My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

A purrrrrfect way to end the summer September 9, 2018

Filed under: Animals,Family,Hubby,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:36 pm
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Among our other comings and goings of the summer, most of which all came in August, were a several sets of animals.

 

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Spare – the cat that adopted us, and helped ease out our much loved cat of 21 years, disappeared late last Spring.  Not uncommon where we live.  Coyotes, various eagles, large owls, skunks and other bigger, grouchier animals make it a dangerous life out here.  He was one handsome fellow – and an amazing hunter.

 

He is very missed.

 

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Sammie the Bearded Dragon – I was totally in love with this girl!  She roamed free around the house during the day.  Having a ton of windows paid off  with her – she sat in each one!  She got along great with the dogs.   And kept me company in the kitchen (not on the counter – lots of hand washing).  She came outside with us to do yard work and gardening.  Her favorite place of course was the open pasture outback of our house – where she was nearly impossible to find.  She was about 3-4 years old by the time we got her, and we had her about 6 months when she passed.  She died very happy I’d say though – running back and forth through the soaker hose out front.  Vet said is was just her time.

 

She is very missed.

 

Come August.  When we were scheduled to be gone every weekend.  (For people who rarely take trips other than to move, this was a crazy concept!)  A kitten popped out of our bushes near our house.  We looked for more, but none could be found.  We got ourselves a new cat!  One very brave little boy, about 4 weeks old, who adores the dogs, even if they don’t appreciate him quite the same way.  We had been himming and hawing over getting a new one; the cost, a 20 year commitment when the boys were going to be moving out soon, a smaller place in two years.  That sort of thing.  But we also had a major mouse problem thanks to the people behind us doing massive construction out in their field.  So, I prayed on it a bit.  Be careful what you pray for – God is a generous giver!

We left for a family reunion.  Big dog, little dog and new kitten in tow.

When we got back, we could hear at least one more little one in the bushes?!  And when I went to look – there were several bodies moving through the branches of our huge evergreen.  I bought a trap ASAP and first thing we caught was mama.  And BOY was she thrilled with this!  We didn’t intend to catch her first, but we rolled with it.

Mama cat will be getting fixed here shortly and released back into our yard.  Not friendly, but didn’t rip my face off either.  And she’s an excellent mouser, so we didn’t want to lose that.  She’ll be well taken care of as a “barn cat” on our property.

Two days later, two more kitties.  One boy and one girl.

Next day, two more kitties.  Two more girls.  One completely different than all the others, and the runt (runts are always my favorite).

That evening, the dad.  We’d never seen him in our yard before – stealthy big guy!  And we had no intention of catching him, seems as how we didn’t even know he was there.  But he was promptly fixed the next day by our awesome vet and released back into our yard.  Hey, we need all the help we can get with those mice!

 

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While all this was happening, we needed to leave again for the weekend.  The thought of spending two nights in a hotel room with two dogs and five kittens was just a bit much, and we couldn’t call off our trip.  We managed to find some poor kid at the very last minute to come watch the whole herd without so much as a plan!  “Just keep everyone alive until we get back and can figure out what to do with them.”  And he succeeded.  He even picked up the dad cat from our vet and released him for us, and found a home for one of the kittens.

One geriatric mastiff, one asthmatic pug, five 5 – 6 week old kittens, one ticked off mama stuck in our garage, and one probably not so happy dad.  All still alive and (mostly) happy.

Not bad for a 16 y/o!

I’ve never seen my husband become such a moosh before?  But really, five puff balls are hard to resist!  (Unless you have allergies.)

But if we’re going to be honest, four remaining cats is a bit much.  Especially when we move to our studio in a few years.  So we’re looking for homes for two.  In the middle of “kitten season”.  No worries – they will be taken care of no matter what.  Like I said, we need “barn cats”.

 

Instead of a mouse problem, we have a kitten problem.  Which is not too bad of a problem to have.

 

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Our trips are over.  School has started back up.  Pitter-patter of tiny paws can be heard all over the house.  And not a mouse to be found.

Not a bad way to end the summer!

 

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Time off for good behavior August 26, 2018

 

 

I am fully aware that it’s been a year.  I timed it that way actually.

 

This last year has been a doozy.  Crazy.  Exhausting.  Productive.  Frustrating.  Amazing.

 

I’ll just cover the instigator of my time off here though.  It was this time last year, that we began our process of selling “that house”.  The bane of my existence.  What kept me up at night, and crazy by day.

As of Nov. 15th, after three, very VERY long months, we had a sold house.

 

You would think we would be ready to shout it from the roof tops – party like crazy!  Instead, it felt more like a limp to the finish line where we fell over it instead of a victory lap.  Our victory lap instead came as a year long recovery.  Well, it may actually take a bit longer than that.

The process itself to sell it, was about as pleasant as it was to own it.  But the people who helped us were amazing – complete blessings!  They got us through it and it’s still kind of not real to us, even a year later.

 

But the year to follow has been an absolute whirlwind.  Seeing so many blessings come after the sale lifting us back up, has been the best part of the whole process.  From nearly no money left in the bank account the day of the sale and still needing bills covered – to the money coming in right on time.  And money to cover the actual completion of the renovations instead of our east coast money pit.  Yes, we’ve finally started.  A stove again.  Floors going in.  Sinks and tiles and faucets that we’ve been without.  It’s exhausting work, but it feels so good to finally see progress, and to walk on real floors again.

 

While this isn’t a long one, it is the beginning of being back.  Not totally sane, but back again.  With lots of craziness to share.  Pictures to post.  News to announce.  And creatures to show off.

 

So… thank you for your patience.  It paid off.  Let the stories begin…

 

Sitting…. February 18, 2017

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,Knitting,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 8:16 pm
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After severely spraining my wrist two weeks ago, I was told not to use it, or at least as little as possible, for three weeks.  “No sewing, no knitting, no renovations, very little housework or walking your dogs on leash.”  (I was walking them when it happened.)

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Well why not just shoot me now!  Let’s add no breathing to that list too.  Sheesh!

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So… here I sit.  Bored out of my ever living gourd and driving my family nuts.  The two remaining at least.  Two went very happily to camp for four days.  The other two poke their head into my sewing room every few hours to make sure I haven’t started smacking my head against the desk in boredom.

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I give a shout out to the ladies put on bed rest for months – I am losing my mind!

All my plans for deep cleaning.  Getting back on track with the renovation and my sewing machine humming again.  Making the dogs a new fluffy bed.  Gone.  Here I sit.  Staring at YouTube, Pinterest and Netflix.  Window shopping yarn, fabric, pattern and remodeling stores.  I officially loathe them all.

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The grey soggy skies slowly melting the still foot deep, now slushy snow.  Not even the sun to cheer me up, or the sparkling clean snow to look at.  Just the repeated dripping off the roof.

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And on top of that – sitting apparently makes me tired.  Which then makes me even grouchier.

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I think I heard my dentist man talk about leaving to his practice early tomorrow?  And the second born has asked to go with him?  Pffftttt – wusses!

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Apparently I’m not a good sitter.

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crazy

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…one more week to go.

 

Freaky Friday October 24, 2015

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This Friday was a bit more eventful for me than most.

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Every week day morning is usually the same, like most peoples, while the rest of the day usually goes wherever it decides, but usually pretty laid back.  Friday started out pretty normal.  Get up, take second-born to his tech class, come home.  Take the dogs out, bible study, shower, yadda, yadda, yadda….

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Once I left to go pick him back up, that’s when things got weird.  At the end of our collective driveway, at the bottom of the hill, there are several tree’s blocking the view left and right and another dirt road, with a “major” street between.  To the right is a rather large, sharp corner.  As I slow down and approach the cross street to turn left, a car from the right *literally* flies passed me.

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When I say *fly* here, I mean, it was about 20 – 30 ft off the ground, and going right towards the top of the power pole across from me.  The driver’s side of the car takes out the top of the power pole, flips right-side-up and the two drop to the ground.  Having cleared the fence around the hay field on both sides, the car sat there, smoking and sad.  Parts dropped around it, tires squashed and pushed out, and the top mushed flat.

After my initial shock at what just happened, and my exclamation of “HOLY SHITZPA” (apparently I become Jewish when in shock?), I begin calling 911.

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Cars are now starting collect to make sure everything is alright and that no one drives through the now downed power lines.  Amazingly, the guy opens the door and walks out.  *He walks out!*  Not even a scratch!  I watched this car do two flips in the air and drop from the height of a power pole, and not a scratch on him!

Having gotten the call in to the police, and see that he is fine, and taken care of, I ask permission to go get my son.  After telling my husband once we got home, we realize that they way the corner comes around, he should have landed exactly where I stopped when I saw him flying.  Some way or another, after he hurled around the corner, instead of going straight to the left as he should have, his car flew off to the right, into a pole instead.

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I was feeling very lucky, safe, and protected.

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So hey, why not take your sons out for a drive?  Sure, why not!

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I’m on my second and third driver.  I’m “seasoned” at this point.  No problem.  Except that the second-born likes to go fast… in our mini-van.  And the third-born seems to just not have the knack for this whole driving thing.  The first two seemed to get it, short of a minor few “Don’t pull out in front of them again” moments.  My third-born just doesn’t have this.  When taking him out, I feel more like I’m in a National Lampoon movie.  Herky-jerky, grabbing the steering wheel to save on coming traffic, a few tears – usually his, and mystified at how one can’t turn a corner without tipping?  However, he is progressing.

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Our drive was to and from the tutor’s.

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The second-born get’s to drive to the neighborhood she lives in because he’s ready to be out with other people now.  But as we pass the police officer going 10 miles over the speed limit, I hear “Oh crap – I should probably slow down?”  Ya think?  And no, you slamming on the breaks wasn’t noticeable at all by him.  *rolls eyes*  And then proceeds to speed back up to round the corner with those lovely squealing noises he thinks are requirement for good drivers..  “It wasn’t *that* fast mom!”

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*Switch*

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It’s the third-born’s turn now.  He does great through the neighborhood, ok, good… well, we didn’t hit anything, until we get to the cul-de-sac.  It’s gravel.  At the top of a hill.  And facing the sun.  We progress around the turn, the whole time with me telling him to slow, Slow, SLOW!  I realize we’re already sliding sideways on the gravel and now have three options: Slam into a cement and metal electrical box, taking out everyone’s power and the front of the car.  Go over the side of smallish cliff.  Or go hurdling down the street at breakneck speed, taking out a few cars and possibly a house.

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Lovely.

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I go to grab the steering wheel to attempt control of the car (parents don’t get a break pedal) and take the closest, safest option, when he finally figures out the break pedal.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good cookie in the car.  One that’s planned, not near a steep drop off and not when death is an option.

We finally slide to a stop, now on our second turn of the cul-de-sac.  I turn to look at his brothers in the seats behind us and their eyes were the size of cookie we just made in the gravel.  Not a word was said.  Silence.  I turn to the third-born to calmly *I swear* explain the difference between slamming on the breaks – causing sliding, and gently slowing.  Neither of which mattered I guess, since he was actually pressing on the gas for most of it.  Only hitting the break at the very end, sending us into our final, glorious tail spin.

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Very much, not my day.

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We turn the car towards home, looking down the hill we’re about to go down, and take a collective deep breath in hopes that the third-born get’s the whole idea of going slowly.

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Oh, but we’re not home-free yet.  We still have to pass through the electrical repairs from the earlier wreck.

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They have flaggers out controlling the traffic.  In my homeschooling, drivers-ed mind I think “What an excellent learning moment!”  (Apparently I have lost my blooming mind!)  We wait for the first of the three flaggers to tell us we can go.  We pass all the electrical trucks no problem and I tell him to “Eek out into the street.”  Eek is a technical term for “Don’t peel out” btw.  

We “eek” up to the stop sign, no problem.  And that’s when the two other flagger’s, left and right, tell us we can proceed, which ever way we’re going to go.  I tell him “Go.”  Nothing.  Flagger’s begin to wave more emphatically.  “Go!”  He slowly rolls forward.  Flagger’s are about to lose their arms as they fling them wildly as cars are piling up in all three directions.  “Son GO!”  He peels out on the gravel, spraying the workers behind us with rocks, making a small squeal as we crossed the paved road on to our drive, where he is now spraying the other two flagger’s with gravel from our side.

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*sigh*

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A glass of wine is acceptable on a Friday early afternoon right?

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Not feeling like we should end that way, I let the other two boys out at the house and take another quick trip around our property, to let him end on a positive note.

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If you don’t hear from me next week, it’s because I’ve died.  Either from a plunge off of a cliff, a mail box impaling, or fright from no break pedal of my own.

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In all, we ended safe and sound, and knowing what we’re going to work on for the next week.  My freaky Friday left me feeling very blessed that my guardian angel is, in fact, faster than my teenagers.

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Drowning in DIY October 17, 2015

I have been thinking of you non-stop, but that doesn’t translate into actual sit down time.  When you haven’t had time to check your email for 3 days, blogging doesn’t even have a chance.

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With our new, *paying*, non-crappy, non-psychotic (literally), actually leaving their house on occasion, fixing it when it needs it and allowing repairmen in, non-state-aid renters, we’ve sort of had money to start the renovation we began last year.

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Well, sort of.  We think we finally finished the last of the repairs the last renters caused.  After they stole the utility meter, copper piping, copper wiring, soaked the carpet in dog waste, left human waste in buckets on the deck, broke the fridge, caused a minor flood… the last repair (we hope) was to fix the re-wiring they did on the third floor.  The *entire* third floor.  And our current renters – total champs about it!  I could seriously hug these people!  The first two months of rent money went to “that house” still, but this month – all ours!

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Well, sort of.  Being a (new) dentist isn’t cheap, so after paying a lot of insurance(s) (yes there is more than one we have to pay) for the next six months (on top of student loans, taxes, business fee’s, advertising, on-going education, new/updated equipment, etc) it will be ours.

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Well, sort of.  We have to start Christmas shopping.

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I could go on, but I’ll spare you….

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I do know that I save *tons* of money doing majority of the repairs myself.  The new spigot I put in myself saved us about $350.  The new outlet outside, about the same.  The 9 outlets that were already wired, but just needed the actual outlets, another $500 (was the lowest quote).  Sometimes it’s totally worth having someone else do the job though!  The windows will be done by pro’s.  I’m not even remotely big enough to get a window in, especially when it comes to the 5′ x 12′ windows.  But I *can* hunt down the best price for them.  (Or, in the case of the big windows, a company that will just make them – very hard to find item.  Thank you Fleetwood!  The only company we found that could make the windows in that size, or at least call us back about them.  Either way, they get our business!)

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What I can do?  In the last three months I’ve:

  • Painted 1800 sqft, including the ceiling.  With four different colors.
  • Added one new spigot.
  • Added one new outdoor outlet.
  • Repaired the faulty outlet in the covered area that is about 12 ft up.  (No I have no idea why.  And yes we use it.)
  • Hooked up 9 new outlets in the garage.
  • Replaced 11 lights in the house.  With three remaining.  (Can’t quite decide on what I want?)
  • Rewired the kitchen light so it’s actually grounded.
  • Replaced 3 switches.  Switching from toggles to fancy/shmancy dimmer switches.
  • Discovered you can spray paint switches/outlets to get any color you like.  (Very carefully!!)
  • Kitchen ceiling tiles.
  • Removed a hanging kitchen cabinet.  (Looks so much better now!)
  • Repaired where we took down a wall.

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What I still have left to do feels a bit overwhelming though?

  • Trim.
  • Cabinet re-staining in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Also the bedroom doors.
  • Floors.
  • Kitchen and bath tiling.
  • Windows/Doors.
  • Shower plumbing.
  • Kitchen and bath sink replacement.
  • Painting the fireplace doors.
  • Possible ceiling fan in living room. (still deciding on that one?)
  • Pendant lights over the stove.

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It’s all about finances and how much I can fit into my daily schedule now.  On top of our usual schedule of schooling, tutors, youth group, volunteering and normal projects, we now have two permitted drivers that I have to teach to drive and I’ve got very little time left to do much else.

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However, I have designated Saturdays as my “No working on the house” day, and “Don’t bug me, I’m not even getting out of my pajamas” day.  Maybe if I stink enough, they won’t even come into my sewing/office room?  Did I mention I moved my office down to my sewing room?  This designation gives me a chance to breathe, and get here each week.  Along with some sewing time and a little time for my hands to recover – so many blisters!

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The most comical part in all this, is that the people at Lowe’s are actually starting to learn my name!  I have been there at least once a day for the last three months.  The place I used to love to just wander around and get idea’s, I’m starting to sort of dread.  Just send our paycheck to Lowe’s please.  They’ve been pretty awesome though.

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I know, first world problem!  But after the last 2 1/2 years of dealing with the insane renters and their, well… insanity, this is a huge blessing.  And thanks to an ever working dentist man and some actually decent renters, at the end of most days, my biggest worries (now) are what color the floor should be, if I’m going to shock myself again and if I’ll survive today’s drive with the boys.

I get to take a pause from remodeling the next few weeks, so our finances can catch up with the projects list, but I by no means will be idle.  A requested memory blanket, Christmas gifts to be made, and *hopefully* (if I can pick out the right color finally), cabinets to be redone.  That’s free right?

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Pictures coming soon…..

 

Monday blanken-style June 1, 2015

Filed under: Animals,Dentist,Military,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:10 pm
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It’s been busy, but boring around here the last few weeks.  Repairs on “that house” have been going on and it’s now up for rent again… so we wait.  School is officially out for the home school portion, so we were busily rushing to get the last of it finished off.  And my dentist man is off saving the world, one mouth at a time… for his two weeks.

.I guess the crazy quiet, like ants quietly working on a hill, wasn’t quite enough for us.  This morning’s shower alone may give us a clue as to what may be in store for the rest of the week.

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After dropping the second-born off at his tech school, I got home and did my usual morning routine.  Let the dogs out, check FB messages, email, bible study, shower.  All according to plan.  Radio is playing, hair is conditioning, one leg shaved.

That’s when I see The Spare Cat run passed the shower with something in his mouth.  Grrrr – it got another one of my birdies….  Well, I’m soaking wet, so I figured I’d get it when I get out.

Then I see the pug race passed the shower to the corner where The Spare Cat is now hiding his treat.  Behind the toilet and trash can I hear barks, hissing and faint chirping.

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Wait, what?  CHIRPING?  *ducks in the shower*

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The Spare Cat brought in a LIVE bird!

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Well of course Lady hears the commotion and wants in on it, so now I have a bird flying around my bathroom, a cat trying to catch it, a pug trying to catch it and the cat and a mastiff trying to catch all three.  And here I am.  Naked, wet, soapy, conditioned and half shaven.

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Anyone else want to come join this circus?  Where’s the old lady cat?

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I grab pants from the counter and throw them on the bird where it’s landed.  Shoo out the carnivores and close the door.  Figuring the bird would be just fine until I was finished, I got the remaining leg taken care of and my hair mostly rinsed, and step out to dry.  Mid shorts leg I see cat claws coming from under the door.  Slowly opening it from the bottom, sliding it, quarter-inch, by quarter-inch.  The bird, who is now resting in the sink in a towel, hears the meowing and clawing and starts chirping, which only eggs on the fur-babies on the other side of the door on.  The door is now fully opened by each consecutively larger head and the bird is now attempting to fly again.

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Quickly recapturing the bird.  Two dogs and a cat removed once more.  And another attempt at putting my shorts on.  Everyone quiets long enough for me to get dressed, hair combed and shoes on.  Now to sneak the bird out?

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As soon as I pick the stinker up it starts chirping again – which alerted everyone that it was time to start chasing each other!  I make sure it’s fully wrapped in its towel, open the door to three drooling quadrupeds, “Meow”, “Wheeze”, “Sniff”.  I rush past them and out a door I know they can’t open.  I deliver the bird a field away and put it under some sage to let it rest a bit more before it fly’s away.

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It’ll fully recover.  But if this was just the first few hours of my week, I’m not sure if I should be scared or excited for the rest?!

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‘Tis the season, for craziness… December 1, 2014

 

 

 

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Gosh, I didn’t even realize how long it had been.  Life get’s so crazy sometimes!

 

Since I have posted last, my dentist man has gotten his very own dental office – yay for great, no money down loans!  (Or it would never happen… for any dentist these days.)  He is very much enjoying his new office, but not so much the paperwork.  We realized he’s never paid bills before (my job, since he was always gone), so I’m having to coach him a bit.  But he’s a quick learner and doing great – and honestly, he’s a great dentist, so it can only get better from here!

 

I just wished it wasn’t four hours away. 

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Christmas is coming – and the question on everyone’s lips is, “What are you’all making this year?”.  I know I’m getting asked this by just about every person who knows I sew?!  So, what are you making?

 

I have to admit, I did buy more fabric for the clinic.  It was a darn tootin’ good sale too!  Most of it ended up being about $2.00 a yard.  For 12 blankets, that’s a good deal!

 

 

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I let the ladies know I’d be making mostly boy blankets, as most of the ladies who donate prefer to make girls quilts, but as I’m discovering, even when I go with boy themes, it ends up slightly girly?  Blue or green, flowers?  I’d proudly use it – it’s still stylish!  Green with a pink bird, meh, I’d probably still use it?  After all, I’m really the only one with the “pink issue” I think?  But I’ll be keeping my eye out for that issue with the next few rounds of blankets.

 

I did get another shirt completed and I’ll even have a tutorial coming up on it.  How to work with sweater knits!  It was not as easy as I was thinking?  But I love the shirt and can’t wait to wear it!

 

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Last week my dentist man came home from his other office to a new surprise –

 

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Not exactly sure what made me suddenly in a pillow mood, but pillows were made.  And people are happy!  And he’s made a request for a 6 foot pillow for the floor?!  This should be interesting?

 

He has also mentioned that every week, when he get’s home, there is a new plant… I have no idea what he’s talking about?

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These are tomato plants!  In December!  I have learned how to grow new plants from cuttings off the mother plant (behind them – which is also still growing and fruiting.)  I think we’re up to about 6 now?  I have no idea what I’m going to do with 6 tomato plants in January?  Any one want a tomato start?

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And my current sewing project, that will not be done for Christmas, but instead, enjoyed slowly through the process –

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Yes, there is pink.  Show’s how much I love these people!

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A friend of mine who has helped us countless times over at “that house” left us with his wife’s kimono that she loved, but sadly couldn’t be repaired.  So, to tell them how much I appreciate them, I am making a hand-sewn quilt with it.  The picture above is the colors from the kimono.  I will post the entire quilt when it’s finished… in 2 or 3 years!

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These are all great distractions from “that house” and the current holding pattern.  Their 33 days for us to hold their property are up, and they claim they want their items, so by law we can’t throw it out yet.  But since he was stabbed six times while trying to break back into the last house he was thrown out of, we’re not sure that will be happening any time soon.

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Sewing therapy… it’s good for everyone.

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And, at the very top, is the 96″ star the boys and I made.  After several failed attempts to get it out the door *sigh*, we had been trying for weeks to figure out how to get it all the way up the wall where it could be seen from down the hill.  Too low and the wall blocked it.  Too high and the ladder didn’t reach (and mom got a little sick from heights) and no one could lift it.  Today, we came up with a pulley system that worked excellently – if the hook holds!  But, for now, it looks amazing!  And… I am giddy.  And I got a Science/Math lesson out of it!   

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Sometimes, you have to just enjoy the crazy…

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In remembrance of our Granny.  She was taken home before Thanksgiving after 94 years of faithful service to the Lord, her husband and family.  She was ready, and we are happy for her.  Love you Granny!