Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Knitting and Food and the Olympics OH MY!

I am still recovering.

Recovering from the party on Friday night.

The knitting party.

Oh if you are laughing at that last sentence then you are definitely not a knitter. We take our knitting parties seriously. Especially ones that we have been planning and talking about for a long time.

The Ravellenic Games have begun (dum dum dum DA!)

There was food….


Egads was there ever food! I made some food. And then I made some more because I was afraid that we MIGHT run out. And then the Knit Sibs started to arrive and they brought food and food and more food.

Believe me when I tell you that none of us were the least bit hungry by the time it was all said and done.

I didn’t really eat anything on Saturday until the wedding reception dinner (we went to a wedding Saturday afternoon).

And there might also have been some alcohol……


I mad a big batch of The Chef’s amazing Sangria recipe. And we drank it’s yummy, fruity goodness out of Mason jars. I was so Martha Stewart that night! To make sure that we weren’t confused as to which drink was ours we all took different colors of yarn and tied it around the jar.

I do want to say that there wasn’t all that much drinking going on. Friends don’t let friends cast on major knitting projects drunk. And some of us are attempting major projects.

I am already thinking that I am an idiot for the project I picked. But that’s another story.

And then there was knitting and talking and critiquing of the Opening Ceremonies. We loved the giant inflatable Voldemort vanquished by all the Mary Poppins. But we were, ummmm, unenchanted with the dancing nurses and children extolling the glories of national health care.

Oh no the Olympics are NEVER political.

Ummmmm, getting back on track now.

IMG_9276Ravellenic games

See, loads of knitting and spinning going on.

And talking.

And laughing.

Thank goodness this only happens every two years. I will need the time to recover.

Now back to knitting on my Dwarrowdelf stole. Knitting lace is very slow……

Very slow indeed. Perhaps I should just think of it as my Treebeard wrap……..

We never do anything unless it is worth taking a long time to do

Yes, yes I know that I changed the quote a bit. Work with me people!

Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 175)


As Shakespeare would say if he were here, “Time, it doth fly like the moth on the wind”.

Or not.

You know the deal. Read my blather, ingest it and cogitate on it. Then click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly disappearing hosta, over to Conversion Diary to see the rest.

On you marks! Get set! BLATHER!!!!

OK, let’s get the griping and whining out of the way right now.

We all know that I love technology. And I especially love it when it works well and you don’t have to jump through extra hoops just to do one stupid thing.

Yesterday was not one of those days.

All I wanted to do was download an audiobook from the library. That is all that I wanted to do. And because that is all that I wanted to do I ended up having to download a security fix for my media player. And it wouldn’t download at first so I had to research until I finally figured out that I had to do it through Internet Explorer (I hate IE). And then I had to download software to be able to DOWNLOAD the darn book onto my computer because that particular book couldn’t be downloaded directly onto my ipod over the internet due to “contractual issues”. And then I had to download the book to the computer. And then I had to start itunes and change settings. And then I had to connect the ipod and change more settings. And then I had to download and then re-download and then re-download AGAIN because all the parts didn’t seem to want to download. And then I had to figure out where it actual was on my ipod.

Audiobooks (that seemed obvious). Nope!

Podcast? Nope!

Music? Nope!…..



All I wanted to do was download a darn book.

Book Club was last night. As with many book clubs this one started about a year ago somewhat spontaneously. A number of us met to discuss a book that one of us recommended. We enjoyed it so much that we picked another book, and then another, and then another after that.

And pretty soon an entire year had gone by and we knew we just had to keep going.

Last night was a bit different because for the first, and most likely the last time……

We actually had the author of our book club selection there with us. And it was so much FUN!

Our selection was A Basket Full of Broken Dishes by Naomi Mullet Stutzman and our assessment was an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Naomi has written the story of her parents, Simon and Susan Mullet, their faith in Christ and their difficult journey out of the Amish community here in Northeast Ohio. Believe me when I tell you that the Amish life is not all sweetness and light. 

