Thursday, November 29, 2012

50K... And Counting!

Lookit lookit lookit!   I did it!  It has been a crazy busy month, but I hit 50K about 20 minutes ago, validated the novel, ordered my winner's t-shirt, and downloaded my free winner button for the blog.  

So, why the "and counting" in the title of this post?  

Well, I hit 50K, but I am estimating I am about halfway finished with the novel.  Oiy vey.  But now that the 50K deadline is met, the craziness need not continue, right?  You'll see more consistent posts, right?  

Ummm... don't count on it.  

Now that Nano is over, I have to work on finishing the story, catch up with some paper work for school, finishing some secret projects for Christmas, and make Isaac's birthday quilt.  We also are preparing a Christmas program at church, we are having a Christmas party (open house style) here at the parsonage on the 15th, caroling at a nursing home on the 22nd, and extra practice that evening, and the program is on on the 23rd in the evening.  That doesn't include the usual ASL classes, writing classes. Bible Quiz team practices, Teen recreation and Bible study, and the general busyness of life.  

I am looking forward to this Saturday.  Dale and I are going out on a "fancy" type date to a dinner theater.  We've been planning it for a while.  I have a special dress, shoes, shawl, and evening purse all ready to be donned for a night out on the town... or whatever the Boondocks equivalent is.  *smirk*

For now, I'm doing my goodie goodie dance and rewarding myself with chocolate for hitting the 50K.  Can't wait to do it again next year!  Maybe by then I'll have this one finished.  


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crazy, Busy Days... and More to Come!

Busy lives are not a foreign idea to anyone, I'm sure.  But in the interest of hopefully entertaining you, I'm taking time out of NanoWriting time to bring you the following update from the Beehive.

This week started out with the usual Monday routines.  My Dad, whose birthday is was on Thursday, celebrated it Monday, because of being in the hospital for a routine hip replacement surgery the rest of the week.  He opened up a gift that I have be D Y I N G to blog about.  A while ago, my sister-in-law, brother, stepmother, and my Dh were talking about what to get for my Dad for his 70th birthday.  After much brainstorming (Okay, I wanted to go for the tie that sang "Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" but no one else thought that was good for my Florida-Fleeing-Escape-The-New-England-Weather Father for some reason.  Really people, where IS your sense of Humah??)  we came up with a memory quilt.  This quilt has scanned pictures from my father's life onto fabric and made into a quilt.

My stepmother was trying to surreptitiously hijack personal photos out of the house to have scanned.  The first problem came when my father asked where all the photos were.  My stepmother, a clever lady who thinks very well on her feet told him that the realtor said that having too many personal photos up wasn't good for selling their house (which they were just getting on the market at the time).  I greatly admired the verbal parlay, and readily admitted to myself that her response was better than mine (A Seagull Ate It).

The second problem was the process of scanning the pictures.  My stepmother diligently sought high and low for someone who could do that for her.   After numerous calls, visits to little quilt shops and even a JoAnn's I think, we agreed it would be better for her to send the whole kit and kaboodle to me.  I received the pictures in the mail in due time, and called my local Quilt Shop feeling quite confident I could delegate this chore out and have it done while I worked on designing the quilt top.

Nothing doing.  I cannot believe, even now, that no one, not even Staples, had a clue on how to do this.  So I developed a Plan B.  I researched online about what to use for scanning the pictures and bought a packet of special muslin backed with stabilizer that you can just peel off after you print the pictures on it.  It worked brilliantly!  Dale was enlisted to help.  I am pretty helpless with technology, but over the course of a few evenings, he had all the pictures scanned and printed up, safe and sound.  They are amazing!  There was even some things that were bare visible to the eye in the pictures that came out more clearly on the scanned copy.  It was just breathtaking.

Now, remember, I said this whole process started a long time ago.  It began before we knew we would be moving.  Fast Forward to last June/July.  After an atrocious winter and early spring, I finally got back to the quilt.  Things had changed- a lot!  First off, we were moving in the first few days of August.  Secondly, my sister in law (Hi Melinda! ) and the family were coming out in July, and I wanted to hand it all over to her for quilting.  My job was to design and piece the top (after printing up the pictures).  I used a nice Batik jelly roll to frame the pictures.  I also bought yardage to use for the back and binding and wherever else it was needed.  So, I was packing to move, and trying to get the top done.

I took the all the photos, printed up and waiting my magic touch... except I suddenly realized , as I was laying them all out that there was no way I would be able to use the original design I had been thinking and planning on.  The pictures were all different sizes, so instead of a tidy, symmetrical layout, I went with an eclectic look.  Personally, I think it turned out very artsy, and I loved it once I was done.

I was able to piece the top and hand it, the batting, the extra fabric, and the hand prints over to her when they came to visit.  The hand prints were a little brain storm we had later.  All of our hand prints, done in fabric paint, on the back of the quilt.  She finalized how to attach them to the back, and did a fantastic job!

Oh, another change that happened was that my sister in law is expecting again!  Yay!  But I know from experience that hand quilting with a frame around a pregnant tummy in the summer can be a bit of a challenge.  Come to think of it I was very pregnant with Josiah, and believe it or not it was for my Dad and stepmother's anniversary.  It was a GIGANTIC Trip Around the World Quilt.  We didn't have AC.  So, Dad and Les, if you read this, just remember how much I love you.  :P

What trials and mishaps my sister in law may have had, you'll have to ask her.  At any rate, she hand quilted the quilt, and got the had prints on, and got it labeled, wrapped and sent, bless her heart.

Oh, one more little glitch was that when my stepmother was doing her hand print my dad caught her in the act.  I don't know what she said to him, but according to Melinda, as soon as the word "craft" came out of her mouth my father glazed over and mumbled something about "whatever" and walked off.

In the end, my dad was surprised, and it worked out very well for this to be the year for such a gift.  My Florida Fleeing Father can't leave for the South just yet.  He has to actually spend the first part of the winter up north, as he had his routine hip surgery, and it will be at least 8 weeks before he can run for it.  No pun intended.

The "routine" surgery wasn't so routine, and there were some complications, but I have to say, after talking to him today, it seems like he is pretty much back to his old self again.  I hear he has been teasing and giving the nurses a hard time... a sure sign he is feeling better, and that he has been doing very well with the physical and occupational therapies.

The rest of the week has been the usual craziness plus NanoWriMo.  I've also been planning Dale's birthday dinner and a small family celebration.  His birthday is next Wednesday, but seeing how that is the day before Thanksgiving, and a Wednesday, which is the busiest day for us with ASL class and Teen Quiz team practice, and then getting over to our church for prayer meeting and doing up the bulletins... you get the idea, we decided that we would celebrate today.

Yesterday, however was our monthly shopping day.  It wasn't JUST monthly shopping.  I had Thanksgiving to buy for, and Dale's birthday.  And for mercy's sake, please don't even mention Christmas to me just yet!
When we got home, we unloaded, put away, then Dale and everyone except Elizabeth and I, went to the church around the corner from us where the kids go for Teen Recreation and Bible study on Friday nights.  They had a nice Turkey dinner for the teens and their families as a thank you for going to the Teen Bible Study.

Let's see... sit around and eat fattening foods, or stay home and write in my PJ's?  Kind of a no brainer, in my book.  Elizabeth agreed.  It was so very quiet after everyone left we hardly knew what to do with ourselves.  Funny thing is, she made us a nice healthy dinner, and then we sat and watched some TV together until the tribe came home.  Once the noise, er, family, was back in the house, I went upstairs to write.

Today was yet another busy day.  I bet you are all tired of reading that!  My plans were to get up bright and early, make the cake, organize for cleaning while Dale was gone for his Saturday visitation, wrap his presents, and have a nice lasagna dinner ready around 1pm.

Okay, what really happened was that we overslept, then just as we had all the eggs cracked for breakfast the power went out.  Dale was upstairs (I served him coffee in bed while he read his Bible) and was unaware when it went off.  But believe me, I was very aware!  I had lasagna to make!  A cake to make!  Laundry to do!  Vacuuming to do!  No power?

Well, at least I had had coffee!

So, we all went with Dale over to church.  Thankfully they had power.  We cleaned at church while Dale and Elizabeth did the Saturday calling.  I was able to do a little "office work" while there, as well.  Right before Dale and Elizabeth got back, I called our house.  I figured if I got the answering machine then the power was back on.  I did, and it was.

So, when we got home, we had a quick lunch, then I made the cake, put the lasagna together for supper, and then went upstairs to wrap presents.  Easy, right?

Not so much.  Seriously, I never, in a hundred years, would have expected to have so much trouble wrapping a few presents!

I had gotten this sparkly blue wrapping paper.  I took the plastic off and immediately couldn't help but notice that it was thick, almost like a fabric.  Great!  Not that cheap stuff that rips at the corners of a box after you wrap it.  Don't you hate having to reinforce those corners with tape?  Then I noticed that the glittery stuff that made it sparkle festively was coming off like little grains of sand.

No problem, I thought.  I haven't vacuumed in here yet.  (I had given the kids assigned chores for cleaning at our house, which they were TICKLED to do after helping at church.  Yeah.  Right.)

I got out the first gift, which was a new fleece bathrobe for Dale.  Boring present, right?  Well, it needed to be done as his old one is tattered and threadbare.  The man actually wore out an LLBean robe, believe it or not.  I'm not sure how, as he doesn't like to lounge around in it.  I did borrow it on occasion, but not that often.  No matter, a new robe he needed so a new robe he got.

He also needed new sneakers, but bought those himself yesterday.  I was going to get them for him, but it is a good thing I didn't, as he found he took a half a size smaller than he used to.  Good thing he was there to try them on!

However, I used the box for the bathrobe.  Not an easy feat, I assure you.  Picture this:  Me rolling that sucker up as tightly as it could go then cramming it into the shoe box.  Jerusha, who wanted to help wrap, was sitting there handing me tape.  I held that top down as best as I could, then quickly put tape on it to hold it shut.  It popped open, no matter how much tape I put on it.

"Jerusha, go ask Daddy for the packing tape, but don't tell him what it is for," I ordered her. I decided to wrap one of the other, smaller gifts: a new shirt and tie.  I cut the paper to the proper size and then folded it around the back.  I had it all lined up nice and neatly, then put the tape on.

It slid off.

I put another piece on.

It slid off.

The saying is that doing something the same way more than once and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.  Guess what.

I put a third piece of tape on.

Guess what:  Yup.  It slid off.

The tape simply would not adhere to the paper!  That stupid glittery stuff... like sand... would shift and fall off and there was no where for the tape to grip.

Jerusha reappeared with the tape.  I decided to go back to the shoebox full of fleecy bathrobe.  I held the lid down with both hands.  Ah, that was tight enough.  Nice and snug... but now how do I get the tape?  It was packing tape, and after Jerusha fumbled with it and made a nice little packing tape ball, I told her to hold the lid down.  She wasn't quite big enough to have enough "toomph" to hold it down snugly.  Now what?  Okay... well, now don't laugh, but I ended up sitting on the top of the stupid box while taping one end, then turning it to tape the other.  I put several more rounds of tape just for good measure.  I surveyed the box with satisfaction.  No way that thing was opening up unless I wanted it to be.

Then came the problem with the wrapping paper.  Now, when we moved, I ditched all our old wrapping paper.  It was cheap stuff we had bought at the dollar store, and not worth the cost to move it.  What I had was ALL I had.  Remember what I said about the definition of insanity.

Yup, I tried it again.  I figured I was wrapping a box this time, and maybe that would make a difference.

It didn't.

I finally looked at Jerusha and she had a strange look on her face.  I suspect she was trying not to laugh at me.  I told her "I have to go to the store."

Dale found out that I was about to use $8 worth of gas to buy a $2.50 roll of cheap birthday wrap and put a halt to it.  (Ah, such is the life with a "numbers" type of guy).  He said, just use what you have.

I didn't have anything!  That was the problem.  Well, I had some baby wrap from when I made that quilt for the neighbor here after she had the baby.  It was all in pastels and said "Welcome Baby Boy" all over it with pictures of storks.  I protested.  Dale said "It's fine.  I was a baby boy, after all!"

No, I didn't use it.  I remembered I had gotten some Christmas wrap yesterday and used some of that.  I chose a plaid that was a little less "Christmassy" than the others.

I sat down in my room, door closed.  I don't know why I closed the door.  Dale obviously knew what I was doing.  Anyway, Jerusha started wrapping some of the smaller things, and I tackled that shirt and tie.

Now, when I say tackle, I do mean tackle.  Have you ever tried to catch a slippery, wet, bar of soap in the shower?  That is what this wrapping paper was like.  Seriously.  It was the most slippery stuff I have ever felt in my life.  Silk couldn't be any more slippery.  And guess what... the tape didn't like sticking to it.  I use a lot of tape normally anyway, but this was bordering on ridiculous.  What is it with wrapping paper these days anyway?  And that is THE last time I use that awful, cheap, non-sticky tape! You really do get what you pay for sometimes!

Eventually we got the presents wrapped.  We had a nice dinner, and the kids did some entertaining by doing some singing and a couple of skits for Dale.  I couldn't help but notice that some of the tape on the gifts were already peeling off while he was unwrapping.  Ah well, at least the gifts were a hit!

Back to the Land of NanoWri for me!  Have a blessed evening everyone!

33,620 words and counting,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reality Check!

This was sent to me from my daughter.  This is the exact analytical thinking that makes watching movies with my husband irritating.  Given the fact the daughter that sent me this has the same propensity to point out "that couldn't happen!" or find a detail that wasn't consistent when viewing a movie or T.V. show, I'd say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


(The following was found at :

Santa Clause (an Engineer's Perspective)

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world.  However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).  At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108  million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

  Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.  This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second - 3,000 times the speed of sound.  For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element.  Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself.  On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds.  Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them - Santa would need 360,000 of them.  This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh,  another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere.  The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each.  In short, they would  burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.  The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. 

 Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's.  A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs, and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Merry Christmas!

(Now doesn't that fill you with warm, fuzzy, thoughts for the holidays?)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A "FO" and Other Minutia

I've been meaning to post a pic of this wall hanging/table topper for a while.  Every time I see I slap myself in the head and say to myself "Dingbat, post a pic already!"  So, for the sake of my forehead, and for a subject title for this post, here is a pic of the somewhat newly finished wall hanging/ table topper:

The front: (Elizabeth, who was holding it up said: "Do you like how my nails match the quilt?"  Silly girl!)

 Here is a close up of some of the quilting, which I now see you can't really make out very well.  Sorry about that!  Photography is NOT my forte' !

 And a section of the back, which, again, was supposed to show off the quilting better.  :/

Friday evening from 5pm I was at the mercy of the Harvest Retreat for the teens.  Okay, I signed up as a chaperon, but it was FUN!  We did all manner of activities including a tractor driving contest, knife throwing, obstacle course, pumpkin bowling, paintball, an Iron Man contest (farm style), a night hike, and trail riding.  There were other things too, but my brain is too tired to remember them.  My favorite activity was the night hike.  It was something I had never done before.  Well, I've hiked before, but not at night.  Those of you who are gasping and thinking that pigs do fly because I didn't say the horse back riding was my favorite, I'll explain why.

I've ridden before, a lot, in my teen years.  Took lessons, did trail rides, and love every moment of it, from wonderful little jumps to falling off... it was all fine with me.  However, this time around I had two things that distracted me from totally enjoying the experience. Actually three.

One, it was almost 23 or 24 years ago when I was last on a horse.  That is A LOT more years than the number of years these kids have even been alive, for crying out loud.  Was I nervous?  You betchya.  However,  I can overcome my own nerves.  The problem was that I had two daughters who have never ridden a horse by themselves also on the trail (there was supervision etc, but still!) and that is a whole different type of nerves, that I hadn't anticipated at all.  I knew I'd be a little anxious for myself, and thought I could handle those motherly instinct type nerves, but oh boy, was I wrong!  Especially when Elizabeth's horse decided he wanted to go into the nice looking field and would not follow her command.  She yanked on the reins, and that sucker gave her a buck!  Remember: Elizabeth has never really ridden a horse on her own before.  She did ride in the corral ring the previous night, but the horse was being lead by someone else.

I was so proud of her.  Not only did she keep her seat, but she kept her cool.  Thankfully it wasn't a runaway situation.  The horse "Liberty" (should have been named StubbornRebelliousSnorter) found a nice patch of grass, promptly started eating.  By then, one of the more experienced riders had gotten over to her, and they switched horses.  "King", who is a much older, and sedate type, seemed to give her no problems whatsoever the rest of the ride.  Well, until she got off and stepped on her foot, but it wasn't malicious.  He was grazing, shifted his weight, and caught the side of her sneaker.  She wasn't injured at all, and her breathing only took an hour or two to recover from the episode.

Esther's horse was fine, thankfully, but Esther is rather high strung and nervous anyway, and I was catching it from her. She had trouble getting the horse to stop, but I found out why.  When she pulled back on the reigns she was barely pulling.  My soft-hearted girl was afraid to hurt the horse's mouth.  Now, don't go rolling your eyes, she didn't know any better!

I was having my own issues with my horse, Sundancer.  Now I know and remember about proper posture, and getting to know the horse a little (I spent some time petting him, talking to him, letting him get to know me a bit, etc while we were waiting to go) and keeping your heels down in the stirrups, etc. I even managed to haul myself on that poor horse on the first try (okay, it wasn't very pretty, but I got up there!).  I know the horse knows if the rider is nervous or confident, and I know they will try to exploit that in anyway they can.

I was told Sundancer was mellow.  So, I was expecting to hop on, have nice loose reigns, and enjoy the ride without a care.  Uh huh.  In other words, I was delusional.  What really happened was I hopped on, and I swear I heard that horse give some sort of evil chuckle.  He stood still long enough for me to be lulled into a false sense of security, and then started to want to eat.  Well, I yanked on the reigns.  He put his head back up.  Then he would inch forward.  I pulled on the reigns, and said "Whoa boy,".  He whoa'd, and then moved backwards.  I rolled my eyes.  This sort of thing went on, as it takes some time to get 7 or 8 riders all set to go.  I noticed as soon as we started out that he was much happier.  Personally, part of me keeps saying that it was the first ride of the day, so he was restless and ready to go.  Lots of energy to be burned.  The other part says , "don't believe it for a moment.  He was testing you, trying to find out who's the boss."  I think both sides of me were correct.

So, we started out on the trail.  A nice, wide, easy trail.  And personally, it was going well enough, but I had those pesky nerves going on, and this was no laid back, loose rein ride.  I kept having to rein Sundancer in more and more.  When you are trail riding you never go before the leader.  Very poor riding etiquette, if I remember correctly.  Anyway, I was worrying about the girls, and wondering if it was a huge mistake, when another rider went by us (the path was plenty big enough for double laned walking) and her horse, Shadow, for no good reason kicked Sundancer!  I think I yelled out "Hey!" and the rider was scolding the horse too.  My initial reaction was to be on high alert lest Sundancer retaliated, but he took it like a champ.  Just after that episode, was Elizabeth's little drama.  By then I had had enough.  This ride was getting on my nerves, and I was ready to be done.  After Elizabeth switch horses though, the leader convinced us to stick it out.  Things did go smoother after that for the most part, though Esther was super nervous still.

I said there were three things that marred this experience.  The third is simple:  After all of that, it ended for me too soon.  Seriously.  Things started to calm down, and though I had to keep Sundancer on tight reins, it was a pleasant ride.  I'm already itching to go again.  I forgot how addicting riding is!

Oh, as a epilogue of sorts, I asked the girls if they would do it again, and Esther gave a somewhat hesitant yes, but with warmer footwear on (her toes got pretty cold) and Elizabeth answered right away "Yes, as long as I'm not on Liberty, and can ride King.   Also, I found out that Sundancer is USUALLY the leader on trail rides, which is why he was literally chomping at the bit the whole time.  Oiy vey.

All in all, it was a wonderful time, the whole retreat.  The kids got to try a lot of new things, and they were already saying "I can't wait for next year's retreat" on the way home.

And now for the NaNoWriMo update:  I'm up to over 7600 words!  I hope to get a little more in tonight after the kids are in bed, then tomorrow I will have to do double duty again to stay caught up, as I doubt I will get to it Tuesday.  We are going to visit some friends of ours for the day, which we have been looking forward to, and voting.

That reminds me... MAKE SURE YOU VOTE ON THE 6TH!!!!!!!!
(nice and subtle, eh?)

Have a blessed day!

Car Keys

Between the storm and politics, it's good to a get a hearty chuckle in these days.  This little story didn't originate with me, but honestly, I could see me doing this exact thing.  Go ahead, read, laugh, and repeat if necessary.  :)

Several days ago as I left a meeting at a hotel; I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down.  I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing.
Suddenly I realized I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the parking lot.

My husband has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition.
My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them.
His theory is that the car will be stolen.
As I burst through the door, I came to a terrifying conclusion.His theory was right. The parking lot was empty.
I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen.
Then I made the most difficult call of all, "Honey," I stammered; ( I always call him "honey" in times like these.)
"I left my keys in the car and it's been stolen."
There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard his voice.
"Are you kiddin' me", he barked, "I dropped you off"!!!!!!!
Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, "Well, come and get me."
He retorted, "I will, as soon as I convince this cop I didn't steal your car."
Yep it's the golden years................ :-\

Friday, November 2, 2012

In the Land of Nano

For obvious reasons, I was keeping a countdown last week, and had the pleasure of my parents staying with us for a few days.  What a wonderful way to spend time, especially during those anticipatory pre-Nano days.

Esther and I made our preparations.  They went from the physical to the mental.  The physical was stocking up on caffeine and snacks for those times when our brains need a boost, either sweet or savory.  Mentally, we both have been jotting ideas and thoughts down in what we call our NanoNotebooks.  Mine fits in my purse, so if we are out and I'm noodling over an idea, I can write it down so my old brain won't forget it later, and then I end up kicking myself, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth... not pretty.

Of course, to start off the Nano with a bang, Frankenstorm had to come through.  Where we are in Pennsylvania was in the high threat zone, but thankfully all it has amounted to is a LOT of rains, a little snow here and there, high winds, a bit of water in the basement (which the sump pump has kept up with just fine) and a 4 hour power outage, much to the children's delight.  They love it when we lose power, especially at night.  For them it is an adventure.  I had no real worries except for the fact that it doesn't take long for FrankenLaundry to develop.  Our prayers go out to those on the coast of course, some of which who are still without power.

This storm did provide an example of my favorite kind of teaching: Real Life.  I had the kids study about what made Frankenstorm such a superstorm and we have been looking at pictures online and reading the articles and updates.  It is amazing the damage that has been done, and if those pictures of NYC, dark and empty are eerie, than I don't know what is.  The "City that Never Sleeps" looks dead and empty.  It is a once in a lifetime occurrence, and indeed, this is one for the History books.

It has been very wet and rainy, drizzly, gray here, but Elizabeth and I have found time to go out for our Death Marches, uh, jogs.  Dale has been starting to walk again, so I get in about an extra 25 minutes or so with him.  I much prefer being outside, than trying to exercise to a tape inside.  Too many little bodies around!

Thursday was November 1st, and all Wednesday I had the countdown on the NaNo site up on my laptop, propped in the dining room and would call out the countdown from time to time.  I was hoping that I would drive everyone crazy enough so that they would be glad for the NaNoWriMo would start and I would be out of the way.  There is method to the madness, people!

I kicked of Thursday by doing my nails.  I used a pea green coat under a black "crackle" layer.  I'm hoping it will promote good writing mojo.  If nothing else it gives me something else to look than than the blank screen when I get stuck.

The first day of Nano was a wonderful success for me... the quota is 1666 words per day to finish on time.  I hit 2903 last night, and I didn't even have to stay up late to do it!  This story I'm doing is writing itself right now.  I know from experience that euphoria doesn't last forever.  Sooner or later I'm going to get bogged down, but for now, I have enough ideas to keep things moving for a while.

Speaking of writing, I need to get to it.  I've delegated some cleaning, it's a light day of school work, and later this evening the older children and I are going up to God's Adventure Camp for an overnight Harvest Retreat.  It is going to be wonderfully fun, cold, damp, but a superb outing I think.  It runs from 5pm tonight to 12 pm. tomorrow.  When we get home we are going to want showers, lunch, a nap, and then back to writing for me.  Dale is staying home for the littles, and I am going as a chaperon.  Ha.  I'm really going because I wanted in on the fun.

To all of those still suffering the effects of Frankenstorm please know you are being prayed for.

Stay safe, have a blessed day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's Doin's

Today was a busy day, as we did our monthly shopping: Aldi, Walmart, and I even made a *quick* stop in JoAnn's.  This venture takes us about 6 hours.  As a result, we are all exhausted, and very ready for the 45 minute trip home before having to unload and put away all the goodies.

That kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

(Oh, and No, I don't get to relax... there is supper to do then running off to the teen Bible Study and Recreation time and Elizabeth wants us to go for a jog before then.  Ha!  I think I need some caffeine....)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting A Few Things Done

October is more than half over, and both Esther and I are focused on NaNoWriMo coming up.  We've been chatting alot about our survival kits.  Mine is going to include chocolate, caffeine, a notebook, lots of pencils, music, and a good pair of ear buds that can double as earplugs. Esther's is much the same, minus the caffeine. :)  That girl doesn't need to be any more wound up than she is, bless her heart!

Meanwhile, we have been going about our business here.  Schooling is taking up more of my time, but that is fine.  It really is like working a full time job.  The ministry is going well.  Dale just started up choir practice on Sunday nights before service, and we are in the midst of planning a simple Christmas program.  We have our annual Harvest Dinner coming up, and I've donned the hat of "decorator".  Me and my big mouth!  That's okay as I have a couple of helpers who are chomping at the bit to lend a hand, and thankfully this happens before November!

I've been working on some small quilting projects for around the house.  I just finished the table runner for in the bathroom.  I love the colors!

Isaac has officially moved up to a big boy bed.  Dale and I bought a new bunk bed, so now we have no children in a crib or toddler bed!  How strange that seems!  However, I have to say that after moving to the twin sized bed, it makes HIM look pretty small again.  Of course, that means a new quilt for him, which is on the list for this fall/winter.  I've already got the fabric; now I need to get the time to put it together!

Also on the sewing list is a couple of skirts for Esther, and some things for Christmas, which I can't get into just yet.  I have the makings for all of this, so all I have to do is get started!  

Hope you all have a blessed day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Countdown Continues

16 days!

Not that I'm obsessing about it or anything.  Only 16 days until NaNoWriMo begins.  Esther is gearing up for it too.  We are planning our own NanoWriMo care packages.   Poor Dale is stuck with two of us this year.  I'm counting down until I can throw caution to the wind and write, write, write.  Dale is counting down until his is a NaNoWidower.  I told him if he needs anything important done before November 1st, he better let me know now!

16 days......

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

28 Days and Counting!

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Oh yes, it's that time of year again!  To me, this is "the most wonderful time of the year" (pretend you hear Burl Ives-like singing).

28 days until the start of another NanoWriMo challenge!  

Get the coffee.

Get the chocolate.

Get those creative juices flowing!  

Grab your pens, laptops, crayons, stone tablets, whatever your choice tool for scribbling is, and start brainstorming ideas.  

Who's with me?  Come on, you know you want to participate.  Let the next literary adventure begin, Tally-Ho!

(Here you can picture me grabbing my pen and coffee mug and riding off into the sunset.... er, cybersunset that is. And yes, I've already been warning my family that after November 1st I'll be somewhat indisposed of for 30 days.  Honestly, I think Dale is getting used to it.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Autumn!

I don't know what it looks like in your neck of the woods, but it is gorgeous here!  In a couple of day it will be prime foliage I think, and I will take a picture of one or two of the surrounding hills.  Simply beautiful!

We are still in the process of settling in, but it is now more everyday routines and less of "oh I need to unpack that".  I still have some boxes left to unpack.  Some will remain packed for an undetermined amount of time.  Come on now, you all have been there, haven't you?  You pack a box of things that you find in the new house and you don't really have any place for right away, but don't want to get rid of them for sentimental reasons?  For the most part we are unpacked.  There are still things left to be hung but some I haven't decided about.  Frankly, I like our walls sparsely decorated right now.  It gives a false sense of "clean room".

Homeschooling is going better than I expected and I haven't regretted for a moment our decision to go to the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.  I haven't gotten it all figured out yet, but so far so good.  We are wrapping up our study of Pennsylvania with research papers, due before we break for Thanksgiving.  We go to a library in the next town over for research days, when needed.  We are there every two weeks anyway, returning library books.   They are starting up a preschool reading time on Tuesdays next month, but I haven't decided if we will go or not yet.  The other children can be working on their research papers for now while Isaac and I enjoy story time.  We'll see.

You can see here Josiah is making an ugly face at me.  It was because I caught him doing school in an empty box and took opportunity to snap his picture.

Here is a recent picture Josiah drew for an oral report on chipmunks.  I think he is rather talented!

Every Wednesday afternoon the twins and I go to a Sign Language class.  It is at a church around the corner from us, so we can walk.  It is from 3 to 5pm, and by the time we get home it is time to get supper on, and get ready for prayer meeting.  Now, in the next couple of weeks, a Ladies Bible Study is being started up by one of the ladies in our church from 10am. to noon on Wednesdays.  I think I can make it work, especially while Dale is able to be home, but it is going to make Wednesdays a very busy day!

Speaking of the ladies, the past weekend some of us got together and went to the big quilt show in Chautauqua NY.  It was wonderful!  The twins wanted to go, so I counted it as a field trip, and thus they got  in a day of school.

Friday nights our teens go to a Teen Bible study at the church around the corner (same one we go to for Sign Language class).  They have a Bible study, refreshments, and games like volleyball, basketball, and floor hockey, but not all at once. :)  A lot of the teen in the neighborhood that don't go to church anywhere will show up for that, so it is used mostly as an outreach.

The couple that does the teen group, also organized an archery field trip for 3rd grade and up.  Our eligible kids got to go, and had a wonderful time!  They are now organizing a horse riding field trip, and my kids are hoping to go.  They've never actually ridden a horse before, but I was assured that was okay.  The couple who are doing all of us only live a few miles from us and mentioned in passing that it would be good to get our kids up there to give them a preliminary experience with horses before the field trip.

These field trips are fantastic, but I am going to have to offer to help chaperon just to get pictures!  I realized after the kids went to the archer trip that I had no record of it.  Boohooohooo!  I still counted it as a day of school.  I supposed I could have sent the camera with Elizabeth, who likes to snap pictures, but somehow letting one of my kids take my one and only camera while tromping through the woods didn't sound like a good idea to me.

Church is going well for us.  We have started a choir and this is the second week for it.  I'm hoping to glean more people for special music from it, too.  If they are in the choir I can hear better who is able to sing, or at least who is willing to give it a try.  I can hear sundry people who seem to be able to sing from behind me while at the piano, but I haven't been able to pinpoint them yet.  I'll get them sooner or later! *evil laugh*

We have several things on our calendar over the next month or so, and I'm finding that life here is a bit busier than it was in NY.  So far it is a "good" busy, not an "overwhelming" type of busyness.  If we get to "overwhelming" then it is time to start cutting back.

In the midst of all of this, I've been trying to get some sewing projects done.  While the older kids were at the archer field trip, I was able to spend some extra one on one time with Jerusha, and we started some hand sewing for her.  She made a cute little felt bookmark, and is looking forward to her next project.  She enjoys beading, and is able to do that mostly without my help.

Isaac enjoyed making roads on the table with Daddy while Jerusha and I were busy sewing together.

I've finished a window block for the downstairs bathroom, and am currently in them midst of quilting a little runner for the standing cupboards in the same bathroom.  I have a cute wall hanging to quilt too.  It is all put together and basted, awaiting its turn at the machine.  I have gotten several months behind on the Craftsy BOM, but I'm hoping to catch up soon.  Last week I was able to get some material for skirts for Esther who seems to be always lacking an everyday skirt to wear.  So all of that is in my immediate "to do" pile.  Oh, I forgot, I'm also working on a throw for the back of the couch.

I hate to even mention it, but I have been brainstorming for Christmas too.  Due to the apparent lack of time I'm trying to keep it simple as possible.

I still enjoy knitting in the evenings, I just recently finished the Azzu's shawl I started back in February?  I can't remember.  It got put on hold for a long time, and I decided I wanted it for this fall so I put a hurry on it over the last few weeks.  I've started an Oaklet Shawl now, and that seems to go pretty quickly.

Things are busy, but we are settling in, and I'm finding our new life here keeps me hopping.  There isn't a whole lot of time for blogging, which you probably already noticed.  

There is lots more to write about and pics to share, but for now I am out of time.  I hope you all have a blessed evening!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Settled In

Well, I'm hoping to post some pictures here if I can get the camera to upload to the laptop, and figure out how to do all that from here.  I am NOT tech savvy, so we'll see how it goes!

As I previously stated, we have been getting more involved in church, and taking over some of the duties, as we ought to be.  I've also gotten all the paperwork in, and we "officially" started school last Thursday.  We are diving in, both feet, not looking back into the Charlotte Mason method of learning.  I've been reviewing a book I read several years ago, "A Charlotte Mason Companion" by Karen Andreola, and studying up on narratives, ideas for different techniques for hands on learning, and creative free time playing.  No, I don't have it "all together" yet, but we are getting there.   So far I've learned that I have to keep up on the record keeping everyday just for my own peace of mind in regards to the end of the year portfolios.  Also, I'm pleased that there are no required quarterly reports in Pennsylvania.  Just one great big reckoning at the end of the year.

The library is just around the corner from us, but it is TINY, and not very good as far as good kids' books are concerned.  There are some of the classics (most of which I have) and some stuff on Pennsylvania.  Our first History/Geography lesson is all about this new state in which we live, and I was hoping for some good kids' biographies or stories about the Liberty Bell, or living books about the Allegany River or Appalachian Mountains... but I haven't found anything that would be a good living book at the library, so we'll have to look stuff up on the Internet, and maybe I can find some decent priced things on Amazon.  For now I have a few books in my own private library they can use.  We aren't suffering for books around here! LOL

Our next door neighbor had a baby last week, and I decided to make a baby quilt.  There are two things about this baby quilt that made me reach beyond the rut I've gotten into.  First of all, it is of my own design.  Second, it isn't symmetrical.  Also, I used some machine applique which I have never been brave enough to try.  It is of an abstract, modern design too, a real departure from my tendency to use more traditional arrangement.  I just need to put the label on it, and we'll take it over, and bring a meal, too.

We seem to have inherited a black bunny from somewhere.  It definitely isn't wild.  It eats the grass and weeds sedately and though it doesn't startle and run away from us, it won't let us exactly touch it.  The cat has had mild interest in it.  I think he tried to chase it once, then decided to just resort to grooming himself and ignoring the strange intruder.

The weather here has been pretty good, but we have had a few hot and humid days.  Thankfully it has been cool enough at night so that we can just run the fans.  We haven't attempted to put in the AC's yet, as it seems too late in the season to mess with it.  Plus, the style of windows we have for the most part, do no lend themselves to air conditioning units.  That is something we'll have to deal with next year.  
This next picture is one Elizabeth took of me, and decided that the heat was getting to me.  The water here is very different than it was in NY.  I think it is very "soft" water, for suds are quite easily made, and can easily take over if one isn't careful.  Looking at the suds at the end of a hot, humid day, I was longing for snow, and well.....

So, there is a small update.  I'll leave out the boring details of our first monthly shopping, and doing some reconnaissance and finding two very small, but tempting quilt shops.... let's just say Dale is very happy they are each 45 minutes away!  

Dale has put up some pictures on the walls, and the stencils I bought through Amazon.  Very cute looking, I have to say!  I'll post pics of those soon.

Blessings to you all!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome to Pennsylvania!

I've been trying to figure out how much to update here.  A lot seems to be going on, and it is hard to decide how much of the minutia of our life people are really interested in.  That being said, I'll give a somewhat day by day account since the last post, and I promise I'll try and keep it brief as possible.  Even so, you may want to pause here and grab a cup of tea.

The last post was right before our move.  After receiving and accepting the call to be pastor here, Dale resigned from his job at Cornell, and was promptly put to work at the house with dismantling the remaining shelving and computer desk.  He also did a ton of leg work on finding a piano mover.  When he finally was able to locate someone, he got the estimate, then approached me with the bad news.

"So, how attached are you to the piano?" was the first thing he asked.  Not a good sign.

"If the piano doesn't go, I don't go."  Unfortunately I am pretty attached to the piano.

"Okay, here is the deal then.  For them to move it, and drive it down there in their truck, it will cost between $800 and $1000."

Ouch.  Apparently what hurts is the mileage down there and back.

"However, they can help us move it into our truck, and it will be $250."

Well, that was more like it.  Getting from the NY parsonage into the truck was the hard part, because of the angle of the door down to the truck.  Getting the piano into the new parsonage, was easy, as the front porch was almost level with the back end (and the ramp) on the truck.  Originally I had said that Dale was NOT to touch the piano at all, since he is prone to back problems.  However, with the "professionals" (and I use that term very loosely, and I'll explain why later) could do the hard stuff, and Dale could point and direct.

So, I agreed.

Would someone tell me why it is so hard to find a good piano mover?

The rest of the week went in a hurry!  Tuesday, we spent the day with some close friends of ours.  It was so hard to say good-bye to them that evening!  Wednesday was more mad packing, and church in the evening. Thursday was more packing, with the addition of my mom coming in from MA, to help with the move.  Friday we went up north to visit Dale's mom and sister and family before we left the area.

That brings us to Saturday, and that is when the fun began!

Saturday morning we were up and doing last minute packing.  After lunch, Dale and I went to pick up the truck.  When we got back, we started loading up breakables (like the 80 billion canning jars and boxes of dishes) in the "Mom's Attic" part of the truck.  Some friend of ours showed up to help us pack which was such a blessing!  The piano was slotted as one of the first things to go towards the front of the truck, and the "professionals" were scheduled to show up around 3p.m.  They called around 3:30, and were on the wrong road, and Dale straightened them up.

The time waiting for them wasn't wasted, as we could bring some boxes out in the queue we had started, so once the piano was in, it would hopefully go pretty quickly.  Our goal was to get as much loaded up Saturday while we had the help.

A little before 4, the "professional" piano movers showed up.  I took one look at them and just sighed.  There were two of them.  One looked to be a little more mature than the other.  I supposed that one was "brain" and the other was just for extra "brawn", however due to the extra flab and not muscle, I was dubious of that assumption.

Brain dude was a misnomer too, it seemed.  They looked at the piano, and the set of stairs they had to take with it and proceeded to be befuddled.  They actually sat back on their heels while Dale, and a couple of friends figured out that a ramp was going to have to be built (thankfully we had the materials on hand!) going down the stairs, to the truck, which Dale had maneuvered into place with a great show of skill, if I do say so myself.

Soon a working method was worked out, though Flabby still looked kind of vague.  As they were hauling my piano out, they nearly ripped the wheels of the bottom.  Flabby and Brainiac seemed to think that yanking the 800lb piano THROUGH the door jam, instead of OVER it was a good strategy.  Thankfully one of our dependable friends pointed out that wasn't going to work.

"You have to lift it up over the door jam!"  I informed them, trying not to be snarky.

"It's heavy!"  This from Flabby.  I rolled my eyes but didn't say anything.

Once they got it positioned so it could go down the ramp, they had a sort of pulley system for making sure it didn't run away from them.

Now, I may sound bossy, but while everyone was taking a breather before doing the ramp, I told Dale, loud enough so EVERYONE could hear it, that he and Ben or any of our people were to be on the downside of the piano.

"The the professionals be on that side.  That is what we are paying them for."  Brainiac and Flabby chuckled.  I turned to give them my "I'm NOT joking look."    Dale assured me everyone would be careful.

I couldn't watch.  I went over to the other side of the yard where my mom and a friend were watching the littles (which was a major help.  I really appreciated being able to just work and not worry about Isaac or the my friend's littles being underfoot.)

I did have a view of Esther, Elizabeth, and Josiah, who were positioned away from the danger zone, but watching.  Esther had her hands over her face.  I figured if the piano fell, I would know it soon enough.

However, that heart-stopping crash never happened, and after a few intense moments, the piano was secured in the front of the truck.

Dale was going to write them a check, but was interrupted by "Uh, we prefer cash."

Now if it were me, I would have told them too bad, so sad for you.  They never informed us of that when we hired them, and the cash we had on hand was meant for us to live off for a bit after we moved.  However Dale gave the $250 (which they weren't worth, BTW) and I was glad to see them leave.  I should have given the money to our friends who helped figure out how to safely get the piano out of the house.  Braniac and Flabby weren't worth much.

However, the piano was safely moved, undamaged (except for what I suspect is a new scratch on the front) and no one was hurt, which was most important.

Sunday, August 5th, Dale preached for the last time in Willseyville.  There was a great lack of emotion for the most part.  There is one couple in our church who all along have been not wanting us to leave, but understood about God's calling.  They had cake and ice cream after the evening service for us.  It was very thoughtful, but I wasn't surprised to see only four other people there besides our family, and my mom.  Seven years of blood, sweat and tears, and only a few people could take the time to say goodbye.  I told myself that I wouldn't let it bother me, but honestly, it did just a little bit.  I hope they treat their new pastor with much more love and respect.

Monday, August 6th, was moving day!  We were up early, had a good breakfast, then the last minute packing, wiping down, loading up was done.  I tried to do some cleaning before we left, but there was only so much time or energy.  Plus we still had to unload the truck after getting in here in PA.  I was remembering when we moved into the parsonage at Willseyville how not one person showed up to welcome us, or to help unload the truck.  We arrived late on a Saturday, and after getting to bed after an extremely strenuous day (that is another story for another time) got to be around 1 a.m., on the floor.  The truck was a borrowed truck, so we could unload at our leisure.  After pulling in late, and bone tired, Dale preached Sunday school, Sunday Morning, and Sunday Evening.  All that time not one person said, "Hey, can I help you unload the truck?".  

So, when we pulled in here, and saw at least a half a dozen people waiting to greet us and help unload, I could have cried.  The interim pastor (who lives about a mile from us... a really sweet older couple) brought down dinner.  A hot meal... meatloaf, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, cookies and the BEST blueberry pie I've ever had... enough for everyone and some leftovers for us to finish off the next day.

The next day, Tuesday the 7th, Dale and I had to return the truck.  The church had ordered a new stove for me, and it was delivered while we were gone.  My mom was here with the kids.  As the stove was being installed, a lady from the church showed up with the makings for a spaghetti dinner.  I was glad she didn't cook it because we warmed up leftovers from Monday night.

After returning the truck, Dale and Benjamin took all the seats out of the van, then headed back up to NY because there were several office chairs and odd and ends that we just couldn't fit in.  We had arranged to have the extra moving day, and were glad to have done that.

Dale and Benjamin got home a little after 9:30 that night.  I had just gotten everyone to bed, gotten a shower, and was settling down to read.

"We are officially moved out!" Dale said.

The lady next door to us, Mrs. Close, had brought us some yummy sticky buns for our first breakfast.  I got word from her niece the next day that she fell and broke her collar bone, so Wednesday Dale visited her for a while.

Thursday morning my mom left and we went exploring.  We needed groceries, so we just scheduled a day to do some shopping.

And shopping we did!  There is an Aldi, Walmarts, Kmart, Home Depot, and lots of other stores about 45 minutes from us.  I needed several household items, and we decided to purchase a new fridge.  Since our main shopping is going to be twice a month, or less, we figured more storage space wouldn't hurt.  Plus, I have a ton of bulk flour we bought just before leaving for baking.  So our old fridge will turn into the storage fridge in the mud room, and the new fridge's spot would be in the kitchen.  We purchased it at Home Depot, and they have free delivery, which was scheduled for yesterday (the 16th).

Friday, the interim pastor stopped by.  A man that was a member of the church, though hadn't attended in a long time because of his health, passed away Wednesday night.  The funeral was to be Saturday, and though Dale wasn't officiating, we were asked to attend.  The funeral would be in town, and a dinner provided at the church after, so the twins and I could help with that.  It was a good opportunity to meet some of the community.

Oh, did I mention that besides helping us move in, providing meals, and making us feel welcome, the church sent us a bouquet of flowers?

There is much more to write, and I suspect that this is getting too tedious.  Let it suffice to say that we are getting settled in, much faster than I thought we would.  I believe that is because Dale hasn't had to go back to work yet, and we have been gung-ho in getting unpacked.  Josiah, Caleb, and Jerusha have been attending VBS this week in the mornings at a church nearby, and very much enjoying that.  We had our first overnight guests this past Wednesday.  A missionary family we know was heading through this area, and it worked out for us to be a stop for them overnight.  Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, they had to pull out Thursday morning, but it really made me feel like we are up and running if we've had company!

Yesterday afternoon I was online for several hours ordering school books.  Normally we would have started the new term by now, but obviously, with moving, that wasn't going to work.  I'm hoping we'll be starting in about 3 or 4 weeks.

I've ordered some scripture and cute sayings in vinyl stencil form to put up here and there.  I also bought a couple of new clocks.  We still have some shelves to hang, and some pictures to hang, but we are at the point now where we can take a breather and move our focus to other things besides just unpacking, though there is still more of that to do.

We are starting to delve into the ministry here.  We are without printing abilities right now, but are going over to the church this afternoon to clean, and do bulletins, nursery schedule, and a sign up sheet for cleaning.   I'm tentatively thinking on a ladies "tea" just to get us all together and plan some ministry type projects, and see what, if anything, they have been wanting to do.  Plus it will be an excellent opportunity to get to know the ladies better.  I haven't set a date for that yet, but it is simmering on the back burner of my  brain.  First, though, I need to get us into routine with school and music practice again.

I just recently found our camera again, so I'll try and get some pictures up soon.  I was kind of waiting until we got more up on our walls and made it look more "homey" and not so clinical.

If you made it this far through this entry, then reward yourself with some chocolate.  Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Last Update for a While

We got the call Sunday night.  It was a unanimous vote to ask Dale to be the pastor.  He accepted, so now we not only know WHEN we are moving, but WHERE we are moving!  Our time of "limbo" is over, and I can't say how happy I am.

So, we are in the throes of the last few days of packing.  We pick up the truck on Saturday afternoon, and start loading.  Dale preaches here one last time this Sunday, then Monday we pull out for PA.

We've been having fun arranging for our monster piano to be moved.  The estimate for "them" to do it all, loading, hauling, then coming all the way back up to NY was..... well, I hope they all have a nice vacation in Hawaii.    When Dale had gotten off the phone with them he asked me, "So, how attached are you to the piano?"

"If it doesn't go, I don't either."

"Okay then.... " then he laid the fee estimate on me.

So, we are taking some measurements.   It will be worlds cheaper if they just help us load it on our truck, and we haul it, and unload it ourselves.  It will be easier to unload than load because of the porch set up in PA.  We'll see....

Anyway, due to the super-craziness right now, I'm signing off indefinately for now.  I'll start up again, after we get settled some at our new place.  So, don't lose the bookmark here, just don't get impatient waiting for my next post.

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Miscellaneous Post

We are almost to one week before our move date!  Dale's last day of work was yesterday, so he is officially unemployed!  Though a new pastor has been hired here at the church, he has asked Dale to fill in when available until all the moving and transitioning has been completed.  I think I mentioned that before.  *blush*.

In case you all haven't noticed, my brain is a bit addled!

The packing has been going well, and we will be finishing up this week.  We still have to go through the shed, but that isn't as bad as it sounds.  I hope!  The last minute clothes packing will get done later in the week, and the kitchen we'll do over next weekend.  There are still a few odds and ends in the meantime to take care of, but we are in pretty good shape.

Speaking of getting in shape, I've been spending as much time as I can in the evenings at the gym.  My membership runs out later in August, but we will be gone several weeks before that.  In the meantime, unsure if there are any gyms near where we will be moving (whether north or south, I still don't know!) , I'm taking advantage of having the access to a gym now.  Elizabeth has been more serious about working out with me recently, and has been following my eating plan, and my workout plan quite a bit.  It is much easier to say "No" to treats when you have a buddy to do it with!  She doesn't need to lose weight at all, but she is doing it  to help me and to maintain her health.  Good girl!

Speaking of weight loss, I haven't really lost much over the summer.  I keep playing around with the same 3 to 5 lbs.  However, though the scale isn't doing a lot of moving, something is going on!  Last weekend, the interim pastor and his wife invited us to stop at their house on the way out of town.  They had been given a ton of clothes, and said we were welcome to go through them and see if there was anything we wanted.  We did, and several of the kids ended up with some nice pieces of clothing!

One of the sweater that Esther got was a beautiful cardigan, with a zipper.  It looks like some sort of Norweigian colorwork, on a smokey blue background.  Just gorgeous!  I fell in love with it, but it was a size Small, so I passed it to the twins who agreed to share it with each other.

Lo and behold, a few days later, Elizabeth was wearing it in the morning.  Seriously.  I about sweat to death just looking at her.  Now I know what my folks felt like when I would show up with sweatpants, a thick hooded sweatshirt on, OVER whatever else I was wearing.  Oh yeah, that would be in the summer.  Oiy.

After some good natured teasing on my part, she finally took it off and said she was getting too warm in it anyway.  Then Esther said, "Mom, why don't you try it on?  I know you like it."

"Honey, it's way too small," was my positive reply.

They finally convinced me to try it on.  Well.....

(You'll note that I put in a pic of the tag just for good measure!)
Now, wearing a size Small is highly unusual for me.  This was a VERY generous size Small, if you know what I mean.  But still.... woot!

Besides going to the gym, I like to knit to help destress.  Is that even a word?  Anyway, I started this tote a few months ago, working on it here and there.  I've spent the bulk of my knitting time finishing it up.  It was very easy knitting, perfect for the present season of life we are going through right now.  Here it is drying out, after felting it:

So, there is a brief, frivolous, and totally random update.  I'm thinking by tomorrow night we'll be getting a call from the head of the Pulpit committee to let us know how things came out in the vote they are supposed to take after the evening service.  

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

No, I'm not referring to the Olympics!  Still a few more days before those begin!

I am talking about a major declutter/packing spree leading up to our moving day.  Yup, that's right folks, I actually have a solid date... well, at least semi-solid.  Kind of more like "Jello" solid.

We were called back for a second visit at the PA church, last weekend.  It went very well, and it was even a gorgeous weekend, and not near so oppressively hot as it was a few weeks ago.  After the Q and A in the afternoon, the pulpit committee met and voted to recommend Dale to the members as Pastor.  According to their constitution, they have to announce the formal vote two services ahead.  The head of the pulpit committee told us that they would announce it Wednesday night, Sunday morning, and set the vote for Sunday night.  So, in less than a week Dale may be offered a new pastorate!  We appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom and guidance.

Meanwhile, the members here have voted in a new pastor.  He is a young man, with a wife, little girl, and a baby on the way.  They are moving from Ohio.  So, yesterday afternoon Dale a call from "Pastor John" as everyone is already calling him (he has a French last name that no one can seem to remember well enough to pronounce correctly) and had a chat about the logistics of all this transitioning for them and us.  Dale said he was very pleasant to speak with, and he hopes that all will go well for him here.

Anyway, we will be moving over the days of August 6th and 7th at the latest, if not sooner.  Pastor John asked if Dale would continue filling the pulpit, while he can.  He wasn't looking for a commitment, so if we want to leave before the projected moving day, then we need not feel like we can't go.  Dale agreed, and assured me that if we are ready to go before then, we have no responsibility here to fill the pulpit until August 5th, which is the Sunday before our projected moving day.

It is a little strange being in the church still, Dale preaching, but not the pastor anymore.   It seems awkward to me, but Dale is taking it all in stride.

Lately we have been having a rash of break downs here.  The Tracker (Dale's little car) is gone.  It didn't pass inspection, and the work it would have taken to get it to pass was much more than the car was worth.  So, we are now a one vehicle family again, and we've decided to not even bother with another car until after we move.  

Then our main computer started acting up.  I think we jostled something the wrong way while moving it to a temporary desk.  The desk it was on was a pickle to put together, and I figured it would take a while to break it down again.  It did.  I'm glad that one is done!  Anyway, while moving the computer around something got wiggled wrong and for several days we couldn't even get it to turn on!  Dale went through all the connections last night, and got it to turn on, but it shuts down on its own whenever it feels like it.  Well, if we can't get it to work, we are taking out the motherboard, wrapping it up good, and tossing the rest of the computer out.  We'll deal with a new one after we move.  At least we can salvage the info on the hard drive!

Then, last night, after a very hot and very humid day, the AC in the basement started to make some strange noises.  We had to shut that down.  Dale hasn't had a chance to look at it yet.  It sounded like something in the fan.  It could be some crud got in there, or the bearings could be going.... who knows?  

Maybe with all this stuff breaking down is God's way of helping me declutter!

So, we are in a feverish packing mode now.  Not sure how the timing is going to work out.  IF we are voted in at the church in PA, and we end up moving down there, we aren't sure when the parsonage will be ready.  If we have to, though, we'll just use those PODS, and maybe go on vacation while waiting, if they can't house us for a couple of weeks.  If they say, "come as soon as you can" then Dale said he may start making a trip or two ahead just to get the moving started.  We'll have to wait and see.

So, we are sort of in 'limbo' still, but only less than a week of that.  Then we'll know what we are doing.  Either way, we are leaving here on, or by, August 6th-7th.

"T" minus 13 days, and counting. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Quiet on My Blog But Busy IRL

We have had quite a whirlwind of events, so I wanted to just do a quick post to update everyone.

The short of the long is that Dale candidated in a church in PA last weekend, and they have asked us back for another set of meetings!  So, we will be back in PA the weekend of the 22nd.

I will give more details on the church there later.  Right now we are in a time of prayer and seeking God's guidance.  We are very excited, because whether or not we are supposed to be there, they are a great group of people, and I will be glad to see them again.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, we are packing.  I had started packing more intently, thinking we would be moving out of here around the 21st, but with the church in PA looking promising, we are sticking around a bit longer to play that out.  Thankfully, no one here minds, and told us to stay as long as we wanted.  Dale fills the pulpit here when available, and we have a place to stay until we now for sure which direction we are moving in.  Anyway, the intense packing is slowed down and I'm finding, oddly enough, time on my hands.  Without school, or the garden, or the pool, or tons of packing to do at the moment, I'm actually finding time to work on a quilt that has been in progress for a year.  It was supposed to be for my niece's  wedding a year ago, but obviously I never got very far on it, as I just finished cutting out yesterday afternoon.  The fabrics in the quilt are gorgeous, if I may say so myself.  I love the colors and how they play off of each other.  This is one of those quilts where I'm battling myself the whole time.

"I want to keep it."

"You can't.  It's for your niece."

"But I WANT it!  It's going to be stunning!"

"No.  You have to send it to her."

"But by the time I actually get it done, it may be this fall.  Way too late for a wedding present, or even a first anniversary gift!"

"Not so.  She'll love it anyway.  You have to give it to her.  Besides you can always give it to her for Christmas."

Pout, pout pout.

And so it goes.  Either way, I'm loving it already, and I haven't even started the piecing yet!

The piecing is somewhat intricate, so this isn't a quick quilt.  However, I'm sure it will be well worth the effort and time.

I've been working on some easy knitting.   Mostly because we've been outside when it isn't too hot, and it is easy to watch the littles and do something easy.  I'm making a tote, that will be felted, and still working on my Cabria wrap.  My Azzu's Shawl is on hold for now.  I needed a break from it.

The weather has been hot, as one would expect in July.  I'm already tired of summer, and ready for those nice, crisp, cooler days of fall, but alas.  I can't speed up time, so I'll have to learn to just be patient.

There is a very basic update in a nutshell!  Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Something Lacey Shrug

I finished this simple shrug about a week ago, but have neglected to take a pic until today.  Sorry about all the junk in the background... no matter how much picking up I do it looks like the packing fairy threw up all over the place.  I also included a pic (again) of the blocked part, before I put the ribbing on (above pic) . Hopefully you can see the lace pattern better. Oh, and no sooner had I put it on for church this morning, than I heard "Mom, can I have it?" from the twins.  It is a good sign when your teenage daughters want your stuff!  

Have a blessed Lord's Day everyone!