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New York, New York!

PlwsHave you heard about the pillow menu?  The link is actually to the catalog and one of these days, I'm going to order one (or two) up!  We stayed at The Benjamin at 50th & Lexington.  It was, perhaps, a bit extravagant, but it was so very nice -- and how often do I get to New York?  Exactly!  On our first night, I ordered two down pillows (one for DH and one for me -- good ol' basic pillow), an upper body pillow (I couldn't wait to try that one), and a gelly neckroll pillow.  The second night, a buckwheat, satin beauty, and a magnetic therapy contributed to this pile o' pillows that made me giggle every time we entered the room!  For the record, my favorites were the upper body, buckwheat (surprisingly!), and gelly neckroll.

Also, for the record (there are people interested in this, trust me), there was no top sheet.  There was a comforter in a duvet cover!  How do you like that?

I could have gone hog wild at The Benjamin -- I averted my eyes from the room service menu, the spa delights, the honor bar (with the $5 package of microwave popcorn and $4 Terra Chips) -- but I was content to wallow in the pillows!

Test1Test2I had to snap these shoe pics for Kt!  I don't remember the maker of these shoes -- they're Italian, Testa- or Testo-something.  I didn't go into a single major store.  The window shopping was a lot of fun, though.  Brooks Brothers is not quite DH's style -- especially the yellow pants.

51stPrkAfter an Everything Bagel at Ess-a-Bagel (and a stop at the hotel to get everything out of my teeth and make an attempt to thwart everything breath), we took the subway to Ground Zero, Battery Park, Wall Street and spent a few hours with all the other tourists.  We watched the Staten Island Ferry and snapped pics of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island -- it was noon-ish, I think, and they were already announcing that they'd sold out of ferry tickets for the day.  51st Street is for you, Elizabeth!  I thought of you every time I rode the subway -- the mosaics were so cool!  I wish I would have photographed more of them.

Pnt_2Nyexch_1Cara picked me up about mid-afternoon and I ran an errand with her -- in Manhattan -- in her car!  She hardly swore at all.  I've lately been working on my traffic zen, and this was great!  I was really quite humored by the dance.  Then, it was off to Purl where we ran into Cassie, Cari, Jackie, Iris, and Aison.  They had just come from The Point, which is where we were headed next.  I was a total midwest geek and gave them all the mini Sharpie and cheesehead eraser and the book to sign -- and most of them didn't know me from Koigu.  They might have a wee recollection now.  I took no pictures there, but I did buy yarn.

At The Point (above left), we met up with Colleen, Anne, and Cassie.  There may have been other bloggers there.  I liked the shop and the atmosphere, enjoyed the company quite a bit, as well as my iced coffee -- and I found much-sought-after yarn there!  More on all that tomorrow.

Cara dropped me off at the Andrew Kreps Gallery where DH was participating in an event and that marked the end of the knitblogger/yarn portion of my NYC trip.  Boohoohoo.  And I mean that.  I keep wondering when I'll be able to rub elbows (or whatever) with y'all again!!!

Can't you see I'm busy?


Nana9Woohoo, look who rolled into town last night!!  M*c has definitely grown in the past week -- his arms, legs and cheeks are much fuller.  Oh, I love being an auntie!

DH and I are off to Home Depot this morning -- finally -- to purchase the new tub and tile.  That project needs to get going.  After that, I'm going to smooch cheeks some more -- that's my main job today!

Wipe your hands and whip out the knitting


When we finished our very fine lunch in the park, we wiped our hands and replaced our napkins with knitting.  Did you see Cassie's very fine Birch yesterday?  We saw it up close and personal, still on the needles -- do you see it through the mess?  DH was studying the subway map, intent on his route...


I think these two were taken in the same general area -- the fountain, for sure, is near City Hall.  And who'd have guessed there'd be sheep (and other animals) in the middle of the city!  Isn't he cute?  Thanks for snapping that fountain pic, Lauren!


Here's one of Lauren -- walking, talking, and knitting!


This is the hallway at Seaport Yarn -- it's the same hall, shot from either end.  There's another small hall with a great collection of books and a little more yarn, and at least three offices filled with yarn -- all amidst the other offices that are mostly not filled with yarn!  I was definitely on overload here and that's too bad because they had lots of stuff and darn good prices.


And then, as you've no doubt already read elsewhere, it was off to The Yarn Connection to meet Kathleen!  I'd been so sure, and I know Katy was, too, that the only way I'd meet her was if she came to Knitting Camp in Wisconsin.  She'd not had the best of days, but she was great company and it was so fun to hang out at the library and knit!


Fun with collage (clockwise from top left):  Cara, Katy, Ann, me, and Lauren in the center.


