Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Th

Happy Thanksgiving if you do that holiday.

Happy Thursday if you don’t.

Happy Maggie appreciation day, aka every day around here.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Molasses Cookies

I'm not baking this week, myself, nor am I suggesting you should, but someone asked me to share my grandmother's recipe* for molasses cookies, and I thought I should put it here for easier reference, rather than cramming it all into a comment on someone else's blog. Let me know if you try it.

*I have no idea where she got it.

Edited to add: the reason it came up is that the blog post (hi Jennifer!) included mention of baking something with bacon fat! The nice thing about growing up with these cookies is that I knew I loved them long before I knew that bacon fat was involved. Much the same way that I was horrified as a teenager to learn that angel salad includes vinegar, yuck! But my mother pointed out that I loved angel salad, and this was how it was made. Which, yes, but also yuck.

I am folding over the page I have it printed on, to make sure my eyes don't skip down, because the other recipe on the page is for beef stew, and those two would not mix!

Grandma's Molasses Cookies

Note that the amounts are for a half recipe, so it can easily be doubled. 

Also, it does require chilling, so time it accordingly.


1/2 cup bacon fat

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sour milk (put 1/2 teaspoon vinegar into 1/2 cup measure, fill with milk, and let sit for at least ten minutes)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar


2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg (or two pinches? to taste, I guess)

1 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

3 cups flour (plus 1 tablespoon if dropping cookies instead of rolling them)

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in two or three sections, mixing to blend but not overmixing.

Chill (amount of time not specified: maybe an hour?). Heat oven to 400.

Roll out or drop on cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on size. I like big ones, but experiment!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

T Minus One

All right, my brother gets here tomorrow morning! The airbed is ready:

Why, yes, those are my twin bed sheets from college, how did you know?

Also, I figured out what to do about the stools: they're serving as a luggage stand for the bin of clothes my brother leaves here:

So that's two problems sorted.

We're going out today to do the last errands: grocery store (I did a bigger run Thursday night but we want fresh fruit etc.), liquor store, the grove for fresh orange juice. But we're in pretty good shape.

Now, I may well blog over the next week, but I may not, so let me wish those who celebrate American Thanksgiving a good one, with yummy food and no killing loved ones for being annoying over the holiday, and may we all return to catch our breath before diving into the rest of the holidays. And for the non-Americans, have a good week!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Pulling Myself In

My brother gets here Sunday morning for Thanksgiving week, and I can truly say that I will be pleased to see him.


Much as I love him, getting ready for a houseguest is like squeezing into shoes that are too tight. 

I am both a creature of habit* and a person who expands to fit the space available, and I use the office/craft room/guest room for a lot of things. My computer is set up there, and I use the closet for clothing (particularly shawls and sweaters), and I kick off my shoes and put my purse having someone to stay, no matter how much I like them, means I am always mentally tripping over the changes.

*If you have a place where a thing always goes, you can always find it. Well: almost always. (The drawback to this method is that when the thing is NOT where it is supposed to be, you have zero idea where to look for it. It could be anywhere on earth.)

I have cleared the space where the airbed goes (albeit by stuffing some things in the closet, but I'm giving myself grace this year, I can only do so much). 

Look at that beautiful cleared space! (You'll notice there is no "before" picture. Moving on.)

Well, I have almost completely cleared the space: I normally keep my swift and ball-winder set up on a pair of stools in that corner, and I haven't decided where is the least annoying other place to put them. But otherwise, all I have to do is slide the dresser over, which I will do after the work week ends, because it gets too close to the desk otherwise. And you know, if the stools stay in the room, that won't be the end of the world. I think. I guess we'll see how I feel about it when the airbed is taking up as much space as it does.

Fun fact: I was talking to friends about how it's probably time for me to just get a daybed of some sort, because while I would certainly pile things on it, at least I wouldn't have to move furniture, and one of them shook her head and said, it won't help. Damn it, I want a solution! That doesn't involve me just somehow not using the space all year, because that just isn't going to happen.

Still to do is moving a few things off the top of the dresser, to make room for it to be a bedside table of sorts. I keep a small bin and a lazy susan there with knitting tools, and they're awkward to relocate. I'll figure something out. Baby steps.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

What Have You Got

Maggie wonders if perhaps you want to share your dinner with her. It smells good!

We're eating leftovers tonight: how about you?

Saturday, November 11, 2023


I ordered a few wall calendars for next year, and they came today. I put photos up on social media, and Bluesky has flagged my post as "suggestive content"! 

Can you guess why?

It isn't the Bruins calendar. 

Not Sandra Boynton either. 
So it must be this one:

Isn't that hilarious? It's art! 

I'm not sure I've been flagged for anything on social media before, so for it to be this is cracking me up. 

Have you been flagged? For what?

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Busy, Busy, Busy

(If you grew up in the US and are my-age-or-so, you may have grown up with the same holiday specials I did: if so, did you read the headline and think of Professor Hinkle in Frosty the Snowman? I loved all those animated specials, as ridiculous [and sometimes problematic] as they seem to me now.)

I am (we are) in the middle of Such A Week. Some of it mine and some Mom's, some medical and some not, but whew.

On Sunday I had lunch with a few friends, which was very nice though the restaurant was rather loud (inside; outside would have been better, but there was a wait). As more snowbirds arrive, the group gets bigger and meets more often, yay!

Monday, Mom had PT, and then we went to her pain doctor. Monday night, there was a welcome-back event for a different group of friends, and while also very nice, it was also rather loud (a dozen and a half people all talking at once will do that). The hostess has been working on redoing the condo for several years now, thanks to the pandemic and supply slowdowns, but it's looking gorgeous so far, and does it have a view!

Tuesday, we actually had nothing! (Other than me working, that is.) The only quiet day. We did go out to dinner, which is a little bit of a production these days, but worth it. Good food and leftovers!

This morning I had the chiropractor, and Mom had PT again. Tonight I zoomed with a few knitting friends.

Thursday, we go to see her primary doctor. He wants to see how she's doing, and she wants to discuss how much trouble her shoulder* is giving her: it seems she may have messed it up when she fell, but the hip and leg were so bad she didn't realize how much. Now that the hip area is (slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y) improving, she's noticing it more.** We want to hit Trader Joe's while we're up that way, and then hopefully will have the energy to go out to dinner again.

*This is the shoulder she had replaced in the spring of 2022, that needed to be operated on again last December when a screw shifted and was pressing into the nerve, ow ow ow.
**Which probably means more tests will be needed, but sufficient unto the week is the overscheduledness thereof.

Friday* morning I have my annual mammogram, ugh. Then we see the surgeon again, and though he said 2 weeks ago that he expected to have an X-ray tech in the office by now, they called today to say not yet, so we have to go in elsewhere to get her X-rayed before the appointment. Sigh. It means getting up pretty early for Mom--I mean, me too, but I am more used to it--but we should have time in between to go in to Costco, and we do have a list, so, we'll make it work. I'm hoping I'll have enough energy left after all that to get my flu and covid shots, which I have been wanting to get done for, oh, two months. Boy, have the last few months been crazy.

*I took a vacation day for Friday--work hasn't been too crazy since the month-end of October went by, but there are limits to how much flexing the schedule will take.

But wait, the week isn't done: in addition to my getting my usual haircut on Saturday, Mom is getting her first one since July. Is she ever looking forward to looking more like her usual self. She likes it short, and it just doesn't look like her when it's this long. So that will be a good thing, but I may not do another thing all day.

Friday, November 03, 2023

September and October Movie Ratings

It seems that there weren't as many funny movie rating reviews in the Boston Globe in the last two months, but there were some!

Clever wordplay always gets my attention.
Does singing make it more cultural?
Well, that covers it!
You know what you're getting into, right? (Not that I've ever seen a Scorsese movie, I don't think.)

There was a lot about profanity this time, wasn't there? How do you fall on this issue?

Thursday, November 02, 2023

A Little More Never Hurts

After a busy August and a quieter September, my yarn buying in October bumped up a bit again. I have more out for delivery today, but here are a few recent pretty things to arrive:

According to the website, it knits up like this:

Isn't that pretty?

Then there's this:

This one is a long gradient, so it will knit up like this:

Yarn makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

You See What You Look For

It sounds a little braggy to be quoting myself as some sort of life lesson, but I was commenting on a blog post and part of what I wrote was:

I will try very hard to focus on what is, instead of what isn’t, this year.

And if that isn't just the capsule of my life now, right? The last few months have been, well, if you've been reading here you have an idea. It's been A Lot. And I am someone who often has trouble letting go of what I wished I had done, so turning my focus away from that is good and necessary. 

Get done what I can. 

Enjoy what I have. 

Nothing profound, but sometimes hard to do. I'm going to try.

I'm sure Maggie will help.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Found It--and a question

Readers, not to spoil things if you are on my holiday card list, but I think I have found the photo I have to use.

Now, here's where you come in. My first thought was to have it say HAPPY HOLIDAYS. OR ELSE. But do you have a better idea?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Winning Yarn Chicken

Given how old the movie War Games is, I expect I don't have to post a spoiler warning before giving away the key point that the computer learns at the end: The only winning move is not to play.*

*How about a nice game of chess?

I was thinking of that last night, as I won at yarn chicken only because I wasn't really playing it. I was near the end of a project and near the end of the ball of yarn, but in fact I have a whole skein more, so I was fully expecting to have to use a little of that to finish things up. Thus, I was able to approach the end in a very devil-may-care fashion that is totally not how I would have felt without that reserve.

And look!

There was so little yarn left, it didn't register on the scale! 
Less than a gram. Wow.

I could never have done it if I'd been trying. But it's very satisfying anyway.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Don't Count Your Chickens

I was online this afternoon around 4, went to comment on the blog post I was reading (Gretch Runs, I totally agree with you about Same Time Last Summer), when poof, no internet. 

This time, there was no power surge, absolutely nothing. Just poof.

Summit is sending a tech in the morning. Pray for us. 

Perhaps especially the tech.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Better, if not all the way

This morning, I checked the internet, and would you believe it, it was WORKING.

I got to read the newspapers on the iPad! Work without leaving the house!

Now, I mentioned in yesterday’s rant that the land line stopped working when the tech was here. It did not miraculously fix itself overnight. I was afraid that if I called this morning, they would try to fix it and eff up the internet again, so I waited and called after work. He put in a ticket that may mean someone will fix it remotely (yeah, sure they will), otherwise someone will be here Monday. It’s not ideal to have the phone out, but we have my cell, and honestly if i had to pick, I would choose working internet for now.

Further updates as events warrant.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A Step Backwards

After six long days without internet (and therefore without TV, if you want to consider how I felt having watched one Bruins game in the new season and then getting cut off)(seriously, Saturday night I was listening to the game on the radio, through my phone, for effs sake), after six long days, I say, the tech from Summit Broadband showed up today.

He did this and that. He replaced the wall box. He was on the phone with someone most of the time.

He got the internet working!!! And the heavens parted and I heard angels singing!

But then he said he had to take it down for a few minutes. 

And then he came out and said, quote, "our system just took a dump." 

And he gave me a ticket number, said someone would be calling me on the land line, stood around looking very uncomfortable while I tried not to cry, and left.

NOT ONLY THAT. But a while later I checked the land line, and it isn't working. 


The ONLY thing that was working, now isn't working. 

So I called again, to explain with voice only slightly raised that if anyone actually did try to call, not that I'm holding my breath, they wouldn't get through on the land line because now THAT doesn't work.

The rep tried to look up the status of the ticket, but said it was in a system he can't access, so he sent a message to dispatch to ask for an update. He also tried sending a reset signal to the box, which they all try and it never works, and what a surprise, it didn't work.

He said he is working until 9 tonight and will call me if he gets an update.

Then he said, as I know he is required to, "Thank you for calling Summit Broadband, is there anything else I can help you with," and I actually laughed, and said:

"Since every piece of equipment we have from Summit is not working, no, there's nothing else."


If he calls, I will be shocked. 

Fucking Summit Broadband. 


Monday, October 16, 2023

Friday, October 13, 2023

Good and Bad

The good news is that Mom is doing really well, and is coming home this weekend. Yay! She is so much more mobile than last time, it's amazing. 

The bad news is that our internet went out yesterday, and the next appointment available is Wednesday. Six damned days later! They think this is acceptable! Oh, they'll let me know if they have anything before then, how nice of them....not so much.

Even more annoying, no internet means no TV, so unless by some miracle they come tomorrow (this is me, not holding my breath), I won't be able to watch the Bruins game. Just the second game of the season, before they head to California and start the next few games at 10:30 at night...damn it.

This company sucks so much. Avoid Summit Broadband if ever you can.

Maggie is very upset for me, of course.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Yarn Given and Gifted (and Ordered)

On my birthday, but not as a birthday gift, I was handed this:

A while back, one of my knitting friends mentioned that she had this big ball of yarn, passed to her by someone else, that she had decided she wasn't going to use, and did anyone want it? I said, ooh, pretty blue, and then forgot all about it until she handed it to me at lunch.

It's the size of a basketball.

It is, in fact, 1280 yards, or 760 grams, of aran-weight Rambouillet wool, Empire from Jill Draper.

I did a bit of a double-take at the price tag: $150? Well, now it's $165. 

But that's actually not out of the question for a sweater quantity, I suppose. Not that I think I would spend that, and not that I'm of a mind to make another sweater right away! It's not quite as soft as I usually like, but hey, we'll see what happens.

Then my cousin sent me yarn for my birthday, and does she know a "me" color when she sees it?

Three balls of Mandala Ombre from Lion Brand, and let me tell you what, this is so nice and soft! And blue! (She also sent a really pretty little cat-and-moon stained glass piece, which I have put safely away for now because I'm having a drop-it day, so I will get pictures of that another time.)

And then, you know.

To be continued...

Monday, October 09, 2023

Happy Birthday to Me

I mentioned in my happy things post the other day that I got myself a birthday present, which was this Evita XL project box, which I read about on Knitty.

Coke can for scale.
You take the top off:
And when you loosen the cord, it opens up like the petals of a flower.
Lots of pockets inside.

My only quibble with the Knitty review is where they said it "has that fantastic leather smell." I do happen to like the smell of leather, but I can imagine there are plenty of people who don't, and not to be overly politically correct, but I think they ought to have considered that. Ah well.

I got it from Universal Yarn, and it was a bit of a splurge, so I was happy that they offered 10% off as a new customer. Send me emails if you want, to save me $19.50! And free shipping, thank you.

New toy!

Friday, October 06, 2023

Silver Linings

In the spirit of Elisabeth's Happy Things Friday, I'll try to look on the bright side of now. How will I do?

  • I visited Mom last night; the place she is now is an inpatient rehab hospital, not a skilled nursing facility, and the important difference is that instead of an hour of PT a day, she'll get three! So she shouldn't have to stay nearly as long as at the last place, and should make much more progress in a shorter time. Hopefully, anyway. She likes it better than the first one, too; the food is better, she says, and the people have been very nice. (To be clear: at the SNF, some of the people were nice--but not all, she says.)
  • My birthday is next week, and I got my first birthday card in the mail yesterday. I truly don't care when anything comes--celebrate me all month!--but it's nice to get a fun card, isn't it?
  • Then a gift arrived in the mail today. Technically, it's a "sympathy for your stress these days" gift, and not strictly a birthday gift, but tomayto, tomahto. Or in this case, carmelcorn:
  • Also in the mail today is a present I got for myself. No, not yarn (after my wild August yarn shopping, I only bought yarn once in September, good heavens), but it is knitting-adjacent! (Who's surprised?)
(I'll blog more details on it separately, but the link is here and I read about it in Knitty, here.)
  • My mother and I will have our my-birthday-out-treat-dinner once she's back on her feet, but in the meantime, I'm having lunch with friends on Monday, so I'll have that on the day itself.
  • And on Sunday, I'm "attending" a Zoom yarn chat by the author of a new yarn-stash book, Marie Greene, so that's fun, too.
  • How out of date am I with updating my knitting on here? I finally, finally finished the Comodo sweater I've been working on for months, yay. It isn't blocked yet, but a friend down here invited me over to try steaming it. It doesn't need a ton of stretching, or anything, but I'd like to even it out a little. (Though the tonal qualities of the yarn do hide unevenness pretty well.)

While not undoing the way the edges curl, because I love that!
  • I also finished another project, the Close to You shawl that I started in the spring of 2022 (mentioned here), which got put aside at some point, but I picked up to be my trip knitting to Key West. Before blocking:
And after. It grew!

  • Finally, I unpacked a few things I got in Key West, and when I went to photograph this coaster, it was near some yarn that really accentuated it:


Well, Elisabeth was right, it helps to look for happy things. I recommend it.