Hannah and the CoalBear: Snow Bunny Caturday

Hi. I’m Mateo.

It’s my favorite day of the week. I get to go out first thing in the morning with the Orange Monster to check out things on the catio. We see birds, and squirrels and lots of fun things while we are out there. We also get our paws cold, but that’s okay, because if you want to play with the Orange Monster, you have to be willing to deal with little stuff like that!

You won’t believe what we saw today…

The backyard bunny was out in the garden! I mean, the bunny was RIGHT THERE at the side of the catio where the Orange Monster and I hang out in the mornings. The Mother of Cats has been feeding the bunny acorn squash (I know, right?! Why would she do something like that… but the bunny does eat it… thank heavens she isn’t giving it our TUNA!)

Personally, I think that acorn squash flavored bunny would be a little weird, but I was certainly willing to try it out. Nope. Darn chicken wire… there needs to be a FREE MATEO protest, right? Can you hear my big cat sigh? The bunny finally left and the Mother of Cats put some more ACORN SQUASH out for it.

Now we are back indoors knitting on the scarf thingy

while Hannah snoozes…

and we both dream of the backyard bunny.

Happy Caturday, everyone!!

Hasta la ByeBye, 2022: These were the Knits

I can’t believe that this has happened; I had just gotten used to writing 2022 and it is already over. I’ve been reflecting on the year and decided to talk about the yarn, the books, and the roses in separate posts. This one, of course, is about the knitting that went on last year.

First, the goals. I wanted to learn how to double knit: did it. I wanted to knit something using the Cocoknits method: did that too. I wanted to get at least 100 skeins of yarn out of the stash: absolutely did that too. Seriously, it was a pretty good year.

I knitted 6 sweaters. That’s a lot for me.

The top-down sweaters of 2022: these are Goldenfern, Emma, Salty Air Tee, Lace & Fade Boxy, Kevat, and Cushman. There was a lot of grey knitting going on last year so I’ve started out knitting a Simple Thing scarf thingy to wear with the neutral sweaters to give some color. I plan to make some wristers too, and I want to say that I am getting absolutely excellent knitting support from the CoalBear while I’m doing this.

Won’t those colors look nice on the grey sweaters?

Let’s see, what else did I knit… glances at Xcel spreadsheet… this year? I knit a bee. There was a pair of baby booties. I knit a lot of hats (33), even more PICC line covers (52) and 6 pairs of socks. I knit that cat paw sample of double knitting. I also knit one shawl that was a MKAL that sent Hannah on an adventure around the world chasing a worm that had stolen a priceless golden bag of cat treats from a museum in Cairo. Altogether, it was quite the year!

That bee is now hanging in my indoor orchid garden. The hats and PICC line covers all went to the Kaiser infusion centers in the Denver Metro area though an organization called Frayed Knots, and there is Hannah home from her adventures on Sharon Air.

After watching lots of YouTube videos and downloading a chart I found online I created the double-knit sample of… of course it is a cat paw!! I also got those baby booties done for the next-door neighbor who had a new arrival last April right before my surgery in May.

So that’s it. Whew. You didn’t want to see the socks, did you? I mean, they are all the same picture of the same pattern on the same feet knitting in different colors of blue and grey. I was pretty boring this year, so I feel that I should spare you those photos.

Here’s a picture of Hannah instead, because she is the cutest girl ever and that’s that!

I did mention that I got a lot of yarn out of the stash, right? Almost 120 skeins of yarn were culled from the stash and used up in knitted projects or donated to other knitters through Frayed Knots. Yay!

Time to buy more yarn!

Happy New Year, everyone.

The Scleroderma Chronicles: So, there was this flare…

Wow. It has been some time since I last posted. Ironically, the last post was about the Mother of Cats being broken. I felt really good, and I was casting on a plethora of projects and was all over the place with my knitting, reading, projects, you name it. Hannah was complaining in that post that I was broken, and that I wasn’t devoting myself to making her a blanket.

Then scleroderma lowered the boom on me. I went into a flare of epic proportions. I hurt all over, I struggled to do just simple tasks, I started sleeping 10-12 hours a day, and I had to go back onto daytime oxygen. I kept heat packs on my sore joints, but I really needed a total body heat pack to cope with what was going on: every single tendon in my body was under attack!! I couldn’t regulate my body temperature and took multiple naps a day because I was too cold to stay awake. I developed chest pain. My brain fog became so bad I wasn’t safe to drive anymore… Yep. Broken.

Okay, I also accidently drank some Miracle Gro fertilizer that I had stored in a Snapple bottle. That is some serious brain fog, people!! (Yes, I did have to call poison control, I did eat burnt toast and I did drink a lot of water, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore…) Yep. Broken.

I managed to get some knitting done in spite of my ill-behaved health. I got some wristers made as Christmas presents and sewed zippered pouches for my sister and cousin.

Wristers and a zippered project pouch.

Sewing was a riot as I had to get the sewing room organized so I didn’t have to stand up very much as I cut, sewed, and pressed fabric to make the bags, but with some creative thinking and furniture arrangements I pulled it off.

I also finished my Emma sweater. I made a hat. I made some socks. I made some slippers. Everything was on big needles and used heavy weight yarn as I got too tired to knit more than a few minutes at a time.

This sweater was knit using the CocoKnits method and I learned some new methods of shaping and finishing. The yarn was chunky weight and is warm and comfy. I got it done early in the flare and it was just perfect for the days to come. The yarn that was left over was used to make a hat and a pair of slippers.

I did read some nice books, but mostly I slept and waited this miserable thing out. In the weeks while I was mostly bedbound my orchids started to grew stems for future blossoms, the first snows arrived, and my son moved in with his cats.

This is handsome Jonesy. Hannah does not like Jonesy, so there is now a chicken wire barricade at the top of the stairs to keep the two groups of cats separated. My son also has a long-haired tuxedo cat who just doesn’t care about my cats. Hannah, however, has a complete meltdown if Jonesy comes near her, so… barricade.

Mateo: I love Jonesy and I go through the barricade every day to rough house with my new best bud while Hannah hangs out with the Mother of Cats. Jonesy is the wild playmate of my dreams!

So, I think that I am out of the flare now as the multiple naps a day have stopped, and my appetite is back. Yesterday we made lasagna for Christmas and here is the present that I got from my son:

Perfect, right?

Can you see my blue lips? The bad news is that the Blue-Lipped Zebra is back in full force. I finally emailed my cardiologist to let him know that I am once again panting for air and feeling light-headed from doing simple tasks like… lifting a pan out of the cupboard or grating cheese. Ugh. I’m pretty sure that I am heading back into the cath lab for another look at my pulmonary pressures, but right now I am glad to be back on my feet and out of the flare. My son is still here (he works from home, so he just moved his operation over to my house) and things are going well in the combined household.

Hannah: as long as Jonesy stays on his side of the barricade!! Also, maybe the Mother of Cats will now settle down and get my new blanket done!!

Hannah and the CoalBear: The Mother of Cats may be Broken…

Hi. I’m Hannah.

Don’t I look like I’m a take-charge kind of girl?

I’ve been really busy supervising the Mother of Cats for the last couple of weeks as she has been knitting a multitude of projects with not even a little bit of discipline. I mean, she is all over the place and I never know what she is going to pull out of her knitting bag next. Let me show you what I’m talking about…

First, she started knitting all of these little hexagon units that will get turned into a blanket someday. Like, maybe when I’m too old to make the jump to the top of the bookshelf anymore she will get this done. She stopped after knitting the four units in the picture and then started knitting all of these…

PICC line covers!

Yep. PICC line cover after PICC line cover started to happen as she kept pulling out new colors of yarn from the stash. I thought that she was settled down and would stay with them for some time, but no, you would be wrong if you thought that! Did she go back to the hexagon units for the blanket? Nope.

She found some nice wildly dyed zebra yarn in the stash and started knitting some socks and then switched over to wristers because she was cold that afternoon. Do you see what I am dealing with here? NO DISCIPLICE AT ALL!!!

I gave up and took a nap after that. When I woke up that evening, I discovered that she had gone back into the stash to find some charcoal grey yarn that she wanted to make into a sweater. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MOTHER OF CATS!! I am concerned that this model might be broken, but I have put so much work into training her just right I hate to quit and start over with another one…

She evidently had seen the weather report and dug out this book to use in making the new sweater. The yarn and needles are really big, so she is making fast progress, but seriously, what about the blanket that we started a few weeks ago? I could use a new blanket more than she needs a new sweater!

She finished up the wristers last night and seems to be devoted to finishing the sweater. Sigh. What about the blanket? I kind of give up, but she is pretty good at keeping Mateo and me supplied with kitty cookies, so I guess I’d better keep her.

But I am a little concerned that she might need a little tune up to help her with her focus issues. I do kind of want that blanket, you know. Who knows what she will decide to knit the next time she visits the stash?

This is Hannah, signing off.

Happy Caturday, Everyone!

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • The hexagons are for the Nectar Blanket by Ysolda Teague.
  • I’m learning the Coco Knits method of knitting by following along with the book and knitting an Emma sweater, version B with bulky yarn and long sleeves. I have the colored stitch markers to go with the worksheet and everything! I was a little intimidated, but now that I’m below the yoke I am so impressed with what is appearing in the knitted object. I’m going to get this one done fast!
  • That sock yarn is from a trunk show at my local yarn store and I just had to knit it right now!!! I’m sure you understand.
  • I think that I’m going to get that blanket done next, but there are so many PICC line covers to get done before the end of the year…

The Sweater Hack

I’ve been knitting away on my Lace & Fade Boxy sweater in the evenings and debating my choices and decisions. I had 4 skeins of a special edition yarn that was a collaboration between Madelinetosh and Shibui in the colorway Ironwood. I really liked this yarn because it was a great neutral that would go with everything… kind of a smoky brownish/black with tiny hints of violet. I fell in love with the Lace & Fade Boxy pattern by Joji Locatelli and debated different strategies to knit it. Should I use another color for the lace insets? Should I buy the matching Shibui lace yarn for the lace insets? Um… I’m in a destash and I want to get rid of yarn! Besides, how rugged will this sweater be with that thin lace yarn? Knit the whole sweater in the neutral yarn and use some snazzy color in a I-cord bind off on the edges? So many possibilities…

In the end I knitted the whole sweater in the one yarn and color.

Here it is, late at night in my bathroom, just off the needles. The sleeves still need to be done, and there is also the neckline finishing to do.

I was pretty sure that the sweater would grow significantly after blocking, but it is also pretty darn saggy up there around the neck. I decided to block this puppy and finish up the neckline before making any more decisions.

Okay, here it is a few nights later.

The neckline is now finished, and the sweater is blocked; it is absolutely too short. I need to do something to add length.

I knit Swoon a few years ago from this book. I love the lace. This lace is knit on size 5 (3.75 mm) needles and the yarn is laceweight.

That lace was knitted and then sewn to the bottom of the knitted piece. The picot hemmed edge was a pain to knit, and I kind of felt that the edging would be too much to carry off at the bottom of this boxy sweater. I wanted functional and hard-wearing, not cute frippery, for this sweater. Obviously, this lace wasn’t quite right, but it would add the length that I wanted. I did like the garter in the lace and felt that it could be a nice flat panel for the bottom of the sweater. Knit from the bottom up, this original lace has peaks along the bottom. I decided that if I knitted it from the top down, which would reverse the decreases, it would create a straight bottom and the puffiness would block out. I worked out the stitch count that I would need, picked up stitches, and the sweater hack was on!

Look! A flat bottom edge.

This lace isn’t as open as the one knitted on the larger needles with laceweight yarn, but it works in this application. I fussed around with different bind offs until I found one that created the smooth edge and fit the lace: 2 stitch I-cord bind off. There was puffiness at the top of the lace, but after the steam blocking it settled right down and is playing nice.

