True That

Sunday Sundries…

10168011_613948628694501_6794305290591110519_nOkay, not ENTIRELY true.  I also need dogs, knitting, yoga, “wogging”, dark chocolate, cheese and… but books and tea are a great start.

May 3rd was a day I should have known about and celebrate2010logod on time.  Click over to the girls’ blog to find out why.  (But here’s a hint…)

I bash podunk for its shopping and such, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  I love our small town and our almost incestuous connections and interconnections.  Today’s adventures give a good glimpse into what I love about life in a small town.

The Knight was perusing Facebook and saw a friend’s BBQ food truck was set up within striking distance.  We ventured out, and of course, got to see the father-son owners/operators, but also a family friend, the daughter/sister of the owners and her family, my nephew, the firehouse duty crew, all while enjoying great food.  (And why on earth with all those folks who know me on hand did NO ONE tell me to try the hand-cut fries before I was too full to even consider it?!)

So seriously, if you’re a local, look for Buckshot’s BBQ’s red trailer and you want the BBQ platter with beans and fries.   They’ll be at the Zion Crossroads Lowes and back in the Pantops area again next weekend.

Podiatry LondonIs anyone else an underpronator or supinator?  (Do you wear out the outer/right edges of your shoes?)  I’m shocked.  I used to be a neutral to overpronator, and while I knew my back injuries/surgery had changed my dynamics, I really thought I’d gone further into overpronator land, not all the way in the other direction.  No wonder those cushioned shoes feel so good to my old bones.  Our new “walking” route is almost exclusively grass, so I may need to go get evaluated at the local running store.  My trail runners are better than the “road runners” I wore on Saturday, but neither are perfect.  (And yeah, I know several of you and all of my local runner-friends told me to go do that a long, LONG time ago.)

Actually, my wear patter is more like the mirror image of A.  Wonder what that means?

I don’t remember what my blood type is either.  Yes, I fixate on things.  Do you?





Bits and Bobs

Yet another week where life turned on its ear, but it’s all good stuff.  I have a great opportunity for work and was reminded again that not only did I accidentally land in the right job, but I have the best friends ever.   Instead of asking me how I could put them in such a position, they’re excited for me and while I don’t take their support for granted, I know they always have my back.  (So there’s your Thankful Thursday moment, even though I doubt any of you will actually read this on Thursday.)

And no, I didn’t forget Thorsday… never will, even when I can’t manage to get a post up.  I have a question for you over on the girls’ blog

I’m already sipping my Sleepytime Throat Tamer tea, so I’m not in a state to give you a well-organized list of things I’ve found online this week or any such cool thing, but here are some bits and bobs you might find interesting:

    • No, I’m not sick.  Dangitall, my allergies found me.  I’ve been battling itchy, “weak” eyes for several days, my nose is all goobered up (sorry… over-sharing seems to be my theme for the day), and now, there’s been enough “drip” that my throat is sore.  WAH!
    • And no, I can’t take allergy meds.  Like wee Gretchen Greer, my body just doesn’t respond well to some drugs.
    • I finally got you a decent photo of my hair color.  I don’t know what it will look like on your monitor, but I’m happy, the Knight is happy, and nearly everyone who has bothered to comment has been quite positive.



  • Because it’s Thorsday (as I’m composing this), we need a gratuitous doggy photo.  Enter Ellie, the unofficial canine representative in the JLC.  She’s such a sweetheart!
  • I’m sure I had more to say, but my tea is working and my brain is not.

What’s new with you?


All Gussied Up


Baby Sis with Mugsy 12-07

Of course, the first order of the day is to wish the Queen, DIVA, Sissymonster the happiest of birthdays!  Several human friends of ours are also having birthdays today too, so what a great day!

Yes, yes… there will be a pawty this evening, complete with pumpkin cupcakes and fresh fish in the dog bowls, and since it’s been a while, I’ll endeavor to get some up to date photos of the birthday girl and yesterday’s gotcha’ girl.

Now, to the subject of today’s post!  Last night, the League hosted a pumpkin decorating party.  I confess, I attended under duress.   I don’t like to carve pumpkins.  I admire the fancy designs, but I can’t even manage a childish, old-fashioned, simple jack-o-lantern on my own.  I don’t decorate or celebrate Halloween at all, except for dressing the fur-girls up for blog posts, so…


Custom JLC 80th anniversary inspired design

I had a ball.  As always, I am impressed and inspired by our members and their talent.  Isn’t that remarkable?!


More fab pumpkins by JLC artists – and Tipper too

And these?  (No, Tipper wasn’t carved or painted, or otherwise represented in pumpkin art.  But who am I to resist a doggy photo opp?)

photo.JPGI’m totally copying this idea in the future.   My “I’m so not artistic” friend strategically slapped some of her kids’ stickers on the pumpkin, slipped into parking lot with some silver paint, and …  I’m impressed! 

I’m seeing a star version, a doggy version…   You know… there’s still time for more pumpkin decorating this year…

Of course, there was Wicked Wine and pumpkin everything to munch on while we decorated, chatted, laughed and some of us got Tipper kisses too.  (Can’t find the Wicked Wine with the funky jack-o-lantern on the bottle…  it was red so I didn’t drink any, but it was a great touch!)

photo.JPGOh, and in honor of Gotcha’ Day and DIVA’s birthday (and due to my TRULY unremarkable skills with Sharpies), here’s my pumpkin.  You can’t tell, but the M is black trimmed in dark green, then light green, and of course, the large paw print is in royal purple, and the smaller one is PANK.  Yeah, I spent twice as much on Sharpies as the pumpkin, because the grocer only had multi-packs with the PANK and purple…  But I shared, and really, can you put a price on custom art?!

Not pictured is a small striped (in Sharpies hues) pumpkin, a stunning PALE orange pumpkin with its artist’s name and a couple of others painted on it with white dots, and a GREEN-grey pumpkin decorated with gold and silver wire.  There was also a painted pumpkin with brown hair and BLUE eyelashes that somehow missed its photo opp…

Oh!  And those noshes behind my pumpkin?  Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix with TJ’s pumpkin butter spread on top.  Podunk is finally getting a small TJ’s next month.  At some point, I’m going to have to accept that while it’s always going to be a quaint college town trying to impersonate a city, Podunk isn’t so podunk anymore.

So, two opportunities for input today:

  1. Do you decorate pumpkins?  If so, what medium(s)?
  2. What items MUST be on my Trader Joe’s shopping list?  I’ve honestly only even been in one ONCE in my whole life.  I do keep their pomegranate white tea in my pantry, through the kindness of more urbane friends…

What I learned over Christmas break

Okay, so one day off isn’t a Christmas break, and I’m hardly a school girl anymore, but…

This is just a hodge-podge of a post, so apologies now for what a local friend calls my stream of consciousness ramblings.  Thursday night marked the last of my holiday happenings, so now I can obsess about what to wear to Vintage Vegas this year.  I have an outfit ready and rarin’ to go, but unless you’re really new around here, you know that doesn’t mean much.

  1. I love Christmas cards, especially photo cards and those family letters.  No, really.  I love seeing Dad’s cousin’s vacation photo on  her card.  She had such a positive impact on me in my teens, and I re-live all of those lessons on life when I see her swimming with the dolphins.  I hope in a … couple of years 😉  I’m still active and sharing what makes me happy with my friends and family.   Another friend shared the other night that she had a few glasses of wine before trying to be light and funny while composing her family letter.  It worked.  She and her husband are definitely a “power couple” with two beautiful young girls, pets, travel, etc., and it would have been easy to write an annual update that made my teeth hurt, even though I know it’s all true, but she and her wine muse pulled it off – of course.
  2. I had forgotten  how much I loved Republic of Tea’s Coconut Cocoa.  Add a splash of International Delight’s Almond Joy and you have an almost diet-friendly cup of comfort and joy.  I drink it every single night.  The Knight thought I was crazy when I said I’m ordering the 250 bag refill… but some of you will need a few bags to try, right?
  3. While you’re checking that out, get some of the TinTin chocolate chai.  Gretchen thinks it’s REALLY bad form that the good folks at RoT made it a CHOCOLATE chai (dogs can’t have chocolate you know), but frankly I’m delighted that I can’t share either of these yummies with anyone else.  I mean… of course I’d offer you some if you were here, but…   I just add a splash of cream (or 2% milk, whatever’s on hand) to the chai.
  4. I don’t like red velvet the flavor.  Seems I’d never really had red velvet cake.  So, I tried some when the Knight’s dear cousin got tired of trying to describe it to me.  Totally unimpressed.  For those of you who do love it … can you clue me in on WHY?  I feel I’m missing something.  And for the record, cousin assured me it was “good” red velvet cake, so it’s not like I had a bad experience… evidently.
  5. I reconnected with my Nook and learned how to “side load” PDF files, so now it is also a knitting pattern holder.  But seriously?!  None of the major brand knitting magazines are available for the Nook?  Not impressed…
  6. I didn’t put up a tree and it was still Christmas.  No, I don’t plan to repeat this sad state of affairs again, but it didn’t ruin the holidays for me either.  Go figure.  That being said, Sissy and I are already discussing that I plan to put up the full-sized tree this year, and she WILL NOT harm any ornaments.  Hem.
  7. My dogs are SPOILED.  No, seriously.  I’ve always joked about Daddy’s line (defending his own actions concerning yours truly), “She’s not spoiled, she’s pampered.  The difference is… she appreciates it.”  I thought it applied to my dogs too, but I’m pretty sure this holiday season, we crossed right over into the SPOILED ROTTEN category.  While all the gifts were appreciated, three deserve special mention.

My sister found these crazy plush hearts that say “I love you” in a voice that sounds more like my own “being silly” voice than I care to admit.  You have to understand that while Gretchen is a toy collector, addict, whatever, Sis normally only wants a tennis ball for catch and fetch, and otherwise, if it isn’t meant to be ingested, it’s only good for stealing from the baby to prove she IS the QUEEN OF ALL.

HOWEVER.  The big purple heart – think throw pillow size – is sacred.  Yes, the wee one can scamper around with it, but doing so only incites the DIVA, who then rushes to her best toy’s rescue and throws herself upon it and glares.  No, Sis has NEVER snapped at Gg and probably never will, so some small (mean?) part of me delights in this not so Sis-Ma behavior.  I love my terriers and their “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine” attitudes, but it does my heart good to see Sis be a serious alpha, if only over one purple, talking heart.

Precious #2 (Tolkien fans, anyone?) are the peppermint meringues made by Miss KAM.  Her sweet card was clear; THEY were human grade, but made for SISSY.  Hem.  Got it.  I had to hide them up high, because Sis loves them as much as that purple heart… maybe even more, since bassets do take the world in through their mouths.

Last, but hardly least, beloved Auntie ‘Nita dehydrated 27 pounds of the favored fruits and veggies for the rotten hairy brats.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating much.  Sadly, I’ve confessed that we own not one but TWO dehydrators, so I’ve been given instructions and I suppose I shall be supporting my so spoiled the stink dogs in the manner to which they have become accustomed…

What about you?  Were there any holiday revelations in your world?



Pinkadilly Tea

Whew.  I’d forgotten what it was like to actually have to WORK at work.  So much for getting posts up first thing in the morning!  If this continues, I might be forced to pre-post from home in the evenings.  I do realize many of you already do that, but…

Anyway, I believe I left you last with the promise of another post about Sunday’s Knit ‘n Tea, by Doghouse Yarns.   No disrespect to the Knight, our dinner companions or anyone else, but this truly was the highlight of my birth-4th weekend.

I meant to take photos, but as so often happens, I got caught up in the moment and lacked the discipline to step back, snap a few photos for you and then go back to enjoying it.   Luckily, Pinkadilly Tea at Smythe’s Cottage happened to have a little four-topper set up much like our tables…

Photo courtesy of Pinkadilly Tea's site

July 2011 013The food was fabulous.  The company was delightful, and the teas were delicious.  We started with their Cream Earl Gray, and then they also served the Hazelnut Vanilla and an herbal … angel something that I don’t see on the menu.  It was red and naturally sweet…  I bought some of that and their key lime tea of the month, which I don’t see on the menu either.  Their tins are cute though!  Too bad the names are taped to the bottom…  Hem.

Knowing Rosanne’s – the proprietor of Doghouse Yarns – knowledge and love of tea AND her charming hostess abilities, I was anticipating a great afternoon and I was not disappointed.  I won one of the prizes donated by Blue Ridge Yarns, from their  All American Colors collection.   I think it wants to be a shawl, don’t you?  Yeah, it would make festive socks, but I love navy, white and red…  Any suggestions?

July 2011 010

Isn’t the tag (the foot) cute too?!

July 2011 006Rosanne also honored each of the FOUR women (out of twenty guests!) having a birthday this week with a special gift.  I received the Get Your Knits bag, which is my passport to the program for 2011.  You can read more about the program by clicking on the link above…  I’m hoping to find a way to visit a few of the other participating shops this month.

(I apologize for photo quality.  For some reason, Flickr doesn’t care to save my edited photos today.  Hrmph.)

