30 November 2015

What I Learned in November

I am kinda surprised that it is the last day of November, to be honest.  I like November, and this was a nice one.  And for the very first time, I participated in NaBloPoMo.  It was somewhat daunting, at least in theory, but I really wanted to try and see if I could do it.

Guess what?  I did it!  With no hand-wringing about what to write, or trying to figure out posts ahead of time.  I think it was a huge success, and I also learned quite a bit.

I learned that every post doesn't have to be involved, or brilliant, or even very long.  Posting every day meant that sometimes there was a lot to say, and some days not, but it was still worth making the effort.  I love to write, and it was fun to feel like I had someone to talk to every single day.  Even if, like "Seinfeld," it was about nothing ...

I found a lot of new blogs to read, and new blog friends.  I loved reading the various things people posted, seeing their photos, and seeing how they handled the whole thing.  Even if they weren't enjoying it, their blog posts gave the impression that they were having fun.

I realized that by only "trying" to participate, I hadn't freaked myself out by thinking if I didn't continue, it was a moral failing.  I put no pressure on myself at all, and I have to say that was the main reason I think I succeeded.  I wanted to prove that it could be done!

I had something to look forward to every single day, both writing and reading what others wrote.

I found out how much fun it was, and how nice it was when people commented.  I occasionally have a post where a lot of people comment, but it was fun to have it happen more frequently.  It reminded me to actually take the minute or two to post a comment when I read something.

It was a good November.  It was a good NaBloPoMo, at least in my opinion.  I have decided to try and post more frequently, even if I don't always post every single day.  And I think it might just happen here again next year ... :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #30

29 November 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday in Headlines

I'm stealing this idea from Kym, because I like it, and I have many different things rumbling around in my brain, but no single coherent thoughts that I can gather for a post.

"Local Woman Stays Up Past 11:00 On a Saturday Night, Is Disappointed When Her Team Loses Game"

"Woman Realizes It Is the First Sunday of Advent, Makes It to Church Across Town Just On Time"

"House Smells Better After Baseboards Cleaned with 'Nature's Miracle' - Will Cat Stop Spraying?"

"Dog Meets Oppossum, Wants to Be Friends; Oppossum Leaves Area"

"People Start Whining When Temperature Drops"

"Woman Pleased When 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' Sung at Local Church"

"Plans Made to Put Away Thanksgiving Decorations on Monday"

That's really about it.  I hope your weekend has been headline worthy, in a good way.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #29

28 November 2015


Oh I have enjoyed this long weekend, with still this evening and tomorrow left!  It's just the best.

Our Thanksgiving Day was lovely.  Quiet, cozy, and enjoyable, just as it should be.  Our dinner was incredibly yummy, and the wine cranberry sauce I mentioned that I made was really good - more tart than the canned kind and with a little bit more depth.  It was all just so wonderful, just one of the many reasons I love Thanksgiving.

Not much else has been happening.  Yesterday The Tim was working during the day, and I had some medical tests early in the day.  Once I got home, I did some of my little projects around the house.  We had leftovers for dinner, and then went to see a play, which was really fun (the tickets were one of The Tim's birthday gifts).

Today I headed to the library to pick up a book on hold (and of course, ended up with two additional ones), and then came home to pull out the box o' gifts to see what we had for Christmas and for whom, so that we know what gifts are still needed.  It's always fun, because a lot of times, I completely forget what I had, and finding it again is like I got it for free.  We're not in bad shape, and most people will end up getting books once we take advantage of Employee Discount Days at the bookstore.  :-)

I am nearly finished knitting the cuff of the socks I want to make for The Tim, now with the gray yarn, which is the correct one!  I'm gonna do the best I can, but if nothing else, they can be a gift for Valentine's Day ...

The Tim is working the closing shift tonight, so it's just me and the critters for the evening.  We have the Notre Dame game to watch, and I have my knitting, so other than taking Dug out for his evening walk, we're set.

I love the Thanksgiving weekend.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #28

27 November 2015

Oh the Knit-manity!

Yeah, I know that is not an actual word, but it's how things are right now around here.

I really wanted to knit some gifts for people for Christmas, but I don't know that I'll do it - it's kinda late in the game by now, and most of them need to be mailed.  So perhaps the best plan is to start when I can, and plan for next year.  I'm thinking ...

I've been concentrating on a couple of things - one has been long term, while the other was something I wanted to make for The Tim for Christmas.

On the top is the finished back and nearly completed front of a sweater I have been making using one of Amy Herzog's Custom Fit patterns.  I started this sweater a little more than a year ago, at a class at Loop.  I love the color of the yarn, and I really want to finish it, but it has been on a long hiatus.  First, because of my sore elbow, and secondly, because I'm just afraid I would finish it and it wouldn't fit, which is most likely not the case, but you know how it is when your brain decides something.

The photo below that one is the very beginning of a pair of socks I'm hoping to make for The Tim for Christmas.  I have had such a problem getting these going, but think I finally found the right needles to use, and finally got some rounds of the cuff knit.

Then, the inevitable occurred - I felt like I was doing really well on both of these projects.  That kind of "I'm really proud of myself" moment often comes back to bite me in the posterior.

As I prepared to start working on the last part of the sweater - the shoulders and neck - I realized I had too many stitches!   Apparently, I didn't decrease as many times as I should have earlier in the pattern.  I have decided I'm not tearing back *all* the way, but half of all the way.  An arbitrary decision, but seriously it's only four stitches, so I'm gonna live dangerously.  I've told myself it will be OK.  Right? RIGHT?

So then I thought, well, let me work on the socks a bit.  At which time it occurred to me that I had started the socks using the navy yarn.  I was supposed to start with the gray yarn (which looks white in the photo).  At first I thought I'd just go ahead, but then I realized I wouldn't have enough for a pair if I continued with the navy.  Time to start over with the gray ...

At least I only had a little bit already knitted.

Granted, neither of these things are the worst that could happen.  But you know how it is - you just get annoyed.

Just one of the many reasons I'm glad there is wine.

NaBloPoMo Day #27

26 November 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

There are only two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein

Happy Thanksgiving!

NaBloPoMo Day #26

25 November 2015

Finished for Today

I am officially finished with the things I wanted to do to prepare for tomorrow.  There were not that many things for me to do, since I had actually cleaned pretty thoroughly last weekend (much to my surprise), so food-related things were what were left for tonight.

The Tim was busy the past few days.  He was off on Monday and Tuesday, and then he is working the closing shift tonight.  He did the cleaning up he wanted to do, plus A LOT of baking!

So today when I got home from work, this was waiting for me.

Pumpkin pies!  Yes, "pies" - three of them!  The Tim is a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so he makes two or three every year so he can get his fill.  (I of course help to consume said pies, because I am supportive like that.)

The other day he baked some bread.  And then today, he turned that bread into homemade croutons for our stuffing.

So good!

As of approximately a half hour ago, I finished making the stuffing, and earlier I tried a recipe I found for wine cranberry sauce.  The stuffing looks, smells, and hopefully will taste good.  I'll check in the morning, once the flavors have had some time to take hold, to see if it needs any tweaking.

The cranberry sauce *looks* good, but according to the recipe, it needs to sit in the fridge at least 12 hours for the flavor to "set."  I'll let you know if it is any good.  I do have to say it was easy.  We just usually get the canned cranberry sauce, but like I said, I saw this recipe today and we had some fresh cranberries in the fridge that we got as part of our farm share, so I figured I'd see how it tasted.  At least if it's horrible, we still have the other stuff as backup.  :-)

Besides the anticipation of Thanksgiving,  I think all of the food preparation and planning is fun.  We usually have the same menu for the most part, with occasional tweaks or additions, but it never seems boring to me.

I hope you are finding time to relax tonight so that tomorrow's festivities will be happy and fun.


NaBloPoMo Day #25

24 November 2015


This week for Ten on Tuesday, Carole asks us to list things that make us feel thankful - but then adds a twist by saying to list things making you thankful right now.

After some thought, here is my list of 10 Things I Am Thankful For Right Now:

1.  Thanksgiving itself.  It is one of my favorite holidays, and definitely the coziest one, in my opinion.  I love making food that I seldom/never make any other time of year.  I love watching parades, dog shows, stupid movies, and just existing.

2.  Four-day weekends.  I'll take it and enjoy every second!

3.  Knowing how to read.  Every now and then, I'm reminded that there are still plenty of people who have never learned to read, and I cannot imagine my life without reading.

4.  NaBloPoMo.  Truly!  It has made me think more, since a post a day is not the usual for me.  And I've enjoyed reading others' daily posts, and finding out that people are reading and commenting on my blog here.  It's been fun, if some days challenging.  :-)

5.  Safety.  I take it for granted, but at the same time, I also realize I have a pretty safe existence, and a WHOLE LOT better one than others.

6.  Health.  I'm doing pretty well, and that makes me happy *and* thankful.  Even though I think I might be coming down with a cold, it's OK as long as it's just a cold.

7.  Our house.  It of course falls into the larger category of thankfulness for shelter, but it is also appropriate here, because it is such a quirky little old row house, on a teeny street in Center City Philadelphia.

8.  Laughter.  If I didn't have the ability to laugh at myself and/or to be amused, I'm not sure I would find life very interesting or even worthwhile.

9.  Solitude.  I am for the most part happiest when I am left to my own devices.

10.  Train sounds.  I think I've said before that I have spent most of my life living someplace where I could hear trains.   Train sounds are the comfort food of my ears.

That's it for now.  This is one of those lists that are easy, but hard, and could also go on forever.  But these are my ten things.  Right.Now.

NaBloPoMo Day #24

23 November 2015

Turkey Tendon Redux

When I first started this blog (which now seems like a long time ago!), I shared a story about a particular Thanksgiving tradition in my family.  To this day, when I tell people the story, they are a) puzzled, b) amused, and c) confused.

In the last few days, I've been reading other blogs and a lot of people are writing about how they are getting ready for the big day.  So here is a version of the previously mentioned story, one of Thanksgivings Past, when one of the biggest highlights occurred the night before.  Now that I am a vegetarian, I don't miss having turkey, but I do kinda miss pulling turkey tendons ...


When I first moved to Philadelphia, a notice in the Food Section of the Philadelphia Inquirer caught my eye. They asked readers to submit a brief story about unique family Thanksgiving traditions. Three stories would be published on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I knew I had something truly unique to send them.

My father, who grew up on a poultry farm, was the family expert on Thanksgiving turkey. The night before Thanksgiving was always a big night. After cleaning the turkey, it was time for the event of the year: tendon pulling! According to my father, if you pulled the tendons out of drumsticks before cooking, it made them easier to eat. We got the pliers out, and everyone got ready to take their turn. At the end of the drumsticks, there are often small holes, with pinkish-white tips sticking out. Those are the tendons. You take the pliers, hold the drumstick tightly, and try to pull the tendons out. It’s fun for the entire family!

I have never met anyone else who even knew about turkey tendon pulling, so I decided this story would be a perfect candidate for the “unique” Thanksgiving tradition the Inquirer was seeking. I figured if my story wasn’t chosen, the others that were published would have to be really unusual. So imagine my extreme dismay when I opened the Food Section on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and read the winning entries.

Story #1: A woman whose mother had been in the hospital on Thanksgiving had taken a complete dinner to her so they could have their holiday meal together. Her mother died shortly afterwards. Every year, she continues to take an entire meal to that hospital for any of the nursing staff that has to work on the holiday.

Story #2: A couple who were in the military and stationed in Germany one Thanksgiving invited their German neighbors to celebrate with them.

Story #3 (supposedly the best) was about a woman whose son had the flu one year during the week of Thanksgiving. The night before, to cheer him up, they had baked special pumpkin cookies together. Even though the boy was now 20-something, he still made sure he could be home the night before Thanksgiving to bake cookies with his mother.

These stories are heartwarming, feel-good stories; they may reflect lovely traditions. But am I the only one who doesn’t find them unique? The Tim suggested that maybe the Inquirer didn’t think my story was true, being "weirdly unusual."  Now really, could I have invented something that good? Maybe it was too unique for the Inquirer; they probably felt it would be more appropriate for the New York Post; right under a headline like “Family of Five Fancies Festive Fowl Fun!”


My memories of turkey tendon pulling are happy and fun ones.  Yes, it was gross, but we were all so focused, that was secondary.  I think that even if I *could* do it today, I would be completely grossed out, so it's probably better if it remains in my memory ... :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #23

22 November 2015

How About Another Recipe?

I have to tell you, I'm very proud of myself - I got a lot accomplished today! Granted, I'm really pretty tired, but it was worth it.  Other than eating dinner and washing the dishes (The Tim is the cook tonight), I have no other plans or things I have to do this evening, so the couch and my pajamas will have all of my attention.  :-)

Before we get to the yummy part of this post, I wanted to thank those of you who responded to my post yesterday, with my idea for honoring/celebrating my dad's 100th birthday.  If you didn't see it, and are curious, it is here; please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Now on to the recipe.

This is a recipe I have had for over 30 years.  At my very first "official" job out of college, I worked at the library at the University of Notre Dame, while The Tim was in grad school there.  At one of our departmental Christmas parties, one of co-workers brought a plate of homemade candies that I had never seen before or heard of, but boy were they yummy!

It turns out that she was from Ohio, which is the Buckeye State, and I guess these are more or less a candy that everyone who is from Ohio knows about.  Over the years, I've seen various versions of the recipe, and I've tried them at various places, but the recipe I was given is still my favorite, both for the taste and the simplicity.



1 lb. powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1 ½ c. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, whatever you prefer)
6 oz. chocolate chips or chunks 
2 tsp. shortening 

Mix first three ingredients completely, and then form into whatever sized balls you like (if they are small, you can eat more of them!).  Place on waxed paper and chill for at least 1 hour.

Melt chocolate and shortening.  Take a toothpick and take peanut butter balls and dip into the melted chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to cool.


Don't they look good?  I hope if you try the recipe, you'll let me know if you liked them.  I do have to warn you though - they are pretty addictive!  

NaBloPoMo Day #22

21 November 2015

Opinions Requested

Hello and Happy Saturday!  I wanted to share something with you that has been rattling around in my brain.  It's not completely thought out,  meaning details are not nailed down, but I wondered if you guys could tell me what you think of the idea, and also feel free to add your thoughts and ideas.

August 21, 2016 is the 100th anniversary of my father's birth.  He was not famous, or a world-renowned leader, but he was my dad so that makes him the most amazing man ever to me.  A 100th birthday - even though he is not here in person to celebrate - seems like something that requires special notice.

I will turn 60 years old in 2016, so it's a landmark birthday for me as well.  Assuming I make it to then (and I have every intention of doing so!), I will have lived seven years longer on earth than my father did.  I have been thinking, and have a nugget of an idea.

I want to try and get my knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other crafty friends to try during 2016 to make something for a man, young man, or young boy who is living in a shelter, a nursing home, the VA hospital, a regular hospital long-term - you get it, right?  And in theory, we could have a total of 100 items made by the end of the year and distributed in our own communities.  I would call it "Harry's Hundred" (my father's name was Harry), and it would be my gift to his memory.  Anyone who participated could do so in honor of him, or in honor of anyone else they chose.

My dad grew up poor, and he was a WWII Army veteran, and I think he would approve of any type of organization like the ones listed above (and others I've not added) being recipients of gifts from others' hearts.

I have nothing against donating to women's organizations/shelters/whatever, but this is for my dad, so I wanted it to be for the males of the species, who need help and some love as well.

As I said, I don't have details worked out, but I wanted to see if you thought this was something you might consider doing, and/or asking friends to join you in doing.  In any event, I plan to do what I can on my own, but my dad was a true extrovert, and I'm sure he would think the more, the merrier.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Criticisms?  Ideas?  Please share in the comments.

And have a wonderful weekend.  :-)

 (a newspaper clipping photo of my dad from 1969, the year he died)

NaBloPoMo Day #21

20 November 2015

Five Favorites For This Friday

It occurred to me that I hadn't done one of these posts in a while.  I like doing them, because they remind me to think of good things and enjoy the happy things in life.

So here are a few things from the past week.

1.  The Birthday of The Tim.  I love birthdays, I love celebrating birthdays, I love giving presents, I love birthday cake - well, you get what I'm saying.  We both took the day off, and just had a quiet, lovely day at home.  We went out for breakfast, and then again for dinner, but otherwise sat at home in our comfy clothes with Dug and the kit kats.  A nice long, day, and a happy day too.

2.  Anticipation and excitement leading up to Thanksgiving.  I love thinking about Thanksgiving almost as much as I love the holiday itself.  I have been enjoying every minute of this.

3.  A free drink.  I have a Starbucks card, so that I can get a drink even when I don't have cash on me (which is frequently), and so I don't have to use a credit card for a small amount (I hate using a credit card for anything under $10.00.  Well, or even at all, but you know what I mean).  Anyhoo, I had a free drink, since I'd bought however many it is that get you a free drink, and I got it this morning on my way to work.  A Friday and a free drink are an excellent combination.

4.  Star Wars cufflinks.  A little boutique in our neighborhood recently got some Star Wars cufflinks.  One of my nephews by marriage is a Star Wars fan, and according to his wife, wears cufflinks pretty often.  Guess what he'll get for Christmas?  Now I just need to decide which to choose.

5.  Cold weather.  Today it actually feels like fall!  Thank God.  I only get through summer due to the promise of cooler weather.  On top of which, my office is generally about 80-85 degrees, and of course I can't open the window, so walking out into actual cool air feels even better.

What about you?  Were there any particularly good things  this week for you?

NaBloPoMo Day #20

19 November 2015

Throwback Thursday

Ahhhhh, look - it's baby ME!
According to the back of the photo, this was taken in 1957, 
so I would have been a year old.  

My hair still looks like that, by the way.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #19

18 November 2015


There is only one thing I have to say today, and that is:

Happy Birthday to My Sweetie!

Today is The Tim's birthday, and we have both taken the day off.  We'll be going out to dinner, and there will be wine, cake, and presents later.  I don't know the exact plans for the day, since he was working last night, and isn't out of bed yet this morning.  But if nothing else, we'll have fun just not having to think about a schedule.

The only thing he doesn't like about his birthday is that it means that for four months we are the same age, and he can't mock me for being older ... but he makes up for it during the other eight months of the year! :-)

Hooray for birthdays!!

NaBloPoMo Day #18

17 November 2015

Stupid and Wrong Things Amuse Me

I was gonna participate in Ten on Tuesday today, but the topic was to list 10 Places Where You Hang Out.  I couldn't even come up with five.  "Home" pretty much qualified for #1-10 ...

So instead, here's what you get.


I'll admit that I am easily amused.  I adore puns, and love wordplay.

Sometimes, things at work amuse me. 

1. For instance, right near the Library, there is a diorama of a panda "family" - two adults and a cub.  A few weeks ago, a woman and a little kid were standing in front of it when I walked by, and had this conversation.

Kid:  Where did they get these pandas?  How did they end up here?
Woman (clearly uncomfortable):  They died of natural causes.
Kid (looking disgusted, and pointing to the cub):  You're telling me *that* one died of natural causes?

2. Overheard as two kids come up the steps.

Kid #1: Let's go see the mummies!
Kid #2: That's not even interesting.  All they are is bones and paper.

3. Yesterday I cataloged an entomology book published in 1930, and the author's name was:  C. Yuwa Wong.  I know it's terrible of me, but I laughed until I cried.  Seriously, say it to yourself out loud.  You can't deny it's amusing, even if it's rude to laugh about it.

4. This is one I may have already told you about a while back, but something happened the other day that reminded me of it.  A former co-worker asked me once for a recipe for what I had in my lunch, and I said I'd e-mail it to her.  She responded:  "You can just tell me, I have a photogenic memory."  I was tempted to ask if I could see one of the pictures.  But she would have had no idea in the universe what I meant ...

What about you?  Are you as easily amused as I am?

NaBloPoMo Day #17

16 November 2015

Well, That Was Stupid

Most of the time, I would like to think that when I write a post here, or on Facebook, or send an e-mail, that it is something clear and [probably?] sensible.  I don't go out of my way to cause controversy, because a) I don't feel like creating controversy for the sake of it, b) I don't feel those are appropriate platforms, and c) because, frankly, unless I am engaged person-to-person with someone, I don't care to drag things out online (I don't like it in person, either, but I think it's easier to contain.)

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook, thinking it was a relatively benign thing to say:

"This morning I woke up feeling really sick (thanks, Obama), so maybe I am feeling extra cranky (though I'm not sure that is possible), but wow people are being worse than usual.
I have seen at least three posts where someone has asked others to pray for the victims of the attacks in Paris, etc. And then barrages of commenters lambasting them because praying does nothing, prayer is stupid, prayer causes cancer (OK I added that to see if you were paying attention).
Everyone deals with tragedy and sadness in their own way. If you do not believe in prayer, then ignore that post. It doesn't offend the person who posted, and it doesn't make you look like the kind of person you would normally be criticizing big time.
Rant over. (This one, at least. For right now.) Back to my box of tissues and my cough drops."

Well, That Was Stupid.

What I was trying to say was that, if you don't pray/believe in prayer or a higher being, are opposed to organized religion, etc., just move on rather than attack the person who posted the original thought.  And that was really what I meant.  I don't know about you, but on Facebook and plenty of other places - as well as in my daily life - I scroll past/ignore so many things people say.  I consider myself to be a pretty tolerant person, and really only use Facebook and other social media to have fun and to see what with up for my friends and family.  It's fun and for a lot of family members especially, would be the only way I would ever know if they were still among the living ...

Anyway, I got a couple of funny comments from a friend, and a lovely comment from another friend who is actively atheist, and generally grumpy.  She basically said (I'm paraphrasing here) that when people would say, "I'm praying for you," she used to be really obnoxious and rude in response.  Then she finally realized that they were being nice, and wishing her well.  So now she says "Thank you" and moves on.  

She *got* exactly what I meant. 

Someone else though, took it to another level, talking about how she has been nice to people about it and they try to convert her, etc.  I replied that I was talking about something completely different, but she didn't let go, and railed on about people preaching to her and not leaving her alone.  

I truly only meant in my post that I wished people would allow other their opinions, and if they don't agree, rather than attacking them, move on.  I think political, social, religious discourse all have a proper place and time, but should try as hard as possible to remain civil.  I'm not perfect, but 99% of the time, I keep my thoughts to myself when someone posts something I find ridiculous, stupid, annoying, etc.  Because again, I use social media for fun and for actual exposure to others, and decide who does or does not seem to be someone I want to be in touch with on a regular basis.

That is why my post made me realize - Well, That Was Stupid.  Look what I said.  Look where I said it.  

I still believe what I said in the post, in case you were wondering.  A lot of you probably don't.  Fine with me.  Let's agree or disagree, but let's also pay attention to what people are *actually* trying to say, not what we decide they must be saying.  

Do me a favor, will you?  If this post offends you to the point where you feel the need to go on and on and on, please just do that in your head.  I'm sorry I opened my mouth in the first place, but there you go ...

