29 June 2021

I'm Sure the Last Thing You Want to See is a Blanket

And trust me you are not alone in that!  So this is not a formal FO post (that will be sometime later),  rather just one that shows an unblocked, non-closeup photo of the Advent Throw I have been knitting .  I finished knitting it and wove in all of the ends last week, and a "real" photo shoot and post about it will have to wait until cooler weather is available.  At this time even the thought of soaking it to block makes me feel woozy!  

But I LOVE it, and I loved knitting it.  Of course, my yarn management/percentage skills are poor, so I ran out of Advent calendar minis and had to use some leftover scraps of my own - but that's OK, more leftover yarn is now in a project (fyi, it's the four colors on the lower left edge).  

My advice - definitely knit one of these. Use any weight yarn, make it solid, multicolored, or color-blocked, but just knit one - you won't regret it!  It's so much fun, and once you have done one or two repeats, it's all easy to remember in your brain - even should you have a heat addled brain!

For those who don't recall/never before cared, this is the Habitation Throw pattern by Helen Stewart.  It's a paid-for pattern, but worth every penny.

And lest you think all goes well with me and my knitting, just last night I was carefully (I thought) working on a project, and guess what?  I ended up with seven extra stitches - *seven*!!!   Grrr. Time to rip back and get it going with the right number of stitches.  Because why not, when there are hundreds?


25 June 2021

Some Friday Funnies For You

It's another lovely day in Philadelphia, but from all reports, the end is nigh so to speak - the heat and humidity are apparently just waiting in the wings, ready to take over.  So I'm planning to enjoy as much of today as possible, and I have an appt to get my hair cut at noon, so that is something that always makes me happy - I actually look glamorous (well, for me at least) for a few hours! 😊

So let's add some laughs or at least smiles to today, and get into the mood to enjoy the weekend, if for no other reason than we can.

Maybe you'll enjoy a good book.

Or you may have someone say something nice to you.

You may want to get in some exercise, but if it's too hot and humid, 
remember to take it slow.

No matter what, I hope your weekend gives you a chance to relax and do your own thing.  Take care! 

24 June 2021

Do You Dream Knit Ahead in Your Brain?

I'm guessing all of us have some "dream knitting" - either things we would love to make, things we are pretty sure are beyond our current skills, things that for whatever reason MUST be made with the suggested yarn, which will likely never be possible given our own budgets.  

But that is different than what I am talking about here.  I've noticed over the last year - maybe because I have had more time to be leisurely with my knitting during the pandemic - that I have a tendency to "Dream Knit" while I'm working on current projects. 

First, disclaimers: any links to patterns are to Ravelry pages, so if you have problems with Ravelry, you may wish to see if you can track them down somewhere else.  If I were a good person, I would do that for you.  Right now, today, that isn't happening, sorry.  Also, any images are ones used on the Ravelry pages, so they belong to the designers/knitters involved. 

OK, moving right along, right now - not surprisingly - I am at work on a second sock to a pair I'm making.  I'm enjoying the project and even have the stitch pattern in my brain, but while working on it, I have been thinking about knitting these next:

Spoiler alert: I will probably not make these next, because a) I'm working on a patterned sock now, and will likely want a change, and b) the yarn I'm currently using is a tonal, so I'll probably want to use self-striping  yarn next. 

And when I  have been working on my summer top, I've been thinking about how I would like to try and make this sweater for colder weather:

Spoiler alert, part 2:  This will likely not happen anytime soon, either.  I do have some worsted weight single skeins that I could ostensibly use for the colorwork, but it is unlikely that anytime soon I will have the funding to buy a sweater's worth of worsted weight yarn for the rest of it.  Also, I have never made a cardigan, so it's probably best to knit a "plain" one first ...

Something that I have been thinking of making for a LONG time, and could make any time I wanted because it's something small, and you can use whatever yarn(s) you have is this one:

You know what?  This might be the one I actually make - it would be quick and unless I really messed up, I'd likely be unreasonably pleased with myself.  So maybe even if this isn't quite a "Dream Knit" it is something that could be fun to make.

I'm thinking I can't be the only person who Dream Knits ahead in my brain ... right???

21 June 2021

So Many Things

There is just too much going on in my brain and in my life these days.  Sadly, it's not really wonderful, fun stuff - rather it's related to work and finances, mostly.  I feel like I'm keeping my head above water, but I can see a LOT of big waves headed my way, and can only hope I'll resurface once those hit.  Ugh.

The good news is that I do have things that can help distract me.  The bad news is that even when I am completely distracted by those things, the others are always just sitting there waiting, full of self-satisfied knowledge that I have no choice but to know they are there.  It's exhausting.

Over the weekend, I was able to spend time on those distracting things - I finished a book I've been reading, worked on a sock, and worked on my summer top.  Though I have to tink back two rows on the summer top - which now has lots of stitches - because I am at a knit 1, purl 1 rib section and last night I noticed that two rows back, I did two knit stitches in a row.  And especially since it's on the front of the piece, I know it will bug me if I don't fix it.  At least it's only k1, p1, and not something more involved or complicated.  I fear at this point, that would just cause me to put it away indefinitely, or even just tear it all out and start over someday.  

Have I mentioned that I'm not a big fan of 1 x 1 rib?  I feel like I can never get into a rhythm with it, and so it ends up taking more brain space than I think it should.

Anyway.  I did treat myself to something fun recently:

Apparently, on a recent Fox News broadcast, Tucker Carlson (ick) made some comment about Kamala Harris visiting a yarn store or something related to that (I don't watch it, so I don't know the exact story), and referred to our Madame Vice-President as the "Crochet Czar."  Well, Neighborhood Fiber Co. and Nerd Bird Makery decided to do something about that, while also helping people.  So they created this enamel pin, and the proceeds went to help support Covid relief efforts in India.  I love it when people can take something that was said that was supposed to be mocking, and turn it into something positive and completely against what the original intent was!

Not much else to report right now.  Our weekend was pretty quiet, the kind where you get a little bit of stuff done, and make some progress, but none of it is on major projects or is something anyone else can see.  But it felt good to accomplish something anyway, and WE know what was done!

Our little family of mourning doves moved out about a week ago, on to their bird lives outside of their nest in our window.  I can only hope they all go one to live long lives, though life is tough for mourning doves.  We miss them so much!  I just loved opening the blinds every morning and having Deirdre and the babies there, and occasionally Dad - who The Tim named Jacques Derrida.  They were all so sweet to see, and so curious to look in the window.  I pointed out to The Tim that we were truly experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome ...

We are currently "in the market" so to speak for a new kitty family member.  Dee and I have discussed this, because we think *any* homeless kitty is one who needs us.  But The Tim has decreed long ago that we can only adopt animals who truly NEED us, and by that he means they have something going on that would make it less likely they would be adopted otherwise.  Balancing with that the fact that a lot of special needs kitties are not ones we could really help - i.e., if they need medication or treatment regularly, we are not always home and cannot likely afford it right now - or our house is not perfect for them, it's been a challenge.  But I have faith that one way or another the right kitty will show up, and often rules made by The Tim are also thrown out the window by him.

Case in point:  After Dug the Doodle Dog died a few years back, when we decided it was time to think about getting another dog, The Tim said he would prefer if we got a smaller dog, and one that might not shed as much.  And as you know, we ended up with Hamlet, an 80-pound Golden Retriever who sheds as his primary hobby!  😍

Anyway, that's it for now.  I hope your week goes well, and that wherever you happen to be, the weather is not causing massive problems for you and/or for you community.  Take care.

18 June 2021

A Day Off and An Announcement

Hello and Happy Friday!  The administration at work decided last year that Juneteenth would be a holiday for us, and since it actually falls tomorrow, we have the day off today.  As a result, I decided this was the appropriate thing for me to wear for my Shirt of the Day.

Because, yes, I am also doing laundry, will be taking Hamlet for some walks, etc., but today is all my own, so the bulk of the day will be a version of these three activities, with maybe some reading thrown in.  (I mean, I'm only on my first cup of tea right now, so I have to keep up ...)

(BTW, if you are interested in your own shirt announcing your plan, I got this one here.)

It's a really lovely day here in Philadelphia, so I want to take advantage of some nice walks with our boy, since tomorrow and Sunday the heat and humidity are supposed to be a lot worse.  Not necessarily even close to what some parts of the country are experiencing, but you know me - the warmer the weather, the less I want to deal with anything.

Which reminds me, I don't necessarily spend a lot of time looking at Twitter, but the other day, someone posted that he was not a fan of summer, and decided that for a lot of people, they liked it due to conditioning from an early age, when summer meant three months of no school.  There were some funny responses, both agreeing with him and disagreeing, and so I posted this response:

"Summer is the worst as far as I'm concerned. The heat and humidity make it hard to live and to breathe, the mosquitoes are everywhere, and everyone expects you to act like unicorns are everywhere with glitter coming out of their butts."

And I had to laugh the next time I checked Twitter, because there were so many people who agreed with me! The original poster even said, "Yes, so true.  And besides everyone knows that unicorns only have glitter coming out of their butts in autumn."  😂

 Moving along to the announcement mentioned in the title of this post.  It occurred to me the other day, that June was already halfway through the month, and so I started thinking ahead to Christmas in July!  And yes, I'm bringing it back again this year, because even if none of you care, I enjoy it so much, and let's face it, this is my blog.  Anyway, this year there will be one thing that is different - instead of only a prize for each week in July, there will also be an overall grand prize, so to speak.  I'm not sure yet how I'll work it, but be assured that I'll let you know before the month begins.  I had originally planned to do something like this last year, but then couldn't remember where I put the item that was the "grand prize," which is never helpful, you know?  I came across it about a month later, in a bag marked "Christmas in July," which should have tipped me off in the first place, but anyway, it will happen for sure this year - especially since I have set the item out with my WIPs where I see it all of the time.  

I probably should have marked the bag "Cookies" and I would have known where it was at all times ... 

And finally, I leave you with a joke the little kid down the street told me yesterday:

Q: What did the flower say to the other flower when it was running out of room to grow?
A: Move over, bud.

Not bad for a six-year-old, right?

I hope you have a lovely weekend doing whatever your Plan for the Day includes.

17 June 2021

In Which I Wonder ...

Hello sports fans!  (Well, unless you are a 76ers fan, and wondering WTF they are doing, building up huge leads in playoff games and then blowing them in the 4th quarter.  Honestly, just lose from the get-go if you're gonna keep doing that.)

Anyway, I digress.  My mother used to greet us in the mornings with that phrase sometimes, and it always amused me because I was the only one who cared at all about any sports ever, and my sisters would just give her dirty looks.  Apparently when she would say that around her friends, they would lecture her about how not *everyone* liked sports, how they were dangerous, etc., which frankly amused her and amused me when she would tell about it.

Another digression.  Whoops.

Moving right along, I have decided to do a post for Three on Thursday, just because I feel like it, not because I have anything important to share.  Some days you just feel like posting, you know?  So I decided to talk about Three Things That I Wonder About.

1. One of the blogs I regularly read is one written by a woman who writes about health and beauty for women over 50. She is a good writer, and a lot of her posts are both informative and amusing. But every once in a while, she really bugs me. So much of what she writes is ranting about how companies and society at large try to tell older women what they should/should not wear, how they should act, what they should do - you get the gist. Then she will write a post where SHE says older women should so, act, say, etc. and it just kills me!  For instance, her daughter got married a while back, and she had all of these posts about trying to find a dress for the wedding.  She wanted a short dress, rather than a long one, and one that was also "modern-looking."  Fine.  So she had all of these posts about Mother-of-the-Bride dresses and how horrible they were, and how you shouldn't wear them, the colors were awful, etc.  She ended up with a very short black V-necked sleeveless dress that made her happy.  Which is what is important.  But she kept showing the other things and making really disparaging remarks about not just the designs, but anyone who would even consider wearing them.  Yes, I found some of them awful, but thought some of them were just fine.  What do I know, I don't have any kids, so will never be in that situation, but my point it that she was doing what she always accuses "the industry" of doing and it bugged me.  

