Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/31/23

 Good Morning Everyone!

How are you?  I am not yet fully awake, but trying to make a go of it.  Sipping my Cafe du Monde coffee and feeling the warmth slip into my bones.  It's a little wet out there - Mabel came in with some drops on her back and I can see rain against some of the windows and on the cars.  A good day to stay in.  My computer says:

I was not expecting a wintry mix.  Not sure that will really happen.  It is in the 30's out there.

Yesterday ended up being another baking day for me!  In the afternoon I made some brownies:

Back in the day (when Colin was a yongster) I was always baking brownies - at least once a week it seems.  And then I stopped.  Not sure why, but maybe I'm starting again?  This time I added an extra ingredient - Espresso Powder!  Oh yum.  Next time I will add more.  The powder is another thing I ordered from King Arthur.

After dinner I melted a stick and a half of butter and made some Toffee Pecan cookies:

These are so good (sprinkled with sea salt before going in the oven).

As I mentioned to Dee last night (we were texting back and forth while I was baking), I seem to be a baking fool these days.  Maybe it's because I didn't do any Christmas baking?  I don't know.  I was just in the mood.  And, Fletch is going to see some former clients of his this week and I always like to send some goodies with him when he visits Connie and David.  They are always so appreciative of cookies or breads or whatever, so I will package up a nice selection of cookies, brownies and maybe something else for him to share with them.

But today it's all about the Tiny Needle.  I have a finish!!  Woo-Hoo!  The "Praise Loudly - Blame Softly" sampler by Eileen Bennett is complete.  I finished it up Saturday night.

Definitely not one of my favorite samplers and I am pleased to be finished with it!  Too many Queen stitches and too much outlining for my taste.  But, I did enjoy getting back to doing "specialty" stitches - something other than just x's on the fabric.  That part was fun.  It's been put away in the "finishing drawer" where my unframed pieces reside.

Ellen Harrison is progressing a bit as well.

Another little motif and the start of the big house.  The blue roof and two chimneys are stitched.  Here's a closer shot of the roof and chimneys.

Stitching the house will be a bit like mindless knitting.  I'll have to count a bit for putting in windows, etc., but mostly it's just a lot of plain stitching back and forth.

Hard to believe it's the last day of January.  In 2 days it will be Groundhog's Day!  Time to dry my hair and get my day started.  Hope your Tuesday is a good one!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Weekending 1/30/23

 Hey Hey and Good Morning!

Wow!  I slept later than I have in a long, long time.  I did not get out of bed till almost 8 this morning!  Well, to clarify, I was up at 5 a.m. to let Mabel out, but went back to bed and (for once) fell right back asleep.  What a pleasure.

How was your weekend?  Mine was lovely as all weekends should be.  Friday morning I did do a little more baking:

Yes!  I finally got a donut pan (thank you King Arthur Baking) and I also bought one of their buttermilk donut mixes.  So good!  And nice that the mix makes just 6 donuts.  I want to try some recipes on my own (Fletch has been talking donuts made with applesauce), and I hope to experiment later this week.  Meanwhile, Fletch has taken to toasting a leftover donut at breakfast and the scent is just wonderful.

Saturday once again Dee and I met up for some quality time together.  We do laugh a lot and usually manage to get a little knitting done.  Always a good time.

After two meatless meals in a row (the vegan "balls" on Thursday and mac & cheese on Friday), I decided it was time for something else.  BBQ Shrimp to the rescue!

What a delicious mess!!  That's the pan prior to baking in the oven.  I also put some Italian bread in the oven to warm up - so friggin good dipped in all that bacon fat and butter with spices.  LOL  Sometimes I feel like just looking at this is enough to raise my cholesterol - LOL.  While I was prepping the shrimp I looked out the window.

I don't like all those wires, but it's where I live.  Winter sunsets are so stunning!

Sunday was a fun day too and a little different for us.  We went out to breakfast (a new diner-type restaurant opened recently just down the road from us) and it was so good.  Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to go out for and the new place did not disappoint.  After that we headed to a new Vintage/Antique Flea Market that is in Berwyn (actually very near my office).  We didn't find anything (I think it will be more fun to wander around once the weather gets nice and there are outdoor vendors).  I also thought that many things were over priced.

Sunday afternoon I decided to head over to Colin's to drop off the sheets I had washed and also water the plants.  I've wanted to get a rice cooker for some time now.  Colin suggested that I look at Assi in their housewares section.  Turns out their prices are much higher than Amazon...so I have ordered from Amazon and it will be here tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I wandered all over the store and got some very good deals on produce and also found some Asian foods that our regular grocery stores don't carry (Korean vegetable dumplings for example).  That was fun - because you all know I love food!

Last night Fletch grilled the most delicious lamb chops and I fixed some smashed baby potatoes and steamed some French green beans.  Yum!

