Tuesday, December 31, 2013


And what a busty gal I am. Sort of along the Jane Russell line.

So off I went to a semi-local lingerie boutique to have a long overdue fitting.
For those women who have been born busty, having an ample bosom usually sucked when it came to the bra department. You used to be able to only find and wear white, black or beige and nary a sign of lace. So, after marveling at the selections now offered to a full figured post baby body gal, the staff assisted me and I left with two gorgeous bras. One by Elomi in purple with a little see through material and pretty flower design and one by Panache in beige with lace.

My breasts have not been this perky since I began puberty.

And with that, I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Hugs, Kisses and Cheers!

Friday, December 27, 2013

She is Reading

And what is that she is reading? I have picked up a book on a whim. A sort of whim. I was reading a section in the magazine "Real Simple" where the ask people about the books the read and why and someone suggested a series, yes I know, I have mentioned my hatred of those before, called the "Mitford Years". I figure, what the hell and picked up the first book , "At Home in Mitford" from my library.

It is a simple story about small time life tossed with a hearty mix of Christianity. The Episcopalian kind no less as the main character is a one Father Tim. So far, I like it. It is so different from what I would normally read that it is a breath a fresh air. No, the story is not complex or dark or filled with seedy underbellies. There is quirkiness, redemption and simplicity. A rare thing these days in life or books. Quite frankly, when I had started to read it I thought, "I might not get through this." Then I figured, "So what?" There is no pressure. I can read just the first book or read the whole series.  At least I am finding time to actually read something beyond a magazine at this point!

I continue to write in spurts, though with the holidays this past week and visiting with family and friends, that was pretty much not happening. I am hoping to get jump started today actually.

I have gone back to the gym. My body is not sure it wants to thank me, but I believe it will.

I continue to watch "Edwardian Farm" and I love it. It amazes me how the UK does these historical documentaries and sadly, the US, not so much. I mean, we have Ken Burns who has done "Prohibition" and "The Dust Bowl", which were fantastic and highlights very interesting parts of our history, but like the rest of the world, reality tv rules more than well planned documentaries. I mean, most of the world sees America as a crazy mix of of "The Kardashians- Jersey Shore - Housewives of Wherever - and Duck Dynasty" types. I can't say that puts us in a good light. Reality shows exacerbate stereotypes, sometimes making these folks look dumber or crazier than they really are, and there are people out there that take it as truth.

PBS had actually done a documentary called "Frontier House", but I couldn't get in it because it had a reality show type vibe. Three families, all tossed into Colorado to see if they can survive as Pioneers. Maybe I will try it again but quite frankly, I don't want forced drama in my documentary thank you very much.

Well, that is that. I am going to try to get some knitting done now.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lara's Cowl

Howdy! I am still here, just been busy and distracted. Not a bad thing.

I have finally started to knit myself a cowl. My obsession with this particular accessory has no bounds I tell you. The thing is, I decided this during this weekend's big snow storm so I had to use what I had on hand. That meant wool and circular needles that are 24" instead of 32". So far the cowl seems to be coming along nicely and I look forward to when it is completed.  The pattern is from Red Heart and here is what their version looks like.

Lara's Cowl

Just so you know, the cowl nor myself will look like that.

I also came across another fabulous knitting site called LeethalKnits.com. Her work is pretty great and she has a nice amount of patterns for sale and for free.

Over the weekend I made a nice cabbage salad with dijon mustard dressing. Very, very tasty and went well with our salmon loaf.

And yes, it is snowing here again in NJ. White Christmas indeed. Here is a picture of my backyard. Thank you Google for the snowfall effect as it is actually very pretty.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Regular Day

I was going to rant about how annoying it is that every single company in the world seems to only do coupons and entries for contests via Facebook. Seriously. I get it that is how A LOT of the world operates, but jeez it is silly and alienating to us customers who choose not to use that service.

Good thing that I got sidetracked by a site for a company called Old Factory Soap Company.

I have a strange fetish for elegant soaps. Maybe I think it makes my house feel all fancy. Or maybe it is the scents themselves. Regardless, I hope to one day get my hand on some of their soaps and sniff them all day long.

And now I have the normal housework to do, laundry, dishes, vacuuming and even some last minute knitting. Not as exciting as jetting off to like The Maldives, but hey, who lives better than me? ;-)

I was supposed to take our cat to the vet, but cancelled since she seems to be keeping her food down. I am hoping it was just a little irritation due to her age and that she stays okay because the vomit/poop sessions were getting out of hand. I felt horrible for her little body. She is napping now, fed and contented. Hooray for the kitty!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And tonight's quick dinner is...

Scrambled Tofu with Collards and Tumeric.

Except I used kale, onions, 16oz of tofu, cumin, frozen ginger cubes and extra tumeric.

Quick, easy, tasty and enough for leftovers for the husband's lunch tomorrow.

Sometimes I rock this housewife sh*t.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Thor the Movie

For close to two weeks I have tried to watch Thor. Last night I watched the final 45 minutes and when it was done I realized just how much I disliked the film.

If I had paid in the theater I would have asked for my money back. Thankfully, I was at home. It can't be that bad you say. You are probably right, different strokes for different folks. For me, I did not dig it and here please, let me share my unsolicited reasons of why I pretty much gave this one star on Netflix.

  • The main character himself - Thor. Arrogant little bastard should have been cast out way before the Frost Giant incident. I found no way to care about him. Is it because he is a Norse God? No. He was just meh.
  • The dialogue. By all means watch this with closed captioning and marvel at the boring speeches and the unbelievable use of "Oh." for filler.
  • The Destroyer. Yes it is in the comic. Yes I think some crazy ass metal being created by Odin seems a little off, but hey, I am not Stan Lee and the man is a genius in comic land. Speaking of Odin...
  • There was a serious lack of Odin. One of the more interesting and powerful gods in mythology and he has a massive snooze fest through a majority of the film. Really? Good thing Zeus never phoned it in or Clash of the Titans would have blown. (1981 optimal cheese version Thank you. No one messes with Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith).
  • Loki. Yes, Tom Hiddleston is fabulous and I love a good villain, but near the end, he was just a whiny brat. Come on, is it that hard to give a villain depth? Please see Anton Chigurh, The Joker, and various other movies and books for assistance if your imagination fails you.
  • Jane Foster. In a typical deus ex machina, we give the brilliant, beautiful, but unable to find love rocket scientist an otherworldly being who "gets her" and can match her in wits and devotion? IN TWO DAYS. What is this, Disney?  
  • Throwing in Stellan Skarsgard to give us an "authentic Scandinavian vibe" and have him be the one to say "Thor was part of stories I heard in my childhood" was so obvious it was wrong. 
  • And in true Marvel fashion, they introduced S.H.I.E.L.D. so when their movie gets made, actually, there is a tv show now, you will know who they are because they were in Thor. Why not put in every other character in the Marvel universe and make it a free for all? Hell, Caulson even mentioned Tony Stark. How subtle.

When I was done, I actually watched an episode of Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs after to feel better. Dude. Cleaning pigeon poop is beyond foul.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not One of My Better Days

We all have had a day or maybe even two where we want to crawl up into a ball and hibernate for a weekend in bed.

Today would be that kind of day for moi.

Our son had a rough time sleeping last night so the hubby and I are operating at 55% at best.  The child, who had a pretty good morning, but was somewhat testy and emotional, is now napping. Praise the Baby Jesus. Oh and FYI - Toddler emotional upheavals are on par with PMS. Good times. Well, not for my husband.

Our two pets are special needs and geriatric. That means, my insane cat, who is 17 and ill, does nothing but "meow" incessantly for food. Even after she inhaled the spoonful of wet food already eaten. Once she does chow down, she will, at times, proceed to throw it up or shit it out someplace other than the litter box. This then makes our second floor smell like a rotting morgue. After today's vomit moment, I have opened the windows, thank God it is in the high 40's, and I have burned incense. If I knew what to burn for what god that helps prevent the spewing of kitty insides, I would light it like a bonfire.

The dog, who cannot walk unless she is in her wheels, will whine to notify us what need has to be met. She wants water or she wants to be near you, then she wants to be away. She wants bread, she wants your socks. We don't get the sock thing, but hey, it makes her happy. Right now she wants to eat because she went outside and that means dinner time in her small Jack Russell head. That's right. The whining is happening even as I type. Dogs have no concept of time and I would like God to alter that mistake in design.

With my household somewhat "settled", this is the one moment I have to write and while the blog is fun and easy, the opportunity to work on the novel becomes hindered by the craziness of my elderly animals. This is also why I have no chickens are any other livestock that would demand my attention. I believe that at some point, I would be out there with gin and tonic in a bottle, trying to corral these creatures with a shotgun. Old hens would be running for cover as I barrel out of the house wearing some floppy, too big hat with a deranged expression. I am sure if I wasn't trying to write a novel it wouldn't seem so bad. But I am, so it is.

Yeah, yeah, others have it harder. That does not mean the rest of us can't vent about our shitty day. All I know is, I have told my animals to shut up so much today, I am surprised my son has not begun to utter the phrase. Best part is I am not even yelling the words. It comes out sort of short and ragged. Like I have climbed Mount Fuji and have no breath left. A clear indication that Mama is worn down by their needs. I wish they could feed themselves the little fur bastards. Who am I kidding? I wish they could do laundry. They will be sorely missed when they do pass on, but right now, I wish I could put them in pet day care.

And on that note, I am going to feed my dog, maybe feed the cat again and get myself a bowl of Panda Puffs.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Hello Again

What a whirlwind of food and visiting. We went to a friend's house where it was like a mini UN. Guests from Norway, Germany, France, and various parts of the US. A very, very good time was had by all. I am still missing the wonderful brussels sprouts they always prepare for holiday gatherings.

Now it is December and I need to do some decorating and hope to get that done this week. I pulled out a musical snow globe and my son thinks it is the greatest thing ever so he keeps pushing the button to hear it play music. Children really do enjoy the simple things.

As for me, I have been writing in spurts, which is good and bad. There is something bizarre about writing some intense dialogue only to be interrupted by your toddler looking for "bear" or his "car". He is also under the weather which doesn't help. Luckily the contractor is not here today so little man can nap in his crib this afternoon.

Yesterday, while my brother and husband went to Home Depot and Lowe's, shocking I know, I sat down and worked on a knitted gift. I decided to watch a documentary on Diana Vreeland called "The Eye Has To Travel".


Seriously, I know most of the world could care less about the history of fashion and who the taste makers were and are, but she was and is inspirational to no end. I watched and listened, riveted as she spoke about things as mundane as freckles, and suddenly lamented that I lacked them. She saw beauty in people and things that others missed. She herself was no beauty but her charisma, her excitement was infectious. She reminded me a bit of Auntie Mame which may be why I swooned. haha Check it out if you have the time, you will not be disappointed.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Men Having Fun

I adore when people have a great sense of humor.
I love it more when it is a bunch of men, flag footballers to be exact, lip synching to a Britney Spears song.
The cherry on top is that a few of them are hotties.

Work Bitch indeed.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sewing a Nice Gift and Knitting Humor

Sometimes I like to just bop around the web hoping to come across things that strike my fancy. This Lap Duvet sewing project from Purl Bee counts as one. This is something I may bookmark and do down the road because it seems so easy and would be a nice gift to myself or to someone else.

Hilarious post on Madman Knitting that I got to via Down to Earth. The title alone piques one's curiosity.

I Was Questioned By The Police

God Bless some people.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes It Is Easy To Judge

At least that seems to be the case with those considered poor. You know them, those lazy good for nothings that take all the SNAP and WIC and go get their nails done or own an iPhone instead of looking for work.
"Welfare stereotypes" that get trotted out every time a bill come up or there is an election.

Yeah, those people.

Those few rotten apples that have helped to tarnish the working poor to no end here in America. And sad to say a lot of folks in varying classes are about a paycheck and half away from joining those ranks. Life has not been cheap for some time, but some people have it way harder than the rest of us. Parts of this country are prohibitively expensive and in some cases, that is also where specific well-paying jobs are. No one wants to go broke trying to live, but it does happen.

An article about poverty in The Atlantic directed me to post on Gawker's Kinja platform titled: Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts.

I do not care what country you live in, what political party you back or what your economic status is in any way. What matters is that you take a few minutes or so and read this account from a member of society who describes what it is like to be in the cycle of poverty. I am honestly appalled, horrified and saddened by this person's lot in life. We are a wealthy nation and we are barreling towards destroying who we are by eliminating the middle class which I am and always have been a part of.

No matter how frugal one lives, when it gets to a certain level, hope is no longer affordable. You are a cog in a machine that does not get the luxury to dream or think.

My parents were not wise in any way with financials, but they did try here and there. Divorced by the time I started high school, my mom ended up becoming a touch more savvy and was smart enough to take advantage of 401(k)'s when they started. She also encouraged me to invest in the 401(k) and there began my better path. My dad tried to invest here and there and did put some money aside as well.

My husband has a good head on his shoulders and we always discuss how we will spend the one income we live on at all times. No, it is not easy, especially with a little one, but we manage. Would it be better if I could work? Sure. Two incomes are always better than one, but I rather raise my child than have someone else do the job. Of course, if things got extra tight, there is no question that I would do what was necessary to help maintain and secure the financial health of ours and our son's future.

Anyway, go grab a stiff drink, read the articles and have a good weekend.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Handmade Goodies

It is late. I am tired.

And for some reason I am perusing Houzz, yet again.
This is my version of porn and I am not ashamed.

Well, maybe a little.

So, in an attempt to not get caught drooling over someone's kitchen, I decided to open some tabs. I bounced from one vintage clothing site to another and somehow ended up on a blog called Handmade Jane.
Her most recent posting is about things to make for craft stall sales, but since we are just about into the holiday swing of things, these said items would be great gifts if you are a crafty person and wanted to make one of them.


That is all I have for you. My dog is snoring and I can barely keep my eyes open.
Thank God for spell check.


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tasty Dinner

Swiss Chard, Onion and Cheese Frittata via Taste Williams-Sonoma

Yes, you have to make this. Light, great combos of flavors. I threw some cumin and kale in mine as well. Our chard has white stems, but damn if mine did not look just like that picture. :)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Nice Gesture That Could Be Done More Often

Last week I had received a newsletter in the mail from my chiropractor that all week they would be giving patients a free adjustment if they brought in a bag of groceries for the local food pantry. Since I was already booked for Friday I went off to the dollar store, bought cans of beans, vegetables and sweet potatoes as well as a bag of rice, black pepper and a jar of beef bouillon cubes. I was happy to see a nice pile of bags when I got there and added my lot to the bunch.
They were also giving away free frozen turkeys that day but had run out. Since we are vegetarian I would have asked ours to be donated to the food pantry instead.
After a wonderful adjustment by the new female chiropractor who palpates vertebrae like no one I have ever met, I got to thinking about why more businesses do not offer such a deal.

We have all seen the barrage of opinion pieces about the ludicrous hours that stores will be opening on Thanksgiving Day. America's obsession with shopping and seemingly being complicit in doing away with the holiday is in direct contradiction of our various politician's obsession with family unity. Holidays should be enjoyed. Whether it is with family or friends or both or even alone. But no, according to consumers and retailers, they would rather be on line at a store than sitting with Grandmom and eating pie. The best part is, I am sure lots of hardcore family values folks will be on line to get that television. The whole shebang is also a nice meaty bone to those that love capitalism and free markets. You can choose not to shop of course, any Libertarian will tell you so, but the pervasiveness is appalling.

The earliest opening I have seen announced will be from my old employer, Toys R Us. 5pm that day. Because God knows you just NEED that toy. Okay, let me stop and not head into a serious rant.

My idea was that the big retailers participating in this insanity offer a deal where you can get 20%, or more, off your total order if you bring in two cans of non-perishable items, even toiletries, for a local food pantry. The reason I am not suggesting a whole bag is because I can see that being a massive fail. Have you seen the stampede that happens when those doors open in those stores? Here is an example from Thousand Oaks Mall in California. Seriously, what the hell do you need that bad???????? A t-shirt????

Back to charity.

Granted, I do not know if most people will bother to give a rats ass about strangers that day, the video above would indicate a huge NO, but it wouldn't hurt to for the stores to ask. You bring your donation to the register with your purchase and everyone benefits. The companies make more money and those in need receive much needed necessities to get them through rough times.

A gal can dream right?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

What I Am Reading

Picked up three books from the library yesterday. The first one I actually browsed through when I got home was "Knitting Little Luxuries" from Louisa Harding. While the designs are pretty, I have to see if I have any comparable yarns in my stash since I am in no position to spend some bank on high quality yarns.

My other book is something I have wanted to get my hands on for a very long time.
Madeleine Vionnet by Betty Kirke.
I am excited to read all about this cutting edge fashion designer AND there are actual patterns in the book. Now, my sewing skills are not that great, but it would be something to recreate a dress of hers to wear. Dream Miss Fifi, dream!

On a few blogs I have read about the River Cottage series of books. Recently I decided to look them up and saw there was one on vegetables so I had my library get me a copy of River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes.

It rocks.

I cannot WAIT to make the kale and onion pizza or the spicy chickpea and carrot pita pockets. My husband liked what he saw so much that he wants to order us our own copy.

I am hoping to ship my knitted goods out to Ohio by the beginning of next week. I still have to make the actual pins, but thankfully the flowers are done for that already.

Hope your day is a good one.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It Is Your House, Do What You Want

My house is old. Not UK/European/Middle East rest of the world old, but old in how Americans view things. Hell, a house from 2000 is considered old here. Odd, but that is how we roll.

Our 1920's bungalow has come with many a problem that I have talked about before. As of now, the electrical is the biggest issue and anyone who has worked on an old home knows, it gets pricey. As does plumbing and mold issues. To upgrade and bring things up to code is not cheap. Let alone having to fix things that were done in such a way that one wonders how the house never caught fire or blew fuse after fuse.

In many ways, I feel like we are building a home from the ground up. Scary, but necessary thanks to the idiots that wired the home so shoddily. This of course allows us the opportunity to redesign as we see fit.
Now, let me be clear, while I LOVE Houzz, I have no desire to have a bathroom that I can drive my car into. Nor do I want a kitchen that large. I am very happy to keep the footprint of the home. What it comes down to is functionality and back in 1920, no one thought of that. Even now, I think some people do things they do not really like, but since it is safe or a trend they go that route.

This then made me consider something that many people seem to truly believe. No matter what you do to your home, you have to make sure it doesn't hurt resale.

How about no?

How about I want the bathroom in the colors I want and the layout I prefer? If I do not want a bathtub I do not have to have one. Nor do I care if it makes the home harder to sell. I think that is rubbish. There is a buyer for every home out there, warts and all.

You can argue with me until you are blue in the face and I will tell you how my brother, the gifted drafter, has informed me that people purchase million+ dollar homes and gut kitchens that are all of five years old because it is not their style. You are talking about $100K kitchens here.

Imagine the home you just bought comes with this kitchen.

And you hate it so much so you do this instead.

Or maybe you bought this house because you love the property it is on and perhaps you like the style, but you want something grander.

And now you do this.

Now obviously I am not working within the correct dimensions or anything, but I think you get the gist of what I mean. Your taste is your taste and no matter how new or glamorous or large something is, you will change it to suit your needs. It can be as simple as painting the wall to literally ripping out a wall to actually modifying the whole structure.

Look, we bought a house where not much was done to give it personality, but we saw something in it. We just do not have the bank account to turn it into what we think a bungalow should look like right now. We may not ever, but with the new bedroom and new wiring and other things that have been done by landscaping and jobs done by my hubby and brother, things are looking up for this long neglected casa.

This is what it looked like when we bought it. I will post a newer picture soon to show you how far it has come.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can We Stop Treating Tech Companies Like the Second Coming of Christ?

Ironic considering I am using Blogger which is a Google company.
The reason I have a bee in my bonnet is  recently Fortune magazine featured the 50 most powerful women in business and of course, Sheryl "Facebook" Sandberg was on the cover. You know, because other women who have been doing their jobs for longer and maybe even better are doing it in the non-tech sector and that will not do. American has a sick love affair with Silicon Valley. While I appreciate the innovation, I do not believe it so amazing it could be considered a miracle in biblical terms.

What got me started on such a tear is that my toddler was on You Tube  watching a Sesame Street ABC video when he tapped something in the feed. It was a video of a woman, showing off her latest find of Disney Collectibles  (see: crap)  from Target. They were plastic Angry Birds eggs filled with God knows what.


What the hell?

Clearly the people who aggregate data and set up search words are pretty friggin' lazy. I imagine some youngster sitting at his desk or maybe lounging in some Eames chair, all excited because the cafeteria is offering pure raw vegan lunches today. He has been given the job of setting up keywords to help people have a better viewing experience. Considering this is his first real job he is bound to have mishaps like the rest of us, but in his case, he sees himself as genius. "Let's see, someone types in "Disney" so that means movies, tv shows, music videos, parodies and collectors'. Perfect. I am done and so boss."

It reminds me of when I worked at Toysrus. com and members of IT were tasked with creating a intranet for us executive assistants to use to set up meetings. We were called in for the "reveal" and they sat there, so proud of what they came up and by the end of the meeting with us, they were deflated. Why? Because they left out a few key uses. Like allowing each assistant to be able to check for room availability or to order food for said meeting or to send out the actual meeting request via this program. Yeah. Not small mistakes. But this is what happens when you take a group of people who just may be brilliant with coding, but have no idea how to apply it for practical application.

Facebook was no better. I could post an article about cancer and then all the ads on my wall would be about hospitals and treatments. Really? One post or search and THAT is what you use? Idiots. I was always hit with Wal Mart ads and I would always tick off that it was offensive or that I do not shop there when asked "Why I Did not Like the Ad?" I get that all these services are free, fine. I do not mind an ad on You Tube or Pandroa, that never bothers me. I only get miffed when I think your service can be way better than what you offer. These companies are considered leaders in their fields when to me they have half assed it and no one is able to tell the Emperor about his New Clothes.

Netflix gets it right. They offer me movies based on what I have watched before and it is not that far flung like You Tube. Sometimes I wonder how certain things end up in their respective genres, but a black comedy is not always easy for some to pigeonhole I guess.

I know I sound like a "get off my lawn" type, but lately it seems the news is filled with how smart and savvy and awesome all these techies and their start ups and apps are. Maybe, but I believe we need to keep these companies on their mettle. As an "older" user, I think we need more folks with real world business experience to help with practical use or we will all end up with someone showing off their Disney Christmas presents after watching a video of Handel's Messiah.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Humor Is Best

Things go well here at our casa. The room is progressing, I am sort of getting some writing done. I am knitting like a fiend and hope to have most of the projects done this weekend. Our son continues to make me wish I had a way to bottle his energy and drink it. I have not gotten to the gym lately,  BUT I started doing some cardio and core exercises this am thanks to You Tube. Have to find a way to build up my poor pelvic floor. (Let the Kegel jokes begin.)

In the meantime, I feel like things should be bright and light today. And with that, here are a few funny clips from some favorite films of mine.

The Witches of Eastwick

Death Becomes Her

The Women (1939)  - Witty Lines

The Sure Thing

Pineapple Express

Auntie Mame

Ocean's 11


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spread For The Bread

Sounds like a cheesy porn movie title eh?
I was making a stunning loaf f bread this am when I realized I have no butter and half a tsp of almond butter left.
This will not do.
While I will eat warm bread sans anything, I wanted something to spread on my bread this morning.
I have honey so there must be something else in my pantry that I can combine it with. Lo and behold, I found a wonderful quick recipe for honey and coconut oil on the Hauser Homeopathy blog. I cannot wait to eat all of it.

Creamy Coconut Honey Spread

Many people go to bread and honey as a comfort food.  Coconut oil makes this treat more balanced and adds a fat-burning boost.
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
In a small bowl combine the coconut oil and honey.  Place the bowl in the freezer for two to three minutes, remove and mix some more.  Return bowl to freezer for another one to two minutes.  The mixture should be creamy and spread like a thick butter.  Use immediately on fresh whole grain bread for a sweet snack.
And while I am at it, I was looking at maybe making homemade almond butter. Detoxinista had the most basic recipe, but I just wasn't up to it at the present time. I am sure it is delish though.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Pandora's Box

When a neighbor heard we were redoing our bedroom we were discussing some issues that had come up early in the process she declared old houses to be like a "Pandora's Box". Her own home is from the 1800's so she can relate.

Man, she was not kidding.

Our contractor has uncovered even more electrical nightmares. Honest to God, it is amazing this house has never burnt down to the ground. **Dear Universe, I am NOT testing anything and would prefer to never experience a house fire. Thank you very much.**
Uncovered wiring, outlets installed incorrectly and a wire from our brand new panel that got accidentally cut in half. (Well that explains why our sons air conditioner stopped working.) This is all but a taste of what our contractor has come into contact with. He already closed off one bad outlet in the living room. Seems prior owners left uncovered and uncapped wires in the wall. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people????

Here is an outlet from our upstairs bath. The last few times I plugged the vacuum into the outlet, a funky, electric-y smell emerged from it so we stopped using it. The other night we plugged the electric heater into a brand new outlet in the hall and low and behold, the bathroom began to smell and the outlet got hot. I speak to the contractor today and he decides to remove to the evil outlet completely. Here is what he discovered.

Basically someone did not install the wires correctly and it was loose and there was oxidization...he began electrician speak and kind of lost me, but I got the gist of what he was relaying. All I know is that the outlet you see is burned and melted and it could have taken me and mine out one day or night.

Sons of Idiots. Cheap bastards who owned this home for years didn't want to do repairs right and this is what I get left with. Right now I want to have every wall in my home ripped out to repair all possible faulty wiring. 'Cause you know there is more. Without a doubt there are half assed jobs/repairs everywhere. But I lack such bounty to do so, damn my middle class lineage!, So all in good time. The contractor will NOT be letting power back into our son's room, the guest room or bathroom simply because as he said, "I can't in good faith do that." Fine by me. Our son is happy to read by a lantern in his room when it is bed time. I would rather keep the juice from flowing than take a chance.

Friends of ours who also own a 1920s home are also in the middle of doing a renovation of a bedroom as well and uncovered wiring behind their baseboard heating that just gets capped off because the folks were too lazy to wire it all the way through.

Sons of Idiots. Honestly, I know people bitch about codes and regulations, but man, I am all for it when it comes to the safety of my dwelling.

On the plus side, we did pick a carpet out over the weekend and he went to pick it up today. Hooray!

And, on a lighter, haha, note, I made this delicious Butternut Squash Potato Soup. I used three potatoes and extra paprika. It was superb and perfect for the cold nights ahead. Make some warm bread or biscuits to go with.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Here's What We Got So Far

Behold the new doorway and yes, there used to be a closet there.

Our new storage area. This picture was taken before the new insulation and flooring and walls were put in. I am going to paint the area an obnoxious color. Like fuchsia
 or sunflower yellow. Something fun. Most likely our son will think this is the best fort ever.

And that is how the two man team have been bringing things in and out. No one traipsing through the house. It has been glorious.

So there is the progress report. I will update again on it soon.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Room is Coming Along

I am feeling a little giddy. No particular reason. Well, maybe because our bedroom has been demolished and looks like it is going to be quite awesome. The contractor also disabled the fire hazard of wiring throughout the room. Good times. Always nice to find out our house could have gone up in flames any moment. As a whole, our  house has pretty much been pasted together over the decades. Ahhh well. One of the cooler things that happened during demolition was he uncovered a nice crawl space that can be used as storage. It will get insulated and have flooring which will be nice. The doorway of the room is also being relocated to where the old closet was which has opened up the room a great deal. Amazing how poor layouts really doom a space.
As for the color we are still in process o deciding on a blue we want for an accent wall. My brother offered his two cents as far as the trim and other wall colors and now I need to do more searching. I would like to take a ride to Benjamin Moore and peruse their insane catalog of colors in person. Of course I have no idea when I will be painting so I really need to make this decision yesterday. :)
This little project has made me think about what I would do if I had unlimited funds. The size of the house would stay the same and we would just alter the lay out of the kitchen and the bathrooms. Figures that the most expensive rooms to redo are the ones that needs a good rehaul. I doubt I would blow out the back of the house or anything, though I would like to add a mudroom. I have even thought about us enclosing the front porch to have a mudroom/entryway, but we don't use the front door much because the garage is near the back door so that would be sort of pointless and a waste of funds.
Anyway, that is the update. Pictures will come once things are done. I should try and get photos up now and when I can, I will post some.
Have a fabulous day!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Still Unpublished

My short story did not get picked for publication.
I sort of expected it as I have never considered myself very good at writing short stories. Even so. When I saw that I was no longer in the running a touch of melancholy ran over me. Then a small panic kicked in that I needed to finish my latest novel ASAP. Then came the thought, "What I never will get published? Maybe I am not supposed to write. Maybe my career or life's work is that of wife and mother." Not that there is anything wrong with that job, but when one is creative, one constantly has an urge to achieve something.

Then I stopped.
I am far from wanting to be Superwoman like Ms. Lean In Sheryl Sandberg, but I can certainly be a mom, wife and writer. Do I care if I get published? Sure, but I also believe luck and timing have a lot to do with it. There are many poorly written books out there that do well. Why? Because they had/have an audience. Same goes for brilliantly done novels. Not every writer hits a home run out of the gate. They may do a steady trot with a nice sized audience. I would prefer that to be truthful. Build up a nice body of work with devout fans. Yes, I dare to dream

So there it is. I am not giving up, though I am incredibly stalled due to my situation, but hey, I will adapt. And I may even give writing another short story a shot because, what have I got to lose?

On a completely different note: I made this Curry Tofu Over Swiss Chard. I used a whole thing of tofu and I forgot the garam masala, but it still tasted delicious.

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Change Happens (in a rambling sort of way)

Years ago I cared about things like celebrities, sports teams and what the latest fashion trends are.

Not anymore.

Are you thinking I am crabby? Well I am not. I am just expressing my acceptance of myself. In the here and now I have become more of a home design, simple living and food person. I am older so what Taylor Swift is wearing no longer applies to me. As someone who loves music, I no longer seek out the latest and greatest as at some point, Pandora or NPR will deliver that artist to me.  Netflix gives me movies and shows and if I read about any or hear of one, I wait till it appears there or on YouTube. Funny. I am the "older" generation, but I use technology to my advantage. The only place I don't play is in social media. For me that exists only here and on Pinterest. I use Google+, but it is not very interactive and that is fine by me.

Now listen, sure I still like when the Yankees win and will eternally root against the Red Sox and all New England sports teams, including the UCONN Huskies. Don't ask, it makes no sense to me either.
I do not care if Angelina and Brad ever marry nor do I care if they ever make a film of that awful book "50 Shades of Gray". Though if anyone can make the Kardashians disappear into the ether I believe most of the world would be eternally grateful.
I worked in the entertainment industry back in 1995. Trust me, famous people are no different than us except some of them get paid very well for their skills. At the end of the day, they are as fallible as anyone you know. Sometimes I think the general public needs to understand that they all fart and forget to shave and have bad breath and some are perverts and have deep dark secrets. The general public covets a lifestyle that is not really told in truth. We get pieces and certainly nothing incredibly juicy because, quite frankly, it is none of our bloody business.
When my husband brings me home a copy of "In Style" I cringe. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, affordable ever featured. Years ago when the magazine first came out there was, but alas, everyone wants to cater to those with the big bucks, or those hoping to have big bucks one day. This would not be me. Who seriously pays $300 for a pain of jeans? Jeans. Denim. They are jeans. Marshall's sells major brands like Diesel and 7 For All Mankind for way below retail price. Sometimes marked down to $20 or $15. Why would you pay full price ever? Unless of course you need to be ahead of the game in the fashion world then go with God.
But I will be honest here, if there was a Nordstrom nearby I would still shop there. Why? They have the best sales on good shoes EVER. And we all know a good shoe makes an outfit.

Another big thing. We have a child. At some point we will have to get up to speed on the latest and greatest among his generation. Lord knows what technological "advances" we will have by the time he is texting or what will replace Coach and UGGS among the young ladies. Ladies he will be dating. Oh no, there it is.  My heartbeat is becoming a little erratic and I know it will only get worse as he gets older. I feel gray hairs bursting through my scalp. Wait. Wait. I need to relax. This should help.

Ahhhh, thank you Richard Armitage with facial hair. Yum, yum, yum.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Not here, but there.

I am one of those people who enjoys having the ability to rearrange furniture. Not in every room mind you, but I get bored with the layout and like being able to move a bed here or a chair there. This weekend the living room was scrutinized and got a nice face lift.

We have a very long living room. The prior owners tore down a wall that enclosed a small bedroom and lengthened the living room. It is a little odd and hard to work with,thank God we have no television, but we have found a way. FYI the striped couch you see is being donated to Salvation Army, but for now needs to stay where it is which is fine.

Okay, here are a few fun facts. I have a demented obsession with wing back chairs and I have all intentions of reupholstering these beastly Laura Ashley ones. 
My father in law hates our curtains and was happy to tell us so. God love him, but I got them on sale at Lowe's. I would have loved Plantation Shutters, but they were ridiculously expensive and being house poor is not a goal.
My snake plant is quite prolific. I split her over the summer and both of them have many babies coming which I will eventually replant elsewhere in the home. To the left of that table I want to get a ficus or some other large plant that my son will undoubtedly want to climb.

This is the other side of the room. 

Isadora loves napping on the ottoman. I combined two of our son's small blankets to make her one and she seems to like it a lot. Now, I may have mentioned before that both the large wing backs and ottoman, which are too large for conventional slip covers, will cost $1100 to reupholster. (Pick your jaw up.) So that will be done waaaaay down the road. The wing backs you see here were able to have slipcovers put on them. (Amen!)  The lamps are new and those tables there were ones that we had been using as nightstands in our bedroom. I got them from a friend and am grateful as they are sturdy and handsome.  
This new arrangement makes us all giddy and I think it will stay like this for awhile. 
I do have a new bedroom coming so that should quell to rearrange. For now.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ants and Gratin (Not together of course)

For some reason, ants have decided that my draining pads are a great resource for water. I now can no longer leave things out to dry because I will undoubtedly attract these odorous house ants. This frustrates the hell out of me because this means there is a nest close by or in the wall of my home.
To the right of my kettle, on the other side of the boxed wall section is where there is cayene pepper, which does NOT work, and where the ants come through. That is also where our toaster oven sits and oddly enough, they ignore it, more eager for the water.

I am not an ant hater, but I do not want them crawling all over everything. I found them in the cabinet about a month back roaming through a box of graham crackers. Nothing like that is even kept in the cabinets now, but I am still contending with them and their water desires. Pain in the asses. Ah well.

Tonight I made a roasted cauliflower gratin from a recipe posted by The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Seriously, what an awesome name. I added purple carrots from our CSA to the mix and it was mighty tasty. Go on, make yourself some.

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Give Me Better Choices

Yesterday I had to run out to pick some stuff up for dinner. My supermarket choices where I live are limited to Shop Rite (2), Kings and Weis. Yes we have the farms, but I needed things like vacuum bags and mayonnaise.
Shop Rite and I have a very serious love hate relationship. They carry some products for our son at very reasonable prices. The flip side is anything organic or vegetarian is double the price of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Those two markets are 45 minutes away and we do make the occasional pilgrimage. They won't come out our way as they do not consider my area a strong demographic. Sure there are big bucks, but they want mega traffic like in the urban areas where they thrive. Idiots. They would thrive here, they are just too far removed from the area to know that. Okay, stopping side rant and getting back to the topic.

Shop Rite.

I head down the condiments aisle and stood there annoyed. The dominant brand was Hellman's. There was one squeeze jar of Kraft mayo, Shop Rite brand mayo and that horrifying enigma known as Miracle Whip. I pick up the jar of Hellman's and the first ingredient is soybean oil.
Owned by Unilever.
Double No.
Soybeans are used in everything and most of them are GMO. Unilver uses GMO products. See here.
Now I was perplexed. What the hell was I to do? Thankfully this Shop Rite has chosen to carry certain vegetarian/vegan brands. Again, at a price.
I found Earth Balance Mayonnaise. Read the ingredients (No GMO), felt better and spent 3.99 on one pint. Tasty and relatively good for you. Aces.
I am now considering making my own mayonnaise because let's face it, it is most likely cheaper and healthier. I also do not like mayonnaise but my husband does. He makes his own dressings with it and what not so I do need to have some on hand.

Next I needed vacuum bags, but after a search I could not locate them. I speak to a clerk who informs me they no longer carry them. What? Why? Ugh. Now I have to make an extra trip to Target or something.

Okay, off to the produce section for lemons and apples. There is a sign by the lemons alerting customers that due to heavy rains the lemon crops of Mexico and Chile were damaged so there would be a delay.
Um, what?
Doesn't California grow lemons??
I bought four, still perplexed that none of the lemons offered were grown in USA.
Then came the apples. I did not have time to run to my local CSA farm to get their delicious apples so I sucked it up and figured I would just buy two at the market. I began to peruse the offerings. Some were from the usual suspects. Washington, New York State and then I stopped.

There was a nice box of apples from Western Australia.

Seriously???? No offense to Australia, but with what it most likely cost to fly those babies to New Jersey you could have planted a few apple trees.

The kicker is that where I live there are quite a few farms that grow apples. Yes. We have apple farms. Not a one of them had a bin in the local Shop Rite. A place that advertises they sell local farm produce. This is baffling. No market gets off the hook for this either. They ALL get produce from around the globe.

One thing I have noticed is that on various homesteading/simple living blogs, discussions about food sovereignty is becoming more and more frequent. Let me say that I am all for grown locally or at least nationally. But considering the world is a spoiled place and we want what we want when we want it, that becomes somewhat difficult. I love bananas, I can't grow them, so I have to buy them from South America. A lot of markets do try to source some local produce and I applaud that. But no matter where we shop, labels from around the world have become the norm. There is a slow burning backlash as residents of certain states here in the US and countries around the world start to demand that products be from their respective homelands. I can't blame anyone. People want to keep the jobs and money in their own communities. Makes perfect sense considering economic times are what they are and it does not look good for a few more years. Plus if you read some blogs out of the UK and Australia and you will see what people on tight budgets are contending with already in regards to buying pantry staples as food prices are rising. Stress inducing for sure.

And as for our dinner, I made an apple and onion pizza and a carrot and cabbage slaw which was delicious.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Read The News Today Oh Boy...

And I probably shouldn't have.
I try to avoid the news like the plague. No reason to get upset about things I can't help or fix, but a recent story out of Maryville, Missouri regarding rape and a possible cover up is an embarrassment to human kind.
You can read the story here on the St. Louis Dispatch website and get your own rage on.
What kills me, kills me about my country of America is that we get all crazy about sharia law and how Muslims treat their women and children, but God Forbid a revered high school footballer in a podunk town does it. We let the slut shaming begin, rallying around the accused and disregarding the hard evidence. It is mind blowing how so-called devout Christians can be just as small minded as the Islamic Fundamentalists that they claim to have nothing in common with.
The truth is, it is high time the Bible Belt gets it shit together.  I say this because two rape cases that went National occurred in Ohio and Missouri.  These incidents happened in small towns, not metropolitan cities where people are a touch more progressive, but areas where football and religion run way deep. When you think small town idyll, you may want to reconsider. There is nothing idyllic about ranks closing around sexual predators. And here is something else, if you know much about America, you know that God is pretty prevalent in the heartland. So is meth. Along with job losses, discontentment, uncertainty and good 'ol patriotism we have people clinging to anything that makes them forget their troubles. Enter high school football. Whatever. I am so far removed from football culture. There are millions of articles on Google that can explain the obsession with it in certain parts of the country way better than I ever could.
Bottom line to all of this is that young people everywhere want to feel they belong and will do anything to join the crowd, especially if the crowd has boys and girls that are older and popular. They may agree to drink, blow off curfews, sneak out of the house, etc. We need to start teaching young men and women that putting oneself in a precarious situation is not ideal and I do not mean with religion because clearly that does nothing. Morals do not need to have a religious bent. Treating another human being's body with respect does not need a religious bent. If you want to teach your children religion, but all means go for it, but do not think just memorizing a Proverb or two will get the message across. Your own actions and remarks form their opinions as well. Be mindful before you speak. Don't call a girl in a tank top a whore or a boy with downs syndrome a "freak". You can model devotion to God however you want, but you should not teach hate and disrespect.
Also, entitlement needs to just stop. STOP. I do not care who's granddad does what in politics, that should not get the little delinquent off with slap, if any, on the wrist.
And when you think your boy deserves an apology for raping an underage girl, you deserve the worst karma God can deliver.

Rosea Lake's photo "Judgments".

Exhausted by the human race,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Purge

No, not the movie. My closet.

I went through the box of winter clothes and ended up donating quite a bit. This now leaves me with a very streamlined wardrobe. I am choosing to keep out the t-shirts for layering purposes this year.

From the left is my jewelry bag with nothing very fancy in it, tank tops, t-shirts, three quarter sleeve and long sleeve shirts, two fancy shirts, one black turtleneck sweater, a few cardigans, three pairs of pants including jeans, four skirts, pretty scarves and a black dress I keep out in case we have some place special to go like a wedding.
On the top shelf are my shoes, God I miss Nordstrom shoe sales. I used to have the best boots ever.
The bins you see hold underwear, bras, winter scarves and hats and pajamas.
My pajamas consist of only a shirt and sweat shorts or my preggy yoga pants. Very sexy.
Out of everything I have, I would like to get some better pajamas. Not Frederick's of Hollywood type stuff.

Though I am sure my hubby would not scoff if I wore such an outfit. Of course I would have to get a blow up of the picture and paste it to myself so he thinks I look like her.

In reality, I prefer a more is less approach with pj's. Cover the sins of the flesh, Read: cellulite, pot belly, with fabric.
Now this works. These are called "Hostess Pajamas". Can you imagine? "Hello darling, the gratin is ready. Now pour Mama a gin and tonic."

I would so wear this to a cocktail party instead of to bed.

I do like these modern pajamas, but I really dislike the price of $74.00 (!!!!!!!)

I think we will hold off on pj shopping for the time being.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thank You Andre Dubus III

Here is a fun story for you. Quite a few years back we were up at a friends on Cape Cod. It was late, probably around 12:30-1am, and I was reading what is now one of my favorite books, "The House of Sand and Fog". As I reached a pivotal scene, I gasped and jerked my hand and slapped my husband in the arm since I could not scream. He woke up, none too pleased, but I was still riveted and began to babble at him for twenty minutes.
That poor man.
I did see the movie, but like most interpretations, while it was good, the book's impact was far greater and haunts me, still.
Odd thing is, I have never picked up another thing by the author, Andre Dubus III, and I should. I read a recent piece of his in The Atlantic and it had such an effect on me that I read parts of it out loud to my husband. (There was no arm slapping this time.) Seriously, even if you do not write, you should read the article.
The Case for Writing a Story Before Knowing How It Ends

I do most of what he talks about. I can't outline. I have tried. It is not my gig. I am better off planning some of it and then winging it. But listen, Andre and I? We have a similar process. Do you hear me?
I AM LIKE ANDRE DUBUS III. (Small piece of trivia. I went to Bradford College for two years and left before his father, the author, Andre Dubus, taught there. Freaky.)
Okay, you laugh, but when you have very little training in a tough field you question your right to belong. He made me see I do belong.
Or at least I have the right to crash the party. ;)
The one thing he recommends it is walking away from a written story for six months or longer. So when you go back to revise it you see it in a whole new light. I cringed a little at that because that feeds into my biggest fear. What is that you ask? My biggest fear is that someone else will write the same story and get it out there before I do. And then what? Do I still continue? Do I work on something else and then return once the hoopla of the other novel dies away? If there is hoopla of course.
There is no doubt in my mind that someone out there was working on a very similar story about vampires before Stephenie Meyer and Twilight came along. I cannot imagine what that person went through. All that hard work and now they are holed up in a closet somewhere. Or they cashed in on the craze, their book lost among the many in the same genre. I don't knock them. I understand. The hopes that your book will stand out among the hundreds that the publishers grabbed to cash in on the craze.
All it took for me was a Google search to see if there are any books dealing with the same subject matter. There are, but they do not deal with it in the same manner. This eases me, but only a little. Imaginations run wild and sometimes they cross and run parallel. None of us reinvent the wheel. We just find different ways to make it squeak or run smooth.
Maybe it is irrational to worry.
But every day that I cannot get any writing done is another day that I despair. I despair that my characters will lose their voice, lose who they are and I lose the plot and the desire. Drama. Writers have it in spades.
Then I read Mr. Dubus' article and really listened and I was transformed. I know my story. I know who they are and I will not lose a damn thing. I will improve it and gut it and listen to the characters and hear them. The delay will not harm nor hinder, it will enhance. Hell, it has already has as I have made the most radical changes when I was unable to write. I would be doing some mundane chore or be at the gym and BAM!! A major plot point gets added or resolved. That God for smart phones and their voice recorders! And as for the "what if someone else writes it first?" So what? So what? Let them tell their story. Mine can hold its own. It is funny, it is awesome and it is interesting.
I don't really care if Hollywood knocks or I become a millionaire. (Though it would be nice, it is not a requirement of why I do this.) At the end of the day, I just want to tell you all a story. And I want it to inspire you to smack someone in the arm at 1am.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Master Bedroom

October 21. Want to know what that date is for? It is when the gates of the construction gods open and my contractor crosses the street and comes to work inside our house.
The earth has moved my friends. 
While I have never been excited about spending the money to renovate a room that was never to have been redone. (Thank you ceiling leak, mold removal and roof replacement for making that happen.) I am looking forward to figuring out what color it shall be. Currently it is gray. Since walls are being ripped out and replaced, we get to choose a whole new scheme. This is where I admit my issues with neutrals, but I think that might work best in this case. Or at least, neutral and then one wall with a splash of color. That splash is the color I am having the hardest time with.
Let me tell you what we have to work with. A dark wood MALM bed from IKEA and silver lamps with sky blue shades. I also need new curtains since the pair that was in there would not match, so they got moved to another room, waste not want not. Of course I am on the crack website (see : HOUZZ) looking for various painting ideas. We will be having carpet put down also because the floors are pretty much shit up there thanks to the lack of sub-flooring and use of cheap pine.
I also want it known that we are not that type of people who need a bedroom the size of the Acropolis with matching sitting room and bathroom. All I want is a cozy place to sleep, have a little ooh la la and read.

Here are some of the ideas swimming in my well coiffed head.

I do love contrasting colors such as this. (sticksandstones.ca)

I really dig the wall color and duvet in this one. (sticksandstones.ca)

There is somethings soothing about this one. (patricksutton.com)

LOVE the one wall wallpaper idea. Seems almost retro movie star glamorous. Can you imagine having to choose just one pattern???
                                          (cottage blur designs)


Too many choices. I am going to be a mess when we do our bathrooms one day. LOL As for the bedroom, once we have it all figured out, and it is done, you shall all get to see its loveliness.

For cuteness, here is our cat, Chloe, and dog, Isadora aka Izzy

Recipe: A nice looking Country Apple Cake recipe from Decor8.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Ode to My Knitting Teacher

What seems like many moons ago I learned how to knit. I do not remember how or why, but I got a bee  in my bonnet to want to pick up needles and yarn and declare myself free from shopping for clothes. I have not gotten there, but at least I will never have to buy scarves or hats ever again!
On an internet quest, I found a woman that was sort of local, contacted her, set up a time and date and me and some gal pals went to her house in South Orange, NJ.
We walked into an awesome rambling home with children, pets and a very warm and welcoming teacher with great wit greeted us named Annie Modesitt.
Because of Annie, I adore knitting. She was laid back, funny and made us realize there was nothing to stress about. No one was asking us to knit an afghan to cover the Statue of Liberty so relax. She had tea and cookies for us and we all took to this new skill with aplomb. 
There were five in our group and she took time with each of us. She asked what we all wanted to make and then got us started to help the next person. What I loved was that she explained that her way of knitting was not considered "the norm". I hate the whole "right way, wrong way" crap when it is clear there are certain tasks, even math problems, that can be done in varying ways. She regaled us with tales of how she first started knitting and things she tried and people who told her she was "doing it wrong", her fibromyalgia, etc. The word "candid" should be her middle name. It was refreshing. 
I think we were there for about two hours before we hustled out of there due to an impending snow storm.*
It is fun to think back on how sore my wrist would get when I first started and how long it took me to make a basic scarf. Now I can fly through a hat or knitting a neck warmer with a flower. I have knitted lace scarves and cotton washcloths. This skill is something I look forward to as Autumn arrives and I a forever grateful to her for the time she allowed to pop over at last minutes notice for a refresher. 
She moved to Minnesota with her lovely family some time ago, but thankfully she has a blog.

One of the great things about Annie is her generosity. Be it her time, her infinite patience with those learning how to cast on and more. She is also very giving with some of her gorgeous patterns. On that note, I share with all of you her FREE Twisted Float Scarf Pattern. In her post, she links to a Caribou Coffee. Seems their founder, Amy Erickson,  passed away from Breast Cancer back in 1995. In honor of her, if you order Amy's Blend, they donate 10% to Cancer Care. There is also a #hashtag promo (for FB and Twitter which sadly I am not a part of either) that if used, a row of a scarf is knitted (takes about 40 hashtags) and once completed it is donated to a breast cancer patient. A simple gesture that means so much to those struggling with an illness. Beautiful.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Annie and take one of her classes, do it. You will not be disappointed. 


*As for the snow storm, we left her home as it began, it got worse us we drove and for the next two days were were all snowed in at our respective homes. Where I resided at the time in urban NJ sucked when it came to the town snow plowing. Glad I am not in that area anymore.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My New Girl Crush

Her name is Victoria Elizabeth Barnes.
Because her and her beloved husband are renovating a Victorian home and she has the absolute audacity to be funny about all the painstaking projects they have taken on, along with the Craiglisting she forces her husband to endure.
I am in love.
I freely admit that I torture my own husband with design ideas and my brother too. (Damn you Houzz!!) But this woman?  She takes it to a level that I only wish I could.
Anyone who has ever bought a home that needs TLC, my hand is raised, knows what it is like when you are waiting to find that perfect paint or perfect design, then tossing it all away when you realize you are NOT a Rockefeller. This will always disappoint me because I know deep down I would have made a fabulous society dame. C'est la vie!
I doubly appreciate when anyone buys a period home and works to restore it. There are many blogs out there documenting the seriousness of it all and the efforts which some people put in. I respect those who watch a video to figure out how to tile those teeny hexagon tiles.
That is so not me.
I also prefer humor when it comes to home renovating. As someone who would never live in something created by a Toll Brother, no offense, I join the ranks of those who fully believe we can keep some Americana safe by restoring the glory that is an 1878 home. Or in our case, 1920's lacking lots of love.
Maybe it is hubris, or more so, affordability, that brings people to the homes of yesteryear. For me it is the character they keep. The stories the tell and the belief that I can afford to create what I want with IKEA, Craigslist, Home Goods, and hand me downs.
Enough about me and my babbling. Read this woman's blog because she is funny and because what they are doing is pretty awesome.

Here are the few posts that had me going and remember, she is mine. ;-)

The Pilar Guzman post is hilarious.

The Kingdom Mirror. I have nothing to add. Just read.

This post also takes the cake.

I need my husband, who for years has mentioned he wants to learn woodworking, to get on this medicine cabinet project pronto. Seriously, I think it is a good first project for when we do our upstairs bathroom. You know, the one where the shower can no longer be used thanks to causing a leak in kitchen ceiling? Yes, that one.

My envy runs deep, but it is also covered in respect. This is one major house project and it is interesting and wonderful that anyone can just pop over and see how it is done. Thank you technology.

And because I am chipper, I end with the beautiful, "How to Pick the Right Garden Ceiling" from Houzz. It makes me want to grab a Bloody Mary and lounge about in one of these locations.

Have a fabulous weekend.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our CSA, Knitting and A Cat

Last night I decided to look into what the CSA we belong to will cost next year. As I opened the form I did a double take. They have upped the price by $50 making the cost of membership over $500!! Well, there goes that. All the food we have gotten has been delicious, seriously the best fruit I have EVER had, but there is a small downside. There were things we received in abundance that just did not work for us. Namely corn, green beans and peaches. I gave some peaches away and pureed others, but the corn and green beans were a touch more difficult. Right now I have six ears of corn sitting on my counter that I am going to turn in to bird food. We are supposed to get four more today, but I will be donating it to the food pantry. After discussion, my husband and I decided it is better for us if we just go to the farms when we need the produce and can buy exactly what we want. When we work it out the CSA has cost about $22 a week for produce. And that does include things in it we would not necessarily buy. I picked up a huge head of cabbage and a bunch of kale a few weeks ago and it was incredibly inexpensive. The head of cabbage was $2.25. Not per lb. The huge, fat cabbage was a flat $2.25. I got three meals out of that beauty. So that is what we will do next year and I think it will work out better. When I go to day I am going to price out the cost of their apples because if they are cheap, I would like to buy a good amount so my hubby can make his homemade apple juice. :)

We got eggplant in our CSA last week. My hubby is not a fan, so I searched for a recipe that would also incorporate other tasty goodies. Moroccan Spiced Eggplant With Kale fit the bill. The recipe leaves out where to throw in Mustard seeds so I did it with the other spices. I also put mine over Israeli cous cous. The hubby liked it and took left overs for lunch. A big win for eggplant!

Hooked on Houses has a Real Estate - Bad Ideas post that is pretty funny.

I am not feeling this daring, but this Nymphalidea shawl  on Knitty is amazing.

And in the writing department, I am still waiting to see if my story is accepted. The suspense is killing me actually. Unfortunately,  during this waiting period I have decided the ending is all wrong and wish to God I could go back and change it. Damn. I have lived with this story for so long the characters could bleed from me at this point. Perhaps this is unhealthy. My continuing belief in and attachment to this novel reminds me of a scene in the movie "Rebecca' where the nameless gal, played by Joan Fontaine, tells Maxim (Laurence Olivier) about her painter father who painted the same tree over and over. She says, "He had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing, or place or person, you should stick to it. Do you think that's very silly?"
No future Mrs. DeWinter, not at all. I want this story published in some form. It may take a few more years, but I want it out there.
The other novel? Still waiting to be brought back to life. Poor thing. It languishes while it's author struggles to find time to get it done. I am also losing touch with the core of it and that sucks. All in due time I guess.

I have yet to mend my jeans and hope to do so today. At least it has been so warm here I do not need them yet.

Here is a random picture of our 16 year old cat, Chloe.