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November 2012

Right Now. . . November

Here's what's going on in my life  . . . RIGHT NOW.


Watching . . . I just watched Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl on PBS.  As usual with a Ken Burns documentary, it was excellent and interesting.  But, I must say . . . what a downer!

Reading . . . Astray by Emma Donaghue.  (Love me some well-written short stories!).  I'm also just about to delve into The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, and I just finished Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (strangely disappointing, yet a solid 3 stars).

Knitting . . . I have set aside my Tinder cardigan temporarily (despite the fact that I only have the right front yet to knit) in order to finish up a few holiday gifts.

Listening to . . . A very eclectic playlist mix on my iPod . . . a little of everything from the BeeGees to the Grateful Dead, from Bruce Springsteen to Gladys Knight, from Hall & Oates to Smashing Pumpkins.  Yep.  Eclectic.  (It's a bit early for me to turn to Christmas music, but soon.)

Thinking about . . . Enough stuff that my head may explode.  (There's a lot going on in there right now.

Dreading . . . Taking Jenny out to pee . . . every time . . . on a leash.  For four months.  Also . . . keeping her from jumping up into "her" favorite chair.  (Probably shorter than four months on that one.  But . . . Long Enough.)

Humming . . . Roundabout.  (Part of my Eclectic Mix.  This one stuck.)


Planning . . . Christmas.  Natch.

Excited about . . . Brian's Most Excellent exam grade on his P-chem exam this week.  (It's the little celebrations that count, y'know?)


Drinking . . . A very nice cab. (With a great label, non?)

Itching to . . . Decorate for Christmas.

Needing to . . . Get shopping!

Organizing . . . Nothin'!  That's right.  You heard me.  Nothin'!  Because I actually completed ALL of my planned organization projects this fall!  4 closets, 2 kids bedrooms, 1 guest room, my home office [including file cabinets], the family room, and my sewing/knitting room.  Let the wild rumpus start!

Inspired by . . .The calendar.  (Probably "inspired" isn't the right word.  It's more  like . . . "panicked into inspiration by"!)

Delighted by. . . Ummm.  I hate to admit this in such a public way. . . but the Angry Birds STAR WARS edition.  (Somebody stop me. . . )

How about YOU?  What's going on for YOU . . . right now?


Also.  With this post, I successfully completed NaBloPoMo.  Quietly and without fanfare. 

The Icing on Top

We have a long-standing tradition in our family . . . of creating gingerbread houses for the holidays. 


On Thanksgiving Day, in the evening after the feast had been cleared away, Erin and my Mom and I gathered around my dining room table to create this year's masterpieces!

Some of us get coaching and assistance . . .


Some of us get moral support . . .


(I think my Dad was a bit worried about my Mom and her gingerbread house.  If you read my blog last year, you might remember that my Mom took a tumble off my counter stool at a gingerbread decorating party I held for some of my friends.  She ended up with a broken ankle, surgery, and a not-very-pleasant holiday season.  My Dad did NOT want a repeat performance.  He may even have suggested tying her into her chair.  Just sayin'.)

And some of us just get glasses of wine . . .


This year, it seemed to take extra-long for the houses to "settle" and hold up well enough for the true decorating to begin.  I will admit that, for a while, I considered a "Blitzkrieg" theme for my house. . . just bombed out walls and no roof at all.

In the end, though, I went with a chocolate theme.


Mmmmm.  Chocolate goodness from rooftop to foundation!


My Mom was inspired by peppermint.


And despite several wall/roof collapses, she remained safe, seated, and unscathed!


Erin went with color-coordination. . .


coconut. . .


and inspired, artful flourishes!  (Thanks, Keith!)


We had a great time kicking off the holiday decorating season.  (And . . . so much more fun without a call to 9-1-1!)


Thanks for your warm healing wishes for Jenny yesterday.  The surgery went very well, the vet was able to repair the ruptured ligament, and we will welcome Jenny back home later today.

A Bit of a . . . P-UPdate

I've been remiss here on the blog.  I have not kept you all up to date on the state of Jenny's limping situation.  Despite our successfully keeping her quiet and . . . inactive. . . her limping has actually worsened in the three week period of healing.


Begging at the Thanksgiving table!

A return visit to the vet yesterday revealed . . . a ruptured cruciate ligament in her knee.  With possible bonus miniscus damage!  (Not severe enough 3 weeks ago to catch on X-ray day; now. . . painfully obvious.)

Jenny is in surgery this morning.  Her prognosis is good, although recovery is long.  After a 2-week post-surgical recovery, she will have physical therapy AND a 4-month leash restriction. . . with 4 additional months of recovery restrictions I can't quite think about yet.  All I can say is . . . thank goodness winter is coming!  I can't fathom going through these severe restrictions in the warm months, full of light.

So.  Please send cheery, healing, dog-thoughts Jenny's way!

Cold Hands . . . Warm Heart


Oh, baby. . . it's cold outside!  Time for some mittens!

While I'm not  much of a sock knitter, I must admit to being totally charmed by knitting mittens.  I love having baskets of handknit mittens to choose from on a chilly morning, and I especially love knitting them up for people I love.

In fact, I just finished the first mitten of a pair (a holiday gift, but safe to show here as the recipient does not read my blog).

And Erin picked out this yarn for a pair of fingerless mittens while she was visiting last week.

Something simple, probably Ragtop

This week, Carole has me treading dangerous waters . . . as we talk about Ten Mittens We Want to Knit.  After I finish the second Foliage Mitt and whip up a pair of Ragtops for Erin, here are my ten:


  1. Reykjavik -- Tom got this kit for me last Christmas.  I think it's time to cast on!
  2. Jacoby -- Free!  Manly!  (I know a couple of guys who are getting a pair of these mitts for Christmas.)
  3. Ardour -- I am a total sucker for charming little hearts.
  4. Gloaming -- These mittens look warm and cozy right through the computer screen.
  5. Fractured Light -- So pretty.  And free on Knitty.
  6. Perianth -- I am also a total sucker for flowers.
  7. Brickletown Mitts -- And cables.   (Hurry!  This pattern is on sale through Friday!)
  8. Die Gänsemagd - Handstulpen -- Adorable!  And free.
  9. Sprial Staircase Mitts -- So clever!
  10. Dala Selbu Hyrid -- What happens when you cross Norwegian style . . . with Swedish design!

How about YOU?  What mittens would you like to knit?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

A Special Treat

We had a lovely Thanksgiving here at my house.


Great food.  Good company.  Lots of stories and laughter.  I love having my family all around for this big celebration of gratitude and thanksgiving. 

It was a special treat to have Erin and her longtime boyfriend, Keith, join us for nearly a whole week!


Erin and I had a chance to do some shopping (a rare treat for a gal working at Rite Aid for her "gap year" . . . between getting her Masters and starting work on her PhD).  We had fun cooking together and talking about books and just hanging out.  Erin enjoyed her Jenny-time (she so misses having a dog in her everyday life.)


It's hard to have your kids grow up and live far away from you.  There's just . . . an empty place.  But.  It's wonderful to see them grow and become themselves and spread their wings . . . starring in their own show.


And, well. . . some things never change!


Thanks for the wonderful visit, Erin!  It was a special treat for all of us.


Sundays . . . Are For Poetry

Winter Solstice Chant

by Annie Finch

Vines, leaves, roots of drakness, growing,

now you are uncurled and cover our eyes

with the edge of winter sky

leaning over us in icy stars.

Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing,

come with your seasons, your fullness, your end.


Annie Finch, "Winter Solstice Chant" from Calendars, published by Tupelo Press.  Copyright © 2003 by Annie Finch.

Fun for the Whole Family

Warning! This post is not suitable for all audiences.  (Self select, please.)

Over the holiday, the kids introduced us to a new party game. . .


Cards Against Humanity.   (A Party Game for Horrible People.)


Best played with plenty of alchohol under your belt, this games is a BIG hit among college students and young adults*.  (I would bet that not many of them share the game with their parents, so Tom and I  feel somewhat honored to have been included in their fun.)


Basically, it's Apples to Apples . . . but with An Edge.


A real edge!


Or, should I say. . . Really Edgy.


Anyway, we had a great time.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of drinking.  And. . . well . . . let's just say that, as a group, we have Incrediby Bad Taste.


Play with your family and friends this holiday season!  (Or. . . perhaps not!)


*The game can be downloaded for free.


A Week of Thanksgiving: Friday

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

-- W.T. Purkiser


Today is Friday, and I'm thinking about . . . rest and rejuvenation.  After the hub-bub and excitement of yesterday (and all the preparation leading up to yesterday), I'm ready to kick back and just relax. 

Hope you are, too.

On Friday, I'm ready for rest; thankful for all the wonders in my life.

A Week of Thanksgiving: Thursday

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.

--Frederick Koenig


Today is Thursday; it is Thanksgiving.  And I am thinking about . . . abundance.  As I look around me today, I see that I am surrounded by family and friends and food and drink . . . and happiness.  I have everything I need.

In abundance.

On Thursday I am thankful that I can recognize and appreciate what I have.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


A Week of Thanksgiving: Wednesday

When we're connected to others, we become better people.

-- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture


Today is Wednesday, and I'm thinking about relationships and connections . . . with my family and with my friends.  I cherish the connections I have. . . with Tom; my kids; my family . . . with friends - new and old; near and far; both in "real life" and those that are scattered across the world.

Because of all of you, I am a better person.

On Wednesday, I am grateful for my treasured relationships.