Thursday, December 10, 2015

Clueless in Cultus


Sometimes I feel like I go through life knitting with just one needle. Or, roughly translated for you non-knitters out there, I'm not always the sharpest crayon in the box. For instance:

:: Until two weeks ago I had never heard of Adele. You might think I'm making this up, but it's true. Now that I know she's the world's most popular and apparently most talented female singer it occurs to me that I must have run across her name before. But I'm not much for following stories about celebrities, so I guess I never paid any attention. Not paying attention happens to be one of my specialties.

:: I had no clue I couldn't bring back a bottle of whisky from the US if I hadn't been out of the country for at least 48 hours. On previous day trips to Bellingham I've purchased wine and/or beer at Trader Joe's and brought it home without a problem. So last week when I was there and read in their Christmas flyer that they had a Trader Joe label single malt Scotch whisky that, if it had the label on from the distillery it came from, would be recognizable as a quality Scotch whisky, and was being sold for only $34.95, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. Wrong. It turns out that the import taxes on a bottle of whisky, no matter how great a deal it was, are $55.00. Luckily for me the nice gentleman in the customs office let me off with a warning. His words to me were, "I can see you're not a bad person." My reply was, "No, but I am a stupid one."

:: While I was at Trader Joe's I also bought some chestnuts. I love roasted chestnuts, but I've only ever eaten ones I've purchased from a street vendor. You know - the kind that get scooped out and put into a small bag and handed to you by a person who looks like they haven't washed their hands in the last 25 years. I'm thinking these aren't going to be quite the same. In fact, I have no clue how to roast them. If you have any experience or tips for cooking chestnuts please share in the comment section.

:: I was digging around in our crawlspace looking for Rebekah's baby book - the one where I recorded memorable things from her first year like when she started solids, when she got her first tooth, etc. I never did find it, and after giving it some serious thought realized she was the third child and actually, even if such a baby book exists, it's probably almost completely blank. But I did find Karsten's baby book, and was surprised when I opened it up and a bank book from 1982 (the old-fashioned kind that used to keep track of how much you had in your account) fell out. It was for a savings account in Chicago, opened my my brother on Karsten's first birthday. I have no memory of this gift. I phoned my brother. He has no memory of giving this gift. Not only that, when he contacted the bank it turns out that after three years they no longer keep accounts. So much for that $100.

:: I spotted this strange bird on my walk to Lindell Beach last week. I have no clue what it is. Is it a domestic bird? A wild one?




:: When I started Lucy's Christmas sweater I didn't take into account that it was going to need 30 eyes sewn on. The quest for buttons, and the application of those buttons after I finally found them, took more time than the actual knitting of the sweater.




:: I found a seasonal doormat at IKEA a couple weeks ago. Perhaps I should have looked a bit more closely before I purchased it.




:: And just so I don't leave you with the impression that there's a total vacuum between my ears, I do manage to get a few things right. Here's Ella, sporting the new hat I made for her. Ravelry details here.




59 comments:

  1. A secret desperado! I'm glad the customs officer saw sense and let you off. They should have bigger fish to fry!

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    1. I agree Una, but collecting duty from returning Canadians seems to be at the top of their priority list. This particular officer was very kind though. If he hadn't let me off the hook I would have just left the bottle behind. It would have been a case of throwing good money after bad!

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  2. Bob says muscovy duck or muscovy duck x with unknown other duck. Maybe domestic gone rogue so a wild domestic. LOL Was it near the complex's pond? I laughed out loud at the mat. I wasn't even sure if it was intended to be that way - you never know.

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    1. The more I look at the mat the more convinced I am that it was an intentional design. But then the question is would you have bought it if you had noticed the wonky design?

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    2. That's the most disturbing thing about this. I did vaguely sort of notice the tree was a bit wonky, but you know how it is when you're at IKEA. I was in a hurry and didn't have a close look. The same could be said about the pack of 4 advent candles I bought and discovered there were doubles of week number 3 and no week number 2 after I go home. Not my most successful IKEA experience.

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  3. Well he sounds like a friendly customs man! Who knew! I am sure that there are many things that I don't know and/or that pass me by on a regular basis so don't feel too badly about it! As for the chestnuts, cut a cross into them and then roast them on a tray in a hot oven - unless you have an open fire and a chestnut roasting pan of course. Either way, cut the cross first so that you can easily peel them! Enjoy! xx

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    1. He was super friendly, Amy. This is not the usual experience when crossing the border! Thanks for the chestnut roasting tips. I was wondering about doing them over our fire pit, but hadn't realized you needed a special pan. The oven it is, and I'll remember to make the crosses.

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  4. My dad always roasted chestnuts in our fireplace. If you don't cut them with a knife first, they explode! More than one exploded in front of us and more than one teacup was tossed in the air from the noise ;) My daughter told me who Adele was when we were Christmas shopping (I know I'm behind the times on current singers/bands). Your duck looks like a muscovy duck (google images have lots that match yours). Love your owl knitting, and hope you show the whole garment! Your granddaughter is adorable, and that hat is, as you say, "right"!
    Wendy

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    1. I laughed at th vision of your teacups being tossed in the air! I'll be sure to cut them before I roast them. Did you use a special pan when you did them in the fireplace?

      Yes, another person has also said Muscovy duck, so with two people saying the same thing I'm going with that ID. I wonder how it got there.

      I'll post about the Ella and Lucy's sweaters in the New Year, so stay tuned for that.

      As for Adele, I can't tell you how good it made me feel to hear you also just recently found out about her. 😊

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  5. Funny post Kristie! Love the owl eyes on your Kate Davies sweater.....great choice(s). Love the new "North of 49"!!! Also love Adele - Rumour Has It

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    1. Well, as you may have noticed, the owl eyes didn't end up being the yellow ones we had picked out. No such buttons were to be found in either Chilliwack or Bellingham. I like the substitution though, so all is well.

      I can't believe you know who Adele is!

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  6. Oh Kristie, I live in a constant state of one knitting needle as well. Our local greengrocer has the fattest chestnuts you've ever seen, and I was tempted, but I've never even tried a roasted chestnut so it occurred to me that I might not like them and then it would be a huge waste of effort finding out what to do with them. It's outrageous that the bank has taken your money. That would be highly illegal here. There are millions of pounds in accounts here that just sit there and people have forgotten about them. But the money's all still there, the banks don't just get to steal it and have it for themselves! I'd write a stiff letter and threaten to tell a consumer affairs programme if I were you. Wishing you a good weekend, with the feeling of two knitting needles. CJ xx

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    1. It's probably best to try some chestnuts before you buy them. I think they are one of those things people either love or hate. As for the bank, I was also surprised they could do that. All that unclaimed money must go straight back into the bank's profits too, which is almost more annoying than the fact the money is gone.

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  7. thank you now I feel almost normal because I could write a long list of things of one knitting needle in my life, take care I love Ellas hat

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    1. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one knitting with one needle, Mizumatte! And thanks for your kind words about Ella's hat. :-)

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  8. I love your description (one knitting needle) and feel that way a lot of the time too. I find myself saying 'It's been one of THOSE days' (i.e. frustrating/embarrassing/unsuccessful) rather too often at the moment. Do make sure you cut a cross (or hole) in your chestnuts – it stops them exploding in the oven. Sam x

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    1. Thanks for the chestnut advice, Sam. I definitely don't want exploding chestnuts! If you read through some of the previous comments you can take comfort in the fact that there are a number of us knitting with just one needle. Maybe we should form our own Ravelry forum. :-)

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  9. Chestnuts are absolutely fabulous. I recommend cutting them with a sharp knife on the flat side, otherwise you won't be able to open them. We roast them on the fire but you could also roast them dry in a frying pan. It probably takes about 30 min but I can't be sure.
    I can't recall ever hearing a song by Adele (although I heard of her). These things are unimportant on the grand scheme of things! Both hat and jumper are gorgeous. x

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    1. Do you use a special pan when you do them on the fire, Christina? And you are right about pop stars not being important in the grand scheme of things. Maybe not even in the small scheme of things. Which is why I never follow their stories in the news.

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  10. Hope you enjoy the Chestnuts it took me back to me childhood when my Dad used to roast them in a pan over the fire. I have heard of Adele she has had a lot of publicity here lately due to the release of a new album. Love the hat on your gorgeous Grandaughter and the jumper is stunning.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words about the hat and sweater. I'm glad I could bring back some good memories for you about chestnuts and Christmas. It's funny how some things can take us right back to when we were young, isn't it?

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  11. I like the wonky tree mat! Muscovy ducks.....a neighbour has a sign up and I hadn't bothered to look them up....yes, that one you have looks like a Muscovey....

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    1. Muscovy ducks seem to be the majority opinion. I hadn't heard of them before, and am very curious as to where this one came from. I think he/she was an escapee from a nearby farm.

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  12. oh that cute cute baby and baby hat :) best photo!! I'm clueless about lots as well but I try to cover it up gracefully!

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    1. Thanks Karen! It's my very favourite baby hat pattern. Yes, covering up cluelessness gracefully is one of my goals as well. :-)

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  13. Hey Kristie,
    This post made me chuckle! I've often thought that it's probably those dirty hands that make the chestnuts taste so nice. They never taste as good when done at home. A sobering thought. I am not that keen on Adele, but I love your holiday mat. It's a keeper!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Oh and I also love your new header xx

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    2. Ha! Yes, I'm certain it's the dirty hands that give the chestnuts their flavour boost. As for our holiday doormat, I have to say it's growing on me. Thanks for your kind words about the new blog header. It isn't anything too original. PicMonkey, the online editing site I use, had a very similar example. I'm waiting for them to threaten me with a lawsuit for copying them. :-)

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  14. If you feel like doing a bit of homework, you can probably get that money back. By law money in United States bank accounts that show no activity after seven years get turned over to the state the account originated in for safe keeping. Googling unclaimed funds for the state of Illinois should get you to the right website and then follow the directions. Not sure if it would be worth in terms of time to get so little money back but it might be fun to do the initial search just to see if the money is sitting out there.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Toni. After reading your comment I phoned my brother and told him about it. He said he had looked into that possibility already, but it really wasn't worth it. Apparently the state of Illinois, which is where the bank is located, has you fill out mounds of paperwork, then to add insult to injury they keep about 35% of the amount as a fee. :-(

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    2. Wow! I knew there would be paperwork, but the state takes a cut as well? In Oregon they have to return the full amount the state can't charge you a fee. Are you sure he was looking at the right website? A quick look at the Illinois State Treasurer page indicates that people are getting all their unclaimed funds back, with no fee being charged. At the same time if it's a hassle it's a hassle. At least you know where it is. Glad I could help out. Happy Holidays.

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  15. This tickled me and you're not to worry as I can assure you that you're not the only one out there, there's at least two of us. My knitting projects have come to a complete standstill and now I'm wondering if that's because I'm only using one needle too!

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    1. Judging by the comments people have left there are way more than just the two of us, Jacqueline. I'm proposing we start our own One Needle forum on Ravelry! :-)

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  16. Kristie, that bird looks like it was the result of crossbreeding! Have you discovered yet what it is? Your knitting creations are lovely--as usual. I think you just didn't let yourself think about those buttons beforehand or you might not have chosen that pattern. It sure look cute!

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    1. It turns out the duck is a Muscovy, which is a domestic duck. Although it looked like this one has crossed over to the wild side. You're probably right about the buttons. I just ignored how much finishing was going to be involved. :-)

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  17. When you've roasted the chestnuts (I always used to do mine in the oven or under the grill) make sure you wrap up the ones waiting to be peeled and keep them warm as they are much harder to peel when they cool. I have read recently that it's good to give them a soak before you roast them but I can't remember why. I agree with the advice to slit the skins!

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    1. That's a good tip, Hat! I'll wrap them in a towel. I'll Google and see what it says about soaking them too.

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  18. I have no clue about chestnuts - they are not a big feature of an Australian upbringing, or at least my Australian upbringing - and also no clue about Adele. However I do know what knitting I like, and have admired yours frequently from my position here lurking. All the best for the holiday season!

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    1. Those of us who have never heard of Adele are definitely in the minority, Liz! As for chestnuts, if you ever do get a chance you might want to try them. They are very unique. It's so nice to have a lurker post a comment! Thanks for your kind words about my knitting. :-)

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  19. To see the devastation exploding chestnuts can cause you might like the link in this post (wonderful animation of Mog the cat's Christmas catastrophe) http://livesimplysimplylive.weebly.com/blog/simplya-little-light-relief

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    1. That was hilarious, Freda! Thanks so much for the link. I will be very sure to cut each of the chestnuts before I pop them in the oven. :-)

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  20. I have listened to Adele on Spotify lately, and I watched her music special last week on CTVgo app on my iPad. She does have a beautiful voice, I think. Love the color of Lucy's Christmas sweater, and cute little Ella is growing so fast!!

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    1. Yes, she has a beautiful voice. I'm hoping the colour suits Lucy, and it's a good thing Ella is growing so fast because I fear her Christmas sweater is a bit too big for her. :-)

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  21. Psst...I know who Adele is and I can't stand her anymore. I wasn't really chomping at the bit for new music from her, but don't tell anybody I said that. I love the owl sweater but yikes, that is a lot of buttons to sew on. Ella's hat is adorable too. She's getting big fast! I remember my grandmother roasting chestnuts at Thanksgiving time. I want to say they went in a pretty hot oven - maybe 400 degrees - for an hour or so? Then she sprinkled them with salt while they were still hot. I loved them, I remember that very well.

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    1. At least you knew who she is Jennifer, which puts you miles ahead of me. :-)

      I hadn't thought about sprinkling the chestnuts with salt. Thanks for the tip! That's interesting that your grandmother used to make them at Thanksgiving. I connect them with Christmas, which is silly. I'm basing that on the song of course. :-)

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  22. Wow, look at Ella - how cute is she in that beautiful hat! Perfect for the season. I have heard of Adele, and seen a few pictures, but have no idea about any of her music. The owl sweater is adorable, and your knitting talent knows no bounds. Well done with the buttons, a tedious task I am sure. My ignorance re chestnuts is extreme - saw some in Japan once, never tasted one and wouldn't know what to do with it if given one :) Happy Christmas Kristie! x

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    1. Thanks for your lovely compliments about my knitting, Patricia. If you ever do get a chance to try chestnuts please do. They are delicious, and if purchased from a street vendor quite a unique experience. Merry Christmas!

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  23. First of all there is no vacuum between your ears! You are just busy. I remember when the movie Titanic came out and that song was playing over and over again, but the thing is I never heard it. I had no idea there was such a big hit out there. When I finally did hear it I loved it, not so much now as it was played so often, I feel Adele will be going on that same route, so much overplaying. Love the sweater and that cute baby. Stay just the way you are, there is too much going on in life, it is better to pick and choose what you are exposed to. By the way I like the mat, no Christmas tree is perfect.
    Meredith

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    1. That's funny about the song from Titanic. Exactly the kind of thing I do! You're right of course, it's best to pick and choose what we are exposed to. Thanks for your kind words about Ella and her new hat, and my rather odd doormat. :-)

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  24. I didn't know who Adele was either: the duck is a Muscovy we're overrun with the so and sos- and as for the chestnuts my pan for roasting them is in Spain and I've just found the local equivalent nut here!
    Yes, slit them on the flat side and roast them in the oven or on a heavy pan over the heat.
    There used to be a fair in my local town in France where they had chestnuts roasted over braziers to be eaten with a glass of the new wine which had not finished fermenting...cloudy and fizzy - and not to be taken in quantity or both your head and your nether regions would know all about it.

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    1. I'm happy to find another person who was clueless about Adele, Helen. As for the Muscovy ducks, I know nothing about them, but judging from your comment they must be a bit of a nuisance. I tried a small trial batch of chestnuts tonight and they were delicious! Could you just use a cookie sheet to roast the local nuts on? Ha! I just realized as I typed that, given some of your posts, that comment could mean either your local politicians or the food variety of nuts. :-)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I hope Lucy can tell they are owls when I give her the sweater. :-)

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  26. People can see you're a good person. And those who can't see it would learn it within 5 minutes. But I'm surprised they don't have your picture at the border after the tomato incident. Oops, never mind. That was when you were headed in the other direction.

    That hat is so cute! I admire your determination on the 30 eyes. I would have started asking people "How do you think this would look without the eyes???" :)

    PS - I would have sworn I commented last week. My mind is slipping.

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    1. The temptation to gift a blind owl sweater was definitely there, Rick. I managed to overcome it though. :-)

      As for the tomatoes, all I can say is I still get mad when I think about them taking my tomatoes away from me.

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  27. Oh my that's a lot of buttons to sew on. And teeny tiny ones too! Yikes! The baby hat is adorable, she is such a cute baby! There's too
    Much going on and we are exposed to information overload, I think our brains just hit overload sometimes. I like the door mat!

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  28. I good recognise similarities with me in your post. Many of those instances would happen to me too! I'm glad you had such a friendly customs officer! Have you eaten your chestnuts yet? When I tried cooking them in the oven they weren't as good as those sold in the street. Ella looks so cute and Lucy will locve all of the buttons on her Christmas jumper! Sarah x

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  29. The hat you've made for Ella looks really cool on her. Actually it is super cute) You know, reading your post it remind myself a lot. Looks like someone was writing about my everyday life. I even sometimes think I'm the most stupid person in the world)

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