Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome Winter. Welcome New Friends

Today Winter arrives, and with it the influx of stray animals.  I feel so badly for them; abandoned at this time of year.  We have a huge barn and a shed converted into a "Man Cave.  Both have easy access via "cat doors" cut into the walls.  Both have either straw or furniture to keep the animals warm.  I have two large, heated water bowls and put out plenty of food.  Our regular outdoor visitor, the very shy grey and white cat still comes around every day.  Now two new ones have arrived.  A super friendly little black cat who I've named Simon. He's been around for about a week.  Male, relatively young and I think he is fixed.  The other cat I k new about before.  The same idiot former neighbors who abandoned a lovely donkey also left behind their Himalayan cat.   Jinxy is female, fixed and is about 6 years old.  They claim she was a barn cat who would not have gone with them when they moved to Florida.  Well "barn cat" makes every effort to get into my house.  She is very loving.  The first time I reached out to pet her she ran up my arm and perched on my shoulder, purring.

Our not-so-new guy Deuce is still the terror of the house.  The others just don't want to accept him as a friend, nor does he make much of an effort to be kind to them.  They have all become more tolerant of each other and will sleep on the bed all at the same time, separated by various parts of my body or stacks of blankets and pillows.

A selection of old friends here at the annual Gymnastics Team Christmas Party last weekend. After a crazy long Saturday at an equally crazy competition where I got to be a JUDGE and a COACH at various times during the day, we had our Team party on Sunday afternoon.

We are "officially" on break until 5 January, but somehow my boss managed to schedule a Staff Meeting for 5:30 pm tomorrow evening.  Yes, THREE DAYS before Christmas.  And it's a dinner at her house so SHE avoids going out and missing time with family and this also can be labeled as a "social event"  and therefore she doesn't have to pay us.  

Well, it really is a happy time of year for me when I can help out some animals in need.  Apparently Jinxy and Simon have met before and they share the space on the porch without incident.  If I could get the others to behave so well toward each other..... 

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


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


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 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.