30 December 2022

Room 2022

And now it's time to close the door, as this year comes to an end. The door doesn't have to be slammed, or locked, but just closed so that we all move to the next room, the next thing, the next place. We can revisit this room, but it will do us no good to think we should stay there always.

And the new room, the next room? Is it fancy, bright, full of perfection? Or is it just a slightly different version of the old? Can our goals and resolutions change us and our environments so much that everything and everyone is new? 

It used to be said that memories are forever, and that was some comfort to know. But now we know that some people lose their memories altogether, and that becomes an ominous thread running through our lives. Will that happen to me? Will it happen to those I love? If I no longer know who I was, can I possibly know who I am? Will my loved ones still love me, even if I don't recognize them? Of course, we tell ourselves, if they love us back, they won't stop.

Will next year be funny? Please tell me it will be, because I'm not sure I want to exist in a world without funny. At the deepest darkest moments of life, funny is what saves the day. A moment to smile, chuckle, or even just laugh really hard can lift us out of ourselves and the world so that everything is OK.

This year - was it awful? Do we even remember correctly the good and the bad? Or has time and life placed it all in another type of context? The deep tragedies and the overwhelming joys, yes, they stay as they were. But everything else that seemed big at the time - was it? Is it? Will it stay that way forever?

Finally, when we close the door to this room and go into the next one, will we feel the same way next New Year's Eve? Will some part of us want to stay in the room that for better or for worse, we have made comfortable over the past twelve months? Why is it that the more rooms made available to us, the more hesitant we become to explore them? 

There are no real answers to satisfy me. I just know that right now, right here, I hope that I have plenty of rooms still ahead.

29 December 2022

FO Post: Amanda's Christmas Gift

Hello all! I hope your week has been going well. My work week is over, and I'm glad for that. Today is my niece Amanda's birthday, so I thought I'd (finally) do an FO post for her Christmas gift.

You may remember it all started here:

And then I started, only after I'd made progress, realizing that I had inadvertently switched the colors; but I kept going, because Amanda's favorite color is pink, so it all works out. 😊

Project: Amanda Needs A Martini
Pattern: Martini Party Shawlette, by Erika Flory (Rav link)
Yarn: Plucky Feet, by the Plucky Knitter. Pink colorway is Cosmo, green colorway is Appletini.
Needles: US size 5
Modifications: Only swapping the colors inadvertently!

Blocking with Pat's hat

Folded and ready to go!

Notes: I've had this yarn and pattern for years, as part of a kit that came in a subscription to some club or another that I no longer remember. But I remember that when I got it and saw the names of the pattern and the yarns, I thought it would be perfect for Amanda, who is a martini lover. And finally this year, I got to knitting it.

The yarn is lovely to work with - no splitting, no tangles, and very soft. The pattern is really well-written, and fun to knit once you get the hang of it. 

I was so pleased that I finished it in mid-November, in plenty of time to send for Christmas. Did I remember to take an FO photo? Why no! This of course I only realized once it was in the mail. Sigh.

So I asked Amanda to take a photo of it for me once she said the package was opened. So yes, it's a bit wrinkled because it was folded in the package for a while, but here it is in completed form:

Christmas morning, we got this photo with a text that said, "We love our Christmas gifts!"

It doesn't get much better than that when you give knitted gifts. ❤

I think you could do a lot with this pattern, as far as color combinations, and you of course could also make it larger; but I like the small cozy size of it, and think it would be comfy on its own or under a coat/jacket.

So it's all good - and as an extra bonus, it was in my stash, so I was able to reduce the size of that - win-win!

P.S. Never fear - I also sent Amanda a birthday gift. December birthdays always get a separate birthday gift from me, because that is how I think it should be.

27 December 2022

A Lovely Christmas Day

Hello to all of you! I hope everyone who celebrated Christmas Day had a good one. Ours was lovely, and since we had no reason to go outside into the bitter cold, we just hunkered down and stayed cozy in the house.

I wanted to show you this decoration of ours. About ten years ago, my niece Liz and her husband Greg sent this to us for a Christmas gift. In theory, it's supposed to have a light inside and light up when the tree is turned on, but we've never gotten around to that. But we really love it, and every year, it is lovingly placed under the tree for all of our celebrations.

The kitties had a wonderful day, with their gifts and the boxes, wrapping, and ribbons from everyone's gifts. They got treats as well, and by late afternoon they were all passed out asleep. I'll share some of those pictures later, but suffice it to say that Santa treated them well, and clearly had them on the list of those who had been good all year.

The Tim and I are both back at work this week, which on the plus side is good because it means we have income, but on the minus side, I just think everyone should be able to have the week between Christmas and New Year's to enjoy. Sadly, I do not run the world. I mean, could we at least have been given Monday? Nope, not in this universe. We obviously both survived, but both reported a long boring day. 

Tomorrow morning I have an appt for a bone scan, bright and early. I'm hoping it goes as usual, so I can have plenty of time after to get to work. Usually it's not something that takes long, either wait time or for the actual appt, but you never know when will be the exception. At least tomorrow is my last day of work for the week, so my time is all my own after that. I'm looking forward to it.

I actually did a Christmas Eve cast-on this year. Late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, The Tim took a nap, so I decided to cast on a sock. I pulled out the Advent skein I bought from the Freckled Whimsy, and got started. I never have time to do a stripe-a-day during December leading to Christmas, because I'm busy with other stuff. But at least I have gotten these started while it's still Christmastime. 😊 Right now, I have the cuff and two stripes, but when I make a little bit more progress, I'll share a picture with all of you.

