Let there be knitted hearts! ❤️

February 6, 2016

These little Valentine Hearts knit up quickly! The free pattern is at the link. The only change I made was to knit each row. Garter stitch hearts!

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Special thanks to the sheep that donated the wool for this heart project! ❤️

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Dangling Hearts 💗

February 5, 2016

I took a look around the house and decided I needed a few more Valentine’s Day decorations.

I have been busy making origami 3-D hearts. The folding works up quickly. I made three different sizes using a paper width of 1″, 1 1/2″, and 2″. The smallest one is a slightly larger than a penny. Check the link to see a video tutorial for the hearts.

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I used some kitchen twine to string three hearts, one each of the three different sizes. I’m hoping this will finally get the cheery house decorating out of my system. Just in time for the weekend and . . . a football game!!!

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My hot pink shawl is old. So am I, but I wear it this time of year. I figure it will help someone find me if I pull down too much snow when I’m raking the roof!

I should knit a red one, too!

💗❤️💗❤️💗

Q: What did the pickle say to his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day?

A: “You mean a great dill to me.”

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Q and A (1 Q, 1 A) ❤️

February 4, 2016

Q: What flower best honors a beloved, retired police officer and late husband?

A: A ‘cop’per rose!  ❤️

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And an update on my new handy-dandy kitchen caddy from the housewares department at my favorite thrift store . . .

It is indeed a rabbit feeder!!!!! Thanks to two commenters for solving the mystery. I checked online and found the exact   implement I had picked up from the thrift shop.

Petsmart sells them! I had a good laugh at myself, but I’m still keeping mine to use as my kitchen caddy!

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Tired gram . . . too much snow-shoveling and roof-raking.

 

❤️ My Most Favorite Childhood Book ❤️

February 3, 2016

It’s time! ❤️

Oh . . . Valentine’s Day is still nearly two weeks off, but I won’t be posting much after GN’s surgery. I’ve been busy getting everything organized at home for ease of scheduling and also getting things cheery for recovery. I’m so glad Valentine’s Day provides an actual theme.

There are low-flying Cupids hanging from ceiling fan blades in our house. Cupid is also flying from a ceiling heat vent in the dining room. The chair backs in the dining room have lovely stuffed sewn paper hearts tied on with ribbons.

There are heart-shaped blinky lights! They blink in the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. We ‘shopped’ the house and found two heart pillows to add to the mix: one pink and one red. There is a tin tussie-mussie tied to the back of the spare dining room chair and filled with heart-shaped chocolates, which may or may not be eaten. The blinky lights are on the chair.

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I’ve been using the chocolates to go with my Blind Date with a Book gifts. All but one have been either sent, or delivered. I will give GN’s to her after surgery, so she has something to read while she rests in bed. Her room has been spiffed up for comfort and any remaining obstacles (i.e. teen/young adult stuff that gets tossed. She was a basketball player. She tosses stuff) must be removed before crutches, knee brace and cryo-cuff go into action.

So what’s it time for? And why all the Valentine’s Day fuss this year? Not surgery yet. Not Valentine’s Day yet. It’s time to share the name of my most favorite book from my childhood. (I know . . . the superlative ‘most’ is not necessary to modify the word ‘favorite’ and it is actually not grammatically acceptable, but it is my very most favorite childhood book and it happens to be a Valentine story. How cool is that?) 😉

Why share early? Oh . . .  just in case you want to read it on, or near Valentine’s Day. It is not easy to find, but interlibrary searches will come up with a copy here and there, mostly in large academic holdings that keep old or rare books.

It is 64 pages of sweet, fond memories for me and my primary school innocent self: nerdy, good, and quiet. (I am a bit younger than the book.) and the fuss is because GN is 18 and this is likely the last year we will read the story together.

Who knew that my favorite childhood literature would stay with me long enough to read to my granddaughter?!

Lottie’s Valentine

by

Katherine Wigmore Eyre

Illustrations

by Suzanne Suba

Hardcover: June, 1941

Oxford University Press
ISBN-10: 9990310785
ISBN-13: 978-99903107

See the pigeon in the heart on the cover?

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Lottie is an orphan, living in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

I attended a Catholic primary school and this was one of the school library books: little school, little library. Oh we had Snip, Snap, and Snur and Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka, and readers like Dick and Jane or John, Jean, and Judy. We had little children’s stories of saints, and Nancy Drew mysteries, but it was Lottie that I enjoyed the most . . . and remember fondly.

