29 July 2009

Keeping the house.

From "Making Marriage Work," Ladies Home Journal, January 1950:

"Take an interest in his appearance. Keeping his clothes in order is your job; encouraging him to look his best, and admiring him when he does, should be your pleasure."

Clearly, I am succeeding as a housewife. :)

26 July 2009


I swear I won't post about every single new thing I knit, but for now finishing stuff is still super exciting. AND.... this hat is just too beautiful not to share. I'm totally in love with this yarn -- it's not the "best" yarn (75% acrylic), but it's just lovely.

I also promise I won't bore you with pics of my mug forever. Eventually I'll make something boy for Brad to model! :) I made this with the intention of adding it to my xmas donation stash, but now I'm a little attached. It was very affordable yarn, so I suppose I can always make another if I decide to keep it for myself (and it DOES match my winter coat!).

23 July 2009

Yeah, I scored.

I discovered, try as hard as I might, that I simply cannot keep things simple. We're having a simple bday bbq here tomorrow.... When we planned it, I said hot dogs. That's it. Hot dogs and beer. Well, yeah. Ha! I haven't gone too crazy--I can't!--but now there are veggies and fruit and breads and chips and dips and pasta oh my... But it's been fun. So I'm certainly not complaining!

I made a trip to the Westside Farmer's Market this afternoon. I love having it so close, even though it's so small. I can typically get anything I need. And that I did. Hooray for fresh veggies and fruits, and maybe even some pie cherries. Maybe. :)

Apparantly these are "transluscent" apples. Hmm. (and apricots mmm)

I also made a quick trip to Target and I was delighted to discover the entire picnic aisle (remember, I wrote about the cuteness a few weeks ago) was 50% off! I got all this loot for <$15! Go check it out before it's all gone! (They also had drink mixes and Izze's in the aisle, also 50% off.)

Up close and cute.

One last find and then it's back to my knitting and So You Think You Can Dance preparation:

This winter when my guts were being real jerkfaces, I was on a desperate search for any type of ginger candy, just as something extra to try and help out. Search as I might, I came up empty handed. Well, today I just happened upon these at Trader Joe's. I snagged them right up. I tried one out earlier this evening, unsure because although I like gingersnaps and gingerale, I hate ginger. It was strong! Super bite, and even kind of peppery. Not unpleasant, not necessarily tasty, but tolerable, and, with a bite and lingering taste like that, I have to assume they have to help in cases of gut unrest (at the very least, will help my queasy when I fly!).

Hooray for day of scores!

21 July 2009

Boxes and knots.

Random update time!

Typically we take the dogs out back to go out -- out the back door, down the stairs, to avoid the hill o'death. So it'd been a while since I'd looked closely/noticed at my neighbors' (yes, the crazy generator neighbors) garden. I guess I shouldn't have been THAT surprised to discover the five-foot jungle garden o' weeds. Ugh.

Those are all weeds. Not flowers.

File this under "meant to be." I saw the perfectest shirt at Urban on Friday with Brad. For $5. But it was a little big. And the line was looooong. So I put it back. I thought about it for a few days and decided I had to have it. So I ran into Urban on Sunday (good to know for next year -- they keep the cheap stuff on sale after art fair) and found it.... even in a smaller size. Now tell me, was this shirt not made for ME?

And I'm actually wearing it today in honor of the knots my stupid diseased guts are in.
It's like a mood ring!

PS Was up late last night (said knots!) and finished, with the help of Guru Jess, of course, my latest hat. Two toned!

...it's a little long. :)

19 July 2009


After three days of volunteering on nonprofit row, it was finally time to hit the art fair. For the first time since high school, I'm sure (scopin' deals at Urban with Jess!). Lisa S. came down for the day, and we headed out around noon to go see us some art.

We started the farthest out, down on South U, so we could work our way back closer to the side of town we parked on. It ended up being perfect. We both agree that that side of town is by far the sketchier side, in general, and you could tell that the more premium booth spaces were elsewhere. But we also discovered the crowds are far more manageable, the art seems a little more eclectic and affordable, and many of the emerging and local artists were there, too. Over pizza at NYPD, we decided to make art fair a yearly tradition, and we'll definitely follow the same path next year. (And props to Lisa for being the perfect art fair partner. We have very similar art-fair-tackling philosophies!)

For my birthday, Brad told me to pick out some art, so I even got to bring some of that culture home with me (thanks, hubby!). And while I suspect that the artists far prefer to sell original paintings or big works of art, little folk like me so do appreciate the ones that make available small prints or even cards so I can take an affordable piece of art home.

One of our favorite booths belonged to an artist who did whimsical and colorful paintings of circus folk, dancers, flowers, tequila bottles with faces, and we both grabbed small prints -- Lisa a dancing can-can girl, me a pair of swirly apples. This pic doesn't nearly do it justice (needs a frame), but I <3 it.

Another of our favorite booths belonged to an artist who painted adorably dark/fantastic characters on wood canvases. We spent a lot of time there, oohing and ahhing over the cute birds, bugs, and, of course, dogs (another of my favorites was a brown bear in a canoe). I snagged two cards and a small print (which the artist so kindly gave me a deal on). I nearly died over the sad bunny.

And finally, the booth I stumbled upon earlier in the week and had been plotting my purchase for days... Wacky and zany (and somewhat creepy) pottery. Does this surprise anyone? :) After much deliberation, I settled on an "I'm gonna barf" spoon rest and a two-faced vase.

"Thank god! I hate that one we have!" - Brad
(ps reason no. 34959540 why I love my hubby)

Happy. (Crazy?)

Sad. (Crazy?)

I really am quite surprised by how much I enjoyed art fair. Is this what happens when you turn 31? You start loving all that you mocked your whole life?! Should be an interesting year.......

16 July 2009

Apple of my eye.

Funny how much things can change in a year. I had a little "holy crap" moment in the car after dropping my dad off today. This week last year, I was transitioning him into an extended care hospital after a pretty scary week+ at the hospital hospital. He was just barely lucid, weighed maybe 120 pounds, was unable to walk on his own, and the docs were telling me he'd likely never be able to live on his own. I wasn't sure I'd ever have my "dad" back, if he'd ever live a normal life again... I didn't know what the hell to think and the docs in Saginaw certainly had me thinking the worst (heed my advice -- don't ever end up in a Saginaw hospital!!! [for a number of reasons]).

What did I do today? I spent the afternoon at Art Fair with my dad. In Ann Arbor. He lives here now, and, more importantly, he's alive, living a pretty normal (for him) life. He still doesn't remember much about that time last year (or really understand why I have a mini heart attack and turn into nazi daughter every time he has a physical or mental complaint), but otherwise he's HERE. He's him. He has a big fat belly and eats like it's no one's business. He walked all over town. He commented on art and gasped at prices. He had normal old man complaints about tired legs and achy backs. And he was smiling.

I know he's not living the life of his dreams. He'll always have bad days, and I don't know that I'm always the best daughter in those situations. But days like today, when I remember what could have been, I am so thankful that we are where we are.

And this little apple jar (hooray for $6 art!) can be my reminder of what today really meant -- and maybe a little visual kick in the ass when I get impatient or frustrated or just plain lazy.

13 July 2009

Pits to pooches.

These past few days have been about finishing up projects, namely cherry bonanza 09. I was almost out of tart cherries (and my pie is all eaten *sigh*), so I had no more excuses -- time to find a cherry pitter and get to work on my jam. (Note, I had enough tart cherries left to call it tart cherry jam, my favorite!) Finding a pitter was actually harder than I thought it would be, but I finally came across one at Ace Hardware (who knew). My frugal side almost grabbed the flimsy $7 one, but luckily Lisa had forewarned me about the pain of pitting, so I went ahead and grabbed the $14 oxo pitter. And I am so glad I did.

Pitting wasn't much of a pain at all with this guy. Some of the smaller cherries I had to knock the pits loose from, but for the most part it pitted, shot the pit in the bowl, and left me with a lovely pitted cherry -- it didn't even squirt me (ok, it did once, right in the eye -- but that was my first attempt!). Once everything was pitted, I set out to make more freezer jam, using this recipe I found, which is basically the recipe I used before (which is basically just the recipe on the SureGel box, so nothing fancy at all). In no time at all, I had six containers of jam; the extra one I kept out for immediate fridge usage.

Just as easy and tasty as the last go round!

I also discovered that Heidi is quite mesmerized by cherry pitting. She sat at my feet, silently, the whole time. Then, of course, when I was done, she was back to her normal shenanigans.

Yes, that's my kitchen towel in her mouth.

In other exciting food news, I got my first summer tomatoes. Mmmm. Of course, I had to then make my first summer tomato, mozzarella, and basil (which I grew!) sandwich. Delish.

Oh yeah, but I was talking about updates, wasn't I? I finished up two knitting projects last week!

Another new baby -- Marla & Andrew welcomed Ella Jane on July 5! Congrats to them,
and I decided Ella needed a hat, too. They do live in chilly England. Brr!

My first adult hat!

I started a second adult hat, using my new purling skillz (thanks again, Alison!), and it worked! It was looking pretty good, but I was begrudgingly continuing because I realized I hated the yarn (yes, Jess, it was the stupid acrylic Vanna crapola. I hate it!) -- and then I dropped a stitch or something and had a hole. So.... I tore it apart. So now I'm just fiddling around, practicing said skillz with some yarn from Birgit (thank ya ma'am!). Will have to go to yarn store this week to get yarn for new hat(s) for hospital xmas project.

For her pleasure.

I also finally made it back down to the library book sale, which, if you haven't been (and like to buy books as much as I do), is a total score. I resisted much, as I had one book in mind -- the 1-2-3 dessert book I wrote about a few weeks ago. And then, to my surprise... Knitting for Dummies!!! In perfect condition! For $2! I was so pleased. In general, books are $2, traditional paperbacks are $0.50, and the fancier paperbacks are $2. Last time I went, I also picked up a perfect condition Prodigal Summer hardcover for $0.50.

And one last update...

Happy First Birthday to Liz and Aaron's little man! Yeah for Sam! :)

Finally, if you're curious what the pooches got up to this weekend, they had a little fun in the sun...


09 July 2009

That's my Pi.

Despite a raging headache, I forced myself off the couch today because I WAS going to make pie. And let me just say upfront here, I make a dang good pie. No joke. :)

First up, dealing with the dough -- I made it yesterday, and it spent the night in the fridge. It was kind of a pain at first, and I started to panic. Why isn't it rolling out? I'm following Jessica's advice! But eventually it started to give and it rolled out pretty nicely -- for me, at least. I'm not looking for round perfection.

Next up, pie! I found this recipe a few days ago, and since it was easy and I had all the ingredients, I figured it was as good as any.

Get in the oven, pie!

Now... get out of the oven!

Ahh, glorious pie!

Now.... time for a piece!

All for me!

Like I already said, it's super super yummy. Cooking toned down the tart cherries, so it has just the right amount of bite, and Jess was right -- this dough is perfect. Think Brad will notice if I eat the whole pie before he gets home?

08 July 2009

This isn't the pits.

Today, Lisa Z. (who was VERY busy doing "family sick day" stuff! wink wink) and I hit up Spicer Orchard in Fenton for some cherry picking, visions of pies and jams dancing in our heads (and a few other secret projects!). We arrived bright and early, beating the crowds and the heat, and within an hour and a half or so, we had two full buckets of cherries (and Lisa had two quarts of raspberries, too).

I see you, cherry!

Get in my bucket!

Tart pie cherries.

Sweet cherries.

When we were done picking, we took the quick hayride back to the coolest... thing... ever. Giant cherry pitter!

The pitter couldn't do the bigger, sweet cherries, but that was ok because I planned on keeping those intact anyway. Pit pit pit!

I have tomorrow planned as the big project day, but, to get a head start, I threw together some dough this afternoon. What a mess that made!

Jessica recommended this dough recipe from Martha Stewart: dough. It says to use a food processor. Well, you can see mine in this pic -- it's tiny! So I decided to try the blender. My blender sucks. Alas (that's for you, Liz!), I ended up doing sort of batches in the tiny processor. I think I added a little too much water, so I threw some extra flour in to de-stickify it a little. Fingers crossed.

Handy tip I read about and tried today: instead of chopping (cold) butter into small pieces, grate it using a large-hole cheese grater. It worked like a charm. (I still can't believe I used TWO sticks of butter in this dough! Holy crap!)

Wish me luck tomorrow as I embark on more old-lady endeavors! :)

07 July 2009

Meg doesn't suck.

For the fourth, I got my patriotism on in West Lafayette with Meg and Liz, and their Indiana entourage. I woke up Saturday morning in Michigan to a beautiful sunny day. I hopped in the car, got to about Jackson, and I didn't see the sun again until Sunday morning -- rain rain rain rain! While the rain forced us to postpone some of our fourth of July plans, I was still so excited to reunite with the whole troupe, and a great time was had nonetheless.

Sam enjoyed his first fourth of July, rain or shine!

After catching up, lunching, etc., the rain finally cleared and the boys got to lightin' stuff on fire. Fiyah! A mini fireworks show commenced in the parking lot next to Meg's house. Might I add that we dodged sudden death from the neighbors, who were shooting fireworks basically at us. Crazy kids! Shortly after, the city 'works started, and we enjoyed the show from Liz and Aaron's front yard.

After the fireworks, a few of us headed into Lafayette for a few drinks and some (very) (loud) music. And random hipster spotting. Always fun. Some drunk texting may or may not have ensued.

Sunday morning we awoke to a clear sky... and a delicious brunch!
Liz cooked up some goodies and the Nemecs joined us at Meg's for some more goodies (mmm waffles). Those crazy kids sure do know how to treat a guest. :) Next up, a haunted tour of Lafayette. Here's what the Haunted Places of Indiana website has to say about our stops:

Harrison Cemetery - People who visit this place always have the feeling of being followed or being watched. This place is located right behind Harrison High School . It is ok to visit too. The gravestones are very old and been know to move to different locations. Crying and moaning can be heard on some nights. Beware some of the ghost are known to touch and throw objects.

Pythian Home - It is an old Nursing Home where many of the people who lived there died. There are many things that happen in there from lights turning on unexpectedly, to hearing footsteps, and even feeling something brush up against you. One of the stories are, there was a murder in on of the bathrooms. When the body was taken out, three women went in and cleaned it up. One of the women knew the girl that was murdered and she went back to pay her respects. When she walked into the room, she found exactly as it was before they started cleaning. Now around the time of the anniversary of the girl's murder, all the gore returns. There still is no use cleaning it up. It still comes back.



I always enjoy a good cemetery, so I wasn't disappointed, even though the ghosts didn't throw any rocks at me. It was a super weird one, too -- literally located RIGHT behind a high school, with a super odd setup of graves going every which way all over the place (including in the woods). The abandoned house was interesting, too, and super frustrating to not be able to get in and poke around (I did wiggle a door handle and moments later the cops showed up and parked in the driveway... Coincidence? Hmm!). I want to see leftover gore!

We also stumbled upon some hilarious graffiti at the high school:

After the ghost hunt, we took a walk with the Nemecs, got some DQ (metallic burn!), had a little pool party with Sam, and then got down to business -- our delayed fourth of July bbq. While everyone so awesomely got the food together, Sam and I had a little hang out session.

Again, thanks to the whole crew for such an(other) awesome spread! Meg made potato salad, Juan made arepas, Aaron grilled corn, and Liz made fried chicken. Yum yum! And even better enjoyed out in the backyard, picnic style.

And what's a summer bbq without a fire?! And roasting marshmallows?!

Seriously, what a great weekend. And might I take a quick moment here to say, for the 100th time, how jealous I am of Meg and Liz's awesome setup. They live next door to each other! Cutest. Ever. They are so lucky to have each other. :) Love you guys!

To take a peek at the rest of my trip, click beeeeeelow: