Monday, November 12, 2018

Yarn Is Complicated

Deb, a long-time reader (I'm talking 10 YEARS here), messaged me on Facebook, asking if I had any yarn organizing tips to share with her. Once I stopped laughing (I mean, really, she asked ME for organizing ideas), I decided that yes, I do have some ideas. They're just not well executed, is all. Apparently, the road to knitting chaos is paved with good intentions.

For example, there was my project bag organization idea, which got sort of, um, out of hand. And then there was the yarn dresser approach, which worked for a few months, anyway. And, of course, there was the day I bowed to the inevitable and purchased under-the-bed storage bins for my worsted and bulky weight yarns.

But, as devoted readers (there must be one or two of you) will recall, I now have an entire ROOM in which to organize my yarn, because Brian was kind enough to go off to college a few months ago. And I won't lie - I envisioned a beautiful set-up in this room, a sort of working studio, as it were, with the added benefit of a bed to sleep in if Larry were snoring too much.

I know I've asked this before, but where DOES a dream go when it dies?

Not very comfortable to sleep on

So, yeah, step one of yarn organization is to leave a lot of junk on the spare bed, because you're going to get to it some time. Are you taking notes, Deb?

I do still have the yarn dresser. I moved it into the closet of my, ahem, studio. Unfortunately, it's full. Full of yarn? Well, sort of...

The, uh, miscellaneous drawer

Spinning supplies, because I'm delusional like that

Drawer for sport weight yarn, but other stuff sneaked in

No idea what all this crap is

I also still have the two under-the-bed storage bins, now under the bed in my wannabe studio. It is nice to have them out of my bedroom, so I can Swiffer under my own bed more efficiently. But they are also full.

Worsted yarn I'm gonna do something with. Someday.

Bulky yarn, ditto

Oh, and I have this three-drawer rolling thing-y that Susie no longer wants. I shoved most of my fingering/sock weight yarn in there. That's organized, right? Tell me I'm right.

Totally gonna knit this. Soon. Really soon.

Let's not forget the cotton collection! Attractively arranged in a pretty hatbox I stole from Anna...

This used to be full, but I gave some away. See? Organized.

Organizing my knitting needles was definitely a challenge. Used to be, I never knew what I had, so I would just go out and buy a new set every time I started a project.

Look, I'm not proud of that, okay?

But then I came up with the idea of sorting them by size into those plastic zippered pencil cases that go into three-ring binders. It's like I'm a genius or something, you know? So now I have two binders full of needles, and I'd say that I can find the size I need at least 50% of the time. That, my friends, is progress. In my world, anyway...

This actually works. Yeah, I'm surprised, too.

Complete with needle gauge and template of someone's foot...

To round out my studio, I have one of those cube things, to store books and needle binders (see above) and such on. There are supposed to be a few blue storage bins in there, too, for odds and ends, but Susie confiscated them. The bins, that is. That's okay - I would have just filled them with junk, like my dresser drawers.


Surprisingly empty, but we know it won't stay that way, right?

And I have a regular bookcase, too, that I use to store my sundry knitting bags and baskets filled with unfinished projects.

Can you spot the sweater I was going to finish last week?

Look, I'm an artist. You can't expect me to operate in a linear fashion. STOP STIFLING MY CREATIVE INSTINCTS.

Oh, and speaking of unfinished objects (UFOs, in knitter parlance), here's a basket of sock yarn leftovers that are slated to be used for a blanket I started knitting, oh, 2 years ago.

My pretties....

I believe the project bag holding the blanket is in that first picture, lying on the bed under the purple yarn that is waiting to be knit into a school-colors scarf for Brian. No rush, people, I've got 3 1/2 more years to get to that scarf. More, if he does grad school there...

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Ticket To Ride

Hi! It's November! It's raining! IT'S NOT HUMID!

Excuse me, I'm a tad giddy. It was an awful summer, meteorologically speaking. "Summer," as in May all the way through October...

Anywhoo, here we are, enjoying fall weather and then a knitting friend of mine up and buys a beach house. OH, YES, SHE DID. So 5 of us are setting out tomorrow to inspect the house and make sure it is fun to knit in. Everyone's schedules fell into place perfectly (Larry has some days off this week!), because miracles can happen like that.

Not-yet-knitted Christmas presents

Except, I just realized that Theo's birthday is this Friday. Sure, he's turning 27 and probably doesn't care if I'm there or not; but this is the first time in years he's been here on his birthday. It feels sort of rude to abandon him, you know? Also, he's the oldest, so his birthday is always special - it marks when I first became a mom and less of a callow idiot.

