17 November 2017

Old Photo Friday


My sisters and I at Bear Mountain, NY, probably 1960 or early 1961.  At that time, we lived in Teaneck, NJ, and used to go to Bear Mountain pretty regularly.  I'm not sure why, as we did not ski, hike, or do other winter sports.  But I do remember it was fun, and there are very few pictures of the three of us, so this one is special.

I also remember thinking that my jacket was quite the thing.  No one else had a plaid jacket with a hood, you know ...

Have a cozy weekend!

16 November 2017

Three Kinds of People Who Make Me Stabby

Well hello there, and welcome to this week's Three on Thursday!


Now just as a disclaimer, when I participate in this, I really do try to think of three things that are funny, happy, interesting, etc., because in spite of my personality, I don't want to go out of my way to post mean or terrible things. But to borrow a phrase, sometimes in the course of human events, people get to be too much for me, and I have to get some things off my chest. 

Thus is born this week's list:

 Three Kinds of People Who Make Me Stabby

I want to emphasize before I begin that I really and truly don't care what people do or think or say in their private lives and minds.  And if I actually ask you something, and you answer in a way that annoys me, I may be annoyed but I don't care because I asked you in the first place.  But the types below are those who must proclaim themselves, even if no one has asked them in the first place.

1.  The Noble Intellectual.  We all know at least one of these people.  Someone will mention how much they like a certain movie, TV show, book, celebrity, etc., and The Noble Intellectual proclaims, "I don't own a TV, I find it a waste of my time," or (this one is one of my co-workers), "I only read the classics, preferably in the original language."  

I always want to respond by saying something like, "Oh thank God someone here has taste and dignity!  I've always wondered if I'm the only person who has read the Bible from cover to cover in the original Aramaic."  I do practice self-control and keep my mouth shut, but it irritates the noodles out of me that there is always a person who clearly feels embarrassed that they were lowly enough to bring it up in the first place.

2.  The *Truly* Generous.  I'll say something like, "I had so much fun wrapping birthday/ Christmas/Arbor Day gifts this weekend," and The Truly Generous will proclaim, "We don't waste money on gifts, since we don't need to only give them on certain days, we love each other all year.  We make a huge donation to The World's Most Important Charity in honor of the holidays, because we feel that is the true meaning of giving."  

Puh-leeeeze.  I was always taught that true charity is giving your time, money, whatever, because you feel it is something you want to do, and that it is not something you go out of your way to point out to others, because that is not what giving is about.  Pointing out your own generosity is not just annoying, it's rude.  A lot of us are generous people, we just don't feel the need to let the world know every time we do something kind.  A lot of us would love to be able to give to specific organizations or causes, but don't have the luxury of extra money.  And a lot of people  enjoy wrapping up a gift - large or small - to give to someone else, even if they have also donated a million dollars to The Fund for Shutting Up The Truly Generous.

3.  The Annually Horribly Offended by Decorations.  These are people who are not just dismayed that retailers start with Christmas/holiday decorations or products near or right after Halloween, but somehow are convinced that no one else has noticed, and they are so affected by this offense, that they are unable to continue to enjoy ANYTHING.  

Spoiler alert: I don't know anyone who is thrilled with this, even the retailers themselves.  But they are in business to sell things and believe it or not, people actually buy things before December starts, and besides this happens every single freaking year.  And apparently, they are absolutely incapable of ignoring it.  These are generally the same people who regularly ignore signs saying "Please wait until your number is called," or, "Pedestrians have the right of way," or the homeless person on the street that they pass on a regular basis.  But I guess those situations are somehow different.

As you may have guessed, I have recently been around the above types to the point where it makes me want to scream.  But because I am a Superior and Controlled Person, I have not physically attacked them, nor have I placed anything dangerous into their food or drink.  And I felt the need to proclaim that, so you would be sure to know.  ;-)

15 November 2017

Cuffed!

Look - it's a cuff!  

So far, that is what I have done on the pair of fingerless mitts for The Tim that started out possibly being for his birthday (which is this Saturday), but are now going to be a Christmas gift.  Paired with my bag from Evertotes that celebrates Canada's 150th anniversary, it actually looks quite festive!


I have no doubts that I will have the project completed for a Christmas gift, it's just that I haven't spent time working on it over the last week, since I was determined to finish the socks in the previous post.  The biggest problem is that I would prefer not to work on them when he is around, but that might not work out.  I'll just tell him they are a gift, he doesn't need to know they are for him!

Today is Unraveled Wednesday, so in addition to my knitting, I should tell you what I'm reading.  On my way to work this morning, I returned the copy of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby that I had borrowed to the library.  It's a no-finish for me, as I just couldn't get into it and didn't care about Joan Ashby enough to make myself continue.  It was a bit disappointing, because I had read reviews that made it sound really interesting.  Oh well.

I'm also reading Buried, about a series of murders of librarians (!) that a true-crime author decides to investigate.  So far, I'm finding it interesting because, come on, WHO WOULD MURDER A LIBRARIAN???  ;-)  Having said that, even if I decide I don't like it as it goes on, I'm not out anything, since it was an e-book freebie for my Nook.

What are you up to reading and knitting wise?  Inquiring minds want to know!

14 November 2017

The Story of My For the Birds Top

Hello all!  Thanks for your kind and supportive comments on my last post about my finished socks.  They are safely tucked away in my Box o' Socks, and I do think by the time I open the box and then wear them that I will feel much more favorably inclined towards them.  :-)

Do you remember a while back I posted this picture, showing the beginning of a work-in-progress?


The pattern is Main Street, and the photo above is about halfway through the bottom border of the top.  In between finishing my Cranberry Custom Fit sweater and the Annoying Pumpkins socks, I've been working on it for bits of time here and there, especially since I have reached the stockinette portion, which is perfect for knitting while watching TV or podcasts, etc.  At the moment, it looks like this:


My photographic skills and lighting, however, cannot really show the lovely shade of the yarn, so here is the link for you to get a better idea of how it actually looks.

OK, so now on to the rest of the story.  

When I decided to try to knit this pattern, I didn't have enough of any stash yarn to use.  However, I did have a store credit at Hidden River Yarns, so The Tim and I drove over there one weekend day to take a look.  My friend (and the owner) Lisa was there, and with her help I decided on the Tern yarn from Quince & Co., and also decided to try a color other than the usual blues and greens that make up most of my sweaters and knitted tops.  We decided on the colorway Dusk, shown on their website in the link provided above.  I was able to get what I needed for making this pattern with my store credit, which was exciting because it was "free" (yes, I know not really, but work with me here).

So I had nice yarn, a pattern I wanted to knit named for a type of bird, and then there was the dye lot - 007!  (Cue James Bond theme.)

And so, this became my For the Birds Top.

Why, you ask? 

Tern = bird
007 = James Bond

But James Bond is not quite who you think he is.  Nope, not the REAL James Bond.

Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond 007 stories, was an amateur birder.  He was very conscientious, keeping lists of birds he had seen, where he saw them, etc.  At the time he was creating his master spy detective, he was also reading a book (possibly Birds of the West Indies), written by James Bond.

WAIT? What?

Yep, James Bond was an actual person, and a well-known ornithologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.  He and Fleming even met a few times.  Reports say that he got tired of people asking him about his name, unless it got him a good table at a restaurant.  :-)

Now, this is all highly amusing to me.  And so, when I started knitting a sweater in a bird-named yarn, with a dye lot number of the master spy, I just *had* to call it For the Birds, to entertain myself!  


James Bond, 007


Another James Bond, 007


Most recent James Bond, 007


The REAL James Bond, noted ornithologist.

And *that* my friends, is the rest of the story!

13 November 2017

Thank the Lord These Are an FO!

This past Saturday, I was determined to do one particular thing.  And I did! 


Project:  Annoying Pumpkins
Pattern:  Little Pumpkins, by Sabine Ruppert (a freebie)
Yarn:  Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Oregon Red Clover Honey
Needles:  US size 1 1/2
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I like the finished socks.  I absolutely hated knitting these!  The pattern was very fiddly, and sometimes hard to understand.  I had to go to someone else's notes to figure out parts of it.  Now keep in mind, the pattern writer is German, and I am suspecting that English is not her first language (of course, I'm sure it's better than my German could ever be ...), so that might be part of it.  But mainly there was just too much going on all the time for me.  Once I finished the first one, I seriously considered not doing the pattern repeats each time on the second.  But then I decided that in for a penny, in for a pound, so to speak.

I know others have made these and didn't have issues with the pattern, so it may very well be me.  I like textured and/or patterned socks, I guess I just prefer it in smaller doses.  And as you can see, I managed to survive, so it may very well be that my issues are just so  much blather.  These will go into my Box o' Socks, and hopefully by the time I open said box and wear them, all of my feelings will have moved on.

The yarn was great to work with - very smooth, and takes stitch definition really well.  This was my first pair made with Socks That Rock yarn, and I did enjoy using it.  The color is also perfect, so that made me happy.

Here's a bit closer look at the stitch pattern that creates the pumpkin-looking texture.


I knit these for the I ♥ Fall KAL hosted by Dee and Vera, and that was fun.  But I REALLY hope they are not prize-eligible, as the prize is getting them finished and out of my life!

So, on to the next thing, yet to be decided.  I'm happy with the way these turned out, but I also have to say #neveragain.

12 November 2017

Quiet November Sunday


Anthem for Doomed Youth
by Wilfred Owen

What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning, save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


Hear this poem read here.

11 November 2017

Veterans Day



With thanks to those who have done, and still do, a job that makes it possible for all of us to have our choices and freedoms. And thanks to their families who give up so much.

10 November 2017

Furball Friday

I would have posted earlier today, but I couldn't get to my laptop, because someone else
was "using" it in the cubbyhole where it lives ...


as a bed.  Pip says he hopes you have a relaxing weekend!

09 November 2017

Unrelated But Interesting


Hello there - it's time for Three on Thursday, and today I am sharing three things that I came across recently and found interesting, though not related to one another.

The first is from a few months ago, and I kept forgetting to share it.  This article is about yarn that generates its own electricity!  As it turns out, we won't be knitting with it, which given my habit of having a cup of tea or something while I knit, is probably just as well.  It would be incredibly ironic if my tea spilled and I was electrocuted to death by the yarn.  In any event, I found it to be kind of fascinating.

I kept seeing people refer to a brouhaha that erupted as a result of something in the most recent Laine Magazine.  I didn't know what it was until I found a link to the Instagram post that started the whole thing.  I find the whole thing ridiculous, to be honest, and am never as amazed as when people take *personal* offense at something that was not about them in the first place, and then feel the need to let the rest of us know how offended we should be as well.  This whole thing, in my opinion, is seriously much ado about nothing.

I laughed a few times when I read this, since I am one of those people who are always listening to others' conversations when I am out in public.  Obviously, only when they are talking loud enough for me to hear, it's not like I break in to the group and sit there to listen!  But though there are aspects of this that are just too bad (no one likes to be lied to), the tweets amuse me greatly.

We're almost to the weekend - YAY!

08 November 2017

Major Adjustments

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments about my finished sweater!  When I got home yesterday, and changed my clothes, I thought as I put it away, "I made this!"  It was a nice feeling. I doubt I'll become a big-time sweater knitter (mainly because a sweater's worth of yarn costs a lot of money, even if the yarn isn't a luxury brand!), but I'm a lot less hesitant about the concept now.  So until I get hit in the face with a major failure, I plan to try it all again.

Today I wanted to share something with you about being fortunate but also having to pay more attention to what you do, what you buy, and how you spend your money.  I thought you might find it helpful as a different way of thinking about what you can/cannot do during the holidays.  (Please note, I am not a certified financial advisor, nor do I play one on TV!)

Back in May,  a week or so before Memorial Day, The Tim quit his job.  He had been working for Barnes & Noble for 20 years, most of that time as an assistant store manager.  And he LOVED it.  From what I can tell/what I have heard, he was also really good at it.  About a year and a half ago, a new store manager was hired who was, from all accounts, a real piece of work.  By the time the first year of this person's time there was over, The Tim was one of only a few of the employees - managers and booksellers alike - left from the original group of people that worked there previous to that, most of whom had been there for quite a while, though not as long as he had been.  (Most employees were part-time, so in any given store, there are not many full-timers.)

The Tim complained about this manager quite a bit (which is NOT a part of his personality at all.  I'm the official Family Complainer), and even discussed a few issues with the District Manager, who for reasons unknown still always thought this person walked on water.  Back in April, The Tim mentioned that he really got the feeling that the manager was looking for a reason to fire him, and would not stop at making something up.  So he told me he was going to quit.

This still shocks me, to be honest, because in all of the years we have been married (going on 40!), this is only the fourth job he has had.  In each of the other cases, he either got a promotion, or we moved someplace because he was offered a job.  So I understood that things must have really been unbearable for him.  The good news was that because he had been there for so long, his severance package meant we would have our health insurance and his regular pay for a three-month period.  I am 99% sure he thought he would have something else by then, and things would go along as usual.

I could have told him differently, but considered it none of my beeswax, since he has always been able to find things without much trouble.  But as I was finding out, no matter how qualified you might be, and no matter how level the playing field is supposed to be, no one wants to hire someone over 60.

So eventually his salary stopped, and so did our health insurance.  Fortunately (but only to a point) I could get insurance through my job.  It's incredibly crappy, but I guess it's better than nothing.  It also means that more than 1/2 of my monthly check goes towards paying for that, and trust me, things have gotten tricky!

Here's the good thing though:  we both are really good at being poor.  I grew up that way, he grew up a step above that, and we were living on fumes for most of our married life before.  So we know we can do it again.  However, when you are used to having a bit of a cushion and good health insurance, there are a lot of adjustments to be made!

A few weeks ago, he did start working three-days a week at Avis/Budget Rent-a-Car as a Fleet Manager, which basically means he takes cars from the main office here back and forth to the airport rental places, and others in the area.  He loves to drive, so that part works.  And though he is paid very little and there are not benefits, he gets paid every two weeks, which means we are not going with only my monthly paycheck.

OK, that was long-winded to get us here.  But anyway, I realized a few weeks ago that this was not a year I had been planning to knit Christmas gifts for everyone, so I would need to figure out a way to still have something to give without a) knitting my fingers to the bone and Making Arthritis Great Again, and b) not having to spend a lot of money.  And yes, I know I don't have to give any gifts - but I LOVE doing it, and want to if I can in any way.

The good news is, I think I have figured it out, and it will still be enjoyable for me.  :-)

I came across a site recently that had an easy recipe for making sugar scrubs using sugar (duh) and essential oils.  There is a place nearby that has essential oils and they are very reasonably priced.  Plus, we always have sugar, especially when baking during the holidays.  Idea #1.


I also saw and printed out a pattern for mini-heating pads, where you sew the fabric pieces, fill them with rice and sew the last seam, and then they can be microwaved for 30-45 seconds to put on a sore muscle, or a headache, etc.  We have TONS of rice all the time, and I have a small fabric stash.  Idea #2.


For any of the male persuasion, I have an idea of a small but inexpensive gift that I can buy for each of them.  A local coffee place is near our house, and my nieces and spouses who have visited and tried it are obsessed with it.  They will get coffee, particularly since a discount is offered when you buy more than one bag.  Idea #3, and the one that will cost the most, but still not much, especially considering the two above will be incredibly inexpensive.




So only the littlest kiddos are left, and I have a small stash of gifts that I've just bought now and then for giving at some time in the future, meaning I should be all set.

I cannot tell you how much better I felt once I got this all worked out!  I love giving small gifts at holiday time, and would have been truly disappointed if I had not been able to have anything.

I'll let you know as I go along if this works/doesn't work, but I think this will be successful.

As for The Tim and any gifts for him - well, that's a whole 'nother post!

DISCLAIMER: We do not in any way hate Barnes & Noble - we still shop there online, and at other physical stores, just not the one near us where he worked.  

07 November 2017

The Big Reveal of a Finally Finished Object

Hello all!  I do hope you have done your civic duty and voted today.  I was voter #7 at my polling place.  I was talking to one of the workers, recalling how last year at this time, I was at the polls when they opened, like I was today, but there was already a line down the block and around the corner, and I was voter #100-something.  She said, "Ah yes. Back when we were all so hopeful."

But remember, all politics is local.  If you don't vote - nothing will ever change.  Ever.

Citizenship lecture ended.  On to the knitting.

Over the years (yes, years!) I have talked about my Custom Fit sweater.  Either that I was knitting it, that I was going to knit it, and/or how I wanted to finish it.  

Here's a brief recap:

October 2014 - I took a class teaching the Custom Fit method of knitting a sweater, created by Amy Herzog, at Loop here in Philadelphia.  I was extremely excited to take the class, and to see how the sweater would turn out.  Not ever having knit a sweater that really looked that good on me, I wanted to see if it was possible (two previous attempts had been questionable at best).  I purposely purchased inexpensive yarn, so that if things went downhill, I would not have invested a fortune in this project.

Zoom!  I was off!  I had the front knit pretty quickly.  But instead of starting the back right then, I put the whole thing aside to work on Christmas gifts.  I picked it up again and knit approximately 1/2 of the back, when I got to a part of the pattern where I was supposed to have gradually decreased to x number of stitches long ago, but I had many, many more.

For a few weeks, I frogged 2-3 rows at a time, until I got to the point where I should have started the decreases.

Then I put it down because probably something shiny grabbed my attention, or it was Christmastime again, or I wanted pie.  Or really anything else.  Or all of the above.

[Time passes.]

Eventually, I realized that the sweater was a) still someplace with all of my knitting stuff, and b) still waiting to be finished.  I found it, and would have gotten going again, but ... the Koodle had revenge peed on the project bag.  And the pages of the pattern.  But amazingly, not on the yarn or sweater pieces!  The project bag was laundered, the pages photocopied, and I was ready to go again.

Except I couldn't find the notes letting me know where I'd left off.  I decided to measure the piece in progress, count the stitches, and then find the spot in the pattern where I *thought* I probably was.  If I started knitting again, and things were going well, I'd continue.  Otherwise, I'd rip out the whole thing and forget about the project altogether.

Well, it worked!  The back, and the two sleeves were finished in no time!

And then ... they sat for a few months.  Finally, I washed and blocked them.  Then realized I remembered nothing about how to seam pieces together.  Enter my friend Kathy, who showed me how to do it one Saturday afternoon last month.  A few weeks later, it was all put together, the ends were woven in, and all it needed was the neckline.

No big deal, right?

One Sunday I sat down with the Eagles game on TV and started to pick up stitches for the neckline.  Then I knit the neckline.  Then I started binding off.  And it looked like crap, and also would not lie flat.  So I put out a call on Facebook to my knitting friends asking about bindoffs for 1 x 1 rib.  I got a lot of suggestions, but my friend Andrea linked to a YouTube video. I watched it, and to be honest, was really confused.  But then on the right side of the screen, were other videos relating to similar topics.  

And that is how I learned the Tubular Bind Off.  And that is how my sweater was FINALLY finished!  Three years to the day I cast on!  Ridiculous, but also pleasing to me in symmetry.

I give you the FO:


Pattern:  Custom Fit, by Amy Herzog
Yarn:  Berrocco Vintage, colorway Sour Cherry, 4 whole skeins and about 1/2 of a fifth
Needles:  US size 8
Modifications:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME????
Notes:  Most of them are in the rambling paragraphs above.  As mentioned I used the Tubular Bind Off, with a most excellent tutorial, found here.

The finished neckline.


The back - you can see my seaming needs some work, but I'm fine with it how it is!


Et voila!  The front!


My thanks to Andrea for taking the "modeled" shots this past Sunday after we met for coffee.  :-)

What are my thoughts?  Well, I'm wearing it today, and it's super comfy.  I love the color, though I have to admit that the yarn has already started to pill.  :-(  However, I still have a finished sweater after all of this time, and it FITS, and I really like it.  I can see wearing it a lot.

The really weird thing?  I think  I want to try knitting another sweater ... never say never, I guess!

06 November 2017

Knitting of the Past

Do you have any family heirlooms that were knitted and/or crocheted?  Sometimes when I go into a second-hand, or "antiques"store, and see things like doilies, tablecloths, or christening dresses that are clearly old, I feel bad thinking of the makers.  I think how much time and effort went into making something that was handed down as being special, and now is being sold in lots or sort of as an afterthought.

The Tim's grandmother was a crocheter, and we have some really lovely things that she made to us and gave to us for a wedding gift.  We use some of the stuff regularly, but there is a gorgeous tablecloth we don't use because it's way too big for the table we have.  A couple of my nieces have said they would like to have it, and that makes me happy.

But the knitting of the past I'm talking about are from more recent times - the 70s and 80s.  Knitters get irritated when people think of the stereotypical little old lady knitting, or the pregnant woman knitting booties for a baby.  And I get that, I really do.  But lest we forget, let me share some of the images of knitting that may also be seared into their minds.  (I know they are seared into mine now.)


This begs the question:  Why are there not more booklets and patterns based on the theme of Men in Belted Sweaters????  I guess it's a good thing this guy doesn't have a lot of chest hair, or that tie there could be painful!


This hunk is going not just for the belted sweater, but for the same color, with coordinating ascot.  I'll bet he has to beat the women off with a stick.

Moving on, people in the 70s and 80s were no slouches when it came to fashionable, knitted ski masks to deal with the cold weather.


I swear to God that even in the bright light of day, this would scare the bejeebers out of me.

Now, this is something you just KNOW jazz lovers would love to have in their closet:


She looks like one fun gal!

And as nice as the above sweater is, I think we all might prefer something more elegant, with - as advertised - some "magic" in it.


WHERE IS SHE NOW????

All kidding aside though, I think this last one has elements of each of the horrific examples above, and yet somehow seems jaunty and always in style.


Perhaps after the holidays, we could have a KAL for this - think how excited the men in our lives would be!  

To paraphrase another saying, just because you CAN knit it, it doesn't mean that you SHOULD.  


The 70s and 80s - Once Was Enough.

05 November 2017

Quiet November Sunday


Song for Autumn
by Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch 
the earth instead of the 
nothingness of air and the endless 
freshets of wind?  And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come - six, a dozen - to sleep
inside their bodies?  And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow?  The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows.  And the wind pumps its
bellows.  And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

04 November 2017

Recipe: Potato Mushroom Sausage Soup in the Crockpot

Happy Saturday!  I hope you are having a good one.  We are having a lovely, actual fall-like Saturday, which is fine with me.

About a month ago, I mentioned something I'd made in the crockpot from an idea in my head that turned out really well.  Some of you expressed an interest in the recipe, so I thought I would share it.

Potato Mushroom Sausage Soup in the Crockpot

Ingredients:

5 cups of water, or a combination of water and vegetable soup stock
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into chunks (I leave the skins on)
8-10 medium/large mushrooms, chopped
1/2 stick butter
3 onions, roughly chopped
'Slurp' of olive oil
Dash of hot sauce
1 Tablespoon dried dill, or a small handful of fresh dill, rinsed and chopped
2/3 cup milk
2 links veggie Italian sausage, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil

Place the first 9 ingredients (water/stock through the dill) into the crockpot.  Turn on the crockpot to the LOW settting and cook for 5 hours, checking occasionally to be sure the liquid does not cook away (when I made this it was not an issue, but I know different crockpots can vary).

After the initial mixture has cooked for the designated time, remove approximately 2 cups of the soup and using an immersion blender, mixer, or regular blender, create a smoother version of the soup; set aside briefly.

In a small pan, briefy saute the Italian sausage pieces, so they have some "brown" to them.

Add the blended mixture, browned sausage, and 2/3 cup of milk back to the crockpot, and stir to combine.  Cook on the HIGH setting for another hour, then serve.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Notes:

This recipe is vegetarian, but obviously not vegan.

The resulting soup is thick, but not creamy.  If you want a thicker texture, you could add corn starch or flour mixed in cold water, or add some instant mashed potato flakes towards the end of the cooking -  however, keep an eye on it so you don't end up with a clump!

Other seasonings as well as/instead of dill can be added of course.  Fresh dill was on hand when I made this.

Other types of veggie sausage can be used, the but the veggie Italian sausage gives it a nice bit of spice (and is the reason I used only a dash of hot sauce).

Any leftovers keep well in the refrigerator or freezer.

**********

I hope if you try this, you like it.  We really enjoyed it, and I have every intention of making it again especially in cooler/cold weather when soup is one of the best things to eat!

03 November 2017

July, August, September, October Book Report

Guys - I can't believe I forgot to do a book report for so many months!  To be honest, I was pretty proud of myself, thinking I'd only missed three months, but as you can see that's not the case.  Sigh.

I'm hoping I'll get back to being more regular about these, but in the meantime, here's what I read and what I thought about it over the past four months.

A Catered Fourth of July, by Isis Crawford.  A quick, holiday-themed mystery that I read over the long holiday weekend.  Bernie and Libby are catering a re-enactment of a local event that may or may not have actually happened in their town during colonial times.  When the local man-about-town is killed by a musket to the face, they undertake an investigation to clear Libby's boyfriend Marvin, who was in charge of picking things up and delivering them to the re-enactment site.

There are a lot of red herrings, and the final resolution was more complex than usual.  But it was a fun holiday read.

The Gilded Hour, by Sara Donati.  Well.  I only gave this book two stars because I got really irritated by it by the time I was at the end.

Topics in this historical fiction novel:
1. Women physicians in 1880s New York City, one of whom is mixed race.
2. Issues related to orphaned poor children during this time.
3. Andrew Comstock and his crusade against birth control and particularly abortion.  (An actual person and his actual crusade.)

The main characters are Anna and Sophie Savard, cousins who are both graduates of Women's Medical College.  Both of them work to treat the poor of the city; Anna as a surgeon, and Sophie as an obstetrician.  Through her work, Anna becomes involved with the lives of four Italian orphans - two girls and two boys, one a baby - and eventually brings the two girls to live with her and her family, while they try to determine what became of the the boys, and where they were placed.  She meets a cop, Jack Mezzanotte, who not only helps her, but eventually becomes her husband.  Sophie marries her childhood sweetheart and they go to Europe for an experimental cure for his tuberculosis.

One day when Sophie is unavailable, a patient of hers is brought to the hospital where Anna works, near death.  Anna realizes that the woman either tried to perform an abortion on herself, or someone terribly unqualified has basically butchered her.  Enter Andrew Comstock, who insists that Anna and Sophie are responsible for illegal abortions, and they face a trial.  Though cleared of all charges, more and more women begin to show up who have died or are dying after brutal abortion procedures.  Anna, Jack, and Jack's partner all begin to investigate.

So - interesting stuff, right?  Well, the last part of the book focuses almost completely on Anna and Jack's courtship and marriage.  Lots of descriptions of passion, etc.  Some resolution occurs in finding out about the orphaned brothers of the two girls living with Anna, and they get to the point of finding two individuals who very well may be responsible for the deadly abortions.

At this point, I felt that things would get interesting again because the story was barreling towards catching the criminals, and it was REALLY interesting.  But what happens?  The last part of the book entails Anna and Jack spending a day with his family so they can meet Anna, and ends with them sitting together at the end of the day talking about how lucky they are.

The book is 700+ pages long.  And was unfortunately time wasted, at least as far as I'm concerned.

This book will fill the "Historical Fiction" square on my Summer Book Bingo.

The Dogs of Rome, by Conor Fitzgerald.  I started this book, and decided to give up.

It's about an American-born detective working in Italy, investigating the murder of an animal-rights activist.  I stopped reading because the main suspect early in the book is a person running dog fights, and the main character doesn't like dogs.  All of which would be upsetting enough to me, but today is the day we have to take our oldest kitty to the vet for the last time, and I just couldn't read the book any more.  Since I didn't feel invested in any of the characters,  it's not that big of a deal.

I am however, counting this for my Summer Book Bingo square, "Debut."

Maybe some day I'll give it another try, but right now it's not happening.

While My Pretty One Knits, by Anne Canadeo.  I started and finished this book in one day.  It was a good cozy mystery.

Maggie Messina owns a yarn store called The Black Sheep.  At the beginning of the book, she is hosting a booksigning for one of her students from her former life (as a high school art teacher), and is excitedly preparing, with the friends from her knitting group helping out.  A woman named Amanda Goran, who owns a shop in another part of town, shows up and seems very excited about the event the next day.  Which is odd, because ever since Maggie opened her shop, Amanda has made her life hell.

The next morning at the beginning of the booksigning program and demo, one of the group arrives late, with the news that Amanda Goran has been bludgeoned to death and that her husband found her in the shop.  Maggie immediately becomes a suspect, along with Amanda Goran's husband, from whom she was separated, and who becomes a suspect as well.

Maggie's friends are determined to help her clear her name, and only when one of them finds an unlikely clue as a result of adopting one of Amanda's dogs, do we learn the truth.

A good read, especially on a day that was particularly sad for me.  Good enough to be distracting and not requiring intense concentration.  For that, I will always be grateful.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, by Gil McNeil.  This book was not what I was expecting - no, it was much better!

When the book opens, Jo McKenzie is trying to keep her two young sons entertained until the moving trucks arrive to move them from London to a beachside town about an hour away, where her grandmother lives, and where Jo will take over the wool shop, since her Gran is ready to retire.  Jo is a former BBC television producer who has since become a stay-at-home mom.  When her husband Nick (who still works for the BBC) returned from a trip, and told her he was in love with someone else, her life was turned upside down.  But that same evening, when Nick left the house, he was killed in a fatal car accident.  Jo's Gran wants to help her get back on her feet, and Jo is looking forward to a fresh start.

At first, things seem iffy.  The remaining woman working in the wool shop, Elsie, is a long-timer, who doesn't like change, and resents Jo's ideas and to some degree, even her presence.  But things move along.  Jo relies on her best friend Ellen, a new anchor at the BBC, for support and sanity.

As things move along, Jo and her boys feel more and more at home, and begin making friends through school and through the Stitch and Bitch evenings at the shop.  When a major movie star who is pregnant stops in the shop to escape the paparazzi, she and Jo begin a friendship, and Jo even teachers her to knit.

OK, that is the basic plot, but this book has much more.  There is humor, feelings that actual people have, and even many of the supporting characters are so well done, they seem to be real people.  This book is like meeting new friends and hearing all their stories, warts and all.  I was impressed with this book, and feel that it would appeal to non-knitters as well.

This book is not saccharine, and Jo's main interest in life is not romance.  There are shades of romance, and maybe something big down the road, but it's not one of those I-hope-I-can-find-a-new-man stories.

Speaking From Among the Bones, by Alan Bradley.  I will say right off that I love Flavia de Luce!  Alan Bradley really makes her come to life, and she is beyond entertaining to me.

Flavia's latest adventure has her trying to determine who killed the organist at St. Tancred's church.  A lot is going on, as it is the 5ooth anniversary of the death of the saint, and they are planning to open his tomb.  But Flavia's investigation leads to her some shocking and macabre discoveries related to St. Tancred, the church graveyard, and some other residents of Bishop's Lacey.  At the same time, Buckshaw, the beloved de Luce family home, is being put up for sale!

This was an enjoyable read, and though it doesn't fit into my Summer Book Bingo, it's another book that helped to keep my mind occupied and pleased during a hard time in my personal life.  And the last line in the book is not just a real surprise, but could be a major game-changer for the de Luce family!

Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren.  I threw in the towel on this one.  I made myself read at least half of it, thinking that it would "catch on" but it just did not.  I had looked forward to reading it, and was pleased when it was my turn on the library's hold list.  It had a lot of good reviews, and I knew people who enjoyed it.

The book is the story of the author's love of science, and her life as a scientist.  Interested in the natural world from the time she was a child (her father was a science professor), she always wanted to succeed in that world.  As an adult, she learns that it's not that simple, since a) she is a woman, and b) most academics rely on government funding for their research, and there's a small pool of money for a lot of candidates.

She also talks about a personal relationship with a laboratory assistant who is an odd character, and talks a lot about the inner life of trees and plants.

There's a lot of potential here, but I just don't think the author is a very good writer.   So this will be a book I don't finish.

This will, however, count in my Summer Book Bingo as "Recommended by another Book Bingo player."

The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson.  I really liked this book.  It was what I had hoped it would be, which is an evocative tale of time and place.  Rye is a small town in East Sussex, England, and it is the last summer before England enters World War I.  The people in the town are busy with their usual activities, and the social hierarchy is well in place.

Agatha Kent is a little bit nervous, as she has convinced the powers that be to hire a woman (!), Beatrice Nash, as the Latin teacher at the local school.  Many are already suspicious that a woman could successfully handle young boys, much less teach Latin, and when Beatrice arrives, she is a little bit more independent than anyone was expecting.

Agatha Kent's nephews are also visiting for the summer.  Hugh is a medical student, and his cousin Daniel is a self-described artist and poet.  They are a close group, particularly since Agatha's husband John, works as a government official in London.

This is a quiet book about a time when people were not convinced such a thing as a war would really happen - and then even when it does, they truly believe it will be over quickly.  When a group of Belgian refugees are brought to stay with families in Rye, the residents are shocked to hear their stories of the invasion there by German troops.  Between the refugees, the uncertain feeling about the upcoming war, and various things relating to, and resulting from these experiences, no one in the book is left unchanged.

I enjoyed this book, because the characters seemed like real people, a combination of good and bad. The author draws you in to the story, and the town with its inhabitants.  It's also a reminder of the extremely limited options available to women at this time in history, which in the grand scheme of things was not that long ago.

The Spinning Heart, by Donal  Ryan.  This book looks at the effect of the recent recession in Ireland, and how people deal with it.  Each chapter is narrated by a different person, but they are all intertwined.

For the most part, it's about how different people cope or do not cope when they learn that what they thought would cover their financial future collapses.  Pensions are suddenly non-existent, and savings are suddenly necessary to cover everyday expenses.  The most frustrating part is that it always seems that those who were already doing well are the ones who land on their feet.

This was a well-written book, and the characters did not feel like they were stock types at all.  I'm not really sure that I understood those who took the most drastic action, and why they felt it necessary to do so, but that could also be due to the fact that I have never had to go through something like this.

This is  a short book, but well worth reading.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.  I really enjoyed this book.

Allan Karlsson is 100 years old. On the day he turns 100, a huge party and celebration is planned at the old folks' home where he has been living.  But Allan decides that he wants to be somewhere else, and that if he is going to continue to live, it won't be at the home.  So shortly before the festivities begin, he climbs out of the window of his room, and walks away to his next adventure.

And what a crazy adventure it is!  Through a series of events, Allan eventually ends up with a group of six other varied people, a dog, and an elephant (escaped from a travelling circus of course), who are living out their days in Bali.  How he gets there is as fantastical and as amusing as Allan's life has been.

Allan himself is a man who is completely apolitical and without any specific ambition.  But due to circumstances, we learn that during his lifetime, he has been involved in most of the major political events of the twentieth century as an important - if behind-the-scenes - player.  Beginning with Francisco Franco and the Spanish Civil War, to every other leader (good and bad) and event, Allan is involved with Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Truman, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, usually in a tangential role at best, but often providing the information or the opportunity for history to be made.

This was a fun read, and if you are willing to suspend your disbelief, you will likely enjoy it and find it amusing.  Though Allan travels nearly everywhere during the course of his life, he was born in, and lives at varying times during the book in Sweden.  So I am counting this for my Summer Bingo Square "Takes place somewhere you would like to visit."

Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star, by William J. Mann.  I found this book when a friend on Goodreads put it on her to-read list.  I borrowed it from the library, and though it is a long book, it was hard to put down.

I had never heard of William Haines before reading this.  He was a big star in the silent movie era, and to some lesser extent, during the early talking movies.  And all of that is interesting, but what makes the book so readable and worthwhile is the way that the author researched not just Haines, but movie-making and surrounding society mores during the times he was working.

I found the stories about the early days of Hollywood so interesting - how it started with the emphasis on making the movies, and getting the actors and actresses do be convincing in their roles, with no one making a big deal out of their personal lives.  Yes, maybe homosexuals were closeted, but at the same time, when it was a known aspect of their lives, it didn't necessarily mean they couldn't get parts - it was just a well-known secret.  As time went on, and society changed, wars occurred, and the Legion of Decency gained power (ugh), it was important to the studios to have their people appear to be normal and upstanding - i.e., married to someone of the opposite sex.  William Haines was often the fly in the ointment, because he was unwilling to play the game.

The book discusses the details of the studio system and how restrictive it could be.  Names we are all familiar with - Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg, Joan Crawford (a true friend of William Haines his death), Clark Gable, Rudolph Valentino, Claudette Colbert - pop up in so many of the stories, and you learn things about them that are new to you (well, new to me at least).

(One thing I learned was something that made me feel even less charitable towards Ted Turner - when he purchase MGM, he also purchased their archives, and closed them to research.  What a jerk! (But I already thought that.))

William Haines' life - professionally and personally - almost seems like a movie of its own.  Once he was done as far as acting, he became one of the most well-known and popular interior decorators for both Hollywood types and other wealthy individuals and families.  He was with the same partner for over 25 years, and they were devoted to one another.  He managed to live the life he wanted to live, much of it at at time when that was "just not done."

I do have to say, that there were times when someone would be mentioned as being homosexual or lesbian, and I would be shocked - not because I disapprove, just because I'd never given it much thought one way or the other.  I would say to my husband, "Oh my God, I didn't know _____ was gay!," and nine times out of ten, he'd say, "Everyone knows that, Bridget."  Apparently not.

This was an interesting book, a fun book, and and in many ways, a sad book.  It provided so many insights into our collective social history, and made me aware of someone who was truly famous for his time, and that I had never heard of before.  It is a well-written and extremely well-researched book.  If you like film and social history, I highly  recommend it.

This also fits into my Summer Book Bingo reading, for the square "Title where the protagonist has a different sexual orientation than your own."

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken.  I should start by saying that I was already inclined towards liking this book, as I am a fan of Al Franken's and have been for years.  I listened the audiobook version, which made it even better, with his intonations and asides.

Also, the title - I'm sorry but every time I think of it, I laugh.

This book is really very good.  He starts from the beginning, truly - when he was a kid, growing up in Minnesota, going to elementary and high school there, etc.  Coming from a regular family who were close and happy - and originally Republican!  Then there are the college years, the Franken and Davis years, the SNL years, and finally becoming a U.S. Senator.

I like that he did not take, and still does not take, being a Senator for granted, and feels strongly that he is still responsible to his constituents in a personal way.  He is disgusted with the way things have become in our country, and in the halls of Washington, and finds Trump to be a terrible and dangerous person (as do I).  He is appalled that Trump appears to have no interest in learning what he needs to know, and much of the book is about everything that Franken needed to know - and often learned the hard way - once he decided to run for the Senate.

There are many wonderful quotes here, and a lot of them are from the late Paul Wellstone, whose seat Franken eventually filled in the Senate.  Two of my very favorite quotes are:

"We all do better when we all do better."

"It's hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you don't have boots in the first place."

Yes, this is a good book.  Interesting, really funny, and very thoughtful.  As I said, I liked Al Franken before, but this book only increased my admiration for him.

This books fills my Summer Book Bingo square "Audiobook read by the author."

Back to School Murder, by Leslie Meier.  Well, you know me - I like a themed mystery!  And I was in the mood for a quick and easy read.  This didn't disappoint.

Lucy Stone is filling in a the local weekly paper, and enjoying it.  On the first day of school, a huge news story happens - a bomb goes off a the school!  The assistant principal saves a disabled little boy who was locked in a supply closet - but how did THAT happen?

This turned out to be a good mystery in that there were a lot of side stories that were related.  It had a lot more going on than usual, and much of it was related to others in the town.

I have not read this series in order, so it was interesting to see how Lucy's husband was in the early books - he was kind of a douchebag, and not the kind person he is later.  That was interesting, but I was also glad to know he progressed as the series progressed.

Damaged, by Pamela Callow.  This was a freebie from Barnes & Noble for a Free Friday Nook Book.  It was an excellent read!

The story takes place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Kate Lange has just landed a new job at a prestigious law firm.  It's part of her effort to start fresh after breaking up with her police detective boyfriend, and her strongest desire is to have the opportunity to work on cases other than family law for a change.  She wants to prove to herself to others that her past does not define her.

When the senior partner hands her a custody case, she is disappointed.  In addition, it doesn't seem that her client, a grandmother, has a good case for custody of her teenaged granddaughter.  The grandmother suspects that the girl is on drugs again, and that her mother is neglecting her.  When Kate suggests getting Child Services involved, the woman doesn't want to go forward, because the girl's mother is a powerful judge.  Kate suggests that the grandmother try to find more information and evidence, she senses that her client is less than pleased.

Shortly afterwards, the granddaughter's mutilated body is discovered.  This leads Kate on a journey she never expected to become part of, trying to find out what happened and learning that there are more things going on related to the entire case than she could have imagined.  The information she uncovers nearly gets her killed.

This is a story of a serial killer, of professional jealousies, and of ethical failures against people who are at their most vulnerable.  It's also the story of a woman fighting to start fresh after a life of being on the outside.  It's well written, and quite suspenseful.

Given what is happening currently in my life, books like these are providing excellent entertainment and distraction.

Knit, Purl, Die, by Anne Canadeo.  This was an enjoyable, quick read.  One of the new members of the Black Sheep Knitters is found drowned in her pool.  She was wealthy, and had recently returned to town with a new - and much younger - husband, but they were incredibly devoted to one another.  Gloria died while Jamie, her husband was out of town making arrangements with a gallery owner for an art show.

So it's not great or deep literature, but it's entertaining, and I have to say that the ending was a surprise to me.

I am currently having trouble concentrating on any book that is too involved, so this was a lovely way to do some reading and enjoy it.

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Sanders.  I've already read this, but several people have encouraged me to listen to the audiobook, so here goes!

Listening was a completely different experience to reading it - I think I got a lot more out of it, hearing different characters' voices.  It was also sadder upon listening.

Even though Summer Book Bingo is officially over, this would have been for my square "Audiobook read by different narrators."

The Nix, by Nathan Hill.  I had high hopes for this book, based on what others had said about it.  I read the first five chapters, and decided it just wasn't for me.  I felt it was just taking too long to get going, and I wasn't sucked in enough to keep trying.

The Love Object: Selected Stories, by Edna O'Brien.  I am a huge fan of Edna O'Brien, but I gave this book only three stars.  Why? Because I didn't finish it.

It is a collection of stories, and the ones I liked were extremely interesting and well-written, as I would expect from this author.  However, I skipped the last four stories, because it just seemed to me that they were all incredibly redundant and uninteresting.  Maybe if I had just dipped in and out of the book, I wouldn't have felt this way, and who knows maybe I'll go back sometime and try to read one and see if I like it when removed from the collection.

Double Booked for Death, by Ali Brandon.  I gave this book 4 stars because I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

Darla Pettistone has moved to NYC to take over her late aunt's bookstore.  As the book begins, preparations are underway for a booksigning by an extremely popular teen mystery writer, to publicize her latest book.  Things are going well, until Darla notices a protestor across the street whose sign claims that the author plagiarized *her* book.  She also receives a letter from a woman who lives next door to her sister back in Texas, who is part of a church group believing that the author's books are evil and encourage sin.

On the night of the booksigning, a series of events lead to the author leaving the bookstore and being hit and killed by a van driven by the woman in the church group.  Between trying to figure out what actually happened, and hoping she can still keep the bookstore afloat after such an event, Darla has a lot going on.  Her late aunt's cat, Hamlet - who doesn't seem to approve of Darla - ends up giving her some leads and some ideas about what might have happened.

I expected this book to be enjoyable in the usual cozy mystery sense, but it was actually better than that, as far as some of the writing and character development.

Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance, by Tish Jett.  I gave this book 4 stars for the same reason I gave Marie Kondo's book 4 stars - I was glad to be reminded of some things I already knew, and to learn a couple of new practices/ideas.

I will admit that I do have a fondness for France and French-ness - well, not the snobby stuff, but the country and the overall idea.  In this book the author talks about what makes French women "of a certain age" still vibrant and stylish.  She details how it can of course be helpful to have a lot of money, but most of the book is just talking about the importance of taking care of oneself, having a positive outlook, and an interest in the world around you. 

Frenchwomen are known for their seemingly effortless style, and Jett explains to us how they have a different approach to what they buy, what they wear, and how they live.  A lot of it is stuff I've heard and read before, but there was a lot of food for thought here.

I was reminded that the most important thing a person in any country of any financial level can have is confidence and self-regard.  That's never a bad thing.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman.  This book was fine, and in parts very entertaining.

Eleanor Oliphant is a young woman who works in an office in London as an accounts person.  She lives a very circumscribed life, and seems to be quite pleased with living along and being alone.

One day as she leaves the office at the same time as a co-worker, they witness an elderly man collapsing on the street.  Against her initial reaction, she is convinced by the co-worker to see what they can do to help him.  Upon realizing that the elderly man is not drunk (Eleanor's original thought), she does what she can until the ambulance arrives.

This single event leads to a series of other events that change both Eleanor, and the life she has known as an adult.

I liked this book, but didn't love it.  It's well written, and I did want to keep reading through to the end.  The characters are, for the most part, well-developed, and Eleanor's quirks are believable, interesting, and also sad.  I guess I was just not that surprised by the ending, as I was expecting that her peculiarities and personality were formed by a childhood incident.

And there you go - some good, some bad, and a mix of types of books.  Your mileage my vary, of course.  I'm always intrigued when people LOVE books that just didn't do it for me.  Anyway, let me know what you've been reading lately and what you did or did not like.

02 November 2017

November November November


It's November!  It's NaBloPoMo!  It's Three on Thursday!  What's not to love, you know?  I know some people think of November as a boring, "filler" month, but it's always been one of my favorites.  So today I thought I'd let you know just three of the many many reasons November is a good thing.

1.  Desserts.  Yep, November is a good month for desserts at our house.  The Tim has his birthday during this month, so - birthday cake!!  And with Thanksgiving, there is pumpkin pie!  We don't generally have dessert a lot of the time, so having two dessert occasions in one month is the best.

2.  The weather.  (Rather, the weather as it should be.  I shall be ignoring the three days of 70-degree temperatures that are supposed to occur in the next five days.)  November is the month when fall actually settles in and the coziness of the cool weather begins.  Granted, sometimes it can be rainy, but at least around here, that is true of nearly every month in the year.  And then towards the end of the month, the hints of cold weather begin and hot drinks and heavy sweaters work their way into the mix.

3.  Birthdays and Thanksgiving.  Besides The Tim, there are many family birthdays during November.  Both of my sisters have their birthdays - as mentioned, my oldest sister Nancy's was yesterday, and my second oldest sister Mary Ellen's birthday is on November 29.  A brother-in-law, a great-niece, and a very close friend are also in the mix.  As if that isn't good enough - Hello Thanksgiving!!  Coziness, stuffing, the aforementioned pumpkin pie, parades, conscious gratitude.  All of this in one month seems almost decadent.

Here's hoping November is a good month for all of us.  And that as much goodness as possible comes your way.

01 November 2017

Here We Go Again

Hello and Happy November and All Saints Day!  

We had some trick-or-treaters last night, which made me happy, but still not enough for my taste.  However, being that we had none last year, I was happy that was not repeated.

So Halloween 2017 is in the books, and here we are in November.  Today, as mentioned previously is my oldest sister Nancy's birthday - but not just *any* birthday, her 70th birthday!  A part of me feels bad, because I did nothing special to mark it.  I wanted to knit something for her, but a) she is a designer label fanatic, b) she lives in Southern California, and nothing immediately came to mind as appropriate for that,  and c) she is not a sock-, fingerless mitts- or shawl-wearer.  Anyway, I know she is having a fun week celebrating with her friends and family, so I'm sure she is enjoying it all.  :-)

This is also the first day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for 2017.  I've participated the past couple of years, and though it can be a challenge to post every single day, I've enjoyed it, so I'm giving it another shot.  I have a few specific things planned out, but otherwise it will be a crap shoot surprise to all of us.

Today, I thought I'd join Kat in Unraveled Wednesdays, so yay for an automatic topic!  Let us continue.

Below you see sock #1 of my project for the I ♥ Fall KAL.  I am using the Little Pumpkins pattern, but I have re-christened this project Annoying Pumpkins.  If you are thinking of knitting these socks, my advice would be to Just Say No.

I didn't, and though you really can't see the stitch pattern in this photo, the first sock is finito.


I've already started the second sock, because I knew if I didn't get going on it right away, it wouldn't be happening.  This pattern is just way too fiddly for me, and though I love the result, I am not enjoying making these socks.  I love the yarn, and the color is perfect, but ... ugh.  Now it's personal though, so I WILL finish these socks, goddammit!

As for reading, I just started this book yesterday:


I'm only about 75 pages in, but so far it's interesting.  I also got a notice in my e-mail this a.m. that one of the books I requested from the library is ready for pick up, so hopefully that will be a good one too!

So that's the latest from me.  I hope your month is starting off well, and if all goes as planned, I'll see you here again tomorrow.  :-)