Monday, July 30, 2012

Moving Day

The Monday after vacation is always a doozy.  Getting over the "I slept in every day and now I have to get up early are you kidding me?" feeling is unreal today.  But it's Moving Day!  Not my moving day, I am going nowhere.  But tenants.  I have tenants moving into the building today!

It's kind of like the first day of freshman year at college.  You pull up a truck to the building, and family/friends help you move your stuff into your very first dorm room.  After everything gets positioned and bags/boxes emptied, everyone says goodbye and good luck.  Once the door closes, you have the sinking realization that you know no one, and feel alone.  So what do you do?  You wander into the hallway and start making friends.  Or you head down to the cafeteria.  Or you strike up a conversation with your roommate and find stuff to talk about.  Bring your boxes and bags to the trash room and run into people who are looking to make friends just like you are. 

Friday is the big annual "get-together" with my college girlfriends, and today I remember moving in that first day as I watch my new tenants come in with all their possessions and make friends.  It's such a funny feeling, to watch these "freshmen", these "Original 30."  Not that I'm signing 30 leases this week, just fourteen.  ("JUST??"  That's a lot in one week!) 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off to a Lukewarm Start

Welcome to what may be the first of many Ravellenic Updates.  On Friday night I settled down with my mom and my husband to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.  I love the Olympics!  I just can't help myself, Hubby and I watch as much as possible.  (Which is something I never did before we met so I guess I have him to thank.  Thank you!)

The Marrowstone Shawl.....right now is a no-go.  I cast on and frogged no less than three times, it's one of those projects that takes a bit of concentration.  And half of my concentration was spent on the Opening Ceremonies.....and I wasn't overly impressed.  But seriously, Beijing's Opening Ceremonies really took the cake so it's hard to be impressed after that.  So tonight, now that I am home from a lovely week away, I will attempt cast-on a fourth time.  If it tanks, it tanks.  Right now things are crazy in my life and the next week is going to be a sweet little taste of chaos, so I don't have room for knitting projects to drive me further insane.  I still have the baby hats and can still "medal."

Oh, the baby hats!  Three so far, and I've started a fourth.  I'm not sure how many I'm going to do, it all depends on "Marrowstone success."  The fourth one is a pale pink preemie hat.  Because of all the babies that need love and warmth, the preemies need it the most.

Home Sweet Home

Home from a vacation that took us to Williamsburg, Virginia.  Here's our numbers for this vacation:

number of carsick incidents, involving changing a child's clothes AND scrubbing out the car in a rainy Rite Aid parking lot:  1.

number of streetlights that the State of Virginia uses on main roads:  zero.  Number of scary incidents of driving around without streetlights and getting lost on "Airport Road" in the pitch dark:  1.

Number of running jokes about Airport Road the rest of the trip:  I lost count.

Boys favorite place to be for the trip:  Water Country, two trips.  Sean is such an adventurous boy, he went on just about everything that his big brother went on, including one slide that you had to climb a net to get to the top.  They liked it so much we went back again on Friday.

Number of days where the temp outside hit over a hundred degrees:  three.  One of these days was our trip to Busch Gardens.  It was an incredible park!  However, when it's that hot outside it's tough to enjoy everything.  We did a pretty good job of staying hydrated and having fun, but it was nasty out.  I bought a straw hat at the gates that probably looked ridiculous, but when it's that hot you just don't care.  Whew!

Number of yarn shops visited: one.  Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg.  Really nice shop with gorgeous yarns.  And I found the perfect pattern for my niece's Christmas present!  :)  They also had a nice selection of classes, but alas it was not meant to be.

How many states we passed thru on the way home:  nine.  This included a surprise trip through Washington DC where we accidentally got off the highway.  It's a very confusing, busy place.  And why is it when the GPS sends you thru a city, it puts you thru the worst part of it???

And now HOME SWEET HOME and back to unpacking.  :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Murphy's Laws on Vacation

Good Ol' Murph....he's a pip.

According to Mr. Murphy, here are the rules on the week before vacation:

-one child must spike a fever.  The closer to departure day, the better. 

-There needs to be ridiculous busyness at your job.  Between transitioning from one site to another, processing files and getting the stage set for signing the first eight leases on August 1st (Because I am crazy to sign eight in one day, that's why), the big Dedication Ceremony for the new building on Saturday, I am a feeling a little nuts.  Just added:  there's going to be a big meeting next week for government employees here because it is a good central location for three of their offices.  Smack me now.

-There is one thing that you are forgetting to do, despite reminding yourself several times a day.  Mine is putting things on the shopping list for our next trip to Target, and remembering to stop the mail.

-The packing itself....something is bound to disappear or break between now and then.  Or as you are pulling onto the highway you realize that someone's swimsuit is still hanging on the dryer rack.  Last year on the way down to PA to drop the kids off so we could go on our cruise we forgot the diaper bag.  We remembered in New York, resulting in a $75 trip to Target for a new bag and supplies.  Not our proudest moments. 

But in the end, it will all be worth it.  Right now is the time of year that we're itching to get away.  It's going to be a fun trip and result in happy memories for the boys, Mom, Dad and Nana!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Ravellenic Games are coming up!  Or shall we say, "The Artist Formerly Known as the Ravelympics."  :)

I've got my events down, I've picked out a shawl and I'm going to see how many baby hats I can make for charity during the time from the Opening Ceremonies to the Closing Ceremonies.  The hats were kind of an afterthought, I realized that we will be coming home from vacation while the Olympics are going on and a shawl is just not good car-knitting!

But before all of that starts, I'm staring down some WIP's.  (Works-in-progress.)  I'd like to have a clear slate before the Games begin.  My purple sweater for myself has no sleeves, no button bands and no ribbed neckline.  Every night as I settle into my chair in the living room, needles in hand, I spy the rest of that purple cotton mocking me under the coffee table.  I also have a baby blanket that I started back in March that I've been working on to finish.  Baby Sophisticate has a sleeve and a collar missing. (And the recipient is due at the end of August.)  And I have THREE little girl sweaters that I just need to sit down and sew buttons onto....can you tell that I hate finishing work?  Most knitters would rather knit than sew seams together, buttons on and weave in ends and I definitely fall into that category.

After the Ravellenic Games, it's going to be all about baby gifts, a very special First Birthday present and then (GULP!) Christmas gifts.  I bit off a lot to chew this year concerning Christmas, but I've already got one gift under my belt so I'm feeling a bit cocky.  Someone please remind me of this when I am freaking out the first week of December that days don't have thirty hours apiece.  Or why I haven't figured out how to clone myself so I can knit 24/7 and still have a life!

Cleaning out My Closet

One of the things that we are attempting to do in order to put this house on the market is to conquer some of this clutter!  The situation has gotten bad enough to start working on this Day Zero List Item:

94.  clean out my bedroom closet

We have the world's crappiest closet.  It was sort of an afterthought for when the previous owner decided to take parts of two bedrooms in our home and turn them into a bathroom.  This left a closet that you can enter from either our bedroom or the office, and it's tiny.  We've made vast improvements on the space, it used to be watermelon pink and the clothing bars were just JAMMED into the walls.  The weight of the clothing pulled the bars down, causing huge tears in the drywall.  Who does that???  Let's just say that we've cursed the previous owners a blue streak on more than one occasion.  When discussing "wants and needs" for the next house I said that a better bedroom closet was a need.  Brian just laughed and said "Could there be something out there that could be worse than what we already have??"  Any other closet space pretty much would be trading up.

Once the boys started sharing a room at the beginning of the year, Hubby and I were excited to get a closet to ourselves.  Except it's cram-jammed with so much crap, there's no useful space.  Neither closet door could close properly, and I finally just got sick of it and declared that it was going to get done TODAY.  Well, at least started today.

Here are some of my "fantastic finds" in the effort to purge some of the clutter...

--a black dress that I bought to wear to a wedding five years ago.  It was one of those things, I needed a dress FAST and even though I wasn't crazy about this one, I figured it would do.  Considering my ambivalent feelings about said dress, why do I still have it five years later??

--A maternity dress that I never wore, which is too bad because it's cute.  Keep in mind that I was last preggo three years ago and gave away the rest of my maternity clothes months ago.

--Clean diapers from newborn to toddler.  Naturally, they're not in a package or anything, they're just loose and strewn about.

--Eight skeins of yarn in a beautiful rose wool.  What a find!  This is either going to be a sweater for someone or a baby blanket.

--Birthday/Christmas gifts that never went to the recipient.  I found a big package of Crayola Twistables, some cool stickers and a huge activity book.  I wonder who that was supposed to go to?  I guess I'll never know.

--A large Target bag filled with matchbox cars and two gigantic bags of chocolate MnM's.  Any mom worth her salt recognizes this bribery and what it's for:  potty training.  Again....that's been in there for about three years.  It's about time to start potty-training the baby that I was pregnant with that I didn't wear the maternity dress for in item #2!

--Clothes that I forgot that I even had.  I'm going to have to remember this one next time I'm bitching that I have nothing to wear.

--Various purses, in several colors, sizes and styles.  Some of them are pre-children.  I think that if I haven't seen it since 2006, it's probably a safe bet to pass it on to someone who might use it.

I can't wait til this job is done.  I was dreading it and now that I'm in the thick of it, I know why!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Harry and the Whole Gang

Currently I am working on this Day Zero Item:

#22.  Read the Harry Potter series (3/7)

Oh, how I hate to admit this.  I am really enjoying the Harry Potter series!  I can honestly see what all the fuss was about.  I never gave these books much thought when they first started coming out because I thought that they were just for kids.  Well, they are kids' books but that's not stopping me from enjoying them.    However, I'm not sorry that I missed each book coming out and the dressing up and the release parties and everything.  Because well.....this way I can totally binge on the books.  No sooner do I finish one, I pull up my library account and request the next one.  Last time, I requested the next two books so there'd be no waiting, I'd already have the next one in the house.  I was really excited to get an email from the library the next day that my book was in.  I raced down there at lunchtime....only to find out that #5 came in and I'm waiting on #4.  Bummer.  I think that Will might be a Harry Potter fan later on too, I started reading a little of the first book aloud to him.  I'm a little concerned about continuing though, I think that there are some things in there that might scare him.  When he gets a little older, it's something I'd certainly like to re-visit.

I just finished Book #3 and so far it's been my favorite.  It felt pivotal really, with the life details of Harry and his family that it revealed.    It's also  the first book where Harry's a teenager.  I can't wait to see what the other books have in store.  And believe it or not, I want to see the movies now, too!  :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Car Conversation

I'm sometimes surprised what random topics Will brings up in the morning on the way to school.  Today's was explaining the difference between throw-up and spit-up.  I actually remembered the term "reverse peristalysis" from college bio!

Other topics from the past:

-How little French Mommy knows.  I was able to teach him "hello," "goodbye" and "Without cheese."  Why the heck do I know "Without cheese??"  I love cheese.  Honestly, I should know how to say "If you don't want your cheese, can I have it?"

-Inventing our own broadway-type show.  It was pretty cool, it featured tossing projectiles at the audience.  We called it the "Throw Show."  We did this like two years ago and he brings it up occasionally, with improvements that he's been working on.

-How if the Muppets married the Fraggles, they'd be called the Frappets.  I got giggles out of this for days.

-Occasionally Will will ask how the maintenance guy at work  is doing, they've bonded a few times when Will came to work with me.  Jose taught him how to drink from a glass "Like a man" as he puts it.  He also showed Will how to photocopy his hand one day when Will was sick and at work with me, it's a fond memory of Will's.   "Mommy, how's your Jose?"  The best yet:  "Mommy, when you got to your new job, will your Jose go with you?"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Steek Mystique

Yesterday I went to my Webs class that Brian got me for Mother's Day from the boys.  I learned to steek, which as I mentioned before, is cutting your knitting on purpose.  Some reasons why you would do this:  necklines, fixing certain mistakes and turning a pullover sweater into a cardigan.

This was the first class that I ever took at Webs and man, I would certainly go back again!  There were five of us in the class, and I was obviously the one with the least experience.  Three of the women were in the "Expert Knitting" program, which almost sounded like a college degree.  One of them was very excited to have gotten into the Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting camp in Wisconsin next week.  That is also very beyond my expertise on the subject but hey, maybe someday.  The instructor, Annie, was very knowledgeable and made the class fun.  She brought several sweaters and even a shawl to show examples of steeking.  My favorite example was a rainbow-colored toddler vest.  It turns out that Annie has three boys that she knits for frequently and when this vest was done, it wouldn't fit over her toddler's head.  So instead of having to rip it out and start over, VOILA a steek was cut and a button closure, and Little Man could wear his vest!

Steeking is a very nervewracking thing.  We brought swatches that we worked on at home, and she showed us how to make a neckline steek first.  I had to quickly learn some crochet techniques from scratch and Annie was helpful in that as well.  Cutting my first steek was both exhilarating and terrifying!  But I did it and was amazed that my swatch didn't fall apart.

Next we did a cardigan steek.  This is where you would knit a sweater in the round, and then cut it to turn it into a cardigan and then pick up stitches for a button band.  This was quite intriguing, because nobody likes the back-and-forth knitting of an adult-sized sweater.  (Seriously....who doesn't shudder at "cast on 210 stitches and then knit back and forth in stockinette stitch for 7-9 inches???  Boredom City zzzzzzzzz)

Here's my swatch.  I chose orange yarn because it was kicking around in my stash with nothing to do.  I used contrasting yarn to do the picked-up neckline and the button band, because I was having a heck of a time learning how to do it with the same yarn.  I just couldn't see which stitches I had to pick up!  So for learning purposes, the contrasting color worked out really well. 

This was such a positive experience, as I am no longer afraid to take scissors to my knitting.  And now that I've done a class at Webs, I seriously want to take their colourwork class this fall.