Monday, December 10, 2018

It's Monday Again!

Good Morning!

Monday seems to have come around awfully quickly (as always).  For those of you in the Southeast with the major snow storm I hope you are all ok and warm and safe.  I talked with my friend who lives outside of Greensboro, NC and at 3 p.m. yesterday they had a foot of snow!  It was still coming down while we talked and then it changed to freezing rain - not a good thing.  My parent company's office in Charlotte is closed today.  Meanwhile in PA we have no snow, but it sure is cold!

The weekend turned out well.  I got a little cleaning and a tiny amount of decorating done Friday night.  I was up early Saturday cooking and then had to run out to the store.  I had no fresh veggies for our meal!  (and needed wine...).  I made an easy chicken casserole with mushrooms and we had some cinnamon carrots and French green beans to go with that.  My SIL brought a loaf of home-made 12 grain bread (yummy).  Dessert was a pear & cranberry cobbler with whipped cream.  Colin and Mailing joined us as well.  It was fun and nice to see my brother and SIL again, but I had to lay down after they left - my head was pounding.  My brother is extremely loud and gets even louder the more worked up he becomes on any given issue (and the more he has to drink).  Luckily no political discussions came up.  I'm just not used to the noise level.  But, still, it was a nice time and I'm glad they came.

That night I was still too full from the afternoon meal for any dinner.  But I did accomplish some knitting!  Not finished yet, but close (still playing yarn chicken here - I think/hope I will win).

I'm pleased with how I've managed to match these.  I unraveled some yarn from the skein before starting sock #2 so that I would begin in the same place yarn-colour-wise.  And it worked!  These came with me to work today and I'm hoping to knit some at lunch.

Yesterday was full of chores.  We went grocery shopping.  I paid bills and updated spreadsheets where I track what we spend (basically so I see how much $$$ we waste).  I made a HUGE pot of spaghetti sauce for dinner using some Italian sausage (hot and sweet) that Fletch had grilled the other week.  Lots of peppers, mushrooms and onions too.  Now we have a bunch of sauce in the freezer.  And last night I finally started making cookies.  To start with I made oatmeal raisin.  Probably my least favorite cookie, but Fletcher's favorite so I think I deserve some points for that.

And I wrapped Colin's birthday gifts (his birthday is tomorrow and we are celebrating next Saturday at his and Mailing's place).  Look at this great wrapping paper I found.  I love it!

Sorry - I can't manage to turn it around.

It's amazing what I can get done when I don't take a nap - lol. 

And, as always happens, I had 4 books come through on Overdrive in the last couple of days!  The latest by Louise Penny ("Kingdom of the Blind") - Inspector Gamache.  Can't wait!  And "The Feather Thief" which I've been waiting for it feels like a year!  "Overstory" came in - I will probably let that one go and put myself back on the wait list, and one other I will let go (can't remember the title right now).

I hope you all had wonderful weekends and that the week ahead finds you smiling!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Felines

Hi All,

A very busy Friday!!  Not my usual style, but there you have it.  Nothing was accomplished last night...but that's ok, because Colin was over for dinner and that trumps chores any day of the week.  Fletch is doing some cleaning today (Yay!!) and I will tackle bathrooms tonight.  And the kitchen....I need to start cooking early tomorrow morning as we are planning a mid-day meal for my brother and SIL (and Colin & Mailing).  My hope/plan is that by tomorrow night I am taking it easy and knitting.  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, for your enjoyment, here is a shot of Talbot reading the Wall Street Journal.  LOL  If I'm not mistaken that was the WSJ's gift guide - perhaps he was perusing for gifts for Colin & Mailing?

Tyg has been in some very cute/playful poses lately, but every time I try to get a picture of him he moves and turns his back to me.

The weekend is pretty full.  Believe Fletch plans to go out and get a tree for us early next week and we will decorate on Thursday when Colin comes over for dinner again.

Wishing you all the best of weekends - enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 12-5-18

Well Hello All,

Here we are on an unraveled Wednesday...3 weeks before decorating has been done at my house (well, Fletch did put up the pine cone wreath that his Mom made for us a long, long time ago...he tried 3-4 different strands of lights for our patio and all of them only half lit - I think he is going out today to buy more lights).  I have not written a single card and I have not wrapped any gifts.  Also, I have not baked a single cookie.  And, I'm not sure when any of that will happen...but there is time and for once in my life I don't feel anxious or pressured.  YAY!!!

Tonight we are meeting friends for dinner and I'm looking forward to that a lot.  So between Thursday and Saturday morning I need to do some cleaning and food prep - my brother and sister-in-law are coming up on Saturday for the day to celebrate the holidays (at least their gifts are bought...just not wrapped - ha!).  Colin & Mailing will be coming over too.  I'm not taking either Thursday or Friday off, so my nights will be a little busy.

On the knitting front, I made it to the heel flap on the 2nd sock last night:

This morning over coffee I started the heel flap.  I'm thinking/hoping I'll be ok with yarn.  I made the 1st sock pretty long (88 rows for the leg).  I kept weighing the yarn and had not used half of it for the first sock.  BUT this is Lang Jawoll yarn and I had not realized that tucked in the center of the skein is a bundle of reinforcing yarn (which I didn't use on the first toes because I didn't know it was there!!).  If I run out towards the end, I'll just use black yarn...after all, the socks will be in shoes.  Wish me luck!!

I finished reading "The Alice Network" by Kate Quinn the other night and I really enjoyed it.  I may have liked it even more than "The Nightingale."  "Overstory came in on Overdrive and I hope to start that in a few days - there have been so many mixed reviews, I'm curious about it.  Meanwhile, I wanted something very light (a la "chick-lit") to read and picked "The Hideaway" by Lauren Denton.  Enjoyable and very fast reading - I managed to get through a third of it last night!

