Thursday, June 29, 2006

L is for Little Men

Both of my boys graduated this week. Avery from fifth grade and Ian from Pre-K. Avery moves on to Middle School. He's going into an Honors Program at a school nearby. Only a handful of kids from his school are going with him and he's feeling a bit intimidated by the transition. The good news is that the guidance counselor there was the guidance counselor at his Elementary school for years. She got him through his brother's birth, his grandmother's death and some anger issues he has when he was smaller (wow, I wonder who he got that from;)), so he has a built in support system there. Intimidated though he is, he is also very excited. He is leaving his school which is a progressive model and going into a more traditional setting. He is so excited that he finally gets to use textbooks! I hope he hangs on to that enthusiasm for learning as he gets older. His teacher said he had never met a more enthusiastic learner, that everyday he "bounded into class like Tigger". I'm very proud.

Ian has a big transition too but it maybe a bit easier for him. He is leaving his Special Ed pre-k to go into a General Ed kindergarten. The Kindergarten will be in Avery's old Elementary school. Ian is very well known there and everyone is very excited that he will be there next year. He has met the paraprofessional that will be in the class, as she was Avery's para for his Kindergarten/First Grade years, she remembers when I was pregnant with Ian. He has also seen his teacher although he hasn't formally met her yet. Ian corrects us whenever we refer to "Avery's school" he says it's "Ian's school". He has seen his classroom for next year and is greatly excited about going to Kindergarten. He also has one of his favorite people there to help. Avery's best friend is a year behind him so he will be a Fifth grader next year. The Fifth graders "buddy up" with the incoming Kindergartners so Ian will have a big kid buddy to show him the ropes.I'm hoping he still wakes up everyday excited about going to school. I'm very proud of him too.

I love my little men...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Well, I was going to post about my birthday today but now I'm too busy crying because Maribel did the most beautiful and amazing post for my birthday. Go read it but don't look at that picture from our Ninth Grade graduation ok? Promise?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Spin Out

The Spin Out in Central Park was held this Saturday, except it was pouring rain so we couldn't have it in Central Park. Most of Friday night and Saturday morning was spent wondering where a large crowd of people can set up a bunch of spinning wheels, sit, spin, talk and generally have a good time. After much back and forth on various locations the indomitable Cara pulled it all together:

That's standing in the back and my good buddy Ann helping someone with their spinning, next to her sitting down deep in the spinning zone is the fabulous Bakerina. What you want to see me spinning? Go look somewhere else...

Cassie was also there but I held to my tradition of hanging out with her and not getting a picture, it seems silly to stop now. I think it's a tradition she appreciates!

There was much Spin Out swag:
...and of course much fleece and spinning...

...even Ian behaved, I set him up in a corner and since a many of the spinners took their shoes off so did he:

Sadly I had to duck out early. I needed to get Ian home for a haircut and then get Avery (and some cupcakes) over to his graduation party at school. I had a fantastic time and I hope it wasn't so stressful to Cara that she won't do it again. What about next year?

Just because he's too cute here's a shot of Ian trying on his suit for today's graduation, this is of course post-haircut:

Tomorrow - MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rain rain go away.
Come again another day.
The spinners all want to play.
Rain rain go away...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is it my birthday already?

No, not quite yet but it was my turn to be the Yarn Abroad recipient.
It seems I was in the radio box group (there is also a drill box going around):

This poor box has been around. It started in Iceland, traveled around the States a bit, then to Germany, back to Iceland, back to Germany and back to the States. It's looking a bit worse for wear but it's hanging in there.

Of course you are all far more interested in what's inside aren't you? Me too, but of course I'm a tease so the box will perform like Gypsy Rose Lee, stripping off a piece at a time:

Lauren sent me some lovely postcards from Arizona:

...a great sock pattern and some gorgeous buttons:

...but my oh my look at the yarn (the picture doesn't even begin to do them justice):

I think I'm in love.

Thank you so much Lauren! And thank you Amanda for coming up with the idea and running with it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thank you all for the kind words. I find it really interesting that Cara and Angelia both said "adventurous" because of my train trip to Brooklyn. I am far from adventurous but if I can get there by subway I'll go just about anywhere. I've also always felt that as long as there was a subway near by I could never get lost.

The fair was a lot of fun. I managed to restrain myself in my purchases, being broke helped a lot, but I got a couple of goodies. The boys were phenomenally patient and seem to have had a good time as well. Avery was my official photographer so I could browse and keep an eye on Ian, so all these shots were taken by him.

These were the first things that caught my eye:

These adorable needles are made by Kiku. The needles were bamboo but it's the figures that they put on the top that I fell in love with. If you'll notice the purple devil duckies in the picture, you should know they went home with me.

The spinners were well represented:

They were getting lots of appreciation. I stayed away since I didn't want to come home with any type of fiber. It was very, very difficult.

