Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Marble Brownies...

I've become a fan of combining cream cheese and chocolate brownies in one yummy dessert.  I became a fan when I found a recipe on the box of a brownie mix once upon a time.  Having in my possession a brownie mix that didn't have such a recipe, I went online to see if I could find a recipe for just the cream cheese filling.

Oh my!  Did I ever find recipes!  I thought it would be hard to choose, but after perusing several sites, I concluded that the basic recipe is so common that it probably falls into the category of common knowledge.   Who knew?!?   

Most that I came across were identical, or any differences I found were insignificant.   Except for this recipe.   This one looked interesting because it added butter, and seriously... isn't everything better with butter?  That said, I was in disbelief that only 3 oz. of cream cheese would make an adequate filling.  So I took the knowledge I'd gleaned from other recipes and came up with a slight variation of the above recipe.

First, if you're making brownies from scratch, I suggest using any number of the recipes you can find online.  I can't vouch for any in particular as I have my own simple, but fine, from-scratch brownie recipe that I sometimes use, but I wanted something that I could use with a box mix.  'Cause sometimes a mix is just fine. πŸ˜‰

Okay...  so if you want to add cheesecake to pretty much any box-mix brownie, I think this should work for you:

First, make the cheesecake batter by combining the following and mix until fairly smooth:

  8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1 large egg
  1  tsp. vanilla extract
  2 Tbs. butter, softened  (do not use margarine)
  1 Tbs. flour

Then, in another bowl, make the box mix as directed.  For the brownie pictured, I happened to use a Better Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie mix, but I actually prefer Aldi's Baker's Corner Fudge Brownie mix.  Cheap and yummy.

Okay...  whatever brownie mix you use, pour most of the brownie mixture into a buttered 9x13 glass baking dish.  I didn't measure, but I left maybe a cup, cup and a half of the brownie mixture in the bowl to use later.  

Spread the brownie mixture evenly in the baking dish.

Then, with a large spoon, dollop the cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie mixture.  Depending on how thick the brownie mixture is, you may be able to spread the cheesecake mixture a bit.  But don't be a perfectionist about this.

Then pour, or scrape out (with a spatula) the rest of the brownie mix over and around the cream cheese mixture.

With a knife, cut through the whole mixture, snaking back and forth through the cheesecake and brownie mixtures to sort of combine them into swirls.  I like to snake the knife horizontally and then vertically to really spread that cheesecake around, being careful to not over-mix the two mixtures.  Again, don't be a perfectionist.  Cream cheese marble brownies are like folk art.  Every piece looks a little different, and each taste is it's own kind of delicious.

Follow the baking instructions on the box.    When done baking, let cool completely before cutting (if you can).  Then enjoy! 

These don't last long enough at our house to go bad, but if you want to keep them longer than a couple of days, I suggest refrigerating or possibly even freezing. 


Monday, November 19, 2018

Recipes & memories...

There's a recipe for pulled pork.  Need I say more?  Mmmmm

Louise's Chocolate Chip pie - I was named after my Aunt Louise.  Everyone said I was her favorite.  I guess, truth be told, she was my favorite, too.  

Hershey's Cocoa Fudge - On my...  my memories abound about fudge.  Fudge that didn't set up and you had to eat it with a spoon.  Fudge so hard you had to cut it with a sharp knife, then eat the slivers that would fall off the pieces as you tried to pick up a piece to eat it.  And I'm sure there was plenty of perfect fudge, too.  We didn't necessarily have fudge often, but we evidently had it often enough that I remember it seemed a tricky thing to fix.  Regardless of how it "set up", though, it was always delicious.

Kentucky Pie (sugar cream pie) would be my mother's mother's recipe.  She was my last living grandparent and she died when I was four years old.  Even though she and my grandfather lived across the street from us, and my grandmother lived in our house during her last weeks, I really don't have any memory of her.  I only have the memory (or sense) of knowing she was being taken care of by my parents in her last days (or weeks?)  I really don't know how long she stayed with us at the end.

