Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chaperone Adventures

Don't ask me how this happened, but I allowed myself to be talked into chaperoning my 8th grade son's 3 day school trip to Washington D.C. A few parents backed out at the last minute so how could I say no especially if it meant a solid 5 hours of bus knitting and a private room.

When I told the 8th grader, I thought he was gonna die.

I reminded him that mothers always have the last word

Meanwhile all of his friends (boys and girls) CHEERED when they learned that I'd be going. So while my son was embarrassed to know me, nearly 200 other kids appreciated my "coolness" and the child that I nursed until he was 4 years old and who is also responsible for everything that sags on my body, sulked. He also lobbied the principal to be on a separate bus. So, I baked cookies and bought boxes of the best donuts for my bus. I made the sulky child a bologna sandwich (my last word).

But as you all know, life (especially mine) is full of surprises...



FOLLOWED BY THIS totally screwed up the day.

Of course I would be on the bus that broke down. The only consolation was I got to see a black and tiny female state trooper. Ok, for all of you Non-Jerseyites, New Jersey State Troopers have a dubious history. If I hadn't seen it for myself, I would have never believed my eyes when this very petite trooper with a giant trooper hat was for real. After I adjusted my eyes, and my camera, I realized that she was issuing instructions to the bus driver to get our bus off the highway, pronto, by getting it towed - WITH US ALL ON BOARD!!

The tow truck started to hitch our bus 'cause trooper girlfriend don't play, we had to scurry to get the kids back on the bus.

Then our very Irish tour guide who for obvious historical reasons that I don't need to recount to you all, matched attitude for attitude with trooper girlfriend and said that we were all going to sit and wait until our replacement bus shows up and if we were going to get towed it would be to Washington, D.C.!!

Trooper girlfriend left in a huff!

So, we waited

And waited...

And waited some more...

And started to lose all hope

I started getting bored and began taking pictures of traffic... Then I spot a bus!

Oops, wrong bus!

Help finally arrived 2 hours later and then we had to transfer stuff from the dead bus to the other (sans cookies and donuts - long ago devoured)

The rest of the trip went as most school trips go, you spend most of the time on the bus and enjoy drive by history -

Mount Vernon

Don't ask

The requisite Starbucks

Evidence of unending war esthetically displayed at Arlington National Cemetery

Evidence of national pride - baseball stadiums - we build these better than schools

Lord, we sure need him again

We were able to de-bus at the Capitol Building for a photo op (yes "they" still let us lowly citizens climb the capitol steps)

There were some museum stops (no pictures allowed) and a fabulous dinner cruise around the Potomac. We were also treated to a zany guided tour of Old Towne Alexandria, Virginia.

I found a 1792 Apothecary but tragically no yarn store

But I did find the chance to have a cup of java with Obama!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

LYS chatter

I have the best abbreviated conversations at my LYS. This week, after surviving a marathon week of too many school volunteer activities, I stopped in to just hang out and unwind. Phyllis was there talking about an upcoming dinner party she was hosting with her extended family. Another woman was there telling us about her successes with the cupcake hat. Check out the pom pom cherry, it is my humble contribution.

We got to talking about families and the their different occupations. One family member was in China during that dreadful earthquake. Another person was sharing the statistics of how many trees it takes to make chopsticks. I suggested that while it is true that losing so many trees to a table setting was not very earth friendly, I'd like to meet the guy who came up with the idea of using depleted uranium to make knives and forks. It was meant to be a mumble but another woman giggled. I forgot that she was a former engineer brainiac who knew all about weapons systems. Seriously though, you all should really be aware of the metals that are being used today. Buttons, jewelry, zippers, pots and pans, there is an entire industry that uses spent weapons metal and some people have shown to be allergic or dead but I digress...

We talked about the science of pom poms and pom pom makers and how many skeins of Cascade 220 it takes to make that Noni Medallion bag.

And speaking of bags, I've been making a bunch. It started one evening when I was visiting a friend who just closed her restaurant, Jezebel's

She's now semi retired. Because so many of us can't live without her food, she decided to open a small take out service instead. You should see the lines! Her restaurant is in the theatre district and on any given night you'll see all kinds of starving actors, bus drivers and wanna be rappers lined up to get potato salad and fried chicken!

Seriously, her restaurant attracted all kinds of people, Denzel, Stevie Wonder, DeNiro... I had been a client of hers for over 25 years. When I was working in New York, I was at her restaurant almost everyday after work.

As we were talking about old times she noticed my felted purse and asked me to make one for her. That began a marathon purse making phase trying to find a style that I could make over and over with some variations.

There's the Sophie bag, a cute idea but too small. There's the Clutch You'll Never Give Up - my new favorite - fast and functional. Booga bags, hobo bags, bucket bags, I've tried a bunch but so far, I prefer the clutch.

Felted pink Sophie


This striped bag started out as "My Constant Companion" but I somehow decided to change it - didn't keep any notes so I have no clue what I did.

This was supposed to be the Deco-Ribbon bag, an unfelted purse done in seed stitch. I used a felted handle. I found the vintage button at a craft fair.

Another bag that I knit from my stash. I think I used Plymouth's Boku for this one. It started out as a Booga bag and well, I went off somewhere.

I finally settled on a pattern that Berta K. of Karabella once wrote out for me. It is ginormous to knit but one of my favorite bags

I'll let you all know how it turns out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time for a Spanking

You all know how much time I've spent driving my two sons to basketball practices, camps and games, right? I've never complained because I've heard many books on tape and finished lots of knitting in the process. But...

I'm pretty certain that with all of their talent and gorgeous genius, neither of them will grow to be a Lebron James. And, I'm equally certain, without any doubt, that LeBron's mamma spent far more time driving that giant from one basketball event to another. Having said all of that, I don't care how big or rich any of my children ever become, if any of my boys, evah think about telling me to sit my %$#& down because some fool decided to foul said son and nearly knock me out of my chair in the process, let it be known that I would pull out my belt, water bottle or even my shoe and beat the living daylights out of that child.

That's Lebron's mother in the white tee... the tiny woman he is yelling at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Horsing Around

What is it that drives someone to leave the comfortable streets of a Jersey suburb to the outskirts of... Queens, New York?

For years I shopped online at Smiley's yarns before the recent crop of yarn stores popped up around my town. Their website offers lots of closeout type stuff. I'd buy basic wool for felting and on occasion I could get some rather nice alpaca.

A few weeks ago, after dropping my oldest off at the airport, I realized that LaGuardia Airport is in Queens, New York and that Smiley's "warehouse" is there too. I punched the address into the ol' GPS and voila, I was driving down the combustible streets of Jamaica Avenue. Dang that was a mistake. It is one noisy street! Far noisier than Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn or any other street I've been down in the last 15 years.

Inside the store, the place was virtually empty (pun intended)! I guess they reserve their stock for internet sales.

Disappointed, I couldn't let this hare brained idea to go unchallenged so I set the GPS toward Manhattan and drove to Purl Soho in well, Soho.

Sorry about skimpy pictures but it's actually a good representation of how small the store is. Remember, New York City real estate is EXPENSIVE.

I couldn't not buy any yarn right? I bought a skein of this curly locks stuff intending to use it for an icord handle

Well it doesn't quite look like what I had intended so I'll have to figure out what to do with this

A few doors down from Purl's yarn store is Purl's fabric store.

Of course I bought some fabric. Who cares I don't sew

Oh and speaking of sewing, I bought this from Etsy, this girl can sew!

I got an entire set of double points to go into their neat little compartments!

Yeah, so I've been making lots of bags for gifts. I made this one for one of my sisters-in-law.

I used some stash yarn I bought last year at Rhinebeck. I found the brooch in North Carolina at a vintage store.

This bag was intended for my mother. I bought these cool leather straps for the handles but I'm not sure if I'll give her this one yet. Gifts for her are always so hard...

Finally, after horsing around driving here and there, would you believe that I stumbled upon a retirement home for horses? I was driving my youngest to a basketball event when out of the blue I saw these adorable horses. They were in various stages of recovery from something or another. I didn't want to leave. They were so sweet.