22 August 2016

Open Windows, Frustration, and Anniversary Giveaway

Well, I don't know how long it will last, but FINALLY the extreme heat and humidity have broken - so much so that *all* of the windows are open, and it's glorious!  Breathing is possible, you can walk around and not be soaked in sweat, and being outside is actually enjoyable.  I'm guessing it won't last too long, so I'm trying to soak in every second and really enjoy it.

I had a comp day that had to be taken before the 25th, so I took today as that day so I would have a long weekend.  One of the things I wanted to do was download and edit photos from my camera of the projects I finished during the Olympics (yes, that is plural - projects - it's like I don't even know who I am anymore!).  Downloading was no big deal, but editing got to be so frustrating, I just gave up for now.  My new laptop does not have Photoshop on it, and the program it has is beyond annoying.  I tried to download Photoshop a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't work.  I may ask The Tim to give it a shop, as he is much more tech-worthy than I am.  It shouldn't take more than 10 tries just to crop a photo.  Grr ...

So instead, I'm going to write this post.

Saturday, August 20 was the ten-year anniversary of this blog - 10 YEARS!  I was surprised, because though I knew I'd been doing it for a while, ten years seems like a loooonnnng time. :-)  I would have written this part of the post on Saturday, but I decided to wait until after I wrote about Sunday being the date of my father's 100th birthday - I wanted him to have a weekend post all his own. 

BUT - here we are today, and it's time to celebrate not just blogging here for 10 years, but having wonderful blog friends who actually read and comment.  It makes me so happy, and is often what makes me feel like I'm not all by myself all the time.  Granted, I would probably keep going even if no one bothered, because I enjoy writing and I enjoy being here.  But having all of you here with me, and getting to visit your blogs, is just something I enjoy more than I can say.  Thank you!

To celebrate, I've decided to do a giveaway.  The giveaway package will contain the following:

1. A knitting-related item.
2. A reading-related item.
3. A food-related item.
4. A Philadelphia-related item (please note: not a cheesesteak!)
5. A surprise.
and, if you have pets, please let me know how many and of what ilk, because if you do, there will also be:
 #6. A pet-related item(s).

Everyone has a chance to win here.  Any comment left on this post ONLY, between now and midnight EST this coming Saturday, August 27, 2016, will give the commenter an entry.   I'll choose a name at random, and announce the winner next Sunday, August 28, 2016.

Good luck, and thanks for sticking around - whether for all ten years, or just today!

21 August 2016

Harry's Hundredth

It occurred to me the other day that I forgot to do an update for July for Harry's Hundred.  So I figured since we were already into August, I'd just wait and do a two-month update.  So that's not what this post is about.

Nope, this is a post for Harry's Hundredth - 100 years ago today, my dad was born in Wheeling, West Virginia.  He was the oldest of four children - two boys, two girls.  At the age of thirteen, when his father was killed by a train on the way home from work, the kids would be split up, and the two oldest (Harry and Mary Agnes) would live with one set of relatives, and the two youngest (Helen and John) with another.  Though of course he saw his younger siblings often, he was never as close to them as he might have been had the family been able to stay together.

Here he is at four months old.  This is one of my very favorite pictures, and is in a frame on display in our house.

(Oh how this amused me as a child - a boy in a dress!)

The funny thing is, he looks pretty much the same as a baby as I remember him as an adult!  I know that most people retain some of the look of their baby pictures, but this one is really uncanny.

He used to tell stories of playing football in high school, where he said it was not uncommon when one guy came off the field, he would take off his jersey, so that someone else going onto the field to play would have a jersey to wear - try to imagine that happening today in most places!

Just like many of his generation, the defining event of his young adulthood was World War II.  He joined the Army, and his main claim to fame was as the singer in the base's band.  He used to claim that women would swoon when he sang.  (My mother claimed otherwise.)

He and my mother were quite a couple.

With a flair for the ridiculous, which was passed on to their children.

He was a real ham - loved to sing, dance (well ... ), perform, anything like that.  What would start as a card game at our house could easily turn into a sing-along.

In this epic drama, he's on the far right.  I don't know what/when this is.  (Probably for the best.)

We were a fun family, who moved a lot, and as a result were very close.  I've posted this picture before, but this is the only family picture that exists, and it was taken long before I was born.  But it's one of my favorite pictures, because everyone is clearly so happy and healthy.

My dad died when I was 13 years old, from liver cancer, at a time when the treatment was nearly as deadly as the disease.  And yes, I remember that, and I remember seeing him then and not really recognizing him looking like my dad.  But 99.99999999% [repeating] of my memories are the fun ones and the good ones.

When I was little, he would end up babysitting me a lot while my mom and sisters went shopping or who knows what.  It was not uncommon for us to end up at his favorite bar if it was during the evening, so he could watch 'the fights' with his friends.  On weekend afternoons, we'd park ourselves in front of the TV and watch baseball games or football games, and share sandwiches and a beer (OK, I'd get a sip and have something else for my primary drink, but *I* still consider it having a beer!).  He loved to cook (and would use every single available pot or dish), and I was always "helping" him.  (I realize now that I probably spent the bulk of the time talking to him non-stop and God bless him for never telling me to shut the h*ll up!)  But I actually learned a lot about food and cooking from him.  He and my mother loved playing cards, going to the horse races (the whole family went along), and laughing.  He was a crazy goofy animal lover (sound like anyone you know?), and a real softie when it came to helping someone, human, furry, feathered, etc.

He took me to the circus every summer (this was when it was still OK to go to the circus).  It would be just the two of us, and it was the highlight for me of the summer - right before school started again.  A lot of our family vacations were trips to the Jersey Shore (northern end of things), and they were always an adventure, as he didn't think it was necessary to make reservations for a place to stay.  He was an early riser, even on vacation, and would get up around 6 a.m. and say, "Rise and shine girls, time to walk on the beach!"  (He knew better than to try and include my mother.)

He was a good guy.  He had plenty of faults, which I realized even as a kid, but he wanted all of us to do better and be better than he was.  He worked hard for his entire life, and I think - or would at least like to hope - that he got to do a lot of the things he enjoyed.

This is the last picture I have of him, taken from a program for a work-related organization event where he was the outgoing president.  I don't know specifically when this was taken, other than it was sometime in 1969.  He died in November of that year, and I'm guessing this was probably in the springtime.  But this is the Dad I remember.  And love. And think of and miss every single day.  

So if you are inclined, please give your dad a kiss, a hug, or a phone call today, if you are lucky enough to still have him with you. And tonight if you have a drink, please raise a toast to my dad - he would approve!

Happy 100th Birthday, Dad - I wish you a day of sing-alongs, card games, and cocktails!  Give our love to everyone.

17 August 2016

It's Wednesday and I Meant To Do This Yesterday

But our modem died, so we had no Internet at home.  I was home all day due to a medical appt smack-dab in the middle, that made going to work not worth the effort.  Anyway, I'm on a break here at work, doing my best on my tablet to post this, so if it is wonky, you'll know why ...

Onward to Kathy's weekly questions.

1. When was the last time you saw a butterfly?

About ten minutes ago, when I actually saw about 20.  We have a butterfly exhibit at work, and I had to deliver something to someone who works there.

But, as far as outside in the wild, I saw one a week or so ago on my walk home from work.

2. Why on earth is this shoe on top of the station wagon? It appears to be tied there.

Maybe it belongs to an amputee who just washed it and doesn't have a clothes dryer?

3. Do you prefer a cardigan with buttons or a zipper? (Assuming you don't have to put the buttons or zipper in ...)

Buttons.  If you wear a sweater unbuttoned, I think it looks better than one that is unzipped.  And I usually don't button my cardigan sweaters, since most of the time I wear them over another layer.

4. When was the last time you wished you didn't have so many ends to weave in?

A few years back, I made a fairisle vest for The Tim, and though it turned out really well, weaving in those ends took nearly as long as knitting it (or at least it felt that way).

5. When was the last time someone asked you "Did you knit that" (this includes relatives who have seen you don articles of clothing that perhaps begged the question)?

Probably last winter.  I haven't worn many knitted things this summer (handknit or otherwise).

6. When was the last time you spilled a drink?

Sunday morning I spilled the last of my cup of tea on myself when I picked it up carelessly thinking it was already empty.  It wasn't.

7. Are you a fan of Dot&Bo house decor (they are the new Pottery Barn in my book)?

Never heard of them.  Probably a good thing, since at the moment funds are extremely low.

8. When was the last time you floated in a tube on a river or a lake, jet skied or water skied?

Never.  I love to be near water, and will go in if it's not deep.  But I don't know how to swim, so I'm not very adventurous.

9. If you could knit with anyone today, who would it be? (not fair to say me, that's a given ... lol)

Dug the Doodle Dog.  He used to always keep me company when I knitted.

If you mean a person who knits, I'd have to say my friend Andrea who I worked with at Rosie's - we knitted together there when we had a chance, and would always have a hilarious time.  I still see her from time to time, but never for a very long time.


OK, back to work.  We are supposed to have our new modem today, so hopefully I will be back sooner rather than later.  Keep cool everyone!

12 August 2016

Good Thing It's Friday ...

because frankly, if it was not Friday, I think I would seriously have to consider a life of crime.  People at work have been ridiculous this week, which is bad enough.  But then today, we have a temperature of 98 degrees, but a "feels like" temperature of 110 degrees.

I don't want to tell you what this makes me "feel like" because I don't want this blog post to be used against me in a court of law ...

Now I'm home, and the kitties have been fed (because of course they were - as usual - near death from starvation), and my evening and weekend have begun. The Tim is working tonight, so I am on my own, which is probably a good thing for everyone involved!  

Here is my plan for the evening:

1. Enjoy a glass of wine.
2. Eat the healthy salad I bought on my way home from work, because I could not bear the thought of fixing anything at all for myself.  The salad has artichoke hearts, which is extra pleasing.
3. Clean up any dishes I dirty.
4. Take a bubble bath.
5. Watch the Olympics and knit, and cuddle kitties.
6. Have a drink with The Tim when he gets home.
7. Go to bed.

These are all good things, that will let me go into the weekend in a happier frame of mind.  


09 August 2016

Put It All Together, It Does Not Spell Mother ...

Remember the song where each letter of the word "Mother" is sung and is meaningful?  "M is for the many things she gave me ..." I hated that song.  Until I heard a version on "Saturday Night Live," that went "M is for the many things she gave me ... O is for the other things she gave me ... " and so on - hilarious!

But I digress.  This week, Carole is challenging us for Ten on Tuesday to do the following:

10 Words That Describe You ... but they must begin with the first letter of your first name!

This was a hard one!  But it reminded me to be glad my name was not Xaviera ...

1. Blonde (well, I used to be before the gray).

2. Blue-eyed.

3. Brainy (I used to get this in school a lot.  I was not overly smart, I just paid attention most of the time).

4. Bereaved.

5. Bemused (a lot of the time, usually by other people!).

6. Bookish (this should actually be #1-10).

7. Bruised (99% of the time; as a matter of fact, just thinking this word, I bet I have a new one).

8. Blusher (I blush so easily, it's not even funny).

9. Baptized.

10. Brave (hey, I get up every single day ...)

Well that was fun ... and if I do say so, a Brilliant idea for a topic. ;-)