Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Has Past

Another Christmas has come & gone, and I'm left with such a surreal feeling. I begin gearing up for this day starting somewhere in October, usually when my Christmas Club check arrives. I revisit mental lists for who might like what, but I hold off on the actual shopping until after Black Friday for the most part. Specifically, I wait for Cyber Monday & do most of my shopping online. Luckily, many places have jumped onto this online-shopping bandwagon & extend their sale prices and/or free shipping to the entire Black Friday weekend AND the week following. 

Typically our holiday season goes like this: 

*Thanksgiving dinner here at our house on Thanksgiving day

*Black Friday is actually a sleep-in day here & we start bringing Christmas decoration bins down from the 3rd floor

*Fri/Sat are decorating days, to include the house & trees (we had two this year)

*Sunday is my day of rest (my self-imposed day off because I've found moms who work at home really don't get days off otherwise!)

*The first couple weeks of December are such fun as all my purchases begin to appear via UPS!

*The week before Christmas is when I sift through the mound of delivered boxes, separate them to make sure everything has arrived, and begin wrapping

*Several days before Christmas I start baking cookies

*A couple days before Christmas I "start" some cleaning (since having a smelly, hairy, messy beast of a lab induces the same mentality with cleaning as I had with small children~ because they're constantly messing up things as you're cleaning them up, I basically have to clean last minute for a possibility of it staying clean until guests arrive!)

So the Christmas festivities passed mostly without a hitch except:

1) I forgot to make the corn AND green beans for our Christmas ham dinner! Oops!! My MIL brought Ambrosia so at least there was a type of fruit in there.

2) Smokey the lab knocked the big Christmas tree in the family room down TWICE, and so I got to do A LOT of decorating this year!!

My heart hurt the most on Christmas Eve. I felt the first crush when I realized church services were under way. I've not been able to attend church regularly since burying Montie (nor before, but that's a different issue) and I always feel the missing of that service in particular. The second heart squeeze was felt after we'd sent the girls upstairs so "Santa" could come ~ knowing Montie could *only* be here in spirit as we celebrated the next day.  

I'll not be sharing any New Year's resolutions because I don't believe in them. 

Things can change with a blink of an eye, and every day is a new start.

But I can offer with a heartfelt wish that this year could be more fruitful, more joyous, and more fulfilling in ways we haven't even discovered yet...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

A few snapshots from December...

With my sewing room still under renovation, I've claimed an unused smaller room to sew in temporarily. My fabric is separated into boxes, and as you can see, the kitties like to keep me company.

Unwrapping kisses for peanut butter blossoms (the funky gloves are due to my chopping off the very tip of my finger/nail bed using a rotary cutter!)

A very small sampling of cookies baked this year.

This one might be a repeat? The kittens are getting stronger & venturing further up the trees.

Santa left presents! 

On of my favorite gifts this year was given by Morgan! Sorry about the blurry picture. 

MY MASTERPIECE!! Praline Pumpkin Cake~ yes it was as delicious as it looks!!

Managed to get everyone in who attended.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New Additions to our Menagerie

On the left is Daisy & on the right is Maisy. 

Eventually I'll get them different colored collars, but for now we check out the gray markings on their heads to identify who's who.

They're identical except for the gray markings on the tops of their heads. Daisy's markings are lighter, and Maisy's are darker.

As you can see, they're adorable. And we're fortunate that so far they seem as sweetly tempered as they look!

They're sisters we adopted from the Humane League of Lancaster, PA.

And like any typical sisters, they like a good spar...

 ... and then stop for a photographic opportunity!

We are quite enjoying getting to know these two. I can't imagine ever adopting one cat at a time again. It's just way too much fun to watch them running & playing together. 

So far the Christmas trees are surviving. The smaller one is faring well even though they've been crawling into the lower branches.

We purposely used unbreakable balls on the big tree, and you'll notice there are no lights or balls on the bottom foot of it! lol

 They were both in the bottom branches & I see they've knocked 3 or 4 of them off (we switched to artificial several years ago.)

I should have a couple quilting finishes ready at the end of the week to show, so come back soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hanging Out in Graveyards

I don't know what it is about hanging out in graveyards that I find so soothing? I've never been creeped out to be in one. In my senior year, I used to eat breakfast in one. But unfortunately, I've spent the better part of 18 years visiting my children in one or another. 

I can't say I feel a particular "connection" to any soul lingering around. I don't go & "feel" people in the cemetery specifically. But I do feel a sense of not being alone. 

