Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 147)


For the LOVE of Peter, Paul and Mary it is my last 7 Quick Takes of 2011. How did this happen? Where did the time go? Yes I know that there is one more Friday in the year but #7 will explain.

You know the rules. After you are done being absorbed into the collective reading my blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of fast approaching 2012, over to Conversion Diary to take a look at what others are doing.

And now on with the blather.

I have assimilated Shoe Queen into the Barnes and Noble Nook collective.

Have I ever mentioned that I have a Nook. Specifically a Nook Classic. HHBL gave it to me the Christmas that they first came out. Aragorn and I have gone many places together and been very happy. But there comes a time in every relationship when things change. And that time had come for A and I.

Because, you see, there is a new toy on the block. Mr. Wonderful aka the iPad. And Aragorn wasn’t getting the use that he had in the past because Mr. Wonderful has the Nook App downloaded. But what to do with Aragorn? He still had life in him. But Barnes and Noble is soon to cast off all the Nook Classics into unsupported oblivion.

Ah, but there was a special this week. Turn in your old Nook Classic, purchase any of the three  current Nooks (Simple Reader, Color or Tablet) and get a $50 B&N gift card. And it just so happened that Shoe Queen was very interested in an ereader. So I made a deal with her. I gave her her birthday money (she will be 21 next month!!), she put that towards a Nook Color…..

And I pocketed the gift card. Nice deal.

We have seen very little of her since she got Mr. Nook powered up.

And I have spent a chunk of the gift card.

I am going to confess…….

I have yet to do our Christmas card/letter/whatever.


I think that by now I am just going to have to figure that I will be a trend setter and make it a “New Years Greeting” letter.

Cuz it so isn’t going to get done before Christmas that is for sure.


I KNOW that I said that I would never go to another midnight showing of a movie.

I might have been lying just a bit about that. I would think that there is a pretty good chance that I will be seeing this one at midnight.

I am declaring next month as “Totally selfish knitting and reading” month.

It totally works with the fact that when January arrives I just sort of lose my mojo big time. That may be because I am so busy in December. I can’t just slack off totally because I do have to work.

But I bet I can get a lot of knitting and reading done in between.

Oh after the holidays are over it is going to be tough around here at Chez Knit.

There is going to be crabbiness.

There are going to be headaches.

There is going to be moaning and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Why you ask?

Because we will be doing the annual “cleaning out of all sweets and junk food”. All those lovely little (and large) containers of holiday goodies that people have given to us or I have made. And those sweet nuggets of goodness.

And because all of that stuff will be going bye bye that means that I will be wandering around every afternoon looking for something to eat that isn’t fruit.

It isn’t going to be pretty but it must be done.

TMO and TSiL arrive some time today.


But we will be without Cartoon Girl this year as she has to work the day before and the day after Christmas.


However, Cartoon Girl had the brilliant idea that we could all be on Skype together when we are opening the presents that she sent.

As Freeman, my Amish carpenter, would say.

Yah, we can do dat. (you have to say that with an Amish accent to get the full effect).

I am taking my planned annual blogging break next week. Unlike my unplanned semi-break this week. I really didn’t have that much of an excuse other than I was just lazy.

So sue me.

At any rate, I will be back on January 2 with a review of 2011 and all the boring and semi-boring things I did.

There might be pictures.

There might be blather.

Be prepared.


And until then have a Very Merry Christmas, and for Bonnie, Norma and Amy a Very Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Birdies, birdies, birdies.

I love birdies.

Not all of my children do. One in particular is not all that fond of them.

image_13_2_2009-63(rev 0)

But I digress. And I am going to be dead as a doornail when she sees this.

Let’s take a look at some of the birdies that have been visiting the feeders. I have been sitting in front of the back windows way too much recently. Other things aren’t getting done. But who cares. I have pictures of the birds and that is all that matters right?




The Bluebirds of Happiness have been absent the last few days.


What are you lookin’ at!


You know, I might need to think about washing this particular window more often.


Bird butts!!!


Tufted Titmouse. And yes I giggle like a Jr. Hi. boy every time I say that name. So sue me.




Mmmmmmmm. I love these seeds. CrunchCrunchCrunch


Hello? Can I get another basket of seeds for the table please.


I was deeply into finding the perfect shot of squirrel toes never knowing that I was actually shooting squirrel porn.

I hang my head in shame.

Moving on. Nothing to see here.

I have something very special for the birdies on Christmas say.


Remember these from the garden this summer?


Well, we were able to harvest them before the birds were able to get to them.


There was a fairly good yield. And let me just say that harvesting sunflower seeds from their rather tight resting place was not for the faint of heart or tender of fingers.

I’m just sayin’

So Christmas morning I will be adding these to the feeder on the back deck to give my birdies an extra special Christmas treat. I know they will appreciate it.


Hello?? What about me? My family? My in-laws? Hello?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If You Are Going To Do Something, Do It Well.

At Christmas time I pull out all the Christmas linens. The table cloths. The napkins.


These are some of my favorite. They have bears on them. They make me happy.



Wait a minute.

Something seems to be wrong with the napkin.


This piece of napkin really won’t do much at the dinner table.


Well I am certainly not going to be looking for the missing portion of the napkin that is for sure.


I am so sleepy


All that roughage


I think I need a na……..


Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 146)


How the time doth fly! How the blather doth pile up. Remember the rules. Read, digest, comment on and generally take in my blather. Then click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Santa’s reindeer, over to Conversion Diary.

Blatherty Blather McBlatherson

What a week!  Tonight is the last “party” of the season here at Chez Knit and it is really just 4 other couples that we get together with regularly. It will be relaxing. We will laugh. I am not doing all the cooking. It is sort of my reward for all of the other partying that has gone on around here.

And there will be lasagna.

And there will also be Rosemary Infused Baguettes.

Also a glass of wine or two.

I can hardly wait.

I believe that I have accomplished all the Christmas shopping. Well all except for some stocking stuffers.

One of these days I am going to do a brain dump about our philosophy on Christmas presents here at Chez Knit and how it has evolved since the progeny were little. That might be a soap box post and I will leave it for another day.

I will say that there have been years when I was still shopping the day before Christmas and that is such a stress increaser for me. It is so much nicer to have everything done at least a week before hand. Then I am not so crazed.

Or at least more crazed than I usually am.

I went to an ornament exchange at a friend’s house last night. I knew you wanted to know this.

My sister of the heart, Dottie. She is standing to my left. In fact everyone in this picture was there last night just as an aside.

But I digress.

I love Dottie. Love. Love. Love. She designed my kitchen. We commiserated together during our “Summer Horribilus” when her hubby had a heart attack and HHBL had the broken ankle/cast for weeks/multiple blood clots in the lung incident. And she is my employer. But best of all she is my friend.

And I had such a good time last night that, even though I had brought the camera with me, I didn’t take a single picture. I was laughing too hard and eating too much and talking loudly with people I don’t see very often and with people I see all the time.

It. Was. Fabulous.

AND I got to see Tracy who reads the blog but whom I never see anymore. HI TRACY!!!

Oh and I won a chocolate Santa. Not one of those hollow ones. Oh no, this is a SOLID chocolate Santa that weighs a boat load. I might as well apply it directly to my hips.

AND AND I brought home a Snow Woman for the mantle piece. Of course I stole it. How long have you been hanging around here!! That makes it all the sweeter. And all the Snow Men are very happy with me cuz now there is a woman there.


Look! The Bluebirds of Happiness are here at Chez Knit. There will be a longer post about the birds later, maybe next week. You knew it had to happen since I seem to be obsessed with them. I have seen the Bluebirds flitting around the neighborhood but they have never hung around here. However, I put a suet feeder out this year and they REALLY seem to like that. At one point this morning there were four of them waiting their turn to peck at the seeds in the suet.

I have pictures. 

Now if I can just get a good picture of the Pileated Woodpecker.

Our church, Christ Community Chapel, has a Christmas tradition that I just love. We call it the “You’ve Been Gifted” campaign. I am not sure when we started doing this but everyone looks forward to it.

During the Christmas season we blanket the area with 10,000 acts of random “giftingness”. There are cards that are printed out that you can give when you gift someone. You could buy someone in line a cup of coffee, or a tank of gas, or an entire cart of groceries. You could do something nice for someone. Whatever the Lord presents for you. And on Sundays Pastor Joe tells us about one or two of the stories that come back to him through the emails that people send. Amazing.

I had been looking for my opportunity to use my one card. Waiting for it, knowing that the Lord would show me. Well this past Monday I bought a man some much needed diapers for his son. The man didn’t know me. I am sure that I will never see him again. I wasn’t even sure that I got the right size diapers. But when I handed him the box you would have thought that I was handing over a pot of gold.

It just made my day. Which isn’t really the point of the “You've Been Gifted” program but just a side benefit.

I am telling you now, come the first of the year, or after Shoe Queen goes back to school, we are having a “purging of all sweets and bad things from Chez Knit”. There are cookies here and candy and sweets of various types and cake and all manner of other temptations.

They must go.

And then HHBL and I will be very grumpy for a time because we will be coming down off our weeks long sugar high. It will not be pretty but it will be very necessary. Otherwise I am going to have to buy all new clothes to cover my holiday jiggle.

And because it is my favorite scene in a movie that is full of my favorite movie scenes.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


I will admit it. I love all the " end of the year" specials and retrospectives.

I would tell you that I hang my head in shame but I would be lying. Lying big time.

Case in point, I just spent part of the afternoon watching the Barbara Walters Most Interesting People of e Year special that I had recorded last night. Come on you know you love it! 

I live for the NY Times Magazine "The Lives They Lived" that will show up in about two weeks. I pour over it. Of course I spend more than my fair share of time reading the NY Times obits but that is another story entirely.

Hmmmmm, I might have wandered off course for a moment. Where was I?

And all the holiday movies, both classics and made for TV. Be still my beating heart. I have already watched "White Christmas" at least once. Who wouldn't love a movie where people break into song at the thought of snow in Vermont. I also have a particular fondness for the schmaltzy movies on Hallmark Channel that show up this time of year. And then there is "Come to The Stable" which no one seems to know about. It has snow and nuns driving jeeps and music. What could be better.

Of course we will be indulging in the 24 hours of "A Christmas Story". It just wouldn't be Christmas without being able to quote all our favorite lines.

It's a CLINKER!!!!!!!!!!!

Just call me the chief sap of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Ornament a Day

I have to share one of my Christmas traditions with you. I just must. I thought I had already done this but I can’t find a post on it anywhere so if I am repeating myself….

Well you still have to read the post. You love me.

Many long years ago, 1981 to be exact, I was a poor nursing student slogging my way through blood and guts and gore.

Or not. They don’t usually let nursing students anywhere NEAR blood and guts and gore. But remind me some time to tell you about how I earned an instant A+ on my Senior nursing project. Deb Does Neurosurgery.

Where was I?

So, one day I come back from whatever it is that nursing students do all day and there was a package waiting for me. A package from Grandma Amsler. SWEET! I was the only granddaughter (always was!!!) and that afforded me certain extra privileges.

It is good to be number one and only.

I opened up the package and pulled out a rolled up piece of what looked like burlap with gold tassels sticking out the ends.



I unrolled it to find….


A felt Christmas tree sewed to the burlap and covered with gold ric rac and little hooks. There was also another package inside and a note from Grandma Amsler. In the note she explained that this was an Advent Calendar for me. Now I was confused for a minute (or more) because for an advent calendar to work you need to start on Dec 1 and go to Dec 24. This was mid-November and I was going to be back home for Christmas break long before Dec. 24 rolled around.

Never fear, Grandma had it all figured out. She had found out from Mimi what day I would be arriving home. She had counted back 24 days from that date and the letter informed me that this was the day that I should start putting ornaments on the tree.

Clever Grandma Amsler.

And the ornaments!!!


There were a number of ones that Grandma had knitted or crocheted.


There were felt ornaments. I still think that making the skate blades out of paper clips is one of the cleverest things!


This had cloves in it and it smelled fabulous. Technically it still has cloves in it but the smell is long gone.


Of course there had to be at least one of Grandma’s signature wheat weaving ornaments. These things still fascinate me.


A clever use of postage stamps. I am amazed that these things are still stuck together.


Several star ornaments that she had crocheted. You cannot believe how delicate the stitches on these are. And I sure wish I knew what she used to stiffen them.


A clothes pin reindeer!!!


Hmmmm, well he was OK when he arrived but time does wear on some ornaments.



