Thursday, July 28, 2005


I'm not any busier than anyone else, but I'm really burned out, desperate for my vacation which started today-- and we're hitting the road tomorrow. So why is it that I am SO needing a vacation, and I'm SO excited about going, but I can't get myself to pack?

It's not like there's even that much to do. Just put stuff in duffels and bins, and load it in the Explorer.

I haven't been totally unproductive: I stopped the mail today, took books and CDs back to the library, bought extra socks and underwear, made lists, answered emails, mailed off stitch markers for the stitch marker exchange, read the Summer of Lace and Mystery Shawl Along email digests, caught up on the Knit Happens website and the Irregulars blogs, piled all the stuff I've gathered into a heap, and I just. can't. get. myself. to. pack.

It might be that I had my first opportunity to sleep past 5:30 am in over two weeks, so I stayed up and watched some tube last night, and read. Late. So the f%*#h(^@ (<-- that's not "fish-head") who did some work on our house last week CALLED AT 7:20 A.M. Who calls people at 7:20 A.M??? So I've been pretty much grogged all day. And pissed off.

So. Here's the good part. 8 hours of uninterrupted knitting tomorrow. And Saturday. I have a couple of audiobooks on the iPod, and The Husband is going to be driving. (that's another subject. I have been known to pull over to the side of the road and switch places with him when he's been in the passenger seat. He'll be doing the driving.) So I am very much looking forward to the journey, as well as to the family reunion. We'll pick up The Daughter in Lexington, KY on Saturday morning. She's been at a sorority conclave, and I'll be really glad to see her.

Meanwhile, I'm draggin'. I haven't been able to get to The Shop because of work, so haven't gotten my "fix" and I miss my knit-buddies. I thought about going over today, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Anyway-- I'll be away for awhile,probably without internet access, having lots of fun with my 4 brothers and 4 sisters, and their collective spouses/beloveds and kids,and my wonderful Mom and Dad. I am truly blessed.

And tired.

And I think I need to pack.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hail, Hail, The Gang's (almost) All Here

So I finally made it to Late Night at KH last night. It appears that we hit that rare intersection of back from vacation/haven't left for vacation yet/the yard's completed/there's a lull in the job/I started a new class that's not on Wednesday/my car works/I just needed to be here and the heck with everything else. It was amazing. The back table was packed with my favorite people. (at least my favorite people in the greater DC metropolitan area-- those of you in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, California, Ohio and points south-- please don't take offense.)
Kristine is back from Italy, with many tales of excitement, so check out her blog. I have a feeling we'll be getting some great stories for quite awhile. There were a slew of Irregulars present, including Holly, Cindy, Maeve, Shanti, Carolina, Shelley, Erin, Liz, Carol, Katie, and I'm sure I've left some people out, for which I apologize in advance.

Topics of conversation included Harry Potter-- How to "not" talk about it until everyone's read the book. Holly and Carol finished it in a day or so. Several of us are in progress. I'm working on it, but since I don't multitask well in visual and manual modes, it's relegated to bedtime, and I manage a few pages before exhaustion takes over. We also discussed bidets, their variations, and the various uses employed for them by those who had lived in places where they were. (doing hand laundry, bathing babies, chilling beer....)(I shall endeavor to avoid convoluting future sentences. I don't have the energy to fix that last one.)

It appears that many of us have well-loved projects on "hold" right now, tucked away until we can deal with them again. Meanwhile, progress is being made, albeit with different projects from those we are used to seeing. Such excitement!

The Car Situation
Well, we went from 1-1/2 functioning cars to 4. Life is good. The 1986 Volvo now has a new distributer, relay(s), a whatsydoodle coil and a somethingorother power stage. Anyway, it's working. Better than it has for years. It's a miracle.

We also purchased the Outback. It's a very sweet vehicle, except that the CD player doesn't work. And the Explorer and V-40 are both post-maintenance, so we are mobile.

Since the CD player doesn't work, I used the gift card rebates from buying the iPods to get a recharger-fm transmitter thing for the iPod. Since I LOVE audiobooks, it works well for me.

Playing Tour Guide
Yep, it's part of living in the DC area. My baby brother (I was 17 when he was born, and when he's 80, he'll still be my baby brother) and his beloved were in town for his conference, so I was so glad to be able to spend time with M. She's a sweetie, and I'm really happy for both of them. We decided to go to the American History Museum where I saw the Puffy Shirt, the ruby slippers, Kermit, "The Dresses", and my favorite, Julia Childs' Kitchen. It was awesome. I loved it. We then went to the WWII memorial. Not a terrible distance, but it was REALLY HOT-- very hi 90's with mondo humidity. It's a beautiful memorial, and although there was controversy about its placement, I think it's a good place. Then we trekked to the Smithsonian Metro, because I knew I wasn't up for a hike back to the convention center. (They really should have put another stop further down on the mall, in my humble opinion.)Well, we made it up to Chinatown, and I aimed M toward her hotel and returned to the refuge of Metro.

I'd parked at Pentagon City, so I had to do a bit of shopping, don't you know, and then proceeded to Target to pick up some things for our vacation next week. It's just a little thing, but I bought 4 new beach towels. Ours are ancient and threadbare, and these all match and will make me happy. I also got an electric ice shaver so we can have sno-cone martinis by the pool. It's a good thing.

On Sunday, The Husband and I met with The Baby Brother and The Beloved and the son of a friend of hers for dinner at Tony Cheng's Mongolian Barbecue in Chinatown. We used to go there frequently-- probably every month or so, and I hadn't been there for a number of years. It was great, and I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

And now I must be off to accomplish great things. Or at least survive the day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Musical Cars

Usually, playing musical cars is an annoying thing that happens when I have to leave for work before everyone else and I'm parked in. Would that it were so easy this week.

OK-- so we have 4 people who need to be places, and started last week with 3 functioning cars. That's pretty manageable. Now bear in mind that one of these is a very revered 1986 Volvo 740GLE wagon whose odometer died about three years ago at 219,000 miles. It's been through several accidents (no injuries) and both kids learned to drive with it. This babe just keeps on ticking-- except when it stops on Rt 1 at 11 p.m. when The Daughter is driving home from work. So it's been in and out of the shop. I am assured that it's not terminal. During the past week, the green Explorer needed to go in for routine maintenance. We managed that ok. My little red Volvo S40 (bought used--best deal I ever got) needed maintenance, and they discovered that there was some kind of internal 2nd stage gasket or something that needed to be replaced. It was ready yesterday, but none of us could get over to pick it up.

So, The Husband, The Daughter and I all need to get to work, The Son has been here and there with various commitments, and I'm about to go a little batty.

The following is not a tirade against Metro.
I think it's wonderful, and I'm a great fan but it doesn't work for our commutes. I work in Georgetown, and I've done it, but the commute time from Mount Vernon is nearly 2 hours. It would be nice knitting time--but really not do-able when one ABSOLUTELY has to be at work at 7 am, or somebody who's been up all night can't go home. (The drive is bad enough at 45 minutes). The Husband works across the river. Not only is the Metro commute and associated connections prohibitively long, but the drive sucks air, too, because of the Wonderful Wilson Bridge, (which, I might add, is going to get even worse this weekend. But hey-- better late than never. I'm glad it's finally getting built).

By the Way...
What makes people think it's ok to horn in front of you to get onto the bridge approach ramp after you've been sitting there in line for half an hour???

So here is a summary of Thursday's transportation schedule: (The Husband was attending a class in Rosslyn, which is the only reason it was this simple.) I drove the red car, and dropped The Husband off in Rosslyn, and proceeded to work. The Daughter took the green car to work near the Eisenhower Avenue Metro. The Husband took the Metro to Eisenhower and picked up the green car and went home. He drove back at 8 p.m. and dropped off the green car for The Daughter, and I picked him up at Eisenhower Avenue in the red car on my way home. Luckily The Son was out of town.

Here is a summary of today's schedule. I went to work in the green car. The plan was for The Son, The Husband and The Daughter to take the wagon to Volvo to pick up the red car. The wagon wouldn't start. The Husband and The Daughter got a ride from a neighbor to Volvo to pick up the red car. The Husband took The Daughter to work, and came back home. The wagon finally started, so The Husband followed The Son to Volvo and then The Son took The Husband to work in the red car. The Son had stuff to do, and then he picked up The Daughter. She proceeded to drive him to Winchester. I left work and went to Volvo/Subaru where I signed a contract on a previously loved Outback (sweet vehicle!) that for some reason will not be available for a couple more days. (HELP!!!!) At this point, there was a deluge, and I got to sit in Wilson Bridge traffic for an hour to pick up The Husband. He drove home so I could knit. The Daughter arrived home, informing me that while in Winchester, The Son proceeded to miss a driveway and wiped out a tire so she had to drive home on the donut. So tomorrow the red car needs to go back in for a new tire(S#*%).

There were several variations on this theme over the past week.

So anyway, all of this car-mania has put a significant damper on my ability to visit my fellow Irregulars at Knit Happens. But I have been making progress on Spring Fling. I'm about halfway through the left front. A really nice thing is that when I get to the sleeves, they are short.

And did I mention
that I also lost a chunk of a molar on Sunday night (eating a slice of Atkins bread-- not even something fun or yummy), so I needed to factor in a dentist appointment in the middle of this craziness? Well, I guess I didn't, but now I did. I get to spend 2 hours next week doing the crown thing. And we've maxed out the dental insurance. I'm thrilled beyond words. But Hey-- I've got teeth. For which I am truly grateful.

And I found out that one of my friends is going to be moving. As much as I've moved, I still get really sad... but I'm happy for the new opportunities and experiences she'll have, and that she'll be near family.

So maybe I'll be able to get to The Shop on the weekend. I sure hope so!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Great Day

Wednesday was great. It was great because I was off work, and because I had enough motivation to organize the yarn stash, and because I finally ripped out a few rows of Fibonacci so that I can actually get back to knitting on it, and because I made it through the huge pile o'mail, and because The Daughter and I got to spend some time together, and because I got to go to Late Night at The Shop, and because The Husband and The Daughter and I had dinner together at one of our favorite little places (Primo's), and because I finally finished the back of Spring Fling and cast on the left front, and I got to bed at a decent hour.

(today's blog brought to you by the word "and") and so....

The Daughter and I took in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants which I liked just fine. It reminded me of my own teenage friendships and challenges, and angst. I recommend it. Definitely a chick flick, though-- A part of it takes place in Greece, and I just wanted to hop on a plane and head off for the Mediterranean. There are villages in southern Italy that looked very much like the Greek village in the movie--- one of these years...

I realized that I have a whole boatload of yarn and other knitting fibers. Wow. At the rate I'm going, I could probably go on a yarn purchasing hiatus for a decade or so. (speaking of which, I found almost 2000 yards of a wonderful mohair boucle' I bought about that long ago. Half is a colorway of dark purples and blues, and the other is turquoises into blues and purples. It is yummy, and may find its way into a shawl or something else fun.) I am mightily looking forward to my vacation, and the aforementioned undivided knitting time in the car. The iPod is loaded up with audio books, so there should be some major progress.

OK-- let's see what's on the needles: Spring Fling (in purple Cathay), Klaralund (in Lorna's Laces Grace(somerset) interspersed with Classic Elite leGran Mohair in honeydew and pink),Fibonacci (in GGH cotton blend in melon colors), From the Top pullover (in a light maroon heather worsted wool), a Second Sock. My goal is to finish Spring Fling before I leave, to finish Fibonacci in the car, to finish Klaralund around the pool, maybe start something else-- or do the The Second Sock on the way home and start another pair.

Then, waiting for creation-- a bunch of projects that I have patterns and fiber for, and at least as much more yarn that I just love, waiting for me in their baskets, and a bazillion patterns that are screaming "KNIT ME!!" (stocking cap for The Son, fingerless gloves for The Daughter, ribbon sweater for her, footies for her, black bolero for her, DNA double helix scarf for her-- do we see a theme here?-- linen top for me, aran sweater (probably for me), shawl probably for my mother, various objet's for my various sisters and friends, and the beat goes on). (The Husband's not big on sweaters 'n' such- I'm not ignoring him).

Late Night was, as usual, amazing. This week's theme-- Gloating. There was full-blown, unabashed, unmitigated, unapologetic, and totally merited gloating from the likes of Katie, Carolina and Carol.

To start with, Katie has completed Martha-- all except the buttons. Martha has been knit as a favorite project of quite a few of the Irregulars, and all are unique and all are lovely. But this ain't just any ol' Martha. It's done in a rich green 4-ply with silver-lined glass beads knit into the centers of the squares. The effect is like dewdrops on grass. Now bear in mind that I've been watching this grow from its birth, and as lovely as it has been, the final product is close to indescribable. And it fits Katie beautifully, and she is totally entitled to gloat.

Carolina completed a breathtaking beaded Frill Stole from Knitty in Kaalund Expressions -- a blue and green colorway fingering. It is light and airy, and the beads at the ends give it a tiny bit of weight. It looks like the mist of a wave caught in the air, and it is just lovely, and she, too is absolutely entitled to gloat.

So on to Carol's Civil War Shawl which is of the "dental floss" family. It's a huge, delicate, round shawl with intricate lacy designs and it is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and it is making Carol happy, happy, happy. Needless to say, there was well-deserved gloating going on there as well.

Holly and Maeve and Shanti and Kelly and several others rounded out the evening, with a visit from a couple of lovely ladies who came with their very patient husbands from Leesburg for the express purpose of visiting Knit Happens and experiencing the yarn. We aimed the husbands toward several of the local watering holes. They'd been so good and behaved themselves for so long....

And on a much more serious note...

My Great Day was followed by a wake-up to chilling news reports. The terrorist activities in London bring back the reality of the ugliness of hate and evil in the world. There is no justification. There is no reason. There is no rationale. There is not one thing that makes it an ok thing to do. My thoughts and prayers are with our friends in London, and there's not much more I can say before I would start to cry.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July has always been important to me. My Dad's parents were immigrants from Austria/Hungary (the area kept switching back and forth depending upon who was opressing whom). My Grandma used to tell me about her voyage to the United States. Her mother died when she was young, and as the eldest daughter, she was responsible for her brothers and sisters. At the end of WWI, her Aunt who lived in Chicago, convinced my great-grandfather that Anna would have a better life in America. Her father took her to the train-- many miles from their village-- in a horse cart. She took a train to Marseilles, and took a ship, the Mauritania, across the Atlantic. There were several people in her area who were very sick, and Grandma helped take care of them. When she told me of coming into New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty, her pale blue eyes would shine a bit. During the Bicentennial, I saw fireworks aroung the Statue of Liberty, and ever since, fireworks remind me of Grandma. She was an amazing lady. You'll probably hear about her again.

It's been another one of those weeks. The mosquito bites popped up on Friday, and I have a bazillion of them on my arms. The little suckers must have gotten me while I was sleeping at camp on Wednesday night. At least I got the first ones of the season out of the way early this year. Here's hoping for no West Nile virus.

Had fun with friends at KH on Saturday afternoon. It was a much-needed respite after a busy week. The big problem was that people were working on spectacular Summer-of-Lace things that make me wanna start new projects all over the place. (Wendy was working on Peacock Feathers and Carol-the-Wizard was doing a beautiful lace scarf.) Katie's working on an awesomely constructed sweater in beautiful greens. Kel and Holly and Aimee and Courtney all had loveliness goin' on, on the needles.

The big gasp factor of the day was Shanti's Ravenna which I finally got to see in its almost-finished-ness. It is lovely beyond description, but required a bit (!) of cosmetic surgery. Please go to Shanti's website for the saga. Courtney did surgery. Others added either moral support or technical advice. Everything worked out all right. I'm still shaking.

Conversation centered on some of the ridiculously bad behavior experienced at the hands of co-workers. You'd think people could just be nice and get along.

I, on the other hand, don't run into too much wackiness with my co-workers. I did, however, end up working a chunk of Sunday night. My original 4-day weekend that turned into a 3-day weekend (my own damn fault) then turned into a 1-1/2 day weekend with some of a day on the other end. It's always something.

I've made some more progress on Spring Fling. Sometimes I wish I could just go into non-stop knit mode and get these things finished. I'm not a particularly fast knitter, and I like all these projects and new techniques, and there just ain't enough time.

Meanwhile, The Son is in Winchester for the weekend with his buds, and will be met by the Scout Troop to go to summer camp for a couple of weeks as an advisor. He spent last week as the Boys' Unit Leader at Fort Hunt Girl Scout Day Camp. (He had the neatest little group of boys whose moms were volunteering as unit leaders for the week.) I'm quite proud of him. After the Boy Scouts return from camp, he's going with the Venture Crew to the Keys for Sea Base. Such the volunteer.

The Daughter is working at the movies, and seems to be enjoying it. I know I'm enjoying going to the movies on her days off-- a definite perk. She's working today, so we'll pick her up and go to a very special fireworks viewing place. I haven't gone to see the 'works for a number of years-- usually watch 'em on the tube or from a remote area. I don't love fighting the traffic or the crowds. But this year's venue should be pretty swell.