Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tomorrow - A drawing, A new start

So February 1 is a busy day.

Yes, I am having a drawing for a hand woven scarf tomorrow.  For more information check here.  It is still not too late to leave a comment and be included in the drawing.  Just get your comment in before midnight - Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, February 1, is also the day I am returning to Weight Watchers, and walking, and stretching.   Lighter, more energetic and less like as a brittle, aged pretzel is what I aiming for.  Again!

I am the Queen of "Going Back, Starting Over Again!"

But, you know, I am OK with that.  The real failure in life is not trying, not doing something that is worthwhile ... just giving up. Yep, that is the real failure.

November, December and January have been very busy months in our house.  Holiday activities and new family adjustments have been my excuses so far.  Now faced with February - and no barriers (unless I make something up), it seems time to begin.

So we start again!

And actually, "starting again" on February 1st rather than January 1 is perfect!  Woo Hoo!!  Who starts stuff on February 1st?  Pretty much no one - so I have no competition!

How are your January 1 resolutions going?  Do you need to start again February 1st?

Who is joining me!!!!!!

Woo Hoo

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crafts by the sea

I was on a mission last weekend.  Finish my give-away scarf so I am ready for the drawing on February 1st.  Mission accomplished.

We had cooking.

We had wine.

And we had gobs of fun!  It is the only way to focus on a mission.

But first ... pictures of other missions that were accomplished ... I should be so talented as these folks.

First off, these charming knitted snow men in 3 sizes are so cute in person.

The beginnings of a beautiful blanket.

Finished spa cloths.

More beautiful spa cloths

Another weaving creation - in two colors.

A lovely cowl - cozy warm on a snowy beach visit.
My own project (the give-away for the blogfest) was coming along well.  
The picture shows the completed
portions of the woven scarf collecting on the fabric beam.

Finally reached the end and completed a hem stitch to secure the woven rows.

The finished scarf - laying in wait for it new owner.

Anyone who comments on my blog posts between January 18 and January 31 will be entered for a chance to win this scarf.  For more details check here.

The winner will be announced here on this blog on February 1.  Make sure you leave me your email address or web site so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Beach and The Snow

Last weekend I was at the beach!

I love the beach.

I love my cousin.

I love snow.

It was a win-win weekend for me!

My cousin is part owner of a lovely condo right on the beach.  
This was a regularly scheduled craft weekend and it was just perfect.
These pictures were taken from the balcony.  
We are close to the ocean.

Although I love the beach in any season, my least favorite season for beach visits is the summer.  See I am a selfish beach bunny.  I want to look out on the beach and see no one!  Just the sand, and the water ... that is it.  And if you go in January, snow is also welcome.

The next day the snow was gone and we were left with a beautiful scene.

And as the moon began to rise, we tried to get pictures.  

I say "try".
  Because as much as I tried, I couldn't get a picture without the rays off the moon.

No matter.  The view was beautiful.

Tomorrow ... the results of 2 days of uninterrupted craft time.

Pictures of the hand woven scarf for the give away - also included.
Be sure to comment on my blog sometime between January 18 and 31 
to be entered into a drawing to win it.

Details found here.

Patrice's Porch

Today I am visiting on Patrice's farmhouse porch.
This is a feature every Tuesday on, a new blog I am following. 
Every Tuesday there are a list of questions that each participant answers.
These chats are all about getting to know others 
and hopefully, they get to know you.
So here goes...
Everyday Ruralty
  1. Have you ever been on a boat? (Motor boat, sail boat, cruise ship, ark, or Good Ship Lollipop).
  2. Do you need an alarm to wake up in the morning, or do you wake up naturally? If you have an alarm, tell us what type.
  3. Have you ever had a yard sale?
  4. Do you like kitchen gadgets? What are some of your favorite?
  5. Do you read labels at the grocery store?
Have you ever been on a boat?  Lordy, yes.  Many times but motion sickness is a problem.  Good boats - cruise ships with stabilizers and medical staff who dispense nausea meds.  Bad boats: motor boats, sail boats and mid size ships - like the ones that take you out to whale watch!  I remember one whale watching trip.  The ride out wasn't so bad.  The waiting and waiting for a whale to poke his head or tail above the water was painfully difficult.  Gently swaying, gently drifting, up and down, side to side, with nothing happening ... except I wanted  to vomit over the side of the boat!  For some reason on that day the whales weren't cooperating with the tourist ship.  And the ship was scheduled to stay in place until some whale made a guest appearance.  I remember praying as I hung over the boat, Dear God: Please .... pleeeaase, send whales!  Send someone is a whale costume.  Oh heck, please send a rogue wave that forces us back to shore.  The trip back to shore was terrible too - they were serving greasy burgers on this tourist boat, AND PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY EATING THEM!!  

Do you need an alarm to walk up in the morning?  Apparently not.  I must have some internal clock that pops my eyes open around the time I need to get up - no matter what time that is.  It is a spooky talent, I can tell you.

Have you ever had a yard sale?  Yes when I was much younger.  When I worked out the hours I devoted to the preparation, the sale, and the clean up ... against what I earned in sales, I made about .87 cents an hour.  No more yard sales for me.

Do you like kitchen gadgets?  Well I don't like to cook, but I do have 2 favorite kitchen gadgets.  My coffee maker.  Makes it possible for me to form complete sentences about 30 minutes later.  And my microwave.  Makes it possible for me to heat up food made by others!

Do you read labels at the grocery store?  You betcha!  But the best foods of all are the ones that don't have labels: fruit, veggies, etc.  

Well, that sure was fun.  Now off to check out some of the other blogs in the porch chat!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mom Nature,

We have talked before ... you and I.

Last year we had a serious talk in March about your winter performance.  It was dismal.

As a big fan of winter, I felt absolutely compelled last year to point out your deficiencies with regards to  snow falls.  And here we are again, having the same talk this year.

Surely you don't think the snow I woke to this morning was adequate!
Is one inch really the best that you can do?

Are you becoming just a bit lazy in doing your winter duties?

So it is only mid-January.  You still have plenty of time to correct this situation ... but I will be watching, and if things don't improve in the next month or so ... well ... don't make me go there!!

Get crack'en!  Drop a foot or two of the snowy goodness around here ... and I will get off your back!

Retired Knitter

PS - uhh ... don't drop that foot of snow this weekend ... I am going to the beach for a craft weekend with my cousin and friends. Any time after Monday will be just fine.

PPS - no Internet connection where I am going - so I'll be back early next week - with pictures of my fun weekend - unless Mother Nature decides to be ornery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grandma is so ...

... Grand!!

She adores us!  

So a little introduction.

From left to right, 

I am Meathead, the English BullDog.  I am the senior member of this family even though Grimace is a year older than me.  You see I was here first as a puppy.  Grimace was rescued at the age of 3 - so I have seniority.  I am 10 years old.  I am magnificent!

Next in the center is Milo, the French Bull Dog.  He belongs to my Aunt Kris and he is 2 - a young, energetic, egotistic,  pushy, overly alert, and exceedingly cute dog.  The last quality saves his butt more times than you could imagine.  We remind him frequently when he is being a "yo-yo brain" (something that happens frequently), that his mom was shopping for a blond female French Bull Dog when she got him!  Blond!  Female! How she got side tracked by a brown male (even if he has melty bedroom eyes), we will never know!

Lastly on the right is Grimace, the Pug, who is my adopted brother and a pretty good friend to everyone.  He is 11 years old.  But he loves Grandma with an intensity that would be considered stalking in the human world!  

Anyway,  here are The liver cookies our Grandmother bakes for us every Christmas.  They are cut in the shapes of hearts and bones. And she doubles the quantity of liver listed in the recipe.  She knows her boys!!

Shapes are very important. 


Making these cookies in simple circles is a bad idea.  When Grandma made these last year they were in circles.  They were cooling on the kitchen counter ... she was busy in the living room.  Then Grandpa came into the living room chewing and chewing away, asking ... "These aren't chocolate chip cookies, are they!"


Since we don't like sharing our liver cookies, (and Grandpa doesn't like liver), the shapes save our treats for us.

New followers ... Welcome to Grandma's blog.

An introduction to Grandma can be found here.  Information on Grandma's first Give-Away (it isn't liver cookies), can be found here.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Give Away Creation Begins

This posting is part of the Grow Your Blog Event.
  Introduction to this event and to me can be found here.

As part of the Grow Your Blog Event, I am holding a give away.  The details of how to participate can be found here, but in truth, it is simple.

Leave a comment on any of my posts from January 18 up to mid-night on January 31 - and you are automatically entered.  No anonymous comments accepted. 
 Leave your blog or email address in the comment.
Names will be put into a basket and one person will be selected to win this hand woven scarf. 

And now to give you the first update on the prize I am creating.

The fun part of weaving comes after a lot of preparatory steps.  
Here is a quick pictorial tour of how it is done.

The yarn is prepped by making them into yarn balls.

The warping yarn is threaded into the rigid heddle reed slots.
As a novice weaver, I keep reference material handy to be sure I have the steps correct.
Keep threading the yarn through the slots until the width you want is reached.
The warp yarn is  barber pole style.

Once all the slots are filled, the holes are threaded as well.

Then the majority of the yarn is wound on to the back beam
and the front ends are tied to the front beam.

The weft or weaving yarn is wound onto a shuttle.

The yarn in the holes and in the slots is separated by moving the reed up and down
 creating a shed or space to pass the shuttle through.
The white yarn will be removed and discarded when the weaving is complete.
It serves to even out the warp threads so they are more parallel.

And then after a bit magic happens!
Ok, that was impossibly brief!  Bunches of steps were left out.  To technical to show it all.  Most of the readers would have clicked off the page is I showed everything.  But it does give you the flavor of the process and a peek at how the weaving material will look when completed.

I like the way the colors are turning out.

We will do another update in a week.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Grow Your Blog - Give Away

For the very first time in 2 1/2 years, I am hosting a give away as part of my participation in the Grow Your Blog Event.

If you are new here, my introductory post can be found at this link.  I shared a bit about who I am and why I blog.

Here is the low-down on my Give Way!!

Early in 2012 I took up weaving.  I have done a number of hand woven scarves.

The beginning of my very first weaving project!
Two completed scarves.
My last scarf was woven to match my winter coat.
So for my Give Away, I plan to weave a scarf using these two yarns.

I will weave with variegated purple.  This yarn will be the more prominent color.   The other yarn will be the weft - and it has black, shades of purple and some hints of green in a barber pole look.

And I plan to blog about the process periodically until January 31 when the scarf will be completed.  I'll show pictures as the project progresses.  How it turns out will be a surprise to all of us - after doing a number of scarves, it is amazing how weaving two yarns together creates an entirely different and sometimes unexpected look.

More details about the width and the length will come in future posts - as I warp up the loom - but I tend to make long-ish scarves that are 10 to 12 inches in width.  I like a scarf that can wrap around my neck more than once.

If you are interested in winning a hand woven scarf, it easy to be included:

  • just leave a comment on my blog between January 18 and January 31 (comments made on the first post will be counted.)
  • leave an email address or your blog site so I can reach you if you win.
  • you don't need to be a follower, or even a participant in this event.
  • you don't even need to have a blog but anonymous comments will not be included.
  • the winner will be selected randomly - your name will be included in a basket and drawn on February 1st.

It couldn't be easier.

Thanks to all who have visited my blog so far, and a special thank you Vicki for hosting this event.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I think I see a new face or two coming for a visit to my blog.

My name is Elaine, and in some circles I am called Retired Knitter.

I am participating in a Grow Your Blog event, sponsored by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  This creative fiber artist decided it was time to say "Thank You" to the blogging community for all the support she has received over the years by helping bloggers to grow their readership. I love these events because I love to discover new blogs.

Vicki suggested several elements for the event participants to follow.

  Start with an introduction ...
Who the heck are you!

 So here goes:

  • I am a blogger.
  • I am a knitter.
  • I am a sometimes crocheter.
  • I am a new-be weaver.
  • I am a wanna-be spinner.
  • I am a walker.
  • I am a grandmother and dog sitter to three magnificent dogs (Meathead, an English Bulldog, Grimace, a Pug, and Milo, a French Bulldog).
  • I am a wife of 43 years, and a mother to 2 grown children and 1 new daughter-in-law.
  • I am a caregiver and daughter to my 86 year old mother.
  • I am retired, and thank God for that because ...
  • I am completely out of time or energy with the above stuff for anything like a real job.
Before I begin the next segment (Why I blog), I plan to bore you for just a few minutes with pictures of my "grandchildren."  I am a typical grandmother, after all.  So please stick around.

Just pretend I have taken out my wallet, and I am sharing some family pictures with you.  And you, being a good blogging friend, can't back out gracefully ...  you smile,  show enthusiasm, and remark on how cute they are.

Left is Grimace.  Yes, his tongue is sticking out.  It is one of his charming features.
Right is Milo.  Yes, his ears are sticking up.  He is doing his "deer imitation."
This is Meathead.
This is how he looks most of the time.
Meathead is 10 years old and that is very old for an English Bulldog.
I caption this picture as
"Sleeping dog with heavy lips."
There!  That wasn't so bad.  I think we are going to get along just great.  :-)  Thank you for sticking with me this far.  Now we can move on to the next part of my participation.

Answer the question ...
Why do I blog!

It started innocently enough.

I discovered blogging through my friend, HappyOne, at Life is Good-Smile. I always felt better after visiting her blog.  The posts weren't exciting or unusual, just a chronicle of her daily walks and the activities that filled her days.  But reading her blog was like a short visit to a peaceful island where life was calm and orderly ... when my own life was anything but peaceful.  That was July 2010.

The blogging seed was planted ... maybe I could have a blog too.  

You see in July 2010, I was in my 3rd year as primary caregiver for my elderly mom.  She lived with me.  The intensity of her care had not reached a critical point in 2010, but it was growing in challenges and responsibility, and it was constant - 24/7.  In fact, I retired early from my job to care for her.  The story of my journey as an elder caregiver can be found on my blog under the label Through My Caregiver Eyes.

I didn't start out wanting to write about my caregiving experiences ... I just wanted a way to express myself about fun stuff, life observations, my goals ... a distraction of sorts.  Caregiving was rapidly shrinking my world as I became more and more house bound with mom.  I wanted this blog to be about the life I wanted and to focus on stuff important to me.  I did not want to write about caregiving. It was important but private.

A year of blogging passed!

On August 15, 2011, I changed my mind and decided to write about my life with mom.  That year was terribly difficult.  Like the valve on a pressure cooker, I needed to let some of the steam out.  So I posted my first caregiving post on August 15th - and closed it to comments - private.  Just a place to sort out my conflicting emotions - because they were spilling out of the cracks in my life anyway.

But bloggers are persistent people. I got a few private emails ... readers wanting to share their own experiences with me and to express a camaraderie.  It was surprisingly comforting.

Then I received an email from Doris, a Nursing Home Social Worker, who blogs at Hold My Hand.  She wanted me to Guest Post on her blog - sharing two of my recent caregiving posts.  I remember the overwhelming emotions of that moment like it was yesterday.  One morning ... sitting at my kitchen table in my pajamas, facing my computer with a cup of coffee, struggling to read Doris' email through my tears. Someone saw and understood.  No judgement, no criticism.  And this nursing home professional thought I could do something good for someone else by sharing my story.  (The link to the Hold My Hand blog above, takes you to that post on my mom.)

I agreed to the guest posting.

And I put the comments back on my caregiver series of posts.

Mom has now moved to Assisted Living. I am still her caregiver, but my primary role is now "daughter" ... as it should be.  I have taken back most of my life. And the experience of caregiving has changed me forever.

My blog has evolved as well.  I share all sorts of things ... my entries are eclectic.  I have written about vacuum cleaners and tree bark, family life and all my dearly loved crafts, my grand dogs and my cats, my walking and my couch sitting (I won't lie, the walking habit is a struggle.)  I write about everything. And I still write about Mom on occasion.  But my life is now more balanced, more normal (well, except for writing about vacuum cleaners and tree bark - how normal is that?)


This blog was there for me when I really needed it ... as well as my blog friends ... during the most difficult months of my life.  It was a life line.  And unconsciously, I think I knew that at the time.

Why do I blog?

I now think you know!

Hope you come back to visit again soon.  And I will be searching out your blogs, because the real joy of this kind of event for me is discovering new blogs.  

Offer a contest!!

Be sure to leave a comment - maybe introduce yourself if you are new here.  All commentors will be eligible for a prize if they include an email address - my first contest ever - more on that next time!

Be sure to come back on Monday, January 21st to find out more.

Like seriously!
I can see it in your face.
You know you want to come back!!!


   Retired Knitter,
   Daughter, and

PS - A final picture of my 3 grand dogs - sleeping! The most blessed of all times!!

PPS - Ok, so it is not the final picture.  No sense in starting off our new relationship with a lie!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Band Wagon Thinking

If you read blogs, you can't miss the January theme of the month - simplify, de-clutter, organize!!


What is it about the simple month of January that brings out this clean-up, clean-out feeling in folks?  Why does everyone jump right on this band wagon very single January?
  • Is it a reaction to the rampant consumerism of November and December?
  • Is it that the pathway from your front door to your refrigerator has gotten too narrow to negotiate?
  • Is it that you bought yet another hammer, because you can't find the 5 others you own?
  • Is it that you are trapped in your house for the first really cold month of the winter, and you are forced to face down all your crap? 
 "Holy Crap!!
  Where did all this crap come from?
  Is the crap multiplying on its own?
  Have 5 other families moved their crap in when I wasn't looking?
 Crap, crap, crap!!

  Guess my new favorite word!

No, I am not going to bore you with my January Simplicity Post du gour.  I have already done that 16 times over the life of this blog.  It is not a new topic for me.  In fact, to be successful at de-crapping cluttering, it shouldn't be a new topic, or a January topic, or a seasonal project.  

It needs to be a life style!

So, how is that for NOT blogging about de-cluttering!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Achy breaky knuckles

For the last few weeks I have noticed a definite change in my hands.  Specifically my knuckles!

They are sometimes achy.

Like today.  Outside it was cold and wet and my knuckles were very achy.  Enough that I needed to pop a few Advil!!

So what the heck is that all about.

I am 65 and those knuckles have served me well for many years without complaint.  They aren't particularly beautiful, and they aren't knobby or wrinkly or bumpy or crackly.  They are just knuckles.

They have done their job for many years without calling attention to themselves.

And now they are becoming attention-getters!  Crap!

Could this be the early signs arthritis?  No.  My mom and sister are plagued with this condition, but I have always felt blessed to have missed that bullet.

Double Crap!

Now I am not feeling so blessed.

Triple Crap!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Settled Down

After the celebration of the holidays and the flurry of activity when my son and daughter-in-law moved in ... and after the Christmas take-down of all the decorations ... things have finally settled down in our household.

The new normal has evolved in my life ... it kind of looks like this ...
  • Early to bed, early to rise - now I have working folks in my house, and they are up early and out the door.  So I am up early to be with my grand dogs.  No more staying up till 11:00 pm or midnight - not if I want to find my way to the coffee pot and happy dog faces at 6:00 am.
  • Dog walks, dog walks, dog walks.  All the time.  Meaty so loves his pee breaks.  No more waiting for 8 to 10 hours for is papa to come home for a pee break.  Now he has "pee breaks on demand."  Life is good.
  • Grimace is my new companion for visits to Assisted Living. Meaty prefers laying on the couch.
  • The kitchen table is busy almost every night - not just on the weekends.
  • Company while I blog and canine editorial suggestions are the norm - Grimace has very definite ideas.
It has been a very busy period, but the routine is now settling down.  And I am loving it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grow Your Blog

Or better yet ... discover new blogs!

I follow a pretty phenomenal fiber artist blogger ... Vickie at 2 Bags Full.  If you aren't familiar with her blog, check out this link.  You won't be sorry.

As an experienced and successful blogger, she wanted to "give back" to the blogger community through a Grow Your Blog event!  I have participated in a few of these in the past, and I made an interesting discovery. While I usually get new readership and always enjoy new followers, the real joy for me ... is discovering new blogs.  You meet the most remarkable people, learn the most interesting things and generally expand your own universe when you find new blogs.  Through a sponsored event by a like-minded blogger, the participating blogs are usually of interest.

So on January 19th, I will be participating in the "Grow Your Blog" party sponsored by 2 Bags Full.

My participation will look a lot like this:
  • On January 19th, I will post an introduction of who I am and why I started blogging.  Long time followers already know me and my story, but new visitors who pop in will need to catch up. 
  • The post will also include an invitation to participate in a contest - my first ever contest!!  Visitors who stop and comment will be eligible to win a prize.  There is no requirement that a visitor be a follower of my blog or have their own blog.  They just need to make a comment to be included for a chance to win a prize.  
  • The winner will be announced on my blog on February 1, 2013.
So if you are tootling around the internet on January 19th and you find me talking about myself - just out of the blue - for no apparent reason other than I like to read about myself ... :-) ... you will know what I am really doing.  You will know I have not gone totally insane.  :-)

At least, not yet!



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year Looks Different

Day 2 of 2013!

Already the New Year looks very different.

Over the holiday period my son and daughter-in-law moved temporarily into our home.  2013 is the year that they prepare their townhouse for sale, sell it, buy a new place closer to work and move again.

But for the near future, my home has once again expanded to shelter family.  And this time the  "family" included my two grand dogs.

In fact, as I sit here on my couch at 6:30 am typing away, my two dear boys are sacked out on either side of me snoring away.  That is their usual schedule on a work day: get up, walk with Papa, get fed by MoMo, and go back to sleep.  The only difference for them is that now they have a grandma nearby every single day to give them lovies and walks.

Oh the difficult life they lead!!  :-)

Of course, it helps that the dogs are here and won't be underfoot while their former home is spruced up for sale and shown.

So the New Year is different with many changes expected in the future.

I welcome it all.  I am enjoying every moment of it as I sit here on Day 2 of 2013.

PS - I love having family under my roof.  I love the feeling of a filled house.  I know this situation is temporary.  All the family move-ins over the last 10 years have been temporary - as they should be.  But I have loved them all.  One day it will be our turn, and my husband and I will move into less space.  We won't have the luxury of opening our doors this way ... but for now, it is grand!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the other side of my mountain.

We are on the other side of the holiday season - and I welcome it each year!

Yes, that is me!  
Struggling to the top,
 each and every year.

I try to simplify so that this desire to "get passed" the season is reduced.   But still my mountain looks a lot like this:

Create a "to do" list right after Thanksgiving.  
(My reduced list this year had about 25 holiday items on it.)
Decorate the tree.  
Christmas shop.
 (This time online shopping saved a bunch of time.)
Wrap presents.
Make Christmas cookies.
Plan Christmas Eve menu.
Plan Christmas Day menu.
Plan Holiday Gamer Party menu.
Food shop.
Food preparation
 (About 50% food prep done by the grocery store.)
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
Holiday Party
Clean up.
Take down and pack away holiday decorations.
Update the new 2013 calendar.
Sit back and recover.

This is my simplified list, my simplified holiday.  I know it looks a lot like your list, your mountain.  But I desire a simpler holiday.  

On this first day of 2013, I am in a celebratory mood.  I have reached the other side of this mountain.  My to-do list each day has gloriously shrunk.  I celebrated with a walk, my first walk in many weeks.  It was short - only 30 minutes. It is a start (I am a big starter.)   And my stretching routine - well, I need to start over on that.  My husband and I went out to eat at a restaurant this New Year's Day ... where someone else cooked, delivered the food to the table, and cleaned up.

But best of all, I am past the mountain.  Now I can enjoy my truly favorite season of the year - Winter.

Happy New Year!