Sunday, November 10, 2019

Come On Over for Dinner!




Tonight, for the first time ever that I can remember, I decided to make a standing rib roast for dinner. There are only two of us, so I bought a two-pound roast.  How difficult could this be with the help of the internet?

Recipe:  Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees/20 minutes per pound.  EASY!!!

1st step:  450 deg:  15 minutes

2nd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant read thermometer reads 55 degrees.  OK, maybe that's ok.

3rd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 71 degrees.  OK?  Seems odd.

4th step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 79 degrees.  WTH? (Not quite what I said)

5th step:  350 deg:  25 minutes.  Husband is closer to the oven, he checks the thermometer, thinks that this doesn't make any sense because it's still not over 100 degrees.

He flips the thermometer over.  It's set for Centigrade.  I didn't even know that was an option and I've had the thing for a couple of decades.  AND I have no idea how it got set to centigrade.


The temperature in Fahrenheit:  190 degrees.

It wasn't charred, but it sure was well, well done. 

   

Monday, November 4, 2019

Ramblings



I'm just wandering around in my mind because I don't feel like getting organized, so here are my rambles:

My two daughters and I went to Ireland, had a great time, saw the usual places and some new ones.  

I learned the value of really good car rental insurance.  I have no problem driving on the left side of the road while seated on the right side of the car, and oddly enough, I am a champ at parallel parking.  I DO have a problem with tiny parking spaces in parking garages, and I scrubbed the left front of the rental car on a concrete post in a garage in Galway.  There were two narrow spaces between two large posts and that's where I had the problem; when I returned the car, no problem.  Phew.  Also, the car was a Toyota hybrid, which I think means a Prius, and I loved it.  Used not a lot of gas for a lot of driving.



We found the church in Garvagh where my paternal grandmother was baptized in 1881. She moved to the US in 1905 and died here in 1953.  I only met her once and I was not even five yet so I only vaguely remember her.  I have tried without success to get her birth certificate but I just found my grandfather's bc and it is on its way to me.  If I can get his death certificate, I can apply for Irish citizenship.  

Isn't it pretty!

I need my grandfather's social security number to apply for his death certificate, and I have no idea if he even had one, and if he did, how to find it.  More research ahead.  I have no idea why I would want an Irish passport, or what I would do with it.  But I'm stubborn enough to think that if I CAN have one, I SHOULD have one.  


We had fish and chips, of course, several times. And, of course, Irish stew, and of course, Guinness.  Or at least, I did.  

Because one of my daughters had been to Ireland before, and I had been there twice before, some destinations were a repeat for one or both of us, but everything was a first for older daughter.  A special treat for all of us was Newgrange.  




It was built in about 3200 BC and is an example of very early genius engineering.  It's quite small inside and the ceiling is amazing---slabs of rocks arranged and stacked to form a dome, and the builders knew to slightly tilt the rock towards the outside of the structure so that rain would not get inside---and it hasn't in all these centuries.  Soil is mounded up over the rock portion so it looks much larger than the inside actually is.  Archaeologists aren't sure what the structure was used for, but during winter solstice, at sunrise, light comes inside through the window above the doorway and lights up the path to the center of the round space where we gathered, only fifteen of us at a time.  


In Galway I bought another cabled sweater.  What Georgia resident doesn't need even more wool clothing?


And speaking of knitting, since I returned home, I have finished two more projects:

A second Cowboys and Angels


And another pair of socks.  (Magpie yarn)




And now, for something completely different, this explains where ghosts come from, but now that Halloween is over and the ghosts are gone, we are still left with the struggle to put duvets inside their covers.  I've gotten smart and let my husband do it.  He has come up with a technique that involves turning the cover inside out and then doing something that involves hanging the whole thing over the stairway railing.  I have not bothered to learn this technique.  



And speaking of Halloween, sort of, this is what is left of a bag of 90 assorted candies.  I had never heard of Starburst so I tried one.  The pieces look like bubble gum, but, SURPRISE, they aren't.  I'm not sure what they are; they aren't particularly sweet and I couldn't discern a flavor.  Sorry kids, but I'm sure you got some M&Ms, Twix and Three Musketeers I gave out in each handful of candy.


And, that's probably enough rambling for now. 

Thanks for reading, especially if you made it to the end.  

Slán.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Very Own Pool.

Monday starts my favorite season---kids go to school and I pretty much have the pool to myself.  Here is a re-run of the post I originally put up celebrating my very own pool.



Paradise is what our neighborhood pool felt like today. For some reason, once the end of summer vacation comes and the kids are all back in school, no one comes to the pool, and so I have it to myself. It was lovely this morning: the bluest, cloudless skies; no noise except for the birds and whatever the noisy insects in the trees are; perfect temperature and humidity; and the occasional, silvery corporate jet gliding noiselessly overhead, very high in the cloudless blue sky. I have said for decades that the only thing I would trade my soul for is my very own swimming pool. Natas, are you listening?

When I lived in Florida, I was a regular long-term substitute teacher in a school for the gifted. It was a separate facility, on its own campus, and the students had to meet IQ and other ability requirements to qualify for the school. The kids were amazingly bright, smarter than most of the teachers probably, and teaching there required that the teacher’s ego could stand knowing that if a student questioned something, it was OK to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.” We couldn’t fool these kids. Since it was a separate school, the kids weren’t bullied by the types of people who would call them “geeks” or “nerds.” They may have called each other that at times, but all in teasing fun. They tended to spark off each other so classes were never dull and it was a blast to teach there.

One student has stayed in my memory. His name was Pete, but when I took over the class for the remainder of the year at the start of second semester, I couldn’t figure out who he was; he signed his papers “Natas.” I asked Natas to let me know what his real name was so that I could record his grades correctly in the grade book. Turns out, he was signing "Natas" because that is "Satan" spelled backwards. It was meant to shock, I’m sure, but I just said “OK.” Let’s just say that Pete was dancing to his own music. He was sort of Goth before Goth was even in existence and occasionally got in trouble for his behavior and his appearance, but all in all, he seemed like a nice kid. His poor father was called in once for a conference after Pete had done something wrong, and he certainly was rattled by his son’s behavior. He said to me, “Do you know he signs ‘Natas’ on his papers?”

Well, yes I did, and I told him it didn’t worry me, that it was just meant to shock and it wasn’t working. He finally bought his son a computer (before the days when every home had one, let alone multiple, computers), hoping that using it would inspire better work. Oddly enough, Pete started signing his papers “Pete *anonymous*, 3rd.” I guess he liked how his actual name looked in print.

We teachers wondered what would happen to Pete. Would he end up a bored office worker? I hope not. I hope he’s found a creative and fun way to make a living, and is able to use his sort of odd outlook on life in a way that he and those around him can appreciate. It’s just one of those things I will probably never know….


Knittergran?

What? Who’s there?

It's me, Natas. 
Huh? Wha…?

Quitcher bitchin. 
What?

Didn’t you just go on and on about how no one is at the pool and the weather is perfect and blah, blah, blah? 
Well, yes.

So you already have your own pool. Stop bugging me. I don’t want your soul. Geeze, you’re practically circling the drain aren't you?
Uh, well, I hope not, but...
Well, you're old. So there's not much soul there for me to work with, right?
Well, Ohh...kay . I see your point.
Good.

Yikes! 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

I'm So Smart!


I have this print hanging over our bed.


Isn't he a pretty peacock?  

He is ever so slightly off center.  I tried, but in spite of the several sets of nail holes behind the print, it is still slightly off center.  I was too lazy to measure, y'all, and I didn't.  I just kept making holes for the nails and n.e.v.e.r getting it quite right.

We are getting a new bed on Tuesday.

What does that have to do with anything? you ask.



Well, here's where I tap my head, acknowledging my stroke of genius.



Mattresses are heavy and I can't push the bed over to get it centered under the print, so when the mattress is OFF of the bed, before the new one is put ON the bed, I will, tah-dahmove the bed ever so slightly to get the bed and the print correctly centered.

Work smarter, not harder, says I.

My mama didn't raise many dumb children.




Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dear Diary,


Dance as if no one is watching. check

Sing as if no one is listening. check

Write as if no one is reading. check!

That I can now do because I announced to the world in general that I was not writing any more posts, and so I imagine that no one gets notices that there is a new post, and yet here I am again. Talking to myself, as it were.

But I have knitting news and it has to go somewhere:



I'm working on my second Cowboys and Angels.  The first one came out really well and it was fun to make so why not make a second in a more neutral color?  So I am.  Also it serves to put off starting work on theThrowback Sweater.  It is going to be such a difficult knit because it involves stranding ON THE BACK SIDE, which I hear is torture.

I am also working on a pair of socks because having two WIPs definitely stops me from working on the sweater.



I'm using Knitjan's basic pattern, the only one I've ever used. (Magpie Yarns Swanky Sock, color Très Bien)

Swanky indeed; it has cashmere in it!  

So the yarn for the Throwback Sweater lies dormant, waiting for me to work up the desire to knit it.



Someday it might look like this:



A girl can dream.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

OK


So I said that I wasn't going to post any longer, but then I finished this hat:


and realized that I had no place to brag about it put it to show it off.  It's about the millionth Lost Banner Hat by Susan B. Anderson that I've made. They are, as the Yarn Harlot would say, dead easy, so actually no bragging is legitimate.

The yarn is Malabrigo Washted in color Indonesia, and it's the softest hat I've made.

Yes, I could have posted this on good old FB, but I've read on Ravelry that people who do that sometimes get lots of gimmie replies---Can you make me a dozen or so of these hats for my cousin's ex-husband's daughter's ski team?  How do you say NO to that? 

Oh, yes. Nancy Reagan said: Just say "no."

I don't know if it works for drugs, but it should for crafts. 

Anyway, this is my hat for my Ireland trip with my daughters in the fall. They will be so jealous.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Nine hundred and ninety-three


993 is the number of posts I have put up. This makes 994. And I think it will be the last.

I got nuthin!

However, before I go, Thanks for reading!!!!!

I leave you with this:


My latest knit:

Cowboys and Angels by Isabell Kraemer


Photo from Isabell Kraemer 



It's knit from Malabrigo Rios yarn (color Frank Ochre) and I love knitting with it so much that I just ordered more to make another. The pattern is just slightly more difficult than easy, so it doesn't get boring.


AND---we have a bird maternity ward on a window ledge at our house. 



There is a fourth hatchling, but it's hiding.


The nest is on a ledge between a window and what had been the screen.  We don't have these blinds open often, so it wasn't until Molly kept sitting staring at the window that we looked and saw that birds had ripped out the screen all the way across the window and up to about 4 inches. Then came the nest. Then one blue egg. Then that egg disappeared, which was a mystery because the window is three stories up.  

Then four blue eggs and one speckled tan egg appeared.

Aha!  

$%^&*Cowbird!!!  Apparently the cowbird had checked out the nest and decided it was for HER egg. 

Cowbirds, parasites sort of, adapted to following buffalo across the plains in order to eat the insects the buffalo kicked up from the ground by laying eggs in other birds' nests; they couldn't stick around long enough to hatch their own. These eggs hatch sooner than most birds' eggs do, and so the nest-building parents, who apparently can't tell one egg from another, take care of the cowbird egg and hatchling as one of their own. The cowbird hatches first, grows faster, and probably gets most of the nutrition.

It is illegal to toss out the cowbird egg, and my husband read somewhere on the interwebs that tossing out the egg annoys the cowbird who laid it, and about 50% of the time, she comes back and destroys the remaining eggs. I have no idea if it's true, but I didn't want to risk it. 



So our cowbird was the first to hatch, the first to open his mouth to squawk for food, and the first to spread his wings and open his eyes. As the hatchlings get bigger, they take up more and more space, and I have no idea how the nest hasn't fallen out of the window.  

We'll enjoy watching the birds grow, and then fledge...

And then get the screen repaired.






Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Yay Me!


I rode my bike this morning all bah mahself!  I know what you're thinking---big deal. But it's the first time in years that I've ridden alone because of the time I fell and broke my wrist.


I always ride with my husband so that he can call 911 when I fall. He is in SC today, so I rode with my trusty "Help I've fallen and I can't get up watch," and the phone it calls 911 from. So in that regard, I was prepared and ready to go.

However at about the 3/4 point of my ride, I had to stop and walk the bike over some curbs between neighborhoods, and I discovered that my kickstand was down.  Ooops.


It's a good thing I hadn't needed to make any sharp left turns, although, when I told my husband what I had done, he said that the kickstand would have gone up if it had hit anything.  I'm just glad I didn't have to learn that firsthand.


In other totally unrelated news, I am making this wrap out of exactly this yarn in exactly this color.  


Cowboys and Angels by Isabell Kraemer


It appears that I will do anything to avoid starting work on the Throwback fair isle sweater.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What I Believe


 We can always learn something new if we just pay attention.

I've just finished reading Trinity by Leon Uris, about the history of Ireland from the 1840s (the famine years) through 1916 (the Easter uprising).  It's a horrible history, full of violence. I am still almost as confused by all of the various factions as I was before I read the book, and I learned that apparently people in Ireland believe, "In Ireland there is no future, only the past happening over and over."


Currently Ireland seems to be a happy, prosperous country, but the undercurrent of grievances still exists:
A sign in the lot we parked in outside the wall around Londonderry.  


Vandals from Republic of Ireland paint over the "London" portion of road signs.


Who knows what Brexit will bring, but I'm going back in the fall and I hope the British don't have a hard Brexit with hard borders.


Now for something completely different.



I listened to a podcast about auctioneering. One school for auctioneering takes twelve weeks, and students learn how to speak really, really quickly, how to make their tongue bounce off the roof of their mouth, how to say "got a bid" and "need a bid" so fast that the audience probably can't understand it. They learn how to read the audience so the auctioneer knows who among those signaling a bid is the most likely to make a higher bid. They are taught to somehow make a humming sound that runs through their whole routine, sort of mesmerizing the audience to continue to listen.  

Who knew?  Now you do.



And now something else completely different.



Jeff Bezos, the RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post, was recently the victim of an attempted blackmail plot. Dick pics, no less.  No one wants to see those pics, thank you very much.

News stories say either his mistresses' brother or the Saudis hacked his phone to get the photos.  

Whatever.  But the stories also say that he and his traumatized girlfriend/mistress/future wife are now consulting with a psychic in Las Vegas to help them cope. A friend says that the psychic is very well known as a very good psychic and that she is quite expensive (so that proves she's good.)

Again, he is THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD and he's going to a psychic.  




Monday, February 18, 2019

No Good Way Out


It would seem that there is no good solution for not looking older as we GET OLDER. I said no GOOD solution. There is plastic surgery, but that can go really, really wrong:


Or, one could die young, but that is not a solution in that no one would see you, so what's the point?

What brought this on, you may ask?  (Or you might not, I don't know.)

Watching a charming British film about a retirement home for musicians and singers.


Netflix recommended this film and we watched it on Saturday evening instead of going out in the seemingly never-ending rain and cold. It stars Pauline Collins (I remember her from Upstairs/Downstairs and Shirley Valentine), Billy Connolly ( a Scottish actor and I love listening to him speak)  Tom Courtenay, and the always-wonderful Maggie Smith, she of the wonky eye. My husband says she doesn't have a wonky eye, but he is wrong.  I ask you:


It's the right eye? The left? I don't know but one of them is off.  

She looks amazingly like my mother-in-law from a distance, when the wonky eye isn't visible.

Anyway, we enjoyed the film.  The music is primarily that of Verdi, from Rigoletto and the Mikado. The soundtrack is beautiful, the settings are beautiful---gorgeous old estate and gorgeous old grounds. Many of the actors in the movie are retired musicians and opera singers, so the talent is amazing. It's a happy story, perfect for a cold rainy night or any other night.

So, no surgery and no dying young (too late for that). We just have to look our age, I guess.  Except for hair color. And make up. And scarves (knitters' secret weapon).


Friday, January 18, 2019

Norway!!! Sonja Heinie!!!


Sonia Heinie

Last weekend my 6th grade grandson was working on writing a paper on the Manhattan Project. There was apparently some sturm und drang in the house.

That reminded me of the time I wrote my first research paper ever in sixth grade.  It was on Norway.  Why Norway? you ask.  Because SONJA HEINIE was from Norway and she was THE BEST ICE SKATER IN THE  WORLD!!!  I must have seen her skating in the Olympics on our small black-and-white television and been entranced.   

This of course was before the internet was even thought of, so I had to write off to various places...travel agencies?  Norway itself?  I don't remember but I had all I needed to write the definitive paper on the subject.  And so I did.

Now came the hard part---typing it up.  I eventually became a fairly fast and accurate typist, but I doubt that I was fast and accurate in sixth grade, but on I typed.  Mistakes?  Erase if i could, re-type the page if I couldn't.  The paper had to have correct footnotes and a bibliography.  I could type the text ok, but what if I typed one line too many and now needed yet another footnote ON THAT PAGE and there was no room for the extra footnote?  Gah...

I called out for help.  I don't remember getting all that anxious and frazzled about this task because....SONJA HEINIE!!!  but I do remember my mother getting all anxious and frazzled.  She had no fun, that I can tell you.

I'm sure the paper was pretty boring---how big is Norway?  What's the population?  What crops do they produce?  What form of government do they have?  What famous people are from Norway?  SONJA HEINIE!!!

Did I get a good grade?  I don't remember, but for my mother's sake, I sure hope that I did.

And for my daughter and son-in-law's sake, I hope that my grandson gets a good grade on his paper.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It's a Hat!





This hat did not turn out like the one in the pattern picture, but it's ok.  The first one I made was tiny, so I reversed the pattern and knit it from the bottom up.  AND, tah-dah, I made up the pattern from there.  I've never done that before, and it works I think.  I kept trying it on as I went along to see when to decrease and then when to stop knitting.  It's not at all floppy like the pattern hat is, but whatevah.  I'll wear it.

Here is my clover plant.  It's usually outside and gets very full with clover leaves, but this one is naked.  


Molly is my prime suspect.  I've never caught her in the act, but


she is sneaky.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Still Crazy After All These Years


of knitting.

I finished the aforementioned Weekender sweater and it sort of fits.  So...victory?

Not really; I don't much like it.

But in 2018 I had bought yarn for my first-ever Fair Isle sweater and THAT was going to be my New Year's project.  



(On the top right, main color, the bottom photo, the colors for the yoke.)

I bought the colors in October at SAFF, and that was to be it. No more yarn shopping for me.

But then, while I was in Texas for Christmas, I bought the yarn on the left to make another Free Your Fade, AND while I was still in Texas, I ordered the yarn and pattern for the beret, from Kitterly, from whom I had vowed never to buy another kit after my dissatisfaction with a previous purchase.  I HAD to buy the yarn for Free Your Fade; I was in Sated Sheep in Dripping Springs, Texas, and it would have been rude to not buy anything, right?

Right.

Now for something completely different:

My daughter and her family have a new kitten and she, Violet Beaudelaire,
was fascinated by the Simon's Cat videos on You Tube.




My cats pay absolutely no attention to tv. 


I almost forgot!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Albatross Around My Neck,


the thorn in my side, the burr under my saddle, the pea under my mattress.....whatever.

The Weekender sweater is finally finished.  I started it January 12th of this year, and now it's almost the end of November.  It's not that the pattern was a problem, but the yarn would not behave.  I bought it in 2014 and started other patterns a couple of times, then frogged them and put the yarn in time out.  The %^&*() swatches lied every time, and I was, as a result, always on the wrong size needles.  Finally I saw someone else using the same yarn, on size 8 needles, I liked the fabric, so that's what I've used and the sweater WILL FIT SOMEONE or else.


This is a horrible photo of it, but all photos of it all through the process have been horrible; the thing is cursed.  

Anyway, now my plan is to start on my first Fair Isle project.  I have almost no idea of what I'm doing but I figure between friends who are better knitters than I and frequent searches on YouTube, I can figure it out.  I hope.

However, I do have 6.7 oz of this yarn remaining.  Anyone want a hat?  The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, color Thistle.  The yarn is rustic and woolen spun, so that means it's light as air and pretty scratchy.

I should go into advertising.