Sunday, September 23, 2012

While The Dog's Away...

...the cat commandeers the Queen-for-a-day bed....

Though, with her being so tiny in that big bed, "commandeers" hardly seems the right term.  And I feel the need to point out, again, that her nice comfy catnip-scented-i-might-add bed is right there. Mandy went to dog camp (the kennel) while we went to Maryland for a race.  Phoebe, therefore, had the run of the house and made herself quite comfortable the minute Mandy was out the door.

Then Mandy came home and the commandeering pretty much went out the window...

But that didn't last long...

Back to their usual posts. (With that HUGE beg, Mandy has still managed to figure out how to make it look too small....)

On to book reviews!
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (click there to buy from Amazon):  Another page-turner-couldn't-put-it-down-I-can't-believe-that-happened book.  So great, right from the beginning.  In a nutshell.... Amy goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary.  All signs point to something horrible happening to her and her husband, Nick, is a suspect.  He insists he is innocent but his lying, evasiveness and strange behavior don't help any.  The author is excellent and laying out this story and making it into a turn twisting thriller.   Loved. It.

Testimony by Anita Shreve (click there to buy from Amazon):  I really enjoyed this one too.... At a boarding school in New England, a sex scandal (one in which the acts are caught on tape) is about to go public.   The story is relayed from the points of view of the various people involved (students, headmaster, police, parents)    and shows how lives can be drastically changed in the blink of an eye.  You might remember I reviewed another of Anita Shreve's books here.

The Next Best Thing: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner (click there to buy from Amazon): Another good one by Jennifer!  Definitely a different tone than the other two.  Not the edge-of-your-seat type book, but a really nice story of a young writer, Ruth, hoping to make it big in Hollywood.  Having moved there from Massachusetts with her grandmother 6 years earlier, she finally gets the call for the sitcom she wrote to be produced.  What follows are the ups and downs of this process.  Intertwined is Ruth's struggles with her self-esteem due to a childhood accident disfiguring her, as well as her love life.  As usual, lots of witty parts, which I love.

If you've read any of these, or plan to, please comment!  I'd love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Queen for a day (or more)

Look at this monstrosity...
So, we wanted to get Mandy a bigger bed than she had.  Since the new wood floor got installed (pics later), and since she is old, she has trouble getting up from laying down.  The floor is really slippery and she looks like a cartoon character with her legs moving but not getting anywhere.  So we needed a bed that would fit her. The website said "measure your dog when he/she is laying down and add 12 inches".  So the length is perfect.  The width is ridiculous.  The bed takes up half the living room!  So she will now be Queen Mandy.  Luxuriating on her luxury dog bed monstrosity.  The things we do for our pets.

Meanwhile, there's Phoebe.  Sitting in front of the "fire" (there isn't one) on the new hearth rug and not in her bed over there under the side table....

On to other fun stuff....
We finally finished the wood floor!

We still have to do the "finishing" (painting and installing trim, filling in nail holes etc) and we all know how much I love finishing work (NOT).  But the hard stuff is done and we just love it.  It is so nice not to have subfloor and crappy carpet in here.

And in gardening news...  I made tons of tomato sauce (just cooked down tomatoes -  no spices until I know what I'm going to use it for).

Did I already tell you about that and show you this picture?  Well, I made a lot more since then, just didn't take pictures.  Lots and lots of containers in the freezer.

AND, then I cooked my sugar pumpkins:
Then used my new food mill to make them into puree:
And wa-la.... 10 one cup bags, ready to freeze and then use in pumpkin bread or pumpkin chili (I've had it.  It's actually really good.):
Oh, and speaking of the food mill, remember when I said I had to buy a new one because I couldn't find the one I had since it was probably packed somewhere still, after 5 years of living here?  [ok, so I just went back to link to the post in which I said that, because I'm certain that I did, and now I can't find it.  I'm so good at this blog, I can't stand it.]  Yeah, well.....
FOUND IT!  In the back of that really deep cabinet over the fridge, where you put things that you don't use that much because they are a pain to get to, and where I had supposedly already looked, behind the panini maker.  AFTER I had purchased and used the new one.  Well, now one will go into the tag sale. What tag sale you ask?  Why, the one we keep saying we are going to have but can't seem to find a good weekend to have one.

In knitting news...
I'm making progress on my Watermelon Slice Socks:

Do my "seeds" look random enough?  Mind you, the seeds are in the exact same spots on both socks.  But the look on a single sock should look random.  Purposefully random.  Do they?

And then there's this mess...
Since I finished knitting my Tudor Henley (as opposed to finished finished it, including sewing it together and doing the button band ---  told you it might take 10 years!) which was a previously-unfinished-object, I decided to work on another unfinished object, my Echo Flower Shawl.  I got stuck on the nupps row.  What are nupps, you ask?  They are a clump of 9 stitches that have to be purled together into one stitch to make a pretty bobble-y clump.  I couldn't get them purled together and I didn't want to un-knit it, so I put it down.  For a long time.  I have now un-knit the set-up row for the nupps and re-knit them into 7 stitch clumps (which makes for much easier purling) and it worked much better.  Since this is a lace-y project, you can't really see what's happening right now.  Once I'm done and I pin it out to block it, you'll be able to see the pretty pattern.  Plus I chose a dark yarn which probably wasn't the wisest thing.  But it's a pretty, variegated brownish/greenish yarn.  I think I've still got a ways to go, with several more rows of the current chart and then an edging, so stay tuned.

Whew.  You are all caught up except for book reviews.  Maybe next time.

P.S. Paul is currently watching "How It's Made" -- how to make toothpicks.  Apparently the number of toothpicks in each box matters.  Riveting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

'Tis the Season

love. Love. LOVE...... Brach's Candy Corn
Must be Brach's.  No other brand.  Must be the original.  Or the pumpkins.  Not the harvest blend with the chocolate.  

Also, I'm up to my ears in tomatoes and making sauce to freeze.  More on that next post.  In the meantime, look at this perfect tomato specimen:

Looks yummy right?   But.....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Last Mini Vacation of the Summer

Paul and I took a long weekend to go to Cape Cod a couple of weekends ago (it's been a little busy around here, hence the delay in telling you about it...).  We love Cape Cod.  I've been going there since I was young and my parents had a little house there for many years.  There was knitting in the car....

This is my Tudor Henley which is now just about done - just the neck/button band to knit (4 rows) and sewing in the sleeves.  Ha!  I say "just".  These finishing parts are my nemesis.  It might take me weeks to do it.

We stayed in a somewhat-dated-but-still-quite-comfy motel in Orleans.
With. A. Gorgeous. Relaxing. View.....
Ahhhh.  Can't you just smell the salt air?  It was really nice.

Paddle boarding seems to be the thing these days so we saw many paddle by.  And one day we saw this:
It looked like the guy in the red shirt (who was paddling with a boy - over to the left of the picture, sitting on his board), had something else on his board.

I zoomed the camera in and, sure enough, he had company!:
Looked like a lot of work.  Right after this picture, they fell off!  Luckily they were all laughing.

We rode our bikes to the beach and did lots of relaxing and walking:

We also went to Chatham and walked around that cute little town.  We went to a bookstore, Where the Sidewalk Ends, which is, quite literally.... where the sidewalk ends:
See that? No more sidewalk across the driveway!
And I bought:
As I've told you, this is the author whom I went to high school with.  I'm reading it now and really enjoying it!  More about that when I'm finished reading it....  I was going to buy it for my Nook but when I saw that she had recently been to the shop and signed the copies they had (a bonus!), I decided to buy it in hard copy.

We also went to a couple of seafood restaurants.  We were completely underwhelmed.  I've seen these places the whole time I've been going to Orleans on vacation.  We actually didn't go to many of them, often cooking at the cottage.  One of them was the Lobster Claw and was your typical touristy seafood place, complete with gift shop:

My baked, stuffed shrimp was so-so and Paul couldn't find anything he liked so he had a turkey club!  (Neither of us is thrilled with lobster but we assumed the other stuff would be good....)

But we did have some great ice cream as well as some yummy baked goods from our favorite bakery, the Cottage Street Bakery.  They have these to-die-for muffins called Dirt Bombs.  They taste like a nutmeg-y plain donut, but it is in a muffin shape.  When the muffins come out of the oven THEY DIP THEM IN MELTED BUTTER and roll them in cinnamon and sugar.  Oh. My. Gosh.  SO. GOOD.

And, what do you know?  There was a new (to me) yarn shop just 1/4 mile down the road from the motel!
A Stitch in Thyme was a very nice shop.  I went in "to get a tape measure because i forgot the four other ones I have at home", but came out with:
Oooh.  They had such pretty yarns and a great sale shelf!  This picture makes the colors look not like the colors that they are.  Except maybe for the ball on the left.  The ball on the left is sock yarn from Viking.  Such pretty blues!  The two skeins in the middle are PediBoo from Frog Tree Hill.  Also sock yarn (I know... shocker).  The balls on the right are Charly by Filatura di Crosa.  Bulky wool-and-maybe-something-else yarn in a pretty, deep plum color.  And, of course, the Lantern Moon sock monkey tape measure which was more I wanted to spend on my fifth tape measure but couldn't resist because it was so cute.  It's my new go-to tape measures.  The others have taken a backseat.  Even the sheep one.

We also went to Rock Harbor to see the sunset:
I was willing to try to ignore all the people in the
picture since they were like shadows, but then there was
the bright, striped maxi dress lady....
It can get crowded there for sunsets because it's so pretty, so getting a good, non-people picture can be difficult without walking in front of everyone and practically into the water.  This one is better-ish....
So, we had a nice, relaxing time and really wished we had decided to stay longer.  We are already booking to go back next year so we are assured of our nice view!

More next time on what's been going on since then.... knitting, gardening, cooking, flooring.... ooh and two books! (maybe three if I finish The Next Best Thing)

In the meantime, Phoebe amongst the flooring tools: