Saturday, March 31, 2012

Unexplainable Occurrances

   It seems that for nearly my whole life unexplainable and unusual things happen around me. It goes through phases. I was sitting here knitting this afternoon, and that is what I was thinking about. As I remembered incidences, I wrote them down.

   I think the first few happened after my cat died. He almost always slept with me, and sometime after he died, I was asleep in my bed in the middle of the night, when I heard my door open. Buford always pushed my door open and came in. I was awake, and felt him jump up onto my bed, and lay down at the foot of my bed, between my feet.

   When I woke up again later on, I could still feel his weight there. I remembered that there shouldn't be a cat on my bed, so I turned on my light. There was no cat on the foot of my bed. I walked down the hall towards the living room, and when I got there, his favorite sleeping place, a little black rocking chair with a square red pillow on it, was rocking. It was as if he had just jumped of the chair. As I got closer to the chair, I saw there were black cat hairs on the red pillow. Mom had cleaned that pillow off after Buford had died.

   Years later, my dad got cancer and passed away pretty quickly. My daughter Sara was very close to her Pop-Pop. We had lived there with mom and dad until she was about 5 years old. After my dad died, Sara spent a lot of weekends with grandma, keeping her company.

   One of these weekends, I dropped her off as usual. As I was backing out of the driveway, I looked up at the door. Mom and Sara always stood there waving to me until I was gone. This time, I saw dad there in the doorway too, right behind and to the side of my mom. Sara stood in front of her. It still spooks me to this day. But I knew he was watching over them.

    I think that's enough for today. I have more stories, and will save them for another post. I would love to hear if any one else has similar stories!

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's That Time of the Day

   Here it is, that time of the day, when I have usually decided what to write about. Today I haven't decided yet. Nothing has struck me. So, I guess I will go with the tried and true Stitch n Bitch report.

   We had our weekly meeting this morning, and a great breakfast was had by all. And we all worked on our knitting. Jan, on her shawl, I on my future grandbaby's blanket, and I have no idea what Kim H was working on today. I didn't ask her! We got into a deep conversation, and I never got to ask.

   We were waiting excitedly for our long-absent member, who had messaged me on facebook that she would come today. We haven't seen her in a very long time! She lives further away, in a town south of here, and we were disappointed when she didn't show up. Hopefully she can come another time.

   You will all be thrilled to hear that I did indeed finish the shawl in the photos from a few posts ago. The striped one. I figured it was big enough, so I did three rows of garter stitch and then bound it off. I have yet to block it. I'm wondering if I could get Kim to block it for me. She has clean carpet floor space, where I only have a bed to use when my son goes away for a few days.

   And the baby blanket has grown significantly since I last wrote about it. It's now nearly square. So I figure it must be about 2/3 done, with the whole proper ratio thing and all.

   I have news on another front as well. I have finally finished watching all available Midsomer Murders episodes on Netflix. Now I have to find something else to watch. I started watching Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence, tonight I saw the movie from before they were married, then watched the first episode of their show, Partners in Crime. It's from the early 80's, and it shows. I don't know if I will be able to watch more of them.

   If it's nice tomorrow, I plan on going outside and photographing the shawl and baby blanket's progress. If it doesn't snow. Last time I saw the weather forecast, they were saying snow is possible for tomorrow. I have yet to check it tonight. So there may be snowy photos in the future!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Which I Go To A Play

   My good friend Kim has a daughter who is nine years old. She is a friend of mine too. She is the best nine year old friend I have had, since I was nine myself. Little Cherub decided that this year she wanted to be in the school play. She auditioned, and got a part. Not a large part, but a good one. She has been in rehearsals for at least a month.

   Tonight, I got to go to the premiere of Pinocchio. I have to say, I wasn't looking forward to it. But I put on my big girl panties, and went. I have to say, I am glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they managed to pull it off. I was pleased with the audience participation as well! That was unexpected.

   And, as a bonus, I remembered something of my own theatrical past. I remembered that I was in the 5th grade play, back at Putnam Valley Central School. This was also a production of Pinocchio. I even remembered that I played Lefty the Cat. I can remember twirling my tail. This must have been in the 1966-1967 school year. I did the math, since I left the summer after 7th grade, in 1969.

    All in all, I had a good time at the play tonight. I am glad I went. It sure was better than suffering through my daughter's elementary school band concerts!! I used to have to take tissues, when I could be convinced to go, since they were so bad it would bring tears to my eyes...  My apologies to my beloved Sara.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Today I am in a Quandry...

   Today, when I got home from babysitting Miss Malia, I logged onto facebook, and there was a friend request waiting for me. It was from an old, really old, boyfriend. I accepted, I'm still not sure why. I dated this guy before I married my first husband. So, it's been like 32 or 33 years.

   This whole thing brings back memories for me. We used to go out drinking with friends, and he would tell me that he was out of money, and take me home. Much, much later, I found out that he would go back to the bar and continue drinking after taking me home.

