Sep 30, 2009


Last night DQ received her acceptance into the National Junior Honor Society. She's playing it cool like she only did it because I want her to but she was genuinely shocked (and I thik a little disappointed) that I didn't spend the whole night on the phone showing off to her aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Then I reminded her that I had no voice.

DSC_0468The timing is a little ironic because today is the second anniversary of my father's passing. Academic achievements are just one more thing I can't share with him.

He wasn't here for the Bat Mitzvah in January but I knew he would've had a great time. He didn't get to see the new deck go up but, knowing his love of construction, I'm sure he would have enjoyed it very much. He doesn't get to see the incredible improvement Stinkerbelle is making in softball. He's missing all of it and I still miss him very much.

Sep 29, 2009

The 9th Annual National Book Festival

Thanks to one and all for the get well wishes and for indulging my fit of the poor me's. While my family went to services I went to the doctor and once I started my Z-pack I stayed home reading, sleeping and drinking tea through much of the holiday. By the end I was feeling a bit better and enjoyed a much quieter break the fast with my girls and DH. We ate bagels, and played Apples to Apples and chilled out. It wasn't what I planned but it was ok. Now I just need to work through the surplus food that was supposed to feed a crowd. Ugh.

Book Fest Crowd

Jodi PicoultMy weekend wasn't a total washout in part due to my stubbornness. On Saturday, before I finally admitted that I was sick, I attended the 9th Annual National Book Festival. Despite the nasty weather it was very well attended. People couldn't resist the opportunity to hear their favorite authors speak and in most cases it was well worth the effort.

Tents filled to capacity and beyond for authors like Jodi Picoult and John Irving. I didn't even stay for the latter because it was raining and there was absoultely no room at all anywhere near the tent. It was ok thought because I wandered into another tent and heard someone else speak.

Lois LowryAlthough I always go to the book festival with certain authors in mind I try to be open to new authors. You never know who will grab you and my family and I have found a few new favorites that way. One of this year's surprises was Lisa Scottoline. What a fun speaker! I could've listened to her for hours and I will certainly try her books - especially sine they're mysteries which are totally my thing.

One of the funny things about the festival is that, for me, it often turns into a trip down memory lane where I get to revisit old favorites and finally connect with the writers who rocked my world as a kid. Lowis Lowry was one of those authors for me. She was there talking about a new picture book she's written (you can see it in the picture). What a rich life she's led. It was wonderful to hear her speak about her childhood and the things that led her to write.

Judy BlumeAnother blast from the past was Judy Blume who is an icon to any girl who grew up in the 70's, 80's, 90's etc. Looking around the crowd that gathered to hear her it was amazing to see the diversity. Young and old and all ethnicities. One young African American girl asked if the author knew how much her books meant to girls like her. How her books speak to that population. Ms Blume seemed a little taken aback and said maybe it's because her books just describe basic experiences that all girls have. I think that's right. DQ was disappointed that she didn't get her copy of Here's To You Rachel Robinson signed but the line was just too long. I was just happy to hear her speak.

Jeff KinneyIn our original plan, Stinkerbelle was going to rush from her softball game to the city to see Jeff Kinney speak but the game was rained out and Stinkette felt that staying warm and dry was more important. DQ and I went to hear him speak for her. (OK, we just did it because we got really good seats and didn't want to give them up since JB was following him.)

Whatever our reason for being there, DQ and I really enjoyed hearing him speak. It was refreshing to hear an author speak to a standing room only crowd - some of whom were under umbrellas in the rain - and tell us how amazing this all was for him. He talked about book signings and events only 2 years ago where only one or two people showed up. He just seemed so humble and appreciative. His stories were great too and I'm sure that the kids in the audience got a huge kick out of getting a sneak peak at the artwork for the new Wimpy Kid book that's not even out yet.

Yes, I shouldn't have been out on a cold, wet, day when I was already starting to feel sniffly but it was so worth it. I can't wait 'till next year.

Sep 28, 2009

Calling In Sick For the Holidays

I'm writing this on Sunday night when I really ought to be getting ready for Yom Kippur. I should have been cooking all day to prepare to host a huge break the fast feast tomorrow.


Sadly I'm not doing either of those because I'm sick. Just normal sick - nothing fancy or exotic. Still sucks though. As weird as it may seem I look forward to this holiday. The Kol Nidre service is beautiful and haunting and it feels weird to miss it. Incomplete somehow. I also love hosting the break the fast. It's an annual tradition that I'm very proud of.

