Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dog Days

So it is August and I haven't been here since June.  Once again, life has interfered and I have been unwilling unable to sit myself down at the computer to compose something coherent.  Truth is, I have nothing of interest to say.  That right there, is it in a nutshell. 

Anyway, since my last post, my yard has gone all wild and wooly and the sad part of it is, I just don't care.  My yard has sprouted weeds that are slowly taking over the lawn.  Whatever.  My perennials all need dead-heading and the flower beds need weeding.  Sure.  I'll get right on that. 

My tiny vegetable garden is slowly starting to produce some tomatoes and cukes.  The cucumbers were intended to be pickled for the fridge but they end up turning yellow on my counter and then tossed in the garbage.  I can't even bring myself to walk the things out to my compost pile.  Lazy.  I even have the dill growing in the garden for the pickles.  Blah!

The Japanese beetles are abundant around here, like they are every year.  One of my favorite early evening activities is to go and flick them off of whatever they're munching on, into a can of soapy water.  And those little buggers are amoral.  I can often find groups of them mating right there in public, on my flowers.  They have no shame.  So the whole lot of them go into the soapy water and drown.  Good riddance to those sex-starved chew mongers! 

That whole bit of wordy nonsense above is to illustrate that the dog days of summer are here, and we've all been hibernating in the air conditioning.  Its too darned hot to go outside to even get the mail, much less weed the garden.  One thing I've discovered while being inside is the website Pinterest.  Its a neat little place where you can "pin" items of interest to your virtual bulletin board.  The nice thing about this is that there are tons of things that  you can keep track of, like recipes and DIY projects.  And since they're "pinned" to your board, you don't have to print out anything and keep it lying around for future reference.  Check it out.  Its good for at least a half hour of browsing, anyway.  And if you want to see what I have pinned, my user name is Annabelle26

Maybe I'll get motivated and take some pics of my hot mess of a garden.  It might make you feel better about your own yard.  Ha!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


We had my daughter's high school graduation open house Friday night and its such a relief to have that done.  Not that it isn't enjoyable, it just involves so much preparation.  Planning the menu, purchasing the food, sending the invitations, cleaning the house; that sort of thing.  One big thing we needed to do was get the yard ready.  The borders needed weeding and mulch, the grass was kind of dying in spots, and in the bare border spots, I needed to plant annuals.  On Wednesday of last week, we placed 6 yards of bark in the borders, which took 5 of us just under 2 hours.  It looks so nice!  Besides mowing, it was the last thing we needed to do to the yard. 

After a morning spent praying away the rain, and weather reports of impending thunder storms right around the time of the open house, we were lucky enough to have NO rain.  We didn't have to resort to plan B, which was to put everything in the garage. 

I had a lot of compliments on the yard from the guests and many were surprised that I was a gardener.  One of them even mentioned (without any prompting from me, I might add) that our yard looked better than the neighbor's yard.  Hot Diggity!  I'm claiming that as a victory in the Turf War !

 And now, indulge me.  Look at my pictures.  Thanks!

Look at those Fox Gloves in the left picture.  Aren't they beautiful?  They're a biennial so I planted them last year for blooms this year.  And on the right, those feathery plants are called Goat's Beard. 

Thanks for not mentioning the sparse grass in the picture on the left.  These 4 pictures are all from the same area, different angles.  I'm trying to be an ar-teest.  (Not really, just wanted to get in as many flowers as possible.)

That Rhododendron bush in the corner is not doing so well.  Its leaves are turning brown and there are just a few blooms on it. 

Notice the string ornaments that Bethany made.  She and her friend Kelly made these to hang from the canopies. 

They also picked wildflowers to put in canning jars. 

It was a really nice time, and nice to see so many friends and relatives.  Whats really nice though, is that the yard is done, the garage and house are clean, and I can relax for a minute.  I hope you find a minute to relax as well.  Grab a beverage and go find a quiet spot to sit in, preferably outside, and enjoy the peace. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Reveal

So my bathroom has been done for about 3-4 weeks now and I haven't posted any pictures.  Why?  Pure laziness.  Well, that and the fact that life has been going on at lightning speed around me.  So just to refresh, here's what my bathroom used to look like:

Ah, the old upside down Scooby Doo towel.  Martha Stewart would die. 

Anyway, here's what it looks like now:

I can't even tell you how much better this bathroom makes me feel.  I'm not skeeved out everytime I go in there, and I'm not ashamed for other people to see it.  Even Martha Stewart.  

Friday, June 3, 2011


Yeah, I've been gone for almost 2 months.  Not that I've been goofing off or anything and I certainly haven't been on vacation.  We have a graduation open house in exactly 7 days and I'm overwhelmed.  The to-do list doesn't seem to be getting anything crossed off and in fact, gets more added to it everyday. 

Yesterday was a really hard day for me.  I said goodbye to the people I've worked with for 25 years.  I'm starting a new job on Monday working at the same hospital, just a different department.  So its not like I won't ever see my old coworkers again, I just won't be working with them.  We've shared a lot over the past 25 years: marriages, deaths of spouses, children, etc.  So these women are a lot more like family than just people I work with.  One in particular, Kate, has become one of my best friends.  We both worked the exact same schedule for about 5 years so we got to know each other really well.  Our last day to work with each other was last Sunday, and I knew that all day long but I couldn't bring myself to mention anything about it to her, because I was afraid I would cry.  In fact, when I left that day, I just kind of casually said "see ya" like it was any other day.  And then when I got home I felt bad, like maybe she thought I didn't care.  So yesterday I bought a card and told her that I couldn't say goodbye on Sunday because I was going to cry, and that I would miss her terribly.  I left it in her locker. 

And then I cried all the way home from work. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Isn't Spring the best?  Seeing all of those perennials and flowering bulbs making an appearance in the dirt gives me a little thrill.  Its more reassurance to me that things follow an orderly progression; gives me a little hope.  This past weekend, my kids and I got to go outside and work a little in the backyard.  We have this graduation open house in June that we need to prepare for so its extra incentive to get the yard beautiful, (not to mention that I"m in a fierce turf war with the neighbor!)   We got about 15 bags of leaves and sticks raked up with a little more to go.  And in my opinion, Spring yard cleanup is so much more enjoyable than Fall yard cleanup. 

Yesterday I worked on the border next to the garage which I completely neglected last year.  It has Hydrangea bushes, two Clematis vines and a Honeysuckle vine.  That Honeysuckle came from a shoot I brought from my old house (the one I grew up in), and it is quite vigorous.  (You can read that as it spreads like Wildfire!) Anyway, the vine was growing on a trellis and was so abundant that it bent the trellis to the ground.  I spent an hour last night cutting the vine right back to the ground, and unwinding it from the trellis.  The Hydrangeas were so huge last year and had just a few blooms so I decided to cut those way back too.   

These were taken with my new cell phone so they're not the best quality, but you can see some improvement.  I wish I had taken the picture before I cut back the Honeysuckle.  My son Dylan is just happy that he won't get smacked in the head by it anymore when he mows the lawn. 

Speaking of Dylan, he's become quite a good landscaper.  He's also making mental lists of what needs to be done before this open house:  new bark in the border,  thatching and aerating the lawn, overseeding, power washing the deck, cleaning out the garage, etc.  Such a good kid! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Psst!  Opening day is tomorrow!  Go Tigers!


My next door neighbor is a really great guy.  He's very nice, a good dad, very personable.  We don't talk a whole lot, maybe wave to each other over the fence, or acknowledge that we pass each other in the street.  But he's always very nice.  This makes me wonder if he realizes that there's a war going on between us.  Obviously, its an unspoken thing, but there is a competition to have the better yard. 

I swear that no matter when I mow my lawn, he'll be out soon mowing his lawn.  It doesn't matter if he just mowed it two days ago, if I mow, its almost completely predictable that he'll be out within 12 hours to mow his lawn again.  He can't let my lawn look better than his for even 24 hours.  I'm completely serious here. 

When we moved into this house 14 years ago, the backyard was filled with spindly (but very tall) pine trees,  which means there was very little grass.  The neighbors who lived next door at the time had a very lovely yard with beautiful landscaping and lovely, soft green grass. So already, the new neighbors had the advantage when they moved in shortly after we did.   We took out 36 trees the first year here which opened up the yard to more sunlight, and allowed us to try to grow grass.  The operative word in that sentence is "try".  The following spring, there was a wind storm that knocked over a few more trees.  (Actually, we had two windstorms, 2 days apart.  So many trees were blown down that it changed the landscape of much of the county.)

Here are some pictures after that windstorm. 

You know what?  Only that first picture is after the windstorm.  The other two were from when we had even more trees cut down.  Anyway, it gives you a general idea of how bad the yard looked.  Every time I mowed the yard back then, I ended up covered in dirt because the grass was so sparse. 

Every year I've tried to plant more perennials and add shrubs and bushes to the border to make the yard more appealing, but 3 years ago we hired a landscaper to come in and do it all in one shot.  He did a nice job too.  He put in underground sprinkling in the backyard, fixed the sprinkling that already existed in the front yard, and added more shrubs, bark and edging.  It looked great for my daughter's open house that year. 

Looks much better, doesn't it?  So now that its graduation open house time again, I have to start thinking about sprucing up the backyard again.  Many of those shrubs have grown larger than I should have let them, we need new bark, and the grass needs to be reseeded.  The reason this is all fresh in my mind right now is because right outside the window where I'm sitting here at the computer, I can see my neighbor working out in the yard.  Its 29 degrees here today!  By 10:30 a.m., he had already aerated, thatched and mowed his lawn.  The war has begun. 

It is on buddy.  Bring it. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fail. Again.

Have you ever cooked something that tasted so bad you had to just spit it out of your mouth onto your plate? Right in front of your kids?  Yeah, me neither. 

OK so I lied. 

That happened to me Saturday night while trying to make a recipe involving flank steak and mediterranean spices.  It tasted like soap.  It. Was. Awful. 

I did learn a valuable lesson from this though;  Pizza Hut is really quite busy on a Saturday night. 

The last few weeks have been less than happy around here for reasons too numerous and private to mention.  However, there are a few things I'm quite overjoyed about. 
  • Bell's Oberon beer is back for the season. 
  • Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is also back for the season.  (And while these are both beers, I'm really not a lush.  I just like what I like. And it just happens to be my luck that these are both seasonal beers.)
  • My bathroom is really going to be remodeled.  Let me say that again:  MY BATHROOM IS REALLY GOING TO BE REMODELED!
  • The backyard is completely snow-free and ready to be tended to.  If only I didn't need a parka to do so.  Still pretty cold out.
  • The Detroit Tiger's opening day is March 31.  Thats just 3 days away!   Oh Tigers!  How I've missed you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bathroom Progress

My kids had a day off of school yesterday which gave me the perfect opportunity to go shopping with my personal shopper, a.k.a Bethany.  As I've said before, I'm not good with decision making so if I have her along to offer opinions, I feel more comfortable.  We picked out a shower curtain from JCPenney but I've already decided I'm taking it back.  There's a different one at Bed Bath & Beyond that I like better. 

This is the one I bought but will be returning:

I think the biggest issue I've had with this whole bathroom remodel thing is what color to make it.  I really like blues, and cool tones.  Or even bright ones, but when I go into someone else's house and they have a bathroom done in browns or darker colors, it seems really classy to me.  So I've decided to go with a darker color scheme.  The cabinets will be white, but the wall color will be darker.  Too much white and a person'll go blind! 

I looked for a picture of the one I'm getting instead but Bed  Bath & Beyond doesn't have it on their website.  Oh well. 

I also purchased 2 light fixtures:

Not exactly like this, but really similar

And two mirrors to replace the 5 foot long one we already have:

The frame is a silvery grey but will go well with the shower curtain I picked out. 

We also picked up some paint samples to start making that decision.  Bethany and I decided that there's something really exciting about looking at paint chips.  Its like a whole world full of opportunities right there in the hardware store, and really, paint is cheap.  You can change a room entirely by just changing the paint color.  So I'm pretty thrilled that this bathroom is almost ready to start!  And I'm really lucky that we do have another shower to use while that one is under construction.  Yay!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is that grass I see? And why is there a sock in the middle of the yard?

Spring is finally truly around the corner (can I get an Amen?) and the snow is melting at a pace I can live with.  Every day I see a bit more of my yard which both excites and terrifies me.  Excited, obviously, because that means that soon I'll be planting stuff and making things look beautiful.  Terrifies, because, well... I'll be planting stuff and making things look beautiful.  And thats a lot of work.  But as the snow recedes, it leaves stuff behind.  Like socks.  And silverware.  What? Why is there a frosting knife in the front yard?  And why is there a lone sock in the backyard? 

I think that today, I'll plant some peas in the garden - peas love cooler weather and I've heard you can plant them as early as St. Patrick's Day so I'll give it a try.  I don't have much luck with peas usually anyway so might as well fail early as late.  That way it frees up space for other veggies.  This year I will NOT be renting a garden and I'm ok with that.  We will be having a graduation open house in June so I'll be concentrating on making my own yard presentable.  I'll have enough garden space to grow a few things and I'm going to try more things in pots on my deck.  Last year I grew salad greens in an antique strainer on my deck and that worked really well.   It was a bonus that it was right outside the back door by the kitchen.  

The contractor came over the other day and brought a plumber.  They both had samples and booklets so I could pick out my tub, cabinets and countertop.  I hate making decisions and it makes me a little anxious to have to do that, but I made my choices.  Even the choice of whether to have a two handled faucet as opposed to a one handled faucet was a little too much for me, but its done.  Now I have to go buy 2 mirrors and some light fixtures.  At least this looks like progress to me.  Yay! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Hey!  I was given the Stylish Blogger Award from Southbel At Southern Style.  I'm tickled pink!  You should go check out her blog because it is gorgeous!  She has fabulous pictures and some pretty nifty posts.  Be sure to check out pictures of her plantation... so beautiful!

The rules of the award say that I must share seven things about myself:

1. I love to play music.  I've played the piano since I was 5, and its still my stress relief.  I'll play anytime, anywhere, for any reason.  I also play the trumpet and I sing.  I've been known to play the pipe organ in church but only if absolutely necessary.  (Not a favorite activity)

2. I love to garden.  Last  year I went a little overboard and planted a 1000 sq. ft. garden in a rented space about 20 minutes from my house.  It was fun but a lot of hard work.

3. I believe that God puts people in our lives at certain times just when we need them.

4. Although I love all kinds of Michigan fruit, I detest cherries, which is really quite sad because they can be found in abundance here where I live.

5. I'm an insomniac

6. When I was little, I was hit in the chin by the propeller of a small Cessna plane.  I still have the scar. 

7. My dad won the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes once.  For real.  He won $67,000 and the government took about $31,000 of that. 

I get the opportunity to give this award to seven other blogs. If you haven't visited them, take the opportunity to do so as they are some great ones!

Stylish Blogger Award....


-Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

--Share seven things about yourself.

--Award seven recently discovered new blogs.--Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Interesting

Every now and then I tell you about a web site that I like or find really interesting.  So in the ten minutes I have between now and when I have to leave for the dentist, I thought I'd share one. 

Its called stumbleupon.  Of course, I found it through my kids, which is where I find most of my interesting stuff and good music.  When you sign on, you get your choice of what you would like to be shown.  Today, I clicked on "self improvement" because lets face it, we all need some of that.  Here's what it showed me:

   Marc and Angel Hack Life - which has 25 beautifully illustrated thought questions.  Or in other words, 25 questions that make you think, with a really nifty picture as a background.  And honestly, they do make you think.  Some of the answers to the questions surprised me and really made me think.  Check it out. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gettin' Fancy

Remember when I tried to teach you how to make bread?  If you need a review, class, you can check it out here.  Remember how I said that I would talk about adding stuff to the bread recipe to make it fancy and whatnot?  Well grab your rolling pins because today's that day!  I'll wait while you whoop and holler. 

Ok.  So the other other day I decided to make some bread.  And here I must interrupt myself to say that my bread making this year has drastically decreased from last year.  Maybe those psych meds are starting to work.  Anywho, due to the fact that I was a little weird about growing all that basil last year, I have gobs of it in my freezer (in the form of pesto) and decided to make some Pesto Parmesan bread. 

The only change to the original bread recipe is at the point where you put it in the bread pans.  So if you really care to make this, follow along until that point.  Which is right here:

At this point, I took out one of my containers of pesto, which is about 3 Tablespoons worth, and painted it on the bread.  Then, because everything is better with parmesan cheese, I sprinkled some of that on too.  And no, it wasn't the real stuff because I didn't have any.  Now, some people freeze their pesto with the cheese already in it but I saw some conflicting advice about that and decided I could add the cheese later.  After rolling up the dough and sticking it in the pan, I let it rise for about an hour or so. And then, of course, I baked it.   When cut, the bread has a swirl of pesto parmesan goodness thats even better with melty butter on it. 

Did you know that you can add pesto to soups and stews too?  Yup.  You can.  And can I say something else here?  I'm not really on psych meds. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I'm in wait mode for the contractor's bid on the bathroom. I'm guessing he won't be offering discounts based on pity either, although there should be some sort of discount for having existed with this monstrosity for as long as we have.  I was rather proud of myself though, for answering his questions fairly confidently.  I said "I want" a lot, rather than "could we?"   As in, "I want a white vanity, and something in the 62-64 inch range."  Oh, and also "I want new baseboards and white bead board paneling half way up the wall."  Really, who puts old baseboards and trim back in a newly remodeled bathroom?    The oooonly thing I had some trouble verbalizing (maybe because I'm just not sure) was whether to replace the double sinks or go with one.  I opted for two.  Basically, the bathroom will be gutted.  Amen, and amen. 

And now, prepare your eyes.  This is the before series of pictures. 

              First, the 70's wallpaper. 

And then the really dark vanity. 

I know, I know.  This doesn't look all that bad  But what you can't see is the hole in the tub thats been patched with some sort of brownish goo.  Or the fact that the drain in the tub doesn't work so you can't take a bath there.  It also doesn't show the gray floor where hairspray has accumulated and does not come off, even with scrubbing.  Or the closet doors that also have hairspray grunge all over them.  But get a load of this next picture:

Why yes, that is a Scooby Doo beach towel covering the window, thank you very much.  Its probably even better that its hanging UPSIDE DOWN! Are your retinas burning from that swag light?  It makes me sad that this was once in style.  I think the 70's was generally a time of great despair as far as decorating was concerned.  Are you wondering why the light bulbs are bare?  I'll tell you why.  Because whenever we put the glass bowl over the bulb, the bulb ceases to function.  I don't know why.  I just decided to stop fighting it and left the stupid things off.  Yes, my bathroom is like the website.  Its hideous but you can't look away.  You're just glad you don't have to live with that in your house! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


We're just hanging around the house today, my daughter and I, because she's sick, and my employer didn't need me.  How Serendipitous.  She was almost ready to leave the house when she casually mentioned that her stomach hurt.  My poor kids.  When they mention an illness, I go into nurse mode which I did this morning.  I made her lay down (or is it lie down?  never good with that sort of thing) so I could check out her stomach for signs of appendicitis and wouldn't you know?  She has some of those signs.  So we're hanging around today waiting to see if it gets better, or gets worse. 

This bonus day off has given me an opportunity to visit some of those websites I've saved in my "favorites" list.  Maybe you'll like some of them too.

I found this one called jellotime on the list and had to click on it just to see what it was.  I was expecting a jello recipe, I guess.  I see no useful purpose in this website, but apparently my son enjoys it.  (make sure you click on the jello.)

And then, of course, there's the Sleep Talkin' Man.  Always good for a laugh.

But the best one is damn you auto correct

I'm sure I could find something more productive to do with my time. 


Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Menus

My friend over at An Oregon Cottage lists her menu every week, like hundreds of other bloggers do on Menu Plan Monday.  So I'm giving it a shot too.  This was one of those weeks where I forced myself to go through the many recipes I've been saving to try them out and either save them or get rid of them.  In addition, I used my mom's cookbook to fill out the rest of the week.  (actually, I work 2 weeks at a time so it fills out the rest of the 14 days. ) So there's a lot of familiar comfort food. 

Monday - Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

Tuesday - Rice & Hamburger Casserole (this was my very favorite food growing up.  I think it has something to do with the potato chip topping. )

Wednesday - Creamed Chicken & Gnocchi, and Caramel apple salad

Thursday - Shepherd's Pie & Strawberry Angel Food Jello

Friday - BBQ Chicken and baked potatoes

Saturday - Beer cheese soup

Sunday - My sister's famous  Chicken & Rice, and green bean casserole

We'll see how close I come to actually following this plan.  I already know that Friday or Saturday's meal will be different because as she was leaving to go back to college, my daughter requested Steak sometime this weekend when she comes home again. Its funny what your kids request when they haven't been home in a while. 


I have an idea!  Lets yet again discuss my bathroom, its ugliness, and the need for remodeling.  Because I just love to talk a subject to death.  Actually, its going to finally happen, and not because I'm ready, because quite frankly, I've been ready for a new bathroom for a loooooong time.  Instead, we HAVE to get this bathroom done due to a toilet overflowing debacle.  Love that word, debacle.  It covers a great many events, I think.  Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, the toilet (which is on the second floor, keep in mind) overflowed for several hours during the night until it was discovered by my son who was sleeping in the basement.  Do you get the gravity of that situation?  He heard water dripping into the living room in the basement, went to the main floor to investigate where the water was coming from, and discovered water dripping from ceiling.  So he went all the way upstairs and saw that the toilet had somehow become a fountain and was spewing water all over the place.  Nice.

So today, a contractor will be coming to give us an estimate on redoing the whole thing, as insurance will pay for new floor and subfloor.  Now comes the part I dread.  Even more than paying for it, I dread picking out what I want.  Do I want dark cabinets?  Light cabinets?  Medium cabinets?  Do I want to replace the double sink with another double sink?  or a single one?  Do I replace the 72 in. vanity with a smaller size?  or go ahead and put another 72 in. vanity there? 

What kind of lights do I want?  And what colors?  I'm horrible at making decisions.  I always second guess myself and then drive myself crazy thinking about what I should have done instead. Is my incessant whining bothering you?  Because its bothering me.  I think I'm going to talk my sister into helping me with this because she has a gift for decorating.  She can look at a space and form a picture in her mind of what it should look like.  If she wasn't a nurse, she could easily have been a decorator. 

I'll post pictures of my hideous bathroom soon.  Now that its going to change, I can reveal the ghastliness that is my bathroom.  I really think this bathroom could win an award for the ugliest bathroom in America.  I am not even exaggerating. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OK, so they were right

For once, the meteorologists were correct.  We got about 2 ft of snow last night which closed every single school in the County, plus the County building itself.  I only remember that happening one other time in my life so it must have been bad.  But God love those snow plow drivers... they had the main roads plowed by the time I had to go to work so I had no trouble at all.  The biggest problem was my own road. 

I got out of work early, because many of the patients that were scheduled for procedures today cancelled due to the weather.  So I came home and got out my knitting.  Remember that red mitten I was going to finish?  Well I ripped it all out and started a vest.  I have craft ADD.  Even as I'm knitting it, I'm not thrilled with how it looks so it'll probably be ripped out before too long too. 

The groundhog did NOT see his shadow so that means we will have an early Spring.  And to quote one of my favorite movies:

 "This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather."

Happy Rest Of the Winter to you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowmageddon, snowzaster, whatever.

Once again, the local weather people are predicting the end of the world  a large blizzard sure to paralyze the entire midwest.  Its getting so that every storm that comes across the plains is hyped so much that I tend to tune out any predictions of dire weather.  Maybe we'll get that foot or two of snow they're predicting, but really, these meteorologists are rarely correct.  The last time they predicted a storm of this size, schools all over the area were cancelling for the next day before the storm EVER hit.  And then the next day, snow totals were minimal.  I'm looking out my front window right now and there are just a few flakes falling.  According to the radar, its been snowing here for the past two hours.  Sure.  Whatever.

Anyway, this time of year is always good for doing crafty type stuff.  Since I just finished my scarf, I'm starting a new project.  Although, goodness knows, there are plenty of unfinished projects that have been abandoned and maybe I should just go ahead and finish those. 

Here are just a few:  a scarf, a mitten (you can just see the cuff there in blue), two drawstring bags that just need the drawstrings, and a panel to a sweater I started 3 years ago. 

And here's the beginnings of another mitten.  

This is actually mitten #2.  Mitten #1 taught me a very important lesson about reading directions.  If you're a knitter, you know that every single pattern includes the words  "always check your gauge".  Turns out, those are very important words.  The mitten I knitted would have fit a giant.  I ended up giving it to my friend to fill with greenery and use as a centerpiece for a Christmas dinner.  It was really pretty though.  So I guess I'll knit this up now.  I really wanted to start a baby project for my niece using this yarn:

but I can't find the right sized circular needles.  According to the weather people, I shouldn't run to the store anytime soon so I'll guess this yarn will have to wait.

Its been a busy week so far; lots of working and extra stuff after work.  And while most of the extra stuff has been lots of fun (spending the weekend at a cabin with my coworkers, spending another evening with some high school friends), its nice to be home once in a while and do nothing. I actually kind of like the feeling of being confined to my house by a blizzard, especially when I can stay home.  But alas, I have to work tomorrow and we don't have snow days at the hospital.  Word has it that if you call in because of snow, they come and get you anyway, so there's no point in trying that excuse.  : )

One of my resolutions was to do more card-making this year and I've done a little bit of that.  This was part of a kit that made a total of 6 cards, two of each design.  Some of these cards can get really, really detailed and can take quite a bit of time to make. 

My exercise resolutions are also on track, and I'm doing pretty well with that.  I'm not thrilled that it involves getting up at 5 a.m. to do that but...

Uh oh.  My kids are now performing their snow dance.  I'm afraid this may involve sacrificing a pig or something.  I hope for their sake that this storm really hits us and they can have their snow day.   

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My daughter Bethany has been taking pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  Somehow, she developed this knack for setting up a photo so that it looks really cool.  She can look at something and see beauty where I just don't.  For Christmas, she got a really nice camera and it has really enhanced those skills she already had. 
She's taken a few senior pictures for friends, which made me a little nervous because that's a pretty big responsibility.  They turned out really nice though, and she was quite thrilled to see the finished product being handed out at school.  Last weekend, she took engagement pictures of her sister Molly, and Molly's fiancee Nate.  It was 2 degrees out with blizzard conditions but they took them anyway.  If I can find them, I'll post them here so you can see. 

She's considered studying photography in college, but she's unsure if that's something that you can be employed doing.  I know a lot of people these days have really nice cameras and aren't using professional photographers as much as they used to.  However, I think she could have a side business that would keep her pretty busy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Welcome Sign of Spring

I was reminded last night that spring training for the Detroit Tigers starts February 15.  This is their year, man.   I can feel it.  I guess I'll be starting my own little mini countdown in my head for this date. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Knitting Frenzy

 Winter is a really good time to curl up on the couch and knit.  So here's what I've been working on this weekend.

Its a simple 1 X 1 knit, purl ribbing using 2 skeins of Bernat Mosaic yarn.  The yarn on the right is called Psychedelic and its been really fun to use because the color is constantly changing.  The other is called Waterfall and it too changes color but the change is so subtle that its harder to detect.  I saw this combination on a new website my daughter found called Ravelry.  A community-based website, this has searchable patterns, some of which are free.  If they're not free, they give you a link to the original website so you can buy the pattern.  Being the frugalista I am, I tend not to buy patterns because there are so many wonderful free ones to use. 

Another nice feature of this website is that you can search for a pattern based on the yarn you own.  If, like me, you go to the store and buy yarn just because it looks pretty but then you get it home and have no idea what to do with it, this is a good resource to have.  As it happens, while at JoAnn's buying the yarn in the picture, I also picked up some sock yarn in a really pretty shade of purple.  This yarn will probably become mittens. 

Baking is another good thing to do in the Winter.  Friday night I added some ingredients to my bread recipe to make a rich egg dough for cinnamon rolls.  Now, no one in my house needs a cinnamon roll, but it sure was good warm from the oven with the cream cheese frosting melting down the sides!

It was worth every calorie!