Friday, August 31, 2018

Flowers on Friday

The clematis in this photo is originally from John's grandmother. She grew hundreds of lovely flowers in her garden, and when she passed away, we dug up as many as we could and shared them throughout the family. This one didn't bloom at my house for over seven years, until I finally moved it to a sunnier location and mulched the roots to keep them cool and protected. It's still not a prolific bloomer, but since we've estimated that it's most likely 70-80 years old, that is to be expected.

Last year I thought it might be time to plant another clematis, in preparation for the sad day when Mom-Mom's finally gave up. I bought one cheaply at a big box store, and since it was labeled jackmanii, I expected the blossoms to be purple. The first surprise was that it bloomed last fall, and the second surprise was that the tiny white fragrant flowers were those of a sweet autumn clematis. I was a bit disgruntled because I really wanted a second purple one, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to it last year.

This year it's impossible to ignore, and who can really be grumpy about such a profusion of flowers? Mom-Mom's has only had a very few sad blossoms this year, but it's still hanging in there while surrounded by hundreds of the sweet autumn clematis flowers.

There is still room along the trellis for one more clematis, so I think I'll try my luck with another one. I do want more purple blossoms (labeled correctly this time), but it turns out that some surprises can be unexpectedly beautiful.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Three on Thursday

Carole is staycationing this week so there may not be an "official" ToT linkup and you can go here to read more Three on Thursday thoughts! I've got three things, so today I'm going to share with you three meaningful objects in my home that I often take for granted but have recently cleaned and now feel a renewed appreciation. (How's that for a long description that I couldn't shorten?)

Back in January of 2002 my mother was quite ill with metastatic breast cancer. Hospice had told us that there wasn't much more time, and I was making the drive to my parents' house every day as soon as I put the kids on the bus. I wanted to do something for my mother, but she wasn't eating, speaking, or responding at all, so I wasn't sure what that "something" might be. I stopped at our local florist, and was lucky enough to find a small pot of daffodils in the depths of winter. I also got this daffodil cache pot, and these graced her bedside for a few days until her death. The pot has had a place on my kitchen windowsill ever since then, and eventually became a place for the wishbones that the boys loved. I think of it a holder for extra luck if we might ever need it, along with some bittersweet but loving memories of my mother. 

Ryan had a digital photography class in high school, and he had to do a final project. Ryan chose to take a discarded book from the library and alter it to present his photographs, bits of text, thoughts, and drawings in a unique way. We were working out the typical teenage son trying to become more of his own person/mother not learning how to let go relationship struggles, and I was truly touched and grateful when he gifted this to me. It has a place of pride on the mantel, and I recently spent a very pleasurable hour looking through it. I wish I could show you every page, and I wish Ryan was here so I could ask him what some of his drawings mean, but it is a very special and loved treasure.

Lastly, here is another very special and loved mantel treasure, this time from Justin. 

When Justin worked in Texas, it was on a very remote ranch, so he had to find creative ways to entertain himself in the evenings. One of these was knife making. He didn't have forging equipment, so he made knives from metal he found around the ranch, like old files. He was looking around in an antique store one day and found this vintage Ford ratchet wrench. It used to look something like this:

and Justin crafted it into this:

John has always had some sort of vintage Ford car or truck in the process of restoration. Sometimes they even get finished, so Justin thought John would appreciate his own custom vintage Ford knife for his birthday, and of course, he did! I love and appreciate Justin's creativity and generosity, along with the sewing and leather-working skills he practiced to also make the sheath. 

I'm not much of a housekeeper, but I am glad I was motivated enough to dust and rediscover these things I love. I hope you have plenty of your own beloved treasures and appreciate them, dusty or not. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

I've been working on a mitered square for Kat's blanket. It's not difficult knitting, but for someone who is a bit geometrically challenged, it has meant that I have to think carefully each time I begin a new miter. Late last night I finished the second miter and picked up stitches for the third. 

I thought about writing this post then, but it was 1:30 am, so I decided to wait until morning. It's a good thing I did because when I looked at my photos I saw I have a little unraveling to do.

I should have picked up stitches on the edge at the bottom of that square, which somehow is much clearer to me in a photo. "Orient the piece with the CC sections at the bottom and the cast on edges of the 2 miters at the top" just confused me because there are CC sections on both edges. So, a tiny bit of unraveling, a little bit more knitting, and I'll hopefully finish this square today. I hope I can envision construction better with the second square. I also have hopes that blocking evens out the wonkiness, and that the weaving-in-ends fairy pays me a visit.

I've finished a few books since my last Unraveled Wednesday post, GeminiWhat It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, and The Immortalists, but I've just started what seems like a terrific book, Three Things About Elsie. I'm looking forward to time spent with miters, squares and Elsie today. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

More Than Beads

Before too much more time passes, I want to tell you about my visit to the new Loopy Ewe (and share lots of photos). They used to be located in a large, busy shopping center, but even though they are only a mile away from the old location, it's very different. The new location is in a business/industrial park (behind Wolf Robotics if you get confused like Ryan and I did). It seems like kind of an unlikely place, but they are still home to lots of great yarn and fabric.

Most of their yarn is now hanging up, making it easier to see (and covet, choose, and buy). I'm not sure it feels quite as cozy as the previous location, but that is most likely because I  have only been there once twice and haven't yet sat to knit on their red couches.

So what did I buy?

I did get some beads like I mentioned before, but just like all of you predicted, there was also much more.

One skein of Qing Fibre Super Soft Sock in Underwater. Ryan and I are both partial to single skeins (we don't want them to feel lonely and unwanted), but I would have gotten more if they had more than one..

Two skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in Foam. These are sherbet colors to me and will most likely become a happy Hitchhiker soon.

Wollmeise Blend in Clementine and Wollmeise Pure in Bob. I couldn't resist these, and will tell you more about the possible plans for them sometime soon.

Hedgehog Fibres in Egg Yolk and Cascade Heritage Silk in Snow. These are for Ryan. He had been to the new Loopy Ewe with a friend shortly after they moved and was smitten with the bright yellow. He has asked for "fried egg fingerless mitts", one in Egg Yolk and one in what he calls Egg White, both in a waffle pattern. I can't not knit that fun request.

This is the yarn I had to go back for, Seven Sisters Arts Meridian in Monkshood. I didn't buy it during the first visit because I thought I had quite enough. I thought about its loveliness that evening, and because Ryan kept saying "We should go back," we did and I'm really glad. I'm not sure what it will become, but for now its beauty is enough.

I used to feel guilty about buying too much yarn, but that's not really the case any more. It's beautiful, it's wrapped up with good memories, makes me happy, and those are all good things!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Three on Thursday

Carole is on vacation this week, having fun with family and her sweet grandson, Jackie, so there will probably not be an "official" ToT linkup. But I've still got three things, so today I'm going to share with you three great things I saw in Colorado.

Gorgeous scenery:

Lovely sunsets:

And the wonderful new Loopy Ewe:

I hope you've got at least three good things going on in your life right now!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

Thankfully there hasn't been any unraveling this week, but that is probably due to the fact that there hasn't been much knitting either. Our neighbor in Maryland has two different fences so I took advantage of them to at least try and show these projects in a slightly different way. (They are selling the house and I'm also hoping to attract a knitter to the neighborhood.) The one above on the stockade fence is the same old Match & Move (just another section longer), and the teeny, tiny one on the picket fence below is just the beginning of trying out a project idea that Ryan came up with. I'll tell you more about it after I see how/if it's going to work.

I've finished a few three-star, fairly average books, but my reading started looking up in a big way this morning. The email from goodreads told me that two friends had read or were currently reading What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky and I was intrigued. (Thanks Annette and Debbie!) My next email included a link to LeVar Burton Reads from a dear reading friend. I know LeVar Burton from when my kids watched Reading Rainbow decades ago, but this is a podcast in which he reads short fiction for adults and it is great! I can't believe I didn't know about this before, but now I've got 41 episodes to listen to. This all came together when I found that LeVar reads the title story from the book above in Episode 5. I've just started reading the book myself, and I'm loving listening to LeVar read to me while I (try to) put the grill together. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Two Beer Tuesday

I enjoy an occasional beer, but it's usually just once in a while, and one at a time. I think my favorite time to savor a beer is after I've mowed the yard. It's hot, I'm sweaty, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of sitting on the front porch sipping from a nice cold bottle, surveying the lawn, and congratulating myself on a job well done.

I got home from Colorado late Friday night, and mowed the lawn in NJ first thing Saturday during a two-hour window when it wasn't raining. It usually takes me about an hour and a half with a push mower, but it is good exercise (and then there is that beer afterwards). Then it was time to pack some things, drive down to MD, and mow the lawn down here.

It poured on Sunday and Monday so that meant mowing had to happen this morning. Those two extra rainy days, plus more than a week's worth of growth made this a daunting task. If I had a tractor, the grass could have been baled rather than mowed. Halfway through, I started thinking this might be a two beer job.

And it was. 

P.S. I will eventually tell you about Fort Collins and my two visits to The Loopy Ewe, but right now I'm in MD and the yarn I bought is in NJ. The post just wouldn't be the same without photos, but I will give you a small hint until I'm home and can take photos; I didn't limit my purchases to just beads (just as you all predicted)!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a bit of a jumble. The yarn for the MDK blanket that Kat is leading arrived while I was gone, but between unpacking, laundry, picking from our garden gone rampant, and blanching and freezing 10 gallons of string beans, I didn't have time to package and mail it to the recipients on Saturday. So the yarn made the trip to Maryland with me, and I will be exploring my new neighborhood a bit more when I walk the mile to the post office with my 12 packages. If you're participating, get your needles ready for a square or two!

I did notice something interesting while I was checking out the yarn. I've been thinking I might need to knit an afghan this winter for the new furniture down here. When I dumped out the huge bag of yarn, I started considering how well the colors went with the plain grayish-brown sofa. We also have a chair with lots of multicolored circles on the upholstery, and I think this potential afghan could work perfectly if I add a nice deep red. I just might be ordering yarn for myself (as soon as I finish a Match & Move and several Hitchhikers).  :-)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's with three things that should be easy to find, but were not. Let me explain ...

The house in MD is fairly liveable, and I'm determined not to clutter it up with too much "stuff". When I finally had time to sit and knit, I was also enjoying a nice cup of tea. I didn't want to mess up the brand new furniture, but the washcloth I set my mug on just didn't look very nice. My search for simple coasters took me to Walmart, a nearby knick-knack type shop, and 45 minutes away to Target before I admitted defeat and ordered them from Amazon. 

The same thing happened in my search for a lint brush. I was certain that I could find one at Walmart, but apparently people in our area aren't too linty or they don't care if they are. Amazon came through again.

My latest search was the most difficult. Justin had his windshield tinted at the top and they had to remove his EZ Pass adhesive strips to do the job. I thought replacement strips would be easy to find, so I checked Walmart once again (they sell the EZ Pass transponder) and stopped at the EZ Pass office at one of the bridges between NJ and PA, but no luck. The guy at the EZ Pass office recommended that I check with the DMV but they just said no and wished me luck. I did check Amazon, but $14.99 seemed a little pricey for two small strips. In my online search, I found out that the adhesive is called 3M™ Dual Lock™ fastener. When I searched with that term, I found that Lowes stocks it. Success at last - four strips for $3.84!

I don't know if I'm a poor shopper or just don't know where to find these small necessities of life, but I hope I don't have to go on any more wild goose chases in the near future.

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.
I'm heading to CO tomorrow, so I'll be back here in a week or so. I hope to post once or twice, but no promises. :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

My current knitting is still Match & Move, which looks much the same as last week, only about ten rows longer. To spare you the same old photo, I'm going to show you what I hope might be some future knitting. Ryan has a medical procedure scheduled so I'm going back to CO on Friday to do some medically-related mothering. I was just there in June, but I'm always glad to visit. Don't tell anyone, but I may also have a small ulterior motive. The Loopy Ewe finished moving to their new location a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping to have time to check it out. I bought way too much yarn at TLE in June, and this Hedgehog Fibers in Spell is what has been calling to me. I have an idea that requires beads, but the ones I ordered after I bought the yarn are not exactly what I was hoping for - too much blue and not enough purply-pink. (The beads actually look better in the photo than they do in person.)

So I'd like to visit the New Loopy, see if they have beads that coordinate better, and that is all I'm going to buy. Maybe beads and just one skein of yarn, possibly two if I'm overcome by yarn fumes. Of course, a Starry Night Mug is a must if there are any in stock when I get there. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it. :-)

I've recently felt the need for comfort and humor in my reading, so I've loaded lots of John Finnemore on my ipod. He's a British comedy writer and actor who has done a couple of BBC radio shows that I love. One is Cabin Pressure (about a charter jet business called MJN Air) with Finnemore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephanie Cole, and Roger Allam. (You'll recognize Allam as DI Fred Thursday on Endeavour.) It's probably one of the funniest things I've ever listened to, with lots of clever writing. John Finnemore also writes and performs in another BBC Radio 4 comedy called Souvenir Programme. Listening to these is hit or miss on BBC, but they are all available on Audible. So even though my current "reading" isn't books at all, these radio shows will provide plenty of entertainment when I travel in a few days.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

135 minutes

Yesterday I grumbled about having to do too many loads of laundry, and several people pointed out that they were grateful for having a washing machine, dryer, and help doing the job. Those are all good and valid points, and I'm glad to have reminders about gratitude.

Today I'm going to complain less and tell you why my heart is now filled with gratitude. Something happened last week, and while I hate cryptic posts, I can't talk about the details of this story. Let's just say it was a BIG DEAL, big enough that I had to call a CPA and meet with the lawyer to make sure that what had been done was not unlawful or illegal. It was not, just dishonest, unscrupulous, and I would call it immoral. It was too big for me to even be angry, but I was shocked to my very core (and I don't mean that in a funny or hyperbolic way.)

I talked to John and Justin about it, and they helped me to calm down a bit. I've been trying hard to put it out of my mind, calm down, not obsess or be bitter, and maybe even begin to let go. Then Ryan called last night, and I was compelled to describe the situation and ask his opinion. That's where my gratitude begins.

He listened intently, broke down the situation into its parts, explained what he saw as the problems (multiple lies of omission, duplicity, underhandedness, and subterfuge), and agreed that my feelings were completely valid. The older I get, the more shades of gray I can see, so I don't always feel that I am right. Even though Ryan is my not-impartial son, it still felt wonderful to have him explain logically why I was right this time. This led us to further discussion about clear thinking, correct conclusions, and confidence. It was a fascinating chat, and he even helped me see some humor in the whole thing. 

I'm very happy that now when I think about what happened, I'm reminded that I am so lucky to have a son who will talk with me for 135 minutes (and 23 seconds!) and the hurt I felt is no longer top in my mind. What I now have is a heart overflowing with gratitude for Ryan, his clear thinking, and for 135 minutes of his caring conversation. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... is for dealing with mountains of the mundane.

(and this doesn't include the load of towels that's already in the washing machine.)
Happy Laundry Day!