Lauren had to run and catch her train, and the rest of us went out for pizza at John's Pizzeria.  Yes, I'm one of those who eats pizza with a fork -- usually.  Just not so crazy about sticky fingers.  But I picked it up and folded it and, mmmmm, it was awfully good pizza.  The grrs brought me back to the hotel where we visited with DH for a bit (he was home early!) and threw all the pillows off the bed so there was room for us and a photo op.

Whew.  End of Day 1 in NYC.  Non-stop fun and excitement, I'll tell ya!  Tune in tomorrow for more shops, more yarn, more bloggers!

Back in the land of cheese

I had a wonderful time in NYC!  I can't thank Cara enough for all her planning, help, patience, and schlepping.  She's a wonderful person and terrific to hang out with, and I'm so thankful!

DH & I left late Wednesday afternoon, set to arrive NY at 7:30, and then were stuck in Chicago for three hours because of a storm in NY and resulting gridlock at LaGuardia.  They let us off the plane for a while, which was good, but it was still a long wait.

I became less miffed about the delay when we flew over Cleveland at dusk and I saw Jacobs Field aglow as the Indians played the Red Sox (and lost) -- what a cool thing to see from the air.  Then, as we flew further east and it got darker and darker, we could see lingering lightning in the distance as well as ever more lights on the ground, and that was cool, too.  But it really got good when the moon started to rise -- a big, full moon, rising over the Atlantic, peeking out between a few little clouds as we approached New York City.  Could it get any better?  Why, yes, it can!  Our plane basically flew a circle around Manhattan (and my seat was on the right side of the plane!) -- the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the million other buildings and Times Square, all illuminated and breathtaking -- and any lingering angst I felt over the delay at O'Hare was totally gone and I was almost thankful instead.  Go figure -- I like the bright lights, I guess!


On Thursday morning, Cara, Jen, and Lauren picked me up at the hotel and we hoofed it up Lexington to Tender Buttons.  I knew we'd be going there, so I brought two sweaters-in-need with me:  a blue cotton sweater that I finished over a year ago and the fruit sweater that my sister knit for me ages ago.  I found some nice, matte blue buttons for the first, and the most perfect, porcelain buttons in the shape of cherry clusters for the second!  The store was wonderful, but it was good to have a focus.  Jen found buttons for a baby sweater, and Cara founds some to match her cabled cardigan swatch, and -- Lauren, did you buy buttons?

After the button shopping, we went to School Products where Cassie, Nancy and Ann were already visiting and shopping.  I got to look my Cold Turkey Quit Buddy in the eye -- and give her a big hug, too.  It sure was great to meet her!  Cara is right, Ann's gotta let loose on the blog a bit more.  I love her blog, but I love her more!  I was so happy, too, that Cassie was able to get away -- that was a nice surprise!  The store was not very big, but I was already overwhelmed -- bright lights, big city, zillions of buttons, imaginary friends come to life -- though I did manage to walk away with four hanks of a wool/cotton in a nice, soft green (with Mack, "son of the learned ruler," in mind).

Jen had to leave us after School Products -- but not before choosing a mini Sharpie with which to leave a memory in my book (a Knitters Without Borders book from Cafe Press).  For her trouble, she received a Cheesehead eraser, as did all bloggers who wrote in my book (until I ran out, that is).  Personally, I can't think "blogger meet-up" without thinking of The Bookish Girl and Sharpies... can you?

Then it was on to Habu Textiles and all I could do was feel stuff.  Truly amazing.  The picture is in a very narrow room -- more like a hallway, really -- and you see Cassie's bag and Lauren's arm.  I think they both found something -- or, if Cassie didn't, she was a great enabler!  Color, texture, quantity -- I think my eyes glazed over while we were there.

And then it was time for lunch!  DH had been off doing his own thing and we met him for burgers at the Shake Shack at Madison Square Park.  Yum.  It was a bit of a wait, but it was fun, and the weather couldn't have been better!

Okay, that's all I have time for today.  Landed back in the real world with a thud yesterday afternoon and it's made a big mess on my desk!  Tune in tomorrow for more NY adventures.


Knitting down the highway

On my way to work this morning, I reached into my bag (the one that I carry instead of a purse because a purse hurts my shoulder, but it holds far more and is way heavier than any purse I ever had in my life!) for my (new) cell phone and dialed work.  Where I'd normally be cruising between 65-75 mph, I was going about 30 and decreasing, so I told my boss that it looked like I'd be late.  Turns out we were almost completely stopped for about 20 minutes, plus a little stop & go action, and I was about 35 minutes late.  So I reached into my other bag (the knitting bag that I carry around but don't really use much at work or in the car) and pulled out my knitting!  Woohoo, I knit a whole round on my Tivoli T!  The bright red yarn stood out nicely in my lap against my grass green capris.

