20 September 2018

Even Keel

I don't know about you, but even though many things and people get to me on any given day, there seem to be times when everything and everyone just seems to be SoMuch, you get the feeling that even if you could punch people in the face, it would not be satisfying and they would be the same way, but talking about how you punched them in the face, and then you would feel even more angry/frustrated/stabby, and so what was the point of punching them anyway?  As far as I'm concerned, physical violence is never the answer.  But *if* it was socially acceptable, but didn't make you feel better, what have you accomplished?  Zippo. 

I actually do spend a lot of time in my brain, and much of it is spent distracting myself or convincing myself that I should just do my thing and ignore things that put me off balance.  This is much easier said (thought?) than done, and my success is most of the time questionable, and occasionally satisfying.  Being that just even this morning (hours, people, there have only been hours in this day so far!) I have been overcome and had to work on getting to an even keel, and that it is Three on Thursday, I thought I would share three things that I try to do that usually help and sometimes actually make a big difference.  The caveat being of course, that it all varies based on time, place, person, and situation.  But you knew that, right?

1.  Make your brain your safe place, where you can think of what you wish you could say, do, etc.  This allows me to "get it out" of my system without legal or societal consequences.  Example:  Yesterday in a meeting, a colleague said something to me Right There in the meeting, and because I was at work and need to keep my job regardless of how I may feel about it, I did not respond.  Instead, I went into my brain and really let her have it until I was sure she would no longer be able to get out of bed in the morning.  I am the only person who knew this happened, and it actually made me feel better.  And slightly amused, because clearly I need help.  The point I'm making here is that it worked and I was able to continue in my day and keep my job.  Everybody wins.

2.  Every night before I go to sleep, I do my List of Fives, and the Three Breaths:
          Five things that went well/were good about the day
          Five things that didn't go well/that I wished I had not done
          Five things I'll try do do better the next day; then, three deep breaths in, three deep breaths out.
**Note:  on a good day, there are more than five of the first, and not even five of the second.

3.  Go outside yourself and make someone else's day better.  Here's an example from a recent morning's walk to work:  I was crossing the street, and another person crossed in front of me suddenly, and I bumped into them.  At which point they said, "My dear, please be conscious of your surroundings.  We nearly collided and injured one another." (They didn't say that, but I'm cleaning it up for you.)  Now, in the first place, the other person cut in front of me, and in the second place, why can't you just say Excuse me, or Sorry, and move on?  At that point, I decided that when I got across the street, I was going to treat myself to cup of coffee.  So I got my coffee, paid for it, and was walking out the door just as another person was coming in who was carrying a bunch of stuff and had no available hands to open the door.  So I held the door for her, and then also backtracked to open and hold the inner door for her, because it was no big deal and took no real additional time.  She turned to me and said, "Thank you so much, it makes my day that you did such a nice thing."  And I didn't think it was that big of a deal frankly, but I told her she was welcome and to have a good day, and it made me feel good to think it helped her, and I forgot about the guy who cut in front of me.

So there you have it.  This is how I manage most of the time to keep myself on an even keel, which keeps me employed, out of prison, and out of the emergency room.  I'm not saying it always works perfectly, or that it will work for any of you.  But I do encourage you to cultivate little habits or practices that make your life and your attitude more positive overall.  Even if it seems like it's a tiny thing, or something that might sound stupid if you told anyone else about it, as long as it works for you, it's good.

19 September 2018

I Wish This Cold Would Unravel Itself

So I am feeling somewhat better, but this is gonna be one of those colds that just hangs around to be annoying.  Sometimes I think if I could one more time, my innards will come spilling out!  At least I have been able to knit and read some, so things are looking up.

I did in fact finish the pair of socks that were so close to being done (FO post soon), which did a lot for my state of mind.  Next up, I'm gonna of course make more socks, though details have yet to be decided.  I just like making socks, and always feel comforted having a pair going. 

In my last post, I also showed this swatch:

which I am happy to report matched the pattern gauge.  So I have decided to try to knit myself a Weekender, by Andrea Mowry.  Everyone I know who has made one really liked the pattern and the resulting sweater. Supposedly it's a fairly quick knit, and right now that sounds good to me.  I saw on Instagram that Tracie of the Grocery Girls made one (pretty quickly too!) and then saw on the podcast that she loves it.  It's worth a shot, I figure.  However, I need to practice the tubular cast-on before I start in earnest.  That might take a bit, but rumor has it that it is a lovely cast-on once you "get" it, and I like to try new things, so that will be my next immediate knitting event.

I'm about halfway through Calypso, by David Sedaris (it's not long, but I'm listening to it, and that takes longer for me).  I'm truly enjoying it, as I pretty much love anything he writes, and having him read the audiobook makes it even better.  Then for my actual reading - you know, with my eyes instead of my ears - I just started this one:

because I don't think Bob Woodward will steer me wrong, into made up stories and speculation.  I'm about 30 pages in, and well, if I didn't know better, I'd think it was the most preposterous made-up story about a crazed fictional character ever.  Sadly, it's not.  Ugh.

So when I am not coughing up a lung, I'm feeling well enough to function at a nearly regular rate, and that's a win as far as I'm concerned.  What about you - any new projects or new books?

I'm joining Kat and the others today for Unraveled Wednesday - take a look and see what others are busy reading and knitting!

16 September 2018

Lost Weekend

Ugh. I am sick, sick, sick.  Nothing life-threatening, just annoying and exhausting.  The Tim had a bit of a cold last week, but it didn't really do much and was gone pretty quickly.  I had some sniffles early in the week, but kept feeling a little bit more icky each day.  A while back, we had planned to be in Baltimore this weekend, but had to cancel those plans due to The Tim's work schedule.  I had decided originally that I would just go ahead and take the Friday and Monday off work as originally planned, and work on some of my own stuff, enjoying an extra long weekend.

So much for those plans.  Thursday I woke up and thought, well, I'm getting that cold.  But Friday when I woke up, WHAM it had hit me!  Sore throat, headache, cough and congestion, the whole thing, soon followed by laryngitis.  I called my dr to ask for some cough syrup, and the good news is that in a very unusual development, she gave me the Good Stuff right away!  But that's really the only good news from the last few days.  I will probably stay home tomorrow as planned, but I am wondering if I should try to tough it out and stay home on Tuesday instead.  They are predicting heavy, all-day rain on Tuesday (left over from Hurricane Florence), and I'm not looking forward to slogging around in that.  Anyway, we'll see.  I'm lucky because a cold is my worst problem, but it is still frustrating. 


