Thursday, July 29, 2021

What's For Dinner?


It is a grey/overcast day here in Eastern PA.  Probably by mid-morning it will be raining here.  That's ok, I've a busy day ahead of me and the garden could use a good soaking.

True Confession:  Until yesterday, I had never made home-made sauce using fresh tomatoes!  I know!  I've made sauce using canned tomatoes or jarred marinara sauce that I "doctor."  But early yesterday morning (right after I posted yesterday's TNT post) I donned leggings and wellies and headed back over to Rob's to pick more tomatoes.  The bounty:

A nice haul, no?  The red and green bell pepper on the small plate at the back is from our garden.  The hot peppers are the ones I picked at Rob's on Saturday.

I hauled all the tomatoes into a collander and washed them.

That's a lot of tomatoes.  I found a NY Times recipe that calls for halving the tomatoes horizontally and then grating the halves against the large holes of a box grater and then discarding the skins.  Before doing that I got a bunch of things cooking in my pan:  an onion from the garden, the red/green bell pepper, part of another pepper, a shallot, fresh basil, a bunch of chopped mushrooms, a bit of oregano and some parsley.  And, of course, about 3-4 cloves of garlic minced.  While that simmered in a smear of EVOO, I set to grating the tomatoes.  Turns out there were 40!  My largest mixing bowl was filled pretty much 2/3 of the way up with tomatoe juice and pulp.  I added the previously cooked hot and sweet sausage to the mix of veggies in the pan and stirred that around a bit to let it cook some more.

Then I poured the tomato goodness into another pan, added a bit of salt, some basil sprigs and some tomato paste and got that simmering.  I let it cook down a bit and then added the veggie mixture with the sausage.  Oh man!  The house smelled wonderful and the tastes I had were delicious.  

We had planned on having this over pasta last night, but when I texted the above picture to Colin he asked if we could have it tonight when he will be coming over for dinner.  Being a nice Mom I said "of course" and promptly took some salmon out of the freezer for Fletch and me to have last night ("Firecracker Salmon" which is a recipe for another day!).  The decision tonight will be what kind of pasta?  We typically have a big salad with pasta and sauce, but Fletch picked a lot of green beans and has requested that we have those (steamed).

It was fun to make and I'm sure it will taste good tonight.  Next time I make this though, I think I will simply roast the tomatoes in the oven and then throw them in the food processor to chop a bit and then put in a pan to cook.  Roasting gives tomatoes such a deep (and somewhat sweeter I think) flavor.

Time for another cup of coffee and then start in on my Thursday reports.  Hope your week has been going well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday July 28, 2021

 Good Morning Everyone,

How are you this morning?  I'm a little weary, but it is still early and I'm still waking up.  It may be another hot one today, I'm not sure.  On my agenda is to make some sauce with all those Roma Tomatoes I picked at Rob's over the weekend.  I have an onion and a bell pepper from our garden to add as well as garlic (of course).  I will most likely add some mushrooms and then some grilled hot & sweet sausage that I took out of the freezer to thaw.

Thank you all for your comments on my stitching yesterday.  I haven't laid out the pink floss next to the whiskey (too tired after my day at the office yesterday), but I'm sure the two together will work and that's my plan - use them both...and on both sides.  I'll strive for an update next Tuesday.

Here we are on the last Wednesday in July!  Time for Unraveled Wednesday and a knitting and reading update.  Damon's "Out of This World" sock (the first) is slowly growing.

This is 15 rows of ribbing at the cuff and (so far) 40 rows on the leg.  I typically do 70 rows on the leg for manly socks (and mine too sometimes), so I'm a bit more than halfway down the leg.  The knitting on this (K 6, P2) can be so meditative that I often find I'm closing my eyes!  Trust me, this is not a good thing for me to do.  I have seen folks who knit while looking in another direction and carrying on a detailed conversation.  That is not me.  I need to look times...really concentrate.  Thus, only minimal progress in the past week.  Even though these are being knit for a Christmas present, it is not a race and I have plenty of time.

On the reading front, I did finish The Four Winds last week.  I know that many are not Kristin Hannah fans and I would honestly count myself among them (I could not read "The Great Alone").  But, I really, really liked this book.  Fletch and I also finished reading The Gift of the Deer and now I want to read another book by Helen Hoover (with sketches by her husband).  but, we'll take a break from that kind of book for a little bit.  The other year we so enjoyed reading "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" that Fletch and I started another book by Jules Verne.  This time we are reading From the Earth to the Moon.  We've only just started (the introduction last night), so no report on that yet.  On my own, I am about halfway through The Narrowboat Summer which Jane recommended and I'm liking it quite a bit (when I can stay awake long enough to read more than a page or two).

As usual on a Wednesday, I'm linking up with Kat and the other Unravelers to talk about making and reading.  Whenever I say (or think) "Kat and the other Unravelers" it always makes me think of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters - LOL - a blast from the past.

Cheers to being mid-week!  Hope yours is going well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday July 27, 2021

 Good Morning!

The days are zipping by, aren't they?  We are in the last week of July which just does not seem possible.  And it's Tuesday, which means TNT time.  First up the Coverlet Birds piece which now has a mirror image of the first bird.

Well, amost completed.  the little leg and foot have yet to be stitched...then the branch or whatever it is next to the bird.  There are also some blue designs above the two birds.  Another day and more will be added.

The Pomegranate Bird Sampler is another story.  A little bit more has been accomplished, but it is slow going (40 count fabric and right eye needing cataract surgery and left eye trying to work with a glasses lens that is not correct now).

I realized, too, that I have been slow to work on this for another reason.  I don't particularly care for the color of that top left flower (the color is "whiskey").  The sample on the cover of the chart shows it to be a pink color which I prefer.  I was thinking all along, hand dyed threads and the color will vary from skein to skein (which it does), but then when I looked at the entire chart yesterday I realized the designer had used the incorrect symbol for the upper left flower.  The one that will appear on the right (eventually) is coded in the correct color.  Dilemma!  I will not be ripping it out and putting the correct color in.  The stitching is way too tiny to rip out and I'm sure I'd end up with a hole in the fabric.  So it will stay.  I may lay out the pink thread and see what that would look like to finish this left hand side flower.  Only about half of it is stitched.  And the pink is very pale, so it could appear as though this particular flower is beginning to "go by."  When I get to the other side I will determine whether or not to make it match what I have already stitched or make it the correct color.  A question for another day.  And, honestly, in the grand scheme of things it is not crucial...just annoying and I really wish I had noticed that the wrong symbol was used before I started stitching it.

Well, I'm in a bit of a rush today.  It's now 7 a.m. and I need to pour another cup of coffee, get dressed, wake up Fletch and then leave for the office.  I'm meeting up with Bill (the new Lame Duck!) to review some things and print a lot of things.  Hoping (as always) to be home by lunch, but time will tell.  It already feels a bit warm to me.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 26, 2021


Hello and Good Morning!

How are you and how was your weekend?  Ours was full and wonderful.  Friday was spent avoiding work (ha!) and doing some grocery shopping.  That night I made strawberry sorbet (which no one had on Saturday...we were all too full from dinner...but Fletch and I tried it Sunday and it is so good!!).

Saturday I got up and made a couple of salads to go with dinner - corn & black bean salad and a cucumber salad.  Then I put on my wellies and went across the street to Rob's garden.  The weeds between his raised boxes are high, so I wanted my legs and feet protected.  There was plenty of bounty to pick:


Several kinds of tomatoes and hot peppers!  I could not find the zuchinni - the squash vines (he is growing several kinds) are so huge and creeping everywhere.  Honestly, I was worried about snakes!

The rest of Saturday was spent taking it easy and waiting for folks to arrive.  We did see a few creatures though.  First up some cute fawns.  Their mama was under our apple tree munching on some fallen fruit.

And we saw two tiny (very tiny) frogs,  Here is one of them:

You know Tyg was pleased!!

Colin & Mailing showed up late afternoon and then even later, Leslie, Jaimie and Emmy arrived.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to see them again.  It had been way too long.  Here is Leslie (my best friend since we were 12 years old!!):

And then here are Colin & Mailing with Jaimie and Emmy.

The weather was perfect (a little humid at times) and we had grilled burgers to go with the salads.  Emmy kept us entertained doing flips and handsprings in the yard while we all caught up for hours on end.  It was late when Colin and Mailing finally left to go home and we went to bed.  It was over way too soon and the girls left around 7 Sunday morning.  They had a long (8 hour) drive ahead and were anxious to be home.

Fletch and I relaxed on Sunday and I ended up having to do some work (which I had avoided on Friday).  I found a little time for stitching too.

Now it's back to routines.  I have a conference call at 10 and am planning to go to the office tomorrow.  Here's to a good week ahead!

Friday, July 23, 2021


Good Friday Morning!

Yesterday saw me complete the cleaning I was needing and wanting to get done before Saturday.  A day early!  I still need to put clean sheets on the bed that one or two of the girls will use, and put sheets on the air mattress that someone else will use.  But that's easy peasy.  The hard stuff is over!  I even managed to make a run to the state store for wine.

And the weather was simply wonderful - about 60 in the morning and it barely made it to 80 during the day.  I stretched out after lunch to read some and then doze a little and actually needed a blanket.  It felt great!  Colin came over for dinner (ribs and chicken on the grill, broiled asparagus and summer squash) and we ended up sitting around a fire.  I hope this weather holds through the weekend.

Fletch and Colin picked a little bit from the garden for our dinner.  The first ripe sun gold cherry tomatoes and the very first figs!!

 Fletch and I also went over to Rob's garden and cut a few zinnias for the table.  I did not go in his "compound" as it has very tall weeds and I'm nervous about deer ticks.  Today at some point I will put on my wellies and go back over to see if I can pick some Roma tomatoes and some squash.  And I'm hoping there will be more figs ripe for the weekend.

