Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year! 12/31/23


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

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

Friday, December 22, 2023

Merry Christmas!!


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

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 12/20/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2023

Weekending 12/18/23

 Good Morning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 12/13/23

 Good Morning My Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A Start on Decorating

 Good Morning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2023

Weekending 12/11/23

 Good Morning Everyone!

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

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

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

I think everyone had a good time!

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 7, 2023

I'm Back! 12/7/23

 Hello there!

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

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

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

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

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

New haircut and new glasses!!

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

I whipped up some biscuits to go with this.

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

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

Have a great Thursday!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Weekending 12/4/23

 Good Mornoing All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, December 1, 2023

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

 Good Morning!

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, here are the two cats for Feline Friday:

Marcel watching birds - what a floofy tail!!

Talbot enjoying breakfast (they are messy eaters)

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

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

Happy December and Happy Friday!