Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blessed New Year!

A few minutes ago, I took Liesl out for the last time of the evening.  I know that I have had backyard visits by possum, racoon, and skunks.  Therefore, when it is dark and late I will always go out with her so that I know that she is safe.  

When I stepped outside, I was awestruck by the beauty of the night.  There is nearly a full moon and it is so bright, casting this beautiful milky light over the backyard.  The sky is totally clear and the stars are shining brilliantly in this beautiful dark blue sky.  The air is cold and crisp and actually felt good to breath in.  I looked down at my little Liesl, who was walking along the path in my yard with me. I thought about how much I love her and how she has been with me through the worst and best of times in the past five years.  I looked at my house that I love, that I bought only a year ago, and loved how the light from the inside just glowed so warmly.  Have you ever had one of those moments that just seems so perfect and beautiful?  This was it for me.

So now I am looking down at the end of the bed, where a very small dog, has defied the space continuum and has fully stretched out across most of the bed.  My feet are hanging off the side of the bed so as not to disturb her.  She looks luxuriously comfortable.  She never does this so I do not really mind the inconvenience.  I am happy to have her so close.  

I am very excited about the new beginnings in 2013.  I am looking forward to so many things and can feel the electricity of positive change.  I feel tremendous gratitude for my life.  I have big dreams and big plans and I can not wait to get started.

I wish each of you great prosperity, love, happiness and a lot of laughter in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

High Tea

One of my dear friends had a wonderful idea for several of us that are close friends to celebrate the holidays together.  She invited four of us to join her for high tea at a swanky hotel in Carmel.  It is a hotel that is owned by Doris Day.  Now I have never had high tea, so this was a new adventure.  We all dressed in lovely, festive afternoon attire and got ready to drink tea with our pinkies out.  (Just kidding.)  We got to sit on lovely, comfy sofas in a beautifully decorated room with a Christmas tree and fireplace.  It was pretty neat.

We had wonderful little sandwiches and petit fours.  Every thing was so good and it was just a very nice relaxing time to sit and chat.  It was such a good idea.  

My friend is also a schnauzer mom, although she has a standard schnauzer.  We both love this breed.  Here is the Christmas card that gave me today.  Schnauzers, can you believe it?!

Best of all, here is the gift that she gave me for Christmas.  A schnauzer nutcracker ornament!  I can't bring myself to put it away.  I think I will just keep it out all year.  It makes me smile.  My friend said that she thought that the face looked so much like my sweet Liesl.  

I have yet to meet a person who has a schnauzer that is not head over heels in love with the breed. They are not for everyone, but those that love them love them big time.  They are so smart, comedic, busy, mischievous, beyond belief stubborn and love their people so much. 

It has been such a tough year but I was thinking about how much I love my life on my way home today.  I have pretty special friends, a sweet little dog, I live in a magical place, and I got to do something cool and different today.  I have friends that always have my back, who tell me the truth no matter what, who make me laugh, and who I know I could totally call at 3 am if I needed to (and they know the same about me.)  Not only would any of us answer the phone, we'd be getting our shoes on and getting our car keys out to go to the friend in distress.  

Overall, it is a very good life and I would not trade any of it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hardanger Heart

I am playing Hardanger this week.  I am working on this ornament from the 2003 Ornament Issue of JCS.  While it is pretty, I will admit that the buttonhole stitch is one of my unfavoritist ever.  Okay, not a word, but you catch my drift.  Kloster blocks and eyelet stitch are no problem.  It is the edge of the buttonhole stitch that bugs me and trying to get it even.  

I made it over to Target tonight.  There is still a lot of Christmas stuff in stock even though it is 50% off.  I think there are a lot of reasons for this.  Anyway, I was there to pick up dish soap, and wandered past the dog stuff on the end cap.  They had a little Christmas dog toy set with six toys on clearance for $4.99.  I brought it home and Liesl thought it was Christmas all over again.  She loves toys and usually does a victory lap when she gets a new one.  She is so happy.

It is supposed to freeze tonight.  I have the extra blanket at the ready and expect that Liesl will be waking me up at some point to lift her onto the bed.  I am looking forward to dog cuddles.  I shudder  though to think of what my yard looks like after the ice gets to it.  I am also wondering why the weeds are impervious to ice.  Oh, well, it was a good evening for a cup of hot cocoa, and I was pretty happy that I had my homemade marshmallows to put into it. 

Gotta go tuck in the furry princess... 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stormy Day!

It was a good day to be home today.  I was so tired from the past few days, so it was a good day to nap on and off.  We had a major storm that just dumped rain on us.  It rained really hard both last night and today.  I woke up a few times during the night because it was raining so hard that it made a lot of noise.  At one point I thought someone was walking past the house with garbage cans because it just rumbled.  The very best part about it though was that my sweet Liesl decided that she wanted cuddles, so she snuggled right up against me and let me sleep with my arm around her.  They should find a way to bottle puppy warmth.

I hope everyone who observes Christmas had a lovely holiday.  Mine was super special.  I was the assisting minister for the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.  This is such a special service and I felt privileged to serve.  Afterwards, it was on to my best friend's house for the annual Norwegian Christmas Eve Dinner.  The tradition starts with the youngest person in attendance reading the Gospel of Luke.  Then my BFF's husband makes an announcement that there is no difference between family or friends at their table.  All who are with them are considered family.  Then we eat massive quantities of Norwegian meatballs, salmon, veggies, potatoes, and assorted desserts.  One of the attendees had made homemade peanut butter-chocolate chip-bacon cookies, which were to die for.   We sit for hours around the dinner table laughing and talking. The evening ends in a board game.  I look forward to it every year.  

My best friend loves dogs and had made little goodie bags for all of her friends' dogs.  She sent me home with Liesl's bag of little Ginger Bears that she loves.  Now I have to share that Liesl knows people's names.  So I came home and gave her a couple of her little cookies and told her who they were from.  When she heard my BFF's name, she got very excited, tail wagging and ran to the window to look for her.  Liesl thinks my BFF is her BFF, who comes to visit her (not me) so she thought she was going to get a visit.  

Yesterday it was the day to be with my whole family, which is my great joy.  Liesl was so happy, too, to be with all of her people.  My daughter brought a prime rib over and cooked it in my oven, she also made green bean casserole, and brought some awesome appetizers.  I made roasted garlic-horseradish mash potatoes (yummy!), hors d'oeuvres and homemade cookies.  My son and his girlfriend brought a beautiful pie for dessert.  Liesl got spoiled by my daughter who had set aside some small pieces of prime rib for Liesl as she carved.  Then Liesl got hand fed.  She thought this was awesome.  I had also made her some sweet potato, which is one of her favorite foods.  

This sign was a gift from my son's girlfriend.  (Have I mentioned how much we all love her?!)  She  also have me a beautiful bamboo salad bowl and tongs.  I love this sign.  (My son said that she was worried about dogs being plural but I just figure it will scare any potential burglar that may think there is a house full of dogs! )  It is so perfect because, alas, it is so true.  Liesl is the gatekeeper.  

These are a pair of socks that my daughter knit for me.  Hand knit socks are one of the best things ever.  I love the colors in this pair and they are super soft.  My daughter always encourages me to wear the socks she knits for me out of the house.  I just can't do it.  I only wear them when I am at home.  They are like a warm hug.  

Another cool gift that I received was a subscription to Just Cross Stitch from my son.  I can't wait for my first issue.  The bonus to my day was my son in law who is an IT professional, took a look at my super slow net book and got it running super fast.  We all talked, visited, and then watched Mr. Bean's Christmas and New Year's episodes, which are super funny. 

Liesl and I were both exhausted from the past couple of days, so we logged some serious couch time today.  Tomorrow I have to get back to eating healthy and getting back into the routine.  It was a wonderful few days though and I am so grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gloria In Excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!  (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all people of good will!)

Well, it is finally here!  After all of the shopping, planning, baking, coordinating and wrapping, the time has arrived to celebrate the birth of a baby in a feed trough who would become the light of the world.  It is time for us to reflect on the messages of angels, of people called to serve, and all of the blessings we have.

It is also time to spend with my dearest of friends, my family and, of course, my sweet little Liesl.   These are my greatest blessings and what I cherish most in my life.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and pray that you are blessed many times over.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baking Day

I was a baking fool today.  I got up and put my marshmallows together first thing since they have to sit for several hours.  You have to whip them for 12 minutes after you cook the sugar and corn syrup.  My KitchenAid was working overtime today.

I got to make my thumbprint cookies, which actually look much cuter than they do in the photo.  They are very buttery and decadent.  They are labor intensive, which is why I only make them once a year.  I also made a lot of snickerdoodles.  I like snickerdoodles because they are just happy little cookies.

Tomorrow I have to make my iced Christmas cookies.  I think that will probably do it as far as cookies go.  I spent so much time in the kitchen today that my heels are killing me.  I also had to scrub down the kitchen tonight because it just felt like there was a layer of sugar on every surface in the kitchen.

I am happy to say that I also got the gifts wrapped today.  It was a very productive day.  It did rain for the earlier part of the day.  Just like in life the rain gave way to the clouds parting and the sun shining through.  It was nice to get the things on my list checked off.  I feel like I can be totally present and in the moment in the worship services and during the festivities over the next three days.  

After I wrapped the gifts I had to hide them from Liesl.  I usually wrap her gifts, too, so she got a bit excited at the sight of the ribbons.  Santa has a gift all ready for her.   She is such a good little dog so she ended up on the "Nice" list although she has more fun on the naughty list.  I think I will go tuck her in and tell her that she is a good girl.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joyeux Noel

The stitching portion of my ornament is complete!  Yay!  This one was a lot more complex than I had originally anticipated.  Now that it is complete I am loving how happy it looks.  I have the perfect fabric in my stash for backing.  I am enjoying stitching ornaments.  There is a lot of immediate gratification since they are completed so quickly. 

The rain never materialized today.  That was okay except one can totally feel the pressure building in the air.  The next storm is supposed to move it early tomorrow.  This is good because I plan on totally nesting and staying home out of the madness.  Tomorrow is going to be my baking day.  I also plan on wrapping presents with my little pointy eared, bearded elf.  She is not really much help (again with the lack of thumbs), but she is so cute and I might get kisses since I will be sitting on the floor.

I got out my well loved cookie cookbook this evening.  I have had it for about the past 30 years.  It is dog-eared and stained.  I have my plan for tomorrow's baking.  Top of the list is snickerdoodles.  I will also make my special thumbprint cookies.  There are a lot of memories around these cookies.    I will make up little care packages for the kids to take home and nibble on Christmas Day. I will also make up little plates for my two favorite neighbors.  I live on a pretty special street and have been blessed with the best neighbors on earth.  I knew this house was pretty special when I bought it, but my neighbors make it even more special. 

Well, I am off for a long winter's nap to prepare for my day of cleaning, wrapping, baking and general fa-la-la-ing.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finishing Up Noel Ornament

Almost done!  This has been a little trickier than I had originally anticipated.  It has a lot of color changes.  There are three shades of red, three shades of white, three shades of green.  So there is a lot of color change happening. I am starting to feel the need to stitch something monochromatic.  

A big winter storm is on its way and should start to hit tonight.  It is expected that we will get 2.5 to 3 inches of rain this weekend.  It is a good weekend to try to get a little baking done and clean up the house a bit for the family to come over.  My daughter is bringing a prime rib to cook at my house on Christmas Day, my son and his girlfriend are bringing dessert, and I have to make potatoes, salad and biscuits.  Liesl will be so excited to have her people here.  I have to be careful not to say my children's names or Liesl will run to the window very excitedly, tail wagging, looking for them.  She loves the family.  

Since schnauzers are herding dogs, when the family is here she can not tolerate it if someone gets up to go to the restroom or the kitchen.  She will follow them, wait outside of the door, barking, until she can bring them back to the group.  Then she gets up on the ottoman in the middle of the room, so that she can continue to be the center of attention and keep an eye on everyone to assure that no one else straggles off.

I hope to have enough energy this weekend to make homemade marshmallows and a couple of different kinds of cookies.  The marshmallows are a must because each time I mention that I am going to try to make them, people close to me get pretty excited.  They are a big hit with friends and family.  So I guess I will put on the yule log channel the weekend, the one that plays Christmas carols, get out the ol' KitchenAid, and make some nice treats.  

Well, I guess I had better get ready to have sugar plums dancing in my head...

Wishing those who are travelling, very safe travels.  Stay warm.  Praying that the winter storms heading across the USA this weekend do not cause any damage and all are safe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

We are getting the big warnings of it being really cold tonight and storms later in the week.  It is really cold right now.  I am totally bundled up.  Murphy's/Schnauzer's Law states that the colder it is outside, the more often Liesl will signal that she really needs to go out.  It was bordering on the ridiculous tonight.  I have to go out with her for two reasons.  The first being her lack of opposable thumbs.  Since we do not have a dog door, my opposable thumbs are required to open and close the back door.  The second reason is because I know that we have a raccoon that visits the yards on my block regularly.   I am terrified of what a raccoon would do to Liesl so I have to stand sentry when she goes out in the dark.  

It is funny because about six months ago, on two occasions she saw an possum in the yard.  (It is like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom back there.)  To this day, the second I give her the okay (after I have given the yard the once over to make sure the aforementioned raccoon is not back there) she goes bounding out to the spot all excited in hopes that it is back.  Then she has to sniff the ground around that area looking for the possum.  I have to admire that she has not given up hope.

Being a cold night, it was a good night to bundle up and stitch, when I wasn't playing doorman.  Above, you will see an ornament that I began.  It is supposed to say NOEL when all is said and done.  It is super cute and is by Sue Hillis from the 2002 Ornament Issue of Just Cross Stitch.  It will look a lot better when I put the "e" in there and backstitch everything.

Okay, now to something serious.  As I was watching the news this evening, this story caught my eye and ears.  A really beautiful idea has been introduced by NBC's Ann Curry.  It is the idea that to honor the memory of those that passed so tragically that every person who signs onto the campaign will perform 26 acts of kindness.  I think that this is such a beautiful and powerful thing.    It reminds me of the book, "Pay It Forward."  In many ways, I do believe that the time has come for a "kindness movement."  If you are interested in learning more, you can look for the campaign on Twitter, Facebook or here.

Off to tuck in my furgirl!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Ornament

I have been playing stitching ornaments the past couple of days.  This is one that I am making for a friend for Christmas.  The fabric on the bottom is what I will use as the trim and backing.  Is it too perfect, or what?!  Okay, so here is the super good news.  The pattern is a freebie.
You can find it here:  It has been pretty fun to stitch.  Now I have to figure out what to stitch up next.  

It has been super duper cold the past couple of days.  The bonus in this is that when it is super duper cold, Liesl sleeps snuggled up to her momma.  The past two nights in the wee hours I feel the bed shake as she knocks up against it to get my attention.  Then I see the silhouette of two pointy ears and a beard over the side of the bed.  Liesl could easily jump onto the bed, but prefers to get an elevator ride.  Then I get puppy snuggles which are just about the best thing in the whole world.  Miss Liesl was so comfy that she stayed in bed while I got ready to go to church.  She had the look that suggested that I look into a silent hair dryer.  

I have got to make my homemade marshmallows this week to give as gifts.  It really sounds complicated but it is not.  Marshmallows are also quick to make but you have to let them set out for a while.  Once you have had an homemade marshmallow, you will not want to go back to the grocery store ones.  (Unless, of course, you are making s'mores.  Yum.)  I use Martha Stewart's recipe.  Martha rocks!

So tonight I am minding my own business, watching the Next Iron Chef when I hear two of the happiest words on the planet together--"Bacon Buffet."  I know, right.  Oh my goodness.  There were some amazing bacon dishes happening, and then they said it, "Bacon Chocolate Mousse."  That sounds heavenly.  I am thinking that Christmas dinner should be a Bacon Buffet.  And then I remember that I have a doctor who could spring a cholesterol test on me at any time and I would be sad...  

Well, I am off to get my daily dose of puppy snuggles!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Tree Of Hope

This is a tree that started out with the best of intentions.  I had been to a design show where I saw the cutest little kitchen tree decorated with cookie, candy, cookie cutter, and other food ornaments. I fell in love with it and immediately envisioned collecting cute ornaments to add to it year by year. Unfortunately, I have not unpacked this tree or its ornaments since the Christmas season of 2007.  

On that day in 2007, I was in the middle of decorating this very tree when I got that nightmare phone call that every parent dreads.  My then 19 year old son had been in a horrific car accident and had been in airlifted to a trauma center 80 miles away in San Jose.  That day turned into two weeks in the ICU and another week at another hospital.  It is truly a miracle that he is here today, that he is fully healed, and leading a very happy life.

I was talking with a friend on the phone today and telling her that I was thinking about getting my tree back out and decorating it.  I told her though that it held such a bad memory of what I was doing the last time I was decorating it.  She is pretty wise and suggested that maybe I should see it more as a symbol of miracles, and a celebration of the wonderful life that my son has now.  As I walked through that entire experience, I felt God's presence and comfort.  

I know all together too well that life can change in the blink of an eye.  It is so important to hold the love that we have with both hands and cherish it with our entire being.  The people in our lives are a blessing.  It is important to let them know how much we love them.  I am fortunate because my friends and I tell each other that we love each other.  My kids and I share that we love each other.  In my own experience of extreme emergency I was not thinking about the model of car that I drive, how my house was decorated,  or what clothes I was wearing.  I was thinking about my loved ones and that was all that I was thinking about.  In the end that is all that matters.

So my little tree is up and is lighting up my kitchen with small bright lights.  It is true that I am remembering the miracles of that time.  I am remembering the people who were there to offer comfort and support.  I am remembering how meaningful each day was.  I am remembering my son finally leaving the hospital. I am remembering that a four month old, undernourished, scraggly, scared Liesl came into my life at that time because she lived next door to my son, and was no longer wanted by her owner.  (Liesl has a very special connection to my son.)  Most of all, I remember the feeling of God's ever present love and comfort during those dark days.  He made His presence known in a series of miracles that I do not often share with others.  

God loves us more than we could ever possibly know.  He is with us in times of sorrow.  He is with the people of Newtown.  We continue to lift up prayers for those beautiful little souls who are with Him now, for those who passed trying to protect them, and for those who mourn.  We send love and healing thoughts.  Our hearts break for you.  

We also offer up prayers of thanksgiving that there were so many that were spared.  Hearing the stories of heroism and miracles, such as the little boy who ran past the shooter with his friends, or the custodian running down the hall shouting warning of the danger, it reminds us that this could have been even more tragic.

Love one another.

Friday, December 14, 2012


This has been a truly heartbreaking and horrific day.

Prayers being lifted up for the children, parents, staff, family and friends of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  We pray for the emergency personnel who arrived at the horrific scene.  Most of all, we pray for those who have lost their beloved children and family members.  

We mourn with you and pray that God holds you in the palm of His hand.

Selig sind die da leid tragen, denn sie sollen getrostet werden

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Brrrrrr.  We are expecting a freeze tonight.  It is take your breath cold.  My best friend took me out to dinner tonight.  We were both needing comfort food and some time catching up.  With this season, we wanted to make sure that friendship is celebrated, too.  It was so nice to sit down and eat something yummy and not have to wash dishes.  On the way to the car at a little before 7 pm, it was already under 50F degrees.  I came home and put on all things fleece and my woolie socks.  It is on nights like this I am happy that my house is well insulated in the walls and ceiling.  

I so wish that I could catch Liesl on film in some of her cutest moments.  A little earlier she was walking around taking inventory of her toys.  All of the sudden she spotted one of her bones in the living room.  She got so excited and had her tail wagging really fast.  She was so happy that she had to trot all over the house looking for just the right spot to sit down and work on her chewy.  I wish I could capture her happy little self on camera to show you her cuteness.  The camera was in the other room and if I would have gotten up to get it, she would have stopped what she was doing to follow me in the hopes that I would be going to do something really fun.  

I am working on my bell pull but this weekend I need to stitch up a couple of quickie ornaments to give as gifts.  I found some super cute fabric in my stash to use for the backs.  I have a ridiculous amount of cute fabric as a quilting stash.  My new year's resolution will probably have to include making a wall hanging or two.  I bought a brand new sewing machine a couple of years ago that I have never really been able to use yet.  I love to cross stitch so much that it is hard to do another craft.

So I am feeling so blissful and joyful this evening.  I have had time with my friend, my little dog made me smile, I got to eat yummy comfort food, and I got to partake in my favorite craft.  These are the kind of days that I really appreciate and treasure.  Then I add in the fact that I had gas in my car, my heater works, I have food in my refrigerator and a warm place to sleep tonight.  Yes, I am pretty fortunate and blessed.  We have miracles big and small every single day.  Sometimes just having an ordinary day is one of them.  

Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hoarding at TJ's

I know that it the past I have waxed poetic about my love for all things Trader Joe's.  I am basically a Trader Joe's groupie.  I am pretty darn happy about the fact that I have not one, but two TJ's within 15 minutes driving distance from my house.  I have never had one single bad thing from Trader Joe's.  I love their products, their prices are super reasonable and they get some pretty amazing stuff in.  Unfortunately, their holiday products are only available for a small window in December.  Therefore, I say, let the hoarding begin!  

I did have to duck into Trader Joe's with the hopes that my favorite tea in the whole world was in.  It has been sold out the past few times I have gone in.  Today I scored!  Here is my stash, thus far. 
This tea is so amazing.  I put some Splenda in it with a little half and half.  It is so good.

While I was in there, I stumbled across these gems:
They are shortbread covered in dark chocolate.  OMG!  They are so awesome.  I see some more hoarding in my near future!

Lastly, this is something that I tried on my last trip to TJ's.  I bought it because I saw a fellow hoarder filling up her cart with it.  I asked her if it was really good.  She gave me a look that said I should remove my hand from the canister on the shelf.  Luckily, I escaped unscathed with my one can.  Again, a home run!
This day has been rather awesome.  I go to sleep with a happy heart!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Well, I could not live in a state of denial any longer.  Christmas is indeed coming.  I finally had to start my Christmas shopping today.  I am almost done, too.  Yay.  Sure, I was sort of holding off until Dec. 22nd to see if that whole Mayan prophecy thing came true.  But then you get down to some pretty slim pickins' and I am not into the whole doing my shopping on Christmas Eve thing.

So I let my fingers do my shopping.  I love me some Amazon.  I do remember the days where it was just books and now it is so much more.  I check there before I check anywhere else.  Yes, I do try to shop locally, too.  However, there are some things I just can not get locally.  So Santa's sleigh is on its way to me with a smiley box.  Liesl likes to remind me that they have all sorts of doggie things there, too!

Her little furry self is fast asleep and she is doing her low, soft snores.  She has had all of her nitey night kisses.  She absolutely loves to be kissed all over the top of her head.  If she feels that she is too far away for you to kiss her she will try to point one of her ears as far as she can to make it more convenient for you to give her a big smooch.

I am hoping that I go to sleep a little faster than last night.  Last night after I did my blog post, I turned off the light, burrowed in under the blankets and prepared to fall asleep.  Unfortunately, ten minutes later I was still laying there staring at the ceiling and for some reason my knee had decided to start throbbing.  Now I do not have knee problems so I can only figure it was related to my feet being cold all day.  Grrrr.  

I did not want to turn the light back on so I decided that I would listen to my ipod.  I was way backed up on listening to my Garrison Keillor Lake Woebegone podcasts.  (Like back to May!)  As a practicing Lutheran, I particularly like Garrison and the way he humorously portrays Lutherans.)  He has such a comforting voice and a quiet gift for story telling, so I figured that this would be helpful.  I listened to the first short podcast and was still wide awake.  I got a bit worried that I still was not feeling like I could fall asleep.  That was the last thing I remember.  I woke up what I believe was a couple of hours later with Garrison Keillor still telling stories.  I think it was the hardest I have slept in months.  It was truly a gift.  I will have to try that again.

Well, I am off to dreamland.  No ipod tonight.  

Peace be with you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yule Tide Greetings!

I think I am finally settling into the Christmas spirit.  Not in a rushed consumer kind of way, but more in a place of awe and wonder.  It has been a joy when I am out in the evening to see Christmas lights.  Most of the displays seem to be a bit more toned down this year. I think it is pretty neat that people take the time to do that.  Maybe next year I can ask my kiddos to help me with putting some up.

I am so happy to say that I made some progress on my grape square.  It is more of a grape mass now.  This is where I have to agree that back stitch is our friend.  It will look lovely when I get to define the grapes within the cluster.  Anyway here is a photo:
During the warmer weather, I forget just how much I love my little lavender neck warmer.  It is filled with rice and I just put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it comes out all toasty.  My feet have been cold all day (I am of the opinion that cold feet can make one miserable) , so this evening I put it on top of my slippers.  My feet are much happier now.  I used it to warm up the bed at night, or on my shoulders, or my feet.  I find that I do not have to turn the heater on, because this warmer works so well.  I love mine so much that I am thinking I may make up a few to give as gifts for close friends.  

So I have been thinking today about how truly fortunate I am.  I know some really wonderful people who are just so kind and smart.  I live in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world.  I have a little dog who thinks I am pretty great and walks around smiling most of the time.  My family is pretty amazing.  I had pepperoni pizza for dinner.  My feet are warm.   I am in a state of awe and wonder for the gifts I have already received.  It is a happy Christmas indeed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Back...Like A Bad Penny

Well, here I am, back again after a few days' hiatus.  I have not been feeling very well and needed to get some rest.  I am still muddlin' along but feeling a bit better.  Unfortunately, I had to go to a memorial today for a friend's husband who passed.  I realized that there has been way too much of this lately because when I went into my Sympathy card stash, there were none left.  I had bought a rather large stash of them within the past year, too.

This has been such a tough year for so many people.  I, for one will be so glad to bid adieu to 2012 in a few weeks here.  Oy vey.  But then I also put my troubles into perspective when I think of the journey that my friend has to made right now.  Her hubby was her very best friend and they did everything together.   My heart breaks for her.

I did get to stitch for a while tonight.  I had a few interruptions for schnauzer smoochies.  It makes my heart smile to get them out of the blue.  For the past few years this has not occurred.  Until the past few weeks, the only time she would give me a kiss was when I returned home from somewhere.  She was just not a kisser.  Last night, she just came up and gave me a kiss on my nose for no reason, then went on about her business.  This gives me hope that someday she will sit on my lap, too.  Baby steps.

So tonight I got to sit on the sofa with my lavender heating pad, my stitching and a marathon of Duck Dynasty.  It was a pretty good way to relax a bit.  That show makes me laugh out loud.  I got a bit done on my stitching.  Liesl napped on her favorite toys. (she makes a pile out of them and lays on top of the pile.) I am thinking that is a pretty good idea so I will go lay my head down, too.

Enjoy your Sunday.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have come to the decision that the nice ladies over at Nordic Needle are a bunch of trouble makers.  I am on their weekly email list.  As such, I get emailed on Sunday nights with a mini newsletter with their weekly stash specials.  Some of the items are so beautiful that I start to convince myself that I should try a new style of stitching, or that I should try to stitch a Hardanger tablecloth.  I suspect that their web page may pixelate at a rate that causes readers to be hypnotized.

Someday I would love to attend one of the retreats that Nordic Needle puts on.  Their store looks really big in the pictures.  I would love to see it.  Hardanger is a lost art and I appreciate how they celebrate it.  Roz has created some really impressive designs.  As I mentioned earlier, I start thinking crazy thoughts that I am better at Hardanger than I really am.  There is something about those lacy designs that make me delusional.

The night is super still.  We are expecting another rain storm so tonight it is that super calm that comes before rains.  This is our rainy season.  We expect it and are grateful that our reservoirs are getting filled up.  Liesl is not as thrilled about the rain as I am.  She just stands in the doorway, with a look that says, "You expect me to go out in that?"  She is a diva, what can I say.

Well, I am off to dreamland.  I will probably be dreaming about perle cottons, hardanger fabric, and   that I am talented with kloster blocks, and webbing.  I will dream about zwergschnauzers (mini) that are afraid of the rain, but give lots of happy kisses.  I will dream about good books, beautiful music, and the kind people that I know.  

Happy dreams to all of you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Grapes Progress

Well, I am plodding along on my grapes.  I am kinda over stitching with purple right now.  However, I do need to admit that it is sorta purty.  If you turn your head and squint you can make out grapes.  There are four more squares to go after this.  Think good thoughts for me.  :)

I was really blessed with spending some time with an old friend earlier.  We got to have one of those really profound discussions about life.  I so appreciate that my really close friends and I can be so honest with each other.  My friend is also a person of faith and really shares such amazing insight.  

While I was walking to the parking lot, I ran into another friend that I have not seen in about a year.  We also ended up talking for a while.  My friend is an incredibly grounded individual. I walked away thinking that I am really fortunate to know some pretty incredible and wise people.  Each time I get to share time with any of my friends I walk away with a pretty magical feeling, almost like I have had an angel visit.  Each interaction I  have  I feel like I have learned something new or grown a bit.  

Life is such a beautiful journey.  There are paths that sometimes go off in directions we could not have foreseen, but they tend to lead us where we need to go so that we can grow.  I have been fortunate to have people to walk with who help me to grow, to keep faith, and to see beauty.  We stand by each other through all of life's up and downs.  For this I feel truly blessed and grateful.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stormy Day

Oh, my goodness, it absolutely stormed here earlier today.  It was crazy raining.  I woke up a bit late because I could not get to sleep last night.  I felt really badly because I missed church this morning.  Liesl was happy for the sleeping in though.  When I got up she looked at me with one eye open like she hoped that I could keep any noise to a minimum so as not to disturb her beauty sleep.  

Unfortunately, I had to go out and brave the storm.  sigh.  It would have been nice to stay warm at home, however, it would have meant starving.  I do not like to grocery shop, but I had come to the point where I had slim pickins in the fridge.  It was either go shopping or try to figure out how to make a soup out of the teaspoon of ketchup I had left.  So I got dressed and headed out.  

I figured the more the merrier for my trip into the elements.  So I put Liesl in the car for the ride to the grocery store.  She started making it known that she wanted to be wrapped up in her blanket.  She has a bit of the flair for the dramatic.  So I wrapped her up and drove off into the driving rain.  I could not believe it could rain that hard.  I was doubting the wisdom of my going out as I had the windshield wipers on top speed. 

I came home from the grocery store absolutely drenched from loading the car.  I am happy that I now have food stocked in the house.  I usually go and shop for two to three weeks worth at once because to me, grocery shopping = no fun.  I got right back into my jammies and decided to read a book in bed to try to warm up.  Again, Liesl thought this was a splendid idea, so she went to bed, too.  We both ended up taking a really good nap.

So it was not a very productive day.  It was a nice, cozy day though.  Plus I got lots of puppy kisses today.  Liesl has become very smoochie lately, which is pretty nice.  She is a pretty loving and sweet little dog, so it is really special when she gives kisses on top of it all.  Love is awesome.


It is hard to believe that we are already in the season of Advent.  I have already decided this year that I am going to focus on the blessings of the season instead of making myself crazy and frustrated.  I am thinking about the gifts I received today.  A few people shared some really kind words with me, another gave me an unexpected hug.  You never really realize how important these kinds of things can be to someone.  Sometimes they make me feel all melty inside.  I know that I need to pass these things forward tomorrow so that I help to complete the circle of giving.   It is amazing how being kind makes the giver and the receiver feel.  I truly felt blessed today.

The best part of the day was coming home to a sweet little dog who acts like my walking through the door is the best thing that could happen.  Her little stubby tail was wagging so hard and I was just showered with puppy kisses.  It is something special to be loved like that.  

While I know that evil exists, I have always believed that good triumphs. There is tremendous goodness in the world.  I think this is why we have such positive reactions to things like the photo of the police officer in Times Square giving a pair of shoes to a man with bare feet in the freezing cold.  The goodness resonates in us, and most of the time we are moved to action, as well.  Love is of God, fear is not.  All that is good flows from God.

So tomorrow please share love and kindness with someone else.  A kind word, a hug, a blessing, a prayer offered on their behalf.  You never know how deeply someone else could use those things and it is almost effortless.  Just think of the impact it could have on our world, if we do something loving for someone else, even if they will never know about it.