30 December 2022

Room 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 December 2022

FO Post: Amanda's Christmas Gift

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

You may remember it all started here:

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

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

Blocking with Pat's hat

Folded and ready to go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 December 2022

A Lovely Christmas Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 December 2022

A Christmastime Doodle Dog

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

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

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

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

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

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


20 December 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 December 2022

[Not Signed], But Sealed And Delivered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care of yourselves.

13 December 2022

Busy At Work, Busy At Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05 December 2022

So Much For Holiday Zen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We'll see.

02 December 2022

December First Friday Funny


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

01 December 2022

Happy December!

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

Happy December!

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

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

Reader, I caved.

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

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

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

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

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

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