Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bones of Winter

For most of last year I did a monthly post called "The Colors of (name the month here)" I really enjoyed putting together the pictures for that post and will miss getting to see what pictures everyone else from around the world put on their blogs - in fact one person from Australia had this great picture of all these kangaroos just out standing in a field - I loved it so much that I made it my "wallpaper" for my computer at work - it really gets the attention of the computer repair people, that's for sure...

So, many of the people who were doing "The Colors of..." posts are now doing a photo journal, taking pictures of the same spot all year long.

I've decided to use the White-barked Himalayan Birch (Betula jacquemontii) in our driveway. It really is one of the prettiest trees that we have in our yard, and in the bleak midwinter (to borrow from Christina Rossetti) it just shines. I'll take a picture of it and the surrounding area every month so you can see how it changes.

I have always been fascinated by the bark, how it separates out into pieces, ready made for that secret missive.

I have pictures taken for several years from this spot - I'll try to find some of them so you can see how these trees have grown over the past years.

I was surprised that we get Friday 31st off this year from work. I have a lot of errands to do - get my church newsletter printed up and get the oil changed in my car, so I am grateful to have the extra time off. The Shepherd and I will meet for lunch, and do our shopping/date night early so we can be home and off the roads before the New Year's revelers hit the streets -

It snowed this a.m., but thankfully, it didn't stick around for very long. It is supposed to be sunny for the next three days, but cold - dipping down into the teens at night. Brrr...

I haven't looked at the TV Guide for Friday night - maybe there will be a movie worth watching or something - and Saturday Jan. 1st, we will head out to our friend Nancy's for her traditional New Year's Brunch - lots of old friends, good food and good music.

Have a safe and Happy New Years! It seems way too soon to be saying "Happy New Year!" - it seems like we were just saying that. The only consolation that I have in that is it seems like time is going faster to "younger folks" now too - not just to us old geezers.... Ha ha ha.

(oh, and wait until you see the pretty yarn I spun up from the 4 oz of "Cashmerino" that The Shepherd got me for Christmas. That and the pretty "giraffe orchid" were my favorite presents this year)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Mother Nature has provided us with beautiful reds and greens for this time of the year.

The Shepherd and I went to town at noon today to hear Tracy Spring play at the local Allied Arts Christmas festival. I got two of her older CD's and talked with her briefly about her service that she will be doing at our church in February.

I'm listening to her music as I write this and while I don't like some of the songs as well as the album I already have, I'm sure that they will grow on me -

I took Sinda to the V.E.T. this morning to get her sub-Q infusion for this week. We had a couple of errands that "we" needed to do before we got there - I don't think she appreciated riding around so much, but oh, well...

Right after I got there, a fellow came in with a Rottweiler "puppy" - he was in that cute, doofsy stage, but pretty well behaved. BIG paws - he's going to be a good sized dog. Not as big as the 10 month old short haired St. Bernard who came in next - they weighed him - at 108 lbs. he thought that the 38# Rott puppy was going to be a tasty snack - luckily the SB's owner took him back outside - big dogs - whew - I'll be honest - I'm not much of a fan, especially if they aren't well behaved. The Rott puppy was very good and trying to stay put but that big old boy, he was looking for a tussle I think.

I was glad that Sinda was in her carrier.

So that's how our Christmas Eve day went - It's a "pancake night" and then we'll drive to Blaine for the Vespers Service at 7:00.

We're going to wait until tomorrow a.m. to open our presents - The wreath on our back door was a gift from my sister - I really love her wreaths, she puts so many textures and colors in them. And if you click on it to biggify it you can see the three sheepies looking towards the "star" .

I got The Shepherd a digital picture frame so he can see his photos when ever he wants without having to turn on my computer - - I only hope I can figure out how to get the thing loaded before tomorrow -

So, Merry Christmas to all, and as the angels said "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all"

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spinning in my spare time

As a relatively new spinner, the walls of colorful roving (this happens to be yarn) at the Black Sheep Gathering had my head "spinning". So much fiber, so little money -

I found this beautiful roving and could not pass it up.

None-the-less to say I had no idea what I would do with it - and what the heck was Tencel, anyhow?

But I loved the colorway and I really liked the name - there were two bumps left, so I got them both - better to have too much than not enough, I always say...

Well, I have been intrigued by all the crocheted sock patterns that I have seen lately, in fact I even bought a book of just sock patterns ( I am such a sucker for books...)

So I started spinning it up last week - Oh, did I mention that I had read an article in Spin-Off Magazine about spinning for crochet (for the "non-spinners" you normally spin your singles to the right (clockwise) and ply to the left (counter-clockwise) - I have never had any problems crocheting with my regularly spun yarn, but , apparently there are a few out there who suggest that spinning the singles counter clockwise and plying clockwise make an easier yarn to crochet with - well, I guess we'll find out now, won't we?

When I am spinning colored wool, I just spin my singles and ply how ever it goes together - I think you get some really nice colors that way - and you don't have to get all worried if your colors blend on to each other - so here is what I ended up with .

I have two fairly good size skeins - now I just have to wash it up and decide which sock pattern I want to try out.

The other spinning I've been doing is on some Icelandic/Alpaca blend that I had Gretchen do for me last summer - It is too scratchy (a product of not "de-hairing" the Icelandic wool) so it wouldn't be very good for clothing - but I have been really intrigued by the recent patterns I've seen for crocheted bowls and baskets.

I think this will be really pretty for a crocheted bowl...

This is the triple ply yarn that I made at Judith McKenzie's workshop last month. I think it is Corriedale & silk - it is incredibly soft - and if you click on the picture to biggify it, it doesn't look too bad - I have a plan for it, but I will tell you what I have done with it at a later time.

Triple ply is really something to get used to - I had stuff REALLY tangled up there for a while - I guess, like everything, it just takes practice.

Our church Christmas program is tomorrow night. Unfortunately, Rev. Nan had emergency surgery for appendicitis last week and we're not sure it she's going to be able to participate or not - we rather think not, but where there's a will, there's a way, I always say.

If she doesn't make it, The Shepherd will lead the service - He is our "Minister of Music" and he does services on a regular basis. Although it's not his favorite thing to do, he has filled in at short notice several times over the past 20 or so years that he's been there. Our choir has been working hard on the pieces of music that he picked out for us this year - I hope we have a good showing in the congregation - it always makes it more fun.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sharing -

As many of you know, I am the editor of my church's monthly newsletter "Just for UU" - a little play on words there - as we are Unitarian Universalists -

I thought I'd share part of my "From the Editor" article for this month with you -

"As I sat in our chilly house this morning waiting for the furnace repair man to come, I surveyed the postcard we received a couple of weeks ago from that local heating company suggesting that we call them for a “Fall Furnace Tune-up”. I wished that I had called them last week - BEFORE our furnace quit in the middle of the night.

I got to thinking about how nice it would be if we each got a “postcard” reminding us that we needed a Spiritual Tune-up - but maybe that is what Christmas is all about - reminding ourselves (and one another) to be kind and generous of spirit and deed, to think of others before ourselves -

I hope you’ll take the time this season to visit with an old friend, or drop in on someone who has not been able to get out of the house due to illness or the weather."

I just couldn't believe that it was time to work on the DECEMBER! newsletter - it seems like it was just summer a few weeks ago - but the recent Thanksgiving snow was a cruel reminder that winter is upon us - the days are shorter and darker, and we are on a slippery slope to that "holiday" called Christmas.

So, whether you celebrate it as a "holyday" or if you look upon it as a pagan festival made into something bigger by the Romans and the retailers, I hope that you look into getting yourself a "Spiritual Tune-up" and that it helps get you through this darkest part of the year and into the hopeful light of the winter Solstice.