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I'm going to stop saying that I'll commit do doing something every week. It seems to be trouble, bad weather means I can't be online, the whole house is sick, Grandma is in the hospital, etc.

Anyway....everybody I know is out of the hospital at the moment (knock on wood), the kids are at school, we have the part to fix the van, and the storms are past, so my wifi works. And it's still too wet after the recent rains (yay, rain) to garden, so I'm updating. If I can remember where to start.

I have finished Nephew #1's graduation afghan, and I need to wash it free of cat hair and pack it away for a month. I can't believe he's that old. Or that tall. He's enrolled in the ag equipment technician program at the votech in Beloit, which I think will be a good fit for him.

The kiddos are getting along. The Miss got gold honor roll again this 9-weeks, and is thrilled. The Boy is doing ok, but backsliding in math again, because they stopped doing the review. So we've added basic math review to his homework schedule; he is not a fan. But he needs it. He's been tested as autistic, which isn't a surprise, and doesn't really change the help he's getting at school. He'll be in summer school again, and then move to a new building for next school year. (His current building is preK-2nd, his next building will be 3rd-5th, and both have more kids than are in the school I graduated from, total. It's weird.)
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I have declared Wednesdays to be work-on-old-projects day. Today, that's my hexie quilt, which I started from Mom and Sis's quilting scraps a couple years ago. (There will be pictures, once I figure out how to make them look good on here.) I've got almost all of the 114 flower blocks done, and most of the fill-in-blocks done, and I've started sewing them together. It's getting big enough to be awkward to hold on my lap and stitch, so it's going to take a conscious effort to sit down and finish it. (Did I mention it's hand-sewn? English paper pieced, at about 25 stitches to the inch. I'm very proud of my seams.)

Lost a lot of my crafting time over the holidays to holiday prep and bad weather/creaky hands and the whole house coughing. So it goes. I did finish 4 winter hats for a family who moved back to Kansas from Oregon a couple weeks ago. They'd given all of their winter gear away when they moved out there, because they didn't have space to move it. I'm glad to have them back, and I hope things pick up for them.

No doll work lately. I need to finish a couple cloth dolls to give to one of the ladies who's been giving me her quilting scraps to craft with. And I have two new patterns to play with, so there will likely be more doll crafting soon.

The Miss made the straight-A honor roll this 9 weeks. She's very proud of herself, and rightly so. The Boy is still working dead-on average for his grade level, which is as good as honor roll for him, as far as I'm concerned. (Unteachable, my rosy round arse. Someday, I'm going to take all his recent progress reports, find all the teachers who said that about him, and smack them soundly with the report.)
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My plan to post a project a week was swamped by a month full of family health crisis, a series of horrible coughs that the kids kept bringing home from school, trying to make all the things I'd promised to my family, and just plain no time/energy to pull sentences together. So it goes sometimes.

So, at the beginning of the year, we are looking at:

At the moment, Grandma is stable, if not well. She's 91 now, as of Dec 14, so it's no huge surprise. But she's lasted longer than the doctors thought she would, back in October. And she still has good days, here and there. She still knew me and my sister, by name, at Yule, and she knew my kids' names. The meds that are supposed to be boosting her liver function make her dementia worse, so that's pretty good at this point.

By spent December working very hard on a series of custom projects at work. Nothing to be talked about, yet, but it's interesting to watch from here. (Some of the work follows him home, to be handled in peace and quiet, so I get to see it.) Not happy about the late nights and missed weekends, but it's not forever.

The kiddos go back to school on Thursday. FINALLY. Sigh.

The greenhouse is doing ok. It got too cold, when we had those nights below 0, last month. Nothing to be done about that, but wait and see what perks up in March. One of the lime trees, and both lemons, are definitely ok. My little tea bush lost its flowers, but its stems and foliage look alright. The stuff I'm overwintering for the neighbor might have been better off in her sewing room. *wince*

I have a stack of projects in progress, more than I'd intended. I have a doll I'm making and dressing for a lady who gives me her quilt fabric scraps to play with. I've got a stack of little rag dolls in progress, just for fun. (And because The Miss has laid claimed to them, and wants them all dressed. My kids might be a bit spoiled.) My sister wants a scarf, and that was half done before my knitting got hijacked by an urgent need to hats. And Sis needs new fingerless gloves, because someone stole hers off her desk at work. Plus quilts to finish, and....well, lots of projects. I'll leave it at that.

I just knitted 2 hats, start to finish, today. Ouch ouch ouch. I do know better, but it was for a good cause. Old friends and their littles are moving back to KC from eastern Washington, after a long fruitless job search. They don't have much at all; she told me they'd given away most of their winter things when they moved out there, because they didn't have the space to move them. So I made hats for the littles. I'll send them in to work with By on Thursday, along with a couple coats my monsters have outgrown, and he'll hand those off to another friend who's picking the family up at the airport. **IF** I can straighten my hand tomorrow, I'll start doing hats for the adults.

Off to finish folding the laundry. That, I can do even with my hand all kinked up. I'll try to get some pics up of the finished things, later.
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Well, the design consultant (aka the 9-yr-old) has approved the work thus
far. It needs more blue and turquoise, she says. Not at all where I'd
intended to go with these, but I seem to be developing a series of little
dolls that look a bit like the old-time tattooed ladies in a circus

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Restarting this blog with a new project: this doll will eventually be
embroidered with "lots of little flowers", as requested by the 9-yr-old,
who picked the colors. Doll is based on a new-to-me pattern by Ann Wood.
It's an adaptable pattern, and I like the 5" size, so I'll probably do more
of these.
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Picked my first medlar today. My little tree had 3 this year, out of the half dozen it set. (I think the deer sampled the rest.) It probably needed a few more days of cold, which we're lacking the fall, but it was close to the custardy texture I've read about, and the applesauce flavor was developing. By's comment was "tasty enough, if you could get enough of the to do something." They're not big fruit....the one we sampled was a little bigger than a golf ball. And they have 5 big hard seeds, about the size and shape of a large dry kernel of field corn.

I'll wait and try the other two fruits after they've hard more chilling. They're interesting if nothing else, and a decorative small tree. I may plant another one, just for that.

Let's see....what's blooming this week? I know, it's December. But I've seen dandelions and some sheltered sprigs of daisy fleebane still in bloom. There are a couple of echinaceas still trying to bloom, tucked into the shelter of their fluffy basal leaves. And, last week, I found a sprig of Knautia macedonica in rosy bloom.

In the greenhouse, most of the ornamentals are blooming. Petunias, snaps, black-flowered vinca. The pineapple sage is almost done, but still showy, and my oldest rosemary is blooming so hard the branches look gray until you get up close. Still waiting on the lemon tree to bloom. Its buds are fat and promising, and I'm daydreaming of picking lemons next summer.
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Tonight, we made "leftover apple bits" jelly. It's a medium honey brown, slightly cloudy, and oh so tasty.It goes something like this:

1) Prepare enough apples for a double batch of applesauce. Put peels and trimmings in a put for later.

2) Cook apple chunks per recipe, with lemon juice and a little water and honey and cinnamon and cloves. Drain per recipe, saving appledy-spice liquid.

3) Finish applesauce and can, etc.

4) Pour appledy-spice liquid over peels and bits, then add enough water to cover bits. Simmer entire mess until the peels have lost all their color, and it looks like you've stewed a pot of old muddy socks.

5) Strain through colander and cheesecloth (or a dishtowel, if that's what's handy), reserving all the liquid. Put stewed bits in compost.

6) Measure out juice, and top up to get to 7 cups of juice.

7) Put in pot with a package of pectin, bring to a rapid boil. Add 9 cups of sugar, very quickly, and stir like a crazy person. When your arm feels like it's about to fall off, grit your teeth and keep stirring, until it comes to a boil that you can't stir down. Keep stirring (carefully!!) for 1 minute.

8) Pull pot off heat and ladle jelly into prepared jars, to 1/4" from the rim. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, add lids and rings.

9) Process in a water bath for 5 min, etc. Mine made about 11 cups.
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Things I never though I'd find myself saying, #42: "Boy! Stop driving your tractor over the cat!"
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Not only was my improvised bath-time song (to the tune of "Bicycle Built for Two") not a hit, The Boy gave me a look I hadn't expected to get from him until he was 13.
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SThe rest of the day's progress came to a SCREEE-EEE-CHING halt while I struggled with my sweater pattern. After crocheting the *#@%?@%%!%$$ sleeve twice, I finally concluded that the designer was not at all thinking when s/he wrote the numbers for the larger sizes. And since it is standard practice for the big-name designers and publishers to only make a sample of the smallest size (cheaper, you know), the rest don't get tested.

I mean, really...a 15" upper arm circumference on the 2X size of what's supposed to be a loose, comfy, outer-layer sweater? Are you mental?

Am settling down to rewrite the sleeve pattern so that the goddam thing will actually fit, and am very vexed at the necessity on a pattern I *paid* for.
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Just finished reading "Poky Little Puppy" to The Miss, while The Boy revved up the toy chainsaw. Odd, odd combination.

The Boy correctly named the parts of his face this morning, and then he did it again, pointing at the parts of my face. Yay for increasing vocabulary, and finally starting to use it. Now, if I could justget him to sit down and pay attention when I'm reading to The Miss.

Today's to-do list includes, in no particular order:
* put away clean dishes, reload dishwasher
* make a batch of soft breadsticks to go with dinner (I have a new recipe that's supposed to be similar to Pizza Hut's breadsticks)
* 2 loads of laundry, washed AND folded (I always have trouble with the "and folded" part) 1 down, 1 to go
* feed kids and get them ready for school, and to the bus on time
* take out compost, water greenhouse, move last pot of petunias into greenhouse

* finish the crocheted snowflake I started last night, and do at least one more

I had thought, yesterday, that I'd spend this afternoon cleaning out the other pantry cabinet, but now I don't think I will. My hands are cracked and irritated from cleaning chemicals yesterday, and I'll be happier if I give them a day to heal.

Did manage to finish the piece of sweater I was crocheting on yesterday. That makes the back and both front pieces finished, and I started the first sleeve this morning. With 8 1/2 balls of yarn left, so I ought to be good. (I was worried when the back took a third of the yarn I'd bought for this project.)

Edited 2:12pm, to adjust list.

Also, am waiting to hear from Sis, who watched a shoot-out somewhere near her home last night. Which is WAY out in the boonies, so this is a rather odd incident. Hoping she'll respond soon, with details.
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Been busy enough I forgot to update. Again. Spent Thursday getting ready for the wedding, Friday travelling to and attending the wedding, Saturday visiting Mom and travelling home, and Sunday crashing. The kids and I spent Monday and Tuesday sick, By spent them at work. (But not, thank goodness, too sick to send the monsters to school.)

We have a new project at school, as part of thing sponsored by Scholastic. They want parents to read to the kids at least 20 minutes a day. The Miss and I have managed 20 to 30 min, as far as my voice has held out. The Boy won't sit still for it; he wanders off about 5 minutes in. The Miss is already excited about story time, and on a couple of stories, is trying to pick out words as I read. So, I've read some of these books too many times for my own sanity, in just 3 days.

The wedding was nice. Maybe 25 people there, mostly family. The Boy behaved better than we expected, which was an extra bonus. Mom was terribly put out that Sis wore a dress that showed almost all of her tattoos, and no panty hose (probably to set Mom off, knowing Sis). Sis's two boys "gave her away", after walking her up to the preacher, all clean and tidy and very proud, which was very sweet. Her husband's parents cooked the reception dinner, which included large amounts of tasty smoked meats, and the cake was chocolate.

They held the wedding in the McPherson Opera House, a recently restored building, which has some stores at ground level, and the opera auditorium, and ballrooms and meeting rooms. It's a beautiful building, with a lot of the original stained glass and walnut trim. And plenty of stairs, which all the little kids at the wedding ran, in a little pack, giggling.

One of the street-level stores in the building is a new(ish) yarn store, called Oh Yarn It! Great place, friendly owner, with a solid, basic selection of affordable yarns and needles. I did indulge, in some forest green laceweight alpaca, and I think I may still be in trouble for sneaking down to buy yarn and not taking Grandma with me.

I scrambled Saturday evening, when we got home, and got most of the tender things in the greenhouse. I missed one pot of petunias, but they're okay so far. *crosses fingers* Don't think we've had a frost since that night. We got some puttering done Sunday. By finished unloading the truck after that last trip to Neosho, and I started cutting back frost-killed things.

By's dad is *supposed* to fly home today. His folks are pretty fed up with the schedule changesm I think that this is it for that project, though. One hopes. They're still having issues with the peope trying to buy the farm in Neosho, but they've got a backup contract for cash, for the full amount, if the first one goes south. Haven't heard anything on that in a couple days.
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Never did make a formal list for the day. Got a fair few things done anyway.
* cleaned out old aquarium, bleached it, and set aside for planting as a terrarium tomorrow
* took carload of old clothes, blankets, and other stuff to Goodwill
* found lightweight coats for both kids at Goodwill, along with a shirt for The Boy, jeand for Yhe Miss, and several things for me
* did light grocery run @ Walmart, also got myself jeans
* put all the shopping away
* took more of the trash out
* baked pumpkin muffins for breakfasts for the next couple days
* started a batch of soft pretzels for snacking; they're on first rise now
* ran clothes from Goodwill through the wash to get all the awful fabric softener scent off of them
* handwashed 2 sinkfulls of dishes
* made up the rows on the sweater that I didn't finish yesterday, and then a few; am halfway through the shoulder and neck shaping on the right side of the back piece

And, my biggest accomplishment this afternoon and evening, I have kept the kids fed. Monsters haven't stopped eating since they got home from school. A bowl of soup apiece right after school (by request, believe it or not), then 5 bananas between, since. Which was the entire hand I'd bought, thinking it'd last until we left for Mom's on Friday. *shrug* That's what I get for thinking, I guess.
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* put clean dishes away, load with dirty dishes, hand wash the big stuffWonderful Hubby did this this morning, yay!
* load bags of outgrown boys' clothes in car for Goodwill
* move more tender things to greenhouse
* water greenhouse!!

* scrub old 5-gal aquarium, get rid of gravel, and get it ready to become a terrarium
* minimum 5 pattern repeats on my sweater
* frog defective sleeve on The Boy's sweater and rework (at least start it)
* at least 30 min on cleaning up directories on computer

A note: someone I know started using her lj as a scorecard for herself, to help her keep track of all the things in her busy life. Seemed like a good idea; the kids get me pretty unfocused at times. And since I'm usually busy, but not with anything that I deem interesting and blog-worthy, this will maybe get me back in the habit of writing a bit.

1:45pm Tuesday, ETA: Slower start today, but that's ok. And I haven't hit everything on my list, but I've hit a few others, so that's ok too.

Finally got the flower fairy plaque hung up out in my altar area, on one of the dead pines. There's a wild grape trying to come up near the tree; I think I'm going to let it grow up the tree, and frame the fairy, maybe plant a bit of clematis there too, for flowers.

Took a close look at my biggest rosemary's, with an eye towards moving them inside for the winter. The one that had been obscuring the door to the greenhouse is now tied up to a set of sturdy stakes. Hopefully, the branches will set this way, and it'll head up instead of out. It was that, or prune off almost half the plant so it'd go through the door. The smller of the three rosemary's in my "rosemary forest" HAS to be pruned. It's got one branch that headed down over the side of the pot, and almost touches the ground, while the pot is on a 6" riser. That's gotta go.

