29 March 2024

Good Friday FO: Birthday Socks

Well, OK it just so happens that I am writing this post on Good Friday. But I had these socks finished weeks ago, I'm just finally getting around to sharing the FO. 

With thanks of course to Alfie, who made it all possible ... 😂

Project: Birthday Socks
Yarn: Freckled Whimsy Serendipity Sock, Colorway Pisces
Needles: US size 0/ 2mm
Pattern: my own vanilla sock pattern

Notes: I have had this yarn for a couple of years, but every year would forget about it until well after my birthday. This year, I made sure that I put the sock set where I would see it, and finally, I could knit myself a pair of birthday socks! 

I didn't plan for this to be my birthday cast-on, rather I wanted to be able to wear them on my birthday. I started them in early February, so that I'd have plenty of time to finish them. Which turned out to be a good idea, since for a few weeks I lost my mojo, and I was also working on other projects, so my knitting time was divided among three different types of knitting.

The first sock was finished pretty quickly - that was before I lost my mojo. But the second sock suffered a bit, but I was still determined to get them ready for my birthday. And I did, finishing them a little bit more than a week ahead of time. I happily wore them on my birthday, and can attest to them being very comfortable, even though it was an unusually warm day for March. 

I really love the finished pair. The sock set came with the bright turquoise blue yarn for the cuffs, heels, and toes (I just did cuffs and toes). They are a closely related pair, but not identical, which is always fine with me. 


As I mentioned above, today is Good Friday for Christians who observe the Easter season, with Easter itself on Sunday. My niece Amanda and her husband Pat are coming tomorrow to spend an overnight with us. We are looking forward to it, since they were not able to be here last year, and we really missed seeing them! This also means the return of the Inappropriate Easter Egg Contest, and it seems there are an overabundance of possible themes for this year! I have a really great idea (if a highly rude and inappropriate one) for an egg, but my challenge is also the drawing of my idea, so we'll see if I have any luck with that. I've considered a couple of ways it might work out, but the plan in my head doesn't always translate to the work of my hands, LOL. So we'll see.

If you celebrate, I wish you a very Happy Easter! If you do not celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful last weekend of March, doing what you like. 

I'll see you next week!

27 March 2024

I Was That One

I was thinking about this the other day. See the image above? In my family, I'm the kitty in the middle. And it's always amused me how I'm sort of the "other" one in my family.

I have two older sisters, quite a few years older than I am. But they are a little over a year apart (aka Irish Twins). They are both very tiny people, both in stature and in weight. Not that I am a towering giant of flesh, but by the time I was about ten years old, I was taller and bigger than both of them. They both have brown eyes. I have blue eyes. Growing up, both of my sisters had thick, dark brown hair, with a natural wave. I had stick straight, very fine and thin blonde hair.

My middle sister was the "odd" one, skin-tone wise - where the rest of us have very pale skin with pink undertones, she has olive skin. When we would go on summer vacations to the beach, 4 out of 5 of us would be lobster pink, and one of us would have a lovely tan.

But otherwise, I was the one that was not like the others. And when I was a little kid, it kind of bothered me because people would always comment on it, and not in a necessarily sweet or kind matter. It was not unusual for people to see all of us together and say to me, "But you're so BIG!" or, "You just don't look like you belong to anyone, do you?" Now to my mother's credit, she would always tell me to just ignore people who were "ignorant enough to say ridiculous things." 

This kind of thing did make me very self-conscious a lot of the time though. Being reminded that I wasn't "tiny" or that I didn't look like I belonged to my own family was unsettling. Of course, as I got older I realized none of it mattered, especially to my family. 

Every once in a while, I'll overhear someone say something similar or equally as rude to a child or even an adult, and I just wonder if people ever hear themselves. Being generous about it, I truly don't think the people who said things to me about being the different one growing up meant to be mean or unfeeling. They clearly just didn't think about what they said - or maybe that's how someone had talked to them, and so they thought it was OK.

I'm not the nicest or the kindest or the most well-mannered person on the planet. Not by a long shot. But my experience has taught me to be more thoughtful when I make comments to someone. I try not to go with my first thought - which is a good thing since I admit that my first thought is not always the kindest thought ... I mean, I pride myself on never actually having said to someone, "When you looked in the mirror today, did you really think that you looked good?" 😂 (Of course, being a perfect example of someone who is ALWAYS perfectly attired makes me more critical ... )

I know that for a lot of people, getting older means that they are less filtered in what they say, do, wear, etc. And I'm not ever in favor of being so honest that you are cruel. I think we shouldn't always worry about what everyone else thinks of us, because that can make life miserable. But I hope as I get older, and my filters begin to drop, that I never turn into one of those people who tells a child they are too big, or don't fit into their family, or something that is both hurtful and none of their business anyway.

Don't tell people to be themselves and then criticize them for being different. 

21 March 2024

New York, Day Two

OK, here are the photos and blathering about our second - and final - day in New York last weekend. So you only have to hear about it one more time. 😊

Saturday was another perfect weather day. On our way to breakfast at our favorite bagel place, I snapped this photo - I love clock towers, and this also shows what a beautiful sky greeted us early in the morning.

After breakfast, we walked south a bit and saw them setting up for the "Jameson Experience" since it was St. Patrick's Day weekend.

We had decided to spend the day before we headed to get the train home in Greenwich Village. I've never been there, and The Tim had been there, but it was years ago. So we got back onto the subway, and headed south. 

We had a fabulous time, walking around, people and dog watching, and just going places that looked interesting. One of our stops was the Stonewall Inn, someplace I've always wanted to see.

There was construction stuff everywhere, and a sign said they were opening a Visitor Center in June 2024. I would love to go back and see that sometime.

Then we headed to Washington Square Park for some sitting, and people and dog watching. It looked like everyone was having a good day.

Even more trees and flowers were getting ready to bloom! There was music, and a kind of crafts market, and some chess matches happening. I think every single bird in the New York area was there, singing loud and clear.

Last weekend was the first Greater Philly Yarn Crawl, which I was missing. So The Tim found us a yarn store in Greenwich Village!

West Village Knit & Needle was a teeny shop with lots of yarn and lots of [primarily] needlepoint supplies. The women who worked there were so lovely, and one of them had her dog there, so we got a dog fix as well!

Even though I had my Lent intention not to buy things, I broke it. I'm glad I did, since I found things that are not available around here; I still told myself that it was OK since I was on a trip (I can justify anything if I need to! 😂)

I asked about local products, and they directed me to some Japanese knot project bags - I decided to buy the one with the cherries and bananas. It's a nice size, and the workmanship is excellent!

And then I also bought some yarn:

This is from Life in the Long Grass, a brand from Cork, Ireland. Look at that green! Nowhere around here carries this yarn in person, and I've looked online at it, but never bought any. I decided that since it was my birthday weekend, St. Patrick's Day weekend, and green yarn from Ireland, I just *had* to buy it! (See justification comment above.) And I already have a plan for what I'll knit with it, so I don't feel like I bought yarn just to buy yarn. The Tim said to just consider it my mini-yarn crawl.

We also came across a really cute, small, but packed with good stuff bookstore, Three Lives & Co. Bookstore. I saw this book and decided that it sounded interesting - and anytime an Edward Gorey image is involved, count me in!

The justification for this one is that it allowed me to support a small, independent bookstore. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

The last place we stopped on our roaming around tour was Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Co. The smells were heavenly, and it was a really cute little shop with all kinds of interesting things to see (and inhale). This was where The Tim found some goodies.

We both love celadon pieces, and he found these pretty tea mugs, as well as this teabag holder.

Which is proof that I am not the only one in the family who likes cat/animal-themed things. 

All of these goodies fit just fine into our backpacks so we had nothing extra to carry with us on our way back to the train station. Neither of us had really planned to shop or buy anything, but we ended up finding items that were special, so what the heck?