That's it for me on this mid-week day.  Clouds are moving in and there is a chance of some "wintry mix" of precipitation later - but I think that is mostly for South & East of Philadelphia (we are North & West).  Hope everyone's week is going well.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Another Finish and Another Parade!

Hi All,

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend.  Mine started off with a finish Friday night!!

My little brother's mitts are finished.  I love the way they turned out.  I'm also happy to be finished (for the time being) knitting with Lopi yarn.  I had no problems with it when making my Sigla sweater, but knitting the mitts was very hard on my hands/fingers.  The yarn was also very, very splitty.

So, Saturday Dee and I met up in Franconia at the Mennonite Heritage Center for their annual Christmas Market.  The barn (where we first went) was filled with produce of various kinds.  I ended up getting some scallions, kale, salad turnips and beautiful loin lamb chops.  The main building had a room set up with items for sale:  Moravian (I think) stars, beautiful wooden bowls, some woven items.  I managed to find a little stocking stuffer for Mailing.

The Center is very nice.  There are a number of rooms - there was an art show in one and historical items and info in another.  Hanging high on the walls are gorgeous woven coverlets.  One wall had a sampler and a wreath.  My pictures are not great due to the glare, but this sampler/linen towel was stitched in silk in 1833!

The wreath is made from hair!  I know that hair was often incorporated into samplers in memory of a loved one, but I had not seen a wreath previously:

That's a lot of hair!!

It did not take long to look at everything and then Dee and I were ready to head out for some coffee.  We went to Broad Street Grind in Souderton.  It took a little longer than expected to get there...we had to detour around a closed road because:  yup - another Christmas parade.  If you have not already, check out Dee's blog - she got some great pictures of the John Deere tractors in the parade as well as many fire engines.  Once again, our seats afforded us great views as the parade went right by the coffee shop.  We ended up having lunch there as well which was delicious!

I headed home mid-afternoon...had a short time at home and then Fletch and I took off for Colin & Mailing's for dinner.  Colin cooked a delicious birthday dinner for Mailing:  brisket and veggies and a carrot cake for dessert.  Everything was tasty and we had a great time. 

Now it's another work week.  Hopefully it won't drag out too much!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Feines

Hello All,

Happy Friday and Happy December (tomorrow)!  It's a bit grey outside (again) and we expect some rain later on (again).  But hey!  The weekend is just about upon us and that makes me happy.

I did manage to knit during lunch one day this week, but last night saw no knitting at all.  Colin stopped by for dinner and after he left I ended up on the phone with a friend.  Hopefully more knitting at lunch today.

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with Dee at a Mennonite Christmas Market (part farm market and part craft fair) - hopefully that will be fun and then hoping to find a nearby coffee shop and settle in for coffee, chatter and a bit of knitting...and some lunch.

We will get to see these two tomorrow night when we head over to Colin & Mailing's to celebrate Mailing's birthday (which is today).

I love Marcel's crossed paws...and what a fluffy tail he has!

Wishing you all the best of weekends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

One More Finished!

Good Blustery Morning!

Whew!  It is SO windy outside.  I heard on my drive into work that we were having tropical storm force winds.  Let me assure you, our temperatures are not even close to tropical.  It is just around 30 outside...there is snow on the radar map all around us - fairly close - but luckily nothing right here.  But those winds...they could knock you off your feet!  I am cozy warm though in fleece leggings, boots and a beautiful cashmere sweater that was given to me...gosh!  probably 25 or more years ago!

Last night I made a vegetable dish that my Mom always fixed at Thanksgiving - scalloped onions and peppers.  Basically you just saute some bell peppers (sliced) and onions (sliced) in butter.  Pour them into a casserole dish and then make a white sauce and add a boat load of cheese to that.  Pour over the veggies and bake in a moderate oven (325) for 30-45 minutes.  Fletch loves this dish...Colin doesn't eat cheese, so we never have it at Thanksgiving these days.  I enjoyed it, but I guess I'm not used to such rich food because I did not feel so good later on....

But, I did manage to finish the first mitt for my brother in CO:

Again, this is made using leftover Lopi yarn from the sweater I knit myself last year.  The colors are hard to see in this photo, but the bottom part is green and the top a kind of burnished gold.  The second mitt will be reversed.  I hope to get that started tonight.

Each day this week I've brought my sock knitting to work (and my book), but so far I have not had a chance to knit (or have a proper lunch hour).  I'm hoping that changes today.  It should be fairly quiet.

Mid-week and I am looking forward to the weekend!  Hope your week is going well.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Back to Work

Hello All,

How was your Thanksgiving?  Tasty?  Ours was delicious.  And also bitter cold (outside temp - not the food - lol).  It did not get above 28 on Thursday!  The gathering at Colin & Mailing's was smaller than usual as her parents were both in China.  Colin and I watched a few episodes of Monty Python (the original Flying Circus - now on Netflix!!) before dinner.  Fletch and I waddled home around 8:30 or 9 p.m.

It was so wonderful to have so much time off work!  I think I averaged 10 hours of sleep each night!  Of course, last night was the exception and I was awake most of the night (and am dragging this morning).

I did manage to finish the mitts for my sister-in-law.  The colors are not accurate in the photo.  The cuffs are grey, and then the other two colors are purple and blue.  I realized I did not have enough of any one color to make two mitts, so I just reversed the blue and purple and I like them!

The picture above makes them look huge, but they fit my hands nicely.  Being made with Lopi yarn, they are extra warm!  I'm more than halfway finished the first mitt for my brother- they should be finished this week.

