Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 184)


Here we are again. Another week older. Another week wiser. Maybe. Remember your training young Padwan. When you are done committing my blather to memory you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of swiftly approaching election, over to Conversion Diary to see what has happened around the globe.

Live long and blather!

I just thought I should let you know…….
Light Bulb

I hate this form of light bulb. I never buy this form of light bulb…or at least I didn’t until yesterday. And that was totally by mistake. We were out of the spot light type of bulbs that go in the recessed fixtures in the kitchen. I swung by Wally Mart to purchase more. That was my first mistake. Looked at the different forms of small “flood” type bulbs. Picked the one that was slightly lower in price ($11 rather than $12.50), muttered about having to pay $11 for FOUR light bulbs, went home, opened the box, found that it contained TWO light bulbs rather than four, had a momentary melt down and then took a closer look at the bulb.

It LOOKED like a regular small flood bulb but on closer inspection I could see that they had just disguised one of the stupid “energy efficient” bulbs in flood clothing.

I figured it couldn’t hurt to install the thing to see what it was like. So I did so.

I uninstalled it 10 seconds later, put it back in it’s box and returned them to Wally Mart straight away. It gives off less light than a small candle and is of absolutely no use to me.

I then went to the local Home Depot and bought TWELVE good flood bulbs for a third of the price.

My walking buddies and I have decided that we are not getting enough exercise. So we are going to be walking 4-5 days a week instead of the three days a week that we have been walking for the last three years. We all met at Curves when we were working out there and when our Curves 1. moved to a different part of town and 2. acquired a new owner who thought that opening at 8:30a was sufficient for everyone (NOT!) we decided to just walk together.

But we aren’t working hard enough.

This should help. Although my legs are not all that happy with me at the moment. And I will not be walking with Sandy and Lea on Tuesdays. You see, Tuesdays are my iron clad  “stay at home” day. HHBL has a 6a Bible Study group (so he leaves the house at 5:30a) and he also teaches at Kent State on Tuesday afternoon and evening so I have an entire day to just crank out work. I guard Tuesdays jealously. Ask LaurenLeap.

I went to the library yesterday intending ONLY to drop off books and to pick up just two books that had come in for me.

And I walked out with 6 books, two of which have 700+ pages.

Why do I do that? What comes over me? I am dazzled by the titles and the thought of all that knowledge. And of course they aren’t just light reading. Nope.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett
The Great Big Book of Horrible Things by Matthew White
On The Eve by Bernard Wasserstein
The Story of a Life by Aharon Appelfeld
The World: Travels 1950-2000 by Jan Morris
New Ways to Kill Your Mother by Colm Toibin  (NOT what you think it is Mom!!)

And I am still finishing up:
A New Shoah by Giulio Meotti
Leave None to Tell the Story by Alison De Forges (although this one I own in pdf form)

Yes, I suffer from Bibliographic Obesity. No wonder the librarians all know me by first name.

LaurenLeap and I have a “garden clean up” day scheduled for today. There is no rain in the forecast, the sky is sunny and cheerful.

And there is A LOT to do in the garden to begin to put things “to bed”. There are more potatoes to be dug. There are the last tomatoes to be harvested and the vines pulled up. We still have green beans that are producing. There are beets that need to be harvested. The broccoli is STILL producing side heads. There is lettuce. There are Brussels sprouts, although we will leave those until after frost hits.

We had some of the garden potatoes last night with our roast chicken. Oh are they good.

The basil was all harvested last week and I have dried my portion of it. We are set for basil for until next year’s garden.

I would guess that there will be a “summing up” garden post in the next couple of weeks. Try to contain your excitement.

This time of year I absolutely crave sweets and carbohydrates. I am like a bear preparing for hibernation. If I was a bear I would be out eating berries, salmon and small tourists in preparation for a long winter sleep. As it is there are no berries handy. I have to go to the store to get salmon. And I have very little hankering for small, chewy tourists.

And I ate the last of the bread for breakfast.

And there isn’t anything of a sweet nature in the house. Well, there is that bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms that is hidden in the freezer. But as long as it stays unopened it also stays unconsumed.

And even though I love dehydrated apples and we are eating them by the handful….they just don’t satisfy somehow.

I am going to have to bake something today. Something seriously good.


Can I tell you how much I love my job. I really, really love being a photographer.