And that's the news from here. I hope you are enjoying a good week, regardless of any celebrations you may or may not observe. Take care, and I'll check in again soon.

23 December 2022

A Christmastime Doodle Dog

I've been busy today - had a haircut appt this morning, plus doing a couple of loads of laundry, and cleaning the house. Right now, I'm taking a little break, and only the first floor is left to clean, so that's definitely a good thing. And the only things left to wrap are some stocking stuffers, and the presents for the kitties, so things are well under control, even if those last two things happen tomorrow.

I'm glad I didn't have any plans otherwise today, because here in Philadelphia, it's pouring rain, and getting colder as the day goes on. I know a lot of you in other parts of the country are going through much worse, so I hope you manage to be OK.

One new thing to our decorations this year was provided by The Tim. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you have already seen this, so you can move along if you like. As I said there, it's not our Duggie or our Hammy, but The Tim made sure that this year we would still have a Christmas Doodle Dog in the house.

Isn't he a cutie? I love him so much, and needless to say, he gets lots of rubs from the cats! He seems pretty happy hanging out with us next to the Misfits Christmas tree. 😊

Yesterday when I was wrapping The Tim's presents, I did come close to a small meltdown. I think I've said before that it's hard to buy things for him, because there's nothing he really *needs* and he is one of those people who when he wants something, just goes ahead and buys it for himself. This year, he gave me three things and said to wrap them as gifts to him for Christmas. And I was wrapping things, and realized that there were only going to be two other gifts that would be surprises, one from me and one from the kitties. I felt so sad about that, I almost started to cry. But then as I was getting things organized, I realized that even if his gifts weren't all surprises, he would be getting things he would actually like to have! Nothing would need to be returned or even just kept to be nice. That's a good thing, right? I have to say, once I realized that, I felt a whole lot better about all of it. (Though I still like to give people gifts that will be a surprise, what can I say?)

And that's it for now. Time to finish this and head to the first floor for the last part of the holiday cleaning. I hope if you or any loved ones are traveling, that they will be safe and arrive unscathed. For those of you celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I hope it's wonderful in all the ways you hope it will be. And for those who do not celebrate, I hope you can have a nice, quiet cozy weekend.


20 December 2022

Question: Is It "Popular Demand" When Only One Person Asks?

Answer: If you are me, the answer is Yes.

If you have read this blog for more than a minute, you likely have seen this photo every single year, one way or another:

This is the cardboard wreath that we bought the first year we were married, and which is always the first decoration for Christmas (taped to the door every December 1st) that gets pulled out and displayed. And every year I take a photo of it. So I have many photos of this cardboard wreath, on several different doors, depending on where we were living at the time.

This year, I thought, Well, everyone has seen it, probably ad nauseum, so although I took the photo, I didn't post it. But then in the comments from yesterday's post, Kim actually mentioned that she *needed* to see the wreath in order to really enjoy Christmas (OK, those weren't the exact words, but it was the meaning ... at least to me). 

So to Kim and any others who were missing this vital part of Christmastime, I hope this arrives in time for you to now enjoy the season. 😊

And for those who don't care, or are thinking "Ugh. AGAIN??" - maybe this will make you smile.

19 December 2022

[Not Signed], But Sealed And Delivered

Hello all, and I hope your Monday is going well. As you may have guessed with my frequent absences around here, I've been busy getting things ready to send, and also getting us ready for Christmas. All of us have been doing things that make it festive in our house, and we are nearly ready. The things that need to be done at this point are the last-minute things - you know, like putting away boxes, last-minute clean ups, and wrapping some gifts.

This fluffer has been enjoying investigating everything. Like the others, he enjoys the tree but is not at all interested in bothering it. Which is a relief, because who knows what his past life showed him? 

He's really funny though, because he has not quite mastered the art of the under-the-tree ambush. Pip and Milo are *not* surprised when he pops out to get them, because he manages to make sure it's always completely predictable.

We finished decorating our tree on Saturday, and we love it! It's kind of a skinny tree this year, but all decked out, it looks perfect to us.

Last night we attended a concert by the Philadelphia Boys' Choir and Mens' Chorale, which was just magnificent. I always especially get a charge out of watching the littler boys during the concert, as they have not yet gotten to the point of standing still the whole time, or being able to just have a benign facial expression. 

This coming Wednesday evening, we are going to the "Glorious Sounds of Christmas" concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra. It's an annual event, but we haven't gone for about six or seven years, so we're looking forward to it. They are of course a wonderful group of performers, and the concert is always just such a fun and enjoyable evening. 

And the good news is that all of the packages we had to mail are not just on their way, but most have already been delivered! As it turns out this year, most of what we were sending was both small, and did not weigh a lot, so having to pay to send them didn't break the bank. Win-win!

But you know what I failed to do? Take a photo of the completely finished and ready to go shawlette I made for my niece Amanda. Sigh. I'm sure I can get her to send me one once she has opened it, but seriously, what a rookie move!

I hope your Hanukkah/Christmastime/winter solstice season is moving along happily. Even if you don't celebrate a specific holiday, I hope you are enjoying the spirit of happiness and giving that is around us. Don't let the grinches get you down.