    Another memory - He always had a beard. One night he got drunk and shaved it off. Until it grew back, I felt like I was cheating on him. He looked that different without it! We were dating on Christmas that year. It snowed a huge storm, and he drove through it to Beacon, his parents were expecting us for mass at their church. Aaah,the memories.

   And one reader in particular may remember our trip up to some hunting cabin, in  upstate NY, where there was no heat, and she and I found Clint Eastwood in the outhouse. I believe she lost a mitten in that outhouse. A very memorable weekend that was! The snow was so deep, we had to abandon the truck on the road, and walk through 2+ feet of snow down the driveway to the cabin. We spent the whole weekend in the kitchen, wrapped in sleeping bags, with the stove as our only source of heat.

   Looking at his recent photos, he doesn't sport a beard now. I don't know if I would have recognised him if I ran into him on the street. He is still in Beacon, and I am waaay up here in Hyde Park. It's not likely we shall ever run across each other by accident. I am not sure how I feel about him. Obviously, it wasn't meant to last. I will tell Hubs about this in the morning, when he gets home. I can't wait to see what he thinks about all this!



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I Noticed on Sunday....

   My regular readers are aware that I have been watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix. I am currently working my way through season 11. Only one more season is available after this one. Sunday, I was in hog heaven, as Hubs had gone to a 3-D shoot at his bow club. Therefore, I had some time all to myself, which meant of course, a Midsomer Murders Marathon!

   So there I was, working my way through season 10, when I noticed that in the episode that had just started, the starring actor looked different. As I watched further, I decided that he must have had some "work" done on his face! He had been so cute, a typical middle aged man, with some lines and wrinkles. He had a face with lots of character! Now, I see his cheeks are all smooth. Many of his lines and wrinkles are diminished or gone altogether.

   I got out my camera, and took a couple of photos from the TV, when he was in a close up. After the episode was finished, I actually went back to an episode a few before the latest one, and watched again, until they showed him in close up. I took a photo of that too. And yup, there is a difference. He didn't have a lot of work done, not a whole drastic face lift, but he had his face tightened somehow. I was very disappointed.

   Now he doesn't look like his character any more. He seems more vain, somehow. I must say, I am disappointed. So here are his photos, you decide, and tell me if I am wrong.

   First, the before face, with lots of character:

Now what I call the after photo, with the smooth cheeks:

   So you guys be the judge, and please tell me if I'm wrong. His name is John Nettles. And I liked him better in the BEFORE photo!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Toddler Television

   While I am babysitting my youngest charge, Nick Jr. is on TV. I understand that it is educational, and some of the programs I have no problems with. But Wow Wow Wubbsy is not one of them. Within ten minutes of this show starting, I am fully prepared to slit my wrists. With a butter knife if necessary. It is the worst kind of silly.

   There are some very amazing things happening in between the shows, however. One day I witnessed a sign language lesson, about feelings. Fascinating! And I have seen lessons about art as well. One day it was about that artist who painted with dots. I can't remember his name. The moose on Nick Jr was in a museum, and pointed out his paintings. Then he explained about how they were made. And that this style of art was called pointillism. "Can you say pointillism, boys and girls?" It blew my mind.

   There is a little cartoon Chinese girl teaching Chinese words for common things like a ball, hat, and circle. I have seen on Blues Clues, both Steve and Joe using sign language as they speak. This is amazing, and I am impressed by most I have seen.

   When the little princess is napping, however, it's my TV time. I can watch my cooking shows or whatever else I want to. I also get to knit at nap time. Today, she didn't nap until twenty minutes before her daddy came to get her. Poor little thing didn't wake up when he came in, not even when he took her out of my arms. She was really dead asleep.

   What is disturbing to me is that I am learning the songs of these shows. Malia is impressed that I can sing the songs on Blues Clues. It is currently high seas month, and all the in-between-shows stuff is about the sea, and sometimes pirates. I have even learned the Pirate song. Someone help me, before I lose my mind!

   Today, I was there early, so I got to see some shows I don't usually catch. I caught the end of Bubble Guppies, I think it's called? It was pretty good. I got to see two episodes each of Go, Diego, Go, and The Backyardigans. They were interesting. It was good to learn about different animals with Diego. Today we saw jaguars and llamas. I was only there for two hours today, so that was all I got to see.

   What I like best is that there are no commercials for products on Nick Jr. It's all about the educational shows. I like that. When my kids were little, especially the oldest one, all there was was Sesame Street, and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. There were a few others, but these were all she watched. The rest of the time, she watched regular TV with me. And Saturday morning cartoons, of course. It doesn't seem to have done her any harm! Only time will tell how well the current crop of little ones will grow up. I hope I get to see it.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Secret Book of Wives

   When women get married, we are given a manual. It is different in every culture, religion, ethnicity, even age group. In this highly secret document, everything is spelled out. There are lessons on how to get your own way. There are lessons on how to fool your spouse. And the lessons on how to get your spouse to believe almost anything you want him to believe.

   With this powerful document comes a very powerful responsibility. We must not abuse the power given to us. We must not do too much too often. Because if we do, the husbands will figure it out, even if they are just stupid boys. Use the power sparingly.

   Some examples of lessons learned? Well, on the occasional instance that one might purchase something from a catalog or on the internet that one didn't inform her husband of: when it arrives, usually by mail, and the spouse asks, "What's that?" One can answer - totally truthfully - "It came in the mail!"

   OR - one can tell one's spouse that you did tell him about >blah blah<, he must have forgotten. There are so many lessons. Of course, I realize that my life will be in danger for revealing the existence of this secret document. I am counting on most people not believing me. And that's OK.

   If you are lucky enough that your husband has a particular favorite dish that his mom used to make, there are tips in the document on how to make it even better than moms. My regular readers have heard all about Stroke, my Hubs' favorite dish of his moms. Over the years, I have made adjustments to the recipe, with the result of improving it beyond moms original.

   There are so many more lessons, but at this point I can't think of any more. My cell phone keeps interrupting me with text messages. I'm having trouble remembering what I was going to write! I am thinking that this is a plot by the other wives to prevent my revealing the secrets....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Awesome Brownies and Blanket Progress

   I believe I have redeemed myself in the brownie department. I made some new ones last night, and added lots of nuts and peanut butter chips, as promised. They are so delicious! I have even taken a photo of one to show you!

   And this is a corner piece! They are usually dry, and crusty at the edge. This one is so supremely moist, it makes me want to weep. Just kidding. But they really did turn out better than I had dared to hope.

   Now on to the progress on the blanket. I took these photos last night, and like I mentioned earlier, it really is coming along. I am very excited about it.

   It didn't look this fuzzy when I saw it on the camera... Oh, well, you get the general idea. I like the basket weave look. I never said I was a good photographer...

     Here is the photo of the corner I was talking about the other day. I hope you all understood what I meant about doing the border...   Either way, it is shown here. We had Stitch n Bitch this morning, and it was just Kim and myself. We had a good time, as usual. Good friends, great coffee, and good food. Does it get any better than that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today's Knitting News

   I ended up giving up on the lacy blanket thing I was making. (seen above) I didn't like the way it was turning out. It was an experiment anyway! I then scoured through my 400 Knitting Stitches book and decided on a different stitch pattern. I then did some multiplication, added stitches for a border, crossed my fingers, and cast on. I hoped to not miscount the cast on. Then I just had to hope it would be wide enough.

   I did a good job on all counts! The cast on was perfect, and it's plenty wide enough. I just had to decide how wide I needed to make the bottom border. So I garter stitched until I could make a 90 degree angle from the bottom corner up to enclose my border stitches. Then I could start the pattern. It is a twelve row pattern, and it's working out so far.  Here is a photo of progress from a few days ago.  I have done quite a bit more since this was taken.

   Looking at the photo, it shows one and a half pattern repeats. When I counted today, I believe I had eight pattern repeats, so it really is quite a bit longer! I get to work on it in the morning, before I babysit, and while the little princess is napping. Then again in the evenings while watching TV. I can't wait for my knitting group ladies to see it! Kim has seen it, but no one else has.

   Our Stitch n Bitch group will be meeting tomorrow, so we shall see what the ladies have to say. However, Miss Jan will not be there this week, and I shall miss her. She has a thing for work that she must attend. Hopefully we will all be in attendance next week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Story of the Overcooked Brownies

   Let me explain. At our house, we love brownies. Dark, fudgie, nutty brownies. I recently bought a couple of mixes that were on sale, they were a good brand, so I figured why not. I can't leave well enough alone when it comes to brownies. If it has nuts in it, I will add more. And I usually add chips of some kind, usually chocolate, but I have been known to add peanut butter ones too.

   In the brownies this time, I added some white chocolate chips. Since Hubs loves white chocolate, I thought that would be cool. I also recently discovered that they make cinnamon chips! I can't wait to try them in something. Anyway, back to the most recent brownies.  I added the chips and extra nuts, but where I went wrong was the pan. I usually like using the big 9"x13" pan. These particular ones called for the small 8"x8" or 9"x9" pan. I wanted to use my big round Corning ware straight sided pie pan. I think it's 10" across.

   According to the chart on the package, the bigger the pan, the less time it takes to bake the brownies. So I did some figuring, crossed my fingers, and put them in the oven. After the timer went off, I took them out to cool. I even put the pan on a rack, to speed the process up. It still was hours until I could cut myself a wedge of brownie.

   I was supremely disappointed! They were still raw in the middle. So I heated the oven back up, and popped them back in for a bit. When they finally came out and cooled down, they were like concrete. I could hardly get a knife through them! Hubs bravely cut himself a wedge or two and did his best to eat them. He told me this was the first time he had ever had crunchy brownies.

   I decided it was time to just give up and throw them away. But I couldn't get them out of the dish! I tried on and off, for a couple of days, and eventually decided that the only way to get these stupid things out of the pan was to pour some water on them, and wait for it to be absorbed. Theoretically, the water would make them soft. I did that yesterday.

   This morning, I poured off the excess water, and they still wouldn't let go! But I kept trying, and finally they were loose. I feel compelled to tell you that the water did not get fully absorbed into the brownies!! They were still very hard around the edges. But now they are gone, and I can try again. Next time I use the pie pan, I will use a mix  designed for larger pans.

   I am so confident in my future success that I bought some peanut butter cookies to make, so we can have peanut butter cookie and brownie sandwiches. They are very yummy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sorry for the Hiccup!

   Yeah, so I didn't blog yesterday! It's that time of year when the Hubs gets PMS, and I need to put my laptop up or else. It's a really ugly time. But I think he's better now, so I am back. I will still have to be careful, though.

   I had some really good news! A couple of days ago, my friend sent me a text message, that she had gotten a job at my favorite store. And if she like it, she was going to quit her other job. Well, today she called me, and she loves it! And the better news? They want someone else. And hopefully that will be me!!  She told them that I was interested, and we will just have to see what happens. I am very excited!

   I am going to talk to the mom of my toddler tomorrow when I go. I want to give her some time to find another sitter. Since I'm not sure when I will start, hopefully it gives her enough time to find someone else.

   Well, that's about it for today. I am really coming along on the future-baby-blanket... Hopefully I can get photos for tomorrow's post. As Paula Deen says, Bye Y'all!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Better Photos from Ceremony Yesterday!!

  So this morning, I am on facebook, and I see my beloved daughter Sara has posted her photos from yesterdays festivities. It turns out that her photos are better than mine! So I thought I'd share them with you all.

    In this last photo, you can see his new belt, with the red stripe. He actually borrowed my seam ripper and pulled all the embroidered stuff off of his 3rd Dan belt, so they could use it for the new one. In the process, he broke my seam ripper...                                  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today Was A Big Day

   Yup, today was the day we've been looking forward to for twelve years. My
youngest son received his 4th degree black belt today. He is now officially a Master of Tang Soo Do. Who could have guessed that the slightly chubby 10 year old boy would become such a tall and handsome man? I guess he really is all grown up now.

   His achievement merely topped off a whole day of celebrations. It was the Grand Opening of the new school, as well as the 16th Anniversary celebration. It also happens to be Master Leclerc's birthday today. So there was a lot going on today. The whole school was raising money for the American Cancer Society with the children participating in sponsored events. I believe they raised over $4000 today! The Demonstration Team had three demos, and all the instructors did breaking, forms, and sword demonstrations. A good time was had by all, I believe.

   A local fire company brought two fire trucks to the school, and gave the children tours on them. They all got fire hats, and most looked thrilled. Now for some photos! Here he is, getting his new belt put on by Master Leclerc.

   And then there's the heartfelt hug!  Jess has worked so very hard for this for so many years. I am so proud of him!

   My son is the second of Master Leclerc's students to ever make the rank of Master. The first was Sean Ohearn, affectionately known as Master O, on the left in the pictures. He was just promoted to 5th Dan today. So it was a big day for all of us!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sometimes I Get Angry

   Lately when I watch TV, I have noticed that there are a lot of commercials on for cancer treatment places. I sit there, and sometimes I get angry. Why? My mother-in-law passed away just over a year ago, from breast cancer that spread to her lower back and hips. I saw her suffer. I watched as she fought it.

   I get angry on her behalf, wishing her doctors, or anyone, had suggested she go to one of these places. While they talk about their success rate, all I know is that Betty died. I wish I could go back in time and try to get her to go to one of those places. Having known her, I know that she would have refused. But I just wish she had been given the option. Maybe we could have talked her into it.

   On a TV news channel, they interviewed a cancer doctor, and asked him what fact about cancer he thinks people don't know. He responded by saying something trite about finding it early. I totally disagree with him. What people need to know is that breast cancer comes back. Years later, usually in the bones of your lower back or hips. Betty was cancer free for a lot of years,  still being checked twice a year. Her "numbers" would go down, then up, then down again. Then her cancer came back. It took her so quickly. It was only a couple of months.

   I wonder how different things might have turned out. Maybe she could have lived longer. She declined so quickly, even the Hospice workers we had in were surprised. We moved in to her house to take care of her, and it was only 16 days later that she was gone. And here we had planned on staying the Winter there with her, and sending her to her friend's house in the Spring.

   I guess I miss her. As big of a pain in the ass that she was, I miss her. I think about her a lot. Sometimes it makes me cry when I think of the night she passed. After that experience, I made my mom promise that she would die in her sleep. I mean to hold her to that. I don't think I could go through that again.

   I know that the anger is part of the grieving process. I keep reminding myself that she's not in pain any more, that she's back to bossing her husband around, and hopefully he was glad to have "the warden" with him again. I do wonder if he minded that we had his ashes moved. Where he was, she couldn't be interred with him. I do wonder if he did that on purpose. But it was her last wish that she and Tom be buried together, so that's what we did.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It is not my fault....

   It is totally not my fault if Winter comes roaring back in full force. I know I have mentioned the mild weather, if only to point out that someone screwed it up, and it got cold. Well, now another, pretty-well-known-in-some-circles, blogger has gone and talked about it too. So if I talk about the extremely mild Winter we've just had, it is totally not my fault. The fact that she lives in Canada, where the Winters are so much more harsh than where I live, and is talking about it, means that it must truly be over. But if it's not, it's not my doing. It is hers.

   Now I can talk about how utterly delighted I have been that we have had hardly any snow. the most was 3 - 4 inches in one storm, and it didn't last. Yay for that. And it didn't get bone-chillingly cold, well below zero, for weeks at a time. Yay for that too!
I didn't get sick, or get pneumonia, or anything else this Winter, a double yay for that!

   For the second or third day in a row now, the temperature is unseasonable warm. I even broke out my sandals. I went to babysit, and didn't bring a sweater or jacket. I did on Monday morning, because it was pretty early, and still chilly at that hour. The flowers are even starting to come up at a friend's house. More than one friend has this happening, I have no doubt.

   All in all, I am very happy we had such a very mild Winter. And so far, it looks like it will be a relatively short Spring, and we will jump directly into a hot Summer season. Hubs is already talking about putting the air conditioner back in our bedroom window. I still say it's too early yet. There's time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Promised Photos!

Here are the photos I promised you yesterday. I told you I had done much more work that was shown. I could probably even bind it off now, and it would be big enough, but I am more of a "go big or go home" sort of gal. So I will keep going for a while yet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Lucky am I? (it's good to be a minion!)

   I have a very good friend, who hand dyes with kool-aid, spins like a pro, and knits better than anyone I have yet to meet. We became friends about 2 years ago, after a (former) mutual friend introduced us, and I was invited to join their little knitting group. She and I hit it off nearly right away.

   Unfortunately, the mutual friend became a former friend. I sometimes can't help but think I somehow contributed to the rift. At a very large Woolly function, I kept referring to myself and the friend as minions of the special friend. After all, we were in her area of expertise. She is the nearly famous hand dyer, great spinner and superior knitter. I certainly meant no insult to the friend. In her areas of expertise, we would have been her minions.

   Anyway, now that I'm done explaining. My friend has been trying to get a decent, repeatable black color on her yarns and fibers. She has finally succeeded! I am sworn to secrecy as to how it was achieved, and I'm not really sure I know anyway. But my point is, that I get the not-quite-right yarns given to me; as she is very ethical, and refuses to sell a colorway unless it is perfect, and up to her exacting standards. They are certainly sellable, but she won't sell them. So I get to have them! They are really lovely, and I can't wait for inspiration to hit me, so I can make something gorgeous.

   This latest one is the second colorway I was gifted. The first has gone into a shawl, as one stripe of three. I hope it will be finished soon, it's one of the projects I have mentioned that is in my dead-seagull bag. That's what I call it; I bought it in Oregon, at a fancy chain store. The design looked to me like the outline around a dead body at a crime scene. It's in the shape of a seagull. So it has become my "dead seagull" bag.

   Her is a photo of the most recent progress of the shawl, the multi-colored stripe is the yarn given to me by my friend.

   Man, am I embarrassed. This photo is really old, I have actually finished that stripe and started on the solid pink one. I will take another, truly more up to date photo tomorrow, if the weather is still warm and nice. Promise.

   So, in conclusion, I am a humble minion, and very proud to be one. Hey! I have a photo of my friend! I tried to sneak one, and somehow, her hand just got in the way. She seems to have superior, ninja-like reflexes.

      Notice the color of the offending finger, around the nail. She had been dyeing that day! And just so you all know, her name is Kim Hartmann, and she has an etsy show where she sells he yarn and fiber. Check out her gorgeous stuff! She does amazing colorways, all done with kool-aid.

                                                               THE END

Monday, March 12, 2012

Watching Old George Carlin Specials

    Hubs and I were bored this afternoon, so we decided to go through the movies on Netflix, and see if there were any new ones that appealed to us. We started watching a Steven Seagal flick from 2009, in which he affects a really bad Russian accent. We could stand it for about half an hour.

   We then went through the comedy section, looking for George Carlin specials. Hubs  left me for a little while, and I used the search fuction, and entered "george carlin". It turns out that there are currently thirteen, yes thirteen, George Carlin specials currently available. I went through them all, and put four or five of the oldest ones in our Instant Queue.

   I started watching the oldest one, from 1977, which was his very first HBO special. It contained the famous "7 Words You Can't Say on TV". Hubs came back into the room while it was on, still pretty much at the beginning, and we watched it together. I was highly amused that before the show, they felt the need to tape a woman introducing it, who felt it necessary to warn viewers of the segment of the show about these words.

   It turns out that 35 years later, these 7 words are really not that bad. In fact, there is only one on his list that most women still find offensive. Hubs and I enjoyed Mr. Carlin's word play, and were amazed that the segment required a warning. Compared to his later specials, this first one was pretty darn tame.

   I do plan to watch all his specials, in broadcast order. It may take me a while to work through all 13, especially since I am only in season 5 out of at least 12 of Midsomer Murders. I do adore Mr. Carlin, and find most of his commentary absolutely hysterical. I love that he feels his job was to point out the stupid shit that we overlook.

   He really was a genius, and I miss him. I hope his specials will be available to all for many years to come!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Telephone Book Mystery

   It's that time of year again, when the new telephone directories come out. Over the years, I have come to dread this annual event.  We have lived in our little house for nearly 23 years now. We moved in during 4th of July weekend in 1990.  We have also had our phone number for that long too, since we moved from another town.

   Yet every year, after the new phone books come out, we start getting the phone calls. They are all wrong numbers, but the people calling to make an appointment at Mr. Lou's Hair Salon don't know that. Yup, every stinking year an ad appears in our local yellow pages directory for this hair salon, complete with our phone number. This hair salon does not, in fact, exist any more, if it ever did.

   I get so tired of telling people this little fact. I have toyed with the idea of booking their appointments, and letting them try and look for the place. But what I really wonder about is this: doesn't it cost money to have an ad in the yellow pages? And who is paying for this ad for over 20 years, for a defunct business, with our phone number attached?

   You may ask, what brought this on today? I was laying in bed this morning, Hubs had recently gotten home from work. He was out in the living room, watching TV and relaxing, when I heard the phone ring. When he came in to go to bed, I asked him who called, and he told me that some sweet old lady was looking to get her hair done at Mr. Lou's. And so it begins again.

   I can understand that some wrong numbers are simply misdials. We sometimes get calls for the school bus garage in the Wappingers school district. Apparently they were trying to dial 226-XXXX, and hit the 9 instead of the 6. It can happen. I knew someone, I forget now who it was, but their number was one digit off from the local IRS office phone number. So they have a busy time of year for wrong numbers too.

   These people have even left messages on our answering machine when we aren't home. If the phone number was for a business, wouldn't the answering machine greeting say so? I promise, this year I will try to be patient. I won't book their appointments. I will explain politely that there is no Mr. Lou's Hair Salon, that we have had this number for over 20 years. But it really is getting old.

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Project Started!

   Yes! I have finally started a new project. I will be making some baby things to add to my stash of baby things, to replace the ones I have already given away. These new ones will be knitted, as all the others are crocheted. I believe I told you I wanted to make some knitted ones, as they are lighter than the crocheted ones.

   I have even taken photos of my progress. I wasn't sure I liked the pattern, as I am making it up as I go along. I was going to frog it back to the border and do another stitch pattern, but I have decided to keep going. If I don't like it, I can give it away to someone else. And white yarn is easy enough to get.

  Here it is, from a little distance. The next one is more close up.

   I am so excited to have started another project. I am really looking forward to knitting little baby sweaters. My friend Kim has even said she is looking forward to knitting baby things too. She refuses to use acrylic, so she will work in super wash wool. Still machine washable, it just can't be put in the dryer. There's nothing as lovely as wool baby things.

   One last thing, I just want to say thanks to my readers! Much to my surprise, I have been read just over 5,000 times since I started. Granted, it's been about 8 months, but I never thought anyone would read it! I know some of the really popular blogs get read that much in one month, but I am happy to be read at all... Thank you all!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What the Teen Saw and Learned

   I learned an important lesson in parenting when I was just a teenager. I was hanging out at a friends house. She lived in a small duplex development in Wappingers. The streets were all dead ends, and it's just off the main north/south arterial. There isn't a lot of traffic in there.

   We were hanging out outside as it was a nice day. It must have been in the summer, as there were kids all over the place, playing. These two kids got into a scuffle in the street, fighting. Their respective moms came running out of their houses, and pulled the boys apart.

   The moms then started screaming at each other, each one blaming the other's boy for starting the fight. As I watched the moms go at it, the two boys went off together again, their fight forgotten. They were playing together again like nothing had happened.

   I watched this surreal scene, and realized that the moms were way too involved with their kids activities. How are these kids going to learn how to resolve their differences if mom always steps in? Obviously, the kids did learn, despite their insane mothers. I decided right there, after witnessing this episode, to let my kids deal with their own conflicts. I am ready to step in if needed, but they need to learn to deal with other people themselves.

   This is but one of the lessons I learned. Parenting is such an individual activity, subject to our own points of view, but it seems that no matter what you do, most kids turn out OK. I knew this one woman who, even though her daughter was 4 or more years old, still insisted on talking to her in baby talk. She also never let this kid feed herself, or anything. How is a child supposed to learn? We, as parents, are supposed to teach them how to live in the world. Teach them how to take care of themselves. Teach them proper values, etiquette, diplomacy, etc.

   And, when the time is right, teach them how to knit or crochet, or both! But first they have to be old enough. And each child gets there at his or her own pace. Too many parents are refusing to let their kids grow up. It's like they forgot, THIS IS OUR JOB. Give them some freedom to make mistakes. And make sure they learn from them when they do.

   I can only assume that we have been extremely blessed with our son. He somehow grew up to be extremely committed, dedicated, loyal, and honest. He somehow grew up to be more mature than his parents! I like to think that it was because I let him be a kid. He had freedom, and didn't abuse it. therefore he earned even more. He never succumbed to peer pressure, at least not too much. He knew his own mind, and what was right and what was wrong. And he usually refused to participate in what he knew was wrong. I applaud him, and could not be prouder of him and how he turned out.

   I think he is going to be a great teacher, and a great dad someday. But not too soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Version of Reality

   Reality shows. Many people watch them, most deny it. There are many kinds of reality shows. I refuse to watch most of them, I think they are stupid. The original ones, like Survivor, are dumb. I don't care to watch stupid people doing stupid things and getting voted off the stupid island for stupid reasons. I detest "confrontation" talk shows like Jerry Springer. They are just an excuse for public brawling.

   I watch television for one reason. Entertainment. I want to be entertained. I watch a lot of Sci Fi Channel, or Sy Fy, as I believe it is now called. I am entertained by make believe, fantasy, and the like. I also like detective shows.

   There are, however, some reality shows that I do like. I like some shows on the food network, and some of the decorating shows on HGTV. And I have found that I like watching Swamp People.  Sometimes I watch the biographies on that channel, if it's about someone I would like to know more about. I like some shows on NatGeo, and NatGeoWild. and I do love history programs, especially about the middle ages.

   Sometimes when I visit a friend, she's watching reality shows that I don't watch. She asks me, "Do you watch this? Do you watch that?" Always I answer "NO! I don't watch most reality shows!" She laughs at me and says I must not watch much television at all. I tell her that I do indeed, I watch it all day and into the evening! I just don't watch what I think is crap.

   Reality, real reality, is hard and ugly and boring as hell. That's why I watch programs that take me away from all that. Oh yeah, and I knit and crochet a little too.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blowing My Own Horn

   So that never ending scarf for Samantha, Bonny's daughter, is finally done! And I've started searching my stash for yarn for my first knitted baby blanket. I got out my stitch pattern book, and found a few stitches I'd like to try making it in. The one I started with uses two different size needles, I'm using US 9 and US 17. I've got the bottom border done, and a few rows of the body of the blanket.

   I wanted to knit a blanket, because they are lighter weight than crocheted blankets. Besides, I already have a plethora of crocheted blankets. I've never knitted one. This way, no matter what season a baby is born in, there will be appropriate weight blankets waiting for him/her. I also want to knit the E.Z. surprise baby sweater, which I'm pretty sure I mentioned before. I need to search my stash to see if I have eough of a good yarn for that. In all the photos I've seen, it's shown in stripes, but I want to make it a solid color.

   And that's all I have for today! Scarf finished, and blanket started! I promise, I will get around to finishing up all those WIPs in my bag....

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finally! Some Craft Progress!

   There I was this morning, sitting in the recliner at Bonny's house. I got my knitting out of my purse and started working on it. She commented that it looked great, it's really coming along. So I stopped, and actually looked at it. She was right!  It is coming along!  In fact, it's almost done!  There's not much yarn left to go! I have been working on it every so often, and not really looking at it. It is actually quite long now.

  I was going to take a photo of it, but there's no good place in my house to show it off. Maybe I will take it to Kim H's in the morning and take a photo or two there. Maybe Cherub will even model it for me. I am just so thrilled that this project is almost over with. It is even beginning to inspire me to pick up another WIP and work on that one some more! There are several shawls in my bag that need to be finished. Wouldn't that be worth working on this scarf?

   I do have another project in my mind, to start soon. I want to make a knitted baby blanket to have on hand for the day I find out that I will be having another grandbaby. I still have some crocheted ones left, but I really want to make a special knitted one. I need to start looking for pattern books or pamphlets. I also want to make Elizabeth Zimmermann's surprise baby jacket. I can't wait to get started!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I Am Curious, What Happens When.....

   Two people fall madly in love, and decide to get married. For reasons of their own, the decide to hyphenate their two names. I have no idea if this is a cultural thing, more prevalent in some parts of the world than others. I have been watching a lot of British mysteries lately, for instance, and many of the upper class characters have hyphenated last names.

   Anyway, these people have children, who then grow up and fall in love with people who also have hyphenated last names. What happens then? Does their last name become a hugely-long-four-part hyphenated monstrosity? Does anyone know the protocol on this? I am aware that it would be the decision of the two persons getting married, but seriously, why would anyone do it? And where would it end? And that doesn't even get into whose name goes first in the hyphenating!

   I have heard that there are some men who take their new wives last names. I even attended a wedding many years ago in which the groom had a horrendously long multi-syllabic eastern European last name, and upon his marriage, took his wife's nice, short, relatively normal last name.

  This is but one of the questions burning in my mind. And to answer your unasked question, no, I didn't get any knitting done yesterday. I attended a Pampered Chef party, and got to see my brother, his wife, their son, and my daughter-in-law and granddaughter, as well as my daughter and son-in-law.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Someone Broke the Covenant.

   Here, in upstate New York, we have had an extremely mild Winter. I believe the whole northeast has, really. I have noticed that everywhere I have been, no one is talking about it. I have therefore come to believe that we residents of the area have an unspoken agreement to not discuss it. And if we break the agreement, Winter will come roaring her ugly, cold head down on us in all her snowy white glory.

   This past week, we had a snowstorm. Now, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, not nearly as bad. But this leads me to believe that perhaps someone has broken the agreement and discussed the forbidden topic.

   I, for one, have truly enjoyed this respite from true Winter weather. In years past, we have had to shovel a three foot wide path from the driveway to our door. It must be this wide, because with each successive snow storm, it of course gets deeper, and I insist on being able to walk through with a grocery bag in each hand.

   Many years, we have more than six feet of snow in total. Thankfully, some of it melts between storms, so it would rarely pile more than three feet at any one time. When our son was young, we used to make large snow sculptures in our front yard. We had a gorilla, a large shark complete with open mouth big enough for our son to sit in, and a variety of dinosaurs. I believe we started with an alligator.

   It was not unknown for the snow pile at the bottom of our driveway to still be there, however much smaller, in April, or even early May.

   Now it seems that someone has ruined it for all of us. And we were almost through the snow season. Hopefully, the rest of the Winter won't be so bad...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stitch n Bitch and More!

  Today we had a very small Stitch n Bitch, as Kim H. and I were the only ones in attendance. We did, however, have a very nice breakfast and chat. I actually had to leave early this time, as I had some things to attend to before I went off to babysit Miss Malia.

   We are playing musical cars this weekend at my house. My son is going to two different Karate tournaments, and had asked to borrow his dad's truck. So therefore, Hubs needs to borrow my Jeep to go to work. We found out this morning that another wrinkle had been added. Jess will be leaving by 6 a.m., before his dad gets home from work. So he needs to take my Jeep to work tonight as well.

   So not only did the truck get all it's debris removed, I had to make my Jeep habitable for Hubs as well. I also needed to get some gas, and food for dinner. Also, I was given the mission to get Hubs more cigars, as he was out of them. I managed to get all my errands done in time. I still don't know how. 

   So I will be housebound at night while Hubs is at work this weekend. Why don't I drive Jesse's car? I don't like it. It's a VW, and the second VW with a standard transmission I have ever driven.  I have come to the conclusion that all VW's have a very small, tight, shift pattern. I don't like that, I can never figure out if I'm in the right gear. Am I in 1st or 3rd? 2nd or 4th? No idea.  I much prefer my Jeep's nice big shift pattern.

   As a point of observation, I actually did knit at Stitch n Bitch this morning, I am still knitting on Miss Samantha's scarf! Tah-dah! And Kim was winding a hank of yarn into a ball. Before and after eating. Just so you all know, I do still knit and crochet on occasion.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And Another Thing.....

  As I was babysitting today, and my young charge was napping, I was channel surfing. On one channel was Burn Notice, a show that I like, but I've seen most of them. I pushed the button again, so I could see what the episode was about. And there it was. The episode was about a man who was set up for stealing a million dollar broach.

  I freaked out. These people are paid lots of money, and they still can't get this stuff right? A piece of jewelry is a BROOCH. Not a broach. That is a totally different word! And this really annoys me because even spellcheck doesn't catch it, because it's not spelled wrong. It's the totally wrong word to begin with.

   I have even seen a commercial on TV with the wrong word used! It was for a paint roller thing, and according to the advertisement, it came with a POLL. Seriously! For reaching high up, like a ceiling. Someone needs to get me a job as a proofreader!!

   I seriously considered emailing to the address given in the ad, and pointing out the error. But since my previous efforts hadn't worked out at all, I decided to forgive and forget. At least I get to vent my frustrations here!