Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

"I'm so happy that Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year!" said no teacher ever.
 ~Author Unknown

Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!

~Elizabeth Akers Allen

On Hallowe'en the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you
And if somethin' scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it's Hallowe'en fun.

~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

For many years I was the leader of Veronica's Camp Fire club. She started when she was in pre-school and ended in middle school. It was so much fun being with the kids every week and planning adventures. We did a lot of really cool stuff, including learning to knit. 

The little one on the end is Justine who wasn't in Camp Fire but hung out with us every meeting. This was probably taken in 2002.

I happened to find this picture on the Camp Fire website the other day and I was surprised to see it hadn't been replaced with "newer" Camp Fire kids.  All these girls are college age now. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Candy Anyone?

In honor of Halloween around the corner, here is a list of my top Ten-for-Tuesday favorite candy bars and such! In no particular order:

1.  Snickers. (Also Justine's favorite.) How about this quote from a website on the top 13 Most Influential Candy Bars - More than 80 years after its launch in 1930, this Mars bar is the world's best selling international confection.  Yup.

2.  Reeses Pieces.  I like these better than the cup variety.  It's the peanut butter and that crunch they make.

3.  Dark chocolate with any kind of fruit flavor, especially those Brookside kind. The Goji/Raspberry variety are to die for!  Haven't tried them? Get them. Now. I also love dark chocolate with nuts, especially almonds or peanuts.  

4.  Milky Way. These just scream Halloween. I miss having little trick-or-treaters at home to steal these yummies from.

5.  3 Musketeers.  I used to eat all the outside chocolate off then eat the nougat inside. Used to, yeah right.

6.  Charleston Chew.  The love of these I blame on my sister. She re-introduced them to me a few years ago. It's considered an Old Time Candy, created in the early 1900s.  If you're scratching your head wondering what I'm talking about...go get you some and try them!

7.  Red Vines.  NOT Twizzlers or any other lame substitute...RED VINES.  Preferably in the tub variety from Costco or Target.

8.  Baby Ruth.  I'm sure you know...these were named for President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth.  Not Babe Ruth. 

9.  Milk Duds.  This is my all time favorite movie candy.  If I go to the movies, I'm packing my Milk Duds.

10.  There is a candy store around these parts called Candy Kitchen.  When I'm at the beach with the girls, we usually make a run to this place.  They have the best "turtles".  They don't call them that, they call them Pecan Patties. Pecans, caramel and dark chocolate...oh my!!

Can you tell I love candy?  I have many more I love to munch, too.

What's your favorite?

Monday, October 27, 2014

So I'm Thinking...

I know this happens to you think you've forgotten something but you can't remember what, that thought burrows into your brain, grabs hold and won't let go. This happened to me a few minutes ago.

I'm baking pumpkin bread (again) this morning. I can't seem to stop baking pumpkin bread. It smells, looks and tastes like Fall.  I found a new recipe that takes the smaller can of pumpkin and makes only two loaves. It's from one of my Del Mar Fair cookbooks from my San Diego days.  My favorite recipe for pumpkin bread (my mom's) makes three loaves and since my freezer space is minimal, two loaves just suits us better. Anyway, so I'm going through the motions of making this bread Does that batter look right?, get it in the pans Something isn't right., about to place in the oven Hmm, should I double check I haven't forgot an ingredient? AND I can't shake the feeling I've forgotten something.

So I look at the recipe again, line by line to make sure I haven't forgotten something.

I did.

SUGAR.  Three. Cups. Of. SUGAR!

Godzilla strikes in the kitchen! Good thing I caught that...I poured batter back into the mixing bowl, rinsed out my baking pans, re-Pam'ed them, added the sugar, mixed well, poured back into the pans and put in the oven to bake off.

Hope they turn out ok. When you forget to add the sugar then add it afterwards, the best you can hope for might be "ok".

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gathland State Park

A visit to Gathland State Park with MaryLou and Al!
The park consists of buildings designed and built by this man (on the left), George Alfred Townsend. The building behind them is a museum, but was closed on the day we were there (only open on weekends).  There was a tomb, ruins of a barn (made of stone) and more.
 We walked around the grounds and found the empty why it's empty:
 The sign above the door reads "Good Night Gath."
 Beautiful stone archway.
The Appalachian Trail crosses this park!  My first time setting foot on the AT!  Look!  I'm just like Bill Bryson!! (Read his book A Walk in the Woods for a good laugh and insight into man versus nature.)
The park offers overnight parking for those who want to hike overnight on the AT. There was a nice covered pavilion with picnic tables so we had a picnic lunch looking at the beautiful park and Fall colors.

The best feature of this park is The War Correspondents Arch.
More on that to come...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ten for DC

Ten pictures from our trip to DC this week with Al & MaryLou!

Jefferson Memorial on a cloudy day.
Mike and the Washington Monument.
 The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.  At 7.5 acres, it's the largest Presidential Memorial on the National Mall.  It's a lovely walk with statues, quotes to read, waterfalls and the scenery surrounding it beautiful, too.

A selfie with Eleanor.
 These statues had gone green but FDR's finger and the doggie's ear were like polished brass from everyone touching them.
 Al and MaryLou...and Fala!
Mike and Al joined the bread line.

The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was very impressive!

And here's Mr. Lincoln!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday's Musing...

Good morning! It's a beautiful, cold, crisp Fall day! Sorry, fair warning, I'm a morning person. I have about 10 minutes till I take Justine to school and about that much time before one of my house guests, my FIL Al, gets up for some coffee.  OH, and he delivers tea to my MIL in bed.  Boy, did she train him well.  

I just saw on Facebook a video (actually couldn't watch the video because it was blocked for some reason, but I really didn't need to watch) about a guy on a train and he gets people on the train to dance with him.  Maybe you've seen similar videos? I saw another one of a guy walking the streets of New York and he gets people to dance with him for a few seconds, then moves on to the next person.  Not everyone dances, but the ones who do are not always someone you'd expect to, and it's always heartwarming and puts a smile on your face to see such joy and spontaneity. Makes me wish I met these people cuz you KNOW I'd be up and dancing, no hesitation!

So here's my thing. When I walk, I walk for around 45 minutes-1 hour at a time.  It's really boring to do it without music to keep your mind occupied. I usually have something upbeat and fun, there might be a slow-ish song now and then...but I keep walking fast!  Yeah, so here's the my mind, while I'm walking fast and listening...I'm DANCING.  I'm busting the best moves while on the outside, I'm just walking.  And if So You Think You Can Dance is on the TV, then I'm the best professional dance you're ever seen...I can tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance with the best of them.
Maybe someday I'll do it...really dance.  Till then, I'm walkin' on the outside and dancing on the inside.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fun...Thursday in DC

We spent Thursday in DC with MaryLou and Al.  We parked by the Jefferson Memorial and talked to the Lincoln Memorial.  More pictures to come in future posts. Enjoy!!  
 My newly cast on sock and the Jefferson Memorial.
 Mr and Mr. Jefferson.  And some lady getting her picture taken.
The Washington Monument.  And us.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Three generations of our men taken some 15 years ago.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ten for Tuesday

Things that sucked yesterday.
1.  It rained all day.  Usually I love the rain...but not when I have a bunch of running around to do in it.
2.  I only got two of four errands done.
3.  The Post Office was closed.  It was a holiday yesterday. Yeah, Columbus Day. No mailing of hand knit socks to Oma and no mailing of birthday present to Becky.  Grrrr.
4.  I tried to go to Comcast to return a modem and exchange a remote. I went to what I thought was the customer service office, 30 minutes from home, it wasn't the right place.  So when I plugged in the correct address in the GPS, it was another 40 minutes away. I said screw it. I had a feeling if I drove out there they would be closed for the holiday anyway, with my luck.
5.  When I woke up, I crossed the room to turn on the light, turned around and jammed my foot into my cedar chest.  My middle toe on my right foot is a lovely shade of purple and red.  OUCH!!
6.  While driving to the wrong Comcast location, a spider dropped down on a web string about 3 inches from my FACE!!!  (All regular readers knew there had to be a spider involved on a sucky day.) There was nowhere to pull over, so I scrambled to find something to smoosh it with...and when it crawled up the web to the windshield, I killed it. Obviously this wasn't a very big spider or I would have crashed the car.
7.  The groomer called to say Gracie would be ready at 2pm.  Justine and I showed up to get her at 2pm and she wasn't done till 230pm.  I hate waiting, especially without my knitting.
8.  I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of food for meals for the week Mike's folks will be here.  Totally forgot to plan for dinner tonight though, so we're getting sandwiches from Wawa.
9.  Said grocery store was PACKED with people...because it was a holiday!  I purposely go to the grocery store for big shopping trips on a Monday or Tuesday because it's less crowded.  Let me just say that people of Maryland drive their cars poorly...their grocery carts even worse!
10.  So today I have a doctor's appointment, Target and Comcast to get to when I thought I'd have a relaxing day ahead of me, waiting for my wonderful in-laws to arrive.  Nope.

And on a happy note...I started a new knitting project yesterday with the loveliest of yarns!  Malabrigo Rios in the English Rose colorway.  I treated myself to a new hat pattern. So, a pink hat.  Nothing cheers me up more.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday's Musings

Ah, Mondays.  I love 'em and I hate 'em.  I love Mondays because that's when I'm usually my most organized.  I have a rough plan for the week and I'm fired up to get on it! I usually have some running around to do, today is no different.  I'm taking Gracie to the groomer, need to return a cable box and exchange a remote at Comcast, go to the Post Office and grocery store. And I HAVE to watch Talking Dead and CSI recorded last night.

This morning I ran across an article in the Sunday paper entitled: There are time capsules full of history all over DC.  Really?  Ok, interesting.  Apparently there was a recent discovery of a time capsule discovered in Boston. The Old State House had a lion statue and inside the head was a copper box.  Cool. This prompted the author to discuss time capsules in DC. There's one under Freedom Plaza in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. that will be opened in 2088.  Another beneath the Holocaust museum, no word on when or if it will be opened. One commissioned by the Clintons isn't actually buried. It's in the National Archives building but it has some cool stuff in it like a picture of Rosa Parks, a cellphone and Ray Charles's sunglasses. My favorite was about one under the cornerstone of the Treasure Building.  There lies a satin-lined case in which President Andrew Jackson placed an item that motivated him to say, "I am placing a part of my heart in this building." It was a lock of his granddaughter's hair.

Our first house we bought in La Mesa has a time capsule we placed there while remodeling a bathroom.  It's a jar that includes a picture of our family and a list of what things cost (bread, gas, etc.). Probably a few other things, I can't remember. I think it was around 1995 or 6.  Who knows when it will be discovered, if ever.  I like thinking about it being there. Waiting.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slipper Cuteness

Just in case you missed this:

This was a comment left by my dear friend, Becky, on my last post.  She sent me the picture, so I had to share in another post.

My grandmother made slippers like these (pompom included), when I was a kid. My cousins and I would always look forward to a new pair at Christmas. She also made me my first pair of slippers when I was born! I treasure those little treasures! 

Aw...cuteness overload, right?  

A Knitting History. Mine.

It's Sunday morning.  The house is quiet, family and pets still abed.  Nice word, huh?  Anyway, I thought I'd post on the blog.  I got to thinking about my first knitting projects. Back then, like most knitters, I knit with acrylic yarn and just picked patterns I loved and knit them. Well, tried to at least.

My first project (early 80s) was a pair of slippers.  I don't have them, or any of my early projects, but here's a photo and the pattern still active today and on Ravelry.
I remember holding two strands together, a dusty blue and light blue, straight needles...and adding a pitiful pompom on the top. I made many pitiful pompoms till I learned how to make an awesome pompom, mostly by trial and error.  I love a big, fluffy, dense pompom. Bet you didn't know that about me. The pattern was in a booklet my mom had, she knit them with me.  We quickly moved along to other projects. But this was the first. I learned the joy of starting and finishing a project.  Many of my first projects didn't get finished...but that's another story for another day.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Stash Hashing

Friday Fun?  Well, maybe.  It was fun for me anyway.  So if you knit, you're probably on Ravelry.  If you're not, you need to be.  NEED. TO. BE. I love Ravelry!  Read that again...LOVE Ravelry.  No joke.  It's the best online tool for organization, information and connection in the yarn world.  Well, it is to me anyway.

One of the features on Ravelry is a place to list your "stash".  Stash, in the knit world is your hoard of yarn waiting to be knit/crocheted into something wonderful (for you non-knitter types). Or just stored and squeezed and sniffed. Whatever.  Don't judge.  You can list the name, make, number of skeins (or balls of yarn) and a picture of your lovelies as well.

One thing I've noticed looking at my friends stashes...Ok, back off...of course I cruise my friend's stashes.  It's considered totally acceptable to look at your friends stash of yarn.  You do it too, I know you do.  And by friends I mean people I've friended here on Ravelry, maybe messaged or commented on a project or two...NOT people I've met or knit with on a regular basis (now or ever).  Here's what I've noticed:  Some people have A LOT of very expensive yarn.  I mean enough yarn to knit several sweaters and umpteen pairs of socks.  Well, maybe we better not discuss socks, just sweaters.  To keep things simple.

My stash totals 62.  I know I have more in my stash that still need to be posted, but MOST of what I own is there on Ravelry.  Of that stash, all that yarn...I have enough to make 11 sweaters.  Two of which are on the needles (meaning I've started knitting them, for you nkf). My yarn varies from Madelinetosh (expensive) to Knitpicks (reasonably priced). Ok, I have enough for one sweater of Madelinetosh. And that I got from a friend at a greatly reduced price (just love her).  I don't have a ton of money to spend on yarn, unfortunately. Some, but not a ton.  So after peaking at a few OTHER stashes, I got curious as to how many sweaters worth of yarn there were and what types of yarn.  I looked at few folks I knew were sweater knitters.  That's right, some knitters knit more sweaters than others.  Some knit mostly socks or kids stuff or shawls, etc. Me?  Oh, I'll knit anything but I do knit a lot of sweaters (always one on the needles...ahem, sometimes two).

The first two I looked at (because they always knit beautiful sweaters...sweater after sweater) had big stashes.  One had 208 the other 278. Stash 208 and enough for 49 sweaters.  Wow! And the yarn consists of mostly high-end yarn like Madelinetosh, Plucky Knitter, Miss Babs and Rowan. Really amazing colors!  I'd be curious as to the value of this stash but since I've only had one cup of coffee this morning, counting sweater quantities was my limit of investigation.  Stash 278 had enough for 119 sweaters. Holy Wool Batman!!  She had some beautiful yarns, Debbie Bliss, Mirasol, Araucania, Madelinetosh, Plucky Knitter and The Verdant Gryphon.  Beautiful colors!! Thousands of dollars worth of yarn, to be sure.  I can't wait to see what these two knitters make with their amazing stashes!  I hope you're not thinking that I'm envious of their stashes.  Ok, maybe a little. These two crank out so many beautiful projects, I can't wait to see what they finish next!

I also looked up a designer I've friended.  Just to see how her stash compared and how many sweaters she might be up to. She had 111 in her stash and 19 sweaters.  I was surprised. Her designed are quite frequent, a lot of them sweaters, so I thought she'd have more.  Maybe not all of her stash is on Ravelry.  It happens.

THEN I checked out someone I was curious about...just to see her stash size.  Ready?  824  No joke. I think the fact that she posted this many yarns is worthy of applause! Now, most of her stash is single skeins.  I'd guess 3/4 of it.  And most of it Plucky Knitter (about $25 a skein, some bases are more).  So let's do the math, just for kicks.  75% of 824 is about 618.  618 x 25 = 15, 450.  Yes, over $15,000 in single skeins alone. Maybe she gets a discount?  $25 for a skein of good sock yarn is very reasonable. She just had SO MUCH of it. She also had enough for 52 sweaters in that stash.  This one might have reached SABLE. Most of you know what this means, it is a knitting term which stands for: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Maybe she's a fast knitter and can get it all knit up before life's end.  I bet she'll buy more yarn, too.  We all do.

Why this stash obsession?  Maybe because I haven't been adding much to mine lately.  Maybe it seems obscene to have so much of a good thing. Can one have too much yarn? Maybe I'm jealous. Yeah, maybe.

But really, I like my stash the way it is...not too big, not too small...just right. I'd say manageable.  Yeah.  Definitely not SABLE.  Yet.

I just saw on FB that it's "I love YARN Day".  How perfect.

And thank you to all of you who have commented lately!! I love to read your comments!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday...MBYC Style!

One of the best memories we have from when the kids were little is going to the Yacht Club with Mike's folks.  The Mission Bay Yacht Club was our hang out on Summer afternoons once a week or so for a few summers.  It was so wonderful...we would pack up the kids and fixings for dinner and meet Mike's folks down at the bay.  MBYC has a private beach that would pretty much be deserted by the time we got here in the afternoon (after the heat of the day and naps).  They had nice clean bathrooms were we could shower off  sandy kids before heading home. A glass of wine, yummy appetizers and grilled hamburgers for dinner...and hanging out with our favorite people.  The kids would play in the sand and water and we would take turns sailing in Papa's boat! 

And once in a while, Mike and I would sneak off and have a few minutes to ourselves sailing around beautiful Mission Bay.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ten for Tuesday; What I've been up to.

1.  We planted Spring bulbs!  Crocus, daffodils and tulips.  With any luck they will all show up this Spring.  I love having a flower garden and a veggie garden but I really don't enjoy gardening. I'd rather be knitting. (duh)

2. Halloween decorations went up! Headstones/graves in the front yarn and spiders crawling all over the house. Even light-up ghosts over the front door.

Funny how I love to decorate with spiders, I guess because they really do scare the crap out of me!

3.  Mike has power washed the decks.  They look so nice.

4.  I finished my Mystery knit-along scarf! It was a challenge for me to get this baby done.  It's made with Kidsilk Haze which is a kid mohair and silk blend.  So like knitting with a fuzzy thread.  And my needles weren't very sharp so I had to really slow down my usual pace...and heaven forbid if I had to tink (that's taking stitches out by knitting backwards for you non-knitter types)! But it's done and it's soft and beautiful and it's purple!! Here it is blocking:

5.  I made it through a photo challenge on Instagram.  It was for the month of September. I've never done this before and was it fun! It was sponsored by Soak (wool wash for you nkt). Each day had a theme, knitting or fiber related, and you the posted a picture with that theme. I shared a few on FB but not all.  Here's an example or two:
 Theme was "sweater".  It's my recently finished Cinnamon Girl.
 Theme was "cowl".  Extra points if you can read my new sticker on my iphone case.  haha  Oh, that pattern is Whorl.
Theme was "stash".  Since I didn't really want to flash my stash, I posted my newest knitting t-shirt.

6. I started watching a few new shows.
Intruders on BBC America.  It's an edgy drama about people who have figured out how to live forever. Confusing at first but now it's getting so good!! Can't wait to see what will happen next.
Gotham...a crime drama with James Gordon, Bruce Wayne and the beginnings of all the bad guys and gals.
Scorpion...drama loosely based on life of Walter O'Brien, self-proclaimed genius and computer expert.  It's a group of super smart people helping to solve crimes. American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee is in it too...not as a smartie but the mother of one.
And finally...Gracepoint.  An American remake of Broadchurch. I've seen Broadchurch so I know who-dunnit, but I was curious to see it anyway.  It's fun to re-watch when you know you is guilty (and watching Mike try to figure it out will be the most fun).

7. I'm taking a drawing class.  I've been away from that part of my life for too long.  Time to start in again.  I'm taking the class at our local Community College.  It's one of those "enrichment" type classes. The instructor is very nice, relaxed and easy going.

8. I changed my Ravatar for the month of October.

9. I'm working very hard to stay within my current purchases of yarn and patterns for all future projects, for a long while at least.  I really don't have a big stash but I do have plenty of yarn I love and want to knit.  That's hard to do when new yarn keeps distracting me.  So, remove the distraction and current stash gets knit up.  God, I hope so.  It helps that this is a tough time of year for us extra monies for yarnie purchases.  It's a good thing.

10.  Sweaters. My current sweater Carpino:

Mine is green.  Oh green, how I love thee.  

   And my next sweater, Persimmon:
Oh look!  Green. Next one, yes, but already started.  That will motivate me to finish Carpino which has just 1 1/2 sleeves and an i-cord neck to go before it's done!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Posting Once Again

In an effort to blog more, I'm going to try something new.  But before I get to more, you say? I don't have a big following of readers for my blog, I know that is a realty. Some family, some friends...knitter friends and otherwise. Sometimes I run out of things to blog about, yes, it does happen.  I just wonder if what I have to say or pictures I share or thoughts I have are remotely interesting to anyone, let alone the few "followers" I have.  There are fewer than a handful of people who comment.  I LOVE comments!!! I really appreciate those of you who take a minute to comment on my posts. It makes me feel so good, knowing you're read my blog! So, I apologize to those of you who are wondering if I'm going to stop blogging because you check everyday and there's been no posts for a while, I will try to remember you're out there and blog more often.

My new idea?  I'm going to give each day a "theme" and hopefully that will light the fire so badly needed under my rear end and get me blogging more often!

Here are the themes:
Monday Musings
Ten for Tuesday
Wordless Wednesdays
Throwback Thursdays
Friday Fun
Anything Goes Weekend Edition

So today is goes!

Fall is upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Trees are just starting to turn and leaves are falling. Temperature around 50 this morning as I walked Gracie around the neighborhood, coat and all. I'm running the day's activities though my mind.  There will be a lot of cleaning over the next week or so as we have our families coming to visit soon.  The "families" translate to Mike's parents and my Mom.  They both come about twice a year, always at the same time.  Well, not literally the same time, but within a week or two of each other and at the same time of year:  Spring and Fall.  Both are terrified of arriving for a visit and having the weather be too hot and muggy and too cold and freezing. Can you blame them? Thus, they come during the best weather travelers.

Ok, so when you have visitors you clean your house.  And not just any run-of-the-mill clean but company-staying-a week-clean. I'd say "mother-in-law" clean, but I love my MIL, she's super easy going and arrives without a white glove in hand.  And it's not just cleaning...all those things we've been putting off, well, now they have to be done!

I'm not complaining.  Oh no!  I so glad they're coming to visit! It's so much fun for us to find new things to do and see. We miss our families very much and appreciate them flying all the way out here to visit us on a regular basis!! AND...if no one came to visit, where would the incentive be to "super clean" and get stuff done?!  Thank you Mom, Al and MaryLou...for taking the time to visit and creating a reason for us to get stuff done around this crazy place!!  

Guess I better get off this computer and get to it then.