Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain

Happy Samhain, everyone. 

I made an attempt at decorating.

More like the Mexican, Day of the Dead colors.

We took a trip up to the grocery to buy candy for the trick-or-treaters that never show up.  They had roses on sale and Duane spotted these daisies.  He thought they were paper because of the colors.  He didn't know they could come in such vibrant colors.  I know how they did it.  Food coloring.  Just like with carnations.

The alien cactus with season.  

The bowl of candy is ready.  Duane will have to pass it out.  Because....

Like Maxine, I'm dressed up as a cranky woman who doesn't give out candy to children. 

I'll will bake an apple pie this evening, since apples are one of the traditional foods.  Cheating and bought ready made crust.

Did you notice the upper left side bar?  Like I'm not busy enough, I signed up for NaBloPoMo. (Nicole it's a post everyday in November.)  No worries, I have plenty of ideas to post.  I think...... maybe....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Duane

Whew, it's been quite a day.  For me it started at 5:30am.  Not on purpose, I just woke up at that time as Duane was coming to bed.  His days and nights are messed up. I walked up to Target and Home Depot while he was sleeping.  There are several new readers, so I'm linking to the worst night in February, so you'll understand why this 50th birthday is extra special.

I needed to get some new plants for my planter.  I found out who destroyed my garden, but we'll save that for another post.  Today, it's all about Duane's day and bacon jam!!

Bacon whaat?  Bacon jam.  I first read about it last year and was going to make it for Christmas.  I couldn't find all the chili spices that the only recipe on the internet called for.  Then I was going to make it in February and we all know what happened there.  Since then, there are a bunch of recipes.  I chose Not Quite Nigella's recipe. The picture isn't that great, I know.  This is not a professional food blog.  It's a step up from the barrio blog.

I bought a catnip plant which I was going to let grow bigger.  Instead, I decided to just give it to the cats for birthday entertainment.

No, we want to read more about this bacon jam!

It's simmering for a couple hours, we'll get back to it.

I guess most people would be upset at new cookware for a present.  Since he loves to cook, and our pans have gotten really crappy, he was happy with nice new pans. It wasn't like that's all he got.

I bought him a Lantana plant he's been wanting for awhile for our garden.  Plus, that weird looking little cactus.  It looks like a mini saguaro with about six or eight arms.

My daughter had her oldest daughter Faith for weekend.  So they called and left him a birthday message on the machine, while he was sleeping and I was out.  He wants to figure out how to upload or record it to the computer so he can post it to his blog.

I called them back later.  While I was talking to Nicole, I could hear Faith in the background giggling and saying, I want to talk to Grandpa Duane.  I could just picture her hopping around.  He had a long conversation with her. So much energy.  She's at that age where every sentence starts with, Guess what?  She's always had an interesting way of speaking.  When she wants to emphasize something, she finishes with the words, two times.

Faith, "My new blanket is really comfy, two times."  "It's really pretty, two times"

Duane makes fun of her and she laughs at herself.  He said, she was born with excellent sarcasm meter.  In some ways, she's more mature about things at six, than most adults.  We both really miss her.  We're hoping we can get her for a month this summer.

Bacon jam.  I need a camera that takes food pictures better.  It looks better in person.  I had to let it simmer for two hours.  Then it said to put it the food processor.  All I have is a blender.  It worked out, but I had to keep opening the top and give a mix.

Duane said, It was great.  I did taste a bite, and it was pretty good.

We were saving our appetites for dinner at Chad's.  We invited my friend that took me back and forth to the hospital all those days.  She brought him a box of chocolate truffles.  I did bring the camera, but forgot to take pictures. The service was excellent.  We'll just have to go back again and remember to take pictures.  They have a prime rib sandwich on garlic bread for lunch. We were too full for dessert.  Another reason to go back.

When we got home, I asked him if he had a good day.  He said, "I got chocolate and bacon.  It couldn't get much better."

"Plus, a steak dinner."

"Yes.  I would have been just as happy if it was just you and a bologna sandwich."

Smacks forehead.  We're going backwards folks.  First it was birthday at Wendy's, now it's birthday bologna sandwiches.

I promised Nicole I would write this post after we came home, so she can show it to Faith in the morning before she goes back to her Dad's.  I'm mad at Wal-mart's shipping service.  They sent out the camera last Saturday from New Jersey.  It's sitting in Pennsylvania.  Damn, I probably could have walked it up to New York by now.

Duane wrote a birthday blog post while he was up all night.

I'm ending with a video by Sir Paul.  Then some pictures for Faith to look at. She's seems to have forgotten all our animals except for Dammit.  Who could forget Dammit?  How she could forget Bootsie is beyond us.

