Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 5/31/23

 Hello My Friends,

How are you?  I am weary (and sounding like a broken record - I know and I'm sorry).  Yesterday did prove to be a long day as expected and I did not wrap up work until almost 11:30 last night!  Whew!  A long day.  But, that's over and now we are on to the next.

Happy Anniversary to Fletch and me!!  43 years ago today I woke up, had some fruit salad and vodka for breakfast (ha!) and then my sweetie and I tied the knot at Noon.  It has not always been fun or easy, but I'd do it again in less than a heartbeat.  Happy Anniversary too to Ray & Linda - my oldest brother and his wife.  I can't remember how many years for them, but over 50!  (They married younger than Fletch and I.)

Once again, I am linking up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading on this Unraveled Wednesday.  Alas, today leaves me with not much to show.  As I mentioned yesterday, there was unraveling.  That pesky green yarn that had been in time out was once again unraveled.  I remembered (finally) that I had tried to knit socks with a bit of a lace pattern previously and that had not worked out.  I made up my own pattern (again a touch of lace) and was knitting away Saturday morning with Dee when I noticed I had made a mistake (apparently  not only can I not walk and chew gum, I cannot knit and talk!).  Dee is a master at correcting mistakes so after trying in vain to fix it, she took over.  But, whatever I had done stumped even Dee.  I decided the yarn was speaking...or not try to make me into lacy socks!

This is the state of that yarn as of this morning...I have yet to decide whether to cast on plain socks or put the yarn back into time out.

I am so very anxious to cast on for my Shakerag skirt, but I also have been too busy and tired to do it right.  So instead, I cast on the purple non-wool yarn to make a cowl for Leslie.

Not very far along...just the 3 rows of edging before I get into the lace pattern.

The pattern I'm going to make is Abstract Leaves Cowl - free on Ravelry.  I will not be adding beads into the mix, though the picture with beads is very pretty.

Here's hoping I have much more to show next week!

Moving along to the reading side of things...Fletch and I finished listening to "The Road to San Donato."  I would rate the story quite good.  3.5 to 4 stars.  I would rate the narrator at 2 at best!  Happy that we stuck with it though.  I also read The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths - the latest (and last?) in her Ruth Galloway series.

Fletch and I have started listening to Walking Home which (so far) is not quite as funny or as good as billed.  Hopefully that will improve.  I'm in the midst of The Dry by Jane Harper and it's good!  An easy mystery to read (I think there are 2 more starring the same main character).  I picked up The Thread Collectors on a recommendation from my sister-in-law.  Written by 2 women and loosely based on their family history, this looks like a good read about the Civil War era.  Have not yet started, but will let you know.

I'm hoping to do some laundry, some cooking and some knitting, stitching and reading today.  I'm also hoping that work stays quiet!

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday.  It is chilly here (just 43), but the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 5/30/23

 Good Morning Everyone!

How are you?  It is 6:30 a.m. on 5/30 and my Dad would have turned 103 today!  Hard to believe - even harder to believe he has been gone almost 10 years.  Still missing him all the time - miss his wisdom and advice, his sense of humor and his love.  Meanwhile, it is 51 degrees and sunny.  The skies are blue and I think it will be a fine day.  Busy...but fine.

I hope you all had a nice, long weekend.  I did manage to be a slug for a lot of it - lol.  Honestly, I was pretty tired all weekend.  Saturday morning I did meet up with Dee but much unraveling ended up happening (more on that tomorrow).  I'm not sure that we solved any world issues/problems, but we had our usual delightful time together.  Saturday also found me connecting with Leslie.  Please send her all your good and healing vibes and juju - she is having her final chemo session today and her radiation sessions are over.  I'm looking forward to seeing her before too long!!

Fletch and I did go over to Colin & Mailing's house yesterday.  Fletch did a bunch of weed whacking and I watered house plants.  We were not there all that long, but it was good to do that.  We also gassed up the car in their neck of the woods and saved 12 cents per gallon over the price by us.  Ridiculous!  Last night on PBS we watched a very interesting documentary on Shofuso the Japanese house that is in Fairmount Park.  It was originally at MOMA which I had not known.  Anyway, a fascinating story and a look at some of the creations of George Nakashima and Junzo Yoshimura.  It was only roughly 30 minutes long and I would have loved to have it run longer.  (Side note:  Shofuso is where Colin & Mailing had their engagement photographs done!)

Now we are at Tuesday morning and it's time for a Tiny Needle Tuesday update.  A little stitching was accomplished during the past week.  There was also a bit of frogging....

First up, The Crows of Strawberry Hill.

The second crow has joined his brother!

It was here that the frogging occurred.  I had just about completed stitching the crow on the left when I noticed that the stitches were not matching up with the pink border at the bottom.  I was one thread off.  No one might have noticed, but I knew it would bug me.  Thank goodness I did not start ripping out the crow (which I almost did).  This mistake was in the pink border.  When I looked at it closely I could see where one of my stitches crossed over 3 threads instead of 2.  Grrrr.  Luckily I just had to un-stitch - or frog - it back towards the left crow's foot.

Next up is the Sampler Aux Bouquets:

I was working on the leaves last night, but I kept making mistakes, so I ended up putting it away.  More leaves and a couple more blue flowers on the left and then I will begin the alphabet on the right hand side.

