15 February 2019

Wishing All of You a Gentle Weekend

I am excited because after work today, I have a three-day weekend, and few things in life are better than that, at least at this moment.  As far as I know, the only thing I *have* to do is show up tomorrow for my haircut appt, so I have no plans and a million plans, if you know what I mean.

And I'm on board with that.  Lately, I'm feeling tired of the world.  Mostly because I find it tiring these days when everyone is worked up about everything.  When nothing and no one is good enough, active enough, smart enough, sincere enough, feminist enough, and on and on. 

I am of the firm belief that most people try their best most of the time.  That may be naive, but I truly do believe it.  It's hard enough to get up every day and face the universe.  Even people who seem to lead charmed lives still have something that is a struggle for them - maybe it's internal, or maybe they are just good at keeping it in the undertow.

In addition, everyone chooses their own battles to fight more intensely than others.  This is what seems to me to be what has been lost.  And you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  For example, I have a close friend who works non-stop to prevent hunger.  She has decided that for her, that is the focus of her existence.  I admire her commitment, and I know that she sacrifices time with her family to help others.  And as far as I know, they understand and are OK with it.  Recently, she was asked by someone in her kids' school PTA group to run for office in the PTA, and she explained that she felt that would be overextending herself.  Now she is getting all kinds of blowback from other parents and some of the school faculty, asking why she cares more for strangers than her own children and their friends and their well-being.  Someone told her she "doesn't care enough" about kids at one of the PTA meetings.  She got up and explained her reasoning, and that she *does* care, but felt that her current efforts with the organization where she volunteers would suffer if she cut back on her time, and that would have a direct effect on those they try to help.  Apparently, she was then criticized and mocked for thinking she was "so incredibly important." 

And that is just one example of the kind of thing that is making me tired.  What business of anyone else is it if we decide that we prefer A to B?  Unless A is serial killing, and B is fighting for women's rights?  How is it up to others to decide how much we do, how much we care, if we are "enough"?  And if they don't like our explanation, why does that deserve to be criticized and mocked as well? 

I feel very strongly about certain things.  That doesn't mean I ignore everything else.  I will do whatever I can to stand up for what I think is right or wrong, I will defend others until the cows come home if I feel they are worth it (and I will defend the cows if they decide not to come home, if someone is mistreating them!).  Like everyone else, I have a certain amount of energy, certain things I have to do, and a certain number of hours in a day.  Unlike most people that I know, I have a very low tolerance level for double standards and crap.

So this weekend, other than getting my hair cut, I'm gonna be gentle with myself.  Because I'm tired, and I haven't done anything wrong.  My way is not your way, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong, or that I don't care.  And I hope that you will treat yourself gently as well.  Know that not only can we not be everything to everyone, but that it's fine.  Most people try their best most of the time.  If you are like most people, give yourself a break.  Smile and enjoy what you are lucky enough to have, for those around you that you care about.  Don't worry if you are "enough" of anything.  Just be.  Do.  Think.  Laugh.  Help.  Look.  Be gentle.

We deserve it.


Have a gentle weekend, my friends.

14 February 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!


I love Valentine's Day (or rather, "Valentime's Day" as I called it as a kid), and always have.  It was always a fun day in our house - my parents would give us cards, and usually some kind of treat or little package.  It was always just a day to be happy and try to make someone feel better, rather than a day when you had to be part of a couple, or give elaborate gifts. 

The Tim and I have pretty much the same kind of observance, but with a birthday party added.  Four of our cats over the years had their birthdays on Valentine's Day - not that it was their actual birthday, as far as we knew, but based on what the vet would tell us when we went took them the first time, it seemed like they were born in February - so why not February 14???

Our only Valentine birthday kitty now is Pip, and he was quite pleased with himself this morning.  He'll likely have a good day, since The Tim is home today, so Pip can provide constant narration to the various happenings at home.  Then tonight all of the furballs will get treats, and Pip will get a catnip heart I found the other day (well, it will be *given* to him, I'm sure it will be community property pretty quickly).  The Tim and I will celebrate with birthday cake!  It's win-win for all of us.

Then there's only one more day of work until a long weekend for Presidents' Day.  Works for me. :-)

13 February 2019

A True DUH Moment!

Hello all - finally, a morning with no precipitation on the walk to work!  And - there was even a bit of sun, so I've decided that's a good sign even if I have to be at work today.  I'm just tired of "wintry mix," and wish it would just make up its mind, I have no patience for indecisive weather.

Anyway, today is Unraveled Wednesday, and I have decided to play along, because I am of course reading, and I had a true DUH moment about knitting the other day.

My reading:


I have about 50 pages left, which should be done today at lunchtime.  It's not a long book, but since it's my lunchtime book it takes longer than it would otherwise.  I'm determined to finish it to see how/if things resolve.  Parts of it have been funny, but I think I don't "get" it, so I am not enjoying it as much as others have.  It has great reviews, so it might be one that just isn't quite for me.

Your mileage of course may vary.

Regarding knitting, still none - AT THIS POINT.  You may recall that my appt with the orthopedic surgeon a couple of weeks ago didn't happen due to an insurance mess.  At that appt I was planning to ask her if it was OK to start knitting again.  Well, the insurance issues will supposedly be cleared up this week (I have to call tomorrow to check, cross your fingers for me), and I have rescheduled the appt for February 25.  Which is not that far away, but it's still another week plus some change away.

Well, the other day, it occurred to me that I could just send one of those Non-Emergency Messages to the nurse and ask her to check with the doctor to see if knitting could start happening again.  DUH - why did this not occur to me before????  I am glad I finally thought about it, but I wish it had entered my brain sooner!

So who knows, I may get the green light before my appt and I can pick up my needles again.  That would be VERY exciting!!  :-)

11 February 2019

Am I Ambitious or Delusional?

OK, probably delusional because I will admit to not being a very ambitious person in general.  But then again, hope springs eternal where crafts are concerned, and I do have some ambition in that area.  

Case in point:  This past Saturday, The Tim, Hamlet and I headed out to Manayunk to visit my friend Lisa at her yarn store, Hidden River Yarns.  I enjoy going to Manayunk and to Lisa's store, but we don't make it there very often because even though that part of Philadelphia is not technically too far from us, it's also not very close, and we are lazy.  Anyway, we arrived and found a fairly close parking place (parking there is as tricky as anywhere else in the city), and started our walk down Main Street.  Hamlet thought this was all wonderful, because a) car ride, and b) new smells!  He got *really* excited when we saw the Dog Bakery - and yes, of course we went in.  I thought he was going to explode with excitement.  We didn't stay long because he was being ridiculous, but in honor of it being National Pizza Day, we bought him a treat in the shape of a slice of pizza.

Then, on to the yarn store.  My primary reason for wanting to go was to purchase a copy of this book.


Strange Brew, from Tin Can Knits, is a hard one to find, and when I learned Lisa had gotten a shipment, I asked her to hold one for me and said I'd pick it up this weekend.  It's not hard to find because it's a rare, old book, but rather because it is so popular.  And if I could get it from Lisa, that would be not just shopping locally, but saving on shipping fees.  

We had a good visit with Lisa, and Hamlet got a lot of cuddling and petting, so he was happy.  But he was just so excited about everything, he was kind of out of control, and annoying.  I gave him his treat, and that was successful, but he was still too excited for us to stay for very long.

Then I noticed that there was also a basket of Crazy yarn sitting there ... I had bought two skeins a year or so ago, but had not yet used it.  Lisa showed me a project she was making that used three skeins and OMG I loved it!  The pattern was The Shift, by Andrea Mowry.  I'd seen some iterations of the pattern on podcasts, but none of them looked as amazing as the one made with Crazy yarn!  I decided to take a look and see if another skein spoke to me.  It's been quite a while since I bought yarn, so I wasn't going to get it just to get it, but rather I had to find one that just simply had to come home with me.  And I did.


GAH!  I love it soooooo much!  Look at those colors.  To be 100% honest, I don't clearly remember what the skeins I already have look like, but I'm not worried because I know they are colors I really like.  

So, to review - I went to get a book, and came home with this:


I don't feel bad, as far as buying the yarn, but I have to admit that even before I got the book, I wondered about my state of mind.  I have done very little colorwork, and have made very few sweaters, none of which had colorwork yokes.  However, seeing projects made using this book and reading reviews of it made me think it was something I really wanted to own.  Because I kept thinking about it, I decided to find a way to get a copy for myself.  Because ... someday, right?  Not anytime soon of course, since I am currently waiting for the OK to knit again, and I want to finish the projects I had underway.  However in my ambitious/delusional state, I'm thrilled to think that my future could involve something so different from anything I've tried before.

I'm really excited about the yarn and the project I want to make with it.  I have done well not buying yarn lately, and though of course I would love all the yarn in the world all of the time, I haven't been feeling deprived or upset that I was not buying anything.  But I know I would have gone home and wished I'd just bought this if I left it in the store.

And that was the exciting part of my weekend.  I feel like I may be coming down with a cold or something similar, so I spent most of the rest of Saturday afternoon sleeping, and a good portion of yesterday also sleeping.  Which is very unusual for me - I'm not someone who can take a nap unless I'm not feeling well.  But I would like to think that maybe by sleeping so much I have headed off whatever it is, or at least kept it from being really bad.  (In reality, it probably makes no difference, but I like to give myself a pep talk like it does.  Don't judge me.)

Now of course it's Monday - and one filled with slush and the dreaded "wintry mix" to boot.  Though I guess it's appropriate, since both things are faced with a certain amount of dread ... ;-)

In any event, have a good week - we're already working on Monday, surely it will be all good from here!

08 February 2019

Friday Funny

I don't know about you, but I could use some laughs for today, and going into the weekend.  Here are some things I've come across during the week, and decided to share with you today.

Hilarious.

I'm proud to say this is the case with me.

True story:  My brother-in-law thought Facebook and MySpace were the same thing, and he called it MyFace.  He would say things like, "All of my daughters are on MyFace," and they would say, "DAD! Stop saying that!!!"

If anyone knows where this is, please contact me directly!

Mind = Blown

I love this so much.

My favorite.

Have a great weekend!  I hope you find some things to make you smile and laugh.

07 February 2019

In Which I Think About Life Lessons

Hi everyone - I've had an interesting few days, and they have given me a lot to think about, which for better or worse, I'm sharing with you.

I have been flabbergasted at the stories of the governor and attorney general of Virginia, and their current problems resulting from at one time or another in the 1980s, wearing blackface.  This is something I just cannot wrap my brain around.  I knew as a child that it was beyond wrong.  I had a father who was not in any way fond of pretty much any minorities, but he always let us know that in that particular way, we should NOT be like him - and he would enforce it, even if we did or said something without consciously planning/realizing it.  So to think that in the 1980s, *anyone* would do it, even as a joke, just does not compute in my brain.  And yes, I realize that sadly there were and are plenty who still see it as either funny or not harmful, but wow, pay attention to the world, would you?  And I know that each of them claim it does not reflect their persons now, and I hope that is the case, but at least in the case of the governor, own up to it and resign.  Geez.

Staying on the topic of white privilege/prejudice/stupidity, we move to the discussions recently on Instagram about the exclusiveness of the crafting community.  (If you are not aware of it, it all started with this post.)  The past few weeks have seen so many people speak up for themselves and others like them, and have helped others realize just what is actually going on.  For example, there have been non-white knitters who have told numerous stories of not being welcome in yarn stores, knitting groups, etc., to the point of being followed around by yarn store staff while they are browsing!  (While I am not surprised, I will admit that it never occurred to me when I worked at a yarn store to be suspicious or iffy around any customers except for some regulars who could just suck the life force out of you even if they just stopped in for 10 minutes.)  I believe that the dialogue has been important and illuminating.  There have been backlashes against a few people who do not believe it's been a problem, basically only because they have never seen/experienced it themselves, and I do wish that could be handled in a better way somehow, but I have no solution in mind to be honest.  Anyway, in a new twist on the whole thing, apparently the other day the company Knitters Pride put a post on Instagram with a photo of some products, and the caption was: "Tell us your #CraftyProblems & you could win one of these great prizes!" A personal friend of mine, who I have actually worked with in a yarn store, commented that her problem was (and I am summarizing as I don't have the exact quote) that there was a problem in the crafting community related to BIPOC, and rather than continuing to deal with it, we were just moving on with contests and giveaways.  The company blocked her, and now the comments are blowing up. 

I have to be honest with two things here.  First, it was stupid that they blocked her, as her comment was not rude or vulgar, only her honest thought.  And second, I have to say that on a personal level, I was somewhat annoyed by her comment.  (White privilege, I admit.)  Because the first thing I thought was that we can still work on being inclusive and understanding others' problems and at the same time still have some levity and fun with contests or giveaways.  Admittedly, using the term #CraftyProblems" was tone-deaf.  But I am a firm believer that you can devote every bit of your being to resistance, change, helpfulness, etc., and still be able to enjoy  something or have fun.  In my opinion, life is not pie where you can only deal with a piece at a time, and people are capable of many things and many feelings at once.  I also admit that I am too chicken to post this to her, because I could face her wrath, but don't want to deal with everyone else's.  I guess you can call me #chicken.

If you are still reading (and bless you if you are), now let's move on to something that I have found to be such a positive and happy experience, I wanted to share.  I'm not going to name anyone specifically, because it is not overall my story to tell.  But here is what happened.  Yesterday, I read a blog post by someone whose blog I regularly read.  She was writing about something she watched on TV and how it made her feel.  It was a well-written and thoughtful post about her reactions and her thoughts.  It struck a chord with me, but mainly because I disagreed.  I almost just moved on, but rather than be a #chicken again, I wrote a comment on the post stating my own thoughts about things.  Of course, once I hit "Post" I thought it was a mistake.  Not because I hadn't said my piece, and tried to make it as thoughtful as her post, but because I didn't want it all to become A Thing.  Later that day, I looked at her blog again, and she had written a very kind and thoughtful response, clearly understanding that I was disagreeing BUT NOT SHOUTING and saying she was wrong.  Shortly after I saw that, she sent me a direct message on Instagram, asking if I had seen her response and saying that she hoped I was not offended. 

This is one of the best experiences I have had recently.  We disagreed.  But we exchanged opinions in honest and civil ways, without devolving into name-calling or personal grudges.  As far as both of us are concerned, we are still cyberfriends, and are moving on to the next thing.  I am forever grateful for her kindness and her understanding of what I was doing when commenting on her blog. 

Finally (sigh of relief heard), I just wanted to say that I know that I have a long way to go before I fully understand other people and the world.  But one thing that has been helping me lately is listening to the Pantsuit Politics podcast.  The women who are on that podcast are opposites in so many ways, yet they can have a reasonable discussion on a level we should all aspire to reach in our dealing with those who may disagree with us.  They sometimes have guests who delve further into some fo the topics they discuss.  Occasionally, religion comes into it, but it's not something that I would call overly   "Jesus-y" (my term).  I am especially looking forward to reading a book they just published, called I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening).

For the record, I'm not in any way a representative of theirs, or being paid in any way to promote their podcast or book.  I'm just sharing, because I think the way they handle their discussions is a valuable example to the rest of us.

And that, my friends concludes this post at last.  I shall return to my usual blather and ridiculousness in the next day or so, but these thoughts were spending too much time swirling in my head, and since I had no one else to discuss them with, I wanted to post them here.

Have a good day, and remember to try and be kind.  There are days when I'm happy if that is the only thing I can accomplish.

05 February 2019

First It Was Bad. Then It Was Good. Then It Was Frustrating.

And now it's Tuesday ...

Anyway, our weekend trip to Baltimore started out on a bad note, as Friday morning when we were supposed to have a "covering" of snow showers, it just kept snowing, and by Friday late afternoon when we left to get on the road, there was about an inch of snow and it was really slippery.  The weather reports said that the snow stopped as you went south, so we carried on.  Except the snow didn't stop, it actually snowed more!  A trip that is usually pretty quick and uneventful was instead very slow and stressful.  But we got there safely, which in the end is the only thing that matters.

As soon as we arrived, things got good.  Pat and Amanda had ordered in sushi for all of us, and they have a really good place near there house, so that was a treat.  They were thrilled to meet Hamlet, and he of course was incredibly excited to see them.  One of their neighbors came over for a few hours, and we had a great time talking about everything, and learning about the year he lived in South Korea.  All thoughts of the snowy trip completely disappeared.

Saturday we started with breakfast at one of our most fave bagel places.  Then we all settled for a while before deciding to go to the Baltimore Museum of Art.  We'd never been there at all, and Pat and Amanda hadn't been for a while.  Amanda called her sister Annie, and we met her, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's daughter there and walked around with them.  It was great.  I wish we could have spent more time, but we still would not have seen everything, so I guess we just will have to make a return visit sometime (such a sacrifice!).  All of us headed back to Pat and Amanda's for pizza, and we ended up watching a Netflix documentary about the Fyre Festival.  I had heard of it and what a disaster it turned out to be, but until seeing this documentary, I had no idea of the details.  Never let a narcissistic bro plan anything is the lesson I took away from it.  (Not that I would let that happen anyway, as I stay as far away from any types of bro as I can.)  Hamlet got a ton of love and attention, as well as many many ice cubes (which are his favorite treat).  I'm pretty sure that everyone wanted him to stay in Baltimore.  As if ... :-) 

Of course, we were so busy having fun, this is the only photo I thought to take, but it's a good one - Hamlet *loved* their wood-burning stove and just wanted to sit in front of it the whole time.


We headed back home on Saturday evening, since The Tim had to work on Sunday.  The kitties were very excited to see us, and Pip in particular had a very long story about the neglect and starvation they endured while we were gone.  Sunday I spent the day catching up on laundry, paying bills, and other things people with a glam lifestyle do on their weekends.

So that's the bad and then the good.  Now comes the frustrating.

I had taken the day off on Monday, because I had an appt and x-ray with the orthopedic surgeon, then a session of occupational therapy, and then a bit later in the day, I was going to have a crown finally put onto a tooth that has been needing it, now that I can use my dental insurance again.  I figured it was easier just to take the day off than to worry about time, etc.

I got up bright and early and headed over to my dr appt and x-ray.  But that was not to be.  Why?  Well, apparently all of a sudden I needed a referral from my primary care physician, and I didn't have one.  This was puzzling, since that was never the case before.  The receptionist said that since I had switched my health insurance, the new one required referrals.  Um ... I had not switched insurance, so I was puzzled.  In any case, after about 15 minutes, it was determined that I would need to get things straightened out and call to reschedule the appt.  Sigh.  I headed upstairs to go to my occupational therapy session, and guess what?  Same problem (even though for all of January I had been going without any questions), I needed a referral, etc.  The woman at the front desk was apologetic, but said they couldn't treat me unless I was willing to pay out of pocket.  Which of course I cannot afford, so I headed home to work on getting things figured out.

First I talked to the insurance company.  They informed me that my employer had sent them the information about the option I had chosen back in November during Open Enrollment.  I had a printout from when I completed that, showing that I had enrolled in the same insurance I always had.  So I called Human Resources, and after getting shuffled around for approximately 20 minutes, I finally got a person who would a) speak to me, and b) said she could try to resolve the issue.  She said she was relatively new, but would try her best to help.  According to their records, I had switched insurance.  I told her about the printout I had saying I had not.  We went back and forth for a bit, and it was deteremined that somehow it was my fault even though of course it was not.  Anyway, to sum things up, I had to send an e-mail to the head of HR requesting a Benefits Appeal to see if I can go back to what I have had for the past few years.  The young woman I talked to was actually very helpful, and after I sent the e-mail, she sent me a response saying that it had been received, and "expedited."  So now I have to wait and see if my appeal is granted before I can do anything else at all.  Just one of the 4 billion reasons I wish we had national health insurance though of course why would we because "the American healthcare system is the best in the world."  Grrrrrrr.

OK, that was at least underway and will hopefully be resolved sooner rather than later, so I moved along to getting ready for my dentist visit.  I have dental insurance, but thankfully it is a different thing altogether from my health insurance.  Then about 1/2 hour before I was going to leave for that appt, the office called to cancel.  It seems that due to the snow problems on Friday, FedEx was behind on deliveries, and my crown had not been received and was still "in transit."  The person at the dentist's office said she would call when it finally arrived to reschedule my appt.

In the end, the day off was not just frustrating but wasted.  Which would be annoying under the best of circumstances, but me making arrangements for a day off is such a hassle due to my co-workers that it's not even funny.  And now at some point, I'll have to do it all again, and who knows if I'll be able to get it all done in one day.  Ugh.

That good time over the weekend sure seems far away now ... on the other hand, surely it can only go up from here, right?  RIGHT????

01 February 2019

Furball Friday

This past Sunday, Hamlet's former family stopped by for a bit on their way to visit a local winery - they wanted to bring us this book.


It's a book with photos and information about Hamlet's life before he came to live with us.  There are a few puppy pictures (OMG!), as well as all of his travels, here and abroad.  Yes, abroad - Hamlet has been to Europe 4 times, and has gone on 2 Viking River Cruises!  (And this weekend we're taking him to Baltimore ... yeah ...)

Anyway, it is probably one of the biggest surprises and best gifts we have ever received.  It takes a lot of effort to put one of these together, and this one is so well done, besides being such thoughtful thing to do in the first place.  They said they put one together for Karma and her new family too.  :-)

Of course, their current guide dogs, Oakley and Mike, came along and oh the hilarity!  All three dogs had so much fun chasing each other and "fighting" over toys.  After they left, Hamlet was wiped out for the rest of the day and evening.  But such a happy pup.

And on that note, Hamlet and I send along best wishes for a good weekend, whether or not there are any surprises.  Happy February!