Tomorrow I plan to skip a dinner that I set up for a work group, but I have to be at the office most of the day on Wednesday for a meeting.  I've ordered breakfast and lunch to be delivered, so need to be on site for that.  Here's hoping that after that I can stay away from that place for a bit!  LOL

Well, later than usual for me to be wrapping up a post.  I need to get a move on!  Hoping your Monday is a great one.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Food on a Friday

 Hello and Good Morning!

I had planned to write a post yesterday, but then the day got away from me.  I had a dentist appointment at 8:30 (all fine - just a routine cleaning and xrays) and then work got a bit on the busy side.  Oh well, such is life.

Meanwhile, last night we had a vegan dinner!  I certainly am not planning to go vegan, but I am trying to incorporate more plant based meals into our diet.  This past week while grocery shopping, we came across some vegan "balls."  They ended up pretty tasty.

We bought them at Acme, but I think Whole Foods carries this brand as well.  They take almost no time to cook in the oven (10 minutes if I remember) and I made some rice and heated up some black beans to go with the balls.  I also cut up some scallions to sprinkle over the rice and beans and cut up a mango to add some "coolness" to the meal.

It was really good and a nice change.  And - bonus - there are leftovers.

I also had a hankering for some cookies, so baked up some cranberry pistachio cookies.  This was a new recipe to me - you whisk together your flour with pistachio pudding mix.  The green of the cookies sort of disturbs me - lol - but they tasted pretty good.  Not great, but they filled a need:

The plan is to do a bit more baking this weekend, so I will let you know how that goes.  Also coming up will be a tofu dinner.  You can imagine how excited Fletch is about that!  But...again, while shopping this past week, we came across some Extra Firm Tofu that is already cubed.  I will weight it down to expel as much moisture as I can and somewhere in my papers is a recipe for cubed tofu marinated in a mix of soy sauce and sesame oil, etc., etc.  I'm anxious to try it.  Meanwhile, I'll fix some meat or fish for a few days to calm down Fletch,  Hahahahaha

Time for me to get cranking.  More coffee is needed.  Thankfully I only have one conference call at 11 today.  I think the weekend may start right after that!  Wishing you a good one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 1/25/23

 Good Morning!

We finally had some sunshine yesterday and it was so nice.  Today, however, we are back to a grey ski and rain (possibly even some snow) is on the way.  I plan to stay inside.  Fletch plans to go out and run some errands.  He likes to escape the house when Karyn comes to clean (she is not what you would call quiet).

It's Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making, reading, etc.  Always interesting and inspiring.  Let's get started!

There has been a little knitting this past week.  I focused more on stitching (see yesterday's blog post), but still managed to knit a few rows (and not unravel any!!).  The first green sock is now on the gusset decrease and soon it will be smooth sailing down the foot.  I do love an Eye of the Partridge heel flap:

This sock is screaming SPRING to me - fronds of grass and leaves poking up for daffodils and tulips.  Still a little early here, but dreaming is ok.

The cowl (Simply Scrappy Cowl) is coming along nicely.  The pattern is designed to use a bunch of mini skeins...or leftovers from socks, but I am using one skein of Static yarn by KnitPicks in the colorway "Taos."  I love the way this is knitting up!

Finally, the mail this week brought the Lopi yarn I purchased to knit a hat.  I have yet to cast on, but the yarn is sitting in the office room just waiting for me to get started.

On the reading front, I did finish The Book of Goose but did not really like it.  As one reviewer stated, it felt like there were missing pages at the end...there could/should have been more.  On the other hand, I'm glad there were not more pages.  I found most of the characters to be not-so-nice - even cruel, and that is just not my cup of tea.  Not sure what all the hype is about for this book, but it just was not for me.

I'm now reading The Lost Art of Mixing which is a follow up to the book I finished the other week ("The School of Esssential Ingredients").  It may be that I am reading this one too close to finishing the other, but I don't think it is as good.  Meanwhile, I've moved to position 95 in the queue for the latest Louise Penny book.  Soon I hope!

Fletch and I are enjoying Mark Twain for Cat Lovers which we are reading after dinner.  Twain certainly could tell some tales (and make up some words).

That's a wrap for Unraveled Wednesday.  Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kat's blog to see what she and others are making and reading (HINT:  there is another gnome in the making!!).

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/24/23

 Good Morning,

Last night was one of those nights where I just could not get warm.  Eventually I fell asleep (and never woke up until this morning!!), but when I woke up this morning I felt cold again.  I've cranked up the heat and I'm sipping some hot coffee, so my bones are beginning to thaw.

Yesterday we had a little bit of a snow squall.  It was so pretty.  When I left the house to run my errands it was just raining lightly.  By the time I got to the library (2 minutes away) to drop off a book I could see some white flakes coming down.  When I finished at the grocery store and came outside it looked like a mini blizzard was going on.  It started laying on the ground, but it did not last long.  I would love a really good snowfall, but I wonder if that will happen this year.

The new washer was delivered at 1 p.m. as promised and as soon as the delivery guys left I got a load in to wash.  It works great.  I ended up washing two loads yesterday afternoon and I have another load in the machine this morning.  I'm a washing fool!  LOL

And here we are at Tuesday, or as some of us call it TNT or Tiny Needle Tuesday.  There is progress to show you!  First up is Ellen Harrison:

A few motifs have been added to the right of the two white birds.  Here's a close up:

However, the real progress was made on the "Praise Loudly - Blame Softly" sampler.  

This past week saw me doing some Queen Stitches which are not my favorite by any means.  I also strongly dislike outline stitch.  Oh well.  There is more outlining and many more Queen Stitches coming up in the next row.  Thankfully the rows are short!  On the other hand, I really enjoy stitching the tiny letters.  Even though you need to cross each stitch as you make it (rather than using a sewing method and going across a row and then back), the letters seem to go quickly for me.  This section also included a stitch I had not done in the past (the last row) - a Square Ray Stitch which I think is very pretty.

Time to check the washer and fix a second cup of coffee.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Weekending 1/23/23

 Hey Hey and Hello Hello,

It's in the high 30's and you can see a "mix" is on its way.  Yesterday we had sleet in the afternoon.  Luckily we were holed up inside and Fletch only went out to fill the bird feeders.  I did not go out at all.  Today I do need to go out - chili is on the menu for tonight and I have no peppers in the house.  One must have some green or red or yellow pepper in one's chili, non?

I also need to get to the bank to deposit a check.  Yes!  A real honest-to-God paper check!  Twice in as many weeks we have received a check in the mail from a doctor's office stating that a review of 2022 records has shown that an overpayment was charged and a refund is due.  The first time it was around $25 from our primary care physician's office and this time it is just over $50 from the dermatologist.  Not exactly a windfall, but nonetheless, money we didn't have the other day.

This afternoon my new washer is being delivered!  Woo-Hoo!  No supply chain issues and so fast.  Fletch did dig out the papers on our old washer and it turns out it is 22 years old.  And, we paid $369 for it 22 years ago.  That one is an "Estate" by Whirlpool.  Our new one is a Magtag (which is made by Whirlpool) and hopefully it will last just as long.  It is a plain model - I did not want any bells and whistles and I did not want digital.  Top loading and a 10 year warranty on the motor!  Best of all, the new machine, new hoses, delivery and installation, and removal of the old one is costing just under double what we paid 22 years ago.  I don't think that is too bad.

Not having a washer to use over the weekend meant that I had more free time, so knitting and stitching were both accomplished along with some reading.  Dee and I did meet up Saturday morning for our usual chatty session.  Lots of laughter, some knitting and a bunch of sipping happened.  It was a lovely time. 

Later that day Fletch and I went out to Otts Nursery (which was mobbed!!) to pick out a plant as a gift for one of C&M's neighbors.  Then we drove to C&M's house where I watered the house plants and got the sheets off the bed to wash (in my new machine!!).  Colin had either called or texted his neighbor asking for a recommendation on a contractor to clean out his gutters (which were jammed with leaves and debris).  His neighbor said "thanks for the reminder.  I have to clean mine and I will do yours too."  Nice neighbor, huh?  Anyway, we picked out a very pretty plant (a papaya plant) and Fletch took it over next door while I was inside watering the house plants.

Sweet Mabel has been on a streak of badness!!  She is getting into and on everything she should not.  Friday she came into the office room while I was on one of my conference calls meowing loudly.  The next thing I knew, she had jumped up on the dresser where there are lots of embroidery scissors, needle minders, pin cushions, knitting needles - all things she needs to stay away from and leave alone.

You can see why I don't want her on the dresser.  I managed to get her out of the room and then discovered she had grabbed her bag of treats off the kitchen counter and ripped into it!  Last night she jumped up on the table when I was stitching and wanted to learn how to use a needle!  She is making me crazy!  But look at her - so sweet and innocent looking.

Now it's time to pour another cup of coffee and do a bit of work.  I hope your Monday is a good one!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

What's for Dinner? 1/19/23

 Good Morning!

Well, I'm happy to say that I survived two days in a row at the office.  The first day was not bad...I had lots to do and much to keep me occupied.  Yesterday?  I was twiddling my thumbs and bouncing around on my chair anxious to get home and do something else (knitting or stitching or napping).  It all worked out though.  There was plenty of left over breakfast and lunch and there were a fair number of people in the office (other than those in for the meeting), so I offered up the dregs and the hoards of folks bounded into the kitchen.  I did not have to clean up!

Today is looking to be a rain event.  It's still dark out, but my computer says it is raining now.

Fletch and I are going out later this morning to shop for a new washing machine.  Yup, mine has bitten the dust.  I did a couple of loads of laundry on Monday and then noticed that it would not stop dripping inside.  Fletch researched and I think solved the problem.  A minor repair - probably just a couple hundred dollars between the part and the repair person, BUT our machine is OLD...most likely over 20 years, so we agreed at this point it makes more sense to just get a new one.  Nothing fancy.  I want a top loader so I can felt things if I want and I don't need lots of fancy washes or loads, etc.  I just do regular laundry.  A delicate and a regular cycle will do me fine.  I wonder if we can find something so simple?

Meanwhile, let's talk food and one of the dishes I made this week.  It's a vegan dish and I had shared the recipe with Colin.  He made it first and said it was really good, so I gave it a try.  It is Beans and Broccolini With Crispy Shallots and has a wonderful dressing to go with it (pistachios, parsley, EVOO and lemon juice - YUM).

I made garlic bread to go with it and thought it was delicious.  Fletch was a bit under-whelmed.  He sprinkled parmesan on his, but even that didn't elevate it for him.  Funny as he likes all the ingredients.  He did not care for the sauce/dressing and honestly, I think the juice of half a lemon would have been sufficient (it was pretty strongly lemon flavored).  But still, it was good.

Last night I was in the mood for something to munch on (I don't usually eat anything after dinner), so I roasted some nuts.

So easy - take some raw nuts (last night I used Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds), sprinkle a tiny bit of EVOO on them and then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, sea salt and rosemary.  Roast at 350 for 5 minutes, take out the pan and shake or stir the nuts and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Bingo - a tasty little nibble.

Well, it's Thursday and time for me to start my Thursday reports.  Wishing everyone a fine day - enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 1/18/23

 Hello, Hello!

A little bit of a later post for me.  I was driving to my office before the crack of dawn and thus didn't have time to post from home.  A deer just missed my car (or I just missed the deer) on my way in this morning and then a fox ran across the road.  Wildlife abounds!!

Now I'm at the office, breakfast has been delivered and the meeting is underway (which I am not participating in).  I'll stick around until lunch is delivered around 11:30 and then I may just need to call it a day at that time!  Meanwhile, I can now write and post for Unraveled Wednesday.  As usual, I'm linking up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.

I really enjoy connecting with everyone on Wednesdays - there is always such great inspiration, wonderful recommendations for reading and sometimes a little enabling - LOL.

My knitting has seen a little bit of progress.  First up is the initial green sock.

I will knit another 5 or 10 rows and then will knit the heel flap and turn the heel.  If all goes well, that should go quickly.

Progress has also been made on the cowl for my SIL.

It is hard to see the pattern.  I tried to pull it apart to show it better, but that didn't turn out so well.  Basically after the ribbing, you knit 5 rows and then a pattern row...then 5 rows plain knitting and then another pattern row.  The pattern is just yarn overs and knitting 2 together.  Simple and easy peasy to remember.  I do love these colors together and I think this will be perfect for my SIL.

I also broke down and ordered some Lopi yarn.  LOL  After saying I certainly didn't need any more yarn (and I don't, but...).  A Lopi sweater has been on my mind for some time, but I still want to try Planetary.  So...I ordered two skeins of Lopi (Galaxy and Pink) to knit a hat (and make a pom-pom).  I can use a new hat and I'll see if this gets the idea of Lopi out of my head for a little while.  Of course, there is the risk that it could go the opposite way and just increase my appetite for this yarn!

On the reading side of things, Fletch and I (finally!!) finished listening to The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd.  Not a favorite of mine and by the last third Fletch was tired of it as well.  He said it was a little too much like "Field of Dreams" and I was just totally bored with it.  Last night we started reading (not listening) to Mark Twain for Cat Lovers which I think will be fun.  We only got through the introduction last night before my voice gave out, but will read some more tonight.

On my own reading I am thoroughly enjoying "Middlemarch" by George Eliot.  What a book!  So much dry humor in it and as Mary wrote to me, quite snarky in places.  Colin and I are continuing to read the poems in Nine Horses by Billy Collins which are just wonderful.  I also started The Book of Goose and am roughly a third of the way into it.  I'm not yet sure how I feel about it...I want to continue reading, but I don't think I really like the book.  That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but there you have it.

Remember to head over to Kat's space to see what others are making and reading.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday

 Good Morning!

How are you this fine Tuesday morning?  Still dark here, but my computer says 33 degrees and partly cloudy which is a little warmer than yesterday.  The winds yesterday were pretty obnoxious...not pleasant at all.  Hopefully those have died down now.

I learned something new yesterday!  One of our cars went in for an annual inspection.  It had not been driven enough miles over the course of a year that we were exempt from having the emissions inspection performed.  BUT...in PA, you are still charged for the emissions inspection whether or not it is performed.  WHAT???  It is true and we have the itemized bill to prove it.  Right at the top it states Exempt from emissions inspection...and then the charge.  Oh well - only $40 and, as I said to Fletch if they don't inspect, they can't make you buy an expensive part - LOL.  The check engine light had come on a couple of times during the year and each time the code meant related to emissions.  At any rate, we got off easy and the bill was light.  Just an oil change, some wiper blades and a filter or two.  That works for me.

Now it is Tuesday and FINALLY I picked up my stitching over the weekend.  I had not put a single stitch in either sampler since before Christmas.  First up, a little progress on the "Praise Loudly Blame Softly" sampler:

Click to enlarge if you like.  The Arrowhead stitch was completed and the small alphabet (stitched over one linen thread) has been started.  I finally feel like this sampler is progressing a bit.

