30 January 2016

A Slow Start - But the Year Is Young

So January was not a great knitting month for me.  It was more of a "thinking about knitting month," and though that is fine, it doesn't necessarily translate into finished projects, right?

But the year is young - I mean, tomorrow is the last day of January, and there are 11 more months to go.  This is also a leap year, so we even have an extra day.  I know I'll make progress, even if I don't meet my nebulous knitting goals.

Fortunately, other people are *doing* knitting instead of only thinking about it.  And so here we are at the end of the month, and two things are already completed for Harry's Hundred!

I shared the link for the page on one of the Ravelry groups I read, where people knit from their stash.  There was a thread within that about knitting for charity, and fortunately, a couple of people were happy to let me know how they were going to participate.

The very first thing completed was by GringaTurista (Rav link):

She made these mittens to donate to the Warm Up Cleveland Project, which - as a librarian - makes me love them even more!  After seeing these, I checked out her project page, and decided I want to try this pattern at some point as well.

And then my good friend Kim showed a scarf she had knit on her blog:

Talk about cozy-looking!  I can only imagine how smooshy and soft this feels around your neck, and how happy someone will be to have it for their very own.  

Thanks to both of these wonderful ladies for making someone happy and warm as part of this project, as well as getting things officially started!  

Goal = 100 items
Tally so far = 2 items

You know what they say - every journey begins with one step ... or in this case, two.  :-)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the rest of January!

28 January 2016


Hello on Thursday!  I didn't make it posting earlier in the week, but here I am now.  I am feeling much better than I had been, so that's good.  It turned out to be a combination of general ick and exhaustion.  Over the past couple of weeks I had a couple of those nights where for whatever reason I could not sleep.  And I ended up being up for most of the night, and then not "catching up" on my sleep the next day, so I think I was just plain old worn out.  Then the week at work has been full of drama, thanks to a particular co-worker who is pulling some of her diva moves.  So I am glad to be feeling better, as well as happy that the work week is nearly over.

But anyway, I'm here to talk about hats.  I love hats.  Hat hair, not so much, but when it is really cold, I am more about warmth than wonderful looking hair, so I wear hats a lot of time during the winter.  One of my plans for the coming year is to make quite a few hats.  I want to make three versions of the Turn A Square hat for Christmas gifts for nieces' husbands.  I figure if I don't try to do them all at once, I won't get sick of the pattern.  I've made a couple for The Tim over the years, and he likes them.  Plus, one of the husbands has actually complimented him on his, and said, "Wow, I'd love a hat like that," and since it was the husband I thought was least likely to wear a hat at all, that clinched it!  If you haven't tried the pattern you should - it's very simple, and the results are so nice.

Then I have plans for four basic hats as part of the Harry's Hundred Project.  I want to do basic ones right now, so that I actually get them done, you know?  I have the yarn, and plan to get started this weekend.

As you can see, Jetsam is all about quality control ... :-)

And then, a hat for myself.  I keep seeing the Baa-ble Hats that everyone has made, and I just love them!  I've seen some in person, and decided I just need to join the crowd and make one for myself.

I am still deciding whether the little sheepies will be gray with white faces or white with gray faces.  Also, will they be in a corn field (yellow) under a blue sky?  Or will they be in Kentucky bluegrass under a sunny sky?  Just making these involved decisions could take much longer than actually knitting the hats ... 

Of course, there are many other hats that I would love to knit, but right now, these are at the top of the list.  

What about you?  Do you wear or knit hats?  Do you take a ridiculously long time to make basic decisions about color combos?  

24 January 2016

Snow, No Pictures, and Sick

Hello from snowy Philadelphia!  That was pretty amazing, I have to say!  For once, they predicted something and it did not disappoint.