Friday I discovered that my debit card had been hacked!  I went on line to check on an account to see what had cleared and noticed some charges that were not done by me or Fletch.  Luckily it was in the afternoon and the bank was still open.  I called and now my card has been cancelled and the purchases are all in dispute.  What a PITA.  I rarely use my debit card, but it is a bit unnerving to have this happen.  There are also a few automatic payments connected with that card, so there will be some havoc when those payment come due.  Oh well, at least I happened to go on line at the right time and spot the issues.

Today will be a busy and long day.  I've got a number of things that need to be completed today for work.  I had been waiting for financial information to come to me, and it finally did over the weekend, but I decided not to work over the holiday.  I may be sorry today, but c'est la vie.  I also have an eye doctor appointment this afternoon.  And grocery shopping this morning.  Busy, busy, busy!

I'll leave you with a pretty little bouquet on our kitchen table.

A Siberian Iris, some two-toned snapdragons and an Evening Primrose.  Gorgeous!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!!

Friday, May 26, 2023

TGIF 5/26/23

 Hello and good Friday!

Yes - TGIF!!  This has been a week (at least for me).  You all know that I am itching to retire...that is no secret.  I am *trying* (key operative word) to hold out till the end of the year so that I will get a nice year-end bonus as well as a kicker in November for 25 years with the company.  Many days are just fine, but then there are days that seem unending and I wonder if I can even last another week.  This week has been filled with that type of day - idiot people, idiot questions, etc., etc.  No gory details and I have not (yet) quit.  My mantra right now is "you are 5/12ths of the way through the year - just hang on a little longer."  We shall see.

Meanwhile, it is a holiday weekend here in the States and that is a good thing.  I'm not quite at the weekend, but my 10:00 conference call has been cancelled and I'm hoping my 1 p.m. call will also be cancelled.

Nothing new or spectacular in the cooking/baking department, but last night I did make a favorite - spaghetti and clam sauce with mussels added.

YUM!!  And, our salads included lettuce from the garden.

Yesterday also found me finally swatching for my Shakerag Skirt.

Gauge was attained!  Hoping to cast on a bazillion stitches today and start the skirt.  I cannot wait.  The little round box with the cross stitched top is one I made decades ago.  The box contains my blocking pins.

I also did a little bit of knitting on the green socks and came up with my own pattern which I think will work.  I've only knit 5 rows of it, so more to come on that later.

We have no plans for the long weekend.  I am meeting up with Dee as usual tomorrow morning where, once again, we will attempt to solve the world's problems.  And I will call Leslie tomorrow afternoon.  You may remember that Leslie is my friend going through cancer treatment again (4th time).  She had her last radiation treatment yesterday and has her last chemo next Tuesday, the 30th.  We texted back and forth yesterday, but she was too tired to talk, so we agreed on Saturday afternoon.  She's a wonder and a trooper for sure.

Do any of you have plans for the long weekend?  Anyone heading to the beach?  Or the mountains?  I think I will be content just to be a slug at home.  Whatever you do - make some fun!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 5/24/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

I'm feeling a little drugged.  I just poured my first cup of coffee and have yet to guzzel some down! Mabel slept on the bed all night last night and when that happens, I often wake during the night wondering if there is a tick crawling near or on me.  I know, I know...foolish thoughts, but I cannot help it.  (Yesterday I spoted a tick [thankfully a dog tick, not a deer tick] crawling on the kitchen floor!  They are everywhere!)  Anyway, I got up at 5 to let Mabel out and got back in bed and fell sound asleep until 6:30.  So...just waking up.  The sun is up and it looks to be a promising Wednesday.

And, with it being Wednesday, it is time to link up with Kat and all the folks in her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Yesterday was all about winding yarn!  First, I wound the yarn for my Shakerag Skirt:

So pretty it almost makes my mouth water...or makes me drool!

I thought I would at least knit my swatch and then cast on, but I did neither.  Boo-Hiss, but perhaps today.  Kat and Kym - did you swatch in the round as the pattern states?  Or on straight needles?  I dont think I have a size 5 circular needle small enough to do a swatch....

I also wound some lovely yarn to make something (not sure what) for my friend Leslie.  She loves purple and is also (horrors!!) allergic to wool.  

This yarn is Cobasi by Hikoo - a combination of cotton, bamboo, silk and a bit of nylon thrown in.  I'm thinking maybe a Hitchhiker or a cowl of some kind...just not sure what.

I did (finally) manage to cast on for a new pair of socks!  the yarn is some that I tried to make into something (can't remember what) a bit ago and it did not work.  Here's hoping that the yarn is better behaved this time around.

15 rows of ribbing completed.  Time to decide on a pattern for the sock!  (See my cute little seahorse stitch marker?)

As I had mentioned previously, I must go to the office today, but I'm hoping to come home shortly after lunch and then devote the afternoon to more yarny goodness.

As far as reading goes, I finished No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm now reading The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths - the lastest from her in the Ruth Galloway series.  I'm only 90 pages in or so, but it's a fun, easy read.

Fletch and I are continuing to listen to "the Road to San Donato" and are enjoying it.  Fletch pulled out an Atlas (yes, we are old people - lol) and located San Donato on the map.  We have under 2 hours left to listen to this, so should wrap up before too long.  We are enjoying, but as I mentioned in a prior post, the narrator is not very good (monotone).

I can feel the coffee slowly beginning to wake me up.  Before I wrap up this post, I want to share a little bit of flowers!  I managed to find one peony blossom with no ants on it (amazing!) and the first Siberian Iris has opened.  (There are also a few wild cherry blooms thrown into the mix.)

The Siberian Iris is not fragrant, but the peony sure is!

Remember to head over to Kat's to check find out what everyone is making and reading.  And, have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tny Needle Tuesday 5/23/23

 Good Morning All,

Looks like it should be a pretty day again.  Yesterday I was able to hang two loads of wash on the line to dry - very colorful with all the handknit socks on display (Fletch wears his handknit socks year round).  Other than grocery shopping this morning, I have nothing on my docket.  Work has been (thankfully) very quiet.  I do need to go to the office tomorrow, but today the day is mine (hoping it stays that way).

Another Tuesday has rolled around and it is time for a Tiny Needle update.  I actually got quite a bit of stitching done over the past week...both pieces I am working on are coming along very nicely.  First up we have the small pinkeep size piece - "The Crows of Strawberry Hill."

Not quite halfway finished, but close.  Another crow to stitch and quite a few leaves.  Love the subtle colors of the overdyed cotton threads.

Next up is "The Sampler Au Bouquet" from Jardin Prive.  This is the piece that is actually 3 separate samplers stitched into one.  I'm working on the first part which, when completed, will look like this:

Some of the far right side will be eliminated due to adding part 2.

Here is where mine stands as of today:

This is a very enjoyable stitch - relaxing to work on.

Today, however, I'm hoping to get back to my knitting.  I have yet to cast on anything since finishing the Crazy Zauerball socks on Saturday.  So many possibilities and so many projects calling my name!

First, however, it's time for another cup of coffee - gotta get my engine started.  Have a good Tuesday!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Weekending 5/22/23

 Good Early Morning!

I'm not heading to the office today, but my internal alarm clock got me up at 5 a.m.  Grrrrr.  Last night I was so tired - too tired to read or knit, but I stayed up till 10:30 and then went to bed assuming it would be a nice, long sleep.  Wrong!  Once again awake from 2 - 3:30.  What's up with that?  Oh well, c'est la vie.  I will not waste time wondering why or thinking about it.  Instead I will be sure to have a nap after lunch!

Let's talk weekending!  How was yours?  I hope it was fun and productive (if it needed to be) and relaxing.  Mine was good.  As usual, I met up with Dee Saturday morning for some prime girl time.  We knit some, chatted a lot and sipped our coffee.  We both were working on socks (of course).  And, later in the day when I was home, I finished up the second Crazy Zauerball Sock!

Crazy Zauerball Socks for Me!  Colourway # 2389:  Jubilaumsparty  #2 needles

Later in the afternoon Zhongren came over to harvest bamboo to make poles for his garden.  He must have cut 50 stalks (at least)!!  It was so nice to see him again - we had not seen Mailing's parents since we flew home from Texas in December!  Bonnie did not come - she had just gotten back from a month in China, but was away again for the weekend - this time in DC.

Nothing special on Sunday.  I cooked breakfast (apple pancakes) and washed towels.  After lunch Fletch and I went over to C&M's house to water plants, repair their mailbox, replace smoke alarm batteries, trim dead limbs from trees, etc.  No sign of anyone being inside during the past week (thank goodness!).  When we got home I harvested rhubarb.  The plant is huge and the platter-sized leaves had been spilling out into the walkway in the garden.  I just threw it all in the frig, but today I will cut it up and freeze some.  I'll leave some out to make something (will pick up strawberries when we go to the grocery store tomorrow).  This next picture is for Valerie - she has recently added some catnip to her garden.

Catnip to the left of the tree.  Planted last summer and died back over the winter.  It has come back with a vengeance!  Mabel will occasionally wander out there and chow down for a bit.  If you look to the right of the tree and back in the garden, you can see some of the huge rhubarb leaves!

Nothing major planned for today...just some laundry and taking it easy.  I'd like to cast on my Shakerag Skirt, but if I am too tired to concentrate, I will pick something simple to cast on...maybe a shawl or a cowl and, perhaps, a new pair of socks.  One must always have socks on the needles!!

Whatever you are up to this Monday morning, I hope it is something good!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

A Chicken Recipe to Share

Good Morning!

Can you believe it was 34 degrees at my house this morning?  I turned the heat on in the living room, kitchen and bathroom!  I'm wearing handknit socks and a shirt I usually wear in the winter!

Well, it's been a busy morning already.  I've been awake since 2:30 this morning (welcome to my world - I know some of you have the same *issue*).  I did some of my "Thursday reports" at home and then came to the office by 8 a.m.  I was able to leave shortly after lunch yesterday, but fell into a 1.5 hour nap shortly after getting home!  Today will most likely be similar (especially after not much sleep last night).

Despite busy days, I did manage to cook some nights and I made a new (to us) chicken dish that I thought I would share with you.  It is from Twelve Tomatoes and is Chicken Bacon Ranch Baked Penne and it is delicious!!  It is also very easy and quick to put together and there are plenty of leftovers for another meal.  A few notes on the recipe:

  • I cooked half the recommended penne
  • I used roughly 1/2 - 2/3 of the recommended alfredo sauce
  • I added roasted red peppers to the mix
  • I skipped the mozzarella on the top - it seemed "saucy" enough and I thought the cheese would make it too heavy

Next time (and there will be a next time) I would consisder adding sauteed mushrooms, maybe some marinated artichoke hearts, a bit of onion, etc., etc.  Easy to doctor and make your own!

I completely forgot to take a picture Monday night, so here is a picture from the Twelve Tomatoes website.


Hope your Thursday is going well.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 5/17/23

 Hello Everyone!

How are you?  Let me tell you, this going to the office is getting old!  LOL  I don't know how I used to do it day in and day out, 5 days a week and most of the year.  It is exhausting.  I want to say thank goodness for the pandemic which allowed me to begin working from home, but I don't want to say that because the whole pandemic was/is just too, too horrible.  But I'm guessing you all know what I mean and how I feel.

Fletch and I managed to get our grocery shopping done in record time yesterday and I was at the office by 11 a.m.  I hung around until after 3 then raced home, picked up Fletch and drove to Skippack to drop off our ballots.  I even had an email this morning confirming that my ballot had been received.  Last night I was too tired to do much of anything but watch an episode of Poirot ("The Mystery of the Spanish Chest") and read a few pages before succumbing to sleep.  Now it is Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Two of my favorite subjects.

The second Crazy Zauerball sock is progressing nicely.  Not fast, that's for sure.  I did manage 5 rows last night while listening to a book with Fletch after dinner, but my eyes kept closing, so I stopped at that point.

Crazy Zauerball Sock #2

Just a little bit past the halfway mark of the foot.  Then it will be on to the toe decreases and Kitchenering up to the finish.  Then it will be time to cast on a new project.  Of course I am already (have been) thinking about what that may be and I think there will be at least two if not three projects cast on.  Living dangerously!!  LOL  My thought is a skirt (Shakerag of course) a shawl or a cowl and naturally another pair of socks.  Whew!

As if that were not enough to keep my busy (along with my stitching), I have got a lot of reading to do!  I have finished up a couple of lovely books.  First up I wrapped up The Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson.  As I think I mentioned in last week's blog, I found this book to be an enjoyable romp through London during the Roaring Twenties.  Nightclubs!  Police (some good and some not so much)!  I did enjoy this book a  lot.  Sure I wish she had spent more time on some characters and less on others, but it wasn't my book.  

That book was finished Saturday night.  I immediately picked up Foster by Claire Keegan.  I had been in queue for this book for a lot.  I had listened to Small Things Like These sometime last Fall and loved it, but I really wanted to read Foster with my eyes.  Most of you know this is a short (but powerful) book - under 100 pages and I read it in one sitting.  Oh my!  How I loved this book.  It broke my heart, but I loved it.  The whole time I was reading it I was thinking of Willa Cather.  I think Keegan's writing reminds me of Cather.  But, I'm not really sure because I have not read any Cather in years.  But I kept thinking of "My Antonia" or "The Song of the Lark."  

Now I am in the midst (more than halfway through) No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister.  Another book I am enjoying quite a bit.  This book is more like a series of short stories - each chapter focusing on a different person and how a book impacts or influences them.  The same book in every case, but different folks and different reactions.  I'm finding each of the characters to be fairly intense in one way or another, but it's an interesting concept for a book and a good read.

Meanwhile, Fletch and I are continuing to listen to The Road to San Donato by Robert Cocuzzo.  This is a memoir of  the author riding (biking) through Italy with his father.  There is more history than I expected and so far not a lot of food (which I had been hoping for - LOL).  The narrator is not the greatest by any means - quite the monotone voice.  But, we will finish it.  We only have a little over 4 hours left (it will still take some time as typically we listen for only 20 minutes after dinner).

And I guess that's a wrap for me.  A sort of long winded post.  Thanks for sticking with me.  Now I need to pour some more coffee, wake up, figure out what to wear today and head to the office.  My hope is to escape shortly after lunch and have some time to stitch or knit this afternoon.  Fletch is grilling steaks for us tonight, so no major dinner prep for me!  Be sure to head over to Kat's Blog to see what everyone else is up to making and reading.  I guarantee you will be inspired!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 5/16/23

 Good Morning My Friends,

How are you this fine Tuesday morning?  I am patiently (sort of) waiting for the coffee to finish perking on my stove top.  It won't be long now.

It appears that I survived yesterday at the office.  Terribly boring if I do say so and not a whole lot for me to do (I'm much less involved than when Bill was still employed and my boss).  But that's ok.  When I got home I did a little dinner prep and then Fletch and I sat on the patio with beverages.  And...we spotted the first apples on our tree!  The tree was FULL of blooms this year, so we are hoping for a good crop - it's been years since we were able to harvest some and make applesauce.

Many of these little first-forming apples will drop over time, but our hope is that there are enough remaining to give us a good crop.  Time will tell.

