29 December 2023

Almost a Wrap


It's true. In a couple of days, we'll say goodbye to 2023, whether or not we want to do that. Whether it's been a good year, a bad year, or just a regular year, the next one is coming and will bring its own packaging along with it.

But before that happens, today is my niece Amanda's 50th birthday! She will be celebrating with her husband just the way she wants to, with a weekend in Rehoboth Beach. They have some favorite places there, and she said that rather than a party, going there was the best way she could imagine to welcome her fiftieth year. This pleases me, because she deserves to spend a special birthday in a special place. When you have a birthday so soon after Christmas, a lot of people just forget about it, because they are over celebrations, or they are busy looking forward to New Year's Eve. So I can't wait to hear about her wonderful birthday weekend!

Also today is Holiday Cheeseball making day! I usually make it during the week between Christmas and New Year's, and since I finally found some nice blue cheese (why was that so hard this year??), today it will happen and it will have a couple of days to blend the flavors before we break into it for New Year's Eve.

Am I happy to see the year end? This year has been a mix of good and bad, but the most important and best part of it is that we have been together all year, and we added Miss Esmeralda to our family. Any year that we are all still together is a good year, no matter what else does or does not happen. So I'm not necessarily happy to move on to the new year because there are no guarantees it will be the same in that regard. We have to hope for the best.

Having said that, no year is all good or all bad, so 2024 will bring what it wants to bring. I hope it will be mostly good things, but I have no expectations that it will be perfect. I already know of a couple of things that I am happily anticipating, and that's always a good way to start a new year.

Here's hoping that the remainder of 2023 will be kind to you and that at a minimum, most of 2024 will have good things coming your way.

Oh and also - enjoy New Year's Eve, because:



28 December 2023

The State of the Gift Knitting

Isn't this a pretty candle? I bought this to support a local rescue and it is so nice! First of all, the scent is called "Christmas Tails" which I love, and the scent is nice and subtle. I lit this first thing on Christmas morning, and have used it a lot since then, and there is still a good amount of candle left. I'm so glad I was able to make a small contribution to this rescue, and I'm also glad the candle is such a good one.

So. Gift Knitting. Well, it started out in an excellent fashion. Do you remember this FO from early in the summer:

This is the beret I knit using some fingering weight and some mohair. Originally, I knit this for me. But then The Tim said, "You know, when I see that, I immediately think of Annie. It would be a good gift for her, and then you would already have one gift finished." Annie is one of my nieces, and I had to admit that he was right. So I decided this one would be a Christmas gift for her, and at some point I'd knit another one for me (I have enough of both yarns left). This also made me decide that Annie's family would all be getting knitted gifts this year.

So next up, I knit a Musselburgh hat for her partner:

And for his fifteen year old son AJ, I made fingerless mitts:

And I knit an Antler Toque for 10 year old Jan, and just now realized that I failed to take a photo before sending it! But it turned out really well, and hopefully will fit her.

And so, figuratively speaking, I was on fire! All that was left was to make the pair of fingerless mitts for The Tim when he lost one of the ones I'd made for him years ago. And I decided I wanted to knit him a scarf, and collected the yarns for that.

The first fingerless mitt happened pretty quickly. So I thought, well, I'll concentrate on the scarf for a while. I was feeling pretty good about getting both things finished by Christmas. 

And then.

Going along swimmingly on the scarf, I realized well into it that I had misread the pattern and made a MAJOR mistake. This really threw me for a loop, and I just had to walk away for a while. And it also meant that I didn't want to knit. At.All.Period.

So how did it all end up? Well, the good news is that I wrapped up the single fingerless mitt, and The Tim was thrilled because according to him, it was *exactly* the same color, etc. of the one he still had from his old set. I told him I would still make the second one, and he said, "Why do I need another one, now that I have a pair again?" Which on the one hand, I appreciated, but I told him I was still going to make the other one, and that way if he lost a single mitt again, he'd already have a replacement. So I cast that on last night, and managed to knit the cuff.

As for the scarf. I was so disappointed that I wasn't going to have it for Christmas for him. But after thinking about it, I decided that I can do a variation of the pattern and finish it and maybe even end up with a scarf I like better than the original design. He may receive a scarf for Valentine's Day, or ... well, Christmas comes every year, you know ... 😊

So on the one hand, I did very well with my gift knitting, finishing things in plenty of time for them to be mailed to the intended recipients. Then on the other hand (if my mother was still alive, right now she would interject, "she had warts" which amused me but also drove me nuts), I didn't finish two gifts I had been really excited to make for The Tim. I am thrilled that he was really only wanting a single mitt to go with the one he still had, because it made me feel like he received an actual gift. 

But I'm also not beating myself up at not quite meeting my goals. Both projects will still happen, and he'll receive them, so it isn't like things were a total fail. I'm more annoyed with myself than anything else, for missing a key instruction in the scarf pattern. Such is life though, and no one died, so it's all good.

The good news is that I've gotten over not wanting to knit at all and that's the best feeling. I already have approximately 4,590,270 things in mind that I would like to knit in 2024, so all that's left is to narrow it down to maybe 5 things. 

I'll keep you posted.

26 December 2023

The Fun of Christmas Day

Christmas Day was a good one at our house. It was clear when we came downstairs that Santa had decided the kitties were good in the past year - look at this haul!

Christmas morning, I lit the candle I had purchased from a local rescue group - look at the name of the scent, Christmas Tails! 😊

Alfie and Pip were up first, and giving us the stink-eye to come and help them open their packages.

Pip inspected everything, and then went and sat next to his stocking!

Everything was a big hit, but the most exciting kitty gift was this cardboard Christmas barn, where the floors were scratching pads. (It was very poorly put together by me. Fortunately, cats don't care.)

Pip checked it out first.

Then Milo took a turn.

Then both of them were in there!

At various points in the day, there were different combinations of cats in the Christmas barn. A few skirmishes, when someone would decide they wanted it all to themselves, but nothing major. And there were plenty of other distractions to keep everyone occupied.

Esme: Well, crap he's in there, I can't go in. (If you look closely, you can see Milo's face in the upper window.)'

Disapproving girl.

Everyone had a wonderful day, and the nicest thing is that we all had the chance to be together the whole time. The Tim and I also did well, gift-wise, and we agreed it was a nice, long, relaxing day and an overall success. 

Today it's rainy here, so very conducive to just staying inside and enjoying Christmastime. I'll probably do a few smallish things that I want to accomplish, but otherwise, I'm just going to enjoy a quiet, cozy, rainy day. 

Interrupted occasionally by disagreements over who gets to be inside the Christmas barn when ... 😉

24 December 2023

Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve 2023 - Love

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
- Roy L. Smith

22 December 2023



"If wishes were fishes and cattle were kings, 
The world would be full of wonderful things."
- Unknown

I'm sure that plenty of you are busy today - either at your job (last day before the holiday weekend!), or preparing for guests, packing for a trip, etc. But no matter what, here is what I wish for you in the following days.

IF you are traveling, may your trip be uneventful and safe.

IF you are expecting guests, may your house be as good-looking as you want it to be, and may you be looking forward to seeing those on their way.

IF you are cooking and baking, may every recipe be a success, and may your stove and dishwasher be in good repair.

IF you are responsible for some event - a holiday concert, and cookie swap, a food drive - may it be a success and as stress-free as possible.

IF you still have gifts to wrap or put together, may you have a lot of coffee to keep you going until that is accomplished.

IF you still have gifts to buy, may you have good luck.

IF you have to work on the holiday, may the workday go by quickly and be as quiet as possible.

IF you are lonely, may you find a friend, even if it's just a childhood stuffed animal who shares your memories.

IF you are sad, may the day land gently.

IF you are missing someone, may memories of them comfort you.

IF you are alone, may your own company keep you company.

IF you are excited, may you enjoy every minute of anticipation.

IF you are dreading being around people that you don't like, may they have to cancel their plans.

IF you are feeling overwhelmed, may you find a few moments to gather yourself.

IF you are surrounded by dumbasses, may they all go home early.

IF you are feeling loved, may you enjoy the warmth of its embrace.

IF you are feeling happy, may you always.

IF you don't celebrate Christmas, may you at least enjoy a spirit of good-will towards others, and hopefully a long weekend.

IF you feel that the past year was awful, may the next one be better.

IF you are still able to be present, enjoy your life, and celebrate that you are above ground, may all the happiness in the world be yours.

IF you have read this far, may this weekend and the coming days be what you want, when you want it, and may your happiness stay with you long after.

21 December 2023

Winter Solstice 2023

Happy Winter Solstice!

One of my most favorite days. I know for some people it's their favorite day because it means the days will get longer, but for me it's the fact that it's the shortest amount of daylight all year. You know me - I love the darkness and the cold weather!

I don't mind telling you that I have been having a bit of a hard time lately. Mostly because of my own brain, to be honest (oh my brain - my best friend and worst enemy all at once!). Grumpy people are getting to me, and I usually don't let that happen, but there seem to be more people this year, and they seem to be grumpier. I am good at managing to keep the world and its problems in their own place, but it's really hard to tune out those surrounding you. 

BUT - today, on the Winter Solstice, I am going to pretend that all of those people do not exist. I'm meeting my friend Louise for lunch. I'm going to wrap a couple of gifts. I'm going to get ingredients to do some baking tomorrow. I'm going to set out the last of the Christmas things to go on the tree tonight. I'm going to take my time and enjoy the day with the kitties. Tonight, we'll have a good evening with The Tim, finishing the tree decorations, lighting some candles, and toasting the solstice!

Tomorrow - I'm going to dust around and clean things up so it looks as nice as it's likely to ever look around here. 😊 I'm going to clean up my nails and give myself a manicure. I'm going to wrap more gifts, and do the baking mentioned above. And of course, more cuddling with the kitties. Another nice evening with The Tim and the kit kats, and we are ready for the weekend!

And the whole time I'm at home doing things, guess what? Christmas music! 

I remember as a kid, whenever I would be in a bad mood/feeling grumpy, my mom would always say, "Well, that's fine, but let everyone else enjoy themselves even if you aren't. You have no business ruining someone else's day." 

So as of right now, I'm done with the grumps. And I've decided that since I don't absolutely *have* to be around grumpy people (I'm off work and so it's easier to avoid dealing with other humans in general), I'm going to make myself feel better. And I hope to use this as a lesson for next year and/or whenever I need it, to make a way to find my own happy and fun. Whenever I can remember to take myself and make it MY world instead of everyone else's, I do much better. 

So my wish for you this Winter Solstice is that you can do the same. Enjoy some light in the darkness, and make your own world the way you want it to be. It works.

17 December 2023

Third Sunday of Advent 2023 - Joy

 Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy. 
- Francis of Assisi

15 December 2023

Time To Do My Own Thing

As of yesterday, all of the packages to be mailed to others are on their way, which is a good feeling. Not just because it means hopefully they will arrive to the recipients in time for Christmas Day, but because now it means that I can just do my own thing going forward. I've decided this must be how Santa feels once the sleigh is loaded up and ready to go. 😊

This evening and tomorrow we are [finally] going to decorate our tree. Every year, we get our tree pretty early in December, and at some point then The Tim puts the lights on it. And then it sits ... and sits ... until he feels like he has the energy to help me decorate it. Frankly it makes me nuts, but since he does enjoy getting it ready as much as I do, I'm not going to suddenly do it myself. He is just such a low energy person. Not that I am a whirlwind, but compared to him maybe I am! So we'll do some tonight after dinner, and finish tomorrow, and then finally we will be able to enjoy it! I can't wait.

This has been a busy week, with work, a dentist appt (thankfully just a cleaning), a haircut appt, and laundry. Today I have one more load of towels in the dryer, but the rest of the day is all mine. So I think I'll take a walk this afternoon, and I do need to clean the bathrooms, but I'm doing that this morning so it's done and over. 

I also plan to do some more knitting on The Tim's scarf. Here's a really poor photo of what I have at this point:

I've added in the fourth color (the camel shade at the top), so I'm actually moving along pretty well. This is a somewhat addictive knit, so I think I won't have any trouble finishing it by Christmas. It's also at the moment the main project I'm knitting, so it has that advantage as well.

I also want to check a couple of recipes to see if I need to get anything from the grocery store to begin some of my holiday baking. I don't make a lot, since it's just the two of us, but we both have some favorites and "specialties" so it's not the holidays without those.


I have a funny story that I remembered the other day that I thought I'd share. For those of you who don't know, we are vegetarian. We have been for about 25 years. But when we first moved to Philadelphia, we still ate meat. We had a neighbor downstairs in our apartment building who was overall a very nice woman, but a militant vegan - you know, the type who feels no compunction about pointing out everyone's evil habits, etc. 

Well, like I said, she was overall nice and she had two cats of her own. We were going home to WV and Pittsburgh for Christmas visits with our families, and I asked her if she would mind coming upstairs twice a day to feed our cat Molly Bloom and our canary Edward Hopper. She was more than happy to do so.

