Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 79)

Wow, can you believe that Sunday brings with it the month of August. Where does the time fly to? And here it is another Friday and another 7 Quick Takes. My head is just spinning. Remember to click on the picture above to whisk over to Conversion Diary so that you can see what all the rest of us Quick Takers have been up to.

Me, I’m up to about 5’ 4” and I don’t think I am going any higher.

I am laboriously moving pictures from one place to another. And it is a big job.

I mean I have 20,000+ pictures in my computer. And they take up a honkin’ big amount of space. And I really don’t need to keep all of them on my computer.

For the last few years I have used an editing and storage program that is associated with a big scrapbooking company. It was great for a while and served it’s purpose when I was still a relatively new photographer but it is proprietary software and that is, in the end, a real pain. It adds steps when I want to use pictures in the blog or send pictures because Live Writer or Blogger couldn’t see the pictures. I had to send the ones that I wanted to use to a file on my desk top. And then from there I could blog with them or email them.

You could do some photo editing with this software but not nearly enough for my purposes.

And even though it has you back up to DVDs or CDs I have been worried that that wasn’t the right way to do this, that I needed to have the pictures backed up to an external hard drive.

So, I am moving them slowly over to the external drive.

And just because I am a belt and suspenders kind of girl I will also use “cloud backup” because I don’t even want to think about losing my pictures.

Oh yes, and because I am moving all these pictures and looking at all these pictures I have seen some “choice” ones that I think will need to be included in another installment of Pictures That Crawled Out of the Crypt. I am not sure when this will happen but….

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Cowgirls Apr 64 Just to show you the things that I have been finding. I think I will call this one “Ride Em’ Cowgirl”. That is my cousin Ann beside me. She looks happy I do not, which I don’t think has anything to do with Ann.

Perhaps we were having liver for dinner and I am planning how to get out of it.

Oh and another thing about moving all those pictures. Sometimes I seem to take the LOOOOOONG way to do a task. I have been moving the pictures one file at a time….it was taking forever.

And then, after hours and hours of work I realized that there is an option to share the ENTIRE sort box and all the sub files at once.

Dope slap.

Sometimes I take all three sides of the triangle to go from point A to point B.

Oh I am trying to stop myself from going out and buying school supplies that I couldn’t possibly need. I loved buying school supplies, especially pens and crayons. Believe me when I tell you that I have absolutely no need for pens at the moment. And I don’t need any crayons.

Even though, as a child, I had 64 Crayon box deprivation that has colored my entire adulthood.

And really, who wouldn’t like to have a stack of new 3x5 cards just itching to be used for a research paper. Too nerdy?

I am not sure that I am going to be able to resist.

Help me Obi Crayon Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

Did you know that today is National Cheesecake Day?? Oh be still my beating heart. And in honor of the day I will of course bake cheesecake. We have company coming for dinner and it will be the perfect dessert. Of course I have to be a bit different and so I think I am going to try and make mini cheesecakes.

I will let you know how it turns out. I have never made cheesecake in a mini form but how hard can that be?

Famous last words.

I am doing something tomorrow that I have never done before and I am scared spitless.

I am going to be the backup photographer at a wedding.

Oh man, I am quaking in my boots folks. I really am.

I know I can take a decent picture but this is pressure, even though I am not the one who is taking the “posed” pictures. It is one thing to take pictures on your own with no one relying on your meager skills.

But my friend Erika, who is a much better photographer than I and who actually does wedding photography, asked if I would do this. It is her sister’s wedding and she obviously can’t take the pictures and be in the wedding.


I will let you know how it goes. And if you never hear from me again it will just mean that it was a horrible experience and that I have moved to someplace where there is no internet so that I can hide out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Meanderings

I love summer.

I love the pace of it. I love the flowers. I love the walking outside at the park. I love the warmth….but not if the temp is over 85F. HHBL and I differ on this. His summer motto is, “The hotter the better.”

It is a rift that cannot be mended I am afraid.

But I digress.

Which isn’t unusual.

But, now that the progeny are all grown up or almost so there are things that I miss about summer.

I miss the hours of play in the sprinkler or the wading pool.
Water2A  waterA

I miss deciding that we didn’t need to do chores and that we would go play in the parkparkAPark2A
I miss the early summer mornings when it would just be me that was up. The slower rhythms of the day. No getting up early to get ready for school. No schedule.

4th of July with all the progeny in tow and their wonder and enjoyment at all the floats still intact.
4thA Please forgive the belly bag. And perhaps also the striped shorts. I didn’t know any better.

The days unencumbered by the thought that we should pick up the family room. To quote Scarlett, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Weeks at The Cottage where the days stretched endlessly out in front of us with only the prospect of playing in the water, ice cream at Julius’s and good slumber at the end of the day…..or in the middle if we so chose.
Cottage1A Cottage2A Austin sleepingA Nephew Austin in his preferred “I am dead to the world” pose. I think we just left him there for the night.

Endless hours of dress up.
Dress up2ADress upA

Frogs from the window well that provided endless hours of enjoyment. Thank goodness I didn’t know that TMO was keeping one in a shoe box in her closet.

Frogs!A Frog 2A I believe that one of these frogs was the soon to be “late and lamented” Frank. You need to say the name like you are a pretentious French person.

Poor Frank met an untimely end underneath my left rear tire on the van.

It happens.

But now life is all cleaning my house and doing other adult things. I don’t have any progeny at home to tempt me to do nothing and enjoy it. The rhythms of my summer days are just about the same as all the other days of the year.

I miss those summer days.

Now if I could just find someone to wash the dog…..he stinks.

Edit: Um Shoe Queen has reminded me that she is currently in residence so therefor not all the progeny are gone. I hand my head in shame at the omission.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Because

Because it is hot and sticky today and I don’t have the air conditioning on.

IMG_7388A Because Max the dog who will eat anything but grapes ate a plastic bag that may or may not have contained crackers.

IMG_7390A Because my kitchen sink looks like this at the moment and I still haven’t figured out what to cook for dinner.

IMG_7394ABecause I am doing laundry today and yes those are my “laying around the house pants” thankyouverymuch.

What is wrong with them I might ask.

And no, I don’t have a clothes lines mores the pity.

IMG_7393AAnd because as I was hanging the laundry out on the deck railing clothes line I stepped on one of these….and it REALLY hurt….

I have nothing else to talk about today.

I apologize if you have come here to read my pithy words of wisdom.

Wisdom has taken a vacation somewhere and hasn’t told me where. Most likely sitting on the beach with Raoul the Cabana boy and laughing at me while having a wonderful glass of wine or maybe a frosty glass of Great Lakes Brewing Co. Octoberfest (which goes on sale next month not that I am anticipating it or anything)

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

One can only hope.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Just Don’t Do Change Very Well


Big Sigh

Huge Sigh.

I am trying, I really am. I am trying to decide what to do for my poor little blog. I want to change it. I know that I do.

But I am such a chicken.

Cluck, cluck, cluck. It is that whole hitting the “apply to blog” button that has me absolutely in a tizzy. I mean what if I screw up! What if I don’t like what I do?

Even worse, what if YOU don’t like what I do.

Performanceanxiety. Performanceanxiety. Performanceanxiety.

This is seriously harder than I thought it might be and I am breaking out into a cold flop sweat at the thought.

OK, how hard can a bit of change be. For the love of Peter Paul and Mary get yourself together Deb and press the darn “Apply to Blog” button……….

Breathe breathe breathe breathe

Hey, that wasn’t so bad. Now I just have to see if I like it. It is like a marriage. You have to live with it for a while before you know for sure.

But this is easier to change if I don’t.

Now to figure out how to do tabs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over With Basil

Why do I do it?

Why do I think if two plants are OK then 10 might be better? Heaven forbid that I might not have enough basil to use over the course of the rest of my life.

I blame it on last year when all my basil was eaten by either the slugs or the rats with hooves deer. We were short on basil. It was BasilSiberia and that isn’t ever good.

