Friday, February 27, 2015

Deviled Ham!


We read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a young adult book in which the story is set almost entirely in a cemetery, for this month's book club meeting. Naturally, our food for the evening is funeral themed. I have the book Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hayes. It is a humorous look at death and funerals in the south, and it also includes recipes for acceptable and even obligatory fare for the proper southern after-funeral events. I am making these finger sandwiches:



Instructions for absolutely heart attack-inducing fare, as are most of the recipes in the book. 

But this Deviled Ham and Cheese Spread recipe reminded me of my fondness for deviled ham sandwiches, and my children's absolute hatred for deviled ham sandwiches. The problem was that I didn't know they hated the stuff until years after they were out of school and I was no longer packing their lunches.

The school they attended in Sarasota, Florida did not have a cafeteria and as a result, students brought their own lunches and ate outdoors on a wooden stage, or they walked to the grade school's cafeteria across the street. Most of the students chose the outdoor/bring your own lunch option, hence my daughters' deviled ham sandwiches. 

HOWEVER, I did not know that a proper deviled ham sandwich included cream cheese and pimiento cheese. No wonder they hated the sandwiches and (as I learned years later) tried unsuccessfully to trade them for something better. Doesn't this look yummy?


Actually, it IS!!! I've been munching on it while I make the sandwiches, and Glory Be! there is some left over. Mine, all mine.

These I'll share:


And yes, they are on a silver tray.

It's funeral food. Show some respect.

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

(I'm curious.  How is Deviled Ham in a can a "limited edition"? The stuff has been around forever.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

So There We Were,

Sallyknit and I, sitting in our usual spots at last night's knit-night, minding our own business, swearing at knitting away on our Spectra scarves, when out of nowhere came a voice.

Have you seen, it said, what so-and-so's class is making?  It is beautiful.

We looked up long enough to say, No, haven't seen it.  What is it?

Dangerous question.  

This is what they are making:



And the shop has all of the colors in the yarn called for, the voice continued.

So, about two hours later, and after much discussion and changing of minds on colors, and did we REALLY want to make one?, Sallyknit and I (and a couple of other people) each ended up with our own collection of Rowan Fine Tweed yarns. A quite large collection.This is mine:


ooops.  Photo includes two of same color/missed one skein

Ten colors, several in each color.  

The pattern appears to be very simple, and last night we thought it said that there were only 132 rows in the whole wrap.  On size 3 needles.  We should have known better.  A closer reading today reveals that there are many repeats of the 132 rows, so, SURPRISE!

When we teased Candi, owner of the voice, about her successful evening of selling yarn, she said that "selling" is the reason she is there.

But we think she enjoyed the "enabling."



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Horoscope for Today



This morning's horoscope for me predicted the following:

*You will stay home today, off of the icy roads.

*You will binge-watch the remaining episodes of Bosch.

*You will do laundry, but you might not fold it all.

*You will knit on the second sock.

*You will make cornbread to have with leftover chili for dinner.



It was a surprisingly accurate and oddly specific horoscope. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

As Liz Lemon would say,


I want to go to there.



To where? To the heliport at Griffith Park, LA. This was taken yesterday of my daughter by a friend at the top of the mountain that Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory are on. LA is visible beyond the edge of the heliport. And to add insult to injury, my daughter said that it was 80 degrees and while 80 degrees is a bit warm for the five mile hike up and down the mountain, the temperatures will be freezing here for a few days. 

I LOVE this photo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ten on Tuesday, only it's Wednesday


There is a Ten on Tuesday thing going around blog world, and I missed out on it, and I'm not officially a part of it anyway, so here goes, even though I missed it by a day.  I think this week's prompt is "things you like or love," something like that.

1.  Nice weather, blue skies and the beach. I count them as one thing. I am not AT the beach, which I am somewhat put out about, but I do like, as in love, the beach. 
[OH! The word "beach" reminds me of a French exchange student who stayed with us when younger daughter was in high school. One day a male student walked into the cafeteria, and the exchange student said to my daughter: He looks like a man who has beaches. My daughter couldn't understand how someone who owned beaches would look any different from anyone else. After a confusing conversation, she realized that the French student was saying "B*tches" and therefore, the male student looked like a pimp. The French students seemed a bit more, um, advanced? than the students from the Atlanta suburbs; I'm pretty sure a local student's first thought upon seeing this guy would not be pimp.]

2.  A really good dentist. I was at the dentist's this morning, and his motto is that he doesn't want his patients to ever feel pain or even discomfort, so although I was there three hours ago, my lips and face are still pretty numb, which means that my mouth was really, really, really numb while the dentist was working on my teeth.  

3.  My cats. They be crazy.

4.  My trainer.  I don't love him; I LIKE him as a trainer.  As a person, he is ....unusual. He is 64, but sure doesn't look it because he trains all the time, all day long, and he looks like he's a 30-year old Navy Seal. However, as a bonus, my training provides me with a lot of drama (his, not mine). He was engaged to a woman in the Philippines until two weekends ago when he and she were "virtual married" over Skype. Is that even legal? I have no idea. He wore a tux; she wore a white dress. There was a reception, in the Philippines, so he wasn't at it but about 30 people were. He showed me his marriage certificate obtained from who knows where. She is getting a Master's degree in marketing and will move here once she finishes her courses this spring. He has been to visit her and her family several times, but I do wonder if she actually knows how old he is; she is, I believe, in her 20s. I need to keep training with him until she moves here so that I can see how it all shakes out. I hope it works out for them. He does seem like a nice guy, even if a bit...I'm not sure what.

