Monday, September 19, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Wow, what a year it's been! I won't try to put down everything that's happened - for one thing, I'm sure I've forgotten some of them, and, for another, there's only so much I'm willing to put into a post. Anyhow, the stuff that's happened since my last post, in no particular order:
  • One of my nieces graduated from college. Well, she still has to finish this Fall semester, but the college allowed her to walk across the stage with the rest of her class. She has a semester left because she took one off to do some really fun stuff in Europe.
  • Another niece had her second child in February, a little girl. Mother and both children are doing well. I knit a sweater for the wee one - a February baby sweater without the lace but with alternating stripes of color.
  • My dear husband "J" has improved his cooking so much that I rarely think about fixing dinner any more. I love eating his cooking but I occasionally worry about losing my "cooking muscles". As Fall gets going, I may have to make some of our favorites to try to remedy this.
  • I lost my job. There, I said it. I was let go in April of this year for budget reasons - thank you *so* *much* Congress! I am still not completely over the shock to my emotions and ego. I have found a "life raft" job, but the pay is half of what I had been making, and the commute is 5 times the distance (though "only" a bit more than twice the time), so I'm still looking.
  • I have not knit as much as you might think, given the above item. The time I spent unemployed was taken up, in large part, (surprise!) looking for a job.
  • I have finished some things - they include a sweater for my husband (though it's not sewn together, yet), a pair of kneesocks for myself, a pair of "regular" socks for myself, and various pieces of Christmas knitting.
  • I still like to bake bread, but since we're eating a lot fewer carbohydrates, I don't do it as often. I do think that, again, as Fall gets going, I'll start to make more bread. It's not hard to do, it puts a nice rhythm into a Saturday, and it's really tasty.
I'm sure there are more things that have happened, but I'm starting to think too hard about what to say and how to say it, so I'll just stop talking for the time being.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Did It!

I walked to church! That may not sound like much, but it's about 1-1/2 miles each way. I had a meeting to attend there yesterday evening, the person calling the meeting said it wasn't going to last too long, and the weather was supposed to be nice, so I decided to try walking. I also wanted to try something I'd heard about, but never done - knitting while walking. That actually worked pretty well. I took along a sock I'm working on and had the yarn for it in a shoulder bag I've got and was able to just give the yarn a tug when I needed to. The only bad part was that the jeans I was wearing bled some dye onto the bag. I think and hope it will wash out.

I think I walked a little bit slower when I was knitting, but I expected that. I wasn't able to knit on the walk home as it was dark by then, but that's OK, I didn't expect to be able to knit on both walks. It was a bit more walking than I'd done in a while, as my legs told me after I'd gotten home :-)

Will I keep walking to church? I don't know, it's a great way to get some exercise in without feeling like I'm exercising. The two biggest problems are
1) If I walk to exercise, I'm kind of sweaty when I get to church, and that's not really a good thing.
2) The sidewalks won't always be accessible - the snowplows tend to pile the snow on top of them, and then you don't see the sidewalks until Spring.

That second one is not really a reason not to walk now though. I guess I'll have to try to kick myself out of bed early enough on a Sunday to try walking to church.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Summer went by in a haze of knitting and baking and biking (and working and other stuff, too). I baked bread on weekends, and sometimes cakes. I knit a lot of things - I finished the baby blanket, though I haven't delivered it, and I finished the "Interlocking Leaves" socks, though I ended up giving them away because they didn't fit me quite right. I biked to work something like 10 or 11 times - at 20 miles each time, that's pretty good if I do say so myself! The problem, as it is every summer around here, comes when the humidity goes up to nearly match the temperature. I don't do well commuting by bicycle in weather like that. Since it's cooled down, I've had yearnings towards riding more again. We'll see what comes of them, but I really like the way I feel after a ride, so there's some motivation.

There have been many other things going on, but I don't know how to put them all down, so I'm going to leave this entry the way it is for the time being.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm baack!

No good reason for not posting, just that life got in the way. I know, I know, life is what I'm supposed to be posting about, but I got too busy living it to write about it. So, you may ask, what was I so busy doing that I couldn't write a simple post in a simple blog? I'm glad you asked!

Old news first. We got the music room finished! It took a *lot* more steps and time than I thought it would, but eventually we got it done. First, we did it bass-ackward. I know that, but that's just the way it worked out. We spent a weekend tearing up the carpet and padding and taking out the nails (some of them seemed the size of railroad spikes) holding down the tack strips. That was just in time to have the floor re-finishing guys come in and do their thing. After the floor was done, we bought some good drop-cloths and set to work on the ceiling and walls. (That's what I mean by "doing it backwards". If we'd had the time, we would have let the carpet be our drop cloth.) The ceiling needed some serious scraping and then I had to mud the places where the paint *didn't* come off. We also had to sand down the stencils that were on the walls. There was too much texture in the stencils to just paint over them. So we did that, put 3 coats of primer on the stenciled places on the walls, 2 coats of primer on the ceiling, and then put 2 coats of color on the walls. Keep in mind that this one small room has 3 doors, a window, moulding at the ceiling and tall baseboards to paint around. I shouldn't have been surprised at how long it took, my dad remodeled the house I grew up in, on evenings and weekends, but I just didn't think it was going to be such a big job. After all, we weren't knocking out any walls, or even putting any holes in them. Well, we eventually got all the painting done and the furniture moved back in, and it's now a really nice, useful room.

The next big thing that came up was that we went through a fierce crunch on my project, where I work. I call it "mine" though I'm most definitely not a manager. Anyway, we had several weeks in a row where people were putting in horrible amounts of "overtime". That last word is in quotes because we're all salaried, so we don't get paid any overtime, we just have to put it in. Well, we got through the crunch, and no-one lost their minds, though it was probably touch-and-go for a while.

Right after that (in fact it ended up overlapping by about a week) I ran sound for a production of "Mr. Roberts" at a local community theatre. That ate two evenings and an afternoon for 4 weeks, in addition to Tech Week - where it ate *every* evening. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working on shows at the theatre, it just takes a fair chunk of time.

Towards the end of "Mr. Roberts" it was getting into Spring - which means the weather around here gets to be good enough to ride my bicycle! So, I started taking my bicycle with me to work and riding it at lunchtime. Now, I'm riding it to work when the weather lets me do it. So far, I've logged 4.5 trips at 20 miles each. If you think you detect a certain air of smugness, you're right. That's the most commuting by bicycle I've done in quite a while, and it's only the start of the season!

Through all of this I've been knitting. I've knit winter scarves for two of my nieces, a scarf for a friend and a nightie for myself. I finished a sweater for myself, I've started a "Moderne" baby blanket for a grand-nephew, and a pair of socks for myself. The socks are the "Interlocking Leaves" pattern from Knitty in J. Knits "Pueblo" yarn. I've got a *lot* more projects that I want to start (and finish), but the socks and the baby blanket are what's active on the needles right now.

That's probably enough for the moment. I'll try not to let so much time go by before my next post.

Friday, January 15, 2010


No, not changes to this blog, changes to our house! We started in on some home renovation last week, and we're kind of in the middle of it right now. Last week we moved all of the furniture out of the room I call "the music room" (because the piano lives in it). Then, over the weekend, we tore up the carpet and the padding and the firring strips! It was a royal pain to get all the staples taken out of the floor, but my dear husband used a pair of pliers and a flat-bladed screwdriver to great effect. In the meantime, I attacked the firring strips with a crowbar and a hammer. I swear, the people who installed the carpet were either not professionals, or were *absolutely* sure the firring strips were *never* going to be removed. They nailed those strips down with ring nails! Now most of the ring nails were about an inch long, so it didn't take too much effort with the hammer and crowbar to pry the strips up, but some of the nails were at least twice as long and correspondingly heavier! Oh, and the floor we were prying all these things out of is oak. Not laminate, but solid oak strips - do you wonder that we were a bit tired afterwards?

Oh well, they all came out eventually, which was very good. This was all in preparation for the arrival, on Monday, of the floor-refinishing guy. Oh, what a wonderful thing to have somebody else come and sand off all the old finish and put on nice, new varnish! We hired that part done because I did that job on a different room in the house, and it nearly killed me. So, these guys have the equipment and know how to operate it. They got the sanding done in 3 or 4 hours and put the first coat of varnish on that same day. They finished the job (ha! ha! get it? "finished the job"?) the next day - and the floor looks so much better! Now, "all" we have to do is paint the walls (which entails sanding the stencils off of them first), fix up the ceiling and move the furniture back in. I realize we're doing this kind of bass-ackwards, but truthfully, I didn't expect the floor re-finishing guys to be able to get to us so soon. We simply ran out of time. But that's what drop cloths are for. And when we get done, "We'll get 1/4 of our living space back!" (to quote the wonderful "J") Wheee!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas was Different this year

It was, for a couple of reasons. First, there were some people missing that I look forward to seeing at Christmas - nieces and nephews whose presences add a lot of spice and fun to the family celebration. It was also different because the weather played merry cob with our plans (and, not incidentally, the plans of everyone else in this region). We had had a snowstorm in the early part of December, but the streets had pretty much recovered from it. On Christmas Eve (when my family does its big celebration) the snow started falling again, and falling, and falling. It took my husband and I a good hour to drive home from the family get-together (where it would usually take 30 minutes at most.) It didn't stop until sometime late on Christmas Day, and then the wind kicked in! We ended up with drifts 3 or more feet deep on the front sidewalk and I couldn't open the back door to let the dog out Christmas morning because the drifts were blocking the door. In other words, we were snowed in! Now, it may sound cozy and romantic and all those things to be snowed in at Christmas, and it is, for a while. But it's not quite so much fun after 3 or 4 days. I knew I had to get out of the house when I started snarling back at the news broadcasters on NPR. I did get out, on Sunday, for a while, and it was a tonic. Snow on Christmas Eve is beautiful, but I don't want another blizzard like that for a good long time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Current Bread

I have taken up bread baking lately, and the current bread is currant bread. It is a little bit different from the other breads I've made lately in that it has buttermilk in it, and, yes, currants! Other than those two ingredients, it's bread - yeast, flour, water, salt and time. It actually came out quite tasty, especially toasted with Tallegio cheese spread on it. Tallegio cheese is a semi-soft (or maybe soft) cheese sort of like Brie without the mold on the rind. At room temperature it's soft enough that spreading it on warm bread (or toast) makes it just melt into the bread - Yum! Currant bread toast with Tallegio cheese for breakfast - hooray!