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2015.02.24

February 24, 2015

Last week was school vacation in these parts.  Given the amount of snow days we’ve had this month, having a week off wasn’t the novelty it usually is.

The kids were shuffled from pillar to post as usual, although I was able to take a couple of days off to hang out with them.  On Friday we went to see the SpongeBob Movie, for instance.

On Saturday we ventured into town to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.  We had prepped Alistair beforehand, so he knew about the mansion’s backstory, and the theft, and the empty frames still hanging on the walls.  He was duly impressed.

The Gardner happens to be my all-time favorite museum.  I love the way there’s no real rhyme or reason to the collection, how it so closely mirrors the average person’s house – the “I like this, so I’m getting it” philosophy, writ large and absolutely crammed into a house.  But on this visit, I could not tear my eyes away from the courtyard.  It was so sunny and so green and so very lush.  It gave me a spark of hope that this winter might actually end eventually.

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It was nearly 50 degrees on Sunday.  I went for a very sloppy, very slushy, very slow run in the morning, and after lunch Larry decided to check on the gutters.

If you live in a warm climate you may not know this, but snow and rain trapped in gutters will freeze, and could back up onto your roof, into your attic, and generally ruin your day.  People try all number of home remedies to avoid this, including stuffing pantyhose with ice melt and tossing them onto the roof, or creating ice melt patties.  Our gutters are midway up the side of the house, so we can lean out the upstairs windows and pour ice melt or rock salt down into the gutters, in hopes that they will tag-team with the sun and keep the water running.   Sometimes it’s enough, sometimes – particularly when the bottom two feet of downspout is covered in snow – it doesn’t.   We shovel the snow away as best we can, but sometimes it’s already too late.

This year it was already too late, so Larry had to get up on the ladder with an ice pick and a watering can full of rock salt.

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I am relieved to report that his teetering on a metal ladder propped on seven feet of snow was uneventful.

Oh, and the gutters are clear.

For now.

2015.02.17

February 17, 2015

So yeah, we got another blizzard this weekend – that’s the second one this year, which apparently has never happened in Boston.  Big whoop.

We are collectively so over it.  We’re at 98 inches for the winter.  So far.  We’ve had snow on the ground as late as April here, so none of us believes this is the end.  However, we’re all hoping for a few days of above-freezing temperatures so some of these snowbanks can, if not melt away, at least condense themselves a bit.

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To add insult to injury, we’ve had subzero temperatures since Friday, although I think today is supposed to get to a balmy 20.  The kids have had no interest in playing outside whatsoever.

So I’ve been racking my brain and Pinterest to find things to do inside.  Yesterday we tried painted snow.

Essentially to set up paper on a tray, with a rack of some sort above it, and you pile snow on the rack then paint it.

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As the snow melts the paint drips onto the paper.

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Unfortunately, the trays also collect the water, so the papers just turned into cloudy messes rather than the abstract impressionistic gems we were hoping for.

Next time I’ll put the paper on a rack in the tray.  Maybe we’ll do it today.  It’s not like we’re running short on snow.

2015.02.13

February 13, 2015

In spring 2013 our guild took a bus trip to Webs.  Among a satchel of other things I bought a bag and a half of yarn with the idea of making the Hourglass sweater.

By the time I actually got around to knitting a pullover it was July 2014 and I was smitten by the Licorice Whip.  Which is what I cast on.

Sometime in the early fall I finished knitting the body, and put it into time out while I worked on my Christmas knitting.  And then a quick shawlette as a treat for finishing my Christmas knitting.

Finally in January I picked it back up with a grim determination to finish it before starting something else.

I bound off the second sleeve last Friday night and made Larry take a “before blocking” photo Saturday morning:

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Then away to the tub it went, for a nice soak.  Given the weather we’re having it wasn’t dry until Monday evening.

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(Please ignore the state of my hair and skin by Monday, we’d just gotten another 18 inches of snow that day and I’d been working at home, managing the boys, and keeping up with the shoveling throughout).

But about the sweater – what a difference blocking makes.  Everything has just relaxed, you know?  I might unpick the bottom hem and redo it with a stretchier bind-off.

I’ve got a pair of socks on the go now, and after that, who knows?

2015.02.09

February 9, 2015

 

Have you heard about this new bulletproof coffee fad that’s sweeping the nation?

Basically you use grass-fed unsalted butter instead of your usual cream/milk/half and half of choice.  Supposedly it lengthens and regulates the energy boost your coffee provides, as well as boost your fat-burning enzymes or whatever.

I like coffee, and I like Irish butter, so I figured why not give it a whirl.

 

 


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That first sip was something of a leap of faith after seeing the pat of butter floating on top, but in all truth, once it’s melted it doesn’t taste very different from my usual half and half.  Larry is in charge of weekday morning coffee, and I don’t see him catering to this particular whim of mine, but I’ve been drinking this on weekends and it’s no big thing.  As to whether it fulfills all the claims, who knows?

More snow was in the forecast (in fact, it started snowing Saturday afternoon and here we are Monday at 11, and it’s still going strong), so it was clear to me that we needed a family project.

I drew inspiration from the kitchen table.

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It was my grandmother’s table; she gave it to us when we bought the house.  As a little girl I learned how to make pasta sitting at this table.  She would make trays upon trays of ravioli, and make fettucine, penne and gnocchi from the scraps.  She passed away when Alistair was four.  As the only girl, and one of only three grandchildren, I had my choice of all her belongings, but the table was all I ever wanted.

Anyway, I figured it was high time to share the pasta legacy with the boys – with the tech component of the pasta attachment to our stand mixer.

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One thing I will do differently next time, is fan the noodles out a little better.  They stuck together as they dried overnight, and while they were still delicious when we ate them for Sunday dinner, they weren’t your standard-issue spaghetti strands.

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So yeah, it’s still snowing.  Larry bought me a pair of running Yaktrax for Christmas, and I’m happy to say I’ve been putting them to good use.

 

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As for the snow totals, as of 7am this morning we were up to 66″ on the season.  60 of it has come in the last two weeks.  Here’s a scale graphic, for the purposes of perspective.

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2015.02.06

February 6, 2015

I don’t know about you, but my knitting mojo ebbs and flows.  Like some sort of wooly tide, there are times when I knit furiously every free minute, and times when I go weeks without picking up the needles.

Right now I’m on a tear.

I bought this yarn at the Fiber Festival in November, and started it as soon as I finished my Christmas knitting.

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I’m not going to say it flew off the needles, but it kind of did.

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And then one day Alistair forgot his gloves and borrowed a pair I’d made for Larry.  He came home from school and requested a pair in his size.

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Happy to oblige, my dear.

After that I promised myself I could knit all of the things as soon as I finish the sweater I began last summer.  As of this writing I have 42 sleeve rounds to go before bindoff, with any luck at all I will have that sucker blocking by Sunday.

 

2015.02.03

February 3, 2015

How about that Superbowl????

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We got another 15 inches of snow yesterday, with much less fanfare.  Schools were closed, and parking bans were in place, but there was no mass ‘shelter in place’ order this time.  Larry had to go to work, which meant I was on shovel duty.

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I never did clear off the car, though.  I’m working at home again today, and school is still closed; I’ll deal with it this afternoon.

Last night we used the snow to make ice cream.  Of sorts – granita is more like it.  Still, the boys were excited by the novelty of it all.  Whatever it takes during a long cold winter, you know?

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However, the Pats win made it all a little easier to take…the Red Sox equipment truck leaves in 17 days.  No matter what that groundhog said yesterday, spring is on the way.

2015.01.28

January 28, 2015

So, as you may have heard, Boston got a bit of snow this week.

This being New England and all, it happens.  Granted it’s been a couple of years since our last official capital-B Blizzard, but still.  It’s winter, and in winter it snows.  We deal.

Unfortunately our snowblower has bitten the dust, so Larry was kicking it old school this time around, armed with only a shovel and grim determination.  On the plus side, this was a light dry snow, not the heavy wet heart attack snow.

The wind kept the car clean, although it is surrounded by a two-foot drift in all directions, up to and including the bottom steps of our front stairway.

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Larry chipped away at it all day, and by dinnertime it looked like this:

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I’m happy to report that the boys and I stayed indoors all day yesterday; so we were ready to go outside for some fresh air today.  The snowman they made after Saturday’s storm (only five inches that time – a dusting) is almost covered by the new stuff out back.

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The bottom three steps are covered out back.

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There is two solid feet of snow in the backyard:

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Which is roughly knee-high for yours truly:

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With drifts to three feet and up.

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