Wednesday, December 06, 2017

I Should Be Knitting...

...and watching "The Princess Bride." Which was the initial plan for tonight. 

Instead, I just ate a half of a jelly sandwich and I'm warming my hands on a cup of chamomile tea. I even skipped a conference call I was scheduled to attend (along with about a dozen others, and I basically lurk - I won't be missed). 

Today has been kind of a hot mess, and I blame most of it on the cold I got last week. I was fine (seriously) on Thursday morning, and then practically as I got to the office in the afternoon? WHAMMO - I got hit with a head cold. It was that fast. Spent the weekend (mostly) resting, hydrating, neti-potting, and not talking. 

Good news is that I finished another knitting project. Bad news is that I ripped out TWO socks... And I fell flat on my face, breaking my glasses, AND I'm still fairly snotty. Awesome. 

Knitting...

Fuzzy small scarf
Well, one done and two frogged. Out of the "stuff in the room," I had plucked this scarf. It's done. It's actually not long enough for a "real" scarf, but it's a small-ish, "could be a cowl" thing. It's that "fun fur" yarn, held double. No idea the color. Size 9 needles. 

And the socks... I pulled the Sole to Sole sock out of the bag, and one of the needles came out of one side. I put the stitches back on, but I must've screwed something up because there were too many stitches on the needle. And so, in a fit of pique, I frogged it. It's in time-out. 

I also frogged (AGAIN) the St. Charles sock. I didn't like the way it was turning out on the size 1 needles. So it's also in time-out. Again. It'll eventually be socks. I know it. But for right now, I don't want to deal with it. The yarn needs to breathe, and so do I. 

I've started another pair of socks. It's a pattern called "Peaks & Valleys" from the "Knit Socks!" book - it's a hard-cover book shaped like a Christmas stocking. The pattern is basically a ripple, and I'm using Cascade Heritage Sock in colorway 5610 - which is a camel color. I think that'll pop nicely with the ripple pattern, and even though it goes down the whole foot, I may leave it at the leg only. I'll have to see. 

That being said, I've gotten 3 rows done so far. I've been trying to get to it, but everything else seems to get in my way. 

The Meltdown...

So, falling on my face... As I raced home Tuesday, trying to beat the "leaving school" traffic, I had in mind the zillion things on my list(s). I needed to finish the 2017 ornaments. I hadn't yet started any baking, but Hubby was doing most of it. He's a good baker, but it was annoying because I do love to bake, and it seems like I just haven't had time to do much lately. 

Still need finishing
I set up the laptop and prepared to finish up a project for church. As I knelt over the arm of my knitting chair to plug in the charger, Quinn had stuffed herself under the chair. Well, rather than ask her to move, I stretched a bit more. And then I slipped. My face hit the glass table, my glasses broke, and I lost my temper. 

Back up a bit. I'd also been to the orthodontist that noon, and had a ligature placed on my front lower teeth, and had actually had the orthodontist pulling the teeth together. It was quite painful - Lamaze-breathing painful, and I'm still wired up so that the teeth get to where they need to be so that I can get my braces off next month. My face hurt. 

Lucky for me, the space where my chin would've hit the table was actually just air... I mean, my upper chest hit the arm of the chair as my right eye and nose hit the corner of the table, which is glass. 

Which, if I hadn't had glasses on, would've done a huge number on my right eyeball. 

My frames didn't snap, but the right arm of the glasses bent at a pretty nasty angle. Hubby made a remark about setting up a docking station on this little tray-table I'm using till I get my office in order, and honestly? I lost it. 

Hey - I was in pain, and upset. And I'm human. I snapped, stormed off to the eye doctor to see if they could repair my glasses, and wondered how I'd explain the black eye I was sure I'd given myself. 

Ok. Well. The eye doctor had just ordered a spare pair of my frames, and was able to replace them. They still need a bit of adjustment over the right ear, but I can run up there on Thursday or Friday to have them tweak it. I don't have a black eye, but my eye socket is a tad tender. And my face still hurts from the orthodontist. But I'm not mad at Hubby. 

And I'm still behind on the zillion things I have to do. This weekend, I'll be on a baking marathon to finish up about 4 different batches of cookies. Hubby is finishing 2 batches tomorrow. 

Sometimes, I do really dislike the "busyness" of the season. 

The Mosque...

This picture is from the mosque in a town nearby. I found that the quote on the sign kind of hit me. So for all the talk about "those terrorist MOOZLIMS" - you see this. 

A reminder that God's mercy is indeed great, and available to all of us. I don't get all preachy, and I don't mean to wave a Bible or Q'ran at anyone. All I'm doing is pointing out that this quote seems to me a very strong reminder that if you do worship God, then He (or She) is a being whose mercy is something offered to all of His (Her) children, no matter how badly we behave. Of course, this means that the Mango Moron who's driving our country into the sewer is also going to be forgiven in The Grand Scheme of Things. But maybe God has a special place for predators and those who think that they themselves are God... For example, according to a recent Chicago Tribune story, his own lawyer says he can't be prosecuted because he's the President. 

Ummmmmm. No. That's not how that works. One branch of government is not more powerful than another. They're all checks and balances on each other. 

But then again, you'd have to have a working knowledge of basic civics to understand that. And it's hard to do when you believe you're the Emperor. 

Super Moon...

Seems like all the full moons lately are called "super moon" and I'm not quite sure why. So the latest full moon was called "The Last Super Moon of 2017." Well, it wasn't as huge as some Harvest Moons we've seen, but for December, and the clarity of the sky? It really stood out. 

And it was a beauty. As I left my Yin class, I turned to get into my car and saw this. It was too perfect - a beautiful, huge full moon right over the top of my studio. I sent this out on my studio's Facebook page, and lots of folks loved it. 

This is one reason I love where I live. There are a lot of reasons to hate it. We're near a transportation hub, and the traffic and the semis are both horrendous. It's Illinois (that's usually enough of a reason...). But... We're nearly in the country. In one hour, going north, I can be in Chicago if I want to be. In one hour (or less) going south, I can be in the middle of corn fields. And we have walking/biking trails that are amazing, two rivers, lots of open space. 

It's a blessing to be out here in the 'burbs. 

The Orthodontist...

So my orthodontist has a heavy hand. I mean, I'm kind of seriously dreading the removal of the braces. But it is what it is. I know he knows what he's doing. However, that ligature thing the other day? I was nauseated. 

He was recommended by my dentist, and I trust him (my dentist, that is), so I'm sure my teeth will turn out fine. 

You know that "Elf on the Shelf" thing? Well, it creeps me out. That, however, is what the orthodontist's office is doing for Christmas. They're calling it "Doc on the Shelf" and they've pasted a picture of his face on the elf's head... 

It still creeps me out. But in a way, it's really funny. He's got a great sense of humor, and it seems like everyone enjoys their job. I love my technician - she's a hoot and has been a boon to me in terms of information on questions I have. I will miss seeing her. But I won't miss the tightening and the wires. 

Oily News...

There's a great Young Living Essential Oils blend called Christmas Spirit. It's spruce, orange and cinnamon, and it's quite lovely. In my last shipment, I got Pine...and I thought, "Hmmmmmmmmmm." So I added some tangerine and some peppermint, and I got a different kind of "Christmas" scent. It's really quite nice, and I'm glad I thought of it. I can't smell much of it yet (head filled with snot...), but I'm told it smells really nice. 

While I love the blends Young Living already has, I do enjoy making my own. I think it's the cook in me. I love to experiment. Some of my blends have been unqualified FLOPS. But many of them seem to be quite nice and I use them almost daily. 

And I like their single oils, too. Tangerine is one of my favorites. It's "orange but soft." It's "lemon but lighter." I love it in water and in my Ningxia Red supplement every morning. I also love it in a smoothie. 

And here's another "life hack." I'm a bit traditional...when people talk about "hacks," I still think of hacking into a computer... 

Anyway - my sister gave me a very nice black leather bag. But she smokes. And it reeked. She said she'd only used it once, and had tucked it away for me. But it still reeked. 


So here's the "hack" for un-stinking a purse or other object. I took a custard cup, put in 3 large cotton balls, and dropped about 8 drops of Purification blend on the cotton balls. I sealed them up (custard cup + balls) in each of the purse's 3 compartments, for about 6 days each. 

The other day, I thought it had "cooked" enough, and of course, still unable to smell, I said to Hubby, "please smell this and let me know what you think."

He said, "I think it smells like Purification." Well - props to him for getting the oil's name right, and recognizing the scent! And thankfully: the purse doesn't smell like smoke anymore. I can now use it. He's even more sensitive to smoke than I am. I think that, since I grew up with my dad smoking, I do have a somewhat "nose-blind" spot. I mean, we don't smoke in the house - or rather, nobody in my house smokes. So I am aware of it. But his nose is a bit better than mine. 

And I'm happy to have a second nose on board. 

Random Picture...

This is serious "yarn chicken." I thought I was playing chicken with the Close to You shawl. Well, p'shaw... I had OODLES of yarn with THAT project. 

The "rule" is that it takes roughly 3 times the yarn to bind off. I mean, you measure three "rows" of yarn across your project. So I did that. I even fudged with extra. 

And this is what I ended up with at the end of the project. Not even enough to put into my knitting notebook.

Well, there it is, kids. Another night with no knitting - worked through lunch, too, so no knitting there. And once again, I didn't sleep well (snot and sore face). So I'm going to sign off, wishing you an amazing evening, and a great day tomorrow morning. 

Find some time to do something you love. Just for YOU. Spend the time. You are worth it. 











Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Things Done and Things Left Undone...

Well, it's been an interesting several days. Things got done. Some things got left undone. Some things ended. Some things started. And some things got re-started...

Knitting...