Sep 25, 2009

ECF - Holiday Flowers Edition

These are the flowers that my husband got to dress our table up for Rosh Hashanah last weekend.

I wonder what this weekend's holiday will bring.

Sep 23, 2009

Pink Komets

IMG_2863[1]I finished another pair of socks recently. I would call them a qualified success. Taking one look at the little snippet of yarn posed on my office keyboard offers a huge clue about my unease. I'm afraid that this yarn is destined to become a fuzzy mess.

It's Rio De La Plata in a color that may be Quartz Pink. Knitting with it was fine up to a point. It's soft and it currently provides really nice stitch definition on the sock which is nice when you're working a cables and lace pattern like this.

I didn't notice the problem until I was a good way into the sock. I have a habit of leaving the cast on end to dangle while I knit a sock. It serves to show which side is the start and it's never had a downside until now. In this case the dangling end got super fuzzy. I thought that it could be wear until I started seeing similar sections in the yarn coming straight from the ball. Not a lot but enough.


The yarn issues are worrisome but I still love these socks. The yarn was softly variegated and worked well with the pattern - Komet by Stephanie van der Linden. It adds a little interest and depth but it doesn't obscure the pattern at all. I love that!


When I first started these socks I feared that the pattern wouldn't be good commuter knitting but I was totally wrong. It was easy to remember and easy to read so i never had a problem picking up where I left off.


I found knitting these socks a joy and I suspect that many experienced knitters would but beware - this is more of a recipe than a pattern. Not everything is spelled out. Like the heels are left to the knitter to choose and execute. I went with a short row heel. I hadn't done one of those in a very long time and it felt very good to see that I hadn't lost it. Some things stay with you no matter how long you stray.


These are for me but DQ modeled them as we sat on the deck last weekend. It was lovely but a little cool. DQ kept the socks on for quite a while and pronounced them cozy. I can't wait to wear them myself.

Sep 22, 2009

Ten On Tuesday - 10 Things You Need to Plan For

In a life that often seems like it's spinning out of control, planning is the thing that keeps it all in check. I almost always have a plan so this Ten on Tuesday topic works for me. Here is my list of 10 Things I Need to Plan For:

  1. Vacations - I am the head vacation planner for our family. Gathering maps, making reservations, scouting restuarants etc... it's all me. I kind of like it too.
  2. Meetings and training at work
  3. Holidays - we host many holidays so the question really is who do we invite and what will we serve
  4. Birthday's - gifts, parties and surprises
  5. Dinner - I kind of hate this one. It's such a chore. I was so happy when i opened the new issue of Real Simple and saw that they have and article with 3 weeks of easy, healthy, dinners all planned out including the shopping list. Sweeeeet!
  6. Grocery shopping - I really don't do this enough. It's so much easier when I go with a list.
  7. Our family schedule - every week I need to sit down and plan for who needs to be where and when. There is just way too much going on.
  8. Knitting - I'm getting better at this. I used to buy with no plan but these days I go with a list and buy for a project. Sadly I often forget to write down what yarn is for what project. I guess this one is a bit of a work in progress.
  9. Stinkerbelle's Bat Mitzvah - It's still a few years off but we already have the date and you can bet that I'll start way in advance and whip myself into a frenzy as it gets closer.
  10. Girl Scouts - I'm the troop leader again this year and this takes so much planning and paperwork. Ugh!

That was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be and I didn't even list retirement, or home improvements or.... any number of other things.

Baby Pumpkin

I'm not sure if it will be ready on time but this is a baby pumpkin growing in our yard. Right now it's slightly larger than a grapefruit. Perhaps I ought to start planning how we'll carve it for Halloween.

Sep 21, 2009

VIP Market

Last week's Eye Candy Friday shot came courtesy of a new farmer's market near my office. I'm really excited because it's so convenient and it'll run through October 29th. But the first day was a little special. Can you tell it was unusual? How often do you find Secret Service perched on top of trucks at your local farmer's market?

Not your every day farmers market

We don't get a lot of that either. Only when our First Lady Michelle Obama is on hand to kick things off. It was a gross, rainy, day but lot's of people showed up to see her.

VIP Shopper

I can already tell that I'm going to have troulble with this little market. I am a cheese addict and there are THREE cheese vendors there. Oh no! And look, goat cheese!!! I love, love, love goat cheese. I took home a log of that Bouche Noire. Yummy.

Mmmm goat cheese

This week I'll try to balance it better with fruit and veggies.

Sep 18, 2009

ECF - Market Edition

Despite the rain yesterday, Stinkette did get to play her game (a tie) and I did get to do my shopping. Here's just a little hint of what I saw at the market.

Peppers and garlic
Among the things I bought at the market yesterday was a nice, fresh, jar of raw honey which we'll open tonight when we usher in the sweet new year. To all of you who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah - L'Shanah Tovah.

Sep 17, 2009

Random & Rainy

Work yesterday was followed by 3 hours of back to school/ meet the teachers stuff for DQ. What a looooong day. If I'd come home and just go to bed it wouldn't be so bad but I didn't. I pulled ou the Crack sweater and got caught up in that for a while. Now it's a new day and it's rainy and grey and all I want to do is sleep.

The real bummer is that this rain may interfere with my plans this afternoon. shopping type plans. The rain would also get in the way of Stinkette's softball game. Her first game was supposed to be last Saturday and it got rained out. It would really suck if her second game got rained out as well.


Sadly I'll miss her game tonight no matter what because I have to attend back to school night for her. More time in classrooms meeting teachers and trying not to fall asleep. Thankfully it won't be a long tonight so I'll be home playing with the Crack sweater much earlier. (Obsessed much?)

Stay dry!

Sep 16, 2009

Fingers Crossed

I'm a wee bit superstitious and that part of me just knows that this post is the kiss of death. That as soon as I hit publish I'm going to be sorry and all my plans will fall apart. Still, I'm throwing caution to the wind and sharing a first view of a project I hope to debut next month at about this time at Rhinebeck.

This is the Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda Teague. Around the house it's known as my Crack sweater, as in "put down the Crack sweater." This sucker is wicked addictive.


I had worried over the sweater every single moment as I finished off That Damned Vest. Would the pattern work for me? Did I have enough of my chosen yarn? Could I get it done in time? As of last night I have finished the right front and right sleeve and I'm not even close to finishing the first of my 3 skeins of super yummy Miss Babs Yowza- Whatta Skeins. I think that the chances are good that the answer to all 3 questions is yes. If I needed more evidence that the stars are aligned for this cardi it came in the form of an updated version of the pattern that arrived just as I was puzzling over errata last night. Full speed ahead!

Sep 15, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things I Think Are Cool

This week’s topic is '10 Things You Think are Cool '. Isn't that a great thing to think about? Here's my list:

1. Spending time with my girls. – coolest thing on earth.
2. Getting a really good deal – I just love a good sale
3. Sunroofs
4. Nav systems that show traffic and just about everything else
5. A great sound system
… wait, wait, wait, this isn’t ten things about my new car that are cool. Clearly I’m still having way too much fun with my new toy. Moving on…
6. iPod touch – for way too many reasons to count. I love the games, the stitchminder, the music, watching videos. It’s all pretty cool.
7. DSLR with fun lenses
8. Hanging out with friends
9. Projects that work out exactly the way you want them toWinning stuff – I’m on a bit of a streak lately
10. Yarn and fiber and all that jazz

Pumpkin Flower

Stuff growing in the garden is pretty cool too. Like this flower on my pumpkin vine.

Sep 14, 2009

That Damned Vest... is Finished !!!

Hubbo celebrated his birthday on Saturday. It rained off and on all day. although we were disappointed that Stinkette's first softball game of the Fall season was cancelled, the weather was perfect for going to the movies. The girls saw Harry Potter while Bruce and I saw Inglourious Basterds. It was pretty good and totally what you'd expect from Quentin Tarantino. Icky, icky, icky but very well done.

Happily the weather cleared on Sunday and a little photo shoot took place. Doesn't he look happy in his new vest? He really does like it. I like that it's finished.


I have to say that the end result is a total success. The yarn, Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, is quite nice. It's soft and was very pleasant to work with. The color which is called Deep Blue Sea should be very versatile.


The pattern, Kathy Cheifetz' On The Go Vest, is also a winner. It's pretty easy and the only frogging I did was due to my inattention. If you pay attention to the pattern it's easy. I knit it exactly as written except for the addition of the grey stripe in the ribbing around the neck and the arms. Bru and I agree that this small mod adds a little something.

Perhaps I should admit here that way back when I first met Bru, one of the first birthday gifts I gave him was a Gap sweater. You must remember them with their deep V necks outilned with colorful ribbing. How appropriate that this vest should be finished just in time for his birthday.


So the big question would be "If the pattern is easy and the yarn is nice, why did it take 5 years to finish this vest?" My best excuse is that the miles of mistake rib that make this vest a winner just bored me to tears when knitting. It just seemed to go on forever.

It actually seems a little silly now because once I put my mind to it I was able to bang out the rest of the project with no problem. One thing that helped was the stitch minder on my iPod. I love it very much.


The bottom line is that this is a good looking vest that will be worn by my husband a lot. I'm so happy it's done!

Sep 11, 2009

ECF - Field of Geese Edition

Our firm team made the playoffs this year and last night we played our first round game. Arriving at the field we found it overrun with geese... and their droppings. To say that it made the game interesting is putting it mildly. Ewww.

Field of Geese
The geese turned out to be a bad omen and our season ended last night. Oh well - there's always next year.

Sep 10, 2009

Miss B's Second

The daughter of a good friend had a birthday recently so, naturally, I knit. I had it in my head to make a dress for her and searched through Ravelry and my personal library for just the right pattern. Then the summer issue of Knitter's appeared with a pattern by Rick Mondragon called Bluebells & Shells. It immediately grabbed my attention because it was sweet and simple and totally different from the dress I made for my niece. This is key when knitting for 2 similarly sized little girls with birthdays about a week apart. Avoid bordeom and knitty monotony at all costs.

The shape of the dress is simple with a flared skirt that ought to be perfect for twirling. The interest comes from the use of 2 different versions of slipped stitch. There is a controlled, and subtle version on the bodice and a bolder, playful version at the hem. Both were fun to knit. What wasn't fun was knitting in all of the resulting ends afterwards. Ugh and double-ugh. I thought that I'd never finish.


Although the KP Shine is softer, I went with Elann Sonata for this dress. Both yarns are cotton and come in great colors but Sonata feels more sturdy. For kid stuff I want a yarn that can stand up to a bit of abuse.

DSC_0343As this point in the post I'd love to offer a modeled shot but... my model wasn't up for that. I was happy that she tried on the dress and it fits perfectly.

I don't take it personally that she couldn't get it off again fast enough - you'd have though that it was on fire. By the time she put it on it was about 8pm and Miss B is 2. Tired toddlers are not good models. Not at all.

Sep 9, 2009

A Hole for the First Day

Isn't it funny how little things can become tradition. You eat at a certain restautant to celebrate an event or two and boom - tradition. You buy a new outfit for a birthday or two and pow - tradition. Ear piercing in our house is like that. We only do it one day a year. The first day of school. Do it then or wait another year.

IMG_2861[1]It started with DQ who got her ears pierced the first time on her first day of kindergarden. It was quite the experience involving hiding under store fixtures and ice cream. Apparently it wasn't too traumatic though because soon she was asking for a second pair of holes so the year that Stinkette started school DQ got her second holes - on the first day of school. Stinky wasn't ready yet. But she was the following year so hers got done on her first day of first grade.

The first day of school has not involved a trip to the mall since then - until last night. I came home from work yesterday and there was DQ, ready and waiting. After discussing it for a year or so she decided she wanted her cartilage pierced so off we went. Now my eldest child's ears match mine hole for hole. I don't wear big sparkly skulls on mine though.

Tomorrow I promise actual knitting content. The end of summer and the start of the new school year make for busy times.


Last weekend we had a BBQ on our deck (during which hubbo sported his new vest at odd moments) and we also went to see the Nats. It was Roberto Clemente Day and we had fabulous seats - 8th row behind the visitor dugout. It is much easier to get into the game when you're closer to it. Even DQ paid attention - when she wasn't texting.

The only thing I haven't had a chance to do is take pictures of most of my recently finished objects. Aside from the vest, there's also a pair of socks so be certain that there will be actualy knitting content soon... if the sun ever appears again.

Sep 8, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - '10 Bad Habits You Can't Break'

Who doesn't have a few bad habits? The better question is who will admit to them. Here are a few that I can admit to.

  1. Being messy - I've never, ever been a neat person and my tendency towards mess hasn't gotten any better with age.
  2. Procrastination - This may have something to do with #1. Why put something away now if you can do it later.
  3. TV - I watch way too much television. It just sucks me in.
  4. Getting distracted - I cannot carry on a conversation if the TV is on or if there is much else going on around me. I tend to get distracted and forget what I was saying.
  5. I talk too much - Uncharacteristically, I have nothing to add to this one.
  6. Not exercising - I have been meaning to take a class or start riding my bike or something but I'd much rather be knitting or reading or watching TV.
  7. Making bad food choices - Cheese, Starbucks, an ice cream call to me constantly. Veggies - not so much. I'm working on this one but it's a rough go.
  8. Driving too fast - 0-60 in 7 seconds. Oh yesssss! I really wish I could convince the authorities that I am a much better driver at 80 than I am at 55. Until I do I'll try to keep it legal-ish.
  9. Playing my music too loud - With the windows and the roof open and a kickin' sound system... is there really any other way?
  10. Buying stuff - Yarn mostly. I just cannot resist a deal or really pretty yarn.

That was wayyyyy too easy.

Sep 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Yesterday we barbequed with friends. Today we'll be resting ahead of back to school day tomorrow.

To all my friends in the US - Happy Labor Day. To everyone else - Happy Monday.

Sep 4, 2009

ECF - Outdoor Dining Edition

It got quite a bit cooler here this week and everywhere you looked - people were taking advantage of it. All through the summer we dodged in and out of air conditioned buildings knowing that spending more than a moment outside would turn us into drippy messes. Now, finally we can enjoy the sunshine again.

Lunch Al Fresco

Earlier this week I even ate lunch outside at a local cafe. Add a large iced tea and trashy reading material and you have the makings of a lunch hour from which I am loath to return. Perfect!

I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend!

Sep 3, 2009

Knitter Control Thyself!

Why is it that whenever I'm looking for a project that uses sport weight yarn all I can find is patterns for worsted weight yarn and now, when I want a pattern for worsted weight yarn all of the patterns I'm attracted to require sport weight yarn?

Maybe the feeling of unrest is just a function of the changes going on around me right now. Who knows. All I know is that I cannot focus at all. My knitting is very focused. All I'm really working on it That Damned Vest and the Pink Komet sox - both of which are very close to complete. But as I work on them my mind is filled with visions of cardigans I'd like to knit and a mental inventory of my sock yarn is taking place.


I really can't even justify casting on for another sock since I'm still carting these around with me everywhere I go. On the bottom are the Pink Komets, followed by the stalled Kiila and the toe of a toe up sock. Do I even have a free needle to cast on with? Yup. Can I hold off till I finish the Komets? Possibly.

Sep 2, 2009

Water Your Plants

There are really good knitty things happening around the house right now. That Damn Vest now has a lovely "V" neck with a ribbed edge and hubbo is planning on what he'll wear with it Every. Single. Day. for the next year.

Even more than that there is another project blocking in my living room and a second sock is on my needles. Like I said - all good things ... but I don't have pictures of any of them yet. What I do have pictures of are veggies. Somewhat failed veggies.


I know that I was raving about the zucchini and the corn earlier this summer and they were delish. Now as the summer draws to a close it's time to cop to the failures. Like the tomatoes. We did finally get some growing on our plants and they were lovely. Sadly most of them are still green.


A few finally started turning red and I picked one but I also lost one that fell when i wasn't looking and now it's garden mush. Ick!

It just seems like everything in our garden is somewhat undersized and delayed this year. Next year I'll have to remember to plant stuff earlier and water, water, water. And then I'll water some more.


Look at this poor baby pepper. If it looked like this in June it'd be great but in September not so much. So sad.

Sep 1, 2009

Sweet Summer Stripey Sox

The Ten on Tuesday topic for today is things I hate about travel but, with the exception of hotels that lack free WIFI, there really isn't anything I hate about travel. Not even airports and long car rides. It's all pretty good to me.


So lets scratch Ten on Tuesday this week and talk about socks. Especially happy, stripey, socks.


I really love these socks. I didn't use a pattern at all. I just cast on a toe and went on from there but I was very careful to pay attention to where in the color progression I started because I wanted to see how wekk I could get the stripes to match. It was a challenge but I feel like I nailed it. They're a hair off but close enough.


The yarn is Vesper Sock and I love it. I think I mentioned before that I signed up for this sock club without ever trying the yarn. That could've been the recipe for disaster but after knitting these socks I think it's safe to say that it was one of my best knitty decisions.


Happily, hubbo agrees that the Vesper club was a good idea. He is fascinated by the math required to work out the srtipes. Math makes my brain hurt. I'd rather just knit it up and watch the sripes. Hubbo really wants me to make socks for him out of the first club skein ant that's fine because this pretty one, Damsel, is all mine.