30 April 2020

Just Stay Home

I'm still here, I've just been busy the past couple of days with Zoom meetings, and then I'm not really in the mood to be on the computer for fun, you know?

Today is the final day in the month of April, which for a lot of people, means they have been home due to quarantine for more than a month.  As someone who doesn't do much socializing even when it's more easily possible, not being around friends and co-workers doesn't really bother me that much.  I would like to be able to see my family - no Rehoboth Beach at Easter, no trip to see everyone on Memorial Day this year - and it is nice to see them on Zoom if nowhere else.  I know it's really difficult for many people.  And it's really worrisome to be low on money, and wonder about how/if/when/how much you can pay the bills.  There are a lot of negatives, even for those of us who have been lucky enough to remain healthy.

So what do so many people want now?  They want the restrictions lifted, so they can get their salon visits in, so they can go out to dinner again, so they can go golfing or to the gym.  I realize that a lot of places have had very few outbreaks, and everyone is struggling one way or another, and feel that they are somehow being punished by being FORCED to stay home.  Small businesses in particular are going out of business, or are worried it will happen 

And the Lieutenant Governor of Texas has famously suggested that older people not mind dying so that the younger people can continue living, and who more recently pointed out that "There are more important things than living."

If you agree, I think you should a) go ahead and feel free to die, and b) maybe stop reading my blog; though of course if you're dead, that's a moot point.

But here are three things I would ask you to keep in mind, since it's Three on Thursday.

1.  Keep in mind that those who die as a result of Covid-19 die alone, and are put to rest alone.  No kiss goodbye, no chance to squeeze a loved one's hand, no chance to say, "I love you, it's OK to go."  No chance for a funeral or memorial service to be comforted by family and friends, and take comfort in at least being together.  And yes, I know that people die alone and suddenly on a regular basis, but this is something that can be prevented if you JUST STAY HOME.  Yes, it can be very depressing and anxiety-inducing (ask me how I know), but suck it up people and JUST STAY HOME.

2.  Imagine losing more than one family member at one time, not due to a horrific accident or murder, but because others felt their need to look good was more important and "I won't go near anyone."  Just change your name to Mike Pence and have your spouse say that you "didn't know masks were required" when you go places, when in fact YOU JUST COULDN'T BE BOTHERED.

3.  Have you ever had last rites, or been with someone when that is happening?  It's upsetting, beyond sad, and if the person involved is conscious, scary but comforting.  Largely because others can be there, even if just a doctor or nurse, because they are able to do so, and can touch the person and see them on their final journey.  In the worst way possible, it is still a solace.

Instead of a scene like this one, where a priest had to provide last rites through a window.

I hope that none of you lose anyone to this horrible pandemic, and that if/when you do lose a loved one, you can feel that they died surrounded by love and dignity. 

Whether you call it God, Karma, Allah, or the Universal Good, make yourself worthy of this world.  And if you have atheist beliefs, remember that we have this one chance to help others on this earth.  I'd like to think people would do it for me.  But frankly, I'm starting to wonder.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I'm getting increasingly annoyed and upset with people who are PERFECTLY HEALTHY whining because they can't do what they feel like doing. 


(rant over)

28 April 2020

One of My Quarantine Projects - Finito!

Hooray, hooray, hooray!  Today is a very pretty, sunny day, and I have an FO to show you.  Both are equally as pleasing to me.

Here is the completed pair:

Project:  Easter Egg Scrappy Shortie Socks
Yarn:  various yarns - leftovers and some from an Advent calendar a couple of years ago
Needles:  US size 1
Pattern:  Improvised
Notes:  These were really fun to knit - the "let me do just one more color" syndrome helping me finish them pretty quickly.  If you look very very closely - and to some degree, even I can't distinguish - you'll notice that the heel flaps and heels are slightly different colors.  I ran out of the first deep red on the first sock, and used a slightly more deep brick red on the second.  And only once they were nearly finished did I realize that I had switched the shades of green after the gold-speckly stripes.  I don't care, and should anyone else mention it, my first question would be 'Why are you that close to my feet??"  But I'm including the info here in the spirit of full disclosure.  😊

For anyone interested, I will tell you how I made these.  The basic idea was to do eight rows of each color that I was using (I chose the colors but did not organize them ahead of time; I started these shortly before Easter, so had Easter egg colors on the brain).  I knew that I would use one color that would be more than eight rows for the heel flap and heel turn, so I knew that would be different.  

I cast on 60 stitches, and did 8 rows of 2 x 2 ribbing with the first color; then 4 more rows of ribbing with the second color, followed by 4 rows of stockinette with that color.  Then I started the heel flap and gusset, then continued on with 8 rows of stockinette each time.  When I got to the yellow, I decided that I would like the toes to be yellow, so I did 4 rows of stockinette, and then started the decreases for the toe.  

After making the first sock, I was out of the red used in the heel flap and turn, so I found another leftover that was close, but a little bit more of a dark brick red for the second sock.  And also on the second sock when I went to add the second green stripe, I realized I'd already used the shade I wanted.  No way was I going to rip back, and besides they are socks, and socks for me, so it was all good - I just used the other green shade.  I like to tell myself that they are like nearly identical twins, that have a couple of things allowing their families and close friends to tell them apart.

I am really pleased with how they turned out, and they just look like very happy socks to me.  Also, I'm pleased that I finished them before April was even over.  Now I just have to decide what socks and what yarn will be next ...

26 April 2020

Sing Anyway

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway." - Emory Austin

This video will surely improve your day, and hopefully put a song in your heart. 

Take care.

24 April 2020

Answer Time

Happy Friday, and I'm glad to have a fun thing to do on such a gloomy weather day.  It's time for me to answer the questions asked as a result of this post, so let's get going!

Araignee wanted to know:

I have always wanted to visit Philadelphia.  If I were to make the trip what would be on the "must do" list?

I get asked this a lot, just in general.  The short answer is that to some degree, it depends on your interests, and the time of year you visit.  But I think for most people, it is worth visiting Independence Hall and the surrounding buildings, because the tour is truly interesting, as is the building.  I would also suggest Eastern State Penitentiary, the first one in the nation, and built on the idea of rehabilitation rather than punishment - though that caused it's own problems!  The ruins are so interesting, and the stories even more so.  Plus it is an architectural accomplishment on its own.  I would suggest a walk or hike along the Wissahickon Creek, which is beautiful at all times of year.  The Japanese House in Fairmount Park is lovely, peaceful, and quiet.  I would always suggest visiting one the neighborhoods and finding the things local people love.  I could go on forever, but at least today, those would be my suggestions.

andrea had a few questions:

-if you could be an expert in one thing, what would you want it to be?

I wish I could be a veterinarian.  But given that even the most basic science classes always took my overall grade average way down, and that I am way too emotional where animals are involved, it was clear very early that would not ever happen.   So I wish I were a great writer or that I could play a musical instrument, particularly cello or piano.

- 3 desert island books!  What would you bring with you if you could only bring 3?

This answer changes a lot every day, but I would always bring To Kill a Mockingbird, because it has always been a book that spoke to me, and continues to do so.  For me it's a touchstone in my life - the first time I read it, I feel like it changed me for the better.  Another always book is The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, because it's truly one of the most amazing books I've ever read.  After that, I'd want any book by Barbara Pym,  because I've never met one of her books that I didn't love.

- what is your earliest memory as a child?

The first place I remember living was 162 Park Avenue, Teaneck, New Jersey (an excellent street address, because it rhymed!), and the crooked window in the stairwell of the house.  The layout of the first floor is still in my brain as if I just left the room.  My friends Jane Hoffman and Debbie Pasqua lived across the street.  Debbie's grandparents lived with them, and only spoke Italian, which I saw as very mysterious.  We would often cross the George Washington Bridge to go to New York City for the day and then meet my father at work and come home.  We went to Bear Mountain or Palisades Park on weekends a lot.  We lived there when I was 3 or 4 years old.

- one place in the world that you've never been that you've always wanted to go, no matter how unrealistic it could possibly be to get there?

I have always wanted to go to Scandinavia - any of the countries.  And I would dearly love to go to New Zealand!

Kym had two questions:

- How do you keep your needles organized? (always looking for hints)

I bought one of those hanging pocket things with the sizes listed on the pockets for my circulars; the few straight needles I have are in an old metal pasta container; and, my dpns are in a small plastic art case with compartments.  It works for me, but I too would like something that made more sense.  I wish I could afford different interchangeable sets, since they come with their own storage, but for now, this is what I do.

- Do you let Hamlet get up on your furniture?

This one made me laugh, because when we adopted him from the person whom he guided, one of the things he told us was that Hamlet "never gets on the furniture."  Which was fine, we were not wedded to the whole thing one way or the other.  Fast forward a few months when The Tim was home from work one day, and he walked into the guest room for something to find Hamlet snoozed out on the bed!  So we don't know if a) he decided on his own to do it, or b) since his previous owner(s) was/were blind, they just didn't know because they never actually saw it!  But he is welcome to be on the furniture - it's not fair for him to not be allowed when the cats are all over everything.  He's also good about listening to "no!" - if he's all wet, or in other situations.  😊

Dee also had two questions:

- How did you choose that awesome house you live in?  [thanks, Dee!]

When we decided to buy a house, we had a real estate agent who wanted to show us things that were not just in our price range, but slightly above and slightly below.  Our house is the first she showed us - it was in the slightly above category.  BUT no matter what else we saw, we kept thinking about "those floors!" (random-width pine floors), "that garden!" (we have an outside walled garden area that someone created at some point from the lots next door), and the fact that it was built in 1850, and the first person who lived there was John O'Connor (a brewmaster) and his family (family on my mother's side were O'Connors).  Eventually, the real estate agent told us that the house had been on the market for over a year, and the sellers were getting antsy about selling it.  So we made an offer, they countered, we made another offer, and got the house!  At the time, the neighborhood was nice enough, but not great - nowadays, there is absolutely no way we could afford to live here ...

- If money were no object, what would you treat yourself to (i.e., what would you buy)?

I would rescue as many animals as I could, and take care of them!

Shirley wanted to know:

What does your job involve?  I think you work in the library of a college but not sure.

Shirley, I will give you the basic answer, because I could talk about it for ages in great detail that would make you wish you had never met me!

I am the cataloger and serials librarian in the library of a museum.  For those who don't know what that means, I am the person who determines the call numbers and subject headings for library materials.  And I am in charge of everything to do with serials (magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.).  Our library has materials published beginning in 1546 up until today.  It's a behind-the-scenes job.  During graduate school I focused on cataloging of rare materials and serials management, but for the bulk of my career was a cataloger in academic medical libraries!  I've worked in a lot of cool places, with other interesting jobs, but that's it right now.

wisps of words had a comment rather than a question:

I'm not a knitter, but I adore your icon ... Nora and Asta from "The Thin Man" I believe.

Yep!  One of my favorite movies ever and I could only wish to live like Nick and Nora and Asta.  😉

KSD wanted to know:

Are you sure no calamities have befallen you in Octobers? (The opal thing, you know.)

[What she is referring to is my comment to her that though my birthday is in March, I have an opal ring I wear every October.  The story is that if opal is not your birthstone and you wear it, you will have bad luck.]

Octobers have generally been a good month for me.  For instance, I got married in October, and no one in either of our families have died during that month.  So there you go.

Minerva wondered:

What is the most difficult knitting project that you have done?  And have you ever steeked a knitting project?

In general, any project with skills new to me seems difficult, but I would say the one that seemed most difficult was also the only project I've ever steeked!

Years ago, when Rosie's Yarn Cellar still existed (RIP, sigh), I took a class on colorwork.  I decided to knit Dotty, by Kaffe Fassett.  Lisa  - the LYS owner who was teaching the class - decided that it would be better to knit in the round, so she adapted it for me, and that meant that the v-neck and arm openings would need to be steeked, which she helped me do, thank God!

It is still fills me with a sense of accomplishment to think I knit it, and the photo of The Tim wearing it from my project page is also used as one of the photos on the Ravelry pattern page! 

P.S. There is a funny story about a photo of this that andrea knows.  But that's for another post ...

Anonymous (aka Cheryl) asked:

Who taught you to knit?  How old were you?

My first encounter with knitting is described here.  I actually learned for real shortly after we moved to Philadelphia, and walked past the previously mentioned Rosie's Yarn Cellar.  The offered learn to knit classes, so I took one, also taught by Lisa, the owner, and that was the start!  I was 40 years old.

Meredith MC wanted to know:

What's your favorite project that you've knitted?

I don't know that I have a favorite as far as the finished item, but the thing that I enjoyed knitting the most, and that I love the result, is my Crazytown Cowl.  I enjoyed every minute of making it and hope to make another someday.

kathy b had the last question for this round:

What is the most uplifting podcast you've listened to?

I fear that my extremely cynical nature keeps me from seeing "uplifting" in the same way as most people.  Things that others find uplifting, I often find ridiculous or sappy at best, and manipulating at worst.  So I don't watch/listen to any podcasts to be uplifted.  I tend to feel that something has been uplifting at random times by random things that others would likely ignore or find weird.  So though I find many podcasts to be enjoyable to watch/listen to, I am afraid that I've never had one make me feel uplifted at all.  Sorry!


Thank you for all of these great questions!  I hope you found my answers at least a bit interesting, I tried to actually give the truest answers I could.   I enjoy this exercise so much, because it gives me a chance to not just hear from all of you, but to really think about what I'm being asked.  So save up your questions, I will definitely do another "Ask Me Anything" post down the road.

In the meantime, have a good weekend, and stay as healthy as possible.

23 April 2020

Quarantine Projects

Before I head off to my work dept Zoom meeting, I thought I'd write this post, because after those, I am always so sad and depressed, it might never happen!  And since it's Three on Thursday, and I currently have three projects underway, it means I could have a post that is kinda sorta a no-brainer.  😉

Thus I give you my Quarantine Projects, in their current states.

1.  Social Distance Sweater - this is something I've had the yarn to make for a while, and finally cast on.  The pattern is the Pavement, and though it's a basic item, the people I know who have knit it have ended up with lovely sweaters. 

As you can see, I have most of the body knit - I'm nearly to the bottom edging, then it will be sleeve time.  This photo doesn't show the color properly, but it's a tough color to photograph - a very dark gray/green.  Once I got past the neckline start, it's been an enjoyable knit.  I started this in the first week in quarantine, and am hoping to have it finished soon, since I've thought about knitting this for a long time.  I don't know if I'll have many chances to wear it before it gets too warm, but even so, it will be waiting for me as a perfect transition piece next fall.

2.  Easter Egg Scrappy Shortie Socks - I showed you the finished first sock the other day, and have been making good progress on the second.  As of yesterday, I am onto the foot, so these should be finished soon.  The pattern is just a vanilla sock pattern, turned into shortie socks.

3.  Down the Shore Shawl - as a reminder, this is the Beachcomber pattern.  I have finished the first two sections, and just barely started on the third.  This is not a hard knit per se, but the Knit Picks CotLin yarn is not as easy to work with though it is not unpleasant.  Because it's not wool or other more elastic fabric, it can be hard to maneuver stitches in the lace sections.

It's an enjoyable knit and not difficult in and of itself, and I am just really loving the way it's turning out.  Right now, I am about 2 rows into the third section, and then will be doing a picot bindoff, which will be a new thing for me.  Hopefully I'll be successful, as I do like the look of that bindoff.

Normally, other than socks, I would not be this far along on the larger projects, but I'll take it!  Especially when I lost my reading mojo for a while, these kept me good company.  They are all things I wanted to knit, and are all enjoyable for different reasons.  And right now, given the way things are going as far as reopening things around here (not happening  any big way in Philadelphia anytime soon), they may all truly turn out to be quarantine projects - started AND finished before all of this is in the past.  I guess I may very well end up all dressed up with no place to go ... 

22 April 2020

Feeling Pleased So That's Never a Good Sign

Yes, I am feeling pleased with myself, which always ends with my getting my butt kicked by karma, the universe, Mother Nature, whoever is available at the time.  But for now I'll take it.

The thing that pleases me most right now is that I was paying bills earlier, and was actually able to have a tiny bit left to make a [tiny] contribution to the local food bank, that is struggling with extra people being out of work.  Yes, it was a good feeling, but the best part was knowing that it was made possible by the Orange One and Mnuchin, and that neither would likely find it a good use of the funds.  😋

I'm also pleased to join Kat and everyone for Unraveled Wednesday, which is always fun! I'm moving along pretty well on my knitting projects, though I am saving them to share another day.  But I haven't had to rip out anything for a while, in the case of one of them in particular, that's a good thing - I ripped out so many times when I was starting it, I nearly gave up.  But I've won that round, at least.

Reading-wise, last weekend I finished this book, which was such a fun read!

It's the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and I've never read any of them, though I've known about them forever it seems. This is the book that brought back my reading mojo.  I enjoyed this so much, I told The Tim that it was my turn for a read-aloud book, and we started it yesterday.

I just started this book a couple of days ago.

Right now, I'm not sure if I'll continue.  I love the references and descriptions of the neighborhoods in D.C., including the one where we used to live, and the story could be interesting, but right now, it seems like it might be too predictable even for me.  But I'm giving it another chapter or two, since I haven't gotten that far yet.

I hope you are getting along with your making and your reading.  Right now, it's more important than ever!

21 April 2020

Lately Around Here

Hello all!  Its starting to get very gloomy here, and is supposed to start pouring rain (what a surprise), so I played it smart for once and have already taken Hamlet out for his morning walk, where he found someone who would pet him, so his day started out well ... and The Tim just returned from a trip to the grocery store, so we are set for a while.  Now we can just stay inside for the time being.

Our weekend was fine, if somewhat uninteresting.  The highlight was Saturday evening, when we did a Zoom happy hour with my niece Amanda and her husband Patrick.  Even their cat Clancy joined in!  We had so much fun, catching up, laughing, and just generally being silly.  It felt good.  Also, I don't know if any of you watch the TV show "Ozark," but I freaked out Pat with my impersonations of two of the characters (Ruth Langmore and Darlene, for those familiar with the series).  The two of them are doing well, and we traded suggestions for things to watch on TV while we're all home, so it was beneficial as well as just plain fun.

Also on Saturday morning, The Tim cut my hair for me!  I had told him that if he was willing to try, I would appreciate it - and that if it looked awful, no problem, since I'm not going anywhere in public anytime soon.  He was bothered because we didn't have hair trimming tools, but took out his beard trimmer and used that.  It was a huge success!  I told him that he'd better be careful, or he'd have a permanent job.  When we were talking to Amanda and Pat, they were complimenting him.  I said I assumed the back looked fine, but also wasn't too worried, since I don't see the back of my head, and then he said, "I figured that, so I just carved in the message 'F*** you.'"  We all got a good laugh out of that!

Towards the end of last week, I managed a HO:

This is the first Easter Egg Scrappy Shortie Sock, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out!  I've got the second sock going, and am ready to pick up for the gusset and then knit the foot, so it's well on its way.  I was seeing lots of scrappy sock projects on Instagram and on podcasts, and they looked so nice, I decided to give them a try.  This is just a plain vanilla sock pattern, and I chose some scraps and minis that I figured would have enough for a pair, and got started.  It's fun, because it's one of those "just let me do one more color" projects. 😊

(See that smiley face?  I've been using Blogger forever, and just realized they had emojis.  Sigh.)

I've decided that Friday will probably be the day that I post the answers to the questions you asked me here.  So for anyone who still wants to ask me anything, there's still time!  Just remember the questions have to be posted as comments on that post.

That's about it for today.  We are still fortunate, in that we and all of our loved ones are still well and able to stay safe; I hope that is the case for you too. 

19 April 2020

A Sunday in April

"It takes great courage
to see the world
in all its tainted glory
and still to love it."
 -- Oscar Wilde

17 April 2020

Let's Do This Again

I did this once before (here's the questions along with the answers), and had fun answering the questions, so I thought, let's do this again!  Face it, there's not a lot else going on right now, so maybe we can have some fun with it. 

Just as a reminder, the questions can be  anything at all - crafty, personal, silly, serious ... 

Leave your question in the comments of this post, and rather than responding individually (as I try to do when I have your e-mail address), I'll collect the questions and answer them in a post next week on a day to be determined.  Maybe Monday, maybe Friday, maybe not - who knows?

Also, as a disclaimer, I reserve the right to *not* answer questions that are just plain rude (though I can't imagine that any of you would ask those), or that just seem creepy (not that I expect any like that, I'm just saying those would be non-starters).  

So ask away, and I'll do the best I can to respond.

In the meantime, have a good weekend.  Hopefully you'll be able to spend some time doing something that you enjoy, even if you can't really go out running around.  :-)

16 April 2020

Sometimes You Gotta Do Some Digging

... but if you dig long and deep enough, you can find some good things, even during this time when you might be thinking otherwise.

Pip takes a nap

So I decided to share Three Good Things for this week's Three on Thursday.

Thing #1:  As I mentioned earlier this week, we had a virtual staff meeting on Tuesday, where we were going to learn more about how things are going to be in the short term, moving forward.  We learned that except for administration and scientific staff, everyone else will be getting a 25% reduction in salary going forward.  As of right now, no one is laid off or let go.  So although I am not pleased to be getting a salary reduction - it happened before right before I started working where I am now, and was never "made up," so to speak - I am glad that for the moment I will still be getting a paycheck at all.  (I'm also not surprised at who is not getting a salary reduction, once the CEO started talking at all, I felt like we all knew that would be the case, as those people have contracts.) 

Also - I'm counting two things as one, since they are related - The Tim qualified for unemployment benefits, and was notified this morning that they will do a direct deposit in the next couple of days.  Even before any of this started, we were operating on fumes, so at least we won't have to use up all of our savings right off the bat.  That was for sure good news!

Thing #2:  I am enjoying being able to listen to/watch the podcasts that I enjoy, and a lot of them are more regularly available now since a lot of people doing them are also at home with the time to record.  A lot of the time, I kinda pick and choose since I don't have the luxury of the extra time to pay attention to them, but currently I'm liking the chance to not have to be as picky.

Thing #3:  My reading mojo is definitely back!  For the past few weeks, I've been in the mood to read, but had a hard time settling on what I wanted to read, and therefore just stopped for a while.  It was really bugging me, so I decided to try reading some things that were not intended to be deep, meaningful, or edifying, but rather were meant to be interesting and entertaining.  That seems to have been the perfect solution.  So now I'm not just reading, but enjoying what I'm reading and actually finishing the book.  Win-win!

Today I could technically add Thing #4, as right now The Tim is downstairs putting homemade chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake.  Those are good, no matter what else is or is not happening, right???

15 April 2020

Book Report for January, February, and March 2020

YIKES!  April is halfway over, and I forgot to post about what I read during the first three months of this year - please tell me you haven't been holding your breath waiting for this ... though I guess if you have, well ... RIP?

Anyway, I did think about it last week but then likely got mired in my own brain and just forgot until today.   So since there is no time like the present, here is what I read and what I thought about it.

A Killer Christmas Party, by Nicole Ellis - This book was one that got much better as it progressed.   I think I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the previous books in the series, since events and characters were referred to from time to time and they were clearly from previous stories.

I also had a hard time keeping track of some of the characters, which I also think would have been easier if I had read previous installments. 

So whereas in the end it was interesting enough to finish, it wasn't a favorite.

Winter Street, by Elin Hilderbrand - This was a pretty good read, and well-written.  It starts with Kelley Quinn, the owner of the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket Island, walking in on his current wife kissing the guy who has always played Santa Claus at the Inn's holiday party two days before Christmas.  As it turns out, the two of them have been having an affair for years.  So when Mitzi leaves Kelley for George/Santa, he starts to spiral downwards.  He's already been having problems paying the bills, and didn't need the extra stress.

Kelley also has four adult children - three with his first wife, one with Mitzi - who are all having their own issues.  Two of the adult children live at the Inn, the oldest son lives in Manhattan but shows up distraught after his wife takes their kids to see her parents when she learns he has done something illegal, and the youngest is in the Marines in Afghanistan, and hasn't been heard from for a few days.

As everyone gathers, each with their own issues, things develop, things change, and they realize how important family is.  In some ways the book is corny, but mostly it's not.  And the part where they all have a silent prayer for the son in the Marines at their Christmas dinner was really poignant.  Not a bad read at holiday time.

A Nantucket Christmas, by Nancy Thayer - This book is fine if you read it as a fairy tale of what happened to the dog introduced right at the beginning.  And also if you enjoy reading about Christmas decorations and imagining what Nantucket must look like at Christmastime.  For those reasons, I gave it one star.

But otherwise, nope.

Vanishing Fleece : Adventures in American Wool, by Clara Parkes.  I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  Clara Parkes is a good writer, and though she has a wonderful "punny" sense of humor, it's clear that she enjoys her subjects but also is serious about them.

When she has a chance to take an entire bale from the shearing of a flock of sheep, she can't turn down the offer.  This is her chance to learn how not just the sheep-to-yarn process works, but how the wool industry works in America.

Reading this, I gained a whole new respect for those involved in even the smallest part of the entire process, and mourned the fact that so many of the mills and supporting industries have shut down and/or moved overseas.  By dividing her bale, we are able to get a true sense of how different places handle processing and dyeing, and even how independent dyers obtain and work to create the unique skeins of yarn so in demand right now.

There is A LOT of information here, but it is presented in a way that even non-experts can understand.  You begin to feel that you know some of the individuals that help Clara on her quest, and I at least finished the book being very grateful that they all do what they do.  And being even more fond of sheep.

I won this book from an Instagram giveaway from Liverpool Yarns, but all opinions are mine.

Long Bright River, by Liz Moore - I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I'm glad I had a chance to read it.

The book tells the story of two sisters - Kacey and Michaela ("Mick") Kirkpatrick, who grew up in the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia.  Kacey lives on the streets as a drug addict and prostitute, and Mick is a police officer.  When the story opens, Mick and her new partner are called to a scene where a woman has overdosed.  All the way there, Mick worries that it is Kacey.  It is not - at least not this time - but Mick also thinks something other than just an overdose is in play.

We travel through the girls' lives growing up when they were best friends, having been raised by their no-nonsense grandmother.  Each of them has their own issues to deal with, but as Mick is the narrator, you learn her version of things.  She was a shy outlier, always brought into the group by her younger, more outgoing sister.  When Kacey's behavior changes, they basically become strangers.

Throughout the book, Mick is trying to locate Kacey, as she has not heard from her recently.  Through this search, we learn the girls' and the families' histories, as well as meeting people currently in their lives.

This was a really good book, not just because I knew the locations mentioned, but because it was good at making you feel for the characters, whether or not you thought they would turn out well in the end.  It was also about the stories that families tell themselves as much out of love as out of protection from the truth.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Frederik Backman - I enjoyed this book, admittedly not nearly as much as I liked A Man Called Ove.  But nonetheless, this was a good read.

The story centers on Elsa, who is getting ready to turn eight years old, just about to get a new half-brother, and whose grandmother has just died.  Her grandmother told her that she had a job for her, which was to deliver letters to several people.  At first, Elsa is really puzzled; but as time goes on, she comes to realize that her grandmother was an extremely complex person, much more than just Elsa's best friend. 

Told largely in the framework of the fairy tale world that Elsa and her grandmother inhabited, we learn along with Elsa that her grandmother was a trailblazer, and is still protecting Elsa even though she is gone from the earth.

Akin, by Emma Donoghue - Noah Selvaggio is a retired professor whose wife has died, living a comfortable existence on the Upper West Side of New York City.  As the book opens, he is getting ready for his trip to Nice, the place of his birth, and where he has not returned since his mother sent him to New York in World War II.  She had stayed behind to care for her elderly father, a renowned French photographer.  Noah has some photographs that his late sister gave him that were with their mother's effects, and one of the things he wants to do on this trip is to try and figure out where/what/who they about.

Right before he is ready to leave, he gets a call from Child Services - a great-nephew that he has never met, who is the son of his nephew who died from a drug overdose, needs a temporary placement.  He was living with his other grandmother, who has recently died, and the boy's mother is in prison.  They have been unable to contact any other family, and the case worker is trying to keep the boy from ending up in the foster child system if at all possible.

After a series of hurried legal proceedings, Noah and the great-nephew, Michael, set off on the trip to France.  During their time there, Noah begins to wonder just what his mother's role was in staying behind, and also learns that maybe everything he believed about is late nephew was not quite as it seemed.  He goes through almost every type of high and low emotion one can have, while also trying to connect with and keep up with Michael. 

By the end of the book, Noah has an entirely different sense of himself, his family, and the choices that people make during the course of their lives.  I thought this was a good read.

Still Here : The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch, by Alexandra Jacobs - I received this book as a Christmas gift, and couldn't wait to sit down and read it.  I was a fan of Elaine Stritch mostly through exposure to her in some musicals by Stephen Sondheim, and then from interviews I'd read.  When she was cast in the TV show "30 Rock" as the mother of Jack Donaghy's character (played by Alec Baldwin), I thought it was just perfect. 

There is no denying that along with her talent and desire to be noticed, Stritch could be seen as demanding and even rude.  For the most part, she did not suffer fools gladly (I can relate to this.)  But I was fascinated to find out more about her, from her upper-middle-class upbringing in Detroit, to her failures in Hollywood, to the men she was involved with (Gig Young and Ben Gazzara, to name two.  Gig Young and Ben Gazzara???).  This book talks about her insecurities as well as her talents.  She could be mercurial, but if she was your friend, you knew she was on your side.

And she was really funny, sometimes for all the wrong reasons. 

I enjoy reading biographies of entertainers who weren't just the flavor of the day.  This gave me an insight into how Elaine Stritch became successful, even when she wasn't a glamour girl or an ingenue.  I enjoyed this book quite a bit.

Meet Me in Malmo, by Torquil MacLeod - A British journalist from a small regional paper travels to Sweden to interview his former college roommate who is now a well-known film director.  The journalist is hoping that this coup will get his boss off his back, and maybe even give him some national exposure and a shot at something better.

He arrives in Sweden, and the next day when he goes to the former roommate's apartment for the interview, he finds his wife - and the star of most of his movies - has been murdered.

Detective Anita Sundstrom has been assigned to interview the journalist, as she is fluent in English more so than her colleagues.  She and the journalist (Ewan) start to develop somewhat of a relationship, though she is hesitant to let her guard down.  As suspects come and go, she begins to worry that perhaps Ewan was somehow involved.

There are a lot of things happening in this story, and plenty of "he/she's the one" moments, but the possibilities keep disappearing, and pretty soon it's hard to decide who is telling the truth, who is corrupt, and who killed the director's wife. 

I liked the descriptions of the town of Malmo, and observations about Sweden and Swedish people, and the beginning of the story, which is why I gave this 3 stars.  I was not all that impressed with the ending, as I feel that it seemed hurried and somewhat contrived.

The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue - Lib Wright, an English nurse who served with Florence Nightingale in Crimea, travels to rural England to care for a young girl, Anna O'Donnell, who has survived for four months on no food, and only a few teaspoons of water every day.  The story takes place in 1859.  What is causing the girl's condition?  Is it a medical anomaly, or a miracle?  Tourists have been coming to the child's family home, seeing her as a gift from God who can help them get their prayers answered as well.

Lib arrives having already decided that the whole thing is a fraud, and with her predetermined feelings about the Irish people in general.  Believing them to be lazy, stupid, shiftless, and cheaters who are way too involved in the Catholic religion.  Upon arrival, she is suspicious of everyone, thinking they are all involved in the scam of the "miracle."  She and a local nun are tasked with watching over the girl 24/7. 

The problem is, Lib is unable to determine what is happening.  The girl does refuse food, but she continues to live and her religious beliefs seem strong.  Even worse, she keeps reciting "The Dorothy prayer" which keeps Lib's suspicions stronger than ever.

Only when Lib meets a jounalist at her lodgings and the journalist meets Anna, does Lib begin to actually see what is happening, and what might be the answer to the whole thing.  Only then does she see what is actually happening to Anna, and what her options might be.  Only then does she take action.  And "The Dorothy prayer" - turns out to be Anna saying, "Lord we adore thee."

This is a book about how preconceived notions can be blinding and dangerous.  Only when Lib is willing to actually look at the situation, and see everyone's roles and actions - including her own - does it become clear what she needs to do.

Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney - This is an extremely readable book.  And one of the creepiest ones I've ever read. 

Amber Reynolds is in a coma.  She doesn't remember what happened.  She thinks her husband is having an affair.  And most importantly, she admits that she lies sometimes.

As the story is recreated, we see how Amber's uneasy childhood may have accounted for a lot of her behavior.  We learn that her sister was always the favored child, and that right before the accident that placed her in the hospital in a coma, she was in danger of losing her job and was sabotaging her boss.

But is any of it true?  Is Amber telling the truth?  What really did/has happened, and who is the person responsible?  I'm still not sure I know after reading the book ...

The Mauritius Command, by Patrick O'Brian - This was another book read aloud by my husband.

Jack Aubrey is leading a quiet life as a husband and father of two girls (which is incredibly disappointing to him), when during a visit from his friend and colleague Stephen Maturin, he finds that he has been given a ship to command as a Commodore.  Soon the two men are on their way to help claim Mauritius from the French on behalf of England.

The voyage has several ups and downs, some very disturbing descriptions of injuries obtained in battles, but some interesting characters along the way.  There are also some amusing expressions said by a few of the main characters that had both of us cracking up.

By the end of the book, the long voyage is over, mission accomplished, and Jack learns that back home in England, his wife has given birth to a son (PRAISE THE LORD).  My favorite part here is that Stephen is clearly puzzled as to why having a son is better than having daughters.

Another interesting, detailed, descriptive tale in this series.

A Royal Pain, by Rhys Bowen - Lady Georgiana is considering a trip to London, since she is growing bored with her brother and sister-in-law in Scotland.  But she needs to figure something out.  The she finds out that her money-making scheme - opening up and preparing closed houses before the London season opens - gives her both a job and an excuse.  However, she is soon summoned by the Queen for assistance.  The Princess of Bavaria is coming to stay for two weeks and the Queen is hoping that the presence of a young, beautiful, vivacious girl will distract the Prince of Wales from that "awful Simpson woman."  She wants the Princess to stay with Lady Georgiana, so she has a chance to be around some younger, more lively people.

After Georgiana manages to find a "staff" for her own London house, the Princess arrives.  Georgiana finds her pleasant, if not puzzling, and some strange and tragic things begin to happen after her arrival.  It's up to Georgiana to not just try and pair her up with the Prince, but find out what happened that caused a couple of deaths.

With the Wallis Simpson aspect, the rise of Hitler, and the influence of Communists, there's a lot happening in this book.  But it's a highly enjoyable read, and gives you a feel for the time period.

Murder by the Book, by Lauren Elliott - When Addison Greyborne moves to the small coastal New England town where her great-aunt left her an estate, it's a chance to leave sad memories in Boston, but also open her own shop, dealing with old/rare books and interesting curios.  But trouble finds her on the very first day the shop opens, and soon a lot of people in the town are blaming her for a rash of crimes, including murder.

This was an interesting cozy mystery.  It had interest to me since part of what Addie is interested in is books and their backgrounds.  The problems she had and that seemed to follow her around were ones that you knew had to somehow involve her and her past, even if they seemed to be unrelated to one another.  And there were enough "moving parts" so to speak, to keep my interest.

This one veered very close to new-woman-in-town-falls-for-hunky-cop, but at least in this installment, that was only where it seemed to be headed, not where it ended up.  But I would not be at all surprised if in the next book that just happened from the get go.  We'll see.

But this particular one had a lot in it that I liked.

Devoted Ladies, by Molly Keane -  I tried, I really did but it's just not doing it for me.  The people are awful and there aren't enough amusing bon mots to read more.

A Pure Clear Light, by Madeleine St. John - Simon and Flora Beaufort have been married for a while, and have three lovely children.  In this book, Simon finds himself having an affair with a young accoutant he meets through a mutual friend while Flora and the children are in France for the summer holidays. 

Upon their return, the affair continues, but what worries Simon the most is that Flora seems to be leaning towards going to church regularly.  She was raised Roman Catholic, which Simon finds appalling, but converted to the Anglican church when they were married.  And they only got married in a church to appease their parents, and have since lived a completely secular life.

Throughout the book, Simon comes across as a controlling, self-centered heel.  His needs, wants, and opinions are what he thinks should count above all else.  He wants Flora to stop going to church and is really upset when the children start going with her.  He wants to keep the affair going, and is annoyed when the young accountant seems to be drifting away, living her life with her friends.  He is, in a word, a douchebag.

Flora seems to sense that something is off, but cannot put her finger on it.  She finds that going back to church fills her with a feeling that there is something other in the world, not just her life and her worries.  One of her friends spots Simon and his girlfriend in a cafe, and though the woman's husband says yes, of course Simon is cheating, no one wants to tell Flora. 

The book goes back and forth, though it mainly spends time presenting the story from Simon's point of view.  But St. John is clearly doing this on purpose, to show us not just how self-centered Simon is, but how his wife and family are only important to him at *his* convenience. 

The story is interesting, and well-written, with some true sardonic wit that will make you chuckle to yourself when reading it.  St. John is able to present the characters without making any of them perfect, but while also letting you appreciate their feelings and inner thoughts.

For the past few weeks, I have lost my reading mojo, but fortunately I started a new book this week and it has grabbed my attention enough that I feel like it's returning!  Which is a good thing, not only because I do love to read, but also because I've been knitting so much that my right elbow had been starting to bother me ...

What have you read lately that you did or did not like?

14 April 2020

Easter Weekend

Hello everyone - I hope all of you had a good holiday weekend of your choice, or if you do not celebrate any of the spring holidays, I hope you had a good weekend overall. 

Our weekend was very nice, but also very different than usual.  This is usually the weekend that my niece Amanda and her husband Patrick come for a visit.  Besides just general hilarity, good eats and drinks, and going to Easter Mass together, we create our masterpieces of Inappropriate Easter Eggs.  So Easter weekend is generally a weekend that is just a blast.

This year, it was a lot quieter.  Needless to say, *no one* was coming to visit other than a certain Bunny, and we were only going out when necessary - walking the dog, The Tim made a run to the grocery store on Thursday.  But we still had a good time however we could. 

On Saturday, I spent another couple of hours sewing two more masks for us (so that we wouldn't have to be sure the ones we had were dry before going out again!), this time using ties made from old t-shirts.

Let me tell you, they are somewhat more comfy than the tape ties, but they needed serious trimming, since they were soooooo long.  ;-)  But this time, they were started and finished pretty quickly, unlike my first go-round which took a really long time.  This time I knew exactly what was involved, so there was not as much time spent making mistakes.

Later on Saturday afternoon, we colored eggs.  They turned out really well, and they are pretty, but without our usual partners in crime, they were just the usual types of Easter eggs.  It was fun dyeing them and personalizing them, no matter what.

When we woke up on Sunday, everyone was pleased to see that the Easter Bunny had in fact been able to make a visit!

Always a good way to start the day.  I watched Easter Mass on TV, while The Tim made us a yummy breakfast, and then we had a Zoom get-together with Amanda and Pat so we did get to see them and have some laughs.  The rest of the day we just relaxed, and The Tim made a nice Easter dinner as well.  So though  it was a little weird and extremely low-key, it was nice and we were able to be together. 

Not a lot else is new.  Yesterday was a pouring rain, heavy wind day, and fortunately today is sunny, though not that warm.  But it's so nice to see the sunlight after yesterday's deluge.  We have an all-staff Zoom meeting at 2:00, where we will get updates on what is happening with our schedules, and if any big changes like layoffs or salary reductions will be coming.  The only good thing about those meetings is that the CEO is a stickler for having them only last an hour.  I have another section meeting tomorrow afternoon, and then a dept meeting on Thursday morning.  I realize they want to stay in touch and keep everyone on top of things, but most of the meetings are a bigger waste than usual because no one has anything new of different that we are doing or trying to do.  But I guess meetings are the bane of existence whether you are at home or working from home!

I'm going to sign off now so I have some time to myself before I have to get back to the computer.  I hope all of you are well, and hanging in there.  See you again soon!

12 April 2020

Easter Sunday 2020

A List of Praises, by Anne Porter

Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wak with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes, 
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.

Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods, 
At night give praise with starry silences.

Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.

Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with the hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.

Give praise with mockingbirds, day's nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.

Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Salmon river,
Wilderness river.

Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.

Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages, 
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains
And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.

09 April 2020

A Game Changer, A Surprise, and A Happy Project

Hello - I hope all of you are doing well and that your loved ones are also OK.  Right now I'm sitting here after a Zoom departmental meeting, and decided that I would write my post now to get the bad taste of most of them out of my mouth and brain.  It also happens to be Three on Thursday, so I thought I would share three things as described above in the title to this post.  :-)

1.  The Game Changer - I do not remember where I saw this, but I've been sharing it ad nauseum for everyone I know.  Do your glasses/sunglasses fog up when you wear a face mask?  Well, I saw an article with a suggestion, and I have tried it now several times, and have to say, it works really really well, to avoid the fog.  Here is the idea:  take a tissue and fold it to make a long, rectangular strip.  Then you place it over the bridge of your nose, under the mask, and of course, tie the mask as usual.  Guess what???  No glasses fogging from your breath!  I realize this may be old news to some/all of you, but it was new to me and I'm grateful for the person who figured it out in the first place.

2.  The Surprise - All of my plants are still alive and seem quite happy!  This may not be a big deal to you, but it is for me.  I used to have all kinds of plants, but our house doesn't get a lot of bright, direct sunlight, so everything died pretty quickly when we moved here.  Over the years, I had some success with other plants, and was still doing well with violets.  The other plants died, the Koodle kept knocking the violets over until they were so continually broken apart, they just died.  So for a long time, I had no plants at all.   Then I bought that small poinsettia at Christmastime, as well as a Christmas cactus, and they did fine.  So when a plant shop opened in the neighborhood, I decided to try a few more.  I am happy to report that as of this writing, they all seem to be quite happy and doing well - even the little poinsettia!

Someday when I can leave the house again, I'm going to get a couple more, and even try a violet or two again, now that I have a place to put them that is out of the Koodle's reach.  But I can't tell you how much these guys please me.  I also think that having Barry Bear and Llily Llama keep them company is helping ...

3.  The Happy Project - I know I showed this yesterday, but after that I added the third color, and I'm just enjoying knitting it and looking at it so much, that it may be the project that is currently making me the happiest.

So that is my contribution for today.  I hope you are finding good things that surprise you or make you happy.  We all need to find it somehow for ourselves.  

Take care.  Stay home.  Wash your hands.

We'll get there.  :-)

08 April 2020

Armchair Travels and a New Project

I am still enjoying my time at home, even if not enjoying the reason for it.  I fluctuate between being so very very glad I don't have to be surrounded by my office mates, to feeling so very very sad and angry that people are dying and I blame a certain specific individual for getting us to the place.  I am trying to do my part by staying home, wearing a face mask when out of the house, and trying to live my life in as normal a way as possible.  But what is happening to so many others is always sitting on my heart, making me realize that though I may be helping in the grander scheme of things, I can't do anything actively for anyone.  So I pray, though even that can seem futile at times.

Anyway, I didn't mean to start out with such downer words. 

Thank you for all of the kind comments about my finished socks!  It was nice to get such lovely feedback.  Though I have to tell you that in addition to those comments, I also received via e-mail about 2 weeks' worth of others!  I hadn't thought anything much was problematic, since I thought I'd gotten some and responded where I could.  Apparently I was wrong.  So, if you didn't hear from me, I wasn't ignoring you I just didn't get the messages in a timely fashion.  I have also decided that any comments other than those from the last couple of posts will just not get an e-mail response from me, and I apologize for that, but there is only a limited amount of time I can bear to spend on the computer in any given day.  I will say that this seems to happen in fits and starts, so I will start paying closer attention to the number of comments I approve and if it corresponds to the ones forwarded to my e-mail.

Moving along, today is Unraveled Wednesday, and I've decided to join Kat and the others.  Just this morning I finished this book:

Nope, not high literature, but a cozy mystery that was not just an enjoyable read, but a way to remember our visits to Ireland, back when travel was in our budget.  As well as being just what my brain was able to handle, it was really enjoyable and not *too* much of anything, which means I will likely give the next one in the series a try down the road.

I love armchair traveling, and it's always fun if I have actually been able to visit the places, since I always enjoy knowing just exactly where the author is mentioning.

I had wanted to finish the aforementioned socks not just so I would not drag our informal KAL longer than necessary, but because I had told myself as I was so close to finishing that project, I could not cast on another until they were finished.  And so Saturday afternoon I got started on a new project, and have been enjoying it quite a bit:

This is the start of the Beachcomber shawl pattern, and I have to tell you this is a fun one.  I'm using Knit Picks CotLin, which the designer also used, and I think this will be a lovely item to have for the spring and summer, when it's cool and/or you are someplace with too much A/C, and wish you had something to make you more comfortable. 

There's a little story about this.  Before Covid-19, we had plans to spend Easter weekend this year with my niece Amanda and her husband Pat in Rehoboth Beach.  It is one of our most favorite places to be, and I had a plan to start this while we were there, since a) it would be seasonally appropriate, and b) it seemed like a good location to start a project named after a beach activity.  I had thought of calling my project Beach Holiday.  :-)

But now, it's still being worked on over the same time period, but we'll be at home, celebrating on our own, without Inappropriately Themed Easter Eggs to do with Pat and Amanda, and no beach in sight.  I have therefore decided to name this project Down the Shore, where hopefully we can go on a day trip sometime this summer, God willing.

Related to that,  I thought people might be amused by the phrase "down the shore" and wonder about it if you are not from this area.  Most people say they are headed to the beach, or going to the ocean, etc.  But people here always go down the shore.  Geographically, it makes sense, since a lot - though not all - of the beach towns within easy driving distance are south of here, particularly a lot of the really popular Jersey shore towns.  I was familiar with the expression, having spent some early years living in northern New Jersey, but forgot about it altogether until we moved to Philadelphia, because I was never around anyone after that who used the phrase.  I do remember that someone new to the area that I worked with once asked a native of this area why it was "down the shore" instead of "going to the beach," and the answer actually made a lot of sense.  The explanation was that you go down the shore and once you get there, one of the things you can do is go to the beach.  In other words, the beach is at the shore, but there's other stuff to do as well.

OK you may not even care, but I love this kind of stuff.

In any event, I hope you are doing well, reading things you enjoy, and crafting happily.  :-)

07 April 2020

Kinda Sorta Tiny Needle Tuesday - An FO Post

I know that Tiny Needle Tuesday is actually about other kinds of stitching - embroidery, counted-cross stitch, etc., but since I used tiny knitting needles for this project, I'm crashing the party with this post.  :-)

Back at the end of January, my friend Andrea and I decided to have a socks KAL during March.  We decided to knit the same pattern, and see if we could do it within the month.  This is the kind of KAL I can do - informal and not involving lots of other people!  It meant that I actually knit the project, instead of losing my knitting mojo altogether.

And here are my socks, finished only three days after the end of March!

Project:  Clarkle Sparkle Socks
Pattern:  Clark  Socks, by Jaclyn Salem
Yarn:  Black Bunny Fibers Stella, colorway unknown (this yarn has been in my stash for a while, I have no idea where the ball band is ...)
Needles:  US size 1
Modifications:  None.
Comments:  I have been wanting to knit this pattern ever since it came out.  I am a big fan of cables, and I love that the main cable is in the front rather than on the sides.  There is also a small cable that runs down the back of the leg, but I could not contort myself to photograph that! 

The yarn was lovely.  The color is kinda close in the photo, but in person it's actually a celadon green shade, with an occasional wash of blue and purple; it also contains stellina, so the socks have a little bit of sparkle!

Because I was trying to follow the pattern exactly as written, I went ahead and did the short rows/wrapped stitches heel.  I am trying to learn - or at least try - new things when I come across them.  The heels don't look great, and I don't know if they will wear that well, but I did manage to get them done according to instructions.  Needless to say, if/when I make this pattern again, it will be with a heel construction of my preference.

That part aside, the pattern is fun and after the first pattern repeat, it's very memorizable.  I am a huge fan of cables, so I'm glad I got to knit a pattern that includes them!

I recommend this pattern - it's well-written and very clear, and once you get set up and started, it goes really quickly. 

Now on to an April pair - TBD!

06 April 2020

Another Monday - I Think ... Right?

As if keeping track of the days of the week wasn't enough of a challenge these days, I ended up with a partially lost weekend.  So I actually had to check to make sure what day it was and what was happening.  I hate hate hate it when something happens on any day, weekend or not, that means one or more days feel like they never happened.

Friday I had finished the pair of socks I was knitting (photos to come) and I had designated Saturday as the day I wanted to attempt to sew some face masks for The Tim and myself.  I got started nice and early, and since I'm not a fast or amazing sewist, it took all morning and into early afternoon.  I finished two that are fine - not great, but better than nothing.  I figured that I would make at least two more on Sunday and go from there.  Then I sat down for a while and started a new knitting project, until I decided to just zone out for a while.  The rest of the afternoon was uneventful.  Around dinner time, I started to feel really sleepy, the way you do when you have gotten up earlier than usual and just kept going.  I figured since I had actually "done" something with my brain (i.e., made the masks), I was just tired for a change, but I was really so very sleepy that I went to bed extremely early, and feel asleep quickly.

Fast forward to ~ 1 a.m., when I woke up because my neck hurt.  I went to sit up, and SEARING pain came from the back of my head.  I finally managed to sit up, and I promise I am not being dramatic, but every time I moved any part of my body, I would scream out in pain.  The Tim helped me get upstairs very slowly to sit in a chair and found one of those neck rings like you wear on a plane to sleep without getting a stiff neck (we actually used to travel quite a bit).  He found some Tylenol, and I took it.  I was in misery, sitting very still in the dark for hours.  But finally the Tylenol kicked in, and the pain started to lessen.  Between the neck pillow, a heating pad, and more Tylenol, I finally got to the point where I could move without the searing pain.  But the day was spent just doing that and nothing else.  I was able to go to bed and lie down with a minimum of discomfort, and had a pretty decent sleep.

Today I feel a lot better, and have very little pain.  But I am exhausted.  In my panic during the night on Saturday/Sunday, I was actually worried that I was having a stroke, but was with it enough to know that none of the BE FAST signs were there.

I have decided that what it was in fact was a migraine.  Normally I get the ones that are in the front of the head, where everything seems to have an aura around it.  But other than location, this had all of the same kinds of things going on, both during and after.  I was also extremely grateful that I didn't have to go to the ER, not because I was afraid I had Covid-19, but because they have so much else to worry about right now.

And now, here we are on another Monday, back to the grind, right??? 😄

Take care, friends!

03 April 2020

Hamlet Is a Good Boy, But -

even he has his limits!

"I know this is a kitty toy, but I no longer care!"

"Trump's gotta go!"

(You know it's bad when a Golden Retriever doesn't like you.)