Saturday, June 27, 2009

away we go

I have spent the last three days getting ready to get the heck out of here. Supplies purchased, house cleaned, vet check (for the sheep shows taking place shortly after we return), laundry conquered, arrangements made, mail stopped, bags packed... The list, as usual, goes on and on.

But at the end, I had the sweetest part of all: deciding what yarn gets to come along with me for the projet(s) du vacation. (If you say the latter in a french accent it sounds even more vacation-y.)

I already knew that I had to bring along a lacy scarf project. I had the perfect (I hope) handspun to use, a single-ply spun two (or more? really need to start keeping better notes) years ago from a batt of Lincoln cross purchased from Barneswallow at Rhinebeck.


The socks that I have been working on, from my sock-of-the-month club; they are a very different construction, but almost at the point where I pick up the stitches and knit down the heel.


In case I get bored, more sock yarn: Plymouth Yarn's Happy Feet. This yarn was chosen for our wonderful, awesome vet; her visit this morning reminded me that this project has been aging for a bit, but that's OK because it really isn't needed until Christmas.


I don't have a pattern chosen for this yarn, so I'd better bring my best resource book for sock patterns, plus another book to help me remember how to kitchener the toes (because of course I will get to the toes in at least one pair! plus I need to kitchener together the body of the first pair).


I need a little mindless knitting, so that baby blanket from the ball field is coming along; only three balls of yarn to go, so I should easily finish that up on the 8 hour car ride. (In case you are worried that I am going to blind the baby it's intended for, let me assure you that it isn't really that neon orange, more of a fall russet. Which isn't really a baby color, I know, but what can I say, they live in New York City.)


And I had better bring along a little charity knitting, because I am behind on my projects for that particular cause.


Plus all the little supplies that I might need...


Et voila! (One might think that I am going to France, what with all this francais, but one would be wrong.) I manage to jam all the projects neatly into one bag, but no room for all the novels I am going to read as well.


I am sure I will get through all this, and probably have need to visit the local yarn and book store to tide me over until I return in one week.

What's that you say? What happened to the sweater I intended to knit to keep me warm while there? La la la, can't hear you right now, too busy humming with the joy of getting away for a bit. I'll have to fill you in on that particular disaster when I return, but one thing's for sure: it's not coming with me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

soggy stitch n pitch

One of my LSH's brilliant ideas this summer was to invest in a ticket package for our local baseball farm team. It is a great deal that includes six games and free meals. (The stadium really makes out on our deal because the free food is only an appetizer for our kids, who end up consuming an amazing amount of junk food during the game.)

I agreed to go to all the games, provided that (1) I was allowed to knit during the games and (2) no one would give me flak about said knitting. An agreement was reached and the tickets were purchased.

Tonight was our third game, and guess what the weather prediction was? That's right, more rain, but this time with the exciting possibility of hail stones. We couldn't miss such an opportunity, so we headed down to the ball field, me with my latest knitting project in tow.


We had just settled into our seats with our free hot dogs, when the clouds started looking pretty ominous...


Before we even had the chance to sing the Star Spangled Banner, out came the tarp, and just in time too.


The heavens opened, and we were forced onto the concourse with everyone else. Terzo was pretty amazed to see Santa Claus was in attendance incognito. Not wanting to offend anyone, he was openly supporting both teams playing, as the Thunder is a farm team for the Yankees, but they were playing a Phillies affiliate.


I managed to do a little knitting while standing there (I was wishing I had brought along a sock instead of a baby blanket), but we finally made it back to our seats.


A few rounds of YMCA and some Crackerjack while they de-tarped the field...

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Finally! Stitching while some pitching was going on!


But in the second inning, we felt more drops, and we beat a hasty retreat to our car. Final score: three hits*, several outs, wet shoes, unfinished knitting project, untallied number of dollars spent in keeping kids entertained while we waited for game to start. The kids were unanimous that this was the best game they had attended yet, which just goes to show you that I know nothing about what might please my kids.

