Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

Just for you: the famous Thunderclap Newman

Hope you're having a good birthday.....

The Me Box

Lou brought home her first homework assignment (of sorts) this week....the Me Box. Each of the kids takes a turn bringing it home. They fill it with some favorite things and a parent helps them fill out a sheet that asks for favorites (color, food, movie etc). Lou had to return it today....and then share what she brought in with her class.

Here's what Lou put in the box:

  • Pictures of her cousins
  • A picture of her with her friends last Halloween
  • One of our wedding pictures
  • Pictures of us at the beach
  • Cars
  • The hairy green monster we made together
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? (She likes it because she can "read" it herself.)
  • The words to a song she likes (Teddy Bear Teddy Bear- who knew?)

I can't wait to see how it went!

C is for Cookie. F is for Frog.

frog -verb

1. to undo, or rip out, knitted work. Derived from the phrase "rip it, rip it"....which translates to "ribbit, ribbit." Thus, frog.

I got my confirmation on Sunday that the Big Blue Beast must be ripped out. Nothing else to be done, no magic cure-all. Bah. Margot was gracious enough to offer to help me once I undo my seams and un-weave my yarn ends....we'll attach the thing to the ball winder and.....voila. Hundreds of yards of yarn, in neat little yarn cakes. She also had suggestions for the re-knitting. (eep!) I can't think about it yet, so I put the sweater back in its shopping bag and decided to go smaller in scope for a while. Truth is, Juliet (see sidebar) needs to be undone as well....I either need smaller needles or a smaller size, and I am so not ready to face it.

Now where is my sewing machine? I have a project going right now which shouldn't take much longer than a couple of weeks (currently unbloggable due to its secret nature). And October is coming, which means.....the grand re-opening of the Halloween Sweatshop!

Okay, so here's a success: I not only managed to keep my new hydrangea alive through the summer, but we have FLOWERS, people!

Props to my co-gardener, Pete....who did the atrocious weeding that I have neglected to do for about two months. Love that man.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You simply cannot hide from the ugly truth.....

....or, in which I am horrified by the Big Blue Beast but attempt to salvage and all.those.hours.

Okay, the moment. Here we are, my beastie and me.

So. I knit a very nice sweater dress for myself.

My options as far as I can see would be to:

  • Try immersion blocking again, and this time squish all the stitches really really close together. I do not think this will work.
  • Try steam-blocking. I actually prefer steam-blocking, unless I am dealing with something that got dirty while I worked on it or something for a baby (which I like to wash in Dreft before the baby will wear it anyways). I held back with the Beast only because the yarn is 7% angora and 15% nylon and I really didn't want to risk fusing the fibers together. I may try it now.....unless I decide on my final option:
  • Frog the whole damn thing and reclaim the yarn (which is soft and beautiful and a color that is perfect for me) for something else.
It is possible that part of the problem lies in the weight of the yarn once knitted up. Maybe the sweater just doesn't hold up under its own weight?

I am going to bring it to Margot.....she's pretty honest about projects and will tell me if I should just bag the whole thing.

That's an idea! Bag the whole thing.....put it in a bag and forget about it.

I think I may go back to baby stuff and accessories for a bit while I mull this over.
I took this out of the library, and may be inspired to construct some very different scarves.

For now I think I will take today off from knitting and go back to cleaning my 4 hours Pete's coworkers are coming over and there is much to be done! Procrastination over. Thank you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In which I am bested, for now, by the Big Blue Beast

Sunday seemed as though there would be completed projects a-plenty. I finally dyed the white linen consignment skirt I bought back in, um, June....and thought, hmmm. I haven't tie-dyed anything in quite a long time. Add two of Lou's stained t-shirts to the dye bath:

No process pics- Pete had the camera with him for Fall Crawl (the big jeep club fall event). I am hoping he will get around to posting them on his blog....

That was fun. While Lou played in the yard, I finally sat down and sewed the seams. And IF I do say so myself, they were beautiful seams. Perfect mattress stitch. Sigh.

After re-reading some of my references on blocking, I made the decision to fully immerse the Beast, which by now is looking incredibly large, for blocking. My thought was that maybe the water would seep into the stitches, and that when the Beast dried they would straighten out and settle together. Right.

I soaked the Beast. I rinsed the Beast. I carefully squeezed the water from the fabric. I carried it downstairs and gently arranged it on a table covered in towels.

And it seemed as though maybe it would be fine. Except.

Except that, despite getting gauge (number of stitches to inch, rows to inch), despite working with needles and yarn and a pattern which I ran by Margot with a thumbs-up, despite careful finishing and blocking, the sweater does not fit me.

It would fit three of me. And the cats. It comes down to my knees. NO LIE.

I have not yet photographed myself in this thing.....but we look something like this, the Beast and I:
Stay tuned for the ugly truth....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Backyard barbecue

Lately Lou has been singing little songs of her own composition...a favorite over the long weekend was "Backyard Barbecue." I can't remember at all how it goes...just the refrain: Backyard bar-be-cue! Backyard bar-be-cue!

From the jeep on the ride home:

Beach pictures

We spent Labor Day with Mo, G and Ryan at are some pictures from the beach...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More numbers

Emails in my inbox currently: 100
Hours in the office yesterday: 12
Hours in the office today: 12
Loan disbursements batched: $140,381
Students we should see tonight: 25
Students we will likely see tonight: 10
Days left in the week: 1.5 (it's only 2:00)
Items on my To-Do List: 6 (not including term start)
Bedtime stories I get to read tonight: 0
Years at this company: 10
Recognition for that fact: 0

Pictures I took at the beach Monday and have not yet posted: maybe 20?
Days I will spend with the Lou having girl time ths weekend: 2!

After 4:30 tomorrow, here's what I see in my future (in no particular order):
  • Playing with the Lou
  • Cocktails
  • Visiting with friends
  • Rented movies
  • A trip to the library
  • Cleaning/laundry/groceries
  • SLEEP!!
  • Work on the knitting projects: sewing seams/figuring out the Juliet problems/blocking
  • Maybe blogging (if you're lucky!)

Monday, September 01, 2008

I love this

I stumbled across Grace Paley's last collection of poems the last time I was at the's a beautiful reflection on love, loss, aging, being a wife and a mother and a human being and reconciling the three with varying degrees of success. It was published posthumously early this year, after her death last summer....this is one that just resonated with me.

why shouldn't men look at women
and women look at men
and women look at women
and men look at men
why shouldn't they
size each other up (as
we used to say)

why isn't there more
of that looking that
casual catching of
breath in plain
appreciation or rejection why
isn't there more of it what
old people sometimes ex-
perienced as shock and a
dangerous heartbeat which
sometimes erupted into
love at first sight (as
it is called to this day)
and as old people we must
warn it may once in a startling
while last forever (as it
is called)

I dabble in poetry, but man, do I wish I could write like that. (The book is called Fidelity.)


A strange thing to use that word in reference to my life outside of work...but this really has been a productive weekend in terms of recovering from my work hangover. First of all....SLEEP. Ah, sleep. I know you never really catch up on lost sleep, but after trying for three days, boy do I feel better.

Friday night I actually cooked for the first time in days and days. It was only honey/mustard/spice glazed pork chops with roasted red potatoes and broccoli, but it felt good to make dinner for my family and to eat together, to be somewhat back to normal. And just to do the normal weekend errands on Saturday was good too, although I was still pretty beat. After I got back from getting my hair cut, Lou and I did the grocery shopping and then spent the better part of the afternoon in the yard. Pete even inflated the pool.

Yesterday we headed out to a barbecue hosted by one of my colleagues, but before that I made breakfast:

Almond butter-banana-peach smoothies and blueberry buttermilk pancakes. Yum.

Today we are headed to Rye to spend our Labor Day with the Warrs. It's funny how we don't necessarily plan these holiday weekend gatherings; we just tend to all be free and get together. This summer has been a runaway train for a number of reasons, so I think it will be good to spend this day relaxing with friends before the madness of the coming week. Once we get through the cursory household tasks of the morning (mowing, laundry), we'll pack the jeep and head off to the beach.

I figure that the pace of my life should slow a bit once September 22 rolls around, due to various work-related stuff. I look forward to drawing a full breath and maybe having a vacation after that. I miss having play, to read, to knit, to write, to daydream.....have I mentioned that no matter how long I work in this industry, I still can't manage to get accustomed to the fact that mid-August to mid-September is a blur?

Hop to it, indeed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Frustrated with the knitting right now. It's not proving to be an effective stress reliever, as the blue beast only requires sewing seams (blah) and the gray Juliet may or may not need frogging. I think I may run out of the gray cashmerino, which ticks me off. Thus, not helpful.

Maybe I'll just knit some tiny hats or something.

Fall Start Numbers

Days I worked last week: 6
Students who attended orientation at each campus: 50 (not good)
Accountability meetings per week: 2 (per campus)
Days I locked Lou and myself out of the house: 1
Meals eaten (by me) per day: 2.5
Nights I could not sleep and so watched the convention coverage: 3
Speeches that made me cry: 2
Stories I read to Lou tonight: 3
Weird work-related dreams this week: 3
Weird non-work-related dreams this week: 1
Flower beds in desperate need of weeding: 2
Loads of laundry done: 5 (good!)
Personal calls made: 0

Total hours worked this week (by 4:30 tomorrow): 50
Days off after that: 3!!
Loveys to spend time with this weekend: at least 2

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I like to prowl my house early in the morning, with no one else awake. Things are not the same in the morning; the light settles in a different way as it streams in through our windows.

The best mornings of all are like today: the windows left open last night have let in a chill, an unseasonable edge to the air. The light coming in is not quite enough to make coffee, to write. I've had to light the semi-gloom with a lamp.

Today is still a book with an unbroken spine, full of blank pages. There is so much promise. Later there will be lunches to make, budgets to build, data to move, a child to read to and laundry to wash.

For now, there is the light, the air, and me.


no paperwork here
phone rings; there is no answer
time to call again

no transfer credits
files languish on the dean's desk
unhappy students

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This morning

Raised beds- still alive

Charlotte begonias

Blue sky!
Here's the progress on my sweater, the Big Blue Beast.
I am into the cable/twisted stitch and open lacy part....and it's more of a challenge than I expected. Which is good, after all of those long boring rows of stockinette. I had hoped to have it done by the weekend (mostly so I can move on to the next thing), but I don't see it happening. The rounds take for.ever. Still, I am having fun. AND I love love love the color and the fabric the yarn worked up into.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ah, weekend

The pace around here has become more frenetic Monday through Friday....this weekend we had not much planned and decided that we really needed it.

Yesterday was a day for yardwork and errands. All the rain over the past week or so was great for growing flowers and grass.....and for growing weeds. So Lou and I weeded and watered our beds. Some of the transplants from the circular bed did not do well, and were pulled as they were D-E-D dead. We also discovered the presence of what I think are Roses of Sharon in the side yard, which we hardly ever use. Hmm. With a good privacy fence to block the view of the crazy traffic, and a little bit of thinning/TLC for the plants, maybe we can start using that side too, as kind of an oasis. It does get nice and sunny.....

Pete did ridiculous amounts of mowing, mow mow mow. And then:
My two loveys.

Pete took Lou to the hardware store while I visited a few favorite haunts in Dover. I had picked up some yarn for one of my next projects only to realize I had about half what I need, so I headed back to Spinning Yarns for the rest. I brought my sweater to show Margot and she not only gave me a useful tip but also the little kick in the pants to keep it going. It's my first sweater for myself, and despite the wool/mohair/angora blend she insists I'll be wearing it in August "just because". We'll see.

Here's the picture from the book (for Mom, cause you asked and I was able to get a decent shot):

I am loving this pattern. Norah Gaughan is a genius. All those maths! This is a fantastic book, and you would think I wouldn't need any other patterns ever. Here's the big blue heap:

I hope to finish soon, not least because my next two projects are more summer-appropriate.

I also made it to the consignment store in downtown Dover, as well as Just the Thing! which I love. At the consignment place I found two skirts for summer on the cheap- for less than $20 I figure I can always repurpose the fabric if I decide it's just not me. One of them I plan to dye. We'll see how that goes. And then I found:

Pete was psyched. His Manville is more of a workshop than a bar, but a man still needs his Irish whiskey shot glasses.

Today we had waffles out on the picnic table, hit the grocery store and just had a quiet day at home. We had talked about going to see the Serfs in Rochester, but the passing thunderstorms sort of put an end to that. So we've been playing inside, I've done some knitting, Lou's worn some costumes, Pete's worked on the jeep. And tomorrow is Monday. Shhh. Maybe Monday will take care of itself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Maintaining our tradition of spending holiday weekends (in part, at least) with the Warrs, we saw Mo, G and Ryan on Monday. We headed out to Rye just before lunch and spent the day catching up and having a few cocktails. Happy happy fun times.

The view

Pete and Mo!
Let ME take your picture, Mama!
That Lou

Mo and Ryan

It's funny how you get to the point where there isn't enough time to spend with the people who matter the most to you....and you find that you have little to no interest in hanging out with the friends you see once in a blue moon, the ones where you know it will be tough to come up with things to talk about. With Mo and Gardner it's never awkward or weird, never a struggle to fill the hours spent with good times. We're truly lucky to have them in our lives.