17 March 2018

Celebrating 62 Years

First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  It's one of the very best days of the year, with good baking, good food, and most excellent beverages. I hope you have a lovely one, and at a minimum, lift a glass of something good to honor Paddy himself.

It's been a grand few days (with one exception) leading up to today.  This past Wednesday was my 62nd birthday!  Other than wondering how the heck I got to be 62 (spoiler alert: it comes after 61!), it was a day of just enjoying myself.  I took that day and the rest of the week off from work.  Which is always a good idea, in my opinion.

The Tim had to work on my actual birthday, so I just enjoyed the day myself, knitting, reading, taking a walk, cuddling with the kitties, and getting my hair cut.  Once he came home, he fixed us homemade gnocchi and garlic breadsticks for dinner, followed by cake and presents.  A most wonderful way to celebrate a birthday.

The Tim had asked if there was anything special I wanted to do to celebrate, and I decided I wanted to visit the Wolf Sanctuary of PA, so he booked us a tour for this past Thursday.  It was the best day, and deserves its own post, so that's coming in the next few days.  We got back home early in the afternoon and just relaxed and hung out the rest of the day, watching some shows we'd recorded, and cuddling with the kitties.  Perfect.

Yesterday was the only ick day, but I knew that it would likely be so.  I had an appt first thing in the morning at the periodontist's office to have a tooth removed and a bone graft done in preparation for a dental implant.  Ugh.  It went just fine, but as with any dental procedure it was unpleasant.  I spent the bulk of the day putting ice on my jaw and dozing in and out.  It's still sore today, but not quite as swollen, and I know it will improve every day, but ICK you know???

So that brings us to today, St. Patrick's Day!  I'm baking brown bread this year, which will make the house smell sooooo good.  And we'll have it some Kerrygold butter, which is also a treat every year, and later we shall raise a glass to the good saint.

I still have all of today and tomorrow to enjoy my extended birthday celebration, so it's definitely been a good week overall.

I hope you are having a good weekend, and having a chance to do what you like.

Sláinte to you and yours!

13 March 2018

In Which I Get To Meet Another Blogger in Real Life!

As you know, I have had the chance on more than one occasion to get together with Dee - I even got to meet Giroux! - both for knitting and just for hanging out.  She and I hit it off really well, and it's great to meet someone in real life and have it "work," if you know what I mean.  Let's face it - some people are completely different in their online personas, and then you meet them in person and it's a quick trip on a bullet train to Dudsville.  (Perhaps it works the other way, but not in my limited experience.)

Since Dee moved back to the area, she has asked me on more than one occasion to join her and Vera for an afternoon of knitting, chatting, tea/coffee drinking, etc.  Each time, it was when I had something else I already had committed to doing, and so I'd miss out.  But the stars aligned, and this past Saturday worked for all of us, so I packed my tote bag, bought my train ticket, and headed to Beautiful Downtown Lansdale, PA, to spend the day.

The train ride back and forth was both crowded (people heading to/from the Philadelphia Flower Show), and also enjoyable.  I read my book for a while, but mostly I looked out the window, and enjoyed both the scenery, and making up stories about people I saw.  For instance, I saw a guy lugging a large trash bag out of his garage towards the open trunk of his car.  A body in a bag?  The bloody carpet from the crime scene?  Small children who once too often said, "I'm boooored"?  Only time will tell.  :-)   (Spoiler alert: It hasn't.)  Then there are also the people who are full-grown adults, and say things like, "Excuse me - I've never ridden the train before, is this where you get on?" even though you are STANDING on a platform NEXT TO TRAIN TRACKS with signs that say "BOARD TRAINS HERE," and I wonder to myself, how can you possibly be a grown person and have never ever ridden the train?  (Though Dee said her husband fell into this category.  But he's at least ridden the subway/el, so that's a variation on a theme as far as I'm concerned.)  I will excuse people who have just moved to the area, but other than that, I often wonder.  However, this is largely because growing up, my parents were not likely to drive us anywhere and so buses, trains, etc. were the way to go if it was too far to walk or bike.  (Edited to add: I am also someone who is more likely to try and figure it out myself or ask the ticket seller or conductor.  They are to the point and don't expect me to chat with them.  But maybe that's just me.)

But I digress.  Back to my destination of Beautiful Downtown Lansdale.  Dee and Vera met me at the train station, which was very nice of them.  They had said that the coffee shop where we were heading was nearby, and I'm sure I could have found it even though suburbia is often puzzling to me (would it kill them to have signs??), so I didn't have to waste any time wandering in the wrong direction.  (Also, Lansdale has sidewalks, which one cannot always assume in the suburbs, so that was nice.)  So we headed down the street to a place called Backyard Beans, which was lovely.  It's an oddly shaped spot that makes the most of the space.  Both of them recommended the Ginger-Turmeric Steamer, so I gave that a try.  It was sooooooo freakin' good!  Also - at the place they were selling Girl Scout cookies!!!  I bought a box of shortbread and Thin Mints - score!

Whoops, another digression.  Back to the story at hand.  Well, let me tell you, Vera is so much fun!  The three of us knitted, drank, and laughed for a couple of hours, and it was like we'd known each other forever.  It was also funny, because Vera was wearing a really pretty sweater.  I asked her if she'd made it, and she told me the story of buying someplace, at which point Dee joined us after getting her drink and immediately asked Vera if she had knit the sweater she was wearing - perhaps when knitters meet, they should have small cards to hand out to each other explaining any knit item they are wearing!  Then we headed across the street to a really lovely restaurant/pub called Stove & Tap for lunch.  Our waiter was SO nice - he showed us pictures of his kids and dogs, told us about a friend who had gone to the Super Bowl, and told us that he couldn't give us separate checks because a law had just been passed forbidding it.  ;-)  He was so nice, and I'm pretty sure he got a big tip from all of us ...

Then it was time for all of us to head home.  They walked me over to the train station, and we said our goodbyes.  I gotta tell you, when I got home, I was pretty tired!  I think because I am seldom that social and I used up more than my quota for the weekend!  But it was just The. Best.  To use a phrase of my mother's "It sure beat spittin'!"

Yesterday, Kathy asked the question:  If you could sit on your couch and knit with anyone today, or a few folks, who would they be?  Well, I had that chance over the weekend with Dee and Vera, and it would have been hard for it to have been better!

So, when/if you have a chance to meet others that you know in cyberspace in real life, I would suggest taking a chance!  Even if you end up in Dudsville, you can always say you have to head home at a certain time, and make the suffering less.  But I'm betting you'll have at least as enjoyable a time as I did.  Even if you don't go to Beautiful Downtown Lansdale ...

And since I have no photos to prove we were together (because of course I don't), here is a picture of Milo the Koodle from Sunday morning, which was the morning of his 6th birthday.  He is the only cat we've ever had whose birthday has actually been known to us.  :-)

08 March 2018

Three Good Things on a Snow Day

Yesterday I really enjoyed my snow day.  The Tim had to work, so it was just the kitties and me, spending a relaxing day together. 

I thought I would join Three on Thursday today, and regale you with Three Good Things on a Snow Day.

1.  I saw that the brackets were announced for MDK March Mayhem!  I was able to be very leisurely checking out the patterns included this year.   I voted in the various rounds last year, and it was so much fun.  It also made me aware of a lot of patterns/designers I was not aware of before.  Check it out, and be a part of the voting. 

2.  I got a nice chunk of knitting done on the baby sweater I posted about yesterday.  I finished the yoke, put the sleeve stitches on holders, and got an inch or so into the stockinette part on the bottom.  I really think it's gonna be cute when it's finished, and hopefully that will not be too long coming.

3.  I have been wanting to bake this coffee cake for a while, but finally yesterday the planets aligned and I made it happen.

This is Italian Walnut Coffee Cake, and it is a) really easy to put together, and b) sooooo yummy!  The house smelled so good yesterday afternoon while this was in the oven.  The Tim and I enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea when he got home from work, and then repeated that later in the evening.  I've had this recipe for years, I'm pretty sure it was originally from a magazine, but the details are gone with the wind.  If anyone is interested, I'll try and get myself together and post the recipe.  It's nice because it's not overly sweet, and it doesn't just land in your stomach like a rock.

Today it was back to real life, and back to work.  I managed to find a route where most of the sidewalks were shoveled, so it wasn't as nerve-wracking as it could have been getting to work.  After work today, I have to go to the dentist to have a filling replaced - ICK!  But at least tomorrow is Friday, so I think I'll survive ... ;-)

07 March 2018

Snow Day Unraveling

Today in a rare move, my workplace closed before it was even time to go in, due to the nor'easter that is underway.  It was so nice to not have to slog my way to work only to be sent home in the thick of it.  Usually they wait until 2 or 3 o'clock if they decide to send us home at all.  And then people have all kinds of trouble getting home.  Hooray for whatever made them be sensible today!

So I figured I would join Kat and everyone else for Unraveled Wednesday

A week or so ago, it occurred to me that I have a new great-nephew due to arrive in April,  and if I wanted to knit something for him, I'd better get moving!  I decided to give this pattern a try, and got started.  So far, I've only had to frog/unravel once, when I realized I'd gotten completely off count.  But fortunately it wasn't too far into the knitting, so I wasn't too upset.  I'm back on track now, and am pleased with how it's looking.

The yarn color is a bit more green than the photo shows, and I have some little red car buttons to add.  I think it will be cute.  And who knows, it might even be finished before he's born!

Book-wise, I'm still listening to the audiobook version of The Amber Spyglass, and enjoying it.  On this past Monday, I started this book:

I think I may be one of the last people I know to give this a read.  From what I can tell, most people either love it or hate it.  I'm only about 70 pages in, and so far I like it, but it's over 700 pages long, so I've just begun to skim the surface.  I think I'll probably get a nice chunk of reading done today, as well as more knitting. 

I may even bake something.  Snow days rock!

06 March 2018


Please indulge me for this mini-rant. 

A few years back, a friend gave me an unopened set of Addi Interchangeable Needles, still wrapped up.  She had received them as a gift, and already had a set, and did not want to try and return/exchange them.  So she gave them to me. 

I have approximately one bazillion circular needles of various sizes, in various states of condition.  Most of the time, I grab one of those to work on a project, but recently I did start working on something that used a needle size that was not in the bazillion, so I broke open the Addi set.  When I pulled out the size cable I needed to attach for the project I was using, there was a huge bump/bubble on it that would definitely catch yarn.  I remembered that Addi was usually really good about making good on broken needles, faulty products, etc., so I went on to the website and explained my problem.  I received an e-mail saying that if I didn't have the paperwork to return them to the merchant, I could send them to the company in Washington State.  So I sent them there with a note as to the issue.

Yesterday the replacement cable arrived, along with a letter.  The letter stated that they were "happy" to send me the replacement cable this time, but that "this is not considered a manufacturing problem, and in the future, we will not be willing to replace the product."  This really annoys me.

Yes, they did replace the cable for me.  And that is lovely customer service.  But if a bump/bubble in the plastic of the cable is not considered a problem in the manufacture of said cable, what would be?  The "non-problem" would be a big-time problem when you were trying to knit.  And it came that way, in a sealed package, so it's not like I had been using it and set it down next to radiator causing it to melt or something like that. 

I have to tell you, I was disappointed in their response.  I understand that there may be people who do/have tried to take advantage of their returns/exchange policies, and they are a business with a bottom line, etc.  But I still would like to know why the problem wasn't considered a problem on their end.  And the snippy tone of the letter surprised me too.

So although I know have a working cable, which is nice, I'm a bit put off by them.  I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to purchase one of their products in the future.

White People Problems, am I right?