Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Shoe Queen!!!

Today is Shoe Queen’s 19th birthday!!!

Happy Birthday my Benny Boo, I hope that you have the bestest of days.

How can it be that you have gone from this1991 Summer  IMG_0264
To this in what seems like the blink of an eye. Awwww, there is that Nice Greek Boy that she hangs around with.

1991 Beth Arrives 6

1992 4th of July1992 sleeping1993 Geauga Co Fair 1

1996 The Cottage


1994 Dressing Up C

1993 Noodle

2002 4thA

IMG_1374AEver the child with grace and style

Happy Birthday my sweet Benny Boo. Have a wonderful day. We love you!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 55)

Hidey Ho Neighbors! It’s time for another week of Quick Takes. Where the time goes I do not know.

When you listen to music and a particular song starts to play, are you suddenly right back in time to when you first heard that song or when it was in “heavy rotation” in your life? I have heard Edgar Winter Band’s “Frankenstein” twice this week and I tell you it just drops me right back into my teenage years and the 1970’s.

Air Guitar anyone?

OK people, it is now a year past the Presidential election. It is now time to take the political stickers off the car.

Whether your candidate won or lost….

It. Is. Time. To. Take. The. Stickers. Off. The. Car.

In the same vein as #1, do you ever just get stuck on a particular song or album and just have to listen to it over and over and over and over again until you sort of absorb it? I have done that all my life, or at least since I started listen to music and buying music. And my musical tastes are all over the board  let me tell you. At various times in my life I have listened obsessively, until I could hum it in my sleep…

Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini
The Monkees You Just May Be The One
the entire works of Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Neil Diamond. But that was A LONG time ago. I have gotten over it
The Beatles Abbey Road
the soundtracks for Sound of Music, Oklahoma, The King and I, South Pacific, Funny Girl

The list could go on and on and on. I am currently stuck on the Glee soundtracks and Beyonce’s Single Ladies. I know, it makes no sense.

Can I tell you how much I am loving my Nook. I resisted getting an E-Reader of any kind. Thinking perhaps that it would somehow be a betrayal of my love for books. But let me tell you, I am really enjoying it. It takes some getting used to but still…..delicious.

And when I found out that there are books from the library that I can download and read on the Nook. Yes!

And THEN I realized that most of the classics that I so enjoy can be gotten for free because they are out of copyright. Oh momma it was a good day. Now if I can just find the time to actually get some reading done.

Sometimes it is so nice to have cousins to talk to. That’s all I’m saying. Thank you Heather, your words of wisdom were very helpful.

I am working on an upcoming post on “50 Things That I Like About Myself” and I am struggling. Who knew that it was so hard to come up with 50 things! And also, that old “I’m not worthy” mantra occasionally rears it’s rather ugly mug to try and tell me that there would never be 50 things to like about me and that I should just quit trying and give in to pity.

So far I am beating “INM” back and keep plugging away at the post. Only time will tell when you will actually see it.

Keep Feb 18th in the back of your minds. Do you know what that date is? Hmmmmm….

It is my 2nd Blogiversary. Yeahhhhhhhh and the crowd goes wild.

Hello?……Hello?….Is anyone out there?

And for the first time I am going to do a little giveaway. And it has something to do with food. And you will like it, all 25 of you who read regularly, if I am lucky. But I wanted to give you a little clue about something.

Look to your right….at that place where it says “Followers”. OK, so anyone who is a Follower BEFORE 2/18/10 might get to put their name in more than once. I am just saying. There will be several ways to get your name in the pot but I am just saying that if you are a Follower BEFORE that date it might be good.

Are you getting the hint?


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Dog is in Big Trouble

….and there is no more Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread.

IMG_4585 Hello my name is Max and I am a very bad boy. Notice that the Alpha Male (she who is writing this) has even put a black border around my picture. I am bad.

So, this is what my morning was like. Got up at the usual time, 5:15a. Came downstairs and had coffee and played with the computer for a while. Checked to see what had happened in the world while I was cutting some zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Grabbed a piece of Cinnamon Swirl Bread on the way out to do my two mile walk with my friends. HHBL wasn’t downstairs yet when I left but he was up and moving about. Came back, half frozen but all energized from the walk in 22F weather. Nothing like a lovely headwind to get the blood up.

HHBL: Hey! You finished up all the Cinnamon Bread. You really must have been hungry.

Me: I had a piece of bread but there was like 5 inches left on the loaf when I left. It is over there on the…… Hey where is the bread?

IMG_4589 Notice the rather glaring blank space on the counter? That is where the bread was.

HHBL: Well there isn’t any bread there now.

Me: MAAAAAAAAAAAAAX! Where is that dog!

And there he was, in his “house”. Just sitting there in his, “I know I have been bad but I just couldn’t help it” pose. With the evidence all around him.


This was the bag that held the bread.

But no more. It had been emptied of it’s contents. Licked clean and nibbled on just a bit. Just to make sure that he got every bit of goodness out of it before the Knitter of Vengeance and Justice came swooping down on him.

