Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Back Home

and this mess proves it:

I am very good at packing.  

I am not very good at unpacking. I get distracted by everything that has to be done after a week and a half absence and go from task to task, doing all.the.things, but spending only seconds on each, and thereby accomplishing no one thing in its entirety for days.  

I should probably work on this, but actually, I think I don't care. It will get done, eventually.

Next post up, watch for turkeys, dead and alive.....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Credit Fraud

Not MY credit cards, because if they were mine, SOMEONE ELSE would be using them.

I have been a victim of credit card and social security number fraud for the past couple of years.

First offense:  Someone was charging things on a Visa card that had never even left my house. I keep it sort of hidden in a drawer next to the sofa where I knit (and shop online a little). I had used it for my gym membership, but over the phone. So how was someone in California charging stuff on it? Beats me. The Visa people were very nice and took off the fraudulent charges and sent me a new card.

Problem solved.

Until.  Second offense against me:  Someone in California charging hotel bills and restaurant meals on my Gap Visa card. I was not in California, I had never been to that area of California, AND I had my card with me. In Georgia. So how the $%^&* does this happen? Again, Visa was nice and took care of everything.

Problem solved. 

Until, third offense:  I received an invoice in the mail for furniture bought at a store about 80 miles away from where I live. The first name on the invoice was not mine; the second name and the address were mine. I called the store and told them I had never been to their store. Who bought this furniture? Were they delivering it to my address? Did they expect that I would pay the invoice? Because I WOULD NOT!

Imagine the store owner's surprise. He said that a father and daughter had ordered the furniture, that they were paying for it with cash, and picking it up themselves with a truck. 

That was the last I ever heard about any of that, but why on earth use my address when they were using cash?

Problem not solved. It's a mystery.

Fourth offense:  We filed taxes with the IRS for the year 2013. Rejected because someone else was filing using my social security number. Months and months went by before we got that straightened out. The IRS sent us a PIN to use for filing for the year 2014 so that they would know that I am really me and there would be no problem.  

So, problem solved?


Fifth offense against little old me:  We filed our taxes for the year 2014, used the PIN. Rejected. Someone else had filed before we did, using, tah dah! my social security number.  Again.  We sent in all sorts of documents, statements, etc. to prove that I am me. Nothing.  I went in October to the local IRS office, which does NOT (of course) accept appointments. I waited three plus hours, talked with a very nice man who told me that the IRS had just rejected the other person's application the week before---in OCTOBER--- and everything was on its way to being resolved. A month later, everything was resolved and we are supposed to receive another PIN to use next year.  Like that will work.

Now, last night I went to see Brooklyn at a Regal Cinema. I have a Regal Card, a new one. A new one because I misplaced my old one, somewhere in my house. I also downloaded the Regal Club app. for my phone, transferred all of my points, and according to it, I was due a free popcorn.  

When I bought the tickets and showed my app, the ticket seller scanned the little blurry hashtag-looking thingy, and told me that I was using a lost or stolen account.

No, I am not!  I told her. More than once. 

She completely ignored me and charged me for the tickets but did NOT give me the coupon for the free popcorn.

Enough is enough, y'all. I want my $%^&* free popcorn.  

No free popcorn=last straw.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

I Played Yarn Chicken

and I won.  


I made this hat but with a heavier yarn than called for, so I cast on fewer stitches than the pattern directs. I had to keep weighing the yarn left in the skein to make sure I would be able to cast off once I finished the cable patterning. And even knowing the weight, I was still mostly just guessing.

Irish Hiking Hat

This is what I had remaining, just a couple of yards.  

Cascade Pastaza

On a weird note, this yarn (Cascade Pastaza) is 50% wool, 50% llama hair. The color is a bit different from what it looks like in this photo, but it is very similar to my sister's beautiful red hair when she was young. And the llama hair is sort of longish, so I was very aware that I was knitting with hair, much like my sister's hair. Kind of creepy. Maybe she would like this hat. 

She lives in Florida. So maybe not.

More yarn chicken.
I also just finished this Pure/Aran:

better photo than mine

I had bought an extra skein of Woolfolk Får (the softest yarn EVER!!!) in order to make the scarf larger. I knit extra repeats of the second texture section, and then I just kept going on the garter stitch section until I thought I had just enough yarn left for the cast off.  

