Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter 2010

Jim has been moved to have something on the blog.  He was made a co-poster when we started but didn't have anything he NEEDED to post about until now.  This is the view from the front bedroom window.  It is Abbott Avenue.  It doesn't look to bad at first until you realize those are ruts down the center of the street.  And you are looking at them from quite aways away.  Up close they are darn near deep enough to trap small children.  Or, according to Jim, "peel off a low hanging car muffler."
See what he means?  Down at street level it is even scarier.
The story about the streets goes like this.  The state of Minnesota is out of money.  And, we have this really stupid Republican Governor (Pawlenty) who has said no new taxes (which is why we are out of money) so the state has cut much of the money it used to allot to the cities.  Minneapolis thought it would save money before the Christmas storm by not plowing for some little 1-2 inch snowfalls.  
Then, on Christmas eve/day, there was a bigger storm and they had to plow.  
The snow was amazingly wet and heavy and they got through the highways and 'snow emergency routes'  which took 2 days, but by the time they started on the side streets it got really cold.  Way below zero.  The wet snow froze into lovely ice and there it has stayed.  The ruts dug into the soft wet snow are just getting a little more slippery as the sun smooths them a tiny bit in the daytime.  What a mess!!!  It is now February and you know that after being there 5 weeks that ice is not going away until the spring thaw.  
Jim claims they are at their worst right in front of Mom and Dad's house.

Jim again...."So it's slow driving on Abbott Avenue this winter."
Wow, 16 words.  Well he isn't wasting them is he?  I however am positively squandering my words.  All over the page.  And saying nothing.  Now that takes talent.   I will let the pictures I took in Clifford speak for me.  We went home for a few days and I took some pictures of the snow in the yard.  Lots of snow.  Jim says the snow in Clifford is a lot prettier than the 'snow' in Minneapolis.  The gravel roads are way better than the Minneapolis streets also.
Some of those drifts are between 3 and 4 feet high.  (I have no idea how I made this link)
I am not sure what happened to the pond.  I was quite lazy after I took out the 'water feature' and left the pump going, but there was no sign of it.    I had to peer out the window in the front room to see it as the screened in porch was full.
I don't know what the cats would have though but they did not want to come on such a short trip.
Some metal lawn chairs marooned in the back yard.
And the front steps with another chair.  Really, the steps are there.  
We, however, entered the house though the north door and our lovely new deck/porch.  My it was nice!  I have no idea why I didn't take a picture of it.  Maybe because it was shoveled and didn't have that pristine snowy look about it.  So, for a little contrast....
I don't know how people without seasons stand it!
Love, Nancy

Friday, January 8, 2010

How we used to make popcorn.

Dear Nancy, Jeni, etc,

Although this picture isn't related to the title, it is related to the last post:

That's Luigi in the mohair cat bed before I felted it. He liked it already. Now that cat bed lives at Molly's house behind Nancy's laptop. When Nancy works, Molly can hang out by her and look out the window at the same time.

Anyway, this post came about because Christy called. She is having a sleepover and wanted to know how we used to make popcorn "the old-fashioned way." Apparently she and her friends have popcorn kernels, but no way to put them in the microwave, and no "new-fangled" popcorn makers.

I know I made popcorn this way as late as when I was a teenager - but you might remember better than I (I'm being diplomatic here).

This is what I told her: we used to take a cast-iron pan and we had to use something for a lid (I really don't remember the lid, but we needed a lid.) I distinctly remember not being able to see the popcorn, so occasionally the lid would be lifted off to observe where the popcorn was in the process, and this would invariably result in popcorn flying up into the air and onto the floor, at which point we'd slam the lid back on.

But before we got to the lid-lifting-off stage, we poured oil in the pan - enough to cover the bottom. Then popcorn - enough to cover the bottom. I guessed about those; I need you to say what we really did. Then we put it over heat - about medium high - and shaked and shaked and shaked that pan, one hand on the handle, and the other holding the lid on. We shook it so the popcorn would not fry and burn in the oil. It made a great noise and commotion to shake that heavy cast-iron pan on the burner of the stove, which was probably part of the fun.

And then, after lifting the lid two or three times and causing showers of popcorn (which I recall casually eating off the floor), the popcorn would be done, and we'd pour it into a large brown paper grocery bag, and then pop at least one more batch.

When we had enough popcorn, we'd melt butter (probably in the hot pan) and then one person would pour it into the bag, which another person held and shook around so the butter could be distributed more or less evenly over the popcorn. Then we'd salt it the same way. Then we'd get bowls and eat it, probably watching Ed Sullivan or The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or something on our 16" TV screen.

Ok, that's what I remember. What do you remember?
Love, Mary

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yarn, can't live without it...again

Dear Jeni and Mary,          

Well I actually received this the day before Christmas, when Christy was here, and these pictures have been patiently waiting in my camera since then.  Of course I was having fun with Christy and getting ready for Christmas and then I was doing the same thing and getting ready for New Years.  Then we had to return Christy.  (((sigh)))
And then I had to go and get a joint capsule tear in my right foot and my foot swelled up like a balloon and I couldn't walk on it and I felt like... um... not doing anything.  (Trying to be polite)
I was able to put my shoe on again Wednesday and it feels pretty good today ( Thursday) as long as I am careful.  Still using Jon's cane to walk to remind me to go slow so I don't injure it again.  Sheesh.   
So finally, no more excuses, this is what I bought from Kitchen Sink Dyeworks.   I followed a link on Knitter's Review.  Somehow I couldn't resist.  You understand how it is.  It was on sale as an "Odd Duck" which means only a few of that dye way left.  Just these two, in fact.
I have been able to use some thicker socks lately (thanks Jeni) and thought maybe I could make a pair with this wonderful blended aqua color of superwash sock/fingering weight yarn.  

It is 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon.
It came wrapped in this beautiful matching tissue with a ribbon and a button.  Too cute!
Then when I opened it up there was a sample of their
worsted weight yarn called Seacell Merino which was as soft as a cloud and looks like it would really hold a nice pattern.  It is really yummy.

So when we go back to Clifford I will have to pick up my needles and look for a sock pattern in my books.  I know I have tons of them.  I won't let Alice help though.  She seems to want to eat it.