Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday 8-30-17

Good Morning All,

Wow!  August 30th!  hard to believe.  Linking up with Kat and friends for another Unraveled Wednesday.  Yes, there was unraveling this week...fortunately not knitting, but yarn.  The yarn mess I showed yesterday was successfully re-wound (into a regular ball...not a center pull).  It took a bit of time last night, but not as long as I feared it might.

Look at how nicely it matches my tablecloth - lol.  So, the yarn was re-wound, but no knitting was done after that.  I'm afraid my eyes were shot.

This morning I managed about 5 more rows on my Charade socks before I had to run out the door to work.

Still reading "The Summer Before the War" by Helen Simonson.  It's dragged a bit in parts, but overall is ok.  I'm about 3/4 of the way through and need to get it done as a few more books came through on Overdrive.

Another busy day at work, so I need to get going.  What are you all up to?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Mess, A Start (2), and Falling Behind

Hello All,


How are you on this gloomy (in Eastern PA) Tuesday?  Somehow the weekend got away from me and work is continuing to be busier than usual.  Yesterday was a mess!  When I got home last night at 9 after yoga, I finally looked at some blogs on my phone.  Reading Dee's Blog blog, I realized I have done NOTHING for the I Fall KAL – NOTHING!!  Well, I did pick out my yarn, and I know I’m knitting Nutkin, but nothing else.  Like Dee, I will be pulling together a little give-away for those participating, but for now that will have to be a secret (even from me – lol).


Despite the weekend zooming by, I did manage to get a couple of items started.  First up the Close to You shawl:



But then last night (again after yoga when I was really too tired to see), I pulled it out and started knitting and this is what happened:



I had wound the yarn into a center pull ball and a HUGE knot came out.  So now I have to spend time trying to separate that mess and then I will re-wind the yarn into just a ball (no center pull).  I hope I can do this.  I am loving the yarn (so soft!  Gorgeous color!), and now that I’ve switched to my wooden circular needle, the shawl is much easier to knit.


Friday night I made a start on the other socks I will be knitting – Charade.



This is the Scottish wool my friend got at a yard sale and the color is Blue Tweed.  It is looking like a dark speckled yarn and I am loving it.  I have enough yarn that I will be making these socks much longer than normal, but the pattern is an easy one to memorize and quick to knit.  Hopefully they won’t take me all Fall to complete!


Our shish kabob dinner with Colin and Mailing on Saturday was great and the strawberry shortcake was yummy.  It was cool enough that we had another fire in the pit and I actually had a sweatshirt on!  It was chilly.  Sunday I made gazpacho with garden tomatoes, cukes, onions, peppers and garlic.  We added cold shrimp to it:



Sunday I snuck in another walk along the canal.  There were a ton of people out and about – both on the trail (running, biking, walking) and on both the river and canal (kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, rafting, fishing).  It was a crowded place!  I was having a terrible time on my way back to the car – nose running and eyes watering – there had to be something in the air.  I saw a lot of gold finches feeding on seeds from wild flowers and then came across this bird on the other side of the canal:



At first I thought it was a cormorant (which would have been weird in our area), but I’m not sure.  I wasn’t able to see his/her feet.  The picture isn’t the greatest – hard to do a distant shot with my phone.  But look at that beak!


So, that’s it for moi.  I’ve got a very busy week at work and am looking forward to a nice, long weekend with (hopefully) lots of knitting.  Colin and Mailing are going away, so Fletch and I will be on cat duty – going up to their place twice a day to feed and play with Marcel and Talbot.


What are you all up to?

Friday, August 25, 2017

It's Friday!!

Whew!  It has been a long, long week.  not sure why, except that I've had back-to-back busy weeks at work, and after a long, slow summer that is difficult to get used to.  Don't get me wrong - I prefer to be super busy at work - makes the time go quickly.  There is nothing worse than having to sit around with absolutely nothing to do.

Now I'm in the midst of planning a small (30 people or so) West Coast meeting in October.  I probably will not attend this one (boo-hiss) as October is a super busy time in my office.  The other one I'm planning is in early November in Florida at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.  This is a beautiful resort - I've done a number of meetings here over the years.  This group will be a tad bit larger - about 140 people.  I'm hoping I will be able to go to this one.

So, what is happening?  I re-started the Close to You shawl and I'm liking it.  I wasn't sure about the pattern as I'm not real fond of double yarn-overs, but I changed needles and now everything is working ok.  I had originally been using a ChiaoGoo circular needle, but the yarn is so soft and those needles are very slippery.  Stitches (especially the yarn-overs) kept slipping off.  I switched to wooden circulars and all is good.  I'll get a picture over the weekend when I've gotten a bit more done (right now I've only knit about 24 rows or so).
Fletch and I also started reading a new book after dinner.  It's one I read almost 30 years ago, but is very good.  It is The Solace of Open Spaces and makes me think of Nancy.

