Bucket Check…..

Okay, I thought as I got older I would have MORE free time, not less.  I am busier today than I was while raising 3 young children, daycare for 5 under age of 5 kids, and working nights!  Seriously!  I am so tired most of the time that the minute I sit down, it is lights out!  I keep rationalizing that this will pass and I will have more free time for fun creative adventures, gardening, or curling up with a good book (any book at this point).  Nope, nada, whoo hoo this woman is delusional.

I am serious about this too.  I am so busy that my family is calling months in advance to schedule (carve out really, lol) time to get together.  The calendar on my phone even has dates for the movies, let alone dentist appointments.  This is such unfamiliar territory for me.  Sometimes I think I may have to send myself text reminder to use the bathroom. Lol.

One of the weekends my daughter, Colleen, nailed me down for at Thanksgiving has just come and gone.  We spent the most wonderfully fun, awesomely exhausting, and top-notch quality of time together.  We spent 3 days in Disneyland!  The weather was perfect, except for a 3 hour spring shower.  Warm, but not too warm; busy, but not too crowded; with enough time to visit, laugh, play like kids, and cram as much into each day as we possibly could.

Col&IDisneyland

I learned how to navigate the Fast-Pass, as Disney hadn’t had this jewel 20 years ago.  A wonderful time saver and saved this old body from stiffening up while waiting in long lines.  Attended my first Main Street Electrical Light Parade.  It was too windy for fireworks, but that was fine with me I was on sensory overload anyway.

The highlight of this trip was meeting my matinee idol!  Most young girls went crazy for Mark Hamel or Harrison Ford when I was in high school.  No, not me, it was love at first sight when the Wookie came on the screen!  I went to see the Original Star Wars 4 or 5 times just to see Chewbacca in May of 1977.  When the trilogy ended, I didn’t think we’d ever see Chewbacca on screen again.  This was way before videos were to make an appearance.  Suffice it to say, I love the character Chewbacca.

My daughter got us in line to take a picture with him.  That was exciting just in itself.  While I was busy talking to other Star Wars enthusiasts, she sneakily made arrangements with the staff.  Letting them know about my infatuation with the Wookie.  They were all prepared for me to be surprised.  Colleen just drifted back and watched……

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Thank you, Col!  I can now cross this off my bucket list.  Although I wouldn’t mind getting another hug if the chance arises, lol.  Thank you also to the cast at Disneyland!  You didn’t have to spend those 20 minutes or so with me taking these pictures and indulging this starstruck old lady.  It truly was a dream come true and I have the pictures to prove it!

Colleen told me after we had left and I had stopped crying, that they hardly ever get requests of this kind.  I mean from adults who have admired the characters for so long.  Usually it is for a small child, who ends up screaming and not wanting to go near.  Well, I really appreciated the time, indulgence, and warm welcome from the cast.  I am pleased that my reactions gave them something to smile and talk about later.

Whew, my Steven has a lot to live up to, lol   I am so glad Colleen scheduled our trip into my calendar!…..Cyn

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Just a Little Honey…..

We are drowning in Northern California.  It has not stopped raining for more than a day at a time since early October.  Now if we were in Ireland, this would be so completely normal.  But, here in Sonoma County our roadways are falling apart, roadways are sliding down hills, and there are quite a few roads that won’t open for quite a while.  Here along the Northern Coast of California, we are used to cold, rainy, wet months.  This year we broke records, we had one of the wettest October’s since 1921. The rain has just not abated.  These past two summers we had severe fires which caused so much devastation and evacuations.  This winter, the evacuations and devastation has continued from the deluge of water we have received.  Be careful what you wish for……..

We are having to release water from reservoirs and just maybe Shasta Damn will finally fill after years of drought.  The snow pack is phenomenal this year, which all leads to more water as spring melt offs start.  As with most things, there is some good with some bad.  Right now I would like to seek out the positive.  Spring showers bring May flowers as the saying goes.

The first flower to bloom for us is the Hellebore, or Lenten Rose.  The daffodil is not very far behind most years.  The sun parted the clouds just in time for me to take a picture!  Then it was gone again.

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Hellebore

This year we have an early bloomer, I am not sure if this is due to the water table or the fact that it has slowly crept out into the full sun.  I am of the mind that it is a combination of both factors.  In Ireland, they had been at the end of their bloom in early May.  So, I guess they could be right on time, lol.

It’s the wonderful Honeybush!  Our plants are just loaded with blooms this year.  It is truly a stunning bloom.  Here take a look…..

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A beautiful burgundy pink flower.  I can’t quite let myself cut one for the house, they are so beautiful where they are.  Just what the doctor ordered, serene beauty to soothe what ails you!  Being that I can’t decide which season I love best, Fall or Spring, I will soak up every blooming event that transpires through out this season.  They are just starting and I won’t want to miss a moment.

Something to look forward to everyday…… Cyn

 

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Owlstanding…..

testowl

Okay, here’s the deal……

I was desperate to see how these owls looked all assembled.  So, I followed the directions and here is my first one.  I was not very happy with it.  It is not the white background, as you know I was worried about it.  I had tried a different neutral color and all you focused on was the white eyes, eerie too.  So, white it was going to be.

The first thing that bothered me was that the ears flopped down and I worried they would get snagged on everything.  Secondly, the eyes were also just tacked on and they were constantly rotating slightly.  They also would probably be snagged easily too.  Thirdly, once you had attached the beak and eyes the back side of your square was messy.  I wasn’t thrilled with that at all. The buttons are the size specified, but they look much smaller than the pictured ones.  This was very minor in my mind and I love the buttons so, we will overlook them.

So, I took this particular square back apart.  I unraveled the last two rows of the white. While I re-crocheted the first of the rows back on I slipped a loop of the back of the ear into the chain one corner of the first corner and repeated that to the other ear when I came around to it on the other side.  This held the ears in place and my snagging worries were fixed.  I finished the last row of white and moved on to my second issue to fix.

Since the beak was perfect as it was, I moved onto reattaching the eyes.  The directions did ask you to leave a 6″ strand at each end of the eyes, but this time I left a 10-12″ strand at the end only. I wove the other strand in and out of the way.  Threading that 10-12″strand onto a large eyed needle, the button was secured in place first.  I decided to slip stitch the edges of the eye all the way around the outer edge.  By knotting off and pulling the ends back under the eye I had cured the unsightly mess in the back of the square!

Shizam……..

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Now I am off and running.  This version I can live with.  Only 7 more owl squares to finish and I am on my way to assembling this beauty!  Back to crocheting……..Cyn

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Puzzle this…..

Avoiding plopping down in front of the television has been a long time goal of ours.  We only have cable for Steven’s Mom, she watches sun up to sun down.  We vary rarely turn the cable part of our television on.  There are the rare Seattle Seahawk games, Rafa Nadal tennis matches, and NCAA Basketball I admit.  The only problem is that the television limits what you can accomplish during the time you choose to watch.

I have long been a book on tape enthusiast.  To say that I love to listen to programs is an understatement.  Our son, Shamus, encouraged me to buy the Sirius Radio equipment and subscription 2 years ago.  It is one of the best investments we have made.  Instead of being held captive by the televised sporting events, I take the sporting event where ever I am going!  It’s fantastic!  Whether I am gardening, cooking, sewing, or just plain lounging in the yard, we have all our sporting events with us.  Oh, and the music is also wonderful!

Over the last few weeks, we have started to watch our grandchildren afterschool 3 days a week and on the weekends.  Their Dad was finally able to secure a good full time job.  With both of their parents working the same schedule, we are filling in the gaps when needed.  Our grandchildren are televisionaholics!  Seriously, this inability to entertain themselves without the benefit of a video, movie, or a television show is frustrating.

When the weather is nice, we send them out to ride bikes up and down our lane, but otherwise it is a struggle to keep them busy.  Exhaustingly so.  Through out the winter/spring seasons growing up we never struggled to find a solitary pursuit.  Reading, needlework, sewing, solitaire, and baking were always waiting for me to pick up where I had left off.  Oooooh, let’s not forget PUZZLES.  A puzzle could fill up all the spare time, in a hot minute the day was gone.  My whole family loved puzzles. I spent many wonderful hours with my Grandma, Mom, and sisters doing puzzles.

I bought some fun 150 to 300 piece puzzles for our grandchildren to try.  They are 10 and 11 years old, way past the time I started assembling puzzles.  Too funny, they both said that they were too complicated and “complex” my grandson said.  Steven and I laughed and said “that’s the point, to solve the puzzle”.  They were just not entertaining enough.  So, I have pulled one out that Steven bought me for Christmas.

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I know once I get it started they will be wanting to help.   I think I will start one of theirs on the kitchen table for them to take over.

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The trick is to pace myself, I don’t want it to go too fast.  If only that will happen, lol.  I have a spare in the wings…..

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The weather is cold and damp again, with rain on the horizon.  This was the perfect time to get a puzzle going.  Just like Pinterest, I will have to make sure I limit my time or the day will be gone before I know it…….Cyn

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Oh! Those aching joints…..

Crawling around on hands and knees weeding our vegetable garden beds is becoming a little more difficult every year.  I admit it, my joints sound distantly like a rusty gate swinging closed.  I try to limit the times I have to stand up to empty buckets of weeds to the chickens.  Oh and lets not even talk about harvest time for the green beans, ugh, lol.  Determined to keep the joints as loose as possible, I continue to do what I love…..Gardening.

While perusing Pinterest, I came across a perfect solution to my green bean picking issues.  We already have rows of above ground boxed for our vegetable garden.  Those were mainly to prohibit the gopher community from stealing half our yield.

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The ugly time of year for the garden.   Slowly we will get it cleaned back up and under control. It will become a gorgeous jungle of colors and scents.

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Steven created these cold frames for us, they have been fantastic during the cold season and during the transplanting throughout the year.  The cats in our neighborhood constantly dig up our seedlings, thinking it’s their own litter box.  We keep the frames on until the plants have established themselves.

Always looking to improve and make the garden more efficient, I found this on Pinterest!  Take a look…..

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I showed this to Steven and I think we are going to create our own tunnel, arch, trellis sort of supports for our green beans and peas!  My joints are even sighing with relief, while my back has broke out the bottles of Guinness and is passing them around!  What a brilliant idea.  Not only does it save my poor aging body, but it also saves so much space.  I can still use the other half of the boxes for planting.

It’s a Win Win no matter how you look at it! Cyn

 

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Ay, yi, yi!

Someone hurry and block the entry to Punxsutawney Phil’s burrow!  This is the first day in a long while that it hasn’t rained for a portion or for all of the day.  The sunshine has shown me what a disastrous condition my poor yard is in.  High winds, loads of rain, and all the frost has taken its toll on my wonderful friends.  Some of them look like they have been run over several times, while others are so burnt from the frost, and then there are the warriors who are picture perfect no matter what.  The beauty of nature, so resilient.

I look out the back doors and hear the call of my friends!  It is still too early to get much done, I don’t want to have a late cold spell harm any of them.  So, just like the poor neighbors dog, Boomer, who has been whining and crying during these cold days, I have to pretend I don’t hear a thing!  Heartbreakingly callous, I can hear you say.  Too true! lol  I am not ready to give up the precious few hours I have to stitch my day away!

Progress is being made on so many projects!  Tennis matches to watch, Duke basketball games to catch, and curling up with a good book to read are important task that must be performed daily!  Ha Ha Ha, it just feels so good to burrow in a warm afghan, curl up in my recliner, and see my stitchery projects start to come to life.

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Kacie’s Christmas stocking is taking shape!  The toe is finished and we are moving over to the heel and then, Up, Up, and Up we go.  I sectioned off the pattern into 10 areas, one for  each of the next 10 months.  I finished up January early and am working my way through February now.  I give myself time off for good behavior and reward myself with crocheting my owl afghan.

So, some one delay Punxsutawney Phil PLEASE!  I need more “me” time…..Cyn

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Hooked…..

Surfing through Pinterest has become a frequent past time for me of late.  I get home from work and spend my lunch hour cruising through all the fantastically clever ideas.  I kept finding myself looking at the same afghan pattern nearly every day.  Now, while I am not an owl fan, the Linus Project would find someone who loves owls right?

While my daughter, Colleen, was recovering from surgery this last month or so, I sent her some pins that I just thought would be fun to crochet.  Of course the owl afghan was one of them, lol.  I just kept coming back to it over and over.  The colors were fun and it was just plain cute.  I made the decision to buy the pattern and just get it out of my system…….. make the darn thing!

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Owl Obsession from The Hat and I designs by Marken

Well, ya see why I kept coming back to it?  This is the picture that was pinned of the pattern.  So fun and cheerful.  Only one problem, this yarn is wool.  I try to stay away from wool, due to Colleen being allergic to it!  There is only one exception to that rule, Aran Sweaters!  I brought back two from Ireland, oh boy and there are more of those in my future!  Nice thing is, Colleen won’t try to borrow them, lol.

It has taken me a while to find yarn in town that might just create a similar effect, nylon of course.  The Lion Brand came out with a “Landscape” series , similar to the chroma style yarn in the picture.

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So far I have gotten 4 owl bases and 4 beaks, I think I will be able to get one more of each from this skein.    I only grabbed one skein to see if it would work, now I need to pick up some more to finish.

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This chroma yarn has a shorter graduation of colors in comparison to the original design.  These colors are also a lot more vibrant!  Doubling the smiling and cheerful quotient!

Colleen has a co-worker who is owl crazy and has expressed an interest in purchasing this afghan when I finish.  We shall see, it is still a work in progress.   I so enjoy the challenge of new patterns and this one has just started, assembling all the components will be fun.  Once it is finished then they can decide if it is their cup of tea.

In the meantime, I am having a ball, literally lol, with this vibrant new yarn and watching it become adorable owls in the process.  I must admit that I don’t think white will work for the main color.  I think I will have to shop around for that color, bringing my owls with me to make sure they are compatible.

Fun, fun, fun,…..Cyn

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