21 March 2018

Going to the Wolves

As mentioned in a previous post, I had a birthday last week, and the one thing I had asked to do was to visit the Wolf Sanctuary of PA for one of their tours.  So last Thursday, The Tim and I got up and got going out to Lititz, PA (which I enjoy calling "La Tits" because apparently part of me is an 11-year-old boy).  It's a lovely drive, and once we got away from the city, there wasn't much traffic, so we were there in no time!

I wasn't *exactly* sure what to expect in real life, but I can assure you that the entire experience was wonderful, and did not disappoint in any way! 

The Wolf Sanctuary is a huge area, which currently houses 48 wolves.  There is one pack ("The Big Pack") made up of some of the wolves from the original group at the Sanctuary.  They had formerly bred wolves, but then realized that it would mean they would very quickly run out of room for other wolves that needed a place to be.  So all the wolves that are there now, and that come in the future, have been spayed or neutered, to control the population and assure room for any wolves that need their help down the road.

We have both always been attracted to wolves, and there used to be a woman in our neighborhood who had a wolf/dog hybrid (who was incredibly shy), but other than that, have never had much of a chance to be around the animals otherwise.  It was really interesting to hear all about the history of the Sanctuary, as well as learn details about wolf behaviors.  But of course, the actual wolves were the stars of the day.

The Original Pack includes Lincoln, Levi, Sarge, Chomp, Trinity (Alpha Female), Frodo (Alpha Male), and Lucas.  They were very interested in us, though would have been more interested if we had brought lunch for them!

Lucas and Frodo 

The Whole Pack







Below, please meet Thor.  He is the oldest wolf at the Sanctuary, having turned 18 on February 15th of this year.

Thor is blind, but was still very alert when the tour guide was talking to him.

This is Jake.  She is a relative newcomer to the Sanctuary, and is in the enclosure next to Thor.  They are hoping that the two of them will form a pack.  She was very friendly, but then decided she was lonely and started to howl.

And, just like when one dog in the neighborhood starts barking and then all the others start, the same thing happened here.  Everyone else started howling too.  It was amazing.

Here is a little video that The Tim took of her howling, I hope it works here.

Next up, we met Cheyenne.  She is particularly friendly, having been someone's pet.  She was so excited to see us and the tour guide!  Here's a video of her coming to see him.  (Again, I hope it works.)

Then we met Spirit and Mika, who are both white wolves.  Mika was extremely shy, but Spirit was ready for some attention and wanted to play!  Spirit is a former pet, who one day escaped from her yard when everyone at her house was out and she got bored.  She ended up at the playground of an elementary school, where the kids at recess loved playing with her, and she loved the attention!  Only when they called to say a lost dog was there, did they find her, take her to animal control, and learn that she was a wolf mix!  She was more than happy to get some attention, and clearly loves our tour guide, Denny.

The animals were all clearly quite content in their enclosures, and it was clear that the people working there were not only familiar with them, but that they love them all, and take excellent care of them.  

This is a cow skull, which is the only part of a cow that they are not interested in eating completely.  They use this to "play hunt," as they did with an opossum that [foolishly] wandered into an enclosure.  

Happy wolves all around.  This place is amazing and the people so clearly care about the animals and caring for them and rescuing them, it was a wonderful thing to see.  I can't wait to go back - our guide told us that the nighttime tours include a bonfire, which would be really something to experience.

I would definitely recommend a visit to this place if you like wolves and are interested in animal rescue.  There is even a B&B on the property where you can stay!  But it's well worth the day trip too.  

As we were coming home, we realized it's not that far from the Stoudt's Brewery, which has a tour of their facilities and a pub too.  So you could make a day of it and probably get a yummy meal as well.  

Which is surely on the agenda for a future trip ... 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and videos, and seeing the wolves.  I have a ton more photos, but what I have shared here surely gives you the idea of the place.  Let me know if you visit, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Off to enjoy the rest of my snow day, courtesy of the most recent nor'easter.  Have a good one!

20 March 2018

This First Day of Spring Is Being Brought to You by Yet Another Nor'Easter

I know it's wrong, but it amuses me that we are expecting yet another nor'easter to hit today.  Not because I enjoy shoveling snow and slogging around in resulting slush once it starts melting, but because people always seem surprised when the first day of Spring does not arrive and turn out to be a day that is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  Everyone always seems so shocked, and it just seems that this year, Mother Nature is saying, tough luck suckers!

I am sad that it might mark the end of our daffodils that started to bloom.  But they bloomed for my birthday, and that was good enough for me, if they can't hang around for a while after today.  I love daffodils, and consider them my birthday flower.  I take it very personally if none have shown up by then.

Anyway, I am somewhat disorganized at the moment, but wanted to post something, so I decided to borrow Nance's Monday Meme, called Love/Hate Relationships.  (Yes, it's Tuesday.  So sue me.)

1. What kind of song/kind of music always makes you feel good/irritated?

I like most music in general, but I will say that songs by The Beatles make me feel good.  "Modern" music (for example, Philip Glass) makes me irritated.  Big time.

2.  What are among your best/worst traits?

Best:  Self-discipline, loyalty, empathy
Worst:  Impatience, quick judgement, bad temper

3.  What food did you used to like but now you don't?

Marsala veggie burgers from Trader Joe's.  The Tim still really likes them, but I can't stand them anymore. 

4.  What book did everyone else love but you didn't?

The Girl on the Train.  I could not stand any of the characters, and would not have been upset had said train crashed on page 4 or so.

5.  Fill in the blanks:  I love my _________, but I hate (its/their/the) __________.

I love my house, but I hate to clean it (though once I get started, it's fine, and I'm always happy with the result).
I love my country, but I hate the current administration and their ilk.

OK, that was fun.   And it meant I had a legit post for today.  Feel free to answer in the comments, at Nance's original post, or on your own blog. 

Stay warm and safe if you are in the path of the crazy weather!

17 March 2018

Celebrating 62 Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sláinte to you and yours!

13 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

08 March 2018

Three Good Things on a Snow Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 March 2018

Snow Day Unraveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

I may even bake something.  Snow days rock!

06 March 2018


Please indulge me for this mini-rant. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

White People Problems, am I right?

05 March 2018

Well That Was Fast! (An FO Post)

I do love to knit socks.  And though I can generally knit a pair in a shorter amount of time than it used to take, I am not one of those people who can just churn them out like a machine.  Some just take a while, whether due to yarn, pattern, other projects, or life in general.

But this pair flew off the needles!  I think it was a combination of wanting to see what stripe sequence came next, and at a certain point, wanting to finish them by the end of February (the toes were kitchenered during the evening of February 28).

Project:  Vanilla Valentine Socks
Pattern:  Classic Socks for the Family
Yarn:  Must Stash Yarn self-striping yarn, in one of their Must Match! colorways, called Be Mine
Needles:  US size 1
Modifications:  None
Comments:  This yarn has been in my stash for a couple of years.  I'd come across it and think, oh I want to wait until a February to knit this, and then would forget I had it.  Anyway, I finally remembered in time, and wound this up.  The way it winds is fascinating, since it is a Must Match! colorway.  It arrives in a single skein, but when you wind it, it separates into two separate balls.  You knit one from the outside of the ball, and the other from the inside, and you have matching socks, which as far as I'm concerned is a miracle.

The yarn is lovely to knit, and the colors are so pretty.  Also, I actually like to knit from two balls (though I am too lazy to divide skeins myself), as I will usually do the cuff on one, and then the other; then the leg, etc. so that by the time I am doing the toes, I have only the toes left to do on each sock. Which is another reason I think the knitting went so quickly.

Anyway, I'm pleased with these, though I have to admit I do wish there was not so much white in the color scheme.  But that's just me.  I'm on track now, as these are my second pair of socks for my 2018 Box o' Socks. 

I really recommend this yarn.  Her colorways are amazing, and it's really nice to use.  She also does a podcast with the woman behind Little Skein in the Big Wool, and they talk not just about their knitting, dyeing, etc., but also their dogs ... so you know I find it interesting!  :-)

02 March 2018


I really didn't intend to go quiet for so long, but the past week was just not kind to me.  And though I kept up with your blogs, I mostly didn't take the time to comment because ... well, because.

But I have been knitting away (finished the stripey socks!), and reading, and paying attention to the world - and doing my usual amount of overthinking the little things.  It's what I do.

Here are just some of the things that have passed through my brain over the past week.

-- Am I the only knitter in the world who doesn't mind purling and/or seed stitch?  I've never thought purling was annoying or difficult, and I love the texture created by seed stitch.  But nearly everyone I know will do anything to avoid the purl stitch, and some people will skip something entirely if seed stitch is involved.

-- Why do people want to have a gun?  I know people who want/have them, but even when they give me legitimate reasons, I don't understand.  I guess because I've never even been curious about or fascinated by guns at all.  And I will never ever ever ever understand why individual citizens should have an assault weapon.

--  Am I the only person who doesn't care about the British Royal Family and in fact actively dislikes everything they represent?  Even friends of mine who are not obsessed with them seem addicted to knowing everything they do, etc. 

--  I watched a lot of the Olympics, and I enjoyed a lot of it, but why in the name of a small black dog named Pete did it seem that the bulk of the events covered were snowboarding?  I do not wish ill to snowboarders or their activity, but there are other sports, and I would have liked to seen more of them.  Even those where (gasp!) there was not a touching/tragic/American human interest story.

--  Dystopian books/novel/plays do nothing for me.  It would be hard for me to find them more annoying.

--  Why does everything have to be a MAJOR THING these days?  Can't things happen, or can't people have experiences, without it becoming somehow Very Important or Extremely Symbolic? 

--  Following up on that, why are stupid people famous and even worse, admired?  Not that I want them rounded up and shot (well .... no, no I don't), but why are they so celebrated?   Smart people - heck, even just average people with sense - are looked on with suspicion or even mocked. 

--  Also, you will never convince me that it is a bad thing to be a feminist. 

OK, I've gotten all of that off my chest.  Time to leave for my appointment with the eye doctor, and then on to the hilarity and wonderfulness of the work day.  [insert sarcasm]

Happy March, Happy Friday, and here's to a wonderful weekend! 

22 February 2018

Three Days of Limited Fun

This past weekend was a holiday weekend in the U.S. - it was Presidents' Day.  We had a three-day weekend at work, which was great.  Usually I would have a bazillion plans in my head, and do maybe two of them, but this time around something specific was happening:  this past Tuesday, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy.  Ugh.

Over the years, I have learned that prepping for this procedure is a slog for me.  Most people fast for a day, use the solution prescribed by the dr, have the procedure, end of story.  That was what I tried to do about the first four or five times, without success.  Apparently I am one of the few people who have an extremely long colon.**  Mind you, I can't win the lottery, but I can be one of the fewer than 2% of the population with an extra long colon.  Sigh.

What does this mean?  It means I get to fast for three days - two of them strictly liquids, and the first day I can have some breakfast.  To say this is unpleasant is making it a family friendly statement.

So on the one hand, I was lucky enough not to have to use an extra day off from work on Monday, since we were already off.  But it meant that it was a long weekend in more ways than one.  So in honor of Three on Thursday, I am sharing Three Days of Limited Fun.

Day 1:  I am allowed to eat breakfast on this day.  Ever since reading on Ellen's blog about some biscuits she had made, I wanted to try the recipe.  So I gave it a try.  My results were good but mixed, since I am not good at determining the thickness of dough - so some were not as "biscuit-y" as they should have been.  But it was my first try, and I'm calling it a success.  If you like biscuits, try this recipe - these are really really yummy!

So my baking success made me very happy on that day.

The first day is never too awful, since I've at least had something for breakfast.  And though I would have liked to have some dinner, missing it on that day did not make me overly miserable.  I think having the Olympics to occupy my time definitely helped.

Day 2:  OK, I woke up hungry for breakfast.  Or anything really.  I had a cup of tea and some jello and decided that reviewing and organizing my stash was way overdue, and that it would be an excellent activity for that day.  I try on a regular basis to do this, because I accumulate yarn in various ways other than by purchasing it myself.  A lot of people give me yarn that someone has given them or that they received when grandma or Aunt Tilly died or downsized to a nursing home.  I'm not a yarn snob, but a lot of it is just not stuff I'm that fond of, or the colors are ones I don't like.  Also, there are bits of yarn left from projects where I know I will never ever want to use the yarn again!  

Whenever I do this activity, there are also yarns that I have that I really like, but realize I'm never likely to use.  Those yarns get a one-time reprieve, but at the next go-round, if I haven't been inspired to use them, they go to the donate/give away pile.  

This time, I had a lot of things that I was not keeping.  Most of it I put into a box to take to Interim House for their Knitting Club.  I've donated yarn, magazines, needles, etc. here for years, and it always makes me happy because they are so incredibly happy to receive it.  The coordinator told me that it NEVER goes unused!  Then there are a few skeins I put aside to give away to certain people.  (If you decide to donate to Interim House, please let me know and I'll forward you the info for the knitting group coordinator.)

In any case, this activity took the better part of the day.  After which I was tired and hungry, and had a headache from not eating.  Let's just say the furniture even started to look tasty.

Day 3:  This is always the worst day.  I always wake up with a KILLER headache, and of course cannot take anything for it.  I'm grumpy, and tired, and miserable even more than just any given day.  I start to think even more than usual that everyone in the world should just DIE.  I have hardly any energy.  

The plan was to spend the day knitting, reading, and watching the Olympics or anything else that appealed at all.  I didn't do quite as much knitting or reading as I had wanted to do, due to my headache and difficulty concentrating.   The Tim had the day off, so we watched the Olympics and some shows we'd recorded.  Then in the evening, I had to start the prep for the next day's procedure.  The less said about that, the better.

So, I obviously survived and lived to tell the tale.  The procedure was successful (thank you GOD), and I don't have to do it again for three years (last time I only got a 2 year reprieve, so that extra year pleases me), and though I don't feel really great, I can at least eat and drink what and when I want to.  Fortunately, I drink a lot of liquids anyway, so it's not hard for me to do the prep liquids-wise.  It's everything else that makes me miserable!

I think I did pretty well this time around keeping myself occupied while fasting.  Even if I'm feeling hungry, when I have something to keep me busy, the distraction keeps me from focusing on wanting to eat.  

But it's not pretty all the same.  

Here's hoping that all of you reading only ever have average-sized colons ... ;-)

**The Tim says this is medical proof that I'm full of s**t.  He's a laff riot.

21 February 2018

Words and Stripes

Hello there - it's Wednesday, so we've just about gotten this week under our belts.  Yesterday and supposedly today, it's supposed to be in the mid- to high 70s, so we are getting a little bit of spring to tide us over.  Of course, on my way to work, I was behind two girls who looked to be in their 20s, and they were both dressed in tank tops, shorts, and flip flops.  One said to the other, "Now that the weather has changed, I spent last night putting away all of my winter clothes.  It felt so good!"  I can only wonder if it will still feel good when it goes back to being winter.  Then again, who am I to judge?  Maybe she's a glass half-full person ...

At the moment, I'm working on two knitting projects (soon to be three).  One is not really that photographically interesting, as it's just plain stockinette for a while on a darkish blue yarn.  Not much to see, and even harder to photograph.  So for Unraveled Wednesday, I'm sharing the other project, my Vanilla Valentine Socks in progress:

As you can see, one is ready to have the heel turned, and the other nearly at the heel flap.  Since the yarn is so happily stripey, I'm just making plain vanilla socks.  The yarn is from Must Stash, and I've had it in my stash for a year or so.  The colorway is Be Mine, which I think is appropriate for February, don't you?  I do have to say that I had forgotten how much fun it is with self-striping yarn to watch the stripes unfold!

I'm also currently involved with two books - the one above, that being a language and word nerd, I am loving!  I can however, easily see that for a lot of people, it would be a total slog.

I've also just started The Amber Spyglass in audio form.  I'd read the two earlier books in this series, but had never gotten to this one.  And since the author just published a prequel which I'd like to read, I decided it was time to finish the series.  I'm not very far into it yet, but am enjoying it already.

And what have you been up to, knitting- and reading-wise?   Anything you particularly love in either area?

18 February 2018

Finally an FO!

This year has involved a lot of knitting on my part, but as for finishing ... well ...

In my defense, some are bigger projects, and some are long-term (Cozy Squares of Memory Blanket) - but finishing a pair of socks?  That shouldn't have taken long at all, and yet it did.  But they are finally finished as of a week ago and here they are.

Project:  Basic Spats
Pattern:  Classic Socks for the Family, by Melinda Goodfellow
Yarn:  Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in the Spats colorway
Needles:  Size 1 US
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I've had this yarn in my stash for a couple of years, and decided that I would use it for the first project of 2018, to make a pair of socks for The Tim (I bought it with him in mind).  I started out using the Blueberry Waffle pattern, but when I got to working the heel gusset (yes, more than halfway through), I realized that the leg would look too different from the foot to suit me (I had planned to just do plain stockinette on the foot).  So I frogged back, and decided to just go with the plain rib.  In the end I'm glad I did because I like the way they turned out.  But it took me a while to then finish them because basically by the end I had knitted 2 1/2 of the same sock, and I was tired of it!  But when I realized that it was nearly the middle of February, and I was still working on my first pair for the year, I pushed to get them finished. 

They are now blocked and happily put away in my Box o' Socks for this year.  You may recall that last year, my Box o' Socks were unofficial, since a) I had not officially joined the KAL, and b) they were not all fingering weight.  Well, this year, both of those are true again, but I'm also including some pairs that I'm planning to knit for The Tim.  As far as I'm concerned, socks are socks.  And since it's my own KAL, I can make whatever rules I want!

Here's an "artistic" shot for you to enjoy.

I'm already well into my second pair of socks for the year, a pair for me, and so far, so good.  I could possibly finish them during February, but I've also told myself since March is a long month, it's OK if I finish them in early March because then I would still have time for a pair for that month.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  :-)

16 February 2018

A Poem for This Friday

Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czelaw Milosz
by Matthew Olzmann

You whom I could not save,
Listen to me.

Can we agree Kevlar
backpacks shouldn't be needed

for children walking to school?
Those same children

also shouldn't require a suit
of armor when standing

on their front lawns, or snipers
to watch their backs

as they eat at McDonalds.
They shouldn't have to stop

to consider the speed
of a bullet or how it might

reshape their bodies.  But
one winter, back in Detroit,

I had one student
who opened a door and died.

It was the front 
door to his house, but

it could have been any door,
and the bullet could have written

any name.  The shooter
was thirteen year old

and was aiming 
at someone else.  But

a bullet doesn't care
about "aim," it doesn't

distinguish between
the innocent and the innocent, 

and how was the bullet
supposed to know this

child would open the door
at the exact wrong moment

because his friend 
was outside and screaming

for help.  Did I say 
I had "one" student who

opened a door and died?
That's wrong.  

There were many.
The classroom of grief

had far more seats'
than the classroom for math

though every student 
in the classroom for math

could count the names
of the dead.

A kid opens the door.  The bullet
couldn't possibly know,

nor could the gun, because
"guns don't kill people," they don't

have minds to decide
such things, they don't choose

or have a conscience,
and when a man doesn't

have a conscience, we call him
a psychopath.  This is how

we know what type of assault rifle
a man can be, 

and how we discover
the hell that thrums inside

each of them.  Today,
there's another

shooting with dead 
kids everywhere.  It was a school,

a movie theater, a parking lot.
The world

is full of doors.  
And you, whom I cannot save,

you may open a door

and enter a meadow, or a eulogy.
And if the latter, you will be

mourned, then buried
in rhetoric.

There will be 
monuments of legislation,

little flowers made
from red tape.

What should we do?  We'll ask
again.  The earth will close

like a door above you.
What should we do?

And that click you hear?
That's just our voices,

the deadbolt of discourse,
sliding into place.

13 February 2018

A Perfect Rainy Day

When I don't have to slog back and forth to work in a downpour, I love rainy days.  They just seem to provide a chance to slow down, and either do nothing at all, or tackle a project that you want to do, but find excuses not to when the weather is nice.

This past Sunday was a serious rainy day - starting overnight, and just pouring until Sunday evening.  It had been in the forecast, so I had already decided I wasn't going to make any other plans to do anything that required being outside.  And that worked out perfectly, because when I can, I try to remember on the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday to make some Hot Cross Buns.

I'm not much of a bread maker - The Tim has that down to an art, and bakes bread at least once a week, so that works for me.  But I have always liked hot cross buns, and in our family, they have always been something we had during Lent, rather than at Easter as many on Facebook have pointed out in such a lovely fashion.  (I mean, really, is there nothing that someone can't find to "correct" you about???)  Of course, that always meant store-bought or if we were lucky, bakery versions of hot cross buns, but that was fine.

Years ago, when we lived in Chicago, I was perusing a Prevention magazine one day at lunchtime when I had forgotten my book and was at the mercy of what freebies were around the lunchroom, and I came across a recipe.  I decided to be adventurous and give it a try, and I was beyond pleased with the results.  So that became a yearly tradition, except for years I completely forgot, or last year, when I was in my cast for a broken ankle, and standing for any length of time was uncomfortable.

Over the years, as with any recipe you make over and over, I've tweaked things a bit.  This year, I decided that rather than adding only the cinnamon and nutmeg in the recipe, I'd just put in an amount that seemed right to me.  Turns out, that was one of my best ideas ever - this batch is seriously tasty!

So Sunday morning, I gathered the ingredients, mixed things together, and put the dough in a warm place to rise.  Then I sat down and did some knitting.

Then it was time to punch down the dough, let it rest, and form it into the individual rolls, which had to rise again.  So I did that, and sat down and did some reading.

I put them in the oven to bake, washed up the mess of dishes I'd created along with breakfast dishes, took them out of the oven to cool, and then took a shower.   By then The Tim was home from work, and we caught up on our days, and had dinner.  After dinner, I did the icing, cleaned up, and he did the dishes (our deal is that one of us cooks, the other washes the dishes).  And then we watched the Olympics and I did some more knitting.

Now *that's* what I call a perfect rainy day, and a nice end to the weekend!

Here's a shot of the buns before baking.  As you can see, the recipe makes a lot.   Since they freeze well, we will have them for breakfasts during all of Lent.

And here they are, baked and iced.  Boy did our house smell good!

We were laughing, remembering a few years back when I made a batch, and then we went out for about an hour.  When we got home, Dug had helped himself to about 10 of them!  He was so pleased, we just couldn't even be upset.  And fortunately it had no bad effects on his system, if you get my drift ...  we only wish we still had that problem, I have to say.  :-(


I'm glad so many of you enjoyed my Knit-taalik story, and I only hope we can get a group going at work, that would be excellent.

Today at work was also really cool.  They are renovating two of the dioramas in the museum, and the glaziers were here to remove the glass (the panels are about 200 pounds each!).  It was so nerve-wracking (for us, for them it was their work), but really cool!  And then, I came back up to my desk and was able to see the restored LOVE statue go past on its way back where it belongs.  As I mentioned on Facebook, it was actually worth coming to work today.  Though unfortunately, now they expect us to do something.  Work really does cut into my day, you know?  

12 February 2018

Paleo Knitting

Or, When Science and Knitting Meet!

As you may have gathered from reading various posts, I do not have a close relationship with many of my co-workers.  Some of them are just like anyone else you might meet - pleasant, but we don't have anything in common other than where we work.  Others are - to be perfectly honest - downright disagreeable.  This is not really a problem, as I would just as soon spend my free time with people other than those at work.

Having said all of that, there are a few knitters, crocheters, sewists, etc.  A few years ago, someone tried to start a lunchtime knitting group.  I went a couple of times, and it was fine, except there was one woman who felt the need to criticize everyone else's work, so I gave up on that.  That woman has since moved on, and right before Christmas, one of the people from that group and I were talking, and we thought we might try to get a group together again, and focus not just on knitting, but any kind of craftiness or making.  Of course, everyone knows the most important thing is to think of a name, right???  (Not really, but work with me here.)

I thought of a name, but it was knitting-centric.  So even if that won't end up being the name of the group (should said group actually come into existence), we decided we needed to use the "character" as our mascot and logo.

Are you familiar with Tiktaalik roseae?  I mean, you really should be.  (Not really, but once again, work with me.)  Tiktaalik is a pretty important discovery, evolutionally speaking.  And one of the team of paleontologists who discovered it is our supervisor, so I said if we wanted to suck up, we should name our group Knit-taalik.  (This discovery also landed said supervisor a visit to "The Colbert Report," which pleases me to no end.)  Well it turns out that we were completely enamored of this name and idea, and so we *had* to bring it to life somehow.

Well, our biggest obstacle is that neither of us has any drawing capabilities.  We knew what we wanted, but neither of us would be able to get even remotely close.  And that is when we realized that we had the perfect person right here at work in the form of Jason Poole.  Jason is one of the nicest, funniest people here, and he is just as happy to do something whimsical as he is something scientific.  So we mentioned Knit-taalik to him, and met him over a lunch hour to discuss it.  He loved it, as his mother and grandmother were both knitters, so he "got" our ideas.  He said he would do some sketching, and get back to us.

Today he brought us the resulting image, and it was even better than anything we were imagining!  Recently, the Academy changed its logo (don't get me started on that), and frankly, everyone agrees it looks a lot like a ball of yarn.  Well, Jason incorporated it into Knit-taalik without making it obvious to anyone who wouldn't know.  Also, the discovery of the actual fossil was made in the Arctic, so he/she needed to be warm.  Again, Jason knew just what to do.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Knit-taalik:

(copyright Jason Poole 2018)

It was a nice start to the work week, let me tell you!

09 February 2018

It's Friday. I'm Not Complaining.

Ahhh, Friday, I do love thee with all of my heart and soul!  Your arrival means the weekend will start as soon as I leave the building where I work, and that is always a good thing.

Admittedly, I did have the day off yesterday, but still, Friday is the best.  :-)

This has been quite a week, I gotta tell you.  And I also have to warn you that you will be faced with one more post about the Philadelphia Eagles, in the form of our day at the celebration parade.  But I don't have my photos sorted out yet, so that will likely be this weekend.  In summary, it was a blast and even The Tim enjoyed it.   ("Look!  It's Colin Wentz!" [more about that below])

Monday I must admit I was running on fumes - but then again, so was nearly everyone else in the city.  Wednesday afternoon I left work an hour early to go to my appt with the endodontist.  Not only was I leaving work early to go to the endodontist, but it was POURING cold, icky rain.  Somehow that seemed appropriate, but it was nonetheless not something I was looking forward to doing.  As it turned out, he determined that the tooth in question did not need a crown replacement, rather it needed to come out altogether and then be replaced by an implant.  So now my teeth are turning against me, how unfair!  Yesterday we had the day off work because of the parade, and today all of sudden it's Friday!  At least the week has ended on a high.  :-)

I've gotten a lot of reading done, and am finally finishing up that sock - just a little bit more of the leg to go, and then the toe - yay!  Yesterday after we got home and were watching the rest of the festivities on TV, I also swatched for my Next Big Project, which I hope to cast on during the Olympics Opening Ceremonies tonight.  Right now, it's at home drying after soaking and being blocked.  I hope my gauge is good, so I can actually start it, but that remains to be seen.  :-)

As for the weekend, tomorrow is going to be busy, and then Sunday I'm on my own, as The Tim will be working.  It's supposed to be a rainy day here on Sunday, so I'll probably stay put with the kitties.

BTW, if you have sent me an e-mail for any reason in the last 10 days or so, and haven't heard back, I'm not ignoring you - we just found out that our Internet provider has been dealing with a glitch in our area where some things have gone through and others have not.  They told us it should be resolved today at some point.  I've been able to receive and respond to blog comments, but haven't gotten a lot of other stuff (except spam which of course always seems to get through).  I'm sure your message will show up once things are working again, and I promise to respond!

So now for the story about The Tim and his sports knowledge.  Of the two of us, I am more interested in sports in general than he is - he pays enough attention to follow things in general, but doesn't always keep things straight.  Enter two football player that have been talked about a lot this year:  Colin Kaepernick, who was the person who first knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice, and Carson Wentz, the Eagles' quarterback who zoomed through the season and then was hurt towards the end.

This is Colin Kaepernick:

This is Carson Wentz:

The Tim keeps getting them mixed up (hence the "Colin Wentz" comment above.)  As you can see/tell, for most of us, they have the following in comnon:  1) they are both male, 2) they both play football, 3) they both have the first initial C.  But The Tim either cannot remember which is which, or he combines them into one incorrect person.

It's been an interesting football season in our house.  :-)

Have a good weekend!

05 February 2018

Joy in Mudville!!!


Every single person I passed this a.m. on my way to work was smiling.  And looked tired.  I got a grand total of 4 hours of sleep. 

I regret nothing. 

E-A-G-L-E-S!  EAGLES!!!!!!

02 February 2018

Happy Groundhog Day!

Be careful out there ...

And watch that first step ... it's a doozy!

Have a great first weekend in February. :-)

01 February 2018

February Has Arrived

I am one of the few people that I know (well or even in passing) who loves winter.  I love the dark.  I love the cold.  I love the feeling that I want to be cozy and comfy.  I love snow, though I hate ice.  The only thing I don't like about January is that the holidays are over.  But then I think about the long weekend holidays that will be showing up, and that gives me something to look forward to.  As long as I have something - anything, no matter how small - to look forward to, I can get through just about anything.

But now January has moved along and February is here.  Which means that Valentine's Day is on the way, which is a day I like.  BTW, in case you were wondering (and I'm certain you were not), I'm not a fan of "Galentine's Day."  Ick.  Anyway, this year, Valentine's Day is also Ash Wednesday, which means anyone who gives up candy for Lent is a fool.  I mean, the next day, all the chocolate in the world is at least half-price!

But I digress.  Besides it being the first day of a new month, it's also Three On Thursday, so here are Three Things I'm Looking Forward To In February.

1.  Sports!  I don't generally get overly excited about the Super Bowl, since teams I like don't often make it.  But this year, the Philadelphia Eagles are there, and I would love for them to win.  However, just the fact that they got that far has put everyone in such a good mood, that it's been both funny and nice.  Plus, unlike some teams of the past, this group of players are a bunch of good guys - they interact with and contribute to the community, both here and all around.  They have a sense of humor about themselves that makes them fun to watch.

And then - the Winter Olympics!  I love watching the various events, and every single time think that it must be amazing to even be there.  Plus, I can get my fill of the luge, which truly fascinates me ...

2.  Pip's birthday.  We celebrated both Pip and Jetsam's birthdays on Valentine's Day, and it will be bittersweet this year without our sweet Jetsam.  But it will be fun to concentrate on Pip, since I can guarantee he'll have a LOT to say about it!  He loves attention, and loves to comment on everything.

3.  Chinese New Year.  We always celebrate Chinese New Year by making a Chinese-inspired feast, which is a lot of fun, and weather/schedule permitting, we like to go to the parade in Chinatown here.  However, since this will be The Year of the Dog, I've told The Tim that it means we should take it literally and try to find a new family member.  We're not in any hurry, but both of us are ready and hopefully we will find a perfect pup.  We will of course, make sure that whatever pup it is gets along with cats.  I always used to tell Dug that there were only two rules in our house:  1) You have to be nice to the kitties, and 2) The kitties come first.  He was always just fine with that.  ;-)

So I hope you have some February things to anticipate as well.  I will admit to getting tired of being around people who are so grumpy all of the time, and so I have to make myself remember the stuff that *I* actually like!  Let's hope it's a good month all the way around.

28 January 2018

Eyes. Teeth. Hands. Knitting.

Well, that post title should set you to wondering, right?  It's not as mysterious as it sounds, though it describes the main parts of my weekend, which started on Friday this time, when I took the day as a sick day because I  had two appointments - one in the middle of the morning, one in the middle of the afternoon - that made it pretty useless time-wise to even go to work.

Friday morning I had a follow-up at the eye doctor's office.  When I was there about a month ago for my annual exam, it was found that my tear glands were blocked.  So I was given eye drops and medication and told to come back in a month to see how things were.  The verdict was that things were improved, but I have to continue the regimen and return again at the beginning of March.  I also picked up my new glasses.  I wear trifocals,* and usually just one of the areas has a changed prescription, but this time it was all three parts (so now my eyes are failing me too??).  As a result, it's gonna take a bit to adjust to the new glasses, but boy can I see things better!  I had no idea I was missing anything ...

OK, so it was time for a break between appts.  I came home, ate some lunch, and cuddled with the kitties for a little while before heading to a dentist appt with a dentist who was new to me.  I have been going to the same dentist for years, and then about two years ago, he sold the practice when he and his wife moved to Canada, where she had gotten a teaching job.  The people he sold the practice to were nice, but it was increasingly one of those places where they were pushing products and procedures, and as far as I'm concerned, it's bad enough to be at the dentist's office, I don't need the hard sell on top of it!  (The Tim always finds it amusing that, with all the other stuff I've had to deal with health-wise, the thing I dread most is going to the dentist.  But I digress.)

I left that appt with newly cleaned teeth, a referral to an endodontist (ugh), and most surprisingly - soft, smooth hands!  WHAT?  Well, at this office, they offer a complimentary paraffin hand wax while you are getting your teeth cleaned.  I'd never had one, so I figured I'd try it.  It was lovely, and a nice counter to the feeling and sound of them scraping my teeth.  And best of all, no pressure to buy a certain product, have my teeth whitened, etc.  I hope that continues, especially since this office is even more convenient than the previous dentists' office was.

All of that activity was on Friday, so yesterday I was pretty lazy all day.  Other than a few small chores, I just read, knit, and watched stuff with The Tim.  We watched "Get Out" which is one of the Best Picture nominees.  It was enjoyable, but also really creepy.  But so good!  While we watched that, I added two squares to my blanket, so it was productive as well.  Then last night we caught up on some recorded TV, and and I added another square to make another row, which was new and challenging for me.  I have no expectations (or desire, frankly) to hurry up and finish this project, so I'm enjoying watching it grow bit by bit.  Here's how it looks after yesterday.

(Look at the watermelon square!!!!!  So far, it's my favorite.)

Not much that's exciting on the agenda for today.  I want to do some cleaning, another load of laundry, pay some bills, and then just read or knit or stare into space or whatever I feel like doing!  At some point I'll fix us some dinner, but otherwise there is nothing I absolutely *must* do, and that's fine with me. 

I hope you have had a good weekend as well.  And here's hoping that the coming week will be one that just goes along as it should for all of us.  Take care!

*I have worn bifocals or trifocals since I was in my 30s.  It amuses me when people are so bummed by having to wear them, or refuse to wear them because they don't want to be seen as "old."  I'll take seeing over vanity any day!

24 January 2018

Sometimes Basic Is Better

Well, since I last posted, the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl!  I have to admit that I (as well as a lot of other people here) keep thinking to myself, "Did that really happen?"  But it did, and it's been fun to see how excited people are about it all.  (And annoying to see how many people are so morally superior and want you to know they are above liking sports.  Because they NEED for us to know.  Sigh.)  Even The Tim is excited, which is saying a lot!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I frogged and started over a pair of socks I'd been knitting, even though I'd gotten to the start of the gusset.  I wanted to make a pair of socks for The Tim, and hoped to do something different than the usual, basic sock.  I was going along, liking the look of the socks, but once I did the heel and started on the gusset, I realized that the way the yarn was, the foot of the sock would look really different than the leg, and I didn't like the result.  So to the frog pond it was, and in the end, the basic sock was started because I think it is what agrees best with this yarn.  I've made some progress - a few more inches and it will be heel flap time.

As for reading, I'm currently reading this book, and so far, it's been really fun and entertaining:

I'm also listening to the audiobook version of this one, part of the Flavia de Luce series:

I really enjoy this series, and it's even better (in my opinion) in listening form, as the person reading them is so good at doing the voices of the various characters.  Hearing Flavia's commentary is even funnier than reading it!

That's all for now.  What you working on and reading?  Do you enjoy audiobooks at all? 

I'm joining Kat and some others for Unraveled Wednesdays, so head over there if you want to see what else is being knit and read ...