25 October 2012

Go dté tú slán!**

To us, that is!  This afternoon, The Tim and I will be heading to JFK airport in New York to board a plane for


We have been planning this trip since late summer, and it's finally here.  We're flying in and out of Dublin (pictured above), and renting a car, and then the adventure begins - YAY!***

This is our second trip, the first one was eight years ago, pre-blog and pre- a lot of other stuff.  That time, we flew in and out of Shannon, and also rented a car and stayed in guest houses, with our last night in a castle.  It was simply amazing and wonderful and fun and we have always wanted to go back.

This time, our trip package has us staying in what appear to be really nice hotels (you know, the kind we could never afford otherwise), so it will be interesting to have that part be different.  We have a bazillion plans and ideas, and hope to do at least five of them ... one thing we're know we'll be doing for sure is next Wednesday (Halloween!), we have booked ourselves for a tour of the Abbey Theatre, and then that evening, we'll be back there, seeing a performance of "The Picture of Dorian Gray," by Oscar Wilde.  How cool is that?  On our last trip, we had hoped to do something like this, but while we were in Dublin, they were in-between plays, so the theatre was dark.

You may be thinking, "Well, just be sure that you remember that they drive on the other side of the road."  We are well aware, especially after our last trip, when I often spent the time in the car dodging hedgerows on my side of the road, when The Tim would be trying to stay out of the way vehicles coming the other way ... (Also, The Tim kept referring to Euros as "dollars" or worse yet, "pounds," so I've already given him reminders to try to just start thinking in terrms of Euros ...)

Anyway, other than Dublin, we will be staying overnight in three other cities in Ireland.  I thought that I might have a contest here on the blog, and the prize could be a souvenir of our trip!  I think it would be fun, so here we go.

Here are the "rules," such as they are.

  • Between today, October 25, and Friday, November 2, you must leave a comment ON THIS POST ONLY, with your guess of where else we will be staying overnight (besides Dublin, since I've already told you that!). 
  • If someone guesses all three correctly, they will win the prize.  If no one gets three, but guesses two, they'll win.  If no two-guess comments work, anyone with one of their guesses will be the winner.
  • In the event that there is a tie, or that no one guesses the other places, I'll choose a winner via random number drawing.
  • The winner will be announced on Sunday, November 4.
OK, now it's up to you.  Have at it, and have fun!  That's it for now.

**The title of this post the Irish Gaelic equivalent of "Bon Voyage," which of course is the French equivalent of "Have a good trip."  This phrase translated, means "May you go safely."

***Lowlifes and no-gooders - just because we won't be in our house, it doesn't mean no one else will be.  So don't bother, it won't end well for you.

21 October 2012

The Story of a Pumpkin Hat

If you have been a reader of my blog for a while, you probably remember my dilemma over what/if to knit something for my newest great-nephew.  His parents are not ones to care about handmade things, so the pressure was only my pressure on myself.  But you see, up to this point, I've made all of my great- nieces and nephews hats when they were born.

Also, they live in San Francisco, so he didn't really need something warm.  At first, I was going to make him an elephant pillow from some fabric I had.  Then I decided that no, I'd knit him a toy.  I thought I would knit Elefante, by Susan B. Anderson.  Checked the pattern, decided that a) it was kinda fiddly, and b) it had some crochet, which I do not know how to do.  Moved on to a Baby Bobbi Bear, and got it all knitted.  Then I went to stuff it, and instead of looking like a cute teddy, it looked like a mangled teddy who was put back together by a blind person.  By this time, it was fall.  Parker was born in May.

So, I had a brilliant idea - I'd knit him a pumpkin hat!  YES!  The pattern is one I've done several times, and I knew it was doable in a short amount of time.  Away I went, knitting it up quite quickly.  I figured I'd be able to mail it on Saturday (yesterday).  Then my sister sent me this picture.

Sigh.  Let's face it, a baby doesn't need two pumpkin hats.  So, new plan.  The nearly completed pumpkin hat that I was making, would be for Doughboy's newest little brother, Paul.  Since I was using Encore, it would be nice and warm for his little baby head in Colorado, where they now live.  And Parker ... well ... I think I will make him the elephant pillow (sewing) that I had originally thought about making.  But, since we are going away at the end of the week, I probably won't even start it until we get back.  Such is life.

On the plus side, it meant that now I had a baby gift done!  This yarn

had become this hat

Paul's Pumpkin Hat

and it did get sent out to its recipient yesterday.   So all's well that ends well, I guess.  But I am wondering if just buying Parker a gift would have made more sense ... 


Pattern:  Patrick's Pumpkin Hat (I made the largest size, so it can be used for a couple of years)
Yarn:  Encore Worsted - pattern used roughly .08 ounces of the green yarn, and about a third of a ball of the orange
Needles:  Sizes, 5, 6, and 8US
Modifications:  None, except for the recipient!
Comments:  This is one of my favorite baby hat patterns, and it really is not that difficult.  I managed to make this one in four evenings of watching TV after dinner, and for me, that's pretty amazing.

As I mentioned, we are going away later this week, so we'll see how much of anything else I can accomplish ... that's it for now!

19 October 2012

Furball Friday

Sometimes you are just worn out, you know?

Have a good weekend - try to take it easy!

16 October 2012

Ten on Tuesday - Whodunit???

Here's another topic that grabbed my attention!  For this week:

Ten Favorite Mystery Books 
(you can choose mystery authors, series, or individual titles)

I enjoy reading mysteries, from very difficult, intense ones, to cozy mysteries that are just plain fun to read.  However, since I am nearing 100 years old, individual titles are becoming hard for me to remember, so I'm going for series that I enjoy, listed here in no particular order.  (Needless to say, there are numerous others that I also enjoy, but these ten immediately came into my brain.)

1.  The Armand Garmache mysteries, by Louise Penny.  These take place in Quebec, and Armand Gamache is an older detective who is older, fond of literature and music, and takes his time thinking through the evidence.  

2.  The Bess Crawford mysteries, by Charles  Todd.  A mother and son team, calling themselves Charles Todd, write stories about a WWI nurse from England and so far, the mysteries all have some kind of relationship with one of her patients.  There is also a series focusing on Inspector Ian Rutledge, but I find those less appealing.  

3.  The Cat Who ... mysteries, by the Lilian Jackson Braun.  I discovered these in high school, and enjoyed spending time with journalist Jim Qwilleran, and his two sensitive Siamese cats, Koko and YumYum, as well as the residents of Moose County, where Qwilleran settles when he receives an unexpected bequest.  I have read them all, and no they are not Literature, but they are entertaining and sometimes that's all you need.

4.  The Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries.  Rita Mae Brown writes these with the help of her tiger tabby cat, Sneaky Pie.  I love the characters of Crozet, Virginia, and always like to see how Mrs. Murphy (a tabby cat), Tee Tucker (a corgi), and Pewter (an overweight gray cat) help Harry Haristeen and the other humans solve mysteries.  Again, very entertaining, and I love the discussions that the animals have amongst themselves.

5.  Sherlock Holmes mysteries, by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Classics, and never out of date as far as I'm concerned.  My favorite is "The Blue Carbuncle," which takes place at Christmastime, because (of course) I love that time of year, and I also like the word "carbuncle."

6.  The Needlework Mysteries, by Monica Ferris.  Entertaining, and they take place in Minnesota, so the locale and the weather is often as much a character as any of the people involved.

7.  Lisa Scottoline's mysteries, particularly those featuring Mary DiFazio.  Lisa Scottoline writes a witty, suspenseful book, and most of them take place in Philadelphia or the region, so you recognize locales that are being talked about.  Mary DiFazio is a South Philly girl, and I especially like it when she visits the old neighborhood.

8.  Clare Fergusson mysteries, by Julia Spencer-Fleming.   Clare Fergusson is a former military officer who is now an Episcopal priest in a small community in upstate New York.  She herself is an interesting enough heroine, but her relationship with the local sheriff, who is a married man, makes the stories more complex than you would generally expect.

9.  The Vish Puri mysteries, by Tarqin Hall.  Vish Puri is a detective in modern-day India, who loves to eat.  He works on solving crimes while also dealing with his mother, his wife, and an adult daughter, all who think they should have priority in his life.  I would suggest not reading these books when you are hungry!

10.  The Chet and Bernie mysteries, by Spencer Quinn.  Chet is a dog, and Bernie is a divorced man who lives with Chet in southern California.  The two of them make up the Little Detective Agency, and often are in need of funding, so take cases they would prefer not to take in a more perfect world.  Chet's observations as a dog just simply crack me up.  These are a lot of fun to read!

12 October 2012

Old Photo Friday

My sisters and I at Bear Mountain, probably 1960.
(standing in the back, Mary Ellen; sitting to her left, Nancy; 
in front with the white boots, ME!)

The first place I consciously remember living is Teaneck, New Jersey.  We used to go to Bear Mountain pretty frequently, and I remember loving it, but not much else about it.  I hope to go back sometime, to see if anything at all looks even remotely familiar.  I do, however, remember the hooded jacket I'm wearing here, and there are several pictures where I'm sporting it.  As I recall, it was dark green and white, large plaid.  I was a fashion plate even then ...

Have a warm and cozy weekend!

08 October 2012

Docket #PA-0065-1008

In the morning hours between 10:30 and 11:45 on Monday, October 8, 2012, a homeowner who had been out running errands found that a food crime had occurred during her absence.  

At the time of her departure, there was approximately 3/4 of a loaf of home-baked pumpkin bread that had been baked the Saturday prior, on a plate with plastic wrap covering it on a table.  Upon return, she saw clear evidence that something untoward had occurred.

Exhibit A: a torn piece of plastic wrap, and a licked-clean plate on the floor below the table where the aforementioned pumpkin bread had last been seen.

The Primary Suspect:  Dug, aka "The Doodle Dog"

The Snitch:  Milo, aka "The Koodle"

When the homeowner walked in, "The Koodle" seemed particularly excited to see her, and happily led her into the next room, where he proceeded to prance over to show her Exhibit A.

At that time, the homeowner searched the room for suspects, knowing from prior experience that The Snitch did not like pumpkin bread.  On the other side of the room, looking quite guilty sat The Primary Suspect, with his head down.  Upon approach, he continued to look shamefaced and started to slowly wag his tail.  When he raised his head, there was an overwhelming scent of pumpkin breath.

Upon questioning, The Primary Suspect broke down somewhat and pleaded no contest, thereby saving the Commonwealth and its taxpayers both time and money.  

The Primary Suspect was given probation, as it was his first offense, and he has not before even faced accusation.  He departed from the court, and retreated to his crate for a nap before reappearing and making every attempt to act as if nothing had happened.

The Snitch retreated to the basement, where he was last seen chasing pill bugs.

This case is hereby concluded.

05 October 2012

Furball Friday

Oh no!  A wet Doodle Dog!  

This summer, we realized that it was actually pretty easy to give Dug a bath on our deck - it's enclosed on all sides, the hose is right there, and for him, it was a chance to be outside and not on the leash.  He thought it was a very entertaining adventure!

Have an entertaining weekend.  :-)

03 October 2012

Wednesday Word (First in an Occasional Series)

I read quite a few knitting blogs, and have also started perusing the occasional quilting blog.  It seems that a lot of the knitters have "WIP Wednesday" posts, where they show progress on one project or another.  I enjoy those posts, because most of the time, they are moving along at a fairly reasonable pace.

I considered doing that on occasion, but realized that so many of my WIPs stagnate for so long, I could be showing the same photo with the caption "No further progress" every week for weeks on end.  Plus, many of my projects exist only on the "someday" level, meaning I have not even bought yarn and/or the actual pattern!

So I have decided that I will post every now and then - sometimes weekly, sometimes not - a "Wednesday Word" post, where I will maybe share WIPs, but where I will write about whatever is taking up residence in my brain that "needs" to leave it and be written.

Here's my first Wednesday Word:  WANT TO.**

As in, there are so many things I want to knit right now.  I'm working on plenty of things, but geez, do I want to start some other things!  I keep thinking to myself that because I have so much yarn, I should really start making more things.  Which would be fine, except that for me it becomes a slippery slope to feeling overwhelmed by too many projects.  (Here's just one example of a Want To knit.)

How to deal with this?  I have decided that I will try to concentrate on things I already hope to make for others as gifts for the rest of the year.  I will not pressure myself into thinking I must make gifts for every single person, but rather will work with the ideas for a few things that I've already been considering for a couple of months.  Hopefully, this will get the whole I-want-to-start-something impulse under control.

It can't hurt, right?

**Yes, I realize there are two words there.  Work with me here, people!

01 October 2012



Remember how I wanted to knit something for my new great-nephew Parker, who was born in May and lives in San Francisco?  Because his parents - wonderful people that they are - do not really appreciate knitted things, I didn't want to go out of my way to create an "heirloom."  So I decided to make a toy.  First, I decided to make Susan B. Anderson's Elefante.  Got all ready to do that, and decided it was too fiddly, and since it involved crochet at the end, and I don't know how to crochet, that was problematic.

But then I remembered - I had this pattern!  Perfect, right?  Well, I grabbed some yarn that would work well for it, and took off.  Then, there was an interruption when my osteoarthritis flared up in my right hand and it was hard for me to knit.  But, then I picked it up again.  Turned out, it was slightly fiddly, but I got it all knit.  Over the weekend, I went to stuff it.  Uh oh.

It looked, in a word, craptastic.  As in, awful.  I had followed the pattern as written, but had somehow managed to get the arms to be too big, and not level with each other, and the legs looked bizarre, as they were long and skinny!  Instead of a cute little teddy bear, it looked like a teddy bear that had been in a terrible accident, and re-created from found random teddy parts.

Aaargghh!!!  I decided to cut my losses, and unraveled it, hoping that someday the yarn can be something else.  And, well, back to the drawing board.

At the moment, I think that I will be knitting two pumpkin hats - one for a new baby (Doughboy's new baby brother), and one for Parker (oh I might as well make three, and send one to James, the "big brother" to the new baby ...).  I've made quite a few pumpkin hats, and they have always turned out.  Let's hope that record stays intact.

If for some reason it doesn't ... it might be time for a store-bought gift and a nice card.

I'll keep you posted ... :-)