Because of course I am perfect, and so others' imperfections just cannot be tolerated. 😒

Anyway, she wrote another post doing the same thing yesterday and I think I have to stop reading her blog.

2.  On my way to work this morning, I passed a woman who was walking a really cute young doggy.  I asked if I could pet the dog (this is why my walks take longer than they should), and she said yes.  It was a really sweet pup, and when I was walking away, I said, "Thanks for letting me pet him, he is really adorable." And she said, "Thank you!  He's adopted," and kept walking.

And I wondered, did she think I thought she was the one who had birthed him?  Of course he's adopted!

3.  Why is it that when you are knitting something, and you get to the EASIEST part of a pattern, and you started out with the correct number of stitches, that somehow or another after four rounds, you end up with 16 extra stitches??  I'm working on a pair of socks, and I've gotten to the stockinette portion, and though I am not completely zoning out, I am somehow regularly ending up with 10-16 (16 last night - WTF?!) extra stitches.  Now I know the answer is that clearly I'm not paying enough attention, but this is the first time this has happened to me for a really long time - I mean, when I first learned to knit anything, I was always adding stitches unintentionally, but it hasn't happened while knitting socks for years.  Sigh.  

This is why we can't have nice things. 

You just have to wonder ... 

16 June 2021

Apropos of Nothing, I Cannot Stand Vladimir Putin

With President Biden getting ready to meet with Putin, I just have to say that Putin makes me ill and angry at the same time.  Just seeing photographs of his face make me stabby.  

I know you don't care, but I just had to get this out of the way.

On to happier things.

I decided today to join in with Kat and everyone for Unraveled Wednesday.  I have a book I'm getting ready to start, and a knitting project that is well underway, so why not?

Over the weekend, I finished a book called Standard Deviation, by Katherine Heiny, that I really enjoyed.  And then for once, there was good timing, as one of the holds I had placed at the public library came ready!  So today, I'll be starting this book, and I can't wait:

I really enjoy the Inspector Armand Gamache stories, and the little town of Three Pines and the characters who live there.  On a side note, I used to have a co-worker whose favorite kind of weather was hot and humid - I mean to the extremes.  She enjoyed mysteries, and I recommended this series to her.  She tried one, and told me she couldn't read it, because it took place in Canada, and that was just a place that is too cold and it made her uncomfortable.  Weirdo.

Knitting-wise, my summer top is coming along nicely:

I'm knitting this pattern, and I have to say, that it is very well-written so far, and a nice enjoyable knit.  Enough that you have to pay attention, but also a pattern where you can get into a rhythm once you really get started.  And if you know me at all, you know I'm enjoying knitting with this color, so it's a win-win kind of project.

Head on over the Kat's blog to see what others are reading and making.  😊

10 June 2021

I For One Did Not Mind Wearing a Mask

You know I meant to post yesterday, but I was overcome with a huge case of  Do-As-Little-As-Possible which of course as a lot of you know, is the type of malady that not only can come on suddenly, but one that has no vaccine and no accepted medical treatment.

But fortunately, it only lasted a day, and now I can actually not just write a post, but get motivated to so things, even if they are not major or not of great benefit to society overall.  At least it's a step in the right direction, if you ask me.

Most places in the U.S. at this point are relaxing a lot if not all of their Covid-19 restrictions for people who have been vaccinated.  Tomorrow, the City of Philadelphia will cancel the indoor mask-wearing mandate for any vaccinated people.  I've been thinking about all of these seemingly sudden changes, and deciding how I want to proceed, and while doing so, I realized that once I got over the intial claustrophobic feeling of wearing a mask, I really didn't mind at all.  And so, continuing to wear one - even when the state said we didn't have to - was not a problem for me.  

Then I realized when I sat down to write this post, that it was also Thursday, and have decided that I would make this a Three on Thursday post.  So here you go: Three Things I Liked About Having to Wear a Mask:

*these are all reasons beyond the obvious ones about not getting Covid, or giving it to anyone else, etc.

1. In the cold weather, a mask helped to keep my face warmer; in the warm weather, a mask helped me not feel my allergies so much, since it blocked a lot of the pollen.

2.  I could frown, stick out my tongue, or just place a look of disgust on my face, and as long as it was not too elaborate, no one was the wiser.  It was freeing to stick my tongue out at douchebags with no consequences. 

3.  This one is my most favorite - wearing a mask meant that for the last year plus some months, I have not had to deal with a single random male person of any age telling me to "Smile, honey, it's not that bad," or "C'mon sweetheart, give us a nice smile there."  ZERO OCCURRENCES during the pandemic and it has been the Very.Best.Thing.Of.All.  Granted, if someone had been stupid enough to say it anyway, I could revert to actions described in #2.  But not having to even hear the words at all was the most wonderful benefit.

I would like to think that moving forward, when people have colds, etc., they will decide to wear masks to keep others from catching it.  But I also really liked to think that people would band together during the pandemic to do the right thing, and that everyone who possibly could would get vaccinated once the vaccine was available, so I think I may be the only one saving my masks for when I am sick.  

In any case, at least a lot of people DID wear masks, and I hope for them there were some benefits other than the obvious and necessary ones.  I have to say, for me it has become automatic, so I guess going forward I'll have a new habit to break, at least for every day regular life ...

07 June 2021

An Inside Weekend

Ugh.  Here we are, in everyone but me's favorite season, summer - even though it's still spring, technically.  This past weekend was a miserable one in Philadelphia, weather-wise, with temperatures in the 90s (Fahrenheit) and the added humidity.  All of the weather reports told people to stay inside if at all possible.  Well, other than taking Hamlet for short walks, and a couple of errands early Saturday morning, we did just that.  The only improvement there was that we didn't have the sun beating down directly onto us.

On Saturday, I decided that I was tired of waiting to block the sweater I finished, just because there wasn't room currently in our bedroom.  So I soaked it, and blocked it in the back room of the third floor, figuring that if the Koodle decided to revenge pee on it, I would just wash it again.  I always block garments I've made inside out, so that even if someone walks on them, or the cats rest on them, any resulting marks or fur are just on the inside.  

The ONE good thing about the weather was that this dried overnight, so it was not "available" so to speak for very long.  And though it got some interest from everyone, I think it was just too hot altogether to make anyone want to make a bed or nest on a wool sweater!

So now, I just need to wait for some cooler days to take some photos of it all finished and blocked, and then I can put it away until next fall.  It fits perfectly, which makes me really really happy!

The cats and Hamlet did a lot of dramatic lounging.  In this photo, the Koodle looks like he is already done with summer (me too, Milo!).

Before I got too sweaty to knit on any project, I did cast on and start something new:

This will be a summer top for me - that is, if it is ever comfortable to knit, and I'm not so sweaty that I can't hold the yarn easily!  I also have a pair of socks going, and am very, very close to being finished with my Advent Throw - but once again, need either some cooler weather or some air conditioning for that.

On the plus side, I did spend time reading, and finished two books - one a perfect "summer read" and the other a more serious book, but very readable.  Now to decide what to read next ...

Most of the week here is supposed to continue with heat and humidity, which is depressing to say the least.  So it looks like reading, drinking lots of water, and staying inside will be my plan for the next few days.

I hope you can stay comfy, whatever is happening where you are.  Take care.

04 June 2021

Friday Funnies for the First Week of June

Let's celebrate the first Friday during June with some laughs.  My twisted sense of humor finds these worth sharing.

This one made me laugh out loud when I saw it.  

And I *love* this one - I only wish I would think this fast should something like this should ever happen to me (and I don't wish it would, I just wish I could react so well).

I hope your weekend is enjoyable, and that you have a chance to just relax and look around you.  See you next week!

02 June 2021

Just the Best

Well, our trip to West Virginia for Memorial Day weekend is now past, but with some wonderful memories.  Yes, it did feel really weird to be traveling somewhere, but I was encouraged by how people seemed to be wearing masks nearly everywhere, and being careful overall.  Even at the rest stops on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, things felt OK.  That was a huge relief to me, because as much as I was looking forward to the trip, I had some anxiety as well.

We left bright and early on Friday morning.  Our GBS (Good Boy System) was ready to go!

Until he figured we were in the car for a while, it was necessary to pay attention:

But then he was able to nap and therefore be prepared for a weekend when every person around him was busy paying attention to him - that can be exhausting, and you have to rest up, you know.

I took my knitting with me.  Here it is on the table at my sister's house - actually, it's not just *any* table, it is what all of us call the Game of Thrones Table! 😄

Our drive was pretty uneventful - not much traffic, and the sun came in and out throughout the day.  About an hour from my sister's house, it really poured rain, but fortunately, by the time we were unpacking the car, it was only drizzle.  

I seriously could not believe I was getting to see my sister again!  And then my brother-in-law got home from work, and it was hug-kiss-cry all over.  We had them to ourselves for a couple of hours before Amanda and Pat arrived, so that was especially nice.  

The entire weekend - until we were leaving on Monday, of course - it was really quite cold (40s Fahrenheit overnight, 50s-60s during the day), and either somewhat rainy or just overcast.  The only down side to that for our group was that it was just too cold to sit on the porch, which all of us love to do.  Hamlet kept walking to the door as if to say, "Now?" and one time I let him out so he could sit there, but he didn't want to miss anything happening inside.  We still barbecued on Sunday afternoon, which actually was fine because it was the best day weather-wise of the weekend, so we got to start the summer outdoor cooking season after all.

One night The Tim and I treated everyone to dinner at a Mexican place that was relatively new in town.  The food was wonderful, and again, it was weird to be in a restaurant.  But also again, a place where they were paying attention to things, so it was a fun evening.  

Amanda and Pat - I talk about them a lot, but don't know if I've ever shown a photo of the two of them.  So here you go, from the Mexican restaurant.

When we were getting ready to leave and go home, Amanda said she would meet us at the car, because she had to make a quick stop.  We all assumed she was stopping at an ATM or something, but no, she stopped at Five Guys Burgers to get a hamburger - for Hamlet!

Needless to say, when Hamlet saw that Pat had something for him, and then it turned out to be a WHOLE HAMBURGER, his trip started to look better than ever!

Sunday morning, we headed to Perkins for pancakes, etc., because all of us need lives because even though we can make pancakes and such at home, going to Perkins is a treat for everyone.  Here is the group, masked:

And then, once the food arrived, the masks were off!

(P.S. The Tim is in this photo, and showed up when I edited it.  I have no idea why he is cropped out above, but rest assured, I have gotten grief about it!)

So we had a lot of fun, laughing, eating, drinking, watching TV, and playing ridiculous games.  Some of the group made sure to get their workouts in, and Mary Ellen (my sister), Amanda, and I had many very important discussions over tea and wine.  

Hamlet pretty much got non-stop attention and so much more to eat throughout the day than he ever gets from us!  And as The Tim said, some of it was MEAT - he was probably thinking "Thank God, *these* people know how to eat!"

The trip home was again uneventful, with pockets of traffic and lots of sunshine - you know, because we were travelling, not wanting to sit on the porch or anything like that ...

A wonderful surprise when we got home was seeing how big the baby mourning doves are!  They look like baby birds now, instead of cute baby alien beings.


I'm so glad we were able go on our trip and see at least some of the family.  It was nice to travel a bit, nice to have a change of scenery, but really nice to just hug and kiss everyone.  We had so many laughs and it was so relaxing that you were almost able to forget that anything like a pandemic was still happening.

I hope we will all remain safe and healthy after our trip.  Everyone made an effort, and all of us have been vaccinated.  I just wish people would not find reasons not to get the vaccine, so that all of us could just enjoy being. 

Oh - and for those wondering - Hamlet has been sleeping almost non-stop since we got home.  When you are that popular with people, travel is fun, but terribly exhausting! 😉