Getting ready

Hello!  I went AWOL again, so sorry!

I have been totally focused on getting things done,and dealing with deadlines, in work, home, and knitting.

The work pressure is never ending… but right now it is a big state grant that needs writing, to continue providing a great service that we do.  I don’t like writing state grants because the format feels very choppy to me.  Have to do it exactly as they say, and they are repetitious.  I never know if I can trust them to realize I already covered something, or if they want me to be equally repetitious. I go with repeating myself in case the thing is broken up into parts and the reviewers don’t have access to the prior info.  But i feel for them if they get the whole thing. This one got a lot more stress filled when the boss said to me that he learned there is at least one other organization bidding on our region.  Mind you, they are located 100 miles away, and that will go over like a lead balloon in teh region, but it might make sense to the state reviewers.  So it is on me to make a strong case.  UGH.  And never mind that they just released the answers to all teh questions we asked at the reviewers conference two months ago.  and that the whole things is due a week from tomorrow.  Do they not realize grant writers like holidays too?

So, I canceled vacation days scheduled for the early part of this week, but kept Friday off. I have big plans for Friday and Saturday, and I was not willing to let people down on account of work.  I will figure it out.

That leads me to the deadlines at home – Thursday we are hosting A’s family as always – there will be 7 of us we think.  I do the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, they bring whatever else they think we need, and it is always interesting to see what turns out to be. I think there will be dessert, if past years are anything to go by. so there is the cleaning and cooking and cleaning that are involved there.  

Then, niece E the younger is coming to stay on Friday, until Saturday morning.  She has been asking for this visit, because she wants me to teach her how to spin and weave and dye yarn. She has never been for a solo visit before, for a variety of reasons, and so this is a big deal! She is the only one of my nieces and nephew who has NOT been here for an overnight visit, and I am really looking forward to it.  I warned her that 24 hours is not long enough to learn all of that, but we will give it a shot.  As a result, we have to get the whole house cleaner, as opposed to just the downstairs for Thursday.   That is what the vacation days were for.  Luckily A is a good sport, and owes me for doing the household chores all summer while she worked… now she can do them while I work!

the knitting and crafting deadlines are almost all gone!  I knit a bzillion hats for the craft fair last week, as well as some ornaments.  Luckily a friend of mine is knitting gnomes like mad and I offered to sell them for her at the table, along with my SIL’s hand sewn teddy bears.  They both filled my table and made it look abundant, without me knitting a million more things.  And their things sold VERY well! I think we sold more than 30 gnomes and ten bears.  I sold one ornament, one pair of baby booties, and 4 hats.  So I am glad I didn’t make more than I did.

I also finished all the baby knitting for my friend, in just the nick of time.  I delivered the last thing – cactus blanket the day before she hopped on her flight to await the baby.  I was thrilled to be done with the pressure knitting.

Now I am working on three things – two knit alongs that I am behind on, and one pair of mitts that is a gift with no deadline. One KAL is the Japanese scarf one that i have been doing all year.  I am about halfway done with the last clue and the next and final one is due out this weekend. I will finish on time.  The other is a Patty Lyons knit along, the Volition sweater KAL.  I am pretty far behind on that, I can’t finish by the deadline looming in early December, but I will get the sweater done shortly after that, I am looking forward to having it this winter.  And I have other sweaters I want to cast on! Luckily, Patty has prizes for WIPs… 🙂

If you notice, I have no shawls on the needles!  I have them going in my head, though, and they will be my reward for finishing any of these things.  🙂

I also managed to clear off my bobbins and not start spinning anything else, in prep for E’s visit.  I have SO MUCH new fiber since i last spun, and I am tempted, but have resisted thus far.  I can spin after Saturday.

I also need to weave – I have a project on the loom that isn’t quite done, and I need to get that cleared off as well, so E can choose and execute her own project this weekend… I am sort of thinking I will get her spinning, the I will weave and get it finished.

Last weekend Whorls and Purls had a potluck and destash party, it is making me want to knit and spin and weave all the things!  The deal is this – gather up all your yarn and fleece, and fabric that you have and are ready to part with, and bring it to one location.  Dump it out on the table.  Everyone draws a number and we go around in order over and over until we can’t do it any more or there is nothing left that you want.  On your turn, you choose something from the table that you want.  I kept my word to A that I would not come home with more than I brought, in fact I came home with way less!  I also felt good that there was hardly anything left that I had brought when it all ended.  One of the group offered to gather up the unwanted things and take them to Good Will, so none of us brought home anything we didn’t want.  It was so much fun, and cleared things out AND gave me a bag full of new goodies to play with at some future date.  🙂

hmmmm… what else have I been doing and not telling you about?  A little sewing – I am making a skirt for myself.  I could have it done by now but for all that came before this… a little gardening – I got the garlic in at last.  Had to bust through an inch or so of frozen soil, but I am hopeful that it won;t matter too much in the end.

 

Had a knitting day with mom and my SIL D a few weeks ago, that was lots of fun, as always.

I think that is about it. Now I am off to read about what all of you have been up to!

 

 

 

 

Saturday was Maine Fiber Frolic

And frolic I did!  As I have the past few years, I went with some of the ladies from Whorls and Purls, and we met up with even more of the group once there.

A gave me cash for my early birthday, and I had been saving up quite a bit of cash for the event, so I felt quite flush this year!

I am going to try the link thing again to all of my goodies, please let me know in the comments if it doesn’t work.

I was not as organized as I like to be when I go there, with patterns and ideas in mind.  I was thinking I wanted some fairly solid DK weight yarn for a couple of sweaters (suddenly all the patterns I like call for DK, and I have none!) and I knew I would be on the lookout for some yarn and matching beads for the Biophilia  shawl I will be starting soon.

I also knew that Bartlett Yarns would be a vendor, and I wanted a sweater quantity (SQ) of their yarn.  If it could be DK, so much the better, but I knew what color it would be.  I had a sweater in this color out of their yarn years ago, and I wore it until it could be worn no more.  I miss it and want another.

So, Bartlett was the first stop.  Even knowing exactly what I wanted, I had a hard time choosing! They have so many lovely colors. I chose what I went in for, though, a lovely shade of soft aqua blue and I am going to love the sweater.  It is sport weight, so a little lighter than DK, I will survive, and see what a swatch tells me.  I knit loosely, so it might work. If not, I will find something.

After that, it was to my favorite Pine Star Studio, where I got this and this.  The redder one is a contender for the Biophilia, but when I found the beads that worked best, I realized I had some at home already, so I didn’t buy more. The cranberry one, though, I found those gorgeous beads to match.  I have no idea what the pattern will be, the yardage is crazy high on that one, so I will not do the Biophilia with it, but choose something that will make more use of the whole skein.

Then there is the fiber.  I have bought a few large lots of blended merino silk over the years, and thought about combining them to have enough to make a sweater, but I really needed more to make the project work.  I knew I would never match the colors exactly, so I wanted to get some with all the colors, and I will spin it as a combo spin.  Maybe I will hit DK weight on that? So when I saw this, from the same vendor, I knew it was coming home.  I love all the blues and greens, and the fiber I already have is also blues and greens, though darker and grayer, so it will get toned down.

Lastly, I wanted to get something I have been eyeing since I learned to spin.  Every year I want it, every year I don’t buy it in fear of not being a good enough spinner.  This year I decided I could do it.

Camel and silk, undyed.  It glows in the sunshine.

All that plus a couple of ice creams (Stone Fox Creamery – oh my!) and some pizza for lunch, plus fudge to bring home to A, and I had five dollars left in my pocket.  Truthfully, it was not in the same pocket the rest of my cash was, I found it as we were leaving.  Had I known, I would have gotten more beads, for sure.  🙂  I think I did pretty well, and will have enough to keep me busy for a while.  And I will start saving my pennies again, because Knit East is in October, and I will want to shop there as well!

 

The big vacation!

I know I have been absent for a while – but this should make it up to you!

As you know, A and I were working hard to prepare for the visit from three Ravelry friends.  Well, that visit has come and gone, and what fun we had!  The ladies arrived last week, and we got down to business right away!  I took the first two to arrive on a quick tour of some things they wanted to see in Bangor, specifically, the Duck of Justice a the Bangor Police Department

(you have to follow Bangor PD on face Book to understand why this is even a thing) and to see Stephen King’s house, with it’s fabulous gates.  We managed both of those things, and they back to the airport to pick up the third person.  By the time we were all together, they were checked into their motel for the night and back at our house for supper, it was way past my bedtime!  But I managed to stay awake, and we did a little bit of knitting, casting on our Friends of Knitting Sarah KAL shawl – the second annual such KAL.  This year we are knitting Down the Road and Back Again.  As usual, the colors we all chose vary widely.  Mine is fairly subdued compared to theirs, but that is what makes it fun!

The next morning we were off to Deer Isle, to Haystack for the long weekend.  We attended the Knit Maine 2018 retreat, put on by Knitting and Yoga Adventures.  The lineup of teachers was pretty incredible! I wound up taking 4 classes from Patty Lyons and 2 from Norah Gaughan.  Not that the other teachers weren’t great, but these were offering things I wanted to learn more about.They each are amazing, the things they know how to do!  I picked up lots of tips and new techniques, and learned more about how to design and alter sweater patterns so that sweaters will actually fit.  Always a good thing.

The 4 of us shared one small cabin, which basically was beds and a bathroom, so we weren’t in it too much.  Haystack is a pretty amazing place, but not exactly accessible!

And there aren’t too many common areas to gather and just knit… unless you don’t mind sitting on the floor.  Which we did mind.  So that part wasn’t great.  But as the schedule was packed full and our brains were tired, we survived that.

The food, from my view point, was FANTASTIC! There was lots of locally sourced food, it was all well prepared and there was plenty of it.

I thought that the weekend delivered all that it promised, but I relearned something about myself that will likely keep me from attending future events that are set up like this.  I need down time, to absorb what I have learned, and just unwind.  This weekend was full speed ahead at all times.  After a full day of classes, there was an evening program.  I only went to one, preferring to just have some peace and quiet after the long day.  the only time I knit was early in the morning, as I am an early riser, and my cabin mates were not, I headed up to the dining hall early every morning and sat with the other early risers and had coffee and knit.  This was way less knitting time than I am used to in a day, which sure felt funny at a knitting retreat!

Sunday afternoon we left there and got the ladies settled into their Air Bnb in Penobscot.  That house is quite adorable, an felt even luxurious after the spartan quarters at Haystack!

We had supper in Castine, and then in the morning I picked them up and took them shopping for the day.  We started at the Purple Fleece – OF COURSE!  Deb so nicely opened up on her day off for us.  From there we went to Belfast to Heavenly Yarns, which was fun as she stocks lots of Maine dyed and Maine raised yarns and fibers. After that it was lunch at Nautilus, then a bit more Main Street shopping before we headed down Route 1 toward Rockland, with a nice stop at Swan’s Island Blanket.  I have driven by it literally hundreds of times, but never stopped before.  It is a lovely place, and has wonderful products.  Yarn and blankets were purchased, and then we went on to Mom’s house for an hour or so  of knitting and chatting before heading home.  We were all tired so we stopped at the grocery store and got some simple food for supper at home.

Tuesday we were treated to heavy rain from “Gordon” though at that point everyone was only talking about “Florence” (Maine is really off the weather map as far as forecasters are concerned) so our plan to go to Acadia and Bar Harbor was delayed and truncated.  We did go in the afternoon to take a spin around park loop and get photos of rain, fog, rocks, and trees.

On the way back we stopped to visit with one of the women who went with us to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last year, and who now lives in Maine, so she is a Whorler and Purler also.  Then out for our “last supper” at Glenn’s Place in Bucksport.

Wednesday they had to clear out of their house by 11, and I invited the Whorls and Purls ladies over for a knitting party, so the last day was fun and festive and had knitting in it, as it should.

A’s sisters and brother in law also came over, as sadly, they all attended a family funeral that morning.  So we had a houseful!

Then it was off to the airport, and they all got out safely ahead of “Florence.”  A and I came home, had party snacks for supper and fell into bed.  I slept a solid 12 hours!

I had so much fun with these ladies, and loved having them visit me here in Maine.

I hope that they also had a good time.  I do wish they could have stayed longer, there is so much more to see – and we could have done it at a slower pace, so we weren’t; all exhausted at the end of it.  But I think we made good use of the time that we had together.

Now I have one day off, maybe two, depending on how much work I can get done remotely here today.  Saturday I have to attend a big fundraising event that we hold each year, but then Sunday is completely free of obligations – might be a pajama day!

Is it just me?

I seem to ask that a lot!  This time it is about bloggers who disappear for a bit.  At first, I think, I don’t notice.  Then, I think “oh, they are on vacation” or “maybe they are busy.”  But suddenly I realize that it has been a really long time since I saw a post, and I start to worry a bit.

I go on to their blog to make sure I haven’t just been reading their blog and not registering that it is them. (Be quiet.  I am getting older by the minute.)

So then what?  If this was a “real” relationship, I would pick up the phone and call, or stop over with a plate of cookies, or send off an email.

But this isn’t like that.  Some of you, I don’t even know your names, yet I think of you as close friends.  I worry when I don’t hear from you.

Right now there are a few of you. You know who you are.  This isn’t to make you feel guilty for not being in touch, it is to let you know that there are real people out here who care about you and love hearing from you.  I hope you are OK. I am here if you need me.

 

 

 

Last Friday of vacation😩

How quickly the week has gone!  I wonder why work weeks don’t go this fast?

Today A and I are going to be busy.  We are headed up to Bangor this morning to pick up a rental van, then it is down to Ellsworth for a few errands including the shoe store. We are both in a search for the perfect shoe (very different definitions of these shoes of course) and not having much luck. We are picking up pizza from Finelli’s and heading over to see Crimson Crow. We will exchange lunch for a bookcase, it seems a good deal! Then back home.

If it stops raining we will gather our big dump items in prep for a trip tomorrow.  Until this week our method of vehicle management has worked well. Own and maintain small fuel-efficient cars for regular use, then rent a larger vehicle or truck only when we need one. But this week that didn’t work as planned. There were no trucks for us to rent. So, we will make do with a van. Might mean a couple of trips, I guess.

When we get home, it is back up to the sewing room. I finished the bodice and sleeves of the dress. Things went really well on the sewing front.

But on the fit front – not so well.  I know the pattern said negative ease. It also said to trust it. My measurements were one the low side of the range so I did in fact trust it.  I have blocked enough things to know that if you pull a knit in one direction, it will shrink in the other, but I kind of thought that they would have planned for that. And maybe they did on a flat chested woman. Which I am not. The bodice barely comes down over my bra!

So, I look on this as a muslin or toile or test sew or future rags, whatever you want to call it. Future efforts will be wider and longer.

It’s probably just as well as I didn’t do a super job of lining up the plaids. I might be the only one to notice, but I would have.

What are you doing this rainy Friday?

Happy Father’s Day/ A-Week-at-a-Glance

To anyone reading for whom it is an appropriate greeting, happy Father’s Day to you!  I hope you get the right number of neckties and funny golf balls and whatever else your great kids thin would be the perfect present.

A’s father is long gone and mine is far away, but I will call him later this morning.  He is no longer an early riser, so I don’t want to ruin the day by waking him up!

I bet you want to know what I have been up to – or why would you read a blog with such a name?  🙂

Well, I have to say, not much.  And not much that I took photos of, though I hope to remedy that today.  I worked all week, and that is pretty boring to talk about – no big milestones to tell you about.  I have been knitting – I finished knitting my Indian feathers, and will block it today, so I should have a photo of that next week.  I also finished the Trapper Cowl.  It is narrower than I would like, but I was out of yarn.  So, if you are thinking of knitting one in Quince and Co Lark, get 2 skeins of each color.  Still, I think the narrower one will work well – it is long enough to double over making a super cozy neck warmer, and not so wide it can’t just be worn around the neck like an endless scarf. Albeit a short one.

I wound lots of yarn, thought I was all set to start leftie in the yarn I dyed, and then realized I was so focused on the colors that I forgot to wash any of the undyed yarn for the main color!  That has been remedied, and it should be dry enough today to ind into a cake and get started.  However… that took too long (a day, you know) so I cast on another Indian feather.  I am using some silk Garden Noro that I won in a blog giveaway a long time ago from Claire over at Mollie and Claire, and the pale purple yarn I picked up at Fiber Frolic last week.  I wound that onto cakes, then wound the two skeins together to make it easier to hold double. I  hope it is a close match in weight to the Noro, but I am going for it either way. The Noro will be the lace border (with some gold beads, size 6 this time, I can already see the difference) and the purple the stockinette body.  I think it will be pretty.  I’ll show you how that is coming along when I get photos later.

Besides knitting?

Well, let’s see.  Tuesday night was town meeting.  If you aren’t from Maine, you probably don’t know how important town meeting is.  It’s where every registered voter in town has the opportunity to come together and decide what we will spend our money on for the next year.  The day before we hold secret ballot elections to elect our selectmen and a few other officers of the town, and we vote whether or not to approve the school budget.  So the biggest chunk of money, by far, is already decided upon before the meeting.

At meeting we get to discuss everything else.  What gets the most conversation is why do we support the libraries in the two towns adjacent to us? Are we putting enough in the snow plowing budget?  Enough in the General Assistance budget?  Then we vote and it is unanimous to keep on doing it all as proposed.

Our town hasn’t had too much going on that is controversial, but by next year we will.  We will have to decide what to do with the town dam – replace it, remove it?  Do some other alternative? It already raised some conversation when all we were doing was raising money for the study.  So although we were done in an hour this year, I think next year will be a  longer and more heated meeting.

A went with me this year, which is unusual.  They handed her a little popsicle stick with some bright cardstock glued to it and she said “What’s this for?”  “To vote” was the answer she looked at me, I said come on, you will see.  When they called for a vote, all for?  All Against?  You wave your little flag at the appropriate time.  Very public and open and fun, I think.  I suspect she found it hokey and boring, but she voted and paid attention. We pay a lot in taxes, I like to make sure some of it goes to things I believe in – like General Assistance and the Library.

Friday night we went up to Orono, where A’s niece and her family live.  Niece E the elder is graduating from High school today, but they had no party planned.  We created our own by going to their Friday night coffee-house with her cards and presents.  She and her dad perform there, she has a lovely voce, and so we got to hear them sing, and give her the presents, too. I knew her dad was a musician in hos soul, but had never heard him before – he really is quite good.  He sang with her, then accompanied another, and closed us out with, of course, This Land is Your Land. It was a fun evening, and we were home at a very decent hour.

Yesterday, chores.  Ugh.  And A convinced me I should go to the driving range with her, to see if I could hit the ball.  they had some left-handed clubs, men’s, but at least they were lefties.  I did not shame her (ie I hit the ball!) but it did not go far.  I think one eventually rolled to the 100 yard mark.  I won’t be spending my stash on golf clubs any time soon.  But I will go with her once in a while to drive some balls.  I have to say, I am not quite sure how buxom women are supposed to play.  Everything gets in the way.  🙂  I was a little put out that she was SURPRISED I could hit the ball consistently. I may not be athletic, but I do have hand eye coordination – I knit all the time, after all.  My hands are very capable.  🙂

Today I will do a little more yard work, I didn’t do as much as I would have liked yesterday, and then get cleaned up and go off to visit my dear friend and her family who are here on vacation.  They live in Iowa, so them being in Maine is a BIG DEAL.  Long trip with two kids. I do wish they had not moved away, but I understand and am just glad they come back on vacation as often as they do.

Then back to work, but only for two days!  Off to Monhegan for a couple of days this week, I can’t wait!  I hope the weather keeps on being really good, it is much nicer there in the sun than the rain. I know this from having been there in the rain lots of times and the sun only a few.

I’ll take and share photos, I promise –

4 5 11

But who’s counting?

Three years ago, I started this blog with no real idea if there was an audience for it, or what my focus would be. But I knew I wanted to reach out to a larger world than my geographically reachable one. And so here I am, with almost 200 followers, me following almost that many blogs, and learning so much that is inspirational in crafting, and life, and feeling like I am making real (not virtual) friends.

Thank you all so much! I am having fun, and hope you are, too!

Friday update

Yesterday I did everything on my list. 🙂

First the good: I got to R’s wonderful family cottage just after lunch. Her mom and uncle were there as well as her husband T and two boys, C and A. It was hot, but really beautiful day. we spent a lot of time on the rocks watching C run around finding shells, crabs, etc. A was the smart one, he wanted to be inside reading. In the cool house. Mom and Uncle left around 3, and then the rest of us went for a short kayak/canoe ride out to the ledges that are only visible when the tide is out. T, A and I wisely did not get out of our boats, while R and C roamed through the mud and shells. believe it or not, that was my first ride in a canoe! We made it back safely, then T and C went off exploring a bit, while R and I sat on the porch drinking water and catching up on two years worth of news.

When the tide came up enough, we went for a swim until we got chilled, by which time, it was supper time, and I headed out. It was a peaceful, quiet uneventful day. Perfect summer day!

The not so good part: The doctor visit in the morning was my annual physical, and I passed on pretty much everything (or, nothing new I should say), except that a mole on my back that she has been watching has grown since last summer, so it will have to come off. I got the sun lecture, pretty effectively. On the way to R’s I stopped home and picked up a hat and long-sleeved shirt, then stopped at the pharmacy and got a whole array of waterproof sunscreens. I wore that hot hat all day, and the long-sleeved shirt and sunscreen when boating. I drew the line at swimming in it, though. But, I will have to get something I can swim in, because you know me, I LOVE to swim and then float around in the pool. I love to lie in the sun, and am completely convinced I look nicer with a tan. I’ll have to check out sun-free tanning lotions, I guess. Last night I was trying to think of a way to rig a shade over the pool…which would help keep the water from heating up so fast, too… so that would be a silver lining to this cloud. I even wondered about setting a market umbrella up in the middle of the pool – it isn’t a big pool, it could work! Anyway… like everyone else my age, I spent my childhood summers blithely unaware that I should be worried about the sun, and by the time I was in my thirties and people were really seriously talking about sun damage, it was apparently too late. I do try not to get sunburned, but I also do like to spend time outdoors, and I hate the heat, so I prefer no hats, no sleeves, etc. time to change my ways.

A dear friend of mine used to stay inside from 10-2 every day – this while living at the beach all summer! And I never understood it, but I guess now I do. 😦

Another good thing – the new Dritz hem marker came, and it works fine. And as I diagnosed, it has a large opening between the chalk container and the vent. So the problem lies with Dritz and quality control. Which stinks for all of us who have limited access to notions, and Dritz is the one we can find everywhere. BUT! Nancy’s Notions did a GREAT job on the customer service, and sent me one that works, and as I asked, they tried it first, I could tell because it has chalk in the container. I do wonder how many they had to try to get one that worked? I shipped the defective one back to them today, with a note of appreciation to the staff who were so good at helping me. So. Even though it was very frustrating to get the dysfunctional equipment, I have to say I would never hesitate to shop at Nancy’s again, the customer service was excellent. NOW I can hem those skirts.

Friday list

Friday is going to be a GREAT day! I have a 9 am Doc appointment, then I hit the road for Bremen Maine to see R, one of my oldest Maine friends. She and her family now live in Iowa, but they are visiting Maine for a summer vacation, and so I will head down to visit her. It’s been a few years since I saw her, last summer they did not come to Maine.

That’s it, the whole list!

If it is a sunny day, we will sit on the rocks by the water outside her family cottage, and if it raining, I bet we sit on the porch. Either way, the view and the company will be great. Short list, but great day.

Besides Christmas….

Although Christmas prep and activity takes up lots of our December, we have been doing a few other things.

We are on vacation this week, and it is pretty low-key – no real plans. Last Friday evening we had a friend over for a visit and some pizza. It was a great visit, we don’t get together often (although she follows this, so knows what I am up to.) That day was a stormy day, and so around 8:30, the power went out. No big deal as it wasn’t cold out – I know, it’s Maine, it’s December, but really, it was warm and rainy. So we lit some candles and kept on chatting.

What was funny was the reaction of a family member of hers who texted while we were visiting, and when he found out the power was out reacted with “YIKES!” we laughed about it, but then the next day, we heard from someone else who has family away that they had the same reaction, and another friend of mine sent a message saying that she hoped we were OK. I know that the last few big news events about power outages have been huge hideous stories. But this is rural America. We have trees. When it rains, snows and blows, they come down, and it takes a while for the power company to clean it up and get power back. Not a while like weeks, but a while like a day or so. In this case, it was about 16 hours. It is a bit frustrating, and a bit nice, we know it will happen at least once a winter, so we have “systems” in place. A wood stove we can light if it gets cold. Candles, flashlights, batteries, cell phones. We even have an old-fashioned corded, plugged-into-the-wall style phone that works without electricity. I have a battery operated head lamp, so I can read. Can’t watch TV. Can’t run the water. But there is quite a bit of water in the system if the power goes out unexpectedly. If we think it will, we fill some pitchers and call it good. So, everyone – the power was out. It is back on. We were and are fine.

(of course, on that note, we are in the midst of a snow storm right now, and I should probably go fill a few pitchers…)

Saturday we went for our walk, dropped presents off at the neighbor’s and went into town for a Dunkin run (the one thing you can’t do when the power is out is make good, hot coffee). Then we came home and wrapped presents. We had a nice visit from an old friend bearing lots of homemade candies his wife made – just what we needed for the wrapping marathon!

Sunday was slow and easy, a few errands, no pressure. We were amazed that we were so ready for Christmas so far ahead, very unusual for us. No last minutes forays for wrapping paper or bows, presents organized, wrapped, bagged and ready to roll.

Monday we went to Bangor to meet up with A’s niece and her kids, and sister-in-law L. We had a good lunch at Olive Garden (note – try 11:30 Christmas Eve morning for no lines there!) and stopped at a new little market in Holden for the broccoli, which I had forgotten to get for Christmas Day. We were both impressed at how grown up niece E and nephew S are getting – it is possible to have conversations with them! They are lots of fun, enthusiastic about their interests. S is doing a lot of thinking about next year (college) and what he wants to be. We told him the two probably won’t really go together in the long-term, but he should be interested in whatever he studies. Don’t think I know anyone who is really doing what they planned to do at 17. Well, maybe one. Not sure they still like it, though.

Monday evening, we opened our presents to each other and the cats opened their stockings. They got great stuff – cable ties, crinkly balls. Allie wasn’t too interested, but Zumba was in heaven.

Zumba's Christmas

While A knew about the miter saw stand, she was very surprised with the Belgian waffle maker from King Arthur Flour (made in America!!!!) – and I think she likes it. We got waffles today, anyway, and when she next has to make breakfast for the gang at work, she will haul it in for them.

I got TWO cricut cartridges I wanted (ornamental iron 2 and Art Nouveau), plus gift cards to Joann’s and AC Moore – fun fun fun! Also got lots of candy in my stocking and an iTunes gift card, so I can get some new music, which is super as I only had 1 cent left on my account.

I also got some fleece lined jeans from A. They are cozy and warm, and a little snug, so I need to stick to walking and try not to eat all that candy! (pet peeve – why aren’t companies consistent in their sizing???? I have three pair so pants from this company in my closet, and they are all the same size. A ordered a size LARGER by error, and they still barely fit! Mom got me a pair of jeans in the size I said, and they were way too small. I exchanged them for a pair 2 sizes up and they fit just fine. Shouldn’t we be able to expect consistency across a brand???) Anyway, we watched sappy Christmas movies and opened our presents, and had a good Xmas Eve.

Christmas was at Mom’s, and lots of fun, with all siblings there, and all but 2 grandchildren. Bill cooked a giant roast, and we all brought everything else, so Mom had to set the table and make cookies. It sure makes it easier to have everyone bring parts of the meal. Mom spoiled us all as usual – A got a really cool dovetail jig thing for making drawers – I think she will have the world’s fanciest custom-made closet some day. 🙂 I got dishes and a gift card for yarn, and clothes.

We siblings and spouses did a Yankee Swap, our first, and it was fun – people put a lot of thought into the gifts, and there was some good-natured swapping going on. A gallon of maple syrup made the rounds, as did an ice globe lantern kit. A had number 1 (how does she always get that?) and so we brought home the syrup. I swapped for to get ice grippers for our shoes, which I have been wanting, as our ramp and stairs get icy. I hope we do that again next year.

Little E got lots of books and toys – she didn’t really care, just wanted more presents, as one would expect at that age. I think when she ran out, she started looking through to see what she got, and she will be glad to have the books when she learns more reading. She taped all the bows onto her dress and looked quite cute.

Yesterday was a low-key day – we went for our walk in the morning – in daylight! and saw lots of neighbors out doing the same. Pretty amazing to have bare ground on December 26, so we all took advantage. A had a doctor’s appointment in Blue Hill, so I got to check out the Barnacle shop, and use a gift certificate I won last summer. As there was a great sale going on, I was able to stretch it, and got a few granite block magnets, some earrings and a puzzle, all for three dollars! And found a new store which looks like a good source of Maine made gifts, as well as clothing, mens and womens, owned by a local person, not a huge conglomerate. My favorite kind of shopping. After A got done, we went up to Ellsworth where I exchanged the jeans, and we did some grocery shopping and had lunch at Burger King. Biggest loser is SO over with. We had better have a New Year’s resolution or two. 🙂

We came home and I had every intention of going up to the craft room, but instead, took a long nap on the couch in front of the fire. LOVE winter vacations! I did put a crock pot of ham and pea soup together, so I accomplished SOMETHING.

Today we are having a snow storm. We should be getting somewhere between 7-12 inches. Glad we are home already, and not having to travel to and from work today. It will be a while before A will want to walk outside. Even with ice grips on…

So, now I am going to get a bowl of homemade ham and pea soup for lunch, and then head up to the craft room. Really. No nap yet…

Knitting in progress:
more hats for giving, and a new Estonian lace project, a blue one this time, for a wonderful woman at work. It is out of Swan’s Island fingering weight yarn that Mom gave me from her stash. I have the borders almost done (I knit the top one first not last, in case I run short of yarn. As it gets grafted on at the end anyway, it doesn’t matter what order I do it in. While I don’t like grafting, it does make this part easier.)