28 May 2021

A Walk With Hamlet

When you read this, The Tim, Hamlet, and I will already be on our way to WV for the Memorial Day weekend.  But I wanted to share this walk around a small part of our neighborhood with you, and this seemed like a good time to do that. 

A week ago today, it was a lovely day, weather-wise, and so for our morning walk, Hamlet and I decided to do a bit of a photographic ramble.  

Once we turned off our our street, and walked less than two blocks, we spotted this crochet in the wild:

I just love how the tree hugger is wearing nail polish!  And being the size they are, I'm really glad those insects are not real ... 

Walking a bit more I took a photo of this little street, known as St. James Place - it's like a tiny English village, just below one of the busiest streets in the city.  In all of the years we have lived here, I've never once seen someone out in their little front yard, or going into the houses.  For all I know, it's merely an architectural art installation, but that's highly unlikely given where it is located.

This next photo is of something that is one of my faves.  Not the gas station, where you see the car exiting, but the wall behind it.  If you look closely, it looks like there are a lot of windows, and they are reflecting a church building.  Well, in a way, you would be correct.  The Mural Arts Program here in Philadelphia commissioned someone to paint all of this on the side of a building.  The windows and the reflected church are painted on!  It depicts the side of a building that was office space (there are no windows actually on the side of the building), and looked out onto the church in the reflection.  There was a small amount of grass, and the church was off to the side where the gas station now is located.  Cool, huh?

Another block later, we came across a small cafe that was sadly a victim of the pandemic, and had to close.  But someone did what they could to make the boarded-up front look more appealing.  More crochet in the wild!

When I stopped to take a photo, a guy walked past and said, "I hope you don't have an egg allergy, hahaha."  Everyone's a comedian.

Another small street in the neighborhood that we passed on the way home.

And finally, back to our street, which, though it looks very narrow (and it is narrow - a lot of cars have trouble getting through), is not as narrow as some of the streets in Old Town Philadelphia!  Our street is a hidden gem, as it exists for only this block in all of the city.  Most people around here know about it, but even those who have been city dwellers all of their lives are surprised when you mention it as they had no idea about it at all.  Our house is on the right side, and actually is right next to where I was standing to take this photo.  I would have included it, but the next door neighbors had not collected their trash and recycling bins yet, and they were right in front of our house, so I'll show you that another time when it looks better.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll with us.  This is all in about a six-block square area, and it's enjoyable to be able to take your time and just walk around.  You notice all kinds of things, no matter how many times you may have already passed by on other days.  

Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend if you are here in the U.S., and if not, enjoy your weekend however you can!  I'll be back next week to fill you in on our first trip since before the pandemic started.  Take care, everyone. 

26 May 2021

FO Post: A Happy Knit and a Happy Gift!

I promised you an FO post this week, and here you go.  Especially since not only is this project finished, but the recipient has opened the package and seems to be really happy with them, which of course is what every knitter hopes when making something for someone else!

Project:  Robin's Rainbow Socks
Pattern:  Plain Vanilla Sock pattern, based on this one, which is my go-to pattern
Needles:  US size 0, 9-inch circulars
Yarn:  Must Stash Yarn & Fiber Must Match, in the Over the Rainbow colorway
Notes:  These socks were made for Robin, the woman who raised Hamlet as a puppy, introduced and talked about here.  After our meetup, Hamlet wanted to do something special for Robin, and so did I.  He suggested that I knit something for her, and I thought that was a good idea.  I considered a hat, or scarf, or fingerless gloves, but I had noticed when we met that she was wearing some colorful socks, and well ... you know me!  So I went stash diving, and found this yarn that I had bought a few years back.  It seemed so happy, that I decided it would be perfect.

And the rest is just as you imagine.  I sent her an e-mail, asking her shoe size with no explanation, and to her credit, she happily provided the info.  I knit the socks, and enjoyed every minute - not just because I was excited to be making them for someone, but the colors were so bright and happy, and it was such fun to see what was next.  

Inevitably, when I make socks, if I'm going to mess up anywhere, it's on the toe.  And this pair was no exception.  On the second sock, I mangled things when kitchener-ing at the end.  So I had to cut the yarn and unravel, and then do it again.  Not a big deal, but it is why the one sock has a completely yellow toe area.  I'm not sure why I mess up the toes, except possibly that I am so overconfident because it's the last thing, that I fail to pay as close attention as I should.  

Anyway, I took them to the post office to mail to her (she lives in southern New Jersey, across the Delaware River) on Monday, and they said they would arrive on Thursday.  Which was longer than usual, but not a problem, since she didn't know they were coming.  Then last night I got a really excited e-mail from her, saying they arrived, they fit, and that she loves them!  She said in the note, "You have no way of knowing this, but I have a thing for socks!"

Dear Robin:  So do I. 😊

25 May 2021

Quick Funny

I saw this on Facebook, and have to admit that I laughed until I cried.  It's too good not to share, so I hope you enjoy a laugh today, too.

24 May 2021

Still Here

Hi all - you may have noticed I was MIA last week.  It wasn't really planned, but it happened, and I'm still here.  

Our weekend was ridiculously hot, so not a lot got accomplished inside or outside.  I did manage to get the package ready to take to the post office containing the socks I knit for the woman who raised Hamlet as a puppy, and who we had a meet up with last month.  I'm going to walk it up to get it in the mail today, once I finish this post.  The socks turned out really well, and I think/hope she'll like them; if nothing else, I know she will love the idea of them, and that's fine with me.  That is an FO post to come.

Not a whole lot is new here.  We're getting ready mentally and physically for our trip to WV for Memorial Day weekend.  We always like to make sure we take some things to contribute, food and drink-wise, so we went to a couple of places over the weekend to stock up.  There will just be the six of us (The Tim and I, my sister and brother-in-law, and Amanda and Pat), so we don't need as much as we would normally take, when there are a lot more people.  But all of us enjoy similar things, and the holiday weekend is a treat, so it's fun to buy things we don't generally have around the house.  And I wanted to get ahead of laundry since we will miss our usual day to catch up.  So there has been stuff going on, but not the kind of thing that makes for really exciting blog content. 😉
Yesterday was the hottest it's been so far in 2021 in Philadelphia, and since we had our grocery/liquor store adventure on Saturday, we just stayed put and tried not to melt.  What really killed us was that for as hot as it was, apparently Pip still needed some warmth:

That's him, lying on top of the laptop as it's plugged in to charge.  Causing us to ask ourselves for probably the millionth time, Why do we have a Pip??

But perhaps most amusing of all, was the artistic design of Milo the Koodle and Pip doing some dramatic lounging in the heat:

Cats, right?

Anyway, that's it for now.  I have the aforementioned FO post coming up for you this week, as well as a post with some photos from a walk around the neighborhood that I took with Hamlet this past Friday.  I thought it would be fun to share some of our nearby streets, and things to see around here.  So stay tuned for that in the next few days.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a nice day so far (it's much cooler and more pleasant here), and that you are all well.

14 May 2021


Friday, Friday, Friday, I am so glad you showed up at last!  This has been one of those weeks when even though most of it was OK, one big bad thing happened to me at work that has left me emotionally and physically exhausted.  It annoys me that one specific event can control you for a whole week.   So I am especially glad that it's Friday and the weekend beckons so that I can relax and push the restart button.

At least Pip bounced back from his vet appt yesterday.  I dropped him off at 2:35 for a 2:40 appt (you still can't go in with them), and expected them to call in about half an hour or so to say he was ready for pickup.  By 4:00, nothing.  So finally I called and asked if he was ready, and if he was OK (because of course I was imagining that they found something seriously wrong), and they said they had been trying to call us since about 3:15!  The problem was, they had transposed the digits in the phone number, so no one at the wrong number was picking up (and they would have probably been really confused if they had).  GAH.  Anyway, I picked him up, he is fine and all is well.  But I feel bad, because he was probably wondering what was going on and why I wasn't picking him up.  The good news is that he came home, ate his dinner and continued on as if that whole blip never happened.  I need to be more like Pip!

Clearly this a.m. he is just sleeping all of it off.

(It kills me when he sleeps like this!)

So I think all of us are ready for the weekend!  I told The Tim that tonight we should celebrate with some martinis when he gets home since we all need this weekend more than usual.  He agreed, so that will be fun.

Other than that, I have an appt for a haircut first thing tomorrow morning.  And I'm hoping to get started on cleaning up the garden and doing some planting this weekend. The weather is supposed to be pretty nice, not too hot and not too cool, so that will work perfectly for me.  Right now, I don't have a lot to plant, because I wanted to see what else I needed once I got the stuff I have in the ground or in pots.  

Here's a tip for you: Asters.  They are native to the U.S. and at least in our case, they have been doing really well!  I bought one aster plant two years ago, and planted it, and now it has taken over 90% of our front planter!  I'm hoping to transplant a few into the actual garden and see if they work there as well.  They are such happy flowers, and even better, bees like them.  

(from last summer)

My other specific plan is to make some granola, which I might do today.  The recipe I use is this one from Clara Parkes old blog.  I make half of the recipe for the two of us, and it's plenty, trust me - last time, I zoned out and made the whole recipe and we had granola coming out our ears after a while!  But I can attest to it being an excellent recipe, so if you are inclined to do so, give it a try.  The best part of it is that it can bake while you are working, or cleaning, or doing whatever because once you start it, it needs very little other action on your part.

And as you probably have guessed, there will be knitting and reading involved, no matter what else does or does not get accomplished!  Right now, I'm trying to finish both the pair of socks I'm knitting (I'm on the foot of sock #2), and my Advent Throw (I just broke into mini-skein #24), and at this moment at least, I'm determined to finish them before starting anything else.  That could change, since I'm itching to cast on two other projects, and I usually allow myself three projects at one time.  We'll see.

I'm sure that all of you in the U.S. saw that the CDC has said if you are vaccinated, you can stop wearing masks except for a few specific instances.  I like that we have moved along enough that they feel it can happen, but I'm suspicious, because I think that now, people will just say they are vaccinated even when they are not, since it's being done on the "honor" system and so many people have no honor.  The Tim pointed out that it's on them, not on us, and I know he's right, but I guess it just seems sudden.  It will be interesting to see what the City of Philadelphia decides to do, since we have always had different restrictions, even from the rest of Pennsylvania.

I'm just glad that I got my vaccine and that The Tim will be completely vaccinated at week from tomorrow.  We've done our part, for ourselves and those around us. 😃

(I do have to admit to being somewhat disappointed that we'll have to go back to people-ing again.  Sigh.)

Have a good weekend - I hope you have a chance to relax, and to enjoy something you want to do - if nothing else, take a tip from Pip!

12 May 2021

I Can Only Hope They Were Tasty

Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments on my last post.  I responded to those I could via e-mail, and then even here after I realized that none of the e-mail responses were delivered ("Recipient unknown" - yet they were all to addresses that I communicate with regularly).  Then I started to try and respond here, and those responses ... just evaporated into thin air.  I tried on two different times, and ... gone.  And so, as I said in the subject line, I hope Blogger found them tasty, since I can only guess they were eaten!

GAH.  Blogger strikes again!  And things had been going along swimmingly for a while.  Oh well, onward and upward, right?

I did finish my sweater, and wove in all of the ends.  I realized that the only thing I had to soak it in was a bucket we had in the basement, that needed to be cleaned out every time it is used.  So I determined that I would buy a separate bucket/container for ONLY knitted things.  I found one at Target for $2.00 - it's really as dishwashing thing, but not anymore.  😊

I came home on Saturday after finding it, all excited and ready to soak the sweater and block it and well, The Tim had pulled the bags of our warmer weather clothes out and placed them - you guessed it, in the only spot in the house where there is room to block something without it being bothered by any furry family members.  It's also the only spot where we can pull out bags of clothes and the Koodle can't get near them to do any revenge peeing.  

So, once those are out of the way, I'll be blocking the sweater and taking some photos.  Trust me, the wait will not make it look any different/better.  It's a basic sweater, all one color.  But I'm really pleased with it.  

In other news, I posted this to Instagram and Facebook the other day, but wanted to show everyone here.  This sweetheart has decided to set up shop in the ivy outside of our bedroom window:

Isn't she beautiful?  Since she is a mourning dove, I have named her Deirdre, which means "sorrow."  We have a conversation through the window twice a day - once when I raise the blinds in the morning, and once when I lower them at night.  For all I know, she is aware of the motion and nothing else, but she does stay put.  And yes, the conversation is completely one-sided, and mainly consists of me telling her she is so pretty, and so sweet, and how we love her and would never hurt her.  For all I know, she is actually a he named Bruiser and is plotting the bird overthrow of the world.  But I like my version better.

I realized the other day that I should probably focus next on finishing my Advent Throw - once the weather gets warmer, I am NOT going to want to sit and knit with a blanket on my lap!  There isn't that much left - I just started the 24th mini of the Advent calendar last night, so it's getting close to being finished.

That's all the news for now from here.  Tomorrow it is Pip's turn to go to the vet, so I have to strategize the best way to get him into the carrier, as I will be leaving work early to take him.  In response to Cheryl's comment, wondering if The Tim got called back to work yet, the answer is yes - kinda/sorta.  They are starting to call people back, but in the order of seniority.  So right now, he works one day a week, which is usually on Thursday (hence me leaving work early to take Pip to the vet tomorrow).  It's not the best situation, but one of the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits is stating that you have not been offered work during the benefits period.  Plus, The Tim didn't want them to NOT call him in the future because he turned them down this time around.  

I can tell you this - the animals do NOT approve of being completely alone on Thursdays!  And they have been very clear about that.  😏

Have a good one, and if nothing else, be glad it's Wednesday and the work week for most of us is almost over.

07 May 2021

Good Things

Hello, Friday!  You certainly took your good old time getting here, but as long as you show up, I'm happy.  

Not that this week was terrible, but there were enough ick times along the way that having the weekend break is even more welcome than usual.

But there were definite highlights.

Hamlet had a wonderful day for his birthday.  

Here he is in the morning, before we went out for our walk.  He is kind of giving me the side-eye, because I had just promised something special if he stayed put, and I think he is doubting my veracity.  But he did get a treat after this, so we both kept up our end of the deal.  He got more treats throughout the day, and he got brushed and fluffed up, some nice long walks, and some special food for his dinner.  Ending the day with "Happy Birthday" being sung to him (which he LOVES) and getting a new pull toy meant that he has had to do some extra resting ever since, there was so much excitement!  😀

This next photo should give you some idea of the next good thing I want to tell you:

LOTS of snipped ends of yarn - yes, I finally finished the knitting on my sweater!  I wove in the ends, and today plan to give it a quick soak and blocking.  I tried it on and it fits *exactly* the way I had hoped it would.  I can't wait to show it to you!

The next good thing happens tomorrow actually, when The Tim will get his second dose of the Covid vaccine!  In another couple of weeks we will both be invincible (well, you know what I mean), and that will be wonderful.  

Extra wonderful, because it means we will be able to see some of the family.  For Memorial Day weekend, we are headed to West Virginia to my sister and brother-in-law's.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you probably recall that the Memorial Day weekend is usually one where everyone descends on them for a weekend and a huge picnic.  Well, of course that didn't happen last year, and the year before, we were unable to make it, so it's been two years since I've seen them in person.  This year, still no big event, but they are both vaccinated, and my niece Amanda and her husband Patrick are also both vaccinated, so all of us are headed home for that weekend.  It will be so wonderful to see everyone - we haven't seen Pat and Amanda for over a year - and still be safe.  I'm actually glad that there will just be the six of us, because all of us are very careful people, and I think having the smaller group will make it easier to adjust to visiting and traveling again.  

I'll believe it all when I see it/do it, but it's fun to think about until then, right?  (If not slightly nerve-racking, but so is everything these days.)

And that's about it from here.  The weather here in Philadelphia is supposed to be rainy and cool this weekend, so I may have to adjust some of my plans - there's no reason to try and clean out the garden when it's raining and windy, for instance.  But that's fine, I am good at doing both anything and nothing ...

For those who celebrate, I hope you have a lovely Mother's Day.

And no matter what else you do, I hope you have at least one moment this weekend when you are as happy and content as Pip is in this photo from the other day, where he was sitting with The Tim. 


03 May 2021

It's Ho Time!

I am especially pleased with this ho (half-finished object):

I finished Sock #1 yesterday, and looking at it makes me so happy!  It was a fun knit, since the stripes are not always the same size, so it wasn't just "let me knit to the next stripe color," but "let's see what the next stripe does."  One down, and one to go!  

I have decided that this pair - even though I love them so much myself - will be a gift for Hamlet's puppy raiser.  After meeting her in person, and seeing how much she still loves him, I decided she needs a pair of hand knit socks.  (She may already have some pairs, if she knows or is related to a knitter.  But she doesn't have any from ME!)  After we were with her a few weeks ago, I sent her a message asking for her foot size, and she replied.  For all I know, maybe she thinks I have a foot fetish ... 

And - on my nearly finished sweater?  I have 4 more inches to knit to finish the neck, then time to weave in the ends, soak it, block it, and DONE.  😊

Besides all of the knitting, we had a good weekend.  The weather was overall very nice, and we did a nice combination of being out of the house and just lazing around at home.  We got up early yesterday to go to a local garden place, and found some flowers that we will plant soon in our front planter, and maybe in the garden (depending how many we plant in the front).  We were able to start talking about what we may/may not be able to do once our mortgage is completely paid, which according to The Tim, will happen early in 2022!  I talked to both of my sisters on the phone, and caught up with them, so there was a lot of good.

I do have one request for all of you.  My nephew, who lives in Arizona, just turned 50 last year.  He has a wife and four kiddos, and frankly, they live a very nice life as both he and his wife have very good jobs.  But for the last year or so, he has had searing pain in his legs - to the point where some days he can't get out of bed, or get dressed, or walk as far as one room to the next one.  

He has had a series of tests, and so far they have been able to rule out ALS, MS, and cancer.  His doctors are making arrangements for him to travel to Minnesota to the Mayo Clinic for evaluation.  So if you would, please keep him in your thoughts, and if you are a praying person, please send a prayer to your chosen deity on his behalf.  Our whole family would appreciate it.

And that's it for today.  This week for me includes a dr appt, and an appt to have some x-rays done, but other than that, mostly the usual routine.  I do need to call the vet's office so Pip can get scheduled for his annual check-up (Milo went in late March).  I'm sure he hopes I'll forget to do this.

The high point of this week will definitely be Wednesday, which is Hamlet's 12th birthday!  We will definitely be celebrating that, and I'm sure he will enjoy the extra attention and treats.

I hope your week will be a good one, and that all of you can stay safe.  Take care!