Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Family, friendship, love. The usual.
National Council & Convention
Worst things about 2009
Well, you know. Alex.
Saying goodbye to Father Todd
Pre-Thanksgiving holiday vomitorum in the kindergarten room
Things I could do better in 2010
Be a better friend. Keep in touch. Write letters. Do a Jenny.
Best Christmas Face - Nathan, when he opened his Buzz Lightyear. Actually, Nathan when he opened anything. No stick lip here.
(OK, so we missed his face. But I promise you, it was cute. Like this:)
Cookie time - Wednesday before Christmas, I fired up the oven. Literally. A Mexican wedding cookie rolled right off the cookie sheet onto the bottom of the oven, and when I finally fished it out, it was a cute little charcoal ball. And, I burned my hand, so the holiday is now complete. So I made iced cutouts (green trees, yellow stars and blue bells), Espresso chocolate drops, molasses cookies, pecan pie tartlets and the aforementioned wedding cookie (or are they Russian tea cakes?) I also made a batch of Chex mix and a batch of hot cocoa mix, dipped some pretzels and baked a coffee cake for Kenny. And, I made a fruit cake, using lovely dried fruits from King Arthur flour and their recipe. Note to my future self when reading this post -- forget the fruit cake. There is a reason why fruit cake is the butt of so many Christmas jokes, and your fruit cake only furthers the legend. NO ONE EATS IT.
Gifts - The thought of shopping made me anxious -- every time I was in WM or Target, I thought I would have a panic attack, and don't even get me started on the mall. We did a lot of shopping online, which turned out very well -- digital video cameras from QVC for the girls, toys for the boys, and almost everything for Will. Although Clay and I had decided to not exchange gifts, we are terrible at that -- I got him a cordless drill/saw set (so he can build that barn this spring) and a few other things; he gave me a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, a ME calendar (of course), some bamboo t-shirts for my trip and the Glee CDs. Sarah gave us a beautiful picture ornament of Allie (plus a sweater and pink water bottle) and Mags gave me a new crock pot. I got the Pioneer Woman cookbook from Karen (beautiful, just like PW's site) and some antique cat salt and pepper shakers from Sharon. Way, way, way too much, but lovely to be thought of, you know? (This doesn't even count the wonderful things from the kindergarten kids and J & L!)
Probably the best gift of the day (aside from Ron's gift certificate and the enormous bra) was the keepsake box Maggie gave to Sarah. She knew Sarah wanted some sort of box to keep Alex's blanket and other things in, and searched online unsuccessfully. I had a sewing box upstairs that my grandpa H. had made many years ago -- he had a little side business making pet coffins for the ladies down at the Eagles, and I think my sewing box was one of his prototypes! Maggie took that box to Nate, who made Sarah a box of the same size. It was beautiful; he carved handles and Alex's name on the inside of the lid. A sweet and precious gift.
Musically, this Christmas was much more relaxed, now that I am down to playing at two churches. The kid's mass at St. A was beautiful, as always -- we even had a 3-week-old baby Jesus. And OLP was wonderful, too. Father Scott came for supper -- we ended up making shepherd's pie with the lamb this year -- I think we may have hit upon a traditional Christmas Eve dish.
I didn't think we could do it, but we did. Merry Christmas.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It took me quite some time to develop. As a worrier, I had a hard time going to Will's meets when he started wrestling when he was about 6. The clincher for me was when we had to go buy a handkerchief to use as a blood rag -- required gear for the meets. I let Clay take him and report back after each bout.
But as horrible as I thought it would be to go, it was worse not to be there, so when he got to middle school, I put on my happy face, started going, and became the typical wrestling mom -- a fund-raising, snack-packing, purple-wearing, yelling, stomping, whistling weirdo.
Since Alex died, it's been hard to put on the purple shirt and drag myself to the meets -- the thought of Will getting hurt is almost too much to bear. Friday night began conference duals at Columbus East -- I made it through with just a few tears and without vomiting, so we headed to Jeff yesterday morning for the conclusion of the meet. I was doing fine, even cheering a bit. Then a boy from Bedford was hurt and carried out on a stretcher.
