Follow by Email

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Here it is, another holiday weekend come and gone.  This one is near and dear to my heart as it is the one where we honor the brave veterans who have served our country and the many who gave their all for our freedoms.  I am so grateful to each one.  Although we did spend the weekend frivolously at the lake, we went into the small town close by the campground and observed a ceremony honoring those who have died in service to the country.  It was very moving and I'm thankful for having the chance to be there.  We have many veterans in my family including my husband, father, brother and brother-in-law among others.

It was a weekend of lots of wind.  When I arrived last Tuesday this is what I found in the roof our our gazebo.
The nearest thing we can think of is that a branch fell from a tree, (there were many laying around), and poked a hole, which then tore this perfect "skylight" as Dennis called it.  As luck would have it, we had decided just a few weeks ago that we had gotten almost 4 years of use from this canopy and that we were pressing our luck in trying to get another year.  I ordered a new one from Amazon that arrived Tuesday morning.  The guys put the new on on Friday and it looks wonderful.  I think I'll order another one to have, just in case.  They say there are only 7 more in stock so we want to have another before they're discontinued.

It was COLD on Saturday.  Look at us.  Lori, Me and Nita.  We look like ice cubes but we're die hard campers.  :-). You can see the tablecloth blowing in the wind by the door.  It was like this all weekend.  But at least we all had our sunglasses on!  HA! 
It was warmer by the gas firepit.  Here are Paul and Dennis enjoying the warmth.
Beautiful flowers.  I think they are rhododendrons, but I don't know much about flowers.  These are along the road where I walk everyday at the lake.
Today dawned much, much warmer and blue skies.  By the end of the week it's forecast to be 91F.
We have a wood burning firepit here and the gas one next door.  It's nice to have the choice.  When fires are banned because of wildfires, we can still have the one in the gas firepit.
Yours truly on our first boat ride of the season this afternoon. Not a great photo, but then I never take good pictures so I might as well share it.  Ha!  The ride was so much fun.  Bald eagles were swooping down over the boat the entire time.
Dennis and my toes as we flew across the lake.
I'm not sure how many rides I'll be taking.  The vibration of the boat seems to do something with my pacemaker.  The same thing happens if I'm around loud music.  I can actually feel my heart beating faster and it feels that my heart is actually in my throat.  Very strange.  When I checked my Fitbit while we were on the boat it said my heart was beating 188 beats a minute!  I think the vibration actually triggers tachycardia or something.  Anyway, a boat ride, as much fun as it is, isn't worth feeling so icky, so I think from now on I'll just be waving at the others as they pass by the camper.

As I said, I came out here on Tuesday and went back home Thursday morning and did laundry and made macaroni salad along with a few errands.  I was back by Thursday afternoon and don't plan to go back home until Thursday of this week.  We'll come back Friday night but home again Satuday because we have a missionary and his family staying with us one or two nights this weekend.  I hope to come back early next week again.  

It was very busy here with nearly everyone who has a trailer at the park, here this weekend.  Now, at 10 o'clock at night, everyone is gone except Dennis and I.  It's so quiet and I'm loving it.  From hundreds of people, down to the two of us.  Our good friends Neal and Jenny came out this evening and Dennis grilled steaks for us for dinner.  Then we took a ride around the park in the golf cart.  Jenny and I waded in the lake for awhile.  Yes, it was warm enough and felt wonderful.  

I was able to put four baby blankets together over the weekend.  Nita made the squares and I crocheted around them, joined them and crocheted a border.  These will all go to the crisis nursery here in Spokane.  I'll try to remember to take a picture for you after I wash them later this week.

I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend and, if you live in the United States, have taken a few moments to remember those who gave their all for us.

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else." 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Blessings always,
Betsy




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rainy Days continued...and continued!

It's still raining.  Okay, yes.  I know that we need the rain.  But days on end of rain are not my thing.  And although we live in Washington State and people usually think it rains all of the time here, that couldn't be more wrong.  Seattle gets a lot of rain, but they are on the other side of the Cascades mountains.  We're in the high desert here in Spokane.  It's usually fairly dry.  Oh we'll have a day or two of rain but then it's gorgeous again.  It was beautiful the entire time Alex was home.  Now that it's lake time, it's been raining and it's predicted to continue through the holiday weekend.  Oh well.  I still like to be in the trailer, listening to the rain on the roof, but at some point we have to leave the trailer and take Chloe for a walk.  And in the process get completely soaking wet.  So I haven't gone to the trailer yet this week.  I had an awful migraine most of the weekend.  Yesterday after going to the mall to try to get my walking in without turning into a duck, I sat and worked on my mystery project and watched knitting podcasts all afternoon.  Seriously, I hardly ever watch television anymore since I discovered podcasts.  And now I have found, wait for it... another whole world of CROCHET podcasts!  I don't think I will ever have enough time to watch them all.

I did add a bit to my socks.  This is Knit Picks Stroll Fingering weight yarn and it's so soft with just enough nylon added to make them strong enough for socks.  These are some of my favorite colors.  I'm just using a plain vanilla sock pattern with 2x2 ribbing for the leg portion.  So comfortable.
My blanket has a few more squares added.  For those of you who have asked, I'm using a US size 2, nine inch circular needle for my blanket.  The squares are 44 stitches.  You pick up stitches as you go and the squares are worked directly onto the blanket, not added later.  Be warned.  This blanket is addicting.  Someday I may make one out of worsted weight yarn.
I received this beautiful gift in the mail yesterday from the generous Araignee.  You can find her blog on my sidebar.  I really think that there is nothing this lady can't do.  She crafts everything and I don't know where she gets the time to do it all.  She sent me three bars of soap, a lotion bar in a cute tin, stitch markers from the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  And a sweet little card.  I wanted to go the the festival with Mandy this year but it just wasn't meant to be.  How sweet of her to send me the sweet stitch markers.  Thank you so much Araignee.
Sandra from the SamIAm blog on my sidebar has been reading these Ladybug Farm books.  They tweaked my interest when she said if you liked the Mitford Series, you would like these.  I looked on Amazon but really didn't want to spend the money right now.  So after a wasted trip to the big box bookstore of Barnes and Noble, where the teenager working looked at me blankly when I asked if they had these books, I went to the library!  Lo and behold they had this one at our branch, another at another branch which will be sent to me tomorrow and the third one is damaged.  They will try to get the damaged one in a week or so if possible.  I think that's the entire series.  So I was going to start reading this one but will wait a day or two to see if the first one arrives.  I would much rather read them in order.
That's about it.  I was out of commission most of the weekend with my migraine and didn't do a thing. I get them VERY rarely, thank goodness.  I get the octicular migraines where I lose my sight, I go completely blind, and then the pain comes.  The doctor told me years ago that each one would be progressively worse.  He was right.  But it's been several years since I had one, so I really can't complain much.  It just frustrates me to lose time on my projects.

Do you have big plans for the holiday weekend?  Dennis is taking a vacation day on Friday and we're spending it at the lake.  It was predicted to be a beautiful weekend, but they are changing the forecast to rain.  I don't care.  We'll still be there enjoying our time reading and I'll be knitting.

I hope your plans are wonderful too, but, especially if you live in the United States, you'll take some time to remember why we celebrate this holiday.  I appreciate each and every one of the military men and women who gave up their lives for the freedoms we have.  I also remember each of my family members who have passed on.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:5

Blessings,
Betsy



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rainy Days

Hello everyone!  It's good to be here, chatting with you.  It's been a busy week.  I've been walking, walking, walking and averaging about six miles a day for the last week and a half.  Would you believe I've gained over 1 lb.?  How in the world is that happening?  Oh well.  I'm really enjoying the walking while at the lake.  Here at home it's not so easy.  Today is cold, rainy and dreary and so I had to force myself to go wander the neighborhood this morning.  At the lake I see fun things like this while I walk.
There are three baby birds in this nest.  I've been watching them since they hatched. Not sure what kind of birds they are though.  Mama, (or Daddy), stays close by at all times scolding me for getting so close.
Here's an old fishing boat, waiting for it's owner to take it out and find some fish.  I wish I knew the stories it could tell of previous voyages.
Sorry about the blurriness of this picture.  It's a bald eagle believe it or not.  Actually there are two of them that nest in a tree right next to our trailer.  I had to zoom in as close as I could with my iPhone to get this photo of him.  I can't find the words to tell you the feelings I have in my heart when I see these majestic birds in flight.
The cabins are ready and waiting for their summertime occupants.
Each cabin is a bit different.  Some have porches, some don't.  There are 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms and even a house that sleeps 14.
I took part in a swapless swap for sock yarn mini's.  You send the lady a set amount of money and she buys skeins of sock yarn and then makes mini's and sends them to the people who participated.  It's a great way to get different yarns for projects that use small amounts of yarn.
This is what was supposed to be in the bag.  10 mini skeins.  But she actually sent me 18 mini's.  Wasn't that sweet?
This is my Cozy Squares Blanket that I'm using the mini's on.  It's not going very fast because I'm working on something different most of the time.
I like the way I'm making the squares all orient in the same direction.  This is an addicting thing to work on.  I do think that if I was starting over I would make the squares a bit bigger.
Of course I had to share this picture of Piper that Mandy sent me.  Polly decided she would like to take a nap with Piper on Tuesday.  A toddler bed isn't quite big enough for a three year old and an 80 lb. Labrador!  So sweet though.  She stayed in the bed with Piper for quite a long time.
My sweet Chloe had to go to the vet this morning for her annual check up.  She got two shots and is sleeping now.  It always makes her very tired when she gets her vaccinations.  The vet said she's in wonderful shape for a 10 year old lab.  He kept saying she was one of the sweetest dogs he's seen.  She just sat and wagged her tail while he examined her and even while he gave her the two shots.  It's good to know she's doing well.  I can tell she has slowed down significantly over the winter.  She can't run as long as she used too...but then again, neither can I!  Ha!

I hope all is well with you all and that you have a wonderful weekend planned.

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 7:9

Blessings always my friends,
Betsy















Sunday, May 15, 2016

Japan

Happy Sunday!  Weve had a wonderful weekend at the lake.  I have a couple of more days before I have to go back home, although Dennis is back to work tomorrow.  We went into town for church this morning and it was a wonderful morning.   Our new senior pastor was ordained, along with two new deacons.  We have a new youth minister who was introduced this morning too.  Lot's of great things happening!

Many of you have asked about how Alex came to be living in Japan.  Here's the story for those of you who asked. For those who aren't interested...I'll see you here next time!  Have a wonderful day my friends!  :-)

When he was 13, Alex spent some time with an exchange group of middle schoolers that were visiting Spokane for three weeks one summer.  That happened to be the same year that he started college at Eastern Washington University.  Yes, he went to college at 13!  Got his Bachelors Degree at 17 and his Masters Degree at 19 years old.  Anyway, after spending the time with the exchange students, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and where.  He took Japanese classes that year, although he had gone through the entire textbook before the school year began and was already speaking Japanese when classes started.  As time went on, he took every Japanese class offered.  He ended up translating papers for the Japanese instructor throughout his college years to help pay for books and fees.  He also taught English classes his last two years.

Every summer from 13 on he went to Japan and taught English in a private school.  He absolutely fell in love with the Japanese culture and embraced it wholly.  When he got his Masters he moved to Japan permanently and taught Elementary School.  We visited him there in a tiny town in northern Japan.  He was like the pied piper.  The kids loved him.  Everywhere we went, the kids would come running too see "teacher".  After that, he was transferred to teach Junior high students in a small town about 20 miles away.  It's normal in the Japanese school system to be moved around a lot.  He was in this town when the big earthquake/tsunami hit a few years ago.  Since the town was on a bay, there was some flooding but his apartment was on a hill and he was fine.

That's when I began this blog.  A lot of people don't realize that Aomori, where Alex lived, and the Sendai region get a LOT of snow every year and it's very cold.  So I had a goal to knit 400 hats by winter to give to the people in the shelters who had lost everything.  It's not much, but I thought it would help them to know  that someone cared.  I mentioned it to a few knitting and crochet friends and they wanted to help.  They also wanted to see pictures of my trip, (yes, I went to Japan for three weeks and Alex and I took the handmade items to the shelters.). You can read about it in my very first posts.  I ended up taking thousands of things made by wonderful crafters all over the world.  Baby things, hats, socks, blankets, mittens, sweaters, among other things.  All handmade.  It was wonderful.  The people were so grateful.  You can't imagine the total and utter devastation these people experienced.  Thousands and thousands of people just disappeared into the ocean, never to be seen again.  Entire towns gone in seconds.  It was awful.  Helping in such a small way was very rewarding.

In the years since he moved to Japan, Alex has also learned Chinese.  He is now a translator at Keio University in Tokyo, but also has his own translation business on the side that he has been growing for years.  He is very interested in the old culture of Japan and has translated several books of folklore and does a lot of work for museums around Aomori.  His plan is to move back to northern Japan this fall where he plans to buy a house.  He will be leaving the university and working with more museums, etc.  

Dennis has been to Japan twice to visit him and Mandy went with us once, just before she and Brad got married.  I've been there three times and would like to go see him again this fall to see his house, if my health lets me.  I love visiting him in Tokyo where each neighborhood has everything you need within walking distance.  Doctors, dentists, grocery stores, etc.  You could live your entire life and never leave your neighborhood.  I've never experienced anything like it before.  He prefers the small towns in northern Japan where you do need a car to get around.  No walking everywhere there, but people still know each other better and you can make friends, unlike in the frenetic pace of Tokyo.  Much like here in the U.S. Where there are trains and subways in big cities, but not so much in the midsize and small towns.

So that's it in a nutshell.  I hope I haven't bored you, but there's the story of how Alex came to live in Japan.  I don't think he'll ever move back home permanently.  He really wants Dennis and I to move in with him in Japan when Dennis retires, but I don't see that happening.  It's nice that he wants us though.  :-).  I would love to see him teach again.  He's a natural, especially with small kids.  I watched him with Kyleigh and Caleb this visit and he had them speaking Japanese almost instantly.  He will do what his heart leads him to do though and that's what is best.  Right?

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend.  

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Ephesians 2:10

Blessings,
Betsy

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday

It's sunny and beautiful and I get to go to the lake in about an hour, but something still isn't right.  I've been to my knitting group and hung laundry outside to dry in the spring breeze, but something still isn't right.  The house is clean and dishes done but something still isn't right.  Our house is empty and echoing.  Even this little girl is not liking the quiet.
She keeps going to Alex's bedroom door and laying down outside of it.  She spent a lot of time in there with him, especially the week after his surgery, when he was pretty much bedridden.  We're all missing Alex and Fifi a lot.  I went through almost an entire box of Kleenex yesterday as I was cleaning house.  I really don't know why this time was one of the worst leavings.  I never want to see any of the kids leave, but for some reason, this one was particularly bad.

Enough of that though.  I need to be THANKFUL for the time they were here.  They have arrived safely in Tokyo.  They face-timed last night about 11:15 as they walked off of the plane, but then we lost the connection while they were walking to customs.  His foot seemed to hold up during the flight well, except for being very sore and stiff.  He got the stitches out on Wednesday and the doctor told him to wear compressions socks for the flight because of swelling.  They seemed to help a lot.

In other news...I'm in a swap on Ravelry.  Have any of you done a swap on there?  I've participated in three others before this one and I have sent my packages off faithfully, only to not get anything in return. In any of the three.  So I'm trying it one more time.  This one is a dishcloth swap and we were told we could add something to the package or not.  My partner likes to write letters and put stickers on them.  She also knits socks.  So I've included a box of notecards, matching stickers, a bookmarker I crocheted, washi tape and a DPN holder in addition to the dishcloth.  The reason I'm telling you all this is to ask your advice.  After looking at this package, am I doing something wrong?  I can't figure out why no one sends a return package. After all, that's the idea of a swap right?  I've tried to keep a good attitude and say, "it's better to give than to receive," but three times?  I've decided that this is the last one I'll do for awhile if I don't hear anything back.  Maybe that's a cruddy attitude?  If so, I apologize.
A closer view of the dishcloth.  I really like this pattern and it's pretty simple too.  With the variegated yarn it really shows the design.  My swap partner likes jewel tones of dark blue and purple so I hope she likes this cloth
Craftwise I've made 1 pair of mittens since my last post, worked a bit on the cozy memories blanket and spent some time on the mystery project too.  No pictures because really, how many mitten pictures do you all want to see and not enough progress on anything else to show you.

