Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On A Point in Time:

The planet turned, the seasons marched on by in succession, day followed night followed day, all long before time was counted by the second, minute, hour, day, month, year.

It is all arbitrary. No, not the cycles, but the counting. At some point sixth seconds made a minute and then sixth of those made an hour. Why not one hundred or thirty-five or something more random like forty-two. Some person out there at one point in time decided that twenty-four was a good division to the day and sixty for one of those hours.

There are three hundred-sixth-five days, five hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds in a cycle around the sun. All random and arbitrary numbers to count. And at any time an object in space or time could hit the earth and/or blow off a large enough portion of the planet to change that. One nudge and we are off our rotation or orbit by even a small amount and a new count and calculation has begun.

But that possibility aside why don’t we count the weeks? (Note the fact that it is missing from the list of counting tools in the first sentence.) There are fifty-two of them. We do it for travel. ‘On week five of our excursion we saw a…’ is noted in our travel journals. I want more notoriety for the lowly week. Who really cares if they don’t fit neatly into a year. Make an adjustment like we do for our days. A leap week. And why is a week seven days long?

Some one decided that a certain point in time was to be the start of a new rotation, the point where the, always moving, never ending, circle of time is noted to come around again. And this brings us up to New Years Eve.

It is upon us and doesn’t really change a thing. An excuse to celebrate. A time to look at our lives and accomplishments and take note. A time to cast off the old and put on the new. It is as good a point in time as any other. And it is here. So count on. Count those minutes of your life to collect and mean something. Count the weeks until we can do this again. But don’t wait for New Years Eve to count the blessings in your life. It is really only a point in time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Today I am Accomplished:

The days of this year are running out. I almost said down but they are moving far to fast for that analogy. Running down in my mind means a slowing, but these days seem to speed past.

I find myself thinking of plans. Plans for things to be strived for and for things strived for but not yet accomplished. There is of course the group of things that have seen an end. Done things. Finished things. Accomplished things.

There is a sense of satisfaction in this group of done things, but no longer or because of handing them on a daily bases there is a disconnect. A putting aside for more pressing matters.

Today I am taking time to look at the done group. Time to enjoy the accomplishment once again and to build a foundation toward accomplishments in the future.

Children revel in accomplishments. They tell everyone that they meet how they can count to ten, tie their shoes themselves, hop on one foot, or ride a bike. But somehow in the growth of self as we learn to stop telling everyone what we can do, so we are not perceived boastful, we stop enjoying the accomplishment in ourselves.

The older we get the more the jobs and projects in our lives tend to run on together in a never ending stream of forward movement. ‘One done, unnumbered others to go.’ Next. Moving onward and upward. No time to smell the small sweet buds of accomplishment roses in the garden of our lives.

Today it is not just ‘yet another load of laundry or dishes’ but an important puzzle piece in my life. Without it the picture can not be completed. I am not looking for holes to fill today. I am looking at the done works of my life. In them are the sum total of what I am. Not the high lights and celebrated moments of my life, nice as they are.

I am a group of little things swirled into a complicated group of matter and ideas. And I am accomplished.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On I Caught Him and the Horror of it All:

Although I am quite normal in a lot of things, and the scariest thing about me is my black lip stick and finger nail polish. I am in fact a fairly nice person. I try to spread kindness and share the love wherever I go. I smile and remember my manners. But I am not immune to troubles.

I am a carboholic. Once refined flour or sugar passes my lips all bets are off as to just how much food I can consume in a day. A switch is thrown in my head and I can’t stop eating. It’s not a good thing and a horror to look at.

I fell off the wagon yesterday and right into a binge of sugary sweetness. There is the added downside of uncontrolled hot flashes added to the mix. And it was all the Gingerbread Man’s fault.

‘Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.’ He sat there taunting me. He knew my weakness and sang his little song over and over again in my head. He did this for days. How much can a woman take? I just had to bite his little head off to stop him from smiling up at me.

In the end I was reduced to, after raiding the refrigerator and eating a whole box of cookies, sitting on the floor in the pantry wrapped around a box of chocolate cake mix, eating it dry and adding sips of juice from the bottle to get it down. Horror! Undeniable, out of control horror.

I checked the ingredients and this man cookie was made without eggs. He was not made in a place that also processes nuts. He was said to be, at least for me, allergy free. But he did have those dreaded refined carbs not only made into his spicy soft form but he was dressed in refined sugary sweetness too.

Now I can have gingerbread if I make it from scratch myself and replace the ingredients that give me trouble. Honey for the sugar, substitute the eggs, whole wheat flour for refined, if I dress him in dried fruit like raisins. It is do-able if I only take the time to do it. But I didn’t. Instead I ate the store bought Gingerbread Man and I’m paying the price.

There will be weeks of exercise and calorie shaving in my future. And all because I took up the challenge of a gingerbread man.

Next time I’m running the other way.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On Do I Smell Pizza Cooking?:

Yes, I know that in this day and age what I’m talking about here seems strange, old fashioned and silly. But things and attitudes really were different back then.

Now back in the day, having food delivered was a luxury. You did a pick up if at all possible and you didn’t do that often. Food was made hot at home and you sat at the table for a family meal each and every night. And everyone you knew did it that way too. Oh, and soda was only for parties, the same with chips and dips. There just were no ‘First Night’ celebrations.

When I was a kid my parents often went out for New Years Eve with friends. We would have a sitter and my parents would have pizza delivered. Even when they did stay home we had pizza delivered. So growing up in my house, New Years Eve meant we were having a Pizza Party.

With eight people in the family, six of which were growing children, there was more then one pizza ordered and there were different toppings on each. There was a variety of sodas too. Chips and dips appeared. We always had a Dick Clark/Guy Lombardo on TV, home style Pizza Party for New Year Eve.

This was a new concept to Mountain Man when I married him. To him living the country life in the woods New Years Eve wasn’t a day but a moment in time. He waited for midnight and made a loud noise, mostly firecrackers or gun shots along with his neighbors, if they did anything at all, and then went to bed.

At my house noise was the end to the long pizza filled evening. Only we had an old school bell. (You know the hand held kind in the old movies where the teacher held it in her hand ringing it out the door when school was to start.) It was our, self appointed, job to ring that bell up and down the block for a full minute to ring in the new year. (One of the first things I bought when I moved from home was an old school bell of my own.)

Well Mountain Man and I married when my kids were in their early teens. They were Pizza Party and school bell enthusiasts too. But living out in the woods meant no pizza delivery. So since then I make fresh dough and we have had a ‘build your own pizza’ party with all the toppings chopped and readied as part of the fun.

So if you hear a fire cracker or bell on New Years Eve or smell pizza you know it’s us. What do you do for New Years Eve?

(Sorry for the poor pizza quality in the picture. I wasn’t making pizza at six in the morning just illustrate a point. So I cut a picture of pizza from an old box of frozen I had hanging around with craft stuff in it.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On Lists:

This is a time of lists. The end of one year and the beginning of another. Top 10, 40, 50, 100 of things march on by on the news, TV or radio.

We list the things we want to do in the new year. Even the ones of us that don’t write them down or tell what our new years resolution are have them in our heads. We all have things we want to do and ‘lists’ are how we keep them all straight.

The trouble with lists is the tendency to compare. Longer or shorter, accomplished or not, do-able or unrealistic, we want to know how we stack up against others. Are the songs we like on the list of hits or not and what does that say about us? Is a favorite celebrity on the in’s or out’s with the press or public opinion and what side of the fence are we on about it? Lists do make us feel connected.

Even when we didn’t get the job done we feel we have at least tried when we can say it was on the ‘to do’ list.

A list helps us keep order in our lives, serves as a memory receptacle or a map. We would be lost without them. Never again would a recipe go right without the shopping list starting the process.

Whether or not they are written or mental these lists hold an important place in out lives. So we must give them our do. The end of the year is upon us. Make a list.

Friday, December 26, 2008

On My Best Xmas Ever:

I don’t do a traditional Christmas thing. I spend the day mostly alone and have my own little rituals. I light candles. I listen to classical music. I dress in black. I drink cranberry tea. Eat flavored popcorn and do a jigsaw puzzle. And I remember.

I remember good times and some not so good times that led to big life lessons. I remember my best Christmas ever.

This was in the nineteen sixty’s. I was about ten years old and already knew things about Santa and Reindeer and Elves. I was the oldest of six kids and was already helping my parents get that big job done. We always trimmed the tree on Christmas eve then the kids went to bed. I helped clean up, collect and wrapped presents and arrange things for the others before going to bed myself and letting my parents finish readying the rest of the things for Christmas morning. In this way I was still surprised in the morning but helped just the same.

We all got up early and lined up from youngest to oldest and trouped into the living room. There was a mad dash to the tree and stockings, wrapping paper flying, giggles and tears of joy. The regular Christmas craziness under the tree with six kids. Then things settled down as each kid played with their most treasured toy of the day. I got the name brand fashion doll and the Mouse Trap Game that I had asked for along with clothes. My doll had a problem and her head kept falling off and I had to wait until one or more of my siblings were ready to stop playing with their toys to play my game with me.

So until that happened I played with the younger ones, looking over at the box of my Mouse Trap game, lid off so I could see the pieces inside the plastic wrapped interior still kept all safe from harm until I could play with it properly. Play time was up and we dressed in our new Xmas present clothes for church and Grandma’s house. My new dress was miss tagged and it didn’t fit. I handed my new dress to my sister and dressed in my old best dress.

At grandma’s my present hadn’t arrived in the mail in time and I had to wait for another week for it. I watch as the others played and had fun. I knew a secret I still had my game to play with at home so I just dug in and enjoyed watching everyone else enjoy the day.

Mom and Dad sent the rest of the tired kids to bed early and took the time to play my ‘One’ good Christmas gift with me. I carefully opened the box on the table beaming with pride that my parents were spending time just with me. Something they rarely had the time to do with six kids under the age of eleven. We started to play making sure to followed every rule. Half way thru the game it was evident that we couldn’t finish because key parts were missing from the box. The mouse trap couldn’t be put together and run it’s Rube Goldberg contraption self to the end to trap the mice.

Not one of my Christmas presents panned out that year and I was more happy then I ever was when I had arms filled with goodies. The broken toys were later replaced. But I had a life lesson that was priceless. I experienced the joy of the others around me and it was enough.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On Small Fun Today:

First, Happy Christmas to everyone celebrating it today. I hope everyone is happy, healthy and safe today and everyday.

On to smaller things:

Now, Once upon a time, I was pleased with myself for making a little set of knitting needles for my doll house and knitting part of a scarf for them. I placed it on the rocking chair by their fire place, in the Doll’s house, years ago. Yes, I made the Doll and most of the stuff for them including the house. No, not the chair or cats.

The knitting needles are made out of tooth picks. The Dolls are 15 inches or 37 centimeters. That would be 1 /4 scale.

I show you this because I am steering you to a true artist in tiny knitting. With the movie Coraline coming out I have been all over cyber space looking at things involved in the making of the movie and I found Bugknits. The woman who made the knitted clothing for the puppets has a lot of other little knitted thing there.

Althea Crome is a true artist at her craft. And for those that are looking for something Christmassy there is a sweater there for you too.

Have a fun little time at bugknit and I’ll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On An Ice Sculpture World:

For those of you who don’t know we live on top of a mountain. It is colder up here by an average of eight degrees then in the valley below.

We are currently incased in ice. It has been raining for hours and that has turned into a nice crusty coating of ice on everything. And what has soaked into the snow has turned it heavy and hard.

When the sun comes up the temperature is supposed to rise and thaw some of this out. But snow melts a lot faster then ice. Mountain Man plowed but we have a dirt and gravel dive a quarter mile long so the snow base he has to leave is now all becoming thick ice.

So far we have power but my hopes are not high that it will stay that way. The ice is getting thicker as I type. I’m glad we didn’t really have anywhere to go today.

I don’t mind being snowed in. Snow you can have fun with. Snow you can move. But ice is just trouble. It is fine frozen over the pond with a good pair of ice skates on your feet. But in this weather you can’t get that far.

The Valley may thaw enough to have a good day. But we will be working hard just to keep our footing. I doubt that it will get warm enough, long enough to help much around here. It’s a good thing that we don’t have any children at our house anymore or Santa would just slip and fall off the roof before anymore presents could be delivered.

Until it is warm enough to even try to tackle I’m going to just sit tight, sip tea, knit some more of the Kevin’s Mittens and look at a world that glistens like sun on glass.

Where did I put my sunglasses?

That was before I could hit the send button. We were in the dark for an hour but my blog had been in a saved file. It’s a little late and I’m sending it out before the lights go again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On My Kind of Snowed In Day:

Once in a while Mountain Man gets domestic. Now don’t get me wrong here. He did a wonderful job of taking care of ev-er-y-thing when I was down and out with cancer a few years back. I was not so fortunate to be one of those people that had an easy time of chemo. Mountain Man really did do it all while cleaning up after me too. But Mountain Man lives up to his name.

He works hard around here but he has his jobs and I have mine. It works for us. That doesn’t stop me from grabbing a hammer or screw driver and doing what needs doing around here or Mountain Man from grabbing a dish rag. So anyway, Mountain Man was running the vacuum which any woman knows is a turn on. I was washing dishes, counter and table tops and not being one of those domestic goddess types I wasn’t quite feeling it.

He comes through the kitchen to put the vacuum away and next thing I know we are dancing in the kitchen and there isn’t even any music on to dance to.

We don’t really do the date thing after nineteen years of marriage. We don’t go to the movies (Mountain Man can’t hear well) or out to dinner together (I have allergies). But never have it be said that there isn’t romance at our house.

We may be older and slower then we once were but we are not dead yet. The rules of romance are not lost on us just bent a bit to our own liking. We do what works for us. And yesterday we danced in the kitchen before finding other things to keep us occupied for a while.

After a while we got back to work and finished the jobs at hand knowing we can make the best of a snowy day in our own way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On Careful Coraline Wishes:

I sprained my pointer finger opening a pickle jar. No, really I did. Yes, it’s funny but you can stop laughing at me now.

I could use the blog today to show you endless pictures of snow, but I won’t. There are a lot of winter days left to do that in.

With a sore finger instead of knitting I spent my time over at the Coraline web site. New things are afoot there. If you haven’t been back since the password key system it is all new and interactive.

I played in the 3D (kind of) landscape and house. Loved the uses for buttons, like making the phases of the moon. I clicked on anything and everything I could find. (This took me hours because of my slow dial up but it was worth it to me in the long run.)

I downloaded and printed mini move posters, a bookmark, pictures of myself with button eyes, and the pattern for the blue Coraline sweater with stars. (Child through Adult sizes by the way.) I watched the mini movies and read the stuff for my perusal from information cards to linked web sites and generally had a good time. I even tried to have my tealeaves read but that wasn’t working with my computer at the time.

I still have places to explore there. So if you are looking for me? That’s where I’ll be. I understand that more things are to be added in the coming days until the movie is out. The site is counting down the days until movie is released so I can‘t miss it. And I really hope that it will be in a movie house near me and I won’t have to go far a field to see it.

Coraline Boxes are still showing up. I know of 22 of the 50 so far but alas some are in privet sites so I haven’t seen more then a glimpse at some of them. This place ASIFA has the best list I’ve found and they add to it when new ones are discovered. They also give you a peek at each one.

I’ll get back to my knitting as soon as my finger will let me. I have friends and family to visit within this holiday season. But I have to say that this side show of Coraline fun has been a happy distraction to the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On Answering Questions 12-21-08

Happy Solstice to everyone. A new season starts and change is coming as the earth changes it's orientation to the sun. Have fun with the day no matter what you have to do. We will take some time to play board and card games.

And happy first day of Hanukkah to my friends, family and acquaintances celebrating the holiday today. My dreidel is warmed up and I have a bowl of chocolate coins ready for the visits.

On to other things:

Just so you know there are friends and family of mine that read my blog and never use the built in comment function. I find emails days later in my personal email box asking questions or commenting on what I’ve written.

It is nice that they read it but it would be a little easier on me if they would just comment here like everyone else. You know, kind of keep it all together. I know they don’t like the ‘Deathwatch’ thing. I love them anyway.

Anyway I’m answering some of the questions I got from them about the blog here because they are in fact blog questions.

Yes, I did make the lace and quilted hearth on the mantle. Thanks for asking.

No, I’m not trying to kill myself knitting mittens at breakneck speed. I’m trying to get as many pairs of mittens done now so I have free time to visit and enjoy the holidays while still fulfilling my commitment to the Kevin‘s Mittens Project. I'm still tucking tails and tagging the finished ones for this week.

Yes, I’m still watching my weight. I am holding steady for the holidays. I’d be crazy to pass up all the treats just to loose a pound or two when I can enjoy a little and keep on track. Now you ask? I’m filling up with air popped pop corn and water before I leave the house. I’m do not have the will power to pass it all up so I don’t leave the room for much in the first place. It makes it easier to stop at just one.

I hope everyone is and will have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On A Pug Dog’s Tail Tale:

Lady Short is our Pug dog. And as you probably know Pugs are known for their pushed in faces and their curly-Q tails. Our little lady was no exception until last week.

She had a bad spell last week and now her tail just hangs limply down toward the ground.

That tail of hers was a barometer of her many moods all these years. It’s sad to see it so lifeless now.

Most all her life there was a dent in her back fur where the tail nestled high on her rump. It wiggled and wobbled tight little throb’s of movement in excitement and anticipation. It wagged and waved like a flag when she found us again returning home from the store or other trip. It shivered in bravado when she smelled a deer or bear in the yard.

Like dealing with someone who has had a stroke we find it harder to understand her needs without that communication tool. And we know that the end for her looms closer.

She sleeps close at hand on a pillow at my feet as I work my way through the days work. This is our furry little girl. She has lived here with us for a long time.

I watched her attach herself to Mountain Man the day we picked her up from the breeder. (A little old Amish woman in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvanian. When we picked her out she could curl up in one of his hands.)

Weeks later when she was grown enough to leave her mother and come home with us, we stopped on the way home to see my sister and her kids. When they saw the puppy they ran screeching towards Mountain Man with the puppy in his arms. And at that moment she all but melted into his chest. It was over at that second she was his heart and soul despite the fact that this was supposed to be my dog. She was the replacement Pug when my Pug died young from a genetic condition.

And now I watch Mountain Man and Lady Short as they are being pulled apart. It’s so sad to look at her tail and know this truth.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On Storm Blown Memories:

Winter 2007

This morning we are getting ready for a snow storm. It seems a bit silly to talk about it here as so many have already talked about the same storm while it made it’s way across the country. But it is now coming upon us today so it is new to us.

We spent the day yesterday preparing. Mountain Man put the chains on the tires of the tractor and the plow on it too. He gassed up the tractor and car, put the snow tires on. I put up bottles of water and charged all the chargeable phones and things. The wood pile in the house was refilled. We are ready.

I spent the early morning hours dumping pictures from the camera to the computer so I have room for the new pictures of this new storm. Yes hours. I dumped over 500 and you guessed it. I spent time looking back at 2007 as I did it.

I watched last years storms pass by on the computer screen and wondered if this one would top them? I saw flowers in the Spring come to life, Summer fun, Autumn leaves, all march by and wondered were the time went? Here now, then gone in a blink.

There were pictures of the moon at full, video game screens and the dogs. Visits from company, sunsets, and the damage to the car when the deer ran into the side of it.

Most of the pictures were taken for the blog. Multiple copies of shots so I had a good selection to choose from. Pictures of ‘a year in a life’ dance before my eyes. Knitting, crafting, silly times and work.

I’m glad the coming storm made me take the time to go through the pictures. I have a lot to think about and remember while the wind blows outside and I sit with my knitting and tea by the wood stove and wait for it to be over.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Wishful Blogging:

I’m starting my holiday wishes early. And I’m not immune to wanting the ‘Peace on Earth, Health and Happiness for All’ thing. So that aside here is my wishes for myself and everyone else. In no particular order:

Lots of crafting and yarn fun
Good reading
Weight maintenance
Games - video and other
Writing of good stories
Time to sit back and enjoy life
Enough money to get by
Hugs - both giving and getting
Ability to see the good in hardships
Better coping skills
Good pictures to share
Time with friends and family
Courage to do the right thing

Feel free to pass on the love and good wishes and even add to them if you’d like to. Happy Holidays Everyone

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On Responsibility:

I’m back. Not that I really went any where. I did have to type that blog for Mountain Man yesterday but it was still nice of him to give me the day off in a sense.

What did I do with the time, you ask? I went to the doctors for a recheck. I finished a pair of mittens while waiting for my appointment and then went grocery shopping. Big day, I know.

No really. It was a good day. It was a good day because I didn’t die. I had an allergy attack again from popping a chip in my mouth from Mountain Man’s plate. It was a new flavor and I wanted a taste. Fortunately I had just taken my allergy meds for something else so I didn’t kiss the floor right away and had time to get more meds in my system.

They were fried in 100% peanut oil. I thought he had read the ingredients before buying them and he thought I wouldn’t put anything in my mouth without reading the label first. We have agreed not to let any peanut products into the house again without bright orange caution tape and flairs.

We are all ultimately responsible for our own well being. I can not fault him for wanting to have a guilt pleasure that doesn’t effect him like it does me. But where do you draw the line?

Do I ban peanut products from the house? We’ve tried that only to find me face down on the floor almost choking to death because I had a false sense of security about things I really don’t have any control over. Companies do change ingredients in their products without letting the consumer know at times. How many times have we heard on the news about a product warning about an ingredient having been omitted on the label that could kill the person allergic to it?

So today I go back to living my vigilant life with meds in my pocket. Knowing full well that I have danced with Master Death once too often and one of these days he will take me away, whether I read the labels or not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of Death & Life & Deer & Robins:

Guest Blogger: Mountain Man

The skull and antlers, nailed securely to the wall of our woodshed, are evidence of the existence of a whitetail deer that was alive at one time. Those antlers were directly related to the deer’s chances of having offspring (bigger is better) as he competed with other male deer to continue his gene pool.
If successful he would never give a thought to helping raise the young.

The robins nest located between those antlers tells a different story however. It was built there by a male and female robin (who always agree on the style) for the sole purpose of raising offspring together. They planned their nest location well. Neither high winds, heavy rain, nor the strongest cat could threaten that nest.
The deer’s death turned into a good thing for them.

But death isn’t only the enemy of deer.

Soon after the nest was completed, I found the male robin’s body lying crumpled on the ground at the base of my garden fence. It appeared that he had flown into the fence at top speed.
A tragic accident for him and big trouble for his mate. She was in the process of laying the eggs.
I am sure she noticed that her mate was no longer around to help her. I was certain that she would soon abandon the nest.
She did not!

Even though she would leave the nest unprotected for long periods of time to find her own food, I found her feeding three babies one morning. Amazing! Ordinarily it takes both parents to raise a brood successfully. But it was still early.
One afternoon I saw her on the edge of the nest, her head drooping low, eyes closed, as the young demanded more food. She paid no attention to them. I walked up to her, thinking she was dying, perhaps from exhaustion, utterly used up. As I got close, her head snapped up, her eyes opened, and off she flew, soon to return with something she jammed down the throat of one of her young.
Incredibly she continued to feed those unknowing and ungrateful chicks until they flew off the nest. What a marvelous and amazing example of nature’s compelling life force.
That female robin never for a second considered that her total dedication to her young’s survival would in effect lead to more robins like herself which would compete directly with her for food and nesting sites, thus threatening her very own well being.

That female robin will soon die, her amazingly selfless efforts forgotten. And her death and the death of her mate will make room for others as the process of creating young vigorous life continues.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On Feeling Out of Sync:

Where did the first half of the month go? I was working away and doing my thing but the time got away from me.

I am glad that we are not doing the holiday thing here at the house. We will do the visiting this year and with the pressure off I’m not feeling it. Maybe that’s it. But it’s not the same in the stores for me either. It’s like I’m only going through the motions.

There is holiday music and trimmings all around but it feels like it is at the wrong time of year or something. Is it just me? Am I missing something? I’m feeling very Charlie Brownish and I’m just not into the holiday season.

I’m not sad or blue. I’m happy and having fun in fact. Everything else in my life is ticking along in a merry way. I’m just not into the holiday season. It’s more like it is missing in my head I guess. I get surprised each time I get the mail and holiday cards are there.

I see it all around me but like with the stores putting the holiday stuff out earlier and earlier each year I’m just ignoring it until the time comes and I’m forget to look out for it any longer. Even the weather isn’t cooperating.

Mountain Man and I are of different faiths and we follow different holiday calendars. The house gets trimmed in seasonal rather then holiday decorations each year and we each have our groups of people and places to celebrate. This is okay and normal around here.

The magic is just gone for me and I don’t care if I ever find it again at the moment. Next week may find me it’s biggest fan again but today I can’t summon the feelings.

I’m not being a scrooge. I’m giving and loving. I’m happy and having fun with what I have and just don’t need a holiday right now. What is wrong with that?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Stopping and Starting:

I’m back in real time. The ice is still on everything outside but the electricity is staying on for the most part. We spent days not knowing when it would be on or off, or for how long. I do feel bad for all the people that are still without electricity or heat.

I think I almost would have preferred it off the whole time so I wouldn’t have to keep fixing the time on the clocks and other electronics. Or being startled by music, appliances or lights coming back on a number of times a day or night. The only reason it didn’t stay out is the fact we had a few storms in the last years that removed most of the problem trees already.

I have wood stove heat that doesn’t need the power companies help. So I didn’t have to worry about that anyway. My trouble is the water pump needs the power. But we keep a little extra bottled water on hand incase of an outage.

I am suspending the Epitaph Contest for now. The only reason I started it when I did was to give people a chance to get a few extra things as gifts for the holidays if they needed them. But as everyone is so busy. Too busy really to think up or send in any epitaphs. I’ll start it up again in the new year if anyone is interested. Anyone who sent in a contest entry this past week, it will be held until I restart the contest again. In the mean time keep sending in those epitaphs for the Epitaph of the Week spot if you have them.

I still feel like I’ll never catch up after being sick last week. Thou it could be because every time I tried to vacuum around here the lights went out and I couldn’t finish the job until last night.

Today I’m going to sit and knit ‘Kevin’s Mittens’ while waiting for the ice to melt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Silly Holiday Dec. the Thirteenth:

Fluffville streets were crowded as the annual Belly Button Lint Festival got underway. Most people were happily visiting the lint museum to see the worlds oldest belly lint or looking over the recycled lint clothing for sale.

Fatty Rotundmen had organized a demonstration because he felt that those folks with outties didn’t get free lint of their own and had to buy all the lint that they used. And Mary Swimmer joined in the rally. She felt the festival was sexist because women didn’t have belly hair to catch more lint like the men did.

To tell the truth most folks just ignored them but the police set up saw horse barriers and caution tape just in case there was a confrontation.

Sally Spinner had the largest ball of ‘Husband Belly Lint’ but that was to be expected as Sam had the hairiest belly anyone in town had ever seen.

Children were having contests in the preschool lint box to see who could build the largest lint bunny.

There were lint artists selling their lint creations in tents in the park.

There was also a diet with pocket lint recipes being offered at the gym but most people were lint snobs and stayed away from it preferring belly button lint to anything else.

Mayor Lynt Morefuzz had a speech all ready. He was wearing his famous coat of many colored lint and a mouse gray lint top hat. But the people never gathered in front of the stage in the school gymnasium to hear him. Which was a shame because he looked so dapper. He even had little lint balls at the tips of his moustache that danced as he pontificated on the loveliness of lint.

The day ended with the lint parade down main street with excess lint from the fabric factory falling like snow from the windows of the buildings above settling on the people down below. Extra lint never goes astray in Fluffville. And the mayor got to ride in and wave from the lint covered car so he was happy once again.

Next year there is going to be group of lint spinners coming from out of town. Won’t that be fun.

Friday, December 12, 2008

On Getting Better:

I woke up to a world covered in a thin layer of glass made from ice yesterday. From the window the pictures didn’t look at all like it was anything more then a rainy day, so I didn’t even go through the trouble of resizing it to post it.

I’m doing much better today. I’m almost completely alive. Yesterday it was a good thing I was up and about because there wasn’t one spoon or bowl left clean for breakfast by then.

After days of sitting around my body didn’t want to exercise either. But once I got going it went better. I’m still a little achy from being sick but the exercise is working out the kinks.

I lost more then a few stories that floated through my head that did not sticking long enough to be written down for those days. So I’ll just tell myself they were fevered ramblings and nothing worth holding on to and move on.

My Writers Club Meeting was last night and I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. More bad weather came in the afternoon/evening and Mountain Man was still too sick. I’m wasn’t counting on it. (The trials of living on a mountain top. You don‘t leave if you aren‘t sure you can make it back up the hill to get home.)

We are out of eggs and yogurt so a run to the store will have happen some time today. I’m glad Mountain Man is doing better now too. Shaky but better.

How can things so small and insignificant as a germ or virus we can’t even see be so toxic to our bodies and lay us so low? I find it interesting, that’s all I‘m saying.

Tomorrow is ‘Silly the Thirteenth Day’ again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Kevin’s Mittens So Far:

We are expecting a winter storm so I am writing this ahead of time and putting it on the timer incase the expected ice does leave me with no electricity for a time.

I have a dial up web connection and only one phone line so I only get on the web a few times a day as is. I try to answer my emails promptly and keep up with what is going on but still I have limits as to the time I can spend with all of you. And Mountain Man has to have his internet time also. So anyway if the mitten total doesn’t move for a few days but my blogs keep on coming that is why. This winter ice storm we are expecting.

I am back to knitting mittens as of yesterday but because I‘m really writing this then I can‘t tell you how far I’ve come by the time you see this. I am feeling much better but I did have to un-knit the honor sweater I was working on because I messed it up so very badly while I was sick. (Why does the mind always go that way when your sick.) And it will sit in the knitting basket until the new year because I’ve started a pair of socks to keep me going as an honor project instead.

I feel like I have mittens to catch up on but I can tell my hands apart now so all is well. Still I was committed to one mitten a day so that would be eight pair as of yesterday and I have gotten ten pair done. I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to knit while I was sick and gotten more done by now.

I have not had any more additions to the Kevin’s Mittens for the needy from others as of writing this. I wish it were otherwise but I know you are all busy or you would have added it to your ‘to do’ box by now. Maybe next month the totals will go up.

The first ten pair I’ve knitted have gone out to charity along with the two that others have given in Kevin’s name. A small start all together but a good one just the same. In the pictures some of them still needed to have their tails tucked. (I don’t have a picture of the mittens donated by the others. They didn’t send me one and I didn‘t ask.) I hope that all of them are already on hands keeping them warm.

By the way Jean at The Scottish Lamb is knitting hats for the homeless also. So if you have an extra hat on your needles you don’t know who to give to she is collecting them for the homeless in New York City and I know she would appreciate it too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Coraline:

Okay, so am I the only other one around here who is into the movie version of the book Coraline coming out in February besides Knitty?

Did anyone else go looking for the 50 mystery boxes all over the web?

Has anyone else been collecting the passwords and watching the mini movies about all of this?

Okay, I have made miniatures and dolls and love stop action animation and 3-D movies and knitting. I like to look at the darker side of life and write short horror stories.

But the knitting alone should have caused a stir around here. And the hunt is fun in itself, with all those other bloggers to check out. A mystery game for people who like toys that move by themselves in 3-D.

I’ve found 19 mystery boxes (Every one is different.), 8 passwords (There are Not 50 passwords.) and so far I’ve watched six of the mini movies about it or the people involved. And I’m in bed half the day because I’m sick and have a very s-l-o-w dial up web connection that took hours to download the little videos.

I’m not giving anything away so you can play the game yourself if you like. And there are plenty of places where people are posting what they do know. I’m in love with this movie and it isn’t even out yet.

Yes, I know this is a marketing scheme and a darn good one if you ask me. And I’m glad to pass the word along. I only wish I had gotten a box myself. But even though I didn’t I am enjoying looking on.

Thank you to the bloggers that got boxes and are sharing their good fortune in pictures, descriptions and links with the rest of us. And until the movie is out I’ll take what I can get. I’m having Coraline fun at the moment. How about you?

I know of boxes: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 Knitty, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 29, 33, 34, 37, 39.

I’m still looking for: 3, 4, 9, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On Being Sick:

I’m still sick but trying not to miss a day posting on my blog. I now have a sinus infection on top of that wonky tummy and head thing that was going around.

I have a folded tissue tucked in my glasses in the side of my face that hurts. First to block the light into my eye because it hurts, second to the keep me from seeing out of it that eye because everything looks blurry and lastly because that side of my face is swollen and looks bad. I would find my pirate patch if I had the energy. Arrruggg.

I have no energy and haven’t knitted any mittens for days. I’m very glad I was ahead of myself there. I sleep or watch, not so good day time TV, hoping to feel better tomorrow. With a ‘this too shall pass’ attitude.

When my head doesn’t hurt too much I turn on the computer and read other peoples blogs, both the ones I look at regularly and new ones I usually find by reading other bloggers links. I love this ‘following’ function on blogger and wish all the people I look in on had a feed. I’ve gotten a few new ideas for things to do with my blogging but they will have to wait until I’m feeling better.

We are having bad weather for the next few days so staying in bed doesn’t sound so bad. See you tomorrow unless you want to come over and do my dishes and clean my house for me. I just looked around and discovered I’m a slob when I’m sick. I gotta’ go water the plants they are wilting from lack of care since I got sick.

And just to let you know, Mountain Man is doing much better then I am. But you knew that already didn’t you. You can’t keep him down for long. Maybe I’ll get him to water the plants and I’ll just go back to bed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

On Sorry for the Confusion:

This is what happened with the Epitaph Contest. It’s all in the timing. And I wasn’t announcing the winner until after they had gotten back to me. (I know that people are busy, but you only have a week to respond. I have a life too.)

First week was Nov. 9 - 15 and on the 16th Sooticas Dreams won, she didn’t get back to me until after week three had started and I announced before then that a random prize had been picked for charity in her name.

Second week was Nov. 16 - 22 and on the 23rd Knotty Mouse won, she was prompt in replying and I announced her win on the 25th I believe.

Third week was Nov. 23 - 29 and on the 30th Black Crow won, she got back to me almost a week later and on Dec 6th I announced it then that she had won.

By this time it was well into Week Four Nov. 30 - Dec. 6 and no one had sent in an entry during that week so on Dec 7th I announced that there was no winner for that week.

From now on I will not wait for the winner to get back to me before announcing the winner of the previous week. I will announce the picked name on Sunday morning along with sending out an email to that winner. And when they get back to me (within the next week) with their choice of prize I’ll announce that on the following weeks Epitaph Sunday.

So, in short, Sunday’s Epitaph Blogs will now go like this:

This weeks prizes offered with picture.
Last weeks Winner announced.
Previous weeks chosen prize announced.

As to the Epitaph of the Week itself? I pick that before the week is up and the winner of the contest is picked, so they don’t often match. Then there is the fact that not everyone entering has been reading the blog since I started the Epitaph of the Week and some have sent me epitaphs that have already had a week on the blog. This does not stop them from being entered into the contest with that epitaph, it just isn’t going to be posted for the weekly epitaph spot again.

For example: Spike Milligan’s ‘I told you I was ill.’ was used the week of Aug 10, 08 by long time reader of my blog and I dare say friend Little Black Crow, and Spike’s epitaph has been retired for the weekly spot but it was the entry that Sooticas won with. (Please don't send that one in again anybody? I see it a lot.)

Lastly not everyone who sends in an epitaph for the weekly posting wants to join the contest. They just send in their epitaph and say they don’t want to join the contest and I don’t add their name to the hat, it only goes in the group for consideration on the blog spot if it has not been already used before.

I hope I explained myself well. I’m still sick. Let me know if I should try to explain it again a different way if I didn't make any sense.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria Deathwatch

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On Epitaph Contest Dec, 07, 2008:

Here are the rules for writing your own headstone epitaphs and having them shown on my blog.

1. No more then 8 lines, but the shorter the better.
2. It does not have to rhyme.
3. Just words. No pictures, cartoons etc.
4. Nothing ‘overtly’ sexual, violent, disgusting, or racist will be considered.
5. Leave a name of who sent it. (It doesn’t have to be your real name.) But it will be attributed to that name. No name, no entry.
6. If the words are not your own. Add the original authors name if you know it. Otherwise just add ‘Anonymous’ and add ‘Sent in by’ and your name after that.
7. Spelling counts. Please proof read it before you hit the send button.

We are now starting week five of the Epitaph Contest. No one entered the contest last week. I know it is a busy time of year so there is no new winner to notified and last weeks prizes are going back drawing this week.

This Weeks Prizes are:

1-K Tatted Lace Edged Handkerchief. Pre-embroidered handkerchief with tatted lace designed and made by Lady Euphoria. Choice of Black or Purple.

2-D Knitted lace Doily. Knitted by Lady Euphoria from Tea Dyed Cotton, Pattern from The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont.

3-NB Tatted Lace Necklace. Made of Crochet Cotton, Lady Euphoria designed and handmade by the lady herself. Choice of black or blue.

I will ‘return email’ to inform the winner of the week and get information for delivery. Name of chosen will be announced on the blog. I do not use any information I get to sell or trade, nor to contact you further. I myself value my privacy and would not like that trust broken. It is only for the purpose of delivering your package.

Send in your Epitaphs for this weeks contest and Good Luck! Lady Euphoria

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On Mice and Dogs:

First I'd like to say Black Crow won the Epitaph of the Week Contest and requested the Tatted Black Necklace. It will be going out to her very soon. Now back to the blog.

We have two small dogs. They are old ladies and not so fast anymore. But that doesn’t stop them from giving it a good try. Being country dogs they know how to hunt and are good mousers. Yes, they are mouser dogs. Sorry any mouse lovers out there.

Lady Short the Pug is the older and can barely get around. But Lady Long the daschund though she is missing some teeth has not diminished in growl power.

Once the weather turns colder every year, one or two mice manage to get into the house looking for a good place to spend the winter. Mountain Man sets traps though it is rare that they are used.

The dogs sniffed and hunted following the scent of the prey. There were barks and whimpers from them in frustration as they realized that the mouse had made it to the indoor wood pile in the family room from the kitchen door where it snuck in while the door was open for another lode of wood or groceries from the car.

Lady Short gave up soon after the miscreant was discovered. She tires easily and slept under the wood stove while Lady Long sat in wrapped attention staring in wait for the slightest movement. Mountain Man told her to give up because he wasn’t moving the pile for her.

Lady Long sat and sat for hours quivering in anticipation. We finally stopped looking at her in her insane hunt. We would check on her every once in a while wondering when she would finally give it up.

Over four hours later she triumphed. Here she sits over her kill just before Mountain Man took the germy thing away from her. He cleaned up the mouse trap and put it away for another day.

We fear no mouse here, we have a mighty mouser dog.

Friday, December 5, 2008

On Small but Important Things:

I know I did a thankfulness thing back last month, and this was going to be on something else but I have to say that first and foremost I’m thankful and appreciative for the Bloggers and Readers that have embraced me and helped me along since the start of my blog.

I know that everyone else is busy with their lives and projects, work, family and friends, yet you take time to read what I have to say, comment, and join in my silly little contests and projects.

Not that I feel that the ‘Kevin’s Mittens’ is silly or should be little but it is still in the starting stages. Total strangers for all I know have knitted mittens and donated them to others in need because I asked them to, all in my son’s name.

I’ve only talked about how he worked helping homeless teens to get back in school and either back home with their families or in other supportive services so they could get back on track, a few times here.

This was not his job, he didn’t have a degree in counseling. He was just a guy working in a store in the city, trying to get the funds for college and he saw a need so he filled it. All the time never saying a word to anyone about what he was doing. We only found out about it after he died when all kinds of people from all over the place came out of the woodwork to tell us how much he had helped their family to heal or how he helped individuals to finish high school and get a job even to the point of loaning them his own clothing so they could do it.

I know that mittens are a little thing compared to that, but I also know that little things make up the whole picture.

I have been knitting mittens for those in need since the kids were small. For every pair I made for my own kids I’d make two pair to give away to children that didn’t have any. Most folks in the neighbor knew that there was always extra hats and mittens at my house for the taking. The box was always by the door and only what was needed disappeared and reappeared on the heads and hands of those that needed them. I knitted them for people that came to the homeless shelter I volunteered for when we lived in the city too.

So now I’m knitting Mittens in Kevin’s name. I asked anyone who wanted to, to join me where they lived, but I must say I didn’t expect much. So many requests are made each day on the web. But when the anonymous notes came in saying that they had each made mittens and had donated them in Kevin’s name I cried. I only wish they had used the comments so I could have posted them here, but they didn’t want it that way. They wanted to do it invisibly just like Kevin did. But I just have to say…

Thank you ever so much, whoever you are.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On A Foggy Head:

I woke up foggy today. I hope I’m not getting sick.

I know you know what I mean. Your brain stumbles and fights to get it and your body fumbles along after it. You find yourself in the wrong room looking for something you know is kept in say the kitchen like the refrigerator. You have to try to remember where the light switch is. You spend your time trying to catch up with yourself. Things like that.

I wear glasses. Not like Mountain Man who just uses them to read. My glasses go on my face almost before I open my eyes and stay there throughout the day. I dress with them on, even for my pull over clothing. In fact I only take them off to bathe, sleep and enjoy some privet time with my husband.

This morning I got up and some how forgot to put my glasses on. I pumped into the wall trying to find the door in the darkened bedroom. (Mountain Man is still asleep at this point.) I stumble to the bathroom and forget to turn off the water after I wash up. I pick up my knitting and can’t remember where I am in the pattern even though there is a sticky note on the pattern under the place I stopped last night sitting in front of me. It’s all foggy anyway so I put it down again.

I turn to my computer and turn it on. The screen comes up where I put in my password and my foggy brain stumbles again. No, I didn’t forget my password. (I just love naming new passwords like I love naming my characters in my stories.) I typed in p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d instead of my real password. Something I have never done before or even have to think about. My fingers usually just pump it out like magic, even within hours after I’ve changed it yet again.

Meanwhile I am still half blind without my glasses and wondering why everything is so foggy in the house. I know it’s not the woodstove smoking. I checked on it and added more wood already. I look again just to be sure, and I don’t smell any smoke. I look outside to see if it is foggy out there too and somehow the fog came inside. No the same outside as in.

Finally my brain is starting to catch up. I think maybe the lens’ of my glasses have something on them so I reach up to take them off and look at them and poke myself in the eye because they are not there.

I get my glasses and the day starts to look up until I start to sneeze.

Five minutes and a half a box of tissues later I have to admit I’m sick. I’m heading back to my foggy bed and I’ll see you tomorrow. Hopefully the fog will have lifted by then.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On Wash Worries:

My Washer died as I told you yesterday. For me those old Maytag commercials held true. There were occasional belt replacements but my 35 year old olive colored washer from the 1970’s lived a long full life. It cleaned many muddy jeans of Mountain Man’s.

A shopping plan was put in place as we mapped out the best route for gas and time constraints. Six places were on the list but alas a washer was not purchased. No, I found a good replacement. We were still on the hunt for the best price and delivery date when I twisted my ankle badly.

Sadly, I like Crazy Aunt Purl, I was just crossing a street when it happened. No grand story just klutziness. Aunt Purl wins, if you can call it that, because hers required medical attention. But it did put a stop to the shopping trip.

I did get more yarn for mittens and a new printer to replace the one that had a red head problem before my unfortunate kafuffle. I finished knitting the mitten thumb and started another while in the car.

But yesterday I wrote stories again. It was like water in the dessert. Yes, my foot was up, packed in ice, on a chair with a pillow next to my desk and I didn’t get all my exercise into my day. But new characters bubbled up to the surface and saw the light of day. No, not all of them are alive and well I must say but they dutifully served their purpose and moved on.

My ankle is still sore but I can walk today. I’m back to knitting away on mittens and perfecting the pattern as I slowly get feed back from my test knitters. (They are all busy with their own gift projects right now. And I thank them for trying it at all.)

Later today or tomorrow we will be back at the washer shopping again as the laundry pile grows around us. If not you can find me down by the pond with a basket of clothing and a rock. Mountain Man is not the only one who knows how to work with rocks around here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On Gaining a Balance in Life:

Today I am off from making 38 Kevin’s Mittens in 38 days. I’ve made five pair and four singles, waiting for their mates, checking sizes and yarn choices. And so far fourteen mittens in eight day’s is too much for my hurting hands and why I didn‘t pledge to making a pair a day in the first place. I don’t feel guilty because I’m now almost a week ahead of my stated goal and my writing has been being neglected.

Other then writing out the pattern for the mittens in multiple sizes and doing my blog, I haven’t written a word for a week. Not a list or a note, not a grocery item or post card. My hands hurt and my brain is screaming for a break. (Those of you that have been reading my blog from the beginning know I don’t do one craft for too long at a sitting each day because it hurts my hands. So I usually knit, write and craft for smaller amounts of time before going back to work at all of them in turn again.)

Characters have been vying for attention, standing on their heads and doing tricks to recapture my time. ‘Write about me and I’ll make you rich and famous.’ they each say, while trying to elbow the other out of the way. I’m seriously thinking about getting a better voice recognition program so I can sit and exerbike and knit and write all at the same time. Not wanting too much from my day am I?

So today I’m sitting and doing nothing but writing. Nothing but writing and going out to buy a new washing machine because my 35 year old Maytag that faithfully washed very many of Mountain Man’s muddy jeans and socks over those years finally bit the big one. So today, nothing but writing, buying a washer and straightening up around here, because I’m ankle deep in all kinds of yarn for mittens and there is dishes and dust and dog toys and the indoor wood pile needs more wood…

Okay I’m going to have a mitten free day and write some more of my stories while getting caught up on everything else I have to do. And maybe I’ll just finish off that one thumbless mitten sitting waiting to be done. But not until I’ve finished a chapter or short story first.

Don’t you dare laugh. I have to have something to do in the car when we go for the washer you know.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On My Forgetfulness:

Venus Flytrap, Sundew (in the back) and Butterwort.

A few weeks ago I was forgetful, not that I’m not forgetful of things a lot of the time, but this piece of forgetfulness was new to me. I care for my plants with love and tenderness as I do my animals.

So it was with a sad heart that I found I had forgotten the terrarium of carnivorous plants on the window sill at night. That I had in fact closed it away from the heat and into the cold on the window side of the insulated drapes on a particularly cold night.

I have been trying to nurse them back to health but I fear all may be lost. The few small bits of plants left are weak and peaked.

I know that the last time I talked of them Mountain Man had fed the Venus Flytrap a slug of which it survived with the help of a crutch. We have caught many a bug and fed them in turn the Sundew, Butterwort and Venus Flytrap, but no more slugs. The Sundew and Butterwort had many babies and I had great hopes for them.

If none survive I will start over again with new ones in February when they are available again for sale but I will remember to care for them better then I have these few to date.

Right now I am readying the Venus Flytrap for it’s regular winter hibernation in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. I hope there is enough life left in it to come back happy and healthy in the spring.

(Sorry if my turn of phrase is strange to your ears today. I have been watching movies like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ all weekend and sitting here in my long skirts and lace makes me inclined to think and speak so at times.)

I am working on the Kevin’s Mittens in all the sizes and checking the pattern out for each size as I work.