Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 1/31/24

 Good Morning!

Happy end of January!!  It's above freezing today, but not by much.  I had let Mabel out at 6 a.m. and just let her back in and she is a little wet.  I looked out the window at the cars, and they are a bit wet too, so we might have had a little rain recently.  I can't tell if the sun is not up yet or it's just grey outside...the sky is pretty dark, I think we have some cloud cover.  Oh well.

Inside I have some brightness...some pretty:

My Christmas cactus that started as a cutting from the GIANT one my Grandmother had in Vermont.  Her plant was huge - easily a couple of feet across.  Anyway, I've had this for years and for years it didn't bloom.  Dee suggested it wasn't in the right location, so I moved it to my office where it gets some sun but it is also cooler (I rarely put the heat on in the office room).  Last year it had two flowers.  And now this year it has many more and a bunch of buds.  If you click to enlarge, you will see that the blooms are doubles!  (To take a picture of it, I moved it onto Mabel's "ledge" where she will try to pounce on birds at the is back on a bookcase out of Mabel's way now.)

Well, here we are the last Wednesday of January for Unraveled Wednesday.  Let's link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk Making and Reading.  Fortunately there has been no unraveling this week.  I've made slow, but steady progress on my crescent moon sock (the first):

The heel has been turned and I am moving down the foot.  I've fairly large feet, so still a way to go but the journey is pleasant.  The Farmer's Daughter yarns are very, very nice.  Of course, this is the January yarn February yarn arrived Monday (along with my Sock Squad Journal which was missing from my January package).

The colors are so pretty (and I love the journal).  But, I need to let them marinate a bit on my desk and in my head to figure out what to make with them.  The blue skein is the mini.  The other two are what I call half skeins - 50 grams each - roughly 230 yards each.  I don't think I want to use this yarn for socks, but I may do a cowl or maybe a shawlette.  Again, I will let the yarn marinate in my head...any suggestions from you?

Reading is still a bit slow for me.  I did read an excellent book Winter Solstice by Nina MacLaughlin.  What beautiful writing!  Very soothing to read.  I'm looking forward to "Summer Solstice" by her, but am saving that for a bit.

Carolyn had mentioned reading "Rooted" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.  My library did not have that, but it had another book by the author:  "Mozart's Starling."  After close to 100 pages read, I am giving up on it.  I don't need another book about someone walking around with a bird on their shoulder pooping down their back!  The title of this book should be Lyanda's Starling as there was almost nothing about Mozart in those first 100 pages.  I'm dropping off the book at the library when I go out to get my hair cut this morning.

Fletch and I, thankfully, are still thoroughly enjoying The Ride of Her Life - we're almost 100 pages in.  Most chapters are just 7-10 pages long - the perfect length to read after dinner.

That's it from me this Wednesday!  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what others are making and reading.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/30/24

Hello and Good Morning,

Our temps have dropped (below freezing now) and I think/hope that the wind has stopped.  Yesterday was so windy.  It was a good day to stay inside, so I did.

We are at the last TNT for January 2024 and I have a finish to show you!  The Cactus Triptych was finished last Friday and I love it.

 Obviously not ironed yet, but it will be because folks, I am actually going to have this one framed!!  I plan to hang it in my office room where I will see it regularly.  I'm thinking just a plain skinny black frame will do nicely.

Of course I needed to start another piece and I did that yesterday afternoon.  The design is from Blackbird Design's Honeybee Hill and I am stitching the bee which will be made into a pincushion.

My start.  See the cute zippered bag Fletch bought for me?  I'm keeping threads in it.

And here is what it should look like once I am finished stitching it.

The designers call it "Her Majesty," but to me she is "Queen Bee."

As I mentioined, we had such a windy day yesterday and by the time the sun was getting ready to set we wondered if we were in for some stormy weather.  This was the view out my west-facing kitchen window while I was getting dinner ready.

Pretty ominous looking, but we never had any storms.

And, another view from last night.  Our very own Queen enjoying her cactus filled with catnip!

Fletch and I have been enjoying Mabel's reactions to sounds and pictures on the TV.  A crying baby will make her sit up and look.  Last night it was some animals on a nature program we were watching.

Time for me to pour some more coffee and then dry my hair (my head is cold!).  Here's hoping that your Tuesday will bring some fun!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Weekending 1/29/24

 Good Morning All,

Well!  We made it through the last weekend in January!!  Our days here in eastern PA are noticeably longer (meaning more daylight hours) - even on days like yesterday when it rained ALL day long.  So much rain over an already saturated lawn.  We had standing pools/lakes/whatever in our backyard.

How was your weekend?  Mine was very nice, thank you.  Dee and I met up Saturday morning for some quality chatting and knitting time.  Sunday was spent learning something new!  I'm here to tell you that an "old dog" can learn new tricks!

That's a pretty crappy picture of my new MacBook!  My first Apple thing and I love it.  (I still have an android phone...but for how long???)

I've only been using my work laptop for the last 4 years.  My personal laptop died so long ago I can't even remember when.  But with retiring (YAY), I needed to get a personal one and Colin convinced me to go with a MacBook.  I have not found it easier or harder than a windows "machine," just different.  But what I do know is that I love it.  Colin came over yesterday morning and got me all set up and I spent some time pulling up sites and adding my password (new device and all that stuff).

What I had not realized is that is has NO USB ports!  But, I've ordered a multi-port adapter that will have not only a USB port, but also an HDMI port so that I can plug in my monitor (and thus have a BIG screen).  Ordered the adapter yesterday and it will be here tomorrow!

We also ordered and downloaded Microsoft Office so that I can have word and excel.  I have a lot of stuff (personal) in excel and use word for some things...I wanted those since they are familiar and I'm comfortable with them.  At some point, I may switch to the Mac programs, but not initially.

Today has been nice.  I'm posting later than usual because I slept in and made breakfast for Fletch and me.  Kind of practicing what it will be like when I retire.  I guess I'm kind of semi-retired now...or as my brother labeled me over the weekend, I'm a "short timer."  I'm also happy!!

I've put a fresh tablecloth and napkins on the table and have a first load of wash going.  I'm planning an easy day with making and reading.  Oh and I received notice that my next (February) shipment of Sock Squad yarn from The Farmer's Daughter should arrive today.  Hooray!

May this week find you enjoying life and doing something fun!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

An Art Tour!!

Good morning All,

It is raining here and mild (44 degrees).  Most of our snow is gone.  There are still a few clumps in the yard here and there, but for the most part it vanished overnight.

Today I want to show you some of the art that we saw on Monday.  Fair warning - there are quite a number of pictures, so if art is not your thing or you just are not interested, please skip this post.

Al West, the former CEO of SEI (Colin's employer) has been a huge collector of art.  When he started, his daughter was studying are in NYC and he gave her funds to acquire pieces she thought were important/good/interesting, etc.  She mainly focused on artists who were not that well known (though many of them are now very well known).  Over the years a collection of around 4,000 pieces of art have been amassed and the West Collection was formed.  

The SEI campus is pretty large - there is both a North and South campus and we toured both.  Some art has been there from the beginning.  Other pieces are rotated out and new ones brought in.  One interesting thing:  There is a "Hot Hall" where art that is found offensive or unpleasant (for any reason) can be placed.  When a new piece of art is placed in one of the buildings, people are free to say that they find it offensive, or they don't want it near where they work, etc.  It is then moved to the Hot Hall.  Sometimes someone will request that a Hot Hall piece be brought back out.  We did see the Hot Hall and though I did not care for the works of art I didn't really find any totally offensive (I also didn't spend a lot of time studying them...and did not take any pictures).

I didn't take pictures of everything (there was so much!!), but here are some of the works we saw:

Shark Tank - sharks are made out of tires.  I should have taken a picture from the outside of the "tank" or room so that you could see both sharks...but I didn't.

A sculpture made entirely out of phone books.  I wish I had taken a picture of the backside where the pages are visible.  This artist has also sculpted busts of famous composers and they are scattered throughout the building.

Origami Cranes

Kamper Kart.  The artist, Kevin Cyr, has a web site ( and there is a page about Kamper Kart (

Everyone is familiar with the painting by Vermeer...his one looking upside down is made out of something like 5,000 hanging spools of thread.  But, when looked at through the sphere in front of it, the work appears right side up!

A life-size Lambroghini - everyone's dream car - made out of used lottery tickets.

Of course I loved this one!  A paperbag puppet.

Mad Cow!  Please click to enlarge and look at the pink helmet hanging on the right handlebar.  This motorcycle does run and is covered in real cow bones to resemble a running (or flying?) cow skeleton.  Our guide told us that the artist sometimes wears a cow costume when riding this!

There were a number of embroidered pieces in the collection, but I found this one to be simply beautiful.

If you are still here, thanks for sticking around for the art tour!  I found it fascinating and a lot of fun.  Although Colin is a "permanently remote" worker, he has a very interesting and beautiful office to go to on occasion.  Most of the employees are back to work 3 days a week and both campuses are entirely open spaces - there are no individual offices.

And now, I suppose it is time for me to get to work on my stuff!  Have a wonderful Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 1/24/24

 Good Morning Everyone!

Well, the big thaw is happening.  It was above freezing all night and I could hear EVERYTHING dripping (thankfully outside and not inside).  When I let Mabel out at 5 a.m. I saw an Amazon box on my back patio!  Yesterday (late afternoon) I had realized I was out of Cafe du Monde coffee, so I ordered several cans.  The confirmation email told me it would be delivered today between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.  They were not kidding!!

It's Wednesday and I will be going back to the office today.  I swear I am busier at work than I have been in the past 4 years!!  Today I am meeting with Heather - one of the people who will be taking over some of my responsibilities.  We will do a bit of training and hopefully I will be out of there before lunch time.  Yesterday I was also able to finally secure meeting space (and hotel rooms) for Kevin's upcoming meeting in Georgia.  The first two hotels I called were booked solid for meeting space the last week in February which I found surprising and the one I finally found is pretty pricey in my opinion.  Overnight rooms are $239 (nothing fancy, just a regular Hilton) and the charge for the meeting space is over $1,000 for the day plus a guaranteed minimum of at least $60 per person for food.  Back in the day (pre-pandemic) I never agreed to pay for meeting room space - that was always waived.  Times have changed!

Anyway, it is Wednesday which means it's time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday.  Let's talk knitting!

I had mentioned last week my woes with the Farmer's Daughter Sock Squad yarn that arrived.  First I couldn't do a twisted rib for the cuff to save my life.  Then I couldn't do a cable pattern for a sock.  Finally it is all coming together.  I sketched out (in Excel) what I wanted and voila!

A basic plain vanilla sock (the yarn spoke and I listened) with a row of crescent moons just under the cuff.  The crescent moons are knit using the mini skein that came with the main skein.  

A little closer view of the crescent moons - my hand is in the cuff stretching it out a bit.  I plan to use the mini skein for the toes of the socks as well.  I have roughly 20 more rows to go before the heel flap.  My plan was to get there by today...or even past the flap and heel turn, but I seem to have spent more time stitching than knitting this past week.  It's all good - making is making!

Reading is still slow for me.  I'm sure it will pick up again once I'm no longer working.  In the meantime, I am still listening to "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store" and still reading "George:  A Magpie Memoir."  Fletch and I finally finished listening to "Fox and I."  So glad that one is over!

At Christmas, Fletch picked up THIS BOOK for me and we have decided to read this after dinner.  It is great so far!  We are roughly 50 pages in and thoroughly enjoying it.

Time for me to get moving and pour a second cup of coffee, dry my hair and figure out what to wear for my trek to the office.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/23/24

 Good Morning Everyone!

How are you?  Our temps are rising (my computer says 29 as oppposed to the teens) and I can feel the dampness creeping in - I think we will start having some rain tomorrow.

Yesterday's art tour was very nice.  I have pictures to share later this week.  Bonnie and Zhongren were able to join us for the tour, but neither of them were able to go to lunch after.  Anyway, more on that later.

Today is Tuesday which means it is Tiny Needle Tuesday.  I'm excited to show you the Cactus Triptych because I actually stitched quite a bit on it this past week.

I even managed to do the thorns/needles on these.  There are still two more claret cups to be stitched, but I'm confident that this piece will be wrapped up sooner rather than later.  Here's a picture of the piece overall.

I love all the variations of color in this piece - even among each bloom on the cacti there are variations.  Some are subtle, some not so much.  But the overall effect is very pleasing to me.

Yesterday afternoon I spotted this handsome fella walking across our back yard - around the shed and in front of my archery target.  A little unusual to see him during the day, but I was happy to see him and happy that Mabel was inside napping!

Here's to a good Tuesday for all of us.  Time for me to pour another cup of coffee.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Weekending 1/22/24

 Hello Everyone!

How are you?  How was your weekend?  Mine is actually still going on - I'm off today!  More about that later.

We did get snow.  Not a huge amount, but everything was covered and Dee and I decided to not meet on Saturday morning.  As it turns out, we probably could have met up with no difficulty.  I had to run out to CVS to pick up a prescription, and the roads were fine once I was off my street.  Now, of course, all is clear because we had a beautiful sunny day yesterday.

It is still cold (17 currently) and there is still snow on the ground.  And lots of bird tracks in it!

Yesterday while we were having breakfast, Fletch and I got a kick out of watching Mabel walk across the back yard.  Her hind legs kept sinking into the snow so that she almost looked like she was sitting in it.  I wish I had gotten a video of her, but I was too busy shoving bacon into my mouth!