Here we are at Tuesday morning and time for a Tiny Needle check-in.  The finish of Ellen Harrison last week meant that it was  time to choose a new project.  I had several in mind, but when I looked through my stash again I ended up picking something totally different!  Instead I chose "Sampler Au Bouquet" by  Jardin PrivĂ© which is actually a set of three patterns that are stitched together to make one large piece.

I love the colors in this one and the different birds and animals.  Of course the alphabets too.  This will be large - I'm using 32 count fabric and stitching with two strands of DMC floss over two threads.  The finished piece will be approximately 32" by 6.5".  Here is my small start on it:

It's kind of weird to be stitching with two threads again, but one thread would not give sufficient coverage.  And, I wanted to use the linen I have in my stash...the only piece that I could get a good size cut from was 32 count.  Anyway, I am finding it relaxing to stitch on this piece.

Given the size of  Sampler Au Bouquet, I also picked a smaller piece to work on.  it is "Crows at Strawberry Hill Pinkeep" by Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle and Thread pictured below on the bottom left.  I have a thing for crows, so this is perfect.

Another rather small start on this.  I am using old linen from my stash that is either 28 or 32 count, so again using two strands over two threads.  For this I am using a mixture of Gentle Arts Threads and Weeks Dye Threads - both overdyed cottons.

Today will be another busy one...but more personal stuff.  I told everyone I would be back in the office today but not until close to lunch time.  Fletch and I will do our weekly grocery shopping this morning and then I will head to the office.  That, of course, means I will probably have to stay till later in the afternoon.  Boo-Hiss  And, when I do get home this afternoon, we will run out to drop off our ballots for today's election.  By law, Fletch cannot drop off mine for me, so we will both go this afternoon.  This is the last day to do so as our local primary election is today (and Fletcher's ballot only just arrived in yesterday's mail!).

Whatever you are up to, I hope this Tuesday finds you doing well and enjoying life.  Have some fun!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Weekending 5/15/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  Mine was simply lovely!

Look at this sweet kitty....dreaming of making the birds her friends.

See Mabel looking longingly at the birdhouse?

Do you see the wren perched right by the hole into the birdhouse?

Full disclosure:  these two pictures were taken on different days.  I caught the wren on Friday and I caught Mabel Sunday morning.  The wren goes nowhere near the house when Mabel is nearby.  That kitty has long legs and sometimes will stand on her hind legs and bat the air...trying to fly up to the house I think!  LOL

So anyway, on to the weekend adventures.  My sister-in-law volunteers on the Kalmar Nyckel - a tall ship sailing out of Delaware and she got tickets for Fletch and me to sail on Saturday!  The day dawned cloudy and a bit on the rainy side.  We could have changed our date, but we opted to keep it.  Neither Fletch nor I do well in heat or bright sun, so an overcast day is perfect for us to be on the water.  Fortunately the rain was very light.

We had to be on site by 9:30 which meant an early start from home (never knowing what the traffic would be like).  We left around 8 and ended up arriving by shortly after 9 which was no problem as there is a very nice museum on site.  The ship is a reproduction of one that sailed in 1638 and founded the colony of New Sweden.

Click to enlarge so that you can read about the present day boat.  They actually sail up to New England as well as down to Norfolk.

The boat was much more beautiful than I had imagined.

A canopy had been put up over a portion of the deck because of the rain.  It was pretty slippery (everything is varnished to a beautiful shine).

We saw some shells on the river (we were on the Christiana River) (a rowing club is nearby).

Our sail was roughly 1.5 hours on the River.  There were 4 drawbridges that had to be opened for us to go under.  On Saturday there was a crew of 31 on the boat!  That is many more than are needed to sail, but a number of them are volunteers in training.  They had some fun things for kids on board and I think everyone had a good time in spite of the drippy weather.

A close up of the front.

The bell on the ship LOL

After sailing, we took my brother and SIL to lunch at Jessop's Tavern in Old New Castle (DE).  Lots of fun shops and antique stores there, but we did not linger as we were not sure how traffic would be going home.  Traffic was fairly heavy on the backroads we chose for our trip home (the main thoroughfares were very crowded going North when we drove down to the shipyard in the morning, so we didn't want to use them).  All in all a very fun day!

Yesterday we went over to Colin & Mailing's house to check on plants and Fletch wanted to trim off some dead branches on a tree in their back yard.  We discovered that someone had been in the house!  The door from the sunroom into the living room was locked and I always leave that unlocked.  I had to call Mailing to get the code to get in the front door.  We also discovered a light had been left on.  Mailing thought maybe her Dad had been over (her Mom is still in China), but that was not the case.  And, we still don't know who mowed the front lawn (not her Dad and not the neighbor).  So...a mystery.  Just weird.  I hope they (C&M) can find out or figure out who was there.

Yesterday was also laundry day and luckily it was a gorgeous day, so everything was hung on the lines to dry.  I picked more rhubarb and made a rhubarb/blueberry crisp for dessert.  We had cold shrimp and a big salad with greens from the garden for dinner.

Now I need to dry my hair and get ready to go to the office.  Every day this week...UGH!  It's budget season - let the festivities begin!  

Here's hoping you all have better plans for your Monday!  Make it a good one.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Yarn in the Mailbox!

 Hello and good Morning!

