Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I Don't Understand:


*Pretty much anything to do with computers. I simply cannot process the idea that everything with computers is based on zeroes and ones.This is not logical, says I.



*Facebook. I joined once years ago, and within minutes I was notified that I might want to be friends with so-and-so, who went to my high school. And graduated years ahead of me. No thanks and it creeped me out. I didn't understand then that it wasn't that person himself who was trying to be my friend; it was some computer/mathy algorithm thingy putting us together. I deleted my account the same day I opened it.

A year or so ago I opened a new FB account with a pseudonym, just like famous people might do. (Do they?) I only wanted to see my daughters' photos and news and keep up with my bookclub. But a couple of months ago I decided that using a pseudonym was just silly, and I "changed" my name to my real one, and set tight security, to the extent that I understood the settings, and now I am more confused. I have no idea who the people are that FB says I might be interested in following. Is FB sending MY name out as a sort of potential creepy stalker? I DON'T KNOW.



*Pinterest.  I joined, again---briefly---and I understand that it is a "virtual" bulletin board, but I've never used a real bulletin board, so I just wasn't interested in it.



*Twitter. NO NO NO NO NO! Too much information, and I don't mean the creepy, salacious kind of TMI, just literally TMI. Way too much to read, and I always felt obligated to read everything anyone tweeted. I deleted that account.



*Instagram. My granddaughter created an account for me so that I could see her drawings and photographs and those of my younger daughter. But I have yet to figure out how to see them. I think they invited me or I invited them to my, um, nothing, but so far, no luck in checking out what is there.  

***Followers. I really don't understand this. I am not on Pinterest or Twitter or whatever Google is talking about, but I keep getting notices that I am being followed by so-and-so. What are they following when I don't even post anything? I did google myself once; I have an unusual spelling of both my first and last names so I was easy to find. However, there is one other ME, and she is a physical fitness trainer in New Zealand. I wonder how many people are following her, thinking they are following me, whoever me is since I'm not even on these sites. My niece was following the other me, thinking that it was real me, until I clued her in. 



AND, weirdest of all, I keep getting notices that someone wants to link to me on LinkedIn.am not on LinkedIn and never have been on LinkedIn, so how is this happening?

Oh yeah.  It's that computer/mathy algorithm thingy. That I don't understand.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Very Random


In the news.


First up:  Baxter

He lives to escape this house and be an outdoor cat. We started out by letting him out on the deck with a baby gate at the top of the stairs.

Pfttt he sneered, jumped over the gate, and down the stairs he went.

So then we (royal we, meaning my husband) built a tall gate/door using lattice.


Oh, pulleeze, said Baxter.  And then he jumped up and over, and went down the steps.

So then dH put lattice above the other lattice so that he couldn't climb over.

Again? sniffed Baxter, and found all the weak spots between pieces of lattice and wiggled out through them, and, of course, down the stairs he went.

NOW, we think we have him trapped.


He climbs up the lattice a.n.d, can't figure out (so far) how to go across, upside down, the horizontal piece at the top.  There is also a piece coming back from the corner of the post and he can't (so far) get around that.  

So he is confined, for now.  I'm not betting against him.

It is sort of an ugly solution, but maybe when the lattice is stained to match the rest of the deck, it won't be so bad. I hope.

****

In further news, inquiring minds have been inquiring What did Knittergran get for Christmas? (You know you have.)

This:

What is it?

That's what I asked too; turns out it is a boot jack. I have a pair of boots that I just love, but I can only wear them when my husband is home to pull them off of me. Problem solved, except for TSA agents. If I fly alone and want to wear my boots, well, I can't. I don't think I can ask the TSA agents to pull them off of my feet, and I don't really want to carry my boot jack with me. Takes up space that can hold knitting!

********

Which reminds me:  knitting.  

I frogged the huge sock and have started over with the yarn that matches the finished sock.
And I finished this:

made from this:


It's a simple generic pattern.  (Cast 120 stitches on to size 7 circular needles, knit until you don't want to anymore, or until you have just enough yarn to bind off with, use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, and you have a cowl.)

****************

In other news, I heard an commercial on NPR for a program called News in Slow French, I checked it out, and I love it. I have a subscription now and I can listen to it anytime and for as long as I want. Since my French-speaking friend moved back to Quebec a few years ago, I haven't had anyone to speak French with, and I don't want to continue to lose what I had. This program is perfect. There is also News in Slow Spanish. 

**************************

Soon I am off to the gym where I work out with a trainer who is trying to kill me.

He is not this scary, but ALMOST!

So far, he has not succeeded in getting rid of me, but he keeps trying. OUCH!


If he continues to not succeed, I will live to write another post.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Time to Frog

Rats.

When I pulled out my very organized knitting project (hah!) at last week's knit night, I discovered that I had left the YARN home. I had finished one sock and was going to start the second at knitting.

Well, no problem!  Knit night is held in a yarn shop. So I bought a skein of sock yarn and started on a new pair. The label looked familiar, and I realized that it was the same brand as in the socks I had left the yarn for at home. Score! Because I love the yarn.





Yup, same brand, but different yarn. I didn't discover this until yesterday when I realized that one sock was not like the other; it was much larger. Ooops.  




Sallyknit read the labels, and the gauge for one yarn was quite different from the other. I should have used fewer stitches and maybe one size larger needles.  

So now I frog. I really need to:

a. read labels
b. make gauge swatches (probably not going to happen)



Monday, January 12, 2015

If I Could Pick One Holiday


to go full tilt on, said the man across the aisle and one row ahead of me on the bus, it would be Valentine's Day.

I call bs on that. What man really loves Valentine's Day, c'mon.



I took a Greyhound bus last week for the first time in, oh, five decades or so, to get to Atlanta from Savannah. I had helped a friend drive from West Virginia to Port Royal, SC where she rented a house for a break from the winter at home. Anyone I tell that I took the bus says with a worried look, Oh, how was it? as if it were a new, mysterious way to get around.

Well, it was just like flying, except nowhere near as crowded, and on the ground instead of in the air. And the real bonus:  I didn't have to deal with airports on either end of the trip. But I do wonder how Greyhound stays in business if all of their routes are as poorly travelled as this one was. 

The one thing that has stayed the same from five decades ago is the people on the bus, specifically the odd ones. The man who spoke about his favorite holiday spent the entire three-hour trip between Savannah and Macon, GA trying to persuade some woman that she and he should be in a "relationship," a word that I heard him say over and over.

Well, good luck, sir.

When I last took a bus trip, it was over five hours long and a young woman who got on in one small town spent her time on the bus shrieking about problems she was having, and how she was going to get off at such-and-such town and kill herself. 

Well, alrighty, then.  

At another town, a man got on and decided that he could help her. I am suspicious of what help he was planning to offer, but they both got off the bus a few towns away from where he got on.  

I am sure that just as many slightly-off kilter people travel by air, but the planes are too loud to allow eavesdropping, thank goodness.

However! In the non-bus-related portion of the trip, I loved the Spanish Moss. It was much more lush than any I saw in Savannah, gorgeous. (I may have taken a lot of photos of the moss.)

 


We ate lots of seafood, including at this cute place, which collects dollar bills donated and signed by customers. They covered almost every surface in the place, including on the ceilings in some of the rooms.  When all of the surfaces fill up with dollars, the owner takes some down and donates them to a local charity, which accepts the dollars even though they are signed, drawn on and painted. The bank accepts them and they are probably destroyed and replaced by the treasury.  

 
We ate here one night, and watched as shrimp boats came in for the night.


We did very little shopping in Beaufort but I like the name of this business:

Guess what they sell.


And of course, we went to my favorite place, the beach.


It is at Hunting Island State Park, and it is a beautiful place, with a very narrow road leading through the pines and low shrubbery native to the area. There weren't many birds at all, but we did see a male bluebird. Who knew? They like the beach?

This is the lighthouse at the park:


Nope, it is not near the water, and that is because it HAS been near the water, and then IN the water since it was built in the 1800s. Storms constantly change the shoreline here, the lighthouse has been moved several times and since it is no longer used, it's just a tourist attraction with the addition of ---of course!---a gift shop.

Now, back to normal, which apparently means gray rainy weather. 

And knitting.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Spanish Moss

I returned from Austin in time to go to West Virginia to go to Port Royal, South Carolina.

Phew.....

Look at this gorgeous moss!

Back to Georgia in a few days. But first, lots of seafood please.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

OK and Phew and All Other Such Words


I finally did it!  I finished the State Fair Cardigan, and not a day too soon for Christmas! The thing is, it wasn't even meant for Christmas. It was meant for the fall of 2014, so it's a little late. I used Knit Companion for it, and I love KC!  No magnet boards, no pencil and paper.



 The only thing is that I think Knit Companion lies.



IT says that this sweater took me 75 hours and 19 minutes to make. I started this in August, so what KC says cannot be true. I think it took thousands and millions of hours, but that's just me. Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I forgot to turn KC on all the hundreds of times I had to frog parts of the sweater, and I think frogging time should count. 


Anyway, it's FINISHED!

(And I hope it fits. Please, please, please, sweet Mother of Purl, let it fit!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cables! Cables! Cables!


Have I mentioned that I love cables???

I have?

Well, it's true. I LOVE cables!



Aren't they pretty?

This is about halfway up the left front of the sweater, the last bit of cabled knitting. I will miss knitting it, odd as that sounds considering how many problems I have had and how long it has taken me to make this sweater. (I started it on August 17th 2014. Yikes.)

So I think that because I will miss these cables, I should make a cabled sweater for ME next time!



Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Am So Disillusioned...

I have always had complete faith in blocking. Blocking fixes EVERYTHING!!!

No. No it doesn't. My faith is shattered.



These are the sleeves for the State Fair cardigan I am making for my daughter. When I was knitting them, the total length measured around 16" more or less. Now that they are blocked, they measure 24". That is seven inches longer than they should be! 

Blocking stretched them to their actual length, I guess.  

I also guess I will be frogging the sleeve cap and seven inches of the sleeve. 

I just finished the right front and have started the left front. I thought that I was nearly finished, but my daughter is a human, not an orangutan.

#$%^&*()_!

Update:  Dumb, dumb, dumb. Put your glasses on, knittergran. The problem just didn't seem logical to me, so I checked again. I had read the measurement chart wrong and had not added the cap measurement to the sleeve-up-to-the-cap measurement. The sleeve is the correct length.  

Whew...


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cables

I LOVE knitting cables. I'm a bit slow to get going on a cabled project because all the twists and turns intimidate me a bit, but once I get going........I'm still slow. I am now knitting the right front of H's sweater and then I'll just have the left front, blocking, sewing the pieces together, picking up stitches for the neck and button bands, knitting them, and voilà, I'll have a sweater.  Or rather, H will.



Maybe even before Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coma

Baxter and I are in a sweetness coma. ...   ..  ...........  . . . . . ..... . . . ...


Sorry, I've recovered. I just made PW's rice pudding and as she promised, it is sweet, and then sweeter and then sweet some more AND DE-licious!




I made the topping as well, and that has a half cup of butter, a half cup of brown sugar and a half cup of corn syrup.  And some pecans.

And some bourbon. 

I think that the liquor store guy might think I have a little drinking problem. I knew that the recipe called for brandy, right?  So I went in the other day and asked for the smallest bottle of brandy that they sold, because it's for a recipe. But when I got home and looked at the recipe, I realized that I needed bourbon, not brandy. So today I went in looking for the smallest bottle of bourbon that they sell, because it's for a recipe.

wink, wink, nudge, nudge.




Yes, the bottle is small enough to carry around in my pocket, but really, I did use it for the pudding and the topping. I soaked, as directed, a half a cup of raisins in a half a cup of BOURBON and then put them in the pudding.  I've never been a fan of raisins in pudding, but PW (we're besties, did I tell you?) guaranteed that raisins soaked in BOURBON, not brandy, are a whole different thing.  

Well, turns out, they're not.  But I can eat around them.  Ick.  

Other than the raisins, the pudding is delish but really, REALLY sweet. Baxter licked out the remainder in the dish, agreed it was sweet, and is currently searching for more.



(So where did wink, wink, nudge, nudge come from? First one to guess right gets a half a cup of previously-used bourbon-soaked raisins.)


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finally!

The Nuvem is finished. Its been months and months. Of knitting 1,800 yards of lace-weight yarn on size 4 needles. All stockinette, i.e. BORING. And I won't be making another one because I've always said No more baby blankets since those are miles and miles of knitting. So, since I proclaimed that, I've made I don't know how many wraps, which are miles and miles of knitting.

But I do love it and it's very, very soft.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Talk to the Hand? Really?

Yes, really.  And remember, it's Christmas shopping season.



You are very welcome!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm Too Sexy for My Shirt.


Nope. That's not it. Definitely not it.

I'm too clever for my kitchen?

Probably not.  

But I did get clever enough today to turn the leftover pumpkin pie filling from the previously-mentioned William Sonoma pie recipe into these cute little mini muffins.



I had about two cups of the pie filling left over and there was all kinds of good stuff in it: pumpkin purée, heavy cream, dark brown sugar, eggs, and various spices. 

So, thought I, why not add some flour, salt and baking powder and see what happens!

I used a random muffin recipe, added half the amount of flour, baking powder and salt called for and the mixture seemed to be the right viscosity (Is that a cooking term? Or just for oil? Viscous. That sounds gross.) and filled up the cups.

And now I have two dozen pumpkin mini muffins and they taste just fine.

Perfect!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Annnnndddd....


One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?


I promise not to sing.




So, what do we have here?

A floured stone countertop, nice and cold to roll out dough.

A silicone rolling pin.  (Best invention ever)
A metal ring to protect the pie edge after it's been awhile in the oven.
A pretty pie plate.  (You can't see it but I know it's there.)
All are items I use to make pies.

And....


a Plunger???


Which I DON'T use to make pies, but the garbage disposal clogged up with all of the apple peelings and parts. My husband says that this plunger, which he promises he has thoroughly cleaned and sanitized (uh huh), is exactly what he needs to clear the clog.  


I persuaded him to wait until I was finished and had the pie in the oven.  Phew.


It's a holiday, so of course, something has to go wrong or there would be no stories.


And now, two Thanksgiving stories:


We go to two friends' home each year for Thanksgiving and have been for 25 years. There is always a great gathering of their various friends from various stages in the hosts' lives, and often we visit with "friends" we've known for 25 years, but only see once a year because they don't even live here. But there have been incidents.


One year there was an oven fire caused by some drippings from a dish a prospective daughter-in-law had brought to the future in-laws' home. It would have gone out on its own soon enough, but some people (men) kept opening the oven door to see if the fire was out yet, giving another burst of air to the fire. The host ultimately deployed his fire extinguisher and that was the end of that.


Then there was the year that the police almost arrested a couple of the male guests.  The host mentioned during the dinner that the alarm at a house two doors away had been going off all day.  A couple of the guests went to the house, saw that the front door was open, and from there they could see a dog peeking out of the laundry room from behind a door that was not on the hinges, but was leaning against the doorway. One of the men came back, called 911, and while the others were rescuing the dog and trying to see if anything else looked amiss, the police arrived. The police checked out the rest of the house, but were understandably unhappy that the men had even gone in the front door and said to one of them, "How do I know you haven't taken a Rolex?" 


Wise guy guest replied, "How do I know YOU haven't taken a Rolex?"


Things went downhill from there.


The other men quickly returned to the hosts' home, and wise guy was left to deal with a now angry police officer.



So tomorrow is another Thanksgiving and maybe, but I hope not, another story.




(Song lyrics from Sesame Street) 



I Think I Should Drink

when I cook or bake.  

I am making two pies today, one apple pie from the Silver Palate cookbook and one pumpkin pie from William Sonoma. I've used both recipes before, but only once a year and I tend to forget small details. Apparently.

So I ended up with two pre-baked pie shells. How I ended up with two is a long and confusing story, even to me, and I was here to witness it. Realistically I should have ended up with only one, but...never mind.



In my defense (have you noticed I ALWAYS have a defense; I should'a been a lawyer), the recipe for the pumpkin pie reads as follows:


The list of ingredients clearly calls for a pre-baked and cooled piecrust.  Right???

Right.  

So I work on, mixing all of the ingredients while letting the pre-baked  pie crust cool.

And then I get to the part about pouring the filling into the piecrust and I read this:



Do NOT pre-bake piecrust.  

What the #$%^&*()?

So anyway, I am currently baking a pie in an UN pre-baked pie crust.  And I am going to put a note on my copy of the recipe, so that I don't do this again next year.


I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I wish you a sober cook!

Unless, like me, the cook SHOULD drink.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Only 14,000 stitches to go!


Only?

I just turned 1,000 stitches, more or less, into 2,000 stitches, more or less. Mostly more, I think.

Because I'm crazy?

No, because I'm in the home stretch, yo!

I started working on this Nuvem months ago, and have finally reached the FINAL SEVEN ROWS!!!

14,000 stitches!!!  yikes.


Update:

It takes 1 1/4 episodes of Poirot to knit 2,000 stitches in stockinette on size 4 circular needles with lace weight yarn.  6,000 down, 8,000 to go.  Lots more Poirot!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Know This to be True

From the New Yorker Magazine

as a result of the British mysteries I have watched:

Inspector Morse (ugh. Morse is depressed. Makes the series depressing. And then he dies.)

Inspector Lewis

soon to be?  Inspector Hathaway???  Make it so, PBS.

Worricker

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple

Inspector Lynley

Foyle's War

Sherlock Holmes (a few of the old ones.  Don't like that Sherlock.  Love the newest one: Benedict Cumberbatch)

Endeavour  (Covers the younger years of Inspector Morse.  He is not depressed yet, apparently, and the episodes are watchable.)

And last but not even remotely least:

Poirot.  But I understand all of the conversations in this series; after all, Hercules Poirot is not British (or French).  He is, as he so often says when he is accused of being French, Belgian


Sunday, November 16, 2014

From This:



(This had been in a hank, but a certain feline got to it and had too much fun.)

To this:



To ?

I don't know yet. A generous friend brought me this yarn from Santa Fe but I don't know how much there is; my husband and I measured some out and weighed it, then weighed the whole amount to determine the yardage. I didn't write it down because I would remember, only I don't. I think it was somewhere around 400 yards. I don't know the fiber content but I suspect twisted and untwisted 100% wool. A burn test is in the works.

Now I will search through Ravelry to find the best pattern for it. The colors are pretty true in the photo, sort of pastel Santa Fe-ish colors, my favorites.  


At last Thursday's knit night I made this cowl:



from Malabrigo Rasta.  Easy, easy, easy!  And the yarn is the softest, a joy to work with.