One of the things I had planned on doing was finishing a pair of socks I'm knitting for one of my sisters.  I am really close, and was hoping to have them completed by today.  But I have neither the energy nor the focus to even knit.  So they will have to wait.  I did have it together yesterday long enough to soak and block a swatch I'd made and immediately forgot about when I couldn't find my blocking mats. 

Before going any further, I'm waiting until I can trust my brain cells, but I *think* I have the correct gauge, which would be nice.  It doesn't matter today anyway, since I am still not able to knit without having to tear it out and start over once I'm feeling better.

In other news, Hamlet is getting more used to the cats every day.  Not that he was ever aggressive towards them, but you could tell he was perplexed when they would try to rub against him,  or try to cuddle with him.  He just had no idea how to react.  But the other day, he let the Koodle lick his ears, and yesterday he and Jack had a nose-to-nose moment.  Also the other day, he was even brave enough to sleep on his pad, though the Koodle was already there!

Baby steps, right?

OK, I'm calling it the end now - this has already taken me about 45 minutes to do, and I think I will take my cough syrup and see if I can take a nap.  I hope your weekend has been better than mine!

09 September 2018

Fiber Festival, Crazy, Cuties, and Cozy

Yesterday morning The Tim and I got ourselves into our trusty little car, and headed to the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival.  We had gone a couple of years ago, but missed it since then for various reasons, so we were excited to go back.  It's a mostly quiet, pretty drive, generally with no serious traffic, and not so far away that you start to get itchy being in the car.  I forgot my camera but I know several others have posted photos of the animals and several of the booths, so I am not worried that you will miss knowing what sheep, alpaca, and llamas look like.  Though I had never seen a Jacob sheep with 5 horns until yesterday and it fascinated me, I have to be honest.  The angora bunnies were soooo sweet and didn't mind if you petted them, so I got my petting-the-animals fix. Well, at least a little of it ...

There were so many wonderful vendors, and I really really wished I had more available funds, but also didn't want to walk away regretting having spent too much.  So I made these two very small, but very happy purchases.

These two minis will go into my mitred square blanket, and remind me of a very happy day.  They were purchased from a lovely young lady at the Wandering Wool booth, and at $3 each, were a true bargain.  She was so friendly, and we chatted about the sweater she was wearing (one of Thea Colman's designs), the one she was knitting (her first attempt at a yoked sweater), and it was altogether a favorable experience.  She was as nice to me as if I'd purchased $1000.00 worth of yarn.

Unlike the one woman who was the owner of a sheep I was admiring.  She said, "I hope you're not a vegetarian, because this sheep is good eating."  I said that I was a vegetarian, and she said, "Oh I can't *wait* to see what you have to say to me."  And I responded, "I don't really have anything to say.  I'm an adult and I know how the world works."  And then I walked away, feeling bad for the sheep on several levels.

Sadly, I didn't see any of the friends I knew were there.  I did run into two people from our craft group at work, who were there because I'd sent an e-mail about it. So I was glad they decided to check it out.

But oh what a lovely way to spend a lovely day!

The other day I was poking around on Ravelry, and I came across something that I couldn't decide impressed me or appalled me.  In the end, I was impressed because, well, think how this poor woman's wrists feel!  I showed it to The Tim, and told him not to get any ideas ...

I don't know about you, but last week and the week before, there were a lot of back-to-school pictures in my Facebook feed.  But this one is and will always be my favorite.  

My niece Julie took this on her daughter Penn's first day of Pre-K.  I love how dad Keith and baby Oden look pleased, while Penn has followed her mother's instructions for a thumbs-up, but with her own twist to it.  From all accounts, once they got to the school and she saw her name on the classroom board, she was happy.  But this photo says it all.  I hear you Penn, I really do!

 Baby Oden (aka "Little Brudder") is doing well, and is becoming such a cutie!  Here is a recent photo.

I think he's gonna be a fun kid, don't you?

And now, today.  Right now as I write this, it's cool and raining outside.  I'm sitting here with a cup of tea, with Jack sitting on my lap and the others nearby.  I think this will be a cozy day.  Such a nice feeling - I'm gonna enjoy it in every way I can!

07 September 2018

Time for an FO Post: "Why Didn't We Go to Woodstock?"

Let me start off by saying that there are too many Patricks our family.  So you may be confused from time to time when I discuss so-and-so and Patrick/Pat, but I try to keep them straight for you.  The particular Patrick in this post is my middle sister's husband, Patrick.  OK now you know.

My brother-in-law Patrick will turn 70 years old this coming October.  He is a truly wonderful and good person, while at the same time, keeping all of us amused on a regular basis.  For instance:  A few years ago, he kept telling his friends, "All of my daughters are on MyFace."  (Mixing up MySpace and Facebook, somewhat clueless about both.)  After which statement, everyone in the family would cry, "STOP telling people that!!!"  His daughters especially find his various comments and behaviors at times amusing and/or embarrassing.  

But something that drives my sister absolutely around the bend, is when a song comes on from the 60s, or someone mentions a group/event from the 60s and he always asks the same thing.  For instance, on more than one occasion, we may be talking about The Beatles, and he'll turn to my sister and being 100% serious, will say, "How come we never went to see the Beatles?" and she will respond, "Because they never came to Wheeling, West Virginia!" in the most exasperated tone ever.   It's gotten to the point that all of us, when someone comes on TV who is/was famous will turn to one another and say, "How come we never went to see ______?" and then dissolve into laughter.

So ...

when I saw that Must Stash yarn was releasing a "Summer Concert Series" of colorways, and one of them was called "Woodstock," with each stripe representing someone/something related to that festival, I knew that I would buy some and make Patrick a pair of socks for his 70th because, "Why Didn't We Go to Woodstock?"  ;-)


Pattern:  My go-to vanilla sock pattern, done with a 2 x 2 ribbed cuff and 3 x 1 ribbing down the sock.
Yarn:  The aforementioned Must Stash Self-Striping Sock, in the Woodstock colorway
Needles:  US size 1
Modifications:  Nope
Notes:  These were such fun to knit!  Both because of the stripes and because of Patrick and his many funny things said and done.  And because if there was ever someone knit-worthy, it's him.  This particular pair flew off the needles, not just because I was having such fun knitting them, but also because Must Stash self-striping yarns wind up into two separate balls, meaning you can knit both socks at one time and know they will match.  (I still use dpns, but do one cuff, then the next, one leg, then the next, etc.)  I have never ever been frustrated or disappointed when using Must Stash yarns.

And so, these will make their way to him at some point in October, and I'm sure even though I will explain the whole thing to him, he'll still be puzzled, but then he'll turn to my sister and say, "Why didn't we go to Woodstock?"

And because she is a peace-loving person, he will live to see birthday #71.  :-)

Peace out, man.

(P.S. I don't think I'll tell him I work with someone who did actually go to Woodstock ... )

05 September 2018

I Can't Wait to Not Feel Sweaty

I'm serious.  I can't remember the last time I went for more than one or two days without feeling sweaty, and unless it's because of some huge physical effort or having been working out, I'm not a fan.  I keep telling myself that it will all be well in a few weeks, but a) there is not guarantee of that, and b) it's hard to live in the moment when you are a sweatball.  

In any event, regardless of how I am feeling about things, it's time for Unraveled Wednesdays.  Knitting-wise, I finished a pair of gift socks (FO post soon!), and just started another pair on Labor Day.  They are just plain vanilla socks, and so far I have the cuffs done.  No picture because I forgot to take one, but just imagine a 2 x 2 rib on a cuff, and you're there.

Reading-wise, I just finished Fascism by Madeleine Albright, which was really excellent if frightening.  (Sidebar: Did you know that as Mussolini rose to power, one of his slogans was that he was going to "drain the swamp?"  That seriously made the hair on my neck rise.)  Today I brought a library book with me to start on my lunch hour.

It has been on my to-read shelf, and I hope I will like it as much as I have liked other books of hers that I have read. I'll let you know.

On a more serious note, The Tim and I rewatched "Testament," a movie originally made for American Playhouse that then was released into theaters because it was so amazing.  The Tim had seen a reference to it in an article, and we decided to see if it stood the test of time.  It was originally released in 1983, so would it mean as much 35 years later?  I have to say that, putting aside all things that were out of date (no one had a cell phone - refreshing!), it was still as powerful, sad, and wonderful as the first time we saw it.  Maybe if you had not seen it originally, it would not have the impact it does, but I think the saddest thing about it is that in 35 years, we have apparently not learned anything.  And frankly, I'm not convinced that people today would react in the supportive way from the get-go that the people in the movie did.  Plus, there would be so much whining in this day and age, I'm sure I'd snap right away.  If you have never seen it, you may want to track it down, it is most excellent.

And that's it for today.  I hope anyone in the heat zone has been able to keep cool!

31 August 2018

Now, the Reveal

If you recall, when I sent out the last package for my Christmas in July giveaway, all I showed was this:

Which, frankly, would be a good enough giveaway in my world, as it has Rudolph on it and you all know my obsession love of Rudolph, right?

But since it was the grand finale of the month of giveaways, I wanted it to be extra special, so I promised surprises inside of the bag.  This past week, Cheryl let me know that the package arrived in Canada, so now I can share what was tucked inside.

I wanted it to be full of goodies, but also not weigh too much, especially since it was headed across the northern border (wall-free, as of this writing!).  So I pulled out my bag o' yarn from my Cozy Squares of Memory blanket, and, including yarn from my Christmas in July socks, made up some minis - 24 of them, in fact!

Along with a ball of soft, pretty mohair yarn, and a mini-candy cane, I thought it was a happy surprise - or at least it would be for me!  I arranged it so that it would look more like an Advent wreath

and then I squoojed it into the project bag, so that [theoretically] it would have some semblance of that when opened.

The Debbie Bliss Gigi yarn and the candy cane were always going to be part of the package, but I had several ideas about what the other contents would be.  I don't have a scale, or any way to really be sure that the minis were of significant yardage, but I tried to make them all the same size, or as close as possible to that.  Cheryl reports that all was received safe and sound, and that her daughter claimed the minis for a scrappy project she was making.  Cheryl sounded really happy with the package, and that made me especially happy.

I have heard from a couple of the other winners that their packages arrived safely, and that they were pleased with the contents, so I feel that my Christmas in July was as successful as I'd wanted it to be, which is very exciting, since it was so much fun on my end!  Thanks again to all who participated.  I'm hoping I'll be able to make it an annual event, since I think I enjoyed it more than anyone else.

Have a lovely Labor Day weekend for all of those in the U.S., and have a lovely regular weekend to everyone else!  If you still have things you wanted to accomplish during August, I'd suggest you get moving ... ;-)

30 August 2018

Three Good Things

Yes, I'm here and have not melted away into a puddle of ick.  I have tried all summer to not grouse about it, as summer is not a fave of mine, but this week has had me give up all pretense and just be Done.With.It.

But today is Three on Thursday, so let me tell you about three good things that are coming up.

Good Thing #1 - I took tomorrow off, so the whole day is mine!  The Tim will be at work, so it will be me, the kitties, and Hamlet.  I have some ideas of what I might do, but will see what I feel like doing or not doing and proceed accordingly.

Good Thing #2 - The Tim and I are planning to go to the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival next Saturday (September 8)!  We went a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it.  Plus, a friend is a vendor there, so we will get to see her and her yarns.  She lives in southern Virginia, so we don't see her much at all, though we all keep up with each other on Facebook.

Good  Thing #3 - It's a long weekend in the U.S. for Labor Day!  No specific plans, but who cares - it's a day off that I don't have to use vacation time to enjoy.  It also means that with my Friday, I will be able to have a longer long weekend.  And September will be starting, which is the start of many things I enjoy. 

Feel free to stop over a Carole's blog and see what others had to say today.  :-)

26 August 2018

Sunday Smorgasbord

Here we are, the very last Sunday of August for this year.  The last few days have been so nice, so enjoyable, and the nights so pleasant.  I was foolishly thinking that maybe it would just stay like this, but no, starting today the humidity returns, and starting tomorrow the 90s join it.  I should learn.  But apparently I never do.

When I worked at the Senate, John McCain was known for being nice to his staff.  That of course should be the norm, but it was not by a long shot.  So you knew the nice ones, the kind ones, the good ones, even if they may have beliefs and views that you did not share.  It helped you to remember that at the end of the day, they were all just people.  I also admire anyone who lives through torture and comes out of it with a desire to do good for everyone.  I didn't agree with most of his politics, but I also feel he understood what being a public servant meant, which is a rare commodity these days.  I will also never forgive him for giving Sarah Palin national recognition.  But in the end, I hope Senator McCain had a quiet and peaceful passing into paradise.  

My oldest great-niece is now moved into her dorm at Arizona State University, ready for the adventure that is college.  I know she will do well, but I am surprised every day that I have a great-niece old enough for college, because how can I be that old?

This Tuesday night is Stitch 'n Pitch here, with our Phillies playing the Washington Nationals.  A group of us are going, and I'm sure it will be fun and ridiculous.  I hope Aaron Nola is pitching, since he is one of my most fave Phillies.  Of course, it's also going to be a bazillion degrees hot with a bazillion percent humidity, which makes me wonder why this can't happen in June or something ...

One of the things that we were told about Hamlet is that he is particularly fond of tissues, paper towels, etc.  This morning he proudly came upstairs holding an empty toilet paper roll that we had set at the door to the basement for recycling.  If a dog can be beaming, he was.  It's definitely one of the funniest things he has done since he's come here to live.  

Hamlet continues to get comfortable with the cats, after not being sure what to do about them at first.  They of course cannot understand why he doesn't go out of his way to cuddle with them, etc. like Dug used to do.  The Koodle of course continues to take advantage of this, particularly by enjoying the dog pad while Hamlet is too polite to unseat him.

I have been knitting, though I have not been taking a lot of pictures of my knitting, mostly because I only think to do it when there is no chance of getting any decent shots, or I don't really have the time (i.e., I'm getting ready to leave for work).  But I did recently add another row of squares to my blanket.

The top row is the newest.  I am having fun making this, and though it only is worked on in fits and spurts, I'm not in a big hurry with it.  Plus, I can't work on it too much at any given time or I become obsessed and then my hands hurt.  

It's looking more and more like I won't be finishing my Edie top in time to wear it this year, though it's still a possibility, just not a definite possibility.  The person who was going to help me fix the messed up sleeve is not available anytime soon, so I have to wait for her schedule to open up.  I am certain it will be finished though, so I'm not worried.  I am trying to decide what my next "big" project should be - I have several in mind, all of which I already have yarn to make, and all of which I have the desire to make.  Maybe I'll put the names in a hat and draw a random winner ...

This past Friday, I got my hair cut for what very well may be the last time at the place I've been going.  It makes me sad, because it was really close to home and the person who cut my hair understood what I wanted, and I like her so much.  But they recently raised their prices significantly, and even if The Tim had a full-time job, the price is a bridge too far for me to spend on my hair.  It's funny, I'll pay more than I should, up to a certain point and then I just can't go beyond that.  Anyway, there is a woman who works at my dentist's office who has a great short haircut, and she gave me the name of where she goes.  So I'm gonna give them a try at my next appt.  The cost for a haircut there plus a tip would be pretty close to just the cost of the haircut where I'm currently going.  It's not as close to home and they apparently book up pretty quickly, but it's worth a try.  If you have been reading this blog for more than a little while, you know I'm really picky about my hair.

I guess that's about everything currently rattling around in my brain.  Today's plans include cleaning up some things, heading out to see if I can find a couple of new shirts that I could wear to work (there are a couple of sales to check), and some knitting.  The pair of socks I'm making for my brother-in-law's birthday are moving along quite well, thanks to self-striping yarn being so much fun.  

What are you thinking about or working on these days?  Is anything exciting going on in your life?

22 August 2018

FO Post: A Pumpkin and an Eggplant Walk Into a Bar, and ...

OK, well actually that's all - no punch line, I'm afraid.  But the concept amused me.

I mentioned that over the weekend I had knit a couple of baby hats.  This gave me a feeling of accomplishment, because TWO things!  Small things, yes, but still, there are two.

 Said eggplant

Said pumpkin

Project:  Hats for October Twins Who Ended Up Being Born in July
Pattern(s):  Patrick's Pumpkin, by Lee Ann Bonson; and, Kid's Fruit Cap, by Ann Norling
Yarn:  Encore Colorspun Worsted, in green, purple, and orange colorways (I used stash leftovers, and don't have the ball bands)
Needles:  Size 6 and 8US
Modifications:  For the pumpkin hat, you make the crown of leaves separately and then join it to the brim of the hat - I left the crown as a strip, because I find it easier to attach that way.
Notes:  I made the smallest size of each pattern - they will likely swim in them this year, since they are so tiny, but maybe by next year they can wear them.  Both of these are go-to patterns for me for baby gifts, as they are quick and I almost always have some Encore in the stash. 

I'm going to mail them once I know the babies are out of the hospital.  I feel pretty certain they will be well-received.  And since they are machine washable and dryable, they don't create unnecessary work for new parents who already have their hands full.

19 August 2018

Wouldn't It Be Nice If ...

Sunday evening didn't lead to Monday morning?  Ugh.  Yes, I do try really hard to live in the moment, but Sunday nights are hard.  Oh well.

It's been a quiet but nice weekend.  I finished both baby hats I was knitting (FO post soon), and wound the yarn for my next two pairs of socks, which will also be gifts.  Today I managed to get some cleaning done, and also put away some things and organized, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment.  Still more to be done, but I got a good chunk taken care of this afternoon.

I met my friend Andrea for brunch today, and it was so much fun to catch up with her - it's been months, which is way too long, especially considering we used to get to catch up every Sunday when we worked together, and I miss that.  After brunch she came over to meet Hamlet, who did not disappoint.  He wanted her to cuddle, and shake hands, and play with his duck toy, and she was willing to go along with it.  Of course, the Koodle had to come in the room and pretend to be all cute and sweet like he was made of spun sugar.  Andrea knows better.  She took this sweet picture of Hamlet (and I hope she won't mind I'm sharing it here).

I think he turned a corner, so to speak, this week.  He's been happy and content since he's been here, and happy with us, but this week I think he finally decided he was now in our family.  When we would get home from work or just being out for a while, he would be so excited, and just could barely contain himself.  It's nice to see.  He wasn't moping around or anything, but I was just worried he wasn't as comfortable as he could be.  Now he seems to be especially happy, which makes us extra happy.

