I don’t know why, but I loved this!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL dear 3.5 readers, but we are anxiously awaiting a baby around here and life at work and at home has been so busy, that by the time I am able to even think about what to write, I’ve already fallen asleep. I’ve not fallen off the edge of the flat earth, and will be back, good Lord willing etc. etc….

In the meantime be good and if you can’t – be terrific (and you know who you are, Colin!)
and… God be with you ’til we meet again!

An Embarrassment of Riches

Yesterday was one of those days that just seemed to be a crossroads of a sort – so many things coming together at once and reminding me that there may actually be some Order – and a good one at that – in this universe of ours.

For months now, K and D, our oldest daughter and her hubby, have been trying to buy a house. They’d been approved for a mortgage and have the downpayment and had a contract on a house – a house in the same neighborhood as D and D, our second oldest daughter and her husband and our two grandangels. Problem was, it was a “short sale.” A lot of those things are happening today in this economy. In reality, they’re a lot better than the slew of foreclosures that started a good deal of our country’s economic woes (and I won’t get into the greed that caused those). The deal is, the person whose home has gone “upside down” in value, i.e., the property is valued at less than its encumbrances (mortgages, deeds of trust, etc.) can be sold for less than the payoff value of the outstanding mortgage. This requires approval of the lender and in many cases, FHA and private morgage insureres. These folks have no sense of urgency, which is somewhat disturbing, unless they’re hoping for some jackrabbit rise in value in the near future. In any event before I go too far afield, these short sales generally take a long time, sometimes the better part of a year. K and D did not have the better part of a year. Their lease is up; they are expecting a baby at ANY moment now, to name a couple of the issues they are facing. And that’s not even looking at the problems the sellers were facing – the break up of a relationship, a child who is impacted by that, and losing their home. On the other hand, thankfully, they will not have a foreclosure on their credit, and they will not have the shortfall debt following them when they do get out from under this mortgage.
K and D, therefore, did have a sense of urgency, so they were also looking at other homes not terribly far from D and D and their nieces, because they want to be there for each other. Then the call came: the paperwork from the bank had arrived and the way was clear to settle on this house.
What I am taking a long time to tell you, dear 3.5 readers, is that our two oldest kids are now homeowners – and they live just down the street from each other! That may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is to me for a number of reasons. When I was little, and my folks finally moved back to NY for my dad to start up his business and ultimately work in radio in “the city,” we were surrounded by family. My mother’s cousins and friends from college, and even grammar school/high school were around, our grandparents on both sides lived only 20 minutes away and we were never at a loss for a place to go, a person to “hang out” with (although they didn’t use that phrase then).
When John and I got married, we lived in Virginia for a while, then back to the New York area for a couple of years, then to Merlin. We’ve lived in Merlin since 1980- almost 30 years – with no family in the area. At first we visited frequently, driving up and down the “Joysey turnpike,” but as time went on, our family got bigger, and we got busier and poorer, the visits became more and more infrequent. Every time a new baby joined our family, my mother-in-law, bless her heart, would come down and stay with us for a few days and we loved to have her. But she had a disabled daughter of her own at home and other worries and it was hard being a further burden on her. My brothers were all over the country, the closest one being in NJ, hours away. John’s sibs were mostly in the NY metro area or in CA.
I guess we created our own crowd with our six kids. We have never owned a house. It’s a long story as to why, but suffice it to say that our family has had its share of financial hardships and there are some things it’s unlikely we will totally recover from. It’s always been a matter of renting from whichever kind soul didn’t mind a bunch of kids. Of course, now that we only have two living with us, it’s a bit easier, LOL:) Lest you think this was some sort of “Walton’s” experience, let me disabuse you of that notion. We have had our share of arguing, harshness, heartache and downright stupidity. I was far too tough on the kids at times, yelling and screaming and spanking. When the older ones were old enough to babysit, we leaned on them too much as sitters so that we could work our crazy hours – John with two jobs and me as a new lawyer working 10-12 hours a day. John and I fought constantly – or if I am to be truly accurate – didn’t really talk at all. But you learn and you get better and you keep on trying. And yes, we lived beyond our means because we didn’t want our kids growing up in an area that would encourage drugs (HAH!! Little did I know how many hard drugs were around that thankfully they declined!).
I suppose this hardship relative to the perceived easy lives their friends had caused our kids to actually want to work. They learned early that a job brought money, stuff, a bit of independence, skills and self-respect. Who knew? And the rides back and forth to work were opportunities to spend time with each one alone. Kids will say things to you in a car that they wouldn’t dare bring up face to face!
So please believe me, that when I say our kids turned out well in spite of us, I really mean it!

In spite of all that we don’t have, I feel very wealthy. When our now-adult kids want to go out and do something fun, they actually call each other! When one has his or her back to the wall, they help each other out. Oh yes, they argue. Better that than sulking non-communication for 20 years!
So yesterday… The day started out with John coming home from work. I rolled out of bed with a headache I could not afford. Thankfully, after a shower and a cup of coffee, the headache was mostly gone. Our younger grandangel was staying with us in the morning and her mom was sleeping in the spare room, to get a few uninterrupted hours in after her overnight shift at 911. John graciously offered to stay up later to watch R while I attended K and D’s settlement on their house.
I drove to Westminster and got there a little early. There was a little delay with the walk-through which got us started a little later, so while I was waiting, I finished the blue Hempathy scarf a/k/a Faux Cable blue scarf also seen here. It’s not a very long scarf, but I think it will be fine with work clothes and it has a lovely drape after blocking. The pattern is so easy to memorize – a perfect project to take along to meetings and to occupy you during down/waiting times!
The settlement was fine – anticlimactic actually. At the end, we heard from D, who had waken up and was heading home, giving “Pop” his much-needed sleep, and making her available to get the oldest grandangel off the bus. Lunch was on me! We arranged to meet at the “new house” and head out from there to the local Friendly’s restaurant. The house is lovely, the yard is beautiful. The inside will need some work on the floors and some painting and perhaps a look at the electrical system (looked like someone tore out a bunch of wires from the fuse box!). Aargh!
Soon, I saw M walking from her house to K and D’s house – her mommy driving the van with her sister in it, watching as she did so. And suddenly it came in a flash.
You folks who have never had kids may not have gone through this, but it was like I could see the two of them as little ones, then as pre=teens, then teenagers, then moving out together. Then the two of them as they are today. And, as I looked at the back yard of K and D’s new place, I had a vision of their soon-to-be-born son coming home from kindergarten, high school, college, his cousins M and R teasing him about his new girlfriend. Their parents enjoying a barbecue on the back deck, and laughing about the way things were when they were growing up as their kids roll their eyes at the 19th telling of the tales of how Uncle so-and-so got arrested while Mom was on duty and isn’t it too bad Gram and Pop weren’t alive to see him win that Academy Award? Or the way that the autism cure had changed M’s life?
So not only did I look into the past, but had a distinctly sharp ascent into the future. I’m filling in the blanks with words, but the feeling was so intensely strong that words really do escape me. The feeling passed, and I saw M exploring the back yard. We all went to lunch and had a great time. S, anxious to get started ripping up rugs, wanted to go back to the house. K unable to be around the almost toxic atmosphere that would produce, opted to go with D, M and R to Pet Smart (seeing the animals and getting something for her fish was a reward to M for a terrific week in school – see a good day for everybody!) and to Target to get Mommy a new purse.
Gram headed home to make arrangements to meet up with friends at a St. John’s Homecoming night.
And lest one forget, while all this was going on, our son officially became the first in our family to cross the Atlantic as he boarded his flight to Dublin, Ireland for a three-week tour of Of Mice and Men. He will be with laptop and camera, but sans cellphone. Hopefully, he’ll get some means of forwarding pictures to us and news of how he’s doing! Does anyone know what/how much WiFi is available in that neck of the universe?
By the time this Gram got home, I was really really tired. The week was starting to catch up on me. I begged off from meeting friends for dinner (and you know how much I love my friends!). I did go to that Homecoming thingie, but left after about an hour. When I’m done, I’m done and there’s no amount of anything that will change it. So home I went. What greeted me at the door was the wonderful smell of pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread baking – of course, it was S! J arrived home from the gym with her friend V in tow. John, after getting a decent sleep, was off to work.
ah life:) Sometimes it’s so good, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, but even if the worst happens, I will have the wonderful memory of yesterday!
God be with you ’til we meet again!

It’s been way too long!

And I have been missing you all, dear however many readers out there! Life has been exceeding busy as they say (who “they” are, is anybody’s guess). Life has gotten back to its usual autumnal quick pace and I have to admit, I haven’t gotten to the point where everything is going at a regular rate just yet. I almost went to bed this evening before writing something down, but I couldn’t go another day without catching up with you.

Let’s see, whazzup since last I posted?
The colleague who now has more than fifty percent of cases in my office is on her honeymoon – and I am the one on call pretty much until the end of this month. In January, that may very well be an unfortunately permanent arrangement unless things pick up! This through no fault of anybody’s really – just a series of unfortunate events that make up our corporate existence right now. I’m not exactly certain of anything myself, to tell you the truth, but there it is. I can do no more than to do my job as best I can until such time as I need to go in another direction.
In the meantime, things are moving apace -both at work and in my personal life.
K and D are expecting literally ANY DAY now. Thankfully, nobody in our families has ever had a precipitate labor, so even if she starts, I could technically finish out a work day and still have time to meet her at the hospital. But thank God, so far all is well!
All the practice nights as well as EfM are in full swing and I truly love that!
This past Sunday was our first bell Sunday – and it was a lot of fun! On the choir side, I am back to singing alto and can now return home after rehearsals sounding like a human and not E.T. with laryngitis, LOL:). Unfortunately, this Sunday, I woke up with the stiffest back and hip pain the likes of which I have never had before. I suspect it’s some type of osteo-something or other, but I am living in denial, despite the fact that I cannot even lift my left leg to get into the car without a major “oof” of pain and effort. Hopefully it’s just a muscle thing that will eventually go away. I’ll know soon enough if it isn’t. But don’t trouble trouble….
Anyway, after church this past Sunday, I couldn’t even get moving enough to do the grocery shopping. That’s when I learned with gratitude the joy of having truly adult children. Armed with our usual bank cards, two of them separately raided grocery and liquor (we are, after all, Irish-Amurikan) and brought the goodies needed to prepare a festive meal. All the “kids,” save B and J were there to give our son, D a nice send-off to his tour of Ireland to play in Of Mice and Men. This is the first of our progeny to cross the Atlantic, so it’s sort of a big deal to us. We even invited Bill and Patricia E., our neighbors to come eat with us. I think they survived the general noise and revelry in one (respective) piece. Plus we got to talk about our other neighbors with them, LOL:)
Monday came all too soon, with a shelter hearing and a meeting at DSS (actually a meeting about meetings, how sick is that?). Afterwards I went home to study for EfM and then headed to a Stephens Ministry meeting. The meeting didn’t last too long, so John and I had time for dinner together.
Tuesday, one of our grandangels stayed with us for a few hours so her mom could get some much-needed sleep after a night shift. Then it was off to the office then another shelter hearing. By the time I got home, I had enough time to do a little paperwork, then K and S arrived with goodies from her baby shower at work. They settle on a house this week, thank goodness! Hopefully the baby won’t arrive ’til after then!
We had an interesting bell practice – a number of us were missing (back to school night and a birthday celebration and heaven knows what else), but it was fun. I tried to play two parts, so I was never bored, although my stupid back and hips gave me a fit for standing in one place for too long!
When practice was over, I stopped and helped Nancy put some music away. As we were going to our cars, we ended up having a nice long conversation about a number of things. It was nice. We hadn’t had the chance to talk for a good long time and I really miss those conversations.
Today I had R again in the morning, then a firm meeting, then a training in Baltimore City – it was at the War Memorial in the center of town- a very interesting place. It was good to see everybody. It’s funny, when you work so much on your own, you don’t realize how much you miss the joking around with co-workers that an office provides. My co-workers know that I took these pictures, but I had to cut out anyone else. The blob of blue is that faux cable scarf I’ve been carrying around with me for occasions such as these. But it, too, wished to remain anonymous! After this, I headed home, checked e-mails and then headed for EfM.
And now I am BUSHED! I’m headed for beddy bye – but before I do, here’s a clip of the Aestlight Shawl I am doing. The white laceweight organic cotton Pakucho yarn was nice, but for some reason it didn’t want to be this shawl. So I used some Alpaca fingering weight and it’s working out much better for some reason (who knew?). I think the dark grey makes a lot more sense to me-who-spills-everything- in-the-chest-region!
Well folks, good night! And God be with you ’til we meet again!

Hopefully NOT TMI!

Revgalblogpal has an interesting set of questions (after posting a cute little rendition of Bananas in Pajamas) Oh Lord, I am hard up for blog content! Oh well, here goeth…

Without going to TMI land, share with us your sleepwear memories and preferences….

1. What was your favorite sleeping attire as a child? And did you call them pjs, pajamas (to rhyme with llamas), pajamas (to sort of rhyme with bananas), jammies, or ??? Pajamas (that rhymed with Llamas) or nightgowns. The whole boring words. And I put them under my pillow in the morning (no need to wash them every day!)

2. Favorite sleepwear put on your own little ones, or perhaps those you babysat? (Bonus points if you made it). Hah! With six kids? I was lucky to get the kids clean and make sure I had a diaper/pamper on the appropriate one (it got really ugly otherwise!). Usually it was a t-shirt subbing as a nightgown and the underwear du jour.

3. How about today-do you prefer nightgown, pajamas, undies, or au naturel? I usually dress the same as my kids used to!

4. Silky smooth or flannel-y cozy? Depends on what the activity was for the evening (Oh yeah, no TMI) I prefered flannel-y cozy. He preferred au naturel… Now he works nights and I work days, so it’s whatever….

5. Socks or bare feet? Depends on whether we paid the oil or electric bill that month. Lately I can afford bare feet, but you never know….

Bonus: Funny story regarding sleepwear (or the lack thereof). No way Jose’!

Knittin’ Honey!

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin,
Ein Märchen aus uralten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt,
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr gold’nes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar,
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme,
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewalt’ge Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe,
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh’.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn,
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen,
Die Loreley getan.

“Die Lorelei”, by Heinrich Heine (1799-1856, written 1822)

It’s been a little while since I’ve really blogged. This past week has been nice – getting back to friends and activities that I’ve been missing. It was great to get back to ringing and singing and I enjoyed that thoroughly. EfM was terrific – seeing people I had learned with before with a whole bunch of new people at various places in the program. This year will be very meaningful – I just know it – as long as I keep up with the reading!

Choir practice was fun – Nancy’s trips to Menchie Music in PA has really paid off with some interesting and beautiful new music. Our music folders were almost all completely new! Sunday’s music was so much fun.
Monday was a very lazy day off for Labor Day – but the “Lorelei” in my life, so unlike
the Rhine sirens beckoning sailors to their deaths was my knitting. I worked a bit on the Aestlight Shawl (above) and finally finished the Francis hat after completing the second of the Green Autumn Mittens. The two-color pattern in the hat does not stand out well, but that’s actually OK.
Of course last week I received two terrific books – actually one is more of a booklet – Jared Flood’s Made in Brooklyn, put out by Classic Elite Yarns, was the delight I thought it would be. If you want to see pictures
and discussions of all the patterns, definitely check out his blog.
Alice Starmore’s book about Fair Isle Knitting also arrived – and what treasure tro
ve of learning was to be found! There were even a few of her now-famous patterns. I am going to try to get to the chapter on color very soon.
The other Lorelei in my life comes from The Twist Collective – another online magazine with lovely patterns. I’ve knit the first inch or so of the pattern – have decided to knit all together to the armholes and then divide. It’s always been better that way in my experience. The yarn is a wool laceweight that I have doubled. It seems to be working out well. It knits beautifully and I’m on gauge, how bad can that be?:) I’ve placed it’s first picture next to the poem of the same name by Herr Heine.
Let’s see, what else is new?
Yesterday I went to another county to cover a hearing for a friend, then we had lunch together, which was delightful. Then to St. Johns to help out with the final bit of the mailings, then home, then bell practice – a lot of fun.
Today was fairly straightforward – work, then EfM, then home:)
Well I’d better quit – I think my 2.5 readers have fallen asleep!:) And since it’s almost 3:30 a.m., I’d better get started on that myself! So folks, God be with you ’til we meet again!

Brief Break to be Bad:)

I stayed up late late late last night to finish that second mitten. You know how it is. You’re so close, you can see the finish line on the horizon – and I had no appointments this morning. Not that I didn’t get up fairly early anyway, considering!
Next is the hat to go with it and I can cross one more project off my WIP list! Today I thought I was going to have a shelter, but they were clients of another firm, so instead I went to a scheduled meeting at DSS, only to find it was supposed to be at Sheppard Pratt hospital, wherefrom the client was to be discharged today. Luckily, the client got the result the client wanted, so all was not lost, save a bit of gas and mileage! In a few minutes, I’m getting on the horn to schedule some appointments, but figured I’d post my little mitten collage in the interim. They’re neither washed nor blocked yet (How does one block a mitten? Wash it and hope for the best? Use steam? That’s the thing about textured projects that has always mystified me – ideas anyone?)
Tonight we start bell practice again and I am of course psyched for that and of course nervous that I have forgotten EVERYTHING I learned in past years. Why is that?
Today is the day that the Alice Starmore re-release on Fair Isle knitting is due to arrive, and, according to UPS, it’s on the road to me somewhere between Laurel and here (a 20-minute drive, if that’s all you have to do, LOL!).
I recently started a book – a download from amazon.com to the “kindle” on my iPhone called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or something like that. It’s a story, through a series of letters between a young columnist, named Juliet Ashton between her friends, one of whom is her publisher, a suitor, and numerous people from Guernsey. She has recently published a collection of her humorous columns in an England recently recovering from the aftershocks of war. Her letters to and from a group of people in Guernsey who started a “literary society” (the potato peel pie was an incentive to attend for people low on provisions) as a means of avoiding incarceration at the hands of the Germans who occupied the island for five long years. Each person has a love of their own kind of literature and a story to tell of the very hard times they endured. You come to love these characters – and the characters of the country as a whole – and their ability to endure and overcome some very hard times. I’d say I was about 2/3 through the book and I have to watch when I read, because it’s about impossible to put down. I was actually lucky enough to get it as a free download at amazon.com, but it would be worth the cost of an actual book were one able to get it. Apparently it’s on the NY Times bestseller list – has been #1, actually, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but then I don’t always go by what the critics say, LOL!
Well, back to work and hope to be with you soon. Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again.