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Outside my window... dark and crunchy

I finished plying today…

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Fairy Wings yarn is composed of one strand of By Rebekah with Love carded fiber plus a thin strand of firestar.  I haven’t set the twist yet, I’m a little nervous as it seems to be a very delicate yarn, but if it is going to grow up to be anything, it will eventually need to be washed.  It is very “little girly” so maybe it might want to me a dressy winter hat?  I do think my own girls are too old for this yarn though.

I am thinking… wow it is pretty hot, I can’t wait for at least the nights to start cooling

Today I watched...  the very end of Stage 4 Tour de  France.  I am still working on understanding the jerseys, but someone shared this link with me that helps.

I am thankful for… a few moments of quiet today and not having to cook

From the kitchen… absolutely nothing. It is way too hot for any cooking though my husband brought home some of my favorite humus and we still have fresh salsa that he bought at the Farmer’s Market last weekend.

I am wearing… PJs

I am going... to start spinning something new after I publish this post while I watch another episode of Big Love (which I think is the last one that is currently available on DVD).  I have sort of been procrastinating watching it because I don’t want it to end.

I am reading… I’m still reading A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.  I have only been reading a few pages each night before falling asleep. I did bring new books home from the library tonight with the hope that I should be able to start something new tonight.  I also have  Yes, Your Teen is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind sitting on my bed stand.  I NEED to read this book because I’m sort of losing my mind, but I can’t read it at night because then I won’t be able to sleep.  I’m thinking I might just have to actually schedule it in because it really is either read it or lose my mind.

I am hoping... that I actually do not lose  my mind  (This is starting to sound like one of those ‘true confession blogs!”)

I am hearing… my fan

Around the house… a little tense. It is  hot and I’m not sure what else, but something apparently that I have yet to figure out

One of my favorite things… the sound of laughter

A few plans for the rest of the week… I’m going to try to not lose my mind and try to inspire some laughter.

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Format by The Simple Woman’s Daybook

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Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Ours started out with a parade.

Agent J marched with band:

Agent B marched with Softball (Actually they rode on the Lion’s Club float and threw candy to people.):

At the end of the parade, there is a ceremony and the middle school band played again:

Yesterday, I spent 5 hours mowing lawns so I could enjoy this weekend. Tonight we have picnics and tomorrow is The Massachesetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair (aka Cummington). I’m looking forward to going as I’ve been reading about all the other Sheep and Wool fairs with such fibery envy! It should be nice once the skies clear.  (It is actually perfect out right now. For once, I can’t complain about the weather.)

Have a great weekend!

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Second blog post in a row!  I have such a back load of yarns and fibers to blog about.  I’m starting to think I’m just going to have to move forward and not try to blog retrospectively.  I spent some time on Picnik tonight.  I’m considering upgrading to the Premium version.  It is only $2.00 a month. Has anyone done this?  What do you think?  I think that my girls would really enjoy it so I think I will show them and see if they would use it. Summer is coming and they are going to need things to do.

Etsy Stuff: I participated in my second Phat Fiber box. The May theme was “showers and flowers.”  I was in “shower denial” so I chose flowers.  The fiber samples are in a colorway called “Chloris” and the yarn samples are in “Narcissus.”  I hope to get some Chloris listed in my shop tomorrow, and the Narcissus is already there in case you were wondering.  Feel free to go check it out!

I’m also participating in the June Phat Fiber box.  The June theme is “oceanic.”  The colorway that I’m dyeing for that is called Sandpiper.  I had some out in the sun today–to be rinsed tomorrow. I can’t wait to see how it comes out!   I had dyed a couple of rovings in this colorway a couple of months ago, this version is very similar – just a couple of tweaks.  We’ll see…

Children Stuff: The other day when the Swine flu was on the news continuously, Dave said that he hadn’t realized that so many people had died due to the Spanish Flu in 1918.  Agent B said, “Yeah Daddy, that’s how Edward’s parents died, don’t you know?”  (And you didn’t know that Twilight was educational, did you?) When we commented on her connecting the two things she said “Well, you know, that is how I learn everything I know, from reading…” And if you know Agent B, you would be able to insert the proper tone and eye rolling to go with these statement (of course, don’t you know???).

Since we are on Agent B, I can bring this whole topic back to yarn (of course, don’t you know???)  When she went to Sturbridge last week, she thought of me when she saw this:

I think I would like to make her a little case to hold her Bella Sara cards.  It is a very nice handspun and natural dyed yarn.

