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December 2019

Happy Anniversary

Marriage quote

As of 2 p.m. today, my husband and I have been married 44 years. Hooray! :) I'd say that the quote above definitely covers the two of us. :)

We have a favorite little Chinese restaurant we've been going to for years. More accurately, that site has held a Chinese eatery for many years. I'm pretty sure we are working on the third or fourth family to run the place. :) Someone new is cooking there since the last time we've been. The food has definitely improved. :) Tonight we ate there - and met the owner's 2.5 year old grandson. Cute! :) Also very large - I think he is at least as big as my five year old grandson.

We've been pretty quiet again today - Skip and Hugh went grocery shopping in the morning. I had intended to do some tidying today but got sidetracked by my reading. Shrug. Tomorrow, eh?

:) Linda


Happy Christmas

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Our three days of Christmas break have been quiet and peaceful. No snow - but lots of sunshine! :) Mild temperatures (mid to high40's). The little birds have been coming happily to my feeders all week.

I have only done one thing of note in the past three days - cooked Christmas dinner. It was not an unqualified success (I cook so rarely any more:) but everything did get finished together and it was tasty (gingered ham, sweat peas, mashed red potatoes and sweet potatoes with sparkling cider). :)

Otherwise, I've been reading, playing games and sleeping. Quiet, uneventful. Peaceful. :)

Tomorrow is my sweetheart's and my 45th wedding anniversary. A lifetime ago ... together. Still in love ... I guess that is a worthy accomplishment, too, eh?

:) Linda


Successful

Celtic xmas

Today would have been my mother's eighty-eighth birthday, if she were alive. I wish she were here to celebrate. :)

Hugh and I had a fairly successful day today. We went out and ran errands - including shopping for the makings of Christmas dinner (ham, red and sweet potatoes, sugar snap peas) - and had lunch at a new place to me: Bonheur's Deli. The food was good (I had a turkey club sandwich with avocado; Hugh had corned beef on rye) and the bakery offerings were impressive. ;) I will have to share this site with my friends Barbara and Polly - would be a step up (nutritionally) from their usual Sweatshop Day fare. :)

The weather was fairly mild today - 49 degrees (F) and sunny. The traffic was incredible - don't know if it was because of the (seasonally) nice weather or because of holiday shopping - but there were at least four times as many cars on the road as usual! Definitely a day to keep one's eyes on driving. :P

I feel somewhat virtuous for doing so many necessary errands - shopping, post office, lunch, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy - so now I am sitting down to read blogs and play games. :)

:) Linda


Nearing

Grinch

Think of a motif and you will find it, eh? :) I've been thinking that I'm grinching out on Christmas this year and LO! I find this image to rebuke me. :) Good advice from the Universe!

Today was pretty quiet ... eating, reading, games, online stuff ... sunshine and cold outside.

I got a newsletter from the toy lady that I thought I'd share - she has oodles of lovely printable paper toys and wrapping boxes and such to share (free) on her website. Poke around, lots of fun things to find that aren't holiday, too. This was my favorite today:

Polarbearsledsmall

Click and collect your very own copy. :) And, fyi (and if it matters to you), I support this lady on Patreon. 

I found an embroidery pattern to share, too, that is apropos the long dark winter:

Sky - Project - Turn to the Sun - 275W

Click on the picture to go download your own free embroidery design to remind you what is important. :)

Random online wanderings - with a point - today.

:) Linda


Salute to the Sun

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Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day/longest night of the year. If you click on the photo, you can go read about the history of European celebrations of that holiday. :) I always think of the Solstice as SunReturn - the time after which days begin to get longer again. YEAH! :)

Today was a quiet one for us here at home. I had thought I'd do some house chores but ended up reading and playing computer games instead. The computer chair in my bedroom is a trap! LOL. The weather was sunny with some overcast as the day wore on .. and chilly.

The little birds coming to my feeders now include some winter migrants - I saw a junko there yesterday and a chickadee today. Along with the usual song sparrows and house finches ... and the ubiquitous squirrels. Haven't seen any nuthatches, yet - they usually appear around now. I do so enjoy seeing them - evidence that Nature can survive alongside human beings.

One thing I did do as I was binge watching NCIS this evening was to use some of the leftover sock yarn from my fingerless mitts to make a puff:

Puff

Maybe you can see the scale by comparing the puff to my keyboard? These little puffs come from a pattern I bought on Ravelry some time ago (at my daughter's behest) called The Beekeepers Quilt (due to the hexagonal shape of the stuffed puffs). It seems a lovely way to use up small bits of leftover yarn. Might take me years to accumulate enough puffs to make an afghan ... but it will be lovely and warm when I do. :) I started a second one with the remaining yarn ... hope I have enough to finish it. :)

Happy Yule, Noel, Sun Return to all!

:) Linda

 


Friday, Friday

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This silly picture is actually funny in more than one way. :) Now that I'm retired, Friday is the same as every other weekday for me. My husband appreciates it, still, though. Today I was _supposed_ to take my private student shopping to get fabrics for her next quilt project ... but she called me just before time for me to leave to tell me that she had a 'household emergency' and not to come. Wow! Just like snow days when I had kids in school, a FREE day. :)

Not that I did anything very productive with it. Yesterday there was a minor emergency of some kind with the spacecraft (uh, my husband the astronomer works on spaceflight software for Hubble Telescope) and my sweetheart had to work until late yesterday evening ... so he took today off. Surprise! Friday is really Saturday this week (for him:).

So ... I am free of my scheduled obligation and he is also off work. Did we do anything fun with the time? Depends what  you think is fun. :) He installed the new ceiling light fixture in our front entryway that I bought earlier in the week (light!!) ... and I slept late. Then puttered around, reading and being generally lazy while he played the new version of Stardew Valley. :)

I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that Patty and I stopped by Springwater Designs quilt shop on our way home. She wanted  to sign up for the Aurifil thread club starting in January ... and I am always happy to take a stroll around a quilt shop. :) In my meandering, I spied an old friend - our rep, Larry Sheckman, for Timeless Treasures, P&B, Marcus Brothers and several other companies. He had finished showing new goodies to Dawn (who owns the shop) and was picking up his samples.

I was pleased to see Larry - when I closed my store, he was in very poor health and dealing with prostate cancer. He was the very picture of glowing health and vitality yesterday with made me happy! :) It was really good to see him - a nice blast from the past. 

I did manage to find a Layer Cake of Christmas prints to buy - I am thinking to dig out some of my pre-printed papers for LC's to make something seasonal and fun. I guess the party is helping me to feel more of the spirit. :)

Linda


Party Time!

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Those few of you who have been long-time readers may remember my personal love of snowflake designs. In fact, I may have referred to this site before ... but it bears repeating. There is a professor at CalTech who specializes in studying snowflakes - and if you click on the pretty picture above (which happens to be the largest snowflake ever identified, at almost 1/2 inch in diameter) you can go look at all the glory of his website. Science and Art are NOT mutually exclusive. :)

Do you have favorite icons - images or themes that you gravitate towards using? I like snowflakes, leaves, feathers, seashells, foxes, birds, and hearts (along with others I cannot remember at the moment - oh, labyrinths:). Spirals ... equilateral triangles ... 

OH, gingerbread houses and ginger-people is another one ... here is a cool site with a lot of truly unique gb houses, including this one which is my favorite (at the moment, anyway:):

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Treehouses ... very cool. My most favorite part of the Lord of the Rings movies (besides the charge of the Rohirrim) was the high tree landscape for Lothlorien. So. Beautiful.

Where was I? Hmm. Today was sunny, sunny and cold (my husband said it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit when we outside to go to work this morning) ... and it was the scheduled December party meeting of Village Quilters. VQ meets once a month (on the third Thursday, from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m.) and always includes a potluck lunch. This month they pull out all the stops, though, and the winter holiday party is always fun. We bring fat quarters (four), wrapped nicely, and play the 'Left, Right' game to swap them. Good for lots of giggles, always. My prize was four Xmas prints which made me happy (one kind of fabric I very rarely buy) - now I have fodder for making a small wall hanging. :)

My friend Patty is a member of the guild, too ... as always, she brought chocolate to the luncheon (I nearly always bring fruit). This time, besides her usual yummy mini-candy-bars, she brought mini-eclairs. My mouth waters just remembering them. :)