How are you today?  Gosh I slept so well last night.  I am still feeling a bit dopey and I have been up for a little bit now.  Soon my coffee will kick in.

My friend Carol did arrive yesterday despite having horrible traffic on the way up.  For those of you familiar with the Blue Route...she endured about 6 exits of moving only at 9 miles an hour!  Going home she decided to take Route 202 and back roads, but that was no better.  Her trip was 2.5 hours!  But, we had such a nice time and it was so good to see her again after more than a year.

We also found out about the lawn service and Colin & Mailing's yard.  Turns out the lawn service mowed the back yard yesterday and they claim to have never done the front yard!  I'm guessing one of C&M's neighbors got tired of the jungle look and took it upon themselves to at least mow the front.  LOL  Anyway, we are now on a 2 week schedule with the lawn service folks (still no contract in the mail and we have not paid a penny yet).

Meanwhile the kids are on their trip out west.  They were in Guadalupe National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands and now are relaxing at La Posada in Santa Fe.  We stayed there a number of years ago on a trip with my Dad and Damon & Austin.  It is a beautiful resort and one of my favorite cities to visit.  I believe they are off on a day trip to Taos today.

The mail did not disappoint yesterday!  I was expecting yarn and it did arrive.  YAY.  First up we have Rowan Creative Linen in the color Oasis for a Shakerag Skirt.

LOVE this color!

I will not be casting on immediately as much as I would love to.  The next few weeks will be flat out crazy busy at work and I would much rather cast on then I have more free time.  Soon I hope.

Naturally a couple of other skeins jumped into my basket before I checked out.  First up, another Crazy Zauerball skein.

Crazy Zauerball Route 66

As it turns out, C&M Plan to drive on part of Route 66 on their way back to TX, so this skein will become socks for the boy.

And this skein of Regia:

Fall Night designed by Arne & Carlos

This skein may be destined to be another pair of socks for Fletch.  Hard to tell from the skein, but once knit up, it should look like this:

The orange and browns remind me of Fall (guess that's why it's named Fall Night).

Time to buckle down and get to work.  First, another cup of coffee is in order.  Cheers to Thursday...we are on the cusp of the weekend!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 5/10/23

 Good Morning!

There is a bit of a nip in the air this morning, but the sun is shining brightly and I see blue sky through the tree branches outside my office window.  My venture to the office went well yesterday.  Honestly I could have left after 10 minutes but did not think that looked very good, so I stuck around a bit.  I printed some things in color for moi, responded to blog comments and the like.  I was home shortly after 2 p.m.

I did manage to find linen for the two (!!) pieces that are next up for my cross stitching and I managed to get them hemmed yesterday afternoon.  Linen frays so easily and it's a PITA when working on something to have all those little threads hanging around.

Today I am looking forward to my friend Carol visiting from Maryland.  We have not seen each other in over a year!  We will be celebrating birthdays and Christmas all at once.  And, we will have tasty bites to eat.

However, first it is Unraveled Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Of course I had planned to have the Crazy Zauerball Sock #2 finished, but that is not the case. close...but not finished yet.

Pretty, isn't it?  I believe I have 10 more rows and then will be at the heel flap.  It's possible it could get finished this week, but I make no promises.

New yarn is supposedly arriving in my mailbox today!!  Yarn for my Shakerag Skirt should arrive.  Most likely I will wait to cast on for that.  The next couple of weeks are going to be crazy busy at work and I won't have all that much free time.  Better to wait until I will have the time to concentrate/devote to the skirt.

Reading has been good!  Fletch and I finished listsening to "Words of Mercury: Tales From a Lifetime of Travel" by Patrick Leigh Fermor.  It was good...but I liked his two books that we read aloud several years ago more.  We are now listening to The Road to San Donato which a friend had recommended.  It is ok...we are only a couple of chapters in, and so far we are under-whelmed by the narrator.  Hopefully it will get better.

I'm less than 100 pages to the finish of The Shrines of Gaiety so should finish soon.  This book has turned into a fun romp through London during the Roaring 20's.  Lots of different characters to keep straight, but a good read.  I need to finish soon as I have 4 more books from the library and 2 of them cannot be renewed:  "Foster" by Claire Keegan (which is under 100 pages, so should be a single sitting) and "No Two Persons" by Erica Bauermeister.  The other two (I can't even remember what they are!!) are not new releases, so I can renew if necessary.

Time to pour some more coffee down my throat (last night was one of those very restless nights where I woke up every time I rolled over...which was every 20 or 30 minutes) and wake up Fletch.  Hope this mid-week day finds you all doing well.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday

 Good Morning All!

Oh my!  Yesterday was such a gorgeous day and I am happy to let you know that I was successful in procrastinating and I did NOT go to the office!  LOL  Of course, that means I need to do so today.  I think Fletch and I will grocery shop this morning and I will plan to venture to the office after lunch.  It will be a quick visit (fingers crossed).  Kevin is up from Atlanta and needs/wants some labels printed (guessing he is not capable of doing so himself...).

Today is more on the grey side and we may even had a bit of rain here or there.  Nothing major though and all the recent plants that Fletch has put in the garden will be thankful for a fresh drink.

When Fletch and I went over to Colin & Mailing's yesterday we found that the front yard had been mowed, but not the back.  Fletch connected with the owner of the lawn service who had been out of town, but he said he would check with his crew and find out why the back wasn't done.  At least the front looks so much better now (and as though someone lives there!  LOL).

Here we are at Tuesday and it's time for a Tiny Needle update.  Folks, we have a finish!!  Indeed, Ellen Harrison was wrapped up on Sunday, May 7th.  Woo-Hoo!

It is difficult to see some of the motifs that were stitched in white, but trust me, they are all complete.  I've enjoyed stitching this reproduction, but I am very happy to have it finished.

Yesterday afternoon I spent quite a bit of time going through my stash of cross stitch patterns and I believe I have picked out my next piece.  I was all ready to start it when I realized the piece of linen I had chosen was not wide enough.  Hopefully I can find a good piece of linen in my stash that will work.  There are also a cople of "smalls" I'd like to stitch, so I may pull those out as well.  There is certainly no lack of things to stitch!

Time to pour another cup of coffee and then do something!  I may scrub the kitchen floor.  It is early and Fletch is still in bed, but if I do the floor now, it should be dry by the time he comes down for breakfast.  I'd best get to it!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Weekending 5/8/23

Good Morning!

How are you?  And, how was your weekend?  Our weekend was nice - a good mix of doing some things that needed to be done and relaxing and enjoying things that you just want to do!

The rain gauge is empty which is a lovely sight!

Our weather this past weekend was just delightful.  Temps in the lower 70's and blue, blue skies.  Late yesterday afternoon it got a bit hazy and we had a few drops of rain, but nothing much.

Saturday morning (as is my custom), I met up with Dee for our knit group time (all two of us!).  As always, it was a great time.  So nice to meet up with a kindred spirit (and knitting was actually accomplished!).

Sunday found me doing some chores.  The day was so nice that I actually hung wash on the line to dry.  I did one or two inside chores (more needs to be done) and a little cooking.  I found pockets of time in which to knit and stitch.  So, a perfect mix of things.

My sewing machine cabinet in the office room - covered with plants which is why I don't do all that much sewing these days....

Fletch and I are heading over the Colin & Mailing's house this morning to water plants and do a few things.  I had not been planning to go into the office, but an email just came through that means I am going to need to run to the office this afternoon.  Ugh!  In fact, I might have Fletch go over to C&M's alone and I'll run to the office this a.m.  Still time to figure that out.  First I need another cup of coffee!

Welcome to another week - hope it's a good one for all of us!!


Friday, May 5, 2023

Friday Felines


First You Nap

Then You Groom

I've one conference call at 11 a.m. and then it will be The Weekend!!  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

A Bear and an Eagle!!

 Good Morning!

It's Thursday and I can feel the weekend looming ahead - thank goodness!  Yesterday was another very chilly day, and rather windy.  Fletch and I managed to get to Miller's Greenhouse for some snapdragons and a couple of peppers and some marigolds.  All are on the kitchen table as Fletch was worried it would get too chilly last night.  

Miller's is a small family business run by a husband and wife on the property where their house is.  It's kind of messy and a little junky, but they do have great plants.  They also have this wonderful carving right by their house:

When I asked Nancy if I could take a picture of it, she said sure...just please try to NOT get the house in the picture - it needs desperately to be painted.  And it does!  But I could not avoid the house in the picture, so you get to see that too.

The balance of the day was pretty calm.  I did manage to cast on for the Crazy Zauerball Sock #2.  I only managed 10 rows of ribbing, but it's a start.

It's gonna be completely different than Sock #1, which is fine with me.

After dinner I decided to run all my Thursday reports 12 hours early and get them out.  It took until 9 p.m., but they were all distributed.  I did not want to have to do them this morning as this is the day I'm heading to the office.  I'm meeting Jake/Tom around 8:30 and he will get a new docking station set up for me at the office as well as connecting my new laptop to the two printers I use at the office.  There are also one or two quirks he needs to look into - for example, even on the docking station, my laptop must be kept open or my monitor goes dark.  Weird and annoying.

While in the area, I need/want to stop at Trader Joe's and the State Store.  Then it's off to lunch at Maggiano's in King of Prussia (my least favorite restaurant in the area...I've never eaten there without getting sick!) with a few of the women from the office.  It will be good to get home this afternoon some more on Sock #2.

Time now to pour another cup of joe and dry my hair.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 5/3/23

 Hey, Hey, and Good Morning!

It's Wednesday and my brain feels beyond is crispy!  All is set up with my new laptop (which is so much smaller than my old one), but it took SO LONG for all to transfer over...and even now I'm not sure it all has.  Some of my files were missing forever; there were issues in setting up my printer; and I am NOT an IT person.  That is why we have IT departments and folks working there.  Jake (from State Farm)...oopppssss I mean Tom from IT did call me back pretty quickly yesterday which was a major surprise, but he is a talker and our session lasted way longer than it should have.

Anyway, life goes on and the kinks will (hopefully) work themselves out.

Meanwhile it is Wednesday and time for Unraveled Wednesday.  Usually we all link up with Kat to discuss our making and reading.  But this week Kat is on I will go it alone.

The first Crazy Zauerball sock is finished!

