Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year! 12/31/23


Happy New Year Everyone!  Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, stress-free and joyful time in 2024.

I really had no intentions of not blogging this past week, but that's the way it worked out...which is ok.  My days were full with fun things with lots of family time, laughter, some knitting, a couple of walks, some napping, and way too much food!!  I'll be back next week with regular blogging.  Be well and happy my friends.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Merry Christmas!!


Merry Christmas Everyone!  May you find joy and happiness this season and may you be filled with peace and contentment!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 12/20/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

It's in the 20's and the house feels chilly.  I'm layered up including a shawl wrapped around my shoulders and hopefuly my coffee will warm me soon.  I'm so happy to tell you that C&M are safely home.  They flew in yesterday arriving around dinner time.  Bonnie (Mailing's Mom) picked them up and took them out to dinner before dropping them at their house.  I'm betting Talbot and Marcel are thrilled to have them back home.  They will be coming over here tomorrow for dinner and I cannot wait to see them.

It was a screw that ended up in my front tire causing it to lose air pretty rapidly.  Fletch took it in yesterday afternoon and it's all fixed now and no charge!  I love our mechanic!

Now it is Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Here's what I've got:

Yup, just a measly 16 rows of ribbing for my Lopi hat.  Once again I got off on my count and ended up with an extra stitch or two, but I discovered it after only one row, so tinked back and now I'm on track again (I hope).  I plan to take the ribbing to 20 or 25 rows so that the brim can be folded back nicely if desired.  Then I will do a bit of colorwork.  Something simple - maybe a zig-zag pattern.  And I have not decided on the color yet.  I have a hot pink that would be so pretty if I want the hat to be for a girl.  I also have some Lopi left over from my Sigla sweater and the pale grey would be very pretty...or green or purple...or a combination!  Decisions, decisions.  I will make up my mind once I finish the brim.

I had all good intentions of casting on for my Hitch on the Move, but that has not happened.  Or another pair of socks...that has not happened either.  My days seem to slip away from me with baking, etc.  Now I need to concentrate on wrapping presents for here (Fletch, Colin & Mailing and Mailing's family).  There are still a few things I need to pick up.

Reading has also been a bit slow, but I (finally) finished (lasts night) Love and Ruin by Paula McLain.  This is a novel of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn.  I just found the book to be ok (easy to put down).  I preferred her book "The Paris Wife" about Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson.  

Fletch and I are listening to Fox and I: an Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven.  Our reading has been hit or miss with having to feed Talbot and Marcel each night.  Now that the kids are back, we should be able to listen more routinely.  

I find that listening to audio books is not easy for me.  I don't remember a lot of what I heard.  However, I have so many Audible credits that I ended up buying "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store" which is our next Read With Us book for discussion in early January.  I've moved up in the queue at the library for the book, but still am a ways from getting it (I'm #95), so figured I would listen so that I can participate in January.  I'm hoping to start that today or tonight and am hoping that I will be able to retain some of what I hear!  LOL

The other day when I posted a picture of our Christmas tree, I neglected to show one of our favorite ornaments - it ALWAYS goes at the front of the tree:

We call it the Golden Tooth ornament.  LOL  Colin made this in Kindergarten and a piece of the gold glitter used on the tree ended up on Colin's mouth in the picture.  It cracks me up each time I see it.

I'll be heading to my office in a bit.  I've got some things I need to do there and then pick up some wine (of course).  I'm not sure about a Trader Joe's run.  We don't really NEED anything, but I'm sure I could find something to buy!  I hope your Wednesday is a good one.  Stay warm and calm as we approach Christmas Day!

Monday, December 18, 2023

Weekending 12/18/23

 Good Morning!

Whew!  It is WET out there.  We had rain all day yesterday and then last night (and right now) it is very hard.  Imagine how much snow we would have if the temps were cooler!

Well, how was your weekend?  Mine was just so nice.  A mix of a number of different things.  I did a bunch of baking and as of last night, my Christmas baking is finished.  I ended up making 8 different kinds of cookies and some pumpkin bread with cranberries and pecans.  This is not ALL for us!  LOL  We will package up a variety of goodies to share with others and will be taking a sampling over to Mailing's parents on Christmas Day.

Saturday morning Dee came over to drop off her car and then we took off for a couple of places.  She was kind and brought a couple of presents for Mabel who was not ALL that receptive to the gifts...or to Dee trying to pet her!  I think that girl (Mabel, not Dee) is much more wary and careful since her grand adventure.

Anyway, Dee and I took off first for Kimburton and Purls of Wisdom for a little shopping.  I was bound and determined NOT to buy fingering weight yarn.  Instead I found some beautiful worsted weight which I will use for some fingerless mitts.  The pair I am currently using were knit out of fingering weight and these will be a bit warmer.

The reason I did not want to buy fingering weight is that I signed up for the 2024 subscription of Sock Squad from The Farmer's Daughter.  I cannot wait!!  Knowing that I will be receiving 12 skeins of sock yarn (plus a mini with each skein!!) eliminates the need to get more fingering weight at this point.  Anyway, I have so many skeins of fingering weight in my stash it is almost like going shopping when I decide to pick out a new skein.  Which, of course, means I don't NEED the Sock Squad yarn, but as we all know, NEED has nothing to do with it!

After that we went to Steel City in Phoenixville for some coffee and knitting.  Colin used to hang out at Steel City when he was in high school, but I had never been there.  Delicious coffee!  And we had a great seat where we could watch all the walkers and bikers going by.  Phoenixville was hopping!  And, there must have been an Ugly Sweater contest going on somewhere in town because there were a ton of folks walking around in ugly sweaters!  LOL

After putting more money in the parking meter ($2 per hour~!!!), we headed across the street to Bistro on Bridge for lunch.  My meal (Asian lettuce wraps) was less than stellar, but the espresso martini made up for that!  Phoenixville is one of those local towns going through a revival of sorts.  There are lots of fun shops and we visited two after our lunch:  a local bookstore called Reads and Company and one of my favorite shops - Diving Cat.  Both places were very crowded, but what a nice day out (and the weather was really nice).

Our tree, by the way, is finally decorated.  As I mentioned, we opted for a table top tree this year not being sure how Mabel would react or if she would behave.  So far she has appeared just to ignore it!

I like the small tree for a change, though I miss a lot of our ornaments that would go on a larger tree.  It almost fell over twice while we were decorating it and three times now the cardinal at the top of the tree has leapt off!

Originally I was planning on going to the office today, but that will not be happening.  One of my tires has a slow leak (a nail?  or something?) and needs to be fixed.  Fletch has a doctor's appointment at 10, so he will go to that and then take my car in this afternoon.  The plan now is to really clean the kitchen floor while he is gone to his doctor appointment.  I have been holding off till my baking was done (because I can be pretty messy!), but now that is finished I can dive in and clean.  I also have laundry that is begging to be done.  There is no lack of chores, that's for sure!

Whatever is on your agenda, I hope your Monday is a pleasant one.  Let's all try to find some time to unwind and relax and just enjoy the sights of the season.  I'm hoping for some knitting and reading time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 12/13/23

 Good Morning My Friends,

Wow!  I slept in this morning and now feel as though I am running late.  Luckily I will not be going to the office today as originally planned, but I still need to drive over to C&M's to feed those hungry cats.  So, this will be (hopefully) a quick post.  It's Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.

I am so happy to tell you that the Red Wing Blackbird socks are finished!!  Woo-Hoo!

Yarn like this always gets funky around the gussett, but I am ok with that.  On one side is is solid black and on the other it pooled with the colors in the stripes.  Oh well, they will be warm and cozy (hopefully) on Colin's feet.

Last night I cast on in Lopi for a colorwork hat.

But after only 3 rows of ribbing (2x2), my stitch count is off.  So...this will be ripped out and I will try again...or I will try something else!

On the reading side of things, I am in the midst of two non-compelling books.  Which is a bummer.  I am reading Love and Ruin by Paula McLain - a novel of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.  I enjoyed "The Paris Wife" by McLain much better.  

Fletch and I are listening to Fox And I: An Uncommon Friendship after dinner, but often skip listening if Fletch wants to get over to feed the cats a little early.  Neither one of us minds skipping, so that tells you something!

On the Christmas side of things, I did start baking!  Yesterday afternoon I made Fruitcake Cookies (a new to me recipe) and wow!  They are tasty!!  And our table-top tree is up and lights are on it!  We have yet to decorate it, but so far Mabel is behaving.

For some reason blogger is not allowing me to include pictures of the cookies and the tree.  Oh well, another day.  I've got to fix a travel mug of coffee and high-tail it over to C&M's.  Hope your Wednesday is a good one!  I'll be attempting to catch up on blogs later on.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A Start on Decorating

 Good Morning!

Once again no TNT post...maybe after the holidays I'll have time to get back to stitching!  I hope!!  If not sooner.

Yesterday I had good intentions of starting to bake, but that did not happen.  However, I did finish wrapping presents that will be shipped out tomorrow.  And I started to put some Christmassy things out.  Definitely scaling back this year which is fine with me.  (I really do NOT want to tempt Mabel!!).

First up, my favorite birch log and the jewel tree behind it.  The log is one we found in the woods in Vermont and then Fletch drilled out holes for candles.  The jewel tree is one that Fletcher's Mom made and gifted to us.  I love it.

On the other side of the buffet we have the house that Zhongren built and gifted to me.  So darling!  And the fairy lights tree that I bought a couple of years ago.

I added a couple of things to Zhongren's house:  an elf and a snowman!

It feels all cozy and warm.  We did bring in the tree last night but have not decorated it yet.  So far, Mabel is ignoring it.  I'm finding that hard to believe, but it's true.  As of this morning, it was still standing where we left it last night.

Hoping to get to the baking today!  Time will tell.  First I need to pull on some wool socks and sneakers and head over to C&M's to feed Talbot & Marcel.  They are often standing on the back of the sofa looking out the living room window when I pull into the drive.  They cannot wait for C&M to return.  Just one week now.  I cannot wait either!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Weekending 12/11/23

 Good Morning Everyone!

I'm a bit late this morning with posting thanks to not waking till close to 7 a.m. and then needing to get over to C&M's to feed Talbot and Marcel.  Today is a wonderful day - it is Colin's birthday.  So, Happy Birthday to Colin and happy birthing day to me (and to my friend Leslie - her daughter was also born on the 11th...also my niece, Fletcher's grandfather, etc., etc. - a popular day!!).

How was your weekend?  Mine was nice though as of Sunday very, very soggy.  But, backing up, I met up with Dee (naturally) Saturday morning after feeding the cats.  Once again we met at Manhattan Bagel in Lansdale as it is close to C&M's.  Fortunately the awful singer was not there!  LOL.  Instead Santa was there!

It was a busy place with lots of folks with kids - all of them eager for a chance to see Santa.  Most of the little girls were all dressed up with sparkly shoes, fancy dresses, etc.  It was so cute to see.  There was also a keyboard player who was busy spilling out holiday tunes and some of the girls couldn't resist dancing!

I think everyone had a good time!

The rains came on Sunday.  Luckily it was AFTER I had fed the cats.  But whoa, last night when Fletch went over it was pouring.  Lots of ponding water on the roads (and tailgating jerks).  Fortunately Fletch made it over and back with no issues.

Fletch did get out and find a table top Christmas tree for us on Saturday.  It is still outside (on the patio, so under a roof and dry).  I need to move some house plants around and make space for the tree inside.  It shouldn't take long to decorate it!  Fletch also put up some Christmas lights on our patio.  I love seeing them.

The plan for today is to finish wrapping gifts that need to be shipped.  I'll be heading to the office on Wednesday and will ship things out then.  Kevin told me he will be in that day - packing up his office.  When my office moves to new space as of March 1st, a number of folks will no longer have office space.  Honestly it's not needed anyway.  Kevin lives in Atlanta - no need for him to have an office in Pennsylvania!  I have yet to see our new space, but my understanding is that it will be a lot of shared space.  Whatever - I don't intend to be around for that!!

Some people have mentioned that they thought I would be retired by now.  Me too!  But, I received a large monetary "gift" for my 25th anniversary with the company.  The gift is in a "reward program" where I need to pick gift cards.  I'll be using some of it to get my new (personal) laptop; Fletch wants a new TV, etc., etc.  The money is tied to my corporate profile, so if I were to retire or quit, I would no longer have a profile and would be unable to access the money.  Therefore, I will not give notice until I spend it all!  (Luckily I can put money on my Amazon account too, and we order from Amazon ALL the time.)

Whew!  That was a bit long-winded.  The sun has finally come out and the temp is up to 40.  I'm hoping that work will be quiet and I can do some "me" things!  Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

I'm Back! 12/7/23

 Hello there!

My two days off from work and away from the computer were WONDERUFL!  Just what the doctor ordered.  Yes, I missesd catching up with all of you and letting you know what I was doing, but it was SO good to not turn on the computer.  (I will be paying for that later work-wise...but so what!)

There was no stitching done and only a very little knitting.  I did manage to read some.  Also, I wrapped gifts that need to be shipped out (and boxed them up).  Only a little bit more to be done in that department.  I did do a lot of cooking!  One night I made a Quiche Lorraine.  I did add some kale and spinach along with mushrooms and onions.

There is lots left over too for lunches or another dinner.

Fletch loves apple fritters, but is always complaining about how there are so few apple pieces in the ones he buys.  Yesterday morning when I got up, I baked him some apple fritter bread!  I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture of the loaf, but the house smelled wonderful and the bread turned out pretty well too.  I used THIS RECIPE but did not put the glaze on it.  An easy and simple recipe that turned out tasty.

After baking the bread, I ran out to get my haircut.  And, it was snowing!!  At first just flurries and then it was coming down like crazy and was so pretty.  Nothing stuck around and by the afternoon it was over, but it was lovely to see the snow.

New haircut and new glasses!!

With snow in the air, it seemed like the perfect day to make some soup for dinner.  I had everything in the frig and on my pantry shelves to make Curried Shrimp and Potato Chowder.  

I whipped up some biscuits to go with this.

This is another very easy recipe that I have made a lot.  If anyone is interested in the recipe, let me know and I will e-mail it to you.  Again, plenty left over for lunches and/or another dinner.  During dinner we listened to one of my favorite CDs for the Season:

And now my friends, it is back to the grind for moi.  My work in-box is showing a ton of new emails (hoping that many can just be deleted...), so I'd best hop to it.

Have a great Thursday!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Weekending 12/4/23

 Good Mornoing All,

How are you and how was your weekend?  Mine was good and I hope yours was too.

Saturday morning I met up with Dee at the Manhattan Bagel in Lansdale.  We went there because I had to stop by C&M's to feed Marcel and Talbot.  Convenience is everything.  Even if the horrible singer was there (again) (they need to get someone else to entertain).

Saturday night Fletch and I started watching Season 8 of Shetland.  I wasn't sure I would like it without Jimmy Perez (LOL), but we both thought the first episode was good.

Sunday the temps were very mild (50's) but we had rain ALL day long, so it felt rather damp and chilly.  I think that's over for now.  I managed to do a little knitting and a little cleaning.  I got as far as putting a Christmas tablecloth on the table and a seasonal runner on the buffet, but I have yet to drag out the birch log and other decorations that are standards in our house.  We have (finally) made a decision on a tree.  We will get a small table top tree that we can have in the living room and see how Mabel deals with it.  Hopefully she will just think it is beautiful and then leave it alone!  Ha!  Of course we have not gotten it yet, but hopefully this week.

Today I will go over to feed the cats this morning and then head to the office.  I need to print some things and overnight them to Kevin.  I also have a big (meaning a lot of people on it) conference call at 10 which I will plan to take at the office.  Then it will be off to Trader Joe's for a few things, Staples for a couple of things and, of course, the State Store for some wine (always some wine).

And then I am off on Tuesday and Wednesday!  Yup - I emailed all the powers that be and told them I wanted to take a couple of days off and they were fine with that.  I will also be off the week between Christmas and New Years (though most of those days are holidays anyway).  No real plans for this week other than I did make an appointment to have a haircut (again!!) on Wednesday.

Mailing flies up tomorrow for work, so we will be "off" cat duty for a couple of days.  The break will be nice.  So, a good weekend and a start to what I am sure will be a good week.  I did not take any pictures over the weekend, but my brother in Colorado sent me a picture of his backyard a few days ago:


A beautiful creature, but I'm glad we do not have them around here!  My brother and his family are vigilant since they have dogs - one of which is a small one...

Friday, December 1, 2023

Back to Normal (Whatever That Is) and Two Cats on a Friday 12/1/23

 Good Morning!

Yesterday was a different day!  It started out normally.  I was up early and actually finished all my reports before it was time to go feed Talbot & Marcel.  Thank goodness as it turns out.  I had completely forgotten (even though it was on the calendar) that our power was going to be off from 9 to approximately 2:30.  A planned outage as they replaced a pole at the bottom of our street.  

I got home from C&M's about 8:50 a.m. and was going to do some laundry, but promptly at 9 the power shut off.  Of course that meant no internet service either, so work was out of the question (not a bad thing in my mind).

Luckily it was a sunny day, but the house still became rather chilly (we have electric heat).  Finally at 11:30, we left and went out to lunch - to get a hot meal and sit somewhere with heat on!

The power did come back on just about 2 p.m.  I managed to get two loads of laundry done and had a rather busy work afternoon.

Fletch grilled some steaks for dinner (which were not that good) and I made some smashed potatoes and roasted Brussels Sprouts with a bit of EVOO, some maple syrup, a touch of dijon mustard and S&P - roasted at 425 for about 20-25 minutes and they were delicious!

Finally, here are the two cats for Feline Friday:

Marcel watching birds - what a floofy tail!!

Talbot enjoying breakfast (they are messy eaters)

One of the plants C&M brought up from Texas is a succulent - a Sunburst which is very pretty.  Some of the "petals" had fallen off, so I gathered a few up and now have them planted.  Hoping to have my own Sunburst eventually!

Time to pour some more coffee and dry my hair - my head is cold!

Happy December and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 11/29/23

 Good Morning!

It is a chilly one here - just 22 degrees by my phone and my computer.  I have a shawl wrapped around my shoulders and a steaming cup of coffee next to me.

Many of you commented on sweet Mabel yesterday and I thank you for that.  She is not all angelic though, for sure.  When I got home from feeding Marcel and Talbot yesterday morning, Mabel pranced across our patio with a bird in her mouth.  I was not pleased.  I know it's only natural, but I don't have to like it.

Also, I have a needle felted raccoon that I think I bought at one of the MD Sheep & Wool that I attended.  It is hanging from a shelf bracket in the kitchen.

Looking a little worse for wear these days.

On one of my strolls through the living room yesterday I noticed the poor raccoon under the rocking chair!  Now Mabel knows she is not supposed to get up on the buffet (under the shelf), but she could only have gotten the raccooon by jumping up on the buffet.  Again, not pleased.  A year ago I put that raccoon away in a drawer in the buffet because Mabel was constantly "getting" it.  I brought it back out after she went missing earlier this year.  Guess I may need to put it away again.

Yesterday was awfully chilly and very, very windy.  We also had some flurries!  When I was two minutes from home yesterday, driving over to Mailing's and Colin's it started snowing.  Stopped at a traffic light, I was able to get a shot:

We had more flurries in the afternoon before dinner.  Pretty, but bitter cold!

Well, it's Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Unlike the lack of stitching I had for yesterday, I do have a tiny bit of knitting to show.

The First Red Winged Blackbird Sock

The heel has been turned and the gusset decreases are completed on the first  Red Winged Blackbird Sock.  I need to step up my game a bit if I am going to get these finished for Christmas and, perhaps, knit something else.  I have some ideas in my head of "quick" things I could make...but time will tell.

Reading is still slow.  I'm almost finished "The Comfort of Crows" and am enjoying it immensely.  I think "Late Migrations" is my favorite of her books, but "Comfort" is a close second.  I've moved up in the queue for "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store" - I am now #128!! 

On my nightstand I have Fox and I which I am looking forward to diving into once I finish "Comfort."  Finally, Fletch and I are wrapping up The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry.  It is like a Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown book and is ok.  We will be happy to get into something else!

After feeding Talbot & Marcel this morning, I am planning on driving to the office.  It's been quite some time since I went in and I should check mail, etc.  Then I have some errands to run (Trader Joe's and a bit of shopping for gifts!).  It will be a longish day for moi, but I'm hoping that stores will not be too crowded on a Wednesday.

Have a wonderful Wednesday whatever you are up to!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

No TNT Today 11/28/23

 Good Morning Everyone,

There will be no TNT post today.  I have not picked up a tiny needle in over a week now!  It's just been busy (as you know, because I mention that ALL the time).

But, I have a couple of things to show.  First up, sweet Mabel.

A minute before I snapped this picture she was attempting to grab the yarn as it spun around the bowl.

I've always liked jade plants and I finally got myself one.  Very small.  In a small pot in the office room.

And here is what I hope it looks like some day!

This one is at Bonnie & Zhongren's home.

I managed to get C&M's wet laundry re-washed and dried yesterday.  I'll take that over this morning.  Fletch went over last night after dinner to feed Talbot & Marcel.  I had planned to go with him, but ended up having to work instead (see...busy!!).  I'm looking for an easier day today.

Time to dry my hair, get dressed and head over to C&M's house.  Wishing you all a lovely Tuesday - enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Weekending 11/27/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

I'm hoping that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that it was as tasty as ours was!  The biggest thrill for us though was having the kids back in town.

It was great to all be together again, if only for a brief time.  C&M are now back in Texas, having flown back last evening.  Colin texted that despite the dire prognostications, there were no lines at security so they breezed through and their flight was on time and no delays (despite the pouring rain here in the Philadelphia area).  Mailing will be back for 2-3 days next week for work and then they will both be back permanently on the 19th.  YAY!!

Otto (Anna's dog) joined us on Thursday.  He is a big fan of turkey!

He is a quiet dog and takes his food so nicely - sitting and then giving first one paw and then the other.  When he takes food from your fingers, he is so gentle!!

None of my Christmas cacti have buds yet, but Bonnie & Zhongren have a gorgeous one beginning to blooom.

I do, however, have snapdragons still blooming!  For the first time ever I caught deer munching on them, so I chased them off and then cut a couple of the blooms to have on the kitchen windowsill.

Dee and I did meet up on Friday for a few hours of friendship, knitting and sipping.  We decided that Panera's might not be quite as crowded as it can be on a Saturday and that everyone else out would be shopping on Black Friday.  As usual, it was a lovely time.  However, it kept making me think that Friday was Saturday and then Saturday was Sunday, etc.  

So now a new week.  We are on cat duty and I will be heading over to C&M's to feed Talbot and Marcel once Fletch is awake (and it is no longer dark outside).  I will also be picking up soaking wet laundry!  C&M's washer conked out in the middle of a cycle yesterday morning, so I will gather up the wet clothes, bring them home to wash (again) and then dry.  Once they are back in town, if they determine they need to replace the washer I will not recommend a Maytag (the one I have) - LOL.  I will, however, suggest a Speed Queen.

Cheers to a great week ahead!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 11/22/23

 Good Morning!

Oh man!  What a rainy night we had.  I don't know how much fell (Fletch put the rain gauge away before it could freeze in the winter), but it was a lot and heavy.  And this morning is mild - just 50 degrees out.

Are you ready for the big feast day?  I have not done any cooking yet, but I will get started today making the cranberry relish and the cranberry chutney.  The pumpkin pie and the Brussels sprouts will wait until tomorrow.

The other day when I went out for a loaf of bread and left the store $80 later, one of the things I picked up was an amaryllis!  At the grocery store!  The picture on the box is a red and white one, so I hope that is what we get.  I plan to get that into the pot today.  There are already leaves coming out of the bulb, so time to get it settled into some dirt.  I do confess I seem to be running out of room for plants though.  I need to do something about that.  Also, two more acorns have sprouted in the yogurt cups on my kitchen windowsill.  There will be a little family of oak trees to give to Colin & Mailing for their property.

And here we are on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve and it's time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  If you read my post yesterday, you know I spent time unpicking some of my stitching, so thankfully that took care of any unraveling.  However, there has not been much knitting.  The Red Winged Blackbird sock has grown a little bit and a couple more granny squares were crocheted.

The Granny Square on the left is so Thanksgiving-looking!  I hadn't even realized it.

A third granny square is near completion, so I'm keeping up with them.  I should lay them all out and see what it looks like.  Maybe later.

I'm itching to start something new.  A shawl perhaps.  I double checked the yarn I caked up for a Hitch on the Move, but I may need to re-think that plan.  I don't think I have enough of either color.  I definitely want that shawl to be large.  I do have yarn for a couple of other patterns, so I may start one of them.  Stay tuned!

I did finish the William Kent Krueger Book I was reading last week.  It was good, but not as strong as some of his other books (my opinion).  Now I am about halfway through The Comfort of Crows and it is so good.  Just a marvelous book.  Very much like her book "Late Migrations" and it is the perfect book to read before turning out the light at night.

And now it's time for another cup of coffee and get started on the day.  Wishing each of you a peaceful, relaxing and tasty Thanksgiving - Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 11/21/23

 Good Morning!

I'm happy to let you know that the kids arrived safely home yesterday afternoon - before rush hour!  Thank you all for the good wishes for them.  As happy as they are to be out of the car, I suspect that Talbot and Marcel are even happier and pleased to be back on familiar ground (versus a hotel room!).  I'm also betting they are all a little chilly!  Even though Austin, TX can get awfully cold (like last Christmas when we visited), typically they are warmer there than here.  This morning it is just barely 32 and the dampness is evident - it will be raining by the afternoon according to our forecast.

Yesterday I made a lemony chicken soup with carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and orzo.  It was good but I've decided I don't really like orzo.  I would rather have had noodles or rice in this mix.  Anyway, I wanted some good, crusty bread to go with it and didn't feel like baking any, so I ran to the store.  For one loaf of bread.  $80 later I walked out.  Yup.  I have NO self control.  I did find things that we *need* (sort of) and things I could use (some new canning jars for the cranberry relish and chutney to be made), some treats and food for Mabel (she deserves them), but also two (not one, but two) half gallons of ice cream.  Yikes!!!  I wasn't even hungry when I went to the store!

And now it's Tuesday and time for a TNT post and I have almost nothing to show...

The blue to the right of the letter C is new.  Earlier it was a much larger image, but if you look closely you can see where I unpicked a bunch of stitching.  Tedious would be a good way to describe it.  The blue is the beginning of yet another bouquet.  When I got down to where the container for it is stitched I realized I was off by a stitch.  One measly stitch.  I thought I would fudge it and then realized I wouldn't be happy.  The error was in the letter C.  The top of the C was short by one stitch.  So I unpicked all the blue, the beginning of the container and then the border to the right of the C and the top of the C.  Did I mention tedious?  But, I'm glad it is lining up now and am happier than I would have been if I had just fudged it.

Some weeks are just like that.

Today Fletch and I will go grocery shopping in the morning (because $80 wasn't enough to spend yesterday).  My annual review (which will determine when I retire) was supposed to be yesterday and first it was changed to a virtual meeting instead of in-person and then yesterday morning it was postponed to this afternoon.  So, I have that to look forward to - LOL.

Today is also the day I plan to make the cranberry relish and the cranberry chutney.  The house should smell yummy a little later!

Whatever you are up to this Tuesday, I hope it is fun and enjoyable!

Monday, November 20, 2023

Weekending 11/20/23

 Good Morning Everyone!

Wow!  It's Thanksgiving week which does not seem possible.  I've some things I need to prepare for our feast on Thursday.  We will be going to Bonnie & Zhongren's for Thanksgiving.  I am making my Mom's cranberry-orange relish and also Fletch's Mom's cranberry chutney.  Those two are staples that are demanded every year!  I'm also making a pumpkin pie and will try a new (to me) recipe for roasted Brussels Sprouts with leeks, toasted pecans and pomegranate arils.  Anna (Mailing's sister) is making an apple pie and green beans.  I'm pretty sure Mailing will be doing the turkey, stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes.  I can't wait!!

And today is the last leg of Colin & Mailing's long journey back up to PA.  They left Saturday morning and drove to Joplin, MO the first day; Dayton, OH yesterday and they should land in Lansdale, PA sometime late afternoon or evening today.  Wishing them the safest and easiest journey.  I did make it over to their house again yesterday and cranked up the heat a bit, moved some homemade soup from the freezer to the frig for thawing and left some good, crusty bread on the counter along with a bottle of red wine and put butter in butter dish.

My weekend was lovely.  Of course Dee and I met up on Saturday morning.  We went back to Manhattan Bagel for the first time since we were under-whelmed with bad music that one time.  Guess what?  The same guy was playing from 10-12.  Fortunately we were at the opposite end and had a partial wall blocking the sound.  LOL  Just our luck.

That afternoon I was in the mood for gingerbread, so I baked some.  The house smelled so good (and the gingerbread was great for dessert).  I also left some of the gingerbread for Colin & Mailing.

Yesterday I decided to try a new-to-me Recipe for a whole roaster cauliflower.

Fletch said it looked like a delicious pastry!  LOL

I liked it initially and then it didn't taste so good.  Fletch didn't like it, so not something I will try again.  Oh well, you don't know unless you try, right?

Mabel has definitely mellowed - either with age, or with the experience of her "great adventure."  Yesterday I picked her up and held her for quite a few minutes with no crying or squirming on her part!  She just settled down and purred and purred.  She is still sticking close to home and is in all night.  She is also shedding and the white chair needs to be vacuumed daily!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

House Cleaning

 Hello and Good Morning!

How are you?  I so enjoyed having yesterday off.  I arrived at Colin's ahead of when the cleaner was supposed to arrive...and then she was late because she went to the wrong address...  Anyway, a very nice person (HUGE false eyelashes and beautifully manicured, long nails - don't know how she keeps them with the business she has).  The cleaning was adequate.  The house is certainly cleaner than it was - bathrooms cleaned, all the floors done, etc.  There were just some things that were not done (to my specifications).  All in all though, I'm glad to have had it done and glad to have paid for it.  The kids will have a clean house upon arrival.

It was fairly chilly yesterday and the house was freezing!  I had to text Mailing to find out how to turn on the heat - I didn't even know where the thermostat was!  LOL  I did get the heat on and I did remember to turn it back before I left.  I'll go back on Sunday with some last minute groceries for them and will put the heat back on then so that when they arrive on Monday evening it won't be icy inside.

While the cleaning was being done I did manage to knit, read and crochet.  A perfect day!!

Seen on my way home on the car in front of me.  LOL

Now it's Thursday morning and I have a bunch of reports to run and distribute.  A contractor will be here around 8 or so.  My hope is that 1) it is not too noisy and 2) the work is finished early.  We shall see.

Happy Thursday everyone - make it a good one!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 11/15/23

 Good Morning Everyone,

I'm hoping that this morning finds you all doing well.  It is sunny here in Eastern PA and a bit on the chilly side (upper 20's), but no snow in the forecast!  And, for those of you wondering, the average speed of a snowflake falling is 3-4 MPH.  My guess was 3.

Here we are mid-month and mid-week.  Time for linking up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  I am making, but at a slower than normal pace.  I did start the Red Winged Blackbird socks for Fletch:

I don't see any red or yellow in this yarn, so I'm not sure where the name comes from, but I like the colors and the way it is knitting up, so it will do.

I also managed to crank out a couple more Granny Squares.  One day I will have enough for a blanket!

Reading has also been a bit slow.  I'm still reading The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger.  I have less than 100 pages left, so should finish it soon - maybe even today!  Yesterday I picked up a few books from the library including The Comfort of Crows which finally came in for me!  Excited to start that one.  I will try to take my time with it and not rush...rather I'd like to savor it.

I'm off work today - I'll be heading to Colin & Mailing's a little later this morning and will hang out there while their house is being cleaned.  I have more food to put in their freezer and am excited that they will be local by next Monday evening!  So, I will pack some reading, some knitting and perhaps some yarn and my crochet hook to keep me busy while I'm there.

Whatever your plans are for the day, I hope they include some moments where you can relax and just enjoy whatever is going on around you.  Take care!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 11/14/23

 Greetings My Friends,

How are you this fine morning?  Yesterday I mentioned not sleeping well the previous night.  Well, last night I made up for it sleeping about 9.5 hours!  My eyes would not stay open for anything last night - knitting, stitching or reading, so I finally gave up at 8:30 (!!!) and went to bed.  Pure bliss to sleep that well for a change.

Yesterday's work holiday luncheon was very nice as well.  Delicious appetizers and way too much food for the meal, but all very tasty.  Usually at this affair numerous prizes are given out but this year the focus was changed to giving.  There were 12 seats at the meal that had numbers underneath the chair cushions.  The individuals who sat in those chairs got to pick an organization/charity (and tell why they chose that particular one) and the company will be making a donation to that organization in the name of the individual.  The stories were all very touching.  Someone whose daughter had been diagnosed with melanoma chose the melanoma foundation; a girl who growing up was homeless chose the shelter where she and her mother stayed, and on and on and on.

There were still trivia questions and awards ($200 gift cards) for the correct answer.  Yes, I did win one (for guessing the average speed - in mph - of a snowflake falling)!  All in all a very lovely time.  Hard to imagine this is most likely my last work event like this.

