Stasia's Place Of Grace


Saturday, November 23, 2002

Grateful For...

Homemade hot chocolate with fresh cocoa and cinnamon from Penzey's Spices, located nearby in Brookfield, WI. Their stuff is amazing, and even I am a relatively acceptable cook when I use their products! The gingerbread and gingersnaps I made this week were awesome! We're making bison sauerbraten tonight... will let you know how it turns out!

If you get on their mailing list, their catalog features many wonderful recipes each edition.

Today it was crisp and sunny. I drove through farmland and little villages to get to charming Cedarburg to shop at Downtown Dough. Their cookie cutters (well, cookies made from their cutters!) were featured on a recent cover of "Good Housekeeping" magazine, and the local TV news did a spot on them last night. They have litterally hundreds of cookie cutters, in every shape imagineable. I'm talking teeth and toothbrushes, even, for your favorite dentist!

Here are my new cookie cutters!

Fiona and her brother, Val, had a little spat this week. I am grateful for a wonderful emergency veterinarian who fixed her up (again). I am grateful that they used pink vet wrap bandages which made her look very cute. I am grateful that she is healing well. Val is grateful he still lives here. I am grateful Val is so cute so that Jeff isn't mad at him anymore for hurting Jeff's beloved Fi. I am grateful we know what caused the spat and can take steps to prevent it in the future.

I am really grateful that our new Visa card, (on which we put our new water softener and recent car repairs and holiday gifts) has 0% interest for six months (and Amazon book points) because that's about how long it's going to take us to pay off this vet bill! But it was worth every penny.

Fiona had the drain tubes taken out today and is now receiving hot compresses. She is loving all the attention and is actually quite spunky when she thinks nobody is looking.

I am grateful for humor that comes out of nowhere sometimes.

Occasionally when I am very stressed (read: in the ER with the dog), the Hail Mary will come into my mind. I am not a Catholic, but I like prayers and chants from all different faiths, and find them soothing in times of trouble.

But I often find myself having to keep from laughing out loud when I realize I have just said (in my head), "...blessed art though amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit Of Thy Loom..."

I once knew a Lutheran minister who had grown up as a Catholic and who was an altar boy in his youth. There was some hymn about Communion that went, "Eat thy body, drink thy blood..." and he told the story of how he and his altar boy cohorts thought it great fun to sing the words as if they were Bela Lugosi. I still laugh about that.

There's a song by the band Journey called "Open Arms" and for some reason, whenever it's on, I'll be singing away in the car and will come to the chorus and, without thinking, will sing, "So now I turn to you, with broken arms..." and realize what I did, crack up, and then look around to make sure no other drivers are watching me giggling.

Here is the latest addition to the Boyd's holiday tableau:

You have to love a little hootie owl in an old-fashioned hunting cap with an acorn-embroidered backpack! He's from the JCPenney's website. I couldn't resist when I saw him - I love owls and acorns and Boyd's animals!

I am grateful that the vest for Jeff's grandfather is coming along well; I'm finished with the back and almost finished with one side of the front. Here is the back:

I found a yarmulke pattern and some variegated blue and white crochet cotton and am set to make Jeff a kippah for Hanukkah. (I have dreidel and star of David cookie cutters too, by the way!)

I'm grateful that I found the dogs singing menorah, star of David, and dreidel toys from J. B. Pet Supply for Hanukkah gifts. They also are getting a Santa, a singing wreath, and a talking gingerbread man for when Christmas comes around.

My "present room" is a big mess - I'd better get wrapping!

I'm grateful for reading this quote about 9/11 rescue workers by Richard Gere, which appeared in the December issue of "Rosie" magazine (now defunct):

    "...[F]irefighters are true bodhisattvas. They save everyone. That's all they do. They don't ask, 'Are you a good guy, a bad guy?' They don't care what your color is, what your religion is. They don't care if you have money... They don't care what species you are, if you're a dog or a cat. If you're in trouble, they get you out. How many people do we know who actually have jobs like that and take it seriously to the point that they'll sacrifice their own lives? That's a bodhisattva. That's the thing to celebrate. That's what you want to nurture - not a swelled sense of nationalism or anger or revenge or fear."

Maybe I will use my new cookie cutters to make some cookies for the local rescue workers to thank them for all they do.

I am grateful we got to see a red-bellied woodpecker at our birdfeeder today! Their bellies are not really red, but their heads are. They are very noisy and active and large birds, and a lot of fun to watch!

Thank you for visiting today! I hope you are enjoying the approach of the holidays as much as I am.

I am thankful I have my decorating finished, and my shopping done, and can just relax and make cocoa and cookies, and wrap presents, and smell the woodsmoke and find the deer tracks outside, and just drink it all in! It snowed this week... and it actually stuck for a day!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Monday, November 18, 2002

Grateful For...