I get to take photos of fabulous kitchens. I mean REALLY fabulous kitchens.




IMG_0182 a

Who wouldn’t love this job!

Well, there was going to be a photo collage here from my Friday iPhone photo dump. But PSE is being obstreperous today so I am just giving them to you individually.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dang Creativity

Sometimes creativity overtakes me. My brain goes,

HEY this would be a FABULOUS idea dontcha think?

And I listen….when I shouldn’t.

Yesterday was one of those days.


I had a boat load of apples that needed to be used up. They had been in the refrigerator for a long time.

A. Long. Time. Most likely all summer.

Have you ever noticed that summer really isn’t a time to eat apples. The apple urge just isn’t there. You have strawberries and peaches and plums and raspberries and watermelon and rhubarb to eat. Apples just don’t make the cut.

What? Rhubarb is a fruit. It goes in pies and coffee cake and muffins. And you have to use A LOT of sugar with it. What’s not to like?

Where was I?

Oh, apples. So I had a bunch of sadly soft and slightly shriveled apples (You know, there is some kind of dirty joke in that but I will just leave it there). And I was stuck home all day waiting for the Windstream cable guy.

Yes Mrs. Quigg, we will be there sometime between the hours of 8a and 5p.

Really? REALLY? No I don’t have anything else that I needed to do. And he didn’t even need to come into the house. Fiddle with the cable at the street. Fiddle with the cable by the house. 10 minutes work and he was gone. Bitter? Do I seem bitter about this?

Did I digress again? Apples. We are talking about apples. Keep on track.

And as I looked at the sadly shriveled and slightly unappealing orbs I pondered what I might do with them.

Dehydrate them? No, I already had a second load in the dehydrator.

Carve them into shrunken apple heads? I don’t have THAT much time in my life.

Apple sauce? Only enough to make one bowlful.

I know!! I will make apple tarts. That should be easy…..famous last words.

Made a batch of pie dough. Peeled, cored and chopped the apples. Added all the ingredients to the apples. Rolled out the pie dough and cut it into rounds. Spoon the apples onto the dough.

And then everything went to heck in a handbasket because I hadn’t really thought this through. I went with my not inconsiderable gut. I use an oil pie crust dough. It is FABULOUS but… isn’t as sturdy as a pie dough made with Crisco or lard. Everything was fine until I went to fold the dough over.

Fold dough over. Dang it a hole! Patch hole. Where did THIS hole come from.

NONONONONONONONO the dough is breaking. Rats. Rats. Double rats.

And after some shouting and gesturing I scrapped the apples back in the bowl, threw away a portion of the soggy dough, used a small baking dish that I brought back from Mexico to make a small pie, and laid the salvageable pieces of dough onto a pan to cook. I figured that they would still be good as a snack. And they would have been……

If I hadn’t decided to go and complete a task on the computer and in the process forgetting that I had delicate pie dough baking in the oven.

What is that funny smell? Something is burning? Something is…….



But the pie turned out OK. I had half last night and half for breakfast. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Dang creativity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

IMG_0019 a

Who wouldn’t like walking at 7a when you can have a view like this?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It Feels So Dry in Here

Sometimes I just shake my head at the things that make me happy.

A walk on the beach with HHBL.

A new lens for the Beast.

The hush of the street after a heavy snowfall.

A liverwurst and sweet pickle sandwich with mayo on toasted bread.

A new dehydrator.


It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!!

I had been checking Amazon for days. Tracking the package. Waiting impatiently. And then today a fellow driving a white van pulled up in the driveway of Chez Knit and handed me a large box with that familiar and always thrilling Amazon logo. He also handed me a smaller box that contains the replacement router for Windstream since Fed Ex delivered the first one on Friday, put it on the ground in front of the garage door…IN THE DARK….and HHBL ran over it with the car when he got home.

But that is another story. Now back to where I was going in the first place. Where was that?

Oh yes…….


I will say right off the bat that I have wanted one of these for a long, long time. I cannot explain why that is, just that it is. It is one of those unexplainable mysteries of life. Like what God made liver.

I had a dehydrator years ago that was not good at all. It had come to me from someone else and I am not sure where they had gotten it. It was, shall we say, ineffective. And that is an understatement. It had a strange heating coil that was located at the bottom of the dehydrator (not a good place) and it didn’t have a fan of any kind. Nor did it have any way to regulate the temperature of the air being heated and circulated. Suffice to say that it didn’t do a very efficient job of dehydrating anything….and it took a really long time to not do the job.

Are they done? No… day….Are they done? No………

Not all that energy efficient.

But now I have this beauty.


Temperature control!

And I also got several trays that I can use to make fruit leathers. I can hardly wait!!


Right now I am testing it out with apples. They are supposed to be done in 4-7 hours.

Pretty soon……BEEF JERKY!

But no Salmon Jerky because it just stinks up the house and the surrounding woods.

Oh the possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t seem to take much to make me happy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

He is SUCH a Romantic Fellow

29 years ago yesterday this fellow walked into my life.


Blind date (he was late)
Met all my family at the same time (and didn’t run screaming)
Was wearing a suit (yum)
We didn’t see each other again for three months.

And the rest was history.

Yesterday morning, when I checked my email, there was a little “Meeting Anniversary” surprise waiting for me. I thought I might share it with you.

You can thank me later.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

That man can make me laugh harder than anyone else I know.

Thanks Babe. You certainly have me. I am stuck like gum to your shoe.

Friday, September 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 183)


Well, despite my best attempts at magical thinking, Fall has arrived. And yet another week has flown by. How does this happen. You remember your marching orders don’t you? When you are done rolling around in the blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the laser scalpel of Joan Rivers’ plastic surgeon, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is up to.

Fear not for Blather is here!

I have a new toy tool of productivity. Joy of Joys.

I have…..

An iphone.

I know, I know. Whoopdee do. Well PFFFFFT! to you. My poor old cell phone was slowly dying. It would sometimes decide not to tell me that I had a voice mail. And sometimes a button wouldn’t work correctly. And sometimes it would just turn itself off for no apparent reason and take a vacation to Tahiti.

And sending a txt msg was a real pain in my patootee.

So last Saturday HHBL and I zipped over to the Verizon store, walking in as soon as they had unlocked the door, and we both got new phones. Of course, even though we knew what we wanted and we knew how we were going to structure our plan it STILL took over an HOUR to get it done. AND I have to call the store tomorrow and have them change the price that we were billed for the phones because the price dropped today….$100/phone. But it was done.

I am no novice to Apple products to be sure. I am not sure what I would do without my ipad. But the iphone is just too much fun. And with the iOS 6 update yesterday……I used the Maps feature for the first time when going to a job and it will speak the directions to me. I almost want to just drive somewhere just for the heck of it.

I love my iphone.

Soon, very soon we will be kicking cable to the curb. Giving Time Warner their walking papers and a swift boot out the door. In fact I believe that next week is the big break up. We have had it.

We can get internet and phone from Windstream for the cost of what we were paying just for home phone a few years ago. And we can tailor what we watch on TV by having Netflix streaming and Hulu and a host of other stuff. I can hardly wait.

I have a bad TV habit. I will turn the TV on and then just channel surf for ever. This should help to fix that.

We have had Netflix “old style” (just DVD) for quite a while but hadn’t set ourselves up for streaming. That was the other thing that we, or should I say HHBL, did last Saturday. Bought one of those Roku devices and signed up for Netflix streaming. For the love of all that is HOLY that is fabulous. I /we can watch on the TV or ipad or computer. And we can both be watching something different at the same time. And then there is Hulu +. And of course if I have to watch something like The Walking Dead I can always watch it over the internet later on.

Time Warner cable we are sick of you and your over priced nothingness. Of paying for channels we never watch just so that we can get the few channels that we DO watch.

I am feeling the annual urge to knit a new winter hat. And I really have too many things already on the needles to contemplate adding something else.

But you see…..

When, for all those many years, my hair was short. Like this….
1994 Thanksgiving5A

I never wore hats. Never, Never, Never. I looked horrible in hats with short hair. Some people, like Cartoon Girl for instance, can pull that look off. I could not. But now that I have the wild and crazy long hair hats and I have become BFFs again.

Now if I could find just the right pattern……..

For all of Max the Magnificent’s life he has spent the night sleeping in his “house”. That was how we trained him when he was a puppy. The first few years we would lock him in his crate at night and close the laundry room door. After a while we noticed that he just put himself to bed so we left the door to the laundry room open. He would still be in his house when I came downstairs in the morning. No problemo.

But recently…..well…..recently he has decided that he no longer wants to sleep in his house at night. He wants to roam the first floor and sleep in all his favorite places. But there is a problem with that because as he roams the house he makes noise.

He jingles his collar.

He sneezes.

He scratches thereby making even more noise with his collar.

He sleeps on the stair landing and he is black in color and when it is O dark thirty and I am going down the stairs first thing in the morning I nearly kill myself by almost tripping over him.

He licks certain areas of his body with fervent and lengthy abandon.

And then we cannot sleep.

And so we are back to making him go into the laundry room at night and closing the door. He just looks at me as if I have taken away his only toy and made him eat liver. 

Circling back to #3. The other signs of Fall approaching.

My hands and feet are suddenly always a bit on the chilly side. When that phenomenon starts to be evident I know it is time to break out the wool socks so that my tootsies stay warm. Nothing says, “I appreciate myself!” than wearing hand knit socks.

But the problem is not just the cold feet, it is also the cold hands. When the temp is consistently below 50F my fingers will just be cold, especially when I am working at my computer for some reason. That may be because it is Fall and then Winter. But my computer desk sits right next to a bank of windows and when it is really cold outside that isn’t the warmest place to sit and do my work. And of course I have a job that requires hours sitting in front of the computer editing photos.

However, I can lessen and sometimes even eliminate the cold fingers problem by wearing a pair of fingerless gloves. But I also need a new pair of these for the season.

Thank goodness they are relatively quick to knit. I am halfway through a pair at the moment. And therein lies a problem. I have actually knit the first mit…..and I don’t like it. I had some doubts about it as I was knitting it. I tried to talk myself into liking it.

But hand knit garments are like shoes and clothing that you buy. If you love it in the store and it really works for you there you will love it when you get home and you will wear it. If you have to talk yourself into it…..then you will never wear it. And I have a feeling that it is going to be the same way for these fingerless gloves.


So I will send them to the Frog Pond and start over.

I bought a new tripod this week. Nothing fancy, just serviceable. It isn’t like I don’t have a tripod because I do. In fact I have two. But my bigger tripod has an issue or two. The main issue being that it doesn’t extend up high enough.

Now you wouldn’t think that would be a problem but it is with some of the work that I do, specifically interior shots.

IMG_5607AI shoot natural light, no extra lighting set up and no flash emanating from either my camera flash or an external flash. It makes life so much easier. And it can be done, even with less that spectacular lighting situations. But if the light is low you will get camera shake showing up in your pictures. And that is not good when you need to have clear and rock solid photos. So I bought a tripod that extends up to 58 inches which just happens to be right at the level of my eyes, right where I would be holding my camera.

I have a photo shoot this morning where the kitchen designer is wanting to use the photos to enter a national contest.

I am so excited to use the new tripod to see what can be done to get crystal clear photos.

It is the little things that make you happy.

And the stupid things.

The iphone has a pretty decent camera on it. I am going to enjoy playing with the possibilities. 

Sunflowers are such happy flowers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Tomatoes. Broccoli. Acorn squash. Pumpkins. Potatoes. Green beans. Watermelons. Basil. Zucchini. Beets.

Evidently the garden isn’t NEARLY done with produce yet. We picked four pounds, yes I said POUNDS, of green beans this morning. And there are more to pick by Friday.

And this picture doesn’t cover the Brussels sprouts, more potatoes, lettuce, spinach, peas and one more cantaloupe that are yet to be harvested…and more beans. And more beets. And more tomatoes.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Was NOT Trained For This

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a small, very small, tiny, miniscule business owner. That is what I am after all. I have a business. I am a photographer.

I take photos and people pay me to do that.

How the HECK did I end up here, doing this? You know, that might be a blog post all it’s own. And I will explore that thought…….later.

Now back to the rant.

And so, when you have a business, however small minute that business is, you need a website. Some place to hang your hat and say,

LOOK what I can do!!! Look what I can do for YOU!!!!

Can you guess what I have been doing today?

Can you?

If you were sitting next to me at this moment….


You might be hiding with Maxwell. It has been that kind of day.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I have a brain that is stuffed to overflowing with knowledge.

Have a yen to know what Rhabdomyosarcoma is? I have the answer to that!

If you need to know the names of the Japanese aircraft carriers sunk at the Battle of Midway I am your girl.

If you need to know the names of the Kings and Queens of England from George I onwards, I have you covered.

If you need to organized your house, bake some bread, make jam and knit socks all at the same time I am the person to call.

If you need photography skills I will be right over with my trusty camera bag.

But I am not skilled woefully inadequate in the category of designing a website.

Woefully. Inadequate.

Lordy why can’t putting together a website be like photographing a wedding. I would just tell all the parts to go here and go there and do this and do that, shut up and look good. And then everything would be fine.

I don’t REALLY tell people to shut up when I am going wedding photography. People don’t smile when you say that.

Unfortunately that isn’t the way that it works here at Chez Knit. I cannot bend the website gods to my will just by saying something. And before you say anything, yes I KNOW that HHBL is a software guy and could be helpful. And yes I KNOW that TSiL is a Graphic Designer and is infinitely better suited for this work. And actually knows what he is doing FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!

And of course there is the little fact that on Sunday evening I pulled the switch on using a new host provider for the website. And that means that the old website, rudimentary as it was, has to be re-done.

But in the immortal words of Cartoon Girl


I hatehatehatehatehatehatehate not knowing how to do something that I feel I should be able to do. How hard can this be for the LOVE of Peter, Paul and Mary? Famous last words.

And when this mediocre and mundane fabulous website is finally at a place where I can actually show it to you then I will.

And hopefully that happens before I throw up my hands in creative disgust and go have a cookie. Or a beer.


Help me…or shoot me….or something.

Wow, aren’t you glad you stopped by today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 182)


For the love of Peter, Paul and Mary where does the time go. It is Friday already! And you know what that means. More blather than you can shake a stick at. Remember your instructions. After you have thoroughly and minutely examined my 7 points of wonder you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly filling freezer, over to Camp Patton who is hosting this week.

Born to Blather. Forced to work.

Can I just say, it is much harder these days to get up in the morning. It is still dark at 5:30a. And I am starting my yearly “hibernation” pattern where I sleep like a bear in winter…..deeply and long.

Walking out the door at 6:45a to walk is a much harder deal. Pretty soon we are going to need our flashlights as we walk through the woods.

And our bear spray as that pesky black bear has been sighted all over the surrounding areas.

Oh and then there was the fact that this morning the coyotes were singing quite loudly as Sandy and I walked around the lake.

Maybe they are lamenting the coming darkness as well.

On Wednesday LaurenLeep was over for lunch. We made pizza. I actually allowed her to film me “throwing” my pizza dough. Thank goodness I didn’t punch a hole in the center of the dough as I have done in times past.

And we indulged in a pre-pizza snack…..


These little watermelons that we grew in the garden this year. They were supposed to come in at about three pounds but that never happened. This fellow was about a pound or so I would guess.

I am sorry for the violent photo but sometimes watermelons must be sacrificed for the good of my stomach.


Small but very sweet. Just the right amount for a snack for two people. We did have to contend with some seeds but we managed to struggle through.

Oh and also before lunch we made some homemade mayo. LaurenLeep wanted to see how it was done. Of course we screwed up the first batch. But the second batch was deeeeelicious. I was totally out of homemade bread to slather it on so…..

We just slathered it right onto bacon.

Don’t judge.

Yesterday I sat down at my computer at 9:30a and I didn’t get up again until 5p. Well that isn’t quite true as I have a 52 year old bladder and I drink a lot of coffee and water so I had to….you know….use the little girl’s room. And Max the Magnificent had to go out a billion times.


Did you say OUT?!? I would like to go out. Thank you Alpha.

And why was I sitting there all that time?

Because I am working through all the photos from this lovely couple.

IMG_0154 a

I always seem to take so many photos at these events. I just cannot help myself. And then I can't seem to discard.

Do you get tickled when you look at photos that you have taken and you just love them?

That was me all day long yesterday.

And regarding #3. Can I just say that I don’t think I could actually get through editing a tanker full of photos without the help of “actions”.

Do you know what Photoshop actions are? They are pre-set workflows that someone else has developed that give you the same result every time without you having to “tweak” each and every photo. I am no fool. If someone else has done the hard work why should I re-invent the wheel….or the action. And you also have the ability to tweak certain aspects of the picture after running the action.


At the moment these happen to be my personal favorites.

MCP Fusion
Pioneer Woman PSE

Life as a photographer would be much more difficult without them. That is not to say that I use them on every photo because I don’t. But they certainly make life easier.

And they give me total control.

Not that I have to have control mind you.

Moving on.

Sometimes I wonder about my life when the biggest thrill I got all week (other than #3) is the fact that I bought a new blender.

So, so sad.

But on a bright note it makes smoothies in no time flat. And we drink a boat load of smoothies around Chez Knit.

I might, just might, be getting a new phone.

We will see soon enough. And I am sure I will tell you all about it when I do.

Don’t I tell you everything?

Well almost everything. We haven’t yet spoken about my violent addiction to olives.

I am trying to contain my excitement.

About the phone not the olives.

The canning update for the week: There are more tomatoes to process. The never ending supply of tomatoes.

Oh and there are zucchini to shred and freeze. Zucchini bread and muffins all winter!!

And I branched out. I bought a peck of lovely red bell peppers from one of our local farm stands. I roasted them, peeled them and canned them.

I think that roasted red peppers are one of the more versatile items around. I make Roasted Red Pepper hummus on a regular basis. And now I definitely have a year’s supply of them.

I see Anti Pasta in our future as well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

image 2010-5-13 0013

Warden? Warden! Do you think I am going to make parole this year?

Please ignore the drool. I really am a good candidate for rehabilitiation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life is One Big Circle

Everyone who can knows what they were doing on that sunny Tuesday morning 11 years ago. I certainly know what I was doing.

Cartoon Girl and I had arrived home from our daily swim and were preparing to dive into the day. That was the year that I homeschooled my oldest progeny. Or perhaps I should really call it her “Unschool” year because I am not sure that there was as much hard studying going on as there should have been. And that wasn’t really all her fault. It was a laid back year.

But I digress.

We were home, I was showered and I decided that I should call SoccerMom (my cousin) who happens to have a birthday on September 11 (along with her younger sister. Oh the sisterly dynamics of THAT particular thing have haunted us all). It was from SoccerMom that I learned what had happened in NYC. And as we watched on TV we saw live the second plane hitting the WTC and all that came after. Hours and hours of horror and questions and fear and anger.

That was a day full of worry. Was Pilot Man flying that morning? Where was my brother-in-law The Viking? Was he OK. He was, having not left yet for a meeting in the WTC.

And now, this year…..

Ash work view

This is the view from Cartoon Girl’s office window. Right onto Freedom Tower and the WTC memorial site.

Life can be so circular sometimes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family Memories in Written Form

Last week Papa the Parental Unit mentioned that they were sending me a package.

A package? What’s in it. Tell me. TellmeTellmeTellmeTellme.


No? Why no?

Because it is a surprise.


And finally on Saturday….


This arrived in the mail.

Hmmmmmmm, by the feel of the package it was obvious that there was something paper related in there.

Could it be post-it notes? If you think I have a lot of those things then you haven’t seen the collection that my father has. He will NEVER run out. NEVER.

I ripped the package open and…..


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. I love these kinds of things. A deliciously large stack of family correspondence IMG_9670

Family letters! And programs from family events. And some pieces of newsprint.

Oh and by the way, the piece of newspaper on the top of that pile. I opened it up to look inside and there was an advertisement for a local grocery store. An advertisement from August 21, 1967 (which happened to be Pilot Man’s 6th birthday). The store was selling Sirloin Steak for….

I cannot believe this…..


94 CENTS!!!!

And they were selling grapes for .18/pound!

And THEN I saw another article talking about an “ambitions Senate inquiry into the worth of computer, systems analysis and related management tools in operation of the federal government”. I guess they had some questions about using computers.


OK, I diverged in the woods of memory for a minute but I am back on the path…..we hope.


Many in my family were very big on typing letters. That way you could actually type multiple copies at the same time and send them to different people. Often there is a little notation at the bottom of a letter that a copy was sent to someone else.


There are also loads of hand written letters. Hey Dana, this one was written by your mother-in-law!

I can tell you right now…….

I am not going to get a lot done this afternoon because I am going to have to sit down and read these letters.

I just brewed a fresh cup of coffee so I am all set. Someone come and find me if I don’t show up tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 181)


Well here you are again, eagerly anticipating the blather that is about to descend upon you. Just remember your marching orders. When you are done parsing the blatherosity around here be sure to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of words escaping from politicians manically spinning brains, over to Conversion Diary to see what is happening.

Vote for ME! I have the best blather.

These weeks where we have a Monday holiday just mess me up. I have been off by one day all week. This, in my mind, should be Thursday not Friday.

Thank goodness for a calendar. Otherwise I don’t know where I would be.

And sometimes even WITH a calendar I am not sure what is going on.

Remember these?


This is the first year that I ever remember the wild grape vines next to the driveway producing anything other than leaves. May be they have and I just haven’t noticed. But this year…..I noticed.

Wednesday I finally got around to harvesting as many as I could reach. That required getting the medium height step ladder (6 foot) and my garden sheers and being very careful when I was reaching as far up as I could go. HHBL will tell you that sometimes I will get an idea in my head to do something or move something and I just have to do it….even if there isn’t anyone else home to help or spot. But I was careful.

And in the end I was able to harvest close to three POUNDS of teeny, tiny wild grapes.

And yesterday those wild grapes were turned into the most amazing grape jelly. I have to admit that I am not really a fan of grape jelly. But this stuff isn’t ANYTHING like what you are going to get at the store. The final yield ended up to be about 5 1/2 pints of ambrosia. I did have a bit of a problem at first because, after canning it was obvious that the jelly hadn’t set up as well as I thought, even though I had done the whole “jelly on the frozen plate” trick (whatever that is called). So I had to unseal all of the jars, reboil, and then add another packet of liquid pectin. The second time around everything went much better. Although I may have overdone the second helping of pectin a bit. But it is better to have firmer jelly than runny jelly.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

I will tell you that I did not take a single picture because it is a very, very messy process. And I actually decided to wear latex gloves for the first part of the process because I didn’t really want to explain why I had purple hands.

Because I don’t have anything ELSE to do around here….I am attempting to teach myself how to do stranded colorwork knitting. I do not like it when I cannot master a knitting task immediately.

And therefore I am frustrated. Really, this cannot be all that hard. Other people do it for the love of Pete!

YouTube is helpful to be sure. But it really is just a matter of practice. And more practice. And then more practice after that.

I will not let this get the better of me….I will not let this get the better of me…..I will not let this get the better of me.

Oh yes, and just to add more to the already full plate, I am working on my Photoshop Elements skills. And that just makes my head hurt.

For a long time I thought that what I really needed was the “Big” Photoshop. You know, the one that costs almost as much as a mortgage payment. The program that if you DON’T have it you aren’t a “real photographer”. I viewed Photoshop Elements as the poor country cousin. But I have come to revise my thoughts on PSE. It really does just about everything that I need as far as photo editing is concerned. And there are more and more “PSE Actions” arriving every day. Can I tell you how much I love pre-set actions for photo editing. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has so kindly developed different photo editing workflows that achieve what I want.

I am no fool.

All this to say that I am working daily to hone my skills.

But it is MUCH more difficult to learn new skills when you have a less than new brain.

As I have mentioned before somewhere (I cannot locate the darn blog post) I journal. Journaling has occasionally saved my very sanity. But in the past several years I have slacked off a bit. I had been journaling on the computer and then printing it out and pasting it into the journal that I keep on my desk. I needed a change up last year so I went back to hand writing my journal entries. And I just sort of ground to a halt. I would journal sporadically but not every day. And because I have these perfectionist tendencies I would get all upset if I made a mistake in what I was writing.

And I hate that.

So I am back to my week long running journal on the computer and I am much happier. It is easier to go back and add things if I need to and I am a much faster typists that I am a writer by hand.

Downton Abbey Season 3 starts January 6, 2013.

I am not sure how I am going to be able to make it that long without my Dowager Duchess fix. But just to help all of us along…….

Once a month, from September to May, I go to breakfast with a group of old friends. We meet at Bob Evans. We have the same waitress, Roseanne. Often times we order the same thing from month to month. We share prayer requests. We catch up on life.

I have known all these women for a long time. And I love them beyond measure. We have walked through some very tough times together. And we have shared many joys. I always miss the three summer meetings that we don’t have. It isn’t like I don’t see or communicate with them during that time, I do. It just isn’t the same.

But today………

We are back at Bob Evans for breakfast and prayer requests.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Matt and Hannah Stein

Aren’t they fabulous. 

I had the privilege of shooting their wedding this past Sunday. We worried all week about Hurricane Issac and rain and clouds. Could the wedding be held outside as planned? Would Issac be a spoil sport. The heavens opened on Saturday night and poured down liquid but Sunday was warm, a bit windy, a cloud or two, a sprinkle early in the day.

And the light on the beach as the sun went down was beautiful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh The Fair Animal Butts Were EVERYWHERE!

You knew it was coming. You must have known.

Yesterday was Labor Day. And what do HHBL and I do on Labor Day?

We go to the Great Geauga County Fair that’s what.

And what do we do while we are there?

Well, I look at and photograph and comment on the cow butts. People have started sending me pictures of cow butts in anticipation.


So lets get started shall we. This is a long post. I would apologize but……..I won’t. So grab another cup of coffee and away we go.


We are creatures of habit so we always park at the high school and give our parking money to the cheerleaders. Their prices went up this year!!! Darn economy. But I guess even cheerleaders need to make a buck.


We pay our entrance fee, chat with the nice ladies who stamp our hands and then it is on to the first barn. We ALWAYS proceed in a counter clockwise manner around the fair grounds. I am not sure what would happen if we went clockwise. And I am not finding out.

A Zucchini seal!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


Well now this was a new one! I would be a tad bit concerned if my husband was working with hot metal and wearing a kilt. And yes that is a kilt. You can see his sporran. Get your minds out of the gutter people. That is the little fur covered pouch hanging off his belt.


Good grief!


This year there seemed to be a large number of kids wandering around with their livestock. Or at least their poultry livestock.


Nothing like taking the politician turkey for a walk around the fair grounds. I asked this young turkey wrangler about the fate of his bird. Would it be pet or dinner. His mom hesitated….the turkey wrangler looked at me and said…..


I like how you think young man.


Did you say DINNER?


Lady you had better move along. If you think for one second I am going to be drumsticks and soup then you have another thing coming.




Yeah right kid. I am not falling for the old “spider on a string” trick. Not this year thankyouverymuch.

And now what you have been waiting for…………..

Cow Butts! 2012



And more bovine posteriors….posterii? Whatever.


Let’s mix it up with some STEER butts. Why am I suddenly hungry for hamburger?


Young lady are you alive in there? Oh I certainly hope so.


Lady can you help me? Please?? In about 10 minutes my owner is going to dress me in a bee costume and try to win a prize. Please? Save me some of my dignity.


Sir Lambs a Lot wondering where his Galaherd is.


Lady you did not just make that joke did you? That was stupid. Go away.


Sniff, sniff. Minty fresh breath!!


Moving on. Nothing to see here.

Why are you still here? I said MOVE ALONG.



Fine, I will quit now. Sheeeesh!


The Great Geauga County Fair happens in a county with a heavy Amish population.


These are very big horses going very fast. Totally fascinating.


Prepping for her event. She was actually talking to herself and reviewing what she needed to do.


This may look like an easy job but it took him a while to get it right. I had a flash back of trying to teach Cartoon Girl how to drive. A bad place. Oh the darkness! Oh the fear!!

I need Onion Ring therapy QUICK!


Ahhhhhhhhhh that’s better. My yearly compliment of grease and salt conveniently packaged around onion rings and cooked by someone who didn’t even speak English. I love America.


My walking buddy, Lea, was working the Pampered Chef booth!


A quick trip through the book building where, for the first time in recent memory……

I didn’t buy a single book.



That ride lasted about 10 seconds but there was a lot of screaming going on.

Once we had walked off our onion rings a bit it we strolled back up the midway, taking in the sights and smells.


Reunited with Momma after getting lost!

It was hot. We were sweaty. We needed help. We needed cooling. We needed…….


4H Milkshakes!!!!



After we were full of milkshakes we could push on through to the end.


The obligatory listening to the Geauga County Fair Band. They were playing a “jazzy” version of Malaguena. Hmmmmmmm.


Then I had to view my Knit Sib Larissa’s BLUE RIBBON winning Facing Lilies stole. It is BEAUTIFUL.

And finally we were done.

And I was beat. Full of onion rings. Full of milkshake. Full of memories.

I think I can make it through until next year.

I think.