When we returned, since we knew she wouldn't take any payment, we offered to take her out to dinner. We found a restaurant that would offer something she could eat, etc., and we all headed out there. She ordered some kind of elaborate salad, I'm pretty sure I ordered a pasta dish, and The Tim ordered roast chicken. Our food arrived, and as The Tim went to take his first bite, she said very pointedly, "I hope you know that your dinner used to have a face." And without missing a beat, he replied:

"Well, your lettuce used to have a head."

I cracked up and to her credit, so did the neighbor, and she said, 'Touche." The rest of the dinner went smoothly and pleasantly, and though she would still often annoy us with her criticism, she would also laugh every time we reminded her of this event.

I have to say that for my part, I'm impressed that The Tim had such a quick, perfect response. That's the kind of thing I'd come up with two weeks after the fact and wish I'd been able to say, you know?

I can't remember what led me to this memory, but I thought it might give you a chuckle.

I hope you have a good weekend, and find something to chuckle about - it is the holiday season after all, we should be enjoying ourselves!

14 December 2023

It Comes Every Year

 ... but I'm not talking about Christmastime, exactly. No, today I'm talking about something that happened at Christmastime and that every year when the anniversary rolls around, makes me even angrier.

Every single year, when this day comes and I am reminded by these photos what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, first I get unbelievably sad, and then angrier than ever. These children and adults died because someone had a gun. They were slaughtered for no reason whatsoever. They were killed because they showed up that day for work and for school. I'm guessing they were all excited for the holidays for many reasons, and going about their day as usual because let's face it, if anyplace adheres to a schedule, it's elementary school, right?

When it happened, everyone was not just shocked, but grief stricken, and it seemed like it coudn't be real. Politicians had so many statements about it, talked about so many thoughts and prayers, the need for mental health services, etc., etc., etc. President Obama had tears in his eyes as he talked about it (which of course some mocked and criticized him for, because of course they did).

And nothing happened. The families and parents formed organizations and have worked tirelessly to bring about real change, visiting legislators and pleading for better gun laws. But what has been the result?

Zip. Nothing. Zero. More shootings. Every single day, every single place, and the same politicians send their thoughts and prayers. There are even those who claim that Sandy Hook was a hoax, and never happened.

Now, thoughts and prayers are valid things, if you ask me. That is, if you are actually saying prayers and sending good thoughts to someone. It is often the only way that you can "contribute" particularly in some situations. And I think it lets people know that you wish them peace, send love, whatever. BUT I think for too many people, it's become an excuse to do nothing else. Similar to an automatic "How are you" when you see someone, and you don't really want them to start telling you how they are.  

The sad truth of it is, as some people have said, "If Congress didn't act to mandate gun control after Sandy Hook, and the slaughter of innocent children, they are unlikely to do it anytime soon." And though I don't think that means we should give up, it seems like this is the case right now.

So more school shootings happen. More innocent people are killed because they have the sheer audacity to live their lives by going to work, going to school, attending a parade, just leaving their homes. It happens in small quiet towns, and in large cities, and it happens to nice people not just terrible people or those people who might be "asking for it." 

And yes, there are terrible and untreated mental health issues happening in this country. That is undeniable. But if people with those issues didn't have such easy access to guns, particularly assault weapons, a lot more people would be able to enjoy Christmastime with their friends and families.

I have two issues that are my current top concerns - guns and reproductive rights (and fortunately for you, I'm not talking about that one today!). If people want to or feel they need to own  a gun, make it necessary for them to prove they are responsible citizens. And make it so that no private citizen can own an assault weapon. Personally, I find it hard to believe that an individual needs an assault rifle, and frankly if they do actually have that NEED, I think there need to be a lot of steps taken before it's even considered OK.

This is of course all my own opinion. Because you know, it's my blog. But every year, right smack in the middle of Christmastime, we are reminded that there are families for whom Christmastime can never have the same happy feeling and wonder that it did at one time. 

And it's all because of a guy with a gun. One guy.

It comes every year.

10 December 2023

Second Sunday of Advent 2023 - Peace

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
Breathe out whole buildings
And flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fall and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothespins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
Imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of a fish.
Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don’t wait another minute.

-Mary Oliver, Wage Peace

08 December 2023

Christmastime Friday Funny

This is one I've seen before, and may have even shared before, but it's a favorite. ❤ 

Today is going to be busy with a few things to pick up this a.m., and then I plan to wrap some gifts to send this afternoon. I like wrapping gifts - I get myself situated with the things I need, put on some holiday music or some Vlogmas podcasts, make myself a nice cup of tea, and I'm off!

This weekend our only specific plan is to decorate our tree. I have already put out 99% of the rest of our decorations (some are in boxes with ornaments), so that's all that's left. I'm guessing that The Tim may do some baking on Sunday while I'm at work, and I'm hoping to start my baking next week. Although I have it in my head for today or tomorrow to make some gingerbread muffins, so I may get a head start on that, we'll see. 

What about you? Anything exciting happening at your house? Whatever is or is not happening, I hope your weekend is a good one!

06 December 2023

So Here's the Plan

It's that time of year when my regular to-do lists have a lot of extras added to them for the holidays. The good news today is that I've already accomplished a few things: I knitted for 30 minutes on a Christmas gift for The Tim, went to a dr appt, returned something I'd bought for his birthday that was the wrong size, exchanged something else for the right size, and picked up a package from the Amazon locker. I am one of those people who are just extremely happy when I can develop a route from one place to another that allows me to do multiple things.

I just finished my lunch, which was delicious. The little market near our house has "Sushi Wednesdays" when their prepared sushi is $5.00, so I stopped there after the Amazon locker because it is almost next door. It was pretty tasty, and now I'm giving myself a little break. Then I'm planning to spend an hour unpacking some Christmas decorations, which I'm sure I will have a lot of assistance doing. We got a tree this past Saturday, and right now it's still bare, but I want to try and get the rest of the non-tree decorating finished before the weekend so we can concentrate on that then. Needless to say, the tree in the stand has provided a lot of hilarity for the cats, what with ambushing, attacking, and batting the branches. Though Esme is still SHOCKED that such a thing would come into the house! 

Then I am going to make some potato-cheese soup to have for dinner with some fresh bread that The Tim baked yesterday. I love soup anytime, but on a cold day, it seems like an especially cozy meal. 

Tomorrow I'm meeting a couple of friends and former yarn store workers for a festive lunch. We wanted to get together before things got really crazy, since they both travel/have lots of guests during the holiday season. I'm looking forward to it since we haven't been able to get together since sometime in the summer. They are both a lot of fun, and always have stories that are fun to hear.

So that's what's happening around here, along with the usual things like cleaning up, doing laundry, etc. The nice thing is that since we don't have guests coming to stay or anything like that, I don't have to get things done right now at this minute, so it's all more doable and enjoyable for me.

I hope your week is going well, and that if you are busy with holiday preparations, you are able to enjoy yourself. Time for me to get moving! 😊

03 December 2023

First Sunday of Advent 2023 - Hope

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.
- Anne Lamott

01 December 2023

Happy December!


As the kids say, IFYKYK. 😊

30 November 2023

Goodbye November

Good morning (or hello whenever you read this!) on the last day of November. One of my most favorite months of the year, but also bittersweet. It's the month that my father died, and every year I am more aware of all of the things I have gotten to experience that he missed out on. It makes me feel bad, but it also makes me aware that my life has a lot going for it, even if there are blips along the way. 

This past November had a lot going for it. There was our weekend trip to New York, lots of sunny days and good walks, good knitting time, of course Thanksgiving, and then yesterday - finally after years of waiting for it to happen - our roof finally got fixed!! No more mini-Niagara Falls experience from the ceiling in the bedroom when it rains, no more buckets to have to maneuver around when getting to the closet. The work crew showed up yesterday around 7:30 a.m., and they were finished by 2 p.m. It was a wonderful way to end the month, and since yesterday was my middle sister's birthday, I told her that we were celebrating a new roof in her honor. 😂

So today I have some laundry already underway, and I want to put away the few fall/Thanksgiving decorations that we have. Then I am planning to do a good cleaning of the first floor. Today or tomorrow I'll sit down and pay some bills, so as you can see, glamor is still a large part of my life ...

In knitting news, I started a scarf for The Tim, which I hope to have finished by Christmas:

There are five sections of the scarf, and this is the first section completed. Now it's time to change up the red color to a navy for the next section. It's kind of an addictive knit, so I am hoping that fact will make it all doable over the next couple of weeks. If not, it will be ready for next Christmas, so it works either way.

Do you remember the story of the former co-worker/friend who sort of inexplicably sends us homemade cookies every year for Christmastime? Well, just like clockwork, the package of cookies arrived yesterday, and to say The Tim was excited is an understatement. For someone who never even met this co-worker, he really counts on her coming through every year! I'm grateful that she sends them (they are so good, she is a former pastry chef, so they are nothing like the cookies we make), but it still amuses/puzzles me when they get here. It's nice to have a friend who you never really realized was a friend, I guess.

That's it for now. I hope you have a good last day of November, and that you enjoy many more Novembers to come. The timer on the washing machine just dinged, so time for me to move some things around and get going on the rest of my day. I'm the sort of person who likes to get things done earlier in the day, and then have some time in the afternoon to myself. Tonight is The Tim's turn to cook, so I don't even have to figure out what is for dinner (and I also know if he is cooking, it will be something yummy!).

24 November 2023

Thanksgiving Friday

Esme decided yesterday that this turkey was not as scary as she originally thought, and was willing to let me take a picture of her next to it. She's making progress!

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving Friday, Black Friday, Finally Friday, whatever you call it. I hope for those of you in the U.S., that your Thanksgiving Day was a good one. The weather here was chilly, but very sunny, which was nice for those both marching in and going to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade.

It turned out that The Tim had to work yesterday, which was very disappointing, but we still managed to have a lovely late afternoon and evening, and a really yummy meal. And there's also plenty of leftovers, which is one of the best aspects of the holiday, if you ask me. The kitties got some special food, which they thought was a wonderful idea, so everyone at our house had a good day and evening.

Today I have been doing laundry, and finishing switching my winter clothes and summer clothes. Not the most fun day I've ever had, but a productive one. And I did manage to do some shopping for Christmas gifts online, finding a few things that were *exactly* what I wanted at a price that was reasonable to me. 

One of the things I was most excited to find is a gift for my great-nephew Parker who lives in San Francisco. He is about 11 years old, and completely obsessed with history. He wanted to dress up as Genghis Khan for Halloween, but his mother talked him into some other costume. So imagine how happy I was when I found this t-shirt to send him:

It cracked me up, and I have a feeling he will be quite seriously pleased with it. (He's a somewhat serious kiddo.) The right gift for the right person at the right price - win-win!

I just hope I get lucky with the rest of my ideas.

This is my last Gratitude Friday for this year, and as some of you who have read along for a while may recall, today is also the anniversary of my father's death. My dad and the holidays are inextricably linked for me, and I decided that my gratitude for today is for my parents. I truly think that I was lucky to grow up with them as my mother and father. They were - as is most of the family - batshit crazy in their own way, but they were also good people who did the best they could with circumstances that were not always the best. But oh did we always have fun! It was truly one of those cases where we were a family with very little money at all, but we had each other, and seldom were surrounded by any real kind of sadness. So many of our family stories are ridiculous and/or hilarious, rather than full of woe. And I know that is lucky, because I have met and know so many people who seemed to grow up with so little joy in their lives. I truly believe that my dad would enjoy the way we "do" holidays, and would join right in if he could.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, finishing off Thanksgiving and all that surrounds it. I have a few small things to do tomorrow, and also have to clean the bathrooms (I ran out of energy today), but most of the day is mine to do what I like. Sunday is a work day, and I'm sure we'll be busy since there is a special promotion going on (a holiday project bag) that seems to bring people out of the woodwork, both in person and online. That's sure to make the day fly by!

Take care, and I'll see you next week.😊

23 November 2023

22 November 2023

Quick, Call the Pope!

You know how you read/hear news stories about people who see amazing and miraculous things in everyday objects? You know, someone will see the face of the Virgin Mary in a random cracker from a box? Well, I'm always intrigued by those stories, but to be honest, never give them much credence. 

And then my friends, it happened to me. Yesterday on my lunch break at work, I pulled out my peanut butter and jelly sandwich* that I had packed, and unwrapped it, and lo and behold, my sandwich had the stigmata!

Do you see that? It's clearly a sign. Well, OK, it's just jelly seeping through the bread, but for a moment there, I was sure that I was destined for modern sainthood. But I was also hungry, so I ate the sandwich. I may be a believer, but I am also practical and hate to waste food ... 😊


I'm guessing that like most people in the U.S., a lot of you are busy getting ready for, or getting ready to travel for, Thanksgiving, particularly since it's Thanksgiving Eve (right, Kym?). I have a dr appt, and then plan to come home and get the stuffing started for tomorrow, which means that I will not be up until late this evening making it after dinner and cleaning up, etc. Are there other things - ahem, cleaning? - I could do today? Why yes there are, but I knew yesterday I wasn't going to do any of them. But I do want to make the stuffing, and enjoy that part of the holiday so much, so that's what I'm going to do. Which also means that the house is really going to smell good for the rest of the day. Win-win!

I am keeping my fingers crossed that The Tim will not have to work tomorrow, like he did last year. But he won't find out until sometime today, and it's out of our control, so it's just a waiting game. (Hm. I'll bet if I hadn't eaten my sandwich, I could have had some power over all of this. I really didn't think ahead ... 😉)

In any case, have a very enjoyable Thanksgiving Eve, if you celebrate, and if not, have a good Wednesday. It's stopped raining here, so things are looking up!

*Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are also known at the yarn store as the "Bridget special." Apparently one of my co-workers finds it highly amusing that I have that for lunch on a regular basis, and named it as such. 

20 November 2023

Just Like It Was Supposed To Be

Hello and Happy Monday of Thanksgiving week!  We are back from our overnight weekend trip to NYC to celebrate The Tim's birthday. Every single part of the weekend went well, and I think he had a great birthday.

We got up nice and early on Friday and headed to the train station for our trip. Both of us love taking the train, so that was as much part of the fun as anything. When we arrived, we went to our hotel first, to check in, even if our room wasn't ready yet. We took the time to sit and have a cup of coffee/tea, and take a little break before deciding on our plan of the day.

Our hotel (and a lot of the city) was already decked out for Christmastime.

We decided we wanted to check out the Morgan Library and Museum - someplace we've always wanted go, but hadn't visited yet. It was a short walk from our hotel, and since we lucked out all weekend with somewhat warm, sunny weather, it was really pleasant to walk around. 

The Morgan Library and Museun did not disappoint. The Tim took a lot of photos which I'll share whenever he sends some to me, but I was so astonished and amazed by the place and what we were seeing, it didn't even occur to me to take a picture. Amazing does not even begin to cover it. We were there for the bulk of the day there was just so much to see. If you have never visited, I highly recommend it.

We headed back to our hotel, enjoying the decorations and people-watching.

To quote The Tim: "Those are some big red balls." 

We had a lovely dinner and then walked around some more, taking a little stroll through Central Park before it got too late. I have to say, New York never disappoints - so many interesting things to see, even if they are let's say, not in the tour books! 😊

Saturday morning we had bagels for breakfast at a great deli, and then walked over to Rockefeller Center to watch people at the skating rink, and so that I could say hello the Empire State Building, my most favorite skyscraper, always.

And then, the reason for the trip:

We love this show, and have seen a couple of productions, but never seen it actually on Broadway.

It turned out that Josh Groban wasn't in the matinee that day, but his understudy was so good, I can only think the difference between the two is that I had never heard of the understudy before ...

Annaleigh Ashford was Mrs. Lovett, though, and she was fabulous, as expected. She really lived it up in the role!

We had really excellent seats, too!

After the show, we headed to the train station, but never fear, earlier in the day, we'd paid our regards to Broadway ... and George M. Cohan!

The train ride home was quiet and very pleasant, and we were home before we knew it, to a grand reception - and airing of grievances - by the kitties.

Sunday morning, I took the birthday boy out to breakfast at one of our favorite diners.

And then later we had some cheesecake slices from the diner with candles, "Happy Birthday" singing, and gifts. 

The entire weekend went even better than we could have expected. We were exhausted yesterday, since even though we love New York, it does wear us out. And when we came out of the train station on Saturday night, we said the same thing we always say after a trip there: "It's so quiet here!" 😀

17 November 2023

I'm Not Really Here ...

As you are reading this, The Tim and I will be on a train headed to New York City for an overnight visit as part of his birthday weekend. It should be fun, I haven't been to NYC for a while, and it's always a treat. We have the whole day today once we arrive to just do what we want to do (and of course we have too many plans) and then tomorrow is the matinee, after which we'll make our way to Penn Station and back to Philadelphia and the kitties, for the rest of the weekend's celebrations. 😊

But I didn't want to miss a Friday gratitude this week, so I wrote this post and set it to publish this morning. This week I'm grateful that both of us are still healthy enough and able enough to go on these little adventures together. I know we'll both be exhausted when we get home, and the change in our routines will throw us for a loop (not to mention interrupting the cats' usual schedule - uh oh!). But how great is it that we can even do it, and with a little bit of extra scraping around, afford to make it all possible? Even a couple of years ago, it would have been an unlikely thing - I probably couldn't have taken the extra day off work, or would have been made to feel guilty if I did. Friday is one of my days off, and I made arrangements long ago before we even had any plans for someone else to cover my Sunday shift so we could have a birthday weekend celebration. I'm lucky, and I know it, and I'm grateful for all of it.

I hope you have a good weekend, even if your adventure is at home, staying cozy, or getting ready for Thanksgiving, or just knitting or reading. I'll be back next week to catch up on things. Enjoy!

16 November 2023

Gifty-Gift Time

Hello and Happy Thursday! I hope the week has treated you well. Mine started out questionably - I woke up on Monday with a UTI, grrrr - but fortunately my doctor sent me a prescription right away, and by Tuesday afternoon I was feeling much better. Which is a good thing, because I had a lot I wanted to accomplish this week.

As I mentioned, The Tim's birthday is almost here - it's this coming Saturday, to be exact.  Of course we always celebrate, though the down side for him is that it marks the beginning of a four-month period where we are the same age, and he hates being "old" like me. 😏

And as you know, I have a pair of Christmas socks that I knit to give to him. But about a month ago, he said to me one day, "You have been extremely generous this year for my birthday, thank you." And I responded that I was happy I was so generous, and maybe he could tell me what I'd done that was so wonderful. He then informed me that I had bought two tickets for us to see "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway on his birthday! (Let me tell you, once I saw the invoice, I was shocked at how generous I had been. But you only live once, etc., and I was benefitting from this gift as well, so ...) I also have a t-shirt that the cats will give him, and who knows if I'll find some other little thing on my outing today when I go to a dr appt? 

So, yes, I would say he will be having a lovely birthday and birthday weekend. But it got me thinking about how this is the time of year for gifts, and I do love making gifts for people and finding things that I think they will really enjoy. I'm lucky that way, because I don't find the holiday season to be a chore. I have quite a few things I've collected and made along the way already, but yesterday I decided to actually poke around and make a list of what I already had. Then yesterday in the mail, I got a catalog from Uncommon Goods, which I *think* I've heard of, but I don't know why. Anyway, there was something there that I immediately decided would be good for one of my nieces and her husband. I showed it to The Tim, and he said, "Order that now." Here's the link to what they are receiving, and I'm ridiculously pleased to have found it. My niece will find it amusing, if not slightly "inappopropriate," and her husband's inner 10-year-old boy will enjoy it on a whole other level. Sometimes you just get lucky with what you find, you know?

How about you? Are you a person who loves choosing and giving gifts? Granted, I only give gifts to a very select group of people, so I never am in a situation where I suddenly have to buy something for someone I barely know or have never met. Maybe that's why I enjoy it so much, because it's not a chore for me. I think I just like the idea of finding something that a person might really like, or that I know they would like but may not be expecting to receive. 

Am I the only one who is happy that it's "gifty-gift time?" Let me know!

14 November 2023

FO Post: Finished with Time to Spare

Hello all, I hope your week has started well. This is a busy one for us, but I wanted to show you my latest FO, which I hinted at last week.

You may remember when I showed the start to a pair of Christmas socks I was knitting to give to The Tim for his birthday:

Well, I finished them last week, with ten whole days until his birthday arrives, an I'm so excited that I finally did it! I've been wanting to do this for so long, and at last it really happened.

Christmas stripey goodness!

Project: Gingerbread Waffles
Pattern: Blueberry Waffle Socks, by Sandy Turner
Yarn: The Cozy Knitter Bliss Sock Yarn, in the colorway Gingerbread House
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm

Notes: I had this skein of Advent-striped yarn from the Cozy Knitter that I thought would be perfect for these. They are Christmas-y, but not only the bright colors - the muted greens and browns are colors I knew The Tim would like.

Originally I was just going to do plain socks, but then I remembered how much I had enjoyed making the Blueberry Waffle sock pattern a while back, and how soft and cushy the resulting socks were. And I just thought that would be a nice combination with this yarn and for these socks. The white yarn for the heel was a mini that accompanied the skein of yarn, and needless to say, I had a lot of it left, which will be nice for several other projects down the road.

As for the main skein, once the pair was finished, it turned out that I had less than a yard left of the main yarn - phew, I just made it! But I am really in love with the resulting socks, and I can't wait to give them to him this coming weekend. It's a fun pattern to knit, and the combination of the stripes and the pattern stitches made it really engaging and able to keep me going. 

I also know that he will really like them, and it just makes me happy to be able to give him a handmade pair of socks to wear during the holidays.

Now, to work on the fingerless gloves for him for Christmas, and maybe a holiday-themed something for myself! 😊