* ETA: I have just been informed, by Primo reading over my shoulder, that there was, in fact, only one hit. Apparently you have to make it on the base safely for it to count as a hit; it doesn't count if you are thrown out (or whatever the technical baseball term is). Goes to show you that I know even less about baseball.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

rain, rain, go away

Dear Heavens:

I love a good rainy day. Indeed, I think it would be hard to find someone who is more enamored of being stuck inside, even on a summer day, while the rain beats on the roof. I didn't even complain -- much -- when it poured every day during our summer vacation in Vermont last year.

But I've had enough. Uncle. You win. Please send us some dry sunny days, so our veggies can grow and we can mow the raggedly lawn and my kids can take advantage of the pool membership I splurged on this year so they wouldn't drive me crazy in my own house now that they are home for the summer.

Thank you,

Your Biggest Fan
(who will try not to complain too much when the drought hits)


Friday, June 19, 2009

say what?

Seen on a bumper sticker, next to a picture of a confederate flag (not exactly common in this state, but can still be seen in some pockets):

Fate denied us victory

but deemed us

glorious immortality

Unfortunately I was too busy trying to make sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me to take a picture as proof, and before I knew it the light had changed.

Is it just me, or does this make NO sense whatsoever? (Leaving aside the historical sentiment, mind you; I am just talking about grammatical structure here.)

I was so sure that it must be a typo that I had to come home and google it. Surely it must have said glorious immortally, which still isn't great but represents an improvement on the original.

Nope. It is apparently based upon the following quote, which I was unable to accurately source: "Fate denied us victory, but crowned us with glorious immortality." Now that does make some sort of sense (again, focusing strictly on the grammar).

But that is not what is on thousands of T-shirts and bumper stickers. Sheesh. Seems like it might have been more than luck that cost them the war.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

back on track

Driving my eldest son, who is dressed in a white dress shirt, tie, and black pants, to a concert at school:

Primo: "You know what would be great? If we had a dress code at school. And we had to wear dress shirts and ties, every day."

Me: (rendered temporarily speechless, the kid never wears anything but T-shirts without a fight)

Primo: (continues without noticing my mouth gaping open) Like a striped tie. Blue and burgundy stripes, maybe. (He is currently sporting a Peanuts tie with Snoopy playing the saxophone, a hand-me-down from his father's more frivolous days.) And a blue sleeveless sweater vest.

Me: (finally recovered enough to talk) But you never wear sweaters. Especially sweater vests. Ever.

Primo: Yeah, I know. But that would still be great. Doncha think that would be great?

Me: (decides to err on the side of caution and not comment; convinced kid is deliberately messing with me just to drive me completely around the bend, a la Gaslight)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It's official.


Primo is too big for his britches.


Luckily, we bought him another pair. But he still can't tie his own tie.


His comment upon seeing his riding pictures: "Looking serious, and old. It's the jacket." Well, we know it's not the tie-tying ability.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

career planning

You know how when you are having a bad day/month/year/career in high school, and you start fantasizing about your (future) high school reunions? And you think about how you might want to base your career choice around something so fantabulous and impressive that everyone there will be talking about how fantabulous and impressive you are?

Well, here's a hint: don't choose shepherd as your career path if you are looking for that kind of reaction.

I just came back from a get-together at a dear college friend's house. She and I have been in contact since college, and she knows all about the odd turn or two that my life has taken in the years since we graduated. We went to a women's college that emphasized that us girls women could do ANYTHING WE WANTED, gosh darn it, but she and I have agreed that things such as child rearing and knitting and spinning and taking time out of your career, or derailing it altogether, to take care of your family and other such traditional roles were probably not what they had in mind.

She had invited other women from the same school and they were more than a little non-plussed to hear my answer to the inevitable question of what are you up to these days. The last time they saw me, ten years ago at my friend's wedding, I was practicing law. Even so, they probably could have handled the above answers despite their indoctrination at a women's college, but "sheep farmer"?

Umm, not so much.

As if to rub in the really weird universe I live in, the sheep were making the point that they were in need of some shepherding as soon as we arrived home. I had moved them to fresh pasture this morning, one that did not contain a shed... and the heavens opened soon after we left the house. As we drove in we noticed them pointedly waiting at the gate -- in fact, they had positioned themselves so they could watch for our arrival.


They didn't really need to be moved, but it had been raining pretty hard and they looked pretty pathetic and soggy. A select few really poured on the pathetic and soggy pathos as I approached the gate.


As soon as it was open, they wasted no time in heading for the shed in the next pasture over. Remember the sheep with the pathetic face? She's in the lead.


Though there are always a few greedy souls who need to stop and sample the grass, because as we all know, it is greener on the other side.


Ten minutes later, and no evidence that sheep even live here.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

lettuce eat salad

The heavens cleared sufficiently yesterday (finally!) for me to wade back to the garden and check on the progress of our veggies. Thanks to all the rain, the plants are doing just fine but so are the weeds, of course.


I was most excited to see the progress of our little lettuce plants, because that means it's time for salad fresh from the garden.


Unfortunately, this is the elegant container out of which I ate my salad. Want to hazard a guess where that picture was taken, and why I am eating out of a tupperware? The crappy picture quality, compliments of my cell phone camera, is a big clue.


Yep. More end of the year madness. Four days and counting... and then none of us will know what to do with ourselves.

Monday, June 8, 2009

end of the year

My silence lately points squarely to the usual culprit: extreme busy-ness. The end of the school year is always a giant time suck, as the kids have recitals aplenty, awards nights, group projects, end of season games, graduation ceremonies, field trips, and so on and so forth. I don't want to sound like I don't appreciate all these momentous occasions, but at some point as a parent you start to wonder if we really need so many of them.

Take this weekend. Terzo attends two preschools. One is very laid back and freestyle, where the kids learn quite a bit, but it might not be considered "traditional" learning. Less emphasis on letters and numbers. Lots of time to discuss how plants grow and roll down the Big Hill and make your dinosaur look any way you want and play pretend and just be a kid.

The other is a little more regimented. Multiple worksheets, every day. Lots and lots of letters and numbers. Very little of the kid's own creativity and many cookie cutter projects instead. Just a few minutes outside. In other words, more of what he can expect in kindergarten; I thought he needed just a little taste of it before he's thrown into the deep end next year.

Guess which one Terzo loves and eagerly anticipates.

Guess which one he cries about attending every stinking morning he has it.

Guess which one ended this past weekend, unfortunately.

But it was a lovely ceremony, even if we did have to make a life size poster of him the night before graduation... The preschooler has just as many projects as the older ones.



Can you tell he did the project all by himself, with little parental involvement past cutting out the figure? I know he would not be judged for that at this school. In fact, it is actually considered a positive thing. For those of you who may be wondering, that is not a third eye but a medal (he calls it a "reward", and gets quite upset when I correct him) hanging from his hat.

The ceremony had a picnic theme. They wore hats decorated like ants, and generally carried on and had a good time. They especially liked the part where they threw marshmallows at the parents. (I told you it was a more easy-going, fun-loving situation!)

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We noticed that the kids were seated alphabetically, except for our child. The alphabet would have placed him right in the middle of his two best buddies. He was relocated to a more benign location.


We also moved his brothers, who were less than gracious about attending the ceremony, to a more benign location, and gave them some high tech equipment to amuse themselves and a task to keep them occupied.


It seemed to work. At least it kept them out of my general vicinity while they were being ratty, and that's always a plus.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

who you gonna call

I know, I know. I am a little bit late on that Tuesday quote commitment. I think I may have mentioned my propensity for setting impossible deadlines for myself.

Plus, I was busy watching Ghostbusters with my kids last night. Is there any greater pleasure than sharing a favorite of your past with your kids? I think not.


Terzo has been talking about it all day, though he keeps calling it Ghostbrothers.


His go-to position during the scary bits. My LSH asked if he could see anything with his shirt like that; he responded, "My body."


Note the position of the cellphone in Primo's hand, ready to respond the moment a text comes in regardless of familial activity. (I have had to ban it at mealtime.) When I hear his phone go off, I will alert him to that fact (never mind that he already has it flipped open to read the all-important message) and then suggest a response:

"just parking at the orthodontist's office now",

"finished washing my hands after going to the bathroom",

"getting ready to eat a triscuit",

"hold on, gotta tell my mom how great/awesome/funny she is."

He is not amused.