26 September 2022

Thoughts on a Monday

Did you ever notice that no matter what, Monday always shows up? What's that about? 😉

Do any of you remember years ago, "Saturday Night Live" had a segment called "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey?" They were ridiculous, for example:


Though thinking about it, I could see myself coming up with something like this.

Anyway, I have no specific topic for today's post, but instead decided to just share some random thoughts here. So you've been warned, and if you keep reading, that's on you.

-- Since the governor of Florida has so many available funds at his disposal that he can use some of them to send immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, does that mean that when Hurricane Ian hits Florida this week, he won't need to request aid from the federal government to help people recover? Or did he use all of the money for the immigrants' transportation?

-- Does anyone else feel like NASA trying to explode an asteroid and change its course is a dicey experiment? I don't know, it just sounds like the beginning of a 1950s horror movie to me.

-- I am thrilled that not only has fall arrived, but it brought the fall weather that I love along with it. It gives me life, I have to say. 

-- Remember that hat I was knitting for the yarn shop that I felt was suspiciously like the Musselburgh Hat by Ysolda Teague? Well, I'm happy to report that people both online and in person are expressing the same thing. The hat in question is a "new" design by a designer whose name rhymes with "Flared Judd."

-- My friend and co-worker at the yarn store, Kathy, is having knee replacement surgery in mid-October. Our boss asked me if I would be interested in filling in for her on the Mondays she would usually work until she returns. I said that I would check the calendar, because I had purposely scheduled doctor appts, etc. on days I wasn't working at the shop. The previous week, she had asked if I would like to start working a third day on a regular basis starting in October, and I was happy to pick that up. So it may turn out that until the end of December, there are weeks when I'll work for four days. Which would be nice for the old bank account, but it means I'll have to plan things more closely as far as getting ready for holidays, etc. I have no obligation to do it, but I figure that if I can bank a bit more into savings until the end of the year, it will be a good start to 2023. And then I'll go to three days a week, which was my original hope for any part-time job.

-- Speaking of part-time jobs, I have still been applying for them when I see one that I could do and are interested in, and still nothing. Not even a "Thanks but no thanks." So I am even more grateful for my yarn store job than I was before!

-- Do you remember the challenge I was telling you I'm doing with a friend and also with my niece Amanda? We all agreed to try and walk/move a minimum of 30 minutes a day in September. We text each other to stay accountable, and it's gone really well for each of us. Over the weekend, we realized that this is the last full week of September, so we're trying to decide what/if to continue doing. So I would say if you want to try and get yourself any kind of exercise, but can't motivate yourself, find one or two friends to do it with you, and agree to text each time you have done something. We each live in different states, and even so, it's been both fun and motivating to have accountability. 

-- The other day, I heard a woman talking on her phone while I was waiting in line at the grocery store (of course I heard her - I'm pretty sure people in Maine could have also heard her). At one point she said, "I would rather be dead than keep getting old." Wow. I don't know, maybe she has some terrible health thing going on, though she looked fine. But if the only thing bugging her is that she is getting older, she's pretty darn lucky.

-- I think everyone should hug/kiss/say "I love you" to all of their family members (human and otherwise) at least once every single day.

And now, I'll just leave you with this - I hope your week is a good one!

21 September 2022

(Not Really) Famous and Learning Something New


Each week, the yarn store where I work part-time sends out a newsletter highlighting a specific project, upcoming event, knitalong, etc. I've realized that the newsletter has a large audience, all over the place. Whenever a new yarn and/or project is highlighted, the online orders start to pour in, as well as local people coming in to take an in-person look.  

Well, this week, the highlighted project and yarn included my first project completed for the shop! Yep, I opened up my e-mail and there was the hat I knit being featured and modeled by a co-worker. It was so fun to see, and then also see how many orders we filled for it and how many customers wanted to make the same thing. I forwarded the e-mail to The Tim, telling him that I was famous ... he was not as impressed as he should have been, but it could be because I showed him a terrible photo I'd taken myself of the finished project, so he's already seen it. So now all of you get to see it as well:


I do really like it, and am seriously considering making one for myself. I know that a few of you have mentioned that you are on the newsletter list, so you likely said to yourself, "Well, the gray and white one is especially nice, I wonder what amazing knitter made that?" Right? RIGHT??? 😀

I'll let you know when the "story" goes on the main website, so that you can see a much better photo, and get an idea of how it fits on the head.

*****
Early in 2021, I made a list of things related to knitting that I would like to accomplish over that year. It was a mixed bag, and I had mixed success, which was not a surprise. One of the things on the list was "Trying a brioche pattern." Of course, in order to try a brioche pattern, you need to learn to knit brioche, right? I never went anywhere with that, but still hoped to learn sometime. Well, I got my chance, though it was a bit stressful, to be honest.

Customers can request a special hour of help/a lesson on weekdays during shop hours (for a fee, needless to say). Last week, someone requested a session to learn 2-color brioche. We have a workshop that teaches that, but she wanted a one-on-one session. The person I work with on Tuesdays already knew how to knit 2-color brioche, though she hadn't done it for a while, so needed a refresher. And our supervisor told her to have me learn it as well, so I could sit in on the lesson and help out.

GULP.

Well, the one thing that made me feel better about it was that my co-worker hadn't done it for a few years, so she was more or less starting over too. She said she was glad to have learned it, but decided she really didn't like it that much, so she "immediately forgot all about it." So the two of us worked on figuring it out, with the help of a pattern we were given, some YouTube videos, and on my part, a few websites that explained it literally step-by-step.

