Sunday, August 17, 2014

I won't believe you

If you say that South Dakota is a flat, boring ugly state. I won't believe you because it is simply untrue. 

This is from a rest stop on the Missouri river. It is built on the hill overlooking the river.

Then we went over the river and headed into the grassland and haying part of the state.

Look at that big blue sky. Can you tell we share a border with Montana also known as Big Sky Country? We have a share of it too.

I really do love seeing bales by the side of the road. This year I saw a field so full of bales it was almost not to be believed. They must have had the perfect mix of rain and sunshine to get so many.

Somewhere around here we got the call about my Dad being in the hospital and I stopped taking pictures, and started worrying.

Dad seems to be adjusting to living in a nursing home. My Mom seems to be adjusting to it too. I think it is a weight off her shoulders. We all know that Dad is getting the care that he needs and that is a weight off our shoulders too.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

On Baking

One of the things I picked up while I was home facing a crisis, was to do more of the things I want to do.

Easy right? Not always, but I'm learning. I want to do more cooking/baking. I like making things and enjoy eating tasty things too.

Last weekend while before our standard scones went into the oven I made two batches of oat yogurt muffins. I love these muffins because they're full of the things I think I should be eating. No I have not done any nutritional analysis so you'll have to forgive me.

This weekend I made a couple more batches, only this time I remembered to get frozen blueberries instead of the dried fruit it recommends. Much tastier with gushy blueberries. I started a couple of experiments with this week's batches. My intentional test was to add ground flaxseed.

My unintentional change up was to forget to add in the melted butter to the second batch. It was not until I opened the microwave's door that I realized any thing was amiss. I swear my microwave is a black hole when it comes to melted butter. This was not the first time I found butter in there. First time for my muffins though. They came out fine, maybe more like a baked oatmeal than muffin.

I had another oops moment when I forgot to add the walnuts to my zucchini bread. I remembered them 15 minutes into the hour long baking time. So being the creative person that I am I chopped them up fine and pressed them into the still gooey center. Well sort of, they mostly rested on the gooey top.

So I've been managing to bake even though I seem to be sabotaging myself. Guess I am just trying to gain some survival skills. No butter, no problem I can still make something tasty, if I have oats, yogurt, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, well you get the picture.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Knitting again

Today I am going to totally veer off from all that has been going on and talk about knitting. 

As you know I am a multi knitting project kind of gal. I've been seduced a way from some of my projects. Just the other night my basket of yarn beckoned me to come on over and wind up a skein. After I gave it a good tossing I resisted the urge and pulled out a couple of works in progress. 

This sock was completed before we left for SD but I was nervous about having enough yarn for the second sock. I did not have enough time to weigh the sock and the remaining yarn to see if it would all work out so they stayed home. 

 Poor lonely almost finished sock.

I've been on a bit of a greens and blues kick lately so I decided to add in a touch of red. Plus I wanted to make another sock from my Folk Socks book. I chose Socks with Clocks and thought it would look good in red too. 

Alas this project stayed home too because I wanted some plain knitting that I would not have to pay attention to. It is fine and good to think that I can knit more complicated things while distracted, but I've found that I like to keep things simple while traveling. 

This sock went to SD with us and got a finished mate while there too. D even wore them on the train home! I do love finishing projects while I am away. It seems like such a bonus to have new socks with you're away. It is just magical how knitting entertainment gets turned into more clothes just when you need them.

I did get a chance to weigh these before we left and did need extra yarn for the toes. But this time I figured it out before one of the socks was done. Now he has matching navy blue toes that really do match the yarn. At first glance you would not know I had an issue.

I took my little Zauberball along with me as a traveling instant knitting kit and cast on the day after I finished D's newest socks. I always think of these balls as perfect travel knitting. The yarn is wound and the colors are so interesting. Turns out I can knit about a half of a sock in a couple of days. Even working on it at vacation pace, which is much slower when you're trying to chase down where you should be on the train rather than riding it.

Now that I am home I am looking forward to finishing a sweater that is mostly done. The sleeves are tucked inside and all that is left is the ribbing on everything: cuffs, body and collar. I'm deciding if I want to go plain or try something fancy since the sweater is so plain itself. I'll leave that decision for another day and knit some more on a sock.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So Hard

We're back from South Dakota and I must say it was not the trip I thought it would be. We had a few issues flying in but nothing horrible. We had a lovely dinner and breakfast at my in-laws home. And we were a third of the way to my family's side of the state when I received a call from my Mom.

My Dad was in the hospital and it was all confusing for my Mom. She ended the call with "just get here." I went into panic mode till I realized this was the closest I've ever been when something bad happened. We were on our way and there was nothing I could do to get us there faster.

I got a hold of my brother in law, who explained things were not quite as dire as I had envisioned.

I can tell you it is surprising the first time you see a parent in a hospital bed. But my Dad still looked like my Dad. He was not talking like my Dad though. He was extremely confused and frustrated. He felt like no one was helping him, even though they were. He complained of being there "Damn near three hours!" when he had been there for over 24.

The hardest part for Mom was accepting that Dad needed more care than she could give. This means Dad is now living in a nursing home. I think she took comfort in the doctor telling her that with Dad's advanced age and a Parkinson's diagnosis of more than ten years, Dad had already beaten the odds.

This just confirmed what I had already known, Mom took care of him with all her heart and soul. And now it is time to step back from that role. She has done her part and it is at an end.

We're hopeful that Dad will continue to beat the odds for as long as he can.

I do have some pleasant stories for you but I needed to get this out here before I lost my nerve.
Pray for us please.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In a month

In a month my garden went from little plants shown freshly planted to...

Plants that need a little support and in bloom.

Look I have a pregnant purple pepper plant!

You just tried to say that phrase five times fast in your head didn't you?

 I have some wee tomatoes that are still safe from the tomato chomping husband.

My marigolds make me like yellow and orange, especially together.

All in all it feels great to be growing things again. We missed the recommended planting weekend by a couple of weeks this year but I got it planted. And that is all that matters this time. I even went to the farmers market by myself I was so determined this year. You can take the farmer's daughter off of the farm and you can tamp down the growing urge, but only for a couple of years then the farmer starts reasserting itself. Now I need to look into getting that electric fence so I can keep the hubby out of my tomatoes. Oh that is right he said he would stop paying the electric bill if I did that. Just save me a couple will you Hon?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My traveling brain

Summer time is creeping up on us and that means I am planning a trip home to South Dakota to visit the families. Our families live on opposite sides of the state so that means bonus road trips too. If you will remember we tried something new. We flew into Omaha NE and drove up to D's family for a day or so then on to my family. We spent a few more days with D's family and drove back down to Omaha to take our first Amtrak ride.

Turns out I liked it so much we will be doing the same thing this year. We hope to avoid getting turned around leaving Omaha. That added some unexpected travel time. And I will remember to eat earlier and not turn into the traveling, ravenous Yarnkettle monster. I am super grumpy when I am hungry. However when I was able to eat I had the best Subway sandwich ever. Hunger really keys in those taste buds.

It really is funny to book a trip like this. Comparing air travel and train travel has pluses and minuses. The flight gets us in a few hours after leaving NY while the train takes over 24 hours of travel. But it is such fun travel for us. Good food, the best night of sleep for D and all the farm country I can handle.

My knitting is getting sorted and planned out. The train allows for plenty of knitting time. Plus I know I will sit around some kitchen tables and visit too. Maybe I will be able to leave some knit gifts behind if I plan it right. Or maybe I will just end up mailing them, I like my knitting to be stress free without deadlines. I just know I've started five or six projects in my mind and will start many more before the actual trip.

I do worry about Gus while we are gone. He will be staying at the vet's office so he can be closely monitored. But I know even with his ball of yarn, his bed and Grandma's flannel blanket, it will still be the vet's office to him. Sigh, sometimes in order to be a good daughter you have to be not a great Momma. I keep telling myself we need to go home but it is still tough.

Anyways, I will soon start making my packing list which I so enjoy that I start it months before we leave. We have a six hour layover in Chicago on the trip home which I will research this time. I want to see if I can hit a yarn store and get some deep dish pizza. Last time we walked up and down a street only to settle on Subway. I was so disappointed when I got home and saw we were only one street away from a huge park. Missed opportunity there, I love parks. Regent's Park was one of the first things we went to see in London. Well after we hit a pub, because you know how demanding the traveling ravenous Yarnkettle monster can be. Food then park = happy traveling Yarnkettle monster.

I am thinking of an audiobook for our road trip time. Right now it is between Mr Mercedes by Stephen King and An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. D has turned me into a Stephen King fan via Under the Dome and Lisey's Story. On the flip side he enjoyed an NPR interview with Chris Hadfield. I guess it will be a in-the-car decision.

So don't worry about my traveling brain it is most happy when it is planning for a trip, even one we make every year. I welcome suggestions if anyone has any. It gives my brain even more to chew on.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Outside Playing

My boys are really loving the summertime this year. 

Jack eats grass like a cow then horks it up a bit later. Don't ask me I don't understand it. I just know that he does not have hairballs.

Gus is still trying to use heat therapy ease some joint pain. I don't think it is successful but I do know it makes him happier. He seems a bit more relaxed out there too.

Unless he is telling mom to stop taking pictures and knit a sock instead.

Jack remains Jack as ever.

Gus is continuing to decline. But at least the sunshine and smells give him something to look forward to.