Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Christmas time

Sitting at home today, trying to prepare for work, with memories of a great Christmas still so close. Right before leaving Iowa yesterday, my d-i-l took some family photos with her new camera.  I particularly like the one of the 3 generations of Iannone guys together.

We arrived a week ago to a gray and brown landscape, that was replaced on Saturday night by 6 inches of new, fluffy snow.  Rowan wasn't able to go outside to play in it until Christmas day, due to the sub zero temps.  He had hoped to build a snowman but it wasn't a packing kind of
snow.  Instead he and his daddy threw handfuls of snow at each other (and mommy). The rest of us watched from the warm of the house! 

We had hoped to go to the mall to see Santa and see some lights but the ice, snow and generally miserable weather kept us pretty housebound. We didn't do a lot of baking, but I made a couple batches of cookies to make sure we had some left for Santa.  Rowan left instructions for Santa regarding the carrots.  One for Rudolph and one for Dasher.

         We had a delightful time and are already counting the days until we can head back to hug those adorable little guys.  Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Holiday Spirit

What a wonderful time we had in California with the family for Thanksgiving.  Our son and daughter both came with their families, as did my sister-in-law from Florida and Guitar Guy's aunt and uncle.  Each year, Guitar Guy's brother and wife host a Thanksgiving feast ala Martha Stewart for both sides of their family and long time friends.  This year we numbered 31 people for dinner! 

It is a busy, noisy day with so many people in the house but always ends with the last few of us basking in the light of the fire and kicking our shoes off.  The next day a few of us went to the Getty Villa to see the antiquities and then most went to the beach in Malibu.

Living in Iowa, my grandsons have little experience with the ocean.  They loved the tide pools, rocks and beach creatures and got totally sandy and wet.  It was a beautiful fall afternoon complete with a rainbow from the morning's drizzle.  The 4 year old even got a shell in which he can hear the ocean.  That will be a wonderful momento for his 
treasure box.

Back home again, the preparations for Christmas begin. Gifts and cards have been ordered and the baking planned. Two weeks from today we'll be headed to the cold country so not much time remains.  Only one gift knitting project still to do, so that should be done in time.  Instead of waiting for Christmas, I've been knitting through the fall and sending gifts as they were completed.  Feels much less stressful that way.

Today is cold and windy for the desert and we might have our first fire of the season tonight.  Might be a good time to put up the tree.  Guess I'd better go dig out the tree and ornaments.  Lots to get done before Santa arrives!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just a drive by

Last week was a quick visit to Iowa for Halloween and to deliver a load of handknits.  I mostly forgot to take pictures of them, but here is Ash in his new Latte baby coat.  The pumpkin hat was his brother's several years ago.

I had a great time with the Iowa crew and now am off to LA tomorrow for a conference.  I've never driven in LA before, so this should really be an adventure!

Keep a good thought for me and I'll catch you on the flip side.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Saying goodbye to Miss Vibe

Saturday I drove my car to Phoenix and left her with strangers.  I'd been planning to bring home a newer, shinier model for several months.  I know it is just a car, but we've spent almost 8 years together and it was hard to say goodbye.

This was the first car I bought with my own credit, my own salary and no co-signer.  Miss Vibe willingly hauled groceries, boxes to thrift stores, loads to and from storage, and even handled the big boxes that shouldn't have fit.

We logged a lot of road time to Las Vegas for all those Iowa trips to see my dad and Phoenix trips to see my daughter.  I could always depend on Miss Vibe to get me safely to my destination, and she didn't let me down.  Together we got through job changes, the loss of parents and my daughter's stroke.  Miss Vibe didn't even complain about my haphazard maintenance or the lack of frequent bathing.

Sadly, Miss Vibe's paint was starting to peel, and I knew that she would soon need more work and money to keep her running well.  Hopefully she will find a happy home and get the attention she deserves.

Now, Miss Elantra GT has come to live with us.  She has a few more features and is brand new, but she also has big shoes to fill.  We are still getting to know each other, and looking forward to adventures of our own.

Next week we'll be off to Tucson, then a quick trip to Las Vegas, followed closely by Los Angeles.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hither and Yon

Over the next couple of months I'm on the go.  I wish I could say I'm traveling to exotic places but most of my trips are to Phoenix for continuing education.  Every 2 years I have to renew my social work license and prove that I completed 30 hours of continuing education, only some of which can be online.

Somehow the first year always goes by in a flash and I all of a sudden I have a moment of panic as I realize I'm now part way through the second year.  Fortunately, I was able to find good Arizona conferences to fill the bill and visit my daughter at the same time.

Last week I attended a 2 day school board legal conference.  I thought about taking my knitting to alleviate the boardroom, but there are lots of serious people in suits and out of 700 I saw not one bit of fiber art.  I had to settle for doodling on my notes.  The best part was Clay Jenkinson, who spoke to us as both Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.  He really makes history come alive!

