Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Catchup

Normally, on December 31st, I do a year in review post of some sort.  This year, though, it doesn't seem like anything happened worth reviewing.  What with Cody off at college and me becoming more and more of a hermit by the day, nothing seems to happen any more. 

What I can do, however, is give you a brief review of our Christmas. 

We had a good Christmas, if a quiet one.  Beverly is still in Texas looking after Aunt Martha and Uncle Lavergne.  Shelbi, Josh, and Cory went to Josh's parents house, and Brittani and Cameron were in Tennessee with Cameron's family. 

James had worked nights, but he still got up and cooked Christmas dinner, so we ate over there.  Cody and I, and Mike and Dennise.  And James, of course. 

Before that, Cody and I opened our gifts to each other.  I didn't lay them all out and take a picture like I've done in the past.  Honestly, I didn't think of it until just now.  I did take pictures of everything, but I won't bore you will all of those.  They are in my Facebook albums if you really want to go see them. 

I'll just share these few with you.

Cody and Jesse sharing Christmas smooches.

Cody wrapped this by himself.  Can you tell? 

And this is what was in it.

Cody didn't get anything but clothes.  He said he liked it that way.  I think this was his favorite shirt. 

At least, he giggled the most when he opened it.  It says, "I'm not crazy.  My mother had me tested."

I also got my new calendar, and a new hat.  These hats are so warm.  Kind of expensive, but worth it, if you ask me.

Like I said earlier, the rest of my pictures are in my Facebook albums, so I won't bore you with them here. 

Even so, but I've got to show you these.

I got a bit of money for Christmas.  I put it together with the money I got for my birthday, I was able to buy these things.

They are a Journal Of Impossible Things, with a 10th Doctor sonic screwdriver pen, an 11th Doctor sonic screwdriver, and two lapel pins.  One says, "Hello, my name is Stormageddon, Dark Lord Of All", and the other says, "There is something that doesn't make sense.  Let's go and poke it with a stick." 

 I was very disappointed in The Journal Of Impossible Things.  The product description on the Amazon website said it would be 10" x 6", but when I got it, it was only 5.5" x 3.5". 

Turns out it was the package that was 10" x 6", and not the product itself.  I did write a review on Amazon, and I hope someone can read it and not get rooked like I did.  Other than the size, though, I love the little book.  The pages look just like the ones in the episode. 

The 11th Doctor sonic screwdriver is pretty cool.  It expands, lights up, and makes that sonic sound. 

Finally, a new case of Jammie Dodgers. 

I managed to get them for $20.  You really have to stalk the page to get them at that price.  Sometimes, they are $47.  Every now and again, you can find them at the lower price.  When I do, I make sure to order them right away. 

Oh, and free shipping. 

Well, the fireworks have started, and the dogs are panicking.  So, I'll go comfort them and wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Break Time Is Over

I've often mentioned taking a break from the blog, but you know, I've never really done it. I've skipped a day here and there, but I had never stopped posting long enough to call it a real break.

This time, though, it was the blog who wanted a break. Oh, I had stuff to post, but the blog said no.  I'd even planned on posting that I was taking a break so you wouldn't worry, but even to that, the blog said no.  The blog was taking a break.

The blog insisted.

At long last, the blog has relented.  It is allowing me to post again.  Break is over, the blog says.  Time to get writing again. 

Welcome back, gentle readers. 

I've missed you.

(You writers will understand.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mittens and Beethoven

Another pair of fingerless mitts finished!

These are for my older brother.  I cast on a pair for my nephew, but after a bit of introspection, I decided not to make them.  One reason being that the wool is not superwash.

That was the main one.  It'll be OK for Rus, but for a little boy who is more likely to get them dirty and stuff so that they need washing more often...no.  That means I'm done with Christmas knitting.  For this year.  But I've already started on next year's knitting.  That's the good news.

The bad news is, knowing me, I'll still be frantically knitting at the last minute this time next year.

And in honor of a very special birthday today -- Ludwig Von Beethoven's 243rd-- I'm posting this once again.  Because you can't ever get enough Beethoven.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our Christmas

Due to work and travel conflicts, we had to have our family Christmas get together a little early this year.  The only bummer was that Cody wasn't there, but he will be home for Christmas itself, so that's OK.