Rdbttns_1_2Don't forget to swipe the Knit Red button, if you'd like, and leave a comment.  I'll get a little list made up soon.  To enter the Knit Red / I Have A New Nephew / I'm Going To NYC / Look How My Garden Grows Contest and possibly win a fabulous prize direct from New York City, leave a comment on any post.  Period.  It's that simple -- just do it by midnight on Sunday.  Drawing will likely take place on Monday.

I was able to knit a few rounds over the weekend while Big Mac napped on the futon and his mom napped upstairs, but oh, very few.  The stupid knitting bag keeps falling over, upside down (it did it again last night, I think it's vying for attention), so most of the action lately has involved just shoving all the knitting and accoutrements back into the bag with a promise!  Soon enough, I'll have all my bags packed with much more than I'll ever need for a weekend in NYC, I'm sure, and tomorrow afternoon there will be knitting on the plane.  The plane!  The plane!!

Thank you all for your sweet comments and congratulations!  I miss my sis and her family, especially that sweet little baby.  My mom said that my baby sis told her that I saved her life over the weekend.  How cool is that, I get to mother my baby sister and her baby (if that's not right up my alley, I don't know what is), and have a complete and total blast while saving lives.  Where's my cape??

I'll try to post in the morning, but I haven't packed a thing yet, so don't be surprised if I don't and, in that case, I'll see you on the other side!

I've got a new man

Dsc04929rDsc04931r_1Ever had your heart stolen in an instant?

Meet my new nephew, McKinley Donovan; his grandpa's already calling him Big Mac, I'm partial to 'Kinley, but even Poopy Butt is endearing at certain times.

Dsc04949close_1I spent the weekend helping my sister, the mother of a newborn -- that's right up there with being the mother of a newborn on the sleep depravation chart, but without the preceding labor and delivery, the c-section recovery, the nursing...  Okay, it isn't even close!  However, I am now well aware that it isn't all food all the time on the Food Channel -- in the wee, wee hours of the morning, it's Lauren Hutton makeup and Kenny Rogers Superstars of Country infomercials.  Perhaps it was my dozing-with-a-newborn daze, but both products looked pretty darn good!

'Kinley went on his first outing to the farmer's market on Saturday and met one of last week's birthday aunties.  On Saturday afternoon, the grrs helped me unpackage onesies and sleepers, blankets and burp cloths, and ready them for the laundry.  While my sister had an afternoon rest, the little man rested, too, while I sorted cards, gift bags, tissue paper -- tried to do a few little things around the house.

Originally, I'd intended to just stay overnight on Friday, but it was clear that my presence was very reassuring to my sister and I stayed over on Saturday, too.  The little guy is a mighty arm-twister, too!  I can still recall the relief I felt when my mom came to visit when Kt was six weeks old -- Oh.My.God, you can DO that?  How much more relaxed might I have been if she'd been able to visit a little sooner?  I know that's what I was able to do for my sister -- her eyes just about popped out of her head a few times, even the swift change of a diaper (I haven't lost my touch -- is it like riding a bicycle?) was noted.  Yeah, the little guy is fragile and you've got to be careful, but he's not made of glass.

Dsc04922rDsc04935rOh, lookit, it's a Tanguy hat and it fits perfectly!  They were all beside themselves with the cuteness of that hat on an actual baby head!  My BIL wants one for himself and, really, he didn't even drop a hint, he just came right out and asked if he could have one for Christmas.  Thanks to Kate and her wonderful pattern with sizes from newborn to XL adult, I'll be able to grant that request.  One of 'Kinley's big brothers is an excellent candidate for such a hat, as well, so there will likely be an array of coordinating Tanguy hats adorning heads this winter!

On Sunday, we took 'Kinley to Target to return one of the many breast pumps that my BIL had brought home from an emergency shopping excursion on Friday.  We had one to return to ToysRUs, also, but Target was enough for the little man!

It was a great weekend, I wish I could have stayed a week.  There were tears.  They'll be coming up here next week, though.

The photo of 'Kinley's feet has already been made my computer wallpaper; Ai has one photo of him as wallpaper on her new camera phone and another as the screen saver!  Ai passed her old phone, temporarily, to Mdd.  It may or may not be replaced by the new phone that I acquired last week -- my first cell phone!  I could not resist downloading Billy Joel's New York State of Mind as my ringtone...  Yeehaw, I'm going to NYC in two days!  (I should probaby axe the "Yeehaw" before I go, huh?)

Hey buddy, can you spare a button?


