29 May 2020

End of May Friday Funnies

The last Friday in May is upon us - I remember as a kid, this was the final full month of school, since we were usually out for the summer vacation by mid-June.  The end of May meant Memorial Day on actual Memorial Day, talk of final exams, and also the promise of the school picnic, which was always a highlight since it meant we got into the pool at the local park not just for free (as always), but we had tickets for 3 free snacks once there - now THAT was living!  I remember spending way too much time trying to figure out what my free snacks would be, since when we went to the pool otherwise, we never had money to get snacks, so other than the water fountains, that was it.  One given was that I would get a Lance Cake (chocolate covered of course), which at least to me, was a rare treat. 

I have a feeling that today it would make me gag, but then it was perfection!  😋

Anyway, I wanted to end the month with some things to make us laugh, since the world is a sad place right now.  I always think that even something just makes you smile for a minute, that is a gift in times like these.  So I hope you will find something to do that for you below.

First up, I'll bet you haven't given this a thought during quarantine:

I just think this one is hilarious - I think because I can almost hear the person at the podium saying this ...

This just plain amuses me:

And this last one is so ridiculous, I laughed until I cried.  

Have the best weekend that you can.  See you in June!

28 May 2020

In Which I Wonder and Rant

Hi all - Thank you for the kind comments about my Sousa Sock HO yesterday.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, even if I was cursing it to the moon at the beginning! 

Today I will be spending two straight hours on Zoom calls, which means that I will likely need the rest of the day to recover, so I thought I'd join in on Three on Thursday now, while I still have a somewhat functional brain.  

Here are three things that have been in my brain lately, for no good reason.

1.  Why are there so many shades of pink that I like, and others that make me stabby?  For instance, Karen showed two knitting projects of hers that were in different shades of pink, pretty much at different levels of that color.  I found both of them beautiful.  But then other times I see pink and I ask myself  WTF with that color?  Maybe it has to do with certain shades being "representative" of girlishness?  I don't know, but I've thought about it way too much.  And now, possibly, so can you!

2.  Should I join Postcrossing?  I do enjoy getting real mail that is not a bill or a flyer.  And I do enjoy writing letters and post cards.  I go back and forth on this.  I could see it being like most things, where my interest ebbs and flows, and I'm not sure if that is fair to anyone else who has joined.

3.  What kind of person isn't somehow affected by knowing that over 100,000 Americans - plus thousands more worldwide - have died from Covid 19?  And I'm not just talking about You-Know-Who and his Band of Evil, I mean regular people who somehow think that going to the gym is more important.  Or those who are endlessly whining about having to cancel their vacations to Europe?  If I hear one more person say, "Well, I know a lot of people have died, and others are sick, but I had to ask for a refund for our trip to Spain, and it's the worst thing that has happened to us," I will scream.  Because really if that is the worst thing that has happened to you - now or EVER - good for you.  I realize people are sad and upset, but over 100,000+ people have died for no good reason.  Get over yourselves.  Geez.

OK, that rant is over (for now, at least).  To lighten things up before signing off, I'm sharing this that I saw yesterday on Facebook that made me laugh out loud.  I hope it will amuse you as well.

27 May 2020

Slow Progress on Two Fronts

Hello - I hope all of you had a good weekend, and for those of us in the U.S., I hope your weekend was a good one without going anywhere that included crowds and acting like an eejit.  Our weekend was really lovely, and the best part was that we actually sat in the garden and ate our picnic dinner on Monday!  It was nice that a) it was cleaned up enough out there to be able to enjoy it, and b) it was not hot and humid, but a lovely day and evening.  It was kind of weird to be home, since we are usually at my sister's, but we made the best of it.

I even pre-ordered and paid for sticky buns from a bakery in the neighborhood for us to have on Saturday morning as a treat, since we would be around.  They were heavenly, and when I picked them up and brought them home, they were even still WARM!!  It doesn't get much better than that.

Since we were at home and not doing anything other than entertaining ourselves, I did manage to get some knitting and reading accomplished.  I am still reading Mansfield Park and enjoying it quite a bit.  Just enough amusement for me at the moment.  One of the things I enjoy about Jane Austen's books is the way that she can concoct a sentence in a very proper way and still let you know that a particular character is ridiculous in any way.

But I did make a good deal of knitting progress, and have a HO to share with you:

Ta da!  I finished knitting the first of my Sousa Socks!  This is the one that had to have the end of the foot and toe redone, since I'd dropped stitches and hadn't realized it until I was ready to tie the last stitch off after doing the Kitchener stitch.  Ugh.  But It wasn't that much, and I'm really really pleased with how it looks - plus it fits, which I was hoping would be the case, but then again, when you are not too great at colorwork, it can be a crapshoot.

I have the second one well underway, and hope it won't take as long as the first one did, since I know what I want to do this time around.

As for my other projects - the sweater and the shawl - I am thisclose to finishing them, so hopefully they will join the ranks of FOs soon.  

This is my post for Unraveled Wednesday - go and see what else Kat and the others are up to!

25 May 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Today we pause to remember those who joined the angels when giving their last full measure of devotion.

"We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude"
-- Cynthia Ozick

21 May 2020

The Holiday Weekend Beckons

It surprised me the other day when I realized that the Memorial Day weekend was upon us (at least for those of us in the U.S.)!  Usually today would be a busy day for me, finishing up at work since I would be taking Friday off, and then making sure that the pet sitter was lined up, packing was done, etc.  The flurry and sometimes panic of an upcoming weekend away, you know? 

But here we are anyway, with a big holiday weekend and no where to go.  Since today is Three on Thursday, I thought I'd share three things we usually do and three things we'll be doing instead this year.

For those who don't really know what I'm talking about, usually every Memorial Day weekend, we go to my sister's house in WV, where most of the family and tons of friends gather on one of the days for a big picnic.  It's one of the highlights of the year for everyone, and kicks off summer in a great way (even to me, not a summer fan).

1.  Usually - we spend the couple of weeks prior to our weekend away collecting things we want to take with us (games, gifts, etc.) or, in the day or so before we would leave, baking cookies or some other treat to take along.

Instead - we have been deciding what we want to fix for ourselves, and if we want our "holiday" meal to be on the holiday itself (Monday) or one of the other weekend days.  Not nearly as much fun, or quite as anticipatory.

2.  Usually - we decide ahead of time which friends we would like to be sure to see while we're home and see if they will be at the picnic or if we'll get together separately, or both.  A lot of people are only around one of the days of the weekend since they have other plans, so we have to try and get a chance to see them when it works for their schedule.  We also decide what games we want to play at the picnic, and choose teams if appropriate (I still get chosen last.  Some things never change!).

Instead - we have planned a "party" Zoom meeting on Sunday afternoon with most of the family.  This way, at least we'll get to see the ones we most want to see and catch up a bit.

3.  Usually - the menu includes so much variety, that you can easily spend the day trying everything there and not try it all.  Everyone brings something, and all the family provides the basics.  Even if you are a vegetarian as we are, there is an enormous choice of goodies.  Hamlet, and Dug before him, think it's the best day of their lives because everyone is giving them food!  Both of them have been known to park themselves in one place for most of the day - next to the grill!  We also spend a large portion on the morning of the picnic decorating the yard and setting things up.

Instead - the choices will be much more limited, Hamlet will get a *doggie* treat, and we'll just eat in our own garden, ourselves.  That's already set up.

So, it will be a nice weekend anyway.  But a whole lot quieter, a whole lot calmer, and not quite as funny or noisy or silly. 

On the plus side - DEFINITELY not as much clean-up. 

Though I'd trade for that happily at this point.  😊

My niece Amanda sent me this photo yesterday, which is appropriate for today's post.  Here is our sweet Dug the Doodle Dog, taking a break after "helping" us get my sister's yard ready and decorated the day of the big picnic.  I love this photo so much, I decided to share.

Whatever you do, have a good holiday weekend - or regular weekend, for those of you elsewhere - and stay safe!

20 May 2020

Just a Bit

As in, I did have to do some unravelling on a knitting project.  Not a lot, but just a bit.  I was working along on a pair of socks, and *thought* I had finished the toe, but just as I was about to tuck in the last stitch, I noticed that in reality, I'd lost a bunch of stitches further down.  Sigh.  So it was time to undo the toe and complete it another day.  Hopefully next time I'll pay more attention ... 

Sorry I have no photo - but I promise one soon!  I forgot to take a photo, and I know that if I get up to do it now, I'll see something shiny and forget all about this post.  Unfortunately, I probably won't be knitting for a day or two.  I have been getting our garden ready and cleaning things up, and my right elbow is currently screaming at me.  So I am giving it a break from doing much for a couple of days.  Right now I have one of those heat strips on it and it feels very nice.  

On to reading.  I have been reading up a storm, I gotta tell you!  Today I'm starting this book:

I've had it for a long time, but decided I wanted to finally read it now.  I think I saw the movie they made of it years ago, but it's likely that most of it has gone the way of so many things that have left my brain for the ether of the universe.  I think Jane will be a good companion right now.

If you want to see what others are reading and making, check out the Unraveled Wednesday posts today at Kat's blog.

On This Day in History:  The Tim and I graduated from college 42 years ago.  I always like to remind The Tim that I graduated first in our class.  He likes to then remind me that we graduated in alphabetical order ...

18 May 2020

Just Go Along With This for Now

This was one of those busy weekends when I actually did a lot of stuff not just for myself, but around the house, and none of it is noticeable.  You know what I mean - you put things away, or spend some time on an ongoing project, and you're happy that it was done, but no one else would ever know?  Oh well, I know and that counts!

One thing I did "accomplish" that I can share with you is a couple of photos.  On my previous laptop, I used Irfanview to edit photos, and it was fairly straightforward and we got along very well.  Turns out that Irfanview doesn't work with Chromebook (of course it doesn't why should it, right?), so I had to find something else to try.  So after a ton of trial and error, I have these two photos to share, and though they are fine, I'm not completely happy with either of them, based on how I could have done them before.  I'm sure I'm the only one it bothers, though.

First up, do you remember the counted cross-stitch of the honeybee I finished last fall?  We got a frame for it, and nothing happened with that right away, and once the holidays arrived, forget it.  I finally got myself together enough to frame it a few weeks ago, and early last week The Tim hung it for me.

The reason this photo is at an angle, is because it is hanging above the stairwell where you go from the second floor down to the first floor, and this was as good a shot as I could get.  The closest that this comes to the actual gold shade of the frame is near the top left corner.  But I love the way it all turned out, and it makes me happy to see it whenever I'm heading downstairs.

Next up is one of the photos from Hamlet's birthday party.  One of his gifts was a new bed (the one we had belonged to Dug, and between the two dogs using it as well as the cats, a new one was in order).  As you can see, it was quite a hit.

Hamlet has even had the chance to use it once or twice since then ... actually for about the first week, he was only lucky to get next to it.  We keep telling him that he doesn't have to do the cats' bidding, that his head is bigger than both of their bodies put together, but nonetheless, here we are.

(Both of these photos took HOURS to get to look like this.  Sigh.  Good thing I have a lot of time to spend these days!)

I also spent some time starting to wash my winter sweaters to put away.  Though we have had some cool nights and early mornings, and there were a couple of days last week where the mornings in the high 30s/low 40s, I've decided that since this coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, we're not likely to get many more - if any - of those.

This week I hope to get to work getting the garden more cleaned up.  The Tim got started with some of the big stuff, but I want to finish and we want to get some plants for there and the planters in front of our house.  That's the big thing I'd like to accomplish, but there are also a bunch of smaller things that are on my mental list as well.  Needless to say, we won't be traveling this year for Memorial Day, but I'm hoping that if we have some nice weather that we could have a little picnic in the garden if things are enough in order.

That's really about it.  My knitting projects continue, a bit slower than before since one of them in particular makes my one elbow uncomfortable, so I don't spend as much time knitting.  I'm hoping once that project is finished, the discomfort will also be gone.  I've done some reading, and am also catching up on some movies and TV shoes that we have had hanging around but never got around to watching yet.

I hope your weekend was OK, even if not exciting.  Don't forget to wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay home!

15 May 2020

Well It Was Nice to Have Hope For a While

Again, I am not claiming my life is more difficult or tragic than people with real problems, so don't even bother to make those kinds of comments, because you know what?  I'll just delete them, so you've wasted your time and mine.

Looks like the hard drive from my old computer is really and truly dead.  So a lot of documents and photos are just plain gone.  And I have to tell you that it breaks my heart, because since I don't have a photo printer, it's not like I have printouts of the ones that mean the most to me.  True, some of them are on the blog or Instagram, etc., but that's not the same.  Some of them were of people and pets I will never have a chance to see again that I did not print out and were there long before social media or my blog existed.  Some of the documents were things I used regularly to help with paying bills, or knowing who to contact when issues came up both financially, or with repairs, etc.  You may say, well why didn't I back them up.  I did, but that drive died a few months ago and I had not been able to get a new one yet, I thought due to finances but finances mean nothing now when no one has any extra money anyway.

OK, so my pity party is over (at least here).  I have my memories, I have a few old printed photos that are now more valuable than ever, and hopefully I can recreate some of the documents if I can find the info all over again.  Life goes on and I will too.

In news about my Chromebook, I did get photos loaded from my camera into my Google Drive cloud or whatever.  However, I have not yet figured out how to edit anything, and sadly, nothing is "automatically" sorted the way it was (or that it was set up for me) on my old computer, so I know some of what I will be doing this weekend!

I do appreciate that so many of you agreed that The Tim and Hamlet were the ones to be blamed for my previous laptop's demise.  Because let's face it, the world is better when you can blame someone other than yourself, right?  😉

I hope all of you are hanging in there OK.  I particularly hope that none of you are part of the groups ignoring social distancing and showing up places where you shouldn't be without masks!  Someone on Twitter posted "If it's 'weak' to wear a mask, do these same people not use a potholder when taking something out of a hot oven?"  Good one, no?

Finally, here is a cartoon that a friend posted on Facebook that I thought all of you might find amusing - I know it pleased me when I saw it, both the words and the illustration.

Have the best weekend you can, and I'll see you next week, maybe even having figured out how to edit some photos so I can share them!

13 May 2020

FIguring It Out All Over Again

Hello all - did any of you miss me?  I'm guessing probably not, and that's a good thing! 

Last Thursday, I had one of my [too] many Zoom meetings for work.  I was in the middle of it, when The Tim walked through the room and tripped over the cord connecting my laptop to the power source (I was in a different space so that he could do his stuff without interruption).  Well, the laptop crashed on the floor, disconnected, etc.  So I had to get reconnected, rejoin the meeting, etc.

All of that might have been fine, except that about two hours later, when I was in my usual spot, reading some blogs, Hamlet came over, and jumped on me, causing me to drop the laptop.  After which I could turn it on, but it just beeped and beeped and beeped.  So I passed it along to The Tim (our local IT dept), and he determined that the laptop had finally succumbed. 

Because of course.  Just when we are rolling in money, and I actually need to use it for work stuff.  So he got me set up on his computer, which was very nice of him, but which also meant that I had limited access since we were sharing.  Which is fine, but when I needed to go to the [too] many Zoom meetings, it meant he had no chance to use the computer.  He ordered an enclosure for the hard drive of my laptop, to see if he could at least get the files (all of my documents and photos).  That arrived, and he as able to download those, so at least that is something.

The Tim said that he had no problem sharing his computer, but he felt it was really necessary for each of us to have one.  So he shopped around and now I am writing this post on an HP Chromebook. 

So to recap:

  • I have my own laptop again.
  • So far, none of my files have been transferred, nor do we know if they will be able to be.
  • The Tim has his computer to himself again.
  • I am trying to figure out WTF is going on with this thing, because on the one hand, it is fooling me into a sense of knowing how to use it, and then WHAM something is different and I'm starting over again.
  • Our credit card bill will now be even more.  Sigh.
In the grand scheme of things, I know that I am incredibly fortunate that we have a credit card to purchase a new laptop, and that I am privileged in so many ways.  My old laptop was approximately 10 years old, so it had served admirably for longer than expected, when you get down to it.  We're both still alive and kicking, and have food, a place to live, etc.  I know that in all sense of the word, this was no big deal.

But it sure was annoying and upsetting.  And I wasn't ready to have to start figuring all of this out on top of everything else going on these days.

Most importantly, the thing we all need to remember is:  The Tim and Hamlet are the ones at fault here.  Right?????

Hope to see you again soon, hopefully with more figured out.  😊

06 May 2020

Ouch ... Oh Well ...

First of all, both Hamlet and myself would like to thank you for the lovely birthday wishes and notes on yesterday's post.  It was lovely.  He had a good day, with treats, presents, and even some cake and ice cream! 

I just returned from an actual dr's appt with my gynecologist.  I had to have a small outpatient procedure and well, it's not something you can do via telemedicine, you know?  So I am slightly uncomfortable but already feeling much less so than I did an our ago, so it's all good.

Today is Unraveled Wednesday, and I've decided to play along.  Since I finished a pair of socks, that meant it was time to cast on the next pair.  I give you the beginning of what I am calling my Sousa Socks:

I started, unraveled, and re-started these at least 4 times, but now I'm pretty sure I can just keep going.  I started with a pattern that seemed really fiddly, and after the 3rd time ripping out, decided to adapt it to something I found simpler, and so far so good.

I'm a bit more than halfway with this book, which I have had for a long time, and am just now getting to - but I am enjoying it immensely!

The main reason I haven't read it before this is because the copy I have was a gift, and not only is it a hardcover copy, but it's 500+ pages, and therefore not terribly portable.  But oh I am having such a good time reading it, and there's a lot of "What?" and "Hey The Tim, did you know that _____?" (which as you can imagine he is just loving). 

And that's the latest from here today.  I'm going to sit with my book and a cup of tea for a while before I try to motivate myself to get anything accomplished.  I hope all of you are keeping well.

05 May 2020

All About the Boy

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We have a nice and sunny but cool day here, which is especially good because today is all about this boy:

Yep, 11 years ago today, the "H" litter of puppies were born who were going to be trained as Seeing Eye Dogs.  As you may or may not know, not all doggies end up making the cut, and don't worry they go to loving homes.  But for those that do, it becomes a busy life with a lot to learn!

Here is Baby Hamlet with his original family, who owned his father, named Spike (that cracks me up!).  Look at the little fuzzball face!  I wish I could have known him as a tiny puppy, but he was a dog with a plan.

His original family socialized him, and they did the preliminary training for about a year and a half.  Then he had his test at the Seeing Eye headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, where he passed and then went into serious training for about 2 years.  After that, he was placed with Jeff, and worked with him for about 8 years.  Jeff and his wife are both blind, and she had a black lab guide dog named Karma.  Hamlet and Karma needless to say, were best buds, and they retired about the same time.

 This photo is from a visit at Christmastime to Jeff and Sharon - that's Hamlet kissing Jeff, and Jeff's new guide dog, Mike, getting in on the action.

Here is Hamlet making sure that he has Jeff all to himself.

When we adopted Hamlet in July 2018, we were worried that he would miss his other family.  He clearly did, but he also adapted pretty well.  Then when we went to see them that Christmas, he was THRILLED to see everyone, but also ready to go home with us without incident.

A dog who, as part of his previous life, went to work every day, travelled internationally (he's been to Europe 5 times), gone of 3 cruises, and led a pretty active life, has adjusted to his retirement pretty well.  Now his "big" trips are to Baltimore or WV, which he loves I'm guessing almost as much as any of his other trips - as long as people are there, it's an adventure for him! 

He joined the family when we had three cats, and though he was a little bit nervous about them at first, having never been around cats, he quickly fit right in, and it was all a lovefest.  It's not unusual to see him napping with a cat or cats.

And gets a lot of kisses and baths from them!  (Here is the Koodle checking things out.)

Happy Birthday Hamlet!  We are so glad that you are part of our family, and we love you to the moon and back!  

04 May 2020

Picture-Perfect Weekend But Picture-less Post

Hello all - I hope you are all managing and taking care.  I also hope that even if you stayed home (and I hope you were able to!) that you had a good weekend.

Our weekend was overall very nice.  Both Saturday and Sunday were sunny, not-to-warm, and lovely days - TWO IN A ROW!  Amazing, and good for the soul. 

Saturday was bittersweet.  It would have been our sweet Jack's 4th birthday.  We did drink a toast in his honor on Saturday evening, and the kitties and Hamlet got some special treats to celebrate, but I would give all of it up if he could still be here with us.  But then I thought of all the love he was being sent and given, and it made me feel a tiny bit better. 

During the day, I spent some time trying to clean out and organize my yarn stash.  I don't have a huge stash, but I try to go through it on a regular basis and either trash or donate things I no longer want.  Each time I find things that I have no idea why I even considered keeping it the last time.  I was able to get it done, but realized that more pressing right now is to go through my pattern books, etc. and sort those.  So that will be my next stash-related project.  The Tim took a nap in the afternoon with the kitties, and Hamlet and I sat out in the garden and I read a book.  The right kind of day for Jack's birthday.

It was also the day that was supposed to be the trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I kept thinking that it just figured that the weather was perfect - other years it's rainy, or too hot, or whatever, and this year when it had to be cancelled, it was of course perfect!

Yesterday Hamlet and I took a walk to two specific areas in our neighborhood that always pleases.  There are two, two-block areas separate from each other and not one right after the other that are just perfect.  They have houses on each side, and then instead of a road, there is a 'park' enclosed in wrought iron where people have created a garden.  It's pretty all year long, but since all of the flowers were coming out, yesterday was especially stunning!  There was one azalea bush in particular that was stellar.   And lots of people were sitting in front of their houses, kiddos were playing, and it was just plain nice.  Whenever we walk on either/all of these blocks, Hamlet is suddenly very peppy and happy on the walk.  😊

(For any movie buffs out there, one of the blocks was the one where the child character of Cole lived in the movie "The Sixth Sense.")

Inspired by that walk, we pulled out the daffodils in our front planter when we came home.  They did really well for about 4 years, and the last two years the green comes up, but no flowers.  So we pulled them up to become part of the larger universe.  I was very pleased to see that the asters that I had divided and planted in that planter had come up and looked very happy and are coming up nicely!  Next fall, I hope to divide them again and fill more of the planter with them.  They are native plants, and they are so pretty when they flower. 

Then for dinner, I tried a new recipe for a side dish, and it was a big success - oven baked salt and vinegar fries - YUM!  The recipe is not hard, but takes a bit of planning ahead.  Let me know if you would like me to share it.

Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon one of my very best friends contacted me to tell me that her mother was diagnosed last Thursday with Covid-19, and is deteriorating rapidly.  It breaks my heart for everyone concerned, and makes me even more irritated at those people who just can't be bothered to pay attention.  As someone posted on Twitter, "the wrong people are suffering through this time," and I think that's truer than it's ever been.  Anyway, please keep my friend's mother in your thoughts, prayers, hopes, whatever.  She and so many others need to know the universe (or hopefully most of it) is thinking of her.

On to the week.  I hope to get started with cleaning up the garden, working on more of my projects around the house, or just ... whatever I feel like.  I'm not gonna worry about it if I do nothing.

I hope your week is whatever you would like it to be.  Take care.

01 May 2020

A Smile for the First Day of May

We all could use some happy, so here's one to send you in to your weekend.

 Who's a good dog???

If this doesn't make you smile, nothing will!
(And for anyone who is wondering, this is Hamlet-approved.)

Take care everyone, and have the best weekend you can!