Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Intestinal Sink and Lovely Christmas Eve, Maybe

It's raining again soft and sweet. Christmas Eve was absolutely beautiful with big puffy clouds and the fields everywhere are so green. It only takes a couple months from late July through the end of September that all of this area looks a bit like a desert.

We see pictures of lush green Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, and and so many other places family and friends live, during the summer...  and think can California be uglier? It seems we forget this renewal that comes with just a little rain. Our mountains look like the "Emerald City" in 3-D even in late December. The rain has been already been a special Christmas present.

Our family trekked over to my daughter's house in Fillmore for Christmas Eve dinner and celebration.

Her lovely and lively home has been an early present for their family. I never, ever thought one of my family would be living in Fillmore and uptown on Blaine, near "Pole Creek."

We put lights on our FJ but in Daylight They're pretty Dim

Fillmore Has a Beautiful Pink Moment, too. This is My Daughter's Yard
It was wonderful to see her beautiful decorating style and feel so cozy there. It's one of those houses that as anyone that walks-in, you can feel this home has been a happy place.

 There were only three other families that lived there and my daughter knows all about the first ones that built it in 1910 with all the boys, and personally knows the other two families. The best part of living in small Southern California town.

Is There Something Odd About This Nativity?
My daughter didn't want to leave her people out of the gathering at the stable. If you guessed she's Norwegian, that's from her dad and her sense of humor from her Grandpa Doug or Grandpa Gene.

We changed tradition on our usual Christmas menu of tamales and candies, and pie and had a small informal Italian meal with a sweet sugar cookie. The kids were busy playing quietly in the open room next to the large "great" room that all of us hung-out. No sweets were a great idea for children. The kids all played together without a whimper or one argument No one talked of presents and there weren't many under the tree. My Kiely's presents, the crocheted hats for all the children, were "The Hit!"

Close-up of The Owl Hat Below

The time spent visiting with each other and our two missing kids in other states was our best part of Christmas Eve. We used our phones via Tango and our other two kids talked to each other facing the phones to each other. Does that makes sense? Honest, I know this isn't new, but I'm still amazed.  I love this part of the new technology. The visit and pictures were great!

My Son is Missing, He's On Duty At The Fire Station

I know all of this may sound completely boring compared to my usual posts here on "Danger Ranch." Well, of course there was drama! Our son's very secret girlfriend came to my daughter's house for Christmas Eve. My son was on-duty at the station. She was so brave, and my son was probably freaking-out. She's so sweet and darling all of us were nervous. What if we acted even a bit normal, it would scare her off? I dressed-up in "church clothes" and thought if I should wear a thick rubber-band on my wrist so if I was even tempted to talk at all I would snap it hard without anyone noticing. That simple hard snap could prevent me to say something weird. I forgot to do that just as we got on the road and on our way. Uht-oh.

I was nervous, and my stomach started to hurt and for some crazy reason, I started getting sick. I told my husband and thought it was the gluten in the wheat bread. (Does gluten get blamed for every ill-effect?) Anyway, my whole mind was focused on my system. Except, it didn't stop me.

Honestly, what prompts this conversation?  I asked my son's super secret girlfriend, possibly the "love of his life" about her new house having a sink that unfortunately looks like a pile of intestines. Oh my gosh, I could've slapped myself. The picture of her new house and this particular sink is, I think, misleading, like a optical illusion. It's a sink in the kitchen that has the shape of grapes. I can only guess that maybe because of the granite or textured counter the sink has a real different color, like guts.

Intestinal Sink
Why did I mention that? It's a brand new house on the beach, on the water, and magnificent! I ask about her funny sink. Here's other pictures just so I don't give this wonderful house something to take away from it's absolute awesomeness.

It's Got Even a Huge Master Bedroom Fireplace!
Very Wonderful Place, House, and Yes! And, Her Dock For Her Big Boat
I had to add the pictures of her house because it is so nice!
I quit talking real fast because everyone wanted to know about the sink. She had to take-out pictures.

I was getting more nervous about being sick and we left at a normal time, but I was completely not myself. I didn't even thank my daughter and her husband for her wonderful dinner and having us all there. My husband, my daughter and son-in-law wanted to see the Christmas lights and we lasted only about 15 minutes until I was begging to get home. I had to go home, now.

I didn't have a gluten problem I was getting the flu. My husband has had it and was just getting over the flu, but I had "the flu shot."  How? It's Christmas Eve and I have a headache so bad, I can't be sick!

