Thursday, May 28, 2015


I got 50 yards of Fun for myself and a copy as a gift for Grace.  Her copy has yet to be unpacked so she asked to borrow mine.  I was looking for a stuffed fox pattern to go with the Dr Suess Fox in Socks board book I have for Christopher.  So I went with Flyspeck Fox.  I really don't like the pick up Danger uses, it was awkward to do, especially since the needles used are a few sizes small to start with.  I do see how structurally it may be better than pick up and knit, but royal pain in the ass to execute (maybe more so because of my nails)  If I make any of the other patterns, I will be doing this before I do the stuffing.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So Anyway

Just finished a autobiography, So Anyway by John Cleese.  I don't read a lot of autobiography's, but this one caught my eye.  I love pretty much every performance by John Cleese, Grew up on Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.  If it wasn't for Cleese, I would not be as addicted to BritComs like I am today.

The book takes us from when Cleese was 8 5/6 to just before he started on the Flying Circus.  How he believes frequent moves as a child helped develop his creativity, his (surprise surprise... not) issues with his mother, how he sort of accidentally fell into math and science in public school, sort of fell into a teaching job he was woefully unprepared for and had to study every night to stay one lesson ahead of his students, switched to law because he wasn't as obsessive as he needed to be to succeed in math and science. How he initially passed up the Cambridge club/group that led him to develop his comedic skills.  How he was set to start a career in law, but things just sort of fell into his lap to create his comedic genius career.

Even though I say things sort of fell into his lap, please don't mis-read that to mean he didn't work hard at it.  He was a perfectionist, who endlessly rewrote things, worked on understanding audiences and comedic timing.  Had to overcome performance jitters and stage anxiety.  It probably would have been less work and stress if he had settled into law.

The book covers his on and off relationship with future wife/ex-wife Connie.  It covers how he ended up with the other Pythons - but it sort of glosses over everyone except for Graham Chapman.  You do really get a sense of how an initial non-encounter ended up in the close friendship between the two - and especially in the last chapter you get a sense of how much he still misses him.  I did not realize that Cleese and co pretty much put Marty Feldman onto the screen for the first time.

I know this book got a lot of mixed reviews, but I loved it.  It was easy to read and it was like sitting down to a cup of tea and having Cleese tell you about that part of his life. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day rant.


I like having fun as much as the next girl... maybe more so.  But, people I work with have been annoying me all day.  One girl was wearing what can only be described as a Yankee Doodle clown outfit, one of the managers had a funny red/white/blue top hat and mardi gras style beads.

Seriously,  It's Memorial Day.  Not thank  a veteran ( I really think they should be thanked every day - but as a holiday they have one in the fall)  It isn't national everyone must BBQ day, It isn't national sit in traffic to go to the first big party weekend down the shore day.  It's Memorial Day.  A day set aside to remember all the service men and women who have given their LIVES for this country so all these people can act ridiculous.  

Rant over. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Can someone explain Accuweather?

My accuweather app has been annoying me lately.  Some of it might be my phone not updating the current weather.  But, since winter (and in NJ we had a really rough late winter)  I've been noticing that's app has been much more acurate.  But this morning it really annoyed me:


If the current temperature at 8:24am is 44 degrees, how is it possible that the low for the day is predicted to be 57???

Screenshot_2015-05-24-08-27-10 also lists the low temperature at 57 - but at 8am it IS 57 degrees.. how can they be 13 degrees apart.  A few minutes after these screen shots I went out to check on my plants in shorts a tank top and bare (not bear) feet.  It was definitely not 44!!  


Friday, May 22, 2015

Hot Rods

We finally got to the new Hot Rods location (they moved maybe a mile)  Part of an old mill building,  there is lots of parking (always had to find somewhere to park on the street before) it's bigger, love how they kept all the bricks and everything in the decor.  The only drawbacks I can see to the location is that the traffic light two blocks away totally jams up during rushhour aka early dinner time, and it was cool last night - there is an industrial park down the road and a lot of tractor trailers went by on their way to I-80 - if they open the windows it could get noisy - did not look to see if the windows open. The other thing is coming out (or in) if you don't go down the ramp on the side you have to turn left at what looks like a loading dock to get to the stairs - I can envision inebriated patrons stepping off the ledge thinking there are stairs there.


My view of the bar.  The food is still amazing, there looks to be several new items on the menu (chicken and waffles anyone?) new salads, and in the coming soon section - burnt ends vodka sauce!  One of the things I love is their long beer list - and the cicerone has never steered me wrong!  Curt knowing full well how long the beer decision could take ordered appetizers up front.  My favorite  bacon wrapped burnt ends (heaven) and fried pickles.



Once I finally picked my beer and we were able to order - I had to tease Curt about being civilized... I usually drink mine out of the bottle unless it's draught, Curt though...


I ended up getting fish tacos - also great with cole slaw (you know you really have to like it to order it) and sweet potato fries:


I'm so glad I wasn't in the mood to cook Wednesday Night!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

No finished knitting to show you

I aggravated an elbow injury recently - no idea what I did to do so, but it gets sore quickly right about where my funny bone is.  Not funny.  At least it isn't sharp shooting pain, but even though the soreness is above my elbow it radiates down my lower arm, the top of my hand and the last three fingers. It's weird and it has curbed my crafting for more than 10-15 minutes at a time (and I'm slow to begin with!)


I had lunch scheduled with Grace at Potbelly's, but I also put my car in to the shop to figure out why the air conditioning compressor wasn't coming on, so I walked. (it's just under 2 miles each way, a nice walk) I took a picture of one of the falls on the Rockaway River.  I had a lovely lunch - won't get to see her for a few weeks, and then on the way home I took this picture...


If you look carefully a tree fell and is going across the river, but above it.  There is a vine plant with white bunchy flowers ( almost like a white wisteria but not) growing across the tree,  I thought that was pretty cool. 

Back to crafting - I am almost done with a sleeveless top - am about 15% donw with a top down sweater I'm making for Christopher, and I've done about 13 rows on Sleeves since the beginning of the month.  Oh, and my giraffe has a body, head and two legs right now.  Hopefully there will be pictures next week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two Books Recently

I've finished 29 books already in 2015!! I'm working on 3 and I have 13 more dated out to mid-July in the library request system!  Of course my house is a disaster!

First book finished is An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War.  It's another wonderful book in the Irish Country Doctor series.  This book bounces back and forth between the 1960's Ireland (where most of the series is set) and Fingal's WWII experiences.  We get to know Tom Laverty (Barry's father) and to celebrate Barry and Sue's engagement both Tom and his wife arrive from Australia where they have retired for a visit late in the book.  (we find out that Fingal just missed being on ship with Sue's father - and Tom did work with him for a few months in the Mediterranean.

We get to read a lot more about Diedre, and the book ends with Fingal leaving the Warspite heading back to England for some shipboard medical training (and since he will be on land for several months - his nuptials)

In the "present" of the book, we see Kinky settling into her part time duties at No. 1 and her role as a newly wed wife,  Kitty and Fingal really settling in to married life when they both have to deal with their feelings about news from Kitty's past, and as always Fingal stepping in to deal with the workings of his village, keeping Donal in line, Seeing Bertie Bishop start to turn a new leaf after his brush with almost death in the last book, and Fingal trying to manipulate Collin's dad - a proud blue collar shipyard man - into allowing Collin to take the exams for further education.

Love this whole series  - have the next book queued out for June.

Second book is the third in Rachael Herron's Cypress Hollow Series.  While still reading about what's happening with the original two casts, this book revolves around Naomi, a Dr from San Diego who was befriended by Eliza as she treated her during her final days.  Eliza had given her the push to move to Cypress Hollow ( and as we learned in the first two books, Eliza always had a reason up her sleeve) Naomi is a little bit socially inept although an amazingly professional competent Dr and is having second doubts about her move.  She doesn't even let anyone in a town full of knitters know that she is one of them - or let Abigail know the reason she looks familiar is she was the Dr through Eliza's last days.  To add to her social stress, her partner is pretty much retired at this point (hasn't been around for the better part of a year) and hires a new Dr to take his place in the practice, with the offer of buying him out of the partnership if Naomi approves.  Turns out he was her one night stand she couldn't forget at a medical conference in Portland ( I really don't need to tell you how that ends - I don't consider this a spoiler - anyone reading the book jacket knows how this ends)   Through all this, Naomi's very pregnant half sister turns up, a misjudged attempt at fixing her relationship with her mother backfires, and then maybe slowly heads the right way, and Naomi finds out the man  she idolized, who raised her after her parents divorce, who inspired her to become a Dr, was not really her dad.  This throws her into a tailspin that takes the last half of the book to straighten out.  But you'll love the half-brother she finds at the end!!  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just a very geeky post

So exoplanets were a theory when I was taking Physics and Astronomy in school but now?  Look at this major jump!

Yeah, the geek in me in totally squeeing over this!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lunch for One

I don't have any terribly interesting things to show you food wise.  I had a couple really good burgers off the grill this week, but that's it.  So I was thinking about what to post the other day as I was making my lunch, and I figured I'd talk about lunch.  When I am at work my lunch consists of a really large salad (fills a 5 cup Rubbermaid container.) It's pretty basic - mixed greens ( I like the kind with pieces of herbs mixed in) 3 mini cucumbers - 4 if they are extra mini, a couple tomatoes, sometimes carrot, sometimes olive, occasionally if I have leftover fresh mozzerella I'll put that in as well.  On the side I am totally addicted to quinoa salad - I call it crack.  If the deli is out then I'll have a bit of hummus with 4 triscuits.  A 16oz bottle of water goes with it.  

When I'm off during the week and Curt is at work, then I will make myself lunch.. sometimes.  I save things Curt is allergic to or doesn't like for when I eat without him.  I'm not really a sandwich girl - unless we're talking eggplant parm, or a panini, but since I love the seriously crusty breads and ciabatta breads - I can't have them often because of the carbs.  I do use a high fiber low carb wrap - usually for breakfast though.  I took pictures of my 2 lunches this week. 


Tuesday, I microwaved half of a small spaghetti squash (7 min on high, seeds removed, face down on a glass dish)  I put a few pieces of frozen shrimp scampi from Schwann's (frozen food I can eat) in a small skillet with sliced baby bella mushrooms, added about a cup of frozen veg - broccoli,carrot, pea, water chestnut mix, tossed in some fresh asparagus from my mom's garden, some extra garlic and italian seasoning - and I put it on top of the "spaghetti"  I garnished with the bits I picked off the ends of my various basil (pick off the buds so they grow bushier)  


Today's lunch started with one of the wraps, a big handful of salad greens w herbs, sliced mini cucumbers (3) chunky tzatziki sauce and a piece of baked salmon (with some dill).


Both quick, easy,  healthy and yummy!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Little Owl's Night

I'm somewhat concerned about my nephew - and the fact that he keeps being read the same books, so much that his mom knows them by heart and they don't use the actual book!! While I am all for telling kids stories, I think it is important to actually read to them from the book.  The Angie learned to recognize certain words because as we read, we would point at the words in the book.  I'm not saying I never screwed up raising her - but she did turn out well imho. 

Anyway I bought several board books, and am making stuffed knit/crochet versions of the starring animals to give him.  I started by using a tried and true (can't tell you how many owls I've made with this pattern already) Pattern with bigger needles and three strands of yarn held together.  I then cut circles from off white felt ( didn't have any white apparently) and the biggest non bulgy frog safety eyes I had.

I did my best embroidering the beak - can't say that's a craft I do well at all!!

I am now working on a Giraffe to go with a book about Giraffes can't dance.  Right now he's a worm with eyes.  I've done the head, body and ears - I'm working on his legs now, then his horns, mane and tale.  Then I will be doing a fox for Fox in Socks.   

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blossom Street Brides

I love Debbie Macomber - she is one of my favorite authors, but somewhere last year  I fell behind and didn't read as much as I would have liked.  Also since I wasn't reading as much , I forgot to renew my favorite authors at the library (whenever a new book comes out for one of the bestselling authors on my list - I think you get to pick 10 - I have 5- you are automatically put on the waiting list!) so I missed this one.  I love the whole Blossom street series - centered on AA Good Yarn - a yarn store of course!  And I like catching up on old characters from prior books while also meeting new ones!

I'm posting this late, but better than not - I had brunch with my friend Grace today - she seems to be recovering from her recent health crisis. I haven't seen her for 2 months. Found out one of the waitresses at the diner we usually meet at had a stroke, surgery is in a medical coma - not doing well.  My prayers go out to Jen!  She is sweet even if she keeps forgetting the refill on my coffee! Then a bunch of drama at work, and 3 extended phone conversations with the Angie (she's fine, not to worry) So a busy day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Planting pretty much done


The herb tower was one of the last things I had to do (top tier still waiting for seedlings to be big enough to withstand an actual rain)  Yes, it's a lot of straw, a lot of it will blow away, the rest will mulch it for the summer.


I also got my cucumbers started.  I had some trouble the last 2 summers with the cucumbers, and then it dawned on me - bush cucumbers stay low to the ground and want to bush out, I want the plants to climb the trellis - so I'm back with the burpless (less seeds) vining kind this summer. Cross your fingers!


My micro Tom has flowers!  How cute is it??  (that's an 8" pot if you're wondering.


One last note - I bought this for the front - I love this!! It looks like the backdrop if a sci-fi Martian flick!!!


It's going to drop into the high 40's the next 2 nights, so the HOT peppers and the eggplants will be coming back inside.  Everything else should be ok.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Surprised my mom

Surprised my mom, since I didn't get to see her yesterday. We showed up with a large pizza (pepperoni, mushroom, peppers her favorite) the rainbow connection shawl I made her for mother's day (these things I make her get the other church ladies jealous) but she needs it because her favorite pew is near the AC vent.  I got Christopher a book and made him a toy to match.

As usual he spent the first hour crying. He really needs to get socialized. But then later when Curt was putting the straw we gave her (I needed some for my containers and the smallest bale was way too big) she likes using it in her garden, he was walking with me, we went down to the corner and down another block. He was soooo happy, he didn't care that he really doesn't know me well or that he couldn't see the yard he was used to our my mom. He listened well when I told him he couldn't cross the grass next to the sidewalk toward the street. But when my mom came around the corner and called his name he didn't respond at all.

I worry about this kid.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eggpants and Peppers

I'm posting twice today because with all the pictures I didn't want a super long post.


My favorite three eggplants here.  The front two are Kermits, the right with Rose basil, the left with Lime Basil.  I'm probably going to have flowers on these two by Memorial Day!!!  In the back left, potted in it's big pot last week is Caspar with Cinnamon Bouquet Basil.

I currently only have three peppers in their big pot.  Mini Chocolate Bell,  Mini Red Bell and Mini Yellow Bell got potted about a week ago.  (I pick the flower buds off until they are potted in their big pots, so the roots grow in better)  yesterday they had new buds that I left and today the bloomed!!


The Ancho hybrid, Cubanelle and Marconi Golden are going to need bigger pots soon, they are getting too top heavy in their intermediate pots, probably the beginning of next week when I start leaving the tomatoes outside at night. (running out of room inside at night- as well as room on the balcony floor - need to be able to hang soon!)


Most of the other peppers are slower late season peppers, so will be happy for a bit longer.


Tomato Tuesday??


This is Early Wonder with Greek Dwarf Basil.  I'm calling her WOnder Woman because she's going to take down my father in law and my mom ...just saying...


Two of my favorite hanging basket tomatoes (they haven't gotten their basil buddies yet)  On the left is the Coyote (really tiny maybe 1/2 in diameter) cherries that ripen golden yellow and are sweeter than eating a jelly bean!  Starts ripening mid season and keeps making more of the tiny drops of wonderful!  On the right is Sweet Million, an improved hybrid of the popular Sweet 100's.  3/4 to 1 in diameter red cherries.


Here's a second Coyote that I'm going to experiment with caging to see how it does vs hanging.  It's paired with Italian Large Leaf Basil.


Here's my yellow pear, it is in a hanging basket, it's paired with Thai Lemon Basil.

The hanging baskets aren't hanging yet, because being on a balcony I cable strap the basket's to the pole I have going around because there is more wind up here than at ground level.  Until the night temps get warmer consistently I keep bringing them in at night.  This week Micro-Tom and Black Sea Man will get pots, the rest will stay in their mid point pots until I can put them out in the coir baskets.




Friday, May 1, 2015

Staring into my fridge...

Some people have menu plans for their entire weeks. Some even write the down, create a grocery list, go the the store, have everything on hand for every day.  Some people even do a lot of the prep work days ahead!!  I am not one of those people.  In my defense, I go grocery shopping every other day - because I go through a lot of stuff that doesn't store for long periods of time.  Mini-cucumbers, tomatoes, packs of "super greens", packs of prewashed salad green mixes, baby bella mushrooms... I do have a pretty decently stocked pantry and freezer that I work with.  Since the Angie has been gone though, I end up having  'extra bits'  either I end up cooking too much and we have to have leftover days, or I have to make dinner of leftover bits that need to be used or wasted.  The other day was one of those nights.

I made a one skillet, one oven dish chicken and bits dinner. First I turned the oven to 350 (it seems like a good default temperature)  I tossed about 3/4 of a pound of baby yukon gold potatoes in olive oil, herbs de provence , dill and a pinch of coarse sea salt.


In the skillet first I browned 2 links of chorizo broken up out of the casing with a handful of  quartered baby bella mushrooms.  I started on very low heat so the oil for the chorizo was enough to brown the mushrooms when I added them.


After adding them to the potaotes, I sweated out 1/2 an orange and yellow pepper, and a whole cubanelle pepper cut in large chunks.


After adding the peppers to the oven dish, I small diced a poblano pepper, 1/4 of a sweet onion, 3 garlic cloves  and the stems of 1/2 a bunch of rainbow chard.


After these started to soften I added the chopped leaves of the chard to the pan and to speed up wilting added a splash of stock after a few minutes.


Finally I browned 2 small chicken breasts cut into chunks sprinkled with poultry seasoning.


Once everything was added to the baking dish (chicken and sausage were still not cooked all the way through)  I covered it with foil and baked it for 30 minutes.  


It came out delicious and Curt took the leftovers for lunch 2 days after.