Christmas Day

Jason’s parents traditionally host a breakfast of pancakes and bacon for anyone who shows up Christmas morning. For the last 25 or so years, Dan, Sue and their daughter attend, as well as Josh, Jason, Granny, and anyone they invite. We had quite a few over for breakfast, including a few extra furry feet. After devouring too many pieces of bacon and two pancakes, I called it good. We exchanged a few more gifts, Sue made us a beautiful snowman table runner. I gave her a handmade scarf.


We spent the rest of the day with the parents, Dan and Sue left after breakfast. I took some pictures of the pileated woodpeckers that feed at Mom and Dad’s house. It can be seen on the feeder in the center of the picture on the left.

I have a pair of hairy woodpeckers at my feeders. They showed up three weeks ago and seem to like the suet feeder.

Shaun Shawn (I swear I asked Jason and he said, “Yup, not Sean”) and Char with kids came over just after lunch. Granny and Josh played a game of cribbage, while the rest of of sat in the new laundry room chatting away. I now have more pictures in the wedding directory. Char had her camera with her and apologized for not getting the pics to us yet. She offered them if I had a way to get the off the camera. So wah-la, pics from set-up, the rehearsal, and the wedding. She also brought us a lovely plant, supposedly I don’t be able to kill it. I wonder if the furry maos can do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to harm a perfectly lovely, harmless plant, I just know my track record with plants since the cats joined my life.

We left shortly after dinner in the early evening. Daisy just about went nuts when we left her with Mom and Dad. We had a nice quiet evening at home and finished packing for our trip to NY.

Christmas Eve

Mom, Dad, Granny, Jason and I had dinner around 4 in the afternoon, then packed into our Ford Focus rental car and zipped over to Granny’s church for the Christmas Eve service. We returned to Granny’s house for a rousing game of dominoes, from double twelve down to zero.

Photo record.

Jason and I celebrated our own Christmas on the 24th. Jason’s gifts for me were quite thematic. I have become quite fascinated with the birds at Jason’s feeders, so he purchased three bird feeders, two shepherds hooks and a scooper-funnel for the bird seed, as well as rope and s-hooks to hang the third feeder. He has been enjoying my Law and Order DVD collection, so I found season four and packaged that for him as well as a stuffed star penguin. The penguin came with a code to go and name a star in the international star registry. After naming it, Jason can print a certificate that will show him where the star is located.

Family Christmas in Paris

We enjoyed family Christmas at Granny’s today. Plenty of food, as evidenced by the spread on the table. We exchange names and each make or purchase a gift for one person and donate the rest of our Christmas budget to charity. Gifts were opened in alphabetical, not order of the presents order of names.

Granny opened her gift first. Jeff made her a coolie photo frame for Granny out of an old laptop and a shadow box from a local craft store. She also received a gift card for a local grocery super-store.

I opened my gifts next. I received a bunch of wonderful little things from Mom Proefrock with custom poems written just for me with many of the gifts. She made me a wonderful bag to take into the garden to hold my tools, but I like it so much that I’m toying with using it as a knitting bag.

Jason’s dad bought him a gun vise to hold rifles and whatnot while he cleans, disassembles, assembles and modifies them. He had his Christmas toy out on the living room floor within 10 minutes of being home.

Jeanne received a beautiful wall hanging made by Julie. Jeff and Jeanne purchased a new house a few months ago and needed something to hang on a particular wall. Julie took note when she was last there. Last year, Julie made all of the girls centerpieces as well, she’s quite talented with flowers, leaves, branches and things.

From Josh, Jeff received several books of of a wishlist and a Yoda bobblehead. Josh is quite talented with wrapping paper, you’ll have to see the pictures.

Josh juggles among many other talents. Fall of ’06 I purchased a book of patterns for puzzleballs, which in my opinion, make wonderful juggling apparatus. I hoped I would receive Josh’s name for Christmas, but since I didn’t, I shared my book with Jason. We used some of the fabric we decorate our tables with at the wedding. Josh is the proud owner of three new juggling balls, a loom-knit felted hat and a Bible (which hadn’t arrived as of family Christmas).

Among her above listed talents, Julie also scrapbooks. Granny found an adorable tote for scrapbook supplies (which I originally thought was a gardening bag because I received a gardening bag) and 12×12 set of three drawers for holding paper. She was also given some beautiful white slippers to keep her feet warm.

Mom was the next to open her gifts. Jeanne put together many photos in a really coolie frame as well as loading up an electronic tree ornament full of pictures. I think Jeff and Jeanne had a theme to their gifts memories in photo, very cool.