Reading: I read a couple of memoirs for my book clubs during the last couple of months.  Now, I’m not really one for non-fiction or biographies and I started these with such an attitude that I was NOT going to like them, but I was SO wrong!  The first is  The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer I was convinced that there was no way that I was going to like a book filled with sports and gambling references that takes place in a bar on Long Island, but I loved it!  It was interesting and funny and there were nights that I couldn’t put it down.  The second is The House on Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper.  I didn’t finish this one in time for the book club meeting (which was weeks ago and I just finished my reading last night), but once I started, I wanted to finish.  I thought that I would never like a book about war and politics in Africa and that it would all just go over my head, but Helene Cooper has a clear and concise writing style and she explains the history of Liberia from the beginning and in a way you really feel like you understand.  These 2 books are similar in that both authors are about the same age (Moehringer b. 1964, Cooper b. 1966) and they are both reporters for major newspapers. They are different in that in J.R. Moehringer grows up poor in a wealthy society whereas, Helene Cooper grows up wealthy in a country full of poverty.  I recommend both books and even reading both books together, as I did, as I could go on and on with the compare and contrast.

What’s next: Oh-so-much to write about when the weather rocks!  I have fiber, yarn, and  upcoming knitting projects. I have some nature photos including an audubon trip to Bartholomew’s Cobble and a Jr. Audubon trip to the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary.  I have tons of gardening photos especially now that I have a super-addicitive macro lens…  Oh so much to photograph and so little time!

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As IHA and I were both nursing colds and achey backs today, we also had to entertain 3 children home on a snow day.  Apparently, the dreariness of our weather (as it was an “ice” day rather than a true go-out-and-make-snowman snow day) has forced us to find other ways to keep warm and cheery.  Here you can see us “cooking” up our own tropical island:

Can you see all the little sculpey trees we were making last night for Dr. Franklin’s Island?  They needed to bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.

It didn’t really help all that much as when we looked out the window we still saw this:

What else to get through a dreary snow day?  An American Girl tea party of course!

Felicity and her lamb await their tea and crumpets (in this case the crumpets were actually bananas and kiwi). Below, you can see Agent B and Kit posing while J sets the table.

We also watched Mama Mia today.  It was a great movie for a dreary day; happy and uplifting and it takes place somewhere tropical even.  I hadn’t realized this movie was a romance. I had just thought it was about a girl trying to get a dancing part in a Broadway play.  That was way off-base!  I think the girls liked it too though at one point K said “I wish they would just stop the singing so we can find out what happens.”

Last night, I cast on for my 2-at-time Socks using my hand-dyed flat sock blank from Knitpicks.  It is quite miraculous the way this all works and I’m sort of following the pattern blindly in hopes that it will soon click and just all of a sudden make sense to me.  I was knitting during the movie in some pretty dim lighting, so I think I may have a couple of mistakes that may need to be fixed before I proceed.  I’m using the pattern called Twilight on page 80, but I only cast-on 60 stitches instead of the 64 called for in the pattern.  I’m probably going to regret this, but I just thought that 64 would be too big.

Sorry for the poor quality photo – very low lighting here today. The colors are much nicer in real life, I promise.  I didn’t do any precast-on research on these socks. Usually before I start a project, I scour the internet and Ravelry looking for any helpful information.  This time, I decided to just go for it and I can always google later if I need to.

What is up for the rest of tonight?  More homework help — J needs to paint some water for her island and her written part still needs some proofreading…  Also, I will have to go into each girl’s room tonight and make sure there are no spoons under their pillows. I really need them to go to school tomorrow!  Cross your fingers!

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We are going to be on last-chance-for-summer vacation for a while and when get back, this one is turning 10.

Yes, not only did we both hit 4-0 this year, but our youngest child is also a decade old.  No wonder we are falling apart left and right.  Literally.  Just as we are about to leave for our longest driving vacation ever, IHA had a lower back incident.

I bet you are wondering where we are going on vacation.  I may have alluded to this trip previously.  This is no mystery trip, but a long planned journey to Michigan to visit Crops-a-lot and her family.  On the way, we are stopping in Geneva, NY at the top of a finger lake (Seneca Lake?) and in Niagara Falls.  I am so organized that I already have our calendar up on the fridge for the week we get back (and believe me, it is a busy one!).  We have all our summer appointments done. We have been to the doctor, the dentist, the orthdontist, and the candlestick maker. We have been to tell the king that the sky is falling.  We have figured out how to get K’s “blue card” from the nurse to the field hockey coach without us being around on the proper days. We have have spent oodles of money on school supplies.  We have even bought new sneakers.  We are so ready!  The only hitch is that our main driver (and usually our only driver) is not up to par.  It will work though, right? We will just take one hour at a time and eventually we will get there.

Breaking Dawn.  What did you think?  Are you done?  Did you love it? Hate it?  Have no idea what I’m talking about?  As the fourth book in the Twilight series, I would have to say that if you were playing “which of these  things is not like the other,” it would be the one that stands out as a bit different.  It does follow the typical Stephanie Meyer trend of a lot of build up (that goes on and on and on) to get to an action (though not quite as much as The Host).  I did enjoy much of this book, but what I am enjoying most about Breaking Dawn is watching Agent K as she reads it.  She is loving it.  She is just so excited over every little thing and dying to find out what happens next.  Since at almost 14, she is a lot closer to the intended age of the target audience, I would say the book is a winner.  I can’t wait until she gets to the end and we can talk about it all.

Well, I better continue on my packing way and tie up any loose ends I shall encounter. Hope you all enjoy your mid-August. “See” you when I get back!

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The girls are back from camp. I don’t think I ever got around to posting this, but all last week they were at sleep-away camp. They go to Camp Mohawk which is a YMCA camp in Northwestern CT. This is Agent K’s fifth year at camp so I’m at the point where I can send them there and not *really* worry about them too much. (By saying *really*, I mean not much above my normal level of worry.) Anyway — dropping off 3 girls and picking up 3 girls all at once is always a bit difficult. At drop offs they are all anxious to go to their own cabins and pick out their beds and there are 3 of them and only 2 of us. At pickups they all have their own little agendas too, and once again there are 3 of them and only 2 of us. So, this is all leading up to me telling you about the amazing thing that happened yesterday. LFB came down from VT to get Grandpa to take him up to spend some time with him and LFG at their home and they also took Agent K with them! This is really great for a multitude of reasons. Great for Agent K because she gets to have a new experience and gain some more independence and great for us because for a few days there are 2 girls at home and 2 of us! Phew.

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So yesterday, after doing a very large quantity of yard work, we took Agents J and B off to play mini-golf — the least bickery mini-golf that I have ever played with children in my entire life! And another most amazing thing happened; the person least likely to have the lowest score and win the game actually won! (And if you have ever played mini-golf with me, you would know who that could be!) After the game, as we were really ALL winners, we took the girls to the store to pick up some groceries and let them each choose 2 ice cream toppings for sundaes. Yum!

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Agent B loves to catch things. For example, her favorite part of Jr. Audubon is catching frogs and bugs in the pond.  On Saturday, she was determined to catch as many frogs as she could.  She managed to catch something that caught everyone’s attention, a  pickerel frog. Apparently, they haven’t seen that kind very much at this particular sanctuary. (The pond is loaded with green frogs and bull frogs especially.)

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Yesterday, Agent B was bound.  Yes, literally!  She had a vocab parade at school and her word was bound. She tied herself up with yarn. (Don’t worry, it was acrylic so no actual wool was harmed during this parade.) When she arrived home from school, we had a visitor in our yard. She didn’t have to hunt it down because it willing walked over to her.

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You can still see some of the yarn remnants in her hair. After the turtle (Sheldon, is that you?) visited yesterday, she and Agent J went back to binding themselves up with yarn.  When they took the yarn off, they spent a lot of time rolling it into balls.  Maybe this will get them more interested in the fiber arts?

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Today we are off to B’s fourth grad “graduation” ceremony at school. They start with a DVD in the multi-purpose room.  I better bring my tissues!

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Wow – it is hot outside!  I know, I know,  it is probably pretty hot everywhere today so we are all in the same boat.  It just seems so odd to be hanging out in the pool when the Mountain Laurel are flowering. Know what I mean?

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I am going to attempt to go out in this heat and take some photos for my Etsy shop.  I think I might be a little crazy in the head for that, but I am so addicted to photographing fiber.  It may just be an illness.  Oh, guess what?  Yesterday, Sarah and I made it to our first Nutmeg Spinner’s Guild.  It was so much fun! We met some great people some of whom we knew from online, but not in person.   A few of these spinners have their own wonderful crafting shops and they include Kristen from The Painted Sheep (She actually supplied the fiber for the workshop and had a booth at the meeting, so you will be seeing more of her stuff in future posts.), Meredith from Sweet Knits, and Jenny from Divine Bird.  Everyone was so friendly and outgoing. Now the only problem is that we have to wait until October for the next meeting.  Drats.

Here are a couple more photos from our hot summer day.  Hope you are having a great one!

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Okay, are you sitting? I have to tell you something and it is not going to be pretty. Remember last week and everyone blogged and posted on Rav about all the things they bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool??? Well, LFG and I went to New Hampshire Sheep and Wool and we didn’t buy sheep nor wool nor anything fibery. I know, aghast! We should have our fiber addict licenses revoked! We did have fun looking at and touching everything, and we sure were tired by the end of the day.

This particular festival has a huge Alpaca component and these guys just cracked me up. They looked like they were thinking something like “Hey, what the heck are we doing in the middle of freakin’ cold NH, you told us we were going to the beach.”

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(Apparently, my lol language needs a little work, it is my first try, okay???)

Anyway, just because we didn’t buy any new fiber does not mean that our weekend was unfibery though. Here is a little sneak preview of what is to come…

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Yum!

After spending Friday night and Saturday with LFG, I drove home on Sunday morning for Mother’s Day (listening to Dairy Queen which is really addictively good!). IHA and the girls gave me the most excellent of all days. There were little surprises everywhere and apparently there are more due throughout the week. I got to do some gardening, and then we had a delicious surf and turf dinner. My family rocks!

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I wonder how many blogs post start with “I’ve been such a bad blogger lately…” I’m sure it probably numbers in the millions. I really have been a very bad blogger lately. I guess the first thing that I think of blogging about lately is the weather and how uninspired is that? I will tell you, however, that we had our first real taste of spring yesterday and it was incredible. Real spring days are just the best.

In the last week, we have just been hanging out living regular life. I had quite a few days where there were one or 2 girls home sick from school. They are all back now with today being the last day before April vacation. We don’t have any special plans for vacation. I hope the girls will ride their bikes or draw with chalk in the driveway; maybe practice their sports. Agent K is running track for her 3rd season. Agent J is playing her second season of softball and Agent B is continuing with karate and Junior Audubon. (Birding IS a sport, right?) I’ve been busy doing my normal procrastinating, a little knitting and spinning, but taking a little break from  working on Etsy everyday. After redesigning my Etsy Banner and packaging labels, I was a bit tired of being on the computer. IHA has been busy with work as usual. He did take some time off on Wednesday to burn a pile of brush, but that just shifted his hours into later in the day and evening.  All regular life stuff, you know?

I have read a couple of good books lately. I just finished reading The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller. Wow. It leaves you thinking… I haven’t found anyone who has read it yet to discuss it, but it is a book that leaves you feeling like you have a lot to discuss. I hope I remember enough about it for when I finally encounter someone who has read it.

The last book we read for book group was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I didn’t want this book to end. I don’t know what it is about it but it is just special. I have a favorite passage that I marked because I wanted to share it with the book group, but the opportunity never presented itself. I’d love to share it with you and I think it speaks for the book and all it has to offer:

Within three months they have clothes and toothbrushes at each other’s apartments. He sees her for entire weekends without makeup, sees her with gray shadows under her eyes as she types papers at her desk, and when he kisses her head he tastes the oil that accumulates on her scalp between shampoos. He sees the hair that grows on her legs between waxings, the black roots that emerge between appointments at the salon, and in these moments, these glimpses, he believes he has known no greater intimacy.

The prose in this book is so beautiful, sweet, and gracefully simple. The sentence that I love best of all is this one, “He sees her for entire weekends without makeup, sees her with gray shadows under her eyes as she types papers at her desk, and when he kisses her head he tastes the oil that accumulates on her scalp between shampoos.” I know, a whole book of full of sentences, why that one? I don’t know, but it gives me shivers.

Jhumpa Lahiri has a new book of short stories out (Unaccustomed Earth). I don’t usually like short stories as much as novels, but the review was pretty good and the stories are interconnected. Currently, I’m reading a book called Unravelling by Elizabeth Graver, and yes, I did choose it partly because of the name. So far, I like it. As a matter of fact, I may read a bit with my afternoon coffee as this is my last 2 hours of quiet before the storm known as school break with 3 preteen/teen girls begins…

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