Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Critter Pictures

I haven't had time to figure out how to edit digital video to make the clip of Tempie opening her presents postable. So I'm going to try and placate the people who really want to see it by putting up regular pictures.






Monday, December 29, 2008

Welcome Benjamin

Things have been crazy here, mainly with FH and I feeling under the weather and the holiday wind-down. But I thought I should mention that Benjamin has graced the world with his presence. He was born early Saturday morning and weighed in at 9 lbs, 6oz, 21 inches long, with blue eyes.

This means I can finish the footprint birth announcement this week. However last I heard his middle name hadn't been decided on... but I can at least get the date on there.

Unless his parents give me permission, there will be no pictures of their bundle o' joy. But I will cheerfully tell you that he's adorable! I'm hoping I can see him in person soon. Damn the sniffles for keeping me away.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How things went

The cats all had fun removing their stockings from the tree and relieving them of their contents. Case in point Confetti who had to be instructed as to which stocking she could play with. Observe if you wish:

video

The Beast of Antioch (Tempie) had a great time attacking her wrapped gift. I got a video but it's 4 MB too big to post here. If I can figure out how to edit it a bit I will put it up. The other bunny was more scared of his present than interested in it.

We both have sore throats and feel sort of cruddy.

Friends came for dinner. I made my first ever turkey. It was actually good. Mashed potatoes, mixed veg, stuffing, cranberries, gravy, and biscuits were on the side. The cranberries and stuffing were from scratch since they're better that way.

Dessert consisted of mint fudge brownies that our friend made (omg they are good!), peanut butter balls, Heath bark, and the aforementioned cookies from the previous post.

Things are quiet again. The critters have nestled down for the evening. FH is on the couch reading forums and blogs via the laptop. I suspect if he was feeling better he'd have out one of the new books he got today. Between his family and I he got a good start on tools and a library for leather.

I got my first ever subscription to a doll house miniature magazine from my in-laws, some books, some cross stitch charts and kits, a ball winder, a set of knitting needles, and my wedding ring repaired. Oh and an obnoxious little snowman that plays "Up on the Housetop" when his arm is squeezed. FH just loves that. I think his mom gave it to me on purpose! ;-)

Speaking of FH and leather you can check out his various projects here from time to time.

For a good time...

and some "worth it" ounces on your waistline, pop over to Boulderneigh for an awesome cookie recipe! I just made two batches of the Cranberry-White Chocolate and they are fantastic.

Thanks to Michelle for being generous enough to share it. :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What the Animals Say

Pamela over at The House of Edward paints beautiful mental pictures with words. I believe everyone who reads her blog feels better for having done so. It's really that good. Go give her a read if you haven't already.

The subject on my mind today is related to a specific post she made today. She talks about the legend where at midnight on Christmas Eve the animals are given the gift of speech.


What the Animals Say

We hear you talk about houses,
saying you won't leave us behind,
that we are your family.

Thank you for the shelter,
the soft places to sleep in the Sun,
the warm laps to curl up on.

We know you make certain
that we have what we need
no matter what happens.

Thank you for the food,
the bowls always refilled,
the water constantly fresh.

We hear Momma cry
when she can't save more animals
because we would be neglected.

Thank you for your love,
for the gentle hands,
for everything you give us.


What will the animals in your life say?

Have a Joyful Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Delightful Kwanzaa, and whatever else you choose to celebrate.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Floral Beauty

Today has been filled with flowers. FH brought me these beautiful roses.

My sister sent us this centerpiece.

They were so beautiful and I thought I would share.

Anniversaries

I didn't get a chance to say much yesterday about the Solstice activities around the house. In short, not much happened as we were occupied with a different friend's children. They needed a place to be with grownups at night while their mom worked and their dad flew home from the east coast. We had a mostly good time with drawing, watching football, and eating spaghetti with meatballs until they got tired and started snipping at each other. Such is life with a sibling. ;-)





FH and I have now been married for one year. We're going out tonight, come Hell or high water, without any children tagging along. If friends need our home, they are welcome to it while we are gone. It's important to have this time alone, especially after all of the company. It's hard to reflect and converse about our growth as a couple with other peoples' children underfoot.

Don't get me wrong. I love all of these kids that we've had with us all weekend. I just love spending time with FH more. And if there's one thing I want to avoid in our life together its forgetting that first we are a partnership and we need to take care of each other first, above all others. I believe that is why many couples get divorces. They forget to nuture each other. Not gonna happen here.

Now, by the Julian calendar, today is our wedding anniversary. However we were married on the Winter Solstice, at sunset last year.

The Winter Solstice marks a time of hope, reminding us all that Spring is coming again. Life begins to restart after the shortest day of the year.

That's the reason FH and I chose to pledge our troth on the Winter Solstice. Until our deaths there is that much more meaning to the Solstice... not only does life begin anew, but it serves as a reminder to always allow our love to do the same.

So Happy Anniversary, my dearest heart. May we have many, many more.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Open arms

On this holy day we reminded friends that if their power and water was still off once they got home they are more than welcome to pack up the 3-year old and come back for another night. Their front yard is a skating rink after a pipe burst under the yard. Fortunately it was on the water company's side of the meter and not theirs. High winds and ice took out branches, which in turn removed the power lines from the house. The power company wouldn't do anything until the tree trimmers came. The water company turned off service to repair the pipe.

Tree trimmers were working there late last evening. No clue if the water company has started repairs. As of 10pm last night there was still no power and no heat. It was cozy here last night with the five of us here. Munchkin played with the bunnies and two of the cats. The third kept her distance. Everything was great until she got herself so tired that she couldn't see straight and was so upset about not being in her own bed for the second night in a row. For her sake, and her parents' sanity, I hope they have power and heat today. Water would be a bonus.

If not, our arms are open and the spare bed has flannel sheets.

It's -25 F with the windchill.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Iceman cameth

Not the correct grammar, but I felt like trying to be clever. ;-)

The ice came and covered everything in a sparkling shell. I couldn't get pictures before the temperature rose to 34 degrees F though. Everything started melting by the time FH and I emerged from our cozy den.

He made it to work around noon. His boss and at least one other co-worker are without power. The office holiday party has been canceled for tonight. No word if we're rescheduling. It's supposed to be down to 7 degrees in the next 24 hours and the low on Sunday is projected at 1. Yes, 1. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and the temperature be below zero. I am sure with the windchill it will be there soon.

Off to stitch. And perhaps crochet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weather and Memes

I spent this morning shoveling our driveway and walk and my girl-friend's. her hubby is out of town for a funeral and I figured since she's working and has back problems I'd do something nice for her.

We're expecting about half an inch of ice here, starting at any moment. FH and I are hunkered down with the critters and hoping the power doesn't go out. Supplies are stocked, blankets are plentiful. Bring it on.

The shoveling left muscles swearing at me. They haven't been used like that since last winter. Given the greater frequency of fluffy white stuff here, they had better get used to it.

When I came in I read a meme over at Boulderneigh. It's the "Eight Things" meme and as I was reading along my mind starting answering the questions myself. So here are my answers:

My 8 favorite foods:
1. Hot, fresh bread... with or without real butter
2. Chocolate
3. Rare prime rib
4. Cakes
5. Boo-berry cereal
6. Garlic cheese bread
7. Cookies
8. Pies/tarts... same basic thing, different size ;-)

Things I did today:
1. Took my morning meds
2. Dug my Carhart coveralls out of the closet
3. Took my friend's dog out for a potty break
4. Shoveled 2 driveways and front walks
5. Mailed 56 holiday cards and one extra envelope to my mother
6. Bought embroidery floss
7. Framed a family picture taken on Thanksgiving
8. Braved a the grocery store

8 Favorite Stores:
1. Uniquely Yours, Rolla, MO
2. Kirkwood Hobby, Kirkwood, MO
3. Primitive at Heart, Pekin, IL
4. Hobby Lobby
5. Hobby Builders Supply
6. Tandy Leather Factory
7. Ewe-Nique Yarns, Morton, IL
8. The gift shop at the Field Museum in Chicago

8 Favorite Restaurants

1. Balducci's, St.Louis, MO
2. The Scottish Arms, St. Louis, MO
3. Fogo de Chao, it's a chain, but it's oh-so good
4. The Busy Corner, Pekin, IL
5. Lion's Choice, all over parts of MO
6. La Posada, Rolla, MO
7. Erine's Family Restaurant, Pekin, IL
8. Fiesta Ranchero, Pekin, IL

8 Things I look forward to:

1. Watching FH's headlights pull in the driveway after work
2. Seeing my mini-friends back in St. Louis
3. Spending time with the Rendesvouzers
4. Time to meditate with a hot cup of Chai
5. Taking walks with FH on beautiful evenings
6. Visiting any of the above restaurants
7. Our first wedding anniversary
8. Day trips to Chicago

8 Things I like to do with family:

1. Play Spades
2. Work puzzles
3. Eat at any of the above restaurants
4. Fishing trips
5. Dune surfing back home at the White Sands
6. Barbeques
7. Go to museums
8. Watch football

8 Things on my wish list:

1. That FH and I have many, many happy and healthy years together
2. Being able to buy a home in the country
3. Getting a puppy
4. Having horses
5. Space to actually organize the fiber crafts and doll house things in two separate spaces
6. Room for FH to have his forge set up again
7. Our pets to get healthy and stay healthy
8. An outdoor, predator-proof, escape-proof play area for the bunnies

8 People I'm tagging:
If I did that I would be pelted with real and virtual snowballs. I think I will pass on that. Although I would love to see what FH and Sheep Geek have to say.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cross Stitch Gallery

I got off of my behind and put together a gallery of my stitchings. A web community of stitchers that I belong to was encouraging folks to put one together so new people could see things they missed before joining the group and so favorite projects can be viewed repeatedly. So I spent this morning coding instead of cleaning or working on gifts that need to be finished. Ah well. If you don't code for long periods it starts to slip away. Was good exercise.

It's attached to my regular KPC website, but there aren't links in between. To get there, the entire address is:

http://www.katspawcreations.com/CrossStitch.Gallery.html

Or just click here.

Frantic Feline

I woke this morning to a frantic Siamese-hybrid (read mutt cat that actually looks like a Snowshoe) telling me all about the "white stuff." I don't know if he likes the snow and is just getting excited or if he's scared of the snow and panicking. Either way his reactions look the same. So right now I'm partially feeling sorry for him and also willing to exploit his personality for pictures. ;-)

It's Out There!


It Itches. Iz Allergic!


Halp, Momma!


It's really starting to come down now. Pretty soon he will head to the bedroom and flop onto the bed in exhaustion. Until then he remains vigilant, informing me of every flake that hits the patio. And yes, he does sound like a Siamese when he does this. I'm so glad his brother doesn't do this too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice, confessions

I'm sitting on the couch with two of the three cats. We're listening to the ice fall outside and the gusts of wind that hammer the house every few minutes. Ears change directions almost constantly and the older of the two is staying very close to me. It's been a long time since they've experienced weather like this. They have taken turns stalking the noises at the base of the front door.

My wonderful FH pulled my snowman wreath inside this morning so it wouldn't get blown away. I need to thank him again in the morning. I don't think it would still be in one piece if it was still on the door outside.

Today was mostly a lazy day. We watched the Steelers-Ravens game and had a pizza for dinner. Then FH played some old-school Tribes 2 on the desktop PC while I watched the Cowboys-Giants game. Both were pretty good games to watch. Turnovers abounded and made things interesting. I don't like shutouts unless the Packers are winning or the Jets are loosing.

I confess. I'm a rabid Packers fan and I absolutely detest Farve for going to the Jets after he played his Perot-style game of "I'm retiring. Wait! No I'm not." What really makes me want to spit nails is knowing that when he makes it to the Hall of Fame it will be with a Jets jersey. The whole issue is an illustration of bad form.

I'm also the football fan of the house. We have a great system. I watch the games and he does a good chunk of the cooking. Especially since he loves to cook. Sometimes he even brings me meals on the couch! Of course I bring him treats while he plays computer games. It all evens out. ;-)

I hate folding laundry alone and I depise dealing with hanging clothes. I have no idea why. I will happily deal with whatever disgusting laundry issue life throws at me. I don't mind sorting and schlepping dirty clothes to the machines. But clean clothes? Nope. Odd , isn't it?

Give me rabbit cages over catboxes any day. They're actually the source of the most disgusting laundry issues. I still prefer their dwellings when it comes time to scoop and change.

I'm still unsure how I became the one in charge of writing checks for the bills and balancing the checkbook. But it gets done and we've never bounced a check so I'm rolling with it.

A little bit of clutter is something that I don't mind. I grew up in a house with a depressed mother that cleaned in spurts around the holidays when she cleaned. I hate filth. Clutter I can deal with. Filth is something else. Clutter means a house is lived in. It's real and not a setting on television. Filth means vermin and disgusting smells.

I believe I have discerned the point at which men and women can define themselves as "beginning to feel old." For men it's when the high school girls sports team that comes into the restuarant is less attractive than their coaches and mothers. For women it's when we begin to fantascise about getting new major appliances. For the record, I'm beginning to feel old. I'm dreaming about a new washer and dryer. I also have been lusting after a new gas range and a double decker oven. Those have to wait until we own a house.

Speaking of houses, I really hope that when we own one it is no where close to the St. Louis area. We have family there. We have friends there. But there are just too many people there. I lived for eight beautiful years in Rolla, Missouri and the town was just right for me. I would attempt to go back except the USGS office there was going to be closed. Not that I could work as a geologist anyway.

I'm a pathetic geologist when compared to my gradating classmates. I spent too much time studying biology and counting types of fossilized pollen in slides. Give me sediment that can contain bones and I'm happy. Give me rock that I can dissolve away to reveal microfossils and I'm good. Ask me to identify a specific variety of clay, then I'm off to the lab and my library to test it and look things up. Beyond being able to tell you, "it's clay," by sticking my tounge on it you won't get anything else unless I have a chance to look something up or dump bits of it into chemicals. My classmates however were brilliant with geology. All but one of them were clueless by choice in the realm of "ancient life." There was another gal who did a lot of time in the paleo classes with me. But at night she wasn't there counting microfossils and eating meals brought by someone else. Nope. That was me. The glutton for punishment.

As much as I love all things miniture I'm getting very little joy out of it right now. It's become something that makes me lonely for the friends I had before I moved. The ones who could inspire me to create. The people here are nice, but we don't really "play" together.

I'm avoiding my sewing machine like the plague. I'm supposed to be making bassinet sheets for a friend who could pop any day. I really, really don't want to sew right now. I also need to make FH a new shirt for Rendezvous. I should make some moccasins too. But right now I would rather just stitch, knit, and crochet.

There are days I wish FH had an accent different than my own. Mine's a mixture of the basic Midwestern with some Mississippi thrown in. It usually doesn't come out unless I'm yelling though. Sometimes he slips into a drawl just to tease me. It's fun. He's teased me right out of being angry before. That's a happy thing.

I avoid going to sleep when FH heads to bed becase I know it's hard for him to get to sleep if I'm there. He needs complete quiet some nights. He even wears earplugs, which bothers me. Some noises at night should be heard...smoke and CO alarms, breaking glass, etc. This way I'm not distracting on a couple of levels and my natural tendancy to be more nocturnal gets to be free. I'm only diurnal on a daily basis if someone needs my help or is paying me.

I think that's enough for one night. The wind is dying down for the moment and I can't hear the ice anymore. The cats are calm again. All is right with their world. I think it's time to let them back into the room with the "big, soft place" and them them asume their usual places around us. I know after these three are gone I shouldn't let pets sleep with us anymore. They wake him up alot. But these three are geeting older and their whole lives have been spent sleeping with their "mom" at night. FH is an understanding man.

More Musings

I'm still pondering the blasphemy, rights of man, etc... bits from my last post. I believe I have things sorted out to my satisfaction but I want to be sure. At least in this situation I'm not starting from scratch. I do have a philosophy and belief system that I hold myself to without straining at the bonds so to speak. I just have to figure out my personal reactions to some recent news and events and determine why my reactions are what they are and how my personal beliefs color said reactions. That requires thinking.

However Sharon over at In Stitches mentioned in a comment on my previous post that she lost some "friends" when she changed her way of thinking. I would just like to say that you're not alone, Sharon. It's happened to me and I know it's happened to others.

I believe that if anyone is really a friend they won't discount a person who chooses to voluntarily rethink themselves. I also believe that some people need to rethink themselves in order to be happy and mentally stable. No fault should be directed at any person who is trying to better themselves for themself. Everyone else should not only respect that, but they need to butt out unless asked to stay.

A person who is rethinking should not be rethinking for anyone else but themselves, or possibly becoming healthy for their families. But again, it boils down to them choosing to be a better thinker for themselves. The family will happily benefit as well.

Maturing is a constant. Nobody becomes a twit or a philosopher overnight. It takes time. Even becoming close-minded takes time and influence. So becoming more open-minded takes personal dedication and personal effort to retrain one's self.

I have things I should be doing right now, so in closing I will say this. The most wonderful and truly Christian folks I know and cherish are the ones who accept me for who I am and have taken the time to understand why I believe things differently from them. They neither abandoned me as a friend nor have they tried to convert me to their beliefs in order to "save my soul." In turn I respect and cherish them and their opinions.

Friends like them, no matter what they believe are really the ones who make life worth living and enjoying. I hope that everyone out there finds friends like them sooner rather than later.

As for the "friends" who ridicule me, my lifestyle, and any other person who is different from them somehow... they're the reason I prefer the company of animals. Animals are less complicated and much more forgiving. They simply want their needs met and affection on their terms. So much less stressful.

And Sharon, I think you're an awesome person and if we lived closer I'd suggest meeting for a cup of tea and some fiber fun. I've got a ton of roving to figure out how to spin on the new wheel. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Musings on blasphemy

"But is it blasphemy to alleged blasphemer if they do not hold the words or the objects/beings in the subject sacred? Things to muse upon..."

The above is what I left as a comment in response to another gentleman who commented on Mule Breath's blogpost on the Rights of Man.

I believe the gentlemen have opened the door for thinkers to start using their heads for something besides banging on desks. Face it folks, nobody in the world agrees with each other. Hell, most people don't respect each other. It goes back to what I said about the War on Christmas. The adults in this world need to step up and act like adults. Nothing is going to be solved if we keep letting cultural and religious differences dictate our thoughts.

Does an average Wiccan care if the name of the Christian God is taken in vain in their presence? Would an average Muslim mind horribly if someone insulted the Jewish religion in their presence?

I don't know the answers, as I am not either Wiccan or Muslim.

What I do know is that my real response can't happen just yet. I need to think. I need to research and formulate an opinion before I start randomly pushing keys and puking into the blogosphere. I need to spend some time and read more about the background for the original post. I also know that I wish more people would take the time to do the same.

There is too much ick in the world today. I use "ick" because I feel it encompasses every bit and flavor of negativity out there. It boils everything down into a nasty reduction that when examined produces the gut reaction of "ick."

For all I know my thoughts as I digest more information may just end up reduced to "don't be a jerk." Or even "be nice." Neither of which is a really bad thing if you think about it. But this subject is definately worth spending some time thinking about. If nothing else perhaps it will open a door to a new way of thinking or a new subject to ponder.

Until then, here's a bit of what I fight to live by every day"

"In harm none, do what you will."

Something for others to ponder possibly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another sister update

My sister is home. She has to go back for various tests at varying times. But she is home. And her kidney function is back to 100% after the antibiotics.

Thank you to everyone who prayed and sent good thoughts toward her. I truly can't thank you enough for the well wishes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The War on Christmas

**blink**

How? What?

Are people in danger of becoming squeezed to death by an animate python of garland? Does the blinking of lights all over town mean an AI has taken over and is systematically plotting humanity's destruction? Are big red, velvet bows carriers of an infectious disease that will eat our three middle toes from our feet, thus making it difficult to walk?

What in the name of cheese and chocolate is going on here?

The war on Christmas indeed. Let us look at Christmas. What are the most common things that we see at Christmas in this country?

Lights. Lots of lights. - Face it. It's dark, dreary and miserable in the winter. Who doesn't like to see something bright, shining, and colorful in the midst of all that? I grew up in a city with a large Jewish community. One guy's dad strung blue lights on the front of the house shaped like the Star of David. I put up lights in the house because it's safer than burning candles. Lights are pretty!

Trees, wreaths, and other greenery. - This practice was absorbed along with the time of jolliness and giving that went along with Yule. At one time Yule, the Roman Winter solstice celebration, and the Christian Natalis Domini were celebrated concurrently. [Look up when the Julian calendar was adopted in Europe.] Here's where I believe the combination of religions and cultures starting forming the modern Christmas.

Santa Claus (with or without reindeer) - Santa came with some of our ancestors when they came over from Europe. Different cultures have different versions. In this country, the ideals of giving to the poor (St. Nicholas) and the bits gleaned from Germanic paganism, Scandinavia, and elsewhere all got mushed together to give us Santa Claus. Again here's the combining of Christian and non-Christian bits into a single something.

Snowmen - Completely secular. It's fun to watch kids play in the snow and remember when we were that young, innocent, and carefree. I think that is why snowmen have really burst onto the scene in the last few years. This is great in my opinion. I have a house full of snowmen, much to FH's dismay.

Big red bows.- I couldn't find anything meaningful or historical about big red bows. As far as I know they just look really nice with the greenery.

The Nativity and other bits connected with the story. i.e. three wise men. - Here's the one major non-secular bit that I could think of that is not seen during the rest of the year. Let us ponder this. This is the symbolism of the birth of Jesus the Christ, the only Son of God, in the Christian tradition. Ok. Should Christians put up the Nativity? Yes. Just as Jews should put up a menorah. Pagans who celebrate Yule put up trees. Muslims have the end of Ramadan, Eid ul-Fitr. All of these practices are worthy of note.

At this point I feel I should mention Kwanzaa. I am unsure if specific members of my family celebrate this holiday alongside Christams. But here is a great example of a cultural tradition that is overlooked in the battles between the big religious traditions this time of year. Like many other cultural holiday tradtions, Kwanzaa is a beautiful thing. Some people say it is a made up holiday and we should ignore it. Umm.. some folks believe Christams is made up too. This just proves that everyone has opinions and other specific anatomy parts.

Take some time to look up various cultural and religious traditions from around the world. It's interesting and perhaps can open your mind a bit more. We're all people on this chunk of rock and we should at least respect each other. But I digress....

Back to the point.

Should a city government with cares for a religiously diverse population put up one without representing the others? No. Should a small city government that has only Christians living there put up a Nativity? If the townsfolk want it, more power to them, but I think the town should educate their children about the other practices and beliefs celebrated in this country.

If we look back at the realligning of Natalis Domini with the Winter Solstice, thus opening the door for Yule traditions to get absorbed into the Christain traditions, we are painted a picture of a religious melting pot. I'm not saying we should all start putting up the Nativity, menorahs or fasting in November. What I'm saying is that the adults in this country need to learn to jolly well get along. We need to get along year round, but especially at this time of year when so many traditions slam into each other with increasing velocity.

Be respectful. Be generous. Be courteous. Be kind.

I don't care who you are or what you believe in. You are my brother or sister in humanity. We can be nice to each other if we all remember to follow the four guidelines above.

I hope and pray everyone has a safe and joyous holiday, whatever it is.

**edit**

Post-script:

If you really hate the commercialism of the Christmas holiday, teach your kids differently. Eventually it will catch on.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update on my sister

She's still in the hospital. Apparently her bladder was infected too but needed different antibiotics. All the antibiotics she was one killed the beneficial bacteria in her guts. Presumably they are doing something about that. Told my mom that if the doctors drop the ball on that she should go to our vet and get a tube of BeneBac, like we would for Tempie. She laughed.

So did my sister. That was awesome to hear.

Her kidney function is back to 100%. They are sending her home tomorrow if things keep improving.

Thoughts on future food prep

I just figured out why I've been not feeling well so often in the last several months. I've been using ground ginger and dried celery flakes in my various dishes and it turns out they are dried and preserved and/or dried with sulfur dioxide.

Anything that deals with sulfur and food makes me sick. No Mounds or Almond Joy for me. No mass produced breads with fancy dough conditioners. No mushrooms. No sea food. No Worcestershire. No wine. Hell, no grape juice. It doesn't matter if it is a sulfite, sulfide, or straight up sulfur. I get sick.

The reactions vary depending on what concentration I've ingested and what type of food stuff I'm dealing with. I can only eat sweet or green onions. I can only eat so much garlic before I'm miserable.

And now my spice cabinet is being attacked...

Well FH and I love fresh ginger, so that isn't a problem. I'm just annoyed we were out this morning and I couldn't have any in my oatmeal. And celery flakes can be worked around again by using fresh. But that leaves many questions about the other bottles that are in the kitchen.

So now we're going to systematically go through every seemingly innocuous bottle and jar of spices to make sure we can be warned. And probably take a trip to the spice aisle at the store to do some recon.

Hopefully whatever else contains the sulfur can be worked around. I'm tired of saying "I can't eat that, even though I love it." Or, "sorry I'm allergic." Or, "umm... there's nothing on this menu I can eat except a dry salad, hold the mushrooms and onions."

What kills me is that this started in my late teens and has gotten worse as time goes on. I had time to learn to appreciate fine wine, enjoy sushi, and develop an obsession with coconut in confections.

Recently we have found one winery in the States that makes wone I can drink. They ferment in a room filled with nitrogen gas. Yay for anerobic environments. I can get fresh coconuts and extract the meat out myself for sweets, and have in the past. Fortunetly we found a store that sells organic coconut nearby. Less work for chocolatey, coconutty goodnees.

So I guess we'll figure out more after our trip to the store. This whole mess is getting on my nerves though. I decided not too long ago that if I'm ever diagnosed with something terminal that I'm going to eat what I want in my last couple of days and damn the consequences. I'm going to go out with a smile on my face and favorite, good, and maybe new tastes on my pallet.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Heat!

We now have a working furnace blower motor and fan. The best part is the horrendous noise that predated yesterday's "gods-awful" noise is gone too. Now there is just the normal hum of a furnace. I bet some of FH's headaches will stop happening now.

Still no heat

Not only were the bushings in blower motor fried, the bears around the fan are also dead. I will say this about our maintenance crew, once they get to working on something, they do not stop until it is figured out.

Another things I think I should say about these guys. I always know I'm safe when they are around. They seem a bit rough around the edges but I know they're good guys.

I just wish they had more hours in a day or more help to get things done.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Logic Puzzle

...at least to some people.

When you inform tenants that the fan for the furnace/AC blower is loose and needs to be shimmed up when do you do it?

a) right away since it's March and still cold?

b) the week after they move in when you have to replace the elemnet for the furnace so the heat will work?

c) over the summer when the windows can be open for a breeze and the AC blower is turned off?

d) in the first deep freezes of the following winter when the bushings go out on the fan and it's so loud it is actually damaging to human hearing and in danger of frying the whole unit so the heat really should not be turned on?

If you answered "d" then you could be on the maintenance crew where we live.

We do not have heat right now... at least not heat that will be at acceptable decibel ranges. They did bring us two small electric heaters. Apprently they are in need of a part that they couldn't get today. *sigh*

In Memoriam


On this day sixty-seven years ago my grandmother lost a son, my father lost a brother, the Marines lost a good man.

PFC Everett Ray ***** Jr. died serving his country without ever knowing we were at war. He only knew when he was supposed to drive the admiral's wife to her Bridge game the next week and when the last letter home was sent. Did he have a sweetheart that the family never got to meet? What were his dreams and goals?

Please remember him and the hundreds of other men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, HI on December 7, 1941.

Debates

1. I'm seriously debating putting down the cheap-o white excuse for a tree skirt that I bought to be underneath my heirloom tree skirt just to see what the buns will do. Neither of them have even left marking pellets under the tree in a week. It would certainly look nicer with something under the branches and I would definitely see if someone was going to be naughty and piddle upon things.

2. I'm pondering calling the vet on Monday and asking about changing the steroid dose for Castor. His IBD is still giving all of us fits and I know he doesn't feel well. I wonder if a shot every other day for a week or two might help instead of just Wednesdays and Sundays. The other side of the coin is worrying about his blood sugar and his weight. We've discussed the risk of the use of this drug before and that's what makes me hesitate. Treating this disease for him is like trying to skate barefoot along the blade of a sword.

3. Do I keep my on-line store for doll house stuff up and running or do I take it down? I have only ever gotten one order since I started and that was a while ago. At least it's not like I'm paying hundreds of dollars in rent or trying to sell on consignment. And FH has a place for his blog and anything else we want web space for.

4. How do I convince myself that I really want to get some miniature work done in the next few weeks? I haven't seemed to care about it for a few months. Part of the problem is I moved away from my best mini friends and the new mini group here isn't much fun at all. In fact if I hadn't gotten suckered into running the 2009 miniature show for them I am pretty sure I would leave the group entirely. I made a commitment though and intend to stick by it until after the show is over.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Poking fun

My FH and I have a dear friend who went to the same university as us and ended up being FH's bachelor roommate when he first moved to this area.

We're all gamers of some kind. I prefer tabletop RPG's, while FH likes a bit of everything.

Our friend LOVES video games. It doesn't matter if it's a PC game or a console game. The man loves games.

Last year for his birthday I cooked up a surprise for him. The video game, Portal, has two very recognizable features/characters.

Here are his gifts from last year:





























The "Weighted Companion Cube" and the "Cake."

The cube and the smallest cake in the pictures are made from polymer clay. The large cake on the right was actually edible. However being the evil wench that I am I took the game's catch phrase, "The cake is a lie," and ran with it.

The large cake on the left is actually a paper mache box that I bought at Michael's and then frosted to look just like the real thing.

He was mightily confused when the steak knife would not cut.


I pulled the edible cake out of hiding after he stabbed the fake one.

Needless to say I've got something planned for his birthday this year. I don't think it will top what I did for him last year, but I know he will like it. I will get pictures up after the fact.

Distractions


To distract myself from still being sick I'm playing with various projects and the camera. Even though the fever is gone I shouldn't leave the house in this cold... sometimes it doesn't pay to be a grown up.


Here are a couple of views of our tree this year.

The lights are blinking, so obviously I can't have them all on in a photograph. There isn't really a theme to the tree. I have a very eclectic combination of ornaments dating back to my childhood. In fact I'm supposed to be picking up a few more from my mother, but I'm stuck here. Ah well. Maybe she can mail them to me. Or I can get them for next year. I purposely left holes for the missing ones. Right now I just imagine they are in place.


Eventually I will be brave and put the skirting under the tree. Right now I'm concerned with the possibility of two bunnies marking their space on the tree skirt my sister made. [Not the one who's in the hospital...another one. I have 5.] As much as I love my bunnies I would be sorely tempted to turn one of them into a sporran for FH if they piddled all over that skirt. So to avoid the situation it remains hanging in the spare bathroom where I left it to dry after washing it.

Some people who know me well always ask about the angel that I have on top. Since they know I'm not Christian they get confused. It's very simple... Angels in the Christian tradition are good spirits who help people. I like good spirits. In fact I very much prefer them to the bad ones. Therefore I see nothing out of place with the representation of a good spirit on my tree. She's not alone up there either. There is at least one other angel on that tree and a few appearances of St. Nicholas.

Two of my favorite ornaments are scroll work pieces in olive wood from Jerusalem. One is a howling wolf and the other is a moose. I wish I could find more of them, especially a bear. There are others that still belong to my parents that I wish I could at least see again. Mom's got a glass ornament made from Mt. St. Helens ash. It's gorgeous. Dad has a stained glass owl that I always loved to hide deep in the tree branches near a light so his eyes would peek out at us. More than anything though I wish I could have the star. It's this old silver and blue metallic star, in the tradtional 5-pointed design, that my mother had before she married my father. I'm hoping that at some point she will let me have it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sick again

I'm so sick that I can't even bear to try and cross stitch. I've had a horrendous fever since last night. Fortunately I have Gatorade and and loving FH who came home long enough to make me some food since I am unable to make it off the couch.

Needless to say I will not be going to the miniature group luncheon tomorrow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sweet Kitties of the World

I have been awarded the Lemonade Award by Rascal.


It's a wonderful pick-me-up after everything that's been happening with my sister.

I would like to pass it onto Fuzzy Husband and The Sheep Geek.

Thank you so much, Rascal! :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Updates to previous bits

Apparently my sister and I do not have the same blood type, so if she needs a new kidney I'm a helpless end. Also we found out why her kidneys failed... Advil. Instead of seeing a doctor about migraines she self medicated with Advil.

The tree is up, lit, and covered in ornaments. I am flat out refusing to put the tree skirt that another sister made or the presents under it until the 24th. I know that my bunnies will piddle on and chew everything otherwise.

Weather may trap me here over the weekend. I was supposed to go back to Mom's and see the sick sister and visit my original mini-friends. It's snowing here again and will snow more this weekend.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random bits

Well it appears that my sister is suffering from kidney failure. No clue yet as to whether it's the version that can heal with help or not.

I apparently was out in the cold wind too long yesterday and have developed a fever and a general feeling of "ick." Taking it easy in the hopes that I just need to recover from drying out in the wind and such.

Working on various Yule gifts and one birthday gift.

Post trip laundry is being run. Almost have the kitchen back under control.

Began decorating the house yesterday. We put the tree up Sunday to see what the menagerie would do. The cats apparently remembered that they aren't supposed to climb it. The rabbits had never seen one before but like the low-lying branches.

I grabbed the roving and some stashed yarn from my MIL's house. Once the gifts are out of the way and I get caught back up with some miniature work I plan on making myself a coat out of chunky weight baby alpaca yarn. It's heavenly to the touch.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Second baby's gift


Here is the second baby's gift, finished but for his name, date of birth, and stamping of his footprints in place.

He did not show up early for Thanksgiving. We'll see how long his momma can hold his little behind in.

Once he's here, the name and date will get stitched in place and I'll block the piece. Then I can get his feet stamped either right after he comes home or if I catch it right I might be able to get them to stamp it at the hospital.

Now to break out the sewing machine for bassinet sheets for him and get going on other Yule type gifts for people.