26 May 2022

End of May, See You in June

Between the events unfolding in the country/world, and the long holiday weekend, I just wanted to drop in and say "See ya" until next month.   I have things to do in preparation for our trip, and not much additional emotional space left at the moment.

If you are in the U.S., I hope you can have a good Memorial Day weekend.  Please don't feel bad if you feel bad - but pretty please don't feel bad if you feel good.  We need to allow ourselves to be happy and have fun even when despair visits.  Life goes on, even when we wish/think it shouldn't, and it is up to each of us to make it have meaning, joy, and purpose.  

For those of you in other places, I hope you also can enjoy the upcoming weekend even if it's not a holiday weekend where you are.

We will head to West Virginia tomorrow to get together with some family, to laugh, to talk, to complain, and to be grateful we can be together, when other families no longer have that luxury.

Enjoy your weekend.  Enjoy your loved ones.  Be grateful for what you have.

And please remember to be kind to each other.

See you soon.

25 May 2022

No End In Sight

America is a Gun (by Brian Bilston)

England is a cup of tea.
France, a wheel of ripened brie.  
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.  
America is a gun.

Brazil is football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona's hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.

Holland is a wooden shoe.
Hungary, a goulash stew.
Australia, a kangaroo.
America is a gun.

Japan is a thermal spring.
Scotland is a highland fling.
Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.

24 May 2022

FO Post: Well That Took a Long Time!

I just looked on my Ravelry page, and apparently I started knitting my Easter socks on March 25, 2022.  I finished them this past Sunday, May 22, so ... it was a while

This was the yarn caked up - it came in two separate skeins, which I will admit that I like, because then I can knit a cuff, and then another cuff; a leg and then another leg; and on through the pair.  So that when I finish one toe, I only have the toe of the second sock to do!

Project:  Hoppity Socks
Pattern:  My own stitch pattern, on a plain vanilla sock
Yarn:  Timber Yarns Twin Sock, in the colorway Eggsquisite
Needles:  US size 1
Notes:  I was really excited to start this pair, figuring if I started in late March, I would easily have them ready for Easter.  And things moved along well, to a certain point.

Cuff, heel, and the start of the foot on Sock #1 - meaning that Sock #2 was finished to the end of the heel.  I used the Shadow Wrap Heel, shown in this video from Earthtones Girl.  I've made one other pair with this heel, and wanted to try it again.

Anyway, the pattern on the leg portion is one I made up, and I decided since it was scattered onto the leg of the sock, it reminded me of little bunnies jumping around, hippity hoppity, hence the name of this project.  (If anyone would like to know the stitch pattern, please say so, and I'll write it up and share it.)

Then I ran out of knitting mojo.  So the socks sat in the project bag for quite a while.  Weeks, actually.  I made a bit of progress on them over one evening, but that was it.  And then this past weekend, I decided that I was going to finish them, no matter what.  The good thing is, that I did finish them, and I have to say that I could feel a little bit of my desire to knit things return, so I'm glad I picked them up again.

They don't quite match, which doesn't bother me at all, and I love how happy and cheerful they are!  Nothing about knitting this pair of socks was hard - they only took so long to complete because of operator neglect.  😊

Right now, we're heading into warmer weather, so they may not be worn anytime soon, but I'm happy knowing that when I'm ready for them, they'll be ready for me!

23 May 2022

Monday Random-nosity

Hello all - I hope if you were anywhere near me, that you managed to keep cool.  And that if you were somewhere that got snow, it wasn't too much. Such weird weather all around. 

Anyway, I have random thoughts floating around in my head, and decided that since Monday is well, Monday, I'd share them with you.  So feel free to stop reading here if you are not in the mood.

Over the weekend, I did manage to finish my Easter socks.  Yes, Easter socks.  What can I say?  In my head, I wanted to finish them, but for the last while, I just was not interested in knitting a stitch on any project.  So I'll share them with you later this week, but I think that's the longest I've ever taken to knit a pair of socks.

For approximately the 10,000th time, I saw a commercial for Shen Yun, which I don't know, seems to come to Philadelphia at least 25 times a year, and yet I have never met a person who has gone to see it.  Anyway, one of the things that really kills me is the "testimonials" from people seemingly on their way out of the theater.  They show the person's first name, and then some qualifier, like "Computer Programmer."  My very favorite is "John, Professional Golfer."  How many times in your life have you been on the fence about seeing a show, and then you read/see that a Professional Golfer enjoyed it, and then you say, "BOOM! I'm going to that if he likes it!"???

This morning on the local news, when they went to give the weather report, they had some guy from a Dallas station doing the weather, because apparently he is the only person available to fill in???  I mean, it's not like Philadelphia is on the moon, so they figured well OK at least there's someone from Dallas available.  There wasn't even someone from Harrisburg, the Lehigh Valley, Baltimore, heck even "all the way over" (as people here say) in Pittsburgh available?  They had to call in someone from freaking Dallas??

Saturday afternoon I was talking to my sister in WV, since we are headed there for the coming Memorial Day weekend.  It sounds like there won't be as many family members there as usual for one reason or another, so I'm glad we got together at the beginning of the month in Baltimore.  But she said that one of my brother-in-law's nephews, his wife and kids, from NC might come up for the weekend, because they hadn't seen us (meaning The Tim and yours truly) for so long.  Which is lovely, but I don't think over the past ten years when we have seen them, we've exchanged ten words.  Oh well, it will be fun to see them nonetheless, it's just ... puzzling.

Do any of you watch "Ozark?"  We just finished the end of the last season this weekend.  Both of us found the ending unsatisfying for a number of reasons.  I mean, it's not like it could have ended with bunnies and glitter, but it seemed annoying nonetheless.

Saturday morning, I decided that rather than fix us something for breakfast myself, I'd walk up to a pastry shop in the neighborhood and treat us to some of their sticky buns.  The woman who was the owner was helping me, and when I went to pay, she said, "You live in the neighborhood, right?" and I said yes, a few blocks away from the shop.  And then she said, "Well, then 20% off."  Now that was a lovely surprise!  It made those amazing sticky buns taste even better!  😃

On my way to work today - which is trash day for our area - I saw a guy come out of his condo building with a flat-screen TV, apparently getting rid of it.  Except that he placed it in between two parked cars.  I said, "Oh are you taking your TV on a trip in the trunk?" and he said, "No, just putting it out for trash."  In between two parked cars??  I so wanted to know his reasoning, yet kept going because that is already a level of weird I don't need to interact with early on a Monday morning.

So there you go.  Let's hope this week if it is full of random weirdness, is the good kind at least.  I'm not sure I can take any other!

20 May 2022

Five Favorites for This Friday

It's been a really long time since I've done one of these posts, so I thought I would go ahead and tell you five things from this week that were good.

1. A woman who I follow on Facebook posted this cartoon, and it made me laugh really hard because, well, look for yourself (clicking on it should open it to be more readable):

2. Our roof has needed to be replaced for a while now - I'm talking falling ceiling and  mold in the bedroom (which is why I have moved to the guest room - I can't sleep through dripping water!).  The Tim keeps talking about calling someone, but there has been no evidence of that happening.  So this week, I called three different places to come and give us estimates.  One came on Tuesday, and the other two are coming next week.  I'm glad I finally decided to go ahead and call myself, because maybe that means we can actually have the problem solved.

3. I can't remember if I told you that The Tim bought me some very large plant containers for my birthday (at my request).  About a month ago, we went to a nearby place and bought plants to go into the containers - a forsythia, a lilac, and a hydrangea.  I am beyond thrilled that not only are they all still alive, but they appear to be thriving - the hydrangea has a bloom emerging!  I really hope I can keep them all alive and happy.  (Though this weekend we are supposed to have our first heat wave of the season (which should happen in the SEASON of summer, but hello global warming), and as the TV weather people keep telling us in a sickly enthusiastic way, "It will break records, with temperatures in the high nineties and the 'feels like' temperature will be over 100 degrees!" Here's hoping the plants survive it!)

4. My horrible boss at work has been out of the country for the past two weeks and it has been glorious to not have him around in person and cyber-wise.

5. We had a primary election here in Pennsylvania this past Tuesday, and for a change, nearly every person I voted for, won!  And, stupid Dr. Oz (who lives in NJ by the way) and his terrible opponent are still fighting on their side of things about who won!  The deciding votes will be - get this - once the MAIL IN VOTES have been counted.  The irony, it burns.  As a friend of mine says, ha-to-the-ha!

Here's hoping there have been a least a few things that were good in your world, and that your weekend is a nice one, whether or not it is going to be eleventy hundred degrees where you are.  Take care, and I'll see you next week! 

19 May 2022

Celebrity Sighting

I have various routes I take on my walk to work. Depending on my mood, or the weather, I like to keep it from becoming monotonous.

This morning, I walked through Rittenhouse Square, and up 19th Street, towards La Colombe, a very popular coffee place in Philadelphia.  Right when I was at the door to the place, it opened, and someone came out ... it was James McAvoy!  I was so surprised, I said "Oh hi!" and he smiled and said, "'Morning, love."  

Of course, I wanted to find out why he was in town.  So I checked his IMDB page (linked above) and didn't see anything so it was time to turn to Dr. Google.  It turns out the he recently married a woman from Philadelphia, and considers the city to be "his second home."  They met while he was filming a movie for M. Night Shyamalan (known in our house as "M Knight Shama-lama-ding-dong"), who is from here and shoots a lot of his movies in the city and the nearby areas.

(Now, the limited exchange I had with Mr. McAvoy is light years better than the time I ran into Robert McNamara (one of the architects of the Vietnam War, ugh) when we lived in DC.  He was walking towards me on the street, and I recognized him.  We had recently moved there, and he was the first famous (infamous?) person I'd spotted.  I went up to him and said, "Aren't you Robert McNamara?" and he smiled and said, "Yes," and then I excitedly said "I'm Bridget Clancy!" - you know, like he'd recognize that name.  Instead, he just walked away with a concerned look on his face.)

Anyhoo, back to James McAvoy and his wife.  Now that I know more, I need answers to the MOST important questions:

1. Where exactly do they live - are we neighbors?

2. Do they have pets?

3. Do either/both of them knit?

 I'll let you know if my investigations bear fruit. 😉

16 May 2022

A Leisurely Friday Stroll Through the Neighborhood

How I enjoyed my Friday day off!  (Of course, now it seems long ago, sigh.)

This was how the morning started out, just relaxing and hanging out with these two:

It was supposed to rain quite a bit, but nothing was happening around our house, so I decided to take advantage of that and take a walk around the neighborhood.  I took my phone with me so I could snap some photos to show you.  One of the nicest things about our neighborhood is that people go out of their way when springtime comes to plant flowers, whether they are in the ground or in pots.  One is more beautiful than the next when you are paying attention.

I decided to head towards the Schuylkill River Trail, to see what might be going on along there.  Passing one of the research buildings that are part of the University of Pennsylvania, I saw these guys.

Nope. You could not pay me enough to do that kind of job!

I though this flowerpot on someone's stoop nearby was particularly fancy.

Then I arrived at the trail.

I was nearly on my own, though there were a couple of runners and I saw one bicyclist.

I found this measurement confusing - shouldn't the numbers go the other way?  Oh well.

In any case, I'm glad I wasn't sitting on this bench when the rapture happened.

Time to head home.

Look how happy these azaleas are in Fitler Square!  I didn't take a wider shot, but if you happen to watch the TV show "Servant" you might be interested to know that a lot of the scenes in the most recent season of the show were shot here in Fitler Square.  

I really enjoyed my walk, and it turned out that it was just what I needed to get the day going.  Nothing of any great amazement or import happened or was accomplished for the rest of the day, but a lot of small things were taken care of, which sometimes feels more rewarding to me.  

The rest of the weekend was nice and uneventful, so it felt like it lasted a long time.

One note for today: Please keep a good thought for my niece Amanda, her husband Pat, and their kitty Clancy.  Today they will likely have to say goodbye to her, and even though she is 18 years old and has had a lovely kitty cat life with lots of love and attention, we all know that it is awful to say goodbye to those that you love.  I'm just glad they can be all together when it happens.  They've had Clancy since she was about 5 weeks old, so she is an extra special kitty.

Take care, and hug your loved ones.

13 May 2022

Friday the 13th


True - why wouldn't you pet a black cat - or any cat - if it will let you???  For the record, during my life I've had three black cats and they were anything but unlucky. 😊

So Happy Friday the 13th to everyone, and happy Friday if you don't like cats (but seriously???).  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I took today off.  It was kind of a last-minute decision, but a good one.  Also, I realized that if I don't start taking some days, I'll lose them when the fiscal year ends on June 30.  Of course, a lot of that is because it's hard to get the time off approved, which is a whole other situation.  It was lovely to sleep a bit later this morning and know that I have the day to myself.

I was thinking yesterday and last night about what I might do today.  I have put a load of winter things in the washing machine so I can put them away nice and clean until next year.  And as I'm sure is the case with most people, there are a ton of things I *could* do, but that is not a guarantee that I *will* do them.

This cartoon says it all.  I'm not necessarily in the mood to do anything, even if it's something enjoyable.  For the past couple of months, actually, I just haven't been able to stick with anything much.  I've had spurts of wanting to do things, but otherwise ... not.  I've done some reading, but that's about it.  My knitting hasn't been touched for weeks.  I think about doing it, but don't really have the desire to even pick it up.  I see patterns I would love to try, but that's it.  

Same with my needlework.  I love the idea of it, but don't feel like picking that up either.  

So here is my plan for today, as it stands right now.

1. Finish the load of laundry currently in the washer by drying the stuff and then folding it and putting it away.  
2.  Spend 1/2 hour starting on cleaning out my closet. I am in the mood to make serious decisions about keeping or donating. And if I set a timer for 1/2 hour, I won't get overwhelmed and just give up.
3.  Take a walk.  It's supposed to be rainy at times today, so I'll look for a time when it's not raining, and take myself for a nice walk.

As for the rest of the day? Well, if I decide to do something else - useful or not - I will.  But otherwise, I'm just to enjoy a day off and do nothing.  Everything will still be waiting, and I'm not putting anyone in any danger as a result of not doing any of the many other things I could be doing.

Most importantly, it's a day off.  That's reason enough to just be. 

Have a lovely weekend, whether you are crazy busy, or just relaxing the whole time.  I'll see you next week.

12 May 2022

Ha, Ha, Huh?

Thursday - for me, my last workday of the week.  Suddenly on Tuesday afternoon, I decided I was taking off Friday, and since no one was around to say NO, it became a plan!  

Today I'm joining Carole and others for Three on Thursday - I have two amusing things and one thing that I had never really thought about that kinda surprised me.

1.  This amused me because sometimes I think if one more person tells me about an app I will scream!

2.  This story and embedded video on the local news made me laugh way more than it probably should have.  A local newsperson said after airing it, "They say every rose has its thorns, but in this case, every rose had its thong." 

3.  This kind of amazed me, because I had never ever given it any thought at all.

WHAT???? How could George Washington not know about dinosaurs???  He was the Father of Our Country!  😉

Anyway, I hope you can manage to get through the day with the knowledge that our first president did not spend his childhood obsessed with T Rex and friends ...

10 May 2022

Small Things

Hi all.  I hope everyone is doing well, or at least as well as you can be doing.  This is not an easy time to keep your chin up, with so much happening all at once to try and stomp down any little bits of happy and/or contentment you may feel.  

I have been feeling quite bereft lately, not just for myself (which I am prone to, unfortunately, whether or not it's really real), but for the world at large.  Election crap, Putin's determination to ruin Ukraine, climate change, almost all of the -isms and -ogyny are at an all time high, abortion rights, guns, guns, guns being the answer to everything.  For me, there are times when even though a lot of it has been ongoing, it all seems to be a punch to the gut and it's hard to not just stay a little positive, but to feel that anything you are trying to do to help is not even worth it anymore.

Sometimes there is nothing that can really help me feel better, no matter what I try or how others try to help.  But other times, small things can at least make me smile and even give me a genuine laugh and so for those few minutes, things are better.

Two examples from recent days:

Saturday was the Kentucky Derby.  Growing up, we *always* watched it on TV, as my parents were die-hard fans of horse racing.  When they would go to the track in person (usually we went as a family), we always hoped my dad's horse would win, because if he won, he would generally give us a share of his bounty.  But my mother had two hard and fast rules about horse races: 1) ALWAYS bet on a gray horse, and 2) always bet on the long shot, because "you never know what might happen."  Even if she placed a bet on another horse more likely to win, she would also always place a $2.00 bet on a gray horse and/or a long shot.  Which of course my father thought was ridiculous.  

Anyway, this year a long shot horse came from behind - last, actually - to win the whole thing!  The odds were 80-1, meaning that my mother would have come away with her $2 bet yielding $160.00 and some change.  This pleases me even now, thinking about it.  Along with the comment she would likely make to the effect of "Shows what your father knows."  Even if it happened once every 5 years, she would make sure to point out that my father was not always the expert he thought he was ... 😏

The second thing making me smile arrived in the mail yesterday:

I ordered these earrings from an Etsy shop mentioned on a podcast I was watching last week.  They were very inexpensive, and the kitty and the goldfish in the bowl just really amused me.  I figured they would be a fun pair to wear, and the colors are so summery, they just appealed to me.

I have to tell you, they are even better in person!  I opened the package, and was so pleasantly surprised.  The Tim said, "So ... you bought those for YOU?" and when I said yes, he just shook his head.  You know, because he is NO FUN, people!  These earrings are awesome, and I shall wear them tomorrow to my therapy appt because my therapist has a orange cat named Marmalade, and she is always bringing me up to date on his antics. 

I still don't feel better about most things going on.  But these two small things - one event and one pair of earrings - gave me a reason to smile and be happy.

I hope you find a small thing or two that helps you.

05 May 2022

Oh the Hilarity!

As mentioned before, last Friday after work we headed to Baltimore for a weekend with *almost* all of the family.  The only ones who couldn't make it were our four great-nieces and great-nephew in Arizona (all in school of course), and my niece Lauren, her husband, and their two little kiddos.  But everyone else was there at one point or another, and the hilarity ensued.  

We lucked out, because the weather the entire weekend was lovely!  Cool, but sunny and not too windy like it had been here in Philadelphia.

Upon arrival, and parking our car in the back of Amanda's house, we acquired a new hood ornament:

This is our great-nephew Oden, who lives in Brooklyn.  He was THRILLED to see us and then as soon as we got out of the car and said, "Hi Oden!" he yelled "Shingles doesn't care!" and ran inside. (Apparently that is the tag line for a commercial for shingles medication and he is obsessed with that line. Seems about right.)

Once inside, we got to see everyone, and it was so great.  This is my nephew Chad's wife, Liesl, and my niece Julie (Oden's mother):

Liesl and Chad and their kids live in Arizona, and we hadn't seen them for about 10 years!

Here's my niece Liz (aka La Liz) and my sister Nancy who lives in California:

Here are my two brothers-in-law, Michael (California) and Patrick (West Virginia):

The Tim and my nephew Chad (Arizona):

Me, Greg (Liz's husband), and Nancy:

My favorite picture of the weekend - the sisters:

(Please note that I was making myself shorter here so I could fit into the photo.  My sisters are tiny people! We are shown from youngest (me), to middle (Mary Ellen), to eldest (Nancy). My two sisters are Irish twins - born 1 year and 28 days apart.  Then, 10 years later, I showed up.)

The next day, we planned to meet at the hotel where the West Coasters were staying, to spend the day at the Inner Harbor.  

Mary Ellen with Oden and his sister Penn (they are her grandkids)

Lest you be concerned, we almost immediately stopped because my brother-in-law Pat wanted a drink:

(Liesl: "I don't think I've ever had wine at 10 a.m.")

"Paddy" (what the grandkids call my brother-in-law Patrick) making scary faces at Oden and Mary Ellen!

Penn and Oden had to show Pat the fish in the harbor, which were frankly, creepy, but I'm not a kid, so what do I know? Also, Pat kept telling them that he lives in Baltimore, so he was not surprised. Then they would look at him like he was nuts ...

Penn and Oden

Then Annie and her partner Forte showed up, and everyone rode on the dragon boats:

(Oden:  "I LOVE this dinosaur boat!")

Penn, Pat, Amanda

Penn, Pat, Amanda, and Nancy

We finished the day with the whole crew going out to dinner together:

The only person not in any of the photos is Julie's husband Keith - he was busy bartending on Friday night, and then on Saturday spent most of the day in Harrisburg, visiting his mom who is not doing well.  He joined us again at Amanda and Pat's house after dinner, but was again bartending and didn't make any of the photos.  (I sincerely doubt he is too broken up about it ... 😉)

Sunday morning, flights home for the West Coasters were early in the day, so we said our goodbyes on Saturday night, and headed home on Sunday morning.  We were lucky to get back to Philadelphia around 11:30 a.m., so we had the rest of the day to regroup, unpack, and just relax.  

Because seeing the family is fun, and I'm so glad we had the chance to really spend time together.  But to be honest, they're an exhausting group!  

Here's to chances to be exhausted again for years to come. 💗

03 May 2022

Fun-Times In Bill-Paying (Not)

Hello everyone - I hope you had a good weekend, and a not-completely-terrible Monday.  We had a great weekend, I'll share some photos later.  Even the weather cooperated, which made it extra nice.  I already mentioned that I took Friday and Monday off work, so yesterday was a day to catch up on laundry and pay bills, since I got paid on Friday.

Me yesterday after finishing the bills:

As I think I've mentioned, our house is finally paid off, as of last December, so there doesn't have to be as much juggling of funds as there used to be, which is nice.  But still, for all of the anticipation of payday, it always turns out to be anticlimatic.

Because I apparently live in a dream world, I always think there will be more money left after I pay the bills than there is.  By the time I'm finished, I always look at the balance and say, "Oh."  

However, in our house, I am the designated bill-payer.  A few years back, The Tim decided that he would take over the bills, because even though my system was "OK," he was convinced he could do it better.  Fine with me.  Well, that lasted a bit less than an entire month because he paid three bills completely that were due early in the month, and as a result, GASP!, we didn't have enough money for the bills due at the last of the month!  "You know, I think you might have figured out how it works best to pay the bills, why don't you take that chore back to be yours."  

Don't get me wrong, we're not in danger of having to move into our car or anything like that.  It's just that every month, I feel like I spend so much time being conscientious, only to end up with so much less than expected at the end.  And really, it's not like we are the kind of people who spend money like we have it.  Sigh.

Maybe we need a financial advisor.

Have a good one, and if you're lucky maybe you'll find some forgotten about money in a pocket!