Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa!

Happy Birthday to the best Dad a girl could have.

DSCN2881 DSCN3012 May 72IMG_0645 Bare Bonsey and Papa with a Carlie squeezed in between

Have a great day Dad! Have a glass of wine, some crackers and a good laugh.

See you soon!

Love your little Bookworm

Friday, February 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 106) The Travel Stories Addition.


Well the week has flown by. The weekend it ahead. Hurrah! And in keeping with my theme for this week below you will find just some snippits of our travel adventures. So, after you have immersed yourself deep into the joy that is my blathering be sure to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the snow falling in the Frozen Northeat Ohio, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been doing.

Our car was broken into in Hononlulu at the Arizona Memorial and all our backpacks and purses were stolen. Thank goodness I had my camera and billfold with me. And thank goodness that HHBL had a second, emergency credit card as a copy of our main credit card had been in the billfold of one of the progeny. Of course it might have been helpful if we had heeded this sign…….


Flying to Florida one Christmas to visit the in-laws we sat and sat and sat at the airport because of bad weather. They finally put some of us on a plane that was scheduled to leave a bit earlier because we had connections that we would miss otherwise. Our new plane sat at the next gate over from the old plane. We got on the new plane….and sat and watched the plane we had been scheduled to be on pull away from the gate and leave before we did.

Flying back from Ghana, making our connection in Brussels. Sitting in aisle seat in big plane. Horror of horrors person on other side of aisle and one row back proceeds to lose a large and heavy lunch all over his seat and the seats in front of him.


The people sitting in those two rows of seats are moved to another part of the plane. The seat cushions are removed and somewhat cleaned but not enough that I wasn’t aware….for a 8 hour flight….that someone had been sick very close by.

Visiting the in-laws in Peru. HHBL goes to airlines office to confirm flight for next day only to find that the airlines had changed the flight times. We were supposed to fly out at 11:59p on a Thursday evening. They changed the flight time to 12:03a but instead of the flight leaving at 12:03a on Friday morning we were leaving at 12:03a on THURSDAY morning a full 24 hours earlier than we expected. And we found this out on the afternoon of the day that we were leaving. And this being Peru and the Lima airport had not yet gone through it’s very nice renovation we needed to be there about 3 hours early.

We moved very quickly to get ourselves packed and to make new arrangements for transportation to the airport.

Flying from Phoenix to Palm Springs, CA in a little puddle jumper. The kind of plane where the pilots have to climb over the seats when entering the cockpit. They are in pre-flight check mode, the door to the cockpit is open and I am in the seats in the first row so I can see directly into the cock pit.

All of a sudden all the lights on the instrument panel go out. Blank. Black.

Co-pilot leans over and bangs on the instrument panel with his fist.

Lights come back on.

Check list goes on.

Instrument panel lights go out again.

Co-pilot says a bad word, bangs on the panel again, lights come back on.

And then he realizes the cock pit door is open and I am staring into the cock pit with eyes that must have mirrored my growing panic.

He smiles weakly and closes the door.

I sweated ALOT on that flight.

I should have known what our traveling life would be like because our the incident on our honeymoon 25 years ago. We were flying from Miami to San Juan to take a cruise. The weather was VERY bad in Miami. Torrential rain. But we made the flight and they held the boat because so many of us were delayed.

But my suitcase with all my dresses didn’t make the flight.

And didn’t make the boat sailing.

And our first day was at sea so I didn’t get my bag until the next day when we docked in Caracas, Venezuela.

And that was still a time when I was very self-conscious about what others thought about me. It was not a great couple of days. I had yet to develop the ability to laugh about the situation.

And finally, when taking an overnight train in India from Salem to Chennai. The train arrives in the station around 10:10p. HHBL and I, along with the approximately 2000 other people standing on the platform, have around 10 minutes to get on the train, find our compartment and get settled before the train takes off.

Neither HHBL or I speak either Hindi or Tamil. We finally find what we think is our compartment with the help of our driver. It took a bit of time because the compartment that we thought was our already had people sleeping in it so we found another place to sit. We stow or bags and wait for the conductor. The conductor keeps telling us that our seats are “up there” pointing behind him. We insist someone had already been sleeping in the compartment where we were supposed to be so we found these empty seats. He finally gives up, punches our tickets and moves on. We make up our beds and try to get some sleep.

We find out later that he was right in a way. We had first class compartments tickets but ended up riding/sleeping overnight in the second class compartment because we got on the wrong train car.

AND I got to use this while on a moving train….

IMG_0499Good times! That little hole doesn’t lead to a tank of any kind by the way. It all just gets dumped right onto the train tracks that I could see whizzing by.

And are you even REMOTELY surprised that I took a picture of the toilet.

If you are you don’t know me at all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Bribe or Not To Bribe

To continue our week of why you might not want to travel with us.

I thought I would walk memory lane and tell you about a small encounter we had with the police while in Ghana. Really, it is best to avoid encounters with the police in foreign countries has always been my motto. And I have tried to stick to that…..

Except that sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

So, we were visiting Ghana, the guests of a large microfinance and banking group to view the micro-finance work that they are doing in country. Touring large and intimidating markets where they sell smoked fish and anything else that you could possibly need or not need. Walking through very poor areas. Watching where we walked.

Trying to resist the urge to buy very large snails for dinner.

IMG_5010 I am told that they are DELICIOUS when steamed to a lovely gray color then fried quickly in butter and garlic.

I will take their word for it.

And so we had made our way from Accra on the coast up to Kumasi in the central part of the country. We had toured the gigantic, and I do mean gigantic market in Kumasi.

Kumasi MarketA

After a full morning it was back in the van for the drive back to the office and then to lunch. The traffic was terrible and we were moving at a snails pace so driver F. decided that he would take “a short cut”, a phrase that we long ago learned to fear because nothing good comes from taking a short cut in a third world country. This involved pulling off the main road and driving along the rutted area that ran along the left side of the road. This area didn’t seem to be a true road but more of a wide access area where you could drive if need be but where people had also, occasionally, set up little places where they sold things. There was a wall to our left that was actually the outside border of one of the markets in town. I could see into it through periodic openings into the wall where a road would go through.

There were very large ruts in the “road” with people walking there and the occasional stand where some were selling goods. All this made the going very slow and we were all wondering if we were actually supposed to be driving there. F. didn’t seem to have any questions about the validity of his actions. For F. it was all, “Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!”

We drove past a road that exited the market and crossed over the main road that we were trying to avoid. There was a traffic officer (not a true police officer but someone who just handles traffic) there who indicated to Frank that he needed to turn right and rejoin the traffic on the main road (which was totally clogged with cars/buses/taxis). F. continued on, ignoring the cop! The fellow took off after us and ran along side the van, pounding on the side and telling us (I think) to stop. We are all yelling for F. to stop but he just calmly drove ahead.

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

Then, from out of nowhere came a REAL police officer on a motorcycle, siren blaring, pulling in front of the right fender of the van and gesturing forcefully for F. to pull over and STOP. WE were all yelling for F. to pull over and stop.

F. finally did pull over and the fireworks began.

F. gets out. The police office dismounts and immediately is yelling at him, gesturing and pointing and REALLY upset. The traffic cop just stands to the side, not saying anything but smirking. This goes on for awhile and then P. and E. (organization employees) get out and the cop is still yelling and gesturing. They all moved over to the driver’s side of the van for more yelling and gesturing.

We are all a bit nervous by this time I can tell you. I might have been throwing off a river or two of sweat. I really wanted to take a picture but decided that I had better not. After about 10 minutes (which seemed like hours) of yelling etc. the front passenger side door opens and the traffic cop tells J., one of the people traveling with us, that he needs to get out and go and sit in the back. Then the traffic cop gets in the passenger front, P. and E. get in the back, F. gets in the drivers seat and we all follow the motorcycle officer down the access road and turn left into a walled compound that we quickly realized was the local police station and impound lot.


Man I love it when we make memories.

In an African country (albeit stable one), being taken to the police station is not good. Yikes!! The policeman directed us to pull up in a quasi parking area. F., the traffic officer, P. and motorcycle officer all get out and go over to an area where there is a sign that says “Charge Office” and disappear into a building, leaving us poor white people, along with Eunice, sitting in the van.

Double great!

After a short period of time, which again seemed like hours, E. gets out and also goes into the Charge Office leaving us alone in the van.


I want to go home.


A short time after that the traffic cop reappears and stops to talk to a group of other traffic cops, gesturing and pointing to our van occasionally, obviously telling them of his mighty deeds in apprehending the offenders.

Finally, P., E. and F. reappear. F. and the traffic cop exchange some friendly words, everyone gets back in the van and we leave.

P. explained that the police were saying that F. would have to pay a ¢500,000 fine ($50) which is a huge amount for the average Ghanaian but that really he wouldn’t actually pay anything and that eventually the charge would just “go away”.

Does the charge just take a vacation and never come back?

The traffic cop had actually gotten into the van because he hoped to negotiate a “tip” before we got to the charge office.

That would be a bribe to you and me. A bribe which F. refused to pay when it was suggested hence our harrowing trip to the police station. If he had paid the “tip” then we would have been sent on our way without further ado.

The wild thing was that the motorcycle cop had just been passing by when he saw what was happening. That isn’t his normal “beat”. If he hadn’t been there then F. would have just “out run” the traffic cop and nothing else would have come of it.

And then we went on to lunch, a bit late.

And of course, I had to have bottled water with lunch.

If there was ever a time when a beer with lunch sounded good.

It was that day.

Anyone care to go back to Africa with us? You never know what is going to happen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How NOT To Start A Trip to India

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a theme this week. A plan. I am walking down memory lane thinking about some of the experiences HHBL and I have had as we have traveled over the last 15 years or so. You just can’t travel and not have those fun little things happen.

Or if you manage to avoid them you are missing out on TONS of fun!