Next up is Ellen Harrison.  A couple of motifs have been added:

A ship with a pretty large anchor (in comparison to the ship) and a couple of birds and a plant.  Here's a close up of the new parts.

It definitely was fun getting back to stitching and I'm looking forward to adding more to both of these samplers in the coming week.

First, however, is the office.  Yup - today and tomorrow are office days for me.  I need to be in by 8:00 this morning.  I have two different groups coming in for meetings.  Tomorrow I have to be in even earlier as I ordered breakfast for a meeting that will be delivered before 8 a.m.  Hopefully I will be able to get out of dodge both days shortly after lunch time.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, I need to have some more coffee and pull my stuff together.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, January 16, 2023


 Good Morning!

I know for a lot of folks today is a holiday...but it turns out I no longer have ANY holidays.  That's right - July 4th, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Good Friday, Memorial Day - all are no longer days off for me unless I request them.  My company is switching from PTO (Paid Time Off) to FTO (Flex Time Off).  So, I no longer have 4 weeks of vacation or accumulated sick time.  Instead, I have an unlimited number of days I can take.  Weird, huh?  Colin told me that studies show that people with FTO actually take less time than those with traditional PTO...the theory being that if you are told you have a set number of days of vacation, you will be sure to use them all.  This also means that you cannot accumulate time (vacation or sick) and when you leave, there will be no payout of accumulated time.  I'm just curious to see how this all works out.  No one has ever tracked my time off and vacation or sick time has never been noted on my pay check.

Anyway, I usually end up working a bit on MLK Day anyway and this year will be no different.  And even though work has been unusually crazy busy, I still have more "free" time than pre-pandemic.

So, how was your weekend?  Mine was oh-so-nice!  For the first time in weeks, Dee and I met up Saturday morning for a knit and chatter time.  That was wonderful.  I had missed our get-togethers so much (first I was away in TX and then Covid struck).  Hoping we are back to normal now and will be meeting up most Saturday mornings.

Of course I mentioned to Dee that there was no way I needed any more yarn (unless and until I buy the main color for Planetary)...but then on Sunday I was looking through things as one does and decided that I really would like to knit another sweater out of Lettlopi.  I'm thinking of Destination Pullover (love the pockets) and, of course, I've had the pattern for Stopover for years now.  In addition I'd love to make the Shakerag Top (obviously not in Lettlopi).  I need to NOT go crazy buying up yarn!

Last week when I blogged about winning the give away from MDK (all that lovely Kid Silk Haze yarn), I forgot to mention that included in the package was a copy of MDK's 6th Field Guide:  Transparency.

I already have this Field Guide, so I'm offering it up here on the blog.  If anyone would like it, drop me a note and I will ship it out.  If more than one person would like it, I'll do the random number thing.  There are several different patterns in the Guide.  All patterns are by Amy Christoffers and Here's a Link to what's in it.

The balance of the weekend was equally lovely.  I managed to do some cooking (meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy - yum!!), a little reading and knitting and even a little stitching (first time since before Christmas!! - TNT update tomorrow).  We also had a nice, long talk with Colin late yesterday afternoon.  Last night we settled in to watch the second episode of the new season of All Creatures Great and Small.

And now, my Monday needs to start.  First load of wash is in the washer and it's time to pour another cup of coffee.  Wishing you all a wonderful start to the week.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Another Walk Along the River Trail

 Hello and Good Morning!

It's Friday the 13th!  I can't believe it is in the 50's outside.  Such weird weather (again...or continuing).

My first week of medical appointments went well.  As I mentioned, my visit to the dermatologist early in the week was a good one (no spots of bother found).  On Tuesday I called to schedule my mammogram and was amazed that I could get an appointment the following day.  Even more amazing is that less than 24 hours after my mammogram my doctor's office called to say the results were in and everything looked fine.  Woo-Hoo!  I'm always very fretful at mammogram time.  My Mom had breast cancer and my paternal Grandfather also did (back in the 1940's!!).  I'm glad to be good for another year.

I had a Field Vision test yesterday and I have a follow up appointment with my eye doctor on February 2nd.  I'm sure that is ok.  And, next week is the dentist.

Yesterday was a grey January day.  Not very inspiring, but it was mild and the forecast rain ended early.  so, I decided to get out for a walk along the River Trail after lunch.  There were a few people on the trail.  Not many which is the way I like it.  About a mile up the trail is an abandoned railroad station on the other side of the river.  Trains still run along the tracks, but no passenger trains.  

Bare trees and cold looking water - a winter scene for sure.  About the same place on the trail is a tree that I always look for.  It is covered in a HUGE trumpet vine.

I'm pretty sure there are poison ivy vines wrapped around the tree as well.  I don't look all that closely.

On my way back I spotted some very pretty fungi on a rotting log.

The white one on the right almost is like a flower.  I love the shades of green in the other ones.

All in all, a very enjoyable walk.  I had to remove my ear band and my fingerless mitts as it was so warm.  I walked 2 miles and my back was fine!  Progress my friends, progress.  If I can get out today I will.  I think it is raining now and more is forecast.  I have a conference call at 11...will see what the weather is like after lunch.

Oh, I made a new (to me) recipe last night.  Bang-Bang Salmon in the air fryer.  It was quick, easy and very tasty and I forgot to take any pictures.  We had some spicy yellow rice to go with that (and veggies).  A friend sent me some red saffron from Turkey (bought at a bazaar in Turkey this year).  I had never heard of red saffron - only yellow, but I added some to the rice along with extra garlic and cumin and it was delish!  Tonight is home-made pizza - yum!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - do something fun!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 1/11/23

 Well Hello There!

How are you on this fine Wednesday morning?  It's chilly (28 or so) and it is still dark out.  Yesterday was grey and not very inspiring.  I have not posted a TNT post for quite some time...because...I have not picked up my stitching since before we went to Texas!  I hope that changes soon, but this week is shaping up to be a busy one, so time will tell.  

This month is turning into "see all the doctors and get all your check ups done."  Monday's appointment was with our dermatologist.  Luckily she saw nothing!  (I go every 6 months for a full body check since I've had so many bouts of skin cancer.  Today I have a mammogram and tomorrow a field vision test.  Later in the month I will see the dentist and in February I have my full physical.  Whew!  It's a lot and then it will be time to start all over again - LOL.

Meanwhile, it is Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Thanks Kat for hosting us all.  I find these Wednesday posts from everyone to be so inspiring.

My green socks are slowly (very slowly) progressing.  I did put a "tree" pattern on them at the top (just under the cuff ribbing), but it is not all that visible in my picture.  I was too lazy to look for my sock blockers to stretch it out and see if the pattern is visible then.  Oh well.  I'm not going to rip it out in any case.  From here on out it is just vanilla knitting.

Finally I was able to successfully cast on and start the cowl for my SIL.  I think it was the 5th or 6th try that worked (maybe Covid Brain Fog eased up a bit??).

The yarn is Static from KnitPicks (75% superwash wool and 25% nylon) in the colorway Taos.  The colors do remind me of the West (my brother and SIL live in Boulder, CO).  The pattern I am using is Simply Scrappy Cowl by Helen Stewart and now that I'm underway with it, it should progress quickly.  It is a very simple pattern.

On the reading side of things I'm into several books!  First up is Middlemarch.  How I managed to get through high school and college English with never reading anything by George Elliot is a surprise to me.  I had mentioned to Colin that I wanted to read it, so he bought it for me while we were in TX.  I'm only 50 pages in so far but am enjoying it.  It is pretty funny in parts.  This will definitely be a slow read - not something you can speed read through.  

The other book Colin bought me is Nine Horses by Billy Collins.  He bought himself a copy as well, and we are both slowly reading the poems.  So good!  I'm so happy that Colin and I share a love of reading and enjoy so many of the same books (although we also have our individual tastes as well).

Finally I am reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.  This is a book my friend Leslie recommended.  It's perfect for breaking up my time with Middlemarch.  I love reading about food, so this is right up my alley.  It's a quick read (I read the first 40 pages while fixing dinner the other night) and very enjoyable.

Finally, I got notice that my turn in the queue came up for The Book of Goose and I will stop by the library to pick that up today.

Time to dry my hair and fix another cup of coffee.  I'm heading to the office a little later (my first time at the office since before Christmas!!).  I have a bunch of stuff to print, some reports to run and I need to order food for some meetings next week.  I will also stop at Trader Joe's for a few things...then the library...and then head out for my mammogram early afternoon.  Too much running around!  I feel tired just thinking about it - LOL.  

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 9, 2023


 Good Morning!

It looks as though the sun is TRYING to come out, but it's a bit of a struggle.  Rather like me waking up, or attempting to wake up.  I actually slept a little better last night and got up late (for me) (after 7 a.m.) this a.m.  After writing this post I need to pull myself together for a doctor's appointment at 9:30.

So, how was your weekend?  Mine was fine.  I missed getting together with Dee but thought it best to wait another week.  Even though Fletch and I tested negative for Covid, I was still feeling a bit run down.  I did manage to block out Odyssey and it is now awaiting an opportunity to be worn.

And this next picture will show you the lace detail a bit better:

So delicate and pretty.  I love it!

A little organization of stash was accomplished as well.  I had groups of yarns set out for various projects (all different shawls) and I was tired of having project bags all over the place.  The yarns have been put away and will come out when and if I feel like trying to knit another shawl.  

Meanwhile, there was a bit of stash enhancement!  Before we left for TX, I received an email from MDK that I had won a give-away.  Woo-Hoo.  What I won was a kit for the Albers Shawl (found in the MDK Fieldguide #6, Transparency).  The kit arrived last week.  Six gorgeous skeins of Rowan Kid Silk Haze:

This might be the shawl/scarf I need to knit next!!

As mentioned previously, Dee and I have been (had been) thinking of knitting Planetary.  Fibernymph Dyeworks was having a sale, so I snatched up a set of mini skeins to use in that.  They arrived on Friday.

Along with the mini skeins, a set of stitchmarkers was included (so sweet):

Luckily I have not yet ordered the yarn for the body of the sweater.  After reading the pattern through, I was left scratching my head.  I'm not a very experienced knitter and some of the directions were more than a bit confusing to me.  I could still be suffering from Covid Brain Fog, but I'm thinking this pattern might just be beyond me at this point.  I'll think about it.

Yesterday I finally got out for a walk along the River Trail in Valley Forge Park.  I had to run to the grocery store because someone (Mabel) had consumed just about all her food and we were in danger of running ouy.  (I also wanted to get some scallions to use in the dish I was making for dinner.)  So, after picking up a bunch of cat food I headed down the road.  The trail was a little muddy in places and there were quite a few people out and about.  It was chilly enough that my eyes watered and my nose was running, but boy did it feel good to get some FRESH air!  I am hoping to get out again this afternoon.

Time to pour another cup of coffee and start my day.  Here's hoping your Monday is off to a great start!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

What's For Dinner? 1/5/23

 Good Morning!

It's another weirdly balmly day in Eastern PA.  I so wanted to get out for a walk yesterday, but honestly I am still so freakin' tired these days.  Yesterday saw me taking yet another 1.5-2 hour nap after lunch.  Yikes!!

Covid Fog Brain still seems to be with me as well.  I managed to cast on for the cowl I want to make for my SIL.  Knit the 8 rows of ribbing and somehow ended up with extra stitches plus a horrible join at the beginning.  That will all be ripped out later this morning.  Everything may need to sit in time out for a little bit.

I'm hoping to do some vacuuming later simply so that I can lay out the blocking mats and get Odyssey soaked and stretched out.  Time will tell.  I'm a little busy with work (again).

Meanwhile, we have been eating well.  God forbid!  LOL  I started out the New Year on the right foot making a new-to-me recipe this first week.  A definite winner and one I will make again.  It is Shrimp & Asparagus Angel Hair Pasta:

This is the recipe I used from 12 Tomatoes.  Filled with lots of great things:  shrimp and asparagus, lots of garlic, fresh tomato, scallions, spinach. So yummy.  I had 4 lbs (!!) of 16-20 count shrimp in the freezer, so I used about a pound of those and cut the shrimp in half before cooking them.  I squeezed lemon over mine; Fletch sprinkled his with Parmesan.

On the fail side, I made foccacia for the first time yesterday and it was TERRIBLE!!  I had a little piece with the split pea soup I had made.  Fletch was smart and opted for a toasted corn muffin.  The balance of the foccacia has been ripped up and is in a bag waiting for me to take it out and dump it for the birds and squirrels.  Ha!

Not everytime can be a success, and I will definitely try making foccacia again (using a different recipe).

And with that, I need to get down to work.  It's Thursday and I've got a lot to do in addition to my regular Thursday reports.  Hope your day is a good one!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 1/4/23

 Good Morning!

Here we are at the first Unraveled Wednesday of 2023.  Hardly seems possible.  This is the day we link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  In my case, I tend to talk knitting on these Wednesdays.  And...drumroll...I do have a finish or two to share with you!

First up, my Turning Leaves socks are finished.  Woo-Hoo.  I managed to finish these on Friday the 30th of December.

These socks just make me happy.  Plain and simple.  The colors in the yarn are marvelous and the way the colors all go together is wonderful.  I'm not sure I would have named the colorway "Turning Leaves" but it doesn't much matter.

On Saturday, New Year's Eve, I decided I needed to cast on something new.  Well, that didn't work!  There was unraveling several times.  Fletch and I both felt like we had Covid Fog Brain.  New Year's Day dawned and I just knew I HAD to knit something.  So, I cast on for a pair of socks.

And that's as far as that has gotten - 15 rows of ribbing.  I need to determine what pattern I will use.  The yarn is Twist Sock from Machete Shoppe and the colorway is "Douglas Fir."  Naturally I want to incorporate some kind of tree into the pattern.  I'm considering this pattern but maybe just at the top of the sock.  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, my next finish is a shocker!  I started Odyssey Shawl way back in June 2019!  All that was left to do was the picot edge bind off.  It had sat patiently waiting for me to pick it up for years!  Why had I put it down?  I think I was deciding whether or not to keep knitting...make it a little bigger and then one little delay became one huge one!

Obviously this needs to be blocked.  There are several lace sections plus the picot edge bind off that need to be pulled out to shine a bit.  I hope to get to that later today.  

The yarn is a delight!  It is some I bought at the last Allendown Fiber Festival and is from June Pryce Fiber Arts and the colorway is "Secluded Forest."  It is a hand painted gradient - Watch Hill Sparkles.  760 yards and is 75/20/5  SW Merino/Nylon/Stellina.  I am so happy to have this off the needles!!

This past year I did not knit Christmas gifts.  By the time I decided to, there was not enough time.  So...my plan (until some other shiny object comes along) is to start now making a few gifts for next year.  First up will be a cowl for one of my SILs.  (That was what I attempted to cast on Saturday.)  Dee and I also have plans to knit Planetary by Melanie Berg.  But I have a question for everyone:  how do you know what length circular needle to use?  This is the first pattern I've come across that doesn't indicate the length of needle.  I looked at the Sigla pattern I knit to see what length I used, but different yarn, different number of stitches, etc.  I've emailed Melanie Berg's pattern support, but so far have not heard back.  I'm just not that experienced a knitter, so any help will be appreciated.  Merci!

There has not been a lot of reading.  See the mention of Covid Brain Fog above...I took this book

to Texas, but didn't have much time or good light.  I've less than a hundred pages left, so I hope to finish soon.  It is ok, but I'm getting a bit tired of it and am finding it easy enough to put down.

Fletch and I are continuing to listen to The Cartographers but again I am finding myself bored.  Fletch is enjoying the story, but I am finding the whole thing more annoying.  Plus, I don't like the various narrators.  So.....we will finish this (still 4+ hours left), but after that I think we will go back to reading out loud.  I'm not enjoying audio books as I thought I would.  Boo Hiss.

That's a wrap for me this Unraveled Wednesday.  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what others are making and reading.

It's a mild day here and rain is forecast.  I think I will put a big pot of split pea soup on the stove and maybe bake some bread to go with that for dinner.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Happy New Year! 1/2/23

Hello and Good Morning and Happy New Year!! 

How are you and how were your celebrations?  Our weekend, of course, was quiet.  Fletch and I are both on the mend and will finish up our Paxlovid prescriptions tomorrow morning.  Our symptoms vary day-to-day.  I experienced more coughing than Fletch; he experienced a worse runny nose than I did.  We both thought our sense of taste was diminishing Saturday night, but Sunday morning that was fine.  I'm still a bit on the tired side (there was one night I slept 11 hours, got up and did a few things and then had a 2 hour nap!!), but overall am pleased with how we fared our first (and hopefully only) bout of Covid.  Thank you all for your well wishes and all the healing juju you sent our way.

I'll wrap up talking about our Texas trip in this post.  Kind of picture heavy, so be warned!

Saturday morning (still a bit on the chilly side) we all had a late breakfast at a restaurant in Austin.  After that the men went off to see Avatar (which they all enjoyed - all 3+ hours of it!).  Mailing, Bonnie and I took off on our own adventures:  first we drove to Franklin's to pick up all the BBQ Mailing had ordered for Christmas day.  Luckily she had ordered and we were able to pick up.  Others who had not ordered were waiting in line - folks get in line hours before the place opens...almost tailgating - chairs, coolers with beer, etc.  After that we went to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar

This was just your typical neighborhood bazaar:  soaps, candles, jewelry, tee shirts, etc.  Some of the stuff was interesting, some not so much.  After that we drove to a park Mailing had heard about and walked a 3-4 mile loop.  I was exhausted by the time that was done!  But, it was time to meet the guys and take in the Bullock Texas State History Museum (and I will say the history of TX is extremely violent!).

Christmas Day dawned sunny and bright.  We had a lazy morning at the AirBnB and then walked over to C&M's (about a 15 minute walk) late morning.  We had some gifts and then some of us took a walk along the River Walk.  What a pretty trail.  There were lots of people out and about walking, running, biking, etc.  Early on our walk we spotted a beautiful hawk sitting on a low branch alongside the trail.

Up near the dam and Lady Bird Lake we spotted a lot of turtles.

Colin & Mailing often spot green parakeets along this trail, but none were to be seen on Christmas Day.  There are a lot of pretty and interesting murals along the trail.

The BBQ for dinner was delicious.  There was turkey, pulled pork, sausage, brisket and ribs.  And, of course, sides:  potato salad, cole slaw, pickles, etc.

We watched a movie and called it an early evening - Monday we headed to San Antonio!

First up was Tower of the Americas which was pretty impressive.

You can see from the sky what a gorgeous day we had!  And, San Antonio was mobbed - so many people.  Compared to it, Austin felt like a ghost town!  We ended up having lunch at a place along the River Walk in San Antonio.  Though the air was a little chilly, we opted to sit outside to eat.

Next up was the Alamo.

Next up we took in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.  So many of the plants were covered due to the severe weather of a few days before, but there are several greenhouses and the displays were gorgeous.  I liked this little structure:

Our last stop before an early dinner was the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden which was so, so beautiful.  We didn't have much time there as it was closing by 5, but we walked a bit.  This structure was so gorgeous

We had an early dinner and headed back to Austin.  Bonnie, Zhongren, Fletch and I had an early flight back to PHL Tuesday morning.  Our flight was delayed, but only by half an hour.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip with a whole lot of walking!  Thanks for coming along on my trip!

Hoping today finds everyone stepping into the New Year with joy and optimism.