Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A wrap

I've noticed, the last couple years the increasing lack of Christmas wrapping paper with religious themes. When I was growing up, we had rolls of beautiful paper decorated with angels and wisemen. My favorite was the burgundy roll with yellow angels. I loved it so much I wanted to save a scrap of it when we ran out.

But these days Santas, snowmen, penguins, and even Disney characters fill the brightly colored rolls of paper in cardboard bins in the stores. I love this paper, too and some of it is absolutely adorable, but I miss the prettier for religious papers.

I mentioned this to my mom this year and when we were at their house doing laundry a few days ago, she handed me large thick roll of paper featuring wisemen and Nativity scenes. I couldn't believe it. I had looked and looked to no avail this year. I asked her where it came from, but she wouldn't tell me.

I'm just happy to have it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oddly Nostalgic

Nathan and I had a little vacation this past weekend. Friday night we drove four hours north to visit my middle sister Anne, where she is going to graduate school at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota.

Here's the thing about this: Anne has been at Winona State for six years now, four as an undergrad and two as a grad student. For three of those years, she was joined by Elizabeth, who transferred to Winona during her sophomore year of undergrad.

Now, Elizabeth is in Alton and this May, Anne will graduate with her master's in teaching English as a foreign language and it will be "Farewell, Winona" for the whole family. As we spent time there this weekend, I started to feel sad and nostalgic about the place. Granted, I have been there maybe three times in the six years the girls have been there. But I've always liked it, as a place. When we went there when Anne was trying to decide where she wanted to go in 2004, I noticed how pleasant and "small-towney" it felt.

The university is not huge and the town surrounding it spreads out for quite a ways and still feels like a friendly area.

And it is replete with interesting places: the Winona Sandwich Company has the best bread this side of Jimmy John's. Last weekend I went with Anne to the co-op she goes to to get oats and other things for her made-from-scratch pumpkin pies. I had never been in a co-op--it was a nice store. The town sits on the Mississippi River and is bordered on one side by a long range of bluffs, which provide ample hiking. But it also has all the things a college town needs, including a Wal-Mart, Target and many restaurants.

I may not have been there quite often enough, considering it's where my sisters were spending their time. But when Anne moves on to the next phase in her life, I think I'll miss Winona a only a little less than she will

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Over the last few months, I have discovered that, contrary to popular opinion, rehabbing an old, beaten up house is neither easy nor fun.

I'm not going to deny I felt a great sense of accomplishment after I painted the sun room and I was also pretty happy with the results of the living room.

Then we did the front door together and it looks great, and I'm happy with that. But this month, I have dedicated to repainting Nathan's office. However, before I started painting, I had to scrape the ceiling, which was flaking quite a bit. I thought it was going to be like scraping the living room ceiling, which involved scraping a little and then sanding and painting over to make it look right. But the office ceiling hasn't stopped peeling as I've scraped, so the decision has been made that I need to scrape the ENTIRE ceiling.

Now, to be fair, this is not a large room...thank God. But working on it is just me with a little scraper so the progress I make is relatively limited. I'm not sure I'll actually get around to painting this month.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'll not say a lot about this, because it's a Christmas present. But the person it's for doesn't read the blog, so I feel relatively safe posting a picture and bragging a bit.

I saw the pattern for this in a magazine at my old job and fell in love with the idea of it. I knew exactly who would like it and was thinking about making it when my sister-in-law Janelle gave me some beautiful yarn for Christmas last year and I decided it would work perfectly in the blanket.

Essentially, it is four scarves each of different colors and patterns sewn together to make a blanket. I learned quite a bit for this project. I learned how to basket weave, how to cable knit and how to make fringe and tassels. I hate tassels, by the way. I just finished it today and am quite proud of it. I can't wait for Christmas, now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's so Pretty!

In the midst of Nathan spending his weekends working at a local apple orchard, me working on the books and looking for a job and substitute teaching, we continue fixing up the house room by room and piece by piece.

This month, I'm going to repaint Nathan's office (which is dark blue and doesn't go with the rest of the house), but the true excitement of the early month comes from our work on the front door.

When we moved in, it looked like this:

After quite a bit of scraping and using liquid scraper and sanding and making this past weekend a marathon of scraping, sanding and painting, the front door looks like this:

We still need to do a few touch-ups, but it is a huge improvement. The house has a very "cottagey" feel and I wanted a bright bold color for the front door. Pam and Craig picked this out and I think it's perfect.

Found on the Side of the Road

I had an interview at for a full-time position at Northern yesterday and while I was at home getting ready for it, I noticed Nathan left his wallet at home, something he's never done before.

The lady I interviewed with told me I should arrive an hour early because parking is hard to find, or I could just park in the Newman Center's parking lot. With my interview at 1, I left here at 11:45 and drove to DeKalb. As I was headed down Route 38 by the university, I looked to the side as I approached the McDonald's and there was Nathan standing on the sidewalk. I slowed down and motioned him into a nearby parking lot and rolled down the window.

"I forgot my lunch," he said, sticking his head in the car.
"You forgot your wallet!" I countered. He hadn't realized it. He made a terrified face and patted his butt, looking for the missing wallet.
"Did you bring it with you?"
"No, how did I know I was going to see you? Get in, I'll buy you lunch."

We went to McDonald's and he ate while I thought about my interview. Then he went with me to find the building and somewhere to park. We did end up parking at the Newman Center and while we were standing in the building's hallway, waiting for noon Mass to finish so we could pay someone for parking, Nathan lint rolled my jacket.

I'm sure he's glad I found him there, so he could eat. But I'm glad I found him because it took us a little while to find the building where my interview was and he kept calm and helped me stay calm.