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! 😊

10 November 2023

A Quick Trip to Baltimore

You know, I really need to use my brain differently. I was certain I had posted at least once this week, and then when I came to write this post, I saw that no, it's been a week. I have a tendency to "think" posts in my brain, and apparently that does not always translate to actually writing and publishing the post. Sigh.

Anyway, as I mentioned last week, we headed to Baltimore for an overnight visit last Friday after The Tim got home from work. We were lucky, because the weather was nice and though there was a lot of traffic, it wasn't stop-and-go or problematic at all. We spent Friday evening just hanging out and catching up, and we go to meet their new kitty, whose name is Freeway. Well, we got to see her, and I had the chance to pet her for approximately 5 seconds before she looked up and realized she didn't know me! 😊

Yes, it's hard to photograph a black cat! But much like our Esme, she *wanted* to be around, but was too scared to make the final leap and just stay in the room with us. She is extremely sweet, and somewhat chatty, and apparently you can win her over with cottage cheese. 

Saturday morning we had a bagel buffet for breakfast, and then we headed to the Baltimore Humane Society, where they were having their Dogtoberfest. It had been scheduled for the week before, but was rained out. So there was a costume contest, agility trials, and various other activities. My personal favorite was the kissing booth - so many puppy kisses!

Then we headed back to their house and decompressed a bit before heading home. I wish we could have stayed the whole weekend, but I've already asked for a few Sundays off, and didn't want to push my luck. But we crammed a lot of fun and ridiculousness into our short visit. We got home in mid-afternoon to a bunch of cats who were near death from starvation and abandonment (you know how that is), so their needs were immediately resolved, and everyone lived, you'll be glad to know ...

We were amused, because even though she didn't get a lot braver, Esme clearly was glad we were back home - she even followed The Tim around when he was fixing some dinner for us.

While we were with Pat and Amanda, we talked about them making a trip to Philadelphia during December, so I hope that happens. Amanda is off work the week between Christmas and New Year's and so am I (which is another story altogether), so she might come for an overnight herself if nothing else. Her 50th birthday is December 29, so we can hopefully find a way to celebrate together during that week.

We love living in Philadelphia, but one nice thing is the proximity to Baltimore, where so many of our nieces and their families live - the other lives in Brooklyn, which is just as easy a trip. (Especially since all of the other nieces and nephews live out west and we seldom get to see them.)


Then this week was a killer at work, and on top of that I worked an extra day as a favor to a co-worker who was traveling. Our manager has suddenly become *very* micro-managey, and besides all of the regular things we do, she had us doing a lot of cleaning and moving stuff. It nearly put me over the edge. 

Yesterday I got my Covid booster, and though I (fortunately) don't feel as terrible as I was afraid I would, I'm about two steps behind myself, and wow does my arm hurt! Still better than being deathly sick - always.

For my Friday gratitude today, I am thankful for time off from work. Even though I work part-time now, I'm still busy on days off with dr appts, house things, and other responsibilities, and it's such a nice thing not to have to make all kinds of arrangements to use vacation time, sick time, etc., like I had to when I worked full-time. It's such a bonus and cuts down on a lot of stress. And - sometimes, I even get to just have a day off during the week!

I hope your week has gone well, and that you have things that you can be thankful to think about yourself. No big plans this weekend, I'm hoping to get started on the fingerless gloves I want to knit for The Tim for Christmas (if you've been following along, you may realize that this means I finished the socks I was making for him for his birthday - FO post to come!).

Otherwise, I'm just gonna relax and start getting myself organized to see what I have to do or what is already done for holiday gifts that have to be mailed. I enjoy doing that, because I always give myself time to have fun with it rather than stress and that makes all of the difference.

So have a good weekend, whether you are busy or just able to take it easy. I'll see you next week with and FO post, and hopefully with other posts that I actually write and publish rather than just think I have ... 

03 November 2023

And Now It's November

November came to Philadelphia feeling like November should! It's been cold and sunny and that's fine with me. 😊

This past week has gotten away from me. I've been kind of out of it, and though for the most part, I was able to do what I needed to do, I just felt exhausted as a result. Then on Wednesday, I got my RSV vaccine, and I didn't sleep well that night because of chills, and yesterday I just felt awful. Which is not surprising, but it meant it was kind of a lost day. I managed to get one load of laundry done, and it felt like I'd done it on a washboard down by the river, I was so wiped out! 

This year we had zero trick-or-treaters. Zero. Sigh.

Alfie and Esme are pleased though, since we put out two new cardboard scratchers. Alfie likes the wavy kind, and destroys them big-time. He was thrilled with a new one! I got a box-style one for Esme, because I thought it might make her feel safer. I think it worked.

Don't get me wrong, the others use these and enjoy them too, but the photo above is from about 10 minutes after I opened them. 

Alfie is also quite pleased because he discovered the basket cat bed that is very near the heater on the third floor. He *just* fits into it - when others have used it, there's always been plenty of room ... just saying ...

Knitting-wise, I'm busy trying to finish The Tim's Christmas socks, since his birthday is 15 days from now. I think I'll make it, since yesterday I finished the heel and got onto the body of sock #2, but that's what I've been prioritizing at the moment, so nothing else has any progress to report.

And then in just a few weeks, it will be American Thanksgiving - whaaattt??? Don't get me wrong, I adore Thanksgiving, as it is the coziest and homiest of holidays in my opinion. But I just keep being surprised that it's well on the way to being here!

Which leads me to a Gratitude Friday, which I've decided to try and do for each week in November. And of course, I'm grateful for all of the things that I have, including just for my life, but that's kind of what we should all be grateful for, right? So I'm going to try and go beyond that level and find other things.

On this Friday, I'm grateful for a good (if twisted) sense of humor. I have to tell you, I'm not sure I would have made it to this point in one piece if I didn't have humor to keep me company. Granted, I often find things funny that shouldn't be funny, but that has its own beauty too. Being able to laugh about something, or find something funny to distract myself has helped me through some serious sad times and major lows in my life. I think having grown up in a family where everyone had a good sense of humor helped too, because no matter how awful things were, there was always something that could make all of us laugh until we cried. And then I was lucky enough to find The Tim, whose sense of humor is so ridiculously similar, it's almost scary. (His sister: "No one thinks you two are as funny as you do.")

So I hope you can find something to laugh about, or that at least makes you smile as you go about your day. And I hope your weekend has a good dose of laughter in it. I know ours will, since we are going to Baltimore after The Tim gets home from work tonight for an overnight visit, and visiting my niece and her husband is always a blast.

So happy November to all of us!