I was walking along at one point and I noticed a woman talking to her friend , walking and knitting. I realized that it was Vickie Howell from Knitty Gritty. I didn't say anything since I assumed she was there to enjoy the fair herself. Later I found her at a booth where she was signing her books:

So here's what I came home with, aren't you proud of my self control?

I got the sweetest e-mail today Adelle. She's a professional blogger and one of her blogs is about knitting. She said she loved my blog so much she was presenting me with an award:

Too cool right? Thanks Adelle, I really appreciate it.

Since it's late on Tuesday I've decided to give you some linkage since you're probably reading this on Wednesday and we all know Wednesdays are for linkage:

While I am amazingly impressed with this girl and her creation you really have to wonder about someone who has enough time on her hands to create a knitted car.

If you have friends like mine this information might come in handy.

Finally do you think William Shatner will host the knitting 911 TV show if this website is a hit?

Happy Wednesday everyone...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shh, be very, very quiet. We are hunting the rare elusive creature known as the finished object. While these creatures are quite common in some knitting sanctuaries, here at the Mathews knit reserve they seem to have been close to extinction. One was spotted yesterday. Let's see if we can get it on film:

Wow, there it is and it's an Odessa Finishus Objectus. Absolutely amazing, it's wonderful when you can still see these here in this particular territory.

Yup, I finished Odessa. It was very freeing. Like a big ass monkey off my back. I like the way it came out, although oddly enough I discovered when I was finished I never switched to the larger needle after doing the ribbing. It fits me so I don't think it's a problem, even though I have no intention of keeping it.

This led to a bit of a binge on starting new projects. I frogged the Dublin Bay sock and re-cast it on with far, far less stitches. It's weird that it was so damn huge considering it's on 2s but whatever. I went from 72 stitches to 56 and now it's fine.

I also finally cast on for Charlotte:

Happy Kathleen?;)

There's been some tinking back, mostly because I love to forget yarn overs but I'm farther than I got the last time I tried it. It also seems easier. I'm guessing because I've had practice now with Branching Out. Frankly it seems easier than that but I'm only on row 29 so I not going to say that for sure just yet.

Maribel also reminded me that Dulaan stuff is due any second now. I have done absolutely nothing. I really wanted to do a sweater this year and this seemed the ticket:

It's not moving as quickly as I'd like but if I can make a dent in it this weekend I think I'll actually pull it off. I mean it's all garter and done in a bulky yarn it's gotta be quick right?

Today the boys and I are off to Brooklyn to go here:

My buddy Mike is there with his new girlfriend since she will have a table, so I'm dragging the boys onto 3 trains, which excites Ian to no end, to check it out. Looks like a blast. You know at 36 I can still count on my fingers the times I've gone to Brooklyn. Weird right?

Just 'cause this looks fun, I thought I'd do this meme, picked up from Kimberly :

Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a word about you.

Have a great weekend...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

K is for Kitchen

This is what my kitchen looked like on Saturday morning:

Underneath that lovely black garbage bag was a huge hole. Some of you may remember the move in weekend from hell (scroll down to the 21st, I didn't have permalink back then). Sadly we had not gotten around to getting the damn thing fixed. I wanted it done before Ingileif and Linda came so they could see my house without it's pipes exposed. As it stands that didn't work out but this weekend we finally got something done.

My kitchen on Sunday afternoon:

Whoo hoo! It's amazing how happy this makes me.

Knitting wise I'm in the decreases for Odessa. Progress is happening people. My knitting is back on the move. Maybe I'll even have an FO this week...maybe...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Thank you all for your kind words about my Grandmother, she was very special to me and it was wonderful to share that with you. I realized that I completely forgot to mention that she was of course the person who taught me to knit. I also would like to mention that all those photos came from my cousin Ingileif. She scanned a bunch of pictures she had a few years ago and gave me a disc. Most of my old photos are still in storage from my mother's apartment.

I plan on distracting you from a total lack of knitting by inundating you with pictures. For those who care, Odessa is about as far as she was the first time I took a picture of her. I finally picked it up again yesterday so maybe some progress will be forthcoming (ha!).

Last Saturday Avery and I hung out with his friend Dylan and my friend Leslie (his mom). We visited what is quite possibly my favorite place on earth. The Cloisters:

It was the perfect day for it since I find it particularly peaceful when it's rainy and foggy. This is the view from the balcony:

They do let you take pictures but you must promise not to publish them so I can't show you the Unicorn tapestries, or the statues but trust me it's a great place to visit. The boys attended an activity about medicine in medieval times. They each came home with pouches of freshly picked herbs to help various ailments and bring good luck. They had a good time, this photo of Avery notwithstanding (I totally posed him):

On Saturday night our favorite Icelanders arrived:

We fired up the grill on Sunday to welcome them to NYC:

Rinaldo has taken to grilling very well and the rest of us have learned not to touch his new toy. Much fun was had on their all too brief visit. I seem to have been too busy having fun to take many pictures. Ian loved the baby and he still asks for her although he understands she went home on an airplane:

Amazingly even with the kleinur and chocolate that they brought me I seemed to have stayed on track with Weight Watchers. I received my 10% lost keychain this week:

Yay me!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

ABC Along - J is for Josephine

There have been many great Josephines throughout history. There is of course Napoleon's Josephine:

There was also the absolutely fabulous Josephine Baker:
There is even a great sweater named Josephine:

But the best Josephine of all, at least for me, was my Grandma:

She started life as Josefa Opeshenska, but her dad died early on and my great-grandmother, Juliana, married Edward Hurley. He forbade them to speak Polish anymore so grandma became Josephine Hurley. From the pictures it would seem she was a bit of a glamour girl:

She worked for the NY Athletic Club as a bookkeeper. She used to tell fantastic stories from her days there. Many of the young actors of the day would hang out there. Laurence Olivier occasionally took her to lunch. She hated Bing Crosby because she felt that he treated his family horribly (that was his first wife Dixie and their kids). She dated a pilot named Benjamin Franklin O'Connor, who's ID bracelet she had till the day she died. I know because I have it now.

She married my grandfather Leroy Crane in 1935 I believe. There marriage wasn't easy. My mother told me they separated in the late 30s but they had reconciled and in 1941 my mother and her sister were born. My grandmother had suffered a great trauma in young adulthood which in respect for her memory I won't share but it shadowed our family for years and effected her greatly. She drank. Fairly heavily from what I understand. Having blind twin daughters I'm sure didn't make things any easier but from the way my mother and aunt turned out she obviously did her best.

When I came around she and my grandfather decided I was their second chance at a child (according to my parents at least). There was great concern about my mother's ability to care for a young child and so I lived with my grandparents until I was nearly 5. At that point my grandfather died. My grandmother couldn't take care of me herself so I went to live with my parents. She was still my primary caretaker however. Watching me after school and on days off. Coming over to do my laundry, laying out clothes for the week. I always felt she was my mother and my own mother more of a sibling. I loved her desperately and forgave her the drinking binges she still occasionally went on. At the time that my parents broke up my mother and grandmother hadn't spoken in over a year (though I still saw her everyday) my grandmother was the bigger person and called my mother. She didn't touch a drink again for the remaining months of her life.

She died in January of 1985. I was 15. I was already in bad state emotionally and her death took me to an even darker place. It took me over a year to come out of it, but once I did I was able to let go of all the bad things going on in my life and start fresh and I've never looked back.

I've long believed my survival and success was a testiment to the strength she taught me...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Contest Results

Just a quick post to let you know that Dawn was the name pulled out of the hat. Congrats Dawn! Your Lopi will be flying in tomorrow evening;)

I'll be back later with a real post.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

There once was a hat named Odessa.
Who became quite a huge messa.
At first she was fun,
but now she's undone,
and that leaves me a bit depressa.

Yeah, my limerick skills suck, unless they're dirty ones of course. I was at the decreases for Odessa when two things happened, first I found a hole, not a big one but it was definitely there. I think I must have dropped a yarn over. Second my stitch count was suddenly off by 2. Now I should have been able to tink back for about an inch but this alpaca is so sticky that I couldn't figure out where the hell I was so I ripped the whole damn thing out. I have already cast on again but I've only just today completed the ribbing. I'm a bit off my knit as it were.

I was supposed to have cast on for my Amazing Lace project. Which is of course Charlotte. The start date was Memorial Day weekend but I feel like I have to deal with the bad karma of Odessa before starting something new. Nothing like a juicy rationaliztion to start the week!

Oddly enough I have a finished project to show off that has nothing to do with knitting. This is my friend Tisha's beautiful daughter Lauren:

She is graduating from High School in a few weeks and this was Prom Night. By the way can we have a round of applause for Lauren as she will be attending Providence College on a full scholarship! Ok, back to me, no I didn't make the dress but thank you for thinking it;). I did however make the wrap. In principle this is not that amazing, however, the only reason Tisha asked me to do it was because I had a working sewing machine, well at least we both thought I did. Lauren needed the wrap by Tuesday the 23rd. Tisha gave me the material on Friday. So of course I started working on it Sunday night around 10, 'cause that's who I am. I dragged the sewing machine up from the basement only to discover that it did not fair well in the moving and wasn't working at all. So Monday night I spent handstitching the wrap. Let me tell you I thought it was going to be horrible but when all was said and done it looks pretty damn good. Of course it helps that the young woman wearing it looks that good.

I will have one of my kids pull a name out of the hat for the contest tonight and I will let you know tomorrow who has won. The yarn (and the family) will be arriving from Iceland on Saturday night so I will be able to ship it out by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

Happy Thursday...