Monday, February 28, 2011

Geez, My Knees

Last night we had a tornado watch, so rather than risk being awakened in the middle of the night by a tornado warning, or sleeping through the warning, we decided to spend the night downstairs. The boys took the dogs, a pile of blankets and pillows and slept on the floor of the tornado shelter while I slumbered soundly in the big bed that might be safe because it's below ground level. The good news is there was no tornado. The bad news is that after safely negotiating the steps back upstairs, I fell.

My left knee simply gave out, and I fell to the floor in the living room. The kids were frightened, but I wasn't really injured, just prone. I managed to get myself up and now know it is impossible for me walk without my walker. So, I must have knee surgery. I don't know how it's going to play out. I'm going to have to call out all my support group, but I have to proceed. I can't go on any longer. Today I will make a call to the doctor and go from there. I am scared.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bright Lights

Forces conspire to make it difficult for me to see what I'm doing while sewing. I struggle with old tired eyes, poor lighting, and obfuscating fabrics. But lo! There is a bright light on the horizon -- in fact not one, but three bright lights. And they are all embedded in this lovely fashion statement:

You are looking at three LED lights in the bill of my blush pink baseball cap.
It looks almost like a normal baseball cap and I love it! You can order yours in your choice of several colors at . I thought it would also be useful for reading my Kindle in an otherwise dark room. Maybe you can think of some other uses. Panthervision also sells reading glasses in your choice of magnification with LED lights attached to the sides. I think they are very clever, but alas, over-the-counter reading glass corrections don't work for my special needs.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I love this picture -- it warrants a post all its own. The boys (including Steve) were horsing around this afternoon and I captured them in action.

Julia hostessed a birthday party for Lars and Casey this afternoon. It was also the grand unveiling of her newly rebuilt kitchen. She and Steve did a great job on the kitchen and she did a great job on the meal.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Out and About

Last night I attended the third in our series of "Dinners for Eight." We take turns hosting and share pot luck dinners with people from church. It's a great way to get better acquainted. My contribution (other than scintillating conversation) was the trifle sitting in the middle of the table. Host Todd Johnson is sitting next to the foreign exchange student the Johnson family has been hosting this year.
Here's the other end of the table with hostess Laura Johnson in the gray sweater. Next month we will dine at the Tummons' house -- the couple sitting to Laura's left. Quilting connections and dinners for eight comprise most of my social life other than kid-centric activities.
* * *
Kid-centric activities take center stage for the balance of the school year. Logan's focus is speech and debate tournaments while Ben is kept busy with Winter Drum Line. Today, Logan is time-keeping at a speech tournament at the high school. These tournaments are a big deal in this part of the world. The school parking lot is filled with school buses from all over the state and hundreds of kids participate in this two-day event which runs till nine o'clock tonight.

Ben's Winter Drum Line is an extra-curricular activity that practices two evenings a week and one Saturday a month. Today is their first in a series of competitions that go through April.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ad Naseum

The temperature was still below zero at eight o'clock this morning. I just learned that if you take a cup of near-boiling water and toss it into the air when it's super cold outside, the water will crystallize in the air into something that looks like snow. I want to try it, but I'm not sure I want more super cold weather. My heater runs constantly -- I can't imagine what my gas bill will be next month. The snow is beautiful -- it sparkles like diamonds and sifts through the air like fairy dust. The river has been frozen for weeks and looks gorgeous with snow on top of the ice. I'm going to try to get pictures tomorrow before it heats up. Sixty degree temperatures are forecast for Sunday.
The kids have had eight snow days this year - the greatest number since we've lived here. Ben's band is planning to go to Florida in May, but now their departure date has been scheduled as a snow makeup day. I don't know what they'll do.
It has taken three weeks to quilt this much by hand -- I figure I'm 2-1/2% done -- 324 square inches (18"x18") out of 12,096 (108"x112") (click on the picture to enlarge and see a little bit of the quilting detail). At this rate, I'll be done in time for Christmas, but I'd like to pick up the pace. The good news is it keeps me out of the quilt shops

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jelly Side Down

  1. When putting clean sheets on my bed, I can never tell which is the head/foot end of the fitted bottom sheet and which is the side. So, I guess. I stretch from one bottom corner, walk around the bed and try on the second corner. My reasoning is that 50% of the time I should get it right. I'm guessing that somewhere in the universe someone gets it right 100% of the time because I get it wrong 100% of the time.
  2. An odd number of socks always comes out of the laundry. Like the sheets, I would expect the laws of probability would deliver an even number of socks 50% of the time. NO! I end up with an unmated sock 100% of the time. I HATE SORTING and FOLDING SOCKS!
  3. Just washed and waxed the kitchen floor -- I was 50% done before the dog had an "accident" on it. Happens 100% of the time.
  4. At ten in the morning, a school day, I had settled into the recliner to work the puzzles in the morning paper. The house was quiet, I was calm. Ben's bedroom door opened, scaring the s*@# out of me. He walked into the living room looking dazed. I assumed he left the house with Logan and caught the bus. Instead, he lay down "for just a minute, to rest my eyes," and came to at 10 A.M.
  5. Ben called home an hour later, asking me to check the car for his lost flash drive containing his English essay. Bad news = no flash drive. Good news = clean car. Ben called again saying he had retraced his steps through the high school hallways and found the flash drive on the floor outside the cafeteria.
  6. While cleaning out my car, I opened the garage door not knowing Oreo was in the garage. She escaped without me noticing. Several hours later, I realized she was missing and went out searching the neighborhood in the car. Found cold (it's 17 degrees on the thermometer) and bedraggled dog trotting down the middle of the street a block away. Thank goodness I found her before the boys got home.
  7. A reasonable thing to do on a day like today would be to return to the recliner with a four-olive martini. But, I'm out of vermouth! No one (but me) ever runs out of vermouth!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More of the Same

Several inches of fresh snow fell last night, so I went out to take my obligatory standard shot. I realized something was wrong with this picture -- the driveway across the street had not been shoveled and there were a couple of sets of tire tracks, like someone had left and come back. I wondered what was wrong. Ben got out of bed a little later and reported that he had seen an ambulance at their house at 10:40 last night. So, apparently something was wrong.

The other customary shot, hose buried long ago, basketball gone and if this keeps up, the bushes will be lost from sight. Snow is forecast for nearly every day next week. It's amazing and beautiful. The kids will be in school until the fourth of July at this rate. Actually, they build six makeup snow days into the school calendar and anything beyond that gets decided at the state level.

Icicles are forming at the corner of the house -- I bet they'll be much bigger tomorrow. In Rochester, NY, icicles reached clear to the ground.
I was relieved to see someone clearing the drive a little later this morning. He'll have a difficult job of it unless he just lets the sun melt the remaining layer of ice. Usually she shovels the drive; this morning it is he -- I hope she is OK.

My knee went "out" again yesterday for the third time this year. I can feel the need for surgery drawing very near. Logistically, I have no idea how I'm going to get through it. Steve and Julia will take care of the kids, I can board the dogs, but I'm going to need a lot of care for a while. As I understand it, the recovery and rehab is a pretty long process and I just don't know what to do.

I'm going to try to keep track of the books I read this year, so I think I'll list them here with a one or two word review. I'm reading most of them on Kindle -- I find it very convenient and I love being able to get classics for free, so I'm going to try to read one freeby for every book I purchase. I'm reading the "Outlander" series and plan to alternate with a Dickens title.

January's books (Titles in italics instead of underlined because blogger doesn't support underlining as far as I know):

  1. Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel -- terrible, poor writing, no plot and tedious. I've read a few others in this series and found them mildly entertaining. Not so with this.
  2. Echoes by Maeve Binchy -- again a disappointing story in a series I've enjoyed as mindless escape reading.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -- many (young) people have told me I HAD TO READ THIS. I was also advised it was best as an audio book because of the lovely voice and accent of the reader. I had never listened to an entire audio book, so I had reservations. My friends were right. It was lovely to hear the Scottish brogue and the Gaelic words pronounced. I did have difficult time staying focused since my inclination is to tune out due to years of exposure to teenagers' music and due to my hearing loss. The story alternates between sex, violence, and unlikely coincidences with time travel thrown in for good measure. Yet, Ms Gabaldon is a good writer -- knows how to keep the reader/listener engaged (sex!) and how to write coherent pleasing sentences, paragraphs, and chapters.
  4. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon -- more Outlander, still entertaining.
  5. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens -- the first of my free Kindle titles. This was my third reading of this story -- the first was in tenth grade (1954). Parts of it I remembered clearly and parts seemed like an entirely different story. It was an interesting contrast to the Outlander stories, and yet somehow not so entirely different. Complicated relationships, historical backdrop, improbably coincidences, blood and gore, etc. And under it all, Dickens makes fun of timeless foibles of mankind linking him more to Mark Twain than to Diana Gabaldon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day IV (or VI)

The falling snow promises to give my neighbor another opportunity to clear her driveway. It's just starting to stick now and more is forecast for tonight.

Ben and I just returned from the store -- the first time I've ventured out since the recent "blizzard." More snow is falling and is forecast for the weekend, so I felt compelled to rush to Walmart and stock up before the hoarders got there. (That's an old WWII joke, you have to be very old to understand). Anyhow, the hoarders must have beaten me, supplies were low, parking lot full. The roads were pretty good, lots of packed snow, but quite drivable. The car, however is a different story. The engine malfunction light came on during the trip home and has me quite freaked out. The car has more than 160,000 miles on it, but I'm kind of hoping it will be my last car. I want to get cars for Ben and Logan and then retire from driving. It could be nothing, or something trivial, or it could be meltdown -- financial and automotive. For today, I'm going to bury my head in the sand and wait for warmer weather to deal with it. Based on the current forecast, we may not be going anywhere for another day or three.

I'm still not tired of it, found the driving an adventure, but not difficult, the landscape gorgeous, and I love the Christmas card look of my front window. And we stopped at Papa Murphy's for pizza -- Logan is a happy man.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Blizzard of OZ

8:00 AM, noon, and 4:00 PM

Well, it was reported as a blizzard. It wasn't like the Sierra blizzards I've experienced, so I was a little bit underwhelmed. But, it has been entertaining. The kids had a good time sledding and flirting with frostbite while I enjoyed watching my neighbor shovel her three-car driveway four times!While she worked at clearing her driveway in spite of the falling snow, starting over at the top when she reached the bottom, nature renewed the opportunity for a workout.

Kane, Ben, and Logan built a snowman in our drive, blocking any possibility of my backing out.

All in all, it's been a lovely quiet day; we are warm and have every possible comfort. School has been canceled for tomorrow, so we get to do it all over again. The snow will most likely be around for quite a while -- bitter cold is forecast and more snowfall on the weekend. Let it snow!