Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Learning to "Work" Retirement

Ok, this is tough.

You would think not having to go to work would be something easy to do. Well, at least it was while I was working!

But now, not so easy.

And Monday, it dawned on me some of the benefits of no longer having to stop what I'm doing and go to work. And the above is one of the many reasons why it's a good thing.

  • I missed much of my daughters growing up having to work and keep house and cook and...
  • Now I can enjoy being at home with Lady K and 'reliving' to some degree the things I missed when the girls were growing up.

As I was working on cataloging and list making for my fiber and fabric projects, I could stop and sit in the yard with my knitting while Lady K was playing in the yard and digging in her sandbox. No problem! Nowhere I HAD to be. No deadlines (except for those self-imposed for knit-and-stitch-alongs).

It also means, during her summer vacation (and during the school year), Texter is free to do more with friends and follow her interests more. Right now, I'm listening to the movie "Sing" for about the 100th time with Lady K while Texter is with our LulaRoe dealer, helping her out. And she got to stay out late Saturday night, playing D&D with friends. Win-win for everyone.

So while my body/mind is learning retirement, I can enjoy a bologna sandwich in the yard in the sunshine with Lady K for lunch. And plan some fun trips this summer hitting quilt shops around Montana on a quilt hop. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week In Review - May 14 - 20

I'm still trying to 'adjust' to not working. Being able to do things on my on schedule (pretty much). But it's been a full week, lots of knitting, falling off the 'no-sewing' band wagon only to have machine issues with the project, cooking and some time in the yard around a gray, drizzly day (my kind of weather). 

Since the seedlings are now outside, all the orchids (pretty much) are in the bay window. A second flowering branch had grown on an orchid I 'rescued' and is opening up. The early morning sun through the bloom is beautiful.

I'll take pictures this coming week of what we planted, but Lady K assisted. She even has her own hanging basket and huge planter of flowers she picked out. Luckily, we have had a couple of days of a bit of rain which has helped de-stress the plants and get them off to a nice start. The coming week is suppose to be a tad warmer and things should really take off.

And that is it for my exercise this past week. Really lax on going to the gym or doing yoga!

Lots of cooking this past week, much to the delight of Savvy's co-workers. A Fresh Cherry/Almond/White Chocolate scone and an Asian Noodle Salad were the two biggies. This morning will be an Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bake, by the way.

Saturday was the big day.

I had an Amaro (bitters) 'class' at Gulch Distillers in the afternoon. It was basically showing and explaining how they make amaro or bitters. You could also call them liqueurs when you add sweeteners during the process. I already had my mind set on some cherry liqueurs before I went.

Now, isn't this the proper way to study! A drink with lilac infused honey (yummy!). 

I'll have a longer post about the class next week, but I went home with "Professional Strength" vodka and some of the ingredients to add to my cherry liqueur I will be making.

More about what is in there, but it was great fun talking to someone who does this for a living and putting together a selection of spices and barks to compliment the cherries. Can't wait for the fall when my concoction comes together.

Next month is syrups, so I anticipate all sorts of little bottles in the kitchen infusing various sweeteners for drinks (and not just alcoholic ones). I'm already signed up!

And after the drinks, I went to the Helena Quilt Show all by my lonesome. Browsing without checking to be sure Lady K isn't dismantling the show!

Lots of quilts and further weakening of my 'no-sewing' pledge. A new machine is definitely in the plans soon. Maybe. If I can afford what I want. Hopefully. But there will be a longer post coming about some of the quilts. Lots of eye-candy and a furthering of my resolve to get some projects done!

I do have to show this one quickly. I love the gradient of colors and all the different size stars. It's similiar to some different patterns I have pinned and would love to do and really like how the blocks are set on-point.

And the best part? Cheri B., my orchid guild person, made this! 

There was a bit of a downer as I was heading home after picking up Lady K so her mother could play Dragons  & Dungeons uninterrupted with friends.

What was suppose to start on Monday, the 22nd, has already taken place. The Temple of Fire is now the Temple of Rubble. It's a bit bittersweet. On one hand it's sad to see the kids first home being torn down after only a year and a half of ownership. On the other hand, it was the catalyst for us to be able to move back to North Carolina. Lady K was a bit upset to see her house in a pile. But I'm sure the neighbors are glad work is being done to get rid of the house after it sitting there, charred, for about five months. Now to have them remove the rubble and the kids sell the lot.

Otherwise this week - 

  • Finished two books
  • Received a book to read and review
  • Received a box of yarn from a friend who wasn't going to use it (Thanks, Beth!)

This coming week - 

  • Off my butt and lots more exercising!
  • Finishing up more books
  • Finishing up some knitting
  • Figuring out how to sew on this minky fabric and complete a throw
  • More writing being done
  • More staying on track, and tracking, various things (like drinking water and taking vitamins)
  • Going through my bins and cataloging all the projects and trying to find where I put the sewing supplies I bought (like the pair of Gingher scissors and rotary cutter!)

So, until then...

More coffee!

Friday, May 19, 2017

And Another Fun Thing...

It's bad enough I have fallen off the wagon and decided to drag out the sewing machine. And we WILL NOT discuss the fact that somewhere in one of several bins of 'stuff' is a rotary cutter, scissors, etc. which I purchased after the fire and stored safely away. So safe I can't find it. 

Which means, between now and June 6, when the quilting starts, I have to go through each and every bin, bag and basket to locate items. Well, I figure it will give me a chance to catalog my outstanding projects (which I had done and then lost the list!).

Anyway, in between all the fiber and fabric fun, I have a huge stack of index cards on my desk I have been using for grocery lists. So why not actually break out the art supplies (which I know where those are!) and be creative!

Daisy Yellow is a fun website to follow and I think I will really enjoy a little mixed media art in my life over the summer. If you want to join in too, here is some information on the Daisy Yellow site

If nothing else, I can tape them to the blank wall over the computer and add some color!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Have No Willpower!

Actually, I am equating my willpower to that of a starving mosquito on a nude beach. Catch my drift?

I had thought I would abstain from quilting since I am down to the plain Singer (which I hate the bobbin case on) and really have a terrible set-up for sewing. I would have to set-up and take down every time I sewed.


Yep! I am falling off the band wagon of no-sewing.

I am blaming my local quilt store, The Sewing Palace, who is doing this block-of-the-month during the summer. I have fallen for more than one reason...

  • The most important is I love the American Beauty style quilts. They remind me of compasses and kaleidoscopes, all the things I love.
  • There are deadlines. I have to finish blocks and pick up the next set of blocks in a timely manner. And with being retired, that should work, shouldn't it?
  • And....if I finish my blocks by the end of August I get the border free!
  • A friend is going to do it also. This friend also has a quilting machine. Do you think I might be able to whimper and beg to get it quilted once finished? A great to-do after everyone is back in school at the end of August.

Not only did I fall off the wagon, I am seriously dragging it along now.

Isn't this little bird cute!

The Sewing Palace is offering a one day class on making these little scrappy fellows.  I have some scraps. I can bring a potluck dish. The date is on my calendar now!

And finally, if all the the above is not enough, I have my eye on this class, also at the Sewing Palace.

Handwork! I love trees and this is so much like a crewel work design I did when I was about...9 maybe. Back when you could only get black and white! (Family joke)


As I sit here, surrounded by yarn, my heart is going to fabric. I think I will be giving in shortly and taking a dive back into fabric for the summer!

(All pictures I 'borrowed' from The Sewing Palace and hopefully they won't mind.)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week In Review - May 7 - 13

Boy, am I glad I'm not working a 'real' job anymore. Because while this has been my first week of retirement, I have been hopping everywhere!

One of the things I/we did was a trip to Great Falls to hunt for yarn. While there are tons of opportunities to buy great yarns online, there is something about being able to squish it before you buy it. And my LYS is currently closed (and super tiny to boot). Lady K wanted a 'trip' too.

I needed five colors for a mystery wrap being offered via Ravelry. The first clue was released Friday and after a day of winding 5 skeins on my new ball winder (manual and my shoulder is killing me), I started and have this much done on one of the two 'triangles'.

Looking at the colors in this wrap I realized...

in North Carolina, in a storage unit, in a box is a sleeveless sweater I knitted back in the mid-80's when I first learned to knit. There are about 15 or so different yarns in the sweater...

All in these colors!

And based on the scarves and wraps I have started, I really need to rethink a couple of color choices.

I also picked up two skeins of black yarn and have to frog about 3 inches of Texter's D&D scarf and start over. The gray wasn't enough contrast to the red she had. But that's next week.

Yep, I seem to have a 'theme' going.

Another project in the works is Alex the Mouse. I have his nose and the start of his head going. Only problem is I know I'll have to knit a cat once the mouse is done. Or a fox.

It wasn't all about the fibers this past week either. I received some happy mail (and yes, those are knitting needles I received).

And our LulaRoe 'pusher' (because we are addicted) gave Texter a discount code to try Hello Fresh
for free. Can't pass up an opportunity to get 3 meals for 2 people for nothing!

This was our first meal out of the box of goodies - the Lean Green Steak Machine

Let me preface this by saying when I told Lady K "mommy is cooking dinner", her response was wide eyes and "Mommy can cook?" 

Texter has been known not to eat if she had to fix it herself, so having her enthusiastic about cooking a meal herself would be worth the cost of the box of food.

But zucchini? We don't eat zucchini! We ATE zucchini!

It was really good. And actually, we got three meals out of it instead of just 2 (which made Savvy very happy when she got home after a 12 hour day).

So two more meals to go. I think we are going to give it a try and actually buy a couple of boxes and see how it goes. Besides, if nothing else, we get some awesome ice packs.


  • Finished off 7 books
  • Several trips to the gym and yoga studio (but not nearly enough - been a slacker at the end of the week)
  • School is over for the year for Lady K and Texter - summer vacation starts!
  • Landlord complete repainting the outside of the house

This coming week
  • Getting plants into real containers or the ground
  • More knitting and Netflix bingeing 
  • Lots of gym workouts and yoga studio visits
  • Last day of soccer for Lady K for the season - next comes swim lessons and then T-ball
  • Helena Quilt show next weekend
  • Kids Yoga at the library on Friday
  • Bitters making class on Saturday at Gulch Distillery

Actually, my BIG goal is to try and get into a flow with chores and things I want to do - trips, knitting, etc. But we will see.

Now for more coffee.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Twenty Four Years Ago Today...

I was listening to the doctor (who spelled doctor G-O-D) almost come to blows with a nurse who was less than impressed with him. Especially after he had told me I wasn't in labor when I was. However, 'someone' decided that 9 centimeters was just a fine time to come into the world, regardless of what anyone else as thinking.

And she hasn't changed a bit!

Texter has given more than a few gray hairs over the years.

She quit school at 15 and when she turned 16 seven months later was enrolling for her GED and completed it in record time. Now she is two semesters away from finishing up a college course of studies and walking off with an associate degree and two certifications. And probably finished this semester on the Dean's List. 

She's a loving, single mom with an active 4 year old. And with plans for a wonderful life ahead of her and Lady K.

Happy Birthday, Texter! 

(Even if you had to buy your own cake!)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Happy Mail!

Yesterday, the real first day of my new 'retired' life, was also a great mail day!

No junk. No bills. Just 'good stuff'!

First was a little pocket Rhodia grid notebook I won from a drawing at Rhodia Drive.  I haven't used a tiny notebook from them, but I LOVE the larger Rhodia notebooks. This little gem fits right into my case I just got to carry my phone and a couple of items when I work out. (Now where did I put my ear phones?)

Then there were two postcards from Postcrossing.  One from Germany and one from Brazil. I haven't received many cards from Central or South America, so delighted with the Brazil one, especially with the dragon on it.

And last was a set of double pointed knitting needles. I needed some to work on a project and decided to buy a set of them. One thing I love about knitting (and crochet to a lesser extent) are there are actually two different size 1 and size 2 needles. And yes, that .25mm difference can make a BIG difference in the long run. I just have to remember which one I normally use for what project. I love the fact there is a little case for them as my DPN normally wind up scattered to the wind in the bottom of whatever box I am trying to corral my needles in.

So now, I have a notebook for little notes on the go, I need to do my postcrossing for the month and I need to cast on my mouse project.

Happy mail leads to happy to-do's!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Week In Review - April 30 - May 6

Well, I am officially 'retired'. Or 'unemployed'. But since I voluntarily left, I guess retired would be the correct term. For 2 whole days. Two whole, packed-with-activities, days.

I received a lovely send-off from the library. A strawberry covered cheesecake and an even lovelier hanging basket. There are geraniums in it which I plan to try and overwinter and take to North Carolina with me.

But my first day off was filled with a four-year-old checkup for Lady K. With 2 shots. Which caused her to have a 'broken leg' later in the day. And then her therapist appointment. There went the morning!

In the evening, we did this...

The Downtown Helena Spring Art Walk and boy, was it a perfect evening for it.

We stopped to see a fine-feathered-friend.

She looked every bit as grumpy as Lady K was (pre-ice cream). And we indulged in a bit of sidewalk chalk, but nothing as good as this young artist.

Then Saturday started out equally busy.  We went to Migratory Bird Day. Our third year and this was the first year we weren't freezing our butts off.

Once again, a beautiful day for the outdoor event. Besides making a bird house (we now have 2) and some pinecone bird feeders, Lady K had a bird 'tattooed' on her arm.

Have I mentioned the landlord has started renovating the outside of the house? It was something we knew was coming, but didn't think the windows would be covered with plastic on the hottest days of the year! We sweltered inside and languished, in true Southern style, in front of our fans.

Therefore, I...

Cleaned up my desk area...


Baked some bread (yep, even with it being so hot inside...I'm stupid.)

I received yarn for a Year of Techniques project and wound 3 skeins of yarn (total of about 700 yards)

Right now, the body of the mouse will be the blue since it's Lady K's favorite color. The nose will be the purple and the vest and inside of the ears will be purple and green.  I will have to do a cat too and have my eyes on a couple.

My Colorwash Scarf is chugging along as I watched episodes of The Vikings.  Problem is, as I go along, the rows get longer. I have about 64 more rows across to knit before I change up things a bit. At least the pattern is memorized and not a toughie.

See the pink marker in the middle? That's were I started from last week and shows how much I did last week. I did miss a couple of days knitting. But I am pleased with the stripey look and can't wait to block it so the 'holes' show up.


  • 4 workouts at the gym
  • signed up at the yoga studio for their 30 day special
  • attended the Great Divide Orchid Society meeting and 'won' an orchid in the raffle
  • Led the closing workshop for National Letter Writing Month
  • Led the Queen City Writer's Roundtable - writer's block was the discussion
  • Wrote 3 posts
  • Finished 1 book (but have a TON beside my bed)
  • Walked 70% of my goal (my butt getting kicked by a friend)

This coming week...

  • Enjoying my first week of retirement while Texter and Lady K are still in school
  • Yoga and workouts at the gym
  • Getting my 'routine' worked out
  • Lots of knitting while laundry is washing
  • Planning some menus
  • Getting some writing and reading done

Well, Lady K just informed me she is hungry and I need more coffee.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

'May' I Finish?

April has continued the 'crazy', but it is settling down. Only two more days of work left and then it's retirement.

Actually, it's more like, two more days of work and then lots of physical activities and some knitting.

But a recap of my April goals, which were all fiber related.

  • Hadley - nope
  • Dangling Conversation (can't wait to use beads!) - haven't started
  • Helix Stripes Armwarmers - another nope
  • Vanilla Socks - same here
  • Trout Creek Shawl - ditto
  • To Eyre Shawl - finished!!!!!
  • Yarn Quest Scarf - another no-starter

Actually, I started another project (of course) and am plowing through it. Would love to be finished by the KAL goal of May 14. Will have to see.

This is the Colorwash Scarf and I'm chugging along on it.

So for May - 

  • Finish up the Colorwash Scarf and one other knitting project
  • Hit either the gym or the yoga studio 6 out of 7 days
  • Get seedlings planted
  • Menus planned
  • Start my 'count-down' calendar (more on that later)
  • Writing!

So mainly learning to be unemployed for the first time since I was 15 years old. That's almost 45 years of constantly working. Not sure how I am going to be once a week or two of 'vacation' is over. But I am more than willing to learn!

Monday, May 01, 2017