Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's the last day of 2011.  I know we all say it, but where did it go?  It doesn't help that it feels like October outside, not January.  We have had almost no rain yet - odd!  I'm not sure how the New Year will go, but I thought I'd list some of the major evens in 2011.  Looking back through the blog, it looks like the first half of the year, it was raining!

January - AJ turned 18, an AJ/Mom bonding camping trip with the scouts in the rain, a trip with Mom to Crescent City for a birthday party/recital,
February - Hmmmm ..... February seems to have been very quiet - according to the blog, I didn't do too much - lots of crafting, and, of course, it was raining.
March - AJ passed his Eagle Board!  We started a book club at work, and it was raining.
April - AJ went to his Senior Prom, I went to Nashville on a business trip (right when all the tornadoes were going through)
May - AJ graduated from high school (complete with the Senior breakfast, the Senior Trip, winning a new laptop from Sober Grad, etc.), and Alli turned 14 and  graduated from 8th grade,and my fountain area outside was finished up
June - AJ and I walked in the dog-a-thon, raising money for haven Humane (in the rain), AJ went for an MRI on his head and Ralph had an MRI on his leg, Alli's scoliosis is getting worse, so she was getting fitted for a new brace
July - AJ's Court of Honor and a motorcycle driving class, and Alli's new brace
August - a family camping trip at Antelope Lake (outside of Janesville) Back to school for the kids - AJ to college (Shasta JC) and Alli to High school (Anderson High)
September - I turned 50!  AJ got a new (to him) motorcycle, a trip to Sacramento with Mom for a Golden Anniversary for relatives - a family reunion of sorts, and dressing up like spiders at work for Halloween
November - Installation in Susanville for Eastern Star (a trip through the snow, one time I wish it had been raining!),Thanksgiving at my house - fun!
December - decorating for Christmas, getting ready for Christmas, and performing as Cher at the company Christmas party.

Whew!  Throughout it all, lots of crafting, lots of walks with the dogs, dinners with friends, etc.  A fun filled, busy year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finally, the internet seems to be fixed!  After several days of intermittent and no internet, I'm happy!  We still don't know what the problem was, but Charter had to 'escalate' the problem several times - they couldn't fix it either! It was quite annoying that it worked in the afternoon for AJ and his games, but not in the morning for me when I had 'quiet time'.

I played with my new camera card again - pretty cool!  I just have to turn the camera on (when the internet is working) and the pictures automatically load to the computer.  AJ and the dogs and I took a walk on Monday, and I snapped a few more shots.

Koori sitting very nicely!

A heron out in the field

and some sunset shots:

Monday, December 26, 2011

I think I know why we have no Internet in the morning. It's frozen! The net seems to go down as soon as the temp drops below 30. I haven't been able to pinpoint how warm it has to be before it starts working yet but now I'm watching for it. It is around 32 now but it isn't up yet.

Today feels like a real day off. The house is (relatively) clean and all the major chores are done. I hope to be able to watch some movies and crochet today.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Finally - an internet connection when I have time to sit down!  The last few day, the internet has been down in the morning- which is when I usually have time to type.  It comes up later in the day, but I am usually too busy (or too tired) to sit at the computer.  The last few days (weeks?) have been extra busy.

I am so glad Christmas is over!  This last month it has felt like all I've been doing in any spare moment has been getting ready for Christmas.  Now, the presents are all unwrapped and being enjoyed, the cookies are all baked (and mostly eaten) and company has come and gone.  Almost all of the hand-made presents are done (I have a couple of requests for hats, but they were for after Christmas, so I am good for couple of days)  I actually sat down and worked on a doily this afternoon.  (I didn't get very far, because it was time to rotate the laundry, and then Alli wanted lunch, and then... something else needed my attention.)  Time to relax!

I did play with my new Christmas present.  Ralph got me a memory card for my computer that connects to the WiFi and downloads the pictures automatically.  My test pictures shows my view at the computer:

Picot has been kept busy this morning, first with all the bags and boxes (so much fun!) when we unwrapped presents, and then when AJ's new present - a remote controlled helicopter.  Here is a video of him flying it (and Picot watching).  His batteries were running low, so he couldn't get much altitude, but he was having fun with it.  Ralph got one too, and he played with it a bit as well.  (He went out to the guesthouse to play - maybe so I wouldn't video him???)

I did get a photo from the Christmas party of me in my Cher outfit.  Too funny!!  (and check out Sonny's shoes!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I finally finished (and got shipped) a Christmas present.  I don't think it will make it by Christmas, but I  tried!  This is the present for Rachelle - a matching scarf, hat and finger-less gloves for both her and her American Doll.  Hopefully, it fits, and she likes it!

Ralph and I went to my Christmas Dinner last Saturday night.  This picture was taken during the dinner.  I hope to have a few more pictures up of the entertainment, since I was one of the entertainers!  I didn't get a chance to e-mail pictures home yesterday.  Hopefully today won't be as bad.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vacation is over, bummer.  The weekends don't count as vacation because I still have all my 'normal' chores on the shopping, laundry, housecleaning, etc.  I did manage to get most of my to-do list done.  Yesterday was the Christmas Breakfast at work - the officers make and serve breakfast to the staff.  I was up at 4:30 yesterday to bake a quiche, and at work by 6:30 to start handing out menus and start serving.  I also took in the cookie plates, and little goodie bags, included gloves and snowflakes for my staff.  

We had a bit of snafu here before I left - Ralph was supposed to put Alli on the bus for me, since it come at 6:30, and I needed to be at work by then.  He was having a low blood sugar moment, so poor AJ got rudely awakened and got to deal with his sister.  I had everything done but feeding her breakfast and brushing her teeth, so he did fine.  He was a bit surprised about how hard it was to brush her teeth - she didn't cooperate for him at all!  He went right back to bed after she got on the bus too.  (Yes, leaving the kitchen mess for me when I got home, but.....he saved my butt!)

I do still have more baking to do.  Alli's classroom has requested sugar cookies for Monday, so Sunday I'll be making more sugar cookies.  AJ spent the night at Conner's last night, and on his way out, asked if he could take cookies to them, too.  What could I say, he had saved me that morning, of course he could take cookies!  So I owe Ralph a new batch of peanut butter cookies, and since I'm making more cookies, I may whip up a few more than I'm short on and send them to Dallas' brother, who is stationed in Oklahoma.  I should have already shipped them if he was going to get them for Christmas, but his mom and I decided they could be 'New Year's cookies instead.  I don't think he will mind!

Alli went back to the orthodics place last night for them to check on her brace.  She is finally wearing it again, and her arm is doing okay (where it cut her before) but now her skin is acting up again,.  Oh bother!  If it isn't one thing it's another with that stupid brace.  They scrubbed it out really well, and we kept it off last night so it could dry.  Today I'll give her a good scrubbing in the shower, and douse her down with some topical meds.  Hopefully it won't turn nasty on us again!  On the way home from her appointment, I pulled over to take a picture of the sunset - gorgeous!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My vacation is half-way over, and I know I'm not half-way ready for Christmas!  Today is another baking day, since I didn't get everything done on Tuesday.  Yesterday was actually a work day - bummer!  I went in for a few hours to get a project done.  (I have to do my part before a whole bunch of people can do their parts - I was holding up the boat!)  Now I can start Monday off just a little bit behind, not a lot behind (I hope!)  I'm still working on snowflakes - this one turned out nice:

And Picot is helping with the decorations as well.

I also had my nails done yesterday - and for the very first time, I have GREEN nail polish!  It is a very glittery green too!  Way cool!  (It is just the tips of the nails - I'm not quite that much of a fashionista - just a little bit of flash is good for me!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

So far, so good - the dogs and I have gone for a walk every day so far on my vacation.  Of course, that is just three days, but hey - it is better than nothing!  Yesterday, everyone else was out with their dogs, too.  Not just out in the fields, but out in their yards, and there were a couple of loose dogs roaming around, too.  They were nice, sweet (fat and lazy) dogs, but still, I didn't want to get them mixed up with my two.  I never know how Koori and Jasper are going to react.  Koori tends to get a bit snippy when she gets scared, and Jasper can get a bit too protective.  We went on a longer walk than normal to avoid dogs and people yesterday.  The sky had a slight overcast - perfect for a picture!

I made a hat yesterday - one that I had a request for.  I think it turned out really cute.  Not my type of hat (it musses my hair!) but really cute for someone else - in this case, a teenager.  Unfortunately, I used my i-phone for the picture, and I forgot that I can't rotate the picture after it's taken. get a sideways view!  

I also made up some more gloves, and another scarf.  Not bad, in between all the laundry and cooking and cleaning and a walk!  Today is a shopping day, I think.  I need to go pick up the baking supplies, and hopefully most of the presents that I will be buying.  It would be nice to be done!  I've ordered Alli's 'big' present, and it should be here in a few days.  It isn't even a 'big' present, but it should be one that she really likes.  I found a 10-disc set of Pokemon on DVD - celebrating their 10 year anniversary, so it has (hopefully) a lot of the older series on it.  They seem to he her favorite.  The DVD's that I recorded won't play on any other machine (I have no idea what I did, but what ever it was, I did it good) so we need to start getting her some replacements, since I know this machine will not last forever.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Once again, I had help around the house.  If only it was really helpful!  

I took some pictures of my mantle.  This year I decorated it with my painted houses and lights.

With the overhead lights on...

With the overhead lights off.....

The individual houses

Last night, the moon was rising and there was a slight mist.....beautiful behind the neighbor's trees.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Last night, after dinner, Alli bonded with Jasper for a few minutes.  Jasper usually sits next to Ralph for him to pet her after dinner, but he was busy in on the computer, so I guess she decided to try Alli.  She sat down beside Alli and leaned up against her chair, and Alli reached down and pet her head and played with her ears (very soft ears) for several minutes.  When Alli stopped, Jasper got up and wandered away.  Very odd and very special!

The pictures aren't the greatest because I grabbed my cell phone, instead of trying to get up and get my 'good' camera.  The cell is pretty darn good for a phone, but....I would have liked to have had my good camera within reach for these shots!!

I had a very productive first day of vacation yesterday.  I finished up a couple of projects that had been hanging out for a while (like a snowflake that I started two weeks ago that needed a whole 5 more minutes. Sheesh - you'd think I could have finished it a long time ago!) and cleaned up the house and made 6 more pairs of gloves for the bazaar.  We actually renamed it a "boutique' - a lot of nice stuff in there - no longer is it a craft fair!  I'm not selling a lot so far, but I did get some orders for some hats - 2 of them for after Christmas.  I need to pick up the yarn today for one, and see how the pattern works out.  I am also making a matching set of gloves (fingerless) hat and scarf for a friends daughter and her American Girl doll.  I have the doll set done, and start the girl set.  I would like to get that finished up today.

I also took the dogs for a nice walk yesterday afternoon.  After it warmed up, it was a beautiful day here.  (Our low was around 25 degrees - brrr!)  Not too long ago, I was taking pictures of the fall leaves.  This time, I was taking pictures of trees with no leaves at all.  How fast things change!

The dogs had a great time, and I hope to make myself take them for a walk every day I am on vacation.  We all enjoy it so much.  It was a pretty busy day for a vacation day!  Hopefully the rest of the week will be just as productive.  I have a lit a mile long of things that need to get done, or a least thing I want to get done.  If half the things get crossed off my list, I will be happy!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Only one more day until vacation!  I can hardly wait!  (Maybe I won't - maybe I'll go home early today???  Probably not, but it's fun to think about.)  Work is finally caught up from the backlog of Thanksgiving/Justine leaving/the end of the month/first of the month.  What a nightmare!  Yesterday was the first day since the middle of last month that we actually cleared all the work out for the day - starting out with no holdovers for today - Woohoo!  I  may even go in late (for me) today.  I actually could have left at 5:00 yesterday - but - it figures - I had a rehearsal for the Christmas Party at 5:30.  The rehearsals are probably as much fun at the real entertainment is going to be.

I'm just hoping our act isn't too much of a disappointment compared to the other acts.  We are pretty slow and mellow - not much wild and crazy dancing.  Even the costumes are not too wild - okay, MY costume isn't wild and crazy.  Sonny is a bit wilder (oh, those shirts from the 70's!!)  My outfit is better than I thought it would be - I was worried that I would be wearing a revealing slinky dress, showing off my belly button - Cher at her finest.  Since I don't have the body she does, I was a bit worried about what I was going to be revealing.  The actual costume from the rental place is a pantsuit - whew!  I'll post pictures after the party.

The costume rental place was an adventure all of its own.  Picture a dark hole-in-the-wall store in a industrial type building - piles of shoes, clothes, wigs, accessories everywhere.  Add to that a proprietress dressed in a tank top, low slung, oversize bib overalls, with a cell phone ringing constantly, and the dressing room is just another room of clothes (and I worried that someone would walk in while I was changing - awkward!) As I said, it was an adventure all by itself.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ralph, AJ, and David (AJ's friend) brought down the decorations yesterday, and I got the tree up late afternoon.  

I didn't do a lot of decorating this year - I think I got a bit intimidated!  I went with a friend to a home decorating party Saturday morning.  Boy, am I a disaster!  The lady has 8 trees in her house!  Everything in her house was perfect!  (Of course, the lady does want to open a home decorating business as a side business, so she is way into decorating)  It was actually inspiring to see what she does, and how she does it.  Most of her decorations are cheap - a few collectibles, but most are things she buys on clearance after Christmas, or at garage sales, thrift stores, etc.  The 'thrill of hte hunt' is half the fun, she said.  "What could I do with this?"  She is working with the friend I went with to decorate a "Penguin Tree" (M collects penguins) and was giving her all kinds of advice.  Me.....I just throw up non-breakable ornaments and hope they stay there.  Here is the main reason why:

Indy was in the tree this morning when I got up, and there are ornaments already strung throughout the computer room.  Hurry up New Years!  (Not really, I do enjoy the Christmas season - just not chasing the cats out of the trees)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I finished the bookmark I started for a co-worker.  I used 2 strands of sewing thread, and a size 12 hook.  It turned out the perfect size!  I'm very happy with the project, and so was the recipient.  Here is the new version:

And here is the original version:

I did a little different border on the second one - the thread was a little harder to work with than I thought it would be, and I didn't want to try anything too fancy with it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good thing we decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Ralph tried a new (to us) Alton Brown recipe, and the timing was a bit off.  The recipe says to cook for 4 hours at 400 degrees.  It was done in 2 hours, even after he dropped the temp down.  The taste was marvelous, but the skin was a bit too dark!  I did manage to get the rest of dinner ready while the bird was resting, so it worked out.  My biggest problem was that I had just eaten lunch at 1:00, and wasn't ready for dinner at 3:00!  Not that that stopped me, as I was still able to eat turkey, and dressing, and mashed potatoes, and gravy, and rolls, and....Yum!  (I did save the pumpkin cheesecake for later in the evening.)  Now we are ready for cooking dinner tomorrow for the rest of the family.  I think Ralph is researching a better cooking time/temp.  The brine that he used was good, so he will keep that part of the recipe.  I found a 60 minute dinner roll recipe and tried it out as well - which turned out quite tasty - even though it did take me more than 60 minutes.  Maybe if I hadn't been trying to cook everything at the same time I could have done in in 60 minutes, still wasn't very long for fresh rolls.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Finally - what feels like a few minutes, all to myself!  This week has been such a rush - busy at work, busy at home, busy in the morning, busy at night...... today it is quiet in the house, at least for a few more minutes.  Here are a few random pictures from the last week.

Mom got a squeaky pig toy for Koori when she got some for her dogs, thinking Koo would like it.  Wrong.  Koo never had a chance.  Jasper stole it and has it with her most of the time.  The little pink pig sounds like a real pig when she carries it around - too funny!

Road conditions going over to Susanville

What my car looked like Sunday morning - it kept snowing until around noon, and there was a lot more on the car by then.

Some leaves from trees in the Walmart parking lot - through my sun roof.  This last storm probably blew all the leaves away.

We went out to dinner at Mom's Friday night - mainly because the power was out at her house.  Alli was an angel!  Here is a picture of her and Mom.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It was quite a weekend in Susanville - not the actual visit, but the drive to get there was a bit white.  On Friday, I ran several errands in town, and then picked Alli up from school at lunch.  On our way out of town, Mom called and said that Highway 44 was closed - a jack-knifed truck was blocking both lanes of traffic.  I wasn't very far out of town on Dersch, so I turned around, and headed down to Highway 36.  According to Road Conditions, it was clear when I left Red Bluff, but by the time I got to Mineral, it was R2 conditions.  The RAV is 4WD, and I have good tires, so I wasn't very worried.  We just drove really slowly (the car in front of us was driving a lot slower than really needed, but....then again, we had no issues!)  It took me almost 4 hours to get to Susanville.

The storm cleared up Friday night, and things were good - until another storm came through Saturday night.  I think there was 4-5 inches of snow at Mom's on Sunday.  Road Conditions had restrictions on all roads leading out, but around 11:00, they started easing them, so Alli and I left at 1:00 or so.  The roads were completely clear!  I don't think they were updating Road Conditions in a timely manner!  The road were only wet - no snow anywhere, and Susanville had more snow than anywhere else.  It figures!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AJ and I took a walk out in the back field and through the neighborhood this weekend, and I took some pictures of our neighbor's trees.  I love our trees for the shade in the summer, but they are boring in the fall - just brown!  These trees are gorgeous!  Every year about this time, I wish I had planted a 'fall' tree, but....I never do.  One of these days!  Of course, where would I plant it?  The front yard already has the three sycamores, and I don't want any leaves in the backyard to blow into the pool.  Maybe that's why I haven't planted one yet - I'll just enjoy the neighbor's!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A couple of finished projects - I made another pair of motorcycle booties.  Ralph didn't like the buckle on the first pair, so I used the pattern's design (like I should have the first time?) and made another pair.  They are cute, I admit!

I didn't like the size of the first bookmark I made, so I downsized the letters and made another one.  Only problem - I switched the order of the letters!  I really like the lettering in the larger bookmark, so I may try it in size 30 thread, and then try to dye it pink.  We'll see how for I get on that project!

I thought all the frogs had gone into hibernation, but yesterday afternoon, I had this little guy back on my kitchen window.  (Don't you just love the African violets!)

Picot decided to help me yesterday, as I was trying to pay bills and balance the check book.  She was not a lot of help!!!

She loves to sit in front of the computer screen - which is fine is she lays down, but she's hard to see through if she doesn't!