If you're knitting RED and you'd like a button, please feel free to copy this one to your server and then post it proudly.  Bust your buttons, people!  And leave a comment, if you please (I'll need email and/or blog), about knitting with red or about hostas or babies or whatever, and I'll make this into a contest.  I'm not sure when the deadline will be, but the prize will probably be from NYC!

That's my Tivoli T-shirt, by the way, and the stitch marker is one that Susie sent me.  Y'all know how hard it is to take a picture of something red, so you'll have to trust me, it's RED!

I'm off to meet my nephew.  Happy weekend.

Musical know-how

Some people just don't belong on the radio, like the guy Kt and I heard the other day who was giving away tickets to see The Deaf Leopards.  He wasn't smirking or anything, either (I could tell, even over the radio); he was dead serious.

For others, the radio is just not good 'nuff, nor even TV.  It is most likely that you've seen this already and I'm not going to apologize if you have -- it's worth looking at again, in my opinion.  I can't get enough; I want to SEE it and touch it.  I can't look at it without every song on the album clamoring for airtime in my brain at the same time.  Sargeant Pepper -- Anna's most excellent composition.  She is just terrific.  Lap it up, lady, you deserve every word; I know I'm not alone in wishing there were more words to choose from!

That's all.  I'm knitting my red Tivoli.  Norma will be knitting red.  Wendy's knitting Red SoxCassie's knitting red Birch.  Who else is knitting red?  Leave me a comment -- I feel a webring or a button or a contest comin' on.  Norma's already tapped me the words:  Knit red or DIE!  (Can't you just hear her???)

Just way too much cuteness around here

EasterbroI wish to put Lesli's mind at ease -- my little brother was definitely not in polka dots.  Is he not the cutest little thing you ever did see?  The little jacket and hat and bow-tie?  After I posted yesterday, I realized that my mom was probably pregnant with her fifth and last in this photo -- I'm not sure that she knew it yet.

Your comments made me smile and think of so many other things!  My mother did not know all those years ago that she was going to have twins.  She'd been to the doctor for a routine visit the previous day and he'd sent her home, predicting a big boy born mid-July.  "Andrea" of the jaunty hat (see yesterday's photo) was born first.  They were waiting for the afterbirth.  And waiting and waiting and waiting... and what do you know!  It's another baby!  "Leslie" was born 30 minutes later.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent -- I often think of them as Andrea and Leslie, though, because those were considered -- after our grandfathers, Andrew and Lester.

Leslie was quite small and in the hospital for a week because of underdeveloped lungs.  They developed quite nicely, thank you, and she caught up quite well in size, also.  She's my sister quit buddy!  Andrea and I are a lot alike and, you're right Ann, people would often guess that we were the twins when we'd play our little game.

Dsc04892 Dsc04893I am finished with the bootie knitting for a while.  Details of these are in the finished album in the sidebar -- the knitting just dragged on and on.  They're supposed to look like bunnies, and I knitted all the ear parts, too, but I just couldn't work on these for one more minute!  These will adorn the feet of young McKinley this weekend.

The booties are photographed on one of two Blue Angel hostas that are positioned on either side of a brick walkway that leads to our front door.  The hostas are each crowding their neighboring astilbe and something's going to have to be moved.  Yowza, these leaves are bigger than my head.  I love 'em!  The size, color, texture -- gorgeous!  Even though I haven't been a big fan of the weather this year, my gardens have almost never looked better!

I have started something new -- Grumperina's Tivoli t-shirt.  I'm not all that sure that it will suit me when finished, but Mdd is a likely runner-up recipient.  I'm using Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere and it's very, very red (otherwise, Kt & Ai would be good candidates) and oh, so wonderfully soft.  I have never knit a garment in the round before, so this is a FIRST.  If I'm to tackle Rogue or Fibonacci, I'm going to have to be able to do this comfortably.  I did not have a small enough circular needle to begin, but I did have two of the same size.  Cara, can you guess what I did?  It isn't a sock, but it's in the round, on two circs, right here, right now!!

Happy Birthday x2


Happy Birthday to the Twins!  Here they are at 6 with shiny, new, matching Schwinns.  The bikes were refitted with banana seats and big handlebars a year or two later...

Easter3I noticed that not only do they have matching bikes in that photo, they having matching everything -- right down to the pigtails!  Being only a year and a half apart, we were even sometimes dressed as triplets and often in clothes that Mom made!  This polka-dot dress is one of those and one of my favorites of all time; I don't know whatever happened to any of them!  Don't you love how our hems are all evenly lined up?  The most amazing thing is that on the other side of Mom in that photo is our little brother -- and she still found time to sew...

It is pretty evident, just looking at them, that besides being fraternal, the twins are very different from each other -- just look at how they stand, the angle of the hats on their heads!  By the time they were in grade school, I don't think they had a single matching article of clothing (our baby sister, however, had many sets of three...).  By graduation, their paths and interests and circles of friends were so different that they were hardly thought of as sisters, much less twins.

When the four of us used to get together regularly for Sister Weekends, we'd play "Guess The Twins" with unsuspecting victims people at airports, shops, hotels, and restaurants.  No one would ever get it right!

I absolutely love them to pieces and cherish their differences.  Happy Birthday!

He ain't heavy

...he's my brother.  Huh?  Not Tito?  Did anyone else see Donny Osmond's spot for Sprint?  I thought he it was pretty cute.  Okay, okay, I really do think Donny's cute (okay, okay, I always have)!  Hasn't he let well enough alone and aged a hugamillitrillion times better than someone else we know who was also on TV yesterday?

Boy With No Name was supposed to have a moniker by day's end yesterday, but I have not yet been enlightened.  I talked with one of his big brothers and his mom last night, and heard him coo and gurgle!  Awww, he sounds adorable.  I've been told that there's room to grow with Mr. Dashwood, but Opptuna may be this fall's attire, rather than next spring's as I'd imagined.  The baby bunny bootie knitting is complete; sewing and pompom yet to do; delivery this weekend!  I can't wait to see him!  I'm thinking a little Weasley Sweater for Christmas.  His big brothers are huge Harry Potter fans and they'd get a kick out of it, too.

I dropped the knitting like a hot potato when Target called to say that my new glasses were in!  DH came along for the ride and was easily persuaded to look at and buy me a Virgin Mobile phone... for the trip...

We also went to Home Depot to look at tubs and tile.  Semi-emergency downstairs bathroom remodeling has elbowed its way onto the schedule after a little side wall cave-in recently.  Apparently, the incorrect backing for tile was used when we first remodeled this bathroom (I'm not naming any names) and, unknown to us, the grrs have been leaning against that wall during their showers!  I was pointing out problems with the tile a while ago, contemplating solutions, but not getting much reaction, so I'm not too put out about it.  Something caves in, it gets attention!  Timing could be better, but hey, it could be worse.  We're thinking whirlpool...

A boy with no name

Some of my family is having a hard time with this.  I think my sis and her husband were a little more sure of the grrs' names they were considering, but not so sold on the boys'.  Though there are changing conventions as far as surnames and marriage go, chances are that Baby Boy will have his name, unchanged, forever and ever.  This particular Baby Boy has a one-syllable surname that requires some thought as to which name(s) is best suited as a lifelong partner.  So, last I heard, BIL was going to bring the baby name books back to the hospital, they were going to consider the favored names while considering their baby, and see if they could find a match.  (He's got dark hair and olive skin, by the way, just like his dad.)

We had a harder time with grrs' names and, of course, we had three grrs!

Thank you for all your kind baby wishes and sweetness.  I think I'll go visit next weekend -- my sis will be out of the hospital by then, for sure, and I ought to have a finished pair of bunny baby booties. I also have an orange sherbet version of Kate's bunny to finish up, too!  (Kate needs to make room for a baby of her own and is looking for suggestions...)

My mom and stepdad went last night -- on their way to Colorado to help his daughter with her new house and with his two granddaughters in tow (they didn't want to leave before the baby was born!) -- and she took Mr. Dashwood.  My sister is already talking about having another baby (!), so there is hope for the lovely Miss.

I did a lot, lot, lot of work on the computer for DH this weekend, so seems like I didn't get much else done, but I did!  I went to Jazzercise on Saturday morning, did a lot of laundry, grocery shopping, and actually made dinner two nights in a row -- but all that computer time is like sitting in a black hole.  One of the things on my list was to take Cara's MDS&W gift (that has nothing to do with sheep or wool) to the antique mall to see if I could find a frame.  Oh, almost but not quite!  I did manage to find a frame that's WAY too big and the wrong color and already has something in it, though, and now I need a nail...

Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails

That's what little boys are made of!  Along with a little sugar and spice and everything nice!  After 24 hours of labor, my sister delivered a 9-1/2 pound baby boy by C-section either just before or just after midnight last night!  My mom called me at around 1:30 and she wasn't sure, either, whether he was born on Saturday or Sunday.  And we don't know his name yet!

Yippee!!  My brother-in-law was right when he said that the babies in his family are big!  There was plenty of newborn stuff that my sister received as gifts that she's left unopened.  I'll share more when I know more!

On with the show

Dsc04813I was recently able to score and send a skein of much-needed yarn in the required color and dye lot so that Kristyn could finish a baby sweater she was working on.  Little did she know that help would be found by posting on her blog, and even less in the realm of possibilities was that the needed ball of yarn would be purchased at the same shop where she originally made her purchase (especially since she'd called the shop and they said that they didn't have any more... but that's another story).  It was beautiful yarn, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and I later went back and bought a few balls for myself in a different color.  I'm anxious to work with it.

Dsc04812There was a box waiting for me when I got home the other day -- that's one of my favorite things, for sure!  Doesn't matter what it is or who it's from (or even if I've ordered it myself), I love boxes and packages in the mail!  This one was from Kristyn to thank me for my trouble (which was no trouble at all -- Is it ever "trouble" to go to the LYS?  Well it can be "trouble," but not "trouble," ya know?).  She included a very cute card and note, a copper butterfly which will find it's way into my garden (perhaps someday hanging in the pergola that has yet to be built over the deck) so that light can play in those colored bits, and a giraffe magnet -- a mama and baby!  It couldn't have been a sweeter gift.  Thank you for the thank you, Kristyn!

Dsc04814These are the Debbie Bliss bunny baby booties that I'm working on.  I was almost finished with the one on the right, I think, but ripped it all the way back to the beginning of the sole when I dropped stitch, and then a few more went wonky, the yarn is all splitty, too, and then I couldn't figure shit out, and so rrrrrriiiiiiip.  I'm anxious to finish -- I have another pair of ears to knit, before sew-up, but they're quick.

In most exciting kid knitting news, Kt has finished the pieces for the Rowan Heirloom Bag!  She asked for my help in figuring out the assembly directions, as there's lots of unfamiliar instruction, so now we just have to find some time together.  Or perhaps I can translate Rowan English into English that Kt will understand (though next year at this time, having spent a semester in London, she might get the Rowan English on her own, but I don't think she wants to wait that long).

Happy weekend, everyone!

"You look like a crack whore..."

...said Kt when she saw Mdd with mascara streaks across her face and hair that fairly glowed after the dye was rinsed out last night.  How's that for sisterly love?  For crying out loud, these grrs don't ask me about anything anymore...  So now my blonde child is REALLY blonde -- she and I were both towheads, and it kind of reminds me of when she was little -- and both redheads have a light streak or two.

Mom has invited the grrs to stay while we're in NYC.  She said, as if it were a selling point, "Tell them that I'll do their hair!"  My grrs were never crazy about having their hair done when they were little, but things change as they grow, you know, and this offer made them laugh.  And we're all set -- airplane tickets, hotel, and admission to MOMA; the rest of the itinerary is in development in the capable hands of a fabulous new sock-knitter (they are just amazing, Cara!).  (And look who else knit an extraordinary first sock!)  Applause all around.

I'll have pics tomorrow -- hair, goodies in the mail (Kristyn, you're sweet!), booties, maybe some yarn to show, or a new project.  It's really quite cool this morning, but sticky with humidity and the promise of quickly increasing heat.  Uncomfortable.  It's been hot and sticky -- like just about everyplace else in the country except Utah, it seems!


I had to miss Jazzercise on Monday night because I was personifying my favorite bumper sticker on Kt's car, "Speak Your Mind Even If Your Voice Shakes."  I addressed the city council with objection for a project proposal that would put the parking lot for said project adjacent to my property.  Not happy.  It's a great project, but the location sucks.  I was really torn about whether to exercise or go to this meeting and when I discovered that I'd forgotten my tennis shoes, the decision was made -- and I'm so glad I went.  In the end, the matter was tabled (of course), but I think we "won" and a more suitable site will eventually be found.

So, I'll go to Jazzercise tonight.  I've been so excited to go because, after three weeks or so, on Saturday, my brain finally made contact with my butt!  When my brain sent the "squeeze" signal, there was squeezing!!  When they say, "use it or lose it," I think it's true.  I miss it when I don't go.  I really do need the stretch and the movement.  I have to watch how I move, be careful of my right knee, but I can feel I'm getting stronger already, and more flexible, and moving with some measure of control and coordination.

My sister is three days overdue and counting.  I'm working ever-so-slowly on the bunny booties.  These summer evenings just whiz right by -- before I know it, it's after 9:00 every single night and I still haven't had a sit-down and then, when I do sit down, I'm overcome with exhaustion.  I'm bored with generic baby stuff.  What I really want is a kicking, screaming baby GIRL (I hope) or BOY (that'd be fine) to knit for -- hurry up and come out to play, baby!!  We want to meet you.  Speaking of babies...