Remind me again why we have a dog?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Have Found A Reason to Love January

How did I not know this? How did I not know that January is National Get Organized Month. Now that is something that I can be excited about…..organizing things really jazzes my day.

Yes, yes……I know that I am just wired wrong. Go with me on this people.

What got me to thinking about this and brought me the knowledge of National Get Organized Month was this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Did you know that there is such a thing as a “Certified Professional Organizer”? Seriously!

Can I be one of those please. Pretty please. PLEASE!!!

But it is also disturbing in a way that there is such a thing as a Certified Personal Organizer. I think it is rather indicative of the culture that we live in, especially here in the good old USA. We have so much stuff and we don’t know how to organize/declutter/throw out said stuff. We continue to collect all that stuff because our culture and the TV and the media say we need new stuff or better stuff or the stuff that Kim Kardashian has. So we need to have someone whose job it is to actually come in and show you what to do. Sort of sad really.

But I still think I would like the job if anyone wants to show me how to get into that field. I don’t have to many things left around here to organize and that makes me antsy and itchy and sort of wanting to do something drastic like…..



Can’t think of anything at the moment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bread Makes It All Better…Sometimes

So, I am in the midst of my usual January doldrums. It happens every year like clock work. So much to do in November and December and then you get to January and everything just slows down and it feels, at times, like I am trying to run through jello.

That isn’t a pleasant picture let me tell you.

Saturday was not a good day for me. Ask HHBL and he will tell you. I woke up crabby and that is never a good thing. Oh it is bad.

I stomped around. I grumbled after phone calls. I whined and moaned. I might have said some things, only under my breath mind you, that I shouldn’t have said. And there wasn’t any baseball on yet to make me happy. This just couldn’t continue.

What to do, what to do……

Now usually when I am upset about something or I am agitated or just needing to “work things out” in my head I organize. But right now there really isn’t too much to organize. Yes, there are boxes in the basement that need to be dealt with but I have been working on them all week and frankly we needed a break from each other. And all the closets are organized and all the drawers are organized and…..

I just needed to be creative and I didn’t think it was safe for the other inhabitants of this place if I played with my pointy sticks. And besides, I just needed something…..


IMG_4575A I needed Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Yes, I needed to be able to mix something together violently and then knead it within an inch of it’s life. I just kneaded (get it kneaded) to work out some of my crabbiness on something and bread seemed the perfect, and delicious way to do it.

IMG_4576A All that yummy, yeasty, cinnamony goodness. Yup, that’s what I needed to do.

And so I did. I will post “how to” pictures and accompanying recipe next week when I make this again. That way I can try out my new tripod that can sit on the counter. But just as a preview I wanted to show you the surefire way to get out of a day of crabby.

IMG_4577A IMG_4583 Oh and it worked. It worked like a charm my internety friends. Can you smell it from where you are? Can you taste the goodness? Especially when it was slathered with an appropriately large amount of butter.

And the toast the next morning?

Oh Lordy.

The recipe makes two loaves which were out of the oven and ready for consumption by 4p on Saturday afternoon. By 7p on Sunday evening one loaf was gone……..

and there are only two people living here. That is how good it is.

Thank goodness for Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 54)


Can someone please explain to me why, when I am cleaning my house so that we can sell it, When I think that I have everything absolutely spotless I will see something else that needs to be cleaned. And let me tell you, some of the things that I have found that need to be cleaned look like they haven’t seen cleaning products for a good long time. You know, those corners under counters that generally don’t see the light of day. But sure as I don’t clean them then someone who is viewing the house will spot them right away. I think that this is the thing that I dislike most about getting a house ready to sell.


Just so that everyone knows, Opening Day for Major League Baseball is April 4, 2010. That is 10 weeks and a few days from now. Can you feel the excitement building? Can you hear the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bat?

I can hardly wait………

Of course, we are Cleveland Indians fans around here so we never start out the season with particularly high expectations. But hope springs eternal.

Even though I am secure in myself (mostly) and don’t put too much stock in what other people think of me, to have to schmooze with a room full of people that I do not know well or know at all is still painful. Fifteen years ago attending a business dinner with HHBL would have put me into a catatonic state. Now I just don’t like it all that much. Thank goodness for pre-printed name tags! I go to one of these things and the questions in my mind are always….Which table should we sit at and will there be anyone I know sitting there? Will I be able to have intelligent conversation or will I look like an uneducated weirdo? Will I drop a piece of food down my front or knock over my water glass?

I survived last night’s dinner and I have to tell you that I was prepared to sit through a boring speaker (you never know what you are going to get) but the man was thoroughly entertaining and engrossing. And I didn’t spill anything down my front. Not sure about the intelligent conversation though.

So you have days when you just know that Satan is working hard to make your day a train wreak? And it doesn’t have to big and major things to make the day a wreak. I think it is often just a string of little things that can undo you.Yesterday, or at least a fair portion of it, was one of those days.
I was crabby to start off with.

I dropped a light bulb- it bounced once on the wooden stair and I though I was golden. And then it hit the next step and POW it exploded all over. What a mess.

I dropped a utility knife with a metal body onto my foot. Thank goodness the blade was closed but mommy did that hurt.

I dropped a small box on to the top of the same foot that took the hit from the utility knife. It hit corner down on the top of my foot and it hurt – I saw stars – I said bad words.

I was trying to accomplish one household repair task and it just wasn’t happening and I finally just threw down the tool, said something I shouldn’t and walked away.

My attitude was bad, my language was bad, my inner self was just crabby.

We spent last weekend out in Illinois doing wedding stuff. TEO and TASiL are getting married out there and food decisions had to be made. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

I don’t remember having to do tastings for both wedding cake and reception food. I just remember picking food from a list of things that were available. But now you go to the baker and taste different cakes and fillings and then you go to the caterer and taste different food options. And boy did we eat. Of course we started with the baker and the cake. Three different flavors of cake and 6 different filling choices. There were 4 of us and we each were served three pieces of cake. Can I just say YUM. I am really partial to vanilla cake with Buttercream frosting for wedding cake, that was what everyone had when I was growing up.

So we were full from the cake tasting, and a tad sugar overloaded as well. And then we drove over to the caterer’s establishment to taste…..13 different appetizer choices, 3 different salad choices, two potato choices, three veggie choices and 6 different meat/vegetarian choices. Oh my goodness were we full.

And then we went out to dinner and had Indian food.

Obviously the news is dominated these days by what is going on in Haiti. If you want to read what is happening “boots on the ground” I am going to send you over to a blog. I want you to go there today, NOW, read what Ben and Katie are seeing and doing and feeling.

Ben and Katie Kilpatrick are a young couple from Texas who moved to Port au Prince in December to teach at a Christian school. Katie happens to be the daughter of my college roommate. This isn’t the experience that they were expecting to be sure but this is the experience that the Lord has given them at the moment. Their posts are funny, moving, heartbreaking.

Ben and Katie in Haiti

At this business dinner last night one of the men sitting at the table was a Quaker and a Professor of Religion at a local college. He was so interesting to talk to and gave me some very interesting things to think about. I will let you know as I process what he said about fasting and that when we hear that word we always think of food but that many other things can be “fasted”. I wish I could have taken some notes but I thought that might have been strange. Believe me I could have taken notes because I always have a notebook with me for just that purpose. I took notes during the speakers talk. I am odd that way.

Have a great week everyone!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Look What I Found!

Well, I didn’t really “find” these, I knew where they were all the time. But because I am going through some stuff and “right sizing” I thought, before I pack them away in a box, I would show you some of the favorite books that the progeny and I read when they were growing up. Don’t panic progeny, I am not getting rid of these, I am just packing them up.

Television was pretty strictly monitored when the progeny were growing up, they had an hour or so a day at one point I think. They went outside to play. I didn’t care if they got dirty. I didn’t really care if they dug holes in the ground and “planted” a garden with the weeds that they dug up from some place else. I didn’t care that they left the garden hose running so that the water ran down the driveway and out to the street so that they could “drown out” the ants. I cared that they were outside playing and not parked in front of the electronic babysitter.

The other thing that we did a lot of is read books. You can’t tell me that you are surprised about that are you? Hello!

Here are some of our favorites from years past. We can all quote various lines from these at the drop of a hat.

IMG_4551I found the first of these “Little Miss” and “Little Mr.” books at a local discount store. I believe Mr. Messy was our first one. Once we had one then we needed more. I went back the next day and bought all the different titles that they had. HHBL and I agree that our favorite has always been Little Miss Chatterbox. She just reminded us of someone…….who could that be? Cartoon Girl.

 IMG_4553 These books are sort of the least beat up of the Little Golden Books that we owned. Some of them have been loved til they are tattered and worn. And isn’t that just what a children’s book would want don’t you think? We also had a video that about the characters from the Little Golden Books. I think that they had to save Harbor Town. Again, we can quote and often do quote lines from that video.

“Harbor Town would be flooooooooded”
”Tawny, Scrawny Lion will overcome alllllllllll obsticles”

IMG_4556 These are such sweet books. I actually had to sit down and read them again today. Wish I could remember where I purchased them but that memory is long gone.

IMG_4558AAlpha Male what are you doing and why haven’t you fed me my wonderful meat and sawdust nuggets bathed in warm tap water?

IMG_4561See what I mean about loving them to pieces. This happens to be The Cat and the Hat Comes Back.

By the way Deb, nice Bokeh if I do say so myself. Patting self on back.

IMG_4566AAnd then there was the ever popular Millie’s Secret. “Shhhhhh, Millie’s got a secret”. I hate to break it to you but after about the 1000th read the secret got a bit old. The dog was having puppies. There now you know and you don’t have to go out and get the book. This wasn’t my particular favorite but it was a hit with the progeny.

IMG_4567Oh yes, we loved the one and read it over and over and over and over……….
IMG_4569AAnd this was our favorite line.

 IMG_4570And finally there were these. This is just a small, and I do mean small, sampling of the Mercer Mayer books that we have. I love these.

Well now I may have to just sit down and read through some of these for old times sake.

Happy times my friends, happy times.

What were your favorite books when you were growing up? 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Writers Block

Yeah, like I am a real writer or something! Yes, but I play one on the blogosphere. And this blogger is fighting with a bit of writers block.

It isn’t like I don’t have a whole bunch of blog posts that I am working on. They are circling around like planes at O’Hare Airport on a busy day. They are sitting there in the Open Drafts portion of LiveWriter, just staring at me, telling me to finish them for the love of Pete! It is just that I can’t seem to polish any of them to my satisfaction.

I am uninspired……

I am blocked……..

I am stumped…….

I am……..

A whiney, crying baby. But I will get over it and persevere and be witty and erudite (I LOVE that word).

Maybe I will tell you about my encounter with the nice police man yesterday. You know the one where I was toodling along after my walk with “the girls” and I was about 5 things deep into thinking about my day. I was 3 minutes from home and I looked into my rear view mirror to see flashing lights and…..


Oh please, oh please let him be speeding up to me because he is off to police some horrible domestic dispute somewhere else in our fair town.

I pull over to the side, hopinghopinghoping that he will then zoom past me…..Come on, zoom past me.

RATS! He pulls up behind me. And of course this is on the main road just outside my development and it is just about 8a when anyone whom I might know are going to work. THANK GOODNESS it was MLK day which means that people like LookLeap were not taking daughter Jenna to school. Of course, now LookLeap will know what happened but she won’t have actually SEEN my humiliation. Thank goodness for small favors.

I was NOT going to employ the often used and always noxious method of tears so I just got out my license and insurance card and stood (or sat) at the ready. He was out of the car slowly, as if to let me sweat, and then there he was not right at the window but leaning in from the back because, you know, I look like someone who might be dangerous. Um hm, I have unwashed hair in a pony tail, my workout clothes on and I haven’t showered. Come to think of it that might be really scary.

Smile sweetly and say “Good Morning!” Hand him my info.

Ma’am (ma’am??), I clocked you going 47mph back there.”

“ Yes, Officer (small laugh). I was thinking about my day and wasn’t paying attention.” Smile again.

“I will be back in just a moment ma’am.” No smile.

I really wanted to say “quit with the ma’am business buddy!” but he had my driver’s license and a large gun on his hip so I just sat there and hoped that no one that I knew drove by.

Just as an aside, that is what happened the last time I got a speeding ticket. I was on the way to work at my daughter’s school and got stopped at just about the busiest place on that road. And of course all I heard the rest of the day was, “Hey, that looked like you getting a ticket this morning. Was that you?”

“Yes it was, now go away!”

OK, now back to our exciting story. Even though I am sure that it wasn’t a long time that I was sitting there it just seemed long. You know the routine (or at least you do if you are a breaker of the law like I seem to be.) The officer goes back to his car to make sure that you aren’t a terrorist on the lam and you sit there and try to look busy and not look around. I did spend the time sending a “tweet” or two and a txt or two. You don’t want to spend too much time looking at your side mirror to see if he is done.

Finally! here he comes. Again he stops just a bit back from the window and says the words that I am HOPING to here.

“I am just going to give you a warning this time but please be aware of your speed next time. Sign here ma’am and note your phone number.”

“Oh I will be careful next time Officer. And thank you for stopping me (choke, choke).”

I really did thank him for stopping me. I am such a suck up. I pull out into traffic and skulk home, going 5 miles under the speed limit until I can make the turn onto my street.

And then I sped up and went to fast……

Just because I could. PFFFFFFFFT!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What We Have Lost With the Email Age

I am a product of two worlds, letters and email. I was born in the age when it was still all about sitting down with a piece of paper in front of you and writing a letter to someone if you wanted to have them know what you were doing with your life.

That is right boys and girls. Pen and paper and time. Or pen and typewriter if that was easier. I am not that old, despite what some would say, but when I was growing up you didn’t pick up the telephone whenever you wanted to tell someone something, especially if it was long distance. You didn’t have email or Facebook or Twitter or a computer with a printer or blogs or any of that stuff. You didn’t have a cell phone that you could shoot someone a text message. Oh man, you should have seen HHBL’s first car phone. The thing weighed 10 pounds and was hard wired into the car. There was no taking it any place else let me tell you.

But for all the wonderfulness that is email and blogs and cell phones. For all the instant communication and gratification that these things bring we are losing something precious. We are losing the heritage of letters, letter writing and the ability to sit down and compose your thoughts in such a way as to convey to someone far away what is going on in your life. Perhaps that is why I like blogging so much, because it seems like I am sitting down and writing all of you a letter…..although you are WOEFULLY deficient in writing back.

I have known this for quite a while because, you see, I come from a family of letter writers. And not only letter writers but savers of letters. What a heritage this is let me tell you. Boxes and boxes of letters. Letters from family, from friends, from acquaintances. Letters that document the daily life, what was going on, who was visiting, what people were thinking and feeling and doing. Letters from home and abroad. Letters from couples who were courting, families who were separated by travel.

I have a box that contains all the letters that I have ever received from family members and friends. All the letters that my mom wrote to me when I was in college, notes from the boyfriends of my Auntie Jane (why they were writing a 7 year old girl letters I do not know), letters from friends overseas, letters from grandparents.  My Grandpa Pringle wrote me letters filled with what he was doing with his day, what was growing in the garden. He sent me seeds and gum. The seeds are often still to be found inside the letter. I chewed the gum.

I have a box filled with the letters that Grandpa and Grandma Pringle wrote to each other during their seven year courtship. SEVEN YEARS folks. Years where they were not always in the same town or area. My grandfather was one to write letters let me tell you. He wrote a letter to his mother EVERY DAY from the time that he left home to go to college to the day that she died at the age of 98. Amazing.

And now we are going through the letters that my Grandmother Amsler has kept. Boxes and boxes of letters from her mother, from her sisters one of whom was a missionary in Siam (before it was Thailand), letters from family, letters from Grandpa. Grandmother can no longer read these letters. Her eyesight in recent years has degenerated to the point that she cannot recognize you unless you are 6 inches from her. But others have been reading the letters to her and now we are reading them to each other. My mother will be reading along silently and then I will hear, “Oh! I remember her talking about this.” Or, “Huh, I haven’t thought about this in years.”

These letters don’t just bring back memories through their words, they bring back memories just through the handwriting. Some are typewritten, Great-grandmother Mortenson’s for instance. But most are written “long hand” and a person’s handwriting is as distinctive as their voice. Seeing my Grandmother Amsler’s handwriting is like having her there with me.

There will be little if any reviewing of family history in future generations because our communication is electronic not paper. When was the last time that you printed out an email from a child or parent so that you could keep it and review it and think about it? Do you print it and put it in a folder or a box? No, you read it, maybe put it in a specific email folder or more likely you hit the “delete” button and go on with your day never thinking that in years to come you might want to re-read what was happening then.

Don’t get me wrong, I love email and Facebook and Twitter. I “talk” to people all the time that I never would have met in the age of letters. But I still grieve for the family history and the history in general that is being lost because we are in the age of “must have it now” rather than the age that has the time and the writing skills to produce letters. Kids whose whole txt conversations are acronyms are not going to be able to produce well thought out letters.

I could tell you that now you need to go and write letters to restart the age of letter writing and communications…….but I think that ship has passed.

And I am sad.

Friday, January 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 53)


Well here we are again my bloggy internet friends. How the time doth fly from week to week.

I had forgotten when a large amount of work it is to get a house ready to sell. Yes, we are selling Chez Knit and looking for something smaller. With all the progeny out of the house, at least most of the time, we really rattle around here. And it is a major booger in my day to have to clean this place. So, we are cleaning out and cleaning up and if you want to buy a house then just let me know.

Had a strange, and decidedly annoying experience with Twitter on Wednesday. I '”tweet” using both Firefox (my preferred browser) and TweetDeck which is just plain awesome. I typed in the Twitter URL address in FF to do the first tweet of the day and……some woman’s blog came up on my computer screen. Huh? Who is this?

I backed out of that page and retried….same blog. Just as an aside, it was a blog that hadn’t been updated since 2007. Retry. Same blog. Retry. Same blog. RetryRetryRetryRetryRETRYRETRYRETRYRETRY. Arrrrrrrrgh! To quote Charlie Brown. Tried TweetDeck but no deal.

Same thing every single time. Clean out browser cache. Same blog. Clean out history. Same blog. Restart computer. Same blog. Oh for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary. Who is this person and why is she trying to make me crazy. So I told myself to step away from the computer and go do something else. And later in the day……Twitter was back. Weird.

Can I say that BBC America has some REALLY unusual programming. Perhaps it is just my American sensibilities but I don’t think that any of our national networks would show a program on “Perfect Private Parts”. I am hoping that I don’t have to explain to any of you what the program was dealing with…..PLEASE don’t make me tell you. But just the thought that woman are worried about having perfect private parts just boggles my mind. REALLY!!!

And yet, it was a program that I just couldn’t turn off. It was loathsome and yet I could not look away. And I learned a lot that I didn’t really want to know about perfect provate parts and what women do to achieve that ridiculous thing.

Happy Birthday (one day early) to my step Mother-in-Law Linda
Linda you are an excellent MIL! thanks for teaching all of us how to play Mah Jongg.

January is my lazy month. It isn’t that I say to myself, “I think I will be lazy this month!” it is that I just can’t get myself motivated to do anything constructive. Perhaps it is because November and December are so busy for me that when January comes around my brain just says that I have done enough. This month has still been busy because we have had to get the house ready for selling but it has been tough getting myself motivated. All I really want to do is sit in a chair with a cup of tea and a book. And most days I can’t do that. Rats!

Recently, on a forum that I frequent, someone posed the question, “What would your dream job be?” An interesting question to be sure and one that I have yet to fully answer for myself but the first thing that did pop into my head was “Personal Organizer”. Organizing things just puts a “jazz” in my step. Don’t know why but there it is. I wasn’t always organized, as HHBL can attest but once I put my mind to it and stuck to it then, well, organizing and I were made for each other. But I am wondering, would it also be a frustrating job. People say, “I am going to get organized, but I just need a little help.” And if you help them and they just don’t stick with it until the habit is ingrained does that make the organizer frustrated. I don’t know………

There is no #7 this week. I am a bad girl and a slug but the words just ran out before I got to #7. Usually I keep a little “electronic sticky note” on my desktop that I keep Quick Takes ideas listed on. And it was blank this week when it came to #7 and so there is no pithy thoughts on the things that have been going on around here at Chez Knit.

I hang my head in shame and I will do better next week. See I told you that January was a bad month for me!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taking A Break From The Regular Humor

I had another blog post all ready to go today but I think I will hold off on it for a few days in light of Haiti. I just had a few things that I really needed to say to you.

I need to say right off the bat that I have not been to Haiti. But I have been to enough third world countries to know, in a general sense, what Haiti is like. And to imagine what would happen if the ground underneath homes and buildings and business started to shake violently. We here in the USA have absolutely no concept of what shaky, “substandard” construction is like. We live in a country where there are building codes and inspectors and building permits and heaven forbid that you even put up a shed in the back yard without the local authorities giving their approval and coming to look at it and measuring it and telling you that it meets accepted building code standards.

In many countries if you want to put up a building, or a house, or a hovel you put it up.


Outside Lima, Peru.
The homes on this hill are all “extra-legal” meaning that someone decided that they wanted to build a house/shack there and did so. Then others decided to follow and eventually there was a community. No real construction codes, different buildings made of varying materials. If the ground started shaking these would all come down.

Area around Ventanilla
POD 3-29-06


India would be the same. I visited in buildings where I would not want to be if the earth started to shake violently. They would be down in part or in whole in no time flat. And these places are teaming with people.
IMG_0564IMG_0563 IMG_6670 IMG_6852 IMG_6832
All this to say Pray! Pray for the people of Haiti. Pray for the volunteers who are even now making preparations to go and to help. Pray for the people who are right now “boots on the ground” in what may shape up to be one of the largest natural disasters that we have ever known.

If you want someone specific to pray for then pray for Katie and Ben Kilpatrick (<- a link to their blog). Katie is my college roomie’s daughter. She and her new husband have felt the call to serve in Haiti and moved there on Dec. 29, 2009 to teach at a school in Port-au-Prince. We are praising the Lord, who is mighty in all things, that they are safe and unharmed. But the situation is very bad.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Have a Sock Fetish

Hi I’m Debbie and….


and, I have a handknit sock fetish.

Yes, it is true. I love my handknit socks. I love them like I love Liverwurst and Sweet Pickle sandwiches with mayo and we all KNOW how much I love those. They are like crack to me and so are my socks.

When I knit that first pair of socks and put them on my feet there was not turning back, I was hooked, I needed an intervention and there was no one there to stop me.

IMG_4505Yes, when I have my socks on, in all those lovely bright colors that you won’t find at Wally Mart I just have happy feet. You remember the old Steve Martin skit from SNL…

Well that is what it is like when I have my hand made socks on my feet. Happy Feet! And not only are my feet happy but they are warm. I want to tell you that hand knit socks made with Superwash Marino wool are just amazing.


And now, now that I know the beauty and wonder that is handknit socks I just can’t stop. IMG_4526A

I have not one…..
IMG_4522ANot two…….IMG_4525A

But three pairs of socks on the needles

Granted, one of those sets of socks are for Socks For Soldiers but the other two pairs are for me and my little tootsies. And there is more sock yarn in the stash. Oh yes there is. When I do a thing I do it to the fullest extent of my abilities….and there is no such things as too much sock yarn and so

and so…..

I have nineteen more pairs of socks that are possible at the moment. Now I just need to find the correct patterns for them

I think I need an intervention.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Of Collecting Stuff and Purging of Same Stuff

HHBL and I are in the midst of planning for a downsizing. The progeny are out of the house now. Well, they do come back despite our attempts to seal the house against intruders. I have no idea how they are getting in.

Hmmmm? Oh yes, downsizing and collections and things like that.

I have a lot of things. I am not surprised at this, I have known it for quite some time now. It is apparent when I open the dish cupboard or go to the basement or even in my office. I have stuff. Before we continue with the rest of what I want to talk about I think it is necessary for all of us to watch George Carlin talk about stuff. He is right on the money in his usual way.

I have a lot of stuff. I don’t want a lot of stuff. So I am getting rid of stuff. And I may give some of it to you guys if you want it. Don’t get nervous now. I found a couple of things that are just darn cute and I don’t want to just give it to AmVets, much as I like those guys.

I could tell you about all the things that we are cleaning out, it would definitely be an interesting post. And it may show up here pretty soon. But what struck me as I was going through boxes of stuff that haven’t seen the light of day for at least 5 years is the reason for this particular stuff. I was going through a number of boxes that held groups of things that I have collected over the years. And I wondered at that moment why I had collected them. Why I had spent money on them and squirreled them away and kept them. I look at them now and what I see is something that needs to be gotten rid of. I don’t want them and more to the point….I don’t NEED them.

I don’t need them because I don’t need that stuff to define who and what I am. That is the crux of the matter.

First off I should say, as a matter of disclaimer, that when I say I have “collections and stuff” I don’t mean that you will be seeing me on the next episode of “Hoarders.” Rest assured, or be disappointed. In actuality, I am a very organized person, and I don’t have a ton of clutter around. Every surface of every piece of furniture isn’t covered with chachki although at one time in our lives they were. But not now thank goodness. But because it was true at one time that means that there were boxes and boxes of stuff in the basement. I have a feeling that while I wasn’t looking that stuff has been multiplying. Has there been a giant collection PARTEEEE! going on in the basement that I didn’t see? Complete with chachki wine coolers and nic nac hookups? Could be. 

Why does the average person collect stuff? More to the point why did I collect stuff. When you are a kid you collect things because you like them. That is the reason pure and simple. They bring you pure and simple pleasure and you use what you collect. But sometime down the road of life, when you are an “adult”, you collect for other reasons I think. I can only speak for myself on this but I can see now why I collected things as an adult. My most intense years of collecting were also the years that I was most intensely insecure in myself. My collections didn’t just bring me pleasure they defined me. I collected bears. But I couldn’t just have enough bears to put out a small collection. No I needed A LOT of bears of all shapes and sizes and mediums. Or baskets. I mean really, how many baskets does one person need. Baskets are great and often functional but they take up a ton of space and really, you don’t need 40 of them when 10 in varying sizes will do.

At some point in time when you are collecting stuff, when you are continuing to bring things into your home and the inflow is more than the outflow, that stuff becomes a burden. It is there weighing you down. It must be moved or dusted or rearranged. It resides in a box or in a cupboard and frankly you forget that it is there. It stops serving the purpose for which you purchased it, if it every really had a purpose. And so why keep it is my thought. Of course that doesn’t count for family heirloom kinds of things but that particular category doesn’t cover too many things.

And so, I have a big pile of things that are going to AmVets. And my car is full of things to go to AmVets. And there are several pieces of furniture that are ready for donation……

I feel better and freer already.

Friday, January 8, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 52)

Wow! Look at the Volume # on this particular Quick Takes. This is Vol 52 which means that I have been doing this for an entire year. Are you as excited as I am? A whole year.

Do you have trouble balancing all the things that you want to do on the internet? I am thinking that the age of the internet is a double edged sword. I could park my ever expanding posterior in my computer chair all day and never get to the end of the places I want to be and the rabbit trails that they lead me on. I have an ever expanding list of blogs that I read. There is news to catch up on. There are photos, photos, photos to look at and think about. There is Ravelry (Facebook for knitters) to spend hours on looking at patterns and chatting with friends. There is FB, Twitter and Sharewik to hang around on. Then there is this little piece of bloggy internet real estate that I handle.

For instance. I am going to (I think) do a "365 Project" where I take pictures every day and post them in a Flickr group and perhaps here. Obviously this is posting on 1/8/10 so I will already be participating is really just one more thing to add to an already full life. I don't know. What to do, what to do.

But then there are so many things that I want to do and need to do that have nothing to do with the internet. Knitting, reading, working, cleaning.....I was just kidding about the cleaning bit. The internet is a great tool but I sometimes have a hard time balancing it with other stuff.

How about you?

I have found the most awesome is Windows Live Writer. Ohhhhhhh, it is wonderful. Or at least it is now. I had some "issues" on Sunday and it didn't want to post anything that had a picture in it. And that was BAD.
I will admit that I had a minor meltdown when it kept giving me an Error 403 message.
What!!! What error? I didn’t make any error. Why won’t you post my post you dumb program. Why did you get my hopes up that you would be a wonderful tool for my bloggy efforts and then let me down so cruelly. Why do you not like my pictures and my post with my pictures in it. I worked so hard on this post. WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY…….arghhhhhhhhhh.
But HHBL worked his internet magic and now everything is golden. Have you noticed that the pictures are different? Some are tilted, some have borders. It gives me so much more functionality even when I want to underline or strikeout something.
My life is golden now….at least for blogging.
Are you all recovered from the holidays? I am still recovering I have to say. The Christmas decorations are down thank goodness. Well all except for the outside window decorations which are currently covered with snow. I will get those down this week (I hope). Cartoon Girl is back in NYC. TEO and Shoe Queen left yesterday to go back to school. Now it is back to just HHBL and I….and my house will be clean and picked up again and there won’t be ten thousand stray cups hanging around and shoes all over the back hall floor…….
and I miss my girls.
So you know, if you read the blog at all, that we have had some snow lately. Um yeah. And there is supposed to be another 8+ inches that will be falling today and into tomorrow which would mean schools calling snow days. Crazy as it sounds, that is one of the things that I miss about not having any progeny at home anymore….the difference in daily routine when a snow day is called.
There is something about a snow day that just gives you permission to take the day off. Still your pjs at 3p? So what, it’s a snow day! Curled up in a chair for hours on end reading a book? So what, it’s a snow day! Cookies for breakfast and pizza for lunch? So what, it’s a snow day!
I don’t have any snow day excuses anymore. Darn
This time of the year, when there are so many football games on the TV, is the time of year that Max the dog dreads. He is so hilarious because you would think that a dog that weighs 75 pounds and is secure in the fact that if he needed to he could rip your leg off, not that he would mind you, would not be scared of all things sports. But this big, black dog becomes a marshmallow when football or basketball is on the TV.
When we turn on a game he does the same thing every time. First he comes in and sits next to you, looking at you with this woe begonne face.
IMG_0317                            Please don’t watch that sports game. It scares me so!
If we don’t give into his doggy mind meld demands then he slinks into his house and stays there, just looking all sad and put upon. Winter is long for him poor thing.
Now that the progeny are back at school or their own home I will be able to purge the house of all those things that I can’t seem to stop eating. The crackers, the cookies, the ice cream…..I think we finished all the ice cream. But you know what I mean. All the stuff that is lurking around in the pantry. The stuff that is left over from the holidays. It is going…going…..gone. Well, gone after I have a snack that is.
I just thought I would tell you that I love my Barnes & Noble Nook. I will have a longer post on it next week I think but I just thought I would let you know. Yesterday I figured out how to download books from the library on to my Nook. Now I can indulge my Bibliographic obesity and I don’t have a book lying around. The world’s my oyster, or something like that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Think We Should Be Done Now

I might have mentioned before that I live in the snow belt in Northeast Ohio. Ah the snow belt, it is such a fun place to be as the snowflakes fall, often at the rate of 2 inches or more per hour. I live in one of the few places in the USA that has Lake Effect Snow. I feel so special.

I am so lying about that you know, the special part. It feels more like a curse at times. I love snow, I really do. It is beautiful in moderation but not when you are getting amounts that look like you stopped at the Snow Costco and bought it in bulk. I draw the line at that.

Where am I going with this? Well I will tell you where. I am going straight to the chiropractic clinic so that they can get my back fixed after shoveling snow, that’s where I am going. Or at least that is where I imagine I will go.

We had a relatively mild November and December for this part of the frozen north. Very little snow fell from the sky, in fact we didn’t have much of a white Christmas. But that has all changed, very dramatically I might add and very swiftly. That is the nature of Lake Effect Snow. It doesn’t just snow, it snows for DAYS. It started snowing on Friday morning and it didn’t stop until Tuesday afternoon, and only briefly. It isn’t windy, in isn’t whiteout conditions. It is just a continual fall of snow.


This is the amount of snow that we had received by Monday morning. Yes, you are seeing that correctly. It is 14.5 inches of lovely, fluffy snow. That is a good amount but manageable. I have an all wheel drive vehicle that is good in snow, I am not afraid of no stinkin’ snow!

IMG_4397A Max loves the snow. He lives for it. He craves it like he craves cake and butter and lasagna and cookies. He loves to stick his face in the snow and root around in it. What is he looking for? I am afraid to ask. He loves to have you throw shovels full of snow at him. He makes me crazy all day long asking to go out.






The birdies all seem to love the snow, especially when I remember to fill the bird feeders. In weather like this we will go through…..

wait for it………….

20 pounds of black sunflower seeds in a week. They are greedy birds. Greedy, greedy, greedy.

Oh, just as an aside. Please overlook the fact that the birdie pictures aren’t centered. I am now using Windows Live Writer to do my posts and I have yet to figure out how to select multiple pictures and center them. If you know how to do this please let me know so I don’t have to do anything drastic, like yell at the computer. HHBL already had to help with one issues. I don’t like not understanding how things work. It makes me crazy and then I get all having to have chocolate at 6am and…..

Sorry, I rabbit trailed there for a moment.

So back to the snow.

IMG_4435AMaxwell surveying his domain and wishing that the snow wasn’t quite so high….because he can’t get over some of the snow along the driveway to get into the yard. And when he does make his way into the yard the snow is almost as high as his back. And, well, it is REALLY hard to do some of the things that the dog does in the yard when the snow reaches certain areas of the body. Actually what he does is makes his way under the deck and leaves me a present under there. That’s a real Spring surprise I can tell you! Can I stop there or do I have to continue with the explanation.

Thank you

IMG_4442IMG_4445 This is my backyard and my deck. See what I meant about the snow. Does anyone want some because I would be more than happy to share AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. I am nice that way.


  And when the snow finally stopped, at least for this session, this is how much we had on the ground.

Don’t you wish you were here? I do because I need someone to help me with the shoveling.