Out with the old, and in with the older….

Well, where did December go?

My grandmother lives far away in another state, as do my parents. And all are very fragile at the moment. So the man about the place had to go on a spur of the moment trip to my grandmother’s cottage and move out some of her things because it is looking more and more likely that she will need more full time care. At 93, she is showing signs of needing someone else to help organize her affairs, so he will be returning at the end of next week – this time by airplane at the end of a previously scheduled business trip and not towing a Uhaul behind him. I will remain here giving final exams and making sure my boys get to their basketball games and such.

So I had to organize much of the holidays on my own while the trip was being made. Family was hosted, food was cooked, presents bought and given and made….some things went by the wayside due to shortage of time – but noone noticed I don’t think, so I call that successful.

And then there was the task of sorting through the stuff that made the cross country trip.

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What do you keep? What do you discard? How do you make these decisions with pieces of family history?For me, it came down to whether or not I could use it.

Some things have serious sentimental attachment, and it is okay to keep a certain amount of those things if there is room to store it. I had room for Sunday Go to Meeting gloves – women still wore them when I was small, and I even had them at Easter early on. So I kept the gloves.

P1190182And then there were the bedspreads My great grandfather’s sister was named Vera. And she crocheted until she died – I have often heard it said that everyone knew the minute she couldn’t crochet anymore, she would die, and apparently that is what she did. She and her husband had a turkey farm, where my mother was terrorized by being surrounded by a flock of turkeys when she was about 3. In any case, Aunty Vera had crocheted a bedspread for my grandmother as a wedding gift in 1938. And now, I will care for it. That much time and effort and love put into anything deserves to be preserved.

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At some point Vera gave my grandmother a second bedspread – so I now have 2 beautiful works of art.

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This second one has dozens of tiny baubles on it. When I was born, Vera and her husband Henry sent my mother a tiny ID bracelet for me – has my name on it – and maybe I even met them as an infant. But other than that knowledge  and some ancient photos, I can only imagine their life on a turkey/poultry farm in the 30s and 40s and 50s. Family history.

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There are tons of photos, and ancient letters. I am keeping those that I know something about. Many are photos other family members sent to my great grandmother – new baby photos, and Christmas photos – that then became my grandmothers when great grandma died. So now I am sending them on, back to those families – time to pass them on to their children who are mostly now grown and starting their own families.

P1190162And then there are the projects. My grandmother was a crafty, artistic person. There are dozens and dozens of patterns and oodles of art supplies and fabrics. I have had to be ruthless about this stuff. Most of it is so dated, and not my style. So we have sent it on to people we hope can use it, or given it to GoodWill. But there were a few things I kept. I found a set of placemats and napkins someone was embroidering.

P1190191Do not know how old these are… I assume my grandmother was the one to hem the linen and embroider them all.. and everyone single one of them was completed, except 1.

P1190166One last placemat needed the three strands of gold thread couched on it. A 15 minute job at best was all that stood between a craft project and a useful article. I know all too well how something gets set aside just needing button holes, or a hem, or the ends sewn in. Well, I took 15 min and completed the last one. I can use these – although not sure the embroidery thread is colorfast, or how long the gold thread will hold up. But I will use them and honor the work that went into making them. P1190163

And I will vow this summer to finish projects and cull  my own stash to make sure no one else will have to finish my work someday – although frankly, I found it oddly enjoyable and didn’t mind a bit. Sorting through boxes, finding hidden treasures and tripping down memory lane was a nice way to spend the holidays.

P1190184Childhood Christmases of my own – reading with my grandparents…sigh.

Holidays arriving…

This year, with 4 preps, and more work than I can handle, the holidays feel like they are coming at my like a bullet train.

We eat with family out of town on Thanksgiving proper - but I always come home and make another full turkey dinner - with cheap turkey bought the day after Thanksgiving - so we can have leftovers!

We eat with family out of town on Thanksgiving proper – but I always come home and make another full turkey dinner – with cheap turkey bought the day after Thanksgiving – so we can have leftovers!

Thanksgiving – lovely, but a blur. Birthday – yes I am now 48 – was also lovely – treated to dinner at Sake Bomb, lots of lovely gifts, students singing happy birthday, lots of facebook greetings – but a blur.

Now the tree is up. The Advent wreath was made. The boys hung up outside lights – and that is as prepared as we are. No cards, no gifts, no meals or teacher gifts even planned. YIKES!

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Somehow – we will get to the important day with the most important stuff done. But I miss those years when it was more leisurely – sigh.

Cranberry curd tartlets in pecan shells - with a little whip cream, these were quite the treat at Thanksgiving!

Cranberry curd tartlets in pecan shells – with a little whip cream, these were quite the treat at Thanksgiving!

Hello there… still alive….

The fall semester has been flying by. I have 4 preps this year – IB Mathematics I and II, and IB Math Studies I and II – needless to say I am either teaching, tutoring, or creating lessons. Mothering and housewifing come next – sometimes I find “me” time.

Big news: The eldest child moved out. He turned 21, and decided it was time to find his own place – he works 40 hours a week and goes to night school three nights a week and it trying to find his niche. So he moved out in October – not that he was around much anyway –but it is still a big step.

Second Big News: Middle son got his first college acceptance. He was so thrilled to get early acceptance to University of Vermont. He is waiting to hear from the following: Swarthmore, Johns Hopkins, Clemson, University of Washington St. Louis … probably in the New Year. But at least he has an acceptance to his very favorite place from his epic College trip this summer.

Third Big News: Youngest son had a lovely season of cross country – continuing to be very fast in spite of his small size. He did manage to grow 2 inches from June to October, but is still fairly small. However, he is still a leader on his basketball team and was asked to practice and play on his school’s high school team as well – even though he is still in 8th grade. He is an amazing ball handler, and no one sees him coming. He steals the ball and has it down the court before anyone notices.

The boys birthdays have all come and gone – they are 21, 18 and 14 now. Wow…

I have cousins though that are just starting families – so I get to knit for little ones still. Here are some pics of a recently finished sweater for a Christmas gift…. seriously ridiculous yarn – but so cute. I am usually a pure wool, cotton or linen type – no novelty yarn for me. But this was so fuzzy and soft. Hope the baby likes it!

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More information at my Ravely page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/baby-jacket

Last Friday of summer break

What a summer it has been. Some highlights:

** The weather – we had some warm days in late May, in June – but not many! We have had a very mild, lovely summer. We have also had some decidedly Novemberish days of cool and rainy. The upshot is that we arrive at the end of the summer with lush green lawns, a full pond, an idle air conditioner – no complaints from me. Days of full sun for outdoor fun, and then days of grey for cozy inside jobs. Lovely, lovely.

** College visiting accomplished. The man about the place took the our middle son on a tour of potential schools, and the youngest went along for the ride. Leaving NC, they covered 5000 miles in 2 weeks, camping along the way. Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, Roger Williams, Cornell, University of Washington St. Louis… and drumroll.. the favorite of the trip – University of Vermont. It was an epic father/sons trip, with fishing and camping and eating in tiny local places, seeing schools, attending 2 baseball camps, attending a Yankees game and taking in the view from the top of the St. Louis arch….It helped clarify what he liked and didn’t like, and how he envisions baseball fitting into the college picture. And he finished his Honors Chem course along the way, some nights at the highest point of a campground to get good signal to submit assignments. We have a tough senior year ahead – and a couple of schools still to visit and consider. But clarity is coming.

**I had a 2 week staycation. The oldest was home, but is mostly at work – where he eats. So for 2 weeks I had no schedule to follow, no meals to cook, no boys to drive anywhere. I worked on school work mainly, but attempted to achieve a balance to my days – something healthy for me (a run, walk, good calorie control), something fun (a favorite TV program, a swim in the pond, stitching something, visiting a favorite store), something housework related (drawer cleanout, closet cleanout, dusting… it never ends), something useful (filling out school forms, paying bills, running errands for the man about the place while he was gone), something school related (working on pacing guides, and lessons and emailing with students working on summer assignments, and training – oh, the training… three required this summer!) – It was an interesting time. I enjoyed it very much, and felt myself unwinding in a way I haven’t for years. And by the time they drove back in the driveway I had a greater appreciation for all that they are, and all that I have been blessed with, and a better toleration of the dirt and noise they bring with them. Rejuvenation!

For this last day – man at work, oldest at work, middle one at school for Dream team planning, youngest planning to help grandma next door with work around her house. I am heading in to get my back to school hair cut, then on to by back to school underwear and maybe some new shoes and do my last fun thing of the summer – visit the fabric store. Then home to finish up school work, prep a literacy presentation I give Monday at our back to school faculty meeting (Math teacher presents importance of literacy!!!) and just enjoy this last carefree weekend.

Recent sewing….

Just a few recent sewing pictures. When school is out for the summer I make a list of unfinished projects of all sorts and try to get them wrapped up. Sometimes the projects were started the summer before, and never finished. Sometimes they are Christmas or Spring break projects… sometimes they have languished for several summers…

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and Butterick 5924

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Sadly, both are a little snug since it had been a year since I cut them out. Being in my late 40s, I am battling the weight gain. I have been walking/running and counting calories all summer.. nothing much budges. Very frustrating as these 2 shirts came out quite nicely and I would like to wear them. Will continue to plod on with my diet regime….

The blog world…

I have never had a huge following on my blog. I write mainly for my own memory. But I have a large number of blogs I followed… some blogs were full of inspiring ideas, some blogs mirrored women living lives similar to mine, some blogs were followed because the life of the writer was vastly different than mine, and intrigued me. I followed knit blogs and quilt blogs and garden blogs and sewing blogs – all because these are my favorite hobbies. Some blogs I followed for the pictures, not the writing. Others for the writing. 

Then I went back to work full time. My blogging time was cut, my following time was cut. My mothering and hobby time changed direction. I worked hard trying to find a balance. I gradually became in infrequent poster.But that was okay – I still had blogs to follow. 

But these days, there are few of those bloggers that still write. First was the jumo to ravellry for the knit bloggers. I LOVE ravellry for all it does. But it isn’t the same as the blog posts on a knit bloggers blog about a newly finished project. Elsewhere, life has given way to instagram and twitter and sitting down to write a full blog post seems to be a thing of the past for many blog writers. This makes me sad, because while those photos are lovely, they just aren’t the same as the window you get into a person’s life when they share a blog post. 

But such is the world of the internet – constantly evolving, often before we know how to cope with it. I clearly remember scoffing at the man about the place when he suggested we get internet in our first townhouse – what would we need internet for? And now – if it goes down, I panic and wonder how I will survive. 

The impetus for blogging for me was often having read a blog somewhere else that sparked a thought or a comment or a desire to share my own experience. A little bit like having a dialogue, even though it wasn’t a real conversation. But it was reacting to what others posted. Someone completed a sweater, so I would post my progress on my latest knitting project. Someone would share a family favorite recipe, and that would remind me that I had wanted to make my grandmother’s cookies. Etc. Now, with that dialogue mostly gone, I need to find my own reasons for blogging, primarily to help remember all the thousands of moments that occur in our busy life. And I still cherish those that are blogging on a regular basis. I still have a blog reader that I check every couple of days, hoping to see posts from some of my favorites. Feeling relief when someone checks in after a bit of an absence. Keep blogging people. Your posts go great with my tea break!

Test, test… anyone there?

It has been an entire school year since I have visited this space. Work and family life have kicked my posterior – too much to do, no time for everything. And we are even currently halfway through the summer. Whew. But, as I blog mostly to record the events in our lives, I need to get back to it, updating and keeping track of our family’s history. So, if anyone is still reading, stay tuned…. and if not, that is okay…this record is mostly for me. 

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.