Monday, October 18, 2010

How much...

How much knitting can one do on an 8-hour car ride to and from Cleveland, OH?

One hat's worth.
And a couple more inches on a sweater that will be wonderful when finished, but is sort of a slog right now...

Project: Notre Dame de Grace by Veronik Avery
Yarn: Spud & Chloe Sweater
Needle: 4.5mm
Started: September 21, 2010

Of course, the next obvious question is: why would one want to drive for 8 hours to and from Cleveland OH?

To visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, naturally...

Unfortunately one cannot take pictures in the Hall of Fame, so one has to rely on one's not-always-reliable memory (yeah, even after only 2 days, I'm fuzzy on a few things). However, pictures of the Hall of Fame are permitted.

We took Tanner and Ben, as part of Tanner's 16th birthday gift, and it was AMAZING. 6 floors of artifacts and information: hand-written notes for songs by the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen, musical instruments (Jerry Lee Lewis' piano, Eric Clapton's guitar), clothes (Freddy Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon's Sgt. Pepper uniform). Some of my favourites were the utterly outlandish outfits worn by Hendrix, according to the plaque, "both on stage and in every day life". Seriously, if you saw someone coming towards you in the grocery store in some of these things, you'd be calling for back-up.

There were some things I didn't understand, like, how did Rod Stewart get inducted 5 years before Paul McCartney? And where was Stevie Ray Vaughan? Or Chicago? Come on, people - Iggy Pop and the Stooges are there, but Stevie Ray is not?

All in all, though, a great weekend trip - we stayed in downtown Cleveland, within walking distance of restaurants, the Hall of Fame and lots of other things we were too tired to see; perfect weather; no delays at the border; and I got to knit there and back... all very civilized.

And now we're heavy into autumn, the leaves are falling (which translates to: must start raking soon), and temperatures are dropping faster than I'd like. You'd think, me being a knitter, that I'd love a little extra crispness in the air so I could wear sweaters, but in fact, I am happiest with the hot, humid weather we had so much of this summer. I'm kind of surprised that it's so fall-like already, but I think I've lost about 6 weeks, and am slowly reacquainting myself with what's around me.

So, we move on into "the new normal", which really is anything but, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.


Sunday, October 10, 2010


France, 1991
or a reasonable facsimile thereof...

Life is moving on, although slowly and sadly. My brothers and I are stunned by how difficult this is, particularly in light of the fact that we are all middle-aged (and then some), and Dad was 75. I think the suddenness and unexpectedness of it all, along with the realization of loss and change and impermanence, has clobbered us hard. And if it's this hard for us, I really can't imagine how hard it is for Mom.

So we plod along as best we can, with days that seem okay, and days that are unbearably painful. My parents' 51st anniversary was on Friday - not a good day. We are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I think that will be an okay day. The days in between are hard to predict, but I am always grateful for a non-crying day; these are happening more and more frequently.

So I am knitting, but not with any enthusiasm. What I have done is FINALLY figured out my rigid heddle loom, which I find completely weird. I have been stumped for the past couple of years, having so much difficulty just warping the damn thing. Now, unable to concentrate on much of anything, I am suddenly able to figure this out.

So I made this for Kelly's birthday: 1 and a bit more skeins of Sanguine Gryphon "Bugga".

One thing that I am finding very comforting, or rather, one person, is Elizabeth Zimmermann. I read and re-read her books as a matter of course, but for some reason, I am turning to her almost exclusively right now.

Which leads me to thoughts of a new project for the new year... I think I'm going to work my way through Knitters' Almanac beginning in January 2011. I will follow the projects faithfully, except for those things that I know I'll never wear, or be able to persuade anyone else to wear (nether garments, anyone?). In those cases, I'll substitute another Zimmermann project.

So, does anyone want to play with me?

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm not sure when I'll be back - we are trying to cope with the very sudden and unexpected loss of my dad, the man who among so many other things, taught me to appreciate a good beer.

When I can think more coherently, maybe I'll tell you a little bit more about him - he was quite a splendid chap, our Joe.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eat your heart out, Miracle Gro

At the end of May, I planted a few edibles in the garden - I stuck some peppers and tomatoes in the only sunny flower bed on the property, and put two cherry tomato plants in pots near the patio, one red, one golden.

Things have gone swimmingly; we've been able to pluck cherry tomatoes while sitting outside at the table to toss into our salads or mouths, and barring a few unforeseen circumstances (like dogs surreptitiously helping themselves to a few ripe peppers, branches and all), we've had plum, black (honestly, BLACK) tomatoes, and white and chocolate brown peppers.

Lately, though, things have gotten a little, er, out of hand. In the space of about a week, my cherry tomato plants have gone from civilized, staked, well-behaved individuals to this:

tomatoes on the loose

Note: dogs added for scale, but against their will

I have no idea where the stakes have gone, I cannot even find the pots they're planted in, and this cherry tomato jungle has encroached on the lawn to the point where I have to cut a wide swath around it, because frankly, I'm afraid to get it mad.

I'm currently listening to The Tommyknockers, by Steven King, about the effects of alien nuclear power on a town, and, well, I'm just saying things have gotten VERY weird and out of hand here, and really, who knows where aliens might find themselves... there have been some new people in the neighborhood recently, and none of us knows much about them at all...

I'm afraid...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life Lessons

# 317 - when painting, always put brushes away during even the shortest break, particularly when living with curious dogs who will not admit their guilt, but who are nonetheless guilty without question.
Case in point:
black dog, newly whitened nose tip

# 138(a) - always remove the plastic insert from a new deodorant stick prior to application.
# 138(b) - after scraping one's underarm raw with said plastic insert, it is not then advisable to immediately remove the insert and reapply deodorant. Such "rash" action can lead to severe pain, speaking in tongues and dance moves to rival Elaine Bennis.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today's post brought to you by...

10 Things to Bring on a Camping Trip

We haven't actually "camped" in a few years (the thought of sleeping on a small tent right beside their mom seems 'awkward' to teenaged boys - who knew?), but when we did, there were some definite staples to include (apart from the obvious, like TENT or SLEEPING BAG):

1. Knitting (well, duh...)
2. Books (again with the duh)
3. Camera (I've always wanted a waterproof one, but we've managed without)
4. Inflatable sleeping pad - I am definitely of an age when I like my comforts, and the last time we camped I borrowed a sleeping pad with down in it - my kind of roughing it
5. Chairs - not fancy, just basic keeping-my-ass-off-the-ground kind of chairs
6. Wine - just one bottle, poured into a metal bottle, which is allowed - one glass a night by the campfire just takes the edge off
7. Smores supplies - messy, gooey, but keeps the kids entertained (and stuffed) for hours
8. Bear spray - we never came face to face with one, but I heard them sniffing outside the tent more than once. My question is how does one get close enough to the bear to use the spray effectively without becoming an appetizer? And still, I find it comforting to have nearby...
9. Bug spray - some of us have major insect issues, and must be well-sprayed in order to enjoy the outdoors. I'm not naming names, I'll just say it's not me.
10. Good coffee - something about an early morning campsite, dew-covered ground sparkling in the early sunshine, silence but for birds, and the small of coffee brewing on a Coleman stove... mmmm....

I could go on - fishing rods, for example - but I'll stop here and imagine I'm tucked away in the woods by a lake somewhere...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

I thought it might push me to be a little more, um, regular in my communications if I tried something like a Top Ten list, although I'll be back in a day or two with a What I Did This Summer Part I post -

so, 10 Things I Like About Where I Live:

1. We are less than 10 minutes by bike to the shores of Lake Ontario, with real beaches and everything.
2. The Burlington, ON "core", where I live, has a small-town feel - we can walk/bike to the library, Starbucks, and the kids' orthodontist.
3. Our town is a relatively short drive to so many wonderful attractions: Niagara Falls (45 min); Toronto (40 - a zillion minutes, depending on traffic); Muskoka / Algonquin Park (2 - 3 hours); wineries (40 minutes in the Niagara direction, 3 hours to Prince Edward County); FABULOUS beaches (10 minutes down the street; 3 hours to Sandbanks and plenty in between).
4. Our house is two blocks from school, so the kids can and usually do come home for lunch.
5. Ours is an old, established neighborhood, with lots of huge trees and heritage houses, which makes it great for strolling.
6. The downtown core is being fixed up (perpetually), and there are cute shops, boutiques and restaurants all within walking distance.
7. In addition to Starbucks, there's a Coffee Culture and even a Second Cup within walking distance, so no caffeine hankering goes untended.
8. I like walking.
9. We live on a very quiet cul de sac populated by mostly boys, so it's always easy to get a road hockey game going, if you like that sort of thing.
10. I have followed the "smallest house in the best neighborhood" adage. Ours is a cute, small-ish cottagey thing surrounded by a few $1million+ properties. Put it this way: Thursday is lawn service day on our street. I cut the grass on Fridays.

So there you go, 10 reasons I love to live in Burlington!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The places we've gone, the things we've seen...

A very, very small sample of things we've been up to in recent months - and there are more photos of the dogs not because I prefer them to my children, but because they don't have a say in how often their pictures appear here...

the kids do...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hey, how's it going?

Yeah, it's been a while. What have you been up to? Me? Oh, the usual... you know, kids, dogs, knitting, life -

so I'm not making any huge promises here, but I am going to try to push through my mojo-less state and get myself back out here...

I'll be tossing up pics of life in the last many months periodically, but I am going to start with this, which excites me thoroughly:

CSK = Community Supported Knitting - don't you just love the sound of that??

So I'll be back soon - not saying when exactly, but soon... really, I mean it...