Thursday, September 29, 2011

Darn Darn Darn!

NOT the thread and needle kind - the stomp your feet on the floor in frustration kind!

I had a "spell" yesterday while at work - dizziness, lightheaded, eyes not focusing too well kind of spell, so I had to leave work and come home only 2 hours in to my day.

As dizzy as I was, I did notice that the tree in front of my house was shedding leaves like crazy, the boulevard and sidewalks were covered.  And so I begged, pleaded whined and generally tried to suggest that someone should really bag up all those leaves.

No takers, in fact I was told quite impolitely to get the darn leaves out of my mind.  Well!!  The faster they fell, the more I pleaded, but there was no co-operation going on in my sphere at all.  I did sort of think about trying to do it myself, but really it was such a chore to stay upright, I couldn't imagine how I would manage it.

So I slept most of the day - and wouldn't you know it rained in the evening!  Well, there was a lost opportunity for sure - I need my stuffing leaves for the pumpkin man to be dry - darn!

It's been raining off and on all day today too, and I'm still dizzy- slightly less so than yesterday.  My eyes are clearer but I still feel tired, and so like yesterday I have been napping the day away.

It's cloudy, cool and the wind is blowing enough to make my wind chimes sing.  The dog is asleep at my feet, and Chip is grinding his beak (his pre-sleep habit).  Yawn....  guess I could take another nap.... yawn... yawn...  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How about a challenge?

Build a Pumpkin- Head- Man 101 - sort of like build- a- bear!

Come along with me and take the challenge!   Build your own pumpkin- head man for your front step, send me a picture of your finished product, and the best entry (to be judged by my neighbour Gordon - he's a structural engineer ) will win a prize.

I'm thinking the prize will be either a small "fall angel" or a "pumpkin head bear" - It will take you some time to gather your leaves depending on your location.  Our leaves are turning and falling pretty good, but if you live further south this might not be the case quite yet.  When I have decided and made the prize I will post it here... soon.

Pictures should be received by October 20th and I will announce the winner on October 31st.

Supplies for the challenge:
1pair of men's jeans or pants - your choice of colour/material and condition.
1 long sleeved man's shirt - your choice of colour/material and condition.
Small ball of strong string or yarn - colour of your choice.
Foot attire - socks/boots/sneakers/   - your choice... get creative.
Pumpkin with a face drawn on for the head.
Hat or cap of some type.

Some hints:

Start at the bottom of the pants and tie your string securely around the ankle of the pants.  Stuff the pants with leaves (I use bags of leaves as you can position the body better with the leaves in bags). Insert a couple of heavy rocks in the butt of the pants so your man sits firmly.

When you have stuffed the pants to the waist... move to the shirt.  Tie the wrists and stuff the shirt as tightly as you can.  It helps if you can insert a flat rock or a small board just under the shirt at the neck for the pumpkin to sit on.  You don't want the board or rock to be noticeable however....

Insert the shirt into the waist of the pants and tie a string around the waist to secure the shirt in pants.

Draw or paint your face and set the head on the neck of the body, add the hat.

You can embellish your guy with flowers, straw - whatever you want... jazz him up a bit, and don't forget to set the legs into his shoes.  Pose him however you want.... and watch your visitors and passers- by enjoy him all fall long.

If you live where the leaves don't leave the trees you can use whatever you can find to stuff your man's body.

You may make a pumpkin child if you so choose.


Happy building everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FRIENDS AND FALL

I belong to many forums on the Internet.  One of my favorite spots to spend time is the forums on Craftbuddy.com.

This site has been around for awhile, people have come and go - but there remains some faithful friends and yes most are crafters of something or other, some even have craft-based business - but first they are "friends".

As time goes on we tend to spend less and less time talking about our crafts - and more and more about our lives.  Some of us have been through a lot of lifes ups and downs together - we have weathered hard times, sickness together - and we have rejoiced together in happy times.  These folks are the best of the best, and they have come to mean a great deal to me.... more than I can say.

Because we are trying to lure newbies to our forum and trying to inject more crafting to the site we all have been thinking of new posts and topics to draw folks to our threads.

One gal did a couple of season-related posts - one was what was your one special memory of summer just past, and the other was what do you like most about fall.

Because I moderate the "writer" thread in the site and have been very neglectful of my duties there, I penned my response in a poem for my Craftbuddy friends.

Maybe you would enjoy it to - so here it is....


IT’S FALL!

When summer’s done
The days grow short
And evenings seem to crawl.

As sure as God above
We’ve reached the season
We call fall.

Colours bold
Orange, red and gold
Paint every tree in sight.

Harvest moon
Not seen in June
Helps light our path at night.

The bite of frost
Now nips the air
Winter’s coming near.

Pumpkin Pie
And apple crisp
Fall’s tastes and scents so pure.

Geese in flight
So long, dear ones
Take care till spring’s return.

Farmer’s fields
Devoid of crop
Are ready to be burned.

Thanksgiving meal
Some family time
So much to give thanks for.

A home so warm
As evening draws
A leaf wreath on the door.

As winter comes
And shows its beard
Fall slowly slips away.

It will be back
Same time next year
I can’t wait for that day!

2011  Dale Graumann

Monday, September 26, 2011

SHOW ME YOUR SMILE!

How come Monday's roll around so quickly?  Has anyone ever checked into that? Friday rolls along and you're all gung - ho for the weekend and.... poof!  It's gone!

Now that I don't have Friday's off any more I feel a real time crunch when it comes to the weekend.  For the past few weekends I have been spending a large part of my Saturday's at the dentist... and then the rest of the day - recovering from my time spent at the dentist!  That leaves only Sunday to accomplish everything which up until September 6th I was using 3 days to accomplish.  No wonder I am not getting anything done!

The dentist thing has been a challenge, and a journey I care not to take again for a very long time - even if it is my own darn fault that I am taking the journey in the first place!

You see I have not been to the dentist in over 10 years -  it might even be longer... I didn't have pain... okay  - I didn't have severe pain... so I didn't go.  Also my dentists kept leaving me after a few visits.

This whole thing started a few weeks ago when I had some very major pain in both the top and bottom jaw on the left side of my mouth.  Nothing I did or took helped so finally I decided to make an emergency visit to a dentist.  I went to the clinic I had been to before and accepted any dentist - I was that desperate!

They took x-rays, and a very young ,cute and sweet fellow who reminded me of my 23 yr old son came in to examine my mouth.  He told me I had a very bad infection and then proceeded to tell me that I needed lots and lots of dental work.   He didn't yell at me for not going to a dentist regularly, he didn't even ask when I had last been to the dentist - but because I was feeling so guilty I blurted it out anyway!  He smiled and said "Well it's good that you are here now... and we will fix you up." 

Wow what a nice guy!!  No lecture!!  He gave me a prescription for pain killers and an antibiotic and I booked an appointment to return in 2 weeks time.

I was so nervous that first time back to see the dentist that I couldn't even drive myself.  All I could think of was the "needle" and the "cleaning"  both had me almost physically sick - I was that scared.  The assistant got me all comfy in the chair and by the time the dentist arrived I was hyperventilating so much I was dizzy - seriously - a woman my age in such a panic over a "needle". 

In his quiet manner he talked and worked and the needle was in before I even felt it.... really it was simple and no pain.  "Okay.... I can do this, deep breath...."

He proceeded to fill 2 teeth and put 2 more fillings where my gums had receded, and 2.5 hours later I was walking to the hygienist's room to start my cleaning.

"OMG - I'm frozen and feeling sick again"...  Shaking and really needing to pee!  Off I head to torture #2 of the day.  Luckily my sweet, kind dentist had seen my fear and had frozen both top and bottom of my mouth so the hygienist could do her thing.  I believe they call it scaling now adays - 4 units of it, I am told.  All I know is I was there over an hour and when she said I was done .... well she just was not kidding!

I waited another two weeks and this past Saturday I returned.  No fear this time, and I drove myself... He did 6 fillings (no problem) and just before I am ready to head to the hygienist - we discuss my next visit.
I asked him if it would be okay if I take a month off - after all my pocket book has taken quite a hit (even with insurance).  He says, "Yes - but I won't be here in November... today is my last day here!"

Well Heck - of course it is his last day - here we go again!!!  And I'm thinking... now what am I going to do?    I'm really really liking how my teeth are looking and feeling... I had wanted to finish this work, I had even promised to go for regular check ups and cleanings!