We were able to get over to Colin & Mailing's for dinner Saturday night and that was great!  Mailing cooked a turkey and made a delicious cauliflower dish and chard.  Colin had made a pear tart for dessert.

Yesterday was a stay at home day.  Plenty of time for making and baking and lazing around.

Gingerbread Blondies

As I mentioned above, I'm off today.  The former CEO of Colin's company is an avid collector of art.  Much of what he acquired is still on the campus where Colin's office is (or was - he is permanently remote now but does go in occasionally) and he has arranged for us to have a tour of the art collection.  We are doing that this morning and then going out to lunch.  A nice way to start the week!

Friday, January 19, 2024

A Snowy Friday! 1/19/24

 Good Morning!  It's snowing here!!

When I got up around 5:15 this morning, there was nothing going on.  But now at almost 7:30, the cars and street are both covered with snow.  So pretty.

Unfortunately I've got three conference calls today - one at 8:30, another at 10 and the last at 1, so I won't be going out to play in the snow.  Mabel, however, is out there somewhere.  I get up periodically and check, but she is not hanging by the door waiting to come in.  She does, after all, have a fur coat, so I'm sure she is fine.

How much we get and how the roads are will determine whether or not Dee and I meet up tomorrow morning.  And, Fletch and I are planning to have dinner at C&M's tomorrow hopefully everything will be clear by then.

Happy weekend everyone!  Stay warm and cozy and have a good one!  I'm hoping for some making time later today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 1/17/24

 Good Morning!

Brrrrr - my computer says it is 13 degrees out with the temp dropping.  Our thermometer on the patio is reading 10.  Either way it is cold.  It is also dark early - not even 5 a.m. yet as I type this.  I am up extra early so that I can get my car running and defrosted.  We did get a little snow and then when Fletch was outside cleaning off the cars yesterday the precipitation changed to freezing rain.  So...the car is coated in ice.  I need to leave by 6:45 for my office - extra early/allowing extra time so that I can take main roads instead of back roads through Valley Forge.  Oh well, c'est la vie.

Today is Wednesday which means Unraveled Wednesday where we all link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  I am so happy to tell you that I have two finishes to share today!!  Yes, two!  First up the Treasure Socks are finished.

Fletch likes them and wore them yesterday!  (I wish I had thought to get a picture of them on his feet - they look great!)

The second finish is my Lopi hat.

I knit the ribbed brim longer than called for so that it can be doubled.  And then I made a very messy pom-pom for the top.  I don't really like making pom-poms, but I persevered and voila!

The bad/sad news is that I will not be wearing this.  I did wear it Monday when I drove over to C&M's to feed the cats.  My entire head was itching and by the time I got home, my forehead was red with a rash starting!  The Sigla sweater I knit was made with Lopi, but I always have a turtleneck or tee shirt on underneath that so the yarn doesn't really touch my skin.

And then we have the Sock Squad yarn.  Which has been causing me fits and making for some unraveling.  First I tried a twisted 1x1 rib using the mini skein.  It looked horrible - I had ladders and it just looked messy.  Ripped it back and did my normal 2x2 rib.  Much better.  Then I started the Fairy Maiden pattern and my knitting looked awful.  Apparently that cable pattern is too fiddly for me (I may try it later).  Ripped all that out.  Now I have started a 2x2 rib in the main color.

Much better!  I plan to do a little bit of colorwork using the mini skein just under the cuff and then do a plain sock and use the mini for the toes.  I fooled around on the computer last night and came up with two options for the color work.  If time and energy permit I will try that tonight.  Hopefully there will be no more ripping!

Reading is as it has been for the past couple of weeks - nothing new to report.  Fletch and I are closing in on the finish of Fox and I (finally).  We have under an hour to listen.  I decided to finish listening to Heaven and Earth (and actually cancelled my library request for the book).  Surprisingly, I have found a rhythm with this and have been enjoying listening to it while knitting or stitching in the afternoon!  

If you remember, I decided to have two books on my nightstand that I would read each evening.  Both are a series of short essays for each day of the year.  Hal Borland's 12 Moons of the Year continues to delight, but I'm afraid I am going to have to bail on Simple Abundance.  My copy is the original version and it is way too dated.  I'm finding it more annoying than anything else and that's not what I want when trying to relax and go to sleep.  Instead I will start Winter Solstice (I also bought "Summer Solstice" by the same author).

A company-wide announcement of my retirement was sent out yesterday.  I guess it's official now!  As a result of that, emails have been coming in congratulating me and wishing me well, etc., etc.  All very nice.  I'm amused, however, that some of the emails are from folks I have not worked directly with in decades!  Even better are the emails from folks I do not know!  LOL

Well, I've probably rambled on long enough.  Time to get the car started and see if I can get the ice melted off of it.  I've a very busy day ahead of me at the office.  Stay warm in this bitter cold!

A couple of deer late yesterday afternoon browsing and grazing under the sunflower seed feeder hanging from my clothesline.  As soon as I took this picture some noise spooked them and they ran off into the neighbor's yard.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/16/24

 Hello and Good Morning!

How are you?  We did get a small amount of snow overnight - maybe 1+ inches.  It's still dark, so really hard to tell, but cold enough that it is on the street, on the ground, all over the cars, the picnic table, the fire pit.  And my computer is telling me 1" of snow soon.  I'm not sure how much more we will get today, but I don't plan to go anywhere, so I'm fine with more.  I just need to be able to get out and to the office early tomorrow morning (a catering order from Panera will arrive between 7:30 and 7:45 and I need to be there to open the door and show them where to set up the food).

There is a bit of work I need to do today - planning another meeting in Atlanta for the end of February - lining up the hotel, meeting space, dinners out, etc., etc.  Other than that, I'd like to get the bathrooms clean, wash the towels and then bake some bread and make some soup (a new-to-me recipe for mushroom soup).  That and a salad will comprise dinner.

Before I get into the meat of the day, let's talk stitching.  After all, it is Tiny Needle Tuesday (TNT).  I finally pulled out the cactus triptych and put a few stitches in it this past week.

I love the way this is looking, but whew is it fiddly!!  Here's a close up of the part I stitched.

The section in the center had already been stitched - though I discovered some blank squares and realized I never did the thorns (my least favorite part).  I stitched the green to the right of the flower and will try to finish that section this week (and add the thorns).  There are still a number of Claret Cups to be stitched, so this will take a little bit of time to do.

Meanwhile I did thumb through some of my stash last week and came up with two small pieces I will work on next.  That might be the incentive I need to finish this last cactus!

Wherever you are, I hope you are staying warm and safe.  It is cold here, but nothing compared to what they are experiencing further West.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Weekending 1/15/24

 Hello and Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  Mine is actually still going on since today is MLK Day and is a holiday for my company (although I've already had to do some work - approving travel and some other stuff).  Our rain and wind Friday night did not match the forecast.  It was not bad at all.  In fact, when I left the house around 8 a.m. Saturday morning it was 60 degrees!!  

I met up with Dee for a delightful morning into the afternoon and when we got up to leave Manhattan Bagel the temp had started to drop.  This morning it is just 23 and by tomorrow or Wednesday it is supposed to be in the teens.  Meanwhile the wind picked up again yesterday and CRAZY - blew the sides and cap off of the cold frame in the garden.  Twice!  I can't tell yet if it held overnight (still dark out), but hopefully the cold frame survived.  Nothing in there right now, but before too long Fletch will be planting lettuce, chard, spinach, etc. for early Spring crops.

Colin & Mailing went to NYC on Friday, so we have been on cat duty - going over twice a day to feed and empty the litter boxes.  I'll go over in a bit for a final feeding this morning - the kids should be back by the afternoon.

Talbot in the office room

Marcel eyeing the toy basket

They will be happy to have C&M home again.  Their lives have been so disrupted lately with moving and then being in PA while C&M were back in TX for a few weeks, then everyone home again and the movers come with furniture and then C&M take off for NYC.  Whew!  The house looks so much better (and lived in) with their furniture back home; paintings on the wall; etc.

The balance of my weekend included some nice making time, a bit of reading and some cooking.  Last night I made Spicy Cuban Beef (which really isn't all that spicy) for dinner with basmati rice and THIS SALAD to go with it.  The salad is a winner!  I did skip the green olives because there were already some in the Spicy Cuban Beef and I used some mandarin oranges instead of cara cara, naval or blood because that's what I had.  I loved the combination of fennel and arugula and the vinaigrette was supurb!  I will definitely make this again.

There is a small possibility of some snow this morning and then we are forecast to get 1-3" on Tuesday.  We are planning to skip grocery shopping and just hunker down.  I am thinking I'll make a pot of soup and bake some bread for dinner on Tuesday.  Good soup weather!

There are a few errands I want/need to run today, but I will try to get them out of the way early - after I feed the cats.  Sending good wishes to all for a great start to the week.  If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm!!

Friday, January 12, 2024

A Friday Mishmash 1/12/24

Good Morning Friends!

Welcome to a chilly Friday morning.  It is 29 here.  But the really cold weather is forecast for next week along with some snow (which I will welcome - I hope I can get out and take a walk in it!).

Wednesday in the office was a longer affair than I had hoped for.  There were more people than usual in that day and some stopped by to chat and then wouldn't leave.  Annoying.  I did have a long chat with Bobby (our CEO) and that was nice.  I had mentioned that two people would be taking over my responsibilities and that is true.  What I hadn't mentioned is that both of these folks have other job responsibilities that they will not be giving up.  So, it's not really that I do the work of two people (though sometimes it feels as though I do the work of at least five!), it's that no one new is being hired and, therefore, my work needs to be split up a bit.  I did meet with one of those people on Wednesday and started to review some files, etc. with her.  I meet with the other person next week when I am in on Wednesday for Bruce's meeting.

Last night was another night of sleep issues.  I went to bed early - around 10:15 or so.  I had been knitting, but was starting to mess things up a bit.  I fell asleep right away, but then woke up around 12:30 and felt wide awake!  Usually I just lay in bed and toss and turn until I fall back asleep, but last night I actually sat up, turned on the light and read for an hour or so.  And then I heard a fox "barking" pretty loudly.  He/She sounded as though they were across the street in Rob's garden.  Anyway, I turned out the light and fell asleep pretty quickly.  I was happy to know that this girl was inside!

The "rainbow" on the floor is from our Christmas tree lights - yes, our tree is still up - a battle I have decided not to fight with my hubby.  He always wants the tree to stay up for AGES!  I'm ready to clean everything up.

Speaking of cleaning everything up, what month is it?  January?  How can we be having an invasion of ants in our kitchen in January?  It is making me crazy.  They are the tiny ants that I think people call "sugar ants."  I've put out fresh ant traps along windowsills and counters, but still they are EVERYWHERE.  Two mornings ago when I came downstairs there was a steady stream of them walking across the windowsill over the sink.  Roughly 3 dozen were killed immediately.  And still there were more!  They have finally seemed to ease up a bit, but geeze!

Fletch and I are back on cat duty at C&M's starting tonight.  The kids are heading to NYC for a long weekend.  There are two separate Picasso exhibits that they want to see, plus they just really like NYC.  Heavy rains are forecast for today, so hopefully they will have an easy and safe journey up to NYC.

My plan is to meet with Dee tomorrow morning after feeding the cats for some much needed girl time.  It will be good to sip and chat and knit and chat, etc., etc.  Nice to know, too, that Monday is a holiday for me (work-wise).

 There are a couple of errands I should run this morning and then I have a conference call at 11 and another one at 1 p.m.  After that I will be in full weekend mode!  Happy Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 1/10/24

 Good Morning My Friends,

Whew!  What a storm last night, huh?  A ton of rain fell and the winds were SO strong!  Various things were flying around our patio and banging down.  Poles, containers, a gathering basket that had been hanging on a post, etc.  Fletch was busy sucking up water in the basement and maintaining some kind of order there.  The temperature rose to 60 in the evening!  This morning it is still mild (44 degrees), and it sounds as though the wind is still kicking around.  I have to go to the office a little later and I'll be curious to see what the various rivers and creeks I drive over look like.

It's mid-week which means that it is time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Despite my weekend focus on finishing my BIG stitched sampler, I did manage some knitting time as well.

My second Treasure Sock is underway and going well.

The heel flap is next and the heel turn - that always seems to go quickly.  Then it will be picking up the gusset stitches and sailing down the foot.

The hot pink lopi yarn was joined to the hat.

After cutting off the black yarn I wound the rest of it into a ball and did not find any more breaks.  Yay!  So, I haven't fully decided what I will do, but maybe a bit of a colorwork design for a few rows or maybe some stripes before I start the decreases.  In either case, it shouldn't take too much longer to finish this hat.

I'm hoping to spend a little time on the Appleseed Mitts later this week.  Today is pretty full, but maybe tomorrow.

I decided to join the Farmer's Daughter Sock Squad 2024 and will be receiving a full skein and a mini skein of yarn EVERY month.  I might be crazy!  I'm not sure I will make a pair of socks each and every month.  I may use some of the yarn for a shawl or a cowl or something else.  But, the first yarn arrived and it will be socks!  I've wound the yarn and it is gorgeous.  I'm comfortable sharing a picture because I'm sure anyone who reads this blog and who subscribed to Sock Squad 2024 has already received their yarn.  Here it is:

I'm thinking of  knitting the Fairy Maiden pattern (free on Rav) using the mini dark blue for the cuffs and toes (maybe heels too).

I was excited about receiving the Sock Squad Journal as well, but mine did not arrive yet.  Instead there was a note in the bag with my yarn explaining that one of the boxes of their journals had gone MIA and instead of holding up my January yarn, they will send the journal with my February yarn.

So many projects - both knitting and stitching - retirement cannot come quickly enough!!

Reading is still slow for me.  I'm listening to The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride.  It is a good story, but I just don't much care for audio books.  However, I will finish this - especially after listening to everyone's comments last night on our Read With Us Zoom call.  I have increased the speed and I may bump that up a notch again and see if that helps.  (I've moved up to #45 in the queue at my library, but at this point I think I will just finish listening to it.)

Fletch and I are still listening to Fox and I (think we have under 3 hours left) and at night I am still reading George: A Magpie Memoir and am still finding it bizarre/wacky.  LOL

It turns out that my job will be split between 2 people.  Today I am heading to the office a little later and will meet with one of the individuals who will be taking over part of my responsibilities.  I'll be meeting with the second person next week.  I have a ton of files (electronic) that I can share that should make their jobs easier.  I also have some work I need to get done.  The financial reports that I had planned on running and distributing yesterday had not been updated, so I need to check and see if they are available now.  Lots to do and very little interest in doing it!  LOL

Be sure in your wanderings today to head over to Kat's and see what everyone is doing.  Inspiration abounds!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday 1/9/24

 Good Morning Everyone!

Looks like it's another good day to stay inside.  Heavy rain (possible flooding) and winds are forecast for today.  Of course, we are going grocery shopping, but that's fine.  The heaviest rain will be sometime this afternoon - good stitching/knitting/reading/napping weather!

It's Tuesday and I have some BIG news on the TNT front.  The Sampler Aux Bouquets - the BIG sampler - is finished!  You may not believe it.  I can hardly believe it!  But here it is in all its glory:

Sorry for the tilt to the picture - it was difficult to get the entire piece into a photograph.  Please click to enlarge.  And here's a close up of the final bits:

And, here are the details:

  • Sampler Aux Bouquets by Jardin Prive
  • Started mid-May, 2023
  • Finished 1/7/24
  • Stitched on 32 count fabric from Vicki Clayton (bought decades ago) using 2 strands of DMC over 2 threads.  Finished size is 6.25” by 32.5”

This was such a fun piece to stitch.  So many different and quirky animals and motifs.  I enjoyed them all.  Surprisingly I never tired of working on this piece (I did get tired of the same colors over and over again).

Next I want/need to work on and finish up the cactus triptych.  And, of course, go through my stash and choose something new to stitch.  There are some more rather large designs I'd like to do, but I may give myself a break and pick something a bit smaller to do first.  Or I may throw caution to the wind and pick several projects to start all at once.  LOL  When I get around to putting away the threads from this piece, I will look at the stash and see what pulls me in.  That could happen this afternoon (during the massive rain).

Meanwhile, back to reality, I do have some financial reports I need to run and distribute for work - I will try to get them done before we go grocery shopping.

Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday and I'm looking forward to seeing some of you tonight on Zoom for our Read With Us discussion of "The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store" by James McBride.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Weekending 1/8/24

 Hello and Good Morning!

How was your weekend?  Mine was one for staying inside.  Plans to meet up with Dee were cancelled ahead of time due to still fighting a cold and the weather predictions.  We hunkered down and spent the entire weekend at home (perfection in my book!).

It did start to snow as promised right around Noon on Saturday, but though pretty it didn't amount to much after all was said and done.

And then it changed to rain and was just very cold and damp.  Comfort food was on order so I had put on a pot of split pea soup early in the day.

It was a warming meal and I made biscuits to go with it.  Mabel was in and out only about a hundred times!!  She'd go out for a little bit and then paw at the back door to come in, have a bite to eat and get warm.

Sunday was still pretty chilly.  I made macaroni and cheese for dinner along with stewed tomatoes.  Comfort food again!  Later we watched the first episode of the new season of All Creatures Great and Small.

Has anyone else watched the new season of Shetland?  We still have one more episode to watch, but my gosh what a bunch of wacky characters!

My Mom always bought candles around Christmas time that dripped different colors.  They were some of my favorite and the other year I found some on Amazon and bought them.  Then I forgot about them and didn't use them.  They were re-discovered this year just last week, so I brought them out.

 These are a bit of a disappointment.  They look a bit anemic to me.  My memory tells me that the drips from the candles my Mom always bought were much larger and more dramatic.  These drips are more like toothpick trails.  Luckily I have some other tapers we can use when these are finished.  We do enjoy having dinner by candlelight at this time of year.  Cozy and pretty!

It was a great weekend for getting in some knitting and stitching as well as a couple of naps. My kind of weekend.  Now it is back to reality.  I have a conference call at 10 and some other work-related projects I need to do.  Whatever is on your plate or agenda today, I hope it brings a positive start to your week!

Friday, January 5, 2024

Friday Felines

 Someone says TURN UP THE HEAT!!

This sweetie was out ALL last night.  I've been fighting a nasty cold and went to bed early.  This morning Fletch told me she never came in and that he had heard a fox last night.  Thankfully she was waiting by the back door when I came downstairs.  Now she is curled up tightly trying to catch up on her missed sleep.

Also, she does NOT clean up her toys!  Just like a toddler!

It's a wonder we don't trip when we come downstairs!  (Dee - please note that she IS playing with the two toys you brought to her!!)

I'm planning to take it easy today.  I've been excused from my one conference call which is wonderful.  I did test myself for Covid yesterday and thankfully that came back negative.  It's just a full blown nasty cold that I am fighting.

And word is out about my upcoming retirement!  I had an email in my inbox this morning from someone who is thinking of applying for my job and wants to talk about what I do.  I'll try to set that up for sometime next week.

Meanwhile, it is 20 degrees outside (brrrr) and we are expecting a snowy weekend (or a wintry mix of some kind).  Stay warm and well my friends!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Unraveled Wednesday 1/3/24

 Good Morning Everyone,

My it's a chilly morning out there.  My friend Carol told me it is supposed to snow on Saturday, but who knows?  It is cold enough to snow though.

Before we get into the fun things - making and reading - some BIG news!!  Yesterday I gave notice to my bosses that I will be retiring!!  Woo-Hoo!  The deed is done and it is such a good feeling.  My plan is to work through the end of February and then be finished.  I'm excited and cannot wait.

Now it is time to join Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Surprisingly, I do have a finish!!  I had hoped to have a new cast on Christmas Eve which did not work.  Then I thought I would cast on Christmas Day, but when we got home I was too tired.  Instead, I cast on 12/26/23 for a new sock and I finished it New Year's Day!  A speedy record for moi.

Initially I thought I would do the cuff and heel in a different color, but decided to go with mini stripes instead and then the toe in the second color.  The gold yarn is Stroll from KnitPicks and the colorway is "Treasure," so this is the first Treasure Sock.  The blue was some left over I had of Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in the colorway Dark Orion.  The pattern at the top was taken from a free pattern:  Summit Socks from October House Fiber Arts.

I also made sure to cast on Treasure Sock #2 yesterday!  I have not gotten far, but it's a start.

This year I did manage to have a New year's Day cast on - something I don't think I've ever done before.  A few weeks back when out with Dee I picked up a skein of worsted weight yarn to make some fingerless mitts.  Specifically the Appleseed Mitts by Thea Coleman from the 8th MDK Field Guide.  This pattern calls for a cable cast on which I had never done before (easy-peasy and fun).  I've only managed to get the ribbing done so far, but I like it (the yarn I'm not crazy about though - Malabrigo Worsted).

Finally, remember the hat I had cast on and was knitting in Lopi?  This hat:

One Saturday I was out with Dee and was joyfully knitting along on this when all of a sudden:

Out of nowhere, the yarn was broken.  I knit a sweater (Sigla) out of Lopi and never came across this problem.  So, I was annoyed.  The hat has been in time out ever since, but will soon come out to be worked on once again.  I have some hot pink Lopi which should look very nice with the black.  Perhaps I'll have something to show next Wednesday.

Very little reading was done over the holidays!  That is so unlike me.  I guess I have been in a reading slump of sorts.  Anyway, Fletch and I are continuing to listen to Fox and I: an Uncommon Friendship but in my opinion it is not great and honestly I have a hard time remembering what we have listened to!  Actually, that's a problem I have with audio books in general.

I'm about a third of the way through George: A Magpie Memoir by Frieda Hughes.  It's a bit unbelievable to me that someone would let a bird "poo" all over them and their kitchen, but maybe that's just me.  An interesting bit is that the author is the daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

The next Read With Us discussion is slated for Tuesday, January 9th.  I have yet to start the book!  I'm anxioius to read The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store but I'm still a long way from moving up in the queue at my library.  I did download a copy from Audible (I have so many credits!!), but am reluctant to start it since I don't really enjoy audio books and since I don't typically remember what I listened to.  Someone (I think Mary) suggested that I "up" the speed of my listening - thus making me pay more attention.  I may give that a try this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the work emails are flying back and forth so it is promising to be a somewhat busy day.  I have an eye doctor appointment at 11 but otherwise intend to stay inside on this chilly day.  Happy Hump Day!