So this year I planted 5 basil plants in pots in my house garden….and then LookLeap and I decided that we needed to plant some basil in the garden. We only put in five for the love of Pete. We don’t have an entire row like Colin does. And yet, five plants are giving us A LOT of basil.

I have made pesto…a lot. We have had basil on our pizza and in other dishes. And now I am drying it.

Drying and drying and drying.

I don’t have a dehydrator….yet. But you don’t need a dehydrator to successfully dry basil. Nor do you need to air dry it which takes…..FOREVER. I know, I tried thinking I would give you a side by side comparison. I gave up after three days when the leaves looked wilted but none where near dry.

But I have found a way oh yes I have. And I am going to impart the directions to you.

I love you guys you know.

IMG_7356A First you need basil….lots and lots of basil. You will be amazed at how much basil shrinks down to little leaves.

You want to wash your basil in the sink. Give it a good drink, it’s last, before you blast it with heat.

Then you will want to pick the good leaves off of the stems. I spent a lot of time on the internet researching how to dry basil. Hours and hours and hours. And they all say use only the really good leaves when drying. But I am cheap frugal and it just doesn’t seem right that I shouldn’t use as many leaves as possible. So what if there are some tiny areas where the slugs had dinner.

IMG_7359A Oh yum. I wish I had Smell-O-Vision so you could smell these leave. If I could roll around in them I would.
And I seem to be in love with Bokeh.

IMG_7364 copy Then you want to spread the leaves out on a dish towel on an baking sheet. Try to get them into a single layer if possible. It just helps the drying.

I don’t have regular dish towels, I have surgical towels that have been repurposed. They are indestructible and the price was right….


Thanks Dad.

I just try not to think about the fact that at one point they were used for surgery……and might have been inside someone however briefly.

Moving on.

OK, the next thing that you want to do is to heat the oven up to 350F and let it heat for at least 15 minutes. Then turn the oven OFF and put the baking sheet into the oven and close the door.

Remember, the oven should be off. You want to dry the leaves not cook them. I actually prop the door open with a folded towel to get some air circulation.

Every 30 minutes or so check on the leaves and stir them around a bit. I can’t tell you how long it will take to have them dry, it depends on how many leaves you are drying. I would do only one pan at a time though because the leaves don’t dry as well if you have more than one baking sheet in at a time.

IMG_7367 Take the sheet out when most of the leaves are dry and brittle. If there are a couple of leaves that are still not quite dry that is OK because you are going to let these leaves sit out for a bit to cool down.

When all the leaves are dry and brittle then store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

IMG_7369IMG_7370I used one of my favorite old, blue mason jars.

I love mason jars. I am obsessed with them. I will tell you about it someday when I can make myself bring the love into the light.

Can you imagine my joy and rapture when I bought a dozen old ones from the resale shop the other day…..for $2 for all of them.

I am still shivering with rapture. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Construction Ahead….Maybe

Good Saturday morning to all who stop by here. I know, I know, I don’t usually post on Saturdays. Try to get over the shock of it. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say on the weekends believe me.

In fact, I may just be going to blogging six days a week because I love you so much, all three of you who read based on commenting (did you get the hint). I am finding that if I take two days off from blogging then come Monday my bloggy mojo is a no go. Still thinking about it.

But what I wanted to tell you is to bear with me here at Chez Knit for the next couple of weeks. I am going to be playing with how the blog looks and some of the things contained therein. I am bored with the design. It has looked just the same for the past two years and I need a change, sort of like moving the furniture around.
And let me tell you I never move the furniture around, unlike my cousin Jill who moves her furniture all the time. I get it the way that I like it and then I don’t like to mess with it. Imagine how my sweat glands broke out into mayhem and my brain went on the fritz when the stagers asked us to move all the furniture.

I haven’t recovered yet, but I am learning to like the spare look. But I still miss my red chair. And darn it they aren’t the boss of me and I want my red chair back in my office! It is so forlorn out there in the garage, staring at me every time I go out to get in the car, just waiting patiently for me to bring it back in from GarageSiberia.

Soon my chair, soon.

OK, done with rant now.

So, if you visit and it looks different from day to day just know that I have not lost what few brain cells that I still possess.

