Saturday, December 31, 2016

NEW YEAR'S EVE 2016


Here we are at the last day of 2016.  How did that happen?  Maybe it's because I am not working, but it doesn't feel like New Year's Eve.  Just as it didn't feel like Christmas or my birthday.  I guess it really does take an entire year to get used to being retired.  One year ago today was my last day of work.  And what a year it has been.  So much has happened.

January began with the sign at church being defaced with graffiti.  New Year's Day we are standing over at church with police making a report.  What a way to start the year!  The second day was better as Joe and I met my brother Larry and sister-in-law Kim to celebrate our birthdays in Lancaster County.  I also went to the first of many funerals -- my friend Bernadette.  A few days later it was a funeral for my friend Ada.  New next door neighbors moved in during January also.  And we had our first major snow storm of the season.

February I celebrated Chinese New Year (the Year of the Monkey), Valentine's Day, attended a Friendship Feast at church and then Joe and I flew to Tennessee for the funeral of his ex-wife.  We had a chance to stay with his son, D.J., and explore a little of the area.  We both fell in love with the Walmart there and bought so much we had to buy another suitcase to bring it all home.

Easter came in March.  We still had no pastor at church but Elder Sean did a fantastic job for us.  We couldn't have gotten through the year without him.  My sister wasn't able to come down so for the first time in many years we weren't able to spend Easter together.  But Joe and I went out to eat with our friends Walt and Carole.  And then the pipe in the bathroom broke.  πŸ˜•

April brought the closing of the Tacony Branch of the library where I got my start -- my first library card at age 6, my volunteer career and my first paid library job.  It will reopen in a couple of years bigger and better than ever.  We had a huge wind storm right before Villanova won the NCAA Championship.  We didn't have much snow all winter, but we had it in April.  When that left I started my garden.  Can't wait to get back to it with the warm Spring weather.  But the most memorable thing that happened was going to the Annual Conference at Pinebrook.  What a wonderful time that was.

May brought another funeral, that of our Deacon Ed.  Funeral number 4 was another sad one.  Ed was Joe's first friend when he came to our church and his best friend for many years.  We had our first annual Ladies' Brunch at church.  I'm looking forward to this year's.  We also celebrated Joe's birthday, had a cookout at my sister's house on the Saturday before Memorial Day and watched our neighborhood parade on Memorial Day itself.

On to June.  It was time for the first annual Men's Breakfast.  If ladies have brunch, you know men have to have a breakfast.  This is going to turn into an annual thing.  I'm already making plans for this year.  I went to my friend and former supervisor Donna's birthday party.

July we went to Lancaster County to celebrate my sister's birthday.  It was good to get away.

August had another funeral.  This one was for my former supervisor Marian.  So many deaths this year.  We had a work week at church and ended the week with a family reunion where I got to meet up with my siblings and cousins.  I didn't want to go, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.  We got a new pastor at church and Joe and I along with Pastor Ralph and his wife Carolyn did a ministry opportunity night at a local Christian college hoping to get students to help us start a youth ministry.

I celebrated the first day of September on the second day because I had thrown my back out.  Ouch!  We had T-shirt Sunday at church on Labor Day weekend.  Then a couple of weeks later Joe and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  We went to see the show "Samson" and stayed overnight in Lancaster County.  We renewed our vows with the pastor who married us and on the same day installed our new pastor. 

October was a slow month... finally.  We celebrated Reformation Sunday and Halloween and I decorated for the fall.

November I went to a retirement party for my former co-worker Wil.  It seems like we are all retiring around the same time.  We had our annual Pie and Praise at church.  Thanksgiving was celebrated at Elaine's house and was a lot of fun.

December, of course, was all about Christmas and my birthday.  And that brings us to today and New Year's Eve.  What a year it has been!

Tonight we are going to an open house at the Parsonage given by Pastor Ralph and Carolyn.  We are going early, though, because I don't like driving on New Year's Eve.  When we get home I have Robin Roberts' two specials recorded for us to watch.  We don't always stay up for midnight, but I hope to this year.  We will see how tired we are.

So year one of retirement is now under my belt.  I think I know how this works now, so hopefully year two will be even better.

Joe and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Be safe!  See you in 2017.

Kathy

Sunrise:  7:22 a.m.
Sunset:  4:46 p.m.
9 hours and 24 minutes of daylight
 Cloudy
Temperatures:  44*/39* 

Friday, December 30, 2016

THE TEMPERATURE AFGHAN



Just one more day to the new year.  I have no idea where the time went.  Did it just fly by for you too?

A few months back I saw on one of my knitting sites the idea to make a temperature scarf.  You start off with 5 rows of white and then pick a color for each so many degrees of temperature.  They were in Europe so were using every 5 degrees Celesus.  I chose to use every 10 degrees Fahrenheit since I am more familiar with that.  Then I saw that you could also make an afghan that way.  I thought that would be more practical for me since I have lots of scarves, so I changed to that.

The idea is that each day you knit or crochet one row of color showing the high temperature for that day.  Here is a sample chart of colors you could use.  I chose different colors, but the idea is the same.

And here is a picture I found of one that someone else did.

I am finding this idea fascinating.  Each afghan would be different since people live in different areas with different temperatures and can choose whatever colors they want.  At the end of each month I will be taking a picture of my afghan to show you.  It will be fun to see it change from the blues of winter to the greens of spring and on to the reds of summer.  I hope you will enjoy seeing the afghan grow.

Kathy


Sunrise:  7:22 a.m.
Sunset:  4:45 p.m.
9 hours and 23 minutes of daylight
Partly cloudy
Temperatures:  41*/28* 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

IT'S BEEN A LAZY BIRTHDAY


Why thank you, Charlie, Lucy, Sally, Linus, Snoopy and Schroder!  How sweet!

I really took it easy today.  I had a list of about 30 things to do and I did about 5 of them.  I still want to get a load of dishes washed tonight.  The dishwasher is half filled and then I got sidetracked.

I finished a scarf I was knitting today and began another one.  I have made this pattern over and over and have given them all away except for one.  The one I kept is kind of small, though, because I ran out of yarn.  So I decided to make another one for myself.  I am using up some yarn given to me by a friend.  It is not an entire skein since it was left over from a project she did, but it is almost a full skein so I know I have plenty of yarn to finish this project.  It should be finished in a few days and I will let you see it then.

I also watched two Christmas movies.  I have just a few more to go to finish up what I have recorded.  I think I have watched every Christmas movie that Hallmark had on this season.  I need to get it done before January when the "Winterfest" movies begin.

Carole and I went out to dinner tonight at Hibachi Grill.  Joe was still sick and Carole's husband, Walt, got sick this afternoon.  They had both planned to be there.  I told Carole that we could go out some other time and she said no, it was my birthday today and we were going out.  So we did.  I ate too much.  But the food was so good.

 I didn't have a cake for my birthday, but I did have cookies.  Here is a plate of both my sister's and my cookies.  They were good!

Joe gave me two necklaces for my birthday.  I would have been happy with one but he always likes to spoil me with jewelry.


 The first one is a crescent moon with little diamonds.


 The little disk says "I love you to the moon and back."  He kept saying that he really does.


 The second one was a silver and diamond necklace and earrings set in the shape of snowflakes because I was born in the winter.  I love both of them.


 To go out to dinner I wore the new top my sister, Elaine, gave me for my birthday.  You have to wear new clothes on your birthday, don't you?  I just love the color of this.  She knows this is the best color for me.  (I wore this coral color in her wedding.)

My friend, Chrissy, came over this evening to drop off a card and a little gift for me.  She is having a hard time with her family and I feel badly for her. 

 I am excited to start this new year of my life.  Since my health is better, I feel like I can really accomplish a lot this year.

It is late and I am going to bed.  It's been a great day.

Kathy
Sunrise:  7:22 a.m.
Sunset:  4:44 p.m.
9 hours and 22 minutes of daylight
Morning showers
Temperatures:  46*/30* 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

THREE DAYS TO THE NEW YEAR


It is hard to believe the year is almost over.  In three days it will be one year since I retired.  I am realizing more and more just how sick I was a year ago and I had no idea.  I was really pushing myself to go to work each day.  It has taken me 11 months to get back to myself.  And it has been a long 11 months.  I hope that next year I will be feeling better and getting so much more done.

I am still plugging away in the house.  It doesn't look much better to me, but I know it is.  Just a little more to do in the living room and it will be finished.  My plan is to take one month per room next year and get all the junk out.  I just don't understand how two people can accumulate so much!  But I have great plans on painting, mending, upgrading and rearranging furniture in each room and I will definitely be taking you along via pictures.  This should be fun!

I have gotten nothing done today.  I slept most of the day away.  I didn't mean to, but I must have needed it.  Joe was supposed to go to the VA Hospital today but he is still sick, so cancelled out.  He even cancelled Bible Study for tonight.  I hope he is feeling better tomorrow.

I have been working on the coloring calendar my sister gave me for Christmas.  The page for January is about half finished.  I'll show it to you when I complete it.


 It came with a lot of different things.

 Four bookmarks.

 Six gift tags.

 A poster.

 Four greeting cards with envelopes.

 And, of course, the calendar itself.

 The pencils came in a little tin box and have two colors in them.

I love this gift.  I will show you some of the other things I got in the next few days.

Well, going to go and start dinner.  I watched a show on Food Network where they made macaroni and cheese and now I want it so I think that is what I will make tonight.  Talk to you all later.

Kathy
Sunrise:  7:21 a.m.
Sunset:  4:43 p.m.
9 hours and 22 minutes of daylight
Showers late in the day
Temperature:  44*/31* 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS

This is a Christmas I won't soon forget.  From the beginning it was sad with Snowy passing on.  We discovered that her thyroid finally stopped working and that made her heart stop.  I am beyond sad.  But I am trying to carry on.  And I think I did on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

On the 23rd Joe and I headed up to my sister Elaine's house in northern New Jersey.  Because of Christmas being on a Sunday and originally she was going to have to work that day, we planned to celebrate a day early.

We started out about 3 p.m. and had an uneventful drive.  It wasn't crowded like a usual holiday weekend, but there was still plenty of traffic.  We got there around 5 p.m.

Elaine's friend, Frank, took us out to dinner for Christmas.  We went to the local diner.  The food was really good.  We came back home stuffed.

Frank stayed for a bit, opened the gifts we had gotten for him and then went home.  We put our gifts under the tree and went to bed, waiting until morning to open our gifts.

 Cody got in on the action helping Frank open the mug and hot chocolate we got him.


 Here's my Joe.

 Elaine.
 The tree was beautiful.

Joe with his tablet.


Sweet Cody.

 Here's Frank.


The gifts are under the tree.  It's bedtime for us.



Christmas Eve was Christmas Day for us.  I was the last one up.  I was so tired and slept in.  Elaine and Joe had already been up, eaten and Elaine had fed her bird, Spike, and taken her dog, Cody, out.  They weren't quiet, were talking and showering and I never heard a thing.  I must have been really tired!  They finally woke me up because we were going to leave right after lunch to get home in time for church.

There were all kinds of things for breakfast:  scones, Danish and croissants.  Yum!  I had a scone and a croissant both of which were wonderful.  Then I got showered, dressed and we opened our gifts.

 I made Elaine this blanket.  It took me months to knit it but it turned out good.  It is made out of chenille yarn.



 Elaine gave me the new Debbie Macomber book "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  I've already started it and it's really good.


 Joe gave Elaine this pretty teapot and teacup.


 A can of popcorn and a pretty purse from Elaine.


 This adorable Santa bag had a new electric toothbrush and replacement heads for me from Elaine.  My brush died so I was so happy to get this.  I should have taken a picture of it because it has a designer handle.  Really pretty.


 I wrapped my gifts differently this year and I think they turned out really pretty.


 Elaine used these cute handmade ornaments as our gift tags.


 Instead of a stocking I gave Joe a plaid bucket that I found at Target.  He loves red and black plaid.  It's so him.


 I love this pen Elaine stuck into my stocking.  It has feathers and three giant jingle bells.  I call it my magic wand.







After awhile we decided to have lunch so that Joe and I could start for home around 2 p.m.
 Elaine made some delicious chicken wings.


 There were all kinds of things to make a sandwich.


 Of course there were Christmas Crackers.  Joe and I got a red one with a Christmas tree on it.


 Elaine had a green one with a reindeer.


 It's always fun to pull them and hear the bang.


 And, of course, wearing the paper crown through the meal.


 We got really nice prizes too.  And surprisingly each of us got a prize that was perfect for us.  I got a bookmarker.  And of course a silly riddle.


 Joe got a really nice pen.


 Elaine got a pocket mirror.


 Cody was with us waiting for handouts.

All of a sudden Joe said, "I feel sick" and began to throw up.  He ran from the table to the bathroom but didn't make it.  He was very, very sick!  I began cleaning up the floor because he had left his calling card throughout the entire house.  After he stopped being sick I put him back to bed and he went to sleep.  So I decided there was no way we could leave to go home.  I asked Elaine if we could stay one more night and of course she said yes.  I called Carole to ask her to check in one more day at the house and called the parsonage to let Pastor Ralph and Carolyn know we wouldn't be there.

After cleaning up the house -- the whole house -- Elaine and I finished eating and then while Joe slept we watched a few Christmas movies.  Joe finally woke up in the early evening and was so upset that he had gotten sick.  But he couldn't help it and we kept telling him not to worry about it.  If you are sick, you are sick.

We got up very early on Christmas morning.  We got dressed and I ate before we left.  Joe just had a coke which he sipped on most of the way home.

We left at 7:30 a.m. and made really good time because there was almost no one on the road.  I didn't expect any traffic that early on Christmas morning.  Especially since it was a Sunday.  And I was right.  We really didn't hit any traffic until we got into Pennsylvania.  By then it was almost 9:00 a.m. so people were getting up and out on the road.  

I had Joe take a video when we were on Route 206 in New Jersey.  It really is a pretty ride.  This is the first video Joe ever did and I think he did a really good job.
video

When we got home Joe went to bed.  I called Elaine to let her know I was home and then printed out the church bulletins.  I quickly changed my clothes and headed out to church.  I was pretty close to the service starting when I walked in and Pastor Ralph called me a "heroine" for showing up.

The service was beautiful and I was so glad I had gotten there.  I gave out my Christmas cookies after the service as I usually do.  After doing it for about 15 years I guess people expect it.  I didn't have as many as I usually do, but I had something.

My friend, Carol N., gave me a gift bag.  I told her we don't usually exchange gifts and she said it was just something she wanted me to have.  Inside was a crystal figure of a cat that her brother had given her years ago when she lost one of her cats.  She thought maybe it would comfort me.  That was so sweet.

Carolyn gave me a book of devotions from the Gospel of John.  I am going to start it on the first of the year.

When I got home, Joe and I exchanged gifts.  I got him a salt crystal lamp.  I'm hoping it will help him with his asthma and other breathing problems.  He gave me a stand mixer I've been wanting.  I am really happy.  I will have to take pictures later to show you how nice it is.  You know I'll be making good use of it.

My friend, Diane, came over for dinner.  I used to work with her at the library.  When I found out she was going to be alone on Christmas, I invited her over. We had a pork roast, rice and mixed veggies.  She brought fruit and cinnamon buns for dessert.  We ended up the evening watching "Polar Express" which Diane had never seen and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

After I took Diane home, I sat down on the sofa and fell sound asleep.  I slept until the next morning.  I was so tired.

Yesterday I did nothing.  Absolutely nothing except go to the pharmacy for my medicine.  I think I needed to do nothing because I am really tired.  So I hope to get a lot done today.

I hope you all had a good holiday.  From the blogs I've been reading, it looks as if you did.

Kathy

Sunrise:  7:21 a.m.
Sunset:  4:42 p.m.
9 hours and 21 minutes of daylight
Morning thunderstorms
Temperatures:  60*/34*