That's it for today. I need to do a couple of things before heading to the yarn shop for the day. Yesterday was almost eerily calm, so I'm wondering what today will be like. Last Monday was insane, not just for a Monday, but for any day. 

Take care of yourselves.

13 December 2022

Busy At Work, Busy At Home

Well, as we get closer to both Hanukkah and Christmas, things at the yarn shop are really heating up - for instance, yesterday was Monday, which is generally a quiet day with maybe 10-12 customers throughout the day. Instead, the only chance I had to sit and think for even a minute was while I ate my lunch! It was crazy, and really has been since the week before Thanksgiving. But I would say the "fever pitch" level has arrived - you know the Oh-my-I-forgot-to-start-knitting-my-45-gifts, or the I-know-they-like-to-knit/crochet-so-I'll-buy-them-yarn people. I'm not complaining as it makes the days at work fly by, and it's keeping me employed, but it is getting pretty crazy.

Then of course there is all the stuff to do at home, which is going much more slowly than usual, since my evenings are both short (I don't get home until after 6pm, and by the time we eat dinner, clean up, etc., it's already about 8pm), and I'm usually too beat to do anything. So it's a slower process this year, which is fine, but in some ways a bit disappointing. But I know I'll get a lot done on my days off, so no worries that we'll all be ready. 😊

This past Saturday, I pulled out some of the Christmas decorations, and Alfie had his first encounter with the music box that has Santa and the reindeer going around as the music plays:

As you can see, he was *very* interested. But about two seconds later, a bird landed on the windowsill, so the whole music box experience was history ...

Also on Saturday was the Army-Navy football game here in Philadelphia. So we went out onto the deck to see the Navy planes flyover when the game started. (Which was of course very cool!) But we also saw this, which we found highly amusing:

Last spring, we had the trees in our garden pruned, and they cut off the top of a very tall, very large holly tree. Well, Saturday was a cool but very sunny day, and this squirrel apparently decided that the top of the cut off tree was a good spot for sunbathing! The Tim pointed out that most people have an angel on top of their tree this time of year, it figures we would have a squirrel ... 😄

Over the weekend, I mailed out the Christmas cards I'd prepared, which pleased me since last year I never got around to it. But something happened for the first time ever this year - I ended up not having enough cards to send! There were about 10 people left on my card list, but I was out of cards, which has never happened to us before. And stores nearby were pretty wiped out of any selection. So apologies to those who might usually get a card - I'll definitely scope things out after the holidays and prepare for next year.  

And that's all the news from us. I hope all of you are having a good Christmastime and holiday season, and any squirrels in your trees are also outside!

05 December 2022

So Much For Holiday Zen

About a week ago, Pip was sitting on my lap, and we were discussing all of the holiday preparations we had to do. At one point, I looked directly at him, and this is what I saw:

And I thought, Yes Pip, let's try to let this Christmastime be one where we have a chance to relax - or in his case, enjoy some zen moments.

I had been doing pretty well with that, and then Blogger decided that it was not on board with such a decision. If you comment on a post, and I have your e-mail address, you may have noticed that sometimes, you get a response from me to several of your comments at once. That's because a lot of times, I'll wait until I have a block of time to respond, so that I can actually take my time. So I'd been doing that, and thinking that it was all working.

Until last week, when a LOT of the responses I'd sent came back as "Undeliverable." So I went to Blogger and decided to see if I could respond *in* the comments (which I generally avoid doing, since frankly I never look at anyone else's blog comments to see if they have responded to me). And I got the error message "You do not have the proper permissions to comment on this platform." Huh?

So I could write the post, read the post, but not comment myself or respond to comments. I contacted Blogger Help, and to their credit (I guess) someone named Jim wrote back and said that "Blogger was currently experiencing some issues with permissions, images, and comments. Please be patient, we expect this to be resolved early in December." 

So if you have commented recently, and I usually do respond to you, please know I'm not ignoring you. And granted, this is not interfering with my holiday "zen" in the sense that it's related to the holidays, it's just something that is annoying and happens to be taking place during this time. 

Hopefully this week, things will be resolved, and I can go back to my attempts to Be Like Pip. 😉

We'll see.

02 December 2022

December First Friday Funny


Have a good weekend, and if you are getting ready to decorate for the holidays, have fun!

01 December 2022

Happy December!

OK everyone, if there's anything that you SWORE you would do in 2022, and you haven't done it yet, I would suggest you get moving, because there are now only 30 days left!

Happy December!

I had decided a while back that I would not get a yarny advent calendar this year, because a) I didn't need one, and b) it was an expense that wasn't necessary. 

But. Early in April, while scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post from Southern Skeins, announcing that the theme for their Advent calendar this year was ... the Rankin-Bass production of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Reader, I caved.

Now, I had never heard of Southern Skeins, which of course means nothing to the mysterious and mighty Instagram algorithm, but after checking our their website, etc., I decided that it was legit. And so I pulled out Ye Olde Credit Karde and made the purchase. I was pretty excited about it.

Then of course, months passed and I forgot all about it. Until last Saturday, when I big cushy package arrived for me in the mail. And when I opened it up, I was extra excited because not only are there the skeins of yarn, but the fabric holder is the designs from the show, and means that every year I can use the holder for Christmas-y things! This was the best part of the package to me, to be honest.

So I hung it up on the baker's rack that holds my project bags, works in progress, etc., and just looking at it pleases me. 

Then today, it occurred to me that - guess what, I could open the first little package! The card that came along with the calendar told me that today's color is "Rudolph."

Isn't it perfect? I haven't quite decided what my project for these skeins will be, but so far this yarny Advent calendar has been a win. And the best part is that I'd been having a crappy day today, so remembering I could open one of the packages changed it all. 😊

So I hope that even if your day didn't start well, something happened to make it better for you as well.

30 November 2022

Time Is Weird

OK, well, time is weird to start with - I mean, today is the very last day of November, which I knew intellectually, but still found surprising when I thought about it. 

But specifically, it struck me on Thanksgiving. I was remembering my dad, not only because he was a crazy holiday person (I've apparently inherited that gene), but because the date of Thanksgiving this year - November 24 - fell on the anniversary of his death. The year he died, it was the Monday of Thanksgiving week, so it's always around that holiday, but there have only been a few times it falls on the same day.

Then I was thinking about how he was only 53 years old when he died. And how, from my perspective now, that's so young. (As a kid of course, I always thought my parents were REALLY old.) I was gifted with 13 of those years, and though I would have loved more, I'm glad I was given at least that much of a sliver of his existence on earth.

But what really put me on the "Time Is Weird" train was when I realized that he has been dead for 53 years. So he has been dead for as long as he was alive, and I have to be honest, that kind of blew my mind.

But then you know what was really nice? I was pointing this out to The Tim, who agreed with me that yes, it was a weird thing to think about. But then he said to me "But he is well served by your memories of him."

I think that is one of the nicest things he's ever said to me.

28 November 2022

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

Hello all, and if you celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday, I hope you had a good day and a wonderful meal. And if you traveled, I hope it was as uneventful as possible, though I realize that is asking a lot these days.

Our Thanksgiving was a little bit different this year. On Wednesday, The Tim found out that he would have to work the 7-3 shift on Thursday. Since he is lower on the seniority list, he had no choice. So it was disappointing, but it's not like he could do anything about it.

We usually spend the day lazing together, watching the parade, the Dog Show, some movies or whatever, and snacking on treats. There's usually a walk involved (unless it's pouring rain or worse) and we work on the meal together. But I was on my own with the kitties for most of the day, and it was fine, but lonely and not nearly as much fun. I managed to get most of the dinner ready, and he had time to make the yummy gravy he makes once he got home. We had a good meal and a nice evening, but I don't think it was the best day for either one of us. He said things were extremely slow at work, so it's not even like the day moved by quickly. We survived, obviously, but I hope that doesn't happen again anytime soon. 😊

The Tim was at work again on Friday, and I had a dr appt, so not much happened otherwise. Saturday we both had some extra energy and spent time working on some projects around the house. He made pizza for dinner, which was a wonderful treat, since Pizza a la The Tim is amazing!

Yesterday was one of my work days. And boy, was it busy! One person who visited the shop bought over $700 of yarn - she said she was knitting *all* of her gifts, so I guess that added up quickly. The day sped by, since there was seriously not a single minute when we were not doing something for/with customers. (Though I would rather have days like that, than the kind like The Tim had on Thursday.) 

I do have some wisdom to pass along though: I would suggest that, if you decide you would like to knit a sweater, and want the yarn store staff to a) suggest a pattern, and b) suggest the yarn to use, that you not decide to show up at the start of the busiest time of year. Two separate individuals showed up yesterday, wanting us to help  them find a sweater pattern and yarn to knit a sweater. And I mean, they had only vague ideas of what they wanted - "Something dressy," or "Easy but with texture." Even when it's not the holiday season, that takes a lot of our time to help you, even if you are an easy person to help. But when it's holiday time, and there are tons of people in the shop, ready to either check out, or with seriously quick questions, it's a problem. So maybe either do some homework on your own, or wait until January, OK?

This week should be busy, and I have three - count 'em, three! - dr appts at the end of the week. Well, one is a dentist appt, but that still counts as a dr appt to me. I'm just hoping to get them done with hopefully a minimum of drama. 

In some happy and exciting news, my Christmas cactus is ready for the holidays!

I've had this plant for about three years, and though it was blooming when I bought it, since then I've never even seen it thinking about blooming again. But now it has this beautiful flower, and about four other buds ready to show up! I'm so excited, but of course could not tell you what I did/did not do that resulted in blooms ... 

Let's hope that the coming week will show up with some good surprises like that for all of us. Have a good one!

23 November 2022

A Lovely Story

Knitting Girl by the Window, by Albert Anker

I have a lovely story to share with you and thought it would be nice to share today, the day before Thanksgiving.

About a month ago, one day at work, we got a call from a teacher at a local school. The school has a Knitting Club, and he wanted to bring them on a field trip to the yarn shop, since most of them had never been to one. They were originally meant to visit last week, but had to reschedule to Monday of this week.

So they arrived on Monday, around 1:30 in the afternoon - about 30 kids, grades 4 to 6. The group was a mix of boys and girls, and the teacher in charge of the group was a really wonderful young man. Laura, the manager of the shop, talked to them for a few minutes, telling them about the shop and briefly about running a yarn store, and then they all had a chance to buy a skein of yarn, which their teacher would pay for (!!!) before they went back to school.

