27 January 2011

Snow Day!!!

We got quite a snowfall overnight - so much so that they actually closed work today!  Fine with me, anytime they want me to stay home - and still get paid - I'm ready to cooperate.   Also, after being miserable during the horrible summer last year, I'm enjoying a real winter.  I am sorry for anyone who is having real troubles or is in any kind of danger because of it, but otherwise, snow is always fine with me.  (Unless it's one of those wimpy "dustings" of snow.  Why bother?)

In any event, I've decided that this would be the perfect day to introduce you to one of my very bestest, lifelong friends in the entire universe. Please meet Cream Puff:

or, as he is sometimes known,  "Creamy."  I showed you his picture in one of my Christmas posts.  Cream Puff has been around more or less as long as I can remember.  The story goes that one day right before Christmas, my parents were at the grocery store (the Grand Union, in or around Teaneck, New Jersey), and as they were leaving, they saw this stuffed animal.  I'm guessing it was probably my father who said something like, well we might as well get that for Bridget, you know she would like it.  And the rest, as they say, is history!

Here we are the day we first met, Christmas Day, 1959:

That's him on top of the doll carriage (which is actually kind of funny, because yes, I got a doll carriage, but I didn't have very many dolls, and was not that interested in them.  I mainly used said doll carriage to ride around Cream Puff, other stuffed animals, and the cat when I could convince her - which was not very often).  In this picture,* he is much lighter in color, and much plusher, to say the least.  It was love at first sight, since I had wanted a dog (we had a cat, Frosty, and a blue parakeet, Bing, already), and pretty much knew it wasn't gonna happen.  Since this day, Cream Puff has always been with me.  He listened and comforted me while I was growing up, every time we moved and I had to start a new school; every time the other kids would hurt my feelings (which was a lot, since I was sensitive and a loner); when my sisters would "be mean" to me; and, numerous other traumas, real and imagined.  All you have to do is hug him and you feel better.

He was the only one of my toys who used to call my parents by their first names, and they didn't mind.  He has always hung out in the bedroom when we are not spending time together.  But this year, I wanted to make a point to put him under the Christmas tree to enjoy the holidays, 'cause I thought it was his 50th birthday ... until I looked on the back of the photo above, it said "January 1960," which of course means that last Christmas was his 50th birthday ... sigh.  But in true Creamy fashion, he was completely understanding about the whole thing, and took it in stride.  (I was also convinced that he had originally sported a light blue ribbon, and was dismayed that I couldn't find one, and had to use a burgundy one.  Then was pleased when I saw that I had the right color family after all!)

Anyway, The Tim even took this picture of us on Christmas Day 2010 to mark the occasion:

We are both older, darker, and both of us are a little less "plush" shall we say.  But we are still together, and he has seen me through the trying times of my life as an adult as well - the death of my parents' (which he also felt bad about, having known them intimately), cancer, bad jobs, you name it - remaining, calm, cuddly, and most importantly there.  He is happy when I am, and a true friend when I am not.  His red felt tongue has been sewn back on about a million times, and his tail is held together at the end with a safety pin ... he has many bald spots as well. 

As far as I'm concerned, though, he looks just the same as he did on the very first day I saw him, and I think he is the best pup ever.

*Whenever my mother would see this picture, she would say, "Oh good God, your father must have dressed you that day!"  I'm guessing that it might have been the case, but that I was the one who chose this lovely ensemble, and he was happy to let me go with it.  Seems funny I didn't grow up to have a career in fashion, n'est-ce pas?

22 January 2011

Dripping in Jewels

... so to speak.

I am happy to show you my first FO of 2011, the "Jeweled" Linnaeus Beret.

Behold!  First up, a crappy photo taken by me:

and here are two better photos taken by Andrea, who is a much better photographer than I am (and who was also taking the photos outside):

Here are some details in the event you want to make one for your very own self.

PatternLinaeus Beret (I made the larger size)
Yarn:  Llama Luxury (brown) the 378 colorway; Road to China Light, the Ruby colorway; Road to China Light, the Garnet colorway.
Needles:  US 4 and US 6
Comments:  This was a fun pattern to knit!  One thing to note in the pattern (which should be corrected soon) is that after you complete the brim, the next set of instructions tell you to do a series of stitches 3 times - you should complete them 4 times.  Otherwise, it was smooth sailing.  If I would knit this again, I would cast on fewer stitches - though not by much - because I like my hats to "grab" my head a little bit more than this one does.  But it is cozy and comfortable, and I'm really pleased with it.

I finished it just in time too, since it is in the single digits here, temperature-wise!  Good knitting weather, though.  And I'm not complaining, 'cause I love winter. 

Yeah, I'm a freak.  I can live with that.

14 January 2011


I've been wanting to do a wrap-up of my completed projects for 2010.  Clearly, I overestimated my output - 'cause there were only ten things when I went to create the mosaic!  Oh well, here they are:

Don't get me wrong - I'm pleased with the things I did finish, including one sewing project (The Sleepy Elephant), but I guess I was working on a lot of things that are either still in progress or - in the case of the Pickle
Cardigan - abandoned altogether.

After thinking about it though, last year was kind of a weird year for me, knitting- and otherwise.  I was all over the place with a lot of things, and there were periods of time when I didn't knit much at all.  So maybe ten things are an accomplishment in a year like that!

I do already have an FO for 2011, but haven't had the chance to get a picture yet. I'm hoping to get one this weekend, so I can share it with all of you soon.

In other news, it's a three-day weekend for me.  You won't hear me complaining, especially after the new boss at work was trying to get us to come in for a "strategic planning day" (puh-leeze!) ...

08 January 2011

Stop. Think.

I spent the better part of today in my own universe.  I got up and took some packages to the P.O. to mail them, came home and did some cleaning up, laundry, organizing, and yes, some lazing about.  The Tim came home from work, we had a nice lunch, and sat down to watch a movie.  It was snowy outside, and warm inside.  A perfect kind of Saturday.

Then I decided to check in with the world.  Only to learn that once again, someone with a gun and a grudge has decided that their way is the only right way, and that if you don't agree, you just don't deserve to be here. 

I am a person of extremely strong opinions.  I think lots of people who disagree with me are a) crazy, b) evil, c) stupid, d) all of the above.  And a lot of the time, I really wish they would disappear into the ether.  And I rail about them, and how they are a waste of humanity, and why do I have to share air with them, etc. 

I am 99 percent sure that there are others who feel this way.  An awful lot of them believe things that are 100% opposite to my beliefs. 

But somehow, we manage to coexist.  Maybe because as irritating as it is, we realize deep down inside that others live their lives according to their beliefs even if they aren't agreeable to us.  Because every day, all of us have to get up and go about our lives the best way that we can to make the kind of life we want for ourselves, our loved ones, our fellow humans.  Revenge, anger, and outright hate take a lot of energy.

Cowardice, however, takes none. 

So the next time you meet someone who is ready to show the rest of us the right way to do things, remember that cowards are never heroes.  They just happen to show up.

Heroes show up for good reasons.  Maybe it's to listen to their constituents, or to let their congressperson know what they think about the issues.  Maybe it's just to go to the grocery store on a Saturday. 

But it's always because they know that you have to put one foot in front of the other to actually move forward.

06 January 2011

Twelfth Night

Well, it happens every year - just as Christmas comes, it also goes.  And January 6 is the last day of Christmas, making tonight Twelfth Night.  I'm always sad when it comes along, though I also know that Christmas wouldn't be as much fun if it was around all of the time.  And you know, life goes on and all that.  So here is my recap of Christmas 2010, before it's completely over.

We had a wonderful Christmastime this year, though it was much different.  With Tess and Garden Kitty both gone, suddenly the Christmas helpers around the house were noticeably fewer.  I will admit that there were times when I was really sad, thinking of how much I missed them, and how much fun they used to have every year with the tree, boxes, wrapping paper, etc.  Poor Jetsam had only The Tim and myself to ambush from under the tree, so I'm sure he was missing his siblings too ... particularly since most of the time, we were well aware that we were being  "stalked" and the element of surprise was totally lost. 

Having said that, we all had a good time and enjoyed ourselves.  We baked lots of cookies, listened to lots of Christmas carols, watched lots of movies (Christmas-themed and otherwise), and generally just took it easy whenever we could.

Of course we put up our tree and enjoyed decorating it

We wore ourselves out on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa

and were glad to spend time with old friends

(Meet Cream Puff - I'll tell you more about him next time)

The Tim bought me a new laptop for Christmas

(Well, actually he gave it to me before we went to Mexico for my niece's wedding, but since it is technically a Christmas present, here is the unveiling.)

and overall, had a fun day just hanging out, particularly on Christmas Day, when no one had to be at work - or anyplace else for that matter!

Jetsam recovered just fine from the Curling Ribbon Incident (the bow he is wearing in these pictures is made of fabric which apparently makes it completely unappetizing), which made the whole time better for everyone involved.  The cold I had leading up to Christmas week turned into bronchitis, so the week between Christmas and New Year's we stayed put and didn't do very much running around at all.  But you know what?  It was still great. 

Some years are more hectic, crazier, busier, and other years not so much.  But any year that we are able to enjoy any part of Christmastime at all is a good one in my book.

I'll be back in the next couple of days to regale you with the story of Cream Puff who is one of my very bestest friends.  Ever.  In the meantime, I hope you can look at this year's holiday season and think that even if it wasn't the best, it was a good one.

Happy Twelfth Night.

04 January 2011

The Tenth Day of Christmas

Thanks to all of you for the kind Christmas and New Year's wishes, and the nice comments, particularly about my scarf-a-thon.  I have been remiss about responding to comments, and I apologize.  Just one of the things I want to get back to doing on a more regular basis.  Oh - and if you didn't get a Christmas card from me, sorry about that, I just didn't get to that this year.  However, I found some highly amusing (well at least to me) cards for next year, as long as I don't forget where they are when the time comes to send them ...

Anyway.  I am not one much for making formal New Year's Resolutions.  This is partly because when I call something a "resolution," I seem to think it is carved in stone and can't be readjusted. Which then of course means that if I miss out on it, or deviate even one bit, I consider the whole thing ruined.  But I do like to think  of things I can try to concentrate on each year, if nothing else for the whole idea of self-improvement.  I think everyone has some part of them that needs at least some work.  So instead I think of goals for myself.  "Goals" are not - for me at least - final.  They are things that can be reinterpreted, revisited, and if necessary, abandoned, without the feeling or moral failure associated with a New Year's Resolution.

All of that is my long and roundabout way of sharing one of my goals for the year with you.  As you probably know, I love to read.  I'll read just about anything, but like most people, I like it a lot better when I'm the one to decide what I will/will not be reading.  According to Goodreads, last year I read 31 books.  Which is not bad, considering that for one reason or another, I had a few dry spells, when even reading a take-out menu seemed like a chore.  I always like to challenge myself with my reading endeavors, and a few years back, I joined a couple of online challenges, which were fun and introduced me to some new writers.  Last year I tried one, which I didn't complete, mainly because the remaining books on my list before the end of the year no longer seemed appealing.

Browsing around the other day, I came across this, and decided that it might be just the thing for me.

I like the idea of trying to read eleven more books than last year, and think that 42 books in a year is possible.  The thing that particularly appeals to me is that there are no specifics, you just decide for yourself.  My reading tends to go in spells - you know, sometimes I'm all about historical fiction, other times I like some of my old favorite authors, and I've even been known to venture into things like science fiction from time to time. 

Feel like joining me?  I think you should.  I'm pretty sure that all of the cool kids are doing it ...

01 January 2011

In With the New

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want."

(Irish Proverb)