I run almost daily in our local cemetary ~mostly because I've deemed it a safe place to teach my spastic lab HOW to jog safely with his human (me) without giving said human road rash, over-extended knees, shin splints, etc.

Running in the cemetery gives me a better cushion to run on while I'm training Smokey not to jerk my bod around too much or stop on a dime or take off like a bat out of hell! 

And while I'm in my morbid sanctuary I feel I'm away from prying eyes that just might get more than a few laughs at my expense during these training sessions. I'm not overly affected by what I think others think of me, and yet having my body hurt, landing on the road or losing control of the dog is something I DON'T want to share with the general public!

This week found me at my church's graveyard 3 different times, trying in earnest to get some decent pictures of Montie's newly "installed" marker. 

We commissioned David Gillespie to hand-carve Montie's stone. The attention to detail is dramatic. If you decide to check out his website, you'll see Montie's stone featured on the front page as well.

The gateway to the cemetery...

Our church Donegal Presbyterian 

The grounds as reached by going around to the right...

The reflecting pond...

I walked all around the grounds this past week ~ and yet we still couldn't bring ourselves to attend Sunday services. 

It's complicated. It's sad to be there still. The sadness can still be overwhelming... 

... and all the while our caring friends watch... and yet, it's uncomfortable. It's an anxiety-filled time when we go to services. If we attend upstairs & early, I see the casket on funeral day, see Marshall in the  podium honoring his son with words I cannot believe he's able to deliver so eloquently. And if we attend downstairs later, I see us standing in black next to the casket, hugging so many who came to show support, seeing the video of pictures of happier times rolling over and over, and I see the kids laughing & realizing surreally that "life goes on" amidst my heart breaking.

The carver, David, helped Marshall dig the area & install the stone during our freakish snowstorm on October 29. It seemed wrong to have Marshall digging there, for him to have to install it, and yet he seemed to fulfill a sense of duty doing so. 

In some ways it's a relief to have it finally done, after the many emails, discussions about pictures & wording; and yet there's a finality in it being there. There's nothing left to do FOR Montie ~not that I think he really cares about a slab of stone where he is! 

I know his body is there... and I still can't believe my son is buried, but I never feel him there. Ever... and so I've been to the newly installed marker more this week than I've visited the site in the better part of a year. And I don't really want to go back...

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Blogging Blahs

Have y'all gone through the blogging blahs yet? 

I seem to have hit a bump in my blogging road since the flood of Hurricane Lee struck. 

I'm sure it's a mixture of part exhaustion, part depression, and part forgetting what I did that might've been interesting, and that probably circles back to the part exhaustion. 

My body is tired of 12-15hour cleaning days spent lugging boxes, scrubbing surfaces, weeding through random crap that was thrown quickly into packing boxes in trying to save said crap from the flood, all the while also dealing with my beloved kitty, Stanley dying, my Grandma passing away, and Montie's gravestone being delivered. 

No, I haven't been to see it yet. Don't ask me why, cause I'm not sure. I care too much about it, I care too little about it ~ both statements would be accurate depending on which day. 

But I've set a date for myself on Monday to go visit it bright & early & to take pictures. 

Of course this doesn't exclude other mentally exciting events such as my daughter being attacked by her ex & he subsequently going to jail (court date in Dec. of which to look forward!), my hub's truck dying, my daughter calling from a cornfield  which she'd landed within when she hit black ice, a vacuum dying, a broken carpet cleaner, hormonally charged fights between my two teenage girls (the last of which resulted in stuffing/filling being stuck to my family room ceiling ~and yes, it's still there), etc... 

In the meantime, I've actually quilted a LOT of quilts that haven't been shown. During flood time, the shop I quilt for called to say a woman had 11 quilt **11 QUILTS** she needed quilted by the following week. Wouldn't you know this was while my large quilting machine was torn down & residing on my eldest daughter's bed (in protection from first floor flooding.) 

Whatever, that's Murphy's Law, eh?

BUT I got 'em done! 

But I digress, now I'm off on a tangent. And that's my brain & my life these last few months. Haphazard & scattered (more than is even usual for me!) 

So to wrap up my blah blog, some eye candy...

T-shirt top quilted with "flames"

This one had very fluffy batting!

A garden top quilted with "fishes"

 A Christmas top quilted with ____ -ugh, I can't remember & I'm just way too lazy at this moment to drag myself two rooms away to look (I'll probably be annoyed w/myself over this tomorrow, but oh well....)

A warm, sunny day for Dino to enjoy a small green spot in the backyard

And a few days later we had a snowstorm!! 

~I hope you're all enjoying this autumn ~