Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vacation Therapy

I swear, there is nothing better than a relaxing vacation down the shore to reinvigorate you and recenter you. Before I left on vacation, I was so tense that a massage didn't help ease the tension in my neck and shoulders. After a week down the shore (and no other massages), that tension has totally disappeared. There's something about the sweet salt air and the sound of the waves crashing that erases all stress away.

That being said, I had a great time down the shore w/ my family in Love Ladies on Long Beach Island, NJ. The weather was phenomenal. While there was a heat wave brewing just a few miles away, it was actually cool on the beach some days. At the beginning of the week, the ocean water was so cold (55 degrees) that there was a constant fog over the ocean and bits of the beach. It was still sunny, but the fog kept things nice and cool while sitting in the sun. There was only 1 day where it rained in the morning, but it had moved out by mid-morning. All in all, we had a picture perfect week. I managed to ride my bike just about every day, averaging about 18 miles a day.

To top that off, we had a great house that I drove out to find last October. Although it was the 2nd house from the beach, it was practically on the beach.


We are now totally spoiled. Here's my mom and Alex hanging out on the porch and another view from the porch.



Alex was a treat to play with all week. As always, I'm amazed at the things that come out of her mouth. By the end of the week, she knew the names of all the water towers on LBI, her favorite being Harvey Cedars because she liked the name. We watched the sun set while I was grilled on the horizon, where it was, what it was, and why it was there. My favorite was asking if I could sit with her while she watched a movie, and she responded, "I'd love to." So sweet!


Leah, my youngest niece, is just the happiest baby! She just sat there and laughed and and smiled at you all day long.


The other nice thing about a beach vacation is I got to work on several projects. I started the lace pattern on the Apres Surf Hoodie, worked on the Lutea Lace Shell, and just about finished another [February] Baby Sweater for another baby.


Now I'm back to reality with a crazy week. Monday I'm off to DC; Tuesday I'm back to work but have an Inn of Court executive committee meeting after work and then have to rush up to Feasterville to try out some bikes; Wednesday I have an alumni get-together after work with PennPIRG /PennEnvironment (haven't seen these folks in ages); Thursday I have my trainer; Friday I have a friend coming into town and dinner plans with friends (oops! I double booked that); and then Saturday, I'm back off to Baltimore and DC for a camp reunion, a desperately needed cut/color, and more time w/ my nieces. Sheesh! I'm tired just thinking of it. Oh, and to top that off, my good friend Alisa is moving to Toronto this week so who knows when I'll get to see her before she leaves. :(

Where's that therapeutic salt air and crashing waves? I need them back, just thinking about all I have to do this week!

Ahhhhh, there they are . . .



For now, I leave you w/ the setting sun over Barnegat Bay.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Long Beach Island, here I come


Mmmmmmmmmm.

After the past 2 weeks, I am so in need of a vacation. Vegging out on the beach is just what the doctor ordered.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yet another finished project

I've been pretty productive lately, finishing a baby sweater with booties and my Josephine top. This week I also finished Flow, a really easy A-line pattern from Norah Gaughan. This top also came out great. It's really lightweight and airy, but b/c of that, I have to wear a tank underneath. Still, I love how it came out.



No more posts for a bit. I'm headed off to the Jersey Shore for a week of relaxation. I haven't even thought about what books I should bring. Instead, I've been thinking of the knitting projects I can bring. Man have I become obsessed!

At least the stuff I make is wearable. Just like the Josephine Top, no one knew that I knit this until I told them.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day in the Poconos

Sunday I drove up to good ole Bartonsville, PA for alumni day at Pinemere. I went to Pinemere for 9 summers, so it was good to see folks I hadn't seen, well, since the 80s. Former counselors were there, campers, and well, a mini family reunion. A bunch of my cousins went to Pinemere as well so they were all there too. It was nice to see them since I usually don't get to see them often.

One of my favorite traditions at Pinemere was Saturday morning Sing. We'd gather round the lower maple tree and sing a bunch of folk songs. Yeah, I know, the camp was perfect for me. We'd sing traditional Irish folks songs, freedom songs, American folk songs, blues, and others. They'd even introduce a Grateful Dead song here and there.

Here's a list of some of the songs we used to sing:

Come and Go With Me,
Where Have All the Flowers Gone
St. James Infirmary Blues
Hey Lolly
Oh, Rock My Soul

With the advent of You Tube, it's too bad that no one filmed Bob and/or some of those sings and put them up. It's one thing to download and watch other people perform these songs, but it's not nearly the same as siting under that tree.

On Sunday, we gathered by the lower maple tree again and relived a bunch of those songs from our youth. It's amazing how you may not sing the songs for years, but you still remember them. Mike Greenblatt, who used to come up once or twice a summer was there and did his traditional The Cat Came Back, which I love.

It seemed almost everyone that had ever played guitar (at least that I knew) under that tree was there.


Even Toby Lightman, a former camper, was there. She sang for us one of her songs.

I even tried to record a video from my camera, so let's see how it turned out:

video

All in all, it was a great day, reliving memories and good times from my youth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Let them eat . . . Tastykake?

Last night I met up with folks for the 14th annual Eastern State Penitentiary Bastille Day Festival. This event takes place every year in the Fairmount section of Philly in front of the old prison.

Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille (a prison in Paris), which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

In Philly, folks dress up as peasants (and royalty) and reenact the storming of the Bastille and revolt against Marie Antoinette, who is portrayed by a local restaurant owner in the neighborhood.



After singing the French National Anthem (so kind of them to hand out the cue sheets which I still couldn't read since I don't know French) . . .


. . . and a brief back and forth between the queen and the crowd, the crowd demands bread and in response, the queen says, "Let them eat . . . . Tastykake!" The crowd was then pelted with over 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets. I wish I had my camera on me (instead of my lame camera phone) for a shot of the tastykakes falling from the sky.



I admit, I know nothing about the French revolution except for Les Miserables. I learned more about the French Revolution last night than I ever had before. There is some character in a Tale of Two Cities named Madame Defarge who knits the names of people and seals their fate? I don't know, I only got through 40 pages of that book. Anyway, Madame Defarge is part of the festivities since the book took place during the revolution. Lisa really wanted to get a picture of her w/ us knitting. Turns out we all had our Piddleloop bags on us and were able to break out our projects for the picture. (thanks for the picture Lisa)

A great time was had by all. Can't believe I've been just down the road for five years and hadn't done this.

[February] Baby Sweater

I went to a friend's baby shower yesterday who I met in my beginner knitting class. Instead of buying something off the registry, I felt I should knit her a cute little baby sweater (Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater) and booties, especially since she hasn't really knit anything since our class a year ago. ;-)
The set was a big hit. Here they are:


It was so quick and easy to knit up (once I figured out the extremely vague directions), you know I'll be making more for my friends' babies. It's the perfect gift!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Josephine

Ok, so a few weeks ago I posted about how disappointed I was with one of the tops I made. After I posted that, my friends advised me that I had to rip it out or I'd be miserable. I ripped out the neck, sleeves and front and started over. I am so happy I listened to their advice b/c . . .


I love this top!


It fits perfectly. I am sooooooo happy!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So long . . .

farewell . . .

auf wiedersehen . . .

goodbye . . .

Last night we hijacked knitting circle at Rosie's and threw a goodbye party for Mindy who is leaving us for the Garden State next week. Here are just a few pictures from last night.







It kind of sucks when you make friends and they move. I used to be on the leaving end all the time. Now that I've been staying put in Philly for so long, I'm now getting a taste of my own medicine -- people are now leaving me! That's ok b/c I now have friends in even more places to go and visit.

Good luck, Mindy!