Category Archives: Life

Memorial Day

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since Dad passed away.

This past week, Mom and I drove down to Greene, NY to check the headstone and to put some flowers on Dad’s and my grandparents grave site.  It was a beautiful day.

We then headed down towards Binghamton.  (waving hi to Gayze as I passed her exit).

The ride from Afton to Chenango Bridge down Rte. 7 was spectacular.  The wild phlox (white and purple) we in full bloom everywhere!  We followed the lush, green ribbon of fertile farm land down the Susquehanna River.   Once again up over Beldon Hill where we spend the summer from hell in the Shasta trailer.  Poor MOM!  three kids, (me a teenager, my sister and my baby (toddler) brother, all of us living in this trailer on the top of Beldon Hill.  I still have nightmares.

We took a little detour drive through Hillcrest and by the house that we lived in when  I was between the ages of 4 to 6 or 7.

I had Mrs. Ames for kindergarten there and Miss Curley for 1st grade.  She wore the reddest lipstick!  The memories flooded back.

We then met up with some long time friends for dinner. SPEIDIES!!! and Lots of laughs and old stories.

The next day we headed home, but we did stop by the ‘extended’ family camp in Mount Upton on Buttermilk Creek.

Then we headed up I-88 towards home.  Mom and I talked about all the family secrets, disFUNction, and the entire cast of characters.

Oh ya knitting and spinning…

I finished knitting the Citron Shawl in the Alpaca lace from Peru 🙂  I am heading over to the studio later to dye it Lemon Drop Yellow.

I have been spinning – AND (exciting news!) making some gorgeous Batts – Black wool base, handpainted Faux Cashmere in lovely vibrant colors, and tossing in a bit O’Sparkle.  NICE and fun to spin.

-again no pics right now-

Off to do some dyeing in the studio today.  Don’t forget First Saturday Open Studio is going to happen next weekend (June 5th) – Stop by and check out the new stuff.

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Another trip around the sun…

Is it me or are these trips around the sun faster than they used to be?

Now that the afterglow aftermath of the holidays is finally cleared away and all the crap that seems to pile up is getting sorted and put away, it’s time to do my annual stash cleaning and to really buckle down to finish the kimono.

New Years Eve was spent with a pizza, Myrna Loy and William Powell watching the Thin Man movies – I think I made through one and a half before falling asleep.   New Years Day I worked the phone queue for a few hours, then headed over to my sister’s to exchange gifts and indulge in Ebelskivers.  My niece loves to cook and bake and got a special Ebelskiver pan for Christmas.  These are very yummy stuffed Danish pancakes.  She stuffed some with scrambled eggs and bacon, jam, peanut butter chips and even mint chocolate chips.  They all were really good.

My brother-in-law was playing with his new camera and managed to get this shot from an old family slide!

This is Cindy (my little sister) and me showing off Dad’s catch of the day.  I think this was taken outside our house on Franklin Ave, in Hillcrest, NY.  I think I was maybe 5 at the time.

In the mean time I have knit a number of tea cozies.

This is a freebie pattern from Ravelry and takes exactly one skein of Noro Kureyon.   I made a few changes to the original pattern,

After I finish the picot hem I purl one row then start the stockinette in the round – I like that it adds a little ‘bead’ look to the bottom of the cozy.

I also slip the first stitches when doing the opening for the handle when going back and forth – this makes the open edge around the handle-hole a little neater.

For the spout opening I added one more row of the double yarn over to make the hole slightly bigger, I also twist the knit and purl edge stitches around the spout hole before and after the YOs to tighten up the edge stitches and make them neater.

These are quick knits and lots of fun.

I also knit a sweater for my hottie (hot water bottle, not cute guy) since it’s been so cold I love having a nice warm hottie to keep my toes warm.

Another freebie from Ravelry – I knit this from one skein of Louet Riverstone Chunky.  I had scored a bunch of this for felting projects from Webs big after Christmas Sale.

Brian and I went to Webs for the sale on the day after Christmas.  I scored 2 bags of the Louet Riverstone Chunky, 9 skeins of  Cascade 220 all for felting projects, along with 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted that I couldn’t resist.

Brian and I had a delicious lunch at Paul and Elizabeth’s Natural Foods Restaurant, in Northampton to top a perfect day.

Last Saturday, my knitting buddy, Erica came to the studio and we spent the day dyeing fiber.  It was an open studio day, but being a holiday weekend and it was snowing all day it was pretty dead so we got a lot done and had lots of fun too.

I’ve been thinking about opening the studio on one Thursday evening a month for people to drop in to learn to spin, or just hang out and bring their knitting projects.   We will see how it pans out – I am still putting together ideas now.

Right now I am looking forward to Saint Distaff Day at the Westford Historical Museum on Sunday.  Then my birthday the following weekend  with a party at my friend Laurel’s (girls only and the hot tub).  Pretty soon (February) it will time to head to SPA!!!  I cannot wait!  It already seems like it’s been a long winter and it’s only the first week in January.  Not a good sign.  At least I don’t mind staying indoors with plenty of knitting and spinning projects to keep me busy.

There were no real resolutions this year either, well maybe one.  I am going to try harder to live greener this year.  I have reusable grocery bags – but don’t always remember to grab them on the way out.  I will try harder this year.

I am also cutting back on cleaning products and eventually eliminating them, especially the ones with chemicals that really aren’t good for me, the cat or the environment.  I actually bought myself a steam mop with reusable pads that you just toss into the wash after using.  I cannot believe how clean (and sanitized) my kitchen and bathroom floors are, just using water/steam!  Now I think I want to get one of those hand-held steamers to clean the rest of the kitchen and bathrooms.   I figure that they will pay for themselves within 6 months if I don’t have to buy chemical cleaners anymore.

Well that’s all for now…  I hope you all find this New Year brings you peace, harmony, health and prosperity!

A Public Service Announcement

I have never agreed with Elizabeth Hasselback on any topic, at any time – until today.  She called the new mammogram recommendations Gender-cide and she couldn’t be more correct on this.

Other than the fact that I personally have six female friends who I know owe their lives to having mammograms in their 40s, there is statistical evidence as well.

If you look at the death rates for women in places that do not pay for nor require mammograms for women in their 40s the death rate from breast cancer spikes in the 40-50 age range.  (Places to check Utah – the only state that doesn’t cover mammograms for woman in their 40s and the UK which also doesn’t recommend or cover them).

This is a big WTF!? I feel very strongly that you should continue to get mammograms early and through out your 40s whether or not there is a family history of breast cancer.  If you are over 40 and have never had a mammogram – call and get one scheduled NOW!  If you have a mammogram scheduled – KEEP THE APPOINTMENT!  Having a mammogram could just save your life.

 

 

Two more sleeps!

And then we are on our way to Rhinebeck!  I keep checking the weather reports and it is going to be cold, cold, cold.  But now it’s saying that there might be snow on Friday.   I really don’t want to tow the camper and set up in snow so I would appreciate anything my weather witchy friends could do to ‘adjust’ the weather. 🙂

Last Saturday I was heading over to my studio to do some more dyeing of our misc. skeins for the sale bin.  I decided to swing by GrotonFest to see my friends whose daughter had a booth there to sell her tissue paper flowers.  When I called she said she was located next to the alpaca I practically ran.

Next to her was St. Isidore’s Alpaca Farm from Lunenburg, MA – OMG! They were so cute – sorry no pics I forgot my camera.  I asked what then did with all their fleece and they send it out and have it processed and spun into yarns.  They had lots of beautiful alpaca yarns for sale, but then out of the corner of my eye at the end of their table….  white fluff in a basket?  Is this Cria?  Yes it is!  Quickly I checked my wallet to see how much cash I had on me.  I managed to scrape up enough to purchase 4 oz. of this.

Cria

When I got home later I picked it (little or no VM) and separated the longer (3-4″) locks from the shorter (1-2″) ones and picked out a few second cuts.  Then I wrapped the longer locks in mesh and set them to soak in soapy (Unicorn Fiber Wash) warm water for about an hour, then rinsed and laid them out to dry.

It feels like cashmere or Angora… it’s that fluffy.  I am thinking of blending this with some other luxury fibers (cashmere, yak down, baby camel) that I have in my stash.

Now my mission at Rhinebeck is to find the perfect spindle to spin this on.

Some other stuff I have been up to.

tomatoes

Mary, Laural and I had our annual Salsa Canning Weekend.  We used 40 pounds of tomatoes in the process.

chili fix'ins

Along with red and Vidalia onions, limes, garlic, poblano and jalapeno chilies.

I think this was our best batch of Salsa yet.  We got about 25 pints total out of this and more than enough for us to “taste test”.

As I mentioned before we had Lowell Open Studios and I did get the wall outside the studio lettered and painted.  It’s a little ‘off’ but it works.

Studio Wall

There were a ton of people who came by to check out the studio, sit and knit, and eat lots of the food too.  It was a great weekend followed by the regularly scheduled Saturday Open Studio the next weekend.  Cindy and I finally made rent for the first time!  YAY!  Which is why I was back in the studio dyeing to replenish the stock for the upcoming Holiday Weekends and an Artisan Holiday Fair I’ve signed up to do on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Westford.   So stay tuned for those announcements as I get more details.

Back to the grind now…

Fireworks

firework2 The fireworks in Groton were spectacular as usual.  There were a lot more people  attending this year.     Maybe it was because it was a Monday night, or maybe it was the lack of other fireworks in the area that were cut due to budget restraints.

firework3

We had fun on the fourth with friends, and lots of food!

I brought shrimp to grill.

1  package frozen Emeril’s Louisiana Shrimp (Jumbo) raw, cleaned and shell off.  These are American wild shrimp and they taste better than the other shrimp.  Defrost in fridge overnight.

Then about an hour before you are going to grill them, rinse the shrimp well and add your favorite marinade.  I used a yummy Cajun Citrus Marinade that I found in the store.  I did add some extra lime juice and lime zest.  It’s very spicy!  I reserved  about a 1/4 cup of the marinade and mixed that with about a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise to use as a dip for the shrimp.

Grill them 3-4 minutes per side or just until firm and pink.  Don’t over cook!

I also made a Szechuan Cold Noodle Salad

1 lb. cooked and cooled angel hair pasta

Dressing

3 tbsp. tahini

3 tbsp. tamari sauce

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp.  thai chili sauce (or more to taste)

2 cloves of garlic- grated

1 inch knob of ginger – freshly grated

mix well then toss the noodles in and coat well

Add whatever veggies you like – I used

1 chopped cucumber (unseeded)

1 chopped red pepper

1 stalk chopped celery

1 cup mung sprouts

3 – 5 scallions chopped (green parts too)

handful of grape tomatoes halved or quartered

Chill and server cold or room temperature.

I was hoping for leftovers, but there weren’t any. 😦

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I have been working on the malabrigo socks.  Unfortunately the ball o’ yarn has become a tangled mess and I’ve been avoiding dealing with it.

No spinning – no Tour d’ Fleece 😦 sadly – not from lack of fiber, just the lack of time right now.

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Best quote that I heard from a friend of mine.

“I’m not afraid of death….  I just want to save it to the very end.”

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Hermit Island in 40 days!

In spite of the rain…

My friend Mary and I headed up to New Hampshire this weekend to pick up the camper. YAY!

What a blast.  Every time I am with the girls I laugh so much my sides hurt.

the girls

I only had my cellphone camera so excuse the blurries.  The food was awesome! The company was great!

Mary and KathyMary and Kathy with my ‘new’ camper in the background.   I was very warm, dry and comfortable sleeping in my new play house on wheels.

And the good news is we got it home all safe and sound.

Trailer

Once I got home I got a call from Gracie.  Apparently she and Bob have become adoptive parents of three baby raccoons, she has named Peanut, Butter, and Jelly.

Grace1They think Grace is the mommy because she chitters at them.  The mommy raccoon apparently was hit and killed by a car sometime last week.  Bob called about every rescue facility in a 100 mile radius and they are overloaded with raccoon rescues right now, so ‘unofficially’ they are helping Grace and Bob keep these babies going until they either have room for them or they can be released into the wild on their own.

They are so damn cute and although they were in pretty bad shape after a week with no mama, they have come to life with some warmth, a little puppy formula,  water, granola and yogurt chips and a surrogate mom to scritch and give them love.

racoons

There just seems to be some poetic justice that Grace is up all night worrying about her ‘babies’.   And yes I am enjoying this fact.

No more rain! No more rain!

Wasn’t that the chant from Woodstock?

I think we are all starting to grow mold from all this rain. The good part is that everything is green and lush. I like that.

The bad thing is I barely get enough of a rain break to get the lawn mowed so it doesn’t look like an abandoned meadow.

hydrangea

The hydrangea love this weather – it’s a beautiful blueish yellow.

honeysuckle

The honeysuckle is grown wild and it smells lovely too.

I am working on a shrug for a friend and it’s coming along nicely (no pics) they might see it before it’s finished.

Spent the evening yesterday hanging in the hot tub with darling daughter instead of knitting – it was really nice. She gave me a pedicure and manicure afterward while I watched the Red Sox kick butt again.  Not sure who is the cutest Jacoby or Papelbon (sigh).

After multiple trips and a few hours at the DMV I finally got the plate for the trailer. Only to get the registration renewal for the car today. I was just thanking the gods that I could do it on-line and not have to actually go to the DMV…. but then I noticed the little note that says that you should check your MA license because they do not sent out license renewal notices anymore. Yikes, I have been driving with an expired license since JANUARY! Back to the DMV for a new license. I am so glad to get a new photo because the last one was so bad – the lighting at the DMV makes me look like Uncle Fester.

Bob helped me get the hitch installed yesterday, and pick out (we hope) the right adapter for the camper to car hookup and with any luck Mary and I will be bringing home the popup this weekend! Wish us luck.  I am so looking forward to camping in it this summer.  Lake Champlain in a couple of weeks, and a trip to Hermit Island for sure!