5.  Shrimp risotto. I am making it for dinner tonight.

6.  My iThings, even though they are smarter than I am.

7.  Friends and family, of course. Goes without saying, except I am having trouble thinking of ten things and I'm hungry but can't eat yet.

8.  Ah! Airplanes. Makes going places so much quicker.

9.  Hmmm. British comedies and mysteries.

10.  Oh---Jon Stewart. But he is retiring. Rats. I don't think anyone can replace him. Maybe John Oliver, but he already has his own show. 

So that is ten for Tuesday on Wednesday.

And I usually have photos on my posts, so here is today's (random) photo:


Scrambled eggs on tostados, spicy sauce, avocados, bacon, fruit, and hashbrowns

My usual breakfast last year in Mexico.

I AM hungry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Update, of sorts.

So far, no squirrels or birds have shown any interest in the cornbread I put out. Weird.

I didn't know that there is a mill near us!  Sallyknit mentioned in a comment on the last post that she and her husband had just been up to Nora Mill Granary over the weekend to buy---wait for it---CORNMEAL.  I had no idea the place existed, but dH and I are going there this weekend. Real, fresh coarse-ground cornmeal will be mine!

And knitting. I have been knitting easy things since I finished the sweater for my older daughter and now I am working on my second pair of socks since Christmas. I love the bright, gaudy colors:



The yarn is Trekking (XXL) in color 550, 75% wool, 25% nylon. 


I just need to finish them before spring and summer arrive. 

AND, younger daughter taught me how to get to my Instagram page, so now I can see whatever the THREE people I follow post. There are people following me, and again, what on earth do they see? I haven't posted anything except for a picture of Taylor Swift that my granddaughter put there when she was trying to show me how to upload or download (I have no idea which) photos. And there is a picture of Baxter, but I don't know how it got there. I thought that maybe Instagram imported it from Facebook, but I am told that the sites don't work that way. Whatevah!

BUT, now I find out that there is something called Tumblr. I am not, as they say, going there.

Monday, February 9, 2015

DIY



It’s a wonderful thing, “Do It Yourself,” bypassing the specialists and experts, learning new skills, impressing our friends and neighbors, and building our precious self esteem.

In my most recent DIY attempt, I made my own cornmeal! Isn’t that impressive? A friend sent me a link to a cornbread recipe in the Washington Post. The recipe included baking the bread in a cast iron pan coated with bacon grease, and the batter contained tiny bits of bacon. So far, so good. What’s not to like about anything with bacon in it?

But I read on, to the comments section, where I learned that we can make our own cornmeal out of un-popped popcorn. Imagine that! So I did. My first attempt was to use the food processor, which accomplished nothing but flinging the kernels around in the bowl.  My second attempt was to grind the kernels up in the blender, which did work, sort of, but the blender kept shorting out and I had to unplug it and plug it back in every five or so seconds. Kind of a nuisance, but I wanted homemade cornmeal, dammit.

I sifted what I had made in the blender through this spoon (beer for scale purposes) and got rid of the unground kernels.




And I made the cornbread.



Gaw-jus, isn’t it?

However, it turned out that I had no idea what “coarsely ground” cornmeal should be like, and eating the cornbread turned out to be a really bad idea. The parts of the popcorn kernels that weren’t sufficiently ground were so hard that we worried about cracking our teeth.

The rest of the cornbread is going outside for the birds, once it stops raining.  

The recipe is a good one, if you want to give it a try, and you can DIY your own cornmeal, if you know what you are doing, and if you don’t, well, you’ve been warned. If you want more fiber in your diet, it might be a way to go, but only if you don’t care much about your teeth.


Me? I’m going to Whole Foods to search for some professionally milled coarse cornmeal.  

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

Oh!  I almost forgot! I made my own buttermilk! Who wants to buy a quart of buttermilk only to use a cup of it? Instead, just put a tablespoon of white vinegar in a one cup container, then add enough milk to make it a full cup (8oz), wait five minutes, and you have buttermilk.  

Tah Dah!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stash


The Yarn Harlot once mentioned in a post that she was "tossing" her yarn, and for a brief time, readers panicked, thinking that she was throwing yarn away. ACK!  Who does that??And why weren't we invited?

Turns out, she was just going through her stash, petting it, checking it for moths, petting it, admiring it, thinking about which yarn would work with which projects, and then re-stashing it. She is Canadian, and I guess that's a term they use that means something different to US readers.

Today I "tossed" my stash and discovered that I have mostly sock yarn. I have enough sock yarn to never again need to buy sock yarn (not that that will stop me), but I decided that I need to widen my horizons. I don't want to knit only socks.

I started this toss because I wanted to find stash yarn to make Stephen West's Spectra scarf.

At knit night two weeks ago, a knitter was wearing one, a spectacular one, owing to the colors she had chosen.  So I want mine to be even MOAR spectacular, of course.  

These are some options (the solid color is the center skein):




The lighting is bad, but you get the idea.  

I had chosen the green in the second photo, but then decided to see what else there was and came up with the others.

Decisions...Decisions...Decisions.



Bonus-an old joke:

Person A:  Do you have trouble making decisions?  

Person B:  Well, yes and no.

Hah!


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 a 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!