Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ciao dall'Italia (Hello from Italy)

I am a lucky participant in Lynne's Special Swap and travel genius Lu sent me off to Italy!

Ciao dall'Italia! La LU bella lo ha trasmesso fuori su un viaggio bello in Italia. Ci erano tesori dappertutto e non potrei chiedere un agente migliore di corsa. La LU proviene dall'Italia in modo da lo ha trasmesso a tutti i suoi posti favoriti!

Translation: Hello from Italy! The lovely Lu sent me off on a beautiful journey to Italy. There were treasures everywhere and I could not have asked for a better travel agent. Lu is from Italy so she sent me to all of her favorite places!

As you can see - Lu sent me some amazing goodies! Zara Plus and Karabella yarns in awesome colors! Sensibilità così morbida e squisita! An incredible idee & filati magazine with some amazing patterns inside, molto chic. Some lovely, much needed, note cards - semplicemente perfetto! And, last but not least, some incredible Italian chocolates. Wow, erano squisiti oltre le parole! My kids loved them!

LU, grazie, li ringraziano, li ringraziano per essere così socio stupefacente di scambio! Adored il pacchetto ed il viaggio!

I wonder what Lynne has planned for the next 2 months!

On the life front - work has been insanely busy. I have worked until 8 or 9 PM most nights this week. Plus, I have had kid comittments to squeeze in. On top of all of that - I came down with a "Spring Cold"... that has left me feeling, as Garrison Keilor would say, "mighty puny". Plus - last weekend, I watched my girlfriends 2 year old son - Alex. This mom of teenagers had "amnesia" for how quickly a toddler can get into something. Before I knew it, young Alex had "frogged" my second Bloomin' Feet sock! Now, mind you - I was almost the the toe decreases!! AARRGGHH!!!!!! I am sure you all probably heard my mournful wail! Alex certainly thought it was fun - this might be the way to frog all items - the pain is not slow, but quick! Of course, the number of tangles in the yarn was exponentially increased with the number of times he moved as he frogged. Can you say tangled mess? I'd have gotten a picture - but I could not find the camera. Suffice it to say - I have cast on again and I am about an inch from the heel flap. What is on my agenda for the weekend? Can you say knitting!?! For all you bloomin' feet participants who are reading - be patient my sock pal - it shall arrive next week! And, I have an "Alex Ban" in effect until the sock is cast off!

On top of all of this - there is some good news on the personal front. I have been having some dinners with what seems to be a very nice gentleman (that sounds old doesn't it?). I am intrigued with him - and looking for flaws. I have not seen any that are scaring me to date. He has a good sense of humor - makes intelligent conversation - works - and he has a big goofy dog. He seems more than a bit interested in me - which amazes me. LOL. I am a middle aged, slightly overweight (okay, this may be an under exageragtion, but it is my blog! LOL) and I have 3 teenaged children. I find this frightening myself! He is 3 years younger than me - and I am very surprised our paths have not crossed before. We have many mutual friends. In fact, it was through a mutual friend that we were introduced. For now - it is nice to have dinner with someone occasionally. We have also been going for long walks on Sunday afternoons - which has been a much needed activity in my life. For now, I am enjoying myself. One day at a time.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

PS - if you are wondering about my Italian - go check out www.altavista.com, Babel Fish is a wonderful tool!

Monday, April 23, 2007

I am a travelin' girl...

Hello everyone! I had a great weekend here in sunny, warm Western Michigan! Yes - you read that right - sunny and warm! The leaves are popping out on the trees, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming! It appears that spring has decided to stay!!

I got a wonderful package from my Special Swap pal - I will post pictures from my journey tonight. It is an awesome package of goodies - incredible yarny goodness!! More later on this.

My package will go out today - if my day goes as planned! I got a few calls over the weekend with some things to take care of this morning - but I have planned the day as a "paper catch up day".

More later on my weekend adventures!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cafe' Pops and one proud Mom!

Hello Everyone!! Last night was my daughter Heidi's big spring orchestra to-do! It was Cafe' Pops - some great desserts to delight your palatte and some even better music to delight your ears. Heidi is a sophomore and is in Concert and Symphony Orchestra - she plays the cello. I tried to snap some photo's last night - but it was a bit dark and the "no flash" request had gone out to all of us in the audience. This is the first year for Symphony Orchestra at Holland Public Schools - this is true dedication for both students and teacher - this class starts at 6:30AM every morning - this is an hour and 20 minutes before the regular school day starts! All I can say is WOW! They were awesome - it was an evening designed for a mother's pride. I have been attending concerts for Heidi since she was in 5th grade orchestra - let me tell you, all those hours of practice have certainly paid off. The high end cheese cakes paled in comparison to the musics the students played. I had goosebumps! If any of you would like a "replay" there is one more big event - the All-City Concert is May 20th at the Dome. Not only will you hear the Orchestra's and Jazz Band that played last night - you will be treated by the Middle School Orchestra's and the 5th grade orchestra. Come on out and have your senses delighted by our amazing musicians!!

Not much to share on the knitting front - and work is still at an insane pace. I am happy it is the weekend!

Have a good one - one and all!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday's are fun days!

Hey everyone! Well, I had a great weekend - a really great weekend! The weather seemed to have given us all a break and the sun came out! It is amazing what a little sunshine can do!

On Friday I got together with some friends for dinner - we laughed and had a great time. On Saturday, I did a bit of work on the phone in the morning - this is okay - I am thankful for the business. I went to play Euchre on Saturday afternoon - more laughter and more friends! On Saturday night I went to see a hockey game (okay - hockey????) But - it was fun or at least the company was fun!

Sunday dawned and it was so nice that this afternoon I went for a walk along Lake Michigan - my poor body could certainly use some exercise - it was so lovely!! Fresh air, sunshine - and my walking companion was a nice surprise. Ladies - I can tell you that chivalry appears to still be in existance. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.... my poor pups are snoring in my bed right now - they are tired!!

I have a hectic week looming before me - and I am heading off to a nice hot bath with a glass of wine and the Yarn Harlot's new book!

I will leave you with a photo of my finished Bloomin' Feet Sock - the other is about half way done.

I need to get my Special Swap out in the mail, but I am not sure it will happen this week - but I will have it winging it's way to it's recipient the following week for sure!

Have a great evening everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Operation Haremail

I love to arrive home and find a package on my doorstep! I arrived home Tuesday to find a nice little box waiting for me! I got my package from my partner for Operation Haremail - Debra (I think she is blogless because she did not send me her email or her blog address! Hint, Hint, Debra if you are out there reading this!!) sent me a nice package that contained a book, an adorable bunny pen, and a great chocolate bunny! Thank you so much Debra for the treats! I would post a picture, but I cannot find the camera cord!!

On the weather front - we had melting of snow this week - only to have Mother Nature drop another 5 inches on us yesterday!! Aaacckk! It made for just lovely driving conditions! We have more of a mix today - some rain, some freezing rain, some flurries - I think that covers all the precipitation one could get, doesn't it??? LOL

I have been extremely busy at work but this is a good thing. I am off to finish getting ready to head out the door. Have a great day all!

Monday, April 09, 2007

It's Monday already?!

Good Morning everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We certainly did here - inspite of the SNOW!! It was snowing so hard on Friday night - I could not see the vehicle in front of me! All this cold has made the neighbors Magnolia tree blooms shrivel up - it had been starting to blossom last week and was looking so gorgeous. The Forsythia bush seems frozen in time - a yellow sentinel covered in a frosty white blanket. The weight of the show has pushed over the daffodils - they are all laying in disarray - casualties of the snowy blast. As I took Daughter #2 to school this morning it was still snowing. I am avoiding the weather forcast - I don't really need to hear that this will continue all week, thank you very much!

I watched the Masters yesterday afternoon and knit on my SKB - I have the body done - I bound off yesterday! Now all I have to finish are the sleeves and the neck band!! I also worked on my BF socks. I am almost done with sock #1 and will be casting on sock #2 this week!

I broke my New Years Resolution though last week. My LYS had a "sale" and I picked up some yarn for some scarves for Christmas gifts. I also got some E. Lavold Silky Wool to knit Wendy Bernard's "Something Red" . My plan is to cast this on for my next project - I am in a "top down" knitting mode!

Well, off to the shower for me - I hope all of you have an easy "re-entry" to the week! Have a great Monday!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Ragman

On this very Good Friday I leave you all with something written by The Rev. Walter Wangerin Jr.

Have a most blessed day.

Walter Wangerin

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.

Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.

Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: "Rags!" Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.

"Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!"

"Now, this is a wonder," I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?

I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.

The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.

"Give me your rag," he said so gently, "and I’ll give you another."

He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.

Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he put her stained handkerchief to his own face; and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.

"This IS a wonder," I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.

"Rags! Rags! New rags for old!"

In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.

Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.

"Give me your rag," he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, "and I’ll give you mine."

The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood -- his own!

"Rags! Rags! I take old rags!" cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.

The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry.

"Are you going to work?" he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.

The Ragman pressed him: "Do you have a job?"

"Are you crazy?" sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket -- flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.

"So," said the Ragman. "Give me your jacket, and I’ll give you mine."

Such quiet authority in his voice!

The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman -- and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman’s arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.

"Go to work," he said.

After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, and old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.

And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider’s legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.

I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.

The little old Ragman -- he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.

Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope -- because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.

I did not know -- how could I know? -- that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.

But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.

Light -- pure, hard, demanding light -- slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.

Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: "Dress me."

He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Harlot's Tale

Hello Everyone! Well, hope you all had a marvelous weekend - mine sure ended on an up note. I traveled across this great state from Holland to Ann Arbor to see The Yarn Harlot - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak at the library there.

I headed out right after church, it would certainly be busy and I wanted a seat, so I arrived in Ann Arbor shortly before 1PM. This is great, I thought - AND - I found a parking spot less than a block from the library, even better!! On my way in, I met a wonderful woman from Kalamazoo (I am so sorry I do not remember her name!!), she was sitting outside in the glorious sunshine knitting a sock, of course!

Inside the library, down stairs in the conference room were dozens of knitters! It was truly a great experience! Shortly after my arrival (I had already purchased 3 books for The Harlot to sign - one for me, and one for Rose, and one for Ruby) we all learned that Stephanie was delayed - there was fog at the Detroit Airport - she could not land - they shipped her back to Chicago.

Now, imagine this picture - dozens and dozens of knitters all anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Yarn Harlot - and there is no uproar at all - we all simply pulled out our knitting and began to knit. It was the BEST SnB I have ever attended! The library was kind enough to offer us some substitute entertainment as we patiently knitted away on our socks, sweaters, lace work, etc. It was also April Fool's Day and the library had the children all making the most amazing of hats - they paraded past us knitters' in a lovely parade!

Finally, the word came that Stephanie had arrived (her cell phone had long since died - charger in Detroit, cell phone in Chicago). It was so worth the wait!! Please excuse my pitiful pictures - I was overcome with excitement to be seeing Stephanie (can you imagine this???!!!)

I was in the back row - but here she is! In a sea of knitting heads - our fearless leader appeared! She was breathless and thankful to some kind gentleman who drove her from the airport to Ann Arbor - his wife must be a knitter!!
She took our picture, we took hers, and we listened to her worries and concerns. And, while I was listening a thought popped into my head. We knitters do make a difference! And, in a very big way - to quote Stephanie "one small stitch at a time". I read today that Caps for the Capital collected over 280,000 caps. Does that make a statement to all of you? I have a proposal for all of you - if we all took a stand and made our stand known - peace could happen! We could knit for peace! If there were more people knitting for peace - wars just might cease! After all, how many violent knitters do you know? I don't know exactly how to go about it, but I believe that we can make a difference. What do you all think?
Okay - I apologize profusely Stephanie and I owe you a drink or two for posting this photo - this is operator error, not object error! But, here is The Harlot holding my "Bloomin' Feet" sock! Woo Hoo! Pretty amazing, huh? And, don't you just love Stephanie's sweater - it glowed - seriously! I am sure that Stephanie will have a marvelous tale to tell about her travels to Michigan. Check out her blog and see!

Have a great day everyone - watch out - we have SNOW in the forcast Lynne!! :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Showers...

Good Morning everyone! First off, we have a winner - Beth had the correct guess of 30! Congratulations!!

Did you all have a good Palm Sunday? I know I did - up early and off to church, then I headed out for Ann Arbor to hear The Yarn Harlot.

I have pictures that I will post later - it was an awesome day. I met some amazing knitters, and Stephanie was truly worth the wait!

More details and photo's later - I cannot be late for work!!

Have a great day all!