I've only just started my travels and the cats are already glued to my side every time I return.  They know what a suitcase means and they want none of it.  Today I'm cleaning off said suitcase as my Mastiff granddog slimed it with her amazing drool.  At least I got a souvenir.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Iowa fun

 I'm still working my way out of vacation head after spending a wonderful, relaxing week in Iowa with our son and family.  We strolled the farmer's market, played with the boys, cooked meals together and just generally enjoyed each other's company.

Too soon it was over, but the happy memories linger.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to Work

I know it's been a month since I posted anything.  This does not mean I've been ignoring you.  I've been busy getting up to speed on my new geriatric care contract, seeing clients, doing charting and then flopping under the ceiling fan to keep cool.

I had already decided that I wasn't going to advertise or look for private geriatric care business, so of course the phone started ringing.  Where were these folks when we were trying to keep our previous business open?   I'm just taking each day as it comes and hoping for a solid part time client base to pay the bills but leave my time flexible.  Keeping fingers crossed.

I'm working my way through various Christmas gifts.  Can you believe it is only 5 months until Christmas? This year is flying by! 

Life is never boring - that's for sure.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Project Update

I have so many projects on my list, I know I won't finish them all this year. Here's a little of what I've been working on recently.

I forgot to take a picture of my grandson's birth record before I sent it out, but you see it here about 3/4 outlined.  It came out really cute, but compared to knitting this cross stitch takes forever.  Next up will be Ash's Christmas stocking.  I doubt it will be ready for this Christmas, but at 1 year old he won't miss it :-)

I'm almost done with the second Hermione sock.  I've made it a couple of times and really like the pattern.  I'm trying to work outside my usual colors, but honestly can't remember why I thought buying pink yarn was a good idea. These may look for another home with someone who loves pink.
I'm making my son a new watch cap and scarf for the next winter.  This is the Dudester scarf in Berroco Vintage.  It's a relaxing knit and looks classy.  I did get distracted on one row, but I'm not going back to fix it.  I thought this yarn would be softer, but the price is right.

I have a lengthy list of projects planned, so am trying to get through some of my Christmas knitting and quick projects this summer.  Sweaters for the boys, new socks for everyone in the family, a couple of scarves, mittens and maybe a shawl. I love having my yarn closet organized and a master spreadsheet with the shelf numbers.  I can finally find the yarn I'm looking for when I want it.

Life is mostly good right now.  I'm picking up some part time work as a geriatric care manager and doing some exciting volunteer work with a group of brilliant nonprofit folks from all over the world.  I'm learning to sell on eBay so I can start the lengthy process of decluttering and downsizing my possessions.  I doubt I'll ever be a minimalist, but I could certainly do with less "stuff". 
Today I'm going to work more on cleaning out my home office.  The paper piles make me crazy after a while.  I see a shredding day in my future.

Hope the fathers in your life are having a special day today!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's all about the rainbow

When you are 8 months old the world just looks better with a macaroni necklace on your head!  Ash was getting ready for his big brother's 4th birthday party. Rowan's mommy went all out to create a rainbow themed party full of color and fun.  One of the most amazing features was the 6 layer rainbow cake.

Guitar Guy and I were fortunate enough to to attend the party and spend a few days cuddling our adorable grandsons.  The trips are never long enough, but we scoop up hugs and kisses to tide us over until the next time.

I took some measurements for fall knitting while I was there.  Unfortunately, I discovered after purchasing more Plymouth Encore, that Rowan thinks it is scratchy.  His last sweater didn't stay on for more than an hour at a time.  I've ordered some other yarns to try (Berroco Vintage, Berroco Comfort and Cascade 220 superwash) but if you have a favorite for kids with sensitive skin, please let me know.

On the home front, I've already filed an LLC with the State to start a new solo geriatric care management.  I'm hoping to just regain a previous contract and get some money coming in again.  In the meantime, I'm doing some of those tasks we never seem to get to, like cleaning out computer files and shredding. 

I've also been doing more reading, in my down time.  I just finished Susan Cain's book, Quiet, about the introverts among us.  Guitar Guy and I agreed that under our family's outer presentation as extroverts, we are all decidedly introverts. We've learned to adapt to crowds and being in the spotlight, but prefer being home with a good book or a few close friends if given the option.

I've also become addicted to Book Bub and the free or cheap books for Kindle it announces daily.  Some of the books are lousy and some good popcorn books (no substance, but fun), while others I've downloaded for the their practical value (selling on eBay).  Between that and the library's online reserve capability, I've been able to keep a good flow of free reading going.

