Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Quick Weekend Recap

Hello All,

I'm back from FL - actually got back on Sunday.  A quick whirlwind trip to Daytona to see my best friend (52 years!!) and her sisters for our annual Sisters' Weekend.  It was so good to reconnect with these ladies.  We rotate hosting the weekend as we are pretty spread apart geographically (one in RI, one in NC, one in FL and me in PA).

Work is still crazy/busy and being out last Thursday & Friday didn't help matters, so this will be a very fast recap (which will be enough for you anyway, I think).

We were at Merelyn's house in Port Orange.  She and her husband Bob have a new puppy (well, they've had Max for about 9-10 months).  Such a sweet dog.  Here is the host family:

So, from the beginning.  Janet arrived Wednesday night; Leslie and I flew in and landed around 5 on Thursday.  We went to the house, had a glass of wine (or 2) and then we all went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner which was EXCELLENT.  Two couples (friends of Mer & Bob) joined us.

Friday we got up and left around 10:30 for our spa appointments.  The spa was located a block from the ocean.  A little chilly (breezy), but sunny.  After the spa we went across the street to Crabby Joe's for lunch on the pier.  A friend of Mer's from Jacksonville drove over to meet us.  The shrimp po boys were to die for!  And, another little friend:

These birds were everywhere - flying in and out of the place and waiting for folks to leave food on the table.  I don't know what kind of bird they are, but they sure were pretty.

We always shop during Sisters' Weekend so we set out and did some of that after lunch.  We headed home around 5 to start cooking (another thing we love to do together).  Friday night was pizza night.
Here's Leslie checking on them:

And here's Leslie and me - my best friend!!

The pizzas were so good:  mushroom & spinach, zucchini & prosciutto, and sausage & mozzarella.

And here I am with Janet - the 3rd sister:

In a MDSW shirt - LOL.  None of these girls are knitters, but they are all so creative:  Leslie is a poet, Janet is a jewelry designer and Merelyn is a musician.

Saturday we were up and out shopping by 10:30 or so.  I do confess to buying a lot (clothes).  We made it back in time to make a wonderful dinner:  shrimp & lobster over fettuccine:

We spent the rest of the evening listening to old music (Beatles, Doobie Brothers, Janis Joplin, etc.) and singing along to all the tunes.  Went to bed way too late as Leslie and I had a 7 a.m. flight out of Daytona.

Sunday I landed in Philadelphia to blustery, rainy weather (it had been 80 in Daytona).  I was home by Noon, unpacked, talked to Fletch and then took a 2 hour nap!  Got up, had a shower and ordered out for dinner...and slept 9 hours that night.

Yesterday was non-stop at work...plus our annual Halloween Party (great food and great costumes by a lot of folks in my office), and then yoga last night.  Today is just as busy and I have to leave by 1:30 for a doctor appointment, so I'd best get back to work.  No knitting to report - hoping to do some tonight.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday 10-25-17

Hello All,

Joining Kat and friends for another Unraveled Wednesday post.  No unraveling here, but not a whole lot of knitting either.  Here is where I am on the first Charade sock:

This is 20 rows of ribbing and (so far) 100 rows of the pattern.  It doesn't look all that long to me, and holding it up to my leg it's not close to knee-high length which I want, so I guess I will do another 30 rows (or more) of the pattern before starting the heel flap.  I am loving the tweed of this yarn.

I've fallen in love the Kym's and Vicki's Arrows and was FINALLY able to purchase and download the pattern this morning.  All week Ravelry was freezing up on me when I tried to get the pattern.  But, I would NOT give up - LOL.  I think this will be a lot of fun to plan (or not!) and to knit.  I have some other things I want/need to get done first, so I'm thinking it might be a good project to start on January 1st...maybe...if I can hold out.

On the reading front, I finished Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury - a fun read.  And within the last couple of days I've had 4 books come through on Overdrive:  First up "" by Paul Auster.  I think this is the one I will start today.  The others are "The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa, "The Women in the Castle" by Jessica Shattuck and "Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore" by Robin Sloan.  All look good to me.  I also bought for my Kindle "Finn" by Jon Clinch which I have wanted to read for so long...but that one will have to wait as I wade through the borrowed books.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I fly down to Daytona for my Sisters' Weekend (my best friend of 52 years and her two sisters and I get together each year, rotating who hosts).  The weather looks perfect - 70's during the day and 50's at night.  We have spa appointments on Friday and I know we will go shopping.  We also love to cook together (and drink wine).  A good escape.  As of now I am not planning to take any knitting.  That's almost scandalous, I know, but my flights are pretty short (no direct flight to Daytona from Philadelphia) and my friend and I are connecting in Charlotte and flying in together - I know we'll be talking the entire way.  And, none of the girls I'm meeting up with knit.  I'll just take my Kindle which will cut down on what I'm lugging anyway.  I'll be back to tell you about it next week.

Hope you all have wonderful weekends with plenty of relaxing time.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Quick Catch-Up

Hello all,

Wow!  Yesterday seemed to get away from me rather quickly.  As I have mentioned, this is my super-busy time at work:  one fiscal year ending and another starting, bonus calculations for everyone in the field, out of town meetings, etc.  Plus vacation days!  Yesterday I got to work before 7:30 and worked till 4:30 just about non-stop (well, I did visit the bathroom twice, but that was it).  Rushed home, changed and then went to yoga and got home just before 9 pm.  So far, today is a little lighter, but still a bit frantic.  And, I will be out again tonight.

So, a quick catch up post on the weekend.  Fletch and I went into town (Philly) with Colin & Mailing on Saturday.  Luckily Mailing drove.  I HATE the Schuylkill Expressway (also known as the Sure Kill Expressway).  An old road in desperate need of repairs and widening.  Accidents both going into town and coming out later.  Plus I hate parking in the city.  Anyhoo, we arrived and parked at the Kimmel Center and walked over to Bud & Marilyn's for brunch/lunch.  I had the smoked beet reuben which was AMAZING.  And big!!

Me expressing surprise at the size of my meal!  I couldn't eat all of it.  And, the Bloody Mary's are wonderful - very smoky and flavorful.  Mailing had Shakshukah which looked delicious.  Fletch and Colin just did burgers.  There are 3 (unisex) bathrooms in the restaurant.  I used the middle one which was just plain (but pretty wall paper).  Colin used the one on the end which had a reading collection and this needlework on the wall:

Needlepoint - and gorgeous.  And BIG!!

After that we walked over to The Barnes Foundation.  It was a perfectly beautiful day in town and great for walking around.  I wasn't sure what I would think of the Barnes' new (several years old now) home.  It was originally housed in the suburbs in a fabulous house.  The new location is a modern building, but they have done a wonderful job of replicating what the rooms in the house looked like.  There are 23 or 24 rooms/galleries to walk through.  No photographs are allowed (except non-flash in Gallery #1), so no pictures, but trust me the collection is amazing!  So many paintings!  So many pieces of hardware (keys, hinges, door knockers, kitchen implements, scissors, etc. - some from the 1200's and earlier), sculptures, jewelry, etc., etc.  It is a lot to look at.

After several hours in there, we walked back to the car stopping for gelato on the way.  SO GOOD!

Traffic was horrible leaving the city, but we got home by 6:30 or so (picking up Chinese take out on the way home because I was too tired to cook - lol).

Sunday was filled with chores - laundry (which is not completely done yet), grocery shopping, scrubbing bathrooms and also the kitchen floor, cooking, etc.  Not too much knitting was done, or reading.  I was exhausted when my body finally hit the bed.

OK, e-mails are coming in fast and furious, so I need to get back to work.  Hope you all had wonderful weekends and that your week is going well so far.

Friday, October 20, 2017

TGIF 10-20-17

Hi All,


Nice that the weekend is looming ahead.  It has been a very busy and very crazy week at work.  No new pictures of Tyg – I haven’t seen a lot of him since we got home!  I’ve been running and out more nights than at home, and he’s been staying out a lot – enjoying the cooler weather.  He was around a little bit last night while we had a fire outside, came in to eat and then ran back out.  Foxes were barking last night, but he came in early this morning to eat and looked well.


So, my Friday Felines picture is one of my cat necklace.  I love this piece.  The cat is a hand-blown piece by Markels who owns/runs Diving Cat Studio in Phoenixville – a very fun shop.



Had a wonderful massage last night and found out that Betty, my massage therapist, will no longer be doing massages at my yoga studio.  Waahhhhh.  BUT, it turns out she works weekends at a spa in Lansdale which is actually closer to my home AND the massages are cheaper!  Score!


Continuing the pattern of not being home much since vacation, tomorrow we are meeting Colin and Mailing and driving into Philadelphia for brunch and then a visit to The Barnes Foundation.  We had been to The Barnes back in the day when it was located in the suburbs and loved it.  I’m curious about the new location, but all reports are wonderful.  I’m sure we’ll have a great time.


Sunday I HAVE to catch up on laundry and cleaning, paying bills, etc. because next Thursday I fly to FL for
Sisters’ Weekend!  Woo-Hoo!!

What's up for your weekend?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vacation Part II

Good Morning,


A beautiful Thursday morning with a little nip in the air (low 40’s) and a gorgeous pink sunrise.  Now back to vacation tales.


On Wednesday we left the Hocking Hills area of Ohio and headed North towards Canton.  We stayed at a KOA just SE of Canton.  Our first stop on Thursday was at Lehman's Store in Kedron.  Over the years we have ordered some things from this Amish store – mainly cast iron things (which now I find I can’t/don’t want to lift!).  The store is huge – ¼ mile long and a definite tourist place.  But, it was fun to walk around.  Fletch found a knife he wanted for splitting kindling and a book for a neighbor who has been a ton of help to us with electrical issues. 


After that we headed to the Warther Museum in Dover.  We had never heard of Ernest Warther, a Master Carver.  His carvings are AMAZING.  Such detail!  Such tiny carvings!  He definitely had a “thing” for pliars and carved so many of them:



He also carved steam engines (that worked!!) and Lincoln’s Funeral Train:



He started the Train on the 99th anniversary of Lincoln’s death and finished it on the 100th anniversary.  He used a lot of ivory and ebony in his carvings as well as wood.


Along with his wife Frieda and their children, they collected over 5,000 Indian artifacts – primarily arrowheads – which are on display in his workroom (and the men’s room – lol).  Fletch was in heaven – he started collecting arrowheads as a kid walking the fields of his grandparent’s farm in Virginia.  Frieda had a huge collection of buttons and there is a cottage on the property devoted to the designs she created with them:



The buttons in the display under Frieda’s tools are all prizes from Cracker Jack boxes!  There were more button displays in the ladies room – lol.

Frieda was also a gardener and there are paths throughout their property.  There wasn’t a lot to see garden-wise in October, just a few flowers blooming, but they were beautifully laid out and would be a joy to see come Spring and Summer.

If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend stopping by to visit this museum.

On Friday we headed back to New Staunton.  Unfortunately we had to get off the highway to gas up the car in Pittsburgh.  Oy!  I was driving, and towing a camper through downtown Pittsburgh was NOT fun.  When we finally made it to our campground I promptly popped open a beer…and it was our last one (someone didn’t plan very well).  But, Frank, an employee at the campground, came to our rescue.  He was going out on a beer run for some workers who were having a cookout that night and brought back an ice cold 12 pack for us.  So nice.

Frank also stopped by our campsite Saturday morning to say goodbye.  Turns out he is a hunter (bow & arrow) and had just gotten a deer that morning (which he showed us…which I didn’t really need to see).  And, as we were closing up, one of the jacks at the back of the camper jammed.  Frank just came over and lifted the back end of the camper up to free the jack!  He wasn’t a huge guy, but man he was strong!  Thank goodness he was there.

Just a couple more pictures.  We ate very well on our trip (and I actually lost a few pounds!!) – salmon over the fire, steaks, and the best were nachos that we did over the fire:

They were so smoky and flavorful, that this may be the only way I prepare nachos from now on.  We had a bit of taco meat on them, onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese.  Yum.  (And, that little bag in the upper left hand corner is filled with pieces of chocolate covered banana Turkish taffy - OMG, so good.)

Finally, I did manage to knit a bit on my Charade sock (the 1st of (hopefully) a pair.  I started these before Nutkin and then left them alone while knitting Nutkin. 

 The yarn makes it difficult to see the pattern (just a simple two row repeat – one row all knit, the second row is a slip stitch pattern) and even the ribbing, but I’m enjoying working on them.  The above picture is 20 rows of twisted ribbing and 70 rows of the pattern.  Last night I knit a little more on them.  I want to make them longer -  closer to knee sock length - so I’ve got a way to go yet.

OK, this is long enough – LOL.  I’ve got another crazy/busy day ahead of me at work, so I’d best get to it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday - 10/18/17

Good Morning Everyone!


Interrupting the vacation posts to join Kat and friends for an Unraveled Wednesday post.  But first up, look who I met last night:



YAY!!!  Finally got to meet Dee.  Fletch and I met Dee and Steve for dinner last night and it was so good to finally meet them in person.  Can’t wait for them to move here…looking forward to showing Dee my favorite yarn shop in the area as well as a very nice cross stitch shop.  I can picture some coffee shop knitting sessions on the horizon – something to look forward to soon.


I know Dee has met a number of fellow bloggers, but she is my first “meet in real life!”


On the knitting front, nothing new to show, but the Nutkins are on my feet this morning!



Yup – our patio thermometer was reading 43 this morning and my phone was reading 36.  A beautiful Fall morning with a nip in the air.  Loving it.


On the reading front, I recently finished “History of Wolves” which I enjoyed for the most part.  Some of it dragged for me and some of it didn’t quite connect, but overall I enjoyed the book.  I also finished “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” and liked that one a lot and also “I Shall Bring Rain” which was a very fast read for me.  That book makes me want to go back and re-read “The Grapes of Wrath” which I loved.  Currently I’m about 1/3 – ½ way through “Dandelion Wine” which is a fun read about Ray Bradbury’s childhood.


So, what’s on your needles and what are you reading/listening to?


Now, I’ve got to get back to my “Morning After” breakfast (egg, bacon, avocado and cheddar on an everything bagel – so good!!) and my crazy, busy work-day.  Hope everyone’s week is going well.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vacation - Part 1

Hi All,

I seem to have slipped right back into the saddle at work which is a good thing.  Long, busy days (but they go faster that way too!!).  Lots to do - finalizing plans (food, activities, etc.) for a meeting of about 120 in FL in early November.  Also getting ready for my Sisters' Weekend get-away in FL (another location) next week!  Can't wait.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd give a little summary of what we did and what we saw while on vacation last week.  We left on Saturday the 7th and drove out to just south of Pittsburgh - staying in the New Staunton area.  We took our camper which is small (only 16 feet - kind of like a submarine - lol), but we do have a shower, toilet, microwave, frig, two burner stove, bed in it.  We didn't unhitch that night since we were leaving in the morning.  Had a quick dinner of leftovers from home and went to bed early.  Neither of us slept well and it started raining in the middle of the night.  Fletch got up to put out the awning over the picnic table...but forgot to put in the central support bar....45 minutes later it crashed from the weight of the water.  Yup - busted awning!  It's always something.  Luckily we could get it pushed back almost completely in and secured it with bungee cords.  Also luckily, that was the only disaster we had!

The next day we headed to Southeast Ohio and the Hocking Hills.  This is beautiful rolling hills country.  Decades ago Fletch had read about the Mound Builders - Indians who built mounds I this area.  We spent Monday exploring the area.  It is fascinating and beautiful.  Very sacred ground and very spiritual places.  First we went to the Hopewell Culture Center where "mound city" is.  The mounds vary in size but are quite impressive.

They are burial mounds, but with various layers of different materials (soil, sand, etc.).  Some are quite high.  Within these mound areas there are often found geometric places - circles, squares, some octagons.  The amazing thing to me is that they all measure the same - even if the areas are miles and miles apart.

The museum at the Hopewell Culture Center had some amazing artifacts - pipes, spears, decorative head pieces, etc.  The items were made from different materials from as far away as the Great Lakes, Yellowstone and the Atlantic Ocean.  These Indians had quite a trade system set up.

Next we drove to the Serpent Mound.  Now, you all know I am NOT fond of serpents of any kind, but this place was so cool.

The photo above was taken from the top of the (rickety) observation tower that we climbed.  This mound is not all that high - about 3-4' in places, but extremely long.  And, each outward curve of the serpent's body points to some celestial site - the summer solstice, the winter solstice, highest moonrise, etc.  The points are all based on the moon cycle.  I found this fascinating.  These were built thousands of years ago - reminded me a bit of Stonehenge.

We visited another mound site - Seip, but it was getting chilly and a little damp and there was no center or museum there, so we walked quickly around and left.  These shrooms were all over (such damp weather we had!):

Tuesday we spent hiking in the Hocking Hills area.  Many of the features found here are the result of the glaciers coming that far south and then slowly melting and leaving seeds, etc.  We first walked in Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve.  The rock formations were so impressive - some 200' high!  And the vegetation here - lots of different ferns and hemlocks - only grows in this area of Ohio - again, thanks to the glacier.  The trail was easy and on the way back we saw some people stopped and looking into the woods.  The park ranger pointed and we saw a barred owl on a tree branch.  It had just finished consuming something and was cleaning his/her talons.

All of these pictures were taken with my phone, so not the best, but still visible.

Our next hike was at Ash Cave.  Oh man!  700' wide and 90' high.  Beautiful!

There is a lot of sandstone in this area...and the overhangs change frequently due to pieces falling off...a little nerve wracking to go underneath them (Fletch wouldn't go!!).

So despite warmer than expected weather and more dampness than not, we were able to get in two good days of walking/hiking/exploring.  Both the Mound area and the Hocking Hills area were so much more than I had expected.  A fun time!

Next we headed North...but I'll tell about that the next time.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Home Again

Well Hi Everyone!

We are back from vacation!  Had a fabulous time and will tell you all about it another day...right now I am a bit swamped at work and just taking a quick break to post this, have a bottle of water and then I need to get back to it.

First up I finished my pair of Nutkin socks the night before we left!

I love the way they turned out.  And was so happy to NOT take them on the road.  I did manage to do some knitting while away (more than expected/more than usual) which I'll show later.  I think this will be  my only I Love Fall finish though. 

We did have mostly cloudy weather and warm - warmer than expected and definitely not Fall weather.  Some rain, but also some nice days.  We pulled into a rest stop on the PA Turnpike on our way home to get some much needed coffee.  Pulling a camper, we need to park with the big trucks (LOL), and right next to us was a trucker with a traveling cat:

Can you see the cute guy up on the dashboard?  He was pacing back and forth and then would rest and gaze at all the bugs flying around outside. 

We pulled into our driveway Saturday afternoon around 3, unpacked the car and the frig of the camper...I got a load of wash started and around 5 I poured a glass of wine and went out on the patio to sit and rest.  This is what I saw:

Our apple tree is blooming!  Folks, this is nuts!!  Our apple tree bloomed in May and then we watched the apples forming...never getting very large - a poor crop year.  In August the tree started losing leaves.  In September we noticed new green leaves appearing (weird).  And now blooms!  Very, very strange.

Yesterday I did some more laundry, picked up a few groceries and then we headed up to Colin & Mailing's.  Mailing's company owns the 3rd largest Asian Pear orchard in the US and yesterday was the one day it was open to the public for tours.  It was pretty interesting - the orchard tour was good, the inside tour was pretty lame.  But, we got to taste about 8 different varieties of pears and some other things (vanilla pear brownies, pear spread, dried pears, etc.).  All delicious.  They also make some liquors, but with the antiquated PA laws, they could not provide samples of those.  Mailing's parents and sister joined us and we ended up back at Colin & Mailing's place for dinner.

Now it is back to reality!  I'll try to post again this week with info on our trip.  We visited some really interesting places!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday 10-4-17

Hello All,

Welcome to another edition of Unraveled Wednesday.  Joining Kat and others on this first Wednesday of October.

Fortunately, no unraveling has happened this week.  Minimal progress has been made on the 2nd Nutkin.  Minimal, but progress nonetheless.  I think I've managed 12 - 15 rows since my last picture.

The gusset decreases are complete and now it is just straight knitting for the foot until the toe decreases (I'm not doing the pattern on the front of the foot - I prefer a plain foot).  I doubt I will finish before we leave on Saturday, but I'm ok with that.

The majority of my "chores" before leaving for vacation are done!  Bathrooms scrubbed - check.  Kitchen floor done - check.  Fletch cleaned the living room and dusted up above the kitchen windows where there were bugs and webs, etc.  It's that time of year (Fall and Spring) where all the little creatures come out of hiding to bother me.  Most of the laundry is done, though Fletch informed me last night (after the washer was going) that he has some shirts he wants washed.  Oh well, that's easy.  so that and paying bills (far more painful) and I will be ready to go.

On the reading front, I am now three-quarters of the way through History of Wolves and will finish that before we leave.  I have several others on the Kindle including I Will Send Rain and Dandelion Wine so I think I'm good on the reading front.

Still need to pick up wine for the trip (of course).  We did test the lights on our camper Tuesday and YAY!  They work (this was the problem back in May and why we ended up with a staycation at that time). 

What are you all up to?  Hope there has been no unraveling in your worlds.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Count Down to Vacation!!

Hello All,

Happy October!  Finally we had some gorgeous Fall weather over the weekend.  Saturday was mostly grey and very, very windy and chilly but Sunday was PERFECT!  Fletch did a lot of work out in the garden.  I picked the last of the tomatoes and a couple of peppers.  We still have peppers growing and four eggplants!

Sunday morning I did manage to pack for vacation!  We leave next Saturday and I didn't want to leave it for evening doing...this week will be busy enough.  And, I don't really need sweatshirts and flannel shirts for work, so a no-brainer to get it done.  Only last minute things to put in, and I still need to figure out what to take knitting-wise.

Meanwhile, there has been progress on Nutkin 2:

The heel has been turned, gusset stitches picked up and the decreasing has begun.  Still rows and rows to go since I have large feet - lol.  Hoping to get these done before we leave.  I don't need them for the trip (hand-knit socks already packed!!), but I don't want to drag a project with me that doesn't have much to finish...just a waste of precious space in my opinion.  So, I will plug away.

But, the week is busy.  Busy at work (always before vacation, plus our new fiscal year started 10/1).  Yoga tonight, dentist appointment Thursday, last minute cleaning (I always clean before leaving for vacation - can't stand to come home to a dirty house).  So, as Fletch says, I'll be a bit manic this week.

On the reading front I finished The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Lisa See) and liked it.  Mostly I enjoyed all the info about tea.  Am now about a third of the way through History of Wolves.  A little draggy in parts, but overall I'm enjoying it.

Hope you all had a great weekend.  I've got a ton to get done today, so I'd best get going.