Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The layers of our lives

"Oh, that was a lifetime ago."

I'll admit, when I was little I didn't really understand that statement. But as I've gotten older and moved through several "lifetimes", it has taken on greater meaning. Each phase of my life has involved new locations, new friends, new experiences.

We are cleaning and organizing the house, and that meant going through paperwork that needed to be shredded a long time ago. I got through J's old bills and employment paperwork from about 4 jobs ago, years before he met me.

Then it was time to tackle my stuff. I found (to name a few):
  • My student loan paperwork from college
  • A paper I wrote from the summer of 1991
  • Every receipt for every semester I registered for classes in graduate school
  • Acceptance letters for every job I've had
  • Performance reviews and my training record from my dream job

Even my brothers got in on the act. I found the articles one brother wrote for his college newspaper back in the day. And a picture of my other brother from his high school play.

So now I say, "Oh, that was 4 lifetimes ago," and I really mean it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Scenes from a Christmas

The church decked out in Christmas finery

The handbell choir, deep in concentration

The lights on our home tour on Christmas Eve

J loves his Christmas present from his Secret Santa

I love my Christmas ornament from my Secret Santa

And my recipe cards. They're coming to the farmer's market with me

The table, getting gussied up for Christmas dinner


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ahhh, vacation...

J and I are very lucky to work where our companies shut down between Christmas and New Year's. We also had a few days of vacation we had to use. So J has been off since last Thursday, and I am celebrating my first full day of vacation. We don't have to go back to work until January 4. Yikes!

Most of our time is being spent cleaning and organizing, but it's an annual tradition around here. It's nice to end the holiday season and go back to work knowing we won't get lost in the mess that was in our basement, or being able to find ketchup in the pantry without sending in a hunting expedition.

And I can catch up on my knitting. My secret scarf is getting there, and I have some more slippers to knit. The weather outside is cold and windy, so it's a perfect time of year to get all this done.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Working in a winter wonderland

OK, I lied. I took more pictures of the snow. But I didn't get any pictures of trees in the snow.

We didn't get hit as hard as the rest of the east coast, it seems. Maybe 2 inches all told. But it's still really cold and really windy. At last check, there was a wind chill of 10 degrees.

We headed out mid-morning to clear off the driveway. J wore his new rabbit hat.


I, of course, had to take pictures of our yard in winter

The berries on the barberry near the front door

The snow among the blooming heather. This is my favorite picture of the season so far. I swear, I'm never going to figure out the bloom pattern of this thing--I think it's the 3rd time it's bloomed since spring. I guess I should do some research and figure it out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The comfort food frenzy has begun

The snow is not as bad as they were predicting, but we still got some that stuck to everything, and it's bitter cold and windy outside--not a good combination. Unless you're warm in your house (thank God) and in the mood to cook.
So I googled "chili recipes" and found this on on southernfood.about.com. Really basic --meat, beans, onions, chili powder. Ready in half an hour. J hates beans, so more for me!

And because I've had a killer sweet tooth lately, I decided to make some molasses cookies--my first! I was inspired by a friend to find my cookie scoop, which made this job so much more enjoyable.


Tacos for dinner tonight. After the soft pretzels come out of the oven :)

The story of my slippers

So I'll admit, I'm becoming a little bit of a knitting/yarn geek. I read some very funny knitting books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and learned some knitting tips along the way. And found her blog, where she talked about the amazing French press slippers , which supposedly only take 90 minutes to make and look like ballet flats when you're done. This sounded like something I wanted to try.

Now, these slippers are felted. If you're not familiar with felting of knitted pieces, you make something that's GIGANTIC, and then throw it in a hot washer with lots of agitation. In the process, it shrinks and goes from something that looks like knitted yarn to something that looks like pieces of felt someone lovingly sewed together.

So the last couple of days I knitted my slippers (in between a scarf that was supposed to be a Christmas present but might be done in time for Valentine's Day) and started to assemble them for the felting process. I showed them to J, and he asked if I was mailing them to Shaquille O'Neal. They were that big. I think the sole was 14" long when I was done knitting.

Well, I showed him. Into the washer they went. I checked on them periodically, trying them on to make sure I caught them before they shrank too much. Then I let them dry overnight and put the finishing touches on this afternoon.

Cute, no? And definitely smaller than Shaquille O'Neal's feet. Here, I'll show you.

Yay! My size :) And toasty warm.

I might get fancy and use some puffy paint to give them some traction. But in the meantime I have a cute pair of slippers that I made all by myself. Sorry Shaq. Better luck next time.

Oh, and in another bit of rambling randomness, it's snowing outside. And I'm starting to get in the mood to cook. Chili, Italian wedding soup, and molasses cookies are all on the agenda. I'll update when I have something to show you ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

December ramblings

Sorry, no recent pictures. And besides, you've seen one snowy tree in the Poconos, you've seen them all.

It's been busy around here, full of randomness that fills each day. I was in full knitting mode trying to get some gifts done before I mailed them off for a variety of Secret Santa deadlines, and as gifts for co-workers. I'm still working on one that I'm aiming to have done by Valentine's Day, if not sooner (so much for getting it done by Christmas). Work has picked up a bit, which means I've been coming home tired and trying to catch my breath for the next day. And I'm reading a favorite book, which takes precious time away from blogging ;)

I was going to head down to MD for a couple of days to see some friends, as I had today off. But the weather forecast has changed, and we're now expecting snow to start sometime tomorrow, which would have made my return trip more of an adventure than I care to have right now.

So I spent a nice day with J, getting some errands done and letting him make me dinner ;) Staying home for the weekend means I get to do some more work around the house that I would normally put off. The weather should keep me homebound--I'm picturing Christmas tea, blankets, and slippers. Maybe some baking--I tried making soft pretzels with dough I made in the breadmaker, and it rocked. I may try molasses cookies. Mmmmm...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas crafts

I've been busy. Sorry for the delay.

I made these coffee cake muffins for a birthday at work.

They were divine.
I also made a peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake, but I didn't get a picture :( Trust me, it was good ;)

I mentioned recently that I got a little obsessed with Twilight. I've read the series 3 times ::hides:: I'm not the only one, so I decided to make some Twilight-themed gifts for some co-workers.

I'm finishing up this scarf that Alice wore in the first movie. I'll try and get a picture of it when my friend Cathy gets it. She's so excited! Alice is her favorite character in the series (mine too).

I made these mittens based on a pattern from here. They're based on the ones Bella wore in the first 2 movies.
I love them so much, I'm going to make at least 3 more pairs.
In the meantime, I'm trying to finish up a few more projects, but I don't know how successful I'll be. I have to finish a washcloth for a knitting GTG I'm attending this weekend, and that will likely happen. I'm hoping to make a little something for my dad, but we'll see how fast my fingers can fly.
Happy holidays!