Colin stopped by for dinner last night and we had a fire in the pit after dinner.  It was a perfect evening for it.  I actually had a shawl wrapped around my shoulders sitting by the fire!

That's Fletch standing and Colin sitting with a glass of whiskey and a cigar.  Lots of good conversation and plenty of laughs.

Colin and Mailing are coming for dinner tomorrow and it should be nice enough to have another fire.  We are going to do grilled shish kabobs (steak, pork and chicken as well as peppers, onions, tomatoes, green & yellow squash and mushrooms) and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

I ran out to Trader Joe's around 10 this morning.  Disappointed that the liquor store next door is STILL closed for renovations (going on 3 weeks now), but I got a beautiful bunch of flowers at TJs as well as pizza crusts for tonight and other miscellaneous goodies (always, always buy more than I go in for at TJs).

And, for the Friday Feline Crowd, here's a shot of Tyg that I took last weekend - resting on the lawnmower after Fletch had done some mowing.  At one point he tried to stick his head down in the bag with all the grass clippings!  Too silly.

Well, that's it for me today.  I am so ready for the weekend and our weather forecast looks perfect - 70's all weekend with cooler evenings and mornings.  Hope you all enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday, Unraveled, 8-23-17

Hello All,

Here we are mid-week and time for Unraveled Wednesday.  Joining Kat and friends.  I will admit to a bit of unraveling this week....

Monday morning I had a surprise e-mail around 9:00 telling us that we were free to leave around Noon that day if we wanted to for the Eclipse.  I did not need to read that twice - lol.  By the time I got home it was very overcast.  I cast on Close to You and knit some rows.  Fletch had the TV on and we were watching the Eclipse that way.  We did end up going outside around 2:30 and just at the crucial moment (around 2:43 p.m.) the clouds parted and we were able to see the crescent sun (where I am the Eclipse was at ~ 80%).  That was cool.  It did get quiet (no bird chatter), but it did not get as dark as I had anticipated (maybe because it was so overcast to begin with), and we did not notice any drop in temperature.  After that I promptly took a nap!  Got up, dressed for yoga and went out the door.  When I got home I picked up my knitting again and discovered a huge mistake...everything came out.  Luckily I had only knit 15 rows or so, so not a big deal.  Here is the yarn from Wandering Cat - Val that I am using:  Fluffy Cat Lite in the color Grenache.  So soft...

I've brought it to work today and hope to cast on at lunch.  Hoping...I've got another busy day in front of me.

Monday I mentioned that I had pulled yarn for other projects.  First up, I plan to knit a new pair of socks.  Pattern:  Charade - a free pattern on Ravelry.  Years ago a friend of mine went to a yard sale and bought 12 skeins of this yarn for $1.00!!  It is from Scotland and 100% wool.  I thought that it would make some nice Fall/Winter socks.

I have yet to cast on....

Finally, if you have read Dee's Blog you know that we are doing a KAL beginning on September 1st.  I will be knitting Nutkin - another freebie on Ravelry.  I've chosen KnitPicks Stroll tweed in the color Autumn Heather:

I think these socks will be beautiful!  Won't you join us?

During the past week I only managed to add two more squares to my cozy blanket:

Both squares (upper left green & black and upper right aqua, cream and a bit of purple) come from more Wandering Cat yarn.  Some months ago I bought a sampling of Val's yarns - all mini skeins wound up.  The colors are such fun and I'm having a good time figuring out where to put them in the blanket.

So, that's it for the knitting.  I have been reading, but nothing fits in any square on my Bingo card.  That's ok though, I'm enjoying the books and that's what counts.  Last night I finished Peony by Pearl S. Buck.  I can't believe I had never read anything by her.  I want to read The Good Earth next.  I am in the midst of The Year Before the War by Helen Simonson and am enjoying that too.  And, I have a number of books I'm waiting for on Overdrive - hopefully they won't all come in at once.

The garden is continuing to produce.  Our lettuce finally gave up the ghost (it lasted really long this year) and the spinach seeds Fletch planted for a Fall crop have not come up.  But, we are harvesting potatoes, a few last (small) onions and tomatoes...lots of tomatoes.  I'm having them every day for lunch and often dinner too.  I've made Tomato Jam which is delicious - more like a chutney or very thick catsup, and am thinking of making some gazpacho this weekend.

