Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back From Boston

This year I was lucky enough to spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Boston. Shana and I flew into Boston and took the bus out to Falmouth to visit her mom for a few days. We arrived early enough to go for a walk around the neighborhood and down to the shore. I find the salt air relaxing and the sound of the sea so inviting, even when the weather is cool. As always, dinner was good and the conversation better. Shana's stepsister Lisa was there for the holiday with her teenagers. It was fun to be able to visit with everyone.

The Dobberteen's house is a very pretty and cozy Cape cottage with some strategic additions on a beautiful lot. Maybe my favorite thing is the view from my bathroom window. Shana and I almost always have the back bedroom where the bedroom and bathroom both have a beautiful view of Bourne's Pond. Craning your neck only a little will give you a peek at Martha's Vineyard across the water. The blue and white bedroom is so pretty and the area so quiet; I always feel rested and pampered there. I only wished we could have come just a little earlier in the year to see the fall colors and Inace's beautiful gardens.

Friday we slept in a bit, then Shana and I went for a visit to downtown Falmouth, complete with a visit to the local tea shop and a tiny yarn crawl at Sage. As usual they had a beautiful selection of gifts and yarn. The big news is that they will soon have an online shopping cart. We drove home just in time to have a little walk on the beach (where apparently only live parking is allowed) before it got too dark. Shana dropped her phone on the beach but fortunately it was easily found because it was getting so cold we only stayed out there for a minute. After dinner we all had a go at "Scene It"; a fun movie themed game that sadly revealed the gaps between generations. Saturday morning we went back into Falmouth with Shana's mom for a bit of shopping and a delicious lunch. I feasted on scallops. Later in the day we caught the bus into Boston.

Saturday night we had dinner at Giacomo's: pumpkin tortellini for Shana and lobster ravioli for me. We followed it with coffee and a pastry down the street a bit, then a bit of a walk around Quincy Market.

Sunday it was brunch at Stephanie's on Newbury (another delicious meal) and a little shopping at Lush and Newbury Yarns. Shana waited out on the street while I poked around in Lush because the melange of scents there gives her allergies a workout, but she came into Newbury yarns to help me pick out a few special skeins. We picked out a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Silken Mohair for a scarf, a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Cascade Lace for a shawl, and a skein of J Knits sock yarn. With the Austerman Step and the Classic Elite alpaca sock yarn (for itchless gloves for Shana) I picked up in Falmouth I have some pretty things to play with. Fortunately we were traveling with very little baggage, so we had the motivation to keep our shopping under control.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Museum of Fine Arts to gorge ourselves on art. There were several interesting exhibits that we had to go back to for a second look, and even more we just could not get to because our heads were full to bursting. Of particular interest to me were a couple of ceramics by Sergei Isupov that were just haunting in their beauty and complexity.

Sunday evening we met Lisa in Chinatown for dinner - scallops again for me! By Monday morning I was ready to live on bread an water for the rest of my life and it was time to go home. I was disappointed when I get settled in at home to find that most of my pictures were pretty awful. Luckily it won't be my last trip to Boston.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

At the Doggie Cocktail Party

We are in the last few days of a warm spell, with cold weather just around the corner. I thought it would be the perfect day to go to the dog park. Skippy was visiting us with Rita this weekend, so we put the two dogs in the car to visit what looks like a cocktail party for dogs. There was a lot of smelling, with some chasing and running away thrown in for variety. Skippy like to hang out near the entrance to greet new arrivals, while Roxy's main form of entertainment seems to be just wandering freely around without a leash. Every once in a while one or both of the dogs would come over and hang out near our bench for a little while before going back out to make the most of the park. I am always so glad that neither of them seems to want to go swimming. It doesn't entirely save me from muddy paw prints, because invariably a muddy dog does come up to visit me, but at least I don't have to put a mud ball into the car.

I frogged the Pomotamus sock after all, and cast on for another pair of Monkey Socks. This was a much better choice. Instead of the incessant counting and ripping back I am ticking right along with what will probably be a very cute pair of socks in a mostly pink and blue Cherry Tree Hill yarn. The yarn is, as always, much prettier in person than it appears here. I will try the Big P again, but not right away. It's a beautiful pattern, but I just don't have the concentration to get through the first repeat right now.

I've also got another sock on the needles. This one will be an orange Trekking XXL in an eyelet rib pattern. It's a good combination of pattern and yarn, and will make a nice looking sock, but the big news (see how starved I am for big news) is that I am making them by the Magic Loop method. Curiosity got the better of me, and I'm making this sock on a US #1 addi with a 47" cable. It's a simple stitch pattern, but even so I think that Magic Loop may be a little faster that my trusty DPN's. It's not really speed that leads me to try it, though. I am thinking about this week's airport knitting and how aggravating it is to lose a DPN in the middle of a trip. I broke down and bought the booklet, although on the first read through it did not make as much sense as I had hoped. Once underway it has proved to be fairly easy and intuitive. When I get to the gusset that will be the test of how easy it truly is. The pictures of this part of the process in the booklet are a little ambiguous. I'm hoping my firm grasp of the principle of the gusset will see me through. I'm part way down the heel already on a sock I started yesterday morning, which is what makes me think it's pretty quick. Instead of switching needles around 4 times per round I need only switch needles around twice. Of course the fact that these are the legendary Addi Turbo needles (insert speedy sound of your choice here) probably makes a little difference too. I thought that I might have more of a problem with ladders this way than my usual, but except for some struggling with the first two rows which will be tightened up when I weave in the ends, it does not look like there is any problem at all.

Here is a gratuitous baby picture, then it's back to the "salt mines" for me. Shana and I are the fortunate recipients of a house blessing to be performed on Tuesday evening. I'm happy to have it, but I don't want to think that Pastor Sharon will be exposed to the sketchier aspects of my housekeeping. So it's time to get the dusting done. One benefit will be that when we get back from Boston the house will be tidy and we can relax for a minute before swinging into the holiday frenzy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oiled Birds

No, not a dish I am planning for Sunday Luncheon . I was just visiting another blog whose author has been working on the birds damaged by the recent oil spill in California. Go look here, her pictures and descriptions of how this is done are amazing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday Lunch Date

OMG - midweek post! Don't get too used to it. I was lucky enough to have company for lunch today. Samantha was planning to meet me for lunch and by a lucky chance Vivian had been spending the night with her, so she brought Miss V along to join me for lunch. It's just the most convenient thing ever to have a cafeteria on site so that when Sam comes for lunch I don't need to spend part of my lunch driving to-and-from. Sam had the chili, which looked good, but I had a sore throat (allergy) and had a yogurt parfait which I shared a bit of with Miss V. Samantha would not let me take her picture today, so it's just us two.

This week we started wearing our new ID badges at work. Since the company has grown so much we can't count on recognizing everyone on sight anymore. The badges were passed out with black cord lanyards, but of course I decided to do something different. I picked up a packet of beads and with the addition of some odds and ends I had at home I made myself a somewhat cuter and certainly more festive unit. I may make up a few more for a change of pace or to gift out. It will take my mind off the way the Pomotamus socks are kicking my butt. I'm sure in a few rows I'll be in the rhythm, but at present I keep getting off my count. How pitiful.
Tomorrow is "snakie day" at the office. Of course it's "snack day", but we call it snakie after a memorable typo in an announcement of the event a few years ago. I'm making cinnamon rolls tonight so I can set them to rise overnight and bring them in hot and fragrant. While I'm at it I'll make a pan for Shana to take to her office too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Today Shana and I hosted the second Shoun Sunday Dinner with an attendance of 10 1/2, April Rose Shoun was the 1/2. She proved to be a very good little guest. Roxy was inspired by her to act like the wild beast she is. On the menu today was pot roast with pearl onions and carrots served over egg noodles, spinach gratinee, stuffed tomatoes, and home made rolls. Nancy was in charge of desert and brought a spectacularly beautiful and tasty German chocolate cake. I made her leave a slab of it for my supper!

I think everyone had a good time. The food was delicious and good looking, which it should have been because when a dinner party is in the offing Shana is obsessed with having the perfect menu. We go through two or three complete menus with major shuffling of components before the final choice is made. Of course we had a few bumpy bits. Funnily enough both involved my rolls. First I ran short of flour and had to run up to the corner halfway through mixing my dough. Then I forgot that we had only one baking sheet to fit our oven. When we moved we had three good ones, but they proved to be to big for our ovens and we gave them to Nancy. We had only purchased one new one of suitable dimensions, and that one was full of stuffed tomatoes waiting to go into the oven. Again I ran to the corner to get two more baking sheets. True to the usual performance of my butterhorns, because they were needed at a particular time the first rise was a bomb. Luckily I have learned to to put too much stock in how the first rise looks because they are rising on only one packet of yeast and can be slow to get going. In the end they were perfect.

I've got a Pomatomus sock on the needles, but since I only have about 3/4" done and isn't even past the ribbing I think I'll wait until it gets a little bigger to show it off. I started an afghan for an office gift exchange and worked on it for a few hours, but I think I am going to have to tear it out and start over because at this stage it has some serious problems. It's smaller than I would like. 'way smaller. I could go along with it being a lap sized afghan and give it a beautiful fringe if it didn't have this other teeny little problem. It's worsted weight yarn on a size H hook. Because it's a single crochet ripple stitch if has a bit too much body. It will stand by itself, walk around, and stop bullets. I crocheted on for several hours in denial, but I must face the truth. It is evil and must be destroyed.

Due to an impending motherboard crash we replaced our computer this week. The old one has making so much noise that two rooms away it could keep you awake. It was giving us new and fascinating error messages that I have never seen before, and making up ever more slanderous lies about our (admittedly difficult and scurrilous) printer. When I turned on the new box I didn't think it was on because I could not hear it running! That's the upside, along with the larger amount of RAM we have on this unit. The down-ish side is that it's running on Vista, which is completely different from what I am used to. I don't find it very intuitive, but what I hear from the techs is that it will "learn" my preferences as I use it and will not seem as clumsy once I've sued it for a while. I know we will both be proficient soon, but at present it kind of makes me itch. Outlook has been replaced with a different kind of email account setup, which was not quite intuitive. I ended up with both of our emails loaded up into one account. I did not try to transfer any of my pictures or Ipod files to the new box, so I will have to set some things up again, along with our favorites and bookmarks. I had already put most of my pictures up on Flickr, so I wasn't too worried about those. It's taking a fair amount of time to get things set up the way we like them again. This tinkering with the setups has really cut into my free time.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

WAACO Gothic

Last Sunday Shana, Aunt Rita and I joined some of the the WAACO's for a breakfast at Madison's Pancake House and some yard slave adventures. When Kim said she'd like some help tilling up a bed and planting a few shrubs I thought she meant to renovate an existing bed. Turns out I was hopelessly optimistic. We all got together to make a new bed across the front of her house after digging out an established stand of Bermuda grass. It was a big job, to say the least. However, it is true that many hands make light work, and with all of us digging in we were not only able to get the job done but also had a fun time of it. I think on the whole we did as much laughing as working. The weather was just perfect and an afternoon outdoors with friends is always a good time no matter what we are doing. One reward for coming out to garden was that I got a chance to operate a rototiller. Kim and Susi had a brand new unit for the occasion - a nice little one suitable for the home gardener and not too heavy. I had never had occasion to do this before, so I was eager to try it out. I thought it was a lot of fun to do, and also to watch. There is something about the soil pouring down that is just mesmerizing. Turns out that it is also quite strenuous. We all took turns using it, so although we were all probably a little sore the next day, none of us actually ended up "down in the back". Susi generously loaned us all gardening gloves from her large selection, so we were well protected. When the edging was on and the shrubs planted and mulched it really looked nice, and made a nice addition to what was already a very cute house.

The rest of this week has been very quiet, and a good thing, although it makes boring reading. Madly creative ideas are bubbling away in the back of my mind, but none are coming forward to take form yet. The warm weather has been holding on, so it doesn't feel like the season is really changing and I feel a little stuck. With Standard Time returning tonight and the cool weather coming Monday I think I'll get the little push I need to get rolling. This weekend I'm planning to get a few projects started and get my sketch pad out on my desk to capture any creative spark that floats by. I've got everything else set up at my desk to inspire, with my materials at hand and lots of postcards, books, and toys to get me thinking. It might be that what I really need to do is just set a little time aside every day to draw and play at my desk.