Monday, January 31, 2022

A Little Exercise and Fresh Air

We got some snow this weekend and I shoveled. It was a solo activity because John is in MD, Justin is in FL, and Ryan is an hour away in PA with his own driveway to shovel. We got 6-8", but it's hard to tell since it's bare in some places and foot-high drifts in others. It's not nearly as much as they got at the NJ shore or in New England. My power's been out twice and the house was down to 50 degrees at one point, but it's on now, and it's amazing how much shoveling warms you up.

This is the view towards the street,

and this is looking down towards the barn. 

I'm not sure whose idea it was to buy this house with a stupidly long driveway, but presumably, I went along with it 32 years ago. Over time, we've purchased equipment to help with clearing snow, a snowblower, and a four-wheeler with a plow. But they are only helpful if you can get them started, which I could not. So I said some words and got out the shovels. Four hours on Saturday and another four to finish yesterday, but it's done. 

After all that shoveling, I just might bake a chocolate cake and not feel one bit guilty about eating a piece. I did get plenty of exercise and fresh air.

I hope your weekend was safe, warm, and dry!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Let's Try This Again

A week ago I wrote about selling our house in MD. It was an ideal deal, cash with no inspections, and we were thrilled with how easy it was.

But on Wednesday afternoon I got a call from our realtor (let's call her Debbie so I don't have to keep typing "our realtor"); the buyers were asking to be released from the contract. Debbie said that in 35 years she had never had a cash deal fall apart, but I guess there's a first time for everything. 

The situation was disappointing, but Debbie had already called the realtors representing two other potential buyers that we had received offers from to see if they were still interested. The potential buyer with the second-best offer was enthusiastically in. All we had to do was electronically sign the "Release From Contract" form and then sign a new contract with the new buyer. This offer involves the buyer applying for a mortgage, an appraisal, and inspections, so there are potential pitfalls, but it might also be more money.

It's funny that the buying and selling of a house can be so personal yet impersonal at the same time. When you list your house you agree to let strangers tromp through it, viewing where you live and disrupting your life. This is both personal and disconcerting. I have no desire to expose my life to strangers, nor do I want to pry into theirs, but I do wish I knew why the original buyers backed out. I'd also like to know a little about the next potential buyer's story, but I will probably never meet him. This is an odd business.

So we're trying this again; let's hope the second time's the charm!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday

It's time to join Kat and the rest of the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with my never-ending Musselburgh hat. I've reached the point that knitters sometimes encounter, the one where you knit and knit and knit but there is no measurable progress. The tape measure has shown that I have two more inches to go before I start the decreases for several days now, but I have reached gray yarn so there is some sort of progress being made. I trust that I will knit my way out of the measuring tape black hole soon, and hopefully be able to finally show you a finished hat next week.

I finished a few audiobooks this week. The Yarn Whisperer and Knitlandia were pleasant listens while I went through things in NJ to take to Goodwill. I donated two carloads which is a good start to making room for things that I'll be packing up in MD next week. I also listened to The Guncle, which was a four-star book for me. I was afraid it might be a bit lightweight based on the cutesy title and cover design, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was funny, well-written, poignant, and full of depth and heart. The main character experiences quite a bit of personal growth and I'm a sucker for that in a novel. Up next, The Final Case by David Guterson. I hope it's a good book to listen to while I pack. 

What are you making and reading this week? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Winter Sunsets

I took this photo of the sunset one day last week and thought that I had seen a lot of distinctively beautiful sunsets so far this winter. Looking back through my pictures, I found at least seven in just the last three weeks. I started to wonder if I was just noticing sunsets more often, taking more photos, or if lovely sunsets really occurred more often in the winter. It seems that there may be some scientific reasons for sunsets being better during the winter. 

NOAA meteorologist Stephen Corfidi says that the peak sunset season for the Northeastern United States is November through February due to several meteorological factors. Those factors are lower humidity and cleaner air. This allows more saturated colors to reach our eyes, and because twilight lasts longer closer to the solstices, sunsets also last longer. 

Clouds figure into the picture, too. Well-defined cloud systems are more likely to happen in the winter, and they can provide a backdrop for the setting sun and reflect the beautiful colors back to those viewing the sunset. 

I've simplified the explanation a bit because it involved words like "spectrally pure" (vibrantly colored) and "Rayleigh scattering" (the scattering of light by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the radiation). But if you'd like to read more, you can read the original Vox article here. And for a real primary source, here is Dr. Perfidi's original paper (complete with further reading on the physics and meteorology of the twilight sky). 

Or maybe you don't need any further reading but just want to get out and view beautiful winter sunsets. Enjoy, whatever approach you take!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Daily Bread

It's been grey and cold this week, with sleet, snow, and rain. Weather like that always makes me feel like baking, and I've been thinking about bread since I made turkey soup for my BiL. I took it over to him after he had arthroscopic knee surgery last week, and when you have soup, you need bread to go with it. I didn't want to make something complicated, and since I have a case of Michelob that somebody gave us (but nobody here drinks it), I decided to make beer bread. 

I've made regular beer bread for quite a few years. It's perfect when you want a quick bread to serve with dinner, but don't have time for a yeast-risen loaf. It's especially good to use up beer that nobody likes to drink. My kids used to think they were getting away with something when I "let" them have beer bread.

As good and easy as beer bread is, the variations are also great. I made a loaf of
cheddar beer bread to serve with some beef barley soup I made for us. If you happen to have swiss cheese on hand, swiss beer bread is also favorite of mine.  

For something a little sweet, I started with this recipe for cinnamon raisin beer bread and tweaked it a little bit, increasing the cinnamon to I Tbsp, increasing the raisins to 1 cup, and soaking them in beer for a while before adding them to the batter. Plump and juicy raisins are so much better than dry, shriveled ones.

I did have to try a small slice of both of these, just in case they didn't turn out. They both tasted just fine so I won't have to worry about serving sub-par bread to my family. The cheese was evenly distributed, but Paul Hollywood would probably have something to say about the distribution of the raisins. (Good thing he's not invited.)

I haven't tried any of these variations yet, but they all sound good to me, so I'm sure I'll be making them soon.

I hope your week is a delicious one!

Friday, January 21, 2022


I keep getting reminded that the proper term is "Under Contract". Whatever terminology you use, we were very lucky to have sold the MD house in less than 36 hours. 

Last Thursday, the real estate agent listed it as "Coming Soon", and it became active on Friday with showings starting at 11:00. Within a few hours, there were 10 showings scheduled for Friday and five on Saturday.

We left MD early Friday morning before the showings started and came home to NJ. I went over to visit Ryan on Saturday and ended up spending most of my visit on the phone with the real estate agent and John, looking at emails and purchase offers on Ryan's computer. 

Ryan and I had planned to go out to pick up lunch, but we ended up getting it delivered. It seems that every moment is crucial in real estate, and nobody wants to wait an extra ten minutes.

I did have a lot more plants in the "breakfast nook" but took most of them home and will find room for these now that the house has sold. 

We received five offers, all of them above list price. Several of them had escalation clauses to frankly ridiculous prices since I don't think the house would have even appraised for what they were offering. But by the time I left Ryan's, we had a signed contract and it was perfect for us - above list price, cash, and no inspections. 

John is very sad to leave this garden but he's already got a new garden staked out at Ryan's.

John's last day of work before retirement is February 4th, which means he'll need to be in MD at least until then. I estimate that we've got three pick-up truckloads of furniture and boxes to pack and bring back, but that should be doable. We close on February 24th, and then our time with two houses is over. 

John is also sad to leave his beloved shed in MD, but guess what? He's already ordered one for Ryan's house. 

I've complained a few times (John says the word I'm looking for is "incessantly") about the drive and the numerous difficulties of living in two places, but I'm very thankful that selling the MD house has turned out even better than I could have hoped. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Can I Get You Some Wine With Those Brownies?

Last weekend I decided to try the Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Flour I had previously mentioned. Some information that came with the wine flour mentioned supplementing a brownie recipe with this, so that's what I did. 

Here's the brownie recipe I used, but I'm pretty sure you could use any recipe or even a box mix:

1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1/3 unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 lg eggs
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c flour

I added 2 Tbsp of wine flour, mixed it all up, and baked it in a greased 8" pan for 22 min.

I didn't tell anyone in the family what I was doing because I wanted to see if they made any comments about the brownies tasting different. My family has never been shy about offering critiques if they think a new recipe tastes the least bit strange or even just not what they are used to. But I licked the spatula and thought the batter was delicious. 

This is what the brownies looked like when I took them out of the oven:

This is what the brownies looked like 20 minutes later: (and this was before dinner)

Justin finished the rest of them before he went to bed, so I think wine flour brownies were a success. He mentioned that they tasted especially good, but he thought that might be because I hadn't baked brownies for a while. Ha!

"Our Wine Flours are made from wine grapes grown in the Finger Lakes of New York. They are superfood powders that are meant to supplement your baking and cooking. Each pound is packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. We harvest the wine pomace after the wineries press the grapes for their juice. The skins are turned into fine powders that are various shades of gold and purple. Our Wine Flours are meant to supplement your recipes with flavor, color, and nutrition. Please use our Wine Flour with other flours when baking as it is a supplement, not a substitute."

Besides Cabernet Sauvignon, they make lots of other "flavors", like Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling. I think I might order a sampler next time and try Gewurztraminer in Apple Cake and Riesling in Snickerdoodles. This weekend I will be adding some of the Cabernet Sauvignon wine flour to meatballs and/or pasta sauce.

You could probably accomplish the same tastes by drinking a glass of wine with whatever you're eating, but this was a fun experiment (especially because nobody mentioned anything about a "weird taste".)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday

It seems as if Wednesday has been coming around more and more quickly, but no matter what kind of a time warp I'm caught in, it is indeed Wednesday and time to join Kat and the rest of the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday. 

I've been working on my Musselburgh hat and these colorful stripes make me happy. It's been looking a bit big to me, but I measured the width, and there is plenty of negative ease, so I still have high hopes it might actually fit.

Reading has been good this week. I finished Agatha of Little Neon, our current Read With Us book, and I won't say too much besides I did not find it a slog at all, I liked Agatha better than Marie de France, and I think this book will make for a great discussion. 

I was perusing my library's virtual shelves late one night and came upon Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? I checked it out on a whim, and it was surprisingly good. It's a self-help book, which I am usually leary of, but the author has written a book that gives all sorts of ways to help achieve and maintain good mental health. From building resiliency, managing anxiety, dealing with criticism, coping with depression, building self-confidence, to finding motivation, this is a book I wish I had had in 2020. It may be almost a necessity now that we're in the third year of the pandemic. I found it to be both wise and practical.

I purchased Vanishing Fleece from a recent Audible sale when I realized that I had never read any of Clara Parkes' books even though I've been a knitter for decades. This was a fun and educational book where Clara recounts to readers how she turned a 676-pound bale of fine Saxon Merino fleece into yarn. Clara is an excellent storyteller, and her voice is well-suited to narrating the audiobook. I've always had an appreciation for beautiful yarn, but now I have a better appreciation for how the yarn is produced and all the people that make that happen. 

What are you making and reading this week? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Read With Us: Matrix Wrap-Up (plus a new book!)

Today it's time for a wrap-up of our most recent Read With Us book group selection — Matrix by Lauren Groff.

Kym, Carole, and I each posted questions on our blogs last week and then had a lovely Zoom discussion that evening. If you click on those links, you can read the discussions that went on in the comments. We were lucky to have lots of participants, both on our blogs and the Zoom discussion. The group was pretty equally divided between those who felt like the book was a bit of a slog and those who enjoyed it. But, I can also say with some confidence that those of us who didn't enjoy the book very much developed a better appreciation of the language, setting, story, and what the author was able to accomplish in writing this book.

I meant to take notes during the discussion because I knew I was writing the wrap-up, but you know that saying about paving and good intentions. I do have two pages of scribbled notes, but I can't seem to find anything I wrote that might be useful.

We all had questions about Marie herself, had she gone off the rails (to quote Kat, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."), and we wondered the reasons Tilde might have had for burning Marie's journal at the end. Some wondered if we might have known more about Marie as a real person if more of her writings aside from her poetry existed. Keep in mind that while Marie de France was a real person, who she really was is disputed and Lauren Groff used this to her advantage in writing Matrix

Previous Zoom discussions have enlightened me, enriched my reading experience, and given me a new appreciation for many of the books we've chosen in the past. I had hoped the same things would happen from discussing Matrix, and I can say that they have for me. I still might classify the book as a bit of a slog, and I don't know that I would recommend the book to other readers, but I truly do have an appreciation for the exquisite, descriptive language Groff uses and the story she was able to put together with just the notion that Marie de France existed as a person. 


We announced our next book at the end of the Matrix discussion, and I'll do it here in case you weren't able to join us. It's Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette. Yes, it's another book about nuns, but do not be afraid, no matter what you thought of Matrix. I just finished it a few days ago, loved it, didn't find it a slog at all but full of interesting ideas. This is from the publisher: 

"Agatha has lived every day of the last nine years with her sisters: they work together, laugh together, pray together. Their world is contained within the little house they share. The four of them are devoted to Mother Roberta and to their quiet, purposeful life. But when the parish goes broke, the sisters are forced to move. Agatha is forced to venture out into the world alone, to teach math at a local all-girls high school, where for the first time in years she will have to reckon with what she sees and feels all on her own. Who will she be if she isn't with her sisters? These women, the church, have been her home--or has she just been hiding?"

I am very much looking forward to comparing and contrasting the sisters of Matrix with Agatha and her sisters. This is not a long book, and I found it an easy read, but I think it is rich with topics for discussion. We'll each do promotional posts in February and discuss Agatha on March 15th.

I thank you for reading along with us, even if you gave Matrix your best effort but just couldn't finish it. We appreciate your efforts and participation, and hope you'll Read Agatha With Us!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Museum of Me - January 2022

Hello and welcome to the January installation at the Museum of Me. The staff has been working hard on a new exhibit. This has involved some dusting, rearranging, along with some pondering. If you'll please follow the docent, she'll show you around this month's exhibit. This one is a bit different - it's about something you were really good at as a child.

Because this month's exhibit isn't so much a "thing" that I can easily display in the museum, it took a bit of thought. I finally arrived at Asking Questions. While I don't think I asked too many questions when I was younger, I do know that I was curious about lots of things and wondered how they worked. My mother used to tell me that I asked her questions all day, every day, and I do recall her often getting tired and answering my incessant queries with "Just because that's the way it is." 

I think I asked the usual childhood questions, like: 

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why can I tickle my sister until she cries, but I can't tickle myself?
  • Why did my parents choose to spell my name with a "y" instead of "ie"? 

I never did get an answer to that last one, and it's something I still wonder about occasionally.

I haven't grown out of asking questions, and here are several that have come up just this week:

  • What is tasseography? I don't remember where I came across this, but it's fortune-telling that interprets the patterns in tea leaves.
  • What is wine flour? I saw this on Etsy and had to order some for my SiL and myself.  After the wineries press the grapes for their juice, the pomace is transported just a few miles to a flour mill. The grape seeds and skins are hand sorted, separated, sun-dried and artisan stone milled. Wine flours are meant to supplement recipes with flavor, color, and nutrition. I'll let you know what it's like after I try it. 
  • Why don't I know or tell jokes anymore?
As an adult, I still ask questions and can often come up with answers (and sometimes even more questions). I don't know the answer to that last question about jokes, but I'll leave you with a joke. 

Feel free to leave me any jokes you especially like in the comments!

The Museum of Me exhibits will be changed monthly on the second Friday of the month, so please stop by again in February for the next carefully curated installation. (The gift shop is on the right on your way out!)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

For Sale!

We've listed the MD house, so the end is in sight! We'll most likely only have to make the drive five or six more times. Keep your fingers crossed for a good buyer willing to pay a fair price!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday

I'm once again joining Kat and the Unravelers for the second Unraveled Wednesday of 2022. There hasn't been any unraveling this week, and in fact, there has been a mild case of startitis. I've knit a grand total of two rows on my Antler cardigan, and my Musselburgh hat has reached the colorful car knitting stage.

But before we left NJ to drive down to MD on Sunday, I grabbed a skein of yarn and needles for another Bankhead hat. Justin has been wearing his a lot and it looked so good on him that I thought I also needed one.

So now I have another Bankhead cast on and am happily knitting lots of k1 tbl, p1 ribbing. I want to finish both of my hats-in-progress so I'll be all ready to start Hunter Hammersen's hat as soon as she releases the pattern the week of Jan. 24th and I get the yarn from Gauge Dyeworks!

Reading has slowed down a bit, and I didn't finish anything new during the past week. I am listening to The Sentence but got side-tracked when I was lucky enough to be approved for Douglas Stuart's Young Mungo from NetGalley. I've also started Agatha of Little Neon, and even though I'm only about ten pages in I think I like this nun story better than Matrix

What are you making and reading this week? 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

It's Discussion Day for Matrix

Hello and welcome to our Read With Us discussion of Matrix by Lauren Groff. The format is the same as usual, CaroleKym, and I have each posted a question on our blogs today, and we will have an in-person Zoom discussion at 7:00 pm this evening. You can send me an email (email address is in the upper right) to RSVP and I will make sure you get an invitation with the Zoom link if you haven't already.

My question concerns work at the abbey. One of the significant changes Marie makes at the abbey involves shifting how the nuns do their work. Before her arrival, they were assigned the tasks at which they excelled least well, as a lesson in humility. Marie emphasizes productivity and assigns tasks based on inherent skill. Consider how Marie’s attitude toward work shapes life at the abbey, and what kind of change it allows for the community. How does it compare with modern views of work? What are the benefits or drawbacks of the change, as seen in the book?

Please feel free to answer the question and add your opinions in the comments if you are unable to attend the Zoom discussion tonight, but you needn't feel obligated to comment here if you are attending the Zoom discussion. Your thoughts, comments, and opinions are valuable and we'd like to hear them here or in person tonight. I just don't want you to feel like you need to discuss the book twice!

I had some issues with the book, and I know several others did also. There were things I liked and admired about Groff's writing and others where I just felt lost. Usually, I'm a solo reader, but discussing the book is one of the big advantages of reading with others. Previous Zoom discussions have enlightened me, enriched my reading experience, and given me a new appreciation for many of the books. I hope the same things can come from talking about Matrix, and I do hope you'll Read and Discuss With Us, whether it's here or in person tonight. 

Monday, January 10, 2022


When I was a child my father always decreed that we had to take the Christmas tree down on January 1st. I really disliked doing this for several reasons - it seemed like a sad event, it meant that we would be returning to school in a day or two, and my father loved the Mummers. We always had the Mummers Parade on while we were taking the tree down, and tinny banjo music combined with lots of outrageous feathered costumes just made me dislike the day even more. 

Since I'm in charge of the Christmas tree now, I decided to take it down last Saturday, a full week after my father's official deadline.

First, I took off all the ornaments and admired these crocheted snowflakes I made about eight years ago. That may have been the last time I picked up a crochet hook.

These are some of the special ornaments that will get stored in the Tupperware "vault".

The lights got removed next.

Because I was at home by myself, I used the special patent-pending angel removal device. 

The angel and the tree skirt will get put away in my cedar chest until next year.

I took the tree and storage boxes down to the basement, vacuumed, put a couple pieces of furniture back where they belonged, and then relaxed with a nice prosecco cocktail. 

I did leave one ornament hanging from the chandelier in the dining room. It seemed too sad to remove every single shiny piece of Christmas. But at least this was all accomplished with any Mummers.  

I hope your week is a good one, with some ornamentation in your surroundings that makes you happy. 


Our Read With Us discussion of Matrix will be tomorrow,  Tuesday, January 11. CaroleKym, and I will each post a question on our blogs that day, and then we will have a Zoom discussion at 7:00 pm that evening. You can send me an email (email address is in the upper right) to RSVP and I will make sure you get an invitation with the Zoom link. I hope you'll Read and Discuss With Us!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Covid Reading

Back in the spring and early summer of 2020 when it started to become clear that we would be in staying home for far longer than two weeks, I wondered how the pandemic would play out in books. Would authors simply ignore it and keep writing their usual fare? Because writers were living under the same conditions that readers were, it began to feel like the subject might be difficult to avoid.

Ali Smith's Summer was published in August of 2020, and she included quarantine life. As it was the fourth in her seasonal series and presumably in progress, I think it would have been difficult to write about the state of the nation and leave out covid and lockdown.

"In the present, Sacha knows the world's in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world's in meltdown - and the real meltdown hasn't even started yet."

In December of last year, I read the covid memoir, What Just Happened by Charles Finch. It was a library book and I figured why not? The answer to that question is because it's a covid memoir, something that all of us could have written ourselves. Covid memoirs are just not for me.

Because I hadn't completely learned my lesson, I also read Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult. It's a full-on pandemic novel, with the whole story revolving around covid. The author had an original take on things, but I decided that covid fiction was also not for me. 

Despite swearing that I would not, could not, read any more about the pandemic, there is only one author that I was willing to make an exception for. Sarah Moss wrote The Fell, and all I knew was that coronavirus played a part. After getting a copy through Netgalley and reading it in a day, I was thrilled to find that the author had written a completely original take on covid. It was simply great fiction and not covid fiction. 
A two-week quarantine sets the stage for the story of Kate, and several other characters contribute their perspectives on the feelings of claustrophobia, isolation, vulnerability, and the almost overwhelming uncertainty that we have all felt for several years. Sarah Moss has written much of this book in an internal, stream-of-consciousness way, which I appreciated because it seemed to closely match my thinking. There are daily details along with larger philosophical questions. The story takes place over a single day with interesting chapter titles, and as always, Moss' thoughtful prose is a joy to read. In my opinion, this is one book that is not solely about covid, but so much more, and a very worthwhile read. 

I have considered several books about the development of the vaccine, like The First Shots or A Shot to Save the World, but while these might be interesting, I think I have finally learned my lesson and won't be doing any more covid reading for a while. We're all living it every day, so this isn't something I want to read any more about. 

So how about you? Have you done any covid reading, fiction or nonfiction, or do you think you might in the future? Or are you smarter than I was and avoiding it? 


Also, our discussion of Matrix will be next Tuesday, January 11. Carole, Kym, and I will each post a question on our blogs that day, and then we will have a Zoom discussion at 7:00 pm that evening. You can send me an email (email address is in the upper right) to RSVP and I will make sure you get an invitation with the Zoom link. I hope you'll Read and Discuss With Us!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday

I'm happy to join Kat and the Unravelers for the first Unraveled Wednesday of 2022! This week brought plenty of actual unraveling, but I think I've finally got things figured out.

We had a week-long stretch of gray, rainy, sometimes sleety weather, and I needed to knit with color. I wound my skein of Colorwheel from Gauge Dyeworks in anticipation of working on a colorful Musselburgh hat. 

This pitiful bit of knitting is what I have to show. I attempted Emily Ocker's Circular Cast On 10 or 20 times with little success and lots of frustration. I moved on to the Disappearing Loop Cast On, with slightly better results after only five or 10 attempts. Too late, I remembered that Sarah had posted her own unvented circular cast on, but I will definitely be giving it a try next time. 

I thought this hat would be perfect car knitting as we drove down to MD, and it might have been if I had gotten the increases done. I thought I had finished the deceases as we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge, but when I sat down last night to transfer my knitting to a circular needle, I was a stitch short and the whole thing looked pretty wonky. So I patiently tinked back to the problem area, and I think/hope it's fixed now. I'll see after I knit some more today. 

Reading was off to a not-stellar start for the New Year. I read two books, The Personal Librarian and Altered Traits, that were just barely three stars. But then I was approved for The Fell by Sarah Moss from Netgalley, and it was brilliant. I haven't reviewed it yet on Goodreads because I want to try and do it justice, but it was easily my favorite Sarah Moss novel (so far). 

What are you making and reading this week? 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Bits and Pieces for the New Year

After knitting a bit on a Hitchhiker that I started five years ago, partaking in a festive afternoon of toilet fixing at Ryan's house (we replaced the wax seal successfully with no leaks!), going to bed at 10:30 on New Year's eve, and taking down some Christmas decorations, I've got some bits and pieces for the New Year.

I really dislike going to the grocery store, so occasionally I reward myself with some sort of treat if I see something. While I was in the grocery store a couple of days before Christmas (along with everyone else) I saw this instant espresso. I haven't had brewed espresso so I can't really compare the taste, but this makes a nice afternoon pick-me-up, especially if I use one of my espresso cups and demitasse spoon to make it more special.

Look what else I saw at the grocery store on December 23rd - Valentine candy! It's just a little bit too early for me. I would probably eat it all well before February.

I was looking through some of the pictures on my laptop and found these - our last big outing before covid. That's John and his younger sister at the Plumsteadville Pub for her birthday. We went on February 22, 2020, and haven't been back since. 

Seven of our family members got together that evening, and I would have had an extra beer or two if I had known. I wonder if we'll feel safe going this year? 

We've had a gray and rainy week, but at least it wasn't snow. I was able to get out in the woods with Justin. He's been hunting a new way, with a saddle and platform instead of a tree stand. I'll spare you the details, but that dark silhouette you see standing 25 feet up in the tree is Justin. 

Here he is demonstrating how he hangs in the tree, but this is just a few feet above the ground, not the usual 25-30 feet up. I tried not to say "Be careful" too many times. 

The sun did come out for a few hours and it was at the perfect time to hit the prism I've got hanging in my kitchen window. It was lovely to see (especially if you ignore my dirty windows). 

I am anxiously awaiting the hat pattern that Hunter Hammersen has been teasing us with for a while now. She is collaborating with Gauge Dyeworks who is dyeing three different colorways to use for this hat. You can use that link to be notified when the yarn is available. I've been calling it "the feather hat", but I'm sure she'll have a much better name. Hunter has said that the pattern will be available early in the new year, have several different variations, and also info on how to use other yarn. I am completely entranced and can not wait!

What are you anxiously awaiting in 2022?