Dec 17, 2011

A year in a cookbook...really?

I don't know. I saw the Julie & Julia movie and liked the idea. And I have to make out a new menu each week for my assisted living house. I have reached the point that my creativity has pooped out and I'm repeating my same old standbys every week. Now that I've noticed it, I've begun to search the cookbooks for fresh ideas and dishes. There are 2 books that I seem to always come back to: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy. So, maybe I won't be cooking one recipe from one of these cookbooks every day, but I will be using both these books, and probably some more, on a regular basis. The problem is that I can't assume that the guys will like the taste of what I cook, even if I successfully execute the recipe. They are the ultimate "man and a can" dudes, preferring the taste of instant mashed potatoes and mushy canned veggies to fresh produce. I discovered right after I started working at the ranch that they didn't enjoy fresh garden vegetables or fresh meats. Seriously. Given the choice between ramen noodles over instant mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables and stuffed pork chops, they will go for the ramen and instant every time. I wonder if it's all a matter of educating the palate and getting them used to fresh, clean flavors and vegetables that haven't been cooking into flavorless mush and non-plastic cheese. So here I go on my cooking odyssey - starting with a shepherd's pie. Pork, carrots, green beans, garlic, and onions in their own juices and topped with REAL mashed potatoes. Wish me luck. They're a tough bunch.

Dec 7, 2011

New News

Okay, so here's my big news: My son-in-law has gotten a job with a company that contracts with oil companies to repair their drilling equipment. That job has taken him to Wyoming! He's in Rock Springs, and will be there for some time to come, from what I understand. So they will be in my neck of the woods early next year. O will be flying there to help pack things up and drive the moving truck out. He is thrilled to be involved in all this. It makes him feel very needed...and he is! The great thing about this move is that they will be out of the big city. Rock Springs is small, but gorgeous. I think they'll enjoy living there. Lots of things to do around the area - hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and close enough to Cheyenne that we can visit. Not so close that there will be family interference, though. I am just tickled pink with all of this! The downside of this is that it is more than freezing in Rock Springs right now, as it is in all of the High Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. That makes it dangerous work for a person inexperienced with the extreme cold. I worry about that.

Little Man, BiG Smile!

Here's my grandson, the spitting image of his mom at the same age - chubby and happy!

Nov 26, 2011

Craft Fair!!

Yay!! We're back into craft fair mode! Last weekend My sister and I did the "Christmas in November" Fair in Windsor, Colorado. I sold some hats and a couple of sweaters, and generally we did pretty well. I'm in the process of filling a custom hat order that resulted from that fair. WooHoo! Baby, we're back!

Sep 8, 2011

They say everything's big in Texas...

...even the smiles!!! Here's Roman's first recorded smile (that they are sure is not just gas.)

I think there will be many, many more of these. They have such a happy family! There are always lots of smiles and laughter :o) I hope they always have a happy home!

Sep 3, 2011

Overheard at work...

"Her grandson is a little boy!!!"

Aug 27, 2011

My big contribution

It's finished now, but I don't have a picture of it.

Aug 26, 2011

Summer's End, Winter's Plans

August is drawing to a close, thank goodness. I'm pretty done with the heat, grasshoppers, and other bugs, and am looking forward to the first frost! I have plans for the fall and the winter.

The greenhouse experiment continues...

This past spring was my first experience using a greenhouse to start plants in, and it wasn't a complete success, but wasn't a total failure, either. I learned a lot about light and greenouse planting, and learned a lot about the people I work with, too. One thing I learned was that plants need a LOT of light in order to germinate, and they will sprout even when it's very cold out, if they have 10 or more hours of light per day. So in order to have plants throughout the winter, I intend to plant a seed bed inside the greenhouse in mid-September to mid-october, and also to dig up and transplant some of our not-so-mature cold weather plants, like brussels sprouts and cabbage that were planted quite late, and then neglected for some reason. All I have to do is water them and keep the grasshoppers from demolishing them in the meantime.

In the seedbed, I plan to sow a few types of lettuce, kale, and chard. I think some carrots and turnips might even do okay, if I get them in soon enough!

I think I might be to keep my plans to myself. In the spring, I had planted lettuce in the greenhouse and told my co-workers...big mistake. One of them was positive it was a ridiculous plan and that since her dad was a master gardener, she must also be. So she gave the seeds 2 weeks and then ripped up the seed bed. She did it in the garden, too, later in the spring. To her chagrin, my little plants came up in spite of her, but not where I was looking for them, making it initially a little hard for them to get water.

I also plan to experiment with outdoor cold frames. We have an abundance of those poor brussels sprouts and late cabbage, so I hope to include these in my cold-frame experiment.

Aug 25, 2011

Newer Pictures

Here are some more recent pictures of my daughter and her family. Enjoy!

Mom and boy!

The boy!

My son-in-law with his boy.

Babbling on Thursday

I've been having issues with posting for the last few weeks. I hope I have it figured out by now and this one will actually go up.

I'm still working at the ranch with the cognitively challenged adults. I just passed my first year anniversary working here and I have to say it HAS been a challenge. Thankfully, Porter and Celeste are still with me, and having them is a blessing. Two normally-thinking minds in the midst of the abnormal. Celeste keeps everyone in line while Porter lets me know when things like seizures are happening.

Porter has recently begun to let me know about seizures more in advance. There is only one in the house that seizes, and before the seizure starts, Porter sits in front of the person and works to make eye contact with me. He keeps his back to the seizure, I think because it upsets him, and stares at me. He does not move, otherwise. Porter used to bark a lot to get someone's attention, and waited till the seizure was obvious before he did anything. So I am imagining that his understanding of seizures is evolving some.

Celeste is aloof. She has no desire to become involved with the residents of the house. She used to bark at people who had tantrums and yelled, but lately, she has simply sat looking at them, as if to study the behavior.

It appears that I have two canine scholars who are working at their degrees in human bahavioral studies.

As for me, I periodically have to remind myself that I am not defined by my job. I have an idea of how the parents of these people must have felt as they watched their child grow up, knowing that their capacity for learning and functioning in the world would be quite limited. It's sometimes disheartening to realize that as adults, they have no more capabilities than they did as little children. Arrested development. What a thought. As I move around the world of the mentally handicapped, there are so many more than I was ever aware of.

It all makes me so thankful that my own daughter is a gorgeous and normally functioning adult. I do not look forward to spending more time working here, but there must be something else that I am to do here, since I haven't been able to find a different job yet.

Aug 15, 2011

Oh, I've been a busy busy little bee...

Playing with new hat shapes...

watching the Stick Queen do her thing...

and doing a little spinning...

Jun 4, 2011

snagged in a destash...

Pele's Hair top whorl spindle, mango whorl, birch shaft. Spins beautifully. Again, the Pele's Hair spindle. Made in Hawaii by Glen Grace.

Avi Wasserman spindle. Ebony wood shaft and Yew wood whorl. Exquisite and elegant...and smaller than I expected. Would be very good for spinning laceweight singles.

Jun 1, 2011

Into the Garden

(Not my photo...mine were smaller, but no bug bites at least!)

Whew! It's almost summer, and I've been in the garden. This year, the garden at work seems to have fallen somewhat to me, so I've been out there planting and, just today, harvesting. Our baby bok choy is already matured...isn't THAT an oxymoron...mature babies. Hmmm...

So, anyway, I harvested the bok choy babes and cooked them up with some frozen stir-fry veggies for my lunch. All the residents in the house decided to go eat at the local restaurant and left me to whip up something for myself. I have to tell you - the fresh boy choy was far superior to the frozen veggies in both texture and taste. There's nothing better than fresh, I think. After a bite of fresh bok choy, I got a mouthful of frozen broccoli and green beans, and even though they were no longer frozen, steamy hot and seasoned well, there was the residual taste of FREEZER. Hmm...not so great. So now I'm spoiled. I doubt the guys in the house will have anything to say about the fresher taste...they prefer instant mashed potatoes over real ones...but they might enjoy the idea that their veggies are coming from their own garden.

Anyhoooo...I have my own garden plot at the ranch, which is a benefit for employees. I took over the failed strawberry patch and planted green beans, peas, two varieties of eggplant, and some lettuce varieties. Some other things, too, but I can't remember right off what they were. I planted some things that I love and can't wait to eat, and some other things that I also love, but have never grown for one reason or another. And some herbs...basil being my favorite, I planted an entire row of bush basil. I have some mizuna and mesclun to plant, and I started some cress that I can hardly wait to have in my summer salads. There is also a large pot into which I plan to transplant lettuce and cress and herbs for salad additions for the house I work in. I'm not sure if the taste will be too different for the residents...they tend to want the same things all the time. Change is hard for them. New flavors and colors in the food aren't met with the greatest of enthusiasm.

(also not my photo...mine is much smaller and just starting to come up in it's little cups!)

But there is it... my own gardening enthusiasm is overtaking me and sweeping me out into the garden every evening! I'm out there watering, weeding, and peeping into the little garden boxes, hoping to see little green cultivar tops popping through the soil.

I am not, however, putting aside my fiber. I will have pictures to show you after my spinning of aqua-colored mohair is a little more advanced on the spindle.

May 10, 2011


Finally finished! And to celebrate, we had a little punch in party cups. (He's a sheep, just in case it's hard to tell.) I hope all those dred locks aren't too hot...he'll be going to Houston in the summer to meet a baby. Spud is all acrylic, non-allergenic, and machine washable and dryable. he could even spend the night in the freezer to kill dust mites, if necessary.

May 6, 2011

new spindle!

Bocote with a clear green glass focal, by Brandywine Woodworking. Can't wait to get my little hands on it! If I can't spin on it, I can always use it as a magic wand.

May 4, 2011

Stuff from the last month or two

Soooo...yes, I have been doing a little knitting, spinning, and felting. First up, a teddy bear for my grandson.
And some spinning on my tibetan spindle. I love this spindle! Sadly, the artisan passed away this past winter. No more of these to be made.
And I knitted and felted a little gray mushroom hat. She's warm and toasty, and will be in my Etsy shop this fall, hopefully along with a few other hats.
This beauty is a Rose supported spindle, made by Lisa, of Gripping Yarn. It's heavy and big but spins great! It's got a bit of wenselydale wool on it at the moment.

Apr 30, 2011

Yip Yip Yip Yow!

Not only are they playing together and behaving well together, but they are singing together as well...right in the middle of the living room at work!

Apr 25, 2011

Spud Project

See that cute little sheep? He's driving me crazy. His name is Spud, and he has hundreds of little twisted, hand-knit dredlocks on his pudge. I started him a month or more ago and I am almost finished with his frustrating, time-consuming little behind. Still to go is his head, legs, ears, and tail.

As hard as it is to stay with this project, I think it will turn out to be a great baby toy. I'm planning to make his friend, Chloe, too. I think she might prove to be a faster moving least I'm hoping so.

Apr 16, 2011

Whatta pair

I can't believe I am looking at Celeste and Porter actually playing together. He adores her and wants to play. She tolerates him and distains his company. She adopted a queenly, queenly attitude, became very snotty, and Porter did what any self-respecting all-American Joe would have done: he peed on her. Her queenly attitude remained intact, but her crown is askew and a little soggy.

The country life isn't really making much of an impression on Celeste. Her major thing is that Porter is running free and taunting her to play, and she doesn't know how to respond to him without loosing her prima donna coolness. And...she doesn't know how to run. Life on a leash and inside didn't teach her to run and play like the dog she is. She's clumbsy and gangly-looking when she gallumphs around the backyard, with a short, plump Porter literally running circles around her. She was delighted, though, by the little snowstorm that shot through here earlier in the week.

A husky finally in her element.

Apr 11, 2011

And now, back in Wyoming

We're back in Wyoming. Celeste had been staying with people who didn't want to be the "bad guys", so her behavior is a lot like it was when she was about 6 months old - peeing on the floor, screaming like she's being skinned alive when she doesn't get her way, and being generally obnoxious. We have our work cut out for us. reality is setting in for her, though, as she finds herself in her crate when we go out, because she isn't reliable to leave loose in the house anymore. What a pity that all that training went down the drain. At the moment, she's not welcome in anyone else's home because of her street dog attitude and because she feels totally free to pee in the house, anywhere she pleases. I'm hoping that with a little time, Celeste will make a return to being a mannerly girl. She was once a reliable, charming dog that everyone admired and enjoyed being with. I say this just after I clean up her crate mess. It wasn't so terrible that I lost all enthusiasm for having her with us, and I think she will come around.

Porter, however, has been collecting admirers from here to Texas and back. He's not a striking beauty like Celeste is, but he's an outstanding boy. He's a good watch dog, a good friend, and behaves well in just about every situation. He does best when he knows he is someone's personal best friend. And right now, he's my personal best friend. And he's so insecure that he might lose his spot in the house that he slept on my stomach last night. He normally doesn't do that. O thinks it could be that HE is the threat to Porter. I'm not sure, but today, Porter made great strides in showing his trust in O by jumping up on the bed beside him.

It snowed yesterday, and it was O's first experience in a snow storm. He thought he had come late enough in the year that the cold would be over, but - heh - he was wrong. It snowed through the day and put a damper on our plans, so we just stayed home.

And, I have been busy spinning and knitting a bit. I finished a knitted teddy bear for my coming grandson, have a Spud sheep in progress, and have been spinning on my big supported Rose spindle. I have 4 ounces of wensleydale fiber to spin up. All on my camera, ready to post! But, since my camera ONCE AGAIN has a dead battery, I'll have to post this picture instead:

(My daughter and her husband at the Downtown Aquarium in Houston. Taken by O on his camera, which does have good batteries)

Apr 7, 2011

In Texas

I'm in Houston right now, visiting my family and picking up Celeste and O. Everyone is here and Celeste has made her impact on the household. She apparently has learned a lot from the street dogs of Lima, trying to take over the house and kick butts. Porter did not engage her, but did not yield to her demands for his spot on the bed. She had to be satisfied with sleeping on the floor. Such subtle resistance may lead to the dethroning of this self-proclaimed princess.

You know, the best thing about this trip, aside from picking up O, has been seeing my daughter so happy with her new husband. If we do nothing at all here, it doesn't matter. Just knowing that they are happy together has made it all worth while for me.

And now my little rant:
Apparently there are those that would like to see them unhappy or fail in their marriage - and they are family members who wish this, which is completely unfathomable for me. I'd like to see them able to further move away from such toxic people, but that is their decision. The only thing I can do is to support them in any way I can, which I will do to my utmost.

I hope those people are reading this right now. This young marriage is not about the jerks who are trying to meddle in it. There are only two people who have anything to say about it, and nobody else. Not the cousins, not old girlfriends, not anybody else. I want to tell them to butt out, but I know that people who piddle around in other people's business don't really have a life of their own that's worth a damn. Nothing else to do, I guess, so they fill their time by trying to make others as miserable as they are. Someone left an ugly comment here regarding them earlier, which I chose not to publish. And, typical of people of this caliber, they were too gutless to identify themselves. They are completely pathetic and too disgusting to take up any more of my time.

Ok, I've stated my opinion and I'm done with that. People who meddle in other people's personal business - especially family members, which is totally dispicable - are not worth the time it took to write up my rant.

Feb 26, 2011

My Saturday Evening Post

Lots of things are happening here at the Ranch. Last weekend, we went to Denver to a Mammoth game. The Mammoths play lacrosse. That was my first lacrosse experience, and I was totally unprepared. It was kind of like watching hockey players run around with little baskets on sticks and beat one another with them. No ice, but just as volatile and violent. Fist fights on the field. A sponsor of the ranch has a daughter that is a cheerleader for the Mammoths, so he invited all the Ranchers to go and watch the game and meet the mascot, the cheerleaders, and the players. This guy is a contractor who remodeled one of our houses for free. So aside from mistaking me for one of the residents, I think he's pretty that I'm over feeling insulted and self-conscious.

We got a new resident last month, who lives in the house I work in. Rodney. He's okay. Like everyone, he has his things. He really likes Marfa and Sthwan (the rest of us know them as Martha and Juan), and that guy who works in the office with Suann (that guy is Art, and he works with Suzzanne.) Rodney has a pretty good personality, loves to joke and tease, and pouts like a 5 year old when he doesn't get his own way, more or less like everyone else who lives on the Ranch. Hasn't a tooth in his head and has a cartoonish way about him.

Last night we had a wing-ding over at the Galeton Elementary School. We put on a supper with chili, ham and bean soup, and turkey vegetable soup. It seemed to draw a good-sized crowd. I ran into my cool contractor and made sure I mentioned to him that I wasn't a "Rancher." It may remain a joke between us, now that he knows I've never been diagnosed as mentally defective and I know that he didn't intentionally insult me.

I'm heading to Texas to pick up O in Houston at the end of March. Mr. P. is going with me. I thought about leaving him here, but I prefer not to travel completely alone. He's not much of a map-reader, but really is a pretty good dog. Anyway, O and I will get to visit with my daughter and her husband. I know he's looking forward to that, and so am I. I wish that I'd had more time to spend with them both when they were out here in December. They seem so happy together. I really want them to be happy.

You know, sometimes family gets so involved in doing what they think is best for their relatives that they actually do more damage than good. I hope I never become one of those meddling, gossipy in-laws who make my kids or cousins or family members sorry that they ever included me in anything. I know it happens, and if I become like that, I hope my daughter will have the wherewithall to tell me to butt out of her business and go find something else to fill my time. And if that comes to pass, I hope I have the good sense and good grace to do just that.

The biggest concern for me, at the moment, is what to do with Celeste, if she gets to come. I don't know if she will be suitable to work at the ranch like Porter does. Her personality is very different than Mr. P.'s...not so calm and patient. I wonder if she can even be at the ranch, since the rule is only one dog per house. So hmmm....
I've been spinning some. I got a pretty spindle with a couple of flowers embedded in a clear acrylic whorl, and have been spindling up some blue wool with white silk carded into it.

I realized last weekend how little I'm working on fibery projects these days. I miss it, although I've got the second sock syndrome with three pairs of socks. I ordered a big Rose spindle from Lisa Chan over at, and really can hardly wait to try it out!

Feb 2, 2011

Chilly these days

On Monday, the temperature dropped WAAAAY down below zero. With the windchill, Cheyenne was at -47 deg F. Without the wind, it was a balmy 12 below. Not so bad. There was almost no snow, and it was so cold that no snow stuck to the road at all...I think it blew on east to Nebraska or beyond. My pipes didn't freeze and my house was intact when I got there on Tuesday morning. Porter was so whupped by the cold that he headed right for the bed (complete with electric blanket) and didn't come off it till time to go back to work Tuesday afternoon. At the ranch, the overnight low was predicted to be 20 below, but this morning it was only -12 on the west side of the house and -8 on the east side, at 6:45. I know we didn't break past zero, but at least the sun came out and warmed the inside of the cars.

My big news is that my daughter is getting married!
My little girl
She brought her guy out in December to meet the rest of the family, and we all decided he was a keeper. I think he was relieved, and we were too. He called me last Friday to ask me if it was okay to marry her. I almost bawled right there on the phone. So nice to have a young man be as considerate as that! What he didn't tell me was that I am also on the verge of becoming a the end of July.
The kids!

Really??? Me??? A grandma??? I never imagined myself as a grandmother, although I am looking forward to it. I don't know if it requires an attitude change or if I can go on being the way I am. I look at my older sister, who has become this doting, clucking mother hen of a grandma over her first grandchild, and I know that I am not and never have been a mother hen, and don't know if I will ever be. I am thrilled beyond my own imagination, but wonder if I will be a success at grandma-ship.

Jan 25, 2011

A day at the museum

I spent Monday afternooon at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, taking in my favorite displays. Here are a few examples:
An example of Navajo weaving.
Pacific Native American artwork.

Totem poles.
A large beer making jar from the Amazon area of Peru.

A new mummy box, made by museum employees, to demonstrate skills needed to create one.

Coastal Wyoming...what a concept!
Prehistoric piggish dude...
T Rex pursuing a stegosaurus beyond the grave.

Jan 18, 2011

House and Garden Projects

My house is beginning to come together. I had some months of feeling depressed every time I walked in, but I think I'm making progress, at least in my attitude toward it. The upstairs bathroom is still not operative, but the living room now looks like a living room. The bedroom is almost finished and so is the kitchen. All I lack for the 3 rooms is baseboard trim. The bathroom - well, I can't hold the 2-piece pedestal sink together and bolt it to the wall all at the same time, so I need some help with that and I don't know how to install a toilet. But not much else is needed aside from those two key pieces. I need to sew up a couple of sets of curtains and find a couple of area rugs for the bedrooms.

One of my greatest pleasures is to spend time in my own home. It's my escape from the insanity of what's "out there." I have always made my home, wherever I was, my sanctuary. I was looking at a recent copy of "The Herb Quarterly", and it had an article about making an outdoor "room" with some blinds to create "walls", potted plants, maybe an indoor/outdoor carpet, and lawn furniture. I have the perfect space for that! I already have the lawn furniture in my dad's shed, so I'm halfway there. It's not that I don't like my neighbors - I do - but I like my privacy, too. This might be my summer project!

I want something like this, in my dreaming mind...I'll never have a pergola since I already have a nice roof over my patio, but I think I could dress it up a bit and make a nice space anyway.

In my backyard, I have the old bathtub from my bathroom renovation. It's languishing back there, waiting for me to paint it some pretty color instead of it's current chipped, ugly yellow. I think I could paint it lavender or green, and paint little flowers on the side, to make it look like a garden, even if the live garden fails. I plan to fill it with compost and soil, then plant herbs and flowers in it. I also need to replant one end of my clothes line. Argh. Leftovers from the renters. I also need to cut the tallish stump of the dead tree very short, and replant another tree somewhere. I want a shade tree out there. I wonder if I'll live long enough to see one actually provide shade. My roses are recovering nicely, and all summer they tried to spread.

Jan 15, 2011

We had a little wedding...

Yes, just after Christmas we had a little wedding. My nephew Andrew, and his girlfriend of 10 years, Randee, finally broke down and tied the knot.

The proud mama, Woolyworks.

My daughter and her new beau, center dance floor. And below, Andrew and Randee taking their vows.

Randee and her dad, walking down the aisle:

My side of the family (yeah, that would be the WOOLY side of the fambly, heh):

Here's the official wedding cake:

...and here's the unofficial one:

I think we've got some tears here....

But not here:

Heheheheh... :o) We had fun!