My Christmas person was Dad, I knit him a pair of tall socks that were red and cream and reloaded 200 rounds of 38 special. Jason had to teach me how to make them, so really, I only made 198 or 199.

Our photos are here.

Jeff and Jeane wrote a wonderful account of Christmas and posted many pictures.

To Africa and back . . . (part the sixth)


Wednesday, June 20

Scheduled for today was tour of Yatta, which meant a very long day. We were on the road by 8 in the morning and in bed by 11 in the eveninbunksg, with much of the time spent walking. Yatta is the campus for girls rescued from working the streets. Many of the girls have children and are given a living space so they are able to continue to care for their children. These living spaces are shared amongst several girls with children, the number varying. Education is provided for all the girls as well as child care for the young ones. Approximately 5% of the population of the Yatta Campus is older boys. This affords the girls the opportunity to have positive interactions with brothers and other males who work with them in the education environment. The boys also provide security from various possible intrusions. Yatta is spread across 200 acres located about 2 hours away by car on underdeveloped roads. The first 100 acres purchased were in the previous owner’s opinion, unworkable & “unfarmable”. When he saw that the land he deemed useless was able to produce, he sold the other, better 100 acres to MCF as well.Our tour began when we debarked from the bus and were greeted by many of the girls. As I watched the girls, I couldn’t help but wonder if many of them would have rather been anywhere else instead of greeting a bunch of strangers. My understanding later in the day was that some of our group had visited the day before, so not all were complete strangers. We watched village men and beneficiaries working on fish ponds. Currently, there are five with more to come. The ponds are stocked with small fish, then harvested to be sold outside of MCF and some for consumption at MCF. Ultimately, when the farm is in full swing, fish will be raised from eggs. Apparently, chicken poo provides nitrogen rich yummies for fish. (Just one more reason I don’t eat fish, but would have then had it ended up on the menu. I was ever so grateful it didn’t.) The foundation of the chicken house was underway during our visit. Chickens can free range in the day, but at night there are wild dogs among other thing, that find chicken yummy.class01We interrupted several classes and watched the girls sew, learn about hairdressing, chemistry, and literature. We interacted with many of the students, asking questions, answering questions, browsing classwork and listening to the teachers.As a seamstress, the girls learn first to sew by hand on the packaging from concrete. The material is like a plastic coated paper. They are graded so strictly, that I was sure I would not do well. As I inspected their classwork, I could find many of the flaws in the poorly graded projects. The ones that received higher bumueni_clothest not perfect marks, I was able to discern few errors. My guess was that it involved imprecise measurements. and pattern construction. The girls are taught to design and make their own pattern based on what the client desires. Once their hand sewing is up to par, they are able to move on to concrete bags with a treadle, as one cannot depend on reliable electricity if any at all. Once proficiency is demonstrated on the concrete bags, real fabric is used. The completed projects are kept by the girls as examples of their work for potential clients.The hairdressing classes involve detailed note-taking with practice on people later. Each girl in this program keeps an immaculate notebook of pictures and instructions for each procedure-from putting rollers in the hair, to braiding, cutting and dying.Yatta also has a computer lab, I believe there were 12-16 computers. The posters on the walls indicated that the students learn about the intricate workings on the processor, peripheral devices, and many things about which I wouldn’t have the first idea, even though I may be able to manage a large area network.We visited a chemistry class where we chatted with students. We spoke of trivial things and if conversation waned, I asked about future goals. One young man I spoke with wanted to use music to tell others about Jesus while his desk-mate desired to be a mechanical engineer. He wanted to build boats, cars, ships. They both in turn asked me about our elections and how it all worked. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for me to explain it all.As we toured, we saw many projects in various stages of completion. MCF builds when money is donated and only for what it is designated for, so if funding is not complete, the building is not completed. I cried out to God asking that he work in hearts so people understand how MCF works and to stop designating. I am not finding fault with the process, it’s what many churches do here, but it is extremely in efficient. I trust those in authority to know how best to use the money and to show at the end of the fiscal year how it was spent. It was heartbreaking to see so many partially completed projects both at N’Dalani and Yatta. yattaWe had a very late lunch, around 2 in the afternoon, then hiked off to see more the livestock and proposed farm. Charles indicated where future greenhouses would be built. If you look off in the distance, nearly the horizon, you will see a white dot. It’s a truck on the road passing by MCF Yatta. Out near that truck is the location for future greenhouses. I would hope that as I type preparations are underway for the newest donated greenhouse. After our lengthy tour, the children were released from class so we were able to interact with them. The guys in our group went to the soccer field with the boys, while the ladies in our group worked on crafts with the girls in the meeting hall. A standing joke among us ladies for the rest of the week involved us parroting to each other, “15 beads, we have to share, it’s not fair to the girl at the end of the line if we run out.” While we laughed, it was quite sad while it was happening. Many of the girls pocketed extra beads, put them in their mouth, and even into their infant’s mouth. We had no idea that beads were going to be a hot commodity. To do over again, I think the beads and the handkerchief/bandanna should have been sorted in a bag together. Then if a girl had a bandanna, we would know she received beads. Many of the ladies from our team were able to hold the young ones while the mothers/girls worked. As we waited for dinner, I was able to journal much of the above information, so it was extremely fresh. I enjoyed listening to the insects serenading each other and us. While I was unable to identify the birds, their songs were quite lovely. After dinner, we joined the children for evening devotions. I am not sure what that word means to them, I do know that to me it is more of a cross between a talent show with music, skits with morals to the story and a short thought about God. Please don’t get me wrong-I enjoyed it. I wish I had remembered to bring my second memory card to Yatta. Part of the way in to the presentations, my 2.0GB card was filled. I took many photos and some movies. The still photos are all available if you follow the link to photos. To view the movies, you will need to come visit or ask me to bring them. They are rather large with poor video quality, but the audio is awesome. Back on topic-devotions. When we joined, several different choirs sang for us. We heard a monologue from two girls in which one talked about the inequity of refusing to help street children yet complaing that street children exist and are a nuisance. The other talked about the struggle to live on the street, obtain an education, work for money to use on food, clothing, school fees, and how to find a future. I got the distinct feeling that these skits and dramatizations were very therapeutic for them. I don’t know that their society has therapists, counselors, etc., but I do know that expressing frustrations is a good way to work out what to do and how to handle overwhelming situations. Before arriving at MCF, their basic needs-food, water, clothing, shelter, education were all held ransom. Some by circumstances, some by relatives, some by strangers. They had no future, no safety, no nurturing, no God. MCF has given them a future, an outlet, and education, love, God. One of the dramas I was not able to film had a song with some of the following lyrics-

“We need love, not abusing” “We need love and understanding”

children

Family Christmas preparations

I have actually finished my intended gifts for this year, I know that’s vague, but I’ll post details and pics on Monday at the latest. I still owe a present from last year, oh well, maybe next Christmas? I was trying to figure out why I didn’t get it finished. Then I remembered I planned a wedding, went to Africa and upon return got married, then moved. I’ve been a bit busy this year.

Last night Jason and I went for a Christmas light drive. Some of the lights were incredibly elaborate but I don’t think my photos will do favorite lightsthem justice. A few of them are a little blurry, but you can see the general idea of it. All in all we enjoyed the drive, but we are fairly certain that a few of the local sheriff deputies may have followed us. Every time we looked left, right, in front of or behind us, there was a different car a little too close. I can’t help but wonder if we looked a little too suspicious stopping every few houses. Here is my favorite picture, yes, I know, the wise men are too close, but I didn’t feel I should get out and move them before taking the picture. We did see another house that appeared to have the same decorations, but I only saw the wise men, they were no where near the nativity scene.

Random Quotes

While knitting over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to music, watching movies and tv series on dvd. Here are some of my favorites:

“He’s gonna play the maracas because he’s got hands.” -Larry

“See, I’m ringing the bells just as the song suggests!” -Archibald

“And I’ve come to … step on your chickens! And soil your quilts!” -The Viking

“Nobody messes with Santa! You know that don’t you!? You’ve been very naughty! And I’ve got a list!” -Santa

“A meteor three times the size earth is heading towards us on a collision course that will result in the extinction of all life on this planet. This just in, no it’s not.” DNN Reporter on the series opener of Dinosaurs

“Am I in the story yet? Am I in the story yet?” “I’m going to bite you now.” Baby Dinosaur

I love that I am knitting while watching Dinsosaurs Season One, Episode One where we learn about how the family works and Mama is knitting something in light green for the coming baby.

“Hi, I’m the brand new baby, just out. Gotta love me” Baby Dinosaur


added March, 17, 2008
disney is the only people trap operated by a mouse

Crafts, Kids & Christmas

Last Wednesday, Jason’s Mom invited me to help out at a local school craft show. The little ones are able to purchase handmade gifts for Christmas while at school. The children take home an envelope earlier in the month so that parents/guardians can help the child determine how much to bring, how many gifts to buy for whom. It was a lot of fun. I have been trying to come up with ideas for older brothers, fathers and grandfathers as well as gifts for little ones under the age of 3.

Dad/Granddad/Brother:

  • beaded keychains that have dad or granddad on them
  • scarf with dad/granddad

Young sibling

  • maybe adorable knitting socks
  • hats
  • stuffies-animals/dolls for the little ones
  • sock puppets/animals

Suggestions?

Live Nativity – Follow the Star

We piled into Mom & Dad’s car last night and headed to a place they referred to as Tusten, with possibly an ordinal direction attached (though which I cannot remember). I must admit, I had no idea where we were by the time we arrived. There was a sign indicating the camp’s name, but in the dark after one too many turns, all I could do was hypothesize the sign did indeed indicate where we were.

After parking the car, we promptly signed the guest book, under assumed names of course. A woman indicated that we could enjoy the horse and sleigh ride in ten or fifteen minutes. However, the Nativity walk departed before then. Our group was rather large, 30-40 or more. We were unaware that groups would depart every five to ten minutes in a progressive format, hence our extremely large posse. Our guide took us on a walk with several stops, where portions of Luke 2 were read. We heard Mary receive instructions from Gabriel, the shepherds learn of the new king’s birth, the wise men’s arrival in Bethlehem and an invitation to become part of the ultimate story. The performers did a great job, it was a rather chilly night. The goats and horses were remarkably calm for all the activity surrounding them. I was slightly frustrated at the number of people, but didn’t understand that we could have waited for a later group. I would have been more patient in a smaller group, which is no excuse. I find it difficult to be joyful when I am unable to participate in an activity fully, I think that may be referred to in some circles as selfishness. Good thing I’m a work in progress, otherwise I’d be up a creek.

After the journey around the camp following the star, everyone was invited to have some cocoa, coffee, cookies and/or light dinner. In the dining room, we could purchase products from home-based businesses such as the rubber stamping for profit and free stuff if you convince your friends and family to buy enough and cooking for friends in your house so they will buy stuff and you can get free merchandise. (I’ll not mention any names.) I’m not sure that was the best way to end a Live Nativity walk that focused on God’s gift to us, but I will admit to being skeptical about many things in life. Don’t get me wrong, the items for sale were beautiful, I just question the appropriateness of the sale of that and encouragement to sign-up to host/hostess a “party” at home during this occasion. </steps off soapbox>

In the spirit of the giving season, while we drove I attempted to work on a knitting project, but the evening light faded too quickly. I was too concerned with the possibility of dropping a stitch or twisting one the wrong way, so I put it away for another day.

Indiana Road Trip

Julie and her family invited us (all of us) to travel with them to hear her brother, Steve, and a bunch of other really talented guys attending Notre Dame sing for us. (Beware, the website seems to take a while to load.) Well, not just us, but it felt like it. We were able to listen to the Glee Club perform their holiday concert.

We had great conversation in the car with Mom & Dad on our way to GR, Josh & Julie to
Indiana and back, and Mom, Dad, & Granny from GR home. We had many, many interesting discussions, not the least of which involved the Olympics. I was fairly certain that the Winter Olympics coincided with US Presidential elections and Summer Olympics were two years off. My basis for this was knowing that the 1980 Olympics were in Lake Placid. I remember hearing the torch went by our town, but not through it. Jason remembered the Atlanta Games being in 1996, which would not be the correct rotation. It seemed as if only one of us could be correct. Since I knew it was me, I used my favorite search engine to find http://www.olympic.org/. From 1924 through 1992, the Summer and Winter Games were held the same year, which feels slightly familiar. In 1994, the Winter Games went solo, while the Summer Games kept with the previous schedule. Technically, we were both slightly correct. All of this information is paraphrased from the official Olympic Site, see link above.

Just so I can tag this entry with knitting, I did some knitting in the car on the way down to Notre Dame. This project is not going as quickly as the previous project, but I have two weeks, barely, I think I can get it done. I worked on the non-knitting portion of my gift and got about half of it finished. I love that Jason and I are working together to complete our gifts for the family, sharing skills that the other one has. I’ll post more info and pictures after December 23rd. I have a different idea, wish I had known a little earlier, I don’t have good colors for the other item. Maybe I’ll find some and be able to deliver a present a different year.

Many interesting thoughts, ideas and feelings were inspired as a result of the trip to ND.

Christmas Cheer

So I was surfing around last night for a knitting pattern and happened upon a fun Christmas site. It actually has a lot of joke like things, but be forewarned, I only played in the Christmas area, I can’t speak to the appropriateness of the rest of it. Actually, I would venture that most of the rest is not appropriate for the average person. The site is http://www.jokesunlimited.com/christmas_elf_name.php. I’m not going to link it, you can copy and paste it into your browser.

My Christmas Elf Name is Pinky Fluffy-Paw. I originally used the code to link the pics that came with it, but decided I didn’t want images on external sites loading, nor did I want to boost their google rating.