A Picture of Dorian? Nay.

So, you all may have heard that Hurricane Dorian seemingly has its sights set on my home state of Florida. Thinking back to all of your comments and concerns that you all posted here on my blog a couple of years ago when Irma went up through Florida like a buzzsaw, I’ve decided to write a bit ahead of Dorian’s anticipated arrival in a few days.

Its exact path as it concerns Florida is still a bit uncertain, and it will be until probably a day or two before it actually arrives. As it stands now, the forecast cone has moved a bit southward relative to my hometown (which is inland and north of Orlando), but the amount of uncertainty is still too great to put us in the clear when it comes to winds. We know it will make landfall somewhere on Florida’s Atlantic coast, and that hurricane force winds will be present in Central Florida through Labor Day and into the following morning. It is forecasted as making landfall as a Category 4 (although on the weaker end of the Category 4), but will drastically weaken to a Category 1 the following day as it interacts with land and loses its warm ocean water fuel source. Unlike Irma, it is forecast to make landfall from the southeast before turning northward (Irma was in the process of turning northward when it made its Florida landfall), so the “buzzsaw” effect may not last as long, but it’s still gonna be a bit dicey. This forecast could very well change over the next few days, but this is what we know at the moment.

Since Irma struck a couple of years ago, we have taken some steps at our house that should help to ease some of the risks and inconveniences that we came across last time.

    Although we live within a couple of miles of a river, flooding is not a major concern for us because our house sits on top of a hill and our neighborhood itself is rather hilly to begin with.
    We have plans in place to move any potential projectiles that cannot be taken inside (like trash cans, lawn mowers) to the southern end of the house, away from the winds which will likely come out of the north and east when the storm actually passes through.
    After dealing with the effects of losing our power for five days as a result of Irma, my dad decided to invest in something called a transfer switch. A transfer switch is a device that transfers an electrical current going into a building from the utility source (power lines) to a backup source (usually a generator). In the aftermath of the 2004 hurricanes (of which we had three strike within the span of a month), we got a portable generator, although we didn’t really have to use it until our power was knocked out by Hurricane Matthew a few years ago. We then had to use it again after Irma. But after Irma we were having to run extension cords and power strips all throughout the house to power various appliances, lights, and devices. We also had to leave our back door cracked open very slightly so that we could run an extension cord into the kitchen to power our refrigerator and microwave. That was a bit of a security issue. So my dad ended up ordering and installing a transfer switch that connects to the house’s load center so that in the event of an extended power outage, all my dad has to do is hook up our generator to the transfer switch, and he can bring power into the house in a safe manner: safe for us because we aren’t having to run all sorts of cords into the house (and he can also control which appliances and rooms run off of the generator power so that it doesn’t overload the generator’s capacity), but also safe for the utility workers as the switch takes the house off of the utility line and prevents what’s called “back feeding”, which can be dangerous and cause electrocution to workers working on a power line. Note: Never ever directly connect a generator to a house’s load center. This is what causes back feeding. That’s why you use a transfer switch. There are transfer switches that work automatically by being connected to a standby generator, and there are switches that work manually so one can connect a portable generator.
    The power thing, of course, is more or less for comfort. And given my mom’s condition, her comfort is a top priority for us.
    Last fall, we had some trees that were in our front yard (and could have posed as storm hazards) cut down and cleared out, and we had the branches of an oak tree next to our house trimmed. We sold the Chrysler last year, and my dad’s trailer (which can hold things like motorcycles) now occupies its spot in the driveway, while my dad’s Jeep is just a little further down. So, if anything from that oak tree comes in that direction, that trailer can take a hit or two…or a branch or two.

About the only thing we may be without for an extended period of time in the event of power outages will likely be internet. Which means I may be disconnected for a few days after Dorian has its way with us. But I do have my books and my knitting here to keep my mind busy in the event of an internet outage. Heck, it may let me read more of Ghost in the event I can’t access my ebook of Jane Eyre (although I believe it’s already downloaded to my Books app on my iPad, so I shouldn’t have issues as long as my iPad has a charge). Both books are going well for me. The first discussion for the buddy read of Jane Eyre I’m doing on Instagram is supposed to be on Wednesday, but we’ll see if we have internet at that point.

If we make it through all this in one piece, I will post here again once things are relatively back to normal. I’m not a religious or spiritual person, so I’m not gonna be praying, but any good mojo would be appreciated. This storm’s coming, whether we like it or not, so the best we can do is be prepared, right? I always get stressed out when things like this happen…I’m gonna try and do my best to manage it, but I probably won’t feel better until this is all over and done with. Knowing that there are people out there thinking of me does help me feel better.

Hope to see you all on the other side of this hurricane!

Shawls to the Wall

My apologies for the recent radio silence. Nothing major has gone on around here, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping busy! I’ve been crafting and reading up a storm, and I’m gonna share some of my recent efforts here.

So, I’ve been on a bit of a shawl making phase as of late. Of course, you saw LoveWave in all of its glory a couple of months ago, but I now have two more to showcase for you!

The weather wasn’t cooperating the last few days as summer is prime thunderstorm season here in Florida, but we actually managed a dry day today, and got some good shots of these shawls with the setting sun in a partly cloudy sky. The lighting was real nice, but it was hot as balls out there when taking these pictures, upper 80s Fahrenheit and humid. I was sweating up a storm after just five minutes out there. 😓

The first is an asymmetrical triangular shawl knit with the second of my two cakes of WoolEase Cakes in Aphrodite. You’ll remember that the first was used to knit my LoveWave shawl.

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Cakes in “Aphrodite” / Needles: US # 7 (4.25 mm) / Pattern: Be Simple Shawl by Carolyn Glauz-Todrank (this is a free pattern from Ravelry, and will work in just about any weight of yarn…just be sure to use the recommended size needles for your yarn if you want nice stitch definition, although garter stitch in slightly larger needles will probably produce a nice, cushy fabric as well).

This was a pretty fun, mindless knit, especially after the lace-filled adventure that was LoveWave. It was just a simple, short set of rows to work and shape the shawl (increases on every row to shape the asymmetrical edge and decreases on every other row to make the straight edge along the top), and then a picot bind-off to finish it off. I actually finished the knitting portion of this while watching WWE’s Super ShowDown event back in June, even winning a game of Yarn Chicken on the bind-off, but I didn’t get the ends woven in until this week.

The second shawl I finished was something I like to call the Hades Shawl: 1. Named after the colorway I used to make it, and 2. It is a crocheted skull covered in skulls. If you have figured out what the title of my post is referring to, the skulls part is quite pertinent as to why I chose “Shawls to the Wall” as my post title. (And if you don’t get the reference, don’t worry, I’ll explain at the end of my post.)

I had fun with this one, too!

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Cakes in “Hades” / Hook: US size G (4.25 mm) / Pattern: Lost Souls Skull Shawl by Maryetta Roy (this is also a free pattern on Ravelry; it was originally written for worsted weight yarn and a size H hook, but I decided to go down a hook size for this yarn since its weight was closer to a DK…the size G hook is about the same diameter as my usual size US #7 knitting needles)

The only thing I’d do differently next time is crochet this one in a solid color, since the stripes get thinner the further along you go (as more yarn gets eaten up with each repeat), but other than that, I’d totally work this pattern again!

(I also have an idea to do a shawl in the Hufflepuff colors, since that’s my Hogwarts house on Pottermore, using the same pattern I used to make my Unicorn Shawl last year. It’s still in the early planning stages, though.)

My Neapolitan blanket is coming along nicely, I am now adding my first round of brown rectangles that will represent the “chocolate” in the color scheme. I have been chronicling this one a bit on my Instagram, as I tend to do with my works in progress (boy do I love the Stories function for this).

As for reading, I’ve managed to finish two books since my last post (War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut). I’m about 70-80% done with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, started The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, and I also got a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. (I’ve been posting about all of these over on my Instagram, which has also been great in connecting me to other readers as well as knitters and crocheters.)

Okay…now, the explanation of my post title. “Shawls to the Wall” is a pun on a song title by a heavy metal band from Germany 🇩🇪 called Accept, whose best known song is “Balls to the Wall”. Those who know me well know I’ve been a classic rock fan since my teenage years, and that has also grown over time to include hard rock and heavy metal. (And I’m not the only person in my family who likes listening to heavy metal: my dad has been known to listen to both heavy metal and old school country in equal doses.) I’m also of the belief that “Yarning is metal.” 🤘 Both knitting and crocheting. (In fact, one of the crocheters I follow on Instagram is a huge death metal fan and he enjoys crocheting to very loud, screaming music. Me, I prefer crafting to history videos and documentaries…we all have our preferences.) So, for all you crafters out there who thinking that your craft is metal, this song is for you.

You get your Shawls to the Wall, man…Shawls to the Wall!