After MANY stops and starts, I'm happy to say that I managed to "get" it enough to end up with this:

One side

 
 
Another side

My brain had a hard time with this one, I have to tell you. I could understand what I needed to do, but my brain and my hands were not cooperating with each other. It was a struggle, and though I'm glad I managed to finally "get" it, I'm not at all confident about it, and please don't ever ask me to help you fix mistakes, 'cause I have no idea. 😕

A few years back, I did find a free pattern on Ravelry for a beginner level pattern for 2-color brioche in the round. It was a 2-color cowl, and it was really nice looking. I put the pattern into my pattern library, and maybe sometime next year I'll give it a try. I'm sure there is an additional learning curve knitting brioche in the round, but at least if I do it for myself, I won't feel any pressure, and I have at least become familiar with the terminology.

Anyway, yesterday was the customer's lesson, and my co-worker got her started an on her way. I sat in though I was impressed with how well my co-worker could explain it, and how well the person picked it up (compared to my struggle in particular!), I think that it's one of those things that most people would benefit learning in a group class or workshop. Mostly because you would have more time to work on it, but also because anyone who would teach a class like that would be really well-versed in what it entailed, and would like not be flummoxxed by questions the students asked. But I also realize that everyone learns differently, so as they say, your mileage may vary.

But I'm proud of myself for getting the few rows I did knit to look the way they should. But after spending most of last week using ALL of my knitting time to figure it out, I'm looking forward to working on my own projects at home this week. It will be nice to work on things I actually understand ...

19 September 2022

Weekend Sightings

Hello, and I hope all of you had a good weekend. Ours was fine, nothing elaborate, but enjoyable and relaxing.

Saturday morning we started off heading down to southwest Philadelphia so I could get my Real ID. The Tim had gone to this particular office which is near his work to get his, and he said that a) it was huge, so they handled lots of people at once, and b) it wasn't crowded if you went when they first opened. The Tim was going to drop me off, and then go and pick up a new vacuum cleaner ordered from a Target nearby. So I went in, and there was a bit of a line to check in, but it moved really fast. And then it was my turn and ... I was missing a document - UGH! I had put everything into a folder, except apparently for a utility bill to provide proof of residence. Which meant that there was no way I was getting that done at that place and time. So frustrating! So that did not start things well, but it was uphill from there (thank the Lord!), and I'll just have to make sure everything is really and truly in the folder and go back another day.

And, our new vacuum cleaner is so great, that it was worth the trip anyway. The Tim had a plan for things he wanted to work on, so I decided to walk into Center City and see if I could find affordably priced walking shoes at the Nordstrom Rack. Mine are nearly shot, but I can't afford a $100+ pair of shoes at the moment.

On my way, I decided to stop at a Starbucks and treat myself to a Passion Iced Tea. Imagine my shock when I came across Steve Bannon - when did he get out of prison???


Of course, this isn't really Steve Bannon - for one thing, as everyone who has seen this photo has commented, he's never looked this good. But seriously, how much would it suck to be this guy, and always have people doing a double take?

Anyway, my plan was a success. I found a pair of really good walking shoes that usually cost $179, that were marked down to $69.97, but were also on clearance, so I got them for $40! Apparently they are from last season, so as long as the fashionistas don't find out, I should be OK. 😀

We spent the late afternoon watching the Notre Dame football game (YAY THEY WON!), and most of the Phillies game (really?), so it was a both productive and enjoyable day.

Yesterday, since I had to be at work at 10:00, I took my morning walk first thing when I got up.  And I was very excited to run into this guy while walking along the river:


I decided seeing him meant it would be a good day, and you know what - it was a pretty good day! My shift at the yarn store went well (certainly better than last week!), and everyone who came in for a class, purchase, look-around, or Knitting Circle seemed to be in a good mood, which is always nice. Then I fixed one of my favorite dinners for us (Spanish Chickpeas and Rice) and it was a particularly good batch. We spent the rest of the evening watching some shows we recorded and just taking it easy before the week got underway again.

So even though things started a bit shaky, it all ended on a good note. I'd much rather things end well because it just puts you on better footing for the week ahead.

Here's hoping the week is a good one for all of us.

15 September 2022

A Thursday Poem


Today I saw that Bonny, Kat, and Kym are celebrating poetry by posting a poem each third Thursday of the month, and are encouraging others to do the same. I'm not sure I'll participate regularly, but I recently happened upon a poem that pleased me, and was hoping to find a day to share it - so today turns out to be the day!

********

The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog
by Alicia Ostriker

To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God's love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow.

To be blessed
said the dark red tulip
is to knock their eyes out
with the slug of lust
implied by
your up-ended skirt.

To be blessed 
said the dog
is to have a pinch
of God
inside you
and all the other 
dogs can smell it.

12 September 2022

Plansus Interruptus

I don't know about you, but I'm very surprised that it's already the 12th of September. Didn't the month just start, like, 2 days ago??

Such is life, I guess.

Anyway, I hope all of you had an enjoyable weekend. Mine was just one of those weekends where all was well, nothing horrible happened, but everything just was ... off, you know? 

My original plan for Saturday was to go to the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival. Tim is always willing to go along with me, and the deal is that on our way home, I treat him to brunch or lunch somewhere. And I'd been really looking forward to it. But by the end of the week last week, I realized that it would probably be better to skip it this year. For one thing, I hadn't planned ahead. So I didn't have any "set aside money" to spend there. Also, and probably more important, by the end of the week, three different things came up that will require spending a lot of money in a very short amount of time. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it would just be better to stay home and not even feel tempted by any of the goodies. So we ended up staying home. Hopefully next year I'll have myself organized better well beforehand.