I apologize in advance. This is long. But I don’t want you to miss a single minute of it.

So, in October of 2007 HHBL and I took a trip to India. Now that is a fascinating country! But it is a long way to go let me tell you. And at one point we worried that we weren’t going to get there. That we weren’t even going to make it out of the good old US of A at the rate that we were going at one point.

I should have known what the beginning of the trip was going to be like when we managed to leave a very important bag at home, the bag with all the gifts that we needed to give to people on the trip. We parked the car at the airport, opened the back, took out all the bags and realized…

The bags with the gifts wasn’t there. That was bad. Very bad. So, we went into the airport, checked the bags, I went through security and HHBL ran back to the parking garage, got back in the car and drove all the way home, 40 minutes, got the bag which was sitting in the garage right where I remembered setting it down, got back in the car and drove all the way back to the airport.

Now I have to say that this wouldn’t have worked if it hadn’t been for the fact that our flight from Cleveland to Newark (the worst airport in the WORLD) was delayed. It wasn’t delayed too much but just enough that HHBL could make it back. But I was sweating the whole time cuz I wasn’t going to get on that plane without him. You can imagine my relief when I saw him sprinting down the concourse.

But the plane did not take off on time. Not by a long shot. But it was eventually airborne and we were thanking our lucky stars for a long layover planned into our travel plans. I hate long layovers but I was really glad at that point. That is until we finally arrived into Newark air space, only to be told that the weather over Newark was really bad and that we would be circling for a time. I could see the time just melting away. And then…..

Hello folks, this is your Captain speaking. We have some bad news. Newark is not going to let us land yet, and we need to top off the tanks so to speak, so they are diverting us to Syracuse where we will land, refuel, and then come back to Newark.

And just like that we knew that we weren’t going to make our connecting flight. Not by a long shot. We flew to Syracuse. We sat on the ground for an hour.
IMG_0477 You can see the people standing up but you can’t hear the yelling. And there was yelling. And unhappiness. And sweat.

But finally we were back in the air and landing in Newark (the worst airport in the WORLD). It was late in the evening when we arrived, after 10p, and we couldn’t get our luggage. We all zipped out of the plane and zipped down to the Customer Service desk and got in line with all the other people who had missed flights. And there were a lot of them. And this was where HHBL saved the day again. While we were waiting in the line he got on the phone and spoke to customer service for the airline that we were flying on. They had already rebooked us…HHBL was flying out on Thursday (this was Tuesday) and I was flying out on Friday. HHBL explained that, no, that wasn’t going to be acceptable. It is good to have status on an airline. However, even with status we couldn’t get a seat on the next evening’s flight. But maybe standby.

And when we finally got to the head of the customer service line we were subjected to one of the worst instances of poor customer service that I have ever seen. We walk up to the counter when our turn comes. The customer service rep sighs, looks at us, tells us “I need a break. I am going to get an iced coffee. Just stay here.”

And walks off. And finally reappears after 10 minutes, iced coffee in hand, to tell us that he didn’t have a hotel room for us and we were out of luck.

So sorry that we can’t help (slurp, slurp). No more hotel rooms available (slurp, slurp).

And so we spent the night in the Newark Airport. No hotel room. No bed. No luggage. No food. No shower.

IMG_0480The Newark Airport at 3am is a very lonely place.

But finally, around 5am HHBL found a helpful ticket agent who got us a “day room” where we could get some sleep and a shower. And she put us on stand by for the evening flight to Delhi, with absolutely no expectation that we would actually get on the flight as it was festival season in India and every flight was over booked. But she told us to come back in the evening and give it a try.

We showered. We slept. We ate. We came back to the airport. Rechecked our bags and went down to the gate to see if we could get on.

And now I need to tell you something VERY important about international flights. It is what saved our bacon. Remember this tidbit. When you check in for an international flight and you go down to the gate you must show the gate agent your passport and your ticket. You don’t get on the flight if you don’t. And they give away your seats. Even if you have checked in at the ticket counter and checked your luggage through. If you don’t see the gate agent you don’t go.

And that is how we got the last two seats on that flight. There was a family who didn’t show their tickets and passports to the gate agents after they had passed through security. I don’t know what they were doing but they were no where in the gate area and when they did finally show up at the gate it was to find that their seats had been given away… us. Even as one gate agent was dealing with the yelling the other gate agent was hustling us down the gang way, closing doors behind us and vaguely motioning us to the right side of the plane and saying

There are two seats somewhere down that way. Middle seats. Please sit down as quickly as possible because we have to go.

I was still fastening my seat belt when the plane was pulling away from the gate.

But the story doesn’t end there. We landed safely in Delhi late the next evening. Our driver was there to pick us up. He had the address of our hotel, a small place called “Singh and Sons”. I won’t even describe the traffic in Delhi other than to say I was afraid I would die before ever having another hot shower. We pull up in front of the “hotel” finally. Boy is that a small place. We unload or bags and go into a very small lobby.

Very small. And there are only men in the lobby. And they are giving me the stink eye look.

HHBL is talking to the clerk and telling him that we have a reservation and the clerk is looking in the large accounts book in which they record all reservations and we are not in it. And I have a real hinkey feeling about this place. Something is not right.

This is Singh and Sons Hotel right?

No sir, the is Sons of Singh Hotel! (and I need to add it was a Moslem hotel and they so didn’t want me there).


Thank goodness our driver had stayed around outside to make sure that we were safely checked in. We put all the luggage back in the car. He got directions from the clerk who heaved a sigh of relief when I exited. And off we went again driving down this street and that. Crossing intersections. Avoiding the cow in the middle of the road. Yes, cow in the road. This is India remember. And after a time it was clear that we had missed a turn or fork in the road or something. So the driver needed to backtrack a bit. I would have turned around. But not our intrepid driver. He just throws the car in reverse and back three blocks backwards, avoiding the above mentioned cow again, back THROUGH a busy intersection and shaving about 10 years off my life before putting the car in drive again and finally finding the hotel.

I would have kissed the ground when I finally exited the death trap on wheels if I hadn’t thought I might get a really bad disease by doing so.

And that is how NOT to start a trip to India. I won’t even mention what happened when we took the overnight train from Salem to Chennai!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Weather Stinks

so lets think about traveling.

Well, Spring made a brief, and I do mean brief, appearance here at Chez Knit. She teased us with warm weather, sunny blue skies and melting snow.

And then she took a trip to Florida and left us with ice and snow and cold.

How rude.

And that got me to thinking.

No, no! Don’t run away. It isn’t as scary as you think. I just am in a nostalgic, thinking about traveling to warmer climates mood. And since I am I thought I would inflict it on you as well. You know you like to read about travel. And so……

I thought I would spend the week reliving some of HHBL and my travel “experiences”. And we have had some doozies I can tell you. And it is quite possible that after reading the posts for this week none of you will ever want to travel with HHBL and I. Because when we embark on a trip we just know that things are going to happen.

Heck, that is the fun of traveling you know.

And some of these posts, heck most of them, might be a tad long. I apologize in advance for my excessive windiness.

I think today I will tell you about a trip we took to Idaho almost 10 years ago. One of the awesome Quigg Family Reunions to be exact. We had spent two weeks traveling the state, eating lots of food, going to rodeos, climbing large hills made of ash, white water rafting and just hangin’ with family.

image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007 image 21-2-2007
And then it was time to go home. And we were ready to go home. We had been together for two weeks, HHBL, the progeny, Bare Bonsey and I. We love each other but it was time to have some alone time. So we boarded our plane for the trip home. One lay over at O’Hare and then we would be home in the Frozen Northeast Ohio.

Or not.

The flight to Chicago was great. No problems, no bad weather, no nothing. That was still when you actually got food on a flight. Ah the good old days. We arrived at O’Hare, deplaned and made it over to our next gate, sat down and waited for the connecting flight

And waited……

And waited…….

And waited……..

We were told that the flight was coming from Souix City, IA and that they had some bad weather but that they would be arriving, that they were taking off, that they were on the way, that they were in the air. All those various things.

Time ticked away. Other flights to Cleveland on other airlines left. We all sat and waited. And finally the promised plane arrived. The passengers got off. The plane was hastily cleaned. We were all boarded on the plane and in our seat. And then I leaned out into the aisle and looked up at the cockpit, turned to HHBL and said, “This plane isn’t going anywhere tonight.”

And do you know how I knew this? Because, despite the fact that we were all in our seats there were no pilots in the cockpit. And that is the kiss of death for a flight. Pilots need to be in the cockpit doing all that pre-flight stuff while you are getting on the plane. I know these things, my brother is a pilot.

And I was right.

Very quickly the poor, hapless flight attendant came on the PA and we heard….

Well, we have some bad news. The pilots are over their “flight limit” (meaning they can’t fly any more hours until they have rested) and we don’t have any more pilots available so we are going to be canceling the flight tonight. We are already working on rebooking you all for flights tomorrow morning and arranging hotel accommodations for tonight. Please come to the counter when you exit the plane. We will also be giving each of you food vouchers for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow. And you will not be able to have your luggage tonight as we will be flying out on the same plane in the morning.

Did you catch that last sentence. No LUGGAGE!!! We weren’t happy. But what could we do. So we exited. Got our flight reassignments and took a taxi over to the hotel. The hotel generously supplied us with toothpaste, toothbrushes etc. But we didn’t have clean clothes, clean undies. Oh how I longed for clean undies. Because of this little incident I ALWAYS carry an “emergency undies” kit when I travel. It has come in VERY handy. And can I tell you that the hotel we stayed at probably was very nice. But we didn’t see the very nice part. We were shunted to the basement rooms that hadn’t been remodeled since 1966. Dark, dank, dungeon-like with flickering black and white televisions and the possibility of ghosts of travelers past. And did I mention that we didn’t have any clean underwear and by the time we got to the hotel the restaurant was closed?

Night passed. Day came. Our flight wasn’t supposed to leave until late morning. But we didn’t have any food and we didn’t want to hang around our dungeon hotel room so we decided just to go over to the airport, use our food vouchers and wait for our flight. The sooner we were out of there and on our way home where hot showers and clean clothes awaited the better. We found our gate, spread out over a row of seats and then everyone scattered to get food while I watched the stuff. It was a Sunday morning, all was quiet, there weren’t even that many people in the waiting area.

And then I heard a voice, an announcement coming from the counter, a pleading voice saying…

This flight is currently oversold. We are looking for 6 people who would be willing to give up their seats for this flight. We will re-book you on the next flight leaving at 4p, we will give you food vouchers for lunch and we will also give each of you a $600 travel voucher towards future travel.

$600 PER PERSON travel vouchers? Sign us right up! We have 6 people. We are flexible. So what if we have to hang around O’Hare for another 8 hours. And so we did. But I won’t tell you the reaction of the progeny. It wasn’t pretty. They didn’t see the benefit of it although Bare Bonsey did.

Time ticked along….slowly. There is only so much you can find to do for 8 extra hours at O’Hare. There is only so much airport food that you can stomach, even though you aren’t paying for it. But we were dazzled by the thought of $600 PER PERSON in travel voucher so we managed.

Finally it was time to wander down to the gate for our afternoon flight. The gate was full. There were actually a bunch of people that we knew taking this flight. There were lots of people to talk to.

And then I noticed the weather outside. Ummmmm, when had it gotten so cloudy? And ummmmmm, was that torrential rain falling outside? And, oh I hope that wasn’t thunder that I heard. Thunder often goes hand in hand with lightening and lightening is bad at an airport. Lightening often means that an airport temporarily stops operations. And even as that thought formed in my brain…..

Hi. We are trying to keep everyone up to date about the weather and the flight. As of right now the flight is delayed. The airport has just informed us that they have instituted a temporary closure of the airport due to lightening strikes. There is a possibility that the flight may be cancelled. We will let you know when we have more information.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Can I tell you that if dirty looks could kill then I would have been a smoking pile of ruin because the progeny were slaying me with their laser like eyes. Even the thought of $600 PER PERSON travel vouchers wasn’t doing it for them.

And so we waited….and waited….

And watched the weather and listened to the thunder. And prayed. Hard.

And finally the rain stopped. And the clouds parted. And the airport started flying planes again.

And we boarded our plane. We were stinky. We were sick of O’Hare. We were not staying there another dadgum minute! I didn’t care if we all had to stick our arms out of the windows and fly the thing ourselves. We were going home.

And FINALLY we made it home. Almost 24 hours later than we expected. But we made it.

I have never been so happy to take a hot shower.

Well, that isn’t exactly correct. There has been another time…

But you have to tune in tomorrow to find out about it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 105)


Well goodness gracious it is Friday again. And that means that it is time for me to blather wax eloquent about those little things that happen during the week that I cannot stretch into an entire blog post. So, after you read deeply of my insanely intelligent writing (cough, cough) be sure to click on the picture above to be whisked, with the swiftness of my rapidly melting snow, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been doing.

And now….

On with the show!

Good news on the Lookleap/Stop Her She’s Knitting garden front.

I think I might have mentioned last year that we had some “issues” with rivers running through our garden plots. And I am not exaggerating about the river thing. Any sort of heavy rain and we had the Mississippi cutting a channel through our garden. I expected to see river barging poling up and down past the tomatoes. It was most discouraging because after the flood waters would finally recede then we would have garden soil the consistency of concrete that wasn’t conducive to life let alone growing things.

So, a week or so ago it was time to renew our “lease” on our garden plots. We went into the Parks and Rec department and signed on the dotted line but we did enquire about switching plots. There were two particular plots that we wanted….badly. And the fellow that had them last year didn’t take care of them AT ALL. We felt we deserved them after our plight last year. But we had to wait to see if he would rent the plots this year….

And he didn’t sign up again. And we switched plots.

Yipeeeeeee. Now if it would just get warm enough and dry enough to plant things.

We are finally having a mid-winter thaw of sorts. I can actually see little patches of grass in the back yard. I don’t think I have seen the grass since the beginning of December.

And the temperature has been lovely and warm.

But I am not fooled. I know that we will have more snow, we always do. And the snow that falls in March, April, and rarely in May seems like such a cruel thing. But it will come, it always does. In fact, when I walked this morning it was 55F but by tonight it is supposed to be 28F.


Can I say that one of the few things that I don’t look forward to as the snow melts is…

muddy dog paws.

Max the Wonder Dog comes in and he has muddy paws and if I don’t remember to wipe them off before he comes in, and most of the time I don’t remember, then he tracks in big muddy paw prints.

Thank goodness our back hallway is tile and the rest of the first floor is hard wood. But that still needs to be cleaned too.

So, NPR this morning was talking about all the gearing up both parties are doing, as far as advertizing is concerned, in anticipation of the 2012 elections. And the fact that there really are only about 11 states that get the majority of the advertizing dollars spent.

I live in one of those states. Ohio is considered a “swing state”. As goes Ohio so goes the nation. And that means that we will be inundated, overrun, swamped, with political ads.

Oh. Joy.

And that means that next year, or possibly sooner, I will..

1. DVR most of the things that I watch on TV because I can then fast forward through ALL the ads for both parties.
2. Strictly enforce my “no politics after 8p” rule. I don’t watch, read or listen to anything that has anything to do with politics after 8p. Even if it is something or someone that I agree with. I won’t sleep otherwise.
3. Throw away, unopened, all unsolicited political mail. And isn’t it all unsolicited?

Republicans and Democrats please listen to me. I make up my mind on my own by gathering information in my own time and way. I am thoughtful about my choices. I don’t need your help.

And I don’t need your attack ads. 

Oh how I immediately want to cast on another sweater. I have the yarn, I just haven’t found the absolutely right pattern yet. I am sure that it will present itself to me and I will say,

I knew I would find you! We will be happy together.

Top down raglan? Cables? Shaping? Long sleeves or mid-forearm? The possibilities are endless. I am getting lost looking at all the patterns on Ravelry and I haven’t even started looking in my knitting books.

And at the rate it took me to finish the last sweater I had better get my act together. I want to have this sweater done by next year so that I can take it to Peru with me when we visit the in-laws again. The yarn wants to go back to it’s native land.

I will keep you posted.

And since Cartoon Girl has also asked for a sweater I had better just learn to knit sweaters faster.

Last Saturday HHBL and I went out to our favorite restaurant for an early Valentines Day dinner. We decided to go early to beat the crowds that are always there, and this restaurant doesn’t take reservations unless you have a party of 12 or more so sometimes you have a bit of a wait.

But we didn’t take into account the fact that it was the Saturday before Valentines Day.


So there was a wait, even at 5:45p. No problem for us, we were hungry but we didn’t have a time constraint. However, after about 25 minutes, the hostess was apologizing to us because she was wanting to seat us but they were waiting for the table to open up.

And waiting…

And waiting….

And do you know why they were waiting?

Because the family of four that was sitting at that table were waiting for their son to finish the game that he was playing on his hand held video game player whatever kind it was. I still play my Gameboy Color so I have no idea what there is out there.

Mom, Dad and brother all had their coats on. The leftovers were wrapped and ready to go. But this kid just doggedly sat there for at least 5 extra minutes before he would get up and leave.

Really parents! Why did you even let him bring the thing to dinner? Talk to your child for the love of Pete. And don’t inconvenience others with your son’s games.

Getting off my soap box now.

This month is Turner Classic Movie’s “31 Days of Oscar” and I have been overdosing on DVR movies. Yesterday I took the time to watch Camelot.

Oh man is that a movie that reflects the time in which it was filmed (1967). But the thing that I loved the most is that I could sit, knit and sing all the songs at the top of my lungs.

Cuz I know ALL the words to ALL the songs. And evidently a lot of other people know the words too because when I mentioned it on Facebook everyone had to pipe up with their favorite lyrics.

The parental units had the soundtrack record when I was growing up and I listened to it endlessly. I knew all the words to all the songs long before I ever saw the movie. And the album cover art? I absolutely LOVED it. I think if I could ever find the album with decent cover I would chuck the record and frame the cover.

Hmmmmmmmm, that is a thought.

It was nice to be able to just sit and watch and sing along on a day when I had a monsterous headache that just wouldn’t let go.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Have Produced….

A SWEATER!!!!!!!

I am just sitting here looking at it and squealing with happiness. I am squealing because I love it and because the thing is finally done.


Oh I have knit sweaters before. Sweaters for little people

IMG_8891A Hurstling sweater Baby sweaters are a breeze. You usually do them all in one piece. And there is the whole thing about them being, you know, small.

And my knitsibs would tell you that I am not one to shy away from more complicated things. I knit socks and they aren’t always the most intuitive things to knit. But the thought of knitting a sweater just sent my heart into palpitations. Especially a sweater that had multiple pieces that needed to be seamed together along with things like button bands and neck icord and…….

I am sweating.

But I really don’t like to think that there is something that I want to do that I can’t. It makes me want to figure out how to do it.

But that doesn’t apply to skydiving. I don’t know how to do that and I don’t care to learn.

But I digress (that was for you Jess)

I started “the sweater” a year ago, casting on during the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. I was supposed to finish it by the time that the Olympics were done two weeks later…


Sometimes I have an overinflated sense of my own abilities, especially considering I hadn’t even knit an adult size sweater before. And I have to say that I frogged the thing back TWICE before I seemed to catch the sweater knitting mojo. And then over the summer the mojo died. It went on vacation. The sweater languished like an aging southern belle.

I would knit a bit on it but I just wasn’t inspired. I had other things to knit…socks…..scarves…hats….mittens…..more socks. It is amazing what you can find to work on when you are trying to ignore the languishing sweater that wants to be finished.

I can procrastinate with the best of them.

I would go to my knitting meetings and someone, usually Erica, would ask how the sweater was going.

Oh, you know, I am, ummmm, working on it a bit here and a bit there.

And I might have continued on that way but the afore mentioned Erica said that she figured that she was going to finish her “Blanket as big as the sun” before I would ever finish that sweater.

I. DON’T. THINK. SO. Thankyouverymuch.

Not that I am competitive or anything. Cuz, you know, I am not. REALLY!

And just like that the sweater mojo came flooding back. And I sat down and knit like the wind. And washed. And blocked. And seamed. And sewed……

And here she is….

IMG_1327A IMG_1318A IMG_1320AI have a feeling that this whole sweater knitting thing is going to consume me. I am already looking for just the right pattern to use with the Alpaca yarn that I brought back from Peru last year. I am thinking that I need to do some cables. I love cables.

And I love my yummy new sweater.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What, No Mixed Breed Catagory?

Max has a beef to pick with the Westminster Kennel Club.

A big beef.

He made HHBL and I watch two full evenings of the WKC Show. That is 6 hours of dogs, dogs, dogs.

Big dogs…did you see that Great Dane!

Small dogs….. that Pekinese looked like a waddling mop.

And Max sat there patiently and waited for the Mixed Breed catagory…..

And waited..

And waited….

And waited….

All for naught.

Nada. Zero. Zilcho.

IMG_9113As you can see he wasn’t all that happy. If he had opposable thumbs I think he might be shooting off an email.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day to My HHBL

Happy Valentines Day to my HHBL

IMG_4711A IMG_4707A The man who can make me laugh harder than anyone else in the world.

IMG_0437IMG_0317AMy own personal baseball hunk who has brought to my life the beauty that is 9 innings of summer play.

My honey bunny who takes me cool places……

Beetle Where I can encounter the local flora and GIGANTIC DEATH BRINGING BEETLES!

IMG_3756AAnd dance with the gorilla poachers natives. Expressing my inner crazy woman in an outward way.

IMG_0482 IMG_0480 And where I can collect travel stories galore, like spending the night in the Newark Airport. Or flying in really little planes that land on grass airstrips. Or eating unusual national dishes. Or riding in cars in India that back down streets and THROUGH intersections all while trying not to hit the cow in the middle of the street.

HHBL may not love beets but he will eat broccoli if I make it.

HHBL takes me on slow bike rides even though he likes to go fast and MUCH further than I want to go.
IMG_1427AOf course when we go on bike rides I get to look at this for hours on end. There are compensations for the pain.

HHBL may not understand how my weird brain works but he makes the effort to try. And believe me, sometimes I know it is a real effort.

You are my valentine!

Love you my HHBL

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 104)


Woo Hoo it is Friday!!! And that means that it is Pizza and Movie night here at Chez Knit. But before that can happen I must post my weekly inane blathering. So remember, after being bored silly here remember to click on the picture above so you can be whisked, at the speed of the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is doing.

And now, on with the blathering.

We need a thaw around here. Something. Anything. They say it is going to be in the 40s next week but I will believe it when I feel the warm breeze on my skin and see some of the snow/ice melting into the creek.

But I can tell you that the pile of snow at the end of the driveway will still be with us well into April or perhaps even May. It will definitely take that long for it to melt.


I have to admit that I have spent an egregiously large amount of time this week fooling around with my itunes. I have mentioned perhaps that some of my knitsibs and I are participating in a Harry Potter read along. Or in my case this time I am listening to all the books on tape. But, in order to do that I have had to put them into my itunes, having obtained the CDs from the library. And that just takes a honkin’ large amount of time because most of those audio books have at least 15 CDs. A big chunk of a morning. And then, after the CD’s are loaded I can’t just let them sit there and listen to them one by one.

Oh no.

Because I am such an obsessive neatnik sometimes (although you wouldn’t think so if you saw my kitchen counter at the moment) I have to re-label and re-arrange and fiddle and all sorts of things so that all the CDs will play as one continuous audiobook. And then I also have to add the art work because it bugs me to not have the art work in there.

But now I am happy. Only I can’t start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire until Sunday because if I start it early Erica will yell at me again because I am getting ahead of the group.

And that just brings back bad memories from 5th grade where we would read out loud in class but everyone was so slow that I would just read ahead. And then when the teacher would call on me to read I wouldn’t know where I was because I was ahead of every one. And then every one would stare at me and I would run screaming into the night and…

Well maybe not that last part.

It is hard to believe I know but I might, just might, have had too much caffeine yesterday. I indulged in a cup of coffee in the afternoon to have with my Moon Pie
IMG_1274 And I might have been able to get away with that but there is a fair amount of chocolate in the Moon Pie and then I forgot that I had my quarterly pop, a Dr. Pepper, this afternoon and that has caffeine too.

It will be awhile before I do that again I can tell you!

I am deeply immersed in TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar. That would be Turner Classic Movies. I live for this particular schedule as I can then DVR and watch movies that I might otherwise miss. I have been watching movies every afternoon and enjoying myself immensely. I have been overdosing on some of my favorite actors and actresses: Greer Garson, Bette Davis, Ronald Colman, Gregory Peck, Norma Shearer. Don’t know who any of them are? Then you don’t watch anything that was made before 1980 most likely. I personally love movies made between 1930 and 1950.

I love movies.

Cartoon Girl we need to start our podcast!!

Another thing that I have been endeavoring to get through this week is my backlog of podcasts. I went through a period where I wasn’t listening as often as I should and I had a huge backlog. And I just can’t delete podcasts that I haven’t listened to so I have just been listening and listening and listening. I will keep up with them from now on because if I don’t then I am just buried under the weight

Favorite podcasts would be: The Knitmore Girls, CogKnitive, Stuff You Missed in History, Cast-On, Hardcore History, The Diane Rehm Show and The Candid Frame

We have had sunshine for 2 straight days. I don’t know what to do with myself but whatever I am doing I am doing it at breakneck speed. I don’t usually have problems with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), certainly not like HHBL for whom winter is often not a good time. Since we have had him on large doses of Vitamin D it has really been a life saver and much better!

I digress

So, when the sun has been shining this week I have been full of energy and getting a ton of things done. But of course it is supposed to be cloudy for the next 5 days.


Back to regular Frozen Northeast Ohio weather and my general slothfulness.

If you are not a sock knitter then this last one will go right over your head.


One of my knitting goals this year is “getting back to basics”. And that means that I am, right now, specifically working on my toe up sock techniques. The wrap and turn heels are always a frustration to me. I had been using Cat Bordhi’s technique for picking up the wraps in a way that conceals them. It has been a frustration that has made me want to
1. scream
2. eat things that are bad for me
3. stop knitting the sock.

So, I have come to a decision. I can live with the wraps just where they are. It gives an interesting “architectural” effect to it. And I just can live with it because I just hate picking up those dadgum wraps.

Cat Borhdi is a sock genius of the first order but I am just not going to do it anymore.

Read my lips, “No picking up wraps any more!”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mother May I!

This will be short, very sweet and to the point.

I have been baking today.

Oh. Momma.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Normally I don’t bake or cook recipes from the newspaper. They don’t generally have things that interest me for some reason. But yesterday, yesterday there was a recipe. It spoke to me. It said,

Debbie you must make me. Your life will be unfulfilled until you do.

I usually try to listen to those kinds of voices.

What did I make?

Chocolate Moon Pies with Marshmallow Creame Filling.

Oh. My. Word.

IMG_1273I have to make this again and take pictures of the entire process. Then I will put it up here and you will all have to make it. And then we will all expire together in an excess of moon pie coma.

It will be so worth it I promise.

Now I must leave you because….

IMG_1274 Moon Pie and Coffee await me. This much chocolate plus a cup of coffee at this time of the day will assure that I don’t sleep.

And we won’t even talk about the fact that my coffee mug has an advertisement on it for a drug to treat yeast infections.

I am the daughter of a doctor after all.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Is Just Around the Corner Right?

Here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio this is the time of year when it always feels like Spring will never make an appearance. We have had snow cover here at Chez Knit since November I believe. Not even a January thaw of any kind. Just snow, ice, snow, cold, snow, REALLY cold, snow, snow, sleet, snow, no sun, REALLY cold again, snow.

I think you get the picture.

Maybe that is why February is such a hard month for me, because Spring is supposed to be just around the corner but when I look out I doubt the veracity of the statement.

But yesterday a glimmer of Spring and a hint of summer showed up on my horizon. Because….

Lookleap and I renewed the lease on the garden plot.


And so now there is something to look forward to. Something to dream about. And we are hoping that a particular person who had two choice garden plots and didn’t do anything with them will not renew by Friday because we want his garden plots. He didn’t take care of them. He doesn’t love them. We would love them and take care of them and be kind to the earth and grow only happy vegetables and….

But I digress.

And so, for the next few weeks I will think about……

img_2000 Blue skies, sunny days, warmth. Emphasis on warmth

IMG_7344 Rows and rows of lovely things growing happily in harmony with nature and the weather.

IMG_7332A IMG_2069IMG_7338IMG_8299AIMG_8315ALuscious vegetables and basil picked just at the peak of perfection.

IMG_8331AIMG_8307AEarly mornings tilling the earth.

IMG_8317A IMG_2045 IMG_2077The constant battle against bugs and slugs and ground hogs and raccoons that eat our peppers

IMG_8310A  IMG_8821A IMG_8318 IMG_8312 Floods and then drought and earth that looks like the Mohave desert. Crop failure. People who picked the fruits of someone else’s labor.

Wait, wait, wait. Back up Deb. Focus on the good stuff. It is all good. It is warm. It is quiet. It is peaceful.

IMG_8443  Oh Spring come quickly!