Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Wherein I spend time kicking myself and berating myself for all the basic household knowledge that I do not seem to have.

Basic knowledge.

And when there is basic knowledge missing and you need to find someone who has that knowledge you always pay.

And not just in mental anguish. But of course I could spare myself a lot of mental anguish if I didn’t tell you all these little things that happen here at Chez Knit. Those little moments in life when you think, “Why don’t we just live in a hut on the beach.” But if I didn’t tell you then I would be so lonely and you would be so unhappy and….

Sorry I digress.

So Winter is trying to make an appearance here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. That seems to happen every year about this time no matter how I try to stop it. Darn snow and cold. When winter comes it is cold. And if it is cold outside that usually means that it is also cold in the garage.

But not if you have one of these little beauties.
IMG_0800This is my garage heater. I love her dearly. She is my friend in the deep mid-winter when the winds blow and the cold descends. For she keeps our garage at a comfortable 45F when the thermometer dips down in the polar regions. We don’t need the garage to be too warm, just warm enough that the cars are happy and that the snow and slush melts.

Oh such luxury.

She rests all summer and then when it gets colder I flip her switch and voila!

Or at least that is how it is supposed to work. And she did work flawlessly. Until yesterday that is. I will admit that it seemed a tad chilly in the garage but not too bad. I didn’t really pay attention to it at first. But then it occurred to me that I didn’t hear that faint and constant hum that comes from the heater’s pilot light.


Walk over to that side of the garage and look up at Lola (that is her name).

No comforting blue flame off to the side.


And here would be the time when I would say…

Ah heck, I just got up on the ladder and relit that baby and we were good to go.

No, I didn’t say that because I wasn’t sure that it was the pilot light. It could have been something much more difficult….and costly.

Oh please don’t let it be anything costly. PleasePleasePlease

So I call my plumber/heating/cooling guys. I love them too because they try as hard as possible to get there the same day. We had already funded at least one of their children’s college funds this year with the air conditioner repair. Melissa must just see dollar signs when my phone number pops up on the caller id.

Finally the time arrives and Jay pulls up in the van. I explain the problem to him. He nods and goes back to the truck. I go back in the house and continue on with my work, thinking I would have a bit of time to get some things done.

10 minutes later there is a knock on the door.

Hey Jay, is there anything that you need?

No Mrs. Q I am done.

Done? Like in all done? Like in the repair is completed?

Oh there was nothing to repair. The pilot light was just out. That will be $126.

Jay did you just say that the 10 minutes of your time just cost me $126?

Yes Ma’am. You can pay with a check or credit card.

First of all I was thinking to just strangle him because he kept calling me ma’am. They won’t notice that he is gone will they? And then I just had to look at the receipt just to see how we had gotten to $126. $85 for the service call??? $41 to relight my pilot light and look the unit over????

Are you freaking kidding me????

I am so in the wrong line of work.

So after I slowly and painfully forked over the money I made Jay go out to the garage with me and show me what he did.

Turn this knob to “pilot”. Hold the flame here. Push this button down for 30 seconds. Turn the knob back to “on” and you are good to go Mrs. Q.

IMG_0801 At least now the comforting little blue flame is back. And I am paranoid about it. I spent a lot of time just going out there to check. And now every time I go out the the garage I have to check to see that Lola is working.

Like I said, a hut on the beach sounds good. For so many reasons.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh The Turkey!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone. The turkey, or in our case turkeys, have been consumed. We are back home at Chez Knit where I am thinking about getting the Christmas decorations out of the basement. But before I can do that I have to tell you about Thanksgiving.

I know that you have been haunting your computers waiting for the details. And the talk about the food. And the pictures.

And boy are there going to be a lot of pictures. I should apologize now, I really should. I am sure that this is going to be like going to someone’s house and having them tell you that after dinner everyone is going to watch their slides from their latest vacation to Toledo.

We took a vacation to Toledo once. No really we did. I will tell you about it some time.

So HHBL and I trekked out to The Cottage for the Thanksgiving extravaganza. And who should we see when we rolled in the door……….


Mimi and Papa flew her out from NYC so that she wouldn’t miss all the fun. And The Chef knew all about it and didn’t tell me!! So sneaky. And a very nice birthday present for HHBL. Thanks Parental Units!!

We were overrun with family I can tell you. I think there were 25 for most meals. We were running a restaurant! A restaurant which never ran out of food. We had enough food to feed a third world country and still have leftovers.

IMG_0584A IMG_0585 IMG_0586A We had to spend some time taking silly pictures of ourselves because that is what we do.

We spent time visiting with family that we don’t see all that often. The last time that most of us were together was last year at Auntie Jane’s memorial.

IMG_0597A IMG_0602A The progeny and their cousin Arin, daughter of Pilot Man and The Chef.
IMG_0594A Dylan, age 10, showing Grandma Agnes, age I have no idea, how to work the PSP. THAT was fun to watch. Dylan finally gave up and just played both games and Agnes watched.
IMG_0601AStill cute.
IMG_0607Amanda, AKA Aunt Poopie, directing the troops. I think we ran her over.
IMG_0645Auntie Poo, Carli and Papa. Oh Carli you are so cute. You too Auntie Poo.
IMG_0719There is one in every crowd. This would be my cousin Heather. I love her so. I miss her. There is a Heather sized hole in my life.

There were younger cousins who spent two days just running around inside and out.

IMG_0618AIMG_0660 IMG_0739                                    I wear my sunglasses at night!
IMG_0637                 So if you push this button it blows up the toilet in the basement! Cool!  

And then there was the food. We started eating Wednesday evening and we didn’t really stop until we all went home on Friday afternoon. It was an Eatapalooza of the largest magnitude.

We had not one but TWO turkeys. I at first spelled “turdkey”. That came later.


So, we had two turkeys, both prepared by Pilot Man. He flies! He farms! He cooks!

IMG_0654A  IMG_0690 
  Watching the turkey go into the fryer was like looking at the Mona Lisa, there were a bazillion cameras all snapping pictures.

And because there were turkeys…….

There was turkey skin. Oh be still my beating heart. Grilled turkey skin and deep fried turkey skin.

IMG_0712 IMG_0703 IMG_0705   We had those turkeys picked clean faster than African buzzards on a dead elephant.
IMG_0717And there was food, food and more food. My stomach hurts just looking at all the food.
IMG_0656There might have been some mysterious “dessert sampling” going on.
IMG_0657A                                                          I DID NOT do that!

But over and above all the food and the WINE! and the laughter there was thanks. Or maybe I should say thanksgiving.

IMG_0716We were thankful that we could all be together to share in being family. In meeting new members of the family and in reconnecting with family that we don’t see all that often. Thanks that we had a warm place to celebrate and more than enough food to fill our bellies.
IMG_0786A IMG_0792A                                                Oh I love my family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Hangover

Hey All-

I am taking a day off from Quick Takes and enjoying my turkey hangover.

Oh the turkey!

Oh the wine!

Oh the relatives!

Hope your Thanksgiving was as awesome as mine was. I will tell you all about it on Monday.

Please don’t be scared. It will be just fine I promise.

And it won’t hurt a bit.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let Us Give Thanks

It is Thanksgiving Day. What are you doing today?

I am spending the day with a rashly large group of relatives. All rowdy individuals. Loudness and boisterous laughter have already broken out. I am sure that I will be telling about them next week, after I have been able to recover from the experience and the food. We already spent many hours last night laughing, eating, having some wine and telling stories about each other. Poor TSiL, he had this shell shocked look on his face when we really got going. Sorry boy but we have you now and there is no going back.

Oh the food. The Chef is preparing her Mac n Cheese. You have not lived until you have tasted the perfection of this. There will be not one but two turkeys, one done on the grill and one deep fried. Both prepared by the Turkey in Chief, Pilot Man.

Oh be still my beating heart. Think of the turkey skin.

There will be stuffing and potatoes and gravy and bread and…..

I think I will stop there. Although I have to say that we will actually have been eating all day by the time we get to the turkey. It is rather embarrassing actually. We have enough food here to feed a small African country.

And there will be CARTOON GIRL! Although I didn’t know that until yesterday when we walked into The Cottage and found her there. Mimi and Papa had flown her out, all the way from the big city, as a surprise birthday present for HHBL. What a wonderful surprise!


But most of all there will be thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have in our lives. The amazing gift of family who love each other, who LIKE each other, who want to spend time together just because it is fun to do so and not because it is an obligation.

Thanks for a warm and secure home and country in which to celebrate.

For health. Sure I have an ache or pain here and there but who doesn’t when you are 50. Don’t tell me that Jane Fonda doesn’t get up in the morning and groan as she puts her feet on the floor. She might also be groaning because she was married to Ted Turner at one time but that is another story.

I am thankful for HHBL, Cartoon Girl, TMO, TSiL, Shoe Queen and That Nice Greek Boy. Life would be very boring without them. Life would be very lonely without them.

Really, the list of things that I am thankful for is too long to list here because I don’t want to scare you off. I might start talking about liverwurst sandwiches and The Hunt For Red October and coffee and books and KNITTING! and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And things would just go down hill from there.

Please don’t leave me.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are.

And now on to the feast!

Oh Yes, and I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO thankful for Amanda. What would I do without her.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

He’s Getting Better Not Older

Guess what today is……………………………

It is HHBL’s birthday!!!

IMG_0385He is LI years old in Roman numerals. I will let you figure it out. But just like fine wine and some cheeses he is only getting better with age.

IMG_1427AYes, definitely better.

IMG_3916AOh yes. MUCH better with age.

OK, I think I had better stop with the pictures for the moment.

Have a very happy birthday my HHBL. You are just the most awesomest of husbands and the bestest friend a girl could every have.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baking Fail

Or why we won’t be having Orange, Raspberry Pecan bread on Thursday.

I was actually going to talk about Florida today. The warmth. The sun. The sand.

IMG_0341AThe fact that it is perfectly acceptable to wear an outfit like this on the beach. You will blend right in.

But we aren’t going to talk about those happy times today. Because there is no happiness here at Chez Knit Bakertown.

No, the Baking Dementors have come and sucked all the joy out. It is gone.

And why might you ask? Because I have had an epic baking fail of a recipe that has never failed me before. I sort of feel like I have jumped out of the plane with my trusty parachute only to find that it will not open.


Only with less blood and guts at the end.

IMG_0542This was my recipe for Orange Raspberry Pecan bread. We would have been having this on Thursday if things had gone better. But we will not be because the whole loaf, minus one small piece, is residing…..

IMG_0544 In the garbage.

Oh it is painful to look at and to write. But that was the only place for it, believe me.

Such a simple recipe with lovely ingredients like fresh oj, raspberries, pecans, sugar, vanilla. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water. I mixed it up as I always do.  I put it in the loaf pan and baked it in the oven as I always do for the amount of time that is needed.

It smelled done. It looked done. It tested done. So I took it out and put the pan on the stove to cool down. I went away to my office to get some research done for a friend. I walked back into the kitchen later and walked by the loaf pan.

Glance left. Smile at the zucchini bread, the blueberry coffee cake and the nutmeg coffee cake. Smile at the Orange Raspberry Pecan Bread.


Wait? Is that a lunar crater in the middle of my bread? A sinkhole?


But yes. The middle, the golden brown middle of the loaf, had collapsed like a poorly built Chinese highrise. I stuck my finger into the middle and the batter made a sound sort of like you hear on CSI when the forensic scientists are sticking a probe into a wound.


Sure that is what I said. Why are you looking at me with doubt in your eyes. Just because the dog quietly got up and slunk into his cage after I found the bread debacle doesn’t mean anything.

Maybe I can save it I muttered to myself. It cannot be THAT bad. I will just cut out the middle. Yes! I will “pre-slice” it for Thursday and no one will ever know. And I will just test this little piece right here to be sure that it tastes OK.

And that was just the Fail! icing on the baking cake because, for some unexplained reason, the loaf didn’t taste good. It had a funky taste that I just can’t put my finger on. So there was no saving it. Into the garbage it went.

Tears. Gnashing of teeth. Wailing. The putting on of sack cloth and ashes.

I might have been reading too much Old Testament lately.

Thank goodness I had a loaf of banana bread in the freezer.

But it just isn’t the same.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Expecto Patronum!

Oh man I did it again.

I swore, after the last time, that I wouldn’t do a midnight show for any movie ever again. It is too hard on my creaky 50 year young body. And I don’t do midnight well.

But I lied.

Really, I needed to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows at midnight to keep up the tradition. Even though TMO and Shoe Queen were not with me this time it is still tradition. But I have found others who belong to the cult are willing to go to the midnight show.

It is those crazy ladies who play with pointy sticks.

Are you surprised about this? How long have you been hanging around here?

And we couldn’t just GO to the movies. Oh no we had to have costumes of various kinds. Some of us just stuck to the basics and had a Gryffindor scarf and Gryffindor socks.

IMG_9129A I forgot to take a picture of the socks. But they are lovely and warm.

And then there were others who put in a tad more obsessive work thought into what they were wearing. I continue to maintain that I was the voice of reason in this.

IMG_0483Bonnie and Erica both had Quidditch sweaters on that they knit over the last few months. Hours and hours and hours of 2x2 ribbing. But the sweaters are beautiful and really, really warm.

IMG_0492A And there might have been snitches and time turners and Quidditch robes and brooms involved in this whole caper.

The snitch that Erica knit was absolutely wicked.


Look the snitch flies!

And when we were finally all dressed it was into the cars and over to the local Chipoltle for dinner and pre HP7 talk and speculations. Actually there were less speculations than there might have been because Erika had actually been to a preview of Tuesday night.

And then, for a midnight show we got to the theater at……..



And we were not the first ones in line if you can believe it.

IMG_0515These young ladies were there before us and in their “jammies”. Hilarious.

IMG_0506 We spent some time getting Norma all decked out as Rita Skeeter. She was fabulous as Rita. Just fabulous.

IMG_0507 There are so many hours to go…..what am I going to do with all this time.

IMG_0519Knit Horcrux Socks of course. These are going to be so awesome when they are done!

IMG_0508ALook! Pigwidgeon came to visit.

IMG_0509AWhat do you mean I have to wait until 9:30p to go in and sit down in the theater. I have been sitting on the floor for an hour and I can’t feel my big bahookie.     

IMG_0518 We are smiling because they had told us that they would let us go in and sit down in the theater at about 9:30p. At least that was a bit more comfy.

And just as an aside. Can you explain to me why anyone would think that if they showed up for the midnight show of HP7 at about 11:30p that they would think that there would be any seats together. Wake up and smell the Butter Beer folks. You are going to be sitting here and there and everywhere but not together.

But I love to see people come strolling around the corner into the theater and just stand there and look at all the people that are already there, amazement etched on their faces.

I am not a nice person. I admit it. But you have to get the laughs where you can folks.

IMG_0522 But finally it was time, the lights dimmed, we had to sit through ads (GRRRRRR) and several previews before the movie started.

And it was…..


And I want to go back as soon as possible.

And July cannot get here fast enough.

And yes, I will go to the midnight show.

But I am done with them after that.

I promise.

Friday, November 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 94)


Hello. I am tired. It is Friday. I don’t do midnights well. Why did I go. Because I could.

Remember after reading my rather pathetic Quick Takes to go click on the picture above to be whisked, with the speed of teenagers buying Deathly Hollows tickets, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been doing this week.

I. Am. Beat.

I am tired. I am whipped. I want to get in bed and sleep for about a million years. And do you know why that is?????

It is because I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows at midnight. And it was AWESOME.

But we all know that I do not do midnight all that well.

I will tell you all about it next week I think, after I have gone through the pictures and had some sleep.


As we all know by now I was in Florida last week watching HHBL play baseball and soaking up a bit of sunshine before the dismalness that is the Frozen Northeast Ohio winter sets in. I had my computer with me but I didn’t spend hours and hours of time on it because….

well because there was baseball and sunshine and all that stuff.

But that means that when I got home I was then overloaded with blogs to read.

And believe me, I read A LOT of blogs. I think I have finally worked through the backlog but it took several days that is for sure.

So, after we took the house off the market this week then we have a realtor call and want to show the house.

That was fine. Did all the work. Cleaned. Did some staging of my own since all the other staging stuff had been taken away.

And then the time arrives……

And only the realtor shows up.

They had looked at 15 houses before ours and ran out of time and the prospective buyer had to go and pick up her kids.


But the agent assures me that they do want to come and look at the house. But I am not holding my breath.


Thank goodness I am not required to operate heavy machinery today. It might be a very dangerous proposition. That is why I have given myself a rare Yarn, Books and Movies day. Even playing with pointy sticks may be more than my poor cranium can handle.



IMG_0518I still maintain that I was the voice of sanity in the group…..despite what OTHERS might say.


Egads Thanksgiving is in less than a week. We are going to be a big, noisy crowd of people with cousins all over the place.

I can hardly wait.

And Pilot man is making TWO turkeys. One on the grill and one that is deep fried. All I can think is…….


And the fact that The Chef and I are going to have to take a long and vigorous walk in the morning before we start eating. Of course she is as tiny as a hummingbird, eats enough for a football team and stays tiny.

Sometimes life is just not fair.


HHBL and I are moving furniture back into the house tomorrow. We have a number of pieces that have been residing in the garage for the last 9 months. They cannot stay there over the winter and so tomorrow is the move stuff around in the garage day and take the screens out of the windows day and unpack the DVDs day. I think that after that is done it will feel like the whole house on the market thing is finally dead.