And Shirley's Special Pie (more or less the same as Kentucky Pie) -  Shirley would be my mother, I presume.  She didn't care to be called Shirley, though, and went by Deane (short for Veradeane).   When someone would say to her, "Surely.... anything", she would say, "Don't call me Shirley!" The joke never got old.  Not to me.

Wondering if she came up with that herself, or got that line somewhere, I googled it.  I found this (the expression is at about the 1:00 minute mark):

I love Leslie Nielson, but he must have stolen the expression from mom.  Ha!  Mom said this when I was a little girl so I know she didn't steal it from the line in the movie,  Airplane


Another thing mom would always say...  when she'd drop something noisy (like a pot or pan), she'd call out, "Never mind me, I just dropped the set out of my ring!"    For the longest time I didn't get the joke.   When I finally got it, I thought it was hilarious.  Made more funny to me, I'm sure, because she always said it with a straight face and never once explained it.

When I think of the things my mother said that have stuck with me, I can't help but wonder what my boys will remember that I said when they were growing up.  I inherited mom's dry humor, but I don't think I ever carried a joke for as long and as seriously as she did.  

Mom died at the age of 69.  I turn 60 next spring and my sisters are 66, and almost 65.  I didn't realize nearly twenty five years ago (when I was not yet 35), just how young 69 was, but I sure do now.  And I sure do miss her...

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A new "little" project...

It's been a good weekend.  Visited with old friends last night - my husband and I, and another couple and their teen daughter, traveled from two different directions to get there.  It was a good evening of catching up, we enjoyed listening to the teen play her clarinet (she's playing in an honor's orchestra this weekend), and our hostess's young adult daughter and her beau showed up.  We did some calculating and realized we hadn't seen her since her brother's wedding - 8 years ago!  It was one of those moments that it's so easy to let time slip by and never make happen.  So glad our hostess did - make it happen.  

And this afternoon I set to making some laminated art bookmarks and magnets.  The hardest part of this job is choosing the pictures to use - and knowing when I've cut out enough.

I have a couple of old art books that are in pretty bad shape, one had some water damaged pages.  I'd long thought of cutting them up and doing something like this with some of the small pictures in them.   It's a fun project, but like I said...  it's hard to know when to say "enough".   

With several pictures laminated and a whole bunch more to go, I decided I'd been at it long enough for today.  I'm leaving my mess out and tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be able to think more clearly about how many to do and, hopefully, I'll finish the job.

My second Spicier Life is coming along and I'd love to get it finished this week - or maybe the next. Since I showed so many in-progress photos of my other one, I'll skip that tonight.  It's the same pattern, just different colors.

To see what other YOPers are up to,

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Things knitting teaches me...

On Friday, I wrote about making a dishcloth a week - to try to work down my cotton stash.  So I spent some time online over the weekend checking out some patterns, and I started making the first block in the series of this KAL.  I thought the pattern would make a nice dishcloth.

Well...  over an hour in, this is what my cloth looks like:

Not much for over an hour's worth of work.  Not to mention the frustration.   

Oh, let me go head and mention the frustration.

First, I didn't understand the pattern.  I started, ripped back, and started over a couple of times before feeling fairly confident I understood what the pattern was saying.  But inside I wasn't sure that the whole problem wasn't with the pattern... (like I'm some sort of knitting expert.  FWIW, I'm ashamed of that thought now.  The pattern works perfectly).

And the kicker is, that last row I did over three times, and in the end I don't think it actually needed to be done over.  At all.  I think I just wasn't seeing my stitches correctly.

You can't really tell from the photo, but my stitches are all over the place tension-wise.  Switching back and forth from knit to purl stitches is still something I evidently struggle with.  

And to top it all off, it's too big for the size dishcloths I like.  Frankly... I just want to quit and go back to one of my tried and true patterns.  I don't want to work this hard to make a dishcloth.

And I can't tell you how many times I wished I had my scissors handy so I could cut off that long tail that kept getting caught in my knitting.   But did I bother during all 11 of the rows above to get up and get a pair of scissors?   


