Another critter comes to roost at Thornhill farm

Please allow me, Dear Reader, to be the 78th person to wish you and yours a very happy New Year. (Obviously, I can’t be the first. However, if you haven’t yet reached 77 well wishes, you’re going to have to get out and find the others yourself. I call Number 78.) Hopefully your resolutions (if you made any) are progressing nicely and life is generally treating you well.

As usual, I’m not planning on the entire “New Year, New Me” routine. After all, events tend to occur which provide plenty of novelty, even when I don’t instigate them. Lucky you, you get to laugh about them, too. Already this year, we’ve welcomed a new animal onto the farm.

The barn cats were here when we got here, and of course, we brought our dogs and house cats with us. The horses followed almost immediately, as did the chickens and guineas. There was a brief stint with rabbits and a short-lived pair of goldfish won at the fair. I’m not going to include the various pestiferous rodents, marsupials, insects, and procyonidae (raccoons), because I would just as soon not encourage their presence any more than necessary. I believe I can say with a fair bit of certainty that our current addition is not one usually seen on a farm. You see, I now have an octopus.

His name is Doc, he has blue eyes, and he enjoys going for rides on my head. Before you report me to PETA, Doc isn’t flesh and blood—he’s a crocheted hat. I saw pictures of said octopus hats several years ago and began to want one. The price tag, however, managed to deter me for quite some time. Of course, one could buy the pattern for ever so much less, but it was crocheted. Up until this point, my forays into crochet had resulted in some rather misshapen lap robes and somewhat better attempts at binding off knitted shawls.

But those HATS! I finally decided to bite the bullet. After all, if I could teach myself to knit by watching online videos, why not crochet? I bought the pattern, then the yarn and hooks, and dove in. I had to start the blessed thing over at least three times. I doggedly continued, convinced that my grandmother’s ghost was watching disapprovingly, wondering why I didn’t just stick to a nice simple chevron afghan. The sac took shape, then the mantle. Not too shabby so far, even without chevrons.

The double layered tentacles with bobbles were an entirely new hassle, but I had come this far, and I was going to have an octopus hat with the ever-loving tentacles. They came together with the proper curl after only the second try. By the time I got to the eyes, I was happily fudging the pattern to accommodate the large glass eye buttons I had ordered.

Finally, I could put the entire creation on my head, and it definitely looks like an octopus. I still don’t call myself a crochet expert, but I might actually have to keep practicing. I never thought I’d actually crochet something on purpose again after the failed afghan attempts. Should you see Doc and I out in public, fear not, he’s friendly.

In light of trying things I never expected to, Darling Hubby taught me to play racquetball last month. Mind you, he’s been playing since before we met back in the Stone Age, sometimes competitively. I always tried to stay away from it and let it be “his” thing that he could go and do without dragging me along everywhere he went. As fate would have it, the kids started playing around with Hubs for fun, and I joined them. I was not looking forward to cardio on a machine that day.

I’m not going to say I regret not learning sooner or that I should have tagged along with Hubby instead of letting him have guy time. I am going to say that it’s an absolute blast. Of course, Hubs plays left-handed (he’s a righty) and pretends to be practicing certain shots so that it’s not quite so blatant when he lets me win. I have to laugh a little bit…even when I worked at a gym with racquetball courts, I never had the desire to play. Now, I look forward to it like a kid does dessert.

I do have to wonder just how many things I previously ignored that will end up becoming new and entertaining aspects of my current life. Where I am now is definitely not where my childhood self imagined I’d be at this age. It’s much better. May this year bring you all great new experiences and plenty of fun.

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