Friday, December 31, 2021

Goodbye 2021

 Good Morning All!

Happy New Year and Goodbye to 2021.  This year is ending on a heavy note for moi.  Vera and Kabir (my neice and her husband) and 3 children had to evacuate from their home in Broomfield, CO yesterday.  They went to her Mom's (my brother's ex wife) and are hopefully ok.  Not sure about their home.  Phil's other 2 children are further north and so far safe.  Phil & Lynnette had loaded up their camper last night and were ready to evacuate if needed.  I think they are ok - waiting to hear from Phil this a.m. as to how and where they are.  What a sad way for the year to end.

I woke up late today (almost 8 a.m.!!) (was awake during the night...worried about the CO fires), so am getting a bit of a late start to my day.  Yesterday I went back to the canal trail and walked.  It almost felt muggy out it was so mild (low 50's).  Here are some things I saw:

A decorated bench trail-side.  I was going to photograph it the other day, but a gentleman was resting on it and I didn't want to disburb him!

More shelf fungus.

Some pretty green moss (I love moss)

A tree trunk covered in burls - look at them all!

There were more people out and about with the milder temperature, but it still was not very crowded.  So far it is looking like another grey day here.  Hopefully I can get out and go for a walk somewhere.  Perhaps I will try the River Trail (in Valley Forge, along the Schuylkill River) this time.

Yesterday around 4:00 Mabel ran outside!  We are careful opening the door, and I had just opened it a bit to throw something into the recycling tub when whoosh she was out in a flash!  She explored a bit and I just let her be.  Fletch was watching and finally went out to be sure she didn't run into the street or anything.  She ended up circling the house a few times and then came in the front door!  

So who has plans for tonight?  We are having crab cakes, biscuits (home-made at F's request) and a salad for dinner.  And a bit of Prosecco.  I don't always stay up till midnight, but we will see how it goes tonight.  Tomorrow I will cook some black eyed peas for luck.  No real plans, but that is fine with me.

Thank you all for visiting and commenting here throughout the year.  I've enjoyed sharing a bit of my life with you and getting to know you all a bit better.  Cheers to 2022 and all the best wishes for a healthy and joyful year ahead!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

What's For Dinner? (Plus a Walk and a Finish!!)

 Good Morning!

Today is Thursday and I am usually full of financial reports and rushing to get them out.  This week I don't think so.  Instead, I'm sitting down with coffee to blog and read blogs and in a bit I will wake Fletch and we will have breakfast together.  What a concept!

Meanwhile, thank you all so much for all of your good wishes to me and mine!  We all continue to feel well with no symptoms.  Colin & Mailing both tested negative (of course, in my mind is the fact that so did Anna and my brother Phil for numerous times).  Bonnie says that Anna is improving (though she never felt all that bad).  Phil, out in CO, has been busy taking down holiday lights and the like.  Tending his greenhouse, etc.  He is no longer hoarse or coughing and feels good.  Lynnette, his wife, still tests negative.  They are still planning to head to Costa Rica on the 10th (I wouldn't, but that's a whole other story).  We are all vaccinated and boosted which is a good thing.  I'm optimistic, but am erring on the side of caution.

Yesterday I headed out to walk along the trail in Oaks again.  It was a little misty and the paved trail was wet and a little slick in places (thank you goose poop - it is EVERYWHERE!!).  There were only 2 other cars in the parking lot when I arrived.  I have never seen it that empty.  I was enjoying my walk and looking forward to my favorite part of the trail when suddenly this appeared:

So, I never got to the point where the Perkiomen Creek empties into the Schuylkill River.  There is another trail that juts off to the right here, so I walked up that a bit, but it just was not as interesting or fun.  In all though I managed to walk for about an hour.  I do love Sycamore trees, especially in winter.  The way their branches spread is so beautiful to me.

Not too shabby a house either!  The Sycamore trees make me think of Halloween.

Walking back to my car, I met a park ranger and was able to find out why the trail is closed.  A huge sink hole opened up during one of our recent storms.  He said you can hear the water rushing under the trail!  Not good...he said repairs will be made eventually, but as of now there is no time line.  I want to pull up a map of the trail and find the parking lot at another juncture so that I can walk down to where the creek spills into the river.

The reason my Holiday Sock still doesn't have a heel or foot is that I have been focusing on my stitching.  Last night I finished up "Wintertime" by Threadwork Primitives.

I like the way it turned out and it was a fun stitch.  It's a bit large to make into a pin cushion and really too small for a pillow and I don't need/want another framed piece, so it is tucked inside a drawer in a chest in my office room along with other finished pieces.  Next up:  stay tuned - I will show you next Tuesday!

On the food front are some mushrooms.  Last summer we bought an air fryer.  Fletch loves breaded mushrooms and we used to be able to get them at various pizza places.  Now, though, no one seems to make them.  There are plenty of fried pickles and fried green beans, but no breaded mushrooms.  I've made them a couple of times in the air fryer, but they are more work than I like.  The other night I had a container of mushrooms that needed to be used.  I flipped through a cookbook and found this recipe:

Balsamic Soy Roasted Mushrooms

  • 3 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TBS Soy Sauce (our soy sauce of choice is Ketjap Manis by Conimex - a sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
  • 1 TBS EVOO (plus more for spraying)
  • 1/2 TBS Brown Sugar
  • 1 TBS Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 2 lbs Whole Button Mushrooms

I didn't have button mushrooms and the ones I had were a bit large, so I just cut them in half and/or quarters.

