Saturday, August 23, 2008

Touring Around

Yesterday, I spent with my sister basically in Livermore the town where they live. We went into the downtown area which is being renovated or gentrified into a cute little area with shops and outside dinning along a central mall with fountains etc. Very nice. We went to a quilt shop which I had found in a quilting travel book I bought to share with Laurie. I got Fall/Halloween material to make a wall handing and table runner for my sister's family and material to make a quilt for myself to remind me of this trip.

We ate at a Mexican restaurant in the outside eating area then went on a tour of the Wente Winery, the oldest family owner winery in the US. Very interesting then a quick visit to Trader Joe (I think Whole Foods is much nicer) then back home to just hang out and relax. I spent some time at the pool then when my brother-in-law came home we went out for dinner. We ate at a local Italian restaurant. I had Choppino (sp) which is supposed to be a local speciality and wine from the winery we visited earlier in the day.

My nephew picked up Caroline from her hotel but I was passed out by the time she got here. Today we are going into San Francisco to sight see and visit Alcatraz. Sunday, is Muir woods and I'm not sure what else, Monday we will go down to Santa Cruz , Tuesday my sister and I will take BART to San Francisco by ourselves to have a last look around then I'm on my way back Wed.

It has been so nice to just spend quiet time with all of them especially my youngest nephew. He was born in Australia and has never lived in NJ so I know him the least.

I've been knitting on my ravelery sock but I hate the way the cables are coming so I'm going to do the second one with a different design. My feeling is that the Olympians don't make the same mistake twice if they can help it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

California is Beautiful

Now that I'm here they may not be able to get rid of me. It is so beautiful here! When we got out of the white stretch limo which took us home from the airport(I felt like I should have been in a prom dress!) the first sensation I had was the beautiful fragrance of lavender. There is a huge bush right at the entrance to my sister's house.

The house is absolutely beautiful, the yard and pool with fresh rosemary and tons of lavender growing around it wonderful. So far we have been visiting, I went to see my nephew's school and participate in his back to school day. We have driven around a bit and all I want to do is look out the windows like a little kid.

Some of the surroundings are exactly the same as back home in NJ. Safeway, their grocery store could have been my A&P at home. A few different brands but almost the same. The trees and scenery are so beautiful. My sister lives in a area where the homes are spaced in between vineyards. There are olive trees, rosemary, mega rose bushes and all sorts of flowering trees, shrubs and bushes all around. They have not had rain so the surrounding hills are a golden color not green but it certainly is a beautiful place to live.

I had no problem bringing my knitting on the plane. One of the crew members saw me knitting and sent another crew member to me for a impromptu toe up sock on two circ needles lesson. I finished the socks that were on my needles and started my Ravelympic sock project but I'm pretty sure that I will not get it finished and right now all I can say is "Whatever!"

If I can figure out how to post pictures from my cell phone I will. I'll see Caroline tonight. It's weird to think that Caroline and I are in California and we'll be seeing the Pacific on Sat and Steven is working at a job and surfing in Montauk!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting Excited

Very early Thursday morning I'll be flying off for the first real vacation involving a plane, real luggage and plans for touristish places that I have taken in years! I'm going to my sister's(not the one whose home I'm visiting) at 4:00AM to fly to California at 7:AM. I've been to California years ago with Caroline on a Cheer leading trip. This is my first time in San Fransisco.

The animals and house are being house sat and my friend's wonderful husband will continue working in my house so I are fortunate that the animals are being taken care of without any real trouble on my part. I'm pretty much packed, ALL my clothing is ironed (do they give out Olympic Medals for that?)AND the house is clean and my back to school workshops are planned out! I just have to complete the list to TO DOs for Katie, then run out to the store for last minute pet stuff, visit my hospice lady, have dinner with my son, go to the post office and I'm good to go!

I think I'll sit and knit! The picture is my sister and younger brother at Susan's third birthday. My mother is in the background picking something up. This was taken in my family's "finished basement" before it got turned into bedrooms for our family of 6 kids plus any other relatives who either needed or wanted a place to live!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Days at the Beach

Yesterday, I went back to Lavalette to spend the day with ALL my sisters. Since Susan moved to California we have not been able to get together ALL four of us very often. We had a delightful day, nothing special, just hanging out at the beach, ordering in food and talking nonstop for hours. Time went so fast that although I had planned to get home by 9 or so I didn't get in until 11:30!

