Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22nd

It's December 22nd and we are now ready for Christmas. It's taken David and I a week to get the house ready, but ready it is. We don't have the outside lights up, but that's because David has been down with a ugly cold, and I'm not inclined to get out there and do it alone. All of my gifts are wrapped and under the tree, however, so now I can just relax and knit.

Because of my allergy to live Christmas trees, we have always had an artificial tree. Now before any of you lose your breath thinking Christmas isn't a real Christmas without a live tree, let's stop and think about those of us allergic to the spores and molds on live trees which cause us to lose our breath.

This year the tree looked like this when David got it up. We both looked at it and thought well, we've lots of ornaments and we can get more lights.

After three evenings and lots of new lights, and lots and lots of ornaments, we are pleased with the results.
Now, tell me honestly, doesn't that tree look lovely, and doesn't it look like a live tree. Thought so.

I'm actually on schedule, in fact done, with my Christmas knitting this year. I knit this pair of socks for Rachel and she reports her feet are now all toasty warm.

The yarn is Zauberball Crazy by Schoppel Wolle. It's a fun yarn to knit but I have to admit, there were times the two plys of different colors tested my old eyes. It was worth it though if Rachel's feet are toasty warm. The stitch for the leg is from Charlene Schurch's book Sensational Knitted Socks and is called the Corded Rib. (Love that book.) Rachel, if you want another pair, just let me know. I love knitting socks.

The other morning I was getting my first cup of coffee when I heard stuff dropping. I went into the bedroom to see if David was okay, and he was on his way to see if I was okay. That's when it dawned on us, the noise came from outside. I turned on the deck light and this is what I saw running past the door.

Followed by another one. Aren't they beautiful? They are, but still don't want them on the deck. I had put some old dried lavendar on the table on the deck and that is apparently what they were interested in. Needless to say, once the two rascals were out of the yard, and we let the dogs out, they were busy, busy, busy smelling the tracks.

I love December 22nd. The days are now getting longer instead of shorter. Mind you, this year I'm not complaining about weather, or darkness, or any thing like that. I just like having the daylight hours increasing each day instead of decreasing. It's not because I am depressed by the darkness, it just means we are getting closer to gardening weather. The shorter days haven't been that bad this year because the weather for the most part has been nice (for winter). After last year's crippling snow fall for the holidays, this weather is a lovely gift from God. I just like the idea of more daylight and being able to get outside and maybe getting my hands dirty in the garden.

On the flip side, more dark and cold weather means more knitting gets done, and knitting with wool. Granted, it's harder to stay up later because it's been dark for a long time, but nice knitting weather it is. Since I've finished my Christmas knitting, I am knitting a little something for me. Of course, I'll be staring another pair of socks for commuting, but that really doesn't count. Commuting knitting is knitting to keep y0u busy while going to and from work.

Well, I have a big shopping list I need to take care of, and a guest room to get ready.



Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Official!

After sending stockings to our troops for five years, we decided it was time we got serious. Operation Holiday Stockings is now a Washington state non-profit corporation, and we will be filing for the federal equivalent in the near future. We will be having our first board of directors meeting after the first of the year since we are all so busy getting ready for the holidays.

So many people have helped out in the past five years to make this possible, and for me to keep a promise I made in March of 2006. That was the promise to continue sending stockings as long as we have soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It looks like we will be doing so for at least two more years.

We have a very generous list of donors and participants who made Operation Holiday Stockings possible this year, and here they are:

