Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 245)


Well, here we are again. Polar Vortex be damned! Remember, when you are done wrapping up in a warm, fleecey layer of blather, you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Max doing his business on a morning when the temperature hovers in the low OH MY GOSH IT’S COLD range, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather conquers Polar Vortex any day.

Yeah, the whole Polar Vortex thing.

Not loving it.

Especially not loving it when I have to walk Max the Magnificent when it is –14F. By the time that I am actually ready to go out I feel just like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story.

I can’t move my arms!!!


Alpha, it is very difficult to “do my business” when the snow is up to my belly. And it seems impolite to deposit my deposit in the street.

Spring cannot arrive soon enough for me…..and for Max.

One of the things that I thought/feared that I would miss when moving from OCK was my heated garage. I think I have said before that it is the height of car luxury to walk out into a garage that is warmer than the really cold winter air. We never kept that garage at more than 40F, even in the deepest part of winter. But when it is 0F outside Coco the Subaru really likes not having to deal with the cold temperatures.

Well, my fears have all come to naught. The garage here at Chez Knit, even though unheated, stays “warm” in the coldest weather. This week we saw temps of –14F at one point. That is nose hair freezing temps. And yet, even at that temp the garage never dipped down below 35F. We surmise that this is because the walls of the garage are all “interior”. One side shares a common wall with our bedroom. One wall is a shared wall with the neighbor’s garage. One wall is shared by our laundry room and the neighbor’s laundry room.

All I can say is YEAH!

I always loved snow days when the progeny were still resident at Chez Knit. There was something just so cozy about being able to go upstairs and tell them that they didn’t need to get up because school had so very wisely called off the day. We could just hunker down and stay inside and not even get out of our jammies.

Of course I was already up and dressed for the day but no matter.

So on Tuesday, in honor of the fact that all the schools in the area were closed because of the temperatures….

I gave myself a snow day.

I did get dressed, because really I am just not mentally built to stay in my jammies all day. I have tried and it just makes me crazy.

BUT, after cleaning up the kitchen I gave myself permission to read for endless hours and knit for endless hours and watch Netflix…..All. Day. Long.

I was able to make a dent in my ever growing queue.

It was a lovely day.

And speaking of knitting and reading and Netflix all day. Part of what I did on Tuesday was to frog several projects that were years old but that I didn’t particularly like.

I have come to believe that if you have knit something and you don’t regularly use it, if you look at it and say, “Meh” and go on to the next thing…..that project needs to be frogged and the yarn reused.

Sometimes that isn’t possible because the yarn is just too worn and all felted together. But many times that is not the case.

Obviously I have already demonstrated that you can frog back socks that have already been long worn.

I frogged back a shawlette that I have no idea why I ever even knit. I only knit two shawlettes before realizing that I didn’t like them. If I am going to knit something that is lace then I want it to be a bit more substantial than a shawlette which doesn’t cover much.

And then there was the scarf that I frogged. This was something that I had knit back when I picked up knitting again. That would mean that it was knit sometime in 2007. And I had used it quite a bit. You might be asking yourself, “Deb, why frog back a scarf? Just give it away.” Well, I will tell you. I knit that scarf with four skeins of Noro Silk Garden. That would mean that the scarf cost me $40 to knit.

That is an expensive scarf. And I love the yarn.

So I now have 4 skeins of Noro Silk garden that are wound in balls. I will re-skein them, give them a soak, give them a dry and stretch to get the kinks out. And then re-knit something else.

It was worth the effort.

Since the weather was abysmal this week I also finished another project that I had been planning for a long time.

We needed another rug in our bathroom. Something to go in front of the sinks area. And I had so much fun doing the other t-shirt yarn rugs that I figured I would make another one for that area. I had started the process of collecting old t-shirt here and there.

And then Dad died.

During the time I spent out at TOH, Parental Unit Mimi handed me two huge bags of t-shirts that had belonged to Dad. She knew that I was needing t-shirts.

And the rug is now done, with t-shirt yarn to spare.

Dad's t-shirt rug 1

Dad's t-shirt rug 2

Making t-shirt yarn is very easy. In fact I think it is probably the “pin” of mine that is most often re-pinned on Pinterest.

I am cracking open a bottle of home brew this evening, just to see how they are doing.

I really cannot wait any longer to do this.

Just one…..

The rest will now go into the frig for some conditioning before consumption.

But I just have to try one.

Just one…….

And just to add some laughter to your day…..a cat that eats the mail.

When I was growing up we had a dog, Gretchen, who did the same thing. I am not sure that the mortgage company laughed all that much when my dad had to call them and ask for a new “mortgage receipt book” because the dog ate the other one.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Noodle is 23


A gigantic…..



Pickle, cheese and turkey filled……



my youngest progeny

Bethany Benny Noodle Bug


Too cool for school even at the age or four years old.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fractals Bustin’ Out All Over

How warm is it where you are today?

Here at Chez Knit, in the Frozen Northeast Ohio, this was the temperature when I arose this morning from my warm and toasty bed…….

2014-01-28 05.54.40

Yes, that is correct. It was –11F when I put on my boots and sweatshirt and parka and gloves and hat and took Max the Magnificent out to “do his business”.

I walked out and took a deep breath….and my nose hairs froze…..which reminded me of all the years growing up when I would go to the grocery store with Mimi the Parental Unit just so that I could wander over to the freezer section, open up one of the doors, stick my head in, take a deep breath…and feel my nose hairs freeze.

It didn’t take much to keep me happy in those days.

But I digress….and you didn’t even realize it.

SO, I have to explain that when we go to bed every night I take about 30 seconds and close the shades that are in the living room and dining room. Some of those windows look right into our bedroom. It isn’t that I think that Sylvia next door is going to sit in her windows, binoculars up to her eyes, and spy on me. It just creeps me out to have those window shades up at night. Put them down at night, put them up in the morning.

One of the things that I have noticed is that if it is very cold outside, when I put the shades up in the morning there will be frost on the windows. The frost doesn’t stay around long once the shades are put up, the heat from inside the house melts them away. But for the minute or so after they are revealed they are beautiful.

And it occurred to me last night as I was contemplating what the temperature would be this morning.


If I was prepared I might be able to get a picture or two……

Fractals Everywhere

Oh my goodness they were beautiful. Feathery fronds. And they were gone in the blink of an eye. But beautiful while they lasted.

I am trying to find something, ANYTHING, that I can call beautiful in this wintery refrigerator that I am living in. And I am actually hoping for more frigid weather tonight so I can try some more fractal photography tomorrow morning.

Like I said, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 244)


Going out of town, even for only 4 days, totally throws off the old schedule. In my mind this is not Friday. I am not sure what day my mind thinks it is but I know it is not Friday. The calendar must be wrong. You know what you need to do. When you are done covering yourself with an insulating layer of blather to keep out the cold you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my growing need for craft beer, over to Conversion Diary.

Be the blather.

One of the problems with going out of town, the backlog of emails when I get home. It isn’t that I haven’t been keeping up with and returning emails while I was gone. I had the trusty iPad with me for that. It is just that when I get home I open up my Outlook and all the emails that I have already looked at and responded to and deleted are all there again to be taken care of.

And I get a lot of emails on a daily basis.

Can you imagine what it is like when I take a trip that lasts for longer than a week? Email avalanche.

I am trying to deal with the “mini email overload” today.

I drove back, yesterday, from seeing Mimi the Parental Unit. Can I just tell you that the drive was one of the more terrifying drives I have ever done.

The first hour was just excellent. I left Wheaton around 5:30a and was flying on 88 and then 294 and then 80/94…..and then I got to Indiana. I know what the weather is like in Northwest Indiana during the winter. It is very similar to the Frozen Northeast Ohio. I had been keeping an eye on the weather for several days prior just to be sure of what might happen. And the weatherman was talking about lake effect snow and bitter cold.


So I made sure to leave early to avoid some of the lake effect. But in Indiana it was beastly. The temperature was around 2F and there was snow. Not the big flakes of snow but the little sugar snow that you see when the temperature is really cold. The stuff that swirls and impedes vision and is VERY slippery when on the roadway. Just tapping my brakes was sure to bring fishtailing.

And then there were the trucks. They were everywhere on the road and at the rest stops. I have to assume that many of the trucks that travel at night had pulled off to wait out some of the colder temps and were not getting back on the road….and going 40mph. And I was doing 40mph….and sometimes less than that. PLUS! It was so cold that my windshield wiper fluid froze and I couldn’t clean off my windshield. But I didn’t discover this until I activated my wipers and only succeeded in smearing the dirt and grime all over my windshield in such a way that I couldn’t see out of the windshield. I managed to make it to the next rest area where I was able to clean off my windshield but I had several “Carrie Underwood” moments….you know….”Jesus take the wheel”. And when I say that I am not joking.

My little house never looked so good!

For several years I have been keeping what is called a Commonplace Book. Sometimes a Commonplace book is just a vast repository of all sorts of knowledge that someone comes across during the course of a day or a life.

For me it is quotes from books that I read, or perhaps a blog that I come across. I have been writing in it for some time and there are a lot of quotes.

And I write them all out by hand.

And it sits on my desk and does me no good most of the time because I don’t have the quotes readily at hand……

So, I am seriously considering putting all the quotes and sayings and writings into some sort of database that is accessible to me when I am not actually sitting at my desk.

I know I am going to do this but the question is in what form should it be. Excel spreadsheet is what I am leaning towards but I am still not sure.


See, this is also the problem with the start of the year. I get these crazy ideas about rearranging all sorts of things in my life.

The Olympics start it just 14 days, or there abouts given the time difference.

I am looking forward to an orgy of Curling.

And just as an aside. How many of us think that this Olympic Games will make it all the way to the end without terrorists striking, or trying to strike? I don’t think I would have all that much confidence in Putin and the Russians to keep everything contained.

But I am hoping and praying that they do.

I am ready to be done with January.

January and I don’t get along.

I can’t get organized. My brain doesn’t have enough bandwidth to do anything other than simple tasks.


Winter is coming……

I have got to stop watching Game of Thrones.

The first home brew was bottled last week.

And I want to open one just to see how it is doing.

But I know I cannot. It isn’t done yet. I know that.

But I want to……..

If you are a photographer and you listen to podcasts…

You need to listen to The Candid Frame.

If I could only listen to one podcast dealing with photography it would be this one. Ibarionex Parello isn’t talking about gear and the latest tech, he is interviewing photographers and talking about craft.

I cannot do without The Candid Frame.

And Ibarionex Parello doesn’t know me from Adam but I keep hoping that some day I run into him somewhere so I can tell him how much this podcast has helped me in my journey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Workroom

Day 22 - A Workroom Floor Well Used

I have started a small photo project documenting the things in my father's world. I am not sure what I will do with the photos or even if most of them will ever see the light of day. Only time will tell.

My dad had a very well used workroom. The floor tells many tales of paint and furniture stripper and electrical work and the occasional sump pump flood. The concrete is worn smooth from 42 years of use. If something needed to be repaired or replaced or altered, it all began in the workroom.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Siren Song

I am spending a few days visiting Mimi the Parental Unit.

Do you know what I am spending the most amount of time on while I am here? Is it hanging around with Mimi, Pilot Man and The Chef?

Is it helping get some things cleaned out and done around The Old Homestead (TOH)?

No, none of that.

What I am spending a large amount of time and a great deal of my limited brain power on is........

Making sure that Max the Magnificent doesn't empty the cat's food bowl on an hourly basis.

My nephew, Austin, has a wonderful sweet lovely kitty kat named Chinese Food, ChiFoo for short. When Max and ChiFoo first met, back in November, there was some hissing on the part of ChiFoo and hope on the part of Max that ChiFoo would perhaps, maybe like him.

Hope springs eternal with Max. And is dashed on a daily basis.

ChiFoo has given absolutely no indication that she will ever love or like or even tolerate Max.

You know, maybe I should revise that. They can be in the same room together, as the above picture indicates, but ChiFoo still hisses when Max walks by. ChiFoo does sneak in a "courtesy butt sniff" when Max isn't looking but when face to face it is all hissing and I hate you.

Where was I on this ramble though dog/cat realtions?

Oh yes, the cat food.

SO, back in November when Max and ChiFoo first met, Max had absolutely no idea that down in the basement there were little nuggest of goodness in the form of a bowl of cat food just waiting for him to partake. And then my niece brought her dog, Wrigley, to TOH for the Thanksgiving holiday. Wrigley went strait to the basement, Max in tow and found the cat food and consumed everything that was in the bowl, then chased the cat all around the basement and up the stairs. After that it was pet craziness for the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday.

We won't even discuss the Great Dark Meat Turkey Caper.

And during that short span of time Max the Magnificent, who has above canine intelligence, made a note of the fact that when the cat was in residence at TOH there might......



Be cat food in the little cat bowl in the basement.

And that darn dog is SO SNEAKY. He knows that he isn't supposed to go down there and steal ChiFoo's food. I will make him lie down by me and he will be there for a time, just waiting. And when he thinks that your attention is now on something else and not on him..... he slowly gets up, looks at you, assess the situation, quietly walks to the basement stairs and descends to see if there are treats.

It doesn't matter if I tell him NO! It doesn't matter if I follow quietly downstairs and catch him in the act. He KNOWS that he isn't supposed to eat the cat food. It just doesn't matter that he is not supposed to.

The siren call of cat food treats is too strong for him to resist.

That poor cat is going to die of starvation before I get home on Thursday.


Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 243)


Here we are again, gathered around the blather table. You know what your marching orders are. After you have gathered the blather here you need to click on the link above to be whisked, at the speed of Chris Christie’s diminishing Presidential hopes, over to Conversion Diary to see what else has been going on.

Daily breaking the blather mold.

In my continuing, and currently not all that successful but still trying, effort to be as paperless as possible I have started using Evernote across the computer and all my “devices”.

I had been aware of Evernote for a while but really hadn’t done anything about exploring it’s awesomeness until Pilot Man asked if I used it. He is also “going paperless”, in the note taking and information sense only, and had just started using it.

So I downloaded the app. And I put it on my computer.

Guys, this thing is all that is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

If I add a “note” to my iPhone app, it is immediately in my iPad app. And then it shows up on my computer. I can add bits of info and notes (like the sermon notes that I take) and all sorts of things. It has already come in VERY handy when I needed a bit of information that I knew I had put in Evernote on my computer and BOOM! there it was on my iPhone.

I take a great many notes when reading and exploring topics and it is all right there.

I can feel my brain expanding even as we speak.

And the best part…….

The app was free.


I have started watching Wallander on Netflix. Have you watched this little bit of angsty, disturbing PBSishness? Oh my goodness. I made it through the first season yesterday but then I had to go and find an incredibly light and happy documentary to watch afterwards.

Good golly, will Wallander ever be happy? Will things every work out even moderately well in his personal life (his first date after divorce is a woman who is tied to people who try to ruin the banking system and bring chaos. REALLY?!?). Kenneth Branagh is absolutely fabulous in this (as he is in just about everything) but the character looks like he has been rode hard and put away wet.

I am absolutely riveted by the Swedish landscape and the wide angle shots and the damped down colors. But oh my goodness I feel depressed after three episodes of understated, depressing Swedish murder.

I cannot wait to start Season 2!!

Episode 2 of the roof saga has now been played out and it is a good news/bad news situation.

Which is better than totally bad news.

But not as good as only good news.

The home warranty company, as we knew they would, denied our claim for roof/ceiling repair because it was an ice dam issue. That was not a surprise.

The roofer, who was hired by HSA to do the inspection but whom we also like and asked to look at the roof in his own professional capacity, has said that the main portion of the roof is in good shape for another 10 years (small hurrah).

But then the hammer falls…..

The sloping portion of the roof that is resident over the kitchen/family room is a problem, or at least PART of the problem. There is a gutter that collects all the rain and water runoff from the upper roof and then spits it out of a gutter pipe right onto the lower sloping roof just at the very spot where the ice dam has been. And the sloping roof really should, and if the house were built today would have an ice barrier under the shingles on the entire roof. But, whoever either put the roof on in the first place or did roof repair (the more likely scenario) only put the ice barrier cloth on the first three feet extending out from the upper edge of the roof. That is not even code for this type of roof but it wouldn’t have been spotted by the inspector. The sloping kitchen roof must be replaced and an ice barrier added under the shingles and the downspout redirected into the correct place. And lets just hope there is no damage under all of that.

And the sky lights are also the wrong size and should be replaced at the same time. I had wondered about the skylights, they didn’t ever look “correct” to me and there has obviously been leakage. The roofer feels that at some point the original skylights were removed and replaced with the current skylights. And the replacement skylights were too small. So instead of doing the job correctly, whoever put in the replacement skylights just jerry-rigged them.

Some day I will tell you the story of our second house and the ten YEARS we spent repairing the “do it yourself” nightmares that the previous owner left us.

So sometime this Spring….we get a new slope roof…..and skylights.


I have new photo editing software to learn.

Lightroom 5 arrived on my doorstep this week. Also a Scott Kelby book on Lightroom 5.

I haven’t even had time to open the package and play with the software. It is sitting there staring at me. And I won’t have time for another week to load it up.

But I can take the Kelby book with me when I go to visit the Maternal Unit and I can at least do some reading.

I can barely contain my excitement.

I have discovered a re-interest in Pinterest.


Pinterest. What a black hole of internet awesomeness that sucks me in and won’t let me go.

I think I just got Pinterest overload last year while thinking about and helping Shoe Queen whip up the wedding. I just couldn’t look at another perfect picture of another perfect wedding.

OK, that is actually my one gripe about Pinterest. Great ideas but it increases my always simmering performance anxiety.

Off of soap box now.

So, I am back to pinning on Pinterest. And there is that darn iPad app that consumes even more of my time. Like I need that.

But I cannot seem to stop myself. I have been sucked back into the Pintervortex.

Help me Obi Pin Kenobi! You’re my only hope.

I am bottling beer today. Wish me luck.

Cousin Jon asked if there will be a name for this particular bottling and I don’t think so. But I am sure that future bottlings from my home brewery will have a name.

I am just too nervous to name this one.

It is like when you get a gold fish from the end of the year school fair. Don’t name it right away! That is the kiss of death and means that the next morning you are going to find “Lucky” floating at the top of the bowl.

And yes we did have a goldfish once whose name was Lucky.

Can you guess what happened?

You get another video to end this week. This came via a friend on Facebook.

If you think you liked the theme song from “Friends”, in the way it was performed at the beginning of the show, you have a surprise coming.

After you watch this one, go over to YouTube and watch their version of “500 Miles” by the Pretenders.

Someone get these guys a record deal so I can buy their music and put it on continuous play on my iTunes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why Did It Have To Be The Swim Coach

Swimming laps. I love swimming laps. I love the mindlessness of it. The back and forth. The feel of the water slipping by.

A woman alone with her thoughts and her own swimming lane.

But not today.

I swim at the Community Center. That means that other people also swim at the Community Center. How rude! People in my lane. Monday-Wednesday-Friday are not days that I like to swim because everyone else goes,

You know, I think I will swim on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

They are very crowded days.

But Tuesdays and Thursdays have generally been days when there is a very small crowd…..That is until it is swim team season.

I come toodling into the pool area on Tuesday, expecting to have the pick of lanes and come to a screeching halt.

What the heck?? All the lanes are full and most are “double booked”. Barb, the head lifeguard, explained that the swim team uses two of the lanes, on Tuesdays only, from 5:30a – 6:30a. And this proved to be correct. They were out and in the showers (presumably) at around 6:30a and I had a lane to myself to swim, the next lane over now being occupied by the swim coach who avails himself of the pool after he makes all those high schoolers swim until their arms fall off. I tried not to be conscious of the fact that the swim coach was in the next lane. I am a very proficient but slow swimmer.

Barb the lifeguard also assured me that Thursday would be dead as usual.

Barb the lifeguard was obviously mistaken.

I come toodling into the pool area this morning, uber cool (NOT) Speedo swim cap molded to my head, goggles in hand and as much of my ample exterior covered by a towel as I can manage….

And come to a screeching halt as I see that all of the lanes are full and several are double booked.

Well for EVERY LOVING PETE! Why are all these people in my pool. Barb the incorrect head life guard, who is also the lane referee, suggested that if I was willing to share a lane (which I was) that I could go over to Lane 1. It is actually the widest lane and there should be no problem with swimming collisions. She went to check with the guy already occupying Lane 1 to let him know that I was going to share.


And as I was adjusting to the always pleasant temperature of the pool, Barb said,

You shouldn’t have a problem with him straying into your part of the lane. He is the swim coach for the high school.


Performance anxiety!!!!!!!!!

Oh please don’t let him have swim goggles on. Oh please don’t let him have swim goggles on.

Swim goggles = you can actually see under water.

Actually seeing under water = he can actually see my undulating flesh as I thrash through the water.

The swim gods would not be so cruel.

Oh yes they would.

He had swim goggles on. And all I could think of was Moby Dick and Ahab and “Thar she blows! The white whale! Lower the boats and get the harpoons!”

And then all I could think about was hugging the edge of the pool and not getting in his way as he lapped me 3,456 times in the space of 15 minutes, which was all I had to actually endure before he was done. But in that 15 minutes I nearly drowned because of the wake he was kicking up as he would go by. And I managed to hit him at least once with one of my flailing arm appendages.


Oh I love swimming. But please don’t make me share a lane with the swim coach again. I don’t think my performance anxiety issues can take it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Have Made…..Alcohol!

Oh my gosh I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

Did I mention the most excellent gift that HHBL gave me at Christmas?

Did I?

He gave me this…….
I have made BEER
Oh be still my alcohol soaked little heart.

I came late to the beer loving population. It would not have been my drink of choice during college. 

Those were Whiskey Sours.

Don’t judge!

And when the progeny were young, HHBL and I didn’t keep any alcohol in the house. I don’t think we even imbibed when we were out having dinner just the two of us. You know, that may have been because we so RARELY went out, just the two of us, when the progeny were little. Not that we didn’t want to, it was just that we didn’t want to subject our children on unwitting babysitters. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that a babysitter would find a frog resident in a bedroom.

So, when I began my beer journey we only had your standard beer in the house. It might have been something produced by Coors or Miller or another of the “big” beer companies. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t even know what a microbrewery was. Or the fact that here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio we have some of the best….Great Lakes, Elevator Brewing, Akron Brewing and more. I had an uneducated beer pallet to say the least. The first time that I mistakenly bought anything from Great Lakes Brewing (I think it was Dortmunder) I took one drink and spit it out. What was this awful concoction? Where was my bland and boring beer.

This continued for a bit of time. If it wasn’t brewed by the big boys and of that insipidly bland pale yellow color it wasn’t for me. Step out of the beer box?

I don’t think so.

And then we went to Alaska and toured the Alaskan Brewing Company….and they gave samples….big ones. And they tasted NOTHING like what I had been drinking. Oh, they were good. I began to think that there might just be something beyond Miller Lite.

After that it was in my brain to try something different and local wherever we were. Squatter’s Beer Provo Girl (Park City, Utah), Rwandan Primus (all of Rwanda and Uganda), Cusquena (Peru), Facist Pig from Finch’s Beer Co (LOVE THIS!!! local Chicago). The choices were endless. And the choices were all micro local or regional breweries. We still drink only local or regional if at all possible. I have a list of ALL the breweries that have been gobbled up by the big boys. Call it my “stick it to the man boycott list” if you will.

Yeah, we are beer snobs. It runs in the family. Cousin Jon brews his own beer. Niece Arin is studying to be a “cicerone” which is like a wine sommelier….only for beer. A very good job in my humble opinion.

And now………

I have brewed my own. It has been sitting quietly in the basement for a bit over two weeks. I tested it today.

And oh, does it have an alcohol content. Now, I have to say that it isn’t a heavy beer. The starter kit comes with the ability to brew a lighter beer. We wouldn’t want to scare anyone right off the bat with a red ale or an Imperial Stout. Personally I tend to lean towards an IPA, a bitter and hoppy brew. This is a lighter beer to be sure. But it is MY beer. And I think Thursday is going to be bottling day.
Of course it will then be about another three weeks before we can drink it.

Oh days pass swiftly.

AND, some friends who are moving gave me another beer making kit that had been sitting, unused, in their basement for a long time. The mind boggles as to what I am going to make with it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 242)


Now that my fingers have thawed out after the Polar Vortex lets get down to blathery business. You know what to do. When you are done bowling for blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the ceiling skim peeling off my ceiling, over to Conversion Diary.

So little time. So very much blather.

Well I certainly fell down the blogging rabbit hole this week. I really didn’t have an excuse, I just didn’t do it.

Well, I wasn’t going to blog on Wednesday anyways because I was on a photography job (more on that later) but other than Wednesday…no excuse. I am just a lazy person.

January is always like that for me. I think it stems from the fact that November and December are always such busy months here at Chez Knit that when January rolls around my brain just checks out.

Or it may be that I am just lazy.

It was COLD earlier this week. C.O.L.D. So cold that when I put the blinds up in the morning all the windows in the living room were covered with frost. I thought I was in the middle of Little House on the Prairie. Where was the maple syrup to make snow candy? Will Pa get back to the house without being eaten by the panther? Perhaps we should start twisting pieces of paper into shapes so that we could use them in the fireplace…..which would be VERY difficult as we only have a fake gas fireplace now.

And speaking of staying warm in the “Polar Vortex”, HHBL and I have been amazed and very pleased at how warm and cozy Chez Knit is when the weather is beastly outside. There are very few places in the house where there are temperature extremes (unlike OCK). The back area, with the family room and kitchen, are a bit cooler than the rest of the house and our bedroom is actually a bit warmer but other than that….PERFECT! I would guess this is because the back of the house has the most window/sky light exposure and our bedroom has the least. The master only has one window and three walls that are actually interior walls.

OCK was a pain when it was very cold outside. It didn’t matter what we had the temperature set at it always felt cold. I think that is partly because there were so many windows (50+) and partly because, even though we actually had two furnace units, one was a smaller unit and it should have been bigger.

But that is no longer my problem.

The biggest surprise, temperature wise, is the garage. At OCK we had a large and heated garage. On very cold winter days it was truly a lovely luxury to go out to a garage that we kept in the low 40’s. But here at Chez Knit….no garage heater. We didn’t know what to expect in the winter but we have found, even on the coldest days, and it got down to –16F this week, that our garage stays at around 34F. We think that is because the only part of the garage that is an exterior wall is actually the garage door itself. The rest of the walls are surrounded by other structure, some ours and one wall the garage next door.

The roofer is finally coming today.

And I am pretty sure that he is going to tell us that the leak in the family room ceiling was due to an ice dam. I am hoping for another result but we didn’t have any leaking from that spot when we had boatloads of rain AFTER the leaking stopped. The ice that has been in that spot was all gone by then.

The roof at Chez Knit is the original one when the house was constructed. That means that it is almost 20 years old and is on it’s last gasping. We knew that when we purchased the property. The financial thought of replacing this roof was much less painful to us than the thought of replacing the roof on OCK. That would have been a MONSTER of a project.

We will see what the roofer says.

Ah the joys of home ownership.

2014-01-10 09.21.41

Yup, it is an ice dam issue.


2014-01-07 09.43.202014-01-07 09.52.032014-01-07 09.58.162014-01-07 10.56.20Got to hang with my boyfriend this week. He even let me wear his hard hat. AND he let me hear his stellar drum work.

My ears may never be the same.

And just to make the day extra special I was totally and completely annihilated on Wii Curling by his 6 year old brother.

It was a humbling day.

I am learning that part of being a photographer is being flexible and improvising.

Case in point. Wednesday found me in the Atrium of the Student Center at Cleveland State. I was taking head shots for college students attending a seminar/job fair put on by Cleveland Leadership Center.

I LOVE doing these kinds of jobs. Interacting with college age students, especially highly motivated ones, is just excellent.

The only problem was that when I arrived at the Atrium no one had really carved out a specific spot where I was to set up. I was told, “Oh, just go find a good spot for yourself.” Hmmmmm.  The atrium is large but when it is filled up with tables set up for job vendors then that is a problem.

2014-01-08 14.46.55

I improvised. It was definitely a tight fit. And I was just barely off a traffic flow pattern. But we did just fine.

2014-01-08 17.13.17

Taken by Heather from CLC.

It was a fun afternoon

Oh and one more little photo tidbit.

More and more I have to take my lighting set up with me when I do a job. It isn’t a huge set up, I really like to “work spare”, but it is still several soft boxes with accompanying stands plus a back drop and light bulbs and etc. I cannot expect that I will have someone available to help me move the several bags that all of this comes in PLUS the backdrop and the carrying case for it.

Then I had a scathingly brilliant idea (tell me which movie that came from. I know the progeny can). I bought this…..

2014-01-10 08.17.59

Just about the best $29 I have spent in a long time. It worked like a charm on Wednesday.


And last, for your viewing pleasure in the lead up to the Olympics…….

I LOVE these videos. If you actually go and watch this on YouTube you will find a ton more that are Olympic hopeful specific. And not just for USA team members but for Olympic hopefuls from all sorts of countries.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

That Is Not A Good Sound to Hear

Saturday. I was well into my afternoon of getting all sorts of little things done here and there. I owned my to do list! I had finished another task in the basement woman cave, had come back upstairs and was entering the family room when I heard it.


I stopped in my tracks.

I know that sound.

That is the sound of a drop of water falling from a great height and landing on something that should not get wet.

I looked around. And at first I saw nothing except Max the Magnificent skulking back into the laundry room, have just been caught red tongued licking the floor.

I looked to the left. I looked to the right. I looked straight ahead. And then I saw it. A single drop of water on the arm of the leather sofa.

You know those movies where the heroine sees something horrific and the camera zooms in on it and the ominous music plays?

Yeah, it was like that.

My eyes zoomed in on the drip. My brain said, “Hey that’s a drop of water. That isn’t supposed to be there. Where did that come from?”

It came from above.

Slowly, my eyes gazed heavenward and I saw…….



Ceilings are not supposed to develop large pustules of water. Large, bulging, turgid pustules of water just waiting to burst forth like an infected wound.

Too much?

This had to be lanced right away. So HHBL hauled the 10 foot stepladder in from the garage and I got up there with a towel and my big pocket knife and did a bit of emergency surgery. Believe me when I say that in a very short amount of time this would have been a very messy thing. Right over the leather couch. After the surgery I just sort of held the drooping ceiling paint back up onto the ceiling (am I telling that correctly?) and it seemed to re-adhere itself. Yes, I know that is only temporary (more than you think!) but it was a Saturday afternoon and even though I immediately reported this to the home warranty people nothing was going to get done until this week.

And I hoped that all would be well…..

And then Sunday rolled around.

When I did the whole lance the ceiling boil thing again. AND found that the water must be also running down the beam towards the wall because the wet spot extended all the way across the ceiling and ran in a gentle rivulet down the wall, The ceiling in this room slopes by the way so water does naturally move downward.


And when I was back up on the step ladder doing some more emergency ceiling surgery I took a good look at the ceiling spackly stuff. And realized that it hadn’t re-adhered at all. It was all saggy like my face when I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. So I pulled on it a bit……


That whole section came off in pieces. Picking the sections off of the ceiling was just about as satisfying as picking a scab. Just one more little bit and I will be done! Just one more bit…..

I might have stepped over a line on that last one.

And what happens when you are standing on a 10 foot step ladder and picking the ceiling scab?


Why you make a mess of course. And what happens after that?

Well, since I was already down on the floor I thought I would just take some pictures at different f stops to see what that clump of ceiling skin looked like.









Oh the ceiling? Well, the roofer still hasn’t called. It has been bad weather after all. And the lovely woman on the other end of the phone line when I called the home warranty people kindly informed me that if the problem stemmed from an ice dam (as I suspect it does)….then it isn’t covered under the home warranty because they consider that an “Act of God”.


Did God come down and smote my roof for some reason?

We will see. It is always something here at Chez Knit. Always something.

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 241)


I know! I am late! I forgot!

When you are done reading you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Kim Kardashian’s fading from fame (PLEASE!) over to Conversion Diary to see what is happening.

It is blather o’clock somewhere.

I completely forgot it was Friday.

I completely forgot that I needed to write some Quick Takes.

I was toodling along, doing my errands, listening to The Diane Rehm show on NPR when they announced that next hour was the International News Roundup. And it struck me as funny because it was Thursday and they were doing the Friday show line up.

And then I realized that it was Friday.


The sun came out today. It was nice to see her, in between the bands of snow. The “Snowpocalypse” has come and gone and we are down to just Lake Effect bands of snow to add a “dusting” on top of the 10+ inches that we got yesterday. Oh yes, it snowed and snowed and snowed. And the wind blew. And the temperature upon arising this morning was a balmy 9F.

Welcome to Winter.

Global Warming? What Global Warming?

One of the things about living at Chez Knit that is different from OCK is that I don’t have any control over when the snowplow guy shows up. Jason, our old snowplow guy, always knew that we needed our driveway plowed by 6a. And he was awesome about getting it done. Here at Chez Knit most of our neighbors are older and perhaps the snow plow guy just figures that they aren’t going to go anywhere when it snows. So our driveway doesn’t get plowed with any great swiftness. He was here once yesterday, which was nice. But then we got another 5 inches after he plowed and HHBL had a heck of a time getting up the short but inclined driveway. You sort of have to “sling shot” yourself up it. Just think of Apollo 13 sling shotting around the moon to get home.

I have to fight my OCD tendencies to want to go out and shovel that dang driveway so that the snow doesn’t get all mashed down.

And while we are talking about snow. Can someone explain to me the idioticness of “naming” a big winter storm? Does the National Weather Service have nothing better to do? Is there an intern that needs work?

It is winter. There are storms. They don’t need to be named.

Getting down off of my soap box now and going to make a cup of cocoa.

And while we are on the theme of winter and cold. Have you been introduced to the concept of the Corn Bags that you put in the microwave, heat for two minutes and then enjoy blessed warmth for an hour?

Oh be still my palpitating cardiac organ.

For some reason I had not been introduced to my new best toasty buddy until a friend mentioned making them. She described what they were and I thought,

What an interesting but useless idea. Why would you want one of those?

Insert Dope slap here.

But I made one, just to see what they were like. The whole story about getting loosed field corn is for another day. But suffice it to say that I met a very nice, local garden center owner who looked at me strangely when I explained what I wanted and then gave me 10 POUNDS of loose field corn that he was going to “throw away anyways”.

But I digress.

So I made one. I heated it up in our ancient microwave. I sat down and put it up against my back, which happened to be a bit sore that day……….

And the angels sang. Oh. My. Gosh. The thing stays hot for an HOUR. I used it on my toes yesterday when they got a bit chilled. And then I heated it up right before bed and slipped it down where my toes were going to reside.

Hot Corn Bag + Flannel Sheets = Bedtime bliss

I am so going to make more of these.

In order to keep myself on track with the 365 in 2014 project I am going to use the monthly prompts that I find on WhimpulsiveWhimpulsive. I won’t always use them but sometimes I just need a bit of an inspiration.

Day 3- My Town
Today’s prompt was “My Town”. This is what I get to see each and every day. Can you say LOVE.

Because I am an over-organizing nutcase, I have decided that I need to “label” where all of the every growing and never shrinking yarn stash comes from. It isn’t like I don’t know how most of the stuff comes into the house. It is just that I want to make sure that I remember.

And we will not talk about the 950 yards of Madelintosh Tosh Lace that is going into the cupboard today.

HEY! I had a coupon!

I have spent WAY too much time trying to embed this video. But Live Writer isn’t playing nice at the moment. And that is also a reason why I am looking for a new blogging platform. But that is a post for another day.

SO, click on the link below to go to the most fabulous video. A photographer/videographer by the name of Will Burrad-Lucas attached a GoPro (I WANT ONE) onto a multirotor copter and then took the most stunning video in the Serengeti. I have watched this thing a boat load of times. Put it on full screen and enjoy.

Beetlecopter in the Seregeti

And because I am all out of things to say.


Here are all the blog headers from last year. January’s header should be up some time today…I hope.
January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013

Thursday, January 2, 2014

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Start over and hope that nobody notices.

I am going to give the old 365 photos project another try. I had high hopes last year.

I was out of the gate like the hare….

I was sprinting towards the goal. I am really not built to be a sprinter.

And then we sold our house.

And then we bought another house.

And then we married off a daughter.

And then we packed up the contents of our house.

And then we moved.

And ALL of those things happened in the space of EIGHT short weeks.

It was not the year to start or complete a 365 photos project. Oh I took a boat load of photos but the project just died on the vine in the heat of the crazy summer.

But hope springs eternal and so I am going to have another go at it. I am feeling more relaxed about the entire thing….I think. Just as I am feeling more relaxed about being a photographer. I am trying to grab the joy.

BUT, I am changing how I present the photos to you. I am not going to put them up as separate blog posts. It just takes too much time. I will put them up on the “365 in 2014” page but if you want to see them all in the best possible way…..that is if I remember to complete this project….. go over to Flickr. I will definitely be uploading the photos there.

Day 2 - Waiting for Spring

But I will give you today’s photo just to get the whole thing started. It is snowing today….

Can you tell?

Just remember, as the year goes on the link below will be where I am putting all the 365 photos….that is if I actually have 365 of them.

365 in 2014 on Flickr