Showing posts from December, 2009

The Year in Review

I've wrestled a little with how to measure 2009. I could list the quilt projects I've completed (9) or the cross stitch/needlepoint projects (21) or the books I've read (at least 50). I could talk about having to participate in a due process hearing at work, one of the most difficult times in my professional life. Or I could dwell on the stress of watching from afar as my oldest struggled to make ends meet in this economy in Los Angeles and his uncertainty about his career choice. Or the stress of helping/encouraging/outright incessantly nagging my daughter to get her college applications done. Or the difficult time my church is having with a pastor out on medical leave. Or the frustration of not being able to drop some pounds. But there have been many, many blessings as well. My middle son completed a very successful freshman year at college and had a great summer as a camp counselor. It was wonderful to see him so happy. After some coaching from my husband and me, my ol…

10 Book Challenge Completed!

I finished my 10th book for the challenge I joined back in September. The list is in my sidebar. You'll notice that most of it is pretty lightweight fiction since most of my reading time is limited to a few pages before I fall asleep at night. I really do miss having the time to sit and read for long stretches but that just isn't possible with a busy teenager, a house and a full-time job. And of course, stitching and quilting!

I do listen to quite a few books while I'm driving and while I'm quilting. Right now, I'm listening to A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore and I can recommend it highly.

The Children Were Nestled

In my family, we open our gifts on Christmas Eve. This tradition got its start in my own childhood. I'm assuming my parents started this because we lived in the same small town as my paternal grandparents who had 11 children. Every year, nine of those children and their families would come for Christmas (one child passed away before I was born and one family lived several states away). That meant 22 grandchilden as well. We rented the Community Hall in town so everyone could be together. Obviously, my parents helped a lot with the food shopping and preparation and needed to get things together on Christmas morning. So we had our family gathering a little early. I've continued the tradition with my own children since we have hosted Christmas (and all the other major holiday) dinners since my oldest was born. We go to church, come home and have snacks and enjoy a leisurely time opening the gifts.

This year, I made a quilt for each of the kids with the plan of putting it on their …

Happy Birthday, Winter Baby

This is our daughter's 18th birthday, and coincidentally, my brother's birthday. They were born 40 years apart--you do the math.

My third pregnancy was a surprise. I don't usually tell people since I don't think it's fair to my daughter to advertise that. I'm sure none of you will break it to her, though. Because I was an "older" mother--all of 38--I had some genetic testing done early in the pregnancy. The alpha fetal protein test, the one that checks for neural tube deficits like spina bifida, came back positive twice and I ended up having to have amniocentesis. We chose not to find out the baby's gender.

My daughter was due on December 12 and early in December, my doctor was telling me that it would be any day. On the 12th I had definite signs that labor should begin soon, but nothing happened. On the 17th, I went to the hospital to be induced. On the way, my husband and I speculated about what the baby would look like. We already had a boy wit…

All I Want for Christmas

My husband and I have always taken a lot of pleasure in giving each other gifts at Christmas. When we were first married, he used to do his shopping two or three days before Christmas. Then, one year, he caught a nasty flu and was flat on his back on December 23. There weren't presents for me that year and even though we shopped the after-Christmas sales together, it wasn't the same. He learned his lesson and since then has always been on-time and very generous. Last year, though, neither of us could think of anything we really wanted. I think it was partly the economic climate and partly the fact that while we are not great consumers, we pretty much buy ourselves whatever we want/need during the year. So we agreed to no gifts, and I've got to tell you that wasn't much fun. This year, we gave each other modest lists although once again, I had a hard time thinking of something I wanted. I do need a new wallet so that went on my list.

But what I really wanted, and no on…

It's My Turn To Be a COW

A few weeks ago, Nancy, Near Philadelphia made this post. While I object to the acronym, my daughter's high school concert was the cause of my becoming a Cranky Old Woman last night. I used to love going to these concerts when my son was in high school. But in the six years between his graduation and last night's event, concert-going etiquette has suffered greatly in my community. Seems many people think "concert" and "sporting event" are synonymous. Thus, the cat-calls, whoops and whistles after every number, no matter how classical. Thus, people feel free to walk in and out at will, no matter who is performing. And how about the family who once spent ten minutes wondering aloud whether the audience would stand for the Hallelujah Chorus and then talking the whole way through it. Or the woman who sat next to me last night and sang along with the choir (and not well, I might add). Hello--I came to hear my kid, not you!!

OK, I feel better no…


Here's the view from our deck last Sunday morning when we had a few inches of snow. It was the best kind--just enough to make everything sparkle and not enough to affect travel on the roads. As you can see, our back yard is wooded. It's home to quite a bit of wildlife, including some foxes and many, (too many), deer. I often step out onto the driveway and see a deer nibbling about six feet away from me. They barely look up any more.

Well you would think that this snow would get me in the Christmas spirit, but that seems to be slow in coming this year. We have a interim pastor who is just wonderful and his sermon on the first Sunday in Advent was about anticipation. (For those of you of a certain age, he used the Heinz ketchup commercial with Carly Simon's "Anticipation" as one of his illustrations.) I'm finding it hard to capture that excitement. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that at my school we have been directed to keep the holidays ou…

Bound, Labeled and About to Be Delivered

This is the last of the four quilts I sent off in August to be quilted. (I think my quilt holder needs to grow a few inches and get longer arms). This one is a Christmas present for my sister. I finished binding it about a month ago and believe me, it was touch and go about whether it would actually get sent out to Iowa. I loooove the colors and I seriously contemplated sending a Harry and David fruit basket to her instead. But now it has a label with my sister's name on it so there's no turning back!