Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lebanon Christmas Festival

I live in Clarksville, but I work in Lebanon.  It is a lovely lovey historic city in Warren County Ohio.  The central business district is a collection of lovely old buildings, some dating back to the 1700s.  The shops are filled with quilts and antiques and the first weekend of December the main street hosts the Horse Carriage Parade.


 
 
There is one parade in the afternoon and another in the evening,  The nighttime one has all the carriages, and even some of the horses, covered with lights!


 
 

There are horses of all breeds, shapes and sizes.  Even a few mules, donkeys and I actually saw a goat out there this year.
 

 

 
 
 


 

 


 

 
 
I hadn't been to the parade in many years, but the weather was relatively mild (38F) and I was feeling nostalgic. It was all so lovely and really put me in the Christmas mood. 
 
The tree made it's way out of the attic room for the first time in 4 years and is set up waiting for the lights to be put on.  I might not put up the ornaments this year though.  Our new addition, Deuce, is a bit too wild and curious and most of my ornaments are glass.
 
Wishing everyone peace and joy whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year!
 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Success

Ok, I will call this a successful visit to my parents.  Gone are the days when I will call these trips fun or exciting.  Now they are gaged upon how much I can accomplish and how I can make their lives easier and more enjoyable.  Of course I get to see my beloved Pepper again!!  She is so happy at my parents' house.  She runs and plays and gets bolder and more friendly every time I see her.  Now she jumps on the couch and the backs of their chairs and plays vigorously with her numerous toys.  A little grey fuzzy mouse that rattles when you shake it is her favorite item.
 
She is still very pampered and spoiled by my dad especially.  She has a set routine and they both follow it to the letter.  8:45pm and it's time to hop up on the ottoman and have exactly eight cat treats.  My father counts them out one by one and when Pepper gets to treat number eight she leans in for some petting and then hops down.

 
We got a bit of snow the day before Thanksgiving.  Nothing overwhelming, but enough to put a nice blanket of white on the holiday.

 
Although I prepared the entire Thanksgiving Feast  (a task I really do LOVE to do by the way), my father took his place of honor to carve the turkey.  My mother was thrilled at all of this.  After 46 days completely bed-ridden I think she was afraid she would never see a real family holiday again.


 
Since I had prepared the meal my mother thought it only proper that I should be photographed with the bird.  So after we ate one half of it we spun it around to get a good shot!

 
Mom is back to knitting and crocheting again, although at a much slower pace.  We spent several days going through her substantial stash and piles of works-in-progress and picked out a few.  She has set a goal to try to finish some of these projects.  Many are nearly a decade old!

Here she is working on a soft poncho in shades of lavender and grey.  She is faster and more agile then she thinks and was able to finish this in one afternoon and it made the trip home with me!

My father, an avid athlete most of his life, and also a promoter of a healthy diet, could exist on pasta and vegetables every day.  So it was quite a shock that he treated us to Burger King one night. For this amazing feat he received his Burger King's Crown.


My brother and his family had dinner with us another night.  Always an evening filled with laughter to the point of tears as we discuss every forbidden topic and family skeleton!

 
A new puppy has joined their family.  My sister-in-law and niece with Georgia. 
 

 Their older dog Daxter gets some attention from my Dad.
 
On December 1st (way TOO EARLY according to my father) I swapped out the Thanksgiving/Autumn decorations for the Christmas fare.


 
So they are set for the month of December.  The freezer is filled with meals I prepared, a stair lift was installed for my mother to use (she hates it!), many loads of laundry done, boxes cleared away, knitting projects underway and Christmas properly installed.

 Pepper is ready to inspect the tree.
 
I am back home again in Ohio and missing them all very much.  My kitties and Joe are happy to have me back and I am overjoyed to be with them again.  Gymnastics competitions are back in full-swing and the world moves on.
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


 
First Thanksgiving away from my Ohio home in over 25 years. I'm here in New Jersey with my parents.  Very thankful that my mother is doing better and things seem to be back to normal.....on the sliding scale of "normal"!!
 
Joe is at our home with the cats and I miss them very much.  Spending my days knitting socks and watching endless football games on TV.  But for the next hour or two I have control of the remote and I'm watching the Macy's Parade.  Turkey in the oven, the smell of Brussels sprouts with bacon roasting away.  Although I am not in my own space I am determined to make this a joyous Thanksgiving for my parents.  My moments of peace and joy will be next week when I'm back at home.
Wishing all of you a pleasant and plentiful Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Wonderland

In a matter of hours we went from this.......
 
....basking in the sun outside.
 
To this........

huddled around the woodstove inside!
 
Outside it became a Winter Wonderland over night!




 
As the temperature continues to drop, I have turned once again to indoor projects.  This lovely quilt is not my own work.  It is a vintage 1930's quilt that I am repairing for a friend.  His grandmother made it.  It is surprisingly similar to a reproduction vintage quilt I have been working on for several decades in the same pattern and colors.


Two rigorous bathes and a new binding brought this beauty back to life.  I took my chance on washing it in my machine.  I hoped that I wouldn't end up with a faded pinky-red tattered blob.  Luckily the original maker was wise enough to wash her pinks and reds before she pieced her quilt.  It looks to me like a larger "bride's quilt" was cut in half to make a child-sized quilt.  Some of the star patterns end rather abruptly at the borders.  Who knows where the other half ended up, but this half now has a new lease on life.
 
Again I turn to Nature and sewing/crafting to ease my anxiety over another planned visit to my parents' house next week for Thanksgiving.  It so horrible of me to say, but I do not even enjoy visiting there anymore.  I am simply useful to them and find no joy in it at all.  I will get to see lovely Pepper the Bengal cat again.  She is always happy to see me.  Well, my parents are happy to see me too, but I find each visit there more and more stressful.  A stair lift device is being installed this week for my mother (much to my father's emotional and financial dismay).  But I suppose this is a fact of aging parents that so many others deal with in their lives.  I am grateful that after 46 days of being entirely bed-ridden, my mother decided to get up and join the world of the living again on October 30.  She told us she would get out of the bed when she was "damn-well ready"...and that she did!  So the rest of us are labeled cry babies and drama queens and all is now right with the world.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

September and October Happiness

 
Let me write only of the happy things of my life.  Too much time and energy in September and October have been spent on sadness and worry.  I certainly would not call this wasted time, since the worry is over my parents, particularly my mothers health.  But so much time has passed me by in this perpetual state of anxiety, depression and panic.
September and October are my favorite months.  The training groups are set at the gym and there are no competitions yet to take up my weekends.  The colors are a collection of all my favorite browns, golds and oranges.  The temperature has gone down, but not so low that I must hide inside.
So I share with you a collection of recent photos of my beloved house and land and my sweet, loving cats.


 


 
Contrary to popular myth, black cats do not like to pose with pumpkins!  I wondered why they would, since there is no pleasant smell of meat of fish associated with a pumpkin......

Deuce
 
Mel....orange cats don't much like to pose with pumpkins either


Coal and Roy

 
 There are two "visitor cats" of late. Both and white and equally as scared of me. The first guy sits on my patio table, waiting for a snack.  I see him almost every night and just today he has made a daylight appearance.
 
The other guy I saw at the neighbor's house when I went to drop the trash in their dumpster.  Both look pretty healthy and well- cared for and quite willing to pose for photos, at a respectable distance of course.

 
September is now long over and October is moving towards it's end.  Though they have not been the most pleasant or productive two months for me I will still be sad to see them go.

 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

To The Beat Of A Different Drum

Drum Pinkeeps!!  I just love them.  I've admired so many of them in cross-stitch groups and on blogs.  I knew it was time that I tried one.  I got Stacey Nash's sweet chart "Addy's Pinkeep Drum" and modified it a bit.  No insult to the designer intended, I just wanted to experiment with other themes and designs.  I preserved Stacey's original alphabet along the top and her main peacock theme.  I deleted the name and instead put my own initials and the date 1814.  I also added another peacock design and some keys.


 
So I marched to the beat of a different drummer on this one.  There will be more drums in my future.  I really like the concept and the finished product.  I added a large rock to the center of mine when I stuffed it.  I don't have much use for a pinkeep as an actually holder of pins.  I will use this as a paperweight.
 
Another among us who marches to the beat of a different drummer is our new friend Deuce.  He is getting less aggressive but there is still plenty of howling and hissing going on.  We are well into month number three of him being around, so I do hope this settles down soon.  He is allowed inside during the day with free roam of the house.  He likes the attic room the best and causes no trouble with the others.  When we all gather in one location....well that's a different story.

They played with opposite ends of the paper towel roll for a few minutes.  Then it became a swat-fest in the paper bag.

Outside they need constant monitoring so no one gets chased towards the street.  Can you spot them all in this photo(above).  Mel on the grill, Coal and Roy in the picnic table, and Deuce as usual, taking center stage.

Mel eyes him cautiously.  He seems to like to chase her the most.

Coal seemed ready to allow Deuce usage of this lawn chair....

..well, maybe NOT!
 
Raised my blood pressure and anxiety level by booking my flight to New Jersey for early September.  I can no longer pick and choose the days I go to visit my parents.  I always chose dates that I was off from work when there was a break from gymnastics.  Not so anymore.  My father would like me to come the first week of September so I can help with the giant neighborhood yard sale.  Year after year they attempt to rid themselves of the clutter in their garage and basement and year after year the clutter seems to multiply 10 times over instead.  So I'm going to take a crack at it this year.  I think the last yard sale I attended there was 1998.
Mr. Deuce will spend that week at Charm School (aka boarding at the Vet).  He is just too much for Joe to handle while I'm gone.  Not an ideal situation, but anything to make these trips go smoother.
 
I hear the drum beating(or is that just my pulse!).  Time to pick up some stitching and put September out of my mind for a while longer.