I didn't take any snow pictures, because I knew I wouldn't be able to load them onto the computer.  So instead, you'll just have to look at all the other bazillions that others took and posted.  :-)

We stayed put yesterday, going out only to walk Dug and to do some shoveling towards the end of the afternoon.  It wasn't as bad as it has been sometimes, but it was better to be inside unless you had to be out.  And we only did a bit of shoveling - mostly so Dug could see the stairs when we went out - because, in only moments, it was covered again anyway.

Today we were out more, walking around, doing more shoveling, seeing how things were.  It was a lovely day, and fortunately it was snowy but not icy, which is of course what will start happening this week when it's sunny in the day and then below freezing at night.  We LOVE snow, but none of us like ice.  It was so nice to get real snow, and not some wimpy dusting, which was what we got only a few times last winter.

Now I know that it was dangerous for some, fatal for some, and life-threatening for some.  I'm not making light of that.  But I love winter, and to me, winter is snow.  If more people paid attention to local officials and stayed off the roads, and paid more attention to Mother Nature and dressed/behaved appropriately, it would not be as threatening, but people are people.  We are lucky, we know that the snow is ultimately in charge, so we work with it and do our best otherwise.  Other people are not as fortunate and lose power, have to be out on the roads and face those kinds of dangers, etc.  It can be very scary.

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting this week, since I am definitely coming down with something.  As the day has gone on, I've felt more and more like I am getting sick.  Fortunately, no fever, so that's good news.  But I have to make every effort to get to work if possible, since we had a big chunk of sick time taken away from us, and I didn't have that much left to start.  So I may very well come home from work, eat something, and that will be it!  If you don't hear from me, that may be why.  Ick.

However, I do have some exciting things to show you in a future post, and I can give you a hint: items for Harry's Hundred!!  I'm so excited that it's truly underway, and that people are wanting to participate.  So I'm hoping at a minimum I can do a post about those, and a Ten on Tuesday.

For now, I'm gonna go put my pajamas on, make some tea, and read my book for a while.  Some medicine at bedtime will hopefully start knocking whatever this is out of my system, and I'll be back to normal (well ... you know what I mean) sooner rather than later.

Have a good week, and be careful out there.  But enjoy whatever you can.

Our deck in a 2010 snowstorm - consider this my snow picture! 
Though we have a LOT more now ...  :-)

21 January 2016

Because I Can't Post My Own Pictures ...

I'm sharing other things with you.

I still haven't quite figured out my Photoshop problems, and The Tim has not been home enough to help me.  Hopefully that will be something we can work on this weekend when we are imprisoned snowed in together.

Anyway, I thought I'd share these pictures from other people and other places.

I don't remember where I came across this one, but I can tell you that I was not prepared for #12!

As you may have heard, our area is under a blizzard warning.  My friend Lisa goes crazy when people start posting panicked things on Facebook about it, and it's funny to read her reactions.   So today I posted this on her page.

She responded that she "wants to marry it."  :-)

Speaking of Facebook posts, The Tim posted this picture for Throwback Thursday with the caption "Bridget's First Kitten!

Look at that poor kitty!  Is it a toy? Is it dead?  What is going on there?

This Vogue cover makes me laugh every time I see it.

And finally, I know that Meg Swansen is respected in the knitting world, and is the daughter of Elizabeth Zimmerman.  So I am hoping that this is a different Meg Swansen ...

Just. Say. No.

That's it for now.  If you are in the blizzard's path, be safe!  In any case, I hope you have a great weekend.

18 January 2016

The Good, The Bad, The Stupid

It's been so nice to have a long weekend!  I've gotten some things done around the house, but still had time to just relax - I even took a nap today!  (Which proves I'm exhausted - usually even if I am dead on my feet, as soon as I try to take a nap, I'm wide awake).

But anyway ...

The Good:  It finally feels like winter!
The Bad:  Everyone else is whining about it.
The Stupid:  People who walk around without a hat, scarf, or gloves and seem to be amazed that it's cold outside.

The Good: I had a dr appt today, and didn't have to take time off work, since it was already a day off.
The Bad: The dr thinks I'm having problems with my elbow because the tendon is deteriorating.  I have to get an MRI.
The Stupid: The woman who gave me the number to call to schedule the MRI said, "Whoa, that can't be a good thing."

The Good: Since it's a new year, I can get a new pair of glasses with my new prescription so I'll be able to actually see!
The Bad: The frames I like are at a place that doesn't take my insurance.
The Stupid: I can't find said prescription!  (Fortunately, the office is sending me another copy.)

The Good: We have all of the Christmas decorations put away, and the tree was recycled.
The Bad: The house needs to be cleaned.
The Stupid: I cannot to save my life remember where I put the regular, every day coasters ...

The Good:  I took some pictures of the yarn I have for some new projects I'm ready to start.
The Bad: I can't figure out how to edit photos since I've switched to Windows 10.
The Stupid: I won't see The Tim to be able to get help until Wednesday because of our work schedules.

And that's pretty much how things have been around here.  None of these things are truly tragic or horrible, more frustrating and annoying.  I'll live, you know?

But ... it would be nice if things always went my way ... ;-)

Have a good week!

16 January 2016


Yeah, I'm still here, just quiet due to a week that was maddening, depressing, and exhausting all at the same time.   Seriously there were two days when I came home from work and simply went to bed.  WITHOUT EATING DINNER.  What???

A couple of times I thought maybe I'd post something, but couldn't get myself motivated to do so, and didn't want to whine anymore anyway, so   I do I just waited it out.

Anyway, today is Saturday, and not only Saturday but the Saturday of a long weekend - yay!  I plan to get myself going and in a better frame of mind and the extra day will be more appreciated than usual.

Today we undecorated the Christmas tree, and The Tim took it to be recycled.  It didn't take that long, but it took care of my ambition for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow I'll finish putting the other decorations in boxes, and we'll be finished.  I know lots of people have already had this taken care of for weeks, but Christmastime doesn't officially end here until January 6.  It was time to put things away by now, so it wasn't depressing like it would be if we had to do it sooner.

Other than that, my weekend plans include laundry (because why not, you know?), reading, and knitting.  I have not knit a single stitch since before Christmas Day!  That needs to be remedied, and I'm in the mood.  I did manage to teach a co-worker to knit, so though I was not knitting myself, I was helping her and she did a great job.  She's already itching to work on her next project!  I do wish that sometime I could go to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC, but at the same time, I don't feel bad missing it all that much.  On my list of fiber-related things I'd like to do sometime, going to Rhinebeck ranks higher.

One of the gifts that Santa brought was an "igloo" bed for the kitties.  Generally, they share these things, with occasional fights over who has dibs.  But this one has been claimed for all intents and purposes by Pip, and I swear if he could have the litter box and his food in there, we'd never see him!

As you can see, Jetsam is somewhat dismayed that only one kitty can fit.  :-)

I hope you are enjoying your weekend, and that you have someplace to be cozy.

09 January 2016

Giveaway Winner!

Well, as promised, I have chosen the winner for the $20.00 Barnes & Noble gift card in celebration of my 1000th blog post here.  Using a random number generator, the winner is Caffeine Girl!  Congratulations!

Please send your complete name and address to me at thekittyknitterATverizonDOTcom.  If I don't hear from you by Wednesday, January 13, I'll do another drawing.

And thanks to everyone who commented, and who shared such kind thoughts and words.  I have had so much fun with this giveaway, I've decided to do others throughout the year, so stay tuned!

Well, here we are at the weekend.  What have you been up to?  We went out this morning so that each of us could exchange/return Christmas gifts that didn't fit, or just were not quite right.  Fortunately, we were very successful, and we were home before noon.

Not much else is happening.  I just finished a book I've been reading, The Tim is taking a nap, and the critters are all zonked out as well.  As you can see, we are quite an exciting group.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to be rainy and dreary here, so I'm hoping to get some knitting done, as well as some organizing and decluttering.  "Hoping" is the key word there - I'll keep you posted ... ;-)

Here's hoping that your weekend is a good one!

08 January 2016

October November December 2015 Book Report

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments about my 1000th post!  I'm still a little surprised I got to that point, to tell you the truth.

Here we are a week into 2016, and I don't want to wait any longer to tie up a loose end from 2015 - so here are the books I read in the last three months of the year.


The  Diva Haunts the House, by Krista Davis.  Other than classic tales like "Dracula" or horror stories, which I do not enjoy, it's hard to find a Halloween-themed book.  So when I saw this one, I was happy.  I enjoy "The Diva" series, because they do not in any way take themselves too seriously, and the main character, Sophie Winston, is always making delicious food and drinks.

In this installment, Sophie and some friends are putting the finishing touches on a haunted house for the community for Halloween.  The house at one time was a boarding house where a vampire allegedly lived, and a lot of the high school kids helping her are both excited and scared at this story.

Then, someone is murdered during a Halloween party at Sophie's ex-husband's house, and Sophie finds the body.  The person she saw running away was dressed like a vampire ... but then, so were plenty of others!

As the story progresses, other creepy things start to happen, and Sophie's life may be in danger.  Everything leads up to Halloween night, when things come to a head.

This was a fun read, and was good for putting you in the Halloween mood.  I like this series.

Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny.  Unlike most of the Inspector Gamache books to this point, the focus of this one is only partly in Three Pines, the small Quebec village that we have visited in Penny's previous books.  Instead, Gamache spends the time frame of the book in Quebec City, where he has come to stay with his mentor and dear friend, Emile, now a widower.  As the story unfolds, we learn that Inspector Gamache has come to heal (physically and emotionally), after a disastrous result in a case where one of his officers was kidnapped and killed.  Of course, being Armand Gamache, he finds a local place, the Literary and Historical Society, a library originally established to mark the place of the Anglos in Quebec society, but that is now a relic of itself.  When a body belonging to a resident of the town known for his fanatical devotion to locating the final resting place of Quebecois hero Samuel de Champlain is found buried in the Society's basement, Gamache's initial consultant involvement becomes a way for him to work through his grief and doubt by focusing on solving the murder.

Meanwhile, Gamache has sent one of his officers, Jean Guy Beauvoir, to Three Pines.  He wants to find out if it is really the case that one of the residents imprisoned for murder is in fact guilty, due to regular notes from the person's partner, asking the same question:  Why would Olivier move the body?  Beauvoir sees this first as a fool's errand, something the Chief gave him to do while recovering from the same failed rescue.

During the course of the book, each one of them is able to work through things and reach the point where they can once again move forward in their lives.

I thought this book was extremely well-written, very sad in places, and a departure from the usual scenarios involving these characters and those around them.  Beauvoir was definitely humanized in this story, becoming just a tad more tolerant and willing to give others the benefit of the doubt.

An excellent addition to this series, in my opinion.

The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Ogawa.  This is a small, poignant, lovely book about a woman who is sent through an agency to be the housekeeper for a former mathematics professor.  His once brilliant future was brought to a halt when he suffered severe head injuries in a traffic accident years before.  Though others sent from the agency have found him problematic, the housekeeper of the title finds him to be brilliant, fascinating, and she works to understand him.  For his part, he introduces her to the fascinating and intricate world of numbers and mathematics.  When he learns she has a son, he insists she bring him along, and the two hit it off, particularly over their love of baseball.

The story details the relationship that develops among these three characters over time.  The housekeeper and her son find not just friendship, but an added level of wonder in the world because of their exposure to the professor.  He in turn learns to enjoy small things and can return to sharing his knowledge with them, even in his otherwise limited state.

Even if you are not well-versed in some of the finer points of mathematics (and I'm not!), this is a wonderful book about people learning from each other.

The Husband's Secret, by Liane Moriarty.  There's a lot in this book that could be food for thought.  But it is also just a great read!

Cecilia Fitzpatrick, who seems to have everything, comes across a letter by chance one day in the attic, while looking for something else.  It is addressed to her, from her husband, and the envelope is marked "To be read after my death."

Rachel is trying to get over the murder of her daughter Janie many years ago, and is certain that justice was not served.  The person she feels is responsible for Janie's death works at her school, and every day she is insulted by his presence there.  On top of which her son, his wife, and their little boy have just told her they are moving from Australia to New York for two years.

Tess is trying to figure out how she never noticed that her husband and cousin were falling in love.  They are all business partners as well as family, and the revelation of their relationship has thrown her for a loop.

During the week leading up to Easter, these women will have life-changing experiences that will intersect with one another.  The stories intersect back and forth and then finally at a crucial, heartbreaking point.

This book has so much to say about the various choices we make, and what we do or do not know about those closest to us.  I found it interesting, well-written, and found the epilogue particularly touching, with it's "what could have been" tone.

The War Against Miss Winter, by Kathryn Miller Haines.  This book had an interesting premise.  Miss Winter is Rosie Winter, a struggling actress in post-Pearl Harbor New York City, working as a file clerk for a private investigator since she does not have a full-time acting job.  Her boyfriend - well, she's not 100% sure about that - left to fight in the war, and she is feeling conflicted about their relationship.

When the private investigator who is her boss is murdered, and a mysterious visitor asks her to find a play by a world-famous playwright that is missing, things start to get weird.

I wanted to like this book, and it wasn't awful.  It was good enough to finish, but that's about it.

All Our Worldly Goods, by Irene Nemirovsky.  A really lovely book, following one family in a small French town, beginning in World War I through the end of World War II.  The story makes the characters seem very real, and it is also a portrait of small-town life at a time when the world was changing, and it was impossible to remain in your own little universe.

I really liked this book.  It was beautifully written, and though it covered a span of years, it always seemed to take its time.  This is the book prior to "Suite Francaise," which I also really enjoyed, and I think the two together paint a vivid picture of French life at the times when they are set.

I had an Advanced Reader's Edition of this, which I have obviously had for a while, and picked it up to read right after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.  That was unintentional on my part, but it did reinforce my ideas of the spirit of the French people, and their ability to survive the worst and go on with their lives.

Roast Mortem, by Cleo Coyle.  I haven't read one in this series for a while, so it was nice to get back to the characters.  This installment has Clare Cosi investigating a series of arson attacks on coffeehouses in New York City.  I found it particularly interesting, with the story involving members of the fire department.  I think as far as development of additional characters, this was one of the better in this series.

It was also interesting to learn the differing levels of the chain of command in a fire department.

I liked it, and am definitely trying the recipe for the Old Fashioned Donut muffins!

Betrayed, by Lisa Scottoline.  I liked this book well enough, but not as much as the others involving the characters in the law firm of Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, and Judy Carrier.  It was still a very entertaining read.

The focus in this installment is Judy.  She is helping Mary prepare for her upcoming wedding.  She has just been assigned a boatload of cases involving asbestos, which she really does not want to be involved in at all.  She is being continually frustrated by her live-in boyfriend Frank, who is a great guy but not responsible.

Then Judy learns that her favorite aunt, Aunt Barb, is having treatments and surgery for breast cancer.  This news throws her for a loop.  While visiting Aunt Barb beforehand, she meets Iris, her aunt's cleaning lady and good friend.  Judy's mother is suspicious of Iris, and that only adds tension to their already strained relationship.

When Iris is found shortly afterward, dead in her car, Aunt Barb and Judy find it hard to believe that it was due to a heart attack.  Judy begins looking and asking around.  We are then introduced to the lives of undocumented workers on mushroom farms in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where Iris also worked.  When answers to her questions don't add up, others are killed, and Judy finds a huge sum of money in her aunt's garage, things start to get serious fast.

Besides the main mystery of the story, there are a few side stories, all working in the theme of betrayal.  Between Iris' secrets, the underground lives of the mushroom workers, and Judy's own family secrets coming to light, a lot happens all at once.

Like I said, interesting but not a favorite.

Someone, by Alice McDermott.  This is a lovely book.  A quiet book, told by Marie Commeford, about her life.  A collection of stories, or memories, of things she realizes as an adult that she didn't see clearly as a child growing up in Brooklyn before the Great Depression.  She is the youngest in her family, consisting of her parents, and her older brother Gabe.  They are an Irish-American family in a predominantly Irish-American neighborhood, and to a large extent, Marie's story is everyone in the neighborhood's story.

But like any individual's story, the common is also the uncommon. Marie tells her story in a fashion that almost makes her seem like a person who spent a lifetime moving forward, reacting to things rather than acting upon them.  She is a product of her time, her culture, but also her own unique perspective on everything.

The Grief of Others, by Leah Hager Cohen.  I know that any of you who know me think this is a weird book for me to read during December, as I usually am reading holiday-themed books.  But I started this in the last few days of November, and since I had been on the list of holds at the library for quite a while, I decided it was worth delving into.

The book is the story of a family - John, Ricky, Paul, Biscuit, and John's daughter from a dalliance before they were married, Jess - and the aftermath of the loss of a baby.  Baby Simon was born anecephalic, and lived for only slightly more than two days.  The book deals with each character's ways of coping, more or less separate from one another.

I found Ricky (the mother) to be the least sympathetic character (which I know is not a popular opinion), because to me she was selfish and saw herself even before Simon was conceived as a martyr.  The other characters, though not incredibly lovable, were far more interesting to me.  (And there is another character, Gordie, who plays a part in the story, who has a Newfoundland dog named Ebie.  They are not primary characters, but they help the story along.)

I do think the book is well-written, and I do think that a lot of the characters' reactions and feelings were authentic.  It's a sad story in so many ways, but probably the saddest thing is that it is not uncommon.  It did end on a positive and hopeful note, but I think because I felt ambivalent about the characters, the ending did not have the effect on me it might have otherwise.

Death with All the Trimmings, by Lucy Burdette.  Hayley Snow is a food writer/restaurant critic for the Key Zest, the local magazine for the Key West community.  She is sent to talk to a new to the area chef, who is opening a restaurant.  The chef is half of a former couple in NYC who had a four-star restaurant.  The husband was caught cheating, so the ex-wife has moved south to try to make it on her own.

With problems of sabotage in the kitchen, to the ex-husband being found dead on the restaurant premises after a suspicious fire, as well as Hayley fearing for the future of her job, the holidays are looking iffy.  Plus, Hayley's mother is strangely silent as to why she did not immediately say yes to a marriage proposal from a wonderful man.

This is the first book I've read in this series.  Though it stood well enough on its own, I felt like at least  a bit of background might have made it more interesting.  I found the lifestyle in Key West, plus some of the Christmastime traditions, to be really interesting.

This was an enjoyable read.

Silent Night, by Donna Ball.  This was a new-to-me author and series, and I enjoyed reading this one very much.

Raine Stockton is the main character.  She lives in a small Tennessee town, and as this book opens, is hoping that she will be able to afford the remaining construction costs on the dog-training/boarding facility she and a friend/partner need for their business.  Her ex-husband, Buck is the sheriff, and there is some unfinished emotional business between the two of them.

Anyway, as the book opens, there has been a mysterious murder, and a young girl has mysteriously disappeared.  Raine is busy enough, but then her current boyfriend's nine-year-old daughter is in town, and through a series of events, ends up staying at Raine's house.

I'm not going to say much, because there are a lot of characters, background, and intersecting stories here that would make this pages and pages long.  Suffice it to say that Raine gets involved in solving the murder and the young girl's disappearance, and learns some things about herself while spending time with the young girl.

This was a slightly different kind of story, and the characters were different than a lot of the other holiday-themed books I've read.  But it was a good read, and included plenty of holiday stuff to satisfy even me.  :-)

Antiques Fruitcake, by Barbara Allan.  I read this during on my lunch hour at work.  Apparently it is part of a series where the main character runs an antique shop.  This is just a short (~60 p.) story about a year when the main character, Brandy Borne, is recruited to help her mother, Vivian Borne, with a local theatre production that the mother has written, is producing, and directing.  In spite of the fact that it is Christmastime, Brandy agrees to help, because she doesn't feel like fighting with her mother about any of it.

When the leading lady drops dead during the dress rehearsal, seemingly from eating a piece of a fruitcake made as a prop, Brandy and her mother have to determine what happened, and of course the show must go on.

This was entertaining for a lunchtime read.  Not engaging enough for me to want to run out and read any of the other in the series, but a nice short amusing story.

The Diva Wraps It Up, by Krista Davis.  This was an enjoyable, holiday-filled book.  I think that the series is picking up, as far as becoming better written and a little bit more involved.  But it is still a fun series, and made for excellent Christmastime reading.

At the very beginning of the story, Horace Scroggins - a local real estate man who has done well for himself, and who is a beloved member of the community - has a serious accident at the Christmas party for his own employees.  Sophie Winston and her friends become curious at to what actually happened, since Horace seemed to be in good health.

While they are trying to figure this out, the neighborhood Christmas decorating contest is underway, the cookie swap is happening, and another neighbor turns up dead!  But why?  How?  Who?  Sophie and the gang have a lot on their hands all of a sudden, besides just their holiday preparations.

Entertaining and very Christmasy. :-)

Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen, by Emilly Brightwell.  I tried reading this book last December, and for whatever reason, just couldn't keep going.  I thought it had potential though, so I tried again, and this time found it really interesting!

Mrs. Jeffries is the housekeeper for Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard.  Along with the other household staff, they work to help their employer solve murders - without him realizing it, of course!  In this installment, it is close to Christmas, and Stephen Whitfield, a prominent Londoner, has been poisoned at his own dinner party.  It would appear that the poison (foxglove) was in a bottle of Bordeaux given to him by a couple of guests.  But things are not that simple!

I found this really an interesting mystery, as it seemed obvious at first, then not, and was somewhat surprising to me at the end.  The characters were all interesting in their own ways, and I'm glad I gave this one another try.  This is the only one I've read in this series, so I may check out one or two more to see what I think.

Until now, I didn't realize how much of a little bit of everything I'd read over the past few months ...

Tune in tomorrow, when I'll announce the winner of my 1000th post giveaway!

04 January 2016

A Thousand! A Giveaway! A Meme! A Reminder!

Well, who'da thunk it?  This is my one-thousandth post here!  My very first post was on August 20, 2006 - a lifetime ago, actually!  I'm not sure at that time I even thought too far ahead about how long I would keep doing this, but here I am 10 years later, still nattering on, occasionally about something of substance, but mainly just entertaining myself and hopefully a few of you along the way.

I have met a lot of good friends through this blog, most of them in cyberspace only.  It's actually kind of funny, because there are not many people I consider true friends in real life, most of them are "good acquaintances," so to speak.  But a lot of you feel like real friends, and I think that's why I keep showing up here.  I've been lucky enough to meet a few of you and give you hugs, hang out, laugh, etc. and that has been the icing on the cake.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, and I hope you'll stick around.  :-)

To celebrate, I'm going to have a little giveaway.  If you leave a comment on this post by 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, January 6 (the last day of Christmas, and Dug's birthday!), you will be eligible to win a $20.00 Barnes and Noble gift card.  That way, whether you are more of a reader or a knitter, or if you are both, you can find something you like.

I'll announce the winner on Saturday, January 9.


Kathy has been creating some fun memes lately, and I keep forgetting to participate, but this time (for once) I'm on top of it.

1. Do you have a bad habit?  At first I thought she meant bad knitting habits, but her response did not specify knitting so ... let's see, what to choose?  I think the one that is currently the worse is my tendency to pick my cuticles when I am bored or nervous.  I mean, pick them until they bleed, which is usually when I realize I'm doing it!  I'm going to try this year to keep polish on my nails and see if that makes me more conscious of it.

2. Do you have to hide your knitting projects from pets?  Occasionally, Milo the Koodle will have an unusual interest in my knitting, but it's usually when I am actually working with the yarn.  Fortunately, this group leaves things alone 99% of the time.

3. Do you cheat when you cable?  Since I'm not sure what this means, I'm gonna say "no."  I love to cable, and I do use a cable needle.  I've never been successful trying to cable without a cable needle.

4.  Do you not really listen to your family when you are knitting intensely?  Usually, I try to knit something simple when The Tim is around.  But, there are times when I will be counting or concentrating, and even though he has not said a word to me all day, he suddenly has a question or a story to tell me.  Sometimes, he'll stop and say, "Oh, sorry I see you are in the  middle of something, I'll ask you later."  But more than not, he just keeps going.  What really makes me crazy is when I am trying to count.  I'll be on stitch #10, and then he'll say something about going to pick up Chinese food in 25 minutes, and all of sudden I start counting from 25 forward ...

5.  Do you fall for knit kits?  I have a few, but normally I can't afford them.  Every once in a while, I'll see one that I decide to buy, but most of the time, I might buy the pattern and then see what I can do with yarn I already have.


So that's it for now.  Don't forget to play along if you are in the mood, and don't forget to comment if you want to have a shot at winning the gift card!

And just a reminder that I posted details about Harry's Hundred here - I hope you'll decide to make something with us.

On to the next thousand ... ;-)

02 January 2016

2016 Is Here!

Hello all, and a Happy New Year to you!  I sincerely hope that this year will be a good one for all of us, and at least at this point, things are still looking up for most of us, right?  :-)

We had our usual quiet New Year's Eve - a little quieter than usual, even.  Usually we go out for an early dinner.  But this year The Tim was really wiped out, so we had our steamed shrimp for dinner, and the rest of our goodies closer to midnight.  I love staying home and celebrating the New Year with my own little family, in my pajamas.

Yesterday was also quiet.  The Tim had to work the closing shift, so we stayed put during the day.  In the evening, I wrote some thank-you notes for gifts we received, and started a new book (Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff).  So far, so good.

The good news as far as I'm concerned is that winter finally showed up around here!  It's been cold, bright, and clear - actually starting yesterday.  I was actually getting depressed with the too-warm December weather, and am feeling a lot better now that it feels that way it's supposed to feel.

You may or may not have noticed a new tab at the top of my blog page here.  Some of you may recall that I was thinking of a project for this year to honor the 100th anniversary of my father's birth.  Well, based on a lot of positive feedback from quite a few of you, I've decided to give it a go.  So please take a look at the page for Harry's Hundred.  I hope you'll decide to both participate and share the info with anyone else you know who might be interested.  I'm sure there will be some changes along the way with the details, but the basics are there, and we might as well get started, right?

For any of you who are graphically/technologically/otherwise inclined and would like to help, design, or create something for this, please feel free to speak up!  I'm one of those people who is good at thinking things up, but then generally do not have any extra ability to make it prettier, easier, etc.  :-)

That's it for now.  I have more pictures to force you to look at share, and a book report coming up for the last quarter of 2015, plus other New Year's related things that I want to post, but to paraphrase the farmer at the end of the movie Babe: "That'll do, Bridget."