Because Cameron had to go to work at 2, we had a brunch after church.  There was lots of food.

And lots of presents.

And one very excited little boy.

Since our kids have grown up, we've always just passed out the presents, then went around the circle taking turns opening them.

We decided not to put Cory through that, so I didn't get as many photos of gifts as I normally do.

But I did get a few.  Shelbi and Brittani were both very excited, because they got cups with their names on them.  Spelled correctly, too.  OK, they had to be special ordered, but that's what Neenaws are for. 

Cameron and the afghan Beverly crocheted for him

Brittani made this.  That's string art.  Remember that stuff?  It used to be really popular in the late 70s and early 80s.  I always thought it was so cool.

She also painted door signs for everyone with our last names on them.

Mine had a little accident.  Cameron laid his jacket down on top of it before the paint was dry, so Brittani had to re-do it.  She showed it to me, then put it back up so it could finish drying.

We also took the ubiquitous family photos, which I won't show you, since they pretty much look just like the ones I posted at Thanksgiving.  I'll just show you these two, since Mike is in them.

Cameron, Brittani, Josh, Shelbi, Cory, Mike, and Dennise.

And finally, one of Mike and Dennise. 

That was our Christmas get together fro 2013.  Now, I need to start shopping for Cody. 

I don't have anything for him yet.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Frantically Knitting

I finished one set of fingerless mitts,

and started the next one.

Fortunately, they knit up pretty quickly, and hopefully I can get them done in time to send them to Texas.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must get back to frantically knitting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry! I got my yarn in that I'd ordered to finish Christmas presents, and I got so excited about knitting that I completely forgot the chats. Well, I'm here now, albeit a little late. Let the chat begin!

Everyday Ruralty

1.  Have you baked any Christmas cookies yet? 

No, not yet.  I've wanted to, but if I bake them, I'll just eat them and have to bake some more before Christmas.  I'll probably wait until the week of Christmas to make anything.  

2.  Have you finished your shopping yet? And what did you get me? 

No.  I have a few more things to pick up for extended family, and I haven't gotten anything for Cody yet.  I keep asking him what he wants, and he just says he hasn't thought that far ahead yet.  So, I told him Santa is just going to bring him what he thinks he needs. 

3.  If you had reindeer like the story of Santa, what would you name them. (Be creative.) Remember, they were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolf. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go on to the next question, please.

Fernando, Vanessa, Driver, Hot Rod, Brenice, Jessica, Jeff, and Charles.  Really, I don't know.  Those are the names of people who work with me.  But it's the best I can come up with on short notice.  (Obviously, Driver and Hot Rod are nicknames.  Their real names are Tyrone and Roderick.)  

4.  What was the most memorable Christmas gift you ever gave or received?

 Underwear.  Seriously.  When I was in the Navy, serving overseas, the Navy Exchange didn't carry the brand of underwear I liked, so I requested some for Christmas gifts from family members back home.  What makes it memorable was I think it's the first time in history that anyone every got excited about receiving underwear for Christmas.

5.  Please tell me something new, interesting, or funny. Also, Wendell could use some encouraging words to feel better- just saying. :) 

One of my favorite Christmas carols isn't actually a Christmas song.  I'll bet it's probably one of yours, too, and you didn't know it's not about Jesus' birth.  What am I talking about?  Why, it's Joy To The World, and it was written about the second coming.  Even more interesting is that I never really liked the song, until I heard Dolly Parton's version.  Something about the way she sings it made the song come alive to me, and I've loved it ever since.

Sorry to chat and run, but I really must get back to my knitting.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Minimum Wage

Unless you've been living under a rock, you should know by now that unions are now demanding that fast food joints like McDonald's and Burger King pay their employees $15 per hour to slap a hamburger patty on a bun and say, "Do you want fries with that?"

You know, when I was a kid-- I was probably about 10 years old at the time-- my dad and I were going somewhere in the car.  I was telling him, "If we had the money we do now, but with the prices of 100 years ago, we'd be so rich." 

Funny how memories work.  I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, or what day it is, but I remember that conversation clearly.  I even remember where we were.  In the car.  On Western Avenue, at that stop light at the corner of Western and Irving St.  In West Orange, Texas. 

I also remember my daddy explaining to me that it is workers' demands for higher wages that makes prices go up.   I learned something at the tender age of 10 that a lot of people don't seem to understand even today.  When you pay your workers more, you have to raise your prices to cover the increase in payroll demand. 

Remember that when you're paying $10 for a fast food burger.

So, one of my friends on Facebook posed the question, "What should we the people do to help those who aren't motivated to help themselves?"

Aaaand I'm reminded of another story from my childhood.

When I was a kid, we always had cats as pets, because we weren't allowed to have dogs.  I'd always thought it was my mother who didn't like dogs, but turns out it was my daddy.  But that's a different story for a different post.

When I was a kid, we always had cats as pets.  Our cats, as cats are wont to do, often climbed trees.  And sometimes got stuck.

Me, being the tender hearted animal lover that I am, would run frantically into the house crying, "Mama!  Mama!  [Whatever the cat's name was] is stuck in the tree!  We've got to call the fire department!  We've got to cut down the tree!  We've got to do something!!"

My mother, unfazed, would reply, "He'll come down eventually." 

But I wouldn't accept that answer.  "He can't come down!  He's stuck!"

And my mother then uttered some of those wise words -- you know, the kind you don't appreciate until you're older--

She said, "He'll figure it out when he gets hungry enough."

That, my friends, is my answer to the question.  Let them get hungry. 

Now, I think it's important to note that I am not talking about those who cannot work due to illness or disability, or for some other legitimate reason.  I don't have a problem helping them, though I still don't think it's the government's place to do so.  But again, that's another post for another day.

No, I'm talking about young, healthy, able-bodied people who are perfectly capable of supporting themselves, and bettering themselves and their situations, but choose not to do so. Because they are lazy.  Because they lack motivation.  Because they just don't want to put in the effort to learn a skill or get an education. 

We should stop rewarding their laziness.  Stop subsidizing their lack of motivation.  Stop treating corporate America like it's your sugar daddy, where you put in your token 40 hours and they hand you everything your little heart desires.  Stop giving them more and more money for the same menial labor. 

Let them get hungry.

And when they get hungry enough, they'll figure it out. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

We Got Lucky

We got lucky. It didn't get nearly as cold as they were predicting. It's still expected to get down into the 20s, but hey, it's better than getting down into the teens.

I've spent the last two days finishing Joshua's hat and putting out the rest of my Christmas decorations.  As you can see, this hat striped nicely.  

Now, I have nothing to do but wait until the other skein of yarn gets here-- hopefully Tuesday.  In the meantime, I cast on another scarf. 

 I had this ball of Zauberball Crazy rolling around.  I'd tried to knit a pair of socks out of it once, but found the yarn way too loosely spun, and I feared it wouldn't hold up.  Today, I remembered a pattern that I had knit back in 2009, and thought it would be perfect for this yarn.  So, I cast on another Trekking Is For Necking

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed knitting this pattern.  I must remember it more often.

Just for kicks, here is a random shot of some of my Christmas decorations.

Oh, and look...a stocking full of coal.  Someone has been very naughty this year. 

I wonder who that could be?

Here's a hint:  his initials are Group Leader Fernando.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Starting Over

I decided my nephew Joshua's hat was just too small, so I frogged the whole thing and started over with an 80 stitch cast on.  I don't have a picture of it, because it looks just like it did yesterday.  Only slightly larger. 

Which you wouldn't be able to tell from a picture anyway, so just look at yesterday's picture.

The bad news is, we have Friday-Monday off of work. 

The good news is, that'll give me plenty of time to work on the hat. 

The better news is, I won't have to get out into the freezing rain and ice we are expecting over the weekend. 

So my plans for the next four days are to hunker down, knit, and probably finish putting out my Christmas decorations, all while drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate and tea and watching Christmas videos. 

Sounds like a plan to me.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Another One

I finished the second hat, and it pooled the same way as the first one. 

Here is the other side. 

I'm going to send this one to my older brother.  Just to be sure, I asked my sister in law if he wore these types of hat.  I know he used to like the fedoras and such.  She said that he would wear it, and fingerless mitts, too.   See, he plays the piano and organ.  Fingerless mitts would keep his hands warm while leaving his fingers free to play.  You know, in case he ever played outside in the snow.  Like The Piano Guys do.  Sometimes.

All right, then...

I had enough yarn for a second hat, so I cast on this one for my nephew. 

It looks like it's going to stripe nicely.  I should have enough yarn to do Joshua a pair of fingerless mitts, too.  I've already tinkered with my pattern to make it child sized.  I just need my other skein of yarn to get here.

Anyway, I've been seeing this kit in the Herrschner's catalog for just ages, and I've always loved it.

Well, in the latest catalog, they had it marked down to $9.99.  It's regularly $17, so I bought it.  That was before Rylea's accident and gargantuan vet bill.  For good measure, I threw these two kits into my bag as well.

They will probably end up being someone's Christmas gift next year.

I'm going to start on them as soon as I finish my Christmas Knitting for this year.

And since it's Christmas time, you get a bonus.  This was my dad's favorite Christmas song ever.  And I think this might be my favorite version of it.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Before we get to the chat, I'm pleased to report that Rylea is home!  She looks somewhat worse for the wear.  OK, OK, she looks quite a bit worse for the wear, but she's finally home.

As you can see, she has certainly earned the nickname of Frankendog.

And here is the other side.

No, I don't know what happened to her.  I asked her, but she wouldn't say.  I keep reminding her that she is not a cat, and even if she were, she's quickly running out of lives.

In other news, I have a mind boggling amount of soup in my freezer.  After paying that vet bill, it may be all I have to eat for the next two months.

Now, on to the chat.

Everyday Ruralty

1.  Please tell me the three most valuable things you learned as a child or young person. 

To read, the value of money, and to be strong and independent. 

2.  Did you participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday? 

No and yes.  I never participate in Black Friday. I did buy a couple of Kindle books from Amazon during their Cyber Monday sale, but they weren't gifts.  They were marked down to $1.99, and I couldn't resist those prices. 

3.  Do you pray?


4.  Have you been invited to any parties to celebrate Christmas or New Year? 

No.  No one invites me to parties.  I guess they all know I'm just going to decline anyway.  

5.  Have you ever owned cowboy boots or a cowboy hat? (A cowboy? Tee-hee :) Just had to throw that one in for fun!) 

Yes to both, a long time ago.  I gave my boots away after I got pregnant and my feet grew two sizes.  After the ex walked out, being a single mom, there were higher priorities, so I never got any more.  I kept my hat, but I don't know what happened to it.  The last time I saw it, it was in the bedroom closet in my brother's house.  Then it disappeared.  I think one of his friends might have nicked it.  The same one who stole his Beatles Anthology.  Long story...

The ex liked to think he was a cowboy, but he just wore the clothes.  He never actually herded cattle.  Me, on the other hand...I used to help my uncle with his cattle back when he had them.  

Thanks for joining me for the chat.  I was going to watch some TV, but Frankendog is in my chair, and I don't have the heart to run her out of it.  So, I guess I'll put on some Christmas music and knit. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Music Monday

When Cody was about 5 or 6, we were driving down the road one and The Little Drummer Boy came on the radio.

"SHHH!" Cody hollered, "It's the Pum Pum Song!"

That's one of those childhood stories he'd rather I forgot, but alas, the name has stuck.  The Little Drummer Boy will forever be The Pum Pum Song.

Today, for your Music Monday, I bring you the most awesomest version of The Pum Pum Song ever:

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I Gave In

I broke down and ordered some more yarn from the Joann's website to finish Nathan's mitts, because shipping costs less than gas.  It should be here in about a week.  That will give me plenty of time to knit the second mitt and get them wrapped and mailed before Christmas.

I still have to get my sister's gift put together, too, and buy the boys something.    I've got one more day off of work before I have to go back, and I hope to get all them washcloths blocked. 

I was going to do it today, but I forgot. 


I seriously thought for a moment about leaving my tree just like this. 

It's got all the Cowboys and LSU ornaments on it.  That should be enough, right?  But in the end, I gave in and put the rest of the decorations on it.

 I wasn't going to put a skirt under it, because the cat tends to use them as a litterbox.   But then I remembered that Cody had this one in his room.  My mother crocheted it for him out of Red Heart, so if the cat does pee on it, I can just toss the skirt into the washing machine. 

So, under the tree it went to add the final touch. 

Oh, by the way, here are my new Dallas Cowboys ornaments that I got this year.

It won't be long before I have enough to do an entire tree in nothing but Cowboys stuff.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Y'all would be so proud of me.

Remember that skirt I make waaaay back in August?  The one that I hadn't hemmed because I hate hemming so much?  Yeah. Well, guess what!  I hemmed it.


Don't judge me.

I told you I hated hemming.  I wouldn't have even done it today, except that I wanted to put the sewing machine away for the Christmas season.  Yes, it's been in my kitchen since August.

Don't judge me.

In other news, I got the first fingerless mitten finished.

 But I only got this far in the second one before I realized that I would not have enough yarn to finish the it. 

My options are

1) Make a flying trip to Southaven to buy another skein, and finish the mitten before Christmas
2) Set these aside until next year, and get Nathan something else for this Christmas, because surely I'll make it up to Southaven sometime before next Christmas
3) Make him some solid black mittens and hope he doesn't notice that they don't really match the hat.

I'm leaning towards option 2. 

In the meantime, I started putting up the tree.

Cody hung his family bell ornament first.

"How old is this?" he asked.

"I bought it the year you were born," I told him.

"So, it's 20 years old", he said. 

I bought myself one, too, but managed to break mine several years ago.  A pox upon me for a clumsy lout.

I've been meaning to replace it, but I just haven't found a bell I like.

Finally, y'all would be proud of me.  I went to Wal-mart today and didn't buy any candy. 

I'm regretting that decision now.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Thanksgiving

It felt kind of strange this year, not having to cook the turkey.  James and Beverly had bought a smoked turkey, so I didn't have to worry about cooking mine.  I did do my casseroles, jello salad, and a pie, but I felt the whole time like I needed something else to cook. 

Mike and Brittani were both sick.  I could tell as soon as he walked into the house that Mike wasn't feeling well.  He went straight to the couch and went to sleep.  He did wake up to eat, but then took some ibuprofin and went back to bed. I didn't feel his head, but Dennise said he was running fever.  I took her word for it. 

Other than that, we had a great time. 
I set the table, and 

and the other table, too. 

I was kind of proud of how nice they looked, because normally, I'm not very good at decorating. 

We had lots of food

and family. 

After dinner, we put up their Christmas tree. 

Brittani decorated,

and Corey decorated

and Brittani decorated some more

and Corey decorated some more.

and Shelbi decorated. 

She's good at decorating.  She can stick some fake flowers in a vase, and it looks real nice.  I stick fake flowers in a vase, and it looks like fake flowers in a vase. 

Cody's just not into decorating. 

I think he gets that from me.  I like a decorated house; I just don't like doing the decorating.  Anyway...

There were lots of pretty decorations on the tree,

but there was one very special decoration hidden in the tree as well.   

Funny, Brittani decorated all around it, and she never saw it.  Cameron finally had to get it out of the tree and present it to her.

They are now officially engaged. 

And the finished tree:

And the ubiquitous family photos. 

James and Beverly.

Shelbi, Josh, and Corey

Dennise and the girls.

And finally, all of them, except Mike, whom we decided to let sleep, since he was so sick. 

Then, I came back home and watched the Cowboys beat the Raiders-- and posted the scores for my crazy friends who were out shopping. 

They did let me bring the turkey carcass home, so I'll have my soup after all.  I'll probably start that tomorrow.

Today, I'm getting my Thanksgiving stuff put away, and getting my Christmas stuff out.  Jesse is very worried about this.  Anything out of the routine makes him nervous.  He's already stressed out because Rylea isn't here. 

Sometimes I wonder if it's possible for a dog to be an introvert.  If it is, Jesse certainly is one. 


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