I absolutely love it.  Fletch loves it!  (But, I made it my size, not his...hahaha)  I have yet to start Sock #2.  I thought I might get to that yesterday...but the new laptop took up my whole afternoon and a lot of my evening.  Maybe today...

On the reading side of things, I started Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson and so far, so good.  I am roughly 125 pages in and enjoying it.  Hopefully I will have more reading time today and the balance of the week.  After being in the queue literally for months, Foster by Claire Keegan came in for me.  It is under 100 pages, so I may just settle in and read that one night...I know there is still a long wait for it, so I'd like to get it back to the library quickly.

Today (in between fixing some of the kinks in my laptop), Fletch and I are going back to Miller's - our local greenhouse that we really like.  And, I hope to find time to start sock #2 and do a bit of stitching.  Here's hoping you all have a wonderful Wednesday.

A funny thing:  at the bottom of my screen where the date and time are shown, my laptop shows that it is 10:37 p.m. on May 3rd.  I tried to fix the clock yesterday and it turns out I do not have permission!  I will be looking in an hour and a half to see if the date changes to 5/4/23!  I will head to the office tomorrow and Jake/Tom will be there, so hopefully he can fix that and get me hooked up with the printers at the office that I use.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 5/2/23

 Good Morning!

The sun was out yesterday and after such a soggy, grey, damp weekend, that was a joy to see.  But, it was so windy that being outside was not pleasant.  Fletch was out and about working a bit in the garden.  I managed to walk out and cut more Lily of the Valley along with some Azaleas (gorgeous), but was really swamped with work, so stayed in at the computer all day.  Today we are back to the overcast skies.

Now it is Tuesday morning and time for a Tiny Needle Update.  Woo-Hoo!!  The spotted stag has been completed.  That darn animal seemed to take forever (and it did), but I love the end result, so all is good.

I find the red eye still to be a little off-putting, but I am not going to change it!

Do you see the little brown and red bird above the stag?  Perhaps a robin?  That is the latest motif.  There are two more birds and a whole lot of gold at the bottom to stitch and then this baby will be finished.  I make no promises as to when that might be.  This is the beginning of a really crazy time for me at work (budget season), so I will not have much time for knitting, stitching or reading.  C'est la vie.  Anyway, here's an overall shot of Ellen Harrison.

Fletch and I will head out later to procure some groceries.  I have a conference call at 11, but I think I'm going to skip it.  After my two rather long calls yesterday, I don't feel like participating.  Plus today's call could have upwards of 75 people on it!  That is way too many.  Instead, I will take the time to (hopefully) (finally) set up my new laptop.  The peripherals were delivered yesterday morning, but I haven't even opened the box.

I was made aware of more organizational changes at work effective immediately.  Some are a bit disturbing and it all makes me wonder if I can really hold out as long as I would like to.  Time will tell.

Wherever this Tuesday finds you, I hope you are having some fun!  Time for me to dry my hair and pour another cup of coffee.  I'll be back tomorrow for Unraveled Wednesday!

Monday, May 1, 2023


 Good Morning Everyone!

How are you?  And how was your weekend?  I hope it was a good one.  Our weekend was extremely soggy.  Lots of rain, lots of greyness, more wind (again).  Happy May Day!  It does not feel much like May at the moment, but maybe things will improve.

My Saturday morning was spent with Dee sipping, chatting and knitting quietly (why are some people SO LOUD in public places?).  We both worked on socks while trying to solve the world's problems.  I don't think any problems were solved (after all, we are not really in charge), but a bunch of rows were knit and at one point Dee helped me pick up a dropped stitch (very difficult to see when working with Crazy Zauerball).  Thanks Dee!!

The afternoon was nice and then I made pizza for dinner - tons of fresh spinach and tons of sauteed sliced baby bella mushrooms.  I also added roasted red peppers, onion, fresh garlic.  Oh my!

Sunday morning we headed over to Colin & Mailing's house after breakfast.  The place is very dirty and the yard looks like a jungle!  Fletch walked around picking up fallen branches and sticks that would be in the way of someone mowing the lawn.  He had contacted someone who will be doing that twice a month (and they cannot start too soon!).  I watered all the houseplants that are still there and then did some vacuuming and sweeping.  Lots of dust.  We are nowhere done, but it's a start.

Sunday afternoon I made a new (to me) recipe for banana bread that includes coffee (both brewed and some instant coffee).  I'll let you know how it is once I try it and if worthy, will share the recipe.

Remember the Flaming Sword Bromeliad that we recently purchased at Otts?  Well, more flames have appeared!

When I moved it to take a picture this morning, I noticed that there are "flames" on both sides of the sword!  Fletch re-potted it because the sword was getting too big and heavy it was tipping over the pot the plant came in!

In other exciting houseplant news, we now have 3 lemons growing on our lemon tree!  Fingers crossed that they all hang on and grow and develop.  This is the largest one (still peanut size):

It appears that the blogger issue has been cleared up - I am now receiving comments and I hope the issue has been cleared up for everyone else too.  My day is busy - I've two conference calls (both with way too many people on them) and all the peripheral stuff for my new laptop should be delivered today.  Most important is the new docking station, so I can hook up to a large monitor and have a keyboard and mouse to use.  Wish me luck with all of that, please.

Time to pour another cup of coffee and let the work day begin!