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.