Friday, October 31, 2008

On Simple Knitting Fun:

Yes, I know you came here today looking for something spooky for Halloween. Gothy me with my cemetery pictures, horror story writing and all that. But for me Halloween is not a big deal. So I will leave it to those that only do it in one big bang on only one day of the year.

I dress up everyday and ghosts don’t pick only this day to say ‘boo!’ to me. I write my horror stories on any given day of the year. So that said, I will say, “Welcome to my world for the day.” and I will get on to what is really exciting me today.

I spent last evening and some of this morning making two sets of US 4 or 3.5 double point knitting needles out of Poplar dowels. I have a set of steel but I don’t like how the weight of them pulls them out of my work. I spend far too much time putting them back in place.

The reason I made two sets is that I want to make both socks of the pair of socks at the same time. I even made a few extras for dropped needles while I‘m working.

This will be a two fold new project for me because they are also the first toe up socks I’m making. I have always hated the waiting for the second sock to come off the needles. So this is something I’m going to enjoy.

The label on the yarn says Sassy Stripes, stripes and patterns appear as you knit or crochet. I’m really going too have some fun with this project.

The yarn is an acrylic Moda-Dea from Coats, size 3 and I’m using the color Stormy. It has a web address on the label if you are interested. I saved it from a discount bin in the clearance isle of one of my local, national chain, craft stores. And who can say no to a pair of self knitted socks for under two dollars? (Even if they are acrylic. They too have there uses.)

The Pattern is from Cookie A. and can be found here.

Edit: I have added the lace pattern I used here in my Nov 1, 08 blog posting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hi friends,

A double posting today. I just got thru reading the other blogs I look in on and Fallen Angel & Hidden Demons reminded me about RavensBlight 's web sight.

On it he has a Toy Shop full of free printable paper toys and scary masks to make.

If you are looking for a last minute costume mask and have a printer you are in luck. Even if you are not it is a great site to look in on.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

On The End of the Fall/Winter Storm:

The yard outside my window this morning once it got light.

The lights are back on for most folks around here. There is still a lot of clean up of downed trees and branches to be done. The early winter storm will be only a memory by tomorrow when the temp will be back up and the kids will be out hunting candy and fright on Halloween.

I was busy knitting up a storm of my own. I made a 100% woolen toilet paper scarf. Out of a bulky Acrylic, Mohair, Nylon mix one small and most of a larger Jester Hats for cancer patents, and a blond Hallow Wig. . And I’m a quarter of the way through a Sheldon the Turtle made of Wool-Ease Acrylic/Wool blend. All of these are from Lions Brand Yarns gotten at a discount sale.

The hats still need bells on the horn points. And I amazed myself by how much I got done when there wasn’t much of anything else to do. By that I mean I couldn’t play my video games.

I will revisit my Sims video game today mostly because I had just gotten the latest expansion pack ‘Apartment Life’ loaded on Monday. This is because I don’t add them until the patch is available and it only came out last Thursday.

Witches and Warlocks have come to live in my Sims towns now, just in time for Halloween. Magic and secret rooms will be luring my hands away from my knitting needles for a while I fear. And you know where you can find me tomorrow. The Sims in the town of Belladonna Cove are calling me to play.

Edit: The Jester Hat pattern is missing some information that I added here in my Nov. 01, 08 blog posting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Lost Friends:

In the past few days some of the people in the blogs I read have been dealing with the loss of friends to death. Little Black Crow with the first anniversary of her good friend Julie’s death and Judith with the recent death of a friend and co-worker Peg have been two in particular in blogs I read regularly.

As you know death is never far from my thoughts. But I am aware that this is not so for everyone. Still just because I think about endings often doesn’t mean I’m any closer to understanding or embracing it. Nor do I feel it has to be all sad and depressing.

Whether I’m strange or not I have been acquainted with the death of people I held close in life. My grandparents and other older relatives have all passed on, friends have met with an early grave, and my son was killed in a car accident.

It never gets easier to deal with or any less painful when it happens. The loss always leaves gaps unfilled and the dynamic of other relationships change because of this. Death and loss change us in ways we don’t like, leaving us with feelings of sadness and depression, of being lost in a once familiar place.

Reading their blogs reminded me of how I felt shortly after my good friend Loretta died in an apartment house fire. It was the same time of year and the pensive feelings we all seem to get in the autumn lends itself to feeling the loss all the more.

I miss her a lot to this day. She was intelligent and a good friend. She had her demons like we all do. And I look to them to make myself feel better. ‘At least she is not bothered by them anymore.’ I tell this to myself so I don’t feel so bad anymore. It doesn’t really help, but I try none the less.

I have a hole in my life for every loss. Today I’ll try again to make them fit into a lacy pattern in my life instead of a sign of destruction and decay of relationships lost. I’ll also find some joy in this day. It’s there to off set the sadness, I only have to be open to looking for it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Things Can Change Rather Quickly ‘Round Here:

Mountain Man has been franticly working in the garden to put it to bed for the winter.

Yesterday evening it looked like this.

The arbor for the gourds had been taken down and it had been cut up and added to the wood pile. Mountain Man took down all the temporary fences and poles for the various plants to grow on. He had cut down all the plant matter and composted it. The rest he tilled back into the soil. He did get done but it was too dark to take a picture by then.

