Friday, February 17, 2017

Number 6

It's Friday morning and it's quiet here on the second floor of my building, down the hall, in the corner by the kitchen (or what used to be a kitchen.  Now it's just a room with vending machines and a sink and microwave).  Once in a while, I can hear the sounds of my fellow early risers down the hall laughing but usually, it's quiet enough to hear the clock on the wall tick.

The snowstorm never developed into much to talk about (although you wouldn't know it by the weather people).  I requested the day off in case of inclement weather.  To be fair, at 6 AM, the weather looked inclement.  It was snowing hard and so I decided to stay home.  By 11, the sun was out and all told, we got about an inch of snow.  Yea.  All that hype and just an inch.  I would like just one good snowstorm where you sit inside by the window and watch the sharp edges of the world disappear beneath the snow.   It feels like we usually get that kind of storm right around this time each year but not this weekend.  

The temps are supposed to be in the 60'sF.(15+ C).  Not a good chance for snow but a lovely opportunity to take some time outside.  Pk and I are planning a trip to "the woods".  We'll take the Quaker Bridge road through parts of the pinelands and end up at Batsto.  I'll pack some munchies and some drinks and we'll just get out of doors for the afternoon.  We can't take all of the small trails we used to in our older cars.  The new one may have "4 wheel on demand" but that is not the same. We're a bit more careful with the new car.

We can still get out where it's quiet and there are no other people around.  When we stop and get out of the car in the middle of the woods and there are no sounds.  It feels like you can breathe again and is such a calming, soul-affirming feeling.

I finished my "socks for needles" trade.  I sent off a pair of purple socks to Molly and she will send me a set of dpns that she has hand forged.  I can't wait to see them!  


I finished one sock from the Starry Night roving I bought in MD.  It didn't feel very soft as I was spinning it but the sock is soft to the touch but feels like it will last.  The material is mohair/merino/silk (I think)
 I love the colors and the fuzziness.  And of course, there is that thrill of knitting with your own handspun.  I work on them mostly at work in the knitting group on Thursdays because it's simple to pick up and put down and there's no real pattern to remember.  

At home, I wanted a bigger project so I gathered up the left over balls of yarn and other orphan balls and started a leftover blanket.  I am making up a modified Log Cabin pattern and so far, I like it.   It's definitely mindless enough but changing the colors keeps it a little interesting.  
 I know I have more half balls lying around, I just have to dig and find them.  For now, I have plenty to work with.  I haven't decided if I want to make one big afghan for the couch in the living room, or a series of small baby sized blankets.  Maybe both.....

Do you have folks in your friends/family who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant?  I found a recipe that is tasty and just happens to be gluten free.  
 These are almond flour cakes with blackberry jam or chocolate ganache on top.  They're small and not too sweet and don't taste "off".  I found the recipe in the NYT.  I think the paper pays for itself in recipes.  I didn't have almond flour, so I ground up almonds on my own so they have a nice texture.  

I took 15 minutes and ordered our groceries this morning and will save lots of time this afternoon in the ShopRite.  We'll pick out our meats and veg and then drive around the side of the store and get the non perishables and be home early enough to have an evening together.  As long as we don't watch any press conferences, we'll have an enjoyable evening.  There's something profoundly disturbing about watching the leader of your country have a tantrum in front of the world.

So, I pay enough attention to be informed, but not so much that I get anxious and/or depressed.

Well, here's hoping we all have a good Friday.  I am having lunch with Emily (since she started working downtown, we try to get together once a month for lunch.). I like hearing about how much she likes her new job and how they think she "walks on water".  It's hard not to beam with pride.  I have some paperwork to do today but not too much.  

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today

High: 64 °F (16.6C)

This is our forecast for today.  I took this from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government's weather site.  They tend to be less dramatic than the local stations when it comes to predicting "winter events" and things. 

Today will be Spring-like (my office window is open at 7 AM because it's already too hot in here)

Image result for clip art snow
Thursday


Heavy Snow
and Breezy
then Chance
Snow
High: 32 °F

And there is tomorrow.




 Actually, overnight it's supposed to get colder and then rain/sleet/snow will fall turning to all snow by morning and snowing most of the day.  The estimates are 5-8 inches.


(I hear the laughter.  I know that is not a great deal of snow.  But, here, our public transportation tends to get bent out of shape with any snowfall)


I decided to err on the side of caution and have requested tomorrow off.  At the very least, I will be able to sleep in and watch the snow from my living room with some hot drink and some knitting.  If all of the forecasts are wrong, then I will get up and go to work and save the day.  By requesting it ahead of time, I avoid the dreaded "occurrence" which counts against me.
 

This week is the first week that I've felt like myself again.  The infection I got around New Year's really knocked my feet out from under me.  I had no energy and felt like I was lugging my exhausted body around day after day.  And then I suddenly realized on Monday that I felt ok.  No.  Better than ok.  I felt good.  I was relieved.  After a month, I was sure that infection was going to hang around forever.


We made donuts filled with pastry cream and iced with chocolate over the weekend.  It was fun and tasty and a learning experience.  I learned that I can rise dough using my microwave oven so making bread in the cold of winter isn't so frustrating when the kitchen is too cold to get a good rise.


We got a new Secretary of Education yesterday.  Should it concern me that she herself has never attended a public school?  Nor have her children?  She admittedly knows nothing about education (has never held a job in the field).  It does bother me.  I am grateful my children are no longer school aged but I cringe inside for the children in my neighborhood.


Did you see the photos of the ice shelf in Antarctica that has a crack that has grown 17 MILES in two months?  If it continues, it will break off into an ice berg the size of Delaware.  That seems insane to me.  So, let's all ignore the scientists who tell us that Climate Change is a real thing and go back to using coal to fuel our plants.......(something our new President has actually proposed).  The world is going to hell in a handbasket.


I'm going to go and see how much work I can get done today so that if I am off tomorrow, it won't be such a mess on Friday.


Happy Hump Day!




Sunday, January 29, 2017

Number. 4

I think Sunday afternoon is one of my favorite times of the week.  Usually, everything is already prepared for the upcoming week (my bag is packed and my laundry is done), dinner is in the oven (tonight roast chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans) and it's a time for walks, movies, books and just plain spending time with my husband.

The house smells delicious as the chicken cooks.  Yesterday I made a loaf of a citrusy challah
 
We had it for dinner last night with a spinach quiche.  I fixed dinner for my friend's birthday.  We played games and ate hot fudge sundaes.  She doesn't like cake (I know!  How can that be possible?  But it's true) so I got iced cream and hot fudge and whipped up some cream.  It was a good substitute for birthday cake.

 I made a sweater and some tiny socks for a coworker's new granddaughter.  I love this color for a baby.  It's not typical and pastel.  I am working on finishing up my wips and then I want to collect all the bits and pieces of leftover sock yarn to make a Log Cabin blanket.  I have been wanting a big project and that will certainly be big.  I'd like to put it in the living room as a colorful accent.

 Have you seen the new photos from NOAA's new satellite?  Isn't it beautiul?  I find it breathtaking.  We have such a beautiful planet.  We really should be more appreciative.  And I say this with full awareness that our new President has already approved the oil pipelines and is planning to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.  If you google NASA, NOAA GOES photos, there are several more.  

We're expecting precipitation overnight, probably wet, heavy snow.  It won't accumulate, it'll just be enough to make a mess of the morning commute.  It's not a real problem.  It just takes a bit of planning so I am not late.  I hate to be late.

Did I ever tell you about bookbub.com?  It's a daily email with discount priced ebooks.  They can be from brand new authors (to get awareness of them out there) or the back catalog of established authors.  They are priced at less than 2.99 and some are free.  You go to the website and sign up.  They will ask you for your preferences and then every day you get an email with 6 or 7 books in those catagories.  I have learned that if I get the books through amazon, I can get Audible narration for 2 dollars or so.  This makes them audio books.  I love audio books.  And this is cheaper than a membership to audible.  

Well, that's all I've got.  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Work has been rather busy this month.  Partly this is because insurance companies change their formularies and suddenly people need extra paperwork to get their medicines.  It makes for some anxious people and no one ever knows until they go to refill a prescription.  That's when I get to spring into action and go to battle with the insurance companies and drug stores.  It means that each day can seem to be a light work day and turn out to be rather busy.

Tomorrow should not be busy.......Unless the snow/rain keeps people home.  That brings its own kind of chaos.  

I hope your week is not more than you can handle and that everyone you have to deal with is reasonable  and pleasant.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Number 3

Here we are in the deep of winter.  And it's over 50 degrees again.  My body is confused.  At least the sun is out today.  For the first time in what seems like weeks. (Probably just days....)

 I made these danish pastries for Sunday breakfast.  They are lemon and cheese and are absolutely delicious.  They are a bit of work, the dough has to be started the day before you want to eat them, but it isn't hard.  The dough is buttery and smooth and the fillings are not too sweet.  Much less sweet than the bakery pastries.

Peter Kevin's job search is going fairly well.  His resume is getting attention and he has had a few phone interviews and 2 face to face interviews.  He is feeling positive.  It would be nice if someone offered him a job since unemployment has not kicked in yet (what?  It's only been 7 weeks!).  They said there was no record of his having worked the past 2 years.  We, of course, appealed it and are waiting for a decision.  

We were just hit with a "nor'easter".  Lots of precepitation which necessitated getting out the pump and clearing out the crawlspace.  At first, I was disappointed that it wasn't snow but then I thought about all the misty precipitation and I know if it were cold enough to snow, it would have covered everything with layers of ice.  And that is no fun.  So, maybe rain was ok.  I would like to get one big snowstorm where we're snowed in.  If it could happen over a weekend, that would be even better.

I've been trying to finish up some projects that I have had on the needles for some time.  I am 2/3 of the way through my "barter" socks.  I'll send them to Molly (celtic swan forge) and she will send me a set of hand forged dpns.  This is the first time I was able to get in on her deal.  I love the socks I'm making.  I hope she does, too.  They're a deep purple with a textured rib design.  

After those are done, I have 5 other pairs started.  And one shawl and one baby sweater for a coworker's granddaughter.    The number of projects doesn't bother me, they'll all get finished.  

I'm making dinner for a coworker who is celebrating her birthday this week.  She's vegetarian and that means I get to be a bit more creative in what I serve and how it is served.  I'm thinking spinach and cheese quiche with bread and salad and then birthday cake.   She has a game called Exploding Kittens that we are going to play.  Google it.  It's strange and funny.

I hope you all are well and 2017 is treating you ok.  We're all doing well.  No complaints.  Although some snow would be nice....
 

Friday, January 20, 2017

And I feel fine....

 "It's the end of the world as we know it....."

It's January 20 and I woke up with that song running through my head.  I am not truly looking for the end of the world, just the world as we know it.  I am one of those people who truly believes in the underlying goodness of people and so I can't help but hope that all the dire forecasts I keep hearing for the next 4 years will turn out to be overly pessimistic.

Here in the behavioral health field, where many folks live on SS money or disability, there is a great fear and apprehension about benefits and how they will hold up.  This increases the level of general anxiety.  It means that we spend more time just being encouraging and trying to be reassuring.  Sometimes it helps and sometimes people are just too wary.  

And there is anxiety in our home as well.  Pk had 3 phone interviews and has 2 in person interviews next week.  It's been 6 weeks and we are still waiting for Unemployment to rule on his application.  It won't be a lot of money but even a little is better than none.

We are still fighting off the ends of the Cold That Won't Go Away.  There doesn't seem to be enough Mucinex in the world for this.  I've had a bit of insomnia for the past 2 nights so I am extra glad it's Friday today.  I got up and put jeans on (nice, dark jeans) to go to work.  I feel a bit beat up, like someone has been beating me with a stick and these are comfort clothes.  If I could get away with it, I'd wear flannel pants and a sweatshirt.  But, this is a professional environment so jeans and a sweater will have to do. (Our dress code says no denim pants but we are in a new department now and they are a bit looser in their enforcement of these things).

That photo on the top of the page is the sky at 7 AM in Center City Philadelphia.  I had just turned down the street of my building and it was spectaular.  In a few weeks, it won't be quite so dark in the morning.  I look forward to not coming into work in the dark.

And I'll end with a few words from W. Shakespeare

"Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none".

Words to live by.  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

No 2

Here it is January 8th and I have yet to go back to work.  I think the last time I was off for this long was when I had eye surgery to repair the torn retina.  

In all fairness, I was ready to go back last week but we became a House o' Plague and I had to put off returning to work until tomorrow.  Pk got sick right after Christmas.  He was not back to himself so we stayed home on New Year's Eve and were in bed just after midnight.  We watched soccer games and ate good food and drank the end of the egg nog.

I was all packed and my clothes were all washed and ironed and hanging in the closet. I even shined up my shoes.  But then, I became the next to fall to the plague and didn't make it back to work.  The head cold became a sinus infection and it wasn't until the antibiotic had a chance to work that I began to feel better.  (Of course there are all the downsides to the antibiotic- intestinal distress, vague nausea and my favorite one:the yeast infection). 

I did the laundry but not much else this weekend.  I did some spinning, took some more photos of the tree and took naps.  We sat and watched the snow come down on Saturday.  Pk took care of me today and told me to just relax since I have to get up early tomorrow.
 This was all you could see of our snowman lights.  They glowed under the 6 inches of snow.  It was a perfect snow.  It was Saturday, so no school.  It snowed light and fluffy and then we had a sunny day today to help melt the ice off the sidewalks.
 It was so beautiful to watch.  Peter Kevin went out for a ride with his brother in law but thankfully got back before it started coming down very hard.

Today is so gorgeous.  The sky is as blue as it gets in the winter and the sun is reflecting off the snow making sunglasses more than just a good idea.....
Pk made omlettes for breakfast and I made some carrot cake-like muffins (delicious).  We are watching LOTR and I'm working to finish my mittens because I think I may need them.

 Our backyard pets got a new house for Christmas.  They aren't getting fed as regular because Pk hasn't found a job yet and we have our own bills to pay and food to buy.  We don't have any birdhouses, just feeders.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone nests inside.  I don't know anything about birds and houses/nests.  I hope they like it.  

If I had gone back to work on Tuesday, I had plans to clean out drawers and clean out folders and get ready for a new year.  But, I have no idea what I am going back to.  I have a feeling that my voicemail might be full of people cancelling their appointments.  Philadelphia doen't do a great job clearing out the small residential streets and often people can't get out.  Whatever happens, I'll have to deal with it tomorrow.  I don't work from home.....

 
 I take lots of photos of our Christmas tree every year and then keep the one or two that are my favorites.  Today she looks like a woman "of a certain age" all dressed up for Bingo or drinks with friends.  I have another week to take photos and then she comes down.  Last year our outdoor lights stayed up until the end of Feb because of weather.  Our aim is to take them down next weekend , but we'll see what happens.

When do you take down your decorations?  I put up boxes and boxes of favorite family bits and bobs and it takes all day to put up and then all day to take them down and wrap them and put them away.  We'll collect the things from all over the house this week and then put them away and regain our living space.  That's the part I look forward to .  Space and light, especially now that the days are slowly getting longer.  2 more months of winter......










Sunday, January 1, 2017

No 1

 Happy New Year!  And farewell to 2016.  I know that some years always seem like they've been harder than others but damn, this past one felt rougher than most.

I've been off work for the last week and it has quiet and filled with pj days.  

We made cookies
 I put eyes on most everything because for some reason, it struck me as funny.  We also made babka and our chocolate torte.  It was 2 days of work (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, baking) but by the late afternoon of the 24th, we were ready for the girls.  We had hot sandwiches and egg nog and punch and decorated the tree.  It was/is beautiful. We opened our polyana presents and laughed and generally had a good time.  Everyone left and we were in bed just after 12.  El and Pk and I got up the next morning and opened the rest of our presents and ate babka and spent the day in our pajamas.  

On Tuesday, Em said she didn't have anything for the top of her tree so Pk and I sprang into action and created this lovely creature for her and Jim.  We had a good time doing it.  She is mostly made from scraps and some feathers we found at the hobby store.  She has plain cream colored merino roving for hair.
 We finished her on Friday, just in time to give her to Em and Jim on Saturday.  And then Kate was saying she wouldn't have any babka (a family tradition) because Patrick doesn't like it and she didn't want to make a whole one for herself.  So, I made a small one for her when I made ours.  

I got a set of Weldon's Practical Needlework books and I will never complain about how a modern pattern is written again.  Those women of yesteryear were raised to know things that I need to have written down.  The patterns are so vague and they assume a knowledge base that I just don't have.  They are fascinating to read and one day, I am going to try one.  

I am finished one mitten and will spend the next two days trying to finish the other one.  I really like it.  The variegated yarn made the pattern look gorgeous.  
 They need to be blocked but you can see the pattern.  I am finished the initial repeat and getting ready to start the thumb on number 2.  

I don't make NY resolutions as a rule.  This year I am going to try to keep better track of my diet by using My Fitness Pal more faithfully and my mantra for the year is "all is well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well". It's a soothing phrase and keeps some of the anxiety gremlins at bay. Pk is still looking for work so I'll be needing that mantra for a while.....

Do you make resolutions?  Have you ever kept one?  If so, how did you do it?  Inquiring minds and all of that......

I wish everyone a Happy Healthy New Year filled with blessings and peace.

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About Me

I am a woman with a family and a job and a love of making things with my hands. I like to cook and sew and knit and laugh, always laugh.
It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~chinese proverb