Then Sunday turned out to be one of those days when everything was just "off" enough that I felt out of sync all day. Even at my job at the yarn store, I was just off for most of the day. For instance, this one woman called to ask if we had the yarn she wanted for a specific pattern. I put her on hold to check the inventory, and when I went to take her off hold, I disconnected her instead! Then she called back immediately, and I DID IT AGAIN - UGH! I found her in our customer database, but not her phone number, so I sent her an e-mail, explaining what happened, and apologizing, and giving her the info she needed. Hopefully it will all work out OK, but I truly hate when that happens, anytime and anywhere. And there were other things that just didn't work quite exactly as they should have. 

I was washing up the dinner dishes and dropped a glass, which broke - I mean, I can't actually remember the last time that happened. 

So hopefully I got all of that out of my system yesterday, and this week will be better.  I'm working an extra day this week (Thursday), filling in for someone else, so maybe that will be a good day that balances things out. Or at least not another day like yesterday was ... 😊

Here's to a good week for all of us!

09 September 2022

A Week of Walks

Along with my friend Lisa and my niece Amanda, we created a challenge for the month of September that we would all try to walk/move at least 30 minutes each day. We started on September 1 (duh), and I'm proud to say that so far, I've kept going! We text each other every day once we have completed our activity, to keep ourselves accountable. To be honest, it's made it a lot more fun, and we also share photos and things that we noticed during our outside time.

So I thought I'd share some things with all of you from my walks this past week.

The dog park early in the morning on a weekday:



The old Naval Hospital, from Civil War days. Now it's apartments and condos, but at least they didn't tear it all down:


There are tons of murals in Philadelphia. I came across this one in my neighborhood the other day. I had never seen it before, but it's now one of my very favorites:


Some of the wildflowers along the river trail:



A railroad trestle with some kind of machine on top of it. I'm not a big fan of graffiti, but I liked getting this photo, especially against the sky:


Not pictured here are Eleanor the Golden Retriever, and Norm the greyhound, who I met on separate days and who both wanted to give me many, many kisses! I love getting to see and pet so many pups every day.

I'm glad I decided to do this, not just for my health and to accept the challenge, but because I really enjoy walking, and there is so much to see even just in my neighborhood.

I hope you'll get a chance to explore this weekend, and that even if you don't, that you have good weather and time to yourself. I'll see you next week. 😊

07 September 2022

The Current State of Projects

I've been knitting away on my three projects lately, and thought I'd give you a visual update.

First up, the Musselburgh Hat for my niece's husband Pat. I'm a few inches from the point where I will start knitting with different yarn, so that it's two hats in one.


Then, the pair of socks I'm knitting for The Tim for our anniversary. I'm into the leg on sock #1, and have the cuff done on sock #2.


Finally, the shawlette I'm knitting for my niece Amanda. I misread the pattern, and started it so that the pink is the dominant color instead of the green. But, I decided to leave it because a) I had already done quite a bit of knitting, and b) since pink is her favorite color, this gives it more of that in the FO.


The socks are the ones with the soonest deadline, as our anniversary is at the end of October. But I'm not worried about finishing any of these in time. I have plenty of time until the end of October, and the other two are December gifts, so I think I'm in good shape.

Plus, if I finish these sooner rather than later, then I'll get working on one of my own projects without having these gift knits waiting until the last minute - win-win!

02 September 2022

Some Friday Letters


Today seems like a good day for some letters, don't you think?

Dear Summer People: 

Well, you've had more than what you wished for this summer, haven't you? Heat, heat, humidity, humidity. You know, what you love and can't wait to celebrate. I hope you soaked in every second, and I hope you enjoyed it, since you love it so much. But let's agree that we're all ready to move along, OK?

Dear People Who Are Having Babies:

If having a baby means you need to take your pet or pets to a shelter, or even worse, just abandon them, maybe you should never have a pet - or even a baby - in the first place. You, my friends, are the worst of us. I am curious - when you have a second baby, are you going to take the first one to a shelter because you "won't have the time" to care for it?

Dear Louis de Joy:

May you die a long, painful, terrible death, unable to get the medication you need because it is being delivered through the USPS, and you have ruined it so much, people are lucky if they even get their bills on time. You're welcome.

Dear Guy Who Sings While Walking Down the Street Every Afternoon:

You do you. Your singing is terrible and too loud, but you are clearly so happy, just keep going. The world needs more terrible, loud, happy singers.

Dear People Driving Cars:

You do realize that some people actually walk around, right? And that you can't move until the light turns green? So maybe don't honk at people who you think are moving too slow through the crosswalk, while the light is still red. Particularly you, guy in the green Lexus, who also added a "Hurry up" yell to an elderly man who was crossing the street. May someone key your precious Lexus accidentally on purpose one day.

Dear Bees and Butterflies:

Please hang in there. Our asters didn't do as well this summer because we couldn't keep them from frying in the sun. Hopefully they will be back and do better next summer, and I'm also going to try to plant more flowers that you like next year. 

Dear Fall Weather:

Anytime you feel like showing up, I'll be here - and more than happy to see you!

******

It's a long Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., so if you have plans, enjoy!  We have no specific plans, which is fine with us. Hopefully we can have our picnic dinner that we missed having on July 4th since Covid came to visit for that holiday.

In any case, no matter where you are or what you do/do not celebrate, just enjoy the time however you can.

31 August 2022

Reading and A Martini

This week I was ready for another Unraveled Wednesday, with my current book and three - count 'em, three - knitting projects underway.