That is an Anaheim Chili Pepper in the foreground from our garden and two small spaghetti squash from our neighbor Rob.    The basket is full of potatoes and the last few onions.

Well, that's it for this Unraveled Wednesday.  What are you up to?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Monday!!

Happy Eclipse Day!  I’m at work and I don’t have Eclipse Glasses anyway…but I imagine it will be pretty dark outside even though we are only having a partial eclipse here.  Pretty cool.  I heard on the radio that the last total solar eclipse was 99 years ago!


I managed to survive my busy week last week.  The summer has been so slow, it was strange to have a week where I was going non-stop for 10-12 hours per day.  The meetings went well and everyone had a good time.


The weekend was more than welcome.  We noticed that our Hibiscus is finally blooming!  It is really short this year – only 2 feet high or so, but the blooms are gorgeous.



Friday I was pretty lazy, but miracle of miracles, on Saturday I managed to FINALLY finish those pesky socks that have been on the needles since April (what??).



I love them.  The colors are so gorgeous.  Usually I don’t block socks, but these were very tight and the blocking worked perfectly.  The yarn is Black Bunny Fibers 100% wool in the color Estuary.  I used size 1 needles and the pattern is Spring Socks Orla.


Once these were finished, I pulled out all my sock yarn and picked out skeins for two new pairs of socks.  Yes, two.  But, in my defense, one pair will not be started until September 1st.  Have you all popped over to Dee's Blog blog to see her announcement of the KAL we are having for Nutkin?  Won’t you join us?  You know you want to be one of the Cool Folks!!


I’ll show the yarns I picked out later – forgot to take a picture.  I also picked out yarn for a new shawl cast-on.  I will be making Close to You in Fluffy Cat Lite yarn from Wandering Cat Yarns.  The color is Grenache.  Again a picture later.  I haven’t started it yet, but it came along to the office today and I’m hoping to cast on at lunch.


Saturday night we finally watched “A Man Called Ove.”  That was one of my favorite books from last year.  The movie did not disappoint.  It stayed true to the book and was a good watch.


This weekend was the Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.  There is a Rails-to-Trails path that goes right past the back side of the Old Pool Farm where the Festival is held.  In prior years we have ridden our bikes, but this year we decided to walk.  We parked at Spring Mountain and from there it is only a 20 minute walk to the Festival.  Lots of joggers, walkers, dogs, bikers, etc. on the path.  It was a gorgeous day Sunday – low humidity and lower temps – only 82 or so.  The Perkiomen Creek flows by the trail and we saw Mud Turtles basking in the sun



One was huge!  But I couldn't zoom in that close with my phone.  We sat on a bench for 10 minutes or so and listened to some of the music and then continued our walk.  At one point we stopped to rest and have lunch.



The path wanders through some cute villages/small towns and at times there are some interesting old buildings.



We spotted this – not sure what this hopper was used for, but there are old train repair places along the way, so it may be related to that.


We turned around and walked back to the Festival area stopping again to listen to music.  Lots of hammocks in the woods, lots of tie-dyed clothing and plenty of weed being passed around.  A mini Woodstock!  We ended up walking about 4 miles total which felt great.


We ended the weekend by watching the 1st episode in the new season of Endeavour – good to have that back again.


Hoping you all had a great weekend as well.  I’m looking forward to an easier week this week and yoga tonight.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to Work

Hi All,

Well, my weekend flew by!  And now I'm back in the office.  So soon!  This promises to be a busy week:  yoga tonight, a work dinner at my boss' house tomorrow night, another work dinner here Wednesday night (and I have to stick around until the caterers come back to clean up), meetings all day Wednesday and Thursday, and (finally) a massage Thursday night.  I'll be more than ready for that by the time Thursday rolls around.

Even though it went quickly, the weekend was nice.  Friday night we had pizza with eggplant, green peppers and tomato from the garden.

That's Trader Joe's ready-made pizza crusts which are SO GOOD (and cheap) and easier than their dough (which is what I used to use).  There was more stuff on the pizzas - sliced garlic, mushrooms and pepperoni on one for Fletch.  Oh, and mozzarella.  This is the green pepper Fletch picked from the garden - he thinks it's the nicest bell pepper he ever grew!

Saturday I was up early.  Thinking of Honore, I wrote this Haiku:

Hummingbirds fly by
The sun is just coming up
My MSQ time

Fletch and I went to a local farmer's market which was packed and had delicious veggies, but we didn't get anything since I won't be home to cook for the next 4 nights.  It was fun to wander around though.

I cooked up some green beans from the garden for dinner along with an acorn squash and a meatloaf (not my favorite, but I was trying to make things where there would be plenty of leftovers for Fletch during the week).  I also made drinks for us:

Lemon sorbet, blueberries, vodka and ice blended up.  Oh my!  Very, very refreshing.
Sitting on the patio, we noticed how many leaves have fallen from our apple tree. 

It's looking like Fall!  No other trees are losing their leaves yet, so it's kind of strange.  And there are lots of apples, but they are only about 1/3 of the normal size.  I think we'll just let the deer have them this year.  It would be a pain in the butt to peel, core and cut up enough of these to make a decent amount of applesauce .  And our grass is so green!  Normally by this time of year it is looking brownish and not so pretty.  We've had plenty of rain to keep it nice looking.

Saturday afternoon late, while I was inside doing food prep, Fletch was sitting on the patio and saw an owl fly by at the edge of our woods!   He is pretty sure it was a Great Horned Owl.  I'm so disappointed to have missed it.

Sunday I managed to get in a walk along the river.  Surprisingly I saw no one kayaking or canoeing or floating on the water.  It was a beautiful day, so I'm not sure where everyone was.  There were fewer people on the trail too.  Luckily the park rangers had been out and cleared the fallen trees off the path.  There were plenty of these guys around:

The blue on the wings was so beautiful.  The underside of the wings had no blue, but orange dots instead.  I'm not sure what type of butterfly this is, but it was gorgeous.

A little knitting was done over the weekend - another square on the blanket and about 15 rows on the sock.  Not a lot, but progress is steady, even if slow.  And I finally finished A year of Living Danishly.  Some parts were interesting to me, but overall the author's writing style just irritated/bored me.

Well, as the TV commercial used to say:  "Time to make the donuts."  I'd best get to work.  Hoping everyone has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Hi Everyone,

The rain has stopped and the sun is trying to come out. swap package from Kathy B arrived!  I have been spoiled rotten and I love it - lol.  Sorry the pictures are such crap - I quickly took them last night before running out to yoga and didn't look at them till now (when I am at work and the lovely presents are at home).

So happy that Kathy sent me one of the felted bags she has come across...she knew I had been drooling over the one she sent to Nancy!  But there's more!  Sweet note cards, a darling stocking key chain that she knit (I may save this for my Christmas Tree though...) a lovely sachet of lavender which has already been tucked away in the chest where I keep (most of) my yarn and gorgeous scissors (and she didn't even know that I have a scissor collection!!).

The felted bag will work beautifully as a sock project bag...or a bag to store knitterly things would even work as a little lingerie bag when I travel.  The scissors don't show up in the pic above (everything is such lovely shades of lavender and deep purple), so here is a shot of them:

A Seahorse!!!  These are perfect for my sampler stitching.

Kathy - thank you so much for 1) organizing the swap and 2) sending me such perfect surprises.  I love everything.  And...your package will be going out today (probably UPS from work because I can't escape to get to the post office...).

Meanwhile, I'm moving slowly this morning - last night's yoga class was a real workout.  There were just 3 of us in the class (the past two weeks there have only been 2 of us!!).  It's like having private lessons.

Finally, Tyg brought a bird into the house this morning.  Oy!  It was still a little dark outside when I opened the door to let him in.  He did not go directly to his food which is unusual, but ran into the bathroom.  Sometimes he does that when he wants the water turned on to drink from the faucet, so I followed him in and there on the floor was a bird (dead, luckily).  I so hate this part of having an outdoor cat.  I know it's only natural, but I would prefer not to see it.  I scooped up Tyg and put him outside then got a ton of paper towels and a bag and disposed of the poor little bird (I think it was a sparrow - I tried not to look too closely).  When Tyg came back in he was going crazy trying to find his prize.

So, I need to practice my yoga breathing and calm down a bit.  And I need to get back to my work...another busy day.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekend Walks and Two Surprises!!

Hi All,


Tis a grey, rainy day here and I’m wishing I were still home in bed listening to the rain and dozing.  Ha!  But reality is here and I’ve got a busy day ahead of me.  I had intended to write this post Sunday evening but I got lazy instead.


The first surprise came on Friday afternoon.  Fletch and I were enjoying beverages on the patio before dinner and noticed a new bloom by a tree in our backyard.



So pretty!  A hollyhock.  Fletch had planted some seeds several years ago and then promptly forgot about them.  There are now 3 open blooms and many more buds.


Saturday morning I took a nice hour-long walk along the canal and Schuylkill River in the Phoenixville area.  First up:  Fungus!!



I love all different types of fungi.  They can be so pretty.  I also saw a new (to me) flower:



Don’t know what it is, but I love that its leaves are fern-like.  Very small and delicate.


This is one of my favorite spots on the opposite side of the canal.  Wouldn’t you love to have a drink by the water and just sit and knit?  Or read…or dream.  I imagine it might get buggy at times, but it is such a tranquil setting.  To the right, just out of the picture is a hammock strung between trees.



There were a few people kayaking on the canal, lots of geese and then these guys:



The next surprise came when I dove into my yarn stash.  I moved some things around and discovered (another) bag full of yarn…put that away and came across a tiny bag that I almost threw out.  Luckily I opened it up and found:



Cute stitch markers I had bought back in the Spring when I went to the Steel City Fiber Festival.  I had completely forgotten about these.  The one on the right is a little bird - so sweet!!  I also found a list of events that one of the vendors at Steel City will be attending and saw that they will be at the Phoenixville Farmers Market next Saturday.  I will HAVE to check it out!


I took another, longer, walk on Sunday afternoon.  Again along the Schuylkill River, but this time in the Oaks area.  Part of the walk involved a little bit of a detour off into the woods:



Guess the storms we had last week were stronger than I realized!  I came upon trees across the trail twice.  Then, towards the end of my walk I came across this:



I’ve noticed a few trees that are already beginning to show signs of Fall, but look at this leaf!  So red, so pretty.  I am ready for Fall!  In fact, I’ve requested time off in October for a camping trip with Fletch.


All in all, it was a beautiful, nice weekend.  I did not get very much knitting done, but I relaxed and enjoyed life!


Hope everyone has a beautiful week.

Friday, August 4, 2017

TGIF 08-04-17

Hi All,

The weekend is just about here!  I am more than ready.

Last night's stuffed portabella mushrooms turned out great...sorry I forgot to get a picture...probably because I was drinking a margarita.  And no walk last night...maybe because of a margarita.  Or the weather...we heard lots of thunder and the sky turned pretty dark, but no rain.  This morning felt very refreshing though.  Not hot and no humidity to speak of (yet).

Here is the handsome Tyg.  This picture was taken a little bit ago. 

See how his lip is kind of pink?  Every summer he gets like that - part of his allergy attack.  Since he has been on prednisone (one week) that has disappeared.  His mouth looks normal!  I need to check the label on the prednisone bottle.  I'm thinking he is done the treatment now...or we can cut back on the amount we give him.  The spray gel is also helping with his itching/scratching.  His neck is almost completely healed.

What are you doing this weekend?  Once again I have no plans which works for me.  I do want to walk and I do need to clean (bathrooms and kitchen).  What I really want to do is go through my yarn and find something new to cast on.  I'm getting the urge to knit another shawl.

Wishing you all a peaceful, happy weekend!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Creatures Great and Small

Hi There,

The "great" creature is, of course, Tyg.  The small?  A bit of a pest I think...but not sure what species it is.

That's some kind of caterpillar on the figgy pot.  Sitting on the patio before dinner last night we spotted a caterpillar on the fig pot twice.  Fletch flicked it off each time (I, of course, wouldn't touch it).  Now we will have to really, really thoroughly check that plant before it comes inside late September or October.

Yesterday was very muggy in the a.m., but we had some strong showers in the afternoon and by the time I got home I needed to put on a flannel shirt!  Woo-Hoo.  A pleasant evening.  Hoping for more of the same tonight.  It was really foggy this a.m.

Colin will be over for dinner tonight (stuffed portabella mushrooms) and, hopefully, a walk somewhere, weather permitting.

The downside of my work week is going smoothly...hoping your week is going well also.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Mid-Week Post

Hi All,


Mid-Week!  And August!! 


Not much to show today as not much knitting and no stitching has taken place this week.  I did manage to start another square on the blanket, but I only got about 8 rows done yesterday.


So, how about some lovely vegetation photos?  Here are my eggplants!  I have two plants in this small, old cast iron kettle and they are thriving.  I’m excited.  Can’t wait to use some of these on pizza (I grill or broil sliced eggplant with EVOO and S&P and then put on pizza – heavenly.



And here is my fig tree, or as I call it, Figgy.  I love figs.  A few years back Fletch gave me a fig tree at Christmas.  Our climate here isn’t warm enough to keep a fig tree outside year round (unless we wrapped it, etc. which I am not going to do).  We thought this one would be perfect as it was supposed to start producing fruit once it got to be a foot high.  3 or so years later and definitely more than a foot high, but no fruitL  And, it is getting big/heavy to move outside in the Spring and back inside once the temps cool.  But, it is a pretty plant.



That’s about it for me.  It has been a crazy morning at work, and our internet was down until just a few minutes ago.  I’d best get cracking as I’ve got things to do.  Hope everyone is having a good week.