Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ann-Style New Year Blessings

Everyone knows that at the end of the year it is customary to wish happiness, good health, and prosperity upon all you meet. This year I’ll dispense with the customary non-specific wishes and instead offer these concrete sentiments which are surely the keys to happiness.

I hope you will have:
– good coffee-great even;
– comfortable shoes and fun socks to wear with them;
– restful sleep;
– a bicycle, perfectly adjusted, with the inclination and time to ride it;
– funny stories to share;
– a helmet to be replaced this time next year because it is stinky, not due to a crash;
– a dog at your feet;
– some tasty new recipes that will become old favorites by the end of 2010;
– a few really great books to read;
– an engaging hobby and the time to enjoy it;
– the time and inclination to enjoy the 2010 World Cup and the Tour de France
(I’ll gladly explain what’s going on in either case);
– someone to love;
– few sorrows and comfort found in prayer;
–cold beer (or lemonade).

Now you know what I’m up to when you say Happy New Year and I respond, "great books," "good coffee," "bicycle," "funny stories," or "no crashes"– I just want good things for you and I’m being specific.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Investiture Adventure

We, meaning Kelly, my mother (Emily or Granny), Meredith's friend Whitney, and I traveled to DC for the occasion of Meredith's investiture with a habit as a Sister of the Servants of the Lord (Servadoras). The Order has over 900 sisters with a presence in 31 countries. In this province, which includes the US, Canada, and Guyana there are 13 convents, including two houses of formation (training centers) and a contemplative monastery.

We arrived on Saturday, 12/12, feasted on a great crab dish called the crab-bomb at a place called Jerry's Seafood. Then we found our way to St. James Parish where the police had stopped traffic for the procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was in process as we arrived.

We hopped in behind Our Lady and joined the fun, including Mass said by Archbishop Wuerl.

On Sunday we returned to St. James Parish for Mass again. Then we got to take Meredith with us for the day, which consisted mostly of wandering up-and-down & up-and-down the National Mall in the RAIN.

Everyone in sight was wearing either a black or navy coat. We, however, were more colorful. Whitney and Meredith dubbed us: Mango (Kelly), Kiwi (me), and Old School TV (Granny) they made a little chant of it, which was not the least bit annoying.

Anyway, we took in the Botanical Gardens,
and a few important exhibits at the various Smithsonian museums,

but we didn't stay long at any one place, probably
because we couldn't wait to get back outside to
wander about
in the rain some more.

When we had enough of the rain and the wandering, we went back to the convent for Adoration, followed by dinner. Father Kastl and Father O'Brien also traveled from Tulsa for the event and were happy to bless the rosaries made for the new sisters by the father of one of the

The sisters entertained us with song, including Ave Maria.

On Monday Meredith was tied up with her sister-pals all day, so poor Whitney had to endure a day of sightseeing with Kelly, Granny and me. Indicative of our navigational skills, we are probably the only people on earth who could not find JFK's grave. (we eventually did, with the operative term being eventually). Our attempt to return to the hotel was thwarted by poor listening skills (Kelly) and poor navigational skills (Ann), or construction (Kelly's lame excuse) so instead of traveling east toward Annapolis, we somehow ended up on Fairfax, Virginia. In time (lots of it) we did, however, arrive back at the hotel in time (barely) to change our clothes in order to drive to the Investiture.

Mass for the event was held in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and was said by Cardinal McCarrick, attended by two bishops and a bazillion priests as well as about 100 sisters, including the newly vested, Meredith,

who is now known as Sister Mary, Our Lady of Divine Providence. The name is a good choice for Meredith because, as some will know, when things improbably work out for her she often says, "See it is Providence."

Before Mass, I lit candles for friends and family. These were just to the left of the altar in the Crypt Church and mine were the only ones lit there at the time. I could see them during the Mass, so it is like all of you were there too.

After the Mass, everyone traveled to a nearby high school for a banquet. It was only about a 6 mile drive, but afforded plenty of opportunities for taking wrong turns. Never one to miss an opportunity, Kelly took what I will charitably call a creative route to get to the banquet. We did arrive, but the ordeal led the new Sister to say, "I don't think I even want to sit with you people." That sentiment aside, we all put on happy faces and did enjoy the banquet.

When we picked Sister up for breakfast the next day, she told us that, alas, our family driving, yelling, and nagging experience was NOT UNIQUE. In fact, a number of sisters had nearly identical stories of driving induced family strife, and one family even had a fender bender caused by an impromptu stop in the middle of an intersection. And so, we spent Tuesday feeling much better about ourselves as we toured Washington on a double-decker bus and tromped around monuments.

Be advised that the clothes and name have changed, but Sister is still full of the same old fun and 'tude we have come to love.

The gals formerly known as Meredith and Angela Kmetz, now Sister Divine Providence, and Sister Servant of the Cross, seen rockin' the Sooner Shades, supplied by brother (note the lower case "b") Alex Schneider.

And, then we flew home.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So, this is Christmas

and, my first attempt at dish towels is off the loom.

These little numbers were woven with the Christmas tree border at each end. The weaving structure is called summer and winter. The reverse side has a white tree with a mostly green background.

The color varies because although the warp (lengthwise) threads were the same for all of the towels, the warp (crosswise) threads differed.

The more brownish was made with a cotton/linen blend, the brighter one made with cotton.

They are meant to be gifts, but I'm going to have a hard time giving them away.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dumb Kitchen Tricks

Whether I am accomplished in the kitchen is debatable, but the fact is (facts are?) that I do cook and bake a lot, enjoy it, the stuff I fix gets eaten, and I am not aware of anyone who has died or gotten grievously ill from eating my food.

Sometimes, though, I perform some real dumb stunts.

Take last night, for instance. It has been my Thanksgiving task, for well over 20 years to make the pies. The number of people sharing Thanksgiving with us seems to grow yearly so last night I made 7 pies. But I made pie crusts for 12 because I misread the pie crust recipe I know by heart and have been making for a couple dozen years. Instead of using the 1/2 cup of butter called for, I unwittingly freestyled it and used 1/2 stick. Through force of will, body heat and cursing I managed to get all 7 crusts rolled out and baked two of them. Then, I decided that some of the crusts were too awful to bake and re-did the recipe--funny how it turned out PERFECTLY when I actually followed the recipe. Soooooo, I re-made the crusts for the rest of the pies. All is now well in pie-world.

Then, there was this morning. Thanksgiving cooking responsibilities performed, I decided to make potato soup to have over the weekend, an easy enough task. The sausage was cooked, cooled and placed in a baggie in the fridge--same with the bacon. Potatoes and onions diced and cooked. I grabbed the baggie when it was time to put the sausage in the pot. The sausage plopped into the pot in a strange way--I didn't remember it being that clumpy. It wasn't. In fact the sausage was still safely in the fridge but a bag of dates had been put into the soup. Fortunately they were whole dates but the little devils dove right to the bottom of the pot. I think I fished them all out. If not we'll have a new tradition, whoever finds the date in their soup will get to make the next pot. Or, something like that.

Blessings to All--Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bohus Stickning

I just spent a day learning about the Bohus Stickning knitting technique. That is a style of color work knitting that originated in Sweden during the depression. The hand knitting was performed by women to enable them to make money handknitting for high fashion.

The garments displayed were stunning. The workshop included yarn and instruction to make a set of wrist warmers. I'll photograph them when I get them done.

Kelly (aka Tim-the-Tool man) got a new toy today.
The difference between men and boys is . . .
the price of their toys.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am a WINNER!!!!!!

I entered a contest on The Pioneer Woman blog and won this/these.


I think the contest was a drawing, and I was just lucky. To enter you had to identify your favorite TV chef, food blog, or cookbook author. This is what I said:

Winner 1: #40 Annie. “BOBBIE FLAY. He is the only person on planet earth who I would even consider leaving my husband for, and I think my husband would encourage me to go.”

So, it's early Christmas for me. I hope the cookware arrives before Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

He's better than I am

So, I got up early on Saturday in a cleaning frenzy. You know, the kind where you move all the furniture out and run a wet rag around the bottom of the base boards to get that linty junk that builds up. The kind of frenzy where you take 45 minutes to vacuum the family room, cause you want to get the floor really clean, and where you mop the floor with boiling water, cause . . .

anything worth doing is worth OVERDOING.
Well, since that kind of frenzy can go too far, I limited my efforts, deciding I'd quit at about 11.

When we sat down for lunch, it became apparent that someone -- KELLY (!)-- had tracked dog crap ALL OVER the family room and kitchen floors. DAMN IT!!!!!!!!! I groused a bit about this happenstance (as you can imagine) and Kelly good naturedly cleaned up his mess (although not as thoroughly as I would have, I might even have said that).

Then we decided to work the bees. So it was in-and-out-and-in-and-out of the back yard. Well, there was lots more dog crap to be had on the shoes, especially mine. When we , and me with my dog-shitty shoes, got into Kelly's (always immaculate) car later in the day, you know what he did ????
He laughed.
And offered to take my shoes to a car wash.

I am NEVER that nice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's Tulsa

I ran across these photos I took of various Tulsa sights at various Tulsa sites. I like 'em, so I thought I'd put them up here.

Gratuitous night shots of the downtown skyline.

Followed by various views of the the iconic Golden Driller.

This one taken with my Holga, which is a boxy plastic toy film camera with a plastic lens.

These were taken last year during the fair.

And, this is a sculpture downtown that I really like. This photo was also taken with my Holga and, if I remember correctly, I think it was cross-processed. Which means the photo was taken with slide film but developed like a print, which causes arty color-shifts which are now more easily and predictably accomplished with the flick of a finger in Photo Shop.

Here's a double exposed shot of downtown, from right in front of the federal building where I toil most of the live-long day-- Also Holga shot.

And, finally a shot of Coney I-Lander. Yep, it's a Holga photo too, notice the charming light leaks --classic Holga stuff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pioneering in a Womanly Way

From the title, the clever reader may have guessed that I went to THE PIONEER WOMAN'S book signing.

Those in the know, which you are about to become, know that The Pioneer Woman is a blog generated by a funny and charming person named Ree Drummond, who just happens to live on a cattle ranch in the Osage, near Pawhuska, which is just north of here.

Anyway, her blog contains beautiful photography, witty stories, and killer recipes, which you have undoubtedly tasted at my house. She committed some of those stories and many of those recipes to a book--

The doors at the Tulsa Historical Society were to open at 6pm. Beth, my partner in crime in this venture, and I arrived just after 5:30. There were fewer than 20 people ahead of us. And by the time everyone else arrived, there were over 450, probably closer to 500 people attending. I'd say there were people hanging from the rafters, but there were not rafters from which to hang, so I'll just say it was SRO.

We got t-shirts and bought the book, Ree did a little question and answer and introduced the Marlboro Man (her husband--read the blog--ahhhhhh), there were cupcakes, cokes in cute little glass bottles, and Ree signed books--patiently and charmingly signed books-- and posed for photos for HOURS.

I didn't take my camera(s), but I do have some observations to share:

-- The signing line moved at a painstakingly slow pace, but the wait was worth it.
-- Ree is as cute and charming and witty as her blog.
-- Marlboro Man is NOT over billed in the blog.
-- They were both refreshingly nervous and excited.

It was almost all good. But here is another observation, sort of a personal post script to someone who will never see this blog and who wouldn't recognize herself anyway:

-- Young mothers (one in particular--YOU blondie) should be attuned enough to their children (and the crowd) to know that it is time to bail out (that means leave and go home) when their 3 or 4 year old child (perhaps a little girl wearing her sunglasses upside down) is having a snot-blowing crying fit (for at least an hour) and when their little boy, a bit older, says he doesn't feel well. Sometimes mothers have to (AND SHOULD) abandon extraneous desires, like an autograph and a photo with an author, in favor of caring for their uncomfortable kids. And no, the older ones among us who were giving you the evil eye are not just cranky older women, we recognize the right thing to do, and did it ourselves when our children were small and we feel sorry for children of selfish mothers (yours in particular -- blondie).

Sometimes ya just gotta vent.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dying Day

I have, or rather had, 10 skeins (1100 yards) of Alpaca yarn hand dyed in Chile which I got for a very good price. The yarn was rendered in shades of green, which is usually pleasing to me. However, this particular yarn tended to camouflage-ish tones, which I do not find to be pleasing. I also had 33o yards of hand spun superwash merino which was perfect in every way, except color. That yarn was reminiscent of a drunken leprechaun festival.

Those yarns went into a soapy bath in preparation for re-birth in some new, and hopefully improved, shade.

You can see that I was not exaggerating about their initial colors.

Soooooo, what does one do with an overabundance of yellow and yellow-ish green? Methinks one overdyes with an abundance of blueish tones. So, in the spirit of overdoing, I mixed up an extreme concentration of bright blue and set it to steep with the yarn. After using half an ocean to rinse the excess color . . .


pretty much what I expected

I can live with these colors. The alpaca is still patchy, but I think it will knit up (or weave) nicely and will not look like camo. And now I can at least bide in the same room with the leprechaun hangover yarn.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

OU are knitting??

Today is THE big game. OU-Texas, of course. And, since I live in Oklahoma, pay taxes here, bore my children here, and send tuition dollars to OU, it is probably no surprise that I'll be wearing red (ummm, pardon, crimson) today.
And, I'll be knitting. I'd LOVE to show photos of my knitting and weaving works in progress, but all those tea cozies are destined to be Christmas gifts. Which I think explains my recent (and ongoing) yarn-purchase binge as a generous act, not a condition in need of treatment. Y'all knitters, do not let your husbands watch the A&E show "Hoarders," they will just get ridiculous ideas. And, Kelly if you should happen to read this, setting off a balloon loaded with yarn and alerting the FAA and the media is sheep abuse and beyond ridiculous.

Speaking of yarn and knitting, and I think we were, have you seen the proliferation of EXPENSIVE knitted cowls, hoods, and snoods? Burberry has a knitted tube of these specifications: chunky cable knit cashmere 19" wide, 38" circumference for a mere $325.
This, supposedly is the new scarf. And, here is a link to a free pattern. The yarn used in said pattern costs $16, and I think the pattern design is better proportioned at 11 1/2 inches wide and 24 inches long. Either way, that's a hell of a tea cozy. Wouldn't it look great in crimson?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Tisket a Tasket

My friend Karin made me a basket.
Isn't it cute? Isn't she clever?
Karin is a weaver of baskets and cloth as well as a spinner of yarn. She went to nursing school with my sister and years ago all 3 of us briefly played on an indoor soccer team together. Anyway, I saw Karin at my first spinning guild meeting, and thought she looked familiar. It took us a while to make the connection, but we eventually did. As it turns out, in addition to being a fiber geek AND a soccer nut, she is also a bike racing fan who knows EXACTLY who I'm talking about when I say I got some killer shot of George Hincapie at the Tour of Missouri.
And, as it turns out I do have some shots of George.

George, as you undoubtedly know, is the current Pro US Road Race National Champion and who, by the way, helped shepard one Lance Armstrong around France on ALL SEVEN of Lance's tour wins.
look here: a photo of Dave Zabriske, known to his friends as DZ Nutz, who happens to be the Pro US Time Trial National Champion AND the winner of the 2009 Tour of Missouri.

I could go on-and-on . . .

Monday, September 21, 2009

Meeting a DEADLY spinner

Perhaps you recall my post a year ago about another spinnerly gal.

Or perhaps you have a life to live and memorizing the contents of my blog by topic and date don’t even make the top 3704 of your to-do list. Fine, I can live with that. But now that you’ve been reminded, maybe you do remember a certain spider featured on the 9-13-2008 post? NO?? Harummmmph.

Anyway here is a year later and life brought me another spider. Yesterday I saw a web with two spider eggs outside my back door where my dogs go in-&-out-&-in-&-out-& . . . I was also going in-and-out quite a bit, as I was smoking some meat. On one trip I noticed the mama spider tending to the eggs, and looked closer . . . OMG!!!


Of course I grabbed my camera and attached a macro filter so I could get a better shot. It is best to use a tripod when using a macro filter because the focus is real finicky. But, there was no getting a tripod that close to the ground.

I snapped a few shots and went inside to find some agent to chemically dispose of the spider, can’t (or won’t) use pesticides because of the bees. I thought 409 would do it and sprayed mama and the eggs. Mama ran off to her hole and I thought she was dead but a few minutes later she was back checking on the eggs. So, I squirted mama and eggs with Dawn dishwashing detergent. She bolted again and I removed the eggs and web to the trash with a stick, a looong stick. About a half hour later . . . she’s BAAAAACK. I snapped a few more photos.

And then, I doused her again with a blob of Dawn. This time she was really curled up, and I supposed she was dead. A few hours later I found her in the middle of the patio on her back, apparently dead.

Whereupon Kelly was summoned. He picked her up (with a tissue) and flushed her. I’m pretty sure she’s truly dead, but I think everyone should watch their backs anyway, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09-09-09 or Happy Birthday Kelly

Yes, indeed. 09-09-09 is a special day

Kelly's birthday, actually. And I can't think of a better person to celebrate than the fella who has pretty cheerfully put up with my enthusiasms for years and has provided loads of funny sleepwalking stories.

We had a lovely lunch today at Gilcrease Museum and then dinner at my parents' house. I took a really crappy photo of Kelly at lunch and since it's his birthday, I'm honoring him by not posting it.

The real celebration was the purchase of the smoker.

Of course using the smoker will probably mean that we both have fewer birthdays, oh well.

My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know