Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Teenagers.... er, can be fun sometimes

Phyllis emailed me early Monday morning to say Andrew was in the paper. I had almost forgotten about Sunday's race after getting two teenagers up for school on Monday morning. Sunday was a town wide celebration and race for a high school teacher who has been stricken with ALS. His insurance (really sucks) doesn't cover nursing care while his wife is away most of the day at work.

My Andrew's reason for taking up cross-country was to prepare for this event. He decided this 1 year ago! With the support of his cross country team, he won the race! It was so fantastic to see a 16 year old work toward something for an entire year that included running 4-6 mile runs, daily! Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, your kid practices the violin 8 hours daily but I don't think I'll churn out a prodigy in this lifetime so I'll be content with my cross country jock.

Jocks. Didn't like them at all when I was in high school. Years ago, I would sit at the outdoor coffee cafe and watch the grunge kids smoke and look grungy as the track team whizzed by. Both 'groups' looking at the other with the WTF look on their faces. As I sat and sipped, I found myself facing the age old dilemma for parents: What do I hope for my boys -grunge or jocks? Why must life always consist of extreme choices? Capitalist or Communist, Barry Manilow or Flava Flav?

Enjoying his 15 minutes of fame!

Friday, October 26, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Thank you so much for all of your funny cheer-me-ups. I tell ya, virtual friends and neighborhood friends can sure help a sista get outta bed!

My pal Phyllis came by for lunch and a visit. She was bearing gifts...

Phyllis brought me this cute little space shuttle pencil sharpener on the very same afternoon that it took off. She works for an aeronautics non profit so she knows lots about space and NASA stuff. It is good to have smart friends who can knit!

My friend Shirley had a fun wine and cheese knit night.

There was lots of knitting show and tell -

This is a beautiful silk boucle that she finished. She finished her boucle project before me :(

I also spent the day with my garden club for a hike in the almost rain. It was the first time that I'd been in the forest right after rain. The day began with a beautiful 1 1/2 hour drive where we got to enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage show as we drove to upstate New York. We only got lost once and stopped this guy to ask for directions.

I'm wearing this Araucania Patagonia cotton hat that I made, it was suppose to be a wee bit oversized. Aw geez, I had no idea how ginormas it is. I frogged it that night.

Our guide was very passionate about the living forest and our connection to it all. We learned that earth worms are not indigenous to forests. As a gardener that was a revelation because I introduce earth worms to my compost and garden in order to aid in soil production. This process is not beneficial to the forest because it speeds up the break down of the forest floor too rapidly. You see, we are never too old to learn!

Rhinebeck loot

See, I really didn't buy much. Had I successfully made it over to the wine tent, perhaps I would have loosened up to buy more.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm having a pity party

Yes, this past weekend was Rhinebeck. Did I go? Well, sort of.

The curveballs started flying earlier in the week. It was my Jonathan's 13th birthday. It's a big day for sure. For him, he has finally made it to teenagehood, for me, I get to endure another 7 years with a teenager.

Also going on that day was the first Knitting Club meeting at his school. No Jonathan doesn't knit (he pointedly reminded me of this fact) but everyone at his school knows that I knit so I was drafted to help. How do you say no?

That's the school nurse who bravely took on this challenge. Check out all of the boys! Jonathan waited outside really angry that this was going on on his birthday. Ugh...

After the club meeting, I had to race from there to an event my garden club was sponsoring. A youth garden day in town

For about a month we gathered up garden foliage and dried flowers for the children to assemble into garden sculptures.

Jonathan waited in the car. I was only able to snap a few pictures before I had to rush home to get the birthday boy cleaned and scrubbed for dinner which was to be at a restaurant called the Melting Pot. A fondue place, I thought it would be fun. Well $250 dollars later (I shit you not), not only did we have to "fondue" our own raw meat, but the new college student (oh, I didn't mention that he came home for the week?) is a vegetarian and he resented the fact that the restaurant brought out raw meat to be cooked in the same 'melting pot' as his "fondued" veggies. I was so mad at myself for this entire fiasco but had to put on a smiley face for the new teenager. The only thing I did right that day, it seemed, was to invite his friend along who sat between him and his 16 year old big brother who takes special pride in needling him every possible second.

So, yes, the college student was home from school that week. Have you ever had this experience? Welcoming home for the first time a newly minted college student? Somebody ought to write an owners manual for this event. I'll say no more.

What, you say you want to know about Rhinebeck?? Well there's more. Saturday, we were to take the college student to the airport at 10am. The 16 year old had the PSAT exam at 7:00am and a cross country meet at 11:30 am. The new 13 year old had to finish a school project plus get ready for a huge dance for a popular girl's 13 birthday party. Dad chose the airport. I didn't see him anymore that day. It seems he was overcome with a severe case of fatherhood regret that he missed the entire life of his new college student. He stayed at the airport evidently immobilized. The problem for me (other than the obvious) was that he had my car the family van because his car a late model midlife crisis convertible isn't really suitable anymore for long distance driving.

As the hours ticked away on opening day at Rhinebeck, I bit off all of my nails, ate all of the birthday boy's birthday cake and worked myself into such a tissy that I have very little recollection as to how I managed to empty my bank account, rent a car, drive the 1.5 hours to Rhinebeck, and stagger around the fair grounds until people began recognizing me (blogger bingo) and jolted me out of my daze. I did manage to leave behind my camara, patterns folder, my needles and little desire to do anything other than go to the wine tasting tent.

Well, I guess there's next year. The plan? To book a bed and breakfast for the weekend and not look back.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inga Hat

Well, I finished the hat. The pattern is by Sheila MacDonald. I was inspired to try this by Kathryn whom I 'met' over on Revelry. It is really easy to follow and takes just two skeins of yarn. I did it with some mixed flava DK weight (70/30% acrylic). Now that I know I can't screw this up, I'll try it with the 'good stuff'.

It could have been a wee bit looser.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lots of meetings mean lots of knitting

Even though it is Fall, there are some flowers that are still in bloom especially with this warm and balmy weird weather we've been having here in Jersey. In addition to the lack of any significant rain for weeks, some flowers, like this dianthus, seem to love the conditions.

I go to lots of meetings in the Fall, hours of them. I'm also on line a lot, at the supermarket, at fairs and in cars waiting for one child or another. I used to read during this time but now I find myself knitting.

I do miss the books though. There are two that I want to read right now, Arnold Rampersad's bio on Ralph Ellison and Philip Roth's new one, Exit Ghost.

Actually, I could read during cross country meets but there are no bleachers to sit on, you just stand out in a beautiful clearing in the forest and wait for the 100 or so runners to come out of the trees. Instead I find myself taking pictures, listening to birds and watching for something to happen in the air like...

feathers floating from trees

gazing into the sky

Or just looking about the forest floor

Knitting and Nursing

I recently read something about knitting in public and if knitting at meetings was "proper etiquette". Immediately I thought of the debate about nursing in public. Once 10 years ago, someone, a woman, asked me if I wanted something to cover myself while nursing. I asked her if she would feel better if I just shoved a rubber nipple into my baby's mouth - but I digress.

I was knitting at my son's Back to School Night and I got a dirty look from one of his teachers. I get those looks from coaches sometimes too. I don't knit during one on one conversations only at group events, like meetings and sporting events. Why do people get so preoccupied with what another is doing? I'm not making any noise, I'm not reading while they are talking, my ears are not plugged with headphones, I'm not plotting a coup or some sexual exploit? Anyway, I continue to knit and poof

A lovely, lovely cabled ponchette

Ponchette's are for us knitters with ADD who want something instantly at half the size! I'm not sure how they will look on, I'll have someone take a picture of me in one as soon as it is ok to wear wool in 80 plus degree October weather!

This is a cute little cell phone thingy I knit in line somewhere.

Oh, and I've been playing around with that Noro Scarf I finished. It can be lots of things, not just a scarf!

No Longer Stranded

There is some knitting I can only do in front of a tabletop. Stranded or intarsia patterns with a motif usually gives me crossed eyes. I used to avoid them like the plague. I made a bet with myself recently that if I could get over this apprehension, I could buy more yarn!

This is a Berroco bag pattern, Damask, done with Patons wool.

I now have to felt it and line it and find a handle. Maybe I'll take a trip over to Purlsoho this week.

Hats with no holes where the color changes takes some practice

I'm hoping to finish this by weeks end, let's hope it fits!

All in all, Fall so far, has been very productive for me. I've finished a novel, a history book, some nice knitting and lots of pictures (please, don't ask me about housework).

random street lamp, Paterson, NJ

Monday, October 01, 2007

Getting my mind off baseball

Last week I visited a lovely place called Wave Hill. Believe it or not, it sits beautifully in the Bronx. It is a place that you could meander through their many small gardens, have a nice lunch at the cafe and sit and look out way above the Hudson river and dream.

In August, remember my trip to North Carolina to deposit my money and my first child to college? Well the yarn that I bought, I finished doing something with it, which is my new pledge. If I'm going to buy yarn, I have to start something before I buy more. I don't necessarily have to finish it but I at least have to start something. Yeah, yeah, I know, that doesn't do a damn thing about my other problem "startitist" but at least my stash isn't growing, just my WIPs!

Plymouth Boku, 3 skeins and some random yarn for the ruffled top.

The bag is done, I guess I should have it lined and get the strap put on. This is my first time deciding on a leather strap for the handles.

This is a quickie cap I made one night with Patagonia cotton. It is a bit too big but I'll wear it for days when I want to look Bohemian.

I also finished off a Cascade Indulgence shawl/scarf I made with some sale yarn I bought from my LYS before their summer sale. Why do people buy sale yarn before a big sale is something I need help figuring out.

Oh, and I've discovered Noro for scarves. I made this with Silk Garden. I can just do these scarves forever. They are easy k1p2 rib, you can make them thin or wide. This one is only 4 inches wide so the striping isn't that pronounced. Next time I'll make it wider so I can get thinner stripes.