Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Have So Many Other Things To Do Today!

I have so many things that I need to get done today. Am I doing any of them?


I am happily editing pictures today.

I find that now that I have better editing software and better editing skills I go back and re-edit pictures.



Accra, Ghana 2006

I cannot convey to you what this market smelled like. What any market in Africa smelled like for that matter. A unique melange of spices, rotting fruits and veggies, poultry and meat that had been out in the heat for a bit of time, bodies that have never been introduced to the concept of deodorant, the intense smell of freshly made peanut butter, the ripe hint of sewage. And the smoked fish market in Kumasi!! I had to put those clothes in a plastic bag afterwards they smelled so bad. In fact I can still conjure up that smell in my mind.

It is fun to go through the pictures with a fresh eye. And since I now have that dang iPad and I can display pictures fabulously I want the ones that I import to look tip top. Especially if I am showing them to a perspective client (like tomorrow).

Now back to Ghana.

In the figurative sense of course.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Christmas Decorations Are Still Waiting.

Today was the day when I was going to get all the Christmas decorations put up.

But it in immortal words of Aragorn

It is not THIS day.

I will say that I have managed to get all of the boxes up stairs. There really aren’t that many of them but still enough that it took a number of trips up and down the stairs. And there are still several boxes to go. But that is all that is getting done today I am thinking.

It isn’t that I haven’t had a very productive day because I have. Today I have:

- managed to turn on the mixer on high with the bowl full of flour, spewing the flour all over. I mean ALL OVER.

- forgotten that I had the mixer kneading bread dough. I had my ear buds in and I just went on to the next task. That bread kneaded for at least 20 minutes and the mixer was VERY WARM and I could smell how hot the motor was. Not. Good. But the bread is delicious.

- fought a losing battle with the squirrels and the new feeder. I am going to have to construct a squirrel baffle.


Why would you want to baffle me? I don’t understand?

- broken a dish

- done 4 loads of laundry

- thrown out several newly purchased containers of yogurt because I didn’t read the label and didn’t realize they were sweetened with Splenda. That explains the massive headache that I had yesterday. AND they tasted terrible, sweet but flat. Serves me right for buying store brand. Should have stuck to Stoneyfield. And yes I know it is terrible to waste them and throw them out but I will never eat them. I avoid any and all artificial sweetners if I can.

So I have decided to just call it a day and go and do some knitting. And maybe re-watch the finale from The Walking Dead which I am totally unsure of my feelings on. Or watch my Netflix movie. Or watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow parts 1 & 2.

But the Christmas decorations will have to wait for another day. But they can’t wait too long cuz I have 25+ ladies showing up at Chez Knit on Monday for the annual stealing orgy Ornament Exchange. We know everything will be decorated by then.

Or at least I hope so.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Orgy Hangover

How was your Thanksgiving?

Mine was fabulous. Fun filled. Full of family. Lets look shall we. You won’t know half these people but who cares. My family is crazy enough that it doesn’t matter.

There was Family

The Group



Good thing Papa didn’t see how crazily vigorously the boys were swinging in swing. Oh man. These boys are all cousins. The red shirted ones belong to Heather, the blue shirted ones belong to Laura.

I am glad that I had girls.


When will I ever learn that when the cousins are around nothing is sacred. Imagine my surprise to find this little picture “gift” on my card. Of course it was the West Virginia cousins so I guess it should be expected.


There might have been Bloody Marys with all the “sides”. In our family that means celery, dill pickle, olives, corchons AND pickled Brussels sprouts. DEEEEEEEEELICIOUS!


This Turkey


Went into this


And came out looking like this


So that we could stand around and eat the turkey skin right off the bird. I have never seen TSiL move that fast.


Did you say TURKEY SKIN!


There was thanksgiving for all that the Lord has blessed us with. And for those men and women who put themselves in harms way to provide us with safety.


And there were PIES! Loads of pies made by TMO.


Be still my beating heart did you say PIES!


And of course our annual Christmas Card picture

Which one should I use I wonder?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Short Story Sunday

image 2010-5-13 0006

These were my gerbils when I was growing up. They lived in a gerbil isolation unit cage on top of the toilet. Isn’t that where everyone keeps their gerbils so that they can scare the pee right out of you in the middle of the night. Well that is where we kept the cage. Except when I took the cage to the basement to clean it.

And fell down the stairs.

And broke the top off the cage.

And scared the gerbils so much that they stayed in the cage.

At first there were two gerbils. And I think we had been assured that they were both females. At least that is how I remember it. I would have had no idea how to check for that at that age so we just relied on the pet store. Not a good idea.

And then, one day, there were more than two gerbils. There was a nest of squirming pink hairless gerbil babies. SWEET! More gerbils to love and hug and play with and feed.

But we did not know something. Something vital. Something important.

You need to remove the Papa gerbil from the cage. Remove Papa Gerbil and break up the happy family??? Never!

And the next day there weren’t any squirming hairless pink baby gerbils. There was only fairly distraught Mama Gerbil.

And very full Papa Gerbil.

And then soon after that the gerbils escaped, ran under the sink in the bathroom and were never seen or heard from again.

I hope you enjoyed my gerbil story.


Blame it on NaBloPoMo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Post About Absolutely Nothing

I think the title just about says it all doesn’t it. And I have to be truthful and say that if it weren’t for the whole NaBloPoMo thing I so wouldn’t be blogging today.

HHBL and I are experiencing what I can only describe as

Thanksgiving Food Orgy Hangover.

If my pants were on fire I might have trouble finding the energy to get up and put them out. It is that bad.

I had a big list of things that needed to get done today and pretty much most of them just didn’t get done.

I did upload all the pictures I took at Thanksgiving but I didn’t get any editing done.

I didn’t get any photo editing done for work either.

And I didn’t get any Christmas decorations put up although I made a start at cleaning out some.

I didn’t get any laundry done because I was afraid I might not know lights from darks.

I did manage to make turkey stock from the turkey bones that I brought back from the Cottage. But it isn’t all that thought intensive to throw a dead turkey carcass into the stock pot along with water and then let it boil and boil.

I did not make any major website decisions or editing. That would have been VERY dangerous.

I did not read anything that was more difficult that “See Spot Run”. And even that was dicey.

I did not watch Ohio State lose to Michigan. My heart couldn’t take that. Nor my head.

I have not cooked dinner nor do I have any idea what it might be.

I forgot to put the bird seed into the feeders.

I forgot to wash my hair.

I am hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Is it time for bed yet?

Friday, November 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes (2011 Thanksgiving Edition)

Here we are again. Another week gone by. Don't forget that after you are done reading my turkey fueled blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly expanding waistline, over to Conversion Diary.

Let's blather!

I ate WAY too much turkey

I ate WAY too much pie and Birthday Cake. TMO made the pies and she is a stellar baker. I didn't get a piece of the Apple Pie but I am hoping today will fulfill that dream.

AND she made cake pops which are a speciality of hers. Those were particularly a favorite among the younger set.

And the dog.

I laughed A LOT. Rip roaring, gut busters. That is what family is for.

Note to self....

Do not leave your camera on the table, in full access to unscrupulous cousins, while you use the bathroom. If you do then you might return to find pictures on the card that you DID NOT take and that cannot be displayed without heavy editing. Come back next week for further details.

My retinas haven't recovered yet.

Yesterday I consumed, in no particular order 
Cinnamon Swirls
Bambi sticks
Bloody Mary
Nutmeg Coffee cake
Turkey skin
More turkey skin
Beef tenderloin
Mashed potatoes
Onions Mornay 
Red wine
Macaroni and cheese

I am still full. And we have more partying today. 

Lord have mercy.

Today is our annual "March of The Whie Elephants" which is just our way of saying that we are having our annual party to exchange useless items.

It is not out of the realm of possibility to open a box and find a ream of very old computer paper. Or a Plastic pink Flamingo. Cousin Tim always hopes for those. His wife Ardith....not so much. I wait with baited breath to see what I might unwrap.

And then I spend time trying to figure out where to hide the "gift" so I don't actually take it home.

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Now on to the Christmas decorations.

After more food that is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Happy Birthday Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. We are spending the day with a boat load of family from all over the place. I cannot begin to imagine the number of calories that will be consumed. Or the laughter. Last night was  a laughfest to be sure. And I must remind myself NOT to leave the camera on the table and walk out of the room. You later find pictures on it that you did not take. Pictures that cannot go on the blog without major editing.

But I digress.

Thanksgiving isn't the only thing we are celebrating today. Oh no. It iis also.......


Yippeeeeeee! Yahooooooo!

And so I thought I would do a short "thankful for HHBL" list.

I am thankful that HHBL is alive after his little broken ankle/two blood clots in the lung/midnight trip to the hospital/5 days in the hospital adventure. Very thankful.
I am sincerely glad that he married me in the first place.

I am thankful that HHBL is such a calm and take charge traveler. He knows what to do. Standing in the Delhi airport and being told that the airline cancelled our reservations home? HHBL took care of it. flight cancelled in Hawaii, he knows what to do.
He takes me to fabulous places. Who else has seen the Taj Mahal from the butt end back. Well I have !

HHBL is a man of integrity and humor. A hard worker who plays hard as well. A great father and fabulous husband.

He is definitely getting better with age.

And what better day to celebrate his birthday than Thanksgiving Day when we have Cartoon Girl, TMO, TSiL and Shoe Queen with us as well as Pilot Man, The Chef, Music Guy (the nephew), and all the cousins. I will tell you ALL about it.

So Happy Birthday my HHBL. I love you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh The Memories

I have suddenly been whisked back to my childhood. To those special mornings when I would come to the breakfast table and find my most favorite of breakfasts.

The best thing in the entire world.
Those store bought, straight from the package, cinnamon swirls things. I have no idea what they are actually called, I think Cinnamon Swirls.

Oh be still my frantically beating heart.

Full of preservatives and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and do not even want to know what they are. Full of sugar and salt. Full of bad things.


And pair them with lovely, spicy Bambi sticks that were produced with venison taken down by Pilot Man.


Especially with a nice hot cup of coffee.
But I always have to eat them the same way. I never deviate from it. Never ever ever.

I always unravel the whole thing all the way. It takes some patience and skill but when you do it that way it lasts longer. If you chomp into it then it only takes three bites and you are done. But if you unravel it? It just lasts and lasts. And since I usually only was allowed two of them then this just extended the pleasure.

Oh those childhood memories.

But no memories in the world would ever make liver taste good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Love My iPad

I am sure you are going to get tired of reading about how I love this piece of awesomeness. I can blog on it. 

I can download photos from my camera directly into it, edit them, upload them to the web, put them in a post.

Sir Sheds A Lot

I may never come up for air. 

Save me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Playing With My New Time Waster

Folks this will be a test post and it most likely will not stay around all that long. Unless you have me in an RSS  reader and then those just never go away. 
I am trying out a blogging app for the new time waster iPad. IF this works and I can figure out how to add pictures to this then you will never know where I might be found.
Oh Alpha Male I am frightened.

Why Does This Happen When I Am In A Hurry

Epic quick bread fail today. I didn't even have the heart to take a picture of the thing. It is just too cruel a vision.  A recipe that has never failed me before....

But I made one small change.

Deb how many times have I told you NOT to change the recipe when you are serving something to guests. DOPE SLAP!

It is Orange Raspberry Pecan Bread. It is delicious. I got everything out to make a loaf for Thanksgiving.

Hmmmmm, no raspberries in the freezer in the kitchen. I could have SWORN that there were some in there.

Rummage, rummage, rummage, rummage.

No raspberries. BUT, there were a ton of blueberries. And Blueberry Orange Pecan bread sounded delicious. I can substitute the blueberries for the raspberries! Cool.

Mixed it all up. Popped it in the oven. Baked the requisite time. The dough TESTED done , in several places mind you, with one of my wooden skewers. It was beautifully brown and crusty on the top. So I took it out and set it on the counter and made the orange juice and sugar glaze for it.

I am poking holes in the top of the bread with a metal skewer so that the glaze can soak down into the bread. I poke the top......the crusty lovely top......

And a big, crusty chunk collapses into a giant blueberry inspired sink hole right down into the center of the loaf.

I said a bad word.

Then I thought, hmmmm, I bet I can just put this thing back into the over and bake it some more. But I don't think so cuz the top is collapsed. And it just won't look right. And I would have to explain, although half the relatives read this blog.

So Mimi. We won't be having this bread at Thanksgiving. But I don't think we will be lacking for things to eat. And I have other breads.

But DANG IT! My mouth was all set for Blueberry Orange Pecan Bread.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where Have You Been All My Life.

This will be short.

I am obsessed.

I am enthralled.

I am overwhelmed.

I may never come up for air.

I am the proud owner of an ipad.

Mother of all that is holy this is one fabulous piece of technology.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It’s All in A Saturday’s Work

It is Saturday. That is the day when HHBL and I try to accomplish at least one or two household tasks or seasonal tasks.

Today it was…….


The Shed

It needed to be cleaned out and rearranged and straightened. We hadn’t done it ever for a while. We cleaned out

  • garden equipment that was old and rusty and bent
  • a scooter that long ago belonged to one of the progeny
  • unidentifiable pieces of stuff
  • a desiccated mouse body or two
  • leaves from many falls
  • old pots
  • hoses from long ago equipment

It is done.

I will now be going to the hospital and getting treatment for Hanta Virus I am sure.

I have now left the mice some “treats” which I hope they enjoy to their little mousy hearts content.

And then DIE!

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 142)


Good golly where do the hours fly to??? Here it is Friday again and we are all hunched around the computer screen waiting to see what 7 Quick Takes brings. So after you have absorbed my blatherosity remember to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Herman Cain’s falling poll numbers, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather, blather, blatherty, blather and more on with the blather.

It has taken 5 days for the birds to finally find the new, and gorgeous, feeder on the back deck.

You know……


This piece of carpenter splendiferousness.

And of course the squirrels have also found it. Such is life. I honestly can live with that I think. They are kind of cute sitting there all curled up and gorging on the bird seed.

So far they haven’t been able to figure out how to get to the suet feeder that I hung in front of the kitchen window. It is too far a jump to go from the grill to the hanging feeder, although they have tried several times. I am now having to clean little muddy squirrel paw prints off one of the windows.

Always a battle with the wildlife here at Chez Knit.

I will confess that sometimes I am a creature of obsessive habit. Case in point, what I listen to on Dahling (the ipod). I have been a rut for a long time just listening to certain playlists, podcasts and audiobooks. But I have decided that I have to give some of my lesser, or never played music a chance to get some airtime.

So that means that I am listening to all my music on shuffle. And I just never know what I am going to get. So far in the past 24 hours I have gone through music from

Frank Sinatra (mmmmmm Frank!)
The Beatles
Darius Rucker (country)
Klezmer music
Nickel Creek (bluegrass/country/folk)
The Dillards (definitely bluegrass)
music from South Pacific, Oklahoma!, Brigadoon
Edwin McCain (rock)
Ian and Sylvia (60’s folk)
David Cook (I have no idea where he came from!)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (70’s English progressive rock)
K$sha (I hang my head in shame)

You get the picture. Sometimes even I am surprised at the variety.

And HHBL caught me dancing around in the bathroom yesterday to P!nk.

But we won’t talk about that.

I believe that I have now heard the strangest ad for dental work. “They” were urging me to think about having my dental work done… Hungary.

Yes, Hungary.

I am supposed to believe that if I go to Hungary and have my dental work done there for “much less than the expensive US dentists” that I will save enough to cover the cost of my airfare and many of my meals.


But have you SEEN some of the dentistry that comes out of the former Eastern Block countries.

I think I will stick with the good old US of A. Thankyouverymuch.

Since next Thursday is Thanksgiving the question really is….

Do you participate in the madness that is Black Friday Sales?

I can say, with some emphasis, that my answer to that is


I cannot think of a single thing that I need, or that anyone else in the family needs, that I would be willing to participate in that madness to get. Yes, I know that the sales are FABULOUS but it just isn’t happening.

I don’t like crowds. I don’t do midnight (except for Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings).

This week saw me on my first kitchen design photo shoot. That was a great deal of fun. A bit unusual as the homeowners weren’t there and the nanny was the person that took me through the house. Thank goodness for a good wide angle lens! And good lighting. And a tri-pod, which I didn’t actually need to use this time. And most of all a fabulous kitchen design which was to be expected. Dottie is a fabulous designer.

Hopefully by the end of next week the Hidden Moments Photography website will be all done. It is there and if you know where to find it you can go and look. But there is still some a boat load of constructing to do.

And I have to pick TSiL’s brain about it.

But I am not as scared with each job I go on.

NOW, I would like someone to step up to the plate and hire me to take baby pictures. Come on, you know you want to. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the sun here at Chez Knit and in the Frozen Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland gets around 66 totally sunny days A YEAR. And we have around 202 cloudy days A YEAR (that means total cloud cover) with 97 partially cloudy days just for a change.

BUT, when the sky is a perfect blue and the sun is shining, like it is today.

Then I see how much I do not like to dust.

Darn it!

AND I found some upstairs windows that are going to need some cleaning.

Double Darn it!!

But it is sunny so really I cannot complain (too much)

I can tell you that the whole NaBloPoMo thing is much more difficult that I anticipated. My brain doesn’t seem to want to produce any blog posts on the weekends.

I have also decided to take a break from blogging for the week between Christmas and New Years. Sort of a blogging recharging of batteries so that I can go into the New Year all ready to bore everyone to tears.

It is good to have a plan for world domination.

Or not.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vivian and The Lemon Loaf

Brace yourself, this turned out to be a really long post. I apologize in advance for the wordiness and endless pictures and……

Well, you will see.

We haven’t had a recipe in a long time. Goodness I have been falling down on the job haven’t I. I hang my head in shame.

But first the story. Come on! you had to know there was a story behind the recipe. How long have you been hanging around here?

So, when HHBL and I first moved back to The Frozen Northeast Ohio (26.5 years ago) we went to a very small church in a town north of us. And at the church there was a woman named Vivian. Vivian was the perfect example of why you never judge a book by it’s cover. Oh yes.

Vivian wasn’t lovely on the outside. Far from it. She was square of shape, gray of hair and gruff of voice. But inside. Oh inside she was a gooey sweet marshmallow of a woman. If you needed anything Vivian was there for you. She was a nurse. She never married but her dogs and cats were her children. She had six dogs who had the run of the house and the bed and the outside. She had a dog door installed so that they could go in and out any time they wanted, rain or shine, winter or summer. Vivian always said that it was so that the dogs stopped bothering her but really it was because she loved them so. She had her front yard fenced in and the grass was very rarely mowed so when you pulled up to her house you might not see the dogs until they burst from the underbrush with barking enthusiasm. Dogs bring fleas inside. Vivian’s solution to that was just to have the house fumigated once a year.

And then there were the cats who didn’t go outside. But Vivian loved them and wanted them to have the “outside experience” so she had a cage installed in one window so that the cats could “sit” outside and get away from the dogs..

And then there was the family of raccoons that she allowed to live in the back of her old, and nonfunctional station wagon. In the garage.

Vivian loved to bake. Cookies. Cake. Breads. And when she was done she would let all the dogs lick the bowls clean. We just hoped and prayed that she washed the pans afterwards. It wasn’t unheard of to get a dog hair in the bread.

This recipe comes from Vivian. I miss her greatly even though she has been gone for many years. Pancreatic cancer overcame her outsized personality a mere two months after diagnosis in 1998. I should tell you that it makes three loaves so you can eat one right away, share one and put one in the freezer for next week. Vivian would probably tell you just to enjoy yourself and eat all three loaves. She would just make you more.


You are going to need eggs. Lots of eggs.


And then there is the butter. Lots of butter. A whole POUND of butter. Vivian believed in butter.


And sugar! A whole mountain of sugar for the loaf and then a small hill of sugar for the glaze.


And an entire continent of flour. No one said that I was a neat baker. A bit of flour must be spilt at times. This is also the reason why you turn your mixer on LOW when you start out.


And then there are the lemons. 6 of them to be exact. Both zest and juice will be used. Vivian always said that you needed to boil the whole lemons for 5 minutes to release all the juice. Ummmm. I don’t do this. I am lazy. But you knew that.


First I zest the lemon rind and set that aside. Then I just mash down on the lemons and roll them around on the counter. Release the juice that way. And then I cut them in half and use a fork and twist motion.


It is sometimes hard on the fork.


They gave their lives for my pleasure. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Oh be still my palpitating heart. Sugar and butter and lemon OH MY!


And after everything is expertly mixed I can tell you that it isn’t the dog who gets to lick the bowl clean.


Oh Alpha Male you are so cruel to me.

And after the loaves are all baked to perfection they are removed from the oven and holes are poked in them. You pour the lemon/sugar syrup you have made (directions in recipe below) over the loaves and let it sink in. And absorb. And meld.

Oh heavens.


But this is what happens if you do not grease the bottom of the pan well enough AND take the loaf out of the pan when it is too warm. We will eat this one……soon.



Now to go and make more coffee and dig in.

Link to recipe >>>> Lemon Loaf <<<< Link to recipe

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


OH I have been walking down memory lane today. Isn’t it funny the things that zip you right back to the growing up years.

When we were out visiting the parental units and the progeny a month or so ago Mimi handed me an envelope. And in the envelope was


The old family address/phone book. Shades of rotary phones Batman!

Yes, there was a time Grasshopper when there was no Outlook or iphone or Blackberry to store all your contact information. There wasn’t even, GASP!, the internet. We found a phone number the old fashioned way.

We let our fingers do the walking.

And this was the central repository for all phone numbers that we might need. It has certainly had some long and hard use by the looks of it.


Because it was the “family” address book, really just phone book, anyone could write phone numbers in it.


Mimi and Papa’s handwriting. Do you want to guess which is which. And I have to say that neither of their handwriting has changed one iota over the years.


I believe this is Pilot Man’s entry. I am not sure why I would be writing down the name and number of the boy across the street. He was cute as I recall but a tad on the short side and needed a hair cut.

Hey Mom Chef, check out the other names on that particular page!!


I believe this is my handwriting but I have no idea who this person is. She must have been important enough that I put pen to paper.


She of the poodle dog and practice sheets that had to be filled in and signed by parents. I was VERY good at writing out my mothers name. Don’t tell her OK?

Oh and I see that the name at the top of the page belongs to the people who gave me my first babysitting job. Now THAT was fun. They fed their child a pot pie for lunch before I came. How do I know this? Because the kid threw it up all over me later in the afternoon.

Good times.

I am not going to keep the phone/address book. I am just enjoying looking through it. Maybe I should put it away and preserve it for future generations?