Archive for June, 2006

Am I Blue?

Obviously not – seeing as I have no new knitting to do, I thought I’d search the house for Project Spectrum Blue. I found out – to my surprise actually, that I have very little blue in the house!

Also – how can I be blue when I got the most wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday.

My buddy, Heather, was sending Kaity some fluff to spin – because Heather’s just so cool like that…. and she sent me that beautiful sock yarn! It’s from A Piece of Vermont – and it is just beautiful! Thanks Heather! – you know I think you’re just THE BEST! (we have a sort of mutual little love affair going on, Heather and I :o), and if she every gets brave enough to get on a plane, I’m adopting her).

So – this is probably the last post for about a week. We’re heading out to Independence and the “Little House” with rest of the family for our annual 4th of July weekend. Lot’s of eating, drinking, and knitting to be done in the butt-hot weather- but I can’t wait! I need a break so bad I’m not sure I’m even gonna last ’til we get there.

You know… I’m not good without a routine…. and life this last week has been completely routineless…… I’m getting a little frazzled. I really need all my ducks in a row to be calm… and this week my little ducks are just all over the pond. Oy.

I promise to come back well rested and with stories and pictures galore from that fun and interesting group that is my family.

Take care, y’all, and have a wonderful weekend and 4th of July. I’ll drink a margarita and light a sparkler in your honor!

Read Full Post »

"Monday Night Dinner"

I didn’t get much knitting done tonight – but that’s okay. It was “Monday Night Dinner.”

Anyone who knows anything about our family, knows about Monday Night Dinner. Most people are amazed and, I think, really a little jealous that we do this. I guess I can’t blame them – I am blesssed with an awesome family.

Monday Night Dinner started about 27 years ago. See, I met the hubby my first year away at college. One month after starting college, I met the hubby. From the day of our first date we pretty much saw each other every day. I lived in the dorms, he lived off campus. We were inseparable. We were in love. New love.

Skip forward about a year-and-a-half. We’re engaged and done with school. Six months until the wedding day. We come home to get jobs – he goes back home to live with to his parents, I go back to mine. All of the sudden we live about 45 minutes away from each other and can’t see each other every day. Not good.

So, Mom suggested he come up on Wednesday nights for dinner. We can see each other in the middle of the week, and he can spend a little more time getting to know the family. My sister still lived at home, but my brother had moved across town. But, on Wednesday he’d come home for dinner. My sister’s boyfriend would come, too.

From then on, for the last 27 years, our family has gotten together once a week at Mom and Dad’s for dinner. Every week, with very few exceptions. See, Monday Night Dinner actually started out as Wednesday Night Dinner.

Things have changed a lot in 27 years. When Wednesdays didn’t work anymore, instead of giving up the tradition, we all found another day that would work. We grew up together. My brother and sister both got married. The hubby and I had three kids….. then my sister and her husband had three kids. Things have changed, but we all still go “home” once a week and have dinner together.

Our family is like most families – we are all very different, but that’s what makes it so fun. We’ve had many a “spirited” conversation – we’ll, mostly the guys and their famous debates. Monday Night Dinner is where my hubby, brother, and brother-in-law all became best friends. And still are today.

It’s where the kids run around and have fun, until they get too loud and we inevitably send them outside. Every week – they can’t wait to see each other. They’re totally bummed if for some reason we can’t go. School and work schedules are planned around Monday Night Dinner, if at all possible. It’s when we celebrate birthdays and accomplishments. It’s where we all catch up on what happened last week, and what we’re going to do this week – where the guys are going to mountain bike ride next week, or hike, or camp, or motorcycle ride or, like tonight – work on their minibikes for next weekend…. It’s when the girls plan their next sleepover (tonight, actually), or a day with Grandma. It’s where my sister and I just sit back and watch it all happen, and let someone else cook one day a week (THANKS Mom…. I don’t say that often enough). It’s one of the reasons my sister and her family didn’t move away last year.

Things have changed – from it just being Mom, Dad, and newlyweds – to young families with high chairs all ’round – to finally outgrowing the big dining room table, so that now there’s a kid’s table and the “adults” eat in the living room – but it’s a small house, and we’re all still pretty much in the same room and it’s still one big family, and one big conversation.

Our kids have grown up together – they’re all “our” kids. Our kids have been blessed to have grown up in a family that respects and appreciates each other – and they have seen that through tough times, disagreements, but mostly through love and fun times, that family is family – they are special, they love you no matter what, and there is nothing, besides their God, that is more important.

Thank you Mom, for cooking Monday night dinner, every week, for the last 27 years. It’s who we are. I love you. See you next week.

Read Full Post »

In my mind, I look nothing like this…. I’m younger, don’t have a turkey neck – or a big nose. I’m sure it’s all in the camera angle or the crapola bathroom lighting – (yeah – all 20+ shots trying to get a picture of the “real me”) – ok, I guess this is the real me!

Yeah- you know, like one of “those” pictures, where everyone says “what a great picture! – it looks just like you!” – and you don’t know whether to slug them or just give up.

(if you click on this picture and zoom in on the oldness…. you are NOT my friend…. don’t do it)

Anyway – this is the real me with the new “do” in curly mode (AKA, it’s natural state) – and probably they way I’ll wear it most, seeing that I’m extremely low maintenance and this way it’s pretty much wash and wear.

And, no, I’m not fishing for complements, so don’t even try. I’m just having one of those days where I’m looking mortal, and old, when really, inside, I’m looking and feeling fabulous!

Knitting? Yeah – I’ve been knitting. Quite a lot, in fact. HOURS, in fact. You just can’t tell. Icarus….. oy – those rows are getting looooooong. It takes about 15 minutes a row now. That’s like- one whole movie and only about 8 rows. Not even a whole pattern repeat!

Slowly, but surely – it’s getting there. I’m just about to start the 5th (and last) repeat of Chart 1…. then I can move onto the edging charts. At least then things will get interesting again, and start to look a little different for y’all.

Until then, you can hope I buy some new yarn, or get something fun in the mail – something to write about and take pictures of. I’m getting ready for a short vacation next weekend and am already a vacationhead – so I’m not feeling a little scattered and not very blog-witty.

But, then, ya never know. It’s summer – anything could happen, and you can be sure I’ll take pictures of it for you.

Until then…. well, you’ll just have to wait for Icarus to get interesting…. or until I find a cure for wrinkles and a big nose…. you’ll hear from me then, for sure!

Read Full Post »

Look what I stumbled on to yesterday (thanks to Sheryl from Yarntopia)! And, guess what?? Kaity and I are going!

Who’s with us?

When: April 29th, 2007
Where: Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas
April 29, 2007
From: LA to Vancouver for FIVE nights
What: In addition to your cruise, meals, and entertainment, you will receive an Exclusive Knitting Bag filled with knitting essentials, and exclusive yarn from Mama E of C*EYE*BER Fibers. There will be knitting workshops and knitting sessions all over. Let’s fill the ship with knitters!
To learn more and Register to join the cruise: Click Here and Group ID is “seasocks”.
To keep up with the latest details on the cruise, follow the Sea Socks Cruise Blog.

I’ve already talked my Mom into going with us, and am working on a few others – you know who you are. To all my buddies – Come and join us!

Read Full Post »

Tuesday Swim Club

I’m trying to rearrange my life around changing schedules.

I like schedules. I like routine.
The kids are out of school, the kids are busy – as much as I love having them home, they mess with my routine.

I need to learn to live without a routine…. at least for the summer – so I’m a “fun” mom and not a “tense” mom.

One routine I’m hoping I can stick to – some of my Tuesday morning Bible study friends and I decided to make use of our hosts’ new pool and do pool exercises and laps after study. I need to kick it up a notch – that ladybug ticker has been pretty slow lately – although it did finally move 1 lb last week.

See what happens when I don’t have a routine? Exercise and good eating are the first thing to go. I need a routine – some kind of routine.

Ok – today I’m back in my groove, such as it is – back in my no-routine routine. I promised myself to get back to the gym, WHENEVER I can fit it in, and stick with “Tuesday Swim Club.”

I gotta learn to go with the flow, ease up, be spontaneous, learn to groove and fly by the seat of my pants.

Isn’t that what summer’s all about?

Read Full Post »

Our Memories

It’s funny, the things we remember, and why. The “things” we attach our memories to.

I’m sure, if my grandmother had given any thought (and she actually did talk about these things) about what she would like people to have to remember her by, she would have never thought of these swizzle sticks. But, to me they are special.

They remind me of all the times we spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s when we were kids. Memories of watching Ed Sullivan and My Three Sons (REALLY aging myself here), eating ice cream on the “Davenport,” and having “mush in the morning.” Grandma always called oatmeal “mush”. And she always had the colored ice cream cones that had names on them… and when she would scoop the ice cream she would ask how big a scoop we wanted and we would all yell out “as big as our head!” Memories of Grandpa walking us down the street to 7-11 for slurpies and to pick out a candy – and my sister taking FOREVER to pick out one piece of candy. Then Grandpa would open his little rubber coin purse, the one that was always in his pocket, and as he paid he’d always say, “I’m such a pigeon.” He was a sucker for his grandkids.

There was always a wishbone drying at the kitchen window from that week’s chicken dinner – waiting for us kids.

In the evening, right about dinner-making time, Grandma and Grandpa would always have a “snort” of whiskey. Sometimes it was a Coors Light instead, or a glass of wine. It was always vin Rose, and Grandma would get out three wine glasses for us kids, put 7-up in them and color it with beet juice, and we could have “snorts” right along with them. Instead of vin Rose, we always called it “vin Jose”. She always added a swizzle stick.

I think swizzle sticks are a thing of the past. Do places still use these? These Grandma and Grandpa had were from local restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, and the like.

When Grandma died, Grandpa lived there alone for about another 10 years, and NOTHING in the house changed. It was all the way Grandma left it. After Grandpa died, we divided up the house. It was just my dad and his sister, and 7 cousins between all us kids. For a couple of days after the funeral, ALL of us (except for one cousin who lives in Alaska) went to the house and started going through all the stuff, and all the memories. We cried some, but mostly we laughed and exchanged memories.

It really is one of my fondest memories – as sad as it was, it was a wonderful time. Everything in that house meant different things to different people. It wasn’t like the horror stories you hear about families fighting over the estate. We just spent days telling stories and saying, “I really remember this bedspread, do you mind if I have it?” – and on and on…. until everything was spoken for and divided up. One of the things I asked to keep was the swizzle sticks.

Someone, I don’t remember who, has the picture of Grandma on the camel in the purple shirt.

It was so fun to re-live all the memories of fun times with Grandma and Grandpa – and some very touching, sad, and poignant ones also. There are million stories from that day, maybe I can share more of them later.

So, this little darning egg makes me sad. I asked my mom awhile ago to keep her eyes open for one for me – she goes to a lot of antique stores. She came back with this one.

But, it probably belonged to someone’s grandma. And someone should have fond memories of it. Look at how well used it is. It used to be entirely black, but the head of it is worn off from use. I’m just sure someone saw their grandma use this hundreds of times. Why don’t they have it? Is someone wondering what happened to it? I always feel a little sad when I see things like this in an antique store. Old pictures are worse. Someone should be telling the stories- keeping the memories alive.

So, I’ll keep this darning egg on my desk, and look at it fondly, and wonder who it belonged to and what her story was.

I wonder what things of mine my kids and grandkids will attach memories to some day. I don’t really care – everything will mean something different to everyone – I just want them to be good memories.

Read Full Post »

Cool shadow, eh? Doesn’t really match any of my WIP’s on the side bar does it…. guess I better add another one.

Larry, as much as I love him and the First Class Shawl, is just TOO hot to sit on my lap with the weather we’ve got going now.

And, I wanted a project other than socks that I could carry around, take on vacation next month, but still could knit without carrying around charts or have to stop in the middle of a conversation to knit. And, I still wanted to make a shawl.

And…. while taking Kaity to her favorite new yarn store to look at the rovings, again, yesterday….I ran into this… (enough justification?) .

Interlacements Rick Rack II, in The Blues colorway… It’s really beautiful… pretty turquoise blues and greens, Kaity thinks it looks like a mermaid. It’s kind of shiny, and really has a teeny rick-rack texture to it. And, 1440 yards! My shawl is on going to take about 900, so Kaity’s already calling dibs on the leftovers.

But…. and this caused me to pause a little, it’s rayon. I’ve always used natural fibers, and really expected to make a shawl out of something like, well you know, alpaca, or at least Merino wool.

But, I chose this rayon, of all things. I mean, we can hardly raise “rayons” on the commune. Am I a bad knitter? Will I be kicked off the commune, or at least be sent to the time-out yurt, or put on stall-mucking duty?

I don’t know…. I’m a little conflicted. But, really, it’s SOOOOO pretty! And it’s going to be wonderfully drapy. It’s probably even more practical than another wool shawl in California.

Time will tell. In the meantime – it’s on its way to becoming Icarus, from the Summer 2006 issue of IK.

Read Full Post »

Finding Larry*

*or, “Cashing In and Dropping Out”

Is it just me?, or do we all have fleeting fantasies of just cashing it all in and dropping out of society – getting out of the rat race. Okay, actually, my life isn’t all THAT hectic, maybe more of a mouse jog than a rat race, but you get my drift.

Just cashing it all in and living a simple life somewhere, just the few necessities, whatever we each deem those to be, and sitting around, in my case, knitting, camping, hanging with the hubby.

We have friends who actually did this about 15 years ago. They were both in their early 20’s, married 3 or 4 years, both on the way up the corporate ladder, had just bought their first condo, new cars… the whole enchilada. He and his wife were mountain bike riding buddies of the hubby.

They cashed in and dropped out. They figured they were young, had money, could cash out without any debt, were never going to have kids, and just decided to live their dream. They moved to Durango, Colorado to ride mountain bikes whenever they wanted in “mountain bike heaven.” They live simply in a trailer park, he works part time at the ski lifts in the winter, and part time during the summer when they use the ski trails for mountain bike downhill races, and she substitute teaches when they need the money. And they ride their bikes. Still, after 15 years. We still get a Christmas card every year.

Soooo, the other day I’m working on the First Class shawl – and just can’t get over how soft this yarn is. Prime Alpaca. They’re not kidding. Prime stuff. It is so seriously soft.

Now, those who are more fiber-savvy than I will probably say “so what”, but I didn’t realize until I was buying it and the shop owner informed me, that this stuff isn’t even dyed. This is the actual color of the alpaca.

For some reason, I’m pretty sure his name is Larry. Larry the alpaca. He’s got to be the star of the herd, the envy of all other alpaci (plural of alpaca, maybe?) – because this is easily the softest alpaca I’ve ever felt. All those alpaci are suffering some major fleece envy, I’m quite sure.

So here’s my plan, we get together a group of like-minded knitters/spinners and hire a detective to find Larry, then we cash in and drop out, start our own little knitting/spinning commune – you know, live in yurts and let the babies run around naked… kum ba yah and all that stuff. Maybe we could get a couple of sheep to keep Larry company, and start spinning and selling Larry yarn. At our own pace, of course, and only what we don’t want to knit with ourselves.

Larry and the Fleece Mamas” yarn – hand dyed, hand spun. I’d buy it, wouldn’t you?

Slight problem, though…. I’m slightly attached to the hubby, oh yeah, and the kids – and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t go for it. Well, maybe if there was good mountain bike riding for the hubby… and Kaity wouldn’t be too hard a sell. We need a spinner, anyway.

oh, well, a girl can dream.

Read Full Post »

Isn’t she cute! Graduation last night was a great time. The weather was beautiful, the kids were excited – and the graduation went off without a hitch. No problems or “spectacles.” (when I graduated, someone streaked across the top of the library in the quad during the middle of the ceremony!)

I only cried a couple of times…

I think the best part for Kaity was that her grandparents from Texas were able to make it. They didn’t think they were going to be able to come, then they called me Monday and said they would be here… and asked me to keep it a surprise. I was watching for them out the front window all afternoon, and when they pulled up and rang the bell I told Kaity, “I think there’s a package for you…! (she was probably thinking yarn!) – and she was VERY surprised to see her “Pa and Leone” standing there! Fun, fun….

It was fun to watch her down on the field, scanning a football stadium PACKED with people trying to find us (as we’re waving crazily) – and then see her big smile when she finally found us…

Kaity is the happiest, sunniest, fun, smart, perfect daughter – I’m very blessed, and we are always so proud of her. WE LOVE YOU KAITY – congratulations….. you “grajitated!”

Read Full Post »

Yes….. that’s Kaity, and yes…. she’s spinning.

She’s been wanting to spin for awhile now. And, I keep saying, absolutely not – NOT in my house. Seriously, people – you have no idea how her knitting alone has taken over the entire house. It’s everywhere, in some form or another. Two or three WIPs lying around, and that’s just in the family room – my office has a few other WIPs, and then…. there’s all the “stuff.” The little cut pieces of yarn that never seem to make it to the trash, the patterns and parts of patterns everywhere…. DPNs, circulars, aluminum needles – on the couch, in the couch, under the couch…

Gotta love her – but, man, that girl does spread it around.

So, NO, I was not giving in to spinning, and roving fluff adding to the mix. Not.Giving.In.

Then, we heard rumor of a new yarn store. Modern Gypsy Studios. Exotic fiber-handspun yarn. Well – I mean, really, we had to at least check it out.

It’s a small place, but 95% of the yarn in there the owner, Deb, has spun herself! LOTs of it- mostly wool, but some silk and other stuff too.

Deb – she’s quite engaging…. and very friendly. She just started telling us all about the store, the yarn, her plans. She showed us a new shipment that had just come in (darnit! I wish I’d actually taken my camera INTO the store, duh….). It was a box of 100’s of silk worm cocoons. Little white balls of silk with the worm still inside. She showed us how they opened them, got the little guy out, then dyed them and spun yarn right from the cocoon. Well, I never…

Then, it happened – she saw the twinkle in Kaity’s eye and glommed onto her, and that was it. “Here, hold the spindle like this… try it… it’s easy… it’s fun.” Kaity’s beside herself now – eyes twinkling all over the place. And, me – I’m right along side her…. “ooooh Kaity – you can spin the yarn and I’ll knit it! Ooooh, look! – you’re doing it!”

And Deb, the owner, she knows we’re sucked in…. now she’s talking classes and rovings and dyeing, who knows what else…. we’re still in super-novice mode – a little green on the lingo.

The clincher was when she handed Kaity a spindle made from a dowel and a CD. “Look, if you just want to practice and see if you like it, this works just fine! Here, I’ll even give you this one.”

She knows a sucker or two when she sees them. Like the hubby would say – “she’s a-cutting, and you’re a-bleeding”

Yeah – so, I caved….. I bought the daughter a $5 bag of roving…. I’m such a sucker. Really, one of us ought to exercise a little self control.

Kaity spun all the way home (not an easy feat in a VW bug), and I could barely tear her away to go to graduation practice. I’ve created a monster, I’m sure. Let the fluffing begin…. fluff everywhere…. fluff, fluff, fluff.

Sadly, I’m as excited as she is – you should see the beautiful rovings in this place – and such pretty colors…. oooooooh (can you hear the sucking noise?)

All in all, we got out pretty cheap for our first trip – a free spindle, $5 of roving, and I bought three $5 skeins of wool sock yarn (Alice Strathmore Scottish Campion) – one of the few yarns Deb didn’t spin herself.

What have I learned this week – Never, never, never say never.

Oh, yeah, before we left – she demonstrated her spinning wheel ;o) No, absolutely not.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »