“Too Much Time on My Hands”

Finding your valentine in nature.

Find your valentine in nature this year

I woke up from my antihistamine-fueled dreams today with this song playing in my head. In fact, I was never a Styx fan. The reality is, the tune dates back to 1981, the year my firstborn arrived and, therefore, the last time in my life that I really DID have too much time on my hands.

Now that son is 33 and I’m … well, never mind.

I think you can figure out I’ve reached a certain age. An age, apparently, where things like this happen:

  • I finally sewed up a terrific polartec jacket as a gift for my husband (two years after purchasing the fabric for it). Upon completion, I discovered that I inserted the cool separating zipper upside down.
  • After a quiet day at home baking, knitting and attending to other domestic goodness, I hurriedly tried to make myself presentable prior to heading out to a meetup with friends. Running my hands through my hair a final time I found I’d distributed a large amount of bright blue, gooey, extra whitening anti-plaque toothpaste throughout my locks.

I could go on, but why? I think it’s only when you have all the time in the world that you discover that you were far more efficient when every second counted. When the obligations of caregiving, working full time, and the raising of your kids gradually slide away, there’s a blissful interval during which you really can slow it all way down. For awhile. But then it’s time to reengage with some activities for which your natural born gifts are well suited.

When this time arrives in for you, enjoy the peace and quiet, but not for too long.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

“Are You a Truck Driver?”

There were a lot of changes in latitude in our family this year. Between March and October, my dad-in-law, my husband and I, and two of my sons moved to new addresses. There was a lot of hauling, caterwauling, and aching. We all figured out ways to help one another get it done.

The final move of 2014 (unless someone is sitting on a big surprise) involved a road trip from Arizona to Ohio, in which son #2 and I delivered him and his belongings to his new home.

About halfway through my trip (remember, I still had to drive back to Arizona), I made a stop at a Walgreens where someone overheard me say I was from Arizona and had just been in Ohio. She asked me, “Are you a truck driver?” Wow, I never knew I gave off that vibe. But I guess that’s what 3000 miles in the driver’s seat in 10 days will do to a girl.

I don’t know what my son thinks about it, but for me it was the best road trip I’ve ever taken.

Eeeeeek! She Let me Steek!

So my mom said she doesn’t wear this sweater bought on out road trip to Orcas 10 years ago. Weird. The one we got color me didn’t work out either. She says she wishes it was a cardigan. Hmmmmm …I turned MINE into a cardigan.

Mom's Orcas Island hand knit sweater

Mom’s Orcas Island hand knit sweater


Never mind that we are heading out on (another) 4-day roadie tomorrow morning. She’s packing and I’m dragging out her Janome so I can stabilize the cut stitches on either side of the steeking.

More on the final outcome after I am reunited with my stash and finish knitting up some kind of band on the front to encase the raw edges

IF YOU ARE TRAVELING, TOO, you know it can be daunting to find yourself far from home when your car needs attention.

Kennedy Auto Repair in Park Forest got me in to check things over and would not let me pay a dime. Kudos to them. They are at 55 North St. Phone (708) 747-0882. Thank you!!

When Screaming is Good

Clearly, if you are in dire straits, a scream might be good. I can now report that screaming combined with maniacal laughing and tears can be incredibly cathartic.

I’ll briefly remark that this was an exceptionally challenging year, beginning in November 2013. Everyone has them. Everyone knows how tough they are to get through, so I don’t need to elaborate.

I WILL say that a trip to Disney, while expensive and chock-full of bad food (sorry, Walt, but it doesn’t have to be like that!), is a fantastic way to cast off the hard times. I especially recommend any roller coaster or ride that drops straight down.

My Disney accompaniment included my husband (our first time to go there together!!) and our oldest grand girl. Exhausting, and more fun that anything.

I’ve also resumed my knitting with my former feverish rate. I’ve just finished:

  • A beautiful “Panoramic Shawl” by Hannah Fettig (done in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering Indigo purchased at Red Sock Yarns in Fish Creek, Door County, Wisconsin)
  • A wonderful “Rolling Rock” by Thea Coleman (done in Plucky Knitter Primo Sport color way Lonesome Highway).
  • A scrumptious “Mini Water’s Edge” also by Hannah Fettig (done in Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted, color way Narragansett Grey), seen below.



Drilling Concrete



I can do a fair amount of home repairs, as long as there’s no plumbing, electricity, or leveling required. I like to think that my projects are well conceived, but sometimes brutishly executed. I’m ok with that.

My new house is made of concrete. That’s the walls, floor and ceiling. Concrete. Poured in place. The three little pigs would love it, and I do, too.

Some projects I’ve wanted to tackle necessitate drilling into that concrete. After watching two contractors install some appliances (involving plumbing and electrical work) and how many drill bits and and how much strength and will it took to get those jobs done, I was approaching my simpler drilling tasks with trepidation.

Naturally beautiful

Naturally beautiful

So here’s what I finally did. Harnessing my femininity, I whipped up a homemade deep conditioning treatment (yogurt, banana, avocado, honey and olive oil), slathered it on and just sat there for an hour. Yeah. That felt good, and gave me a good hair day.

Then I got out a recent gift of Scotch Naturals nail products and painted my toenails (Thank you, Bert). There, that’s better. Those little piggies like it.

Finally, I rubbed on some of this fragrant Lush “Wiccy Magic Muscles” massage bar (Thank you, Megan). Wow. Energizing AND relaxing AND strengthening.

Wickedly Wiccy

Wickedly Wiccy

Then I put on safety glasses, rounded up my DeWalt drill, popped in a rock carbide bit and, wham! I hung up a vintage magazine rack salvaged from my old home. Now it can once again be used for outgoing mail, magazines, knitting patterns, or notices to a certain spouse.

It was a good day!


See what I can do?

See what I can do?

Relocation, Rearrangement, Rethinking

Cliff rose in full bloom

Cliff Rose (Purshia stansburiana) in full bloom

After twenty years at the same address I have moved. I’d never lived anywhere that long before, yet it came as a shock that we had begun considering moving this time last year.

I realized earlier today that it’s been more than six months since my last electronic chronicles were recorded here. Life and opportunity got in the way of blogging. However, when I scan this new place, I see I’ve been very busy putting pen to paper in many journals found pretty much all over the place. Amid paint cans, the chipper/shredder, the wheelbarrow and a multitude of unfinished knitting projects.

During the months away from the laptop I visited my brother in his new place in Colorado and went for a road trip with my mom. I even got back to Orcas Island for a bit. But then life took one of those wacky unforeseen turns. During those many blurry weeks we were scrambling between a total of four different residences and none of us (husband, dad-in-law, me) really lived anywhere. We were just kind of perching amid the shambles of a major life upheaval.

Three months ago, I was a small town girl living close to downtown (ugh, I see that sounds eerily like a Journey song) in a neighborhood my husband had called home for nearly 40 years. Now I live in the country (along with husband) with cottontails, quail, feral cats, too much horehound, views, and incredible, peaceful quietude. On a road named after this beautiful and fragrant native shrub. Now I am contemplating raising llamas or maybe chickens if I can figure out the predator prey situation. Just like real life!

Here’s to navigating the inevitable as gracefully as possible while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful new/old house.

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