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February 2017

"One more excellent Pussyhat story!"

I never gave a thought to what would happen to Pussyhats beyond the march(es) on January 21st, but clearly they go on...

Anais, recipient of one of my hats at the DC march, is a social worker at an alternative high school. Last week was Spirit Week at her school and, as part of that, Thursday was Hat Day; she wrote:

Your hat is out and proud!

Sharing with permission, on Friday, she wrote again:

One more excellent Pussyhat story!

On Thursday, when I was wearing your hat for Hat Day, I walked by one of my coworkers talking to one of the students. This particular student has some serious mental issues, and has been trapped in many broken systems.

When I walked by, the student, seeing my hat, gave me a huge hug and said, "Thank you for standing up against Trump!"

I think it underscores how important symbols will be in this movement -- hats, flags, safety pins -- to communicate safety, solidarity, and support.

I like to think that I have a warm, accepting energy, but your hat was the reason this student felt safety in that moment. Thank you for that. I am so proud to wear it.

Is that amazing, or what!?? I'm so grateful to Anais for sharing her stories and for her willingness to allow me to share, and I'm so excited to hear more!

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Y'all are so sweet to defend my cat(s). Haha, but no.

 


Reset

I was so excited, upon our return from FL, to discover two amaryllis blossoms with a bud-in-waiting. It was dark, but I took a photo anyway:

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Since I went right back to work -- long on hours, short on daylight -- I wasn't able to see them in daylight all week, and was looking forward to that this weekend.

This morning, in the very early hours, I heard a thud.

I didn't think much of it... something inside, outside, upstairs. One thud. Done. Back to sleep...

And, boy, did I sleep! When I emerged from the bedroom, Rusty was pouring coffee, and he mentioned some clean up that needed to be done in the Garden Room... mumblemumble... amaryllis.

Arrgh! Destroyed. The thud, apparently, was my amaryllis pot landing on the rug... most certainly at the hands/paws of a cat.

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Rusty had left the broken flower stalk, but I just had to cut it off... it made me so sad to look at it. Thankfully, the leaves are intact.

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And look at my scrappy little straggler! Growing and shooting out a bunch of leaves. There's no sign of a flower stalk yet, and it was so stressed that it might not happen for a while. It sure makes me happy, though.

So, amaryllis watch has been reset and is on indefinite hold for a while, I guess.

I wish I could reset.


Dispatches from D.C. & Edinburgh

I knit three hats for the Pussyhat Project and mailed them to PPHQ in time for the Women's March on Washington DC last weekend.

There were forms included with the pattern to let recipients know who you are, what causes are important to you, and a space for optional contact info. I almost didn't include forms with my hats, but... oh, why not? I ended up jotting a little note, sharing my email address... and, of course, on the back I wrote what type of yarn was used and simple care instructions. (Ha! What?) (I stopped short of including the color/lot info and/or the ball bands.)

Lo and behold, on Saturday evening I got an email -- and a photo too!

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Vicky!
I am wearing your hat in Washington today.
Thank you, thank you!

In love and solidarity,
Anais

Well, I was just thrilled to hear from her! Later, upon asking permission to share, she added:

I hadn't known what to expect of the energy of the March, but from the moment we were greeted at the Metro stop by a welcome committee, snacks, bottles of water, and handknitted pink pussy hats from all over the country, I felt that I was in warm community. Positive, energized spirits continued through the day, and haven't left me since.

Then, on Sunday, I received another -- also with a photo attached!

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Dear Vicki,

Thank you so much for knitting the Pussyhat! I received it directly in the beginning at the subway station and I was so happy that the woman handed out hats to everyone. I love the idea that you made the hat and put the little sign on it so that I can get in touch with you.
 
I wore it all day and it will remind me of this historical day all my life! We are from Germany and have been living in NYC for a year and I’m so grateful that we were able to participate in the Women’s March in Washington.
 
Thanks so much for contributing to the march, the hat is made from such a nice wool and it very nicely knitted. I very much enjoyed wearing it, it kept me really warm too!
 
Lots of love from New York,
Eva

Positively thrilling! She also granted permission and wrote:

It really was an inspiring experience and people were so positive that day, it gives us hope for the future.
 
Thanks again for contributing to the women’s march and the effort you put in knitting that hat!
It was amazing on Saturday to follow along -- the news, the Facebook updates from friends at marches all over! I had friends & relatives in DC, NY, MI, WI, FL, CA, OR, and more.
 
"Fraulein Power!"
 
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Including Kate at the march in Edinburgh! She reported "many, many" pussyhats!
 
Historic, moving... INSPIRING!!
 
For one thing, I was moved to finally set up my Planned Parenthood and ACLU contributions to be regular and ongoing. It isn't much, but it's a few dollars more every month than they previously had!
 

I'm back... fly-by

We went to Florida!

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We visited the Keys and the Everglades.

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We visited the beach.

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We visited a Japanese garden and museum.

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And we flew home again.

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There were some other things, but I'll have to fill you in later. The weather was perfect (outside of a midnight tornado warning on our last night) and we had a great time!

I kept up on the news as best I could, especially in regard to the March(es) on Saturday. I was thrilled to receive emails and photos from TWO of the three recipients of my Pussyhat Project hats. So cool. I'm hoping to share that, too.

Meanwhile, re-entry is a bitch. On top of which, I drive down to O'Hare after work today to pick up Kate from her London-Paris-Edinburgh adventure! At least we'll have lots to talk about on the drive home.  :)


Weekending: Meow

I managed to get through the holidays without getting sick, even though nearly everyone around me -- whether at work or at home -- was sniffling and/or complaining of scratchy throats.

It finally caught up with me.

I think I'm going to luck out and skate through with the "lite" version... and if I'm not better by mid-week, well, predicted sunshine and mid-80s during our FL getaway will likely do the trick! I am so looking forward to renting a chair and an umbrella and parking it at the beach for a day... and getting warmed up all the way through!

I drove Kate down to ORD on Thursday for her trip to Paris-London-Edinburgh, and made it back in time to celebrate Junah's birthday... can you believe he's THREE???

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At 1, he was not so amazed by the cake; at 2, he was licking the plate...

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This year, at 3, he was all about the frosting!! Mini M&Ms are pretty good, too.

He wanted to come over to Nona's house afterwards, but of course it was too late... so there were tears when we left, but also a promise for time together on Saturday. He was over all afternoon and we had so much fun... reading, coloring, snuggling, building with Lincoln Logs!

I finished all my Pussyhat Project knitting and was able to take some photos.

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And even though I don't like how I look in hats and never wear them, I even modeled...

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Meow!

The solids are Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash (Light Pink is color #21, Dark Pink is #48), the other is Malabrigo Rios in "057 English Rose" -- all lovely washable yarns!! It was a pleasure to knit these hats for sisters/marchers!

I made the light pink one in the round on DPNs and did a 3-needle bind-off, the other two were knit on straights and seamed; there are slight differences in the length of ribbing/stockinette, but they're generally all about the same size. And headed for DC!! Ravelry project page is here.

I have finally turned my attention back to finishing the kids' Christmas presents... I know, I know... I still have an unfinished Peace Cowl, too, and a couple pairs of Squad Mitts (to mention only a couple of things).

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I saw Louise Walker's Knitted Polar Bear on Mollie Makes' Instagram feed when I was at the airport in Milwaukee in October -- on my way to Rhinebeck. I was instantly smitten and had to have it! I immediately purchased & downloaded the issue.

I had to special order the large eyes... and when I realized that the first ones I ordered on Etsy were on the literal slow boat from China, I dug some more and found a domestic source (so now I'm up to my eyeballs in large safety eyes!). Bear #1 is finished except for some extra embellishment that I want to add.

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I made the super-fluffy pom pom tail during the Packer game yesterday. It was the first time I used my Clover Pom Pom Maker -- so quick, easy, and FLUFFY!

All of the pieces are knit for Bear #2 and sewing up is well underway. If I don't get too distracted, I may even finish before we leave.

And, of course, there's an amaryllis update:

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I'm hoping that I get to see that bloom before we leave on Wednesday!


Long Weekending

On Thursday after work, I stopped by my LYS for Pussy Hat yarn!

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I was delighted to learn that the owner of the shop, along with her husband & daughter, was heading to the march Washington, DC. She gave me a wee discount on the yarn, too, since it was "for the cause." ❤

As of last night I have two finished hats -- one each in the dark & light solid. I plan to cast on a third this evening, and get them all in the mail by the weekend. If I looked any good in hats at all, I'd keep one for myself... but YUCK. I have plenty of leftovers, though, and plan on making hats for Gin & Jun... it'll be AWESOME with his sparkle shoes!

While procrastinating on Friday morning about some office work that needs to be done, I started cleaning out, organizing, and rearranging some cupboards. I had decided that if they weren't needed or used during the holidays, I was going to get rid of a set of dishes and most of the stemware.

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Well, we didn't use them... so OUT! Formerly occupying that blank spot on the right of the second shelf, those dishes had been sitting there, largely undisturbed, for years. So silly. And the wine glasses... good grief. I'm not sure why or how I accumulated so many but they, too, have just been taking up space (and getting awfully dirty).

Ali hit the jackpot, walking in at the perfect time to carry off the dishes -- and was happy to do so, saying that she barely has two plates at home that match these days! She declined the wine glasses, however, so they're currently in a box... ultimately headed to the thrift store if there are no other takers.

I moved some cookbooks, redistributed some bowls and other glassware... there's ROOM... unfilled spaces, even! I can't stop admiring my work. Heheh.

On Saturday, I played the annual game of Christmas Tetris!

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Kate helped me with the undecorating, putting away all of their ornaments and quite a few of the rest. Even while decorating, I was making plans to purge some of that holiday stuff (there was a fair bit that we didn't put on the tree in the first place)... and I ended up with two fewer boxes to put away -- one of them is full of other smaller boxes for recycling, and the other is also destined for the thrift shop. There was also a bag for the trash!

We've left the tree up with only the lights on for a little Hygge glow. Naturally, there's half a string in the middle of the tree that just went out... I'm chill.

Finally, amaryllis watch:

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One of them is growing, the other is not.

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I don't think it's dying, either, so I just keep watching...

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Also, new growth!


Dear January,

Welp, almost nothing about the start of this new year has gone as planned -- people (and pets - not mine) have been sick, plans and schedules have changed -- it's been an exercise in patience, resilience, positive thinking, and going with the flow! I feel as though I haven't even had a chance to sit down and say, HEY, NEW YEAR.

I have managed to accomplish a couple of the "must-do" items on my list to start the year, though, and that feels good.

First, as previously noted, I joined Weight Watchers again and... Hello, REALITY CHECK! This is my 3rd full day and eyes are wide open. I'm also certainly down a few pounds and, best of all, feeling as though I'm taking control again.

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Second, I fired up my brand new INSTANT POT! It was a Christmas gift from Kate & Ali, and I finally had minute to plug it in on New Year's Day. I've used it not once, not twice, not three times... but FOUR already!

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I've made a dozen-and-a-half of the most perfectly cooked and easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs of my life (twice), and 3-minute steel-cut oats (twice). One of the most amazing things is that I've actually made the oats in the MORNING... a WORK morning. I never give myself extra time in the morning to make breakfast, but this hardly even takes any time! Throw some stuff in the pot, push a button, wait a few minutes (brush teeth, wash face while waiting, maybe apply mascara), DONE!

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I shall soon branch out... next on the list is Coconut Chicken Curry. And yogurt. (I will let you know how it goes!)

Anyway, saving me through this turmoil in the first week of the year, is looking ahead to the third... when Rusty & I will be heading to Florida for a long weekend. Taking advantage of low airfare and a little jingle in our pockets -- and a very strong desire to get away (together) -- we booked a couple of flights to Fort Lauderdale and found a cute Airbnb. We'll actually be spending our time in Lake Worth/West Palm Beach and have scoped out a number of fun things to do... if we want. Mainly, it's about relaxing, warm weather, and the beach. I may have just re-joined WW... but I also just bought a new swimming suit! Who goes to FL without a swimming suit? I've never actually been to Florida before, but I'm guessing that's how it's done!

Right now? I'm staring down a 3-day weekend, and that feels good, too; taking some time to regroup and get organized (and take down the Christmas tree). There is much more to do/continue/finish/begin in the next few months!

So, January, bring it... I can handle you.

Love, Vicki

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Wednesday

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I snapped a couple of photos of the amaryllis on New Year's Day (Sunday) and there's been some growth! Even the struggler has improved in the last week. Someone gave Rusty some paperwhites, so we're both on bulb watch this winter!


Whoa, 2017

Another reader in the making. Books, books, books!

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While my reading habits have changed over the years, there is no doubt to anyone that we're a family of readers and that books are important to us all. The first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself was a bookcase!

Meanwhile, the boys were busy...

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Trains and Maps! That's mostly Jun's work with (washable) markers. I love it!

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Karen wasn't going to arrive until later in the day on New Year's Eve, so we went to the children's museum! They had a "ball drop" every hour on the hour, with noisemakers and hats and streamers... the kids had a blast!

Plans were rearranged a bit, so our family visit was on Saturday instead of Friday. Michael was unable to come, no matter the day, because his wife was unwell. We missed him!

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My first thought when I look at this photo is that I look exhausted! I wasn't feeling exhausted... but it was a busy few days (and continues to be)... and I still haven't had a minute to stop and square up with the new year.

Also, similar to a situation almost 29 years ago when I first joined up, this photo has spurred my renewed membership with Weight Watchers! (Oh, no, I'm a January Person!) I signed on last night and we'll see how it goes... I need a plan and a kick in the pants. I have a few friends who are also members, and it's nice when there's support. WW has changed quite a bit since I last attended meetings (possibly in 2006?); I've signed on two or three times over the years, with varied success... but mostly success. No doubt, there will be more about this turn of events in the coming weeks.

Anyway, Karen arrived with her husband and both sons, and it was great to see them. We had a full house and lots of visiting!!

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More fun with kids on New Year's Day... trying to get a decent photo is no small task. It is quite humorous though! Oh, they're all together on the kitchen floor? Ready, set, CLICK!

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And then final farewells! Ann & family have a few days in Madison before flying back to Valencia on Friday. I'll see Ann at the end of February when we meet in NOLA for a few days, but the kids won't be reunited until July when they're all back for about a month. Luckily, Junah seems to be a bit more comfortable with Skype each time he has the opportunity. He was pretty sad to see them go.

OK. That's it for now! I hope you've had a good start to the new year.