Karen, Seattle WA
Dawn, Seattle WA
Kim, Seattle WA
Rebecca, Seattle WA
Barb, Seattle WA
Bartell’s Drug, Newcastle WA
Al, Shoreline WA
Sue, Bellingham WA
Bedford Jewelers, Bedford MA
Bellevue Club Hotel, Bellevue WA
Susan B, Bellevue WA
Beta Sigma Phi Preceptor Alpha Nu, The Dalles OR
Bitsy, Olympia WA
Gordon, Seattle WA
Randy & Janice, Seattle WA
Kirk Boettcher DDS, Bellevue WA
Glennda, San Antonio TX
Matt & Joan, Bellevue WA
Heather, Molalla OR
Jan, Barre VT
Cheryl, Barre VT
Irene, Barre VT
Beverly, Barre VT
Mary Lynn, Barre, VT
Eastside Knitting Guild, Bellevue WA
Elaine, Shoreline WA
Katie, Bellevue WA
Maryann, South Milwaukee WI
Lisa H, Bellevue WA
Mary, Arlington MA
Nancy, Corvallis OR
Kristi, Seattle WA
Jeffrey Johnson, DDS, Bellevue WA
Kari & Mike, Bellevue WA
Katlyn, Lancaster PA
Glenn & Lisa, Seattle WA
Ladies of the Elks, Sequim WA
Lou & Nora, Sequim WA
Diana, Lyle WA
Susan, Lakewood CO
Barbara, Arroyo Grande CA
Susan M, Bellevue WA
Gordon & Carolyn, Seattle WA
Emily, Seattle WA
Terry, Casper WY
Lisa, Seattle WA
Melissa, Seattle WA
Sue P, Seattle WA
Rachel, Portland OR
Cynthia, Seattle WA
David, aka Frank, Portland OR
Linda, Springfield OH
John, Portland OR
Jim & Rebecca, Seattle WA
Kathy and Friends and Family, College Place WA
Ginny, Hazelhurst WI
Cathi, Seattle WA
Sierra Hotel, Bellevue WA
Silver Cloud Inn, Bellevue WA
Louanne, The Dalles OR
Ricardo’s Family Restaurant, Bellevue WA
Stitches from the Heart, Bellevue WA
Doug & Bev, Chelan WA
Leslie, Sequim WA
Sue R, Bellevue WA
David, Bellevue WA
Chiya, Clyde Hill WA
Sandra, Shoreline WA
Kay, Sequim WA
Beth, Edmonds WA
Lisa P, Bellevue WA
Marina, Bremerton WA
Dave, Bellevue WA
Joe, Bellevue WA
Melinda, Grass Valley CA
Zoe, Seattle, WA
Matt T., Bellevue, WA
Grace, Seattle, WA
Donna, Seattle WA

To everyone who have provided stockings, stocking stuffers, postage money, sweat and tears, and emotional support these past five years, thanks so much. For everyone who has sent prayers to the soldiers we send stockings to, and who have prayed for Operation Holiday Stockings since 2005, thanks so much. This is an effort of many, not just one, and an effort of love and support for the men and women who are away from their home over the holidays. Operation Holiday Stockings has been, and will continue to be, our thanks to the deployed troops, and to their families at home.



Sunday, December 13, 2009


Operation Holiday Stockings is all buttoned up for 2009. Before bringing you up to date, however, I wanted to show the beautiful stockings Melinda sewed for OHS. We already had this year's stockings stuffed and packed, but we are now well on our way for 2010. Thanks Melinda.
Last week David and Matt sealed up all 16 boxes and got them ready for mailing to our troops in Afghanistan, Cuba and Japan. We shipped over 1000 stockings, each one full of love, prayers and goodies.
We shipped 600 stockings to one unit in Afghanistan. They have suffered a lot of losses since being deployed, and we are praying these stockings bring a bit of cheer to them.
We had a special visitor at work. This is Calum, and his mom and dad, Grady and Jenn. What a beautiful family. Jenn tells me Calum loves the blankie I knit for him, and that makes me feel happy. Calum wasn't the only baby to get something specially knit for him.

Johnny got his very own "grown up" knit sweater from Susan.
He loves the sweater and spent the first five minutes prancing around wagging his tail and then he crawled into Susan's lap to give her kisses of thanks.

Susan knit in the St. John's cross, which is the symbol of happiness. Perfect. Johnny has to be one of the happiest doggies I have ever come across. Everyone is Johnny's best friend, and he is always happy.

In the past two weeks we have been dealing with below freezing weather. The days have been beautiful, with clear blue skies, but COLD. I feel like I'm back in Anchorage. I wore wool sweaters and my wonderful hand knit socks to work each day. For the trip to Sequim this past Friday, I had on two sweaters, a fleece vest, my fleece jacket, wool socks, fleece lined shoes, gloves and a hat. This was just so the ferry ride wouldn't be unbearable. It was 15 degrees outside that morning, and with the wind coming off of the water, it was COLD.

Now we all have been managing and most of us have not been complaining about the weather, because NONE of us wants another December of 17 days of snow. The problem with this type of weather, however, is everything freezes. Dog water dishes, hummingbird feeders, water pipes, and water tanks. Many people had their pipe freeze, and then burst, making a big mess. One friend called a plumber at 6:00 a.m. last Thursday, and a plumber arrived at 10:00 p.m. on Friday. Fortunately for her, the pipe that burst was in her garage and not in her house.

We got to Edgar's Acres on Friday morning to no water in the house. To make a long story short, the water tank (that holds the water from the well and is in the garage) was frozen solid. The plumber there told us this cold spell (lasting 16 days) is the worst they have seen in 40 years. By Saturday at noon we had running water again.

At least in this extreme weather we were lucky enough to have heat and electricity. And McDonald's where they have working bathrooms for the cost of a cup of coffee.

It's warmed up a bit so now it's snow we are looking at. Got to love winter. In eight more days the days start getting longer and we will be that much closer to Spring.

Stay warm everyone.