Just as I was about to rip the whole thing out and give up on this stitch pattern, it dawned on me that everything I was saying to myself about this silly dishcloth I was struggling to knit, I could apply spiritually or practically to my life.

How many times do I struggle with understanding how something is to be done?  Do I ask for help, look for examples to guide me?  Or do I just slog through, cursing and blaming the thing that is frustrating me?  

How many times do I, in haste, unnecessarily undo what I've done only to find out that I wasn't doing a thing wrong at all?  I just didn't have the eyes (or experience) yet to recognize what I was (or maybe wasn't) seeing.   Or do I sometimes look for the wrong evidences to tell me I'm actually doing just fine.  Maybe not perfect.  But certainly okay.  And sometimes okay is perfect for where I am in the process.

How many times do I willy-nilly wander into a task or situation of a spiritual nature, not taking stock of my spiritual state of being?  Or do the same with practical jobs, and not consider if I have the stamina, correct tools, or even know-how to finish the thing?  Or how many times have I blustered into a conflict in a relationship, determined to set right what is wrong, but forget to first take stock of my own issues or consider the "logs in my own eyes"?

How many times do I look at the mess I've made when trying something new and chide myself for it?  I should be able to do better than that, I often think - not remembering or accepting that for every new thing learned, there is a learning curve.  

I look at my uneven knit stitches and I think it looks like a child is making this.  And then I think...   Did I look at my small child's drawings with dismay and tell him one dinosaur looks like a dog, and another looks like an inchworm with stilt-legs?

Or tell him that pigs don't look like hippos?   
Or maybe that hippos aren't pink? Exactly?

Of course not.  I cherished those drawings.  I was pleased and proud of what he had drawn - not giving one thought that some day he would bring me drawings that were better.  I didn't want "better" from my young children.  I simply took pleasure in whatever creations they shared with me.  These drawings were perfect.

How many times do I want to just quit when something becomes too hard?  How many times do I mutter, "this isn't worth this kind of stress"?   Or think to myself, I can't believe I'm wasting my time on this?"

And lastly...  how many times do I stubbornly keep going on a task, tripping over something I've left in the way.  Maybe it's an actual thing I'm tripping over.  Maybe it's a small task that simply needs to be quickly done so I can stop thinking about it.  Or maybe it's something bigger - like I've hurt someone and I really need to make it right before I sit myself down to say...  work on a Sunday school lesson I'm teaching, or a Bible study lesson I'm to glean truths from.   I'll get to that other thing later, I tell myself, slowing my work down and frustrating myself in the process. Or worse... stifling God's working in my life.  Sometimes we simply need to get up and do what we need to do to get that niggling thing taken care of.  And then we can work with a happy, unencumbered  heart.

In case you haven't figure out by now...  I'm no longer talking about a knitted dishcloth, or knitting at all.


But I'm going to finish knitting this dishcloth - not because I think it's important to do so.  It's not.  I could cut the yarn, toss it away, and there's be no love lost.  No harm done.  A lot of time saved.

But no.  I'm going to finish knitting this dishcloth because it will give me the opportunity to mull over these kinds of thoughts for however long it takes me to finish it.  

And if it looks, in the end like a child knit it?  What does it matter?   I will appreciate that it's a first (of sorts) for me.  I will have learned some things about knitting in the process.  My tension will probably improve, and I may even memorize the pattern.

But more importantly, I will have meditated on what it means to be a child of God.  To be loved in spite of my unloveliness.  I also may learn some patience.  May have plenty of time to remind myself that even at my age, when doing things that are new to me, my first steps may be faltering ones.  I may even make some messes that need to be cleaned up.  And I may have to apply myself to the painful task of cutting out that which trips me up, that which encumbers me.   

Knitting this little dishcloth can challenge me to do some hard things I should do in my life, because it's in doing challenging things, we grow into maturity.  Physical, mental, spiritual maturity.

So when I next show the finished dishcloth, remember... it's not just an imperfectly knitted, no-account piece of cloth.  It's a whole bunch of life lessons.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  ~ James 1:4

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sometimes what we keep isn't the most obvious choice...

Working on books again in the master bedroom today I thought surely there'd be a bunch more I could get rid of.  But all that was left in here were my art and some various craft-related books.  On this small bookshelf are mainly art books and art study books.   A year ago I culled through these and downsized the collection, but this is what's left, and what's staying:

Most of the books of art I own were purchased used - at library book sales.  Some are like new.  Many are battered and rough on the outside, but the pictures inside are still beautiful.  When my boys were younger I collected and used these books for art study.  It was nothing formal.  I would cut out a print from an old book, mat it and display it on a table top easel for a while and we'd read a bit about the artist and talk a bit about the picture.  I wish I'd done more, but I hope they gleaned a little bit from my meager art study attempts with them.

As I dusted and looked at these books, I wondered why I don't do that for myself.    Enjoy some personal art study. Huh.  Seriously... why not?   Once I get things culled through a bit more I think I will start doing that.  Just for me.

So anyway...  I couldn't part with my art books.  I can't even explain the attachment.  I studied art some in college, but I'm not an artist.  Not by a long shot.   But I love these books, and I'm keeping what I have for now.   Since I'm compelled to keep them, I'm really glad that my collection isn't any larger than it is.    

The hat boxes (in the first picture) hold kitchen cotton yarn.  I wish my kitchen cotton yarn collection was truly that small.  I have drawers-full in addition to those stuffed hat boxes.  I'm thinking maybe a good plan would be to knit a dishcloth every week.  Or at least always have one on the needles.  In a year's time that should whittle my cotton yarn down considerably.  You think?

I did decide to do something finally with this little (pocket-sized) book.  You can see it's falling apart.

I'm going to go through it, choose and cut out some interesting pictures of artwork,  laminate them, and attach a magnet to the backs.

I think that would make for some interesting refrigerator magnets.  Might even make some for my sons.  I'll be sure to post pictures after I've made some.   And bookmarks!  I haven't made any bookmarks from pictures in a while.  

Okay...  so I didn't get very far on books in my bedroom, but everything did get dusted and there are more bookshelves in other rooms in the house, so I'll have plenty of other opportunities! 😏

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Winter has arrived early this year...

Last night, the winds and freezing rain brought down 
most of the remaining leaves.  

And, in the process, crusted everything over with an icy glaze.

We went to bed forewarned that morning would bring 
a blanket of snow over icy roads.  I fell asleep praying for a restful night for my loved ones and safety as they traversed the city streets and interstate in the morning. 

This morning I was glad to see the weatherman was wrong.

While most everything else has an icy crust, 
the roads themselves didn't freeze - to everyone's relief, I'm sure.  

That said, I'm just as happy to not have to go out in the 
freezing drizzle today.

By late in the day, the ice was melting and dropping and looked like bits of shattered glass...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Beginning to book purge...

I didn't get very far in purging books yesterday, but this is what came off one smallish bookshelf in the master bedroom (see anything you'd recommend?):

I just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I will finish On Writing before getting rid of it.  I recommend both, though honestly...  after finishing Guernsey I watched the movie and I have to say I think I liked the movie better.  That said, reading the book, I'm sure, seriously enriched my understanding of the movie.  So I guess, in the end, I recommend reading the book and then watching the movie.  Some of the other books here I've read or skimmed, and others have just taken up space refusing for too long to inspire me to read them.  

I've decided on some criteria for making quicker work of this book purging business...
  • If it's health-related and it's say, over 5-10 years old (depending on the material), out it goes.  More current information is available online.
  • If the book is no longer related to my life-stage, out it goes (e.g. I really don't need to be inspired about parenting or homeschooling anymore).
  • If the cover is uninspiring, and nothing written on the cover inspires me to want to read it (and I have nothing more than that to go on for why I even own the book), then out it goes.
  • If it's a classic and I can find it at my local library, then seriously... why do I feel like I need a copy?  I may think of reasons to keep such a book as I go, but for now, I think having ready access at the library is a decent reason to not feel like I need to own a particular book.
Now that I've set some guidelines, let's see how much more progress I can make...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A slow day...

It's a slow day here.  Husband is sick with a cold, neither of us of slept well last night.  It's COLD and gloomy outside, and this morning comfort food seemed to be the thing to tuck into.

Homecrafted sausage & egg biscuit

And just because I was curious after cracking open two double-yolked jumbo-sized eggs a week or so ago, I thought I'd share the evidence that one cannot necessarily expect to find double yolks among the jumbo eggs:

Just a single beautiful golden yellow yolk per egg.

Now, with a slow day stretching out in front of me, I'm going to get myself on the treadmill (to do some penance for that decadent brunch), then do some getting rid of stuff.   It's been going on in the background slowly here, but some of my fellow bloggers have inspired me to kick it up a notch.  

Being in possession of too many books has become something that's bothering me - in mind and spirit.  I've been culling out books for several years, and today I think I need to take another pass through the bookshelves and remove some things that for one reason or another I will likely never miss once they're out of sight.  It's always freeing to do this - even though books are among the things I find the hardest to get rid of.   Come to think on it, that they are so hard to part with is probably why it's so freeing to let them go.  

Perhaps more on that once I've done the deed...


Monday, November 12, 2018

In Memoriam...

[My husband's uncle], TEC5 Gerhard E. Biberdorf, was killed by a sniper's bullet at Anzio, Italy, June 1st, 1944 after service in Morocco, Sicily, and Salerno. He was in the 30th Infantry Division. He was two months shy of his 30th birthday when he died. 

Prior to the war Gerhard also served in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was one of the first four soldiers buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery when it was dedicated in 1948, after temporary burial in Italy. The Anzio Campaign was a real challenge for the American Army trying to roll up the Italian boot. The 30th Division suffered a total of 8308 casualties from November 8, 1942 in North Africa until May 8, 1945 in Germany----2851 of those casualties were at Anzio.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."    ~ Thucydides

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My first Spicier Life completed...

My first Spicier Life Blanket is off the hook!   And all those gazillions of ends are woven in!  Although it was in the 20's yesterday morning, I bundled up and took it outside in the natural light to get some pictures that show the colors to their best advantage:

Would I recommend this project?   Yes - absolutely.  It is very well written (has been translated into US terminology), and the various stitches are explained well.  I think there are even video tutorials for the different sections.  

Some things worth noting, I think...  while I admire the designer's ability to figure out stitch counts so that so many different stitch patterns can be used in one design, I don't like the tendency for some stitch patterns to pull in so much more than others.  Even using different sized hooks for different rows (to accommodate this tendency for some rows to pull in) I have found these blankets to require some repeated hard steam blocking to get the edges straight enough to make me happy.  

And, one should be aware going into it that the original pattern doesn't make a very large blanket at all.  Looking at the pattern (after the fact) I see that the measurement of the original design is 38.5" x 51.5".   I'm thinking that would make an respectable lap blanket (or a small child's blanket).  But that wasn't what I was after.  That's not the pattern's fault.  That's on me for not looking for this detail before beginning.  

The size is easy enough to change by making it wider and adding more rows, but for those (like me) who plunge in without reading the details, it can be pretty discouraging to figure this out about the time you see you're nearing the pattern's end, and then have to anticipate all the additional ends to weave in if you decide to enlarge it.  So... if you like the looks of the blanket and want to make it, I don't discourage anyone.  Just figure out the size you want it to be and know up front how you will accommodate that if you need to.  And expect to experiment a bit with hook sizes for different rows.  And if uneven edges will bother you, expect to have to BLOCK this baby.

Another thing - that isn't in anyway the fault of the designer...  I've concluded I'm not crazy about making blankets with DK weight yarn.  I used Stylecraft Special DK.  I love the yarn.  I just don't love crocheting a large blanket with it.  

Not only does it take approximately forever to crochet something so large with such thin yarn, but when all is said and done when I make a blanket, I want it to have some heft and more warmth than DK weight acrylic yarn will provide.   OTOH...  DK weight yarn might make a perfect weight blanket for places that are more temperate than where I live.  Or for someone who likes lap blankets, this may actually be a perfect weight blanket.  Clearly, this is just personal preference.  It has nothing to do with the pattern.  Worsted weight yarn can be substituted in these patterns and one will just have a larger and heavier blanket when finished.  I used worsted weight yarn in my Spice of Life blankets made last year and they turned out well.

Now, all the above said, I do have a second Spicier Life (in different colors) on the hook and I hope to have it finished soon.  And so far, I like it even better than this one.  These are pretty blankets.  And very satisfying to finish.  πŸ˜‰

To see what other YOPers are up to, visit our group on Ravely.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A few of my favorite podcasts...

I don't watch podcasts as much as the list below may make it appear that I do, but over this past year or so I've discovered some that I truly enjoy checking out when I can (or am inclined to binge-watchπŸ˜‰).   Maybe there's something in here that you would like too:

Life Over Sixty With Sandra:
Sandra shares short videos about living gracefully 
and beautifully as we age.

Sweet Georgia:
I've just recently discovered Felicia Lo and her videos. 
I'm not much of a knitter, but I love listening to this lady.

Jenn's Crafty World:
I've been a fan of Jenn since before she starting video podcasting. 

Karen Buhr Designs:
Karen is a fellow Year of Projects participant and I've enjoyed 
getting to know her better through her podcasts.

Crafternoon Treats:
I've been a long time fan of Kathryn and her beautiful crocheted projects.

Tiny Home Tours:
I don't know why I'm so fascinated by tiny homes, but I am.  
And I can get my fill on this channel.

Flipping 50: 
Debra Atkinson both exhausts and inspires me  :)

There are other channels I've subscribed to, but this is a taste of things I sometimes watch and/or listen to while I crochet.    Do you have any favorite podcasts you like to tune in to?

Friday, November 9, 2018

I'm on a roll...

Having my first Spicier Life blanket finished I decided to pick up my second one and see if I can get it finished off soon, too.  I had lost steam on these two blankets this summer, but now I'd just like to get 'em done!
Of course, this is going to mean lots more ends to weave in...

It's a chilly gloomy afternoon today, with nothing terribly pressing.  Seems like a good opportunity to knock out a bunch of rows of this one.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

It's hard to hit a moving target...

Got my blood pressure taken today.  And I got a flu shot.  The flu shot was painless, but the whole blood pressure thing is starting to bug me. 

You see, I used to have low blood pressure.  Like every time it was taken (in my 20's and 30's), the nurse would say "Whoa, that's low!"  I'd ask if that was a bad thing.  She'd say, "No, low is good!"  I never kept track of the numbers, but I also never worried about my blood pressure.  

Then somewhere in my late 40's when I got my blood pressure taken I started being told, "It's okay".  Somewhere in my 50's I started be told that it wasn't "high", but I should work on bringing it down.  I still didn't keep close track, but I do remember a few times hearing a systolic number in the neighborhood of 140.  But still I never worried.

The past couple of times I've gone in for a physical, I've been told that my blood pressure is elevated. And once, a doctor suggested HBP medicine.  Not one to easily take medicine I declined and bargained for time to get it under control.  Honesty, though, except for being told to exercise and cut down on salt, I don't recall getting any good information about blood pressure and how important the numbers may be.  I do recall this year, though, being told that the guidelines had changed, so my HBP reading wasn't because anything had changed on my end, it was that the guidelines had changed.

That didn't seem very fair to me...

But this year, I'm finally paying attention.  To read more.  To try to understand the whole thing better.  There's a lot of information on the web, but still I confess, I'm confused about whether or not I truly have high blood pressure.  I'm not worried confused.  Just a bit confused.

This was my reading today:

Not stellar, but it doesn't scare me, either - even though according to today's standards, it's definitely not good enough.   Nevermind that according to this article in 2013, it wasn't just good enough, it was pretty good (especially for a 59 year-old).  Today, the same website (Harvard Medical School) tells me it's elevated, and my diastolic number may actually put me into hypertension.  There's no margin of grace for aging anymore.  So much for aging gracefully.


I know guidelines change and science shows us stuff we didn't know before, but I'm not real happy about suddenly having the target moved on me this year.    And at a time when it's harder and harder to muster what it takes to hit the target.  Did I already mention it seems unfair?

What I do know is that when I exercise regularly (walking is my main form of exercise) my BP is good.  For most of the spring and early summer (when I was walking regularly) both numbers were below the recommended 120/80.  Had the nurse at my doctor's office taken it during that time I probably would have gotten a "Whoa!  That's low!"   

What I have been doing since my last doctor's appointment earlier this year is keeping track.  When I go into Meijer (and sometimes Kroger) I sit down at the self-serve machine and take my BP.   When it improved with my walking regimen,  I wanted to be able to prove to them that I can do what I need to do to keep it low.  

For now, getting myself back in the walking habit will surely bring it back down, so that and losing some weight (through healthier eating) will be my focus.  Keeping my focus will also be my focus.  It's so easy to lose sight of the target. 

It's even harder when the target moves...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The home stretch...

Wednesday night - I've rounded the third corner and am coming down the home stretch:

I've redone this last round several times trying to get it right.  Even with a hard blocking, this blanket tends to be a little wonky in places.  The last two rounds of the border gave me the final opportunities to straighten things out as best I could.

Final picture(s) coming on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Moments with Ruth...

I spent the afternoon and evening with Ruth (the dear lady I do companion care for), and while she didn't feel up to doing much today, she played some beautiful music for me.

Ruth playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

While I can't provide a video of Ruth playing, I did just find this most extraordinary performance:

How do earthly voices do this?

 Jesu, joy of man's desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown

~ words by Robert Bridges

Monday, November 5, 2018

Double the fun ...

Making scrambled eggs this morning, I cracked open two medium sized eggs and then a jumbo sized egg.  The jumbo egg had two yolks!  I was surprised and commented that I've never had a double-yolked egg before.  Then I cracked open another jumbo sized egg, and it had two yolks, too! 

Not needing any more eggs, I didn't want to keep cracking open jumbo eggs, but now I'm curious how many more double-yolked eggs I might find in that carton.  Maybe double yolks are common in jumbo sized eggs.  I normally buy large eggs, so I don't really know.

Evidently, it takes very little to amuse me, as I considered this quite a fun start to my day.  πŸ˜„

Sunday, November 4, 2018

I thought I could...

About mid-week, I was all excited because once I got started on the border, I was sure I was going to be able to complete this Spicier Life blanket by week's end.

And then, well...  instead of crocheting I decided to take advantage of the good weather to do things like start cleaning windows, get rid of fading perennials, clean the pots they were planted in, I even dyed some faded black jeans back to black again.  And several days this week I interacted with the phone line repair man as he worked to get our internet service working again.  And, of course, normal life was happening too - which includes the scheduled along with the spontaneous.  

It was a good week.  

And while I didn't get my blanket finished, I'm pleased as punch at what all did get done.

And I'm happy to say that as of Saturday morning we are finally, once again stably connected to the internet.  Stronger and faster than ever.    Everything's new.  New modem, new filters,  new wiring, we've been put on the new equipment at the "office" - I asked what that meant and got a complicated answer.  I suspect the simple answer was that we were paying for something we weren't getting (and now are, presumably...?)  And lastly on Saturday, a new NID was installed on the outside of our house (where the wires are attached) and FINALLY we are humming along, with no drops from the internet.  No interruptions to interacting on the web.  No lost posts.  No reboots while watching something on Netflix.  After two weeks of all the aforementioned, it's absolutely amazing!

And that's all she wrote.  To see what other YOPers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

An addendum...    I have joined in on NaBloPoMo (where bloggers post something each day) during the month of November.   In my posts, I'm just sharing my world - hopefully with pictures and a little commentary each day.  I love getting a glimpse into others' worlds, so I thought it might be a fun way to work this challenge.  It's not too late - until the month is over - to join in!  I can't find anything online that's official in regards to this challenge, though if there is, please let me (and others) know in a comment below!   

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