Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Eve Eve

And all is still well!  I have oodles of pictures to share, but they are on my iPad and will just have to wait for later. 

We spent a lovely Christmas at my mom's house, and had a nice trip home with no snow to contend with.  In years past, the treks between car and house were an adventure -- especially with a wheelchair and a non-walking daughter to carry through nearly waist-deep drifts!  Filius did a splending job of Materials Management and we made it home with just one bag left behind. 

Except for the goodies that were supposed to go into my stocking, but which never made it in there.  And that was supposed to come home today, but the Proper Party forgot.  And I forgot to appropriate some of mom's extra tea, too.  It was a productive day of errands, apart from the forgotten bean flour, Saran wrap, stocking bag, and tea.  Gift to give, purchase, forgotten item, and appropriation.  No more than one thing in each category -- not too bad!

The morning after Christmas, we woke up to a significant dusting of snow.  It was lovely.  Monday, we got around 8".  I am not getting my exercise by shoveling walks.  I figure if I do 30 minutes a day, and Filius does 30 minutes a day, we will both be able to move the following day AND the walk will get cleared.  We have a generous front walk to shovel, including two spots that the plows build up nice and high.  Filia's interview Tuesday morning was rescheduled (due to the storm) by the interviewer. 

Yarny-wise, the mittens are done, the submission was evaluated, and I got the pattern for one commission and will go knit on it just as soon as I finish this blog entry.  I'm still waiting for yarn for the other project.  It would be delightful if I got the current project on the needles done JUST before the next bit of yarn comes in, as then I won't have to split my time.  Then again, the one I don't have the yarn for has a due date 25 days before the one I do have the yarn for.  Hmmm. 

Cooking-wise, the next batch of fudge didn't cooperate.  Sigh.  The cheese ball was excellent, and I now have a gorgeous soup tureen to fill with soups.  Yesterday's Quick Corn and Bacon Chowder (you have to be a member now to see it ) was supposed to make 4 servings.  I was dubious, as it called for 2 lbs of corn, 2 lbs of potatoes, 3 1/2 cups of liquid .... and indeed, it filled my 4 quart dutch oven.  I had less than a quart leftover, though, so it wasn't TOO much.  I think 2016 will be the Year of the Soup Tureen.  A soup a week shouldn't be too hard, should it?

Caramels are on the agenda for making, as is nice normal bread, split pea soup for tomorrow, and some cherry cheesecake.  Mmmmm. 

AND ... I got all my Christmas cards out!  Which is not to say that I sent a Christmas card to everyone I wanted to send a card to, but rather to say that I bought two boxes of cards and have sent every last one of them out.  Addressed in red and green ink, with the red ink being courtesy of a sampler ink package I received for Christmas. 

Off to knit I go ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve, and all is well.

It's the eve of Christmas Eve, and all is well.  The stocking are hung on the bookshelves with care, and there is no pending ice storm, and no one is sniffling or coughing, and God is sovereign.  It's a perfect day to curl up with a good book, a cuppa tea, and rejoice in the knowledge that Christ has come into the world, and is coming again. 

The curling up bit is going to wait for a while, though, since I signed two knitting contracts yesterday, have a mitten thumb to finish today (because the yarn came in, not because I need to finish it by Christmas), and there's a knitting submission on my table to evaluate.  And a cheeseball to make, and music to practice, and a few dozen other little things that need doing.  Like Christmas cards!  If I can't be curled up with a book or some good knitting, having a list of things to be productive with is the next best thing. 

Filia is still job-interviewing. The first one on Monday was a bit of a disappointment -- a 2 hour drive there, 5 minute interview, and 2 hour drive back home. Bleagh. I didn't get much knitting done during the interview. Interview today, interview next Tuesday, and sometime between Christmas and New Year's she'll hear the results of Monday's second interview.  I think in the past month she has interviewed more than Vir and I have in our entire lives.  The internet sure has changed how one goes about finding a job. 

I am confronting my fudge-making nemesis head-on this year, and not doing too badly.  The gingerbread fudge came out delicious ... after cooking it according to the directions and having it be much too caramelly, then recooking it and having it still be caramelly (but the bottom of the pan's bits were perfect), and recooking it (and having it turn into perfect fudge while cooling to 110, and being totally stuck in the pan), and recooking it and pouring it STRAIGHT INTO THE 8x8 WHILE TOASTY WARM (ahem).  So when the sour cream fudge decided that it was going to set JUST when I was turning the saucepan upside down to pour it out ... I reheated the bits that wouldn't come out easily (about a cup or so of fudge), ignored the 'cool down, beat until the gloss is gone' bit, and voila ... perfect fudge.  Much perfecter than the squashed stalactite which I managed to extract from the rapidly setting fudge in the saucepan. Thermometers are tricksy and false, and gloss is a myth.  I am going to try ignoring both those things in my next batch, and see how things go. 

German Chocolate Macaroons were much-enjoyed during church fellowship time.  I was delighted with how they came out, and happy to make something that got eaten.  The stollen also behaved itself this year, and my four loaves have turned into one.  The one would be GONE if it were sliced, but Filius is showing great restraint and letting me save a half-loaf for Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas to all!  Maranatha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And another ...

Today is the day Filia and Filius arrive home!  With the festivities of the day (including a celebratory Finals Week Meal in town, completely packing one dorm room, partially packing another, and getting Grandma's live Christmas tree), it will be a long day.  But a good one. 

This past week has not been slow.  The post office and UPS man have been busy, bringing a box or two a day.  Most of the contents have been wrapped and are awaiting transport to under Grandma's Christmas tree.  The dog bed, however, is adorning the living room floor, and is usually decorated with Canis.  It's MUCH better than the previous bed, which was a bit on the lumpy side and he could never get comfortable in it.  At least, I'm assuming that is why each night he took the nicely polar-fleece-wrapped dog bed, tucked nicely in the corner, and rearranged it so that it was a few feet away from the original location, unwrapped, and wadded up into half its size.  He also approves of the Dental Kong, so long as there is peanut butter inside it.  One package is still on its way from Turkey, but I think that wraps up (unintentional pun) the Christmas presents that are coming in the mail. 

Graduation was delightful.  Filia looked very sombre when she was hooded, but someone snapped this photo of her at the reception ...
and I like it very much.  Congratulations, Filia!!!  (And that box on her lap holds the Most Charming perpetual calendar I have ever seen.


Monday's job interview didn't go exactly as planned, neither for Filia nor for several other interviewees.  The company had advertised for the wrong position.  Oops!  Two more interviews are coming up on Monday. 

Knitting ... I have yarn to finish the cute little Finnish Gansey, yarn has been ordered to finish the mittens from Graph 98 in Latvian Mittens, one commission is completed, the thumbs of last week were reknit, and the Church Lady Mittens (sorry, Lola) have just one tip and one thumb left.  I'm normally a very monogamous knitter, so it pains me to say that somehow I had FOUR projects on the needle yesterday.  Three, literally, and one is at the point of picking up stitches to knit a sleeve.  Right now there are just three, period, and by this weekend that should be down to one.  Except I won't have yarn to finish it yet, and will 'need' to cast on something else.  Alas. 

Holiday Baking!  I wish I had the caramel recipe that we loved last year, but I erased it when I forgot to save my bookmarks to a drive that was NOT being reformatted.  If you have a tried and true one, do share! In the next week we'll be baking all sorts of goodies to adorn the Christmassy paper plates I got yesterday, then duck between freezing raindrop and flurries to deliver them to neighbors.  It doesn't look like there will be a white Christmas this year.  Happily, Christmas does not depend on the color of the ground outside. 

Until next week...

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Snatching another moment

The more I have to do, the more organized I get with my time.  And that reminds me of something my knitting mentor Cindy said several years ago -- if you really want to get something done, ask the busiest person.  It makes an odd sort of sense, but at the same time, I am not fond of 'busy'.  There's a connotation of rushing around and not having time to do what is important.  And I like to do what is important, and skip the rushing around. 

No pictures this week -- they didn't make the to-do list.  I'm still waiting for more black yarn for last week's mittens, and started a cute little Finnish Gansey, for which I am also now waiting for more yarn (but it should be in the mail to me shortly, unlike the black yarn, which I am still putting out feelers to find).  Today's knitting will be a repair of the thumbs of my Sanquhar gloves from 2008, and if the day is longer than I think it is, casting on for a pair of mittens which I am designing to match a lovely sweater I saw in church two weeks ago. 

Filia reports for graduation in 49 hours and 19 minutes.  Then comes finals week, and then I'll have a house full until school starts up again (for Filius).  Filia has some more interviews coming up - local ones - which delights my mama's heart.  It would be lovely to have her nearby, rather than a few hours off.  We wait to see which door God will open.  The knuckles of patient knocking are certainly being exercised! 

This year's Chai Spiced Honey will be ramped up from the previous years' version.  I lost my bookmarks when I reset the computer -- I'm sure I went into that story already, which in short is that I backed up my bookmarks on the hard drive rather than on something that wasn't going to get wiped -- and in hunting for a recipe, before checking my blog, I found one that used roughly 9 times the spices.  3 tablespoons of cinnamon instead of 1 teaspoon, etc.  Mmmmm! 

And caramels, and biscotti, and gingerbread fudge, and stollen, oh my!

Enough moment-snatching.  Time to go be productive! 

Friday, December 04, 2015

Snatching a Moment

Somehow, this week - and last week - have not been times of quiet reflection and time to do all the things I could wish.  I've been putting off my weekly blog post long enough, though, so I am going to snatch a few moments before I put my temporary computer desk away and check off the 'write blog' box on my to-do list.

Filius and Filia were home for Thanksgiving, and we had a delightful time.  It was good to catch up with them, and get some needed things done.  

Needed things, like send announcements out!  Seven days and a few hours from now, I will be the beaming mother of a college graduate. Still jobless, but we trekked through a winter storm for an interview on Tuesday, and another interview for another job is pending.  She's knocking away at employment doors, and we wait to see which door God will open.

I've been knitting up a wee small storm, too, but nothing big, since I am expecting some work to come my direction this week or next. 
More Latvian Mittens

Waiting for more black yarn

And just before our winter storm, the grass-seed-putter-downer guys drove by.  Several times, actually, as they sprayed this side of the sidewalk, that side of the sidewalk, and the other side of the street's yards.  It was the excitement of the day.