Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I Am In Love, Platonically, With My Vacuum

Who thinks of their vacuum cleaner. Really. Do you think about it. Do you mull over it’s properties. Do you look forward to spending time together in a shared activity.

I didn’t think so.

Before I got a dog I didn’t really put much thought into the strengths and weaknesses of a vacuum cleaner. I had small children. There were a lot of crumbs and the floors were sticky anyways. As long as all the Barbie shoes were out of the way, the vacuum cleaner would do just fine. Have you ever tried to vacuum up a Barbie shoe? Not pretty. Come to think of it, there weren’t all that many Barbie shoes in our house because I made sure to throw all of them out immediately upon opening anything Barbie. Stepping on a plastic mini high heeled shoe in the middle of the night will put a cramp in your style and teach your children words they shouldn’t know. And while we are on the subject of that impossibly proportioned toy, Barbies in our home led a rather horrible existence. Ken always seemed to be missing a leg or had a shortened neck because his head had inconveniently popped off and had been thrust back on his neck with rather shortening results. Barbies were almost always without clothing or in clothing that had been constructed by the progeny. Often they would have had a “hair cut”.

Look Mom! We are playing beauty parlor!

Oh dear.

More than likely Barbie and Ken would be swinging from a piece of rope, suspended down the stairwell from second floor to first floor “playing pirate”. Or perhaps they would be connected to a piece of rope so that they could “fly” in a large circle outside. Round and round and round until, invariably, someone landed on the roof of the garage. Where they stayed. Forever.

Sure we will sell you our house! The Mermaid Barbie on the roof is just an extra bonus. You can thank us later.

Where were we before Barbie so rudely interrupted?

Vacuums!

So, OCK had a built in vacuum system. It seemed a good idea at the time and really it was a good idea…until someone would suck up a hair pin….which would make it ALMOST all the way to the receptacle in the basement before getting stuck at that last bend. Thereby gumming up the entire system. Necessitating a call to vacuum cleaner people. Meaning I had to write a check because they had to come out and get the hair pin/pen cap/quarter (quarter! who vacuums up a quarter!)/you name it out of the system. I loved that in house vacuum system but I will never put one in again.

Then we moved. Chez Knit does not have an in house vacuum system. In fact, when I knew we were moving it finally occurred to me that I actually had to have a real, honest to goodness vacuum cleaner again. What to do? I really didn’t want to go out and buy something at that time. We had just paid for a wedding. And then it occurred to me.

There was a vacuum cleaner in the basement. It had come to us along with a bunch of files from a business that HHBL had run years ago. It lurked in the basement, unfulfilled in purpose while I used it’s more jazzified cousin. Now was it’s time to shine.

Or not.

My relationship with The Beast has been cantankerous at best. It was big. It was clunky. It wasn’t really all that good at it’s job. Sort of the Soviet Union of vacuum cleaners. But it was what I had. We made the best of our arranged marriage. I tried not to stress it too much and it tried to occasionally pick up some dog hair or crumbs. Asking it to pick up anything heavier than a crumb was like asking me to climb Mt. Everest.

What a fabulous idea. But no.

It didn’t like my tile floors. The beater bar occasionally tried to eat the fringe on my oriental rugs if I wasn’t watching. It had about as much flexibility as I do first thing in the morning. But when you plugged it in it worked. However recently I had been sensing some hesitation it it’s startability. I would push down on the switch and there would be an infinitesimal pause before The Beast roared to life, sending Max the Magnificent into a quivering mass of dog anxiety and neurosis. It always started, eventually….that is until Sunday…. when it started and then abruptly stopped and would no longer continue. Dead. No longer with us. A gigantic, very heavy lump of non-vacuuming Hoover. It went out to the curb that night and was picked up by the garbage in the morning.

And today, armed with several Target gift cards and a wad of cash I went and bought………

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Meet The Delicious Dyson

I put him through his paces this morning and by the looks of what I emptied out of the receptacle The Beast had been giving the impression of working but actually had just been loafing on the job. My poor rugs!

I am sure DD and I will be deliriously happy together.

Who knew you could be so excited about getting a vacuum cleaner.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather: Happy Independence Day!

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Hurrah!! It’s the 4th of July!!

1.
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I love these people. I just thought you ought to know it. It is always a joy to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of the Friends of the Progeny. I try not to feel old cuz, well, I have known these adults for a long time.

Can you guess which one will be the bride on Labor Day weekend?

