An Update

Dear friends,

Our dear DIL R, came home last night in one piece, thank goodness! Our daughter, her wife, B, picked her up in Old Ellicott.  Strangely enough, she was pictured on our local news as she was trying to get a message to B as to where she was. That hasn’t alleviated the pain and suffering, though.  So many are heartbroken yet again over losses of life and property. None of the group save those who live here were present on Sunday, but many came by Monday for pizza and sympathy.

This past weekend, beginning Thursday, has been a microcosm of “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” We saw our son in an amazing play (YAY).  We enjoyed a holiday weekend (YAY).  Ellicott City flooded again (HUGE BOOOOO!!!).  Our family got together (YAY).  Our granddaughter, M, graduated from high school today:)! (MAJOR YAY!!!)

And life goes on for all of us, except for the wonderful officer and gentleman National Guardsman named Sgt. Eddison Hermond, who saved one woman in our town, and was washed away to the Patapsco River where he met his Maker.

Flood waters in the past came about from the local river (the Tiber) overflowing after a major storm, like a hurricane. These days, the water flows from the opposite direction, due to an overabundance of development, asphalt, and the tearing down of trees.  I know that my daughter-in-law was traumatized and the owner of the gallery for which she works is seriously considering relocating. It breaks my heart.  Will “Old Ellicott” become a ghost town – unlike the Ghost Tours I’ve mentioned in the past, will the town itself be abandoned? The thought breaks my heart!

To discuss my knitting seems almost sacrilegious, yet, I have to report that in all this destruction, there is actually a Finished Object: not a great thing, a Mere Hat, based upon the Ephemeris pattern by Hunter Hammerson. I am not sure which of my children – or grandchildren – will receive it, but it is safely tucked away for Christmas:)

Am still working on the Nina shawl and will then head over to the Truckbeth Carbeth.

Dear friends, if you are the praying sort, please pray for my dear adopted city of Ellicott and my new home of Merlin.  My heart aches for them:)!

God be with you ’til we meet again!:)

Getting Old and Moldy

Or at least it feels that way, LOL:)! We just had a few days of lovely sunshine, so I can’t complain when the view out my front door looks like this:

though it is making our getting together this evening more problematic than usual. One of our progeny is coming back from a visit to in-laws on the Eastern Shore, one is working a night shift, and two are still on the job.  I barely made it home from the supermarket in time to avoid getting well and truly soaked.  The DH came out to help and handed me an umbrella – saved the day:)! My main hope, of course, is that all and sundry get home safely.  We can always get together another time.

Our youngest turned 32 this past week, so we’ll be celebrating her birthday tonight.  Ms. Penultimate, S, is AGAIN cooking dinner and has already baked a cake – which is why I have time to type this thing – as the thunder claps and the lightning flashes outside the window.

This week has been a busy one despite having one docket day free of hearings.  Despite that, the husband and I had the opportunity to see our son, Danny, in Everyman’s production of The Book of Joseph. I have said this before many times, but it has long gotten to the point where I stop seeing my son on the stage and instead see the character he is portraying.  This particular play is adapted from Richard Hollander’s book, Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland – a loving homage to a great and courageous man, Joseph Hollander, Richard’s father.  The US Holocaust museum told the author that the correspondence contained in the suitcase Joseph Hollander left behind after his untimely death was the most complete of its kind in the history of that time.

As a Long Island kid who grew up in the 60s and 70s, a great number of my friends and family knew far too many people who had survived – or were related to people who had survived  – the Holocaust.  I am so grateful that my “Granny and Papa from Brooklyn” (my then stepmother’s first (late) husband’s parents – Jews from Germany who treated us goyische kids like their own grandchildren) came to the US in 1917 at the end of WWI and before Hitler’s rise to power.  Papa and other businessmen worked together to sneak young people out of Europe at a time when US anti-semitism abounded.  When one young man he had helped smuggle out of Germany in a box came to America and became a success, it was as if his own son (a doctor, by the way:)) had done it.  When he died prematurely of a heart attack, Papa grieved his loss as he had his own son, Dr. Alan Schonbrun, of liver cancer years before.

I was surprised at the depth of emotion this play stirred up in me.  Perhaps this is partly because as I was learning about the horrors of the Holocaust as a child, the reality of those horrors hadn’t really registered with me. After all, most of my friends’ parents just didn’t talk about it. Too, I suppose it is because I see so many parallels to how we as a country treat immigrants.  It’s disgusting, despicable and unAmerican.  I hope I don’t spoil the play for you if I tell you that one of the very last scenes at the end is a “family movie” played on the back wall of the set with Hollander’s deceased relatives’ six great-grandchildren reciting each of the names of his family members.#NeverForget

Tomorrow we remember the many people who gave their lives in service to our country -if not for them, who knows where we would be?  When I was in sixth grade, our teacher, Norman Herzlich (who himself was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge) had us memorize the Preamble to the US Constitution.  In seventh grade, Ms. LaTulipe (now known  as the late Mrs. Denise Heageny), our English teacher, had us memorize In Flanders Fields.  I still remember the first stanza.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae1872 – 1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep….

If we continue to support unAmerican prejudice, keep the poor desperate, destroy the middle class, take away workers rights and steal the just wage away from them in support of maintaining the wealth of a very few, we are breaking faith with those who have died to keep us free. Don’t forget, many of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, and marines were and are average folks, poor folks like the rest of us.  They had greatness and heroism thrust upon them and rose to the occasion.  How can I not “take a knee” at the thought of injustice, cruelty and bigotry? How can I break faith with those who fought for my rights?

The best way to remember those who died for us – ALL of us – is to continue to work so that this wonderful country is the best it can be – always.

UPDATE: FLASH FLOODS!!!

Well folks, it looks like Main Street in Old Ellicott City is flooded again.  My daughter-in-law, Robyn, who works at the Horse Spirit Gallery in Old Ellicott City, just sent us this video – thank God they are upstairs in the gallery! Meantime, we’ve called the others who are either staying home or headed back. Waters are still rising and the lights are flickering.  Will post more later.

Spring/Summer Finally!

Until this morning, the skies looked like this for almost all of last week:

On the Tuesday the above photos were taken, I was on my way to bell practice.  We rehearsed very quickly that evening, then all of us got drenched leaving early, getting to our cars and getting home. There was a tornado watch and in some parts of the state, I believe one or two small ones were seen, thankfully none touched down.

Despite the weather, I managed to get in a lot of client visits along with the usual rounds of courthouse time.

Then, this morning, the world was in bloom:

That thing we call the sun actually made an appearance in the morning sky. Who knew? And miracle of miracles, I actually made it to church today. Today in the Western Church, we celebrate Pentecost (In Judaism it’s Shavuot) – the commemoration of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the early Christians (In Judaism, it’s about the Ark of the Covenant, I think- Shavuot??).  I mention this because there is a reading from the New Testament in which the Holy Spirit descends upon the public, and suddenly people were speaking in a myriad of languages – sort of the opposite of the story of the Tower of Babel.  We replicated this scene this morning – an English speaker started the reading with people beginning the same reading and continuing on in another language – Korean, Spanish, Basque, Latin, Russian, German and back again to English.  I was one of the German readers.  Thankfully, it was so cacophonous that nobody heard all the errors I made!

In the Gallery/Choir Loft, the bell choir, the adult choir, the instrumental group and of course, our organist/choirmaster played. Usually, Pentecost is the last Sunday we play before taking a break for the summer.  We will be playing and singing in a few things here and there until September, but the regular rehearsals are done for a bit.

This week has been a whirlwind in contrast to the very quiet previous week at work – much more court time and lots of client visits, so not a lot of knitting happened. I had a lovely Mother’s Day last Sunday – my kids are obviously very forgiving! When they had all gone home, I called my Dad and stepmom to see how they were doing.

There are a bunch of events on the horizon, both personal and professional, that I am happily anticipating: in July, most of us will be attending a family reunion with my husband’s family.  The dear husband is one of nine children born to his late parents, seven of whom are still with us, twenty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are married, (I think) 41 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild. In other words, there are a lot of us:)! It’s to be at Hershey Park in PA.  I don’t plan on going on rides, but do look forward to seeing everybody! And maybe the odd glass of vino and a joke or two…

In August, I hope we will be able to visit my Dad and stepmom in Florida.  Yes, I know, Florida in August is not an optimal time to visit, but we have tickets we never used and need to use or lose them early in the month. Thank goodness the husband is a hotelman and works for a really really good hotel company, so we will very likely have a great place to stay as we always do!

At the end of August, I will be attending the NACC (National Association of Counsel for Children) Conference in San Antonio Texas.  I try to get to this conference whenever I can.  This year, my firm is reimbursing our expenses (except for food – but one would eat at home, right?) and though the initial outlay is a challenge, it is well worth it.  One of my favorite people from Lambda Legal in NY will be presenting and I want to update him on a client of mine whom he helped (by helping me). The topics are always timely and incredibly helpful.  I always come away with a renewed commitment to do the very best I can for our clients. Hopefully, a bunch of us will be going so we can enjoy it together.  Did I tell you I have the best colleagues you could ever wish for? Well, I do.  There’s not one of them I wouldn’t trust with my own kids.

And, saving the best for last, in September, our youngest daughter, J, will be getting married to her fiancee, L, in Ohio. We are all very happy for both of them and though we wonder what L thinks of us sometimes, we are happy and grateful to have her join our family – after all, we put the “fun” in dysfunctional. The two of them are truly made for each other. I just know they will be happy – because they already are:)!  The wedding will be at one of Ohio’s beautiful parks – perfect for both of them as they are such great outdoorswomen!

I have a great deal to look forward to:)! (pardon the misplacement of the preposition, LOL).

On the Knitting Front:

Work continues on the Nina Shawl, because, let’s face it, X number of stockinette rows is an easy “go-to” when you are sitting down after work and watching the boob tube (trying to get away from mentions of the idiot in DC).

At this point, I am about half-way through the project.  Note the “checkerboardy” bit on the right side of the picture.  I just had to try 3-color linen stitch.  Yes, what appears to be black and light pink is actually black, maroon and light pink.  Trust me, that’s what you would see in person.  Am now on the BIG stripe of red, heading back down again.  This will be a gift to someone. Whom, I don’t know yet. My goal this year is to knit a little something for everyone in our 20-member family (including the step-grands) before Santa jumps down our non-existent chimney.  It’s a goal.  We. Shall. See.

The Truckbeth Carbeth is still awaiting further work, as is the Shawl based on a Weldon Veil.  So of course, I started yet another project (one of the Christmas items): the Ephemeris hat by Hunter Hammersen. I am having a heck of a time with the stitch pattern above the brim. I’m not sure if I’m getting it right, but I like it enough to keep it as is.  We shall see, LOL:) I am knitting it in worsted weight in smaller needles which may have something to do with why it looks a wee bit different than the pattern.  And, that’s Oh Kay..

There isn’t much else new to report. Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again+

Happy Mother’s Day:)

Spring hath definitely sprung here in Merlin, USA.  The snapshot above is of a tree-lined street near Baltimore County DSS where I attended a meeting this past week.  I took the picture while pulled over briefly – couldn’t resist. It has been an unusual week for me in that I had no regularly scheduled cases on any of the three docket days.  I had one shelter hearing but that was all. I did schedule a LOT of visits, made and received a lot of phone calls and emails as is usual, but it was very strange being away from the day-to-day interactions – both good and not-so-good – that life at the courthouse affords.

Yesterday (Saturday) I spent a full day visiting clients and speaking with another one on the phone.  At the placement for two clients, I sat outside under the shade of a tree while talking with the clients and their caregivers, gaining information on a new case.  When I got home some three hours later, I had a sunburn! I swear, it’s those “unplanned” times in the sun that will give me skin cancer (Heaven forfend!) because who puts on sunscreen when you work mostly indoors or in the car?

The week started out with an attempted visit to a client in Montgomery County.  Unfortunately, the group home I was visiting was in the midst of getting the country lane to their parking lot paved and trucks blocked my way.  I rescheduled.  Frustrating, but the drive in the beautiful woods off the beaten track was a treat.  I revisited a place I had seen about a year earlier – the Oakley Cabin -and it remains a peaceful and beautiful spot.

Next week begins tomorrow and there will be a lot on the proverbial plate; all the more reason for enjoying this quiet Sunday.  My daughter, S. will once again be making dinner for the Sunday crowd -for which I am extremely grateful (yay for being done with her second year of law school!). As soon as I am done with this blog post, I am headed to a nearby yarn shop to start a new project because I want to support the yarn shop we have and because I want to enjoy a brief calm before getting back into the storm of life. Sadly not because I want to be a good little lawyer and get a jump on the week’s work.

Top of the workbasket                      

Not a heck of a lot to report on the knitting front.  I have a tendency to stick with a project for a while, getting to a certain stage before working on another one. Somehow, things get done and I am never bored.  A number of projects that were in my Ravelry projects have been slated for frogging – a good thing because those yarns will be used for another project.       

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t STILL have (mumblety-mumblety) projects still awaiting finishing! Recently, I’ve been focusing on getting to the halfway point of Nina No.2 :

It’s been an enjoyable knit, though that garter stitch edge is driving me batty.  I may just turn it up and tack it onto the back, creating a hem – oh wait – is that what the pattern says to do? I’ll check back with you on that, LOL!:).

Not much progress on the three other projects in the workbasket: the Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil by Carolyn Wyborny from the June/July 2018 edition of Piecework Magazine; the green pair of socks; and the Truckbeth Carbeth continue to await more progress. No point in posting pictures yet.                 

As Porky Pig used to say at the end of the cartoons, “That’s all, Folks!”

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Postscript: Forgot to mention that a former client of mine texted me earlier this morning to wish me a happy mother’s day.  She is doing well – working full time (just quit a second job) and owns her own home! Squeeeeeeee!!! She stays in touch with her CASA (court-appointed special advocate) and is doing well. Best gift ever.

Having a lovely time….

What a great way to start a weekend! Our eldest grandchild, M., performed Friday evening with the Mount Hebron HS dance company.  She was very happy.  This has been a great year for her.  You can see the happiness on her face as she poses with her aunt and sister right after the performance. She and her family will be coming by today to celebrate and enjoy the food stylings of her other aunt, S. Yes folks, that’s right, I’m not cooking this Sunday – do I hear a Hallelujah?!

As if that were not enough, yesterday began what I like to think of here in Merlin as the Knitting High Holy Days: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I was to “woman” the Hospitality Tent run by our local Columbia Sip ‘N Knit (of which I am a member) and sponsored by a number of ventures local to the MD-DC-VA area. I was supposed to be there at 9, but the traffic getting there was incredibly slow.  So I got there a bit late, but there were no “customers” yet, so no harm done.

I took very few pictures, but I can honestly say a good time was had by all.

I’ve been coming to Sheep and Wool consistently since 2007.  While I have spent money buying yarn, it’s rare for me to buy huge amounts of anything at Sheep and Wool.  I enjoy the company of the knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, farmers, authors, and vendors from all over the country – especially the knitters. It’s fun to sit and relax in the Hospitality Tent with my “peeps” and see all the goodies others have purchased.  For some who live in somewhat isolated rural areas, the Sheep and Wool Festival is an opportunity to buy a year’s worth of supplies for their business, farm, or artistic endeavors. They buy a lot, but they buy carefully, mindful of their costs and needs, and especially of quality. These are the people who do not necessarily fall into the latest fads in knitting or fashion; these are frugal hardworking people who don’t waste their money. Others are fairly well-to-do and enjoy this opportunity to share their passion for their fiber-related craft. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had at Sheep and Wool have been with people I would otherwise have never met from many walks of life.  For that, I feel very lucky.  This year, I met people from Long Island, not far from where I grew up, some from VA and DC, one from Scranton, PA.  The conversation was friendly.  We were all interested in what the other was knitting, what they bought, and where they were from. There was a lot of laughter (see above knitting-related shirt art:)) and, as I said, a great time was had by all.

In terms of stash acquisition, as previous posts have shown, I have been very active on that front in recent months, so I kept my yarn purchases to a minimum and only shopped at that local yarn shop that was selling its remaining wares at under costs.  I stood on a bit of a line for this and a bad knee kept me from really wandering around to ooh and ahh over the goods of the many colorful vendors present. For that I am sorry.  But I was able to make a decent enhancement to yarn and needle stash and also got a few plants for our daughter S’s summer vegetable garden.

You can see the three plants above.  Do not be fooled by the bags of projects.  I brought three along, with the idea of discouraging too much yarn buying.  Yarn tends to be squishy. One can pack down quite a bit in the bottom of a bag:). When I got home, I organized what I had obtained and I think I did well.  I added to my growing collection of Shetland wool yarn, purchased two circular needles for sock knitting and two sets of straight needles that were just cute, a ball of self-patterning sock yarn that will likely be a pair for someone in my family, enough of a lovely yellow yarn to make a shawl, three skeins of cotton-ish skeins that were just pretty, and eight skeins of self-patterning yarn that will make one or two grandchild-sized sweaters (depending on the grandchild). All of this cost a fraction of what it would have done normally.  The downside is of course, that another local yarn shop will be gone.

As soon as I could, I logged onto Ravelry and entered this into the stash.  When starting a new project, I will know what I already have and it will be more likely that I will “shop from stash.”

Knitting

Yes, there’s been knitting.  I finally started the first sleeve of the Truckbeth Carbeth.  It will be a priority to finish in the coming week.  Not likely to be worn until the coming autumn, but what a nice thing to have a couple of new sweaters waiting for you when sweater weather hits:)! More pics to come.

I’ve made some progress on A Shawl Based on a Weldon’s Veil.  I’m still at the lace part, using some nice purpley laceweight held double:

I took it along with me to Sheep and Wool, but it’s really not the sort of pattern one can do while chatting, so I left it alone until I could get home and give it the proper focus it needs.

I finished the first of the pair of green socks I’ve been working on and made some decent headway into the second one – to put the kibosh on Second Sock Syndrome. In the project pouch is a skein of sock yarn to keep me going on the next sock project.:)

I’ve picked up my second Nina Shawl to work on again – love the colors and hope to take less time finishing this than the cotton one that has yet to be finished!

Gotta go clean up a bit before Sunday dinner with the gang:) Feeling exceedingly grateful for all of life’s blessings.

Hope the coming week is good to you, my friend – and God be with you ’til we meet again+