Think of it this way: a combination of a NOT mistreated Little Orphan Annie, a convent of nuns like the Sound of Music, only not a musical, and orphan girls living in residence like Haley Mills in The Trouble With Angels . . . only the angels are no trouble at all. 

Lottie finds a wounded homing pigeon . . . the same symbol used in a different way in ‘On The Waterfront’ starring Marlon Brando. (1954) (Won eight Academy Awards in 1955)

The illustrations show life in New Orleans circa the late 1800s. The book is not yet in public domain, so I won’t violate copyrights, but I can legally share an excerpt.

Chapter One

“Dong! dong! Boom! boom! boom! Get up! get up!” sang the sunrise bells.

The day started early at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, and Lottie jumped out of bed with a rush. She ran to the washstand and poured water into the bowl from the heavy white pitcher. Ugh! It was cold! She scrubbed her face and hands. Then she put on her uniform and settled its scratchy black pleats. She pulled on her long black stockings . She fastened her garters, snap, snap! She laced her shoes with cold fingers that fumbled awkwardly. Knots. Bothersome knots. Oh dear! She combed her yellow hair, hung up her night gown on a hook in the wardrobe, made her bed. (Wigmore Eyre 5)

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There is so much in the story to which GN can relate. I won’t spoil the plot in case you are able to find a copy to read. There is still time to search your library resources.

Dong, dong, dong . . . twelve dongs altogether. The chimes in my own house tell me it is well past my bedtime, or time to shovel another layer of snow in the middle of our Minnesota winter snowstorm, or time pour a midnight cup of tea and knit a few rows on my February christmas project . . . that five-letter word that starts with “a”. 😉

❤️

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Thrifty Thursday on Tuesday!

February 2, 2016

I have a few thrift shop finds to share today. I have tended to post thrifty finds on Thursdays, but I’m going to pretend today is Thursday. Will that make my weekend come sooner? The following items were not purchased in the same trips.

 

SHELF UNITS

GN and I have been working on changing up her bedroom as time and cash permit. The purples she favored as a youngster have given way to her love of blues and white.

A while back, I spotted a sweet shelf unit that I thought GN would like. She wasn’t with me. She was at work and not able to take a text, so I just made a decision. I picked up the shelf unit and began walking around the end cap in the store only to find a second unit that was exactly the same. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, pick up both units and head to checkout! They were $5 apiece!

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They were in pristine condition – just dusty from the store. GN loved them and was excited to have them.

We worked together to rearrange her room a bit to accommodate the shelf units and get a reading lamp next to her bed. She has a lot of homework to do and hasn’t had time to read in bed, but I still want her to have that relaxing option, especially with her time off for surgery and recovery.

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The purples/lavenders are not all gone from her room, but painting will have to wait. Besides, she likes that sweet little reading lamp on the left unit too much to part with it. (No wall art in the photo because we had just wiped down the walls and she hadn’t decided what she wanted there.) New rug, new stool with storage. It’s cozy for her . . . when it’s clean.

KITCHEN SOAP CADDY I’ve been needing something to keep handy at the kitchen sink. With the advent and necessity of hand sanitizer and hand soap in a pump bottle, there has just collected too much near the faucets to my liking. I want them handy, yet not constantly slipping into the sink when I wash dishes.

So, I went a-browsing for something suitable at my favorite thrift shop. I kept my mind open to possibilities. I’m not much of a matchy-matchy decorator. I like an eclectic and colorful mix, I guess, but I also like thrifty!

I spotted something that I thought might work. Frankly, I didn’t think it belonged in the housewares section, but I could be wrong. Maybe someone could tell me. It doesn’t seen to have the right hanging equipment for the shower either.

My first thought was a suet feeder, but hey, what do I know. Anyone have any guesses?

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I stared at it for a while, then picked it up to see if the metal grate could be removed. It could, so I decided it would work perfectly for what I wanted in my kitchen!

Nifty, eh?

psst . . . wannna know something? The next time I was in the store, there was a second caddy just like the first one I found, but in a different color . . . the color of my bathroom! 😉

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OLD LITERATURE

My final thrifty item for this post made me squeal aloud in the store when I spotted it yesterday. I think we are led to things sometimes, because I certainly wasn’t looking for it. I was killing time waiting for GN.

Here’s the story . . . I enjoy reading old literature. I love the grammar. I love the language that may no longer be in vogue. I love the online availability when they get into public domain!!! So, when I visit blogs or read posts about books, I take notice.

One of my newish blog friends, Olde Dame Penniwig, has a sidebar that lists her favorite books. As of this post, her list is on the left side of her blog and it says ‘I reread these books often.’

The first time I visited her blog, I read that list and promptly made note of one title I wanted to read: The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith. When I found the time, I browsed the internet and found an online copy that could be downloaded to iBooks and then I began reading!

With GN’s accident, and my pneumonia, I haven’t finished the book. I like to savour old lit, so it hasn’t been the right time for me to concentrate. I moved on to some ‘fluffy’ reading.

Fast forward to the thrift shop . . . yesterday.

There it was!!! I could not believe my eyes. Yes, I accidentally let out a squeal. I saw a hard-bound copy of The Vicar of Wakefield . . . plus . .  I said plus . . .

1)The Life of Oliver Goldsmith

2) The Deserted Village

3) The Traveller . . . all included in the same volume and I got change back from my $3!

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The book was published by A. L. Burt Company in a series call Burt’s Home Library. Wonderful!

 

Simple Woman’s Daybook

February 1, 2016

I am linking up with the Simple Woman’s Daybook. Follow the link to read other posts or to join us by adding one of yours. What’s today going to look like for you?

My daybook entry for this morning is more like a Simple Widow’s Daybook entry, but that’s okay. I qualify. 

For Today…

Today is Monday, February 1, 2016

Outside my window…

Outside my window it is still dark, 23° F. The air is very heavy as we wait for the snow heading our way.

I am thinking…

I am thinking of my late husband. I recently marked my tenth anniversary as a widow.

I am thankful…

I am thankful for the four short years Officer Friendly and I had together. It was a late second marriage for both of us. He was good for me, but I was good for the retired police detective, too.

Our honeymoon . . . 

We took the Amtrak from Minnesota to Seattle, rented a car and then headed straight to the Redwood Forest in California. Neither of us had ever seen a redwood and we made it the goal of our trip.

We walked through one and of course drove through another and enjoyed seeing them for the first time together.

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Then we took a lazy week of sight-seeing as we drove back up the coast. I saw my first burl oak on that trip. Sight-seeing for both of us meant birds, trees, waves, nature, a lovely cabin just yards from the ocean where Washington State meets the Pacific at Kalaloch Lodge.

I walked a giant heart in the sand on the beach and we watched the tide take it to sea.

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We enjoyed Hoh Rain Forest . . . so ‘other-worldly’ for us and stunningly beautiful!

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One of our dates as a married couple . . . 

 Despite his retirement, Officer Friendly maintained his membership in his law enforcement organizations and one of our weekend ‘dates’ as a married couple was to an investigators conference.

Gram: What’s the theme of the conference, dear?

OF: Bugs, Bones, and Botany. Want to go with me?

Gram: Sounds like fun!

I am reading…

“Older Love” by Warren Hanson

It’s sweet little read I gave to Officer Friendly when he asked me what I wanted from our relationship. I’m just going to sit down with a cup of coffee and remind myself of how dear a man Officer Friendly was.

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I am learning…

I am learning things widows need to know how to do, but I have networked with a lot of widows and we’ve share notes and tips on furnaces, tire pressure, painting, home security.

NOTE: Because of a commentor’s question, I have added a link on my sidebar to an international organization for widowed people. The organizaion is called Soaring Spirits International. Click the How We Help option to find some interesting things. There is a 24/7 online community if that is of interest to anyone. It is under the Widowed Village Forum.

In my garden…

The peony bushes I love so much were planted because Officer Friendly loved them too. It was a group decision. He called them “pe-OH-nies”. When spring arrives, I plan to add a crimson peony bush if I can find one.

In my kitchen… 

I will make a turkey roll today. It is the first meal Officer Friendly cooked for me. I was sick . . . with the same lung crud I have now, come to think of it . . . and he told me he would take care of dinner. He did, and it was wonderful!

I slept, he cooked, we ate.

A favorite quote for today…

“Duly noted.”

Officer Friendly responded to me that way when I would tell him something I wanted him to remember. We never fought or raised our voices to each other in anger.

A peek into one of my days…

The peek I want to share is how Officer Friendly and I would often start our Saturday mornings.

We were both early morning people, but me a wee bit earlier than he. At the first crack of his eyelids, I started to sing ‘Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning’. But by the time I got to the line “I’ll amputate his reveille and step upon it heavily”, Officer Friendly would be belting it out with me. By the time we got to the end of the song, he was ready to go out for our standing breakfast date.

One of my favorite things…

This is the fabric of the wedding dress I made when I married Officer Friendly. So very red and so filled with roses. The necklace is a recent find, almost precisely on the date of his passing. I wasn’t looking for jewelry, but I’m certain my heart led me to it.

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I made it through ten years, took a deep breath and . . . started my eleventh year. Eleven just doesn’t have the punch that anticipating or wondering about ten can have. It’s softer.

Softer is a good thing.

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Well, this worked out nicely! ❤️

January 31, 2016

❤️I had one more book to wrap as a “Blind Date with a Book” gift for Valentine’s Day. This gift needed to be fun and light and it worked out very nicely!

I bought a specific cozy mystery by a specific author to make this blind date work. Joanne Fluke has a series of cozy mysteries called the Hannah Swensen series and I bought RED VELVET CUPCAKE MURDER for a colleague at work.

In this Fluke series, Hannah Swensen owns a Minnesota bakery called The Cookie Jar, but Hannah also seems to have a knack for solving mysteries. I have not read all of the mysteries, but I have enjoyed those I’ve read. There are recipes included in each book.

Ms. Fluke grew up in a small rural community in Minnesota and the Hannah Swenson series draws on landmarks and locations that Minnesotans can recognize. I think it’s a light read, a cozy read and I get to relate to her Minnesota references.

Paired up with the shiny red cover, I found the perfect sweet confection to gift along with the book. Check it out! Yum!

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I will have to deliver this Gift before GN’s surgery, so that’s why I am getting it ready early. Keep your ears peeled for some squealing and giggling that will come from a nerdy college philosophy professor in ‘The Cities’ when she receives her blind date book!

FYI: I see that the Hannah Swenson books are in the works for the Hallmark Channel with Alison Sweeney starring as Hannah.

❤️Speaking of blind dates . . . 

The same college where the philosophy professor will squeal with delight, has a group of librarians that got their book picks together, wrapped them in red paper and provided clues as to what the books might be about. They set up a sweet display in the college library for their version of Blind Date with a Book. They added the books’ bar codes to the outside of the wrapping paper for ease of checkout.

I checked one out. The clue said ‘I am a collection of immigrant experiences and I won a Pulitzer Prize.’

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Here’s the book I received. I have not read Jhumpa Lahiri’s INTERPRETER OF MALADIES, though I’ve heard of it. I am looking forward to it and I’m certain I will enjoy my blind date with this book.

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❤️I have blinky heart lights in my living room, now too!!

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❤️I have one more spot where Cupids fly in my house.

I learned this from my grandmother. Oh, she didn’t hang Cupids or angels. She hung bells. She hung them on a towel bar just above the floor vent that blew warm air into the kitchen from her coal furnace. She knew the furnace kicked in if she heard the bells. If she didn’t hear them, she went to check the coal.

I don’t have a coal furnace, but I have a ceiling vent that blows warm air into the dining room . . . and sends Cupids (and angels) on the wing!

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❤️I must have been highly influenced by RED when I shopped for produce: apple, pear, radishes, pepper, tomato, and plum. Yum! Red is happy and delicious.

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❤️Happy Sunday!❤️

Blinking Lights and Cupid’s Test Flight

January 30, 2016

I know my granddaughter is no longer the little girl she was when I took her in, but some of the early traditions remain . . . to help her remember that her childhood was not all turmoil.

We have a tradition that really began with Christmas and some flying angels that delighted GN so much that it spread to Valentine’s Day as well. It isn’t angels that fly in February, though. It’s Cupid!

It’s simple. Cupid flies from our ceiling fans!

Count your fan blades, double the number and print that many images of Cupid. Cut the prints to the same size, because two will be glued wrong sides together to make Cupid visible on either side of the paper. Add lengths of string, yarn, dental floss, etc. and tape Cupid to the ends of your fan blades. Turn the fan on low and Cupid flies round and round.

The ceiling fan in my living room has four blades, so I printed eight Cupids. I printed two different images of Cupid just for fun, You can make them all the same or all different. I pinked the edges, punched holes for my yarn ties, then hung them.

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Cupid took a test run after GN went to bed. 😉

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Even without the fans running it was fun for my little tiny GN, but when they “flew”, she sat on my lap and watched in wonder and delight. She enjoyed it as much with flying angels at Christmastime.

Cupid will only fly for the length of our annual Valentine story read, or if GN decides to flip on the fan for a moment, but I’m hoping something happy about it stays with her for a long time. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to  make a memory.

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There are blinking heart lights in my kitchen! I also tested them after GN went to bed. 😉

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The large music hearts are done and the dining room chairs are looking festive!

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I know it isn’t even February and may seem too early to have so much Valentine’s Day decorating going on, but GN and I have not yet had our Christmas dinner because of my pneumonia and her accident. I am determined to get that in before her surgery!