I woke this morning at 5:30 to this…

Last night when I went to bed they were saying a dusting to an inch. We are now being told by out local weather forecasters to expect 3-6 inches of heavy snow before it is over. And living on the top of a mountain means you take that kind of forecast to heart, higher elevations and all. We are over 1600 feet here.

Mountain Man will be getting the snow plow out and ready for the tractor early this year. I’m very glad I had gotten all the winter laundry and airing done. The extra blanket on the bed was a God send as the cold winds blew last night.

Water is filled into pots because the leaves have not come off of all the trees and heavy snow means downed tree limbs and possible power outages. The thunder is shaking the windows in their frames. This is cooking up to be a good storm.

More than a few plastic boxes sit full of yarn and crafting materials. It looks like it’s going to be a long winter around here. Fewer sun spots this year predicts it too. I am ready for a snow in. I just wasn’t expecting the first one to be before Halloween.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On My Yearly Health Check Up:

Today is my yearly cancer check up. It’s a good/bad day. I’m of course glad that the cancer is gone but at the same time worried that it might have come back. And of course I remember the treatments and how devastating they were on my body and mind.

The smell alone of the place brings back memories. Chemo is the smell of raw fear touched with hopefulness.

I take my bath in the morning assessing my body and the changes it has gone through. Today is a memory day. Many things are brought back to the fore. I touch the scars and note the healing.

Baldness, weakness, sickness, tiredness, fear, thoughts of death, strength, perseverance, will power, hope. All tied together like a knotted ball of string.

I am a cancer survivor. I say this with a touch of pride and disgust. I carried a lot of baggage at that time. Things I no longer care about or care if others still care. Now I live for today.

The office will be bathed in pink. Breast cancer month has come again. I don’t like pink, never have. But it has been pressed upon me in the last few years. I push the pink gifts to the back of the closet or drawer. I don’t do pink even if I am a breast cancer survivor. Others can carry that banner.

I’ll sit still for the blood work and exam then make my way to the car. Shaking the dust of the place from my feet. Holding close the love/hate relationship I have with the place and people within. Knowing I will never be the same for what I lived through.

One word says it all. Cancer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On Sleeping In:

Today I slept in. I don’t do that often. I’m one of those people who wake naturally every morning at about the same time without an alarm clock.

I find sleeping-in a strange occurrence. The day doesn’t start quite right. Everything is off time and tempo. I missed my morning Yoga. I missed my morning pill. The day is out of order.

How do people do this sleeping in thing? I suppose that it is something good to people who don’t sleep enough. I sleep less then the suggested eight hours on a regular basis. Still, I just wake up the same time every day. That is most days… Except for days like today.

To me it’s a cause for concern. Am I sick? Is my body out of balance? Am I working too hard? Am I depressed about something? No, I just over slept even though I was in bed at the usual time.

I have never been able to plan a sleep in. I have stayed in bed wide eyed and bushy tailed, chomping at the bit to start the day. I just don’t know how to roll over and go back to sleep. I can’t make my body do that.

I am just a morning person. I dislike missing a moment of the morning. Hearing the first bird sing. Seeing the first blush of light glow in the pre dawn sky. Opening myself to the possibilities along with nature.

I like starting a new day, not one semi used. Like opening a pre-read news paper. It is not the same. The news print hasn’t changed but the crisp freshness is gone. I wonder what I have missed. A rabbit crossing the lawn? A deer in the field? A new bird traveling through? It is lost, gone to my experience of this day.

Tomorrow will be like the others. Early to bed, early to rise. Mountain Man will stay up late and sleep-in in the morning. And the rhythm of our lives will be restored. But for me, today I am missing something. A piece of the morning I can never get back.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Self Delusion:

Once upon a time I was thinner then I am today. That said, I still think thinner. I get surprised when I see myself in a window reflection or mirror unexpectedly. The me in my head is not the one standing in my shoes.

Although it’s been years since I’ve been in a size ten, I feel like at most I must be a size twelve. Yet my closet is filled with the sizes eighteens and twenties.

Yes, I did go up to size twenty-four/six after my son died. And I have been working on bringing it down, loosing half the weight I needed to loose although I did gain some of that back again in the last six months.

Confession time. I have been working on making a new corset for myself. I got the closest size to what my measurements told me to buy on the pattern package. Still I had to shorten it an inch while adding a half inch on each of the many pieces. (Okay fourteen pieces, that’s seven inches there.) It was the largest pattern that they made in that style.

I am fat.

Such a short, little sentence. Loaded with a whole lot of pain and discomfort.

I was making this corset to remind myself to stay on track with my diet and exercise but it has changed to a self realization of the truth within and the fat without. I wanted a little push and got a large shove. Or more like a hit in the head. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

I am short and fat. Although I can’t do anything about my height I can do something about my weight. There are no easy fixes and I have to do the work. But the veil is off, the gloves are on. I had strayed but have now found my path again.

Fighting my fat is back on the top of my list again. My knitting can wait a while. My crafts can collect dust. My story writing doesn’t have to be so prolific. I don’t have to read quite so much.

I do have to take care of myself, because if I don’t, I won’t be here to do any of the things I like to do. I gotta’ go exercise now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Decisions for Holidays:

We are now one week from Halloween. I still have not decided what, if anything, I’m going to dress up as. Last year I dressed as an owl woman.

We were fooling around with some wigs the other day. But nothing is screaming, ‘Go for it.’

It’s not that I don’t like to dress up. It’s the no where to go thing. I didn’t get an invite this year to any of the parties I’d care to go to, and because Mountain Man doesn’t do Halloween we don’t have a party here. Also we are so far out in the woods no one comes trick or treating and never has.

I don’t do the clubbing thing. ‘Look at the wrinkly hanging with all those kids.’ And since I goth it up any day of the year I like to do something different on Halloween.

I may just sit home and write some more stories. A new writers group is starting up next month. And I haven’t been doing a lot of story writing lately. In fact only one short story so far this month.

What ever I do decide to do I will have fun doing it. Do to all the stuff I’ve been doing around here I haven’t even gotten into the cemetery for pictures lately either. I stay away from the cemeteries around Halloween anyway. The freaky people come out around then trying to prove something. And I’m still not sure what that is yet. But I’m not getting involved.

I grew up a half a suburbian block from a cemetery. I spent many a wonderful childhood hour playing there. It was old even then and had been built over a Native American grave mound. A lot of history there.

I’ve never seen a ghost on Halloween either. I’ve seen them at other times but never Halloween so I don’t think I’ll be missing anything.

So if you have any ideas for some solitary Halloween fun let me know? Maybe I’ll just visit some scary sights on the web and call it a day. Who knows? It isn’t here yet.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On Ticks Don’t Tickle Me:

I have been trying to get some craft projects done around here. But I have been thwarted by other things, large and small. From the annoyance of the windy weather blowing leaves into my door every time I open it. Too ticks both dog and deer on the dogs and us, jumping from the dogs to us, or dead but half engorged on the floor, often squished by the way.

I feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you are running full out but you are hardly getting anywhere. I am hoping that the cold snap we are having will kill off the ticks but the weather is supposed to get warmer again soon. I just want to stop being the tick police around here.

By the way it is not just at my house because I had a heck of a time finding tick meds for the dogs and everyone at the grocery store are talking about the out break of ticks this year.

As to the leaves. My kitchen door is pretty much flush with the ground. No matter how often I rake and haul them away more leaves fall and replace them. A small thing really except for the ticks that have jumped on the leaves as they blow around. That is how I’ve been getting most of the ticks on me, by raking and hauling the leaves away from the house. I feel like the leech scene in the movie ‘African Queen’ every time I go to rake.

I’m spreading borax all over the house to repel them from infesting the carpets and the vacuum cleaner is being overworked. I’m even burning the used vacuum bags to kill anything in them. This is the first time I‘ve had to deal with ticks like this. Most years I’ve never seen one of them no matter how hard I‘ve looked.

Any helpful suggestions on ticks out there, because I’m overwhelmed? Help, I’m being tick-led to death!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On Holidays on the Wind:

Yesterday turned out to be a dark gray, Winny the Pooh blustery day. It rained intermittently and at times hailed. But in between I was out going back and forth to the wood pile to refill the wood storage in the house. The wind raining down most of the leaves left on the trees, blowing them in every direction.

When I went down to the mail box to get the daily paper and the mail I couldn’t resist the feeling to throw my arms wide and sail the wind like a large free bird or bat. This I did with abandon but still I remained earth bound as the wind wrapped my long skirts around my ankles trying to trip me up as I walked.

As the day progressed it turned colder and at one point the rain turned to snow and at that instant the day had changed completely. Everything that was being done at that time was set aside to bake the first snow flake cookies.

Mixer and bowl, ingredients and cookies sheets all littered every kitchen surface. The magic of the first snow flake turned an otherwise cold gray day into a holiday at our house. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and raspberry chocolate chips were liberally added to the cookie dough. No one special recipe. It’s the doing and what we bring to it that makes it a holiday.

A portion of the cookies were set aside to go to The Princess Daughter and Prince Charming. Even though they are not here we think of them on this family holiday. There have been years that I made the cookies alone because the others were elsewhere, but I have never missed a year. Even the years I had to wait until February to have the holiday and make those special cookies.

The house still holds the warmth and smells of fresh baked cookies even as I woke this morning and scurried to the wood stove to build the fire back up for the day. First snow flake cookie day may have past for this year but in my heart it is with me every day of the year. It is like family to me.

Today I will pick up where I left off and get back to work and work off the cookies eaten yesterday but the glow of family and first snow flake cookie day is still warm in my heart along with the memories that it brings back each year. Home made memories can be the most golden. Now feel free to make some of your own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Winter’s Coming:

The leaves have past their peak of color and some trees are almost bare. The sky’s are still strikingly assure blue in color, but as the days grow shorter they become grayer.

I love the look of a bare tree or bush in its skeletal starkness against a gray sky. I like the play of light and dark and often change the pictures I take of things around my home to black and white. I like to play with shadows and watch them march across the floor or ground as the day moves on. I have even waited hours for a shadow to be just right to take a picture I wanted.

I also like the cold outside and warmth inside. Going through the portal of the door into a stark white world of winter. And the coming back into the warm colorful comfortable house.

I can sit for hours wrapped in a quilt on the window seat watching the snow fall. I make lacy snow flakes with miles of thread going through my fingers over the years. I tat and crochet them, sewing them onto a pillow or stiffen them and hang them on a thread in the window. I’ve made beaded snow flakes, wire ones, needle point, and cross stitch. I’ve spent endless hours since childhood cutting them from paper.

Winter is coming and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll stay up late to watch the moon shine and make moon shadows on the snowy yard. It is magic to me. I like the steam from my lips and the snow angles littering my lawn.

I have a Sims town that they live in perpetual winter, making snowmen and having endless snowball fights. They drink cocoa and go on ice skating party’s. They do their swimming and growing of plants in glass buildings while the snow falls outside.

I can’t say I love winter best because I look forward to all the seasons as they rotate around the calendar. To me all of them are unique and has its own space and in time but right now I am awaiting winter with a smile on my face.

Monday, October 20, 2008

On Some Motherly Advice:

Some of the people at the get together on Saturday night had small children. And with the economy causing most everyone to cut back and they were wondering how to approach their kids about the smaller portions under the tree.

I will credit my mother with this one. She always told us when we asked how come some kids got more then others and no one got everything on there list from Santa. She said, “Santa didn’t want children to love him more then their own parents so he never gave more then the parents could afford. And that it was the only way Santa could be fair since he wanted every child to have the best Christmas that they could have.”

I always thought it was a good answer and have passed it along to my religious and secular friends over the years. That and, “Don’t go into debt to give your kids every little thing that they see and want. Children are the happiest when in a stable comfortable home no matter what the income level of the family.”

I can see it already in the stores parents stressing over how much each Halloween costume piece costs, multiplied by each kid in the family. Hearing mothers and fathers trying to talk ‘Junior’ into being a ghost or a hobo like when they were kids.

Most of the kids when they were told straight out that there just wasn’t enough money for the extras resigned themselves to doing with less. In fact some were proud to be included in the decision on not getting the costume of choice once they were reassured that it would be okay as long as everyone made some little cutback like not buying costumes this year.

My own kids never had a bought costume in there lives. A little makeup and come creative dressing changed who they saw in the mirror and that was enough. Because it was tricking the home owners out of candy by being someone else, that was the point at our house. Not being the latest super hero or cartoon character. There were already too may of them walking around don’t you know.

I hope all holidays are good holidays at your house.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On The Shawl Project:

The Daughter Princess and Prince Charming have just gotten on the road. It was a busy fun weekend. We had a few people over on Saturday evening so they could do all their visiting in town at one time.

I made a wrap type shawl for my Princess and she loved it.

The piece is made of Lion Brand Yarn their Moonlight Mohair style of yarn the color Safari. It’s a soft mohair and metallic two strand light bulky yarn. I used size 8 US and 12 US needles. It is done in garter stitch with yarn over and knit 2 together combos along with double yo on the larger needles that I let drop so that I could get the longer stitch rows. On some of these long stitch rows I crocheted a chain stitch catching up, by going around six strands of the long stitch row as I went along the chain at about every fourth stitch using a G hook. It made a nice lacy grouping pattern don’t you think?

I made up the pattern as I went along and no two garter stitch bands, between the long stitch rows, were the same. The yo/k 2 tog’s mixed in with the garter stitch rows gave it a lacy look.

I did not write the pattern down because I wanted it to be a one of a kind thing for her. I added tassels to the short ends of the rectangle and I was done.

I liked it enough to want to make one for myself in the black/gray/silver color and I already bought the yarn. I will write the pattern down for that one and share it with you here. But for now I have other things on my needles.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On SeasonalDecorating the House:

I am quietly typing this as the company sleeps.

The Kids arrived last night for a week end visit safe and sound. The Daughter Princess and Prince Charming brought with them the royal dog Lady Energy. My dogs Lady Short and Lady Long were glad to see their good friend again. It was a barking good reunion.

I’ll show you pictures of the shoulder wrap I knitted her tomorrow. The camera is in the room they are sleeping in.

On to the subject entitled: The yellow jackets are all gone. Woo hoo! What a strange few days. And a great second use for my veiled hats by the way.

The house is clean and decorated for autumn. I know, kind of on the late side this year. I usually do my fall cleaning and decorating in September. And next year I’m going back to that plan. I just though I’d wait until after canning season to do it all in one shot. Lets just say it wasn’t one of my brightest ideas.

True I got it all out of the way in one fell swoop. But I have the aches and pains to prove it. And I don’t get to enjoy my Autumn decorations as long before the winter stuff comes out. I’m a seasonal decorator.

I don’t do the holiday decoration thing. I’ve long since given up the need to decorate for just a days events. Mostly because my house is done in Country Victorian. This means lots of stuff all over the place. Decorative clutter on most every surface.

As for decorating the yard? I’m on a privet drive, on a dead end road, and the house can’t be seen from the road. Who would see it? I’m getting too old to decorate the yard just for myself and the occasional delivery person.

Then there is the space to store thing issue. No, I’ll keep my decorating down to a controllable seasonal chaos.

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Pestilence:

At one point yesterday I wasn’t certain that I would be back in the house to post this.

I was ready, willing and able to get back to my house cleaning. I was now about to tackle the living room. Which is at the other end of the house from the room that I have my computer in. So consequently I don’t spend much time in the living room in the day light hours. A quick dusting and vacuum, water the plants and I’m outta’ there.

In the summer we leave the drapes in there open all the time so I don’t have to climb over the house plants amassed in front of the large window in the living room to close them.

I head into the living room bucket, rags and cleaning tools in hand, dragging the vacuum behind me. I head for the large south facing window. I move all my house plants out of the way and I pull back the drapes to take them down to clean them. Buzz, wham, out flies a group of angry yellow jacket hornets.

These hornets bored a hole around the metal frame of the window over the summer and were now coming out the back way when I ripped off their back wall still attached to the window side of my drapes.

What you have to know is that Mountain Man is highly allergic to bees, wasps and hornets. He is not going to be any help at all. I have to tackle this problem by myself since I am not allergic to them.

After a trip to the store to get some bug spray, lots of bug spray…

(Because the bug spray we had already bought is on the other side of the living room and the other door is locked from the inside and I wasn’t about to go through the living room to get to Mountain Man’s work shop to unlock the outer door to get the bug spray. And we are not going to talk about what I looked like in my cleaning clothing in the store.)

…I spent the day hunting and killing off yellow jackets through out the house and cleaning up the dead bodies.

Some how I didn’t get stung. Your guess is as good as mine? But I think it had to do with quick reflexes. That and the fact I had the drapes over my head as I skedaddled, dragging the curtain rod ripped right off the wall behind me.

Anyone know a good use for dead hornets? I got a lot of them.

Wait, was that buzzing I just heard in the bedroom? I got to go and kill something again. I knew I didn’t get them all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Family Traditions or Holiday’s:

Every family has them. That dish from Auntie that gets made for every Thanksgiving or that silly song that gets played every Christmas. Or those home made holidays, like a family trip to see the autumn leaves taken every year or a family egg hunt on Easter in the yard.

I started the first new holiday for our family when the kids were little. We started to bake chocolate chip cookies on the day the first person in the family sees the first snow flurries of the year. One year we had to wait until February and of course cookies were made before then. But the flurry cookies are just different. It’s a family thing.

The days are getting shorter and colder around here. The local weather personality has threatened snow flurries in the next few weeks and I have made sure that I had gotten all the ingredients together so at the first flake we can drop whatever we are doing to bake some first snow cookies.

Mountain Man and I have more then the usual because we don’t do the same religious holidays. This has lead to making more self inspired home made holidays. We have harvest day where we go apple picking and come home to make appley goodies.

We have tea party day and snowperson day, picnic day and first flower day. We also have others like water balloon day. All have decorations and foods, games and music. We even have a list of rules for the making of new holidays.

It’s nice to have holidays that everyone is familiar with but there is something to be said for special days just for a family group. And they can be cheaper too.

We are not the only family to have these home made holidays. I’ve found others on the web. You might want to try it yourself with family or friends. We have all been having hard times and it’s nice to turn a regular day into something special with little more than saying the magic words.

Repeat after me, “Today is a special holiday it’s (Fill in the blank) ____________ Day.” It’s all in the attitude. Now go make some fun while I wait for the first snow flake.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On An Autumn Day Off:

Yesterday I read and lounged around the house for the most part. I did go on a walk. I went down to the mail box and back with the dogs. I took a lot of pictures.

The sassafras was nice and bright.

Going down the drive.

Back up again.

The corner of our property from across a neighbor’s field.

Hope you enjoyed the fall color. I gotta’ get back to work cleaning the house.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Fall Cleaning:

Okay, yesterday was Silly Day the Thirteenth so I didn’t tell you what I was up to. I was doing my fall cleaning. You know the kind of cleaning that takes the better part of a week and every piece of furniture you own gets moved to do it.

Today I’m recovering from what I did yesterday. I was washing windows inside and out. Moving furniture in some of the rooms to wash the walls, dusting ceilings, you know the whole thing.

I was even raking leaves and cutting back spent greenery around the house. Not to mention lots of laundry from curtains and bedding, to winter mittens and scarves out of storage.

I did not get any video games played, stories written, knitting knitted, or crafts crafted and I’m not likely to do so today. My hands just hurt. (Right down to my warts. Ha, ha.)

I will watch the leaves fall from the trees and read a good book. I may even take a walk in the woods. I might get back to studying ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’ again. I dropped it when I started my writing class and I miss it.

Tomorrow I will be back to cleaning and airing things out because I’m not half way finished. In fact some rooms haven’t even been started yet. But today I’m just going to watch the world go by.

Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Oct 13th Fun Day:

This one is from my Grandmother, may she rest in peace.

October 13th is here.


It has come to our attention that there has been a drastic reduction of “Wart” collectors. This can’t be! We must not let this happen.

As of now there is a great possibility of “Warts” becoming extinct. What a tragedy. We ask---no, we “BEG” you not to let such a terrible thing happen.

Won’t you give just a few minutes of your time to collecting some “Warts” for the future generation? If you don’t have any, maybe a friend or neighbor would be glad to donate to such a worthy undertaking.

If we allow these “Warts” to become a thing of the past, there’s a possibility that the youth of the future will be ignorant of such a thing. It must be brought to the attention of the youth of America, nay the world, that “Wart” collecting is a thing that must be kept up and plays a vital part in their lives or they will never know what a “Wart” was.

We are trying to get as many members as we can, so won’t you try to interest your friends in this glorious and soul satisfying hobby of collection “Warts”?

Some people won’t have to go far to look for them and think how happy a small thing like collection “Warts” could make them.

This is a non-profit organization and is free to anyone who cares enough to want to join. So far our members are few but with some help from other “Wart lovers” we hope to increase out membership.

Meetings are every 6th Sunday of the month at the following address:
Wart Colosseum
13 Frog Hollow

Our National Wart Observation Day is October 13th.
Presiding over the meetings will be the great potentate--Wart Hogg

P.S. I’m sure this will be no skin off your nose.

Thank you,
Secretary to W. H.

Next Month on silly the thirteenth: For all of you who have been waiting for more recipes, Slug Salad. Another silly day from my aunt and grandmother.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On Epitaphs Anyone?:

Okay, here are some pictures from around my house.

The PeeGee Hydrangea,

some gourds still hanging from the arbor

and some already picked.

Now that I have you lulled into a nice place.

I would like to thank Judith and Cemetery Searcher for the epitaphs that they have sent in over the last few months.

Picture of one of the many cemeteries I visit.

But people come on. I know that they are not the only epitaph poets out there. I’m begging and pleading here.

Last week I just let the previous weeks epitaph run on an extra week and still no more epitaphs in my email box. Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top. Get those fingers typing and send your epitaph ideas in.

On another subject. Tomorrow is Columbus Day here in the States. I don’t do that particular holiday. I have Native American’s in the family. So tomorrow will be yet another Silly Thirteenth of the Month Holiday around here.

You can email Lady Euphoria at the links to the left.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On Googling Myself:

I Googled myself the other day. ‘Lady Euphoria Deathwatch.’ I do this on occasion to see if all is well on milady’s front.

I find it funny the things that those few words are associated with.

Bugs: Deathwatch and Lady beetles. Bugs are neat.

Movies: Practical Magic, one of my favorite movies by the way. Deathwatch beetle and the line ‘He lives briefly in the euphoria of her love.’

But the ones I find interesting are the political, terrorist, and economic references. Three subjects I’ve been pretty much avoiding here.

‘The first lady, the euphoria of the campaign, and the death watch of terrorism and the economy.’ It’s not the company I would necessarily associate with.

They are just not in my league. Not that I feel in any way superior. Just apples and oranges, and I happen to be allergic to oranges by the way.

You pick a name to be unique and different and you get politics, terrorism, and the like. I’d rather be thought of as a bug. Or Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman but I’m more like the odd Owen aunts played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest, odd clothing and oddly wise with a little oddly fun loving thrown in.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On Random Thoughts Friday:

So today I’ll be quick mostly because Mountain Man has a dentist appointment and I gotta’ go soon or I won‘t be able to go with him and do some shopping for the weekend.

I’m working on a knitted gift to someone that reads this blog so you’ll have to wait until the later part of the month to see that.

I tripped and broke(Okay stepped on and mangled, I don‘t want to talk about it.) the pine basket I had been working on. I haven’t decided whether to make another try at it yet.

I started another knitted wig, this time in neon orange. And I have yellow to do a blond one after that.

The Daughter Princess and Prince Charming (the fiancĂ©) are coming for a visit next weekend. I haven’t seen both of them in a while and I’m looking forward to it. My daughter was here in the summer.

I’ve gained weight from the exercise coach kafuffle and nibbling away my economy worries. ‘Cookies are not going to help.’ My new mantra. And yes, I know I need a more positive mantra then that one.

I’m so loving the autumn colors I’m not getting my house work done, by this I mostly mean laundry. (Don’t you dare look under the bed at the dust bunnies. They are in a delicate state of reproduction.)

I am in the process of gathering everything I need to make myself a new corset. I figure a week of looking at myself in the mirror for fittings will get me back on the road to weight loss. (Something’s got to help. Help. Help me please!) Did I say that out loud?

Okay I gotta’ go. Mountain Man is in the car already. Have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On Remorse and Forgiveness:

We all have things that we regret and are remorseful of, and I am no different.

I am sorry for all the things I did or did not do that harmed or injured others in any way. Injury was not my intent.

I beg forgiveness of those that have witnessed my anger and at times rage. I should have gained control of myself for everyone’s sake.

I hope that I have controlled my tongue better in this last year and with practice strive for more success this year to come. Being a gossip is not a flattering thing to be.

I beg mercy of my Supreme Being for any blatant infractions of the laws handed to me with care in hopes that I will find them an ease to my life and not a hindrance. I strive to be more patient and kind.

I forgive others of their infractions to me and the others I love and care for. To collect lists of hurts is only a burden to myself. Though I do not forget, not to hold a grudge, but to learn not to do those same things to others and avoid the barbs of others not yet in control.

I still carry remorse for things that I can not ever change that had I controlled myself the scars both in body and soul to others would not exist. I will always see those scars made by my thoughtlessness and strive never to inflict them on anyone again.

Love and peace to all of you, Lady Euphoria

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On Vegetable Soup:

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. I have allergies to foods. This makes life interesting at times but mostly it’s made me a canner of soups. I have to make my own vegetable soup because I haven’t found one brand that doesn’t have something I’m allergic to in it. I am also a vegetarian.

I like vegetable soup enough to eat it almost every day. Yesterday we made vegetable soup. Not a pot of soup, No. A vat of soup. We take a large plastic container, wash it out and start pealing and cutting up the vegetables that we had collected the day before.

I always try to get at least 14 vegetables into my veggie soup but it always starts with carrots. 12 pounds of carrots in fact. Cabbage and sweet potatoes, lima beans and corn, Green and yellow beans and even beets and spinach are all added along with other things from the garden or in the frig.

We spend hours cutting up the fruits of our garden and adding them to the bin of water. Yes, that is a 66 quart container more then half full. No, we didn’t fill it you need a lot of stirring room. I did take the picture before we were done adding things though. After we mix it all up it gets ladled into large, four gallon pots to cook and be canned.

We got enough soup to last me for the next few months. This batch of soup has 18 different veggies in it. I love autumn soup time. It just makes me warm inside. Or is that just a belly full of soup?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On The Romance of Stainless Steel:

For years Mountain Man and I have been looking for a replacement for his wedding ring. We had gotten matching plain gold bands when we were married some nineteen years ago.

The trouble was that with all the work Mountain Man does his ring once larger and thicker then my ring was wearing out to a bent up mess heading for breakage. Note the picture of his next to mine.

We were on the lookout for a replacement before he lost his ring in a stone wall somewhere. He was being a bit fussy about it not wanting to give up the original. But I was determined that he not wait until the first one broke.

We went to jewelry stores and jewelry sales but he didn’t like what they had to offer. He wanted something stronger and longer wearing then a plain gold band.

So we were in Kmart the other day and what did I see but a stainless steel man’s wedding ring. He was unsure at first but after he tried it on he was sold. A manly mans ring if ever there was one.

Our rings no longer match but what is important to me is that he still has the original in one piece and not under a rock somewhere. And he can still wear the one we exchanged at our wedding for special occasions.

There weren’t any in my size or even close of the stainless steel so I’m not getting a matching one. But some how it doesn’t matter. He is happy and so I am also.

Nothing says I love you like a Stainless Steel wedding ring. This one is made to last.

Monday, October 6, 2008

On Pumpkins to Eat:

I woke up feeling a lot better this morning. Thank you to those that wished me get well messages. Being Autumn I also have had some emails about my Pumpkin butter instructions and recipe from friends and family so I decided to put it here for everyone to enjoy. I’ve been told it’s a fun read even if you never make it. I followed it with a Quick method for those that don’t have much time in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Butter - Careful the flavor can be addictive.

To start with I will warn you that this is a big job. If you don’t have the time to do it all in one or two days feel free to freeze what you have done until you can get to the rest of the job. It’s a lot of time and work.

Cooking pumpkins have less strings, more meat to them and are sweeter. But jack-o-lantern pumpkins will do in a pinch just remember to add extra sugar if you use them.

There are a couple of ways to skin a pumpkin. 1 - 3 pumpkins are still a lot of work. I do 6 - 8 at a time with my husbands help and it’s still a huge job with more than enough work to go around. It’s up to you if you go for the large job once or smaller job more often. I have used all of these methods at one time or another, or in combination over the years. They have their ups and downs. (You know, like not enough room in the freezer…?)

Freezer method
Quarter and core (Clean out the pulp.) the pumpkin. Put them on a cookie sheet and freeze then thaw it to soften them enough to peal them.

Oven method
Quarter and core pumpkin . Put them in large baking dishes with 1 inch of water in it. Bake at a low temp 200/250 until just starting to dry or brown around the edges, an hour or so and it is softened enough to peal them.

Muscle method (A favorite to expel frustration, or make it, along with blisters. Lots of blisters.)
Quarter and core pumpkin. Using a large heavy knife (or cleaver if you can control it really well) slice pumpkin into 2 inch slices. Lay the slices on their sides on a cutting board and slice the skin off. (I’m not kidding here. Now go and take care of your blisters.)

Easy puree method
Cut in chunks and puree in a blender or food processor with the least amount of water to get the job done.

Longer puree method
Cut in chunks and put in a large pot add water just enough to stir and cook chunks down until puree. Strain out what won’t cook down and any strings that are left. This takes time and you must stir it regularly to keep it from burning.

Pumpkin Butter
The size of the pumpkin(s) determines the amount of puree you’ll get. On the side, in a bowl have the sugar and spice measured out (or a least a written calculation of how much you’ll need). Per quart of puree you’ll need ½ to 1 cup of sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Depending on how sweet you like it. And 1 to 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice. More if you like things spicy.

Pumpkin pie spice recipe
2 Tablespoons cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon each of cloves, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.

Cook the pumpkin puree down to get the extra water out. It takes hours. In the beginning you only have to stir it occasionally but as it thickens you need to watch that it doesn’t scorch. (The taste goes right through it.) If you put the sugar and spice in at this stage it scorches even easier so wait until later.

(Some people put the puree in baking dishes in the oven on low over night to thicken it.)
To help reduce the time on the stove top you can spread the puree around in as many large surface pans as you can. The more surface area the more steam escapes and the faster it thickens. The more pots the more stirring. (I can get away with this easily because I do it on a wood cook stove and I know that not everyone has this modern convenience.) Then as it reduces you can move it all down to one pot. You want to cook it down to a spreading consistency. After It thickly coats the back of the spoon add sugar and spice.
I test the consistency by putting about 3 tablespoons in a small glass dish that can take the heat and lower it into cool, not cold, water to cool it off quicker. It will get a little thicker when cooled so check it so you don’t have to cook it any longer than you have to. You’ve been cooking long enough by now. When it is thick enough to spread your finally done with this part and ready to can all your hard work!!!

Do to the fact that pumpkin is an edible gourd or squash and not a fruit it needs to be processed in the canner a lot longer. I do mine in ½ pints and pints. The same canning directions apply for both.

Pressure canner
One hour at 10 pounds pressure. Or check with your canners directions.

Steam or water bath canners
Remember to add more boiling water as needed and stream for 180 min or 3 hours.

Enjoy! You deserve it. You did the work.

If you don’t have the pumpkins or just don’t have the time to do all that work I have added a quick recipe using the canned pumpkin from the store.

Pumpkin Butter - Quick Recipe

1 can plain processed Pumpkin 15oz. (Not the pumpkin with all the ingredients in it ready for pie, you need to cook that.)
1/ 2 to 1 cup of Sugar (or Honey or Maple syrup) to taste.
2 or more Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice (If you don’t have the premixed stuff the recipe for spice to follow.)
1/ 4 cup water

In sauce pan heat water, sugar and spices until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat.
Add can of plain Pumpkin and mix well (Add more water only to make it a spreadable consistence, careful you don’t want it runny.) If you do add too much water you can cook it on low heat stirring it constantly to keep it from scorching until the excess water is gone.
Store in covered container in frig.

Pumpkin Pie Spice - 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon each of cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.
Mix well and store in air tight container.

Pumpkin pie spice can be added to cookies, cakes, puddings, and other dishes like sweet potatoes.

Eat Pumpkin Butter like you would Apple Butter and I also have it on pound cake, on oatmeal and over ice cream. I’ve even added it to my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe and made pumpkin cookies with it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

On A Migraine Headache:

I get migraine headaches at times. I usually have a few random blogs sitting around to cut and paste if I can’t look at the screen for more then three seconds all together. But I used them up and was too busy to replace them lately.

I’m crawling back in bed as soon as I’m done here. It’s a good thing I can type with my eyes closed and without peeking at the screen too often. But my body is screaming ‘B-E-D, D-A-R-K, N-O-W.’

So all you get today is I’m alive and as soon as the meds do their job I’ll be back in form.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

On Knitted Pumpkins:

So yesterday I told you about the pumpkin hat I’m turning into a centerpiece for the next few weeks. Afterwards I’ll un-stuff it and give to a kid I know that likes odd hats because the head band is now child sized.

After rewriting the opening of the hat to a smaller hat band size and making it a bit longer to have the extra I need to hide the open, under end I was in the zone.

That knitting needle set in this picture I was using to closing the top of the hat are the ’Pick up Sticks’ knitting needles I mentioned in the blog about the big mitten.

When I was done (Okay after Mountain Man was done playing with it like a tam on his head. And I must say looking very much like ‘Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.’) I stuffed it with some plastic grocery bags waiting to be recycled. Then ran a yarn thread through the opening and pulled it in and tied it at the size I wanted.

I think it looks good if I do say so myself. Now I gotta’ go and get out my autumn decorations and set my new Pumpkin on a bed of autumn silk leaves.

Old Nursery Rhyme

Peter, Peter Pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.

Friday, October 3, 2008

On Knitting A Pumpkin Hat:

I was watching TV last night and of course watching the debate. I will not comment except to say that I am registered as an Independent voter and found it interesting.

I started to make the Pumpkin Hat I found over at Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog. I wanted to make it in a different size so I spent most of my time knitting and tinkking (Tink - knit spelled backwards - to un-knit.) until I got it right for what I was looking for.

So anyway this is all I have done at the moment. The gourd in the picture is from the garden by the way.

Basically I started with a size 6 US needle and instead of k4, p4 for the first inch I did k2, p2. Then moved up to the size 9 needles for the remainder. Oh, and I’m making the six inches into seven. This made it have a smaller hatband size like for a child.

I am making mine for the center piece on the table so I will stuff it for that and then give the hat away to a kid I know. Two for the price of one.

I have no time to do much knitting these days. Although I am trying to get a few projects finished and out of the way. With Fall cleaning of the house getting all the winter stuff out of storage and the summer stuff into said storage and the canning done I will have to make up for lost time in the winter months. (I haven’t written more then one short story in the last week if that give you an indication of how busy I‘ve been.)

I’ll show you the finished hat center piece tomorrow. I’m back on my feet and running to catch up.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Autumn Pictures:

I limped outside and took some pictures yesterday. Okay 173 pictures to be exact. I will only show you six here today.

The view to the north of the house.

My woods have many places of ‘Mountain Laurel’ undergrowth.

Doesn’t it look like fairies or wood nymph would like to play here?

Autumn color.

Two views from the garden facing north towards the house. The house is the white bits you can see through the greenery. The side bits of Hawthorne tree in both pictures is the same tree. Behind is the rest of the garden and the larger stone wall of Mountain Man’s.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On Autumn Changes:

The colors have really come out in the last few days. Autumnal splendor has come to visit my yard. I am blessed with a variety of trees and bushes to see on my walks in the woods. The changes are daily as one after another has a color metamorphosis then drops their leaves.

The bright golden yellow, orange, rust, coral, red, brown and lemon-lime against the deep green of the pines. I wish I had some pictures for you this morning but I’m not getting around well yet and the fog is thick as pea soup right now.

I like to take early morning foggy pictures of the color in a blurry mosaic. I tried to get some this morning from the window and my camera just focused on the window screen and my screens don‘t open from inside. I even tried to get them with the camera right up against the screen but all I got was fog in a grid.

I thought about sending out a picture of last years colors but each year is so different that it felt like a lie. I will go out later and get some pictures but I promise not to bore you with daily pictures of colored leaves.

I did that once. I took daily pictures from the same spot, at the same view. I almost got it every day too. Nice idea but boring in the long run. It only works when you string them together fast like a movie and then how many times can you look at it. Maybe I should have picked a better view but as I was making it easy to do so I wouldn’t have an excuse to quit in knee high snow, so I didn’t.

Anyway, I’m loving the autumn color show outside of my house. It makes me happy to watch the changes. And I look forward to stark contrast of the winter. There is a future to look forward to. It may not be all roses and green for awhile but I will find the beauty in it non the less.