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.