My Friday is blissfully free of conference calls this week.  I have some work I'd like to do, but then I will tackle the grocery shopping.  Saturday I will just need to make some salads to go with dinner and wipe down the bathrooms.  Not bad!  There should be time for knitting and stitching some.

Cheers to the weekend ahead - enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

What's for Dinner? July 22, 2021

 Good Morning All,

It's early (not yet 6 a.m.) and still kind of dark here.  The sun is just beginning to show itself.  Tyg was not on the patio this morning when I came downstairs, but it is earlier than usual, so I expect he will show up soon.

I've another busy day ahead of me!  It's Thursday, so I've my usual financial reports to run, and a few folks have been asking for other data.  Meanwhile I did not get the cleaning done that I expected to yesterday.  Mostly because Fletch was in the way - LOL.  But he will be out all morning today, so I want to get my reports out of the way and then I can concentrate on getting some personal chores finished!

It's chilly enough that I just got up to turn off the ceiling fan in the office!  And, when I looked out one of the windows I spotted a fox running across the road to our neighbor's yard.  I'll go check for Tyg in a moment.

One of the dishes I made this week (in my new oven!!) was Baked Ratatouille, and it was delicious.  This is the recipe I used:

I liked the idea of slicing the veggies and layering them...could be so pretty...but I didn't want to spoon out some and only get eggplant or only get zuchinni (God forbid in Fletcher's case).  So instead I chopped onions, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant and mixed in some minced garlic and fresh basil.  Sprinkled EVOO over it all and mixed well.  Then I layered the marinara sauce in my pan and covered that with the veggies.  I chopped up a bunch of Compari tomatoes and sprinkled those all over the top.  After baking it at 400 for about 40 minutes, I pulled it out of the oven, added shredded mozarella cheese and popped it back in the oven until the cheese melted.  There was one kaiser roll in the frig, so I split that, buttered it and added garlic and put that in the oven whlie the cheese was melting.  That was dinner!  So good.

This is a recipe that you could mix other things in as well.  Mushrooms would be good or some Italian sausage for added protein.  There was quite a bit left over and I froze a large container for later as well as put a smaller container in the frig for lunches.

Just checked and Tyg was curled up on one of the patio chairs, waiting for me to come to the door.  He's having breakfast now.  So all is well.

Time for me to get a jump on my reports.  Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday 7/21/21

 Good Morning Everyone,

The light this morning makes it obvious that the days are slowly getting shorter.  I actually noticed that too last night when Fletch and I were sitting on the patio around 8:30.  I know some of you hate to see Summer go, but I'm a Fall girl and I'm looking forward to all things Fall.  Fletch discovered a volunteer squash plant of some kind coming up in our garden (thank you compost!!).  I'm more inclined to think it is some kind of gourd rather than a we may be growing our own Fall decorations!

Late afternoon yesterday this guy came wandering into the yard.  Fletch chased him away from the garden and he ended up on the backside between our garden and the neighbor's yard.

His ribs are showing!  The apples on our tree are not getting very big (still golf ball size) and some of them are beginning to fall.  Deer have been coming down to dine.  No fear of humans which is not a good thing.

I'm happy to say that work pretty much cooperated yesterday - at least in the morning.  I was able to get a lot of cleaning done.  There is still much to do, but progress is being made.  My afternoon got busy work-wise, so I was not able to get the stitching or knitting in that I had hoped to, but I was able to knit some last night and got a start on the socks for Damon.

This is the Static yarn by Knitpicks and the colorway is Neptune.  I think the name for these socks will be "Out of This World" socks.  I'm using #2 needles and knit 15 rows of 2x2 ribbing and, so far, have done 15 rows on the leg.  The leg is K6, P2 across.  The yarn is easy to knit with and (theoretically at least) these socks should go fairly quickly.

On the reading side of things I am about three quarters of the way through The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.  I'd best speed things up as I think it is due back to the library today (which is not going to happen).  Monday I picked up Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller at the library - not sure I will get through it or not.  I don't seem to be able to focus on her books, but I wanted to give it a try.

Here's hoping that today is another easy one work-wise.  I have a game plan for the balance of the cleaning I need and want to do.  And of course I'm always thinking of knitting and/or stitching in the afternoon.  As usual, I'm linking up with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone is making and reading!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday, July 20, 2021

 Good Morning!

Happy to report that my visit to the dermatologist was a good news visit.  The "spot of bother" on the end or tip of my nose ended up being nothing.  There was a spot of blood or two after the stitches were removed, but no biggie.  I'm thankful for sure.  I will see her again in December for another full-body-look-over (I do that every 6 months, given my history).

Traffic cooperated and it was not bad getting to my office after the dermatologist.  I hung at the office until almost 1 p.m. and got many things done that I wanted to - not all, but most.  The only other person I saw was my boss Bruce who was busy with conference calls and other stuff, but we chatted for a few minutes.  The place was still very quiet.  I keep expecting to see more and more people in there, but so far it's no different than it was 9 months ago!

So now it is Tuesday again and time for TNT or Tiny Needle Tuesday.  It is very surprising to me that I've had an easier time stitching after my cataract surgery than knitting.  So, there has been progress on both pieces and I am still really, really enjoying both.  First up is Coverlet Birds by The Scarlet House.  The first bird has been stitched!

If you click to enlarge, I think you can see the difference between the green and blue floss - it's a bit difficult (at least for me) to see the difference in the small picture.  This is going to end up being a bit larger than I anticipated...probably too large for a pin cushion, but time will tell.

Next up is Pomegranate Birds by Heartstring Samplery.  Since I am stitching this on 40 count, it is going a bit more slowly.  I find I need more frequent breaks to rest my eyes, but still progress was made.

The subtle variance in colors of floss is appealing to me, though I will say I was happy to get into some of the darker greens and put aside the brownish/yellowish shades for a bit.  Because the flosses are hand dyed, the shades vary from skein to skein and, therefore, my piece doesn't quite look like the colors in the original (though I am using all of the called-for colors).  Here is a picture of the original one:

My game plan for today is to have an easy morning work-wise (fingers crossed), so that I can get a jump on some of the cleaning I need to do.  The afternoon I'm reserving for stitching and/or knitting (again - fingers crossed about work!).  I do have some prep work for dinner - I'm making an oven roased ratatouille (yay for the new oven!!), so eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and yellow squash to slice, garlic to mince, etc.  Maybe some garlic bread to go with this.

The sun is up and it looks like a pretty day - hope you all have a good one!

Monday, July 19, 2021


 Hi Everyone!

How was your weekend?  Mine was good.  First, my new range was delivered (again) Friday morning - just in time for me to miss my first conference call of the day - lol.  Perfect timing if I do say so.  They hauled the old one away and left the new one.  Our neighbor Rob came over late in the afternoon and hooked it all up for us (using the "old" outlet that the delivery folks said would not work - HA!).

I didn't use it on Friday - too hot.  We just ordered out some sandwiches for dinner.  But it worked fine on both Saturday and Sunday - both the oven and the cook top.  I realize now how over-heated my old oven was.  Everything always cooked much faster than I thought it should and now I think I finally have an oven that is an accurate temperature!

Saturday I met up with Dee for some quality knitting and chatting time.  That afternoon I finished up the second Fuego sock!!

Pretty and happy socks that fit moi perfectly!!

We had some thunderstorms blow through on Saturday which cooled things down and Sunday was simply delightful.  Almost chilly at times in the breeze!!  Before we went grocery shopping I managed to cake up two skeins of yarn to make socks for Damon and Peggy (Fletch's brother and his wife).

Both skeins are Static from Knitpicks (75/25) - the blue colorway is "Neptune" and the pink/red colorway is "Glow."  For Damon's I think I will just knit the pattern that Fletch loves - the leg is K6, P2 across.  I haven't figured out a pattern for Peggy's yet, but one of them will hopefully be cast on today.

No domestic chores were done which is kind of the way I like weekends, but I'll be paying for that this week.  My friend Leslie, her daughter Jaimie and granddaughter Emory will be here next Saturday for the afternoon, dinner and spending the night.  I need to do some MAJOR cleaning so that they can stay without choking on dust, etc.

Time to roll - I've gotta leave the house by 7:15 to get to the dermatologist to have the stitches taken out at the tip of my nose.  And hopefully, get a good biopsy report.  After that I am heading to the office - I've got a number of things I need to do there and probably will be stuck there for several hours.

Hope everyone's week is off to a grand start!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday Felines


Intently looking for a frog or toad!  Happy Weekend everyone - enjoy!!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

What's for Dinner? July 15, 2021

 Well, nothing from the oven tonight, that's for sure!  LOL

The guys showed up with our new range just after 9 a.m., but when they pulled out the old one they discovered we have an "old" outlet and plug and said that would have to be changed.  Geeze, it's worked fine ever since we've been in the house...and nothing like that was said when we bought the last range.  So, they re-plugged the old range in and pushed it back.  They did not leave the new range behind as we have no place to put it (other than the front yard - hahaha).

Fletch ran out to Home Depot and bought the correct outlet.  Rob, our electrician neighbor came over just before dinner.  Turns out, our outlet and plug are just fine.  With our panel and set up in the basement, we are safe.  We will just need to use the cable from the old stove.  

Called Home Depot to reschedule delivery and I am so amazed (and happy) that it will be delivered tomorrow!!  Rob will come back over tonight, remove the cable and plug from the current range and he will be back over tomorrow night to install that cable and plug on the new range and get it all set up.

Whew!  It pays to have an electrician as a friend.  We typically pay Rob with a case of beer - you can't beat that price!

So what is for dinner tonight?  Fletch will grill wings and I will make (earlier in the day) a pasta salad with veggies and a cucumber salad.  Colin is coming over and it will be good to see him again.

But here is a recipe I made earlier this week.  I know I've shared with recipe with some of you individually, but not on the blog.  It is:

Slow Cooker Lentil "Sloppy Joes"

  • 1 Cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 Cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 Cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 Cup lentils
  • 1/2 Cup quinoa
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 TBS hot sauce
  • 2 TBS mustard
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3-4 Cups vegetable broth

Add all to the slow cooker, stir to combine and cook on high 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.

Nothing could be simpler!  And it is tasty.  And, it makes a lot.  Good news:  the leftovers are tasty - even cold and it freezes really well.

On the work front, things are shaking out a bit.  I will now be supporting 4 Presidents instead of 3.  It really does not mean a whole lot of extra work (though there may be more conference calls which I really dislike...) as it is the same amount of business I support currently.  It is just that Bill's world is being divided into two parts.  We'll see how it all works out once the new fiscal year starts in October.

Today, however, will be busy.  I've got my usual Thursday reports I need to run and then I have a conference call (oh joy!) at 10 a.m.  The plan is to relax after that and begin to ease into the weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday July 14, 2021

 Good Morning,

Looks like another murky day out there.  So many days in a row of kind of foggy, very humid, a little rain.  Typical summer storms - so localized.  You can receive a few drops and less than a mile away you can be flooded out.  Too bad I don't have the power to make it even out a bit.

So, today is the day our stove is supposed to arrive.  I just checked on line and we are the second stop on their list and our window is from 8 a.m. - Noon.  Woo-Hoo.  We should have received a call or an email yesterday with our delivery window, but that did not happen, so I was a little worried.  Fingers crossed all goes according to plan.

My eye doctor visit went well yesterday.  Healing is coming along and everything looks as it should one week after the surgery.  I can see better distance-wise without glasses for my left eye, but for reading I'm better with my glasses.  That makes sense since the doctor had told me the cataract surgery would improve my distance vision, but I would still need glasses for close work.  I'm not scheduled to see her again until August 4th when she does the surgery on my right eye.  I'm finished with one kind of drop (the antibiotic) and am now down to 3 drops a day of the other one (a steroid).

As usual on a Wednesday, I'm linking up with Kat to talk about making and reading.  My knitting is coming along, albeit a little slower than I am accustomed to - I'm finding that after 5 rows or so I need to take a break and rest my eyes.  That's fine with me...making socks is not a race for moi.

That's Fuego #2 above.  I am partway down the foot and it is just plain knitting for a bit.  I'll get a bit more finished on this today.  These sure are happy socks!

On the reading front, I finished this book by William Kent Krueger - #3 in the series.  I am enjoying this series quite a bit.  And, I'm about 100 pages into Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds about the dust bowl era and am really liking it.  Fletch and I are still reading The Gift of the Deer after dinner - probably have another week or so of reading.  We are marveling at how we are learning things from this book!  Did you know that deer have scent glands in their hooves?  Fascinating.

Meanwhile, I'd best go wake up Fletch so that he is awake, showered and fed before the delivery folks come with our stove.  And, I'd best empty out the drawer at the bottom of my current stove (pans and cookie sheets) so that it is ready to haul away!

Mid-way through the week and mid-way through July!  Enjoy the day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday - 7/13/21

Good Morning!

It's looking a little murky out around here.  It's not really foggy this morning, but it doesn't seem real clear either.  We had a tiny (i.e., not measurable) amount of rain yesterday - more thunder than anything else.  I think the bulk of it fell North of us.  Fletch ended up watering the garden - good thing.  I think there will be some beans to pick in a few days and the peppers (both bell and jalapeno) have come back nicely after being munched down by the deer.  We have one ripe tomato and lots of green ones.

Thanks so much for all your comments on yesterday's post.   I really do appreciate all of your kind words.

The dermatologist appointment went ok yesterday.  I now have two stitches on the very end/tip of my nose.  I go back next Monday to have the stitches out and they should have the biopsy results by that time.  Fingers crossed it's nothing.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been able to stitch a bit on both samplers.  I find that after 30 minutes or so, I just need to close my eyes and rest them a bit, but the amount I am able to stitch improves each day, as well as the ease with which I can do it.

First up is the Pomegranate Bird sampler.

I was able to fill in parts of the center urn.  Now I can move on to doing more flowers and...eventually...the birds!!

The Coverlet Birds piece, being on 32 count versus 40 count, was easier to work on and some decent progress was made.

I really like the look of color moving into, then green, then blue.  It really does begin to look woven.

So the big reveal at work did happen some of us...I believe the announcements will be coming out sometime this morning via email.  My boss, Bill, has decided to retire as of April 1st.  His territory is huge and he will actually be replaced with two folks - one for the East Coast and one for the West (including the coast line as well as TX, LA, AR, OK, etc.)  In addition, another President is retiring as of the end of December.  Half of his world (mid-Atlantic) will go to the new East Coast President and the other half will remain with one of his RVPs who is being promoted to President.  Mike, one of my RVPs in the NYC area has been promoted to President for the East Coast.  The West position hasn't been finalized yet...believe that my two RVPs - Sean in CA and Randy in TX will both apply for the position.  The new positions will be effective 10/1/21 - the start of our fiscal year.  Lots of moving parts!

I will still support Kevin and Bruce and, most likely, whoever ends up taking over the West area.  I believe/hope that Mike already has an assistant who will support him.  This has made me think of retirement a little more frequently in the past few weeks, but unless there is a major upheaval (which I don't expect) I will keep on, keeping on.  As Bill said, I have a very sweet gig going on.

And that wraps up things around here for the moment.  I see the eye doctor mid-morning.  Tonight should be the last night I have to sleep with the plastic shield over my eye.  I don't mind the shield, but the tape used to keep it on bothers my skin.  Today is also the last day for one of the drops I have been using.  The other one will continue for 3 more which point I will be having the other eye done!

Monday, July 12, 2021



Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  Mine was nice…a bit quieter than usual due to the eye – wasn’t driving (until Sunday) and vision was still not the best, but steadily improving each day.  Much of my weekend was spent in contemplation.  Thinking about my Mom mainly.  And mothers in general. 

Madeline Jalongo Falciglia Aronson (how’s that for a name?) passed away on July 6th.  She was my 2nd Mom.  My friend Leslie’s birth mom.  When Leslie and I became friends at the age of 12 (just about 56 years ago!!), Madeline became my second Mom.  She always had a pot of coffee on the stove and made the best home made pizza, lobstah rolls, chowder, squash & eggs.  When we were older, there was always wine to share.  When we were bad she would chase us around the house wielding a wooden spoon!  She taught me how to crochet (my Mom – birth mom – taught me how to knit).  She was 91 when she passed.  Leslie’s Dad (my 2nd Dad) passed away a number of years ago.  So now I feel like a double orphan!

Also, on June 1st, Jean Beyerle passed away.  Jean was a very close friend of my Mom’s.  She was 96 when she passed.  She and her family went to the same church we went to when I was growing up.  Jean was the organist and played a mean piano.  She and my Mom became close friends in the mid-60’s.  They did SO MUCH together – played tennis, hiked, traveled (they would often go to Sanibel Island in February to beach comb and look for gators…my Dad was not much of a beach person and Jean’s husband was a teacher and didn’t take vacation in February).  They would drive up to Vermont and stay with my Aunt or with Jennie – my Mom’s friend with whom she bicycled from Vermont to California.  At Christmas they would bake cookies together, and Christmas Eve, Jean always came over to play carols on our piano.  She made the BEST apple dumplings.

I spent so many afternoons drinking coffee and playing Scrabble with them.  Or going for walks, or out to lunch…occasionally shopping, but that was not a favorite pastime for either of them.

Those two also knew the BEST places to pick wild strawberries, blackberries, etc.

My Mom is on the right in the plaid shirt and Jean is on the left – look at those wild berries!!!  This picture is most likely from the mid-70's.

 Last week in the mail I received an envelope from one of Jean’s daughters with pages from one of Jean’s journals where she listed out the many, many things she and my Mom did together and the beauty they found in the world – whether it was a stunning sunset, or bears at their campsite in Maine, shells at the beach in Sanibel, etc.  They were amazed and delighted by Nature.

Jean’s Celebration of Life was this past Saturday.  I did not attend (was still not driving).  In addition, the service was held at the church I grew up attending and I am not fond of the church or – particularly – the current minister (also why my Dad requested that his Memorial Service be held elsewhere).

The mail also brought the 2nd issue of The Shetland Journal.  A feast for the eyes:

I’ve been able to stitch some which surprised me with the eye surgery, and I’ve read some.  I finally picked up some knitting on Sunday and it felt good to get back to that, though it was a little hard to focus and see the stitches on the needles.  Still without an oven, Fletch grilled burgers on Saturday.  I made both potato salad and a broccoli salad to go with the burgers.  YUM!!

I’m sorry to say that Fletch found yet another deer tick on his leg.  That makes 3 this summer…and 3 doses of the antibiotics.  YIKES!!!  That guy is a tick magnet!  But he spends a bunch of time in the garden and I’m sure that is where he is picking them up.  He is vigilant (thank God) about checking himself…but still…

Speaking of the garden…we have eggplants forming:

These plants are in a cast iron pot on our patio. 

We have a trumpet vine growing up a tree in our backyard.  In fact, the tree is actually dead and Fletch says the trumpet vine is what is holding it up!!  Anyway, I have never seen trumpet flowers like this – on the end of a long, long stalk:

I always see clusters of them at the top of the tree and on the sides.  These particular blooms are lower down.  A hummingbird comes to the flowers occasionally, but it is more interested in our Rose of Sharon which is covered with white blooms.

This afternoon I go back to the dermatologist for another biopsy on the tip of my nose (some years ago I lost just about half my nose to skin cancer…I’m hoping to not lose more of it!!).  And tomorrow is another follow up with my eye surgeon.  This summer is just filled with FUN - LOL

Meanwhile, I’ve got some conference calls today – I think the BIG TOP SECRET news from work is being released today…more to follow.

Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

What's for Dinner? 7-8-21

 Hello and Good Morning!

First of all, thank you all for the emails and texts wishing me luck (and sending prayers for) my cataract surgery.  All went well yesterday...a bit of a wait while the drops they give you (to numb your eye and also dilate it) do their job, but the surgery itself is very quick.  I had to arrive by 10:15 (no coffee or ANYTHING after midnight the night before which sucks) and I was home by 1 p.m.  I have two different drops that I have to put in my eye 4 x a day and I have a plastic shield I have to tape over my eye to sleep for a week.  The shield doesn't bother me at all (Fletch was bothered by it when he had his surgery) - I took a nice nap in the afternoon and slept for 8 hours last night.  During the day I just have to keep my glasses on so that my eye is always covered.  Yesterday after the surgery I felt as though I had grit or sand in my eye, but that is (thankfully) gone today.  My vision is still blurry, which is normal.  I had a post op check up with my doctor last night and all was good (pressure, etc.) and my next check up is Tuesday morning.  So all is good, and I so appreciate all the well wishes - THANK YOU ALL.

The nurses in the operating room were a hoot - joking back and forth with the doctor, etc.  At one point we were all laughing and the doctor had to remind the nurses to say nothing to make either her or me laugh.  When I saw her last night she told me she has been working with that particular group of nurses for at least 10 years and they are just like family.

So the left eye is done and the right one is scheduled for August 4th.  What a summer of fun!!

Meanwhile it is Thursday and time to talk food.  Usually I write out recipes to share, but to give my eyes a little break, I will just share a couple of links with you all.  This is a dinner I made on Monday.  The first recipe, Crockpot Thai Beef Stew, is one that Andrea Mowry shared in an email.  Here is the link:

Crockpot Thai Beef Stew

A couple of notes:

  • I did not use coconut oil - just regular canola oil worked fine
  • I was a little short on the red curry paste and would have liked more
  • I only used 1 TBS of fish sauce - I find it to be very strong and can only tolerate a bit...and I think it would be fine without it
  • I had never cooked jicama before - I've used it in salads, but never cooked it and we liked it!

Our neighbor Rob had given us half a watermelon on the 4th - it was HUGE.  So I decided to make a watermelon/cucumber/mint salad to go with the Thai Beef Stew - thought it would be nice to have something cool and refreshing to go with the "heat" of the stew.  I used This Recipe and it is SO GOOD!  The two dishes really compliment each other.

I hope if you try these recipes you enjoy them.

And that's it for me.  I've had a very busy morning work-wise and am hoping the balance of the day will be easy.  I was able to read last night a little bit, but did not try to do any knitting or stitching...I may try that a little later.  Another book came in for me at the library, so Fletch will take me over there in a bit (I am not allowed to drive for 3 days).  

Hope your wind-down to the weekend is an easy one - enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Tiny Needle Tuesday - July 6, 2021

 Good Morning! 

Here we are at the first Tuesday in July and I have two TNT projects to share!!  WooHoo - living dangerously, aren't I?

First up is the start on my Pomegranate Bird sampler by Heartstring Samplery.  I'm working on 40 count Patina Linen and using one thread over two threads of linen, so 20 stitches to the inch.  The threads are hand dyed cotton - both Weeks Dye Works and Crescent Colors.

Here is a picture of the full design:

The 40 count is almost enough to do my eyes in, but I love the way it looks.  I'm curious (and hopeful) if this will be easier after my cataract surgery!  As you can see, I started this design in the center.  I can't remember the last time I did that - I almost always start in the upper left hand corner.  But, the very upper left of this design is kind of blank, and though I would usually count over to start where the design does, on the 40 count it was easier to just start in the center.  The center of the urn still needs to be filled in, but I didn't feel like stitching with brown thread.  The colors in the flower are called:  Whiskey, Brandy, Pomegranate and Toasted Marshmallow.  Kind of like naming yarns!  I want that job.

Design #2 is Coverlet Birds by The Scarlet House:

And my start on this:

The fabric is 32 count and I am using Ginny Thompson Flower Thread which is very, very old stash.  I don't believe this thread is manufactured any more.  I like the way it looks (no sheen to it at all), but the thread is thicker than what I normally use and a bit on the coarse side.  But...the design is small.  When finished, this will be/should be small enough to make into a little pincushion.

Years ago Fletch and I stopped in Bedford on our way home after visiting Colin in Pittsburgh.  The National Museum of the American Coverlet is located in Beford.  For all you Western PA folks, if you have not visited this museum, I highly recommend doing so.  It is fascinating.

Two birds on two different samplers!  I do have a thing for birds - lol.

July 4th also means it is time to harvest the garlic and Fletch did so yesterday.  We (really he) managed to get a fairly good haul.  Fletch has separated it into small, medium, large and giant heads.

I'm looking forward to using this on home made pizza - simply the best!  First it will be hung on the patio to dry a bit.

After a little bit of a cooler weekend, the heat is back.  Yesterday was very warm and today promises more of the same.  I'll get to the office early and get done what I need to and then head home.  I'd like to just relax this afternoon and stitch and knit some.  Hoping that work will not interfere with that - haha.  First, though, it is time for a second cup of coffee and I need to wake up a bit more before getting behind the wheel.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, July 5, 2021


 Good Morning!

It's somewhat later than I normally post, but I slept later this a.m.  The foxes last night!!  Oy!  I had gone to bed around 11 and when Fletch came up - probably 12:30 or 1, I woke up and it was like a convention of foxes going on all around us.  Very creepy sounding and I (of course) had trouble getting back to sleep and once I did I had very strange dreams.  Interestingly Fletch had the same thing happen - including weird dreams.

Anyway, this is quickly becoming routine stuff (and I'm sure sorry about that!).  But it has been a very nice weekend.  Friday was a very long slog of a day work-wise, so I was very happy to meet up with Dee on Saturday morning at a local Starbucks.  We spent several delightful hours together chatting, knitting, laughing, etc.

Fletch and I had planned to order out something/anything for dinner, but our neighbor across the street texted that they were having meatballs and sausage and would we like to join them...we did and it was delicious.  There was another couple who came and the conversation and food were delightful.  I'm not normally fond of meatballs, but I really liked the ones Rob made.  Turns out they are Keto, so no breadcrumbs in them - just meat, parm, spices and whole cream.  Delicious!

Sunday morning I made us some blueberry pancakes and then got busy chopping veggies for a corn and black bean salad we took to Colin & Mailing's.  Colin grilled hot and sweet sausage; Mailing's Mom brought 2 salads; Mailing cooked greens as well as some onions, peppers, mushrooms and squash.  And there was a flag cake (which I forgot to take a picture of) to round out the meal.  We took a break from eating before dessert and walked a couple of miles in a local park.  After dessert Colin and Mailing built a fire and we sat outside watching the bats fly around.  Well, watching them until the fireworks started...then they disappeared.  Their town does not put on a fireworks show, but their neighbors sure did.  Very loud.  When we left to come home around 9:30, Marcel and Talbot were no where to be seen - I think they may have been hiding upstairs.  I feel badly for all the animals during celebrations like that.  Tyg was inside, but visibly disturbed by the fireworks.  And, I have never seen traffic like we did last night in our little town!  Our township did put on a fireworks display once again (last year was, of course, cancelled).  People must have come from miles and miles away.  What is normally a 20-25 minute drive from Colin's took us close to an hour!  Many streets we would use to get home were blocked off by the police and fire trucks.

I think today will be a lay-low type of day...I'm planning a crockpot dinner (easy-peasy and new!!) and hope to do plenty of knitting, stitching and reading.  There has been progress on Fuego Sock #2:

I'm on the heel flap.  My plan/hope is to at least finish the heel, pick up the gusset stitches and do those decreases and then just have easy knitting to finish the sock.  I'm not sure if I will feel like knitting after my cataract surgery Wednesday, but in case I do I'd like it to be easy.  Tomorrow will be an office day since I will not be able to go in at all the balance of the week.  But today is an easy one!

Whatever you are doing, I hope you have some fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

What's For Dinner (Quickly)?

 Hello, Hello

Feeling like a whirling dervish these days!  Still so busy work-wise (what's up with that??).  There are some major work changes coming...more about that another day (right now it is still TOP SECRET).  Anyhoo, yesterday was a busy one and today has already been busy with phone calls and emails (and it's not even 7:15 yet!!).

But it is Thursday, so let's talk food.  As y'all know, I'm sans oven at the moment.  And the past few days have been too stinking hot for me to ask Fletch to fire up the grill.  Last night's meal was salmon (which I always say in my head pronouncing the "L" as Fletcher's Mom always did - LOL).  Usually I bake or broil fish, but that was out of the question.  So last night I poached it.  And we really liked it!  And it was so FAST.  I had individual filets and they did have skin on them (yuck...but once cooked the skin comes off easily).  In my large frying pan I put:

  • 1 Cup of dry white wine
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 3 garlic cloves smooshed/squished
  • a bunch of dill (dried because I did not have fresh)

I brought that to a boil then turned it down to simmer.  Once simmering I slid the filets into the pan, covered it and let them cook for ~ 10 minutes.  Pulled them out, put on plates with wedges of lemon and voila!  Dinner!~!

The next time I think I'll add some fresh ginger to the mix.  Soy sauce and/or sesame oil would also be good.  Easy enough to play around with it.

We had a bit of rain last night which dropped the temp from 92 to 78 in no time!  Refreshing and the rain smelled so good.  More rain is in the forecast for today and it is not supposed to be as hot.  With the cooler temps, Fletch will fire up the grill tonight.  T-bone steaks are on the menu with a salad.  Colin will be coming over and we can't wait to hear all about Austin!

Meanwhile, I have a bunch of reports to run (my usual Thursday financial reports) so I'd best get to it.  The weekend is almost upon us and for that I am grateful.  Have a good one!