I miss my kids, my son is working nonstop and I hardly ever see him and Caroline is in California for a week of training. She really is growing up! The picture are of Caroline when she was about 10 or so and the two boys are my nephews Jake and Luke who are now around ten playing in the backyard in Lavallette when they were little. Now Caroline is an "adult" and off working and these two are the youngest of the family.
I finished the body of my Lady Feb sweater and now I need to get serious about what knitting to bring with me to CA. and especially for the plane trip. I don't fear anything about this trip except having my knitting needles taken from me and being stuck forever without anything to do and talking some one's ear off when they really was to sleep or relax because I can't use my normal sedative of knitting!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Learning New Things

I got a new cell phone on Sat. The last time I got a new cell phone was not a good time in my life so I never really learned how to use it and felt like a jerk being so clunky with it.

For a number of reasons it was time for a new phone so I now own a phone that lets me get e mail, directions, sent messages, has a little key board and I'm told will even respond to my voice commands (unlike the people and pets who live in my house). I am determined to figure out how to use ALL the features of this thing before I decide that I only use whatever! So yesterday I took Caroline to the airport and I used the navigator to get there and back. I've been driving to this airport for 20 years and it took me home a slightly more complicated way BUT really shorter and easier!

So in the spirit of learning how to use the phone I took pictures of two new dishcloths that I am sending out in a swap. This might not be the best picture but I'm proud of learning the process!!! One dishcloth used a stitch which was new to me. Here it is, knit a few rows then repeat this ( yarn over, knit 2, pull yarn over across two knit stitches) repeat across row. Do a few rows of plain stitches and then repeat. This is called the Indian Corn Stitch and is part of the Meg Swanson Gansy KAL I'll be starting in Sept. The other dishcloth is an outline of the state of NJ with NJ next to it. The theme of the swap is states so it did a map dishcloth and a dishcloth to represent my favorite summer NJ grown foods, corn, tomato, and blueberries. Corny but how profound can a dish cloth get?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Butterfly Vest

I LOVE this vest. It was fun to knit, just enough novelty to keep me paying attention but easy enough to be portable.The combination of short rows allow this to be knit in one piece, the only finishing was weaving the 10 stitch neck tab together and a three needle bind off for the shoulders. I considered doing a different bindoff so that the vest would be reversible then I decided that I wanted the stability of that bind off across the shoulders.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Day of This & That

Today was one of those vacation days that just slip away. I had a manicure scheduled at 9:30. As usual I woke up early, I can only sleep late on work day and I saw that Macys was having a one day sale. They advertized luggage for sale and I saw a really pretty bracelet on the Early Bird Sale that looked perfect for Caroline. So After my manicure I hopped over to Macys, I have not been in a mall department store in probably a few years and got Caroline a really nice garment bag for her business trip and a beautiful bracelet as a late birthday gift. While I was applying for a Macy Credit card the sales women noticed that my drivers liscense was expired. I did a little shopping, reconfirmed that I hate big stores and malls and then went for a pedicure. This was the most relaxing pedicure I have ever had. The skinny young women who took care of me massaged a lump of unrefined shea butter the size of an egg into my legs and feet. I could have stayed there all day. When she did the hot stones I was ready to just go to sleep.

After this luxury I ate a quick lunch in the car and went home to find my id and then went over to Motor Vehicle which is now conveniently located very close to home and got a new liscnese and registration.

Katie has a terrible case of poisen ivy and she wound up in the emergency room to get IV meds so it is just the two of us home tonight. Caroline is out with her two cousins for a girls night out down at the beach.

The up side to all of this is that I got to knit in between each thing so I am now about 10 rows away from the shoulder shaping on the butterfly vest. I'll post a pictur asap!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14th

It's hard to believe that two years have passed since Bob passed. Sometimes it seems like yesterday and other times like a lifetime away.

I took my mother to NYC for a medical test today and then we ate at IHOP near my house. Bob wanted to eat at IHOP when he came home because when he was going to the Nursing home for subacute care he looked out the window of the ambulance saw IHOP and wanted some pancakes. We would talk about it every now and then but he was too sick and never did get there. Caroline and I have gone there on his birthday and a few other times. We are not cemetery people but this does seem like a good way to remember him.

