Posts Tagged ‘friends’

New Normal for Now

September 14, 2018

I’m happy to report that Mom’s been home for a few weeks and has regained her pre-pneumonia strength and balance. It helped that she was quite fit before she was hospitalized and that we walked with her around the hospital floor several times a day whether she wanted to or not.

Last week, we introduced a couple of home health aides who help five days each week so brother Luke and I can maintain our work lives, sanity, and marriages. We also consider it an insurance policy of sorts so that neither of us is overwhelmed if the other gets sick, has a major work obligation, or wants to take a day trip or — gasp — vacation.

The transition and adjustment has been blessedly smooth. The aides are professional, kind, and experienced. Although she’s sometimes confused about why they’re there, Mom has welcomed them into her home and life quite readily.

A few days ago, she agreed to return to the hair salon, a short walk down the hill, after refusing to go for several weeks. The wonderful staff were pleased to see her and told her so. While her hair was washed, cut, and styled, I resumed my usual seat by the window and worked a few rounds of the Vanilla Latte sock.

Sock-salon

Yarn is Urth Merino Sock, colorway 2018, a mix of bright blues, greens, and oranges.

We spend a fair bit of time each day knitting. I don’t like to even think of the day that she forgets how to do the knit stitch. Having finished two garter stitch scarves, Mom has started another one in a lovely creamy white. I cast on 30 stitches, and she’s taken it from there.

mom-knits

Yesterday, we were joined — remotely — by my friend Judy, who reported that she was back in the knitting routine, too. From her home about 60 miles away, she sent an update via text.

striped-sock-judy

I believe the yarn is Diversity from Plymouth Yarn (Zebra colorway). Pretty sure I was with her when she bought it.

She makes knee socks while I prefer mid-calf or just below. If you’re a sock knitter, what’s your preference?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Another Epic Rally

August 4, 2018

Turns out that Chris and Karen’s overnight visit to Nantucket, followed by a 12-hour journey home to Northern Virginia, was just the first travel rally of our vacation. [Note: neither Patrick nor I participated in either rally. We’re supporters only.]

Months ago, Hannah and her squad of four NYC Sister-Friends had synced their work schedules and planned a vacation — no small feat in and of itself. Hannah arrived mid-day Friday after a brief detour at home. The foursome would arrive by air later that night.

However, true to its name, the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea” put a damper on those plans. Low, thick fog blanketed the island, and all flights were cancelled. After they turned down the airline’s offered rescheduled flight on Monday evening and discovered that there were no rental cars in all of New York City available for a one-way trip to Cape Cod, and after dozens of texts, a plan emerged.

New York’s Port Authority bus terminal isn’t a particularly lovely place at any time of day, but I imagine that it’s less so than usual at 3:00AM on a Saturday morning, which is when their bus to Boston departed.

About four hours later, the sun was shining — even if they weren’t — when they arrived in Boston and made their way to our house about 10 miles away.

Squad-bus

Kevin had left the key under the mat and a welcome note including details on where to nap and how to turn on the coffee maker. They collapsed and napped a bit until Hannah — who’d taken a 7:30 fast ferry from the island and driven 1.5 hours home — arrived. They piled in, and she reversed the journey.

And so it was, that 24 hours after they’d left work, they arrived. While the previous night’s fog had lifted, the afternoon was cloudy and cool. So they had the beach to themselves.

Squad-beach  Mhd-grace

Back home, they shared stories of their adventures around the table and around the fire. As Patrick and I had noted the night before when their rally plan was hatched, this will make for a great memory.

Barn-dinner.jpg

 

 

 

 

Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

May 8, 2018

I’m regularly surprised by how long it’s been since we moved from the Washington, DC, area. I know, I know, “surprising” probably isn’t the right word if I keep doing it, but really — 21 years?!

We’ve been fortunate to maintain friendships by visiting once a year or so and seeing friends whose travels take them to the Boston area. And then there’s our wonderful family — my brother Chris, sister-in-law Karen, their two teen daughters and pre-teen son. The best fringe benefit of my eight-month interim management gig at a DC-area organization last year was my weekly visits to their home. Plus the rates and amenities were unbeatable!

Patrick and I flew down early Friday morning after snagging same-day tickets (released online at 6:30am) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Like all great museums, there’s no way to experience it in a day (even an entire day) and you could return again and again and come away with new knowledge and inspiration. And probably sore feet, which you could rest alongside the water at the entrance.

NMAAHC

While on a morning walk through our old neighborhood, I was lucky enough to bump into an old long-time friend and former co-worker. Since he was heading out to walk his dog, we walked together back to Chris and Karen’s, sharing news of spouses, children, his brand new grandchild, professional endeavors, with only a bit of shared dismay at the state of what passes for political “leadership” today.

KMB

Patrick and I won the aunt-uncle lottery (albeit with no competition) and took the kiddos on a field trip to National Harbor for a few hours on Sunday. Nothing educational; just walking about. Since we’re not their parents, we said “yes” to nearly everything they expressed interest in. There’s a candy store? Let’s get a bag or maybe a chocolate covered Oreo. Ice cream? Absolutely. Nail polish that changes color in the sunshine? Who would be without it?!

There’s a fair bit of public art — statues, like this one of Henry Ford, which A. enjoyed mimicking.

Natharbor5

The little kids’ play area included less historic, if slightly more creepy, sculptures.

Natharbor

A giant sculpture of a giant, The Awakening, had been moved from its original site along the Potomac in D.C. to a human-made beach at National Harbor, where its various parts are explored by young and old alike.

Natharbor2

Four times around on the giant Ferris wheel gave plenty of opportunity to watch planes heading toward the nearby airport, gaze down at the marina and shops, speculate that it’d be a great place for an action movie scene, and wonder if you could survive a jump into the harbor from this height.

Natharbor-wheel

Natharbor3Natharbor4.JPG

Some day I hope to be able to take a selfie with Patrick in which we don’t look dopey, but for now, what you see is what we get.

The Sunshine Coast sweater got a bit bigger on the two flights, but you can’t really tell from this picture. Interspersed among the inches of stockinette stitch there are some lovely, subtle details. You’ll have to trust me on that for now.

Sunshine-coast-plane

Another highlight of the weekend was my visit to Fibre Space, a wonderful LYS that’s only a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s house. Stay tuned for that post later this week.

Return to the Shop

February 1, 2018

It’s been ages since I dropped by the marvelous JP Knit & Stitch for a sit-down with some kick-ass knitters. Yesterday’s hourlong session renewed my spirit and my commitment to not let so much time pass before I return.

Shelley, the brains and brawn behind the Sheep Ahoy Cruise, was working on two projects. I’m sure she has several more at home because she’s not one of those freskish rare knitters who only works on one project at time.

Look at this beautiful Icelandic sweater that she’s making with some Lopi that someone donated to me from a loved one’s stash.

Shelley-sweater.jpeg

Her smaller project is a stranded (or is it Fair Isle?) hat in a Winter Olympics motif. Hope she gets in done in time for her luge competition!Shelley-stranded.jpeg

That’s Joy in the background, using her big brown down coat as a lap blanket. In typical fashion, she’s put down her knitting and is focused intently on whomever is speaking. A more kind and generous soul you’ll rarely find. She’s a talented baker and never fails to bring a few treats, wrapped in foil, for knitting and shop staff alike. Yesterday it was almond cake bars (high protein, of course!) — there in the background of this shot of Joanne’s recently completed cowl.

Joanne-gaptastic.jpeg

She’d modified the Gaptastic pattern, making it a bit more narrow and shorter. Lovely, don’t you think?

She’d also brought an almost-completed cardigan, which just needs a couple of buttons sewn on. This photo doesn’t convey the rich green-blue color of the yarn, but trust me, it’s beautiful.

Joanne-sweater

Part of what I love about knitting is its duality — it’s both a solitary and a social craft. While I love to sit (or occasionally stand) by myself as I work on a project, there’s something very soul satisfying to be in the company of others — sharing stories, ideas, heartbreak, and joys — all while creating something new from two sticks and some string.

Project for a Dark & Stormy Night

September 9, 2016

Since finishing the striped shawl, I’ve been in a bit of a knitting rut. To be candid, it mirrors my present state of mind — preoccupied with challenges that leave me mentally jumping from one thing to another. But I believe I’ve found a remedy of sorts, in the form of a small, relatively quick project perfect for gift-giving and for using up small amounts of leftover yarn.

May I present a candle jar cover:

lace-candle-jar-first

This first one is pretty wonky, the result of my not paying attention to the pattern. Funny how that works. I decided that lighter weight yarn would be preferable and dug out some fingering weight that the marvelous Ann Weaver gave me on my first Sheep Ahoy Knitting Cruise. Yes, it’s more than three years ago. Don’t tell me that I’m the only knitter with three-year old yarn in her stash.

I cast on while having dinner by myself before a ferry crossing 10 days ago. I’d ordered a Dark & Stormy in memory of dear Barb (and because I like the taste) and was enjoying the sunset and nearby table conversations.

cast-on-dark-stormy.jpeg

A friend commented later how nicely the color of the yarn matched the beverage, and that’s when I knew that this project would be named the Dark & Stormy Candle Jar Wrap. What better for a dark and stormy night than a candle shining bright and safely protected in a glass jar?

dark-stormy-wip

Not done yet. Check back soon though because I’m on a roll.

Hope There’s Nothing But Cashmere in Heaven

July 27, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made many new, close friends in my 50s. I’m blessed to have quite a few Sister-Friends, those phenomenal women with whom I share strong bonds of trust, love, and shared experience. Most of them I’ve known for many years.

Imagine my delight several years ago when I met and made two Sister-Friends in the matter of a week, over the course of my first (their second) Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise. Cathie and Barb had been work colleagues, close friends, and stash-enabling knitting buddies for 25 years, and they welcomed me with open arms.

Barb brought us all tiaras for “formal night” in the sheep’s ship’s dining room. Of course.

barb-cathie-mah-tiaras

Cathie shared a story that illustrates Barb’s obsession with love of yarn and her sense of humor perfectly:

“One time, we went to a yarn fare in Kitchener, arriving when the doors opened. In the first 15 minutes, we had each spent several hundred dollars and had to make a trip to the car.  I said ‘this could be a problem – we’ve only been here 15 minutes.’  Barbie said, ‘I know, I’m worried there won’t be enough room in my trunk!’

The three of us snorted with laughter on a regular basis whenever we were together. I’m quite sure none of us has been able to look at almond milk without giggling. We emailed, occasionally talked on the phone, went on another Sheep Ahoy cruise, this time to Canada and Maine. Love, laughter, and knitting abounded whenever we were together and even when we weren’t.

And then tragedy struck. Last week, Barb died of advanced lung cancer that she, who never smoked, had been diagnosed with in April.

In May, Cathie and I took a road trip (me from Boston, her from Vancouver) for a weekend visit to Barb’s home in Ontario. As always, love, laughter, and knitting were in plentiful supply — along with delicious food and yarn shopping at Barb’s local yarn store, The Little Red Mitten.

2016-05-06 12.11.19

I’m trying to focus on the positive and be grateful for having been blessed with such a wonderful friend. And I am, truly. But sometimes the sadness and unfairness of it all tightens my throat and squeezes tears from my eyes.

I’ll remember her this way — with an armful of yarn, a sparkle in her eyes, and a smile on her face, giddy with the optimism and possibility of what would come next.

barb

 

 

 

Knitters’ Road Trip

May 18, 2016

Long-time readers will know of my knitting cruise adventures with my Canadian sister-friends, Barb and Cathie. Recent life circumstances required us to get together for a couple of days in lovely Ontario.

Cathie flew in from Vancouver and I from Boston. With a right-off-the-lot rental car, we headed west to Barb’s home in the countryside. After initial hugs and smiles, we settled in to comfy seats on the sun-lit porch. Before we knew it, several hours had passed. Topics ranged from national politics (Canadian and US), the most recent Ship Ahoy Knitting Cruise (which none of us were able to partake of) hopes for future cruises, updates on our children and Barb’s grandchild, and of course, knitting — stashes, projects (current and future).

Barb’s mother was a home economics teacher for many years, so we had many giggles over some of the recipes in her mid-1960s cook books. Wonder who made Moonbeam Salad Loaf, the ingredients of which were lime gelatin, cottage cheese, and marshmallows (cut into eighths, of course!)?!

2016-05-06 10.04.37

2016-05-06 08.55.35

Barb’s dear husband Bill keep us fed and watered with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and white wine. After dinner (courtesy of Cathie and a local caterer), we picked up our needles and watched Murder on the Orient Express. I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to find out “who done it” so it’s still a mystery to me!

The morning was sunny and clear, so the three of us sat outdoors with coffee and knitting, surrounded by birdsong and birds, for a lovely hour or so before breakfast.

2016-05-06 12.11.19

Being a road trip, we were compelled to check out Barb’s LYS, Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas. Fun fact: the shop is across the street from the statue of Jumbo, the town’s most famous 19th century elephant. Curious to know more? Read this.

The Little Red Mitten was fabulous — room after room of scrumptious yarns, patterns, and samples. Who could resist?

2016-05-06 12.50.53

2016-05-06 13.12.22 (1)

In a feat of perfect timing that must come from 38 years of marriage to a knitter, Bill arrived just as we finished shopping. Hugs, kisses, and perhaps a tear or two were exchanged in the parking lot as we went our separate ways.

Cathie and I headed west to London Yarns — a truly remarkable example of a creative and successful retailer. When she lived in Toronto, Cathie was a frequent customer of London Yarns; based on her descriptions of the many, many projects she made from their afghan and other kits, I’d say she could be considered a part-owner!

2016-05-06 15.10.17

2016-05-06 15.09.56

She’s smitten (a kinder word than obsessed) with the adorable Top This baby hat kits. And really, who wouldn’t be? Did I mention that London Yarn takes phone orders and will ship to Canada and the US?

2016-05-06 15.18.31

Mindful of my carry-on bag’s size, I limited myself to 2 balls of Drake Duet for a cowl (details in future post) and 2 small balls of neon yarn for a project-to-be-named-later (when I can think of something!)

When asked at US Customs if I had anything to declare, I refrained from blurting out, “I declare that I had a soul-warming visit with two crazy wonderful knitters whom I miss already.”

Sheep Ahoy & We’re Off!

July 17, 2015

The fourth annual Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise has just set sail for Bermuda! Mom (Nancy) and I are on board for our second trip together. She’s a veteran of all four!

Dear friend Cathie has come from Vancouver for the adventure. We are very sad that fellow Canadian and dear friend Barb had to cancel because of a medical emergency. Perhaps you’ve heard of the children’s book and project, Flat Stanley? We’ve got a digital Flat Barb. She joined us for lunch today.

photo of Barb on iPad, sitting on lunch table

First knitting class is tomorrow morning. I hope to update regularly.

%d bloggers like this: