Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

BFJ told me on Monday that I needed to get out and do something exciting so I could update my blog.  I've had too much going on but no words to aptly describe life, these days.  I have been knitting like mad for a friend, and am still working on that.  (Everything's due next Tuesday!)  And I've had four other people in the house all day every day this week.  It's been nice, but crazy.  What have I been up to besides contract knitting?   One of my little boys requested socks awhile back, so I am trying to knit those in time for Christmas.  I have finished making a couple of Christmas gifts, I have gotten almost all my Christmas shopping done, I've been working on a jigsaw puzzle (I need something to break up the knitting,) and just generally trying to keep up with my housemates.  They are putting together a band.  They've got a great name but I'm not going to tell.  Here's a sneak peek of the group.  (The third fellow has drumsticks but they're flying too fast for my camera.)   



We also had a visit from Grandpa this week, and for lunch we had Coke - out of bottles!  We had quite a time using a bottle opener.  Of course, this lead to some nostalgia; for example BFJ was reminded of the old vending machines where you reached in and pulled out your bottle.  Remember those?  It was a nice visit. 



This morning before I was up, Speed and the Bruise made a coffee cake with a little supervision from Dad.  Now we have The Parade on and everyone just got a haircut.  We need to look nice for all those pictures I know will be taken, right?  My list for the day: haircuts, eat, knit.  One down, two delightful activities to go.  We're going to my in-laws' for dinner and BFJ made a fancy pie like this.  I hope we also get a chance to squeeze in my favorite holiday movie: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. 

Tomorrow we are going to Aunt Banana's where I hear there will be nine boys under ten years old.  That's going to be exciting! 

I hope you all have a restful Thanksgiving, and that you have lots to be thankful for.  I know I do. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day


I've mentioned before that my dad plays Taps at military funerals and other services.  I had the privilege of attending the Ft. Logan Veterans Day service with him today.  I took the opportunity to thank a few of the vets there, and also saw strangers thanking my dad both for playing at the service, and for his military service.  We stopped at Applebee's, who is serving free meals to Vets today, and a gentleman drove through the parking lot in a diesel pick-up.  When he saw my dad, he stopped short, turned off his engine and told my dad thanks.  You know what they say, if you value your freedom, thank a vet. 



Here's the group who played Taps today, the youngest bugler is still in high school!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Books and Winter

Just a quick? update on the Book Club front; I don't want to go into long descriptions or give away major plot points, so I'll try to keep them short.  If you want more information, you can read other reviews, or read the books yourself!

I did finish The Shack but did not get to the meeting to discuss it as I was very ill that day. I did enjoy this book. One thing I thought was interesting was how it broke through traditional paradigms of religion, like what God "is." I thought the writing was decent; I thought the story was interesting, and I thought the plot was great.

I was disappointed that several people chose not to read the book "because of its subject matter." (Presumably religion?)  I should reiterate, it was a fictitious novel. That's not very sporting! One of the reasons I have always wanted to join a book club is to get outside of my comfort zone, my usual authors and subject matter.
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Our second book was One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, by Jim Fergus. Set in the 1800s, the Cheyenne Indians proposed to President Grant that they'd trade 1000 horses for 1000 white women. Apparently this proposal is an actual historical event, but the rest of the book is fiction. It begins with descendants of May Dodd, and how they came to research her. 

I thought this book had a major conflict: the main character was SO politically correct as to be distracting.  I'm not saying this would be impossible, but highly unlikely, and contrasts greatly with the rest of the book, which struggled to be very historically accurate, including several people who were real.  I thought the writing was excellent, but I felt I was being slipped some sensitivity training in between fur trades.  I loathed the main character and her agendas.  But hey, I tried something new.  I did enjoy the genealogical research at the very beginning and end.   We are discussing this book this week.

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Next up, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  (There are many editions of this book.)  Luckily, I own it and will not have to track it down.  After my curiousity was peaked by the Kate Bush song, I read it in the 90's.  I am curious to go back and see if I'll have a different opinion on it now, being in a different place in life.  Perhaps if I had seen videos of this before now I would not have been so surprised by the end of the book!  This reminds me of The Turn of the Screw, and A Christmas Carol - the original.  Do you see a pattern forming?  Some Brits seem to take winter to a new level of cold.  I'm going to need a fire and some knitting in between chapters!

I tried to find a cold, English picture on my friend Jane's blog - I thought she might let me post it.  But alas! her December outdoor photos look downright cheery!

So there's my "short" book review.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Handcrafted

I have some handcrafted gifts (knitted and otherwise) that I can't show you, but here are a few items I can!

 
After discovering that sock blockers are not always easy to find in local shops, I talked my dad into making some for a yarn shop near me.  Aren't these neat?  They are made from a Colorado pine that was destroyed by beetle kill.  Interestingly, the disease  gives the wood this lovely silvery-blue quality.  Normally pine is more yellowish like the stripe in the toe, here.  Beetle kill has claimed over two million trees in Colorado.  We heard a lot about it on the news a few years ago, and one could drive down the highway and see waves of brown in our normally green hillsides.  It is no longer a hot topic and we don't hear it on the news much anymore.  My dad is also making some sock blockers from (non-beetle kill) dead pine which was cleared out to reduce the fire danger to the live trees nearby.  (I don't have pictures of those.)  I told my dad I would gladly take a pair of these for Christmas, if he has some left.  Maybe I'll find some in my stocking - ha!  

And I have been making more baskets; Matt and Jen asked BFJ if I was, so here's a picture.  I am hoping to fill these with baked goodies for special neighbors and teachers this holiday season.  



Are you watching Project Runway?  I am sometimes surprised at the beautiful craftsmanship of people who make things "by hand," one piece at a time.  Although sometimes the lack of craftsmanship makes me feel like I am not so far behind.  I am looking forward to seeing the final collections!

I hope you're having fun making something for someone you love, even a simple handwritten card.  Christmas is right around the corner!  (There's just no stopping it, Anna.) 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mmmmm Fall

This past summer I was looking for some salsa ideas but stumbled instead upon a recipe for apple butter.  I've actually never had apple butter before.  I keep seeing apples on sale at the grocery store so finally bought some.  Last night, the boys and I got started on this project.  Of course, as I was skimming the recipe I hadn't noticed the "stir for 1 or 2 hours" part!  I'm glad it didn't actually take longer than an hour to get to the buttery consistency.  We all had some this morning on toast.  Mmm-mmm!  No wonder I like fall.  I made this apple butter with Golden Delicious, per the recipe, but I also bought some Honeycrisp, which my friend Candace has raved about.  She lives a lot closer to the Pacific than I do so maybe they aren't as pricey where she lives.  I was glad to find them on sale, and bought five. 
They are delicious, no doubt about it.   

Now I have several little jars of apple butter and hope that by Thanksgiving I'll have added more to my nice little stash of homemade goodies to share with friends, teachers, neighbors, etc.  Although I can't guarantee we will have any left by Christmas!  (Maybe the apples will be on sale just a little longer.)

I also recently purchased some Cranberry Autumn at my local tea shop; perfect for some quiet time with a great book, or some stitching and a holiday movie!