My First Blogiversary

Yesterday, I came across this little message in my notifications:

And indeed, the first entry I posted here was posted a year ago as of this past Wednesday. For those of you who would like to read it, it is called “Dipping My Toes” and serves as my introduction to this blog and my philosophy on blogging in general.

So I figured that in observance of my first blogiversary, I’d talk about the things I’ve learned over my first year of serious blogging. And this is something I hope to keep doing every March from here on out, recapping things I have learned either about myself or my blogging in the prior year.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • People are actually, genuinely interested in what I have to say. This is a somewhat big deal for me because in my life away from blogging, I am actually quite quiet and at times I feel like most of the world around me ignores me or tells me that my words don’t matter. My audience is not very big compared to some blogs (as of now, I am only at about 60 followers), but the followers that I have gathered over the last year have had quality blogs of their own and have seemed genuinely interested in my writing. Some of them have been constant sources of encouragement and advice, and many of them have genuinely interesting blogs themselves, even if I don’t get enough time to read each and every single one.
  • Blogging is the new newspaper column. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have thought of Carrie Bradshaw and her newspaper column for which Sex and the City is named. Granted, I don’t post on deadlines like Carrie had to, but the process of coming up with a new post each time is very similar to her creative process. Ultimately, our best writing often comes from what we know and experience ourselves, and we often write these experiences into our posts. Sometimes I wonder if Carrie had actually existed, how would she be approaching her writing now? Would she still be writing for a newspaper, or would she be blogging about life and love and relationships and Mr. Big and growing older, while making some money by writing for magazines or lifestyle websites? Real or fictional, there are a lot of similarities between blogging and newspaper columns, and each relies on audience building for success. I hope to grow my audience even more over the next year, that’s for sure.
  • It’s okay to share some of your secrets and vulnerabilities. I have allowed some of my posts to delve into my insecurities and vulnerable spots in my life, and I’m glad to have been able to have control over just what I reveal before I let it out into the world. Like the saying goes, “Three can keep a secret if two are dead.” I’ve had to explore some of myself emotionally in making certain posts and having to lay my thoughts out on the table. It’s been scary, but at times necessary.
  • There is inspiration in the mundaneness of everyday life. So what if I’m not a Fortune 500 CEO or an Internet celebrity? My life is still interesting and still worth writing about. This my little corner of the planet, and I like the idea of letting people into my own thoughts and insights, even if my everyday life is boring as hell. And boring though my life may be, at least others find my own experiences and reactions interesting. And of course, it always feels good if a post or a comment of mine made someone’s day. I’m not looking to shake the world to its core, I’m just looking to bring a little brightness to the people who live in it…and I like that.

Thank you all so much for sticking with me in this first year of The Snowless Knitter! I hope the year ahead for this blog will continue to teach me so much about blogging and life itself, and I hope you all enjoy the ride.

Hippie Bird Day, Two Ewes

(The title of this post is sort of an inside joke on Ravelry, and is normally used to wish someone a happy birthday.)

So, yesterday was my 31st birthday. It actually wasn’t too bad. I didn’t have any cake, but my dad had gotten donuts and breakfast sandwiches (sausage patties and cheese on English muffins) that morning, and he even volunteered to make coffee. About 2:30 that afternoon, I was getting a bit bored, so I finally asked my dad if he’d be willing to take me to a local independent bookstore I’d been wanting to go to for a while, and I still had a considerable amount of Christmas money still burning a hole in my wallet. He agreed to go, and so we all hopped into the Jeep and drove the 10 miles or so to the store. I don’t want to give away my exact location, but this is an independent bookstore that’s been around for a while, and I remember going to this same store over a decade ago to get books that were required reading for one of my high school English classes. (I still have those books and have attempted to revisit some of them, as recounted in “My Love Affair With Books”.) It sells mostly used books, but there are also plenty in new condition, with just about every genre you could think of. There are several rooms filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves. The front room houses the most contemporary books and children’s and young adult fiction as well. The next room contained the classics and all sorts of nonfiction books (biographies, history books, philosophy) on one side, and new age and self help books on the other. The third room had the general fiction books, with authors like Danielle Steele and Debbie Macomber and V.C. Andrews and Dan Brown lining the shelves. The fourth and final room contained mostly fantasy and science fiction novels, which while I am not a major reader of those two genres, I did take a look to see if there was anything interesting for people that I know who do enjoy those genres. Ultimately, I bought five books, four of them from the Classics/Nonfiction room and the fifth was from the front of the store. Some of these titles you may recognize from the list I posted, but wasn’t limited to, in “I’m Dreaming of a Mild Christmas”. And I’ll explain my reasoning behind each of them.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This one was a case of “I have seen the movie, but I have never read the book”. I remember watching the 1960s film adaptation of this novel in high school, but for one reason or another I have never read the book. I have even seen John Green’s Crash Course Literature course on this novel and still have not read it. From what I know of this novel, it is like “Survivor” on steroids, and illustrates what happens when the most extreme of circumstances forces us complex human beings into our most basic, primitive instincts and behaviors.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

You readers do not understand how long this book has been on my Book Bucket List (basically, the list of books I want to read before I die)! I have been intrigued by this book since 1999…the year that I saw an episode of The Famous Jett Jackson in which this very novel plays a very important part in an episode’s plot. The dystopian themes of censorship and the limitation of knowledge (two things that I personally take a strong stance against) also draw me to this particular novel, and I’m excited that I’m finally going to get a chance to read it!

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I know I may get some flack for picking this one, as a lot of people tend to associate Rand’s work with right-wing politics and political figures like Paul Ryan; I personally identify as socially liberal with a libertarian streak, but I also try to allow myself to be open minded to other points of view. My main motivation for picking this one was actually Neil Peart, the drummer from the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, who mentioned Rand and The Fountainhead in the liner notes to the band’s landmark album 2112, which (according to his interview in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which I decided to watch again on Netflix last night after buying this book) inspired a then-twelve-year-old Canadian boy named Sebastian Bierk (who would later become a famous heavy metal singer named Sebastian Bach, famous for singing in the band Skid Row and later for playing Hep Alien guitarist and singer Gil in Gilmore Girls) to go out and actually get a copy of The Fountainhead and read it. The members of the band are all well-read people, and Peart especially (as the band’s primary lyricist) has never been afraid to incorporate literary themes into the band’s songwriting. I mean, their song “Xanadu” was inspired by a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem! (“Kubla Khan”, by the way, if you’re wondering!) I mainly wanted to see what all the hype was about, even if I didn’t necessarily identify with Ayn Rand’s political themes or stances. And I should state the following: Yes. I am a female Rush fan. We exist.

A Farewell to Armsby Ernest Hemingway

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans’ exposure to Ernest Hemingway’s work has come primarily from being required to study The Old Man and the Sea for a high school English class. I include myself in this. I studied The Old Man and the Sea as part of my English class in my freshman year of high school. I vaguely remember reading it. I don’t know if it had much of an effect on me. Now, from what I know of this one, this novel is semi-autobiographical and based off of Hemingway’s experiences in World War I. Will this have more of an effect on me than The Old Man and the Sea did? I can’t wait to find out. This wasn’t necessarily on my Book Bucket List. I picked this one on a whim. But sometimes you find a gem 💎 when you least expect it. Perhaps this will end up being a gem 💎 in my collection. And perhaps I’ll get the same reaction I had to The Catcher in the Rye and wonder “WTF?” at the end of it all. Who knows?

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I read The Hunger Games about two and a half, maybe three years ago and loved 💕 it. How much did I love it? I finished the entire book in one week. I have only read Harry Potter novels in a quicker span of time! I wanted to read Catching Fire almost immediately afterwards…only to find that Walmart stopped carrying the Hunger Games novels just after we’d bought the first novel in the trilogy! There was also a copy of Mockingjay available, but I was unsure of how much it would eat up my budget, and I’d already found quite a few titles for my collection. I hope to eventually get a copy of Mockingjay someday, but I hope I have just as much fun reading Catching Fire as I did reading The Hunger Games!

After paying for the books and leaving the bookstore, I hopped back into the Jeep where my parents were waiting, and my dad drove us around some of the more rural parts of our home county, which is filled with Florida scrub forests and the occasional cattle pasture (or as I like to call it, “Cow Country”, which Florida actually has quite a bit of). We made our way back towards our home, but not before stopping off at a local car wash first (the Jeep is white and was covered in pollen from recent rain storms that came by earlier this week). We finally got home after a couple of hours away, and had a mostly relaxing evening, which I spent watching Netflix and drafting and formatting the post you are currently reading!

Thank you to everyone who sent me their birthday well wishes, be it here on my blog or through Instagram or other social media! I appreciate it and I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my blog! I hope the next year ahead for me is a good one!

My First Love Letter 💌

Earlier this month, I saw a videoclip on The Talk where actress Laura Dern was taking part in a fragrance campaign for Kate Spade, in which several famous women compose “love letters” to themselves. Harper’s Bazaar has an article detailing the ad campaign here. Being that I have never received a love letter from another person, who better to write my first love letter to myself than me? So, today being my 31st birthday, I have decided to celebrate it by writing myself a love letter. And I encourage you out there to do one for yourselves as well. Just write what you love about yourself and give yourself a little encouragement or advice where you may need it.

Dear Crystal,

I know you have times where you feel like, for whatever reason, that you are worth less to those around you and that you feel like the world is turning a blind eye to you. I’m here to remind you why you are the amazing human being that you are. I’m here to remind you that you yourself are worth loving.

First and foremost, I love that you have always been fiercely independent and marching to your own drum. You may not have always been willing to do this in your life, but once you figured out that the only person you are sure to please 100% of the time is yourself, you took both drumsticks and ran to the hills. There were times when you yearned to be part of the “In” crowd, unsure of your own worth and identity and so desperately looking to others to validate you, to make you think you were normal. In the end, all that did was push those who truly cared about you away, but the ones who truly mattered always found their way back. It took a long time for you to figure out that normal was a subjective concept and that you yourself were not normal…you were one of a kind. And once you did figure that out, you embraced it. I wish for you to continue to do that for as long as humanly possible.

Secondly, I love your kindness. Even in the most trying of situations where your patience is tested (and I know you go through a lot of them these days), you manage to keep as calm of a head as you possibly can (even when the impatience starts to get to you). Whether it’s helping your brother cook his first Thanksgiving turkey for his young family or helping your neighbor’s daughter with her science project (despite the flaws she made in her experiment process beforehand) or helping your dad install a TV despite you not being the best lifter, you are unafraid to lend a hand to a friend or a family member in need. I hope you are able to carry that attitude with you through as much of your life as you possibly can.

I also love that you are an adapter. No matter what life, both the big situations and the small, seems to throw at you, you almost always find a way to make it work. And I know how much you hate change. When your mother’s condition started to show itself, you seamlessly transitioned into her caretaker, no questions asked. When you find that you are missing a major ingredient for a meal you were planning, you still find a way to make it work. When times were lean and we were short on money, you found a way to make $40 weekly grocery budget work, and now that times are better, you still find a way to make your current grocery budget work. Have leftover yarn in your stash? You can figure out what to do with it, even if you didn’t originally get the yarn for the purpose you end up using it for. You hate change, sure, but you are also willing to accept it.

Finally, I love that you are one of the best and truest friends a person could have. When you befriend a person, those you befriend deeply know who you are and love you anyway. Your closest friends are like family to you, and they have seen you at your most vulnerable and helped you through it. You have also seen your closest friends at their most vulnerable and have tried to help them through it. You and your friends have each other’s backs and are willing to stand up for each other in times of trouble or torment. When your head was way up in the clouds or you got too full of yourself, your friends were the voices of reason and brought you back down to earth. And you have learned from those experiences and have tried to become a better person as a result. With your ambitious mind, your friends taught you humility. And in today’s world, humility is hard to find.

I hope this letter finds you feeling more confident about yourself. I hope this letter reminds you of the many strengths that you have within you in the times when you are feeling weak. Sometimes when you feel that your life is going south on you, think of this letter and realize that you’ve got this. Think of this letter and find your grip. You are more capable than you realize. You’ve got this, and I love you for it.



This felt good. Sometimes we just have to evaluate ourselves and put down what we love about ourselves in writing ✍️. It can be challenging, but it can be done. Happy birthday to me.

I’ll Take My Snowless Knitter Re-Caf

This is a follow-up to my previous post, “I’ll Take My Snowless Knitter Decaf”.

So, it turns out we didn’t order a replacement brewer to be delivered. Luckily, though, my dad was able to find a local store that carried the brewer that he was interested in…but not before asking my opinion. This is a big deal for me, because I was in a state of mind for a long time that my opinion didn’t necessarily matter, for a litany of reasons that I don’t feel like discussing. The fact that he asked for my opinion on a brewer feels like a big step. I didn’t commit to either option (either a new Keurig or a Ninja), but I did point out that regular coffee grounds were cheaper than K-Cups, and was thus open to going for the Ninja (especially since I knew he’d been wanting to switch to the Ninja for a couple of years now).

He finally bought the Ninja this morning. Specifically, a Ninja Coffee Bar, which has all sorts of brewing options from classic all the way to super strong (like you’d use in a coffeehouse style drink). I have no idea which store he got it from, but he was able to find it. I consider us especially lucky that we were in a position to be able to get it, considering the price (it’s not cheap, but it’s supposed to brew quality coffee). Heck, I would have been okay with a Mr. Coffee, as long as I’d be able to enjoy my favorite morning brew once again! But my dad is a man of technology and gadgetry; he’s always been interested in the latest of just about everything, from TVs to computers to coffee makers. He likes to wait a little while before he’ll spring for something, but he usually ends up getting his hands on it eventually. It makes me think of when we got our first PC, a Packard Bell that ran (I kid you not) Microsoft Windows for Workgroups…Old School Windows. I remember when the icon to close an application was that little dash mark in the upper left-hand corner! I remember when we upgraded to Windows 95…remember the ad campaign with The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” playing? The “Start” button was a big deal, as was the X button closing an application! Our first HDTV ran on a cathode ray tube system! Remember when HD was top of the line? Now there’s Universal HD and 4K. I remember when my dad’s first cell phone was a flip phone, and his first smartphone was secondhand from my brother (when that iPhone became obsolete, he finally got his current iPhone, which I think is either an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 6). It’s amazing how technology has evolved just in my lifetime alone! Even with coffee makers!

Our Ninja also comes with a frothing device, and my dad has already encouraged me to experiment with it and try to become my own at-home barista (he’s even willing to be my guinea pig 😂). It came with a recipe book, and I am itching to make my first caramel macchiato!

Okay…I haven’t talked much about crafting lately, so I figured I’d fill you in. I haven’t knit much in the last month, partly because I was distracted by a crochet project, but I was also dealing with a nagging back issue that is only just within the last few days finally starting to resolve itself.

The crochet project: I was reading through some other blogs last month when one of them (I think Mad Man Knitting) was talking about a corner-to-corner project. I decided to try it out for myself, and using some leftover stash yarn, I started working on a corner-to-corner piece of my own. I’m not quite ready to show you pictures just yet (maybe in a future post), but it has a nice look so far, a mix of solid and variegated, each separated by a soft white stripe. I’m hoping it will be a sofa-sized throw when it’s done.

My back: About three weeks ago, I had to unclog a toilet in the middle of the night, and in the process, I must have either pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve. The following morning, my back was stiff as a board, my range of motion was gone on my left and limited on my right, and I had to walk at a snail’s pace. Bending over was next to impossible without feeling excruciating pain and when I did bend over (even just to get ice out of the freezer, which is a pull-out freezer), I’d have to do so while supporting myself on something nearby. Laying on my side or sitting with support behind me would ease the pain a little bit. I was able to walk at a regular pace after a couple of days, but the stiffness and the difficulty bending over remained. Sleeping in my parents’ bed (which I do when my dad works in order to help my mom out when she inevitably awakens in the middle of the night) did me no favors either. It took well over a week, almost two to finally get all of my range of motion back, but I am still dealing with a little knot of pain in my left lower back (though now the pain is just annoying instead of excruciating), and I still cannot stay bent over for long periods of time, but it has slowly been improving. My back is at its stiffest when I first get out of bed or when standing after sitting for an extended period of time, but it relaxes after I stand for a few minutes. Whatever I did to it, it’s been slow to heal, but it has been healing.

So, as I write, I have been drinking my first cup of coffee ☕️ in over a week. We brewed a pot on the “Rich” setting, which makes the coffee just like my dad likes it: strong and stout. The carafe that came with the Ninja has a tube going down into it that essentially fills and mixes the coffee from the bottom as it fills, making for a smoother and more flavor-consistent cup of coffee. Mine is Folgers medium roast, with sugar and vanilla creamer added, and it still tastes like a strong cup of coffee.

I hope you all are having a good day, and if you drink it, enjoy your coffee!

And since I mentioned it, here’s “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones!

I’ll Take My Snowless Knitter Decaf

It’s unusual that I reference coffee in the title, but I feel for what’s been going on for the last few days or so, it’s appropriate. See, I am currently in what is probably my longest stretch of going without coffee ☕️ ever since I started drinking it on a regular basis (which was basically my original stint in college, so about 18-19 years old; prior to that, I would enjoy the occasional gas station-style cappuccino from my high school’s cafeteria, or a styrofoam cup of highly sweetened black coffee at the bingo hall while helping my mom and grandmother set up their playing papers prior to their going to bingo night, probably as far back as 14 or 15 years of age).

So, last week we ran out of creamer (and I’ve gotten so used to creamer by this point that I can no longer drink my coffee with just sugar in it, I now need to have creamer or milk in it) and I wasn’t going to be able to get groceries until Tuesday (which was yesterday morning, so I’ve already done the shopping now) because my dad decided to finally get a physical done on Monday morning. (Other than high blood pressure and his weight, he’s actually doing okay for someone who’s a nearly pack-a-day smoker. He saw the same doctor who’s treated my mom for many years, and my grandmother for years before that.) So I get the groceries done yesterday morning, and well, I was already fueled by both a cherry Coke and a regular Coke (vending machines, right?), so I planned on waiting until yesterday evening to have my first cup of coffee since maybe Friday or Saturday. I put a K-Cup into our Keurig brewer (which we’ve had since maybe late 2012 or 2013, when our Mr. Coffee’s hot plate stopped working) and went to go wake up my dad. After he starts to get out of bed, I go back to the kitchen to get his coffee. It is not brewing like it’s supposed to. It just goes *drip…drip…drip*. One. Drop. At. A. Time. This is not a good sign. We try cleaning out the needle housing. No luck. We try changing cup sizes. No luck. So I give my dad a glass of sweet tea for his trouble and I decided to attempt to descale the brewer in the morning.

This morning, I get up and within half an hour began my attempt to descale the brewer. Not only is the liquid still dripping out one. drop. at. a. time., I also begin to hear clicking noises when it attempts to pump water out of the reservoir. Dad gets home a little after 9:00 am, and joins me in the kitchen. After a couple more attempts at getting the water/vinegar solution to pump out of the reservoir, it just stops attempting to pump altogether. My dad says nonchalantly, “I think the water pump’s dead…time to get a new coffee maker.” Knowing he’s been interested in getting a Ninja for the last few years, I said to him, “You’ve been waiting a long time to say that, haven’t you?” He smiles back at me. He goes to his laptop, and while I only get a glimpse of a checkout screen, it seems he has placed an order for a new brewer. He also watches a video about using a Ninja coffee brewer. He has seemingly ordered the Ninja. (I will not be able to confirm or deny this until we actually obtain a new brewer, so maybe this will be a two-parter.)

I feel a little sad that our Keurig has finally croaked. I loved that Keurig. It was a fantastic brewer, willing to pump out a nice cup of coffee for me whenever I needed one. I think I’ve permanently been turned off from carafes because of that Keurig. I was always dumping out leftover coffee from the carafes we had; when we went single-serve, it felt nice not having to wait 15 minutes for the cup of coffee I’d been craving.

There is a downside to switching to the Ninja, if we are indeed switching to it: we are gonna have a boatload of coffee pods that we can no longer use (as the Ninja operates on standard coffee grounds, which is cheaper than using the K-Cups)…and I hate to throw away good coffee! (My brother and sister-in-law have a single-serve brewer that can take both grounds and coffee pods; I wonder if they’d be willing to take our coffee pods once we get our new brewer?) Oh my…

Well, it looks like I will be going at least one more day without coffee. Wish me well.