Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 135–Backlight

Day 135 - Backlight

I left the old garden without bringing anything….except a pot or two of hen and chickens.

Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 230)


Well Fall has arrived, and I don’t have to blow a single leaf anywhere. My heart goes pitter patter at the thought. You know the never changing routine. When you are done blowing the blather into little piles you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the Cleveland Indians fast approaching post season play, over to Conversion Diary.

Oh your mark….Get set…..BLATHER!

I have had pretty poor blog content the past few weeks. I wonder if I should apologize. But, you see, right now I lead a fairly boring life. And I am just fine with that. This summer, and the winter and spring that preceded it, were so very hectic that at times I just didn’t have the time to sit down and read a book, or clean my house, or weed the landscape beds.

Normally I read around 100 books a year. This year………I am currently sitting at around 50 books completed. Not good. But that has just been what life was like.

So this week was pretty boring for the most part, other than I just picked up a job for November that doesn’t pay all that much monetarily but may bring great referrals. I can live with that. But the job will also require incredible organizational skills and the ability to boss people around in order to get all the photos taken.

No problem. I have the bossing people around just fine.

Other than that I have actually been enjoying life quietly. There is a blog post brewing on this, the quietness of life filled with books and knitting and creativity juxtaposed with what the world would tell me that I should be doing.

But it isn’t done yet. I chose to read a book instead.

I have managed to make stupendous progress on my Lady Marple sweater (of which there are no photos yet). I am thinking of calling her Nemesis, after my favorite Agatha Christie novel starring Miss Marple.

I have this strange compulsion to give a name to all my knitting projects. Of course I also name all my cars and my cameras so I guess it goes with my trend to anthropomorphize inanimate objects in my life.

Of course, with regard to sweaters, I am trying to get over my fear of knitting them. I know, I know, it stupid to fear the sweater. Sweaters are warm and comfy and loveable and shouldn’t be feared.

And yet I do. But I also yearn for hand knit sweaters. And since I taught myself how to knit socks (which are actually more difficult) then BY GOLLY I will conquer the sweater.

This one has just FLOWN along the needles. But then that might be because it is being made with worsted weight yarn rather than fingering weight. And it may also be because it is red and I want to wear it. Can I get it done before Monday’s Tri County Knitaholics meeting?? That might be a stretch but you know how I love a challenge.

One of the “perks” of living in the new Chez Knit is that the association hires someone to wash the outside of the windows twice a year. We are responsible for taking out the screens so that the windows can be washed but that is no problem.

The window washing was supposed to take place this week. I took out my screens and waited. I saw him working at the neighbors house and expected to see him at mine…..

But here it is Friday and it doesn’t look like my windows have been washed.

Do I call Marie and ask?

Do I wait patiently?

I guess I will just dither for a while and not complain because, they do wash my windows after all.

I have come to the point in unpacking the house where I look at what still might need to be unpacked and I go…


The stuff is there. It isn’t a part of our daily lives. But every time I go into the unfinished part of the basement the clutter just screams at me. In fact, even as I type this I can hear it muttering in the background.

Part of the issue is that we have some work out equipment that HHBL and I need to find the time to put back together, namely the weight machine. And OH I am hoping that I can get that thing back together. I took it apart by just going backwards in the manual. De-constructing as it were. There are A LOT of cables and weights and nuts and bolts. I have a terrible feeling that it is going to take MUCH longer to put it together than it did to disassemble it and that when we are done we will be standing there with one extra screw and nut that we shouldn’t have.

I really need to take the time to rearrange boxes so that they are grouped together by function. Yes, I am an organization freak. So sue me. But I will feel much better about that part of the basement when it is all done.

One of the high excitements of my life this week (other than landing another photo job) was…..

Going to the pierogi shop that is a 15 minute drive from Chez Knit. It doesn’t take much these days to make me happy!

I first saw the Pierogis of Cleveland shop when I was driving down the road going from one place to another while shooting this lovely bride’s wedding.

C-G Hinkley Lake 1_bw

(gratuitous insertion of picture that has nothing to do with pierogis just to show that sometimes being a photographer is a whole boatload of fun).

As Erica and I whizzed down the road trying to get to the next location ahead of the bridal party I noticed a sign that said Pierogi’s and filed it away, never thinking that in three short months I would be only 15 minutes away.

If you don’t know what a pierogi is then you should find out. They are little dough pies filled with different combinations of things. The classic is mashed potatoes. Or mashed potatoes with something else added….like cheese and bacon (there are some of those in the freezer).

I made pierogis once. And I had been thinking about doing it again. But I think I will just leave it to the experts. So much easier that way.

And SOOOOOOOOOO good. I had Roasted Garlic and Mashed Potato pierogis last night for dinner. With a side of warm, homemade apples sauce and some sour cream for topping the pierogis, plus a Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA.


Last Saturday we celebrated Hope’s 40th birthday. The girl does NOT look 40 years old, which is just not fair.


But she was REALLY surprised.


And her sister, Heather, had us all crying with the beautiful letter that she wrote to her “little” sister.

Dang I love my friends.

In my continuing experimentation with food that I can make myself, I got out the dehydrator this week and made raisins.


It isn’t difficult. You just take grapes, dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds or so, dry them off and lay them on the dehydrator trays. Then plug the dehydrator in, dial the right temp and let them dry for at least 24 hours or more like 48. You blanch them in boiling water so that their skins split. If you don’t do this then they will not dry properly (which may be why my dried cranberries failed last year). As it is it took mine 48 hours to dry. They are much bigger than the raisins that you buy in the store and their taste is VERY raisiny. They also have a chewier consistency than store bought. I don’t think it would be economical to make my own unless I came into possession of a BOAT LOAD of grapes for a fantastically low price. But it was fun to make. I may enquire at the grocery store if they will sell me the “loose” grapes at a greatly reduced price.

These things really are delicious and I might have to make more. As it is, just knowing that I did it brings a glow to my heart.

It’s the little things.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 133–It Feels Like Fall

Day 133 - It Looks Like Fall

It is obviously a Maple tree, that I can guess. We have a bunch of them located in the neighborhood. But I have never seen a maple expresses it’s Fall color change like this.

But I LOVE the way that it seems like the red color is bleeding into the green.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 132–Winter is Coming

Day 132 - Winter is Coming

Obviously I have been reading A Game of Thrones.

30 Years of Wonderful

September 23, 1983. I was working as an Oncology nurse in suburban Chicago, night shift but I didn’t mind that. My patients, usually, stayed where I put them.

I took a family trip out to some place called Chagrin Falls, Ohio to see my Aunt and Uncle. Where the HECK is Chagrin Falls and why would someone name a town that and why would anyone want to live in Ohio anyways. I figured I could stand a three day trip to the place where the river burned (or so my co-workers kept telling me) and then back to Chicago, that toddling town.

But on that Friday night, into my life walked this guy. He was a blind date (I HATED those) and already had a girlfriend but was dong a favor for my aunt and uncle. He had on a suit. And he made me laugh.

And this morning…..

30 Years of Wonderful

He called me into the living room, where he was down on one knee. He asked me to marry him again and he gave me roses to celebrate.

Oh be still my palpitating cardiac muscle.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 131–I Needed Orange

Day 131 - I Needed Orange

I dyed fiber for the first time yesterday… that is all I can think about. I realized that I didn’t have enough orange yarn selections for my Blanket of Never Ending Mitered Squares (big blanket, fingering yarn, small squares. Idiot). But I didn’t want to actually go out and buy yarn just for that. It seemed out of the spirit of the reason for the project, to use UP the massive amount of fingering weight yarn that I have because of my sock knitting obsession.

And then I got to thinking about the fact that I had some KnitPicks Bare, fingering weight, that I had used for a pair of socks for Shoe Queen. Hmmmmmmm.

And so the Fruit Stripes yarn was born.

And this stuff DOES smell like Fruit Stripes gum because I dyed it using KoolAide. Which begs the question, if you can dye fiber with the stuff then why would you EVER actually drink it.

By the way, I am using Flickr A LOT more now that they have changed everything around, given more storage space and changed the interface. It is awesome for displaying photos in the way I like to see them. I will still be posting the photos here (because you would all yell at me otherwise) but I will also be posting them, and more of my other work, over there. Go find me….

Deb Quigg

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 229)


Well here we go again, another Friday on the Merry-go-round of life. You know what you need to do. When you are done gathering your insulating layer of blather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of rapidly approaching winter, over to Conversion Diary to see what is happening there.

I blather for no apparent reason.

I am sure that you will be thrilled to know that I updated my iPhone and iPad to iOS7 yesterday.

And the Earth continues to rotate on it’s axis, the polar ice caps haven’t melted (take THAT Al Gore) and nothing exploded.

Of course there are several apps that didn’t want to play well with others, Overdrive being one. I did the old “uninstall and reinstall” thing and now it is working fine.

I am liking the update so far although, as my KnitSib/Photog friend Jess said, “It looks a bit cartooney”. Yes, there is that. But overall not too bad. Of course, I am at the beginning of the learning curve so who knows in the end how well I will like it. As with any change, I just have to get used to it. And my iPod touch is so old that I don’t even think the new software will apply to it.

I had better start saving up for a new iPod. Cuz Old Faithful is slowly dying. Yes, I know that having an iPod and an iPhone seem redundant but they serve different purposes. Old Faithful is really dedicated just to audiobooks and music. Mr. Runmylife does everything else. So once Old Faithful dies he will need to be replaced.

I think I rabbit trailed here.

I am still learning my way around the area but making strides. I ventured into Parma this week and no one asked me to show my passport. I found the closest Bed Bath and Beyond. Or at least it “said” it was the closest according to the website but I am thinking that it isn’t. I have to put that to the test.

Next week I venture south a bit.

I can tell that you are SO excited about this.

But when you have lived most of the last 28 years on one particular side of Cleveland (East) and then you move to the other side of Cleveland (South but almost West) then there is disorientation.

I don’t like disorientation. That is why I would never make a good drunk or drug addict. I hate the feeling of being out of control. And I act all weird. Ask HHBL what I was like when I had several doses of Dilaudid, IV, when I ended up in the emergency room just before my hysterectomy.

All I can say is WOW.

Hmmmmm, again, I started in one place and ended in another. Trend? I hope not.

Is it seriously wrong of me that I am waiting with great anticipation for Fall, when I can watch all the leaves fall from the trees and know that HHBL and I don’t have to spend every weekend in October blowing leaves into the ravine or woods. I can just sit at my kitchen table and watch the landscaping crew take care of it.

October can’t come quickly enough for me.

Really, I think that is one thing that both HHBL and I are really going to enjoy. Fall has traditionally been one of my favorite times of the year. That is until we moved to OCK and realized how much work it was going to be to take care of all those leaves. Once we fully understood what “leaves falling from trees” meant for us, working every weekend to shift them, then October wasn’t a favorite month anymore.

But now someone else gets to mow the grass and take care of the leaves.


Can I tell you how much we are enjoying the fact that we now can just hop on the highway and get into Cleveland in 15-20 minutes, rather than the 40 minutes it used to take.

HHBL sent me a txt message yesterday at 3:30p asking if I wanted to go to the Indians game that night. Bleacher seats were still available

What other answer could I give but….YES!

In years past Indians games had to be planned in advance. It wasn’t convenient for HHBL to just swing home and pick me up before the game because his office was a 30 minute drive in the opposite direction from downtown. But now Chez Knit is on the way into the city.


2013-09-19 20.07.59

Still getting used to using the Panorama on the iPhone but still I love this. And I love sitting in the bleacher seats. For many years we had Indians season tickets in various parts of Progressive Field, but never in the bleachers. I wouldn’t go back to having season tickets in the regular seats because they are SO expensive, even for the 20 game plan.

But I would consider a 20 game plan in the bleachers. The “vibe” is much better out there and you can see the whole field.

We had a blast!

AND the Indians won when Matt Carson hit the winning single in the bottom of the Ninth. Which means that the Indians are still half a game out of the Wild Card race. Can they make it??

We are all hoping so.

It is almost Fall that means that it is time to cast on a sweater, which I did on Wednesday.

2013-09-18 19.41.53

Well, to be honest, I actually cast on on Tuesday, after I had swatched yuck patooie!, washed and dried the swatch and measured. But I didn’t get all that far on Tuesday so really I started on Wednesday. And I am obsessed with knitting on it.


After the last sweater, which I knit in fingering weight yarn, this one is flying. Worsted weight yarn you are my friend when knitting sweaters.

I still have a fair amount of fingering and DK weight yarn from Peru that is going to need to be another sweater or three. And some of it is black, which makes my head ache just thinking about for sweater knitting. But that is for another day.

I am diligently working through my backlog of podcasts.

I have podcast overload going on, or at least I did. I don’t watch much TV during the day but I do listen to podcasts or audiobooks. But this summer has just been crazy (as I have told you WAY too many times) and I have been here and there and everywhere and haven’t been listening as diligently as I should have.

All of a sudden I looked at my Downcast list and there were about 50 podcasts that I hadn’t listen to. And a lot of the podcasts in my list are 30-60 minutes in length.

That is a lot of listening.

But I have whittled it down and will be caught up today.

Just in time for a “use 4 credits and get $10” sale on Audible. And I just happen to have 4 credits to be used. And a really long Wish List.

How convenient.

As far as unpacking goes here at Chez Knit, we are down to the boxes that hold stuff that we don’t need very often. That is good.

But there are also a couple of boxes of stuff that has been packed up for more that three years…..

And that is bad.

I am going to be going through those boxes today and I would lay odds on me getting rid of most of whatever is in those boxes. If I haven’t had a need for what ever is in those boxes in three years, and it isn’t “family stuff”…..

Then I am guess that we don’t need whatever is in there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 130–Pine

Day 130 - Pine

At OCK there was never a time when I couldn’t look out any window and see something that would grab my attention and have me going for Big Bertha to take a photo.

But now I live in a much more urban/suburban environment. My garage shares a wall with the neighbor’s garage. I can look into my neighbor’s windows as I walk Max. It is definitely different. That doesn’t mean bad, just different. And I am working to train my eye to see the beauty and the unusual in my new home.

There is a pine tree that is outside the Family room window. It isn’t a beautiful thing. It is one of those spindly kind of pine trees that more resemble Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree than anything else. But I was standing on my little patio and all of a sudden I looked and the sun was shining at just a certain way through the branches and I was struck.

I am sure that my new neighbors, if they were watching and I bet some were cuz they love to gossip, would have been shooting phone calls back and forth to talk about the crazy new neighbor who stood there for a really long time just looking at the tree before taking pictures.

Can you IMAGINE what they are going to say when I start taking neighborhood photo walks?

I played A LOT with the shadows, highlights and contrast with this picture and then I also made it black and white. For some reason it speaks to me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lap Zen

I love to swim. I bet you didn’t know that about me. It may be one of the things that I haven’t mentioned because there hasn’t been a lot of swimming going on in my life the last 10 years or so. Oh there have been times at the beach or at the cottage over those years. But the beach is one place where I do not like to swim.

I have watched Jaws. I know what can happen. There are things swimming underneath me. If I cannot see ALL the way to the bottom….I’m staying in the shallows.

But a pool is another matter.

I grew up swimming. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim. A time when I didn’t love the feel of the water going past. And crazy as it sounds my favorite thing to do is to swim laps.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Total water zen.

The year that I homeschooled Cartoon Girl we swam almost every day. That was the year that we belonged to a local swim/tennis club. Cartoon Girl needed something that would qualify as “PE” and swimming was it. I should probably clarify. I swam laps…….Cartoon Girl was in the pool but what she was doing wasn’t laps. As far as I could tell she would spend the time rising to the surface of the pool and then sinking slowly to the bottom of the deep end, there to dwell until her air ran out. Then she would rise, gulp air and go back down.

I gave her the PE credit anyways.

But there hasn’t been any swimming for me in past years because there really hasn’t been any place TO swim. My old town didn’t have a community pool, either an inside one or an outside one. There was a pool at one of the local hotels and they would allow you to swim….for the staggering price of $400/PERSON per year. Ummmmmmmmm.


So I have sighed. I have reminisced. I have yearned for swimming laps.

Until today.

Because in my NEW town there is a community center. And not just “a” community center but what I would describe and the COMMUNITY of community centers. Weight room (where I will not be caught dead), all sorts of work out equipment (which I will gladly stand and watch), a basketball court (surely you jest), a running track (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA), and……

An indoor pool that opens at 5:30a for lap swimming. Oh be still my little beating heart. The pool was closed last week for it’s annual “check up” but it is back open now. I called at 6a, as I was waiting in the cold for Max to finish his morning rendezvous with destiny, just to be sure. And today, I swam. I had been anticipating it for days. Thinking about it. Hoping for it. I was prepared. I went and bought a new swim cap because the last time I consistently swam I had very short hair. I dug out my swim suit yesterday and had it all set out along with a towel and the aforementioned cap. HHBL and I were out the door by 6:15a, he to work out and me to swim.

I looked like an idiot at first because I couldn’t find the women’s locker room but that was only momentary, until after I got out of the pool and couldn’t find the entrance from the pool to the locker room and after wandering the length of the pool and looking like Marcus Brody from Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, wandering helplessly, had to ask a life guard. Small issues. Small. I changed clothes quickly, although I need not have as there was no one else in the locker room. No little old ladies walking around buck naked, wrinkly parts all hangin’ to China. Long story. Ask Cartoon Girl, she STILL remembers. I walked out to the pool, put down my towel and just stood there for a moment, drinking in the smell of chlorine and reveling in that warm dampness that can only be found at an indoor pool. I slipped into the water and started to swim the crawl……

And that is when I realized what I had forgotten to bring.

My swim goggles.

Oh! Ow! Geez! Pain! I can’t see the bottom of the pool. My eyes are burning right out of their sockets. Did my eyes hurt this bad when I was growing up and wouldn’t be caught dead with swim goggles on? At this point it really didn’t matter because I wasn’t going to do the crawl with my eyes closed. OK, I can do the breast stroke.

Nope. I have to put my head under the water for part of that.

How about the back stroke? A bit better but still water dripping in my eyes.

Side stroke? That worked for awhile but I just kept feeling like I needed to save someone from drowning.

Back to the back stroke where I just kept blinking the water out of my eyes and hoping that I wouldn’t be so distracted that I would run into the end wall of the pool… front of the very bored life guard who is just hoping something would happen with the crazy side stroke woman.

Never you mind if I ran into the end of the pool at some point this morning! It isn’t germane to the story. Moving on.

But tomorrow will be a different story……..

2013-09-17 12.11.35

The zen of lap swimming, with out the chlorine blindness, here I come.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 129–Sweater Swatch

Day 129 - Sweater Swatch

I hate to swatch. But I do it because I know that the consequences for NOT swatching, especially with a sweater, are not something that I want to have to deal with.

For those who do not knit, a swatch is a small piece of knitted fabric, worked with the size needles and yarn that you are going to use for the big project. You work this small piece so that when you work the whole garment it will be the size that it is intended to be. I am not Stephanie Pearl-McPhee so I cannot whip up a sweater in a weekend (Have you SEEN the speed at which she knits? It is phenomenal). It takes MANY hours for me to make a sweater. I want it to fit when I am done.

I will admit that there are times when I do not swatch.

I do not swatch before knitting a hat or a scarf.

I do not swatch when I am going to knit a pair of socks. I am an experienced sock knitter and I can usually tell if a pattern is going to fit before I start. There has been the occasional misfire but not often. I am not going to swatch a sock.

I do not swatch when I am working lace. It is lace. It usually has holes in it that I have put there deliberately. I am not going to swatch lace.

But a sweater?

That I swatch. Even though I hate to do it, I do it because the consequences for not doing it is spending MANY hours knitting a garment that, when you are finished, doesn’t fit correctly. That is not good. That is very discouraging. I knit to have zen not to have frustration and sweaters that do not fit.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Although I do like the picture of the swatch.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 128–A Wisp of Smoke

Day 128 - A Whisp of Smoke

I blew out the candle and immediately became fascinated by the smoke. That meant that I needed to then go and get the tripod, play with lenses and then light and blow out the candle multiple times.

All on a Saturday morning.

Good thing Sylvia, the neighbor next door, had her blinds down because otherwise she might have thought that I was a bit on the strange side.

I am continuing on with my 365 Project as we can see but obviously, since this is only photo #128 and we are almost 3/4 of the way through 2013 then I haven’t be consistent.

It has been that kind of year.

But I am just going to post as I can and then starting in 2014 we will see if I can do it again. Next year, as far as I know, I will not have a wedding to work on or an unexpected (but very welcome) house sale and move.

Also, I am toying with putting all the 365 photos up on Flickr. And I would have done it today but……Flickr is having some, shall we say, difficulties with their uploader at the moment. And I am just tired of fussing. I will let you know when I move everything over. Their new interface is awesome and makes viewing photos all the better.

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 228)


Good golly Miss Molly, how the time doth fly. Here we are again all gathered around the blather table. You know what you must do. When you are done slicing and dicing the blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly decreasing blogroll, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather for the discerning reader.

When we moved into Chez Knit we were handed a garage door opener. One only. And it was an old one let me tell you.

And it didn’t work.

So for the first three weeks we were here HHBL and I would back out of the garage, get out of the car, close the garage door with the key pad on the outside (LOVE that thing) and then get back in the car. At best this was a pain in the bahookie. We didn’t want to have to do this every time we came and went, especially during inclement weather! So we had to get another garage door opener clicker thing AND we had to figure out how to reprogram the one that we had been given. Lowes provided us with a “universal remote” that was a breeze to program.

But that darn original remote just wouldn’t cooperate. It didn’t have any directions with it but YouTube provided various videos, all of which were totally not helpful in the end.

So I had the bright idea to reset the garage door unit.

Which then de-programed the key pad. And did NOTHING with the original clicker.


So, after reprograming the key pad I finally just said, “FORGET IT!” and went and got a new universal remote for myself.

Problem solved.

I have complained, bemoaned, griped in recent weeks here that I am not going to be able to go to my local Heinens to do the bulk of my shopping because it is just too expensive. They now do offer a “store brand” on certain things which is good. But Giant Eagle will double all my coupons AND will take internet coupons AND I also earn money off of my gas purchases.

Gas for my CAR that is.

You people have naughty minds!

Heinens does none of those things. No double coupons. They won’t take internet coupons. And they don’t offer any kind of other perks. In fact they don’t even give me a bag credit anymore. But I hate to think that I cannot make something work to my satisfaction. I dislike knowing that Heinens has gotten the better of me.

SO I will prevail. And I will work. And I will shop there.

But not all the time.

And not for my whole shopping trip.

I am still seduced by the thought that I can buy olive oil in bulk.

We are about 4 weeks post move and I would say that 80% of the boxes are unpacked. The boxes that are still to be dealt with are really mostly things that will need to stay boxed for a while. Or it is boxes of Christmas stuff which I won’t get out for a few months yet, despite what Kmart would have you believe.

There are areas in the basement that are still slightly chaotic but not nearly as bad as they had been. I have started alphabetizing the DVDs.

You alphabetize your DVDs don’t you?

Don’t you?

Never mind.

I think I might take a bit of time off next week and do something else. Like pick and can pears perhaps.

I just feel happy when I can sit in my living room and read and everything looks neat and tidy.


I may, finally, have caught up on my blog reading.

This summer has been the summer of not reading blogs except for in tiny snippets of time as I was laying in bed.

At one point there were over 1000 entries that I hadn’t read.


Yeah, I read a lot of blogs. And a number of those blogs post multiple times a day so it is easy to get overwhelmed.

Last week I did a “blog purge”. If you hadn’t posted in 3 months I put you in a pending file. If you hadn’t posted in 6 months I looked back over posts to see if there was a reason and if there wasn’t, if you had blogfaded, then I deleted you.

Blogfading is something that I think would be easy to fall into. Contrary to what many people thing, blogging on a consistent basis is not easy. I struggle with it at times. There are weeks when I only post three times in a week rather than the five I strive for (except during NaBloPoMo). Sometimes I wonder why I blog at all.

But even with my blog purge there were still a lot of blogs left. I just put my nose to the grind stone, or the iPad screen, and worked my way through the blogs. And I am trying to proactively read blogs every day for a period of time so that I don’t get so overwhelmed. I want people to take the time to read what I blather about here so I should do the same for them.

Chez Knit has four sky lights in the family room/kitchen area.

You should hear the sound that is generated when we have a heavy rain. Boy howdy is it loud in there. And I LOVE it.

Love. Love. Love.

It reminds me of my childhood times at The Cottage.


When I was growing up The Cottage didn’t look like this. The only building was the one on the right and it was a lot simpler than it is today. Pilot Man and I slept on bunk beds that were actually located in the back hallway.

2013-07-08 10.37.58

We slept in the hallway because the small bedroom was occupied by these people. Part of the ceiling in the back hallway was constructed of a piece of corrugated fiberglass. That is how it was when the parental units bought the place. The sound that rain made falling on that fiberglass is very similar to the sound that the rain makes when it falls on my sky lights.

I was VERY happy yesterday.

But Max the Magnificent gets totally freaked at the noise and retreats to the basement where it is safe.

Our tiny subdivision’s quarterly dinner get together was this past Monday. I represented as HHBL was teaching that night.

Oh yes, we are MUCH younger that most of the other residents of the street.

I happened to sit at a table with 5 other women who were all between 65 and 80 years of age. They were HILARIOUS. And neighborhood gossip!?! Oh these ladies know everything. Some of them have been living here for 18 years. All were very welcoming. I walked home with a couple of neighbors and they had me in stitches. I was laughing so hard I almost fell into the street.

We love it here. And I tell people that we are just the vanguard of change.

Regarding the applesauce that I made yesterday. I might have to make more. I saved some for HHBL to taste last night. He suggested that we should open a jar right away and consume that as well.

Yeah, it is that good.

I may wait until October though so that I can pick some Winesaps to add to the mix.

I am applesauce obsessed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chunky Apple Crack Goodness


Last Saturday HHBL mentioned that on his bike ride he had seen a sign for an orchard selling apples and peaches. He said, “It’s was on Valley Parkway”. I swear that is what I heard him say.

Valley Parkway.

That seemed sort of strange to me because Valley Parkway is actually one of the roads that winds through the Cleveland Metropark System. Usually there aren’t any businesses on that road, just parkland. But there are always exceptions to things so yesterday, when it was 92F outside, I set out to find the orchard. I didn’t have a name. But I had “Valley Parkway” in my head and Valley Parkway isn’t all that far away from me. So I got in Coco and I drove……

And I drove……

And I drove…..Looking all the time for a sign that indicated that there was a orchard selling apples and peaches.

Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

About the time that I decided that I wasn’t going to find this elusive orchard I also discovered that I had driven all the way to PARMA. That is on the West side for those not familiar with Cleveland landscape. It is a foreign country. The land of perogi’s. I wasn’t sure if I didn’t need a passport to be there. So I turned around and headed back to my new home country, The South Side. I didn’t even know that Cleveland had a South side. I think maybe that is a myth and that Brecksville is really just like Switzerland, neutral.

But I digress.

I had a meeting that I had to go to so I scooted over there and when it was done that darn orchard was still on my mind. HHBL said he say the sign and he is good with those things. But the elusive orchard definitely wasn’t on Valley Parkway. And then it occurred to me…..

I have a smart phone. And I know how to google. Imagine my surprise to find that there were actually TWO orchards, about a half mile from each other. But NOT on Valley Parkway. But near Valley Parkway so that counts. I got back in Coco and retraced my steps and BINGO!

I stopped at the first orchard, where they do not have apple picking. But they did have several pecks of apples of varieties that I had never encountered. So I bought a peck EACH of Ozark and Prima.

I KNOW!! A peck EACH. I am crazy. But I wanted to make applesauce you see. We are out of applesauce and the stuff from last year was SO good. It was a quick purchase and I was back out on the road. Really, I didn’t need any more apples but I wanted to see if I could find the other orchard and there it was, a scant half mile further down the road.

Heavenly Hill Farm. Just the name made me happy. I was just sort of standing there, thinking about grabbing a bag of Honey Crisp apples, when the woman manning the register told me that I could pick my own apples.

Pick my own. This is something that I had never done. Amazing I know but true. And pick your own apples were 83 cents a pound. AND if you wanted “drops” you could buy those for much less than that. She said that people buy the drops to feed the deer. I don’t think she saw the look that I gave her. People buy apples to FEED the deer?? Are they crazy. I really had no business even thing about picking apples, especially on a day when it was FREAKING HOT. I had two pecks on apples already in the car.

Oh you know I did. Let’s not drag this out. I picked apples. I picked a BUNCH of apples. I would guess it was a peck of picked and a peck of drops. The drops all went into the applesauce, the picked are in the basement refrigerator for eating and who knows what else. Macintosh and Gala they are. And I cored, peeled and chopped twenty four POUNDS of apples yesterday for applesauce. I threw the aforementioned apples into my roaster, added water, cinnamon sticks, sugar and lemon juice. Partially cooked it last night and finished it up this morning. And then canned it. I ended up with 13 pints of applesauce plus a bunch of small containers that I froze for HHBL’s lunches. I did have one jar break in the water bath. It happens.

And before you send me emails telling me that I shouldn’t water bath can applesauce….

If Ball Canning tells me that I can then I can.

Guys this stuff is chunky apple crack goodness.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Birthdays, a Better way to Celebrate on this day.

Today is September 11. And I was going to post something relating to what we normally associate with that day.

But instead I decided to tell you…….

That my cousin, Heather, is…….


And her younger sister, Amanda, is not Forty but is still a year older than she was.


I choose to think on these happy things today.

Like the fact that Heather is FORTY.


Ten times four.

And I am now a marked woman.

OH!! And I almost forgot.

LaurenLeap’s birthday is today too!! So say a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her.

And I am SO not telling you how old she is because she can actually get to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Knitters Don’t Let Yarn Be Thrown Away

Let’s start with a couple of pieces of information.

- Monday is garbage day here at Chez Knit. And holy schlomoly do they come early. So it behooves you to get your garbage out to the curb by Sunday evening.

- Evidently our next door neighbors to the east do not actually inhabit their domicile except for certain times of the year. They live in a big city and just come into town for holidays. We have been told that they are younger and this house may be a part of their retirement plan. OK. And I am not exactly sure what constitutes “younger” in this case because the neighbor that was telling me this is in middle of her eighth decade of life. Anything under 70 years old may be a “youngster” to her.

So Monday morning, that would be yesterday, arrived bright and clear. Or in my case bright and bleary because of a less than optimal night’s sleep due to a skunk who seemed to take up residence under our bedroom window. One of my neighbors commented last night that they had seen a cute little baby skunk walking through the neighborhood on Monday morning. Well I know where he spent Monday night, right outside my window. My nasal passages are still recovering.

But I digress.

So Max the Magnificent and I carefully exited the garage early in the morning, making sure that there was no skunk in the vicinity, and made our way down the street in that lovely morning ritual of walking the dog and slinging the shit.

Sorry, I said shit.

There I go again! Goodness gracious. But that is what happens after I pick “it” up with my plastic bag clad hand. The bag, now weighted with something warm and solid, just seems to want to swing along as I walk. There must be some sort of physical law for this. Einstein’s Theory of Shit Swing or something.

But I digress even further.

SO, Max and I had just completed our “rounds” and were walking by the non-neighbor’s house when I noticed that there was garbage in front of their tree lawn. How odd. They are not there, having returned to the big city right after the Labor Day holiday. But someone must have come to their abode and put out the garbage. And I was almost past the small pile when something caught my eye. Which is amazing considering it was still mostly dark.

What is that?

It looks like……..

Something made with yarn.

Yes, the yarnometer went into high screaming mode. Sort of like one of those metal detectors only it screams YARNYARNYARNYARN. And as I quickly crouched down I could just make out that it was an afghan of some sort, crocheted by the look of it, acrylic by the feel of it.  And then I was faced with a dilemma.

Do I take it? Or do I not?

What condition is it in?

What was the specific reason that it is being thrown out. Well, it was in the colors of the University of Michigan so I would have thrown it out for that reason alone but…..

Is it dirty? They have small dogs. Was it fouled with canine fecal material?

So I went inside. But that afghan was on my mind. I thought about it as I sipped my morning beverage of choice. I contemplated. I wondered. I don’t like yarn to go to waste.

And I especially don’t like yarn to go to the landfill, which is where this would have gone in about 10 minutes if I didn’t act because I could hear the garbage truck coming into the subdivision. I must act!

But by this time it was light outside. People could see my comings and goings and garbage pickings.

Oh what the heck! I ran, crouching as if by making my bulk smaller I could avoid any prying eyes. I grabbed the afghan, hoping that the only reason it was slightly damp was because it had been sitting out in the dew all night. And I skeedadled back into the house hoping that I would not become a topic of  gossip at the neighborhood quarterly dinner that evening (these people REALLY know how to gossip!!)

And I was pleasantly surprised. It was just dew damp. There was no evident fecal material. The yarn seemed to be in pretty good shape.  It just had one hole in one corner.

So today it received a very good washing and drying. And I am currently frogging it back so that it can be made into blankets for the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.

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Knitters don’t let yarn be thrown away.

Or stay crocheted in afghans that are in the University of Michigan colors.

That is really the crime of crimes. On both counts.

Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 227)


Here we are again. Another day older and in need of a re-infusion of blather.

You know what to do. When you are done cataloging and archiving the blather herein you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Miley Cyrus’s quickly disappearing moral compass, over to Conversion Diary to see what is happening.

Embrace the blather! You know you want to.

I had great intentions of having my 7 Quick Takes out MUCH earlier than I am going to. But….

I went into the garage this morning to get something or put something out there and I stood there for a moment and then…..


I had to rearrange and clean out a bit.

It might come as a surprise to you but neither HHBL or I can really function all that well in chaos. Oh we can get our work done if we have to but it isn’t a happy time. His office is on the way to being organized, he has a desk now, but there is still stuff he has to put away or get rid of.

My work space is fairly organized and I am liking my “woman cave” in the basement. But there is still stuff to move around and work on.

And let’s not even TALK about the unfinished side of the basement. Mother Mary and All the Saints in Heaven it is crazytown in there.

The thing is, I have to go in and out of the garage multiple times a day and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. The movers spit patooie! had just plunked the garage shelving units down on the side wall and let it go at that. I was otherwise occupied or I would have told them that I wanted the shelves on a different wall. But it was quickly too late. And I have striven to not look at that wall for three weeks but I just couldn’t take it any more. So since HHBL’s car wasn’t in the garage at the moment I decided that I was just going to move the shelves to where I wanted them. But that entailed moving the bikes out and moving the shop vac out and unpacking the last two garage boxes that were in the way and going through those boxes and getting rid of some more things and removing all the things that had already found their way onto the shelves and finally moving the shelves and then putting stuff on the shelves and then unkinking and rewinding the extension cords and hanging up the extension cords and then sorting the boxes that need to go to HHBL’s office (they are moving) and then wrapping up the boxes that go into recycling and moving the “special” garbage can that holds the dog biological matter and then putting the shop vac back in a place and putting the bikes back and sweeping out the garage.

But I feel better.

But 7 Quick Takes is a bit late.

Canning tomatoes is a messing job any way you look at it.

And canning tomatoes in a kitchen that has white cabinets AND white tile floors……

Well for most of yesterday afternoon it just looked like a crime scene. A very messy crime scene. At least it is easy to see what needs to be cleaned.

And the last of the tomatoes are canned for the moment.

I hope.

But last night I met a young man who runs the Urban Vision Aquaponics program and Micah has me convinced that I need to buy some tomatoes and cilantro from him so that I can make more salsa. Even though we have enough salsa at the moment.

Some of you might know that I write a daily “Ode to Coffee” poem. I got on the coffee poem train in 2010 and I cannot seem to get off of it. And really, it sort of jump starts my brain in the morning because I don’t “pre-write” them. I write them the morning they are published.

And I have all the poems in a database…..

Well, I knew I was a bit behind in getting them put in the database. I couldn’t remember the exact date that I had to work forward from but I figured it was some time in April………

I might have been off by 5 months or so.

I pulled up the database this morning and realized that I didn’t have anything in there from the end of November of 2012!!!

Guess I will be working on that today after I get my house cleaned and laundry done.

The repair person (I am assuming a man but you never know) is going to be here soon to fix my dishwasher.

I never knew how much I would miss that thing until I realized that it wasn’t working.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing dishes. I actually find it rather soothing and satisfying.


I’m strange? I’m odd?

How long have you been hanging around here?

But I digress.

So, hopefully the dishwasher will be fixed pronto because I am getting tired of doing dishes. I think it is just because canning season brings so many extra dishes to be washed.

Or maybe it is just that, deep down, I am as lazy as they come.

HHBL and I like to sleep with the window open. We dislike air conditioning although we are not idiots about using it if the temps are high enough.

But we have discovered a slight problem with having the window open in the bedroom at Chez Knit. There is a street light that is situated just past our house. And for some reason the neighborhood has a light in there that is about a million candlewatt.

And it is never a good thing if you are trying to go to sleep with a beam of light shining on your face.

But if we have the shade drawn down to block out the light then it also blocks any airflow into the room. Both HHBL and I like to have as little light as possible at night. We just sleep better. We have eliminated bedside clocks that glow. We close the door so that the light shining in from the living room windows (which are even closer to the street light) doesn’t leak into the room. But having the shade down was just a problem.

Until last night.

I have been contemplating this problem daily. Wondering what to do. And as I lay in bed last night, wishing that I could raise the shade, it occurred to me that if I just cut a piece of cardboard and positioned it just right that light would be blocked. So I hoped out of bed, grabbed my trusty box cutter that is always in my pocket these days and went to cut up a box, of which we still have MANY.


Problem solved at least temporarily.

I feel so McGyverish.

One of the things that is most unsettling about moving is establishing new routines in your new place.

You knew how you did certain things in a certain way and you didn’t need to think about it.

Case in point, the laundry.

In one sense it is actually easier here at Chez Knit on the days when I do laundry. The master bedroom is on the first floor and so all I have to do is sort the laundry and then roll the baskets into the laundry room and do the laundry.

But my laundry room here is significantly smaller and I feel like I am moving things around too much just to get laundry done. It is against my principles to move things back and forth all the time. I like to have things arranged so that you don’t have to do rearranging every time you want to do something in the laundry room.

I may have to pull everything out of there and re-evaluate the situation.

But not today. I already did the garage.

And will tackle some things in the basement before LL and The Tech Guy show up this evening.

Dang performance/house must look good anxiety.

A consequence of my crazy summer…..

I am WAY behind on blog reading and podcast listening.

Almost overwhelmingly behind.

But I refuse to just mark them all as read or listened to and start afresh. I might miss something vital. So I am barely maintaining and hoping for things to slow down a bit so I can at least listen to and clear out the podcasts. I am thinking about casting on a sweater so knitting time does generally mean podcast time.

Of course, the logical thing to do would be just to cut down on the number of blogs that I read and podcasts that I listen to.

But who wants to be logical?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spuds McSpuderson

Remember way back in the early part of the gardening season when I might have mentioned that LL and I were going to try a different method for growing potatoes this year? Last year we tried the “potato tower” which was not so great (meaning that we didn’t get any many potatoes). And we also had one “potato bag” that was actually much better.

So this year I sewed burlap potato bags.

I hate sewing burlap. Hatehatehatehatehate. Maybe it is the smell of the dang things. Or maybe it is just the burlap.


At any rate, I made 5 potato bags which we then filled up with lovely soil and planted potatoes. And then as the plants grew LL would put in more soil and roll the bag up a bit to cover the vines. She was doing that because really after about the end of June I was pretty non-existent over there. The whole selling a house/having a wedding/moving thing sort of took up most of my summer.

Summer? There was a summer this year? I don’t remember that. I have been a bit busy.

Well, this week we made plans for me to venture over to the garden so that we could dig up the potatoes, hoping against hope that we would have more than the few potatoes that we got last year. The plants that you see in the foreground are actually volunteer potato plants that we dug up from the compost pile and planted in one of the bags. We don’t like to waste anything.

And today was the big reveal.

2013-09-05 10.05.01

No, that isn’t two feet from two different people. That is me. I couldn’t find the matching clog from either pair so I just went with what I had.

I am trendy like that.

I bet that pretty soon you are going to see vast numbers of people wearing mis-matched fake crocs.

You know you want this look.


Off topic?

Ummmmmm, where was I?

Drum roll please……………

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Folks we have potatoes!!

I will refrain from describing the squealing noises that we made when we realized that there were actually fairly decent size potatoes in the bags.

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And of course I bring home potatoes from the garden on a week when I am not going to be cooking a meal until the weekend.

But guess what we are going to have on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Baby Steps

Sometimes it is the little things that finally make us feel at home in the place that we live. At least that is the way that it is for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have felt sort of “at home” here at Chez Knit Deux since almost the moment that we waved good bye to the movers yuck patooee, closed the door and took in the mess. But you don’t really feel at home until you accomplish some of the things at the new house that you did at the old house.

Yesterday I dealt with 25 pounds of tomatoes that were asking to be made into pizza sauce and pasta sauce. It just feels weird to make those things in a new place. All your movements that you didn’t really have to think about because you had done them so often in your work space now have to be re-thought. I have a third of the counter space at Chez Knit that I had at OCK. I cannot just spread out like Jabba the Hut all over every spare inch of space. I have to think about what I am doing where. But once I was finished with 14 cups of pizza sauce and the I don’t know how many cups of pasta sauce, I felt more at home.

Just a side note. If you have white tile floors AND white cabinets…….making tomato sauce of any kind can be a really interesting experience. By the time I was done yesterday a good portion of my kitchen looked like a very grizzly crime scene.

No one ever said I was a neat cook.

Today I broke out the sewing machine and sewed up something for Chez Knit. In Brecksville I am supposed to put my newspaper recycling in those plastic bags that you get from the grocery store. But only the BLUE plastic bags. I had been stuffing those things in a corner in one of the pantry closets in the kitchen. The blue bag blob had gotten to critical mass stage this week and wouldn’t assimilate even one more bag. I tried. It all came popping out at me. So I just sewed up one of those little tube things that you can store your plastic bags in.

And now I feel just a bit more at home in my work space.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Bovine Bahookies and SO Much More

It’s Labor Day! And you know what that means. It means that this morning HHBL and I got in the car and drove out to the Great Geauga County Fair. It is a yearly tradition that cannot be ignored. We got there at our usual time (10a). We parked in our usual place (the high school). We left at the usual time (1p).



There were cow butts in abundance. You knew there would be. And several days before I went to the fair people started posting pictures on Facebook of cow butts just for me.

Oh Lordy. I’m trending.


And more cow butts. I would take pictures of their lovely cowy faces if they were facing the other way. But butts it is.

Then on to the Sheep barn we went. I like to look at the sheep. I like to pet the sheep. I like to think about what I would knit with the sheep.


Does this fellow look all hauty and full of himself? He aught to. According to his owner he was a Grand Champion last year at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Now that is impressive! And his fleece was BEAUTIFUL.

Don’t know what Maryland Sheep and Wool is? Then you are most likely not a heavy duty knitter.

Sir Lambs a Lot and his knights Sir Lambs a Lot and his Knights of the Round Hay Bale were again in attendance. There was some woman standing behind me trying to convince her kid that this was actually a gang of sheep and these were their gang colors. Sort of like the bandanas that the Crips and Bloods wear.

Or not.


This little girl was totally fascinated with the sheep. And the sheep seemed to be equally taken with her. This is why I bring a telephoto lens with me.

Stand back and observe is my watch word for the day.


Oh be still my beating heart. Miniature work boots for tromping in the mud. And there was definitely mud. It rained last night.

Demon Bunny Eye

Why do white bunnies always have demon eyes? All he did was stare at me. I just reminded him that in many cultures people EAT bunnies so he had better watch it!

Elvis Presley pig

Look! It’s Elvis Presley Pig. Thankyouverymuch.

HHBL just walks on and does his own thing. I seem to anthropomorphize the animals a bit too much for his taste.

And then it was on to HHBL’s favorite barn……


Stop looking at my unfortunate comb condition!

I spent a great deal of unsuccessful time trying to get a good picture of one of the many roosters crowing. I would concentrate on one rooster and all the others would crow. I would turn around and concentrate on another rooster who had just spent 5 minutes crowing and he would stop and the rooster that I had just been standing in front of would start to crow.

A vast rooster conspiracy!

So I quit and went to look at the rest of the chickens. Pffffft!


Ooooooo, an egg fresh out of…..

Fresh out of….

Well, fresh out of wherever eggs pop out of. I think we won’t explore that too much.

This is after all a family blog.

IMG_3905_aLet me out of here.


All the turkeys were on some sort of gobblefest while we were standing there. One would gobble and then they would all gobble. Sort of a wave of gobble would sweep down the wall of turkeys. Totally turkey all the time.

And a bit unnerving if you ask me.


Oh my gosh, little people on big horses. Slays me every time. The last picture.


I can’t stand it. He was so serious about doing this just right.

And the hat. I am clutching my heart in sheer delight.

You can’t see it but he also has cowboy boots on.

Slay me.

And then we decided that we were hungry.

Oh my word and all the stars in heaven I love fair food.

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We always start with onion rings, fresh from the grease. And I do mean fresh. We had to wait as the Russian mafia that mans the stall made these just for us.

I am still burping them up.

And my breath could actually melt steel.

But it was SO worth it.

We walked around for a bit. We watched the people.

We contemplated getting something else to eat. We actually stood in line to get some fried cheese but the woman was taking SO….LONG doing the order in front of us, and telling the gentlemen about how she was laid off from her job at a plastics factory that we threw in the towel and moved on. IMG_3948_a

Some how I think dipping veggies in batter and deep frying them might negate their healthful qualities.

Or is that just me?


We stopped at the Book Tent, which is actually a building. And for once I didn’t buy a single book. I showed great restraint.

I am still unpacking books at Chez Knit Deux and don’t know where I am going to put them so I really had no business buying anything else of the book variety.

I am patting myself on the back right now.

And then it was time to cap our time at the fair with our usual 4H Milkshake.


Good golly there was a HUGE line. In fact this was one of three huge lines. More people than I had ever seen at the Milk Shake Booth. And then we saw the sign that said “Buy One, Get One Free”.

Ah, now I understand.

AND they have added a “Flavor of the Day” this year. Today’s flavor was Coffee, which HHBL picked.

You might be assuming that because of my excessive love for coffee that was also what I picked. But you would be incorrect. For all my overwhelming obsession love for coffee, I do not like anything that combines coffee with sweet.


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I had my usual Chocolate. Delicious. Smooth. Chocolatey. Oh be still my beating heart.

And after all the crap fair food that I consumed it just might be still.

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That baby was gone faster than Anthony Weiner’s reputation.

And with a lot less trauma.


Then it was time to finish our fair day with the usual band concert. There was an especially large crowd this year. The band was great. The perfect ending to the usual orgy of pig butts and cow butts and turkey butts and grease and salt and sugar.

I need a nap.

And I need to find the antacids!!!