Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When your college student comes home for the holidays

I have a book idea. It's called, "How to Live With A College Student".

Chapter 1: Laundry 101.
Chapter 2: Why your living room is not a dorm.
Chapter 3: Why your sofa is not a spare room for touring college friends.
Chapter 4: Snack food is not breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Chapter 5: How to get your child to stop texting while they are asking for money.
Chapter 6: How to get your child to text you to say they will not be home for the night.
Chapter 7: When should the family car be returned to the family.
Chapter 8: Laundry 102.
Chapter 9: Chores, and how to inspire a college student to do them.
Chapter 10: Prozac is your friend.

Lots of knitting, not many pictures

I love this pattern from Knitty, the companion to Fetching. I made the first pair using Patons Wool. This one is Zara I think. I snapped this just before I frogged it because I did the cables in the wrong direction.

As some of you know, many of us here in Jersey are snowed and iced in. I shouldn't complain considering what my nephew is dealing with in Oklahoma. Still, December, in my mind, should never include snow - I don't care what that song is dreaming about. I need December to get adjusted to winter. To get cold and snow in the same month makes me want to just sit in my kitchen with a hot cup of java and simply spend the day looking out of the window -

Fortunately, there are some fun and games in December, not just lists, shopping and cooking. My garden club had its holiday party at a local restaurant this year. I was on the decorations committee. We gathered in my kitchen the night before and made 10 centerpieces and decorated a small tree.

My computer is still acting weird. For some reason, it won't let me comment on many of your blogs, some pages won't load and my bookmarked list of my favorite blogs isn't recognized in Firefox. Hopefully, during the holiday, I'll either get the time to fix it or Santa will bring me a new machine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Evidently I no longer have the right stuff to fix a computer. After much gnashing of the teeth, I've finally completed piecing together my operating system so I can at least load web pages. This "fix" will have to suffice until santa (hint, hint) drops me a new machine because I ain't even thinking about going through a system restore on this computer. Nobody would ever believe that I used to do this for a living 20 years ago. That was long before the destruction of billions and billions of my brain cells that, I must tell you my mamma never told me would occur after nursing 3 babies.

Yup that's one of those 3 babies and my mamma

So, what have I been up to? I'm almost done with my hoodie sweater but I don't think it will fit. Lots of knitting but no pictures for now, what I'd like to show you are some catching up flicks from the past few weeks.

Fortunately, being under domestic duress for nearly 20 years, one does acquire a new skill set:

Don't think that anyone in the picture below even notices what all is required to make anything from scratch but hey, at least we girls can appreciate a decent German Chocolate cake!

Thanksgiving was spent at my brother's house in Delaware. It was the first year that I didn't have to cook for what seemed like millions.

Stashing on Ravelry

I completed photographing much of my stash for Ravelry. Hopefully this exercise will remind me what I got so I won't buy any more!

A Family Affair
As you all know, I've been making chemo caps for my brother-in-law Larry James. What I didn't know was that his job was also making stuff for him, a huge tribute of 800 guests to honor his commitment to the world athletic and academic communities.

Olympic Team, 1968

Larry was part of the spirited 1968 Olympic Track and Field Team. He and many of his team mates endured enormous obstacles living in America at the time. They were expected to represent their country with pride while being segregated against and denied equal access to many institutions across our country.

Olympic Team, 2007

Larry thanking the guests. That's my sister under the flag.

Me with my niece and my sister's and Larry's granddaughter

That's my Jonathan cooling his heels at his table. At 13, he had 2 social conflicts that night - a huge Bar Mitzvah in New York City and a basketball game. I should have his social life!

After the testimonial that included his college teammates; Olympic teammates and officials; college and board presidents; and many colleagues, we were surprised to see that the school renamed their stadium to the G. Larry James Stadium!

We had the best time.

That's my little sister, her daughter and the tiny one standing is another granddaughter of my sister and Larry.

Monday, December 03, 2007

computer problems

Well, it looks like the appliance gremlin has taken up residence in my computer. I just spent the entire day with Dell Bombay trying to get to blogger and a bunch of other sites.

Finally, the genius from India suggested I load up Mozilla and tell Internet Explorer to buzz off. I can now get to blogger, yeah. But, I've run out of time so, hopefully, I'll be able to come back soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What to write?

Sad posts are such a bummer. But I can't think of much else to write other than this. If your children are sick, follow your gut and do something about it. My college student son called me 5 am just days before he was to come home for the holiday, that he was sick. I told him (and myself) to ignore the $100 deductible, the cost of the cab and the bother with getting dressed and all when you are sick and GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

He had a staph infection on his arm. It started out as a small pimple that grew in 2 days to a quarter sized abscess. He could have died. He didn't. I'm grateful. Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Leaves and Snow

This was the Monday morning scene here in Northern New Jersey. Snow falling mixed with falling leaves. Truly weird. Our town hasn't even begun to make a stab at fall cleanup. There are mounds of leaves still awaiting pickup and tons of leaves glued to trees holding on for dear life trying to delay their eventual demise - or in my case, to return to the earth as mulch.

This is my deck, yup I haven't moved the cushions yet (what will the raccoons sit on?)

Oh well, let mother nature do her thing. Fortunately, I did get this done...

Lawn sprinklers winterized - check

Pool closed - check

And because the appliance gremlins won't leave me alone, I had to buy a new dishwasher. So far they've successfully killed my refridge, my dryer and they are working on my stove. I'll fight on, I must, I can't let them win!

On the knitting front, I've been having fun. I started that Elann Pinwhell sweater coat.

After about 10 tries to do a circle using size 10 doublepoints, I remembered that I had these cute little ones I bought at Rhinebeck last year.

I'm stumped now at the sleeves. I'll have to get some advice from my LYS.

Finished the back to a sweater

and made these lovely neck warmers called Cherry Garcia.

STAY WARM or send me some of your heat!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mom's Birthday Update

Mom: "Ok, so what did you make?"
Me: "Mom, you know how you always say you are chilly indoors."
Mom: "Not anymore, because they (my sister and her family) keep the heat up now."

Mom opens the package and looking quite skeptical, slides her hands into the gloves mitts.

Mom: "Where are the fingers? You didn't have time to do fingers?"

I give up...

Friday, November 09, 2007

What season is this?

When I was single and living in New York City, I didn't pay attention to the seasons as much. I knew that winter was coming when the heat came on (thank you landlord); I knew that spring was coming when I got more requests for dates (you know, spring fever); I knew when summer was imminent when my coworkers began plotting planning their weekends at the shore and each morning in the fall, it was actually glorious to go out to work with the bright skies and colorful leaves - central park was a painters palette of beauty.

Now, in the suburbs running a household you are supposed to be acutely aware of Mother Nature and HER schedule. Yes it is fall, but just because there aren't many leaves actually falling doesn't mean you get to goof off.

For example, my pal Phyllis knew what time of year it was when she showed off her pumpkin patch that had overrun her deck at her lake house

She was also hip to the season, regardless of the weather, when she showed off her newly minted sweater made with the lovely Louet Gems -

It was Halloween and she was playing around

But me, I'm a romantic (and lazy I reckon), I was swayed by the balmy unseasonable weather and, well, you know, the need to knit. Last week I did do something seasonable, I hauled in my tropical plants because the weatherman said Jersey was going to go frosty overnight.

Otherwise, nada. I haven't done much seasonably. Oh, I did buy bulbs but I haven't put them in the ground as yet. I haven't had the sprinkler system winterized (shush, don't tell the insurance company), and, one other kinda major thing I haven't attended to -

I haven't closed my pool!

I keep telling myself that I'm mentally fatigued from the drama with sending off my first born to college, AND living through two other major milestones - turning one child 13 and another one 16 all in the same year! Poor family planning...

Anyway, if I give you pleasant proof why it has been easy to forget about fall tasks, will you think kinder of me?

Freesia still in bloom in November - amazing!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Doin the math

Whelp, after my last post about my subnerdy disability with math I decided to give this whole math and knitting thing a try. I won't attempt to learn the source of my math aversion without professional help but I'm open to suggestions, all I ask is that you all be gentle...

This would be a good time for me to overcome this problem. This week is my mother's 87th 82nd birthday (I think, wait, I have to do the math 2007 - 1925 = 82!) I've decided to make her a pair of fingerless mitts and perhaps a scarf. Each year finding the right thing to get her is a serious challenge. She saves everything! Unless it is from one of my brothers then she flaunts wears it often. Not with one of her darling 3 daughters. She saves it, she says, for a special occasion. I'm not even going to try to analyze what that is about!

I made this silk shawl for her out of 5 different kinds of silk yarns -

I've never seen her wear it except for this shot that I took shortly after I gave it to her. Oh whatever. I'm going to finish these

and give her something to match. Should I give her another scarf or a hat? Seriously I don't know why I'm even trying to figure it out, she'll never wear them...

I shouldn't complain. She's is entitled to do whatever she pleases. She raised 7 of us! I can't even begin to know what that was like. I have two brothers who are twins and they are like 6'4" and my mom is only 4'11" She had to keep those giants in line! And me, I was the mouthy type. My older sister used to stop traffic with guys gawking at her all the time and my older brother was sent to Korea to jump out of planes and my other brother broke his hip jumping off something he shouldn't have and my baby sister escaped an abduction and...

So, Mom, you can do whatever you damn well please - just please do it wearing my cute little mitts?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bingeing on Hats

I love making hats. I hate the math involved. You know there's the gauge divided or multiplied by circumference and stitch pattern divisible by... I've always had a math blockage. Even when I was a techy, I could do hexadecimal because somehow I thought that kind of math was more logic and patterns and not really numbers. One day I'll get to the bottom of that but for now, making hats isn't that easy for me - the getting started part that is but I love the process of going around and around and finishing with something you can wear the next day.

Phyllis gave me that tam pattern she got from the internets. It was supposed to be a chemo hat for my brother-in-law but I thought it looked too feminine so I guess I'll keep it.

I made this one for him instead in Blue Sky cotton. It's called Utopia. I hope it fits him.

I'm sending him this bulky roll brim one too

while waiting on Trick or Treaters last night, I made this easy k1p1 rib with the softest two yarns: Classic Elite Premiere and Lang Thalja

and I decided to rinse out a few of my hats and have them dry in the autumn air

Oh, and while browsing at Modern Yarn in Montclair during their Anniversary weekend, I saw that headband in the store and I loved it. I've made two in Noro Silk Garden 1 skein and you can make it in a couple of hours. I left out the button you're suppose to put in the back. I just tie it. Yeah, lazy.