Category Archives: life

2010 is all but over….stopping in to say hello

Here it is. Another year comes to a close. I am not usually one for resolutions but a big change is milling around inside of me and I do believe it is almost ready to come out. Go big or go home, right?

I am trying out blogging on my new iPad (squeeeee) (you know I don’t squee willy nilly. I really mean it when I say it) I tried out a WordPress app but it was a dismal failure. Not good. Do not put out apps unless you are sure they work. Really.

So, tell me how you are doing. Tell me about any resolutions you are thinking…

I will be back soon. Oh, and Hi Susanne!! 🙂

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Filed under life

Busy meets the blog

Wow. March 15th was the last time I blogged. Imagine that. That has to be a record in my 7 years of the blog experience. There’s all the usual excuses. You don’t need to hear them. Blah blah, life’s busy, life is messy, life is…well. Full of stuff.

If I’m to catch you up to what’s happening in my world, I have to start with my Dad. He passed away on Father’s Day. Ironic, that. This cancer business is some kind of horrible shit. Watching him fail and suffer is one of the hardest things I have ever endured in my life so far. I hope to never see such a thing again. I know that it is unlikely, though. Having him die left me filled with so many emotions from the obvious to the not so. One of the things that make me saddest is that it is the end of what COULD have been. And despite it all, he was my father and I cannot believe I will never see him again. That is the thought that will make me cry suddenly in unexpected places. I will never see him again. Ever. That seems so final and harsh.

But other than that, life if filled with good things. And that seems a bit ironic too, doesn’t it? That something so horrible can go on in your life but you wake up and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and people are buying their lattes and working and playing. Living. We all have a lot of living to do. It’s serious business and we can’t miss out on a minute of it.

I am looking forward to a trip to Nova Scotia with Norma to visit with Paula. I am like a little kid getting ready for camp, I am THAT excited. There was a bit of anxiety about the passport being here on time but all is good in that department. I have perhaps the ugliest passport picture in the universe. But then again, I am somehow not a very photogenic person. I guess I am just one of those that you have to meet in person to love! 🙂

There’s more, there’s lots more of course, but that is a bit of a start. One has to dip the toes into the blog waters before diving straight in, don’t you think?

I’ve missed you all, that’s for sure! (Thanks to Suzanne  and Barb M for the inquiries! The warm feeling still persists from that!) If you are on facebook, please be sure to find me there (Sandy LeBlanc Hurley) I do tend to update that a bit more than this lately.

Do tell me what you’ve been up to. Anything new?

xo

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Filed under life, stuff

2 hats, lots of gratitude and a blogiversary

The rain, it will not stop. Roads are closed all around the region and my personal space has been flooded. The basement floor is covered with water, which is highly undesirable in terms of home ownership and we seem to be and island surrounded by plenty of water in my formerly non watery neighborhood.
My kingdom for some sunshine! (but imagine how happy the trees and spring flowers will be)

    Not 1 hat, but 2!

I am a knitter, after all! (Surprises the best of you, right?)

What a great pattern. I loved knitting this hat. Fun to knit and comfy to wear. Although I have only stuck it on my head for a moment to make sure it was head size appropriate. It is a gift for a friend.
Pattern: M’gonigle from Twist Collective, Fall 2009

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Aran Cashmerino (my desert island yarn)

Needle size: US3

The top of the hat is fashioned not from decreases but with an ingenious folding method. Love it!

Top ‘o the hat to you!

Isn’t it great? So different and unique!

M’gonigle hat, Ravelry Page

The second hat was much harder to accurately photograph. Purple is a biotch. It is.

The beaumont tam from the talented Jared Flood (name appropriate for today’s 8 plus inches of rain that has fallen on my HOME!)
This hate was a joy to knit, the yarn divine. The finished hat turned out not so much beanie like but more like a hat. A toque, if you will. I chose to steam block the hat which did wonders for straightening out the wonkiness in the pattern but also had an unwelcomed side effect of stretching out the ribbing uncontrollably. It was unwearable as such. I fretted. My solution is that I wove some elastic thread through the ribbing to pull it in. I was dubious but hopeful. It worked like a charm. Hat is now gifted and hopefully loved and worn.

See the difference in color? Purple, my photo nemesis.

Pattern: Beaumont Tam from the Classic Elite Made in Brooklyn                            Booklet by  Jared Flood

Yarn: Classic Elite Fresco (Could be tied for my desert island yarn!)

Needle size: US4 and 7

My Beaumont Tam Ravelry Page

~~~~

A huge thank you for all of your support. The news of my Dad’s lung cancer is devastating for so many reasons. He is currently going for a biopsy on Wednesday to pinpoint the exact type of cancer.
Just the word, “cancer” is heinous, is it not?

~~~~
As near as I can figure it, sometime in February was my 7 year blogiversary. Huh. Go figure. For 7 years I have lived in the space with you as my friend, my support, my co-conspirator in life. I have loved every minute.

I hope you will continue along with me in this journey of ours.
Yet again, thank you for being a friend.

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Filed under knitting, life

life is funny..(not funny, “haha”)

What I am about to say will be taken, I’m sure, as cold hearted. And it may be. But here goes anyway: I never liked my Father very much. There are many reasons, of which I won’t go into excruciating detail here but suffice it to say that living with an alcoholic, sometimes abusive father doesn’t leave one with many Ward Cleaver moments.
Many young women marry the image of their father. I married the exact and far opposite of my father. My husband is a warm, loving, dependable, non alcoholic man. I can count on him to be here for my lifetime.
I would have been , up to last weekend, hard pressed to find a single thing in my life that was influenced by my father.
Now? The universe has changed for me as it is prone to do in life. My father has been diagnosed with pretty grim lung cancer. Although he is at the beginning of his journey, I fear it will be a short fight. He is a small man, made weaker by the weight loss of recent months and the cancer is pretty large.
While we wait for his appointment parade to come to fruition, I find myself looking at my father in a bit of a different slant of light. He was still a pretty miserable alcoholic, but all of a sudden I can see that my love of cooking has come from his curiosity in the kitchen. He planted that seed. I refused to see it for many a year. I would have sworn to you, last week, that I had sparked that interest on my own.
I think some of my sense of humor was his too. I am remembering a different side to the man that I disliked for so many years.
And I know that perhaps he did the best he could. Sure, it wasn’t the best, it wasn’t what *I* needed but it was what HE had to give. And more important? I am who I am on this day because of the past that I have experienced.
Maybe I’ll be able to find out a little bit more about him in the coming weeks and months.
Should be interesting.

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I am a cloud


You Are a Cumulus Cloud


You are a joyful and easy going person. You have a lot of enthusiasm for live and living well.
Your motto may as well be, “No things in moderation.” You are content to enjoy all the food and drink you want.

People find you very approachable and at times cuddly. You are usually have a big smile on your face.
You are truly blissful and content. Nothing is going to bring you down. It’s like you’re walking in the clouds!


How could I resist this little quiz? I wonder if I'm really cuddly? I don't feel very. But I could be wrong! :)

I am immersed in a reorganization project for my kitchen since I saw one of those HGTV shows that gave me the bright idea. Brilliant, really.

To use shelving to substitute for the lack of closets/cabinets and shelves. WHY couldn't I have thought of that? Previously we had a table in the corner that I used as a closet. Things cluttering it all the time. I couldn't fix that problem no matter how much I tried! But why fight the fact that we have no storage? Why try to deny it? Now we are making it work for us!

New and improved kitchen

Too bad I did not take a before photo. You will just have to take my word on how bad it was. I was truly afraid that with photo evidence,  I may be qualified as a contestant on the show HOARDERS. Shudder.

Today is SuperBowl Sunday and I have a date with my couch. My dear friends are having people over including most of my family but I can't bring myself to go. I have a huge need to plant myself on the couch, quietly watching the game and even going to bed early. If I am to face the coming week, I have to do what I have to do.

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Crazy like a fox

Thought I’d trot on in here before January is gone. Time is sure slippery like a fox sometimes. Unbelievable how those calendar pages  turns so fast when you are not looking!

Foxy Knitting:

I finished some Christmas knitting. On time. Well, not on time for December 25th but in plenty of time for our gift giving celebration and that is good enough for me!

Feeling the (g)love

The moose gloves are a bit funky here and there. They are not perfect by a long shot but they were knit with love and received with just as much love. That makes it a successful project to me.
MOOSE GLOVES RAVELRY PAGE

Also knit was a Hat. Not just any hat, a Relm Hat. I love that pattern with a burning passion. I don’t have to tell you that a certain Jared Flood is genius with decreases. Absolute genius. You can tell him I said so too.

However? This hat, as lovely as it is, does not photograph well. Believe me when I say that I tried. This photo does it a huge disservice. So misrepresented that it may rise up and start a solidarity march, it’s that bad.

I know you can feel the love for this hat too. Scrinch your eyes up a bit and look at it sideways. I'm sure you see the inner beauty of it now, right?

It may be a suspect photo but that hat is wonderful and looks divine on the recipient. Unfortunately, the yarn grew quite a bit in the washing. Had I known, I would have only spritzed it. Live and learn. I will knit this hat again in a solid yarn to do the pattern justice.