 Have you ever seen a 55 yr old woman cry at the dentists??  Yeah -  it's not pretty!  Pitiful -

Surprise! 

 I booked that appointment for November - and I'm keeping it too.... I'm even going to get a whitening before I'm done... You Betcha!

Friday, September 23, 2011

FALL STARTS TODAY!

It's official, summer is over and today Fall begins.  We never can predict how long our fall will last, sometimes it lasts well into November, and other years we can barely make it to Halloween!

Already our leaves are turning and a couple more good strong frosts and all the leaves will be brightly coloured for a few weeks and then they will be gone.  In my neighbourhood this means sweat equity.  I live in an older neighbourhood where every home is surrounded by giant old Elms.  My little home sits right under two of them, and when they start to shed their leaves my home and yard are usually buried in leaves.


I don't really mind raking and bagging leaves but I do prefer doing in on a really cool crisp October day.  I love having my cheeks tingling from the cool air while I work and better yet is returning to the warm house after the work is done and having a huge cup of steaming hot chocolate and a cookie or two, or how about some warm apple crisp with a steaming pot of tea.   Ahh... simple pleasures truly are the best!

This season I am going to try and make a pumpkin man again.  I did one the first year we were in our home.  I took a worn pair of Gary's jeans and a long sleeved flannel shirt and stuffed them with garbage bags full of leaves until I had a poseable shape.  I wedged the legs of the jeans in some old sneakers and then placed the "body" on my front steps beside my door.  I found just the right sized pumpkin for a head - drew a scarecrow-type face on it and placed it on the neck of the shirt.  Then it was off to the thrift store for an old hat - which turned out to be a flannel fedora.  I added some brick a brac around the center of the hat and plopped it on the pumpkin man's head.

He was fantastic - I received so many compliments about the life-sized figure sitting on my stairs for 2 days... and then he was gone.

Someone with not much respect and obviously no imagination to make their own pumpkin man - stole mine, right off  my property...  I didn't even get the chance to catch his image on film.

I decided to try again this year - maybe those that abducted my first man have moved out of the area - or grown up enough to realize that it is not neighbourly to steal from one's neighbours.  Hopefully this time my pumpkin man can stay for the season and for sure this time I'll get his image captured just in case he walks away again.

So Happy Fall to everyone  - enjoy Mother Nature's handiwork as you journey through this most wonderful season of all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TEA WITH MRS. CLAUS

I know that it is far too early to be thinking of the CLAUS family, even though I'm sure things are in full swing up in the North Pole - after all Christmas is almost only 3 months away - but I have good reason to be in this mind state, because.....

I had tea with Mrs. Claus last evening!

I know, I know - you're thinking I've really gone over the edge this time - but I tell you, it's true!

Every year Canada Post encourages children from all over the world to write a letter to Santa Claus at the North Pole.  It is an event that is hyped by stores, friends, parents... well a lot of people.  People who don't even believe in Santa encourage their children to do this because ... Santa writes back!

I have proof!  When my son was about 7, he wrote a letter to Santa - I remember it being a very big deal.  How Santa even read it is beyond me - but low and behold weeks later a reply came in the mail right from the North Pole!  It wasn't a typed form letter either - it was hand written and personal - and I was surprised at how well Santa seemed to understand my child.

There was something about that letter - I read it several times, and then it came to me - the handwriting - I had seen it before!  The more I thought about it, the more it bugged me - until I realized that the handwriting belonged to my long-time girlfriend, Denise.

Denise worked at Canada Post and that particular year she accepted the job to answer the letters to Santa Claus.  She and her assistants read each and every letter sent that year - and responded to every one of them - even to the ones without return addresses!

We talked about that last evening over a pot of tea and a yummy dessert at the restaurant in the local book store.  She told me about some of the funny letters that Santa received that year and about some of the sad letters to Santa.  Letters from underprivileged children, dying children, spoiled rotten children and sadly the just plain stupid letters that some adults sent.

I don't think many parents give this tradition a whole lot of thought when they pop their child's letter to Santa in the mail each year... I know I didn't... I was just sort of happy that it didn't cost me for a stamp!  I certainly gave it no more consideration once the letter was gone.

It is just one of those things that we take for granted as adults, one of those things that we have come to expect, but not consider for more than a minute.

How sad for us...

So 15 years later I am saying Thank you to Mrs. Claus for taking the time to answer my son's letter to Santa.  Thank you on behalf of the little "Smith" boy who's return address was missing on his letter - but you tracked it down anyway after hours and hours of research.  Thank you from the child who only wanted one toy, and thank you from the child that wanted every toy in the store!

You touched lives in a way that none of us ever could...

And from here on in - you're Mrs. Claus to me!   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FEEL LIKE COOKING?

What is it about fall and food? 

Every fall, I get this wonderful urge to make piles and piles of food - food that asscociates to certain seasons.  Seriously - you don't feel that way?

I guess its my Mom's fault then.  The end of summer and beginning of fall in our home growing up was a constant excercise in "Putting down food"!  She canned and froze produce from the garden in large quantities... Cases and cases of BC peaches and Pears dissapeared in to quart sealers.  She even canned chicken  for casserols.  She baked and froze bread, cookies, pies, and in late October early November when the weather was really crisp and cool, my parents spent a weekend out at my unlce's farm butchering, and processing a whole beef, sometimes a pig and about 30 chickens.  When they got home they would wrap and label all the meat - and then it was sasauge making time. 

Nothing was wasted - Mom even rendered the fat for making laundry soap, and the crunchie bits from that (suet) was saved to feed the wild birds outside in the winter.

Just thinking about it makes me feel warm inside.  I guess in a way it was a comfort to us all, and especially to her, knowing she had food to provide for her family.

I don't really want to "Put down food" to the extent she did - but I do want to in my own way.  So last weekend I started by making 7 dozen cabbage rolls.  Those will last us until just before Christmas - when I will make another fresh batch.  Next I will make cabbage buns... Mom always made these for my dad to take with on his hunting trips.  All they are is fried cabbage, hamburger and onion with some flavouring of salt and pepper - wrapped with white bread dough and baked.  My family love them - and they make a filling meal with a bowl of soup on a chilly fall night.

I might make a few batches of cinnamon buns, some loaves and such - but that will be the extent of my "Putting down of food".  Pretty sketchy compared to my Mom's efforts - but completely suitable for mine!

Okay - now I'm hungry... gotta see if I can find some food...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Embarrassing!

Imagine my embarrassment when I tried to log into my own blog spot this morning, and couldn't remember either my log in, or my password!  I could have kept this to myself, of course, but as embarrassing as that was having been absent from here for so long is even more embarrassing.

Have I lost my readers?  Probably...

Was that my intention?  No!

What's my excuse?  Laziness and beautiful summer weather calling me outdoors away from the computer?  That one doesn't work?  Hmmmmm.....  Okay, maybe just laziness.... okay - okay...

But wasn't it a beautiful summer?  It was here in Winnipeg.  We had endless heat and sun and blue skies; NO mosquitoes, and I had Friday's off every week to add to my weekends.  It was perfect, and it ended way too soon, as all really good things seem to do.

It's back to "normal" life now, and really that is pretty darn good too - all things considered.

I have been busy working on many projects and as usual not completing any with great speed.  I have almost completed Corri and Henry's wedding gift - which I can't describe here, because she may stop by and read about it - but I will post a picture of it just as soon as I've given it to them.  Their wedding was last weekend and I missed that too - but that's a whole other post.  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Fehr... may you have many many years of wedded bliss ahead of you.

I have almost completed the first of two swaps with my friends on the Craft Buddy site.  Again - I cannot tell you what I am creating - but soon I'll have a picture of that as well.  The first swap is a fall swap and it is to be mailed before mid October.  I will be able to make that deadline - no problem.  The second swap is a Christmas ornament - that due in December - no problem!  For both swaps I have decided to work out of my comfort craft - meaning I sure hope I don't mess either item up!

In the meantime I have offered to knit shawls for the Prayer Shawl Ministry at church, have also become involved in a Cancer group at church, and am toying with the notion that I might love to return to singing in the church choir.

And there is a new baby due in the family in November... that is seriously exciting!!

I'm back my friends.... hope you come back too...