03 May 2016

Selective Yum

In honor of the upcoming day that is Mother's Day, Carole has asked us to list 10 Favorite Foods My Mom Used to Make.

My first response when seeing this topic can be summarized below.

You see, my mother loved to eat, but hated to cook.  I mean, really hated it.  And on the rare occasions when something was actually really yummy, my father warned us to not praise it too effusively, "Because then we'll have it every goddamn night."  Which was the truth.  My dad, on the other hand, loved to cook, but did a lot of traveling for work, so usually only did the cooking on weekends and holidays.  Of course, even though I like cooking, it can get really tedious when you have to think of *something* for more than yourself every single day!

One of the most famous family stories about my mother's cooking was the time she made a meatloaf from her dear friend's recipe.  The dear friend's meatloaf was AMAZING.  My mother followed the recipe exactly.  Even the dog wouldn't eat it ...

But upon further reflection, I was able to think of the following that are things that I always fondly associate with my mom.

1.  Coffee and toast.  We drank tea as kids, but when you were sick, you got a cup of coffee with milk in it, and a piece of buttered toast which you were supposed to dunk into said coffee.  It was the most perfect thing in the world, and I have never been able to replicate it.

2.  Lemon meringue pie.  Made once a year (summertime), from a mix, but with extra lemon juice.  Delicious.  I'm sure some of the deliciousness had to do with the once-a-year factor.

3.  Butterscotch pie.  Also once a year (fall), from a mix.  See last two comments above.

4.  Slaw for your hamburger from the grill in the summer.  I know that iceberg lettuce (was there any other kind?), onions, pepper, and mayonnaise were involved, but I'm not sure what else.  I always thought it was the way things were sliced that made it so good.

5.  Christmas Cheeseball.  Still made every year by me, and also now by a couple of my nieces.  It's not hard (we are talking about my mother) but it's yummy and a must-have in order for it to be truly Christmastime.

6.  Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the blue box.  I seriously did not know you could make it any other way than from a box until I was an adult.  And the "fancy" Kraft box stuff (I think it was called Deluxe) was horrible.  I make killer mac and cheese now, but every once in a while when I'm on my own for dinner, I'll make myself a blue box dinner and I'm in heaven.

7.  Christmas Kielbasa.  She learned how to make this from my father's brother-in-law who was from Poland.  Being my mother, she had to somehow make it sweet, so she cooked it in brown sugar.  Only at Christmastime.  And it's the only thing I miss as a vegetarian.

8. Beefaroni.  Homemade, if you please, not from a can.  We did have some class, you know.

9.  Campbell's canned potato soup.  She would add milk, diced onions, a big glob of butter, and lots of pepper.  Again, not something I have been able to replicate to my satisfaction.

10.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I think this was just because she made them, as I'm sure they were simply white bread, strawberry preserves (most of the time) and Peter Pan peanut butter.  No fancy ingredients, just about as basic as possible.

It's funny, my mom has been dead for more than 30 years, and I still think of her every single day, talk to her, miss her, and wish she was here to make some of these things.  Mainly just so she would be here, you know?  I hope if your mother is still around to drive you insane, you'll give her an extra kiss from me this coming Sunday.

And I hope you eat well, whether it's from a box or otherwise.  ;-)

01 May 2016

The Lovely Month of May

It's May! It's May!
The lovely month of May.
That jolly month when everyone goes
blissfully astray.
-- from "Camelot"

I always think of this song on May 1st.  Fortunately it's a fun song, and I know the words, so I don't drive myself crazy with it ...

Granted, May 1st here in Philadelphia is dreary and cold, not the kind of weather you might expect.  But I had no outdoor plans today, so it's fine with me.  The Tim had to work, and so I just worked on some things here at home, though they are not things that are really that visible, other than clean laundry!

Anyway, I thought I'd share my latest knitting projects with you.  These are both gifts.  The first is a pair of socks for my niece Amanda.  She adores Halloween, and this yarn colorway is called "Slutty Pumpkin."

Pretty wild, huh?  She doesn't wear socks to work, but always wears them when she is at home.  I can easily imagine her wearing these to give out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Isn't the project bag cute?  I got it at Loop a while back, and it cracks me up.  I posted a picture of the socks and bag on Instagram, and captioned it, "If only there was more color in this photo ... " 

The next project is a Christmas gift, and is actually for Amanda's husband Patrick.  He has admired the Turn A Square hats (free pattern by Jared Flood) I've knitted for The Tim, so this is for him.  The colors are actually navy blue and medium gray, but this was the best I could manage with my photographic skills.

I'm almost ready to start the decreases for the top, so there's not much left on this project.  I want to make two others for other nieces' husbands for Christmas, but I'll probably take a break so I don't get sick of it.  I'd forgotten how much fun this pattern is, and the color combo in person is really quite elegant. 

