More December Happiness

With a pot of our family’s favorite “turkey carcass soup” simmering on the stove and the rest of the Thanksgiving leftovers winnowed down to manageable size in the fridge, I have a few free moments.

The hat swap is complete because now I am the recipient of my very own “Selbu Modern” cap, the pattern for which is available for free on Ravelry:

IMG_1808

The yarn is superwash Fingering Merino from Sundara Yarn, in Midnight Sky and Red Roses (from my stash). I adore the way little sparks of lighter blue illuminate the navy and black of the background, and the lovely warmth of the red against them. As usual, Sundara is brilliant when it comes to color.

IMG_1829The palette was selected to go with my winter coat, and I couldn’t be more pleased!

My friend W. also gifted me with the most wonderful additions to my owl collection, one of which is this pair of lovely cherry wood knitting needles in US size 7 (one of my most often-used sizes) from Indian Lake Artisans.

IMG_1818The wood needles are turned to form a hexagonal shape, which is supposed to be more comfortable for the knitter. They are available in 14″ and 10″ lengths. I can’t wait to take them out for a spin!

Change Is Good… Right?

Lots going on here in my little corner of the blogosphere. So much, in fact, that this summer whizzed by without a single blog post since June. So I have to ask, Does this thing still work? And is anybody still out there?

Because very soon I will be leaving this:

For this:

And this natural splendor will be left behind:

In exchange for splendor of a very different kind:

And instead of seeing these on my way out the front door:

I’ll be seeing these:

Just in case you haven’t already figured it out, we are moving to Chicago. My husband has accepted a new job there that starts right after Labor Day weekend. As soon as our California house has sold, I will join him there. It promises to be a strange autumn, and I’ve no doubt that knitting will help keep me sane.

More new designs are on the needles (that’s one thing I managed to accomplish this summer) that I’ll share over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more details about the relocation!

Down For the Count

I had foot surgery today to remove a neuroma that had been causing me lots of pain for over a year. The worst part of the surgery was the anaesthesia injections. My daughter could hear me yelling from out in the waiting room.

And this follows last week’s cortisone injection in my spine for a herniated disc (on the heels of the cortisone injection, one might say).

The good news is that Shadow is keeping an eye on me. Now if only I can train her to refresh my ice pack every couple of hours… and maybe to bring me a little bowl of ice cream once in a while when I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I should be back in action again after a weekend of elevated foot and minimal activity. If I ever needed an excuse to be a couch potato, this is it. It’s never going to get any better than this.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Today is my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary… quite a milestone for any couple, but perhaps especially so given that the last year has been a difficult one for Lily and Herb. Their health has suffered, and they have endured a seemingly endless winter. But they are still alive despite the odds, and still together.

This photo was taken in 1968 or 1969, by which time they had already been married for about 12 years, already had their three daughters, and had already built their dream house. Inside the cover of this photo, my mom had written “Best looking couple at the office party,” and I do not doubt her word.

Their first decade together was during the “Mad Men” years, and my mother was every bit as lovely and put-together as Betty Draper (but so much nicer and more loving that there is no other basis for comparison). How she managed to do this with three little girls demanding her attention, I’ll never know.

My dad worked on Wall St. rather than Madison Ave., but he was home by six o’clock every evening secure in the knowledge that dinner would be on the table fifteen minutes after he walked in the door. And my mother never failed to run a brush through her hair and freshen her lipstick a few minutes before his arrival. It was another era to be sure, but it worked for them.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

April WIP

I really hoped to post on April 1st, but the day got away from me. The only “fool-ish” thing about it was when I went to a lunch get-together for a friend’s birthday, only to discover that the guest of honor didn’t show. Her daughter had gone into labor the night before, and my friend wound up spending most of her birthday on a plane to meet her new grandaughter on the opposite coast. 

Bleeding hearts – later than usual this spring

This friend’s own mother passed away several months ago, and so I was very touched to read her email announcing that the new baby has been named after the great-grandmother. From all I’ve heard (and seen, since I was fortunate enough to meet her a couple of times), Harriet was quite a pistol – her new great-grandaughter will have a lot to live up to!

 Blueberry blossoms – foretelling a bumper crop this summer!

Only two days earlier, I went to the funeral of a different friend’s mother.  Another vibrant, feisty older woman, much loved by her family and friends, who was taken suddenly from them by a freak fall and head injury. No one was ready to say good-bye to this woman.

During the funeral service, my friend and her older brother and sister-in-law spoke movingly of their mother’s life. The services, both at the synagogue and at the graveside, were brief but very touching and powerful.

Sometimes the cycle of life, its fragility and its renewal, hits home with greater force than usual.

Knitting baby clothes takes on a particular hopefulness at times like these. While I knit, I imagine the tiny recipient wearing my gift, and hope the child will feel all the love and joy that went into every stitch.

As you can see, I’m making speedy progress. Since this photo was taken, I’ve completed one side of the front up to the shoulder. I love working baby garments in one piece up to the underarm – feels like I can see the end in sight so much sooner.

Next post, I’ll share the button options I’ve come up with. I might need some help deciding – they all work, but each gives a different effect!

Life’s Little Indignities

Yesterday I ventured out into the rain to the post office, where I mailed a large padded envelope containing a light scarf. I used the post office’s time-saving Automated Postal System machine in the outer lobby, which I do as often as possible to avoid the long lines inside. Excellent – check one chore off the list.

From that point on, rain literally spewed down from the sky like Niagara Falls at full capacity, complete with high winds and hail. Open-your-mouth-facing-skyward-and-you’ll-drown kind of rain. I enjoyed watching it from indoors, knowing I didn’t have to go back outside.

Then today’s mail arrived, including the very same large padded envelope that I had posted just yesterday. Returned due to “Insufficient Postage.” How, you might ask, is this possible, when I had used the U.S. Postal System’s own automated postal machine, located on the premises of our local post office? Well, I wondered that myself.

I returned with said envelope to the post office today (still raining, though fortunately not as hard as yesterday’s deluge) and stepped up to the counter with this very question. The personality-free postal employee informed me that the size of my padded envelope meant it was not actually, despite all appearances to the contrary, an envelope, but instead had mysteriously been designated a “parcel.”

This, despite the fact that it was totally flat, padded, and contained an adhesive flap at one end. Oh, silly me. How could I possibly have mistaken this article for an envelope when obviously it’s a parcel?

Of course, “parcels” are more expensive to mail than “envelopes.” And of course, nowhere on the Automated Postal System’s machine does it tell the unsuspecting individual anything whatsoever about this bizarre and seemingly arbitrary fact. So, I ponied up the additional postage and headed back out into the rain, muttering under my breath.

Shadow just wants to know why nobody licks envelope flaps anymore – licking being a special talent of hers.