Random thoughts   5 comments

My brother N posted on Facebook last week – he does that every now and then.  This post was particularly good, I felt.  It went something like this:

Maine Spring to do list:


  • mow grass
  • mulch shrubs
  • plant flowers
  • top off pool


  • shovel walk
  • salt steps
  • plow driveway
  • scrape cars


That’s about the size of it.  Every time I think we are really getting spring it gets cold and nasty. Every time I think it will be cold and nasty, it gets warm and sunny. I am going to keep on thinking cold and nasty thoughts.

Apparently I am more contrary than I knew (which is amazing as all my life I have been told I am more contrary than Mary, Mary.)

Here we are on the 4th day of Me Made May, and I have not yet worn anything I made. Seriously, not even earrings.  Not even socks.

And to think I seriously considered joining in this year.  Guess it is a good thing I didn’t.  I wonder how long I can go not wearing anything I made?

What I am learning by volunteering one evening a week:

I need lots of sleep.  I went to bed two hours later than normal last night, and I am exhausted. It will take me all week to make up the sleep.  Not sure I like this development.

New mattress arrives today.  Maybe that will help me catch up on my sleep.


Posted May 4, 2016 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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What really happened on my April vacation   21 comments

When last we spoke, I told you that we were gong to finish the loft library come hell or high water.  Maybe not in those terms, but…A was really set on getting it done.  I was completely stressed out about it, because getting it done revolved around me doing a whole lot of painting.  Since A built the wall of bookcases herself, I could hardly complain about doing “my share”.

But the last thing I wanted to do was work the whole week!

Saturday we had two helpers – niece B and sister-in-law L.  L worked like a MACHINE, she must have made 20 trips up and down the stairs as she and A cleaned out A’s space and A’s stuff from the loft.  B and I did errands, and then headed up to clear my stuff out of the loft. While I purged and sorted, B snoozed on the futon.  :-)It was OK because really, I had to do my own purging.  I was surprised to find it only took a couple of hours to completely empty the loft of all “stuff”.  I put it neatly and in a fairly organized pile in the craft room (it’s OK to laugh.  I understand.)  The craft room is behind the cute screened door.  It theoretically keeps cats out but lets heat in. The room at the other end of the loft is A’s office/exercise room.  When we first viewed this home as a model, the loft was actually a hallway, with the stairs coming up into it.  But we both felt it was a waste of a loft, and so moved the stairs.  They go up from the corner of the dining room to into A’s office, giving it great corners and angles, and making the loft much more usable. The plan is to line the knee wall with built in bookcases, which A has been working hard on in her basement work room.




Sunday, we celebrated A’s birthday, with two of her sisters and her brother in law coming over for a mid-day meal.  L mentioned that she was tired, I wonder why?  We were pretty low-key Sunday afternoon, I did some knitting, working hard to get the Danse Macabre close to on schedule, even though I was working on clue four, and clue five was already out. :-)

Monday I spent the day clearing furniture from the room, wiping walls, and taping the few edges that matter.  Since it is a loft, there is most of a wall that isn’t there, but it means that there are edges that are 12-14 feet from the ground.  Heights not being my favorite thing, taping those spots was tricky. I knew painting them would be worse, and was NOT looking forward to the adventure.

Monday evening we went over to Mom’s for an “April birthday party” with her, step dad B, brother C (whose birthday is at the end of the month) and C’s fiancée, D.  It was fun, and delicious food and cake.  A liked all her presents, and I liked having some time to sit and knit and visit. I worked on Maluka, and got the border finished.

Tuesday, the painting began in earnest, and I worked in that room for nearly 8 hours.  My goal was to get all the scary parts completely done before Mom arrived on Friday to help me.  That meant there was lots of climbing up the step ladder, hanging on for dear life as I leaned out over the railing to get the edges painted.

When I took my lunch break, the room looked like this:day-one-from-craft-room


So I have to say that painting a primer white room a color that is only slightly more blue than that means that progress pictures are relatively boring.  Sorry about that!  This is one coat on ceiling and scary walls.

I long ago learned that painting is much easier when you paint the ceiling and walls and trim all the same color.  :-)  I did not do that in the craft room, nor in A’s office.  In the craft room most walls and ceiling are the same, but then I got creative and painted the dormer alcove and all trim a different color.  A’s office is worse – walls and ceiling are the same color, a very pale pink, but the trim is all a dark burgundy color.  THAT was hideous to get right. So I swore never again.  The second floor of our house has reasonably low ceilings, and the style is a cape, so making everything the same color works well.  Not so sure it would work downstairs, or in a more formal house.  Someday I will finish painting the downstairs, and let you know. :-)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  This is the first time the room had been painted, beyond primer, and it sucked up paint like nothing else. This made the first coat on everything take absolutely forever and quite hard work to get it blended in, even with a roller.

Wednesday I spent about 6 hours upstairs, and was glad to find that the second coat was easier.  By the end of the day, the room looked like this:


You can tell it is a different day because I put the glass shade back on the ceiling light.  Yes, I know that is the only way you can tell. But that is two coats on everything scary.  It was ready for Mom to come help, and had a some variety left so she could choose her favorite kind of painting – roller or brush.

Then I quit for the day and went back to this. A might have her goals, but I also have goals, and I was determined to finish knitting at least one of the three shawls I have on my needles.


Thursday was a break from painting.  Yahoo!  We had early car appointments, which meant that Maluka got lots of attention as the mobile project.  Then we headed to Ellsworth to run a  few errands, including dropping lots of boxes off at Good Will, and meeting up with Crimson Crow at Merrill Furniture, where A and I searched for a new mattress.  We were super lucky to find a discontinued model of Tempurpedic at a deep discount!  It gets delivered on Wednesday, and we can’t wait.  Our aching backs can’t either. Since we saved so much money, when I found a chair that both A and I felt was comfortable (I wish you knew how rare that is) and found that it came in fabric we could both agree on, we ordered two of the darned things.  They will arrive in 6-8 weeks.  They have quite a “Florida” vibe, but I love the summery aspect of them, and they tie all of our colors (blue, blue green, green blue, blue gray) in together.  SO MUCH NICER THAN OLD BROWN MICROSUEDE. Can’t wait to share them with you.

Then we had lunch and ice cream with Crimson Crow before heading home.

Frankly,  was still exhausted.  Painting and the thought of painting was beating me up.

Up early Friday morning, getting things organized for Mom’s arrival.  By ten she was here, changed into her painting clothes and we were working.  She chose brush work.  By lunch time, everything had a coat of paint, by the end of the work day, everything in the room that needed to be painted was complete! We celebrated with cupcakes L brought over at just the right time.


Since the book cases are going against the knee wall, we did not paint that wall.  But everything else has two coats, and looks fabulous!

Now, if I was tired on Thursday then you know that by Friday, I was completely exhausted.  So as we sat in the living room in the evening, and A said “So tomorrow you will get the bookcases painted so we can put them in place on Sunday, right?” I about lost it.  I said no. I tried to be calm and patient as I explained that right now, I was not going to ever paint again, but that I was tired, too tired to even think about it.  That perhaps tomorrow, when I was rested, I would feel differently, but if she needed an answer now, it was no. She decided to drop it.  such a wise woman. :-)

Saturday morning, Mom told us at breakfast (delicious waffles and bacon that A made us!) that she was going to take the two book cases that had made it as far as the living room upstairs and get painting them, and the 5 backs that were upstairs would also go under her brush.

So, we hauled them upstairs, where I remembered that the wood needed to be primed, so we opted to just do the backs.  Remember, I am doing the backs of the cases in a different color?  A has them all cut and ready to be painted, so Mom and I set up another table and got to work painting them…not hot pink, not bright turquoise, but


Blue, of course!  I try to go a different route, but it always comes back to blue.  This one is named Athens.

And frankly, what you see here is all the painting that got done on Saturday.  Mom headed out when this was done, and A went back to bed for a few hours of napping. I sat on the couch and knit for four hours straight!  I finished Maluka, I finished all the clues on Danse Macabre and started the bind off.  I even cast on a new shawl, Reyna, which is a store sample for Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland. Late in the day I took a long hot shower, swallowed a few Tylenol, and went to bed early.

Today, Sunday, is the day that A thought we would be unpacking books.

Now even I am laughing hysterically.

Instead, I went up and primed the two bookcases and their shelves, lightly sanded the backs and wiped them down, they are ready for their second coat when there is room to spread them out.



I’ll do a bit in the evenings, and maybe things will be advanced enough that next weekend we can install the bookcases.  But I make no promises, and if anyone pushes me on it, I might just sit and knit.  It has been 8 years, what difference does a week make?

I asked A about it last night, why she was so determined to set this practically unattainable goal. She said that without goals we would not push and it would never get done.  I think I would have been OK with a lesser but still ambitious goal, like get the room painted. I could have done without the huge pressure of this goal. It is true that we  might have been able to meet it if I painted until late in the evening each day, but that would have completely ruined the whole week. Even having it hanging over my head as an expectation was not fun.

My new goal for that room is to get it finished this month.  I think that is a reasonable goal that I can work toward without hating painting and the room and the books.  Plus, I want my craft room back, and it now has several bits of extra furniture in it.

THAT is motivation.

And now I think I will go bind off a bit of Danse Macabre.











Saturday morning   16 comments

I thought it would never get here!  We are on vacation this week.  Not going anywhere, just staying home and racing around like fools, spending money.

Sounds like an odd way to spend a vacation, right?

Here’s my idea of a perfect vacation:

Go someplace picturesque and secluded near the ocean with a good porch, nearby take-out (better yet delivery) for food.

Then spend the week swimming, sitting, knitting, maybe going for a walk or two, seeing some sights, but mostly staying put.  Spend time just watching the sun go up and down, watching stars and moon circle over head.


Here’s what we are doing this week:

Today, vet appointment for both cats, visiting niece B and I will go do the grocery shopping and stop to get paint.  Finally have to make a real decision on the inside of the bookcases.  Bet you forgot about those, right? Start clearing out the loft.

Tomorrow, work on clearing out the loft some more, meet A’s family in Brewer at 1 for her birthday lunch. Do some mattress shopping if any of the stores are open. Start painting the inside backs of the bookcases

Monday – supper at mom’s.  Painting prep in loft before hand

Tuesday – sit home and wait for the Hughes net guy.  Internet is spotty, and we think the dish needs adjusting. (Wifi is wonderful though, I am sitting in the bedroom and I am online and I have no long cable!!!) Either get ready to paint or actually paint.

Wednesday – no specific plans, but hope to be painting the loft by then

Thursday – car appointments in Bangor followed by mattress shopping if we haven’t already gotten one.  Prep guest room for a visitor.

Friday – Mom arrives to visit and help with painting!!

Saturday – more visiting with Mom and painting, hopefully finishing it so bookcases can begin to be installed.

Sunday – installing bookcases and possibly beginning to put the room together.

Monday – go to work and get some rest.

Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect vacation?   There are also many other things that need doing that will fill in while paint is drying.  There are birthday cards to be made before we fill the craft room with everything from the loft.  There are leaves that need raking, a  pool that needs cleaning. Cars need to be registered.

And gosh darn it, I am going to KNIT.  I have three shawls on the needles, I would like to finish at least one this week.

Maybe I should have taken two weeks off?  All these things we are spending money on, and none of them are really fun.  :-(  I’d rather spend it on the perfect vacation, but I guess this is more responsible, right?

And yes, Crimson Crow, we DO want to get together with you and eat ice cream!  I’ll call you. :-)

On the actual news front – the phoebes are back!!!! Tiny little leaves on the roses! Buds on the daffies!  Leaves  up on the lupine!  Before you know it we will have flowers. :-)




What a week!   15 comments

I haven’t posted in a while, been kind of busy what with working and knitting. 😉

Seriously though. The last few work weeks have been long ones with some evening appointments and stuff. And I started volunteering for a political campaign. New for me! Not a person, but a referendum question that will be on the ballot in the fall, for rank choice voting.  They wanted me to do calling, but that sounded hideous to me. So I am doing data entry, one night a week. Not sure for how long but I figure I can do it for a while.  My cousin inspired me- he has been out canvassing for Bernie recently, and he said to me “it’s not enough any more to think someone is good or bad, we have take action or horrible things will happen.”  I gave that a lot of thought and Maggie the activist called on the right day.

So that was interesting, there were 4 volunteers that night, 2 on phones,2 doing data entry. The sized crowd my introverted heart can deal with.

Other than that there has been some knitting.  Working mostly on the mystery knit along. Got halfway through clue 3, realized I did something really wrong many rows back, had to rip way back. After spending most of yesterday working on it I am now nearly done with clue 3. Of course clue 4 came out on Friday. Oh the pressure!  I hope this week is a little more normal so I can focus on getting caught up.

A few other noteworthy things happened this week. At least in my world they are.

Last Friday night the speakers on the tv quit. It took us some time to isolate just what was the problem, but after cursing the DISH people and resetting a few times we finally did some trouble shooting and sorted it out. We hooked up A’s little tv from her workshop and survived until Wednesday.  Let me say I am glad the basketball games were done, it would have been hard to watch them on a tiny screen.

On Wednesday we went to Best Buy in Bangor where we learned our options.

Repair. Expensive.

New TV. More expensive.

Surround Sound. More expensive still.

Sound bar. Cheapest option.


Wait, what? Getting the thing we have long wanted is our most reasonable option? Well, hot dog!

We were in such euphoria that we also got another piece of equipment I have long wanted- a new wifi router.

Now not not only can I hear all the sounds the TV is making very clearly, but I can be in the Internet anywhere in the house on phone or laptop. It might mean that you hear from me more often. 😀


One of of the other things that happened involved learning a lesson. Take it from me, knitting and cleaning don’t mix.

Today I gave the bathroom a good serious scrubbing. That included filling the tub and running the jets, which we don’t do as often as we should. We are supposed to run them for ten minutes. I thought I would dump a slug of bleach in the water to really get them clean.


I set the timer (thankfully!) then sat down to knit a bit.


Look how close I came to flooding the bathroom with bubbles! Who knew bleach made bubbles? Not me!

So now I know. No cleaning while knitting.


Last big event- Crosby’s opened!!! Our favorite take out place at the head of the road is now open for the summer.  We had a good meal there this afternoon. Not good for us, but they are only open for 4 months, we have to celebrate.

That’s it, what I have been up to for the past several days.  Quite exciting, don’t you think?


Posted April 17, 2016 by salpal1 in how I spent my day, what I am making

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Look, I finished something!   21 comments


Bobbi’s mitts are complete and ready to deliver!  Click the link to see the notes.  I wrote out the whole pattern, feel free to take and make your own.


They can be worn cuffed or uncuffed.  Cable design on hand back, 2 x2 ribbing on palm.



I might have to make some for myself someday. :-)


Here’s the whole set her lucky daughter is getting for her birthday:




Between this and a couple of hats that I will ship out tomorrow, my fiber spending money is in pretty good shape.  I’ll call to set up spinning lessons this weekend. :-)



Other knitting includes the Danse Macabre MKAL – if you are in that and don’t want to see my slow progress, avert your eyes now. :-)





Very hard for a variety of reasons to get a good photo of this, and I didn’t feel like taking it off the needle to spread out for the full effect.  Maybe when I get caught up.  I love how the silver beads sparkle in the bright blue. :-)


Loads of garter stitch and beads so far – the third clue just came out and I have barely begun the second, hope to catch up this weekend.

Harriet and Maluka are still in progress and worked on regularly if not steadily – they are coming along but look about the same as last time you saw them.

I had only a half day today (got all my hours in early in this crazy week) so I am going to head off and knit now.  Have a wonderful Friday!

Five years and counting   24 comments

Word Press wished me a happy anniversary today – that was nice of them to keep track for me, or I would have no idea it has been so long.

Hard to believe another year has flown by, and I have been blathering on for 5 years!  So kind of you all to stick with me through it. :-)

I appreciate that you do stop by to read this humble account of my life and what I am up to.  I love all the comments, and the friends I have made through this medium.  Thank you so much!



Posted April 6, 2016 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about, What I love

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It’s April, right?   17 comments

I feel I should not be wrapped in wool this week, yet I find I am.

We have in floor radiant heat at work.  It is in a concrete slab.  It is pretty nice if the weather is consistent and changes are gradual.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the only knitwear I was wearing was a necklace or pair of earrings.  The weather had warmed up, the building had not noticed, so it was actually too warm at work.  We even opened a window once.  IN MARCH.  IN MAINE.

Now that it is April, it is freezing and windy again. But the darned building still thinks it is warm out.  So, this week I am back to tights with wool socks, warm shawl wrapped on top of shirt and fleece vest.  Fingerless mitts not too far away.  Mittens for the ride to and from. And of course, a pretty pair of earrings and a bracelet. 😉

I haven’t gotten so cold as to wear a hat yet, but if something doesn’t give, that is next.

And to think, I was under the impression that I would be opening the pool early this year.

I didn’t have the camera handy this weekend, but I did a whole lot of knitting – down to the wire with basketball!  I started the first clue of the Boo Knits MKAL Danse Macabre. Claire got me hooked on her patterns (remember Pease Blossom? Boo Knits designed it) and so I joined this MKAL.  There are a crazy number of participants, the forum page is over 200 pages long and it is not even one week old! I am using a BRIGHT blue wool/silk blend (Juniper Moon Farm Findley in Deep Blue) and crystal beads lined with silver, # 5 triangle.  I love how it looks so far, like a starry night.  I’ll show you progress in a later post – don’t want to post a spoiler, but clue 2 was released today, so I will just warn you before I post a photo.

I also worked hard on Harriet, as she was on my longer #5 circular.  She is now on the shorter one, even though I haven’t gotten to the decreases quite yet, I am close, and will just be careful with her.

I finished the knitting and blocking on Bobbi’s mitts, and just have to sew up the side seams.  I wrote out what I did on my pattern page, so when I finish them I will take a photo and share it and the how-to with you all.

I did a bit more work on Maluka yesterday at a lunch meeting, it moves along slowly, but is pretty.  I think when I finish Harriet, Maluka will get moved to the evening knitting spot in the rotation.  When I am not working on the MKAL, of course.

I RESISTED casting on the necklaces I have all strung and waiting, and also a blue and white striped angora baby beanie I want to make to sell this summer. It amazes me how my mind can be thinking about the next possibility even as I am working on something I love.

So look for lots of photos in the next post, OK?  When my hands are thawed enough to hit that little button. Without shaking and shivering.

Meanwhile – basketball – Villanova – WOW!  A is away for two night in a place with no wifi and no TV, so we have recorded the games and I did not watch last night.  But I couldn’t help but take a peek to see who won, and it looks like it will be an amazing game to watch.  I hope I have the fortitude to NOT watch tonight’s game as well, but it is my UCONN girls working to break all sorts of records, so I might watch the first quarter. Just so I can get some more knitting done.  Yeah, that’s it. Just one quarter, ’til I finish the row.

The great part is I get to watch both games again when she gets home. :-) Then we wait an eternity for it all to start over again.




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