It’s June 28!

And that means it’s my birthday… again… already… It sure happened fast this year!

Back when I was a child, I despised my end of June birthday. While all the other children had a special day when they were everyone’s favorite person, because they brought a big box of homemade cookies or cupcakes to school, I felt left out and forgotten. Occasionally a well-meaning teacher would have an end-of-year, group party for us poor summer-born children, but it simply wasn’t the same. Even at home, with my birthday being just 12 days after my younger sister’s and less than a week before the Independence Day holiday, I was more likely to spend the day picking strawberries than celebrating my own special day. Instead, I had a joint party with my sister, or an afterthought birthday cake on the Fourth of July. Trust me… this is a VERY good recipe for feeling anything but special and wanted!

Now that I’ve passed the half century mark (GULP!), I actually enjoy having my birthday almost precisely halfway through the year. It gives me two new years to celebrate with six months in between, and I like that. It’s good motivation, and semi-annual retrospection can be a great way to help keep me a bit more on track with my life. I get two evenly spaced fresh starts each year – pretty good deal!

Today I’m looking back across my 53rd year of life with the expected mixed emotions. I’ve been SO busy, and there is so much I haven’t done that I’d hoped to do this past year… and some things I have done that I’ve not wanted to do. On the other hand, I certainly can’t look at is as a failure, either! This year has brought age related changes to my hairstyle, and I’m now daily using some of those mysterious creams on my face – you know… the ones that always made me roll my eyes when I saw the ads as a teen? On the up side, though, I’ve taken 4 items off my life list… or… I guess “Bucket List” is the current cool term for it, I’ve had a life fantasy trip to Alaska become a reality, learned to spin on a wheel, make socks on my CSM, have taught for pay, have published knitting patterns that are selling… So, despite the insane busyness of this year, it has not been a bad one at that!

Added bonus is that age has added some special friends to my life, and good friends don’t lump birthdays together with your sister’s or other holidays. They also tend to know you well and share at least a few special interests, making for some pretty cool gifts! The only two gifts I’ve received so far this year have been from friends, and they’ve been very thoughtful offerings. I love them both! The fiber is a healthy serving each of Musket Shetland, Salish, and Churro – wonderful stuff that should give me lots of great playtime! The Salish is rare enough that I’d never even heard of it before!

And this little treasure is from another friend. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s an antique clasp, and I’ve never seen anything like it in an antique, either, so I’m thrilled with it, as well! It’s quite delicate and the details are exquisite! I think they will show up beautifully if you click on the picture to enlarge it.

I know there is more coming, but I’m rather enjoying this leisurely, spread out birthday. If I have to keep aging, I may as well celebrate each year as long as possible! Next stop? Dinner out at Frisch’s – just because that’s what sounds good tonight!

Finally Finished!

I guess it really didn’t take so long, but it felt like forever. There are so many things on my to do list now, that even the items that take just a half hour to finish seem like I’ll never complete them. Besides, I was in SUCH a hurry to see this done. I’m not disappointed!

I knit this to wear on our cruise on formal nights. I’m not much into glitz and glimmer, but one has to dress up if one wishes to eat in the main dining room on formal nights. My concession this trip was to knit a lace shrug from Kraemer Silk and Silver, figuring that sterling silver twisted into silk yarn should count for at least something on the glamor scale. 😉 I enjoyed working with the yarn a lot, and although it doesn’t show well in photos, the finished fabric has a delightful “diamond dust” sort of twinkle to it. I absolutely love it!

The pattern is Liz Lovick’s Hexagon Shrug, and it was a delight from start to finish. It fits beautifully and feels great to wear. I’m already positive I’ll be making another, but with more of a daily wear sort of yarn. It’s surprisingly cozy, and when I slipped it on in an air conditioning draft, it was just the perfect touch. My biggest pick is that shrugs are tough to block, and despite having tried to avoid it, I ended up with little “ears” where I went from straight to curved along the back edge – sort of like hanger marks on sweater shoulders.

I did make a small change to the pattern when I knit the cuffs. I narrowed them much more sharply than Liz wrote the pattern. In row one of the cuff, I decreased 2 in every 5 stitches, knit row 2, decreased 2 of every 5 in row 3, knit row 4, and then spread decreases through row 5 that resulted in a total of 60 stitches on the needle for the rest of the cuff. This fit me perfectly, and I really like the way it looks. If you make this pattern, you might want to put in a lifeline at the end of the lace and experiment until you find the perfect balance for your own size and arm measurement.

This is the third pattern of Liz’s that I’ve knit, and I continue to be very pleased with her work. Not only does she put together attractive, knitable projects with timeless appeal, but she sizes her garments to fit an extremely wide range of builds. Thanks, Liz!

I Should Have Held Another Contest!

Okay, this post is only a week late, but if you were living here, you would understand why! Under the circumstances, I’m counting this as last week’s post. I deserve a break!

So, about 6 weeks ago, I commented to DH that the kitchen faucet was leaking at the base. In the past, he’s gotten underneath the sink and spent a moment or two tightening up “something,” and it was good to go. For some reason or other, this time he followed a totally different path. This time, he decided he needed to put a washer in at the base of the faucet where it swivels. I knew from the moment he did this that he was courting disaster, and that’s why I should have had another contest – one to guess how long it was going to be before I had an entirely new faucet. 😉 This washer he installed made it nearly impossible to swivel the spigot, and within days, it started leaking again, which led him to make it even tighter. In these days of plastic components, that is simply not a good idea. I said as much, but… well… he stayed his course. As the days went by, things got worse and worse until 8 days ago. That’s the day I walked out into the kitchen, noticed a huge puddle on the floor by the sink, turned faucet, and was met by my own private fountain! (In the photo, you can see the water spurting up behind the spigot.)

At this point, I knew I had a trip to Home Depot usurping my previous plans for the afternoon. I was sure it was beyond repair. Turns out I was right. He’d been tightening down something that wasn’t meant to be tightened, and in the process, an internal collar split the entire length.

I was really unhappy with the faucets available at Home Depot – nothing I thought looked good with my kitchen. They’ve suddenly stopped stocking anything except the really modern looking ones. Although they offered to special order one for me, the fact that our faucet was leaking steadily onto the floor even when the water was turned off made that an unacceptable option. I really miss my porcelain handles and simple design, and since I bought a rather good quality replacement, I guess I’m going to be missing them for a long time. Wonder how long it will be before I get used to this new one!

And I’ve had some questions about the ceiling collapse problem, and realized I’ve been very remiss in following up that story. (I’ve been remiss in a LOT of things recently!) I have to say that it has a rather surprising end – or near end. When I came home from Honduras, I was completely shocked to find that DH had pulled down the mess and repaired the ceiling!

He didn’t repaint it, and he managed to forget that one shouldn’t sand against wallpaper, but I do have to say it’s a vast improvement over the sagging mess, not to mention it was a startlingly fast repair job for him. He commented that since the first time he fixed that ceiling took him about 15 years, he thought this time it would be nice to do it closer to 15 weeks. Paint or not, I was impressed! 🙂

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