Monday, June 30, 2014

worms everywhere

And not the good kind, though I did find an encouraging number of those when I was working in the garden on Saturday.

No, today started with the really bad kind, of the maggot variety, in Oreo the rabbit's hind end. I hope we caught it early enough. Thanks to some dedicated use of tweezers I think he is now maggot free, and the vet started him on pain meds and antibiotics.

Poor bun! Flystrike is an awful thing.

This unfortunate situation forced our hand on his summer living quarters. We have been dragging our feet on moving him to the basement while we worked out how to keep him and Valentine safely separated, because her litter box is down there and she has free run.

I present: the bunny bunker.

Hoarding, you pay off yet again.

They may be physically separated but neither is happy with the arrangement. Valentine wants to know who the alien invader is. Oreo has been thumping up a storm to keep her away.

They will work it out eventually. 

The extremely good news: no maggots found tonight. I'll deal with everything I was supposed to do today, tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

juneathon week 4

My Juneathon seems to be ending with a whimper. Far from being an empowering week of building upon all my hard work, my foot is still wonky so I can now run less mileage than when I first started the month.

Plus today nearly did me in. It was shape up or sheep out day here on the farm, so the first three hours of the morning were spent doing fun exercises like "catch all the sheep" and "trim 18 sets of sheep hooves" (for the record, that is 72 individual hooves) and "give 10 rambunctious lambs their shots." This is what the sheep had to say about this exercise regimen*:

Oddly enough they stopped their cacophony of complaints when we started filming them. Before we turned the camera on, we were afraid that the neighbors would be calling the cops on us for excessive noise. Perhaps the sheep were worried that we were going to use the evidence against them in a court of law or something. Who knows how those brains work.

The afternoon was spent working on the vegetable garden. So between the two chores, my legs didn't get much of a workout, but my back is completely shot. I think I burned some calories though.

Oh well, there's two days to go. Still time to run a marathon, especially if I started tonight, but since today's activities mean I cannot move (1) very far and (2) very fast, even that may not be enough time.

The week's stats:
Days I spent sitting on the beach pretending that counted as exercise: 1
Days I walked around lower Manhattan in lieu of organized exercise: 1
Days I did farm chores in lieu of organized exercise: 2
Days I participated in an exercise class (but no running): 2
Days I actually got out and did run/walk intervals: 1

* Fear not, animal lovers, they were not haltered in the sun for hours upon end. We did all the work in the barn and moved them out to the fence once they were completely done, prior to leading them back to their current grazing area.

Friday, June 27, 2014

pilgrim's progress

We are in sporadic communication with the pilgrim. Cell phones are allowed on the trip, but their use is discouraged except for check-ins with parents. Secondo's message this afternoon was "Wer [sic] at the border. Bye!"

That was my notice that they were heading into Canada, and we wouldn't hear from them for a couple of days.

So why Canada?

The priest of our parish has based this pilgrimage upon the history of this area and our religious denomination's involvement in the Revolutionary War. The original Anglican parish in our town has long since vanished, but it was in existence when Washington marched his troops through the area on the way to the Battle of Monmouth, and incurred significant damage when British troops stabled their horses in it a few months later. The only remnant is a small nondescript cemetery in the center of town, which contains graves that date back to that period. (Local peeps, it is behind Swal Dairy on Lakeview Drive.)

The pilgrimage is described as "a journey into the faith choices of our ancestors, to face the faith choices in our own lives." The group starts at that cemetery, laying a wreath there in commemoration. The kids are taught about difficult choices during those times: stay loyal to Britain, or join the revolutionaries? Among the most conflicted were Anglican priests, who had sworn an oath of allegiance to the crown when they took their vows but could well appreciate the revolutionary point of view.

The Revolutionary War was a time of tremendous turmoil in religious life of the time. Many churches were closed as a result of the upheaval. Anglican priests especially were threatened; one of them stopped holding services after finding a noose hanging over his altar. Some joined the patriots, some stayed loyal to the crown. Some fled back to England, and some moved north, eventually to Canada.

Trinity Church, Boston
taken by Primo during his pilgrimage in 2012

The pilgrimage group traces that path and talks about making choices and staying true to your core beliefs, and how that can play out differently for different people. First to Boston, where they visit an Anglican monastery (the silent meal is reputed to be especially difficult for the teenagers) and Trinity Church, as well as fun places like Harvard and Fenway Park.

Red seat at Fenway Park,
taken by Primo during his pilgrimage
(read about the Red Seat here)

The next stop is Maine and Acadia National Park, where they hike Cadillac Mountain and leave behind the stones they brought.

View from the top of Cadillac Mountain,
taken in 2010 during our family vacation

Then onto St. John, New Brunswick, where they visit another Trinity Church, which still holds the Royal Coat of Arms which was removed by the loyalists when they were evacuated from the City. That's where they will spend this weekend, before making their way back home for a Tuesday midday arrival.

As for all the religious turmoil during the Revolutionary War: the upheaval in the church left a gaping hole once things calmed down again. So many churches had been closed and priests moved on, that a dearth of religious opportunities was created. Some priests agreed to return after receiving pleas to that effect. Others never saw their families again. All a parent can do is pray that their own children never have to make such absolute choices, and hope that their faith carries them safely through the difficult decisions they will undoubtedly face.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

st. paul's chapel

When Terzo and I came up out of the World Trade Center PATH station yesterday and crossed the street, we found ourselves face to face with St. Paul's Chapel.

I have heard so much about this chapel and its role in the 9/11 events. I don't know if this is because I am an Episcopalian (this chapel is affiliated with that denomination) or if it has the same significance for everyone? It holds mythological status in my mind: a place that was right next to all the destruction and yet somehow escaped harm, that was instrumental in the relief and recovery efforts in the hours and days and weeks and months following those awful events.

I did know that it demanded a few minutes of exploration, though I was under-prepared for my emotional response. This site tended to the rescue and recovery workers, around the clock, for eight months, providing a place of rest, meals, and physical and emotional ministrations. The heartbreak is still present and palpable. From the altar memorial filled with those photos that were so prevalent around the city in the hours and days after the attacks...

To the chasuble covered with patches donated from fire companies and police stations around the world...

To the cross made from remnants of the towers...

To the one remaining worn and scratched pew (the rest have been removed), a lasting testament to the hours spent in the chapel, tossing and turning by rescue personnel wearing their equipment, snatching a few hours of rest before they headed out to search again.

(No picture of this one. My heart was too heavy at this point.)

The lump in my throat was so large that I couldn't trust myself to speak. I certainly could not write in the journal provided for everyone to share their responses. I knew I would break down, and I didn't want to upset Terzo, who didn't really understand or appreciate (through no fault of his own) the weight of these memories.

To end on a higher note—literally—as we were walking back to the PATH station later that afternoon, Terzo glanced up and gasped. "Look! Only the lines tell you the difference between the clouds and that building!"

It is 4 World Trade Center, one of the first buildings to be finished in the new complex. A fitting juxtaposition between old and new, between endings and beginnings, between heartbreak and hope.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

adventures in nyc

The 1898 Hat continues to take me places. My first foray thanks to the Seaman's Church Institute was to Port Newark and a cargo ship last year. Today it was to New York City proper, to attend a knit-a-long for the Christmas at Sea program. The first pattern chosen was the 1898 hat, and Paige invited me to the inaugural event today.

I am trying a whole new program of trying to say yes to such unexpected invitations, when my unfortunate natural inclination is to politely decline. My new mode of reasoning is that the laundry will always be piled sky-high. Floors will need vacuuming, filing will need filed, paperwork will need finished, dishes will need washed. But I probably wouldn't be doing those things when I was home anyway, so I may as well seize the day.

So today: off on a train ride (or two) to New York City with my youngest, the only one left at home and so the only one left to gang-press into my crazy plans. Plus I didn't want him sitting at home playing xBox all day.

The event was in Bowling Green Park, which is way down on the southern tip of Manhattan, near the World Trade Center. I had not been to that area since before 9/11. The new building, while not quite finished, is striking; we could see it from the train on the other side of the river.

We hiked down the island, using the compass on my iPhone to figure out which way was south, and amazingly enough we found the park and the knitters!

Yep, my eyes are closed. And when will I learn to sit up straight when someone is taking my picture? Paige knows to sit up straight!

Terzo was a bit bored during this part, but he was a good sport about waiting for an hour or so while we chatted and knitted. I may have denied him the xBox for a day but he figured out a workaround.

Could be that a few bribes were involved in exchange for his patience. The first was a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian, which sits on the edge of the park.

It is located in the former Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House. The rotunda alone is worth a visit.

We only saw a fraction of the collection, but many stunning pieces were on display. Best of all, it is free, so even if you can only spend 45 minutes or so, it is worth it. This headdress, made of feathers, was a beautiful example of the use of texture and color evident in so many of the pieces (and the color was remarkably well preserved).

The second part of the bribe was food, of course. He had spotted an ice cream truck (a mythological beast in our neighborhood) from across the park and had mapped out a visit. That's the famous "Bull of Wall Street" sculpture behind him, but that's the closest we could get with the mob of tourists snapping pictures around it.

I'm not sure what it says about me that my knitting has to take me places, but I did enjoy a great day out with a great kid.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Almost two years to the day after the first one left, boy number two left today on pilgrimage with his church youth group.

Walking stick, check. Scallop shell, check. (Hint: It's on his bag.) Stone to leave at a cairn, check. (In his pocket, so don't look for it in the picture!) All symbols of pilgrims inspired by St. James, the patron saint of pilgrims and namesake of our church.

He is with a really nice group of kids, along with our fantastic priest and wonderful deacon (in a small world sort of way, a friend of my family from way way back). I pray and hope that he will have a meaningful and most of all safe journey, as they travel all the way to Nova Scotia and back.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

juneathon week 3

Another week down, and my body is getting somewhat resigned to the exercise every morning. I am trying a new habit, putting on exercise clothes as soon as I get out of bed. This more or less forces me to exercise before I take a shower, as I feel stupid taking off the exercise clothes if I haven't done some sort of exercise in them. This often means that I am in exercise clothes for an inordinately large portion of the day while my will to exercise and my will to stay put in the house duke it out.

Another incentive, at least for the last three days, was being accompanied by a pacer. He finished school on Wednesday, and I am fighting the good fight to keep him off screens for at least 10% of his waking hours. Added bonus: he chivvies me out the door and into action, so his nagging plus the exercise clothes have done the trick for six days in a row now. Six!!

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 0
Miles walked: 2
Miles done in walk/run intervals: 13
Days when I got my rear end outside: 6
Days when ab exercises had to suffice: 1
Days I forgot to do the ab exercises all together: 5

P.S. Thanks to those who commented last week about my foot. The massage is helping, and it does seem to be abating though I obviously haven't tested it yet with solid running. I am hoping to get new shoes this week as I think that is a big part of the problem.

Friday, June 20, 2014

one down, two to go

We managed to get one through high school. Whew.

Yep, he did that pose across the stage on his way to get his diploma... Couldn't be prouder of the kid, though. He worked his tail off and never lost focus on the bigger goal. I could probably use some of that.

He waffled on whether to decorate his hat or not, which has apparently become the custom, but decided to follow the lead of his friends.

Terzo scoured the craft store for tiger paraphernalia. I had to hand it to the kid, already knowing the mascot. Primo initially resisted using one of his finds but finally caved, because it was Terzo, after all.

Now it is officially summer. Whew again.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

enough already

An extremely unfortunate tradition carries on: learning of a good friend's cancer diagnosis at the beginning of the summer. This is the third summer in a row. Pancreas, colon, now breast. Note to the universe: enough already. This needs to end. Please stop picking on my friends.

My friend J. has many many wonderful qualities, chief among them an unrelentingly sunny personality. She always manages to find the humor in every situation, no matter how grey. This news was no exception, confirmed when I received an invitation to her "boob voyage" party to say goodbye to her "breast" friends.

A colorful bra was the price of admission. I don't have a deep field in that department, so I had to resort to stopping at my favorite thrift store on the way to the party (hence the plastic bag background).

When I saw this one, I knew I had a winner, especially in the gallows humor department. It was well appreciated, at a party that had a clothes line strung up in the dining room to properly display the bra contributions. 

The cookies confirmed that I had made the right choice.

So many coping strategies are possible for tough situations. Panic, prayer, whining, shutting down, escape, denial, stoicism... but surely J.'s solution is one of the most effective, or at the very least the most fun. God, grant me the grace to do a better job of following her example.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

trying to be creative here

You know that you may have a problem when people text you to check out a cartoon in the day's paper... (Link instead of picture because of copyright stuff. That lawyer knowledge still rears its ugly head upon occasion.)

It is a pretty fair description of what a Go Pro camera would reveal about my life the past few days.

This proposed pattern has me tied in knots. I have *ripped, reknit, recharted, repeat from *, so many times that I am thoroughly sick of the dang thing and still not 100% happy with it. Contrary to my usual Last Minute Lucy tendencies (have to thank Paige for that apt description), I have been working on this for weeks. The only way this one will be finished is when I cut bait and just send it in as is.

I was on Facebook wasting time today, as one is wont to do when deadlines are looming, and this wonderful and completely apropos quote appeared in my newsfeed:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.—Ira Glass

Even though he is talking about writing and not knitting, it still applies and I took great comfort therefrom, especially the part where I am not the only one.

I call this one 
"Bluebird of Happiness on Electronet Fencing"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

happy father's day

I'd better get to this post early, because this is another one of those days, chock-full to the brim with about 67% more activities than any one day should possibly contain. But why stop now? We're on a streak here.

BUT!!! I can't miss the chance to tell the world about my wonderful father, and today is tailor-made to do it. Dedicated, you might even say. My dad was hands-on from the very start, and I was a daddy's girl in return.

One of my earliest memories is sitting on the front steps of our house on Greystone Drive in Columbus Ohio, waiting for my dad to come home. I was probably there because I had gotten in trouble with my mom for some reason or another and needed a parent on my side. I have always been able to count on my dad being on my side.

Before there were studies and experts to state the obvious, my parents provided the best of examples in the dedicated reading department. You can just spot me, or at least my sock-clad feet, in the back of that picture. My dad and I did the Jumble puzzle in the paper for years, a memory that surfaces every time Terzo and I tackle the same puzzle together.

Another early tradition, that still lives on? My father working on some household project or another, with me by his side handing him tools. This pattern has transferred from his house to ours. Every house we have owned, he has been instrumentally involved in its upgrade and upkeep—including his crowning (in our minds) achievement to date: building my husband's office in what was the garage of our house twelve years ago. Just last week, he was up here measuring our barn, which is sorely in need of some attention, working out how we can side it, with his invaluable guidance, so we don't have to paint it any longer.

Thanks to his job as a human resources manager for an international chemical company, we moved around quite a bit when I was a child. This group shot was taken in Knoxville Tennessee, where my parents frequently took us into the Smoky Mountains National Park to enjoy its natural beauty and hike the extensive trails. My father hauled my and my brothers' rear ends on his back up hill and down dale until we were old enough to carry our own weight. My own family's love of hiking can be traced directly back to those excursions. Primo just signed up for his outdoor orientation for college and chose, what else? Backpacking. 

When I was 13, we moved to London, England for his job. There are few pictures of him to be found in our adventures, because he was always behind the camera. This is a rare one from the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, when we visited with his aunts and their husbands.

He dragged our under-appreciative rear ends all over Europe, mostly in tents so we could visit as many places as possible, giving us an unmatched education and perspective on the world. My father has always considered the continuous pursuit of knowledge to be an ideal. His habits of reading a wide variety of non-fiction and talking to people from all walks of life (and having an uncanny ability to get their life stories and special perspectives within minutes of meeting them) mean that he has a relevant nugget of information to add to almost every topic of discussion. My children cite "Nonno said" as the ultimate in a reliable source.

He was in the first generation of his family to go to college; his father was an immigrant from Italy who came through Ellis Island. It was always taken for granted that all of his children would go to college, and we did. All three of us have continued beyond college for post-graduate degrees, with his unconditional encouragement and support. The photo above was taken when I graduated from law school. Though blurry, I prefer the one below.

Why stop a good thing? He has continued all of these traditions with his grandchildren. He cared for them when they were little. He has taken them hiking and camping. He has taught them how to handle tools and build things and maintain equipment. He has taken them to historical sites and museums and good restaurants and operas. He has watched their baseball games and sheep shows and cross country meets and piano recitals and plays.

My dad was Primo's primary caregiver for several years when Primo was a baby, forging a bond between them that remains strong to this day. This photo, of him showing baby Primo a family heirloom Victrola purchased by my immigrant grandfather for his family when he first started working, sums up so many years of family history. No one was prouder than my father when Primo was accepted to Princeton University.

So on his 45th anniversary of being a father—really, the man should get a medal for his continued service—I want to wish my father the happiest of Father's Days. We will be spending the holiday with the crew pictured above, all of his progeny and family by marriage, plus a little granddaughter. The gift of example that he has given all of the men and nascent men in this photo will continue to resound for many, many years.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

juneathon week two

Wow, another week gone already? I chalk it up to the blur of activities this past week.

My stats are not exactly stellar as I am fighting off an attack of plantar fasciitis in my right foot. It plagued me for a month after I ran a 10K in November for which I had done little training, and it is rearing its ugly head again. I spent most of this week trying to exercise without aggravating it too much, much like trying to appease a softly growling dog.

Miles run: 0
Miles walked: 3
Miles done in sprint/walk intervals: 5.5
Flights of stairs in lieu of running: 21
Days when ab exercises had to suffice: 2
Poems composed this week: 0; too busy using all my mental energy to convince my foot that it is perfectly fine and needs to shut the heck up already.

Friday, June 13, 2014

end of year blues

I'm here but not here, if you know what I mean, and when I am here, I am frantically knitting away on a design proposal due in a week. It is coming along nicely, thankyouverymuch, and I am kinda sorta thinking that it may actually have some merit. Maybe.

Besides the knitting, this week's line-up included:
  • a high school track banquet, 
  • a baseball playoff game (I know it violates the parent code, but I was glad they lost because I didn't see how I could make it to any more games),
  • final piano lessons of the year, 
  • an audit of the financial records of both 4-H clubs (livestock and tractor restoration), 
  • a church dinner, 
  • a sheep registry conference call...
And if you are adding those up, yes, it is more than one per night.

Tonight was the piece de resistance: the fourth grade social. Yes, I know, but sometimes you just have to go along with these things. The theme was "Neon." Terzo was oddly fixated on having a mustache to match his yellow neon outfit.

This was the end result, once the party favor hat was added in. Now we know what he would look like if he had been a seedy adult in the 70s. Apparently the look confused not only parents, but also other kids in his grade, as to his identity. Of course, he was thrilled by this.

For your amusement, and because I don't think that any of the kids can be identified in the lighting, a little taste of my night.

He's the one in the middle in the hat.

I am so very, very grateful he wanted me to chaperone tonight. Experience has taught me the hard way how very quickly this time will pass, and then he won't want me in the same zip code, at least for a while. I was on a tiny bit melancholy thinking about how this will be the last time, after a solid twelve-year streak, that I haven't had a kid in that elementary school. Time marches relentlessly ever on, and all I can do is hope that I get asked to chaperone the next dance.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

my design process

I was looking for something in my older posts, and found this one about the difference between being creative and being crafty. With somewhat of a shock, I realized that in the intervening years I have crossed over into the creative camp and am now a fairly permanent resident. This doesn't mean that I value my creativity, or think I have enough of it. Not sure if it's a mark of my personality, or a creative types in general, or a wicked combination of both, that causes me to doubt myself, doubt my craft, doubt my abilities, doubt my level of creativity.

I suspect I'm not alone in this regard.

The fault lines are the most jagged when I am trying to design something new. The process goes something like this.

1) Hey! A new call for knit design submissions. Let me look at the design board, just for fun.

2) Wow, this is a beautiful mood board. If I were going to make something, I would make (insert accessory here) and I would start by (insert stitch pattern idea here).

3) Where's my graph paper? And my calculator? And a sharpened pencil?

4) This is crap. It will not work. I don't know why I think I can do this.

(stew for a few days)

5) Dang it, this design will not get out of my head. I am seeing it in my dreams. I should just write it down.

6) Today is the day I am going to write that design down.

7) Never mind, this is not good enough to be accepted.

8) Never mind, today is the day. Except for let me do my filing first. And mop the floor. And organize my pens and pencils. And sharpen all my pencils. And get more coffee.

9) This is the day. Definitely the day.

(proceed in this manner for a few more days)

10) Crap! The deadline is 10 days away! I have to stop screwing around and get working on this right now!

(repeat for a few more days)

11) All right. If I work until midnight for three nights in a row, I can get this done in time.

(knit like a maniac, rip it out, knit some more)

12) This is not good enough to be accepted.

13) This will never be good enough to be accepted.

14) Oh well. I have done all this work, I may as well submit it. Let me stay up until midnight one more time to get it in under the deadline.

15) Wait to hear whether the design is accepted or not.

16) Try to get it off my mind by looking at the current calls for submissions...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

french fry home fries

It's not the healthiest dish in the world, but if you want a great way to use up leftover doggy bag french fries, that are never edible no matter how you reheat them...

Dice them up. (This one included some onion rings, but that works just fine too.)

Parboil a few potatoes and dice them up too. Put everything in a skillet with a few tablespoons of butter. If your doggy bag didn't include onion rings, you could saute half a diced onion first to add a little flavor.

Fry for a good long while, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. The soggy leftover french fries are important but the crispy bits at the bottom of the pan are critical.

I said it wasn't healthy. But it is absolutely delicious, especially with farm-fresh egg omelets.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

juneathon week one

A little round-up of my progress so far, which I have been faithfully tweeting. Paige mentioned running poetry a few days ago and now I find myself composing little poems to pass the time while I try not to feel sorry for myself and how out of shape I am at the moment.

Thursday's haiku:
Running in the rain
Soft susurration on leaves
Sets a gentle pace.

Yes, I admit it, I was particularly proud of using the word susurration in a poem.

Friday's ditty:
Ran 1.5 miles,
And walked for one.
Not a large total,
But got it done.

Saturday's limerick:
An out of shape runner from Jersey,
After winter who felt like a Guernsey.
Juneathon came along
She ran all month long,
And then I couldn't come up with a rhyme for jersey in my misery of trying to run 4 miles to the ballfield to catch the second half of Terzo's baseball game. Running to a place that I had to get to, with no option of cutting the run short or turning around, was my only hope of getting some miles in this morning.

Total for first week of Juneathon:
Miles run: 16.5
Miles walked: 1.25
Poems composed: 2.8
New mantra:

Friday, June 6, 2014

knittus interruptus

A cleaner workroom two weeks ago meant I finally found the missing project: a cotton vest that would be perfect for these cool late spring nights. When I picked it up again to finish it off, after three months of hibernation, the pattern seemed to be written in greek. The lace made no sense anymore, and all the alterations I had started (longer body length, higher bustline) were a mystery. It goes without saying that I hadn't made any notes that would help with the problem.

After two nights of staring at it in confusion, the only way to deal with the problem was to rip, rip, rip and try to get back to a recognizable point.

Of course, once I figured out where I was and got down to finishing it, only a few hours of work were left. I had put it down to work on the Downton Abbey projects, so abandonment was necessary, but I can't believe how close I was to finishing it off! It took me almost as long to figure how to pick up. For the record, it is Sweater Babe's Little Lace Vest, with modifications.

Interesting side note about that blocking mat. I was soooo happy when I found these extra large interlocking mats at Five Below and snapped up a couple. I was even more thrilled when my whole project fit on one mat!

Then I took the sweater off when it was dry and found out that color-fastness was not included in the low, low, Five Below price. Even the lace pattern transferred! Now I can block out any sweater with the proper dimensions marked out.

The buttons arrived today from Melissa Jean. It appears that I have a full blown addition to her buttons. Nothing else will do. But seriously, with the leaf lace, could I have chosen anything else after I spotted these?

Even better than the perfect buttons is the perfect fit.

The modifications turned out exactly as I planned.

It may have taken months from start to finish, but I got it finished at just the right time for once.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

strawberry pickin'

Things sound so much more authentic without that last "g," don't they?

My dear friend Amy messaged me on Tuesday night, asking if I wanted to go strawberry picking the next day. I readily agreed, and then promptly forgot. This was especially rude of me because I told her I would let her know when I was done with an 11 am appointment, and when she contacted me at 12:30 asking if I was done, I was in the thick of a knitting design problem and reluctant to leave it.

I hemmed, I hawed, I dragged my feet, I did my best to get out of it. I have no idea why. Thank goodness I remembered that Amy is the source of so much fun and diversion in my life, and I am really better off listening to her and following where she leads, because I always have a great time.

Strawberry picking at a local farm was no exception. I had forgotten how amazing a fresh-picked strawberry can taste. Sweet liquid sunshine in tiny berry form. The fruit in the supermarket isn't even the same species.

Amy and her daughter Emily (another treat, seeing Emily home from college) took pity on my late arrival and rusty picking skills and tossed as many into my container as they did into their own.

 We were thrilled to see so many weeds in with the strawberries, evidence that the farmer didn't spray heavily, if at all.

I haven't stopped eating them since, reasoning that they are pretty much guilt-free. Even if they aren't, their perfection is fleeting and way too good to waste.