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I’ll Give You My (Paper) Heart ❤️

January 29, 2016

Hello everyone!

As we approach GN’s surgery (and Valentine’s Day), I am trying to get some cheer in place around the house. GN is not cheerless, and neither am I, but every little bit helps. She is my Grandvalentine.

I have made paper hearts much like Olde Dame Penniwig does. (Check the link to her post about sewn paper hearts from book pages. She’s a wizard and she even provided a tutorial.)

❤️     ❤️     ❤️

I was a church organist for twelve years, beginning in the seventh grade. Yes, just what a seventh grader wants to do – go to church for five services every weekend and three hours of practice on Saturday morning. Oh well. The Saturday practices were my favorite. I cranked up the volume and pulled out all the stops. When the windows were open, I’m sure most everyone in Smalltownville knew where to find me!

But . . . those pieces of music with which I spent so much time have grown as old  as I have. I pulled the most tattered book out of circulation a while back and put some of my favorites pieces to good use. I made stuffed hearts.

❤️     ❤️     ❤️

The old discolored pages were stiff enough to use as they were. I cut two hearts, held them together and punched holes all around. Then I stitched  through the holes with red yarn. You know . . . I do have a bit of yarn around the house. 😉

Before closing, I lightly stuffed the heart. For the stuffing, I cut up the music from the pages that remained after I cut out the hearts. I also cut up half a fabric softener sheet to add a light fragrance that’s detectable through the paper.

Some of my hearts will hang on the backs of the chairs in the dining room and so I just made a loop with the yarn when I closed up the stitching.

The heart in the photo below is larger than my two hands together side by side. I saved the title of each piece of music and glued it to the front of the appropriate heart.

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The roses in the above photo are held in a beautiful old tin tussie mussie that I will fill with something heart-ish, Valentine-ish. For now, they hold some rather respectable artificial roses that remind me of the fabric I used to sew the wedding dress I wore when I married Officer Friendly.

❤️     ❤️     ❤️

All this will lead up to one of the traditions I have kept for a long time. It is my annual read of my favorite book from grade school and it happens to be a Valentine story. Childish? Maybe, but it doesn’t matter how old one is when one meets cherished characters from books. Some just become good friends one might want to revisit from time to time.

Stay tuned!

❤️     ❤️     ❤️

“What’s Up, Doc?”

January 28, 2016

As long as GN and I are going through what we have to go through, I am trying to stay on task and keep it upbeat, too.

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I went back to the doctor. My pneumonia still lingers, but that was no surprise to me. I saw the x-ray and there is still fluid in them, but they are not fully engulfed. That’s a huge step in the right direction, but the coughing continues no matter how much fluid is there. Another round of antibiotics  for me and some steroids for the inflammation. My cold symptoms are subsiding and that makes a huge difference in my energy.

A long time ago, bought this large pill case at my favorite thrift shop and have been using it for organizing my small knitting supplies. It’s organizing my meds until I can put the knitting supplies back.

A pill organizer works great for knitting supplies. It’s hard to tell in the photo below, but each compartment is 1.75″ x 1.25 ” x .75 “. The lids close tightly and I can open just one at a time. Besides, I’d rather knit every day than take pills every day. Good medicine!

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My doctor asked me if I wanted a prescription for a cough medicine. I thanked him politely, but then channeled my spunky ‘over-50-and-taking-charge self’ and said, “No thank you. I don’t keep cough medicine down. I never did tolerate it. I am going to have three fingers of sherry, if that’s okay with you.” He smiled at me and put his prescription pad back in his pocket and told me sherry would be fine.

My doctor is younger than I am and still wants to go by the book. That’s fine. My book just has a few different pages.

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GN is busy with pre-op preparation, which means I am busy with it too. She needed to be fit for her post-surgical knee brace and Cryo-Cuff. Both pieces of equipment required a demo and I needed to be there because GN won’t be managing  those things right after surgery. I will be handling that duty.

The Cryo-Cuff is a cooling system that will wrap around her knee several times each day and it pumps chilled water into the knee wrap, which helps with swelling and pain. It will give her the most comfort, better cooling, and better placement stability than ice packs.

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Next up on the calendar is GN’s pre-op physical and collecting the school lessons she will work on at home: Physics, Myths and Legends, Trig, Political Science, Grammar. I can do this! Grammy home school starts soon.

Who knew that my freezer cooking marathon at Thanksgiving, and the yarn stash I have would help through all this!?! I am so grateful. My next project is already on my needles! I am working on a cotton  A _ _ _ _.

Any guesses? 😉