Friday, December 28, 2012

Calm before the storm . . .

I could be talking about the weather. But as it is, I'm not. I'm talking about trying to grab a small space of time for myself, to blog, to read, to decompress -- hours, maybe a couple of days -- between the rush pell mell toward Christmas, and the impending launch of the room addition, during which I'm expecting myself to maintain my regular activities, although I'll be displaced much of the time from my bedroom and my current office/study/computer room and scrunched into the kitten room, living room, kitchen and somewhat in the garage.

My displacement date has a red box around it on the builder's timeline, somewhere around the weeks beginning Feb 4 or Feb 11. Weather will affect the timeline. It already has. Groundbreaking had been hoped for December 24.

It almost seems like I can't operate without a drop-dead deadline for completing tasks, such as getting myself well-frazzled by sending out an already-tardy edition of my Soroptimist Newsletter at 1:30 a.m. on the day Sister-in-Law and I were heading for our four days in Yosemite. I hadn't even packed when I went for my brief sleep, but nonetheless, I think we were on the road by about 10:30. We returned home by midday on the 13th to a round of pre-Christmas social events and appointments: a marvelous performance of holiday music -- unusual pieces, some of them, from around the world -- by a local singing group, the Pine Cone Singers; a ladies' tea/luncheon at Dori's Tea Cottage organized annually by a friend; a fancy Christmas dinner at the Groveland Hotel with the RV club; a morning assisting a beginning computer class; a nominating committee meeting for Soroptimist; NeedleCrafts; manicure; haircut; hemmed a couple of tea towels for a gift for Daughter from French fabric I bought on my September trip. Interwoven throughout these activities I was writing and producing my (ta dah!) holiday letter. I believe I was folding the last one and stuffing envelopes at NeedleCrafts on Thursday. Oh. . . and I decided to bake shortbread and pfefferneuse pfeffernüsse to take to Daughter's house for Christmas. Somewhere along the line, Daughter came to borrow my truck, stayed overnight, and left her car for me to return at Christmas.

I made this list more for my edification than yours, because I'm sure you were just as busy and are mumbling "yeah, yeah." This blog serves partly as a diary for me, and as evidence that I don't dawdle all my time away, which it often feels like.

At NeedleCrafts just before Christmas, Barbara had completed this felted hat. (I think Barbara's next project for crafts fairs might be felted hats, but she was at the other end of the tables and I didn't hear the whole story.)

Sandy knitted two sets of pink tutus, leggings and hats for two-year-old twin granddaughters. Those are not tutu diagrams on the chart on the wall!

One of the "kids" licks the bowl after I make cookies.

A couple of days later, the big rain storm begins. Feral kitties who had frolicked in snow now hunker down in damp misery atop the woodshed in the shelter of the eaves, or wait it out in the darkness under the patio table cover.

Looking for a "decoration" photo for my Photo-A-Day, and a way to get out of planning a couple of meals, I swing by the pizza place.

This little thing turned out to be enough for three suppers.

Jean-Luc has invented a soccer game for cats, using a photo paper box and the strip ripped off the top of his treats. He races down the kitchen floor tossing up and "dribbling" the strip, then slams it home in the box.

"Who, me?" Then he does his best to keep me from putting the sewing machine back in its rolling carry case after I finish hemming the tea towels.

The sun returns on Christmas Eve morning and a bunch of damp kitties warm up and wash in the sun.

Tiny Kitten flops on the toasty deck rail and lets Extra do some extra grooming.

Interesting clouds are coming in as I prepare to leave for Daughter's house in Fresno. I chicken out on driving her car back to her due to its almost-bald tires and leaky power steering. I'll have to get my truck back some other day.

"Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house I go." What? I'm Grandmother, going to Daughter's house.

A favorite intersection where you can see an old stone circular corral. It's obscured by leafy oaks in summer time, but you can enlarge this and see it in the middle of the picture.

Granddaughter's Boyfriend, Granddaughter, the "puppy" Daughter found a few months ago, tangled in tumbleweed by a freeway, Grandson.


