Thursday, January 31, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with one disappointing thing, but two big positives. 

Thing One: I got up at 5:15 am on Wednesday morning so I could take John to the train station in Newark, DE and I could have the car. I had high hopes of heading to the lys in MD for some size 15 double-pointed needles. I wanted to knit Perky Little Hat for Justin's girlfriend at Christmas, but couldn't find appropriately-sized needles anywhere. The poor girl needs a hat, but alas, I still can't find needles. I don't get up at 5:15 am for nothing, so I tried to decide what to do to make the best use of my day with a car.

Thing Two: I have wanted to try Minihane's Irish Pub in Elkton for a while, so that's where I headed. I walked in, sat myself down at the bar, and since it was a really cold and windy day, I decided that whiskey might warm me up. It did, and there are not many things more enjoyable than knitting while sipping whiskey. Who cares about size 15 dpns!

Thing Three: It turns out they also make a decent burger with good Irish cheddar, which goes quite well with whiskey. My day had turned right around, and the cowl has asked to go back again soon. You can see how sad it looks next to my empty whiskey glass. 

Bonus Thing: Minihane's is only half a mile from our house in MD, so it's an easy walk, and maybe next time I can have two glasses of whiskey and not worry about driving. I still have at least four more types of Tullamore Dew to try!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday.

I'm still working on my two Sockhead Cowls, wishing that they were done. Today's high of 24° with 25 mph winds and especially Thursday's high of 13° will certainly keep me knitting. Hopefully two completed Sockhead Cowls will be ready to keep me warm in this kind of weather the next time it happens.

Knitting has just been inches of round and round ribbing and stockinette, but my reading has been stellar. I've finished four books since the beginning of the year, and they have each been great in their own ways. I've read Hello, World, When Death Becomes Life, A Place in the Woods, and Influenza. (If you're interested, links will take you to my reviews.) They are all nonfiction, but I'm currently listening to my first fiction, The Gown, along with another nonfiction, The Gift of the Deer. These are both excellent so far, so my year in reading is off to a grand start. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hi, Ho, Hitchhiker!

Sorry for this odd photo, but I was trying to show that I knit this one with 53 teeth and an 81" wingspan.
 Hopefully you get the idea despite the poor photo, but it was the best of the 40 or so that I took.

I've been thinking about things that make me happy and one of these is my Hitchhikers. They're all on Ravelry, but I don't think I've shared many of them here. I wear one of them almost every day during the winter, and I love the warmth of having one wrapped around my neck. I'll try to remember to take photos so you can see what a useful and lovely pattern it is, and why you should knit one (or two or more) of your own! :-)

Today's Hitchhiker is Long Trip Alone. I knit this one back in 2015 when Justin drove 2300 miles to Montana, spent three weeks there, and drove back. It's a well-known fact that knitters are able to knit their loved ones safely home, so that's what I did with this one. Knitters may also be able to protect their sons from grizzly bears, as I remember knitting long into the night after Justin texted me that he was carrying his wallet so he could be identified in case of a grizzly attack.

The beautiful Colinette Jitterbug yarn outweighs my memories of grizzly bears, so it's a shame it has been discontinued. I did find 14 pages of skeins that people are willing to sell on Ravelry, so I might be able to knit another Jitterbug Hitchhiker some day. But first, I should probably finish the two or three (or maybe more) others that I've got yarn for.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day to try and regain your voice. This is a bit hard to explain, but after my MiL's death and service, I tried to write a blog post, but found I had nothing to say. I just had no words, and that's been pretty much true for the past ten days or so. Even before this happened, I had been thinking about the hours I spend on the blog each week, and it's been somewhat of a relief to not write. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but between the death of my MiL and the realization that my father died a year ago today, I felt like I had lost my voice.

But enough of that. My SiL and I were discussing these feelings and decided that between death and entering the part of winter that engenders these feelings, it was to be expected that we would feel this way. We decided that the best way to deal with them is to stay physically active and do things you enjoy and make you happy. Writing usually makes me happy, so here I am. I can't promise daily posts or even interesting ones, but at some point you have to get up and deal with things. Thanks to the people that checked in and thank you, Patty, for the wonderful advice. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Amaryllis Watch

I showed you one of my amaryllis on Monday, and today I'll share what they all look like in mid-January.

 All four flowers are blooming now, and there is a second flower stalk with a bud yet to open. 

 I'll soon have a multitude of red blossoms and the single one in front is a beautiful peachy-almost-red bulb that I'm trying to rebloom.

The gang all together, providing beauty through the depths of winter.

I'm hoping your weekend is a good one, and not nearly as cold and snowy as the weathermen here are predicting!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three things I need when I have a cold. I spent a lot of time visiting the hospital, and was surrounded by sick people last weekend. I've taken all the usual precautions - washing my hands, not touching my mouth and eyes, wiping down surfaces with Clorox wipes, but since one of those sick people was Justin, I finally succumbed to a virus. Since these things are out on the kitchen table and it was easy to take a picture, I'm sharing three things that I need when I have a cold.

First, Umcka. It's homeopathic and John just shakes his head, but I think it works for me. It's a root extract of Pelargonium sidoides (African geranium) that is supposed to lessen the duration and intensity of colds and flu. I've used it for several years, and even if it's due to the placebo effect, I think it's worthwhile. 

Second is ibuprofen for fever, chills, body aches, and headache. I've got 'em all and this helps.

Lastly, pseudoephedrine and guaifenesin. It's really Mucinex-D, but Walgreen's couldn't come up with a very pleasant name for their generic brand. This stuff helps me breathe easier, and breathing is important.

And because it's so obvious that I didn't even count it in my list of three things, there is tea, lots and lots of tea.

I hope you're all staying healthy, and have your own treatments to help you feel better if you should happen to get sick. Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday. 

I'm still working on my purple Sockhead Cowl, but two weeks ago I mentioned that since the yarn is a very deep, dark purple, I can hardly see to knit it at night, even with a bright lamp next to me. I was rummaging in my stash and came upon something for a delicious nighttime project that I cast on that very evening.

It's another Sockhead Cowl, this time in Wollmeise Blend. I've never knit with it before, but MCN with 20% cashmere feels soft, calming, and downright delicious flowing through my fingers. I have no recollection of purchasing this skein, and even searched my Loopy Ewe orders, but I couldn't find anything showing I ever bought it. I'm going to look upon it as a gift from the benevolent yarn fairies and enjoy and be grateful for it. I know this looks like the same color as the first Sockhead Cowl, but you'll just have to trust me that in person the one above is deep purple and this one is definitely blue. Maybe someday I'll take decent photos when it's not gray winter and the sun is actually shining.

But wait, there's more! I've found the perfect, slightly addictive knitting project - baby hats! My niece is due as early as the 28th of this month. Her doctor will decide on that day if everybody is ready, or whether she can wait a few days, but I finally realized that there was a baby on the way and I hadn't knit a thing. So I cast on an Easy and Basic Baby Hat, and when I had finished that in a few hours, decided the baby also needed a Rib-A-Roni. I knit one of these in fingering for another family baby, but it's delightfully fast in worsted. I'm not sure what I'll knit next, but this is a girl after two boys in the family, so she just may need something in pink. 

I'm still reading A Place in the Woods and Influenza, and have also been distracted by Hello World and When Death Becomes Life. I heard the author of the last book interviewed on Fresh Air and had to get the book first thing Tuesday morning.. It's the perfect mix of transplantation history and personal memoir that is excellent so far. I just haven't had much time to read lately when there are baby's heads to keep warm.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

More Librarians!

I'm a big library user, and I think most of you are also. I use this one in Fort Collins when I'm there, and borrow books from their Overdrive collection when I'm at home 1700 miles away. I visit the library in MD when I'm down there, and there are two libraries here in NJ that I take advantage of when I'm at home. I worked in elementary and middle school libraries for seven years until NJ drastically cut their education budget; our school district foolishly decided that libraries weren't a necessity and the people that worked in them were just "low-hanging fruit". I know that's not the case, and I suspect that most of you might feel the same.

So I read this story with interest yesterday, and it's honestly the best news I've read in a long, long time. I wish they could accomplish all of this without a strike, and I understand the hardships that will be placed upon students, parents, and the teachers themselves, but they are striking, in part, for MORE LIBRARIANS!

"The district and the union are close on teacher salaries, but educators and union leaders say the strike is about more than paychecks. ... They want smaller class sizes, more counselors and librarians, and a full-time nurse in every school."

I'm going to follow this story closely and hope that their demands are met, because "A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day for magical flowers. This is the 'Bright Nymph' amaryllis I originally got for my MiL, blooming quite nicely. There are two more buds to open on this flower stalk, and more on the second stalk. And then there are the other two amaryllis I got for myself, and I just might have purchased another one to (hopefully) carry me through February with blooms. 

 I hope your Monday is showing lovely signs of promise!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

She Will Be Missed

My mother-in-law passed away peacefully yesterday. This is the amaryllis that I got for her so she could have one that actually bloomed. I'm sorry she won't get a chance to see it, but I'll think of her when the blossoms emerge. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, care and concern.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Live Frogs and Dead Birds

When I was in college, I had this poster on my wall. It didn't really say anything about procrastination or tackling the tough jobs to me. My roommate and I just thought it was funny, and used to hide gummy frogs in our room for each other.

Now I have an addendum: Step on a dead bird that your neighbors' cat left on your porch, and hopefully nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day, but you will hear the crunch of the bones all day, and feel sightly queasy every time you think about it. (I'll spare you any photos.)

Ugh, I don't even have a cat!

Thank you very much for all your good thoughts and prayers for my MiL. She took a turn for the worse yesterday and has now slipped into a coma, but I greatly appreciate all your support and kindness.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day for concerns and no good choices. My mother-in-law had a fall on Christmas Eve, was admitted to the hospital, discharged, and then re-admitted on New Year's Eve. She's currently got too many medical problems to count, so if you have a moment for a good thought to ease her pain and suffering, I would sure appreciate it.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Quote on Friday

I would have shown you my amaryllis, but they are at home in NJ and I'm in MD, so they will have to wait. Instead, I've been thinking about quotes. I use them a lot, and collect them in both paper and digital forms. It's interesting how a few well-chosen words often speak to us more meaningfully than long explanations.

So in keeping with my chosen word this year, patience, here is a pertinent quote. It's often harder to be patient with yourself than with others, and I think it's also difficult to be patient with yourself without blithely excusing all your wrongs, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to find the right balance.

Here's hoping the first weekend of 2019 finds you where you want to be, doing what you want to do.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for the first Three on Thursday in 2019. We left on December 26th to visit Justin at the ranch where he works, and I had a wonderful time. Today is about Three Things I Enjoyed During My Visit.

First, Peanut Butter Stout. Justin was telling me about it, but all the bartender could find was this Milk Stout. I'm not usually a big fan, but decided to try it anyway. As soon as I tasted it and read the can, I knew this was the stuff. We even went back the next night so I could have it again.

Secondly, shooting my bow at an indoor archery range. This is a great place, even though I was feeling a little intimidated when we first arrived. Everyone else was male and shooting really well, but I figured "what the hell" and drew back. Justin had installed some rollers on my bow string so I wouldn't have to wear an archery glove (which I hate; they're all sized for men) and they worked perfectly. We shot for over an hour, and I was fairly proud of my last group of the night. It's not great by an experienced archer's standards, but it was pretty darn good by mine.

And last, but not least, I greatly enjoyed Justin's company!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for the first Unraveled Wednesday of 2019. 

That's the beginning of a Sockhead Cowl. I knit one for Justin last year, and it's a simple design that can be worn in many ways, and keeps the wearer warm in all of them. As a long stockinette tube with four inches of ribbing at each end, it isn't the most exciting knit, but I'm loving the round and round repetitive meditative knitting right now. The only issue I'm having is that the yarn is a very deep, dark purple, and I can hardly see to knit it at night, even with a bright lamp next to me. But I have an idea for a delicious nighttime project that I hope to cast on this evening.

In addition to my slow read of A Place in the Woods, I'm also reading Influenza. I started it because I got into a discussion about the value of getting a flu shot, and while it's frightening reading, it is better to know facts. It does make me want to spend the winter safely ensconced in my house and not be part of any crowds, but since that isn't practical, I'll wash my hands, and hope that antigenic drift and shift don't create a virus as deadly as they did in 1918. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

One Little Word

Patience. I wish I had some. So that will be my One Little Word for 2019. I carried lots of other words around with me during the past few weeks, but patience was always there, quietly whispering that if I could act with more patience, that could lead to more generosity, understanding, trust, acceptance, connection, peace ... the possibilities seem boundless.

Thanks to Juliann, I hope to do and explore more with my word than I have in past years. I look forward to reading more of your words today and throughout the year on the last Tuesday of each month. Happy New Year and I hope your chosen words guide and challenge you throughout 2019.

Begin As You Mean to Go On

For the past five years or so, I've been posting a photo of what I'm doing on New Year's Day (usually knitting and reading, around midnight if I've managed to stay up) on facebook along with the caption of "begin as you mean to go on". Since I haven't posted on facebook for months and think that I'm done with it, I'll do it here.

It's a small thing, and I don't really think that it's any kind of insurance that my 2019 will be filled with lots of reading, knitting, and shooting my bow, but it's more like paying attention to what I'm doing and how I spend my time. Because I'm also thinking about this quote from Annie Dillard:

So begin as you mean to go on, and spend your days in 2019 on all manner of good things.