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December 2007 Archives

December 13, 2007

Over the river and through the woods

Literally and figuratively since I last checked in way back in October. Supports my theory that time is compressed so much that it shoots by like a train from September to December - I keep blinking and another month has gone by.

It all started with that family odyssey to accept a Lifetime Athletic Achievement award for my father - something he always wanted and his old frat brothers finally made happen for him. My mom, twin sis, and younger brother and sister flew into Philadelphia where I was to pick them up on Friday afternoon, in plenty of time to make the 6PM dinner 35 miles outside the city. I planned the drive so that I could finally make it to Loop - I've come close one time and also missed the knitty meetup with Amy. It was a horrible rainy, foggy day, but I took the eastern shore route and had my new GPS thingy at the ready.

I worried as I approached Philly that I'd have to skip Loop - or run in and run out, but the fam's plane was delayed. Good news/bad news - the GPS took me directly into the city and to the shop, albeit on one of the narrowest one-way streets I've ever been on. It's an absolutely lovely shop - so clean and inviting and open. I love the seating area right in the middle of the store (instead of tucked away in a back corner). They have the most incredible colors I've ever seen, so well displayed in so many new yarns. I indulged (imagine that!) on four hanks of this gorgeous silk/wool from Sheep Shop Yarns - the color undulates with subtle tone-on-tone variegation and sheen. I tried to get some of the orange-y, coraly tones in here:
I should have stayed and knit a while, but I was anxious about getting out to the airport on a Friday at rush hour - turns out that was a good hunch. But then I ended up having to wait in the Philadelphia airport - sorry to any natives there, but what a pit! There are VERY limited services for any poor slob who's stuck waiting for a plane, outside the security area. I ate at one of those horrible airport restaurants and then just picked a spot to knit and wait. The Minimalist Cardigan got some work done, but I was jonesing - no coffee place anywhere - sheesh.

I was confused about which airport the gang was coming through, and after several bumbling phone calls with my aunt and uncle, also on their way to the dinner from NJ, I was sure they weren't going to arrive until 7PM. And then there they were - out of nowhere! We crammed into my station wagon - three women in the back and my brother navigating in the front - and set off for the hardest driving of my entire life.

I had absolutely NO IDEA where we were going, but my Magellan did, and it knew rush hour was in full swing, so it took us on dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads to Collegeville PA. To Ursinus College - land of no signs, no directions anywhere. Not to mention we were now an hour late - the salads were on the tables when we blew in (through the loading dock and kitchen, like a bad movie).

My father's supporters (frat brothers and teammates) occupied four ten-tops - pretty damned amazing how much this award meant for all of them too. My rock-star mom had to go sit on the stage through all the acceptance speeches, and she managed to say wonderful things and look wonderful at the same time as she accepted the award. It was certainly worth the drive and the drama.
But now it was after 9PM, and we still had to get to my aunt & uncle's in rural NJ - on those same dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads. Magellan to the rescue again - we sent mom in the other car and the brothers and sisters managed to get there in one piece - barely.

Saturday was for the New Jersey family, and we all made a visit to see grandpa - he's got an amazing view:
and then we all got back in my car to head for a night in DC so we could visit dad in Arlington Cemetery Sunday. We listened to my iTunes compilation of our old traveling songs, wondering why some had been so great so many years ago, and all singing along to others. Some real classics too - see if you can find Teddy Bear, an old trucking song - hilarious. The Carpenters songs we girls always wanted on the eight-track sounded like they were recorded at slooooow speed - not so appealing anymore, especially for our high speed family. Steve Martin comedy routines from the 70s really got us through the drive - thanks Steve.

Sunday morning was glorious, and after waiting for the Marine Corps Marathon to cross the entrance to the Cemetery, we set off, through DC to avoid all the other closures, and my car started clunking. No flat tire - we continued across Memorial Bridge, clunking, and proceeded on to have an amazing, sad, wonderful family visit. Breathtaking that he's there, and that we could all be together there too.

Onward - sibs all flying home Sunday evening, mom planning to stay one night with old friends, and I was to drive home - three hours. Hah - the universe (or dad) had other plans. Not only was my car clunking, it began screeching and making other bad sounds from the rear. Responsible for my entire immediate family, I pulled into a gas station and called AAA. This was incredibly reminiscent of the time, the week before I left for college, that we blew up the engine in the Bronco on our way home from camping on the OBX, and my father and brother rode into Norfolk with the tow truck, leaving my mom, sisters and me on the side of the road in Moyock, NC for hours and hours and hours, with only a very small amount of wine.

I think it was just the universe's way (or dad's) of making sure that we remembered that we, as a family, just get through it. We figure it out - whatever it is - and no matter how hard or how ugly or how stoooopid, we work it out and get through it and come out smiling on the other side somehow. This is who we are. A PITA way to be reminded, but most effective.
So, we laughed, we made phone calls, we sent some of us to rent a car, we met the tow truck, we met the neighbors, and got the sibs to the airport. You probably can't tell, but I'm wearing my triple-threat lucky Clapotis (from my hand dyed, handspun, hand knit silk hankies). Trip one.

Mere days later, I drove (my repaired car) BACK up to DC on a Thursday morning with my fun friend at work to particpate in and assist with a trip organized by our well-connected trustee extraordinaire. After seeing the Hopper and Turner shows at the National Gallery on Thursday afternoon, we boarded two busses that drove us deep into Rock Creek Park to the top of a hill I didn't know was there -we saw deer on their long drive - where we visited the Rockefeller home for a tour of their extraordinary art collection. What a chance of a lifetime - pretty amazing, and besides the incredible location and collection, it was obviously someone's comfortable home, and Sharon Rockefeller was a most gracious host to 43 gawkers in her house. We had a private tour of the Corcoran's collection, plus the Annie Liebowitz show on Friday morning - whew.

My pal and I also took advantage of having to drive home on 95S to stop at both IKEA and Potomac Mills mall on the way home Friday evening - a nice respite from the stopped traffic, but man - visual overload! We went berserk in IKEA - I forgot how fabluous it is, even though my mom opened the Woodbridge store back in the 80s. She was a team leader - and put the store together with the Swedes - it was an amazing time and and an amazing company. Trip two down.

Somewhere in here I finished the Minimalist Cardigan, which I'll tell you about in another post. I've worn it more than once and I love it, cammoflauge and all.

Then I turned around and it was Thanksgiving! We did our usual pilgrammage south where we can both see CA's parents AND have turkey on the beach with mine within a 90 minute drive. This year the weather cooperated and we had a glorious day. Little sis has a knack for capturing my inner essence in photographs on the beach on turkey day, and this year was no exception. The birds feasted en mass in the shallow surf of the gulf all day, but towards sunset got soooo dense it was little too Hitchcock. I of course wanted to see what they were eating and wandered into the massive flocks, and couldn't resist stirring them up a bit:
I ran into another flock of mostly big white gulls up on the beach, and this is me just after that trick desccribing the unsettling way the birds flew alright, but not up and away from me but around me - blowing right by my head!
We boarded the plane bronzed and happy, and I got off with the beginnings of a record-breaking outbreak of cold sores that eventually overflowed my philtrum and ran down onto both lips. Nice. I think it's some sort of vacation penalty - I know I paid at least 20% of my tan as I arrived back to the cold, and I guess owed more. I suffered with a truly disgusting upper lip that whole first week back - which included a board meeting - a lovely opportunity to show my scabby face to all my favorite people.

And then that board meeting was rapidly followed by yet another major evening event at the msueum. I've worked more events this year than in my entire 7.5 years there - ugh. Hopefully help is on the way, but I had to do this one too. Another opportunity for me to feel silly trying to play dress-up, but I did get to wear my Christmas ball earrings and my lip was healed enough to disguise with makeup.

Are you still here? Wow - thanks for sticking with this one. I have lots more - I'll try to wite in more digestible bits, but it's been a while. There's so end in sight of the mania at work, so I've been MIA from my reagular blog reads and other web fun. I've at least set myself up on Ravelry, and if I can force it to link to my new Flickr account, my MC is up there as my first FO.

December 16, 2007

Cammouflage Minimalist


Somewhere in the travels and craziness of November, I finished my Cherry Tree Hill Silk & Merino IK Minimalist Cardigan. It's amazing I ever did finish - I managed to knit merrily along, inches past what I was supposed to, on both the fronts and the sleeves. I took some of it out, but left itlonger than suggested. I guess I must really love knitting this stuff - and it is sooooo soft. I did the fronts & sleeves two at a time - love that. After knitting a good amount I was finally able to see the pattern in all that variegation and it was a quick, easy, and satisfying knit. I've worn it several times already - it's an absolutely perfect "throw on with jeans" thing and it's warm and snuggly. I do find myslef wanting to close it at the top, so I may go with a shawl pin on particularly chilly days.
This poor sweater will now forever be known as the database sweater - the one I started so I had something to knit during training. Do you do that? Think of your projects in terms of what was going on when you knit them? The last time I worked with CTH yarn, I made a diamond pullover from VK while my grandfather was ill - can't help but think of that and him when I pull it out. Then there are those socks that got me published.

December 30, 2007

Pretty, Shiny Things


How about these babies? I was shopping for gifts on Amazon.com a few weeks ago, and good ol' Amazon knows me well and offered up these Kenneth Cole shoes for a mere $26. How could I not buy them? My girlfriend told me she'd just read that the shiny, aluminum foil look will be all over the runways this spring - so not only do I get to giggle at my new shiny shoes, I'm fashion-forward for the first time since I was blazing new fashion trails in my new wave days! Come to think of it, these shoes would have been perfect at the old, dark 9:30 Club in DC - not only perfect for the times, but they could have helped me see where I was going in that cave!
Continuing the theme, I found the very largest Christmas balls (and bells) I could find on my front porch this year. Pretty lame, but at least a nod to the holidays on my front porch that screams out for something. As always, I swear I will think about these things earlier in the year and find a better solution. We have no power outside, and our house is old and drafty enough already without cracking a window to run an extension cord out.

