Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 261)


Weekly greetings from my little corner of the frozen north. Once you have filled your minds with the my comforting stream of blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, faster than the speed of Cindy McCain smacking down Gwyneth Paltrow, over to Conversion Diary to see what is what.

Opening up the secret world of blather!

It has actually been a fairly quiet week here in Lake Knitbegon. A nice change from the holiday weekend which was anything but quiet. Saturday saw me sitting at a baseball game in the morning, getting home in time to wash my face and change my clothes before hopping in Coco to go to church to “shadow” some of the wedding coordinators there (something I am training to do at church), then hang around for an hour before church started. Sunday was filled with a bit of the Indy 500 and then out to the actual wedding where I watched Tammy and Christie work their coordination magic. EIGHT bridesmaids! 300 people at the wedding. Wedding guests arriving 45 MINUTES after the ceremony started. Egads. Monday saw us at the parade and then a wedding.

I was glad for a quiet week.

Basic knitting this week was confined to working on a sweater and a pair of socks. I bring this up only because…….

I have noticed a slight oops on the socks.


But I am not going back to change it. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not (silently stamping my feet)! I am just doing a pair of “vanilla socks” in a certain colorway that I will tell you about next week. Such secrecy Deb! Yup. What I mean when I say “vanilla socks” is that the pattern is very plain and vanilla.

Why does everyone think that vanilla means plain? Really GOOD vanilla is anything but plain. It is full of flavor and nuance and deliciousness.

Did I just really digress there? Where was I? Oh yes, socks.

See, the thing is that when I am knitting a pair of Vanilla socks I often do not look at what I am actually doing. By this point in my knitting life there is muscle memory and touch memory for knitting a knit 3, purl 1 rib, even with fingering weight yarn on size 1 needles. I can watch TV or read and not have to think about it. That is what I was doing, watching a bit of TV while working on the foot portion of the sock. That means that the instep (top) of the foot is ribbed and the sole of the sock is just plain stockinette stitch….or it should be. But when I put the knitting away I realized that there was a slight booboo about 1.5 inches down in the knitting where I had not changed from ribbing to plain stockinette on one needle. My guess is that no one else would actually notice it, or at least no one who wasn’t one of my KnitSibs, who would notice it immediately.

I looked at it. I seriously contemplated just dropping those stitches back and knitting back up. And decided not to.

Oh who am I kidding. You know I am going to fix that slight thing this morning. There is no way I could stand it otherwise.

Dang perfectionist knitting.

Million Bells 1

The Promise of Million Bells

Still fascinated with the Macro photography. Really and totally fascinated. To the point, actually, that when I am going about my daily life it is often the case that I will stop and look at something mundane and wonder how it will look under my “do it yourself” macro set up.

Yesterday morning found me outside, camera on tripod, photographing the beads of rain on the petals of the pot of Million Bells that sits on the patio table. I had just put my oatmeal on to cook when I looked out and saw all the little beads of water sparkling on the petals and knew I had to photograph them. But since I do not actually have a macro lens…yet….it takes longer to set up. And I didn’t notice that as I was crouching and kneeling and focusing and moving around, my neighbor Chris had been standing on her patio for a time just watching me before she let me know that she was there.

Thank goodness I wasn’t laying in the grass taking pictures of bugs.

And I burned my oatmeal.

Such is the price I pay for going with my photographic feeling.

Tomorrow I drive out to Northwest Indiana to help Mimi, Pilot Man and The Chef clean out things at The Cottage.


I will tell you all about it next week. It will be a long post so be prepared. It may be a bit emotional.

You will just have to deal.

The start of our poultry CSA comes ever closer and I am searching out interesting chicken recipes.

Have I ever told you how much I love chicken? I could give up beef in a heart beat but chicken…….not going to happen.

Last night I experimented with Chicken burgers and they were delicious! I ground the chicken with my handy dandy Kitchen Aid attachment. Why do that? Because I am obviously someone who likes to make more work for herself and is very much into the “I do it myself” mode.

And because I don’t trust the grocery store and how clean they keep things.

Then it was add a bit of salt, a bit of pepper, some chopped up cilantro, some garlic powder, an egg and some panko bread crumbs. Mix all together. Shape into a ball. Put in HOT pan and push down to form a patty and cook.

Oh they were delicious! I didn’t have any buns at home other than the one that I sit on so I just had it plain, topped with some caramelized onions that I had cooked earlier as well as salsa (homemade) and some yogurt (homemade).

I am a regular Martha Stewart…well all except for the federal prison thing.

I am a voracious reader. That is really for another post (which I am actually working on) but the reason why I say it now is because this week was a first for me.

I read my first anything by Stephen King.

I KNOW! I am surprised at this as well. The Horror genre just isn’t really “my thing” if you will. And my philosophy is that life is too short to read genres that don’t interest you.

However, I happen to love the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Did you know that the short story on which the movie is based was written by Stephen King? Yup, it was. It is contained in a book of short stories called Different Seasons. His writing is really wonderful, at least as far as I have gotten. I have finished Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and now on to the rest of the stories. Then next book in the reading pile will be The Green Mile, also a Stephen King book made into a movie favorite of mine.

But I doubt I will be exploring his horror genre.

Never say never though.

Let’s end with some Instagram pictures. Because, as usual, by the time I get to #7 I am out of ideas. Obviously I lead a rather boring life.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grape Hyacinth-Flower or Weed

Grape Hyacinth 1

I am sure that the neighbors were burning up the phone lines a few weeks ago. The question would have been, “Why is Debbie squatting down in front of the Spirea bush by her front step?”

That is because there was a lone Grape Hyacinth waiting to be photographed.

I am ambivalent about these Spring flowers. Well, really, that isn’t quite true. I dislike them. Oh, I like them just fine during the short period of time when they are in full bloom. Our next door neighbors have their front walkway lined with Grape Hyacinth. A completely spell binding carpet of little purple flowers…for about 2 weeks out of 52 weeks per year. Then the flowers fade and they sort of go to seed and THEN, it just looks like they have an out of control grass problem running rampant through their front landscaping bed.

And the dang things seed themselves all over the place. I will admit that when they crop up in our landscaping beds I ruthlessly pull them up. The landscaping crew isn’t going to do it. Heaven forbid they pull something like a flower/weed. That would be almost as unheard of as their spraying for the deer.

But there was one glorious Spring day several weeks ago that found me crouched over the lone Grape Hyacinth that had escaped my purple purge. I didn’t bother with my tripod as I usually might have done, I just went spur of the moment.

A Reversing Ring and a stock 18-55mm lens on a Canon 7D body generally doesn’t lend itself to total spontaneity with macro photography, despite what all the videos on YouTube would tell you. I am much more meticulous when doing this kind of photography. There is a tripod involved and occasionally an added light source. There is patience and thought. There might even be a long pair of surgical tweezers (thanks Dad) to rearrange things to my liking. But not this time. This time it was grab Big Bertha and hope for the best.

And then there was the breeze.

In order to get this fuzzy and art house sort of photo I had to sway in rhythm with the flower.

Either I was doing a rather splendid imitation of a Cobra right before it strikes or I was acting out that last scene from Avatar. The neighbors will never know.

But I still like the photo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 In My Little Town

HHBL and I are learning the rhythms of our little town. What happens when and where.

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Can I just say that I couldn’t love it more that we could exit Chez Knit and make a 7 minute walk and get a place to stand and watch the parade. No leaving the house 90 minutes before the parade in order to get a parking spot and a good spot to watch the people go by. Nope, out the garage door, put the garage down, walk out the development, take a left, walk down the hill, cross the street and bang, we were done.


Lets see what we saw, shall we, in my little town.


Bake sale! We did not partake…but I thought about it.


Lots of people brought their dogs. That is a thought next year, to bring Max the Magnificent. There was a lot of courtesy sniffing going on!


Oh THANK YOU  sir for positioning your video equipment RIGHT in my line of photography. Thank you so, so much.


Lots of standing and cheering as the flags went by.

And then it was on to the annual throwing of the candy into the street JUST out of the range of the children so that they need to run and get it.


Often this was reminiscent of a congregation of alligators going for that last piece of unsuspecting tourist.

Why is it called a congregation of alligators? Is there a pastor alligator? A board of elder alligators? An alligator choir singing hymns, perhaps?

But I digress.


The high school mascot. Now THAT is a job that is coveted on a hot and sultry day.


I love a good marching band. Maybe it is because I played in one during Jr. Hi and High School. And for some reason I am always fascinated by the footwear as they go by.

We won’t dwell on that too much.


“He gave me a WED bawoon! Wed is my favewetist cowwer!”


Egads! Young man why are you doing that in the middle of the street? And where, for the love of all that is holy and padded, are your safety mats! And could you just hold that mid flip so that I can get my camera ready?


Look Ma! No breaks. No, literally. That bike has no breaks. He would pedal for a bit and then drag his feet along the pavement to stop. Maybe we should just call this the Fred Flintstone Flyer.


It is always good for dad to wear cargo pants with extra pockets. This guy kept telling his little girls that there was no more room for candy. And there wasn’t… these pockets. They just started filling up other places.

And speaking of his little girls…….


Parade? What parade? I just want to take pictures of all the kids. So stinkin’ cute.


See what I mean! So stinkin’ cute!

And after it was all done and we walked the 7 minutes home and spent a bit of time doing this and that we got to go and participate in the joyous wedding of these two crazy kids!

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All in all it was a very good day.