Finished sweater!

I debated about how to handle the sleeves and finally decided to just duplicate the bottom of the sweater. I picked up the sleeve stitches, knit 7 rounds and then 8 rounds of the ribbing, did a slight decrease to get my stitch count, and I loosely bound off. (I know… I didn’t want the ribbing to stretch, and I had that puffiness of the lace to control, so I did it.) I picked up the stitches for the lace panel and knit it exactly like I did the bottom of the sweater. Look… I have 3/4 sleeves that work with my sweater.

So, there it is. My hacked sweater, made by modifying the Lace & Fade Boxy design and incorporating a lace idea from Swoon. I made the decisions late at night, gazing at what I had so far in the bathroom mirror, based on what I had on hand and what I envisioned for the final sweater. I wanted a sweater that would be warm, comfy, easy to layer, and hard wearing with some lace.

Nailed it!

I have just enough yarn left over to make wristers for cold days.

Hannah and the CoalBear: Caturday Catch-up

Hi. I’m Mateo (AKA the CoalBear).

I’ve been helping the Mother of Cats with her knitting this week.

Hannah has been getting all of the attention for weeks and weeks while she was flying around on Sharon Air, so the Mother of Cats has been spending lots of time with me since Hannah came home from her adventures. She has been knitting and knitting on a smoky brown blob of yarny *something* and I have been extremely vigilant about attacking any stray ends that try to get away from her. I mean, I have sat by her side for hours watching intently… this is just exhausting! Finally, the Mother of cats got all of the stitches off the needles this afternoon and I could take a little nap while she tried it on.

Whew! She is pretty happy with how it is going, but she says that she needs to block it to see how long it will be. Whatever. All I care about is how long I get to nap before she puts this sweater monster back onto her needles. Oh, yeah. This sweater is called Lace & Fade by Joji Locatelli.

The Mother of Cats has also been busy sewing this week. Hannah decided to help her with this, which was totally okay with me because I think that the sewing machine is a little bit scary. Hannah kind of likes it and always spends all of her time in the sewing room when the mother of cats is busy in there.

Anyway, I hope that you can understand what this sewn stuff is. I think that it would be good if Hannah adds some notes here, so here she goes:

Hannah: Okay, here are my notes on the sewing we did.
  • The first picture is of the bedside caddy that the Mother of Cats and I sewed a few weeks ago. It is sewn to a towel that goes under the mattress (MY IDEA!!) and those nice pouches hold lots of things for the Mother of Cats.
  • Last week the Mother of Cats sewed the little caddy (middle picture) that is designed to hang from Command hooks on her bedside table. Isn’t it nice? The little pouches hold her glasses and phone, and the back pouch is exactly right for her Kindle tablet. It works great, but she is still thinking of how to improve it.
  • The last caddy is much larger, has two larger pouches at the bottom, and is kind of a mix-up of both bedside caddies. The Mother of Cats sent if off to her sister this week. The sister plans to do some trickery with grommets and stuff to hang it onto her bedside table.
Mateo: Hannah is asleep, so I’m taking over again.

The only other stuff that is going on around here is that trip the Mother of Cats took to the local garden and farm store. She came back with some crazy stinky roasted green chiles and also a funky pumpkin. Hannah and I stayed completely away from the kitchen while the chiles were roasting away in their boxes, but we did check out the pumpkin.

This is one ugly, scary pumpkin!!! Hannah and I don’t understand why this came home to stay with us. The Mother of Cats put it on the table with some other pumpkins and stuff. The Mother of Cats says that this is all about Halloween, but we just want our table back! Hannah likes to take naps up there, and now there is this stoopid, lumpy-ass pumpkin in the way…

It’s okay. I’d rather nap on the bed anyway. Also, soon there will be more knitting, too!

Happy Caturday, everyone!

This is Mateo, the CoalBear, signing off.

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

It is green chile season!!! Every year I get a bushel of chiles roasted and then I freeze them to use all during the winter. This year I bought two different types of green chile peppers and made two trips that netted me a total of a bushel and a half of peppers in the freezer.

