When It’s More Than A Hat

hat

For people living with Alopecia (complete hair loss) or the effects of Cancer treatment a hat provides warmth, comfort and can even help with confidence when out in public.

Fit can be complicated. It shouldn’t blow off in the wind but it shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight either, and the wool needs to be soft so it doesn’t itch and irritate bare scalps.

Many women like their earlobes to remain uncovered so they can wear earrings, and the brim can be annoying if it rides low and rubs off penciled on eyebrows.

Proof that persistence pays off.

After my “Proclaiming Defeat” post, the above yarn and pattern sat on the arm of the couch, taunting me.

Days later, I picked it back up and my seventh attempt was the charm. By changing hook size and altering the number of stiches and rows here and there it’s no longer a place mat but a wearable beanie, a style our daughter prefers.

She developed Alopecia a couple years ago. It came on fast and was traumatic to go through, but her courage and how she handles the situation makes us proud. She’s still the same beautiful person without hair as she was with hair.

At first she hid the condition from friends and co-workers by wearing wigs, but after mere months she came to terms with her new look, as much as a young woman can. Since then, she mostly wears caps, beanies or goes with nothing depending on weather.

She enjoys having a variety of colors, weights, and styles of head coverings, and I’ve been having fun making her favorites, wool beanies. This particular pattern was an exception, but now that it’s done I’m pleased with the result.

Have you heard of Alopecia?

If you enjoy crocheting or knitting and don’t know what to make consider a hat to donate. Many medical centres accept and appreciate these as they offer them free to people in need. 

Questions & My Answers

quiz

I was tagged by a fellow blogger to partake in this quiz. I hope my answers shed a hint of light as to what makes me tick. Check out Living Lighter in Atlanta for her answers.

What was your highlights of 2016?

This question seemed easy as three things shot to mind. The accomplishment and pride I felt holding a print copy of my novel, “Signed Love” published in February. Sharing a summer trip to the beloved Oregon coast with my brother and his wife, and of course, Mister’s results showing that his radiation treatment is still keeping the cancer beast at bay. But, 2016, had many highlights. The Great-Granddaughter’s birth. Watching our daughter after surgery a couple years ago finally able to ride horses again. Seeing how much the son enjoys his new Doberman puppy which he has wanted for years. Constructing our new shed which might sound boring, but I love building, these are just a few others. Don’t get me wrong, the year had its share of worries and woes, but with every year I age it seems easier to let the good push aside the bad.

Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Is this a trick question? (Smiley Face) The years pass and blur together more each calendar change so truthfully I have a hard time remembering what happened what year. (Smiley Face again) This is why I journal, make notes and take pictures. I will be interested in the answer to this question myself.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Short! Time flew.

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry into 2017.

I can only control my own actions and reactions, not what others think or do.

Do you have any new year resolutions?

For details check out my new-year post My Messengers. I don’t make resolutions for things I want to change. I set broad lifestyle standards to maintain like, be kind and appreciative.

How did you ring in the new year?

Work schedules, driving conditions and other commitments meant we couldn’t be with family, but the cold snowy night didn’t stop our good friends T & E from walking over for an evening of card playing and laughs. At midnight, we were in the middle of a hand, so when completed we paused for the traditional hugs and kisses before continuing playing well into the new year.

What are your goals for 2017?

Stress less and enjoy more. Travel and visit as much as possible. I have so many hobbies and planned projects so I also hope to be productive.

Anyone is welcome to join in, and share your answers or thoughts to the above questions.

I tagged a few bloggers that I enjoy following and look forward to their answers if they wish to take part. Check out their blogs.

threesaherd

ididnthavemyglasseson

backfortyfliers

brokenbarnfarm

Proclaiming Defeat

beanie

This little project has gotten the best of me. I hate to admit defeat but this crochet beanie pattern has me frustrated. I have tried five times and it will not dome once I stop increasing stitches. It insists on being a place mat. It stays flat, and just gets bigger. 

Lately, I’ve made three different hats for the girls with no issues, until this one.

I picked this pattern because it was different from the basic double crochet with its swirl, but gee whiz, 3 days and it’s all ripped out again with nothing to show for my time. I crochet for a stress reliever so this isn’t working well.

If anyone knows of a tried and true beanie pattern  for #5 wool, I’d appreciate it.

I know deep down, I will try this again because I hate giving up 🙂

My Messengers

new-years-puppies

Golden Retriever, “Ruben” and Doberman, “Dobby” are helping me wish everyone “HAPPY NEW YEAR”

Ruben, 3 and a half years old, loves poising for pictures and is always willing to send messages, to and for, Grandma.

Dobby, a 7 month old puppy says, “Look Grandma, I’m sitting nice, but I really want to lick the camera.” I guess a sign he just wanted to eat.

Here’s hoping “2017” brings Good Health and Happiness to my readers.

May Wishes Come True, and you Reach Goals you’ve set.

To my Followers and Faithful Readers I also want to say, Thank you.

Your views, likes, comments, and patience while I’m learning the blogging process means a lot. These simple gestures encourage me to keep writing, and hint to what topics are enjoyed the most.

The goal for my blog in “2017” is to continue sharing experiences in hopes to entertain, or inspire readers, and I love connecting with you via comments.

As for personal resolutions, I try not to set myself up for failure, like saying I’ll exercise and lose weight, that one never turns out as planned.

But, here are my Top five “2017” Goals.

1)  I want to visit and Enjoy Family and Friends as much as possible.

2) Appreciate what I have, and don’t dwell on what I don’t. At this point in life the main thing missing is, youth.

3) Continue to live by the Golden Rule. (Do unto others as you would have others do onto you)

4) Worry less, this is always the hardest for me to control. Sometimes, I worry about worrying. 

5) Spend more time doing hobbies that make me happy. (I have so many, I worry about which one to do. See number 4, is a problem.)

Quarter horse, “Nugget,” wanted to send his well wishes too, but he said it was too windy to have that silly paper sign around his neck.

ny-nugget

Do you have animals that put up with photography antics?

Do you make “News Years resolutions” or set yourself goals?

The Old Stove

old-stoveThe children had scurried up the basement stairs coughing and wiping their watery eyes.

In the kitchen, I filled a tray with food and cooking supplies. Their clothing reeked of smoke as they passed and before their mouths opened to explain, I knew what had happened and what needed doing.

I hurried down into the landing. With a loud click the deadbolt released and I twisted the door knob. A gust of freezing winter air rushed inside, but I had propped the back door open anyway.

Next, I had trotted downstairs to help Mister, who had been abandoned and could be heard muttering unkind words to the stove he knelt before.

While he had crumpled and put more paper in the fire box I cracked open windows, then began waving whatever was handy and big enough to create a breeze.

Most times, the kids were on my heels and helped with the air clearing efforts.

That was a glimpse from some past Christmas mornings.

You see, we had a grand, old, wood-burning stove in our basement family room. Many times after unwrapping Christmas gifts, Mister would fire it up and make his tasty fried grits, eggs, and potato breakfast. The problem was the above scenario often occurred because the old stove could be temperamental to start a fire in.

If really cold or windy outside, a window needed to be cracked open. Crumpled newspaper and kindling needed to be shoved way back in the fire box, right to the base of the chimney, and we tried to never light the paper when the house furnace was running. Something about its air intake, up-drafts and down-drafts. I don’t know the science of it, I just know, smoke didn’t go up the chimney if you missed any of these steps.

Mister rarely bothered to stand on the couch to open the window, and so breakfast was sometimes delayed.

There was always lots of joking and giggling while we three cleared the room of smoke, and Mister got the fire roaring.

It took awhile to heat the cast-iron top enough to cook on, and the chilly room also had to be warmed from having windows and the door open, but soon the cooking began.

These mornings hold fond memories for our family.

Last year, we hosted the Christmas sleepover at the lake for our daughter her husband and their fur child and the son and his girlfriend. This year, the son and his girlfriend hosted, so Mister and I slept at their house.

Before we could leave our place in the morning we had to dig out from under about a foot of fresh overnight snow. That and road conditions delayed our day, but we made it to their place safe and sound.

After a simple Christmas eve supper, the son drove us around the city to look at Christmas lights.

Christmas morning after a joint effort the turkey and ham were put in the oven to cook. Then Mister made one of his grits and egg breakfasts, but because he used the electric range, it was smoke free.

Living only minutes away, our daughter and her husband didn’t sleepover but they came for the afternoon, the feast, and the gift exchange. We enjoyed another wonderful get-together. Little can beat a day like that.

One thing was missing.

Since Mister and I moved three hours from the city where the oldest daughter and family live it seems harder for them to visit.

As children grow, marry and start families, Christmas and other special occasions are when having a blended family becomes difficult. It means an extra set of parents, plus in-laws, etc. to spread time between, so we couldn’t catch up with them this year.

We understand their spare time is limited, and their life’s are busy and full with other family.

We make the trip and attend functions they invite us to, but we miss spending time with them.

We hope they know they are always in our thoughts and hearts though.

Apron of Memories

apron

This apron is how I bake with the kids now that they’re grown and no longer living at home. It’s made from scraps left over from things I sewed them when they were young.

Whenever I wear it I think of them.

This is what I accomplished today. It really doesn’t look like it should have taken all day but it did. With the way my morning started though I’m just glad they are eatable.

cookies

 

Double Double or Spiked

latte

This fall Mister began joining me for my afternoon coffee ritual, instead of my double cream, double sugar, his condiment of choice is a shot of Irish Cream liquor.

Some of you might know this drink by its nickname, Camping Coffee. It ordinated in the days of tents and no heaters but is still enjoyed by many.

For something different, I recently made myself a Irish cream latte. If you haven’t tried one, all you do is add Irish Cream to the milk before you steam it. You can make it with coffee creamer, or if you really want to warm-up use liquor.

Do you have a, hard to buy for, coffee drinker on your shopping list?

This is a faithful recipe for homemade Irish Cream liquor which I’ve had for years.

A bottle of this is a great gift idea.

Irish Cream Liquor

  • 1 Cup – Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1 Cup – Water
  • 1 can(8oz) – Eagle Brand Milk
  • 3 – Eggs (mixed)
  • 2 TBSP – Instant coffee
  • 1 can(8oz) – canned milk 2%
  • ¼ tsp – Vanilla
  • 1 TBSP – Chocolate syrup

We always put mixture in dark bottles with screw tops, and remember to Keep this liquor refrigerated.

For almost two weeks, our abnormal and frigid winter weather kept us indoors more than usual. It motivated me to get items crossed off my to-do list, but it also brought on bouts of cabin fever. When that happened, decreased concentration and productivity meant I jumped between projects or spent time on trivial tasks like sorting bags of old buttons into colors. Mister got dragged into helping with that distraction, so we could clean off and eat lunch at the table.

Mister and I, are grateful for our special friends T & E, and card nights filled with laughter. These get-togethers sure help pass long winter evenings.

Because of cold traveling conditions I missed out on trips into town and snooping through the malls. Extreme temperatures even spoiled plans of our daughter and my BFF meeting me in the city for a shopping day.

Thank goodness, Mister and I got our gifts bought early or I would be in a panic right now.

Handmade gifts are done, the presents are wrapped, and all that’s left to do before the big day is some baking.

Our weather forecast predicts a warming trend, and I woke Sunday morning to a shockingly nice -4c which sure is better than the -20’s.

The smart thing would have been to bake during the cold spell. My excuse was, no room in the freezer to store stuff. Real reason, I just wasn’t into it.

Now, with the coming warmth I’ll want to be outside or go to town, but I better be inside baking. I really should have thought that through.

Do you bake at Christmas?

Are you ready for Christmas?

Curiosity Solved

experiment

For fairness, I brought equal amounts of water in identical plastic bottles, the cooler and insulated bag to room temperature. A necessary step because some came from our cold storage room. Wait, that sounds like we have a climate-controlled room, what I meant is I had to bring the hard-sided cooler in from its unheated storage room to warm up.

The afternoon temperature outside when I got this experiment underway was -20 C. Almost balmy for this nasty cold spell.

With a bottle of water inside, I placed the hard cooler, the cooler bag, and just a bottle of water, side by side so none were in sunshine and all would chill at the same rate.

Two hours later the temperature had dropped to -25 C outside. The exposed bottle’s water had froze solid but both in the coolers still hadn’t even crystalized yet so I let them be.

My next intention was to check the waters temperature from both cooler bottles to see if one was warmer then the other. I hadn’t planed ahead how I would do this though, so a search began for a thermometer.

Logical place to look first, the bathroom. Bought years ago and still in its package, I found a new digital style thermometer. I read the directions. Battery seemed good so into my mouth for a reading it went. Great news, I had no fever. Before I disturbed the experiment water I tried one more test with a cup of ice water. Umm, I found out it only reads if tip has contact, like under a tongue or in armpit, drats.

Perhaps a meat thermometer? Nope, don’t have one, it probably wouldn’t work in water, anyway. Now, I’m curious about that though.

On our fridge is a decorative magnet with a mercury temperature gage, so it got submerged in a cup of cold water. Keyword, decorative, the red line didn’t move. Funny, I’ve never noticed before that it didn’t work.

Mister joined the search. The only other portable thermometer inside the house is a weather station used to monitor the crawl space which houses our water pipes. This unit has a sensor on a wire, and it is old, almost the first of its kind.

We seldom check it anymore, and on inspection it’s no surprise to see it no longer displayed a reading. Mister took the back off and pushed reset, my job was to locate the tiny screw which dropped to the floor. Reset did nothing, he tested the batteries and changed those.

By this time supper in the oven was on the verge of becoming overlooked so we ate.

At 8:30pm, after 4 and 1/2 hours outside the water in the coolers had started to freeze. The insulated bag one only slightly more than the regular cooler. Not sure the accuracy but when tested the hard cooler water was .2 degrees warmer than cooler bag water.

Results were pretty predictable, but I was curious how much longer groceries would keep from freezing if insulated and if it mattered which we used, a hard or soft cooler.

In minus 20 degree temperatures water took an extra two and half hours to freeze if kept in a well insulated container.

With this knowledge, from now on, our lettuce should make it home safe.

Have you ever wondered how weather effects food delivered by big trucks? A lot more planning goes into this then you may think.

The son works in transportation for a large food distribution company so I asked him.

For transporting frozen and refrigerated goods reefer trailers are used. In extreme cold they can also heat the air so it is warmer inside then outside, keeping cargo at an ideal temperature.

They have 1-3 different temperature areas which can be divided by portable insulated walls. In extreme cold, produce and other sensitive goods, are sometimes wrapped to keep from freezing if they’re placed near doors.

Delicate things like ice cream cakes are put in insulated bags along with being in the freezer section just to make sure they don’t thaw.

Next time you buy groceries, you can now appreciate the work that goes into getting items to the store.

Did you learn anything from this post? I did.

 

Cold and Curious

temp

We’re in a bitter cold spell, and our way below normal, daytime highs are a problem on grocery day. Besides the obvious of Mister and I, and the vehicle, having less enthusiasm for venturing outside or off the yard.

It’s, how to get climate sensitive food home without issue.

Oh, and if you looked at the above picture and thought, can’t those old farts (smiley face) see the tire sensor light is on. Yes, we saw it, but not to worry we just don’t have winter air in the tires yet. If you don’t live in a climate like ours, that is a joke, because many vehicle tire sensors don’t read right when cold.

Back on topic, we live 20-40 minutes from any major city, so summer heat also causes problems. The drive home is long enough to melt ice cream, warm milk and even spoil meat if it’s sitting in direct sun. A simple fix is, coolers and ice packs on those days.

This weeks weather though, posed the opposite.

Since we had an appointment in the city, we filled our day with errands along with getting groceries. Sounds simple, but we like to shop different stores for certain things. So planning the order of stops is crucial for what you’ll risk freezing inside the vehicle while you continue your day. Sometimes, it’s near impossible to plan without driving back and forth across the city.

So I got thinking. Mister says that’s when I usually get into trouble. (smiley face)

How much protection from the cold, if any, would a insulated bag provide? 

Would it prevent lettuce or eggs from getting too cold while the vehicle is not running? 

Would an actual cooler work better than an insulated bag?

I’m not a science person, and yes, I could Google an question or ask the son or Mister, they probably know, but I’ve decided to do an old fashion home experiment. A high tech test on how long it takes for a bottle of water to freeze outside, compared to one in a insulate bag, and another in a cooler. Impressive concept and format, isn’t it? (smiley face)

Anybody care to take a guess if freezing time will vary enough to make a difference? 

I’ll post the results.