouraging comments and notes of comfort. They are one of my many blessings. Thank you.

There were several comments from readers who have recently lost their husbands. If you'd like to connect, here's my e-mail.

Grieving is an intense process that takes a long time. Sharing helps.

Kristieinbc asked . . .
I have lived in a rural area with dial-up so know how truly awful it is. Have you ever thought about getting a satellite server?
Many times. I would be more tempted if I knew someone in this area who was happy with their satellite server.

For right now, I'm not changing anything because I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to live here. And Frontier keeps hinting that better things are coming, they're just not here yet.

Judy in SW Michigan asked . . .
Are you hoping what I'm hoping? A MILD winter? Wouldn't that be nice!

Our weather has been totally weird this year. First, a cold, late spring. Then a very hot, unpleasant brief summer with an abundance of storms and mosquitoes. Now an early fall with some frost already in mid-September - but not enough to stop the allergies.

A mild winter would be nice.

Sister Carrie wrote . . .
I am VERY impressed with all you are doing.
Thank you for reminding me that I am getting things done and making progress what seem to be endless lists of things that need to be done. Still on the A list: Buy firewood that will fit the woodburner and find someone who will deal with that willow tree.

Michigan willow wood is totally worthless. It's soft and brittle. No good to burn or build with. Noone wants it and it appears that tree services consider it beneath their dignity. In their defense, there have been several serious wind storms in the past few months and the tree people are probably still super busy with more serious tree problems.

Dorothy wrote . . .
I remember a friend of mine who lost her husband suddenly. They were in the middle of a remodel of their house and I think finishing that up is what kept her sane.
Yes, the list of things that HAVE to be done is what is keeping me functional - a little grieving, a little busy work each day.

Then there's the dogs. They keep me up, out, and about. Being old, they have three meals a day plus multiple walks, and we haven't got through a week yet without at least one trip to the vet.

Update on vet appointments. . .
After a week with no antibiotic, Glory's urinary tract infection was back on Wednesday.

Vet says the infection is likely being created by the underlying kidney failure and, at this point, it’s clear she needs to be on antibiotics full time for the rest of her life.

We tried a cheaper, human antibiotic similar to the expensive Baytril, but not as good in animals. It made her sick, so she's back on Baytril and feeling great for a fifteen year old dog. Another urinalysis in a week. I'm hoping we can go down to one Baytril a day once the infection is gone again.

The good news is her bloodwork shows her kidney failure is stable, not getting worse, and is at a level she can live with normally if she doesn’t have too much protein in her diet.

How do you destroy a harddrive?
Bob asked me to take out and destroy his hard drives before donating his old PCs to Goodwill.

The taking out part was easy and the CPUs are donated, leaving me with a sack full of old harddrives. (Bob didn't like to throw things away and he had multiple hard drives in each.)

I figured taking a hammer to them outside on the cement would do the deed. A harddrive is much stronger than I imagined. I could barely make a dent in one.

Any suggestions? Actual things you have done that worked?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for September 13

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY September 13, 2011...

Outside my window...
Wild turkeys. Lots of young ones are roaming the neighborhood this autumn, sometimes standing out in the road holding up traffic. I hope they'll come to the feeder when I start feeding again in a few weeks.

I am thinking...
I'll do Simple Woman's Daybook each week until I get back to blogging on a more regular schedule.

I am thankful for...
The friends and relatives that are staying in touch and letting me know they're thinking about me and praying for me. I feel blessed by every little thing someone does, says, or writes right now. Even the smallest thing has special meaning and gives comfort.

From the kitchen...
I have a new/used cookbook, but haven't actually made anything from it yet. Still eating Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. Thinking I'll pick one thing for this week's grocery shopping and fix myself something yummy.

I am wearing...
Jeans and a very old purple teeshirt with red tulips on the front.

I am creating...
Yesterday I went to Power's Bath and picked out everything for the bathroom rip out and remodel that's scheduled to happen the week of October 10.

I was a little concerned that this might fall under the rule, "Don't make any major decisions for a year." But there is only one bathroom in this little house and it has leaks serious enough so it needs a new subfloor. I really couldn't wait.

I was also concerned that I would be overwhelmed by the choices and not be decisive. That didn't happen. I spotted a beautiful granite counter top in shades of brown and tan I couldn't resist and everything else just fell into place after that.

I don't have a sample of the counter top, darn, because that's what is going to make the room interesting. I do have samples of everything else so I can pick out paint. The background in the picture is the flooring. The light square is all the fixtures - tub, shower surround, toilet, sink. It's an off white called "biscuit". The little dark piece is the oak of the vanity, the medicine cabinet, and the over-the-toilet cupboard. Metal fixtures will be brushed nickel.

I am going...
To take a nice long hot bath in my new tub when the bathroom is finished. I've been saving some bathsalts sent by little sister Carrie for the occasion.

I am reading...
Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein. Just started it, so no opinion yet. It's a cop procedural book and starts out gory. I'm hoping it proceeds with interesting detective work and less grossness.

I am hoping...
To find a tree service who wants to take care of the willow tree that fell down in the creek. It's starting to grow vertical willow sprouts from all 30 feet of its horizontal position. Be afraid.

I am hearing...
Sunny snoring, a plane overhead, the neighbor mowing.

Around the house...
There's a new, clean, safe chimney ready for some cozy cool weather fires as soon as I buy some firewood.

Larry, the mason, also re-sealed the seals on the cast iron fireplace insert, oiled the hinges, and lit a brief fire to make sure it was drawing correctly.

This is how I plan to heat the house during winter storm power outages, so it's a comfort to know it's ready.

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Tomorrow morning Glory has a vet appointment to have her urine checked and a blood workup to see how her kidneys are doing. She's acting pretty perky for a 15 year old lab, so I'm hoping it's good news.

Otherwise it's more sorting and cleaning out, stashing Goodwill stuff in the trunk, making sure I fill every square inch of Herby for pickup on Thursday.

I need to start calling different tree places as the company I've been calling is not responding or coming when they say they're going to come. Also need to find some seasoned, split firewood to buy from someone who will deliver and stack.

Friday I have a medical appointment, grocery shopping, and library trip.

And, as always, the lawn needs mowing.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Glory, growing old with dignity and class.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for September 6

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY September 6, 2011 ...

Outside my window...
It's allergy season.

I am thinking...
About how annoying it is when I call someone to do a job and they don't call back and/or don't show up for the estimate when they say they're coming. If they're too busy to do the work or they don't want to work in this area, why don't they just say so?

I am thankful for...
Larry, the mason who started work today so I could have a new chimney before winter. The old crumbling brick has been removed. New brick tomorrow.

From the kitchen...
I have not been cooking. Lean Cousine and Healthy Choice frozen dinners are all starting to taste alike, so I'm thinking it's time to learn to cook for one.

I am wearing...
Jeans and a turquoise sweatshirt.

I am creating...
Lists and more lists. There is so much that needs to be done before life can begin to mold itself back into a routine flow.

I am going...
To pick up my knitting again soon. It's been over a month now since I knit a stitch. The socks I was working on are sitting in the back room. They're probably dusty by now.

I am reading...
The Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell and also some of her stand alone novels.

Also Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy. Today's page was "Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected". And a piece of wisdom I found encouraging: "Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache."

I am hoping...
That tomorrow is the last visit to the vet for a while.

Pappy is going in for an anal gland infusion.

Glory is having a urine check after her third round of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection. If the infection returns this time the vet is going to do a culture and possibly an ultrasound on her kidneys to look for underlying issues. Since her current med, Bactril, cost almost four dollars a pill, I'm thinking I should be able to look forward to the day when Glory is infection free and I'm not catching doggy urine samples.

I am hearing...
Dogs snoring. They're all exhausted. Having strange men in the yard and on the roof taking down a chimney was noisy and stressful today. It required a lot of barking and diving under the bed. The dogs, not me. I was happy.

Around the house...
Now that the chimney is underway, the next urgent project is the bathroom. The subfloor needs replacing from leaks so I'm taking the opportunity to redo it all. I have an estimate and now need to make an appointment to pick out colors and fixtures.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Today I had a followup mammogram and ultrasound. (All is OK, or it will be OK once my nerves recover.) Wednesday is Pappy's anal gland infusion, so he'll be drugged up. Glory is having her urine checked. Thursday is a haircut and lunch with Mom. Friday I'm taking Mom to a medical appointment.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The days are getting shorter and cooler. Now, how do I get this door open so I can hop into the nice warm house?