Thursday, December 29, 2022

A Slight Interruption

 Hi All,

I'll be back with more TX pictures and tales...but taking a little break.  Zhongren (Mailing's Dad) did not feel well Christmas Day and tested positive for Covid when he got home Tuesday.  I tested positive this morning.  Waiting on Fletcher's results now and then will call our primary care doctor.  Luckily Zhongren is already feeling much, much better, so hopefully this will not be a long ordeal!

Take care and I'll be back when I can.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

We're Back!

 Hello My Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and survived the brutal temps that happened pretty much all over the country!  Even in TX!!

Our flight last Wed (12/21) was thankfully uneventful and actually really pleasant.  Fletch and I were separated and my seat mate was the nicest woman.  I read a tiny bit and knit even less, but had a wonderful conversation with her.  Colin picked us up at the airport and took us directly to our AirBnB.  A very funky place.  I did not take any inside pictures, but here are a couple of things on the patio (didn't spend time on the patio as it really was not patio weather!).

Unfortunately, the space was pretty dark.  We even moved a lamp downstairs from the sleeping loft, but there was not sufficient lighting for me to see to knit!  After unpacking a few things, we drove over to C&M's apartment to wait for Mailing to get home from work.  It was wonderful to see the grand-kitties again:

(Talbot has always enjoyed being on top of the well as inside it!!)

We had dinner outside at Suerte that evening (with heaters) - an amazing Mexican restaurant.  I forgot to take pictures of food, but here's the drink I had - lol

That is a delicious eggplant dip behind my drink.  

Thursday Colin came over early and he and I took a walk in the neighborhood.  At this point, the weather was still nice.  The neighborhood of East Austin is interesting.  Lots of varied houses and landscaping.  We saw this guy on our walk:

Mailing drove over around 10 and we went to Book People (what an amazing bookstore), Whole Foods (to get some things for the AirBnB) and Waterloo Records (very cool record shop).  By the time we came out of the shops to walk to the car the temperature had dropped noticeably - like at least 25 degrees - and had gotten very, very windy.

When we woke up Friday morning, the temperature was 14 degrees with a real feel of minus 6!  Not at all what we expected in Austin.  Our AirBnB host texted asking us to leave water dripping in the sinks.

Mailing's parents were flying in that day, but would not get in till the afternoon.  We took off to go to the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus.  There was a wonderful exhibit going on:  "Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America."  Here are some pics from that exhibit:

This one is for my spinning friends - look closely and you will see that she is spinning!  (And that frame!!)

Amazing fabrics and stitching.  We also walked around the balance of the museum which is filled with so many wonderful works of art.  Then we went to lunch at an Argentinian place Buenos Aires Cafe  and the food was so freakin' good.  I had some soup and a lentil stew that was to die for.

Bonnie and Zhongren arrived safely (just a little late) and after checking in to their hotel, they walked over to the apartment.  That night we ate at a local brewery Central Machine Works for some good beer and pizza.

Tomorrow I'll share some more, but for now, I think this post is long enough and has sufficient pictures in it!!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tiny Needle Tuesday 12/20/22

 Hello and Greetings to All,

A Happy Winter Solstice to you...a bit early, but this will be my last post until we are back from our adventure in Texas!  Tomorrow, the Solstice, is also the birthday of one of my brothers.  And, of course, it means that the amount of daylight will begin to increase.  I really love these dark winter mornings and I also really enjoy having dinner by candlelight, so I'm ok with less daylight.  Fletch not so much.  What can I say?  Opposites attract.

Yesterday found my packing finished!  And then I had to re-think it and I removed some things.  In the early morning hours today when I woke up I realized something else I want to take and a few more things to remove.  Today will find me sorting it all out and finalizing it.  After all, our ride to the airport arrives at 7:30 tomorrow morning - there will be no time to do it then!

Meanwhile, it's Tuesday and time for a TNT post.  And voila!  I have a finish!!

That crazy long-legged bird is done.  Woo-Hoo.  The design is "Gathering Basket" by Blackbird Designs (from 2011).  I used 30 count fabric (Weeks Dye Works in the color Cappuccino) and DMC threads.  I don't much care for the fabric - it is very stiff.  Plus, I prefer higher count linens, but it was in my stash and needed to be used.  The designer had stitched one of her initials in the lower left and I tried that, but did not like the way it looked, so ripped that out.  This piece is now put away in the drawer of finishes.  I may (or may not) make a pin cushion out of it.  To be determined at a later date - LOL

If anyone is interested in this chart, let me know.  I'm happy to ship it out to anyone.

I'd like to wish everyone a very peaceful and happy week before Christmas.  And, if you celebrate (or even if you do not) wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.  While we are away, I may read some blogs on my phone, but most likely will not comment.  I'll try to catch up when I'm back in a week.  Enjoy!!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Weekending 12/19/22

 Good Morning!

Still dark out there (just 6:30 a.m.) and my phone tells me it is 28 computer says rain off and on.  Neither sounds good!  I'll be running out later for a few last minute things. I'll tell you, between keeping bird seed and peanuts in stock as well as cat food I may never be able to retire!  Those animals eat a lot...

I'm hoping your weekend was lovely.  Mine was.  I met up with Dee Saturday morning as we usually do and had such a good time sipping coffee, knitting and chatting.  Good company!  And, when I got home I managed to finish up the second Christmas sock!

I can't believe how matchy-matchy they are.  I love them.  I made sure to make them short enough in the foot to fit my friend so that I would not be tempted to keep them for myself - lol.  They've already been wrapped and a ribbon tied around the package which has been set aside with other gifts for this friend.

The rest of the weekend was spent organizing some things (drugs and cosmetics) for the upcoming trip.  Today I MUST pack some clothes.  The weather forecast for Austin has kind of plummeted and now we could have some days in the 40's and nights in the 20's.  YIKES  Also, there was a 5.5 earthquake centered in Midland, TX on Friday.  Colin felt it at their apartment!  Mailing was still at work and did not feel it at her office.

As well as running out for a few last minute things, I'm going to do a final load of laundry.  And, of course, I'm working today and tomorrow...well, working in a vague sort of way - HA!

It's the countdown week to Christmas - wishing you all a peaceful and stress-free time.  Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday 12/14/22

Hello and Good Morning,

A bit frosty out there, but warmer than yesterday.  Currently (6:42 a.m.) it is 27 degrees.  Yesterday was, unfortunately, spent running around doing various errands.  A trip to CVS ended up being longer than expected:  I was picking up 3 prescriptions for moi, or so I thought.  But one of them was not ready and the reason was that they did not have enough pills to fill the prescription!  Then, dropping off a new prescription for Fletch I learned that our current insurance does not cover it.  The out of pocket cost?  Over $1,000.  YIKES!!  I did not get that filled.  Will try again in the new year and see if our new insurance covers it.  If not...back to the drawing board with his doctor.

Today promises to be more running around.  Karyn comes to clean and will be here by Noon.  At that point, Fletch and I will leave (getting out of her way and avoiding the noise of cleaning - LOL).  We are going out to lunch and then will go to Colin & Mailing's to check on a few things, water the house plants and put the trash out for pick up tomorrow.  A contractor was over doing some work while the kids were in town and now there seems to be a problem with the sink in the basement.  Fletch will check that out...hopefully no major issues.

But on to nicer things.  It's Wednesday, or specifically, Unraveled Wednesday, so let's link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to see what everyone is making and reading these days.  You all know that I didn't do any stitching last week, but I did manage to get a bit of knitting accomplished.  The first Turning Leaves sock is off the needles!!

Isn't that just the prettiest?  I had planned to cast on for Sock #2, but that has yet to happen.  It will most likely to to Texas with me.

The second Christmas sock is almost finished:

(Clean and different Christmas tablecloth is on the table!!).  Heading down the foot - about 40 more rows of that and then it will be toe decrease time.  This one WILL be finished before we leave town.

On the reading side, a mixed bag.  I finished The Colony by Audrey Magee.  Not sure how I feel about this one.  I found the writing awkward (though I liked the knitting references) and the story disturbed me (as I guess it should have).  I'm still thinking about it, so there is that!

I returned several books to the library.  This One I started reading, but could not get into.  And Booth I knew I couldn't finish before we take off...and it was due back by 12/22 anyway.  Then I tried The Netanyahus but again I couldn't get into it.  Finally I started Eastern Shore Shorts a book of short stories all taking place on the Eastern Shore (duh), but I'm not finding it very interesting or very well written.  Looks like I may be in another reading slump of sorts.  Oh well, I will find something to take on the plane and we plan to visit Book People our first full day in Austin.  Colin & Mailing have raved about this store, so I cannot wait!

Now it's time to pour a second cup of coffee and dry my hair (my head is COLD!!).  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Tiny Needle Tuesday 12/13/22

 Good Morning!