It was a great time with lots of friendly, happy chatter ... as always. It brightened up my day - my entire week, really. Always a plus, especially this time of year. I hope I'm not the only pseudo-Grinch out there? I used to love Christmas as a child ... and as the mother of small children ... but, as the years have gone on, I have soured on the whole consume-consume-consume environment. My winter s.a.d. mixed with what is apparently an ongoing grieving process, means that I do not enjoy this month much. Yes, I do try to be kind (always) and do for others whenever I can (especially charity) ... but those are not exclusively Christmas goals for me. Shrug. I could be very, very happy on a beach right now. Just sayin'.

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I love color ... and have long subscribed to a blog site called Design Seeds. This was today's post - they had me at purple! :) I have had color on my mind this week ... as I am contemplating fixing up our house ... here is a choice of color swatches I picked up when I was at the home improvement store earlier this week; these are paint colors I am thinking about for our front entryway:
Front entry

As you can tell, I am thinking 'warm' - mostly because the front of our house is protected from the sun (and sunlight) by six big trees. It is pretty nice for energy expenditures to cool the house in summer ... but the incoming light is a bit too cool for me. At the moment I am leaning toward the pinker end of this scale .. but it will be a couple of months before I make a final choice.

Speaking of pink, you might recognize some of the hues above in my now-completed new pair of fingerless mitts. They still need to be washed and blocked, but here they are (yes, not very good photos - dark outside tonight - I will take better after they are blocked:):


Left hand

Right hand

The ball of hand dyed sock yarn (Knit Circus) I used was ombre, from gray-purple through hot pink to yellow. Pretty flashy, eh? :) They fit more loosely around the fingers than I like so I will look for some narrow elastic or elastic cording to insert/sew into the upper hem edge. They are warm, though, and I like the looks. :)

So, that's the way it is today, here at Chez Schiffer. Warm and happy, despite the cold and wintery seasonality.

:) Linda


Misty Lights

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Today was more misty, rainy weather - some places more mist, others more steady rain. I had my last bariatric surgery prep class in northeastern Baltimore County this morning and got a steady view of tail lights in mist. :) Since I went up I695 and returned via I95, there were traffic signal lights only toward the beginning and end of my trips (local roads:). Temperatures were in the very low 40's and traffic was sluggish, as one might expect.

I was astonished to find out that I have lost more weight than anyone else in the class (about 50 people) since we started the series back in early May - 6.2 pounds, total, over the 8 months. I have not been trying to lose weight, particularly, which gives me some hope that (assuming I continue doing the same things, food-wise, as I have been recently) the surgery will be successful. Fingers crossed! Certainly nothing else I've attempted in my life has had any lasting effects. :)

While I was in northern Baltimore, I bought gas at the local BJ's Wholesale Club (we are members; the gas is discounted for members) and treated myself to a very nice lunch at the Bob Evans restaurant nearby. Nice green salad, grilled cheese sandwich and double crust apple pie. Doesn't sound very restrictive, does it? :) I bought my family (meaning my husband and son) a pumpkin pie from their bakery, too.

Now that I am past that hurdle (the prep classes), I have other items to take care of before I can have surgery - including a follow up to be sure that H.pylori infection is cured, another (different) upper GI tract study, a psych evaluation and an essay about why I want to have the surgery. Not sure how long all that will take. Shrug.

As long as I was out today, I stopped at the local big box hardware store to buy a new light fixture for our entry hall, some LED bulbs and a small, narrow trash basket to put beside my computer desk (upstairs) to gather recycling in (our major recycling center is in the kitchen, downstairs, and things often go into the trash upstairs that should be recycled, just because the trash is more convenient - gotta keep after myself:).

Now that I am home, I am planning to catch up on reading email and blogs, then go back to knitting on my fingerless mitts; I finished the first hand, now I'm about halfway done with the second one. Fun!

:) Linda (feeling somewhat guilty because I'm not doing more to prepare for the holiday)


Bah!

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Isn't this wreath lovely? My niece, Stephanie (in Nebraska) made this. I am proud of her - she is much more fearless than I am at tackling crafting projects. :) Things have been pretty blah here for the past week, with one exception. 

I did manage to get out on Friday to sew with my friend Barbara. We had lunch at Mission BBQ (I love both Kansas City and Memphis sauces on my pulled chicken or pork:) ... complete with a Pledge of Allegiance to the flag at noon. Always a heart warmer for me. When I was a child, each school day started with a recitation of that promise. :)

The days have been dark and bleak mostly over the past week. We did have at least one day of sunshine but the rest have been either very overcast or precipitating - we've actually had snow twice (though, even by Maryland standards it didn't amount to much more than a dusting on the grass). Every year when fall comes, it takes my internal thermostat a week or so to adjust to the temperature changes outside - to remember to wear a coat, warm clothes and maybe even gloves. :) This year, for whatever reason, it is taking even longer. Brr! 

I spent Friday afternoon sewing with Barbara - trying to finish the wool candle mat I am working on. I managed to press it nicely and glue baste the backing wool to the mat while at Barbara's house ... and to overcast (herringbone stitch) the outside edges. I finished four out of the eight scallops so about halfway done. Next time I sit down to work on it, I will likely be able to finish it up.

I came down with some kind of intestinal distress on Saturday ... was _supposed_ to go to Jinny Beyer Club with Barbara ... but lost out on that. Sigh. Also missed out on the Sew&Tell holiday party on Sunday. Major sighs.

Today I went out to a scheduled doctor's appointment (I'm fine) in the early afternoon ... then made a quick trip to Walgreens on my way home. By the time I got done, I was bushed ... so the rest of today has been and will continue to be sitting at my computer, wrapped up warmly and playing the (newly updated) happy game, Stardew Valley

:) Linda (off to crunch rocks)


Cold Rain after Sunshine

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See that white haired fellow in the middle of the muppet huddle? That is Carroll Spinney - a.k.a. Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He just passed away after a long-time illness and the world is a sadder place for his lack. (click on the photo to read his obit) My children are of an age to have enjoyed Sesame Street through most of their pre-school and early elementary years - and I, too, as Supervisory Watcher, lived in that village from time to time. 

I was a muppet lover before I had children (used to catch an early bus home  from graduate school on Monday evenings so I could watch the Muppet Show while eating dinner:) ... and became familiar with the neighborhood even more nearly 40 years ago now. I had a hard time getting used to Oscar - I had real issues as a young woman with not being able to deal with or express negative emotions.

Took me several years to understand why the character, Oscar, even existed ... much less begin to enjoy him. One thing about having children - makes a thoughtful person grow up! :) (Luckily for my future 'job' as a retail business owner, I _did_ learn how to express and deal with negative emotions .. at least partially because of this man's acting skills:).

I know that sad and happy and odd and routine things happen  in this world every night and day ... but I will miss this man's acting. Apparently Sesame Workshop has replaced his active participation with his apprentice's ... but Carroll set the characters way back when. :)

 

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. I love this guild and, this month, am finishing up my term as Communications Co-Chairperson. I still have to transcribe the board meeting minutes and post the general meeting photos/notes to the guild's blog. That will be the completion of my work in this chair for a while, at least. :) It will be strange to go to a meeting without a 'job!' :)

 

Today I had an exceptionally fine lunch at the Stanford Grill with my only remaining private student, Sylvia. The food was great ... the service was so personal it bordered on intrusion (grin) ... and the conversation was delightful. Sylvia wants to make another quilt - for her newest great-grandchild - and was consulting me on ways/means. 

The weather was dreadful today - cold (low 40's) and rainy. My personal choice of 'very not nice'. :P Yesterday was sunny and pleasant (for which I was grateful, especially during my longish drive to Cockeysville and back to the bmqg meeting). Cold, wet winter weather is typical of Maryland ... sadly. I'd much rather deal with snow than rain.

 

I was reading a blog called The Joyful Quilter yesterday and came across a series of posts she made way back in 2016 called The Decrapification Project. Here was her definition: Decrapification (de-crap-if-ic-a-tion) The term coined by Rosamaria on Ravelry Thrifty Knitters group meaning to declutter a LOT of stuff (from a room or area.) With thanks to Rosamaria and Joyful, I have decided to adopt this title for my personal un-stuffing adventures. LOL! 

:) Linda