Elizabeth has a new favorite thing...  her new grandson (there's more in previous posts)!  I think it's so nice how she writes about her son-in-law and how fabulous he is.  It made me think of DH and what it was like when we brought our first-born home.  I was off of work for about six weeks, but he wasn't. Looking back, I think I had a little run-in with post-partum depression during that time; not very severe, but I do recall some very off days.  I brought the little peanut to work with me for the next six weeks, 'til I realized how difficult and extremely stressful it was to be both employee and mother at the very same time.  It was awful.  I was fortunate enough to find a day care provider very close to work.  She was a wonderful lady!  Since Kt did not take to pacifiers or bottles (no matter the contents), I would run over to nurse her; it couldn't have been better.  At the time, my "weekend" was Sunday and Monday, which meant that I worked every Saturday.  It was daddy's day with the baby!  It took some getting used to on DH's part, believe me, but it turned out to be one of those situations we are now thankful for.  He would bring her in for nursing, but was on his own the rest of the day to figure it all out on his own.  And he did!

Still working on travel arrangements.  Had a few minutes of panic in the early morning hours -- a big jumble of weird thoughts about The Big City and stuff because, really, I'm such a home-body.  This isn't stepping out of the zone, this is jumping off a cliff!  I'll be fine, I'll blend right in, my knitting is good, and people won't laugh and point at me.  This is nothing like what Stephanie has been through in the past two months on her book tour -- a complete and total blast on the one hand, but so Twilight Zone on the other.  Welcome home!


Dsc04785Rest assured, knitting will make an appearance on this blog again someday.  Norma wonders if she's not becoming a food blog (yum), I wonder about a garden blog.

I piped up a little too soon this spring about the foxglove.  How sad is it that I still have the marker in the ground -- like a little tombstone?

Dsc04787On a happier note, here's my Japanese fern -- another plant that has, in the past, caused me worry, but has been phenomenal the last few years.  I'm pleased.

Dsc04786And I'm over the moon about the hostas.  My appreciation and love for them continues to grow (and surprise me!).  I add one or two every year in various places -- I'll have to look up the varieties (the big ones at top left and right are Blue Angel) -- but these are all looking very well established!

Dsc04788I've never taken a picture of the back garden from this angle before -- it's from the top of the wall (about 5' tall).  You see daylilies, hosta, the bleeding heart(s), forget-me-nots, some garden phlox and the ghostly allium on the left which has nearly finished blooming.  I've never had a big problem with weeds here, thankfully.  When it was established, I surrounded all the plants with a few sheets of newsprint before covering the whole area with mulch.  It was kind of icky the first year or two if I wanted to plant something new, but it really did help with the long-term weed problem.  I didn't do that when I planted the front garden (where those hostas are), but I'm thinking that I should -- at least in some trouble areas.

I'm so excited about my upcoming visit to NYC that I can barely blog about it.  For me, right now, this is spontaneous.  I used to be really spontaneous, and it'll come again, but this will have to do for now.  I'm going to have a major guilt trip about running off and having FUN, but y'all remind me about Mdd getting to go to camp (with horses!) for an entire week (again!) next month, and Kt getting to study in the U.K. next year (for months!) (not to mention the 3-week Continental tour before arriving back in the States), and Ai who gets to do/does pretty much whatever she wants, whenever she wants -- it's just the way.

Ann, my fellow quitter and friend, will carve time out of an extremely busy family weekend to meet up with me and I'm thrilled.  Katy has sent me a list of hotels to consider and would like to meet up, too.  Cara has been invaluable!  We spoke on the phone last night and, I've got to say, people, that the more I get to know her, the more I love her.  Late last week, her Sheep & Wool cards arrived in my mailbox, along with some extras -- they are exquisite and definitely suitable for framing.  Anywho, thank you so much for all your help, advice, and ideas, Cara.  I can't wait to meet you all -- and MORE!!

Busy, busy, busy

That's all I can say...  I think I did a little knitting on Friday night and some on Sunday night, but it was go-go-go sandwiched between!  In case you're interested in nothin' but knittin', it's the Debbie Bliss Bunny Booties (Ann, your mention of those a while back was all it took!) -- one bootie and a pair of ears are finished and I've got a start on the second bootie.  It's a great pattern and they're adorable.  My sister's due date was yesterday, so she's officially overdue (at last visit, doc said he'd let her go at least a week over).  Pins and needles!!

Dsc04778The Packerland Ride for MDA cruised through on Saturday.  I have only ever been on a motorcycle once in my life, but I still get shivers and a little thrill at the sound of hundreds of rumbling motorcyles.  And the sight -- Hog Heaven, for sure!  (I thought of you, Margene.)  We actually caught them "in the pen" on our way to the last of the graduation parties.  Sorry about the pole, Ai snapped the shot from the car window, but it gives you an idea of numbers!


The graduation party was nice, though we spent the first little bit in the basement because the tornado warning sirens were blaring!  It all blew by, as it were, with nothing but strong wind and a few minutes of heavy rain.  The graduate is a former neighbor who basically grew up with Ai, but moved away a few years ago.  They played Barbies and Legos for hours, spent many days at the pool, played softball together...  Mdd played with the two younger boys almost everyday.  I still miss that family very much.

Another of Ai's friends is starting his journey to the Middle East with the National Guard today.  From what I gather, there will be a training period in Mississippi and he'll eventually see Kuwait or Iraq.  Godspeed Patrick.

I had every intention of participating in Celia's International Pajama Day on Sunday!  I even mentioned it to my family.  I was going to help DH put the air conditioners in the windows and then kick back for the rest of the day!  (Oh, go see Celia's posts about Rome!  Kt was swooning over the shoes yesterday... it's all so beautiful!)  I think the PMS has manifested itself in the manic cleaning lady rather than the bitch this month -- happens now and then.  The a/c project led to washing of windows, which led to washing and hanging of curtains on the line, which meant finishing the laundry that was started on Saturday.  Then I decided to roll up the rugs in the living areas for the summer, so I rolled up two rugs and two pads and hauled them into storage and that project, of course, led to vacuumming.  Somewhere in there, I ran with Kt so she could drop off some job applications and, since they were at grocery stores, I took care of the list that Mdd kindly made for me.  We also went to Target where I finally ordered my new glasses.  They'll be here in about a week and you'll most certainly see.  And I tackled weeds -- garlic mustard on the west side of the house on Saturday (after Jazzercise), an icky mess near the deck on Sunday.

Sounds like I need a vacation!  Guess what?  I think I'm getting one!!  DH has been hinting for a while about going to NYC for an event that's kinda work related (really, it'll be a whole lotta fun, work or not).  The hints have been getting stronger and the desire greater as the date is fast approaching.  He's had some good news recently, some of it accompanied by green stuff, so he sweetened the deal (from my point of view) by asking if I'd like to go along!  Hell, yeah!!!  I was only in NYC once before, about 12-13 years ago for another work thing, and the only fun stuff we did was see Miss Saigon on Broadway and go to the Empire State Building.  This time, I'm having more fun!  Anyone wanna have fun with me??  I'm searching for a nice, inexpensive hotel (okay, cheap, but nice and clean) -- any and all suggestions, highly appreciated.  Woo!  The Big Apple (is it still called that?) here we come!

Class of 2005


A picture is worth a thousand words?  Yup!  Congratulations, Aison!!  I love you.

It was a banner day

While waiting for the clock to roll 'round to 11:00 last night -- the appointed time to pick up Mdd from her all-day, end-of-year class trip to Six Flags Great America -- I downloaded and resized the pics I took yesterday.  I had some time, so I played around.  Amateur photogs in this house just love to take multiple photographs that can be cobbled together in panoramic fashion, and that includes me!  I figured out how to cobble 'em into a collage on the computer and it was kind of a lightbulb moment when I realized that a banner could be made in similar fashion. I've had this blog for over a year and have kind of wanted a banner for most of that time -- and I did it!  If you're bloglining (uh-oh, am I gonna get hollered at for making that a verb?), click on over for a peek.  It's kind of a collage, too; I have loved making collages since grade school, so no big surprise!


Dsc04702My intention was to take the garden update shot from a particular point of view, but I got carried away.  And then DH brought out "my boy," Pan.  And the flowers were so pretty.

Dsc04701Dsc04699The columbine are all wild and they put on quite a show each year.  The frilly pink blossom is dianthus.  They're both amazing, aren't they.  I made a quick stop at the nursery yesterday and bought a few things for the planter box on my shady front porch, and couldn't help but bring home some other stuff, too!  I didn't get too carried away, and mostly it was because they also were amazing -- the way the leaf unfurls on one of the perennials is just fascinating.

Dsc04696aKt was painting in the garden yesterday, with some thrift store jeans as her canvas.  We did a little thrift shopping with the errands yesterday -- one of which was to deliver the job application (which she actually forgot to bring) to Ben Franklin while on a quest for iron-on letters.  FYI:  Hobby Lobby has the largest selection of iron-on letters, by far, of any craft store we visited!  And they managed to sell me some Lion Brand Kool Wool -- three skeins each of black, red, and purple -- on clearance at $2 each, and which I thought might make a nice wintery baby thing.  I needed that like a hole in the head.

No Jazzercise yesterday, but I'm still feeling the muscles used during weed-pulling last weekend, and DH and I went for a long walk with the pup last night.

It's graduation tonight.  Woot!

Do they work with support hose?

Something new!  Perhaps y'all have seen or heard tell of this before, but it's brand spankin' new to me -- and the debut is today.


The Garter Belt

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One of these days I'll get my life back and then you'll probably end up wishin' I had more to do (or did more of what I'm supposed to do, or something like that)...