Friday, April 29, 2016

Brush Your Teeth

When you wake up in the morning, it's quarter to one...

The meeting went well and all were gathering their belongings to depart. Goodbyes and thank-yous circulated throughout the room. There were hugs, laughter and many smiles. I loaded supplies on the cart to take back to the closet. While there I took a quick restroom break as well. As I was washing my hands I looked in the mirror and for some reason, smiled. There, big as a dime at least (well maybe not) was a speck of black pepper, right in the crevice between my front and second tooth! OMG!


I know. It happens to everyone. How about you? Have you ever discovered, after much time with many people, that you had something green or brown or even pastel in your teeth? If so, you know the sinking feeling I had in the pit of my stomach! And you wonder how long it was like that and why nobody told you!


It might not seem like such a big deal. Except for the fact that I have a huge smile. I think it came from my mother, but regardless, when I smile, I smile large. So there’s no doubt in my mind everyone saw. Maybe they thought it was a shadow. Maybe they thought it was a cavity. Hmmm….what is worse? Them thinking I had poor dental hygiene or that it was tooth decay, or worse, some dread periodontal disease? I’ll survive and won’t have to see them again or at least not for a while as most were from out of town. But still...OMG!

And you want to have a little fun...

My knitting (and good) friends, Kerri and Miya and I are doing a knit-along. That means we are doing a project together, virtually. That’s how we did the February scarf too. But this project was planned since around May of last year. Finally, we are going to start and now I just have to figure it out so I can show them!

Purple and aqua from Knitpicks
Cast on...and begin!
 It looks fun. I hope it is….for us all!

You brush your teeth, ch ch ch ch, ch ch ch ch...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Egg Man

I ran to the fridge and pulled out an egg...

Chickens are kind of dumb. They wander around all over and make noises and messes and run if you try to get near them. Or maybe they are lucky that’s all they have to do! That and lay eggs. If there was ever a perfect food I suppose it could be the egg. It’s portable. It doesn’t need refrigeration (although now they say store-bought need to be refrigerated because they have been washed) and it can be prepared in a multitude of ways. It is also a great source of protein!

My husband likes chickens. So for the time being I am wealthy…in eggs! He has several different breeds of hens (they all look like chickens to me!) and they lay different colored eggs. We have brown, light brown, dark brown, green, light green, olive, speckled and, oh yeah, white. It’s like an Easter egg hunt with no dye!

Colored Eggs!

When the Littles visited a couple of weeks ago they loved gathering the eggs. They brought them in and I scrambled them. I fried them. I even boiled them a dozen and a half which they ate them in no time flat! If they remember anything from their time here, they'll remember that “Mamye can boil eggs really good”!

Fresh eggs...scrambled!
We have so many eggs that I’ve started selling them. I had no idea how to price them so I said $5.00 a dozen or $4.00 if you bring a carton. We had to order cartons to start with so there would be enough. Now people bring me cartons all the time!

One day there were so many eggs I had a ‘special’. They were on sale, that day only, for $3.50, carton or not. You wouldn’t think a mere fifty cents would make a difference to people. But it did.

When people buy eggs, I open the carton to show them the eggs and to make sure nothing is broken. One day someone came and when I opened the carton one of the eggs had a little silver spot on the end. I picked at the spot, wondering what it was. I lifted the egg and looked closely. It said 1.69 on the bottom. It wasn’t real! It was a glass egg!

Don't eat it! It's not real!!
Ceramic eggs are placed in the egg boxes to encourage the hens to lay. They are also there so the hens will lay where they are supposed to and not out in the yard or under a bush. I’ve found eggs in some strange places! Anyway, when the eggs were gathered one of the ceramic eggs was accidentally picked up too! I told my husband and he said the funny thing is there was another ceramic egg, in addition to the one I found, that was missing. That meant two were accidentally put in the cartons.

I sent out an email to all the people I had sold to letting them know to watch for a fake egg. My husband did the same. To this day nobody has admitted to finding that lost ceramic egg!

You know, I'm the Egg Man 

I’ve been working on a baby blanket for a friend whose baby was born a while back. I was finished except for the border and binding off. There was a little time during spring break so I decided to get it done and take it to her. I knitted six rows to make the border and proceeded to bind off the edge. I worked the ends in and it was good to go. That is until I decided to take a picture.

Right side/wrong side. See it?
That's a lot of mistake!!
When I spread it out I discovered that somehow I had switched so that the front was now the back and vice versa. It wasn’t a little bit. It was about a foot worth. Would the ordinary person have noticed? It’s doubtful. But I did so I had to have a do-over. I 'unworked' the ends (and that’s hard when they are hidden well). I pulled out about 15 inches total. I got it all back on the needles and am finally going forward again. I just hate it when I do that!

It comes from a chicken not a bunny dummy. 
Yeah, I'm the Egg Man...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Lipstick Vogue

It's you, not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue 

When I talked to my daughter the other day I couldn’t help but laugh when she told her story. “Nobody” wound up her new lipsticks then put the lids back on!

A long time ago, “Nobody” lived at our house. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I’d read an article though, that said if you needed any makeup at all it should be lipstick. So being a fashion maven wannabe, I got a couple of tubes. I just knew I was on the way to becoming beautiful.

Imagine my surprise when I took the lid off one I wanted to try. Instead of a nice firm stick with a point, or even a smooth flat edge, I had a mangled mess. The majority of the makeup was in the lid. I shook it and watched as the pointed end came out on the counter.

There are tricks to save the product should you want to Google and watch a video. But it’s kind of an overall pain. Even picking up the broken part leaves lipstick on the counter, on your fingers, and on your clothes should you forget and wipe your hands. It doesn’t wash off easily, either! It’s a slick, waxy mess.

I gathered the kids and asked just who had broken my new war paint. First, my daughter. "Did you break my lipstick?" She immediately burst into tears, started a tirade ranting how I always blamed her, it wasn’t her but it didn’t matter, I’d think it was and so on. It was a true adolescent female outburst. I listened for a bit then told her it was okay, I didn’t think it was her and the tears and wailing stopped immediately. Okay then. On to the next could be culprit!

It was my baby's turn. I asked my youngest son. He said, “Whut’s a lipstick?” with a goofy grin on his face.

Finally it was time to ask my oldest son. He said, “Wasn’t me!”

If you are an experienced mother or parent, what would you think? Who did it?

Yes, he did!

You say you're sorry for the things that you've done...

I’m still working on that February mood scarf. I won’t have it finished by the end of February, since that is today. But I will finish it.

Sometime last fall or so I ordered some yarn from a place called “Darn Good Yarn.” It’s a unique company that is designed to help the women of India and Nepal become autonomous and self-reliant. You can read about it here: http://www.darngoodyarn.com/

Check out http://www.darngoodyarn.com/
I had some pillows that needed re-vamping so I used some of my yarn, mixed with other yarn I already had and transformed them!

Re-do!
Not bad I guess!

It's you, not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

All About that Base

I'm all about that bass… 

I take my lunch to work quite a bit of the time. It’s not for health sake, although I’m sure it might help. It’s not even for economics. Mainly it’s for mileage. I will go with someone if asked but I really don’t want to drive.

Every morning I drive approximately 45 miles to work. It’s not a bad drive, at least compared to most, and my usual time is between 45 and 53 minutes. That’s according to a message on my phone every morning. It’s a lightly populated area except for a small stretch around 10 miles, or eternity, depending on the day. That area is stressful if not deadly. Apparently traffic signs and common sense don’t apply to the south edge of the city. People completely ignore stop signs, pulling out into oncoming traffic at 75+ mph, going a mere 10 mph. One would think that having a semi-truck or other automobile descend upon the bumper of their vehicle would warrant pressing the gas pedal just a little harder. Not usually. The oncoming traffic is forced to brake, switch lanes, curse, yell and gesture at the offender only to have them zoom past a few minutes later. Surely there’s a physics lesson in there somewhere that wasn’t included in their driver education.

At work I have the luxury of having a little fridge at the corner of my desk. It’s mainly for snacks and drinks. Occasionally you’ll find a couple dozen eggs when the chickens are laying. Sometimes it’s like my home refrigerator. There was a bottle of out of date salad dressing once and some molded cheese another time that got stuck behind something else and out of view. Mostly, though, it’s for short time items, like lunch.

The ritual at meal time is to get my lunch, grab my bowl and spoon and trudge down the hall to the break room. There, I wait in line for a stinky microwave. There are three of them and depending on the day, it can take up to ten minutes, just to warm up the cuisine de jour. Then I’ll go back down the hall to my office-closet and eat at my desk. I know you aren’t supposed to but I prefer it to the odors and cacophony of the ‘coffee cup.’ Nothing is worse, however, than to get to the middle of the previously cold or frozen entrĂ©e to find it’s still in that state, either ice cold or frozen. Yuck. I don’t want to journey back down to the malodorous cooking machines so I’ll either stir it around to make it warm enough to finish or lose my appetite.

After Christmas one of the ladies I work with brought a ‘lunch’ crock-pot to work she had received as a gift. It was great! She brought her food in the little pot, plugged it in when she got to work and by lunch time it was nice and hot. She can either eat it straight out of the little container or she can put it in another bowl. It’s amazing!

My friend and I decided that was what we needed and each got one very similar to hers. We bring food, plug it in and have a piping hot meal without using the putrid public microwave. Rinse (or not) when finished, take home then repeat for the next day! The only drawback we have found is that our lunch crocks have the cord attached to the outside bowl. The other lady has one that fits on a base so she can leave that part at work and just bring the crock container every day. That would be a lot more convenient than hauling around a bowl with a cord hanging down the side. It actually winds around the bottom nicely but when you unplug then have hot food there’s not a way to manipulate without the possibility of a frightful burn; so the cord hangs.

But I have a solution! I have ordered us both a new lunch crock with the base. We are excited and can’t wait to get our new machines! After all, it’s all about the base, the base, no trouble…with cords and such. Right? Enjoy your lunch!

You know, I'm all about that bass…

I saw a February project the other day that was interesting. I told my knitting friends, Miya and Kerri and we decided we’d try it. It’s quite a bit like my knit-a-year project I did a few years back but this one is a scarf. You pick your colors, one for each mood you might encounter, and then knit about 2.5 inches each night. You use the color of your mood that day.

I picked some very unlikely colors. All are sock yarn, variegated. I kept it simple, with only four skeins. There is a black/gray one that I can use as sad or angry, frustrated or disgusted, or basically a bad mood. I have a purple/blue one that will be for happy and energized. There’s an orange/blue one I’ll use for a calm, serene, or a content mood and finally, a green/brown one as tired or blah. I cast on 40 stitches on a size 9 needle. I chose the linen stitch for the scarf. It’s working up nicely but it’s taking quite a long time to knit the section each night because the yarn is so thin. I’ll finish it but I’ll think twice and use a thicker yarn next time!

All about that bass.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

STOP!

Take some time to think, figure out what's important to you…

Here’s to 2016! It’s another chance for us to do things right.
Happy New Year!!

The last couple of years, instead of a list of resolutions I would never keep, I chose a word for the year. Although it may sound easy, it’s not! The first year I struggled and finally decided upon the word “Embrace”. I wanted, when faced with a challenge, to look at it as a chance to grow instead of a chore. I can honestly say I grew a lot that year.

Last year my word was “Create”. If you know me, you know I am forever with yarn. I thought this word would be easy. It wasn’t. It turns out I never even posted the word. What I intended, besides my usual outlets, was to explore new possibilities, create opportunities, try new things and make time to fully enjoy whatever it was that came about. It wasn’t a complete fail but I could have done so much better.
Forever with yarn!
So this year I thought and thought about what my word should be. I looked at word lists online, googled inspiring words, perused word of the year sites but nothing spoke to me. One night, during some dream I no longer remember, my word came to me. I can’t say it’s found on a positive word list. But I think it’s perfect for me.

My word this year is Stop.


Stop can be a noun or a verb. Stop means come to an end; cease to happen, or a cessation of movement or operation. But it also means so much more. It can mean catching up with loved ones; stop in, stop by, stop off. Capturing a moment in time and perhaps even altering it with a camera stop. It can mean pretty; face to stop a clock or ugly, homely enough to stop a clock. It can mean slow down and enjoy; stop and smell the flowers, stop on a dime, stop, look and listen. I want to stop the negative thoughts, stop the procrastination, stop and enjoy, stop and think, stop and listen.


I want to stop putting off things and get them done and stop and make time for my family. I want to stop worrying about the things that aren’t important and enjoy the things that are. Of course ultimately, stop holds me accountable because we all know the buck STOPS here!

Hope 2016 is off in the right direction for you! Do you have a word? Share it here!

You've got to make a serious decision…

Fingerless mitts seem to be the obsession of the month! I’ve really had a lot of fun and even learned how to be proficient at the magic loop method.


I thought I already was but I think I had made up a convoluted technique. So when I stopped to view the YouTube instructions I realized it was pretty simple after all!
Knit and crochet.
Plain and with buttons!

Stop! Take some time to think, figure out what's important to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meet Me in Montana

Won't you meet me in Montana,
I want to see the mountains…

Around about year 2000, with the coming millennium and destruction of the universe, a man in town told a group that if he could only pick three people to go with him into hiding or whatever he thought he could do to save himself, that my husband would be one of those people. Why you ask? Because he can fix just about anything!

Yes, I’m married to a MacGyver!

It’s pretty handy really. When the dryer is making a funny sound and won’t dry the clothes, he knows what to do. When there’s a puddle of water where water shouldn’t be puddled, he knows what to do. When the car won’t start, the lights won’t come on, the heater won’t heat and the stove won’t cook, he knows just what to do. Granted, oftentimes the fix is some sort of jury-rig to get by, but it does the job. The downfall is that oftentimes the fix stays some sort of jury-rig! And sometimes the solution is ‘creative’ thinking in a different way. For instance when my daughter complained her air-conditioner wasn’t working in her old Bronco, he told her to roll the windows down and drive 55. Hmmmm.

My husband, Alan, has a dear friend named Olen. In fact, had fate not intervened, our first born son might have been known as Alan Olen or Olen Alan. That’s what kind of friend he is. Funny, they met because he was the boyfriend/husband of my best friend at college. That, unfortunately, didn’t work out, but the guys have stayed friends and kept in touch through the years.

Olen is what I would consider a true mountain man. Think of a modern day Daniel Boone. I think he’d just as soon get up in the morning and hunt or fish for breakfast than ever go grocery shopping! He lives in Montana, where there are trees and mountains and lakes and may actually have that choice. We, on the other hand, live in the dessert. If you like jack rabbit for breakfast, you’d be in luck! It had been a while since they’d seen each other so the idea of the road trip was born!

 
Montana splendor...
Because he’s outgoing, Olen knows a lot of people. One of those was someone who, through his ranch or some other source, had a bison for butcher. Alan and Olen decided on a split and would both have meat for the winter. Doesn’t that sound rather mountain-mannish?

Texas to Montana is a pretty far distance, regardless. Crane, Texas, to Kila, Montana is about 1,700 miles. That’s one way. How would one go about getting half a bison delivered in an edible state, 1,700 miles away? Enter a MacGyverism!

I’m not sure who came up with this solution, Alan or Olen, and it may have even been a combination of the two. I do know it worked and it was actually pretty ingenious! It began with placing a simple order to Sears. Alan ordered a smaller size chest type freezer from Sears and had it delivered to Montana. It arrived in a little town about 12 miles from where Olen lives. He picked it up, took it home and plugged it in. The meat, already frozen, was then placed in the cold freezer. In the meantime, Alan prepared for the trip. It took him about two days but he and Junior (our dog son) made the trip safely.

They had an eventful week, with fishing, maybe some impromptu shooting and lots of visiting and sight-seeing. But as all good things, the mini vacation had to come to an end. It was time to get back to reality and bring himself, Junior and the bison safely home, all food poison free.
That's a lot of fish!

The freezer, loaded with meat, was hoisted onto the truck. It was plugged into the generator to keep it running. Did I forget to mention the generator? Never fear! They thought of everything. Alan brought the portable generator from home so that the freezer would have power to ensure the food would stay solid.
Friends...looking the same as always except a little gray...

1700 miles and a lot of hours later, Alan, Junior and the frozen food arrived home safely. He had a great time and I got a new little freezer, complete with food!

Oh, I've had all of this life I can handle,
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky…

On the yarn front, I was working on an autumn cowl. The yarn is pretty, the pattern is pretty but they aren’t right for each other. I finished it but even after MacGyvering, it just wasn’t doing anything for me. So I took it all apart. I’ll do it again, differently. That’s the beauty of yarn!

And back to a ball it goes.

Won't you meet me in Montana 
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eat It

It doesn't matter if it's fresh or canned, 
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it… 

It was probably the last weekend of the summer for Evan to come over. He starts junior high in a couple of weeks and with that, all the pre-activities associated with the beginning of school. We’d had a great school clothes shopping day (another post sometime), and were back at the house. We did our traditional corny ritual of watching a detective show or two before bed then hit the sack. Both of us were tired, me especially! 
The next day we slept in, Evan til noon! I let him because he’ll be going strong soon. We had another corny ritual, what we call doctor coffee. When they were little I let them drink coffee. Judge me if you must. I would fix theirs, about ¼ coffee in their travel mug, to ¾ milk. I’d sweeten it and they loved it. We’ve since graduated to flavored creamers and it’s still amazing. They think so anyway!

Suppertime was coming and I asked Evan what he wanted. We try to please them by having whatever they want when they are here. He wanted steak. So, steak it was. I fixed some vegetables and creamed onions, avocado and tomato as a salad and we called it good. As we ate we chatted. Because I’m such a good cook (insert applause here), the food was exceptionally tasty! Evan didn’t care for the vegetables because it was a mixture with squash, corn, red and orange bell peppers, onion, green chili and tomatoes. That was what he didn’t like, the tomatoes. Anyway, the vegetables and what the mixture included was what spurred the conversation.

Evan wasn’t sure about squash. It was yellow squash and Alan told him how his mamaw had cooked it when he was a boy. He told him it was fried and he loved it. Evan said he’s never eaten fried squash! From there, Alan reminisced about the okra his mamaw used to cook. It was fresh and she cut it into pieces then battered it in a mixture of cornmeal and flour. Next she fried it until it was crispy and brown. He told us it was his favorite food that she had made.

After a minute I told them the favorite food that my mamaw used to make. It was what we call ‘goulash’. It’s made of hamburger meat, macaroni and tomato juice, and there are many variations. Most families have had it at one time or another. In college, my friend Doreen always wanted to make me American Chop Suey. Finally, one day we had the chance. She prepared the meal and was so proud to serve…goulash! It must be universal!

We sat for a moment more, enjoying the food and each other. Alan told Evan he’d have memories of what Mamye had cooked him when he got older. I asked Evan what his favorite food was that I had made him so far. He thought for a while and finally said, well it’s that noodle stuff. I said spaghetti? Nope, that’s not it. It had an orange sauce. Macaroni and cheese I asked? No, not that. We thought some more and he added that it had meat in it. Alan started to laugh and said Hamburger Helper? Yes Evan exclaimed. That’s it. That stuff’s good! We giggled. One day this summer while they were here I had fixed Hamburger Helper for their lunch. They were hungry, I was in a hurry, and it was there. I never dreamed it would make such an impression!

It’s bittersweet that the kids are getting older. I know the time we’ll have to spend together will get to be less than it is already. He’ll have his activities and his friends and he’ll be busy. He won’t want to come over to sit with Mamye and Pap and watch silly detective shows on TV or eat leisurely suppers. He’ll be starting his journey to adulthood. I just hope that occasionally we can get together.

Maybe someday, when his grandkids are over enjoying the weekend, they will have a conversation at supper. He’ll take a bite of something that will spur a memory about how well his Mamye made Hamburger Helper. He’ll remember the fun times that were had when he stayed over. He might even share his story with them and ask what their favorite thing is that their Mamye makes. I bet it won’t be Hamburger Helper!
Have a big dinner, have a light snack 
If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Remember I told you there was a lot of rain at the beginning of the summer? Apparently that was the allotment for the season because since then all it’s been is hot. Not just summer hot but record breaking temperature hot! For that reason it’s been small knitting projects, things that don’t sit across my lap and finishing things that were already finished except for working in the ends. I might or might not have a whole basket of things like that!
Rainbow Birthday Cake Cowl
Homespun from Ft. Davis, simple cowl
Orange Montego Bay scarf
Dishcloth set, Tribble, Grandma's Favorite, Ballband Dishcloth

I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter what you make or what you cook. What matters is the feelings attached to the action, from both ends. I’m glad Evan likes my Hamburger Helper. But mostly, I’m glad he associates it with good memories.

So eat it, just eat it…