Month’s End Report: March, 2022

All of a sudden, the season has changed on me. There are birds in my yard, the light is brighter, my backyard bunny is once again entertaining the cats, and shoots of green are starting to peek at me from under the winter bedding of leaves that I put in the gardens last fall. The cats are much more active as they rocket from window to window through the house tracking squirrels traveling from my front tree, over the roof, and then along the back fences (this is known as Squirrel Route One in my house). The fatigue-inducing storms of winter are transitioning to spring rains, and the first flowers are right around the corner. Bye, winter. Glad to see you gone.

When the cats take a break from squirrel tracking and bunny watching they hang out on my bedroom bookshelf keeping their eyes on me. Since I spent most of the month in bed, they have been up there quite a lot.

Knitting

I really have gotten a lot of knitting done this month. Since I’m tracking my knitting for the year (well, actually, the number of skeins that I can get out of the stash), I thought that I would also give a quarterly update on my progress.

I’m continuing to knit hats and PICC line covers for the Kaiser infusion centers.

So far I’ve knitted 20 hats and 19 PICC line covers this year. Early in the month I delivered all the hats and covers to one of the infusion centers on my way to an appointment with the rheumatologist. The infusion center had a huge impact on me; it was located in a spacious room with large overhead windows; sunbeams streamed down from the windows lighting up the room. There were almost 20 stations in there, along each wall under the windows, each one with a patient receiving treatment. I was stunned. So many people! I must knit faster.

I finished a simple sweater made with merino/cashmere yarn that is like a comfy sweatshirt to wear. Also, it goes with all my shawls, cowls, and mitts.

The sweater is Cushman by Isabel Kraemer. This is the second one that I have made so I was really confident with the fit and raced right through it.

I cannot stress how helpful the cats are in getting these pictures.
I have also been knitting along on a Goldenfern sweater (Jennifer Steingass). In another couple of inches I will start on the colorwork; the three golden colored yarns are for that. I plan to shade from the lightest to the darkest as I work my way down the chart.

Altogether I have knitted my way through 894 grams of yarn this month making the grand total of destashed yarn 3,154 grams (or the equivalent of 31 skeins) for the year. Okay, I did go through bins and pulled out several hundred grams of yarn that needed be thrown out… like many knitters I have saved the leftovers from almost everything I’ve knitted; at this point I need to let all of those scraps go! I had hoped to get 50 skeins out of the stash: now I’m thinking that I might manage 100 skeins. Knitting all those hats is paying off!

Garden

The outdoor garden is still dead, and the indoor garden is kind of pathetic. I’ve been buying some ferns and a spider plant to get more greenery into the house. The cats are fans of the new plants!

All the new plants are kitty safe.

Books

I’ve been reading like a champ so far this year. Mostly science fiction since I am not in the mood for thrillers, mysteries, or anything that is going to require the serious use of brain cells. I’ve been spending long blocks of time in bed with short outings to accomplish tasks in the house in the house all year. I’ve been relying on audiobooks heavily as I can listen to them when I’m too tired to hold a book (the fatigue is real, people!), and listened to more books while I was working on the quilt top that I got done this quarter too.

I was so happy to discover this little gem!

I usually don’t listen to the forward of a book, but this time I did, and I was glad that I took the time to let the author explain his book to me. John Scalzi struggled with writing a book in 2020 that he had contracted with a publisher for. Basically, he was kind of crushed by the whole Covid situation and the book wasn’t happening. He finally had to let his publisher know that the book was a no-go, only to think of another book idea a day later. A fun book. An upbeat and slightly ridiculous book with wisecracking characters and lots of fun. A book that celebrates scientific knowledge, jobs that you love, and sticks it to people who are kind of unethical in the pursuit of money/power. A book with Kaijus: those enormous monsters of Japanese fame… think Godzilla. The exact book that I needed!!

I even bought myself a Kaiju cat tee-shirt to go with my ridiculous, feel-good book.

So, how many books have I read this year so far? 19 books! The goal for the year is 50 books, so I am well on my way to meeting that goal.

That’s it for the month.

Hannah: Have a great April, everyone!! If you should come across a Kaiju, don’t try to play with it!!

Month’s End Report: January 2022

January is gone and we are 1/12th of the way through the new year. Outside it is very cold and snowing: perfect flat snowflake crystals are drifting down and creating a sparkling landscape.

Can you see the sparkles on the bear?

It will continue to snow all night and most of the day tomorrow, and when it clears we will have subzero temperature over the next night. That’s subzero Fahrenheit temperatures. It is eerily silent outside and there isn’t an animal track or footprint in the snow anywhere. I have a big pot of green chili started and lots of knitting plans for the coming couple of days.

I set myself a lot of goals for the year and I thought that I would check in at the end of every month with an update about how I’m doing.

Knitting:

I had this idea that I would reduce the stash by at least 50 skeins of yarn this year. (For the purpose of computing skeins 100g of yarn equals one skein.) I’m knitting hats and PICC line covers for the Kaiser infusion centers in the Denver metro area through a group of community knitters (Kaiser employees, all) that I serendipitously encountered last year. It is still early days but this seems to be a good strategy to use up lots of unloved skeins and left over yarn.

This month I produced 9 hats and 9 Picc line covers. The hats are all Barley and Barley Light by Tin Can Knits, and the PICC line pattern is here.

I have a loose goal of producing 50 hats and 50 PICC line covers this year, so I am definitely on pace.

I also started a new sweater this month. This yarn is Lush Worsted by The Uncommon Thread in the colorway Chrome. The sweater is Cushman by Isabel Kraemer.

All together I used up almost 950 grams of yarn this month, which translates to almost 10 skeins of yarn if I use 100 g/skein to calculate how much I’m reducing from the stash. So far it has been a great start to the destash!

Garden

It’s winter. Three of my orchids are going to bloom and they have been slowly, slowly growing out the stems and now the buds are really starting to look good.

I think that this plant will be giving me purple blooms.

All of the orchids are putting out new roots and I am gratified that they are looking so healthy. Hmm… did I mention that I threw away two plants last fall that were whimpy and failing to thrive? Yep. It’s not that I’m such a great gardener, but that I know when to banish a sickly-looking plant to the garage. All the plants that are under the lights are really looking good and I’m glad that I heartlessly removed the ones that looked sick.

Books:

Okay, the reason there was so much knitting going on last month has to do with me struggling with the weather and annoying symptoms associated with my pulmonary hypertension. I also pulled out The Murderbot Diaries and read/listened to all of the books in the series again.

There are actually 6 books and a short story in this series, and I just can’t seem to get enough of Murderbot. I’ve spent some time thinking about what draws me to the character and the series so much. The books are well written, interesting, extremely well balanced, and the audible books are excellent. Let me unpack the story a little for you.

Murderbot is an intelligent construct created from organic and robotic parts. It is a security unit (SecUnit) designed to handle all security/protection for human clients that contract with the owning company. SecUnits are horrifically dangerous due to their features (energy weapons in its arms, for example) and their ability to manipulate digital networks. To control them they have a governor module that punishes/kills them if they fail to follow directions or screw up in any way. The popular media presents rogue SecUnits as the ultimate threat to humans; “very dangerous, kill on sight” type stuff.

Okay, let’s be clear here. Murderbot is a slave to the corporation that created/owns it. Rogue SecUnits are the equivalent of escaped, extremely dangerous slaves.

Murderbot figured out how to hack its governor module and is now a rogue unit. It doesn’t really know what to do with itself so it conceals its rogue status, continues to work its job, and watches digital media as much as it can. Through luck it works for clients who appreciate how very special it is; they buy its contract and free it. Murderbot isn’t sure what it wants, but it is sure that it doesn’t want to be a “pet”, so it leaves. Slowly, through interactions with others and lots of episodes of The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon, Murderbot comes into its own. It makes its own security contracts with clients and begins to control its own situation. Always in danger of being captured and destroyed, he learns how to “pass” for human. He makes friends, learns how to handle emotions, faces down his demons, and slowly finds his purpose in life.

On bad days I crawl under the covers again and listen to Murderbot. Murderbot binge watches serials with his friend ART (which stands for Asshole Research Transport) and I binge watch Netflix. Murderbot faces down his fears and learns to move around in unfamiliar situations; I face down Covid and take myself into a crowded grocery store to get my booster shot. I definitely channel Murderbot when I shoot someone side eye for not wearing their mask! Murderbot finds its voice and learns to speak for itself, and I learn to ask the hard questions of my medical team.

Murderbot as a role model. I can do worse.

These books are short so I polished off 10 books this month. Wow. My goal is 50 books for the year so I am in good shape.

Hannah: Have a great February, everyone!