Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Preparations

   This year, I am ready for New Years Eve. I have my dinner planned (pork roast, garlic mashed taters), Champagne is chilling in the fridge, I even have appetizers ready(TWO! Pepperoni and cheese on crackers, and shrimp cocktail). Just my luck, Hubs will stay up all morning, fall asleep in the early afternoon and sleep through dinner! That's what usually happens when I have the nerve to make plans.

   We will even be alone for the evening this year! Beloved son is taking girlfriend Julie and going away somewhere. I was asked(told) ever so politely(not) to make them some of my World Famous Deluxe Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are so awesome, but I don't make them very often. Simply for public safety reasons.

  The last time I made them, I made a special batch for Hubs' friend, put them in a box and taped it shut to prevent unauthorized sneaking of said cookies. Less than two weeks later, this friend had a massive heart attack on his way home from work. I understand that it's probably not my fault that he died, but I still feel like my cookies killed him. It has made me a lot more cautious when I make my cookies. I ask people who are going to eat them to sign a waiver that they are in relatively good health, and that my cookies are not responsible if they have sudden health issues. It may not stand up in court, but it makes me feel better.

   In crafting news, last night I cast on the shawl project I was telling you about. It took a long time to cast on, I could only do 50 stitches at a time. I would stop and count those stitches at least twice, just to make sure it was right. Then I could move on to the next 50. I was putting a stitch marker every 50 stitches. I have at this time knitted about 10 rows. The row I am currently on is a weird one, slip six stitches to a cable needle, twist it 180 degrees then knit the stitches off the cable needle. You do this all the way across the row, except for the first three and last three stitches. Thank the yarn goddess I only have to do this twice in the whole shawl. Once at the bottom edge and once at the top edge.

   And that's all for today, folks. I have no idea if I will post tomorrow, only time will tell. I may end up with an angry disappointed post about husbands who sleep through dinner. Or not! Either way, have a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year End Craft Report

   This year, I made a lot of stuff. Sweaters and shawls, and afghans too. Even a few scarves. But as of a few weeks ago, I have stopped knitting and crocheting. I don't know why. I just lost the urge to create. So I am taking a break.

   However, I am looking forward to making some new things next year. I have plans for a do-over on the sweater for my granddaughter. It just wasn't working for me. I also am nearly ready to cast on a new shawl. In fact I was going to do that last night. I got out my swift and ball winder, and wound the skein of gorgeous lace weight yarn from my friend Kim, of The pattern I want to make uses two different size needles, and I borrowed the size 11 circular that I don't have, from Kim.  I know I have size 6 circulars here somewhere. I looked for them last night. I even remember that Kim had given me a spare set that she didn't need. But I have yet to find them. When I do, I will cast on the shawl.

   So that's it for this year. Nothing on the needles or hooks right now. Actually that is misleading. I have an entire large tote bag full of partially finished projects. I had just decided to put them all away for the time being. So I think that they don't count. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Isn't it amazing that I can still find things to write about! And darn near every day! I guess I have a lot to say. I am looking forward to what I can come up with next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Found Mr. Magoo!

   Our son got his dad tickets to the Christmas Eve Giants/Jets game, as a Christmas gift. Off they went that morning, and I had most of the day to myself. The Giants won, which was a Christmas miracle, as far as we are concerned!

   Another gift our son got for his dad was a blu-ray, wi-fi, DVD player! He freely admits that this gift was more for himself, so we can get Netflix, and he can finally watch TV in his bedroom. Needless to say, we signed up for Netflix that very day.

   Which brings me to finding Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. They have it on netflix! So I finally got to watch it! Not only that, but I can watch it whenever I want! Woo Hoo! As for Hubs, he is in trouble. We had agreed to not exchange gifts this year. But of course,  he got me some stuff. He and Jesse each got me gift certificates to Pop's Tattoo Emporium, so I can finally get some Cookie ink! (Cookie is the artist, a friend of my son-in-law's) Now I won't feel so left out. I have been thinking about my next tattoo for a long time now. Here is a photo of the design I want, I want different colors.

   So now I'm very excited about getting a new tattoo. Of course, my mother is mortified. I swear, she has the sensibilities of a Victorian! She was born in the wrong time period. She totally disapproves of tattoos, and was devastated when Sara got one. But we are all grown up, and can do what we want. =p ....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Best Christmas Gift and The Difference Between Men and Women

   This year, I have to say, my favorite gift came from my daughter, Sara. She went on line, and made calendars for my mom and me. She probably spend hours putting together all the photos, cropping them to just the right size, and matching them for the theme of each month! It's all done on the computer, and they mail it to you. But I am amazed at the photos she found of all of us, taken over the years.

   Every member of the family has their important days marked on the months too. All the birthdays and anniversaries are there. I have never seen such a thoughtful gift! This is one I will keep even after the time of the calendar is over. I spoke to my mom today and she agreed with me, we both keep picking our calendars up and looking at all the pictures again and again!

   And now I come to the difference between men and women. These two topics for today seem to be unrelated, but trust me, they are not. While my daughter spend untold hours pouring through and choosing the photos for our calendars, her beloved husband made one for his mom too. The difference is he simply clicked the "Auto-fill" button, and the computer put the pictures in place for him.

  And that right there is a very graphic illustration of the difference between men and women, am I right? The women spend hours choosing and fussing, and the men click the fracking auto-fill button. Turns out I was right all along. Men really are just stupid little boys.

   Now don't get me wrong, I love my son-in-law. And I hear his mom was tickled pink with her calendar. But come on! The easy way isn't always the best way. I sure hope my Hubs doesn't read this.....

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Multi-Generational Family Holiday Dinner Report

   This afternoon, my mom hosted our multi generational family holiday dinner. In attendance: Mom, her 2 children (my brother and myself), our spouses, my three children, their two spouses and one girlfriend, my young nephew (his sister couldn't come, she had to work), and my two beautiful grandbabies.
   We all met at a Diner near mom's house. This tradition was started by my late mother-in-law Betty, when it became too much for her to cook for us on Christmas eve. At the time, there was only her husband Tom, my Hubs, myself, and our two kids. We expanded to include my mom, and after Betty passed, my mom took up the reins and added all of her family.
   We had a great meal, and afterwards, we adjourned to mom's for coffee, dessert, and presents. We had decided in advance that only the kids would get presents this year, as money is tight for all of us. We had a good time at moms, watching the little ones opening their gifts. We laughed and shared stories.
   I finally got a chance to grab my oldest son and examine his fingers. I do this for a reason! A few months ago, I discovered that my index fingers are twisted at the top. I had never noticed this before! When I asked my youngest son Jesse, he laughed and held up his hands. His fingers are the same way, only much more so, I think because of the years of karate. (BTW, it's 12 years tomorrow since his very first class) I then asked my daughter about her fingers, and hers too are twisted! Then we went to mom, and hers are twisted too. So I can lay the blame squarely on her shoulders for this one.
   James had never noticed, but his fingers are twisted also, but only slightly. So my mom passed her twisted fingers down to all of us! I hope it made James feel even more of a connection to the rest of us. He was taken from me by his father when we divorced when James was small. We only recently reconnected, about 5 years ago, six months before his wedding. It's been difficult, but worth it. He is the father of my two beautiful grandbabies.

   Now I am exhausted, so I am going to bed very soon! Good night to you all, and I hope you had a terrific holiday!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past

   Today is a day of memories. One can't help but remember events of past holidays, especially of your children when they were little. Also one can't help but think of future holidays, of future children of our children. How these future little ones will bring a new joy of the season to their parents.
   But I digress. I have some choice memories that I would like to share with you all if you are willing to read them. There is one memory in particular that actually spans two holidays. You know how all the years the kids are little, they looooove to try and wake you up really early to open their presents? Well, our son had finally quit doing that, he was old enough to appreciate sleeping in. Well.... this one year, Hubs and I were both up really early, we couldn't sleep that night. It had to be 6 a.m. We decided to wake Jess up, and start Christmas early.

   We ran in his room, and shook him awake, yelling "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" The poor kid was so confused, and very sleepy. But he got up, he was a good sport. When the holiday came around again the next year, he told us we had better not wake him up again at 6 a.m. or he would kill us.  Well, we didn't. We woke him up at 5:30! It wasn't 6:00!! We listened!

   Ah, the fond memories. Our first Christmas after we were married, we had a really a special time. Hubs gave me a beautiful backgammon set. I didn't even know he played! We have been playing ever since. And the year after that, Jesse was only 2 months old. Hubs' mom got me a beautiful rocking chair. I still have it, it's in the den, loaded down with piles of books.

   I love how the holiday is so magic for the little ones. The way Sara's face would shine with joy when she came running down the hall from the bedroom to see what Santa had brought for her. It still takes my breath away.

   Here's hoping that your holiday is joyous and happy, and that Santa was good to you this year. Be safe if you are traveling. Remember, it's all for the kids.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

At Long Last, It's Festivus Eve!

   Yup, it's Festivus Eve. That's what my friend Kim has decided to call the holiday. And I'm with her on this one. We usually observe Christmas, but not being practicing Christians, celebrate it as a non-religious day. She and our other friends have taken Festivus to heart. It's "Festivus for the rest of us." (Who are not Christians)

   Anyway. Today my son and my Hubs are freezing their butts off at the Giants/Jets game. This was my son's gift to his dad. Hubs has never been to a game before. I hope they have a good time!

   I get to stay home, and wash dishes, sort socks, and wrap presents. Then after the game, when they call me, I am going to meet them in Carmel, at Julie's family's house.  It's exciting getting to meet the son's girlfriend's family for the very first time. I already know they love my son, I hope they like us too. Unfortunately, I think we get to claim very little credit for how he turned out.

   So I've got what wrapping I need to do for tonight done. I've made the chocolate truffle-like tartlets. I've washed most of the dishes. I still need to sort the socks. I'm watching the game, off and on. Lucky for me, there are episodes of Dr. Who on today!! I love BBC America.

   Tomorrow I will need to make three full sized chocolate truffle tarts. All will be needed on Monday. I only have two pans. I decided to make one, and then cut it into slices and put it in a container for gifting. One I can gift in the pan, because I know I will get it back soon. And the third, I'm making for our big family holiday dinner on Monday. For that one I will use the spring form pan, and pre-cut the tart, making it easier to serve after dinner.

   I think it's time to sort the socks. Have a Happy Festivus, Everyone!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stitch n BItch, Shopping and Traffic Trauma

   This morning, I finally got my butt out of bed, and got to Stitch n Bitch. I was late, but I had a reason. Last night, while doing laundry, I pulled a muscle in my leg going up the stairs. It was extremely painful. Painful enough that I didn't finish the laundry because I couldn't get up or down the stairs.

   The pain was so bad, I was texting with a friend, and she recommended a prescription painkiller. I still have some of those, so I took one. It sort of helped, but made me nauseous and dizzy too.  My whole evening was spent trying not to throw up. Needless to say, I went to bed early. And I still felt ooky this morning.

   But I got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth, and managed to double limp my way out the door. Yes, double limp. Once from the pulled muscle in my calf, right leg, and I have been having muscular pain in my left hip, so that is the second limp. It hasn't been fun at all.

   I made it to Stitch n Bitch, and had a nice breakfast with Jan and Kim. Nobody else came. At least Bonny texted me that she slept late and wouldn't make it. So we three had a nice time knitting together, but we always do. I had planned on going to Kingston with Kim afterwards, to do some  >shudder<  Christmas shopping. I had gotten the word from Hubs that it was ok.  If I didn't go because of my muscle pain, nobody would get Christmas presents this year. So I went.

   It turns out that we had fun! The Wal-Mart in Kingston was absolutely hellish, but we managed to get what we needed. I did my gift shopping while she grocery shopped. After that, we went to Michaels craft store, but neither of us found yarn that we couldn't live without. Don't get me wrong, I was in pain by the time we were finished. Then Kim treated me to Starbucks. I believe that is where we left merely hellish and entered the 7th level of Hell. We sat through FOUR changes of the stoplight before we even were able to get out of the plaza we were in. Route 9W was in a total gridlock.

   People were stopped on the main road, blocking the exit lanes, so no one was moving. At all. Total incompetent, inconsiderate drivers. Merry Fracking Christmas!! But we had a good laugh, and our Starbucks to keep us calm. She had even gotten us Cake pops, tiramisu flavor. They were totally delicious! I swear to the Goddess, if I ever want to go to Kingston two days before Christmas again, KILL ME. On the best of days, traffic is horrendous there. I knew there was a reason I avoid driving there if at all possible.

   So that was my trauma for today. I am ready to go in and curl up next to Hubs, and take a nap. In fact, I can hear my bed calling to me!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where's Mr. Magoo?

   When I was a kid, my parents decided to get rid of our TV. They thought we spent entirely too much time sitting in front of it. Ahead of their time, weren't they? So, for some of my gradeschool years, we had no connection to the greater world. When the Monkees TV show became a hit, I had no idea who they were. I remember getting teased by my classmates because I still carried my Beatles lunch box. Clearly, my parents were trying to stifle my 5th grade social life.

   After several years, they finally relented. I have a suspicion they were mainly interested in watching the whole "landing on the moon" event, in 1969. Whatever their reason, we finally got a TV again. However, still not a color one. To tell the truth, they never had a color TV until after I moved out, which was sometime in 1981. Anyway, they strictly monitored our viewing time. We kids were each allotted 30 minutes a day of TV time. Remember, this was at a time when there were maybe 4 channels, no cable, and the stations went off the air at night.

   There were no channels devoted entirely to cartoons. In fact, the only time cartoons were on was on Saturday mornings. If we woke up earlier than they started, we got to watch the farm report. I kid you not. And early on Sunday morning we were treated to the roller derby, but no cartoons.

   So we each got to watch TV for 30 minutes a day. Of course, it wasn't long before we were watching each others blocks of time. After a while, the parental units gave up. This is what I got for having parents that were both teachers. My mom taught pre-school, and my dad taught math at Mahopac High School. 

   My point here, and I do have one, is that one of my favorite programs that was shown at Christmas time was A Christmas Carol, the one with Mr. Magoo. I loved the songs, and remember the show fondly. I have been waiting for it to air this year. So far, I have been disappointed. I will keep hoping, however. And if, for some reason, it never hits the airwaves this year, perhaps I can find it on DVD somewhere. I would love to see it again!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On Being A Karate Mom

    This being the holiday season, it brought to mind one particular Christmas. It was 1999, and my son had just turned 10 years old that Halloween. Every year, his dad bought him a special gift, just from him. One year, it was a Go-Kart. But this particular year, it was a month of Karate classes.

   Jess was so excited. He had his first class on December 27th, 2 days after Christmas. He was a little self conscious, he was the oldest kid in the white belt class. But he took to it right away, and once he found out he could break stuff, that was it. His face just lit up. He came home after that class and told us both he wanted to do this forever!

   He became very dedicated to the martial arts. He attended classes regularly, at least 3 times a week. I will never forget his very first monthly promoton. He was to receive his orange belt. The Master stood in front of all the students who were arranged by rank. As he ran them through their paces, there was one boy who didn't know what he was supposed to know. The Master let his displeasure be known. He asked the boy if he practiced at home. The poor boy answered in the negative.

   After that night, Jess practiced at home. All the time. He practiced his forms, and once he was advanced enough for a weapon, a Bo Staff, he practiced that too. He wasn't going to be yelled at like that other boy.

   He progressed through the ranks quickly. He attended classes every day of the week. He and I had had a talk, that if he was going to do this, Karate would have to become his best friend. Once he got to the red belt level, the belt before black belt, he had to help teach classes as well.  You are a red belt for a long time, nearly two and a half years, or even more, and this is the point when most students drop out.

   My son maintained his strength through this whole time. It certainly wasn't easy, on him or on me. You see, with him being underage, I got to drive him to class, and sit there for the three or so hours every day while he helped teach, then took his own class.  My butt got very familiar with those hard metal chairs. I knew the creed that all the students recite at the beginning of every class. I even got to the point where I would recite it with the class! Which the Master noticed, and got a good laugh out of.

   When my son became a 1st Degree Black Belt at the age of 13, I was so proud. Shortly after that, his Master asked him to be a junior instructor. He is now 22, and a 3rd Degree Black Belt, ready to test for his 4th Degree, or Master Belt. And I am still so proud of him. He turned out good.

   I wish I could take the credit for that, but I think his Karate Master gets most of the credit. He has such self esteem, and self assurance, he is an absolutely amazing man. His dad and I agree that he is more mature than we are.  He is going to be a success in whatever field he decides to enter, and he is going to be the best dad in the world.

   In closing, I must ask, if anyone reading this knows my son personally, please DO NOT TELL HIM ABOUT THIS POST. He wouldn't appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And So It Begins...

   That's right. Today I broke down and bought the first Christmas gift. It's for my son's girlfriend's mom and step dad. We will be meeting them Christmas Eve, and Hubs told me that we shouldn't arrive empty handed. I told him I was planning on bringing one of my chocolate truffle tarts. He decided that that wasn't enough. So I went to the Awesome Store and picked out some goodies that they put into a gift basket for me.

   I hope they like what I picked out. Some jams, some fudge, a package of candied almonds, and a package of my favorite soup mix. Lots of what they sell they make themselves. And there are lots of things that are locally made too. Everything I've had from there is really good. I love their soup mixes. It makes a whole, big pot of soup, and they are vegetarian, but you can add meat if you want. Of course, I do.

   So that's one gift down. Thank the yarn Goddess that the family has decided not to give gifts to each other this year, only to the kids. I have stopped working on Chloe's sweater, I decided I don't like the yarn I'm using. I will do it over after Christmas, but I still need to get something for her and her little brother. I also need a gift for my nephew Christopher. I think his big sister is old enough to qualify as an adult this year, making her exempt from gifting. I believe she's 20, or will be on her next birthday, in February.

   As for my mom, well, Sara had an idea, and we are going halves on it. I will give her the money when I see her. Probably at our big family dinner in the 26th. The gift I ordered for Hubs and myself came this past week. I decided not to save them for under the tree. So we've been using them. I bought us each a new pillow. The ones they show on TV. So far, it's working for me, but Hubs says he's not loving it. If I have to, I will send his back. But I'm keeping mine.

   Most of my gifts for my friends will be chocolate truffle tarts. Those I can wait to make. I'm also taking one to the family dinner. So wooo hooo. Christmas is finally underway at my house!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tattoo Photo and Rambling Thoughts

   As promised, here's a photo of Hubs' newest tattoo. He finally let me take the photo yesterday. It's been ready for a while, it's just that when I wanted to take the photo, he was in too much of a hurry. Going to work, or something...

    There's not much else to talk about today. I have in my head a short list of Christmas presents I need to buy. That's right, I haven't started shopping yet. Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it. It sucks being broke. To lighten the mood, I have here a new photo of my cat. His name is Ozzy, and was named after "the" Ozzy. He was a wild man when he came to live with us. He talked a lot, I think because he came from a house that was full of cats. He talked to get attention. He is the only cat in our house, and he still talks all the time. I love hearing it.

   He doesn't look like he's 10 or 11 years old, does he? It's hard for me to remember he is that old. He does still act like a kitten. Although, he has started chasing his tail all the time. That is usually a kitten thing, but he never did that when he was a kitten! Even then, he was very dignified. In the above photo, he's laying on an afghan I made about 20 years ago. It was on our bed, Hubs was using it, but he brought it out to the living room because he was cold.

    Time to sign off, I'm getting delirious. Night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

About Fried Pickles.....

   This past fall, some friends and I attended the Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Festival. While we enjoyed the day we spent there, one of the foods we sampled was fried pickles. They were sliced up and battered, then deep fried. At first, I wouldn't even consider eating one. But as my friends dug in, I decided to give one a try. They were actually pretty good, surprise surprise!

   One of the ladies was a southern girl, and she's the one who bought the pickles. She had fond memories of eating them when she was a kid. It turns out the New York version wasn't as tasty as the southern version, but we native New Yorkers enjoyed them all the same.

   Last night, at our anniversary dinner, Billy Bob's BBQ had fried pickles on the menu as an appetizer. I decided to order some, against Hubs' wishes. He wouldn't even watch me eat them. Instead of slices, these came as spears! There were six of them, representing 1.5 pickles. The batter they were coated in was very tasty, and the dipping sauce was excellent! I would recommend them to anyone eating there!

   That said, I can now confess that the fracking pickles messed with me all night. ALL. NIGHT. Every time I woke up, I was burping, and I could taste them. I must confess here and now that even after the Night of the Pickles, I would not hesitate to order them again. They tasted that good!

    To be honest, Hubs told me I could order anything my little heart desired. He just really hates pickles. He doesn't even know why, and we can't figure out what kind of pickle trauma he must have suffered as a child. He told me of a nightmare he had once, the night before a work pizza party. He dreamed that all the pizza's, every last one of them, were covered with pickle slices. And he opened every single box and looked.

    Now all of you, go to bed and dream of fried pickles!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anniversary Stories and Doings

   Today is our 23rd wedding anniversary. I may have mentioned this before... It is especially pleasing to have lasted this long because we only knew each other for six months before we got married. It has been my habit these many years to inquire of married couples how long they knew each other before tying the knot.

   And in all these years, I have only found one couple, who are still together, who knew each other for less than six months. This delightful couple knew each other for literally five or six weeks before they got married. And that was nearly thirty years ago! So it seems that Hubs and I have neaten the odds.

   Tonight, to celebrate, Hubs took me out to dinner. We went to Billy Bob's BBQ, owned and operated by a former co-worker and his family. This was our second visit to his establishment, the first being on my birthday earlier this year. This time the atmosphere was totally different. The last time our visit was on a Tuesday, which is Wing Night at Billy Bob's. It is also very close to Vassar College, so it was packed with college kids, there for the forty cent wings, and cheap beer.

   This time, it was earlier in the evening, just about 6 pm, when we walked in the door. And this time we went to the quieter side of the building, away from the bar. As I said, we had a very good meal, and even got dessert. Hubs ate all of his chocolate peanut butter pie, while I could't finish my raspberry cheesecake fritters. We brought home all the food we couldn't finish, so we will be snacking later, and tomorrow too.

  Now, we are getting ready to go for a soak in our hot tub. It's outside, and it's cold out. This is our favorite time to go for a soak. The coldest temperature it was outside when I went in, was 18 degrees. It's not that cold tonight, but it's cold enough.

   Have a good night, everyone, I know we will!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Preparations? NAH....

   OMG I am realizing that Christmas is getting closer every day. I know this because tomorrow is one week before Christmas Eve. It also happens to be our 23rd wedding anniversary. I still need to bring our little tree up from the basement, and Hubs needs to move his tools from the little table where the tree goes.

   Last year, Hubs and I were in the Fishkill house. So our son had this house all to himself. He decorated for Christmas by hanging up our three stockings on the wall. They are still there. Hubs suggested we hang up a 4th stocking this year, for Julie, our son's girlfriend. I told him I wasn't sure, but that might be too much of a commitment. But  I am glad she's around, and it is nice to not be outvoted on everything all the time! 

   I am reminded of Christmas every time I walk into our kitchen. A few years ago, actually more than a few, Hubs and I were going to paint the kitchen. So at Christmas time, we painted a Christmas mural on the one wall. Everyone helped, and painted something. There's a big tree, with metallic ornaments, and garland. There's snow drifts, and presents under the tree. Hubs painted a hunter with a bow and arrow, aimed at the reindeer of Santa's sleigh that Jesse painted. The hunter is sitting on a star up in the sky.

   Mom painted shadows and dimension on the snow drifts, as she's the artist in the family. Sara added "ALL HAIL SARA", with a smiley face. There's a snowman too, but I don't remember who painted it. All these things are still there. We have never painted over them. Since the man gnome and the woman gnome hang on that wall, they are christened MIKE and KIM, respectively.

   We may be an oddball family, but we do have our share of fun. Sometimes we can be dysfunctional, like many families, but I believe we all truly love each other. And isn't that what the Christmas season is really all about?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sharing Mom's Folk Art Pieces

    For as long as I can remember, my mom has been doing one artsy craft or another. She has painted in oils, done ceramics, even tried her hand at crocheting. I can remember her attempt at making a granny square afghan. She worked for months on her granny squares. I remember they were shades of green. She had piles and piles of them.

   When she finally had enough of them to put together, she made a horrendous discovery. All her squares were of about four different sizes! Some were tiny, and some were big! The rest were somewhere in between. She got totally disgusted, and threw them all away. She never crocheted anything again. She left that to her mother, and then to me.

   She finally found folk art painting. She really loved that, and even got good enough to teach it. She had a classroom set up in the basement of her house. Over the years, I have come to own some of her pieces. My daughter has some too, in her house. I have taken photos of the pieces I can find, I know I have more, but I have no idea what I've done with them.

   Here are the photos of the pieces I have. Mom painted this for us when we got married, it hangs over the doorway to our kitchen:

This little plaque hangs in my bedroom. I love it:

Mom and Dad carved the wood, then mom painted it:

One of the gnomes in my kitchen, I can't get a good shot of Mrs. Gnome:

These are two of the four tray tables that mom painted:

And here is my rock again. It counts, mom painted it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Tart, Take III

   Today I decided it was time to try a new version of the chocolate truffle tart. I used the springform pan I found in my cupboard, and baked the pie crust in it. I waited until it was done before I made the filling; I wanted to be sure it wouldn't stick. As soon as it came out of the oven, I knew it was a winner, it slid around a little inside the pan.

   So I heated up my cream, and poured my semi-sweet chips into the bowl. I added the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Then I added my extra ingredient, about a cup of Nutella. When the cream was hot, I poured it in, and let it sit for a minute. Then I whisked it until it was smooth.  Of course, I had to taste it. It was delicious. Once it cooled to room temperature, I poured it into the cooled shell. Once it was spread out evenly, I covered it with plastic wrap and popped it into the fridge to cool and solidify.

   I just took it out a little while ago. I haven't cut into it yet, but I can't wait. I sure hope it's got a good truffle-like texture. I am excited about using the springform pan, it will make for easier cutting the tart before I take it to the holiday get together, as well as make it easier to serve.

   As for my crafting, I am still not making any progress. Even though Hubs was nice enough to stop at the yarn store on our way home yesterday, for me to get some yarn I need to finish Chloe's little sweater.  I am just not feeling like crocheting lately. It sucks! I know Christmas is coming fast, and I need to have gifts for my grandbabies.

   The good news is that I did finish my sweater, and it's awesome. I was hoping that it would inspire me to get back to work on my other projects, but it didn't. I can see myself busting my butt on Christmas Eve to finish. The better news is that we aren't having our family dinner with gift giving until the 26th. So that gives me a couple of extra days. Will someone please light my fire?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I admit it, I fell in love in Home Depot!

   Hubs and I went to Fishkill today, to buy and install the door on the other end of the breezeway-now-mudroom.  We got there bright and early, for us, which is 10 a.m. Which means we left home at 9.  That is very early for us! I specifically brought my camera today, because you see, I fell in love at the Home Depot last week. I wanted to get a photo of him, he was soooo beautiful.

   Hubs has been very understanding about this. In fact, he saw him first, and pointed him out to me. I fell head over heels! There he was, in the display of fancy doors. I didn't see him at first, I was dazzled by the one with the stained glass in it. But Hubs said he found a better one, and he was right! He looks like he was taken off the front of a Spanish Castle. He's so seductive, with the dark wood and all.

    I made my wishes known to Hubs then and there. I would own that door. I  wondered,  does Home Depot have layaway? He told me that when I get a job, I could buy the door, and he would install it. I told him that not only would he install it, he would make the opening in our house bigger if necessary, to make it fit! And not only that, when and if we ever move? The door comes with us. No arguments. So he'd better save the door we have now, because we need to need it someday, to put back in.

   So now I am accepting donations towards the purchase of my beloved door. I will let you all come and see him once he's happily ensconced in the front of my house.

   Point of interest, as I was taking the photo, another customer walked by and told us that he was thrown out of the store once for taking a photo of something. And he was serious. So I quickly snapped my photo, and put my camera back in my giant tie-dye hippie purse. Whew, that was close!

P.S. I have decided to name him Diego.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Sweater Blocking Adventure

   We have discussed, I'm sure, that I use my son's bed to block my knitting. I wait until he's going to be gone for a few days, and block away. He has fallen into a routine, where he goes to his girlfriends house on Saturday, and comes home Monday evening after work. She is usually here Mondays too, she has an evening class that gets out late.

   This week, after he had gone, I soaked my sweater in the washing machine, since I have no sink large enough for it. All rolled up in towels, I brought it upstairs. I found my blocking boards, and put the puzzle pieces together. Then I brought in the little ceramic heater, plugged it in, and turned it on. Lastly, I unrolled my sweater, and laid it out on the bed, on top of the blocking boards. I pinned the pleat down, so it would stay together. I fussed with it for a while, as knitters tend to do.

   When I was satisfied, I walked out and closed the door behind me. Expecting some miracle to happen, I checked it in a hour. I shouldn't have wasted my time. It was still pretty wet. Well, I can hope, can't I?

   Unfortunately, the best laid plans of knitters tend to go awry. And children just love to change their plans without informing their moms. Not two hours after I closed that door, Son walked in the front door, informing me that he was home to watch football with his dad, but that he was going out to dinner, so I don't have to cook for him. And that Julie would be here later.

   So I freaked a little, since I have no where else to put the wet sweater. He was nice enough to let me keep it in there, during the game. I kept checking it, hoping it would dry quickly. By the time the game was over, I had to move it. I gently folded one sleeve and side onto the center, then the other one. I bent the outside portions of the blocking boards up, and moved the whole kit and caboodle onto the floor by the foot of his bed. I had to maneuver it under all these wires that go from his video game system to the TV. I got it in place, and left it there. He  asked me to leave the heater on, since his room can be pretty cold.

    He and Julie got too hot with the heater on, and ended up turning it off during the night. After he left this morning, I put the sweater back on the bed, and turned the heater back on. So my sweater finally got completely dry today. I had my erands to run, and by the time I was done this afternoon, it was ready. I tried it on, and it felt wonderful. The sleeves weren't too long! The pleat stayed pleated! I can't wait to wear it, hopefully on Friday, to Stitch n Bitch.

   Am I an evil woman, a bad mother, and horrible person, for hoping my beloved youngest child will move out? Would he think less of us, if he knew we've made plans for just such an occasion? All I can say is that I hope he doesn't read this  one...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Let's Talk About Christmas

   Yes, let's talk about Christmas. As some of you may know, it's coming. Soon. But before that, is our wedding anniversary. Hubs and I were married one week before Christmas Eve. That way, neither of us can possibly forget. (like I would!)This year marks our 23rd anniversary. Not bad for two people who met a mere 6 months before they got married, huh?

  I just erased a whole bunch of paragraphs I had written. It wasn't going where I wanted it to go. So I'll try again. I do love the holiday season, but I find that as the years pass, I don't want to decorate and make a big fuss any more. I bring my little table top tree up from the basement, and hang the stockings. Our house is filled with love all year long, so really it's just another day in paradise!

   I really look forward to the TV specials. Last night, there were two on, about people who go overboard with the Christmas lights. One was U.S. people, the other was about people in Europe. I watched them both. I also watch every version of A Christmas Carol that I can find. My favorite is the Muppets version. I'm waiting for the Mr. Magoo one to come on. I hope I haven't missed it! That's the one I watched as a child, the one I remember most.

   This year, the holiday is a little harder than usual, except for last year. Last year, my mother-in-law had just passed away, and we stayed in her house the whole winter. It was a very somber and sad holiday last year. This year, I'm finding I'm missing her a lot. You know how, when you are first married, and you have to adjust your lives at the holidays, trying to blend the two family celebrations together? Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you settle into a routine. In our case, we spent Christmas Eve with Hub's mom and her Hubs, and Christmas day with my family.

   Well, his mom got tired of cooking a big dinner, so she started taking all of us out to
a local restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner, then we would go back to her house to open our gifts. That was fun, and eventually, all of us, including my family, would attend. Last year, we held the dinner in her honor. Nearly my whole family was there. This year, we will continue the tradition. But we are holding it on a different night. Because bringing so many different branches of the family together is getting  more difficult, mom decided to wait until the 26th of December to hold the dinner. That way, all the younger married folks can still celebrate with their respective families. And my Hubs and son are unavailable on Christmas Eve this year, as Jesse's gift to his dad takes them away for the day. That's all I'm sayin', as it's a secret, and Hubs still doesn't know.

   I am still perfecting my chocolate truffle tart, and have more experiments to do. Someone better hurry up and eat what's left of the last one! Some of these are destined to be Christmas gifts, and I'm taking one to the dinner, for dessert afterwards at mom's house.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Can't Think of a Title For This One!

   When I started writing this blog, I really didn't think anyone at all would read it, outside the small circle of my own friends and acquaintances. Each and every day, as I log in to start writing, I check out the statistics page.

   I am totally amazed that so far, my blog has been read over 2,500 times, and in places like Russia! The Czech Republic, Latvia, Serbia, and Sweden too! One person in Canada reads my blog, but I know who it is... Hi, Stacey! I read her blog too. There are also readers in the U.K. and Ireland. All this blows me away!

   I love to write. When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. As a teenager, I got a typewriter one Christmas. My parents couldn't get me away from it! I was always writing short stories. I have no memories of what they were, or what happened to them.  They were probably thrown away. Some of them, I used as writing assignments for English class essays.

   The one I really remember was a typical day in our lives, as seen and experienced by our cat, Elroy. That one was well received, I had to read it in front of the class. I hated that, it terrified me. Public speaking still terrifies me.

   A few years ago, the urge to tell a story overtook me. I had a concept, complete with character names, and situations, relationships between the characters, all that. But I had no plot! I couldn't think of any adventures for these people to have! I wrote it all down in a notebook, and ended up putting it away. But the main character is still in my mind, I think about her once in a while.

   Maybe that's what all this writing is leading up to... The Twitter, Facebook, Blog progression, could it be leading me to write something longer? Only time will tell.

   In the meantime, I have more experiments to do as far as my chocolate truffle tart is concerned. The latest one, plain with no peanut butter, was good, but I agree it is a bit too sweet. For the next one, I am planning on substituting Nutella for the peanut butter. I will let you all know how that one turns out.

   And I still have all my knitting and crocheting projects that I need to finish. The sweater is only the first. By the way, I plan on blocking it this weekend, while my son is away. I use his bed, it's the only place in the house that I can use. I wouldn't put my precious knitting on my carpets. We used to have a dog. She had a problem. She was a BIG Greyhound. Big dog equals big puddles. 'Nuff said.

   So "Hello!" to all my readers, near and far. Keep up the good work, and subscribe to my blog, so I know you are out there! Leave comments too, I'd love to hear what you think.


Friday, December 9, 2011

In which I finally finish my sweater!

   Here it comes, boys and girls! After languishing for (what seems like) many months, I was inspired after Stitch n Bitch this morning, to get my unfinished sweater out, and FINALLY finish it! I just finished sewing up the 2nd pocket. The first one was 2/3 sewn already, so I finished that one, then went on and sewed up the second one.

   Now all I have to do is block it. It's so big, and I don't have a sink large enough. Maybe I can use the washing machine, just to get it wet and let it soak a little while. Either way, I have to wait until my son is gone for a couple of days and nights, so I can use his bed to lay it out to dry. Hubs even brought the space heater home from the Fishkill house, so I can use it in his room to speed up the drying process. Woot!

   The first time I made this pattern, it turned out perfectly, but it was too big for me. I do wear it anyway, but I wanted to make another one, smaller, that fit me better. This one seems to be a big snug, but I will stretch it out a little when I block it. It also isn't as perfect as the first one, the seams at the shoulder are a little bulky. And again this time, the pleat in the back isn't right. But I don't really care, I will wear this one proudly and loudly.

I think the second pocket I just sewed is a bit crooked too, but again, I don't care. That's one of those things that people don't notice unless it's pointed out to them. I haven't taken any new photos, but here are a couple of the sweater in process:

The first sleeve, done:

The 8 stitch bind off for attaching sleeve:

Almost the end, the two sides of the collar coming together:

And finally, the whole, nearly finished, sweater!

   Now that I am inspired, I wonder what else I will pull out to finish? What I would really, really like to do, is adjust this pattern down to a child size 4, to fit my granddaughter! But I can't see me working that much math. I'd have to do the sleeves flat, and seam them up. And you all know how I feel about seams.... It would be do-able, I think, using small needles, and if I had the right measurements.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Tart, Take II

   The first chocolate truffle tart I made was awesome. Everyone who got some loved it. I have been asked to make one for our big family Christmas Dinner. That's a big honor. And My friend Kim has asked me to make her one as a Festivus Gift. It's not a problem, they are easy as well as delicious.

   I have been thinking, that maybe I could make individual tarts, instead of one big one. Today, I picked up small graham cracker tart shells. After Hubs left for work, I made the chocolate truffle filling. After it cooled, I spooned it into the little tart shells. I had purchased 12 of them, and only used 8! Clearly, this would not work for such a large group as my family. Better to make one large one, and cut it into small wedges.

   I looked in my cabinets, and found a large spring form pan, which would be perfect for the tart! That would make it much easier to pre-cut the wedges. So my next experiment will be to make one in the spring form pan, and see how that one comes out.  It's a good thing everyone loves chocolate truffle, I won't have any trouble getting rid of my experiments!

   Since I love hazelnuts, I put some chopped hazelnuts in the bottom of two of the tart shells. Only 7 would fit on the tray, so I had to eat the other one when it set up. Oh, the sacrifices we have to make!

   Against all odds, I feel that I am actually getting the Holiday spirit this year. Against my will, I might add. I can't help it, the good will is flowing all around me, and it's contagious.

  So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Festivus, and Blessed Be to all!

Frustration Sets In

   This morning, I woke up with an idea for a blog topic. I got out of bed to write some things down, because if I didn't, I would totally forget my idea. It's happened before.

   When I got up for real, I started writing on my chosen topic. I wrote and wrote; I was on a roll. But when I went back and read what I had written, I wasn't happy with it. I felt I was not making the points I had intended. I tried to edit it and fix it, but I couldn't. So I erased the whole thing. The idea is still a good one, I think, but maybe I should think on it some more. It looks like I have to shelve the idea, and save it for another time.

   That means I have no topic for today. Perhaps I can update you on my crafting progress. I haven't made any. There, I said it. This is frustrating too! I haven't picked up any knitting or crocheting since Stitch n Bitch last Friday. I sure hope this is only a temporary set back. I need to finish Chloe's sweater, and make her brother's hat and scarf. I would also like to finish my own sweater. I only need to sew the pocket seams up, for fracks sake!

   Truthfully, I would really like to re-do Chloe's sweater. I am not happy with the feel of the fabric. I want it to be softer. Right now, I'm hoping it gets soft when I wash it. But I have to finish it first to find out. And Christmas is coming fast.

   Hubs and I will be celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary in 9 days. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday we pledged ourselves to each other. But the passage of time is very evident every time I look at our son. It truly makes me proud, to see how well he has grown up. I know he's not done yet, but at 22, he's pretty much in his final form.

  Whatever he decides to do in the future, I know he will be a terrific teacher, if that's what he ends up doing, and a great dad. That's all I can ask for as his mom.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Awesome New Bag Makes An Appearance!

   Last month, my friend Kim told me about a bag she was buying for her mom for Festivus. Festivus is a holiday for the rest of us. I don't have a problem with Christmas, if only people would accept that a certain "walked on water" guy was most definitely *not* born on the 25th of December. AND that the early Christian Church hijacked the Pagan's Winter Solstice festivities, and have passed them off as their own for many hundreds of years. (No, I'm not a Christian, but I do celebrate Christmas as a time of love, giving, and family)

   ANYWAY, This bag is really cool! It's tie dyed, and big, and totally awesome. She gave me the name of the etsy shop where she found it, and when I got home, I looked at all that he had. The shop name is I looked at all the really cool bags he has, and not all of them are tie dyed.  I found the perfect bag for me, and fell in love! Here is a photo of it:

    I ordered my awesome bag, and it was shipped to me the next day. Now, we have been having a problem with our local post office here in town. I know it's my own fault. I do not like to go to the Post Office. So very often, it is at least a week that we haven't gotten the mail. Now, when there's too much mail in your box, they take it out and treat it as a package, and put a slip in your box.

   The problem comes when I give them back the slip in exchange for my bundle of mail. More than once, they have lost our bundle. And they have been known to put the slip in the wrong box. Even for real packages, not just too much mail. One time, my car insurance got canceled because I never got a bill, because there was a bundle, and they didn't even put a slip in our box. I got my insurance back, thank the Goddess. But ever since then, I am careful. When I'm expecting a package, I will go every day to the Post Office. And when it's overdue, I have no compunction about going up to the window and asking about it.

   Of course, I do have to be a bit diplomatic.  I don't wish to make enemies of the folks who handle my mail. Even when I suspect they drink on the job. Back to my story! By now you must surmise that my package was a bit late. I estimated it should have been here Monday. It wasn't. So I checked again on Tuesday. There was still no package slip in our box. So I went back later in the day, thinking perhaps packages arrived after the regular mail. This has worked for me in the past.

   There was still no slip in our box, so I went to the window, and told the clerk that the package I was expecting hadn't arrived yet, and knowing how sometimes the slips get put into the wrong boxes, could she check and see if I had a package back there. She just looked at me, walked to the shelf in the back, and picked up my package. She handed it to me, and said that she had meant to put a slip in my box, but she forgot.

   So I got my bag! I took it right to Karate to show my friend, I didn't even open it. I let her do it. It is so very cool. I can't wait for it to stop raining, so I can go out and show it off. It works great as a cross body bag. But I have tied a knot in the handle at the back of the bag, so the handle is shorter. Now I am all moved in to my new bag.

   That's what I call it when you get a new purse, or bag, and you transfer all your stuff from the old bag to the new one. It's a bit like moving into a new house! I absolutely love the colors of the tie dye, and the pattern is so different! It's big enough to carry bigger knitting or crocheting projects in, also! And I plan on untying the knot next fall, and using this bag at next years Sheep and Wool Festival! It's big enough to carry almost anything I might buy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In Which I Make Explanations

    I have been waiting for Hubs to go hunting, so I can finally get down some of the things that have been bouncing around in my head today. Explanation #1. In some of my posts, my beloved Hubs may sound a bit harsh and judgemental. That is far from the truth. He is the most loving, patient man I have ever met. If he wasn't, he would not still be here after 23 years! (11 days until our anniversary)

    When I told you about how frustrated he was with my time spent on the computer, it really is justified. I am always either crocheting, knitting, reading, or on the computer. I am not the worlds best housekeeper. It makes it worse when he is sleeping during the day, because he works nights, and every time he gets up to use the facilities, or have a smoke, I am on the computer. I really try to use it when he's sleeping, and he catches me every time. So he thinks I am *always* on the thing, when I am not.

   In a recent post, I said I might be gone for a while, I intended to not be on the computer when he was home on his days off from work. I didn't plant anything on my farmville farms, or anything. But I have found the time to come back and post. And I have cut back on my facebook activities.

   My plan kind of backfired, since he asked me why I haven't been on the computer. I told him I would rather spend time with him. Which is true, but when he's hunting, I can be on my laptop.

   Explanation #2. This is not really an explanation, more of an observation. I have decided I really love having another woman in the house, even if it's part time. My son's girlfriend spends a few nights a week here, Monday being one of those nights. She has an evening class at the college, and it's a long way home, so she comes here. Then in the morning, she has another class. So it works out.

   Now, last night is when I really felt the love. For many years, I have been the only woman in this house. On Mondays, when the football game is on, it has traditionally been on both of our TVs. Son watches in the living room, and Hubs in the bedroom, where he is more comfortable. This left me with nowhere to watch my shows. Once in a great while, I can convince Hubs to watch the game on the BIG TV in the living room, thus giving me access to the TV in the bedroom.

   Last night, however, was different! I went into the bedroom to watch with Hubs. I asked him if we could watch my show, a mini series that had started the night before. He said yes. Now, in the living room, Julie wanted to watch her very favorite Christmas movie, The Polar Express. And of course, Son said yes. He's never seen it, so was interested in watching it with her. This totally made me giggle, the fact that on both TVs in my house, neither one was tuned in to the football game!! This is a first in my house. I LOVE IT!

   It is indeed an honor to share my house with another woman. Especially a woman who has the power to get my son to not watch football!

   Explanation #3.  Yes, I made the chocolate truffle tart. It is delicious. I am saving the last piece for my friend, Kim. I will take it to her later when I meet her at Karate class.  I also made my own whipped cream. I was a bit disappointed when it collapsed after two days, into a creamy soup. I asked my baking expert Shannon about it, and she assured me it could be whipped back up. I took my whisk to it, and it was back to whipped cream in no time! It is still delicious. It makes me very glad that I have the fixin's to make another tart. In fact, my daughter, Mrs. Gilroy, asked me to bring one to the family Christmas Dinner.  She can't wait to try it.

   I think that's all for today. There may still be thoughts rambling around in my head, and if I can get them down on paper, I will have something to write about tomorrow!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How I Spent My Whole Day

   Last night, Hubs told me he needed to work on the house in Fishkill today, and would need my help. Of course I would help him! That's what good wives do, right? So this morning, after our coffee, we got dressed. We had both packed up our necessary stuff last night. We carried all our stuffs out to the truck, and headed out.

   We went right to the house, as Hubs wanted to get the old screen door out, and get the opening ready for the new door, so he would know what size door to buy. You see, there is a breezeway between the house and the garage, with an entrance into the kitchen of the house. Betty had always used that as the main door, and never used the actual front door. This breezeway had screen doors on both ends, off the back door is the back deck.
   In the winter, this space was really useful, as it wasn't heated. It could be used as a kind of cold cellar, she would keep lots of cases of soda in cans out there and they would always be cold. Last year for Thanksgiving, I kept our spiral sliced ham out there for days, it was as good as keeping it in the fridge.

   But my beloved Hubs, bless his heart, wanted that room to have heat, and be a mud room for the tenants who will rent the place after we finish fixing it up. I really tried, but I could not talk him out of it. He said the mud room would be a selling point for the renters. I said the cold storage would be a selling point for the renters. As usual, he won. His friend, who put in the new propane heating system, made sure to put a baseboard unit out there.  So that's why we had to close it in.

   And that's what we did today. He originally wanted to do both doors, and get home early enough to go hunting this afternoon. I got to help pick out the door. I wanted one with small windows at the top, so some light could get in. They didn't have any of that style in the size we needed. Of course not. So we ended up with a solid door, so no windows.

   It took much longer than anticipated, as usual, to install this door. The good news is that somehow, SOMEHOW, the door is actually plumb. He wasn't even trying for plumb.
The bad news? We only had time to do one door. And since the door we bought was actually bigger than he wanted, he had a lot of extra work, making the opening bigger. When we do the other door, he says, we will buy the smaller size door.

   So instead of replacing the back door on the breezeway, he had me find the glass for it in the garage. Before we left, he took the screen out of the door and put the glass in, so at least the heat will be contained now. The new heating system has only been in for a couple of days. Before that there was no heat in the house for quite a while. The old oil burner had been removed, and all the old radiators replaced with baseboards.

   Believe it or not, we actually got out of there and home in time for Hubs to go on his afternoon hunt. After we hung the door, we put in the door knob, and the deadbolt he had bought. Then we put the glass in the other screen door, packed up, and got out of Dodge. Even in just that little while, I could feel the difference in the new mud room. It was warming up.

   So another day passes in which I get not a single lick of crafting done. I need to finish crocheting Chloe's sweater and assemble it. Then I want to knit her little brother a hat and scarf for Christmas. That shouldn't take long, as he's 14 months old, and I have the yarn in my stash.

   Hopefully, whatever Hubs has in mind for tomorrow, he can do by himself. I gots my own work to do!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Which I Make The Chocolate Truffle Tart

   Last night, once I got a glass of wine with ginger ale in me, I screwed up my courage and headed into the kitchen with the intention on making the truffle tart.

   I started with the crust, laying it into my Corningware pie plate. It has straight sides, so I thought it would make a good tart pan. I followed the directions, laid it in there, and poked it with a fork, then baked it at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. It looked pretty good when I took it out.

   Then I started heating up the cream on the stove in a little sauce pan. I emptied the chips into a bowl, and added about a half tablespoon of vanilla. In retrospect, I think it should have been more. Note to self for next time! When the cream was hot, I put it into the bowl, and let it sit for a little while to start melting the chocolate.

   I got my whisk, and set to work. It still had some chocolate chip chunks in it, so I stuck it in the microwave for 20 seconds. That seemed to take care of it, and it was nice and smooth after a little more whisking. I had also put into the bowl 1 cup of smooth peanut butter. I found a recipe that called for it, and Hubs and I both thought it sounded good, so in it went.

   Now I just had to wait for both crust and ganache to cool. Once they finally did, I poured the ganache into the tart shell. I was concerned, because it was still very liquid, even though it had cooled to room temperature. But I trusted that it would solidify in the fridge, so I covered it with plastic wrap, and popped it in.

   This morning, as we had our coffee, Hubs and I tried a small slice of the tart. It was hard to slice, being cold and right out of the fridge, but it was delicious! We decided to leave it out, and try another slice later. We still haven't had more, we just haven't gotten to it yet.

   I bought enough cream to make whipped cream, but I haven't attempted it yet. I am not sure how much sugar to put in it. But I'm sure I will overcome this hesitation, as I love whipped cream. I went back to the supermarket today, and bought even more cream, and a Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit. It has 4 tips in it, and 10 or 12 bags, so I have some practicing to do!

  Hopefully I won't make a complete mess out of it. But I will take some photos so I can share with the class. I even thought about adding some cocoa powder to the whipped cream, to make it chocolatey, but Hubs said he'd rather have it plain. So plain it is, at least for now. If this venture is successful, there will be no stopping me!! WOOT!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tattoo Ideas and Chocolate Truffle Pie

   It seems I am still obsessed with getting another tattoo. This one, I want Cookie to do, so I won't be the only family member who doesn't have one of his tattoos. I had in my mind the designs I wanted. It's either a Pooh bear with his face in a honey jar, or a triquetra. I'm heavily leaning towards the latter. Last night, I went exploring on the internet to find appropriate pictures of both ideas.

   The celtic knot triquetra (and I'm not entirely sure I'm spelling it right)  is an awesome design. It is mostly known from the TV show Charmed, about the three sisters who are witches. For me, it represents my three children, as well as the witchiness of my personal beliefs.

   Pooh bear, I have always loved! But I have to decide which Pooh I prefer, the original one:

   Or the Disney-fied version, which is cute as well!

   I know that in a previous post, I said I prefered the original version, but the Disney one is growing on me now.

   Whichever Pooh I decide on, the Celtic knot design will be the first one to actually get done. This is already decided, and I've wanted it longer than I've wanted Pooh. Now I just have to hope I get a gift certificate to Pop's Tattoo Emporium for Christmas!


  I went grocery shopping today, and bought the ingredients for my chocolate truffle  pie or tart. I haven't decided yet which it will be. I'm leaning more towards the tart, as the filling is not as deep as in a traditional pie, and I'm concerned about how rich it would be in pie form.

   I brought home heavy cream, Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, and pie crusts. I will have to blind bake the pie crust, then add the filling to it, as the filling itself will not be baked. I have one recipe from Paula Deen, I think, that adds one cup of peanut butter to the chocolate and hot cream to make the ganache. That sounds lovely, doesn't it? But I am a bit nervous about the whole thing. I may wait until Hubs gets home, just for the added encouragement.

   If I ever work up the nerve to actually make this, I will be sure to take some photos so you can all see how it turns out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today's Stitch n Bitch Report!

   This morning, I was the first one to get to Cranberry's. That's not unusual, as I live really close to it. Jan, Bella, and our fearless leader, Kim, also came! We had our breakfast, and got to work on our projects.

   Jan is knitting a beautiful intricate shawl made with yarn that OFL (Our Fearless Leader) custom dyed for her. It also has beads in it, which she is doing in a really interesting way. She was worried about threading over 1,000 beads onto the working yarn; they would probably wear through the delicate yarn. So she knits until she needs a bead, the uses a tiny little steel crochet hook and slides the bead onto it, then uses the hook to remove the stitch from the needle, and slide the bead over the stitch. Then the stitch goes back on the needle. It's working well for her so far!

   Kim is knitting a rug with a big giant circular needle and 4 strands of cotton. It's for our friend Deborah, who is getting married soon, and moving into a new house. The rug is for her kitchen, I'm assuming in front of the sink. It's really thick and soft, and will be a pleasure to stand on while doing >shudder< dishes.  It is a measure of how much love there is for Deb, when Kim knits garter stitch, which she hates ("it's boring!"), and knits with cotton, which she also hates!

  As for me, I'm still working on my granddaughters crocheted sweater. I'm nearly done, working on the second sleeve. After consulting with my expert friends, I will be making the back and two fronts a big longer at the neckline.  I just hope I can get the sleeves to stretch to fit.

   It was very good to see Bella today, she hasn't been able to make it for a while now. She actually wasn't working on a project today, but had brought some yarn to ask for OFL's opinion on it.

   All in all, we had a great get-together, with great food, great friends, and lively conversation! I can't wait for our next meeting. Hopefully by then I will be assembling the little sweater.

   Now for some photos. I have the promised ones of the adjusted sweater pieces, even though they need to be adjusted further. Also, I took one of a different wooden tray table from the set my mom painted. Here goes!

  In a later post, I will share photos of the other tables. My mom is a really talented folk art painter. I should devote a whole post to all her various pieces that I have! That's a great idea! I better get to work!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On This Day In 1976

   Today is my daughter's birthday. It got me to thinking about her. How sweet she was when she was little, how perfect she was when she was born. She was always a delight. She had her grandfather wrapped around that tiny little pinkie from the day we brought her home.

   I have a few pictures in my computer of her at different times in her life. I thought I'd share them with you.

1. Here she is with her grandpa in the back yard:

Riding her horse, named Sandy:

Her she is with her little brother at her college graduation. I think he was about 6.

Notice she us up until this point, a natural blond. Here she is with Jesse again, this time at his high school graduation. See how their heights have reversed?

Now some more recent photos. This is Sara with the man she has chosen to share her life with! This is also my favorite photo of her, and of them together.

This one is from their wedding day, last year.  She made a beautiful bride.

Now, the most recent photo. Somehow that husband of hers talked her into getting a tattoo! Now we all have some, even Jesse.

In this photo, her tattoo was unfinished. It's beautiful now that it's all done. And on this day, the anniversary of her birth, I just want to say - I love you Sara! Happy Birthday!

Christmas Yarnbomb and Dental Report

   Last year at this time, my friend the nut* made a yarnbomb for our town nativity. A blanket for the baby Jesus, and scarves for the wise men. It was very cute! At the end of the season, when the town put away the nativity scene, we wondered what would become of the yarn bomb. Would they toss the blankie and scarves? Or would they pack them away for this year?

   Well, today we have our answer. She went by the town hall this morning, and yes, Virginia, the yarnbomb is back! Well, at least, most of it is back. The wise men have their scarves, but it seems the baby Jesus' blankie is missing. She was thrilled, and is planning on making Jesus a new blankie. Hopefully soon, he will be all warm and sung in his manger.

   I haven't yet driven by the town hall to see it for myself, but I can imagine I will soon. I regularly drive by on my way to almost everywhere. Perhaps when I go visit the nativity, I will happen to have my camera, and can snap a photo or two.

   "And now for something completely different", as Monty Python was fond of saying. I had my next dentist appointment this morning. They removed the temporary crowns and put in the permanent ones. They feel really weird.  But it wasn't a torture session this time. Yay for me! In fact, I was in and out and home in thirty minutes from the time of my appointment.  I know! How often does that happen? Especially at this office.

   Before I was a patient there, My friend Bonny asked me to accompany her to her appointment, she promised it shouldn't take long at all. I took my current crochet project, and went with her. It turned out that I didn't bring enough yarn. She was in there more than 3 hours! It was the toughest 3 hours of my life! I was so bored, once I couldn't crochet any more. I untangled my yarn, I read every magazine I could find. I counted ceiling tiles. I counted how many people came in and out in a certain length of time. I nearly lost my mind.

   When I started going there as a patient, based on my visit with Bonny, I had my Hubs set his alarm to wake him up in case I wasn't home in time. This was when my appointments were in the early afternoon. He has to be up for work by 4 pm. I have relaxed since then, my visits have never taken that long. But you can understand my concern! After the first few appointments, I started making them for the mornings.  Easy peasy.

   I do enjoy people watching in the waiting room. There are three offices that share one waiting room, and it's pretty big.  It seems that people from the lower portion of the economic ladder frequent these offices. Not all, mind you, but enough to make people watching interesting.

   Today, the highlight of my visit came from a receptionist in the neighboring doctors office. She was on the phone, talking to a patient in a loud voice. "You can't wait that long! You need to come in soon! How big is the boil? Is it red?" I kid you not! Everyone in the waiting room could hear this conversation. Apparently, the patient will be coming in tomorrow to have it looked at. I just shake my head.

* I have not used her name, in case she wishes to remain anonymous


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Random Ramblings

   Last night, I was craving something, and I couldn't figure out what it was. I hate when that happens! I talked to Hubs, one thing led to another, and in the end, I decided to try and invent my own recipe for a sort of chocolate truffle tart or even pie. I looked up on the food network website how to make ganache and chocolate truffles. They are basically made the same way.

   While looking for those recipes, I found a recipe from Paula Deen for a chocolate truffle pie. Sounds like just what I want! So I will try it soon. The whole thing started because I bought a chocolate cream pie for Hubs for Thanksgiving dinner. I love the whipped cream topping, but am not fond of the pudding part. I want something denser, and that's where the truffle part came in.

   I don't remember what my original idea for my post was! I know I had one when I woke up this morning, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.

   Last night, Hub mentioned that I seemed a bit restless. He said he thought it was from Farmville withdrawal. I disagree! Facebook withdrawal, maybe, but not farmville withdrawal! It's probably internet or laptop withdrawal. He said I didn't need to stop completely, he was just concerned that I wasn't doing anything else.

   Hopefully today, I can get a shot of Hubs' newly finished tattoo. I may have mentioned it before, but I am jealous! I am the only member of the family who doesn't have Cookie's artwork on my skin!  I'm hoping that I get a gift certificate for Christmas.

   I have two ideas on what I want for my next tattoo. The first is an old drawing of Winnie the Pooh, sitting sideways with his face in a "HUNNY" jar. I have always loved that picture. I like the old, original drawings of Pooh and friends, not the newer "Disney-fied" ones. The second is the symbol from the TV show "Charmed". I know what it is, but can't spell it or say it. Triskele, or something like that.  And I want it in colors, not just black. Like purple on the outside, fading to reddish in the middle.

   And I don't want a tattoo that's big, either. Just a few inches across will do. Pooh, I'd like on my upper arm, or lower leg. The Triskele thing, at the base of my neck, upper back. That's where my daughter has her tree. She and her hubs have similar tree tattoos, his is small, and intricate, on his arm, with the roots crossing the bend in his elbow. His tree is really pretty, and has Sara's initials in the roots. Her tree is bigger, with green leaves. It also has his initials in the roots! That is such a neat concept!

   My Hubs has said he would want an old, dead stump instead of a tree, with my initials in the roots. Haha, but it's a cute idea.  He has his initials, and our sons initials, worked into a tribal band that encircles his right arm. He says he won't have my name ina tattoo, because it's serious bad luck. Everyone he's ever known who has their significant other's name in a tattoo have broken up. Tattoos are permanent. But I think initials are ok, especially if they are hidden, and not easily seen.

   OK, I think that's enough rambling for today. It seems like I have a lot on my mind today, but I have things to do, so I'd better get my ass in gear.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Great Tattoo Adventure, Part 2

   This morning, I got up and made the coffee. Shortly after it was ready, Hubs got up as well. Today we travel to Kingston to get his tattoo finished. He wants to leave early, as he wants to go to Walmart first. We need a new DVD player for the living room.

   We start out. We get to the corner, where he remembers he needs to bring cash to pay for his tattoo. So, we turn around and he goes back in the house and gets some cash. We start out again. This time we get about half way to Kingston before I remember that I forgot the camera! That's right, a blog post about the tattoo, and no photos! Not really a problem, I can take a photo of is completed tattoo when we get home.

   This time, it took 3 1/2 hours to finish his tattoo. I knitted through most of it, since I forgot the camera. It was all the same as last time, Cookie inking, Hubs grimacing, loud really eclectic music blaring. Seriously, the music they play at Pop's Tattoo Emporium is definitely a strange mix. You got some really heavy rock, some rap, some 50's rockabilly, and some other genre's in there that I can't even identify. It makes for interesting listening.

   When we finally get home, i get out my laptop, and fire it up. I remember I want to take a photo of his tattoo, so I grab the camera from near the front door, where I put it so I wouldn't forget it, and head into the bedroom. He won't let me take a photo!
"You can get it later!" he says. I point out that I will be writing my blog now, not later. Oh well, so all my readers won't to see the finished tattoo until next time. Sorry!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Which I Might Be Away For A While...

   Yesterday, before he went to work, Hubs and I had one of our rare arguments. I don't want to call it a fight, but it was more than a mere argument. He thinks I spend entirely too much time on the laptop he bought me for Mothers Day. In fact, he even said he wishes he never bought the thing.

   So after he left for work,  I closed up the laptop, and put it away. I put away the tray table that has been sitting next to the couch for 7 months. I put away some of my knitting stuff too. I put away my body butters and hand lotions. In my defense, I use them every day, why should I have to get up, go get them, bring them to the couch, use them, then go put them back? That just seems like a big waste of energy. So I kept them near me, like my medicine and the box of tissues.

   Today, we had our Thanksgiving dinner, just the two of us. He wasn't angry at me any more. He went hunting this morning, and didn't see anything.  I made a nice turkey breast, and all the fixin's. Now, after dinner, he's getting really sleepy. He's been up for more than 24 hours, since he worked all night last night, and stayed up all day today. I figured it was safe enough for me to get out my laptop and at least post on my blog, to let you all know what's going on.

   For a while, my internet life may be impacted. I may not be able to blog as often as I have been. My twitter and facebook friends may miss me. My Farmville friends surely will! Hopefully things can get back to normal at some point.

   So if I don't hear from you, or you don't hear from me, have a Merry Christmas!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

"I Told You So!" Sweater Update

   See, I told you!  I said right here in this blog that the sweater I was going to make for my granddaughter was going to kick my ass. And it is!  It started right at the beginning.
   This pattern is different, I may have mentioned, than any other I've used. It took me quite a while to get the measurement of the back piece right. Which means doing a few rows, and if it's not right, frogging it and starting over. So I finally got it right. I finished the back piece, no problem.

   Then it took me, literally, over an hour to get the right number of chain stitches for the first front piece. I did finally get it, and finished that piece too. The second front was easier, since I knew how many stitches it would take. I just had to figure out if the chain was loose or tight. Turns out it was tight. So the two fronts are exactly the same. I'm getting there!
    When I start the sleeve, I notice that it's only an 8 inch circumference. The arm holes in the other pieces added up to over 12 inches. So what did I do wrong? I text messaged my friend, and she suggested I email the designer, so I did. It just seemed improbable that the sleeve would stretch that much. I know, I tried to stretch it, it wouldn't go that big.
   Laying in bed this morning, I started thinking about it. I couldn't get back to sleep because I was thinking. I decided that the three pieces I had finished were too long, from the armpit up to the shoulder. If I take off about 2 inches from the top of each shoulder, the sleeves will fit. So when I got up, that's what I did.

   Then I read the response from the designer. She said that the sleeves will stretch to fit the armhole. Maybe they would if I had used the recommended yarn for the project. But the yarn I am using is a worsted weight cotton, not a sock yarn. So I think I'm going to stick with my original decision, since my granddaughter is on the tiny side, and I thought the sweater looked too long from the shoulder anyway.

   Here are the photos I took yesterday, before I frogged the 2 inches. Don't you agree it looks too long in the shoulder/neckline area?

   So now I think I'm on the right track, and I'm back to work on the first sleeve. In my next update, I will include new photos taken after the "adjustments". 

   All in all, I do recommend this sweater pattern. It's the Autumn Cardigan by Lisa van Klaveren, of  It does crochet up quickly. I can't wait to see it all finished, with the cute buttons and everything.