I made breakfast bars using Colin's recipe and they turned out great!  They are a bit crumbly and easily fall apart, but the taste is wonderful.  Kathy B wanted the recipe, so here it is:

Breakfast Bars

2 Cups dried fruit (Colin used dates and cherries; I used apricots and cranberries)
2 Cups nuts (Colin used almonds; I used pistachios and walnuts)
2 Cups rolled oats
¼ Cup nut butter (we both used peanut butter)
¼ Cup honey (I used maple syrup instead)

Chop the dried fruit in food processor until it becomes a ball.  Put in bowl.  Either chop the nuts in the food processor or rough chop them with a knife.  Add to bowl with fruit.  Add the oats.  Using your hands, mix all of that together.

Put the nut butter and honey or syrup in a small saucepan and heat on low until it is all liquid.  Pour into bowl with fruit, nuts and oats and mix all together.

Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper and add the mixture, tamping it down.  Put another piece of parchment paper on top and weight that down.  Place in freezer for 2.5 hours.

Pull out of freezer, cut into bars, individually wrap and store in freezer.

 Let me know if you make any!!

Some of you asked about the cranberry and fig sauce.  It was a recipe from the November issue of Bon Appetit and it was good...but I missed the flavors of orange and cinnamon.  Instead there were flavors of shallot and fresh rosemary and balsamic vinegar was added. 

On the reading front, I finished "To The Bright Edge of the World" last Wednesday.  Fabulous!!  Five Stars!!  I did not want the story to end.  Now I'm in the midst of reading The Alice Network which is an easy, but good read.

Friday, the 30th, is Mailing's birthday and we will be back at Colin & Mailing's for a birthday dinner on Saturday.  I think/hope here parents will be back from China and will join us.

Luckily it seems pretty quiet at work today.  I plan to order a few things on line this morning and then knit on a sock at lunch!  Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 11-21-18

Good Morning!

Boy did I sleep in this morning!!  Usually I'm up by 5:30 on work mornings and typically by 6:30 or so on weekends.  Today?  I rolled out of bed at 8:15.  What a luxury.

I did manage to knit after dinner last night and finished the first sock.  Lest I enter into Second Sock Syndrome, I promptly started the second:

A little busy on that Fall tablecloth....I have not measured exactly yet, but I think I managed to start the second sock in approximately the same place in the yarn colors as the first one, so they should be close to matching.  I think these will be for Fletch - he has been admiring the texture (Hermoine's pattern) and likes the colors.  Hoping to knit a bit more today, but also want to work on the fingerless mitts.

I did make the cranberry fig sauce this morning.

I'm anxious to taste it when it has cooled more.  While warm it was good...but not my favorite.  However, we all like trying new things, so that's good.  There are shallots and fresh rosemary in this as well as balsamic vinegar (and the only balsamic vinegar I have on hand is a few more flavors thrown in).

A few weeks ago Colin had brought over some home-made breakfast bars that were so good.  He gave me the recipe and I plan to make some of them this afternoon...will let you know how they turn out.  I will also mix up the dough for my pie crust.  I am only making a pumpkin pie this year (usually I make apple and pecan as well).  But I think Mailing's sister may bring a pie and there will only be five of no need for a ton of desserts. 

I also need to run out to do a couple of errands this afternoon.  Hopefully places won't be too crowded (not holding my breath on the liquor store though).  Fletch heard that someone is now making a cranberry liquor - hoping to find that we well as some wine to take to Colin & Mailing's.

On the reading front, I am almost finished To The Bright Edge of The World.  So good!  I don't want it to end...but my overdrive loan ran out a couple of days ago, so time to finish it and let it wing back over the airwaves to someone else.

Linking up with Kat and friends this day before Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

More Fog

Hello All,

Another very foggy morning here (this time mostly brain isn't quite as foggy this morning).  My bosses agreed I should not come in to work tomorrow.  Woo-Hoo!  I'm going to try a new recipe for a cranberry sauce that includes dried figs in it - I'll let you know how that turns out.  It will be so nice to have the day tomorrow to putter around and get a few things made.  I'll most likely make the dough for the pie crust, but will hold off baking a pie until Thursday morning.  We won't be going over to Colin & Mailing's until mid-afternoon.

I did manage to knit some last night and I only have 8 rows or so until the toe decrease on the sock.  I brought it to work and am hoping that I can take a little time to knit today.

Our weather forecast for Thursday is showing only a high of 28!  Brrrrr.  Meanwhile, here is an image I found on the web years ago and just love:

Wishing you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Foggy Monday

Hello All,

It is a foggy morning - not only outside...but also in my brain - lol.  I'm having some problem getting going this morning.  Even stopping at Starbucks on my way to work didn't help.

The weekend was relaxed which was lovely.  I met up with Dee on Saturday morning at "our" hangout - Backyard Beans.  Yay!!!  The Cardamom Black Pepper Latte is back.  So good!  We had some of that and then we had some tea and knit and chatted.  For me, an ideal Saturday morning.  I worked on the fingerless mitt for my SIL and got up to where I will increase for the thumb:

(Nothing more has been done on this).

If you read Dee's Blog you know there was a parade in Lansdale that day.  We were almost trapped!!  The main road and many side roads were blocked off, but we managed to make our way to the diner and ended up with front row seats.  It was a little chilly, so it was nice to watch the parade from inside (and while munching on fries!!).  Lots of fire trucks, local high school bands, some penguins on a float and, of course, Santa!!

Sunday I woke up late, but still managed to cook breakfast for Fletch and me (pancakes with Asian pear - yum!!).  We did some grocery shopping and I got a bit of knitting done on the sock:

About another 40 rows or so and I can decrease for the toes.

This is a short week at work.  My office closes at 1 on Wednesday and then is closed Thursday and Friday.  I may not bother coming in on Wednesday.  There are a few things I'm making for Thanksgiving to take to Colin & Mailings and I could use the day at home.  I'll see how things flow today and tomorrow.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!

Friday, November 16, 2018

TGIF 11-16-18

Hello All,

It seems as though Winter is upon us.  The snow started here around 11 yesterday morning.  The snow was very pretty coming 12 mile commute home was not so pretty - lol.  I left the office around 1:10 p.m. and walked in my door just before 4 p.m.  The roads were so packed with folks that I averaged 3-4 mph the entire way!!  Initially I was attempting to take back roads home, but there were so many cars stuck that I headed for the main highway.  I got home safely and that's what matters. 

Meanwhile, our Thanksgiving luncheon yesterday was so nice.  Shortened up quite a bit due to the weather - no one hung around for long, but the food was excellent.

This morning I woke up to more snow - crazy!  It was supposed to turn to rain, but it did not.  Once it stopped around 7 a.m. I went out to clear the car and warm it up.  No problems getting into the office - very light traffic and just slush on the roads.  Breakfast was just delivered, so all is good!! boss told me to leave by Noon today.  Nice!!

I was pretty tired after the commute home and actually fell asleep at the table knitting - lol.  Here is the start to the Lopi fingerless mitts.  These are going to be SO warm!!

I was not the only one who fell asleep!  Tyg must have been in and out of the house 15 times within a 90 minute span of time.  He'd go out and then want to come in...he'd sit by the door and meow to go out again. 

And here are some more Friday kitties for you.  Colin texted me this picture of Talbot and Marcel this morning:

They look so cozy.  The green trunk/chest that Marcel is sitting on is one my Dad used when he was in college!!

Wishing you all a lovely and snow-free weekend!  Stay warm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 11-14-18

Well Good Morning!  It is chilly (about 32 this a.m.), but sunny.  I guess winter is upon us (for a bit anyway).  Tomorrow's forecast is for snow/sleet/rain/more snow/etc.  No real accumulation for us is forecast (Colin & Mailing could get 3-5").  I'm betting everyone comes to work anyway because tomorrow is our Thanksgiving luncheon here - always a tasty time.

Meanwhile, I have nothing to show you!  There has been no progress on the sock.  Last night I cast on for fingerless mitts which I want to make for my brother and SIL in CO for Christmas, but after 5 rows of ribbing I ripped them out:  1) I was using red yarn and red needles (don't ask why - I don't know) and, of course, I was having trouble seeing the yarn and 2) I think they were going to be too small (like kid size instead of adult size).  I've decided to try knitting some up in my left over Lopi yarn from my Sigla sweater.  They should be extra toasty for all the wintry weather they get in CO.

Reading is continuing - I'm still reading "To The Bright Edge of the World" and enjoying it immensely.  I'm taking my time with it because the language is so beautiful.  The Alaskan folk tales contained within the story are really good too.  The only issue I have is that I tend to feel really cold when I read it - lol.  Alaska in April in 1885 with snow and ice and no food and Indians and animals....oh dear! 

Hope this mid-week check-in finds you all doing well!

Monday, November 12, 2018


Hello All,

Chilly this a.m.  This is the first morning I had to scrape my windshield!  A frosty (but pretty) world out there.

The weekend has come and gone so quickly.  Fletch and I decided to postpone our day away until Sunday as Saturday was bitterly cold with high winds.  Instead we did the grocery shopping and I picked up my new glasses.  That night I fixed a chicken dinner:

This is such a tasty and easy meal to fix:  I sauteed garlic, red onion, orange bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes and capers in some EVOO.  Added some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and continued cooking.  Added some fresh basil near the end.

Sunday did turn out to be a gorgeous day!  We headed out around 10:30, going West and then North.  We passed some beautiful farmlands and even saw some Amish buggies on the road.  We stopped for lunch at a diner and then continued and ended up around Hawk Mountain - a favorite place to hike (but we didn't stop as it was already around 2 p.m.).  Basically we have turned into "those Sunday drivers" we used to shake our fists at - lol.  It was just so pleasant and for the most part there was not much traffic.

We were home in time to relax before dinner which was vegetable beef soup I had started in the crock pot that morning.  Easy peasy.

I am still in the "lack of cowl" phase, but a new sock has been started:

The colors remind me of an Icelandic sweater - black, grey and white.  I'm almost to the heel flap of the first sock.

Hope you all enjoyed a fine weekend!  And here's to the week ahead.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Creatures

Hello All,

32 degrees according to my phone this a.m.  Chilly!!  Of course, it is Friday which means that rain (quite heavy) is forecast for us today.  But, it is Friday and that's a very nice thing.  I've got conference calls starting shortly, so this will be short.

First up we have the acrobat - Tyg.  He may want to join the circus!!

Fletch had been up on the roof during the day yesterday to look at a few things/do a few repairs/improvements.  Colin stopped by on his way to go out for drinks with friends and as he was leaving, he heard Tyg on the ladder.  I can't believe he comes down head first!

Next up, the latest addition to my brother's family in Boulder Colorado.  Meet Cecilia Maria (Cici for short) who looks suspiciously like the Flying Nun here!

She is part Australian Sheep Dog and part something else...not sure what, but her paws look mighty big to me in this picture.

Fletch and I plan to take off tomorrow and just drive - kind of north and west - and see where we end up!  Should be a fun exploring trip.  Oh and my new glasses are ready, so we'll pick those up first.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 11-7-18

Good Morning!

The sun is out and it is a beautiful morning which is a good thing since there has been a lot of unraveling this week!  I posted on Monday about ripping out the socks I had started.  And now I have what I am calling "a lack of cowl."

What had been a gorgeous start to a lovely cowl is no more.  I had finished the seed stitch border and started into the lace work.  On row 4 (I think) of the lace work I somehow ended up with two stitches too many.  I started to tink back, but the entire row was messed up in so many places...not sure what I was doing!

That project plus a new sock project (not started yet) are in the bag I brought to work, but based on the e-mails I've already had today, it appears that I will not be taking a lunch hour.  Another busy day at least the day should fly by!

I did finish Warlight several days ago and enjoyed it.  I give it 4 stars.  The first half kind of dragged/got boring for me, but I really liked the second half.  I started To The Bright Edge of the World the other night and so far, so good!

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.  What are you up to?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day!

I did...did you???

It is another grey and wet day, but the lines were out the door when I voted just after 7 this morning.  Same thing for my boss and also Mailing.  That's a good sign!  Let's hope for a positive change.

Get out and vote if you have not already!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Another Rainy Monday

Good Morning!

Another grey, wet day here.  Yesterday was GORGEOUS.  We ended up getting tornado warnings Friday night which I slept through!  Luckily the "area of concern" was actually a little northwest of us.

All in all, it was a nice weekend.  I left work early on Friday, did some domestic chores and then headed up to Colin & Mailing's for dinner.  Fletch was already there.  After dinner we played Tokaido which was fun.  It's a board game we gave Col & Mailing 3-4 years ago, and they finally got it out a couple of weeks ago to play.

Saturday was extremely windy and more than a little chilly, but Dee and I met up at the Lansdale Farmers' Market.  We made the rounds quickly (I was freezing!!) and then headed over to Backyard Beans for some beverages, some chatting, and almost no knitting - lol.

I did some ripping though!  The teal colored yarn in the front is mine and it is just too soft for socks.  Luckily I hadn't gotten too far.

Sunday was filled (unfortunately) with more domestic chores (specifically the kitchen floor) and grocery shopping and cooking.  But, I did manage to start Leaving Cowl - a free pattern on Ravelry.  Rather than sport weight, I am using a MadTosh sock yarn.

I forget the color name of the yarn, but it has lovely shades of blue with a bit of copper thrown in and some sparkly bits.  I brought it to work and am hoping to finish the seed stitch border so that I'll be ready to start the pattern tonight.

Still reading Warlight, but almost finished.  I fell asleep with my Kindle open last night - guess I was a little too tired to read.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Finished Hat

Good Morning!

Did you all have a nice Halloween?  We did not have a single person/child/animal come to our house for treats.  So...I brought the candy we had bought into the will disappear quickly I'm sure.

Around here, the colors are finally beginning to pop.  I pass this tree on my to and from work.  Yesterday on my way home I was able to stop in the street for a moment to get a shot of it.  It is just brilliant!

Yesterday my office closed early for Halloween.  Lots of other places must have too because traffic was heavy at 2 p.m.!!  But, with the bit of extra time, the Crazy Hat was completed last night.  Just as I thought, a 4th color came in at the top.  This color wasn't as long a repeat as the others, but I like the way it turned out.  First up, my willing model, Fletch, in the completed hat:

And here's the top - I tried to spread the hat out so you could see all the variations in color.

I even tried it on - so soft and (I think) it will be plenty warm.  I love it.  Guess I need to make one for moi!  But I think next up will be some socks (of course) and some fingerless mitts.

Meanwhile, gotta run - more reports to do today at work and also open enrollment starts today.  I need to remember to sign up!  hope your week is going well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 10/31/18

Happy Halloween!!

Yesterday was our Halloween "party" at work.  Some of the costumes were so clever (others...not so much...).  The food was quite good and there were plenty of laughs.  Pictures that were taken did not turn out well - the room was too dark.  I think the best costume(s) were from cash management who came as Little Bo Peep and her sheep.  Hysterical.  This is the same group that won a few years back for Train Wreck Barbie and Alcoholic Ken.

Anyhoo, it was a crazy/busy day for me (I was in the office by 6:30 a.m.).  It's that time of year when EVERYTHING happens and is due at the same time - performance appraisals, bonus calculations for the field, etc., etc.  Today will be a little easier.

I did manage to knit some on the Crazy Hat last night and am now up to the decrease part of the crown.  Here's a picture of Fletch trying it for me.

You can see (barely) a third color at the top.  I think a 4th color will appear, but not until the very end of the decreases.  It is soft and feels really nice.  I hope Colin likes it.

Tyg has been on a walk-about or gallivanting around quite a bit lately!  Last night as I was cooking dinner it appeared he was in a bit of a stand-off (picture a bit fuzzy as taken through the door so the cats wouldn't be scared off):

Shortly after I took this shot, the interloper (with a rather large, red collar) got up and walked away.  Tyg quickly followed and he never came back till 5:45 this morning!!

Well, the e-mails are flying in with questions regarding bonus roll-ups I completed yesterday...I'd best get to it!  Happy Mid-Week!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Another Grey Monday

Good Morning!

Another grey one here, but they say the sun will come out.  The forecast Nor'Easter on Saturday wasn't nearly as bad as the dire forecasts had been, but it was still chilly (48 or so), very windy and a bit wet.  Dee and I skipped the Farmers' Market (we plan to go next Saturday) and met up for coffee and knitting instead.  It was just what I needed and Dee even taught me a new trick!!  I was working on Colin's Crazy Hat and talking more than paying attention to my knitting.  I realized I had started ribbing in the middle of a row...and I was already on plain stockinette stitch for the main part of the hat.  Rather than ripping back, Dee taught me how to change the purl stitch into a knit stitch when I came to it on the next row.  Very cool and an extremely handy trick for me.

Meanwhile, here is the hat as of Sunday morning.  Since this picture was taken I've knit quite a bit more and I'm just about at the point to start decreasing.

I like it, but I wish the color changes were more frequent.  The yarn is also not quite as thick as I thought it was, but overall, I think it will be fine for a warm, wool hat.  The red part is the brim - made long enough to double, but I didn't want to make it that way permanently...he'll be able to fold it up or not as he wishes.

Other than a pleasant few hours with Dee Saturday morning, the balance of the weekend was about the normal domestic chores that somehow wait until the weekend to be done.  I did get out and ordered new glasses yesterday, and I can't wait for them.

Still reading "Warlight" and enjoying it (I can put it down - don't feel compelled to read, but it is still good), and Fletch and I started reading this book after dinner.  We just started last night, but are enjoying it a lot.

Wishing you all the best of weeks!  This will be another crazy week at work for me. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

TGIF 10-26-18

Hello All,

Another chilly start to the day - 35 degrees at my house.  And the promise of a rainy start to the weekend...again...but the sunrise was gorgeous this a.m.!  I snapped this shot through the car window when I stopped at the bank on my way to work (way too many wires in the shot, but at least you can see the brilliant colors):

My 8:30 conference call just finished and my 10:00 call has been cancelled.  On the down -side of this last Friday in October.  Can't believe next week is Halloween!

I did manage to wind the yarn for Colin's hat the other night and actually started it!  Still on the ribbing portion for the brim, but progress is being made.  I also wound 3 other skeins of yarn, so I am set to make a few things!

On the reading front I (finally) finished "Women in Sunlight" by Frances Mayes which was just ok.  Last night I started Warlight which came through on Overdrive.  So far, it is excellent!  I'm a bit surprised as (unlike everyone else) I did not care for The English Patient.  It's nice to finally be reading a book I am thoroughly enjoying!

Weekend plans include meeting Dee at a farmers' market (I hope it is not pouring rain) and then go for coffee.  I also need to pick out frames and get new glasses ordered.  Of course the usual chores are in need of being done as well (they never go away).

Wishing you all a lovely weekend - enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday - the Electric Version!

Good Morning!

The sun is shining brightly and there is a Fall nip in the air.  I'm loving it.

My socks are finished!!  Woo-Hoo!!!

They are longer than normal (100 rows on the leg) and just plain vanilla.  Thank goodness the yarn was interesting otherwise those 100 rows would have been extremely difficult to knit!  the yarn is from MadTosh and the colorway is "Electric Rainbow."  Such happy socks!!  The 2nd one came off the needles just before 9 p.m. last night.  I had hoped to wind the "crazy" yarn for Colin's hat, but I was too tired.  So tonight that should happen.

Reading "Women in Sunlight" by Frances Mayes which is not great.  I'm plodding through it (almost done now) because everything else I have started recently has been worse.   guess I'm just in one of those reading slumps.  This too shall pass.  And, I have some promising "real" books on my nightstand just waiting for me to pick them up.

Fletch and I have been reading The Wild Muir which is a fun read (but boy did that dude take some CRAZY chances).  We are almost finished that and am not sure what's up next...I had suggested The Grapes of Wrath or To Kill a Mockingbird.

Work is crazy busy right now.  partly because of catching up from being out so much recently, but partly because of the time of year.  Our fiscal year ended in September...the new one started in October.  It's bonus calculation time for all in the field and my operations group.  The turn-around time is extremely tight this year (like 5 days for 600+ calculations).  And, open enrollment starts November 1st.  I attended a Webinar yesterday where, of course, employee cost was not covered.  I'm sure that's going up (again).

Meanwhile I have my review today.  All reviews are done online now and I completed my self evaluation last week.  I received an e-mail this morning that Bill had completed his part.  The review is excellent (YAY) and I anticipate getting the maximum raise (which will NOT negate the increase in benefit cost I am sure....).

So busy, busy, but loving the weather and looking forward to the weekend!  Hope everyone's week is going well.  Joining Kat and friends on this Unraveled Wednesday.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Another Fun Saturday and YARN!!!

Hello All,

Well, I'm back from Atlanta (and let me tell you - that traffic is nasty - 6 lane highway at a gridlock at 6:30 a.m. - YIKES!!).  The meeting was very good.  The massage was EXCELLENT.  The winery dinner was good - not great.  Bottom line:  I am happy to be home and I am staying put for as long as I can - lol.  Four trips inside of two months is too much for this old soul.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dee and I had to get together on had been way too long.  She showed up at my house Saturday morning and we made our way into Manayunk the LONG way (i.e., no Schuylkill Expressway for us) to Hidden River Yarns.  I didn't even realize there was a Dead Grandma in the window - check out Dee's Blog for a pic of Dead Grandma - wonderful!!

Of course we both bought yarn.  Here's my haul (I was very, very restrained):

The yarn on the right will become a hat - I think for Colin.  The yarn on the left (Mango colorway) is destined for toes and cuffs (100% wool, no nylon).

I was also able to snap up a copy of Issue 5 of Laine.  Apparently back issues are "scarce as hen's teeth" and I have wanted this issue after seeing one of the pieces in a shop window in MA last month.  Whew!  These magazines are not cheap, but the patterns are wonderful and the articles/interviews are just great too.

After wandering the streets for a bit, we headed to a pub for lunch (awesome chicken BBQ nachos for moi and a beer brewed with coffee which was so good!!) and then hit a Starbucks on the way home for coffee and knitting (and, of course, some good talk).

Sometimes I feel like I won the lottery when Dee moved North.  We ALWAYS have a great time when we get together (and it has been way too long since I had friends in the area).  Thanks Dee for a fun day and looking forward to our next get together.

Sunday has been lazy - laundry (of course) and grocery shopping (of course).  I felt like crap when we got home from the grocery store...but a 2 hour nap revived me and I have some sauce (garlic, peppers, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, grilled sausage and a tiny amount of ground round) bubbling away on the stove for dinner.  I'm thinking Monday is going to be busy, busy, busy for me.  Wishing you all a lovely week!

Sunday, October 14, 2018


Well Hi There!

It's late Sunday afternoon.  Soon Fletch will light the grill.  He is grilling steaks and also cooking potatoes on the grill tonight.  I'll make a salad - with Garden Lettuce!!!  Hard to believe we are getting lettuce now.  Wonderful.

Meanwhile, with all the tomatoes Fletch picked, I decided I needed to make ketchup - the tomatoes would not hold till next weekend when I am back home again.  So after breakfast (raspberry pancakes and sausage - yum!!), I got to work chopping.  Then things had to simmer for 2+ hours.

Fletch confirmed, by the way, that this particular variety of tomatoes is supposed to be orange.  Meanwhile, the results:

Five jars.  It was the perfect day to do this as it was in the low 40's when we got up and didn't break out of the 50's all day (yes, another grey, dreary one).

I did manage to finish the first electric rainbow sock on Friday. And start the second one!

The shot is more than a bit washed out - the sock is really much brighter and very fun!!  The second one will be traveling with me to Atlanta tomorrow.

Fletch has been busy pruning bushes close to the house (to allow more light in through the windows (it's Fall!!).  Every year he tries to find praying mantis egg cases to put in our vegetable garden - we often have contests to see who can guess when the babies will hatch.  Today he found one:

Well, I'm packed for Atlanta and ready to go.  I have a car picking me up at 8 tomorrow morning to go to the airport.  Truthfully, I am a home-body and I will be happy when this week is over.  As much as I loved vacation and my Sisters' Weekend, those two trips were too close together and then Hilton Head was thrown in the mix and now Atlanta.  Once I am home Thursday I am (I think) finished traveling till the Spring.  And that is good with me.

I'll try to catch up on your blogs while I'm out of town, but probably won't comment.  Wishing you all the best of weeks!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Three on Thursday 10-11-18

Good Morning!

I have the luxury of an extra hour plus at home this morning due to a dermatologist appointment at 8:40.  It's the perfect morning to be lazy...gentle rain just beginning - though much heavier rain forecast for later.  Gosh it is STILL HOT - 80 degrees at 6 a.m.  And HUMID.  However, there is the "promise" of Fall-like weather following this storm.  One can only hope.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share three things from the garden this morning.  We have several Burning Bushes on our property and none of them are terribly colorful (yet??).  Usually they start off by getting red on the top and then that gradually moves down.  This year, however, the one by our shed is trying to imitate a skunk!  It has a red stripe going down the side.

Next up are the tomatoes Fletch planted at the normal time.  When we left for vacation there had only been two or three tomatoes that showed up and they rotted on the vine before ripening.  When we got home this is what we saw:

Tomatoes all over (there were many more, but I have a HUGE bowl of tomatoes on the kitchen counter), but almost no foliage.  Weird!  Also weird - the color of the tomatoes - more orange than red.  I have not tried them yet.  Fletch had one and said it wasn't that great.  But, I figure I can use the bounty in soups and stews.  And, hopefully, make some fried green tomatoes!

Last, I love this picture of our picnic table.  The petunia had been hanging on our patio, but it was ailing/failing, so Fletch just plopped it on the table and put another hanging basket on the patio.  Again, we came back from vacation to find this gem blooming like crazy!  The little pumpkin is one of the volunteers we had and the bird statue is from a friend (thanks Carol!).

That's it for me today.  Hope you are all doing well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 10-10-18

Good Morning!

How did it get to be October 10th?  Time seems to be going by faster and faster every day.  The sun is finally beginning to poke it's way out a bit.  Driving into work this morning, I heard it was 71 degrees and 98% humidity!  This is the way it has been for days.  So tiresome.  However, supposedly the weekend will bring Fall-like weather (highs in the low-60's, a bit of a breeze, and blue skies).

It is Heart Healthy Month and at work we are having "healthy snacks" on Wednesdays.  I missed last week since I was on vacation, but I'm curious to see what is provided.  Yesterday we had soft pretzels (not so healthy, but very good - lol).  And a group is going to walk at 11:30 today.  I've brought my sneakers, so depending on the weather I may join.  We have a lot of walking trails around our office complex.  We've also been encouraged to walk around our office (inside).  I think 5 laps or so is a half mile.

Also on the work-front, I am happy to report that the LD (Lame Duck) is happily back in Naples, FL (where he winters) and is enjoying retirement (even though he is employed through December 2019...wonder if I will be able to get that kind of package when I decide to retire - Ha!).  The LD replacement is prancing around and he has his first Division meeting next week in Atlanta.  The agenda actually looks good and we will be at Chateau Elan which looks like a nice resort (I've already booked a massage for Tuesday).

Meanwhile, on the knitting front.  I mentioned yesterday that I (finally) finished the Dragonfly (green) socks while on vacation.  Since I was meeting Dee for coffee on Saturday, I HAD to cast on something, so of course I cast on for more socks.  I did 5 rows of ribbing Friday night and was so tired I couldn't see straight.  Picked it up at the coffee shop and knit some and here is where I was before knitting last night:

These are plain vanilla socks (the yarn is so busy I didn't want to do a pattern) and the yarn is by Madeline Tosh in the colorway "Electric Rainbow."  What a fun knit!  I'm making these longer than normal - in the picture above there are 15 rows of ribbing and 75 rows of plain knitting.  Since then I have knit another 25 rows and I started the heel flap this morning over coffee.  I've been weighing the skein and don't believe I'll use half of it to finish this first sock.

Reading is another story.  Nothing seems to be engaging me.  I started My Brilliant Friend but found myself bored by the time I was close to halfway through it.  I started Women in Sunlight the other night, but am not feeling compelled to continue reading it.  I've like Frances Mayes' other books, but this one just isn't grabbing me.  Fletch and I are reading The Wild Muir and are enjoying that - the essays are quick to read (perfect for after dinner reading).

So that's my news.  Joining Kat and friends on this Unraveled Wednesday.  What's new with you?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Back From Vacation!

Well hello there!  It’s been a long time.  I thought I would post yesterday, but first days back at work can be rough, no?  This will be a long post with a bunch of pictures, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, or an adult beverage and sit back.

We had a great vacation.  It was just wonderful to get away.  The weather was pretty good the entire trip (only had rain one night and a few drizzles on a couple of days).  We did not see a lot of color (more in MA than in VT which was a surprise), but managed to have fires every night except the rainy one.  First we headed to the Woodstock/Saugerties area in NY.  It was a relatively short drive for us (3 hours or so) and we had time to set up our camper and then relax before dinner.  For our first night we had steaks and veggies done over the fire:

Don’t know if you can read the coaster on the table, but it’s one Fletch picked up last year and says:  “If drinking on the front porch counts then, yes, call me outdoorsy.”  LOL

Saturday we got up and headed out to Saugerties to the first of the four yarn shops we visited!!  This one was called The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea Shop

It was a very cute shop with a small selection of teas, mugs and yarn.  I did buy some gifts there, but the only thing for myself was a replacement tape measure.

From there we headed to Rhinebeck!!!  What a cute and fun little village.  Lots of boutique-type shops, coffee houses and restaurants.  We stopped in Al Stickle’s Variety Store at the back of which is the “yarn garage.”  A fun place with really nice yarns.  Since I knew I had two more shops to visit, I practiced major restraint and only came away with this skein of yarn.

A little sparkly and fun!

Our next stop was southern Vermont.  There is a very nice shop in Brattleboro, but since I had already visited there a few years back, we skipped it.  I wanted to get to the cemetery where my parents’ ashes are buried.  This was the very damp day.  So Much FOG.  This was driving up the road to the cemetery:

And there was one tree beginning to turn:

This is (to me) a beautiful place – nestled in the Green Mountains, by a river.  A few years ago Fletch was walking around and discovered a grave stone for someone who fought during the Boston Tea Party!  Anyway, I had a little chat with my parents who are doing fine.  It was misty/rainy, so we did not stay long.  That afternoon we managed to get in an hour’s walk along side the CT River.  And despite the dampness, we managed to have a peach pancake breakfast the next morning!

There is just something about food cooked outside that makes it so delicious!

Tuesday found us headed to Northampton, MA.  I had read THIS ARTICLE by Gale Zuker on the MDK site and it was wonderful to find the places she mentioned.  Well, not ALL the places – I did not have that much time.

The first afternoon we went to Webs!  It’s big, but not as overwhelming as I thought it might be.  Everything is organized really well and the people are helpful.  The back really is like a warehouse with metal shelving and tons of yarn.  It’s the type of place where I should have had a list of projects and yarn requirements…but I didn’t…so I just got a few things:

The bottom two skeins are so soft and a lovely spruce color.  They are a blend of alpaca and bamboo and I plan to make socks for Fletch.  Those skeins were deeply discounted.  And here’s a shot from the front of the store:

It was starting to rain a bit and Fletch wanted some coffee so we drove to a coffee shop.  I spotted this tea that they were selling….not appealing to moi:

After that we walked a bit around Northampton and ended up getting subs to take back to the camper for dinner.  Neither one of us felt like cooking in the rain.  No fire that night – we stayed in the camper knitting (me), reading (both of us) and writing (Fletch).

The next day turned out to be beautiful.  We headed up to Montague and the Book Mill which is just fabulous!  (  Our timing was perfect for lunch at the restaurant (The Alvah Stone) and we were able to sit outside by the waterfall.  Our meals were delicious and I wish I had been in the mood for a drink.  Look at the cocktail list:

Here’s a shot of one of the rooms inside the Book Mill:

We each got a book and we bought some fun cards.  One of my favorites (from The New Yorker):

The day was still young, so we headed back to Northampton and the last yarn shop:  Northampton Wool.  What a lovely shop.  Lots to choose from and very welcoming.  I came out with:

The latest issue of Laine (FABULOUS!!!) and a fun skein of sock yarn (or course). 

Before heading back to camp we stopped at:

The Pie Bar in Florence!  We both had Salted Chocolate Pie and it was so good.  We also picked up some maple-nutmeg cookies for Colin & Mailing.

The next day we headed back to the Woodstock/Saugerties campground for one final night.  I managed to finish the 2nd green sock!!!

Our last night and I finished the one and only project I had brought on the trip!  I don’t knit in the car, so it all worked out just fine.

We got home on Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning I met Dee for coffee which was great (it had been too long since we had gotten together).  The balance of the weekend was playing catch-up with laundry, grocery shopping, etc. 

And…the weather has been pretty much awful since we got back – Humid, too warm (we ran the AC Sunday!!) – everything is damp and sticky. 

I’ve managed to start a new sock, but I’ll save that for another post.  Thanks for reading this LONG one.