28 June 2024

June in Photos

After this weekend, June will be over. I'm always kind of surprised when June ends, because I always think of it as ushering in summer - and once June is over, July 4th is not far behind, and I always think of that as when summer starts to wind down. 

We had a pretty good June, so I thought I'd share the photos of the month - some you have seen, some not. Here you go. 😊

The beginnings of the yoke of my Anker Tee. I've progressed to the body at this point.

From top to bottom: Esme, Alfie, Milo the Koodle. A rare trio.

Second sock nearly finished - as of today, both are finished - FO post coming up!

Short summer haircut.

Phillies vs. Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

I got back to my regular walking routine - These flowers just looked so pretty! (I have no idea why this photo will only show up sideways.)

Emotional Support Chicken progress - more has been made, she's almost finished!

Lest it all seem perfect, here is the partially collapsed planter in front of our house. Someone is coming to look at it next week, to give me an idea of what they will have to do and how much it will cost. It will of course be worth having it taken care of, and will make this side of the house look better, but of course, just when it seemed like we were a teensy bit ahead of things, the universe found a way for us to spend even more money on house repairs!😏

June - The Good, The Fun, and The Frustrating!

Enjoy the last weekend of the month, and make sure to take some time to do your own thing. See you in July. 🇱🇷

24 June 2024

Whatcha Watchin'?

 In my Friday post, I mentioned that we are enjoying YouTube TV. And we especially enjoyed it this past weekend, when we pretty much stayed inside, avoiding the 90-degree-Fahrenheit/humidity weather. We've been watching a lot of things we liked, so I thought I'd see also what you have been watching.*

So here are some of things we've watched/been watching recently that we really enjoy(ed).

Hacks. We are nearly finished with the third season, which makes me sad because I love this show so much. Ever since the show "Designing Women," I have really liked Jean Smart, and she is brilliant in this show as an older female comedian who wants to remain relevant. So her agent sends Ava, a much younger, very woke comedy writer as the answer. Their relationship is antagonistic, sarcastic, abusive sometimes, and well, funny. The young woman who plays Ava is really good, and for those of you who were early watchers of "Saturday Night Live," she is the daughter of Laraine Newman.

What We Do In The Shadows. Words can barely describe my love for this show, which follows a group of vampires and the familiar of one of them, living in a house in current day Staten Island, New York (or as they often refer to it, "The Isle of Staten"). There's also a movie that was made before the show which is quite funny, but the show is fabulous. Each character is perfect. And one of my favorite things in the show is that one of the secondary characters has a Golden Retriever, which all of them refer to as "The Hellhound." I don't know when/if it's returning for another season, but there are six seasons to go through anyway.

Saving Private Ryan. This is of course an "older" movie, but we decided to re-watch it on the anniversary of D-Day. And in a lot of ways, I got more out of it the second time around. It's a hard movie to watch, but it really makes you appreciate how average people who had up until then lived regular lives ended up being citizen-soldiers in what was a brutal exercise. They had to do things that most of them probably never ever considered they would have to do in the course of their lifetimes. It's also interesting how many people who are more well-known now had roles in the movie.

Son of a Critch. Mark Critch (a well-known Canadian comedian) has written this series that is a version of his childhood. Young Mark is growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland, where his father (played by the grown-up version) works at a local radio station. Mark likes school well enough, but his real dream is to be a comedian. Something that doesn't really sit well with the nuns who teach him, and that a lot of his peers just think is plain weird. It's a funny and sweet show, and especially if you have any familiarity with St. John's, attending Catholic schools, or being a "weirdo" to your classmates, you will especially appreciate Mark. Malcolm McDowell (remember him?) is pretty funny as Mark's grandfather, who lives with the family.

Abbott Elementary. OK, this is on network TV, so there's a good chance that you have at least heard of it. It's about a group of teachers in a Philadelphia public school, and we think it's hilarious. You don't need to be a teacher, or in Philadelphia to appreciate it, but I have to say, it doesn't hurt, either! The Tim was a permanent substitute for two years in one of the city public schools, teaching 5th grade, and he says that of course it's really nothing like what the show is, but it does include the types of characters you deal with, and the frustrations that come up. The characters are all good, and they are all versions of someone you know or have worked with in your life. Fun fact: Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Mrs. Howard, is married to a state senator here in Pennsylvania, Vincent Hughes.

Derry Girls. This show just ended its run, but it is worth finding and watching all three seasons. It's the story of a group of high schoolers coming of age in Derry during the 1990s, when The Troubles were still going strong. The characters are great, and you start to feel like you really know/knew these people (well, at least we did!). There's a lot of the typical teenage stuff, but it's so well-done, and the parents are really funny. Two of my favorite adult characters are Sister Michael, the principal of the high school who is just done with all of it, and Erin's Uncle Colm, who always starts one story but goes about 68 different directions before he finishes it. We all know or have an Uncle Colm in our lives, right? Also, Liam Neeson appears in the last season, and it's just absolutely brilliant!

The Great Pottery Throw Down. I know next to nothing about pottery, nor have I ever even attempted to try it. The Tim has some experience with it, but didn't really stick with it. Nonetheless, this is one of our favorite shows. The Tim likes seeing how/what they have to make, and I like it, as he says, "for all the wrong reasons." Basically, it's a reality show, where someone "leaves the pottery" each week, based on how they did completing the assigned projects. Here is where I admit that when something goes wrong for someone, it nearly does me in, laughing. Yes, I feel for them, and it's not like I could even get close to what they do, but it just puts me over the edge. Not just the potters, but the hosts - the one guy's hair just KILLS me, and his sport coats always look like they might burst their buttons. Anyway, I do have to say that it is interesting, because everyone gets the same assignment, but seeing how they decided to bring it to fruition is actually fascinating. Another fun fact: one of the hosts, Siobhan McSweeney, plays Sister Michael in "Derry Girls," mentioned right before this! Apparently this year, "The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down" started being broadcast, but we haven't seen that one yet.

Leave the World Behind. This movie came out last year, and I remembered reading about it, but didn't go out of my way to see it. Then The Tim said let's watch it, so we gave it a shot. And well, wow. It's unsettling and mysterious, and creepy, and makes you a bit uncomfortable in your own skin, especially if you are a white person. It definitely makes you realize how a massive cyberattack could literally turn the world upside down. I'm not a fan of Julia Roberts, but I have to say she was really good in this movie. It's one of those things I kept watching because I just had to see what happened, even if at the end, I wasn't sure ... And let me tell you, the next time I'm sitting on a beach and see a tanker ship in the distance, I'm keeping my eyes on that sucker!

Bodkin. This one just started. It's about a group of three people, two who are working on a popular U.S. true-crime podcast, and one an investigative reporter from London who is assigned to help them after one of her stories causes a whistleblower to commit suicide. They visit a small Irish town, where three people mysteriously disappeared years ago after a Samhain celebration. But things and people turn out to be much more complicated than expected, and it seems like maybe the story they are chasing is connected to something else more sinister. It's mysterious, and funny in parts, and I have a feeling that even if I suspect where it's headed, I could be terribly wrong.

Now, those last two are produced by the Obamas production company. Which we didn't realize until we started watching. But it just begged the question we always ask ourselves once again, which is: Why aren't we friends with the Obamas? They seem cool, and like they would be fun. They both seem to have good senses of humor. But do they ever call us to get together and do something? Nooooo. Oh well, I guess they are busier than we ever are. And they might not feel like hanging out with two older people, who knows? 😂

Anyway, let me know if you have watched any of these and what you thought about them. Also feel free to make recommendations, we always like hearing about shows and movies that others have tried.

Note: If you are one of those people who "don't own a TV" or "never ever watch it," feel free to say so. But please just say that. There's no need to annoy me with extra commentary about the moral superiority of not watching TV. Thanks.

21 June 2024

Five Favorites For This Friday

Hello there, I hope if you are in the current heat wave you are surviving. And if you are not, I hope you are enjoying whatever weather you have where you are!

My week has been OK. I had originally thought I'd do a couple of things that once we got into the throes of the heat I realized were pretty unrealistic, but on the plus side, I had only one doctor's appointment this week, so that was nice.

In any case, I decided to do another favorites post, so here are five of my favorite things this past week, in no particular order.

1. Our trip to Baltimore last weekend. You already heard about this, but it was extra nice because we are not taking a vacation trip this summer, so any small trips are extra enjoyable.

2. Workmen who are especially helpful and honest. We have a small brick planter in front of our house that has been there for however long we don't know - it was already there when we moved in. Last month I noticed one morning when I went out to water our tree, that part of it had collapsed onto the sidewalk. Since then, I've been trying to find a masonry person who can come and take a look. Finally I found someone and he came by this past Tuesday.

He said that it wasn't worth repairing, since it was not attached to the house in the first place - whoever had originally "designed" it had just kind of stuck it there, and we were lucky it has lasted as long as it has.  He told me "I could have my crew come and remove it for about $1000, but that would be overkill for you to hire us." He gave me the name and contact information for someone who would do it for less and just as well. He told me that the person was someone he would have no problem coming to work on his house, so to give him a call.   

Now, I realize that this could be someone not great, or some kind of racket or whatever, but I have chosen to think the person who came to look at the planter was being honest and helpful. His company has good reviews and ratings on various sites, so I'm willing to believe him. I will try to give the other guy a call next week and see what happens.

3. My Emotional Support Chicken project. I am having so much fun knitting this, and as of yesterday have a nice chunk finished.

The next time I work on it, I'll be starting the neck of the chicken. This is such an addictive knit, and not hard at all. It does require paying attention, since there is some counting involved, but mostly at the start of each section. Once you get going, you just need to keep track of where you are in the pattern. It's just making me happy whenever I work on it. 😊

4. Walking. As you know, I've been trying to walk more and have been doing well keeping up with it. But this week with the heat, I wasn't sure how I would fare. Fortunately, the mornings have been cool enough that I can get in a 2-3 mile walk before things get to dangerous or unbearable. And that makes me happy, since walking - especially first thing in the morning - is nice. There aren't as many people around, and a lot of those that are, are walking their dogs, so I get the benefit of getting to pet some pups along the way!

5. YouTube TV. We have never had cable, but about a year ago, The Tim said he had read about YouTube TV, and thought it might be worth a try. We signed up for the free trial, and now a year later, are still enjoying it so much. It's a lot less expensive than cable, and has a lot of features that make it worthwhile for us. We love watching certain shows, movies, and things like baseball games, etc. Most of the things we like are available on YouTube TV, so we have found it well worth the cost. 

Though we are not glued to our TV set 24/7, we watch it enough that it's been a good experience. And it will record things for you and store them in the famous "cloud" for you to watch - it stores them for a year, which means that we have time to watch them before they disappear. This is not an ad or promotion for this product. We just realized the other day that we've had it now for a year, and how much we like it.

So there you go. I hope you can find at least five things that have been good in your week. We have tickets for a concert tomorrow by the Philadelphia Boys' Choir, in the afternoon, but nothing else going on. And fortunately, the concert is nearby, so we can walk there without a) being in the heat too long, and b) without having to worry about parking.

Have a good weekend, however you spend your time!

20 June 2024

FIrst Day of Summer 2024


So much for easing into the incredibly hot weather of summer. 

I just hope that all of those who are climate change deniers are someplace where the air conditioning is broken, or where there wasn't any in the first place ...  😂

17 June 2024

Scenes From a Baseball Weekend Trip

We had a truly great time this past weekend, when we travelled to Baltimore to go to the Orioles vs. Phillies baseball game. My Liz (aka LaLiz) and her husband Greg and their son Zach moved into a new house - their first home as owners! - this past December and it was also a chance to see the house, and also meet the two kitties they adopted last year.

We didn't actually get to see Zach, since he was in Ocean City, Maryland, with a bunch of his friends. They all graduated from high school last week, so they were celebrating Beach Week, which is apparently a thing.

But it was great to visit with Liz and Greg. We see them when the family gets together, but seldom get to see them "all to ourselves," so to speak. And they are major sports fans - particularly Greg, who lives and dies for his teams.

Look at their adorable house!

It has a wonderful front porch that is great in the morning, and then in the back there is a deck that gets shade in the afternoon into the evening. Perfect. The whole house is lovely, they are so excited with it and enjoying it so much.

You can see they are Orioles fans as soon as you get to the front door. 😀 We met the kitties, Twisti (a tuxedo - The Tim kept thinking his name was Shifty 🤷), and Chanel, a calico. We finally got them to trust us enough to sniff our hands, but I was never able to get a picture.

Saturday afternoon we made our way to Camden Yards, where the Orioles play. It was the first of the "New/Old-fashioned" baseball stadiums, but it was our first being being there.

Remember Boog Powell?? When I was a kid, I just absolutely LOVED that there was a baseball player whose name was something like BOOG! Greg said that every once in a while he'll show up at the games here, and loves talking to fans and signing autographs. He wasn't there on Saturday, but I got a charge out of seeing his BBQ place.

Our seats were great - we had a good view of everything on the field, and we were in the shade the whole time. Also, more than half of the people in the stands were Phillies fans - much to Greg's dismay! - and so it was really fun during the game. Sadly, the Phils lost, but it was a good game, and  we truly had a blast. Greg was SO excited that the Orioles won, and enjoyed talking trash to us for the rest of the visit. 😂

We spent the rest of the evening sitting on the deck, eating and drinking and just enjoying the visit. We lucked out big time, because the weather was lovely - hot days but cool evenings, and no humidity. We were all relieved, since this coming week is supposed to be so miserable - we'd all been afraid it was going to start over the weekend, and none of us are heat lovers.

Yesterday morning we made our way home early, so they could enjoy the last day of their weekend. We were lucky with no traffic either way, and we got home in plenty of time to watch the Phillies lose to the Orioles again - WHAT?? But on the other hand, Greg got a nice Father's Day gift, right??

We had so much fun. Liz and Greg are hilarious, even when they don't mean to be, and they are marvelous hosts. They were extremely annoyed with Zach that he wasn't coming home early to see us, but seriously, what 18-year old boy wants to come home early from Beach Week to see their great-aunt and great-uncle? We told them to tell Zach that we'd just come and visit him for a LONG weekend once he's in college, since he'd probably like that even more, LOL.

Baseball tickets are not cheap, but with the weekend we had, it was worth every single penny.

Now we're just working on surviving the heat wave ... 

13 June 2024

Animal of the Day

 California Quail

Every once in a while, I like to look at "____ of the Day" things. Today was one of those days, and I found this photo of the Animal of the Day, the California Quail. 

Look on the top of the head - is that not perfect? I love it when birds have something going on at the top of their heads, for some reason it just pleases me. And I always enjoy learning about and seeing photos of animals I will likely never come across in my daily life.

If you are so inclined, you can learn more - and look at other Animals of the Day - at this site

I hope you have a good day, and manage to put a little bit of your own  flair into it, even if you can't pull off a "hairstlye" like this!

07 June 2024

I Think This Will Work. I HOPE This Will Work.

You may or may not remember that not that long ago, the doctor that I had been seeing for about 10 years decided to become part of MDVIP.

I did some research based on the information she gave to me, and there was no way I could afford it. And to be honest, it bothers me on principle. I get it from her standpoint, because it supposedly gives doctors more control over their patient loads, and their time, along with being able to know their patients better, and lots of other stuff. My doctor has a young child, so I could appreciate that she wanted to feel more in control of her life and her schedule. 

And there are plenty of things that are pluses for the patient too, but it's yet another example of people who can afford things having access to better care than most people in the country. I don't blame those who can afford it for signing up, but like I said, even if I could afford it, I would not be likely to enroll, because that kind of thing just goes against what I think it should be.

But that is another topic altogether. For this post, I wanted to talk about how hard it is to find another doctor that you feel in sync with after so many years. Sadly in this area, a lot of doctors, nurse practitioners, etc. have had to stop taking new patients because they are already overloaded. So that's the first thing. 

Also in this area, because there are so many teaching hospitals, there are tons of residents who are building their skills and experience. Which is actually a plus, because you can feel that you are not just helping them learn, but they are generally very thorough because they are learning and don't want to miss anything. The only problem there is that in 2-3 years, they move on and you are starting over again.

So when my doctor left for MDVIP, I first thought I would just "sign up" with another one in that practice who was taking new patients. The problem was, that doctor and I did not click at all. He was an old-school type, and not interested in answering questions, because the only important thing to know was that he was in charge.

I finally found another doctor somewhere else. She is/was lovely. Very personable, willing to discuss things and answer questions, and spent time explaining things to me. But except for my annual checkups, I never go to see her; instead, it was always a different nurse practitioner, some wonderful, some not so much, but it seemed that there was no real continuity. And when you have my medical background, continuity means you can save at least 20 minutes each time you meet a new healthcare provider because you don't have to do the Litany of Medical Issues.

So a kind of perfect storm of things happened recently. You may recall that I had a respiratory infection, and the particular nurse practitioner that I saw the day they had me go to the office was less than helpful, and seemed to think that I was just looking for drugs.  About a week prior to that happening, I got an e-mail from my original doctor's practice saying that four new nurse practitioners had joined the practice and were accepting new patients. 

Now, excepting the old-school guy in the practice (who I think has since retired), anytime I had to see someone else there (which was infrequent), they were clearly of the same overall philosophy and vibe as my doctor. And I have no problem seeing a nurse practitioner, if there can be continuity - meaning no repetition of the Litany each visit. So I made an appointment to "sign up" with one of the new people, and had an appointment scheduled for yesterday. I was a bit nervous as to how things would go.

Well. It was such a good experience! The nurse practitioner who is now my "doctor of record" was just wonderful. She was so kind, so personable, and extremely proactive and ready to discuss things. I was thinking on my way home that I had the same initial feeling after my first visit with her as I had years ago after my first visit with my original doctor. 

So, I'm feeling that I may be in a pretty good place again. I hope so. 

Now, if I could just get The Tim to sign up with someone there. His doctor he had seen for three years was one of the residents who has since moved on. He was "assigned" to another resident who was already booked for 1 1/2 years as far as appointments were concerned. So he didn't make an appointment, and now has not been to the doctor for going on three years. This concerns me. He is overall very healthy, but he's not getting younger, and he had a couple of issues before that need to be watched. Every time I bring it up, he says, "I'm OK don't worry about it." And I know if I bug him too much, he'll dig in and it will be worse. I considered making an appointment for him, but he would likely cancel it. So I have to think on that some more.

Hopefully before too long, both of us will be set. But in the meantime, I'm kind of relieved, feeling that I might have that part of my medical care resolved.


We have no real plans for the weekend. Sunday is the Odunde Festival, so it's not worth trying to leave the neighborhood and then try to get back into it later. I'm guessing that a lot will depend on the weather. If it's a decent day on Saturday, I'm planning to try and fit in a nice long walk. Regardless, I have plenty to keep me busy at home, so it's not a problem. The Phillies are playing the Mets in London, so I'll probably watch those games to see what happens (Go Phils!). 

I hope your weekend is a good one, I'll see you next week.

05 June 2024

Personal Space On a Hot Day

Yesterday it was pretty warm and humid around here - much more than you would expect this early in June. At least before global warming.

I do love to cuddle with our cats all year long. But in the summer, with our basically non-working air-conditioning, it can be uncomfortable. Of course, that's apparently because I am a human. It doesn't seem to bother them at all.

Almost every day, there is some combination of cats close together on the couch or the bed. Sometimes, they will even be under the bedspread on the bed in a sun spot. You lift up the bedspread to make sure they are still alive, and they look at you as if to say, "What? I'm trying to sleep here."

Fortunately so far, most days have been comfortable with the windows open and a fan going, so everyone has been doing OK. But their desire for the most heat possible all of the time is one of the four million things I will never understand about cats. 

Somewhere, a cat is writing the same kind of post about people.😉

03 June 2024

Clarification and Pretty Yarn

Hello all - I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was productive - well, at least for me lately. 

Today was bill-paying day. Which is fine, I know that if you are alive on the planet, even if you are not someone who buys a lot of stuff, you still have at least a couple of bills to pay. And I don't mind it if I am organized, but today was not one of those days and it took a lot longer than usual. Plus, I had a really big medical bill to pay, and I thought at first that it must be a mistake - surely they had not yet submitted it to my insurance/Medicare. But then I checked online and they had submitted it, and the amount was what I owed AFTER that! Yikes. And after spending a stupid amount of time on the phone with my prescription insurance over another ridiculous amount, I was wondering if I could just go live in a hut somewhere. It would have to have indoor plumbing though, so the whole cycle is just a circle in the end. 😉

Anyhoo, I wanted to make a clarification before I go any further, related to my time at the yarn store. A dear friend pointed out to me that I may have led some people to think it is/was a terrible place with awful people in charge. I reviewed what I wrote and realized it did kind of sound like that. 

I'm here to say that it is an absolutely fabulous place, with more nice, fun, and cool yarn that you could imagine being fit into such a small physical footprint. One of the best things about working there was that you would walk in, see all the colors, and just feel better - even if you had felt OK before! The owners/managers have kept it going like that for nearly 20 years,  and I've known them for that long. You can probably imagine, with so many yarn stores closing, that it's no easy thing to not just stay in business, but make it a place where people want to keep coming back. 

Did I like/get along with/make friends with everyone else that worked there? Nope, but that's never been the case in any job I had. Some of them I will miss terribly. Others I have kinda sorta already forgotten about ... 

So please do not think it's a terrible yarn store with terrible people. Far from it. Some of the issues are the kinds of things that happen everywhere, even when the staff is small - heck, maybe you notice it more when there are fewer people working with you.  But for the record, I have every intention of shopping there when I decide I absolutely positively must have yarn* for one thing or another. (Yes, if you are wondering, I will miss the employee discount!) So you should as well, either in person or online. 

And if anyone had their feelings hurt, I do apologize. It was not my intention.



Speaking of pretty yarn, every time I work on my Anker's Summer Shirt, I think the colors in the yarn I'm using are so very pretty:

I don't care how you slice it, that's just pretty yarn! (And you shouldn't slice yarn, to be clear.) I bought this last summer at an end of season sale at Loop. It's Noro Kakigori, which is cotton, silk, rayon, and nylon. (I will regale you with the colorway next time, as currently there is a cat on my lap, and we all know you can't move until the cat does.)

With such pretty yarn, and the fact that I made this pattern a couple of years ago, I'm enjoying it more this time around. Still not a huge fan of 1 x 1 rib, but now I "get" the way the pattern works much better than I did in my first attempt, meaning there is a whole lot less ripping back and re-doing things. Which is nice when you have 200+ stitches. My progress this time around is much better. In fact I may finish while there is still some warm weather. Not that I currently have anywhere to go and wear it, other than to Dr appts and at least for the first wearing, that would be a waste. 

I worked on this project yesterday for about an hour, and about every 5 rounds, I'd say out loud "This is looking so pretty!" Since I was home by myself, and the cats were all elsewhere, no one disagreed with me, which is always nice. 

That's it for now. Now that I have sent all of our money to other people, I think I'll read for a while and try to figure out what to have for dinner tonight. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be pasta, because when I don't have something already in mind, 9 times of our 10, pasta is the answer. 

Enjoy the rest of your day, and I hope that whatever you fix/eat for dinner is something you enjoy. 😊

*No, in reality I do not actually need any yarn. I'm sure you understand what I mean there ...