And Grandma even put in one of her special bells that her sister, Margaret, brought back from Siam in the 1930’s. This is my favorite of all.


Every year since the first I have continued the tradition of hanging up my advent calendar. Grandma never meant for it to be a permanent thing, she was very surprised when I told her years ago that I still had it. She was pleased I could tell.

I remember how much it made me feel the presence and love of home.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Cannot Be Trusted With Even Small Numbers

Saturday night was the company Christmas party here at Chez Knit. A rollicking time was had by all.

Or at least that is what they TOLD me. I am sticking with it.

The appetizers were all ready.

The punch was made. The wine was chilled. The Christmas music was playing softly. The table was set. All was ready.

Everyone arrived safe and sound and the party started. I had planned to have appetizers for about an hour and then sit down to dinner before moving on to our Annual Company White Elephant Gift Exchange. Sounds good.

There was a slight glitch when I realized that the chicken wasn’t cooking as fast as I needed it to so I just turned the temp of the oven up and hoped for the best.

Mingle, mingle, mingle. Chat, chat, chat. Nosh, nosh, nosh. Almost time for dinner.

And it was at that point that I made the fateful and ultimately face saving decision. Because heaven forbid I look like an idiot.


I asked Yvonne to do a final head count for me. It really wasn’t necessary. I knew how many should be there because Evite had told me how many had responded. The table was set for eleven people just like Evite had told me. And why would Evite lie to me.

Hey Deb, I did the count and there are, including HHBL and yourself, thirteen people.

Ummmmmm, Yvonne did you say THIRTEEN people? You are sure it isn’t eleven people like Evite told me there would be?

No, there are thirteen.

Thirteen people?? How could this be? I know that there weren’t any uninvited hangers on who just showed up.

Look at the people in the family room. Look at the table in the dining room. Look at the people. Look at the table.

And then it struck me. Yes, there were eleven GUESTS here. But I had neglected to add HHBL or myself to the count.

***insert LARGE dope slap right here***

And there in lay a problem because, you see, we can seat up to twelve at the dining room table if we put two people at each end. But we cannot seat thirteen.


Quick as a wink I zoomed to the basement and grabbed the folding card table and brought it quietly upstairs. Thank goodness I didn’t need to use the chairs that go with the card table. They are really grody.

I ignored the cobwebs on the underside, slapped that baby down at the end of the table by the kitchen, threw a sort of matching table cloth on it and had MaryJayne help me rearrange place settings and move chairs.

And no one knew the difference. Or at least they didn’t say anything about it.

Other than the fact that there were three of us sitting at a card table at the end of the big table. Slightly lower. Slightly wobbly. Sort of child like. I almost got a glass of milk just to make the picture complete.

Obviously I cannot be trusted with even small numbers when giving a dinner party.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 145)


Tick, tick, tick, tick. The days just fly by and the to do list just never gets done.

And yet here we all are ready to dive into the weekly blather. So remember, after you have dissected and digested my witty banter click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of fast approaching Christmas, over to Conversion Diary to see the rest.

Now on to the blather.

One big party down. Our Flocks (small group bible study) group is here tonight.

And then the company Christmas party is here tomorrow night.

After that there is just one more group here for dinner and that isn’t until the 16th.

I hope my poor body lasts.

My poor, ever expanding body.

Cookies, Cinnamon Raisin scones, appetizers, wine, meat, CHOCOLATE, cheese, BUTTER, sugar. These seem to be my only food groups for the month of December.

Yes, thank you to who ever brought me that little “sleeve” of Frango Mints. Did you know that those are my ABSOLUTE favorite chocolates in the whole wide world. I did grow up in the Chicago area after all, at a time when the only place that you could get Frango mints was at Marshall Fields. Melt. In. Your. Mouth.

Well, we finally have a bit of snow overnight, just 1/2 an inch maybe. Much better than last year when we had 20+ inches fall with a Winter Storm Warning for days.

In the immortal words of Mitch Jayne, “Just a skiff of snow with everything outside slicker ‘n deer guts on a door knob”.

But our so far mild winter just makes me nervous. Very nervous. When will the snow really come. Because you know it will come.

This is the Frozen Northeast Ohio after all.

