Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yesterday was the retirement party for Berneice - we decorated her workspace.......

And I had a little help doing it......

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The dogs and I went for a walk this afternoon. It was in the low 70's and beautiful. I thought I'd try out sending a post from my new phone. Always something new to learn!
Be careful with those after Christmas sales!  I bought a couple of Amaryllis bulbs yesterday - on sale - and when I got home to plant them, they were half grown!  I hope they will still be able to grow (and turn green - they look a little pale!)  I guess that is what happens when it is nice an warm down here.  The bulbs were in the outdoor garden area of Wal-Mart, but...it was 70 degrees here yesterday.  They must have thought it was Spring already!  If they do okay, they should be pretty - one is the red with white center (the one shown below) and the other one is white with a pink center.

Since I was in the garden center (shopping for a retirement gift for someone that likes to garden - no luck for her, though) I found a beautiful palm tree that will be prefect for my new office.  It was $15, and nice and full, and about 4 feet high, and not even on sale!  I hope I can keep it alive - I have a tendency to kill plants through neglect.

The bank has a profit sharing plan for the employees,and usually, we find out mid-December how much we are getting.  I got notice of what was going to my employees while I was on vacation, so I dropped off little notes for each of them, thanking them for their hard work, etc.  Funny thing - I never heard anything from my boss about mine.  He even took me out to lunch to talk about 'stuff' (he is leaving the bank) and it wasn't mentioned.  Bummer!  Oh well - I guess you can't plan on it - it is completely arbitrary, as far as I can tell.  I did plan on meeting with him to ask what I did that made everyone angry, so I wouldn't do it next year!  

Then, I got a call from Payroll - I hadn't filled out the required form for my profit sharing.  Does that mean I got some????  The head of Payroll and I laughed - communication is such a big problem at the bank!  She told me what I was getting so I could fill out the paperwork - woohoo!  So....I sent Ralph and AJ to Costco yesterday to upgrade our phones.  Ralph and I now have Android Galaxy S4's, and AJ has an Android Note something or other.  (Hey - I'm luck to remember what mine is!)  That is all the fun stuff I get to do with my bonus.  The rest is to be set aside for 'legal fees'.  (We  need to set up stuff for Allison this year.  She will be 17, and it's time to get started - before she turns 18 and is a 'legal adult'.)  Now, Ralph and I are struggling with the new phones.  Thank goodness for Google!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas Season is behind us - and it was a wonderful time.  Christmas itself was full of family - Mom surprised us with a quick visit.  She, Dave and Lisa came down for the day.  Added to that, it was a Mel Brooks Marathon on TV, so it was a very fun-filled day!  (Dave and I traded off saying the best 'one liners' from each show.  I don't know which is my favorite, Young Frankenstein or The History of the World, or maybe Robin Hood, Men in Tights??)

I'm looking forward to the New Year.  Not necessarily New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, but to the milestones that they represent - a chance to review what has gone on in the past, and looking forward to the future.  Reaffirming what we want out of life (that would be all those Resolutions we make - and break - in January!)  I don't know what resolutions I will make for this year.  I think I make the same one each year - to stop procrastinating and GET THINGS DONE.  Maybe this year, I can accomplish that??  Probably not!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

V-Stitch Infinity Scarf/Cowl Instructions

For those of you that don't crochet - skip this post.  I wrote out instructions for my scarves that I made for a friend, and took pictures as I went along so she can see how to make one.  

V-Stitch Infinity Scarf (or cowl) instructions

Base Row:  Chain a length a little bit longer than you want the scarf.  I chained 130, and it was about 30 inches long.  When I finished the scarf, it was about 25 inches around (which is a fairly snug cowl).  The number of chains you start with will vary, depending on the yarn that you have.

Slip stitch in first chain, forming a circle, being careful not to twist the stitches too much.  (Some twisting is okay – this row will be in the middle of your scarf, and no one will know if the chains are off a bit.)

Row 1:    Chain 4 (stands for a double crochet, chain 1) and double crochet in the same chain – the one that you slipstitched in to join.  Skip the next 3 chains, and in the 4th chain, work ‘double crochet, chain 1, double crochet’ (a V-Stitch).  Skip next three chains, and work a V-Stitch in the 4th chain – do this all the way across.  Don't worry that you are skipping exactly the right number of chains - if you can't tell, no one else can either.  This row will be in the middle of your cowl, so no one will notice a few errors.

When you come to the end, make sure you have the row straight, and then turn the end upside down – this forms the ‘infinity loop’.  Work a V-Stitch in the bottom of the V-Stitch on the first row all around.  Join with a slip stitch in the 3rd chain of the chain 4.  Your first row will have a V-Stitch on each side of your original chain.

Row 2:  Slip stitch in the next chain 1 space.  Chain 4, double crochet in same chain-1 space.  Make V-Stitch in next chain-1 space around, and join with slip stitch in 3rd chain of the starting chain 4.  Continue as many rows as you want (or until you run out of yarn).  Join with a slip stitch in the 3rd chain of the chain 4, and fasten off.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I think, once again, Christmas snuck up on me. Even with taking a week off from work beforehand, I still feel like I'm behind.  I'm glad the kids are grown up enough that I'm not worried about presents for them.  AJ got his 'big' present last week - the CPU for his new computer.  He and a couple of friends put it together last Friday, and he really lives in his room now.  If I didn't know that he was talking with friends through Skype all the time, I might worry about him being anti-social.  Instead, I think he may be too social - I never see him!

This year, I did restrain myself, and I didn't buy a lot of stuff for Alli that she didn't need, or probably wouldn't play with, etc.  She got some clothes that she needed, and that was about it.  She doesn't play with many toys - but the one she got from school this year was a hit.  It is a soft baby doll that plays music and the face glows softly when the music plays.  She loves it!  The aides in her class said she didn't seem very interested in it when she opened it, but they just left it with her.  Pretty soon, she was touching it, then holding it, and then wouldn't put it down.  Love at second (or third) sight!

AJ took a couple of pictures of Ralph and me before we went to my company Christmas party last Saturday.  Not too bad for a couple of old people!  Saturday was also our 26th wedding anniversary, so the night did double duty.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy anniversary to us!  26 years ago, Ralph and I got married in the Honolulu Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.  I need to dig up some old pictures and scan them (I probably have before, but....I don't remember, and it's always fun to see them again.)  It doesn't seem like it's been that long......

AJ got his Christmas present yesterday - the last part of his computer.  He and a couple of friends set it up last night, and now - I have almost no Internet connection.  I keep trying so we will see if I can get this posted.

Boy, time flies when you're having fun - or getting ready for Christmas....whatever!  Here it is, Saturday already, and my vacation is almost over.  I am as ready for Christmas as I will be - just grocery shopping left now.   I didn't take as many pictures of my projects as I should have, but - I did finally get pictures of my last quilt.  I did the quilt top, and my sister did the quilting.  She did such an awesome job - it makes my mediocre quilt look fabulous!

Here are some shots from Dave's Installation.  He sure looks like my Dad!

Here he is all serious.....

And here is the brother I know.....

A quick shot of AJ

And Alli enjoying herself at Grandma's.  We hadn't used our stove much this year (we've been using the gas heat since Ralph's surgery - more consistent heat throughout the house for him) so she really enjoyed Mom's fire.

And - Mom's new kitten, BK.  She didn't actually interact much with him, but the kitten seemed to like her.

I did take picutres of the bookworm bookmarks I made for Book Club.  We ready The Eyre Affair - a very odd book.  The bookworms turned out cute though!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What comes to mind when you think 'vacation'?  Extra time to sit around and read, relax, do a couple of projects that you've been meaning to 'get around to'?  Me too.  And then.....reality set in.   Vacation time comes, and you realize that all those 'little' projects that you were going to do have piled up into a major time commitment, and - you're out of time!  Once again, I think I over-estimated the things that I can do while on vacation.  I think I can still get most everything done - we'll see.  So far, I've...

  1. Gone to Susanville over the weekend for my brother's installation as Master of the Masonic Lodge.
  2. Baked 8+ dozen sugar cookies for Alli's classroom to decorate today.
  3. Crocheted edging onto 28 pairs of gloves (Alli's classroom needed 30 pairs, and I made some extra.  I had started this project earlier, and had some made up, but...not as many as I thought I did.)
  4. Stiffened 2 dozen snowflakes that I already had made up.
  5. Crocheted (and stiffened) 7 specific snowflakes for the ladies in my department - they got to choose what snowflake they got this year.  
  6. Made two more infinity cowls.
  7. Go the majority of my Christmas shopping done.
  8. Went to book club last night - and took each of them bookmarks, snowflakes, and a cowl for Christmas.
  9. Had my nails done.
  10. Had a nice long visit with Dawn - she came down and spent a couple of days at the house.
Whew!  And - I still need to do a couple more things, but the majority of the time crunch things are done - specifically the gloves and cookies for Alli's classroom.  Today is baking day, and maybe a house cleaning day - I fell a bit behind in that too.  I also have pictures I want to post of some of the things mentioned above, as well.  We'll see how far I get on that list of 'things to do' today.  

Monday, December 09, 2013

Since Saturday was a 'snow day' - i.e. I didn't go shopping because of the snow, I finished the little baby reindeer hat I had started for Elora.  It turned out so cute!!!  I found a shiny red button that almost glows for the nose - perfect!  The pattern is easy enough to make, and is found here.

Ronna and Joe stopped by for a quick visit with us this weekend.  They were actually in Redding to visit with Joe's sons - one of whom they hadn't seen in a while, not to mention baby Allison (2 1/2 months old now!) and crashed in the guest house overnight.  We were able to catch up a bit Sunday morning.  Since I had just seen them the week before for Thanksgiving, it wasn't like we hadn't talked lately.  They are also going to be up at Mom's next weekend for David's installation.  We will have had more family get-togethers than usual this year!
We got close to three inches of snow  - unusual for us, but - I did get some good pictures!  Not bad for not getting very far from the house!  (It was cold out there!)

My Hummer agrees - it's cold!  I checked the hummer food, and it was slush, so I dumped it and made him fresh (warmish) food.

I didn't see the dogs playing in the snow, but Jasper had snow on her nose.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Let it snow! / Gingerbread hat

Let it snow!  We got a couple of inches at the house last night!  It was already sticking in town when I left work yesterday, but since we live in the 'banana belt' of Redding, it wasn't even snowing at my house when I got home.  Here's what I woke up to this morning:

Pretty!!!  I'm not heading into town this morning though.  I'm not afraid to drive in the snow - I'm afraid to drive with all the crazy people!!  Maybe this afternoon I'll venture forth - after everything melts.

I finished my gingerbread girl hat and leggings for Charlie (great-granddaughter of a co-worker).  Aren't they cute!!!  I can hardly wait to see a picture of her in the hat!  (the leggings aren't my fave, but everyone else seemed to think they were 'just too cute'.)

I had asked Elora's mom if she would like a set of these, or if she wanted a reindeer hat.  She originally opted for the reindeer hat, but then....when when she saw these done, she said she would take either.  (She really would take whatever I made and love it, I just asked her if she had a preference)  I have the hat part of the reindeer done - now to do the part that makes it cute!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Thanksgiving, Office

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at Jeff's this year.  He had the traditional burnt offering:

As well as one for us:

The first was cooked in oil - and we all decided, after much deliberation, that it was probably because it was too big - it was a 14 pound turkey, and the fryer wasn't supposed to take on more than a 10 pound turkey.  Of course, our first decision was that it was all Jeff's fault, but, in all fairness, we gave him the benefit of doubt.

He (or should I say Kirby) put on a beautiful and delicious dinner.  Kirby wasn't even there - she is working at a horse therapy ranch, and they had a bunch of kids in on Saturday, so she wasn't at our dinner.   But....she left everything ready for Jeff - he just had to follow the instructions.  She was very thorough - every dish had a sticky note on it telling him when to put it in, how long to cook it and at what temp.  She did miss one tiny little thing though.  One of the dishes was to cook "covered for 45 minutes", and there was a plastic cover on the dish.  She meant to take the plastic off and cover it in foil, but forgot to spell that part out.  The original cover, after about 1 minute in the oven:

It was all so good - I came away absolutely stuffed.  And then had a 2 hour drive.  Luckily, I had AJ to keep me awake!

Here are some pictures of my new office!  We are supposed to be moving in to the new area this week.  I don't think my office will be ready, but I will be at one of the workstations until they get the office ready.  The workmen are ready to tear out the area where we are now, so are anxious for me to move!

I even got the house decorated for Christmas yesterday.  I had AJ help me get everything down from the attic, and realized....I have no where to put the tree this year.  Ralph set up his desk where I usually have the tree.  So.....this year - it's just my snowmen out!

Before Mom and Dave left yesterday, we ran in to town to Lowe's and Joanne's.  After they left, Alli and I walked back to my car, and when I was buckling Alli in, I noticed I had a new friend.  It was either very brave, very tame, or very sick - it didn't move until I shooed it away.

And - a sunset shot from my walk last weekend.