photo of the day

photo of the day
snow day

Sunday, January 17, 2021

I want a do-over!

I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the year we expected.  It certainly wasn't the year I expected when last I posted - I'd done everything possible to ensure a good year - the food, the rituals, the cleaning - and it just had no impact whatsoever.  We had a pandemic that got longer and longer and still haunts us, we had an election that was contested for no reason, and I'm sure there were other issues that I've forgotten.

At any rate, even if I want a do-over, it's not going to happen, so it's up to me to make 2021 behave and be the very best it can be for me and those I love, wherever they are.

So, at the end of December, I didn't kill myself to have a spotless house (difficult when there's still some construction happening, and boxes to unpack), or to have the perfect "good luck" meal - except for black-eye peas, which are good anyway - or to observe the various rituals.  We had a quiet evening, drank Prosecco, toasted the New Year and watched "Lovejoy" on Acorn for hours. It was a grand start to 2021.

So we can never speak of it again, and so I have a list of photos to post in the coming weeks, here's a wrap for 2020:

1. Spent way too much time working.  The Paycheck Protection Program and other bills targeting COVID-19 economic issues had us (my team and I) working 70 hour weeks for way too many months.  I did manage to take a lot of Fridays off, due to the company policy that limits my vacation carryover to 40 hours.  That has to be taken by March 15, so Friday off will continue.

2.  We did a lot of work on the new old house.  The master suite was finished and we moved into the bedroom and office, as well as a couple of closets.  I love the deck, and the view.  

3.  Despite our excellent timing (ripped the kitchen out starting March 1) we managed a complete kitchen remodel by the end of August.  We changed the orientation of the kitchen, ripped out 4 walls, created an eating area, a den, and a laundry room, and we love it!

4. Knitting and quilt piecing mostly did not happen.  I spent hours sitting at night holding my knitting needles and yarn, totally unable to knit even 1 stitch.  Still, I managed to finish 1 sweater that needed 2 seams sewn for 5 years, and 1 sock.  Embroidery also stood still.  Somedays I was able to stitch 1 length of floss, but not more.

I was so envious of knitters and quilters on social media who posted a new sweater or sock or quilt or other project every week or so.  Due to the issues mentioned above, and the fact that work was more intense when we all worked from home and couldn't go out, I was less productive than in many years.

5. My first New England vegetable garden was a success, much to everyone's surprise.  Tomatoes that weight almost 2 pounds, Rainbow chard that produced until Thanksgiving, lots of lovely basil - I can't wait to plant again in 2021.

So here's to blogging more often, and reconnecting with the self I feel has been pushed aside.  She's ready to come back and be present and connect with people in 2021!



Wednesday, January 1, 2020


I'm not *really* superstitious, but it seems that there are traditions around New Year's Day that really should be observed, you know - just in case.  So in that vein, I made sure the the "first foot" over our threshold was a handsome dark-haired man (Ken); I let the old and new moon shine on silver coins; carried bread, wine, a clementine, knitting, salt, and wood over the threshold myself.

Today we'll dine on ham, sauerkraut, yellow-eye peas (no black-eye peas in any local markets), and okra.  That's the southern part.  Cheesecake for the New Yorker.  The sauerkraut counts for the German, I think.

I've neatened my knitting and am ready to start a new project - not that all the old ones are finished.  I've got 2 recently finished but unblocked projects in the wash now, and will block them in the unfinished master suite where the cats can't get to them in a few minutes.  I found a counted cross stitch I started before Ken and I got married (19 years ago) and will restart it so I can finish it before our 20th anniversary.  I've read, chatted with family, played in the snow. If this is beginning as I mean to go on, this will be a good and fun year.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Winding Down

It's November already, and the year is winding down.

It's been a year of changes for me - lots of big changes, not all expected - and yet somehow, life seems to move smoothly on, as it should.

As reported before, we made the huge move from the San Francisco Bay Area to a tiny town (population 4,798 or so) in south central New Hampshire. This is the source of most of the changes!

     - We moved from an "old house" built in 1948 to an "antique" house, where the original part was built in 1790.  There are also 3 or 4 additions, all done at different times and in different styles.

     - We'd lived there for 20 years, and knew our way around; now we have to rely on a GPS for trips to new places. This is disconcerting, and I'm excited every time we go somewhere and don't need the GPS.

     - Snow? I haven't ever really been exposed to snow, other than  the few times I've gone to Lake Tahoe or another ski area.  Forecasts are calling for a cold and snowy winter here!  Indeed, we had flurries that didn't stick on Friday and actual snow is expected 2 or 3 days this week.

     - The house needed rather more work than the inspection called out. So far, we've dealt with a rotting support beam in the basement, and the posts that were sinking into the rotting wood (now we know why that part of the hall floor felt a little unstable), lots of wood rot around the garage windows and siding that was uncovered when the rotting upstairs deck was being repaired, the side door (which is the one everyone uses) was installed incorrectly and the moulding was disintegrating on all four sides, 2 of the 3 chimneys need to be rebuilt (one is done and the other will be done in the spring) because the mortar is missing between many of the get the idea.

     - We've also embarked on the first batch of remodeling projects.  We had a new 8 x 16 foot shed built, in hopes of getting more stuff out of the garages so we can get cars in.  So far, that hasn't happened, but we did finally find my liquor stash and our stash of fancy balsamic vinegars and flavored olive oils.

     The upstairs deck has been repaired and is now safe, and ready for use next spring.  We'll be using it a lot, I hope, because the new master suite opens onto it.  The contractor started putting up sheetrock today and I think we might be moved in by New Year's!

Work continues to be a challenge and a joy.  I am really lucky to enjoy what I do and to have such great folks to work with.

Finally, knitting is fun again.  For much of the last year, I've been too stressed to even enjoy my hobbies.  Knitting, sewing, embroidery, reading - none of them could hold my interest.  I am happy to report that I've read 2 books since Friday, and finished a shawl and cowl in October.  Photos coming, I promise.

Monday, September 2, 2019

So Much Has Changed...

...since my last post!

We sold our house in CA, bought a house in NH, and moved 3300 miles across the country.  We shipped a full tractor-trailer truck load of stuff*, shipped our cars, and yes, shipped our cats.  In fact, we did all this in less than 6 weeks!

This is my happy place - the view from the kitchen!

I promised myself a vacation if I pulled this off, and so we made the move via Amtrak's California Zephyr, in a sleeper car bedroom.  Someone cooked for us, told us when to eat, and catered to most of our whims.  We spent one lovely day in Chicago with Ken's oldest friend and saw lots of sights and ate an absolutely wonderful dinner at Blackbird before boarding the Lake Shore Limited for the final leg to Boston.  The train trip turned out to be the best vacation ever - I didn't accomplish a darned thing, but I did take many wonderful naps!

The socks in the photo below were finished today (proof of finishing photos to come), and my knitting mojo seems to be back - finally.  I'm finally able to read a bit, although nothing terribly deep or intense - which is a relief.  My stress-level is so much lower than it has been in years; I'm actually shocked that I can sleep all night and sleep for 7 or 8 hours!  I haven't slept that long consistently since I got out of high school.

We are finding our way around the area.  What did people do without GPS?  Cell phone signals are awful at the house, so we are looking at different providers.  We've figured out the transfer station for garbage, getting deliveries of fuel oil and going to town on weekends to do serious grocery shopping.  Thank goodness for Amazon, eBay, and LLBean. It's nice to be able to order and get items a day or 2 later.

*I am still stunned at how much stuff we moved.  We got rid of more than 4 full truckloads with 1-800-GOT-JUNK, gave stuff away, donated truckloads of clothing and household goods to St. Vincent de Paul, and we still completely filled a tractor-trailer!  About 300 boxes and lots of furniture were household items and my knitting, sewing, quilting, and book stash.  There were also about 200 boxes of stuff from Ken's shop and garage!  More about unpacking later!

Monday, February 18, 2019

That Wasn't Fun!

The past 2 weeks flew by, fueled by a huge work emergency that consumed me, and my whole team, for up to 17 hours a day for about 10 days!  It wasn't helped by the fact that our ancient furnace went out the same morning that the emergency started!

We can now add "new heater" to the list of improvements we've made to the house in the past 4 or 5 months.  New roof, new paint inside and out, new hardwood floors in the living room and hall, new carpet in 2 seems like the work will never end!  We are also send our Oriental rugs out to be cleaned and repaired (if needed) 4 at a time and are getting ready to send the 3rd group out this week.

Minimal knitting and piecing has been happening.  I've done a bit of something every night, but some nights (see 17 hour days above) 1 row on a sock is all I can manage.

I've started the 2nd sock of this pair, and have about 3" of leg done:

And I'm starting to choose fabric layouts for Flutterby, using these fabrics plus some I had in stash:
Purple, lavender, and green; cat not included, but Johnnie loves to sit or sleep on my fabric when it's out and I'm working with it.

Here's hoping the next week is a little less exciting, and that Stitches West lives up to the previous 23 or 24 years!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Finished Projects

Even though I am the slowest knitter on record, I have finished a few things in recent memory.  Most recently, I finished socks that have been in the works for a while. 

I tend to start 5 or 6 socks at a time, doing just an inch or so of ribbing at the top.  When I need a new, easy to carry around project, I grab one of them.  Usually I end up finishing all the first socks, and repeat the process on the 2nd socks.  Most are knit for me, and it keeps me from getting bored, which I do, very easily.

No idea when either of these were started; they were listed in my Bullet Journals for the past 2 years (along with close to 50 of their WIP buddies).  They are now done, and in the case of the Paton's Kroy socks, have been worn.

First up, Paton's Kroy socks, no clue what the colorway is called.

If you look closely, you'll note that the ribbing patterns for the legs are different! It was definitely not by design, but I didn't realize it until the heel flap was almost complete; I posted a photo on Facebook and asked if anyone saw the glaring error, and only 1 person did.  Decided it didn't matter to me, and it's a good thing because the stripe sequence on the toes doesn't match either.

I've worn these, and they are soft and warm and squishy, like most Kroy socks.

Next up, Brown Sheep Wildfoote in the Rhapsody colorway.

I love the colors, the ribbing matches and they should be really nice to wear.  All my purple tops were in the laundry last week - this week promises to be better, wardrobe-wise.

It was a lovely, rainy weekend.  Lots of rain showers - some quite intense - and some pretty stiff winds as well.  Rain is predicted today and tomorrow, and then we should get a break until the weekend.  It's all good.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


That banner up there? That's been my backyard view, more or less, for the last 19 years.  There have been changes over time, of course, but I've always loved that view.

Ken and I got married in that far section, past the smoke tree, with 200 of our closest friends in attendance. I've had gardens back there, and played volleyball and badminton with friends at casual barbecues. We listened to San Francisco Giants baseball games in those Adirondack chairs under that mulberry tree.

All that will change soon.  The house goes on the market in a couple of weeks.  Once we have a buyer, we will travel to New Hampshire to find the house where we hope to spend the rest of our lives, having a new adventure in a totally new (for me, at least) part of the country.

It's sad, but it's exhilarating too. I never meant to stay in the Bay Area this long; originally the plan was to get my feet wet on big city life in San Francisco for up to 10 years, and then make the jump to New York!  The Bay Area was just so comfortable, and Ken had moved from New York and so we stayed. 

Stay tuned. I expect it may be a bit of a bumpy ride!