Saturday, January 28, 2017


We have had a fun week, Bob and I. On Thursday, we took a drive out to Quartzsite, AZ. You may not know about this place if you are not an RVer. Every January, this little town in the middle of the desert becomes a booming metropolis of over 250,000 RVers who boondock (camp without hookups) in the desert for little or no money, for a couple of weeks.

We don't love camping without hookups so we've never attended, but this year we decided to go up for the day to see the RV show that is there. It's been a rather cold January this year with low temps in the 40s, so attendance was less than usual. But that was ok by us!

The RV show is held in a big white tent, with RVs for sale outside around the perimeter.
We had a good time walking around and seeing what was for sale. We even bought a folding metal stool, for when our lowest step is too high off the ground. This sometimes is a problem if our campsite is not level, and can be pretty hazardous, so the step will make that situation much safer. We also checked out the fifth wheels for sale but didn't see anything that tempted us to trade in our coach. It's so much fun to look, though.

On Saturday morning, I sang with the choir at the opening ceremonies of one of the many golf tournaments held here at our campground. Since it is windy and chilly today, I was very happy to return home afterwards rather than have to stand outside swinging a club! Tomorrow is supposed to be much nicer, with high temperatures in the 70s all week. I'm ready for warm!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sewing Organizers

With all the focus on finding a sewing machine for my daughter in law, I've been inspired to do a couple of sewing projects over the last several days. First I made a Bionic Gear Bag to hold sewing notions.

Inside the bag are four zippered pockets, plus space in between them for more items like scissors. This was a Craftsy pattern. The directions were quite wordy, which caused some difficulties in trying to figure out what to do. But I persevered and am very happy with the results.
The next organizer was a Craftsy pattern called #10 Caddy because it utilizes a #10 can (which was given to me by my daughter Kristen.)  As I recall, the can originally held coffee from Costco. I'm going to use this one to hold my current knitting project. It was pretty quick and easy to make, and  was able to use fabrics left from the previous project.

It feels good to cross a couple of things off my to-do list.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration Day

Well, as I write this we are just one day away from a new Presidential inauguration. I can't help but think back eight years ago, when President Obama took office for the first time. I was working in Camden, NJ, a depressed area whose residents are mostly African American. On that day I remember looking at my watch at 11:45 am because Route 130 which runs through Camden, typically packed with cars at that time of day, was almost completely empty. I was en route to the home of a patient I'll call "Gladys."

Gladys, a 70-ish African American woman, lived in a run-down row-house in a run-down neighborhood in the most run-down city in America. I had been providing speech/language therapy for a couple of months now, twice a week, to address her difficulty in communicating following a severe stroke. We had become good friends in the meantime.

I doubt there were very many people in Camden who would have even opened their doors to this white therapist on this day of all days, minutes before the inauguration ceremony of the first African American President of the United States. But Gladys did, and she welcomed me inside. We sat in her little room in the back of the house, side by side, and watched her little television that was usually tuned to religious stations. She reached out and took my hand, and together we watched the swearing-in as tears ran down, first her cheeks and then mine. We listened intently to the new President's speech, with the occasional mm-mm sounding softly in response to a point. At the end of the speech, Gladys turned to me, looked into my eyes, and said simply, Thank you."

I was so grateful that we could share this moment together.

We were then free to begin therapy, but I have no memory of that! In the whole scheme of things, the most important thing was that two women, of different generations, race, and backgrounds, came together to witness a historic moment and made a connection. My fervent prayer is that our new President will find a way to bring people together and that he will serve all Americans including the "Gladyses" out there.

May God bless America.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Sewing Machine

We have been having some beautiful sunsets here in Yuma, AZ.
Just glorious!

On Saturday, I volunteered to help serve at a luncheon here in the park. It was a fun couple of hours, dishing out raviolis and hanging out with some very nice people. Then I got to bring home some lasagne, which we ate for dinner tonight. It was very good.

I've been weaving on my Krokbragd sampler and I've reached the point where I shall declare it finished. With a sampler, there really is no end point, but I feel like I've learned a lot, which was my goal, and it is large enough to use as a hot pad or to hang up. So it is done. All I need do now is to take it off the loom and decide whether or not to back it as a hot pad, or deal with the ends and call it art. I'll think a little longer on that.
If you look closely you can see the little ukuleles I wove into it, a little more than halfway up.  They were supposed to be guitars but I wove it with four rather than six tuners, so they are ukes.

My daughter, Emily, and daughter in law Bernie, both are now into sewing, and I told them I'd watch for sewing machines for them that were better than the ones they had. And today I found one in a hospice thrift shop in Yuma. I liked it so much that I bought it. Emily said no thanks but Bernie wants it, and I think it will be a great machine for her. It's a Singer 328K, built in Scotland back in the day when Singer sewing machines were really good machines. It has an all metal body and sews 10 different stitches. I fired it up when I got home and it sews beautifully. This machine was very well cared for, with no chips or scratches and not a speck of lint anywhere. I gave it a good oiling and thought about the woman who loved this machine for the past half a century. I'm sure she's happy, wherever she is, that her machine will have a good home for the next 50 years.
While I was driving around today, I saw this sign admonishing the youths of Yuma against horseplay in a parking lot. Of course, since this is Arizona, perhaps they are referring to actual horses, but I couldn't find anyone to ask.
Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Golden Milk

We've been having some nice weather here in Yuma, with daily high  temperatures mostly in the upper 60s to low 70s on occasion. We have established a routine, with Bob golfing on Tuesdays, I have choir practice Wednesdays, stitching group on Fridays, and church on Sundays. In between times we may go out to dinner, visit with friends, bike, read, or work on projects. The pace here is relaxed and we are never bored.

My daughter, Emily, called me yesterday to discuss sewing machines. She ended up buying one later in the day and sewing her first project, a tortilla warmer. How cool is that! I'm very proud of her.

I came across some articles about Golden Milk--have you heard of this? It is a beverage that helps with insomnia, digestion, resistance to colds, lowering blood sugar, and overall health. Here's my version:

 1 cup Silk Almond milk (unsweetened)
1/2" grated turmeric root or 1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp powdered ginger or 1/2 tsp of fresh, grated ginger root
Pinch of black pepper

Heat until just below a boil, then strain and add 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup if desired. Sip before bedtime.

You could also use cows milk, goats milk, soy milk, or rice milk as a base, and I make this in the microwave. I believe it's the turmeric that helps you sleep, and the pepper aids in absorbtion. I found that the Silk Vanilla Unsweetened Almond milk in a carton on the shelf (not in refrigerated case) is only 25 calories a cup. It is a spicy drink but the little bit of  honey tones that down a bit. And I have to say that in the past week I've been sleeping better since taking this nightly. If you look up the health benefits of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper you will be amazed.

I spent a couple hours on Monday with a new friend, Elaine, showing her how to weave on a Weavette loom, and she gave me some yarn. It was fun to hang out with another crafter.

Bob and I have agreed to serve soup at a golf luncheon on Saturday. Another new experience! I've never been a waitress or food handler, if you don't count the food trays I delivered in the nursing home dining room as a speech/language pathologist! But perhaps that counts.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Camel Farm and Knitting Hats

On Thursday, Bob and I decided to enjoy the 70 degree temperatures and do something fun, so we headed off to the Camel Farm, just south of Yuma. The Camel Farm is a popular attraction with families but we had the place practically to ourselves on this lovely day.
The Farm has several Arabian camels, AKA dromedaries, which are native to the hot deserts of the Middle East and Africa. Camels do not store water in their humps, but fat, which allow them to survive if food is scarce. This lovely lass came over to say hello...
...and then ran behind and photo bombed us as our picture was being taken. How rude!
The Camel Farm has other animals as well, such as this Jacob, or Four-Horned Sheep, a primitive breed that dates back to Biblical times.
 This is a Miny Hinny. A Hinny is a domestic hybrid resulting from crossing a male horse with a female donkey (a Jenny.) Similar to mules which are a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, Hinnys are smaller in size and more closely resemble horses. One of this Hinny's parents was a miniature; therefore this guy is a Mini Hinny.
We met this zebra...
...and a zebra/donkey cross, called a Zedonk.

The Farm also had Fallow deer, potbelly pigs (there were babies for sale but we resisted the temptation,) musk oxen, burros, a coati, and a fennick fox. For $1 we got a cup full of animal feed to offer to the animals, which made us very popular. What fun!

When we got home I had a package of yarn waiting for me so  started knitting, and two days later had these hats made for grandsons Ben and Adam.
They were a fun knit. Yarn and pattern were from Knit Picks, Wool of the Andes. 

On Saturday morning I pulled myself away from knitting to walk around the park. On the first Saturday of each month there is a park-wide yard sale and people set things out that they have no further use for. It is a fun time to walk around and visit neighbors and meet folks.

Auggie gets bored if we stop and talk for too long, and asks to be picked up.  And then immediately falls asleep. The sun was warm, even if the air was cool.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Begins

Bob and I rang in the new year by attending the park's New Years Eve party. Like the Christmas party, we volunteered to help set up and decorate for the event, and sold raffle tickets as well. We have made some good friends by volunteering at these parties, and as a bonus were able to attend without charge. The Yankee in me appreciates that.
 The stage area was made ready for the band who provided lots of dancing music.
We took a break from selling tickets to have our photo taken.

We ate a delicious prime rib dinner, did a little dancing, and then handed home. We aren't late-night people. But that's ok--the New Year came even without us watching the ball drop. And I felt enough refreshed the next morning that I could attend church. A good start to 2017.

A new year requires a new weaving project! I have been wanting to try Krokbragd on the rigid heddle loom for quite some time now. People have warned that this is a very slow weave, since you must weave three shots of weft yarn in order to see one row of weaving. It also requires a pattern stick and a set of string heddles, plus three different boat shuttles. While it can feel like a bit of a balancing act, I am really enjoying weaving this sampler.

The weather here in Yuma has been a little cool, requiring a light jacket or a sweater. We are looking forward to next week when the forecast is for the low 70s every day. I think winter is over!