Friday, December 28, 2007

I won! I won!

I cannot believe I forgot to let y'all know about my good luck (and perhaps an example of my Phoebe like premonition skillz). Skrilla had a "Not-So-National Finish a Sweater Month contest. Skilla had a series of unfinished sweater projects and asked folks to predict how many and which ones she would finish during her self challenge.

On the 19th I got a comment on my blog from her telling me I won. Hm, I guess the fact that I got this email the day before I left for NY may have something to do with forgetting to brag, er, tell you about this. When I got the message I ran over to her blog and found this, so excited I tell ya!

From her blog I really should hate her because she is so damn cute and talented, plus she models for Lexie Barnes bags, has had Knitscene accept one of her designs. I mean really, so folks are just too wonderful. Did I mention she is skinny too? And cooks. And is probably acing grad school unlike me? When I am in the Pioneer Valley next summer I will simply have to take her out for the beverage of her choice.

Yeah me. It's like an extra holiday gift that comes late, thus extending the joy!

Christmas Past

Exhausted, nervous and excited, I dozed on the first leg of my travels last Thursday from Dayton OH to White Plains, NY. The second leg I stayed awake, pondering any number of things - almost none that I can recall a week later. Except one.

I realized that thirty-three years ago I sat on a plane, possibly on the same date, for holiday travel. Everything was different that time, first off I was still a child. My stepmother and I were heading from New York City to Phoenix, Arizona. Fran, my stepmother had just birthed my siblings (a set of fraternal twins) about six weeks previously and we were taking them to meet Fran's favorite relatives (and some my favorite relatives as well), Aunt Thelma and Uncle Walter.

I have nothing but fond memories of these folks who treated me as family from first meeting. They had been living in upstate New York State, the Albany area maybe, before moving to warmer climes. Walter was still tall though I suspect he had lost a few inches over the decades, and came across as what I now see as a mid-western country folk kind of man. Aunt Thelma was a very proper but warm woman who had iron gray hair that I saw once undone from the braided bun of daily wear. Her hair was stunningly long and still lush. I tried so hard to copy her evening ritual of brushing her hair a hundred strokes after seeing her mane but at age eight I didn't have the follow through that was required for such things. Their upstate house had a lovely fireplace by which Thelma and I did jigsaw puzzles. Perhaps it was during this visit that Thelma gave me this lovely crochet hook set that had a handle and a number of different hooks sizes that one could screw into the handle. Now with what I know of the fiber arts it is more likely it was a tatting set as the hook sizes were quite tiny. Many years later I let go of that set and have regretted it every time I think of it. It would have been the only thing I had from that lovely woman. I remember eating strawberries at their house, and my mother discovering that she apparently was no longer allergic them, much to her delight.

Somewhere in a photo album that is probably still in a box somewhere in my new home is a photo of Fran and I, each holding a baby. As I recall you cannot really see my face because I am looking down at my sister. Well I think it was my sister as she was the smaller of the babies so it would have made sense to give me the lightweight babe to hold through the journey. I don't remember much of either flight except that I think it went well, meaning no screaming infants for the entire trip. There is another photo that I have from that trip, it is of me standing by Thelma and Walter's tree, which I am pretty sure was artificial, looking awkward. I know that had been trying to finish a a woven fabric green jumper to wear during the trip in my school sewing class in time to wear for this trip but I cannot remember if I did, or if it's what I am wearing in that photograph.

It was there that I ate red snapper for the first time and have loved it ever since. It was also there that I first saw Morgan Fairchild in Search for Tomorrow. I believe her character was in prison when I began watching. It may be the only soap on CBS I ever watched. I remember how it seemed so incongruous for it to be Christmas while it was warm, in a place with no snow and things blooming. Of course even with two moms with advanced degrees in English I didn't think of that word to describe what I was feeling back then.

I think I saw Thelma and Walter only one more time, about four or fives years later, in Brooklyn. Somewhere I have a contact sheet of photos I took with a few shots of Walter, but I fear none of Thelma. I know we went to Central Park, played with "the twins", as they were referred as forever - a habit I am trying to break, in the back yard of the house.
Again my portfolio of work from those years is in a box somewhere and I have probably ditched the negatives in an attempt to declutter my life. The memories will always be there it's true, but sometimes a physical reminder is really nice to glance at, especially when it can trigger such warm, happy thoughts.

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday and created sweet memories to recall randomly in the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hello my peeps!

I see it's been a long time since I posted. Please accept my apologies. A quick trip to NY from December 20-24 evidently took up a lot of space in my thoughts. On the trip there I had a post start in my head but it was an eventful trip, and I was tired so it didn't get written. But I think it still will.

Thanks for sticking around and checking in. I can't believe I have been doing this blogging thing for over two years (I totally missed my blogiversary back in late October).

More later because I do have thoughts and stories. Just need some time to sit and write. Bye!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A new hobby

Thrifting for yarn. I have been thinking about this because my dear friend Jennie has been doing this for awhile. Let me make it clear I am not searching for skeins of yarn but sweaters that can be reclaimed for new projects. Now that I have a ball winder I think this will be easier. There are lots of ideas about the best way to process such yarn. Some folks think it should be dampened and "stretched" to lose it's pattern memory; some think it's unnecessary.

Thursday my new buddy Andi (MysticSpiral on ravelry), called out of the blue, offering to pick me up and take me to her favorite thrift store. As long as I didn't mind having the advent
ure with a toddler, her lovely daughter. So off we went to Village Outlet, or something like that, and I received an excellent lesson on how to check for the right construction for unraveling. This place is fabulous with a capital F. Great prices, awesome labels, neat and orderly.

For less than $10 I purchased three sweaters, two stuffies for Wyatt's stocking, a small surpr
ise for TGF, and a holiday door mat in perfect condition and something that would make TGF very happy.

Okay first up a beautiful, 100% merino
wool sweater from Banana Republic for $1.75. Yes that's right less than two dollars. It's a soft lavender. No I have no idea what I will do with it. None but it's so soft.

The weather lately has been horrible cloudy and today when I shot this, well, it was snowing and now sleeting.

The second find is also Banana Republic top that I am almost tempted to keep as is because the tailoring is beautiful. But it's really too preppy for me. The colour is spectacular. I was thinking a hat and something when Andi suggested Mrs. Beeton's. Certainly something to think about! Or perhaps Delicato Mitts, or Anne's Orchid Lace Mitts! This lovely yarn source cost me $1.00.

Just when Andi and I were just about ready to move onto the toy area so Micah would finally get to have a bit more fun I found this last item that I just couldn't turn down. An XL J.Cr*w 100% wool (worsted/aran weight) sweater in a gorgeous brick red. Lots of yarn to make something for TGF. Maybe even Central Park Hoodie, a pattern I have not been drawn too, probably in part because it seems like everyone in the knitting blog world has been. (Again I must apologize for the photo.)

I told TGF about this place and we went the next day coming home with three winter coats/jackets, a fleece balaclava, and a tablecloth to use as a curtain for the kitchen doorway to the mudroom/bathroom/laundry room - all for about $14.00. I found a Lond*n Fog rain coat for $3.00 but it was too big :-(. Really great stuff at this store, I'm telling you. I cannot wait until I have real money to buy some clothes there. If I ever get a job I am seriously going to need a work wardrobe I fear.

Anyway, I now have a new addiction but at least this one is inexpensive, involve reuse, and is creative.

Oh! If anyone doing this wants "labels" for their yarn Andi has designed some awesome ones, available here, it's a pdf file.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The bells were ringing

Sunday we took a drive around the west side of Oakwood. I think it was the west side, whichever side it was, the homes are amazing. Really beautiful, bordering on estates rather than "homes". I received a tour of parts of the area I hadn't driven through yet and got to just look as TGF drove.

Then we went to Carillon Historical Park, which she had just mentioned to me the other day. As we drove into the entrance she mentioned she hadn't been there in a long time. Not since her Aunt Kay died as it was their special place. Aunt Kay has been gone for about twenty years. I felt a silence come over me with that inform
ation as if I was about to enter sacred grounds, which in many ways, I was.

It was an appropriately gray day with a chill in the air, a bit of wind, and
there was not a lot of dialogue between us as we wondered the grounds.

This is how it looked walking down on of the roads of exhibit buildings but it felt more like this shot.

There was a beautiful statue of Maria Aull who the Au
llwood Audubon Center in Dayton is named after.

As we were leaving I decided it would be appropriate to take a photo of the Carillon tower of bells. They rang as I shot this last photo of the day.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In which our heroine has spontaneous company

Via ravelry (have I mentioned how much I love that place!) I heard from Emily aka DaintyKitty that she was feeling the need to get out of the house and socialize. There were no knitting meet ups that I knew of, so I offered that we could just meet up somewhere or she could come to my animal infested, messy home. She replied that she "would love to come to Chez Dharma" and that animal filled, messy homes were the best kind. How could one not adore a response like that?

The idea of company helped to get my butt in gear and I straightened up which meant I was pretty happy with the place, despite the lack of hanging art, the dingy 10 year old paint job and our cheap living room curtains that barely dim the sum or block views from the outside at night. It also helped me to finally make my third batch of apple crisp before the fruit went bad. Gosh that stuff is so good. The other day I had an itch to make scones and I also wanted to make potato leek soup. Again before the leeks died a miserable death.

By the time Emily got here the crisp was done and had made the place smell great. I was just cutting the scones when the knock came so those went in the oven moments after she arrived. Later we had one each with the mother-in-law's refrigerator strawberry jam. Tasty stuff. The scone recipe is so simple and so good.

At about 7:45pm I realized the time and asked Emily if she would mind moving her knitting into the kitchen so I could make soup. She was most accommodating while I sort of consulted a recipe but largely winged the entire thing. TGF came home as the soup was simmering and we had a round of introductions. Emily announced that she really ought to be moseying home.

Later TGF had a scone and when she was told that they were easy breezy, she asked if that meant I would be making them once a week or so. I guess she likes them. Yeah!

Reflecting back I forgot in a way how nice it is to have company, to just hang out with someone. Chat, cook, and knit with someone. It's like I live here or something. How cool is that?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In which our heroine has left the house 3 nights in a row

It is truly amazing that I can be so busy in the evenings when I have just arrived in this state. Of course for some of this business all praise must go to Ravelry which allows me to find all these knitting/fibrous things to do.

Sunday was not the best night in the house as TGF was very quiet, not wanting to talk, and I could not separate from her mood. Luckily I had an option! On Sunday evenings there is a knitting meet up at a St*rbucks near the Dayton Mall. Some women get together starting at about 8ish and goes, as I learned later, until the last person goes home. This particu
lar St*rbucks is open 24/7 and as there is caffeine available it certainly lends itself to the night owl crew. There were only two others who showed while I was there (WildWoman wrote later to say she got there at about 11pm). It was still fun and I learned that these two women were open and amusing to hang with for an evening. It was definitely the right thing to do rather than stay home. I didn't even spend any money on tasty drinks.

The next night I had already decided I would go to Cody's lacrosse practice/game as it would be one of the last for the season. I arrived at Jeriann's place just as the
y were leaving to warm up the car - it was quite cold last night! We had a good chat while Cody listened to the radio. It was quite the night of meeting up with folks. Jer's parents came by and it was really great to meet them. Her mom sent me off with hug for TGF. Michael, Cody's godfather came with his wife and there 19 month old son, but they couldn't stay long so Cody didn't get to see them. Cody wanted to me stay for dinner, but mom said homework was more important. I got a hug before he headed for the front door, and just before entering he called out "Love you". Melted my heart I tell you.

Tonight is Tuesday and I love my knit night at Therapy Cafe meet up. These
women are fun and it's so close to home, it makes it easy to go. We were a smaller group tonight and unfortunately Squeezleknits didn't make it. Also Dainty Kitty didn't show, boo. I showed off my chemo cap (photo and details soon) for Catherine, worked on TGF's Odessa hat and blatantly ignored the sleeve of her sweater. A lot of my annoyance with the sleeves are the needles, Clovers, which I really do not like but they were all I could find when I needed them the other week. I really like the Silky Wool yarn and I think it's going to make a lovely little hat for her. The company was so entertaining that I misread the directions and wound up having to tink the four rows I knit. Never fear, I have reknit about half of that while watching the final episode of the Tin Man on the SciFi channel. Good stuff that was!

It almost makes me want to go out again tomorrow night and you know what? I could because there is a knitting gathering at the B&N near where I was Sunday night with yet another group. Isn't that a trip? And I didn't go to one last night in North Dayton. And I think there is one on Friday morning near TGF's store. Crazy huh?

Oh South Park is having their first annual Xmas party (I will have to talk to someone about how politically incorrect it is not to say "holiday", don't you think?) on Saturday at our tavern. Admission is two cans of food per person. I think we can manage that. I have tentatively invited Jeriann and Cody for candling lighting and latkes on Sunday, which will also be the day we put the tree up.

Looks like a busy week over here in South Park for me.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Red is the new green?

On my homepage I have the Dayton Daily News headlines as one of my data sources. This is something I added to the page a few months before I moved there. It was amusing to see the difference in the news, and many times the articles links had typos. So cute, in a provincial sort of way.

Tonight a headline reads, "Some Ohio roads will get beet juice mix to keep ice at bay". Beet juice? Wouldn't it be better if more people were eating beets? Food products for other purposes, in bulk at that? Will beets become a prized commodity if this takes off? According the article, this is a "green" solution. If you read the article you will notice an editing problem, or perhaps it was a cut & paste error. Whatever. It's kind of cute, as I said above.

The paper itself is small, a lot of general local coverage, little world news really. The obituaries are rather comforting in that almost everyone is older, 70 years old and above is the average. Yes I do scan, sometime read obits on a regular basis when getting a paper. It's an interesting bit of sociology, or morbid thinking, which calls to you.

Truthfully I mostly read the sale circulars, particularly for groceries and hardware things, the coupons pages, and I do the crossword puzzle. It's nice to be able finish one on a regular basis. I regret to say the NYT is often beyond me. Maybe it's because I don't read the rest of the paper enough.

PS: This is my 400th post! Wowza!