  • Pre-heat air fryer to 390 degrees
  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients and then toss in the mushrooms and toss to combine
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with EVOO.  Place mushrooms in a single layer and lightly spray with EVOO
  • Air fry for 10 minutes shaking the basket occasionally

These turned out SO GOOD.  They do not get crispy at all, but the flavor is amazing.  I can't wait to make them again.  

I think you could just as easily make these in the oven or even just sautee on top of the stove if you do not have an air fryer.

Well, enough rambling for one morning.  Time for another cup of coffee.  I hope your Hush Season week is going well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday - December 29, 2021

 Good Morning All!

Here we are at the last Unraveled Wednesday of 2021.  First though, some unsettling news.

Anna, Mailing's sister with whom we celebrated on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has tested positive for Covid.  It was touch and go whether she would join us or not as her boyfriend had tested positive.  But, she took 4-5 tests and they ALL came back Negative, so all assumed she was fine.  She tested again on Monday (she is a pharmacist and had to test before going back to work), and bingo - positive.

My little brother in CO has had the same experience.  He was with someone who tested positive.  He and his wife tested numerous time and all were negative.  After telling him about Anna, he tested again and, in his words, he is "hot."

Colin & Mailing are getting tested today.  Fletch and I have decided to hold off.  There have been so many negative tests (obviously) and then later positive tests.  We will probably test in a week to 10 days.  Or earlier if we develop symptoms.  Luckily we all feel fine (including Colin & Mailing).  I plan to text Bonnie this a.m. to be sure she and Zhongren are ok and also find out how Anna is doing.  She felt fine each time we saw her.  This new Omnicron variant seems to be a sneaky one, so please, everyone, be safe and be careful!

On a more positive note I did get out for a walk again yesterday.  Once again I chose the Canal Path (Schuylkill River Trail - canal on one side, river on the other).  I forgot to mention yesterday when I posted that the skeleton that was always sitting on a bench across the canal from the trail is missing!  It was disappointing not to see him.  

The bench to the right of the white boat is where Skelly always sat.  I wonder what happened to him...

I did see some interesting shelf fungi though.

That is the river in the background.  The day (obvious from the pictures) was grey and overcast.  But it was about 10 degrees warmer than the day before.  I saw several groups of people on bikes, several folks jogging, some walkers and one girl walking two dogs.  But the trail still felt pretty empty which I prefer.  I am hoping/planning to get out for another walk this morning (haven't decided where yet).

Now for the meat of this post!  LOL  As usual, I am linking up with Kat and her Merry Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Wait till you see Kat's final finish for 2021 - it is fabulous and too cute for words!!

Once again my knitting seems to have slowed down, but I am fine with that.  My first "Holiday Sock" is at the point where I will start the heel flap.

My plan was to do the flap and turn the heel last night, but I didn't.  Instead I worked on my stitching and read some.  These socks will get done, just not quickly.  Again, I am fine with that.  No deadlines, no pressure and (for me, the key) I am enjoying the making.  

I do have some ideas of things I would like to make in 2022.  I may join Vicki in making some stars - I think they would be cute gift toppers added to packages next Christmas.  But...I want to make mine using left over sock yarn.  I tried a 9" circular yesterday and couldn't get that to work for me, so I will try DPNs and see how that goes.  I'd like to finish my French Market Bag and also the Guernsey Wrap that I started last year.  And, of all things, I discovered a shawl that I finished over a year ago (Odyssey Shawl by Joji Locatelli) and never bound off!  The yarn was from a huge cake and I think I was debating about continuing to knit and make it larger, but that is not really I need/want to get that bound off and blocked!  There are other projects too, but I'll figure it all out later.

My reading this last week was not enjoyable!  Sarah had mentioned "The Guide" by Peter Heller and I thought it sounded good, so requested it from my library.  Sarah suggested that I read "The River" first as some characters were the same and there was a spoiler in "The Guide," so I took that out.  OMG I could only think Deliverance and that banjo music kept playing in my head.  I did finish the book but I did not enjoy it at all.  So, I returned both Heller books to the library yesterday as well as another I had taken out but not yet read.  

While at the library (fully masked - actually everyone is - our library requires masks), there were two books for me to pick up that I had been waiting months for:  The Madness of Crowds and Matrix - how exciting to get them both!  Meanwhile I started No Time to Spare by Ursula LeGuin and am really enjoying it.  Fletch picked that up for me for Christmas.  LeGuin is not an author I would normally choose to read - I think she wrote mostly sci-fi and fantasy type books, but this is a series of essays or posts from her blog which she started when she was in her mid-eighties.  From the blurb on Amazon:

The collected best of Ursula’s blog, No Time to Spare presents perfectly crystallized dispatches on what mattered to her late in life, her concerns with the world, and her wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

I've only read the first few chapters, but it is very engaging.  She has a certain sarcastic and cauastic tone which I love.

So it appears that I am poised with excellent reads, interesting knitting and stitching projects as we move gracefully into 2022.  A lot of folks are doing reviews of the year - reading, making, etc.  I will get to that, just not this week - LOL

It is another grey and overcast day here.  Mabel is perched on her shelf at the window to my right and is mercifully quiet at the moment.  Last night, BTW, she played "fetch!"  I was stitching at the table and she grabbed a catnip toy in her mouth, jumped up onto the table and dropped it.  I picked the toy up and threw it.  She jumped down, got the toy, jumped back up onto the table and dropped it again.  This went on for about 8 turns!  I was laughing so hard.

OK, time to get a second cup of coffee and decide what to wear to go walking.  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what everyone is making and reading!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Good Morning!

How are you this fine morning?  We are doing well.  I did get out yesterday morning for a walk.  This time I walked along the canal path.  No sightings of blue herons or turtles.  There were a few ducks on the water.  Someone had decorated a tree along the path.  I believe the lights on the tree are solar (the box on the right of the upper tree).  

This is opposite Fitzwater Station on the other side of the canal.  A place that rents canoes and kayaks...also a fine place for a bite to eat.  Here is a picture of Fitzwater Station (taken from the Web).  It is a 19th century building.  Dee and I have sat on the deck for lunch after walking along the trail.

There were not many people out and about.  It was chilly.  One runner passed me (in both directions) and I saw one couple walking.  That was it!  It was peaceful and beautiful.  And chilly (I keep saying that - but chilly enough that my eyes were tearing up and my nose was running).  Amazing that the day before was so mild.  It started snowing on my drive home.  Nothing accumulated and the flakes were tiny, but it was fun to see.  Walking in the morning was great and I am hoping to do the same today (work emails so far are quiet).

Here we are at the last Tuesday of 2021.  Time for a TNT update.  My "Wintertime" piece is coming along.  I'm not sure it will be finished by the time 2022 arrives, but that is ok with me.  

In the space between the two deer on the left and the single deer on the right a tree will appear.  Underneath the zig-zag line will be motifs like the one in the upper right of the piece.  It is an easy and comfortable piece on which to work.  I have picked out my next piece and it would be fun to start that either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, but that is not really important.  The enjoyment I get from stitching is the goal.

Our temps are supposed to rise a bit this week, so we may get Mabel outside again.  We could also have a bit of rain.    I'm hoping that Thursday is mild and dry enough for grilling.  Colin & Mailing will be coming over.  Other than that, I have no plans which is nice.  I hope this last week of 2021 is unfolding nicely for you.

Monday, December 27, 2021

The Hush Season

 Hello and How Are You???

I read somewhere or heard somewhere that somone calls this week the Hush Time - that week between Christmas and New Years.  I love the term and all that it brings to my mind.

So how was your Christmas (if you celebrate)?  Ours was lovely.  I did feel lousy on Christmas Day, but it was just allergies kicking in.  Christmas Eve we went over to Mailing's parents for dinner.  We were worried whether Anna would be able to join us as her boyfriend tested positive for Covid.  But, after 4-5 negative tests, she did come (and stayed masked).  Dinner, as always, was fabulous.  The dumplings I made were still the ugliest, but that is now a tradition!

I made a Swedish Almond Cake for dessert and it may be a new favorite.  Zhongren was still raving about it Christmas morning!

It was a good dessert (if I do say so myself), but I also think it's a perfect breakfast cake too with a cup of coffee or tea.  A perfect pairing.

Christmas morning we got up and had some breakfast and opened some gifts and then headed over to Colin & Mailing's for the day.  It was mild temperature-wise and a bit rainy at times.  Everyone took walks at different times except me...I sprawled out on a couch and rested.  We had champagne and grapefruit juice along with scones that Colin made for brunch.  I had also received the day before a HUGE box from a VP I support filled with all different cheeses, meats, fruit spreads, honey, crackers, etc.  We took everything over to C&M's to add to the brunch spread.

The animals all had good days.  Otto got some loudy squeaky toys and was happy.

The cats were quickly drugged with catnip.  Dinner was bangers & mash which was delicious.  And a pear/cranberry cobbler I had made for dessert.

By 8 p.m. I was ready to call it a day and go home!

Sunday it was still very mild.  I took a walk in Oaks along the Perkiomen Creek.  I chose that path because it is paved.  The canal walk that I do and the River Trail would have both been messy in places due to our recent rains.  There were folks out biking, jogging, walking and plenty of geese on the water.

When I got back home we decided to get Mable outside again.  She enjoyed it a lot!

After a bit she was ready to come back inside.  A little progress being made here and there!

It is cooler today (28 this morning), but I'm hoping to get out for another walk.  Fletch is in the shower and once he gets out I will start some laundry.  Other than that, I hope to find time to relax, knit, stitch and read some.  I hope everyone is enjoying this Hush Season!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Tree

 Good Morning!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve.  It is almost 6:30 a.m. and still quite dark out there.  I can hear traffic at the end of our street, but otherwise things are quiet.  No birds yet.  Mabel just threw up on the kitchen floor, but she was quiet and I didn't realize she was getting sick!

Yesterday I finally got out the birch log that we put on the buffet at Christmas time.  And, I added red candles to it.  The jewel tree that Fletcher's Mom made is also displayed on the buffet and it looks nice.  That's it for decorating.  It is simple and plenty.

Here is our tree:

Fletch bought a full sized tree and then had it cut down so that it could go in the stand and sit on a small table in the living room.  Voila!  I really like it.  Some favorite ornaments.  First up, the one I think I show every year - one that was made by Colin when he was 5.  We love it because he made it, but also a piece of the gold glitter migrated onto one of his front teeth (not terribly visible in this picture):

Next up is an ornament that Colin & Mailing gave us on Tuesday night:

The detail and the embroidery on this hedgehog are exquisite.

And one more cute critter alongside a vintage bell ornament (one of many that adorned my tree growing up).

Well, I do have a few reports to run this morning and then I think (know) I will be finished for a few days.  My office "closes" at 1 today and Friday and Monday are both holidays.  YAY!!

Not sure if I will post tomorrow or not.  I'll be baking a cake first thing in the morning for dinner at Mailing's parents Friday night.  So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Enjoy and Make Merry!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday December 22, 2021

 Good Morning Everyone!

How are you this morning?  I am feeling as though I'm in a fog.  It's grey and damp outside and I did not sleep well (I could hear some rain coming down lightly in the middle of the night).  I was awake for several hours and then finally fell asleep and didn't wake up till just before 7.  And I woke up really, really stiff.  Not sure if it's all the dampness in the air or what, but Advil was the first think I washed down my throat this morning.  It's above freezing, but not by much.

Yesterday turned out well.  I'm happy to say I did NOT bake any more cookies.  I will also say that I did NOT get to cleaning the kitchen floor (which, really, is a mess!).  But, the bathrooms were scrubbed, bath mats washed as well as towels and ALL of the wrapping was completed.  That includes gifts for folks we will not see until after the New Year!

Late in the day I headed over to Colin & Mailing's.  I took their stocking gifts from us as well as a big tray of cookies.  They had spent the day together (C&M and Fletch) and had watched the film 1917.  Not a film I would have enjoyed anyway.  We had an excellent dinner:  Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup and bread.  Yum!

I couldn't even finish my bowl of soup!  I had never had this before, but now I want to make it.  We did bring a good sized container home with us😋.

The cats were around, but a little lazy.  Marcel napped a lot and Talbot hung out by the front door (not sure what he was looking at - perhaps Christmas lights on the street?  LOL).  After dinner the kids opened stocking gifts (and they had some for us as well).  Marcel liked the ribbons.

Silly kids and silly cat.

So here we are on Unraveled Wednesday.  Poor Kat with whom we all link up on Wednesdays has been dealing with a huge bandage on one finger - making any knitting progress difficult at best.  I've been plugging away on my holiday socks, but no knitting for the past couple of days (too busy baking/cleaning/wrapping/etc.).

It looks so pretty against a holiday table cloth!  Maybe I can sneak in a few more rows today.  I hope so!

On the reading front things slowed down.  I returned The Shore to the library after reading just 4 chapters.  The stories were way too bleak for my taste - miserable characters doing awful things to each other.  Not pleasant.  Now I am about 2/3 of the way through a book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie.  These Scotland Yard mysteries are easy to read and entertaining.  I'm reading them in order and am on book #12 (I think there are 19 in the series).  Waiting on my nightstand is The Guide which Sarah had mentioned.  It looks good, so I'm hoping to finish up the Deborah Crombie book and get started on this one.

Today's plans include a little (as in VERY LITTLE) work, a grocery run to pick up the few things I need to make desserts for Friday and Saturday (as well as MORE cat food) and then I have a haircut appointment this afternoon.  I think there is time to have a little nap before the haircut (which I already feel the need for!!).  I'm waiting for the Advil to kick in (my shoulders are still a bit achy).

Oh!  We now have the "take off for TX" date for C&M.  Their flight to Austin is booked for January 15th.  Really, I don't even want to think about it!

Wishing you all a wonderful mid-week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday December 21, 2021

 Hello My Friends!

Happy Winter Solstice!  Happy Birthday to my brother Chris!  It is another chilly morning here - everything is frosted over and sparkly.  So pretty.

My pedicure yesterday was lovely.  While I was there a gentleman came in - he must have been in his 70's (I can say that because he had white hair and mentioned that he had one child who is 55 and another who is in their late 40's).  He got a pedicure right next to me and then moved over for a manicure.  It was nice to see (I have seen other men getting "treatments" at this salon, but it has been a long time!).

I did end up making two more kinds of cookies yesterday.  Cut-Outs (sand tarts) and a new one I saw - Finnish Cardamom Cookies.  

Both are delicious!!  I think I'm finished baking, but realized I have not made any peanut butter cookies.  I know I said I wasn't going to make as many as I usually do...but...we do give quite a few away.  I'll see how my time goes.

Fletch and I managed to get gifts for Colin & Mailing wrapped before dinner.  Today he is heading over to Colin's for lunch and a movie.  While he is out I will wrap his gifts (and some others).  I also have domestic chores that I should get done (i.e., bathroom cleaning, kitchen floor mopping).  Luckily work has been mostly quiet.  Late this afternoon I will head over for dinner at Colin & Mailing's.  So, my day is pretty well mapped out.

On this Winter Solstice Day we are also celebrating TNT or Tiny Needle Tuesday.  I'm happy to say that I was able to re-start my small winter piece and the border met up!

I even managed to stitch one of the reindeer.  I doubt I will finish this by Christmas, but it should be finished by sometime next week so that I can start something new for the New Year!

I do hope everyone is relaxed and enjoying this week.  

Monday, December 20, 2021



The countdown is on.  Fletch said something the other day about how nice it was to see me NOT in a frenzy over the holidays!  LOL  I hadn't realized that I used to get frenzied, but I guess I did.  Now I just think let things happen as they will.

