This past week marked 4 years since Angie died. I read through all the Angie re-runs and laughed about the funny things she said, which she in no way intended to be as hilarious as I found them. I recalled the trip to Dillard's to go bra shopping because she needed some new ones.
All the Moss girls tried our hardest to get out of taking Mom to the mall. Mostly because she would inevitably decide things had to be returned. I always tried to get Dottie to do the returns when she was in town for a visit. Which, by the way, she always did. Mary Ann and I are in complete agreement that she was, and remains, the sister best suited for jobs like this.
Every one of you who has been through the death of a parent knows that time becomes irrelevant once they are gone. Dad died 18 years ago and I still miss him the same way I miss Angie. Mostly what I can say is that I remember the good times way more than the not so good. I dwell less on things I might have done better.
I love the ritual we have created of getting together each year on their birthdays to remember. Making new memories wrapped around the old ones. For sure, Ray and Angie would approve highly of that.
Plans for new computer investigations and meeting a friend for coffee were foiled by ice today. Sharp, daggers of ice. Actually those were not as much of an issue as the ice on our alpine downhill ski-slope of a driveway.
Warm spices were the remedy.
Cooking, sandwiched in between ice removal, was plan B.
Do you know about How Not to Die? Fascinating book about the role of nutrition in disease prevention and reversal. Well, there is a cookbook now.
Which was delivered to my house the other night.
One can always use a new way to eat Brussels sprouts.
I also made a batch of collard greens with onions and cherries. An old standby, generally reserved for farmers market greens, but it seems pretty perfect for right NOW.
The birdbath was also refilled. That heater thing I bought has worked like a charm, so far. There is some kind of fungus growing on the underneath side of the bowl. I will worry about that later.
Angie and Sister bought this plastic butterfly for me 15-20 years ago at some garden place around Harrison Arkansas. It has held up quite well through the years despite the loss of it's antennae in some previous weather related injury. Every time I see it I smile thinking about them deciding I needed it. And how right they were.
Today I also began a deep dive into jicama. Whether or not it's good. How to peel it without cutting a finger off. If I should eat it raw or do something else with it. You know, just the usual.
Do let me know if you have the insiders scoop on it.
In case you hadn't noticed, it seems Tall Tales from Kansas has turned into more of a knitting blog than anything else lately.
When it's cold and icy though, the yarn calls and I am content to answer. And even engage in conversation with it as I sit. And knit.
Both the front and the back edges of this vest have been completed.
The edging is nice and clean and straight and pretty. On the wrong side as well as the right side. I can tell this is a garment that is going to lay flat and not be twisting and turning and flapping around messily while I am wearing it. Which can be important in the overall enjoyment. For a picky person. Which I am not. But I still can appreciate an excellent design element.
The front and the back have now been joined and I am on one set of needles working my way around and around and around.
This is the perfect kind of knitting for Olympic viewing. Which is great since I see an evening of figure skating viewing laid out before me. Maybe I will finish eating the chocolate candies in the heart shaped box. While they are still nice and fresh. I am pretty sure it said on the bottom of the box "best if consumed by February 21st".
Ah Sunday. Here you are, signalling the end of the weekend. It was a slow and easy one here.
Clouds and sun fighting over who got to prevail for most of the hours of each day. Both beat out by the wind in the end.
We were going to watch a movie but ended up catching some of the Olympics instead. I must see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri soon. I have to see if I agree with the sister who "hated it" or the sister who "appreciated it".
The last piece of birthday/valentine cake was dried out and almost thrown away. But then I remembered if you put something like that in the microwave for exactly 8 seconds on "defrost" it makes it taste as good as it did the first day it was baked. Or darn near close to that. In my book.
I kept waiting for some kind of sunset tonight, but settled for cloud formations and glowing golden grass instead. I take my moments of contentedness where I can find them.
Last week my fingers flew as I finished the collar of my Stonepoint poncho.
I also worked in some ends and got it blocked.
I needed to wear it on Friday to knit with friends. We agreed it would be important to dress alike, because you can do that when you are women of a certain age.
They all piled out of the car without complaining so I could snap a photo at the "wishing bench".
Pam did hers with a shorter neck - perfect for wearing a collared shirt with.
Joan chose a lovely golden hue that is perfect with her coloring.
Ann selected a cool gray which will go with any color she wants to put with it.
Happily, my new kicks and mitts go perfect with this shade of blue.
I also dug out a pink t-shirt to further go along with my pink and blue theme.
In case you want to see the back, photo provided below. This will be getting a lot of wear in the months to come. It's just the right weight for this time of year and it's not too hot to also wear indoors.
If you want to do this project - details can be found here. It's a very enjoyable knit.
I finished listening to The Women in the Castle today. It is the story of a group of women, whose husbands were involved in a plot to murder Adolf Hitler in 1944, and how their lives unfold after this.
At first I was not sure I was going to like it, but because I love historical fiction and especially related to WWII, I kept at it and very quickly was drawn in. The different experiences of each of the women and how they cope with them seemed very real to me. Definitely worth a read/listen. Thanks for telling me about it Cheryl Jean!
We had nary a ray of sunshine here today but it did get up to 58 degrees, which was the perfect temperature for a walk outside.
The landscape is still mostly brown here in Kansas, but the geese are back. Watching and listening to them always makes a walk better. The moist air on winter-dry skin was pretty nice too.
There are a few signs of spring in my yard but I am not expecting anything to come on too strong for awhile.
Which is sort of okay with me, because though I am ready for color, I am not quite ready for the big spring clean up that is required at the start of the season.
What I am ready for though, is a day off on Friday. A day off with friends. Sitting around knitting. Which means I better get downstairs right this instant and wind a ball of yarn and cast on the new project I will be working on. I hope you all have something equally enjoyable planned to start your weekends.
I know it's too late for you to drive over to Lawrence and get these candles for your Valentine dinner table, but aren't they superb? We love everything about Waxman Candles.
I myself, went all out for the occasion and baked a cake.
The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen's new cookbook. I can get behind a simple, delicious, one layer cake for a household of 2 who can't eat a big family sized cake!
I even sifted the powdered sugar and used waxed paper to keep the cake stand neat while frosting.
Nothing is too much work for Chris. Who actually really doesn't love desserts, but tolerates them because he knows I have a sweet tooth the size of North America.
Happily, since his birthday is February 11th, he gets plain red sugar on the top of the cake for the birthday, and hearts added for Valentines day.
We are very practical people around here.
This weekend's activities included pulling out all the pink/red yarn in the house and looking at it.
Then after careful consideration, selecting the brightest pink available to make a heart.
I am using the hearts pattern one of you pointed out to me. It's by Amanda Berry.
I could not puzzle out exactly how it was going to possibly turn into a heart, so I did what I normally do in these situations.
I stopped for breakfast. To be sure my brain was properly fueled. Steel cut oats, blueberries, apples, toasted almonds, and a little bit of greek yogurt. Plus a touch of strawberry preserves from the farmers market for extra sweetness.
And I just kept going.
Knowing that people who write knitting patterns are pretty smart and it's best not to question their methods.
It's not the neatest thing I have ever knit up. But it's darn cute and I will probably need to make another.
I also finished reading Long Way Down today. Oh. Poetry in the form of a story. About how a young man decides what the right response is after his brother is murdered. Jason Reynolds is seriously gifted. You haven't ready anything like this before. Trust me.
After all that I hung up my heart. On the light switch of a lamp. Because that's where it wanted to live.
Behold the Rainbow Kalanchoe, purchased completely on a whim this week. I have developed a habit of having one for my table in February. It began with the one I got after Angie died because it just looked so cheery.
I also detected the twinge of a cold coming on and might have felt a teeny bit sorry for myself.
AND, most importantly, I believe in the healing power of color. Especially during the dog days of winter when it is gray and blustery out. Is there such a thing as dog days of winter? Lets just pretend there is and we all know what it means.
Three colors in one plant feels like a whole garden.
Best $12.00 I have spent in a loooong time. Happy weekend everyone!
Signs of the approach of the feast of Saint Valentine abound.
While I was taking in all the pretty windows downtown, I went looking at Stitch on Needlework Shop to see if they had a Valentine themed Lori Mitchell character. To add to my "collection". As you see below, I did not leave empty handed.
Seriously, look at that hair. You would have had to have her too.
When I saw these postcards, I decided to make up for not sending Christmas cards by dropping a few love notes in the mail.
I did not buy any bags of candy, but I appreciated them.
The lovely pink sunset the other night has not a thing to do with February 14th, except it looks like a big Valentine to me.
And it was completely free. And it made me catch my breath. And if I could bottle it up and send it to you I would. As it is, the photo will have to do.
On the cover of the latest Cooks Illustrated magazine there was no mention of Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup. But I spotted it when I went to the very back page which always has photos of all the recipes included in the issue.
So when deciding which new recipe to try, I nixed the "No Fear Caramel Sauce" AND the "Lemoniest Lemon Bars" in favor of a spicy, hearty, healthy, lunch recipe for the week.
What the recipe does not tell you is that it makes enough to feed a small army. Which is perfectly all right with me. I often refer to myself as an army of one.
Here is my review. It's different! In a good way. I love the unusual combination (for me) of flavors/spices. Garlic, ginger, coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cilantro, and parsley. It's all in there. It's also hard not to say every other bite "this is so good for me". Which I like to do. The role of positive reinforcement can never be overstated, no matter what behavior is being reinforced.
I will have enough for the next 2 weeks for lunch. Since we live in the age of modern refrigeration that seems perfectly fine. I used to freeze my soups if I didn't eat them within a week but I sometimes found that the texture changed subtly. So I stopped and have had no untoward effects from just keeping them in the refrigerator.
Recipe below if you are interested. Click on the recipe and it gets bigger, so you can actually read it.
Today I made some sweetheart finger-less mitts. Because I had this lovely yarn.
Which meant I was not about to go to the store to get flowers to put in this vase even though that had been my plan.
Details on the yarn: Malabrigo Rasta, colorway 886 - Diana.
Pattern: Navy Yard Mitts. You start out on size 11 needles and then switch to size 13's.
Which means they go super fast.
When mitt #1 was completed I went outside to shovel snow.
Chris played photographer and put a big pot of chili on to simmer. He also spotted this chickadee taking refuge in the wall behind our house. I love having a bird hotel that is always open for business.
Two hours after beginning, I was ready to work in the ends.
The sun had also come out by this time.
In case you are wondering what they fit like.
I added one extra row of the twisted rib at the finger end because I prefer a teeny bit more coverage of the knuckles. These are the small size. There are also instructions for a medium/large in the pattern. I am a huge fan of finger-less mitts. I am blocking them as we speak and looking forward to wearing them soon. This is a great idea valentine gift idea. Super fast and very fun to knit.
Having cleaned my freezer out of all treats (this means home-made desserts) last week, I was forced on Thursday to come up with something to bake. I was going to make a pink cake with some kind of fluffy white icing and red sprinkles but settled instead for these.
Walnut dreams. And they certainly are dreamy. And crispy. And chewy. And sweet. Everything you want in a dessert really.
And then some. Think of it as a cross between a pecan pie and baklava with some molasses thrown in, in honor of your southern roots.
The recipe doesn't actually call for molasses, but I didn't have any dark corn syrup so I used light corn syrup and subbed out 1 tablespoon of it for molasses. Good idea huh?
I also used dark brown sugar instead of light brown. Because that is what was in my pantry.
An hour later, they were cooling on the table.
After 3 hours I cut them and put them on a plate and pretended that you all came over, and we put crowns on our heads and sang Happy Birthday to Mary Joan Fleming Madden and Mary Stanley. Two of the most creative women I have the pleasure of knowing.
There was one square left. Which I wrapped up and put in the freezer. Where it may survive until Sunday night. If my will power is very strong.
Are you watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? I hadn't heard a thing about it until we saw the Golden Globes. In the last week I watched 3 episodes. Only because I wanted to be sure the pilot wasn't a fluke before I told you about it.
What a cast of characters. In addition to just being plain darn funny, the music is excellent and the whole "look" of it makes it a pleasure to watch. Definitely not a fluke. Most certainly worth a look.