My Steve completely understood and gave me the sympathy I needed and I tried to have a normal Christmas morning I made my family  "eggie pancakes" and bacon, but in just a little while, I was back in bed. I slept through Christmas. My kids here couldn't understand and wanted me to get-up Christmas evening to go to the fire station to see my Steve. We all love Christmas at the fire station.

The station was full of tamales and lots of food and that included frozen yogurt and even better ... great friends and family were down there. No amount of bribing and guilt was going to move me. Steve even wanted me to come down, he said that all the firemen and family are getting over the flu, so it was all okay. One thing, I wasn't getting over was the flu. I, full-on had it.

I did see all the pictures of my grandchildren and their wonderful Christmas pictures. I'll have to post some tomorrow or the next day. We're going to watch the movie "Brave". This grand kid in Laramie, got a beard made by Kiely for Christmas. Jax loves it and he looks like he belongs on "Brave."

So my family let me sleep more and had a great time and after leaving the fire station, they ended-up at the movies.

I know they had a great time. I'm so glad I stayed in bed because I feel better today.  I do still have a headache and hurting shoulders but Tylenol has now fixed it.

Time for me today to just enjoy the season and my family here. I WILL go to the fire station today. Could it be some don't rest and the flu takes longer to get over?

I know I'll hear about the now famous sink debacle. (I've never written that particular word, but it fits)  I will be hoping and praying that I personally didn't damage my son's secret girlfriend's feelings and relationship.

Our visits with her probably will be limited for awhile. Maybe for a long while, like forever. No wonder, she's secret. My son has to know if she knows me, she'll really understand why my son is, who he is. He wanted to show me pictures of her new house but he showed me picture of  "the intestinal sink" first! And, he said, "Look at this cool sink, it looks like a pile of intestines." Only my son.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wow! I'm Really Early For Christmas

Just listening to the lovely rain, at 2:30 am. I'm not usually awake. But I went to bed so early this evening because it was so dark and the house was cold. I had hoped our electric blanket had been able to resurrect itself and start working again. I changed the setting from high to "8" and it did work! I had my own little miracle and so grateful for a warm bed.

I was going to look at Twitter, read the news, check my children on Facebook, but our bed was so cozy, I fell right to sleep. And now, more than 8 hours later, I'm wide awake.

I'm enjoying soft, sweet music, listening to the rain, and thinking about what today will be like and Christmas Day.

I didn't put-up one single decoration for Christmas. Steve put the tree up and my grand daughter gave me the lovely wreath. I was really in the "mood" of Christmas. But, I was very, very much trying to make all the Christmas gifts... and what I couldn't make,  Kiely was helping by making cute and stylish hats. So fun working together and so blessed Kiely and Matt could come down and share Christmas with us.

My goal was to make each family a "Family Yahtzee" game. I ended-up being rushed because our saw didn't work, my Steve had to borrow one and ripped a 2x4 to make the blocks. Okay,  our sander is missing and we looked everywhere! Steve often goes to his mother's house and she said that she needed to give him his dad's sander.

Yay! He brought the sander home and it wasn't a day later we found-out that the sander belonged to our brother-in-law. Steve's nephew was working on something down at Steve's mother's house and left it there. Oops! I guess the sander Doug used so much, went away a long time ago. Steve jumped in the car and took the sander right back. Kinda' funny.

I sanded the blocks by hand, but all the blocks were still needing so much more. I decided to cover the slivery blocks with Mod-Podge and cute papers and then put the faces on each side corresponding with matching paper I picked for each person(s) or thing.

A couple family's don't have six children or not through completing their family ...  so I substituted the Temple, heart for love, etc. I made for each face or object 6 times and Mod-Podged it all together. Our weather has been really wet this year, so I had a long drying time. The paper background really helped me keep the pictures in order. I turned and pasted and turned and pasted, so every picture went on a certain paper.

I Liked The Black Grunge Frame Like Instagram Photos

The Fan Is On The Right Side To Help Drying

We made each  individual family their own score sheet and laminated one to keep with a bunch of paper copies. I just used a copy of a Yahtzee sheet and erased what didn't work and added the names in with the Photoshop. It wasn't easy, but it fit an 8x11 sheet of paper and we cut the excess on the sides off.

This is the Biggest I could Get The Game Scoresheet. Just use a Photo-editing program and add text to the points in both "Upper Section" and "How To Score"

I went back to the blocks and painted each side with "Triple Coat" Diamond Glaze. The blocks look like glass. I made some pedants for the girls and used "Enviro-Tech" resin glaze. Wish I had used that product on the blocks. They would be water-proof. It's okay.. The best part, if they have a baby and want to add more like another face on each of the blocks, the "Diamond Glaze" is only $3.50 a bottle and 40% off if you have a coupon. Just a matter of gluing a picture over the each side and adding a coat and wait 24 hours and add another coat for a glossy-look.I had the fan on the cubes because our humidity and cold house made the time longer to set the blocks coating to a completely dry touch. No tacky blocks here.

I bought bags cheaper than I could make them to hold each game. I did send two sets off already, but now I hope I separate all the families correctly. Hummm, should I mix them up a little so they think I'm losing it?

I know we still need to laminate a couple family's scorecards. Hope the business store's open today. Nothing could have changed the timing on my making these. I had to wait. I waited for the wood, I waited to see on families (more on that later), I waited on the computer to be fixed so I could layout the scorecards, and lastly, get each the latest family picture using the cute family Christmas cards.

I made the pendants last minute, too. I was trying to replace Kiely's graduation necklace because the magnet part was too heavy. I had the supplies, so she picked the little designs or pictures. I didn't want to throw-away any unused resin, so I just kept making pendants. That was fun! "Enviro Tech" has a You Tube video to do the pendants and they turned-out perfect. I think Diamond Glaze does too. I should've watched it.

Here's my daughter's present: Yahtzee and Pendants
The young men grandchildren are receiving a couple boxes of "Fruity Pebbles" cereal that is not given at home and quite the "junk" food cereal for breakfast. No worries for affecting schoolwork, they'll have the cereal gone before school starts-up again.

I gave a lot of scarves as gifts this Christmas. I've been knitting through-out this year and everyone actually needs warm around their necks, right now.  Go figure--no hot "East Wind" this year. We did have that only one East Windy day, but it was cold.  As years have gone by, the change has gone from almost 90• twelve years ago and Steve was always on fire calls to now, gradually an earlier rainy time.

It's still sweetly raining, I'm warm. We managed to skip all the money problems Christmas used to bring.

Our focus continues to be on the the birth of Our Savior. This morning my family will be out "in-force" giving-out baskets to the poor and needy. My Marnie spent yesterday's Sabbath afternoon giving blankets to the homeless in town. My heart is glad that she, and my sweet children are worried about the cold weather for others without judging. They're really looking forward to this morning's "Christmas Basket Run."
Rotary Christmas Baskets
Our family had the fire department flatbed and our FJ with a trailer. It was a very emotional experience with my family. I'm not sure of all the little ones, but the older and way older, touched my family in a way Christmas is suppose to be like with no-judging-love, kindness to all, and with examples from Jesus in the Scriptures. Giving is what The Savior would want us to do at Christmas. The "Spirit of Christmas" in my children is like no other gift I could ever receive. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pretty Socks for Firefighters

The "HOW" to Make Ruffled Socks Is Toward The End of My Post

 The socks invention. Circa:1979 my husband, a volunteer fireman, wanted socks that were attached to his big rubber boots and held in place by the pull-on handles on each side. Some that were made-out of cotton or what he planned to develop from a new material that he had read from his Fire Fighter Magazines, the new Romex material. We traveled to Los Angeles and went to a knitting machine factory, and we were going to make socks for the crew. This was for just our department and this wasn't a scheme to make them for the world of firefighting. Response time is always looked at by city department heads and he wanted to speed-up the "turn-out race"

We bought a simple machine and isn't wasn't hard to buy at that time because Steve's trash and recycling businesses were doing pretty well. We had some money to try this. I bought soft cotton, but not so soft it woundn't fold or droop in the boots and proceeded to make socks. I still wonder what hole my machine disappeared into when we moved up here to Danger Ranch in 1986. It did work, but the socks had seams that felt funny and when they were wet, it just didn't work. I always wanted to try and use a different yarn, but as craft projects go, the machine went under the bed and we just thought about the socks. I wasn't going to learn to use four knitting needles and try and figure a pattern, so that the seams could be eliminated, I wasn't sure I could do that. I quit trying because there were too many kids and then suddenly out-of-the-blue, even the boots changed dramatically. I still love the idea of making socks different and special.

So now I realize as we try and make homemade gifts just how great December-time is to us. I never remember from  year to year. The first thing we hear about the holidays when we're trying to celebrate Thanksgiving, are the commercials and the advertisements fill our mailboxes with great deals to separate us from our money. We even had this on the day of Thanksgiving this year! There's the huge push to buy stuff. But we stayed determined  this year and make almost everyone of our family homemade gifts

All of this is makes me so aware of making sure I do give thanks. The rush to buy more seems almost apposite of what Thanksgiving is all about. I think it's a bit depressing to think of all the hype to buy the best, the newest, and most in-fashion stuff.

I normally don't save money for Christmas. I'm not prepared and these sales remind me I need to start earlier doing my Christmas presents, so I'm not only prepared but I'm not rushing like I am now, with Steve trying to make our presents. I can only hope my twist on a fun game comes-out at least looking like I tried. Crafts are hard, but rewarding.

We've had lots of great news with family members (that's of course, the most important and puts all things in perspective)

The sad part is that two of our horses need to be sold. Big Quarter Horses require so much Alfalfa. Trading them for Avocado trees can help us so much. The horses eat what could be planted trees. Maybe we should've asked Santa for Avocado Trees.

I still have old Banner, that I love so much and our stallion, Sonny. He gave me kisses today. Our stallion is so mellow and he does need our attention and also now our puppies, our precious puppies, the Queensland Heelers, sold.. Darby is loving her hugs, she actually dances around me, smiling. Queenslands do that. And she's putting on lots of weight and getting back in shape. I'm pretty sure she was glad to get rid of her pups. They scratch and bite her about four weeks and they're eating already, but they still want to nurse. Then, they want to play, pulling her ears, her teats, her neck and she lets them. We pick them up and love on them and I can see in her eyes that she also wants to be held like a puppy. Darby would be on my lap in a second if she had some clean feet.

We had lots of Birthdays at the end of November and all of December.  I've been taking pictures. I found Adree a  heavy lace church dress and cowgirl shirt. She had boots, so this is where I decided to make Lacey long socks, cozy on the inside of her cowgirl boots and Lacey out the top. I was thinking I could make them look darling with heavy, ruffled Venetian Lace. I've done this before in the 1980's with white long Venetian Lace attached to cotton ankle socks and worn with white Converse Tennis shoes for my girl's wedding receptions so they could take off the high heels and be comfortable in their long gowns and dance easily and the shoes do look beautiful covered with lace.

Kenna got a book from us that's now a tradition. "The Daring Book For Girls" Charlie's getting a cowboy hat. An Oklahoman needs cowboy hats when the weather's good and a good felt-type one when the rain comes.

I adore large bookstores, but it never fails, I become lost and distracted and just like all the other crackpots want to read stuff, like it's a library. Barnes and Noble just get better all the time, wrapping presents for free. A healthy lunch area and so very much to look at in the store and I love the smell of new books.

I've been blessed with my health check-ups. Every once-in-a-while everyone has a scare. Luckily, again my digitized ultrasound saved me from another biopsy. Not just a Thanksgiving Day it's really a year of being thankful for all of our family's blessings of health.

Tomorrow is again working hard on our Christmas presents to make sure they go out in time to our daughters out-of-state and their families.

Fireman Socks, Oh Yeah!

I finished Adree's socks and they look great! I folded them in a ball like my Steve's and he didn't know they had lace on them. They're super soft and he wanted to wear them with his fire boots. His feet need soft cushioned socks. He was very surprised at the darling lace at the top. They were part of Adree's present, so I made him take them off. They did look cute on him, but I was looking at how tall they were on him and the if gathering was even and really gathered. Hahahaha

 It would've been great to see my Steve accidentally wearing the socks. You do know that's possible, he gets dressed in the dark all the time. It would be a great trick on a guy firefighter, pranks are still done in our stations, but it's beginning to look more and more like the captains, engineers, and firefighters have to quit pranking the recruits.

Here's how I made Adree's socks:

I took Steve's new, very light. beige socks that were really long ones and started this experiment.

I put the sock on my chubby leg, inside out and backward with the toe section on my heel and the heel on my toes. There is a reason for this! It felt super weird. I had already cut the lace three times the diameter of the sock. I really wanted the lace to be gathered. I started slip-stitching the lace to the sock. Honestly, I thought I could do the back of my leg, but I couldn't, but just starting the lace in the right spot is so important. You want the lace seam on the back of the leg. Okay I needed to find a large jar to slip the sock over to stretch out the top.

The pickle jar seemed like the only thing large enough to really stretch the sock top. I wanted to make sure I didn't stretch it too far and maybe start to rip the top of the sock. The pickle jar worked great. They were Steve's new socks so they were really big. Adree appreciated that because she wears a larger than normal size shoes and her mother bought her boots a little bigger. The cushioned socks were just right, but taller boot socks at the English Tack and Saddlery could work great and they always seem to have the easy slip-on texture if your boots are a bit tighter.

I slip-stitched and then I went around with a back stitch. It worked great~

I put the sock on the jar inside out so the stitching is hidden and I could see what I was doing. Honestly this just takes such a short bit of time. Next, as I wrapped the lace around, stitching as I went, I also back-stitched around again, only because I wanted these not only to stay on her socks but I didn't want the lace pulled away from the sock. I went all the way to where I started and I was on the back side of the sock. Remember, I started my stitching on my leg which was turned inside-out and backward so the back seam would be right in the center of the back of Adree's leg. I handstitched a seam to be together in back. I thought of a glue gun, but I wanted her to be able to wash it easily without the worry of it coming apart.

I overlaped the lace with thread, so it wouldn't fray on the seam

                                                   Finishing is important. I don't know if this
                                               lace would ever fray, but I was taught to make the
                                              seams look neat on the inside of everything I sew.

 I wish this was a really good close-up, but it was at "Linger Longer" at Church and we were about to begin our afternoon potluck lunch. I love her outfit so much. The dress is a size zero and has cap sleeves and it jumped off the rack and right into my arms. The dress is modest, dressy. and goes with the cowboy shirt with cut-work flowers that match her dress perfectly. Everything's pretty much okay to wear in California if it's modest. Dresses are preferred, the Church hasn't changed that but if a need to wear pants is either all you have, or that you're cold, or need covering on your legs ... not a soul at Church cares--we actually brag about finding clothes at thrift shops. I know to East Coast and Utah, this sounds so different from "name brands" that's so loved. California is different.

Find Us? We're Labeled: "Always On Fire"
 My Steve still has a problem with girl's coming to Church with wet hair (I know it's a California thing) but he doesn't mind flip-flops. The only time I ever wore flip-flops was at an adult stake program and the east-wind was howling. I didn't want to wear hosiery because it was really hot outside. You guessed it, I was asked to give the closing prayer after the last song was over.  The Stake Presidency was there and I was clear at the back of the cultural hall and it was super quiet in the whole building and my new silver flip-flops, flip-flopped all the way to the podium. I never wore them, ever again. They were loud.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goats and Sheep and We're Good 'n' Tired

 Weather reports are beating down on us with the prospect of rain. We can even see the large bank of clouds coming over the Channel Islands. My best friend called me about helping her with her sheep.

 She didn't want to call someone else to come over and pay them to clip feet. Our local sheep expert is quite grumpy these days and we know he isn't feeling good.

My legs hurt like crazy and Jeanie has had some issues with her health, so early Tuesday morning I asked for help. For service, not paid ... but we needed our strong missionaries to help us to hold down our big sheep and goats and fix the hooves.

My Steve and Elder Waiting For the Gate
The hooves lap over and the ugly dirt that they walk in constantly will turn to the worse thing called "Foot Rot" both of our herds looks like they had skis on their feet. I didn't trim the feet since summer. A bad habit to get into. If a person is up on their chores, it isn't nearly a hard job to trim feel. Our old ewe's and ram's hooves are super hard and thick. (don't tell anyone, but my toenails seem to be doing the same thing)

Ask a missionary to get dirty and they are so happy, even if it means to smell like lanolin and wool and they are loving tackling the sheep and goats right through the days dirty pen. I was impressed!

Ram Sheep Strategy
We went out to eat at a fancy restaurant in our messy clothes and visited together and had the greatest time. The missionaries weren't asking us about referrals or going to visit my non-member friend. They had a great time but we all did together.

My daughter Marnie was asked to be put-on this "Level Program" and when I heard it earlier today I wanted to be doing it. Before the missionaries were about to leave I asked to be on this "Level Thing." I asked one of the missionaries if we are in a "level" knowing nothing about it. I want to do it, too. I felt I was missing-out. He pulled right-out of his dusty Levis, a yellow card.

A yellow card and it gives us 3 assignments and we only need to do one. They ask us to perform a service (sheep didn't count because we hadn't started the program yet) or we can post a religious note on Facebook or some other Social Media. Also, reading our Scriptures or talk to someone about the Gospel or a scripture, and when one is done, we get to go to "Level 2" My Marnie's already there at Level 2. I already posted my message on Facebook, so I've done one and it was easy, I had a Gospel conversation with my doctor, another one, but not required. I hope I can do all three.

I was so impressed by my daughter's post on Instagram. She's a Relief Society President in Laramie Wyoming and needed to feed an army of missionaries. The thanks from the missionaries for a great dinner was a "Thankful Song" for full tummies. The work of service in the Gospel is never a paid ministry, but truly my daughter Larin felt blessings above money.

Laramie Wyoming Missionaries

 It's starting to sprinkle with the coming rain and a load of relief fills my heart. Love to work with my friend, Jeanie. Always so fun! Ranchers have it so good when we work together.

 ***My Thoughts exactly***
Mormons have it even better when we live the commandments and do it all with JOY!