For Will's sake, I know I need to go and support him. Just like for Tommy, Nate and Paul's sake, (and Sarah, Maggie and Will) I know that we need to try to have a merry Christmas. Putting on the happy face is easy, but shoving the despair, anger and worry down far enough to survive these next few weeks is the hard part.
I'd pray for a little peace, but God and I still seem to be on a "Can you hear me now?" plan.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Instead of telling people not to worry, let's thank them. Thanks for banning the use of DDT and red dye #2. Thanks for making me wear my seat belt and keep a smoke detector in my home. Thanks mom and dad, for being irrationally strict, worrying about my future and keeping me on the almost straight and fairly narrow; while I don't know that watching "Love American Style" turned other late-1970's girls into wanton harlots and strumpets, thanks for worrying that it might.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I'll give this one a 98, Dick. It's got a good beat and is easy to dance to, as you can plainly see. I love the tribute to our Presidents, plus, bonus points for the accordian -- Merry Klezmer Christmas.
Yes, I bought the album. Is Bob Dylan is just yanking my chain? I don't know, but I love it. It might be the direct opposite of my Christmas CD purchase last year -- Songs of Joy & Peace.Enjoy these guys; I give them a 98, too. Bonus points just because.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
For the first time since Allie died, I played at the Lutheran Home today. I think my peeps were glad to have me back. We even rocked out a little to Jingle Bells.
I'm trying to play a little music, write a bit and do something good every day. We'll see.
Oh, and I'm blogging again, too. Did you notice?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
We loved, and worried, about Alex even before he was born. One day Sarah, 8-1/2 months pregnant, went to work and forgot her cell phone, which just happened to be the day of the flood in Columbus. Cut off from getting home, unable to call Adam or us to let us know she was okay, were some of the most stressful hours of my life, but they were ok... no big deal even… Alex would be born in Greenwood, at St. Francis Hospital. Then we learned that he might have a hearing problem, even be deaf in 1 ear, but over the months THAT seemed to go away too. This summer there was a concern he might have a digestive disorder, his stomach would get so hard and full when he would eat, but it turned out, he just liked to eat… a lot. But through it all, he kept smiling and laughing.
His appetite was truly amazing. It was only in the last month he would seem to get full, before that we had to stop feeding him. Just last Friday Sarah brought us home a tenderloin sandwich from the Oktoberfest as we watched the kids and he proceeded to eat ½ of George’s sandwich and then some applesauce. We wondered if there was anything he wouldn’t eat and I finally found 1 thing at Tommy’s birthday party last month, green olives, and that is another memory I will hold dear. He didn’t like it, in fact he even threw it at me, but he didn’t stop smiling, and he didn’t stop eating. He immediately opened his mouth for more pasta salad with a wary eye looking for more green olives, because you know, I tried to give him more.
It is entirely appropriate that today is cloudy and rainy, because today our hearts are breaking. Everyone’s prayers and good wishes have meant more than you could ever know and I don’t know how we will ever be able to repay everyone’s kindness during this week. But it is also entirely appropriate that tomorrow, and this weekend, will be beautiful and sunny, because that’s what Alex was. We owe it to him, and to Tommy and Nate, and Sarah and Adam, to be happy again, because that’s what Alex would be… that’s what Alex is. We will be happy again, I promise you that, and I look forward to the days and years ahead with Tommy and Nate, playing with them and helping them, and keeping Alex alive and happy in their memories. It helps a great deal to know that heaven is a little happier today with Alex, our little Allie, there.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
But I didn't pray. And I couldn't sing.
I tried again last night without success. And this morning, I still have that empty feeling, like I will never pray, sing or be truly happy ever again. Clay tells me I will. And I believe him, I think.
But I thought I should start on my thankfulness list, for when God and I are on speaking terms again:
Angie's handmade rosaries, a gift from my biggest fan.
Holly and Justin's talents.
Jim Gerth's words of comfort. One of the things I wanted most this week was my mom and dad. Jim filled that achy void a little for me.
Kindergartener's hugs. Man, did I miss them this week. I think they were all supposed to be silently going back to the classroom when I saw them, and I hope they didn't get into trouble for jumping out of line.
The Coons Women and their compatriot, Will.
Mr. Prout, who told me I would never withstand the competition at music school at IU, which convinced me to go to Purdue. Perhaps if I had gone to IU, I would have met a man like Clay and friends like the Crew, but I doubt it.
Friends who surprise you by their actions. People you didn't realize were your friends.
Friday, October 2, 2009
But more importantly, it's breast cancer awareness month. And, in honor of that (and my mother), I was busily planning another giveaway.
Then I read this. It seems that while I was buying every pink thing at the grocery, walking in the Race for the Cure and writing checks to Komen, I've been unintentionally ticking off a lot of people. Like this popular blogger, Jeanne, the Assertive Cancer Patient. (If you scroll down on her current page, there's my beloved pink mixer. Ouch.)
And then there is the book, Pink Ribbons, Inc., by Samantha King which explains the big business of corporate philanthropy -- is slapping a pink ribbon on your product altruistic or simply capitalistic?
I am such a freaking Pollyanna that I swear, I have never once considered that corporations like New Balance, Mars, Campbell's and BMW would use the pink ribbon to garner my sympathy dollars, and those of millions of women like me who see the ribbon and think, "Oh, aren't they sweet?"
As Jeanne says, "it's all about selling the soup."
The Breast Cancer Action group has a campaign called "Think Before You Pink." Pretty good advice that I needed to hear. So, I am paying closer attention to those products graced with the pink ribbon. I am researching what percentage of the profits from those items go to research and awareness. But I have to buy toilet paper anyway, so why shouldn't I buy Quilted Northern? Their company has given over $500,000 to Komen. Through Cook for the Cure, KitchenAid has given over $7 million. Try as I may, I just can't feel bad about that.
As a side note, there is the Yoplait problem. It is hard to believe, but until this August, Yoplait (with their little pink lids I have been washing and saving for years) was using milk from cows treated with artificial bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which has been connected to several different cancers and is banned in most countries. The Breast Cancer Action group took Yoplait (a General Mills company) to task through grassroots efforts of letter writing and e-mailing, convincing them that using rBGH milk for their yogurt and pumping it into little pink packages was hypocrisy. Many thanks to the BCA.
Then, rBGH leads to the Eli Lilly problem. Lilly is the only manufacturer of rBGH; sales of the synthetic hormone were $985 million last year. But they also manufacture cancer and cancer-preventative drugs (to the tune of $2.5 billion last year). The BCA calls this "Pinkwashing." I call it "crazy s**t that makes my head almost explode", especially when I consider that Lilly employs over 13,000 in Indiana, donates generously to the arts and community improvement, and has provided 4-year, full-ride scholarships to kids we love.
Crap. I just wanted to give away a few little pink things.
So yes, you know what I did. Even though I am late to the party, I joined the BCA and sent them a donation. And, I am going to keep my eyes and heart open and be more careful with my pink ribbon dollars.
But I'm not going to stop wearing the pink ribbon, and I hope women like Jeanne can forgive me. If I were to meet her, or any woman for whom the pink ribbon has become a marketing symbol instead of a sign of hope and for whom October is a month of pink dread, I would take it off. But for me, the pink ribbon is a reminder -- a reminder of my mother, my grandmother, and all the women I know who have battled breast cancer. It's a reminder to me to do my self-exam, get a mammogram every year and stay current on the research and advances. It's a reminder to remind my friends to do the same. It's a reminder that although great things have been accomplished, breast cancer is still a killer.
And I like pink. Jeanne says it is the color of "girly, sexist expectations". To me, it's the color of newborn piglets, ripening strawberries and baby feet. Sunrise skies out the back window, Our Lady of Guadalupe roses out the front. The color of the sweetness of life.
So, am I giving something away? Probably. But all this pink thinking has zapped my creative crafty energy. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
His own little cake. He wasn't sure about the whole thing, slapped the cake a few times, then got very upset by the mess.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Along with Cars and Super Heroes, Tommy loves the Ninja Turtles, so I worked up this hat and mittens for him.