Earlier on Facebook, I saw a post from Stefanie Japel about this project:

Then I headed over to Instagram to look at the others who posted with this hashtag.  I found a whole 'nother set of ways to go down a wormhole, so unless you have nothing else planned for a while, I'd wait before taking a look.  I am not participating, since I am not likely to have a photo to post every single day according to the prompts, but I like the idea a lot, and may use some of the suggestions for blog posts.  Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you, so that if you wanted to check it out and/or participate, you could start.

And so that's all from our house for this very first day of May.  I hope you have had and are enjoying what is left of your weekend.  As for me, I think it just might be wine o'clock ... ;-)

28 April 2016

Throwback Thursday - Pip's First Day

Look at little baby Pip!  This picture was taken by The Tim on the first day Pip came to live with us.  He's not a lot bigger now, but he has filled out a bit.  And he is one of the sweetest, most affectionate, and talkative cats I've ever known.

I am usually the first one to go to bed around here on any given night.  Pip always brings me one of his toys and puts it next to me in bed.  I think he feels like it will make me feel safe until everyone else is around.  (Sometimes it's extremely disconcerting to move in bed, and feel something unfamiliar next to you, or on the blanket ... )

We are lucky to have him in our family.

26 April 2016

Tuesday's Monday Meme (huh?)

Hello all!  This morning I was Voter #16 at my polling place.  This pleases me.  I like it when I get a number that I like.  Once I was Voter #119, and though I was glad so many people had been there before I was, I'm not really a fan of that number.

Anyway, if your state is holding a primary today, please VOTE.  People have died for the right to vote, and I wish everyone would take it more seriously.

End of Public Service Announcement.

Now it's time for Kathy's Monday Meme, which I'm able to do on Tuesday this week!  (I'm so proud of myself.)  Let's see what is on the agenda this time around.

1. Have you washed your winter woolens and put them away?

Just a few.  I plan to do the rest this weekend.  I started a few weeks ago, and then it got cold again, and I needed some of my sweaters!

2. What do you wash your wools and knits in?

I use a delicates wash product from Nordstrom.  I would link to it to show you, but I always have trouble finding it on their website.  It comes in unscented, or very lightly scented lavender.  A big bottle lasts a long time, as you only use a small amount.

3. Do you have a favorite iced beverage in the warmer months?

Iced tea.  I love iced tea all year round, I must admit, but in the summer, it's either cold water or iced tea.  I do enjoy treating myself to the Passion iced tea at Starbucks from time to time.

4. Would you consider yourself or a family member in your house to be a nosey neighbor?

Not really.  I know everyone on our street to see, and say hi to at a minimum, but don't pay much attention to their lives.  The Tim could never be considered nosey, as he is lucky he remembers to pay attention to our lives!  There are things I would love to know, but we were raised to not be nosey, because, to quote my mother, "No one likes a nebshit."  So there you go.  The nosiest members of our family are the cats.

5. Time when you were hungry and ate something and thought it was amazing when you knew it wasn't.

I can't think of anytime recently.  I have bought something to eat thinking it would be good and have been disappointed, but never the other way around.

6. I read that department stores are going to have to close many sites.  I'm guilty, I order by mail.  Is there a store you would really miss if it closed a building but stayed open online?

I do some online shopping, but I do like brick and mortar better.  It's really hard for me to buy clothes and/or shoes online, so I would miss anyplace that sold those items.  And no matter what, I think bookstores and yarn stores are more fun in real life!

7. What was your most recent purchase related to knitting?

A few weeks ago, I bought a project bag I loved, that was on sale.  Because apparently having approximately 2000 already isn't enough ...

8. Do you use a row counter?

Not for everything, but sometimes.

9. What is the main color of the current project you are devoting your precious knit time to?

Navy blue.  I'm making a Turn-A-Square hat for a Christmas gift, and the main color is navy (the other is gray, for those wondering).

10. What's the longest and shortest your hair has ever been?

There is a picture of me at approximately 6 years old with shoulder length hair.  The shortest my hair has ever been is a short pixie, and I'm hoping to get one at my hair appt this weekend.  I cannot deal with a lot of hair on my head or neck during warm weather!

Care to share?  Feel free to do so in the comments, or write your own post!

21 April 2016

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thanks to Kym, I have learned that today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. I have always had a weird relationship with poetry.  As a young kid, I loved rhymes.  As an older kid and school student, I was frustrated by it, since I never could pick up what was going on what the "real" message was.  Only as an adult, when I could pick and choose and not be graded on it, did I start to enjoy poetry.  I'm still no expert, and cannot discuss poetry with those in the know, but now I consider poetry to be my friend.

And so here is my poem to share today.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Sweetness of Dogs

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise.  It's full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself

thinking how grateful I am for the moon's 
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy meanwhile
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.

-- Mary Oliver

My very own "Percy" (aka Dug the Doodle Dog):