Unraveled Wednesday, 11/30/22.

Joining Kat and friends. Go see what the others are up to.

Knitting.

I am knitting gifts for Christmas, something I have not done for years. Three hats for DIL for her to choose from (one, all, or none), a plain hat knit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts medium weight sock yarn in Corbie (Raven Clan) for Younger Son exactly like one he lost several years ago, and a navy blue Windschief hat and possible matching cowl for BIL. Elder Son and Smokey get no knitting, the first because he never wears a hat and the latter because I knit him one a few years ago which he claims to have given to me to put it in a moth-proof place. I cannot find it; I may need to knit him another. Oh, and everyone is getting a book. ES, YS, and BIL are getting this one written by a local friend who has traveled the world. Smokey is getting the book I bought him for his birthday but forgot to give him. I am still searching for The Book for DIL. It seems silly to give her the same one I am giving everyone else, since she will undoubtedly read ES’s copy at some point.

And now the knitting:

Cabled hat for DIL. Progress is a little slow — I get tired of futzing with the cable needle every other row. (Yeah, cabling without a needle, blah, blah. I can do it but I am a bit afraid of dropping a stitch.) The Shibui Silk Cloud is giving the hat a subtle halo, and the whole thing is lovely soft.

My own purple hat. Also with a halo and lovely soft. I haven’t worn it yet — not cold enough — and once I finish the Christmas knitting I plan to use the remains of the skein to make some fingerless mitts to match.

The patch. I was knitting it with sock yarn on US#1 needles in garter stitch, which meant it would not be finished before the heat death of the universe*. So I frogged, rewound the yarn cake, and am now knitting from both ends (2 strands of sock yarn held together equal 1 strand of DK) on a US#5 needle. Much better, and probably more durable. I pick this one up when everything else is Too Hard.

A charity hat. We and some friends went to a local church’s free will Thanksgiving dinner, and I spied a flyer for a warm clothing drive — hats, mittens, scarves, etc. Deadline is December 11, almost two weeks away and also almost two weeks before we leave for the family Christmas. I figure I can whip out a hat or three or maybe some mittens to match this hat.

The yarn is ready and caked for the Windschief hat and cowl.

As I look at what I have done and what I have left to do, it occurs to me that there is a lot still undone. (Ya think?) Those charity hats and mittens may have to wait. But I have an assortment of other wool hats, originally intended for Hats for Sailors and the Blue Hat Project that I can donate. Their 2022 deadlines are past, so I will aim for their 2023 campaigns.

Reading.

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Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America / Maggie Habeerman. I quit this one halfway through because it was boring. Unbelievable that it was dull, but it was. It is possible I quit too soon because it was at the point in 2015 or so where t***p was beginning his run for the presidency. But it was my usual problem: so many books, so little time. 3★

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The Boys from Biloxi / John Grisham. There are certain best-selling authors whose every book I read — Stephen King, William Kent Kruger, John Sandford, John Grisham, among others. I have certainly learned a lot about the corrupt culture around Biloxi from this book. Makes me wonder if that is why schools in Mississippi are the worst in the nation — the public money that should support them ends up in the pockets of corrupt officials. Anyway, this is a well-written legal thriller. 4★

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I am a monogamous reader. The most books I ever have going is two — one in my hands and and one in my ears. Right now I am reading the following three (3!) books simultaneously, plus listening to a fourth. Where is The Kat™ and what have you done with her?

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The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room / Je4anne Martinet. Like most people I tend to suck at small talk with people I do not know. At last week’s knitting group, which is held in a small library, this book was displayed by the checkout desk. I picked it up and perused it for a few moments. The librarian saw me doing it, plucked it out of my hands, and checked it out to me. Ah, the joys of small town living where everyone knows everyone! Anyway, I am picking up a few tips and tricks — can’t be bad. 4★

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Sophie’s World: A History of Philosophy / Jostein Gaarder. At my last poetry class we started talking about philosophy. It turns out the teacher, a retired Engloish teacher, also has a master’s degree in philosophy. Anyway, one of the guys started talking about a book he had read years ago that was an overview of western philosophy. As he talked I kept remembering a book I had bought years ago but never read and is now packed away somewhere that sounded like what he was talking about. Eventually he said the title was something about Sophie… and it clicked. When I got home I scurried off to Amazon and bought it and started it last night.