Right to left: Daughter, Grandson (Son's son), Grandson's Girlfriend, Girlfriend's Mother. Getting the posole ready to serve.

Left to right: Son's Daughter (arm & tiny profile), Son, Daughter's Daughters, Girlfriend's Mother, Granddaughter's Boyfriend, Grandson's Girlfriend

(You have all this straight, right?)

Daughter and Happy Puppy

 We all took a big after-dinner walk up and down Daughter's street.

The White House is on Daughter's street.

Pennsylvania Dutch? Their puppy looks just like Puppy, who didn't seem to appreciate the comparison.

Antique lamp with leather shade

Waiting to open presents, sometime between brunch and supper.

Son's Daughter and Son, plus Lady, their elderly doggie, after presents, waiting for their Dad and Cousin to play music.

The Granddaughter

The Cousin (Sister's son and my nephew)

Nephew, Son, Puppy and Daughter singing

Sister, Brother-in-Law, Nephew's Wife, and Family Friend

Daughter, rockin' it

Nephew's Wife, Nephew, Son

Dessert time. Sister made this layered cake, from scratch! Yum. Even though I'd had stomach problems all day, this went down just fine!

The morning after. Leftover pie for breakfast, glasses awaiting their turn in the dishwasher, pots and saucers draining.

One of the Granddaughter's found this Kitten as a tiny, starving stray and she and her Mom nursed it back to life. He had a recent bad encounter with a pit bull but has pulled through. He is a beautiful little cat. I couldn't get him to sit still and pose properly to get a picture of the interesting stripes on his chest.

Last but not least, the Family Photo. Got a bunch of tall boys back there. And a few pets.

I drove back home the day after Christmas. There had been a lot more rain in my absence. I kept driving toward black clouds, running low on fuel which had not cost any less in the Valley than it does at home, fingers crossed that the shortcut with the river fords would not be closed, that the short steep road up the hill to my little town would not be closed, that the gas stations hadn't run out of fuel with the holiday traffic. You could tell by the snow clumps that had fallen from cars onto the road that it had snowed higher up the hill, but I didn't run into any rain or snow in my journey, got gas fine, and got a kitty cat welcome home.

Nothing had happened on my room addition, which we'd hoped would begin on Monday. Nothing happened on Wednesday. On Thursday, I heard a car pull up in the driveway and looked out to see my builder knocking down the rickety fence around my propane tank which has to be relocated. He and another guy staked out the boundaries of the addition and put three stakes across the middle. I assume those have something to do with where the existing propane line runs or where it will run. They walked around some more, sizing up something.

Today I saw a truck with a porta potty on the back drive up the road. Mine, I thought. He'll be back. Soon I heard the truck backing into the driveway.
(Light bulb indicating that I suddenly realize that) The guys had been sizing up where there the porta potty driver would make his delivery.
It's a beginning.

So now I've about dawdled away my two or three days of leisure. For pure relaxation, I had a mini-marathon of Downton Abbey last night. I have the DVDs of Seasons 1 & 2. I'd seen Season 1, but I decided to refresh my memory by rewatching it, and I've begun Season 2, all in preparation for Season 3, which will start in about a week. (So, looks like I'll have to sneak in a few more relaxing episodes over the next few days.)

But the big project is about to begin. I have to get my truck back and start moving stuff and throwing away and giving away. My daughter's car is in the shop, to get new tires and have its other issues analyzed and perhaps corrected before we do the swap. (Yeah, Mom got recruited for automotive repair duty.)

See you soon. Don't be surprised to see pictures of construction and men at work in our future.



  1. See you did accomplish a lot. Get ready tho' when I come up next week, we are going to make major accomplishment on getting you ready to move our of your rooms. I will be out of town all the latter part of February, and we have Yosemite the end of January.

    1. Hey, maybe sleeping in the RV is a good solution. That way I'd be able to keep appropriate separation of the kittens and Chloe at night.