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Showing posts from November, 2012

November 30 - On the wall

One day feels like another …

at least when referring to BlogHer's NaBloPoMo. Today marks the end of the 2012 experience of publishing a blog post daily for the month of November. Many of those who participated will go back to posting regularly, but not daily. (Last month there were 510 entries added to BlogHer's list, this month there are more than 3200. And the day's just beginning.) I've managed to keep the daily drivel going since the beginning of November, 2011, missing only a couple of days but racking up 646 posts since 11/1/11.

Some posts were just photos, which is fine and it counts. But I gotta tell you that when I sit down every morning in front of this screen, I don't feel like I have to write something. I feel like I want to. Sometimes I want to write something two or even three times in one day.

I suppose it's because I live such an isolated life. Were it not for Barack Obama's decision to run for President in 2008, I wouldn't have much face-to-face contact with anyone…

What passes for excitement in the Middle of Nowhere

Anna, you're going to love this. I'm giddy with excitement because …

we had to have a tree cut down and the workmen dumped their entire load of chipped mulch at the edge of my yard. Woo hoo!

November 29 - Big

Shopping wipes me OUT

Armed with lists for three different stores, I set out yesterday morning around 10 to shop. And shop. And shop.

Six hours later I was unloading the car. And four hours after that I was sound asleep. Plum tuckered out, my dear ol' daddy used to say.

I ended up going to five different stores because I remembered when I was near Lowe's Hardware that I've pinned several ideas for coasters made of square ceramic tiles. (The link takes you to waaaay more ideas than what I've pinned so far.) I swear ceramic tiles must be the cheapest thing Lowe's sells: 16¢ each! I bought a dozen, and enough cork and glue for another couple dozen, should I decide to go into the ceramic tile coaster business. Heh.

And I went to two different Wal-Marts.

(Yes I know W-M is the evil empire but I'd have to drive twice as far and cross a state line to get to the nearest Target. What's a liberal to do? Waste all that fossil fuel by driving further or shop at Made in China? Besides, the p…

November 28 - Vehicle

More crafty thoughts

So. My younger granddaughter's Christmas gift will be four handmade journals, with blank spaces for her to add drawings/photos/stickers and a written description. Frequently when I start a project like this, I end up thinking about it before I drift off to sleep, and sometimes even dreaming about it.

Since there are four books, instead of just adding random fabric covers, I'm going to make one blue (winter), one pink (spring), one yellow (summer) and one orange (autumn). One quilting fat quarter is enough to cover each journal. Since I'm heading to Sam's Club today anyway (SOB! No Costco here in the Middle of Nowhere, nor in the entire state of West Virginia), I can make a stop at JoAnn's for fabric.

She might not pick up on the significance of the colors representing the seasons. I had originally intended to type up an instruction sheet to go with the books, but I think I'll make an instructional bookmark for each season. While I'm at JoAnn's I'll …

November 27 - Tree

Search-for-a-pattern result

Last night I'd already decided to continue working on a mindless-knitting garter-stitch scarf, when I was messaged by someone suggesting that a mutual someone might like one of those big-bow headbands to accessorize her new short haircut.

Off I went searching for bow headband knitting patterns, which are, um, abundant out there on the internets. (Ravelry is an amazing resource.) I picked this one. It's knit flat and seamed, and is shaped with short rows. I decided to knit the pattern as written the first time. Subsequent items will be knit in the round, but I thought I needed to see how the short-rowing worked first.

In less than two hours I was two rows away from casting off the headband part. However, I think it's not going to be big enough around to go over the second someone's new haircut. So here's my plan to fix it.

When I cast off the last stitch, I'm going to knit across the short horizontal edge and then knit an inch or so of ribbing. I will then sew t…

November 26 - In the cupboard

It never stops

I bet when you read the subject of today's post you just assumed I'd cast on for a bag or mittens or clogs or a sweater or even – gasp! – another hat!

Well, I haven't. Cast on a new project, that is. I'm still thinking about what I'd like to work on next.

No, what never stops, apparently, is West Virginia politics. Shelley Moore Capito, our 2nd District Congresswoman and a Republican who was just elected to her seventh term in the House of Representatives, is announcing this morning her run for the Senate in 2014. She'll be going up against our senior senator, five-term Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

He's a prince of a Senator, and West Virginia can't afford to lose him.

And so, the campaign begins. Again. HOWEVER … it's not just a campaign for the Senate seat, because she will be vacating her seat in Congress. We have a great opportunity to take the 2nd District from the GOP and turn it blue again.

We need a good candidate, of course, and my beef with t…

November 25 - Sky

A day off for the news folks

What the heck are the news people going to talk about today? Grey Thursday and Black Friday are over (unless you count the large number of retailers who are extending their "Black Friday deals" to the end of the year). Small Business Saturday is in the books, as well. Cyber Monday is tomorrow; I suppose the talking heads could breathlessly predict massive failures of the internets because of the sheer volume of online shoppers.

It. Makes. Me. Tired.

Not as tired as actually going out and braving the crowds, of course. Since I got home on Thanksgiving afternoon, I've stayed tucked in my nice warm house with my knitting and, um, football snacks. So I'm not tired at all.
My knitting is progressing nicely. Instead of a pair of clogs, I decided to start this.

Naturally I'm using some wool I already had in the yarn closet, an unlabeled blue-and-white tweed  which, doubled, is working out nicely.

Five years ago I might have gone out searching for the neutral tweed illus…

November 24 - A sound you heard

Brilliant self-promotion

I like cruising my Facebook page with my first cup of coffee, 'cause I'm nosy like that. Imagine my surprise when I got a notice that my friend Marla had tagged me. She's a fabulously talented painter and was promoting herself AND dozens of her creative friends in a Facebook post.

Naturally I returned the favor.

The images I saw and stories I read from Black Friday (and Grey Thursday) were horrifying. The video of Wal-Mart shoppers shoving, pushing and screaming to get a smartphone was so awful I'm not even going to link to it. In San Antonio, someone pulled a gun on a man who was trying to cut into the front of the line. (Oh, and he wasn't charged because he had a concealed-carry permit.)


How much nicer it is to give a shout out to online and local friends and businesses who offer quality products and services. And Facebook makes it really easy to do so.

Most of the time when you being typing a name, that name will pop up and you can just click on it to c…

November 23 - Black

Rude awakening

Hershey's the best dog ever. Or at least the best dog currently. (Because Lindy, my chocolate Lab who died in 1997, was an absolutely amazing dog.) Whenever I hear someone say how SMART, or how OBEDIENT, or how CLEVER theirs or someone else's dog is, I have to shut my MOUTH.

Because really? Hershey's the best. And if I said so I'd just look like I was arguing. Or showing off.

She does, however, have those times which try men's (and women's) souls. Like this morning, for instance!

I'm an early, early riser, as a rule. But yesterday was a big day (and a bit traumatic, damn you dentures!) and since all the MSNBC and CNN talking heads had the night off, my husband and I watched the rest of The Great Gatsby and all of Somewhere in Time. Meaning I got to bed a little later and a lot more wiped out than usual.

Hershey decided 7 o'clock this morning was LATE ENOUGH ALREADY and started barking her head off. There is no direct line of sight to the outdoors from …

November 22 - Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving!

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is listening to Alice's Restaurant on the drive from our house to pick up my mother-in-law.  Which tells you a whole lot about me. Think about it.

Two, two, two posts in one!

How very serendipitous that today's photo prompt – "what you wore" – coincides with my new slippers being knit, sewn, felted, dried and worn!

See? (Finally! An Instagram photo of my footwear, which seems to be a very popular subject.)

These were knit using the Duffers Revisited pattern, which is probably four times more pattern than I needed. Google found the British designer's blog, where I learned that the plain old Duffers pattern (for one pound) as opposed to the Revisited pattern (for 3.75 pounds) would have sufficed.

But it's the holiday season, and it feels good to support boutique designers. Plus the money in my PayPal account is burning a hole in my virtual pocket.

(I'm going to be adding more yarn for sale on eBay very soon. Because PayPal is hungry. And I have more yarn than I'll ever knit in my ever-diminishing lifetime.)

For the Duffers I used two strands of Lite Lopi for the grey sole and one strand of a bulky wool (the label is upstairs in …

November 20 - work/play

Remember a week or so ago ...

when I mentioned my blood pressure was a little higher than normal, and maybe I should start taking Lasix again? Well, I did, and my goodness what a difference it's made.

My blood pressure is once again in the 120/80 range, which I expected. What I didn't expect was to have so much more energy and to feel so fit.

When I walk on my road, the first third of a mile is flat. After that it's either uphill or downhill until you get back to that last flat stretch of road again. I'd gotten to the point where I actually had to stop and rest on the uphill parts. It was a big reason why walking was moved to the back burner during the last month or so of election season.

Because, really, who wants to exert oneself when it's so hard to exert oneself? Exerting should be easy, right?

When I was doing Up&Running, I only ran the downhill parts. I kept thinking I'd drive down by one of the rivers here and work out on a long flat road, but life got in the way and that never h…

November 19 - Something awesome

If I don't write now ...

I'll more than likely end up skipping a day. That wouldn't bother me any other time, but it's NaBloPpMo. Write. Something. I. Must.I watched a movie and knit a pair of slippers last night, and woke up at least an hour later than I usually do. And I'd previously committed to driving a couple of my Amish neighbors to town, so I was behind schedule from the get-go.When I got home from that trip, another Amish neighbor called, desperate for a ride to the doctor. Well, I couldn't say no to her, and I've been going from clinic to hospital to office ever since.So. This post is another placeholder, sort of.I DID mention knitting. (Too cumbersome to link to the pattern, but you can do a Google search for Duffers Revisited to see how cute they are.) Will be felting them tomorrow. Pix to come later.

November 18 - Happened this weekend

Recycling in the Middle of Nowhere. And other stuff.

No, Vickie, we don't have curbside recycling. The nearest drop-off spot is 13 miles away. I recycle cans and bottles, because I can collect them easily in a trash bin. Other than that, space is limited.

I don't subscribe to any newspapers. If I did, I'd most likely be using it for wrapping paper or gift bags. I do subscribe to magazines, and try to pass them on when I'm finished (library, hospital, friends), but sometimes they end up getting tossed, along with the catalogs.

We discard plain paper in a basket – I separate and toss envelopes with glassine windows from the rest of the mail, and we burn the plain stuff and then spread the ashes on the garden, which improves the tilth of the soil. Or so my father said. It does seem to be working. The worst third of the garden plot has improved significantly since I started working on it a couple years ago.

It appears my cold wasn't a cold after all, but must have been some kind of contact rhinitis. I sneezed and blew my…

November 17 - Last thing you bought

November 16 - The view from your window

My new best friend

"They" say a cold last either seven days or a week, whichever comes first.

Today is Day One. Grrr.

And here is my new BFF. So glad I bought the 12-pack at Sam's a couple months ago.

In an effort to find a smidgen of gratitude in the hell of having a cold, I'll just say this:
I'd rather have a cold when it's cold outside and I don't feel like doing anything outdoors anyway, than have one in the summer, when I not only want to be outdoors, but frequently need to mow or weed or reap or whatever. You can quote me if you like. Heh.

Today would be an excellent day to knit and watch movies. I've been working on the Cabled Beret from Vogue Knitting's Caps & Hats. (The book is one of their On the Go volumes. You might have to be a Ravelry member to view the link.). The cabled strip is done. I want to block it before I pick up the stitches for the ribbed band, because I think it's a little narrow. So glad I decided to use wool, which should stretch …

November 15 - In your bag

And now for something completely different

In case you hadn't heard, CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Kinda weird how it does that every year, whether you're expecting it or not, eh?

The catalogs have already started filling up the mailbox. And the trash can. A sampling: several from Land's End, a couple from Dover (mostly offering children's books) and the Wireless catalog – which only shows up at Christmas.

Serengeti thinks I want to order more clothes, even though I told them I wouldn't be doing that after I ordered three coordinated pieces and they only sent two. Tell me, would you order a complete outfit if you knew one of the pieces was out of stock, never to be replaced? Neither would I. Which is why I ordered those slacks that were clearly marked in stock. Except they weren't. So now I have a jacket and a top and a refund on my shipping. That's going to look lovely at holiday parties.

Anyway, the one catalog I haven't received – yet – is good old Williams-Sonoma. But wait! I don't have to actual…

November 14 - Manmade

You wanna secede? Seriously?

I wonder if the Obama administration is rethinking that whole We the People thing this morning, now that the number of petitions requesting a state's peaceful secession has doubled from 20 to 40.

He's probably wondering, in his heart of hearts, about that whole President thing. I know I surely would be by now!

While perusing the petitions, I saw this one from the city of Austin, Texas.

Way to stay, Austin!

Y'all can make up your own minds about whether states should have the right to secede or not. Some state constitutions specifically prohibit secession (North Carolina is one, and, yes, some asshat Tarheel posted a petition to secede anyway). West Virginia has already done it once, having seceded from Virginia, which sided with the Confederacy, during the Civil War.

(In my not-so-humble opinion, many in the Mountain State have forgotten their Union/union roots, as evidenced by the number of Confederate flags I see displayed.)

But of course there's a petition requestin…

November 13 - Where you slept

It's here, it's here!

Some of you may remember my writing about Anna Hess, who homesteads with her husband, Mark, in southwest Virginia. Anna was offered a book deal last year and today her book, The Weekend Homesteader, has finally arrived.

This is my favorite page:

If you read the text and photo credit closely, you'll see MY NAME!

I thought the photo was going to be tiny and in a sidebar, and I didn't expect Anna to provide details on how Debbi composted her way through the winter of 2011-12. But whoomp, there it is, on page 27. Thewhole page!

I'm sure the rest of the book is just as wonderful as my page is. The book is subtitled "A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency," and offers plans and projects throughout the year to help you depend less on stuff you buy and more on stuff you grow or make.

Whether you're a full-time homesteader or trying to eat better by growing some of your own food, Anna has advice and projects to help. Order your copy here.

November 12 - Drink

8,036. Or 22.

Take your pick.

Today marks 22 years – 8,036 days – since I've found it necessary to take a drink or a drug, and for that I am truly grateful.

If you're curious about how I went to hell and back, you can read a bit of my story here. If you're curious about how I've managed to stay sane and sober for 22 years, well, that boils down to three things, really.

Alcoholics AnonymousGod as I understand godAn attitude of gratitude
I credit my late sponsor for that third key. She was the most grateful person I've ever met, and she has passed that quality along to all of her girls. I'm not perfect. I get angry and frustrated, mostly with myself, but still, too often, with others. Eventually, though, I find a space and place of gratitude.

Grateful it wasn't worse.Grateful it's taken care of.Grateful for what I've learned.
If you had told me then that 22 years later I'd find myself living happily ever after in the Middle of Nowhere without alcohol I'd have…

Mornings are better than ...

the rest of the day.

But yesterday was worse than today (so far), so, um, progress!

Beginning the day with a couple of poached eggs on wheat toast is a Good Thing. I've long known that the protein in eggs really fills me up. I don't think about food for hours after I've eaten eggs.

Unless there's a pile of party food sitting around. Then I think about it. And eat it. As someone who grew up in the '50s, when we all had to clean our plates so the Chinese children wouldn't starve (that just doesn't make any sense at all, does it/), I'm loathe to toss perfectly good food in the trash.

But I'm just substituting my body for the waste bin, so who's the biggest loser in this scenario?

As I said, today has been better than yesterday. And one of these days – soon – the junk food will be out of the house and life will be back to normal. I'll have a couple days of sugar withdrawal to deal with, but it's not like I haven't done that before.

To Je…

November 11 - Night

Clean. Simple. Good.

After many weeks of being too busy to comb my hair, let alone exercise or cook healthful meals, I'm actually looking forward to a bit of normal prior to the holidays. And, truly, the holidays don't provide many challenges for me. We don't have big family gatherings, we're eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, Christmas will be low-key, as it usually is here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Cooking is something I actually enjoy, and I've gotten into a rut of throwing something together at the last minute or eating previously frozen leftovers. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm ready for a spell of clean eating. I promise I'm not going to go crazy with it. I was inspired by a magazine of the same name  I saw yesterday at the grocery, which I browsed through but didn't buy.

What I did buy were apples. And potatoes. My husband has been on a baked potato kick, while I've been eating leftover party food. But his simple baked potato looked very appealing to m…

November 10 - Can't (won't) live without

November 9 - Small

Knitting fail ...

but walk WIN!

In fact, I walked yesterday when I hadn't planned to, and I just got back from today's walk. I promised you a picture and SNAP! there it is.

My husband has been nagging meon my back encouraging me to take better care of myself. That's his shadow on the left. I humored him for a mile, then turned around and headed back home, while he's still out there taking care of himself.

Have any of you ever been nagged encouraged to the point where you're willing to shoot yourself in the foot just to be rebellious about it? That's nearly the point I'm at with him. Before I get there, I'm going to tell him how I feel. He's a shrink, so he'll be completely understanding, right? Heh.

I didn't knit yesterday, nor did I watch a movie. I spent a lot of time online and I took a nap. Oh, and I took a walk. But I might have already mentioned that.

I began my day picking up a gallon of milk from one of the Amish neighbors and then going to get blood …

November 8 - Something you do every day

A little difficult ...

getting back to normal here in the old Middle of Nowhere. I shall, however, do my best.

One thing I feel really badly about is dropping the ball on the Up & Running plan. I so appreciate Shauna's encouragement. I just simply couldn't keep up with everything and regular exercise was the first to go.

I bet none of you have done that before, have you?

Why is it that when we add something – in my case, re-electing a President, heh – to our already busy lives, we find it easier to quit working out than to quit, oh, doing laundry? Or showering? The answer is obvious: Without showers or clean laundry, we wouldn't be welcome just about anywhere.

The truth is, I stopped doing a lot more than exercising as Election Day loomed. I stopped playing my daily Scrabble game with my husband. That takes an hour (we play SuperScrabble). I stopped reading for pleasure, including blogs, magazines, books and most e-mails. And I stopped knitting. Oh, I have a hat on the needles, and I've …

November 7 - Reflection