Another graduate!

June 13, 2010

Thanks everyone for the nice comments and emails you sent me about my last post.  I was really touched, and it really helped me get through the last couple of weeks.   Its been an adjustment – but things are going well, and we are taking it a day at a time.

We did have a happy family celebration this weekend though…Cieara graduated from high school on Friday!

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We all went to her graduation ceremony, and last night we had a family party for her.  It was so good to have her home and celebrate this major milestone in her life, and we all had a very good time.    Not to mention all the very good food!    She is doing well – she started her new job today, and as I said last time, we are hoping to keep communications and connections open.   It is very odd, though, to think that we are done with kids in high school – between Dan, Andrew and Cieara we’ve had kids in this school for 11 years!    But she was happy to be done, and we are very happy for her (and proud!).   Congrats, Cieara!

On the knitting front – I finally gave my sister the Sunday Swing socks I had finished – and I realized that I haven’t had a pair on the needles in a bit.  I’m not going to post pictures of it here – I didn’t get any good pictures, but my Ravelry project page has the details.  I will say – great pattern and I think I’d make it again – one of those sock patterns that just seems to fly off the needles.  I think its time for me to start another pair, though I’m just about done my commute knitting project (cashmere lace scarf) and I  just need to look for the next great pattern.  Any ideas?

I haven’t been working on my Peaks Island Hood – I can’t believe I did this but I started a new project…

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Isn’t that nice?  OK, it’s a bad picture – but this is the Artemis shawl from Wandering Cat Yarns.  I’m using one of their yarns – it’s called Fluffy Cat and its an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend.  You should feel it – so amazing – silky and so soft.  The colorway is Blue Topaz and its a gorgeous blend of blues.  Very summer, very Caribbean.  I’m already on Chart 2 of 3, and I hope to have it done this week – and then I’ll take better pictures.    I know – last post I was going on about the hood, but then I got this yarn in the mail and just had to use it right away.    I think I’m having impulse control issues with knitting, wouldn’t you agree?

OK, back to working on the shawl  – have a great week!

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Changes

June 4, 2010

You know, it’s always hard to know what the balance between sharing personal information on my blog and keeping things to myself.  Over the years, I’ve actually shared a lot but it’s typically good news, or things that I don’t think are so personal that they can’t be shared.  When I read blogs, I also like a bit of the personal – it gives me a sense of who the blog writer is and I like to peek into other people’s lives when they let me.    So I thought I’d share a little bit of my personal life today – but if you don’t want to read it, look for the knitting picture and move on from there!

I think I may have mentioned our up and downs with Cieara.  In the last year, we had a lot of problems working together as a parents/children should, and it culminated last week in her moving out. It was a blow up and wasn’t planned but I think for now she’s going to stay where she is.  So we are facing so many things all at once, so suddenly, that its sort of hard for everyone.  We are worried about her – making bad decisions, not planning for the future – you know, all the things some 18-year-old kids do.  I myself made some bad decisions at the same age, so I know how it is.   She’s safe, and she’s still going to school and should be graduating next week, but its hard to not have her here.     Lines of communication are damaged but I’m hopeful that we will be able to fix that and at least keep talking to her and keep some connections.    There isn’t much we can do right now to change her mind – she’s 18, and she is determined to go her own way, but so hard as a parent to let go.

For us, we went from being parents with children at home to empty nester’s in a 24 hour  period.  And it’s really weird.  Andrew is visiting right now so I think some of the impact isn’t felt yet, but it already feels odd.    All of a sudden, after 25 years, I don’t have children to take care of.   And I finally get why some parents have a hard time with this – in the past I never really understood it.  I mean, who wouldn’t like the freedom of just being a couple after all this time of raising kids?   Now that I’m looking at it – it’s just so weird and odd that I think I’m going to have to adjust slowly.  Larry and I are both busy with work, hobbies, the house, and all that.  We have things we do together and things we do alone.  So that’s all good.  And I think we’ll be fine – but it is just so weird and I feel a little bit  sad when I think about it.

So there you go – that’s the little bit of personal on today’s post.  I hope that it wasn’t too bad – and if you have any thoughts or advice, you know I’m always looking for input!

OK, for those of you that skipped the personal and came for knitting.

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I had a bad case of startitis last week – so much so that I actually went out and bought yarn to do it!   I don’t know why, I don’t remember how this came to my attention last week, but I came across the pattern for the Peaks Island Hood and all of a sudden I just wanted to make it.  I had seen the pattern when it first came out and queued it, but for some reason, seeing it again just charged up my knitting mojo and I just had to start it.  Because the perfect time to make a heavy wool scarf/hood is in June!

I didn’t have the yarn I wanted to use in the stash, so I went to the Loopy Ewe and ordered some Cascade 220.  I love this yarn – I think its one of the most perfect yarns.  It feels so good, and I love the practicality of it – its relatively inexpensive, comes in a lot of colors and has a lot of yardage.  I picked the blue because I thought it would look nice with my coat – and because I was in one of those moods where I wanted to keep close to the original pattern.

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Miles and miles of seed stitch.  I can’t say that its my favorite stitch to do but I love the texture of it – this is so soft and squishy, and its going to be so warm next winter.  And its a great project to have while driving, knitting or just when you don’t have the mental capacity to do anything complicated.  I’m enjoying it and for now its bumped all of the other projects off my active list.

Its June  – I can’t believe how fast time is going  – it seems like it was just January and snowing!    I need to  go find a farm stand and buy fresh strawberries.  Because Penny ate most of ours – we only have this little crop right now..

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I have a three-day weekend this weekend again – I have to go have some oral surgery done today.   And I got a reminder that I have a mammogram scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  Honestly  – does that sound like a fun weekend?   I suppose, though, that its ok.    These are things I have to take care of and at least I’ll have some of the weekend to enjoy

OK, off to the oral surgeon’s – have a good weekend!


Miss me?

May 16, 2010

Have you missed me?  I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve blogged  – I’ve never taken such a long break before and I was worried that I’d never get back to blogging.  But I’m in a break between busy and thought I’d check in and let you know that I’m still here, and that I’ll be back (that also means that I’ve been away from reading blogs too and I’ll be catching up on those too – promise!).

As I mentioned before, the last month has been really busy and crazy.   Dan moved out, we had painting, repairs and what seems like a million things going on at home.  But now the rooms are painted and the last of the inside repairs was just finished tonight and things are starting to calm down house-wise.  Isn’t it stressful when you get out of your routine and things are all over the house?  I hate it – I always feel better when everything is it its place, and my routines are kept.  Anyway, all is back to order for now – next month we are going to start painting again, but for now, its quiet.

We also have had a visitor for the last couple of weeks – my Mom has been visiting from California!  She stayed with me a week, and I took  some time off work, and we had a really nice visit.  Lots of talking, knitting, shopping, and a little cooking.  I have had a recipe book since I was a teenager and it contains all the favorite recipes that I’ve come across since that time.  My mother and I were looking through the book and came across two of her fudge recipes (maple cream and divinity).  I commented that I had never actually made the fudge but remembered it from childhood.   We decided to make both – and I have to say – yum!  I can’t show a picture of the maple cream since it went really fast, but I did get a picture of the divinity before everyone ate it.

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I must say – it’s a good thing that she was here when I made it.  When she gave me the recipe, she gave me the abbreviated version that she used – she had been making the fudge for years and just skipped over steps when she gave me the recipe to write down.    She hasn’t made either recipe in at least 20 years, and we muddled through the maple cream, but when we made the divinity it didn’t set – so we tossed it and tried again.  And then I wrote down the steps!  Both were very good, and it was so nice to spend the afternoon in the kitchen with her, bringing back some memories.    I’ll be making both again – so good!

