20 September 2019

The Last Weekend of Summer

I know many (most?) of you are summer fans, but I will not miss it at all.  I did better trying to live in the moment this year, and not wishing it away, but it was not a good summer for a lot of reasons, and I'll be happier than usual to say goodbye. 

The weather here in Philadelphia promises to feel summer-like, fortunately without any humidity, and we have no specific plans, which is nice, since I'm enjoying the feeling of not being scheduled for anything.  

I do hope to finish the socks I'm knitting, which is completely doable, since I have only the toe on sock #2 to complete.  I'm hoping to start my next stitching project, and I also want to see if I can organize a gift for my great-nephew's 50th birthday on October 1st.  What is rattling around in my brain and reality may not be compatible - we'll see.

I'm sure there will be some outside time as well.  I think The Tim has things he wants to do around the house tomorrow, and he works on Sundays, so at a minimum I'll take some walks with Hamlet.  He is always happy to join me, whether we are going around the block, or on a long ramble.

Here's hoping your last weekend of summer is enjoyable, and that fall will hold some good things for all of us.  :-)

17 September 2019

I Miss Instagram

I know that it's all the rage to rant against Instagram, and the way it makes everyone think they need to be perfect and live a perfect life.  If you are not using filters, or being an influencer, you need to follow those people and make your life as much like theirs as possible.

Which is of course a big load o' crap.  And I have no problem saying that, because to me that's not what Instagram is about.  For me, it's the chance to see what friends are doing in many senses of the word.  It's a chance to meet new people through following hashtags and then looking at the pages of individuals who might appeal.

I have no problem filtering out the rest.  I have no problem doing my own thing, completely unfiltered and with my bad photography.  I really enjoy using it.  I love seeing things that others photograph, and hear what they have to say.  Sometimes it's inspiring, sometimes I'll see something and just scroll on by.

In any event, in the past few weeks, I haven't really been able to enjoy Instagram.  Since I don't have a cell phone, I access it/post there using my tablet.  And it has stopped working on my tablet, in that I cannot even get it to open.  I searched online to see if I was the only one, and apparently I am not.  I tried doing all of the suggested things to get it to work again, without success.  I even contacted Instagram (HA!).  I can access it on my laptop, but cannot comment or even like things.  So it's kind of a "look but don't touch" feeling.  A friend told me that it's really only created for, and updated for, use on a phone.  I know that I am not the only person using it on a tablet, but I guess for those of us who don't use our phones for it, or don't have a phone in the first place, it's just too bad.  :-(

It's really frustrating, and I have no idea if anything will change soon, or at all.  And I miss it.

Fortunately, it's not the center of my existence, but it was a nice, added part to my day.

I think we can all agree that technology is great.  Except when it isn't.

16 September 2019

Some Good, Some Frustrating, and a Whole Lotta Floss!

It was a lovely and also a frustrating weekend.  We had good weather, we got to spend some great time together, and I got some things accomplished even if they were not major activities.

And then it was frustrating - though the good outweighed the frustrating, thank goodness!

Saturday we got an early start, and took Hamlet to the Wissahickon Trail for a nice long walk.  The Wissahickon Trail is part of Fairmount Park here in Philadelphia, and if someone dropped you onto the trail from a spaceship, it would never ever occur to you that you were actually smack dab in the middle of a major city.  We had a good walk, and Hamlet loved seeing other people, pups, and ducks.  I was kind if disappointed that we didn't see any horses, but maybe next time.

The funniest thing was when we first arrived.  We parked the car on the end of a street right near the trail.  When we let Hamlet out of the car, he excitedly ran up to the door of an apartment building right there, as if to say, "I just know these people will be excited to meet me!"  It took us about 5 minutes to convince him that we weren't visiting anyone.  :-)

On our way home, we stopped in Manayunk at Hidden River Yarns, to pick up some knitting of mine that I was finally getting back.  You may or may not remember that last summer, I was knitting the Edie pattern, and when I went to do the sleeves - the very last part - one of them had all of the stitches off of the spare yarn where I had placed them.  (I suspect cats, but have no proof.)  I spent a lot of time trying to recover things, but finally had to admit defeat. I pollled my knitting friends, and someone volunteered.  Well, over the course of the last year, every time I would ask about it, she was "going to get to it," and finally I just said please return it.  So she returned it to Lisa at Hidden River, and Lisa performed "triage" so that I should be able to finish it (finally!).  So I stopped and retrieved it.  But today when I pulled it out to see what was/was not done, I was missing the pattern and some of the dpns!  So I messaged Lisa, and she is going to check when she is in the shop on Tuesday to see if they are still there.  I'm kind of annoyed - though NOT at Lisa - because the person who had it didn't seem to take very good care of it, or the project bag I was using.  But hopefully I'll be able to finish it soon, wash the project bag, and wear the top next summer.  Suffice it to say this was the frustrating part of the weekend.

Moving back to good things, I did finish one foot on one of the socks I'm knitting, and am nearly finished with the foot of the other one.  So I'm guessing that these may be finished by next weekend.

Forgive the smushed-up appearance of them - I just pulled them out of the project bag to take a photo and didn't do anything to "arrange" them.  I've been enjoying knitting this pair!

Today, I decided that I would undertake a project that could get me prepared to start my next cross-stitch project.  My mother was a major and prolific cross-stitcher, and I inherited her supplies.*  So before I bought any floss for my next project, I decided to pull out what I already had, because maybe I wouldn't need to buy any, or at least not much.

The stuff had been in the basement, so the binder-type things that the floss had been stored in were in questionable shape, and the floss, though fine, was musty.  I washed the binders and they are hanging up to dry.   And then I needed to figure out a way to hang up the floss so that it could air out, but even more importantly, out of the reach of kitties.  So currently there is a whole lot of floss hanging in various locations on our third floor!

You know, just a few things to choose from ... !!!

It may take me as long to organize and put it away again as it takes to make my next project. :-)  But I'm glad I have it and that it's in good condition, because it reminds me of my mom, and she would be happy to think that even though it's been just sitting for years and years, that I'm using it now.

I do wish that the weekend had felt longer, but it was a pretty good one overall, so I really can't complain.  This week I have a gynecology appt this afternoon, and a dental appointment on Friday, so it's a week of things not all that pleasant, but necessary and then hopefully taken care of for a while.

I hope your week will be a good one - if you are lucky, leaving out any medical stuff!

*One of these days, I'll do a post and show you some of her work.  My sisters and I all have some of it, and it's so beautiful.

13 September 2019

In Which I Rant About Unsolicited Advice

Everyone has advice.  A lot of people are more than happy to give it, whether it's been requested or not.  One of my friends and I joke that you should never take your own advice, because it's only important for others.  ;-)

Most of the time, when people give me unsolicited advice I ignore it and move on.  But there are some things that when someone "advises" me for the billionth time, just make me want to scream. 

Example the First:  When we adopted Hamlet, he was wearing a choke collar.  I asked Jeff (his former owner and "employer," so to speak) why this was the case.  He pointed out that the collar had a plate on it identifying Hamlet as a dog from the Seeing Eye Foundation in Morristown, N. J.  They put it on all of the dogs.  But as Jeff pointed out, they also showed them how to use it.  When you attach the leash to the collar, you NEVER attach it to the part that pulls and chokes the dog - you attach it to the other ring that is just like a regular collar.  They use choke collars because they are less likely than leather or fabric to cause an allergic reaction on the dog's neck.  So that is the background.

We left the collar on him because a) he is used to it, b) it provides a kind of identification even if his tags fall off, and c) because we know how to use it.  Out of approximately every 10 walks I take with Hamlet, I receive advice about choke collars at least 8 times.  Originally, I would stop and show people how the leash was attached so that he would not be choked, etc., but ever since I showed someone 3 times and they still lectured me, I just tune them out.  If you can't listen to what I have to say in response to your advice, I can't be bothered to listen to you in the first place.

Example the Second:  Whenever I mention that we have cats, someone advises me not to declaw them.  They are not declawed.  However, our late cat Jetsam was declawed when we got him.  People would come to the house, meet him, and then lecture me for 10 minutes about the evils of declawing cats.  Immediately after I mentioned that he was that way when he arrived.

Example the Third:  I have a friend that I have known for years (since college) who is a nurse.  She lives in another location altogether, so we don't see each other very often, but we do keep in touch via social media on occasion.  But I seldom interact with her there anymore because she drives me crazy with her unsolicited advice about health, behavior, etc.  A couple of years ago, I posted a picture of my little great-niece with Pip on her lap, giving him a kiss on the top of the head.  She posted under it that I was endangering the child because even if the cat is friendly her face was too close, and she could be scratched in the eye.  And then she posted on my niece's account the same thing, and also on my sister's account (the child's grandmother), since "not being a mother" I did not seem to be paying attention to her warning/advice.  I finally took the post down because it was just not worth it.

Example the Fourth:  My hair.  OMG, sometimes I am tempted to wear a headcovering so that people - both known and unknown - will stop telling me that my hair is too short!  Spoiler alert:  It's on purpose.  I would love to have long, luxurious hair, but I do not.  So unless it's a state occasion, I am not interested in spending a lot of time to fix my hair.  Also, particularly in the summer, I don't like having hair that I can feel on my neck, face, etc. - I'm already hot enough, thank you.  So your advice that I wear it to a) not look manly, b) not be mistaken for a lesbian, or c) let it grow because husbands like long hair is not just useless, but also something that is really, truly, absolutely NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS UNLESS I ASK FOR YOUR OPINION.

I generally respond by saying, If someone thinks I look ______, it's their problem, not mine.  Which is nearly always rewarded by a pitying glance which just says, Oh sweetie, you don't understand, do you?

I guess what I am trying to say overall is that maybe we should all refrain from advising others unless they ask for it.  If someone says to me, "Do you think I should buy this pair of shoes," they are asking for my opinion/advice.  If I say to someone "You shouldn't buy those shoes because _____," that is a whole 'nother story.  And I deserve it if said person tells me to go away or whatever.

So that is my rant, as well as my reminder to myself, for this Friday.  If no one is asking, keep it to yourself. As illustrated below.

But now, some unsolicted advice from me that will hopefully not offend:  Have a good weekend!

11 September 2019

Unexpected Unraveling

I'm joining Kat and everyone today for Unraveled Wednesday.  This time, it actually involves some unraveling, which in the end is OK, but which is also something that was not really fun to do.

Before we get into that, here is what I am currently reading:

So far I'm only a few pages in, but I already like it and hopefully that will continue.  I've been wanting to read it since it came out, and my turn on the library hold list finally happened.

On to the unraveling ...

I had been making slow but steady progress on my Pabaig, and had separated for the sleeves, and [I thought] I had finished the front knitting.  I went to start the back, and when I reviewed the pattern instructions, I thought to myself, "Hm, I don't remember it going that way."  But since I had also been working on other projects, I just figured I wasn't remembering the details.  I got a few rows in, and looked at the instructions again, and realized that I had misinterpreted them for the front, and I would end up with two badly mismatched sides of the sweater!  Ugh.  So off to the frog pond, where I went back to the first row after separating for the sleeves, and started over.  

As a result, it looks like the red blob of before, but with a bit more length.  Sigh.

However, since I discovered it before thinking I was nearly finished, it didn't bother me as much, and I'm moving right along again.  So the whole thing will take a bit longer, but since I hadn't really given myself a deadline, I'll just finish it when I finish it, with no regrets.

But I would like to point out that the yarn IS fingering weight, so there was a lot more to rip out and it took a stupid amount of time.  Such is life.


It occurred to me today that with it being the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, any child born that year is starting their first year of college this year (if they decided to go to college in the first place).  Which means in some ways, an entire lifetime has passed since that horrible, sad day.  Time really does go on, no matter how much it stands still for you when something awful happens.  I hope for the survivors and all of the families affected, that they have reached the point where the first memories of their loved ones are the best and not the saddest.

Don't forget to say I love you today.  This day is a reminder that tomorrow doesn't always come.