Friday, October 31, 2014

Challenge #38: Stand Your Ground

This post has a lot to do with a big change coming my way that I promise I will blog about in the very near future.  I decided to make it the topic of a challenge because, from speaking with others on the subject, it seems that quite a few of us regularly find ourselves doing things for people that we shouldn't have to, or allowing those people to make us feel bad about not doing things if we actually said, apologetically, that no we could not.

Stand your ground.  It is a concept that is not always easy for me, because I am, by nature, a peace maker.  I try to avoid confrontation as much as possible.  But sometimes, in some areas, I have to clench my teeth and stand up for what I think needs to be done.  Because otherwise I am overworked,overburdened, overscheduled, and overstressed.  Which is no way to live life.

How about you?   Is there something that you've been dealing with that you'd rather not?  That, honestly, isn't really your problem?  NMC NMM is a very popular acronym these days: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys.  Meaning, this isn't mine to deal with, so I'm not going to own it or bother myself with it.

I hate to be cliche, so I personally avoid that widely used phrase.  I also hate it when people dodge personal responsibility and I think more than a few people spouting NMC NMM on a daily basis are using it to get out of things they should be doing,  should be owning up to.

But, in the past year, I find myself more and more looking at things people try to hand off to me and muttering under my breath "NMP" before attempting to hand it back to the person shoving it off on me. NMP being my own acronym for the words Not My Problem.

Co-worker can't find his car keys and will have to walk 2 miles to work? NMP.  It is not wrong of me to say "sorry, no" when my boss tells me I 'have' to go pick up said co-worker and deliver them to work on time (and possibly drive them home again at the end of their shift, which is not the same as my own shift).  It's not my problem that the co-worker might have to walk to work.  It is the problem of the co-worker, and of the boss who desires the co-worker to be there on time.

Sister-in-law who lives 30 miles away wants my daughter to stay at her home for four days and take care of sister-in-law's dogs while sister-in-law is out of town because she doesn't trust her own 17 year old son to properly take care of them, and my daughter declines because she has school and work to be at those four days (10 & 15 miles from home in the opposite direction of the 30 miles away that sister-in-law lives)?  NMP.  It is not wrong for me to tell sister-in-law that no, I will not 'make' my daughter come stay at sister-in-law's house (with the son that is one year OLDER than my daughter!!) to ensure sister-in-law's dogs are well cared for.  Dog care and the behavior of the 17 year old boy is the problem of the sister-in-law, not me.  Nor is it the problem of my daughter who, apparently even though she is a year younger than her cousin, is more reliable and responsible.

It has not been easy to get myself into the frame of mind to evaluate something and declare it NMP.  But now that I've learned to do so, standing my ground has become easier.

Try it.  Next time you feel yourself being pressured into tending to something you are in no logical way responsible for, tell yourself NMP.  Or NMC NMM if you prefer.  Then say no and stand your ground.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Along 11: Slowly, slowly

It's a cool and cloudy Wednesday here.  A quick sprinkle followed by a break in the clouds created a beautiful rainbow in the west shortly after I finished feeding horses earlier this morning.  A western rainbow is not too often seen here; usually our rainbows happen later in the day when the sun is to the west all ready.  So, despite my unexpected shower at roughly 40 degrees, I did enjoy the rainbow the rising sun made.

Now I'm back indoors and ready to join Ginny for the weekly Yarn Along.

2nd sock of DS2's Athos socks for Christmas has only gotten as far as finishing the cuff.  A whole 12 rows since last week's yarn along.

I managed to finish Chart A on the oaklet shawl, and have gotten about halfway through Chart B (the lace border).  It is so wide now that I can't stretch it very far without it falling off the needles.  I'm hoping to finish it in the next few days and get it blocked so I can have a picture of it full width to show off for next week's yarn along.

As far as reading goes, it's been slow going on my book this week also.   I've only gotten 120 pages in, and it's due back to the library tomorrow.  Unfortunately there are something like 20 holds on the book, so I can't renew it.  :0(  I'll just have to return it unfinished and then immediately put in a request for it so that hopefully my turn will come around again in a month or so and I can read the rest before I forget the storyline.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Full-Time Grandma

I have to confess, this having DS1 and his family move in with us has been harder than I thought it would be.  Not in a terrible way; that's not it at all.  Just that things I thought would be natural aren't necessarily so (parental instincts and style on the part of the middle generation in this house, mostly), and, of course, the whole Grandma 24/7 thing has kind of thrown me for a loop.

Honestly, I didn't expect to be a full-time grandparent.  By which I mean that I expected DS1 and K2 to parent their children the vast majority of the time, including keeping them out from underfoot (and quelling tantrums) during the times when DH and I needed or wanted to be about our daily business.

Instead, there seems to be a lot (so far) of letting K3 do whatever until DH or I object, and then taking her forcibly away from the scene because, of course, she would rather be shadowing Grandma or Grandpa than being bored by (or ignored by) Mommy and Daddy.  It has gotten a little better than it was three weeks ago, but still not to the point we (DH and I) would prefer.

But then again, how can I complain about my little blonde sweetheart wanting my company every waking minute (and resisting naps because they take up minutes that would otherwise be waking) when there are so many grandparents who never get to see their grandchildren at all?

DH and I have had few conversations about this, and we've decided that rather than bluntly tell DS1 and K2 "Keep her out from under our feet; we've got work to do!" we shall adapt, when possible, to let her assist us.  Because, after all, that is what we really want her parents to do: let her assist them rather than just tell her "no" to this and "no" to that when all she truly wants is their attention and to help with the things they are doing.  When you get right down to it, toddlers just want to emulate the grown-ups they love.

So, when DH went out to stack a bunch of wood he had split, and K3 wanted to help, he let her.

picking up little pieces

helping Grandpa stack firewood

And when it's my night to wash dishes, if K3 wants to wash too, I do the glassware and breakables, and leave the plastics for her.

washing dishes like Grandma

When I'm cutting fabric for a quilting project, I let K3 have the scrap pieces that are too small or the wrong shape for me to use.  Then she sits and arranges them like I do with the pieces I kept for my quilt blocks.

arranging fabric pieces 

 Then, there are times when a Grandma's just gotta say "it's not the end of the world if she temporarily makes a mess."  Like when her baby brother is sleeping and we just mostly need her to be quietly occupied.

playing quietly while little brother Toad takes a nap

We all still have some adjusting to do; we're not done yet.  Being a full-time Grandma is something I will have to grow into, and while I'm doing that, I have to keep in mind that her mommy and daddy are taking notes from my behavior.  I'm not just being an example for K3, I'm also being an example for DS1 and K2.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Beauty in Adversity

This morning was both frosty, and foggy.  I was surprised by the fog because it had been such a cold, clear night.  And because the thermometer on the back deck (which is extremely accurate before sunrise and from mid-afternoon on) read only 28 degrees at seven a.m.

The fog was created by the warmer, moister, air at ground level contacting the much colder air that came down from the atmosphere in the darkest, coldest hours of the predawn.  (Yes, the temperature does actually drop a little just before dawn.  Any deer hunter who has ever paid attention to how cold they get in the half-hour or so before sunrise can attest to that.)  And that fog was freezing on every cold surface it contacted:  shingles on the roof, siding on the barn, windshields on vehicles, blades of grass, fences, and even the stalks and pods of the soybeans in the field adjacent to the horse farm.

Most people would grumble about going outside in the dark earliness before the sun rises.  Most people would grumble about the poor visibility created by the fog.  Most people would grumble about the cold air, about the thick frost that had to be scraped from windshields before leaving for work.

Honestly, I wasn't thrilled about having to leave for work.  I would much rather walk out to my own barn to feed my horses.  They were supposed to come home this summer.  We were supposed to erect fences and build stall walls so that I could keep them here instead of work off their board another winter at the horse farm.  Not only hasn't that happened, it's not going to:  bringing them home before winter, that is. A long story for another post, let's just suffice it to say that I was not happy this morning to be leaving for work in the dark, in the cold, in the fog, and having to quickly attempt to remove heavy frost from my windshield so that I could get to that work, which I didn't want to go to, on time.

But. . . I soon lost my unhappiness in the beauty of the morning.  I mean, if I hadn't been where I was, at the time I was, because of the circumstances I was in, I would have totally missed all of this:

heading out to the back fields to check on horses

soybeans in the fog

frost rimed soybeans

soybean field as the rising sun shines through the fog

a truly beautiful start to the day

And isn't that the way it usually goes:  if we didn't have to be places we didn't think we wanted to be we would miss out on some of the best experiences there are to be had in life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yarn Along 10: One Sock Down!

Happy Wednesday!  I really love joining Ginny for the weekly Yarn Along; it gives me extra motivation to get a blog post up even if the rest of the week is crazy and keeps me from posting.

This week, I can show off one finished Athos sock!  YAY!  Hot off the needles (in other words, not blocked yet) yesterday afternoon.  I immediately cast on for the second sock, and got the first three rows started--seems to me once I hit three rows on the double points, the sock stabilizes and stops feeling like something I am going to twist, drop stitches, or otherwise mess up.  At that point, I feel safe setting it down to come back to later.  So far (I think this is pair of socks #10?) I have not experienced second sock syndrome.  Once I get the first one off the needles, I cannot wait to get the second one completed so I can wear them (if they are mine) or gift them to their intended recipient (in this case, DS2 for Christmas).

Athos, sock one

Meanwhile, I finished reading Home Grown, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I even copied a few lines from the book that I  found especially thought provoking, to keep for myself as motivational quotes.  Last night I started Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon, and even though I only got about ten pages in before bedtime, I can tell that I am going to love the book.  I have read all of her previous Mitford novels, and despite it having been several years since the last one, I all ready feel like no time at all has passed since my last rendezvous with the Mitford characters.  Always the sign of a good book :0)

oaklet with too many stitches per row to stretch out without dropping stitches,
 Athos sock 2 just begun (on top of book)

My poor oaklet shawl has been largely ignored this week; I think I may have done all of five rows on it since last Wednesday.  No fault of the pattern, or the yarn.  I am enjoying both.  It just got set aside for most of the week because of other things going on, and my decision to spend most of my knitting time finishing sock one of DS2's Christmas socks.

How about you?  How has your knitting and reading gone in the past seven days?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvesting Corn

In the past week, all the corn fields around this little place here have disappeared.  Or, rather, the corn in the fields has disappeared.

First, the dairy farmers finished chopping their silage corn (that is what they say when they are harvesting silage:  "Gotta go chop the corn", so when I say "chop corn" I am always referring to corn cut with some green still in it, to be stored and fed as silage).

field across the street (my hay field in foreground) being chopped

When the farmers chop corn, they drive two tractors, side by side, through the field.  One tractor pulls the chopper, which cuts and shreds the corn stalks, including the ears.  The other pulls the silage wagon, and the chopper has an arm that extends up in the air and blows the silage down into the waiting wagon.  When one silage wagon is full, a farm worker will pull up with an empty wagon to replace it, and the chopping continues with wagons being filled, hauled off to be emptied, then empty ones returned to the field for refilling.  This goes on for hours every day, and days each week for about two weeks, until all the silage is harvested.

empty wagon being pulled up into position alongside the chopper

Then, this past weekend, our own field was harvested.  The farmer who rents it from us does not chop corn, rather he grows corn that is harvested once it is completely dried down.  That corn is taken to the elevator and sold as commodities: either for animal feed or to make corn products for human consumption.  It is harvested by a combine with a corn head on it.  The corn head has big 'teeth' that protrude in front of the combine and go between the rows of corn.  The stalks get cut off, the ears get stripped from the stalk, and inside the combine, the kernels of corn are tumbled off of the cobs.

When the combine pulls up the driveway, we say the farmer is here to "take the corn", rather than referring to it as being cut or harvested.  I don't know why; that's just the terminology used in these parts.

taking the corn

corn head more visible in this photo

When the combine is full (about two passes through our field), it is driven up alongside a waiting semi truck with an empty grain trailer (which holds approx. 900-1000 bushels) and the shelled corn is off-loaded through the chute that comes out the top of the combine.

K3 has been enthralled watching the tractors and the combine at work.  Which has made meal times somewhat disruptive lately.

eating a biscuit (and venison stew) 
while watching the combine take the corn

Friday, October 17, 2014

Challenge #37: Give Blood

Yes, you read that right.  Go give blood.  Unless, of course, you have a health condition that prevents it, or your iron level is too low (like mine was yesterday when I went to the local blood drive to donate), go give blood.  It's not hard. All you really have to do is lie there, with a needle in your arm, squeezing and releasing a rubber ball for about fifteen minutes.  And what a difference that fifteen minutes can make to the life of someone else!

To find out when and where the next blood drive closest to your place of residence will be, check out this website: Red Cross.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yarn Along 9: Dodging Little Fingers

Joining Ginny on a cloudy Wednesday for the weekly yarn along.

Dodging little fingers.

That pretty much sums up how my knitting has gone this week: just about constantly dodging little fingers that want to 'help'.   I tried giving K3 my biggest set of plastic straight needles and some scrap yarn, but she's only satisfied with winding her yarn around her needles, or poking her yarn ball with the pointy end so long before she's tossing aside her knitting and reaching for mine.

We are I am still working on establishing boundaries for her.  She is getting a little better, but, after all, she's only two, so it's a long process where some days we go many steps backward before making forward progress.

The oaklet shawl for DD1 is coming along.  It seems to be going slower now that I have worked through about two-thirds of the chart A (shawl start) increase rows and am closing in on two hundred stitches per row.  I can see the end of chart A in the near future, and am getting anxious to start on chart B, the shawl border.

DS2's Athos socks have been the main focus of my knitting this week.  I would like to have sock one finished by the end of this coming weekend.  I am almost half-way done knitting the foot, so if I can get enough alone time (ie. no little 'helpers' with fast fingers trying to grab at my needles) this week, I might reach that goal.

The book in the picture  is Ben Hewitt's newest:  Home Grown.  Why am I, a mother of 3 adults and one high school senior, reading about homeschooling and raising children?  Because I want to, that's why.  Because I have been following Ben's blog for a couple of years now and really relate to the things he writes about even though I am through the stage of parenting with my own children that he currently is in with his. Because, while I never homeschooled my kids (except DD2 will tell you she was 'homeschooled for preschool'), I have always been very hands-on in their educations and both DH and I did alot of extras in and out of their classrooms while they were growing up.  We weren't afraid to try a different method, at home in the evenings, if the school's approach to teaching a particular subject wasn't working for a particular offspring at any time.  DD1 still remembers the day I told her, struggling with reading still at age six and a half*, that I knew how Miss So-and-So wanted them to read, but it wasn't working, so at home we were going to do it Mommy's way.  Within two weeks, DD1 could read just as well as the best reader in her class. All she'd needed was a different approach to the task, one that clicked with her brain, personality, and learning style.

And, I admit, I'm reading Ben's book because more than one of my now adult offspring has asked me "Mom, if I have to work full time and can't do it myself, would you homeschool my kids if needed?".  So, I need to stay sharp, you see.  I can't say, "oh, schooling children, that's all behind me now".  I need to, I want to, be able to supplement (or even lead) my grandchildrens' educations just as I did for my children.  Because not all young minds fit into the conventional mold used in public schools.

*quick end note to explain that her siblings all started reading, on their own, around the time of their fifth birthday, so had a different foundation of reading than DD1 got, because she was 'taught' by the kindergarten and first grade teacher.  At least, until I had had enough of the tears and frustrations and dared to go against the school's directive on phonics being unnecessary because kids learned better by sight reading.  I figured that if her older brothers had learned, by themselves, to read just by me teaching them what sounds what letters made, then it should work for her too.

Why she hadn't learned to read in this manner, before starting kindergarten shortly after her fifth birthday, is because at age 4.5 we'd discovered she had a profound hearing loss caused by a build-up of fluid behind her eardrums.  Surgery to place tubes in her ears cleared this up by the time she started school, but she'd missed most of the 'this letter sounds like this' knowledge her brothers had picked up by that age, because she could not correctly hear the sounds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meaning Matters More Than Money

Last week, DD2 turned seventeen.  For her birthday, there was no big party.  No decorations festooning the house.  No extravagant gifts. Was she bummed out by this?

No.  She declared it an "awesome" birthday.

I had made her a red velvet cake, which is pretty much her favorite kind of cake (it might be tied with cheesecake).

I had bought Blue Moon ice cream, which is also a favorite of hers, but we have it rarely--only a few ice cream manufacturers make it and truthfully not everyone in our house even likes it.  (I had seen it on sale in late August, bought a carton and hid it in the chest freezer so she would be surprised when it was served with her birthday cake in October).

For gifts, she was given a teacup with matching saucer (she collects tea cups) that had been found at Goodwill for a grand total of $1.99, a finger-knitted scarf in her school colors--made by her sister from a $5 skein of ruffled yarn DD1 had laying around, an apron and a pillowcase that I had made for her out of wolf-printed fabric--maybe 1.5 yards at $6.99 a yard.  Wolves are her favorite animal, you see, and they are what she hopes to someday be employed researching (she has already applied to, and been accepted at, two colleges to study Wildlife Ecology & Management).



close up of fabric

Most seventeen year olds these days would not be so excited about a homemade cake, a carton of ice cream, and gifts that represented an outlay of less than $20 cash.  But what made these items so great wasn't the dollars spent.  It was the meaning behind them: favorite, favorite, something chosen specifically with her in mind (even if it did come from a thrift store), something handmade by a sibling, something handmade by Mom.  Everything saying to DD2:  "You are loved. We know you.  We care about you.  We did this for you because of how much you matter to us."

Because when you get down to it, how much you perceive yourself as meaning to others vastly outweighs the importance of how much money they spend on you.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Today I woke up with a strange thought playing in my head:

Why (other than the obvious horror movie title and everything) is Friday the 13th a day when so many people expect to experience bad things, challenges of the negative kind, Murphy's law, etc?

I mean, Friday is the beginning of the weekend.  You don't have to get up the next day to go to school or work. (Well, at least, most of the population doesn't.)  Friday is "whew, I made it through the week!!" day.

Shouldn't we be more superstitious about a 13th day of the month that falls on a Monday?  Mondays are usually a bit tough anyway, so shouldn't a Monday the 13th strike more terror into the heart than a Friday the 13th does?

Just the sort of weird thing that goes through my mind now and then.

Who am I kidding?  More than now and then.  Pretty much daily.  ;0)

Enjoy the rest of your Monday the 13th.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

For Want of an Ignitor. . .

. . . the dryer was nearly lost.

Yes, my gas dryer, which died shortly after the family reunion in late July, was nearly scrapped.  DH took a quick (not very good) look at it, and decided he had no clue what was wrong with it.  So, since it was summer and I have a very serviceable clothesline in the yard, he proceeded to do nothing.  For a month, when I reminded him the dryer still did not work, and that fall would be coming, which would mean less favorable weather for line drying all our laundry.

At that time, he decided that I should call up north, to the friend with the appliance store that he purchased the dryer from in 2002 when we were building our house.  I was supposed to ask said friend a few questions:

  1. if there were any known issues with that model of dryer (and could DH diagnose which part had failed and just order a replacement part)
  2. if said friend was going to be making a trip down near us any time soon and could said friend take a look at our dryer?
  3. if not, could DH haul the dryer up to said friend's store for diagnosis and repair?
  4. what kind of price could said friend give us on a new gas super capacity dryer (to replace mine)
Uh, yeah.  Sure.  That's exactly what I want to do, DH.  Thanks.  Isn't there some unwritten rule in marriage that the husband has to deal with repairs to home, appliances, and vehicles?  That he, not the wife, has to call the repairman? 

But I did call up there.  However, when I called, said friend's wife (who runs the office of the store) told me that said friend was out of town for a conference or some such.  She suggested DH look at the ignitor and the coils on the dryer, as those were the two more common problem areas on a gas dryer.

I relayed this info to DH.  Who proceeded to do absolutely nil with the dryer for another month. Until DS1 and family had moved in with us, we'd had a cold rainy week, and there were loads of wet laundry draped all over the basement failing to dry in a timely fashion. Until DS1 and I both made a trip to the laundromat with loads of wet laundry in order to use the dryers there.

Yeah.  For some reason, it took me spending $3 to pay to dry DH's clothes (so he would have enough clean laundry to take with him on a work trip) before he felt the impetus to take a second, better, look at my dryer.

And found that all that was wrong with it was that the ceramic portion of the ignitor had cracked.  When I called back up to said friend's store, said friend's wife happily told me that yes, they did have an ignitor in stock, and that she would run it to the post office right away to ship out to me.  

As you can see, it was a horribly expensive part.  Definitely worthwhile to wait over two months to replace.  

(Do you see the sarcasm dripping from my words?)

To think, for want of an ignitor, my dryer was almost lost. To think, that for want of someone semi-knowledgeable about machines to spend ten minutes diagnosing the problem, the dryer was almost hauled 200 miles north for someone else to pull the ignitor and put in the new one that cost all of $6 to ship down here (fuel for the vehicle to haul the dryer up and back would have cost about $100).  To think, that had it not been possible to haul the dryer north for repair, we would have had to spend over $1000 on a new dryer of the same capabilities.

Moral of the story:  Always take the time to do a little research and see if you can figure it out yourself rather than taking the 'easy way' out and shuffling the task off to someone else.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Challenge #36: Make a Menu

I don't know about you, but I always feel better if I know ahead of time what I will be making for dinner.  Not just a few hours ahead of time, but several days ahead of time.  Most dinners require advance notice--either with meat to take out of the freezer and have time to defrost, or dried beans to soak and cook until tender.

Many years ago. . . Well, honestly, back in 2000, I had a menu that I made up for just about a whole month and followed it pretty well.  Over the years, though, I kind of fell out of the menu-making habit and tended to find myself trying to come up with a dish that either a) was made with hamburger, since I can take a pound of burger from freezer to finished cooking in 30 minutes or less; or b) utilized whatever sort of leftover meat I happened to have in the fridge at the moment.  That's when cooking is not fun.

Of course, back in 2000 I had a bunch of little kids and we were always home in the late afternoon and evenings, so each day I consistently had adequate time to spend cooking my family's evening meal.  As the kids grew, after-school extracurriculars were added in, as well as summer sports leagues, and it got somewhat more difficult to know a month ahead of time which days I had time to cook what. Menu making kind of fell by the wayside.

Now, however, I am feeling the desire  need to get more organized in the eating department and get back to planning menus.  At least a week at a time, if not two weeks or even most of a month.  There are still evening activities that go on, but it's not quite as crazy with just one child in sports and extracurriculars as it was with two to four of them.  And, she's old enough to drive herself to and from practices, meetings, etc, which leaves me more time for the cooking.

Plus, with DS1 and K2 here, I'm only responsible for cooking three to four nights a week!  That's only 12-16 dinners a month!  How could I not plan a menu with so few meals required of me?

How about you? Do you have a menu that you use?  Do you plan out a week or more of meals at a time?  If not, why not?

There are several approaches to making a menu.  Some people like to make a list of recipes that sound interesting, then go to the grocery store and get what ingredients are needed.  Others take a slightly different angle, looking at the grocery ads for that week, and making a menu based on the sale items for the stores they frequent most.  Still others, like me, tend to look at what ingredients are on hand (in the freezer, in the pantry, out in the garden) and make a menu based on those items.

What matters most isn't the method you use, but that you use some method and make yourself a menu.  Give it a try.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


One of the things I am finding hardest to adjust to, with DS1 and his family living here, is that I now have pretty much no private time for blogging.  Or private time for much of anything, really.  I have gotten really used to having the days to myself, at least during the school and work hours.  Now, I am only alone if I leave the house.  Otherwise I have a 2 year old shadow (K3) wanting to follow me everywhere. That might be my biggest dilemma right now: how to train her (more exactly, her and her parents) to let me have time and space to do my own thing when I am at home and they are too.

So, for now, rather than writing about anything I really want to talk about--haven't had the time/quietness to properly think through any of the ideas I have for blog posts--I'm just going to share a few pictures from this week.

sunrise feeding time at the horse farm

wood pile, just about enough for winter
(you can't tell from this angle, but the stack is 6 foot high)

corn mostly dried down

rainbow after a passing shower

red velvet birthday cake and blue moon ice cream
(DD2's favorites)

evening color

leaves on the silver maples starting to turn

the local laundromat,
where I have never been until now (despite living in the general area for 20 years).

Ironically, the day I took loads and loads of wet laundry to the laundromat in order to use their dryers  (too cloudy and wet here for most of the past week for anything to line dry) is the same day DH decided to take another look at my dryer (dead since the end of July) and discovered all it needs is a new ignitor. Simple to take off, simple to re-install. A new ignitor was ordered the next day, and should be here by Saturday afternoon.  That will, hopefully, be the subject of an entire post in the near future.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yarn Along 8: Making Progress

Happy Wednesday!  Happy Yarn Along!  Joining Ginny again this week.

New book and new project. 

 I requested All in the Family: a Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living from the library, thinking I might be able to pick up some tips and pointers on integrating DS1's household into ours.  However, after reading through the book a bit (I confess, I started jumping ahead after chapter two, looking for relevant info) it appears this book is more about how to move your elderly parent(s) into your home or a home in close proximity to yours than how to be the grandparents whose children and grandchildren move in with them.  *sigh* Guess I'll have to keep searching for books that address our situation.  Being that 3-generation households weren't so rare as recently as 50-60 years ago, I didn't expect so much difficulty in locating information on the subject.

New project is an oaklet shawl that is going to be a Christmas present for DD1.  I had given her the skein of yarn over a year ago, thinking she would like to knit herself something with it (it is mainly shades of purple, her favorite color).  Well, shortly after that her knitting took a back seat to other interests. A few weeks ago she handed me the skein and hinted that perhaps I might create something for her.  Since I had planned a knitted item as one of her Christmas presents, it was easy to fit this shawl into my schedule.
colors are truer in this pic than the one with the book

Meanwhile, I have finished with the leg of DS2's first Athos sock and am about ten rows into the heel flap.  I think doing the heel flap, so far, has been harder than doing the pattern on the leg.  Mainly because it too has a pattern, which is different from the leg pattern, instead of just being a simple plain heel.  Can't wait to get through the 34 rows of heel flap and get to the (faster) foot part.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Challenge #35: Be a Mentor

From time to time, I find myself falling into a mentorship role.  Now, with DS1 and K2 moving in with us, I am entering such a time again.  So, why not challenge you to become a mentor to someone in your life?

You may have to consciously look for an opportunity to be a mentor.  Or, you may not.  You may all ready be slipping into such a role without even knowing it.  Most of the times I've found myself mentoring, it just happened.  Someone had an interest in something I do, or asked me about an experience I've had, and before I knew it, I was showing them the ropes or helping them through a situation similar to one I'd been through in the past.

Currently, K2 is looking to me for guidance in a variety of areas.  Living in the country.  Hanging clothes on the line to dry.  Cooking from scratch.  Juggling two young children. . .

I don't have to schedule a 'lesson plan' to do this kind of mentoring, I just need to go about my day-to-day activities, and be willing to answer questions or give a step-by-step explanation of what I doing and why I do it like that.

Of course there are other ways to mentor too.  Take a look around your community; most likely there are groups that look for volunteers to spend time with youth in need of attention, or someone to read to the elderly, or people interested in tutoring both child and adult students, or to teach English to immigrants.  There are also groups who look for free or low-cost speakers to come in and give talks on a variety of subjects; perhaps you have a hobby or an area of expertise that would make a great presentation.

Be a mentor.  It's not difficult.  You'll be glad you took the time.  And so will the person you mentor.  It makes a difference in their life, and yours too.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Leaves, Corn, and Geese

The leaves on the trees are starting to change at this little place here.

 The corn fields are that dry pale yellow/brown color.

 Other corn fields are empty of stalks now that the dairy farmers have chopped that corn for silage.

Canadian geese are flocking up, and beginning to migrate.

I think, first they migrate here from further north.  Then, after a while, they migrate on southward.  Right now, anyway, we have an abundance of geese.  Most days you can see them flying in dark ribbons across the sky.

Since the corn field just north of this little place here got chopped almost two weeks ago, the geese have been gathering nightly to feast on whatever the chopper missed.  It's not unusual to see groups of geese flying toward that field in the evening. In the mornings, there are over a hundred geese out among the corn stubble.

October is the change; the time when the garden and the fields finish for the year and begin their winter's rest.  The birds mostly disappear-- one day there are noisy flocks on lawns and fields and in trees, and the next there is silence.  The sun, too, seems to leave us, as cool overcast days begin to outnumber sunny skies.  Soon it will be time to light the fire in the wood boiler and bring heat into the house.  Soon; but not yet.  So far the house has been able to stay at comfortable levels on it's own with sunny warm days being evenly interspersed with cooler rainier weather.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yarn Along 7: FOs and the October Socks

Wednesday again!  Joining in with Ginny again this week.

To start, I have 3 FOs (finished objects) to show off:

the September KAL dishcloth
Barley hat for K3, done in purple not navy blue as the picture seems to show
and the finished on Sept. 27th Christmas socks for Mom.


When DH and I flew down to help DS1 and family move, I took with me Mom's Christmas socks and, just in case I managed to finish those, the skein of yarn, needles and instructions for DS2's Christmas Socks .  And, since I did finish Mom's socks while riding in the moving truck on Saturday, I immediately cast on for DS2's.

Right now, I'm very glad I started those 'early' (before my self-imposed start date of Oct 1st), because I don't foresee a whole lot of knitting time coming in October what with the grandkids now living here and all.  Hopefully I will be able to get both socks knit this month, and be able to start on my November socks (also slated as a Christmas gift) on time.

As far as reading goes, I am trying to get into this book:  Wildwood Creek.  So far, I'm pushing myself to read it, which does not bode well.  I read a book earlier this year by the same author and absolutely loved it, but this one. . . I'm to page 55 and I can't quite relate to the characters or the story line.  We shall see if this one goes back to the library unfinished or not.

What are you knitting and reading this week?