My grandmother...and everyone else's grandmother...used to say that "Idle hands are the devil's playthings"  I am not sure I believe that.

Nonetheless, these days when I seem to turn on the news every night...and then fall into despair, watching, but am not able to STOP watching....I needed something to do with my hands. So I have started knitting again. I used to knit a lot. Then, after Martin died six years ago and the dog fell into a depression..someone suggested that I get a kitten. Which I did. And it solved the dog's despair; he was thrilled to have a playful companion.

But it meant that I coudn't knit any more, for obvious reasons. The kitten, whose name was Lulu, found my knitting to be the most amazing, wonderful toy she could imagine.  It seemed a small price to pay, a fairly easy trade-off: a sweet kitten (soon to be a cat); and no more un-needed sweaters or scarves or hats.

Then, two years ago, I met Howard. Re-met, actually, because Martin and I had known Howard and his wife, who had died a few months after Martin died.  Howard and I began to do things together: dinner sometimes; bridge once a week with another couple who had a summer home near both of ours.

We began to make plans. (I wrote about this in the newly updated memoir LOOKING BACK: that we decided to go together to Botswana).  Just for the record: when you go to Botswana with someone (and we did that last spring) are making a serious commitment. It is not a trip for sissies.

But along the way, I began to notice, whenever Howard was at my house...he sneaked off into another room and took a pill.  Oh dear, I thought: a drug problem?  This lovely man, himself an MD, a Harvard alum, a reputable human being...and he is sneaking away to pop pills?  Of course that wasn't the case.  He was simply allergic to Lulu.

Easy decsision.  I found a new home for Lulu and Howard has made a new home in my life, one that I thought would be solitary for my remaining years.

And now I can knit again.  Not that I need any more sweaters or scarves. But still: I do love the wonderful colors of yarns; I love seeing things take shape (sometimes bad shapes! I never use patterns, and that is risky)  Here (above) you can see a sweater-in-progress, a project that has gotten me though a lot of grim news shows lately.  I don't know why this photo is sideways. I swear it was right side up when I started this post.

And here are Howard and me, in Cape Town, South Africa.  We have also, in the intervening months, gone to France, and to Germany.

In April we are going to Cuba. Next fall, to northern Spain.

And this Friday to Florida. I just switched the in-progress sweater to wooden needles because they were metal, and given the current sad state of things, I feared Airport Security would deem me a threat.