The most stuff happened in The Knitting. So I'm pretty traditional in my bind-offs. I usually do a regular old bind-off and nothing fancy. Not the super-stretchy one, not a tubular, nothing complex. I could bind off in my sleep, as a matter of fact. 

Well. The Close to You shawl (on Ravelry if you're a member) has a picot bind-off. And I'd never done one. And according to my "Cast On Bind Off" handbook, there are TWO ways to do this. One is relatively easy. One is a major pain in the kiester, involving flipping your work twice for each picot. 

Can we say, "I'm gonna screw this up royally"??

So I chose the first one, the easier one. It's still a pain in the butt. I can now cross this off the "if I never do it again" list. 

That being said, I will want to knit another Close to You because it's a marvelous pattern, and without working on this full-time, since I have 3 jobs, it only took me 2 months to finish it. In my next version, I'm going to "biggen" it. I had 400 yards of hand-dyed, which was given to me as a gift. And this pattern takes 399 yards. 

I'm not one to enjoy a game of "yarn chicken" and I was playing it. So I left it as its regular size, and it's not even blocked yet. I'm told it'll be a nice size when it's blocked. Hubby thinks that, in its current state, "it's really tiny." He doesn't get the Magic of Blocking, but that's mainly because I don't block baby clothes or socks. 

So, meet Close to You, done in Rembrandt Yarns sock yarn. It's the "West Coast Swing" colorway. I did this on size 6 bamboo circulars, with a 24" cable. The pattern specifies a 32" cable, but I couldn't find one in that length... and this worked fine. I had plenty of room to maneuver and the bamboo was nice to hold. 

Stitch definition is great with this yarn; it's sockweight, and honestly, I thought it was "too pretty for feet." I wanted to do a shawlette and I looked around for a semi-lace pattern. I didn't want a lot of lace, but I wanted a little bit - a little splash of zing, if you will. 

This pattern has actually been done with beads in the lace part. I'm not there yet. Don't know if I will ever be, but I have other shawl patterns that use beads and I'm fine with that. 

So that's finished. 

I've been doing the "Swedish Death Cleaning" and pruning my yarn stash. Not necessarily ditching things, but there are some yarns that were definitely "what??" purchases, that will end up in the church rummage sale. I have a partial scarf in - honestly - some really cheap yarn, and I'm going to pull it out, donate it to the Prayer Shawl group OR - stick it in the "rummage sale" bin and let it go somewhere else. So THAT will be a project that is UN-done. And happily so. 


And then I found some partially completed patterns, like the Chandelier Lace scarf, which for some reason is on TWO circular needles... I have to figure that one out. And this little gem was in the bag with the scarf... 

Remember "fun fur" or "eyelash" yarn? Well, this is actually pretty. It's held double, so I've got a fairly hefty scarf going here. Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I don't need a fuzzy scarf, so I could give it to someone, or again donate it to the rummage sale. Or I could hold onto it for an "emergency gift." It's always nice to have a stash of pre-knitted things and this would appeal to a couple of folks I know. 

It's a little passe in fashion, but for the right person? It could work. I have a "fun fur" shawl - a HUGE one - that was gifted to me (discussed in my last post) which is going to be re-gifted, and I think that's ok. I think that if it'll be worn, I'll be happy. I'd rather it be worn than it sit in my closet. 

No. I'm not going to give this to the same person. That would be redundant...

However, THIS project will be done. And then next, the Chandelier Lace scarf, since it was supposed to be a Christmas present. Three years ago. 

2017 Christmas Baking...

Hubby started the 2017 Christmas baking tonight. He made the peanut butter kiss cookies. About 125 of them. A/K/A "Peanut Blossoms." 

Here's my hint for a different twist on these traditional cookies (not traditional as in "granny made them" but in fact, my granny DID make them years ago). The recipe isn't as old as my grandma's Kolachy recipe, but I do remember her making them when I was in high school and college. 

Anyway... I add about a tablespoon of cinnamon to my sugar. You know you roll the peanut butter cookie in sugar, right? Well, I added the cinnamon a few years ago because to my mind, cinnamon + chocolate = THE GREATEST TASTE EVER. 

And I'm not fond of peanut butter cookies. So this hit of cinnamon kind of takes the peanut butter down a few notches. 

Here's the list. Potica is on it, but only as a reminder that we're bringing it to Christmas Eve dinner... I don't have to make that till Easter. 

Nobody has ordered any, so I'm not going to make it unless we have a day that we have perfect humidity and weather. Yeah, the dough is THAT finicky. 

But mostly, we're doing some old favorites, and keeping it simple. And as you know, the list will change! It usually does, though Kid #2 and I have pretty much coordinated what we're doing so we don't duplicate. 

I'm sure I'll dig out an oldie (like the Kolachys or maybe strabas) and do that, just because I'm the only one who does the old-time cookies. 

Over the weekend, I'll start on the Annual Ornaments while I do my part of the baking. I found a source for the plaster ornaments, since Michael's doesn't carry the variety I like. They should be in my hot little hands in a few days. Oh, and I'm going to clear off the dining room table to block Close to You. I don't have enough floor space -- at least not where the dogs won't bother it. 

16 Days of Activism...

So we've been hearing a lot about the groping/sexual abuse allegations. Even Garrison Keillor's been fired for groping...except that his victim answered an email saying "think nothing of it, I forgive you" -- then she got a lawyer. There are layers here, and I'm not judging. 

That being said, our women's club, The Zonta Club, is doing an activity for the 16 Days of Activism with "Orange Girls." One of our club members dressed these gals up and we've placed them around town. You have to take a selfie with them, and the person who gets the most selfies wins a prize. This project runs November 26 - December 1 and it's an international activism event to bring to light gender-based violence. 

Technically, we don't know who's got the posters. But I'll tell you - and we'll see how many locals read my blog! This one is at my yoga studio, Just Breathe Yoga Studio, in Crest Hill - just outside Joliet, actually. So - if you're local, come out and take a class, and take a picture with the Orange Girl. 

And an Ending...

So that funeral I was working on took place. It was beautiful, and the family loved what we did. 

It was important for us to get this right. Not just because it's the proper thing to do, but because so many of us were close to Judy, and we wanted to make sure her send-off was as perfect as we could get it. 

And it almost was. Well, actually, the service went off without a hitch. The music was nice. The readings were great, and the message from her daughter was beautiful. 

But I forgot to get a check to pay the priest. Now - wait... priests are often underpaid, especially in small parishes (which we are) and sometimes, people think that doing these things is "part of the job." And they are...when you're the permanent priest at a church. 

But when you're a sub, you have to get paid. Yikes, I felt like a fool! But we have it all taken care of and I can breathe now.

Judy will be scattered. She always loved to travel. Rest well, my friend. 

Random Picture...

A nearly-full moon. From my phone, so you really don't get decent definition. I swear, my OLD phone had a better camera. This phone is supposed to be "new and improved" but the camera? Not so much. 

Anyway, it's incredibly bright, and for the past few days, with the spring-like weather (and yes, it's late November...very strange), the skies have been clear. 

Tonight, it's a 3/4 moon and stunning. I don't know what it is, but I'm fascinated lately by the sky. 

Maybe because I'm worried that with all the crap going on with the Mango Moron, we won't see the sky. We'll be obliterated by a random (or not so random) nuke from North Korea... 

Anyway, enjoy this picture. I'm going to brush my teeth and toddle off to bed. Tomorrow is Thursday, and frankly - the worst day of my week because it's where I hit ALL three jobs in one day. Good night, and sleep well! 









Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

...well, I'm actually blogging on the day of a holiday. I'm usually elsewhere and the laptop is no where to be found! 

This year, we had two Thanksgivings. Kid #1 was planning on bringing his girlfriend to visit; they live out of state. Seems like a Big Deal - and I was looking forward to meeting her. However, she had a last-minute business deal come up. Stuff happens, and in this business climate - as a small biz owner? I'd have done the same thing. 

Anyway, we usually celebrate the Sunday before, so we can have other family members do their thing, go to the different in-laws, etc. But since Kid #1 couldn't get here by then... we just finished "Thanksgiving Lite" at my mom's house: turkey, "funeral potatoes" (shredded potato casserole - you've eaten it!), veggie, stuffing, and apple pie. The Kid doesn't eat much - never has, and as he's gotten older, I've been concerned -- he has a very physical job and he's got to keep up his nourishment. 

It's nice to have both kids at home. Tomorrow, I've nagged them into taking a picture with me. I don't have one with both of them, and with both living away from home, and one out of state? It would be nice. Just to have proof that I have kids!

Technology...

So my phone is acting wonky - it doesn't see the laptop, or the laptop doesn't see it. It's difficult to share pictures. Hubby found that I'm almost at the limit of my memory capacity, so he's cleaning off the pics. I do have some I want to share with you, but for now, the camera is working in the background and I'm hoping to have some to show you soon. 

Gotta love technology. I've updated the phone a couple of times; it's a Windows phone, and actually I love it. But the updates can be frustrating because occasionally, things aren't where they used to be. 

But all in all, it's a nice sturdy phone, so I can't complain too much. I have a Galaxy S-4 for the studio and I don't particularly like the Android OS. It's do-able, and it's the only phone I can put my heart monitor on, so I'm kind of stuck with it. 

Lucky for me, I'm of the generation that's comfortable with technology, but we don't live with it. I mean, I'm almost 60 years old. I caught the beginnings of Windows and I'm comfortable in the realm of tech. But I'm not like those folks who do EVERYTHING on their phones. I do as little as possible on mine. Phone calls, texts, emails and pictures. That's it. No games. No purchasing. No banking. No FB messenger. 

Pretty stripped down, right? And I like it that way. Oh, I do use the maps sometimes, but I have a GPS in my car, so I really don't use that feature a lot. But I see folks who bank, who shop, who do it all. And I worry, because if they lose their phone or if it gets stolen? Wowza - their whole life is on there. 

Not for me, thanks. I've got enough on my hands without risking that. That - I suppose - is an advantage to having a Windows phone. Nobody wants them! 

So after all of this, Hubby will figure out what's up with my phone and laptop not playing well together. It's strange: you sometimes think that things in the realm of technology are "bottomless." That there's "endless" storage. But there's not. 

And with all of the talk about ending net neutrality, it gets even more confusing. Here's an article from Fortune. I've read it. I'm not an idiot, and I still don't understand it. As with most things these days, it seems that it's a political hot potato. It remains to be seen if the Big Boys (Google, AT & T, etc.) will REALLY be in favor of "equal access" or whether they'll cave in and let themselves be led by God-Knows-Who and start to restrict who sees what and how much they pay for it. 

Knitting...

So the "Close to You" shawl is coming along nicely. I'm going to confess something... I was told by Kid #1 that the girlfriend "likes clothing she can wrap herself in." So I have a shawl made from eyelash yarn that I was given. And I have a poncho-like thing that I was given - which I'll never wear. Sooooo - creative re-gifting. I don't mind doing that because (a) I have no time to knit her something; and (b) she apparently loves vintage clothing. The shawl is a good-sized one, able to wrap multiple times around the neck and it's in lavender, her favorite color. The poncho-like thing is red and white. So they won't match, but then hey: she has two things she can wear separately. 

As far as socks go, I've made what may seem to be a foolish commitment. I want to knit 15 pair of socks to make a dent in the stash. I am vowing (I'm TRYING THIS) that I'm going to get through that "Twelve Months" box so that I can use the tote for something else, and then get through another 3 or 4 skeins of sock yarn. I have to look into how much is in the 12-months box; I do believe it might be 10 skeins - in which case, I need to use up 5 more hanks. 

And yeah. I have that much. And yeah, I've got to start knitting it up. I do want the socks, and it's doing no good just sitting there. 

I need to separate the "wheat from the chaff" -- the stuff that will be good for socks, and the stuff I'd rather do shawls with. 

My Office...

My office has once again turned into "Christmas Central" and I'm still trying to get it organized. I'm going to dash down to the basement and see if there are a couple of totes that I can grab to dump in some of that spare yarn. If I can drop that into the basement or into the closet, I can get floor space. Hubby is also talking about reorganizing the closet in Kid #2's room so that we can pack up stuff of his, and then I'll have more space. 

Every year, my office gets the "Christmas" stash - or at least it's done so since the kids moved out. Before that, it was my closet in my bedroom, and that wasn't always working well. 

I hope to have everything organized by the end of the year. I'm working on it, and I think it's coming along nicely. A lot of the piddly work has already been done, and I've got a strong idea in mind of how I want it to look. I'll get you a progress shot soon.

16 Days of Activism...

Our local women's club is doing a great project - a "scavenger hunt" kind of thing with these ladies. Thirteen of them will be placed around the area, and I just (ahem) might know where at least one will be -- let's just say a certain yoga studio... These posters point out the 16 Days and how important it is to advocate against domestic violence. In this current climate of enhanced gun violence and other forms of abuse, it's even more important that we do more than "social media" activism. There's more than #metoo. I'm not disregarding it, but I'm saying that we need to do something more. We need to be visible and vocal.

Speaking of "visible" - one of our members thought that the posters were nice - and they are. But they're flat. So she dressed them up. Each has its own personality. Our Service and Advocacy committees came up with the scavenger hunt idea. People find the ladies, take a selfie and post with hashtag...the one who finds the most gets a one-night stay at a local hotel, dinner included. 

I was going to try to get one into a local popular restaurant or the Menard's - but I ran out of time. If I get a chance on Friday or Saturday (Saturday is actually the first day of the 16 days), I'll still try, but I figured that enough of my students were hyped up about the idea, so perhaps if the committee plants clues, more folks will come to see her. 

The Studio...

Speaking of which - the studio, I mean - I held a Make & Take with a few friends. It turned out nicely, and I'm going to make up a few of the gift packages for Christmas giving. 

I used the Young Living DIY kits, which have supplies for 6 crafters, and each crafter can make a lotion, spritz and lip balm. You provide the crafter and the oils, and the kit has the lotion base, witch hazel (for the spritz) and lip balm base. Since we had a small group, I let loose with the oils - not only using some of the recipes in the DIY kit, but having them make their own and I threw in a little 'spiff' and had mason jars with epsom salts for bath or foot soaks. 

I'm going to do foot soaks for each kid, using Young Living's Purification essential oil or maybe tea tree - particularly for Kid #1 who's a welder and spends a lot of time in welding boots. The Tea Tree is a nice one for a foot soak. And Kid #2, a teacher, can use something soothing for the end of a long day in the classroom. 

On the one back wall (I'll be showing you a picture), I've got a "Just Breathe Yoga Studio Christmas Wishes" display. I have construction paper stars, and I will put them in a basket for the students and teachers to write a wish and tape it to the window. It should be nice and festive. 

I usually hang a wreath there, but I think this will be nicer - more participation, if you know what I mean. I don't decorate a lot in the studio -- floor space is important, and for some classes, we need every bit of it. 

On December 15, we're hosting a Winter Bazaar for the Southwest Suburban Activists. We'll have 10 vendors, and hopefully, lots of folks will come in and not only buy stuff, but see the studio. 

Hubby will put a tarp down because if the weather is crummy, we want to keep the floor nice. Even if the weather is fine, people usually walk around barefoot in the studio and I want to keep the floor in good shape. 

I'm looking forward to that. I think it'll be good exposure for the business. 

Therapy Dog...

Tippi had her last visit of November at Lewis University. There's only one visit in December, and I told the kids that I'd bring ALL of her Christmas hats and they can try to get selfies with her. She doesn't know this yet...

This is her Thanksgiving attire...She was a good sport about this one, but the full-fledged turkey head dress? Nope. Lasted 5 seconds. 

We'll have December and January off, for the most part, and then when school resumes, she's back on duty. Working this past Tuesday was a nightmare - I had to dash home, barely had time to change into "therapy gig" clothes, and take her out to the campus. 

That's ok - we stayed till just before 8 p.m., and she was looking for her favorite Brother. She hasn't figured out that he's retired and will only be coming back when he's up to it. I felt bad for her, but one of the students got a selfie of her and sent it to him. I hope it made him laugh. 

Random Picture...

I've been working on a special project, and I was at our church after our therapy visit. I noticed that one of the spotlights was out at the front of the church, leaving half of it in darkness... but I thought this was an interesting shot anyway. I did talk to our maintenance person and he's going to look into it. 

Our church was built in the 1860s - and it's a historic structure. It nearly burned to the ground in 1903, and was rebuilt. It's a beautiful old building. The acoustics can be a little touchy, and there are "sound holes" but it's still a place where a note can hang for a bit. 

And yes, in case you're wondering. I'm pretty sure it's haunted. More than once, I've heard footfalls, and I've been the only one in the sanctuary. And our organist said the same thing. A few folks who've been there for a long, long time also agree with me. 

So every time I go in there, I wish "good day" to "God and the ghosts." What the heck...I don't know for sure. And it's not scary. But I will cover my bases. What harm can it do? 












Thursday, November 16, 2017

"But It's Thanksgiving Weekend..."

So I found out that a friend of mine died yesterday. She had been diagnosed with early Alzheimer's and we sang together. While she'd been on my mind a lot, I wasn't in direct contact with her since she went into an assisted living facility. 

I was helping the family get the memorial service taken care of. The date they chose was over Thanksgiving weekend...and I get it. If family is going to be here, that's really a good time. And it's not as if it's Christmas or Easter. I can see that those weeks would be a problem - those are The Big Two in the church. This is Thanksgiving. Not even a "holy day." 

I called around to try to find a priest, since we currently are still searching. I called the Diocese; they were noncommittal and suggested that I contact the "sub list"... I spent 2+ hours calling and leaving messages. Finally, I got hold of a priest who usually subs for us. He couldn't do it, but gave me a few pointers on phone calls to make, which I did. 

At one church (which will be nameless), I spoke to the office staffer who said, "Well that's Thanksgiving weekend; it's awfully inconvenient." After I picked up my jaw from the desk, the staffer went on to say, "Just because that's what the family wants, that doesn't mean it has to happen that way." 


Seriously. A friend of mine was sitting there and she heard it. I was stunned...gobsmacked... Set back on my heels by this response. 

I finally got the situation resolved, but I can't believe that response. True: churches are run by PEOPLE. I don't expect unicorn farts and rose petals. 

What I actually DO expect is compassion and a willingness to at least make an effort. 

Shower Bombs...

Well. The one batch bombed. No pun intended. They were too dry. They just didn't work. This is the result after I stuck them in the jar. The ones in the white cups are incredibly fragile. I think it's the lime juice. Lime juice has significantly less acid in it than lemon juice - and the mixture was not constituted correctly. 

Oh well. Live and learn. I'll use them for foot soaks or something. The essential oils are still good. Just no fizz. 

Fizz may be over-rated. 

My Make & Take has ONE person attending. Oh well. (I seem to be saying that a lot...) It's one person, she's a friend of mine, and I'm looking forward to spending the time. I'll use one of the kits to make my own "toys" and since it's just her, I'll bring ALL my oils and she can pick her own fragrance. 

She may even decide to get a wholesale membership, so I'm cool with that. I was discouraged by the low turn-out on these oil education events, but at each one, I've gotten a sign-up, so I can't complain. As one person said, "If you only had one and they signed up, then you had 100% success." I'm not necessarily in it for signing people up. 

I do believe in the products. I do believe in detoxing your house and your own body. I find myself feeling a lot cleaner - I'm finding that my skin looks better and my hair is nicer. I've cut out a lot of the chemical crap. 

Now, once I get my braces off, I can start eating more healthy as well. It's easy to eat crap when crap is all you can chew!

Studio update...

So one of my teachers came back from Puerto Rico; she went there to live, got blown back by Irma and Maria, and now is staying stateside. She's bored because she's still looking for a job. She reorganized the studio. 

I mean, she cleaned, de-cluttered, reorganized, and designed a display area for us for Christmas. She's very good at that! She also did some flyers for us for online reviews and a few other things. She's a talented graphic designer and I really appreciated her help with the studio. 

It's not that the place wasn't cleaned. We have someone who does that weekly. But sometimes, the "deep cleaning" stuff gets neglected. Hubby is putting up a new gizmo for WiFi. We'll have a nice link, I hope, and won't drop signals every few moments. 

And I'm working on a little project for the spot at the back where there's a 2-way mirror. She tried to use those "neon markers" that work on glass, but apparently, with 2-way mirror glass, it doesn't work well. I'm going to do a sign and call it the "Just Breathe Christmas Wishes" wall. I'm cutting out stars in construction paper and will have them, along with pens, in a basket at the back. As students arrive or leave, they can grab a star, write a wish, and then post it on the window. 

We don't really "decorate" for Christmas, but I will put up a few things to brighten up the space. Winters here are different lately... They're more grey and icky. We need some jazziness to get past the glum days. Hopefully this will work. 

Knitting...

I'd love to show you knitting. However, I haven't done any. Seriously, haven't picked up a needle since my last post to you. I've brought it to work, worked through lunch, worked on my Yoga for Healthy Aging final, worked on church stuff, organized (and continue to organize) my office space, de-cluttered, got rid of magazines...

And haven't knitted a stitch. But I'm told that a friend's mom is going to ask me to teach her to knit. This could be interesting. And I'm not sure where it's going to fit in. But we'll see how this works out. 

I've got a list a mile long for tomorrow. And knitting is on it. Here's hoping... 

Random Picture...

Yes, sometimes I'm running from pillar to post. Sometimes, I'm running late. But sometimes, you  have to stop. This was the view on my way to work the other day. It was freezing cold...the first real cold snap of the season. And the fog on the ground was kind of spooky. And the sun was rising. 

And the picture was gorgeous. 

It's at my favorite early-morning picture taking spot, down by the river and the swing bridge. 

Isn't it beautiful? Isn't the world a lovely place, when we're not busy trying to destroy it? 




Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kitchen Chemistry, Shower Bombs, or "How to Get Homeland Security to Follow Your Blog..."

Yeah, I bet you'd never have thought of that title!!

So I'm doing a "Make & Take" event for the studio, and I'm working on some door prizes for those who show up (and I hope folks DO show up!). I Googled "shower bombs" and have been playing with different recipes. I wanted to try to avoid using citric acid.

Let me back-track. A "bath bomb" as you may know, is a fizzy thing you toss into the bathtub and relax with the aroma, bubbles, and fizz. A shower bomb is kind of the same thing, minus the bubbles, to a certain extent. You do want it to melt, but fizzing up and creating a massive amount of bubbles isn't the intent in a shower. The citric acid is the thing that goes "fizz." But sometimes, people can be sensitive to it, and in a shower, you really don't need a lot of fizz. You need more "dissolve" than fizz. And also - I didn't have citric acid handy and didn't feel like running to the store to buy a jar. 

So I found two recipes, and I was playing with them. They're drying right now. The first recipe was ok. It used lemon juice + water for the "acid" part (the fizz). I didn't have lemon juice. I used lime. 

Use what you've got...

It also used cornstarch. Various blogs have said everything from "awesome sauce" to "gloppy mess" ... so this ought to be interesting. Both recipes used baking soda and essential oils, just in different ways. 

Recipe #1 was baking soda, cornstarch, water + lemon juice and the oils. You blended the dry stuff together then sprayed the wet stuff till it resembled sand. The original author said to let them dry then drop oils on each one, top and bottom. 

Well, I wasn't using silicone molds. Don't have them (see "use what you've got..."), so I used mini cupcake tins. I layered a bit of the mix, dropped in Young Living Essential Oils, Grapefruit, and then layered another batch of the mix on top. Then put another drop on top. This recipe made 9 little ones. You have to pack the stuff pretty tightly in the molds so it holds together. 

Using a spray bottle helps you control the water. I got impatient toward the end and dumped about 3 tablespoons of what was left into the dry mix. 

It clumped. It turned to fairly squishy concrete, but I could work with it. 

Recipe #2 was almost a disaster. This one had a cutesy YouTube video and made it look "easy-peasy" (my first clue...). This one used coconut oil. I decided to use Elemi, a very nice, rich oil that's often called "poor man's Frankincense." I doubled it (good thing - her YouTube made one big monster bomb...). One cup of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. It did not blend nicely. I mean, it blended, but it was still pretty dry. That's when I decided to shake it up. Chemistry, my friends!!

I added a dozen drops of Elemi (let me tell you - standing over a bowl whisking that?? Wowza!), and then mixed the lime juice with a smidge of water (this one wanted you to use straight lemon juice), and spritzed away... Again, I was having trouble getting the proper texture. Initially, her instructions were "pack the sand-like dry stuff into the mold and spritz between layers." 

Ummmmm. No. It wasn't sand-like. It was bone-dry. I have no idea how she got her proportions, but I fiddled with it. (No surprise there, right?)

I packed it into the molds, spritzed between layers, and then spritzed on top, too - and it's also drying. I think this one might be the one I like better, but we'll have to see. This one managed to make the whole tin full. 

I'll tell you what I don't like about Recipe #1 - the oil shows if it's a citrus (which tend to be a little...well, citrus colored) and I don't know that I like it on top and bottom of the bombs. 

I'll tell you what I don't like about Recipe #2. It's too dry. I really had to fiddle with it, so I'm not convinced it's going to turn out. 

The thing is, when these are done, they'll be stored in an airtight container and can be used as needed. So here's how you use them: When you're near the end of your shower, place the bomb at the back of the shower - where the water can hit it but not drown it. If it all works well, you should be able to see the thing fizz and dissolve, and with the steam, you'll get the scent of the oil, and the benefit of the oils, as well. You shouldn't have to worry about slippery surfaces, even with the one with coconut oil, because it's so very little. 

The combinations are, of course, only limited by the types of oils you have. Lavender to support healthy sleep. Eucalyptus and peppermint to support respiratory systems. Citrus for energy and uplifting. Floral scents for relaxation and calm. See? You can add coloring, which I choose not to do. You can also add glitter. 

I shudder at glitter. 

Anyway, I'll report back and let you know how they do. 

Knitting...

I found MELISSA!!! As I was organizing, I found the pattern to go with the yarn. They are now together. And as I saw it, I wondered what I was thinking. You know I love purple in all its shades. But this is rather "Easter Egg" to me. There's nothing I can do about it; the yarn is bought and the shawl will get knitted up. I'm not sure where it's going to land in the knitting list, but I'm determined to knit up my stash. I have no choice. I really do want to use it, so I may as well get my knitting ducks in a row, right? 

It's going to be pretty; and I hope that I love it when it's done. I believe I also have a shawl pin for it, somewhere. I still have to clean the office more - I'm only partially done, so maybe I'll find it, right? 

The Close to You continues. I'm about to start the 15th point. Yarn is holding out. Hands are holding out. I'm telling you - having the past few Saturdays "free" has really moved my organizing along nicely. I do believe I'm going to do another Close to you in that beige/brown/grey yarn. The "nameless" sock yarn from the last blog, remember? I think it'll look nice. 

I'm still trying to get the Vanilla socks done - the striped ones. I bring them to work but never seem to have time. Though I suppose if I stopped working through lunch, it would help. 

Candles...

I rarely use candles anymore, since I've switched to the essential oils. But I had this on my yoga altar, and I think this one might stay... It's a beauty when it's lit up. The picture shows just a smattering of the colors. I think it might be nice as a meditation device. The Desert Mist diffuser has changing lights, but there's something about the naturalness of a candle that does something to my meditation. 

I used plain candles, and if I can find some beeswax tea candles that don't cost an arm and a leg, I'll use those. 

While I love crafty things, it's not likely that I'll be making my own candles anytime soon. Been there, done that. About the time I was in high school, to be honest. I have enough to do to get through all the cross-stitch and the knitting, much less anything else. 

Right now, I'm diffusing Elemi + Lemon. I'll find the other candles, get back in the office and get to finishing that job. 

Fall...

The leaves are falling. They've almost completely finished on the front tree. The colors are late, but brilliant. The front is more yellow, with rust. The back tree is more red and orange. 

Our neighbor's lawn is covered in lemon-yellow leaves. 

It's time to think about Thanksgiving. We hold ours the Sunday before, so that the various family members who have in-laws can do their thing without shorting my mom of the time. As usual, Hubby and I are cooking. Turkey. A vegetarian dish for my nephew. Homemade cranberry relish. Brandied sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes. 

Other family members are doing some stuff, too. It'll be good. Can't wait!

Random Picture...

This has been in my kitchen for years. Kid #1 wanted to steal it. I threatened him with "motherly revenge" if he touched it. This is the mantra I live by, next to, "If you complain, the next time it's yours..." I'm tired of people griping about stuff other people do. If you think you can do it better - have at it. 

I was talking to my guitar teacher and he mentioned to me that it seems I'm "getting better with boundaries." I think I am. I need to. 

Don't you? I mean really. "No" is a complete sentence. "No, I can't" is even better. We don't have to give an excuse. The fact that we say "no" is enough. 

It doesn't always seem that way, though, does it? It's hard. We want to do things for people and causes we care about. We want to be helpful and we want to be the person who "takes care of" whatever and whoever it is that needs us. 

But you know what? WE need us. We need to take care of our own energy reserves. This is the one thing the airlines have ALWAYS had right: "put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others."