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Friday, August 31, 2018

Blue, Blue Skies

Happy Friday Everyone.  It's my favorite weekend in the year.  Why you may ask?  Because we were married 40 years ago on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.  Our actual anniversary is tomorrow, September 1.  I just want to say it right here for the whole world to read, (well, at least all of you my friends),  I adore my husband.  I think he is the most wonderful man in the world and I wouldn't change a thing about him.  Honestly, I don't know how I got so lucky to be married to him.  He is smart, funny, patient and handsome to boot!  Happy Anniversary to you Dennis!  I am a very blessed woman and I know it.

Next, look at these skies.  They are a welcome sight after a month of brown sky.  Last night there was a very strong smell of smoke in the air before we went to bed but it was gone this morning.
 I've been working on a "Zick Zack" scarf which is a free pattern on Ravelry.  Meredith from Mereknits over on my sidebar is making an absolutely beautiful shawl with this pattern and told us about it on her blog.  I'm using Loops and Threads Woolike yarn.  It was in my stash and is either hand or machine washable.  That's important because it's a Christmas gift for Alex's girlfriend, Fifi, which is pronounced "Faye-faye".  The apartments in Tokyo are pretty small for someone to worry about blocking anything, so I want it to be easy care for her.
 A closer look.  She likes purples as much as I do so I hope she's pleased with this for a gift.  I'm using size 2 needles so it's taking quite a long time to make any progress.  This is only about 12 inches long and is three days of knitting!
 A pair of big person mittens to go with the Antler Hat and Dudester scarf for another Christmas gift.  I'm pleased with my progress on Christmas so far.
 Seven more pair of children's mittens done this week.  Yay!
 Teresa, who is "Teresa Kasner" over on my sidebar put a picture of her easy chair on her blog, showing her space.  I thought I would do the same.  Mine isn't nearly as neat at Teresa's. :-)
Dennis & I have matching Lazyboy rocker/recliners that are 25 years old.  They are just starting to show wear, but we hope to get a few more years out of them.  On my side table I have lotion, a cup with some of my most used bamboo straight knitting needles and some of my crochet hooks and pens.  A small votive holder that I use for trash, (scraps of yarn, thread, etc.)  Also some gold bond lotion and lip balm made by Debra, "Araignee" on my sidebar.  There is a little dish with progress keepers, paper clips, tape measure, etc.  Next to that are my scissors.  Then I have a notepad, devotion book and my daily planner.  There is a shelf underneath that holds my Bible and prayer notebook where I keep track of everyone I want to pray for every day.  Ladies, when I tell you I will pray for you, your name goes in this book and I really DO pray for you.  I usually have a book or two that I'm reading too, as well as any magazines that have arrived and are waiting to be read.

In front of the table is my knitting basket where I keep my current projects.  Right now there is a bag with my current pair of socks and the Zick Zack scarf I'm working on.  That sweet little camper project bag was a gift from Kris at "Simplify" on my sidebar.  She is one talented quilter, knitter, gardener and can do just about anything. :-)
 A closer look.  Yep, that's Piper on the cup.  It was Dennis' coffee cup at work, but he broke the handle off when he bumped the counter top with it.  I confiscated the cup as it has Kyleigh and Caleb's pictures on it too.  I had a new cup made for him.  Now we each have one.  Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you I keep my daily medicine here too so I won't forget to take it!  Look!  Only two pills left for today. :-)
All three animals were in bed with us the other morning.  Only Amelia actually sleeps with us but they all join us in the morning when we wake up.  I think the cats really miss us when we're at the lake.  We only have one more month there before we have to close up for the season.
And the last picture is sweet little Piper at a fly-in last Sunday in Fremont, NE.  Notice her shirt!  Brad got it at a fly-in last month, I think it was in Minnesota, but I'm not sure.  Obviously there was a car show going on too.  Piper is loving kindergarten and her teacher.
We're going out to dinner tonight with Neal & Jenny for our anniversary.  They want to take us out for our monthly date night and we're going to Applebee's.  I'm looking forward to having the time to visit and spend time with each other.  We usually come back to our house and play dominoes after dinner.  It's been a busy summer and we've missed the last two date nights because of other committments.  Neal's daughter Cassie is getting married on Sunday, so it will be a busy weekend for all of us.

I hope you all enjoy the long holiday weekend if you're here in the U.S., but I hope you have a lovely weekend no matter where you are.

Because we are having an anniversary and a wedding this weekend, this Bible verse comes to mind, but it's applicable to each one of us isn't it?

"Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
1 Corinthians 1:4-5

Much love and many blessings,
Betsy

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Vacation News...also known as what vacation?

Hello my friends.  Well.  Dennis was on vacation this week but the smoke lingered so we were in town until Wednesday.  And we're back this afternoon.  The cats have loved having us home.  Please excuse my lily white legs.  I do not tan, but that's okay.  The girls love to sit with me.  Frannie is by my feet and Amelia is on my lap.  I always feel very guilty when we're at the lake because they are alone and they are very affectionate cats.
I finished an "Antler Hat" this week.  It matches "The Dudester" scarf I made last week and I also made a pair of mittens to go with them.  It is a set for a Christmas gift and I'm really pleased how they all turned out.  This is Larry modeling it for me with a somewhat goofy look on his face.  That's our trailer behind him.
 I made these five pair of mittens and another pair that I accidentally left at the lake when we came home this afternoon.  So six more pair done this week.  I really need to count them and see how many are finished.  I didn't touch my socks that are on the needles at all.
Our 40th anniversary is next week on September 1, but we went out to dinner on Tuesday to celebrate early since we hope to be at the lake on our anniversary.  How have 40 years gone by?  We went to the Olive Garden and they gave us this free dessert.  The waitress wrote on the plate with raspberry syrup.  Chocolate Mouse Cheesecake  Yum!
We also each had the buy one/get one deal, so we had enough for both lunch and dinner the next day too and it was delicious.  All for less than $40.00 and that included the 25% that Dennis always tips.  Quite a bargain to my way of thinking.  Three meals!  And they were delicious, even if not exactly Weight Watchers friendly.  We took this week off of watching our food intake and decided to just have a good week together.  Monday we'll be back on the proverbial food wagon.  

The skies haven't changed much.  The photo below is how they are still looking around here.  Becasue of the smoke we only stayed at the lake until Sunday morning because the air quality was in the "hazardous" range both Sunday and Monday and "unhealthy" the rest of the week.  We went to an indoor RV place and looked at big trailers on Monday.  We're trying to decide what we want to have when we retire and hope to travel more. 

On Tuesday we drove to Idaho and looked at more campers, shopped at Cabela's, where Dennis got some new boots, and we had the BEST Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches I've ever had.  Who would have thought that a sporting goods store would have such a great cafeteria?  We also went to the Walmart next door because Idaho sales tax is less than Washington.  It was amazing!  Absolutely spotless and employees asking us every few minutes if we were finding everything we wanted.  I felt like I was in an upscale store and it was Walmart!!!  We found lots of goodies there as I was running low on some cleaning supplies, dog food and we found the cutest slippers for Piper for her birthday which is next month.  How did that happen?  She just had a birthday didn't she?

On Wednesday we went to the brand new Costco that just opened and bought toilet paper, kleenex and paper towels.  We should be set for at least six months.  I detest going to Costco and avoid it at all costs.  Then we headed to the lake Wednesday afternoon where I had planned to stay until next Thursday.  However, the smoke sent us home this afternoon.  We both had headaches, running noses and sore throats.  Smoke inhalation is a nasty business.  Once we were home in the A/C, all of the icky symptoms disappeared.  So that was our vacation, staycation, or whatever you want to call it.  We had a great time just being together, but our plans were upset quite a bit.
There was some very sad news in our family this week too.  Sweet, sweet Polly, Mandy & Brad's precious golden lab died.  She had lots of health issues but was the sweetest, most faithful dog you could want to have.  She was Pipers guardian and loved that little girl with all of her heart.  She let her climb all over her when she was learning to crawl.  She tucked her into bed every single night.  She was absolutely the best and I'm crying right now typing this.  She loved her Grandma too.  She always was right there with me when I visited.  And I know that she knew how much her Grandma loved her back.

This is my absolute favorite photo of Piper and Polly.  They were on the way to a Halloween party when they lived in Maryland.  This was the backseat of the truck.  Doesn't Polly look like she's guarding Piper?  Dennis calls this photo the "dynamic duo" and I have had a copy framed in our living room for a couple of years now.
She was ALWAYS with Piper.  I'm going to miss her so much.  These animals sure get to us don't they?  They steal our hearts and take them with them when they're gone.
Poor Piper.  She woke up the morning after Polly died and said, "All of my pets are gone."  Three of them in just a couple of months.  We have the cats and they FaceTime with them.  Yep, they sure do.  And the cats know their voices and come running when they hear them.  But that's not the same as being able to touch and cuddle with them.  Please be thinking of their little family.  Brad and Mandy took it just as hard.  They've had Polly for a long time.

Well, I guess we're home until next weekend unless something drastic happens and the skies clear.  Dennis goes back to work on Monday, but will be happy to commute to the lake if it gets nice again.  On the upside as I said before, the girls, (cats), are very happy we're back home.  Have a lovely week my friends.

"Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the LORD'S purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

Blessings always,
Betsy

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Same song, second verse...

Happy Wednesday!  Remember last week when I said it was smokey?  Well, that was nothing compared to this week.  We've  been in the unhealthy/hazardous air quality all week.  I woke up at the lake Tuesday morning and this was what I was greeted with.  You all know how close the lake is to our trailer and I could barely see the water.
 This was the sun when I took Chloe for her walk that morning.  My nose was running, my eyes were stinging and my head throbbed, all from the smoke.  I decided to go home to the air conditioning.
 The view from home wasn't much better.  This is the view of Mt. Spokane.  What?  You can't see it you say?  Nope.  Smoke is blocking it completely.
 There is a monastery in the picture below that is usually very visible from our house.  Not now.  So many fires all around us.  Four new ones started yesterday.  Our relatives from around the country say the only fires they hear about on the news are the California fires.  I know they are terrible.  I would never try to say that the utter devatation there isn't awful because it truly is.  But...Washington, Oregon, Canada and Montana are all on fire too.  Glacier Park is closed because of fires.  And it's not on the news for some reason.  I guess we just aren't as much of a concern to the news media as California.  I have heard of at least 3 people that have died because of the smoke here in eastern Washington.  Every day I get a recorded message from my cardiologist's office to stay inside the A/C and not be outside.  This is becoming a yearly occurance in August.  We never had smoke like this until 2014.  I wonder why there are so many fires all of the sudden?   We have not had any measurable rain for the last three months, meanwhile it's flooding on the east coast!
 So, I've been staying inside knitting or going in my car to various places with the A/C going full blast. :-)  In the photo below I'm watching the "Little Bobbins" knitting podcast while knitting on a scarf for a Christmas gift.
 In process.
A closer photo so you can see the pattern a bit better.  I did finish the scarf late last night.  The pattern is called "The Dudester" and is free on Ravelry.  I used Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn" in the Marled Denim colorway.  I started knitting an "Antler Toque" to match this morning.  It is a Tin Can Knits pattern that can be purchased on Ravelry.  I've made several Antler Toques before and it is a great pattern.  I will also make a pair of mittens to go with the scarf and hat.
 I have  been doing some reading this week.  I really enjoy Debbie Macombers writing and have most of her books.  This one, "Cottage by the Sea" is her latest and I read the entire book in two afternoons.  I highly recommend it for some light reading.  It's loosely based on a true story about the mudslide in Oso, Washington a few years ago that killed many people.
I realized I had missed several of her books when they came out, so I placed an Amazon order for three books.  This one will be my next read.
Guess who started kindergarten on Tuesday?  Isn't she the cutest thing?  She face-timed with me after school that day and told me all about it.  So far, so good.  She loves it.  Mandy texted yesterday though, that they already had to lock down the school on Wednesday because of a suspicious person.  The police came and took him away and all was okay, but oh my!  Scary, scary, scary for the parents.  What a world we're now living in.
Dennis is on vacation next week and we had planned to stay at the lake and have a staycation there.  He's exhausted and really needs the down time.  Who knows now?  We may just have to stay home.  We won't tell many people we're at home and can watch movies, sleep late, etc.  We'll go day by day and decide what to do.  The important thing is to spend time together and just enjoying each other isn't it?

Not much else exciting is happening here because I'm just staying inside, knitting and reading.  Oh, and vacumming and normal stuff like that! :-)
I hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer.  Has school begun where you live?  Our's doesn't begin until after Labor Day.

"May the God of hope full you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

and

"Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

Blessings always,
Betsy

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...

Hello Everyone!  Well, as everyone seems to know, we on the west side of the U.S. are experiencing lots of wildfires and smoke.  This was the view last Friday, yes a whole week ago, at the lake.  It has just gotten worse.  In fact with hot weather, (the temperature is predicted to be 107F tomorrow), and air in the "unhealthy" range, we came home on Sunday and haven't gone back.  The extreme heat is very, very unusual.  This summer has NOT been a good one.  This morning I couldn't see the houses across the street from us because of smoke.  None of the fires are threatening us, it's just the unrelenting smoke from all of them burning, even the California fires are affecting our air quality.  We do have several fires within 20 miles or so of us in three different directions!  Making matters worse is the fact that Spokane lies within a "bowl" which causes air inversions.  It usually affects us most in the wintertime with the air lying in the bowl and not blowing away.  This summer it's the smoke that isn't leaving us.  So, I feel truly blessed to have air conditioning and I'm staying inside for the most part.
 Yesterday, although we couldn't see the blue sky, I was able to take a photo of my "Rose of Sharon" bush.  I love this bush.  It starts blooming around the 4th of July every year and blooms until the first frost.  It's my favorite color and I look forward to the first blossom every summer.
I did finish another pair of socks, made with Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in the Thirst Heather colorway.  I used the Hermione pattern again.  I really like that pattern as it gives the sock texture and some grip so the leg isn't always falling down.
I made some mittens for the school children this week.  Four pair....
 and another five pair.  The big ball of Loops and Threads Impeccable yarn makes a LOT of mittens!  There is probably enough to make two or three more pair from that same ball.  I needed a break though so...
I made Miss Piper a hat to go with the rainblow wristwarmers I made her last week.  She wanted a pom-pom so I got out my Clover pom-pom maker and made my second ever pom-pom.  I think I'm addicted to them.  Those little gadgets make them so easy to make.
 I have another pair of socks on the needles.  I know it's a Knit Picks yarn, but I've lost the label somewhere. These are also made with the Hermione pattern. Should I put pom-poms on the toes! Ha!
The girls are becoming my knitting companions.  Whenever I'm home and in my chair, both of them are sitting with me.  I really am enjoying having them here.  I've always loved both of them and I've missed having an animal sit with me.  Chloe is too big for a lap dog!  Frannie (14) is on the left and Amelia (16) is on the right.  Sweet girls.  I feel terrible when we are gone to the lake because they are truly "people" cats.  At least with us.  The minute a stranger walks in the door they become ghost kitties!  I can't find them even when I look.  As soon as the door closes behind the visitor when they leave, both are right back with Dennis and I. 
I'm still having photo issues with the computer, but Dennis is patiently working on the problem.  Hopefully this particular issue is resolved now.

There really isn't a lot happening right now.  I've just been staying inside, watching podcasts on utube, some Netflix and knitting mittens!  It seems like a waste of summer, but this darn smoke is awful.  Then I feel terrible for complaining because there are so many people losing everything from the fires.  I have also been spending a lot of time in prayer.  There are so many concerns right now throughout the world.  I am grateful to have the luxury of time to pray for others.  Many times, as I knit and feel the yarn run through my hands, I pray for the person that will be wearing the item I'm making.  I think of the prayers woven through each stitch and hope the recipient will know that someone cares about them.

I hope each of you also know that I also care about each one of you. If any of you would like me to pray for you, please feel free to send me a private email at queenbetsy2@gmail.com.  I would be honored.

This was my Mom's favorite Bible verse.  I think of it often.

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

another favorite of mine,

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."  John 15:13

I hope I would do this if it were required of me.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends and BE SAFE!

Blessings,
Betsy