Monday, March 31, 2014

Lace

I got tired of working on scarves and hats.  The lace was calling me and I had to answer.

I got out the Anniversary Mystery Shawl '10 (Yes, 10!) and knit a few more rounds into it.



I still have a long, long way to go, but I have confidence that one of these years, I'll get it done. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Becky's Chicken And Dumplings

Lots of people keep on asking for my chicken and dumplings recipe.  Well, the problem is, I don't really use one.  I just kind of make it up as I go.  So, I thought I'd make that the subject of tonight's blog post.  How I make my chicken and dumplings.

Buy a rotisserie chicken from Wal-mart.  Eat the legs, thighs, and wings, because that's the good part.  I don't like the breast, so I have to do something else with it.  Usually I make it into soup, or chicken and dumplings, and here's how that works.

Pull off the breast and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put into refrigerator for later.  Wrap the remaining carcass in cheesecloth and secure with a tie.  Put it into a stock pot and cover with water.  Boil for a good long time, to get a nice, rich broth.  No, I don't time it.  I just boil it until it looks right.

If you don't have cheesecloth, just boil the carcass without it, but you'll want to strain your broth to get all the little bits of cartilage and skin and stuff out.

Dump some flour into a bowl.  Add a couple spoonfuls of shortening and some salt.  Sometimes I use cold butter.  Depends on how lazy I am, since the shortening is softer and therefore easier to cut into the flour. Anyway...

Cut the shortening into the flour until it's like little grains of sand.  Or peas.  Or something.  I just do it until it looks right.  Add some milk.  Not too much.  Mix it all into a stiff dough.  Turn the stiff dough out onto floured surface.  (I use parchment paper so I don't have to clean as much.)  Roll dough until it is very thin.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into small rectangles.  They will puff up a lot when they're cooking, so make them about 1" by 1.5" or so. 

Put the cut up dumplings into a bowl, coating each one with flour so they don't stick together.  Pull your cheesecloth wrapped chicken carcass out of the broth and discard.  Add the dumplings one at a time until they are all in the broth.  There will probably be some flour left in the bottom of the bowl.  Whisk a little milk into the flour and add it to the boiling broth. 

Add your cut up chicken meat, and boil until the dumplings are no longer chewy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Or whatever spices you like.  Some people add carrots and peas, but I don't. 

Turn off heat.  Let the chicken and dumplings cool.  Put in refrigerator until the next day.  Heat up and serve. 

And that's how I do it.

I hope you enjoy your home made chicken and dumplings.  Or if you prefer, Sweet Sue is pretty darn good, for canned crap.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Welcome to our chat, a day late.  It is an absolutely beautiful day outside, though not quite shorts and t-shirt weather.  It's still warm enough we can sit out on the porch to have our chat.  Won't you join me?





1.  What is your favorite room of your house or apartment? 

 I can't really say I have a favorite room in the house I live in right now.   I guess it would be the living room, since that's where I spend most of my time.  But if I ever get to build my dream house, it'll be the library.  It'll have a huge stone fireplace, and a window seat big enough to get really comfortable for a few hours of reading.  And of course, shelves and shelves of books along the wall, and a overstuffed leather sofa in the middle. 

2. What's your favorite topping for pancakes or waffles? 

 Maple syrup.  I've never been one for putting things like fruit and whipped cream on my pancakes or waffles.  We just didn't do that while I was growing up. 

3. Do you like dried fruit?

 No, not really, except for dried papaya and pineapple that you sometimes find in trail mix.

4.   Please finish this statement. "As soon as we have good spring weather, I'm going to_______." 

 Get my flower beds planted!  And go fishing again.  It's been quite a while, and I miss it.

5. Tell me a memory from your childhood.

OK, this is a photo of the church I grew up in.  The church has built a new building, so this one stands empty now.   It makes me sad, because I spent many childhood hours here.


Monday evening, the dome on top caught on fire, though they don't really know why.   The memory from my childhood is that when you got to be a certain age-- usually between 4th and 6th grade-- it was a thing to sneak up into the dome.  I remember when I went up there.  It was the music minister's son who showed me the stairs and the trap door to get up inside the dome.  I was so excited, but at the same time, disappointed.  The other kids made it sound like such a big deal, but once I got there, it looked just like the attic at my house.

Still, it was a kind of a rite of passage.  Those who had been up into the dome, and those who hadn't.  After that day, I was one of the kids who had.

I also knew in which Sunday School room you could open the window and get out onto the roof.  That was on the opposite side of the building than the one pictured here.

The porch with the four white columns had a rail around it, and a small ledge around the outside.  When I was in 4th grade, while waiting to march in during VBS (Vacation Bible School), several of us kids would climb over the rail and jump off that ledge.  Then we'd run around, up the steps to the porch, and do it again.  Over and over.  The whole time.  The next year, when I was in 5th grade, I was so excited when it was time for VBS, so that we could jump off that ledge again.  I ran up onto that porch, climbed over the rail, stood on the ledge, looked down, and said, "What was I thinking?"  Then I climbed back over the rail, onto the porch, and never jumped off that ledge again.

So, there you have some memories of my childhood at church.

I hope you've enjoyed our chat.  Please come back next week for another chat on the farmhouse porch. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No Chat Today

I know, I know.  Tuesday is usually Chat day, but Patrice said the questions will be up later, so I'll just post them tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a finished hat.


Yes, this is the same hat I was working on the other day.  I finished it Saturday evening.

I also have a new book to read.


It's another one written by a schoolmate of mine.  We called him Jimmy back in school.  He was two years behind me, so I didn't really know him all that well.  I'm looking forward to reading it.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dear Church Member

Although you seem to be oblivious to the noise you are making, let me reassure you that the rest of us most certainly can hear the

*snick, snick, snick*

of your clippers reverberating throughout the sanctuary as you trim your nails during the worship service.  Please, do us all a favor and attend to your personal hygiene at home.

Seriously.

Thank you,

That is all

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Yesterday was the first day of  Spring.

But not really.

Officially, but not really. 

The first day of Spring is just an arbitrary date on a calendar.  Somebody, somewhere, way back when picked a day and said, "Hey, I think I'll make spring start on this date."  Then his buddy said, "Hey, let's say that spring starts on the day of the Vernal Equinox!"  And the first guy said, "OK, then.  Spring starts on the day of the Vernal Equinox." 

And that's how the first day of spring became the first day of spring. But, as we all know, nature doesn't look at a calendar.

Around here, spring starts when the daffodils start coming up.  That was about two weeks ago.  Some years, spring comes earlier than others.  I've seen daffodils blooming in late January, but most often, they start coming up in mid February.

No matter how you look at it, spring is here, and it's making me want to get out and work in my flower beds.  It's still too early to plant.  I don't usually do that until after Easter, which is April 20th this year.  But I can get out and start clearing the old stuff out of the beds, and enriching the soil.

I walked through the garden center at Wal-mart and they are starting to get their flowers in.  Just a few so far.  No Lantanas or Zinnias yet, but a few marigolds and some other stuff. 

This is a Gerbera Daisy.  I haven't had any of these before. 


Technically, it's a perennial, but in my planting zone, it's treated like an annual, because it won't survive the winter.  I'm thinking I may put it into one of my planters, so I can bring it in at night.  It's still getting kind of cold at night, but warm in the day.

Oh, this is the most difficult time of the year!  When it's warm enough to want to get out into the flower beds, but still getting too cold at night to plant anything. 

It's like waiting for Christmas. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tattoos

You know how some people like to cover their bodies with tattoos?  Apparently, I have my own version of body art.


Yep, I've managed to brand myself again. What can I say?  I melt metal for a living.  It's one of the hazards of the job.  Or perks.  Depending on your point of view.

It wasn't a significant enough injury to stop me from knitting, though.  I worked some on this hat which I had cast on several weeks ago. 



The yarn is Knitpicks Tonal in Thunderhead, or Thunderstorm, or Thundercloud or something like that. It's been so long since I cast on that I don't remember.  It's just a basic hat pattern.  Or it may be beanie sized.  I don't remember.

I guess I really ought to keep better track of these things, shouldn't I?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beautiful People

Sometimes, I look at those women--

You know the ones I'm talking about, those beautiful women with their straight white teeth, hair that is never out of place, fashionable clothes, and perfectly manicured nails,

and I look at myself and I feel rather drab by comparison.

But then, I look at such a woman and ask myself, "Would she be an asset or a liability during a zombie apocalypse?"

Suddenly, I don't feel quite so bad.  

Sometimes, I look at those men --

You know the ones I'm talking about, those men who slobber and pant after those beautiful women with their straight white teeth, hair that is never out of place, fashionable clothes, and perfectly manicured nails,

and I think to myself, "In a zombie apocalypse, Brother, you are screwed." 

And I grab my bow and go shoot a few rounds.


Then I just sit back and smile, and I realize

It's good to be me. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch


It's that time again! Time for another



Let's just jump right in, shall we?

Questions:

1.  What are your favorite condiments? 

In my pre-egg allergy days, it was mayonnaise.  Real mayonnaise, not that Miracle Whip junk.  I loved mayo so much, I'd eat it right out of the jar with a spoon.  It was especially good on egg sandwiches.  Now, I don't really have a favorite.  I put butter on my sandwiches because I don't like ketchup or mustard.  

2.  What are you reading?

 I'm reading a book written by a high school friend of mine called Zombie Apocalypse Now.  It's pretty good.  I'm impressed.  *It does have quite a bit of strong language in it, though, so be aware of that. 

3.   What was the last dessert you had?

 Cream Cheese pie with cherries on top. 

4.  Wendell would like to know if you would build him a snowman. (If you don't have snow, just pretend. He's not detail oriented.) 

 Of course I would!  With a carrot nose and everything.

5.  Tell me something fun or interesting. 

Fun or interesting, huh?  Well, I'm just not a fun or interesting type of person, am I?  The most fun I've been lately was yesterday's post about being the Crazy Kraken Lady.   Feel free to laugh, or roll your eyes and facepalm.  Whichever seems most pertinent to you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not So Fast

I had a dream once.  There was a time in my life when I thought I'd become a Crazy Cat Lady.  Lots of people are Crazy Cat Ladies, though.  There's nothing wrong with it.  But I wanted to be different.  I wanted to be unique.

I could become a Crazy Bunny Lady. 


More rare than the Crazy Cat Lady, but still, they're out there.

Then, I had an inspiration.  I would become the Crazy Kraken Lady.  The world's first Crazy Kraken Lady.  I would be unique.    I was so excited.  I started making my plans to dig up my back yard to make my Kraken pool.

Until last night, that is.  I watched a show on Animal Planet all about squid.   More specifically, about squid attacking people.

See, there was this fishing boat down in New Zealand, and they were fishing for marlin. Well, they hooked one, but some squid got ahold of it.  By the time the fishermen reeled it in, those squid had stripped that marlin to the bone.  Seriously.  There wasn't anything left but a head, a spine, and some ribs and just enough meat to hold them together. 

Then there was this diver, and he got attacked by a group of squid, and they were trying to eat him. 

To eat him!!

They were biting him through his wetsuit, and they grabbed hold of him and started dragging him down into deep water.  They dragged him down so fast, his eardrums ruptured from the sudden change in pressure.  The diver managed to get away, but in addition to the burst eardrums, he had a dislocated shoulder and a broken wrist, along with about a gajillion bites.

And those were Humboldt squid.  They only get around 4 to 5 feet long.

There are also Giant Squid, which get to about 16 feet long, and the Collosal Squid-- which is most likely the one the Kraken myth is based on.  They have been known to reach in excess of 33 feet long, with estimates of up to 46 feet long.

That is Collosal.




On the show, they were talking about a yacht that was sailing around out on the ocean.  All of the sudden, the yacht stopped.  The people on board said it felt like they had run aground.  But when they ran to look into the water, what they saw was a squid. 

A squid.  It had stopped a boat.  It had grabbed the boat and brought it to a dead stop.  Dang. 

Suddenly, the idea of being the Crazy Kraken Lady didn't seem so appealing after all.  I'm going to have to re-think that dream.

Maybe I'll become the Crazy Platypus Lady instead.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dear CoWorker

No, the bathroom stalls are not all occupied. 

We're standing here in a line with our legs crossed because we're about to break out into an Irish step dance. 


You're welcome to join us.  It's great fun.

Thank you.

That is all. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day

So, why am I not showing you a picture of the pie I made to celebrate?  Because it's in the refrigerator and I'm not.  Therefore, I'm giving you Eye Candy Friday instead. 

That made complete sense to me. 

And you wonder why I can't seem to have conversations with normal people.  Moving right along, here is the eye candy I promised you.


Candy!

Speaking of eye candy, my yard is full of daffodils.  They are my favorite flower, so I just couldn't resist picking a few and bring them inside.


There are still plenty in the yard. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Murphy's Day

Whatever could go wrong, did. 

The only redeeming thing about the day was that it is in fact, Thor's Day.  


 And the really strange dream I had about Group Leader Fernando.  He spent 20 years in the Army, and if you ask his hair, he seems to have forgotten that he's retired.  Well, last night I dreamed he had let it grow long and dyed it yellow.  Yellow.    I told him about it, and he laughed and said, "Why do you want to put that hippie complex on me?" 

In lieu of anything more interesting to talk about-- since the details about what all went wrong at work wouldn't make any sense to most of you, and if you did understand, would bore you senseless, I offer you a couple more Throwback Thursday photos. 

These are a couple my Auntie had in her albums.  


 I was about 15 in this one, and was going through a cowboy phase.   And this one was a year or two later.  Check out that hair!  And the glasses. 


Did I really go out in public looking like that????  Oh, and that NIKE shirt.  I loved that shirt because I'd had a huge crush on a guy who'd had one just like it. 

Yeah, that was another one of those What Was I Thinking? moments.  The crush, not the shirt.  The shirt was pretty cool. 

Much more so than the guy turned out to be. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Whiskers And Knitting On Wednesday

It seems winter isn't quite ready to give up just yet.  What with the chilly temperatures coming back for a bit, it seemed a good idea to pick up the blanket again. 


I'm starting on the third row of squares, and it's going a lot faster than the entrelac.  I like it better, too.

I'd taken a break from it for a few days and worked on this scarf.


The pattern is Trekking Is For Necking, and the yarn is Zauberball Crazy, on size four needles.  I also knit a few rows on this scarf. 


This is the One Row Scarf in a Snowflake Wool Blend yarn that Beverly bought on clearance.  She decided she didn't like it and gave it to me.  It's knitting up into a really nice scarf.

That's all I've been working on lately.  I'm determined to finish a few of my UFOs before casting on anything else.  One of these days, I'm going to drag them all out and photograph them.  I haven't yet, because I have so many it's a daunting prospect.

I've also challenged myself to go a whole year without buying yarn. Think I can do it?  The last time I bought yarn was in December, to finish up some Christmas gifts.  Now, since Hank's is closed, and Knit Picks is still on my naughty list, I think maybe I can.  The only exception I'll make is if I need more yarn for Kyle's blanket.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Squeaky says, "Yeah, right." 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch



I always somewhat enjoy Chat days, because I don't have to strain my brain for a blog topic.  You ought to be glad, too, because otherwise, you'd be hearing all about my trip to the dentist.  So, let's chat, shall we?

1.  If you are in the US, does the time change mess you up? 

Yes, it does, but in the fall more so than in the spring.  The spring time change usually comes during our busy season at work, so I'm not keeping consistent hours anyway.  

2.   Do you usually drink a beverage with you meals? 

Yes, usually tea or a diet soft drink, or milk, depending on what I'm having.  

3.  How often do you iron clothes? 

Seldom.  I don't really have that many clothes that need ironing any more.  Now, when I was in the Navy, I ironed every single day.  And I do mean every day.

4.   When was the last time you took an enjoyable walk? 

Since before the guy put the No Trespassing signs up on the road where I used to walk.   Now that it's starting to warm up, I'm going to try to take the dogs down to the lake and walk some of the trails out there, before it gets too hot to go for walks. 

5.  Tell me whatever you'd like to share with us. 

Oh, goody!  You get to hear about my trip to the dentist after all!  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I've recently gotten some old dental work replaced.  If you just pop in for Chats, I've recently gotten some old dental work replaced.  This time, I decided to go with a flexible partial instead of fixed bridges.  I was getting worried, because I kept having to go back and let the dentist make adjustments to my partial, but today he told me that it is perfectly normal.   It usually takes two or three visits before the partial is right and stuff.  He scheduled me for one more next week, but said if nothing was rubbing or causing sore spots, I could call and cancel it.  Hopefully, I can do that, and won't have to go back. 

So, that's all I have interesting to tell today.  Do come back and join us again next week. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Old Hymns

I was looking for my Baptist Hymnal the other day.

After frantically tearing up the entire house, I finally found it on the end table by the sofa.  Right where I'd left it.  Fancy that.

I found my hymnal and looked up the words to the hymn I'd been trying to remember.  As I was thumbing through, I started singing some of the great old hymns I'd grown up with.  The ones we seldom sing in church any more.

I decided to make a YouTube playlist of some of my favorites.  This has been a very frustrating endeavor.

So many of the professional singers feel the need to jazz up the hymns, which I don't want.  And I don't want videos that sound like congregational singing. I've had to make some compromises.  I've tried to pick the ones that sound professional, but aren't too terribly contemporized. 

I like this version of one of my favorite hymns,



but I'm open to suggestions.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Weekend Miscellany

Yesterday evening was my shopping day.  Today, for want of a more interesting post, I thought I'd show you some of the treasures I found while at the store.

One of my Facebook friends tipped me off to the existence of these. 


They received a resounding yes from me.  Indeed, I ate half the bag before I even got home from the store.

This was probably the most exciting find of my shopping excursion. 


Nasacort!  This is one of the prescriptions my allergist had written me years ago, but I'd had to quit buying because it was just so expensive.  Once they changed our insurance from a co-pay to a deductible, I just couldn't afford it any more.  Even the generic version was $100 for a one month supply.  It is now available over the counter, and for only $12.  Yippee!  Maybe I'll be able to breathe again soon!

Lots of my fellow Texans have been posting photos of bluebonnets, so on a whim, I wandered into the garden center to see if they had any seeds.  Much to my amazement, I found them!


I'm going to plant them in my starter trays tomorrow, and hope they grow here.   I'll let you know how that goes. 

I also bought a bag of onions. 


I have no idea what I'm going to do with them.  I just really felt like I needed a bag of onions.  I'm thinking a potato and onion soup of some sort.  Or maybe I'll slice one of them up, mix up a batter, and fry them into onion rings.

And sourdough bread, which I didn't need, but bought anyway.


Yeah, I splurged.

Now, I'm off to bed, and don't forget to spring forward tonight. 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

Throw back Thursday (Or Thor's Day, as I like to call it) has become a thing on Facebook.  The point is to post old photos of yourself and stuff.  To get into the spirit of things, I thought I'd do one here, too.

  For our first step down memory lane, here I am the day I graduated from college, May 1987.


 With me is Susan Day.  She could do the best camel lips I've ever seen.   Check out those shorts!  I loved them; they were like my favorite shorts ever.

Here we go way back to the time when I was just over a year old-- January 1966.


You're not going to believe this, but I can actually remember getting this photo taken.  I was fascinated by the shag rug, and was sitting down playing with it.  I remember the photographer telling me to stand up and hold Bubba's foot.  Seriously, I do.

Now, let's zoom forward in time to when I was in the Navy.  


This was the day I finished the first part of my electronics technician school, which would make this November 1989.  That Petty Officer with me was in charge of the barracks.  I can't remember her name, and I can't blow the photo up enough to read her name tag, but she called me her Number One Problem Child.  I don't know why.  I was good.

Really, I was. 

You can stop laughing now. 

OK, back to first grade and my old Bluebird troop.  Or whatever groups of Bluebirds were called.

And finally, me on my wedding day, which just happens to be 21 years ago today.


I probably should have looked happier, but hey, there's a reason we never made it to our first anniversary. 

Well, that's about it for Throw Back Thursday.  I don't expect this to be a weekly feature, but I didn't sleep well last night, and it seemed an adequate cop-out. 


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dear CoWorker

In case you hadn't noticed

Al-Qaeda has retaken most of Iraq
The Taliban is poised to retake Afghanistan as soon as the last U.S. Troops withdraw
Iran is frighteningly close to developing nuclear weapons
North Korea is even closer
People are rioting in Venezuela
And Vladimir Putin is actively working towards achieving his goal of rebuilding the old Soviet Empire.

Meanwhile, on the home front,

Our military has been completely gutted
More people than ever are on food stamps
We now live under more tyranny than our forefathers fought to throw off
And the American economy is imploding around us even as we speak.

So I can't really say that keeping up with the Kardashians or wittering on about who is messing around with whom is all that high on my list of priorities right now.

But thank you for asking.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

 Yes, it is cold again.  But it is supposed to warm up later this week.  For today, though, I think we will chat inside. 






1.  Do you like avocados? 

 Yes, I love avocados.  I could eat them every day. 

2.  Have you ever gone on a roller coaster? 

Yes, I have.  Though I generally claim to be a coaster chicken (I even have a t-shirt that says that-- somewhere), I have ridden one in Worlds Of Fun in Missouri, and I've also ridden Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain in Disneyworld.  

3.  Do you do cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel work, or needle punch? 

I used to cross stitch all the time.  I've done some plastic canvas needlepoint, too.  I haven't done crewel or needle punch.  My craft of preference is knitting.  In case you haven't noticed. 

4.  Do you cook with gas or electric? 

 I have an electric stove right now.  I have had gas stoves in the past,  Of the two, I think gas would be my preference, even though I grew up using electric.


5.  Tell me something good, pleasant, or uplifting. Please.

Hang in there.  Spring is coming.   Here's proof: 


I've got a yard full of them.  

Monday, March 03, 2014

Icemageddon

I survived Icemageddon.  Yay, me!

Really, it wasn't bad here at all, though my friend Amy, whom you've met before, lost power for several hours.  There wasn't much ice here, even though my Jimmy had a good layer on him.  Funniest thing, the car doors were frozen shut.  The only one I could get to open was the back hatch.  I climbed inside and tried to open the driver's side door from the inside, but I couldn't.  I finally ended up pouring water (tap water --NOT hot, or you may crack your windows) over the door to melt the ice enough to get it opened.

Despite having no heat or defroster, I made it safely to work.  Good thing I only live 1 1/2 miles from the plant.

Well, like I said I was going to do, I ended up spending most of the weekend sitting in front of the TV and knitting.  I've gotten two rows completed on Kyle's blanket.


I stretched it out over my bed, which is a queen sized bed, and I do think it'll be big enough.

I spent the rest of Saturday tussling with my finances.  I have a little used bank account that I haven't reconciled since, like July, so I had to take care of that.  Then when I was paying bills, I noticed my house note had a past due amount on it for last month.  I knew I'd paid that bill, and looking back through my checkbook, I had indeed written the check.  Then, when I was reconciling that account, I saw that the money had been debited to my account.  So, I had to call customer service.  They insisted that the last payment they'd received had been for January,  and to prove it, I would have to print out my bank statement and a copy of the cancelled check and send it to them.  They did an electronic funds transfer, so there is no cancelled check.  I did print out my transaction history from the bank's website, and I hope that'll do them.

I got the sweetest little thank you notes from my nephews.  This one is from Andrew.


He drew a picture of me, and what appears to be a porcupine, surrounded by lots of hearts.  He's the sensitive one.

Nate drew what looks like Moose and her twin calves. 


Nate is the practical one.  He's also the oldest.   He is going to buy spy gear. 

This one is from Paul, the youngest.  He apparently has an affinity for alligators and sharks. 



Fighting ninjas.  Or is that me?  I'm not sure. 

I like this kid, Paul. 

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