Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Believe in Santa Claus

When someone asks me if I believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas, I tell them, "Hell yes!" I have seen the fat man in action and felt the magic first hand.

For the past 8 years, we have been involved with a local organization called Christmas Promise. They are a grassroots operation that does not seek publicity. They get referrals of 250-300 families each year from local schools and outreach organizations. Then they get people and businesses to sponsor those families by purchasing Christmas gifts and food gift certificates. On Christmas Eve, Santa goes to the house and delivers the gifts. The only person the families ever see if Santa. When they ask him where he is from he answers "The North Pole".

I have been blessed to be a sleigh driver. I have seen first hand poverty in my own community, but I have seen something much more powerful "Love".

This year I helped Santa get ready

and we headed to the North Pole to load up the sleigh. Our team consists of Santa, a driver and an Elf. Our elf was running late so I called him to check up on him. Seems our Elf got locked in at the warehouse and Santa had to make some phone calls to get someone to drive back and let him out. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus got to load the sleigh all by herself. We finally hit the road and headed to stop number one. On the way there we saw one of the funniest sets of Christmas lights

Because nothing says Christmas like a big green alien on your garage.

AT the first house, we discovered that the North Pole Elves made a mistake: there were 2 extra children at the house. Santa visited with them and then let them know he would be back in a while. We got back in the sleigh and made a quick call to the North Pole with names and ages of the children and the Elves got to work.

We headed to our second stop. The 2nd stop was at a small apartment complex that reminded me of a a motel. The apartments were a U shape around a central parking lot. When we pulled up 2 wanna-be gang bangers in droopy pants and baggy sweatshirts were on the street looking tough. We pulled in and sent the elf to scope out which apartment we needed. Once he ascertained where the apartment was Santa got out and headed to the apartment. One of the bangers headed over to the truck.
"Hey, Santa's going to my apartment?"
I turned to him and said "Oh, you must be 'R'".
"Yea, how did you know?"
"I'm from the North Pole, I know everything."
In that moment, I saw him transform from a street tough 17 year old to a little kid and he hurried to go see Santa. Of course by this time, every kid in the complex had spotted Santa and he was surrounded. Luckily, Santa always carries lots of toys in his magic Santa Bag so every kid got a present. Santa delivered his load of gifts and we headed to our third stop.

At the third stop Santa went to the door and knocked. It was opened by a very confused teen aged boy. Santa asked for "A" who had written a letter to Santa. The boy called her saying "Hey 'A' come to the door. Santa's here."
"Yea right!"
It took 3 times before a very shocked "A" came to the door to see that Santa was indeed at her front door. Once we knew Santa was at the correct house, our elf began running bags of gifts to the porch. Inside Santa was being bombarded by picture after picture from a digital camera. There were 10 children in the house ranging in age from 2 months to 19 years. At one point, one of the babies crawled up to him very curious. "Oh maybe we could get a picture with Santa holding him!" Santa obliged and as soon as he picked him up Niagra Falls started from the baby's eyes.

At this point Santa stopped and cocked his head. "What's that Dasher? Ok, just a minute."
The kids all looked at him incredulously. "You can talk to the reindeer?"
"Of course," Santa replied. "You have to know how to listen."
The room got silent while all the kids cocked their heads and tried to hear. Santa went to the door, opened it and asked, "Have you been good?"
The kids tenuously replied. "yes" and Santa started bring in bags of gifts. The house erupted with squeals and the flashes started all over again.

Santa eventually made it out although he was half blind from the flashes. We headed back to the North Pole to pick up the gifts for the first family and to make a much needed potty stop.

We headed back to the first house and they were so surprised to see us coming back. Santa handed out gifts and then headed back to the sleigh. Dad kept asking "Who sent you?" "We're from the North Pole."

Back at the North Pole, Santa wrote out a brief report on each of the families.

This is for all the behind the scenes elves so they can share in the fun.

We said farewell to our elf

and headed home for a long winters nap.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Open Letter to The Grinch

Dear Mr. Grinch,

I just wanted to thank you for your lovely outpouring of the holiday spirit by your act of stealing our Christmas lights Saturday night. I suppose I should be flattered that you liked the display that Bob and I worked so hard to set up. I even have a hunch of who you are since there was only one couple that stopped and inquired about the over-sized Christmas lights and how you thought they looked so cool. Why did you need to steal the over-sized bulbs and the lighted tree as well? I am glad you did not steal the nativity scene. I am pretty sure that stealing a nativity scene is a 1st class ticket to Hell.

I do have to wonder what you do in the off season. Do you pinch babies? Kick puppies? Beat up Nuns?

I must admit that you did rob me of some of my holiday spirit, but I refuse to let you ruin the holidays for me. I will continue to decorate for the holidays. I know in my heart that what goes around, come around. You will get your lump of coal!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear God, in this season of harvest,surrounded by the bounty and blessings of the earth, we pause and remember all You have given us. Thank You!

Please pour out Your mercy and grace this Thanksgiving upon the less fortunate, and help us remember that we are all one body—one nation—under You, called to love, respect, and serve one another, especially the poor and disadvantaged, in whom You are present among us.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
For his steadfast love endures forever.

-Psalm 136:26


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Can I Have a Change of Underwear Now?

Fathers Day is supposed to be a day of BBQs, not being scared half to death. I was draining macaroni for a macaroni salad when I heard a sherrifs patrol car drive by and ask people to stay in their homes as they were looking for a black male suspect. I watched a couple of sherrifs cars zoom by and did not think much of it. They made another announcement about having the canine unit and I thought about bringing in the dogs. I saw some neighbors outside and thought this might be a bra worthy event. (Yes on weekends when I hang out around the house, I hang out around the house.) The bedroom window was open and I heard what I thought was the dogs messing with the fence and then I heard a voice. I put my shoes on and thought to myself I better bring the dogs in. The dogs were barking but not in an unusual way to make me think anything was out of the ordinary. I walked into the garage and then out the back door and started to call the dogs. That was when I noticed the large black man crouched by the faucet next to the SMUD yard. He saw me and asked if he could have a drink. I told him sure, out of the faucet and turned and went back in the house. I ran through the house and out the front door to the first cop car I saw. "Is he in your backyard?" "Yes!" "Get back in the house!" and they drew their weapons and ran around the side of the house. I ran back in the house. When I heard they had him pinned down I opened the garage door and brought the dogs in the house. Now you would think that Honey, who is the alpha dog would be the one who would be all over people. No, It was my older dog Sweetie who was busy giving them what for. I got them in the house and then just started shaking. I called Bob at work and about all he could get out of me was "black man in the yard" and "gun". He rushed home from work to find a bunch of cop cars out front the suspect in custody, and me snapping pictures through the window. We found out later this guy was a burglary suspect who had broken out of police custody once today.

View from kitchen window:



Suspect in custody:


Where he was hiding from where I was standing:


I have finally stopped shaking. I definately prefer watching "Cops" on tv to living it in my backyard!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chuckle Softly and Carry a Big Stick

One of the light bulbs burnt out in the den and when I went to replace it the bulb broke. When Bob got home, I asked him to help me. He got the pliers and told me to hold the flashlight while he attempted to remove the bulb. He then told me if it looked like he was getting electrocuted to whack him with a wooden stick to disconnect him from the current

Was it wrong of me to get excited? I think he was a little nervous having me standing behind him with a bat on my shoulder with a glint in my eye asking "Was that a twitch? It looked like a twitch!"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yarn Shop Hop Part 3

After dropping Bob off at work I drove up to Placerville to meet Sweet Adeline for breakfast at Sweetie Pies and to hit one pf the last shops on the shop hop, Lofty Lou's. This was an easy trip since the two are next to each other.

