Thursday, November 30, 2023

Distraction Hands (like jazz hands? Kind of?)

Life is ... rather a lot right now. Let's talk about something else. I got a new handbag!

I have ridiculously specific desires in a bag. 

  • I do not like switching bags, so it has to work for all outfits and occasions (except a funeral, let's say). This means that on the interesting-to-bland scale, I stick closer to bland.
  • I want a number of pockets so I can grab my keys, my sunglasses, my phone without looking...reach for the chapstick at a red light and find it without get the idea. 
  • I also prefer a bag of a certain size, so I can carry a shawl and a small knitting project at all times. I have a bag I really like, but it's just too small for this part.
  • But I don't want it too much bigger, because I will fill available space, and then throw my back out carrying it.
  • I would like a bag to stand up by itself, but not so strongly that it is stiff. (I know, I know, I am listening to myself. Picky, picky.)
  • Finally, I prefer a shorter, non-adjustable shoulder strap, though I have compromised on this. And I don't want to wear it cross-body anyway, my chest finds that uncomfortable (and unflattering). Bags don't stay on my shoulders happily, so I'm going to be holding it on most of the time anyway. It's just that I get tangled in the longer strap.

I have tried many a bag and been dissatisfied with one thing or another, so lately I have gone back to one I've used often before. 

It is bland. It is a blob. I do not love it, but in terms of functionality, it checks more of the boxes than any other I've found.

I recently went through the Baggalini website to see if I could find another of theirs that I liked more, and lo, I did.

What's that, you say? Navy isn't much more exciting than beige? Well, this bag has a secret.
It's expandable, and when you unzip that, there's a rainbow inside.
I love it!

I also figured out, in a delayed reaction, why there is a review on the website that is Very Upset about the photo showing the bag unzipped. 

At first I was just confused: why is she upset that they are showing an expandable bag both zipped up and unzipped? But then the penny dropped: she feels the bag is promoting the gay agenda? I guess? I don't know. I just like rainbows, but then again, if it is supposed to be LGBTQ+ supportive, well, I am too, so that's fine with me. Sorry, narrow-minded lady.

When I opened the package, I wondered if, despite all my measuring, it was going to be too big, but when they're empty, they pretty similar.

So, this one does have the adjustable shoulder strap style that I don't love, but I'm hoping that in other ways, it will be as good as or better than the old one. 

Sparkly hardware and all.

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.