Monday, June 30, 2014

Well, This Needs Some Work

This past weekend was “Home Days” in my little town. We just missed this grand event last year because we saw Chez Knit for the first time just after the 4th of July, 2013. Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon and evening the town square just down the street from us was filled with people and food and music.

Friday we had to miss the whole thing because we celebrated the nuptials of Jason and Samantha…but came home a bit early because HHBL was under the weather. Saturday we missed as well because HHBL still wasn’t feeling all that well. But we did confirm a wonderful suspicion that we had about fireworks and our little town. Right on the dot of 10p the noise from the polka band died down and the “mini-fireworks” show started……..and we could see it all from the house. Heck, we could have seen it all in an even better way if we had exited Chez Knit and walked 100 steps down the street.

But I was in my sleeping attire and I didn’t want any of the neighbors to run screaming into the night.

Yesterday HHBL felt a bit better so we walked the 1/4 mile down the street and partook of an Elephant ear with plenty of powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar. We watched the milling crowds. We listened to a bit of music. We purposely avoided any of the rides that were set up. No, I would like to live thankyouverymuch. And then in the evening, just after 10p……..

I got to practice my fireworks picture taking skills.

I need some work.


These would not have been possible without the use of one of my tripods (of which I have 5 of different weights and heights) and the use of my wireless trigger. 5 tripods isn’t excessive is it?

Is it?


But I digress.

The tripod was necessary because fireworks happen in the dark. And pictures, even those taken with a camera such as Big Bertha, will be fuzzy as my brain on a Monday morning without some sort of stabilization. I also used my wireless shutter release thingie, which I sort of like but which has a mind of it’s own and sometimes just doesn’t want to release the shutter. It would actually have been easier if my remote shutter release cable had arrived from Amazon….but that won’t happen until tomorrow.

We will be seeing two more fireworks displays this week but I am ambivalent as to whether I will take camera and tripod and shutter release cable to either on of those. The thought of schlepping all of that equipment to an Indians game and to our annual Blossom 4th of July music celebration with 14,000 of our closest friends doesn’t bring joy to my heart.

Last night I just had to walk 103 steps (I counted) over to the hillside that looks out over the town, find a relatively flat area on which to set up the tripod and take some pictures. Not much schlepping involved. It was a bit dicey on the hillside as hillsides by their very nature are not flat. The tripod was somewhat steady but you can bet I didn’t leave it’s side once I had set it up. And I was carefully with my flailing appendages as I was swatting the dang mosquitoes. But I am not complaining because, it was only 103 steps from door to hillside.

No driving.

No parking and then remembering where the car was.

No crowds packed sardine like around me.

And a clean, nicely appointed bathroom readily available.

Just another reason to love my little town.

Friday, June 27, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 265)


Hidey Ho, Neighbor! It is time for another edition of Quick Takes. You know the drill. When you are finished pouring over the mountain of blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of illegal immigrants crossing the border, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather that is consistently inconsistent.

OK, I am going to confess…..I am not that big a fan of soccer, despite the fact that I have a cousin who is a college soccer coach (sorry Thom) and another relative who plays soccer professionally in Peru.

Baseball, as we all know by now, is my favorite sport.

But darn it if I haven’t watched what seems like endless hours of daytime TV in the last two weeks watching men run up and down a soccer field. And as play has gone on I have spent a boat load of time googling rules of soccer because I am completely ignorant of any rules and strategies of soccer other than you want the ball to go into the opposition net and you don’t want to get a yellow card or a red card.

And……..I may be changing my mind about all the “It’s so boring and nothing ever happens” thoughts that I have always had. It isn’t all that often that you get to see one baseball player try to take a bite out of another baseball player. There has also been a lot more blood than in baseball. AND in no sport here in the US would a player who obviously needs a head wound stitched up be allowed to continue playing while having said head wound held together with gauze pads and a jaunty little cap that looks like it had onions in it before being used to staunch the blood flow.

I feel like I am a stranger in a foreign country and don’t speak the language. My own private Marcus Brody moment wandering through the soccer market asking if anyone speaks baseball.

As I sit out on my patio most days when it doesn’t rain (which wouldn’t be all that much this week as it has rained a lot) I am already planning for next year. Since this was the first full year of habitation here at Chez Knit I was not sure what the sun pattern was for the patio area. At OCK the sun pattern was some sun and no sun. Never enough sun to actually grow things like Million Bells (a favorite) or geraniums or even a tomato plant. It was hosta all the way.

But the patio at Chez Knit gets sun for most of the day, from early in the morning till mid afternoon it is full sun, then there is a bit of shade and then full sun again. My flowers are very happy happy joy joy. My Million Bells are belling. My single tomato plant is setting blossoms. The herbs in the pots are growing like crazy.


So, next year I am thinking about actually investing in longer wooden planting boxes that will line the edges of the small patio. That way I can actually plant a few more things, say more tomatoes or a bit of lettuce, and still be within in the whole “you can’t make any permanent changes” clause in the homeowners association rules.

We will see. I have to get through this year first.

Tonight is the last wedding in our “Six weeks of weddings”. First there was this lovely couple….
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Kyle and Katie were married on Memorial Day. Loads of fun, food and friends.

Then Marin and Nick (our latest pre-marital mentoring couple) got married 6 days later….but I don’t have any pictures of their nuptials as I had to miss the big day to go out and help at the cottage. HHBL went for the both of us. Poor guy. He knew no one other than the bride and groom. That is until he was walking into the reception hall when he heard his name called……..


It was Daughter Ahren. In all our pre-marital mentoring sessions we some how missed the fact that Nick had step-siblings……and one of them happened to be Ahren, who also happens to be one of Cartoon Girls best buds.

And finally we have the wedding, this evening, of Jason and Samantha. Jason is the son of one of my sisters of the heart….


Dottie is all the way to the right. She is SO excited to be adding a daughter-in-law to their crazy family mix. It is going to be a joyous night.

Now if HHBL’s voice will just hold up.

After Max the Magnificent’s evening walk last night I blithely put the garage door down and heard…..


Oh dear, that didn’t sound all that good.

The garage door here at Chez Knit has been the source of some consternation for me since we moved in. First there were the repairs that needed to be made to the gear that actually works the chain. That had to be done by a “professional” and also resulted in my pulling my back out while physically lifting the door up to release Coco from her garage prison. Such fun.

Then there was the time when I put the garage door down, heard an ominous sound, tried to put it back up and realized the one of the pins that helps the garage door ride up the track had come out, well was actually cattywhumpus and all “No I ain’t goin’ up”. So I man handled, or should I say woman handled that thing back into place with the judicious use of a hammer and some rage.

And now this. As I stood there, trying to calm my heart and internally going nonononononononono! I noticed that the metal arm that attaches the garage door motor and chain to the door itself was swinging free like an aged hippy without a bra on (awesome picture!)

Insert expletive here.

I took a look and realized that nothing was actually snapped off. The screw that holds the arm to the door had come undone. The screw itself was still in the door….but no nut to go with it. And after diligently searching down in my work area I didn’t have a nut that was the right size or shape to fix it.

Insert second set of expletives here along with a slightly pornographic joke about nuts.

So it was back up to the garage with one of the bazillion flash lights gleaned from my fathers storehouse of flashlights to look around for the errant nut…..which thankfully I found under the car. Which resulted in my having to shimmy under said car to reach it. Which then necessitated the bring of the tools up to the garage to fix the door. Which was accomplished in record time and without any more expletives.

I am embarking on trying new recipes. I have been in such a rut of recent days. This most likely stems from the fact that there are many weeks when HHBL or myself are not home for dinner. So when I do cook then I just fall back on the standard recipes.

I am tired of doing that. And I don’t want to end up with a HUGE box full of clipped recipes that I haven’t ever used, or more likely a HUGE Pinterest board full of recipes that I haven’t used. That just goes against the “use it or say goodbye” zero sum game that we have going on here at Chez Knit (which does NOT cover yarn, just so we are clear on that).

This week I tried out a recipe for Angel Biscuits (had both yeast and baking powder for leavening) and am completely in love. If you could see how many of those things I have consumed in the last 48 hours you would understand.

I also tried out a recipe that was billed as “The Best Roast Chicken Recipe You Will EVER Have”….ummmmmm, not so much. It was OK but different. I may try it one more time before saying bye bye to it or I may not as it was definitely underwhelming.

Who knows what I will make next week! Well, Shoe Queen and Slim Jim are coming for a visit and it is a holiday weekend so I may fall back on standards……but the week after that is fair game.

Macro picture of the week…..
Breakfast 1

I had my breakfast of soft boiled eggs and Angel biscuits….and then was overwhelmed by the thought that I had to take a picture of the shell.

But only after I actually ate the contents.

A bit of frustration with focusing, which is difficult even when using a tripod. But I persevere.

My Instagraming has been pretty light this week. But here you go…..

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Picture Crypt Releases the Craken–Beware


Oh look what I found! Don’t we all look SO happy to be…..wherever this might be. I think that the picture was taken in the fellowship hall of the church that we used to attend. I am guessing, and this is only a guess mind you, that this was the Mother/Daughter dinner where I managed to set the basket of rolls on fire.

Never a dull moment with me is there. Yes, I set the basket of rolls on fire. There were these lovely little tea lights set all around the lovely centerpieces. The basket of rolls had lovely paper napkins in them to make the lovely rolls look lovely in the baskets. The lovely napkins hung just a bit over the edges of the basket…..and as I was passing the lovely rolls in the lovely plastic basket around the lovely table I paused, just a bit too long, over one of the lovely tea candles….

You know that moment in a disaster when you know something isn’t right but your brain doesn’t really want to admit that the basket of rolls is on fire in the middle of a room full of women and their daughters…….

Yeah, I had one of those moments.

Oh look, I think the basket of rolls is on fire. Hmmmmmm.

Should I just run into the kitchen with the flaming basket of rolls? Probably not.

Should I stop, drop and roll? Probably not.

Ah….a glass of water. That should do it.

I grab a glass of water and douse the fire….

And the rolls….

And the slightly melted basket…..

And the table setting….

And the table…..

And possibly my dress just a bit.

Good times were had by all.

But not rolls.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Ongoing Zero Sum Game

For as long as I can remember, I was a collector of things….stuff….possessions. Whatever space that I inhabited, I filled it. I remember, growing up, that every surface in my room was covered with a collection of one sort or another. My wardrobe was full of books (no surprise there). My closet had clothes in it and boxes of other things. The space under my bed was a solid mass of boxes holding more things. I couldn’t tell you now what was in those boxes I just remember that I had them. I slept on an antique, four poster bed with wooden slats. If the slats had ever given way there would not have been any change in mattress aspect because it would have been held up by the solidly packed boxes underneath.

When I went off to college I took a boat load of things that I am sure I didn’t need and didn’t use. I brought it all home and took it all back the next year…with a bit more added to it. My room in nursing school was loaded. When I graduated and moved to a condo all my stuff went with me as well as more stuff that I needed to set up house keeping. When HHBL and I got married we combined households and moved to a roomy two bedroom (AND a small study) apartment that was crammed with my stuff. He is and always has been more of a minimalist so I am sure that all the stuff was a drain on him. Books. Stuffed teddy bears. Stuff. Always inflow and very rarely if ever outflow. We moved from an apartment to a very small house….and I added a bit more stuff. We moved from that house to a larger house and had three girls….and I added a bit more stuff. Then we moved to OCK which was TWICE the size of the previous house…..and I added more stuff. I envied people who had more stuff than I did. I am amazed at this now but it was so true then. As is often the case, our stuff expands to fill the space that we inhabit. I am not now nor have I ever been a hoarder (isn’t that what they always say?) but I did love trips to the Dollar Store and anything that could help organize the stuff. Going into The Container Store for the first time was what I can only describe as an existential experience…and an expensive one.

Then we put OCK on the market the first time. The real estate agent came through the house and said, “You need to pack up stuff. You need to pack up a lot of stuff. You need to pack up HALF your stuff.”

HALF our stuff? There won’t be anything in any of the rooms if we pack up all that stuff. The house will look bare and empty if we pack up all that stuff.

If only……

Somewhere I have a picture of the mountain, and I do mean mountain, of boxes that were packed up and put down in the basement in anticipation of selling and moving (which didn’t happen then). I formed my own boxed possessions pyramid. I cannot find that photo which is most likely good as it will scare the living daylights out of most of you. But I think I can give you a glimpse. OCK had about 1000 square feet of finished basement….and a slightly larger amount of unfinished basement. Those boxes filled up about 500 square feet of basement space.

That is just ridiculous.

OCK stayed on the market for an agonizing 14 months without a single offer and very few actual showings. Most likely the mountain of boxes in the basement just plain scared them away. Once that 14 months of agony ended and we took OCK off the market I went down in the basement and asked myself a very important question.

“How much of this stuff have I actually missed in the 14+ months that it has been packed away from my prying eyes?”

The answer was staggering to me.

Not much at all.

Yes, there were a very, and I emphasize very few things that I had to dig out and unpack during that period of time. Very few. Most everything else that was in those boxes had nothing to do with my every day life. The boxes were labeled…sort of…..but I couldn’t really tell you the exact things that were in each of those boxes. They had no place in my everyday life. And it was at that time that I took the first step on the path to our zero sum game.

If something came into the house, something else had to go out. But before we could even GET to that point there was a lot of work to be done.

And crap to get rid of .

I went box by box, unpacked it, looked at the stuff, took out practically nothing, closed the boxes back up, took them up the stairs from the basement leading directly into the garage (EVERYONE with a big house needs a staircase like this), placed them in the empty garage bay and when that bay filled up I called Volunteers of America and waved the boxes goodbye. Yes, I am sure that many of those things had monetary value to them. I could have spent hours and hours putting price tags on them and having a garage sale. But I had long ago raised my fist in Scarlett O’Hara like defiance and said, “As GOD is my witness, I’ll never have another garage sale again! My time is more valuable than that and so is my sanity!” Yes, I could have taken time and tried to sell the stuff on Ebay or Craigs List…..but I refer you back to my Scarlett O’Hara moment. I understood that these things (some but certainly not all) had monetary value but I just had to let go of that and in doing that I let go of the stuff.

And I began to feel lighter.

That first time I decreased the box load by over 50%. And it felt so good that I went through more boxes that hadn’t even been in the boxed possessions pyramid. More stuff went to the “garage donation bay”, and when it filled up again I called VOA and waved goodbye to more “unnecessary plastic objects”. And if ANYONE can tell me what the name of the singer who said that quote and album that quote came from…..I will give you a prize.

When the VOA truck pulled away I felt lighter still.

Then I started on closets and drawers and cupboards. And I filled up the garage bay again.

Did I tell you that I had a lot of stuff?

We put OCK on the market in April 2012 and took it off the market in May 2013, still unsold. But during that time I continued to clean out and pare down. SOMEDAY we would be able to sell her and move to somewhere smaller and when that time came I didn’t want to move ANYTHING that we didn’t need and use. A month after we took OCK off the market…..we sold her. Never say that the Lord doesn’t have a sense of humor. We found Chez Knit, we packed up OCK, we filled up the garage bay TWICE MORE for donations to VOA (if you are counting that is FIVE times) plus made numerous other trips to the local AmVets station with car loads FULL of stuff. We packed up the rest and moved and STILL had things that we dragged to the curb for that final garbage pick up.

And that is when we really committed to the zero sum game approach to life here. If something comes into Chez Knit, something else has to go out. I unpacked the mountain of boxes that we still managed to move and in the process I cleaned out even more stuff that had somehow missed the other “sweeps.” Stuff is sneaky. It doesn’t want to go to a new home. It likes to stay right with you and hide and breed in the basement and make more little stuffs. All the boxes (or at least 99% of the boxes) are now unpacked and when anything gets brought into Chez Knit….like say the entire CAR full of stuff I brought back from the cottage…..something has to go out… the entire car full of stuff I took to Goodwill the next day.

And every time I take a load of stuff to Goodwill (like the 4 boxes I took yesterday) I feel lighter still. One of the progeny the other day said, “Well, you and Dad are pretty minimal.”

I just wanted to jump for joy….

And clean out another box. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 264 - The Late Edition)


I’m late! I’m late! But the 6 hour drive yesterday and then unloading the car just did me in. You know what you need to do. Click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the shredder at the IRS taking care of those pesky hard drives, over to Conversion Diary to see what is going on.

Blather better late than never.

We have now had our first month of poultry CSA from Brunty Farms.

Oh my stars and garters are the eggs fabulous. Their flavor is very indicative of what the chickens are eating. When I went to get the CSA I was able to see boatloads of chickens just hanging out in the yard and feasting on veggie matter and bugs and you can tell by the fabulous taste of the eggs. That two dozen eggs will be gone LONG before the next pick up next month.

I also cooked some of the chicken for dinner and it was delicious as well. A much more pronounced chicken flavor as well as juicy and tender. By the end of the four pick ups we will definitely have enough chicken for most of the year. HHBL and I don’t eat 5 chickens worth every month so most of it will go in the freezer to be used over the course of the year.

The eggs will be the thing that I already know we will miss when the season is over.

As you might have guessed, I spent all week out at the Parental Unit Mimi’s house helping her to clean out a few things.

We laughed a lot as we would pull stuff out of boxes and relive the memories.

Sorting out a family home requires a great deal of laughter.

And possibly some alcohol as well. We actually finished off the last growler of Special Forces IPA that my dad brought back from Crown Brewing sometime last fall. Technically their IPA isn’t supposed to sit around that long, especially when the bottle has been located in the garage for the last few months. But it wasn’t all that bad, a bit cloudier than I might have expected but the carbonation was still good.

We CERTAINLY didn’t want it to go to waste!

Audiobooks, I couldn’t do the drive out to the Meemster’s house without audiobooks.

And we know how I love my audiobooks. They get me through cleaning the house and walking and knitting and driving. But when I am driving by myself I have to listen to an audiobook that is a bit more on the “grab me” side. I have been working my way through The Civil War series by Shelby Foote, read by Grover Gardner. I am LOVING it but… isn’t the kind of book you want to listen to when driving across the flatness that is western Ohio and portions of Indiana. So I switched to start my re-listen through the Harry Potter series, which haven’t done for a number of years. Harry and the gang can keep me engaged so that I don’t kill myself or anyone else while driving.

Audiobooks, how I love you.

Now if J.K. Rowling would just allow the series to be sold on Audible. Yes, I know that I could download them from Pottermore…but I choose not to.

I don’t like to actually pay for apps for my iPhone or iPad. I rarely do so unless the app costs very little.

Guys, last week I forked over $20 for an app for my iPad. Yes, you read that correctly……TWENTY DOLLARS.

And I am going to say right off the bat…….the app is totally and completely worth every penny that I paid for it. It is called KnitCompanion and all I can say is that it is the most wonderful thing to have for knitting. It can hold my pdf knitting patterns. I can mark them up and keep track of where I am and all manner of things. I can highlight in multiple colors. I can see ALL the pages from a multiple page pdf. Mother of all that is holy and good this thing is fabulosity itself.

The Ferrari/Jaguar/BMW of knitting apps. It makes me want to start a new lace project just so that I can yellow hightlight and underline and annotate.

I might have bought sock yarn this week.

I made my usual stop at the yarn store in my growing up town. I like to support the LYS when I can and the lady who owns this shop really has a diverse selection of yarn, which is nice, even though her prices are not on the low side. I always try to go in and buy something……and I might have bought a couple of skeins of sock yarn.

It would have been fine if that is where it ended. But that very same day when I bought just those two little skeins of yarn……

I also bought sock yarn online……..and it was more than two skeins of yarn.

But the price was such that I really couldn’t pass it up. It would have been a crime to do so. A crime I tell you! Regia sock yarn, which I happen to LOVE, at 75% off for a bag of 10 skeins……and there were only two bags of the mixed skeins to be had.

A crime not to. I have to keep my feet happy. That is my story and I am sticking to it! The package should be here on Friday so I had better finish up the pair of socks that I started this week.

The Meemster and I were bemoaning this week that no one writes letters anymore. We all do email, which is faster to be sure but who saves their emails to remember in years to come what they said to someone. CERTAINLY the IRS doesn’t do that……

The reason I say this is because I brought back a whole passel of family letters that the Meemster had stored in the basement. We went through some of them and it was so interesting just to read through the day to day lives of my grandparents. My mom and her parents and their parents were all very prolific letter writers as was my dad’s mother and her sisters.

I have A LOT of reading to do.

And here are a few of my Instagram for the past week. There aren’t that many as for the most part I was elbow deep in cleaning out spaces.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Total Concentration

What is it about little boys and baseball games. These two were at HHBL's baseball game on Saturday. They were completely mesmerized and I am sure that if it would have been permissible they would have been right there out on the field. When they weren't watching the game they were running for the foul balls. Then there would be tossing the ball back and forth on the way back to the field and practice pitching.

I just wanted to hug and squeeze them.

But since I have no idea who they actually were that might have gotten me thrown in jail.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Photographical Fungi

It’s Monday. I am actually on the road today. But through the magic of the internetz I am still invading your blogosphere like something out of a bad 1950’s Sci Fi movie.

Mushroom 1
The light. Oh the light that shines late in the afternoon right onto my little back patio. And it was shining right on this lovely little fungi. 

And in case you are wondering what it looked like in actual fact…….


Seriously, there was no resisting the light.

And the fungi.

Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 263)


Zippety Do Da it’s another Friday here at Chez Knit. You know the rules! When you are done here you need to click on the link above to be whisked, at the speed of the San Antonio Spurs approaching NBA title, over to Team Whitaker who is hosting this week.

Digging in the dirt and unearthing the blather just for you!

I consider myself someone who knows a fair bit about plants and gardening. I come from a gardening tradition that is long….stretching out into the distance.


Grandma and Grandpa Pringle could make anything grow in the garden. From GLP (Grandpa) I learned that raw green beans, picked right off the plant and eaten standing in the garden, is the height of summer luxury. Their summer garden was something to behold.

Mimi 7-06

And as for houseplants…..there isn’t a houseplant that won’t grow for my mother, The Meemster. Seriously, she has the golden houseplant touch. Even when the dog had eaten the plant down to a stalk she can get the thing to resurrect.

And yet, with all this knowledge in my brain and heritage…..

I somehow missed the fact that the beautiful Caladium that I bought and potted up and was faithfully tending even though it wasn’t looking like it should…..was in the wrong place. I went out and talked to it every day on my front porch and asked it why it wasn’t growing. Why was he looking so small and sickly.

Perhaps that is because a Caladium should not be in a place where it gets full sun.

Place Dope Slap here.

Oops. SO, Mr. Caladium is now on the back patio in the area where the sun shines the least.

He already looks happier.

And that just meant that I had to buy another Geranium to take his place on the front porch.

Oh darn.

This will be the first full summer that we have been in Chez Knit, having moved from OCK in the middle of August of last year. And HHBL and I are trying to figure out the “cooling patterns” of the new place.

And by that I mean the ways that we can keep Chez Knit cool without having to use the A/C, which we both despise. Believe me, we will use the A/C if we have to, we are generally not long suffering fools. But if we can find a way to avoid it and have the windows open then we will do it.

But Chez Knit does not yet have some of the things that OCK did. We do not have any ceiling fans and we do not have a whole house fan.

Oh do I miss that whole house fan.

We had been fiddling with opening and closing windows and shades at certain times in the day to bring in whatever cool air that we could.

And then Wednesday we hit on the perfect solution. We happen to have two lovely big fans that were purchased after I inadvertently produced a waterfall. Most of the time I use one of these fans to dry my socks when I have a big sock washing day in the winter. But the rest of the time they were sitting idle in the basement.

I don’t like idle things.

We hit on the trick of putting one of the fans in front of the front door, pulling the cool air into the house and the other fan at the sliding door in the kitchen turned the opposite way to pull air through the house and out.

MAGIC! It even made a difference upstairs in the loft, which is where HHBL has his office.

I feel like a genius. Please don’t burst my bubble.

Our tiny little neighborhood has street lights that put out about 1 million candle watts per light. And there are a bunch of those suckers. Most of our neighbors LOVE those things. Most of our neighbors are, shall we say, on the older side of life.

There is one particular street light that sits right outside the front of Chez Knit. Also in the front part of the house is our bedroom window…..about 30 feet from that 1 million candle watt powered street light.

Have I also mentioned that HHBL and I really like to have a VERY DARK bedroom at night. And have I mentioned that there is a little half moon window way up high in our bedroom that is not able to have a shade on it.

When we first moved into Chez Knit, last August, we were a bit dismayed to find that the street light outside our house lit up like Las Vegas when the sun went down. It is fine as long as you don’t actually want to have your shades and window open at night to let the breeze in. So, we figured out that if we cut a piece of cardboard and put it a certain way in the window we could at least block the light from shining on HHBL all night. It was some consolation.

Then, in October……the street light stopped working. It flickered off and on for several days and then…..blink… was gone. Could you hear us rejoicing?

But yesterday…..they fixed it.

Sigh. It may be time to start using the AWESOME eye mask that my SiL sent me.

I am finally getting around to unpacking some of the last boxes. And I was not happy yesterday to find that something very old and very valuable had been broken by the movers. But at this point it is a bit late to try and get them to deal with it and frankly I doubt I could even get them to respond. They were singularly silent when I mentioned to them that one of their moving crew had gotten blood splatter on my walls.

The last boxes to be unpacked are china.

I am hoping for the best…….

Curse my iTunes obsessiveness, which I actually blame on The Shoe Queen. I was fine with my messy, all over the place iTunes library until she said, “Oh, I always like to have album art for all my stuff.” Album artwork? You can add album artwork? You don’t have to have those annoying blank screens?


Now I cannot have any albums that do not have album artwork. Sometimes iTunes gives you that little, “I am sorry but we can’t find album artwork” pop up which then means that I have to search on Amazon. And if I cannot find it on Amazon then I am reduced to taking a picture of the art work on my iPhone and then adding it that way.

And then there are the audiobooks.

I have a subscription to Audible. I will often download the Audible books also to my iTunes library “just in case”, even though I have the Audible app on my iPod and can download them that way anytime I want. I know that Audible tells you that even if you decide to suspend your Audible account permanently that the books that you have already purchased will always be available to you……but I can tell you, because at one point I did put my Audible account on a long hiatus, that it is very hard to get at those books if your Audible account isn’t active. SO, I download to iTunes as well. I am a belt and suspenders kind of girl. Those books go into the “Books” portion of iTunes without a problem. I don’t have to fiddle with any of the settings.

It is when I download audiobooks from other sources that sometimes I have to fiddle with settings so that they are in the Books section and not in the Music section. I want all my audiobooks in the Books section. that is where they belong, with their own people. And sometimes that also means converting the files to the ACC format BEFORE I change any of the settings.

Yeah, obsessive.

Guess what I am doing today.

This is the view from our street, about 50 feet down from our front door


This is not a great picture. I have a much better one…..that I cannot find at the moment much to my frustration. I show you this picture for a reason. We have what General John Reynolds would have called a “commanding view”. Sorry, I have been listening through Shelby Foote’s Civil War series and yesterday it was Gettysburg.

I digress.

Brecksville Home Days are in two weeks. There will be fireworks. And looking at this view had made me wonder if we could see the fireworks from our little hill overlooking town.

Evidently the answer, according to my neighbor Marie, is a resounding yes.

Sweet! Guess where I will be sitting on the night of June 28th. And we don’t even have to get in the car and go anywhere.

I love my little town.

And as usual, Instagram

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Picture Crypt Disgorges Another One


There are no words. There are just no words. What the HECK am I wearing and more to the point why did my mother let me go out of the house with that gigantic hangman’s noose of a bow around my neck. I can feel myself choking.

All in black. Was it a funeral, perhaps. Or was I just in mourning for the outfit itself and the fact that people were going to see me in it.

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Of course, I wore this stellar outfit to the grocery store AND Walmart on Monday so perhaps things haven’t changed all that much……….

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Socks for Remembrance

It all started with a podcast. Episode 36 of the TwinSet Design podcast. I love this podcast. TwinSet Ellen and TwinSet Jan make me laugh. And possibly snort liquids out of my nose. And make me want to own an alpaca. Can you just imagine what the development association would say!!

But I digress.

SO, I was listening along to the podcast and not paying totally close attention to TwinSet Jan telling about the new pair of socks that she had cast on with some Wisdom Yarn’s Saki Bamboo, that is until she mentioned the colorway.

Cedar Lake.


Did she just say that the colorway of that yarn was called Cedar Lake? Wisdom Yarn, I haven’t ever heard of Wisdom yarn. Can I get it at my YLS (local yarn store)? I NEED this yarn. I need it because of this place…..


The Cottage. Place of happy times. Which happens to have this view if you turn around…..


And that, my bloggy friends, is Cedar Lake.

Mother of all that is holy and good and all the saints in heaven I needed to get my hands on some of that yarn. I knew that the time was fast approaching when The Cottage would no longer be a place where we would lay around and eat and then play in the water and then go to the Dollar store to by more useless plastic items and then go and get ice cream at Tastee Top…..every single day.

I knew that I needed some of that yarn because I knew that Parental Unit Mimi needed a pair of socks in just that colorway as a sort of parting gift. I didn’t even know what the colorway looked like. Was it self-striping? Was it hand dyed? It didn’t matter, I needed some. And so I got on the old internetz and found Wisdom Yarns, which is actually sold by Universal Yarn. There it was, a self-striping yarn in shades of green and blue and beige and altogether lovely. So I quick as lightening ordered two skeins. Cuz, if I was going to make a pair of socks for the Meemster I was also going to make a pair for me.

Always looking for any excuse to start another pair of socks!

Lickety split there was a lovely and squishy package full of two skeins of yarn. Sweetness! I took it downstairs and introduced it to the stash where it sat for a day or so, which was all I could really stand before I got out the trusty ball winder and started to wind up the skein of yarn for Mimi’s pair of socks. I wanted to get them started because I wanted to have them finished before I went out to The Cottage for the last time. I am a fairly fast sock knitter (2 weeks tops for a basic pair) and there wasn’t all that much time.

Winding, winding, winding…..knot. And when I say “knot” I mean a knot that was tied at the factory to join one section of yarn to another. I don’t stress out about a knot in a skein of yarn. I just cut it out and re-tie the yarn with my “never comes out no matter what you do to it” knot and continue to wind. No problems….until I come to the second knot in the skein.

OK, I can live with this. Cut out the knot, re-tie, move on……

Until I got to the third knot…..

And the forth knot…..

And the fifth knot, which was also the last knot. Not good. Not good at all my friends. In my world I can live with two knots in a skein of yarn. But five knots is not in any way shape or form acceptable in a skein of yarn that cost as much as this did. Heck it isn’t really acceptable in a skein of yarn that you buy for $4 at Hobby Lobby. I took a moment to finish winding up that skein and set it aside so that I could get the old blood pressure under control. I had a second skein of yarn that could be used for the Meemster’s socks but that still left me without a skein for myself. A skein with five knots in it is not a skein of yarn that should be used for socks. You are going to feel those knots eventually, no matter how close you cut the knot.


So, after I calmed down a bit I went and made a cup of coffee and then went back to the computer and sent off an email to Universal Yarns. I wasn’t nasty. I wasn’t screaming IN ALL CAPTIALS. It was a fairly good Don Amsler type of email. My father had the capability of writing an email that was both soothing and blistering at the same time. Amazing. So, I channeled my inner Don and sent off my email, fully expecting that I might hear back from them at some point but not really expecting anything. I was venting. But nice venting.

I hadn’t even had time to get up from my computer to do something else when, DING!, I had a reply back from Yonca from Universal Yarn’s customer service department. She was SO sorry that this had happened. They would be sending me a replacement skein ASAP, no questions asked. She just needed the lot number so that they could make sure I got a skein of yarn from the same lot so that the colors would match.

Yowza! I love good customer service.

And then it got even nicer as I heard from Jackie, who was Yonca’s supervisor AND the Customer Service team leader Kathy. All so apologetic. All so helpful. And…


Two days later I had a replacement skein of yarn AND a lovely note.

Universal Yarns and therefore Wisdom Yarns you have a customer for LIFE! For LIFE I tell ya. And we KNOW how much sock yarn I buy over the course of any given year. Well, maybe you don’t know…and perhaps I am not actually going to tell you because it really is an embarrassing sort of addiction. I might have enough sock yarn, right now, to knit……..36 pairs of socks.

Don’t tell anyone, OK?

But when it is time to order some more sock yarn I am ordering from Universal. That should be sometime next week I am thinking…..or sooner.

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Here are the Meemster’s socks. They came out PERFECT in every respect, including the total matching of the stripes. I love it when I accomplish that.

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And here are my socks, in progress on my last day at The Cottage. They are just a bit different, having an afterthought heel in a contrasting color. My gosh do I love afterthought heels. I love them more than short row heels, which is saying something because I never thought I would love a heel technique more than short row.

Where were we? I feel like I am suddenly off topic.

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And finished, as of yesterday, are my Cottage Remembrance socks. They have been washed and are now blocking. And every time I wear them from now on I will be flooded with all the good memories of a wonderful place.

And I am already half way through the coordinating pair of socks with the body of the sock done in the blue yarn and the heels and toes done in the Wisdom Yarn.

I love socks.