Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Will I Learn?



From Interweave magazine/Winter 2014

I have started working on this State Fair sweater for my older daughter. (Shh...) I decided to knit a sleeve first so that I could use it as a gauge swatch.  Good plan, right?

Right. Except that I forgot about using it to check my gauge until I measured to begin the bind offs for the armhole portion and then it was TOO LATE.  My gauge is too large, and the sleeve so far is 3" longer than it should be. The cuff is cabled, and gaw-jus, if I say so myself, and I do, so just folding the cuff back is not a good solution to the problem, and really, a bespoke sweater should actually fit!

So now I have to rip back to the cuff and start again, making the increases closer together. It will work out ok (as long as I make both sleeves according to the new rate of increase) so I guess I don't mind.

I just wish I had remembered to measure way sooner....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

They Ain't Purty

You all know by now that I use a lot of Pioneer Woman's recipes. Generally, they turn out pretty well, but now I'm starting to suspect that she uses a professional chef to cook and a professional photographer to take the pictures for her blog.

Case in point---her Mini Blueberry Galettes:

Pioneer Woman's photo
My mini blueberry galettes:


Or maybe I'm just not a good pastry maker.

But they did taste great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Neanderthals Are Us! Are We! Whichever...

Seriously!

My daughter sent me the link to her DNA test results on 23andMe and the information is much more complicated and broad than the information I received through Ancestry.comEither that or I just don't understand much about genetics. (Pretty likely)  

According to 23andMe, all humans beings outside of Africa have between 1% and 4% Neanderthal DNA. Neanderthals were concentrated in  Western Asia and Europe, especially northern Europe, and most heavily in what is now Finland.

From 23andMe.com

About 35,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens from East Africa migrated northward into what is now Europe and Scandinavia, where they came into contact with and bred with married Neanderthals. The Neanderthals went extinct 30,000 years ago, and then during an ice age 20,000 years ago, surviving Homo sapiens were able to migrate to every continent on the planet except for Antarctica. Ta Dah! So that's how we are partly cave people.  


from 23andMe.com


In addition to learning that she has 2.7% Neanderthal DNA, my daughter also learned about her haplogroup. I don't really understand that well enough to explain it, but this is what her results show:


From 23andMe.com
from 23andMe.com

She is part of haplogroup W.

And her ancestry might include the DNA matching DNA from these countries.


from 23andMe.com

DNA matching that of people in Ireland, UK and the Netherlands makes sense and is more specific information than what I received from Ancestry.com. I knew I had ancestors from Holland, so this matches what I knew. What Pakistan and northern India have to do with our ancestry is a mystery to me.  

Kind of fun! Even though I'm not sure what some of it means.


?



I'm not sure what to make of this:



We are going out to LA to visit our younger daughter in a few weeks. We asked her to find a beach hotel for a couple of days after we stay with her, and she posted the above on FB. 


What does "not too nice" mean?

Fortunately her friends have come up with several suggestions for us to check out. We'll make sure we don't pick something too nice.  


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hmmmm....

These are the results of my Ancestry.com genetic testing:





No surprises, except for the 26% Scandinavian DNA. I had thought it was a good bit less than that.

No mention of Neanderthal. No mention of Denisovans. There was a lot of information in the e-mailed results about the areas of the world listed, and I learned that through the centuries, through the millennia, countries' borders and names changed so that to say that someone is from Norway, for example, doesn't really mean anything. They are from that geographical area, but who knows what country, if any, it might have been so long ago that there is no written history.

However, my daughter used a kit from 23andMe and her results in terms of countries do not list Scandinavia at all, which can't be possible. I was there when she was born so I do know that she is my daughter.  But her test does say that she has 2.7% Neanderthal genetic material, as does the average 23andMe user.  




None of us has any of the Neanderthal characteristics listed and since the average user of this test has the same 2.7% genetic material, I think that perhaps the test isn't all that accurate. And I doubt that Ancestry.com's test is particularly useful except for people who have no idea where their ancestors came from.  

Anyway, it was fun, sort of, to see the results, even though I don't really think either my daughter or I learned anything all that surprising.  

Anyone tempted to try the testing should be forewarned that the tests do not require just a cheek swab; they require spit, lots and lots of spit, and it's kind of gross.



Friday, August 1, 2014

No-


Baxter is in no way responsible for the end of the yarn in this picture.



The end is the END of the first skein of yarn I'm using for the Nuvem.  

YAY!!!

Only 800 yards to go.....

Friday, July 25, 2014

Honey, We Broke the Kids!



Two of the four on the plane to Austin.


We old folks wore them plumb out!


(Or, more likely, they wore themselves out.)

Either way, we sure enjoyed having them here!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PTSD

We have had our four grandchildren here since last Tuesday.  They are at the airport now waiting for their flight to Austin, TX, where their Dad and their dog, FeeBee, will be very happy to see them.

Baxter and Molly, however, have had mixed reactions to the intruders.  

Molly, even though the kids have been gone a couple of hours now, is still in hiding in the basement, where she spent most of their visit. Is there PTSD counseling available for cats?

Baxter came and went from view throughout the week.  He occasionally found temporary (but ineffective) hiding places:




And other times he was quite happy to spend time watching the kids.  This morning he even seemed unhappy that they seemed to be preparing to leave.



But sitting on a suitcase didn't work.



Friday, July 18, 2014

So Far, So Good

We have four children here, ages 13, 11, 7, and 5.  I think they are having a good time even though we haven't done anything exciting. I did, however, take all four to the mall, something my daughter claims she has never done.  They were well behaved, of course, and we accomplished all of our tasks:  the American Girl Doll store for the two younger girls, a phone case for the oldest girl, and the Lego store for grandson. (OMG.  Don't MAKE me go in a Lego store again, y'all. Apparently making decisions is real hard for a seven year old!) 

For the finale, the youngest three rode the carousel.  

The biggest accomplishment for me was that I made brisket,Texas brisket, using a Pioneer Woman recipe. Everyone thought it was really good, except for my little Texas grandson, who announced that it was NOT like Texas barbecue brisket. Then he had three servings.  

This is all that is left of 3.5 pounds of brisket.



It is on a small salad plate.

Maybe enough for a sandwich, I'm not sure.



This morning we had the two younger girls swooning over this:



It is their mother's dollhouse and oh, my. They were entranced and I heard the word "adorable" over and over. They took everything out of it, cleaned it up, and then set about furnishing it.  

Now they are off with Grandpa for some Varsity lunch. Their mother and I are enjoying the quiet......

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Morning

I have an extra bedroom and I use it as my ironing/blocking room.  But with my daughter and family arriving tomorrow, I had to make room.  Seems wrong somehow to make them sleep on the floor.

This is what I found on the bed and on the ironing board:



Really and truly, I hate ironing, and although I'm not the only one to feel that way, I also know people who love ironing. I tend to let it all pile up (obviously) and then iron what I need when I need. It has sort of backfired. I have (according to Rowenta) a GREAT Rowenta iron, with the ability to put out lots of steam, and that should make the task easier and quicker. However, it's summer in Georgia, so lots of steam isn't completely a plus. It kind of feels like punishment for letting things get this out of hand.  As if the universe cared.

I've done what people I know who love to iron do. I brought the whole pile of clothing, hangers, the ironing board and iron into the tv room, and Monsieur Hercule Poirot kept me company. 



I spent some nice time with Hercule (I love him and I call him by his first name; he does not approve.) and finished the stack of ironing.

But then I checked the closet.  

Back to ironing. And Hercule.



WARNING:  In surfing the internet for information about the quarter of a century of Poirot episodes, I came across a spoiler about the final episode.  And it is SHOCKING, y'all.

Do not read the Googles about Hercule!!!  Seriously, don't!

Really and truly, don't.  :-(


(And just so you know, David Suchet says that he accomplished the sort of mincing waddle of Poirot by clenching a penny between his buttocks. I report.You decide. Ick or interesting? Your call.)

And I must say, if I say so myself, you really do get your money's worth here, don't you!

Friday, July 11, 2014

What We Are In For?

My daughter posted this on FaceBook today after spending a couple of hours at the pool with her kids (so she says):


They all arrive on Tuesday for a week's visit.

My husband is the pool chaperone, so I guess that, if this is in fact a true account of today's activities, dealing with this supposed behavior will be his fate.

But I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you.  I can't believe that this is a true account of what went on today.  

OUR grandchildren would never behave like this.

My daughter is slandering her own children!!!  Shame, shame.

The Demon Bike is Gone



We just sold the Demon Bike, the one I fell off of. I think it was just too tall for me, even though when I bought it, I had tried it out, compared it to others, and felt fine on it.

For a brief few days while I was recovering from the surgery to fix my broken wrist, I thought, “I WILL ride that $%^&* bike. No bike is going to beat me.” Then I looked at the ugly scar running up my arm and thought, “Never mind.”

I had really good intentions when I bought it. I was going to ride it to the Post Office, the grocery store, Michaels, PetSmart, the gym. I even bought a basket and a lock for it. Riding it would be FUN!!!

But the bike did beat me, and now it’s gone. Sniff....sniff...sniff....  I'm actually a little sad about selling it; I really did want to be able to bike places.


Best of luck to the new owner.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Have My Orders

My four grandchildren are coming to visit next week.  I asked my daughter to ask the youngest what she likes to eat.  

I received this:



Illustrations by Ella

So, some undetermined dinner (is that a chicken?) and most important, apparently, brownies and cakes.

My grandson was much more focussed on dinner:



Alrighty then. Brisket, brownies and cake.

Easy enough.  Boring, night after night, but easy.




Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blueberry Soup en Croûte

video

Never heard of it?   

I made it up.  Accidentally.  I meant to make a blueberry pie, and it did look like a pie, until I cut into it.



Ooops.

A friend suggested that next time I should use instant tapioca instead of corn starch to thicken the blueberry mixture and I will.  I used a William Sonoma recipe and this does taste great.  But it's difficult to serve.  


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Now Just Stop


This is getting confusing. 



I am still waiting for the results of my DNA test, and I had thought that I would learn about the Neanderthal/Homo Sapien components of the wonder that is me (I?).

But NOW, thanks to those pesky anthropologists, I might have to learn about Denisovans and an unknown species.  And I guess that the Homo Sapiens that evolved into modern man comprise the three other species mentioned.  So I think that means I am 100% HS, but made UP of the other three.  Right?

There might be more to me than I thought?

And did Denisovans have royalty?  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

RIP

Markers from roses long gone

I have always thought that I was a fairly good gardener:  flowers and shrubs my specialty.  But I was just outside pruning overgrown plants and found way too many corpses of plants past.  

In my defense, I broke my ankle early last fall and then broke my wrist early this spring. No gardening for me. In the previous years, I really did try to keep things going, but we had multiple years of drought and then last summer, I swear that ALL it did was rain.  

Also, we drastically changed the conditions in the backyard when we had six 30-40-foot Leyland Cypress removed a few years ago. We had NO sun in the backyard before we took them down and they were dying from the bottom up so they were no loss in any way.

Man climbs tree.  Man cuts tree.

This morning while I was pruning the lilac bush, which, unlike nearly everything else, has done really well here, I found TWO rose bushes tucked under it.  I won’t move them until the fall, but for now, I spread some fertilizer and systemic insecticide on them, watered them in, and I’ll keep track of them. Getting some sun should help too, now that the lilac is not blocking their sun.

It's Alive!!!  Really, it is.

It's dead.  Really, really dead.


AND, here are the other failures:
  • Japanese Iris:  a few spindly leaves, no flowers
  • Gardenia:  one and one-half flowers
  • Purple Coneflowers:  nothing, not even leaves.  I was once told by a gardening expert (Hi Sue!) that anyone who can’t grow coneflowers will have her trowel confiscated.  I’m waiting for the authorities to show up.
  • Hydrangeas:  no flowers
  • Daylilies:  a few have returned, but most are missing.  

RIP indeed.



I did think we had one success in the yard, this pretty box turtle in our pond.



He had been in the pond for a couple of weeks and we thought that he liked---no, LOVED---being there. But Alas and Alack!!! We contacted a friend who is a retired UGA professor and nature expert, and also called an animal rehab staff member at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and both said that box turtles live on land, not in water. So either someone put him in there, thinking that’s where he should be, or he got in and couldn’t get out. The rehab worker at the Nature Center said to take him out and put him in some nearby shrubs for cover.  Ideally, he should go to within one-half mile of where he hatched, but since we have no idea where that might be, just out of the pond will have to do.

Bon Voyage, Turtle!  We scarcely knew yeeee. 

The rest of you plants, shape up or else.

Or else what???  

Lawn??? I hope not.  I'm not good at lawn either.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Actual Finished Project


It only took two evenings to make.  It is the Sanibel Cowl (free pattern on Ravelry) by Classic Elite Yarns.
  
The color is not accurate in the photo; it's actually a teal blue-ish color.  The yarn is Quince and Company kestral in urchin 505.

An immediate-gratification project to give me a break in the endless stockinette stitch of the Nuvem wrap.  


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Could I????


This is why I bought a DNA spit kit.


Well, not exactly this.  I don't even know if I will find out if he was my great...however many.......grandfather, but apparently he might be an ancestor of millions of people today. He ruled a huge empire, and, let's just say, he wasn't a nice man when the spoils of war were involved.

I am more intrigued by the Neanderthal/Homo Sapiens mystery. Scientists speculate that before the Homo Sapiens won out in the Taking Over the World contest, some of them might have had marriages relationships with Neanderthals, and people who come from Europe are more likely than people from anywhere else on the planet to have a Neanderthal ancestor.  I already know I am British, Dutch and mostly Irish.  But that's all I know.

I ordered this kit from Ancestry.com and in 6-8 weeks, I'll find out who I REALLY am.


Did Neanderthals have royalty?

Friday, June 13, 2014



I know that I am not the first person in history to use one of these covers, but they are usually seen outside at picnics to keep bugs off of food. When I came across this at the newly-opened Sur la Table near me, a lightbulb went off. I can use this to keep Bad Boy Baxter from checking out food I am cooling on the counter.

Genius!!!

In this case, the cover is protecting bread cubes for a chocolate bread pudding.  I don't know where the recipe came from, but I am sharing it with you.  It is wonderfully rich and chocolatey and gooey and...

Well, just give it a try!



Chocolate Bread Pudding-
Ingredients:

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4cup Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur
2 cups half-and-half
8 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Spiced Cream

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 x 5 ¼ x 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with the butter.
2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, melted chocolate, and
Grand Marnier together in a large mixing bowl until very smooth. Add the
half-and-half and mix well. Add the bread and let the mixture sit for 30
minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the
unmelted chocolate chips. Pour the remaining bread mixture over the
chocolate chips. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55
minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
4. To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch thick slices. Top with the spiced
cream.

Makes 8 to 10 servings 

Ingredients for Spiced Cream

1 quart heavy cream 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

1. Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat again until the mixture forms stiff peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Makes 4 cups



This is it, HOT out of the oven.  It's missing the whipped cream, but I will make that just before I leave for book club, which is where we will eat the bread pudding. We read
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum.  It's an interesting read from an historical perspective; up until the early 1900s there really was no forensic science, but the popularity of arsenic as a murder weapon, and then the development of other toxins led to the study of new methods of hard-to-detect murder. So, it's interesting as history, but the autopsies and procedures described as pathologists and toxicologists tried to figure out what killed someone does not make for good bedtime reading. Consider yourself warned.

Off to eat some chocolate.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Um....Help?


I ordered a new camera, a DSLR, which I have wanted for awhile. I did lots of research, asked people about theirs, and finally chose one.

It arrived yesterday and I haven't taken a single photo. Why? Because while I thought I bought a camera, what I really bought is apparently a construction project.



I don't know where to begin.

I do hope there is a camera in there someplace.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

MOOOO


I passionately hate going to the grocery store more than is reasonable. The larger the store, the more I hate going there. I don't mind going to the Post Office, even though lately they have disappointed me with a package torn open (by, the PO says, sorting machinery) and delivered empty, and with a package sent to my Texas daughter, last MONDAY that is still not there a full week later, so go figure. I make no sense.

Back to the grocery store, figuratively. When I inevitably run out of milk---or food---I reluctantly haul myself to the store to restock.  And reward myself with a small bottle of chocolate milk.  I LOVE chocolate milk.  Good reward, right?

I love it so much that you would think I would go to the store more often.

Not if I can avoid it. But the Post Office? I know where everything is there and I love that it is open, 24 hours, and that it has a machine that lets me print labels and postage. Any time, day or night.  My kind of place. 

The grocery store?  Pfttttt.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dental Floss Saves the Day!

Not really.  I saved the day.

I had knit a pair of socks using size 1 needles for the first time.  The socks were too short, even though I had added rows to my usual recipe.

SO, do I rip them out and start over using size 2 needles?  Do I find a short-footed person to give them to? 

Nope.  I decided to pull out the dental floss, thread it through stitches just below the beginning of the toe decreases, frog the toe, and then knit up from the dental floss stitches.
Sock with dental floss


Sock back on the needles

Original sock plus one inch---Perfect!
Both socks are now the right size.  I used dental floss rather than thread because it's skinny AND strong.  Worked perfectly.

Now off to soak and block.

Friday, June 6, 2014

OK, Knitting Perfectionists


You know who you are.

From television legal shows (fictional, yes) I have learned that it is never wise for a lawyer to ask a question of a witness or client that he doesn't already know the answer to or doesn't want to know the answer to. A surprise in front of a jury is never a good thing.

This works in real life too. Never ask for knitting help if you sort of didn't want to know the answer.

Last night at knit night I asked two knitters if the mistake I found in a project was really a mistake, and if so, did it need fixing, and if so, how would I do that?

Because (I discovered) they are apparently perfectionists, they said Yes, it's a mistake, yes, you MUST fix it, and yes, here's how.

Rats. I kind of wanted to ignore it and then use some thread when the whole thing was finished to sort of hide the error. I really shouldn't have asked for help and I kind of think I knew it. What I had really wanted was confirmation that I could just ignore it.

So here it is, all fixed, perfectly, I might add. No one will ever know that there was even a mistake.

This is the first of the two rows I ripped back to get to the mistake.



This is what the final fix looks like now---completely and perfectly mended.



Now I know not to ask for help and advice unless I really, really want it.  
I am prepared for law school.

On an almost completely unrelated note, this is what the sky looked like when we left the shop at 9:00 last night. This was not sunset; that had occurred earlier. The purply-red was redder than this, and extended left and right for a ways. It almost looked like pictures from California fires, but it was just a weird storm. Behind us was a rainbow, in the dark sky, something which Sallyknit said that the news reported was a very rare occurrence--a nighttime rainbow. 










We were lucky to have gone outside when we did. Seconds later, lightning filled the red sky. Very weird. And very beautiful.

[Thanks to Candi for the photograph.  It is much better than my washed out one!]

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh My.



Is this something we should want?

I learned about this from Betsy, and I am not thanking her.

Ick.