All of that brings us to this morning and Tiny Needle Tuesday (TNT).  This is another week with nothing to show you on the cacti triptych.  I thought I would focus on that at the end of last week, but things got busy (again).  However, very good progress was made on the BIG Sampler aux Bouquets:

The giant bouquet that seemed to take forever is finally completed.  And look!  A bird is perched at the top.  Love it.  Still more blooms and letters to stitch, but the end is close!  I really am going to attempt to work on the cactus piece this week and hopefully will have something to share next Tuesday.

Now it's time to pour another cup of coffee and get going.  Hope your Tuesday is filled with bright spots!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Weekending 11/13/23

 Good Morning!

It is brisk outside.  My phone says 21, my computer says 26.  The first sip of Cafe du Monde is tasting so freakin' good this morning!

The weekend was lovely.  Relaxed and full of good things.  And then last night I seemed wound up - stayed up later than normal trying to get sleepy and finally crawled into bed only to lay there awake for several hours.  I did finally fall asleep, but I'm wondering what set me on edge.  Nothing in particular on my mind.  Another one of those mysteries of my life.

My 10 a.m. conference call on Friday was cancelled at 9:45 a.m.!  Woo-Hoo.  Fletch and I ran out and picked up our new glasses (so much better for knitting and reading!).  It was a day with rain on and off, so our contractors did not show up.  Nice to have a day off!

In the afternoon I drove over to Colin & Mailing's to water plants and drop off some food for their freezer.  Then I drove to Otts to look for some baby gourds.  The other week Kym posted about different gourd displays (so gorgeous - especially that cairn-like display with a bouquet on top) and there was a bit about hollowing out tiny gourds or pumpkins and putting tea lights inside.  The grocery stores no longer have their bins of tiny pumpkins and gourds and the ones at Otts were bigger than I wanted, but I bought one anyway.

Well, I just about broke my hand trying to cut off the top.  Fletch couldn't either.  He finally used an electric drill to drill holes all around the top and then he was able to lift off the top.  (It was still difficult to hollow out.)  It's big enough that a tea light would sit down too far.  I found a slightly larger candle and tried that.

 It looks pretty, but still didn't really provide much light (unless you looked down on it).  After dinner, I melted a bit of a taper and then stuck it in the gourd.  We'll see how that works at dinner tonight!

So, pretty, but I will not be making a bunch of these for Thanksgiving!  I might try it next year with the itty-bitty pumpkins (if I remember).

Meanwhile, the balance of the weekend was lovely.  Dee and I met up as usual for a morning filled with laughter, coffee, knitting and friendship.  So nice!  I found pockets throughout the weekend that allowed for knitting, crocheting, reading and stitching.  My kind of weekend!

Yesterday I made a crockpot full of vegetable beef soup.  I have a container of that to take over to C&M's on Wednesday when I'm over there for their house to be cleaned.  (So much easier now that Colin is no longer vegan!!)

Hard to believe, but today is my work holiday luncheon!  Once again it is being held at Pomme Radnor which is where it was held last year.  Some of you who have been reading my blog for a bit my recall that we used to (pre-pandemic) have work holiday luncheons ALL the time - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc., etc.  The pandemic, of course, changed all that.  And now that no one is in the office regularly (certainly not daily), it has been pared down to a luncheon in the late Fall.  It is always a lovely affair with plenty of gifts to go around, so it should be a fun time.

And the contractors will be back fact, I should probably move my car out of the driveway before they arrive so that I can easily leave for the luncheon.  I'd best get moving and dry my hair and then move my car.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 10, 2023


 Hello Everyone,

I slept in a little bit which feels wonderful!  I'm having my first sip of coffee and the sun must be up because it is not pitch dark outside, but it is awful cloudy and about 50 degrees.  Not bad for a November morning.

Mabel continues to be a delight and is still staying inside at night and not crying to go out.  That is truly amazing.  She is out pretty much all day, but comes in 5-6 times for a bit of refreshment and to just say a few words.  Lately she's been jumping up in my lap while I'm working.  And she just purrs and purrs and purrs.  I'm guessing she is very happy to be back home with us.

She is definitely happy to be back in "her" apple tree!

Mabel surveying her realm!

She's a wild one, our girl.  

This has been a busy week for us.  We've had contractors here re-doing a back upstairs wall (determined it needed to be done when we started bathroom renovations...if you give a mouse a cookie...always more than you expect/want.  BUT, our contractor is awesome as are his workers.  They will be back today and may finish...or may need a little bit of time on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Fletch and I need to run out to pick up new glasses and I really should stop at Colin & Mailing's to water house plants and do a few things.  I managed to line up someone to clean their house next Wednesday!  What an ordeal that was...the first place I called quoted me $265.  The second place quoted me $555!  Yikes!  To clean a mostly empty (very small) house.  There is minimal furniture (much is in TX).  Anyway, I found a more reasonable person, so I am taking next Wednesday off so that I can be on site.  I'll consider it to be found time to knit and read!

I do have one conference call at 10 this morning and after that I will be in weekend mode!!  Happy Friday everyone - have a great one and a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 11/8/23

 Hello Everyone!

Welcome to Unraveled Wednesday where we link up with Kat to talk about all the wonderful things we are making and reading.  Such fun!

My days are still a bit busier than I like, so I have not had ALL that much time to knit.  I did, however, manage to wind up a new skein of yarn for some lovely socks:

KnitPicks Stroll in the colorway Red Winged Blackbird

I think this will knit up nicely in the Petty Harbour pattern for Fletch.  He says he does not really *need* any more socks...I'm here to tell you that he does not know what he needs!  LOL  And, really, *need* does not factor into it at all.

Saturday when I met up with Dee and Bonny, I was attempting to work on a pair of shortie socks for Mailing.  I managed to screw them up royally and when I went to unravel back to the dropped stitch I found even more mistakes, so I just ripped out the whole mess.  Last night I started them again.

I managed to finish the cuff (which is only 5 rows) and then start the heel flap.  By the time I finished the 10th row of the heel flap my eyes had had it!  Once I get the flap and heel turn accomplished, I will switch to a light varigated yarn for the foot.

See those granny squares piled up?  I took them all out and counted - I now have 41!!  That's not (nearly) enough for a blanket, but it is way more than I thought I had.  I hope to start another one today.

On the reading side of things, not much has been read.  I'm in the midst of the latest William Kent Krueger book - The River We Remember - maybe a third of the way through.  I enjoy Krueger's writing, but this one is not real compelling...meaning it is easy to put down and go do something else.  I'll finish it and then return it to the library.  Meanwhile I am finally in the #1 spot in the queue for "The Comfort of Crows" by Margaret Renkl and I cannot wait to get my hands on that!!

Today is a busy workday for me.  I have to have training on our new legal database (because no one yet knows I will be retiring...).  I had signed up for the training yesterday morning and completely forgot about it!  Instead it will be at 1:00 this afternoon.  Luckily it is virtual.  I need to do open enrollment (even though we are on a Medicare Advantage program, I still sign up for dental and vision)...just in case my retirement is delayed a bit.  Also I need/want to schedule Colin & Mailing's house to be cleaned.  I will start calling around for that today.

So, I'd best get cracking!  Hope your Wednesday is a good one.  Be sure to check out Kat's blog to see what everyone is making and reading.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 11/7/23

 Good Morning!

Boy this first week of November has flown by!  And, even though it is November, it is warm - my computer says it is currently 52 degrees.  52 degrees and it is not even yet 6:30 a.m.  Strange and weird weather (again).

My office visit was brief yesterday - just as I wanted it to be.  I was home before 10:30!  I have my new fob and once again I am set up to print.  We are doing away with our print servers at my office.  When I send something to print it goes to the cloud.  Then I can walk to any printer, tap my fob and then print whatever it was I had sent.  I still have a small laser printer on a credenza by my desk, but for "big" jobs or color jobs I use one of our larger printers.  Supposedly I can now print from any printer that is owned by my company - whether it be in Charlotte, Atlanta, New York or wherever.  It all sounds a bit "big-brotherish" to me and I certainly don't understand how it all works (nor do I need to).

Meanwhile, it's Tuesday and time for a TNT update - finally!  I think it's been around 3 or 4 weeks since I last posted on a Tiny Needle Tuesday.  Not that there is a huge update.  There were weeks where I did not stitch at all.  Thankfully that busyness seems to have eased a bit now.

I have not carved out any time to work on the Cacti Triptych, but I will plan to have an update on that next week.  For now, we will just deal with the BIG sampler - "Sampler Aux Bouquets" by Jardin Prive.  Here's a shot of how the entire piece looks right now:

It's Getting Bigger!

And a close up showing what was recently stitched:

More of the flowers at the bottom - still more to add there as well as leaves.  And the letters D, E and F were added yesterday afternoon.  I'm on the last chart for this piece and really am nearing the end, though there is still a lot of stitching to be done.  Luckily I am still enjoying it.

I want you to know that Mabel is back to her old self - racing around the yard, chasing leaves, catching mice and voles and zooming up the apple tree.  Yesterday she and a deer were having sort of a stand off.  LOL  The deer had come up to within about 2 feet of Mabel and was just staring at her.  Mabel stared right back (with eyes like slits and her ears laid back).  After the deer wandered away, Mabel raced up the apple tree.

This girl has NO fear!

Well, time for me to dry my hair and get a bit motivated to do some things.  Perhaps another cup of coffee first.  Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Weekending 11/6/23

 Hello All,

How are you?  I am well on this chilly (35 degrees) Monday morning.  I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I had!

If you read Dee's Blog [and if not, you should] or Bonny's Blog [again, if you don't, you should], then you already know that the 3 of us met up for a delightful morning and on into the afternoon.

These two just make me so happy.  We laughed (and laughed) and sipped our coffee and eventually had lunch and continued chatting away.  I don't think we solved any of the world's problems, but we dealt with some of our own.  I managed to really screw up the knitting I had started (the lighting was not good and I was having problems seeing what I was doing) and next time we go there (Lumberville General Store) I will bring a small pillow or cushion to sit on - the wooden chairs were damn hard!!  (and believe me, I have padding...).  It was so nice to get together.  Thank you Bonny and Dee for meeting up and for your friendship.  Love you two!

Eventually I made my way home and Fletch and I sat out briefly on the patio with our beverages.  We spotted a hawk two doors down at the top of a dead tree.  There were birds in some of the surrounding trees too (not crows though which are usually there).

I'm happy to let you know that some of the green figs I picked are beginning to ripen!!

I cut a few up Sunday morning for us to share with our breakfast.  Although they are not as strongly flavored as prior years and they are much, much was still wonderful to have a taste of fig (and they went very well with pecan waffles and sausage!  LOL).

The balance of my weekend was taken up with some laundry, some cleaning and I FINALLY managed to pick up my tiny needle and put a few stitches in one of the pieces I am stitching.  It had been about 3 weeks since I had done any stitching which is pretty much unacceptable in my book.  Hopefully I can find a little more time this afternoon.

Today I'm going to the office in a bit.  My fob cracked in half.  I can still get in my office, but am unable to use it to log onto any of the printers.  Tom from IT (i.e., Jake) has already activated a new fob for me and he should be in today and will be able to set me up to print.  I hope to be home by mid-to-late morning and then I have a conference call at 11:30.  I may try to find a way to back out of that call!

Last night was pretty nice, so we had a fire and listened to music outside for a bit.  A nice way to end the weekend.

Have a great week!  I should be back tomorrow with a TNT post.