Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just Call Me Cranky!

Guess what I've been doing?
Between last night and this afternoon I've carded my way through a mountain of fiber.

It started with just over 8 ounces of superfine merino, continued through 1 1/2 pounds of Llama (that's a whole lot of llama!) and has continued through about half of the seemingly endless Scottish Blackface.
It's not all in this photo, but the pudgy merino batts are the tawny ones in back; 7 of them, each a bit over an ounce. Next is the llama on the left; these are "skinnier" batts, but as big as the carder would hold and there are oodles of them, a huge bagful. And the white clouds are my Scottish Blackface. These are just a few of the mass that lives in its own plastic bin -- the biggest that Wally world had -- I did twelve batts, double-carded. Just call me cranky ! ! !
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In retrospect . . .

I guess I've learned a lesson. The pierogi idea was not so good. Well, yes, it did save me a few pounds, I guess.
On the other hand -- the pierogi from the store were -- good, yes, but -- not like the ones I make. Just different. Except I bought sauerkraut ones, too, and they left a LOT to be desired. Next year. . .
We had a lovely Christmas dinner with friends. We went to their home where we were treated to roast turkey and all the excellent stuff that goes with. The house elf's cheesecake made the trip as well. Somehow two pieces came back home with us along with scads of yummy leftovers that turned into our dinner the next night.
All told, it was a lovely holiday.
My favorite gift -- the house elf gave me a disco ball! OK, a mirror ball to some people -- it's excellent! An eight-inch ball covered with mirror tiles. It mounts on a base that can either sit or be hung, and it rotates. Additionally there is a pin spot that comes with four different color filters. It can likewise sit or be hung. My inner magpie is thrilled. Combined with our rotating christmas tree stand, it's about all I can take!

Monday, December 22, 2008

What WAS I Thinking???

EEeeee!!! The bronchitis mess I had must have affected me more than I thought. It left me delusional or something!
Yes, the pierogi genes have kicked in, but NO, we are NOT MAKING them this year. In fact, today I went to Kielbasa!, a local Euro-Deli specializing in Polish food, and bought some. Only a few to have for Christmas Eve, and I'll be over it.
You see, there is no such thing as making only a few pierogi. Freeze some? Yes, I usually do, BUT. . . !
I heard an interesting comment on TV this morning about gaining weight over the holiday season. It seems most all of us do. But statistics show (don't you hate those darned statistics?) that overweight people gain more than 'normal' weight people. Go figure.
So hey, I know I'll gain some, but I really don't need to make stuff that will pack on more poundage. And I won't have to hear little pierogi voices calling out to be eaten.
No, I'm not going off the deep end. I don't intend to deprive myself this holiday season -- I don't want to be depressed! -- but will try to enjoy myself sensibly.
And The House Elf was mumbling something about a Bailey's cheesecake. . . .EEeeee!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

She may pull through . . .

Yes! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't worry, the train has already run over me, or at least that's how I felt. Today brought somewhat of a return to normalcy, though I thought the first day back at work this week would never end. But I got through it, and now the shining light is the whole next week of bona-fide vacation!
No, not a go-somplace or do-something vacation. Just some time off work to do nothing in particular except whatever I might feel like doing, plus spend some time with my sweetie, maybe take in a movie. Plus he mentioned the other day (and I've felt the stirrings for about a week) that he thought the Polish genes were kicking in. Yes, they do every year about this time. It's pierogi season!
I refer to the Polish traditional Wigilia, the family-based Christmas Eve observance. It remains one of my dearest childhood memories. When all the aunts and uncles and cousins gathered for the evening meal, it was quite a crowd. All the aunts would prepare their part of the feast in advance -- one would bring the soup, another the fish, and so on -- and we'd come around the table and share the bread wafer sent from family ties in Poland.
Now my mom wasn't Polish, but she married into the tradition. And the "official" family pierogi-maker, Aunt Isabel, lived in Pennsylvania, three states away. Needless to say, Mom got pierogi lessons over a summer visit and proved a roaring success. Anyone who has made pierogi knows the work involved, so of course anyone who would make pierogi for that mob was bound to be popular. Curiously, none of the other aunts ever volunteered to make them, always protesting theirs weren't as good as hers (They were right!). So year after year, the pierogi would be made in our kitchen on Christmas Eve Day. I remember Dad and Mom working together all day on them, and the smells of onions frying in butter to slather on them as they were layered in the big roasting pans to be carried to the feast. As I grew older, I felt very important to become part of the process, and Dad readily surrendered his apron, but still hung out in the kitchen to make sure I was doing it right.
As years passed, the family expanded and the tradition went where so many of them do. We sort of kept the observance in our own immediate family units, and we'd send a pan of pierogi over to Aunt Nellie's and she'd send us soup and fish, and so on. But the cousins married and got involved in their new families. Many of us drifted miles and states away. I've never thought of myself as one who grieves over sentiments or memories of bygone days. They are just that -- gone -- not forgotten, but savored, not mourned. Times and circumstances change.
But let me indulge in a bit of seasonal nostalgia. Time to go make a shopping list. Let's see. . . potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, butter, onions, flour. . .
I wasn't sure where this posting would end up when I started out. I didn't expect this!

Monday, December 15, 2008

. . . and on and on and on and. . . .

Aw, yuck. I'd elaborate, but it'd just be a pity party. I am a pathetic case.
I'm tired of this.

Didn't go to work today. No desire to spread the germs they have obviously shared with me.
'Nuff said there.

Upside: some knitting has been accomplished. Not a lot -- I keep falling asleep in the middle of a row -- let's hear it for dextromethorphan. (I'm sure I spelled that wrong, but hey, I'm sick.)
and I'm about to megadose on Nyquil and hit the sack. DH couldn't find the Original Green stuff; this one's Cherry flavor. Sure tastes red! Looks like True Blood. Mmmmmwahahaha. . .

Saturday, December 13, 2008


At midnight I felt fine. Kissed DH goodnite and sat up a while to peruse stuff online. By 1 a.m. I knew I something was wrong. Scratchy throat, coughing, yuck!! My voice was squeeeky. Crawled into bed and coughed the night away. I can manage a squeak or a husky croak, but talking in normal tones is pretty much out of the question. Megadoses of hot coffee helped some. Now I am switched over to tea and sucking on horehound drops. My head is not congested. My throat is sore from coughing. My upper chest aches when I breathe and hurts like hell when I cough. I feel mostly okay, but not like doing much of anything in terms of decorating the tree or anything fibery. Just sitting is pretty much it.
I had decided to head to Richmond for the bead show today, but canned that idea when I woke up. There were a few things I needed; shopping online may prevail. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel more energetic. Being able to talk would be good, too.
More tea! More horehound!
Dad used to give me equal parts of lemon juice, honey, and whiskey when I was a kid. He called it tea, but I don't think Mr. Lipton ever came near it. It was hot and good and I slept like a log. Mom claimed it was the Vicks Vap-O-Rub, but I don't know. . . .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid!

Or -- creativity, cash & self-esteem.

Another craft show is over. I knew it would not be good. It was better than I thought it might be in terms of sales. It was what sold that depresses me. No, it was what DIDN't sell.

Twice a year I participate in the Colonial Williamsburg Employees Arts & Crafts Show. I spend way too much time working on jewelry and accessories for the event. (We're talking months here -- actually most of my free time all year is devoted to the shows.) This year was no exception.
Given the state of the economy and the fact that my employer is in the throes of blood-letting that seem to have no end in sight, I approached the show with a cautious attitude. I tried to have a good supply of small items (under $20) to attract sales. Pins, collage necklaces, copper shawl pins, small purses. Nice things, but not the creative challenge I enjoy when making a unique piece of jewelry or the sense of accomplishment as I take a completed shawl off the loom.

Yes, I did sell a shawl -- my major single sale of the weekend -- and one "nice" necklace. A bracelet and a large pin went, too. The rest was the small stuff, including the cookies made by the house elf. I have to admit, we didn't make much on the cookies; most of the profits were passed out to friends or (gasp!) eaten by locals. Chocolate is a wonderful thing.

Now I suppose I should be happy that I've little stock to replace before the next show. In a way I am, but there's a tiny little voice inside suggesting that I need to make more; perhaps the jewelry I have wasn't good enough -- it didn't sell -- or perhaps not trendy enough, the wrong color, size, who knows???
Common sense tells me otherwise. I'm not the only one who had a less-than-stellar show. Though there was a fair amount of floor traffic, the lookers far surpassed the buyers. I've done the C.W. Employee shows for (about 10) years, and I'm proud to say I've developed a positive reputation with repeat business and referrals. Yet there were not many familiar faces there this time. I also have to consider that some of my colleagues no longer have jobs, much less the money to spend on other than necessities. Indeed, there is anxiety on my part that others of us are moving toward the same fate.

What remains to be seen is how I will respond. Right now I'm in a grungy funk. Depressed. Insecure. Additionally I'm in the creative slump that always (for me) comes after the weeks of preparation and the show itself. I don't want to see another bead or fiber. For at least three more days: there's a bead show in Richmond this weekend! Never mind I don't have any money to spend on beads. I probably won't go, but I am feeling the need to make something. Let's hear it for stash!

So yes, the muse is still there. The self-esteem is badly bruised, but has to admit that it tripped and fell over its own two feet, not someone else's. Depression -- this, too, shall pass.
These are hard times for all of us.

It's the economy, stupid!
41 days.