31 October 2019

Happy Halloween!!

Hooray for Halloween!  This is one of my favorite images ever, and I've been saving it for today.

Right now, it's pouring here in Philadelphia, though according to the guy on TV, there will be a small window early this evening when trick-or-treaters should be OK.  Of course, there are parents who are SO upset that they didn't postpone it since it might be raining.  Because God forbid their children get wet.  Another woman was upset because it would be dark, so "why can't they move Halloween to the summer, like with other holidays they moved?"  I'm getting ready to cut someone ...

Since it's Three on Thursday today, I've decided to share three favorite Halloween-related things with you.

1.  When I was in first grade, we lived in Chicago, and on Halloween, it was really cold and already starting to snow.  I never had a store-bought costume, and my mother was not the type to create one for me.  She would do things like hand me a plaid shirt and say, "Tell them you're a lumberjack."  Most of the time, it was cold or rainy, and so it almost didn't matter what your costume was, since you had to wear a coat, hat, etc.  Anyway, my "costume" that year was some of her red lipstick, and I was supposed to be "Miss America."  One older woman in the neighborhood was giving out fancy hats to young kids (when I think about it now, I think she might have not had money for candy, and was giving away some of her old clothes so kids could play dress-up.  Anyway ...).  Everyone was SO excited.  I got one of those hats that was a small piece of fabric with a face veil.  Well - I just thought that was PERFECT for a beauty queen.  So I immediately put it on over my knit hat I was already wearing.  Walked around all evening, thinking that yes, it was making it even clearer that I was supposed to be Miss America.  When I returned home, with lots of candy and a whole new sense of glamour, my mother said, "Oh for God's sake - you look like you had too much to drink and got thrown out of a dive bar."  Clearly, she had no eye for style. ;-)

2.  One year when my nieces were little, my sister had gotten way behind on things and so improvised costumes for all of them.  My niece Liz was dressed in a ballet tutu, really bad makeup, and junky jewelry with a fright wig on.  My sister told her she was dressed as the "Town Clown."  Liz thought it was great.  A few weeks later, they were downtown and passed a hooker on the street, and Liz pointed, and proudly proclaimed, "Look Mommy - Town Clown, Town Clown!"  It did not go over well, but to this day, it's a favorite family story.

3.  A few years back, my niece Amanda and her husband had a huge Halloween party.  Amanda had set a plastic pumpkin on a table with a note that said, "November 2 is All-Souls Day - feel free to take a slip of paper and write the name of someone you'd like to be remembered in prayer, and we will take it to our church for a ceremony there."  By the end of the evening, there were quite a few slips of paper, which was nice. The next day, Liz (the same Liz as above) came over with her family, and at some point in the afternoon, walked over and pulled out a slip of paper.  Then she said, "OK guys, who is this?" and proceeded to act out what was finally guessed to be the assassination of JFK (clearly someone had put his name in the pumpkin for prayers).  Everyone was kinda puzzled, but then she pulled out another slip and said, "Amanda - I don't even know who this is," and handed the slip to her.  Amanda also didn't know, and put it back into the pumpkin, explaining that it was likely someone's friend or family who was asking for prayers (the sign in front of the pumpkin was long gone by now).  To which Liz replied, "WAIT.  Are you telling me these aren't for playing charades?"  And from then on, it has been referred to as The Time That Liz Invented Dead People Charades.  And in case you are wondering, then we played said invented game for an hour or so, making up our own ideas as we went along.  Because why waste such an opportunity???

Anyway.  I hope you have a lovely day, with lots of goodies, whatever you desire them to be.  Enjoy!

30 October 2019

When Technically, You Should Have Unravelled ...

Hi all!  First of all, thanks to everyone for their kind words and wishes for our annivesary.  It was so nice to read what all of you had to say, and we both appreciate it.  We went out for our anniversary dinner last night - Monday night, The Tim was tired from a rough day at work.  Anyway, we tried a new Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood, and oh wow it's a good one!  I think they will definitely see us again.  :-)

Also - I seem to be getting comments e-mailed to me, but not right away.  So if you have commented and not heard from me, I promise you will, just later than expected.  And of course, if I have your e-mail address.  I'm sorry to say I'm too lazy to close my e-mail messages and answer in the comment section, so if I don't have your e-mail address, or have lost it somehow, you won't hear from me. 

OK, onto today and Unraveled Wednesday.  You may recall that I was planning to knit the Olmsted Hat for The Tim, using some leftover yarn from this project.  Well, I started it at the end of last week, and over the weekend, got quite a bit done:

I am so very happy with how the yarn is working with it!  I was knitting away, and went to look at the pattern to see what the measurement was when you started working on the crown.  And it was then that I noticed that I was not actually doing what the pattern instructed!  My excuse is that I actually had to cast on and do the first row about 6 times - I think once I got it to "work" that I just kept going with what the first row said ... I was dismayed, but have decided I'm not starting over.  So I'll just use the pattern for the crown, thereby making it an Olmsted-inspired hat.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Because I love the way it looks and is knitting up as it is, I'm leaving it alone!

As far as reading, I started this cozy mystery the other day.  I'm about  80+ pages in, and am enjoying it.  My brain is just in the mood for something like this that is enjoyable but not overly involved.

In exciting reading news, I won an Instagram giveaway sponsored by Liverpool Yarns!  It was one of those "like this post and tag two friends," and I did that and won (sorry, two tagged friends).

I've been wanting to get a copy, but figured I'd have to wait until after the holidays.  I was so excited to win, because I love contests and for as much as I enter, I seldom win.  The book arrived in the mail yesterday, and when I showed it to The Tim, he said, "Let me guess - a knitting mystery?"  HA!  I showed him, right?  (No, not really but it feels fun to say so.)

So that's what is happening around here.  I hope your knitting and reading are going well (even if you are not doing what the pattern actually tells you to do ...), and that the rest of your week is a good one.

29 October 2019

No Tiny Needle, But a [Kinda] Tiny FO!

I don't have a single stitching project going at the moment, so I have nothing to show there.  I have a couple of things I want to get started, but I've been busy with gift knitting, and just haven't picked up any other projects.  Probably since they would be for me, and once my gift knitting is finished, I can do any project I like without a deadline!

BUT ...

I do have a small knitting FO to share, so let's do that.

I finished another pair of gift socks:

Project:  Penn's Christmas Socks
Pattern:  Rye by TinCanKnits
Yarn:  Plymouth Encore Worsted, in the Candy Cane colorway (red-white), and Christmas Green colorway
Needles:  US size 3 and 5
Modifications:  None
Comments:  Another fun, Christmas-themed knit gift ready to go.  If you have not yet tried the Rye pattern, give it a shot.  It's the perfect combination for knitting while chatting, watching a movie, or listening to music or a podcast (I guess it's good for knitting while reading, but I have not mastered that).  The cuffs are ribbed, and most of the sock is stockinette, with just enough that is not to keep it from becoming a slog.

As I mentioned when I was showing you her brother Oden's Christmas Socks, I don't think these will be Penn's favorite Christmas gift, but I know her parents will be pleased that each kiddo received a pair, and I know they will keep her feet warm, so when you are talking about young children, that's not a bad result.  :-)


I started on my great-nephew Zach's pair of house slippers/socks yesterday.  They will just be plain vanilla socks, in red and blues, since his mother said he likes those colors.  Since he is older with bigger feet, that's fine with me!  I will be using worsted weight yarn again, so they should still go pretty quickly.  I've also been zipping along with the hat I was knitting for The Tim, and am getting ready to start socks for him, so my gift knitting is going along quite nicely.

How are your projects - gifts or not - coming along??

28 October 2019

Most of a Lifetime

October 28, 1978

That is the day we got married.  Today marks the 41st anniversary for us.  And that seems crazy, because as the subject line says, it's most of a lifetime.  During those years, there have been so many ups and downs, joys and disappointments, that remembering every one is impossible.  But they are all there, and have made our lives what they have become.

Since that day:

2 canaries, 10 cats, 2 dogs

6 apartments, 1 house

2 masters degrees

3 cars

12 nieces, 2 nephews; 6 great-nieces, 4 great-nephews

4 states, and the District of Columbia

3 cancers

3 parents, 1 sibling died

a million tears

a bazillion laughs

... and who knows what else?

Life, and marriage, are unpredictable.  The big things are outnumbered by the small things, some of which just weave into the fabric, and become indistinguishable as individual events.  But suddenly you realize that all of them have been yours, for better or worse, and that 41 years have gone by.

The Tim and I are lucky.  We have each other, and even if a lot of the time we drive one another crazy, and do not always like one another, neither of us wants to be anywhere else.  We've spent most of a lifetime together, and even when things are bad, it's all good. 

25 October 2019

On Its Witchy Way!

Friday - YAY!!!  This week has been a looooonnngg one, topped off today with my Performance Review at work.  Even when it's all good, it's just such a tedious series of events, and it's even more frustrating when you have already been informed that there will be no raises, and not even a cost of living adjustment this year.  :-(


BUT - still, it's Friday and in a few hours, I can wend my way home for the weekend, which will be a long one for me since I am taking off Monday for our wedding anniversary.  Nice!

In any event, moving on.

As mentioned, I did finish the cross-stitch project I had been making for my niece Amanda, and I am beyond pleased with the result:


It was so much fun to stitch, and went quickly once I actually got going on it.  I had originally been worried that I had started too late to get it to her for this Halloween, but because it was primarily words rather than a "picture" so to speak, it zipped right along!

Last week, I found what I thought and hoped would be the perfect frame for it, and at least to me, I think it looks even better than I was expecting:

(Yes, my photo is crooked.  Work with me, people!)

Seriously, though, is it not just perfect??  We saw a black frame with a white mat first, and that would have been OK, but then I saw the black matted one, and figured that would be so much better - and it is!  

And so, it is being mailed this morning and will be on winging (brooming?) its way to Baltimore by the time you read this.  I'm hoping it arrives by Tuesday at the latest, but I have no control over that part, so I'm not going to agonize.

It always makes me so happy when something I had in mind turns out the way I had pictured it.  A lot of times, the end result is close, but in this case, it all worked out EXACTLY as I had it in my brain.

Which is a nice way to end a week, and start a weekend.  Tomorrow morning is the Mutt Strut (and you can still donate if you like, here!  [I think you can still donate for up to a week after the event.]), and fortunately the start of the day is supposed to be sunny and pleasant.  I know it will be fun, and I'm sure Hamlet will make his way to everyone to be petted, since that is his M.O. 

Other than that, no big weekend plans.  Of course the usual will happen, and I'm hoping to make some progress on some of my gift knits.  I'll probably also watch the Kristy Glass "Tell Us About Your Rhinebeck Sweater" video, which always entertains (and often amazes) me.  As I said, Monday is our wedding anniversary, so we'll be discussing where to go for dinner, which could easily take the entire weekend, since a) we can never remember the places that we said, "We should try that one," and b) we tend to decide, change our minds a hundred times, and then end up where we started out.  

I hope you have a lovely weekend, and have the chance to spend at least a little bit of time doing whatever *you* would like to do.  See you next week!


P.S.  The other day, I got a ton of "Undeliverable" messages that were responses to comments from some of last week's posts.  So please know, I was not ignoring you, the messages just didn't go through for whatever reason.   It seems to be OK now, so fingers crossed that continues.

22 October 2019

Nothing To See Here

Really.  I have nothing to show, but I just really felt like posting.  I can *tell* you about things I'm working on, but I have no photos of my own to show.  I do have something from a pattern, so maybe that counts?

If you don't think it does, I guess you should wait until another time ...

You may be wondering whatever became of my Pabaig sweater.  Well, I'm near the end of it, but becuase I made it longer than the one in the pattern, I ran out of yarn.  So I ordered two more balls in order to complete it, and they have not arrived yet (maybe today, if I'm lucky?).  So at the moment, that's on time out.  Once I can get the yarn, it shouldn't take much time to finish - I'm currently at the neck funnel, and then there's just the sleeves to go.

I showed you the socks I finished for my great-nephew Oden, and on Sunday evening, I finished the first sock for his sister Penn.  Last night I started sock #2, so they are nearly done as well.  Then I want to make a pair of socks/house slippers for my great nephew Zach (Oden and Penn's cousin), but those will be in blue and red, which his mother says are colors he wears a lot.  Then the holiday knitting for family out of town will be complete.  :-)  And even better, all the yarn is from stash!

In my post from yesterday, I mentioned only buying yarn three times this year, but I forgot that I bought another skein of yarn over the summer for a pair of Christmas socks for The Tim.  I don't exactly remember why I was browsing the Desert Vista Dyeworks site (I think a podcaster was talking about it), but I came across this yarn, and after thinking about it for two days, decided it was worth breaking my yarn diet to order a skein to make socks for The Tim.  The colorway - Oh, Clark! - is a reference to the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie, and that movie is one of the favorites in our entire family.  (One year when the nieces were teens, and having friends over on Christmas Eve, The Tim wore an outfit inspired by Uncle Ed in the movie.)  Anyway, in theory, I would love to get these knit for his birthday in November, but there's a better chance they will be a Christmas gift.  He has also mentioned that he would like a pair of house slippers/socks as well, so something may be "saved" for next year ...

Do you remember my Crazytown Cowl?  When I was finishing that, I mentioned that I would have a fair amount of yarn left, and The Tim mentioned that he would think it would make a nice hat for him.  So I'm getting ready to cast on this pattern and alternate the yarns randomly as I go.  The photo below is one of the pattern shots o Ravelry.

I'm not sure the twisty part on the crown will show up in the yarns I have, but I think it will be a nice hat nonetheless, and I know I can get it knit by his birthday in November.  I tried casting on yesterday, but my brain was in overdrive, and focus was a problem, so after two tries, I decided that it would be better to wait.  

The good thing is, since he does not know I'm planning to do any of these, he won't be expecting anything specific - so whatever gets done will be fine!  :-)

Other than that, I have no exciting news to share.  As I said, I just wanted to post because I was in the mood to "talk" to someone.  Let me know what you are knitting, or what you are planning to knit, I'm curious!  I hope the rest of your day is all good stuff.  

21 October 2019

And A Good Time Was Had By Me

It's Monday.  Again.  Seems like it shows up after every weekend, what's that about???  ;-)

I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine started off with exhaustion - Members' Night was especially taxing this year, since the person who filled out our forms did not think to ask for chairs.  So we were not just inundated with people, but had to stand the entire time.  By the time I left, my back was killing me and my voice was nearly gone.  I woke up on Saturday with the beginning of a cold, which was annoying, but it was *my* weekend and I wasn't gonna not enjoy it.

My Going to Rhinebeck By Staying Home weekend did in fact get to start with apple cider donuts.  I walked over to the farmer's market, and managed to get the last package of four!  (I got up later than I usually do - see above - so I'm lucky that any were left ...).  The Tim and I had our apple cider donuts and some tea, and then we headed to a Michael's nearby to look for frames.  I have been wanting to get a frame for my honeybee cross-stitch, and we both wanted to find a good frame for my witchy cross-stitch I made for my niece.  I had looked at a couple of A.C. Moore stores, but the ones near us primarily sell supplies related to painting and drawing, as they are near art schools.  Fortunately, we found the perfect frames and they were even on sale, buy one, get on free.  It was nice since they were not inexpensive.  Once things are framed I'll post photos.

The rest of Saturday, I stayed put, knitting, napping, and watching some podcasts.  We also watched some things we'd recorded.  It was a stunning day, but sadly I didn't get in any walks because I was still feeling kind of icky, and The Tim took Hamlet for a couple of walks. But it was still a good day!

Yesterday it rained steadily all day, so although Hamlet and I went for a couple of walks, they were not terribly enjoyable.  I did still go over to Loop for their Fall Festival, which was lovely!  It was fairly small scale, but I talked to Laura (one of the owners), and she said it had been busy on Saturday also, and there was a good chance they would make it an annual event.  That would be great!

I even treated myself to a few items! I've been proud of myself this year, because other than buying a skein of sock yarn to make the socks for Brian (the person getting the kidney transplant), and two more balls of yarn to finish my Pabaig (hopefully they are making their way here as I type), I have knit completely from stash this year.  So I told myself that I could treat myself to one skein if I saw one I really wanted that was no more than $20.00.  As you can see, I did buy yarn.   This is a skein of Liverpool Yarns, a company owned by a woman who used to work at Loop, and yarn I've been hoping to try since they started up.  I bought a skein of their Bulky yarn, in the colorway Bramble.  At the moment, I think I will use it to make the Bulky Trellis hat, but since I won't be touching it until after the holiday knitting is finished, that could change.  They provided the project bag with the purchase, which is a nice touch.  Then I bought a ceramic notions dish with a bunny on it, and two ceramic pawprint buttons, just because I liked them.  So I spent a total of $25.00, which I didn't *need* to spend, but I did anyway as a treat.

We ended up with Barley-Feta casserole for dinner in the crockpot, and The Tim had made brownies on Friday night, so we each had one for dessert.

So even though I got hit with the start of a cold, and was more tired than usual, and it rained on Sunday, I enjoyed my Rhinebeck weekend!  I think I'll try it again next year - maybe we can even have a virtual Rhinebeck weekend together, who knows?

Here's hoping your weekend was enjoyable as well, and that this week will be kind to all of us.

18 October 2019

Small. Quick. Cheery. Gift. FO = A Winner!

So, it IS Friday, but a long one for me.  Nonetheless, when I leave here tonight, I won't have to return until next week, and that's keeping me going.  Plus, I'm looking forward to my Going to Rhinebeck By Staying Home weekend.

But today you get my latest finished project.  This was a fast one, and very easy, but enjoyable nonetheless, and it ticks off one of the things on my gift list for Christmas.

Project:  Oden's Christmas Socks
Pattern:  Rye, by Tin Can Knits, Toddler size
Needles:  US 3 and US 5
Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted, colorway 1386 (Christmas Red), and 1004 (Peppermint)
Modifications:  Only making the cuffs and toes in a different color than the rest of the sock.
Notes:  This was a fun and quick knit for my great-nephew Oden - a small project, thicker yarn than sock yarn, happy and cheery colors, and a gift.  They may be a bit big for him, but better bigger than too small.  I have no illusions that these will be his favorite gift, but I do think they will keep his feet warm.  

I started and finished these in the period of eight days, and it only took me that long because for five of those days, I didn't get a chance to knit at all!  Seriously, you could finish both socks in a day if you just spent the time knitting.  This is also a really nice pattern, well-written and easily understandable, with lots of good illustrations where needed.  On top of which, it's free, so why aren't you using it to make many pairs of socks???  I know that once my gift knitting is complete, I'm making a pair for myself.  :-)

I hope everyone has a good weekend - see you next week!

17 October 2019

Going to Rhinebeck By Staying Home

As a lot of you (most of you?) probably know, this weekend is the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York, and I know so many people who are going.  And of course, on Instagram, blogs, and podcasts, people are not just talking about it, but knitting "Rhinebeck sweaters," planning what to buy, etc.  I enjoy the vicarious aspects of this, and to be honest, even though I know it's a huge festival and can be crowded out of this world, I would like to go myself just once.  For the experience and because it's such a lovely time of year to be traveling to that part of the universe.

Anyway, once again this year, I will be at home while everyone else travels, enjoying their various social media posts, hearing what friends did/bought/saw, etc. and feeling a teeny bit left out.  BUT guess what?  I'm going to Rhinebeck anyway, though I am not leaving the state of Pennsylvania.

I have been giving this some thought for about a month, and here is my plan.  By the way, the other day, I said to The Tim, "This weekend is Rhinebeck, and we are going to do it ourselves!" and he quite excitedly said, "Oh wow!  We're actually going???"  Yes, dear, we can just drop everything and go with no planning, and we won't have any trouble finding a place to stay or anything.  I mean - really? 


Being that it is Three on Thursday, I'm sharing three of the things I'm planning for My Rhinebeck Weekend.

1.  Apparently, a big specialty at Rhinebeck is Apple Cider Donuts.  I plan to get up on Saturday morning and head over to the farmer's market, where they have both freshly made apple cider donuts, as well as apple cider.  If for some reason, they are out, I have some apple cider tea to enjoy.

2.  On one of the days I'm walking over to Loop, because they are having a Fall Festival for those who aren't traveling up to New York.  I think it will be fun, and I like the idea of seeing yarns that are new to me.  I don't know if I will buy anything, but I do know one of the women behind Liverpool Yarns, and it's always nice to get to see her.  Who knows who else I might run into?  And you'll never find me turning down a Philly pretzel!

3.  Fall walk and crock pot dinner on Sunday.  If you are walking around Rhinebeck all day, you likely want a nice, hearty dinner where you can relax and enjoy thinking over your weekend and all the people you saw, animals you petted, yarn you fondled.  Hamlet and I will take one particular walking route on Sunday where we can enjoy fall, Halloween decorations, and just being outside.  That morning, I'll put stuff into the crock pot so that our dinner will be cooking while we are out walking, and the house will smell good all day.  I haven't decided yet what to fix, but I have a couple of distinct possibilities in mind.

Of course, I'll also be knitting - why have a Rhinebeck weekend without some actual knitting?  I have some gifts on the needles, and since I will likely be recovering from Members' Night at work after tomorrow night, sitting and knitting will be extra enjoyable and relaxing.

So that's the plan.  Depending on how things go, it may become an annual event for me.  And who knows, maybe next year, we can all plan a Staying Home Rhinebeck weekend, virtually or in real life!  Something to think about, right?


Thanks to all of the people who sent kind comments about yesterday's post.  I am fine, and was all day - it just kept seeming surreal.  As I told several people, it's probably a good thing that I was stunned, because if I had been paying more attention, I think my natural impulse would have been to slap the woman back, and that wouldn't have ended well for me in any fashion.  It was all the more weird because Wawa can be crowded, but it is truly a benign place 99.9999999% of the time.  Go figure.

Moral of the story: Maybe I should stick to tea.  ;-)

16 October 2019

The One Where a Stranger Slaps Me


I had a difficult night - I slept, but had weird/horrific/strange dreams that kept waking me up, sometimes for a while until my heart and emotions settled down.  This morning when the alarm started, I got up and knew that it was gonna be a day that needed help.  Even my morning cup of tea didn't quite cut it.  So I knew it was time to be drastic, and stop to get a cup of coffee.  I don't drink much coffee, other than the occasional latte, but it was a morning that called for serious measures.

There's a Wawa on my way to work, and they are having a $1.00 cup of coffee, any size deal going on.  I figured, OK that works.  I went to the island where the cups, lids, creamers, etc. were to get started.  Suddenly a woman loudly said, "Excuse me young lady, you stepped on my handbag."  She said it to me.  I looked where she was pointing on the floor (who puts their handbag on the floor at the Wawa coffee counter???!!!), and ... there was no handbag.  At all.  So I said, "I don't even see a handbag," and she pointed, repeated what she said, and then said, "Do you plan to apologize to me, you white b*tch?" and I said, "I apologize that I don't even see a handbag in the first place."  And I said it nicely, I really did.

That was when she slapped me.  And then threw an empty creamer carton at me.  The security guard come over and told her she would need to leave, and she said he was racist (he was black for the record), and that I was a racist.  As he was escorting her out, one of the other employees walked by.  She stopped the guard, tapped the employee on the arm, and said in a manner where I expected sugar cubes to fall out of her mouth, "Excuse me, do you have any more French vanilla creamer?"

Long story short, I didn't even get charged the dollar for my coffee.  But even writing this, I realize I'm still stunned.  I have pretty decent radar that helps me avoid the crazy people most of the time.  This woman was dressed as if she was on her way to an office, certainly better put together than I was this a.m.  So I don't know what her story is/was.  But let's just say it has not been my best morning.


In any event, I was planning to join Kat and others in Unraveled Wednesday today, so here goes.

There was fortunately no unravelling this week (other than a close call emotionally, see above).  I managed to finish both my cross-stitch project, and the Christmas socks I was knitting for my great-nephew Oden.  Tonight I am hoping to get started on the pair I'm making for his sister.  I am enjoying these knits, not just because they are quick, but also because the colors are so cheery, that it's hard to think of it as anything but a happy project.

Reading-wise, The Tim has been reading this book aloud (I'm not sure why he is on a reading aloud kick, but I'm enjoying it), and I recently finished another book I was reading.  Today at lunchtime, I plan to start this book:

I've heard good things about it, and have wanted to read it but never got around to it before, so hopefully I can get a good start.  

Then, a book I've been wanting to read for a while just became available to me at the library:

A couple of years ago, I came across the documentary version of this on PBS one evening when I was switching channels, and it was really interesting.  It's been difficult to find the book, but I finally saw that one of the other branches had it, and put in a hold request.  So this will be my book to read at home, and I can't wait!

Here's hoping the rest of the day is calmer than the start was - have a good one!

14 October 2019

Extra Long Long Weekend

First of all, before I go any further, a wish for a very Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in Canadia!  I hope you have a really lovely holiday, and that it's full of the food, family, and friends that you hope it to be.

Whenever it's Canadian Thanksgiving, I get excited, because it means that the holiday season has really and truly started!

My weekend was a long weekend, made extra long by having the day off on Friday.  I had to have a nuclear stress test at 7 a.m., and they told me it would take approximately 4 hours.  Rather than worry about how long it was taking in the work day, and how I might feel afterwards, I just used a sick day.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't wonderful.  I finished about 1:30, came home and took a nap until The Tim got home from work - so a day off, but not full of fun and hilarity.  But meaning a four-day weekend!  And on Friday evening, I did finish the stitching of the cross-stitch piece for my niece Amanda, so framing can commence!

Saturday was the day we were headed to The Tim's brother's house in the 'burbs because his daughters arranged a family get-together for his 70th birthday.  I would say it was as good as it could have been.  The Tim asked his brother if we could bring Hamlet, and so that helped.  Hamlet had two mega-fans there:  6-year-old Fiona and her sister 3-year-old Kira, who had as much energy for playing as he did.  We stayed for about 2 hours, which was the plan, and it was pleasant enough.  

The Tim's family worked really hard to be close while his parents were still alive.  Once they were gone, since all of the siblings were not truly close, we only heard occasional updates.  It has always been a contest apparently as to who is the most well off, most successful, has the best job, etc.  The Tim was close with his oldest sister Sheila, who died a couple of years ago.  It was truly nice to see everyone, and see what all of the nieces are up to, meet their boyfriends, etc. and I did enjoy that.  They took lots of photos, so once I see some of them, I'll share them.  The weather was nice enough that we spent most of the day on the porch, and the food and drink was amazing, so I was pleased.  

I'm glad we went, because even though The Tim is not overly keen on his siblings, we made an appearance, had a nice time, and now have done our Clancy family duty for a while.  ;-)

Sunday, The Tim was at work for the bulk of the day.  I worked on some things in the house that I wanted to do, took a long walk with Hamlet, and then walked up to the Fine Crafts Fair in Rittenhouse Square (it's crowded, and going with Hamlet would have been unpleasant for both of us).  Most things are not in my price range under the best of circumstances, but I did buy one thing that I gave to the Tim to put away for Christmas.  I'll share a photo when I officially receive it, since I forgot before I handed it over.  Then I watched the Eagles lose :-(, but the Steelers won :-), so that's football.  I also finished the pair of toddler Christmas socks I'd been knitting for my great-nephew Oden, that I am saving for their own post.  

Today I hope to start another pair of Christmas socks, as well as a hat that I want to give to The Tim for his birthday in November.  I also hope to do a good clean of the second floor, and start pulling out some colder weather clothes since it sounds like fall is actually here.  I have a couple of errands to run, but otherwise, nothing that is required.  It's nice to have today off (we get Columbus Day as a holiday, which I know is controversial, but a day off is a day off as far as I'm concerned), and I plan to enjoy it.

This week will be a long week at work, even with the holiday today.  Friday night is Members' Night, which means that you go to work at the regular time, but don't get home until after 9 p.m., when the event is over and you've put everything away.  It's a LONG day and constantly busy - the only break is lunch and a short dinner break before it all starts.  It's mostly enjoyable, with the occasional grouchy person who has an axe to grind or lives to trip you up on information, but it's also really exhausting!

So that's the news from here.  I hope you had a lovely weekend, and that your upcoming week will be a good one, with normal working hours the whole time!  :-)

08 October 2019

Too Much Fun

I don't know about you, but when I find the perfect gift for someone, it makes me soooo happy!  When I find something to *make* that is perfect for someone, I feel even happier.

A few months ago, I purchased this cross-stitch pattern from Etsy.  When I first saw it, it screamed "Please make me for Amanda!" (my niece, for those who don't know).  At the time I was in the throes of another project, and it's one thing to have two things going with knitting, but I knew that if I had two cross-stitch projects going, it would not end well, and neither would be finished for a looooong time.

So the other project was finished and it was time for the next one.  In theory, I wanted to give it to her for Halloween, and though I wasn't sure I'd finish it this year, one of the best things about holidays is that they show up every single year.

Kat had sent me some really lovely gray cloth that she had in her stash, and I thought I was all set.  So then I started to look for the floss to use.  Well, out of the LARGE amounts of floss I inherited from my mother, there was not one single strand of black.  Four hundred shades of blue, a thousand shades of red, etc., but no black at all.  So I looked at the A.C. Moore near our house.  The craft section is actually not that extensive - it's near an art school, so it is more geared towards that.  But as I mentioned in yesterday's post, when The Tim said he was heading to Home Despot, I went along to check out the larger A.C. Moore near there, and BINGO, black floss!!

Saturday, late in the afternoon, I sat down to start.  And it was clear that - at least in my opinion - the gray cloth would not provide enough contrast to suit me with the black floss.  So I poked around some more in my mom's stuff, and found some slightly-lighter-than-cocoa cloth, and got started.  By the end of the Notre Dame football game, I had this:

(the fabric is darker, the flash washed it out)

I knew this would be the most involved part, since the letters were the most "filled out" so to speak.  I just love the way it turned out (though I realized much later that the "T" was missing a stitch on the crossbar - now a design feature ...).

Sunday, in between other activities and during part of the Eagles game, I completed the "Not All" segment, and last night after paying bills, I got the "Live In" part done.  I really really like the way it looks.

This is so much fun to stitch, and after I stitch "Salem" I will have only the little decorative parts to do.  Then if The Tim is inspired to frame it (and I think he will be, since he truly dotes on Amanda), it can reach her by *this* Halloween!  So exciting, and I cannot wait for her to receive it.

So that's my entry today for Tiny Needle Tuesday.  I may just have to stitch one of these for myself sometime, you know??

07 October 2019

Everything But Paying the Bills

Hello sports fans!  (I know there are plenty of you out there who are not sports fans, but that's what my mother used to say each morning to us when we got up to go to school.)  I hope your weekend was a good one, and that anyone in my part of the universe enjoyed the cool (even cold on Saturday morning!) weather that made it feel truly like fall had arrived.

I had some ideas in my mind of what I had hoped to accomplish this weekend.  I stopped making actual lists for that a couple of years ago, because I realized that by the end of the weekend, if every single thing was not checked off, I'd feel bad.  And none of the things on the list were things like "Finally cure cancer," so why feel bad?  At a minimum, I did the necessary things (laundry), and we weren't coming down with diseases from a somewhat dirty house yet, so I decided to do two things: 1) make a list in my mind of no more than 5 things, and 2) to lower my expectations to the point where if I didn't get everything done, it was still OK.  You know what?  I has made a big difference.  I may be frustrated when I didn't get to something, but I don't feel as if I have failed.

So for this weekend, here was what I had in my head to do:

1. Go to Michael's/A.C. Moore/whatever too look for a few specific cross-stitch supplies.
2.  Start working on my next cross-stitch project if one specific supply was located.
3.  Clean the first floor.
4.  Start gift knits.
5.  Give myself a manicure, so that my nails stop catching on stuff.
6.  Pay the bills.

Saturday morning, The Tim wanted to go to Home Depot (Home Despot to us) for something, and I knew there was a larger A.C. Moore in that shopping center than the one in Center City, which did not have any of the things I was trying to find.  So I joined him and had success with all the things I was trying to locate!

Then I got started on my next cross-stitch project, which will be a gift for my niece Amanda - tune in tomorrow to see what progress has been made.

Yesterday, I got an early start, and the first floor was clean by noon - YAY!  So I sat down and started on some of my planned gift knits while watching the Eagles game.  Here's what I have so far:

This is going to be a pair of Christmas socks for my great-nephew Oden, who is 18 months old.  Socks sure go quickly when you use worsted weight yarn and you are making tiny ones!  I am using the Rye Light pattern from Tin Can Knits for these.

Then, after dinner, because it was getting really ridiculous and I wanted to avoid further discomfort from my nails catching on things, I gave myself a manicure.   Which was just as well, since I and my brain were kinda tired, so paying the bills would have taken twice as long.  

I'll do that tonight, when it will count as an accomplishment for the evening.  ;-)

So it was a good weekend for my brain list, and an even better weekend for me.  I got some things done, and was able to enjoy walks with Hamlet and the cooler weather.  It was nice to cozy up in bed at night instead of feeling all sweaty and just hoping you can fall asleep!

This is a short work week for me, since I have to take Friday off for medical stuff.  All the way to work today I kept reminding myself - "Four days, you can do it!"  I'm not looking forward to the medical stuff, but it should be finished in early to mid-afternoon, so I should have at least some of Friday to enjoy being home.

OK, let's be truthful here - I'll spend the whole day being glad I'm not at work!

04 October 2019

Random Friday Stuff

Hooray Friday!  Hooray cooler weather!

I hope you have had a good week, or at a minimum, survived so that you can enjoy the weekend.  We had what I hope will be our last miserable day here and now it's feeling like fall!  That alone makes me happy, but add it to an upcoming weekend, and it's all good.


Various things have struck me this week, and because I just *knew* you would want to know what they were, I'm here to share.  What can I say, I'm a giver ...

1.  OK, I'll admit that people and their weddings make me wonder a lot of the time, but I am generally in the minority.  Having said that, I think this is something that more generous folks than I would also think was just plain weird (and I'm being nice calling it that, just so you know).  I'm not generally someone who looks for subtext in things, but this screams so many things to me.  And I am not a psychologist/psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV ...

2.  This is a really interesting little video that tells you so much about the Seeing Eye Dogs and the program, just in a few minutes (and yes, I realize it's the New York Post, but this is an exception).  For anyone who hasn't been reading for that long, our dog Hamlet is a retired Seeing Eye Dog.  :-)

3.  A former meterologist at a local news station has a DIY channel on YouTube.  I have watched a few of them, and some are of particular interest to me, and I think she does a good job presenting them, for the most part.  I found this one particularly intriguing.  I thought it was going to involve arm-knitting, but it doesn't.

Personally, I think this looks like a lot of work - but maybe since I know how to knit, it seems that way to me.  I did find it interesting that one comment said something about how the commenter would love to do this, but didn't have the patience - how often has someone said that to you about knitting?

4.  I thought this story involving knitting was just lovely.  People can be kind.

5.  A woman follow on Twitter posted this, and it made me laugh:

"Yes I gave birth, but I haven't bought those little month numbers and laid my child next to them like a tiny, happy crime scene victim and taken a picture of that and posted it to Instagram so in that sense I am not a mother."

First of all, "a tiny, happy crime scene victim" will now and forevermore how I think of babies in those photos because I find it hilarious.  Second of all, as you can well imagine, the responses were largely people telling her how selfish she is because that is important, relatives love it, time goes quickly, blah blah blah.  Because why should she do things her way, right?  It reminds me of my friend Lisa, who had twins and was sick of people telling her to get their photo with Santa.  So she did it, but the boys were wearing onesies with a bear on fire on them in the photo.  Which I found highly amusing, but others found appalling.  (Just so you know, the twins are now 13 and at least as of today, have not become serial killers.)

6.  Wednesday I took the Koodle to the vet for his checkup and shots.  He of course was not pleased, because a) he is the Koodle, b) he hates the cat carrier, and c) it was the vet's office.  Fortunately, he got a clean bill of health, but you will be pleased to know that in true Koodle fashion he found a subtle yet clear way to let me know he was not happy with the whole series of events.  How did he do this, you may ask?  He took a project bag (fortunately recently emptied) off of a table and dragged it to the litter box and peed on it.  In short, Koodle: 1, Me: 0.

7.  And finally, I forgot to post this picture until now.  My great-niece Penn had her first day of kindergarten this year, and every time my niece tried to take her picture, her little brother Oden had to get in on the action.   After a while she gave up, and so here are Penn and Oden on Penn's first day of kindergarten.

It cracks me up that he is so pleased about it. 


Not much is going on this weekend with us.  I have some plans to work on a couple of things around the house, but otherwise nothing specific.  I'm looking forward to just enjoying the nice weather, knitting, reading, hanging out at home, and maybe even doing some baking.  

See you next week - I hope you enjoy your weekend as well!

03 October 2019

Three Faves for the Feet

I was in the mood to do a Three on Thursday post today, but didn't really have anything wondrous in mind (haha, like any of my posts are actually wondrous ...).  But last night, when I started a new project that is one of the gifts I'm knitting, I was thinking about how much I enjoy knitting socks.  And that led me to decide to share three of my favorite sock patterns I've knit.  This is by no means comprehensive, just three that I've particularly enjoyed.

1.  Zigzagular Socks - this is a freebie on Ravelry, and a fun knit.  Mostly you are knitting a plain sock, but there is enough interest to keep you from getting bored.  This is what my pair looked like:

2.  Blueberry Waffle Socks - another freebie, and a really well-known pattern.  This has a bit more going on, but the pattern is so easily memorized that you almost do it without thinking.  Another bonus is that the resulting socks are incredibly squishy and comfy.  I've made a few pairs of these, in various colors, but here is the first pair I knit, a gift for The Tim:

3.  Social Security Number Socks - this one is not a published pattern, but one I heard about from another knitter.  I've made a few versions, and it's always fun.  The ones I've made have always been house/slipper socks, but of course the pattern applies to any weight sock.  Here is how it works:  you take a social security number, say 123-45-6789.  For each unique number, you choose a color.  Then you knit (or purl, or whatever you decide) that many rows for the corresponding color.  So, in the example, you'd have 1 row blue, 2 rows yellow, 3 rows orange, etc.  If you have zeros, you can do a different stitch pattern in that/those rows, use black yarn, etc.  I generally use the color I am on for the heel flap and gusset, but you can be as creative as you want to be there - or of course in the whole sock.  It's a great project for scrappy yarns and leftovers.  Here's a pair I made for myself that I decided didn't even need to match, so I mixed  up two of the colors:

And before you get all worried about security, there are two things I have to say.  1) If someone is that close to your socks, and obviously trying to count the rounds, it's your problem for not finding that suspicious in the first place, and 2) most people wouldn't want to be bothered.  But if it worries you, don't knit a pair!

I know a lot of people aren't sock knitters, but if you are and haven't tried any of these patterns, I would encourage you to give at least one of these a try!

02 October 2019

After An Unravelling ...

Hello and thank you for your kind comments and wishes yesterday for my nephew Chad.  He is really a good guy and I do wish I could see him more often.  Fortunately, I get pretty current reports about him and his family, as I talk to his mom nearly every weekend.

Today I'm joining up with Kat and others for Unraveled Wednesday.  You may remember a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I did actually have to unravel a portion of my Pabaig, when I realized I had misread the pattern.  Well that was annoying, but it was also my own mistake, and fortunately I discovered it when ripping back was not as traumatic as it could have been!

Long story short, it didn't take long to get back on track, and now I'm really close to being finished!

The shoulders are joined together, and I'm working on the funnel neck.  Once that is knit, just the sleeves and weaving in ends will be left to do before blocking it.  Theoretically, it will be finished and wearable during this fall, which was the original plan.  But as I mentioned to Valerie, fall comes every year, so it will be worn at some point.

Even if it was completely ready to go today, I'm not going to be wearing it when it is 96 degrees and humid like it is supposed to be in Philadelphia.  Except for the fact that it sounds like this is the last terrible day, I would be really upset.  

So that's the knitting.  :-)

Reading-wise, I'm about halfway through this one:

This is the third book in the series, and I like it much better than the second one.  I feel like I know these characters so well at this point, sometimes I want to call them and say, "Well WHY would you do/say that??"  I'm curious to find out where this one leaves off.


Today is also bittersweet, as three years ago today, we adopted our Jack.

Since I had missed celebrating his estimated birthday earlier this year due to so many other [stupid] things going on, I was planning to celebrate today, the anniversary of when he joined the family.  As you know, that won't be happening, at least not the way it was supposed to happen.  And I feel terrible about that, but there isn't a thing I can do to change it.  I feel cheated that we didn't even get to have three whole years with him, and I still miss him like crazy, but I'm glad he isn't suffering, and he was such a wonderful, joyous boy and added so much love and happiness to our lives, that I am grateful he was here at all.  Tonight we will have a celebratory brownie topped with ice cream to celebrate his short time here on earth, and send him even more love.  Please remember to hug and kiss your loved ones in honor of Jack today.  You'll be glad you did.  :-)

01 October 2019

One of the Best Days Ever!

Do you see the cutie in this photo?  That is my nephew Chad, born 50 years ago today!  It was one of the most exciting days of my life, and I was so pleased be an aunt.  In this photo, he is three weeks old, and I forgot how much hair he had, how chubby he was (he was 9 pounds at birth!), and that my sister Nancy had her hair bleached platinum blonde.  :-)

Thus begins The Birthday Marathon, and also a bittersweet time.  Life really is full of good and bad moments and memories, and they can hit you when you least expect it.

I remember when Chad was born, my parents were SO excited!  Though I also remember that all of us were perplexed to think our family now included a boy - we were a family of three girls, and my mom was an only child and my dad grew up with two sisters, so a boy was a completely foreign thing to us.  Chad was a cute kid who was a lot of fun, and we have so many funny stories about him.  My father met him once, which neither would really have known, as Chad was only a few weeks old and my father was in a coma.  But oh how proud and thrilled he would have been to know what a kind and wonderful person his grandson turned out to be.

Chad and his family of a wife, three daughters, a son, and about a bazillion pets all live in Arizona, so I seldom get to see him.  But when he was little, my sister and her family lived in Maryland, so I got to spend a lot of time with him.  I hope his memories of our adventures are as happy and fun as mine are.

He is also fortunate because both of his parents are still alive and healthy, as well as his sister and her family.  From all accounts he is doing very well in his career, and his kids are all intelligent, kind, and good people.  It's a gift to have been able to see him grow up and become and adult - one that neither of my parents had, so I am trying to enjoy and appreciate it for them as well.

Happy October 1, and Happy Happy Birthday to Chad!  May many more happy days be in your future.