Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Physical Education?
Probable Error?
Nope. Pulmonary Embolism.

I didn't mean to come home from Colorado, write one post, and then take more time off, but that's what bilateral blood clots in my lungs have dictated I need to do. Intense shortness of breath and racing heart rate sent me to the hospital in Elkton yesterday afternoon, and I'm writing this from my hospital bed Tuesday morning. I only got about two hours of sleep last night, so I'd love to go home tonight, but my morning heparin and blood pressure meds are two hours late, so we'll see.

Flying to Colorado and back is the most likely cause, and I'm incredibly grateful that I didn't drop dead on the plane or in Philadelphia airport. Initially very scared, and now really, really grateful.

I'm going to take a break from the blog for a while but hope to be back soon and healthy.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a good day to take seeds,

starter mix, trays, and fluorescent lights and get growing!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Fly Away

Guess where I'm heading? Colorado! I'll be back later (when I'm done eating Thai and Ethiopian food, tacos, and Creole breakfast, going to The Loopy Ewe, and most importantly, visiting with Ryan.)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three things about pi. Today is Pi Day 3/14, and even if you don't care about it mathematically, it's a great reason to eat pie. While you're having a slice (apple, cherry, peach or pizza), consider these three things.

  • Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, or

         This isn't exactly exciting, but if you consider that this ratio is a constant, whatever the size of the circle, that is a little more                            interesting. The usual approximation for pi is 3.14159.
  • Pi is also an irrational number. In math, that means it can't be written as the ratio of two integers, and it has an infinite number of digits.
  • What the heck is it used for? Well, NASA uses it to calculate trajectories, determine the size of craters, and figure out the volume of fuel tanks and see out how much propellant a spacecraft has. Another important practical application is in signal processing. A fundamental operation here is the Fourier transform, which converts a signal to a frequency spectrum. Your cell phone does a Fourier transform when it communicates with the local cell tower.
My favorite mathematician (Ryan) thinks that we should really be celebrating e, mathematical constant that is the base of the natural logarithm (the unique number whose natural logarithm is equal to one). Its approximation is 2.71828, so I suppose it could be celebrated on February 7th in the US, but without something delicious to eat associated with it, it's never going to measure up to Pi(e) Day. 

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday, and I apologize for this photo that looks like it's either a terrorist or bank robber. It's neither; I was just trying to show that this Sockhead Cowl only needs the ribbing at the top and it will finally be done. I have to finish it during this upcoming week as I'm clearly running out of ways to take photos.

I saw that several friends had started The Heart's Invisible Furies, and I was lucky enough to find the audio book available via Overdrive. So far, I'm finding it hard to put down. It's just the book I was in the mood for - honest, truthful, poignant but not too sad, and a darn good story. There will be more books by John Boyne in my future reading. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... brings good news!

Since an important part of science is reproducibility, I intend to take plenty of naps and test these results myself. Hope your week is off to a good start, and maybe even includes a nap or two.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Time to Make the Pretzels

A few days ago John came home with some soft pretzel nuggets from work. They are always having events, luncheons, and meetings where food is served. John hates to waste food, so often tries to get other employees to take the extras home, and sometimes brings treats home for me, too. These happened to be from Philly Pretzel Factory, but I started thinking about how pretzel dough only had a few ingredients and they probably weren't too hard to make. I found two recipes and started making.

I mixed water, salt, sugar, yeast, and flour, kneaded the dough until it felt right, and then set it aside to rest. There is yeast in the dough, but it didn't rise very much, so after an hour or so I started shaping the pretzels. First, I made nuggets and put them in a baking soda bath for a couple of minutes. This is supposed to give the pretzels a darker crust.

Then they got sprinkled with kosher salt,

and baked. With the second half of the dough, I made twists, dunked them in the baking soda bath, and baked.

And voilĂ ! Pretzels!

My opinion? Three stars. They're not bad, but I'm not sure if they're worth the effort. John liked them, but he'll eat almost anything. I might try them again, but bake them a little longer, possibly substitute beer for water in the recipe, or coat them with cinnamon-sugar. Lots of things are made better with cinnamon and sugar!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three things about Unravel, the yarn video game. I'm not much of a gamer, but I did play Guild Wars with the goal of getting my character to Level 80. Once I had done that, it became overly time-consuming and complicated. Justin thought that I needed a nice simple game that we could both play and he settled on Unravel. 

1.  It's actually a decent game for me. It was designed by a Swedish company, and has dream-like scenes set in nature, beautiful music, without car crashes or shooting. Your character, Yarny, is on a quest to explore the world around him. He unravels as you move through the game, and finding more yarn for him is one of the things you have to think about. 

2.  The rest of the game involves using yarn to climb and build bridges to fly a kite, avoid crabs, and solve puzzles to enable Yarny to move through his environment.

3.  It sounds much easier than it really is, and I'm going to have to practice a bit to get comfortable with the Xbox controller. I figure that maybe playing video games might be my hedge against Alzheimer's. It's about as close as a video game is going to get to knitting, and thoroughly delightful!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. In the race between me and the weather, the Sockhead Cowl and I lost. Well, not exactly lost, but last week I thought that if I knit really fast, I could finish this and wear it during the frigid temperatures we're currently experiencing. It's 13 degrees this morning which would have been great weather to wear it for a walk and try it out, but I'm fairly sure we'll have cold weather again, whether this winter or next.

I did finish my baby socks and even John said that they were cute. (He does not often comment on my knitting nor use the word cute.) With two snowstorms in three days last weekend, I didn't get to visit my niece and deliver them, but that will hopefully happen this upcoming weekend.

I'm currently reading/listening to three books (see "currently reading" in the right-hand sidebar if you're interested), and even though each one is interesting in its own way, I haven't made much progress in the last week. I think I was too busy knitting, shoveling, cooking, and maybe even practicing a little balance to get much reading done.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hi, Ho, Hitchhiker!

I'm not always a selfish Hitchhiker knitter, and today's is one that I knit as a gift for my sister. I had found some hemp yarn that looked intriguing and decided to try my first dk weight Hitchhiker, aptly named Hitchhiking ... with Hemp. It's a bit less stiff than dishcloth cotton but it's certainly not a nice, soft merino. That may be why I never knit another one, even though I've got other colors of hemp in my stash.

Looking back a these photos, I wish that I had given this a more aggressive blocking. It would have opened up the yarn overs more and maybe even softened the yarn a little bit. Maybe someday I'll get it back from my sister and fix it. I also wish I had done a better job with notes. Usually I take measurements and count the number of points, but somehow I forgot with this one

But it does make me happy to see it draped on the pea fence, among the bright greenery and blossoms. We'll be planting peas in just a few weeks, and I'll need something to drape my next Hitchhiker on!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is beautiful. Which I can better appreciate now that all the shoveling is done in NJ.

Time to head to MD and see what needs to be cleared off down there. Maybe it will all be melted by the time I arrive (before the frigid temperatures begin for the rest of the week).

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Tasty Food on Friday

First, this.

Then this.

Next, two kinds of ziti.

And these.

I'm ready for a good weekend. Hope you are, too!