Sorry my post yesterday was a bit on the whiny side.  I hadn't intended that at all.  But geeze Louise, I am tired (ha!) of broken sleep, being awake for hours in the night, etc.  So many of us have the same issues, I know.  Anyway, last night was a good night of sleep (about 7 hours straight!!) and I did get a nice hour long nap in yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday was a good day for errands, too.  I went to the post office early and who knew?  Shipping priority mail was much, much cheaper than shipping UPS from my office where I get a nice discount!  I shipped off the packages I had (so far) to mail and the cost was less than half of what I spent last year on UPS and all packages will arrive by tomorrow or Thursday.

After the post office run I went down to the local food pantry and donated a bunch of canned goods and pasta, etc. - things we had that were not going to be used within a reasonable period of time.  I'd really like to remember to do this on a regular basis.

And now it's Tuesday and time for a Tiny Needle Tuesday update.  Sadly, no real stitching was accomplished during the past week.  Even the long-legged bird did not feel any love.

My hope is to put some stitches in this one today...I'd really like to finish it up quickly.  There's not much more to go on it.

But...I also have a bit more wrapping (for TX) to do and a little shopping (for TX) and I may try to squeeze in a haircut this afternoon!  Fletch and I will run to the grocery store later this morning, but the list is very short - not much needed.

Colin and Mailing have been busy putting a list of things together that we can do while in TX.  Looks like we will be busy and have fun!  One thing they have already bought tickets for Friday night is Field of Light which looks like it will be beautiful.  And the boys (Colin, Fletech and Zhongren) have tickets to see Avatar Saturday morning.  Not sure what we girls will be doing.

Time for another cup of coffee and to get my day started.  Hope your Tuesday is a wonderful one - enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2022

Sometimes Mondays 12/12/22

 Sometimes Mondays - this one in particular - find me lacking words.  I have not slept well the past two nights and that is taking a toll on moi.  The first night (Saturday) I did hear an owl in the wee hours, so that made the wakefulness a little more bearable.  Last night I just didn't feel well.  Not sure what's up with that but I'm hoping for an easy work day.

The kids made it back to Austin around 6 p.m. yesterday, so they and the cats are safely back in their TX abode.  That's a relief!

Yesterday I did manage to wrap the few gifts I am shipping and will run to the post office today to get those out.  And I have a bag or two of goods (food) to donate at the local food pantry.  I do need to still wrap a few small gifts for Texas and I guess I will ship those as well - probably to Mailing's office since packages shipped to their apartment tend to get "lost."

Meanwhile, I will drink coffee and try to feel more awake.  I hope your Monday is off to a better start!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Cuban Bread

 Hello Friends!

Monday when I posted about the weekend and mentioned making Cuban Bread, Kim in Oregon said she hoped I would share the recipe.  Today seems like a good day.  Here's the picture (again) from Sunday's baking:

The bread has a very good crust and a nice, chewy interior.  It is good plain.  Good slapped with butter.  Good toasted.  Good dipped in EVOO or some kind of soup.  It's good any way you choose.  It's bread!  So yummy!!

Cuban Bread

  • 5-6 Cups of flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS yeast
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 2 C Hot Water

Put the HOT water in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together 4 cups of flour with the salt and sugar.

Pour that flour mixture onto the yeasty water and beat for 100 strokes.  Add the remaining flour (a little at a time - I only needed one more cup) and knead for 8 minutes (adding additional flour as you knead to keep it from sticking to you or the surface on which you are kneading).  cover with a towel and let it rise for 15 minutes.

Punch it down; divide and shape into two round loaves.  Set the loaves on a greased upside down cookie sheet and cut an X on the top of each loaf.

Place in a COLD oven - do NOT preheat the oven.  Place a pan of shallow water under the rack.  Turn the oven on to 400 and bake for approximately 50 minutes.

That's it!  Easy peasy and so tasty.  We are, in fact, having it again tonight along with grilled sausage and a green bean casserole.

On another note, I can't remember if I mentioned or not, but the two lemons forming on our lemon tree fell off!  I found them both on the floor.  But, now the tree is blooming again (and is so fragrant!), so I'm hoping for at least one more lemon to form.

Time for me to get to work!  Have a wonderful Thursday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday 12/7/22

Hello and Good Morning,

I'm more than a little sleepy this a.m.  I woke up at 2 a.m. too warm (it's in the 50's here this morning) and had a difficult/impossible time getting back to sleep.  Glad yesterday was my going to the office day and not today!  Today (Pearl Harbor Day) is also the 33rd anniversary of my due date with Colin.  He, of course, held off showing up until the 11th.

It was fun to see that boy again for dinner last night and the newest Mexican place in town turned out to have quite tasty food!  Mailing was busy with holiday celebrations at her office where they actually had live reindeer brought in!  She had texted Colin a picture of said reindeer while he was here.  With all the rain yesterday (lots and lots) and the mild temps, I'm sure those poor reindeer were confused and not happy. 