Next stop on the day's list: progress on my sweater. And tea. Which is just a bonus.
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Gods have mercy on any more telemarketers, political representatives, or survey callers that have the misfortune to call my house this week, because I certainly won't. Between the irritations of the political silly season, family crap, and the fact that my one and only radio station is doing its biannual pledge drive, I'm not fit company. And I've bit the head of three politcal survey callers in the past hour.

5: 33 pm ETA Make that three political solicitors and the manager of a telemarketing group that calls business about their google business web pages. That last bunch has been calling, without taking us off their list, since April. He got treated accordingly. Here's hoping that gets them to go the **** away.


Oct. 1st, 2012 11:25 am
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Since 8:30 this morning, I have:
* fed and medicated children
* finished loading and run dishwasher
* 2 loads of laundry, with another currently in washer
* folded 3 loads' worth, out of the dryer and baskets of clean clothes (which puts me about half done)
* fixed broken toy truck
* gathered trash
* 5 pattern reps on the sweater I started for myself


By is in Neosho again, gathering up whatever tools and such might still be of use; we're hoping it's the last trip. He likely won't be home until 8 or 9 tonight.

The Boy has settled into being merely sick with a head cold, which is a vast improvement over the weekend. The Miss, unfortunately, has a bad head cold, and I'm afraid I'm getting it. Bleh.

The rest of today's to-do list:
* get kids pulled together and off to school (yay!)
* clean kitchen counter, dig out slow cooker, put together veggie stew

* finish folding laundry, put kids' clothes away (boo)
* take out compost and trash
* water some stuff in the garden and put the most frost-tender things on the back bench in the greenhouse

* rip out defective sleeve on sweater I'm knitting for The Boy, and restart properly
* 3 more pattern reps on my sweater, minimum
* energy levels permitting, throw together breadsticks to go with stew Scratch breadsticks, there's still plenty of oatmeal bread. And plenty of cool week coming up for baking.

6:22pm ETA: Final chore update.
Laundry's mostly done, the rest of my stuff and By's can wait until the kids have crashed.
Am most of the way through my 3-patterm-repeat minimum on the back of my sweater; will probably stop there.
The Boy's sweater will have to wait until I am less interrupted and less irritable. Maybe tomorrow.
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RIP Michael O'Hare. 1952 - 2012

"We have to stay in space. And there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. Whe that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes, and - all of this - all of this - was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars."
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HOr, is it Monday *again* ???

The Boy barfed last night, but seems ok at the moment. No fever, which counts for a lot. Am trying to feed him easy-on-the-tum foods, so he'll be ok to go to school.

The hub barfed in the wee hours of the morning, but is on his way to Neosho anyway. Even though he was skipping his morning coffee, because his tum and throat were still unhappy. Because...

By's mom called yesterday afternoon. They've got an offer on the farm, which needs an answer or counter-offer by 5pm today. There were a few tractor parts By and I had never made it down to retrieve, so he's after those, plus whatever tools and household items survived the depridations of partying teens. According to the guy who rents the pastures, the local kids have broken into the house and used it for parties a few times, and it's pretty trashed; part of By's trip is to take pics to send to his mom. There's also damage from an ice storm a few years back (flattened outbuildings). Our understanding is that the potential buyers want to bulldoze the house (maybe outbuildings too) and build new. So, he's got to go, and he's got to go today. Bleh.

In the column of "news we don't have to act on immediately", Sis has set a time and date for the wedding, even if she hasn't gotten around to sending invites. People they want to see are getting phone calls. Friday, Oct 5, in McPherson. We'll probably go out that afternoon and crash with Mom, do a little cake to celebrate The Miss's birthday a week late while we're there.

By's dad is still in Greece, trying to herd cats. His mom said he's calling this the "ground hog day" project, and he's not happy. He's tenatively scheduled to come home Oct 5. All this dinking with his schedule jacks with the paperwork to close on the farm.

Last I'd talked to Mom, the siding and new windows are done on her house, and she was waiting for them to come back and do the garage. And she's thrilled with the results.


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