Mr. Cardinal in a tree in our orchard.

Know what I saw in my yard this week? A fox! He was sniffing around near the beehives... probably looking for a sweet treat! He had thin, little black legs, which rose to red, fluffy "pantaloons" above, and I can now see why caricatures of foxes often portray them with riding boots and jodphurs on!

He was very cautious and wary, and as he was poking around the hives, he turned and approached the house and I had a wonderful, near, clear view of him through the bay window.

His eyes were positively wild - not at all like a domestic animal. Very beautiful and striking... and intimidating. I'm not sure that if I saw one out in the woods, I'd extend my hand for a pat!

Tori finally saw him and barked in alarm, and off he went, down the mown path and into the woods.

I hope he sticks around, and that I'll see him again. I have never seen a live fox before. They are much smaller and "finer" than I imagined. And so lovely...

Kary mentioned that she'd gotten some new fiber from Rovings. It has always been a favorite shop of mine - Jeff got my first Tabachek spindles for me from Rovings, and I ordered some lovely washed locks from them. I see that they now show their fibers in color! Thanks, Kary!

I was good and didn't purchase any, but I sure am drooling!

In a conversation with Kary today, I again realized that though I may not have had the best childhood, I am really glad my parents had us volunteer in a soup kitchen when we were little. They also gave us exposure to people of other ethnic backgrounds than our white bread, suburban neighbors by joining an inner-city church. And finally, they instilled in us that charity was very important. Those were good lessons for which I'm really grateful, and which I continue to foster in my life.

It is getting colder here, and I'm grateful for my thin but very warm long underwear, which I wear daily under my jeans or sweats!

I'm also grateful for homemade gingerbread with homemade vanilla whipped cream, and a tea cosy to keep my endless pots of tea warm during the day.

(Unfortunately, it isn't knit; it is a placemat folded in half and stitched on two sides! But it works!)

Speaking of cold, we've had little fits and starts of snow here lately.

I believe the Inuit/Esquimaux have something like 100 words for snow, describing all the different variations in its texture and rate. This week, I experienced a light, dry, tiny snowflake snow, which blew in gentle spirals around and around, never making it to the earth... much like dandelion down in the summer. Then we had a hard but still small, pellet-type snow, which you could hear as it hit the ground or your hood, but not see! We also had some larger flakes which started imperceptibly, fell amazingly fast, and then disappeared as quickly as they'd started - that was "lake effect" snow coming off of a storm on Lake Michigan - a weird snow, because it travels from east to west here, rather than the usual, opposite way. We always have to be careful of the lake effect snowstorms near Milwaukee.

Last night I took the dogs out one last time, around midnight. There was a full moon, and there was a sort of a frost on the ground... not a thick, white frost, but just enough moisture to reflect the moonlight and make it appear as though fairies had dropped thousands of diamonds in-between the blades of grass, just waiting to be picked up and put in a tiara!

It was breathtaking, and I'm so glad I got to see it. I love moonlit nights in winter - whether or not there is snow on the ground! Isn't it amazing, the many shapes and forms ice and snow can take?

I am grateful that my holiday shopping is almost completely finished, including Jeff's eight gifts of Hanukkah! I got him a bottle of kosher wine, books on Judaism and Yiddish, a cigar, a Green Bay Packers fleece top, a recipe book from the 2nd Avenue Deli, and some chocolate and other treats. Also a new dreidel. And I fixed the one that lights up and plays music when it spins.

I am planning the Hanukkah menu now, drooling over Faye Levy's "1000 Jewish Recipes" book. And I have been playing "Hanukkah carols" on the piano... slowly and with lots of mistakes, but at least I'm playing!

Now all I have to do is wrap and mail the Christmas presents, and I'm set!

Knitting Progress

Continuing to work on the blue vest for Jeff's grandfather. The back is finished, and I've started one side of the front. Yes, I went with a flat pattern after all. Am working with Clover bamboo needles and really loving how weightless and warm they are!

The Cranberry Cable Sox are past the heels and I'm starting the ankles. I replaced the incorrectly-sized instep needle with one that matches the sole needle's size. I am using Susan Bates needles as one of the two circulars on each sock, and though I usually dislike that brand, I have to say that their smaller cable needles are very nice - not so sharp and pointy as the Inox, and less likely to split the strands of the yarn.

My order of Patons Kroy in various colors arrived safely from Yarn Forward in Canda... I am pleased with the speed of the two recent Canadian orders I placed.

I need to knit or crochet a yarmulke for Jeff for Hanukkah, too.

I hope you have as much to be grateful for today! Have a wonderful week!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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