Let's talk making and reading, shall we?  There has been some knitting progress this past week!  The Turning Leaves sock (#1) has had the heel turned and there has been some movement down the foot a little.

It doesn't look that great on the tablecloth, but oh well!  The cloth is one that my Mom hemmed and used at Christmas for years and years.  Now I use it!

Christmas sock #1 is finished!!  Woo-Hoo!  And, #2 has been started (the cuff ribbing is finished).

Again, not the prettiest on this tablecloth, but that's life!

Reading is good (reading is ALWAYS good!!  lol).  I read Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger.  I'm enjoying this series by Krueger - the books are quick reads and often a nice palete cleanser after something heavier (e.g., "The Marriage Portrait").  This one was particularly interesting to me because it takes place primarily in the area of Thunder Bay Canada and mentions Sleeping Giant.  Years ago when Fletch and I drove out to Minnesota to pick up our camper, we headed North after getting the camper and planned to hike in the area.  Weather, however, worked against us.  There was dense fog and some rain and before it cleared we had to be on our way.  Maybe some day we can go back!

Now I am about 125 pages into The Colony by Audrey Magee.  I wasn't sure about this book at the beginnning, but now I am into it and enjoying (the Frenchman has arrived).  Fletch and I are still listening to The Cartographers but that is slow going as we do not listen every day.

If you have not already, head on over to Kat's Blog to see what she and others are making and reading.  You'll find a thing or two that is tempting, I'm sure!

To wrap up this post, a sweet picture:

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tiny Needle Tuesday 12/6/22

 Good Morning All,

It's a damp morning.  Still dark, so I can't really see if it is doing anything out there just yet...but my computer says sleet off and on for the next 2 hours.  Fun...or not so much.

Let's see what's happening in the TNT world.  A bit of stitching was done on each of the 3 pieces in current rotation for me, but both the Praise Loudly Blame Softly and the Crazy Long Legged Bird pieces only got a little love and not really enough to show.  Ellen Harrison is the one that really grabbed my attention in the last week.

I was so happy to finish the top portion of this sampler.  

It cracks me up how she ran out of room for the last word in the second it went on the top line (youth).  The whole line reads "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth."  Next I stitched the red and white border under that row and then the fun started...finally!  I was at the point where I started the motifs below the wording.

Just a start, but it was fun!  There are birds, a boat, some plants, etc. to stitch.  Then a big white house and an even bigger stag.  Proportions don't really count for much in samplers which I think adds to the charm of a piece.

I've shown this previously, but here is a look at what the sampler will look like when I finish it:

Obviously there is still a lot of stitching to be done on this piece!  This will keep me busy for some time to come.

Well, the weather is supposed to be pretty much crap all day long...rainy and temps hovering in the low to mid-forties, but by evening it will get up to 50.  Colin is stopping by for dinner one last time tonight, and it will be wonderful to see him again.  We plan to just order from a new local Mexican restaurant.

Have a great Tuesday!!

Monday, December 5, 2022

Weekending 12/5/22

 Good Morning!

How are you this fine Monday morning?  The sun is up and it is 23 degrees out.  It looks like it could be a mostly sunny day which would be nice...the rest of the week looks pretty wet in the forecast department.  Rain just about every day.

How was your weekend?  Mine was oh so nice.  Saturday morning I met up with Dee for our knitting and chatting time.  As always, we had a great time.  I tried a new recipe for chicken in the crock pot, but it did not turn out well, so no sharing.

Sunday afternoon Fletch and I drove up to Newtown (roughly an hour away) for a "holiday swing concert" put on by the Pennsylvania Philharmonic.  It was great!  The ensemble was a jazz band and a little smaller than usual (we have been to a number of concerts by the PA Philharmonic).  Colin's company is a big supporter of the group and Colin heads up that support, so we met him there.  (Mailing was busy having a spa day with some friends.)

We were home by 5:30 or so and Colin & Mailing came for dinner.  I had made spicy lentil soup in the morning, so heated that up and mixed up a salad of garden lettuce, radicchio and some of the persimmons that Zhrongren had given us - just a splash of EVOO and champaign vinegar was good.  I had also made Cuban Bread in the morning.  Yum!!

This bread is so easy to make and so delicious - a nice crust and a chewy interior.

Today will most likely be filled with laundry, bathroom cleaning and maybe a light grocery shopping.  Tomorrow I have to head to the office - I've got my annual review at 9:30 and a conference call or two after that.  I can't believe the kids head back to TX on Friday and then in less than 2 weeks we will join them down there.  Time is flying!!!