I guess you could say I designed this hat; I looked for a pattern all over, but could only find a crocheted TMNT hat. I worked the hat flat; I know you can work intarsia in the round, but I thought I would save learning that skill for another day. I had planned to duplicate stitch the black of the eyes, but it looked goofy, so I went to mom's miraculous button box and found two perfect buttons for the eyes -- much easier.
If anyone would be interested in this pattern, I would be glad to post it here.
Peace, love and Ninjas.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Spiderman web cookies for Tommy's pre-school class today:
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I saw it happen.
I know how it happened.
I made it happen.
This summer, there has been a flock of beautiful little finches in our fence rows. I think this is because my brother has not mowed the pasture surrounding our house, and it is full of thistles, which the finches like.
We've been watching them through the binoculars, and they are so cute, so I had the genius idea of setting some feeders near the house so we could enjoy them up close. When I was buying the feeders, I found a contraption you can hook to your deck. More genius! I put the feeders right outside the french doors off the family room. I put out saucers for water and two planter boxes for color to attract the birds, just like I read on the Internet.
The weather has cooled, the doors are open, the birds sing, I'm knitting. It is perfect.
Then, there is a ruckus on the deck, and I turn to see Toulouse at the screen door with a mouth full of feathers.
I screamed, of course, then cried, then took the feeders down, because they had gone from a beautiful little project to bait for our cat.
Yesterday, finches came and perched on the deck. I know they were looking for the bird seed, but part of me is wondering if they weren't mourning their fallen friend . . .
Friday, September 4, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I currently don't have too much appropriate fabric in my collection, as I gave the Joray girls 4 or 5 bags of fabric just a few months ago. I did find some fat quarters, a free yard from SMS, a nice puppy-print flannel and all the yarn downstairs, and I had a new pair of knitting needles in my library bag. I purchased 6 1/2 yards of the green at Jo-Ann's this week, and they had a nice set of scissors for $5.00. Thread, needles, pins and a tape measure round out my bundle.
Lucky doesn't look too happy in this picture. "You bellowed and woke me from my nap to take my picture by some box? Just because all the other kids were doing it?"
Let's face it. She is not an LOLCat. She's sort of a B -I-you-know-what-Cat.
Peace. May it come in bundles.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
- 13 at Knit Night this evening. One new knitter, two who we hadn't seen for awhile. Lots of fun, as always. I always say I am not crazy about Lion Brand Homespun, but it is very popular at Knit Night, especially with the Prayer Shawl knitting crown. And, five of my recent projects have been made from it -- blue shawl for Donna, purple shawl for Jodi, the Library Capelet, a Triangle shawl on the needles now and this:
This is the pinwheel pattern I like so much, and I just couldn't stop; I started with the leftovers from the purple shawl, but ended up buying 3 more skeins to finish. It measures about 5 feet across, counting the crocheted edge. I'm going to donate this one to an upcoming fundraiser.
- I broke the picture machine at CVS today. Temporarily. But it was embarrassing, nevertheless. Seems that the little stick that goes with my new camera is an MS Duo, and I put it into the the MS slot, where it got stuck. The photo lab girl and the assistant manager both worked to get it out, and had to take the machine apart to get to it. While I stood there. At noon. When everyone in Seymour was doing their drug store shopping.
I blame Wal-Mart. Because if they carried the cartridges for the nifty little photo printer that Clay bought for me at Wal-Mart, (and which you can still buy at Wal-Mart), then I would have been able to print out the photos at home. (I did ask the girl behind the counter why they didn't have the cartridges for the printer, but I got the famous WM Shrug, followed by the famous "I can call a manager." But considering my past failures with this process, I just let it go.)
I think my new goal in life will be to find a way to blame everything on Wal-Mart. Like six degrees of separation:
Bad thing A happened because of B because of C because of D because of E because of Wal-Mart.
It is good to have a goal. (But please, no one tell Barbara!)