Tuesday, December 25, 2007

O Christmas Tree....and dinner's in the crock-pot

I love my tumbleweed Christmas Tree!
Most of the presents are wrapped and one isn't because I took the beautiful red ribbon off the hank of glorious sock yarn. I made it into a cake and stuck some bamboo needles in it. The red ribbon said, "Proud to be an American".
The rooster and hen are in the picture because I forgot to send them to my mother. How could I forget to do that?
Well, I placed them in the condo like decoration and....well....forgot. I'll send them before the new year.
Christmas dinner is cooking in the crock-pot, too! I'm having a non-traditional pork loin and sauerkraut dinner. Besides beef roast, this is a very favorite that I grew up with. I don't have potatoes but I do have a sweet potato to place on top about an hour before I want to eat.

Is there anyone else who is having a non-traditional dinner? Tell me about it!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A New Christmas Story

Will The Christ Child Come?
Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the 12 days of Christmas were beginning!! We waited excitedly for the next night's surprise and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realize that the lamb was part of a nativity set. Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive. Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the givers as we slowly built the scene at the manager and began to focus on Christ's birth. On Christmas Eve, all the pieces were in place, but the baby Jesus.
My 12 year-old son really wanted to catch our benefactors and began to devise all kinds of ways to trap them. He ate his dinner in the mini-van watching and waiting, but no one came. Finally, we called him in to go through our family's Christmas Eve traditions, but before the kids went to bed we checked the front step-No Baby Jesus! We began to worry that my son had scared them off. My husband suggested that maybe they dropped the Jesus and there wouldn't be anything coming. Somehow, something was missing that Christmas Eve. There was a feeling that things weren't complete. The kids went to bed and I put out Christmas, but before I went to bed I again checked to see if the baby Jesus had come-no, the doorstep was empty.
In our family the kids can open their stockings when they want to, but they have to wait to open any presents until Dad wakes up. So one by one they woke up very early and I also woke up to watch them. Even before they opened their stockings, each child checked to see if perhaps during the night the baby Jesus had come. Missing that piece of the set seemed to have an odd effect. At least it changed my focus. I knew there were presents under the tree for me and I was excited to watch the children open their gifts, but first on my mind was the feeling of waiting for the ceramic Christ Child.
We had opened just about all of the presents when one of the children found one more for me buried deep beneath the limbs of the tree. He handed me a small package from my former visiting teaching companion. This sister was somewhat less active in the church. I had learned over time they didn't have much for Christmas, so that their focus was the children. It sounded like she didn't get many gifts to open, so I had always given her a small package - new dish towels, the next year's lesson manual - not much, but something for her to open. I was touched when at Church on the day before Christmas, she had given me this small package, saying it was just a token of her love and appreciation. As I took off the bow, I remembered my friendship with her and was filled with gratitude for knowing her and for her kindness and sacrifice in this year giving me a gift. But as the paper fell away, I began to tremble and cry. There in the small brown box was the baby Jesus. He had come!
I realized on that Christmas Day that Christ will come into our lives in ways that we don't expect. The spirit of Christ comes into our hearts as we serve one another. We had waited and watched for him to come, expecting the dramatic 'knock at the door and scurrying of feet' but he came in a small, simple package that represented service, friendship, gratitude, and love.
This experience taught me that the beginning of the true spirit of Christmas comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the Savior. But we will most likely find him in the small and simple acts of love, friendship and service that we give to each other. This Christmas I want to feel, again, the joy of knowing that Christ is in our home. I want to focus on loving and serving. More than that I want to open my heart to him all year that I may see him again.
Don't forget the reason for the Season.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Get a sandwich....this is a long read

Even though I keep busy with knitting Socks For Soldiers, I still have too much time on my hands to think about the things I miss.

I miss my father:
My mom and dad divorced when I was 6. I am the oldest of 3 girls.
He would visit us each weekend and make us dress up nice. We were reminded about where to place our feet when we got in his car.
Even if the cup was too big or the liquid too hot, we were not allowed to hold it with two hands or "slurp". He was very strict and almost everything I did irritated him. I got to thinking he didn't like me.
I turned 19 and lived a few streets from him. That's the year he disowned me (it's now been 30 years). I wrote him a while later and got the letter back with his handwriting on it - "Refused. Return to sender."
It was unopened.
Like a glutton for punishment, I wrote him for the next 5 years without a return address label. I didn't hear back from him.
Just two years ago, I made a birthday card for him with a picture of me (when I was 6) on the front. Inside, I just wrote that I loved him and missed him. I included my address.
I didn't hear back.

I miss my first husband:
Mike and I married when I was 21 and he was 34. Two months later, he turned 35.
He was a nice man and we were always interested in what the other person was interested in. Here's one of many stories: He was a city boy and I, a country girl. We had some chickens and he asked me, one day, where the egg came out of the chicken. I was giggling inside when I took him outside, picked up a hen and held her upside down. Her little bottom was right there for all to see and Mike gasped with disgust saying, "Oh, that's disgusting! I'm never eating another egg!"
Well, he did eat eggs after that. :)
Why do I miss him? I realized that not all men were like my father. Mike was nice, caring, protective and loving. I lost a part of my life when he was shot and killed 2 days before our 5th wedding anniversary. He was a deputy.

I miss my first child:
Jacob was born to me in 1985. I remember when I was leaving the hospital and sitting in the car waiting for them to place him in my arms. I was thinking - I don't know how to take care of him and they're trusting him to me! I was so scared but things worked out. He was such a good baby.
I got to have him for 3 1/2 years until his father legally took him from me. I was moving to another state and he had me served with papers preventing me from taking Jacob out of state.
I was already packed and just leaving when I was served. I looked around in shock and then noticed Jacob's father leaning against his car grinning and waving.
Another part of my life was lost.
Lots of stuff happened in between after I moved. I was also going through a divorce from my second son's father who left us when our son was a month old.
My heart hurts to this day with the loss of Jacob. I can never get it back.

I miss my attorney friend:
I met Randy Walker, after I became a Reserve Police Officer, in 1990. He was the prosecuting attorney for the City. We just hit it right off and had a long platonic relationship.
He divorced years later. About a year after that he met and rekindled his friendship with a widow that he knew in kindergarten. How cool is that?! He asked me to knit him a pair of kilt hose in his clan colors to wear in his wedding to Pam. He bought the yarn and pattern and I was more than honored to knit them up. Just about 2 years later, at the age of 56, he made Pam a widow again. I think I cried a long time and not just for myself. Sure I miss my dear friend but I can imagine the loss Pam felt. They were so good for each other.

Well, that's enough for today since I have started crying!
Another day, I'll write what I am thankful for (which is a great deal!).

Thank you for visiting my blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

After a snow storm....

......you just never know what might move in.

I was walking around and saw we had two squatters.
I don't know how long they will be around but we will all be keeping a close eye on them.
So far, they're pretty quiet and keep to themselves.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Not the same Mr. Greenjeans I grew up with......

This V-neck cardigan is being knit with KnitPicks Swish worsted in Marine Heather. It's a very deep scrumptous colored yarn. I'm using US sz 8 circulars in 24" and we (the yarn and I) are moving right along......

.....as you can see. The pattern is wonderful to knit and I've modified it only by adding bust darts so the front won't ride up.

The pattern can be found at Knitty.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Longies are finished!

They're done and just in the nick of time! It's getting so cold and they are - oh, so warm, but not too warm - just right.
The pattern is called Nether Garments in "Knitter's Almanac" by Elizabeth Zimmermann.I knit them with US sz 6 needles and flew through the Non-Pithy directions. :)
Will I make another pair?
I am waiting for my order from School House Press. The yarn of choice is Canadian Regal (a very close substitute for 'fisherman' wool). This time I will cast on more stitches at the ankle to incorporate a tapered look on the sides. Oh, I can't wait!
My wool order also includes Sheepsdown to knit the 'Hurry-Up Sweater' for my son. That, too, is in the same book.
Once you have the book, you can join the group, Elizabeth's Year, that finally encouraged me to finally start knitting from it.