Changing the way that my blog looks, for me is like buying new shoes. You buy them because you are dazzled by how they look (like The Shoes of Eventual Phalanges Death, scroll down til you find the picture) but you have to wear them for a while to see if they truly fit you.

I will be adding a specific place to put recipes as I seem to have posted enough of those to warrant their own separate place to live. I am not sure where that will be but I will let you know when the time comes.

So what do you think? Is there something that you would like to see me do? A place to have a revolving picture gallery?


Tink, tink, tink (knocking on computer screen)

Is anyone out there?

Do you even care?

Am I all alone in the blogiverse?

Sigh, I think I will go and have more elixir of life. At least my coffee mug loves me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol79) The Garden Update Addition

I thought I might take this opportunity to catch you all up on the garden. I know that you have been losing sleep at night wondering. Well wonder no more.

There are tomatoes, lovely ripe tomatoes.

IMG_7331 IMG_7332A IMG_7333AWe had BLT’s on Wednesday night when That Nice Greek Boy came over for dinner. Of course, life being what it is around here, there was some drama.

IMG_7354 Let this be a lesson to you. If you are toasting bread under the broiler do not walk away. Do not think that you can check one thing on the computer and remember that you have something under the broiler…….

Disaster awaits those who do.

We have peppers of many kinds although I don’t think I am going to get many jalapenos. Bummer.

We have cabbage!! I am so excited about this. There are only two plants so one head will be for LookLeap and one for me. I can taste the cole slaw now. We will have to have BBQ Pork sandwiches so we can put the cole slaw on them.
IMG_7338 Oh look at it in all it round, gas producing loveliness.

There are lovely cucumbers. These are the smaller variety. I also have some that are growing up a trellis but they are a bit slower to get going.
IMG_7340A IMG_7341A I can tell you that these are going to be sliced up, mixed with some cider vinegar and sugar and then eaten by me.


IMG_7342A copyI was at the garden by myself and I can do what I want when I don’t have LookLeap there to boss me around and tell me to get back to work.


IMG_7345AHello little zucchini, would you like to come home with me soon so that I may slice you up and saute you with other veggies?

IMG_7348 Please excuse the gray hair that is pulled back in a pony tail and no make up and my general state of workoutiness. I had been taking the morning constitutional and then stopped at the garden. It is hard to garden in high heels and pearls. And I am smiling because I had been eating cherry tomatoes that were ripe.

It is the gardeners privilege you know.

There will soon be green beans and more tomatoes and cukes and the basil just keeps on coming. I have made batches of pesto and am now drying more.

Man I love gardening.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Is Insidious

Main Entry: in·sid·i·ous
Pronunciation: \in-ˈsi-dē-əs\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin insidiosus, from insidiae ambush, from insidēre to sit in, sit on, from in- + sedēre to sit — more at sit
Date: 1545
1 a : awaiting a chance to entrap : treacherous

It is amazing to me sometimes how quickly we, or more specifically me, can fall back into old habits or ways of thinking. It can happen in the blink of an eye and you are right back in the middle of something that you have struggled so hard to get out of.

For me that has always been envy.

I used to be consumed by envy. And I don’t think that consumed is too strong a word. It pervaded my thinking. It directed my actions. The evil one had it firmly entrenched, so firmly that I often couldn’t see the good things in my life because I was focusing on what I thought was missing. Envy, wanting to be what others were, is partly why I now have to spend time and effort cleaning my house and life of things that I don’t want, that I never truly wanted but that I acquired in my envious quest.

Envy is really just one big long running lie that your sinful heart speaks to you. It tells you that what you have isn’t enough, or isn’t good enough. That what is on the other side of the fence is better. That someone’s marriage is better than yours. That someone’s house or clothes or kids or whatever is better than yours and that for you to happy you need to be/do/possess what they do. That THEY are better than you and others will like them better unless you become what they are and have what they have.

Envy doesn’t come on you one day out of the blue. If it did then you would recognize it for what it was and “nip it in the bud” to quote Barney Fife. No, envy is insidious. It starts small and slow. It worms it’s way into your heart and head and starts to grow, so slowly that you just don’t see it, you just don’t recognize it for what it is until it is full blown there. A 7 Deadly Sins cancer if you will.

It says that who you are and what you are aren’t good enough.

And that is just wrong.

The recover from envy, for me at least, has come from the letting go of the feelings of unworthiness. Of seeing, with the Lords help BIG TIME, that I am not defined by my possessions or what others think of me. Of seeing me as the Lord sees me. And it was a long time in getting to this point.

OK Deb, so where are you going with this rambling shambling post or are we just taking a rather boring stroll down unhappy memory lane here.

No, I have a point (and not the one on the top of my head). It is that you can’t ever say you have conquered envy. Because it can come back like an itchy rash when you least expect it.

Case in point. Obviously we have our house for sale. Well so does our next door neighbor. So, I look out this morning and there are a whole raft of cars parked on the cul de sac and people are going up her driveway.

Huh?? What is happening over at Heidi’s house I wonder.

Oh man she must be having a “broker’s open house” because a couple of those women are in skirts and oh my gosh why are so many brokers coming to her open house and so few came to ours and what is wrong with our house that we didn’t get this many people to come and what if she sells her house before ours and why didn’t brokers like our house and…….

And guys, that is really what I thought. And the green eyed envy monster just came right in, said, “Howdy where do I put my bags?” and I was right back there in the midst of the envy. I didn’t even have to blink an eye.

And that is scary.

I was literally about to be consumed. Filled with worry, filled with anxiety, filled with envy. Envy was just awaiting it’s chance to entrap and I opened the door and said hello and come on in and can I brew you a cup of REALLY bitter coffee.

When I am anxious I clean and straighten. I know, it is a sickness and someday I will get help I am sure. But my house is pretty clean and picked up and so there wasn’t a closet that I could soothe myself with. So I did what I should have done in the first place. I stopped and I spoke to the Lord.

“Lord, I just want to be in Your will here. I don’t know what is going on next door, I don’t want to make assumptions. I just want to be in your will in all things and I want to see this situation clearly.” And then I went and scrubbed my kitchen down again and tried not to look out the window.

But when I did look out the window again a few minutes later there were still cars there, in fact there were even MORE cars. But I noticed something else, some of the women going up the driveway had small children with them. I know that the housing market must be tough for agents these days but I would bet my bottom dollar that none of them are taking their kids to a Brokers Open House.

And then truth hit me, the reality that I hadn’t seen when I was blinded by my envy…

Garage Sale!

Heidi wasn’t having a Broker’s Open House that was better attended than mine. She was having a garage sale which is something that I hope never to have to do again.

I was so happy that I could have danced a jig…..but I restrained myself.

I wish I could end this rather rabbit trailing post with assurances that envy will never creep back in because I don’t think that I can ever say that I have conquered it, I am human after all. I can say that I am a recovering envyholic and with the Lord’s help I won’t be consumed. But it will only be with the Lord’s help.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ice Box Ginger Muffins

Yes, I know that I promised Pot Stickers and those are coming up later. But I was in the mood for these and so these are what you get.

I love this recipe. It is one of those that are from my childhood and those kinds of recipes always bring a warmth and good feelings.

Well all except for liver and onions which is a tool of the devil.

This particular recipe comes via Aunt Della. Aunt Della was a cousin of Grandma Pringles. Good solid Iowa stock. I know that I have a picture of Aunt Della around here somewhere but I can’t seem to put my digital fingers on it so you will just have to do without.

But even without the picture of Aunt Della you are still going to have to make these.

IMG_7308A These are all the things that you are going to need. Look at the eggs. The white ones are so boring. The brown one and the green one are the last of the eggs that The Chef gave me when I was out in Illinois. I love those eggs.

And I also have to stick in a disclaimer here. There might be some pictures of this baking process that are missing. That is because I was busy baking and making beef stew and other things. The meal was for That Nice Greek Boy and his family( Hi Helene and FJ!). They had just gotten back from a big missions trip and they had brought the flu back with them. My arms were flying all over the place and I was multi-tasking and…..well I forgot to take some pictures.

IMG_7310A Mmmmmmmmmmmm, butter. The first thing that you need to do is dump the butter into the mixing bowl and then add the sugar (no picture of this). Cream the butter and sugar together until it is like they have been married for 50 years.

IMG_7311A Notice how nice and big the yolks are for The Chef’s eggs. Her hens are happy.

IMG_7312A Next you have to add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

IMG_7315A Then you are going to add the molasses. I love the smell of molasses.

It makes me happy.

IMG_7316A copy Then you want to take all the dry ingredients and mix them all together. Do you know what is missing from this picture?

Take a good look.

I almost forgot it………the salt.

Forgetting the salt is not good. I should know. Don’t do it.

And then I forgot to take several other pictures. Like how you add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. I only have so many hands and they were all busy.

I don’t remember why you alternate dry and wet ingredients beginning and ending with the dry but that is what I do. If someone knows why please enlighten me.

IMG_7321A And then, when the batter is all battered you add the raising. Mmmmmmmmm, raisins.

IMG_7322A When you are all done mixing everything up you can dump all of the batter into a container with an airtight lid and you can stick it in the refrigerator where it can sit for up to two weeks waiting to be used.

But I bet it doesn’t last that long.

And when you are ready to make 6 muffins or 12 muffins you just scoop some out, fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full and bake. You can have hot muffins for breakfast.

I certainly did……

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Good Day to Whack a Baseball

You know, if you have been hangin’ with me for a bit that we like baseball around here. I live with my own personal baseball hunk thankyouverymuch. And on most Sunday afternoon’s you will find HHBL playing that little boy’s game.

I am not sure that there is a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching HHBL play baseball.

IMG_7255There they are, The Kent Mudhens in all their baseball loving glory. HHBL is playing for a different team this year rather than the team that he had played for for the past 6 years. He plays with the Mudhens during the Roy Hobbes World Series in November and I really thought that he should play with them during the summer as well. They play with intensity when it is called for but always with humor and a genuine love of the game. They are just as likely to give kudoos to a good play made by the other team.

IMG_7245A I happened to look to my left and here was this little fellow just intently watching the game. We found a spare baseball for him and he went home happy.

IMG_7264A No one ever said that you couldn’t be comfortable when you are playing baseball. And let me tell you, it was HOT. I cannot vouch for what was in the coolers though.

But I wasn’t there to wonder about the contents of the other team’s coolers. Oh no. I was there to watch HHBL pitch. Let’s take a look shall we.

IMG_7267 IMG_7266 IMG_7269AOh. Yes.

IMG_7272A  Ball!
IMG_7275A Excuse me inferior being. I need one of those balls in order to play with my human. I require that you go and get one for me….now.

IMG_7279A And it at this point that I want to sing the praises of my telephoto lens. You see, I wasn’t as close to the action as this photo might suggest. It was hot, dang hot! And there was a lot of sunshine. And this particular field has the most wonderful hill that has trees and shade and that is where I was sitting.

I am no fool.

Oh, and there is a bathroom that is close by. That is always an important thing. No soap but I always come prepared with Purell.

No homerun this game but let me tell you HHBL hit homers in the last two games and they were amazing. He ended up winning Player of the Week for the league two weeks in a row.

IMG_7290A Just a reminder that even though people call this a “little boy’s game” big boys can get hurt. This guy went back for a ball and ended up falling back and whacking his head. Yikes.

IMG_7283B copy
IMG_7295A Can someone tell me what these things are? We happened to be sitting under a large oak tree and all the leaves were covered with these weird things.

Egads it is mini pod people!

Or not.

IMG_7301A What is a baseball game without peanuts. These things are really like crack to me. I can’t just have one of them. Thankfully I wasn’t the one who brought them and HHBL only brought me a handful. If the entire bag had been available they would have all been in my belly.

And my belly doesn’t need that many peanuts.

IMG_7303A The Mud Hens started out slow, being down 8-1 at one point. But then the bats got booming and they won the game.

Like I said, an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon.