Sunday, February 28, 2010

Making it a restful Sunday

I'm feeling a bit better. I spent the better part of the day on my bed watching dvds and knitting with frequent breaks for my shoulders. I did have altar guild but beyond that I did little else.

Well, I put out a kitchen fire. The burner caught fire so we used flour to put it out. Tom, bless his heart, cleaned it up while I went to church and took care of business. Not a big fire and not a big deal. Zach took it pretty calmly, didn't panic and helped me take care of it with no hysteria. I was proud of him.

I've finished up 19 hats and one blanket so far. I've got number 20 on the needles and am almost halfway done with the second blanket.

And I'm almost done with Supernatural, season 4. I've got House, season 3 and Boston Legal, season 1 in my queue.

Although a nap sounds good right now.

I'm still having pain but the fatigue is lifting a bit. I'm not bursting with energy though. Not by a long shot. I'm hoping to get back to getting things done by tomorrow. I don't normally take pain pills during the day but of late it's been necessary.

Otherwise nothing going on here. It's snowing again but no accumulation and a bit the 30s. I'm thinking we may have turned the corner and spring is on the way.

One can only hope.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Not a good day

My brain is fried from overuse and I'm still battling the fibromyalgia flare up so this will be short.

The insurance company denied coverage to Zach. They will tell us later why but since he has no health issues beyond Tourette's I can only assume that's what it is. And now that he's been denied coverage he will have to answer yes to the question that is on all policy applications: Have you ever been denied coverage?

That pretty much slams any chance of getting insurance from here on.

I'm just hoping that Washington comes up with a good health care plan that has the public option in it. This is despicable that anyone should have to try to live without health care coverage.

I'm going to bed now. I'll fix supper later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The snow, she just won't leave us alone

I woke up to snow this morning. As I had to get to town and the truck is crap in the snow, I scurried to get ready and headed off before anyone else was up. It wasn't accumulating a lot on the roads but the drifting was causing some unexpected (unless you were very familiar with where it drifts every time it snows like I am) dicey areas. I adjusted my speed accordingly but I was very glad to be in the car and not the truck.

I got some books that were in and Tom's Boston Legal dvd. Which I intend to watch as well before I take it back. I also got Supernatural season 4 as well. I was surprised it came in so quickly.

I slept a lot today instead of getting much done but I really did need the sleep. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow so I can get a lot of things done, getting the seedlings started for one. Laundry for another. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself as Anne reminds me in the comments yesterday. I do tend to beat myself up emotionally over my limitations. Which is a reminder that the things people say to you when you're young can still work their damage decades later.

I finished up hat number 15 and started 16 soon after. Giving myself permission to adjust my goals removed the pressure and restored the fun in knitting the hats. Now I want to knit them instead of dreading it. And I still enjoy the blankets very much so that's never been an issue. I do miss knitting my sweaters but I think they will be that much more fun when I can get back to them.

Zach needs a new winter coat. His is ripping at the seams but it's a very difficult place to repair since the weight of the pocket pulls on the seam , plus there is little seam allowance in the first place. Some of the coats are as low as $9 but one I really liked is $20. They're on sale, of course. I'll take him later this week so he can choose. All these things just keep adding up. We could wait until next fall but they'll be even more expensive then. I tend to shop when the season is over rather than as it's beginning. My coats are fine and so are Tom's. Plus I tend to get mine from the thrift store. Zach needs one that gives him a more professional appearance as he hopefully goes for job interviews soon.

It looks like Midsomer Murders tonight and lots more knitting. I'm going to take a pass on Ghost Hunters. If I need to, I can pick it up on OnDemand. I also noticed that Black Books is on I'm ecstatic as that is one of my favorite shows ever. I plan on watching it very soon. It's awkward watching on the computer but the couch is just to my right so I can turn the monitor and watch from there. And knit.

Supper tonight is leftover chicken in home-made macaroni and cheese and broccoli. Not terribly imaginative and a bit high protein but tasty nonetheless. And pretty economical.

We're not expecting much accumulation so I don't think we'll wake up to a lot of snow but it's still lost it's appeal and I'm looking forward to sunshine and green grass. Still, since there's nothing I can do about it, I'll try to adjust my attitude and learn to love it. It still looks beautiful falling. And it does pretty up the old, dingy snow that we've had on the ground.

I'm trying, I'm trying.

Off to finish up supper.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Realizing my limitations

I felt a lot better today. I managed to get more sleep anyway. I do worry about my fatigue and pain since the garden this summer is critical. In some ways it makes me incredibly nervous and in other ways I'm okay with it. I have such a fear of failure that it paralyzes me. If I could be aware of my limitations and be okay with them, then maybe living within them could be more productive. Instead of curling up in a ball and shutting myself off from everything I'm afraid to try.

But Zach woke up really not feeling well. He had sharp stomach pains and could barely stand up so I gave him a hot water bottle some Pepto Bismal and had him lie on my bed on his left side with his knees drawn up to his chest. After about an hour he felt much better and is perfectly fine now.

Home remedies. Gotta know when to use them and when to go to the doctor. I did think about him not having insurance and might...just might...have thought some evil thoughts. But only briefly. If he had continued to have problems we would have gone to the doctor. Or Urgent Care anyway. I doubt his doctor would have seen him without insurance.

I ended up ordering the thing I really wanted after all. I got all four seasons of Farscape at more than half off the price. I wasn't going to but it's difficult to get them from the library and there were only 14 of them left. Down by 12 from the last time I looked. Tom was okay with it since I rarely spend money on dvds anymore. But he also knows that I won't do anything like that again for a long, long time.

We didn't make it to town today because of Zach's stomach problems and tomorrow I'm expecting a phone call but I'm going to try to get there either after the phone call or Thursday. Boston Legal is in so I'd like to get it so Tom can watch it for the weekend. I'm almost done with House, season 2 but I have 2 series of The Last Detective and Midsomer Murders, set 11 to watch. I'm still on hat 15. Sigh. I think I'm burned out a bit. I do need to get back to it but maybe 40 hats was a bit too ambitious. Maybe I should just knit the hats as I feel like it and not put a deadline on it. It seems like that's another limitation I need to pay more attention to.

Supper dishes are screaming at me. I'm most likely going back to washing by hand. They don't seem as clean and I'm always running out of dishes I need. It won't be so bad. I'll just try to keep up better.

Off to clean the kitchen and then knit on the blanket and hat.


Monday, February 22, 2010

I got nothin'

Two nights in a row without sleep due to pain. But, alas, I wasn't the only one who didn't sleep last night. No one in this household got any, it seems. I have no idea why but we all seemed to be awaiting the sun this morning.

I'm barely functioning today. Zach got a few hours sleep in my room after everyone got up and got moving. I pity Tom having to work tonight on so little sleep. I managed to doze off for an hour but woke up feeling worse, if possible.

I think an early night tonight.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Doing that rest thing on Sunday

It looks like the amount of snow has been down-sized since we are at the northern edge of the storm front. We're only looking at 2-4 inches, which isn't so bad in the scheme of things.

I didn't make it to church today. When I woke up this morning I was barely able to move so I took a pain pill and went back to bed. I woke up again at 1 p.m. I have no idea why I slept so late. The pain pills don't normally make me sleepy but I felt all the better for it. Unfortunately Zach had a Vestry meeting after church that he wasn't able to make. I feel bad about that but the pain was significant and no way I could have sat through church with that much discomfort. I feel much better now. Still a bit achy but functional again.

I decided to do the second blanket in the same pattern. Partly out of laziness; partly out of the sense of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The second blanket is blue and apricot. The first one was purple and pink. I'm still stuck on hat number 15 though. I may be just a touch burned out. I'll catch up soon though.

I gave up on Rumpole. I just couldn't get into it. It was okay but I wasn't loving it so I switched to the second season of House. I'm loving that show. Then I've got Midsomer Murders, set 11, and the first two series of The Last Detective. I have some things taped as well. I taped the first two shows of Survivors on BBCA. The previews looked good. We'll see.

I ordered the first season of Boston Legal from the library for Tom. He just discovered the show and loves it. It's pretty funny so I might watch it as well. It's hard for me to keep up with the shows while they're on regularly because I miss a night or they're not on or they switch the times due to specials that are on so it's good that I can watch them this way.

Zach asked for more chores around the house so I let him take over cleaning the bathroom and a few other chores that free me up for more things. He's a good kid...or I should say, he's a fine young man. He's got applications out to a few places but has heard that one of them is going to be hiring next month. We'll keep our fingers and toes crossed. But only metaphorically.

The knitting is calling to me and I must respond. I'm a slave to my passions, after all.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spring is NOT around the corner after all

It's been snowing off and on all day and will continue for another day or so. I heard on the news that there is a winter storm watch in effect starting tomorrow night and ending Monday night. I had errands to run today but I had the car and there was no accumulation to speak of. It's warm enough that it's melting as it lands.

I got the tobacco seeds in the mail today. I haven't opened them yet; I'll get to it later. I broke down and bought two of those plastic greenhouse jobbies that fit on tables. I was going to use egg cartons and potting soil but last time I tried to start seedlings the cat ate them. So I went with something that has a lid to it. Plus I can use the plastic parts again next year and just replace the dirt pods with potting soil and nutrients. I got two because I intend to have a lot of tomatoes this year for sauces and such. I don't eat tomatoes much anymore. I just lost my taste for them for some reason. But I use tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce a lot.

Tom is off to his poker party in a little bit so I intend to do a lot of knitting tonight while watching dvds. I'm having a hard time getting into Rumpole of the Bailey. Not sure why. I'll give it more time but I'm not going to force myself to watch it. I'm thinking it just takes time to get to know the characters. I'm enjoying seeing all the young actors who are now classic British icons. I picked up some more books at the library today along with The Last Detective, series one and two. As if I don't have enough to watch already.

I started a new pattern off the ball band of the next skein of baby sport. It's similar to a ripple pattern and easy to memorize. When I'm making something that needs to be done now I much prefer a pattern that doesn't need me consulting the pattern every few stitches. I decided to alternate colors on this pattern instead of doing a solid color. It gives variety for those patterns that could get really boring eventually.

Off to knit and try Rumpole again.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunshine and sleep...wonder drugs for the soul

It's amazing what a difference sleep makes. I've been busy all day, cleaning, deep-cleaning, moving furniture. you didn't see that one coming. I had to move a table over to the south facing window so I can start my seedlings next week. We only have one window that we can use so I had to make it available and have room to put my seed pots.

So I'm good to go now. Plus there is the advantage of going on safari to hunt down all those dust elephants that were under the couch and hutch. I think I went over my limit but the game warden wasn't anywhere around so I think I'm safe.

I'm almost done cleaning my room (no furniture moving in there today...sorry) and tidying up. Then I have the kitchen to finish, including mopping.

And then I'm off to curl up in bed to watch Cadfael and knit. I finished up the blanket last night and started the 15th hat. I haven't woven in the ends on the blanket yet but I can get that done soon enough. I have to sew the pocket on Zach's coat before Sunday though. Mending won't wait.

I got through 2 Cadfael episodes. I'll finish the last 2 and then put Rumpole of the Bailey's on. I've never seen that one but saw it in the library inventory online and had to get it. Next week I'll get to House, season 2 and then Midsomer Murders. I found out yesterday that Neil Dudgeon is going to play Tom Barnaby's brother in the next season. I wondered who would replace John Nettles and I couldn't be more pleased. I really like Neil's work and think he's the perfect replacement.

Not that I'll get to see it anytime soon. We still only have got up to set 11 at the library. When our contract is up with our cable company (another year) we'll downgrade to just the lower cable channels, cancel the phone and go with Vonage and join Netflix (one of the cheap options) so I can get those shows I can't get at the library. We also have but I need to figure out what I have to get in order to watch that on the tv instead of the computer. If it costs too much, I'll just stick with the monitor.

Two warm days in a row are nice. Not to mention all that sunshine. I'm hoping we'll see the temps going up a bit so the snow will melt and I can get to the yard and plot out the garden. Plus I'd like to start walking again and I can't with the snow and melting ice freezing across the sidewalks. Professor really needs to take off a few pounds as well.

The dishes need to be finished up so I'm off.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hoping we have more days like today.

I crashed last night without finishing my list. Danged list. I ended up going to bed not long after supper and turning the lights out soon after. I dozed off and on until 9 a.m. I was sleeping particularly well when Hannibal (my son's cat) decided to sleep on my face. I can say that I woke up quite abruptly.

So I got next to no knitting done. On the plus side, I got a lot of dvds from the library today: House, second season; Rumpole of the Baileys, season 1, 4 Cadfael dvds and one Midsomer Murders. I should get a lot of knitting done in the next week or two.

I'm up to hat 15 but just past the ribbing. And since I got no knitting done on the blanket...still on the edging.

Tonight we're having sausage, biscuits and gravy for supper. Tom doesn't normally make requests for meals so I try to accommodate him when he does. Since I had to go to the store today anyway, I picked up the fixings. Fortunately, it's an easy meal to make and if he wants eggs to go along with it, he'll fix his own. He's significantly better at eggs, omelets and pizza (his pizza the other night was delicious.)

It was a gorgeous day today. Sun shining and warm, for us. It was in the mid 30s and we're starting to see the yard again. Haven't seen it since November, I think. Professor is glad to find real grass to wee on. I had a hard time getting him to come in today.

Much to do tonight and supper to start now.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Short and sweet

Apparently I take such good care of my mops that by the time the head needs to be replaced, the mop is obsolete...therefore, no mop head. I ended up buying a new mop and picked up another mop head while I was at it. Here's hoping it will last.

I'm mopping floors today and doing some cleaning but it's like I'm trying to walk through water. I feel like I'm moving in slow energy. But the work has to be done. Tomorrow I have errands to run so I want to get it all done today.

I'm nearly done with the baby blanket...just started the side edging. I've finished 12 baby hats and started another one and expect to finish it tonight. Hoping to finish up the blanket as well. I've discovered that I have enough yarn left to make another blanket of the same kind and color. Which means that I have two full skeins that I can use to make 2 more blankets. Which means 4 blankets instead of 2. If I can get it all in by Easter. Quite a goal! I'm not sure I can do it, but I'll try. I definitely want to knit the 40 hats though.

The second season of House is in at the library but I'm hoping more of my reserved stuff will come in by tomorrow so I don't have to make an extra trip. I have nearly finished up season 3 of Supernatural. I was surprised how quickly it went. I got a lot of knitting done the past couple of days while Tom has been taking some vacation days. He fixed supper last night so that freed me up to knit some more.

And get 3 loads of laundry done. I have a little bit of ironing to do but I'll put that off until tomorrow or Friday.

I ordered the tobacco seeds and book today. I hope I can get it in soon so I can get the seeds started. We can't plant until May here (or at least I don't think we can) We have snow in April sometimes and definitely aren't past the dangers of frost until nearly June so I hope to get a hot box rigged up for the tobacco plants. I also need to clean out the garage this summer to make a curing room for the tobacco. We have a wood stove out there and just need to fix a chimney for it.

I don't have time to post much today because I have to start supper and vacuum the living room and my bedroom and sweep the wood floors. And finish up the kitchen, including mopping in there. Then I'll hop into my pajamas and crawl into bed and knit my fingers off.


Monday, February 15, 2010

On the run

Today was a hit-the-floor-running after I finally got up out of bed. Had to go to town to drop off some applications for Zach and then on to Slinger to find out that it wasn't the right clinic anymore so we had to backtrack to Hartford where we sat and waited for half an hour to finally get in and get his records signed so they can go their merry way to the insurance company.

As we were leaving to go to town, Professor made a stand between me and the door and wouldn't budge so we took him with us. He loves to ride in the car but we haven't taken him in a while. I dropped him off when we headed off to Slinger but he wanted to go again. Since Tom is off for a couple of days of vacation he had to placate the boy while we drove away.

I must make more of an effort to let him ride along once in a while. I didn't realize how much he loves it.

As a result of the miles I put on the car, I got nothing else done except some yarn winding. I'm also not feeling well. Don't know if it's a bug or just dry air but I'm coughing and achy. Well, heck...I'm always achy so it's hard to tell.

Off to knit and watch the rest of All Creatures Great and Small and Midsomer Murders which starts in a few minutes.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Never on a Sunday

I learned today that shopping on Sunday is a bad idea. I postponed it because I didn't want to go to the store just because it had been a week and thought I would go after church. We didn't make it to church because Zach was under the weather but had to go shopping anyway.

Everyone was there. My mom said some people get their social security checks on the 15th so I expect that accounted for that set of people. I'm sure there are other groups that get theirs mid-month as well.

They have more snow in Southern Indiana than we do now. I think that's fair. I do like to share it all out. We shouldn't have all the fun, anyway. My brother-in-law is good at keeping their driveway clear so that's good. He's a great guy to have around.

I'm more than halfway done on the baby blanket and finished up another hat. I'm halfway done on the next hat and intend to work intently on both tonight while finishing up All Creatures Great and Small. The library doesn't have the specials...just the series but that's okay. It wasn't hard to finesse into the next series, having read the books a few times already.

Then I move onto Supernatural, season 3. I've got some more books on order because I'm nearly done with what I got from the library the other day. I've been reading a lot lately. Less time online is definitely what I need. And I need to cut back even more.

I culled a few more blogs from my list. Just the ones who haven't updated in a month. There are some I'll never stop reading unless they quit writing. I get attached.

I'm planning on ordering the tobacco seeds tomorrow but I found a book as well. It's a package deal so I think I'll get both. Especially since I'm not sure what I'm doing. I need to get them started very soon. As well as all the other stuff I need to start. I'm not sure I can get stuff in the ground before May though. We still have some brutal weather in April. I've got a tarp if I need to cover things but not a lot of wire and tubing to keep it off the seedlings. That's an expense I had planned on for next summer.

My fingers are yearning for some knitting so I'm off.


Friday, February 12, 2010

A rough draft of a pattern and not much else

I must have slept badly last night because my back is stiff and giving me grief. I took some ibuprofen first and gave it time to work. It took the edge off but after doing some deep cleaning on my bedroom and a start on the living room, I had to take a tramadol. I gave up on the deep cleaning and decided today would be a knitting day instead.

I'm nearly done with the 12th baby hat and almost halfway done on the blanket. And Lent hasn't even begun yet. Actually my goal was to have 40 hats and 2 baby blankets done by Easter so I guess Lent isn't going to be the spiritual discipline I thought it might. I also started the book I was going to read because I got impatient. It's interesting so far: Christ of the Celts by J. Philip Newell. I think it will be a very good read no matter the season. It seems to be about unity. I'll know more as I get into it.

I haven't refined the baby hat pattern but here are the bare bones with some suggestions:

baby sport yarn (I didn't weigh it to see how many ounces but it doesn't take a lot...a tennis ball sized skein would be more than enough

size 4 double pointed needles


gauge is about 6 sts per inch...since it's stretchy and since baby's heads vary in size, gauge isn't critical

cast on 80 sts, join without twisting

knit 1, purl 1 around for about an inch

I usually purl a row for decoration before switching to stockinette but you can do whatever you like with it.

Switch to stockinette and knit for about 3 inches...again not critical

place marker after every 10 sts

row 1:(k2tog, k to last 2 sts before marker, slip 2 as if to knit, k these 2 sts together) around

row 2. knit around

repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have 2 sts between markers, k2tog around

cut off about 10 inches of yarn, thread darning needle and thread through remaining sts a few times

weave in ends

I don't know if there are mistakes in the pattern. Later on I'll try to refine it with pictures and some variations but for now I thought I'd share it.

Especially since I've got nothing today. LOL

Sitting here at the desk is a bit painful (I'll be fine tomorrow, I'm sure) so...


Thursday, February 11, 2010

How much is too much?

I read a blog that is, to me, a train wreck, yet many, many people out there think this woman is the second coming of all that is frugal. I think she's obsessive and is harming her children. I won't link to it because she makes money off every click. If that money were going toward feeding her family or in any way making those children's lives better, I would broadcast it, but she stuffs that money into an account that pays for her husband's "college" which is in some church's basement and will produce a degree that is absolutely worthless. That and their Star Trek dvd collection.

They live in a one bedroom apartment. The two oldest boys (she has three, aged 3 and under) live in the walk in closet which is stuffed to the brim with books, toys, tents, etc. The middle one lives in a crib of which the setting is for newborns. The older boy, who just got out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago after being in an undiagnosed coma sleeps on a bare, plastic mattress on the floor. The mattress resides under the crib...a "trundle crib" as she calls it. The newborn co-sleeps with mom and dad. No judgment there...Zach co-slept with us and he's fine. And in his own bed (he's over 21 after all.) But a cold, plastic mattress in a home where the room temperature is set at 50-55F? Because she doesn't like to wash sheets in her camping, plastic, portable washer. She hangs the clothes in the boys' room on a clothesline.

She feeds them on $140 a month: her husband looks gaunt and her children don't look like they're thriving, but I'll admit that cameras aren't great at showing pink cheeks. Still, I don't think babies and children should be on high protein diets. But I'm not a nutritionist. much frugality is too much? This isn't an easy question to answer because different people have different lines drawn in the sand. But I think we can safely say that when your family suffers physically and emotionally, it's time to re-think your principles.

Don't starve your family. Fruits and vegetables are necessary to a healthy diet along with small portions of meat or use plant proteins, which are not only cheaper but healthier than a high protein diet using cheap meats.

Don't let your family wallow in filth. Children deserve warmth and clean clothes. These are essential. Filth breeds disease. Keep your home and your kids clean. You don't need spotless (which is a good thing because my home isn't) but spend more time cleaning your surfaces, floors and your kids and spend less time on stuff that is only saving pennies.

Learn. Don't assume you know it all. I am learning good frugal techniques from people half my age. And I'm not ashamed to do it. Humility is a good thing, especially in frugality.

It's one thing to make do. It's another to choose to live on a starvation level, refuse the sources that are available in order to proudly live below a living wage. I told you, any extra money she gets doesn't go toward their living conditions, but for her husband's "school" or their dvd collection. Or midwives. They plan on having 10 kids. She went into great detail how she was going to fit all ten kids in their one bedroom apartment.

I've cooled off now. Everything came into the library at once so I've got a lot of dvds to watch, but it's okay because I have a lot of knitting to catch up on.

Fast food tonight...well, my version of it. Grilled cheese sandwiches, a green veg and chips. Not healthy but once in a while it's okay.


Frugality doesn't mean living substandard. It means using your common sense to make the most of what you've got.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Time for another babbling post

I didn't make a list today at all so luckily I don't have anything left to do. Okay, well, supper to fix, dishes to do and I am cleaning the bathroom that I didn't finish last night. And I will probably vacuum as well. But no list.

Tom came home early last night, not feeling well. It always worries me when he feels a bit off because he's not inclined to go to the doctor and I can't help but feel concerned. Today he was still not feeling great but I think a bit better. He was achy and had some nausea so it might just be a 24 hour thing. At least I hope so. He's got some vacation days next week so he can rest up then.

We didn't go anywhere today. I just couldn't get out the door because of the bitter, bitter wind out there. For some reason, this winter the cold is bothering me more than it ever has. Especially the windy cold days. I had renewed some books so I don't need to go to the library until tomorrow but tomorrow I must go. Zach is planning on putting in more applications tomorrow, too. I guess Friday we'll go to the clinic in Slinger to sign the request form. Or we'll wait until next week while Tom is off so we can use the car.

I know he needs the car for work but I really hate driving the truck. We're going to put the 80 pounds of cat litter in the back of the truck though....just to make sure. It's a terrible vehicle to drive in the snow. Which we only got about 7 inches of, by the way. I don't know who got a foot of snow but it wasn't us. Thankfully.

Since I've not been very energetic today, I managed to get a short nap in and have been knitting on baby hats. One of these days I'll write out the pattern since it's one of my own. I have variations that I haven't quite refined yet so maybe next week. I'll try to get pictures, too.

I didn't refill the bird feeder today because of the wind but there is still some feed left. I saw the birds out there earlier. Plus there was a beautiful black bird with an orange-ish stripe on its wing munching on the suet. I didn't get a good enough look to really see it. I should use the binoculars but I never think of them.

At least there was sunshine today and our neighbors got the public sidewalk and the driveway apron. Maybe this summer I can share out stuff from my garden to repay their kindnesses. Of course, I think one neighbor just likes to play with his snowblower because it has a windscreen to it. He does practically the whole block.

I finished up the first season of House but the last disk was messed up. It's covered with scratches so I didn't get to see all of the last episode and none of the documentaries. It's a shame but since the dvds are free I can't really complain. I do try very hard to take good care of the dvds I get but I guess other people don't.

I have Supernatural season 3 waiting for me at the library. I'll probably give it a rest after that and go onto another show before I put myself on the list for season 4. I'm hankering for some Star Trek of late. Tom got me some best of Next Generation dvds for Christmas and I've been watching them, but I'm thinking Voyager and DS-9. I should keep track so I know what season I need next.

I'm going to trim the grape vine this weekend and try to get a start out of it. If not, no harm, no foul. I need to prune it anyway.

All I'm doing is babbling so I'm off to fix supper and finish up my work before I settle in for the night.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lists, the mundane chores, and redecorating

As Anne pointed out in the comments yesterday, lists are fun and can help keep you on track. It's good to watch each item get crossed off as long as your list isn't too long and you aren't left with more to do than you've actually managed to get done. My problem is that my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to how much I can manage in the course of a day.

So I'm lowering my expectations...but only a bit. I still need something to reach for. Having a list that only has one or two things on it doesn't fill me with a sense of accomplishment. Yesterday I managed to cross off most of my list so it was a good day.

As I mentioned yesterday, I scrubbed the kitchen (although there is still much to do in there,) cooked a good supper, washed and put away 3 loads of laundry and got some knitting done. Well, I ripped back a good deal of my baby blanket as I discovered that my stitch count had grown by 4 and there was a row halfway back that looked as if I had knitted it with a much larger needle. I am a process knitter so normally it doesn't bother me to do that but I'm also trying to get a set amount of projects done by Easter so I have to consider that. Still, I don't like sending out knitted items that aren't my best. Especially when I consider that new mothers are getting these and deserve the best I can offer.

So I'm not quite back where I started but I did make good progress. Zach and I finished up the Farscape saga with Peacekeeper Wars. I sniffled a little and as always, when I finish up a series, felt that letdown. I know that leaving them always wanting more is good, but I still want more. I'm so amazed how much better other countries do television and movies. It used to be that Hollywood was the giant but more and more I prefer British or Australian productions. And I must say that many Asian productions leave Hollywood in the dust as well. And happily I'm finding many Australian and British shows in the library system. So I'm not alone. Corporate Hollywood needs to learn from those who are doing it well instead of trying to Americanize those programs and making an inferior product.

End of rant. :-)

I've also been thinking about my blog and just what I'm doing with it. No worry. I'm not thinking of quitting, but I am thinking about why I blog and for whom. Initially (and this is a painfully embarrassing confession) I had dreams of becoming a blogger with a huge following and enjoying the popularity. But more and more I like just what I have and the readers who are still reading in spite of how mundane my writings are.

I don't have great insight or innovative ways of doing things. I'm a plain, simple person just trying to get by. I'm not an inspiration to anyone but I am sharing the journey with a lot of people out there who are just like me. Those are the blogs I love to read the best. The ones where I feel like I'm making friends and sharing life like my mother did, over the fence with her neighbors. These blogs are those backyard fences.

But I will admit that, like I have a need (sorry, Tom) to rearrange furniture now and then, I've been putting off giving my blog a new look. Mostly because I don't want to run off the few readers I do have. (just kidding) So if it looks a little different in the future, it's just me rearranging the furniture. It will probably go back to the old look eventually.

Or not. I'm so predictably unpredictable.

I've got brownies in the toaster oven (on bake this time) and bread rising in the pan awaiting its turn in there as well. The bathroom is screaming for me to come clean it and Zach is getting his togs on to go shovel snow and set the trash out. A few dishes that won't clean in the dishwasher need to be taken care of and some vacuuming and then supper to fix. After that I'm thinking of working on some mending: socks, Zach's coat pocket and anything else I can find that needs done. Then curling up in bed to knit, watch Midsomer Murders that I taped last night and the rest of House, season 1. I should catch up on my blanket tonight and maybe get another hat done.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Anticipating the storm

We ended up not going to Slinger because it occurred to me last night that Monday morning wouldn't be the best time to go to medical records since they have requests to send out that have been piling up all weekend. Unfortunately the weather doesn't look cooperative for the next couple of days so we'll go when the weather permits.

It looks like we might get a foot of snow. I'm not amused. We've seen flurries off and on but nothing big so far. It could all be hype and we won't get much accumulation at all. I can hope, anyway.

So I spent today doing some deep cleaning in the kitchen. I scrubbed the stove down and it looks so much better but the more I clean, the more I find in the kitchen that needs cleaning. I've decided to just work on surface things for now and get into the deeper things, like walls, after I've caught up. Tomorrow, if we don't go to Slinger, I'll tackle the bathroom again.

But I need a new mop. Or a new mop head at least. The old one isn't much help with mopping; it's worn down to nothing. But I'm not going to the store for a week or so. I'm not making a special trip. I could do it all by hand with my scrub brush and down on my knees but those joints aren't favorably inclined to do that, having arthritis and all.

I'm also doing 3 loads of clothes. In the dryer. It's warming the house up nicely. Not to mention all the activity is heating me up a bit. I still need my layers of clothing though. I like using the dishwasher again. It's so nice not only to get it all done in one fell swoop, but also someone else can help out with it. Frees me up to do other things.

I also must get the seeds ordered tomorrow. I keep putting it off but pretty soon I'll need to start them (and find a place to let them grow where they can find the sun.) I also need to plot out the garden...where I need to till it up when the ground thaws a bit. And get a cutting from the grapevine to start another one. I don't know if I'll be able to get the pruning done with a foot of snow on the ground though. We'll see.

I have so much I want to do. Now I just need to find the stamina and strength and energy to do it all.

Zach is working on his portfolio and putting in applications. And doing his chores around here. I don't think he misses school either.

I've started supper a bit later than I usually do. I didn't get the kitchen done as early as I had hoped but now it's time to get busy cooking.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's all Tom's fault

It's all over and you can blame my husband for the Colts losing. He mentioned, just seconds before the interception, that there hadn't been one in the game. And everyone knows that the football gods get very annoyed over things like that. Just like the baseball gods will throw down the lightening bolt of retribution if someone mentions a no-hitter as the pitcher is pitching one.

Sigh. You'd think he would know that.

And I wasn't even that impressed by the commercials.

I've been reading mainly today with only some knitting at coffee hour after church. We ended up having a really nice discussion with a new member and another member of longer duration over everything under the sun. And maybe some things above it. We were nearly the last to leave. The priest was the only one still there. It was very nice and made my day.

I got another inch knitted while talking. Earlier I talked to the woman who is commissioning 2 sweater vests. She showed me the picture of what she wanted and I don't need a pattern for it so it should be fairly easy. She's going to give me one of her old vests to use for a template for size, but not style. She's providing the yarn so I told her what I prefer to knit with but I think she's wanting to use Red Heart yarn. I told her to make sure it felt good to the touch because so much of it is coarser these days. I'll get the yarn next week. She's going to donate money to the church in lieu of payment. She wants to donate it my name but that makes me feel a bit odd so I told her it didn't matter; just stick in in the plate of offer it to a specific ministry or something.

I turned in 8 baby hats today, 2 full size blankets and a 7 man tent into the Haiti box. Jan was thrilled with all of it. They are hoping to send the container out the end of March as there are no ports open right now. Hopefully they will be by then. I might look at the thrift store for some gardening implements that are in really good condition to send along, too. Someone donated 6 pairs of crutches, as there have been many surgeries for amputations.

Our neighbor's house is for sale. I had heard some activity over there late one night last week and wondered if she was okay. She's in her 80s and lives alone. Her son lives across town and comes over fairly frequently and she has someone bring her meals and people from her church check up on her a lot. I don't know what's happened to her; I just hope for the best...that she's moved to an assisted living place rather than the other alternative. She was getting wheelchair bound so I'm thinking that's what happened.

It makes me a bit nervous about getting new neighbors. You never know how picky they will be or whether or not they're inclined to live and let live. Our other neighbors are great at that. Not too friendly but they wave and smile and if we run into each other at the store we'll briefly talk but no over-the-back-fence (which we don't have anyway) stuff. Sometimes he needs to park his truck in between our garages and although it's sometimes just a smidge on our property it's no big deal because we don't use that area for anything much and he never leaves ruts so it's okay with us. He asked first.

New neighbors though. Will they be okay with Professor barking for that brief amount of time it takes us to get to him to quiet him? Will they not mind the back yard being turned into a farm? Will they respect property lines and not let their animals run loose? Should I be fretting over something that hasn't happened yet? I'm such a worrier.

The house is small: a two bedroom with a full basement so I'm anticipating it being either a starter home or rental property. To be honest, the only reason I'm pondering it all is this is the first day I noticed the sign in the yard. By tomorrow it will be out of my mind again.

Tomorrow Zach and I have to hop in the car early so we can get to Slinger and back before Tom needs to go to work. And I need to get gas before we go. Then I intend to attack the house and try to get some work done. I still haven't ordered any seeds yet. And I need to look at propagating the grape vine and pruning the pear and apple trees. Supposedly there is another snow storm heading our way on Tuesday. This time of year I'm really tired of winter. Especially this year. Although I am glad I didn't have to drive up to Fond du Lac three or more times a week. And at night.

Unfortunately the bratwurst I got for our supper is still sitting on my stomach like a log even though I ate 4 hours ago. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I shouldn't eat meat much. I seem to go through this if I eat a lot of it.

Again...apologies to all Colt's fans. I was rooting for them, too.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dream a little dream

I'm dreaming again. I never noticed that I wasn't dreaming (much) until I started dreaming a lot. I wonder if that has anything to do with the quality of sleep I'm getting. At any rate, it was an entertaining night. I remember when I was on anti-depressants I had the most vivid dreams. It made sleep something to look forward to. Maybe dreams make a difference after all.

I finished up another hat last night and am almost ready to start the crown of another one. And I knitted at least another 3 inches on the blanket. In spite of ripping back 5 rows and re-knitting. Not much detangling as I was careful in pulling the yarn from the skeins.

Today will be bathroom and kitchen cleaning. It's liberating not washing by hand anymore and Melissa tells me that studies indicate that dishwashers use fewer gallons of water versus hand washing. I'll take that and run with it. I air dry and only use one washing so that saves money on electricity as well. It felt good not to be washing dishes at 8 p.m. last night.

And using the dryer with sweaters and fleeces works out much better, too, as I've had to pick off as much lint as I could from them and it still looked pretty crappy. Even the lint roller didn't take off as much as was needed.

Today Zach and I plan on watching Peacekeeper's War. Then he wants to start all over again. Might as well. I noticed that PBS was showing Midsomer Murders weekly. I can't remember what day now so I need to find out and make sure I watch the episodes. They're starting from the beginning, which is great but it would be nice to see the years I've missed since they stopped showing it on BBCA. I think they're at least 4 years ahead of my viewing.

I've got a lot of things to pack up in the car today so I don't have to try to get it all done as we're walking out the door for church tomorrow. I do well to get out the door as it is. I wish I could do more but I'm glad I could do this much. I'm not sure when the container is going to go to Jeanette but I plan on getting the things to church as soon as possible.

Off to mop floors and scrub the tub.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter is here to stay

Snow again. Not much; not even enough to shovel but enough to remind me that Winter isn't done with us yet.

More toggling with the insurance company trying to get Zach insured. They needed to talk to him about his Tourette's, like it might be a disqualifying thing. We have to go to Slinger to his neurologist to sign a paper releasing his records to them so they can see that Tourette's won't be a burden on them. He stopped taking his meds 4 years ago so maybe they need it to be 5 years or something. But it's not like he was taking anything expensive. Haldol is generic and cheap. But he has said he'll never go back on it because of the way it made him feel. The tics are less intrusive into his life than the side effects of haldol. He told them that but you never know.

So for now, his application is on hold until we can sign the papers and they can see his records.

Nah...we don't need no stinking health care reform. Insurance companies are good. Government is evil. (note the sarcasm that you can't really hear but is dripping from each word.)

In the meantime, Zach and I will watch Farscape: the Peacekeeper's War this weekend and I managed to get another copy of House, season 1. Quickly, too. I'm not sure if it's because the copy I got after waiting for a month was damaged or just the luck of the draw. I didn't check to see what library it was from though.

There is a speaker going to be at the library who I would like to see but I can't drive the truck at night so I guess I'll have to miss it. Sigh. It can't be helped. The weather has been against Tom trying to get it fixed and it looks like the fender will have to be straightened out before he can pop the hood on the truck to get to the light to change it out.

We have no manner of luck at all.

I've got 6 baby hats knitted out of the 40 I had challenged myself to knit. I'm going to take them into church to put in the Haiti baby basket. I'm about a fourth of the way through with the blanket. I got huge skeins of baby yarn but it does tend to tangle easily so some of my time is spent untangling. It's a good thing I'm patient.

I also bought 2 adult size blankets. They were on sale for $6 each and will cover 2 people easily. As I've said before some of the refugees from the earthquake area are heading to Jeanette, which is in the mountains and much cooler than they're used to. We also have a tent to dig out of the garage tomorrow to send with the blankets. I'm afraid it's all I can afford for now. It's really more than I can afford but how can we not do something for these people?

I rounded up a lot of baby yarn I've got stored in various places all over the house so I have plenty to make tons of hats. I've got enough baby yarn for one more blanket and plenty of worsted weight yarn to make a couple of log cabin blankets. I'll just keep plugging along and after Lent I'll go back to my sweaters and maybe some socks. And keep a hat on the needles at all times.

I've still got a dog blanket on the needles. I sometimes work on that while I'm reading online. I finished one and started another. I use the yarn I get from people at church, from the stash of their friends and neighbors. Some of it is okay to use for the babies of Haiti but most of it is Red Heart quality circa 1980 or so...maybe even from the 60s. Good enough for doggies though. I make it very thick and cushiony so it will feel good on those concrete floors at the animal shelter.

I made a decision to stop washing all the dishes by hand and to start using both the dishwasher and dryer. I'm not getting much else done. I wish I had more energy but what little I have is keeping me chained to those two chores so nothing else is getting done. I got the utility bill yesterday and we're doing great: $135 for both gas and electric. In fact, that's amazing considering the sub zero days and nights we had last month. I feel good enough to hand off those chores to modern technology and start working on deep cleaning and organizing.

And I still have to order some of the seeds for the garden. And get them planted. I'm such a procrastinator.

So supper is done: fried rice and egg rolls. A pretty economical meal all around. I made plenty so there will be enough for lunch tomorrow. One huge chicken breast from the roast chicken we had the other night. Not bad.

I'm not spending as much time online so I'm getting more done in the way of reading and knitting. Still not working as much as I would like but my old enemies are back and I'm battling anxiety attacks now. And they do like to show up in the middle of the night. I haven't had them since 1997 or so and I don't know how they found me since I moved across country since the last one. But they are crafty critters and show up when you least expect them.

I will survive though. I always do.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sun...does a body good

I did not disappear. Not really. I've been busy the past couple of days and have been trying not to spend much time online so when I sign off and realize I haven't blogged yet, I put it in my mind to do that next time I'm online. Which I promptly forget to do. And then I sign off again.

So...I thought I would do it first thing this time.

Yesterday was lovely. Sunny and not terribly cold. I almost said warm but 25F isn't really warm unless you're used to temps at 0F or lower. Zach and I got out to the library and some shopping and he picked up some applications to fill out for a job. It felt good to get out in some nice weather for a change. I had intended to go on Tuesday but it snowed all day and the truck is horrendous in snow. It's too lightweight. I could have added the 80 pounds of cat litter to the back but even then it's not great. So I just stayed home and did some work around here. Mostly knitting on the Haiti hats and blanket but I did try to make egg noodles. They turned out mediocre the last time but this time they were awful. Not because I don't know how to make them but my rolling out place is only about 4 sq ft in area. You just can't get anything thin enough working in a small area like that.

So I bought egg noodles yesterday at the store. I've got the grocery bill down somewhat but with my medications added to that it doesn't show. I think next week I won't have to buy anything but milk and eggs and maybe bread. I hope so because I have an unexpected bill that came up and they won't accept payments. Sigh. This is why me having a budget never works. But I think I do pretty good with my own wacky system.

Yesterday was a cleaning frenzy which is odd for me because I am usually exhausted after shopping. I guess the sunshine helped. That and the sleep I've been getting the past few days. I still have tons to do but I got three rooms pretty well cleaned and intend to tackle the weekly bathroom cleaning today. And I've got some laundry in the washer that I had hoped to hang out today but it's going to be cloudy all day so I'll hang them on the racks and hangars.

And then I've got some ironing to do tomorrow. That's the thing about hanging things indoors. But I only iron things that are for church or nice events. Day to day clothes just get worn until the wrinkles fall out. I mean...who notices? When we got out, we are wearing our coats so it's not like it shows.

And ironing is a secret pleasure. Well, I guess not so secret anymore. I do like to iron but probably because I do it so rarely anymore.

Anyway...I've decided to cut back on the garden because I don't want to go into debt to plant it. I'll plant what I can afford this year with the hopes that next year's garden will be bigger and better. I still need to order the tobacco but I think I'll go with finding an organic potato and letting it go to seed rather than ordering any from the seed catalogs. And I can get beans, corn and other things planned from local places when they come out.

I'm trying to stop using the credit cards, even for internet purchases. I hope we've come to the place financially when we can do that. Except for this bill that came in last week. There's really no way around that one since they won't take payments. And's a medical bill. Don't get me started.

Well, my online time is nearly over and I haven't even finished reading the online paper yet so...


Monday, February 1, 2010

Imbolc, St. Brigid's Day and hoping that dratted groundhog won't see his shadow

The day is far from over but I feel like, for me, it's been a long one already. I did sleep in and felt better for it but I got up and got busy cleaning up the kitchen and washing a load of clothes before Tom needed the shower. I also soaked a mess of baby limas for supper and laid out the last pork steak for Zach, who cannot eat beans due to his OCD. He's tried, believe me. It's not a pretty sight and most definitely better not to force the issue. I did cut out the bone and surrounding meat from his pork steak and am using it for seasoning. Professor will get the bone afterward.

I'm not sure what will go with it beyond corn bread. There is no lettuce left so it will probably be the last of the brussels sprouts and potatoes in some form. Not fried, as I'm working on eating better today. Boiled, with parsley sprinkled on afterward, I think. It will be filling, for sure.

I don't do cost accounting of everything I do. I'm glad some people do (although there are those who take it too far to the extreme) but it's just a step I don't have the time or energy for. After nearly 40 years of housekeeping and cooking, I think I can figure out in my head what is or isn't a cheap, but nutritious, meal.

I told the woman who does the church newsletter that I would give her a few paragraphs on frugality and being green for next month's newsletter but now that I've done that, I'm drawing a blank. Everything seems so common sense to me and when I put it on paper it sounds cheesy or condescending. I'm most likely preaching to the choir in our church. I'll come up with something though.

I also had to refill the bird feeder again. Hungry little creatures, they are. We've had a steady stream of them for the past several days and I've watched the level go down until today I had to do something about it. There is a lot on the ground and some has spilled into the bird bath, which is frozen. I thought about filling it again but it's supposed to snow tonight (just a few inches...yeah...just a few) so that doesn't make any sense.

I wish I could watch them more but the front yard is just too busy for the feeder so the back yard allows for more peace and solitude. This summer I plan on having my fairy garden set up so I can sit there, quietly, and watch them while drinking a glass of tea and reading or knitting. That's where I plan on having my container garden full of herbs and flowers or anything else I can think of.

I spent an hour online finding an insurance company for Zach and then filling out the application. Zach had to listen to me muttering to myself, wondering what this question meant and how the heck was I supposed to remember that situation. I hope it all works out. We went with $2500 deductible because he's not got any health issues but we did go with prescription coverage and dental insurance. All told, the bill will be less than $100 a month. Not terrible but if he doesn't get a job soon, his savings will be depleted.

Hopefully something will turn up soon.

I watched I, Claudius last night. Still have a lot to go but the oldies still hold up. Production values have changed drastically over the years and there are sound issues when someone is further from the boom mikes but it's still quality acting. And it's so fun to watch some of the great British actors in their youth.

I got another baby hat done and started another one. I worked steadily on the baby blanket but it's slow progress. Sport yarn in a blanket does take a while. I plan on knitting more after supper but I did work a bit on the hat while reading blogs this morning.

I've got the load of laundry on racks and hangars. There's not much room to walk around in here but at least I'm saving money. We had an unexpected bill show up over the weekend...a large one. Apparently the new insurance company won't pay for my physicals anymore so I owe for that. And of course they want lump sum, not payments. So we tighten the belt even further. I turned the heat down a bit yesterday but cranked it back up to 60 today because I just can't function when I get too cold. Still... there must be more we can do. Simpler meals, not using the dryer, using curtains to create an airlock between the outside doors and the living areas (you'd be surprised how much that helps,) fewer trips to town, only one visit per week to the store. It's got to help. Even though I'm doing most of that regularly, I need to make sure I'm doing all of that regularly.

Although I don't want to give up the dollar menu lunches after church on Sunday. I like to debrief with Zach for the whole week. Even though he's here all the time we don't talk a lot like we did in the car driving up to school. Not that I mind. But he's cool to connect with and still likes to do that once in a while so who am I to complain.

I didn't get my seeds ordered today and tomorrow will be spent at the DMV getting the clear title for the car (no more car payments so that will help) and Zach's permit renewed. And I'll swing by the library and pick up a book I've got in. But probably won't go to the store until the weekend...or later. We'll see how it works out. I shouldn't have a big list anyway.

I also didn't get as much cleaning done today as I'd hoped to but maybe I can get more done after supper. Although I'm winding down now and still have supper to finish and dishes to wash. But I suppose I should be content that I'm still working more efficiently and more consistently. There is that.

Speaking of supper, I must away to finish it.