And now that it's done, I can tell you about another project that kept me away from my computer for all of November:


This is part of a lovely cotton cardigan jacket I knit up as a sample/test for Melissa Leapman, the pattern-writing fiend that she is! (the photo is rotated - the pattern is still secret) I had a month to get it done - I was confident. I knit up the back in a few nights - no problem. The fronts were a little slower, but I did them at the same time so when they were done, they were done. The sleeves, also both at the same time, seemed to go on FOREVER. What's with that knitting time warp thing? Perhaps it was because I was getting nervous about blocking and seaming and how it would turn out - I had a schematic, but no sketch, so I was flying pretty blind.

I finished it and got it off the post office last Saturday and though the line was long and I was sweating, I ended up having a grand time chatting with the postal worker in line ahead of me to buy stamps, and when I got to the counter, Larry the postman eased my worries of Monday delivery with his big smile and guarantee that it would arrive Monday by 3PM. It didn't. But, fingers crossed, it made it to the yarn company (Aslan Trends) in time for a photo shoot. It was major relief to get it done, and another great opportunity to work with Melissa and her great patterns. No sooner had she gotten that sweater off, she sent another for me to finish by January 15th! Luckily this is just a little girl's sweater with lots of stockinette - I think I can manage it.

Trash Totem

to·tem /ˈtoʊtəm/ –noun

1. a natural object or an animate being, as an animal or bird, assumed as the emblem of a clan, family, or group.
2. an object or natural phenomenon with which a family or sib considers itself closely related.
3. a representation of such an object serving as the distinctive mark of the clan or group.
4. anything serving as a distinctive, often venerated, emblem or symbol.

I'm using this term only a slightly incorrectly - one of my clan's many totems is inanimate and unnatural - but I like it and I'm going with it.
Captain America has been asking for a new pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs (his 3rd) for a month or so, but I was so caught up with the test knitting that I hadn't gotten around to them. Finally, after the green cardigan was sent off, I whipped up a pair in a couple of evenings for him during the last week before Christmas (which is also CA's birthday) and was feeling all caught up and ready to relax for my week off. And then I threw that very nearly completed pair away with the trash on Thursday. Yup, along with all the yarn and my Denise size 13 tips and short cable. (Take a moment to catch your breath - I know - it's horrifying).

I have to tell you a about couple of other tragedies so that you'll have some idea of how this could have happened. My earliest memory of a brush with the trash demons was when my father brought back six beautiful, handknit Scottish, cabled, natural white wool sweaters from his two-week active duty there. Gorgeous sweaters for the whole family. For some reason, they were in two white plastic bags - like kitchen-sized trash bags. The family lore is that for once, my brother decided to do his chores and take out the trash, and out three of those sweaters went. Ouch.

Then, Captain America bought a fabulous new suitcase a while back that opened up like a steamer trunk and had shelves and drawers and hanging places - fabulous. We kept it on our screened porch when we lived in a tiny apartment in DC, and one spring I noticed it was getting covered in pollen. Into a big black trash bag it went, and shortly thereafter, out to the trash in that big black trash bag in went when CA took out the trash. Ouch again - it had only been used once!

So, fast forward to last Thursday morning - trash day chez the Dream. I had a big pile of bags at the front door to go out with me when I left for work. Those clogs, in Cowboys colors for Mr. Texas pride, had to be hidden before he came home that afternoon, so I put them in a grocery bag and left the bag in my knitting corner of the couch - which, in my bungalow, is at the front door. As usual, I was rushing out the door and had to come back for a second trip to get all that trash. That bag on the couch looked just like another grocery bag filled with trash - so without thinking, I grabbed it right up with the rest of it. When I came home for lunch that afternoon, I knew EXACTLY what I'd done when I saw the big empty place on the couch. Aaaaauughhhhhh!

Good news - I had more yarn, and only had to run out to the LYS for one hank of the gray accent yarn - phew. Bad news - how in the world am I going to exercise this trash demon that seems to really, really like my family? When I told my mom, she said she was sure dad was laughing - yeah - I bet he is! We all know the moral of the story - don't put good stuff in trash bags for goodness' sake - but do we really think I'll learn that lesson? I'll add it to the things I'm supposed to be working on in this lifetime, but I fully expect to have come back for another life to perfect that one!

Captain America got his clogs on Christmas morning, and we promply threw them into the washer for felting. I hope to make myself another pair of those fabulous clogs soon - and I'm going to doctor it up a little to address the exposed skin from the top of the clogs to the bottom of my sweatpants - I'll post details when I see if my plan will work. That may be after I finish: the test cardigan for Melissa, the Whiskey Fair Isle pullover - so close, and the Sally Mellville white blouse from Needful Yarns - whew. I want to wear both the sweaters for our big knitting weekend this March, so I have a LOT of work cut out for me!

About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dawn's Dream in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2007 is the previous archive.

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