25 September 2019

Here We Go

Yesterday, one of the local metereologists posted this on Twitter.

Now, I know for a lot of people, this is upsetting/depressing/whatever.  But for me, this is just the best!  I love this time of year when some of my favorite things/times just come at once!  

But I was already thinking about it, since in my family, there are 15 birthdays between October 1 and December 30 - we call it The Birthday Marathon.  Fortunately, I don't have to have gifts for every single birthday, but I do like to at least try to send a card so that they know I'm thinking of them.

Plus, our anniversary is October 28, and The Tim's birthday is November 18 - which always throws me off, because all of a sudden one happens, the next happens, Thankgiving happens, Christmas happens, and BAM it's the new year!

However, this doesn't mean I start to panic.  First of all, as I said above, I really like this time of year.  Secondly, for the past few years I have tried harder than ever to live in the moment.  So, although I  try to plan ahead as far as gifts are concerned, I don't let myself *get* ahead of things.  I've always been able to do this to some degree, but it's even more so now.  And as a result, I appreciate it, enjoy it, and am always sad to see things end.  

I have not actually started any gift knitting yet (long story involving misplacing things, but it's all good now), but I'm ready.  I'm not making a whole lot of things, but my goal is to be finished with things needing to be mailed by the end of November - end of first week of December at the most.  And I'm thinking it's completely doable.  

Things for The Tim can take longer, because I don't have to mail them, but I try to not leave those until the last-minute either.  

Some hats and some kiddo socks (house-type/slipper socks in worsted weight) are the main items I'm planning to knit that will need to be mailed, so I think I'll be OK there.  

I'm still knitting away on my Pabaigh, and am not that far away from finishing it, but then it's not likely I'll start anything for myself that I want right away until after the holidays.  

Though I reserve the right to start a Christmas-themed project for myself because Christmas comes every year, and it will be for me, so if it isn't finished until January, it will be a surprise for me next year as I will pack it away until then.

But for now, I have to finish September, and get ready for the birthdays to begin.  The first birthday, on October 1, is my nephew's 50th, and though I don't generally send him a gift, I'm hoping to get something together to send him that I think he may like.  I'll keep you posted.  :-)

23 September 2019

Starting With a Finish

Hello and Happy First Day of Fall (even if summer weather is still horning in)!  Yes, I am annoyed that the fall weather we had last week turned back into summer weather, BUT - I know that as we go forward, fall will really happen, and the weather and temperatures will be those that make me both comfortable and happier.  (Unlike summer, where I know it will only get hotter before it's time to cool off.)

Anyway, I hope all of you had a good weekend, or at a minimum, not a terrible one.  Mine started out OK, but got derailed yesterday and I never caught up with myself.  At least it was on a Sunday and didn't put the whole weekend out of sync!

The good news is, I have a finish to show you - YAY!  

Project:  Grey Tabby Socks
Pattern:  Heel Toe Do Si Do, from Crazy Sock Lady Designs
Yarn:  Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts 100% Superwash BFL Wool 4-Ply Fingering Sock in the Grey Tabby colorway (part of their Meow Collection)
Needles:  US size 1
Modifications:  I did a normal 2 x 2 rib at the top, rather than the twisted rib indicated in the pattern.
Comments:  This was such a fun knit, the pattern just zooms along!  You can't tell in this photo, but the front of the sock ends up with a chevron-type look, and it's easy enough to remember that after the first few 2-row repeats, you've got it in your head.  I probably could have finished these sooner, but I took some time to [obsessively] finish my counted cross-stitch project.  I've never knit one of the Crazy Sock Lady's patterns before, but if they are as well done/written as this one, she has her sh*t together, I must say.

The yarn is from my stash, which pleases me, and it is has a cozy feel to it as you are knitting.  It moves along well in your hands, and doesn't get tangled on itself along the way.

These will be for me, and now that they are finished, it's time to get started on some gift knitting.  I don't have a lot planned, but I want to get it underway so I'm not doing anything at the very last minute.

Finally, RIP to my Edie sweater, at least for now.  I took it over to Loop yesterday, when they were offering a help session.  Besides the issues that started the whole thing out, the person there pointed out to me that the friend who made a temporary fix (said friend said she had "triaged" it), had actually done something that meant that the sleeve that was the problem had about 20 extra stitches on the needle, so regardless of what could/could not be figured out, the sleeves would not match at all.  I went home and frogged it, which on the one hand was dismaying, but on the other hand was OK because since it's linen, I won't even think of re-knitting it until next spring/early summer, when it will all feel new again.  And at least in theory, since I have already knit the body, it should all go more quickly.  I wouldn't even consider this except that I really want this knit, and it was an enjoyable project.

And that's it for today.  I hope all of you have a good week, and that none of your projects have to be frogged for any reason.  :-)

20 September 2019

The Last Weekend of Summer

I know many (most?) of you are summer fans, but I will not miss it at all.  I did better trying to live in the moment this year, and not wishing it away, but it was not a good summer for a lot of reasons, and I'll be happier than usual to say goodbye. 

The weather here in Philadelphia promises to feel summer-like, fortunately without any humidity, and we have no specific plans, which is nice, since I'm enjoying the feeling of not being scheduled for anything.  

I do hope to finish the socks I'm knitting, which is completely doable, since I have only the toe on sock #2 to complete.  I'm hoping to start my next stitching project, and I also want to see if I can organize a gift for my great-nephew's 50th birthday on October 1st.  What is rattling around in my brain and reality may not be compatible - we'll see.

I'm sure there will be some outside time as well.  I think The Tim has things he wants to do around the house tomorrow, and he works on Sundays, so at a minimum I'll take some walks with Hamlet.  He is always happy to join me, whether we are going around the block, or on a long ramble.

Here's hoping your last weekend of summer is enjoyable, and that fall will hold some good things for all of us.  :-)

17 September 2019

I Miss Instagram

I know that it's all the rage to rant against Instagram, and the way it makes everyone think they need to be perfect and live a perfect life.  If you are not using filters, or being an influencer, you need to follow those people and make your life as much like theirs as possible.

Which is of course a big load o' crap.  And I have no problem saying that, because to me that's not what Instagram is about.  For me, it's the chance to see what friends are doing in many senses of the word.  It's a chance to meet new people through following hashtags and then looking at the pages of individuals who might appeal.

I have no problem filtering out the rest.  I have no problem doing my own thing, completely unfiltered and with my bad photography.  I really enjoy using it.  I love seeing things that others photograph, and hear what they have to say.  Sometimes it's inspiring, sometimes I'll see something and just scroll on by.

In any event, in the past few weeks, I haven't really been able to enjoy Instagram.  Since I don't have a cell phone, I access it/post there using my tablet.  And it has stopped working on my tablet, in that I cannot even get it to open.  I searched online to see if I was the only one, and apparently I am not.  I tried doing all of the suggested things to get it to work again, without success.  I even contacted Instagram (HA!).  I can access it on my laptop, but cannot comment or even like things.  So it's kind of a "look but don't touch" feeling.  A friend told me that it's really only created for, and updated for, use on a phone.  I know that I am not the only person using it on a tablet, but I guess for those of us who don't use our phones for it, or don't have a phone in the first place, it's just too bad.  :-(

It's really frustrating, and I have no idea if anything will change soon, or at all.  And I miss it.

Fortunately, it's not the center of my existence, but it was a nice, added part to my day.

I think we can all agree that technology is great.  Except when it isn't.

16 September 2019

Some Good, Some Frustrating, and a Whole Lotta Floss!

It was a lovely and also a frustrating weekend.  We had good weather, we got to spend some great time together, and I got some things accomplished even if they were not major activities.

And then it was frustrating - though the good outweighed the frustrating, thank goodness!

Saturday we got an early start, and took Hamlet to the Wissahickon Trail for a nice long walk.  The Wissahickon Trail is part of Fairmount Park here in Philadelphia, and if someone dropped you onto the trail from a spaceship, it would never ever occur to you that you were actually smack dab in the middle of a major city.  We had a good walk, and Hamlet loved seeing other people, pups, and ducks.  I was kind if disappointed that we didn't see any horses, but maybe next time.

The funniest thing was when we first arrived.  We parked the car on the end of a street right near the trail.  When we let Hamlet out of the car, he excitedly ran up to the door of an apartment building right there, as if to say, "I just know these people will be excited to meet me!"  It took us about 5 minutes to convince him that we weren't visiting anyone.  :-)

On our way home, we stopped in Manayunk at Hidden River Yarns, to pick up some knitting of mine that I was finally getting back.  You may or may not remember that last summer, I was knitting the Edie pattern, and when I went to do the sleeves - the very last part - one of them had all of the stitches off of the spare yarn where I had placed them.  (I suspect cats, but have no proof.)  I spent a lot of time trying to recover things, but finally had to admit defeat. I pollled my knitting friends, and someone volunteered.  Well, over the course of the last year, every time I would ask about it, she was "going to get to it," and finally I just said please return it.  So she returned it to Lisa at Hidden River, and Lisa performed "triage" so that I should be able to finish it (finally!).  So I stopped and retrieved it.  But today when I pulled it out to see what was/was not done, I was missing the pattern and some of the dpns!  So I messaged Lisa, and she is going to check when she is in the shop on Tuesday to see if they are still there.  I'm kind of annoyed - though NOT at Lisa - because the person who had it didn't seem to take very good care of it, or the project bag I was using.  But hopefully I'll be able to finish it soon, wash the project bag, and wear the top next summer.  Suffice it to say this was the frustrating part of the weekend.

Moving back to good things, I did finish one foot on one of the socks I'm knitting, and am nearly finished with the foot of the other one.  So I'm guessing that these may be finished by next weekend.

Forgive the smushed-up appearance of them - I just pulled them out of the project bag to take a photo and didn't do anything to "arrange" them.  I've been enjoying knitting this pair!

Today, I decided that I would undertake a project that could get me prepared to start my next cross-stitch project.  My mother was a major and prolific cross-stitcher, and I inherited her supplies.*  So before I bought any floss for my next project, I decided to pull out what I already had, because maybe I wouldn't need to buy any, or at least not much.

The stuff had been in the basement, so the binder-type things that the floss had been stored in were in questionable shape, and the floss, though fine, was musty.  I washed the binders and they are hanging up to dry.   And then I needed to figure out a way to hang up the floss so that it could air out, but even more importantly, out of the reach of kitties.  So currently there is a whole lot of floss hanging in various locations on our third floor!

You know, just a few things to choose from ... !!!

It may take me as long to organize and put it away again as it takes to make my next project. :-)  But I'm glad I have it and that it's in good condition, because it reminds me of my mom, and she would be happy to think that even though it's been just sitting for years and years, that I'm using it now.

I do wish that the weekend had felt longer, but it was a pretty good one overall, so I really can't complain.  This week I have a gynecology appt this afternoon, and a dental appointment on Friday, so it's a week of things not all that pleasant, but necessary and then hopefully taken care of for a while.

I hope your week will be a good one - if you are lucky, leaving out any medical stuff!

*One of these days, I'll do a post and show you some of her work.  My sisters and I all have some of it, and it's so beautiful.

13 September 2019

In Which I Rant About Unsolicited Advice

Everyone has advice.  A lot of people are more than happy to give it, whether it's been requested or not.  One of my friends and I joke that you should never take your own advice, because it's only important for others.  ;-)

Most of the time, when people give me unsolicited advice I ignore it and move on.  But there are some things that when someone "advises" me for the billionth time, just make me want to scream. 

Example the First:  When we adopted Hamlet, he was wearing a choke collar.  I asked Jeff (his former owner and "employer," so to speak) why this was the case.  He pointed out that the collar had a plate on it identifying Hamlet as a dog from the Seeing Eye Foundation in Morristown, N. J.  They put it on all of the dogs.  But as Jeff pointed out, they also showed them how to use it.  When you attach the leash to the collar, you NEVER attach it to the part that pulls and chokes the dog - you attach it to the other ring that is just like a regular collar.  They use choke collars because they are less likely than leather or fabric to cause an allergic reaction on the dog's neck.  So that is the background.

We left the collar on him because a) he is used to it, b) it provides a kind of identification even if his tags fall off, and c) because we know how to use it.  Out of approximately every 10 walks I take with Hamlet, I receive advice about choke collars at least 8 times.  Originally, I would stop and show people how the leash was attached so that he would not be choked, etc., but ever since I showed someone 3 times and they still lectured me, I just tune them out.  If you can't listen to what I have to say in response to your advice, I can't be bothered to listen to you in the first place.

Example the Second:  Whenever I mention that we have cats, someone advises me not to declaw them.  They are not declawed.  However, our late cat Jetsam was declawed when we got him.  People would come to the house, meet him, and then lecture me for 10 minutes about the evils of declawing cats.  Immediately after I mentioned that he was that way when he arrived.

Example the Third:  I have a friend that I have known for years (since college) who is a nurse.  She lives in another location altogether, so we don't see each other very often, but we do keep in touch via social media on occasion.  But I seldom interact with her there anymore because she drives me crazy with her unsolicited advice about health, behavior, etc.  A couple of years ago, I posted a picture of my little great-niece with Pip on her lap, giving him a kiss on the top of the head.  She posted under it that I was endangering the child because even if the cat is friendly her face was too close, and she could be scratched in the eye.  And then she posted on my niece's account the same thing, and also on my sister's account (the child's grandmother), since "not being a mother" I did not seem to be paying attention to her warning/advice.  I finally took the post down because it was just not worth it.

Example the Fourth:  My hair.  OMG, sometimes I am tempted to wear a headcovering so that people - both known and unknown - will stop telling me that my hair is too short!  Spoiler alert:  It's on purpose.  I would love to have long, luxurious hair, but I do not.  So unless it's a state occasion, I am not interested in spending a lot of time to fix my hair.  Also, particularly in the summer, I don't like having hair that I can feel on my neck, face, etc. - I'm already hot enough, thank you.  So your advice that I wear it to a) not look manly, b) not be mistaken for a lesbian, or c) let it grow because husbands like long hair is not just useless, but also something that is really, truly, absolutely NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS UNLESS I ASK FOR YOUR OPINION.

I generally respond by saying, If someone thinks I look ______, it's their problem, not mine.  Which is nearly always rewarded by a pitying glance which just says, Oh sweetie, you don't understand, do you?

I guess what I am trying to say overall is that maybe we should all refrain from advising others unless they ask for it.  If someone says to me, "Do you think I should buy this pair of shoes," they are asking for my opinion/advice.  If I say to someone "You shouldn't buy those shoes because _____," that is a whole 'nother story.  And I deserve it if said person tells me to go away or whatever.

So that is my rant, as well as my reminder to myself, for this Friday.  If no one is asking, keep it to yourself. As illustrated below.

But now, some unsolicted advice from me that will hopefully not offend:  Have a good weekend!

11 September 2019

Unexpected Unraveling

I'm joining Kat and everyone today for Unraveled Wednesday.  This time, it actually involves some unraveling, which in the end is OK, but which is also something that was not really fun to do.

Before we get into that, here is what I am currently reading:

So far I'm only a few pages in, but I already like it and hopefully that will continue.  I've been wanting to read it since it came out, and my turn on the library hold list finally happened.

On to the unraveling ...

I had been making slow but steady progress on my Pabaig, and had separated for the sleeves, and [I thought] I had finished the front knitting.  I went to start the back, and when I reviewed the pattern instructions, I thought to myself, "Hm, I don't remember it going that way."  But since I had also been working on other projects, I just figured I wasn't remembering the details.  I got a few rows in, and looked at the instructions again, and realized that I had misinterpreted them for the front, and I would end up with two badly mismatched sides of the sweater!  Ugh.  So off to the frog pond, where I went back to the first row after separating for the sleeves, and started over.  

As a result, it looks like the red blob of before, but with a bit more length.  Sigh.

However, since I discovered it before thinking I was nearly finished, it didn't bother me as much, and I'm moving right along again.  So the whole thing will take a bit longer, but since I hadn't really given myself a deadline, I'll just finish it when I finish it, with no regrets.

But I would like to point out that the yarn IS fingering weight, so there was a lot more to rip out and it took a stupid amount of time.  Such is life.


It occurred to me today that with it being the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, any child born that year is starting their first year of college this year (if they decided to go to college in the first place).  Which means in some ways, an entire lifetime has passed since that horrible, sad day.  Time really does go on, no matter how much it stands still for you when something awful happens.  I hope for the survivors and all of the families affected, that they have reached the point where the first memories of their loved ones are the best and not the saddest.

Don't forget to say I love you today.  This day is a reminder that tomorrow doesn't always come.

10 September 2019

Finally x Two!

Did any of you watch the original Mickey Mouse Club as kids?  On Tuesdays, they would sing:

Today is Tuesday,
You know that that means?
We're gonna have a special guest!

[and then I forget most of the rest until  the end]

Well, because I can remember that, instead of current things that I actually need to remember, I sing that to myself every Tuesday as I'm walking to work.

Which - other than it being Tuesday today, has nothing to do with this post.  


I have two "Finallys" for you.

Finally #1 - Packages for the winners during Christmas in July.  They were packaged and ready to send out, and The Tim offered to take them to the post office, since he passes one every day on his way to and from work.  So, I assumed they were on their way.  Then one day last week, he brought them inside, with the packaging kind of mangled.  He had put them in the back seat and forgotten all about them.  In the meantime, various things had happened which had really messed up the packaging.  

So I re-packaged everything, and FINALLY got them in the mail to the winners last Friday.  Hopefully some/all of you will receive them soon, but at least now you can be on the lookout.  Of course, once they were all sent, I realized that I had re-packaged them, but had failed to include the notes I'd written and put in the packages.  Sigh.  Oh well, they are in the mail, that's what is important, right???

Moving on to ...

Finally #2 - Guess what?  It's Tiny Needle Tuesday, and my honeybee cross-stitch has been completed!

Clearly it needs to be blocked, and I want to find a frame for it, but the actual stitching part is finished, and I love it even more than I thought I would.  This is from a kit I purchased a few years ago, from a company called Modern Needlework.  (I think a shop on Etsy, though I don't see them there any more, so that's really no help, is it?) Anyway, it was a lovely kit and the charts were easy to read and follow.  I'm looking forward to finding a frame and hanging it.  It's got some mistakes, but overall, I'm pleased with how well I did, considering it had been easily 20 years since I did any counted cross-stitch at all!

Next up will be the item for my niece Amanda, which I *think* I can finish before Halloween and send to her.  It's pretty small, and not dense at all.  If it's not finished in time - well, Halloween comes every year, right?  I want to pull out the cross-stitch supplies I inherited from my mother to see if I already have the colors of floss I need before I purchase any, but either way I should be able to start in the next week or so.

I am particularly pleased that my laptop cooperated to I could upload the photo - maybe things are beginning to improve, technology-wise.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed ... :-)

09 September 2019

It Was Nice While It Lasted

Last week was so incredibly enjoyable, being able to stay home and not deal with my horrific co-workers!  As you may have noticed, I didn't even post here, though to be honest, a lot of the reason was because nothing much was happening worth showing you.  :-)

It was an excellent blend of getting things accomplished and relaxing, and the weather was very cooperative, which I appreciated A LOT.  I didn't get all the things on my to-do list taken care of, but I hadn't really expected to, so I wasn't really upset with myself.  But the things that were done gave me the chance to feel like I had finally made a dent into a lot of things!

The weekend topped it all off nicely, with the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival on Saturday, and the Eagles winning their football game on Sunday. 

The fiber festival was so much fun!  One of the nicest things about this festival is that it is very approachable as far as size is concerned.  Which is not to say that it is not as much sensory overload as the larger fairs and festivals - trust me, there's A LOT to see!  Of course, I spent a lot of my time talking to and petting the sheep (whether or not they wanted me to - spoiler alert: most of them didn't care), and I even got to kiss and hug one of the sheep which was THE BEST THING OF ALL.  The Tim even took photos, but as my camera and my computer are currently not on speaking terms, I'll have to show you that later.  Even Instagram isn't speaking to me, so I can't send you there to see any photos at the moment either.  Oh well. 

It was very difficult to not buy a whole bunch of beautiful yarns.  But I managed to restrain myself and came home only with a bar of goat's soap, with Franckinsense and Myrhh scent.  It's put safely away until Christmastime. 

I did get the chance to see some people that I had hoped to see, including Dee, Vera, three good friends from Philadelphia that I follow online but don't often get to see, and Kathleen Dames.  It was so nice to run into people to briefly catch up, and to live vicariously through their purchases.  It was especially nice to meet Kathleen, as we have been friends online for approximately 15 years, and had never yet met in person!  We'd come close, but it just never worked out until Saturday.  She was there with Kay Gardiner (one half of Mason-Dixon Knitting), and introduced us.  Kay was as nice and as funny as you would expect her to be.  One funny thing was that when I was talking to Kathleen, I mentioned that I ran into her when I was looking for The Tim.  She said, "Oh my God - THE TIM is here???"  I got a huge chuckle out of that.  (And eventually I did locate him, well after the fact.)

You may also enjoy this exchange, which occurred over breakfast that morning.

The Tim:  So ... is this one of the big fiber things?
Me:  It's relatively small, if you remember.  [He has gone with me at least 3 times in the past.]
The Tim:  When did it become smaller?
Me:  As far as I know, it's always been smaller.
The Tim:  When did they move it?
Me: What?
The Tim: Well, didn't it used to be in Maryland?
Me:  That would be Maryland Sheep and Wool, which happens in May.
The Tim:  Oh, I wondered about that.  I guess I'm talking about a whole other state.
Me (in my brain):  !!!!!!!
Me (in person):  Ya think??

Anyway, then yesterday I just hung out at home, worked on some laundry and some stitching, and watched the football game.  What a nice way to finish my week of vacation.

And how sad to have to return to work.  Such is life.  At least tomorrow, we have our lunch hour craft group meeting.

Again, sorry for no pictures here today - hopefully I can show you some things soon.  Have a good week!

02 September 2019

Labor Day 2019

Labor Day finds no laboring at our house.

For those who are laboring, bless you for working on a day a lot of us have a holiday.

Whatever you are doing - relaxing, picnicking, spending the day with family, anything at all - I hope you enjoy it!