Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Balmy Wednesday

We are currently blessed with a stretch of unseasonably wonderful weather around here: Mostly clear skies with highs in the 50s to 60s (10s to 15s for our neighbors to the north). This is the kind of thing that makes us wonder what/when payback will be. Days like this tend to send me off to the park with Gypsy. This time we saw this huge burl; you could make a bathtub out of this one.

Gypsy was intrigued by all the geese. I don't know if these are local geese or just passing through. Canadian Geese will hang out here until ponds/lakes freeze over. This gaggle (and there were hundreds, maybe a over a thousand) have taken up residence on the golf course. I sure am glad that I'm not a golfer; these are really big birds that are territorial and leave behind a really big mess.

When we got home, DH was taking advantage of the nice weather and strung lights on our outside Christmas tree. Every year, he says that this tree is getting too big to decorate; I suppose one of these years he's going to mean it.

Today's plans are to put up the inside decorations, so I'd better hop to it!

Friday, November 24, 2006


From Wikipedia: Six degrees of separation is the hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries. I'm thinking there may actually be some truth to this.

I really do wish that the Yarn Harlot and I lived a bit closer together, even though, I suspect, there could be some interesting fiber-related incidents.

As I mentioned yesterday, not only does my Mom rock for obtaining the legendary Screech for me, it is also one of Stephanie's preferred beverages.

So, here we go...6 (or maybe less) degrees:
--Both of us are knitters (in her case Knitter), bloggers
--We live approximately the same distance from the US/CA border
--We both have daughters named Megan (or as mine prefers, Meg)
--Steph left a comment on my blog to try Screech in eggnog
--This recipe appeared in this morning's newspaper:

Meg Nog (yes spelled like that)
12 large eggs (separated)
1 pound powdered sugar
2 cups dark rum
2 cups brandy
2 cups bourbon
8 cups heavy cream
fresh nutmeg
Begin with 12 large egg yolks (save the whites) and gradually beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar. Very slowly, add 2 cups dark rum, beating constantly. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour in fridge to alleviate the eggy taste. Beating constantly, add 2 cups brandy, 2 cups bourbon and 8 cups of heavy cream. Cover the mixture and place it in the fridge for three hours.
In another large bowl, (chilled) beat the egg whites until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites gently into the other ingredients. Serve the eggnog sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg.

The article with it allowed as how holiday cheer will occur after drinking Meg Nog.

Drink up, y'all (I'm on the south side of said border); let the holidays begin!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Like many other Americans, I'm sitting here on the sofa being thankful for elastic. I usually do Thanksgiving dinner, although some years we have been know to go out. This year, I tried a few different items on the menu.

There was smoked turkey. It's a bit chilly, so smoking took quite awhile. We put the turkey in the smoker at 11:30 last night and it was perfectly ready for dinner at 5 pm. I'm a bad blogger and didn't take a picture of my own turkey, but it looked just like this one. The recipe can be found here. It was really tasty, with a good smoky flavor and fall off the bone tender. I think we'll do that again, for sure!

Of course, I had an assistant in the kitchen. She kept a very, very close eye on all activities. Gypsy's tongue is just amazing; she can lick both sides of a spoon (or a beater) at the same time.

My Mom can't have nuts anymore, so instead of pecan pie, I made some butter tarts. I searched around on the 'net until I found a recipe that sounded good and easy. I used craisins instead of currants or raisins and they're quite good. I also made a batch of Hot Cranberry Cider. It sure smelled good. I have no idea how it actually tasted as it was gone by the time I had a chance to try it.

While vacationing in Nova Scotia this summer, I caught a beastly cold. Since I sure wasn't in any condition to drive anywhere, I wandered down to the pub and asked the bartender to just fix me something to knock the cold down (or maybe me, didn't matter at the time). I suspect it may have been one of the Yarn Harlot's preferred beverages.

On the way home (and feeling much better), I figured I would just stop at the Duty Free and get some. No such luck. They do not carry it, nor do any of the local liquor stores.

Thanks, Mom, you rock!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pre-Thanksgiving Randoms

This dandy little item is advertised as a tea cozy. There is also a somewhat matching hat pattern available. I would normally give credit where credit is due, but I'm not sure that the woman needs encouraging, although she might need some new medication.

This is a note received from a friend of mine:

A Love Story
I will seek and find you.
I shall take you to bed and have my way with you
I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.
I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop.
I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I'm finished with you.
And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.

All my love,

The Flu

Now, quit thinking about sex and go get your flu shot!

Her timing, was, as usual, perfect. My arm is bruised from Sunday's flu shot, given by the nurse who flunked "Giving Shots 101".

I swiped this from Mouse:

Thanksgiving Horoscope for Gemini

You're the sign most likely to bring up interesting and controversial topics at Thanksgiving dinner.

Your signature dish: Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Your signature dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake

This holiday: Play bartender. You're family is much more lively with a few drinks in them.

I'm not sure about the marshmallows, but I do know that having a drink or two sure makes my day easier!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Some Finished Stuff

How about that? Some finished objects and really cute kitty pictures. My spokeskitty, Bubba, says both beds are acceptable. They are both knitted from Cat Bordhi's Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. I made these quite awhile ago, but they just got washed, so looked pretty good. Different yarns felt at different rates, so the blue one has always been small and the gray one always large.

There has also been some spinning around here. The top one is some polypay that I got in a swap. This sample was somewhat coarse, but it spins easily. The bottom one is the silk that I spun earlier.

The two in the middle are totally lucious Fleece Artist, 50/50 merino/silk. This stuff is a dream to spin and the colors are lovely. I navajo-plied it to keep the colors more separate. It's a shame that the sun wasn't out today, because that would have made the colors really shine!

There is even a finished project: fingerless mitts for a Christmas gift from mohair. These are one of my latest favorite projects to knit. There's a lot of good going on:
--Not much yarn is needed
--You don't have to worry about how long the recipient's hand is
--It's quite surprising how warm they keep your hands and fingers

Time to stop blogging, the critters are letting me know, loudly, that it's way past feeding time!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Bright Light

Something quite unusual happened today. There was a bright light in the sky. I almost didn't remember what it was called: the sun!

Gypsy and I took the opportunity of what turned out to be a very nice, Indian Summer day and went for a walk in the park.

She's laying in what is left of the lovely leaves of autumn. They don't last long, but sure are pretty while they're here.

We found a few things to take pictures of: Various kinds of, yellow and white, staghorn sumac and some deer prints.

From the size of the footprints I was seeing, there are some really, really big deer in the park and a lot of them. There were prints everywhere, little 3/4 inch ones right up to to a solid 4 inches long.

Our nice day was pretty short-lived. By evening, it was back to gray and it's raining again. The 10-day forecast says maybe we'll the sun again next Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Excuses, Excuses

Well, this is just going to be a post full of excuses. I did not bother to take a Saturday Sky picture a few days ago. It was gray then, gray on Sunday, gray today...typical November around here. It's not even an interesting gray, just a solid, often damp, gray.

This, however, is a bit better. I finished spinning the Fleece Artist roving (pictures on a future post) so Trouble decided that she would occupy the basket. Isn't there a saying something like "nature abhors a vacuum"? Apparantly, this is our local version of it.

I was sort of planning on taking some pictures of some recently spun yarn and maybe an actual finished object. When I got home tonight from a knitting guild meeting, where I got very little knitting done, I found that we had no electric. However nice lamplight is, it's not very good for photography.

To finish off today's post, how about some parental bragging. DD did very well for her first year of barrel racing, pole bending and keyhole.

There just isn't anything else like a great big buckle to say that you done good (Novice Grand Champion).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where did last week go?

Where did last week go? It's amazing at how quickly stuff of all sorts can fill your days. I've been keeping busy, but I think I'll post more often this coming week on specifics.

Gypsy went to her miracle groomer at Beauty in the Beast. Gypsy did her best to get messy (note the greenery and mud) and Cherry did her usual fanstastic job to make her look like an Airedale.

Gypsy says: "Do you have any idea what it takes to get this boo-ful?"

DH and I went on a road trip to an antiques mall where he shares a booth. Let me tell you, there are some really odd road names when you get out in the country. I saw names like Buckkill Road (which sounds like an insurance deductible waiting to happen) and Snake Run Road. Now just who is running: snakes or who sees them?

While wandering around the other booths, I found this very odd item. Yep, it is what you think: an alligator in a wedding dress.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Night Sky

I had a pretty busy day today. My Mom took me along on what I call "old lady bus trips". This one went to Hamilton, Ontario to see a play called Sexy Laundry. Very, very funny. Lunch was at a German restaurant called the Black Forest Inn. If you're ever in Hamilton, go there. The Wiener Schnitzel was fabulous and so was the apple strudel. It's 10 pm and I'm still not ready for another meal. The other good thing (besides spending some time with Mom) is that there was much quality knitting time.

This is my Saturday sky picture. It's the moon rising over Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. The lengthy wait to get through US Customs was made much more entertaining by fireworks over the falls. The falls themselves were lit up but were a bit hard to see as there was quite a lot of mist.

The last stop on this little excursion was at the the duty-free shop. Well, put me on a bus for the day and my resistence level will be pretty low by evening. I came home with some Canadian beer, much chocolate and am feeling pretty good right now.

Update: Another really, really good thing to come from Canada is Rogers' Pistachio & Cherry chocolate bars.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Some Actual Knitting & Spinning

It's been awhile since there has been some actual spinning and knitting content. I really haven't forgotten how.

First off, are a whole bunch of warshcloths from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Most of them will be gifted at Christmas. They are hanging on a nifty drying stand/rack thing that DH brought home from an auction years ago. It's been hanging around getting rustier, so I finally made the time to clean it up. All those bars on it slide down so that it takes up very little space.

As far as spinning goes; I'm in love. This is a merino/silk blend from Fleece Artist and it spins up effortlessly. The plan right now is to navajo-ply it to keep the colors more separate and then knit it into a scarf and some mittens for myself.

All I can say is that it's a good thing that it's not carried anywhere local and that Nova Scotia is a long ways away!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Laid-Off: A Good Thing?

After working for Kodak for 26-1/2 years, I was laid off a few months ago. They do have a really good severance package, so my first official day of being an ex-employee was yesterday. I'm sure that there are thousands, possibly millions, of people out there who have lost their jobs over the last few years. For any politicians out there: It's the economy, stupid! For everyone else, I have a few thoughts.

For years, I thought that getting laid off was the worst thing that could happen to me (career-wise). By for years, I do mean for years. There have been lay-offs at Kodak for almost all of those years. Not only were you subjected to the constant worry of job security, but raises were either very, very small or non-existent, promotions weren't and employee "contributions" to benefits got bigger every year.

Why did I stay? A good question that I'm not sure that I have a good answer for. I think I stayed because of Kodak's reputation (possibly undeserved) of being a great employer, optimism, inertia and fear. Fear is probably the biggest reason. I didn't know if I could find as good a job and be able to support my family. I still don't know, but am about to find out.

There are a few things that I have discovered over the past couple of months:
1. I love being home and pottering about.
2. I'm also starting to get a bit (but only a bit) bored
3. I feel really good. Really, really good. Apparantly, you have no idea how much stress you're under until it's gone. There have been no headaches, backaches, general aches/pains, heartburn, allergy symptons, etc. since I was told that I was laid off.
4. It's time to figure what I want to be when I grow up, or at least head in that general direction.
5. The thought of networking almost petrifies me. I have to get over this as it is obvious that it is one of the number 1 things that contribute to successful job hunting.
6. Job hunting takes a lot of time and I mean a lot of time. I read the business section, review company's web sites, review job search sites, review training opportunities, eliminate jobs/companies that I don't want to work for and try to figure out what I do want to do.
7. It was surprisingly difficult to apply for a position for the first time in decades. I managed and I sure hope that it pans out because it's a pretty nifty job.
8. No, I'm not pinning all my hopes on one job. There are lots out there and I just have to get out there and apply for them.
9. After getting laid off once, the fear is pretty much gone. If I should land a job that I really don't like, well then, I can either make it work for me, or look for another. I am going to take more control of my career.
10. My family is incredibly supportive: they listen, talk, offer suggestions, push, help network, help with wardrobe, etc. I am very lucky.

I'm thinking that getting laid off may be one of the best things (as least career-wise) that has ever happened to me.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween gets to be a pretty low-key holiday when your child grows up. I'll admit it; I do kind of miss the excitement of getting DD ready to go out trick or treating.

However, my pumpkin is turned on and I pulled out the stops and made some cut-out cookies to celebrate. There's even icing and sprinkles. That's quite the accomplishment for me; I am definitely not known for my cake/cookie decorating skills.

We live in an area where the houses are kind of spread out, so rarely get any little trick or treaters, but we still need some treats, right?