27 June 2022

... And Start All Over Again

Nothing's impossible, I have found
For when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off
And start all over again.
-- Lyrics by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields

Well, the end of last week certainly took care of any good feeling happening after the beginning of the week. For me, personally, and for a lot of us in the States as well. I was still adjusting to one gut punch when another one showed up saying "Hold my beer."

And now it's Monday morning, which let's face it, few people anticipate with joy. But we're all still here, and we have a choice - give up and be miserable forever, or pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

Yet again. There have been so many agains, it's easy to take the giving up route. And if that is what you choose, that's up to you. It's hard to collect your heart and soul when it's been pulverized and put it all together well enough to keep going. I don't know about you, but I tend to go back and forth on it. But then I realize that in spite of what I might wish to do, if I wake up every day, maybe the universe is saying I should try my best.

Easier said than done.

Whenever I am in the depths, and have even one iota of physical and mental energy, I try to make myself do one thing that I hope will be successful. Not necessarily any specific thing, and nothing major. Maybe I'll decide to take a long, quiet walk. Or get rid of one corner of clutter. Anything that I can "accomplish."

On Friday, I took some of the scarves and mittens we wore during the winter and washed them so they could be put away until needed again. (Yes, I  know it's nearly the end of June and we haven't needed them for a while. So sue me.) While I was waiting for the washing machine to finish, so I could hang them up near a window upstairs to dry, I was reading a book, and the main character was making breakfast for some guests, and she made Rosemary-Orange Muffins. Hm, I thought, that sounds good, as I like every word of that phrase. So I headed to Google, and found a recipe that sounded a) good, b) simple, and c) had "normal" ingredients (i.e., not something like "1 milli-teaspoon of the rosemary oil of the plant only found in Bulgaria"). I decided to give the recipe a try for Saturday morning's breakfast. This gave me something to look forward to doing, and in the state of mind where I found myself, that was a definite bonus.

I decided that since I had never tried the recipe, which said that it made 20 muffins, I'd cut it in half, just in case it wasn't really that great. Because if you are not that fond of something, having 20 of them is a lot.

But I shouldn't have worried, because THEY. WERE. YUMMY! 

I would say that it took me maybe fifteen minutes to do the prep - mostly zesting the orange took the longest to do - and the ingredients were things at least in our house are generally around anyway. Especially in the summer when we always have at least one rosemary plant going.

Here are the muffins cooling out of the pan:

And here is my fancy-schmancy presentation, along with the pieces of the zested orange and some cottage cheese:

If, like us, you are a fan of three things - rosemary, oranges, and muffins - you need to make these. First of all, the house smelled amazing while they were baking. Second of all, they were so very very good. And third of all, they taste just as good, maybe even a bit better, the longer they sit. (I wrapped the extras and froze them. Took one out to thaw yesterday and have with a cup of tea, and it was perfect!)

Now the woman in the book I was reading referred to Sarah Chase's recipe, and I must admit I have no idea who Sarah Chase might be. I used this recipe, and can personally recommend it. You can bet that these will be added to our "keepers" and that the next time I'll likely make all 20 of them. 😊

In conclusion, what I can tell you is that yes, I am tired. Very, very tired. I am beyond mad, sad, and frustrated. And so much of the world is crap, we didn't need anymore, but we got it anyway. I hope you can find something small to call a win, because if you are reading this, you woke up today and you might as well try to make that worth something. Even if it's only trying a new recipe that makes you happy.

Time to start all over again. 

24 June 2022

Do You Know What Today Is?

Yes, it's the last Friday in June, but it's apparently also Take Your Dog to Work Day!  All I can think of his how happy it would have made both Dug and Hamlet to go to work with one of us - especially Hamlet, since he was used to going with his previous person all of the time.  😊  

This meme showed up in a couple of places today, and I just love it:

Anyway, whether you have a dog or can/cannot take them to work, I hope your Friday goes well, and that you have a good weekend.  

21 June 2022

A Stitchy Saturday Leads To a Tiny Needle Tuesday

Before anything else, I know that today is the first day of summer, and for those who love summer, Happy First Day of Summer!  For the rest of us, let's hope for the best.  I have to say that the final long weekend of spring was absolute perfection here in Philadelphia - cool nights, sunny warm but not hot days, nice breezes - what you actually think of (or at least what I think of) when you think "spring."

We had a long weekend for the observance of Juneteenth, so this is a four-work week for me, which is 100% fine.  I had a combination weekend of accomplishing things, and also relaxing.  I cleaned up some in the garden, which made me really happy.  There was one part that was left to clean up after I ran out of energy a week or so ago.  Not only did I get to it yesterday, but it took less time than expected, which was a bonus.  Most of the rest of the things I managed to do are things that need to be done, but don't necessarily show up to anyone but myself, if you know what I mean.  But that's OK.

On Saturday, I got to spend some time with my stitching project, which had languished for weeks after a decent start.  You may remember what I had before, having finished with one of the colors:

So I thought I'd see if I could get another color's worth of  stitching completed, and though in the photo it looks like the same colors, there is a barely there difference.  But I did manage to get everything done in another of the colors, and I'm pleased with how it looks:

(Picture of completed project for reference)

Keep in mind that I haven't really done any embroidery since I was probably 8 years old or so.  I did take a workshop a couple of years ago, to review the different stitches, etc., but I'm still at the beginner level.  I'm really enjoying this project, and it also allows me to participate in Tiny Needle Tuesday!  Every week when I would see others' projects, I'd be itching to get back to this one, but at least at this point, I still need to be in a place to concentrate on what I'm doing, with few interruptions.  So it doens't get worked on as often as say, a knitting project.

Other than that, I also started two different pairs of socks - one for me, and one that will be a replacement pair requested by my niece's husband, which makes my heart so very happy!  Right now, I have two cuffs knit, and about 3 rounds on one of them.  It was what my brain was able to handle and I was quite surprised to cast on and be able to start knitting on both pairs right away - usually I have to cast on, rip out, and cast on again, at least 4 or 5 times.  But apparently I was on a roll this past weekend.  😊

Other than that, the only things going on this week are a dr appt for me on Wednesday, and The Tim working every day this week.  Which I'm certain will confuse all of us.  This morning when he got up and was taking a shower, I kept wondering why, since Tuesday is generally one of his days off.  But then he reminded me that this week he is working M-F, so hopefully I'll remember.  The cats were very suspicious, particularly Alfie, who just thinks The Tim is the best!  So between having Monday off, and The Tim working today when he usually isn't, I keep having to remind myself of what day it is ... 

I hope you have a good week and that it's at least a little less confusing than ours!

17 June 2022

Friday Funny

I follow an account called "Old Images of Philadelphia" on both Facebook and Instagram because I love seeing photos of places that used to be, or the people there, etc.  Today this was posted, and it has become one of my favorite things, ever.

This woman was not identified by name in the post, so if she is your grandmother or something I apologize for my great joy and hilarity upon seeing this.  But is it not it's own type of perfection?  One of the commenters said, "Whatever she did, she meant it," and that made me laugh so hard I cried.  

On another level altogether it also amuses me, because it reminds me of my mother.  Now, she was never arrested, but it was not uncommon for her to have her hair in curlers and bobby pins, and leave the house for a quick run to the grocery store or the drug store, or wherever.  And she would inevitably run into someone she knew and come home asking us why she never saw people she knew when she left the house looking nice. 😂

My favorite story was the time she ran into her co-worker at the grocery store.  Her co-worker was an elderly woman  named Alice, who *always* looked completely impeccable - nice clothes, hair always styled, jewelry, etc.  One time she saw my  mother looking more or less like the woman above, and said, "Holy Mother of God, what happened to you to make you leave the house like that?"  Which my  mother did find quite amusing.  Alice talked about that for years, apparently.

Thank you, arrested woman above, for giving me one of the best laughs ever.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

16 June 2022

Three Rainy Thursday Things

Hello all, and I hope you have had a good week so far - either way, it's Thursday, so we're almost finished with the week anyway.  

Today I'm joining Carole and the others for a Three on Thursday post.  The first two are related somewhat, but the last one is just something that I was wondering about on my way to work this a.m.  

1.  Happy Bloomsday!

Usually on this day, I take the day off from work, but my request was not approved this year.  But we'll still celebrate this evening, which leads me to another thing we will celebrate as well:

2.  Today is also the birthday of the first kitty that belonged to The Tim and I.  We named her Molly Bloom and designated Bloomsday as her birthday.  Here is a close-up of her sweet face.

She was really a great cat - friendly, adaptable, cuddly, and extremely brave.  She used to do a lot of traveling with us, and she also [begrudgingly] used to let us put hats on her and take photos.  But as long as she could hang out with us, it was all good.  We have always told her, and continue to say, that she was "The Original and Still the Best."

It makes me sad that I lost so many photos of her when my previous laptop died, but at least I have some print photos, though right now we don't have a scanner so they are difficult to share.  But you don't actually need a photo to continue to remember and love someone, right?

3.  OK, this is the one that I wondered about on my way to work this morning.  It was raining pretty steadily and continually, and it occurred to me that every person who was visibly of the male persuasion was walking along getting soaked - none of them had an umbrella.  Thinking about it, I realized that I see that a lot, and so I'm wondering, is there a reason that men seem to be averse to carrying an umbrella?  It's not like I love doing it, but I do prefer it to getting soaked.  The Tim is in fact an umbrella person, so maybe I notice more when I see men just walking in the rain getting wet, I don't know.  But as the king would say in The King and I, "Is a puzzlement."

And there you go.  Have a good one!

14 June 2022

A Post of YUM!

You may recall that last week I took a sick day for my mental health.  And in the post where I mentioned that, I said I was going to try a recipe that was new to me.  I'm here to tell you that a) I did just that, and b) it was a huge success!

The recipe is for Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake, and I can vouch that it is a winner.  It's easy to put together, and uses ingredients that are - at least in our house - already on hand.  Bonus, the house smells wonderful while it's baking!

Here's how mine turned out:

The only thing I did that was different than the recipe was baking it longer, because I used a ceramic loaf pan.  The recipe calls for baking 60-65 minutes, and I baked this for an hour and half.  So just be aware that the pan you use might change the baking time.

We ate it for dessert most evenings with a cup of tea, but it's one of those things that really would work any time of day.  Let me know if you give it a try!


We had a good weekend, nothing really but staying home and getting things done in spurts.  I was proud of myself, because before I could think of an excuse to put it off, I went out first thing after breakfast on Saturday morning to clean up the garden.  I pulled a lot of weeds, swept, and though it didn't look as nice as when the tree people used their leaf blower to clean up, it was a decent second place effort. 😊  Even better, I only had a few minor aches and pains afterwards, instead of feeling like I would never again be able to move normally.  

And in knitting activity, I know that Saturday was Worldwide Knit In Public Day, but after my efforts in the garden I ran out of the energy to go anyplace and knit.  Plus, it was rainy off and on, so that was my Justification Part 2 ...

I have been knitting away on my cardigan project, and when I grabbed my project bag, I noticed I was nearly at the end of the last skein of yarn I'd wound when I started.  Combined with the fact that the knitting was getting too big to comfortably have on my lap during hot weather, I decided that I would knit until the skein was finished, and then tuck the project away to finish after Labor Day.  Even if I finished it tomorrow, I wouldn't be wearing it anytime soon!

As it turned out, the end of the wound skein took me to the place at the bottom of the body of the sweater where you start the bottom ribbing.  So when I pick it up again, I'll have the bottom ribbing, the sleeves, and the neckline/button band to finish, and I know that will motivate me to keep going.

While I was working on it, I watched a knitting podcast where the person had filmed outdoors, so I decided to count that for my knitting in public.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So things are now packed away safely and I've marked my calendar for the week after Labor Day with a reminder for myself to resume knitting.  

I didn't get to sort out what I wanted to start next, but I have a few things in mind.  Once I check my stash, I'll be able to decide what projects are next.  

Sometimes I think that's as exciting as actually starting something!

10 June 2022

Have a Relaxing Weekend

I'm glad today is Friday, even more than usual.  Of course, it's supposed to be a lovely weather day and most of us will be inside at work, which isn't fair, but it's also something out of our control.  Then the weekend here in Philadelphia is supposed to be kinda sorta OK, but with rain and showers both days.  Not that I had big plans, but it would be nice if the weekend days could be pleasant ones too.  Oh well!

My only weekend plans are kind of the usual things - some projects around the house, and in the garden if the weather cooperates when I'm in the mood to be working outside.  I want to organize a couple of crafty-type projects, so that I can actually start and/or work on them.  I decided on my walk to work this a.m. that on Sunday, I'll make a macaroni and cheese casserole for our dinner (The Tim is cooking on Saturday).  We like it, and since it takes a bit of time to organize and put together, it's easier to do on a weekend.

So whatever you have planned, I hope you will get a chance to relax as well.  Our crew is getting a headstart:

As you can see, there's a whole lotta stretchin' going on at our house!

Our new kitty, shown in the middle photo has now been renamed - the name we decided on is Alfie.  It was one of The Tim's suggestions, and it seems to fit him, at least to us.  I call him "Alfie Alfalfa" and The Tim calls him "Alfie Alphonse" and so he of course already has variations going on.  Everyone in our house always ends up with at least ten nicknames, often not in any way related to their actual given name, so why start doing something different now?? 😊

Whatever people around you call you, I hope your weekend is a good one!

06 June 2022

Could It Be? Yes It Could ...

As the song in "West Side Story" continues, "Something's comin' something good ..."

Well, OK, something has ARRIVED, and it's definitely something good!  Here is the first good thing happening in June that I referenced in a previous post:

Last Friday after work, we added a new family member!!  As you can see, he settled himself in quite nicely:

Especially once he found Hamlet's bed:

About a month ago, I saw a post on Facebook from a local rescue group, Project M.E.O.W.  They had rescued a cat who was found limping, and taken him to the vet, where it was determined that he had been probably hit by a car.  His front left leg had to be amputated, and he was recovering at one of the foster homes they had arranged.  He looked so sweet, and we have been talking about adopting another kitty for a while, so I inquired about adopting him.  

After much paperwork, a "meet and greet" at his foster's house, a clean bill of health and incision healing from the vet, a long weekend where we were gone and his foster was willing to keep him for us, and Friday finally arrived.  We picked him up and brought him home with us.

The first night was a bit hard - he had diarrhea, wasn't eating, and seemed to not feel very well.  It could have been the end of something, or just adjustment to another big change for a little cat.  I stayed with him in the guest room overnight, and on Saturday morning, he clearly had his appetite back!  Once he'd eaten, we took him up to our third floor with us and closed the door leading to there (that's where our TV and the most lounge-y furniture is, so we are up there a lot.)  He had the best time exploring!  So far, it seems that the best thing to him about our house is that there are all kinds of windows to sit in and watch everything.  

We had planned to introduce him briefly to Pip and Milo on Sunday - they were EXTREMELY curious about what was behind the closed door.  Except, once when I opened the door to the guest room to collect his breakfast dish, he dashed out, and entered - as The Tim called it - "gen pop" and the rest is history.  

He is determined - DETERMINED I tell you - to be best friends with the other kitties.  Meanwhile, Pip and Milo are looking at him as if to say, "Oh crap."  He will have as much limited exposure to them as possible until everyone is more comfortable, but at least one out of three kitties in our house is very happy at the moment!  😊

His rescuers named him "Severide," which no one can figure out (The Tim: "It's not even like Sevareid, as in Eric Sevareid the reporter.").  But we are in the process of deciding on a name we like better.  In the meantime, he is very sweet, extremely cuddly, and boy is he a good eater!

He is in good health, though he does have Pillow Foot, which means he gets a small dose of doxycycline every day.  (Which he clearly doesn't enjoy, but tolerates - especially since a treat usually follows!)  They estimate his age to be about 3 years old.  He is also declawed in the front - which means that he was going around for who knows how long with a severely broken leg, painful feet, and no way to defend himself - I'm so glad that someone found him and saved him!  

He seems to be quite a character, and is already making us laugh with his excitement about every single thing!  I really think it will be a  matter of days until everyone is used to everyone else, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if by the end of the month, all three kitties are friends.  The Tim's schedule has him at home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so there are a lot of opportunities other than weekends for them all to spend time together.

Now *we* just need to decide what his name will be!

(Saturday morning, *very* concerned about birds and squirrels on our third floor deck.)

01 June 2022

Happy June!

Well, at least I hope it will be happy for most of the month for all of you, even if not every day is perfect.

Our trip to West Virginia was wonderful, though it started out sketchy.  It was raining a bit on Friday when we left Philadelphia, and it was pretty foggy, but nothing to really worry about.  However, by the time we got to Somerset, PA (where weather is always an issue, no matter what time of year!), it was raining so hard, you couldn't even see the lights on cars ahead of you, much less the cars, the lines on the road, the twists and turns - well, you get the picture.  So much for our plan to stop on the way to see the Flight 93 Memorial.  Hopefully we can do it next time.

So we stopped for lunch off of the turnpike - way deep into Pennsyltucky territory!  I mean, it was really creepy to see the signs, clothing, hats, well, whatever you can imagine all extolling the wonderfulness of our former terrible President.  Ick.  But we did find a nice diner, and our waitress was adorable (The Tim: I think we have found Kimmy Schmidt), so we had a wonderful lunch.  By the time we left, there was not a drop of rain falling, go figure.

Fortunately, for the rest of the trip - getting there and coming home - that was the extent of bad weather.

We had a great time, just hanging out, enjoying catching up with everyone.  We played bocce, took a couple of hikes, and did as much porch sitting and laughing as humanly possible (which is when we caught up on our wine and other beverage drinking, for those who may be wondering).  This is the sum total of the photos I took:

This is one of the views from the porch at my sister's house.

The weather was stunning.  Highs during the day of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures of 65-70 degrees - open window weather!  I still can't believe how we lucked out!

We were also fortunate that we didn't run into any traffic either way - unusual for a holiday weekend, but it makes everything so much more relaxed.

Then back to real life.  It happens, what are you gonna do??

I am hoping that June will be a kinder month than May turned out to be.  I know of two things in particular that will be good for us, one that is happening later this week, and then another at the end of the month, if all goes well.  Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

And for any of us who might like to know that all is not lost (and these days, isn't that all of us?), here is an article that a friend posted on social media that I really appreciated.  I'm not usually one for inspirational reading, but I think this is a good one.  I hope it will give you some hope.

Have a good rest of the week, everyone - we've already got most of it under our belts!