Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Daily Doin's, Early December, 2016

I promised you pictures of the new countertop.  Well, here they are, in no particular order:

This year is almost over and it has just raced past my eyes so fast.  I remember how it seemed to drag when I was young.  I was always looking forward to something....  Now that I'm old, the list of things to look forward to is much shorter, odd that time goes so fast, considering that.  There's probably a scientific rule for it, somewhere...

You all know how much I need to keep busy during the winter.  It is, in my case, the "secret" to fighting off the black hole of depression that lies in wait.  I've heard it said that allowing oneself to wallow in depression is an insult to God, and I believe that's true.  God makes everything turn out right.  It's just that He doesn't seem to have the concept of pain and suffering, or of the time spent in it, and that's more what gets me a little down -- the waiting for God's time. 

It seems like Christmas is always a hard time for me.  All these Norman Rockwell images of smiling families gathering together, with love for each other, is such an out-and-out lie for so many of us.  We can't help but want it.  Who DOESN'T want to be loved?  But we come from dysfunctional families where no one loves anyone, not even themselves, and so all we can do is to try really hard not to be a link in the chain and pass that on.  A dear friend of mine, now gone happily to his reward for the precious life he lived, used to tell me that dysfunction is a curse that will carry on in families for generations, and so he, as an Elder in his church, made it his mission to pray for breakage of all family curses whenever anyone would join their church and give their hearts and souls to God.  Tracy and I prayed often in his office.  I will always be grateful to him for his influence in my life.  I'm sure Tracy's prayers for my situation were heard, because shortly thereafter several "tools" would usually come to me in my thoughts, that would help me to deal with whatever bad things were happening.  And so it was, also, with the technique I learned to use to enable me to side-step The Black Hole. 

You won't find me lined up with a bunch of other people outside stores to get the latest "deals", this time of year.  I detest waiting in a line.  And I detest being manipulated by product marketers that have real skill in working their voodoo on consumers.  Garage sales are testaments to the insanity that happens this time of year.  All those things people bought because they just HAD to HAVE THEM are there, priced at a fraction of their original cost.  Because no one that goes to garage sales is going to pay anywhere near full price.  Also there will be unopened lotions, perfumes and other gee-gawgery that were given by people who didn't really take the time to know their target's likes and dislikes before getting them a gift.  Gift-giving has become an activity that has lost all meaning to some.  Now it's reduced to something that you do because you are required to do it.  To try to "opt-out" of a gift exchange never seems to be very well received.  I know this because I've tried to do it a few times.  Christmas as we know it, for all its sugar-coating, is a marketing scam.  There is nothing wrong with spending Christmas quietly, reflecting on the reason why we are celebrating it in the first place, before the marketers grabbed the ball and ran with it.  I know this goes against the grain with most people.  But think about it.  Instead of running madly from store to store trying to buy something for everybody, why not just get something for yourself that you really want or need and consider it a gift?  If everybody did this, nobody would buy an unappreciated gift.  But, a lot of people really get into the shopping and decorating and wrapping and they are horrified when I say, "Find something that you want and buy it for yourself and call it from me.  I, in turn, will buy something I want for myself and call it from you.  Merry Christmas!" 

I mean, seriously.  If you want to give something to someone, you don't have to wait for Christmas to do it.  And a gift should be just that, with, really, nothing expected in return.  When that expectation is there, it's not a gift.  It's an exchange.  A trade, except that nobody gets to negotiate.  I saw a show on TV where these guys started out with an ordinary set of bongo drums and after they had done a series of trades, they ended up with a speed-boat on a trailer that they put up for sale priced at $10,000.  Yeah.  Probably a bit of a hoax, that show.  But in most cases, they found people who wanted what they had, and who were trying to get rid of something they never used.  Sometimes something left behind by previous occupants, and so on.  So, maybe something like that could happen in real life.  Imagine how shocked your kids would be, though, if you handed them back that tin of Dollar Store popcorn at Christmas and said, "Nope.  Can't use this.  What else ya got?"  Heh. 

I like to give gifts.  But I don't give them at Christmas because then the recipient thinks I'm expecting something back.  Usually my gifts come from garage sales.  If you give someone something, during the other months of the year, that you bought at a garage sale, or that you had but decided you'd never use, they're SOOO happy!  Give the same thing to them in December and they're hacked off at you, you Cheapskate, because you gave them something you bought at a garage sale, for Pete's sake!!!  They never think about how it is that you still spent the same money.  And it meant they got a 'way better gift, one that you might not be able to afford to buy if you paid full price, even if you could even FIND it.  It's funny how that works....  They also don't appreciate handmade things.  HOW does THAT happen?  I guess they're not aware how much things like fabric and yarn cost.  They think you have it just laying around your house and it doesn't cost you anything but your time.  But what if that was the case?  Even if it was just based on the amount of time you spent, what you're giving them is a piece of your life. 

While I'm on the subject of "handmade", you know how I've been making dishcloths.  Well, I'm about over that.  All dishcloth'd out, you might say.

So I've been dinking around on the Internet and I am interested in patterns for Snoods and Shrugs.  A "snood" can be anything from a fancy hairnet to a cowl that is worn around your neck and can be pulled up over your head like a hood.  I've been hunting for a pattern for just this sort of thing and never really found anything I liked, till I discovered that it was called a "snood".  I remembered this word from my childhood.  A "shrug" is a kind of a short, bolero-style sweater.  I found some cool patterns, not sure I have the skills to make them, but some of them are real beauties.  And then I came upon THIS You-Tube on how to turn an ordinary shawl into a shrug.  Too Cool.

My mother had a lot of patterns from the 30's and 40's and many times I'd wear something to school that she had made and all the girls would ask if my mother ever made things to sell.  That was actually one time when I, a common oil-driller's daughter, had the envy of my female classmates.  That and when I and my sisters showed up at school with pop-beads.  Boy, did THAT ever start something!

HERE and HERE are a couple of patterns I downloaded.  That second one is a YouTube, but the submitter has included a URL to the printed pattern on her blog.  While you're there, you might look at the other offerings on the YouTube sidebar.  If you get the same selections I do (and I'm not sure how that works), there are some people making some really pretty things there.  Usually the pattern is provided, but in some cases, you are invited to go to Amazon to buy the pattern. 

Hubs and I are quite busy with things around home.  We've got great neighbors and our little tucked-away community is a happy and friendly place to be.  Sometimes we start feeling a little lonesome, but all we have to do to fix that is to pop in on a neighbor.  They are always happy to see us and so welcoming.  I think maybe they, too, get lonesome.  It's harder for a few of them to get out and about than it is for us.  Some of the others live such busy lives, but they stop by if they see us outside.  Joe called us yesterday to tell us their little grandson was born.

Our friend June told us that she had had a local heat-and-air guy come out to her house and clean out all her HVAC ducts.  She said she'd never had it done, and she didn't say but I imagine her air ducts have been in her house since about the 1960's.  Never been cleaned out because there just wasn't a way to do that until recently.  Our house was built in the 1960's and then it burned in the late 1990's or between then and about 2000, not sure when...  Sat empty for quite awhile, open to the elements, according to neighbors.  And then bought by one of those neighbors, who did one of those "flip" things where he fixed it up and then sold it at a profit.  But seriously.  Corners were cut.  When they put down the carpet tiles on the bottom floor, they spread that glue over flotsam and jetsam from the fire and rust spots off the bottoms of paint cans, that sort of thing.  I was pretty disgusted to discover that when we pulled all that up to lay the new Italian tile.  If they didn't clean THAT up, I figured there'd be stuff like that in the ducts, too. 

So Hubs and I talked about how it seemed like there is always a layer of dust on the surface of things throughout the house, and then when we started heating season, I guess I was primed to be aware of how dusty the air smelled whenever the blower on the heating unit was on.  They were here all morning.  Not nearly as much in the bag as I expected, to be 55 years' worth of dust, and no flotsam and jetsam.  Plus there's no rat or lizard carcass in the bag, and not a pile of silt, that's actually kind of comforting, since it can be signs of bad news.  We do change the filter regularly and we buy the proper filters for our unit.  The process is kind of expensive.  I guess they have to pay for that high-powered vacuum and all those hoses and brushes that they snake down deeply through the ductwork.  Would I do it again?  Mmmmmmmm, not sure.  Maybe if I moved into a different house.  But this house?  I'd say it's good to go for another 50 years.  So, yep, I'm done....

And that's about all I know for now.  If I don't post again for awhile, I'd like to wish you all Happy Holidays.  May you and yours be well, safe, and happy.  Hugs xoxoxo