Stonecourt after Hurricane Irma

This is what remains of our house in the Virgin Islands. Carrie and I built, expanded and lived in this house for over thirty years.

Thank goodness we sold it a year and a half ago.

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Knitty Noddy Instructions

This is a link for simple instructions to create a cheap Knitty Noddy

Download PVC-Knitty-Noddy Instructions

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Holiday in Scotland

9/11/14 London to Edinburgh 


If you want to rack up steps on your fitbit, land at Heathrow.  Walking from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 has got to be worth  6 thousand steps. That said, T2 is new, clean and filled with really nice restaurants and lots of toney shops.  If I lived near Heathrow I might go there to eat and shop.

So after the flight & taxi drive we were at our B&B, Dunedin, by threeish and had dropped our luggage in our spacious room #7.  We almost dropped ourselves as our room was on the third floor – one normal flight and then one flight of twisting circular stairs better suited to leprechauns (oops wrong Celtic country) than my size 10 feet.

But off we went to the Royal Mile, aka MacDisney Main St. dressed in Tartan. Well not exactly, but if the tartan fumes don’t drop you to your knees, the whiskey tasting will!  Among, around, in front and down the closes next to some really fabulous old buildings, just steeped in history, are shops selling more kilts and tartan scarves, than would be needed to cover the road all the way to Inverness!

Looking for coffee and tea for a dose of cafeine, we found the delightful Patisserie Valerie, where I embarked upon my Best Scones in Scotland Tour.  These were excellent with clotted cream and jam, good thing we’re walking!

Steps for the day: 14976!

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Russian Spindles

Spinning spindles come in many different forms. I have been playing with Russian and Tibetan supported spindles since taking a class at Canyon Studios with Neal Brand.  The class was great, Neal and his friend John were great teachers! Now the goal is to get them balanced.

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Button Boxes

Eileen’s All Buttoned Up Series of boxes along with some assorted turnings.

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Podcast Outline


Podcast Outline

Concept: A podcast about knitting information wherever it may be found: books, patterns, videos, YouTube, podcasts, classes, etc.

Imagine a Library just about knitting. A place for knitters to browse, peruse, read, learn, and, of course, knit. There would be one or two copies of all the knitting books, magazines and videos available in one comfortable well lit place. Comfy chairs and tables abound as well as a TV room to watch the videos and a separate class room for taking classes. And certainly there would be a small Tea and Coffee Bar where you make your own and leave money in the jar. Someone would surely have brought scones or shortbread cookies to share. After five there would be wine.

This Library is like a Gentlemen’s Club you would find in an Austen film – only it’s for knitters of any sex. You don’t borrow the books you read them here. Or you just sit and knit, any time you’d like, with any yarn you’d like. The open hours are long – 9AM to 9PM seven days a week. You can check in any time you want – you won’t want to leave.

I’ll be a librarian podcasting every two weeks from the Knitters Library, a clean well lit place for knitting. Each podcast will have a theme, with appropriate book/media reviews, a smidge of how the theme works in my life, and perhaps the occasional interview.

The accompanying website will have an interactive list of all the information mentioned as well as show notes. There will be a Ravelry group for the podcast that I hope you will join.

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To Be a Podcaster or Not


Over the last year I have been thinking about starting a podcast.  I have a concept in mind, an outline drawn, and a website compliments of the SDM (Sweet Darlin’ Man).  What is stopping me? Two things: the technology and my travel schedule.

Well, to say that I am not adept at technology would be an understatement.  While I have always learned how to use whatever technology I have needed it has not been without a requisite amount of gnashing of teeth and cursing.  I use technology as I use my car, without any desire to know how it really works.  It’s just not like knitting where I am willing to frog and tink, and tweek forever until I get the product I had in mind.

Travel , both planned and spontaneous, is one of the wonderful rewards of having worked hard and retired early.  Well, actually not that early but before the magic 65.  The SDM and I are on the go often and I do not want to start a podcast that I cannot produce on a regular basis.  I listen to a lot of podcasts and I do so admire those that are produced on a regular basis with few interruptions and I would strive to do the same.  But I am writing this blog from our Montana Cabin, we return to CA on Friday and depart the next Thursday for Alaska.  See what I mean?

That said, I think my concept would lend itself to being prerecorded when I have travel plans, and I could keep one in the box for any spontaneous travel opportunities.  Hmm, more thinking.

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Eileen, There’s A Pig In My Pool

I’m wondering if I will have enough good stories for the book I’m going to write when I retire, called: “Eileen, There’s a Pig in My Pool!”, if I start this blog?
As my Mother used to say, whenever I really wanted something,” We’ll see”.

I have been a vacation villa manager on the island of St. John for over 25 years; there will be some shameless plugs for our company, Catered To Vacation Homes, some good advice and some interesting stories about life on St. John in this blog. My SDM (sweet darling man), thinks I should do this – not sure if he really thinks I’ve got good stories and advice or if he thinks a blog will improve our website placement. So I told him I would start this and if I could crank out ten of them and not be bored or think I’m boring you to tears, I would give them to him to post. So if you’re reading this I succeeded, at least with the cranking part.

The one constant in 25 years of living on St. John is the abundance of what I call “simple pleasures”. This morning we were having breakfast on our dining deck. We have a large outdoor table under a roofed deck with huge arched openings that look out over Hart Bay and St. Thomas. SDM loves critters so we have a sugar bird, aka Banana Quit, feeder hanging from the rafters and an old casserole dish sitting on the rail. He fills the feeder each morning with pure white sugar and fills the dish with water. Then while we eat breakfast (the most important meal of the day and one of the five measures of longevity, more about that later) we watch the Banana Quits and the Bull Finches feed and bathe.

The feeding part is sometimes accompanied my some bullying and chasing but the bathing seems to be a cooperative effort with each bathing bird taking his or her turn to splash and fluff. Perhaps I’m easily amused, but this is a great way to start out the day and I defy you not to smile while watching birds in a birdbath!

Some of our villas have sugar bird feeders but you can put sugar in a small bowl on any rail on St. John and attract them. Add a bowl of water nearby and you’ve got entertainment. Now as with everything there is a downside. The birds sprinkle a fair amount of sugar onto the ground and it can become a sticky mess, though easily washed away with water. And the sugar will attract ants but they will attract our geckos, lizards, and skinks which are also quite entertaining. If you’ve got kids with you they might be dragged from the TV or their computer games to enjoy this – but I’d leave them if they’re kicking and screaming – after all some pursuits are really just for adults.

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Is there still sand on the beach?

When you live here fulltime and work fulltime it isn’t always easy to get to the beach as regularly as you’d like. We always look forward to having house guests as we always take them to multiple of our wonderful National Park Beaches.

Hawksnest Beach has always been the local’s beach – maybe because it’s close to town, maybe because it’s just so beautiful. It is the first beach in the National Park and has parking, picnic tables, a changing room and a bathroom. What else could you need? There is a decent sandy beach, a gradual drop-off in to the water (most of the year) some nice sea grape trees for me to get some shade and some rocks at the far end for the kids to play on. And there are always kids at Hawksnest.

My daughter and I moved to St. John in 1981when she was four. When you raise a child in the islands you go to the beach a lot. It’s like going to the playground in America. There was always a boat bag in the back of the jeep with a bathing suit for each of us and some ratty old beach towels. We went to the beach for a swim several afternoons a week after school and every Saturday and Sunday we did the chores in the morning, packed the cooler and had lunch on Hawksnest Beach. We’d stay until the last kid and parent went home.

She was always part fish. I was never a decent swimmer and vowed she would be – so we did the infant classes and toddler classes before we moved here and the rest must have come as naturally as breathing the salt air. As a kid I had to drag her from the beach at the end of the day and I’m certain that no matter how hard I scrubbed she always had some sand stuck in her long blond curls. It has been suggested by many a mother that our Virgin Island sand is stickier than that in other parts of the world – I think I’m willing to live with that drawback.

I find that sitting on a beach listening to the waves lap gently on the shore is very therapeutic. As my Dad would say, “It’s good for what ails ya!” That’s why every one of our rental homes has beach chairs and coolers. IMHO if you don’t spend most of your seven day vacation on a beach, any beach, you need to have your head examined. And I know the beach is cheaper than a shrink.

Are you just a little curious about the Pig?

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Hot Sauce

Trinidad Charlie’s Hot Sauce mentioned in a previous blog reminded me of Bloody Marys which reminded me of tropical drinks which reminded me of our rock climbing buddies from California who love them – Tropical Drinks, that is. Alas, I did not get the Irish Drinking Gene from my Irish family; it skipped a generation, so I frequently have the Virgin forms of all of these. And I must confess if I’m going to blow calories on anything – it’s going to be ice cream or gelato – so I really prefer frozen drinks.

When I arrived on St. John for the first time in 1973, Cruzan Rum was frequently on sale on St. Thomas for 98 cents a bottle (have you ever noticed that most computer key boards do not have a cents sign – why is that?) . Alcohol is still fairly cheap here and this means that barkeeps on St. John pour a pretty stiff drink. Beware of how much you imbibe!

Our LA buddies like rum punches and every time they come they drink them everywhere and are on a fact finding mission to find the best one – four years in a row, it’s Woody’s Saloon. One of Woody’s rum punches finishes me off – the SDM tells me I’m a happy drunk.

My favorite drink is the regular frozen Margarita at Morgan’s Mango. One of those with an order of flying fish is just perfect! The SDM is a beer drinker so he’s happy with a Presidente or a Corona just about anywhere but do not try to give him an American beer. Pina Coladas are a perennial favorite here and the Lime Inn makes a great one – they even have one that’s a perfect mint green color made with crème de menthe. For something classy and refreshing have a Proseco at ZoZo’s upstairs bar while watching the sunset, they also have Proseco at Paradiso. It’s a champagne-like bubbly from Italy. We started drinking it on a trip to the Italian Alps and it always reminds us of wonderful times.

But I started this blog with Trinidad Charlie’s Hot Sauce. They were making the Bloodies at Skinny’s in Coral Bay with Charlie’ and they’re great. I also use it in my V8 every morning and in chili. So now we’ve brought up Skinny’s and that should segue into burgers – but burgers need a blog of their own. So let’s finish up with ice cream.

Ice Cream on St. John I equate with hardship. First of all, it’s really not on my diet anymore, at least not regularly and a pint of Hagen Daz Vanilla is $8.99at the grocery store below our office. Can you believe it? I can get a quart of Cruzan Rum at K Mart for $2.99 and I’d have to mortgage the house to buy ice cream regularly. My daughter finds this so amusing she sends me clippings of newspaper ads of her grocery store which has sales of 2 pints for $5.00 from time to time – what did I ever do to make her torture me like this? But then again, this may be part of the cosmic plan to keep me on my diet.

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