Monday, January 27, 2020

We Did Not Build an Ark!

Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  Mine was WET.  We had such torrential rains beginning Friday night and going through till Saturday early afternoon.  We had some water in the basement, but not enough to build an ark.  Luckily.  And a little bit of moisture didn't stop me from going out to meet up with Dee for some coffee, knitting, chatting (not necessarily in that order) and a bit of lunch.  It was a lovely time, as always.  Thanks for meeting up Dee!

I finished the first sock Friday night and promptly started the second before the needles got cold.  LOL  I've made a bit of progress since then:


The finished one looks like it is for Bigfoot, but really it is normal size.  If you click to enlarge, I believe the pattern on the leg (Diagonal Lace by Wendy Johnson - free on Ravelry) is visible.  It's a very pretty pattern.  Getting so much of that second sock finished, I completely ignored the Canary Blanket and I have yet to cast on for Mailing's headband.  No huge rush on that as Colin & Mailing are headed to California later this week (work for Mailing, fun for Colin).  They won't be gone long, but it should be a nice break for them.  We will, of course, be on cat duty while they are gone.

Fletcher's eye was a bit uncomfortable over the weekend.  It feels better when he gets out and walks at night, which makes me think the dry indoor air is not helping.  Fingers crossed he will be more comfortable today.  He is still not supposed to get any water in the eye, so showering and washing his hair has been a challenge.  That's only a couple more days though and next week he will go back for another check up. 

I did finish another book - this one was a book of poetry.  I have not yet read any more in Disappearing Earth - perhaps tonight.

No other news.  Other than meeting up with Dee and grocery shopping on Sunday I didn't really do anything!  A lazy weekend was very nice.  The week is starting off in a good way:  My 10:00 conference call has been cancelled and I have an off-site luncheon today.  Fingers crossed I can just go home after that (not likely, but hoping!!).

Wishing you all a great week ahead!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Wrapping Up The Week

Hello!

It's Friday and that is a wonderful bit of news.  This was a short week for me with Monday as a holiday and then being off to take Fletch in for his cataract surgery.  But short weeks always feel busy and those days at work seem to be more full of "stuff."

Thank you all for the well wishes for Fletch.  This was his second cataract surgery (he had his right eye done a year ago).  The surgery went well (though it took his eye longer than normal to dilate, so even though his surgery was scheduled first, the doctor took another patient ahead of him).  Even with that little delay, we were at a diner for breakfast by 9:30 a.m.!  His eye was a bit uncomfortable that day (he said it felt like he had a cardboard splinter in his eye), but Advil seemed to do the trick as well as the two kinds of drops he has to use 4 times a day.

That evening we went over to Mailing's parents house to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  The New Year (Lunar New Year) is actually Saturday, but Mailing's Dad was leaving for Japan yesterday, so we celebrated early.  Her parents had already made ALL the dumplings by the time we arrived, so no dumpling making this year.  The dumplings were much prettier too compared to what we make - lol.  There were more side dishes, but here's a shot of the table with the dumplings on it:


They were so delicious - as were all the other dishes (steamed pork, fermented cabbage, broccoli, kimchi).  The "creatures" at the end of the table are rats!  That's because the New Year will be the Year of the Rat (just for the record, I am a Snake [not pleased with that] [my element is water] and Fletch is a Pig [his element is fire].

Mailing had made a delicious cake for dessert.  Made with sticky rice and both black and white sesame seeds.  DELICIOUS!!!


Before dinner, Zhongren (Mailing's Dad) showed us a house he had recently made:


Isn't that so cool?  He got the idea after visiting Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.  The roof is made from grasses in their yard.  The doors in front have rice paper in them and they slide back and forth.  It reminds me of the Japanese Garden in Fairmount Park that we visited.  Here's a shot looking inside:


The bundle inside is actually rice and the red figure is a Rice God.  It is very, very cool.  He is such a creative person.

A fun evening for sure.

Yesterday morning I took Fletch to the eye doctor for his post surgery appointment.  All is well and the doctor is pleased.  He does not need to go back until February 4th (and will be able to drive himself at that point).  So, I ended up getting into work late yesterday and was slammed for the balance of the day.  Lots of financial reports, etc.  This morning I just have one financial conference call at 10 and the balance of my day looks good:)

I did manage to finish Fever on Wednesday and enjoyed it.  The end of the book sort of petered out for me, but overall I did enjoy it.  And, I've started Disappearing Earth which is good so far (I've only read maybe 25 pages or so).  There was knitting accomplished too:


I'm enjoying using the variegated yarn for the cuff and foot for a change.  This is sort of a dark picture, but you get the idea.  (The embroidered pillow on the chair is one my Mom made years and years ago.)

I'm looking forward to the weekend.  It is supposed to rain (and rain hard) on Saturday, but I have plans to meet up with Dee and I know we'll have a great time in spite of the weather.  Whatever your are up to, I hope it's a good weekend for you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Am Unraveled Tuesday!

Well Hello There!

It is quite the frigid morning here - 15 degrees when I left my house for work.  A good day for hand-knit items.  So, I am wearing hand knit socks, my Sigla sweater and I did wear my Ear Band!  Yes, it is finished.  Pictures further down...

Meanwhile, our weather on Saturday was crazy!  Snow was forecast to start around 11 a.m.  My friend Carol who lives in Maryland was supposed to drive up for the day to celebrate Christmas and her birthday, but she backed out due to the forecast.  I decided I wanted to make chili for dinner, but needed peppers, so I went grocery shopping early.  Driving home from the store just before 10 a.m. I saw the first flakes starting to come down.  The snow came down fast and furious!  I pulled into the driveway, opened the back of the car and grabbed two bags.  Took them into the house and came back out for the balance.  In that short time (one minute or two maybe), the snow had covered the inside back of the car, the windshields and even the driveway was coated!  But, we only ended up getting an inch or so and then sleet on top of that.

Yesterday was a holiday for me.  Fletch took one of our cars in for an oil change and tire rotation and I stayed home.  I thought of taking a walk, but it was so cold (20's) and breezy that I knew it wouldn't be pleasant.  So I did some chores, knit, read, napped and cooked.  Really, for me, a perfect day!

On the knitting front.  First up the Ear Band (my own design).  Just finished and unblocked:


And then blocked and on my head!!  LOL


As mentioned above, I did wear it this morning.  So soft and so warm, but I really could have used a hat in addition.

I've also started a new sock:


I've decided to do these a little differently.  I'm using a multi-colored yarn for the cuff and (I think) the entire foot.  The leg will be in a (sort-of) solid.  I don't know what the multi-colored yarn is - the band was lost.  The sort of solid is from Good Karma Farm in Maine (purchased a couple of years ago when we visited them) and the colorway is "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."  The pattern I'm using is Diagonal Lace by Wendy Johnson (free).  Hard to see in this picture, but it is a pretty pattern.  Mine are cuff down rather than toe up.

Then, while poking around in the back room, I came across a project bag with a just started shawl in it.  This was started last July and then forgotten about!


The pattern is Odyssey Shawl (another free one) by Joji Locatelli.  The yarn is a hand painted gradient by June Pryce Fiber Arts that I bought at the Allentown Fiber festival.  The colorway is "Secluded Forest."  I had completed the first section of the shawl and then stopped at Section 2 (the first Lace section).  I did put my lifeline in (the yellow yarn).  The first four rows in the lace section are now completed.  I love this yarn, so am anxious to get this moving along.  But, with lace work, I really need to concentrate, so I need to choose wisely when I work on it.

I managed to knit another 20 rows or so on the Canary Blanket too (no pictures though - honestly, it just looks the same).  I may be roughly half way finished (I hope - hoping it is not less than half - lol).

Yesterday I went on line to renew the registration for one of our cars and right in the middle of it my laptop shut down.  Now the only message I'm getting is that it is unable to restart.  I think it might have finally died.  I suspected it was on its last legs as it is quite old (probably 8-10 years) and we all know laptops are not made to last a long, long time.  Colin said he would take a look at it, but I'm pretty sure it's dead.  So, I need to be thinking about what I want in a new laptop.  Hopefully I can find something relatively cheap at either Costco or Best Buy.

On the reading front, I have less than 100 pages left in Fever and am still enjoying it.  Two books have come through on Overdrive that I've had on hold for some time:  Disappearing Earth and The Only Woman in the Room and I'm anxious to read both.  My reading mojo has definitely returned!

I'm doing an "unraveled" post a day early as I will be out of pocket tomorrow and part of Thursday.  Fletch is having cataract surgery tomorrow and then his follow up appointment with the doctor is Thursday morning.  Obviously he won't be able to drive himself!  Oh, and we are going over to Mailing's parents tomorrow night to celebrate the Chinese New Year (a few days early) and will be making dumplings😋.  I'll try to get some pictures.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday 01/15/20

Good Morning!

Despite the grey weather (rain overnight), I can tell that the sun is rising a tiny bit earlier each day...and setting a little later each day as well.  Slowly but surely our daylight hours are steadily increasing.  It is still pretty mild here (40's this a.m. and 50's predicted for later today), but I think this may be the end of our Spring-like weather.  I saw some teens forecast for next week (overnight...not during the day).

So, here we are mid-month already!  Linking up with Kat for this Unraveled Wednesday edition.  Yes, there has been unraveling this week.  I believe the head/ear band has been unraveled at least 3 times!  Luckily it is a small piece (only 26 stitches across).  A pattern is finally working.  Simpler is better.  The initial attempts I had were way too complicated for the tiny space and for the yarn.  I cast on again yesterday and this is where I am:


Just a simple two cable pattern.  This is the 100% Alpaca yarn I received at Christmas.  So soft.  It will feel wonderful against my ears when the cold weather returns.  I hope to finish this quickly as we will be seeing Mailing's parents next week (they gave me the yarn) to celebrate the Chinese New Year (Yay - dumplings!!).

I had also cast on socks and decided on a new-to-me pattern from a book I have.  But alas, that was not working well.  The pattern involves crossing stitches (not cabling, but rather knitting stitches out of order).  I need to practice!  My stitches were so tight that I could barely move them on the needles.  So, that was all ripped out and I have yet to cast on again.  Both project bags have come to work today, but I think I will concentrate on the headband to get that finished up. 

On the reading front, I'm about 100 pages into Fever and am enjoying it.  Lots to think about with this book - treatment of immigrants (and how that hasn't changed a whole lot...), treatment of women (ditto in some regards), medicine, etc.  I'm looking forward to our discussions in February.  Also received notice yesterday that my Overdrive hold for Inland came through so I've downloaded that.  Not started yet, but looking forward to this one.

And here is my Amaryllis as of this morning:


Some spent blooms and some recently opened.  Still beautiful!

Wishing you all a beautiful finish to this week!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Another Monday Brings the First Finish for 2020!

Well Hello!

Still thinking this cannot be January!  It was in the 60's both Saturday and Sunday.  So strange, but I'll take it.  We did have very windy weather though (windy/noisy enough that I did not sleep well at all Saturday night).  The winds seem to have died down as of today.  I think by the end of the week the temps will moderate a bit more toward Winter temps.

Meanwhile, the Monkey Socks are finished!  I knit the last stitch and wove in the ends on Friday night:


And here they are against the bare Christmas tree:


I love these.  They make me smile and grin all the time.  They also turned out matchy-matchy!!

And, yes, the tree is out of the house.  Believe it or not, it was still extremely healthy.  It hardly dropped any needles and was still so fragrant.  Fletch and I both miss seeing it in the living room, but it is also nice to have things back to "normal."  Yesterday I managed to clean the remaining Christmas decorations off the buffet and put them away.  A new runner on the buffet and fresh flowers makes it look so nice.

How was your weekend?  Mine was so nice.  Saturday morning Dee and I met at Backyard Beans for a therapy session of coffee, knitting and chatting.  It was so nice to get together.  I cast on the pattern I designed for my head/ear band and knit about 20 rows...decided I didn't like it and ripped it out.  I'm still fooling around with it - started again yesterday and then this morning decided I'd like to do something different...stay tuned.....

Late Saturday afternoon Fletch and I drove over to Colin & Mailing's.  Fletch was helping Colin with something in the basement (some kind of caulking I think) and then Colin cooked dinner.


He made home-made ravioli with a spinach/basil pesto filling and a spicy vodka sauce.  OMG - so good.  We had a Caesar salad to go with the pasta and some espresso gelato rounded out the meal.  Oh - dirty martinis before and a really nice wine with dinner.  It was so mild (still) that we sat outside and had a fire.


Fletch had brought "something" that he sprinkled on the fire that produced some beautiful colors (you can see the green in the picture above). 

Colin & Mailing had just picked up their "Save The Date" cards that they will be mailing out for their wedding in October.  The formal invitation will go out later.  The cards turned out really well - using one of the pictures of them from the Japanese Garden in Fairmount Park.  I'll show it once we get one! 

Sunday was just filled with some errands (groceries, hardware store) and chores (laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc.).  Fletch grilled lamb chops for dinner that were so tender and delicious.

I hope to figure out the head/ear band pattern for good today (though I think it will be a little busy at work) and I've also started another pair of socks (of course).  More about them next time.

Wishing you all a great week!

Friday, January 10, 2020

An Amaryllis and a Frog

Good Morning!

The sun is TRYING to peek through the clouds this morning - so far it is having very moderate success.  BUT, it is supposed to get up to 50 degrees today, 65 tomorrow and 68 on Sunday!  What month is it? 

Unfortunately a frog came to visit last night.  I worked a bit on the head/ear band I WAS knitting and found a rather large mistake.  So...out the entire thing came.  The cable pattern I was using from This Book was making me a little crazy - it's complicated.  Add to that the yarn is quite soft (wonderfully soft) and stitches kept slipping off my needles.  Not good.  I decided to create a much simpler pattern that will be easier to knit with a soft slippery yarn (and faster too!).  I'm hoping to write that up today and then cast on tonight.

On a brighter side, I did knit a number of rows on the Monkey Sock last night (none at lunch though) and I only have about 15 rows left until the toe decrease.  I should easily finish that sock this weekend and have my first FO for 2020!

The amaryllis as of this morning:


The first blossom is fading/dying,  The second stem is showing 3 buds that are starting to open (not sure if there will be a 4th or not).  It is fairly crowded against the first stalk and I do hope the blossoms will fully open - it would be nice if they opened while the other taller/earlier blooms are still looking nice!

Along with the warm forecast temperatures, the weekend is shaping up to be a fun one.  I'm hooking up with Dee for coffee/knitting/chatting tomorrow morning.  Colin & Mailing have invited us for dinner on Saturday (home-made ravioli!!!) and then a fire in their fire pit.  It will seem like Spring.  Sunday will most likely be chores (laundry, etc.), but with the warm temps, I should be able to open windows and air out the house.  Fletch did un-decorate the Christmas tree the other day.  Lights are still on it (which I love early mornings), but those will come off this weekend and the tree will be dragged outside to our woods.  I need to get the Christmas stuff off the buffet and really clean the kitchen!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend - enjoy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday 01/08/20

Good Chilly Morning All!

My drive home from work yesterday included a bit of rain, then some splatters, then some "fat rain" and suddenly snow!  And it continued for some time.  However, it was very light and didn't really amount to much.  Looking out my backdoor at 5 a.m. this morning, this is what it looked like:


Pretty, but not enough to stay home from work.  The thing that looks like an icicle hanging from the tree is actually a thistle feeder and to the right of that, the "blob" is really a birdhouse hanging from the tree.

My drive home also included a stop at my local library.  I had received an e-mail yesterday that a copy of Fever had come in for me.  YAY!!  So far (30 pages into it), so good.  I'm enjoying this story and thinking of my Grandparents who were born a little bit before the time of the story.  My Dad's parents were both in Vermont, but I don't believe my Mom's parents had immigrated (my Grandfather from Denmark, my Grandmother from England) yet.  Just weird to think of them being alive during that time and to read how people (not wealthy) were treated in those days.  Looking forward to getting further into this book.  I should easily finish prior to the discussion in February led by Carole, Bonny and Kym.

On the knitting front for this Unraveled Wednesday, I'm happy to show you my Monkey Socks (free pattern on Ravelry).


The first one was finished on Saturday and the second one started that night.  As of last evening I was into the heel flap of Monkey #2.  I'm enjoying the colors in the patterned yarn...but it is still "sticky" and not all that pleasant to knit.  I do like the black heels and toes.  All in all, a happy project.  The socks came to work today and I'm hoping to finish up the heel flap and get the heel turned at lunch.  I was able to do another 10 rows on the flap this morning while having my coffee at home.

Unhappily, neither the Canary Blanket nor the Head/Ear Band that I am knitting have seen any action since last week.  Despite having numerous projects on the go, I still tend to focus on one to completion.  Well, the blanket does get some love in between projects - no way could I work solely on that to completion.  I would go batty!  (Or battier than I already am!).

So that's it for me on this Hump day (which also happens to be Soft Pretzel Day at work!!  woo-hoo!!).  Linking up with Kat on this second Wednesday of January.  Head on over to her blog to see what others are up to knitting-wise and reading-wise.