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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Already!

Goodness this week is flying by.  I really want to thank each one of you for your sweet comments on my last post.  When I say that I feel that you are all my friends, I truly mean it.  I'm so grateful for this online community we've formed and hope that someday I can meet each of you in "real" life.

I don't have lots to share today since I just posted a few days ago.  Usually I'm a once a week blogger but I found I had a few spare moments this morning and thought I would say hello.

We've had bitterly cold temperatures all week.  Below zero every night and not warming up much during the day.  It's supposed to be in the 20's today and everyone is thrilled with the "warm-up".  More snow is predicted Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Yippee!  I've stayed inside as much as possible.  Each day I have made myself go out to run a few errands because if I let myself stay home, it gets much too easy to not want to go anywhere.  I'm somewhat of a hermit at heart.  Or a homebody.  Homebody sounds better than hermit.  :-)

Sandra over at "farmgirlsam" on my sidebar encouraged me to work on my "Cozy Memories Blanket" again.  She is really flying on hers.  I have 9 of these nine patch squares done, so I got them out and started another one.  I don't know why I put it away in the first place. It's a wonderful way to use up scraps of sock yarn and each small square finishes rather quickly.
 Two more pair of mittens done since Monday and a few rounds on Dennis' socks, but not enough to show you.  They are turning out to be the slowest socks I've ever made. 
I thought I would share this little corner with you today.  Our bedroom is on the left and the hall bath on the right.  The picture was painted by a friend for us.  He knows how much we love the Oregon Coast.  Although he is from France and this is actually painted from a boyhood memory of his!  It looks so much like the ocean shore in Oregon with it's little inlets of roiling water among the rocks.
Under the painting is a table that Dennis made for me the first Christmas we were married.  It has held a place of honor in each home we've had and I'll never part with it.  We were SO poor back then and he just used scrap wood. Can you see the crosses he put in each leg?  I keep my seaside keepsakes on it.  A starfish, shells and driftwood we found on the Oregon coast.  A sand dollar from Hawaii.  (We bought it in a gift shop. Cheating!) Ha!  The gorgeous Japanese glass float that Teresa, (Teresa Kasner on my sidebar), gave me.  She knew I had been looking for one and generously gave me one of hers.  Even though we don't get to the coast very often since Mandy left Portland, it still has a piece of our hearts.  Dennis absolutely loves the Oregon coast.  We already have camping reservations for September to spend a week there in our little trailer.  We're looking forward to that.
Not much has been happening here since I last posted.  A lot of my time the past few days has been spent arranging meals for all of the sick people at church.  We're also going to do lunches and dinners for Bill for a few months until he learns to do some cooking or makes other plans.  Myrna did everything for him for 62 years.  I was wrong in their ages when I wrote on Monday.  They married at 17 years old and then both went on to get their PhD's! Isn't that amazing?  Especially considering it was 62 years ago.  Women didn't typically do that back then.  While she was sick she taught him how to do laundry and clean, etc. but the cooking hasn't come easy for him, so we're going to take care of him for awhile.  I have seven ladies, including me who will do 2-3 meals every 2 weeks for a few months and see how it goes.  Our church family is such a blessing to us.  I really don't know how people survive without one.

Another thing I did on Monday was this.
Now, it may not look like much to you, but I took everything out of the refrigerator and scrubbed the entire thing from top to bottom.  I can only do one project like this a day because my back starts screaming at me if I push too hard.  It felt so good to have it clean and organized again.  It wasn't disgustingly dirty, but I feel better knowing it's clean.

Another thing I've been doing for about a month now is menu planning.  I have never, ever been successful at planning meals in advance.  Mandy is amazing at it.  She plans her menu each week and then grocery shops off of that menu.  Me?  I just buy the same things week after week.  Well, that was getting pretty boring.  So the first part of January Dennis and I sat down and brain-stormed our favorite meals.  We dredged up things that I hadn't made in years, because I was in a rut of making the same meals all of the time.

I'm really enjoying it!  What a surprise!  I plan two weeks at a time, blocking out days that I know we usually go out with friends or special events like the Sweetheart Banquet at church.  Then I plan my shopping off of that after I check the pantry to see what I already have.  I just look at the menu in the morning and take meat out of the freezer.  No more three or four o'clock panic of what to cook for dinner.   I know because it's written down.  And it only took me 58 years to figure it out!  Ha!  Hat's off to Mandy for encouraging me to do this for quite some time now.  I love it.

I am also trying to do one housework item per day.  Today was bathrooms.  I used to be able to whirlwind through the house in no time and do it all in one day.  But again, my back won't let me now.  So one big thing a day and I sweep the wood floors every morning because of Chloe's hair.  The house always stays presentable and that makes me relax.  It never looked messy or bad, but I knew what I had and hadn't done.  Dennis offered to get a cleaning person, but I don't want to do that as long as I can do it myself.  I just have to pace myself and realize that things have changed.  I don't have my 30 year old back anymore!  :-)  Do any of us?  Ha!

Okay ladies, I'm going to go empty the dishwasher and then do some knitting on that block.  I don't know why I stopped!  I'm really enjoying it.  I hope you all have a most wonderful day, filled with God's blessings.

"Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:39

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunny Monday

Happy Monday!  This is what the sky looks like right now behind our house looking toward Mt. Spokane.  Gorgeous!
 This is how it looked Friday night.  Looks ominous doesn't it?
We ended up with between 17-18 inches of snow at our house since I posted last Wednesday.  And it's -3F here right now.  Really?  I actually thought, silly me, that spring just might be on it's way.  Nope.  COLD, COLD, COLD is predicted all week.  After all, it is only mid-February.  What was I thinking?  I've had to snow-blow twice since I last wrote.  Dennis was so sick there was no way I was letting him out there.  I don't mind using the snow-blower, I'm just really afraid of falling again.

Dennis seems to be lots better today.  His voice still doesn't sound quite right but he's much better and at work.  However...Larry and Nita both got the flu while on their cruise.  They spent the last 3 days in bed in their room.  Apparently Carnival cruise's room service leaves a lot to be desired in comparison to Princess.  Oh my goodness they were miserable.  They flew home Saturday and they are both still sick.  I took Sophie to them yesterday along with some supplies.  I didn't go in, because after avoiding it so far with Dennis, I didn't want to be with the two of them.  I set everything on the floor of their laundry room and left!  Run, run like the wind~~~  :-)

On top of that, Larry stepped into a hole while on an excursion earlier in the week and twisted his knee.  It is twice as big as the other one and he came home in a wheelchair.  Nita was in one too because she's supposed to have her hip replaced next Tuesday.

I made her a welcome home present on Friday.  The poodle pattern was designed by a lady named Vicki.  All of the information is on "Stitchy McFloss" blog on my sidebar.  Nita reads a lot and so I made her this bookmark, even before I knew she was sick.  It looks a bit like Sophie.
In other news, the sweater fit Miss Piper!  Yippee!  She was so excited.  They face-timed with me while she opened the package.
 I also sent her the pin that says, "Very Special Person."  She wrote her name on the iPhone photo.
Mandy says she insisted on putting the sweater on when she woke up the next morning before she even got dressed and wore it to school that day.  That makes this Grandma very, very happy.
I finished another baby blanket for the Crisis Nursery.   Made with Caron Simply Soft, it was a great stash buster.  I think it will be good colors for a little boy.
 One pair of mittens done last night and another pair begun.
 Dennis' socks are coming along.  I only work on them at my Weight Watcher meetings and at church so the progress isn't very fast.  The yarn had some interesting pooling going on in the leg section. :-)
Yesterday was a day of not great news.  It started with a lady falling in the church parking lot.  We had gotten so much snow and ice on Saturday night and it was so cold the ice melt did nothing.  She thought she had dislocated her ankle but after being checked at the emergency room, she had broken the small bone in her leg just below the knee.  And dislocated her ankle.  She is in surgery as I write this having 4 screws put into her leg. She's only in her 40's and told me it happened so fast that she was on the ground before she knew she was falling.  Boy, do I know how that goes! 

Then, a wonderful friend from church passed away in the early evening.  She was 80 years young, but the youngest 80 year old you'll ever meet.  Three months ago she could literally run rings around most 30 year olds I know.  Vibrant, full of energy and loved by everyone.  She taught first grade for years and years.  She and Bill married when she was 18 and he was 19.  They both went on to get their Masters Degrees and PhD's. How unusual is that?   Married for 62 years and raised a wonderful family who we know very well.  Then she realized she was tired one day a few months ago.  Diagnoses was leukemia.  She did every treatment imaginable and kept on with all of her activities until last Thursday when she collapsed and ended up in the hospital.

