Such a Bore

I’ve been such a bore and retreated into my shell in the last few weeks.

We’ve had weeks of bad weather – bad meaning, plunging temperatures, icy rain, nighttime frost – and so, in between the navel gazing, I’ve been treated to lots of free exercise in carring potted plants in and out of the house. So often in fact, that all of the outdoor plants, including the hanging petunias, now have predetermined spaces here in the house.

This week, we’re being treated to a bunch of cold air coming from the polar circle, which is why temps this morning are just at 38F and it’s been raining elephants and hippos. Our weather for the extended Easter weekend was no better.

All that translates into extra knitting time, though I’d rather be doing things outdoors, and it enabled me to finish that blanket in what appears to be record time. However, it was knitted with a 6,5 mm (US 10 1/2) needle, so it went very fast. I did extend the size of the blanket by adding an extra row of squares at the top. I’m very pleased with the result. It was knitted with two strands (one woolen sock yarn and one alpaca) and is wonderfully soft and warm.

April Showers

Well, this is what I get for getting flowering plants for the porch too early. I woke up to snow this morning, luckily I’d been forwarned by my weather app that things are going to stay icy until the weekend, so I’ve brought everything inside. .

My house now resembles some sort of bargain basement funeral home, with all of the iceland poppies, daisies, lavender, petunias, roses, etc. Sigh. Just another drop of crazy in a world that is drowning in it.

I’d just like to know who mixed the cool-aid and transported it to all corners of the world, where it’s apparently being consumed.

Incurable

I finished the “Chill Sweater” yesterday (I can’t model and photograph it yet, it’s drying on a hanger from it’s first washing yesterday evening).

I wasn’t going to start a new project, but as always, as I was getting to the end of this one, I felt uneasy not having something new in the “knitting pipeline”.

So, yeah, I checked the internet for new stuff, not really wanting to tackle another sweater, and did find a project that blew me away. I ordered the supplies for the new project and it arrived yesterday:

I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I’ve got a new stash of yarn in my hands. I love these colors.

Oh yes, the new project. Go here and have a look. I don’t NEED this but I saw it and I wanted it. It’s just too pretty not to have.

Much too early

We’ve had more than our share of warm spells recently, and historically speaking, the month of March was the warmest on record. While trying not to think about the large masses of ice melting on either of the earth’s poles, I am watching the trees here go green a full 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule this year.

Nevertheless taking advantage of our warm weather, I made my first trip to the nursery last week and filled the stone walls of the porch with blooming potted plants, as I can’t stand for it to be bare once spring arrives.

 

Uncoordinated Innovation

About a year ago, I discovered that my health insurance company had an app – a useful one. When you get an invoice from a doctor, you take a picture of it with your phone and then send the bill on it’s merry way. A few hours after you dispatch the invoice, the app notifies you that the documents have, in fact, been received. A few days later, the app notifies you that everything has been processed and you will receive a detailed settlement statement via snail mail.

So, last week, when I received the invoice for all of that dental work, I immediately scanned both pages of the invoice with the phone and sent it on it’s way. I was informed about the receipt and processing with the usual app notifications and looking forward to receiving the settlement info, as my dentist would like for me to pay him.

They sent me a settlement statement of two pages, the first of which said 0 €, and the second of which had a footnote stating that they cannot process the settlement unless I include the attachment to the invoice which details the laboratory materials and labor breakdown.

O.k., maybe I’m just fussy – but maybe a notification through the app or a good old phone call to tell me that might have saved two pages of paper and a postage stamp? On the one hand, the company is being pretty savy with it’s app – on the other hand, not contacting me via the most economical way with, say a short call – is to me a FAIL.

Prosecco and Tomatoes

I can’t report back on the Prosecco yet, as it is still being chilled. My father had a brilliant idea about it which I’ve decided to implement. It will remain in the refrigerator chilling, and will be shared in May with Emma, the grown-up daughter of my friend Jen whom I haven’t seen in around 40 years. It kind of blows my mind, really.


At this weeks visit to our small open-air market, I needed tomatoes for two different things I’m cooking this week (bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of aubergine, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, gruyere, sardines and capers, and later in the week tacos).

The vegetable stand at our market is always offering a wide range of fresh organic vegetables, and I continue to be amazed at some of what is offered – for example, this winter they had, in addition to fresh red beets, yellow beets. One of their suppliers is a larger farm not far from here that specialises in “forgotten” vegetable types, lots of root vegetables like turnips and yes, yellow beets.

Back to the tomatoes. I bought these:

I thought there was something wrong with them, or that they weren’t ripe yet, but upon my asking, I was told that they were in fact perfectly ripe and are known as “black tomatoes”.

I’ve since googled them (it’s a habit I have, I google everything, though I use DuckDuckGo to do so) and apparently, there are many varieties of black/purple tomatoes. The ones I have are apparently the “Black Krim” variety.

I’ll report back on the supportedly extreme tastefulness.

A Reading Recommendation

I read (or listen) to a lot of books annually, somewhere between 100-150.  (Though at the moment, I’m stuck on the philosophy tome because I’ve subscribed to too many albeit excellent podcasts.)

There are a lot of good books out there, some very good, others, good but nothing to write home about, and some that I struggle through to finish them nevertheless.

One of the most excellent works I’ve come across in the last few years is the “Disruption” Series by R.E. McDermott. The books’ premise is solid, the character development excellent, the plot is believable and the suspense is successfully kept up from chapter to chapter. These four attributes are the necessary ingredients to a good read, but most authors fail to achieve all four. R.E. McDermott manages wonderfully.

I told my father about the series and he was intrigued; I was dismayed that the books were available only in english. My father’s speaking english is good (being the die-hard ham-radio operator that he is) but reading a novel in english is a challenge that he finds daunting and strenous. So, I left a comment/question on R.E. McDermott’s website, and got an answer from the man himself. Yes, the volumes will be appearing in German soon. His response to my comments were very kind and forthcoming.

So, go grab the first in the series, “Under A Tell-Tale Sky” and if you like it, take the time to leave a review wherever you end up purchasing it.

If you aren’t a customer of audible, I am able to “gift” the audiobook version to one person. The picture below links to Audible, but the books are available at Amazon also.

 

Another Surprise

Wow. Another package arrived for me yesterday, completely unexpected, with absolutely delightful content that included

two boxes of chocolate fudge poptarts (which I haven’t had in about four years as you can’t get them here), a box of Quaker Instant Oats in my FAVORITE flavor of apple & cinnamon (a nostalgic leftover from my childhood, I love the stuff) and a wonderful T-shirt with a black lab on the front of it.

You know who you are – thank you. 🙂🎂👏

On a side note, I put the oatmeal and the poptarts on the kitchen counter yesterday evening. Everytime I walked past them, my mouth watered.  But, I waited until this morning to treat myself to one.