School board is heating up as local parents are fighting the new Common Core standards being implemented by most US States.  As our funding is tied to implementation, the district really has no choice but to move ahead at this point.  Theoretically the Common Core will create unified standards for the skill outcomes of each grade level with the "how to teach it" left to the local districts.  All testing nationwide will be tied to the standards.  There are strong concerns from conservative parents that this is leading to the creation of a national curriculum with a progressive agenda that will brainwash our children.  There is also a lot of concern about the required state longitudinal databases that track 400 data points on children K-12 as an intrusion in to our privacy as citizens.  It is going to make for an interesting couple of years as the school board continues to balance state and federal mandates with local values and no money.  Tell me again why I decided to do this?

Off to run some errands and throw in some laundry.  Hope you are having an awesome day!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yarn and more yarn

My WEBS order arrived and I've been sorting and bagging with the patterns.  Every year, I wait for their anniversary sale so I can stock up on Plymouth Encore.  It's a good yarn for little people and busy mommies who throw everything in the washer.

I also got some Berroco Vintage to make my son a new hat and scarf.  I haven't used it before, but the reviews sounded good. He picked the color, a nice medium gray that will be good TV knitting.  When the yarn arrived, the Berroco had a strong chemical odor.  I gave a couple of skeins a bath in Soak and aired them outside, which seemed to do the trick.  Might have been the dye.

We went to Phoenix over the weekend and had a great time with Nicole and Patrick.  We celebrated our 33rd anniversary in style with good food and a trip to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, AZ.  We were there for 4 hours and could have spent many more.  I didn't even finish the exhibits. 

Not much new on the employment front.  I've filed with a state for a new geriatric care business, to hopefully pick up a part time contract.  Since we will be headed to Iowa in a couple of weeks to visit those cute grandsons, I'm mostly wrapping up loose ends and puttering around the house. 

Hope your week is a good one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eating Chocolate

Well, I found out today that my job offer from a month ago was rescinded.  I had a couple of days of being excited about the new opportunity, a decent salary and benefits before they decided my degree might not be appropriate to the position and put me on hold for a month.  It sucks and I'm eating the pity chocolate my husband got me.

We closed our care management business 3/31 so I currently have no income, nor any immediate prospects for income. I still have the nonprofit consulting business structure but have never made much money at it.  May be time to spend more time promoting that.  I'm also creating my own sequester, and making another round of budget cuts on our household budget.  Good thing I made that last order at the WEBS sale for sweater yarn for the grandsons, cause I'm on a yarn diet the rest of the year.  Time to thin out the stash :-)

Anyone have experience selling on Ebay?  Thinking this is a good time to sell some of the crap I've collected over the years.  I keep reading the minimalist blogs and it sounds great, but I'm a pack rat, from a long line of pack rats. 

Lots to think about...

Monday, March 11, 2013


Just a quick update.  Some of you may have read a post I put up briefly last week saying I have a new job.  Unfortunately, there may be a glitch, so I'm sitting in limbo.  Time to finish my taxes and clean house.  Oh yes, and knit so I don't tear my hair out!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Windows Wide Open

It's a beautiful day today, full of sunshine and the feel of spring.  I opened up all the windows to let the house air out and started cleaning.  We are almost done with refinancing our house to lower the payment but still have the appraisal to do.  Thanks to all the scandals in home loans, the appraisal process actually involves going through the house and looking at the upkeep.  Since July, I've taken care of most of the major fixes, although lots of small nagging ones remain.  Neither Guitar Guy or I are very handy when it comes to household repairs, so they have a tendency to pile up. 

This weekend I'm trying to get the house show ready for the appraisal and realized pretty quickly that I'd better be shooting for good enough.  With the windows wide open I see the dirt on the glass, the dusty window sills, the cat hair clinging to my kitchen cupboards and the bugs in the light fixtures.  In the bright light of a sunny Saturday, I can see it all!  Since I don't know what day the appraisers will show up, I'll just keep plugging along, doing the best I can. 

My break is over, so back to the dust bunnies!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thawing out in Sunny Arizona

I know I'm being a whiner, but it has been cold for Arizona the last 4 days.  I have been wrapping up in a blanket, wearing my wool socks every day and doing dishes to warm up my hands.  I've already put a pair of fingerless mitts on my knitting list for future cold snaps.  Today, we are back to beautiful weather in the high 60's and life is good. 

This coming weekend is the Havasu Balloon Festival  In its third year, the festival continues to grow and attracts 30,000-50,000 people.  We all get to enjoy the site of balloons drifting across the sky.  Last year I worked a booth and was able to watch them inflate the balloons and take off.  Put it on your calendar for next January and stop by for a visit!

I'm not sure where the first half of January went.  Spending the first week of the month with a heavy cold didn't help my productivity.  I still don't know what 2013 is going to bring for my work life, but am allowing this to be a fallow period (as Roxie so wisely shared) and let life unfold. 

Today I will finish putting the Christmas stuff in the garage and wrap up some year end paperwork.  There may be some knitting and NCIS in there as well.  Tomorrow is termite treatment day.  Whoopee!