Thursday, April 16, 2015

A New Obsession

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that when I learned to knit a few years ago, I became completely and totally obsessed with it.  When I wasn’t knitting, I wished I was knitting, or I was planning what I would knit, or I was shopping for yarn with which to knit.  I still often analyze knitwear on folks I come into contact with (or just randomly see in public).  Is it handknit?  What stitch pattern is that and could I duplicate it?  I often resent my day job because it keeps me from knitting.  My family and friends will tell you, I’m a knit nut. Being so dedicated to spending every moment I could with my sticks and string, I didn’t think there was room in my life for another obsession.  

I was wrong.

Here’s the thing:  The Husband is a very picky eater.  He will protest when he sees this and he will deny it to his last breath.  Do not believe him.  I’m here to tell you that he is most certainly picky.  We’ve been married nearly 16 years now and recently, for no particular reason (hormones), I became very weary of cooking the same few things he seemed to like.  In fact, I can’t explain it (hormones) but I began to get really, really grumpy about cooking anything because I was bored, he was bored, it was all boring.  BOR-ING.

One day, while shopping for yarn doing important online research for my craft, I happened to open up my hardly-used Pinterest application on my tablet.  On the home screen, I caught a fleeting look at a pin for a baked bean recipe.  The picture looked good enough to eat.  I visited the web site and found a great food blog which I’ve mentioned here before (  I started poking around some other recipes on the blog.  I pinned them.  The holidays were coming.  I decided to try a couple of the pinned recipes.  They were fabulous.

So it began.  

Suddenly, I was looking for Pinterest recipes once a week.  Then once a day.  I began to make menus for the week ahead.  I actually planned stuff.  I made meals that were not just passable, but were actually pretty doggone good.  

I’ve tried some new things, like this gnocchi:

Pretty good

The recipe called for frying it instead of boiling it.  I used this in a cheesy dish with sausage which was pretty good.  The gnocchi was edible and next time will be better since I’ll have an idea of what I’m supposed to do.

There have been some epic fails like this honey garlic chicken that I cooked in the crock pot, but apparently halving the recipe is not a good idea when it’s gonna sit in a slow cooker all day with no one around to stir it and monitor it’s progress.  This got tossed completely.

Not so hot

And there have been some gleaming successes:


This salmon dish was fabulous - even The Husband who really doesn’t care for salmon ate it up.  It would look even better if I’d had a better way to dress it with the yummy Sriracha cream sauce you see kind of slathered on top.

I've managed to impress myself.  I've moved from jarred minced garlic and garlic powder to fresh garlic, from ground ginger to fresh grated ginger, from prepackaged grated Parmesan to grating a chunk of real Parmesan Reggiano.  Just goes to show, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

And so I’m hooked.  The real struggle is splitting my time between planning and cooking, and knitting.  That darned day job still gets in the way…

If you’d like to see what I’m up to on Pinterest, you can find me here.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Outback (Read: Out Back)

It’s Monday and I actually had a semi-sane day at work (Mondays are usually the craziest), which means I actually got off work on time and home at a decent hour.  That means that I was able to get supper together without fuss (well, sort of - but that’s material for another post) and had some of the evening to actually enjoy.  It has been raining in South Mississippi for a couple of days now but there was this lovely reprieve from the rain this evening when the sun came out, the humidity wasn’t horrible yet, and it was perfect for sitting on our back deck.  We really love the view out back.

Our little “lake” (which in Ohio would be just a large-ish pond) is home to the requisite fish, several turtles, and more than a few frogs who serenade us most evenings.  It is also home to some beautiful cypress trees which grow around the edge as well as right smack in the middle of the lake.  I never knew it before I moved to Mississippi, but I totally love cypress trees.

The one below, standing all by it’s lonesome in the middle of the lake, is my favorite.  

At one corner of our lot, there is a rather disorganized hodgepodge of bushes and tree sprouts that are sprinkled with a generous helping of weeds that was there when we moved in.  Since we’ve been here, The Husband threatens on a regular basis to chain the lot of them to the back of his pickup truck and rip them completely out.  I always urge moderation with this temptation since they grow on a rather steep slope from our yard into the lake and I can see it all sliding into the water along with a corner of our fence if the mess of plants weren’t there.  I had resigned myself to just trying to ignore the weeds and appreciate what looked halfway decent of the bunch when I ventured closer this evening and was thrilled to realize that there are several HUGE honeysuckle bushes in the midst of the mess!  They smell divine!

There are lots of buzzing bees going to town on the sweet honeysuckle blooms as well and they are slightly mesmerizing as they go about their work.  They are also a bit difficult for this novice photographer to catch on camera.

Do you see him?

A second surprise was finding a scattering of raspberries amongst the honeysuckle.

Isn’t it wonderful to find some beauty in what you thought was just a big, scrappy mess?  Glad this is possible because I am often a big, scrappy mess… 

There. Is. Hope.

I’ve also been nurturing some new trees The Husband and I planted two weekends ago.  They have enjoyed the recent rain much more than I have.  The Husband loves Japanese maple trees, so we planted three of those (he’s so spoiled).  

He got three trees, I got one.  But it’s one I have loved ever since I was a kid.  I got a weeping willow!  And it’s actually got tons of leaves on it already!  

I know it will take many years to grow it up to what I’ve dreamed of, but I get happy just visualizing my beautiful willow, part-way down our back lot, large enough to eventually place a sitting bench or a swing underneath, facing the lake.  I picture a sweet, shady retreat where maybe my grandkids will visit and sit in one day listening to the frogs.  Sappy?  Maybe.  But I love it!

Speaking of grandkids, it won’t be long until grandchild number one arrives!  I’ve knitted quite a bit, but not nearly enough.  I know you know what I mean!  Better get busy!


Saturday, April 11, 2015


Saturday morning and I’ve just finished paying bills which I will never do again prior to sitting down to blog because it has nearly sucked all of what little creative writing mojo I had out of me.  And trust me, there was very little there to begin with as witnessed by my lack of blogging.  I wish I could point to what is keeping me from putting a post together at least once a week.  Perhaps I’ve been too busy knitting to write.  I have made some progress in spite of the fact that I have several things on the needles.

I’ve nearly completed a baby blanket for a coworker who is expecting (yes, another one - if I was a young woman, I would DEFINITELY NOT drink the water at work).  I fell in love with the pattern, the Rainbow of Bows Baby Blanket by Janet Jameson.  I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn as the pattern recommended which is, in my humble opinion, the most reasonably priced, really nice acrylic yarn available, plus there are like, a thousand colors to choose from (may be a slight exaggeration).  The yarn is held double for the pattern which makes for a wonderfully squishy blanket.

This last week, I’ve concentrated on yet another project for my first grand baby.  I won’t reveal the pattern yet, but it is knit in the round and starts with a provisional crochet cast on.  A 300 stitch cast on.  Which I trudged through, joined, and knit, knit, knit.  Then I saw it.  A rookie mistake.  I mean, a real rookie mistake.  What’s wrong with this picture:

If you look closely, you’ll see the whole thing is twisted.  T.W.I.S.T.E.D.  Um…yeah. I don’t know which is worse, that had the thing twisted when I joined or that I didn’t realize I had done so until I’d gotten that far.  SMH

The good news is, after I pulled the whole thing out and provisionally cast on those 300 stitches again, I’m back on the right track and honestly, I think this time around my stitches look a little more even and nicer than before.  I suppose that’s a by-product of taking enough care so that one doesn’t have to go for a third go-around.  

I’m a little stalled on a wee dress I’m making for another coworker’s little one.  When this coworker was expecting, I had planned a lovely little blanket for her as I did for the first coworker that had a baby but the yarn I’d ordered ended up backordered and by the time I realized I wouldn’t receive it in time, it was too late to do a blanket, so I did a little sweater for the baby instead.  I’ve always felt badly that what I gave her was so much smaller compared to a blanket, so I set about looking for another project and found the Emma Tunic by Jennifer Alexander.  The baby’s name is Emma, so it all works out grandly.  It looks rather plain and dull right now, but will look sweeter once I complete the yoke and add some cute embellishments.

In the midst of all the baby stuff, I’ve not done much with other things. I did complete one unremarkable sock and I knit a few rows on a sleeve for my Steampunk Pullover.

The rest of the day will be spent running errands and cleaning and of course, knitting.  My sweet dachshund, Daisy, was all ready to play when I was trying to take some pictures for this post this morning.

Alas, she eventually gave up, poor baby.