Mom spent last week with my sister, and went up to Boston for my niece’s graduation.  And this week she comes back to me, and we are heading down Thursday to see Andrew.  He’ll be graduating from the University of Maryland, and we are very proud of him and I’m looking forward to watching him take the first step into the next phase of his life (I’m getting a little emotional about this!).   We are planning celebrations for him, and last night I finally came up with the perfect gift.  I don’t want to write what it is because sometimes he reads this, but I can’t wait to give it to him.   

There have been so many changes lately – house stuff, kids moving out, graduations – its been hectic and so busy.  I haven’t been knitting other than when my Mom was with me – work has been busy and between sleeping on the train and working on the train, I just haven’t had a lot of time.  And to be honest – I was missing a little knitting mojo.  I have been working on socks, but it just felt like a chore. 

But yesterday I got news that has totally given me back my mojo!

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My nephew and his wife are expecting their first baby – and I am so excited.  The minute I heard I just had to cast on for a cute pair of booties to say congrats with – and I’m planning a couple of other things to give them.  It’s so exciting and I love knitting these little things.  I’ll post more on this when I post the completed pair – I’m already on the second one, and just need to find some cute ribbon for it.  But they are so cute that I can’t wait to make more.    Next I need to find some nice yarn for some sweaters, more booties – maybe a blanket.  And maybe this.  I don’t want to get too crazy about this – but I have to say – knitting for babies is so much fun, and I think I’ll have a hard time resisting!  Do you have any favorite baby patterns that you think I should make?

OK, I’m off to get ready for the week.  I promise that I’ll be back soon, and hopefully will have picture of some finished socks.  I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to – I’ve missed my blog reading time. 

Have a great week!


Something new

April 28, 2010

I just couldn’t do it.

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I couldn’t be project monogamous.  I had to start a new project.  I really like Coraline.  I love the cashmere scarf.   But I just really had to start something new – I missed that new project feeling.  You know, the feeling when you rummage through your stash, look at Ravelry and find just the right pattern, the right yarn and start something new.   I used to have a lot of projects going at once but then I realized the more I started the more I didn’t get done.  So I tried to have one at home project, and one commuting.   Which worked for a long time.  But last week I just needed something new.  And I’m really happy with it.

The yarn is Ellen’s Half Pint sock yarn – my Ravelry stash shows I bought this at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I haven’t gone to Maryland in at least three years, so this is old stash.   I picked it out for a simple reason – it was already wound up.  When we painted our bedroom I put my swift and ball winder away in a box and I haven’t unpacked yet.  So when I was rummaging through the stash for something new, I didn’t want to pick something that I’d have to wind up since I’d have to do it by hand.   I had started a pair of socks for Dan with this yarn but it was too pink so I put it back.  But its perfect for now and I’m enjoying it.

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The pattern is Sunday Swing Socks from Knitty – a very very nice pattern, especially for variegated yarns.  My cast on is 64, and it worked out perfect for this yarn; no pooling and just nice little stripes.   I really love how the pattern looks and I think this may make my “have to make it twice” list.  They are top down, and I’m really enjoying the knit.  I’m just about done the first sock and I think this will be a quick pair.   In fact, I like them so much that I didn’t sleep on the train at all yesterday and knit all the way in – very unusual for me as I normally pass out half way there in the morning!

We have had a little bit of change in the house recently.

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Last Saturday Dan (on the left) moved into his own apartment, and we got our office back.    We are very happy for him, and I know he’s much happier in his own place.   I will miss seeing him every day but I have Facebook to harass him with!   

Larry and I painted the trim in the office on Sunday, and today Larry painted the walls.  We picked out a color we thought was close to what was there which is a dark gold.  Going on the paint looked like a something between 70’s appliance gold and carrots – I was a little scared.  But it dried into a very pretty color  – sort of like a dark butternut squash (I know – sounds weird but it is pretty) – and I’m very happy with it.  We have to move our desk back in and get it all setup as an office/guest room again (we had everything in our bedroom while Dan was living here).    It will give me more room in my bedroom and a place for my Mother to stay with us when she gets here next week. 

I was planning on going to Maryland Sheep and Wool this weekend – as I said, I haven’t been in a few years.  But I don’t think its going to work out.  We have a lot of things to do this weekend to get ready for my Mom’s visit – we still are getting our bedroom back in order, and now the office.    Plus we have three graduations coming up and it’s just not the best time for me to have that much temptation to spend money.  I really went back and forth on this – Maryland is my favorite fiber festival – but I know that I wouldn’t be able to go and still get everything done I need to – and I certainly can’t go and not spend money.  So I think I’m going to skip again – but I may go through my stash and remind myself that I’m really not all that deprived!  But I’ll enjoy seeing all the pictures and reading all about everyone else’s good time.  Maybe Rhinebeck!

OK, time to go play with Penny.  She’s harassing Ruby (who is feeling better by the way) so she needs to be distracted.  Have a great week (and weekend!)


Nothing nicer

April 19, 2010

I just don’t think there is anything nicer than cashmere…

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Well, maybe the exception to that is cashmere and silk.  Isn’t that nice? 

I bought this yarn in California when I was visiting my mother – it is Golden Line Superior from Filatura Di Crosa.  Its 70% cashmere, 30% silk – and I can’t help but love it.   After I finished Traveling Woman, I needed a commute knitting project, so I looked through my stash and saw the yarn and thought it’s time had come.  A friend of my mother’s knit my Mom a scarf and my Mom wanted to give her something in return.  Mom can’t knit lace anymore and asked me to knit something  – she wanted something special so we went to the yarn store while I was visiting and when we saw a scarf made from this yarn we knew it was the perfect yarn to use for a special gift.

It took me a bit to find the right pattern for this – I wanted something simple because I don’t like to worry about charts on the train, but something that would be lacey and light.  After wandering Ravelry for a while, I found the Party Lace scarf and thought that I’d give it a try.

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It turned out to be the perfect pattern – easy and simple, but something that works really well with the yarn.  And the beads on the end just add a little something extra.    All in all, I’m really enjoying this and I am about half way done.  My mother is coming to visit in May and I’m hoping to have it done so she can just take it home with her.  I mentioned to her the other night how much I liked the yarn, and that I wished I had bought a ball for me.  Today I got an email from her asking what the yarn was so she could bring me another ball of it.  Of course I didn’t turn down that offer! 

Its been very busy here – lots of happenings but I’ve taken terrible pictures and probably should re-take them before I post them.    Its been so busy we haven’t had a lot of down time – but someone has is going to have a lot of down-time in the next two weeks…

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Poor Ruby – she has a slipped disk and will be confined for two weeks.  The vet thinks it could be playing with Penny or just running and jumping.    It just happened suddenly today and now she’s sad and depressed with no one but her stuffed bunny for company.   

I haven’t done a lot of knitting at night so I haven’t made a lot of progress on Coraline.  I am pretty sure at this point that I won’t have it ready to wear to Maryland Sheep and Wool (if I’m going) but I’m going to keep on plugging on it and I’ll wear it when I can.    Although – I’ve felt the urge of a new project lately – maybe a new shawl?  A pair of socks?  I think this is why I never finish sweaters – it just takes too long and I get distracted by new and pretty things. 

OK, I think I”ll go have fun with cashmere – have a good week!


Socks and stuff

March 20, 2010

Thanks for all the nice comments and wishes about my 4 year blog anniversary!  I thought I better get the giveaway over first before the rest of my blog post – so without further ado…the winner (picked by Random.org) of the Wandering Cat Yarn certificate is….Lorraine!  Lorraine – I know you just posted about having too many choices…but hopefully you won’t mind picking just a little more yarn! 

I finished up a couple of projects this week – yes, I finally finished Citron!  I haven’t blocked it yet, so it will get its own post when its ready, but I thought I’d show you the socks I finished.

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Pattern:  Basic Gusset Heel Toe Up Socks (Wendy Johnson pattern)
Yarn:  Poems Sock by Wisdom Yarns, colorway 952
Started:  January 26, 2010
Finished:  March 19, 2010

OK, first off – these took forever.  I have to admit that I really love the colorway, and the color changes.  I love the pattern – just a basic stockinette sock.   I love the fabric of the yarn – these are superwash but just very wooly feeling.  Very perfect winter socks (just in time for the first day of Spring!).  But I hated knitting with the yarn.  It’s a single ply and extremely splitty.   I can’t tell you how many times I had to tink a stitch back because I had knit with half of the yarn.  So although I like the finished product, I don’t think I’d use the yarn again. 

I also screwed up the cast off on the second one – I used a cast off I found on Knitting Daily  – Version A – I usually do a sewn cast off for toe up socks but that takes forever so I thought I’d try something new.  I thought I did the same cast off on the first one (I really should start keeping notes on projects) – but if so I messed up the second and they are really hard to get on.  I thought (briefly) about ripping it back and doing it again – but I’ve spent almost two months with these socks and I think I’m done – I just can’t bear to spend any more time on them.  Poor Larry – he’ll be fighting to get them on from now on!

Since I finished the socks, I had to start new commute knitting.  I’m really sort of tired of socks, so I started a Traveling Woman with my Wandering Cat Yarn Top Cat – this yarn is so amazing!  So soft, so pretty – I’m enjoying every minute of the knit.   And the colors are perfect for Spring! (I think this would be a cute colorway/yarn for a baby sweater)

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I didn’t get a lot done on this shawl this week because I haven’t been commuting – I came home sick on Thursday and stayed home yesterday too – just a cold but so irritating that I’m sick.  I don’t get sick often so when I do I just hate it – I have to admit to being a little whiny.  So instead of getting my work done, and having knitting time on the train, and golfing on the first day of spring, I’ve been stuck inside – sleeping, coughing and sneezing (and whining). 

But last night Larry gave me a gift to make me feel better (he really has amazing timing!)

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He bought me a Hiya Hiya project bag from The Loopy Ewe.  He really is a great guy, isn’t he?  The bag is beautiful – I’ve been wanting it for months and every time they restock I drool over it.   The fabric is gorgeous, and the handle is part of the zipper and it just so cute!  And its the perfect size for a small project…

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Isn’t that nice?  It’s so well made and the little pocket is a nice touch.  Thanks, Larry!

I’m starting to feel a little better tonight and hope that I’m over the worst of this cold.  Tomorrow we are starting to clean out our room – the painter is coming a week from Monday and we have to have everything out of there (including all the closets).  Yikes!  I moved all my yarn out today – and that was enough to make me take a two-hour nap.    I can’t wait to get the room done – it’s going to be so nice.    I still have to buy new curtains and all that but I’ll get there.   Cleaning out the room has made me realized how cluttered it was – we are not going to be putting everything back in, and I’m hoping to figure out a way to keep it simple.   

OK, I’m off – we are watching New Moon tonight (I know, embarrassing but I loved the books!) and Larry and I made a crumb cake (3.5 sticks of butter – so unhealthy – but so good!) to eat while watching the movie.    I think I’ll knit the shawl too – I’m going to start the sweater tomorrow, but for tonight I think I’ll keep it simple.   I don’t want my stuffy head to lead to a bad start on the first sweater I’ve made in years!

Have a good weekend!


Four years

March 14, 2010

So I think that I have mentioned one or two times that Friday was the four year anniversary of my first blog post.  It really is hard to believe that its been so long – and yet I feel like I’ve been doing this forever.  Four years ago I had been knitting for two years, and I had just started a knitting group, bought a wheel and started down the very bad path of stashing yarn.    Not much has changed since then  – I still go to that knitting group, still have a spinning wheel and continue down the bad path of stashing more yarn than I knit.     I think I knit better than I did four years ago – and I think I buy better yarn.  Four years has brought a lot of change in my personal life though – I’ve changed jobs, kids have gone to college, we’ve gone on vacations, family has moved closer/away, I’ve lost family, friends and pets, lost (and gained) weight, started new things, and made new friends.   And I have blogged most of it here.  It is really nice to have a place to document my knitting and personal life with family, friends and readers.    It gives me a place to vent, to share and sometimes the act of blogging makes me think things through a little better.  I enjoy blogging – I don’t do it as frequently as I used to but I’ve learned to just enjoy that I’m doing it without feeling pressure to perform.   

Beyond all that, (and I know it sounds very trite) but I do think that you readers and commenters are the best part of my blogging.   I always like hearing feedback on my posts, and my projects.  Some of you have been with me for a long time, and some are newer friends – and I enjoy all of you.  I know that I was inspired to start this blog by reading other blogs – and I am inspired daily by the blogs I read now – inspired on both a personal and knitting level.  

As you know, I promised a celebration of my blogiversary – and I’ve been thinking of it for a couple of weeks.  I initially was going to do a contest that tied in with a charity  – Friends of Pine Ridge.  I became aware of Pine Ridge on Ravelry in January and was simply just shocked that something like this existed in my country.  I was completely unaware, and since then I’ve been trying to do something every month for them.  I am very fortunate to have the life I do, and reading about this made me feel really really bad  – I take so much for granted.  OK, sorry to digress – anyway, I thought of tying my blogiversary celebration to a donation drive for this charity, but then I thought I’d wait.     I may do this down the road, but for now I’m going to just do a celebration contest (but of course if you want to donate something to the FOPR that would be awesome!).  So I’m going to hold off on a Wollmeise contest for now – but can I ask you for feedback?  If I did a donation drive for something for FOPR would that be something you’d be interested in if there was a really good prize?  Or is that sort of pushy of me to ask you to donate something to a charity I’m interested in? 

OK, let’s go back to a little lighter place….to celebrate my four years, I decided to share one of my favorite yarns with you (or at least with one of you!).  I’ve been sharing pictures and projects of  Wandering Cat Yarn with you recently and I thought it would be fun to let you try some!  So I have a gift certificate to share with one of you – all you have to do is leave me a comment and say something.  Pretty easy, eh?  (Of course, if you do comment I would love to hear if you’d be interested in my donation drive!).  I’ll leave this open until next Friday, March 19.    And as a bonus – if you mention this on your blog, I’ll give you another entry. 

Gift Certificate copy

And just in case you need an incentive to comment….

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Top Cat in the Aurora colorway – when I saw it I had to have it – it’s just the perfect colorway for spring.  And this yarn is amazing – so soft and squishy.  I think I’m going to make a shawlette with it.    Anyway, this is just an example of the very pretty yarn at Wandering Cat so go take a look, and then comment over here and you may have a chance to try it yourself for free.

I am on the edging of Citron and I hope to have it done today so hopefully my next post is a finished object post.  The edging is 800 stitches and every row is an eternity.  But I’m being very monogamous and only working on it – I can’t wait to be done! 

Although I have to admit….there may have been some swatching going on yesterday….

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How pretty is that?  I don’t want to say what this is for, but I will tell you what the yarn is

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Manos Del Uruguay Serena – gorgeous and amazing.  An alpaca/cotton blend that will be perfect for a spring sweater.  I bought it yesterday at Angelfire Studios at Justine’s recommendation and I just couldn’t be happier (thanks, Justine!).  Yep, I haven’t made a sweater in a year and a half, but I think its time that I made one for me.  I’m so excited about this project – and can’t wait to start it.  I keep on touching the swatch – it’s going to be so hard to resist starting this but I do want to finish Citron (I know what happens when I start a new project without finishing something….Nefertiti anyone?).

OK, I’m off to knit – it’s a rainy weekend here – I wanted to get out and walk the dogs, but I guess they will have to be happy with playing inside fetch.  And I’ll have to be happy with knitting.

OK, have a good weekend, and don’t forget – comment by next Friday!