It gave us great insight to actually have Naomi there to give further back story and answer questions. And it was a just a  joy because I have known Naomi for a long time but didn’t know until recently that her parents had been Amish. You just never know what you don’t know about long time friends.

If you have a chance go and read A Basket Full of Broken Dishes. It will touch your heart.

image 22-4-2009

In my hours long photo scanning session yesterday I came up with this photo. Why do I care about a photo of me (far left in the picture), the Hook girls, Pilot Man and Auntie Jane all lying on the pull out couch watching TV?

It is because of what I am resting against. When I saw that picture I just did a short happy dance. That object that I am resting against was my stuffed “Sea Snake” Cecil. He was one of a kind, made by my Grandmother Amsler.

image 2009-12-14 0001

Cecil the Sea Snake and I were constant slumber companions from the moment he came into my life. He had a felt head and a patchwork body made up of pieces of fabric from other projects that Grandmother had sowed. There was satin from a wedding dress, cotton from her dresses, wool, corduroy. All manner of fabric. He was long enough that when I was little I could form his body into a “U” shape under the covers and sleep in the protective area he formed.

I loved him.

At some point in time Cecil disappeared. I know not were. I weep for his loss.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that when the grandchildren arrive they are each getting their own Cecil.

Everybody needs a Cecil the Sea Snake when they are growing up.

In the space of about two weeks the four footed pains in my patookis deer have laid waste to my hosta.

Of course I haven’t been spraying the smelly stuff as much this year so that was to be expected. I did right at first and then I ran out. And after a while I just decided Pffffffft! and I haven’t gotten out to get more.

And even has I write this I can look out and see fawn and momma happily eating the neighbor’s plants.


But to offset that I am just now looking out on about 10 turkeys, moms and young, who are scratching around in the front beds looking for seeds and having turkey sibling fights.

Hey that’s MY seed!

No it’s not!

Yes it is!

Mom loves me better!

No she doesn’t!

Yes she does!

You’ve got a big turkey butt!


Seriously the turkey sibling rivalry is hilarious to watch.

Now if the deer would just stay on the other side of the street at Linda’s house (sorry Linda) we would all be happy.

Or at least I would be happy. I am not sure about Rick and Linda.

The first zucchini of the season was consumed this week. I caramelized some onions and then threw in the sliced up zucchini and gave it a quick saute. I did not let it get all mushy, just barely cooked through was what I wanted. Slipped it all out of the pan onto my plate, dusted it with some Kosher salt, sprinkled with a generous portion of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

VOILA! A delicious lunch.

I may do that again today.

The best thing about blueberry season?

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Bread made with my homemade yogurt and blueberries picked from the farm two miles away. If I could have grown the lemons I would have

I am on my second piece this morning.

DON’T JUDGE! It was my breakfast and it was deeeeeeeeelicious.

And last but not least…..

The Olympic Games begin tonight!!!!!!!

And that means that all my Knit Sibs will be descending on Chez Knit this evening for the official opening of the Ravellenic Games. There will be fiber. There will be needles. There will be food.

There will be Sangria!

Just as a reminder to myself and the world (so that I don’t wimp out). I will be attempting to start AND finish this…..


The Darrowdelf Stole

I will keep you posted on the progress.

Overload of TV here I come!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Four Hours Gone in the Blink of an Eye

All I did was say to myself,

I think I will sit down and rearrange some of those pictures on my hard drive and maybe scan some pictures into my computer.

And in the blink of an eye four hours disappeared.

Four hours. It might actually be more than four hours but I choose not to think about it.

And in those four hours I found that I seemed to have a great many duplicates of old family photos stored in various folders. I thought that might be the case but was greatly surprised to see the over duplication.

But not anymore. The family photos that I have are now all in their proper place, not all labeled yet I have to admit but still they are all sorted.

That means that at a moments notice I can find this….

Deb and drippy sponge

This might be the last time that I voluntarily washed the kitchen floor. Ah youth.

Or maybe this picture……


Please know that this will be the one and only time that any of you will EVER see this photo.

And then there might be this gem that I didn’t even know that I had…..

image 2010-5-13 0015A

Wow, can you say awkward family vacation photo that has a slightly yellow tint to it.

On second thought it might just be the mustard yellow shirt that my father is wearing.

Either way it is painful to behold.

Ah family photos, you are right at my fingertips now that the organization monster has been fed for the day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


My Grandpa, Glenn Lauren Pringle.


GLP’s swimming suit.

It is wool. Heavy, scratchy wool.

I think I would rather not go swimming if I had to wear something along these lines.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Oh to love in the woods. Where you never know what might be waiting for you when you come home from lunch.

Here I am today minding my own business, talking to my Momma on the cell phone and pulling into my garage.

I glance to my left at the other garage door.

Hmmmmm, that’s an odd place for a stick to just be hanging.

Look a bit closer.




It’s a BUG!

Bye Mom, I have to go and get my camera.


A walking stick bug, part of the family Phasmatodea.

Hey I watched Master and Commander! I know what a Phasmid is.


As I inch slowly closer to get a better picture. Oh creepy, creepy bug please do not move. Please do not make any threatening gestures. Please, oh please do not jump on me.


Despite the total shiverfest going on up and down my spine I can see that this is a seriously cool bug. Can you imagine the camouflage capabilities this thing has when in a tree or on a bush. You know what gave it away for me? Well despite the fact that it was hanging in the middle of my garage door.

The weird little head it has. There is no way those little pincher like protuberances look like anything that you would see at the end of a stick.

I am observant like that.


Not exactly sure where the eyes are on this thing…..and I wasn’t going any closer to try and find out that is for darn sure.


Look Mildred! A bug butt.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Just think of it as being in training for the county fair coming up in a month or so. You know I can’t resist all the animal butts over there. And really, I am only speculating that this is his posterior. It could very well be his head.

I have absolutely no idea.

Sorry. Digression. Where was I?

He truly embodies the term…Stick Legs.

I really don’t know if it is a He or a She. And I am not going to check on that either. Some dignity must be maintained around here.

Now I am going to stay in the house and hide until he/she goes back into the trees.

I need more coffee to calm my nerves.

And maybe some chocolate. Hey it worked for Harry Potter!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pictures From The Crypt

You thought I had forgotten these little gems hadn’t you.

You thought that you were safe.

You were wrong.

I am currently spending at least 30 minutes a day scanning pictures. After seeing some of the devastation caused by the wild fires in Colorado and all the homes that are lost I feel I need to get as many photos as possible backed up “into the cloud”.

Hence I am looking at lots of old photos.

Family photo '94

Can you say Awkward Family Photo? And what I REALLY want to know is did Sears Photography not know about the ability to crop a photo. What is with half the picture being taken up with background.


Explain to me why I have that very odd bow like thing tied around my neck? The really funny thing is that my hair looks almost the same today…..only with the fabulous gray streak.

Marybeth Reeves and I

I might have posted this one before. But it bears re-posting only so that you can call your children over to the computer and remind them NEVER to dress like a bunny.

And by the way, the shoes that I am wearing……


I still own them.

Hoarder? Whose a hoarder? Not me.

Nothing to see here. Move along.


I wish I knew why I had eyebrows and a moustache made out of paper attached to my face.

Maybe I don’t want to know.


I just do not know what to say other than to ask what was I possibly thinking when I did my bangs that way.

And why did I have bangs in the first place.


OK, this is one of the pictures I actually love. A lot. Shoe Queen was about 6 weeks old at this point. We spent a lot of time sitting on the couch and reading.

Top-303(rev 1)

Sure they have cowgirls in Ohio. Both of these “horses” had names but I cannot for the life of me remember. And the progeny used them until they fell apart.

1991 March bdays 1A

Hmmmmm, the wearing of false moustaches seems to be hereditary.



And about 20 extra pounds.

And WHAT is with that sweater???


I don’t know who this is but I don’t think I would want to mess with her.


And so we come to the end of another episode of Pictures From The Crypt. I will leave you with a burning question.

What ever possessed me to wear a pink, polyester skirt. And WHAT is that shirt all about.

The mind boggles.

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 174)


I am trying to ignore the fact that it is already three weeks into July. The summer is fast flying by!! Please make it slow down.

You know the hard and fast rules. When you are done soaking up my heaping pile of blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my growing obsession with canning, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been up to.

I can blather with the best of ‘em.

This has been a very busy week. The in-laws were here for several days of fun and food. But I did manage to “put up” several jars of Bread and Butter pickles. I used, sort of, the recipe from Food in Jars. But I changed some of the spices to my liking.


Oh I so want to test these. My mouth is watering just looking at them. But the thing about pickles is…..

They really need to sit and rest for a while. Like any good marriage it needs a bit of time for everyone to get along and be all lovely.

I hate waiting for anything. But I know that I will be rewarded in the end.

While I was rooting around in my big freezer looking for something I found EIGHT jars of Strawberry Freezer Jam. At first I couldn’t think why they were in there and why we hadn’t consumed them with in the last two years (they were dated 2010).

And then I remembered. The jam was too runny, even for freezer jam, once it was thawed in the frig. And we just didn’t eat them because they were not pleasing. And then I just plain forgot about them.

Of course I hate to waste anything so Thursday morning once the in-laws left for the airport I got all the jars out of the freezer, defrosted them, reheated the jam, added more pectin (the amount according to the Ball directions for “re-jamming”), boiled it and then re-canned it.


These are the jars just out of the freezer. I have to say that the finished product that is cooling on the counter even as I am writing this (on Thursday) didn’t lose much in the color department. That was my biggest fear, that it would be too dark.

As I was writing that paragraph I could hear that satisfying little “pop” that a successfully canned jar makes as it seals. All but one of the jars sealed properly so I just had to give the jam a test once it cooled a bit.

SUCCESS! It jelled just right and it tastes bright and very fruity.

Oh, and just an update on the Peach-Bing Cherry jam that I made last week.


I am thinking that I need to freeze a bunch of Bing cherries so that I can make more during the winter months.

We finally had some rain on Thursday morning. A real downpour with thunder and then a steady rain for an hour or so. That isn’t nearly enough rain but every little bit helps around here. I would guess that we will have a massive growth spurt out at the garden in the next few days.

I am sort of like the plants in my garden. I really need rain to feed my soul. I don’t want it to rain all the time but when we go so long without rain I just feel parched.

It took all I had not to go out and just stand in the rain. But it was thundering so I decided not to.

I am trying to spend a bit of time every day scanning in old pictures. I have SO many of them and if I don’t make myself do this then it will never get done.

And really, it is a whole lot of fun.


This picture was taken in 1998 on a trip to Israel and yes folks, that is me in those fabulous red shorts with…..

Wait for it…..

A honkin’ big belly bag.

And my camera around my neck.

AND white socks with white Keds tennies.

Hey if you have to do tourist you should do it very, very well.

And I strive for perfection.

I have been working furiously to finish up several knitting projects so that starting next week I can concentrate on my Dwarrowdelf Stole.

This is what finally came off the blocking boards yesterday morning.


Pink Fire

The pattern is called “Tongues of Fire” and was knit with Araucania Ranco Solid, two skeins, that I happened to find in a bin at Tuesday Morning for an outrageously low price. The Araucania Ranco is listed as a sock yarn but I have found that it isn’t very well suited to that particular use. If you aren’t very careful with it it will felt, despite the fact that the tag states there is 25% polymide in it. BUT it is fabulous for things like lace knitting because when you block it you can block very aggressively and it stays blocked very nicely.

And no Bonnie, you cannot have it.

We took the in-laws to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History this week. I will tell you the whole story next week. But what was cool was that we happened to arrive about 10 minutes before they had a Monarch Butterfly release.

IMG_9211 - CopyIMG_9223 - Copy

Very cool to watch I must say.

I was going to take the camera out to the garden this morning so you could have a few photos of what is going on.

I know you LIVE for those.

But I didn’t. It is a cool, rainy, misty morning and cameras don’t like that. So you will just have to be content with me telling you that I ate some cherry tomatoes, picked some green beans and some broccoli, brought home a mass of cucumbers that need to be made into some sort of pickles and clipped off a bunch of basil that is going to become pesto.

And I would guess that starting Monday we will be harvesting zucchini. HURRAH!!! After last years total zuke failure we have been eagerly anticipating production this year. We also have 6 cantaloupe in various stages as well as a bunch of acorn squash and a very tiny watermelon.

And the tomatoes! Good golly Miss Molly. They aren’t ripe yet but when they are LL and I are going to be swimming in them. I am already putting in some time on looking at how to cure my own bacon.

The first BLT of the season isn’t all that far away.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Carrots? Or Abstract Works of Art.

Some gardeners are able to grow beautiful, long, lovely carrots. Carrots that look like, well, like carrots.

LaurenLeap and I are not those gardeners.

LL had planted carrots early in the season. We watered. We waited. The carrots germinated and sent up those lovely frondy carrot tops.

And then the temperature shot up and everything went to seed. Don’t get me wrong, the flowers that carrots produce are very pretty. They have a Queen Anne’s Lace quality to them which makes sense because they are in the same family.



But when they start to flower then the carrot itself is kaput! Done for. Toasted. Finally on Saturday morning LL and I got around to cutting off all the carrot flowers (which make for lovely flower arrangements) and pulling up all the carrots that were in the bed.

These things do not look like regular carrots.


They went thataway!


Look! It is the Little Dutch Boy’s pants!


Carrot Squid


Where did this round one come from?


This was the most normal one of the bunch!


Tree Beard!!


Even with veggies I cannot seem to get away from  phallically shaped items. Why me?


Here they are resting comfortably with their garden neighbors, the beets.

And just in case you are wondering. I am still going to cook these carrots just to see if they are any good. I don’t have any illusions that they are but I still have to try.

We aren’t ready to give up on carrots just yet but I think we are going to try something a bit different, baby round carrots I think. I just hate to have to give up.


I am taking a couple of days off, Tuesday-Thursday to be exact, so that I can spend some time with the in-laws who are visiting. But never fear, I will be back on Friday with your usual dose of blather. And who knows, I might not be able to help myself and I may blog.

Or not.

Friday, July 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 173)


It is the middle of July, almost. How did that happen? Can someone please send about 5 straight days of rain. My parched heart needs it badly. You know the drill, when you are done watering yourself with the drively blather that you find here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the quickly passing summer, over to Conversion Diary.

Release the Blather! 

Ah the Frozen Northeast Ohio. A place chock full of wildlife. A place teaming with four footed creatures that you can

Smell: the skunk that nearly drove me from my slumber on Wednesday night. Was he parked under the bedroom window for an hour or what? And he was back again last night AND this morning. I am thinking he lives very close.

Hear: the owls and the coyotes have been very vocally active in recent days. I love that sound.

See: Black bears….no I haven’t seen him yet but he is moving closer and closer. He was sighted TWICE yesterday within city limits!!! And I keep hoping that when I step out onto the back deck he will be just hanging around so that I can get a fabulous picture of him.

Lea, keep bringing the bear repellent when we walk at the lake!!!

I picked blueberries on Wednesday morning.

17 pounds of blueberries to be exact. But somehow it seems like that is not enough blueberries. What if we run out before next year! Should I go back next week and pick more?

Decisions, decisions.

Really, I don’t think I will go back and pick another huge bucket full. After washing and freezing all the berries there are plenty for the coming year.

Especially since I found two big bags of blueberries from last year lurking at the back of the freezer.

Evidently my area of the country is the #2 area right now for political ads.

Oh. Joy.

Can I tell you how much I hate, loath, despise political ads of any kind. In fact the minute one comes on I change the channel on the TV. I don’t read them, I don’t watch them, I don’t listen to them.

Thank goodness for the DVR so that I can record what I want to watch and run through those ads at lightening speed.

Have I ever told you about my “politics rule” that I strictly enforce? It goes like this……

I do not watch, listen to or read ANYTHING about politics in any form after 8p. That means if HHBL and I are watching 20/20 on a Friday night and one of the segments is on a political candidate that I have some interest in, whether Presidential or local, I put my earplugs in so that I do not hear.

It is either cut all politics off at 8p or kiss my sleep goodbye.

And I value my sleep!

I am making Peach-Bing cherry jam today. I have been inspired by a new book that I purchased, Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. I have some Bing Cherries that I need to use up. And I am trying to use up the last of the peaches from last year before the new crop is ripe.

Wish me luck.

It will be a small batch so I won’t be totally upset if it doesn’t turn out but I am hoping that it does. I am totally addicted to my homemade jam.

Have I ever mentioned my love of lists? Lists of all kinds. One of my favorite books was, not surprisingly, The Book of Lists. Oh momma.

I find lists of things, especially reading lists and lists of books, inspiring.

And this week, into my life burst The Guardian: 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read.

I think my head may explode.

It is a wide ranging selection to be sure. There are a few picks that I question. And there are plenty of books that I haven’t heard of, which is amazing to me. I haven’t counted how many books on the list I have actual read yet, there are a few.

And because I am who I am I had to put all the books into a spread sheet. That way I can have them ready to hand and can shuffle the data in a variety of ways. And I think I am just going to “spin the wheel” once a month and pick a novel off the list to read.

In fact lets fire up the old reading wheel right now and see what we get…..


And our winner is……..#58!

Come on down #58 and tell us who you are.

HiHiHiHi I am Adam Bede by George Eliot. I am so excited to be given the opportunity to come into your life!

Hi Adam Bede by George Eliot. I am sure that we are going to be good friends.

I will let you know how it goes.

AND because I love all of you and I want you NOT to have to put all of those books into a spreadsheet (thank goodness I am a very fast typist) if you want to email me I will send you the list in spreadsheet form. You can also just print it off from The Guardian link that I have given you above but then you will be wasting paper.

And since I am in the “thinking about books” mode I have to admit that I am having the overwhelming urge to chuck all the other books that I am currently reading and start on a re-read of The Lord of the Rings. I may even start with The Hobbit and then go on to LOTR.

When I first read Tolkien, back in Jr. Hi., that is the way that I did it. I read TH first and then LOTR. Not with the conscious thought that one was the sequel to the other, that is just what I did.

I have read both numerous times since then but never back to back.

It may be time.

Since I have SO MUCH free time at the moment (did you get the hint of sarcasm).

But sometimes you just have to read LOTR. And the appropriate time to start always seems to me to be in the high summer. Possibly that is because the first time that I read them, and I remember it vividly, was in the middle of summer.

I have talked myself into it.

The cleaning and the laundry and the cooking can wait. Bilbo and Frodo and Samwise and the Ring call me.

Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky.
Seven rings for the Dwarf-Lords in their halls of stone.
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die.
One for the Dark Lord on His Dark thrown.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them.
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

And because I am such a nerd I could type out that quotation in it’s entirety by heart.

Oh, and last but not least. You know that lovely, ripe cherry tomato that I DIDN’T eat at the garden yesterday under the mistaken assumption that it would be unethical to do so because LaurenLeep wasn’t there to enjoy as well……


It was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious!