Friday, March 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 159) The Musings on Travel Volume


Well it is Friday again. That sneaky day of the week. And seeing as I didn’t get back in town until Tuesday evening it seems even sneakier. So, after reading my insanely rambling blather make sure you click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of taxi drivers who descend on you at the Lima airport, over to Conversion Diary to check it all out.


The thing I most dislike about coming back from a trip is that it takes me a while to get back in the “swing” of things. I was gone almost 12 days including travel time. That means that it is going to take me at least a week to really be back in the normal routine.


For instance. The calendar tells me that this is Friday. But my brain doesn’t know that. I am not exactly sure what day it thinks we are in but Friday isn’t it.

One of the things that I appreciate the very most about getting back home is that I can brush my teeth with the water that is coming out of the tap.

And not worry about getting any water in my mouth when I am taking a shower.

And having ICE in my glass of water

Those may seem like little things but they are not believe you me. The brushing your teeth thing is actually the big one. It is a big pain in the patookiss to have to pour water out of a bottle onto your tooth brush, brush your teeth and then remember NOT to rinse the tooth brush with water from the tap. The risks if you do are just not worth it.

One of the first things I did when I got home on Tuesday was brush my teeth with my own tap water….and have a glass of ice water.

In Peru, if you are changing your US dollars into Peruvian Solas or even just paying for something with US dollars….your US dollars MUST be in perfect condition.

If they have a tear, even a small one……they are no good.

If they are even a bit worn…….they are no good.

If they have writing on them……they are no good.

If they are overly creased……..they are no good.

The money changer on the street (I always go to the same guy who is right by the Wong’s grocery store) will not take them. Jose, our driver, will not take them. The grocery store clerk will not take them. The BANK will not take them.

And every single time I go to Peru I forget this little principle. And we end up frantically searching through our cash to find bills that are acceptable.

Next time I go to Peru (in two years) I am going to get my cash from the bank and it is going to be in NEW BILLS so that we don’t have this problem again.

HHBL and I cashed in some frequent flier miles to make this latest trip to Peru. Believe me, we had enough to do that. And when HHBL made the reservations those many long months ago he happened to hit a day when we could swing First Class and Business Class both down and back.

Let me say that again….

First Class….

Business Class…..

Can I please fly First Class always and forever again? It isn’t just the whole boarding before everyone else, although that is really sweet. It might be the fact that we were handed Mimosas while we waited for all the rest to board. And I could sit there and sip while people struggled to the back of the plane.

Or it might have been the fact that on the long haul portions of the flight we were greeted BY NAME by the flight attendant as he came around to write down our order for our meal. And then said meal was served on real plates with real silverware and glassware. And I had a choice of wine.

And I had leg room.

I would like to fly First/Business Class all the time thankyouverymuch.

When we are visiting Abuela and Alberto, their “house man” Ruperto does laundry for us. It always nice for someone else to do your laundry for you. Give him the pile in the morning and it arrives back on your bed in the afternoon

And Ruperto returns everything ironed.

Yes, I said ironed. My tee shirts are ironed, even my work out ones. My shorts are ironed. My jeans are ironed. If he could iron my underwear I think he might do that.

Thank goodness he didn’t.

You would think, in a country that produces the most fabulous alpaca products, that it would be easier to find alpaca yarn to buy.

If you think that you would be wrong.

You can buy all the colorful products that you could ever need that have been produced with alpaca yarn. No problem there. But I had to work pretty hard to find people who were selling the yarn.

But I managed.

And I hand carried it all back in it’s own little carry on bag.

And here for your viewing pleasure are some pictures from Dahling the ipod. With commentary of course.


Boarding Group 1. Oh how sweet that is. And in the first row too. Life is good.


A hot breakfast sandwich on a two hour flight. I may never be the same again.


Smoked salmon, a hot and crusty roll and a good glass of Chardonnay. I think I will.

Obviously I was obsessed with food on this trip. I am sure as shootin’ that this won’t be the last time you will hear me talk about food.


When we arrived at the hotel in Cusco we were immediately handed a restorative cup of Coca Tea…..evidently made with the same plant that produces that powder that you shouldn’t buy. The tea was good.


Everyone should wear hand knit socks to climb all the steps at Machu Picchu. Of course if I had known that it was going to be unseasonably warm there that day I might have not worn wool socks.


Ummmmmm, I might have bought some yarn in Peru.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh Alpha How Could You!

So, we all know that HHBL and I took a little jaunt to South America. And whenever we go away Max the Magnificent gets to go to his second favorite place in the whole world.

The kennel!!!!

No, he really does like it there. He gets to play with all his doggie friends like Lena and Lexie and Big Agnes. Actually it is probably more like Big Agnes (a Mastiff-Great Dane mix who tops 200 pounds) just tells him what to do.

But I digress.

When I dropped Max off at the kennel before taking that big wide bird to Lima I had a chat with Laurie, the woman who runs the kennel. And Laurie made a suggestion. Just a small one.

Since she was going to groom Max and get him all prettied up what did we think about having him shaved for the summer months.



Ummmmmm, I don’t know about that. I am not sure that is a look that we are going for. We will have to think about that one. I will get back to you on it……sometime.

And we did think about it while we were gone tramping up the steps of Machu Picchu. Eating fish. Taking pictures.

And when we were actually back in the states, on our layover in Houston I gave Laurie a call and said, “Sure, go ahead and shave him up a bit”.

So we rushed right from the airport to the kennel once we were finally back in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. We could hear him barking when we pulled up. He seems to some how know it is us.

And then Laurie let him out of his run and we saw him.

Oh. My. Word.


You cannot really see it all that well in this picture but Max the Maligned is half of himself.


He is so ashamed that he won’t let me take a good picture of him yet. He is just all legs and head. Actually he looks like a larger version of himself as a puppy.

And you sure can tell that he is a boy. Now THAT was a masterful and careful bit of shaving I have to say.


Oh Alpha how could you be so cruel. I am consumed with shame.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ola! Buenos Dias!


Did you figure it out?

Did you guess?

I might, just might have been….

Out of town.

Way out of town. South American out of town.

Like maybe Peru out of town. For 10 days no less.

Yes, we were in Peru visiting the in-laws. Taking in the local color. Enjoying the sunsets. Eating fish every single day (sometimes TWICE a day) and drinking Cusquena Beer. Hanging at the beach. Having lunch with Rita, whose father-in-law was a President of Peru many years ago. She was HILARIOUS. Fending off multiple people who wanted to sell me a hat or a bag or a bottle of water or any number of useful tourist items. Buying alpaca yarn in the morning and eating alpaca for dinner…all on the same day.  And then there were the fellows who felt that HHBL’s running shoes needed a spit and polish shine.

Ummmmm, Gracias no.

And we might have visited this place as well.


Oh yes, Machu Picchu. Believe me when I tell you that it lived up to everything that people say about it. Including the fact that there are a lot of steps. A Lot. Many skinny little uneven steps. Diana you are going to LOVE it.

I have SO much to tell you. And I might have a picture or one thousand to show you. And I might have bought some yarn while I was there. Hmmmmm. It might have been enough yarn that I had to actually carry it home in it’s own bag because I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase for it. Maybe.

Oh and I am trying to think of how to tell you about the hairy, audacious, praying for safety, eye popping, masterful, underwear dirtying taxi ride we had from the in-laws condo to the Lima airport in order to make our flight back to the States. I am still recovering.

Rules of the road? Who needs rules of the road. Evidently Jose’s cousin didn’t and neither did anyone else on the road Monday evening.

You are going to be so sick of hearing about Peru.

But first I have to climb out from under the mountain of laundry and try to get my mojo back. My motivation seems to have decided to remain on vacation.

Darn motivation.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Eleven Reading Questions

Blame Stephanie over at So Many Books. These questions are totally her idea, born out of another meme that she was “commanded” to take part in.

This is not a meme so don’t worry that I am going to ask any of you to participate. Unless you want to that is. And if you do then just put that in the comments so that I can go and stalk your answers.

But I digress.

Here are Eleven Reading Questions and my answers.

1. What is the first book you remember reading? Hmmmmm, I would have to say that the first book I remember reading would be Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Don’t you wonder how many children remember a Dr. Seuss book as being the first one that they read. I also remember my mom reading me Bambi at bed time. In fact, I still have that book

2. What book on your shelves have you owned the longest?
I have a copy of An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott that I have had for as long as I can remember, at least since the age of 7 or so. I don’t know where it came from or who it came from. All I know is that it is beloved, ragged, worn, well read.