*by the way, I like to "blame Obama" for everything ... since everyone else does!  ;-)

NaBloPoMo Day #16

15 November 2015

Sunday Sicko

No real post of any substance today, as I woke up coughing, with a sore throat and chills.  So I'm just gonna take it easy and hope that this is the worst of it.

But here is a picture that will hopefully give you a smile on this Sunday.

Dug and Milo - best buddies since the first moment they met  

Have a lovely Sunday!

NaBloPoMo Day #15

14 November 2015

Yes, Wind the Clock

I don't need to remind anyone reading this of the tragedy in Paris last night.  Or the one previously in Beirut.  Or the ones that have caused so many Syrians to become refuguees.  Or any of the other things that have happened all too often and make us wonder what is going on in the world.

Evil has reared its ugly head.  Hand wringing, second-guessing, and who is to blame are the orders of the day.

None of us should have to live through these horrors, much less hear about them.  I read a quote the other day, "Someone is praying for what you take for granted.  Appreciate what you have."

Let's all keep a thought and a prayer for the victims of this violence, and the other senseless violence in the world.  Let's remember to rally.  Let's make a difference where we are, even if  we can't do anything immediate for victims a world away.

Long ago, the writer E.B. White gave some advice that I think we should still consider today.  You can read that here.

Today, on Facebook Anne Lamott wrote this and I feel it is more eloquent and true than I could ever hope to put into words.

Remember to kiss your loved ones.  And yes, do wind the clock for tomorrow.


13 November 2015

This Day

This day has many things going on that make me happy.

It's Friday - which means that once I leave work, it's the weekend!  YAY!  My big plans include getting my haircut tomorrow morning, and attempting to do a little bit of birthday shopping.  On Sunday, depending on what else is/is not happening, I might walk over to Loop and sit and knit with the group for a bit.  They do a knitting circle on Sundays from 2-4.  

And it's not JUST Friday - its Friday the 13th!  This pleases me, because instead of worrying about it, I think of black cats all day.  I have had two black cats in my life (at least so far), and anyone who thinks they are bad luck is just plain old wrong.  I love black kitty cats!

To add to the list of why today pleases me, we have the actual date of today:


Today marks the last day this century that can be written as consecutive odd numbers.  This article can tell you when to mark your calendar for the next one ... 

(For someone who truly sucks at math, I do love numbers!)

It also helps that it actually feels like fall today - though apparently next week it will be warm again.  That is disappointing, but I'm gonna just enjoy the cool weather while I can, especially given what else I have to enjoy as listed above.  


By the way, a HUGE THANK YOU for your comments and suggestions for The Tim's birthday and Christmas.  I'm still plugging away, seeing what I come up with, but your ideas were a big help, and I do appreciate your willingess to share.  I just think that everyone should have one gift to actually open on their birthday, Christmas, etc.,  This weekend will give me the chance to see if I can take advantage of anything you guys offered.

Have a lovely weekend - and a wonderful Friday!

NaBloPoMo Day #13

12 November 2015

The Tim Is a Problem, People

Before I say anything else, please be aware that I know that what I am about to say is what my sister Mary Ellen would call a "White Man's Problem."  I know there are bigger, more serious things for all of us to think about, deal with, and work to solve.  But The Tim is my current issue, so he is the topic of this post.

The Tim is a lovely person, for the most part.  Like all of us, he has flaws and problems, but he is a good person and much more of a kind human than I can ever hope to be.  And I have to say, he excels at gift-giving.  He chooses great gifts, and always seems to have ideas.

This is largely because I am simple to buy a gift for - as a matter of fact, my mother used to claim that even if "a box of sh*t was wrapped up, it would still be a present, and you [me] would be happy."  Not far from the truth.  But The Tim always gives nice gifts that show that he took the time and made an effort to get things he knows I like.

I am a person who truly LOVES to give gifts!  Small gifts, big gifts, silly gifts - if I know someone will like something, I can't wait to give it to them.  And giving gifts to my loved ones is even better.

And here, my friends, is where The Tim is a problem.  He is one of those people who, if there is something he'd like to have, and it is affordable, goes ahead and buys it.  Making it very hard to buy him a gift.

Our anniversary is October 28.  His birthday is November 18.  Christmas is December 25.  You can see why this is frustrating for me.

He is extremely appreciative of knitted gifts.  But he has told me that he has enough socks, scarves, hats, and mittens and doesn't want/need more.  He buys his own clothes.  He works in a bookstore where he gets a nice discount, so buying him books, CDs, etc. is out since he already has the ones he wants.  A few years back, I was thrilled when I thought to get him an MP3 player.  That has since died, and he replaced it himself.  He likes cooking and baking, but there are only so many gadgets or cookbooks that you can buy, and even more importantly, that we have room to store in our small house.

We aren't talking about someone who is interested in many "guy" things - sports, cars, or the like.  Occasionally, he will tell me something specific to get.   Other times, he'll hand me something, and say "give this to me for my birthday" etc., Which is great, since I know it's something he really wants.  But it certainly spoils any surprises or mystery surrounding gifts.

And so, here I am, less than a week away from his birthday.  I have purchased one thing he specifically requested, but am saving that for Christmas, since it was kind of a big-ticket item.  I told him I'd take him out to dinner, and that will be fun.

But having presents to wrap is a whole lot more fun, if you ask me.

White Man's/Woman's Problem, indeed.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #12

11 November 2015

Veterans Day 2015

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers
-- Jose Narosky

Today I am thinking especially of my dad and my father-in-law, who were both World War II veterans.  They are both gone now, but there are plenty of veterans still here who deserve our thanks and whatever help we can give to them.

Be nice to a veteran today.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #11

10 November 2015

We're In the Money ...

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is:

10 Things to Shout When You Hit the Jackpot

I sincerely doubt this will ever be an issue, because I never buy lottery tickets, and I've never been to Las Vegas.  I do like to win small jackpots though, like when we have a poker game with friends (which doesn't happen often, but it's fun when it does).  So let's see ...

1.  Holy sh*t!

2.  YES!

3.  In your face [insert name of person I am currently annoyed with]!

4.  Hand it over, I'm outta here!

5.  I WON!

6.  I can't believe it!

7.  Too bad, suckers!

8.  We're in the money!

9.  Drinks on me!

10. *Now* who's a lousy player?

Then the next day would be #11 - Here's my resignation letter.  ;-)

Fun to think about, anyway.

NaBloPoMo Day 10

09 November 2015

Try To Remember

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the song "Try To Remember" (which I initially mis-identified as "September Song," a whole 'nother tune), made me think of fall.

Of course, then the song was in my head for the rest of the day - and is still there today.

And it is a song about fall, but also not.  Kinda.  Sorta.  But not.  At least, not really about fall as a season of weather, leaves, and cool days.  Except, it is in a way.

I find it to be a very sweet, poignant song, and can remember feeling that way even as a child.

So, here it is for those of you who may not be familiar with it. (Now it can float around in your head for a few days, too.)

I found this version of Josh Groban singing it, and the lyrics are below.

And so goes NaBloPoMo Day #9.

Try To Remember

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September when you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow

Try to remember when life was so tender that no one wept except the willow
Try to remember when life was so tender that dreams were kept beside your pillow
Try to remember when life was so tender that love was an ember about to billow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow

Deep in December it's nice to remember altho you know the snow will follow
Deep in December it's nice to remember without the hurt the heart is hollow
Deep in December it's nice to remember the fire of September that made us mellow
Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow.

08 November 2015

Sweater Weather Challenge

Hello there on a Sunday!

Well, it's been the first week of NaBloPoMo, and I have managed to post every day.  It hasn't been hard to post, what has been hard is *remembering* to post, since I normally don't do it every single day.

The other day, Angel commented on one of my posts.  Since she was a new friend to me, I visited her blog and saw a post that was a Q&A.  Now if you have read this blog for more than 5 minutes, you know I love these kind of things, so I decided to play along.

Sweater Weather Challenge

1.  Favorite Candle Scent:  Pine!

2.  Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate:  Yes?  Meaning, I like them all, but I'm gonna say TEA, since that is what I drink the most.  Nothing better than a good cuppa.

3.  What Is the Best Fall Memory You Have?  I would have to say when we lived in Notre Dame, Indiana, and would walk from our apartment to the Saturday afternoon football games.  Fall colors, cool and sunny days, and people happy with anticipation.  (This is saying a lot, since I absolutely hated living in Indiana.  These kind of things made it bearable.)

4.  Best Fragrance for Fall:  Jil Sander No. 4.  I got a sample of this a few years ago, and it just reminds me of fall.  I made that sample last as long as I could, since I knew I couldn't afford to buy the stuff once it was gone!  :-)

5.  Favorite Thanksgiving Food:   Stuffing, forever and ever amen.  I can already smell it in my mind ...

6.  Most Worn Sweater:  The very first Christmas that The Tim and I were dating, he bought me a sweater with reindeer on it.  It's an acrylic bulky sweater, and I not only wore it regularly then, but I still have it and it is my around-the-house sweater. It has been washed and mended so many times, but since it is acrylic, it actually is still in pretty good shape.

7.  Football Games or Jumping in Leaves?  I'm gonna say football games.  Though we have plenty of leaves to rake, you don't want to jump into the pile around here because almost anything can be in there with them ...

8.  Favorite Fall Accessory:  Knitted cowls.  Cozy and something I have made for myself.

9.  Favorite Type of Pie:  I guess in the fall I would say apple or pumpkin.  Though at any time of year, I have never ever met a pie I didn't like.

10. What Is Fall Weather Like Where You Live?  Usually, it's cool, sunny, and crisp, with the occasional dreary day when you like to be cozy inside.  So far this year it's been stupidly warm and I hate it.  Today, it actually feels like a fall day for a change, so YAY!

11. Favorite Fall Makeup Trend:  Berry lipsticks.

12. What Song Really Gets You in the Fall Spirit?  I have no clue.  Though I guess whenever I hear "Try To Remember" from "The Fantasticks" I think of fall.

13. Pumpkin Spice - Worth the Hype?  I love pumpkin, and I love pumpkin scents in candles, etc.  But I don't think every single thing in the world should be pumpkin flavored or scented.  That's stupid if you ask me.

14. Favorite Fall TV Show:  "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"

15. Favorite Fall New TV Show:  I would have to say "The Grinder."  It is stupidly ridiculous, and makes me laugh every time.

16. Skinny Jeans or Leggings?  I like leggings, because they are generally very comfortable and cover a multitude of sins on my legs with dresses.

17. Combat Boots or Uggs?  I have a pair of Uggs that I got for $25.00 a few years back that are my inside shoes/slippers in cold weather.  Plus, they are "pine green" and that makes me happy.

18. Halloween: Yay or Nay?  Are you kidding me?  YAY to the nth degree.

19. Fall Mornings or Fall Evenings?  Do I have to choose?  OK, I'm gonna say mornings, since you can see the leaves then.

20. Feelings About Black Friday:  I think Black Friday is fun if you go out early in the day to have fun and get home by or before lunch time. And I am fortunate because I get an extra day off work (poor The Tim, it starts his busiest time of year).  I think Black Friday as most people seem to see it is disgraceful.

21. Favorite Fall Traditions:  Decorating for fall holidays, hot apple cider, baking gingerbread muffins.

22. Any New Traditions to Start?  Not so far, but you never know.

23. Favorite Alcoholic Beverage for Fall:  Hot apple cider.

24. When Should the Holiday Season Start?  Well, the holiday season starts for me with Halloween, but I'm guessing this refers to Christmastime.  Which starts on December 1, period.

25. Who Do You Love to Spend the Fall With?  Family, both human and otherwise.  Fall starts the cozy time of year to me, and they are the ones I most want to be cozy with.

That was fun!  Feel free to give it a try, and see what your answers turn out to be.

That's it for NaBloPoMo Day #7.  Hope yours is a good one.

07 November 2015

More Saturday Smiles

I had no special plans this weekend - well at least not any specific plans with anyone else.  Today was a gloomy, cool day (cool at last!), and The Tim had to work the closing shift at the bookstore, so we didn't make any plans for going anyplace either.

The good news is, I was able to do some simple things - some every weekend, some for today - without feeling like I was missing out on anything.  It's been a nice simple quiet day, with these highlights:

During our walk this morning, Dug and I met Odin, a four-month-old pewter Harlequin Great Dane puppy. Dug and The Tim had met him before, and I'd heard about how amazingly cute he was, but today was the first time I saw for myself.  He is the most adorable, ridiculous puppy, and he loves Dug!  Fortunately, he is kinda laid back for a puppy, so Dug was not overwhelmed.

I walked up to the library to pick up a book that was on hold for me, and looked around and picked up another book as well.  Someone by Alice McDermott has been on my to-read list for a while, and I can't wait to read it now.  I also checked out Betrayal, by Lisa Scottoline.  It's one of the Rosato & Associates series that I haven't head a chance to read yet, and I know it will be fun.

We watched the football game between Notre Dame and Pitt.  It was a good game, and even though Pitt is a school I have always liked, I wanted Notre Dame to win more, and was happy when they did.

I sorted through - "Kon-Mari"-ed - my jewelry.  I have a ton of cheapo costume jewelry, years' worth (truly).  I went through everything and put a lot in bags to donate to a local organization that helps women coming off welfare find jobs.  The stuff I kept, I organized so that I will actually see it and know what I have.   Getting that done was a real sense of accomplishment, since it's been on my mind for quite a while.

Laundry.  The last load is currently in the dryer.

In a little bit, I'll take Dug for his evening walk, and then I'm gonna come home and take a bubble bath.  I don't take them as often as I used to, and few things are as enjoyable and relaxing as a bubble bath, in my opinion.

Then it will be time for reading or knitting or just watching bad TV.  Theoretically, I'll stay up until The Tim comes home and catch up with him.  In reality I will likely go to bed and see him tomorrow.

And then there are these three:

(I have no idea where Milo was when this picture was taken - probably off revenge peeing somewhere ...)

A Saturday of nothing special, but a lovely day nonetheless full of simple things.

And still another day left to the weekend!

Happy NaBloPoMo Day #7.  :-)

06 November 2015

Friday Funny

Sadly, I won't be able to do any of the things on that list, because Friday is usually the busiest day of the week for me.

But you can bet I'm gonna work on that same list over the weekend!

Have a good one, everybody.  :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #6

05 November 2015

Throwback Thursday

My sisters and me, August 21, 2008
Left to right:  Mary Ellen, Nancy, me

We were at the rehearsal dinner the night before my niece Julie's wedding at Rio Mar Resort, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

*That* was a good time!

NaBloPoMo Day #5

04 November 2015

How About a Recipe?

Here we are at NaBloPoMo Day #4, and so far I have to say I am enjoying both writing things and seeing what everyone else is writing.

However, today I am a little bit cramped for time, so I've decided to share a recipe with you, since for the most part I can just do a cut-and-paste to add it to this post.  :-)

In another lifetime and several jobs ago, I belonged to a book group at work.  We met once a month at lunchtime, and at the holidays we had a pot lunch.  One of the other people in the group brought this casserole, and I liked it so much I asked her for the recipe.  Since then I have made it pretty regularly, since it is both yummy and quite filling.

Recently I even made it successfully using the crock pot, and have added those notes at the end.

We have it as a main course, but I'm sure it would be a good side dish as well.  Let me know if you try it, and what you think.

Barley Feta Casserole
This is an excellent dish for a day when you would like a hearty meal, but also want to get the preparation out of the way so you can do other things.  It also has the advantage of being low-fat, if you are watching your fat intake and/or cholesterol.


1 cup barley, rinsed in cold water
3 cups vegetable broth or water, heated (I usually use half broth/half water)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
2-3 teaspoons of dried oregano (or even better, the equivalent in fresh if you have it)
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups feta cheese (or your cheese of choice, we like feta so we always use that)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking dish, combine everything EXCEPT the feta cheese. 

Cover the baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes.

Stir in the feta cheese, and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender.

Remove from the oven, and let it sit and “rest” for 5 minutes before serving.
Two additional things:

1.  This recipe makes quite a bit, and is good reheated.  I’ve never tried freezing the leftovers, so I can’t tell you how well that does or does not work.

2.  Another tomato sliced thinly on top looks nice, if you want to make it look prettier.

**This recipe is based on one from Low Cholesterol Cuisine, by Anne Lindsay.  (New York : Hearst Books, 1989)


When I made this in the crockpot, I added another cup of water/broth, and cooked it on High for 5-6 hours.  It worked just fine, so I hope if you try it you have good results.

03 November 2015

The Great American Novel

For Ten on Tuesday this week, Carole wants us to do the following:  

10 Sentences That You Think Would Make Great Opening Lines for a Novel

In my head over the years, I have written several novels - all award-winning, and all making me the toast of the literary world.  In reality, I have never even tried writing a book, though it is still a fantasy.  

Here is my chance to throw out some ideas ("throw out" being the operative term ...)

1.  People found it amusing when they found out we had three accordions.

2.  I hate people, but at differing levels, which is why some of them are still alive.

3.  It was hard to believe that she had a year's worth of stories from prison.

4.  Maria found nothing more addicting or as enjoyable as jewelry theft.

5.   Snow.

6.  On my fourth birthday, I became the only survivor of a plane crash.

7.  Oh God - it really was "hotter than Billy-be-damned." 

8.  Sam thought his date was fun, until she started waxing poetic about proctology.

9.  She realized with dismay that if she hadn't gotten there by now, it was unlikely she would ever get to visit Saskatchewan.

10.  When you wake up in the middle of the street, in the dark, covered in blood and with your glasses broken, you have to wonder how you got there.

Well, that was fun!

Have you written any books with killer opening lines recently?  ;-)

Happy NaBloPoMo Day 3!

02 November 2015

Bad Surprise, Good Surprise

As I was walking to work today, all of a sudden I started crying.  I could not for the life of me figure out why.  I am a person who lives with a low level of depression on my best days, and I am an easy crier, but I always know *what* is causing the tears, good or bad.  It really surprised me, and I told myself to pull it together and gave myself a little pep talk, and I was fine again.

I don't remember ever crying without being conscious of why I was crying.  For a couple of minutes, I wondered if something had happened which I'd blocked and was suddenly reminded of it, but if so, it remained blocked even then.

Then I told myself that it was probably Obama's fault.  I realized I have only a year left to blame him for things, so I've gotta really pick up the pace.

Thanks, Obama.


Continuing on my walk, I cut through Rittenhouse Square, because a) it's on the way, b) it's lovely, and c) there are usually lots of people walking their dogs.  I noticed a stroller parked on the grass, and a young woman playing with a Bernese Mountain Dog, and running back and forth to the stroller.  The dog was loving it, the woman looked happy, and you could hear a baby laughing, in that way babies have that make them sound kinda like dirty old men.

When I got to where they were, I told the woman that I was happy to see someone with a baby still enjoying and interacting with their dog.  So many people walk their dogs while walking with a stroller, and seem completely annoyed by the dog's existence, or desire to sniff things.  She said that when she was pregnant, everyone told her that she should get rid of the dog, and/or that she would ignore the dog because the baby would be more important.  She said that really upset her, and that it's never once occurred to her to do anything differently, because her husband and she decided to "fit the baby into their life," not have the world stop because of the baby.  (I immediately wanted to nominate this woman for a Nobel Prize or the Medal of Freedom or something like that.)

I think she said the baby was 8 months old, and boy was she a cutie - red hair, and a big smile.  Whenever the dog would come near here, she would squeal with joy, which also clearly pleased the dog.  The little girl's name was Jane, which I like.  It's an old-fashioned, but nice name, not like Hildegard or something.  (Apologies if your name is Hildegard, I'm sure you are a lovely person.)  The dog's name was Colonel.  They were adorable together.  The woman said that there were days when she gets nothing accomplished because they are both so great, she just enjoys being with them.

I'm glad the good surprise came after the bad one.  And I'm glad there are people like this woman and her husband.  I hope the woman's sister is really annoyed that her prediction proved wrong ...

Happy NaBloPoMo Day 2!  Here is a picture of my great-niece Penn dressed as a mummy for Halloween.

01 November 2015

So Here's the Question

Will NaBloPoMo work better for me than Slow Fashion October?

I guess we'll find out.  :-)

And so we begin.  Welcome to my attempts to post something every single day during the month of November.  After posting suggestions for topics last week, I decided that I was gonna give it a try.  The worst that can happen is that I don't do it, and it's not like I'm gonna get arrested or anything if that happens.  (Well, at least that's my understanding ...)

Also, I'm only participating on this blog.  I'm not so crazy as to try it with both of them!

Anyway, I had grand plans for Slow Fashion October.  I was going to finish something that was in progress, and also knit one small thing - I had planned on knitting a hat.  Well, in an unusual occurrence, I got back to a couple of my WIPs, and worked only on two of them for the month.  I didn't finish either one, but I made a lot of progress.  So although my official goals didn't get accomplished, I did make headway during the month of October.  And I did it slowly.  Does that count?  (not really)

Anyhoo, onward and upward and all that.

Happy November!  It's a busy month for us, with birthdays, holidays, and one of the best holidays in the universe - Thanksgiving!  But before we go too deeply into November, let me fill you in on something from October that I never got to post about - the Mutt Strut.

As usual, there were some Mummers to get things going:

I always tell The Tim that you can be sure that Dug is a Philadelphia doggie - he LOVES the Mummers, and doesn't want to walk away from them to start the Strut ...

Unlike last year, which was rainy and damp, this year's weather was just a perfect fall day - cool, sunny, and a little bit breezy.  Dug had two "costumes" for the day.  He started out as a kitty cat:

Which, as you can see, made him quite pleased about the whole thing.

As usual, the other costumes were much more elaborate.

My favorite was this Newfoundland, dressed as Harry Potter, complete with lightning-shaped scar:

The event is held at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is no longer active for the U.S. Navy, but has been redeveloped to be a business/retail/restaurant park, with reuse of older buildings and some new ones added.  There is a shipbuilding company there, and usually a couple of ships in dock that are either docked there for a break, or because they are in the process of being worked on.  I always forget how absolutely huge some of them are.

And in a shocking development that was not reported on by the local media, a PIRATE (albeit a friendly one) was spotted at the Navy Yard!

Dug was also happy to be reunited with Spud, another pup who was a foster dog with the same friend at the same time he was:

You can't really tell from this picture, but Spud is wearing a costume that is a sack of potatoes!

It was really a fun day, with so many cute and creative costumes, and so many cute doggies!  The very best part is that it was also a record-setting day, both with the number of registrants, and the amount of money raised!  Dug and I were thrilled to contribute, and were lucky enough to have gone past our fundraising goal, which was one of the best things to happen this year to us.

I want to say thank you to those of you who so generously donated to our fundraising.  I will formally thank you by snail mail, but please know that your contributions were truly appreciated, and you helped set that record for amount of money raised.

So that's it for the Mutt Strut until next year.  :-)

Now let's get NaBloPoMo going!