Wednesday, October 22, 2014

1700 Miles Away Is Local, Right?

I've been a customer at The Loopy Ewe since I discovered them six years ago. I don't have a local yarn store, so over the years, I've come to consider TLE my LYS. Their yarn (and now fabric) selection is great, their website is well-organized with wonderful photos, and their customer service is second to none. Oldest Son decided to attend graduate school at Colorado State, and even though I was quite sad that he was moving 1700 miles away to Fort Collins CO, I was thrilled that I could ameliorate this sadness with in-person visits to TLE. The yarn is even harder to resist in person, but it's truly a wonderful place that I look forward to visiting every time I've visited Oldest Son.

During my last, far too short visit to Oldest Son I decided to get a card at Poudre River Public Library. I had to co-sign the paperwork for Oldest Son's residence, so my name is associated with a Fort Collins address, and I do pay library taxes when I lend a little financial support to Oldest Son who's on a grad. student stipend. I took this paperwork to the library, and when they asked for my photo i.d., I was completely honest when I showed them my NJ license. I told them I didn't live in Fort Collins, but did visit as often as possible and would like to use their electronic resources. They welcomed me with open arms (literally - the librarian hugged me!) and said I was certainly entitled to a card since I paid taxes. Their OverDrive collection is terrific, along with genre newsletters, databases, and I haven't even begun to explore Freading, OneClickdigital, Freegal music, Zinio emagazines, or Films on Demand. Today I got this:

Maybe this is the norm for libraries, but certainly not here. I'm thrilled to be a new customer, and thrilled that I've found a wonderful local yarn store and wonderful local library, even if they do happen to be 1700 miles away!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - The Help, Help, Fire! Edition

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Would Save If Your House Was On Fire. Thankfully we can assume our families are safe and just focus on the stuff.

1.  Family photos - I have almost 30 albums of these, and while I don't look at them often, they are irreplaceable and I would be heartbroken if they were gone.
2.  Important papers - Like the deed to the house (that is burning down!), birth certificates, etc.
3.  Knitting - This is the knitting bag by my chair, (overly) stuffed full of current knitting and some special yarn for queued projects. I'll need something to do while waiting for the fire trucks.
4.  My sons' childhood blankets - These might sound silly, but they evoke so much of my childrens' childhoods for me that I would definitely grab them out of the drawers they are stored in. 
5.  My grandfather's chime thing - My grandfather was a shop teacher, builder, butcher, and practically creative person. He had a friend who was dismantling a pipe organ, so he took one of the chimes from it and built a base and hammer for it. It sat on his desk throughout my childhood, had a special spot in my mother's house, and it's now by my dining room door where I see it every day.


6.  My great-grandmother's cookie recipe - This graced my grandmother's kitchen for as long as I can remember. The cookies are delicious (even if I don't use lard!) and now it's in my kitchen.

7.  My husband's grandmother's china - My husband's grandmother had a really large set of Johnson Brother's Old Britain Castles china, and my mother-in-law was anxious to find a home for it when they cleaned out her mother's house. Everyone else in the family already had china, so I was the lucky recipient. I hadn't seen them before my mil brought them over, and was absolutely thrilled to be gifted something that I thought was both incredibly beautiful and useful!

8.  My brother-in-law's wedding gift - My bil painted this on a rescued wicker tray and gave it to us for a very meaningful wedding gift. We lost him to malignant melanoma years ago, so this irreplaceable and priceless gift is something I would definitely save.

9.  Jewelry - I'm not a big jewelry person, but I do have a few family pieces that I would grab in my frantic racing through the house.
10. Our new smoke detectors - This is on my list because my husband just attended a fire safety seminar at work and learned that the detectors themselves should be replaced every ten years. The lenses on photoelectric detectors get dusty over time and the radioactive element in the ionizing type can degrade over time. Several of ours are more than 20 years old, so we really are replacing all of them.

In reality, I don't think I would have time to save anything, and in the end, it's all just stuff. I truly hope that nobody has to experience rescuing people or things from a house on fire, but this is a valuable thing to think about. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Did You Learn Today?

Shaaban is a wonderful human being that my husband works with. I've known him and his wife for almost three decades, and it's always a pleasure and an education when we get together. He's fond of asking, "What did you learn today?" and always has something new and interesting to share in case you don't have anything to discuss with him. Shaaban is celebrating a milestone birthday and approaching retirement at a work luncheon tomorrow, so in the adult equivalent of "Mom, I need cupcakes for school tomorrow", my husband signed up to bring "your delicious ziti and those good homemade crescent rolls you make". He knew the best way to phrase it so I would actually make those for him.

I spent a large part of the day shopping, cooking, and baking, and now have two pans of ziti and four dozen homemade crescent rolls to show for it. So, what did I learn today? That I would only cook all day for dear friends and family, and I really hope there are some leftovers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - What I Did Last Weekend

This week's Ten on Tuesday is 10 Things You Did This Weekend. My biggest problem may be remembering what I did, and my next problem may be that even if I remember, they may be ten of the most boring things you've ever read.
  1.  Changed the sheets on three beds from regular sheets to flannel. It's that time of year!
  2.  Caught up on laundry - boring but necessary.
  3.  Caught up on ironing - even more boring, but still necessary.
  4.  Spoke with Older Son on the phone.
  5.  Made beef barley soup. In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually used venison since Younger Son was out deer hunting and it looks like I will have more venison this year.
  6.  Downloaded some new books via Overdrive from Poudre River Public Library. I got a card when I was visiting Older Son and am as happy as a kid in a candy store since their Overdrive collection is so much better than my hometown library's.
  7.  Read Centennial on my Kindle while making soup and listened to The Seduction of Water on my ipod while I raked leaves. Hooray for multitasking that includes reading!
  8.  Started making some Christmas gift lists since I had some good ideas that I didn't want to forget.
  9.  Made some travel plans with my sister-in-law, nephew, and his new girlfriend that none of us have met yet. The family grapevine says that she's working on a PhD in witchcraft (I think the grapevine may have garbled things a bit!), so I'm looking forward to meeting her and finding out her real area of research.
  10.  Knit!

So what did you do this weekend? Hope it was fun!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Best Gift of All

I was lucky enough to find half price tickets from Newark to Denver, so I took advantage of them and went to visit Older Son for a long weekend for his 24th birthday. This is the first time I've been able to be with him on his birthday in six years, so it was quite a treat. We went hiking at Reservoir Ridge (turning around when a rattlesnake was sighted further up the trail!), took the tour at New Belgium Brewery (maker of my favorite beer that I can't get here in NJ), found time for a quick visit to The Loopy Ewe, and I helped Older Son make his birthday cake. He's lived on his own for a year and a half, but it's only been recently that he's started experimenting with cooking in earnest. I'm so glad that he's started making real food, and the cake was delicious!

I really enjoyed doing all of these, but the best gift of all for me was spending the day with him at school. He's a second year PhD candidate at Colorado State University, and while he was kind enough to rearrange much of his week to accommodate my visit, he still had to go in on Monday to teach his calculus class and go to his own classes. He's quite busy with teaching, his own classes, and starting some research, so this visit gave me a new appreciation for what he does on a daily basis. I attended his calculus class and was thrilled at the opportunity to see him teach. I haven't had calculus in many, many years, but I was impressed at his ability to explain logarithmic differentiation and L'Hôpital's Rule so that even I understood them. He's clearly still alive and functioning after living on his own for a year and a half, but I don't often get the chance to see him thriving as an adult in his own life. Watching him teach gave me that. He's an excellent teacher and I feel really lucky I got to see him in action. What a wonderful gift!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Little House in the Park

My local borough library is quite small, but some really good things come in small packages. I can walk there, they entertained my kids with countless story times and craft projects, and they have a lovely fireplace with a real fire on cold winter days. The well-worn leather armchairs are a perfect spot for reading. They also have some devoted volunteers, like this wonderful and thoughtful gentleman. He built three "Little Libraries" and two of them were installed this summer. While knitting on the porch this weekend, I was incredibly excited to look across the street to the borough park and spy the third one, my very own Little Library!

I know it's not really mine, but it is just across the street, and I've already left four books in it and taken one. Book Bingo showed me that I need to keep my reading fun and not settle into a rut, and I think my Little Library will help me to do that.

There is something captivating about a tiny house, but a little house filled with books is priceless!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - The "Just Give Me 4 Wheels" Edition

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Cars I Have Had, but I could only come up with six. I want a vehicle that will safely and reliably get me from Point A to Point B, so I buy used vehicles and drive them until they die.

1. I learned to drive in my parent's 1978 Jeepster Commando. I loved that car and might still be driving it today if it had actually been mine.

2. The first car I actually owned was a 1970 Datsun 1200, after handing over a hard-earned $500. It suffered a tragic untimely death when it rolled down my parent's steep driveway into a tree after the parking brake failed.

3. The first and only new car I bought was a 1979 Datsun B210. There were so many things wrong with it that it felt like all I did was work to pay for repairs and sit in the shop waiting with my car. I haven't bought a new car since then.

4. A 1993 Ford Aerostar van was my boxy Mom car. It definitely didn't look cool, but it held car seats and kids. I always wanted to paint flames on the sides, but alas, I never did.

5. Next was the 2005 Mercury Mountaineer. I bought this mainly because I was tired of car shopping. I was glad to get rid of it after having a new dashboard warning light flash at me every month.

6. My current car is a 2012 Subaru Forester. It's nearly perfect for me, with very few bells and whistles. I wish it was parked in front of this lovely mountain view instead of in my garage!