Sunday, December 30, 2012

First fire, and then flood.  The septic tank decided to overflow this morning.  And of course, the guest house bath is lower than the rest of the house, so it is a major flood in there - no damage to the big house except just to clean up the tubs etc.  I think I'll have to do more in the guest house.  Is it the new year yet????
Meredith and I had our own private quilt shop shop hop yesterday - Poor Ralph!  I left around noon to meet up with Meredith, and we cruised through two quilt shops, had lunch and went to Joann's.  I got home around 5:00.  The shop out in Palo Cedro - The Blue Iris - was having 25% off of everything  and the shop in town - Sew Simple - was having 30% off everything.  I didn't buy a lot - I'm nervous about finishing what I already have started without picking up new protects  but I did find some 'made by' name tags to put on the quilts I have finished.  The tags are so cute!  Now, to actually get them on the quilts.  I actually picked up more yarn than I did quilt stuff.  Joann's had 25% off all yarn, and I had a 15% off everything coupon, so....I saved money by shopping, really!

Since the quilt shops were having sales, I picked up another bag pattern.  Of course, I haven't even started the first bag pattern I had, but....I just might!  I have all the parts and pieces for it now, so I may just try to get it started today.  I had big plans but...I woke up with a headache, and boys scattered everywhere.  AJ had three boys here last night when I went to bed - I don't know how many of them are still here, but Dallas is sleeping on the couch in the living room, so at least one other guy is here.  I don't think I'm dragging out my machine just yet.  The headache has gone (thank goodness for prescription drugs!) but I'm not ready to wake up grumpy boys yet.

Still no word on the new HVAC unit.  We are running solely on pellet stove heat, which is what we did all of last year anyway.  It gets a bit cool in the back areas,'s fine. We are really hoping the home owner's warranty insurance we carry will pay for a new unit.  Otherwise, we may be running without a unit for quite a while.  The solar panel install took up most of our equity/savings/cash flow for a while.  Speaking of that - no word from PG&E on it either.  We are making energy while the sun shines, but it isn't doing us any food - it is all going to PG&E.

I finished up Dallas's knight's helm last night, after a few modifications   The size that I made for AJ was the adult size, and it was big,  I made the child size for Dallas, and it was close, but...I needed to take a few rows out of it - it came down too far on his head.  Then, I got it all put together, and had AJ and him measure where to put the buttons for the visor.  I should have done it myself!  Yes, I'm a self-confessed control freak, but in this case it was true - I put the buttons right where they said they wanted them, and then had to take them off and put them somewhere else.  It figures!  It was worth it though - he is so happy with it!  I noticed AJ put his in the laundry - as I said, it is big and it stretched out in the last week.  We are both hoping it shrinks back to normal when it is washed.  If not, I'll be making a new on for him, too, I think.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Well, the HVAC unit is toast.  We definitely killed it with the fire.  We are waiting now to see what the repairmen have to say.  Luckily, we have the home insurance that "should" replace the HVAC - we'll see.  It would be very nice to get something new and more energy efficient for the house, especially with the new solar energy system we just put in.  We aren't live with the new solar system yet of these days.
We are a lucky, lucky family.  The smoke on Monday and residual odor?  Caused by a gas leak in the HVAC unit that sparked a small fire.  We are very lucky it was a small fire and it stayed a small gas leak!!!  The repairman shut the gas off to the HVAC unit yesterday, and will back today to fix it today (he didn't have the parts with him, of course!)  Lucky, lucky us!!!!  We have a cold house (62 degrees inside when I got us this morning) but no other damage.  I've got the pellet stove turned up this morning - we'll be warm soon!

My mom's had a rough week - her brother Joe died last Friday, and her sister Jenny died on Christmas.  Neither one were in the greatest of health, just tend to assume that they will just keep going.  Jenny had been in and out of the hospital so much lately with so many complications that I think we were kind of getting used to it.  Joe was still working (as a courier) and died on the job.  They think it was a heart attack for him, but they scheduled an autopsy, so we'll know more later.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

AJ took some picture of Indy playing with his new Christmas toys.  I think he was the only cat to play with them.  He is still such a kitten!  He still runs and plays - the others  - not so much.  Though they all get together once in a while and chase each other around the house.  Very amusing with the wood floors.

I tried a new recipe yesterday, making simple truffles.  I haven't tasted the batch yet to see if they are any good - but if not, I have a good excuse - I couldn't follow the recipe!  I got the recipe on line, and had my laptop on the table for reference, and Picot slowly crept up to it - and then climbed right on top.  She does this with book and newspapers, I know, but lap tops????  Really??? Good thing she's cute!

We had a nice Christmas - pretty quiet.  I invited Dallas and his mom down for breakfast (waffles, hash browns, sausage, etc.) but Margene woke up sick (Dallas brought home a cold from Pennsylvania).  Dallas came down for dinner as well (simple roast beef, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and homemade rolls - yum!) and we sent a care package back to Margene.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

For the first time in many years, AJ beat his sister up.  Alli woke up at 6:00, but went to the bathroom, and then went right back to bed.  That's a first for 6:00!  She will sometimes do that if she gets up really early, but 6:00 is later than her normal getting up time.  She slept in until 7:00, and was laughing and giggling in her room when she did get up.  AJ got up about 6:45, not because he just had to find out what Santa left, but just because, (at least that's his story!)  He did open his stocking  and help the puppies open theirs.  They got a new spider this year - happy puppies!  The kittens played with their new toys as well - though why I get them toys, I don't know.  Here is Picot 'helping' me wrap presents yesterday and this morning.

