Friday, November 26, 2010

A time of Thanksgiving

Last weekend, my friend Laurie was here for a visit.  She was only at my house for an overnight stay, but we packed a lot into that short time.  I picked her up at the airport on Saturday, and we went out to lunch.  Then, we came back to my house and spent all afternoon in the kitchen.  We made this yummy apple pie. . . Gorgeous, isn't it?  The pastry cutters for the leaves are from Williams-Sonoma.
We baked a ham for dinner and prepared roasted vegetables -- cauliflower, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and carrots.  Homemade rolls and wine completed the meal. That night, we had a fire in the fireplace, sipped eggnog and watched the movie The Holiday.  A perfect way to start the holiday season.  Dan and the kids agreed that Laurie should come and stay more often:)

This week of Thanksgiving, I've been thinking a lot about the people in my life who really make a difference.  Some in small ways --  a neighbor who organizes the annual Thanksgiving football game in the park, the woman who has been a checker at the local grocery store for years and always has a smile, our milkman who delivers every Monday morning, no matter what.  Then there are the big heroes in my life, such as my nephew, RJ.  On Thanksgiving morning,  I was watching a segment on the Today Show, live from Afghanistan.  It brought a lump to my throat, seeing all the soldiers who were smiling and waving to their families on camera.  They sacrifice so much so that the rest of us feel safe in our homes. RJ is one of those people.  He was only eight years old when his mom, Lois, and my youngest brother, Matt, were married.  I've seen RJ and his younger brother, Jason, grow from young boys to young men, and I couldn't be prouder to have them both for my nephews.  RJ is now stationed in Afghanistan with the Colorado National Guard.  We will  miss having him home for the holidays this year. Thanks, RJ, for all that you do!

I'm thankful this week for having my husband home.  He's actually at home, as in in town and taking the week off!  I'm grateful that he has a job that provides well for us and that he enjoys, and try not to whine too much when it takes him out of town.  But sometimes, I do. Whine, that is. 

I'm thankful that my eldest son has a new job!  A full-time job, with the all-important benefits.  He's thankful, and happy, too.  

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my dad and stepmom's house.  Speaking of thankful, I am so very thankful for having Carol in our family.  She and my dad have made a wonderful life together, and Carol has made a difference in all our lives.  My children think she hung the moon.  She's always on top of their interests and all their activities, encouraging and cheering them on.  She tutored my son, Luke, in Spanish and was his sponsor for Confirmation.  We are all so blessed to have Carol in our family.

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!  Today, I pulled out all the Christmas decoration boxes and will spend the rest of the weekend decking the halls. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lampshade redo

This morning I woke up, just looking for a project.  Do you get in moods like that, too?  My aunt gave me this lamp about a year ago.  It has a beautiful silk shade, but the lining had become worn and shredded over the years.
The base is so pretty, with delicate green flowers.
I removed the silk fabric and saved it. It's beautiful and will go in my fabric stash for a project down the road.  The fabric I'm using to recover the shade is from an extra curtain panel that I purchased when I bought a valance for the loft, to coordinate different pieces in the room.

Old lamp shades have nice sturdy frames to work with.  All I used for this project was a pair of scissors and a glue gun.
What do you think?
I bought the chair at a garage sale and covered the seat with the same fabric.
Completing a project is inspiring.  I think I'll go dig around my stash for a pillow form and make a matching pillow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday's Fave 5

Lots of goodness in this week!  I thought I would have to dig hard to find five things, but when I look back lots of things popped up to the top.  I'm grateful for the chance this exercise gives me to look back and find the good, especially when the week, at first glance, looked a bit grim.

1.  I baked banana bread and remembered to sprinkle the top with raw sugar before I put it in the oven.  Oh my, it is sooo delicious.  The bread turned out just right and the crunchy sweetness of the sugar on top makes it even better.

2.  Today I gave Lilly a much needed bath.  She was so calm and looked at me with her big brown eyes as I washed her "curls" and ears.  She even let me blow dry her a bit and now she's silky and smells so good.

(hmm -- banana bread, washing the dog.  It's got to get better than this).

3.  The first snow!  More to come this weekend:)

4.  My family all gathered here last Sunday to celebrate my aunt's birthday.  My brother, Matt, made his famous meatballs and sauce, I made some appetizers and bread and salad.  My niece who is going to college in Ft. Collins came down, and my sister-in-law and other niece made the drive from up in the mountains where they live.  It was a wonderful time of family fun and talking and laughing -- and continuing the conversation throughout the week on Facebook.  

5.  I watched a t.v. program yesterday that helped me to remember that all we have is this day.  Right now, the present. That the years are going by so fast, and one day we'll look back and wish for one day, one hour, even one minute back of this time, just to experience it all again.  We won't get that, but we have it in our grasp right now.  Don't let it go by unnoticed or wish it away.  I need to be reminded of this.

Hop on over to Susanne's for more Friday's Fave 5.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Snow, snow, snow!

Snow makes whiteness where it falls
The bushes look like popcorn balls
And places where I always play
Look like somewhere else today
~~Mary Louise Allen

Yesterday we had our first snow.  All day long, the sky was heavy and gray, while the air was thick with anticipation everywhere I went.

"Has it started snowing yet?" asked the young man at the coffee shop.  "I'm new to Colorado, and I can't wait for all the snow!"

My husband called from work.  "Is it snowing there?  It's just raining a bit here."

My friend tells me her son woke up this morning and the first thing he asked was, "Is it snowing yet?"  When she told him, no, not yet, he replied, "Then it's not even worth getting out of bed." 

And there were plenty of people who summed up their feelings about the impending change in weather with three little words.  "I.Hate.Snow."

By late afternoon, the sleet had turned to big white flakes and there was just a dusting of snow on the lawn.  The green blades of grass barely peeked through, as though waving goodbye.  

Today is dull and gray.  Tomorrow, we're expecting a "real" snow with several inches on the ground by late morning.  

For the record, I'm in the "I love snow" camp.  Admittedly, by January I'll be whining and wishing for spring.  Whenever I'm asked "what's your favorite season?", I'm always inclined to answer that it's the newness of any of the seasons.  I love the change, the fresh start, like having a big, giant Monday morning.   

What about you?  Are you a fan of snow or do you agree with Carl Reiner's assessment --

A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hanging by a thread

Fall is hanging by a thread.  Today, I took the dogs for a long walk and then dropped them at home and got my bike.  There's an open space by our house that has miles of trails.  It has a large open field, a stream lined with cottonwood trees, and a large marshy area filled with tall reeds and cat tails.  The sky is so blue today and the light was perfect for taking pictures.  I just want to squeeze every last drop out of fall.

Later this week, we're expecting our first snow, which is kind of weird, because November is the second snowiest month of the year here.  And we haven't had a single snowflake yet this season.

Pretty soon it will be time to take out the wool socks and long underwear.  Does anyone even wear long underwear anymore?  I don't think my kids have ever been outside long enough to get that cold.  Icy cold to the point that snow clings in little ice balls to the ends of your mittens, and your wool hat is wet from pulling it over your face to breath warm air into it and thaw your nose.  I guess they've never worn real wool either, but instead have grown up cloaked in acrylic and "fleece."  Not the real fleece, but the fake stuff. 

Now, I'm depressed.  I've deprived them of so many things.  Itchy sweaters and frozen fingers.  Will they ever forgive me?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back then

I have an aversion to bangs.
It started back in 1961, when this photo was taken. I remember the exact moment. I said to myself, "Self,  as God is my witness, I'll never let anyone cut my bangs again."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleaning out MY closet

Has anyone been over to PW's lately?  She's cleaning out her closet and giving away clothes.  I have to laugh.  First, because everything is either a size 8 or 10 and if I don't laugh I'll cry.  I was born a size 10.

Second, because I'm cleaning out my closet today, and there isn't one single thing that I would dare put on this blog for all the world to see.

First, there's the jacket I bought to wear for Easter Sunday. (I should say right now, that most of my cast-offs are not even from this century).  Besides the fact that it's a shade of green that would  make a leprechaun cringe, it holds horrible, embarrassing memories for me.  It was only after we got home from mass that day that my family told me I had marched up to communion in front of the entire congregation with the price tag and extra buttons dangling from my armpit.

Then, there's the skirt and shell (does anyone call sleeveless, collarless tops "shells" anymore, or am I showing my age?)  My 21-year-old son took one look at it and said, "I've never seen you wear that."   I said, "That's because the last time I wore it, it was for your christening."  Deciding then and there that I'm over pink and looking like a Happy Birthday cake, I tossed it in the ever-growing giveaway pile.

There's the skirt that drapes beautifully -- just not so much over my hips. The chunky, large knit, cowl-neck sweater, that I can wear for about 30 seconds before hot flashes have me tearing at the neck. And the pink shoes from Kathy's wedding -- a lovely shade of shell pink with pointy toes and spiked heels -- that I'll never be able to wear ever again because my feet would just cry.  These, however, will not go in the giveaway pile. When I die I don't want my entire closet to be ugly "comfortable" shoes, leaving my daughter to wonder if I ever had a life.

There's the tropical print skirt I wore to my 25th class reunion.  I have to say, it was a great outfit, paired with a chocolate brown v-neck, wrap knit top and strappy sandals.  Kathy and I promised one another that we'll never go to another class reunion.  Never again will we fret about what we're going to wear and spend hours shopping and returning outfits before finally settling on something that turns out to be another poor choice.  Never.  Probably. Oh, I guess it's possible we'll one day change our collective  minds and decide to put ourselves through the experience again.

After weeding through miles of clothes rack, sorting my entire wardrobe into piles of "love it", "never liked it", and "those days are gone", I ended up with a couple of large trash bags filled with clothes to take to Goodwill.  And a very clean and organized closet:)