It was nice to visit with Adeline before she headed off to her crafting retreat at Lake Tahoe. I twisted her arm and made her buy yarn. (I didn't have to twist too hard mind you!) I got my final stamp and then after saying goodbye to Adeline, I headed down the hill to my local yarn shop, Babetta's Yarn and Gifts to turn in my passport. I spent more than I should have, but I had a great time. Now to inventory everything.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yarn Shop Hop Part 1

Yesterday, my trusty Sherpa (Bob) and I started out on the first leg of the Yarn Shop Hop. 15 Yarn shops are participating. Each one has a pattern for an afghan square and yarn specials. If you get your passport stamped at all 15 shops you are entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes.

We decided to start off the hop at the Lake Tahoe Yarn Company in Truckee.

We had stopped there last month on our way to Reno. Its a cute little shop that has only been open for about 7 months. The owner is a very nice lady who loves what she does. She almost didn't hop as this was the scene the day before.

The chiropracter's office DIRECTLY above her shop was torched. Her Guardian Angel was working overtime as she had no water damge, no smoke damage or any damage whatsoever!

As we were leaving we ran into 2 very nice ladies from the Lodi LYS who had the same idea as us to start in Truckee. We wished them well and continued on our journey.


We left there and headed to Nevada City to Meadow Farm Yarn Studio
This is a nice, open and airy shop with a great selection. Shortly after we got there the 2 Lodi ladies showed up again and I started teasing them that they were stalking me.

From there Bob & I headed to Fibers in Grass Valley.

This is a nice little shop in Old Town. They have these adorable "Rocking Sheep". Bob really wants one. He says he wants it for the grandkids, but I know better! And again our Stalkers showed up!

Stop #4 was at Auburn Needleworks. Mapquest gave us bad directions so we had to call the shop. We eventuallu found it in the Gold Country Mall Building.

I thought it humorous that its located next to a hypno therapy place. Makes me wonder if tyhat is how people deal with their yarn addictions or if that's how they get new customers. (You are very sleepy. You want to knit...you want to buy lots of yarn...) They are a very well stocked shop and I think they carry almost every color of Cascade 220. The owner, Lisa was very friendly and helpful. She is the organizer of the shop hop. We weren't the only ones who had tr0ouble getting their. Our stalkers had to call for directions too. We saw them as we were heading out.

Next stop, Filati's in Rocklin. We were making good time so we decided to grab lunch after this stop and then head down to Modesto for the Central Valley legof the hop.


My Stalkers showed up again so we of course had to snap a picture.


Next stop Modesto for the Urban Sheep Knit Boutique. It shares space with a health food store so I felt compelled to buy some hemp yarn to make up into a shopping bag.


From Modesto we came back up 99 to Stockton to Knit Witz. This is a cute shop in Old Town and the ladies there were very sweet. They could not believe how many shops we planned to hit in one day.


Lodi was next. This proved to be quite a challenge as Map quest had us driving down Elm Street to find Pleasant Street and the 2 do not intersect. It was 5:15 and they closed at 5:30 pm. After a frantic call for directions we made it at 5:25pm. They then told us they were staying open until 6.


Next stop was to have been the Elk Grove Yarn Shop bu they closed at 6 so we hit the other yarn shop in Elk Grove, Knitique. It was a Stitch and Bitch night so lots of people were already there. Lo and Behold in walked my stalkers. They had cut across to my LYS Babetta's and then up the Highway 50 corridor to get the shops in Placerville and Cameron Park. We laughed over their stalking as I bought an adorable knitting bag from Ireland.


We all then headed to Woodland for our last stop of the day, Reynold's Knitting Pretty Yarn Shop. After some brief confusion about West Main Street and East Main Street we arrive at our destination. Bob & the owner struck up a conversation about Okinawa, where her husband had been stationed while I browsed for yarn. My stalkers showed up and we chatted and exchanged info before heading back to town.


On our way home we stopped at Spaghetti Factory for a celebratory dinner of spaghetti A La Homer. We were also treated to an incredible lightning show on the final leg of our drive. Here is my Sherpa at the end of the day. If he looks a little blurry that's ok; that's kind of how we felt at that point!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mystery Swap Package!

Its always a good day when a package arrives in the mail. Especially when it involves yarn and goodies. I received my package from my Mystery Swap Partner, Tiffany, who chose "Japan" as her theme. Being that she lives in Japan, she had a head start.


There is a great book of knitting stitches. Its written in Japanese, but they chart everything so I should be able to figure everything out pretty easily.

The yarn reminds me of green tea ice cream. Not sure what I will make from it yet.

And the dpns! I have never seen dpns this long! (See quarter for comparison) I told Bob I could knit socks for Bigfoot now if I had to.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bushel and a Peck

Today was a day for running errands the last of which was a stop at the grocery store to pick up some fixins for a Greek salad. While there, we remembered that we needed a birthday card for one of Bob's co-workers and a Mother's Day card for his Mom. He went to pick out the birthday card and left the Mother's Day selection to me. I was looking at the musical cards when one of them hit me emotionally and it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. It played "Bushel and a Peck" sung by Doris Day. My Mother used to sing that song to me when I was a little girl and just hearing it brought back a flood of memories. I lost my Mother in 2002 and I still miss her. I loved the fact that even though I was a grown woman I was still her "baby" that she loved to hug. I miss her brushing my hair and the talks we had. I lost my Dad in 1999 so when she passed away I felt like an orphan. I know she would be excited to see that I have picked up knitting. She tried to teach me as a child but I never got it then. I guess I need to go have a good cry and get it out of my system tonight.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thought for the Day

I got this in an e-mail from my Mother-In-Law today and I like the sentiment:

Be the kind of woman
that when your feet
hit the floor each
morning the devil says
"Oh Crap, She's up!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Intervention for a Dog?

Every now and the, Bob gets a little stressed and will fix himself a crown and coke and relax in the evening. (One bottle will last about a year and a half in our house at the rate he drinks) Yesterday evening, Bob was tired, and vegging out before heading to bed. I was in the den and he came to tell me something and when he came back in the living room he yelled "What the Hell?" It seems that our alcoholic dog, Honey (who will steal beer cans, drink the beer and eat the can - we think she's part goat) was on the couch slurping his drink. Bob was not amused. Honey seemed to enjoy it. I am wondering if I should stage an intervention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sleeping In...NOT!

Weekend mornings are supposed to be for sleeping in. That rarely happens in this house with 5 critter who keep devising new ways to get me out of bed in the morning. There is Sweetie Pie with the "potty dance" which is a 55 pound dog tap dancing on hardwood floors sounding like the entire Rockette's kick line in your bedroom. There is Honey Bun the 75 poung dog who either tries to tip toe across the bed, licks your face or her newest trick of sneezing directly on her intended target's face. MoMo gets right in my face and starts meowing trying to convinve me he is starving to death and hasn't eatten in days. Sayuri, is more subtle and just stares at you until you get that creepy feeling that someone is watching you and open your eyes to a cat face 2 inches from yours.

Well this morning, Miss Itty Bitty got in on the act. I was sleeping on my side and she was curled up with her head on my shoulder. I awole to the sounds of "HAAAHHK HAAHHK HAAHHK" directly in my ear and realized I was about to get a very unpleasant wake up call. I rolled over quickly flinging Miss Thing to the floor where she produced her offering. Not how I wanted to wake up. I went to clean it up and almost experienced a sympathetic response and then would have had an even bigger mess to clean up!

Ok Ok! I'm awake now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Travels on a Wednesday.

Its so nice to have a day off in the middle of the week.

This morning Bob decided to make breakfast so we lingered over french toast and bacon while we decided what to do today. I have been wanting to take our old freezer to the dump so we decided that would be the activity of the morning. Bob loaded it in the back of the truck and off we went. The dump is no fun place in our town. You drive in, pay your fee and then back into one of the unloading bays and step out into a world of stink. I am amazed at what people throw away. I saw furniture that needed minor repairs and a fake ficus in perfect condition. Sometimes I get disgusted by the waste in our society.

As we pulled out and headed back down Fruitridge we decided spur of the moment to take a drive. We ended up heading out the Jackson Highway. It was so nice to hear meadowlarks singing and see wide open fields. I wish I had brought my camera, but this was an unplanned trip. We saw yarn on the hoof (sheep) and many herds of beef cattle. Let me interject here that I am glad I am not a cow. I watched some of those calves having breakfast and have to say if I were Momma Cow I would be putting an end to the head butt thing while nursing!

We ended up in Placerville and since IO had always wanted to try it, we decided to have lunch at Sweetie Pie's. Its located on Main Street in an old Victorian home that was built around 1865. They have restored it and the food is great. I had a chili rellano casserole and Bob had a french dip. We decided we would have to come back and try their breakfast menu. Best of all, they are right next door to Lofty Lou's, Placerville's yarn shop. Let's just say I fell off my yarn diet today. Its a tiny shop but the people are very friendly. They had some interesting yarn made from, of all things, banana fiber. It felt like the stringy part of the peel, but not slimy. One of the girls also showed me a yarn made of 100% sugar cane. It was very smooth and silky like the bamboo yarn I have seen. I am amazed at what they make yarn out of these days. I guess if times were tough I could try to eat my stash!

As I type this, Bob is firing up the grill for dinner. This has been such a wonderful relaxing day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CBS Cares - Just a little too much!

CBS is launching a new sweepstakes as part of its community service outreach. If you are the lucky winner, CBS will fly you and a companion to New York City for a 3 night stay at the Loews Regency Hotel and a .... FREE COLONOSCOPY!

From the website:

This is an actual sweepstakes and, if you are the grand prize winner, we will fly you and a companion to New York where you will receive a free colonoscopy. You will also be given three nights' accommodation in a suite at the luxurious Loews Regency Hotel, which will include the night before you are "awarded" the colonoscopy.

What should you expect if you are the lucky winner?

The hardest part is the preparation the night before when you drink a laxative. This laxative is well known for declaring itself at the very moment you have called a relative or friend (or room service) to comment that it does not seem to be working. But hang in, because it's important to have a clear colon for the screening and the fun part is about to begin --

The colonoscopy at the Center for Specialty Care will be done by Dr. Paul Miskovitz -- a leading gastro-enterologist in New York City and expert on colorectal cancer. When the colonoscopy is about to begin, you'll be given drugs which will make you feel like you're at Woodstock... only without the music. If you start to believe that you actually are at Woodstock (for example, Dr. Miskovitz starts to look like Jimi Hendrix or you feel inclined to say "far out!" in response to questions), please report the side effect to Dr. Miskovitz or Jimi Hendrix (whomever you see first) immediately.


Now just in case you were wondering what to get Bob (who turns 50 this year) for his birthday...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lazy Rainy Sunday

Today is one of those lovely rainy days just made for sitting inside by the fire with a good book, a good movie or a knitting project. While I don't have the fire, I have books, movies and knitting to last me for quite some time. Laundry is also keeping me company, as are 3 cats who want to cuddle with my knitting. I am currently working on a scarf for Christmas at Sea and will start some children's hats for Sariah's Father who is a combat medic in Afghanistan. He is distributing baby formula to families in the region. Hey, the best way to combat the terrorists is to fight ignorance and poverty with kindness!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update

Lately I have felt like someone gave me a membership to the "Germ of the Month Club" and neglected to tell me. I am back to feeling better again with just a residual cough. Yesterday, on our day off we had to do some emergency fence repairs. Part of the fence in the back yard blew down and our dogs were visiting next door at Randy's. Its too wet to reset the 4x4 post in concrete so we did a quick fix. Or should I say Bob & Chuck did the work and I stayed in the house and knit. (I like that system)






And no, I do not know when Chuck is due.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Customer Service Dilemna

Today at Bob's work they encountered a customer service dilemma. A customer was doing and even exchange on a dresser (customer returns a dresser they bought because of damage and exchange it for another of the same model). When this happens, the returned item is inspected to see if it can be repaired and then resold in the clearance center, returned to vendor or trashed. While inspecting said dresser, the technician came across a set of "anal beads". Now here is the dilemma. Do you you:

A) Call customer and tell them to come pick they up;
B) UPS them back to customer; or
C) Put on your hazmat gloves and dispose of them?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Browns Fans Need Love Too.

Some Browns fans needed a little extra love today after watching the Steelers win their sixth Superbowl.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to tell when your shower is done

When I got married I got a special gift from Father Candy: a cookbook and a smoke alarm so I, in his words, would know when dinner was done.

Fast forward to today. The current project in the bathroom remodel is now the painting of the door. Or, the striping of the 50 years of paint off the door to repaint it before we put the tile floor in. Bob has started the striping of paint and the door looks like a modern art project. He had wanted to take it completely off and outside to work, but with the rains this week, he just took off the door knob. Now a missing doorknob on the bathroom door does not bother me. We are not having company over and most of the times I leave the door open while "enthroned" because I have 3 cats who just freak out if there is a closed door in between me and my entourage. They will yowl, scratch and stick various body parts under the door in an attempt to let me know that they must be there to protect me. The only time I shut the door is when I take a shower because the smoke alarm is right outside the bathroom door and steam will set off smoke alarms. You can see where I am going with this.

Today, I forgot to bring in the entourage and pushed the door shut and stepped into a nice steamy hot shower. I was washing my hair and missed the entrance of Mo Mo, my self appointed Head Body Guard, who being talented enough to open the door is not talented enough to shut it afterwards. My relaxing reverie was broken with the klaxon whining of the smoke alarm going off and the frantic skitterings of 3 cats trying to make a break for it and cast blame on the other 2. Nothing like trying to rinse shampoo out of your eyes with a smoke alarm going off and having to run naked into the hallway to wave a towel to dissipate the steam and realizing that the curtains are open and you have just given the entire neighborhood a show that no one in their right mind would pay to see. By the time I got the smoke alarm stopped, dried off, dressed, and cleaned up the puddles of water off the floor, I walk in to the living room to find my entourage sound asleep as if nothing had ever happened.

Thanks Father Candy. I am thinking of you today!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meeting Louisa Harding

Today, my local yarn shop, Babetta's Yarn and Gifts had a real live knitting designer, Louisa Harding, come in for a book signing. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I have never met a famous knitting designer in person. I kept pestering my Knit Night Group about proper etiquette for encountering a designer. Was I supposed to curtsey (she is British) or fall prostrate on the ground and grovel? While no one was quite sure, they did think that there might be some ritualistic washing of fleece.

The big day arrived and I wore one of my 2 knitting shirts ( The "I learned to Knit in Prison" one)courtesy of Franklin.
Some of us were very well behaved.

Some of us were a little excited at the prospect of meeting someone famous.

Ms Harding arrived and was so sweet and gracious. She brought many of her designs knitted up so you could see them in person. Its one thing to see a design in a book and another to see it in real life where you can touch it and try it on. Lisette had knit up one of Ms. Harding's designs and finished it in time to wear to the signing. Louisa was flattered and then insisted on having her try on another of her designs.

Doesn't she look fabulous?

Ms. Harding was so nice and gracious and took time to visit with everyone. It was so nice to see her designs and how they look on real people like Dame Edna, aka Adeline

Maya, Babetta's daughter, and Maya's lovely children,


and Kelly who was just a little shy about taking her turn on the catwalk.

Louisa Harding very graciously signed books and chatted with everyone. She also talked about what some of her inspirations were.
Louisa and Chantal,

with Claire and Alexander,

with Kelly,

with Carrie,

with Adeline,

with Val,



and with me. Did I mention how gracious and patient Ms. Harding is?

really patient

I am looking forward to knitting up some of the deigns from the books I bought and can't want for the next designer Babetta schedules!