Monday, December 24, 2012

We had a rude awakening this morning - so much for the peace of Christmas Eve.  At 4:45, the smoke alarm started going off, and I could smell, for lack of a better term, burning rubber/burning wires.  It was pervasive throughout the house, so I think something is going on with the HVAC unit.  The smell seems to have lessened some and the smoke alarm stopped beeping, but...I'm up, I'm up!  (Nothing like a little adrenalin shot at 4:45 a.m.!)  I checked everywhere I could think of and found nothing, so.....I think it is the unit.  I tuned it off for now, so it shouldn't keep doing whatever it is it was doing, and hopefully Ralph can check it out today.  

I had the alarm set to 6:00 this morning, hoping to sleep in a bit, since Alli doesn't have school for the next two weeks, but...I was up at the normal time.  (I even stayed up later than usual last night reading a book!!!)   I did get all the Christmas presents wrapped - or at least all of the ones that were stored in the garage.  I didn't see any reason to wake Dawn up at 5:30 getting packages out of the guest house to wrap.  They can wait until tonight - my normal time to wrap presents anyway.

I was digging through e-mails this weekend, and found a photo from the Madrigal Dinner earlier this month.  This is Meredith, Veronica, and myself at the dinner.

I did it!  I finished the quilt top (not the whole quilt, mind you!) before Christmas!  This was the last project of the year for the quilting club, and....I actually finished it before the next club started! I'm proud of this one - it isn't perfect, and I may never make a perfect, or even close to perfect, quilt, but this one turned out pretty darn good!

I got a special request from my son.  He saw a crocheted 'knight's helm' on-line, and asked if I could make him one.  Of course!  Hmm...let's see.  Just how would you go about that???  I know - google it!!  I found a pattern last week, and sat down yesterday afternoon (after finishing the quilt!) and made one up.  Here is the first parts of it - not put together yet.

Here it is - finished and all out together.

One happy kid!

He even let Dallas try it on.  (He asked me to make one for Dallas too, and we wanted to see if this one was too big - the answer is yes!)

I'm happy with it - it is an easy pattern to make.  That's a good thing, because not only does AJ want one for Dallas, he wants one for his friend David too.
I got ahead of myself - I put some pictures up, intending to post them, but....forgot!  Here are pictures Ralph took of the snow we had on Friday.  Not a lot compared to what I got when I lived in Susanville, but more than we usually get in Redding.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I dug up the wedding pictures - 25 years ago!!!

25 years ago, Ralph and I stood in Hawaii together in the beautiful Honolulu Botanical Gardens and said "I do".  And we did, for 25 years and counting!  Happy Anniversary to us!

Since Ralph and I tend to travel in different time zones in the morning (I'm up at 4:45 with Allison, and he's on vacation this week and is sleeping in) he left my present and cards on the table.  I got a beautiful ring that fits perfectly on a finger I don't have a ring for!  We're planning a nice fancy dinner out tonight as well, assuming we aren't snowed in!

I'm hoping most of the mad rush for Christmas is done.  I still need stocking stuffers, but I will pick those up at Walmart tomorrow.  I have most of the other presents bought (since we are not doing a lot this year for Christmas!) I have one more  cowl to make, but they don't need it until New Years, so I'll work on that this weekend.  I have a request for a scarf today, but they didn't care particularly what kind of scarf, so I am taking my whole inventory in.  My glove inventory was hit pretty hard, so I made up 4 pair last night.  That should be all that I have to get done before Christmas.  I may need a few more things later, but....not in the next 3-4 days.

I left my house cleaner Randa a gift of a scarf and gloves yesterday, but also spread out my inventory on the table and left her a note telling her she could swap out what I gave her for something she liked better, since I don't always know what anyone would like.  Evidently she had a terrible time trying to decide!  We were supposed to get together last week to re-teach her how to crochet, but....that hasn't happened yet.  I think she may be a little more motivated now.

We are getting a lot of rain with this storm, and Alli's bus driver said that she was seeing a lot of flakes in the rain.  I-5 was closed last night when I came home from work, and the traffic cameras make it look like it is still closed - no tracks in the snow!  I check Susanville, and they don't have snow, so it looks like it is just in the mountains.  We are at 34 degrees here now, so it wouldn't take much to drop us low enough for snow.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

They weren't kidding with the "unsettled weather" weather forecast for the weekend.  The sunrise yesterday was awesome.

When Dawn and I went grocery shopping, it started to rain (of course - it always starts to rain when we get groceries!)  On the way home, the rain on the windshield had bits of snowflakes mixed in it.  By yesterday afternoon, it was snowing at the house.

Then it started sticking.

That is about the most of the snow that we got.  I don't think anyone got hit really hard.  Shingletown had a few inches, but not too much, considering Redding was getting snow.

Last night was the company Christmas party.  Ralph and I got all dressed up!  AJ took pictures of us together, and then one of just me in my dress.  I love the dress and got tons of compliments.

The party was fun.  The dinner was good, and the company was great.  We had a fun table - a couple of the retired employees that I know (one I had worked with before Alex was born at my last bank - definitely have known her a while!)  I also had an employee from my department there - her first Christmas party at the bank.  A good combination!  The entertainment was good - they played "The Newlywed Game" with real newlyweds.  Fun, but..... I think everyone likes the entertainment to be similar to last year (Al and I were Sonny and Cher).

I did take some pictures of the gloves I made yesterday.  I'm using the ruffled yarn and adding it to the gloves.  They turn out really cute!  I like the other style for me - I like the added length to the glove (but my hands are larger than most, and the gloves aren't long enough!)

Friday was the Christmas Breakfast at work - I was up at 4:20 to get a quiche in the oven.  I took in goodies to work, and gave everyone a pair of the gloves, with the option to change out what I gave them for ones that they really liked for all the gloves I had made.  (I don't know what every one likes!!!)  A couple of people kept the gloves I gave them, the rest changed out for different gloves.  I'm glad I gave them the option.  They also got a snowflake, and a cup with Holiday Tea (except for Malorie - she got hot chocolate - she can't eat anything with citrus in it.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I woke up this morning, thinking of the tragedy in Connecticut.  I don't think I can even imagine what the families there are feeling or how they are coping.  The thought of something like this happening 'anywhere' is terrible - and it could so easily happen 'anywhere'.  My heart goes out to them.  Allison had actually been sick at school yesterday, so I had dashed down to get her around 9:00.  I had her at home with me when the news started breaking.  Such a comfort to know she was home safe with me.  

I'm slowly working my through my to-do list.  Last night, I wrote out the Christmas cards and envelopes.  I wrote up the Christmas letter on Thursday, so now I just need to print them out, put them together, get stamps and put them in the mail.  One more project complete!  I also sat down and made up a few more snowflakes, and then....I found several left over from last year (or ones I made this year and out out in the guest house - I forget!!)  That project may be as done as it is going to be.

I was supposed to be working with Randa yesterday to re-teach her how to crochet, but we cancelled because Alli was sick.  Her husband doesn't need exposure to any germs, he is very ill already.  I need to make up some more gloves, I think (and post of picture of the new ones!)  That is pretty much the end of my Christmas projects.  All I have left is the actual shopping.  I'm looking for suggestions for presents for Ralph - I think I have everyone else covered.  I just have to go get the presents (or wait for them to be delivered - the puppy toys are coming via Amazon.)  I hope to work on my quilt tomorrow.

Ralph took pictures along the way of the solar install.  Here is the roof before:

The materials (after we washed off the blood)

The rails being installed:

The panels being installed:

The finished project:

Friday, December 14, 2012

We're going solar!  The solar panels arrived earlier in the week (which had its own story - see below) and the workman arrived yesterday to start the installation.  When the guys came, they just went on through to the backyard, and didn't tell me they were here.  I had heard some trucks, but just thought it was someone's gardener or something, and didn't think anything more about it.  Then, I noticed there was a ladder in the pool area.  Hmmmm....someone must be here!  The dogs did not even notice that there were two trucks in the driveway, and three guys walking back and forth, much less that they were on the roof!  Picot noticed.  She was sitting at the back door, staring outside (which she does all the time anyway, but she was a bit more skittish than normal).  The guys were probably here for 20 minutes before the dogs noticed them.. Some watchdogs we have!

Tank hasn't noticed them yet (doesn't he look skinny!!!).

They got the panels all installed today, and will be back probably Monday to hook them up, call for an inspection, etc.  We are so close!!!

The rest of the story......The panels were delivered Wednesday while I was in town.  When I got out of the car, Dawn met me, and said I might want to go investigate the happenings   AJ had taken a knife outside, and then had come right back in muttering about blood and band-aids   That didn't sound too good!  It turns out that AJ had lent his knife to the driver to cut the ties on the panels, and the driver had cut himself.  I don't think it was a terribly serious cut, but it was definitely a bleeder.  Poor guy!  After he and AJ got the panels off the truck, AJ washed the blood off the panels.  Not the driver's day for sure!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A productive day yesterday - about a dozen gloves finished (and a new type of glove decoration - pictures later when the light is better), two legs made for the fox stole (two more to go, and the tip of the tail, then I have to put it all together) and still time for a nice walk.

The weather was sunny, but cold.  Rain came in later in the afternoon, but the morning was really nice.  I kept the dogs on a leash, since Koori had just had an expensive bath.

Tank was very happy on his walk, too.  He was barking just out of fun.

Today, the agenda includes shopping and a nail appointment,  Tomorrow is the staff breakfast, and I need to make a quiche, and take in an ornament for our exchange.  After shopping, I need to get stuff together for presents for my department.  I hope to have everything put together for tomorrow morning, so they get their presents on the same day as the big breakfast.  We'll see!