3. What is the oldest book on your shelves in term of when that particular edition was published.
I have a leather bound set of Charles Dickens that dates from 1890. They are lovely.

4. If you could meet a character from any book, what character would you like to meet? Anne Elliot from Jane Austen’s Persuasion

5. What no longer living author do you wish were alive to write just one more book? Rumer Godden. I remember the first time I ever read In This House of Brede. I was hooked and I have never looked back.

6. Where is your favorite place to read?
Oh this one is EASY. And if you have been hanging around here for any length of time then you know the answer…….
Big Red

7. Do you like to snack when reading? Unfortunately sometimes. What I usually have beside me is a large glass or mug of something to drink, usually coffee or tea.

8. Do you read with music playing or the TV on? Rarely if ever. The music can be something that has no words with it, say classical or jazz or just piano. But if there are words involved then it interferes with my concentration. And the TV always interferes with my reading.

9. Has the internet shortened your attention span and made it harder to read books as cultural critics claim, or is your ability for sustained reading as good or better than ever? No I don’t think so as far as the internet is concerned. I still manage to read 100+ books a year. What has intruded into my sustained reading is more just “life” and feeling somehow like there is something else that I ought to be doing. I am trying to get over that ridiculous feeling.

10. Do you belong to a book club.
Yes I do. But I have been a bad girl and have missed the last two meetings. Shame on me. But I had a good excuse I promise. And I had read both the books.

11. What book or author haven’t you read yet and are always saying you’d like to get around to it “someday”. Oh that is a long list, almost too much to contemplate. But I guess, if I had to pick one author, it would be Eudora Welty. And if my friend Amy ever sees that previous sentence she is going to come all the way from Arkansas and beat me senseless. She loves Eudora Welty that much.

OK, I want you to let me know what your answers would be. I love to see what everyone else’s “reading life” is like.

Friday, March 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 159)

Don’t shoot me but I am taking a one week break from 7 Quick Takes. I am off having fun today and am playing blather hookie. Rest assured that I will be back next week with more blather than you can shake a stick at.

If you could shake a stick at blather.

Which I am not sure that you can.

Oh whatever.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forgotten Bookmarks

We all know that I read more than is necessary for a woman. It makes me uppity and a good person to have around for Jeopardy.

One of the things that I love is old books from used bookstores. Well loved books. One of my dream jobs would be working in a used bookstore just processing the books.

Michael Popek has my dream job. Who is Michael Popek? He is the man behind one of my favorite blogs

I seriously love this blog. I have been reading it since 2008 and I have to say that the first time I stopped there I was hooked. And amazed.

Amazed at some of the things that people have used as bookmarks and then forgotten about. Everything from combs to letters to utility razor blades!

And now he has a book highlighting some of the best ones. This is not a blog post that is sponsored in any way by any one. I just wanted to tell you about the book.

It fascinates me.

I had to wait a LONG time before it finally showed up from Paperback Book Swap. It just seemed right that I would get it as a used book. But it didn’t have any hidden bookmarks.

That would have been just too good to be true.

And you can bet that every book that I donate gets checked before it goes out the door.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012–The Garden Begins Anew

Yes, I know it is only March. But the garden is calling.

And LaurenLeap and I were helpless to resist that siren song.

Another season begins. We have had a lot of rain recently so the boots were a necessity. I will explain the cardboard in a minute.

Oh yes, because we don’t have enough land under cultivation we are taking over another 20x20 foot plot.

Soon we will be taking over EVERYTHING


Sorry, I got carried away there for a minute.

LaurenLeap had sown some winter wheat last fall so there was lovely green stuff coming up in all the beds. Green stuff that we actually want to be there. We will fork that under and the dirt will be all happy happy joy joy. The large piles of straw that you see are actually the beds that are ready for planting. 

If you recall, last year we laid newspaper down on the paths and then covered it all over with straw. That made for a pretty effective weed barrier which we desperately needed as the fellow who had had these plots before us had let them all go to weed. Totally. The newspaper/straw combo worked fairly well. But then LaurenLeap had a brilliant idea over the long winter months. Why not use cardboard instead of newspaper. She had her kitchen remodeled and had all these empty boxes and it came to her in a flash of brilliance. 

And it is brilliant. And a whole lot easier than collecting and laying out newspaper.

Oh now that is just lovely.

Obsessive? Who is obsessive? Not us. Just because we have to lay all the beds out in a precise manner doesn’t mean a thing other than we are neat and tidy.

And we want to win at all costs.

Not that there is a contest or anything.

Just because our plots are just about the only ones ready for planting (other than Shannon the Master Gardener) doesn’t mean a thing.

Not a thing I tell you.

But the first seeds are going in next week so, quoting that immortal line from Mrs. Doubtfire…..

Brace yourself Effie!

The garden season has begun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Well today is officially the first day of Spring here at Chez Knit.

Of course we never really had winter here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio this year so Spring almost seems like an anticlimax.


But I have had a little touch of Spring sitting on my window sill for the last several weeks that has been bringing me multiple smiles.


HHBL and I attended a luncheon at church a few weeks back and all the ladies got to take home a pot of flowers. I made a grab for the tulips.

You see, I cannot plant tulips here at Chez Knit. They are lovely and delicate and the deer absolutely LOVE them. The tulip will come up and grow and be about one day away from blooming and then…

BANG! A flower stalk and leaves but the bud is gone. I finally just gave up even trying. So when I am offered the opportunity to have tulips around the house I grab them.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Hope your first day of Spring is great!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grandma’s Lemon Chiffon Cheesecake

When I was growing up this recipe was what I thought Cheesecake was. We went to Grandma and Grandpa Pringle’s house for Sunday dinner at least once a month and I knew that dessert would be pie or “cheesecake”. 

Imagine my surprise the first time that I had “real” cheesecake and it wasn’t what Grandma had always made.

But I will let you in on a little secret.

I like this recipe just as much as any cheesecake recipe that I have ever made. It is YUMMY. And best of all there is no baking involved and you can have the whole thing done in under an hour.

My kind of dessert.

I will admit here that I didn’t take pictures of the process. It is very easy. And when I was taking the pictures I was in a hurry to actually get the dessert done because I was serving it that night.
This stuff is SOOOOOO good. A graham cracker crust topped with a heavenly mixture of cream cheese, cool whip, sugar and lemon jello. Yes, I said lemon jello.

My mouth is watering.

You can make this one of two ways. Grandma always made it in a pie plate. A graham cracker crust topped with the cheesecake mixture.

I actually like to make it into individual servings. They look so cute and everyone thinks that you are a genius when you serve them.

Oh look! There is just enough left for a small extra serving for the cook. 

We are ALL about quality control here at Chez Knit

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 158)

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Here we are again. Another blather filled Friday. I can feel your excitement through the internet. Remember, click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my growing addiction to The Tudors, over to Conversion Diary.

Thou may now blather.
I have a new camera strap. Or rather I have a new COVERING for my camera strap.

Yes, I knit myself a camera strap. Believe me, it wasn’t my original idea. My Knit Sib Jessica knit one for herself recently and I was green with envy.

It took a whopping two days to complete. Total potato chip knitting. Just my kind of project. And oh does it feel good on the back of my neck.

I have discovered a love of Gregorian Chant. So soothing. So comforting.

I really should say that I have “re-discovered” I love of that form of music. I grew up listening to many forms of music including Gregorian. But then my Auntie Sue came to live with us for her college years. She was a music major. She had to listen to and analyze Gregorian chants. All. Night. Long. Or so it seemed to me. And I vowed I would never listen to that “stuff” again.

But then a while back I heard a piece by Hildegard von Bingen and I was hooked. It is perfect background music for reading or writing or blogging or photo editing.

Love it.

The dawgonne dear are really getting on my last nerve. 


This is what I saw, in broad daylight mind you, when I looked out my window the other morning.


Dang it! Stay out of my yard!!

And because of these obnoxious quadrapeds I have had to start spraying with the stuff that smells like a vomitorium a bit earlier than I had planned.

So, I hadn’t opened any of the jars of pickled beets that I put away last fall. There weren’t all that many jars and I have sort of been saving them.

So I opened a jar last week to put some of the beets on a salad.

I did not put enough sugar in the syrup.


Holy pucker puss Batman! I am seriously thinking about opening the jars up, re-boiling the syrup with some more sugar and then just keeping the jars in the frig.

Because they are just not really eatable otherwise.

And I do love pickled beets.

Wednesday started out great. LaurenLeap and I spent several hours in the garden. Yes The Garden! I will tell you about it next week I think.

The weather was beautiful. The sky was cloudless. The temp was 70F!!! Fabulous

But the afternoon was not so good.

Why you ask? Well I will tell you…..

I was editing some photos when all of a sudden. FFFFFFFRRRRRRT!
Computer froze. Screen went wonky. Not good. Trying not to panic. Reboot in safe mode, shut down. Reboot…still problems. Rinse and repeat. HHBL came home and worked on it even though he had a BOAT LOAD of work to do himself. I love him. Defragged the hard drive. Fiddled with some things. That helped the whole freezing thing but…….

This is what has happened to the screen.


Yes, we believe that the video card is shot. Kaput. Finished. Done. Gone to Jersey.

And I am loath to admit that when HHBL finally said the dreaded words, “Well, I have done everything I can to fix this but it is beyond me” (which means death because he can fix most all computer problems)……

I had a slight melt down which might have involved great heaving sobs and some lamentations.

Poor HHBL.

Now the decision is….Do I get another computer since the lap top is about 4 years old. Or do I just fix this one. The current thought is to get a nice big powerful desk top with a big screen since I do so much photo editing now.

Decision, decisions.

And let me tell you that those green lines are REALLY distracting.

The weather this week! BIG rain but so much lovely warm weather. And the weatherman is saying that next week brings more temps in the 70sF. I had the screen door open yesterday and the window open on Wednesday night.

And Holy Cow Andy the coyotes were singing on Wednesday night. It made me want to break out into a chorus of “Home, Home On The Range”.

I restrained myself.

Just barely.

And as has become my usual. Here are some pictures from “Dahling” the ipod.

This was the sunrise LAST Friday before Daylight Savings Time.

This is the sunrise taken at the same place at the same time on Monday morning AFTER Daylight Savings Time.

But by the end of the walk it was starting to be beautiful.

Sandy’s dog, Ben, fearlessly leads the way……back to the car. The rest of the time he walks behind us and “herds” us along.

Alpha may I PLEASE go on the walk with you? PleasePleasePleasePleasePlease!

Yes you may

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grandma’s Bible

I just had to show you this. It is so sweet.

I have been going through some boxes of books and things. And I found my Grandma Pringle’s bible. I knew I had it but I hadn’t really taken a look at it.


I pulled it out of the box that it was in and set it aside for a bit and as I did I noticed that there was what looked like a red slip of paper that was sticking out of it.


Hmmm. I have had this bible on my shelves for a while and I know I never saw that in there before.


Well it is obviously a valentine meant for Grandma. But the writing on the doily is my Grandmother’s, however the valentine is addressed to her. And it looks like something that she would have produced.


It was so my Grandma Pringle to make a valentine with a paper doily and some construction paper. I have more than one of these put away in my “memories” box. But I still couldn’t figure out why it was addressed in her hand writing and yet was a valentine meant for her not from her.


And then I opened the card up and saw the writing on the front of a folded white piece of paper and I understood. This would have been the last Valentine’s Day note that Grandpa Pringle ever wrote to Grandma. He went home to be with the Lord in 1992, late in the year. I am assuming that Grandma put the note into this card and then stuck it in her bible.


I think this because when you open up the folded piece of paper there is my grandfather’s handwriting. And this is what it says.

My Dear Valentine-
     I praise the Lord that He brought us together over 50 years ago. I remember well standing there in the church with brother Gerald hearing me say “I Would” to the question the Pastor asked. And today I still say I Will.
                                                                                                   Lovingly, Glenn


I am just slayed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Squirrel Planking

You have heard of the idiotic phenomenon known as “planking” haven’t you?


Well here at Chez Knit even the squirrels have been taken in by yet another fad. But being squirrels, it took them a bit to get it right.


Is this how you do that planking thing, Frank?


I dunno. Are you supposed to just lay here until someone takes a picture?


Bob, I feel awful unsteady on this thing. Are you sure we are supposed to lay down like this? I am just going to hold on fer awhile.


I GOT IT! QUICK, take the darn picture. This is a very thin board and squirrels aren’t meant to do this forever.


Did you say squirrel?