As you can imagine, they were very excited to choose yarn, and fascinated by seeing it wound into cakes. But these kids were wonderful - they were truly nice kids, you could tell - not just kids being nice because they knew they would be in trouble otherwise, you know what I mean? They had no problem talking to adults, and they had lots of really great questions. 

After they left, it was agreed that the entire experience was a positive one - and face it, you can't always say that after a group visits anywhere, whether they are kids or adults, right??

But one thing was especially lovely to me. There was a young girl waiting to have her yarn wound, and she just looked so very familiar to me. I finally said to her, "I think I know you, have you come in here before?" and she said, "No, but you look familiar to me, too. Aren't you Hamlet's mom?" I realized then that I did in fact know her, but she was out of context, just like I was for her! I said, "Oh you're Isabelle, who I always see walking your dog Wilbur along with your mom Clare!" And she was *thrilled* that I knew her! I think it was not only because we figured out who each other were, but also because she was singled out from her classmates. I heard one boy say to her that it was cool she knew one of the people at the yarn store. 😀

I will admit that it was bittersweet, because our Hammy isn't still here with us, but I was so glad that someone who knew him still thought about him as well.

It seemed like a wonderful way to start the week of Thanksgiving.

22 November 2022

Celebrations and Plans

Before I go any further, I want to tell all of you who sent birthday wishes to The Tim how much he appreciated them. He was really touched, and also surprised that so many of you took time to write a Happy Birthday note.

Our birthday celebration was really enjoyable. We went to dinner early, because the place we were headed doesn't take reservations, and it was a Friday night, so we knew it could get ridiculously crowded. And I have to say we timed it just right - as we were leaving the restaurant, the line was out the door! 

The meal was yummy, and in a coincidental twist, our server was someone who worked with The Tim back when they both worked at the bookstore! It was one of those "what are the chances moments." Then we came home for presents and cake, all of which were a success. (Though my ganache was not as yummy as when The Tim makes it, but at least it worked, you know?) The TIm had bought a couple of things a few months ago, and gave them to me to wrap for his birthday, and I had bought a few things for him otherwise, and happily everything was something he liked and that fit. 

I had said I wondered what Alfie would think of our celebration. He was both mystified and cautious. Pip and Milo are of course old hands, and they know that the candles on the cake + singing = TREATS, ribbons, and boxes, so they are always on board. Alfie kind of stayed back at the beginning, but when the treats came out, he joined the gang, and then found a ribbon to chase. I think he enjoyed it, but it was clear he was more interested in watching everyone else to see what they did than he was in joining the fray. 

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and quiet, which is nice because we are now in the thick of Thanksgiving preparations. And things are picking up at work, with people coming in for yarn on Sunday so they could work on a project during their travels to see family and friends.

I finally decided what I wanted to knit for The Tim as a Christmas gift - I found some leftover Plucky Knitter yarn from the sweater I knit last year and got started on the Antler Toque (Ravelry link) for him. Last Thursday, in between loads of laundry, I got the brim started, while the Crazy Sock Lady kept me company. 😊 

I think it will be an enjoyable knit, as I really like knitting cables, and since it's worsted weight, it will likely move along quickly.

And that's what's happening around here. I hope if you are preparing, traveling, or whatever for the Thanksgiving holiday, that everything goes smoothly and that you can enjoy it all. And for the rest of you, I hope your week has started out on a good note and continues that way.

That's it for now, have a good one!

18 November 2022

The Start Of It All

As advertised in previous posts, today is The Tim's birthday - which is also the start of the holiday season in our house. So it's off and running around here!

But today is devoted to The Birthday. The cake is baked, so it needs to be frosted. The Tim asked for a chocolate ganache filling in the middle (it's a layer cake) and since on your birthday, all wishes are granted, it means I actually have to make a small effort with something - who does he think he is???  😉

Once that is done, I have to pick up a couple of things for gifts. I ordered them online a couple of weeks ago, and had them sent to the store, thinking that would be convenient, because I could just pick them up when I was out doing other stuff. So of course they didn't arrive until today, so I'll have to retrieve them. Then I will have to wrap them up and we'll be all set. We're going out to dinner tonight, which both of us are looking forward to. It's a place we haven't been to for a long time, and they have wonderful mussels cooked in white wine, which is what he wants to get. I would like to get that, but in my old age have developed a severe allergy to mussels, so I will see what else is on the menu. Then we'll come home and do cake and presents with the kitties. We're curious to see how/what Alfie does, since this is the first "big" event he's been around to celebrate with us.

Then this weekend, I'll take a look at the gift list for Christmas and my nieces' birthdays, and see how we're doing. I think we're covered for the most part, but anything that still needs to be bought/made/organized will want to be take care of now rather than in a couple of weeks. When I do it this way, or even a week or so earlier, it usually means we have an enjoyable, stress-free time during the holiday season, which is the whole point, right??

The Tim is baking some bread this weekend, because he likes to cut a loaf into croutons and let it get stale so we can use it for stuffing. (To me, this is too much work just to get stale bread for croutons, etc. But I'm not the one doing it, and I must admit that that bread he makes (olive/rosemary bread) does add something to the stuffing in the end.) 

So I'd better move along and get started with the things I want to accomplish today. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next Thursday? For some reason, I always think I have more time before it arrives - or maybe I want it to take its time getting here so I can enjoy it ...

In any case, it's time to sign off. I hope your weekend is enjoyable in whatever way you'd like it to be. I'll "see" you next week!


17 November 2022

There Are Just Some Things That Always Make Me Happy

Hello there, and I hope all of you are doing well. I'm sitting here after a busy few days at work (everyone is suddenly remembering they want to knit holiday gifts!), enjoying a cup of tea on a day at home. There are a few things that I've been thinking about lately, and since it's Thursday, I thought I'd write a Three on Thursday post. So here are three things that always make me happy.

1. Animals, particularly those in my family, but all animals in general. The other day at work, a woman asked me a question and I immediately remembered the answer. It was a somewhat esoteric thing, so we were both surprised. She said, "Wow, I'm impressed at your memory," and I said, "Me too, but I can't count on it, since most of the time the things that are foremost in my brain are animals and cake." She laughed, but I was serious.

Earlier in the week, when the weather had started to get cooler, I took this photo and posted it on Facebook and Instagram and mentioned in the caption that it was one way to know the weather was colder without going outside. 😊

This is not only cozy, it just makes me happy to see. (If you are wondering where Alfie was when this was taken, the answer is that he was basking in a sunspot on the bed in the guest room. I guess he hadn't figured out that the heat was on upstairs - or maybe these two told him it wasn't??)

2. Which brings me to my second thing - CAKE. I love cake. (OK, I love anything sweet, but I'm talking about cake here.) Cake makes me very happy. I think it's because we don't have it that often, and when we do, it is usually to celebrate a birthday. Today for instance, I'm already in a good mood because I'm going to bake a cake for The Tim's birthday celebration tomorrow. And that makes me happy enough to cancel out the "blah" of it also being laundry day. So tomorrow we'll have cake *and* clean clothes! 😃

3. Related to cake in a way, but also not - wrapping gifts. I know that an awful lot of people would rather have a root canal than have to wrap gifts, but I really enjoy it. I LOVE choosing things to give to people, and wrapping them is the piece de resistance in that whole process. I enjoy choosing what paper or bag I'll use, which ribbon goes on each package, and then the excitement that wrapping a gift adds to the mystery. And gift-wrapping season is upon us, even without The Tim's birthday, so I'm ready to go!

Funny story related to gift-wrapping, etc. I have a friend named Liz who started a practice a couple of years ago where she writes notes one year for herself the next year. For instance, last year, when she opened up the box that holds the holiday wrapping paper, she found this note (she has said I could share, by the way):

Dear 2021 Liz - 
You have plenty of wrapping paper, but this year you need to buy more ribbon and gift tags. You're doing a great job. 
Love, 2020 Liz

Or this note she found in her planner for Thanksgiving dinner next week:

Dear 2022 Liz - 
No one liked the new potato recipe you tried, so skip that. And remember to buy extra sweet potatoes, since those are more popular with your guests. You've got this!
Love, 2021 Liz

I think this is funny in a happy, amusing way, but I also think it's an excellent idea! Maybe you don't write it as a letter with an affirmation, but it's good to have a reminder with the stuff you're going to use. I for one *always* think I'll remember to do _____ for next year, but nine times out of ten, I forget altogether or only remember at the last minute. I may have to begin using Liz's system. 

Whatever you do or do not do, I hope you can think of at least three things that always make you happy. Just writing this post gave me a boost!

Be sure to head to Carole's page to see what others have posted for Three on Thursday (link above).

14 November 2022

And So Today I'm Really Tired

Hello on a Monday that finally feels like November weather here in Philadelphia. As you have probably guessed if you have read this blog for any length of time, I'm here for it. 😀

This past weekend seemed to zip by, not that I was really busy with anything - well, work was busy yesterday, but Saturday was a nice and leisurely day. But it was kind of a rough weekend emotionally. For reasons I have not determined (and a lot of times can never determine), I was extremely anxious all weekend. The kind of anxiety that you feel underlies everything, even when you are having a day that is in no way nerve-wracking or anything like that. And then last night, I kept waking up having anxiety attacks and so got very little sleep. Ugh. 

Needless to say, I'm really tired today. Not tired enough to want to try and get some sleep before I go to work (tried that, and NOPE!), but just overall tired. I'm hoping that means that tonight I'll be so tired I'll get a decent amount of sleep. Only time will tell ...


The good news is that on Friday, I finished the last of the three gifts I was knitting!  Here's a sneak peek:

I still need to block it, and weave in/trim any ends that pop out after that, but that will get done later in the week, and it will be ready to send for Christmas! I'll admit I was hoping to have all these done before the end of October, but life intervened, and so they are now all finished before the end of November, which is still good in my book.

I may still knit something for The Tim for Christmas, but since I don't have to worry about mailing it, it's not as time-sensitive, and it's not like I'll suddenly decide to knit him an Aran sweater (he seldom wears anything very heavy, as unlike me, he's always warm to start with). So it's back to a project that was put away over the summer, and then onto maybe a pair of Christmas socks for me, and who knows what else?

I guess I'll just have to decide on something ... what a trial huh?

I hope this week is good to you. The Tim's birthday is coming up on Friday, so we'll be getting ready to be festive around here, as well as looking forward to CAKE - can you tell I'm really excited about that???

Take care, everyone, and if you are having cold weather now too, I hope you can stay warm.

10 November 2022

Big Sigh

It's been a little while since I've participated with Carole and the others and posted for Three on Thursday, so I have decided today will be the day.  Mine are not related, but each one pleases me, so here we go.

1. Today I'm getting my hair cut. This makes me happy, because it's just at the point where it's starting to look shaggy and my weird cowlick is becoming uncontrollable. Whenever I leave the salon after a hair cut, I always feel like things will be OK.

2. Today and tomorrow (if necessary) I am certain I will finish the shawlette I am knitting for my niece Amanda. That pleases me because a) all of my gift knitting will be finished, and b) I can return to any wips or new projects I want to start without any worries about finishing gifts in time to mail them.

3. You may or may not have heard the expression that "Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other end, and Alabama in the middle." Or, you may have heard reference to "Pennsyltucky," meaning virtually the same thing. Though most people don't think about it one way or the other, the state is largely small towns, many of them rural. So there's always the push-and-pull between the cities and the "country" parts of the state during elections, and mostly in the state legislature. So I was hoping against hope that somehow PA voters would elect Josh Shapiro for Governor and John Fetterman for U.S. Senator. I have to say that I was really worried it wouldn't happen, because so many of the political ads were definitely full of fear-mongering and race-baiting, and frankly in a lot of the state that plays well (i.e., Philadelphia is always a dangerous, crime-filled place, mainly because of so many black people). 

But the best thing happened - Shapiro and Fetterman won the election!! Yes, millions of people still voted for their opponents who shall henceforth never be mentioned again, but the numbers worked the way I wanted them to and I feel so relieved! I'm also happy that the predicted "Red Wave" didn't materialize in the country at large, and I feel that if we can all keep working hard, we will be able to keep our democracy in place. 

The other best part about the election is that there are no more ads - though I did like one that was against a certain person who lives in NJ but was running for office in PA. It showed a version of the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, with that person as Washington, and everyone in the boat wearing MAGA hats. The tag line was, "Keep Pennsylvania free from New Jersey." That actually made me laugh out loud.

(from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

So at least for today, things are going well. I'm happy to take it one day and one victory at a time.

07 November 2022

Monday FO Post: Vampires Don't Know Football

Hello - I hope everyone had a good weekend. Ours was a mix of good and bad, but it was good overall so no complaints. Except that it's too warm for November, and I am not happy about that. But there's also nothing I can do about it, so I'm trying to think of other things.

I don't know if I posted much about the socks I was making as an anniversary present for The Tim. But I know I mentioned them at least a couple of times. Well, they have been finished, gifted, and worn, so a post about them is well overdue.

Project: Vampires Don't Know Football
Pattern: I did an adaptation of my own pattern called First Down Socks, available under the "Free Patterns" tab of this blog. Since I had to change the number of stitches between repeats, I decided to use the colorway name to pay with the title of the project.
Yarn: KnitPicks Felici in the colorway Vampire Vibes.
Needles: US size 1
Modifications: The pattern recipe on my blog says to knit 9 stitches, and purl one stitch. That's for my size, which has a 60 stitch cast-on. Since I use a 64- stitch cast on for The Tim's socks, I knit 7 stitches and then purled one stitch all the way around.

These were fun to knit, as are most self-striping yarns, because you look forward to the next color stripe. And they would have been finished well ahead of the deadline (October 28) but for a few things that got in the way - so I finished them on October 25, which was great because I felt like I still had some breathing room.

The Tim had a dentist appointment the Monday after our anniversary, and wore his socks to the appointment. Apparently he showed them to the dentist and the dental assistants and told them I had knit them. I had a dentist appointment late last week, and the dentist and all the staff had to tell me about how they thought it was so amazing how I knit those socks, and how did I figure it all out, etc. I had to laugh, because as all of you know, with self-striping yarn, the colors happen on their own, unless you are good at manipulating them. So I was both flattered and amused. And it's really nice that The Tim likes his knitted gifts so much. 😊

So now, of the three gifts I was knitting, two have been completed. I have about 25 rows left on the shawlette I'm making for my niece Amanda, so hopefully I can show that to you before too long. I'm really motivated to finish because I am so close to the end, but also because I have told myself I can't start anything new, or pick up any other wips until that one is ready to be gifted.

Here's hoping this week will treat all of us well. Take care, and remember to VOTE tomorrow if you have not done so already!

04 November 2022

Help To Save Democracy!

If you are like me, you are SOOOOO sick of all of the political ads everywhere. It's enough to make you wish you could just cover your eyes and ears, say magic words, and have it be the day after the election. But that's not how it works, unfortunately, so here we are.

But next Tuesday is [finally] Election Day, so I hope you have either a) voted early and/or by mail, or b) made a plan to go and vote in person. Your vote *will* make a difference, and there is so much at stake this year. So if you have not already done so, use part of this coming weekend to make a plan for voting.


P.S. Cool guys vote too! 😊

Have a good first weekend in November. 

01 November 2022

The Tim Is A Real Laff Riot

Hello and Happy November! I hope this month will treat you well - if nothing else, here in the U.S. we will be getting ready for Thanksgiving, which is frankly one of the best holidays, period.

This past Friday was our 44th anniversary. Because things have been kind of crazy around here lately, we agreed to just let it be low-key and enjoy some champagne on that evening, especially since on Saturday neither of us had to be up at any specific time, so if we were extra knocked out, no alarm was going to shock us into having to wake up early.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the card I received from The Tim.

Me: Well ... interesting.
The Tim: I didn't see any anniversary cards that I liked, so I got you this one.
Me: OK.
The Tim: Technically, it works both ways because today is the 3-week anniversary of your nose surgery.**
Me: Good call!

Don't get me wrong, I was laughing until I cried. But this is a very typical move on his part. My mother used to say it was good that we found each other, "because it saves two other people." 

I guess she knew what she was talking about ... 😀

**About that nose surgery - I'll write more about that soon, but I injured my nose and had to have it repaired, so to speak. But never fear, it is healing just fine and I'm doing well. I'm going to work, living my life, etc., so no worries. But if that hadn't happened, who knows what kind of card I would have received ... !

31 October 2022

28 October 2022

Friday FO Post: A Longish-Ago Finish

Yes, I'm bookending my week of posts with another FO - don't get used to it, though, because this is for a project finished a while back that I was never able to get good "modeled" shots of, but wanted to write about before putting it away for the winter.

You may remember seeing this:

Well, though it challenged me at the beginning, I did in fact finish it!

Project: Light Purple Thea Top
Pattern: THEA Top by Susanne Muller
Yarn: Sandnes Garn Line, in the colorway Light Purple
Needles: US size 4 & 6
Modifications: At the end, when it was time to do the ribbing around the bottom, neckline, and armholes, I did one round of plain knit, then the ribbing. I also did 7 rounds of ribbing, because I thought it looked better that way.

(This is as close to a photo of me wearing it as we'll get right now. As I recall, I had really dirty hair when taking this photo, so decided it would be a torso shot ... 😊)

Notes: This was a challenge, but once I figured out what was happening, it was a fairly quick and easy knit. I had never made anything with this kind of construction before, so it took a bit of effort to wrap my mind around the instructions in the pattern. But the project did provide me with my first [kinda] successful provisional crochet cast on, so that was a boost.

It's kind of wrinkled in the photo above, because it has been folded and in the closet, but this gives you an idea of how the finished item looks; and in the photo below, you can see the "possible" light purple shade of the yarn - but to be honest, it is really hard to tell there is any purple at all. Maybe if my skin was darker, it would show up more. Oh well, I still really like it.

Anyway, I would recommend this pattern because it doesn't take long to knit once you understand all of the moving parts. I started this around the middle of June this past summer, and was finished around the end of August. It only took me that long because I worked on other things in the interim, and had a bout of "who wants to knit at all" for a couple of weeks.

I'm hoping next summer to get a "real" photo of how it looks being worn, but this will be it for now. 

The yarn used, which is a linen/cotton blend, is very nice, very soft to work with, and comes in a variety of colors. If I do ever make this again, I'll choose something with more of a color pop. But I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this top when the weather is too hot to breathe.

Alfie thought about sitting on it, but decided it wasn't worth making the effort. Shortly after this he left the room altogether, as if to say, "If I'm not the main focus of this photo session, why am I even hanging around???"

Here's hoping you have a good weekend, I'll see you next week.

24 October 2022

Monday FO Post: One Gift Finished!

Hello and Happy Monday when the Philadelphia Phillies are the National League Champions!!!!! 

Yesterday, I was at work until 4 p.m., and the game had started shortly after 2:30 p.m., so I got to see a good bit of it, and most importantly - THE BEST PART! So exciting, especially since it's been a long time coming, and as usual, the Phillies were the underdogs. (The Tim: I'm so glad they won, but now that means you will have new obnoxious nicknames for the other team, after I just got used the ones you had for the Padres. [Yes, his life is so difficult.])

Anyway, GO PHILS!!!!

Now, to the real reason for this post. I finally have completed a knitting project to show you - plus, it's a Christmas gift, so I'm well ahead of time having it ready to go.

Project: Preller Needs a Musselburgh
Pattern: Musselburgh, by Ysolda Teague
Yarns: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the colorway Hope (striped yarn); and, Loop Sprig in the colorway Admiral (navy)
Needles: US size 3
Modifications: None

Notes: You may recall that I made one of these hats last year for a Christmas gift for Greg, husband of my niece La Liz. When I was showing it to my niece Amanda and her husband Pat, he said, "That is so cool - I want one!" Well, at the time, it was about 2 weeks before Christmas, so there was no way that was happening for last year. But I stored away the request for this year. 

Since I have been trying really hard to knit from my stash, I started by looking to see what I already had that might work for at least part of the hat. I knew I wanted to make a half-and-half type, to make it a different hat, depending on how it is worn. I found about half of a skein of the West Yorkshire Spinners yarn that I had used for a pair of socks, but I couldn't find something I liked well enough to contrast with it.

So I took the leftover skein with me to work at Loop one day to find something that I liked as the second color, and decided on the navy blue because I liked the contrast of it.

I made the Adult Large size, and although the beginning is fiddly to cast on, once you get going, it's pretty mindless and goes quickly. It's a good project if you want to watch TV because once you get past the increases at the top, it's just a whole lot o' knitting until you are ready to do the decreases!

So yes, I did buy a new skein of yarn, but a) I used half of it already, b) it will be a good contrast color for lots of other projects, and c) I used my employee discount, so it wasn't as expensive as it could have been ... 😀

Anyway, I'm really pleased with how it turned out - I think I did an even better job on this one than the first one I made, which makes sense because like most things, the more you do it, the better the result. I would recommend this pattern because it's a lot of bang for your buck, as they say. Particularly when you use two different yarns, and as a result, have 4 different ways to wear one hat.

Plus, it's Koodle approved.

'Nuff said, right?