Monday, November 28, 2011

My Christmas List

Now that Black Friday is over - Cyber Monday has about an hour to go. I decided to do a little Christmas shopping for myself. Just think of all the great and wonderful things on the Internet that I could be buying for myself. Here's a few of the incredibly wonderful gifts I will (not) be buying this year.

Racing Grannies: what's not to love about a couple of grannies chasing each other around with their walkers! (I've been thinking about buying these for a few years and each time I see them I remember back to my nursing home days when I'd have to avoid the racing grannies where I worked.)

Bacon Band-aids: you never know when those grannies will get so exited they cause an injury. To be fair, there's lots of bacon themed items available now but, there's just something about having a strip of bacon attached to your skin that gives me the giggles.

LED Faucet Light: just imagine, it's late at night and you just need to have a glass of water. Why bother to with the lights to see that you're turning the faucet to get cold water when you have the LED faucet to show you if it's cold or hot.

Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver Pen: OK, I admit it - I'm a SciFi geek. I've been a Dr. Who fan since it first started playing on PBS during the Tom Baker era.

Catnip Bubbles: Bert says if I'm posting a Christmas list he wants to add this.

Not a Llama Mug: This would be great to go along with my current knitting project "It's not an afghan".

You may have noticed several items are from the ThinkGeek website. I think its a fun site to browse but - truth be told - I've never bought anything there so I don't know how their customer service is.

I hope you have fun shopping for your loved ones and get just the right present for everyone on your list. Of course, the best present of all is one that's bought with love and not just bought because you have to!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Traditionally in my family Thanksgiving was a day of my family getting together with my Mom's sister and her family. There would be all the traditional foods, lots of laughing, and an afternoon of the guys sleeping in front of the football game while the women did the dishes and chatted in the living room.

That was the good old days. People grew up and moved away. The older generation aged and passed on. Thanksgiving changed.

This year I'm meeting some friends for a day of friendship (and no football!). We'll have some of the traditional foods, lots of laughing, and an afternoon of working on a sewing project and chatting. Then I'll go over to a cousin's house in the evening for a visit with them.These are the good new days.

Being Thanksgiving I decided to look back at what's happened this year and I can honestly say it's been a good year. Since last Thanksgiving I lost Dad but it was a peaceful passing. You can't ask for more than that. I also lost something I was glad to lose, I lost my old attitude of sitting around doing nothing and eating everything. This summer I had a mind change. I'm going to be here another 20-30 years or more and I don't want to spend them wishing I could do more. I started thinking about things in a different way. I didn't go on a diet, although I changed how I eat quite a bit. I didn't decide I'm going to lose 5 pounds a week and in a few weeks I'll have lost a million pounds and be the perfect weight. That never worked for more than a few days.

What I did do is decide I deserve to be the girl who could swim across the lake; the girl who could hop on a bike and go 30 miles just because it was a nice day. She could be very lazy but she could be very active. I liked her and she wants to come out and play. I'm giving her a chance to come back. That is a good feeling.

Since summer I lost 45 pounds. I went to New York and visited a friend. I dug out clothes from the back of my closet because the ones I was wearing were too big. I've had people come up and tell me how good I look. But more than all that, I'm starting to feel like the old me. I have a long way to go before I'm back to my "fighting" weight but this time I see this journey as real. For that I can be very thankful and and very happily say - this has been a good year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Annual Fall Knitting Retreat

My knitting group has gone on a knitting weekend the past 2 years. In my mind that means it's an annual thing and we'll be doing it "forever". We have fun. We have a lot of fun. Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon with nothing to think about but enjoying friend's company; knitting and eating incredibly good (and surprisingly healthy) food.

This year 11 of us headed an hour south to Red Wing Minnesota. We rented a house thru and were really pleased with our weekend home. It was just over on the Wisconsin side with a beautiful view and lots of room to spread out.

Knitters need lots of room to spread out because they have lots of projects going at the same time.

We had wonderful food. Being a house we could bring our own food and not worry about going out to restaurants. This group knows how to cook! Homemade butternut squash soup - chili - vegetable lasagna - and so much more. YUM!

Saturday we headed out to Riverside Suri Alpacas. A farm in Lake City. Dana has 36 alpacas and a few cows. We had free run of the pasture and had a ball bonding with the alpaca.

They all have their own personality. This little girl reminded me of a meerkat

Cute Alpaca


Some of the alpacas had incredibly huge teeth. Dana told us the teeth keep growing and they are trimmed every year. That just sounds painful to me. Back when I was an avid swimmer I dove a bit too deep in the pool and hit bottom. I chipped a tooth (and luckily didn't break my neck!) But my dentist filed the tooth down to even it out. That tooth was so sensitive for a long time, I really feel for the alpacas.

From what I've found out these teeth get long in the males. They're the fighting teeth so they can "prevent" the other males from being competition for the females. (think about it, you'll figure it out!)

 Then there was Sarah. We bonded. I stood and scratched her ears while she snuggled her head into the crook of my arm for about 5-10 minutes.After a bit Sarah decided to sit down and Rosie got in the act.

According to Dana, Sarah is so sweet that she let Rosie nurse from her even though Rosie isn't her baby. While we were there, Rosie decided she was hungry and she would not leave Sarah alone. Sweet Sarah just sat and let Rosie crawl all over her but wasn't about to be on the dinner menu.

Saturday night ended with more excitement then we planned. About midnight we heard a crackle and thought nothing of it. A few minutes later we decided maybe we should figure out what it was. One of the ladies got up and checked the other room. After making a few rounds she noticed the ceiling fan was on fire! Yup! we had an electrical fire.

The power to the light was turned off along with the fire going down to just smoke. A couple of the ladies headed downstairs to find the circuit breaker and we woke up the few that were sleeping in case we needed to leave. Circuit breaker found - doors opened to deal with the smoke fumes - the really bad smoke fumes. The owner was called and a message left cause he didn't answer and we discussed whether or not to call the fire dept. Better safe than sorry so we gave them a call and 20 minutes later we had many- many fire fighters in full gear with masks on and 2 policemen at the door. They checked out the fan with a heat sensor and declared it safe. Meanwhile the owner said he was on his way but about 1 hour to get there.

Rumors have it we giggled a lot with the firemen and the policeman said something about not wanting to come back because of a rowdy party (he was laughing at the time so we weren't worried). Everyone left around 1:00 am which meant we didn't get to bed until after 2 cause it took a while to calm down from the unplanned party.

So, we had fun. I always have fun with these ladies. They talk my language - knit. I can't wait till next year's retreat. Lucky, I don't have to wait that long to see everyone, knit night is Thursday!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Our country was created by people willing to sacrifice. Men went to war. Women and children stayed home to be sure the men had a home to return to when the fighting was over. Since the Civil War my family has served in every war with honor.

To all my family members who served and to the family members of everyone - THANK YOU!!