Oh my goodness, Myrna will leave a HUGE hole in our church family.  Please keep her husband Bill in your prayers.  She was well known and well loved throughout the Spokane and Spokane Valley communities. 

THEN.  As if that all wasn't enough, I got a call about an hour after the news of Myrna's death, that my Aunt Joyce had also died.  She was in poor health but still it's hard.  She is the last of that generation.  Now all of the Aunts and Uncles on both sides of my family are gone.  My parents have been gone for years.  It's hard to think that now we are the older generation.  I'm only 58 for goodness sake!  I am so, so, so happy that when I was back in Omaha in October my sister Melanie and I drove the 100 miles to visit Aunt Joyce.  It was a great visit and I had no idea at the time that it would be the last one. 

I know we all hear it all of the time, but please don't take life for granted.  So many things happen so quickly.  The news is not all bad.  Both Myrna and my Aunt Joyce were Christians and I know they are now in Heaven with no more pain.  The difficulty is for the ones left behind in adjusting to a new normal.  Especially Bill.  I can't imagine being married 62 years and then being alone.  They did everything together.  He was a city councilman and she faithfully went to every one of his meetings with him.  They were the epitome of a happily married couple and it showed.

Evelyn is another story.  I think her road to recovery will be long.  The doctor has already told her there will be no weight bearing on that leg for three months.  I can imagine how frustrating that will be for her.

I don't mean to be a downer.  Life is full of ups and downs.  Birth and death.  We all know that.  It just seemed that yesterday was one thing after another.  I hope I haven't depressed anyone.  Most blogs I read are full of happy, happy, happy.  I just share my life with you all.  Most of you don't seem to mind....and if you do, well, just click on by and come back another day!  :-)

I'm hoping you all have a wonderful week full of God's blessings and love.

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for your are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Snow? Really? Again?

We've been spoiled and have enjoyed almost springlike weather for a couple of weeks.  Well...no more.  It was 40F when I went to bed last night and this is what we woke up to.
 I have snow-blowed about 10 inches so far this morning from the driveways.
 And it's still coming down!
 Yuck!
I haven't used the snowblower OR shovel since I fell last January and fractured my back.  They x-rayed it AGAIN  a couple of months ago and now are saying it may never heal.  So onward and upwards.  Dennis is really sick AGAIN with something.  He thinks this is just a bad head cold that he probably picked up flying home from Austin, TX last week.  He's at work today with no voice to speak of and I definitely didn't want him outside shoveling this icky stuff when he gets home.
I'll have to go back out in a little while for another round of shoveling, but if I keep up with it as it comes down it's not so bad.  I did the sidewalks on both sides of the block and our neighbors triple wide driveway since she's so nice and letting Jeremy park there while he stays with us.  It's not very cold and there isn't any wind so it really isn't so bad, but the snow is a heavy one, not light and fluffy.  Great snowball snow!
Have I mentioned how much I detest snow?  Yep.  I do.

I finished Piper's sweater and mailed it on Monday.  She should get the package today and I REALLY, REALLY hope it fits her.  It looks really small to me.  As I said before, I got gauge and it measured exactly as the pattern specified.  It just really looks small.  Oh well, we have two great-nieces that are a younger than Piper in Omaha, so maybe someone will wear it.  I do love how it turned out.
Back View
 The smocking was fun if tedious to knit!
 Pretty, pretty!
The post office said it would cost $.01 more to airmail it and have it there in 2 days or pay a penny less and it would take 5-7 days by truck!  I thought that was rather an easy decision.  Now she should have it for Valentine's Day.

This is my current project.  Another stash busting baby blanket from Caron Simply Soft yarn that I had in my closet.  It's just an easy crochet shell stitch.
 I like how it's turning out and I think it will be perfect for a little boy don't you?
I won Kathyb and Al's blog drawing over at Compassion Knits on my sidebar!  Look at all of the goodies.  Beautiful yarn, a weighted bookmark, a cute sheep bookmark, a beautiful butterfly needle gauge and a postcard of a church where her son lives.  I love it all.  Thank you SO much girls.  Now to decide what to do with the yarn?  Any ideas?
Sophie is here again while Nita and Larry are on a Jamaican cruise  Yes, it's their third cruise so far this winter!  Do you see Sophie on the left with Chloe?  She blends right into the quilt on our bed!  She's quite the snuggler and I really enjoy having her visit us.
Dennis bought me these pretty Pioneer Woman storage containers for my birthday.  Those lids make my heart go pitter-patter.
 And look at the pretty designs in the glass.  I'll use these in the trailer for flour, sugar, etc. storage.  They are the perfect size and so pretty.  Meanwhile, I just have them sitting on the counter top where I can look at them and smile. :-)
Finally, a couple of Piper photos.  Their sweetheart Polly gave them quite a scare last week.  She had bacterial pneumonia and they almost lost her.  The vet believes she aspirated some food into her lungs and it caused the pneumonia.  She is getting better, but this poor sweetheart has so many health issues.  It's a wonderful thing that Brad and Mandy rescued her, because the costs for her meds. that she takes daily are astronomical.  Most people would not have taken such wonderful care of her.  She absolutely adores Piper and is her shadow.  She loves her Grandma too!  :-)
And may I present Queen Piper the First!  That's what the text said when I got this photo last week!  She is growing up so fast!  When we talked on the phone this morning she informed me that she has a new name for me.  Grams.  I quite like it.  Dennis is and always has been Papa.  I've always been Grandma.  But I really like Grams.  I hope it sticks.
I was going to cut out and start sewing a new dress today but snow blowing has removed all of my mojo.  I have no desire to sew now.  Maybe I'll just sit and crochet and watch some movies.  What do you think?  A nice cup of hot tea and my crochet hook.  Sounds good

I hope you are all doing well.  I realize this is a photo heavy post and I'm sorry about that .  There isn't a lot of news.  At least not good news and I don't want to dwell on negative stuff.  So many are sick and hurting this winter.  The flu seems to be never ending.  Every day I hear of someone else who is sick with it.  We need spring.  Not snow.  Spring.  Now.

I'll be back soon and hopefully everyone we know will be better, including my sweet husband.  I feel so bad for him.  He is NEVER sick and to have something like this twice in less than three weeks is unheard of for him.  Please say a prayer if you would.  And also, for my brother-in-law Mike.  He went in for his Chemo infusion today and they had to delay it again because his blood count is too low.  They will wait two weeks and try again.  My sister Melanie would never ask for prayers for herself, but please lift her up too.  She is an amazingly strong lady and I am so blessed to have her for my big sister.  This has been a long, long journey for her too.  She never complains and is always there for everyone else.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

Blessings always my friends,
Betsy

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

No more winter for us!

Well, at least that's what the Spokane marmot said last Friday when he didn't see his shadow!  And, for the most part, the sun has been shining here ever since then, with some clouds thrown in now and then.  Here is my hoosier cabinet this morning with the sunshine pouring in from the patio doors.  I thought the shadows were so pretty.
I know that a lot of the country is having terrible storms and ick, but I'm so thankful for the mildness that has been February so far, after the nasty December and early January that we had.  And I'm not really fooled into thinking that winter is over for us.  After all, it's only early February, but I am enjoying it while I can.

We took a drive up to the lake on Saturday.  It was such a pretty day and temperatures in the low 50's!  Yes, really!  However...the lake is still frozen over as you can see below, although I wouldn't trust the ice to walk on it.
 The camper still has about a foot of snow around it, although we haven't had snow here in town for several weeks.  The elevation makes a huge difference. We've been here in the past when the snow was up past the doors and we couldn't get into the trailer. Here Dennis is unzipping the cover so he can crawl into the trailer to check for unwelcome guests, (mice and squirrels.)  Thankfully it was just as we had left it in October with no signs of visitors, although there was a squirrel chattering at me from a tree behind the trailer.
 Lots of snow and a very different view than in the summertime.
This is our road that we had to hike up to get to the trailer.  It is unplowed and is gated in the wintertime.  Look at that beautiful blue sky.
 Snowmobiles had used it though!  The snow was so soft from melting that it was hard to walk in.  It surely made my heart start pumping!  Oh how I miss this place and I'm anxiously awaiting spring.
I thought I would share a photo that I took this morning of my Trader Joe's flowers almost 3 weeks in!  I've had to throw some blooms away, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how pretty they still are.  All for $3.99!  Aren't they pretty?  That's a picture of our sweet Chloe that a friend took during Bible study a few weeks ago.  She's such a good dog.
It may look like I haven't done much of anything to these socks for Dennis since last post, but actually, I ripped them out and started them all over again, so you're looking at the work of almost a completed sock! Ha! I decided I didn't like the size they were turning out to be.  They would be way too tight on his instep, so I started over.  I think I may have finally hit on the perfect number of stitches and pattern just for him.  He loves to wear them with his cowboy boots.  Yes, we live in the west and my husband really does wear cowboy boots.  He has worn them since before I started dating him well over 40 years ago and we still lived in Nebraska.  I guess Nebraska is the west to some of you isn't it?!  :-) Would it be TMI if I told you I still love how he looks in his blue jeans and cowboy boots?!  Anyway, he really likes my hand knit socks so he gets them whenever he wants a pair.
 Here's the label if any of you are interesting.  I couldn't remember the name for sure when I last posted.
And this is what I've been working on most of the week.  It's a "Child's Smocked Cardigan" by Jessica X. Wright Lichter and is free on Ravelry.  Guess who it's for?  Yep.  Miss Piper.  She is so knit-worthy.

I was sorting through a bunch of patterns last week that I had printed off but I've never used.  I'm trying to declutter the house a bit.  At the same time, Piper and I were face-timing. I think we talked for close to 2 hours that day.  She was going through the patterns with me and I was playing with her dolls and cars with her.  All by my Ipad of course, but it's still fun!  She loved this sweater and I don't know why I had never made it for her.  She's into the largest size of the pattern, so it's now or never!  Then we went to the yarn closest and she chose the yarn.  It was almost like taking her shopping with me!

The garter stitch and stockingette stitch bottom part went very quickly, but the smocked part is REALLY, REALLY slow.  Lots of fiddliness and counting.  Oh, my goodness!  The counting.  I've had to rip it back several times because my smocking was off by one stitch because of decreases in the row.
 However, I know it will all be worth it when Piper wears it.  I'm just hoping it will fit her!  It looks a bit small to me.  I still have the back to finish, then the other front, the sleeves, the neck and the button band.  Hopefully it will be done by next week, but I'm not promising anything with all of this ripping out!
So,  not lots of knitting to share this week even though I've been busy with the needles.  Sophie will arrive again today for 11 days.  Larry and Nita are leaving on another cruise.  This time to Jamaica.  We always enjoy having Sophie, she makes a nice lap puppy while I'm knitting and she loves to snuggle with us.

Jeremy has moved in and we're enjoying having him for a couple of months until their house closes in April.  Alicia and the boys drove over from Moses Lake yesterday and took me to the inspection on the new house.  She is staying in Moses Lake until the closing so that the boys won't have to change schools, otherwise they would stay with us too.  Their new house is wonderful, and only 5 years old, but built like a country cottage.  It's on 10 acres with an  option to buy another 10.  It's literally up in the mountains about 30 minutes north of us.  From the front porch they have a view of the ski runs at Mt. Spokane.  They are lighted at night for night skiing, so I know that will be a beautiful sight.  It was so peaceful there.  Not a sound to be heard.  The house comes with an in-law suite that they are determined that Dennis and I will move into someday.  That will most likely not happen, but it's nice to be wanted isn't it?  :-)

Alicia worked for me years ago.  Dennis baptized both of them and performed their wedding.  We're adopted grandparents to Kale and Hayden and we just love their little family.  They've lived all over the country for Jeremy's job, but their end goal was always to get back to Spokane and now they've accomplished that. We're so happy for them.  I took some photos yesterday, but until the house actually closes, I don't feel I should share them.  Here are are a couple from the outside though. This is the view from the front porch.  This is pasture is the optional ten acres they can buy.  Most of the ten acres that come with the house are timber. It is SO peaceful.
 The nearest neighbor is waaaay down that road.  But, they have six children so the boys are thrilled!
I guess that 's all I have for you today.  I hope you're all staying warm and enjoying February.  Spring will be here soon and I'll be back to visit soon too.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"  Romans 8:35

Blessings to you all,
Betsy