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The Last Wish / Andrzej Sapkowski. Someone here — gayle? — recommended the Witcher series; this is book 0.5 in it. I generally do not care for traditional science fiction or fantasy (this is the latter) because the author always feels the need to create a world to suit his/her story, and that makes for a lot of work for me, the [lazy] reader. I have gotten far enough into this one, though, to be hooked.

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Listening.

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything / David Christian. I finally finished this one. Interesting, but I question some of his conclusions, in particular that humans can learn to live together in peace and harmony by sharing their wealth and caring for the earth. I personally know any number of people in my county who are the exact opposite. Still, the cosmology, astrophysics, geology, botany, zoology, and anthropology were fascinating, 3.5★

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Uncharted Waters / Sally Hepworth. I confess I chose this one from my library because it was less than 2 hours long. I have way too many audiobooks in that library. This one is a suspense story set on a yacht that offers getaway cruises. Too soon to rate.

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Watching.

Unbelievable on Netflix. From Wikipedia: “A dramatization of the 2008–2011 Washington and Colorado serial rape casesUnbelievable follows ‘Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the two [female] detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth’. The program draws from “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” (2015), a Pulitzer Prize-winning article by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong for ProPublica and The Marshall Project.” 5★

After we watched The Manchurian Candidate a couple weeks ago, I decided it would be fun to watch old movies not available online — library to the rescue! And it seemed only fair for us to alternate picking the movie. So this is what Smokey picked.

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It was, of course, hilarious. We laughed ourselves silly. Smokey loves slapstick, ridiculous movies; I like them in small doses. Whenever I turn on the TV to watch the evening news on Saturday, it is tuned to the Three Stooges, which I immediately click away from. But humor, even silly humor, is always welcome.

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* One of my favorite phrases. Ken Jennings used it on Tuesday on Jeopardy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Good news Tuesday, 11/29/22.

Karma is a good thing.

Gift-giving made easy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Fiber Monday. In video.

And who can forget this classic?

Posted in Fiber Monday, Silliness | 1 Comment

Furry Friday, 11/25/22.

A comment on The Bloggess’s November 16 post:

“I walked into the washroom and saw that someone had helped themselves to nuggets in the litter box, leaving one behind. I squawked and the cat and two dogs raced over. The cat’s eyes widened with outrage when she spotted the turd. She then whirled and faced the dogs, before stalking toward the male and sniffing his chin. He took a step back but the cat, having spotted the bits of litter in his teeth, batted at his muzzle and chased him, meowing indignantly.”

The editing matched the jumps into the leaves with the music perfectly!
Posted in Furry Friday | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving.

It’s decorative gourd season, mother fuckers.

The little things I am thankful for:

  • The excuse to use cinnamon in EVERYTHING!
  • My cat who jumps into my lap within 30 seconds of me sitting down in my recliner.
  • My cat who jumps into my lap, etc., and doesn’t bother my yarn or knitting. She is largely blind, which helps.
  • Cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast. My dogs are grateful for this, too.
  • The latte that I sip along with the toast. My dogs are indifferent to that.
  • When Percy the Pit Bull gets the zoomies after coming in from outside.
  • The sun that hits my eyes when I am at the kitchen sink. This can only happen after the leaves are down. The happiness comes from the fact that although November is the month with the least sunshine here in the Upper Midwest, we beat the odds today.
  • My double-thick warm socks to keep my cold feet toasty-ish.
  • The [mostly] clear space on the laundry room table that had been piled with 50-100 balls/skeins of random yarn for months. I spent Sunday afternoon putting it all away.
  • Now I have a mental list of projects for those yarns.
  • My glasses and various pairs of cheaters that enable my to see the world at 20-50. I still have to peer fixedly at the screen to know if I just typed a comma or a period.
  • The seventh pair of underwear that some slave employee at Amazon slipped into my order for six pairs.
  • The heated seats and steering wheel in my car.
  • The mud and snow tires on said car that enable me to magically ascend our driveway hill no matter how much snow we receive. The AWD doesn’t hurt, either.
  • The $3,000+ of VW parts and parts van that Smokey sold yesterday. He was going to sell all his VWs and parts, but realized he had too much emotional attachment to the 1958 VW convertible and the mid-60s VW camper van. I shall be grateful for the small things.
  • No covid in our house since my extremely mild case in June and Elder Son’s similar case in August.
  • My watch that tells me the outside temperature.
  • My good knee (the one that was replaced).
  • My bad knee that is still more-or-less functional.
  • The camera on my phone that takes great pictures.
  • The editing software on my computer that can improve them.
  • The birthday cards from my knitting group that I found yesterday. One of them is the “dry flat” cartoon on Monday’s post.
  • My knitting group
  • My book group
  • The little oven thermometer that allowed me to bake a delicious apple cake at the proper temp. I had to watch it like a hawk, but it worked.

And of course there are the big things I am thankful for:

  • Smokey, who makes me laugh and can fix anything and who also does the grocery shopping and most of the cooking and cleaning
  • Both sons, who are loving and generous and good citizens
  • Elder Son’s wife, who is the same and who makes him happy
  • Our dogs, who keep us entertained and loved
  • Our cats, who do what cats do and who never relieve themselves anywhere but the litter box We have never before had cats that I could say this about
  • Relatively good health
  • Friends both near and far (the latter is you guys!)
  • A good life.

Happy turkey day to you!

Posted in Thankful Thursdays | 3 Comments

Unraveled Wednesday, 11/23/22.

Joining Kat and friends. Go see what the others are up to.

Knitting.

Since I took this photo Tuesday morning I have knit another couple inches and started the larger cable in the triangular space between the smaller cables. The yarn is sooo soft — Knit Picks Gloss DK (70/30 merino/silk) held together with some Shibui Silk Cloud laceweight (60/40 mohair/silk) left over from another project. Pattern is Curam by Ysolda Teague and is well-written and charted.

When I get tired of cables and chart reading I have another mindless project — knitting a patch for one of Smokey’s hoodies.

He wears out the right sleeve because he is leaning on it when using his computer in bed. When I suggested a patch he was all in. When this one is done I will need to make another for a gray-blue hoodie sleeve. Knitting is so useful!

Reading.

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Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America / Maggie Haberman. Haberman is really the expert on Trump’s rise to power, having covered him from his early days in Queens and Manhattan real estate back when she worked for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. Since then she has covered politics for the New York Daily News, the Post again, Politico, the New York Times, and CNN. 4★

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The Ink Black Heart / Robert Galbraith. I gave up on this one about a third of the way through. It was due back at the library, so I had a choice: keep it for another two weeks to finish it and pay the fine, or give up and move on. I chose door #2. The book is way, way too long for a detective novel. A friend did finish it; I asked her if Robin and Cormoran got together by the end. Nope. And that was really the only thing in the book that interested me. 1★

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Listening.

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A Life in Stitches / Rachael Herron. I finished this one, which made me a bit sad. I was enjoying it so much I wanted it to go on. She used knitting as her recovery tool to quit smoking and years later to quit drinking. Knitting is powerful, y’all! 5★

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Origin Story / David Christian. I interrupted this one to listen to Rachel Herron’s book, but I am back at it. The first half was cosmology and astrophysics from the Big Bang to [sometime more recent]. The rest of the book is about life as it evolved, from the first pre-single-celled living things to [sometime more recent]. I am finding it completely absorbing. He explains evolution and migrations and extinctions in terms of energy flows. Not the woo-woo kind of energy so fond of New Agers, but the energy from the sun used for photosynthesis and the energy that animals ingest from plants and other other animals. 5★

Watching.

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The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. I finished season one of this series. It ended on a cliffhanger, so I will be anxiously waiting for season two. Maybe I will watch the movie on Netflix in the meantime. 4★

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Another season finished, this time of the Great British Baking Show. I won’t tell you which one of the three finalists won just in case you haven’t see it yet. Sigh, more anxious waiting for another season.

Posted in Unraveled Wednesdays | 5 Comments

Winter is here.

Last week there was a little shore ice and a lot of open water.
On Monday the entire lake was iced over.
But not safe. That long dark streak indicates a crack.
Today there are a couple more dark streaks heading to the left from the major one.
Happily, no one has ventured out onto the lake as far as I can tell.

Posted in Antler Lake, Winter | 3 Comments

Fiber Monday, 11/21/22.

Knitting as a [positive] addiction.

Posted in Fiber Monday | 3 Comments

Furry Friday, 11/18/22.

Elephants are a lot like humans. Good humans.

Clearly, they need a potato shed. Sing out in the comments if you know where that reference is from.

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We used to foster mother cats and their kittens every summer. The first mom cat was similarly unprepared for the realities of motherhood. When her kittens were nursing, she might decide she had had enough of that nonsense and walk away with at least one kitten still attached.

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Posted in Furry Friday | 6 Comments

Unraveled Wednesday, 11/16/22.

Joining Kat and friends. Go see what the others are up to.

Knitting.

The problem with Unraveled Wednesdays is I generally take photos of my knitting on Tuesday so you are seeing the latest. But my Tuesday was very busy, and I didn’t remember the photo duty until I was in bed. Occasionally, I have gotten up to finish a post, but not last night. Too tired.

So I will tell you about it instead.

I finished hats #1 and #2 for DIL, but was having a real problem deciding on a pattern for #3. I knew I wanted it to have cables, and I knew I would knit it from some ivory Knit Picks Gloss DK, a luscious merino-silk yarn in my stash. I used the Rav advanced search function, and found a few patterns, none of which grabbed my fancy. I even ventured into patterns calling for sportweight or worsted, figuring I could fudge it. Still no joy. Finally, a couple nights ago I had it down to three patterns. Along the way I had considered the Iola hat, the Ruby Cabled Toque, JJason’s Cashmere hat, the Lina hat,and too many others to name.

Next week: the reveal!

Reading.

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The Winners / Fredrik Backman. This is book 3 in the Beartown trilogy. I read book 1, Beartown, a couple years ago. When I learned that it was a trilogy, I requested books 2 and 3 from the library. For some unexplained reason I thought this book was #2 so I started it. What a story! Backman is, imnsho, a master storyteller. Here, Beartown and its neighbor, Hed, are fighting to the death over pretty much everything, not just hockey. There are major characters from both towns, ensuring that our sympathies are divided. 5★

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A History of Present Illness / Anna Deforest. I read every book that I come across that deals with life as a doctor/resident/med student in my ongoing effort to empathize with Elder Son. I mistakenly thought this one was nonfiction, but it is actually a novel. However, it did not grab my attention as I read, so it is a non-finish for me. YMMV. 2★

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Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe / Preston Norton. I reviewed this one a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to add something: these teenage boys are incredibly inventive with the curses and nicknames they throw around. It is worth the read just for that. The story ain’t bad, either. 4★

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The World Played Chess / Robert Dugtoni. A story about the Vietnam war told in three time periods: when an 18-yo volunteers for the Marines and is immediately sent to Nam; 10 or so years later when an 18-yo high school graduate works construction alongside him and hears his stories; and 20 years later when the 18-yo is a married man with chidren of his own. A thoughtful story of what that war — or any war — does to its participants. The title comes from an unattributed quote, “The world played chess, while I played checkers.” 4★

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Chasing the Boogeyman / Richard Chizman. A mystery that is part fact and part fiction. I was surprised when I read in the afterward what was fact and what was not. Teenage girls are disappearing, their bruised and beaten bodies found a day or two later. The protagonist is a would-be writer returned to his hometown after college graduation. He and a local reporter follow the story and attempt their own investigation. The author is a good friend of Stephen King; they have written a book together. That is a pretty good recommendation for an author. 3.5★

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Fox Creek / William Kent Krueger. This is book #19 in Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series. Many of the same characters appear, older and more mature now. Henry Maloux, the 105-yo Native healer, walks into the wilderness with Cork’s wife and another woman who is being pursued by Bad Guys, no one knows why. The Bad Guys are vanquished, the Good Guys triumph, and all is well once again. 3★

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The Ink Black Heart / Robert Galbraith. I almost left this at the library when I picked it up — it is almost 1,000 pages! That is way too long for a detective/romance novel. But Galbraith/Rowling is apparently so successful that her editors dare not edit her tomes. I am about a third of the way through it and am finding it a bit difficult to keep the characters and plot straight. It would have made an excellent 350-page book. 3★

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Listening.

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A Life in Stitches / Rachael Herron. This is the 10th anniversary edition of Herron’s book, and she updates a few of the essays. I used to read her knitting blog, Yarn-A-Go-Go, back in the day. She is a delightful writer and reads her own book very well. 5★ (if you are a knitter; 4★ if not)

Watching.

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The Great British Baking Show. The final of season 10 is this Friday, and I predict Syabira is gonna win. She has been consistently excellent all through the season. The other two have had high spots and low spots. Stay tuned…

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The Manchurian Candidate. I came across a reference to this 1962 movie and realized it was a classic I had never seen. Library to the rescue! Smokey and I watched it Saturday night. There is a reason it is a classic, although the Communist/Russian enemy was a bit dated. 4★

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The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. This will keep me interested for two seasons; season one is done and season two has been announced. 3★

Posted in Unraveled Wednesdays | 5 Comments