1000 miles later

Maybe only 700 miles.  but a whole lot more than normal, that is for sure!

Yesterday was a long family day – started off at 5 with the royal wedding – wasn’t the bride elegant? Love those dimples!  The groom was as handsome as someone in that family could be… Harry was so well-behaved, almost like he has grown up.  🙂 Anyway, then I spent the morning and early afternoon in Portland with Mom, C and E.  We went wedding dress fabric shopping, and were succesful, early – always a good thing. E was very good, very chatty with clerks and interested in the messes they were making and cleaning up.  She behaved well while I read to her in the car at the grocery store, Mom and C got to do some child-free grocery shopping.  They didn’t take anywhere near as long as they could have! We had a nice lunch, and then I hit the road for CT and the big play.

That trip went smoothly, no awful traffic until Hartford, where it is ALWAYS awful.  I got to the play in time to visit with past in-laws before the show started.  Both girls did a great job – B under the lights and C in the darkness.  We tried hard to tell which dark shadow was C as the props changed, but we could never be sure.  C did tell us afterwards that she carried out the chair that the star sat in for the final scene. She did a great job, we never saw her.  🙂 We were darned sure which member of the chorus B was – she was wonderful!  She sang her heart out – opened her mouth wide, no mumbling through her lines for her! –  and acted her part beautifully.  In fact the whole production was good, although it is a depressing topic, with most characters dying under unfortunate circumstances. But the singing was really good, and so was the acting.  And the set was really sharp.  Very impressive Les Miz, especially for a school production.

But of course, the best part was seeing two of my favorite nieces, and meeting some of their friends, and two of their little cousins.  It was also good to see their “other” family, I haven’t seen their other favorite aunt in a long time.  Both girls are getting so grown up, it is hard to believe they were tiny babies and cute toddlers not so long ago.

After the show, I found my hotel with not too much trouble, got a few hours sleep and then hit the road for home.  Good driving day, not too bright, no precip, not too many big trucks.  It was hard leaving spring and coming back up here to “will it ever be spring?”  I stopped to visit RCE on the way, but only found R digging holes for all the FedCo trees.  There were a lot of trees and only one R.  He will be busy all weekend, I think.  C and E were off getting him some food and beverages, or so he hoped! The driveway will look lovely when all those maples are planted along it.

Got home safely, A went off to the grocery store, I started laundry.  Another exciting few days in my life! One more day of vacation…

got to spend time upstairs today

and it was good.  🙂

I made a couple of cards, straightened out the stuff on the table, and even unpacked a couple of boxes.  Yes, more boxes.  I am working on organizing the closet, which meant that I took all the boxes out a few weeks ago and have been just looking at them.  I am sick of it.  So I started looking in them.  These boxes have nothing to do with crafts, why they are in there, I don’t know.  Anyway, I went through lots of old photos and cards and presents from my sweetie.  Anyone interested in a red plastic replica of the famous weinermobile?  Me neither, but it was fun to get at the time.  And I haven’t chucked it yet, so if you DO want it, just let me know, and it will be on its way to you.

Found some great photos of the twins with Grampa T – they were maybe 2.  N was even smiling, instead of glaring at the camera like she was being hounded by the paparazzi, like in so many of the other photos I have of her at that age.

Also found a cousin picture that actually had ALL of the cousins in it – such a rare occurrence.  It was taken on the “CAKE!” day, which will live in family lore forever, since brother C made that video of our pavlovian response. What is truly amazing is how young we all looked that day. I can’t speak for the other 8, but I don’t feel as much older as I look!

So, there are still several boxes to go through.  And sadly, we aren’t yet ready to hang photos and things, so I will have to repack all those things into a box and store it somewhere.  Not in the craft room closet though. That is getting filled with yarn and fabric, as it was intended to be.

Monday – on vacation!

And what an exciting vacation it is. Among other things, today I took a car load of trash to the transfer station. It felt pretty good to have more recycling than garbage… and to get rid a full carload of junk from the house!  Of course, I also got cranky mad at seeing corrugated cardboard in the garbage pit, and also in the non-corrugated bin, but that was just the old lady Bannerman sneaking out of me. How lazy/uncaring are people?  The corrugated bin is perhaps ten feet from the garbage pit…

Took the blind cat out for a couple of walks.  She really enjoys it, although I think it confuses her to be out there and smell things but wonder where, exactly, the yard went?

A and I took another step into the digital age – got an MP3 player.  Found it especially confusing and annoying (old lady Bannerman again, I know) to figure out how to get things from iTunes onto it, as it is not an iPod.  But with the help of online chat, we got through that, and now have lots of strange tunes on this cute little tiny thing…. had lots of fun on iTunes finding the songs of our youth.  Didn’t buy them all, just gave each other a glimpse into our past lives.  We did buy some Joan Jett and Jackson Browne and Marvin Gaye…reliving the 70’s and 80’s through iTunes!  We will load many of our CDs (which number in the thousands and are as eclectic as it is possible to be, I think.  Seriously, I have a drawer labeled “1680 through 1970.”) onto the computer to load onto this thing.  I expect it will be full the next time we have a rainy day.  🙂

A cleaned up the basement, and hopes to start cutting wood Sunday.  We had hoped to start today, but we had to figure out how to position things so that we could run an 8 foot sheet of plywood through the table saw.  That means at least 18 feet of space – not as easy as it sounds, but we did it.  Honestly, someday soon, I will be posting pictures of our new bed!

Rolled our loose change because we could.  130 dollars to be spent however we want!  My half went into the yarn fund, and A used hers (along with her birthday money) to buy the mp3 player, a shop vac for the basement, and sunglasses.  I found the combination interesting, but I am sure she finds the yarn obsession interesting as well. I am amazed that we can acquire so much money simply by putting our loose change in the jar each night, and putting the bottle money there every week. It’s money we otherwise would spend and not even notice it, but this way, we get a special guilt free treat every few months. And I know there is no other way we would be fine with spending $65 on yarn.  But when I get to that Fiber Frolic, I will have permission to get whatever I want with that cash.  Some Maine farmer will be glad.  🙂

Tomorrow I just have to remember to leave by 11:30 to get to Bangor to meet a bypass surgery friend so we can celebrate our 1 year anniversary together.  I thought we would go thrift store shopping together, but she will have her husband with her, so we will just gab.  Maybe I will go shopping afterwards.  Or maybe just come home and play in the craft room, which I did not do today as planned. I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile I am enjoying listening to Otis sing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.  It has been a long time.

Another week has flown by!

It was a busy one – but now I am on vacation – ahhh!  Today is A’s birthday, so we had Easter/birthday celebration with her family.  That meant yesterday was spent scrubbing the house from top to bottom – boy did it need it.  Now we are relaxing post party, enjoying our clean house. There is nothing like it.

She got some fun stuff – a giant magnet on a stick – which at first I wondered what on earth for.  Then we figured out – to clean up the construction debris around the yard, of which there is still plenty!  And there are all those earrings I lost this winter while shoveling. Maybe we can find some of those.  That would be very nice.

She also got a whole array of Kreg system screws, so I think we will see some serious building going on.  And lots of assorted fun gifts from everyone, as well as lots of jelly making equipment from me – so we will be in jelly/jam producing mode as soon as some berries start growing!  Hey, does anyone reading this know anything about cultivating wild raspberries?  We have them volunteering all over the place, but get only tiny little berries, and very few of them.  I know if I cover them I can save them from the birds, but how do I get them to want to produce more, slightly larger berries?  And how on earth do I get under them to clear out the other stuff around them?

Which all makes me think about the garden, and wish for a spring like we had last year, when I already had my peas in.  Now I have leggy tomato plants in the guest room and lots of seeds begging me to put them in the ground. I am thinking I will be lucky to get them in by Memorial Day….

I’m looking forward the rest of the week.  Plan to go thrift store shopping with a friend on Tuesday, and wedding dress shopping in Portland with Mom and C on Friday, then a mad dash to CT to see niece B in her high school production of Les Miz – 2 solos! – and home again by noon on Saturday.

Somewhere in there is cleaning the craft room and getting it more organized, which usually means I get engrossed in a new project!  I ran really late on Easter cards, but managed to get the last ones mailed at 3:59 on Friday… still have to make brother C’s card to mail this week, and then think about Mother’s Day… and niece C’s birthday coming right up, along with my fellow 6-9ers, and the rogue 6-10er.  Endless excuses to play with paper and glitter!

Whole ‘nother topic – last week marked the one year anniversary of my gastric bypass surgery, which meant a visit to the surgeon.  I have lost 122 pounds, officially, and don’t have to go back for another 6 months.  It is amazing to me all that has changed with that surgery.  I can RUN downstairs now.  Going up still walking, knees still have arthritis, after all, but moving is so much easier and more comfortable.  I can try on clothes that are a real size, and they actually fit. I am more fit than I have been in at least 30 years, maybe ever.  It is all still amazing to me. What is amazing to A is that my internal thermostat has been totally reset, and instead of being hot all the time, I am often chilly.  So we kept the house a whole lot warmer this winter, and she is in heaven.  So are the pellet makers.  🙂 I exercise regularly, and it has made all the difference in building my energy level.  Since January, I have gained muscle weight, and lost fat – according to the magic doctor’s scale.  That is very cool to me, as I have lots of flabby skin.  Good for me to know there is muscle under there, because I look sort of like a balloon that was over inflated, and then had most of the air let out. But it is better than being fat.

unexpectedly quiet day

Funny how things work out… A and I had planned a quiet day at home, working on our projects.  We knew it would be stormy, so we planned inside chores.  I was planning to finish up my Easter card prototype, and make a thank you card for work.  And A was planning on starting to build our bed. 

The best laid plans and all that.  A little before 9 we were up in the craft room, A eating breakfast, me working on the thank you card, when the power went out.  Argh!  Of course, I was planning all sorts of fabulous paper cutouts for the card, using the Cricut machine. And I wanted to do some heat embossing on the Easter card.  And, frankly, I wanted to be warm and see what I was doing.  So… not much crafting going on today! And A of course needed the power tools. Not much building going on today. No watching a movie on a  stormy day. No doing the laundry or the dishes or pretty much anything we would normally do on a day at home.

Instead, A moved ALL the boxes of books from the loft, and found a few that weren’t actually books.  So we unpacked those, and found treasures I had forgotten we had.  Which might mean we don’t need them, I know.  Got rid of a lot of them, but kept some as well.  And we planned out the bookcases for the loft, which we will build next time we have a quiet day at home.  With power.


A gave me a gift certificate to the bead store in Brewer for Christmas, and I had fun shopping for beads to make a necklace  and earrings.  But then I didn’t ever find time to make it.  But yesterday (instead of napping), I dug out my beading things and made them.  And, I think I have enough beads to make a bracelet to match as well, although my patience ran out.  Hard to bead with a cat on my lap!

I also started my third pair of fingerless mitts yesterday – I am having fun modifying the pattern C shared with me.  The first pair was for Amy, the second was for me, but a woman at work really liked them, so I gave them to her.  Now I am making a pair that I think will be for me.  We will see! (C –  I knit them flat instead of round, and knit two at once, knitting from each end of the ball.  Then, I seam them, leaving a hole for the thumb – that way they are the same length, and I am not fighting the small round thing and all the double-pointed needles.)

C shared the minimalist knitter blog with me some time ago, and I have been following Robyn’s knitting adventures.  One thing she has inspired me to do is REDUCE the stash.  Scary.  So I have sorted out all the yarn, put it in clear totes so I can see what I have, and one of those totes is for bits and pieces and leftovers that I won’t use for me.  Then I made a commitment to myself, that I will knit one thing from the scrap bin for everything I knit from the other bins.  And the scrap bin things are for charity. I was knitting for the Nest Maine project, and I probably will (another blog from C) but the first batch of things I gave to the coats project at work, as they are all out of hats and scarves and need to begin stockpiling for next winter.  Which I don’t even want to think about!  By making these mitts for me, I am sort of cheating, although I did give away the last pair, does that count as charity knitting?  Not sure.  I’ll make two hats from the bin when I finish these.  Those hats come out funny, as I make them stripes with variety of yarns in crazy colors.  So if you see folks on the streets of Maine next winter in wild hand knit hats, blame me.

Lots accomplished over the last couple of days – A and I did ALL the errands this morning so that we don’t have to go out again this weekend, my favorite kind of weekend!  Then we came home and moved the 14 sheets of plywood EBS delivered to the front yard yesterday.  I wore my pedometer for that effort – 3000 plus steps to haul it all around the house and into the cellar – more than a mile!  That’s for A’s creative project – building us a captain’s bed.  She will start cutting the wood tomorrow, maybe.  First, of course, there are a few projects to do in prep.  She wants to build two small tables the same height as the table saw to support the wood as she cuts it.  I am all in favor of that, otherwise, I have to stand there for hours while she cuts.  Kinda boring.  But I am looking forward to the bed being done, so whatever it takes, I will do.

We are also designing our headboard – it will be a work of art! Solid, so we can lean against it, with drawers that pull out of the side instead of bedside tables – so we can slide the clutter away during the day.  And we hope to be able to mount our reading lights right to the headboard, with outlets behind.  Very complicated sounding, I know, but I think it will work… and when all is said and done, it will be very self-contained and clutter free.

Friday already?

It seems I won’t be writing daily!  At least not during tax season.  Which is over, for me, pretty much.  Just have to make sure all the papers get sent off to the IRS, and the files get cleaned up and then clean out the tax box I have been hauling around since February 1.

I really like this part of my job – coordinating 4 tax sites and doing tax returns.  Volunteer management – not so much, but it is part of the game. When we got into this 6 years ago, I was sure I would hate doing tax returns, but now I have been doing it for long enough that I am comfortable with what I know, know where to look for what I don’t, and can reallly feel like I helped people.  It is amazing to me how many people are AFRAID of the whole tax deal, even if they know they are getting a refund. I have a healthy respect for the power of the IRS but now I know that it is possible to talk to real people there and get answers that make sense (well, you know, eventually).  Amazing.

Anyway. That is what I have been doing for two and a half months, straight out.  I am so tired.  So glad it is spring.  So glad the snow is almost all gone – just a few patches here and there.  I started my tomoatoes.  I want to start everything else, but I know it is too soon. I think I will repot houseplants today.  And go mess around in my craft room some more, it needs cleaning out, for sure. Maybe rake the  yard  – or maybe not.  A nap is sounding pretty good right about now.

Patience is a virtue

One which I need to cultivate a little bit more …

Wow!  Today I spent two hours on the phone, trying to get a simple answer to a question. Did the IRS get or not get my tax payment?  Wouldn’t you think that would be easy for them to tell me?  It turns out that I have to wait and call on May 15th, when they have processed the payment due bills.  The good news is I won’t get charged interest or penalties because I have my receipt from the Post Office showing that I mailed the payment in March.  The first three people to whom I spoke didn’t know all of this, but thankfully, the fourth one did. I can now recite my social security number, name, address, birth date, filing status, number of exemptions, and 2009 employer name in my sleep.  I might have been able to do that before, but after the practice I had with that today, I am really good at it now.

I just kept reminding myself that these fine folks transfering my call all over the country are doing the best they can, and are facing a furlough of undetermined length starting in a mere seven hours.  Would I want to know anything if that were me? Maybe not…

Except for that, it was a good day.  I got to sleep late – maybe 7? –  the cat did not climb all over me hollering about it, but curled up next to me.  I got lots of chores done early – house vacuumed, bed changed, laundry started.  I had a really good visit with my brother C,  we had a nice lunch and did errands together.  It was so nice and warm out that I was able to air the house out for quite a while.  AND the blind kitty was able to sit outside on the deck and enjoy the sunshine.

Then I called the IRS.  Sigh.  Hard to keep the calm happy equilibrium going after that.  But it is Friday, a whole weekend ahead, of WARM weather – GOOD BYE SNOW! Act like a witch and melt!

A will be home soon, and all is well.

Why blog?

I have been thinking about starting a blog for a long time. As I wander through my life, I think “what would I blog about this?”  followed by “Just write a journal, get the writing thing out of your head and onto paper.”

 and I also think “who cares about this besides you?”

But the blog idea keeps coming back to me because, of course, I think that what I am doing today, or my reactions to the world around me, are of the utmost interest to EVERYONE!  And I like to write.

So if no one reads this, at least I will get to write.  And if anyone does read it, maybe they will agree or disagree with me and my reactions. Or have a new or different way to do something I am working on.  I hope that they will start conversations where ideas can be exchanged, which is what I really want to have happen, as it turns out.

Yup, it turns out that’s why I am doing this.  So that I can hear from people with viewpoints other than my own or who agree with me totally. So I can learn more and do more. So that my world can grow, not shrink.

So read, react, send comments.  I can’t wait!

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