I drove my Mom back down to the beach and instead of going to the beach I fell asleep on the couch in the house for hours! In the evening I joined Caroline at Chili's with her friend who is just about ready to have a baby and re celebrated Caroline's birthday.

I did get lots of knitting done on the butterfly vest and I LOVE it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Where is the Summer going?

Wow, I'll be back to school in a few weeks. The way I spend money when I'll home it will be a

I've been watching the Olympics and enjoying them and cheating with knitting on my EZ Butterfly Jacket (vest) instead of the Ravelympic socks.

My friend's husband is back and doing more work upstairs. He is scraping wall paper from the high part of the stair well and Spackle THEN he is going to Sheetrock the walls and ceiling of Caroline's old room and put a door to the top floor. The top floor is really going to look nice.

Friday, I went to a staff party that my principal gave at her summer home in the Hampton's. We all went in her pool and had a very nice time. It rained on and off towards the end of the day and as we were getting on the road to go back home there was a double rainbow over the road. It felt like we drive right threw it. I hope this is a good sign for a our new school year. We have lost LOTS of money in our school budget for a number of reasons and this new year will be challenging!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yarn and Fabric diet

I was attending Weight Watchers for a long time, before that South Beach etc. some kind of food program as far back as I can remember. This summer I have just eaten and so far no weight gain OR loss. What I have gained is so much extra fabric that I am stunned!!!

I've been spending tons of time shifting, cleaning out, reorganizing and now that MOST not all of my fabric and yarns are in two locations I totally realize that I need to go on a yarn and fabric diet. I do make lots of quilts and knit almost nonstop BUT I can't use up this stuff in years and years.

I've tried to get so careful about recycling and not wasting and here I have so many beautiful yarns and fabrics just hoarded away. I frogged a few projects, reclaimed needles -- I had my favorite needles stuck in a lace project that was two years old. I had no business doing lace then, it was full of mistakes and just plain ugly and too messed up to save, so why was it holding those needles hostage?

I'm going to give away most of my counted cross stitch stuff, I never really liked it much and have not done it in years. I'm sorting out piles of yarns that can go into school, yarns to save to swap and yarns to donate. I'm starting working on that with the fabric also.

I went yesterday to my not so local but a nice drive away quilt shop to use my birthday discount. We stopped at a place I've never noticed before because my friend wanted a bottle of water. It turns out that this place was a great German specialty shop. They had a butcher/deli area, a small restaurant space and then an imported foods section. So we stayed for lunch, got a few treats then went fabric shopping. I almost did not enjoy the shopping because I felt guilty about continuing to accumulate more stuff.

I am going to go on a yarn and fabric diet for a while until I reduce my amount of stuff stored away. I will allow myself to get some fabric or yarn when I am in California just to remember the trip and some small fun buying at Stitches and Rhinbeck BUT I am swearing off Internet impulse shopping for a long time. I'm not going to be crazy about this. I will still need to buy backing or batting or thread for the quilts but I really want to see what I have and work with that before I buy more. AND this time sock yarn counts.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Very Nice Birthday

Yesterday turned out to be a very nice birthday. After my morning and lunch activities, I can home and just decided to relax. So I sat around and knit on the Butterfly Vest from EZ. I was thinking of making that my Ralelimpic Project but I could not wait. I had a bunch of false starts Monday night but now it is going along very nicely in an interesting Noro color combination. Caroline and had had take out Sushi. It will be a birthday dinner for both of us. Her birthday is on Sunday and she will be camping near Howe Caverns.

After dinner I went to B&N for my regular knitting night. It was even nicer then usual. I got flowers from one friend, yarn, wooden needles and a great new knitting bag from another. I gave out bags of soap goodies from my huge sort out to everyone and got almost one skein of Noro knit. Came home and watched House on the DRV. Who could ask for more?

Tonight is dinner at my sister's house for Caroline and my birthday.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Day of Contrasts

Today is my birthday. I had a very relaxing day planned. A ride down to the shore and lunch out with friends, then back home, a quick meal with Caroline then out to my knitting night. Wed. I will go to my sisters for a birthday dinner with the rest of the family who are around.

I found out yesterday that a friend of mine, who was on hospice passed peacefully and his funeral was scheduled for today. He was also a friend of the people I had planned on being with so we all went to a funeral instead of a relaxing lunch out. The service was beautiful. The Rabbi who lead the service remembered this man beautifully as a husband, father, son, brother, artist, businessman and friend. He was a wealthy man who was a friend to many famous artists but I remember him as a man filled with curiosity, compassionate but realistic.

Every year, a group I am a member of runs a full day workshop. One year I did a "Pampering Session". I had gathered a series of easy homemade "pampering product ingredients" and instructions and we made homemade sugar scrubs, bath teas and I can't remember what else. The theme of the session was that you can't take care of others if you don't care for yourself. He was the only man there. We has such a good time teasing him and he did all the projects and used some himself and shared the rest with his wife and daughter.

After the service, I did go out to lunch with several friends instead of going back to the family's home. As I was sitting at lunch I realized that these were some of the same friends who two years ago were sitting with me while Bob was on hospice, bring me food and keeping me company. One of the women lost her 37 year old son unexpectedly shortly after Bob passed. I don't know what I would do without such good friends and family.

Monday, August 04, 2008

August 4th

Today I woke up with mostly every part of me sore and aching. Sunday was another day of sorting and tossing. I did make shopping bags of goodies to give away. Neither room is picture ready yet but both are cleared out enough that I can really sort and organize.

I got two new patterns in the mail today, Wool Gathering with a Gansey Pattern and Schoolhouse press butterfly vest . I may change my ravelympics goal to the vest.

I took Marly aka the DevilCat in to be declawed today. His actual procedure is done on Tuesday but they kept him to avoid having him eat or have another fit about getting into the carrier. I think I'll like him much more when he is not scratching my new furniture!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Still Cleaning Out

For two years I have sporadically been on a mission to declutter this house. Bob and I were BOTH terrible pack rats. During times of stress or sloth, we carefully stored away bags and boxes of junk and foolishness. When Bob came home for hospice, we needed to clear out half of the family room for him to have a spot for his bed etc. MORE clutter and junk carefully or just crammed into shopping bags and boxes hidden. THEN we converted the unfinished attic like storage space on the top floor into a sitting room for Caroline. Stuff was exposed, unbelievable amounts of stuff came to light, some we dumped, some in true hereditary manner, I just found new spots to recram. NOW I really am getting serious. Caroline decluttered my old "sewing room" a room when I never really sewed, just stored massive amounts of craft stuff. Yesterday, I dejunkified Caroline's old bedroom. I can actually see carpet (very ugly carpet actually) there and today I am going to tackle the downstairs guest room which is the biggest suck of junk in this house. When I gave up doing craft fairs, ALL that stuff and lots of other junk that lost a home in the other clean ups we have been doing migrated to this room. Does all this stuff sneak around in the night OR am I supposed to believe that I actually shoved all that stuff in there?

SO the driveway is again lined up with garbage bags and we have 5 huge garbage bags of stuff to be donated to Goodwill. I can't imaging the amount of stuff that will come out of this room.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Some finished stuff

Here is the quilt I made for Caroline's friend, the yoyo puppy and yankee fleece blanket are for my niece, Laura's son Joey, the two sweaters are for me!

I need a better camera!

I finished the quilt I'm making for Caroline's friend last night and I tried to take a picture this morning BUT the batteries are dead again. For some reason this camera is EATING batteries. I just got some new rechargeable ones and I'll see if that makes a difference. I've given away the last few baby sweaters and quilts without having pictures of them. I also want to take a picture of the yoyo puppy I made for my niece and the Yankee fleece! If I won the lottery I'd get a great easy camera and one of those room size quilting machines--and buy my mother's beach house yada yada!

I went to see Mama Mia last night, what a fun movie. No big sad message just beautiful scenery and lots of singing and dancing. I needed some cheering up yesterday. I met the new hospice patient who I'll be visiting, a sweet older women and when I was going in I met the chaplain who visited with us when Bob was on hospice. It was good to talk to him but it brought back memories. It is hard to believe that it will be two years in two weeks!

I'm off to visit a quilt shop with a friend while she is dropping her daughter off for visit with her aunt. Hopefully the camera is working when I get back! AND work keeps going on the Lady Feb Sweater