Furry Friday, 12/9/22.

Oh, those kitties!

I am not an early riser, so I missed this on the Today show.

I want this.

He is ready to protect you from all toilet monsters, foreign and domestic.
As a former trombone player, I sympathize with this poor dog.
Click on the image to go to the websit4e, where, if you hover over the image there, more will be revealed.
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Unraveled Wednesday, 12/7/22.

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

Knitting.

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Reading.

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Sophie’s World: A History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. I am pretty sure I will be reading this for a long time. It is not a short book, and I only have patience for 5-10 pages at a time. I am all the way up to Aristotle. Digression: when Elder Son was in college he had to read Aristotle (or Plato) (or both). I remember that he was not impressed with either one. Such is the arrogance of youth. TSTR*.

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The Art of Mingling / Jeanne Martinet. This was a fun read, but I quit about 3/4 of the way through. I picked up some tips about entering a room, striking up a conversation, and leaving said conversation. As a natural-born non-mingler, I need those skills and look forward to using them in the future. 3★

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The Last Wish / Andrzej Sapkowski. Another one I quit 3/4 of the way through. It just wasn’t holding my interest, but at least I gave it a good try. YMMV.

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The Thursday Murder Club / Richard Osman. A delightful little mystery, cozy-adjacent but not exactly a cozy. As I started it I was pretty sure I had read it in the past, but I didn’t remember enough to spoil the story. The club is a group of four friends living in a retirement community — NOT a nursing home – who ge3t together on Thursdays to go through unsolved murder files and try to solve them. Where/how they get the police files is never fully explained, but who cares? It is a fun story. The ending was a bit improbable, but the story was enjoyable. This is the first in a series, so I will probably read the rest. 3.5★

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Opening My Cultural Lens: A Globe Trekker’s Experiences and Photographs / Gail Shore. Gail is a local author and a friend, so of course I had to buy her book. At the book signing, held in a nearby village, the author was interviewed by a famous friend, Ann Bancroft. Gail is a wonderful photographer and adventurer; my only criticism is that her photographs are too small in the book. She said in the interview that she made a decision not to make this a coffee table book — which would have allowed the photos to be much larger — after a friend told her that the function of a coffee table book was to give a guest a place to sit their drink. 4★

The Book of Awesome /Neil Pasricha. You know how sometimes you read a nonfiction book, typically written by some kind of pundit, and you think to yourself, “This would have made a really good long article in the New Yorker or Harpers, but it was not enough for a book”? This book is an example of that conceit. The premise is the author listing as many of the tiny awesomeness-es we encounter daily, things like there being time left on the meter when you park, or the smell of rain hitting hot pavement, or waking up and realizing you don’t have to get up yet. These are fun things to think about, and even more fun when we recognize their awesome quality in the moment, but this author felt compelled to write a page (or five) about each one. This did not improve the book. My solution is to keep the book in the bathroom and read a few of the headings every time I am in there and skip the unnecessary writing. YMMV. 3★

Listening.

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Uncharted Waters/ Sally Hepworth. I haven’t left the house in over a week so haven’t had the opportunity to listen as I drive. The two out-of-house commitments I have this week will help. TSTR*

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Watching.

These two are on Netflix and are thoroughly enjoyable. Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, is as smart at both of them, and is also better at hand-to-hand combat. 4★

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Pieces of Her on Netflix. Another limited series, an entertaining mystery but not nearly as good as Unbelievable. Mother and daughter have been in witness protection for 30 years, daughter knowing nothing about that, until mother kills a gunman who is shooting people in the diner where she and daughter are having a birthday lunch. The act is caught on video and shown nationwide, thereby eliminating the WITSEC-created life they had known. Bits of the backstory are introduced sparingly, which I found annoying. 3★

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* TSTR = Too Soon To Rate.

Posted in Unraveled Wednesdays | 3 Comments

Fiber Monday, 12/5/22.

Raising wool in Montana.

This is not a criticism nor a sarcasm, but aren’t you glad you don’t have to knit socks for this woman?
Posted in Fiber Monday | 4 Comments

Furry Friday, 12/2/22.

They eat their brains to stay alive all winter. Not zombies.

Be sure to click on the right arrow to see all the ‘grams.
I am giving this sticker to Elder Son and Wife for Christmas.
We also will soon have such a sticker on all our cars. And my laptop.

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Smokey took this photo from our kitchen window. There is a deer somewhere in that circle.
Front page story in our local paper.
Posted in Furry Friday | 5 Comments

I haven’t ranted for awhile. It’s time.

Posted in Rants, various | 5 Comments

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.

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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