Tennessee aka Poopy Tail.

Bootsie and Butterscotch.

Dammit and Betty.

Nippit bunny.

Eighteen parakeets.

Grandma rocking Dammit like a baby.  I couldn't find an individual picture of Bright Eyes.  I will have to remedy that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fiber Arts and FO Friday

Happy Friday.  Tomorrow is Duane's birthday and I'm calling into work to spend the day with him.  Considering seven months ago, the Dr.s didn't think he would make it through the week, it makes this 50th birthday extra special.  The purple sock won't be finished in time.  I will be making him something special on Saturday. It calls for a pound of bacon.  He picked a really nice place for his dinner.  I'll take lots of pictures and try to post Sunday night when I get home from work.

Excuse the clutter.  Who has time to straighten up? 

I finished my Mitt Envy mitts this morning before I left for work this morning.  It's cooling off quick now, so these were right on time.  I used a fingering weight 3 ply yarn that I had spun in late 2008 from merino/tencil fiber I had bought at Rhinebeck that year.  Spinning the yarn was a royal pain in the arse.  The resulting yarn however, was wonderful to knit with.

The pattern is simple to follow.  Pretty quick compared to most of the projects I knit.  It took me a total of between 14 and 18 hours.  I received a few compliments at work today.  One girl from training class suggested I make a bunch and sell them at work.  When I told her how many hours it takes to make a pair and that nobody would pay me worth my time, she said, "Wow, that long?  Yeah, forget that idea."  Non-knitters can be so clueless of how much time we put into things.

My nails just grow like crazy since I turned 30.  I haven't been able to find either my clippers or my file the last few weeks.  I would find one and the other would come up missing.  I must have smacked my right pinkie  nail on something during the night.  When I woke up this morning there was a crack just below the quick of my nail.  Ow, ow, ow!! All day.  I sure found both clippers and file tonight and shortened all my nails.  Now, it's hard to type, I'm not used to short nails.

Permit me a minute to vent.  Work is sooo stressful.  Today was horrible and I asked the scheduler if they were giving VGH (voluntary go-home) could I please leave either 15 or 45 minutes early, so I wouldn't have to run for the bus home.  She was great, and said she would pencil me in 45 minutes early so I could take the early bus.  I needed it after today.

They are big on AHT (average handle time) is supposed to be under 90 seconds.  The New Moon, I had so many nutty callers, I blew my AHT that I worked so hard to get around 81 seconds for the week.  There are bonuses for AHT between 80-85 seconds.  They are big on AHT's, my team leader asks every day what our AHT is in chat.  I shouldn't be worried as mine has been under, but I'm feeling the pressure with AHT's and schedule adherence.  Yesterday it was 3 hours before my first scheduled break. UGH! That's a long time when your answering calls in rapid succession.

Thankfully, my friend got VGH at the same time tonight, so she drove me home.  I had a huge head and neck ache.  Except she vented to me the whole way home. AGH!!!  Oh well, (sigh) it's give and take.  Better than that long walk in the dark and a long bus ride. I could vent for hours about some of the calls I get, but that would bore you to death probably.

I'm the type of person that gives a 100% no matter what the job I'm hired to do.  Whether it's at the pizza place I worked at for a few years after I injured my back as a nurse, or nursing, or this call center job. I had someone make fun of me for working at the pizza place after being a nurse.  Hey, it was better than standing in the welfare line.   I'm sure it will get easier eventually.  But several times during the day, I want to go up into the mountains to scream after dealing with some of those people on the phone.  Except, it's a long walk to the mountains on any side and I'm just too tired.  Some days your the windshield and others the bug.  Today, I was the bug.

On a lighter note.  Having the music on my phone sure does help with the long walks at quick pace.  That's when I remember to charge my phone. (I forgot to last night. *smacks forehead)  They don't know it, but Jimmy, John, John-Paul and Robert helped me make the walk Wednesday night in twenty-two minutes.  Which was good, because the bus was three minutes early.  I just made it.  Listened to When The Levee Breaks because Mama, you've got to move.  Then Bring It On Home.  Yeah, I wanted to get home.  Bron-Y Aur Stomp.  My favorite, hard not to get moving with that one. Finally, How Many More Times.  By that time I was thinking, How many more steps.

Thanks for reading.  Better post after Duane's birthday.  I promise.

Click the following links for more FO's  and Fiber Arts.

I'll leave you with mine and Dammit's favorite Led Zeppelin.  Oh wait, Dammit says his favorite Zeppelin song is whatever one that is playing at the moment. Smart rabbit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, which is really my Tuesday.  My sense of time is so thrown off, I can't say if the week went by fast or slow.

More progress has been made on the purple sock.  Not, however, as fast as I would have it liked it. Don't know what I was thinking that I could have a pair by this Saturday. I would be glad to have this one finished by Saturday, but as I'm working every day, I wouldn't hold my breath.  I'm currently working on the heel which calls for Fleegle's heel.  I took this on the bus with me, Tuesday morning.  I forgot to grab an extra double point for the little cables.  I found a tapestry needle I had left in my purse.  Yes, I've tried cabling without a needle several times in the past.  It just doesn't work out well for me and I ended up fishing so many dropped stitches.  It just makes the process slower than just using another needle.  The dark purple is hard to work on it at night, so I've only worked on this in daylight hours.

This is my right mitt almost finished.  It would be nice if I could finish it tonight for the bus and work tomorrow.  I'm taking an earlier bus, to give me more time to walk that mile and a half.  The bus driver had the ac cranked so high, I was ready to wear the sock on my hands rather than knit on it.  I'm using a merino/tencil blend that I had spun a few years ago. It was a pain in the arse to spin, however, I'm loving knitting with the resulting yarn.  Wish I had a pound of this stuff to make a sweater, the finished yarn that is.

On Saturday night, I couldn't resist, I had to start the sock with the new yarn I showed you, that had found it's way onto the counter.  The toe is not that bright of orange, it's more of a soft melon or terra cotta.  The colors on this sock definitely represent Tucson. It's hard to keep from just knitting this project.  It will become the new bus project when the purple socks and baby pants are finished.

Butterscotch says, "They're still my colors."

I remembered last post, I teased you with yarn and didn't say what I'm going to do with it.  This is the yarn for Anna's blanket.  I thought, I would have started it by now.  Did I say my concept of time has been shot out the window.  Hopefully, I will have something to show you next week.  Just don't hold your breath.

Duane was such a sweetheart Sunday night.  He stayed up until 3am figuring out how to put music on my phone so I would have it to listen to this week on my long bus ride and walk.  He filled it up.  Now, I have to figure how to remove some of the songs I'm not married to keeping on there.  I don't have any room to take pictures.

The new fridge works so good, it's freezing everything.  Literally, not only is the freezer freezing, but the refrigerator part is a freezer too.  I've turned the temperature down a bit to see if that helps. I get the big cans of Friskies and use half in the morning, then the other half the next day.  This morning I pulled the can out of the bottom of the fridge and the cat food was a frozen solid cat food Popsicle.

Found this on my friend's FB page, I had to steal it and post it here.  That's Nicole with little Anna.

This is the best face palm picture, evah!  She must have been channeling Grandma at work.  Some of the callers make me feel just like this.

Thanks for stopping by.  To see what others are up to, visit Tami's Amis.

Butterscotch says:

"Someone needs to keep Mom's chair warm while she's at work. It's a hard job."

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Weekend That Was

My first day off started with shopping.  This is snow bird country and we had fun with that in Wal-mart.  While in the girls section, I see a dress I want to get for Faith.  So, I whip out my new phone and call my daughter to get Faith's size.  She said she got the package and enjoyed the prickly pear candy Duane sent her.  I told her to hold on he's right here.  He's sitting on the store scooter talking to Nicole while I'm looking at dresses.

Dress for Faith, t-shirt for Nicole and sleeper for Anna.

On the way to the grocery store is Grandma's Spinning Wheel.  My favorite yarn shop.  I like Kiwi Knitting, but Grandma has more of a selection of hand dyed yarns.  I picked up a second skein of the merino silk that I bought last month to make my sweater.  For some strange reason another skein just jumped onto the counter with the one I came to buy.  Yarn is sooo sneaky like that.  Vouch for me ladies.  Duane reads this blog and the comments I get.

This is Alpaca Peds 20 % superfine alpaca, 65% superwash merino 15% nylon.  It comes with a smaller co-oridinating skein for the heels and toes.  That's the melon color in the background.  I'm making this into socks for someone who may or may not read this blog.  I'm not telling which.  Then again, this person has the same size foot as me and I might decide I like them too much.  The weather is getting cooler, or so the weatherman claims.

Taken with my Nikon digital camera.

I haven't been able to find 20 ounce apples since we moved down here.  A Google search and I noticed that my favorite apple farm, Herman's sells them mail order.  $16.00 for 18 apples which is a good deal.  But then $19.28 for UPS ground shipping for a total of $35.28.  Which is kind of expensive, but I was going to do it for a good NY apple.

At the grocery store, I saw these huge honey crisp apples, which is what they are selling back home.  They were on sale for .99 a pound.  I just about did a happy dance right there in the store.  The strangest things amuse me to no end.

Taken with my phone camera.  Granny Smith is placed for size.

I bought five of the big ones and four granny smiths.  Now, I have to decide.  Do I want to make my yearly apple cake, or apple pie, or an apple tarte tatin? Duane is wanting pie, but that means I'll have clean off the clutter on the table.   Once I go back to work on Tuesday, I won't have the energy to deal with them.  I'm not sure if these apples are as appley as the NY apples.  We'll find out and I'll let you know.  I'm a bit of an apple snob being I come from an area that has both an Apple Blossom Festival and Apple Festival every year.

I thought I could come home, help put the groceries away, then play with my new yarn. This past week, our dollhouse size frig has been acting up.  It took several days for the manager to get his guy to bring us a new one.  Friday night, we get the new bigger frig.  When we came home, the new one was worse than the old one.  The ice trays were filled with warm water.  We had to throw out everything that wasn't a condiment. A somewhat quick trip to CVS on the corner, carrying back twenty pounds of ice.  I called the manager and he came to look at it an hour later.

I'm pissed that I'm about to lose another $200.00 worth of food that I just bought.  Plus, my late ex-MIL was thawing.  Over the summer, when I suspected that all the things going wrong was my ex-MIL's curse,  Nurse Rudee suggested I write my MIL's on a piece of brown paperbag put it in water and freeze it.  Which I promptly did and shortly there after, Duane got his disability, the boarder left, and I got a job. I grabbed up the container and went next door to the manager.

He says, "The guy is coming in an hour with a different one."

Me: "That's good.  In the meantime, can you freeze this little container for me."

He reaches for it. "Yeah, sure. What is it?"

"My ex-MIL, I can't let her un-thaw."

He jumps back, and looks at me like I was holding a body part in my hand.

"It's just water and a paper with her name on it."

"Oh, ok." He warily takes it from me and puts it in his freezer.  I then explain the above.   He's looking at me sideways.  I'm suddenly not the normal person he thought I was.  Possibly a witch!

Hello, I was hoping to appear on That 70's Show

Frustrated as I was, instead of playing with yarn, I cleaned the living room. A couple hours later and the guy dragged this beast in, straight out of the 70's.  Harvest gold, Kelvinator. Duane said the next one would probably be avocado green.  I said, "There better not be a next one and most certainly not any avocado green."  That color gives me nightmares from my teenage years.  Luckily, we had ice within a half hour, and not the kind that I had to walk to the CVS and drag back.  Then, I went back to the manager and collected my late ex-MIL. He's still looking at me funny.

Butterscotch says, "These are my colors."

Sunday morning, I spent quietly knitting on the purple sock until Duane got up.  He was angry that his Bears that were in London wasn't on TV.  Talked to my daughter for an hour on the phone.  Then cleaned the bedroom.  My neck was cramping after that, so I thought I would take the luxury of an hour nap.

Something had attacked my plants.

When I woke up, I took my coffee out on the patio.  I noticed something wasn't right with my plants.  They were fine just an hour ago, before I laid down.  Upper left corner and bottom right.  When I inspected them, the bottom right one had been dug up, chewed and laying on the petunias.

The upper left plant wasn't completely dug out, but certainly had been trampled and chewed on.  I'm suspecting it's the kitten from the apartment across the way.  The man who isn't supposed to be there (that's another story), has been letting the kitten out the past few days.  I've saw this kitten run through my planter a few times.  Duane says, it's all circumstantial evidence.  I've had plants since January and never a problem until now.   While I was fixing my plants and watering them, that guy tossed a ball out the door to make the kitten go outside.  I asked him if that kitten had been in my planter.  He ignored me.

One of the few things lately, that has made life enjoyable for me.  I'm pissed.  When the manager walked by and I showed him the damage, the man closed his inner door.  I didn't get to tell the manager my suspicions as he was holding heavy bags of groceries and was in a hurry to get inside.  More circumstantial evidence is, when that man let the kitten out this morning and it ran for planter, he came and got it.

Today, is my last day off.  I need to walk up to the store to get carrots and spinach, for the bunnies and birds.  Do the laundry and maybe make a pie or a tarte-tatin.  Any thing else happens and I might beat it with my broomstick and remove all doubt about whether I'm a witch or not.

I want to thank everyone for you kind wishes about my granddaughter on Friday.  Sadly this is a nightmare that is probably going last a long while.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fiber Arts and FO Friday

Thank goodness it's Friday!! One more day and three whole days off!!!

Little baby sweater and hat is finished.  Since time is NOT on my side, I'll need my daughter to do the finishing before she gives it my DIL.  Pagewood Farms Yukon colorway Navajo.  Basic top-down raglan sleeve sweater with a basic knit hat.

It's amazing how fast an upset grandmother can crochet.  Due to privacy issues I can't share what happened to my oldest granddaughter.  I just hope she can get some comfort.  I would need my daughter's permission and then it's a question of just how much one should share on a blog.  So, I will talk about the yarn.

I used Simply Soft, which is my favorite acrylic yarn to work with.  To me it feels like cotton.  Not cotton yarn, but cotton batts or balls.  Does anyone remember back when Johnson & Johnson made those sterile cotton rolls that came in the blue box?  Ours never stayed sterile for long as I was always opening the box and petting it when my Mom wasn't looking.

This evening I worked a little on my spinning.  Cupcake Fibers superwash bfl with some nylon.  I don't know how much I will get finished between now and Tuesday when I'm back to running for the bus, again.

Thanks for stopping by. Click the following links for more FO's  and Fiber Arts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plant Love

I can't remember half the stuff I wanted to post about.  I swear call center jobs suck the brains out of people by those head sets.

My grandmother always told the story of how my first words were the names of the plants in her garden.  Was my love of plants instilled in me at a young age or just inherent in my nature?  I just know the lack of green growing things sucks my soul dry.

I love seeing new growth on my plants.  I was afraid my rosebush had went dormant after the flowers bloomed.  How happy it makes me to see new shoots sprouting.

I just love the pink of this rose on my mini bush.

Carol asked if we were going to make pesto with the sweet basil.  I asked Duane and he said probably.  I'm just growing a bunch of herbs for him to use in his cooking.

Thanks for stopping by.  There is more stuff but it took all morning to download these pictures, the internet is slow today.   My ride will be here in ten minutes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm exhausted from my day off.  I need a day off from my day off.  Yes, that's right back to work tomorrow to rest up from being home.  There is a lacking in the WIPs from the finishing in the past few days.

The little sweater is finished as of this morning.  This is the hat, that is also now finished.

I just love the colors in this yarn.

A little more progress on the purple sock.

I needed to run up to Wal-mart for some buttons for the baby sweater.  Duane went with me, so we bought day passes and made a day of it.  This is the yarn I bought for Faith's Honey Bunny.

Duane saw this blouse and decided it was me and bought this and a pair of jean looking leggings.

Cellphone Luddite makes her decision.  This LG Enlighten was $1.06 with a two year Verizon contract. I told her the basics of what I wanted and she didn't try to oversell me.   I'm trying to figure out how to use the thing. Smartphone is too smart for me. The saleslady said I could download my MP3's off my laptop, but be darned if I could figure it out.  Duane said he might mess around with it tonight, while I'm sleeping.  He's back on the up all night schedule.  Besides, he has better MP3's on his desktop.

With the quick crash course the saleslady gave me, I can make calls and take pictures.  Yay, me! I figured out how to download this picture from my phone to my laptop.  Not a bad picture for a cellphone.  I guess figuring out this darn phone will be a WIP for awhile.

Duane wanted to stop at the Chinese Buffet on the way home, but he was running out of oxygen and I didn't bring a second tank.  We came back home, dropped off the Wal-mart stuff, hooked him back up with a new tank and headed in the other direction to the Greek restaurant he's been wanting to try.  We both had the Gyros plate. Ton of food for a reasonable price.

From there we stopped at Whole Foods for bunny carrots.  They had a bunch of plants outside on sale.  I picked out a sweet basil and strawberry plant to add to my growing collection.  I have a bunch of pictures I took of my garden, but I'll save those for Thursday's post.  When the snow is deep up north, you all can come here over the winter and see how my garden is growing.  We are still in the 90's, 10 degrees higher than normal.  The weather people are claiming it should start cooling off after the weekend, by a whopping 5 degrees.

This morning I need to run up to the post office on the bus before work to mail off the package to my daughter and my hexi-puff swap yarn. Duane bought my daughter a little surprise to stick in the package. (She'll read this and wonder.)   I was supposed to mail the swap by Saturday, but with my work schedule, I just couldn't get up there.  I'm the one holding up the swap, I'm admitting to it.

So much more to post, but I'll save that for Thursday and Friday.  It's all good.  Here's the best news.  My schedule for this next week, I have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off.  Three whole days. I won't know what to do, I'm so used to going to work now.   I'm scheduled of course for the Saturday of Duane's birthday, but that's ok, I'll take the point for calling in.  It will give me something to earn back the next few months, since we can't bank the points more than the twelve they give us from the beginning.

For more WIPW posts go to Tami's Ami's.