Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dear Erma

Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, "A house guest," you're wrong because I have just described my kids.
Erma Bombeck

Dear Erma,

No, you just described my kids!

A Frazzled Mom

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Writer's Block

Not posting for almost two months makes this entry a bit intimidating. I now realize that any chance I had of gathering a "readership" is really squashed by such sporadic updates. Ah...such is life. My blog reading has also been seriously cut back. I now only check my "favorites" about once a week. Previously, I had been spending about one hour a day (!) reading. One can only read about sock updates so long before it gets a bit old. Please no offense intended.

As this is a knitting blog...

This may not be the most flattering shot, but what the heck. My cleaning lady spotted this and offered to trade me for my work! I love the barter system!

This time the pooling worked in my favor! Manos yarn- pattern from Big Fish, Little Fish - 8 needles.

The Eat Local Challenge for the month of May could turn into a total bust on my part. What the heck do I have to choose from in Western New York? The only items I can think of are locally grown asparagus, fall apples in cold storage, and farm eggs. I am really stuck! I have been reading the labels on the food products and am quite stuck. However, if the rain lets up, today would be a good day to stake the area I intend to use for a garden. I plan on creating a raised bed and filling it with the compost from the bed hubby has! I won't tell you what my neighbor thinks of that pile.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Random Thoughts, Part 72

Do you not love the sunshine? Yesterday in Buffalo, New York was heaven. A day to energize, a day that compels you to wash windows, clean out some of those nooks and crannies, open the windows, bring out the Lemon Pledge.

And to top it off my parents dropped by with a belated Christmas present: chocolate almond cake. Growing up we had a German friend who baked the most wonderful treats. Lovely flakey things with jam and dusted with sugar. But my favorite was that rich, dense chocolate cake with a batter of ground almonds and lemon zest. Thanks mom, it was worth the two month wait.

But today is a rainy day. Off to the library. I think I shall treat myself to an hour reading in front of the picture window. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just Thinking...

It's too late in the day to think, but darn it! I stopped by to pay Liz a "visit" and she gave me plenty to think about. WalMart is indeed a double edged sword. In some areas of the country, it is the only game in town. But in larger suburban areas it does a great job of driving out a large amount of the diversity in a given area increasing the homogenization of America.

A super WalMart is proposed in an area of our town that has yet to be overly developed. It would be located between a daycare center and large dog kennel. The land itself is good for very little; the soil is poor, the drainage is worse. In point of fact, it is part of the flood plain that protects all the "little pink houses" in the developments. A large local developer purchased the land several years ago after the zoning was changed from agricultural to large commercial. The taxes have been paid with the idea that it would some day be sold at a profit to a large corporation.

So you know who rears their head, and the town roars in protest. The developer who wants to sell is threatening to sue if the deal is foiled.

So a few weeks ago we find a very unique piece of bulk mail. WalMart sent a beautiful brochure seeking the support of the community in its new business venture. This mega corporation was actually asking this town and the outlying area to contact the board and voice approval of the project. Huh. WalMart needs me. Hmm.

Moving on...eating locally. Yesterday while at the grocery store I really made an effort to purchase food items that were within a 100 mile radius. Buffalo makes many foods that are distributed throughout and beyond WNY. But do you think I could find a stinkin' loaf of bread on the shelves at Tops that was not distributed closer than Pennsylvania or New Jersey? I wonder how many gallons of gasoline are used to move around the food my family eats in one year? And who the heck is eating all those hard, pale strawberries I saw in the produce section? Part of eating local, is eating seasonally. And besides, it just tastes better.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Finished...But No Medal

I may not be an Olympian, but the socks are done! Thanks again to my sock model, son K! Hey did you notice? These actually match, and without trying! I love it when things work out.

Lana Grosa Meilenweit Mega Stretch Boots
Ann Norling pattern
size 1 (yea baby!) needles
Next project? Well check these out:
Daughter E came home with a cute little pair of Mary Jane slippers that her bud purchased at Target. And better yet, a request to knit some up that looked just like it. A little searching - and this is what I found! Cute or what? The pattern was a bit much, IMHO, but little E was worth it. Done on size 7 dp and no cuff, these will be a snap.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Parent Licenses Now Accepted

Every morning I make an honest attempt to greet my students and have some sort of "one on one" time with my homeroom group. This morning I am overjoyed that Miss X has decided to attend classes for the first time this week.

Me: "Glad to see you Miss X! We've missed you! Let me get your work together and we'll see if we can get you caught up. We are finishing the novel today; the exam is tomorrow. Do you have your novel?"

Miss X: "Novel? Uh, no, it's somewhere."

Me: "Well, not to worry. I am sure it will float to the surface. You seem very tired. What time did you go to bed last night?"

Miss X: "Oh, I think it was around 4:00."

Me: "4:00? Where you watching television?"

Miss X, with a very "knowing" glance: "Uh, no...I was doing something else."

Me, thinking this 13 year old is not trying to say what I think she is: "Does your mom know you were up that late?"

Miss X: "No, I wasn't home. I'm never home."

Me: "So, sleepovers on a school night. Wow, I guess I must be a strict mom."

Miss X: "My mom doesn't care what I do."

CPS tells us this household is fine. One bedroom which the brother in re-hab gets; Miss X and her mother share the couch. Apparently this is why she chooses to sleep elsewhere. The 16 year old sometime boyfriend of the two (apparently the only thing they have in common), is also in residence during the week. There is no electricity in their half of the duplex. Because the grandparents live in the other half, and Miss X can go there if she chooses, CPS says this is acceptable.

Last week it was Miss Y. Her 30 something mother has a low paying job. Her 50 something significant other is unemployed. Miss Y says that now that he is "off alcohol" he is meaner than before. In order to spare her sister the physical discipline he doles out, she feels the need to interfere and serve as a distraction. I am told that because he does not leave marks or bruises, there is nothing to be done. Miss Y spends her weekends with her friends. It's easier that way.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND? These two children are only a whisper of the thousands of children in this nation who are not even lined up for the trip! Schools cannot fix what the home has broken.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Knitting Weather

The sky is low,
the clouds are mean —
A traveling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.
A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him —
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.
- Emily Dickinson
February. And winter has arrived! Although I had recently stated that I had not missed it a bit, I must admit that it is beautiful. And besides, what is better than sitting in your favorite knitting spot with a cup of tea watching the snow fall?
The first sock is almost finished; time for the toe decreases. Knitting on size 1 needles may win some looks of admiration from my buddies on knit night, but it gets a tad boring when they take longer than one week to finish.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Alpaca Heaven

DH and I ran away from home yesterday. Thank goodness their grandmother loves to stay overnight! We decided to take a side trip on the way to the lake and I am so glad we did!
Evelyn and Peter own 30 acres of beautiful farm land in the foothills of Frewsburg, NY. YB Normal Farms is the happy home of several Grand and Reserve Champion Alpaca. Take a look at Killer Joe and a few of his buddies. Isn't he handsome! That boy has a coat density that I never believed possible.
They run a wonderful shop at the farm. Beautiful imported hand knit products ranging from scarfs to sweaters, and wonderful coats and vests that are beyond belief. But being a knitter and spinner, you know what I was looking for!
I wish you could feel this! This is by far the softest fiber I have every touched. I cannot wait to start spinning! It did not look like much in the bag, but once out it fluffed to huge amounts.
But I truly do not know what was nicer: finding a great fiber source or meeting wonderful people. DH and I received a tour of the barns, met all of the animals, and learned a ton about the animals. What a great way to spend a windy, wet Saturday afternoon. Don't you love it when you meet great people?
And if you are in the Chautauqua area, and can't make it to Frewsburg, may I make another suggestion? In addition to YB, you can visit several other area businesses under one roof at The Cross Roads Market outside of Westfield.

No, I do not work for the Chamber of Commerce!

Friday, February 03, 2006

What Do You Love?

So I am at one of the now 8 LYSs looking for some fun. And I see this. Oh so pretty. And my two friends glance in my direction, and give me the look.

"No, you do not want that. It's just not...nice."

Not nice? Does it do something odd to the ankles when knit up? Does it cause one to bite their needles while knitting?

And I leave with two skeins of Jawol.

So driving home I have buyer's remorse. How do they know I won't like that yarn? I want that yarn. Hey, wait a minute...I have that yarn! There it is just waiting for me in the sock stash. Knit, knit, knit it. Love, love, love it. Even with #1 needles. This is the sock yarn I have been waiting for my whole life! Soft, squishy, stretchy...

Not nice, indeed!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cute or what? These little clouds are popping up everywhere. If you happen to be feeling a bit envious, you can get your own here!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

10 Things Children Should Never Do

  1. Snap your brace wire 15 minutes before the dentist's office closes and you live 14 minutes away.
  2. Snap your brace wire when mother is frantically trying to get dinner in the oven.
  3. Dump an entire basket of clean clothes on the floor to find one shirt.
  4. Leave the entire basket of clean clothes on the floor after the shirt is found.
  5. Call mother to say you will be home for dinner, call and say you will be with a friend instead. Call back and say you will be home, but can the "good" car be borrowed to go out for coffee because the van is simply too humiliating to be seen driving.
  6. Hang up on your mother when you do not like her rebuttal to above comment.
  7. Lose your glasses three days after new lenses have been ordered.
  8. Tell your mother there is "nothing to eat" after $244 worth of groceries have been purchased.
  9. Leave 4 or more peanut butter and jelly coated knives on the kitchen counter over the course of 4 hours.
  10. Tell your mother, "In a minute," when you are obviously time impaired.

Rant is over; amazing what turning a heel and picking up a few stitches can do for the mood.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Socks

The socks are finished! Well, more on that in one second.
  • Noro, silk garden
  • Color 50
  • Size 5 needle
  • Sock Model, son K
  • Sock Photographer, Mom

Of course they don't match. And check out the color differences between the skeins; I mean completely different colors. (That is one of the reasons I really do not love Noro). Actually, the pair at the LYS did not either. One of the girls actually made 18 pairs for Christmas gifts this year and only had one pair that matched. So why the heck should I try? And, please do not faint; these are headed for the washing machine * GASP * No dryer. They will shrink about 1/2" inch in length and get very soft, and the color should mute a bit.

I Can't Sleep

I've been tagged...

Four jobs you've had in your life:

  • Teacher
  • Sales Representative
  • Bar Tender
  • Fruit sorter and packer

Four movies you could watch over and over again:

  • Alien or The Terminator
  • To Sir With Love
  • Othello
  • Brokeback Mountain

Four places you have lived:

  • Western New York
  • Adirondack Mountains
  • hmmm...I don't get around much

Four TV shows you like to watch:

  • Any of the CSI shows
  • Lost
  • Almost anything on HGTV
  • 2 and 1/2 Men

Four Places you've been on vacation

  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Grand Cayman
  • California
  • Puerto Rico

Four Websites you visit daily:

  • Education World
  • Blogs on my side bar
  • Google

Four of your favorite foods:

  • Ice cream
  • Really good bread
  • Cabbage and tomato Soup
  • Oreo cookies

Four places you would rather be right now:

  • Any place in the UK
  • New York City to visit my old college roommate
  • Smokies in Tennessee
  • Any hot beach sipping a Corona

That was rather fun! Thanks Liz! Luci, I pass this one on to you.

I just picked up my new book for next month's club meeting. Somthing a bit different for us - non-fiction. Nicholas Gage is a reporter for the NY Times who returns to Greece to "find" the mother who died saving his life. I am only a short way into the book and it is truly engaging.

And this little gem comes from listening to too much NPR. A little bit techno, dance club, and Jewish. Go figure. But it sure is fun. I am just not allowed to listen to it when anyone else is in the room.

I think those socks I finished helped; I am in a much improved mood.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Define "Friend"

My good friend often wonders why some people are more likeable than others. So last night, sleepless in my bed, waiting for the 16 year old to come home, I think I came up with an answer. I think we like people for two major reasons: they are similar to us in the major, intelligence, temperament. Those are the things that initially draw us together; they help us form our early bonds of friendship. When we meet people who are our polar opposite, we back away or even avoid those individuals.

But I believe it is the second thing that is the more important of the two. I believe that our real friends have some character trait that we envy. It is a small thing. It creates an envy so small that we equate it with admiration. And that is why we wish to be with them. If we spend enough time in their company, we reap the benefits of this "thing" we envy/admire. We are allowed to bask in the aura this "thing" creates. If we meet a person who has no "thing" to give us, we do not seek out their company. They could be wonderful people, but without that little quality that we ourselves lack, what do they bring to the table?

And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. My closest friends at work may not be the most outgoing, but they are outstanding teachers. They are intelligent, organized, and highly motivated. When I am with them, I feel the same way. I find myself trying to measure up to them. And that is a good thing. When I am with them, I feel confident and assured.

I have another friend who I adore. Why? Because everywhere we go she knows someone. I do not care where it is. I envy/admire her for that. Who does not want to be greeted with a smile and hug when they meet someone unexpectedly? The qualities my friend benefit me. She is popular, she is my friend, that makes me feel special. By watching her I am learning how to be a better person, a friendlier person. Through her I have met lots of people who I now call friends. And that is one of the reasons why I like her.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Do you see this? Nice isn't it? Check the date: January 19! The sun is shining and it is 43 degrees out there. If this keeps up, the golf course behind our house may actually boast about being open year round. Here is the country girl fear: if this warm weather holds much longer, will the fruit trees start to bud?

I have not touched my knitting since Christmas. I think I burned out in the marathon knitting of my brother's afghan. Hey dear SIL, could you send me a photo of dear bro wrapped up in the green cocoon? Pity I never snapped a pix before letting him take it home. I plan on finishing the alpaca cream and brown scarf I started while in San Diego. Now that was in...September?!...oy! But I have been disciplined; no new yarn has wormed its way in my house. And I truly believe that is why I am feeling so unmotivated.

Do you think a pair of socks would help?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Literate Knitter

The past two months have included a bit more than movies. Let us now check out the Green's bookshelf!

December's book club read was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Apparently this was a best seller in both Spain and the States. Could it be that I lost something in the translation? The plot had great potential. A young boy is taken to a mysterious "Catacomb of books" where he is instructed by his father to make a selection. His choice leads him down a fateful path full of lust, a crooked cop, a questionable political criminal/innocent, and a mysterious author. As I said...great potential.

The next selection was a fast read. Jodi Picoult gives us another courtroom drama that could easily been ripped from today's headlines. Kate is diagnosed with cancer at age 3, her parents conceive, with a lot of help, a sibling that will serve as a future donor. Anna eventually seeks legal help when she feels that her parents have gone far enough. The question is truly how far is too far when parents are fighting to keep a child alive. I absolutely loved this novel up until the last two chapters. Sorry Miss P., but remember deus ex machina? I truly felt that was a cheat of an ending. But great twists and turns! Wonderful characterization.

And if you have not done so, check out the digs for Liz at Pocketfarm! Very impressive!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Lost in Blog Land

Has it really been over one month since my last post? Truth to tell, I have not had much interest in reading blogs, let alone making entries on my own. To ease myself back in the swing of things, I will start with the movie reviews.

Movies? The Green Eyed Knitter does not go to the movies, does she? Yes, and for some odd reason now feels compelled to see them twice within the same week.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was absolutely magical! Perfectly cast, these children were able to move from WWII England to the fantasy of Narnia in a very convincing manner! However, I must admit something about Aslan's eyes were not quite right. The first viewing was with 110 students; I had to go a second time to enjoy it without interruptions.

Memoirs of a Geisha was next on the list. Now, admittedly it has been a few years since I have read the book. And, my memory is not what it used to be. But did the Americans really come? Was she really asked to entertain the American military in order to gain contracts for her old friends? And are they sure that she and the Chairman formed an "alliance". But wow! the costuming and set designs were wild! Well worth the price of the ticket.

Now, my favorite. If you have not seen Brokeback Mountain, go. Go now. It is a love story that breaks your heart. The scenery begs a large screen viewing. The mountains, the vastness and isolation of the ranches. And my favorite line: "I wish I knew how to quit you." My SIL, my friend's 17 year old gay son, and I could not get it out of our heads.