Our trip back to Philadelphia on the train was very pleasant, and as much as we had a wonderful time, it was nice to be home with the kitties. A nice thing about an overnight trip is that unpacking is finished in about 20 minutes (I hate to unpack after a trip). I usually take St. Patrick's Day as a day off when I can, so I got to spend the day at home the next day, which was the perfect way to end the whole weekend. 

This weekend we will be staying put - which is a good thing, since it's supposed to be a day of heavy rain here tomorrow. I'd much rather spend a rainy day at home than have it interfere with plans on a trip.

I foresee a day of knitting, reading, and watching movies. I hope your weekend turns out to be one that agrees with you, too.

20 March 2024

New York, Day One

I had hoped to post this yesterday, but my plans were foiled. We had electricians in the house all day into the evening (a whole 'nother story), and no electricity and therefore no WiFi. I could have used the data on my phone to post, but I have a hard time formatting posts, etc. on my phone, so I decided to just wait.

DISCLAIMER: For anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook, you've already seen/heard all of this, so feel free to skip reading and carry on with your life.


Anyway our overnight trip to New York last Friday and Saturday was absolutely perfect. No glitches, and ridiculously nice weather, so the travel gods were clearly smiling on us.

We got off the train, and immediately took the subway to the American Museum of Natural History. Neither of us had visited before, so we spent most of the day trying to see as much as we could.

Of all the stuff we saw, this one is the one I photographed. A mammoth model of a mosquito. Because - just NO. Mosquitoes are a major nemesis of mine, and of course *that's* the thing they create as a major part of an exhibit. 

We had a great time and spent the majority of the day there. Then we left and sat outside for a while in the nice weather, people-watching and petting dogs.

Modern entrance to the museum

Original entrance to the museum

As it was just so lovely, we decided to just walk back down to our hotel in Times Square. We had the best, prettiest walk through Central Park.

John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields

The Dakota - where so many famous people, including John Lennon and Leonard Bernstein, lived (not together, hahaha!).

So many of the trees and flowers were budding - daffodils and crocuses were already in full bloom, along with forsythia. But it was just so nice to walk around and take different paths. 

We checked into our hotel, and relaxed for a bit, and then it was ready to find some dinner and go to the show we'd come to see. We were disappointed to find that one of our fave places to eat had closed, so instead we found one of the bazillion Chinese restaurants in New York, and had dinner there. It was actually kind of a treat for us, since our go-to place in our own neighborhood in Philadelphia closed last year, and we're still trying to find a replacement for it that isn't too far from us. Anyhow we ate a yummy dinner and then headed to the theater.

The ceiling of the Hudson Theater lobby - so elegant!

And there we were, waiting for the show to begin. The seating area of the Hudson Theater had been redone (I'm not sure exactly when) and the seats were actually very comfortable and you didn't feel squished in to the person next to you, which was really nice.

And the show - OMG. So much better than we could have even hoped for, seriously. If you enjoy musicals at all, find a way to see "Merrily We Roll Along" on Broadway - even if you have to take out a second mortgage on your house! It's just that good. We were both blown away. Every person, including the ensemble players, was incredible.

Then we headed back to our hotel, and decided we would get a cup of tea before going to our room. Well, we lucked out with that because the hotel lounge was hosting a jazz group with a singer. 

So we enjoyed our cups of tea while listening for about half an hour. Once they packed up, we figured that was a sign to head to our room and get ready to wind down. It wasn't incredibly late, but for the two of us, it was REALLY late! 😂 Plus we had been going since early Friday morning, so releaxing and going to sleep sounded pretty good. 

So the primary reason we had made this trip - to see the show - was well worthwhile, but we also had such a wonderful day all the way around. Needless to say, we both slept very well on Friday night ... 

Tomorrow I shall regale you with our Saturday shenanigans, before it was time to take the train back to Philadelphia. Spoiler alert: a yarn shop was involved!

15 March 2024

Birthdays, Train Trips, and Weekends

Hello! I just wanted to check in before we leave our house to walk to 30th Street Station here in Philadelphia for our overnight trip to New York. I didn't mean to be gone for so long, but this week brought more things going on than I had originally planned, and this was my first chance to write a post.

Milo the Koodle had a wonderful birthday on Monday - and has loved being spoiled a bit extra all week long. He is my Birthday Buddy, and it's fun to celebrate with him.

I had my birthday party (just us and the kitties, as usual) last night, and we had a good time. I also had a lovely day, since it was much warmer than March 14 usually is, so I was able to get outside and have an extra enjoyable walk. I was also doing some things in preparation for today and the weekend, but it was all stuff I wanted to do, and I was not on a tight schedule, so it was a lovely, quiet, pretty day.

Once we arrive in NYC later this morning, we are planning to visit the American Museum of Natural History for a couple of hours, since we can't check in to our hotel until 4 p.m. So we'll spend some time there, and then have a late lunch/early dinner, check in to our hotel and freshen up, and then head to the theater to see "Merrily We Roll Along." Talk about a full day! Then tomorrow, we plan to just head out for a nice long walk wherever our noses take us before making our way back to the Moynihan station to come home.

Of course, the combination of a change to our usual routines, and walking around outside for longer than usual will mean that we will need the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday to recover, LOL! But Sunday we will celebrate St. Patrick's Day altogether, without anyone having to be at work, so that will be the best. 

I hope your weekend is a good one, whether you are traveling, staying home, or even just staying in the house being cozy. I can't believe that Spring starts on Tuesday! After days of 60s-70s (F) degree weather, they are saying here that the first day of spring should have a high temperature of 45 degrees (F) - so I'm sure a lot of people will have a shock to their system. (Face it, we all know people who think that once the first day of spring shows up, they can put away all of their winter gear. As if.)

So enjoy, and hopefully I'll have some tales to tell about our trip the next time I show up here.

07 March 2024

Carrying On

Well there isn't much to report today. I am working on some projects around the house before I go for a walk. It's not sunny today, but it's not raining, so I can go outside and not get drenched, which is what happened on the way home from a Dr appt yesterday. 😒

We are going to see a play tonight, which both of us have been looking forward to seeing. We've seen this actor in two other shows he has done where he plays Groucho Marx, and I have to say, it's hard to think it's not really him. And it's always fun to go to the Walnut Street Theater, and wonder if you'll run into one of the Barrymores. (Not Drew, though.) We could both use some really good laughs and this will fit the bill nicely.

This week has been one of those kind of "meh" weeks up until today. Neither of us have been sick, but I've had a constant headache, and The Tim has been extra tired (which is saying something in his case, him being the Nap King and all). But by last night both of us were doing much better, so the rest of the week should be all good.

Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut, which always makes me feel better, and then I am heading into Center City to get a small cake to celebrate Milo the Koodle's birthday on Saturday.

His actual birthday is on Monday (we actually know it, since he was born in a friend's back yard). But I work until 6 p.m. on Monday, as well as working all day Sunday. So we're going to have our celebration for him on Saturday, when we're all home all day. 😊 I'm buying his little cake tomorrow since Saturday it is supposed to pour rain all day, and that way I won't have to go out in that weather. 

The only knitting I have that has progressed at all is my pair of birthday socks. I am on the foot of the second sock, so if not sooner, the pair should be finished by the end of the weekend. The headache from earlier in the week meant that I didn't feel much like knitting, and couldn't knit for long when I did. But these will be finished in plenty of time to wear for my day, which was the plan to start, so I'm excited about that. My other two projects are somewhat languishing, but should start getting attention next week when the socks are no longer in rotation.

There's not much else to report. Work has been OK, but there's been a lot of turnover recently, which isn't surprising, since it's kind of the nature of the place. But it seems that a lot of people are suddenly leaving or are gone all at once, which is not surprising but you know how it is when the people you enjoy leave. We are busy getting ready for the Greater Philly Yarn Crawl, which begins next Thursday. Lots of special things will be in the shop for that. (I won't even be around, which kind of bums me out, but then again, I'm not there for a good reason and know I'll have a wonderful long weekend.) If you are in the area, you should go to at least a few of the stores that are participating, it should be a good time. The good part of it as far as I'm concerned is that I am now more familar with some shops not that far away that I'd like to visit sometime.

In other news, I have decided that after not being able to go for a few years, that I want to try and go to Maryland Sheep and Wool this year. It's been so long since I've gone that it will be nice and fresh again. Hopefully I can find someone to go, but if nothing else, I know that The Tim can be recruited to join me. It's not necessarily his first choice of something to do, but he ends up having a good time once he's there. And then he has enough snarky jokes and comments about knitters to get him through a few months ... 🙄

So that's it for today. Off to take my walk and then pay some bills, as my glamorous lifestyle just continues. I hope your day goes well, whatever you are doing or planning to do.

01 March 2024

Happy March!

Happy first day of March! It is starting here with a sunny but cold day, which is more than fine with me. It means that when I go outside to take a walk, it will be especially pleasant. And I definitely want to get in a walk today, since tomorrow is supposed to be continual rain all day. 

Well, the guys came yesterday to do the final measurements for our new front door. And it was somewhat dismaying. When we had the initial measurements, our door was already smaller than usual, so we had very limited choices, and only one that included any glass. I'd been hoping to have one of those panels on the top with a little fan window. But we settled for two little panes at the top. Then yesterday when they did the final measurements, it turned out the door was even smaller than originally thought. Which led to a choice between a door with almost ALL glass, or a door with no glass. Since the door is right on the street, we didn't want a glass door, since it would be like being on display. So now we'll have a door with no glass at all, which is disappointing. It will still look nicer than what we have, but you know how it is. You get excited about one thing, and have to accept another.

Now this is likely to be the only way we get an outside opening on our door ...

Definitely a first world problem, though, so I'll just get over it and be happy we can have a new door at all.

Guess what I'm doing today, though? Laundry - both in the washer and also in the DRYER!!!!! The Tim was able to get the venting set up when he got home last night, and so we're finally good to go. I already put a small load in the dryer earlier, and it dried in so little time, I was really surprised. This may just mean that laundry day will not go overtime into laundry evening, which is a real game-changer. Hallelujah!

So in the world of Operation Home Improvements, we so far have:

New roof - check
New dryer - check
Electricity hook up for dryer - check
New door - ordered, and not quite what we were hoping, but almost a check

Zooming right along, spending money like we have it! 😜
(kidding, we have saved a lot for these projects)


Speaking of spending, I'm pretty proud of myself, because I'm not currently spending. Well, what I mean is that I decided that for Lent, I was going to give up buying things for myself unless it was something I actually needed. I wanted to get out of the habit of seeing something and thinking "Oh I can afford that, I'll go ahead and get it." Now it's not like I was buying big-ticket things, but I'd see a pair of earrings, or a shirt, or maybe even a really nice project bag, and buy it. I would be happy I had it, and always enjoy/wear/use it, but it was never anything I really had to have. So when I realized that Lent was coming along, I thought I would try to get out of that habit. Not that it was in danger of sending us to the poorhouse, but I wanted to get back into my former habit of giving something real consideration before deciding if I wanted to purchase it. 

And you know what is funny about it? There have truly only been a couple of things that I have felt any amount of regret about not buying. And that was only because they were things that I don't see that often at a good price. But neither item was something that I am suffering from by not having in my life. I feel like I'm getting back to my more reasonable self. And I'm saving a certain amount of money each week that I decided was an average of what I would normally spend to donate at the end of the season. So yes, I'll still be "spending" the same amount, but it means that I'm giving up something for Lent in order to give *to* something else, which pleases me.

(Lent gives me a good reason to try and get myself back to some positive behavior each year, a nice re-set, if you will.)

As for this weekend, I have to work as usual on Sunday, but other than that we have no particular plans. I'll probably finish catching up on the laundry, and otherwise I am reading a good book and have my knitting projects waiting for some attention. Rainy days are especially good reasons to just stay put and have a quiet time of it.

I hope you can enjoy your weekend, and have a chance to spend some time doing your own thing. Take care.