Monday, November 28, 2011

Random Monday

Randomly selected photos from my collection.  Actually, this one is from my FB stash.  My computer had a nervous breakdown and we had to wipe Windows and re load.  All my family pictures are on a separate hard drive way over on the other side of the room.

Winter driving in Wisconsin.....hmmm what can you say? Notice the backup of cars in the top one? This happens more than you think. One stupid move by a semi-truck driver and the rig jackknifes' into both lanes. On a wintry day like that one, it's just best to say 'screw it' and stay home.  Not much is that important to risk your life for. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in a new perspective

Thanksgiving for a lot of people this year is going to be more of a challenge than years past.  Not a lot to be thankful for when you've lost those things that make you feel secure in your life like health insurance and your retirement savings. Yes, I've lost both this year, BUT it allows me to focus on other issues to be thankful for.  I must remember that having the ability to use my intelligence to gather the needed information to get things I need is much more important than having those things given to me.

(Pic: Dave saluting me at Leinenkugel's this summer)

 I know that keeping healthy, exercising and eating proper foods will keep me pretty darned healthy.  We've joined the Y and are participating in group exercise sessions to gain strength, maintain flexibility and keep the immune system high. Our family grows their own vegetables and consumes a large amount of locally harvested venison.  Venison is much leaner than beef - which helps the waistline as much as the exercise does.  That will suffice for health insurance for now.

I have the ability to learn new skills.  To prepare for a retirement that might be delayed by about 10 years, I will be going back to Tech School to gain certification in metal fab and welding. Apparently you cannot get a job in that skill without one- which sucks.  To start a new good career, I have to spend $5,000. BUT I am hoping to make at least $15/hour after I get my certificate.  I can save more for both retirement and emergency needs with that kind of pay.
(Pic: Dave with his method of cutting sweet corn to prepare for freezing. It takes a bundt pan, and a sharp knife)

I use my skills, my intelligence to keep this family in the things they need as cheaply as possible. I cannot remember the last time I purchased a clothing item at full price.  Hey, who needs that when I can get things slightly used at Goodwill? I'm wearing a pair of tennis shoes that are like $80 full price that I snagged for $9 and they look like they weren't worn at all. My sewing, knitting and spinning skills work well to keep us warm for the winter as well.
(Pic: Alex -albeit a much younger Alex- showing off a baked item he made from scratch)

 My son is learning to make some amazing food from scratch using recipes found on the internet.  He made a delish dish of Thai peanut chicken from scratch. Now that's a dish that would be ...what? $15 at the restaurant? He made it for less than $15 for all three of us. He is also learning the skills to make do for himself than relying on someone to make it for him.  That's a skill that he will need for the rest of his life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Monday

Random Monday: The day I close my eyes and click on a picture from my 'Family' album.

Do you realize how hard it is to actually take a picture of the moon with a digital camera? It's crazy hard, especially if you don't stabilize your arms on something. According to the pic, this was taken 7/20/2010 at 8:34 pm. It's a nice juxtaposition of the light on the clouds with the light on the moon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gift Giving in the new age

As Christmas time is approaching, my mind sets on all kinds of knit objects that I could give to my family and friends.  The problem is, very few of those people actually want any gift that is not purchased from a store.  A few years ago, I spent 6 months spinning and knitting countless hats, scarves, shawls and mittens only to get some really nasty feedback.  Oh sure, to my face on Christmas day it was all "Thanks!" only to be told later on how they hated what I had made.  Not all hated them, some just put them away and never use them. It's a real downer to see something you've spent 6 months on laying on a top of a of pile mending in a dusty corner of a sewing room.

This cowl is a pattern called, 'Pretty thing'. I knitted it in a hand spun alpaca. That's when the intended recipient whom shall remain nameless (it's family) stated that she's allergic to alpaca. That was after she pronounced an allergy to pretty much every fiber out there. Oh I get it: she doesn't want anything I make, she wanted a gift card.  She got neither.  I sent the cowl to the first person that expressed interest in it on Facebook.  My high school buddy in Greece got it.

I'm going to tell you something that you don't want to hear: It is emotionally devastating to a person who creates a gift for you to have you either snub your nose at that gift, or throw it out. Yeah? You don't like hearing that? TOUGH! You want that stupid gift card from Wal-Mart Instead? Yeah, you're not getting that either! It's time to stop thinking that anything home-made is crap that is beneath you.  The true crap is that junk you covet so much at Wal-Mart.

I've got more than a chip on my shoulder, it's a flipping BRICK.

The best present I've received in recent years was created by my Father In Law.  It is a home made wooden headboard for our bed.  He took wood from his own land, made the lumber, constructed the headboard, stained and varnished it.  I will treasure it for years to come. Heck, I treasure it now.  His monetary outlay for this gift was for the electricity to run the router, and his time.

One of about a zillion reasons that I am grouchy at this time of year.  God Bless my poor husband, who has to deal with my Christmas grouchiness.  At least he will wear and appreciate what I make for him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hey, at least my family tree branches!

I've been working on the family genealogy for about a decade now.  It's something that I was full-bore onto about 5 years ago, but now that I've hit a few roadblocks, I've slowed down.  A few tips for the new genealogist:

1. Obits are still the best thing for finding out things.  Fortunately for me, my family has stuck around this area of South-Central WI for about 3 generations now. My local library has the Janesville Gazette on microfilm all the way back to the 1890's. I get cranky at the fact that a female ancestor was called, "Mrs. So&So" instead of her maiden name, but that's the thing that can frustrate you fast.

2. If you have the $, sign up for a year of but remember to USE it. I used to set up Sunday's as my ancestor day and troll the databases looking for info.

3. Talk to your older relatives about their memories before their mind slips.  My Grandma on my Mother's side used to drop little tidbits that would tick the heck out of me like, "Oh your Aunt Mabel? You mean the one that died in the Asylum?" ARRRGGHHHH! WHY was Aunt Mabel in an asylum? WHY did she die there?
  - It turns out Aunt Mabel -my Great-Aunt Mabel died in an asylum after suffering old-age dementia.  She used to be a school mistress at a boy's school in IL before her passing.  Never married, she had like...6 brothers.

Keep working on it. I've discovered a few fun facts of my family that just crack me up.  For instance, I am distantly related to Rebecca Nurse, killed as a witch in Salem.  It was my much-great Grandfather who turned her in.  I'm also related to King Edward I of Scotland, but I don't think I'll be heading to the throne anytime soon.  I think the entire native population of the UK gets there before I do.

The Rudi side of the family.  From the back, Arnold, my Father, and his wife Bobbie,  Uncle LaVerne, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Leonard Jr. and Aunt Kayla, his wife.  Seated are my Cousin Brian and Aunt Marti. The Rudi's hail from Norway, where I still have many cousins.  My Husband always jokes that you can tell a Norwegian, you just can't tell him much.  ~Gets funnier every time I hear it..................

Sunday, November 13, 2011

That month of blogging is like over, right?

I did reasonably well for a person who ignores her blog for months at a time.
So I'm going to go random for today's effort:

1. Saw the remake of True Grit.  My Dad's a huge John Wayne fan and I've sat through the original dozens of times.  I don't like Glen Cambell's take on Le Boeuf.  It's 'dandified' as I say.  Matt Damon played the role better. The remake was excellent. It's a talent of the director to set out the story without allowing emotion. He just sets the scenes and lets the audience emote. Jeff Bridges played an excellent Rooster Cogburn, but Hailee Steinfeld, who played Mattie was excellent in her role.

2. We missed the last part of Harry Potter in the theatres again. No spoilers please. I'm thinking I've got to go buy it so I can sob piteously in the privacy of my own home.

3. River Tam, the scarf is done and as a present to the world it is free.   If you are on Ravelry, the link is HERE. My friend Kerri dyed it in colors of a river for me.  She was really nervous about it for some reason.  I told her to stop, relax and realize that I'm just not that picky. Pic:
That's the scarf around my neck. That is me trying to pretend to be a professional model, that's Tyler just looking to be petted on the back of the couch.

4. Last week was our Anniversary, Our Sons' Birthday and My Birthday all rolled into one week. It's a busy week every year.  My husband made me Baklava for my birthday. It was really, really good.

5. Alex and I have joined the Y to see if that would work better than the gym in Brodhead.  I'm thinking that a more structured form of physical training would get Alex on the way to the military.  Cross your fingers, say more prayers...this boy needs direction in his life. It frustrates me that he has none.  At his age, I was going to college full time and working 2 part time jobs. Why is it that the kids these days just lack any ambition? ~sigh~

6.  The new furnace is working well.  Dave did his annual plastic window covering day yesterday and it seems as though the furnace is not kicking in as much as it did last year. I am hoping for a reduction in our heating bills.

7. My Niece has been over many time in the last few weeks attempting to shoot a deer. It's bow season here.  A few shots have been taken, but no real hits.  If you're still in a praying mood, send one up so that she gets a deer.  I feel that it would do wonders for her self-confidence if she was successful. Besides, her family could use the venison.

8. Now that it's colder out, I've been doing more spinning on my wheel.  Right now, white alpaca.

Ok, Dave just gave me a bowl with chocolate mousse.. Gotta go~ !

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There are Days...

I quit smoking in 2008.  Many smokers are still jealous of that fact, more because I just stopped than anything else.  No pills, no gum, no anything. I just quit.  BUT there are days like yesterday that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a smoke.  Stressful days, frustrating days. Yes, to grab a Marb menthol lights 100 and just inhale.........

*On a off-topic note: While trolling for this pic, I weeded through a lot of pics from a lot websites.  Man, are there some militaristic, vehemently anti-smoking web sites!  Dudes, WE GET IT.  All of the smokers I know struggle with their addiction EVERY. DAY. Just effing stop with the overwhelming guilt trip, K? You're not helping. One anti-smoking group came to the public schools and  had my Granddaughter CONVINCED that her mom would blow up from smoking.  She was crying, begging for Mom to stop in absolute fear that Mom's head would blow off.  Just EFFING STOP scaring kids too.**

I've got orders, and my sewing machine was so bad that I've been sewing only on demand. If I get an order, I'd go upstairs, put my earplugs in and sew the bag.  Yes. Earplugs.  That Brother sewing machine had gotten so loud that it was the only way I could suppress my urge to 'fix' the machine and just sew.  I trot on upstairs to the sewing/spare room and get to it.  Except yesterday that stupid flipping machine could not even eke out 12" without one thread or the other breaking.

Cursing ensued. My usual threat to throw it out the window did not even work. Oh yes, I knew this day was coming and I had kinda prepared for it.  I've scanned reviews of other machines, watched for sales etc.  I had to drop everything, drive 1/2 an hour to the nearest sewing store, get another one, drive another 20 minutes to get my Son's birthday present, then drive 40 minutes back home.   This is a drive I would have much rather taken on my day off.

It's replacement is this one:
A Singer Talent.  I'm never, ever buying another Brother Sewing Machine again. I'm sticking with Singers. It works well so far, but I've only had one day with it.  $100 at JoAnn's.  I also stopped buying the big buck sewing machines too, as they really weren't better. 

I forgot Random Monday!

I remembered it actually, but there were many things on my mind:

Ok, not so random as I had to go to the 'Alex" specific area. Alex is on the left, his buddy Joe is on the right.  Dressed up as Organization 13 from Kingdom Hearts game.  BTW - if you want to make this for yourself - use the "Neo" coat pattern.

My dear son Alex was 19 yesterday! He seems a bit contemplative about it, more than I was at that time. Happy Birthday Son!!