Monday, October 31, 2011

Hard Frost

Winter is fast approaching. The days are shorter and definitely darker.

Oh it is hard to get out of bed in the morning at 5a. I am stretching it to 5:30a. Not good. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

And we have finally had a really hard frost that pretty much killed off everything that was tender.


The begonias are all bedraggled and wilty. They took so long to really fill out and look lovely. So sad. See the little green shoot down at the bottom of the picture.

Self-seeded pansy.


I had pulled up almost all of the impatiens several weeks ago during The Great Fall Cleanout. I left this little one because it was a self-seeded one and I still don’t know how it ended up in this particular container.

But now it is dead.


Leaves all covered with frost are so lovely.

Except when you have to blow them off the lawn.

But I won’t think about that right now.


I am telling you, pansies are a hardy plant indeed. This is another volunteer that ended up in the other pot of begonias. It is happy as a clam with the frost.


And because this is Chez Knit and nothing is every just boring and ho hum.

My Nellie Moser clematis decided to bloom in the fall instead of being the first one to bloom in the spring.

To quote Forrest Gump…

You just never know what you’re gonna get.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 139)


The days just fly by. And the leaves continue to fall. And Winter is just around the corner. So lets have fun and good times reading 7 Quick Takes! Remember the rules. You read my blather. Then you click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rising panic at the fast approaching holidays, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been doing.

And now on with the blather!

I had a sleepless night Tuesday. Well actually I guess it was Wednesday. That doesn’t happen all that often, I can usually get to sleep without difficulty.

But not Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

I laid in bed until around midnight and when I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to get to sleep I got up and came downstairs and spent a couple of hours reading and journaling. Finally back in bed at 2a and asleep some time after 2:30a. Oh that 5a alarm seemed really early. And yes, I did get up….but not until 5:45a.

When I have one of those sleepless episodes it just wipes me out for two days afterwards. You can bet your bottom dollar that I was in bed and asleep by 9p on Wednesday night.

Now that I am blogging over at The 100 Days Cleanout I seem to be finding more blogs that are based on 100 of something.

There is the guy who is wearing a different tie for 100 days and blogging about it.

There is 100 Days: One Pencil, One Photo Every Day

100 Portraits. 100 Days

100 Days of Real Food

The list just seems endless. But I haven’t yet found anyone doing 100 days of cleanout.


Does your local library system participate in Freegal? If they do then you need to use it. One of the excellent libraries in my area, my favorite as it happens, uses Freegal. I can certainly find three songs a week that I want to download….for FREE.

Did I mention that the songs were FREE.

Now not every song that I might want is available I am sorry to say. As yet Dynamite by Taio Cruz isn’t there (just a warning, the song that the link takes you to might have a bad word or two and scantily clad women). Nor is Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band. And they seem to have something against Darius Rucker.

But did I mention that the downloads are FREE.

The only thing is you only get 3 downloads a week. There have been many weeks when I don’t download anything. And then there was this week when I had a list of songs I finally figured out that I wanted…..but I could only download three.

But I have my ever expanding list on a post-it note all ready for next week.

I allow myself one SMALL REGULAR Coke a month.

I love Regular, full sugar, rot your teeth and send you into a sugar coma Coke. But if I am not careful I will end up drinking it every day.

So Wednesday, the day that I was really in a funk and sleep deprived and wrestling with a bunch of issues I decided that it would be my Small Coke Day.

It is sad that I anticipate this so much.

So I go through the McD’s drive through. I get my coke. I go home, full of anticipation that I would sip my Coke, have some lunch and try to lift my mood.

And when I got home and took the first sip.

It was warm.

And it was flat.

Some days a girl just can’t win.

I made Monkey Bread yesterday. A recipe that I found on one of my favorite blogs, Taking On Magazines One Recipe At A Time.

Oh we are in so much trouble. I served it for dinner last night. We ate a bunch of it. It is like peanuts, you just keep eating a piece at a time.

And then today the trend continues. Those little nuggets of cinnamony, orangey, doughy goodness go so well with coffee.

Or just by themselves.

I predict that the entire batch, something approximately the size of an entire bundt cake, will be gone by tomorrow.


I am definitely going to need to up the physical exercise to get rid of all of these calories. And yes Christiane, I know it came from Cooking Light but I don’t think they expected that two people would eat the whole thing in a 24 hour period.

In the spirit of continuing to clean out and pare down I am thinking about participating in Project 333. I hadn’t ever heard about this until Rachael Herron mentioned it on her blog, Yarnagogo.

I may have lost my mind on this one.

I am still thinking about it.

Has anyone else done this? And if you have what did you think about it, feel about it?

This World Series has been a great one to watch. I have vacillated on which team I want to win the whole enchilada. I like the Cards. And they have worked VERY HARD to be here, having been 10 1/2 games back in August and managed to clinch a wild card spot on the last day.

And then there are the Texas Rangers who have never won the World Series. And I went to school in Texas.

And last night’s game. Wow. Good Golly. Texas, one out away from winning it all. And then….

Texas pitcher Mark Lowe had what we here in Cleveland would call a “Jose Mesa Moment” and watched as David Freese hits a walk off homer in the 11th.

We do not speak of that 1997 World Series game. Tears were shed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Remember This Tasting Better.

We all have food memories from growing up. Hopefully they are, for the most part, happy memories.


But I digress.

Cap’n Crunch was one of those shining childhood memories. It was a REALLY good day when I got to have Cap’n Crunch for breakfast. It happened so seldom that it seemed like the angels sang when there was a box of it in the pantry and we could actually have some.

Mimi wasn’t too keen on it. It wasn’t whole wheat. It had a lot of sugar (boy howdy did it!). It wasn’t oatmeal made with love.

Therefore it was the gold standard of boxed cereals in my opinion.

And I hadn’t had it in a LONG time. A long, long, long time. In fact, I am not sure that I ever bought a box of it when the progeny were growing up. It wasn’t whole wheat. It had lots of sugar in it. It wasn’t oatmeal made with love.

Wow, I have become my mother.

But then last week, out of the blue, HHBL says….

Can you get a box of Cap’n Crunch when you go shopping?

The cereal Cap’n Crunch?

Yeah, that stuff. I haven’t had any for a long time. It just sounds good.

And it did. Oh it did. Sticky sweet little pillows of goodness covered in milk.

So on Monday I went to the grocery store armed with my usual list and coupons. I quietly sneaked into the cereal aisle hoping no one would notice. We haven’t bought boxed cereal for a long time. We just don’t eat it. And if someone who knows that we don’t eat this stuff, that we try to eat healthy, saw me putting a box of Cap’n Crunch in my cart I am not sure how I would explain it.

Probably blame HHBL the big bad cereal corporations that put the box right at eye level.

I looked left and right and quietly slipped the box into the cart, under the flour and sugar and all other “natural” ingredients that I use to cook from scratch. No one would know because I usually go through the self- check out line. Why can’t Cap’n Crunch come in a plain brown wrapper like all other things you know you shouldn’t buy. No one would then be any wiser about my poor food choice.

I brought the box home and stuffed it onto the pantry shelf. I sort of felt that I had broken some unwritten food commitment and that Michael Pollan would soon be knocking at my door to read me the “Food Rules”.


This is what I had for breakfast this morning. Just a small bowl mind you cuz I made the mistake of looking at the nutritional facts on the side of the box.


I try NEVER to look at these. No good comes from it.


For some reason my childhood taste bud memories failed me.

Oh it was sweet alright. Sticky, sticky sweet. And yes, it still sticks to your teeth when you chew it.

But it just didn’t taste good. Too sweet. Too processed. Too much of an odd corn aftertaste.


Some childhood food memories should just stay in childhood where they can glow like shining beacons of happiness.

And I have no clue what we are going to do with the rest of this box cuz HHBL felt the same way about the cereal.

Darn it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of Course Housewives Sit Around and Eat Bon Bons.

There is a reason that I do not have a long, well reasoned and insightful post for you today.

Three loads of laundry.

Kitchen towels hung out to dry

Shop vac all the spider webs and spiders off the outside garage wall.

Shop vac all the spider webs and spiders inside the garage.

Sweep out the garage.

Rearrange the garage.

Clean the grill. It was REALLY dirty.

Cover grill and make ready for winter.

Repot some cuttings from houseplants.

Clean the kitchen.

Scrub all garden clogs and put away for the winter.

Sweep the deck, several times. Darn leaves.

Replace septic tank motor filter.

Scream when opening above motor cover and finding very long snake skin that had been sloughed off at some time.

Step in dog poop.

Clean non gardening clogs.

Wash front door and surround (I already vacuumed up all the spiders on Sunday).

I just didn’t have time for blogging today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh! That Explains It.

I am over run by dog hair.

Dog hair elephants.

Dog hair mountains.

Herds of dog hair.

I can vacuum one day and by the next there are again piles of hair in the corners. Dog hair tumbleweeds slowly tumbling around in the kitchen.

Dog hair stuck to the corners of the cabinets blowing gently in the breeze as I walk by.

Dog hair everywhere.

Really, it does seem that Max the Wonder Dog has been shedding a whole lot more lately. I mean it is getting on towards winter and you would think that he would be retaining more of his already prodigious coat to keep him warm from the arctic blasts that we get here in The Frozen Northeast Ohio.

Why oh why am I so afflicted with a dog that sheds.

And then a thought popped into my head.

It happens occasionally.

All this hair shedding just isn’t normal. I mean Max sheds like no other dog in the universe but this is really just shedding on steroids……..

Shedding on steroids…..

Shedding on STEROIDS!!!!!!


You guessed faithful readers. When I employed the all powerful Swagbucks to do some searching on “dogs” + “prednisone” this is what I found.

Skin and Hair Coat Problems: Another side effect of prednisone use includes loss of hair coat and thinning of the dog's skin.


Now back to my twice daily vacuuming.

You know I am lying about the vacuuming don’t you?


You still love me don’t you Alpha Male?

Friday, October 21, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 138)


Good golly Miss Molly where has the time gone this week. Here we are again, gathered around our computer screens to partake of some Quick Takes. You know the routine. When you are done here click on the picture above to be whisked, at the of fast approaching Winter, over to Conversion Diary.

Now on to the blather………

I don’t mean to continue complaining about the weather but…..

It has rained ALL WEEK. Well except for Monday that is.

As of yesterday the Cleveland area annual rainfall stood at…..

Wait for it……

53.83 inches.

And that is just RAIN FALL. This is what the NOAA is predicting for precipitation Dec-Feb.

Winter weather copy

Wetter than we normally are? Really? We can get up to 125 inches of SNOW in a winter. Are they saying wetter than that cuz if they are then I need to make sure we pay the snow plow contract on time.

I have been obsessed all week with making Box Bags.



Totally and completely obsessed.

It is one of those things that points to a knitter. They have to have the right bag to hold a WIP (work in progress). I finally found a good tutorial on the internet that showed me how to make them.

Now I cannot stop.

Why did no one tell me about The Big Bang Theory.

Another thing to be obsessed about for the love of Peter Paul and Mary.

I have taken to watching YouTube clips of the show and haunting the cable channels to find re-runs.

HHBL doesn’t find it all that funny. But me??


And the really scary thing…..I know people like this.

HHBL and I are wondering how we are ever going to get all the leaves raked/blown up without killing ourselves. Because of all the rain that we have had the last two weeks almost all of the leaves have now fallen.

And we haven’t taken care of a single one.

Tomorrow is SUPPOSED to be half way nice and I am sure that we will get some of them done but leaves that are wet are such a pain to blow.

And we have so many leaves.

But I am very thankful that I got off my big fat bahookie and got all of the landscaping cleaned out and cut back while it was still nice. It would be an extra specially nasty day tomorrow if I had to do that as well.

Have you stopped by The 100 Days Cleanout yet?

Why not?

You really should.

I am actually having more fun than anyone should taking pictures of things that I am getting rid of and then writing about them.

A girl has to find her fun somehow, especially with the gloomy weather that has come to live here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio.

Shameless plug I know. I have absolutely no scruples.

Click on that link right now!

I can tell right now that it is gonna be an I Don’t Wanna! kind of day

I didn’t wanna get up.
I didn’t wanna take a walk this morning.
I didn’t wanna actually clean the bathroom.
I don’t wanna take the time to clean anything else today.
I don’t wanna do my bible study.
I don’t wanna work on my website. I want it to develop itself. 
I don’t wanna eat healthy. I want cupcakes all day.


And last, but certainly not least.

Welcome Home Matt Wilhoit!!!

Thank you for your service in Afghanistan these many months.

Matt is the son of my college roomie, and dearest friend, Susan. She who pointed me towards a life of organization when she looked at me, the first day that we lived together and said…

You WILL keep your side of the room neat. I cannot function in clutter.

I was afraid of her then. I did as she told me.

Many of us have been praying for Matt during his deployment as well as all the other Marines deployed with him. For their safety both physical and psychological.

I will admit that sometimes I am a prayer slacker. I hate that about myself. But I knew that I wanted to be consistent and faithful in praying for Matt. And so I asked the Lord to help me with this.

Just a word on that, be careful what you ask the Lord for. He ALWAYS answers your prayers, just not always in the way that you THINK he is going to.

I didn’t really get the pattern at first. I began to wake up regularly at 2:30a. I AM over 50 so sometimes I do wake up for, ummmmm, physical reasons. But not every night. That is until right around the time that Matt deployed. Then it was every night. Every night at 2:30a. And we all know how much I value my sleep!

And every time I woke up at 2:30a Matt was the first thing that popped into my head. Every single time. So I would spend a bit of time praying at 2:30a for Matt and his unit. But it took me a while before I actually saw the pattern.


I get it Lord. THIS is when I am going to be praying specifically for Matt. And I did.

Every night like clock work at 2:30a. Or should I say every morning.

That is until last week when…..I slept through the night.

And that was the day when I got an email from Susan telling me that Matt was out of harms way.

Don’t you just love the way the Lord works.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Don’t Just Know How To Bake A Cake

I attended a business/investor meeting with HHBL last night. HHBL thought that this particular meeting might be interesting for me as they were talking about a number of medical issues and investments and you know, there is that whole Debbie has a BSN thing. Actually I thought it might be interesting.

But going to the meeting meant that I was the only Domestic Engineer in a room full of businessmen and entrepreneurs and men in suits and I was as out of place as an Occupy Wall Street protestor in a room full of gainfully employed adults.

This is how the evening went.

Run into the Country Club out of the pouring rain.

Try to quickly drip dry.

They didn’t have a name tag for me so the lovely young girl who was running the registration table printed me out a stick on label. Now we KNOW, if it wasn’t already apparent, that I am a guest.

Mingle, mingle, mingle. Get introduced as the little woman. HHBL doesn’t really say that. Try to make intelligent small talk. Hmmm. Hmmmm. Really? Hmmmm. Yes, I see.

I. Need. A. Drink.

$7 glass of mediocre Pinot Grigio purchased. The entire bottle from which the glass was poured most likely cost $10. Grrrrrrrrr.

Grab some appetizers. Spoon a large mound of nice, garlicky, Greek olive tapenade onto my plate along with lovely crisp pita chips. Sit at the table and make LOUD crunching noises while the head of the investment group makes the introductions. I now REEK of garlic and need a breath mint or twenty.

I cannot get wifi therefore I cannot tweet.

You know, after consuming half this glass of wine it isn’t all that bad and the world has a rosy glow. Must slow down on the wine.

Need more appetizers. Badly.

Speaker one is done. I knew about this company so paid attention but not all that closely.

Speaker two is up and talking about the product. And talking. And talking. And talking.

And I am taking notes actually because this is interesting. Very interesting. And the brain cells are firing on most of their cylinders. And he is talking and showing slides. And I am thinking.

And then it is time for questions. Questions. Answers. Questions. Answers. Questions. Answers. No one is throwing the guy a curve ball.

And then the Domestic Engineer raises her hand (that would be me)

Me: The mucous membranes of the duodenum can be thought of as delicate. Have you had any instances of irritation of the duodenal lining at the distal end of the device?

Presenter: Ummmmmmmmmmm. Yes.

He didn’t necessarily want to answer the question. It wasn’t in the scripted plan. And the businessmen/entrepreneurs/suits…….

Did the housewife just ask that question?

Why yes I did.


Score one for the Domestic Engineer.

I don’t just spend my day baking cakes you know.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stream of Thought. Otherwise Known as I Have Nothing Really To Say.

It is Wednesday.

It is gloomy and rainy.

I have absolutely nothing to write about. the screen is blank except for this drivel.

I have writers block and I am not even a writer. Maybe yesterday’s long post sucked all the blogginess right out of me.

I need more coffee in a really bad way.

I have a “to do” list that is a mile long and none of it is going to get “too done” today.

I had lunch at McDonald’s today. And I am ashamed that I gave in. But it was only a chicken snack wrap, small fries and a small Coke (regular NOT diet).

I am restless and unable to finish a project. Unlike yesterday where I was a project finishing whirlwind.

And I am going to a meeting tonight where I can’t take my knitting. Rats. My knitting helps me concentrate on what others are saying, it keeps my hands busy. But crazy as it seems to me, sometimes others interpret knitting as not paying attention……they are not knitters.

My desk is a mess.

I bought post-it notes this week. I do not need any post-it notes. I have enough post-it notes to last me…….FOREVER. But they were on sale and they spoke to me and I could not resist.

I still haven’t vacuumed upstairs this week.

Or cleaned the bathroom.

Or washed the kitchen floor.

Oh heck, who needs to wash the kitchen floor. The dog licks it clean for me.

My sweater is all stretched out of shape and needs to be washed and reblocked and that is a pain.

For a while there this afternoon my phone wasn’t receiving txt messages or calls. A short panicky time ensued.

I am obsessed with making Box Bags. More on that later.

I KNEW I was going to need that bag of zippers that I cleaned out earlier in the year!

I forgot to put bird seed in the feeders….for a week…..and the birds have all deserted me.

I made chocolate cupcakes yesterday and they are taunting me.

I am done now.

And I am sure that all of you are thanking your lucky stars for that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Time Has Come To Say Goodbye…For a Bit

Yes, the time has come to say good bye to the garden for the year. Or almost at least.

Since yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. Totally blue sky. A bit chilly but not too bad. A bit windy. LookLeap and I knew that we had to use the sunny weather given to us and get out to the garden. There won’t be too many more days like yesterday.


We still have some crops that are growing. The cauliflower has been S.L.O.W. in forming heads of any kind and it is now a race to see how much growth we will still have. The lettuce is going great, in fact we have some lettuce that is still alive in one of the compost piles. We pick those leaves too. The carrots are small and we have had a few that have rotted do to the damp. But they are growing. There is also spinach that is growing but not too well. I didn’t take a picture of that.


The zinnias have given their last flowers. We will definitely plant them again. The cosmos are still looking good. The marigolds are growing strong so we have left them until the frost kills them off. They are so happy. Most of the sunflowers have withered and their seeds have been picked out by the ever voracious birds. We do have some flower heads that still have seeds and we need to get back out there to protect them.

Dang birds.


The basil has given us their last leaves so all dozen plants are gone. There is still discussion over whether we will have a few less plants next year. My guess is that we will go with just 9 plants. A dozen, when they were in full production, were almost more than we could handle. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our pesto pots.


Oh the Brussels sprouts. They were such a disappointment. For some reason the stalks formed heads and then the heads all seemed to flower. We decided just to “deep six” them and try again next year. I will be doing some “Brussels sprouts” research over the winter and we will be trying a different variety that is for sure.


This is NOT our plot thank goodness. See all the standing water? This was our plot last year and all that water is why we moved across the grass aisle where the drainage was much better. Phil and his wife took over our plots. They tried as best that they could to overcome the drainage issues with raised beds and the most amazing drip irrigation system. But the water won in the end. Phil we know JUST how you feel. So they are in the midst of abandoning these plots and prepping better plots on our side of the aisle.


Once all the plants had been cleaned out LookLeap and I spent time hauling lovely well composted manure into the garden. The parks department has been great in providing a steady flow of leaf compost and manure all growing season. We have hauled our fair share.

Oh those lovely, perfectly (down to the half inch) measured beds. And the paths so nice and generally weed free.

OCD gardeners? I don’t know what you mean? Just because we have to WIN WIN WIN. Not that there even was a contest but if there were………..

The manure pile is just outside the garden fencing. And that is also where everyone is currently dumping their garden refuse which will be hauled off to be chopped up and composted for next year. And every time I went by that ever growing pile on my way to the manure I would see little glimmers of red and green. The last small peppers and green tomatoes on peoples plants that they hadn’t bothered to harvest.


Look at all of the stuff that I harvested from discarded vines and plants!! Those peppers are small and I am guessing hot. There are definitely enough green tomatoes for a least one batch of Green Tomato Bread.

And now the big garden news……


We are expanding.

We have taken on another plot next to ours. The man that had the plot this year is not returning. We asked if he was and said that if he wasn’t could we have the plot and in exchange we would do all the clean up and prep work. The message that came down from on high was yes. I forgot to take a picture of the plot AFTER we were done yesterday. We cleaned out all the corn stalks, raked back all the dead grass and weeds, pulled anything that was green and now are hoping that it will dry out a bit. This will next year be our “vining plants” section. Or at least that is the plan.

My rudimentary math tells me that we will have 300 sq ft of garden space in production next year. Is that enough……. The garden bylaws say that we could EACH have three plots.

But that might be overkill.

The Crossing of the Hoes

The Crossing of the Hoes

And now, with a formal crossing of the hoes, we bid the garden adieu.

Is it too early to order seed catalogs?

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 137)

 Here it is Friday again. Where does the time go? Remember that after you read and study my witty and pithy Quick Takes you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the leaves falling in great drifts in my yard, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is doing.

Now on with the show

1. Let’s do a Max the Wonder Dog update. After consultation with the estimable Dr. Jeremy we have decided that for the moment we are just going to put Max on a daily dose of steroids. We will wean him down to the lowest dose that still holds the snotty nose at bay. And that will be forever.

He was better after 24 hours on the medication. If it keeps up then I can live with this. There really wasn’t any other option. Well, there was the whole scans of his head and anesthesia and putting a scope up there and seeing what might be going on.

We are holding off on that right now. We have to be able to pay for food.

And Max has asked to now be referred to as Maxwell Schwarzequigger. I put that up on Facebook and we then had a rousing discussion about possible names.

My favorite was “The Doginator”
2. I managed this week to finish trimming back all the bushes without cutting through another electrical cord.

I think that is a major accomplishment in life.

But after last weeks little extension cord debacle I heard from a number of people who have done the same thing. So now I don’t feel so alone in the world of extension cord destruction.
Well the lovely Fall weather has gone away. Rain, our constant friend here at Chez Knit, has returned and plans to stay for a while according the the weatherperson on the TV. As if her gift of 50+ inches of liquid sunshine this summer wasn’t enough.

The problem with rain in the Fall is that it makes falling leaf situation a bit more difficult. Wet leaves are so much harder to blow off the lawn than dry ones. And we do have so very many leaves.
4. I am trying not to panic. It is the middle of October. The “holidays” are fast approaching. I have so much to do. How am I going to get it all done.

This is sort of how I feel some days.
This is not in any way an endorsement of Fed Ex. Although, with the way I feel about UPS at the moment I am much more likely to use Fed Ex to ship something.
5. Still totally obsessed with Pinterest. I will never have enough hours in my life to make and photograph and bake and cook all the things that I have “pinned”.

But a girl can dream can’t she?

And in that vein I think I am going to try to make one of these over the weekend. I have so many other things to do but I just must make this. 
box bag
If you click on the picture it will take you right over to One Shabby Chick. Her tutorial is the best I have seen so far and I have looked at a bunch. The picture is hers too, I did not take this one. Her tutorial is for oil cloth but I am going to be using heavy duty canvas. I will let you know how it turns out.
I am going to have to do another “Google Reader” clean out. I just can’t read all the blogs that I follow. But I hate to delete any of them. However, if someone hasn’t updated their blog is three months (my arbitrary “I am leaving you” time) then I think I will have to say bye bye.


I need about 12 more hours in the day.

Or I need to stop going to bed at 10p. But we know that isn’t going to happen.
With regard to #3, I am thinking that today I need to watch a musical or something that I love. It is such a cloudy and gloomy day and I have so much to do, so many projects that need to be finished up.
I think it is going to be one of these movies but I haven’t decided which yet. The choice is making me crazy
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
The Hunt for Red October
Star Trek (the new one)
South Pacific
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
The Red Shoes

I know which one Cartoon Girl is going to tell me to watch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

International Bundles of Joy

Fillo dough. I love fillo dough.

Pot stickers. I love pot stickers.

And this recipe combines both in a symphony of international goodness and joy.

I will tell you right off the bat that I forgot to take a picture of the ingredients needed for this recipe. But if you go to the bottom and click on the link provided then you will get the entire recipe so you won’t need a picture.

But, the first thing that you will need is ground pork. And for some reason my local grocery store didn’t have any ground pork. They ALWAYS have ground pork, until I really needed it. What is a girl to do when the grocery store doesn’t have any ground pork and she needs to make a recipe?

IMG_3897BWhy if you have a nice Kitchen Aid mixer and an even nicer husband who bought a bunch of attachments for it you ground the pork yourself.

IMG_3898AIMG_3899AIMG_3900AYou can TOTALLY skip the whole grinding the meat yourself step. I would have if Heinens hadn’t utterly failed me. But I do have to say that there is something SO satisfying about stuffing meat down the little hole at the top and having it come out ground from the side.

Moving on.

IMG_3905AIMG_3910ANext you take 1 cup of finely shredded cabbage, put it in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Then you let it sit for 15 minutes, just to wilt it a bit. At the end of that time drain it, dump it into a towel and squeeze the heck out of it. Get as much water out as you can. When you have squeezed it as dry as the Sahara add it to the ground pork.

IMG_3902ANext peel and slice two nice and pungent slices of ginger. Then finely chop them and add to the ground pork.

And yes I realize that there is a hair on the ginger. I realized that it was there just after I took the picture. The ginger had, at one point, flown out of my hand and landed on the floor. AFTER I had already sliced off what I needed. I have a dog remember. I took care of it.

Then you spend time chopping up one spring onion and 1/2 cup of water chestnuts and then add them to the pork. I forgot to take a picture of that process so you will just have to imagine it or better yet do it.

And if you are REALLY lazy (like me) instead of taking the time to finely chop all those things you just run everything back through the grinder. Well it was already dirty so why not!


Then there is some salt and sugar and sesame oil to be added. Didn’t take pictures of that either. When you are all done mixing everything up, put some plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate the pork for an hour or so.

When your pork mixture is nice and chilled you need to take your fillo dough out, lay it out on the counter and QUICKLY cover it with plastic wrap AND a damp towel. This stuff dries out so fast. And once it is dried out there is no working with it.


Melt some butter. Everything is made better with the addition of butter. Do not use margarine. For this recipe it has too much water content. It has to be butter.


Take one sheet of fillo dough, lay it out and quickly brush the entire surface with melted butter. Repeat with a second layer and a third layer. Then when you lay down a fourth sheet of fillo dough DO NOT slather it with butter. Just leave it dry. When this is done then cut the fillo stack into 8 equal squares. At first I used my pizza cutter but I really think that a big and sharp knife does a better job.


Put a dollop (1/2 teaspoon) full of pork mixture on each square. Then working one square at a time brush water on all the edges of the square and then draw up all the edges to form a sort of bundle.


They should look like this. Or perhaps something a bit more artful. This is the best I have ever been able to come up with.

Then pop them into the oven. While they are baking you can whip up the Ginger Dipping Sauce that goes with the recipe.

After 20 long and anxiety filled minutes………


Try not to eat all of them in one sitting.

Click on the link below to get the recipe.

International Bundles of Joy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

28 Miles Ain’t Nothin’

Last weekend here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio was…..

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

We just do not get a ton of days where the sky is totally cloudless, there is little to no wind and the temp is 78F. They are just so rare. And we had an entire string of them. That frightens me. Is it our calm before the winter blast?

But I digress.

So HHBL and I finally got to do our little bike jaunt down The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. There was no way we were going to hang around home and do things like mow the lawn or cut back bushes!! So we loaded up the bikes in the car and away we went. We were too lazy or too eager to put the bike rack on Coco so we just shoved everything into the back and raced down the road. We parked in our usual spot, under the overpass in Valley View, hopped on the bikes and off we went.

We were so incredibly daring that we left our helmets in the car. Take THAT head injuries. You don’t scare me. I craved the feel of the wind in my hair and the freedom of the open road.


I am ready to go! In fact by the time this picture was taken I had already ridden several miles. I was filled with bikerly joy.


Hi Ho Silver and The Sissy Bike had a slight rest while the facilities were used and the map was consulted. Not that we didn’t know where we were going but it is always good to have a map along.


A picture perfect day for a bike ride.

But don’t let this picture fool you. There were very few times during the course of the ride where we had the path all to ourselves. There were others. Many others. In groups. In pairs. In packs. Singletons.

People walking their dogs on leashes.
People walking their children leashes.
People running with their children in those little runner strollers.
People riding bikes that they have rented. Slow and steady.
Boy scouts, heavily ladened with camping gear.

A word about the boy scouts. The Scout masters were striding along. The Scouts were dragging. And as I zipped past the last scout in the line he gave me a beseeching look and rolled his eyes as if to say…

Help Me. I don’t want to be here. I want to be home eating chips and playing video games. Take me with you!

I deduced all of that as I raced by at 12 mph. I am good with those kinds of deductions.


The path runs beside the Ohio and Erie canal. Parts of it still have water in it. Parts are sort of stagnant. And parts, like this lock, are dry. Really The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath is one of the best parts about outdoor activities in the Cleveland area. A wonderful resource, along with the Cleveland Metroparks for all things outdoor.

Often times you will have the canal on one side and the Cuyahoga River on the other. There are Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, beavers (I wrote Biebers at first. I don’t think so), and various rodents.


Of course we had to stop at our favorite place for lunch.


They have seriously good wings. But I didn’t think that a plate of 911 wings would help me ride the rest of the path. In fact, I have never been able to eat more than one 911 wing. It is an experience that is not to be missed. I had numb lips for hours.


Instead I had this. Oh and they were so good. So, so good. So, so filling. So, so heavy…….


When we went in for lunch this place had a few bikes but it definitely wasn’t full. When we came out 45 minutes later it was a mad house. There was pushing and pulling and jockeying for position and bike placement.

OK, not quite that bad. But it was like the Wally Mart parking lot on a Saturday afternoon with people circling and circling waiting for just the right parking spot. Some people just gave up and parked wherever they wanted.

So after lunch it was back on Hi Ho Silver for the last 10 miles or so…..

And I was doing fine…..

Until about mile 25. When I hit a wall.

And I wanted to crawl.

And I fell behind a bit.

And I whimpered a lot.

And I cried for my momma.

But I finally made it to the North Akron station where I knew that salvation, in the form of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, would be waiting for me. For a mere $3/person HHBL and I could ride the train almost all the way back to our car. It is one of the best deals around. You wait at the station, they load your bike onto the “bike car”, you get in the “bikers car”, you hand the attendant $3, you find a seat and ride until you get to your station. Sweet!

Or it would have been if the train had been on time.


The train is an hour late thankyouverymuch.

It was a gorgeous day and we were not the only ones who had the idea to bike the Towpath or ride on the train. The station was overflowing with bikes and riders and families and Red Hat ladies and tour groups.


Hey Honey? While we are waiting let’s let the children play on the tracks.

And as the minutes ticked by HHBL came to the realization that he could get on his bike and ride the 27 miles back and probably get to the Rockside Rd. station before the train.

HHBL: Do you think that sounds like a good plan oh Love of My Life (that would be me).

Me: So you mean that you would get on your bike and ride back north and leave me to ride the train alone.

HHBL: Yes…..

Me: That would make me very unhappy.

HHBL: Ahhhhhh. So I shouldn’t do that?

Me: No. It would make me VERY unhappy.

HHBL: Ummmmm. Well I guess I won’t then.

Finally, when all hope had almost been lost, the train arrived.


We got on. We paid our money. We found a seat. We sat down. We fell asleep. We rode the train….very…..slowly…..back…..North…..stopping….at…..every……station…..where……there…..were….many…..people.

Yes, HHBL would definitely have made it back to Rockside Rd. long before the train.

But it still would have made me very unhappy.

And I didn’t want to be unhappy after such a wonderful ride.

Oh, we stopped for ice cream on the way home. But I didn’t take a picture of that because I was too busy eating.