Monday, January 25, 2021

Computers, Football and Remembrance - All Good

On Sunday I bit the bullet and ordered a new laptop. I'd been researching it for almost a month, as "Franken-Smaug" started getting harder and harder to turn on. My old Toshiba has served me well over several years, but my dragon is losing his fire. Before he totally died and turned to stone, I want to get the data moved to a new piece of equipment, so I had to get something in-hand. It came down to a choice between Lenovo and Dell, and I had two different windows open with a fully configured system ready to buy, and it came down to one thing. Which one could I get into my hands faster. Lenovo won. Dell, to do the machine I wanted, would have been up to seven weeks before I would have the computer. Lenovo will be able to ship MUCH faster than that. 

The Lenovo isn't 100% what I wanted, but it came 
in at less than $1500 once they applied various 
savings for me. I'm not fond of the Intel, but it's 
actually a version that tested very well. It's got 
the hard drive capacity I required, and a great 
processor. They can ship it later this week, so 
it's a total win/win. 

So, I ended up with a Lenovo Yoga 9i (14") in Shadow Black with a docking station (which might make transferring programs and data from "Franken-Smaug" to the new kid on the block much easier) and an aluminum laptop stand because I wanted it - LOL. I got a one-year family subscription to Microsoft, a two-year extended warranty, and Adobe Photoshop Elements which will eventually replace the old Adobe Photoshop that I run on my desktop computer. It was expensive, but it came in within budget, actually $500 below the top limit I had been willing to spend. I've already transferred the funds to my account, so I'm ready to pay the bill when it comes due. 

Superbowl 55 will feature Brady vs Mahomes and should be 
a good show. DH and I purchased ribs (already in the freezer) 
to make for Game Day, and I'm quite sure we'll have way 
too much to eat during the day. But, I'm really hoping it'll 
be a good game. All too often Super Bowl games are a 

We spent the day watching football - the Tampa Bay/Green Bay game was excellent fun, the Kansas City/Buffalo game was a bit boring. Of course once the Wild ice hockey game started, we switched off from football and watched hockey until period breaks. DH does have his priorities - LOL. He was an EVIL person (in a very GOOD way) and wanted to clear the pantry from a lot of leftover baking materials from the holiday season. So he made me a 2/3 batch of Chex Mix which was my primary food yesterday (I'm so addicted to the stuff), and a big batch of "Everything Bars". My holiday weight will come right back on again - *sigh*. 

I absolutely LOVE Chex Mix. Maybe because I adore 
salty snacks. DH makes a killer version of the traditional 
snack, and he had cereal and stuff to use up from the 
Christmas batch. He was going to save it for Super Bowl, 
but figured we'd have enough stuff to eat for the game, 
so he made it on Saturday. I'll have it totally eaten by 

Today we both have our semi-annual dental checkup appointments, mime as soon as they open the clinic, DH about two hours later. I'm knocking on fake wood, hoping that once again I get a clean bill of health from my dentist. I'm totally petrified of dental work, although clean-and-check has never been a problem for me. If I have to have Novocaine and actual work done, however, I'm petrified. My dentist can always tell if I haven't had all of the proper prep work done because I look like a rabbit frozen in the headlights. I'd rather avoid that if at all possible - LOL. \

The Egyptians believed that as long as a name was remembered, 
that person was never truly dead. Today I remember Helen 
and Arthur (Fiondil) and keep them alive in my thoughts. I 
miss them both. 

I'm also thinking about two people I never met in person, but whose friendship I cherished. Helen was a person I met in the beading boards on early AOL and Yahoo. She was a bright light person - kind, loving, talented and filled with joy. She passed many years ago, and I remember her with a piece of chocolate cake. Today, in 2015, a great friend in the Tolkien community passed - Arthur Boccaccio, aka Fiondil. We were in touch for several years and he gave me my name, Erulisse, a word appearing in his wonderful "War of the Valar" work. Many times I would text him with a quick question or a request and he was always helpful, kind and giving. I miss him and his words. 

On that note, I'm SO out of here. Have an excellent Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. And please, remember to be kind, stay safe and wear your mask. The life you save may be your own! 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Construction and Reconstruction - The Definition of my Friday

One of the projects I had to complete yesterday was the reconstruction of a form that we had in pencil original, but not in typed final. It was a governmental form that we sent out during our shut-down period, and for some reason I had forgotten to print a second copy of the final form for our records. DH wanted a completed filled-out typed copy for us, so we've been working on that. I had hopes that I could fill it out as a PDF with Adobe, so signed up for a trial period with the software needed to achieve that. I was quite unhappy with the results and the effort needed to accomplish it. I'll be cancelling my subscription at the office today after I get the laptop up and running. 

Although I use Adobe Photoshop every day, I don't 
use other parts of their software unless I'm filling 
out someone else's forms. I don't have to own 
Acrobat on my own, but gave it a try for this 
single form we needed to have filled out. 
Unfortunately, it really didn't do what I needed. 
I'll be cancelling and uninstalling it today. 

Speaking of the laptop, apparently that Adobe software would only run on computers with certain software and my desktop versions were too old. So I ended up having to put the software onto the laptop - except the laptop is dying, remember? It took more than 10 tries to get it to power up yesterday. I guess I'd better step up my laptop search and get a new one ordered. It's always a pain to break in a new computer, but it's even worse to reconstruct one from a dead computer. I'm grabbing the bull by the horns and making a decision no later than the end of the month. 

My laptop is getting harder and harder to turn on in 
the mornings. I'm going to have to actually make 
a decision and buy a new laptop before my old 
one totally dies. I'm really not looking forward to 
a new system. It's always a lot of work to get used 
to the little quirks that every system has. Also, 
whatever I get will use Windows 10 - software I'm 
totally not used to. It'll be a learning curve when I 
don't have a lot of time to learn it. 

I have one more form to make for the bank, then I can send everything out to them. It's a lot of paperwork and I hope my banker doesn't hate me for it, but it's all important and totally necessary. I'm trying to lose myself in knitting when possible, though. It's keeping me centered during all of this crap. I grabbed an empty notebook and started keeping records of what I'm doing, how I'm changing patterns, and other note for the projects. I should have been doing this all along, but I'm glad I'm doing it now. It's mandatory when keeping track of things over a larger project. 

I have a handmade book that is almost all 
blank pages. I purchased it at Renaissance 
Festival in 2008. I'm using this for my 
knitting notebook. Friends who got my 
holiday cards might recognize the 
bookmark peeking from the top - LOL. 

Yesterday's goal was a sleeve, and I managed to get one sleeve knit. It got restarted a couple of times, but I was finally successful and the cables along the cuff look splendid. I was happy with my increases, although I had to pull back several rows of knitting several times when I messed up, but they look good and I think they'll work fine. I'll need to duplicate this sleeve for the other side, thus the notebook. I think I can - LOL. 

On that note, have a glorious weekend. We're slightly warmer (12F instead of 3F) and we're supposed to get anywhere from 3-6 inches of snow starting mid-afternoon. I'll be glad to get home from the shop late this afternoon and just veg out while the snow is falling. We'll shovel and deal with it tomorrow. I'll be back on Monday, have a fun weekend! 

Friday, January 22, 2021

It's VERY Cold, So Therefore I'll Knit

My Friday off will actually start with a quick run to the store to pick up a folder I forgot there last night. I'm so used to carrying all of my paperwork in my laptop bag, I completely forgot the package of several hundred pages of materials I was working on yesterday sitting behind my laptop bag at the shop. I grabbed the bag and left the folder standing on the floor. Since it contains things like my bank account statements from 2020, I probably shouldn't just leave it there. So I'll bundle up (it's very cold today - currently it's 3F and I'll dress warmly), take a quick drive over there, pick up my folder and turn on the shop computers, and head back home for my Fabulous Friday off. I am loving this extra day off each week. It's a wonderful thing. 

The quite above is ascribed to Mark Twain and to 
Ozzy Osbourne. Frankly, it could be any number 
of people because I think we all have times when we 
left our minds in the other room. 

On today's agenda, aside from some government forms I need to get filled out, I plan to knit at least one of the two sleeves I need for my sweater, and I want to work in the spare bedroom getting at least one more box of recycling together to deposit at the shop's larger bin tomorrow morning. The shop's recycling bin is collected every Friday, so Saturday morning deposits are excellent timing. 

Although we have recycling at home too, home pickup is 
only every two weeks, and my bin is usually pretty 
full by then. The larger bin at the shop gets picked up 
every week and if the t-shirt printer in our row of shops 
got a shipment of blank shirts, it also can fill quickly. 
Pickup day is Friday, so taking a box of stuff for it 
on Saturday morning is usually good planning. 

I have one more piece of paperwork to get together for my banker, then I can send her a bunch of stuff for our PPP Loan Forgiveness application and, hopefully, that will be it. We've been jumping through hoops for this since we first filled out the actual loan application in April, and I'd like to place the bookend down, thank the bank and government for their very necessary help, and call it a done deal. I know we did everything right - we were very careful about that - it's just a matter of getting the supporting paperwork to the bank's Loan Officer. Dotting i's and crossing t's - it's what makes the world turn around, right? 

Dotting the i's and crossing the t's is essential when 
dealing with finance and government. We've gotten 
really good at doing that, but I'll be grateful when I 
no longer have to deal with the government or bankers. 

Re my knitting for the day, after careful measurement and several different tries on Wednesday, I've decided to do a row of 2x2 cables across my sweater cuffs. I adore cables, and the sample I pulled off the machine late Wednesday looks great. I'll make it work and I think it'll be marvelous. Another adventure in knitting - LOL. Next sweater will have cables in the body too. I'm determined. 

I need to keep my thoughts on the project when I'm 
knitting a cable stitch. I don't want to miss the 
crossover parts, and I would like to have it look 
quite similar to this knitted example. 

On that note, I think I need some hot tea and oatmeal before bundling up and heading out into the cold. We'll only be in the cold for a day or so, but I'm shivering under my hoodie. Have an excellent day - stay safe, be kind and wear your mask. Unless I freeze into a pile of ice, I'll be back tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pomp and Circumstance Over, Now the Work Begins and Adventures in Knitting

I admit, straight out, that I did not watch the inauguration yesterday. I was busy spending three hours at the knitting machine trying to figure out what I wanted the cuff of my sleeves to look like. The sweater directions encouraged me to do ribbing, but ribbing on a knitting machine is boring. (I did a type of mock-ribbing for the hem of the sweater, but decided against it for the sleeves.) I could have just knit plain knit for a turned hem, but that's pretty boring too. So I took the opportunity to start playing with cables. 

I love cables in knitwear, and cables are something well 
within my wheelhouse on a knitting machine. I've decided 
to use cables on my sweater cuffs, and I probably will 
also incorporate some serious cables in my next sweater 
(if I don't do intarsia or fair isle instead). 

I love cables in knitting. They are my favorite element, and often have been the selling point of commercial knitwear I've purchased over the years. Cables and fair isle knitting techniques are two of the main reasons I purchased a knitting machine. I've said it before and I'll say it again with emphasis - I'm a HORRIBLE hand knitter - finding the entire process rather boring and too slow. The knitting machine frees me from that, makes it interesting and fast. Getting an entire sweater knitted in a day or two is seriously amazing. So, I worked on designing some cables for my sweater cuffs. 

Although these cables are on a hand-knit sample, I 
could do cables like these too. It just boggles the 
mind - the possibilities. I'm working this sweater to 
get an idea for sizing and decorative techniques, but 
then I can go crazy and make a bunch of different 

I then remembered "Oh yeah! Inauguration! I suppose I should turn on the TV." I was just in time to see the new President and First Person exit their fancy cars and walk down the avenue toward their new offices. Listening to news commentators in the other room, apparently Kamala Harris started swearing in newly elected Senators, and Joe Biden started rescinding what he could of past Trump policies. I know Trump left Biden a letter in the desk of the Oval Office, but who knows what it said. Those Presidential "welcome" letters are rarely made public. One thing is certain, though. A snake is a snake through and through, and this nation hasn't seen the last of Donald Trump. 

It was a Secret Service agent's nightmare, when Joe Biden and 
his family left their cars to walk towards the White House. The 
strict security meant minimal crowds, however, which was a 
relief. But I'm sure the agents assigned to the new President 
breathed a sigh of relief when he was finally indoors. 

It is a relief to have kindness back in the White House, though. Joe Biden is a kind man - one who looks after his family and his staff and probably one who stops to pet lost kittens in the rain. He's a kind and a decent man who will do the best he can for a nation divided. I hope by the end of his four years that he's healed some of the wounds we're suffering through. 

Kamala Harris and her family also left their cars and walked 
the final 200 yards or so towards the Executive Building 
where she shed her coat and started working. I'm thrilled 
with her - she's smart and I don't think she'll take a lot of 
guff from people. She's a mom, and we all know moms have 
eyes in the backs of their heads and can see through lies. 

On that note, I'm out of here. I have a lot of work to do at the shop - lots of paperwork to finish up for my PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. I scanned almost everything in last night and am waiting for one piece of paper from DH, then I can send everything off to my banker. I'll be relieved to have it all out of my life and back into the file cabinet where it belongs. Have an excellent day and I'll be back tomorrow. As always, please stay safe, be kind, and wear your mask. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Focus - Sometimes It's a Hard Thing

My eyes are being a bit wonky today, not focusing well. I'm having problems with my progressive lenses as well as with my single-distance computer glasses. I'm hoping it resolves itself quickly, I really don't want to go through the day slightly out of focus. It's annoying and unproductive. Well ... to be honest ... it's REALLY annoying. 

Today my eyes are blurry and reading the computer 
screen is difficult. That could make some of what I 
wanted to do today difficult, so I'll push the annual 
budget over to Friday and hope my eyes settle down 
by then. 

It's Inauguration Day today, and if he can make it through the ceremony, Joseph Biden will be our President by mid-day. I'm looking forward to some sanity in Washington DC for a while, but of course that will only last until Congress is back in session. Then the merry-go-round will start again, but with different music. It's hard to get too excited these days - same game, different players. Fortunately, that streak of insanity that ran through the hallways of Government over the past four years, might be tamped down and contained a bit better. Our political system is NOT perfect, but it's actually not bad, and it's functional in most ways. 

I loved this photo of Joe Biden with his wife and Kamala 
Harris with her husband, gazing toward the Washington 
Monument. This will be an Inauguration Day unlike any 
in the past, yet it will still be celebrated by the people 
of this nation as we continue our democratic tradition 
of a peaceful transition of power. 

So I'll spend today doing my usual errands (grocery store and Target - necessary today because I'm running out of some stuff), and I'll try to get at least one sleeve knitted on the machine for my sweater, but I want and need a bit of a kick-back day. I also need to do a household budget summary of the past 12-months. I might push that out until Friday, though. 

As an aside, today begins ten consecutive Palindrome 
Days. Maybe that's a good sign for the future of 
our nation. At any rate, it's a fun fact to share with others. 

I hope all of you have a lovely Wednesday and that we celebrate the peaceful transfer of power in Washington DC as we should - because it's actually an accomplishment. I plan to be back here tomorrow with another chapter in the saga, and until then ... stay safe, be kind, and please wear your mask. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lessons In Paperwork and a Return to the PPP Loan - Will Things Never be Completed?

What was the old adage for hair washing? "Rinse and repeat"? That's what we've been doing regarding our Payroll Protection Program loan from last April - yes, that's April of 2020! I had filled out the Loan Repayment paperwork and submitted it to my bank in late December. There are time deadlines in play here for getting paperwork in on time to avoid having to pay back this loan, and I didn't want to miss the deadline. But, late last week my banker came back to me with news that the form for the government had been amended on December 31st, and I had to fill out a new form and attach several supplementary documents. 

When running a small business, you get buried 
by paperwork all the time. We're pretty experienced, 
after more than 30 years at it, but when something 
is misplaced or simply overlooked, it can be 
catastrophic. I think we managed to dodge the 
bullet on this one and find everything we needed. 

Normally that wouldn't have been a problem. We're sticklers for paperwork, especially when it comes to the Federal government. But when I went into the files to pull the copies of the completed forms, I discovered we were missing one quarterly report from 2020 and I was NOT happy. There was no reason for missing the paperwork, we filed it on time, but for some reason I never printed out copies. Bad me! 

Sometimes it feels as if small businesses are the 
snowman the women are throwing snowballs at in 
this painting by Hans Dahl. But, we pick ourselves 
up, dust off the snow, and continue on trying our 
best in difficult times. 

So yesterday was filled with accusations and recriminations, resulting in my arriving home and scanning paperwork for the bank as well as chasing down duplicate copies of missing forms. The forms had, of course, all been filed electronically, we weren't missing that, but we wanted paper records for our files. It was a hectic 45 minutes while I got all of that together, but success! I sent the revised paperwork and supplementary information to the bank this morning. Now it's back in their hands once more. 

In between customers yesterday, I was watching "Special 
Techniques for Machine Knitting - Color & Texture" with 
Susan Guagliumi on my laptop. I always learn so much 
just watching her, and she's a great teacher. I'll be starting 
the sleeves for my sweater tomorrow during my 
afternoon knitting machine session, and trying to 
finish up my first sweater on Sunday. We'll see how 
my time goes, but I'm pretty happy with how things 
are going so far. 

I'm hoping today will be a bit less fraught with accusations and general grumpiness. I've been busy watching some Craftsy classes, thinking about whether or not I want to actually purchase them or not. They're a lot of fun, and while I'm a member I can watch them at no cost. They're not worth purchasing unless I want access after this first year. I doubt I'll renew my membership for the following year - it's expensive, and probably won't match the $9/year offer I got for this year, so if it's a class I'll want to keep referring to, purchasing might be the way to go. . 

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm cold, and I want my cup of hot tea and oatmeal. Have a glorious Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow. As always, please be kind, stay safe and wear your mask. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Beautiful Photo

 As seen on posts from Shirebound and other friends. Feel free to join in. 

"I'm asking those who love the outdoors to post a picture on your page. A picture that YOU took. Just a pic. No description. The goal is to regain peace and harmony without negativity. Please copy the text, put a picture on YOUR page, and let's look at these beautiful pictures."