If you’ve never done this, the process is really simple. The chile peppers are grouped by how hot they are… I buy chiles that are mild and avoid ones that have names like Ghost or Dynamite. This year I got a bushel of Ancho chile (the meaty green ones) and a half bushel of Marconi chile peppers. The peppers are washed, then dumped into a rotating drum that is turned over a flame until all of the skin is blackened and the peppers are roasted. They are then poured into a heavy plastic bag and packed into a box that is taken home to continue roasting for the next few hours. When they are finally cool enough to handle, I put 6-8 peppers into a freezer bag and then these are moved to the freezer when cooled. This year I froze 24 bags of chili pepper. I sure hope that’s enough to get through the winter. 🙂

When I use the peppers later on that blackened skin will just wash off, but the smoky flavor will linger. Green chile is good stuff; versatile, anti-inflammatory, and extremely addictive. I’ve already eaten two of my cached bags of chile this fall…

Green chile is also serious business in this part of the country. There is a rivalry between the governor of my state (Colorado) and New Mexico’s governor over who has the best chile crop. We do, of course. Pueblo chile forever!!

That pumpkin is called a Warty Goblin pumpkin. I think that they are so ugly they are cute!!

Hannah and the CoalBear: Hannah Earns Her Wings!

Hi. I’m Hannah.

Do you see this?

There were lots of adventures on the flight back from Japan (well, I slept through most of it because… I’m a cat) as Sharon threw a gobshite passenger off the plane (with a parachute, of course), discovered Chad that Golden-Bag-of-Cat-Treats-Thieving Worm hiding in the wheel well of the plane, took a nap in the catnip-scented oxygen of the cabin, and then finally tackled Chad off the plane in a butt-waggling zoom of epic proportions that allowed her to recover the priceless bag of cat treats while Chad fell through the clouds. She did throw Chad a parachute and an inflatable raft, but we kind of don’t care what happened to him because there was sushi and Meow Mix for all of us on the flight. Did I mention that there was catnip-scented oxygen in the cabin?

(Okay, Sharon did post a photo of Chad falling through the skies in his parachute, so he did get it on and hopefully landed safely…)

Anyway, the Mother of Cats finished the shawl, and I got my wings!!

I’m adding these wings to my passport!!

Now the Sharon Air MKAL is over and the Mother of Cats has returned to knitting a sweater that had been hibernating in a bin for the last few weeks. I still have my blueberry box from the flight, and since I returned in Cardboard Class I brought my blanket and all the wonderful yarn that I bought the Mother of Cats in Japan home with me with no problems.

Mateo: I’m helping the Mother of Cats with her sweater!

So now the Mother of Cats is happily knitting away on her new sweater (the Lace & Fade Boxy sweater by Joji Locatelli) with Mateo (the CoalBear) and I’m catching up on my sleep in my blueberry box. The Mother of Cats taped my wings to the box, and I’m still dreaming of all the places that I visited during the MKAL adventure. Cairo. New Zealand. Paris. Istanbul. Japan. So much fun!

Do I look sad? This is just my dreaming of catnip face…

Now it is fall outside and the flies seem to have vanished with the backyard robins but there are crickets and bunnies. Luckily it is cooler so I can play with the CoalBear in the daytime, and I’ve started sleeping on the bed with the Mother of Cats at night again. The Mother of Cats bought me and the CoalBear a lot of new toys, and we are playing chase-chase through piles of crunchy brown shipping paper. I’m returning to my old routines and I’m actually glad that my adventure is over. It is good to be home.

This is Hannah, signing off.

Hannah and the CoalBear: Left turn to Tokyo!

Hi. I’m Hannah.

The chase to apprehend Chad took a wicked left turn last week on the Sharon Air MKAL!

There I was, all cozied up in my cardboard blueberry box, flying to Morocco, finishing off my inflight drink of warm milk with whiskey when the news came in… Chad had gotten on a flight to Tokyo! WHAT?!!! How did that happen?! We were really looking forward to Morocco!! The Mother of Cats had just made her favorite quinoa dish (Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto) and had settled down to chomp some while getting all her knitting supplies organized for the next clue drop of the Sharon Air MKAL, and … no Casablanca? Nope. The plane made a sharp left turn and pointed its nose towards Tokyo.

Oh. We are kind of excited about Tokyo! The Mother of Cats has been there before and she used to live in Yokohama, Japan. We weren’t in Tokyo long as we had to grab the bullet train heading south to Fukuoka, Japan. Sharon ate 4 bento boxes on the way, but mostly we knitted and drank tea on the trip as we had stuffed ourselves on katsudon (which the Mother of Cats just loves!) before we got on the train and the Mother of Cats was sort of regretting the decision… hey, I told her to not order a second bowl, but does she listen to me? Anyway, Sharon ended up recovering from the chase in a hot spring, and that Fungus Boi Worm was there too, but he got away somehow, and we were left in southern Japan to knit, relax, and have fun with Chad’s AMEX card.

This shawl is getting long enough to cuddle up against!
Here’s the shawl after finishing Clue 5. This thing is getting too big to fit in the picture, but if you use your imagination, you can pretend that you can see the points on the ends towards the bottom of the picture.

Here’s a closeup of the new section of knitting.

Look at the cool textures and use of color in this side of the shawl.

So that is what’s going on with the Sharon Air MKAL. I’m so happy that I had cardboard class for that long flight, but I’m a little concerned about what is going to happen to my blanket if we need to fly out tomorrow in another class. Please, Sharon, no litter class for me and my blanket, okay?!

This is Hannah, signing off.

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • One of the hugely serendipitous events of my life was being sent to live in Yokohama as a young bride in the early 1970s by the US Navy. Why? More than 50 years before my own grandmother had arrived there as a young bride herself. My mom was born in Yokohama, and her first language was Japanese. How crazy was that?
  • My mom, by the way, was Swedish-American, and her mother could speak Swedish.
  • I still miss the Katsudon that I ate there.
  • Many members of the MKAL posted pictures of fabulous bento boxes that could be eaten on the bullet train. I’ve eaten bento boxes, but never came to love them, because… katsudon!!

Hannah and the CoalBear: Back in Cardboard Class Again!

Hi. I’m Hannah.

I’m back in cardboard class for the latest flight to catch up with Chad and the stolen Golden Bag of Cat Treats.

While I was shopping for yarn for the Mother of Cats in Istanbul, Sharon from Security (Officer of the Paw, Defender of Snax) got out of the pokey because there was a sighting of Chad with a big bag and the sparkling (diamond-laden) yarn that Sharon was accused of stealing. Obviously, the wrong person had been apprehended, so she was out the door and off to the nearest full-service sushi restaurant. That’s one important question answered: you can get sushi in Istanbul! Also, she seems to have gotten her flamethrower back, too. How does she pull these things off? Anyway, knowing that Sharon scored a three-foot-long platter of sushi made me hungry, so I did a little cookie liberation operation of my own:

Sadly, the Mother of Cats found me before I had polished off the entire container of cookies…

Then Sharon left me in Istanbul and took off on the most incredible adventure of all time. She caught a sub and took off through the Mediterranean waterways in chase of Chad. She broke down and got the sub fixed up in Greece, and then broke down again off Gibraltar. Luckily some sneaky people arrived to give her a tow to a sub-repair facility in Atlantis, and since Sharon was sworn to secrecy I’ll never find out where it is. I wonder if they had really nice kitty stuff there? I can always use a new blanket, some toy mice, and why does Sharon get all of the exotic sushi…????

Anyway, Sharon finally got the sub all fixed up and following intel provided by her new friends she was back on the chase and followed Chad and his bag of stolen goodies to… Morocco!!!

Doesn’t this shawl look like it belongs in Morocco?
Clue 4 is done now and the Mother of Cats has cast off this side of the shawl. In case you forgot what this shawl is, this is the Sharon Air MKAL adventure that I am on.

Now I’m stuck in Morocco until Friday when the new clue drops. Did I mention that I still have Chad’s AMEX card? Time to head out shopping!!!

Sushi time!!

I sure did love being back in cardboard class again! I brought my blanket along and even got some new yarn for the Mother of Cats shoved in there. If I have to go by Litter Box class for the next leg of the chase, I’ll be shipping all that stuff home. Hopefully I can use Chad’s AMEX card for that, too.

This is Hannah, signing off.

The Books of August

August wasn’t the best for me. I had just come off a course of steroids to treat my lung disease (there’s another post coming) and I seemed to be struggling with withdrawal. I hurt everywhere. Sleep was difficult. I was sad. I cast on lots of projects and failed to make much progress with any of them because I was struggling with tendonitis. I kept trying different needle sizes and yarn types all month, but nothing worked. Here’s the list:

  • A new sweater, Lace & Fade Boxy by Joji Locatelli. I think that I have a couple of inches done…
  • A standing cat being knit in cool Noro yarn. For some reason I decided that the cat would be outstanding knitted in spring colors (cream/blue/raspberry/green) as a Noro calico cat. Right now, the cat has her front paws and no head yet…
  • A crocheted bag being made in Noro yarn and fancy squares all attached together. I have a lot of squares done, but nothing is attached yet…
  • A new pair of socks. One sock is done…
  • A new pair of mitts. One mitt is done…
  • A PICC line cover that is… half done.
  • My Sharon Air MKAL shawl. That one I am keeping up on because Hannah is keeping me on track.

I did get some sewing done, but mostly I lounged around and read books. Well, I listened to The Murderbot Diaries a couple of more times. I love that series!

This is the first book in the series. I’m anxiously awaiting a new release.

The audiobooks are easy to listen to, the story is easy to follow, and the main character (Murderbot) is so engaging/snarky that you are in its camp from the moment you meet it. Murderbot is a machine/organic construct that specializes in security. A free agent because it has hacked the device that is supposed to control it, it is slowly finding its way to personhood and working out what it wants. It also is continuing to work its old security job while consuming tons of entertainment media. I love Murderbot! It listens to its favorite soap opera-like serial over and over while it deals with anxiety and blocks of down time; I listen to Murderbot over and over while I deal with my own. I smile to myself in moments of self-realization and wish that I could watch The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon along with Murderbot. Murderbot considers its primary client, Doctor Mensa, to be an actual intrepid galactic explorer and I try to be like Doctor Mensa, too. See, a great series of books for sad days.

What a great book!

It’s hard to talk about this book without creating spoilers, but I’m going to try. This is the story of an extreme friendship between two game developers that is actually a love story. It is about betrayal, broken dreams, the creative drive, and the endurance of friendship. I just loved it. Oh yeah, that title comes from MacBeth’s soliloquy about life: “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Not the best message for a person who hurts all over and who cried in two different doctors’ offices last month, but still in a strange way comforting.

Then there were these two books:

Have you ever had an urge to do something but didn’t know why? I can totally identify with this as a knitter who is making a standing cat in crazy colors. I also collect empty notebooks to write in, a habit that went on for years before I finally began writing. Then there is the yarn stash… What would happen if you lived in a community where there was the infrastructure to allow you to just follow your dreams?

In these two books we meet a robot (who is the descendant of ancient robots that left the world of humans and went into the wild) and a monk who lives in an environmentally sustainable world with little technology, a world where everyone is accepted for who they are and supported by a barter-driven economy. The robot and monk meet up and begin a pilgrimage through this world together that is compelling and positive; just what I needed for reading material last month. The message that they pursue in their journey is… who am I and what do I want? The final conclusion is one that I could totally identify with… it is enough to just be happy in the moment.

Now it is September and what am I reading?

Umm.. I’m afraid that I have to admit that I have started Murderbot again, but only because I can’t seem to find The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon on Netflix. I am considering looking into Coronation Street…

By the way, I am through withdrawal and the hurting has stopped. See. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. The knitting is back on!

Time for some Sanctuary Moon… err… Murderbot while I knit.