I am nearly halfway through this book:


First of all, I'd never even heard of The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, so you can be sure that when I saw this, I was more than ready to find out all about it. This book is just so good, putting human stories of survivors along with official records and newspaper stories together to tell the story of what led to the flood, what the flood was, and how it changed everything. Like so many stories, it's about how the business/corporate desire for profit overrode considerations for smaller companies and immigrant populations in the area. I got to a certain point last night and had to put it down, because I was feeling so heartbroken for the victims and their families. But I'm ready to pick it up again and keep reading.

Knitting-wise, I've got three projects underway - all of them gifts. You already know about the Musselburgh hat I'm making for Pat, my niece Amanda's husband. That will be a Christmas gift.
 
I also started a pair of socks for The Tim that will be an anniversary gift, and have about 8 rows of the top ribbing on sock #1 done, so - no photo. 😊

The third project is going to be either a Christmas gift or a birthday gift for my niece Amanda (her BD is December 29). Since Amanda - as well as the rest of us - loves a good martini, I decided to knit her the Martini Party Shawlette.

Years ago, I participated in a yarn club where you got yarn and a pattern every two months. One of the months, yarns from The Plucky Knitter were featured, along with the shawlette pattern. I knew I would want to knit it someday, but it has lived in my stash waiting for its turn in the limelight. And the waiting has paid off, since I'm finally getting around to using it for the intended project.


This photo doesn't show them as bright as the colors actually are, but these ar the yarns I'm usings. On the left, the pinkish shade is called Cosmopolitan; the green, Appletini.  

What about you? What are you reading and/or making? If you are curious to see what is going on with some others, click on the link at the start of this post and treat your curiosity!

29 August 2022

Well, That Was Fun

Monday has arrived once again. Here in Philadelphia, the public schools are starting the school year, and so there are tons of kiddos on their way - some looking excited (younger kids) and some looking resigned and/or miserable (older kids). I get it. Going back to school was always a mix of emotions for me, even from day to day.

Our weekend was a good one. Pip started by making sure that he did an adequate amount of serious relaxing on Friday. He barely moved from this position all day.


As I mentioned in my last post, we had tickets for the Phillies vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game on Friday night. We had a wonderful time, and once the sun decided to set, there was even a cool breeze!


I had to tell myself that I was hoping that the Phillies would win, NOT that the Pirates would lose. I know that is semantics, but it made me feel less conflicted.  The Phillies did end up winning on Friday evening, and it was a good game. Even the people in the seats around us were not annoying, and you may know from personal experience how much that can make the difference in enjoying something and wishing you'd just stayed home.

Look at that wonderful sky!

One thing that was funny was something The Tim said. Whenever we watch a baseball game, it really annoys me when the pitcher will get ready to throw to the batter, and then suddenly turn and throw to first base. I will be sitting at home saying, "Oh stop that!" or "Honestly, how stupid," or some other kind words. You know, as one does. Anyway, at one point during the game, the pitcher did that, and the whole stadium went "Boo!" and The Tim said, "Oh God, it's like being in a stadium of you." That just really cracked me up! (Also - Philly fans of any kind yelling "Boo" - what a shock! 😄)

Saturday we didn't do much - a short trip to the Farmer's Market, and The Tim baked some cookies. But the bulk of the day was spent with The Tim and his latest project. We have not had cable or satellite TV of any kind for years. But recently, he had read a couple of articles about YouTube TV, which is a streaming service. After doing a but more research, he decided we should try it, and so with all the necessary things ready to go, he spent a good part of the day setting it up and trying to figure out how it works. It was a mixture of fun and frustration - one of those things where you think you finally figured it out, and you go to do something only to find out that WHOOPS, you have not in fact figured it out.  At this point, we are closer to knowing how it works, but there are still plenty of hiccups to keep us on our toes.

Yesterday was a day for me to work at the yarn store, and also one of the days of Knitting Circle.*  There was a big turnout for Knitting Circle, a class happening in the classroom, and a ton of customers buying things so the time zipped by. I have to say, it's so much fun to see what people buy and hear about what they are planning to make, or to see how their projects turned out when they come in to show you. It's the best combination - people actually *want* you to ask them about it, and you can ask without being considered rude or nosy.

Also, one of the women who came to Knitting Circle yesterday brought her service dog with her. The dog is a big black dog, a Great Dane/Poodle mix named Brienne, and she is such a sweet pup! So I also got to get in my dog fix, which was a bonus on top of everything else. I'll try to get a photo of her to show you if they come again.

So now it's time to get the week started. I have some house projects lined up for the day, plus an outing to get more of the sunscreen I use on my face, and then hopefully this afternoon I'll have some time to knit and/or read. 

This coming week looks like it will be a busy one, which is fine with me. I hope your week treats you well, and that you have some time each day to yourself to read, knit, bake, garden, or whatever pleases you.

*Knitting Circle at Loop is twice a week - from 1-3 on Wednesdays; and, from 1-3 on Sundays. I thought I'd mention it in the event that anyone nearby wanted to make the trip.

26 August 2022

Happy Last Friday of August!

Today is not just a Friday, it's the last Friday of August. Which used to mean that school would start soon, but these days a lot of schools have already been open for a week or two by now. In any case, this month is finishing up, and soon all things fall will be showing up, along with cooler weather. Meaning that I will be a lot less grumpy!

Tonight we are going to a baseball game - the Phillies vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is something we've wanted to do for a long time, but the timing didn't work out until this year. Yes, I hope the Phillies win, because they are having a decent season. But, both of us grew up as Pirates fans, so we'll be happy either way. And it's a chance to see the Pirates play, even though they are not having a good season. In any case, we are looking forward to it, and I know we'll have fun.

Now, for something else that is fun - announcing the winner of the surprise box celebrating sixteen years of this blog. I wrote every name on a piece of paper, mixed them up in a sunhat, and then put them on the floor. I let Alfie choose the winner, since he is the newest member of the family. And Alfie chose:

Kim in Oregon!!

Congratulations, Kim! I know I used to have your address, but all of the addresses I'd collected previously were on my previous computer whose hard drive died a tragic death. So if you could send it to me again, I'll get myself organized and let you know when the package is on its way.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and who left such nice comments and congratulations. As usual, it made me wish I had goodies to send to everyone. But then I decided that especially since I missed Christmas in July, I'll do a few giveaways over the year, since I enjoy them, and love sending packages to people. So be on the lookout.

Have a good weekend, and I hope the last few days of August treat you well. Here's a Friday Funny for you:


See you next week!

24 August 2022

In Which I Read, Knit ... And Become Suspicious

Hello all, and Happy Wednesday! This week is moving right along for me, though I am still having a hard time keeping track of what day it is. I'm not sure why I'm having that kind of issue, but why ask why, you know?

Today I'm joining Kat and the others for Unraveled Wednesday. Even when I don't participate, I love seeing what everyone is making and reading.  

I just started this book on Monday:


Not great literature, but I had just finished a few intense books in a row, and needed a palate cleanser. I had read one of the installments of this series - OK, it was a Christmas one, so sue me - a few years ago, and remembered that I enjoyed it. So I thought maybe I'd start at the beginning to see if I wanted to fill in up to the one I'd read. So far, it's just what I was in the mood to read, and having never been to Key West in Florida, I'm enjoying getting a sense of the place through this book.

As far as my knitting goes, I've started on a project that will be a Christmas gift. You may remember that last year I made my niece Liz's husband Greg a Musselburgh hat. (Ravelry link) I had put my niece Amanda and her husband Pat in charge of "explaining" it to Greg when he opened it. When I was showing them how it worked, Pat said, "That is so cool, I would LOVE one of those!" But at the time, it was only about a month before Christmas, and there was no way I was going to make another one in a short time at the holidays.

But I tucked that away for later, and this year, Pat will get his own Musselburgh hat. So far, it looks like I'm knitting a pyramid:


But, having made one last year, I know that it will really and truly turn into a hat. 😀

Now ... you may be saying to yourself, OK, that's what she is reading, and what she is knitting, but why does she mention being suspicious? Well, I started the hat above earlier this week. Then, yesterday at my LYS job, I was assigned my next project for there. As a bit of background, we are assigned projects to work on while we are there, to showcase various yarns carried in the shop. I finished a watch cap on Sunday, during my shift, and so it was time for another project, and I was given the yarn and pattern to make another hat.

Well, here's why I'm suspicious, at least right now. The pattern that is for my "shop project" is from a very well-known designer. And granted, I didn't get very far into it yesterday, but at first read through, it seems suspiciously close to the Musselburgh pattern. It's the same concept when it's finished as well. Now I know that certain designs are kind of universal, and everyone tweaks them to make them their own, but I am just suspicious at this point. Since I'm knitting a Musselburgh at home and this other project two days a week at the shop, it will give me a unique chance to contast and compare, as it were.

I'll keep you posted. I kinda wish I had a deerstalker hat and a pipe, to be honest, LOL.

22 August 2022

Sweet Sixteen

This past Saturday, August 20, 2022, this blog turned Sweet Sixteen!  


I thought about posting on Saturday, but ... well, I was too busy doing pretty much nothing. 😊 (God forbid I make an effort to do something, right??)

I remember when I started blogging, it was mainly because at the time, I had few knitting friends, but thought it would be a good way to make some online friends. I also liked swaps and knitalongs, and most of them were hosted via other people's blogs - this was before Ravelry and most social media!

I have to say I am both pleased and frankly surprised to find that 16 years later, there are people who read my posts about knitting, crafting, baking, cooking, cats, dogs, reading, and whatever happens to come into my brain on any given day. There have been different "waves" of followers through the years, but some people have been there from the start. And it's given me no end of happiness and comfort to have those friends - I think I've said it before, but I feel incredibly close to some of you, even if we have never/maybe will ever meet in real life.

Two people who are extremely special to me in real life that I would have not met otherwise, Dee and Vera, came from having this blog, and knowing them alone has been worth the price of admission! 

Since my bout with Covid meant that I had to skip Christmas in July this year, I have decided that my blog turning sixteen is worthy of a giveaway. It will be a surprise package, so I'm not going to show you any of the goodies it contains.


All you have to do to be eligible is leave a comment on this post by Thursday, August 25, by midnight (EDT), and I will announce the winner on Friday. I really want to do this, because I so missed having our July giveaways, and one to celebrate my blog's birthday seemed like a good way to have some of that fun.

The giveaway is open to anyone, living anywhere, in any location where you can receive mail.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, and also to those who comment. I really love being able to come here and see what everyone has to say. It's the best feeling to have friends!

18 August 2022

Membership So Far: Just Us

For any of you who don't live in Pennsylvania, you may not even be interested in this post. Heck, even those in the state may not be, so let me say up front that this post is about politics. Which, like it or not, is part of every single part of our lives, in one way or another. So if you don't care, don't agree, or it makes you angry that this post is not about knitting, reading, cats, etc., my best advice would be to move along right now.

In the upcoming November general election, we have two statewide races that are big ones: John Fetterman, the current Lieutenant Governor (D), and Dr. Oz, television personality and resident of the state of New Jersey (R). 

You don't want me to get started on Dr. Oz. Trust me, you didn't even want that to happen before he decided to use his in-laws' address to "prove" his state residency. I was a non-fan of Dr. Oz before it become de rigueur here.

Then there is the gubernatorial race, which has Josh Shapiro, the current Attorney General (D), and Doug Mastriano, currently a PA state senator (R).

BUT.

Doug Mastriano is a danger to both PA and the country at large.

What you need to know more than anything else about Mr. Mastriano, is that he participated in the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. He would be more than happy to de-certify the election results, is happy to oppose abortion on any terms, and thinks climate change is "fake science."

Did I mention that he participated in the insurrection?

Anyway, on one of the commercials featuring him, he is wearing a cap that says, "Cold War Veteran." This has put me over the edge. WTAF? It's the most ridiculous thing I've seen, and makes no sense. 

Why does he not have a hat that says "January 6 Insurrection Veteran?" Because, did I mention that he was there?

Anyway, I just cannot get over that stupid hat, I'll admit it. It represents everything I think is well, stupid about him. 

But then I realized - guess what? The Tim and I are also "Cold War Veterans!" Granted, we do not have gear proclaiming it, but we spent time as children hiding under desks to practice in case the Russians invaded, or dropped a nuclear bomb. We lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis - granted we were kids, but it happened. We spent many of our formative years hoping and praying that the Russians wouldn't find a way to get us, or our family and friends. 

I pointed this out to The Tim, and he agreed but mostly rolled his eyes as he is both annoyed (by having to always hear about it) and amused at my rants regarding Doug Mastriano.

Anyway, current Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro is the complete opposite. He has done a LOT of good as Attorney General - working to combat opioids in the community, filing a report showing the abuse rampant in the past in the Catholic Church here in the state,* to name just two - and is a reasonable, educated person. (OK, he also has two dogs, one of which is a Golden Retriever, so ... well, you know. 😉) He also seems to be a genuinely good guy. For a while he was the chairman of one of the local county's Board of Commissioners, and was well-liked.

You know what he's never been involved with?
The January 6 Insurrection.

And so, when the opportunity arose to get a yard sign to show our support, I hopped right on it. The sign arrived the other day, and we are now proudly declaring ourselves to be "Cold War Veterans" For Shapiro:


Membership So Far: 
1. Me
2. The Tim

But every great journey starts with a single step, you know?

No matter where you live, PLEASE VOTE IN NOVEMBER. More than ever before, our country's future hangs in the balance.

My name is Bridget and I approve this message.

*For the record, I was raised Catholic and still consider myself to be one. I am not offended by Josh Shapiro's report and the evidence produced, because guess what? Priests do and have done things that are terrible and should be prosecuted. They should not be above the law more than anyone else should be. So no, I'm not "anti-Catholic." Thank you for reading.

15 August 2022

An FO for Monday

Back in February, I posted this photo on Instagram - a sock having just passed the heel gusset and ready to go on to the foot. It was my first DK weight sock attempt.  I finished the sock, but to be honest I really hated it. Just I didn't like how it looked and I didn't think the colors looked good together. So I put it away to decide if it was ever going to have a mate.


Then in July, I decided that I wanted a quick knit. I thought, well, it's summer, knit a pair of shortie socks for yourself. But I was uninspired. Then I thought, why not take apart the single sock I didn't like and use it for some shorties? DK weight shorties would be nice to wear around the house when the weather cools in the fall.

So I took apart the single regular sock, and got started. This past Friday I finished the second sock, so now I have a pair of shorties for the fall.


Project: DK weight shortie socks
Pattern: DK Weight Vanilla Socks, by Crazy Sock Lady Designs (free on Ravelry), adapted to be shortie socks
Yarn: Legacy Fiber Artz DK Sock Set, in the colorway Rory
Needles:  US size 3
Modifications: I adapted the pattern which is for a pair of regular socks, to be shortie socks. I mostly used the pattern for the number of stitches, etc. I also used the Shadow Wrap Heel from Earthtones Girl, instead of a regular heel and gusset.
Comments: I'm pleased with these socks, and will wear them around the house. But I have to say that this is one yarn set that looked a whole lot better in the skein than actually knit up. The colors on their own are nice; I like the navy with the main color better than the lighter blue. But this yarn just didn't end up appealing to me as I was knitting it. I'm not sure why, because I am a big fan of blues. I do like the shorties better, but if I had seen the way this colorway knit up, I would probably have chosen something else. Oh well, they will still be cozy and warm.

And an FO is always a good thing!

12 August 2022

Friday Funny

Who wouldn't???

Have a good weekend! 😀

09 August 2022

Quick Post Before I Forget

I saw this the other day, and want to share it before I forget.

Q: How do you comfort an English teacher:

A: You say "There, their, they're."


Have a good Tuesday!

08 August 2022

Then July Happened ...

When we last left my life saga, we had reached the end of June, the end of my full-time job of 12 1/2 years, and the end of guaranteed income and health insuruance. Well, I had signed up for Social Security and Medicare, but had not yet heard that they were active. So ... only kinda/sorta worried about income and health care. 

To end June in the BEST possible way <insert sarcasm>, The Tim woke up on June 30 not feeling well. You may or may not remember that The Tim is seldom sick - he hardly ever even gets a cold. He took and Covid test, and of course it was positive. Which, if you think about it, was really the perfect way for June to end. Anyway, we had avoided catching it for over 2 years, so I guess we had a good run. He called his doctor, and was given Paxlovid, so between that and being vaccinated and boosted, he was on his way to recovering.

We hadn't made any specific Plans for July 4, so we didn't have to cancel anything, but we usually have our own little picnic, and I figured I'd just wait and see how he felt before getting anything to have or fixing any food ahead of time (i.e., potato salad). 

Fortunately for him, he had milder symptoms - a sore throat, some fatigue, and congestion. And the Paxlovid made a huge difference.

You are likely guessing the inevitable at this point, and dear reader, you would be correct. In spite of my best efforts to avoid interacting with The Tim, our house is only so big. So on the morning of July 4, I woke up feeling AWFUL. And of course, tested positive for Covid. I do not recommend it as a way to celebrate a long weekend holiday - 0 out of 10 stars.

My doctor prescribed Paxlovid as well, and as is my kind of luck with illness, my symptoms were a lot worse. I was pretty miserable for a couple of weeks, though again, the medication and being vaccinated and boosted made a huge difference. I still have some congestion and a Covid cough, and fortunately my constant fatigue is nearly gone. But the coughing, aches, headache, earache, and overall difficulty breathing made me thankful that if I had to end up getting Covid, it was now instead of in the early parts of it. The suffering of those people was unbearable to think about.

So, we both recovered, and then I got to spend the next week or so fighting with my former employer. I received the paycheck that covered my leftover vacation days, except it only covered half of them. When I called to question it, I was told that I had more vacation left than it was the policy to pay for - I mentioned that it was not on purpose, it was because we were not allowed to take any vacation when the number of staff was so low. But alas, I did not prevail. And yes, I could have made an issue of it, but I was just done (which is I'm guessing what they imagine will happen). I "officially" closed that chapter, with no regrets.

In the third week of July, the woman who is one of the owners of the LYS near my house - Loop - contacted me to see if I might be interested in working a couple of days a week in the shop.  Um .... YES! At this point, I knew that I would be getting Social Security starting in the middle of August, but I had still been looking for a part-time job. The LYS job is currently two days a week - Tuesdays and Sundays, and the pay isn't really great - but you know what? After looking for a part-time job for over a year, I'm thrilled to have *anything* at this point. Plus, my commute to work on those two days is two blocks!!! The people are nice, and the yarn is pretty, and if nothing else ever happens, I have this job, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to add on another day at some point.

So, let's review:

Beginning of July = ICK
Middle of July = Better, but still questionable
End of July = YAY!!!

Finances will still be iffy for a while, until we get used to all of the adjustments that need to happen, and my Medicare is still being processed, but progress is being made, and I think it will be OK in the end. Because I really believe that, but also because we have to make it OK in the end, right?? 😊

05 August 2022

Sometimes You Have To Embrace Your Inner 12-Year-Old Boy

Yes, this is stupid. But I laughed really hard. And felt that I had to share, for any of you who may also have an inner 12-year-old boy.


Have a good weekend!

03 August 2022

A HO and What I'm Reading

It's Wednesday, which means it's the day to join Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday! I've decided to join in, since I have a HO (half-finished object) and have started a new book.

First, the HO - this is the first completed sock of a pair of shorties I'm knitting. These went pretty quickly, probably because a) they are shortie socks, and b) the yarn is DK weight. Now I just need to get the other one going, and it will be finished pretty quickly as well (at least in theory).


I started this book the other day, and am so far really enjoying it:


It's weird and creepy but *very* readable! I just hope as I keep reading and hopefully finish it, that it doesn't disappoint.

This morning the weather was actually pleasant, so I was able to go out and take a walk. Coming home not soaked with sweat and having a hard time breathing just feels so nice!

I have a dr appt this morning, and then I want to attempt to wind some yarn for another project. It's one of those skeins of yarns that just seems to be a tangle, period. If I can find a way to try and get it to the point where I can wind it by hand, that will be a benefit. I realize that things happen, but it just annoys me when you have a skein of yarn that is so tangled even before you try to wind it that you don't even have a way to start. I'm willing to give it a try to see if it's salvageable, but I'm not dedicated enough to be a do-or-die untangler. I just hope I haven't wasted money on something I can't even use!

I hope all of your reading and making is going well. Take care.

01 August 2022

The Story of the End of June

As promised, I am going to tell you about the first part of what was going on with me at the end of June 2022. I promise to try and keep it as short as possible, with as little detail as necessary. Even so, it's likely to be a long post, and not of interest to a lot of people, so feel free to move along, I won't be upset. 😉

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time has heard me talk about the awful situation that was my workplace. Particularly in the past couple of years - and not really related to the pandemic - when the CEO of the place decided that until a "real" director was hired, he should be our supervisor. This was awful for many reasons. But in summary: 1) he knows absolutely nothing about libraries and archives; 2) he doesn't care that he doesn't know; 3) he is to put it mildly, incredibly narcissistic; 4) out of the four of us, he absolutely had one person as his favorite who could do no wrong, somewhat pleasantly tolerated the Reference Librarian, (who was part-time at the moment), didn't like the Archivist, and really and truly hated me. At one point, his favorite was promoted to the title Special Collections Librarian, which was disturbing for several reasons, among them that she does not have a library degree or background, and that in the library profession, Special Collections Librarian is a very rarefied, difficult-to-obtain position. And seldom is/was anyone at the place every promoted anyway.

Various things did or did not happen, and the morale - which didn't really exist in the first place - plummeted even lower. In early November 2021, the Reference Librarian resigned, partly due to child care problems, but also due to the supervisor, the treatment of most of us, and because it was no longer worth her emotional investment. At the end of December 2021, the Archivist resigned, due to the situation in our workplace and due to our supervisor. She was fortunate to find another job that she was more than happy to have.

So, two of us were left. And the supervisor decided to start the search for a director - excuse me, an "Executive Director." The first thing he did that we had all agreed was an important part of the job requirement was to take out the requirement that the person have a master's or doctoral degree in library work - according to him, this would mean we would have the chance to get "a scholar" in the position. So he found someone - a lovely man actually - who had a Ph.D. in the history of science and had come from a position at a planetarium.

The new Executive Director decided to make it a priority to hire a Reference Librarian. But he and the other person left in the department did not want to require a library degree, and the other person - the favorite - pretty much wrote the job description and said she would train the person. Train them to do the stuff she was originally hired to do and to help with, but that she doesn't like doing, so she could focus on the parts of the job she likes.

I was already having serious mental health problems at this point, but that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Since before last Christmas, I've applied for 80+ part-time and full-time jobs with no response, except for two interviews that went nowhere. But the situation described above made it just impossible for me to stay at my workplace. Without another job lined up, I gave my notice and said my last day would be June 30.  

Prior to that, I had applied for Social Security benefits, and Medicare, so that was something. But the situation would still not be ideal.

I was busy cleaning up projects and creating documents to let my successor (if there would be one) have at least a rough idea of where I left off on things I'd been doing. Even though I was leaving, I had every intention to leave things in a good place.

Then I arrived at work on Thursday, June 23 - one exact week before my last day. There was an e-mail from HR alerting me to an "emergency" meeting at 9 a.m. So I signed on to Zoom, and learned that I was being let go that day. According to the HR person, someone had been "researching" about me online, and came across "a post on my personal blog" that contained this sentence: 

"I ask myself, could these things not have at least been spread out over several weeks, so that my desire to stab someone would not be as strong as it is right now?"

(It was a post about a week when everything annoying seemed to be happening all at once.)

Anyway, I was being sent home that day because that particular sentence was seen as - and I quote - "An implied threat of physical violence to others."

I asked the HR person if a) this didn't sound a bit like stalking, and b) if she really believed I was dangerous, and though she gave vague answers, she said it didn't matter what she thought, it was because if others worried for their safety, I had to be let go. She said that I was not being fired, and would be paid through my original last day, but I had to leave the building as soon as I collected all of my stuff and not come back, or try to come back into the building.

So, I did just that. I wasn't able to finish things I'd begun, or leave instructions, as I had planned, but I had to leave, so I did. I spent the week until my original resignation date lying low and trying to deal with HR about my final paycheck, when benefits would end, etc. - the usual things that I would have worked on even if I'd been at work for that last week.

My very last act was to send an e-mail I had been planning to send anyway to all of my colleagues, and had already pretty much finished. I tweaked it according to the situation, and right before I shut down my work computer for the very last time, I hit SEND. I am proud of myself, because although it was honest, it was not ranty or bitter or accusatory of any particular people.  And I had so many of my former colleagues contact me with their support, that it was a nice feeling.

I feel bad that my 12 1/2 years there ended as they did, but at least I was already planning to leave. In the months between the Archivist leaving and me leaving, many other people at the place had been fired or had left under a cloud since the CEO didn't like them. Sadly, though the place is full of good people trying to do good work, the administration is seemingly doing their best to either get everyone who had been there out of there so they can start over with their own people, or just tank it altogether. 

Now that I've had a month to adjust to things, I have to say I kind of feel like the young girl below as far as how I feel about the place.


Is my mental health improved? You bet, even though we are struggling financially. But we've been poor before, and so we know how to do that and adjust accordingly. 😊

So now you know that part of the story. In a future post, I'll fill you in on life during July - which started out really horribly but has ended on an upswing.

29 July 2022

Five Favorites for This Friday

The last Friday of July has arrived, which is fine with me. July is one of those months I enjoy in theory - as I do like the Fourth of July - but really dislike in reality - constant heat wave, anyone? So I'm never all that sad to see it go. And this is the day years ago when our sweet Dug the Doodle Dog had to leave us and join those already in heaven. Sigh.

So in order to try and counteract that, I've decided it's well over time I did a Five Favorites post.  

Voila!

1. I successfully did a crochet chain provisional cast-on for a knitting project! Any kind of provisional cast-on has eluded me for my entire knitting life. So the fact that I finally figured out one way it would work was a major boost. I'm not saying it worked perfectly when I was taking it out, but that was user error and in the end I got it to work like it was supposed to, which is what matters. 

2. The other morning when I walked out the door, I got to meet a new neighbor named Katie, which was nice, BUT - she was walking her 8-month-old mini-Bernadoodle puppy named Miso! OMG Miso is ridiculously adorable, very wiggly, and has so many kisses to give. I told her if they ever need a dog sitter or dog walker, I'm right across the street.

3. (I already posted about this on Instagram, so if you follow me there, you've seen it and can go to #4.)

A few years ago, we bought a clematis plant for our garden. The first year, it was very happy, but didn't bloom, which was fine. The next year, it was covered in blooms, and that was quite exciting. Then last year, in an overambitious weeding of the garden during a cleanup, I realized I'd pulled it out, and to say it was upsetting would be an understatement.

Then, this year, I noticed a small tendril was climbing up the trellis - I was so thrilled, because somehow some little piece had survived! It took off, and I was so relieved to see it was happy and thriving. But then - this happened:


Words cannot express how happy seeing this single bloom made me feel! It was a reminder that at least sometimes, not all is lost.

4. I have thus far made it through the week without having Alfie attack my legs! Granted, it may be because he was too hot to make the effort, but I'm hoping he's decided that it's not worth the momentary hilarity/satisfaction to end up in trouble. Time will tell.

5. A good thing happened this week that I want to tell you about, but not until you know the background of it. So suffice it to say I'll tell you next week as part of the "This is all the crap that happened while I wasn't posting" at the end of June/beginning of July. (Spoiler alert: I did not win any lottery money.) But be assured that it was something that was a step forward, and provides some help - even if just a little bit - to our overall situation. 

I hope you can find at least one or two things that went well for you this past week. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll see you again in August! 😊