Friday, November 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Where We Take On The Big City

Here I am again, late. I hate to be late. But I have an excuse, I swear I do.....

And I don't have the usual 7 Quick Takes picture to start things off. But I have an excuse, I swear I do.....


I am late with my Quick Takes..because since Tuesday night we have been here.....

The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps.

That means that it has been all go go go. And eat eat eat eat. And talk talk talk talk.

I need to go home so that I can recover from my little vacation.


We were able to spend some time talking to the nephew who is currently traveling in Eastern Europe. The fabulosity of Skype comes in handy.


I spent a strangely large amount of time taking pictures of the guinea pigs.

They were not all that great in the modeling department. Perhaps it was because I was trying to stick a lens in their little guinea pig faces when they were attempting to eat the Brussels sprouts and their bedding.


We rode the subway...a lot.

On Thanksgiving Day I got stuck beside a fellow who wanted to be Mr. Chatty Cathy. Guys, unless you know a person you do not talk to them on the subway. It is an unwritten but very well known rule. You don't chat with people you do not know and you do not get into a subway car that is empty. It is usually empty of r a very good the frat party managed to get to THAT car before returning all that alcohol to the rest of us. And after Mr. Chatty Cathy had opined for a while on a number of subjects he pulled a 22oz Coors can out of his pocket and cracked it open. I would venture a guess, based on certain things I observed, that it was not the first bit of alcohol that he had consumed that day.

And I saw my first subway rats, which seems strange since this isn't the first time that we have been in the subway.

All I can say is they are not of an insignificant size.


I might have stopped abruptly in the middle of Times Square so that I could snap a picture of The Naked Cowboy.

Oh FINE! I might have snapped more than one picture. So sue me. It is the first time that I have actually encountered him. Now if I could have also encountered Brandon Staunton of HONY fame my stay in the Big Apple would have been perfect.


I might have eaten a lot of things that I don't normally eat including overpriced pretzels and pie and cookies and Froot Loops and turkey and stuffing and salad and cheese and gravlax and gyros.

My intestines have taken out a contract on my life.


We hope that all of you had as fun filled and great a Thanksgiving as we did.

Does anyone have some Alka Seltzer that I can have.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

If Not For the Safety Latch

HHBL and I are visiting NYC for the Thanksgiving holiday. Don't tell anyone else OK? We wouldn't want there to be crowds of people. And no, we are NOT going to the Macy's Day parade. I will tell you THAT story another day. We tried that once and it didn't go as planned.

We were supposed to drive from Chez Knit to the big city today, Wednesday. It had been long planned that way. Then some time on Monday I began to see little stories about what the weather was shaping up to be on Wednesday. There were phrases like, "big winter storm" and "snarled holiday travel" and "6-12 inches of snow". That didn't sound all that good. But sometimes I will admit I get freaked out by these things and make a mountain out of a mole hill so I just went about my work.

But the stories kept popping up. So when HHBL got home I mentioned the whole winter storm aspect of travel to him. We sat and discussed and looked at hour by hour computer models and perused the Weather Channel and sought higher counsel. Or something like that. And finally, around 10:30p, we made the decision to drive out a day earlier. HHBL got on the interntz and extended our reservation at the hotel while I ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get done all the things that I had planned to do on Tuesday evening. Life is busy at the moment. Looking at the weather that is currently happening outside our hotel window I would consider us geniuses of the very first order for making the decision to go early. The only problem was that we couldn't leave until later in the day. Both of us had to be in the office in the morning and then I had to leave to go and pick up the CSA turkey.

Just as an aside it was a bit on the chilly side picking up the bird. The whole operation was set up under tents at Brunty Farm but still outside and I had to wait in line for 20 minutes or so to pick up the 18 pound bird....which if I had just been paying for it on the spot rather than pre-paid through the CSA......would have cost me.....

Wait for it.......


It had to go into the freezer but once we do cook it that had better be a pretty damn good bird.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blather session.

SO, we couldn't leave early because even after HHBL got home from the office, around 3p, there was still a company board call for which I had to take minutes and HHBL had to participate in. We were going to do that while on the road but decided just to do it at home. Which meant that we didn't actually walk out of the door and get in the Prius of Love until about 5:30p.......

Which meant that we wouldn't get to the hotel until early on Wednesday morning....very early.....

Which turned out to be true especially since we needed a potty stop at around 12:04a but pulled off into Podunk City, Somewhere USA where the gas stations and all other conveniences closed at 12 midnight and it was already two miles off the highway and we had to back track. I was reminded of the John Denver song....Saturday Night in Toldeo,Ohio. ( I was going to put a link in but you will just have to go to YouTube and find it). 12:05a and the doors were locked and the lights off.

Did I just digress?

SO, we rolled into our favorite low budget Best Western at around 1:15a. Checked in, got our room key, schleped up to the designated Chez Knit NYC, put the key card into the lock, opened the door.....

Or should I say TRIED to open the door.

Oh, the door opened alright but it didn't open all that far before it was stopped by the heavy metal safety latch which was flipped. You know, the metal bar that we all use to prop the door open when we go out to fill the ice bucket but we never actually use for what it is intended stop someone actually getting into your room when you are in it.

Yes, that bar.

HHBL tried to open the door several times before I said, in my sleep fogged travel confusion, "I think there must be someone in our room." But we didn't actually hear anything even though we were making a racket and no one confronted us as we were trying to get into the room. We stood there for a bit and scratched our heads in best Laurel and Hardy fashion before HHBL quietly closed the door and we reassessed. There was no way that we could actually get into that room so he zipped back down to the lobby to talk to the guy at the desk. Mr. Desk Man was insistent that there wasn't anyone in that room and that most likely what was going on was that, "Housekeeping had let the door slam too hard and it had flipped the safety latch."

Ummmmmmmmmmm, right.

He gave us new key cards for the room next door, we stumbled in, got situated and HHBL stepped out to get some ice while I did my nightly ablutions. When he came back in he laughing said to me, "There really WAS someone in that room. As the maintainence guy was trying to pry open the saftey latch someone in the room said HEY what are you doing!" We looked at each other and thanked our lucky stars that that safety latch was actually on the door because if it hadn't been we would have blithely walked into that room, flipped on the light switched, and scared some poor person half to death.

And then this morning, as we were sitting having breakfast down in the breakfast room, GUESS who I discovered was sitting right next to me? Our next door neighbor! I heard him describing this wierd incident that had happened the night before when the maintainence people had tried to get into their room. I twirled around in my non-twirling chair and said, "Hey! I think we are next door to you and did you realize that it all started because the desk gave us keys to your room!" Which then evolved into talking about where we were all from etc.

You just never know what is going to happen when you travel with us.

And thank goodness for hotel room safety latches.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Where NaBloPoMo Is History…Sort of


Someday life will slow down…..someday.

Blather that might just get me through til Christmas

HHBL looked at me last night at around 10p, just as we were dialing up 20/20 on the TV and said,

Did you blog today?

And it was then that I realized that I had been so busy running around and trying to get so many parts of so many different things accomplished that I forgot to blog.

And it was FRIDAY!

And it is NaBloPoMo month!


So here I am, a day late and a blog post short.

Folks, I do not ever remember a colder November. This week we saw temperatures in the single digits overnight. I kept thinking I must have somehow missed Christmas and popped right into January and February. It is absolutely, positively no fun to be walking the dog as 6 dark thirty and have the wind howling up the hill and blowing in your face. All you can think at that moment is…

Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup! Hurryup!

Then as an extra special thing we had freezing rain this morning.

Good times.

At least we do not live in Buffalo. Actually my bro-in-law lives in Buffalo…but he has been stuck in D.C. since Tuesday!

All the Ornament Exchange ornaments are DONEDONEDONEDONE!

But I am not showing them to you yet. That will happen on December 1st.

But don’t peak!

I tell you, my iPhone hates me.

And I am frustrated.

What is taking up so much space on this thing!!

And why will it not let me send some music back into the cloud.


And let us not even talk about how I am still holding off on upgrading to iOS 8.1.1 because I have a 4s and I don’t want it to just go kaflooee on me.

Cartoon Girl and NYC Guy are visiting for about 48 hours. They came in for a wedding and they are going right back out again tomorrow morning. But it isn’t like we aren’t going to see them again in, oh let’s see, three days.

And again at Christmas.

They are going to get sick of us.

This is the heavy lists time of year. I have lists that are broken down into smaller lists with little component parts of the list that have to be done before the next phase of the list can be moved onto.

Where you life be without lists.

Instagram. Because, you know.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mr. Bumble

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Thank goodness most of it is gone now, even though Monday was pretty much so not fun in the getting around and going to the office sort of way. I am thinking that we are all going to see more of The Bumble over the next few months, he is such an irrepressible sort of guy. But I do wish he would quit going outside and doing his “snow dance”. We so do not need ANY help in that department, living here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio as we do.

And of course…… least we don’t live in Buffalo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Semi Wordless Wednesday

Alpha Tau Delta Fantasy Island 1

Because there really aren’t enough words in the WORLD to explain why I would, even as a costume for some unremembered party, think that yellow pedal pushers, white socks and jelly shoes would be a good thing.

And the purse!

But do you see…..I have a camera with me. Some things just never change.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Year Has Passed

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since the death of my dad, Don Amsler. I suppose that you can say time has flown, and in a way it has. We have had an entire year of “firsts”. First Thanksgiving without him and his always thoughtful Thanksgiving homily. First Christmas without him. The first time I wasn’t able to call him on his birthday to wish him a happy day. I need not go on.

I am not the first person to lose a parent to quick illness. What we have all experienced this year is experienced by so many others. And yet, if you asked all those other people, I would guess that they all feel as I have felt this last year, as if it is a singular event to lose a parent. Perhaps it is because I had him in my life until almost the middle of my 50’s. Who knows. The knife edge of grief has dulled over the past twelve months but the ache is still there, the sorrow that occasionally overwhelms at the oddest moments. I have a feeling that will always be the case. I have yet to be able to listen to the last voicemail he left me, about a week before his death, when he was already in the hospital and so very ill. I listened to it that day and thankfully didn’t erase it. He didn’t sound himself, being deep into his pneumonia, but he still sounded like my dad. And he laughed at how horrible he knew he sounded. That would be so like him, to laugh at something like that at a time when he was in such tremendous pain. I have taken the precaution of copying that voicemail onto my computer in an Mp3 format, just to make sure that it is not lost at some point. Apple doesn’t transfer over voicemails and sometimes the iphone just eats them for no apparent reason other than plain cussedness.

Below I have embedded (hopefully) my remarks at his celebration of life. I don’t think there is anything else to say except,

I miss you, Dad, more than words can ever truly express.

Monday, November 17, 2014


A year ago today this was what my father's desk looked like. Organization. Gadgets. Stacks of cards with daily bible verses. His favorite pens. That strange blob of rubber shaped like a one pound blob of fat. Bills that needed to be paid. His collection of timers. All waiting for him to return home and pick up the life that was put on hold when he had entered the hospital 9 days before.

For a time, after his death, I could feel his presence in his office. I would be sitting in the family room, right next to his den of all things and I just knew that he would becoming out of his office any second with a piece of paper with some interesting article on it that we needed to read. He was there, and he was not.

There are still days when I feel like that.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stale Fish Halitosis

There was yelling at the TV today. I do not like yelling. It makes me nervous and anxious and gives me stale fish halitosis. Beta kept saying things like, "NO!" and "Oh come on! Keep a hold of the ball!" If the humans on the TV would just grab the ball with their teeth I am sure that they would manage to hold onto it and run away from all the other humans. That is how I do it. And Alpha kept yelling too. I do not like it when she yells.

Why must there be yelling on Sundays?


Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Football Faces of Max the Magnificent

We have a 75 pound dog that is a complete and utter woosiepants when it comes to sports.

Complete and utter.

The minute that you turn on the TV and dial up a sporting event like football…or basketball….or baseball…or soccer, he goes into his “Oh man it’s sports and I am so scared because there might be yelling” mode. That mode means that he must be physically by you for the entire time, even if you are not actually IN the room where the sporting event is going on. That entails slinking into the room and laying right at our feet or better yet in between our feet in the “bend” of the u-shaped couch. He in not content with just being with us, secure in the safety that we provide. He then has to stare at us and even better….breath on us….with breath that is reminiscent of three week old fish mixed with whatever foul thing that you can think of. We call it his nervous sports breath. It is gag worthy.

And when there is yelling at the TV, HHBL and I are both boisterous fans when rooting for our particular teams (Go Ohio State, Sic’em Bears), then he stands up and looks extra hard at us, then lays down, then stands up. And if you get up off the couch to do something quickly it is not uncommon to turn around and trip over Mr. Woosiepants because he has also gotten up and is standing directly behind you. If he could climb into your sweater and cower in shivering fear I am sure that he would do so.

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Mr. Woosie Sissie McQuiverpants

Friday, November 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Where Winter Is Coming


I am late with these!! Egads. I must have been snowblind or something….or I just didn’t have them all figured out before I left for the office. You choose.

Blather that just might take your mind off the Lake Effect Snow Warning.

I seem to have purchased my new boots just in time.

I don’t like to replace something until I absolutely have to….and it was time to get a new pair of boots. The boots that I would pull on for “every day” use were a pair of faux Ugg type things that I bought on a whim at Target 10 years ago or so. They were OK except that they didn’t always keep my feet the warmest. The soles of my feet would be cold, and we all know that I hate to have cold feet. I knit and wear wool socks to prevent that very thing from happening.

Then about two years ago they started to leak a bit. Not a lot at first, just a trickle when I would have been tromping through lots of puddles in parking lots etc. I didn’t notice it right at first and then last year I really did. Come to find out, after looking at the soles, that they were cracked.

That will do it. But by the time I figured that out it was late in the season and there really weren’t any boots that I liked at a price that I liked. So I just dealt with it.

And this year I almost forgot about the leakiness…and then I walked past a Famous Footwear and the thought occurred to me that I might go in and look at boots and…..I walked out with a pair at a reasonable price. They look sort of like Uggs. They have nice tall legs on them. And I tested them out this morning and they are nice a warm.


I was able to test out my boots this morning because of this……

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The snow was not a surprise, it was snowing last night when we went to bed. But it is still a rude shock, on that first morning of snow, when you get up and realize that you have to put on boots and hat and coat and mittens just to walk the dog.

The snow will continue throughout the day I would guess as we have a Lake Effect snow advisory in effect until evening. Even when I moved out of the snow belt I didn’t more out of the snow belt.

Winter is coming.

I am off to the office today, which will mean that I will be completely confused all day. I don’t generally work in the office on Fridays. But I was out doing the photographer thing yesterday, at a long planned corporate head shot session, and so my usually in the office Thursday did not happen.

So it is to the office I go today.

I am going to be so confused.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking head shots for Cleveland Bridge Builders. I am sure I will tell you about that later, although it was pretty straight forward.

I should backtrack to say that HHBL and I have this “thing” that happens to us ALL. THE. TIME. We have people, people that we do not know usually, tell us their entire life stories out of the blue. You say hello, how are you and it is off to the races. We think it is because we are good listeners. I don’t know. But I had it happen to me again yesterday.

I was done with the photo shoot and was about to start the tear down process when I turned around and noticed a fellow at the door, just looking in. He wasn’t a part of CBB. I should say that the photo shoot was at Vocational Guidance Services in Cleveland. This fellow, Sal, brightly and jokingly asked if it was time to take his picture. I would have done it in a heart beat if he had really wanted that, you know I would have. But what he really wanted to do, I think, was just to chat a bit. And in the space of about a minute he was telling me his life story and all that had happened to him that brought him now to VGS for some training.

I think this happens because the Lord knows that I like to tell other people’s stories.

And I do love to tell other people’s stories through pictures that is for darn sure.

On another snowy note. The first snow filled commute of the Frozen Northeast Ohio winter season is always a joy.

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Did you note the sarcasm?

It isn’t that we don’t know how to drive in snow, it is just that we forget year after year what it is like. Sort of like labor, only you don’t get a cute, sweet smelling baby at the end of the process. What you do get, if you forget what it is like to drive in snow, is what we had all over the area today……

Lots of accidents, and closed highways, and major traffic jams.

Ah Winter how I love you.


I feel like I am in a rut with cooking at the moment. It may be because there are days during the week when I really don’t have to cook. This week either HHBL or I have been gone at dinner time Mon – Thursday! Tonight is the first meal that we will sit down together to eat since Sunday. It isn’t always like that and there are days when I cook even if he isn’t home, I do have to eat you know. But I feel like I have been cooking the same old thing.


As I noodle around the internetz I am trying to remember to put promising recipes into Pepperplate. Have you ever heard of Pepperplate? If you haven’t you need to go over the right away. I have the app on my iPadfoot and it makes it so easy to add recipes as I find them on the internet via the computer and then have all the ingredients and directions right there on the iPadfoot when I am cooking. Shoe Queen told me about it and it is fabulous.

Now to figure out what I am going to cook on Sunday. Hmmmmmmmm.

Instagram. Because we need something warm and cheerful on this snowy day.

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