Again, bring out the gram scale!  I just made it, with only a yard or so left over.

Woolfolk Får

Double PHEW!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Too Cold Out

(for me) to go for a walk so I'll wait until later. In the meantime, some of the rest of the photos from Ireland. Not the entire rest, since there are 500 plus photos, but just a few. 

This is, and I am not joking, a two-lane road. We drove clockwise around the Ring of Kerry in order not to follow the busses that go around in a counter-clockwise direction. What we hadn't figured on was having those busses come at us on a road like this:

Let me tell you, it was EXCITING! Fortunately, unlike other roads in Ireland, this road was edged by wall of greenery, not rocks, and we could squeeeeeeze over and make enough room. No damage to the rental car. Whew.

This photo is of a random ruin along the Ring of Kerry. There were no signs for it, so maybe no one even knows its history, but it's still there, a photo op for us tourists.  

More from the Ring of Kerry. 

The cattle in Ireland have prettier views than most people do from their homes!!!

These are photos of the library at Trinity College in Dublin. What a gorgeous room. We took a tour with a student guide, and she said that to obtain a book from this library, a student has to know the size of the book; they are arranged according to size, with the largest on the bottom shelves, and the smallest on the top.  

The Book of Kells was in another room in this library and we did get to see that as well.

Sheep, of course. In the Republic of Ireland we saw many more dairy cattle than we did sheep and that was surprising. There appeared to be a lot more sheep in Northern Ireland.  

And, just because I like this photo. A building AND a tractor in my "signature" color. I saw that in a design magazine; designers have signature colors. If they can, why can't we? I thought, and I picked turquoise. 

Who has ever seen a turquoise tractor? I have!

That's all for now folks!

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Christmas Shopping Time!

so says all the advertising on television. And especially today, Black Friday, but yet, here I sit, at home. Because I'm not crazy; no shopping in person today. There's always the internet.

So here we go, suggestions from our friends at Hammacher Schlemmer ©:

Because who doesn't need a $95,000 sofa that looks like a hippo?

And why not literally scare the snot out of your child while helping him breathe?

My daughter needs this. A smaller one in her neighborhood scares her 80 lb black lab! Imagine what this one would do. And for only $400!

For the ultimate narcissist on your list:
I don't even know what to say about this.

For grandchildren everywhere. In case a regular kazoo isn't annoying your parents enough:
(Hello?  H?)

And last and most definitely least, the perennial puzzle from Mori Gifts:  I know this is necessary in some places on this planet, but again, why would anyone give this as a gift?  

I'm here to help.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 20, 2015

So maybe I should just knit.

I finished these Honeycomb mitts:

Do you see anything remotely resembling a honeycomb pattern? No, no you do not.

As usual, I did not completely read the instructions and ended up with ribbing instead. The picture on the pattern was very faded because of printer problems, so I didn't really notice that something might not be right until I was FINISHING UP the second mitt. yay me.

I read someplace a long, long time ago that not reading instructions/directions is a sign of giftedness. I would like to think that that is true, but I don't. All that not reading instructions and directions has ever done for me is cause me to make mistakes. Sometimes even stupid mistakes. I often don't read complete labels on things in the grocery store and have ended up more times than I can count with soups I have no interest in eating.  

So now I am working on this:

and I guarantee I am reading EVERY word of EVERY line and it will be done correctly.

I hope. The problem is that I am altering the pattern in order to make it larger, and that means math so that it gets deep enough without getting ridiculously long. As a result, there is still a pretty good chance of error.  

Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why I Should Set Up a Go Fund Me

As I have mentioned in the past, I LOVE post offices. I can't explain why. My family teases me about my habit of taking mail directly there to send instead of leaving it in the mailbox. When I travel, I always try to find the local post office and send mail from it, even in Mexico, where I can pretty much count on whatever I send not actually reaching its final destination. I don't know what they do with the mail.

A few years ago when I went to France with a friend, the hotel we stayed at on the Left Bank was a few storefront doors down the street from the Post Office. I was in Paradise and Paris all at once. Each day I walked to the PO and mailed a post card. There was a self-service scale; just put the mail on it, no matter what the mail was, answer a few questions in French, and out came the required postage. Perfection!

When I lived in Sarasota, Florida, there was a post office in the Mennonite part of town; it was housed in a tiny wooden building, and all of the Mennonite women came there in their cloth bonnets and pastel home-made dresses.  They all knew each other, of course, and spent the time they waited in line chatting. Outside was a bulletin board filled with all sorts of things for sale, work needed, jobs available. I often went to that post office on my way to my daughters' school.  

One of my favorite short stories is Why I Live at the Post Office by Eudora Welty. I guess Sister's family doesn't feel the least bit sorry for her; after all, she CHOSE to live there, but a small part of me thinks What fun!!!

Now, why am I talking about the PO?

Because my husband says that no way are we paying over $700,000 for a house when we have a perfectly good house now, one that we have lived in for 26 years and have made just right for us, our two cats, and my yarn stash.  

But this new development is right ACROSS the road from the PO. I could walk there, every day if I wanted to, and I probably would.


is DIRECTLY across the road from this, our post office:

SO, faithful readers of this blog, I think I will set up a Go Fund Me account, and you can all donate all the money you can generously give, and when it amounts to north of $700,000, I will buy a house. And for your donation, you can visit, get a tour of the house you bought me, and BONUS!!! I will give you a guided tour of the post office.

You are GREAT!!!  I'll let you know as soon as I get the fund set up and I thank you very much!

Finished in Time for Cooler Weather

I just finished blocking this Joker and the Thief scarf after finishing the knitting yesterday and I am quite happy with it! It was fun to knit using a gradient kit from Miss Babs and a skein of turquoise Gypsy Wools Gaia Fingering yarn, which was a gift from older daughter.

THIS is a genius invention and I am told that it existed when I was a youth, but I don't remember seeing one before. It's a dish that holds my blocking pins and it is magnetic!

It even holds the pins when the dish is upside down! I first saw one when another knitter pulled one out of her purse. In her purse!!! Don't the pins end up all over the place? Nope.

Genius! I say. I suspect that everyone else who is involved in any kind of textile arts already knows about this, but it was new to me. 

I am not an early adopter, apparently.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cute Kitten!

This is not my kitten. This is not my dog. (This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!)

Never mind.They belong to my daughter and her family, but I just LOVE this photo and had to share. They adopted this little kitten today; it was a rescue. The dog is a female 80 lb. Black Lab named Feebee. My daughter had two year-and-a-half year-old cats, rescued as a bonded pair from a shelter. The female, unfortunately, was never healthy and had had a year and a half of every treatment and test known to kittens. No one could find what was causing her failure to thrive. Last weekend things got terrible, and she couldn’t walk or hold her head up by Monday. My daughter and the vet decided that there was nothing else to be done and she was euthanized. But the other cat was lonely and our four grandchildren were heartbroken; my daughter had intended to get another kitten “someday,” but not today! However, as fate would have it, a stray cat had four kittens under a neighbor’s deck and my daughter has taken this one.

The other cat is AFRAID of this little kitten; the dog LOVES him and keeps dropping her toys in front of the kitten for it to play with. Fortunately, the kitten, now called Mulder, is used to dogs from her time in the original rescuer’s home.

Dis widdle kittee is sooo cuuuute!

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Kittens have always been cute.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What's in a Name?

A lot of arguing apparently.

What had been called Derry for centuries, off and on, in 1613 was officially named Londonderry. And since then, off and on, the Irish have argued over the name. 

There are many factions (the word replacing tribes, I think) in Ireland, arguing over all sorts of things, and frankly, for a tourist, it gets confusing: Unionists, Irish Nationalists, Republicans, Catholics, Protestants, Loyalists, Separatists, and so on. 

But back to the signs:  those signs pointing to Londonderry/Derry from the Republic of Ireland might say just Derry, and those in Northern Ireland might well read Londonderry, until vandals arrive with spray paint. It's easy to paint out London, but harder to add London to signs just reading Derry, and we didn't see any of those. 

We stayed in Londonderry/Derry, the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland, in a B and B right across from the wall built in the 17th century. 

This was the view from our room:

This is the gate at the corner of the street we stayed on. Unlike the gates in Belfast, the seven gates through the wall are open all of the time. 

But the open gates don't mean that the disagreements are over. This sign was in the parking lot on the other side of the wall.

From what I could piece together of the various bits of history we learned, I have come to the conclusion that if the Irish weren't fighting off invaders, they were fighting amongst themselves.  

They should stoppit! and enjoy the beautiful, fascinating country they live in. Or, that is, countries. Northern and Republic of. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Socks and more

While we were in Ireland I wore hand knit socks every day---what a treat. We walked and walked and walked and my Fitbit was very happy with me and smiled every day. Usually it frowns. Judgey Fitbit.

We live in the south, so warm socks aren't much of a necessity most of the year. When I came home from the trip, I finished the Soumak, phew, and because that had taken so l.o.n.g to knit, I have concentrated on quick projects, among them, SOCKS! I am making these from what I believe is called a sock flat, yarn that has been machine knit flat, then hand-painted with dyes, and then stamped with designs. The completed sock is a totally unpredictable pattern of colors. One down, one to go.

I can't find the tag that came with the flat, so if you wanted to knit the same sock, you CAN'T!

(sorry)  (Actually, now you can!  It's Gale's Art Sock blanks on Etsy.)

My second current project is a pair of Honeycomb Wrist Warmers (fingerless mitts) and I love the Malabrigo Rios yarn I am using. Soft, soft, soft. 

And, at the SAME TIME, I am making the Lost Banner Hat from the Donegal Wool my daughter brought me from her trip to Ireland last year. It had not told me what it wanted to be, but after spending time in Ireland, seeing all of the knitwear people there wear, I realized the yarn was meant to be a hat. A hat it shall be.

And again, at the SAME TIME, I am making the Pure/Aran out of the softest non-cashmere yarn ever, WOOLFOLK FÅR.  

AND, I am making, at the SAME TIME, The Joker and the Thief. How can I keep all of this straight, you might ask. I must be a genius, you say. Why thank you! I must be then!

And since we were talking about socks and walking, and I was, a while ago, here is some walking.

These are the Cliffs of Moher, and they are spectacular. You can walk for miles and miles along them, and the National Trust has put upright slabs of rocks along the path, about ten feet or so from the edge of the cliffs. However, the brave or the crazy, I'm not sure which, choose to walk on a well-worn path on the cliff side of the rocks. It is really windy up there, and I wonder how often someone gets blown over the edge. It must happen, just based on the odds with so many people walking on the wrong side. 

Not MY thumb.  I'm a better photographer than that!

Odd how the publicity for the place doesn't mention the falling off the cliffs death toll. 

There are warning signs, but clearly, people disregard them.

And more walking---this time to get to the Carrick-a-Rede bridge. This is a better photo of it than mine was.

This is just a part of the long walk in to the bridge:

And THIS is the climb down to the bridge. It was scarier to climb this than it was to walk on the bridge itself.

Carrick-a-Rede is at the very northern part of Northern Ireland, and while we were so far north, we went to a couple of towns, including Belfast. Kind of a strange place, Belfast. It's an industrial city with a huge focus on its past, primarily its wars. 

This street is locally known as RPG street because of all of the rocket-propelled-grenades launched at it by the British, during the Troubles. The Troubles come up a lot.

And this photo is of the wall that separates Protestants from Catholics (? not quite sure how this all works out) at night. During the daytime, the gates are open so that people can go to work, school, run errands, and shop, but voters keep choosing to close the gates at night. Just in case???

This is one of two huge structures that were used during the ship-building era in Belfast. They aren't in use now except as a tourist attraction (? not that exciting, Belfast) since ship building has given way to the construction of wind turbines. Belfast is unaccountably proud of the fact that the Titanic was built there. Every tourist shop, every post card display, has souvenirs stating in some form or another:  Belfast --- Home of the Titanic. 

And now, for something completely different, but potentially not more cheerful than wars and deaths from falling off of cliffs, a sign in a tiny cemetery in a tiny town somewhere in The Republic of Ireland, aka (according to me), Southern Ireland.  

I think it's a DIY cemetery! Based on what I saw of Irish tv, the residents are really fond of reality tv.  Maybe this place will get its own show.  
Probably not.
I hope not.