01 December 2016

And December Is Beginning


Well, we've arrived.  Today is December, which means that 2016 only has a few weeks left.

It's also Think Write Thursday, and today, Carole and Kat have given us the topic "Hello, December."

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Hello, December ~ I hope you know how glad I am to see you, but also how bittersweet you are to me.

I love it when you show up, because Christmastime is one of my favorite times of all.  Unlike most people I know, I don't find the season stressful or annoying.  Rather, I look forward to the decorations, the music, the feeling of anticipation, and the fun of making or buying gifts for people.

I love it when you are cold, because to me, December is supposed to be cold.  I love that you are dark, because it makes the lights of the season and the idea of the Winter Solstice seem more special and beautiful.  I wish you would be at least a little bit snowy, but that seems to be something only in my childhood memories most of the time now.

I think you like showing up and making people pay attention.  Even those who do not celebrate any holiday realize that it might be time to wrap up some plans, and/or start thinking ahead to what will be next.  It's hard to travel through December and not notice something!

Then again, I think of my mother's birthday on December 2, and how we would ease into Christmastime between Thanksgiving and then, and then afterwards, it was full speed ahead.  I remember what fun it would be to make sure that she had a birthday, and not a Christmas/birthday combination.

My father LOVED Christmastime, and is most likely the person who passed that love on to me.  He'd be so busy with decorations, and cooking, and wrapping gifts.  And he'd always ask us if we didn't think he sounded just like Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby when he'd sing Christmas carols (the answer, in cas.e you are wondering, was always "no").

All the Christmases we would all be together, in one place all at once, having so much fun celebrating and catching up with each other, and all of the nieces and nephews having a chance to get to know each other and having such fun waiting for Santa.

And most recently of all, my favorite recent tradition on Christmas Eve.  Since The Tim always has to work, I'd put Dug's reindeer antlers and jingle bell collar on him, and we would take a Christmas Eve afternoon walk through Rittenhouse Square.  People couldn't help but smile, and some people would want to take his picture, or have their picture taken with him.  He loved the attention.  And I always told him that if he made people smile, even just for a minute, he'd given them one of the best Christmas presents ever.  It's gonna be really hard this year when that won't be able to happen.

But you know what?  It will be OK, because a good Christmas is about love.  And even if it can't be the same as it always was, or recently was, your memories make it sweeter.  You still have the love for those not here, and you can't lose that, any time of year.

So December, thanks for showing up, especially this year, which has been a tough one.  And I'm counting on you to make it worth going through the rest of it.  I have The Tim, Jetsam, Pip, and Milo ... and this year, Jack, who has no idea what December or Christmas or Santa or even sadness is!   Let's make the most of it, so that by the time 2017 pushes it's way in, we'll be able to say that you gave us a good ending, and we did the best with what we had.

Thanks for showing up. I plan to enjoy you as much as I possibly can,  'cause I look forward to seeing you every year,  And regardless of what else has been happening, I'm not willing to give up on that.

30 November 2016

November Is Ending

So yes, today is the last day in November, that last day of NaBloPoMo.  I'm happy that I decided to play along again this year.  The only time it was a challenge to post was last weekend, when I was sick, and then I realized that my post saying I couldn't say much counted ... :-)  But seriously, I enjoyed it.  I like that it forced me to sit down and actually organize thoughts and turn them into posts.  I compose so many posts in my head that never actually see the light of day.

I was thinking about this November, though, and it feels like the beginning of the month was so long ago.  Everyone was so excited about the upcoming election.  I remember when I actually cast my vote, I teared up, because I never ever thought that during my lifetime, I would be able to vote for a woman to be President.  And though I have no immediate plans to depart from this vale of tears, I do sometimes feel that it might have been my one and only time.  After Election Day, it just all seemed so sad, then upsetting, then infuriating.  I feel like it overshadowed any of  the good that happened.  Which is too bad.

Because there was good.  People found new ways to connect with each other.  Birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated.  Thanksgiving showed up right on time and helped to remind us of the importance of being in the present.  Several people were motivated to some sort of activism, which is never a bad thing when you are standing up for your beliefs.  Fall colors surrounded us, reminding everyone that ultimately, we are not the ones in charge.  For all of the horrific things that happened, good people pulled together and helped.  And if you are reading this, it means you woke up on the alive side of things, which is always a good thing.

Part of me is sorry to see November leave, because usually it's a month I really enjoy.  Though I had happy times related to special events, I think this year I'm ready for it to move along.  I sincerely want to be here to see it again next year, and hope that it will go back to being the kind of month it usually has been.

Goodbye, November.  I hope during the next year you have the chance to get over the turbulence of this year, and can come back to us ready to be enjoyed.

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart may desire.
-- an Irish blessing



Thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading this month (and always, of course).  Part of the fun of NaBloPoMo is hearing from you more often than I might otherwise.

On to December, with hopes for the best it can bring to us!

29 November 2016

The Last of the Turn A Square Hats

Yep, they are all finished!  I wove in the ends of the last one - the one for my niece Annie's boyfriend Patrick - on Sunday evening.  And, though you have seen every single other one, and know my thoughts, I'm still showing you the last two!

First, my great-nephew Zach's hat, in orange and black, the colors of his favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles:



I was working on these near the time of Halloween, and people kept saying, "Oh how cute, a Halloween hat."  So I guess if he decides that's what it is, that's what it can be.  But when I chose the yarn and was knitting, it was all Baltimore Orioles to me ...

And the final hat, for Patrick, in black and tan (though the pictures make the tan look more whitish):



By now, you know the details of the pattern, and the only different thing is the tan yarn, which is Berocco Vintage in the colorway Oats.

If you want to review things, and/or see them all "lined up" together, here is the link to the project page on Ravelry.

I am both pleased with how well they all turned out, and that they were all made with yarn already in my stash!  Win-win.

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Thank you for your good wishes that my cold will move on soon.  So far, it's still digging in, but at least I have medicine that is making me able to function pretty well, and good cough syrup that makes it possible for me to get a decent amount of sleep at night.   At this point, I think it's just a matter of waiting it out.

I'll be back tomorrow for the last day of NaBloPoMo - see you then!

28 November 2016

Post Thanksgiving

We had a lovely, if more quiet than usual, Thanksgiving.  Both of us woke up feeling slightly under the weather - not horrible, just not great.  So we did even less then we usually do (as in, usually we'll take a nice long walk in the early afternoon.  This year we barely went back and forth to the kitchen and bathroom).  The Tim took a couple of naps, and though we had our stuffing (AT LAST! and it was wonderful), and other holiday foods, we didn't eat as much as usual - or even fix as much.  Except for stuffing, which we always make in huge amounts, since we both like it left over as much as the first time ...

This was all fine with the cats.  The first sight I saw on Thanksgiving morning once I'd gotten myself up and moving was this:


We've had this pad a long time, and never before - well, at least that we could see - have two cats shared it.

The theme continued, with variations throughout the day:


In the evening, Milo decided that he wanted to sit on my lap.  Jack was already ensconced, and before I knew it, they were both there.  And no altercations!


Clearly the whole family was enjoying Thanksgiving.  ;-)

The Tim had to work the next morning, and I decided to go out to a couple of places for some specific items I wanted for gifts.  No, I am not one of the morally superior types who scoffs at the idea of going out on the day after Thanksgiving to shop.  Granted, it's not crazy in Center City Philadelphia, since most people drive to a mall somewhere, but it's still busy and crowded enough.  But I go very early, and I knew that the things I wanted to get would not be likely to be around very long if I waited.  As it turns out, I got both items on sale, so it was a worthwhile adventure.  I was home by lunchtime, and enjoyed the rest of the day reading and knitting.

The story changed late Friday night when I started to feel slightly more off.  I'd actually felt better on Friday than on Thanksgiving, and was happy to not be getting really sick.  Ha ha.  For the next 24 hours, I had a miserable gastrointestinal bug.  And only I was lucky enough to get it - The Tim was fine.  Which is a good thing, since he had to work all weekend, but I guess the bug was not the result of something I ate or drank, because we both had the same things.  Fortunately, I felt better by dinnertime on Saturday.

Lest I get through the weekend with only that glitch, though, I woke up on Sunday morning with a scratchy throat and a cough.  Which as the day continued, got considerably worse.  I lost my voice, and could barely swallow.  So I started taking some Day-Quil and rustled up some Rx cough syrup left from my last episode.  By this morning, I was feeling better though still not great, and I can at least talk well enough to be understood.  Imagine how pleased I was to come back to work [insert sarcasm].

On the plus side, I did - for real this time - finish the last of the Turn A Square hats!  I felt good enough intermittently to knit, and it worked up really quickly (at this point I think I could knit the pattern in my sleep. LOL).  So I'll show you that sometime soon.

And so.  My absolute last planned item that would be sent to the recipient for Christmas is complete.  I'm feeling really good about it.  I think I mentioned in another post that I also toyed with the idea recently of knitting a hat for my little great-niece Penn as well.  Today is November 28.  My plan is to cast on tonight, see how it goes, and if it is smooth sailing, I think I can have it knit by the end of the month.  I mean, it's a kid's hat, and I have three evenings to work on it.

27 November 2016

Scenic Sunday

Advent Wreath
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2016
Old St. Joseph's Church
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania