Aug 31, 2009

Back to School in the Air

This weekend was all about preparing my girls for school. Clothes were bought, hair got cut and I can safely say that they will be well-supplied and look fan-freakin-tastic. I may be a little bit biased though. Now they are enjoying their last week of freedom before classes begin.

I also did quite a bit of knitting focused mostly on a certain vest. No pictures yet but I did hit a milestone. There is hope that hubbo may be wearing the vest by his birthday... and for every damn day of the next year. You think I'm kidding?

I also finished a sock. It's a very cute sock in a lovely pattern that works very well with the yarn. Sadly I have very low expectations for the yarn. I have a habit of using the extra cast on ends to mark the starting point of the sock. I just tie it up loosely doubled or tripled to shorten it so that it doesn't get abused. Simple yet effective. I've never had a problem with it until now.

When I untied this yarn I found it super fuzzy. Ridiculously so. It's not as if I was dragging it along the ground or anything but that's how it looks. I wish I had a picture but the battery in my point & shoot is dead and the DSLR was unavailable. Just picture the fuzziest yarn you've ever seen - like mohair or fun-fur. It's that bad. Just imagine what'll happen to these socks. Ugh!

What I didn't do is go to the pool, wash the car, weed or do just about anything at all outside. It's a shame too because the weather this week is supposed to be getting a bit more fall-like. Good for getting in a back-to-school frame of mind but not so much for going to the pool.

Aug 28, 2009

ECF - Crepe Mrytle Edition

It's amazing how there are always little things in the landscape that surprise you.

Crepe Myrtle

This is a crepe myrtle in my front yard. One of 2 that we planted earlier this summer. The reason that I was so surprised to see flowers is that I didn't even think this lovely shrub would survive. We had problems digging the hole to plant it and then, one it was in the ground, I was far less diligent about watering it than I ought to have been. It's obviously got quite a will to survive.
Have a great weekend!

Aug 27, 2009

Bad Days and Worse Days

The saga of That Damn Vest continues. I keep picking it up and putting it down - a habit which has come back to bite me in the ass. But I will finish this sucker if it kills me and now I have an added incentive because I want to make myself a fall sweater and I won't allow myself to cast on for it until this is DONE!!!

So last night I sat down with it again. There were only about 2-3 inches left to knit on the sides of the deep V neck but I had a bad feeling and decided to lay the finished back and the front on the floor and compare them. Sure enough I noted a hump-like section near each of the armpits on the front piece. *insert many profanities here* Apparently one of the times I picked the vest up I mistakenly increased every other row instead of each row. Hence the humps.... and the subsequent frogging. All the way back to the beginning on the very deep V.

So. Not. Happy.

Thankfully this guy had a worse day than I did yesterday and this amuses me to no end.

Cheater !!!

The sign reads in full " I cheated and this is my punishment". Apparently his wife had him stand with the sign for 2 hours yesterday morning at a very busy intersection in my area. Tysons Corner if you're familiar. Ouch!

Aug 26, 2009

Fast Moving Komets

I've got 2 more finished objects to share soon but first here's what I'm working on right now. Yes, it's a sock. I actually have 3 socks that are active right now. I remain a fickle knitter.

DSC_0284This is Stephanie van der Linden's Komet pattern in Rio De La Plata yarn. It's been in my queue for a while and I finally started it last week just after I finished the pair of socks that were my vacation knitting.

I really love this pattern. It's got an easy to remember repeat which is why I chose it for my next commuter project. But... the repeat includes a cable 5 which is not the best ever commuter move so almost immediately after starting this sock I cast on another in a pattern that will definitely be good commuter knitting. That sock is still little more than a toe.

It turns out that the repeat between cables takes exactly the right amount of time for my commute. Yay! This pattern is also so absorbing that I just can't put it down. I took this picture yesterday and now I'm closing in on the toe. Not bad progress at all. Perhaps I'll give the cast aside toe a bit of love before I cast on for the second sock. Then again, this may just be too much fun to stop.

Aug 25, 2009

Summer Daiquiri Sox

I had such big knitty ideas about our vacation. I brought along a few UFO's, socks that I'd already started, yarn cakes that wanted to become socks, and a pair of finished socks in need of a photo shoot. Huge ideas were bouncing around in my head but as I already admitted, there wasn't much knit action during this vacation unless I was in the car.

I was determined to get at least one "interesting" shot of my Daiquiri Sox and here they are at the Robie House in Chicago. I convinced DQ to throw caution to the wind and pose on one of the low walls surrounding the house. Much to her (and my) relief, we didn't get caught. I kind of love this shot.

Socks at the Robie House

Last weekend I was finally able to finish the photo shoot in our yard. This picture presents the color pretty well. You can see the pink tones hidden among the orangier ones in this Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Yarn that made me think of Strawberry Daiquiris. It was lovely yarn to knit with and it really is soft. I would definitely use it again.


The pattern was my first from Cookie A's new book, Sock Inovation. I'm sure it won't be my last. This pattern is called Sunshine and it's one of the few that I would call good for commuter knitting. most of them require more attention to the pattern but this one was easy to commit to memory. I love that in a pattern.


I really can't wait until the weather gets cooler and I can start wearing wool socks again. My options will be so greatly expanded this year.

Aug 24, 2009

Vacation Recovery

Isn't it amazing how starting your weekend by going out on Friday night makes it seem so much longer? This past Friday night we brought dinner to my friend who had recent surgery and her family and saw that she is healing well and in good spirits. It was very reassuring.

The rest of the weekend was filled mostly with relaxing although I did spend the early (way too early) part of Saturday in a CPR/First Aid class. My nails look pretty now, 2 new socks are on the needles, a new book has been started and I can finally say that I've recovered from our vacation. Ahhhh.... I need another vacation.


At least the city still has pretty things for me to take pictures of.

Aug 21, 2009

ECF - Lake Michigan Edition

After a week of rehashing our vacation I had to come up with a relevant pic for Eye Candy Friday. Here it is, one of my favorite things about Chicago - Lake Michigan.

Lighthouse - Chicago, IL

I'm a Long Island girl and although I've happily moved away I will always miss being close to the water. There is something so soothing and relaxing about bodies of water. Lake Michigan was surprisingly huge and beautiful and DQ and I even got to experience one of it's beaches. It was a lovely end to a day.

Aug 20, 2009

Chicago !!!

Ok, so I have a new city to add to my list of favorites. Chicago. It was fan-freaking-tastic! My only complaint is that even with the crazy pace that we kept we still missed way more than we saw.

Chicago, IL  - Navy Pier

I'm sure that other people have posted pictures of the city before and they're all probably wayyyy more knowledgeable than I am so I won't even try to play tour guide. Instead I'll share some of the stuff, actually a bunch, that I found interesting or made out trip special. If you're still interested then you can go here to find the rest of the set of vacation pictures I took.

I took this picture at the Shedd Aquarium but I could just as easily have taken it when we were in Mystic last May. It's one of the same Beluga Whales that we saw then. It turns out that the Shedd was undergoing renovations and had temporarily sent their whales to Mystic to stay safe and about 2 weeks after we saw them in May they made the trip home to Chicago.

Our Beluga Buddies at the Shedd

There was an air and sea show that started just as we were leaving town. We had a killer view of the city from our hotel room on the 31st floor of a building just south of the city. We could see Lake Michigan and the whole city. We could totally have watched the show from there but as the ar show was starting at about 10 am on Saturday we were closing the door and heading down to pack the car and head home. Srsly bad planning.

At least we got to see them practicing during the week. We'd be walking down the street or sitting in a tour boat and suddenly you'd hear the sound of jets, look up, and there they were.

Air Show Practice - Chicago, IL

We did see many of the participants though since it seemed like they were all staying at our hotel. They were easy to spot in the lobby wearing flight suits and pulling roller bags with cases of beer propped on top. Party on dudes!

One thing that worked out really well for us was that the Harry Potter Exhibition was in town when we were there. It's only making 4 stops in the US and DC is NOT one of them (Boston is though) so if we hadn't caught it in Chicago it's unlikely we would've seen it. The girls loved it. That's the flying car from the movies that they're posing with.

Museum of Science & Industry (Harry Potter exhibit) - Chicago, IL

We all got to see many of the props and costumes from the movies up close. Is it any wonder that Stinkette was inspired to watch HP movies on most of the ride home?

One of my biggest regrets is that there was so much in the museums that we left unseen. Any one of them would take a ful day and more to cover completely. We just had to choose a few exhibits in each to see in depth and hope that someday we'd get back to see more.

And I didn't even stop at ANY yarn stores during the WHOLE trip. None! I did knit a lot and I tried to stop at a yarn store but we were just too busy. The closest we got was when we stopped at a visitor center and I asked for directions to one shop. When I concluded that it just wasn't going to work out the volunteer there helpfully tried to explain to me that I could look the shop up on the internet and order online... as if I didn't know that could get yarn on the internet! Hah! As if! I didn't even try to explain it to him.

Chicago, IL - Sears Tower Skydeck

In an effort to cover as much ground as possible, we took tours by bus and boat. During an architecture tour on the Chicago River I got a good look at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Check out those glass boxes with the people inside. No way I'd get in one of those. No way!

One of our last stops on our way out of town was FLW's Robie House on the University of Chicago campus. Isn't it wonderful? Look at those cantilevered roofs!

Robie House - Chicago, IL

It's very close to the Obama's house. We went to go take a look but we didn't stop. There were very stern looking officers around it and we weren't messing with them at all. Besides. there's a big hedge surrounding the property. We could see a bit of the house and a basketball hoop through the hedge.

Aug 19, 2009

The "Being" Part of the Vacation

Someone (I forget who) recently described 2 kinds of vacations - "do-ing" and "be-ing". By now it's probably obvious that I tend towards the do-ing type. I just feel like I want to do new things and see new places and, since I am the family vacation planner, that's what we do. But, I try to balance the constant motion by including activities for each of us and a wee bit of be-ing time. Our stay at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook satisfied the need to relax and offered highlights for Stinkette and I. She got a stop at Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg and I immersed myself in Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Oak Park.

The bridge to Hamburger U

The Lodge itself was a good time too even if it was an ironic choice for someone who can't eat at the Golden Arches without regretting it instantly. See, the Lodge is on the McDonald's campus and the picture above shows the bridge from the hotel to Hamburger U. The property was beautiful, quiet and restful. It also included one of the nicest hotel pools I've ever seen - huge and tiled in an atrium and the spa/fitness center was top-notch. Add the super-friendly and helpful staff (Vimal rocks) and this place gets a big thumbs up from us.

Some of the art at the Lodge is totally arch-free and some is clearly Mickey-D art but most of it is like this and looks like an old master with burgers and fries cleverly added. Stinkette participated in a hotel sponsored scavenger hunt on the property and one of the tasks was to count how many of the paintings have Golden Arches in them. It kept Stinkette busy for quite a while.

More Hyatt Lodge Art

Of all the places we visited during the trip, the only one that was a slight let-down was the Legoland Discovery Center. It was fun but I think that we all expected/hoped for more. It was a good time though and seeing all the models of buildings, animals, and people made out of Lego is pretty cool by itself. Lego Einstein anyone?

Legos = Silliness

As nice as the hotel was and it's nearness to Legoland aside, the real reason I chose that hotel was it's proximity to Oak Park. I couldn't go to Illinois and not see the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Here's the house and studio that he built for himself. It's amazing to think of a 21 year old designing a home like this for himself. We toured the home and studio and I loved all of the details. You can almost imagine him there.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio - Oak Park, IL

This is the house Hubbo liked best. It's one of a handful of homes FLW referred to as his bootleg homes because he designed these on the side while working for the Louis Sullivan's architecture firm. When they found out about his commissions on the side it led to a parting of the ways after which FLW started his own firm.

W.H. Gale House - Oak Park, IL

I liked the A. B. Heurtley House better. I love the warmth of the brick. It has the strong horizontal lines of his Prairie style homes and his signature hidden entrance. He had such a wonderful sense of space - both public and private. His integrated planters also struck me. They are such a lovely and thoughtful touch. For me they speak to the way he saw his buildings as complete and individual. He considered the intended use, budget, and the location and created a total structure down to the last detail including furnishings and ornamentation.

A. B. Heurtley House - Oak Park, IL

I loved Oak Park and I hope that future trips take me to more of his buildings. If you want to see more of the pictures from Oak Park you can click here for the flickr set.

Aug 18, 2009

Cleveland, OH

The first stop on our trip was Cleveland. We arrived kind of late in the day so we stopped for dinner even before we checked into ur hotel. The Winking Lizard was a really good start to our time in the city. As the name suggests it was kind of quirky but more importantly it was delish!

Skyline - Cleveland, OH

The main reason for this stop is probably obvious - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, OH

Our timing was great because they have an exhibit on Bruce Springsteen there right now. Hubbo is a huge fan and he wasn't disappointed by what he saw there. As with the rest of the museum it was a very well presented and detailed exhibit.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (In the plaza) - Cleveland, OH

Personally, I was more drawn to these cars hanging in the lobby which I last saw on U2's Zooropa Tour.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Zooropa tour cars) - Cleveland, OH

That's the cool thing about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - if you're into music at all you'll love this place. There are many interactive displays and the memorabilia is fantastic. Rejection letters sent to U2 are there as are their concert costumes and those worm by David Bowie, ZZ Top and Michael Jackson among others.

We only budgeted about 3 hours for this museum but we stayed for more than 6. It was that good.

Next, we finally arrive in Illinois and head to Oak Brook, Oak Park and Schaumburg.

Aug 17, 2009

Vacation 2009

We're home again after a great family vacation. Over the past week we drove through some part of 5 states not including our own, saw 3 museums, one aquarium, toured by bus and boat, and so much more. This more than made up for the lack of a real, all-out family vacation last year.

The focus of our vacation was Chicago. It is a fantastic city. Go if you can but allow lots of time because there is a ton of stuff to see. We missed way more than we saw but it wasn't for lack of trying. We went non-stop through most of our vacation. What's that they say about needing a vacation from your vacation? I'm so there - but in the best possible way.

Chicago Skyline

As I said, Chicago was the focus but we saw a bunch of stuff before we got there. most of it was planned but as we started our trip, driving through Pennsylvania, we realized that we were really close to the Flight 93 Memorial and decided to stop. It's only a temporary memorial right now. There are benches to sit in while you listen to the volunteer speaker.

Flight 93 Memorial - Benches

There are all kinds of markers and mementos there. It's a hard spot to find but many have made the trip and left tokens.

Flight 93 Memorial

I'm not sure what I thought it would be like but this wasn't it. It was quiet and remote and pastoral. I took this picture from the temporary memorial site. Down there, off in the distance, you can see the American Flag. Just beind it is where the plane hit and just in front of it is where the permanent memorial will be built.

Flight 93 Memorial - site

From here we kept drving and eventually arrived in Cleveland. More on that tomorrow.

Aug 6, 2009

Getting To Know Me

I'm away from the blog today picking up my girls from camp and after 3.5 weeks apart we'll be very busy catching up. It's amazing how they change in such a short time and it'll be fun getting re-acquainted.

While I'm catching up with them here's a little questionnaire to get to know me better. Like my buddy Carole, I find most of the quizzes on Facebook to be a little silly but this one is kind of fun so I'll play along.

  1. What time did you get up this morning? 6am

  2. How do you like your steak? medium/rare

  3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Public Enemies

  4. What is your favorite TV show? The Closer... Thank yew

  5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Someplace warm and relaxing near the water.

  6. What did you have for breakfast? Corn Chex and a Snapple

  7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian

  8. What foods do you dislike? Fish and bananas

  9. Favorite Place to Eat? Ummm, not sure I have a favorite. Anywhere my friends and family are.

  10. Favorite dressing? Thousand Island

  11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Acura TL bay-beee

  12. What are your favorite clothes? Lounge pants and a t-shirt

  13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Italy or Greece

  14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full!

  15. Where would you want to retire? Asheville, NC - no surprise there!

  16. Favorite time of day? Sunset

  17. Where were you born? Queens, NY

  18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Hockey

  19. Bird watcher? sometimes

  20. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night

  21. Do you have any pets? yes, Frankie, a Red Eared Slider (turtle)

  22. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Nope

  23. What is your favorite childhood memory? Family vacations every summer at Lake Champlain

  24. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, always!

  25. Been in a car accident? Unfortunately I've been in 2 but neither was my fault (acccording to all concerned - not just me)

  26. Any pet peeves? Poor grammar

  27. Favorite pizza toppings? Sun-dried tomatoes

  28. Favorite Flower? Lilies and Iris'

  29. Favorite ice cream? Mint Chocolate Chip

  30. Favorite fast food restaurant? Probably Wendy's but I really don't do fast food much.

  31. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Once - I took it in my Dad's ancient Dodge Dart with busted seatbelts and more rust than steel. I'm pretty sure the inspector was just skeeved by the car because I am an awesome driver. Really I am.

  32. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I'm not big on maxing out cards (now that I'm a responsible adult - hah!) but if I did it would be Nordstrom

  33. Do anything spontaneous lately? went to a movie

  34. Broccoli? Oh yes!

  35. What was your favorite vacation? Our family vacation to California

  36. Last person you went out to dinner with? Bruce and the firm softball team

  37. What are you listening to right now? Bob Edwards - I love this guy. He does the best interviews.

  38. What is your favorite color? Green-Blue

  39. How many tattoos do you have? None

  40. Coffee Drinker? Sometimes but my real vice is iced tea.

Feel free to play along if you'd like and leave a comment if you do so I can check your list out.

Aug 5, 2009

Counting the Seconds

By the time anyone sees this post sometime on Wednesday morning I will be a quivering mess - sitting at my desk counting the seconds till it's time to leave my office and head south to retrieve my daughters. How wonderful it will be to see them, and hear them again after 3.5 long weeks!

DSC_0410In yet another demonstration of perfect timing, I finished another pair of socks just the other night and now I won't have to model them myself. My most favorite models can do it during our family vacation next week.

Yup! I will be returning from camp with my girls on Friday and leaving for the midwest on Saturday morning. I'm not sure how blogging will go next week but we'll see. I will have my computer with me so if I see something fantastic then I can post it right away.... or not.

The vacation destination isn't exactly a secret. Most of our local friends know it and they've given us tips on where to go and what not to miss. We are going to have a very hard time fitting it all in. Here is what I know for sure. DH and Stinkerbelle will see a ball game. I will take DQ to a beach. We will all visit many museums and see exhibits full of penguins and pirates and Harry Potter stuff - but not all together. Stinkette will get her fill of Legos. I'll see many works by one of America's Best Architects. And that's not nearly all.

DSC_0409Have you figured it out? Any suggestions to add to the list of must-sees?

Of course I'll bring a bit of knitting along. I've got this stripey sock and the Kiilas that I started out of Malabrigo way back when. I've also got Hubbo's vest, my linen cami and a half-finished shawl. It's my hope that something will be finished before I return home. With many hours in the car ahead of me that seems very do-able.

Aug 4, 2009

Sweet Corn

All too often, we get home at the end of a long day of work or errands or both and suddenly realize that we haven't a clue what to eat for dinner. It rarely turns out well - except for last night when I had the presence of mind to check the garden and see what might be ready.


It turns out that there was a nice zucchini and 2 ears of corn that looked good to go. Add some steaks that we bought the day before and it was a great meal. The zucchini and a bit of fresh picked basil became fritters, the corn and the steaks went on the grill and I'm telling you - no restaurant could've offered a meal as satisfying as that. None!

Fresh Corn

The corn was a little small and it may have benefitted from a bit more time on the stalk but mine was delish. Sweet and creamy and soooooo good. I will definitely be growing corn again next year. No doubt at all!

Aug 3, 2009

36 Hours in NY

Hubbo an I spent our last kid-free weekend in NY. He had promised to go to a Met game with my grandfather and I went along for the ride. Actually, I drove because it was the perfect opportunity to take my new car out and play with all the new features. Thank goodness for those toys because we hit such traffic. Ugh! It took 2 hours to drive 22 miles around the DC Beltway - and that was the start of the trip. Not a good start at all. If only I'd known then about the traffic we'd hit all through NJ all the way home.

Met game 1
Thankfully we did eventually arrive in NY none-the-worse for the trip and had a great, relaxed visit with my grandparents. It was so nice to have uninterrupted time with them.

Saturday night DH we to the game with my brother (who took these pictures) and my grandfather. The tickets came from Hobbo's cousin who has some very excellent connections. They were sitting in the 4th row next to the Met dugout! The area they were in had it's own bathrooms with a lounge and a private exit to avoid the crowds. Not a bad intoduction to the new stadium at all!

Met game 5

Hubbo got a kick out of watching the photographers right next to them, my brother soaked up the atmosphere and my grandfather watched his beloved Mets beat the visiting Diamondbacks. Yay!

Met game 4

The next day my grandfather was still carrying around his ticket and showing it off to everyone - a reminder of an excellent night.