I had a blast last weekend going to a shower for Her Abbiness. I might have sat with several of the “mothers” and we might have been “overly snarky” in the words of one of the girls. I know that you find that difficult to believe. I personally think it was all lies told by our progeny to silence us.

2.
At the beginning of 2015 I set myself a “Mystery Sock Yarn” goal. I took six skeins of yarn from the ever growing stash, wound them up, put them in plain brown paper lunch bags and mixed the bags all around so that I didn’t know what was in them. I then knit socks only from those bags (mostly). Well yesterday, I opened up the last bag and started a sock.

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It is Regia, is a colorway that I don’t rightly remember at the moment. They will be knit in my Plain Vanilla Sock pattern. We will be happy together when the winter winds blow.

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I might already have picked out the next 6 skeins of yarn that will need to be wound and put in bags.

Folks, I seriously love doing it this way. When it is time to start a new pair of socks I get all excited wondering what I am going to pick. It’s the little things. And in August my knitting group is doing a Mystery Sock Yarn swap. I can hardly wait. I will admit that I have digressed on a couple of occasions and used sock yarn that wasn’t strictly part of the Mystery Sock Yarn Project of 2015. It happens.

These are some of the socks that I have produced so far this year.

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Handmade sock problem? I do not know what you speak of.

3.
I am sorry to report that……

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The trusty iPod has finally died. Dahling has been on her way out since about 6 months after her warranty expired but it has been a slow and painful death. She is my trusty audiobook companion who is in constant use. First it was the “on/off” button on the top that all of a sudden one day was pressed down and wouldn’t come back up. I took her into the Genius Bar and was told that there wasn’t anything that I could do about it. Apple didn’t fix those things because, as the genius at the Genius Bar said, “Well, they are made in China by someone getting minimum wage. If we fix it we would do it here in the US and the repair would be done by someone making a whole lot more money so, no, we don’t fix them. But I would be glad to let you trade it in for just about the same amount of money that you paid for it.”

Um, no thank you. She did show me how to at least turn off the screen. But this poor iPod hasn’t been turned off since 2011. She is tired. She hasn’t been worthy, in the eyes of Apple, for an ios upgrade since somewhere around iOS6. Most apps don’t work on her and the apps that I do have on her are SLOOOOOW. And today, the ear bud jack finally gave up the ghost.

I have ordered a replacement from eBay. Now if I can just last until it arrives.

4.
Max the Magnificent has terrible gas.

I just thought you ought to know in case he succeeds in killing me with the noxious fumes that he is putting forth.

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I am old, Alpha, and I just can’t help it. Just think of it as my gift to you.

Some gifts we just don’t want to receive.

5.
It’s Blossom time again! Last night was our fist Blossom concert of the season.

Us and 14,000 of our closest friends. HHBL and I know the routine for the 4th of July concerts at Blossom.

Go. Early.

We had our chairs in place on the hill by 6:15p, almost two hours prior to the start of the concert. By the time we found “our place”, the hillside was already 1/2 full. People kept streaming in, even after the concert started and whatever green space might be had was soon filled. We were right behind another couple who had about a 5x6 sq foot space in front of them. I was amazed to see two women march right up and put their chairs and cooler right down in that spot.

Well, OK then.

The concert was great. The company was good. We even saw some friends. All in all a good way to officially start Summer in the Frozen Northeast Ohio.

And there wasn’t any rain. Let the rejoicing begin. I say that because in June we officially had 8.33 inches of rain fall from the sky. That ranks June 2015 as the third rainiest since they started keeping records.

We are very tired of rain. If you are from California, I am sorry.

6.
Are you doing anything fun for the 4th of July?

HHBL and I are doing…….absolutely nothing and very much enjoying it. Our May and June were so hectic that any weekend that has nothing scheduled seems like a luxury to me. He took a long bike ride. I worked on some lace knitting and listened to 1776 by David McCullough.

Have you ever listened to that book or read it? You must! I know a bunch about history, but there is a whole lot that I am ashamed to say that I do not know about the founding of my own country. I am continually amazed at the strength and perseverance of the men and women that founded the United States.

Tonight I might have to indulge in a viewing of Independence Day. After all…..

It is, OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!

7.
Instagram. Cuz I got nothin’ else.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Just Another Reason

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It was Brecksville Home Days this past weekend. All the fun and food are just a five minute walk down the street from Chez Knit. 2015-06-28 20.37.01

We might have had a funnel cake. Just assume that we are in training for the Geauga County Fair Foodapalooza that we participate in every year.

We could hear the Eagles tribute band playing as we sat in our living room.

And Sunday night I walked out of my front door, took a right, walked 50 feet up the street and stood there watching the fireworks show. Who wouldn’t love that! We were able to watch the “mini show” on Saturday night from our upstairs windows.

By the way…. the above photo was taken with my iPhone. I am more than a bit pleased. I was going to take the time to set up Big Bertha on the tripod and take photos that way but at the last minute I just decided to play with iPhone fireworks photos.

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The question now is, do I take Big Bertha to the concert at Blossom on Friday night? It will all depend on the rain.

And by the way…..we have had 3.5+ inches of rain in the past week. I am starting on the ark tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2015

B3: Once A Week Is All I Can Manage

The title says it all. Although things SHOULD get a bit less hectic now that I don’t have to get on a plane for awhile. May and June I am so DONE with you! Now on to Summer.

1.
HHBL and I took a quick trip to the Big Apple this week. He had a conference to go to and I tagged along because I could then hang with Cartoon Girl for a couple of days. We had dinner with TNG and Cartoon Girl. CG and I walked the streets of NYC.

And we got to stay in the in-laws condo……

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It was a struggle to have to deal with these views but we managed.

2.
And speaking of the in-laws condo. Our nieces have two pet Guinea Pigs. For some reason I became obsessed with taking pictures of them and then Instagramming the pictures with movie line hashtags.

Don’t judge.

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If I hide my head in here then she can’t see me. #LiesGuineaPigsTellThemselves

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Release.Me. #IndependencePig #movielines

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Don’t move. She can’t see us if we don’t move. #JurrasicPig #movielines

I had way too much fun with it. A girl has to find the joy in life somehow doesn’t she?

3.
And speaking of travel, as we were. Can I just tell you that I am adding LaGuardia to my list of airports that I hate and despise. Dirty, needs an update. Yuck. Our plane arrived early into LaGuardia on Monday afternoon, which meant that there was no gate for us. Which meant that all of us who REALLY needed to get off the plane to “use the facilities” weren’t happy. Much seat squirming commenced. And the minute that the pilot announced that we were going to have to hold on the taxi way for a bit people started hitting that call button and asking to get up to quickly go to the bathroom, which I can understand EXCEPT that if they are up and out of their seats then the plane cannot taxi, which the pilot reminded everyone of. And then when we finally did land and I got off the plane, walking carefully so as not to “drop my contents” I stagger into the first available bathroom only to find that it has only one stall…..and I am not the first in line.

Oh lordy! It always seems as if the time slows to a crawl when you really have to go to the bathroom and it is so near and yet so far.

Whine whine whine.

Fast forward to Wednesday night when our plane is late leaving LaGuardia. The plane was coming from Atlanta and in the end was three hours late. Which meant that we had to sit at the gate for a bit, waiting for that big wide bird to fly us right out of there. Time again slows to a crawl. However, it was VERY good people watching. So there is that.

But it doesn’t make me like LaGuardia any more.

4.
Be careful what you brag about. Last weekend I was telling Shoe Queen and Slim Jim about how few problems I have had with Coco the Perfect Subaru since she came to live with us.

And then this morning, when I pulled out of the garage.

KerTHUNKaRattle.

What the HECK?

I stopped the car and got out and looked all around and underneath and didn’t see anything hanging down or waving in the air so I got back in a drove on. And when I hit the first bump in the road I heard the rattle. The rather loud and ominous rattle. The scary rattle that makes my heart go pitter patter and my armpits sweat profusely.

She goes to the Subaru Service Doc on Monday and until that time she will sit in comfort in the garage.

5.
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I might have had Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a Chocolate Glazed donut TWICE this week.

Chocolate Glazed are my Kryptonite. They are the Borg of the donut world.

Resistance is futile.

6.
I might have ordered some yarn this week.

I am weak.

But it was Knit Picks Felici, which never stays around all that long. You have to grab it while it’s there.

Felici

Picture courtesy of Knit Picks

It is such happy yarn. I could not resist. Of course I needed it. What would make you think otherwise??

7.
Instagram. Because there are never enough pictures of Guinea Pig butts.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

B3: The Kids Are Visiting Edition

Shoe Queen and Slim Jim are here at Chez Knit for a visit. Of course we had to do some fun things.
1.
We went to the West Side Market yesterday. We all know how much I love and adore this place. The old budget takes a hit when we shop there. The produce always looks fabulous and we often find something that we have never seen before.

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Rambutan! They look like some strange sea creature. The flesh has the consistency of a grape and the taste is faintly citrus and grapefruit. Deeeeeelicious.

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There is always the one stall that has a suckling pig for sale. I have no place or way to cook this…..and yet I want to buy it so that I can attempt it.

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Shopping is very tiring work indeed.

2.
After making the rounds of the market, and maybe buying about 18 loaves of bread at Mediterra (my FAV place for artisan bread), we put our stuff in the car and walked back out to find lunch. Walked past Market Garden Brewery and on down to Nano Brew, just down the street.

Can I just say that if you love beer from a microbrewery or small region brewery, Cleveland is the place for you. Great Lakes, Market Garden, Nano Brew, Brewkettle, Thirsty Dog, Brick and Barrel, Platform Brewing, just to name a few.

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For lunch I indulged in a Fathead Brewing Head Hunter IPA. Deeeeeeeeeelicious. And it fell within our guidelines of drinking local microbrew. Fathead is located in North Olmstead. Dang I love Cleveland and the surrounding Frozen Northeast Ohio and their microbrew beer culture

Did I digress? Did I reveal that HHBL and I are beer snobs (hangs head in shame and reaches for a snobby, locally brewed IPA)? Get me talking about good beer and all other things go out of my brain.

Where was I?

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When you can have tater tots with your Falafel sandwich, it is a really good day.

TOTS! Who doesn’t love tater tots? Crispy nuggets of potato, deep fried. Oh be still my beating heart. I might have taken half of the portion home because there were so many. And because I am a VERY NICE MOMMY I let Shoe Queen consume them as a late night snack.

3.
After shopping and lunch we staggered home and rested for an hour before going back out to go to a movie. Don’t want any down time!

We saw……….

Jurrasic

Three of the four of us liked it. I thought it was good, HHBL was not as enthused. Of course not as good as Jurassic Park but then it is hard to come up to that standard. There were a couple of memorable lines that I am sure will fall into family movie line quoting.  It didn’t take itself all that seriously. There were funny moments. There was excitement. There were cute kids. There was family tension. There was a surprise villian (sort of). There was the clueless park owner who just wants people to have “fun” but doesn’t think about the cost. I hoped throughout the entire movie that Vincent D’Onofrio would be eaten by some dinosaur……..

Spoiler Alert

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He is. I know it is wrong to rejoice at death and dismemberment at the tiny hands (but large teeth) of a Velociraptor….but he had it coming.

Overall, it was a good summer movie. CERTAINLY better than San Andreas. All I can say about THAT movie is that it is two hours of time that I will never get back.

4.
Friday evening saw us going to the Cleveland Indians – Tampa Bay Rays game. They were celebrating the 1995 Cleveland Indians, a fabulous season. We had season tickets at that time in our life and 1995 was so much fun.

Plus……

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It might have been “Dollar Dog Night” at Progressive Field. Ahhhhhh, there is nothing like a lukewarm hot dog in a soft, wrinkled bun to make your heart go pitter patter. I might have had two of them, smothered in ketchup, mustard and pickle relish. Yes, I KNOW that isn’t the way that I grew up having a hot dog. But if I asked for a dill pickle and sour kraut on my dog and hold the ketchup then I can tell you I would have gotten strange looks indeed. Cleveland doesn’t understand the Chicago Dog.

Other than that, and the fact that despite several chances the Indians did not win the game, we had a good time. And at the end of the game…….

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There were fireworks!

5.
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The sunset might also have been fabulous. We were in section 546, which is where we had our first season tickets in 1994. You have a great view of the field except for the 1st base line. From 1995 onwards we were in section 548, just a bit to the left, which gave you most of the 1st base line as well. Oh how I loved those seats. We have had season ticket seats in other sections of the park in other years but the seats in section 548 were my favorites. Everyone around us were also season ticket holders so we saw the same people for all 20 games that we attended as well as all of the post-season games. It was a wonderful year for baseball.

6.
I also might have figured out that the iPhone camera has a “photo burst” mode.

Who knew!

I didn’t bring Big Bertha to the game and I really wanted to experiment with taking fireworks photos with the iPhone. But no matter how quick you are with your finger on the button your reaction time would be too slow. However, as I sat there in the top of the 7th I decided to let Google give me some information. Low and behold if, instead of just touching the “take the picture” button, you keep your finger on the button it takes a boat load of pictures. It keeps them in a “stack” on your phone and you can then decide which ones that you like.

Genius.

And a very easy way to take WAY TOO MANY PICTURES.

7.
Instagram. Just because I love pictures.

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