Though Pip feels strongly that I should tell you that this morning, I was washing my face in the bathroom, and Hamlet was lying right across the doorway out in the hall.  Pip wanted to come in and snooper-vise what I was doing, and Hamlet just stayed put!  Pip had to LEAP OVER THE DOG to come into the bathroom, and his decision-making process alone meant I was nearly finished by the time he got inside.  Even worse?  THE DOG still just stayed there, if you can believe it!  This entire event caused a great deal of commentary ... ;-)

Here's hoping that all of us have a good week, with time to relax and no one blocking our way. 

15 August 2018

Moving Right Along ...

Well, the good news is that with all of the local knitting experts that I am lucky enough to know, I have had more than one person offer to help fix my problem with the sleeves on my Edie top!  (There really is an embarrassment of riches in this area with "knitterati" so to speak.)  So I have full confidence that the problem will be resolved and I can finish it soon.

Meaning, I'm ready to move on with projects.  I still have not wound the yarn for my brother-in-law's socks, but I did start on one of two projects I'm knitting for some friends' grandchildren, a set of twins who were due in October but arrived on July 22.  So far, they are doing well, so I decided I'd go ahead with my plan and not mail the gifts until the babies were actually home.  That shouldn't jinx things, right?  

Anyway, I'm knitting a pumpkin hat and an eggplant hat for them.  It's a boy (Camden) and a girl (Teagan) and I figure neither of these patterns are particularly gender-specific, so their parents can decide who gets what.  First up, the leaves for the crown of the pumpkin hat:

Apologies for the poor photo - I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, and realized I'd forgotten to take a photo to add to this post!  Having made this hat several times over the years, I know that once it gets going, it doesn't take long to finish.

Reading-wise, I am planning to read this today at my lunch hour:

It's short, as it was a TED talk that she gave, but I have been wanting to read it for a while.  I have read a couple of interviews with her, and she sounds pretty awesome.  Plus, ever since I read that she "suddenly" announced she'd had a baby, when no one knew she was even pregnant, I have liked her approach - she said that she considered pregnancy a private thing, and felt no need to talk about it or display herself on social media to a group of people not in her close circle of friends and family.  Being inundated with photos of "baby bumps" (term that makes me stabby, you don't want to get me started!) on social media, I am on board with her idea.  I'm sure others disagree, but as my mother would say, that's what makes horse racing.  In any event, I'm looking forward to reading this.

I'm joining Kat and others today for Unraveled Wednesday, so go over and see what everyone else is knitting and reading!

13 August 2018

Monday Report

Hello all - sorry for the radio silence here.  I really hadn't intended to be absent last week, but I had no energy left for just about anything after I'd get home from work.  Our Wise Overlords decided that a) we needed a new computer system to do our work, b) we didn't need formal training, we could just "Google things," and c) we still had to keep up with our regular level of production. 

It was a) stressful, b) aggravating, and c) pretty much impossible. 

But this is a new week with new stresses, but in theory since last week is over, it will just be the usual type of thing.  Last week though, I'd come home nearly every night after work and just collapse.  I was lucky to stay up past 8 p.m.! 

Anyhoo, the weekend was a nice change.  Nothing too noteworthy, just relaxing and doing some small things around the house.  Yesterday, Hamlet and I walked down to an Open House sponsored by Hidden River Yarns at Fairmount Fibers' new warehouse.   I had been invited by Lisa (of Hidden River Yarns) and Hamlet had been particularly invited by another Lisa (of Fairmount Fibers).  I was not really planning on buying yarn, but had also not said I definitely could not.  When Rosie's was open, I could buy any Manos yarn I liked, since Lisa the owner was also Lisa of Fairmount Fibers.  But once that was closed, the closest Manos place is Hidden River, which I love, but is out of the way for me, so I don't get there very often.  Anyway - we got there, and had hardly walked in the door, when this young woman came up to me and said, "You'll have to leave - we don't allow dogs in the warehouse."  I said that Lisa had particularly asked me to bring the dog, and she went to find her.  I talked to a couple of other people briefly, and got to say hello to both Lisas, but the young woman reminded me at least two more times that Hamlet shouldn't be there.  Since it was so busy, and both Lisas were occupied, we just headed home.  Which was too bad, because I had wanted to see some people and say hello, as well as look at the yarn.  But the advantage was that I spent zero dollars, so maybe it worked out in the end after all.  :-)

I am currently between projects.  I want to start another pair of socks, but need to wind the yarn. I though I'd get to it over the weekend, but I did not.  As for my Edie top, I am at a standstill.  The yarn that had been holding sleeve stitches somehow came out (I truly do not know how or when), and I cannot figure out how to fix it.  I'm trying to see if I can find someone who will fix it so I can finish it because I tried and made it worse.  I'm willing to pay (within reason of course) but so far I haven't found anyone nearby.  So I hesitate to start another "big" project until that is truly finished.  I do have two baby hats to make, so I may pull out the yarn for those and get them going.

And that is all of the excitement in my life at the moment.  Nothing earth-shattering, just trying to get through without getting sent to jail for murder ... ;-)

Have a good week, everyone!

05 August 2018

Well Hello, Land of the Living!

Yes, I finally feel like I might live and rejoin the world where people can function - phew!  I started getting a headache shortly after waking up on Friday.  I took some of my migraine medicine because though it wasn't really underway, I just felt like it wasn't a regular short-lived headache, and wanted to see if I could get it under control before it really took off.  Alas, I was too late, as by the middle of the morning I was in agony.  I ended up missing most of Friday and all of yesterday.  And I hate that, especially when it happens on a weekend.  I mean, who wants to be sick on their own time??

Anyway, today will be extremely low-key to say the least, but I didn't have any specific plans so it's just as well.  My main activity will be putting a couple of our quilts in the washer and the dryer.  I would hang them on the clothesline to dry, but the last time I did that on a really humid day, the stuff ended up in the dryer after all.  I'm just gonna skip the middle part, so to speak.

Unfortunately, one of the things that suffered from me being out of commission yesterday was that I didn't make it to the post office to mail the Christmas in July packages.  So for those who won a giveaway, please be patient a bit longer - I may not have another chance to get there until next Saturday, but you'll be the first to know when I have mailed them. 

And that's it for today.  I don't want to spend too much time on the computer until I am 100% certain that the headache is in the past.  Enjoy the rest of your day, and I'll check in again soon.

To give you a smile, here is a picture of Hamlet as a tiny puppy, sent to me by the woman who raised him for the Seeing Eye Foundation.  That face!!!

Some things can ALWAYS make you feel better. :-)

02 August 2018

What August Should Be - What August Probably Will Be

Hi there everyone!  I thought I'd join everyone participating in Three on Thursday today, since I was in the mood for it.  I'm doing it with kind of a twist though, and since as far as I know, there are no Three on Thursday Police, it should be OK.

So I'm sharing three things that fall into the category of what *I* think August should be, and three things that August probably will be, at least for me.

August SHOULD be:

Vacation time.  When I was growing up, we usually took our summer vacation - such as it was - in August.  It was a quiet time for my dad at work, and he would always proclaim that everyone else had already taken their vacations by August so we wouldn't run into crowds. 

August Probably WILL be:

Looking forward to a three-day weekend when August ends and Labor Day weekend comes, since this summer our vacation was the three days we spent in Rehoboth Beach in early July.  It was fun, but that's it for vacation for us, both for financial reasons, and because I can't take any time off this month.

August SHOULD be:

Non-stop fresh tomatoes. 

August  Probably WILL be:

Some fresh tomatoes, still quite expensive at the Farmer's Market (but I buy a few anyway, because a summer without fresh tomatoes is not worth having).  The Tim planted some tomato plants this year, and they started out well, but after yielding ~4 tomatoes, they seem to have been fried by the sun. 

August SHOULD be:

Leisurely.  Which is not the same as being on vacation.  August should be a time when you can take long walks or bicycle around.  There should be day trips planned to the beach on weekends.

August  Probably WILL be:

Not leisurely.  When it's blazing hot with humidity that makes it hard to breathe, or it seems to be raining every weekend, it's just not conducive (at least not for me) to long walks, bicycle rides, or a trip to the beach.

Nevertheless, during August there are still some family birthdays and anniversaries to note, as well as the knowledge that summer is winding down.  Which means that fall and cooler weather is on the way.  School starts - sometimes even in mid-August - and though I have been out of school for eleventy-plus years, I still feel the "fresh start" aspect of a new school year, which I always think is good.

Most importantly, whether it's August or November or April, as long as I still wake up, it's a good day.  :-)

01 August 2018

Close - After Some Unravelling

You may remember that in my last post, I said I had to unravel 16 rows of a project I had nearly finished - well, the good news is that, as of last night, I am all "caught up" with what had been unravelled, and ready to finish the body!  If all goes well, it will be finished in the next few days, which would be so exciting, at least to me.

Sadly, I do not have a photo to share.  I realized this a.m. that I hadn't taken any photos to add to this post.  Oh well, you'll just have to live in suspense ...

I just started a new book yesterday, and have so far read the first two chapters.

So far, so good.  And quite entertaining to boot.  I'm guessing this one won't take long to finish.

Check out what Kat and the others are up to today as well!

31 July 2018

FO : Christmas in July Socks

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself because I had set a goal to finish these socks by the end of July.  And I actually finished them last Thursday, so I was days ahead!

Project:  Christmas in July Socks
Pattern:  Classic Socks for the Family, by Melinda Goodfellow (my go-to vanilla sock pattern)
Needles:  Size 1US
Yarn:  Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Peppermint Mocha colorway
Modifications:  I used the Eye of Partridge Heel flap pattern, to add some texture and visual interest.

These socks are for The Tim, who of course assumed I was knitting for myself, and kept mentioning how great they looked, so I know he will like them!  They went pretty fast, partly because I just hit the right mode, and partly because I loved the colorway, and wanted to see how it would knit up.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out, and wish it could be cool enough to have  Peppermint Mocha to celebrate ... :-)

Hamlet is not a knitter, but he has no problem posing with knitted items.  As you may imagine, Pip had a lot to say about this - not because he usually poses with knitted items, but because THE DOG was doing something ...

My other project that I was hoping to finish this month will carry over into the beginning of August.  I received the yarn I needed to finish it in plenty of time, but when I picked things up to start knitting again, I did something that caused me to have to rip back ~16 rounds.  Ugh.  But things are back on track, though there is no way I'll finish this evening.  Which is fine - I've put so much effort into it so far, why not have a finished knit that makes me happy?

29 July 2018

Grand Finale Giveaway Winner

Well, folks, in just two more days, this month will be history.  August is just around the corner.  Theoretically, in Philadelphia, July is supposed to be the hottest month - the meteorologists tell us that every year.  Which means I always have unrealistic expectations for August, expecting it to suddenly be more comfortable weather-wise than it actually is.

But enough about August - we are here for the final giveaway for Christmas in July!!

The final giveaway was kind of a mystery - a project bag, featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, with mysterious contents.

Again today, I asked Random.Org to do its thing.  I promised that it could take a rest after this week, and thanked it for its service.  Its response?  Comment #11, otherwise known as Cheryl!  Here's what she had to say:

I really like most foods but it seems any holiday contains cooked broccoli. Yuck. I like it raw but not cooked. Always the veggie everyone wants. Christmas for me is all about the cookies. I love them all. Can’t get enough. So I don’t bake them. Period. Lol. Love the bag. Love Rudolph. He’s my hero. 
Seajaes on ravelry
Well, it would appear that Cheryl and I are of like minds on Rudolph (because really, he is THE BEST), and cookies (because ... COOKIES), but I must admit to liking broccoli in all of its forms, so we part ways there.  It appears from her Ravelry page that Cheryl lives in Canada, which pleases me greatly, because The Tim and I have done lots of traveling in various areas of our northern neighbor, and We Love Canadia (as we call it)!!  Plus ,it means this little giveaway has gone international, and that the little Rudolph bag and its mysterious contents will travel over the border.  :-)
Cheryl, please send your name and mailing address to me at thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet.  I'll get your package together and send it to you.  I know you don't have a blog, so once I am certain that you have received the package, I'll reveal the contents for everyone so that they can move on with their lives and not let the curiosity become an obsession ... ;-)
I have to say another huge thank you to everyone who participated in this month of giveaways.  I had so much fun putting the packages together, and thinking of the questions.  And I am thrilled that so many of you played along.  In one way, giveaways can be upsetting, as I always end up wishing I had more things to send.  But then I think how for myself, part of the fun is just being part of it, and if I win, fine, but to be honest, I never really expect to be the winner - it's just a fun thing to do.
Thus endeth this year's event.  I will get everything ready to send out, and likely get to the post office here next Saturday.  I'll let those who have a package on the way know for sure when it goes out, so that they can be on the lookout for its arrival.  
Who knows, maybe this can be an annual event?  I know I think that would be worthwhile.
In other news, I finished the Christmas in July socks I was knitting this past Thursday, and I'm really happy with how well they turned out!  I want to get a good photo of them, and will likely be posting about them on Monday or Tuesday.
As for our new family member, I want to thank you for the nice comments and good wishes about Hamlet.  He is settling in quite nicely, though I think he is still a bit confused about it all.  Yesterday we took him to a local wildlife refuge, and hiked around for about an hour and a half.  He seemed to really enjoy it, though he was literally a tired puppy the rest of the day.
The cats have all made friends with him, and he clearly likes them, but is not quite sure what they are, which is kinda funny.  Pip of course, is still keeping us informed, and was quite shocked that this morning THE DOG was sitting in the doorway to the bathroom, meaning that it was necessary to walk right past THE DOG to come into the bathroom and sit in the tub!  Can you imagine??? 
Enjoy your Sunday evening, and hopefully this week will treat all of us well.  Take care.

25 July 2018

Christmas in July : Part 4 - The Grand Finale

Happy July 25 - five months from Christmas Day, if you can believe it!  Sadly, this is the last week we will be celebrating Christmas in July here on the blog.  I've gotta tell you, I have enjoyed doing this so much, and hearing from everyone with the various questions you have all answered.

Alas, all good things must end - but not before the final giveaway, which is just a little bit different than the other packages.  This is what the winner will be receiving.

It's a project bag starring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the version from the Rankin-Bass show that is my very favorite one in the world!  Here is a closeup of the fabric:

I love it so!  It's from Molly Klein Design, a great shop on Etsy with pretty yarn and some fabulous project bags.  You may wonder why, if I love it so, I'm using it for a giveaway.  Well, I ordered one for myself last year when I saw them, but I inadvertently placed two different orders for the same thing.  Rather than go to the trouble of returning it, I decided to keep it for a gift, which of course I promptly forgot.  But as it turns out, that's to your advantage!

What is different  this time, is that what you receive will have some added mystery, as the best gifts from Santa Claus do.  Because I'm showing you the project bag, but - WHAT WILL BE INSIDE???  It could be anything - Candy?  Yarn?  Patterns?  A lovely photo of me?  Books?  Money? (OK, I can tell you for sure that it will not contain money, but you get the drift.)

In order to be eligible to win this somewhat mysterious package, tell me your answer to this question in the comments:

What is your very favorite and least favorite holiday food?  I don't mean just Christmas, but for instance, do you really like July 4th potato salad, but you could definitely skip the mincemeat pie that your Aunt Mildred brings for Thanksgiving?  Let me know!

I'll choose a winner at random on Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT - good luck, everyone!

23 July 2018

A Shakespearean Weekend

In case you are wondering what the title of this post means, let me tell you about Hamlet.

Meet the newest member of our family!  Yep, this sweet pup is now officially part of our merry band of misfits.

Back in the fall, you may or may not remember that I visited my friend Kathy, who helped me seam together my Cranberry Custom Fit Sweater.  Kathy told me on that day, "Oh by the way, I found your next dog."  As it turns out, Kathy's husband Sam (who I haven't met yet) is a volunteer for a local group who assist blind people.  He knew a couple who each had guide dogs who were getting ready to retire them, and Kathy thought either dog would be good for us - already grown, well-trained, and well-behaved.  So I told her to let me know if anything developed.

To back up a bit, a couple of months ago, The Tim had told me he thought he was ready to adopt another dog.  Now as far as that goes, I am not picky at all.  The Tim had many things on his list of the perfect dog, and among them were that a) the dog not be too old, so we would have it with us longer, and b) the dog not be a really big dog, since it became difficult to lift Dug when he got really sick.  I could appreciate this, and so did not point out any dogs I knew that were available that fell into these categories.

About six weeks ago, Kathy told me that the dogs she had mentioned were going to be retired very soon, and gave me the number of the man in the couple, named Jeff, and said to call him.  So I gave him a call, and we talked for quite a while.  Never having had any reason to really think about it, I was surprised to learn that guide dogs were "retired."  But it turns out that it's fairly common.  A perfect guide dog has to be on top of its game, and though Jeff's dog was still perfectly healthy, he said the dog had slowed down some, and he had applied for a new dog.  Apparently, you are only accepted into a new session when they think they have a perfect dog, based on your profile.  Jeff expected to go to the session in October, and the dog, named Hamlet, would probably come for a visit over a summer weekend, to see how we all thought it might work (or not).

The kicker of course:  the dog was 9 years old, and a Golden Retriever.

When I reported this part to The Tim, he said, "Oh that would be great - almost like another Dug!"  Which of course meant that his list of qualifications meant nothing in the end. :-) (Also, I think the English major in him was thrilled.)

Jeff called about three weeks ago, with news that he had been contacted to say that they found him a perfect match dog but instead of October, the session he was in would start today - way ahead of what we all had expected!  So we quickly arranged for Hamlet to visit the weekend after July 4.

Surprisingly, all went well.  By the time the weekend was over, Pip and Jack were *very* close to being friends with Hamlet, and he was clearly interested in them, but not aggressive in any way.  The Koodle, who of course thinks of himself as a real badass, spent the weekend in the basement like the chicken he really is ...

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to NJ where Jeff and his wife live, to pick up Hamlet to join our family for good.  On the one hand, I felt bad because of course we were taking him from the home he knew for most of his life, complete with his people, and Karma, the black lab guide dog who belongs to Jeff's wife (and who is already placed in a new home as well, once she goes to her session in October).  I think Hamlet is still a bit confused, but he is adjusting, and is getting a TON of attention, walks, treats, and love.  The cats - because, well, cats - have of course forgotten they ever met him, and so we are starting again from the beginning.  But in no time I'm sure the household will be back to the usual routine.

Though just to let you know, Pip is already friends with Hamlet because why not if there is someone else to narc on?  He would however, like you to know in case you did not that there is a DOG in the house and apparently the DOG will be staying and did you know the DOG drank some of Pip's water?????!!!!!  Trust me, we're hearing all about it ...

Hopefully Hamlet will decide our house is a good place to be and he will be happy that he joined the family.  We couldn't be more thrilled!

I have to warn you, there will be more stories about him in the days to come, and you can expect to be subjected to many more photos - so prepare for the deluge. :-)

22 July 2018

Third Giveaway Winner!

It's that time again - time to announce the third winner of the Christmas in July giveaway!!

This time around, the answers to the question posed were both illuminating and hilarious.  When I posted it and first hit "publish," I thought to myself, "You know, someone is gonna say that they would take x projects with them, and not worry about it because they could buy more yarn on the way ... and I'm guessing the first person to say so will be Dee." Well, read the comments, and you'll see I hit that nail on the head.  :-)

Anyway, the ol' Random.Org was cranked up again, and after only very brief consideration, chose the winner of this week's prize.

This package will go to Araignee, who posted comment #8, which is one of the ones that made me laugh out loud:

"This is an easy one. I have two sweaters I just started and the only chance in hell they have to ever get finished is if I am on slow boat to China!"

I am 99% sure that I have her address, since she was kind enough to send me some of her soap during the last call, but just to be sure, I'm going to ask her to send her mailing address to me at thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet. 

Thanks again to everyone who participated - there's still one more chance to win when I post the final prize and question this coming Wednesday, July 25, so if not before, check this space again then.


Have you ever been thisclose to finishing a project, only to realize that you are going to run out of yarn?  That happened to me yesterday, but fortunately I can get not just another skein, but even one in the same dyelot!  It will probably arrive this week, so I can still finish the project sooner rather than later.  Which makes me feel like I've won a prize ... :-)

Wishes for a good week for all of us!

20 July 2018

Friday Thoughts

On my way to work this a.m., I had several things rattling around in my brain, and so you, lucky readers, get to also ponder them.

1. WHY is it that if two people are coming towards you on the sidewalk and there is only room for two people to walk, neither of them will move in front of/behind the other so that you can walk by???  I was always taught that this is the polite thing to do.  To quote George Costanza, "We're living in a society here!"

2.  I have to wonder where all of the women work who are wearing cutoff jeans and stiletto heels.  They don't look like hookers, but I guess that's a possibility.

3.  Do people who arrive at work with wet hair just let it dry normally, or do they blow dry and style it once they get there?

4.  When you ride a skateboard to work, are you all sweaty when you arrive?

5.  I hope trash collectors get paid a lot of money.

6.  Who is it that eats chicken wings and then just drops the bones on the street?  I mean, every corner here in the city has a trash can.  And even if that was not an option, why don't you take the bones with you until you can throw them away?

This post has been brought to you by my brain.  Have a good weekend!

18 July 2018

Christmas in July : Part 3

OK, I don't know about you, but I'm surprised it is already the THIRD week in July - seriously, how have I missed it all??  But the good news is, today marks the third giveaway for Christmas in July!

I have to tell you guys, I'm thrilled this has gotten such a wonderful response.  I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn't know if anyone else would be as excited about it as I am, and it appears that at least some of you are.  

This week's package is primarily made up of things I have in duplicate.  First, I Dream of Yarn, a coloring book for knitters and crocheters, with the images drawn by Franklin Habit.  I received my first copy of this in a prize package from Kim, and had fun with it.  However, in the next couple of months, I received FOUR more copies from people who "knew I liked knitting."  I gave the others to friends who were interested, but I still have this copy, and thought maybe some of you who "liked knitting"  might like to have this as well.   Then, another book, Knit the Sky, that is also a duplicate of a title I already have (coincidentally enough, also from Kim!)

On the bottom level, there are a pair of stretchy house slipper socks (commercial made), one with Santa's face and one with Mrs. Santa.  And finally, a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket pattern. 

To be eligible for this giveaway, you need to answer the following question:

Good news:  You have just won a trip around the world, all expenses paid!
Bad news:  You have to be ready to leave in 24 hours, and you are only allowed to bring two crafty projects for the duration of the trip.
Question:  What two projects will you bring along and why?

Let me know your answers in today's comments, and I'll choose a winner at random on this coming Sunday, July 22, at 5 p.m. EDT. 

Good luck!

15 July 2018

Second Giveaway Winner!

If it's Sunday, it must be ... time to find out who won the second giveaway for my Christmas in July!

There were fewer entries this time, which I expected, since the prize was sewing-related as opposed to knitting-related.

But those who did respond had some really great ideas - none of which I didn't have in some way myself - about what they would do if money were no object and they could do whatever project they wanted to do.  Some reponses even added to my own ideas. :-)

So I cranked up the old Random.Org, and demanded that it tell me who would get the package.  I am always surprised by how quickly the response appears - but I guess when it's your only job, you need to do it well, right?

The number it chose was response #2, from Kat!  Her response was:

"Oh my... if time and money were no issue, I would love to go to Alabama Chanin and take a work shop! What fun that would be! Also, high on the list would be to join Maryjane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnston in Scotland for one of their knitting tours!

Good luck everyone!"

I thought it was a funny coincidence that she mentioned the Scotland knitting tours, since my friend Kathy (she of helping me seam together my Custom Cranberry Sweater) was in Shetland at the time, on a knitting retreat/tour/workshop!  The photos she was posting on Instagram made it look even better than it had all sounded before she even left.

In any case, Congratulations Kat!  When you have a chance, please send me your mailing address at thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet, and I'll put the package together to send.

Well, that was even more fun than last week.  Join me again this coming Wednesday to see what the next giveaway will be!


In related news, yesterday I finished the first of my Christmas in July Socks:

These were fun to knit, and I had no issues, so hopefully sock #2 will go as well as this one.  The colorway of this yarn is Peppermint Mocha, and I think it's definitely truth in advertising! 

I hope the upcoming week is a good one for all of you.  I have Part 2 of my dental implant procedure tomorrow morning (ugh), but next weekend should bring something fun.  I'll keep you posted. :-)