Adjustments

Today was spent adjusting the bookshelf plans I found online to fit the area we wanted then sawing up the wood to match our new calculations.  Hopefully my math works out!  We got most of the pocket holes in before it turned dark and we had to pack everything back inside.

It’s always fun playing with tools and making stuff.

The grape juice tester was too sweet, as I suspected.  Granny Boo used 1 cup of grapes and 1 cup if sugar per half gallon she made but I still think her Concords had a better, more tart flavor.  I made a second tester pint this morning and halved the sugar again and added a few more grapes to try to increase to overall flavor.   It’s ready now, so I’ll crack it open to try with dinner.  🙂

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Our water here is so hard, it makes the cans look awful.  I wonder if adding some vinegar to the bath would keep that down?

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Busy, busy

I finished the collar on the cardigan and have picked up the stitches (still not my favorite thing to do) on the edge to start actually knitting the body.  Hooray!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mess up and somehow manage to purl a stitch on both sides?  Never done that before…and don’t think I could recreate it if I tried. Luckily, my lifeline was just two rows before so no real time loss.

We grabbed lunch out at the fresh fish place today.  I had crab cakes and Logan had a poke bowl; both were super tasty.  I would share a photo but we inhaled it.

Then we went off to Lowes to grab the lumber I need for the bookshel I’ve been whining about.

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Yay, lumber!

I also had a good laugh in the store.  I had to actually explain to three guys what pocket screws were before somebody could tell me where they were in the store.  Physically explain what a pocket screw is.  I could’ve sworn the guys were just being jerks but they had to call in some old guy and thank goodness he knew what I wanted.  …as I was walking away, pocket screws in hand, the guys asked the old guy what the screws were for, so at least it wasn’t just me.

I also found some Concords!  That can only mean I’m making Granny Boo’s grape juice.

I did a trial can in a pint jar to make sure I’m not making it to sweet.  The variety she grew were a bit more tart than the ones I have now and I hate sweet juice.

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As it’s cooling, the grapes are releasing more juice.  Hopefully by morning, it’ll be the color I remember and the taste I’m looking for.  If not, I get to start playing with adjusting the recipe over and over.  Fun times!

I’m excited to have my grubby paws on some grapes, though.  I usually hate grape juice, but hers was always the exception.

Shuffling books

Logan came home last night and asked why I was so uncharacteristically happy.  XD

Just having tickets in hand for the Nightmare Before Christmas still had me giddy that late in the evening.  I also think it’s hilarious that my being in an unusually good mood made him suspicious.  The poor guy must live a miserable life coming home to me daily.

I decided I didn’t like having books on the new basement shelves yesterday.  They take up too much rack space and I don’t like having to stack them sideways to fit all of them.

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Yes, the label maker is so honored and revered in this house that it currently has its own shelf of honor.  Logan received a gift from his workplace after being there for 5 years; he got a whole catalog of stuff to choose from and we picked the label maker.  XD  Worth it’s weight in gold!

Trust me, the books are not all in the photo (those are just the Biology books) and take up two shelves when they are.  We also have a good selection of general science (Chemistry, Physics, etc.), a huge variety of math (more than most people would deem sane), and Logan has more Engineering and “cookbooks” than I do Biology books…so it gets creative fast.  We’re also keeping our Skeptic and Polypony magazines from the, oh, I dunno 70s?

I think I’m either going to build a shelf for them in the opposite corner or steal another metal shelf that Logan isn’t really using for anything but a stereo right now.  It’s smaller and doesn’t have much use but may work well for the books.  Particle board bookshelves simply can’t withstand the wrath of that many textbooks and I’m not spending an arm and a leg for a bookshelf that’s living in an unfinished basement.   …so it’s yoink the small metal shelf and hope it holds everything or build a wooden shelf.  I think either of those is workable solution, assuming Logan is even willing to let the small shelf go.

I did get Logan to start sorting through the boxes and boxes of parts last night, which is encouraging.  So the area of junk you see in the photo is clear now!!!  He still wanted to make piles of the piles but I finally talked him out of it.  Making more piles is not going to get those things sorted and put away.  It’s only going to make navigating that room more frustrating.

I shooed him away to another room and gave him a small box at a time to go through.  If the pieces had a home, they went to their sorted home with other identical parts we managed years ago.  If they don’t currently have a home, he could either make one if he knew where he wanted them to go permanently or, if not, I have a plastic storage tote that he’s allowed to put in orphaned parts to save for later and deal with once everything else is managed.  That way, he won’t get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of everything and in the end, he’ll only be working with supplies he knows he wants to save (as will I, so I know what type of storage solutions I need to be coming up with).

So far, so good.  He’s decided he can’t actually do anything with most of the steel plates he’s inherited because he simply doesn’t have the machine power to mill it, so we’re taking it to metal recycling this weekend.  I’m ecstatic.  I had no clue where or how I was going to store that much steel for him.  More stuff out of our house!  *happy dance*

The faster he gets this basement managed, the sooner we can refocus on actually remodeling the laundry room, his bathroom, and *gasp* actually finishing the basement like he wants!

Composure? What is that?!

I don’t often lose my cool.

I’m actually fairly level-headed in most circumstances which may be hard to believe…except when Logan is driving, then I might as well be a screeching harpy.  >_>;;

I don’t cry during movies or those gut-punch animal abuse montage videos.  Sure, some people can make me super angry but those are few and they’re incredibly consistent in their ability to light my angry fuse.  Celebrities generally don’t impress me, either — they’re just people and, let’s be honest, I don’t like most people so I don’t see why some people obsess over people they don’t know.  I am, unfortunately, fairly nonchalant about most things in life unless an anxiety attack is hitting.

I still enjoy things, I just don’t show it.  It worries Logan to no end; he’s always asking if I’m enjoying myself at concerts and shows or curious if I want to leave early, even if I’m having a blast.

Today, I’ve been the equivalent of an ear-piercing, shrieking, pre-teen girl.

Why?

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Add this to my book as FanGirl Experience #3.  The Nightmare Before Christmas playing with a live orchestra and the original singing cast *including* Danny Elfman (Jack), Catherine O’Hara (Sally), and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie)!!!

My childhood is coming to life on stage!   …and it’s not going to be some miserable hack!

I’m sooooooo excited!!!  I’ve been running around the house, butchering songs and spazzing out all day.

What were my other two fangirl moments?

Meeting my favorite author in 2009:

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I was the definition of deer in the headlights.  I couldn’t even talk to him at first.  Logan had to physically drag me over to say hello when I spotted Peter S. Beagle sitting all alone.   …so then, being the absolutely amazing man that he is, he just grabbed hold of my hand, and began chatting and telling me about the time he was afraid to meet HIS favorite author but he did so anyway, and how she was dead now, so he was so glad he’d always went up to say hello to her.   Half an hour later, he signed my copy of The Last Unicorn (somebody tell me I’m not the only person that carries books around all the time?!) since it has been one of my favorite novels since I can remember.  I’ll take the chastisement since I did say hello in the end and did get to meet him, even though I was being super shy.  Besides, it makes for a hilarious book inscription and a good reminder.

My second fangirl moment was also well deserved.

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So well deserved that I’ll even post a photo of myself from 2015.  My favorite band ever playing their last show EVER.

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Falconer had just announced that year that they were becoming a studio band only.  They’ve never toured much, playing only a handful of shows in their long history as a band.  I’ve been a fan pretty much since the beginning.  The only other show they’d ever played in the United States was while I was an IFYE Ambassador in Austria in 2003 — so ships passing in the night.  I was going to go see a show of theirs while I was an IFYE Representative to Denmark back in 2007, but my Dad was getting more and more sick and I ended up coming home early; too early to hop over to Norway for the festival they were playing.

I was able to say hello to them, though!  I learned my lesson!  They were all super awesome and nice and signed a few things and then somebody asked if we wanted a photo with the singer.  Uh, of course!  I hate my picture taken but I’m not passing that one up.

Favorite band, favorite author, now favorite movie live….I guess that’s deserving.

Cables: knitted and electrical

Happily I received responses back from both the cardigan designer and the raveler that had the non-sad and droopy join.

The designer said the ugly cable was so the rope would kind of mirror itself down the front in a \ / kind of twist towards the center rather than a / /  and said that if I didn’t mind the parallel twist I could just continue the pattern as is to keep the nice ropes (which actually doesn’t work quite that simply because I’ve already tried that — but kind of her to offer a solution anyway).  I figure she didn’t think much of the join at the back of the neck because she has quite lovely, long hair to hide an odd cable whereas my Grandmother sports a very cute short haircut.

The ravelry member was very nice but made her project over three years ago and didn’t remember doing anything different from the pattern but did promise to dig out the pattern and check her notes just to make sure.  I did look at her sweater again and the ropes did have the / / pattern down the front instead of the \  /  ….but she still somehow got the ropes to connect with the pattern at the join when I can’t voodoo magic it.

For now, I’ve sucked it up and went with the weird cable unless the other raveler gets back to me with something from her notes.  If she does, then I can go back and either start over or rip it all out.  Either or, I really do enjoy knitting cables!

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I’ve absolutely invaded our “entertainment” room.  It’s for my entertainment currently!  It’s so much easier to knit when kicked back in a recliner enjoying Netflix on a projector.  …plus it’s one of the few rooms I can actually keep the cats out of.  It’s also why you can see my cross-stitch project from hell and wrapped Christmas presents hiding in the background.  Cat-free zones are precious in my house.

Speaking of the critters, they had fun trashing the house last night.

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Thorin finally murdered one of the few stuffed toys and gutted it, so polyfil is floating around all of the baseboards…and it appears one of the critters, hard to tell which since they all use it, finally tore through the huge dog bed and then gleefully began distributing chunks of foam everywhere.  By everywhere, I do mean I woke up with it in the bed with me upstairs and found some in the bathtub, so the cats were definitely involved.

The little dog likes to pretend she’s innocent of the whole thing since she sleeps with us all night, but she was chasing around the others with the squeaker from the gutted toy this morning…so I figure she set them all up from the get-go.  😛

After regaining some control of my living areas, I retreated to the basement/laboratory.  After making the scrap storage for Logan, he has finally began showing some spark of life about cleaning — FINALLY — and getting that area functional.  So I’m all about helping as much as I can.  Knitting and other stuff can wait!  (…at least a little bit…)

I assembled two big shelves for one of the corners of my side, replacing two bookshelves that were there.  One of the bookshelves was falling apart from all of our moves, so it was unfortunately time to be trashed…literally, the books were supporting the shelves.  The other bookshelf I’m going to exchange for the metal shelf I’m using currently for my sewing machine repair supplies and that sort of stuff. I don’t need anything substantial for my sewing machine stuff, but his laboratory could use some good shelving, so I’ll give Logan the metal racking.

The shelves I put together will hopefully hold most of the construction and home improvement stuff, along with a few other weird things.  The idea is to get it out of the part of the basement that will be his lab and to make that stuff more accessible in general.

I’ll try to remember to snap a photo tomorrow when I’m down there next, but so far I have 6 plastic bins I’m sorting home improvement supplies into (paint, plumbing, electrical, flooring, caulk and putty, and general repairs/hardware) and a shelf for paint (yah, we have that much), and some shelves set up for some of the more portable power tools.

Tomorrow I’m going to start putting books on the shelves.  We only store heavy reference and technical books down there…but we’re nerds, so we have a lot.  So far I was able to condense a whole bookshelf of paint down to one shelf, so I’m hoping a shelf of books can be done similarly.

I’ve also emptied out the old filing cabinet the former owners left in the attic — we had drug it down to the basement to use as our home improvement junk drawers — and fitted the cabinet drawers with some tension rods that now hold his spools of wire.  The wire that isn’t spool (including ribbon cable) he just wanted put in the bottom drawer as a fun kind of grab bag.  I’ve moved and spooled so much wire and cable today, I’m sure I’ll see it in my dreams.

It has already made the place soooo much more accessible and cleaner.  We still have a long way to go, but he’s enthusiastic and so long as I keep making in-roads on the parts I can do and work on organizing, he’s not getting overwhelmed and wanting to quit.

…now if only I knew about electronic parts, other than their basic names, so I could get all of those boxes and boxes of stuff from our neighbor sorted and cleaned up.

Whew!

Pattern frustration

I’ve hit a small snag with the cardigan I’ve been working on.

…and by small I mean I’ve ripped and re-worked it at least two dozen times by now.

I wish I was exaggerating with that.

One of the things that drew me most to this pattern was the beautiful rope cable around the front edge that wrapped all of the way around the collar.

What I couldn’t see from the designer’s own photos (thanks to hair) was her join in the center.  I had assumed (I guess that’s my problem) that the pattern would have joined or continued on since it was a provincial cast-on.  That’s a marginal amount of effort — lots of knitters I know haaate crocheting — for anything else.

Turns out it’s a super bizarre center that I’m not a fan of.  The pattern could continue on but it does something hideously derpy where the pattern reverses instead.  It goes droopy and sad, like a rope that somebody forgot to twist and tack up.

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You can see the offending cable on the left, with a bit of my light blue lifeline yarn peeking through where the right and left sides meet.  It’s not the best photo, since it’s from my phone and I’m using Mitzi to prop up the work but I think the pattern can be seen.  I’d only restitched it about a dozen times at that point in frustration.

I kept thinking I was doing something wrong or misreading the directions.  Then I checked ravelry and nope, almost everybody else has the same droopy join…and it’s right in the center of the neck!

The second dozen reknits have been me bumbling through every iteration of the pattern trying to force it to rope correctly.  ONE person on ravelry has done it in her projects.  She has four twists instead of three like the rest of the ropes, but at least it doesn’t draw my eye like that abomination does.  She left no notes on anything, though. *sigh*

I’m working on the last thing I can think to do right now, so have no clue what I’m going to do if it doesn’t magically work out.  Switch to the other cardigan that isn’t going to make my eye twitch every time I see it?

I’m already a bit frustrated at this pattern that I had to make three swatches in moss stitch to find my gauge and had to go down two needle sizes to get what the author wanted.  …and then the first step was to to just cable the right side of the collar to a specified length, remember how many rows I stitched and what row of the pattern I stopped on, rip out the cast on, and do the exact same to the left side collar.

I don’t know about everybody else, but I cable way WAY tighter than I stitch in general (especially with something that swaps knits and purls so often as a moss stitch)…so I’m not exactly sure how well this is going to work out as a blind project that I make for Grandmother.  I roughly know how large she is based purely on what clothing sizes she wears but this may end up a bit too ridiculous.

I still really like the look of the pattern, but it just may not wind up being the one I make for her until I spend a week or so in VA and can make her try it on….or, since there are a huge variety of sizes in this pattern, I can always make it for me or somebody else — AFTER I figure out that dad-gummed neck!

I’m hoping my last attempt to hack it will work out, though.  A gal can hope, right?

-_-;;

Distraction

I’ve officially started the Chimney Fire cardigan.  I’m making a snail’s progress with it but thankfully I’ve been dilligent about moving my lifeline…I dropped it once and lost all the stitches on my left needle while in the middle of a cable and got distracted watching Netflix another and forgot what row I was on.  So, I’ve already had to rip twice.  BAH!

I’d rather rip than tink any day, though,  especially when working with cables.

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This is also my first time working with a provisional cast on.  I did a one step one and really enjoyed it.  I’m have about 2 inches of knitting left on side of the collar I’m working on before I rip out the waste yarn and start on the ither side.

As with any project, I stay distracted.  Logan has been extra stressed about his man cave laboratory lately.  Our elderly friend has been giving him lots of iron scraps and it has just been piling up in the garage and basement.

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One of many piles, plus some wire and other goodies

Logan is not good with organizing or thinking things through…or managing things in small bursts.  He very much just throws stuff into piles until he can take a week off from work and do nothing but that because it overwhelms him to even think about it. It explains a lot about him, his type of focus, and our house.  I’m just the opposite.

Sooo, I did a bit if problem solving for him.  Wood and pipes and iron are about the only things I understand in his lab, so are the only things I can really tackle without his oversight.

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Off the floor, out of piles, sorted, and stored in a small footprint (5″x1.5″ish).  Logan is thrilled.

Now if only we could get the rest of his lab overflow and junk taken care of on what is supposed to be my side of the basement (notice a sewing machine cabinet for restoration!)  Ughhh!

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I think my next project down there is going to be figuring out a way to spool and store the multitudes of wire he’s accumulating….

Swatching

I hate making swatches.  Absolutely hate it.

Thankfully most of what I knit doesn’t require them because I think I’d be crazy by now.

It took three tries to get it right this time and going down two needle sizes.  I used to knit so tight my fingers would hurt moving the needles through, so I guess I’m glad some things change!

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I’m loving this yarn!  It’s so soft and pulls out nicely too!

I finally decided to go with the Chimney Fire cardigan.  The cabling won me over…and I like having moss stiches to hide any oopsies I may have on the way.  Hopefully I’ll remember to put in lots of lifelines, as I’m sure I’ll need them.

The race to Christmas begins!

Apple pies and baby food

Posting this at the beginning of the blog so it’s upfront and center:

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Wishlist

I ended up making the fried apple pies a bit earlier than expected.

Logan was asked to report to a different job site today for something only a handful of people are qualified to do and it takes a team of four of them to accomplish.  He’s sick as can be now, so will probably be snotting up the “spacesuit” he has to wear while working on this particular equipment…so I figured food would help a lot.  Plus, there are only like ten people that work at this entire facility, so it’s a lot easier to make all of them fried pies than his regular office.  🙂

Logan definitely ate more than his fair share last night.  He even went so far as claiming he’d take one for the team and eat any that he broke while putting them in the container.  I think he was breaking them on purpose after a point.

After my big “wanting to help drama” yesterday, I had another incidence set it off.  I probably went a bit overboard and sent an angry email to the organizer…but I’m all about tattling on myself because it pissed me off, to be quite honest.

Our local theater, which we frequent quite often, has set up a big block party and has involved a lot of the local restaurants and sent out the notice yesterday evening.  It’s a good idea at heart and all proceeds are going to for hurricane relief.  The thing that got under my skin (and apparently a lot of others, based on what I’m seeing on their social media) is that money raised is only going to help people affected by Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.

Sure, they were impacted severely and the situations there are, by no means, great.  I know a family that was displaced during Irma and they were just recently allowed back home…but they ARE back home.  Conditions were rough and a lot of cleanup and repairs are necessary, but their home is still standing and they have access to everything they need.  I don’t think anybody can argue that people living in Puerto Rico are experiencing the same.

As I was typing this blog out, actually, the theater sent out an updated email that now they’re “considering” including Puerto Rico in the fundraiser tonight.   I guess enough people fussing does help but I don’t like the word “considering”, so still don’t think I’ll be attending unless Logan wants to go…but since he’s not feeling well, we’ll probably be staying in tonight.  Meals are by donation and $5 a person, so our contribution split over two places and a maybe wouldn’t add up to much anyway.

In the end, when I asked myself the question — what would I want in this situation? — actually receiving supplies seemed a lot more beneficial than hearing about money being funneled through who knows what organizations, especially since all that’s being said is the money will be used through “Fundabilities” and that site certainly isn’t any more clear about how they plan on distributing it.  As I said yesterday, I’m probably too skeptical and cynical for my own good…

Instead, I chose to do something that I know will directly benefit people.

The mayor of NYC is running a supply drive for Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria and the FDNY stations are serving as drop off points.  They’re looking for essentials like diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products, batteries, and first aid.  Since we live a good three hours from the city, it isn’t practical for us to drive in and drop off of a load of supplies, but they’ve set up an Amazon wishlist attached to their Masbia soup kitchens.  Any items ordered from the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief list will be automatically delivered to the Sunset Park Fire Station.

Finally!  Something I can actually give and know that it will get to somebody that needs it.

I looked at our budget for the month (easy since the month is almost over!) and used what we had left in free spending to send all that we could in baby food and diapers.  I’ve seen on multiple reports that food/water are the biggest concerns, even for adults.  I know baby food isn’t ideal, but in a pinch I’d eat it…especially since it’s liquid and would provide some hydration as well.   …and I’m not a parent, but if I was, I’d know I’d be more concerned about my child than I would be about myself, so I thought diapers may also be more useful than some of the other items.  Babies go through a lot more diapers in a month than I do feminine products and just thinking about the how sick/sore a little one can get when left in a wet or dirty diaper definitely drove that decision.

It’s still not much and I wish I could do more, but every little bit counts, right?

 

 

Put a little good out into the world.

Bear with me on this post, I didn’t think about it beforehand and it’s hard to tell where my rant will end up before it actually ends.  I’m sure I’ll step on some toes, I usually do.

So, I did a thing that lead to some introspection, as it always does…and then that leads me to the awkward place of both wanting to do more things and wanting to do no things because it feels selfish at the same time.  It’s a weird power struggle.

I don’t know if it’s typical of me or not — some would think it is, some would say it’s not.  I suppose it depends on which side of me that you see.

I am, as a rule, incredibly anti-social.  There are a lot of reasons, but most of it stems from a strong strain of cynicism and, unfortunately, that cynicism reflects on myself as well.  Regardless of how altruistic I intend to be, I get something out of an action.  I get that modicum of joy and satisfaction that I did something good and unasked for.

It’s different when you give somebody $10 to a charity that is begging for it at every checkout in America — that just feels like being nagged out of your money for the unfortunate folks with muscular dystrophy.  Do I still give then?  Of course I do.  I have two cousins that had Duchenne MD (they were brothers) who defied the odds by living into their 50s with the disorder.  They were both fantastic people and I’ve donated every year since I was an adult, first in their honor, now in their memory.

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Not my photo, I totally yoinked it off of one of their Facebook pages so I could share it here.

So even in giving something, you get something in return.  The charity begs through a clerk who doesn’t care one way or another, I write their names on a clover and then I get a little bit of warm-wash in my gut at remembering my cousins.  I also get to hope the money helps out others facing the same hurdles they did…and secretly wish that my paltry $10 goes towards research that will one day find a way to cure or at least mitigate some of the worst symptoms instead of going towards printing out more shamrocks to hang in more stores across the nation.

I always slip money, when I actually have cash on me, into the donation jars of a DAV Forget-Me-Not or VFW Buddy Poppy drive.  I spent so much time a child peddling those little red Buddy Poppies with my Granny Boo that it’s almost an impulse.  The last DAV lady seemed absolutely shocked that a “kid” with wild colored hair and black clothes was handing her money.  I think I have enough of both flowers now that I could probably make a summer wreath out of them and probably should, it would be a pretty tribute on our front door.

Many years ago, when Logan and I first lived together, we fell in love with some foster kids.  One of our friends was a babysitter for social services and I think I spent almost every day at her house playing with the foster kids.  They were all heart-breaking in their own ways, especially knowing the situations they came from.  Logan and I were young and therefore the age of a lot of the kids’ parents, so the kids often opened up to us in a way that they didn’t with their foster parents or their babysitter…even though their parents were often the people that had hurt them, they were all that they had known.  One of the toddlers whose arms were scarred would run to the door to be picked up by me and would want to hold my hand whereas he’d hide them from others.  One of the little girls would let me brush and braid her hair.  One of the little nonverbal boys would shriek with giggles for us, especially when we’d bring our puppy (now hulking huge dog, Thorin) by to play with him.  They’d want to be held, and rocked, and just generally be loved on.

…but there was one set of sisters that absolutely stole our hearts.  The oldest was four and was absolutely in love with her Loooogie (a nickname I still call him).  She was incredibly intelligent and had spent her entire young life watching out for her younger sister, who was sweet and a bit developmentally delayed at the time due to neglect.  One day, as Christmas was approaching, the oldest had curled up in my lap and she asked if Santa existed.  Knowing all that this poor little one had been through, I just asked if her she thought he did, and she hesitated but finally nodded after a few minutes.  She then admitted that she was afraid that Santa wouldn’t know where to find them since they were in foster care (and knowing her foster parents to be miserable human beings, I seconded that sentiment).  My response was that so long as she believed, Santa would always find her.  That Christmas, Logan and I bought gifts for her, her sister, and the other family of foster kids that were staying with them.  Santa was going to find them, hell or high water, even if it was on a part time salary.  The foster parents, of course, changed most of the tags from “Santa” told all the kids that the presents were from them and how hard it was financially for them to buy everything and what a burden they all were.   …but a the important gift made it through.  The little girl got her “puter” (a little VTech laptop that she had told nobody but the library Santa and me that she wanted) from Santa, so the magic stayed alive and a kid that had so much taken from them at such a young age got to have a taste of a childhood a little longer.  Thankfully (or regrettably) the foster parents were deemed unsuitable after bruises were found on the youngest girl and another foster kid testified that they had all been hit at different times.  The girls were then adopted by some of their family members and we received photos of them afterwards — they looked happy (which they never did in foster care), so I’m happy and hope that they’re doing well all these years later.  We still think about both of them often.  The other kids the foster family had were put into emergency custody with our friend the babysitter and she ultimately ended up adopting them, so things worked out for them too.

…but I digress.  With the state of the world, as I perceive it currently, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless lately.  There are so many people hurting and so many things wrong…and people seem to be flipping out over things that are, in my opinion, entirely pointless.  Athletes aren’t standing for the national anthem and suddenly people are having meltdowns?  Shouldn’t we be more worried about the war of words and egos between “Rocket Boy” and “Dotard” that could very quickly escalate into a very real war?  Or what about climate change?  Aren’t those things that should really matter?  I’m just one person who doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, so what can I do about them anyway?

Put a little good out into the world to try to offset all of the bad that I keep seeing around me daily.  That’s all I can really do.  That’s all I can hope to do with my meager resources and influence.  Just a little good.

Logan works a secretive job, one that I can’t know the specifics.  The whole complex is guarded and I’ve only been on site once, for an approved family day where they opened up the grounds and a few buildings to show people that jobs exist.  To work where he works, you have to be a sole U.S. citizen (not a dual citizen and especially not illegal) and there was a very rigorous security clearance process that involved sending people out to interview almost every single person he knew at the time, myself included.

Why did I even mention Logan’s job?  Because in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Maria, I feel like citizens of our country are being ignored.  In his small, secluded group that work in a locked, guarded room together, he has two Puerto Rican coworkers.  Two guys in an already select group, that make up a huge organization, so you know the numbers grow exponentially as you spread outwards.

Both guys are floundering currently.  One has no clue if his girlfriend is okay.  The other hasn’t heard anything from his entire family.  Can you even begin to imagine not knowing how your loved ones are?  Most of us start to panic if somebody doesn’t answer the phone or return a text after a few minutes.  It has been almost a week since Hurricane Maria tore over one of OUR territories and left nothing but devastation and heartache in her wake.  Puerto Ricans are our fellow country men and women and we’re leaving them in the dark.  Were Irma and Harvey horrible events?  Sure, but fortunately they weren’t islands.  People still had ways to move about, to reach out and find resources, contact their families, find a safe and sanitary place to sleep.  The outcry for aid was strong and it was all I saw on my social media and news.  After Maria, all I’ve seen is outrage over football players.

…so I’m helpless to help and frustrated at being so useless.

I did the only thing I know how to do.  I did the southern thing (well, what Logan and I perceive to be southern — we haven’t noticed it as a trend up here, so please correct me if I’m wrong!) and I sent them food.  On Monday, Logan went to work with a loaf of pumpkin bread for both of his coworkers.  When somebody has hit a rough patch, you feed them.  It’s one less thing they have to worry about and homemade food is always good for your spirits, right?

When his group is having a particularly hard time on a project, I’ll whip up some cookies or send in a cake.  Logan likes it because it wins him some epic brownie points in a company that seems so highly food-motivated.  …and I get to enjoy that glow of knowing that while I can’t fix their problems or actually do anything to really help them, I maybe took away even a bit of stress, even if it’s just for a minute while they’re nomming down.

There’s where the cynicism comes in though.  Giving should be altruistic, shouldn’t it?  I baked the pumpkin bread because I wanted so desperately to be able to do something for both of those guys and knew that, realistically, there wasn’t a thing I -could- do that would actually be useful.  I can’t afford to fly them down to see their family, assuming they could even get flights home.  I certainly can’t fix the infrastructure or our crumbling political system.  I can only do something I’m moderately good at, which is cooking.  Everybody has to eat.

I still get something out of it, though.  I still get to feel like I helped.  I still get to feel a bit of relief that I did something, anything…  I get to hope that I took their minds off a horrible situation, even for a split second, when Logan surprised them by giving them the pumpkin bread.

…and now, a day later, I get to enjoy the high from complements and thanks I wasn’t seeking.  Or was I secretly wanting that validation?  Is that what drove me to do it?  I hope not.  I’m fairly confident in my ability to cook and bake but I have to admit it’s really nice to have the appreciation.

Logan said one of the guys took his bread to share at a meeting with other Puerto Ricans on Monday to spread the love and they devoured it and sent back loads of appreciation and commendation.  The other guy shared some with his cube-mates and then took the rest home to his girlfriend.  The people there all seem really kind and giving, so I’m glad it was spread around even more. Supposedly Logan was even told he was lucky to have me from a guy who apparently didn’t even like pumpkin.  To be fair, I also know that guy and am fond of him; he’s eaten dinner with us and filched some meat pies I’ve packed for Logan’s lunch before, so at least he has more experience to base his judgement. ;P

Putting a little good into the world makes me want to do it even more.  Again, though, I can’t but question my motives.  Am I doing it for me or for them?  Who am I really helping?

Logan asked if I would make some fried apple pies for him to take to work.  I think he also likes the attention and good will.  I’ll make some this weekend.  I have plenty of apple pie filling I canned last year using Cortlands that we picked.  It shouldn’t take long to whip up a big batch of mini pies.  Most of his coworkers have pretty easy lives, but you never know what is boiling beneath the surface.  Some of them are having issues with their kids, or are suffering from losses, or are just downright lonely or stressed.  It’s weird what little things — tiny little things like a random, homemade fried pie at work can sometimes do to make someone’s day a bit more bearable.

I’m also working on my secret “30 for 30” project.  This December, my sister would have turned 30 years old.  It’s crazy to believe…and even harder to think that she’s not been with us for eleven years now.

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Myself and my sister, probably around 3 and 2.

I want to make 30 pillow cases (I use the “Hot Dog” method) to donate to our local Ronald McDonald House (or possibly the one in New Haven, CT if I venture down that way before then).  We spent a lot of time staying in various houses while either she or Dad were at hospitals.  They’re such a fantastic resource for families and patients and we always loved staying at them, especially the one in New Haven.

The houses are always in need of volunteers and all kinds of supplies, and since I sew and have a bunch of cute children fabric on hand, I thought some pillow cases would be fun.  The house can keep them for the rooms or even give them to the kids so they have something bright to take to the hospitals with them…it really doesn’t matter to me.  We would have loved pillow cases with Miss Spider or Babar on them at either place, so hopefully the kids staying there now will too.  I’ll freely admit that I’d still love a Babar pillow so may make myself one when I’m done. 😛

Maybe that’s enough for me, I should quit analyzing (yah right) my motives and just ask:

If I was in x situation, what would I want somebody who had the same resources/skills available as I do, to realistically do?  What would actually help to make my life a bit better?

…and I think I’ll always settle on the answer:  Put a little good out into the world.