Gonna finish this sweater, too...
But, hey, I'm leaving anyway. We'll have cake on Saturday, I guess. I think Theo's moving out this weekend, so it can be a farewell cake, too. Don't worry, we won't be too lonely - Anna is moving back in early next month. I need a revolving door on that guest room, I'm thinking.

I applied for another editing job (a job I've already done as an independent contractor, so HIRE ME ALREADY) at the company Theo just started working for. Good son that he is, he submitted an internal referral for me. That means my resume might make it past the recruiter to the hiring manager's desk. Woohoo!

Of course, if I do get an interview, I have no idea what to say. Anyone have interview tips for a middle-aged woman who hasn't had a real job in, oh, 27 years?

I need to go pack now. You know, all the yarn and the leftover Halloween candy and whatever else I think to throw in my bag. Clothes, maybe? Yeah, those too, I guess.  And, for those of you keeping track, this will be the THIRD time I've gone away this fall. I'm telling you, after a quarter century of not going anywhere much, this being able to get away is really novel. Seriously, there used to be entire years when I wouldn't leave town, aside from a weekend trip up to my parents' house, maybe, or a day trip to the beach with 5 or 6 kids in tow.

I'm reveling in my new-found freedom, is what I'm saying. All those years listening to people talk about frequent flyer miles and getaways with their girlfriends and weekend excursions to fun cities, while I nursed babies and cranked out 3 meals a day, every day, and thought it would never, ever end?

It did end. I'm going to the beach in the middle of the week with my friends, and everyone here will manage just fine. See? If you wait 27 years, anything can happen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sugared Up

Only 35 trick-or-treaters tonight. I have no explanation for such a paltry showing, as it was beautiful weather out. I had 75 treat bags prepared, so, yeah, I'm pretty disappointed. But I'm sure all Brian's college friends will be thrilled when Larry and Rachel drop 40 of those off with him on Friday. Because, yes, Rachel (she of the decapitated animal heads and clogged toilets) is going on college tours the next two days. I don't know how that happened. Seems like only a year or so ago, she was four and we were sleeping with the car keys under our pillows because we were convinced she'd try to drive our cars.

No lie, people. No lie.

We decked out the house (well, the kitchen, anyway) in honor of the holiday:

We don't get to use these place mats much

Both Theo and Susie carved jack-o'-lanterns this year. Susie was thrilled she wasn't the only one doing it. It's hard being the youngest (I mean, aside from the fact that she's spoiled as heck).

A witch and a cat - we're very original

The friends we invited over (their daughter went trick-or-treating with Susie) brought me GORGEOUS flowers.

Blood roses - perfect for Halloween!

And I am so buzzed on Almond Joys and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I can hardly see straight.

So. Much. Candy.

Friends of mine handed out activist treats:

There seems to be a message here...

In non-Halloween news, my part-time editing job has been keeping me busy, because it's college application time and apparently everyone's kids but mine pay to have their college essays professionally edited. I've always railed against the whole college application brouhaha (12 or more applications? REALLY?) and the way that upper middle class students have an edge in the process, but now that I'm profiting off that? Hey, it's totally cool.

I got to use the word "brouhaha." That makes me happy.  That, and approximately gazillion Almond Joys. Excuse me, I'm going to go see if any are left...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Of Hikes And Hauntings

Larry's birthday was the 10th, and he had the whole next week off (during which he had such scintillating activities planned as watching someone install storm doors in our basement), and Susie and I said, "Oh, heck, no, it's still 80-something degrees and humid here and we can't figure out what to get Dad for his birthday, so let's give him a vacation!" We Googled "houses for rent in Bar Harbor," which turned out to be quite cheap the third week in October, and we called Auntie Kate to see if she were up for meeting us (since she lives up that way), and next thing you know, Susie and Larry and I are in the car and heading north.

I mentioned this plan already, but it was so long ago, I'm giving you a refresher. And let's just give a big shout out to Theo, who returned from Israel just in time to be Rachel's chauffeur and chef so we could pull this whole thing off.

Now, something always goes awry on our family vacations. I accept that. Nothing is ever as great as we hope it will be, right?

WRONG. This week broke the mold. The vacation was perfect - I mean, aside from the fact that Susie was convinced that the house was haunted, but I don't blame her. The rental was a hundred years old, with the requisite dark wood moldings and claw-footed bathtubs and ROCKING CHAIRS IN THE BEDROOMS, which Susie and I refused to look at at night, because we were both sure they would be moving.

Also, there was the locked door in one of the bedrooms, which we assumed led to a storage closet for the owner's use, until we looked up at the side of the house one day and noticed there was a window we couldn't see from the inside. So we refused to look at that, too, because we knew a face would appear there, and then we'd have to use our phones to alert anyone inside that they should GET OUT, but when we'd open our texting app, there the face would be, staring back at us.


Our imaginations sort of ran away from us, I guess.

But, aside from the time spent worrying about spectral beings from another plane of existence, things were awesome. We went hiking every single day, and - as is Acadia's wont - we were treated to breathtaking views everywhere we turned. Just like what we had seen during our summer camping trips there, only now there were splashes of fall color making the scenery even more scenic. And it was less crowded, so we didn't have to worry about finding parking. And the air was magnificent - cold and brisk and downright rejuvenating after all the incredibly soul-sucking humidity we had suffered through since May.

Only the best photo I will take in my entire life

Oh, and did I mention? We weren't camping. No watching Larry get stressed out about pulling the trailer, no having to go hide while he attempted to back the camper into our spot, no hoarding quarters so we could have hot showers, no trips to the laundromat every 3 days. It was WEIRD. Is this how normal people vacation? I LIKE IT.

Here, have some more scenery, why doncha?

I climbed up here.

I feel sort of bad, because I don't have any funny stories to tell you, because nothing went wrong. I know, weird, right? These normal-people vacations could be very bad for my illustrious blogging career, I guess.

I can live with that, though. Really, I can.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Traveler, Know Thyself

People were commenting "Amazing photos!" on my previous post and I was all like "Huh?" I went back and looked and thought, "Wow! I actually saw that stuff!" Which, well, you'd think I would have already realized, but no. Because here's the problem with traveling in the Middle East: there's too much to see.

This stuff is EVERYWHERE
Seriously. You're walking around and by the time you've viewed your gazillionth stone wall from antiquity in the space of an hour, you're all, "That's nice. But where CAN I get some coffee here?" It's just too overwhelming. You walk up a modern-ish city street and realize that the building you're standing next to is pretty darn historic-looking, and hey - so's the one on the next block! And over here! And pretty soon you've got a camera full of pictures of stone buildings and you have no idea what they all are.

Look, I never said I was good at traveling, okay?

Theo rented a car a few different days and drove us all around. We saw I don't know how many interesting stone villages perched on the sides of mountains. But it was enough that we stopped noticing them. We saw mile upon mile of breathtaking desert hills (I've got the photos to prove it); but, sadly, we got used to those, too. So what stands out is the weird stuff, like the Chinese restaurant menu printed in Hebrew (we ate there in Be'ersheva):

At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, what caught my eye was not the stone manger where the Baby Jesus (supposedly) lay in swaddling clothes or the centuries-old paintings on the walls, but the thoroughly modern vending machine just outside the old stone walls of the building:

Baby Jesus never got a soda, I'm pretty sure 

Food took on an overarching importance during this trip. Yom Kippur, we inadvertently fasted, because I was trying to act like a savvy traveler by purchasing food at a deli counter in the local souk (market) the day before. That evening, after the sun had gone down and all the stores had closed, Susie and I sat down with great anticipation to our little feast, a variety of salads and pickled vegetables and some bread. "We'll have enough for tomorrow, too!" I announced happily, proud of my ingenuity.

This is what disappointment looks like.

Reader, we hated it. All of it. Nothing tasted right to our American palates. And now we were staring down the barrel of an entire day with NOTHING TO EAT (except for the hostel breakfast, which Susie was becoming sick and tired of). To add insult to injury, 2 youngish guys sat down next to us at this point and pulled out their own dinners: a pint of Ben and Jerry's each, and also a bag of chips.

I repeat, American ice cream and potato chips. People, this was the equivalent of waving a juicy beefsteak in front of a couple of very hungry puppies.

They both enjoyed their repast as Susie and I tried not to stare too longingly in their direction. We were both thinking the same thing: Why hadn't we done that? After all, there was a convenience store right next to the hostel (closed now, of course). But no - I had to be trying to act like Miss World Traveler and shop where the natives shopped.

And that, my friends, is when I gave up trying to impress myself and Susie with how to be a traveler. Because, really, I'm not. Not a good one, anyway. I don't know what half my pictures are of, my stomach was dying for American food halfway through that trip, and watching me try to figure out the Israeli money was enough to erase Susie's last shred of confidence in me.

And, yes, as soon as that convenience store opened the next evening, Susie and I were in there, buying some Ben and Jerry's. It's a good thing to live without pretense, right? Tell me I'm right.