Saturday, December 19, 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Friday was our 33rd wedding anniversary. Our awesome daughter Laura secretly pulled together pictures of Bernie and me together, and created a calendar just for us.

Each month she found a picture, a suitable phrase and then filled in the dates, including "monthiversary" on the 18th day of each month, and historical events like moving dates, grad dates, and conceptions.

(We happen to know when each of our kids were anyone looking at this calendar will know too...blush.)

I have kept a journal of just how we spent each of our anniversaries.

Some were spent simply, with a movie and pizza.

Others were more memorable, with flights to major cities and stays in luxurious hotels and parties that required black tie and formal wear.

And of course, some years we celebrated the event in bed while aching with flu, passing Kleenex and medicine to each other between naps.

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for sickness and in health..."

Each anniversary seemed to fall into one or another of those categories.

"So", you might be saying about now, "How did you spend your 33rd anniversary?"

Oh it was a special one all right.

Bernie woke me up with a "Happy Anniversary!" kiss, and then headed to work.

I got up about an hour later. Got up and wandered out to the living room.

Hart had pooped on our living room rug. That wasn't too surprising...while he normally has flawless litter box skills, he had had diarrhea for two days, and we had already agreed he would go to the vet's on Friday, my day off.

When I went back into our bedroom, Tiggie was still asleep on our bed. He stood up, stretched, and proceeded to have bloody diarrhea on the bedsheets.

Hoo boy.

I called the vet, and hustled Hart into the cat carrier, and scooped stool samples from both pets. I knew better than to attempt to get Tig's into a carrier alone...I cherish my skin, if you know what I mean.

Turns out both cats had bacterial colitis. Prescriptions for antibiotics were written.

I returned home with Hart, dumped him out of his carrier and raced downtown to meet Bernie at a concert at 12:15.

It was gorgeous. You can hear and see a bit of what we experienced by clicking here to go to my web album to see a movie clip.

After the concert I ran an errand or two, and then returned home to work on our Christmas tree.

Bernie and I had started on it the night before, and it was coming along nicely.

(And note that the idea of using a tea strainer in front of a camera lens to create star lighting actually works!)

All that was needed was more shiny red ornaments and some ribbon curls to make it "work" with my new Christmas "take" of red and green semi-Scandinavian/Mid Century Modern look.

I was still at it when Bernie got home. No dinner had been made, and I was feeling a bit queasy.
He decided to pop a pizza in the oven.
We munched.
I had really not wanted to deal with our bedding.
Seriously, I was feeling sick enough without dealing with that mess!
My beloved husband took it on himself to address the problem
Much to our surprise, Tiggie had tried to deal with it too.
He had apparently spent quite a bit of time trying to bury the mess. And in the process shredded our sheets.
Well..truth be known, I had been intending to buy new sheets anyway.
We use California King size sheets as they are designed for longer beds (which us tall folks require), and Cal King sheets are not easy to find.
I had been procrastinating.
The newly shredded sheets had been long over due for replacement.
So instead of going out for an intimate dinner at a cozy restaurant, or driving through some Christmas scenery or something like that, we instead grabbed our 20% off coupon for a bedding store.
Lucky us...we were able to find Cal King sheets, and they were even on sale!
How romantic is sheets for our anniversary.
Bernie also gave me a dozen white roses and two cards-one funny, one sweet.
I couldn't find the one I bought him.
(Lately I suck at gift and card giving anyway...)
The cats seem much better today.
I felt so sorry that they felt so sick.
I myself still feel a little queasy.
Bernie...well, he is down with a migraine as I type this.
Knowing our Best Man (Bernie's brother) was also nearing his end of his life, (Bernie spent last weekend with him...and as of last report, he is slipping in to a coma) of course it was difficult to want to celebrate much anyway.
I've titled this post "What's Love Got To Do With It?" because it isn't how much love you feel for one another that dictates how an anniversary goes.
If love had anything to do with how anniversaries go....this post would be about a much, much better day.
At least we were together for it.
In the end...that is all that really matters to me anyway.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wrapping Up Things in My Mind

Got little bits of yarn left over from a knitting, crocheting, weaving, cross stitch or crewel project?

Here's one way to use it up:

Get some cording at least as big as your finger in circumference, the kind that typically is used to make cording for furniture. Such cording is readily available in fabric stores, and quite inexpensive.

Wrap your yarn around the cording.

To start, put the end, or "tail" of the yarn pointing towards the middle of the cord and then wrap over the tail of the yarn from the end and continue wrapping toward the middle of the cording.

Use the same technique each time you change colors.

If you are particularly obsessive/compulsive or have busy fingered children around you can use a large needle to thread the tail through the cord a few times to anchor it more firmly.

Create "beads" along the way by doing multiple wraps in one place, then stitch over and through the bead with a contrasting color to keep the multiple wraps stable.

I personally like using metallic yarn for this part, and sometimes even thread glass beads on the stabilizing yarn to add more visual interest.

I created this cord years ago, using yarn from a weaving project in college. The cord has been on Christmas trees, used as a belt, and woven into greenery.

Wrapping the yarn is as simple as can be. To make the cord appear a bit more unified in the end, you could make sure you had a significant amount of one or two colors to insert regularly to tie the odd bits of left over yarn colors together.

Wrapping like this I really enjoy. Wrapping gifts? Not so much. I grumble and complain my way through every gift wrapping project, feeling guilty that I don't enjoy it, yet also feeling reluctant to spend the money on gift bags that announce that I am too lazy/inept to wrap up a gift with perfectly fitted folds and esthetically pleasing ribbon/paper co-ordination.

My daughter Laura on the other hand is an amazing gift wrapper. She plots her gift wraps, making sure what is outside the gift box is as special as what is inside it.

I have no idea where she got this talent from.
No one else in the family (for generations!) has been able to wrap a gift with any style at all.

On the other hand...I'm not sure that any of that matters.

Nobel Peace prizes are handed out for "thinking" about peace making; I am going to award myself kudos for "thinking" about doing artistic gift wrapping.

Yeah...that will work!

Oh...and by the way America is currently 11 trillion plus dollars in debt (and to give you a perspective about what that trillion seconds will pass in 31,688 years) and yet Hillary Clinton is pledging that America will raise 100 billion to fight the faux global warming issue (one hundred billion seconds will pass in 3200 years by the way...oh, and Happy Year 2010 to you all in advance).

I've decided to see Hillary's offer and raise it another 120 billion.

Why not?

If she can offer money from a negative account balance, and since I currently have a positive account balance, I think I should do more than she has offered.

Do I have 120 billion dollars?

No...but remember...all that is necessary for good to attributed to us is to "think and consider" what we COULD or MIGHT do.

I challenge everyone reading this to do like wise: Offer as many billion as you feel/think you want to. Even if you are flat broke.

Remember, it is the thought that counts.

Don't get wrapped up in the truth...reserve that activity for using up your left over yarn!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peeks in the Downstairs

I used to eschew Santa at Christmas time...but the jolly old elf had a way of showing up at our place anyway. I finally gave in and decided if you can't lick 'em, you might as well join 'em.

Santa is after all a story, and I do cherish stories from all cultures.

My Santa collection grew without me even trying. I just picked them out of what had accumulated over the years, and by massing them together in one place, created the display

My mom stitched the tiny cross stitch mini quilts. The tea pot is a "tea for one" set, with a cup and bot combining together into one piece. Small family pictures were mixed in to fill in the space.

I've got one picture up of Jeff visiting Santa as a child, and need to round up other pictures of him and his sister in similar shots taken over the years.
I might even want to have some of them blow up to much larger prints.

Now this is probably the most interesting Santa.

My mom was very into making ceramics at one point. She took classes, and would often create a project that the instructor would teach.

This project: Santa's Peanut Warmer.

(be careful how you say that out loud....)

Santa's hat is removable, and beneath it is a smooth cup shaped space designed to be filled with peanuts, which in turn are warmed by the light bulb inside Santa's body. The light bulb lights up Santa's eyes and belt.

In the dark, Santa looks quite fearful.

Jeff loved having Santa's peanut warmer in his room growing up.

All his guy friends used to laugh like crazy about it.

Oh yeah...naughty boys each and every one of them.

The end table beside the couch hold a ceramic Yule log, also created by my Mom.

We occasionally did Advent candle lighting using this piece. It never felt quite right, as Advent candles should be in a circle.

(What I want to know is who decides these ecclesiastical details anyway???)

Now...I've added Swedish ornaments, and just call it what it is: Yule Log.
It is decorated with Druid greens and holly that ward off evil spirits...oh, I mean, to add more color.

(Gosh it is hard to keep all the Christmas motif pure. Hanukkah is sooo much easier!)

Yesterday, (Sunday) it began to snow the heaviest wettest snow I have ever seen here. On Thursday the temperatures dipped well below freezing, then Saturday night at 5:30 the temperatures rose to a balmy 40 F, and by 8:30 the temperature had climbed to 42 degrees!

Not knowing too much about how snow works, I blame the high temperatures for the soggy snowfall.

My huge blue spruce (I think that is what it is called..) was dusted with snow at 9 am.
I took a picture.

And kept taking pictures every hour.

I shoveled the driveway awful lot of snow fell, and Bernie was up in Fresno visiting his brother and his Mom.

My little reindeer was standing in old snow early in the morning.
And was up to its little belly by lunch time!
Today as I drove to work the sky was a mix of clouds and sunshine, the air crystal clear and the view...oh my gosh...the view of snow covered mountains went forever.
I had a hard time paying attention to the road...I want so bad to pull over and take pictures in every direction.
Wish you could have been here to see it with me.
(you have set up a watch or a "ding" for great airline ticket prices to SLC, haven't you? HAVEN'T YOU??? OK, Laura, I know you hate you are exempt from this request.)