July 2011 008

Also included in the price of admission was a tea cozy pattern and our choice of yarn.  I selected this pretty, pale heathered green because it will go with all of my tea pots AND look good in any room of my house.

July 2011 007Lastly, a yarn tasting was also on the menu.  There are seven small balls of yarn there, in a great patriotic theme.  Also included was a pattern for little gift bags, so no silly swatching here;  I’ll be using the samples to actually MAKE something!  (Three or four somethings, actually…)

My first tea in a tea shop only left me wanting another visit, back to Pinkadilly (wonder if they ever do doggie events?  Gg would have a BALL and could wear her PANK dress…) and more visits to other tea shops.  Is there an honest-to-goodness tea house near you?

Oh – and the show & tell was awesome too.  I really do apologize for the lack of photos…  You’ll just have to join me next time!

Oh Canada…

Happy day, Canada!  And happy long 4th of July weekend to those in the States. 

Photo courtesy of Doghouse Yarns

Personally, we are having a low-keyed weekend, minus Doghouse Yarn’s Knit ‘n Tea on Sunday.  Please keep in mind the shop will be closed Sunday AND Monday, for the tea and the holiday!

Are you celebrating?

Miss Minerva’s

I’ve blogged about downtown Culpeper before.  The last couple of times I’ve been, I’ve seen Miss Minerva’s, but didn’t have time to stop.   I still haven’t been in, but that’s the beauty of a BFF…  I merely mentioned it existed to Bec, and voila!  Some of the special Christmas blend showed up in my pile of presents.   It’s a lovely, spiced black tea that’s just right on a frigid winter morning.  Gretchen likes the aroma too, but Sissy doesn’t seem to be impressed; she’d rather the Knight share some of his Apple Jacks and/or the milk!

Photo borrowed from Miss Minerva's website

Doesn’t that photo – borrowed from their website – make you want to meet me there?

We interupt my posting to share that begging works; both dogs are licking the Kight’s cereal bowl clean.  He did eat all the cereal, but he evidently poured extra milk with the intent to share all along.  Hem.

Back to the blogging at hand.

I’m also reading more of the Tea Shop cozies.  They’re perfect reading at the moment.  And G, I’ve “met” Angie Davis now, so feel free to rant away about whatever you wanted to say when you stopped because I didn’t know who she was…

How was your weekend?  I have a finished object to share eventually, and we had a nice birthday dinner for Dae and two friends Saturday night.  I’m knitting away on the baby blanket for a friend due oh… next week?, and waiting for the next big snow.  We had a bit over the weekend.  Snow makes me happy!

Don’t forget that January is National Hot Tea Month.   Too bad I don’t have time to go to Miss Minerva’s with a friend or two…

Hand-made Steamed Milk?

Another double post day…

The Republic of Tea dropped a tempting recipe in my inbox this week.  


Photo from RoT

Chocolate Candy Cane Tea Latte         


  • 6 oz fresh, filtered water
  • 2 Republic of Tea Double Dark Chocolate Tea Bags
  • 6 oz steamed milk or milk substitute
  • The Republic of Tea Agave Nectar (to taste)
  • 2 candy canes or peppermint sticks


  • Heat fresh, filtered water to a rolling boil.
  • Place each tea bag in a standard sized mug. Pour 3 oz. water in each mug and steep for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove tea bags, stir in agave nectar. Top with steamed milk and garnish with a candy cane or peppermint stick.

Serves: 2

There are a few problems, easily corrected.  I am mostly a loose tea gal – THAT substitution is easy enough.  I don’t have their Agave Nectar either, but I’m guessing a mild honey or simple syrup would do nicely instead.

But steamed milk?  I do have an espresso machine, but it lives in a box, not even in the kitchen.   While my counter space isn’t too limited, I am a kitchen appliance junkie, so not everything can live in plain sight. 

Google to the rescue!   How to steam milk without an espresso machine.   Has anyone tried this?  (If you didn’t click on the link, the short version is, dump the milk in a container more than double the volume of the milk and SHAKE, then steam in the microwave.) 


... and she wonders why we LOVE peppermints?!

 I’m also thinking peppermint extract is the way to go, because a candy cane sitting out of a mug is an invitation to both of my dogs to lick, slurp, etc., especially since they also LOVE milk!

(Why yes, I am going to go home and drag out the espresso machine and try both methods, unless some of you foodies weigh in first and assure me that the shaken, not stirred method will work just as well.)


Just a quick double post to share a great little chart that showed up in my Republic of Tea e-letter… 

Steeping time and water temperature are the two critical elements for brewing the perfect cup or pot of tea.  This little chart might get taped inside my tea cabinet!

Do note that with the more delicate white, green and oolong teas that it matters whether you’re using a bag or loose tea.   That’s because most commercial tea bags use tiny bits rather than the larger pieces found in loose tea.  If you’re using some of the new tent or pyramid shaped bags, you probably want to lean towards the loose tea steeping times, as those bags seem to contain loose tea, rather than the almost dust some bags have within.

I’m still quite hung up on Mighty Leaf’s Chamomille Citrus, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to The Republic of Tea’s Promise Me blend, of which $1 from every tin is donated to Susan G. Komen.

What’s in your tea cup today?

Parcel Review

I bet we won’t get mail today, but that’s okay, because the past week has been VERY good to me.  It started with a sock club kit last week, and goes through the three parcels I had to open yesterday, and you just have to see them.  The photos aren’t great because the snow clouds had already moved in, and I wasn’t dressed to stand out in what natural light there was and snap photo after photo, but you’ll get the idea.

Those cuties are MY alpacas, made by Anita.   She’s started making her signature clay animals as spinning wheel orifice hooks.  (Last link will take you to her Etsy shop.) 

I love the detail Anita puts into her creations.  Isn’t that the cutest little clay alpaca?  I’m not sure I can leave it hanging on my wheel, given Sissy’s latest path of destruction.  Both girls recognize Auntie ‘Nita’s scent and go ape when she sends even a note, much less something she’s crafted with her own hands.   Still, I have my own alpaca – two of ’em! 

I’m so blessed to have talented friends.  Do slip over to Episode 55 of Manic Purl’s podcast.   Dear Jessi got a much-deserved rave review of her SpringValley Yarns.   She’s famous!!  I’m glad I have an inside track, because I almost always have something on the needles with one of her yarns. 

On Tuesday, Amanda of NH Knitting Mama had a shop update.   I scored a “seconds” version of Franconia for a steal.  I MEAN A STEAL!!!!!  Amanda offered it as a second because one ply of the base didn’t take dye the same way the others did, but I *LOVE* it.  I also have a custom alpaca laceweight she dyed for me at the start of her dyeing career on the needles right now.

In keeping with the friends who dye theme, the most recent sock club kit from Dianne of Creatively Dyed Yarn.   Each of my indie dyer friends has her own style and base yarns, and I really think I could tell them apart with my eyes closed even!  I’ve never knitted socks with beads, but I’m going to have to with this kit.  Check out the pattern page on Ravelry for Sivia Harding’s Emerald Forest Socks!

I know this is a painfully long post, but go grab a cuppa’ and a bite to eat because there’s still more!

A few days ago, Grace’s Master Blocker challenged her readers, and because he must think like the Knight, I won!   I received the beautiful yarn above, and the extra goodies below.   I can’t wait to wind it up and knit with it.  I think it wants to be a shawl for me.  What do you think?

Grace must keep notebooks on what her friends like, because she always sends the most thoughtful packages.  I’m sipping the Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus now, and I think I’m in love.  I’d never tried Mighty Leaf  teas before, but I think another parcel will be on my porch about the time the mail carrier can get to us again.  I’m also ridiculously fond of those highlighters with the built-in sticky flags and notebooks.  The red dotted thing almost hidden is a little notebook, in case you didn’t put that together from my almost random comments.

I’ll just briefly note another Embrace the Lace package floated in this week too.  I think there’s only one more to go, but I’m honestly not sure.  Justice is grey, and that’s a shawl in the pattern.   There are better photos in the Ravelry group, of course. 

Last, but HARDLY least is a sneak peek at the Namaste Monroe that wandered to my house.  I couldn’t help myself Monday evening.  I love it, not that I’ll be using it for a few days, what with over a foot of snow on the ground and no signs of it stopping…   It’s roughly the same size as my beloved Newport (same color too), with that coveted outside pocket, firm sides…  I think my dream bag might have landed.  (Disclaimer:  My bad back and I do not strut around with these monster bags I carry.  The bags go from the vehicle inside work, office, home.  For shopping and other ambling experiences, I just carry a small bag with the Blackberry, wallet and keys.) 

My fingers were too cold to peel off all the protective wraps, or to get all around photos, but after I load that baby up and tote it around for a few days, I’ll do better and tell you what I really think.

So, what are you doing this weekend?  Evidently, I’ll be snowed in, knitting, spinning, reading, decluttering, baking…