Friday, September 21, 2018

Photo Friday

There's nothing like an Etsy shop custom hat order to motivate me into knitting hat #24.   Only 28.75 more hats to knit before December 31st.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three on Thursday

Three random things for Three on Thursday:

1.  Florence.  By the time she moseyed her way across Virginia on Monday she wasn't even a tropical depression anymore, but she still packed a wallop.

Hurricane Florence brought flooding rains and tornadoes to Richmond, VA on September 17, 2018
photo courtesy of

She brought flooding rains and multiple tornadoes.

One person died in a tornado in Chesterfield VA
photo courtesy of

Sarah and I happened to be at Target when a tornado touched down less than a mile away.  I was pretty impressed with the way Target handled the situation.  They "closed" the store, as in shut down all the registers and pharmacy and had everyone, including the customers, move to the back of the store.  The whole event took about three hours because we'd get the all clear signal and everyone would start making their way up front to the registers and the warning sirens would go off again and everyone would turn around and return to the back of the store.  Over and over and over again.  

I have to say, I really was impressed with both the Target employees and their customers.  No one was complaining, even the moms with small children in tow.  A couple of the employees got a few simple toys off the shelves and played with some of the children to keep them occupied.  Even when our ears began popping from the change in air pressure, everyone stayed nice and calm.  I was amazed.

2.  Speaking of Florence.... The Florence news coverage introduced me to the NC shark cam.  I mentioned how obsessed I am with this underwater view the other day.  But I'm embarrassed to admit that after spending two whole days wondering why there were so many sharks in that area, I finally realized I was watching a highlight reel, not live video because the cameras were damaged in the storm.  I feel pretty silly for not realizing it, but dang! I'm happy to learn that there aren't that many sharks swimming off the coast of NC.  .... Or are they?  Guess I'll have to wait for the cameras to be repaired to find out.

3.  It's funny the tricks our minds play on us.  When creating my Labor Day post, I didn't even notice the grammatical error in the meme until the next day when I was looking at it before my morning coffee had kicked in.  My awake brain glossed over the error and saw what it should have said while my still-asleep brain read the actual words.  I find that interesting.  And a little scary.  Does that mean I should begin doing all my proof reading in the morning before coffee??  Yikes!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Makers' Monday

Once again I'm typing in advance of Monday on the off chance that Florence kills our power.  I'm fairly certain that Florence has finally chosen her path and we won't have any hurricane related issues but it's always best to be prepared.  And I think I've proven that it's even better to be over prepared.

And over prepared I am.  

Enough bottled water to fill Lake Michigan?  Check.

Candles, matches and flashlights?  Check.

Extra gas for the stove, grill, generator and cars?  Check.

Emergency chocolate stash?  Check.

Liquor/wine cabinet filled to capacity?  Check.

Junk food supply too large to fit in pantry?  Check.

yarn shopping at Knitting B's in Richmond, VA in preparation for Hurricane Florence
hurricane yarn haul

Yarn Stash upgraded?  Check.

Hurricane reading materials available?  Check.

seed and rib stitch cowl knit with Malabrigo Rios yarn
Noro Cowl knit with Malabrigo Rios
Special hurricane knitting project?  Check.

NC shark cam is a fascinating view of sea life 35 miles off the coast
NC shark cam

Hurricane knitting, reading and even junk food abandoned? Check!

I've discovered North Carolina's shark cam and can not look away.  I'm fascinated and somewhat lulled into an almost comatose state listening to the water and watching the fish maneuver through the currents.  

How did I not know this shark cam existed?  I am SO excited to have found it.  I've been wanting a large aquarium for years but couldn't face the expense or hassle of maintaining one.  This shark cam is the perfect solution.

(And no one is harmed when I forget to feed the fish!)

For the past week I've been worrying about having enough food, booze and entertainment to get us through a power outage.  It takes a LOT of food and booze to distract me from a lack of Netflix.  But  I've replaced my need for Netflix with the fish.  It's going to take a very special knitting project to distract me from the fish!

But once again, I'm prepared.  While hurricane yarn shopping, I picked up a couple of skeins of Malabrigo Rios and a seed and rib stitch cowl pattern from a Noro magazine.  I'm set!  Between this lovely yarn and the shark cam, I may not even need junk food or booze to get me through the storm.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Soup

Once again, I'm typing this in advance in anticipation of power outages due to Hurricane Florence.  I chose Chicken Stew for this week because it's easy, can be cooked several different ways, including on the grill, and the recipe is never harmed by a lack of or inclusion of extra ingredients.

photo couresty of

The recipe I follow is so basic and flexible, it's not really a recipe.  I generally include whatever I have on hand and in whatever quantity I have on hand until the stew pot (or Instant Pot) is full.  

The ingredients I always use are:

Chicken, white or dark, cut off the bone and cut into large bite sized chunks
Potatoes cubed or shredded*
Carrots cut into 1 inch pieces or shredded or whole baby carrots*
Chicken broth or stock (water and a couple of bouillon cubes will work in a pinch)

Ingredients I usually add:

Celery, including leaves if available
Canned or frozen green beans
Canned or frozen corn
Diced onion
Diced garlic
Red bell pepper flakes
Hot sauce

Ingredients I occasionally use:

Rice** instead of potatoes
Frozen green peas or butter beans instead of green beans
Canned tomatoes and/or tomato sauce
Diced ham or salami
Cream or milk

*If I'm making this soup at the last minute and I'm low on ingredients, I'll shred the carrots and potatoes instead of chopping/cubing them.  Shredding them makes for a less liquidy stew and it cooks quicker.

**When cooking on the stove top or in the oven, I wait to add the rice until the last 20 - 30 minutes of cooking time.

To prepare, I cook the chicken, onion, garlic and celery in a little bit of olive oil until the chicken turns white.  Then I add all the other ingredients and add enough water to cover.  Put a lid on the pot and either simmer on the stove top for 45-60 minutes; put the pot in a 325 degree oven for several hours, or use the Instant Pot for 25 - 30 minutes.  Or in the likely case this week, when we probably don't have power (I'm typing this in advance of the hurricane, remember?) we can set the pot on the grill and cook it outdoors.

Again, I'm praying for those in Florence's path.  With or without power, I hope you are able to enjoy a hot meal today.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Photo Friday

Phew!  'The Season' is over and done with work-wise and I had a full week, Monday through Friday off.  I spent it knitting. the coffee shop, Palette value set from Knit Picks.
The Coffee Shop

Well, knitting and preparing for Hurricane Florence.  Luckily, thankfully, I was able to get lots of knitting done while I waited for giant containers of water to freeze into ice blocks.

I received The Coffee Shop value pack in the mail last week and was excited to start knitting with it rather than try to figure out how and where to store more yarn.  In my excitement, I just grabbed a needle (US2) and cast on enough stitches that I could comfortably begin knitting in the round.  Then I cast on a few more just to be sure...  And I started knitting random width stripes.  It's going to be a cowl.  And I love the warm, understated, earthy browns.  It's been a great, easy project to help calm my pre-hurricane jitters.

Speaking of hurricanes...  I'm writing this in advance in anticipation of power outages.  Obviously I don't know what kind of damage Florence has done as of this morning, but I continue to keep all the east coasters in my thoughts and prayers throughout this storm.  Stay safe!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Three on Thursday and a little bit of guilt

Hurricane Florence is coming, it's Three on Thursday, and I'm feeling just a little bit guilty.  I'll explain why in a moment, but first, let me explain this post.

Although she can't quite make up her mind exactly where she wants to go, it's a given at this point that Florence will be visiting the east coast over the next few days.  I have to admit, I Love hurricanes!  There's something about the anticipation and the wild weather and survival... that just excites me and turns me slightly manic.  But, after surviving Isabel which left us without power for 13 days....  and Gaston which filled our house with ten feet of water...  I'm a little weird about storms.  I'm excited, manic, and freaked out all at the same time.  It's that feeling I imagine you get just before jumping out of an airplane.  That "This is so exciting, it's gonna be Awesome!, oh my gosh, I'm gonna die!" feeling.

And because of that excited freak out, I tend to over prepare.  And the more I over prepare, the less likely it is that the storm will actually hit.  It's happened that way with every storm since.  The more I prepare, the less it rains.  And with kind Mr. Weatherman predicting Florence dumping as much as 30+ inches of rain. (and that's not even considering the wind or the fact that it's already been raining a solid week before her arrival...)  You can bet your sweet behind that I am preparing.  

And that's why I'm feeling a little guilty. 

photo courtesy of

1.  As a family, we drink a lot of water.  And we don't drink tap water, we drink bottled.  And it just so happens that on Sunday, everyone in the family individually, without telling anyone else, bought a week's worth of water.  Except I bought two weeks' worth.  While I was putting the normal five gallons into the cart, the nice Walmart lady (it was in the wee hours of the morning when all the Walmart employees are actually nice) commented that I better stock up because they expected to run out by noon the next day and may not be getting more in before the storm.  So I bought extra.  Our house now looks like a water storage warehouse.

Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence had shifted just slightly to the south.  Virginia was still going to get hammered, but we might not die in the storm.

2.  With the news that we might actually survive, I started thinking about drinking warm water for days on end after the storm leaves us with no power for possibly weeks....  So I plugged an old, unused freezer in and proceeded to make ice in every single container I could find.  Plastic travel cups, Tupperware cereal keepers, even mixing bowls became over sized ice trays. Once frozen, I put those chunks of ice in bags and repeated the process.  We now have an upright freezer full of nothing but large ice blocks.  We're ready to keep things cool for a while.

Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence had shifted even more to the south.

3.  So I made multiple pots of coffee and put them in the freezer, just in case.

And Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence was taking not only a more southerly route, but that she was also going to take a sharp left turn once she hit land.  

All I can say is,  I am SO sorry!  I feel like because of my over-preparing actions, I have single handedly wiped North Carolina and possibly South Carolina off the map.

Where ever she lands, I pray that you all stay safe and relatively dry.  Godspeed.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Makers' Monday

So, we're talking about the weather today.

And I have "Oh the weather outside is frightful" stuck in my head and playing on repeat.  Thankfully, or not, it's just that one line from the song.  "Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

I know that while in the midst of it, every summer feels like the hottest, most humid summer on record.  But this summer....  This summer Had to be some kind of a record.

Knitting a striped scarf to indicate the daily temperatures in 2018.
2018 Weather Cowl

My weather cowl tube (I still don't know what it's going to be.  A cowl?  A scarf? A pile of knitting that sits in the corner mocking me?) only has one, solitary red stripe indicating a temperature above 95.  But that single, solitary stripe is so misleading.  We may have only had one day that the actual temperature was 96 or above, but the Feels Like temperature was over 100 for most of August.  Even our 80+ degree days had Feels Like temps of over 100.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful....."

And September has turned the humidity into actual rain.  It's been raining for several days, and it's going to keep on raining throughout the coming week and into the next.

And Hurricane Florence is heading our way.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful....."

I have to admit although I'm complaining, I love a good storm.  I've been slightly manic ever since Mr. Weatherman announced that Florence would most likely not stay out to sea.  So, I guess I'll just enjoy this period of energized productivity and keep singing "Oh the weather outside is frightful....."  and just be glad it's rain, not snow.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..... let it rain, let it rain, let it rain..."

And if my whining about the weather hasn't scared you away and you're still reading, please join me for Makers' Monday.