How was your weekend?  Mine was very nice.  I met up with Dee on Saturday morning.  We met at Broad Street Grind, a coffee shop we had not been to in months and months.  We chose it because of where we were having lunch.  But, you know, there is always one person (at least) who annoys you.  Sitting two tables away from us was a young couple and the guy was talking SO LOUDLY.  I'm not sure why, but annoying.

Lunch, however, was so good.  We ate at Northbound which is just a block away from the coffee shop.  It was such a relaxing time and bonus:  I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done!!

Sunday I did the grocery shopping - Fletch stayed home to wrap some gifts.  During the afternoon I did some more baking.  I made Red Velvet Cookies.  Kim had posted about them and man are they easy-peasy to make and they are good!

And then last night I found a recipe for a cookie that (to me) is a great cross between a meringue and a macaroon.  Yum!  I mixed up those, baked them and while we watched an episode of Shetland I let them cool.  Then I dipped some and drizzled some with bittersweet chocolate.  I have to say I think they are better plain, but too late now!!

Not all that attractive, but tasty!  I will mix up dough for cut-out cookies today and will probably make them tomorrow.  Then I will be finished baking except for desserts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I decided that for Christmas Eve I will make an almond cake (like Carole blogged about recently).  I believe it is a Swedish recipe and my Grandfather was from Denmark, so close enough!  And, for Christmas Day, Colin has requested a cranberry/pear cobbler.  I'm going to have to wear stretch leggings for weeks!  LOL

Speaking of such, I wear fleece leggings quite a bit in the cold weather.  The ones I wear are Cuddle Duds and are actually long underwear, but who cares?  They are black and fleece and warm.  One of my pairs has a hole (small) in the right thigh.  I think a spark from a campfire landed on me one night.  I want to repair that this morning as I plan to wear these leggings to get a pedicure later this morning.  The legs on these easily pull up over my knees, unlike any pair of jeans that I own.

It is now 7 a.m. and time to pour another cup of coffee.  My head is cold, so I should pull out the hair dryer to dry my hair too.

Mabel has not bothered our tree or the ornaments on it!  And, she caught another mouse in the basement.  I saw it and told Fletch to clean it up (well, I wasn't going to do that!).  I asked Fletch if there was any sign of Mabel consuming any of the mouse (if so, I would have to get de-worming meds, etc.).  Fletch said no - not consuming, but she really rips them apart!!  I guess she is keeping us safe.

Wishing you all a relaxing week before Christmas.  Take it easy on yourself!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friday Felines

 Good Morning!

I'm not sure what happened to yesterday, but it got a little out of control.  Meaning, of course, that work got busy.  Busy enough that I did not have time to bake bread.  Instead I ran to the store for a baguette which we had with the soup.

At one point though I took a very short break and Fletch and I took Mabel outside!!

She seemed more afraid than anything else.  And the harness thing was difficult to fasten around her...she is still a skinny cat, but not as skinny as when we brought her home.  Plus the harness fastens with velcro and then pulling it apart to get it off I always think I'm pulling her fur.

Bottom line, she did not much care for the harness.  I sat with her in my lap on the patio for a few minutes and she began to calm down, but obviously wanted to go inside and then her leg got caught in the harness, etc., etc.

We were going to try taking her out without the harness and leash, but it was around 4:30 and beginning to get dark.  I was worried that she might be spooked by something and run off and then it would be dark and we wouldn't be able to find her.  So...perhaps we will try that this afternoon.  It's nerve wracking!!

I'll be happy when my two conference calls are over today (one at 8:30 and one at 11).  There was no knitting or stitching yesterday, so I'm hoping for a bit of those things today.  Tomorrow I'm meeting up with Dee for some chatter/coffee/knitting and then we are going to lunch to celebrate the season!  Really looking forward to that.  Whatever your plans are, have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

What's For Dinner? December 16, 2021

 Good Morning!

Can you believe it is 50 degrees outside?  Weird, crazy, roller coaster weather again.  My little brother in Boulder, CO was getting high winds yesterday - branches down, patio tables knocked over and glass shattered, patio furniture cushions in the neighbor's yard, etc.  I do hope everyone is safe.

Yesterday was a nice day.  I went to the office and then was home before 10:30!!  And that included a stop at JoAnn's and also the State Store.  I saw a couple of people and heard others, but just did what I had come in to do and then left.  Last evening I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, so the baking continues.

Fletch got a tree!  He had the guy cut it way down and it is now in a tree stand on a table in the living room and looks great.  Lights are on, but it is not decorated yet...maybe tonight when Colin is over (though with the mild temps we may opt for a fire outside).  The best part is that it was still upright when I came downstairs this morning!!  Mabel has not shown a whole lot of interest in it which is a good thing.

Meanwhile, what's for dinner?  Tonight it is vegetable beef soup which I just started in the crock pot.  Later I'll bake some bread to go with that.  The recipe I'm sharing today is Colin's and it is what we had for dinner on Monday.

Cannellinni-Artichoke-Garlic Salad

  • 2 (14-16 oz) cans of white beans (cannellinni)
  • Head of Garlic
  • Jar of marinated artichokes (best in EVOO...most are in sunflower oil which is ok)
  • Fresh parsley

Chop/mince the entire head of garlic and sautee in EVOO.  Add the rinsed and drained beans.  Mash some, but keep some whole.

Drain, chop and add the artichoke hearts.  Once melded, season with salt and pepper and integrate a lot of chopped fresh parsley.  Remove from heat.

So delicious and nutritious!  We had it over some crusty bread that I had warmed in the oven.  This, by itself, was plenty for me (I did put some kalamata olives on the table too), but Fletch wanted a little something else, so he had some pepperoni on the side.

The dish comes together quickly and it is very inexpensive to make too.  A good vegetarian meal.

I'm off to a slightly later start than usual (a good night's sleep again!!), so I'd best get moving on my Thursday reports.  I'll check out blogs a bit later.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday December 15, 2021

 Hello and Good Morning!

How are you?  Once again I am up early (5:15 this a.m.) but that is fine as I am running to the office a little later.  I have a few things I need to do there (including printing a couple of pages in color for moi).  After that I will stop at JoAnn's in the shopping center near my office.  There are two colors of DMC that I need.  The plan is to be home in time for lunch with Fletcher.

Yesterday was good.  I did a little laundry (sheets), made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, made the sauce so that we could have lasagna for dinner, took a nap (I do love to nap!!) and still had time for knitting, reading and stitching!  My kind of day.  Notice cleaning did not make the list of things accomplished.  Oh well...another time perhaps.

It is Wednesday, Hump Day, Mid-Week, all of which mean it is Unraveled Wednesday where we link up with Kat and the Merry Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Last Saturday when I got together with Dee I just knit some more on the French Market Bag which has gotten much bigger than the previous one I made.  

Hard to tell in this picture, but the last 2 rows I knit are in the same grey color as the bottom of the bag.  I'll knit another row or two and then start the handles which will be grey to begin with and then will be the forest green .  And then I can felt!!

I had also caked up some yarn for future socks - perhaps a pair for Fletch and a pair for Colin.

On the right is Static yarn from KnitPicks and the colorway is "Terrarium."  On the left is yarn from "Kim Dyes Yarn" which I'm pretty sure I bought at this year's NJ Sheep & Wool festival.  The colorway is "Hiking Trail" and the yarn is 80% Merino and 20% Nylon.

I also decided it was time to knit socks for me!  And Christmas socks!

The yarn is Cascade Heritage in the colorway "Holiday" and is some I've had in my stash for a number of years.  Finally last night I was able to make a start:

Hoping to get a bit more done on this first sock today!  A plain vanilla self-striping sock is just what the doctor ordered.

On the reading side of things I finished The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva.  I enjoyed it - thought it was good, not great.  I will most likely read the next in the series to see how it goes, but there are other books in line ahead of that.  Right now I am in the midst of The Shore by Sara Taylor.  This is a series of stories that are connected in that they all take place off the coast of Virginia - think Assateaque and Chincoteague area.  Lots of poverty in that area (some wealth too) and the stories so far are rather bleak, but I am enjoying them.  On my nightstand waiting for me is The Women's March which I'm hoping will be good.  My TBR list is growing by leaps and bounds...I keep coming across more books that just sound so good.  I'm #8 on the hold list for Matrix and I'm not sure I will get it before the "Read With Us" discussions start (and I'm not sure this is a book for moi are certainly mixed).

Time to pour another cup of coffee and get my engine started.  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what others are making and reading (just one of the reasons my TBR list is growing so much!!).

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday December 14. 2021

 Good Morning!

How are you on this Tuesday in December.  The Solstice is only one week away!  How is that possible?

I woke up early this morning (4:30!).  I stayed in bed a bit, but finally got up at 5 a.m.  I knew I wasn't going to fall back asleep and honestly, I cherish these early morning minutes that are (usually) quiet.  Mabel seems to be behaving so far this morning...I hear her scratching in her litter box and it sounds as though she is trying to dig to the center of the earth!

My massage yesterday was a taste of heaven.  Oh it felt so good!  And when I came home I took a nap and slept deeply for 1.5 hours!  I'm excited to book another massage - I think I'll go early in January.  Between now and then I'd like to get my hair cut again and I plan to book a pedicure for next week.  Little pleasures.

Well, here we are at Tiny Needle Tuesday (TNT) again and this time I have a finish!  Yes people, Pomegranate Birds is finally complete.  I do love it.  I'm also happy to have it finished.

It is now tucked away safely in the drawer with all my other finished and unframed pieces.  As I've said in the past, I enjoy stitching very much, but I don't want a house filled with framed cross stitched pieces - that's not my style.  I have some framed pieces up and that is enough. 

I wanted to stitch a seasonal piece next and have chosen this:

It will be a small piece which is perfect for right now.  True confession time:  I started this the other day and just about completed the border when I realized that it would not meet up perfectly...I was off by one linen thread.  I tried to rip it out, but it was a real PITA, so I just threw it out.  I will start it again today if I have time.  No rush, but I will enjoy working on a holiday-ish piece.

Plans for today include a bit of work (hopefully not too much!!), maybe some baking (cookies), some cooking (sauce because we are having lasagna tonight), maybe some cleaning (I bought a new mop for my kitchen floor - oh the excitement!!  LOL).

What about you?  What is on your Tuesday agenda?  Whatever it is, I hope you can find a few minutes to curl up, be quiet and just enjoy the day.  Maybe some knitting?  Or stitching?  Or reading?  Or just sitting peacefully?  Whatever - enjoy!!

Monday, December 13, 2021


 Good Morning!

My burning question this morning is:  "How can it possibly be Monday again?"  Time flies for sure.

The weekend was lovely.  I met up with Dee Saturday morning for some quality knitting time along with coffee and chatting.  It was lovely as always.  Grocery shopping and some errands were accomplished.  There was a nap.  All in all a lovely time and now we are back to Monday morning.  Whew!

I actually planned out meals for this week so that we did not over-shop when we went for groceries.  Last night was shrimp stir fry:

Quite yummy if I do say so myself.  Tonight I am making a recipe that Colin often makes:  White beans (cannellini) cooked up with a ton of garlic, marinated artichoke hearts and a lot of parsley.

I did manage to make time for knitting and stitching and reading, and there was plenty of all that.  I still need to wrap gifts, but believe my shopping is complete.  Another whew!

Best of all, I booked a massage for myself.  Today at 11 I will be having the first massage I've had since pre-Covid days.  I cannot wait!!

Work seems to have mellowed out a bit.  It will most likely be this way through the holidays (here's hoping).

Best of all, Mabel is behaving a bit better.  I really don't want to jinx things, but after managing to make the banjo fall off the wall she seems to have calmed down a bit.  Fletch and I were watching another episode of the new season of Shetland last night and she curled up on my lap!  Progress my friends, progress!

No doubt about it, she's a beauty!

Let's all have a great week!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Friday at Last

 Hello and Welcome Friday (at last)!

32 years ago I was starting to go into labor.  My boy was born just after midnight on the 11th of December.  So Happy Birthday Colin!!  He was over last night for dinner (red beans, brown rice, a salad and a pineapple upside down cake that I made with fresh pineapple - YUM).  He liked his gifts and went home with a bunch of leftover cake for himself and Mailing.

Colin alerted me to the sunset before he came over.  I stepped out on the front porch and looked.

This picture does not begin to convey how vibrant the colors were.  It was gorgeous!  (And that big evergreen tree on the right is planted by our mailbox - it was our Christmas tree 32 years ago!!)

I'm glad it has wound down to Friday.  I do have two conference calls and plan to do some laundry.  Hopefully I can find time to wind some yarn, call to book a massage, do a little stitching and knitting, etc.  Fletch will be out all morning, but unfortunately that is when I will be tied up on my calls.  I might even get some Christmas wrapping done,,,but no rush, I have time.

Wishing everyone (myself included) a wonderful relaxing and peaceful weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Last Christmas Gift Finished!

 Good Morning!

A quick post as shortly I need to be dressed and out the door and on my way to a doctor appointment.

Yesterday's virtual luncheon was sort of annoying - there were technology issues and honestly, some people!  I really don't want to watch other folks shove food into their mouths.  What are they thinking?  Or not?  I logged off before the finish and then did a little shopping.  Then I worked last night after dinner for 3+ hours running and distributing my normal Thursday morning reports...all because I knew I'd be out of pocket this morning.

But, enough of that nonsense!  While having coffee this a.m. I managed to sew the ends of Bonnie's cowl/headband.  Here is it on the buffet:

And here it is as a cowl:

Not fully awake and not enough coffee yet...but those are my new glasses which I love!

So the Christmas knitting is officially finished.  I may find some yarn to knit up a pair of socks for Fletch...but they will most likely end up as a Valentine's Day gift.  Or, I may pick out yarn to knit a pair for moi!

Meanwhile, when I got home yesterday afternoon Fletch announced that Mabel is beginning to earn her keep - he found a dead mouse that she had caught in the basement!  I'm so proud of her.

OK, time for me to get moving.  Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday, December 8, 2021

 Good Morning All,

How are you this morning?  I'm doing well.  In a bit I will manage to get dressed and then head to the office.  I don't plan to stay all that long - just thru the virtual Christmas luncheon we are having.  I need to get with Tom from IT about an issue and, of course, I have my personal packages to ship out via UPS.  My plan is to do a little shopping on the way home for someone I still need to buy gifts for - that would be Fletch.  Aside from finding some things for him, I believe my shopping is finished!!  Woo-Hoo.

Yesterday we talked a bit about a Christmas tree and what to do this year (Mabel was up on the banjo again yesterday!!).  We've come to the decision (I think) that we will get a table-top tree that we can set up in the living room.  One advantage of doing this is that it will not require moving furniture.  I've told Fletch he is in charge of that item.  After all, he brought home a gorgeous bouquet yesterday, so he does know how to pick out things!

Pretty, huh?  As usual, just ignore all the junk on the table.  But please note that the "Fall" tablecloth has been removed and a Christmas one put in its place.  I still have not done any other decorating, but I will...eventually....

Meanwhlie, it's Unraveled Wednesday and once again I am linking up with Kat and all the Merry Unravelers to talk about making and reading.  You may recall that I've had dismal luck with my final knit Christmas gifts.  None of the fingerless mitts I was attempting to make turned out.  Instead I picked up the yarn I had chosen for Bonnie's gift and knit Napping by the Fire which is a free pattern on Ravelry.  It is a pattern for a headband, but I've discovered it also makes a cozy cowl.  I added an extra repeat of the pattern to make it a bit wider and I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

The pattern doesn't jump out at you, but it is visible (click to enlarge).  The above picture was taken once I had let it dry and took it off the blocking mats.  I did not get around to sewing the two ends together, but I will do that (perhaps) tonight.  This is such pretty yarn (fingering weight, 100% merino wool) and reminds me of The Painted Desert.

Once I finished that I was going to try to find a pattern to knit for Leslie and I decided to not bother.  I have other gifts that I am sending her and I just didn't need or want to do a deadline knit.  I will make her something out of that pretty purple yarn, but perhaps I will send it to her for Valentine's Day or for a "just because" gift.  It will happen...just not for this Christmas.

On the reading side of things I finished Georgia which was ok.  Believe I have already mentioned that it wasn't exactly what I had hoped it would be.  Most of it felt like a cheap romance novel, or a bit of "chick-lit," but the end which seemed to be more about her art was better I thought.  Now I am in the midst of The Kill Artist which is the first in a series that Kat had recommended.  I'm a bit more than halfway through the book and it is definitely holding my attention.  There are a lot of characters though!  I've put in a request for some other books from my library and hopefully they will come in shortly.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday December 7, 2021

 Good Morning!

Boy the wind was howling last night and after such a mild day (60) the temp dropped quickly.  It is 31 this morning and wet snow is forecast for tomorrow!  Another roller coaster.

Someone asked in the comments yesterday why we would let Mabel go outside.  The commentor is a "no reply" person, so let me explain here.  I've had cats all my life and they have always been inside/outside cats.  They go out when they want to and we don't keep a litter box in the house.  Actually, we will keep one in the basement for emergencies.  I think Tyg used it 2-3 times.  The commentor also stated that her vet says indoor cats on average live to 18 years and outdoor cats on average live to 8 months.  I have to disagree with that.  Our cats have lived much, much longer than that.  And, more importantly, they have loved going outside.  Usually they come in at night, but during the day they love to wander around the garden and woods.

Well, here we are at another Tiny Needle Tuesday, aka TNT.  I really thought I would have nothing to show you, but last night I was able to do a little stitching and some of the tail feathers on the second bird have been stitched.

I would love to finish the bird this week, but we shall see.

Yesterday was busy work-wise and then the afternoon was filled with gift wrapping.  All the gifts that I need to ship are wrapped and I will be shipping them out tomorrow when I go to the office.  It's nice to have that completed.

Yesterday was also a very peaceful day with Mabel!  She was so sweet all day and was not running around like crazy.  While I was stitching last night she was curled up in a chair right next to me.

Love those spots and her long legs!!

Well, time to get to work - the emails have been flying in and I have things to do.  Hope your Tuesday is a good one!

Monday, December 6, 2021

It Sure Feels Like Monday

 Good Morning!

I slept in today - not getting out of bed till 7 which is really unheard of for me.  I had not slept well the night before, so I guess I was catching up a bit.  The weekend was tiring.

There was getting together with Dee on Saturday morning which was lovely.  The balance of the weekend seemed to be spent in doing grocery shopping, laundry, some cleaning and some wrapping.  But mainly Mabel had my attention.

We have a shelf on one of the walls in our living room and there is a mantle clock on the shelf.  Above that, hanging on the wall is a banjo that Fletch made.  Twice this weekend Mabel jumped onto the shelf and then onto the banjo!  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  Luckily there was no damage to anything (a miracle if you ask me).

Over the weekend she (finally) learned to use the cat door in our basement door.  Now she can go down to the basement and come back up on her own.  This is a good thing because it means we can (finally) move the litter box out of the downstairs bathroom and put it in the basement.  We also plan to get her acclimated to going outside this week.  Fingers crossed that goes well.

And last night she was sweet as pie.  Fletch and I were sitting on the sofa watching the first episode of the new season of Shetland and she jumped up on my lap then moved over to Fletch and then back to me, etc., etc.

I've two conference calls again today.  One at ten and one (I think) at 11:30.  Other than that I hope to do a little wrapping.  Colin's birthday is next Saturday and we will probably give him gifts Thursday when he is over for dinner.  I'd also like to wrap some gifts that need to be shipped.  I'm planning to be in the office on Wednesday and will send stuff out via UPS from there.  Much easier than going to the post office or a UPS store.

It is forecast to be mild today (60!!) and I'd love to get out for a walk, but I think we will be having rain too.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Colliding Holidays!

Good morning!

We made it to Friday.  This week that feels like no small miracle!

As I type this, the sun is gradually coming up (though it looks like it could be a glooomy day - grey and damp) and Mable is comfy on her new perch waiting for the birds to start feeding.

The other day, Dee posted a picture of a house all decorated for Christmas and in the middle was the skeleton from Halloween.  I knew I had seen one still up somewhere and yesterday I saw it on my way to work.  It's the skeleton I posted about back in October - right by the sign for a chiropractor's office.  And now, the skeleton is dressed for Christmas!

Not the best picture, but taken from the car as I drove by (there was traffic in front of me and behind me).  Cracks me up.  I wonder if the skeleton on the bench by the canal is wearing a hat and scarf this year (I don't remember it ever being dressed appropriately for the holidays).

The steaks Fletch grilled last night were delicious.  We had baked potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts with slivers of garlic mixed in.  And, we did christen the wok with a fire!

It worked perfectly and is nicely a bit deeper than our previous "bowl."  That was good as a little later the winds picked up.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with Dee tomorrow for coffee/knitting/chatting.  Meanwhile, it's time for me to get moving.  I have a conference call at 8:30 and another one at 11.  Cheers to the Weekend!  Make it a good one.