Friday, July 31, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather

Now, it’s that time of the week that we eagerly wait for…….

Let the blather begin!

As a part of the never ending “pare down til you can’t pare no more” that is my life’s mission, I decided last week to go through all of my knitting magazines, flag the patterns that I knew I would want to have, scan them into my computer, enter them into my Ravelry Library and then give the actual magazines away.

This new bit of craziness was instigated by the fact that I went to the library book sale and found 20 older knitting magazines that were .10 a piece! I mean really, how could I not bring them home and look at them. Who doesn’t need a knitting magazine from 1989.

RING! 1980’s shoulder pads are calling you on line 1.

There were some patterns that intrigued me but I certainly didn’t want to actually keep all of those magazines. The problem for me is that the magazines might have some great patterns in them that I just HAVE to make, but if they are sitting oh so artfully arranged on a shelf then I just don’t remember what I actually wanted to knit out of them. Now I have the patterns scanned into my computer and reflected in my Ravelry library and all is right with my little knitting pattern world.

Nerd? Who is a nerd?

And speaking of relatively big projects, which HHBL seems to think that I relish taking on (I have NO idea what he is talking about)………..

The next digitization project that is on the runway and actually revving up to take off is putting all of my sermon notes into Evernote so that I can actually use them when I study. I mean, what is the use of years of sermon notes if they are not readily available and keyword tagged.

I guess I should tell you a story first. The story of how I came to obsessively take notes whenever I am sitting in church. Let’s go back, waaaaaaaay back, to the days when I might have been a teenager with a bunch of friends who, as a group, always sat in the back of the sanctuary…….and perhaps passed notes and colored all the “a” and “o” in the bulletin and doodled and whispered amongst ourselves in what we THOUGHT was an invisible way. Invisible that is until on Sunday DURING THE SERVICE the pastor stopped in the MIDDLE OF HIS SERMON and with righteous indignation and a very pointy finger said, “All of you high schoolers in the back row will, from this time forward, sit in this second row and I had BETTER SEE PEN AND PAPER IN YOUR HANDS AND YOU TAKING NOTES!”

So I am now programed to take notes in church AND to sit towards the front. But that means that there are a lot of sermon notes that are currently in journals, sorted by year, but in no other way sorted. So they will eventually ALL be entered into Evernote and thereby also available on my iPhone and my iPad. But it might be a big job.

Let us all hang our heads in despair at the news that my favorite place to pick blueberries…..has no blueberries this year. Wintergreen Farm has been my “go to” for blueberries since 1985. Every year I have shown up there and picked blueberries. It was very convenient when we lived at OCK because Wintergreen was a mere 10 minute drive from the house. Life is busy around here but I knew that I had Tuesday morning to fit in going to Wintergreen to pick blueberries and then swinging over to Monroe Orchard to get peaches (Red Haven, fabulous). I pulled up the website on Monday to check opening times and found this…..


Oh the pain and agony!!! And to make the matter even more painful……LaurenLeap (who always knows these things) tells me that he will not be replacing his bushes and will therefore be going out of the blueberry business.


It messes up my Blueberry Space Time Continuum to think about having to find another place to pick blueberries.

This is what HHBL and I are doing tonight…….

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I cannot tell you how excited that I am. If you are a “nerd of a certain age” then you know that you watched the Leslie Ann Warren version from 1965.

You KNOW you did, don’t shake your head. We all thought that Stuart Damon was the dishiest prince on the earth. I try not to remember his stint on General Hospital.

Oh FINE! Yes I did watch General Hospital. Yes, I actually skipped class in nursing school (along with just about everyone else) so that we could watch the wedding of Luke and Laura. SO sue me.

Now, back to Cinderella. I found, completely by accident (when I was trying to find out if the 1965 version was on Amazon Prime) that I could actually buy the sound track from the current version that has been on Broadway. And then I got to thinking about whether the Broadway production would be coming to Cleveland. So I googled…..and thankfully no one was at Chez Knit at that moment or else they would have heard me squealing when I realized that the production would be here for two glorious weeks in July. There was ONE night that our tightly packed schedules that we could go. There were two seats available.

I bought them.

We go tonight.

My heart may not be able to take it.

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Last night. The first BLT of the season with a tomato from the patio garden.


I think I heard the angels sing just a little bit when I closed my teeth over that first luscious bite.

The cartoon would has returned to what it should be.

Berkley Breathed is again drawing Bloom County.

Bloom County

Genius. Sheer genius.

Instagram. Because I have nothing better to do with my time.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather (The I Dropped Off the Face of the Earth Edition)

Hey I’m back!!!

OK fine, I wasn’t really ever gone. I just didn’t blog for three weeks.

Bad blogger! Bad blogger!

It has finally stopped raining. I am just letting that soak in for a bit. June presented us with almost 9 inches of rain. The first half of July wasn’t much better. Poor HHBL had four baseball games rained out this season. We had so much rain that I forgot that sometimes I have to actually water all the flowers. My tomatoes have not been all that happy with all the rain. Even though they are in planter boxes and their little tomato toes drain well they still don’t like all the wet.

And it wasn’t just that we had rain every day. Oh no, it was that we had rain coming down in sheets at times.

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But finally it looks like we are going to have a string of sunny weather. I must remember now that I actually have to water the plants.

This is your PSA for the day. Do not make your garbage disposal try to grind up a big old bunch of cabbage leaves. Especially if your disposal is on the, shall we say more geriatric side of life.

I was in a hurry. We had our Pre-Marital mentoring couple coming over for their last session before the big day. Just as an aside, these sorts of things ALWAYS happen when you have company coming. There must be some sort of Murphy’s Law about it. So, I worked that day and then left the office a bit early to get home and make Pulled Pork sandwiches for dinner. We ALWAYS put Cole slaw on top of the pork. ALWAYS. But I have this thing about buying something that I can make better. Hence, I was in the kitchen grating cabbage to quickly make Cole slaw. I took a big handful of cabbage leaves and stuffed them down the garbage disposal in a frenzied effort to clean up. The little, white robed garbage disposal fairy sitting on my right shoulder said, “Ummmm, I don’t think you should do that.” The red robed garbage disposal devil on my left shoulder said, “Whoo Hoo! Live life to the fullest. You are in a hurry. Grind away!

I went with the left shoulder. GRRRRRRRIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD. Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle……….water coming back up at me from both sides of my sink.

Mother Mary and All the Saints in Heaven! And if you think that is what I actually said… would be wrong. Fine, I know how to fix this. So I dig around under the sink and quickly realize several things.

1. There are three different things that have to be unscrewed before I can loosen the pipe.
2. Two of the three things that are needing to be unscrewed are already lose and in fact broken. Just unloosening them a bit made it clear that the pipe wasn’t all that secure and was in fact starting to leak.
3. The third thing that needs to be unscrewed is about as tightly wedded to the pipe as the Kardashians are to fame. Not budging.
4. Until I can get a plumber to come and fix this thing… kitchen sink is out of commission.

I will not bore you with the saga of trying to get a plumber to come out. Angie’s list failed me (for the first time). We got a recommendation from a friend, Thanks Dottie!!, and finally got Scott the Plumber to come out….on Tuesday…to fix the sink. I like to complain about the fact that for those four days I had to do the dishes in a tub in the kitchen sink and then dump the water out into the laundry room tub. But really, it was a first world problem.

I just finished reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Yeah, I know, everyone else is reading it. Yes, I know, I usually try to avoid doing things that everyone else is doing.

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Obviously, if I will wear this outfit to the office then I do not care what anyone else thinks.

Those of you who know me and have been to Chez Knit are wondering what there could be that needs to be gone through and tidied up. We did all of that before we moved right?

Well yes…sort of. But there are still SO MANY things that went from OCK to Chez Knit that probably shouldn’t have. Since we moved, almost two years ago, I have taken uncounted car loads of things to Goodwill. There is a huge pile of things in the basement right now that are destined to be gone fairly soon.

And I think that Marie Kondo is right, if you pick something up and it doesn’t give you joy, whether it is a kitchen utensil or a pair of hand knit socks, it has no place in your life and you should thank it and give it away.

There might be some previously loved, hand knit socks that are going to show up on Instagram pretty soon looking for their forever home. Keep an eye out over there.

And you will be glad to know that I didn’t hesitate…too much…in making the decision to throw out the picture of my father’s gall bladder after it was removed.

It was a wrench but I did it.

We are in the midst of what I can only describe as “The Summer of Weddings”.

In about four hours I am going to be donning my wedding coordinator flats….

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Paige and Jeremy are getting married! Paige went to school with TMO. In fact several of the bridesmaids also went to school with TMO. It is fun to see all of these girls get married.

After today that will be two weddings (that I am coordinating) down and three to go.

And I didn’t even mention the three weddings that we are attending as guests in the next six weeks. Good golly!!

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The Japanese beetles continue to be the bane of my small gardening existence. They seem to have a great love for my basil for some reason. They completely bypass the tomatoes. I am now keeping a container of soapy water out on the patio and whenever I see one I walk out, knock it in the water, screw on the lid and lit him swim with the other dead bugs.

You just have to find pleasure somewhere!

Oh my gosh, we actually had someone play “Ding Dong Ditch” with our doorbell last night! It actually took me a second to realize that we had been pranked. No one every said I was the brightest bulb in the bunch. I have to laugh although the miscreants weren’t all that good with “hiding” afterwards.

Ding Dong Ditch looses some of it’s potency when, after the homeowner opens the door and stares out in head scratching wonder, the ditcher yells at his compatriots in the bushes and then runs away with about as much subtlety as an elephant charging through the underbrush.

Just sayin’

Just a short knitting report because I know that you are dying to know. Right?

I have a lace project on the needles that is going rather slowly….because I am not working on it all that much.

I finished a pair of socks for HHBL. I am committed to knitting him a bunch of socks because he feet are always so cold in the winter. Black socks are the very devil to knit sometimes but I persevere.

There are a pair of Socks for Soldiers Olive Drab socks on the needles. These take A. LONG. TIME because each leg is 14 inches in length before you even get to the heel portion. But it is pretty much TV knitting. Straight stockinette stich so I don’t even have to look.

I am breezing through a pair of socks in my Vanilla Sock pattern. Also TV knitting.

And I am putting in effort on the Mitered Square Blanket of Gigantic Proportions. Yeah, no one ever said I thought it through when I decided to knit a King Size Bed cover with fingering weight yarn.

Instagram. Because I can, that’s why!
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I Am In Love, Platonically, With My Vacuum

Who thinks of their vacuum cleaner. Really. Do you think about it. Do you mull over it’s properties. Do you look forward to spending time together in a shared activity.

I didn’t think so.

Before I got a dog I didn’t really put much thought into the strengths and weaknesses of a vacuum cleaner. I had small children. There were a lot of crumbs and the floors were sticky anyways. As long as all the Barbie shoes were out of the way, the vacuum cleaner would do just fine. Have you ever tried to vacuum up a Barbie shoe? Not pretty. Come to think of it, there weren’t all that many Barbie shoes in our house because I made sure to throw all of them out immediately upon opening anything Barbie. Stepping on a plastic mini high heeled shoe in the middle of the night will put a cramp in your style and teach your children words they shouldn’t know. And while we are on the subject of that impossibly proportioned toy, Barbies in our home led a rather horrible existence. Ken always seemed to be missing a leg or had a shortened neck because his head had inconveniently popped off and had been thrust back on his neck with rather shortening results. Barbies were almost always without clothing or in clothing that had been constructed by the progeny. Often they would have had a “hair cut”.

Look Mom! We are playing beauty parlor!

Oh dear.

More than likely Barbie and Ken would be swinging from a piece of rope, suspended down the stairwell from second floor to first floor “playing pirate”. Or perhaps they would be connected to a piece of rope so that they could “fly” in a large circle outside. Round and round and round until, invariably, someone landed on the roof of the garage. Where they stayed. Forever.

Sure we will sell you our house! The Mermaid Barbie on the roof is just an extra bonus. You can thank us later.

Where were we before Barbie so rudely interrupted?


So, OCK had a built in vacuum system. It seemed a good idea at the time and really it was a good idea…until someone would suck up a hair pin….which would make it ALMOST all the way to the receptacle in the basement before getting stuck at that last bend. Thereby gumming up the entire system. Necessitating a call to vacuum cleaner people. Meaning I had to write a check because they had to come out and get the hair pin/pen cap/quarter (quarter! who vacuums up a quarter!)/you name it out of the system. I loved that in house vacuum system but I will never put one in again.

Then we moved. Chez Knit does not have an in house vacuum system. In fact, when I knew we were moving it finally occurred to me that I actually had to have a real, honest to goodness vacuum cleaner again. What to do? I really didn’t want to go out and buy something at that time. We had just paid for a wedding. And then it occurred to me.

There was a vacuum cleaner in the basement. It had come to us along with a bunch of files from a business that HHBL had run years ago. It lurked in the basement, unfulfilled in purpose while I used it’s more jazzified cousin. Now was it’s time to shine.

Or not.

My relationship with The Beast has been cantankerous at best. It was big. It was clunky. It wasn’t really all that good at it’s job. Sort of the Soviet Union of vacuum cleaners. But it was what I had. We made the best of our arranged marriage. I tried not to stress it too much and it tried to occasionally pick up some dog hair or crumbs. Asking it to pick up anything heavier than a crumb was like asking me to climb Mt. Everest.

What a fabulous idea. But no.

It didn’t like my tile floors. The beater bar occasionally tried to eat the fringe on my oriental rugs if I wasn’t watching. It had about as much flexibility as I do first thing in the morning. But when you plugged it in it worked. However recently I had been sensing some hesitation it it’s startability. I would push down on the switch and there would be an infinitesimal pause before The Beast roared to life, sending Max the Magnificent into a quivering mass of dog anxiety and neurosis. It always started, eventually….that is until Sunday…. when it started and then abruptly stopped and would no longer continue. Dead. No longer with us. A gigantic, very heavy lump of non-vacuuming Hoover. It went out to the curb that night and was picked up by the garbage in the morning.

And today, armed with several Target gift cards and a wad of cash I went and bought………

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Meet The Delicious Dyson

I put him through his paces this morning and by the looks of what I emptied out of the receptacle The Beast had been giving the impression of working but actually had just been loafing on the job. My poor rugs!

I am sure DD and I will be deliriously happy together.

Who knew you could be so excited about getting a vacuum cleaner.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather: Happy Independence Day!


Hurrah!! It’s the 4th of July!!

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I love these people. I just thought you ought to know it. It is always a joy to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of the Friends of the Progeny. I try not to feel old cuz, well, I have known these adults for a long time.

Can you guess which one will be the bride on Labor Day weekend?

I had a blast last weekend going to a shower for Her Abbiness. I might have sat with several of the “mothers” and we might have been “overly snarky” in the words of one of the girls. I know that you find that difficult to believe. I personally think it was all lies told by our progeny to silence us.

At the beginning of 2015 I set myself a “Mystery Sock Yarn” goal. I took six skeins of yarn from the ever growing stash, wound them up, put them in plain brown paper lunch bags and mixed the bags all around so that I didn’t know what was in them. I then knit socks only from those bags (mostly). Well yesterday, I opened up the last bag and started a sock.

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It is Regia, is a colorway that I don’t rightly remember at the moment. They will be knit in my Plain Vanilla Sock pattern. We will be happy together when the winter winds blow.

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I might already have picked out the next 6 skeins of yarn that will need to be wound and put in bags.

Folks, I seriously love doing it this way. When it is time to start a new pair of socks I get all excited wondering what I am going to pick. It’s the little things. And in August my knitting group is doing a Mystery Sock Yarn swap. I can hardly wait. I will admit that I have digressed on a couple of occasions and used sock yarn that wasn’t strictly part of the Mystery Sock Yarn Project of 2015. It happens.

These are some of the socks that I have produced so far this year.

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Handmade sock problem? I do not know what you speak of.

I am sorry to report that……

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The trusty iPod has finally died. Dahling has been on her way out since about 6 months after her warranty expired but it has been a slow and painful death. She is my trusty audiobook companion who is in constant use. First it was the “on/off” button on the top that all of a sudden one day was pressed down and wouldn’t come back up. I took her into the Genius Bar and was told that there wasn’t anything that I could do about it. Apple didn’t fix those things because, as the genius at the Genius Bar said, “Well, they are made in China by someone getting minimum wage. If we fix it we would do it here in the US and the repair would be done by someone making a whole lot more money so, no, we don’t fix them. But I would be glad to let you trade it in for just about the same amount of money that you paid for it.”

Um, no thank you. She did show me how to at least turn off the screen. But this poor iPod hasn’t been turned off since 2011. She is tired. She hasn’t been worthy, in the eyes of Apple, for an ios upgrade since somewhere around iOS6. Most apps don’t work on her and the apps that I do have on her are SLOOOOOW. And today, the ear bud jack finally gave up the ghost.

I have ordered a replacement from eBay. Now if I can just last until it arrives.

Max the Magnificent has terrible gas.

I just thought you ought to know in case he succeeds in killing me with the noxious fumes that he is putting forth.

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I am old, Alpha, and I just can’t help it. Just think of it as my gift to you.

Some gifts we just don’t want to receive.

It’s Blossom time again! Last night was our fist Blossom concert of the season.

Us and 14,000 of our closest friends. HHBL and I know the routine for the 4th of July concerts at Blossom.

Go. Early.

We had our chairs in place on the hill by 6:15p, almost two hours prior to the start of the concert. By the time we found “our place”, the hillside was already 1/2 full. People kept streaming in, even after the concert started and whatever green space might be had was soon filled. We were right behind another couple who had about a 5x6 sq foot space in front of them. I was amazed to see two women march right up and put their chairs and cooler right down in that spot.

Well, OK then.

The concert was great. The company was good. We even saw some friends. All in all a good way to officially start Summer in the Frozen Northeast Ohio.

And there wasn’t any rain. Let the rejoicing begin. I say that because in June we officially had 8.33 inches of rain fall from the sky. That ranks June 2015 as the third rainiest since they started keeping records.

We are very tired of rain. If you are from California, I am sorry.

Are you doing anything fun for the 4th of July?

HHBL and I are doing…….absolutely nothing and very much enjoying it. Our May and June were so hectic that any weekend that has nothing scheduled seems like a luxury to me. He took a long bike ride. I worked on some lace knitting and listened to 1776 by David McCullough.

Have you ever listened to that book or read it? You must! I know a bunch about history, but there is a whole lot that I am ashamed to say that I do not know about the founding of my own country. I am continually amazed at the strength and perseverance of the men and women that founded the United States.

Tonight I might have to indulge in a viewing of Independence Day. After all…..


Instagram. Cuz I got nothin’ else.

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