Pattern: Relm

Yarn: Magallanes by Araucania colorway 309 which I have affectionately dubbed Autumn burst.

RELM HAT RAVELRY PAGE

I’ve started another hat but I’ll show you that another day.

Foxy Sky

Foxy Admission:

You’ve seen the clues all over this post. But I think if I gave you a million years, you wouldn’t guess what Andy and I are up to.

We are taking Foxtrot lessons. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is. With any luck, with 5 easy lessons, I’ll be gliding across the dance floor in a graceful fashion. I’ll never quite be up to the Dancing With The Stars ability but I will be able to foxtrot with the best of the grannies out there.
One can hope.

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3 cheers for the plumber

We have flushing capabilities! I cheer that plumber. I wish him plumb good luck in the new year.
Mr. Plumber was here for an hour and a half (!!!!!) working and slaving and huffing away in the basement. The clog was gargantuan in size, likely gathering for years he said. He had to super snake (his snake looked nothing like the bitty home user snake, I tell ya! Barbaric, even!) 56 feet down the driveway towards the road. That’s a lot of snake.

There is nothing like living flushless, though to give a healthy appreciation of good pipes. My pipes are fine, how are yours?

🙂

One drama resolved. I’m sure one is lurking in the wings. So it goes with home ownership.

And now, my attention turns towards New Year’s Eve. Our friends that we have always spent it with have gone away this year so we are on our own. Made me sad for a nanosecond because I am all about the value of tradition. But now that I’ve lived with it for a while, I am excited to have a NYE at home with Andy. We’ll have snacks, bacon wrapped chicken livers (Andy’s favorite), stuffed mushrooms (my favorite) and some veggie dip for good measure. We’ll put toothpicks in our eyes and make it to the stroke of midnight, have ourselves a bit of a smooch or two and then nod off.  And while that New Year’s Eve would not have appealled to my younger self at all, there is nothing I would rather do in the world tonight.

I hope you have a honey to spend it with too. Or a furry one. Or a wonderful you.

Happy New Year, my friends! Bring on 2010~!

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My kingdom for a flush

Is it time YET??

With New Year’s Eve barreling down upon us, I think this is a good time for a random list. (I love lists)

~I am on vacation this week. Sweet, sweet vacation. Better timing there could not be

~My Mom got us a Keurig coffee machine and we LOVE it. If you were to picture the perfect gift for my family right at this moment in time, that would be it. Everyone (including myself) has been enjoying numerous hot beverages. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, you name it, we drank it. The best selling point for me? No clean up of the coffee grounds. Love. It.

~This morning, I made a FAUX-LATTE with a Newman’s Bold Keurig coffee, microwave warmed milk and my favorite Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup. Yum. MO.

~Plumbers. Can’t live with ’em. Can’t flush without ’em. We are having plumbing “issues” involving a clogged main line. OH JOY! We technically have running water, we just can’t use it. Again. Joy.  If there is anything that will make a whole family cranky is the inability to freely use the bathroom at any given time in day or night.

~So, yeah, the clog showed up, like an unwanted guest, around 6 pm last night, depositing it’s effects in the basement (Luckily we caught it fairly soon so it was not a disaster of epic proportions) (We caught it on “Frozen Pipe Watch” because it is so North Pole cold. An igloo would most likely be our new home style with this kind of weather). For about 2 hours, we (ha, “WE”. Not we at all, ANDY) snaked the drain and fiddled and tried to move the unwanted guest along. To no avail. Clogged and clogged good. Old pipes will do that. New pipes will do that too but these pipes are senior citizens and then some.

Anyway, around 8 pm, we called a neighbor, who is a plumber. As luck would have it, he does not DO that kind of job. (I did not say GOOD luck, see?) but he gave us a name of someone who would do that kind of job. Great. A referral. We were feeling a bit cocky throwing the neighbor’s name around, thinking that would get us somewhere a bit faster. Yeah. No. It did nothing.

At 10 pm, not hearing from Mr. Referral Plumber (who most likely had the GALL to have a life when WE needed him so desperately!) I then called my place of employment, where plumbers are on the payroll. I figured that *I* could come through and have  Mr. Big Corporation Plumber That I Know Personally will come and save the day.

Yeah. No. Apparently *I* don’t have any pull either. Drat it all to hell.
We spent a long, flushless night waiting for the phone to ring. It did not ring. Until 8 am today. Mr Referral Plumber will be here at 10 am. Or so.

Fingers crossed please that we will be a modern, flushable home by 10:30. Today.

~Cold. It is so blasted cold

~I was reading my new book, my Christmas gift from Derek, Stephen King’s Under the Dome (which was sold out in many a book location this Christmas, good for YOU, Mr. King), 1088 pages. A hefty read to say the least!

Anyway, I was reading away, cozy and warm on the couch (praying that I would not have any intestinal worries all the evening) (Because of the non flush zone, yanno) and Mitchell the cat wanted on the lap. I moved the book, onehanded to the side to give him room to get comfy and I almost sprained a wrist. Cripes that book is HEAVY! A bit of weight training WHILE I read. Multi tasking at it’s best.

~Here we are on the doorstep of another year. They do have a habit of rushing by, don’t’ they? Remember 10 years ago, the turn of the millenium? The hype and hysteria that went along with it? The visions of planes falling from the sky and the electricity going out permanently?

~Well, that’s it for today. I could go on and on, I’m feeling especially chatty today. Must be all of the coffee beverages I’ve been consuming lately!

~Enjoy this day, stay healthy (poor Bethany is super sick with a horrible cold right now) and have a flush or 2 for me, will ya?

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Filed under life, random, Sandy's Reading

White

Hello, snow!

It is  a beautiful thing to wake up in a snow covered world, snug in my bed, warm covers surrounding me as the wind blows the snow off the branches. Doubly beautiful is when it happens on a Sunday so I can linger under those covers and enjoy the view.

This small snowfall was the perfect nudge into the Christmas season.

Whoopdedoo, dickory dock, don’t forget to hang up your sock! (one of my favorite Christmas songs! Andy Williams, Happy Holidays. I cannot find the version that I like so much but this one is highly entertaining with the young Osmond Brothers. They presented squeaky clean, didn’t they?)

I have a really big soft spot for Andy Williams and Bing Crosby around Christmas. I must have an old soul. And also fodder for the family. They can just keep their poking fun at a dull roar, while I listen to my old standbys.

🙂

snowy morning

This one is not bad either!

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Filed under holiday talk, life

I did it.

So here we are at the end of November. I posted every day of the month, I am pleased to say. I loved every minute of it.  I hope you had some pleasurable moments as well. While I will not promise posting every day (I know I will not in the coming months) I do plan to be a bit better of a FRIEND of bloggers by actually visiting their blogs and (SHOCK) leaving comments. I plan on leaving so many comments that you’ll be sick of me and beg me to go back to blogging myself just so that I will leave you alone for a change! 🙂

I made the homemade yogurt yesterday and as Norma says, I am ENTHUSED. To say the least.
One thing that you may not know about me is that over the years, I have been on a quest for healthy eating. Real food! To know what goes into my food and have a choice over that. That is not to say that I haven’t polished off a bag or three of Doritos in my time or that I don’t enjoy an occasional filet ‘o fish at McD’s. I do. But mostly, I like to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and have no place in nature that a conglomerate decides is good for MY food.
Well, I say, “NOT MY FOOD!” Hell no.

Hell. No.

This particular quest started when I had kids. Jarred baby food for MY baby? I think not. I don’t know what is in that jar! So, I made my own. I got a blender and blended up veggies and meats and fruits that Andy and I ate and I froze them in ice cube trays. I thawed and warmed them in a bowl of boiling water because I did not have a microwave at that time.

I am not perfect on this quest of mine. I still eat plenty stuff I wish I did not. But I am getting better. It gets easier as I get older.

So, making my own yogurt falls right into place with all of that.

Now, let me tell YOU that homemade yogurt is WONDERFUL! I love it. Love. LOVE! It is creamy, tangy, delicious and oh-so-white! Just beautiful to look at as well as to eat!

I basically followed the crock pot yogurt recipe here, with these exceptions.

Here’s how I did it:
I used 1/2 gallon of 1% milk from Whole foods. No hormones and pure, natural milk.

I added a 1/2 cup of powdered milk to add more protein and calcium to the mix. (I also bought this at Whole Foods)

I covered my crock pot and heated the milk on HIGH for about 3 1/2 hours until the milk was 180 °F (although I strived to readch 180º, it only got to 178º and would not budge up anmore). I then took the crock off the heating element and took off the cover, letting it cool to 120º which took under an hour.

I took about a cup and a half of the heated milk out and mixed into that about 1/2 cup of Stonyfield plain yogurt. I wrapped the covered crock with a bath towel and put it into the oven. leaving it there overnight.

9 hours later, I stumbled down into the kitchen expecting to find milk in the oven but I found yummy, creamy, thick yogurt.

I topped some with Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup and a spootch of vanilla extract and brought it to work with me. What a delicious, nutritious treat.  I am over the moon about my homemade yogurt. And you will be too. It’s easy and moneysaving and one of those moments of magic in life that brings a smile to your face.

I plan to add some fruit to some of the yogurt, perhaps some mango  and some blueberries.

So many possibilities.

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