23 December 2008
I admit that I will try to win things through other blog posts, as can be so duly noted from my last post. (Thanks to everyone who voted for me! Even though I didn't win, it means a lot!)
So, I actually DID win a couple things. One that I got was a DVD collection of the latest season of LWord from The Other Mother. This gives J. and I a better option of viewing instead of the "only two discs a month" I have right now through Netflix.
The second was a quick answer to a photo id from Kathy at WEBS. Of course, I KNEW the answer was Brooks Farm Yarn, as I had seen the yarn stall at Rhinebeck, but I did hem and haw for a few minutes - only to discover when I hit enter that someone beat me to it by less than one minute. But the Universe gave me another chance as Kathy awarded not one, not two, but three winners. So, I was in heaven to get an item out of Kathy's stash. Cause you know it will be good!
So, craziness of Life and holidays snowballing, I checked in with her last week about the prize, which she assured me was coming soon. Well, I got my package yesterday, thrilled to be getting a skein of yarn...
But what did I get instead?
Brooks Farm Yarn Riata...not one, not two...BUT THREE skeins! Three lovely skeins of a wonderful wool/mohair/silk blend that I just love to cuddle (Yes - I am one of those people who doesn't think mohair makes things scratchy). Plus a skein of sock yarn. Traveler by Just Our Yarn. PLUS a lovely card, which didn't make it in this shot, from Kathy. You have to love the personal touches, and hand-written notes are becoming a bygone era, unfortunately.
So, thank you to Kathy for making my stash that much better!
03 December 2008
This is the time of year when the lists begin. Not that I don't make lists all year, but these are the ones my niblets make.
Of the grand old ages of 11-going-on-12-I'm-almost-a-teen-MOM! and 8, these lists seem to get longer, more expensive and more complicated each year. When I was first pregnant, I swore I would keep "natural, wholesome" toys available to my child. The simple toys of wood without flashing lights and noisy, tinny songs. Or Barney.
Needless to say that didn't hold up in the light of the world we live in, or the gifts from grandparents and the regular birthday party gluttony that occurs. But I still can reminisce about the ones I loved to get when gifts were simpler. And totally based on what I wanted them to have.
My favorite was always the donut stack. Well, that was how it was known in my house. The little plastic pillar with the bright colored rings that fit in decreasing size. I remember it from my childhood, used to see it floating around my aunt's toy closet as I grew older, and made sure to get one for each of my kids (and a couple others through the years). Not only was it great to watch them sit and stack them, on and off the pole, for an hour, but they were great for those sore gums during teething too!
So, I was thrilled to see this in a catalog I got in the mail recently. I enjoy Lehman's very much. I find it to be my own toy catalog, although admittedly my choice in toys seems to range between canning equipment and butter churns. This is not only the classic style of the toy I loved, but it is also made of wood! May not be so good for those sibling fights, but I think it is a great remake of a great classic!
04 November 2008
02 November 2008
I planted a garden for the first time this year. A little ambitious for my square footage, and my blueberry and rosemary bushes died over the summer. I should know better, I always kill rosemary. But, I did reap some harvest, and learned what I do and do not want to try next year. Yes to tomatoes, kale, basil, carrots and onions; no to lettuce, squash, broccoli. My harvest won't be enough to survive on, but will certainly supplement what I would normally buy, and lower food costs in the end.
I got a CSA share this summer also. A large bag of produce, organically grown, each week from Many Hands Organic Farm. I was happy with the experience; it was something I had been wanting to do since moving to MA. However, I am not sure if I will redo it next year. I am not as adventurous in cooking as I wish to be, and I cannot take something out of the bag and say, "Yes! I am so happy that I got another three heads of lettuce!" (I am really over lettuce this summer) I was introduced to some vegetables that I didn't know and come to love: chard, tatsoi, but do not know if the cost vs. the quantity in my home is worth the full summer share. However MHOF does spring and late fall shares also, and I am pondering those choices for next year.
Yesterday I cooked up the pumpkins I had accumulated the last few weeks from the share and roadstands and made pumpkin puree to freeze. I have a bag of apples to make into applesauce and can. I have several gallon bags of berries in my small freezer to make into jam and preserves also.
I need to pull up the tomato stakes and cover the garden plot for the winter. I had planned to set garlic, and may still. That will winter over until spring, like many other bulbs.
This experience has made me more aware of the passage of time. Farming depends on the seasons, and the whims of Mother Nature. I am grateful to be part of that cycle now.
30 October 2008
Today will be a low-key day for me. Niblets have dance and I will knit (back to my Robusta project) so I just wanted to share a fun little test I found by way of MelissaKnits. You can play too!
Your result for The Best Thing About You Test...
Hot! Passion is your greatest virtue
Passion is an intense emotion that compels feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, and that often requires action. Get that? Requires action. It's very likely you submit to your deepest needs and live life with a flair few others achieve, but many envy. All 7 virtues are a part of you, but your passion runs deepest.
Passionate types: artists, writers, composers, athletes, and heroine addicts.
(Goodness, I hope that "heroine" is not a typo! -K )
83% PassionTake the test yourself at HelloQuizzy.
28 October 2008
I am quite fortunate.
I currently live in Massachusetts, where in 2004 the Supreme Judicial Court of MA ruled in the case of Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health that, it was unconstitutional under the state constitution that only heterosexual couples could marry. We were the first U.S. state, but other countries had already made similar decisions: the Netherlands, Belgium, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Even with the ballot initiative to rescind this decision our Legislature seemed to acknowledge, with its failure to pass the initiative in 2007, that same-sex marriage has not destroyed any institution, violated any sanctity, or diminished the value of any other marriage already in existence.
Now California is heading for its fight on Election Day. In June 2008, the court overturned the state ban on same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 is on the ballot as the "Eliminate Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act". Rather clear, don't you think?
There has been a lot of time, money and resources thrown at this from both sides of the fence. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself, my own thoughts and actions. I will argue my own stance, and hope that enough people will agree.
I have been married once. And divorced.
Now I am in another relationship. And I am fortunate.
If we ever decide down the line that we want to marry, we can. Because I live in a state that has fought its battle for same-sex marriage and won. We were the first but we don't want to be the last.
I want California to keep same-sex marriage legal. I oppose Prop. 8.
No, I am not Apple, or Google, or Ellen. I am just a small-town girl with two kids, two cats, too much yarn, too many books and a desire for more ink. But I also have the choice, and the right, to marry whomever I love, whichever sex they are. And I want the same for everyone else.
I can't vote in California, but I can show my support. So can you.
This would be the swag - as I said in the previous post, I won not one but TWO water bottles on the bus to and from WEBS. Thanks so much to the wonderful ladies who entertained us with trivia! The little purple circle in front is one of the items I got from the ladies from Twist Collective. This is a measuring tape, in purple of course (they commented that I must be a purple gal, which judging from what I was wearing, not sure how they knew) and I also got a nice button that says "click to knit".
And this was lunch! Lamb stew and polenta and greens. I waited a very long time for this lunch, longer than many others had patience for waiting. Wow. I showed patience.
This is the first skein I bought. This is Robusta from Briar Rose Fibers. (For some reason Blogger won't let me upload this the way I took it, so it looks like it is lying on its side). I have wound it already and started a first project, which is this:
This is the Cameo Faggot Scarf pattern by Crystal Palace Yarns, available on their website.
This is Riata, a wool/mohair/silk blend from Brooks Farm Yarn. I heard a lot of people talking about how they cannot wear mohair, so I am glad I am not one of those. This other yarn (also on its Blogger-induced side) was some that I saw and coveted as soon as I entered the stall. I was going to get two skeins of the orange/purple verigated yarn, but watched someone swoop in and grab all from the peg. I was lucky to find this one on a peg below. The purple is a match for the solid, so I think this will make a nice set of hat and mittens, alternating stripes or trim.
The last purchase I brought home - and actually the first that I made - was not yarn, or anything to do with fiber. It was wine. There was one hall set up with food stalls, cheese and dips and chocolate and baked goods. And wine. At least a half dozen vendors. Why would I pass up wine tasting?
I bought one bottle. It is Dragonfly from Montezuma Winery in Seneca Falls, NY. This is a black currant apple wine that was delicious. I restrained myself, and unfortunately they don't ship here to MA. However, I have family in NY and will probably be heading to the Finger Lakes next summer, so they will be on my stop list.
See, three skeins of yarn and a bottle of wine? Totally restrained. Good thing I didn't take pictures of all the stuff I wanted, or this would be a very long post.
21 October 2008
Yup - completely full. Well, I think there was one seat left. I had a nice woman sitting next to me who chatted the entire time about her work and family. It was wonderfully refreshing to be able to talk with someone about knitting without them having a raised eyebrow - but I sure could have used another cup of coffee at that time. Kristen kept the bus happy with pop questions and prizes. I scored myself a water bottle!
This was at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in NY. Part of my old stomping grounds, although I hadn't been to this farground before. And the map was helpful!
But this is what is received from those lovely sheep and goats. First shorn is quite dirty - but the demand for roving and yarn is what brings us here.
This was a choice shot! I knew the Yarn Harlot was going to be signing her book on Sunday, so when I had finally waded into the Socks that Rock booth to see what was left (which wasn't much, after that unending queue from the previous photo) I saw a woman swoop down to hug the person at the register, saying "I brought that hug with me cause I knew you'd need it." I recognized that voice and saw Stephanie disappear into the crowds. As I headed back to the Brooks Farm Yarn booth to look for the yarn I coveted when I walked in five hours before (pictures of THAT coming later!) I saw her admiring the yarn. Magically the crowds parted before me and what was the first thing I said?
"Ladies, could I get your picture? Just pose with yarn!" And with a laugh - that is what I got.
No, I never said I was a smooth conversationalist.
Sadly, I never ran into Amy Singer from Knitty, although I heard she was there with swag (I so wanted one of the euro stickers!) but on tremendous yarn overload and with heavy backpack, I boarded the bus back to Northampton. Stories and show and tells happened all over, with more raffles and prizes on the ride back. I was thrilled to score once again! Even though the once again was also the prize - another water bottle. But you can't have enough of those!
Now I just need to figure out what the next project is...
19 October 2008
And yes, I know, the Midwest? But I have to admit, when you arrive knowing that you had to unpack some short sleeved shirts and left wishing you had also brought shorts - the weather was to die for!
J. opened her home to me and I got a whirlwind tour of Bloomington, Greencastle and DePauw U. I will be adding some more content to this post as I pull some other pictures from my visit and details of my first minor foray into gambling. I will say that I am glad I was there!
09 October 2008
Not everyone would want to spend a long weekend in the Midwest. But I have good reason. Or two. :)
28 September 2008
This has always been an issue for me. I have believed for a long time that I am an intelligent, quiet, focused person and that things that I have gotten in my Life that I have wanted came unexpectedly. By chance.
I have left a lot to chance, and now am finding myself reexamining many of those situations and realizing that I made those situations happen by actually doing something in the present. I got the first job I really loved - in a bookstore, surprise - by making myself known to the staff on several occasions. I found the kind of friends I wanted by being in the spaces and places I love - theaters and bookstores and libraries. That Love is not owned, but given freely, and part of that freedom is watching the ones you love go be something they cannot with you.
I am reminded again and again how I am bound to this Earth in spiritual worship by gardening and hiking, hugging trees and sitting on the porch in the rain. Making sure my bare feet touch the ground each day.
Otherwise I find myself disconnected, falling into sadness and wanting someone to come save me from the crisis I created in the first place. I know that most of my friends are scattered over the world, that measured time seems to move faster than anything else. And truthfully, many of those people I wouldn't talk to unless I reach out and share myself. But people have to share their energy to survive. The spiral goes in both directions - and it cannot be recharged and given without getting some back, somewhere, from someone.
So, sometimes it is nice to look to the horizon, to know that you are going somewhere and enjoy the view. However, the horizon never is a stopping point, and you need to make sure to see what is around you to stay on the right Path.
Enjoy the journey, it's what Life is.
01 September 2008
Yes, I said goats - although they were the reward, not really the labor part. For the kids that is. Today we headed to Tougas Farm for some raspberry picking. This is a place we were introduced to last fall during a school vacation day at JCC and went apple picking there. For some unknown reason, I decided to volunteer as a chaperone, and ended up with six youngsters, including my own, who all wanted to go in six different directions to pick apples. All in all it was a lot of fun. I haven't been back for berry picking til now because every time I wanted to go, the fields I wanted to pick were closed. But, today they were open for raspberry picking, and I bribed - I mean rewarded - the niblets with visiting the animals and playground for their assistance.
And we were successful with over seven pounds of raspberries now sitting in colanders in my sink. It's really time to decide what kind of jams I want to try canning with all the berries I have gotten. I have marked two or three recipes in The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving and with a couple more ingredients I should be good to go.
Until then, let me share today's fun:
Not a bad way to spend a gorgeous day. Enjoy!
31 August 2008
Well, I am not of the opinion that vacations should be spent alone. I was very fortunate this summer to have two wonderful expeditions with wonderful people. Don't know the next time I get to do that...
First off was my Third (and R.'s fourth) Annual Pride Toronto trip. Love love LOVE this Pride celebration - not only for the amount of people watching you get to do, which is a wonderful pastime, but Toronto is a terrific city. It's clean, it's friendly, it's walkable. When you can leave a club after 1am and know that you are not looking over your shoulder every five seconds - you feel safe. Sure, it has its issues like any urban area, but I welcome the chance to go over the border and visit. We go there for the final weekend, when blocks are closed off for all the pedestrian traffic and lots of vendors and stages are set up to finish off the week's celebration.
Of course, it has also been interesting to see the change in currency - reflecting more on my home country than Canada. When I was a kid in LG, Canadian currency was traded at almost half the face value. This year - it was pretty much one to one. Such a change.
Next up was a wandering camping trip through the Finger Lakes. R. and I traveled down the Seneca Wine trail - and somehow stayed away from our usual meander through the wineries. We hiked through Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls, and visited Ithaca, Cooperstown and Oneonta. I also got to camp for the first time as an adult. Girl Scout trips aside, this really was my first time setting up tents and cooking outside. It was interesting to plan, to experience and to explore. I definitely enjoyed it and want to do it again.
My final vacation was mini in size. J. was traveling this side of the country and came over for a long weekend. We decided to take advantage of it by heading out to Provincetown for an overnight. We stayed in a B & B, saw Lea Delaria's comedy and jazz show (with help from a comp ticket she presented to us in the HRC store!) and then hit the National Seashore for some lunch and sun the next day before heading back. It was whirlwind, but still a wonderful trip.
All in all - they were all wonderful and much too short. Now it's back to drives to school and weekend chores, but I can remember that opportunities come when you least expect. In fact, I will be seeing Indiana for the first time next month. While not a true vacation per se, it is definitely not for business but pleasure.
07 August 2008
I first began this garden because I wanted to see if my grandfather's green hands (more than just thumbs, this man had) didn't skip me like I feared. Because disharmony with culture made me reach back into the arms of self-sufficiency and sustainability. Because I wanted to feel the satisfaction of that first taste of food that I planted the seed for, that I mulched and watered the soil for, that I cared and cultivated and weeded for. Because I wanted to ensure that I could give back, through care and keeping of this garden space I call my own, to this earth that I have walked upon for near four decades now.
And the cycle begins. For I have gotten far more than I have put into it already.
21 July 2008
With all the trials and tribulations of solo parenting - sometimes I forget to take pause and savor the presence of my childrens' smiles, their laughs, their ability to still find joy with an innocence that is lost with the years.
So, my dear, while you are ripping the ribbons and bright paper off the presents you receive today - I will enjoy the two that I have every day.
15 July 2008
Guess there is an issue with the underground cable and it has to be rerouted. The technician didn't know how long that will be.
Nice of them to send one though. Only took me six phone calls this weekend, with bad voice prompts and disconnects, for someone to say "Hey, we noticed on your last call there is a lot of static on your line. We want you to talk to phone repair and have them check it!"
Of course, I had asked about this with the other three techs that I had talked to about my DSL. Guess it takes a little while for them to catch up.
So, no pics until service is back.
10 July 2008
The fact that I had a storm pass through last night which sent my DSL modem into freeze mode. This has happened before, and I have called about it before, but it has gotten corrected. I am getting a new modem, but will have no internet at home until then. I love technology, but realized about the fiftieth time I tried to open a webpage thinking "Maybe THIS time it will work!" - I may be a little to dependent on it for occupying time.
The process of getting the new modem. This required two phone calls last evening. The first one, following the voice prompts given, routed me to the wrong department. They were happy to give me a "direct" phone number in case of a problem during connection to the correct department - then promptly disconnected me. The second call, on the "direct" number, routed me to the same wrong department. This one connected me, then proceeded to inform me - with a nice British/Indian accent - that my call would be answered in less than 30 MINUTES! Right.
So, I placed another call this morning. Not only did I get the right department, but a person that was definitely from the USA. (Don't get me going on outsourcing in regards to the economy - but I am sure those reps have as much understanding of our accent as we do theirs) He tested my line, had me plug and unplug various things, and said the modem was pretty much shot. So, I had to call back to the billing department, which wasn't open for another twenty minutes, using the "direct" line with some "keywords" and request a new one.
By now I had to take the niblets to camp and myself to the office. I settled in for the next round.
The first phone call, to the "direct" line with the "keywords", got me to the same wrong department as following the voice prompts. While the gentleman started the script of "in case of problem the direct number..." I said that was the one I called. He still went through his script, poor guy. And I was transferred to the wrong department. Then I was disconnected. Sigh.
(Then I had to go get an icepack for the lumps and bruises forming on my forehead from banging the phone receiver against it.)
So, for my next call, this time I used ONLY the keypad numbers, and actually got the right department! She was very helpful, although I was placed on hold to try to track down I actually DID get my modem through them, and my new one should be on its way.
Anyways, once I am back up at home I will be posting about my wonderfully (too short) relaxing (during, not afterwards) vacation!
26 June 2008
1. The niblets finished school - one by the skin of her teeth - and are safely ensconced with the grandparents for two weeks. They are going to be touring this summer - start with the grandparents, then back home for a couple weeks of summer camp, then with a family friend for travel in NY and camping, then back to the grandparents. I know summer has just started, but I think it will fly by quickly.
2. I got a new job! Well - I got a promotion. My supervisor decided that he wanted to be back among people for his work. Reference librarians, always have to deal with the people to be happy. That was why I became a cataloger - I don't mind being shut away from mankind for weeks on end. But, I have now been promoted to his position, which means A. more money! and B. more responsibility. and C. My own office. All in all, very good.
3. I am going on vacation! Today I leave for western NY to join a friend and head to Toronto. We love Pride weekend, and this will be my third year going. I am such a people watcher - and boy, do I get an eyeful up there! Then it will be camping for a few days around the Finger Lakes.
So, when I get back there will be lots more info - and hopefully lots more pics to support the stories!
11 June 2008
So, I have been thinking of getting a treadmill. Of course, I live in an apartment, so there is a definite space issue, but have still been perusing the sites looking for one that could fit. Pricing was an issue too. So, I turned to Freecycle, and it came through very quickly. I found someone with a manual treadmill they wanted to get rid of. It doesn't fold, but it's half the size of an electric one. I will be taking brisk walks on it versus jogs because of the size, but it will get me moving and on my feet before the kids get up in the morning.
Today I found another handy site called WalkScore. This site lets you input your address and then tells you what businesses are within a walkable distance from your home. It also gives you a rating. My home is only 29 out of 100. Not good. I live in a city, but on a side that is more residential, so the availability of shopping is quite limited. However, there are some convenience stores less than a mile away, and I think that during those times the kids are away and I need to pop out for some supplies, I can use my own two feet to get there and spare the gas for something more important.
31 May 2008
But, to give you a (literal) snapshot glimpse into what I have been doing:
And that is just my half of it...
05 April 2008
Back in my younger days - I was an artTISTE. Well, at least in my own head, but I did love art and color was such a wonder to work with. So many shades and tints - so many names for green and blue! It was impossible to touch them all. In college I worked in the paint shop at the theatre department, and kept the color wheel close at my side.
I haven't had many reasons to be able to swirl around in color again, except playing with my kids varied collections of markers. I took the knitting Color Theory class this past fall, and laying already dyed yarns next to each other to complement and confuse - it was a lot of fun.
Tomorrow I hope to create all that.
25 March 2008
Happy Birthday to me!
I have been waiting for this baby since I saw it sitting in my parent's hallway last month. I KNEW it was for me (well, duh), but waited until last weekend to receive it. No bow or nothin'. Yes, that would be my sewing machine behind the rack. The best place to set it up was my crafting table in my bedroom. I left the flats in my southern window for the weekend and ended up with some not-so-mysteriously chewed cabbage seedlings. Luckily the cats only seemed to have eaten half of them.
So, now my two flats - plus the egg carton of thyme, parsley and scallions - are under the lights from the time I wake up until I go to bed. Since that ends up usually being 6a - 10p, it falls into that 12-16 hours of light the seedlings need. My romaine is already leggy, so I may have to start that over, but we'll see.
On to knitting: my friend Jen and our kids (my niblets and her beautiful baby girl) accompanied me to WEBS to find yarn and needles for my upcoming sock class. I have a gift certificate and I was not afraid to use it! Well, ok, a little. I just got the yarn and needles; the fumes from the warehouse out back overcame me and I had to leave. I still have to get all the equipment for my class with the Kangaroo Dyer. Six hours of dyeing yarn, painting skeins and playing with colour. My kind of day.
Easter was festive and fun. We have spent almost every Easter since I was a child up at my aunt's house in WAY upstate NY. This year was no exception, beginning with an egg hunt for the kids. This is always an interesting event, as most years we end up with a couple eggs missing. Last year they were found once all the snow melted. The year before it was surmised that the dogs must have eaten them - they like chocolate. However the gods smiled on us and all eggs were found, even with the snow and iced up driveway.
And the help of a rotating crew of parents and grandparents.