21 April 2017

Getting Out the Suitcase

This week seemed extra long.  Partly because things were especially difficult at work, partly because I am coming down with a cold, and partly because of anticipation.  Today was my last day at work until May 1st - we've pulled out the suitcase, and tomorrow we'll pack some of our things because Sunday morning we are headed to Puerto Rico!   My niece Amanda and her husband Pat (the ones who usually come for Easter) are going to meet us there, and we'll travel around together for a week, returning next Saturday.

You may or may not recall that a few years ago, my niece Julie (Amanda's younger sister) got married in Puerto Rico.  We made a vacation trip out of that, and have really wanted to go back ever since, because we loved it.

A couple of months ago, The Tim suggested that we go on a little trip, and after *much* negotiation at work (don't ask), I was able to get the same week off.  He found a deal on airfare, and we decided to go.  Then we asked Amanda and Pat if they wanted to join us, and they were immediately on board.

I know it will be fun.  We are doing a combination of going back to places we liked, and trying some new places.  It will be too hot, and too humid, but as The Tim says, when you are on vacation, it doesn't seem as bad. ;-)

I even have an appropriate knitting project lined up - I'm going to knit a pair of socks, using this yarn:

I've never used it before, but one of the podcasters I follow knit some socks out of a different colorway, and I loved the way they looked.  It's West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply sock yarn.  This colorway is part of the "Cocktail Series" and is called Mojito - is that perfect or what??  I love the colors, and it feels really soft, so I'm hoping for a really enjoyable knitting experience.

Other than that, I'm taking my Nook loaded up with some books (thereby saving both room and weight in the suitcase), and of course, clothes.  I even found a swimsuit that I liked, didn't look too bad, and was 50% off at Penney's!

I will miss the kitties terribly, but I know our cat sitter takes excellent care of them, and plays with them when she comes over twice a day, so that is comforting.

If I can just get my cold under control or even better, get rid of it quickly, everything will work out perfectly.  And even if I'm still coughing and sniffling, I'll be coughing and sniffling on VACATION, you know?

I'm planning to post at least once or twice and show you some photos from our travels, but that's it for now folks.

Have a wonderful weekend, even if you are not getting ready for a vacation.  Time off is time off though, right?

19 April 2017

Easter Weekend Recap

Our Easter weekend was different than it usually is.  For years, my niece Amanda and her husband Pat have come for the weekend and we celebrate together, the highlight being the Annual Inappropriate Easter Egg competition.  This year, Amanda had to work on Saturday, so we were on our own.  I had taken Friday and Monday off, and after thinking about it, decided what the heck, I was still not gonna go into work on those days!

Things started on a positive note, when I got a haircut after work on Thursday that I really liked.  (A story for another day, but I'm still really pleased with it.)  Friday, I didn't have any specific plans, but figured it would be a good idea to get some Easter candy before the last-minute.  Since I was only buying some for us, I didn't worry about not being able to find things we liked.  It was a sunny day, so I did some walking around too, which was pleasant.  I also had to have an x-ray and some bloodwork taken care of, so I did that before anything else, and it was nice to get it out of the way.

Saturday morning, we had an appt to take Jetsam to the vet.  Poor sweetie, he hasn't been in years, between Pip being sick with urinary issues a couple of years ago, and Dug being sick last year.  The good news is, he's healthy overall.  Like Pip though, he has tooth reabsorption, so not only does he have to go back to get his teeth cleaned, he'll have to get some removed.  Poor Jet, his mouth has probably been hurting him for a while.  We agreed that his greatest strength as well as his biggest fault is that he is not a squeaky wheel.  He's such a chill kitty, and so good, a lot of the time he doesn't get the attention he deserves.  Of course he won't be happy about the attention he'll be getting, but he'll be happier in the long run!

The rest of the day was spent on stuff like laundry, running some errands, and watching some TV and movies we'd taped.  I kinda sorta finished the socks from Tuesday evening's post (yet another story for another day).  Relaxing and enjoyable.   We also had our Easter dinner that night, since The Tim had to work on Sunday.  (I feel about scalloped potatoes on Easter the way I do about stuffing at Thanksgiving - I start thinking about it weeks before, and can't wait!)

Easter Sunday, although The Tim had to work, he didn't have to be at work until 10:30 a.m., so we walked around the corner for breakfast.  Then we came home and let the kitties see if they Easter Bunny had stopped by.  Apparently, we were all worthy in his eyes.

The Bunny left treats for me and The Tim!  

And each kitty got a basket, as well as some treats.

This was Jack's first Easter, and he found it very exciting and curious!  They all had to inspect things.

Jack, Pip, Jetsam

Milo the Koodle, concerned because Jack had knocked over a basket (while Pip the Narc commented in the background!)

And then Jack discovered that jelly beans had the potential for hilarity.

(With Pip the Narc again commenting the whole time ...)

The Tim headed to work, and Jetsam, Jack, and I headed to the garden to do some cleaning up.  They mainly lounged around while I put some swept up leaves into trash bags.  (Pip and Milo kept acting like they wanted to join us, but would chicken out when I opened the door!)  Once that was done, I had reached a level of tired where I needed to stop for while, so I came in and took a break.  Then I took a walk, which was lovely and fun, seeing everyone in their Easter finery.  I did miss having Dug, dressed in his bunny ears, to walk with and enjoy the day.  Later The Tim got home, and we toasted the holiday with some wine.

Then on Monday, it was down to actually getting some things accomplished.  I cleaned out some junk from the basement, and cleaned up in our bedroom, where I had been more or less piling stuff since I broke my ankle in January.  It felt good to get those two things out of the way.  In the afternoon, I had a physical therapy appt, and then I purposely did nothing else, since Tuesday meant back to work.

So it was a really nice long weekend, with a combination of "working" and relaxing.  It felt like a nice break and except for Sunday, which was way too hot, the weather was pretty enjoyable.

It would have still been more fun to have our company, but we ended up with a perfectly happy Easter weekend anyway.  You have to know how to make things work if you want to enjoy life, you know?

18 April 2017

Evil Amongst Us

Well, my fourth pair of socks for the year are 98% finished.

They each need their Afterthought Heel and then some ends woven in, and they desperately need to be blocked.  But due to their evil nature, that will not be anytime soon.  I want to put them aside, start a new, happier pair of socks, and then go back and do the heels (or rather, *try* to do the heels) when I am not so sick of them.  They have tried my patience more than just about any pair of socks I've ever knit, and that's saying a lot!

Stubborness made me finish them - nothing else.  

That's it for now. I'll fill you in Easter and other more pleasant things in the next couple of days.

16 April 2017

Easter 2017

Wishes from everyone at our house to everyone at your house for 
a very Happy Easter!

10 April 2017

Palm Sunday Weekend

Hi there everyone, I hope you are all doing OK, and that you had a good weekend.  I wasn't happy to see Monday arrive, but then again, I'm never that happy to see it.  After a good weekend though, it seems even more puzzling that Monday arrives so quickly ...

I had a good weekend - some fun, some cleaning up, some knitting, some reading.

Friday evening, we had tickets for one of the author talks sponsored by the Free Library.  It was Alec Baldwin, who you may know from, among other things, the TV show "30 Rock," which is one of our fave shows ever ("Good God, Lemon!").  He has written an autobiography, and had been asked to be part of the series.  Even though I think he is entertaining, he's also been a jerk and a douche in the past, so I was wondering how this was gonna go.

Well, it was a great evening.  He was thoughtful, funny, and very honest.  He talked about his childhood, and how he got started in acting instead of going to law school.  He addressed his crap behavior, and talked about how he is working hard to be a better person.  It sounds like his current wife has really been able to keep him focused on the important things.  I do hope so, since I think he can be hilarious.  He went into his Trump impersonation occasionally, which was really fun.  He also talked about the importance of taking breaks from social media (which he credits as helping him behave much more reasonably).  He said that in his household, there's no phones allowed at the dinner table, and for the adults, no phones or "screens" after 10 p.m.

It was all interesting and fun, as well as unusual, since we seldom go out on a Friday night!  Granted, we were home by 9:45, but it was still an evening out for us.

Saturday was a sunny but chilly day, and also pretty windy.  I mostly stayed put, and did some things around here, but I did leave the house to walk up to a little shop near us.  It's one of those tiny shops that has a little bit of everything - cute, funky, pretty, goofy - you get the idea.  They have lovely costume and nicer jewelry, and the one time I was talking to the woman who owns it about how I had two necklaces that needed repairs, but were not going to be something a jeweler would want to bother with.  She mentioned that she made jewelry, so to bring them up and she'd take a look.   So I headed up there, and she's gonna fix them for me! She said they are pretty quick and simple fixes, so I was excited about that.  They don't really have a big monetary value, but they do have sentimental value.

On my way home, I cut over on Delancey Street, which if you know Philadelphia, is a pretty fancy street of extremely large, elegant townhomes, generally costing millions (!) if they hit the real estate market.  Well, it was apparently my day, because I walked past an estate sale, and there was a really nice rocking chair sitting on the sidewalk as an advertisement.  It was skinny, and actually a price I would be willing to pay.  I tried it out, and it was also comfy.  It would be the perfect knitting chair for the room where I keep a lot of my yarn and other crafty stuff!  So I decided that, if I got home and The Tim was available to bring the car and help me bring it home, then it was meant to be for me (I had already asked if I could pay with a credit card instead of cash, which was fine with them).  I want to clean it up, both the wood and the upholstery, just because I want to feel it's as "fresh" as it can be.

My photography skills do not really do it justice - the fabric is a deep green.   The wood is in surprisingly good shape, and there are no issues with the upholstery.  I was so excited to have come across it!

Yesterday was another mostly at home day.  I did go out into the garden and started trying to get it to the point where I can start cleaning it up to enjoy.  I managed to sweep up two HUGE piles of fallen leaves, sticks, and things I prefer not to know about.  I got some of the stuff into trash bags, but ran out of steam.  But it's there, and it's a start, so that's encouraging.

Then, some knitting.

The stack o' knitting in the photo above contains a front, a back, and two sleeves for my Custom Fit sweater - whaaaatttt????  Yep, the pieces have been knit.  So now it's time to weave in the ends. block the pieces, and (gulp) sew them together.  So.  Yeah.  Huh.

It will happen, at some point, and hopefully sooner rather than later.  But I need a little bit of time to plan it out, and to be astonished that I actually am so close to really and truly being finished with this project ...

A big weekend.  A good weekend.  Hopefully this week can keep those vibes going.  As well as the momentum, since I'd like to finish cleaning up the house for the Easter holiday.  Of course, if nothing else, the promise of upcoming chocolate will assist with that endeavor!

06 April 2017

Again - For the First Time

Today's topic for Think Write Thursday is to talk about a book you wish you could read again for the first time.  This was a hard one, since so many books would fall into that category for me.  So I went to one of my earliest, most favorite books, even finding an image of the edition I owned!

I was a kid whose parents were older when I was born, and whose sisters were quite a bit older than I was.  There were few if any "children's books" in our house, and as a result, I have either never read most of the children's classics, or I have read them later, as an adult.

But the year that I was in the second grade, I received the book above for Christmas, from my parents.  It was so thick, which seemed promising, since I was already longing for books that lasted longer.  And the cover was so intriguing - who were those people?  What had they done to deserve such a lovely-looking book?

And then I read it.  And LOVED it.  And found out that girls could be the heroes of their own lives, even as adults. I learned that death happens, and people move on.  I learned that liking to read and write was OK.  I learned that every book doesn't have the ending I want it to have.  And I learned that you could read a book and then want to find out about the author as well.

We moved around a lot, and often I barely knew the kids in my class before we moved again.  But I had made fast friends with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  They didn't need outside friends to have a happy, fun life.  They had different personalities, but it was OK.

Was I disappointed when Jo ended up with Professor Bhaer?  Well, yeah.  But it was another case of having a story be told in a different way than I was used to reading it.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott really opened my eyes to so many things,  And when a book like that finds you in the second grade, the rest of your life can only be full of other such wonderful reading possibilities.

05 April 2017

A New Habit

No, I'm not joining the convent.  HAHAHAHAHA!

Oh Lord, that was lame.  However, since I am starting this post at lunchtime at work, and needed a laugh, I'll leave it there.  I actually thought of another homemade joke last night and I'll share it because maybe it will get all the lame out of my system for now.

Q:  When someone needed to go to Iraq, what did Trump do?
A:  He went to Jared.

 ... but you have to admit, it's no more annoying than those stupid commercials.


I'm hoping that I will develop a new habit, starting with this post - and if not an every-week-habit, one I will want to do more often than not.  I enjoy the Think-Write-Thursdays, and Kathy's Quora, even if I don't participate every week.  So I want to join in the fun when I am inspired with Kat and her Unraveled Wednesdays.  Here we go.

What am I reading?  Well, I'm about halfway through this book, and enjoying it quite a bit.  Though I've heard of a lot of the people in the book, some are new to me, and I think the author is doing a good job of making the story both realistic, touching, and also amusing in many ways.  Hopefully I'll like the rest of it as much as I like it so far.

As for knitting, I started the second of the socks in the Ty Dy yarn last night, while listening to some podcasts.  As is often the case, I had to cast on and rip out a few times before it worked, but I did finish the cuff.

And speaking of cuffs, over the weekend I cast on and completed the cuff of the second sleeve of my Custom Fit sweater - whaaatttt???  Yep, once this is knit, I'll block the pieces and be ready to put it together.  Which makes me nervous for a number of reasons, but onward anyway.

I would really like to get both of these project finished or nearly finished because we are taking a trip soon, and I want to start something new to take along - I have yarn just sitting there waiting!  But that's a story for another day.

What are you crafting?  What are you reading?  Join in, or feel free to share in the comments!

04 April 2017

Things That Have Made It Feel Spring-y

Hello sports fans!  OK, maybe I'm the only sports fan, but that's how my mother used to wake us up for school every morning (again, I was the only one remotely interested in sports ... my sisters were interested if a cute boy was on a team or something, but other than that, forget it).  

Anyway, how was your weekend?  It wasn't actually too spring-like here in Philadelphia - cool, rainy, and then even when the rain stopped, it was mostly overcast.  It was a good weekend to do some knitting reading, and catching up on recorded TV, as well as watching college basketball.  (I wanted Gonzaga to win last night, but at least it was a good game.) 

I kinda sorta finished the first Ty Dy yarn sock, in that the "tube" is finished, but I didn't do the afterthought heel.  I decided I'd wait until both socks were ready for that, and do it all at once.  Well, so to speak, who knows if it will be straightforward enough to do two at once, or one a day ... I thought I'd taken a picture, but I know realize it was an Instagram photo, with Jack blocking most of the picture. Shocking, I know.  Anyway the yarn is more like blocks of color, rather than stripes or even pooling.  But every once in a while, there's a random one-row/part of one-row stripe.  It's weird.  And I feel somewhat obliged to try and make them match, since the blocks of color are quite large.  We'll see - if it starts to aggravate me, I may end up with mismatched color block socks.  

But I digress, I wanted to show you some things that made it feel like spring to me.  

First up, my new box for my Box o' Socks:

Isn't it pretty?  I like it because it's not just springy, but it's not just a regular box.  I was using a gift box from Nordstrom's which was a lovely silver box, but The Tim kept putting it away with some other gift boxes I'd saved.  And I don't think many socks would have actually fit into it, in the end.  This one is nice and deep, so I can layer them if nothing else.  And if I don't do another Box o' Socks next year (or anytime soon), I can still have a lovely box for various uses.  I'm sure I'll get my money's worth - it wasn't that expensive to start!

Next, the happy daffodils in the front planter of our house!  Believe it or not, this photo was taken on Sunday, and there are even more of them today!  They started budding way too early, but even the cold temperatures and some snow didn't deter them.  I love daffodils, they always look so happy to me.  Even if nothing else blooms or "takes" this year, at least we had lots of daffodils!

Baseball season has started, and yesterday the Phillies won their first game of the season - yay!  I'm hoping they will have a good season this year.  Last year they weren't too bad, considering most of the team was new players, and there were some standouts.  I know they won't be heading to the World Series, but I really hope they improve on last year.

Not related necessarily to springtime, but related to knitting, I recently watched an episode of the podcast Treehouse Knits.  I liked it, but I especially liked the segment where she gave some information on the background of Icelandic Sheep.  Plus the photos of the sheep made me happy.  If you decide to check it out, the specific part about the sheep starts at about 17:30, and goes for approximately 7 minutes.  That alone with is worth seeing/hearing.

Just one more thing - thank you for your kind comments from the part of my last post where I talked about giving the woman a hug when I learned she was taking her dog for her last walk.  It turns out that a reporter at one of the local news stations saw her post, and contacted her for a story.  Granted, they misspelled my last name in the article, but it's still a nice write up.  If you are interested in reading it, here's the link.  As I mentioned when I shared it on Facebook, I mainly wanted people to stop and think about how much a small gesture of kindness can help someone more than you might think.  :-)

That's it for now.  I hope your week is going well so far.  And I hope you will come across some things that make you feel like springtime has truly arrived.