Simple Woman’s Daybook

November 30, 2015

Hello and welcome to my blog. I have been on a blog break for a couple weeks, so to those who are returning, welcome back. My spider bite is still not completely healed, but the radiating pain has subsided.

I am joining other bloggers in posting Daybook entries. Click the link to see what other bloggers are up to. 

☕️For Today… Monday, November 30, 2015
☕️Outside my window… It’s still dark and according to the weather report, snow is on the way. I’m pretty sure I heard the announcer begin the news with “Yikes!” Or . . . maybe that was me.
☕️I am thinking… I’m thinking about my recent change in status from “Legal Guardian” to “just Gram.” GN turned 18!
☕️I am thankful… For my car, de$pite having to recently replace the rear differential. Yike$! I almo$t called Budwei$er to a$k them if I could borrow one of their Clyde$dale$ for a while.
☕️I am going… I am going to start my Christmas decorating in our traditional way . . . with a trip to the cemetery. GN gives her mother’s grave the first decoration.
☕️I am reading… LOST AND FOUND, STORIES OF CHRISTMAS by Reverend Wendell E. Mettey. Mettey is a Baptist minister and this book is a collection of stories for his congregations.
☕️In my garden… I am trying a new tactic this winter to see if I can prevent the lawn service snow plow from wrecking the corner of my garden next to the driveway. Right behind that large pot is a miniature lilac bush that gets abused by the plow blade every year. The poles to which I tied my bright orange plastic grid are metal!

☕️In my kitchen… I had a bean-a-thon! I made batch of Turkey Bean Salsa Soup and then a batch of Turkey, Bean, ‘n Cheese Burritos. Below is a pic of the first batch of burritos. I wrap them for freezing.

☕️On my knitting needles (and soon to be off!)… I have been working on a basic garter stitch shawl in a pale green wool and a cheery yellow wool. The photo below is a peek at it.


☕️A favorite quote for today…

☕️A peek into one of my days… Oh heck! I’ll give you a peek into TWO of my days from our recent Thanksgiving holiday.


Change the wool socks, change the knitted afghan, change positions on the couch, repeat!

☕️One of my favorite things… Okay, first of all, I don’t do Black Friday. See the above pic with my feet in shite wool socks up on the couch? That’s where I spent Black Friday.

But . . . I did have to go to the hardware store on Saturday for an item needed in a home repair on my to-do list. I spotted something I thought might come in handy for an avid knitter a deserving Gram a former legal guardian for me! Did you know that the hardware store sells knitting carts? Yep! And they had a Black Friday discount on Saturday for the cart pictured below. No crowds either! I bought the Plano Pro Rolling Work Station. image

☕️Have you seen this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert… I love it! So does GN. Have a watch by clicking the link. It’s getting a TON of hits. ‘Tis the season! Then after you have viewed the advert, scroll down the page and download the Man on the Moon app. It’s very clever.

Tucking in for a Little Nap

November 18, 2015

It’s time for me to take a little blog break.

I have been keeping an eye on my exhaust-o-meter and it’s hovering at weary. It’s been the most hectic fall semester schedule I’ve had in a very long time. It’s not over yet. The most hectic part is yet to come, hence my recent cook-a-thon and now full freezer.

I’m also recovering from a recent spider bite and while it isn’t lethal, so far 😉, it can cause redness, swelling, and an allergic reaction in some people grandmothers, requiring antibiotics and pain meds. It wasn’t one of those little spiders you see doing a trapeze act on webs. It was a bigger, webless spider. They are probably not good for the blood pressure when you spot one on your body.


Did you know that if you are bitten by a spider, you should find it, catch it, and take it with you to the doctor or E.R. for identification and determination of toxicity? Well, now you know.

It just feels like time to tuck in. I will be tucking in the house a little bit before we head into the holiday season.

I managed to get the outdoor greens and birch branches tucked into my planter in between bursts of cold rain today. The moss roses still provide a bit of color, but that will end with our approaching weather. The outdoor greenery will last from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day. All I do is change the color of the ribbon.


I also had time to fix the front screen door. It needed to have a chain-and-spring door retainer put in.  It previously had a hydraulic door closer, but that failed when a gust of wind caught the door and pulled the screws and retainer parts right out of the  door frame.


I plan to wrap myself in my shawl of many colors, finish knitting Rosie’s doll wardrobe, read some books I have queued up through the 3M Cloud Library, get the Goodnight and Gram holiday game-a-thon underway, and ease into the holidays . . . after the stress of high school end-of-trimester exams. 😳



Wishing you Happy Thanksgiving as I tuck in my blog for a little nap. Yep! I actually tucked it in! 😉



Simple Woman’s Daybook

November 16, 2015

I am linking up with other bloggers posting Simple Woman’s Daybook entries.  Click the link to read what others are up to.

Welcome to my blog.

For Today… Monday, November 16, 2015
Outside my window… It’s dark (because I get up very early) and it’s supposed to rain. But let’s talk about yesterday instead. It was 60° and GORGEOUS for November 15 in Minnesota! I just say “Thank you.”
I am thankful… I am thankful for the photo shoot GN and I had today. We went to one of my favorite places to walk and along the way, I asked her if I could take some photos of her. She ended up liking several, deleting some, and then decided to use one of them as her senior photo. A digital file is all that’s needed for the yearbook, so it’s a done deal. I can always print what I need for framing. Want to guess how much ca$h that will save me? I will just say “Thank you!”
I am going… shopping for winter boots with my granddaughter. She needs a new pair. The good news is her feet have stopped growing!

I am reading… JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS by Thomas Mann, originally published in 1943. This is a tetralogy and it will take me a while because it is my winter Bible study as well. It is based on the story of Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, etc. as it is laid out in the Old Testament book of Genesis: chapters 27-50.

Because I am fluent in American Sign Language, I am using an app that presents the Bible texts in sign language.

Mann wrote this tetralogy after he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature and he considered it his best work. I watch the appropriate chapter(s) from the Bible app, and then I read Mann’s telling of Joseph’s story, then back to the Bible app and back to Mann. It will take me a while. It is 1500 pages.
I am learning… I am learning the “hidden keyboard” on my iPad. Notice the degree symbol I used under the second heading of ‘Outside my window’. Fun!
In my garden… No snow! Again, I just say “Thank you!”
In my kitchen… For the last two weeks, I have been cooking and freezing  like crazy to make less work during the holidays.  I only have a small freezer as part of the refrigerator, but it seems to hold plenty when I look at my inventory. I got in a groove and it will pay off when I want more down time later. If you need a weekly menu planner with incorporated shopping list, click the link to see the one I give to my granddaughter for her weekly menu and shopping.

Potato Soup (This will turn into Loaded Potato Soup when we add the fresh toppings at serving time.)

White Bean Swiss Chard Soup

Vegetable Soup

Yellow Pea and Potato Soup

Turkey Meatball, Gnocci, and Okra Soup

Steak and Pototo Fajita Filling

Taco Meat

White Chili

Homemade Pork and Beans

Pork Stew

Upper Peninsula Pasty Filling

Spaghetti Sauce w/Spinach Tortellini

Spaghetti Sauce w/ Meatballs and Zucchini

Thanksgiving Stuffing Hotdish

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Homemade Egg Rolls

Chicken and Rice Hotdish

Diced Cooked Chicken

Baked Turkey Breast

Maple Glazed Pork Chops
From my knitting needles… Yes,  said ‘from’ and not ‘on’ my knitting needles! I finished my shawl of many colors – officially the Amazing Mitered Shawl, with a major stash-busting look. (Thanks to my granddaughter for modeling for the photo shoot.) The top border of black looks awesome when the shawl is wrapped and solved some technical knitting issues, which I will describe another day in a separate knitting-related post.

A favorite quote for today… Some of the math quotes make me smile.


On the Craft “to-do” list… Look at these CUTE little edibles! If my ‘almost an adult’ granddaughter wants to make a couple, we will. They come from Party Pinching. Fun website!



My Little Seasonal Boost

November 13, 2015

As soon as I start hearing sneezing and coughing at work, I know my granddaughter is hearing it at school, too. That’s when I pull out my glass gallon jar and make my ‘boost’.

I slice two oranges and one lemon, put them into the glass gallon jar, fill the jar with water and refrigerate. I let it infuse overnight, but then it’s set for drinking. When the water level gets down, I just fill the jar and leave the citrus slices. I wash the jar and replace the citrus weekly. A sliced lime looks pretty in the jar, too. I just didn’t have one. I tried grapefruit slices once and didn’t care for how it made the water taste.

I tend to eat the orange slices over the weekend before starting afresh for the next week. I don’t eat the lemon slices.

I have a store nearby where I can get organic fruit and not worry about pesticides in the water, but if I didn’t I would make my ‘boost’ anyway and wash the fruit diligently before slicing. I wash them with a solution of white vinegar and water, 3C water to 1C vinegar. Then rinse with plain water to remove the vinegar.


My shawl of many colors is finally off my knitting needles. Yea!!!

I am going to see how far I can get in finishing it over the weekend. Hundreds of yarn ends remain to be woven in. I will at least make my goal of wearing it by Thanksgiving . . . but I’m guessing it will be sooner. 

Have a great weekend.

Tenacity, Gallantry, Committment, Devotion: Lessons from Soldiers

November 11, 2015

It’s Veterans Day. Are you flying the flag of the United States of America today?


Today is the first time I have seen the following footage, though it comes from two years ago. It speaks for itself. Please watch.


I’ve known this story for quite some time because over the years,  I have been teaching my granddaughter what it means to be in the service of our country. That lesson has always been multi-cultural.

Private Joseph Pantillion Martinez was the first Hispanic-American to be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his “gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” Pvt. Martinez’ service was played out in the Aleutian Islands during WWll.

He had not turned 23 years old.


Private Martin Treptow, a young barber from a small-town Iowa barbershop, left his work to serve his country during WWl. He went to France. What was not discovered until after his death, was  his “Pledge”, written in his own hand on the front page of his diary.  



I have my husband’s military dog tag. I don’t wear it because I don’t want to lose it. I held it in my hand today while my heart whispered its private thanks to him for his service.

He always carried his dog tag on his key chain . . . . . . . . next to his father’s.

Devotion taught, preserved, passed on.

Thank you for your service!


Change of Dinner Plans a Surprise on the Floor!

November 10, 2015

First, the surprise on the floor.  

I work in post-secondary education and I get around the campus quite a bit. Last Friday, I walked into a lab that had undergone some renovation when I spotted a familiar color scheme on the floor. There was only one in the entire large area! I had to take a photo!


It made me smile to see the same scheme I’ve been using in my shawl  of many colors. The grey and yellow in the floor is in the exact shape of my two-color mitered rectangles. I love it!

Below is a cropped image of one of the knitted rectangles. The yellow in the photo above is cropped, but it is in the same shape as the outside color in the photo below. The color of the floor around the rectangle is that white tile you can see above the grey. Interestingly, I had not used grey and yellow together in a rectangle. There are so many combinations with 30 colors of yarn, but that will be for another post.


Change of Dinner Plans

I’m not to strict about following a menu . . . especially when the thermometer in my car says 62 degrees F. in November!  I texted GN and told her we were postponing fondu night and going on a November picnic! She was all in! I’m picking her up from school and we’re heading to a park in the sun. Beef pasties, rootbeer, and pumpkin pudding cake is all ready to pack.

Look at that beautiful sky!


That grandgirl of mine . . . she asked me if we could have a family movie night after our picnic.

Simple Woman’s Daybook

November 9, 2015

Welcome to my blog. I am joining other bloggers in posting Simple Woman’s Daybook entries today. Check the link to read other posts.


For Today… Monday, November 9, 2015
Outside my window… It is clear, 43 degrees F. and very dark. I get up very early.
I am thinking… I am thinking about an email I will be sending to one of my granddaughter’s teachers. I don’t do it often and I haven’t needed to do it for a while. This will be the second time this particular teacher ‘wins’ an email from me. He yells, swears at the students, throws things, storms off and practices blatant sexism. I will be copying the school principal and the assistant principal.
I am thankful… I am thankful for such a lovely weekend we just had. It was sunny, warm for November and pleasant to be outdoors.
I am reading… VOICES FROM CHERNOBL: THE ORAL HISTORY OF A NUCLEAR DISASTER by Svetlana Alexievich. It was the first book to present personal accounts of the terrible disaster. It is cited as one of the reasons for awarding the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature to Ms. Alexievich.


In my garden… I still have some moss roses blooming in my flagpole planter. It won’t be long and I’ll have to clean them out, but for now, there is still color and blooming going on.

In my kitchen… Dinner tonight will be Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip with blue corn chips and celery sticks for dipping. It’s delicious! GN loves it. It’s Dip Night, so on the veggie side, I have made guacamole. We are also going to try a warmed apple glogg (non-alcoholic) to accompany our meal. 
On my knitting needles… I had intended to weave in some of the yarn ends on the back side of my shawl of many colors, but instead, I got to work on the top edge of the shawl. I am knitting a black edge that will be the same width as the height of the mitered rectangles. The edge will provide a finished look to the front when the shawl is worn. It will give the effect of a placket or knitted button band, minus buttons.


A favorite quote for today… This one made me laugh out loud. I love nerdy humor. Sometimes I text nerdy humor to GN during the day.


One of my favorite things… I have some Christmas ornaments my mother gave me quite some time ago and I cherish them. I remember what she said when she offered them to me. She asked me if I would like some ornaments “from home.” She meant from her childhood home and I knew it without her having to say it. That means her mother had given them to her. They are called Shiny Brites and below is a photo of my favorite. It is three inches in diameter.

Post Script… For my post script, I am sending you to a post written by one of my blog buddies on her blog. Far Side of Fifty wrote about Shiny Brites and I would love it if you read post and check our her blog. It makes me smile to read her posts about the ornaments because we have similar memories of growing up with them on our Christmas trees.

Post script: Oh my gosh! I just checked her blog and she wrote a post about Shiny Brites today. I didn’t know that when I wrote my post. Here’s. link to Far Side of Fifty’s latest post about Shiny Brites. Have a look. It’s fun!

A Fable Within A Fable Within A Fable . . .

November 8, 2015

Yup! Several stories in one for your reading effort! This post is for my personal reference as much as it is to share. I have gathered some resources that I want to keep in one place and this post is the place.  

My granddaughter let me read to her one evening last week. Goodnight will soon be eighteen and is an avid reader on her own, but one evening after her work shift, I asked her if she would allow me to read a story to her. She not only said yes, she was gracious about it and excited about it. She plopped herself down on the carpet in the living room, propped herself up with pillows and listened with a look of interest and concentration on her face as I read.

I wear different hats in my relationship with my granddaughter. I am her grandmother. I am her legal guardian. I am her godmother. The other, night while I read, I was wearing my godmother hat.

I have been working on my own reading project this fall: THE PEASANTS – A TALE OF OUR OWN TIME: AUTUMN, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER by Wladyslaw Reymont. I had just finished the chapter that includes my very favorite Polish fable and I wanted Goodnight to know the fable, as well. There isn’t a title to the story because it is told by one of the characters in the first book of the tetralogy.

Wladyslaw Reymont was raised a devout Catholic and this tetralogy is rich with Catholicism as it is lived out in the lives of Polish peasants in the late 1800’s. It wasn’t what they did. It was who they were. They were not perfect. No one is. 

The character who tells the fable is Roch. It is a Polish tale.

Roch is a guest in the home of Matthias Boryna where the peasants have gathered for a meal after harvesting cabbages. There was heard a loud lamenting howl from a nearby dog and Roch went out to investigate. After returning indoors, he told the fable to Boryna’s guests.

The fable begins with this excerpt on page 141 of Chapter VII:

“A dog, too, is God’s creature,” he said excitedly, “and it suffers when ill-treated, as does any man. Our Lord also had a dog of His own, and suffered no one to use it ill.”

“What? The Lord Jesus had a dog, just as men have?” queried Yagustynka the doubter.

“I tell you that He had; and Burek was its name.”

The fable continues through several pages in Reymont’s book and ends with Roch’s “Amen” in the middle of page 146. To read the full fable, click the link above. It will take you to the appropriate chapter. Then scroll to page 141 to find the beginning of the fable. This process does not seem to work on my iPad. The pdf loads, but will not allow me to go to the successive pages. So, try it on your computers.

You now have access to A Fable Within a Fable. That’s two of the three I used in the title of this post.

What you should also know is that Roch’s name is used in reference to Saint Roch, the patron of . . . dogs. It is said that Saint Roch was stricken with the Plague. He traveled to Italy to help care for victims. He eventually contracted the plague himself and isolated himself to die. He was helped by a dog who licked his wounds and the wounds began to heal. Saint Roch is often depicted in art with his leg bared to show his wounds and a dog by his side.


Statue of St. Roch at Church Saint-Roch, Paris, France

This Catholic story about Saint Roch is an implied tale – implied by mentioning the name of Roch and his concern for the howling dog in Reymont’ book.

As long as I’m referencing fables and stories, let me add another to this post

Several years ago, I ran across an online article that referred to the above mentioned tale of Jesus’ dog. A priest at St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church in South Bend Indiana, Father Leonard Chrobot, had the long-standing habit of telling the tale in his church at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. He would sit on the steps to the altar, gather the children around him and tell the tale of Jesus’ dog. When his tale ended, he got up walked to the Nativity scene set up in the church, and placed a little dog next to the manger to watch over Jesus.

Tragically, Father Leonard Chrobot died in September of 2014 as a result of a car accident. I had hope to travel to St. Hedwig’s for Christmas eve just to hear him tell the tale. If you read the fable first from the link to Reymont’s work, and then from the link I provided to the online article, you will see that Father Leonard Chrobot told it perfectly.

Funny Friday: Bet I Can Make You Laugh

November 6, 2015

Welcome to my blog. If you are a subscriber and came to read the post I published this morning, my apologies. I have marked it Private until I can fix the formatting that went WONKY on me at the very last moment. Eek! I’ll fix it when I can get to it. 

In the meantime . . . 

I decided it’s story time. I will share my favorite funny parenting gaffe that I made when Angel was young. 

We all have those parenting moments of exasperation and frustration when stuff just doesn’t come out right and we have to see the humor. Angel had specific chores to do, appropriate for her age. I didn’t want to be a nag, so my perspective has always been “do the chores in a timely fashion or you bring on the nagging yourself.”

Well, Angel preferred to play in her room than clean it. One day, after sending her to her room several times to pick up her toys and then seeing her playing with them instead of tidying up, I lost it. I raised my voice . . . not to screaming, but to a volume somewhere between “now I’m gonna play the bad guy” to “don’t call the cops because I’m just reminding the little dear of her chores.”

I looked at Angel with my arms extended in supplication, walked toward her, and proceeded to belt out, “IF I’VE TOLD YOU ONCE, I’VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES. YOUR JOB IS TO PICK UP YOUR TOYS . . . AND I WILL NOT REPEAT MYSELF . . .  AND REPEAT MYSELF . . .  AND REPEAT MYSELF!!!!!

Of course, by the time I got to the third frustrated “repeat myself”, I saw the comedy of . . . repeating myself . . . and I fell onto her bed in a fit of laughter at the abject ridiculousness of my parenting statement.

Good thing I had laughed hard enough to extract tears from my eyes because by the time I looked up at Angel, she thought I was crying and she got straight to work at picking up her toys.

Oh well, we try our best and move on, right? I don’t advocate rehearsing exasperation, but I do recommend a little stupidity prevention

🍂 🍁 🍂 🍁 🍂 🍁 🍂 🍁 🍂 🍁 🍂

I have completed knitting enough mitered rectangles to make my shawl of many colors the size I wanted. Want to see what my weekend project will be?


Yup! I plan to make a dent in weaving in the ends. There are 105 rectangles with two colors each. That makes four ends per rectangle for a total of 420 ends to weave in. Bring on the movies and the coffee!!! ☕️☕️☕️

Have a great weekend. Do something fun and don’t stay out to late. I’ll leave the light on for you. 


Row 11: Ode to Gram

November 6, 2015

It’s been too nice outside today, so I have not done any finishing work to my Amazing Mitered Shawl. That’s okay. There’s time enough for that when the sun goes down or the weather turns dreary. I did have time to fix the messed up formatting on the post I had worked on for yesterday. So . . . on to Row 11!


I did not get bored with selecting color combinations for each rectangle because I had quite a number of colors to use. I’m stashbusting. I did, however, reserve a few specific color combinations for row 11. I decided that there are some color combinations I favor for various reasons and they are all FUN reasons. So row 11 is my little ode to me.

The colors are not perfect in the photos. I get up very early in the morning and the lighting at that time of day is what it is.


Maroon and gold for the MN Gophers.


Red and blue for two of the colors on the flag of the USA. Flag blue is darker than Colt’s blue. (See next image.)


Blue and white for the Indianapolis Colts and my fond memories of the Indianapolis 2012 Super Bowl and the Super Scarf Project.


Purple and gold for the MN Vikings and Angel’s high school colors.


Red and green for Christmas and the MN Wild.


Light brown and dark brown for coffee and chocolate. Both can be light or dark.


Orange and gold for Autumn, my favorite season and my favorite volume of my all-time favorite book, a Polish tetralogy: THE PEASANTS – A TALE OF OUR OWN TIME: AUTUMN, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER by Wladyslaw Reymont. One of my great-grandfather’s was Polish.


Medium green and dark green for the Kentucky blue grass I planted in my yard and for the tall pine that stands at the corner of my little house.


Deer hunter (Blaze) orange and regular orange because every now and then I get a hankering to wear orange.


Red and white for my high school colors and for GN’s high school colors (two different schools).


Pink and green for my favorite flowers: double pink peonies.


Camel and brown for the camels at the MN Zoological Garden that “donated” the camel-colored wool.

Catch you later!