Can I tell you how much I love my job. I love it. I do. I love taking architectural pictures. Low stress. Looking for the little details. Looking at the fabulous kitchens.

And I do mean fabulous. Cabinets to die for. Acres of gleaming granite countertops. The occasional built in beer tap or butler’s pantry to covet. And then there are the lovely people who let me invade their space and take pictures.

With the added benefit that I am getting to drive into some of my favorite areas in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. I have been to Gates Mills more in the last month than I was in the 10 years previous. Thank goodness there hasn’t been any snow cuz some of these houses are not reachable without 4 wheel drive in bad weather!


And then there is the occasional dog who poses for a picture or two.

I love The Welcome Home blog. I look for new videos all the time.

Have kleenex ready is all I am saying.

LOTS of kleenex.

I continue to be totally in love with Pinterest. What did I do before it came into my life.

This time of year I begin to struggle with dry hands and heels. There are things in all our lives that can totally disturb our day. For me it is if my hands and heels are dry. The heels especially.

Having skraggy heels just gives me the skeeves.

But no more. Because of Pinterest I have found the best “recipe” for hand/foot cream. My hands and feet are SO happy. And cream only has three easy ingredients that I got at Wally Mart.

You must make this! Homemade Hand Cream

Because I have so much to do these days I am fulfilling my addiction to audiobooks.

Poor HHBL never knows if I hear him when he is talking to me because I often times have my earbuds in. I just get more done when I can have an audiobook to keep me company.

And my favorite for the last several weeks…..P.G. Wodehouse.

Well PGW has been a favorite for a long time I must confess. I do not believe that there is another writer who can be equaled in droll, side splittingly funny, urbane humor. HHBL keeps asking what I am chuckling about but it is just too difficult to explain.

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry do a pretty good job of it I must say.

I might have mentioned before that I love marching bands.


So let us end with a stellar performance by the WVU (West Virginia U) Marching Band and their salute to our armed forces.

This was serious work. And it is fabulous.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You Tube I Love You

It is Christmas Time. I have a boat load of stuff to do.

I have work pictures to edit.

I have two parties this weekend to get ready for.

I have basic house stuff that needs to get done.

So what am I REALLY doing?

Why I am wandering down memory lane watching old music videos that I am sure I watched on MTV long before they went down the rabbit hole.

Just a word, some of these videos may not play here because they make you go over to YouTube to watch them so someone gets a paycheck (probably a lawyer).

Do it, you know you want to.

Who could ever forget Bad English and “The Price of Love”. Oh the 1980’s and the big hair. Bad English didn’t last long but John Waite is still around.

And there was Squeeze with “Tempted”. I listened to this one CONSTANTLY at one point.

And then……

I found them.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Oh ELP how I loved you. I listened to you hour upon hour upon hour. But can I just say that Keith Emerson’s posture is TERRIBLE! Now back to the trip down memory lane.

Sitting in Papa’s office in the leather chair with the sound cranked. How did Mimi stand it in the days before portable music devices AND before I owned my own stereo system. Of course, I did use the headphones at times.


My guess is that I am listening to ELP in this picture. Just a guess. Of course Grandpa’s jacket is as loud as the music.

But I digress.

Ah the Monkees. They weren’t really very good but how could you resist them. This video has 54,562 views….and about 4K of them are mine.

I can’t seem to stop myself!

I love this song! But I have to confess that tooth of his drives me crazy. It looks like it is trying to make a break for it.

And finally,

Because you knew I would,

The Dillards playing “Dooley”. Of course I hear this one all the time because it is my cell phone ringtone.

No one ever said I had good taste.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Buffet Is Closed

It is a good day. A satisfying day.

A “squirrels can’t get on the feeder” day.


Ah the morning sun feels lovely. Just the kind of day to visit the rooftop buffet I am thinking.

Hello? What is this? Who locked the access door to the rooftop buffet?


Dang it! I am going to have to go and talk to the management about this.


Hello? Hello!!! Is anyone in there who can help me? The buffet seems to be closed.


Hellooooooooooo? Anyone? Anyone?


This is really a poorly run establishment if they don’t even have anyone behind the glass to answer my questions!


Where could they be?


Well this is just ridiculous! I am never bringing MY business back here if this is how they treat long time customers.

In the immortal words of Vernon Dursley…….Justice!