I had a wonderful time chatting with the ladies at knitting today.  I haven't been there in three weeks as I've been spending the time with Alex and Fifi.  It was nice to get back to see them again.

I also bought some geraniums this morning to plant in the pot at the lake.  Once all of the flowers are planted and the gazebo is up, spring is officially here.  The gazebo is up, so as soon as the flowers are in the pot we can start spring!  :-)

I hope all is well with you and that you are able to enjoy some beautiful weather wherever you may live. I truly appreciate all of the sweet thoughts and advice you all have given to me about my children being so far away.  It's good to know I'm not alone and many of you have experienced the same thing.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most Hight will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Blessings,

Betsy


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Almost over...

I don't want to face it, but our time with Alex and Fifi is almost over.  They leave to go back to Tokyo on Thursday morning.  I will be lost.  Completely lost.  I have so enjoyed having voices in the house during the day again.  Fifi is a delight to be around.  She knits!  She knits!  Can you believe that?  I didn't know until two days ago when she asked if I would teach her to knit socks.  Last night I found her some needles, yarn and gave her a pattern.  Alex translated it for her and look here...
She has the cuff and most of the leg of a sock done.  Just since last night.  How wonderful!  She is a graduate of a fashion school in Tokyo and makes all of her own clothes and kimono's.
Fifi also brought me a table top loom from Japan.  She has made several coasters and a couple of mats since she arrived.  I hope I can remember what she's shown me since the instructions are all in Japanese.  The loom just makes small things but it's fun!
This one she added a few small bits of fabric that I had on hand.
This was our first attempt.  My favorite color.  Purple!
She also brought Japanese paper making supplies.  She made these using the purple orchid blooms from the flowers Dennis got while he was in the hospital.  The greens ones are plants and leaves from our yard.
I'm amazed how pretty they are.
Of course the purple is my favorite!  Kyleigh wants me to send her a few pieces of the paper and I think I'll frame some too.
I wish Mandy were here to get to know her better.  I just know they would hit it off.  We do face-time with them everyday and Piper loves her Uncle Alex and Fifi.  I said it earlier, but I'm going to really miss these two when they leave.  I admit that I've cried a lot the last few days and I have tears in my eyes now at the thought of not knowing when I'll see them again.

Enough of that!  Here's the progress on my memory blanket.  Not a lot, but I've been working on other projects too.  I'm in a dishcloth swap on Ravelry and although I have many dishcloths made already, none are in my swap partners favorite colors so I've started a new one.  I have a pair of socks started.  A mystery gift for Mandy that I can't talk about on here because she reads my blog.  Hi Mandy!  Anyway, I have been hopping around on different things and don't have anything complete except two pairs of mittens this week.
These two have been having lots of fun playing.  Alex bought a drone on Amazon for his business and he and Dennis have been flying it around our back yard while learning to control the thing.  Lots of laughter and fun.  It was wonderful to have one of the kids actually home for Mother's Day.  We facetimed with Jamie & Mandy and the grandkids though and also with Dennis' Mom in Nebraska.
Alex and Fifi went to Helena, Montana to visit Jamie's family Friday night and Saturday.  Uncle Alex took Caleb to the skatepark and gave him some pointers.  No skating for Alex because of his foot, but he was still able to be a good coach.  The stitches come out of his foot tomorrow and they fly home the next day.  Fifi saw lots of mountains and beautiful scenery on the drive and they all had a great time.
Gracie asked me about the sock yarn blanket I was working on last summer and I realized I had never shown it to you completed. Here it is, all done!  It's lightweight and perfect for those cool mountain summer evenings.  I take it out when we're sitting around the campfire and wrap up in it.
We put the top on the gazebo over the weekend.  Since Alex & Fifi were at Jamie's we spent the night at the camper and finished setting everything up for summer.  Doesn't it look cozy?   Dennis is reading there on the right and Chloe is on the left watching me.  We bought a new table last week and the guys put it together Saturday morning...
Just in time for our first potluck lunch.  We usually combine our food with Larry, Nita, Paul and Lori and we never know exactly what we're going to eat but it always turns out great.  :-)
The train goes by twice a day, around 8:00 a.m. And again around 9:00 p.m.  I love to watch it go by and the conductor always blows the whistle and waves to us.
In honor of Mother's Day, this is my precious Mom.  She's been gone over 25 years now and I miss her Every. Single. Day.  I was only 29 when she died very unexpectedly and I was not ready to lose her.  My kids were small and I needed her advice.  She was always laughing and never, ever knew a stranger.  She talked to everyone she met.  Her funeral was the biggest one I ever attended.  The inside was standing room only and people were standing in the parking lot.  My Mother was never wealthy materially in any way, but she was wealthy in love and faith.  Which to me are much more important.  She was beautiful inside and out.
One last photo of Fifi which makes me laugh.  We were antique shopping last week and this mural was painted on the side of the building.  Love it.  What an attitude!
And I'll leave you with this photo card I got from my precious Piper for Mothers Day.  Isn't she the cutest thing ever?
Last post I was asked how Alex ended up in Japan.  Since this is so long already, I'll try to remember to answer next time if that's okay.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

I'm trying to remember to be thankful for the past three weeks and not dwell on the leaving.  Lord, let me remember to be thankful always.

Blessings,
Betsy















Thursday, May 5, 2016

I'm still here, but so is Alex!

And so I'm not spending much time online at all.  I hope you all understand. We've been having a lot of fun.  The first picture below was taken at a local hamburger place just a mile or two from our trailer at the lake.  We were on our way to spend the afternoon out there on Tuesday and stopped for lunch.  Hamburgers and chocolate shakes.  Yum!  Fifi had just flown in the day before from Tokyo to spend about a week and a half with us.  Poor girl.  The line in customs was so long she missed her connection from Seattle  to Spokane.  She doesn't speak much English at all so it was very disconcerting for her.  Alex was texting and calling her trying to get the logistics taken care of.  She finally arrived about 3 hours later than scheduled.  
Alex wanted to take her down to Riverfront Park where we were last week with Jamie.  She's never seen falls like ours before.  The water roaring by surprised her.  Here I am with two of my boys.  I made it all the way down the stairs and back up this time!  Yippee!  See Alex's air cast on his left foot?  I made him use crutches for this hike. Once a Mom, always a Mom!!!  My shoes aren't very cute, but they are Keen's and great for walking a lot.
Proof.  There are the crutches.  He's doing fantastic.  He went to the doctor for a one week check yesterday.  She was very pleased.  He doesn't have to use crutches anymore and can try walking with a regular shoe on for short periods of time.  He goes back next Wednesday to get the stitches out and then he and Fifi fly home to Tokyo on Thursday.  I'm really going to miss them.  I told him yesterday when we were talking that no matter how old he is, he'll always be my baby and I miss him.  I think as he gets older he's finally understanding that more and he's missing us too.
The falls roaring.
That's a LOT of water.  Cold snowmelt straight from the mountains.
This is our courthouse.  It's very blurry because I was zooming in with my iPhone and it was well over 2 miles away.  It looks like a castle.  You can't see the bottom floors very well in this picture.  Our little girls always want to visit the castle, they think there will be a princess living there. :-)
Here's my Prince Charming.  Seriously, this guy gets better looking every year.  How does that work, because I am certainly going downhill!
I liked this picture.  Fifi is a photographer for Amazon Japan and takes amazing pictures. Alex also does photography for several business in Tokyo in his "spare" time.  They are both good with cameras.
You saw the inside of the carousel in my last post with Kyleigh and Caleb.  Here's the outside of the building.  I love the reflection on the river as the sun was setting.
Lots of ducks swimming by use as we walked.
Last night we mowed the grass and trimmed bushes.  Fifi has never seen anyone cutting grass like we do so she wanted to try it.  She did great!  She mowed about half the backyard.  Then she saw our woodpile and wanted to try to chop some wood.  She did try but just couldn't get enough "umph" behind the axe.  So Dennis showed her how it's done and split several rounds.  He may not be 30 anymore, but he's still "got it".  :-). I was taking pictures from up on the deck.
She was thrilled!  America has been chock full of surprises for this girl who was born and raised in Shanghai, China and has lived in Japan for 7 years.  She's never lived anywhere except Shanghai and Tokyo, two of the biggest cities in the world.  Spokane is a culture shock for sure, but she seems to be enjoying every minute.
I got this package of socks mini's today from a friend on Ravelry.  Many of us are making cozy memory blankets with our leftover sock yarn.  It only takes about 3-4 grams to make a square for the blanket.  But, I haven't made enough socks to have enough yarn to make very many different squares and here's where the fun comes in.  We've been swapping yarn!  We can send yarn to other Ravelers and they send different kinds to each of us.  So much fun!  I don't have any sock yarn to share though so Debbie was generous enough to send me this package not expecting anything in return.  However, I surprised her with a knitted spa cloth and a double pointed needle holder, (shown in the picture below.) She loved both, at least that was what she was kind enough to tell me.  :-)
Last weekend while Alex was laid up in bed I took the opportunity to make two new small project bags and more DPN holders.  Taci, (over on my sidebar), has convinced me to make some to sell because they aren't readily available anywhere.  She said she uses the one I gave her all of the time and is going to tell her knitting group friends.  Isn't that sweet?  So I did buy more fabric today, (these particular fabrics were sold out, but I found some other cute ones.  I cut them out this morning and will try to sew them up in the next few days.  If anyone is interested, just give me a shout and I'll email or text you a picture when I have them done so you can choose.  I'm thinking $9.00 plus postage for a DPN holder.  My project bags are NOT good enough to sell.  I wouldn't inflict them on you!  Ha!  I don't want to make this blog a selling thing, but before I consider an Etsy shop I wanted to see if anyone is interested like Taci believes they will be.  I'm so computer illiterate that the thought of opening an Etsy shop gives me chills!
Mandy just texted me this picture of Miss Piper this morning.  They went to place called Storyville today that is north of Baltimore.  It had an entire village of shops and houses.  Piper shopped at the grocery store and then rang up her purchases.  Then she played in the houses.  Mandy said she had a wonderful time.  Grandma sure misses this little girl.
I know you've all been so sweet asking me about my MRI.  It was an awful experience.  Suffice it to say, during the MRI in January they shut my pacemaker off completely and I did great.  This one they turned it to 50 beats per minutes pacing from the bottom of my heart and I felt like I was dying.  Literally.  Once they turned it back to my settings though I was fine, although exhausted for several days and light headed again for several days.  The MRI showed no problems though, which was very good.  Yesterday was my cardiologist visit and he is tweaking my medications because I gained so much weight over the winter.  He said two of my meds can cause unexplained weight gain, so he want's me off of them if possible.  He also told me to get a Fitbit and try to get 10,000 steps/five miles a day to strengthen my heart.  I think that will be easy enough at the lake, but at home, not so easy.  These were the meds that helped with the tachycardia though, so I'm hoping that doesn't make a reappearance.  I've been feeling so much better the last few weeks, (with the exception of the MRI stuff,) that I hate to mess with anything.

Well, I've promised Alex and Fifi my homemade noodles and chicken for dinner so I better get cracking.  She wanted to go shopping at the mall so that's where they are right now.  She is going to be surprised how small our mall is compared to Tokyo's.  I think it's fairly normal sized for most malls here in the U.S., but compared to what she's used to I think it might be a disappointment.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and are enjoying your week.  I'm trying to keep up with reading your blogs and commenting but if I've missed yours I sincerely apologize.

"And do not forget to do good ad to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16

Blessings always,
Betsy