30 November 2022

Time Is Weird

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 November 2022

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 November 2022

A Lovely Story

Knitting Girl by the Window, by Albert Anker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 November 2022

Celebrations and Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 November 2022

The Start Of It All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


17 November 2022

There Are Just Some Things That Always Make Me Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 November 2022

And So Today I'm Really Tired

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

10 November 2022

Big Sigh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 November 2022

Monday FO Post: Vampires Don't Know Football

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04 November 2022

Help To Save Democracy!

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

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


P.S. Cool guys vote too! 😊

Have a good first weekend in November. 

01 November 2022

The Tim Is A Real Laff Riot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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