Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Nights

What a fabulous holiday we had!!
Christmas in Italy. What a dream!
Way back in August, a friend of mine offered us the use of his empty apartment in Florence.  And who in their right mind could say no to that?
So, we held this voyage in our minds and thoughts for months (which is indeed half the fun!) and finally the time came to actually go!









This last one was taken in Parma where we were treated to glorious snow!  Notice the odd guy in only a hoodie walking along the right hand side of the street? Of course that is a crazy American boy who did not listen to his mom when she told him it would be cold.  Tch, tch.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Driven and Determined Soul

Now for something completely different!

This is my son-(gulp)!






I can hardly stand to look at these, though they really are amazing.

When he was five years old he was diagnosed with leukemia.  I had taken him for his routine back-to-school check up and you know that little pin prick blood test they do?  Well, his came back with a low white blood cell count.  The doctor said not to worry, but to feed him lots of red meat and peanut butter, etc. because he may be anemic.  She said if he showed any concerning signs like unusual tiredness to bring him back, but bring him back in six weeks regardless.
Well, right on the nose at six weeks he was being really draggy--very unusual for my little active man who was always bursting with plans and up at the crack dawn to get started on them (I called him my rooster).
So, I took him back to the doctor and she sent us on the hospital for full blood work.
I knew I was in trouble when the doctor at the hospital came back with the results and told me to sit down.  I didn't know much about leukemia then, only that it wasn't good.  She told me it probably wasn't as bad as I thought, that it was survivable, especially by five year old boys.
I had to make some phone calls, and we were admitted to the hospital and they started aggressive chemotherapy that very same evening.
It was the beginning of a long journey.
He was in treatment for two and a half years, and under observation for another two and a half.
I learned how to give him shots at home myself.  His hair fell out twice.  We had countless trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night.  He took so much medicine that his little toddler brother asked me when was he going to get some of that too?
I wanted my son to live and enjoy life.
And look--he does!  It is a crazy was to do it, if you ask me, but he has told me he is the happiest he has ever been.
A skater is a determined and driven soul.  Skating is falling and getting hurt again and again and again. But my boy's motto from a long time ago is "pain is temporary."
I have never tried to stop him from doing this.  I'm one of those mom's who just holds her breath and holds on.  I can't stand in the way of this passion.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Busy as a Bee

Well, I finally got my Olive Twist Shawl blocked and when I wore it to school I got many compliments (which I agreed with--It is really pretty!)
I like wearing it more so that the pointy part is forward.  It looks great that way paired with a dressy denim jacket.  Thanks Ms. Micawber  for this excellent pattern!



I also finished knitting and blocking this Shawl Collared Cowl, my first "real" knitting project in that it included increases, decreases, button holes, and short rows.  What a lot to learn!  And it turned out pretty good.  Crochet experience certainly helped.


And then finally, I made this hat.  I loved the color work.  Thanks to Little Woolie for her tutorials on tapestry crochet, or I would've had a much harder time with this.  I liked making this so much, I am going to make another one with different colors.


I guess I've been pretty busy with the yarn this fall!  I don't know what has gotten in to me.  True, I have not baked much or even cooked dinner all that much, or done at home grading.  I haven't read too much either.  I have been rather addicted.  Ah well, it's a cycle I guess.

Now though, to prepare for the last week of school before holidays.  Always like keeping ponies in a stable!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gray Days


Mostly it has been gray and wet.  The kind of weather that makes me want to stay in bed and listen to the rain, or read a book snuggled up in the covers.
I love gray weather, fog, and naked trees.



This is one of my favorite plants.  Anyone know what it is?


Here's someone with a sense of humor!


I remember I was so bad at Atari games.  My brother would entice me to play by letting me have the  first turn, but I was so terrible, I would get out right away.  Then his turn would come up and he was so good his turn went on and on.   I'd get bored and leave the room saying, "Call me when it's my turn."

By the time he called I would be involved in something else (probably reading a book), and I'd just yell back, "Nah--just take my turn."  

So he would end up playing alone. 

I just didn't have the interest or drive or whatever it is for video games.  I still don't.  I see people playing games on their phones now, and I just cannot do that.  Nope.   



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Notions

Here is the sum total of my sewing supplies:


Haha!  Not much, is it?  Well, I am not much of a sewer.  I can mend, but in a "make-do" sort of way.  Part of my coursework in college involved putting in hours in a costume shop.  The girl there sat me at one of those complicated industrial sewing machines that's all huge spools and threads going every which way and gave me some things to hem.  Well, when she came back by some ten minutes later, she found me with needle and thread hand stitching.

"The machine intimidates you," she stated.

I made a face and she took the stitching out of my hands and told me to go hunt up twenty-five pairs of white ladies gloves from the costume vaults.   I went--willingly! (She was brewing up a vat of tea and was going to pitch the gloves in to stain them ecru.)

I spent the remaining required costume hours backstage helping a fussy little actress in her quick changes between acts in I forget what play.

My sewing box is a white box librarian people might recognize.  It was swiped from a closet near the check-out desk at the college library. A good friend found the door unlocked and the closet stacked to the ceiling with these empty little boxes.

He was surprised as I was.  "Want one?" He asked, smiling.

I shrugged, "Sure!"

And I've had it ever since.

Inside, there is only one real treasure.  This:




Now this is an old object.  It belonged to my mother.  Imagine a grocery store needle holder she probably picked up (in Colorado Springs?) without ever imagining that some half century later her daughter would still own it! (or maybe it even belonged to my mother's mother).

Truly the little foil hole-y place for the needles is used up, but I would never throw this out.  Imagine--Cragmont Soft Drinks "In convenient cans"!  Hahaha.

Do they still even make Cragmont?

When I was a kid we didn't really ever have soft drinks at home.  We took them camping--all of us kids calling dibs on our favorite flavors--wild berry, cream soda, lemon-lime, grape--

Ah well.  Just a little tumble of memories this post.  While in my day-to-day I am trying to get organized for back-to-school and decide on which project to embark on after I finish my knitted shawl collar.  I'm tired of shawls and scarves and am ready to try for a sweater, though I don't think I can knit one yet.  Hmmm.




Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday

Thanksgiving this year was really pulled together at the last minute.  In the past, I have enjoyed cooking a big meal--putting everything together from scratch and hosting lots of people.  I've even enjoyed hosting family pot-luck style Thanksgiving dinners.  As my in-law's have aged and I've taken up rather exhausting full-time work, these past years we've gone out for Thanksgiving, which I've enjoyed as well.  (It's always nice not to have to do the clean-up!)
This year, my mother in-law was recently moved to assisted living in not so great condition, and her husband is feeling down and out and isn't doing so well himself.  Neither of them was much in the mood to eat.  So I wasn't sure what to do.  It seemed easiest just to host whoever was available to come to a simple turkey dinner, so that's what we eventually decided to do.
The morning light was lovely! I just had to get a snap of the table and the way the light filtered in through the windows.



The turkey platter belongs to my mother-in-law, but came to live at my house a long time ago when the turkey's started to be cooked here.  I just love it!



After lunch, the weather turned gray (which I don't mind--it feels so wonderfully November-y to me), and we went off to see my mother-in-law and bring her some homemade cranberry sauce none of us can ever quite get enough of.  This year, I don't know if she will be able to eat it.

It was a quiet, slow day, the way Thanksgiving days so often are.

Then, today, we avoided the slam and crash of shopping deals and meandered around the corner to an Ethiopian restaurant.


I'm on the wind down of the holiday, not having accomplished half the things I had hoped to do, but feeling relaxed and thankful just the same.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Cloudy Day in the City

I thought I had a haircut appointment today, but when I showed up at the salon the girl there told me it wasn't until tomorrow.
So--what to do?
Go out and take a few photos, I decided.  Even though the light wasn't great, it was still fun to scoot around and take some snaps of this and that.  So nice to be off work!





When my oldest son was a little boy, he went on a school trip to see this capital building.  At night he would lay awake trying to figure out a way he could get the gold off the dome! Even when it explained that it would practically be impossible, that it was really thin gold, that he would get caught, that it was illegal, and dangerous (!), and that all of these were reasons it was still there, he would puzzle it and puzzle it night after night trying to think of a way he could be the one who finally got some of that gold.

It's so funny to think of that now.

Thank goodness he did not turn out a criminal because he is very smart and very determined.

I hope you are all having a wonderful November!  I'm looking forward to putting up several more blog posts this week--quite unlike my usual.