Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just hanging out

cardinal pair

As I was walking up the driveway this morning after my walk, I spied a male pine grosbeak in my front tree. He looked so nice silhouetted against the yellow house that I went in to get my camera to try to get a picture of him. It was only when I was looking through the camera lens that I realized he wasn't alone. His mate is there up above and behind him in the picture. They're still out there now enjoying their breakfast.

odo in tree

At least they weren't there at the same time as Odysseus. I found him there a couple of days ago. He looks fairly guilty, don't you think?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's just the boys and me for Thanksgiving this year. The inlaws were here last weekend, my folks live in Florida and my sister decided to stay home this year. I cook the same amount of food no matter who's here and somehow it all gets eaten. Today we feasted until we were about to burst. We had the best turkey ever (thanks to Cooks Illustrated and Trader Joe's) and I've finally found a great roll recipe.

It's been a crazy week with the inlaws visiting, our first snow of the season and my van breaking down yet again. I don't think I mentioned that Oldest Boy made the school basketball team. We were very surprised when he decided to try out because it's been years since he played basketball but we figured it couldn't hurt to try out. You can't even imagine our surprise when he made the team. I'm sure the fact that's he's the tallest kid there didn't hurt but he's got a lot to learn. This means that once again our lives are scheduled around getting Oldest Boy where he needs to be when he needs to be there. I'm trying to be happy for him.

I'm knitting a tiny bit every day but it's slow going. I plan to finish these Harvest Cable socks by the end of the month and can't wait to cast on the second Green Monster Rally Monkey sock. Although the Spice Market is a beautiful color, I really look forward to knitting with something more bright and cheerful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday

NH Knitting Mama is suggesting a Thankful Thursday blog theme today. This is something I can get behind. In general, I'm a very grateful person and I try to take the time every single day to take stock of my many blessings and to be thankful for all that I am blessed with.

With no pictures for embellishment and in no particular order here are just a few of the things I am grateful for today:

1. My walking friend, Melanie. Every day, rain or shine, hot or cold, Melanie and I meet at 8:15 to walk 4 miles together. There are many, many mornings when I'd rather stay inside but I know that she's counting on me so I get my butt out there. 4 miles in one hour and we never run out of things to talk about. Melanie is wonderful in many other neighborly ways but I am particularly grateful to have her for my walking buddy.

2. Good neighbors. Melanie is only one of my many wonderful neighbors. I know that I am truly blessed to live in a neighborhood where people watch out for each other. I've had meals delivered, my driveway shoveled, my cats fed, my children chaufered, cars loaned and, of course, eggs borrowed. I've also had neighbors call if they saw my children doing something that they thought I might want to know about and neighbors who felt comfortable speaking to the boys themselves. I am grateful to have neighbors who feel like they can call me to borrow some baking soda, to baby sit their child or to drive a child to soccer practice.

3. My home. I loved my home before my renovations but now I truly love my home. As I was walking up the driveway this morning after my walk I looked at my bright yellow house and said, "I am so grateful for all this." Having a nice home to live in with my family is such a blessing to me. This is so different than I how I grew up and I feel so blessed to be able to offer my boys such a wonderful place to live. We are truly blessed.

4. Yarn. Okay, it might sound superfluous after all my lofty blessings but this is a knitting blog. Today, in the mail, I received my Loopy Ewe Winter Sock Club kit. I don't want to give away the surprise so I won't post a picture yet but there is some yummy Yarn Pirate BFL yarn included. I haven't made any yarn purchases and don't intend to do so anytime soon because I am feeling overwhelmed by my stash and feel the need to use some of what I have accumulated. What a blessing to have so much yarn!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A surprise


Does anything cheer you up quite as much as an unexpected package in the mail? Today I received these wonderful dishcloths from Abigail. She and I had emailed back and forth months ago about the allure of dishcloths. I've never quite gotten the draw to knitting or using them but Abigail tells me that I'll be converted from my spongey ways once I give these a try. I can't knit with cotton myself because it kills my wrists so I appreciate this gift all the more. The astute among you may notice my shiny new sink. I don't miss the old brown porcelain one even a tiny bit.

dishcloths 1

Abigal wrote a little note to let me know that she knit these in honor of the Red Sox victory. How cool to have Red Sox dishcloths! I'll give them a try later on tonight even though it seems a shame to get them dirty. Thank you, Abigail. This package was definitely a bright spot in my week.

First Harvest Cable Sock

I have managed to do a little knitting myself. Here is the first Harvest Cable sock complete. I'm liking it an awful lot. Wollmeise is a beautiful thing. It's so nice to know there's no way I could possibly run out of yarn. This pattern is quite nice too. I'll have to find a way to share it as it says on the bottom that it can be shared as long as the copyright remains attached. I do wonder what happened to the Sock Guy. He had great patterns.

Monday, November 12, 2007

When life gives you lemons

I had a weekend filled with disappointments both minor and major. I don't tend to dwell on such things but instead just soldier on. Still, sometimes the sheer number of disappointments and irritations start to get you down.


On Saturday, I decided to drive to the nearest Trader Joe's (about an hour away) to stock up on baking and Thanksgiving supplies. I found many yummy things, of course, including our turkey. This turkey was the number one recommendation by Cooks Illustrated and I was pretty happy to find it. Sadly, I also found out that Trader Joe's no longer carries their UFOs. UFOs are mint chocolate drops that are a favorite of my youngest son and, sadly, there just is no substitute. If anyone can find UFOs at their local TJ's I'd be happy to pay to have you ship them to me.

When I got home, Youngest Boy and I decided to take a trip to the local animal shelter. I had heard that they were over run with 154 cats and Youngest Boy decided that maybe he was ready to get a new kitty. We found a beautiful little three year old cat named Marla who Youngest Boy just loved. Unfortunately, because of their paperwork requirements we could neither touch her nor be approved to take her home. Youngest Boy was crushed and cried all the way home. He has vowed never to get another kitty. I was just angry and I understand how they remain with 154 cats when they make it so difficult to take one home.

Peanut Butter Cookies

While I was at the shelter, Mr. Baseball left a message on my cell phone to tell me my van wouldn't start. I was able to call my wonderful garage today and have it towed there. They called about an hour ago to let me know that it's the fuel pump. Things could be worse but it's still going to cost about $500 to fix. Ugh!

There are a number of ways to handle stress but two of my favorites are baking and eating. This morning, while waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I figured I'd make some cookies. I started with peanut butter cookies but after Middle Boy cleaned his room without complaining I realized I needed to make cookies that he likes (alas, the lad does not care for peanut butter). So, while waiting for the phone call from the garage, I whipped up a batch of Snickerdoodles.


So we don't have any UFOs or a new kitty and while the van will soon be fixed I'm not sure how we'll pay for it. Nonetheless, the house smells wonderful and I'm feeling better as I sip my tea and eat a snickerdoodle or two.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Whole lotta bakin' goin' on!

Peanut butter white chocolate chip brownies

Okay, it's a bad play on words I'll admit. I'm not sure if it's a little bit of mother guilt for abandoning my babies for the weekend or the fact that it's starting to feel mighty chilly around here or if it's the thought of the impending holidays, but my new double wall ovens have gotten a lot of use already this week. We've had cinnamon buns, roast chicken, whole wheat rolls, chocolate chip cookies, pork tenderloin, and, finally, these peanut butter white chocolate chip brownies. In all fairness, I must say that the brownies look much better in this photo than they actually tasted. They were made for Oldest Boy's sports banquet though and hungry boys are not picky about their sweets.

Since my return on Sunday evening, I've spent the majority of my time cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. The laundry pile just never seems to get any smaller. Last night, the boys decided to give our long haired cat a bath. You can't imagine the pile of dirty towels that one bath produced.

Here's Odysseus this morning looking like he might have preferred a spin in the washing machine instead of the bath in the tub.

Odo in basket

Until last night, I hadn't even touched my knitting since Sunday. When I abandoned the Harvest Cables sock before the World Series I failed to make a note of what row I was on. I've been too tired or busy to try to figure out where I was. Last night, about 45 minutes before we had to walk out the door I finally sat down to take a look at the sock. It didn't take me long to get back on track and now I'm happily knitting along. I hope to have this first sock done soon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Apple Laine Arizona

Do you remember that friendly wager I had going on with Sunne? She contacted me before the World Series began to see if I'd be interested in placing a little bet. She's out in Colorado and was hoping to see the Rockies win and, well, I'm out here on the East Coast and I was pulling mighty hard to see the Red Sox win another World Series. The Red Sox won the World Series and, therefore, I won our little bet.

Sunne had Sheri at The Loopy Ewe send me this beautiful Apple Laine yarn in a colorway called Arizona. It is gorgeous! Apple Laine remains one of my all time favorite yarns and I'm thrilled to have more to knit with.

As if that wasn't enough, I got another package in the mail today sent directly from Sunne herself.

Stitch markers

Aren't those the cutest stitch markers you've ever seen? Little bats and baseballs with Red Sox team colored beads. Sunne knows I knit socks almost exclusively and these are sized for small needles which I really appreciate. Just think of the Good Juju knitting with these will have. Sunne has her own shop where she sells other awesome looking stitch markers. Be sure to check it out.

I'm feeling pretty blessed on this gray, stormy day. Thank you, Sunne.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Main Entry:
1 a: being, living, or going alone or without companions b: saddened by isolation
2: unfrequented, desolate
3 a: taken, passed, or performed without companions b: keeping a prisoner apart from others
4: being at once single and isolated
5 a: occurring singly and not as part of a group or cluster b: not gregarious, colonial, social, or compound
synonyms see alone

And so it was that on Friday afternoon I found myself all alone in my husband's car making the drive to Vermont. A homeschooling mother alone; all my myself for three (or more) hours in the car. I had girlfriends joining me in Vermont but when they said they couldn't leave until much later in the day I decided to make the drive by myself so I could enjoy the drive in the daylight.

I made a couple of brief stops along the way to pick up supplies and nourishment and I listened to music on the cd player but mostly I enjoyed my solitary drive and the quiet opportunity it provided me. I savored every single minute of my solitude. The view outside my windows was beautiful and I often let out an audible sigh at the simple beauty of a November mountainside.

My girlfriends arrived later in the evening and we had a fantastic weekend filled with LOTS of food, a good amount of wine, movie watching, knitting, playing silly games and shopping. We slept little and laughed often. When the weekend was over and it was time to head home, one of my girlfriends offered to make the drive home with me. I suggested she remain with our other friend and I made the trip home alone. The solitary drive made it easier to reenter my busy, loud house filled with boys.

While in Vermont, I managed to finish one solitary Green Monster Rally Monkey sock.

Solitary monkey

The Dream in Color Smooshy really is a dream to work with. This color is named Happy Forest. How apt to be knitting some Happy Forest while in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Monkey toe

When I came home I found that Mr. Baseball had cleaned out the garden of all the debris. It was a terribly disappointing harvest for us this year. I don't know if I planted too late or if we had too much rain in the Spring or if the garden didn't get enough sunshine but we had very, very few vegetables. Amongst all the garden debris, Mr. Baseball found this one solitary pepper and put it on the deck railing where I found it this morning.

Solitary pepper