Saturday, May 10, 2008

And she's off!

Got the hair done. Managed to convince her that playing golf after getting her hair done and before the Prom was a bad idea - even if she was just going to drive the cart. Managed to talk her into posing for pictures at home, before the pre-planned group "camera op." Got her to the photo op on time. And saw her head off for the group dinner at O, looking happy and care-free. She tossed off an "I love you, Mom" and dashed away - then dashed back to ask for some cash.

After Prom, she wanted to stay at an all-night co-ed party at her friend Sam's house. Now, I've known Sam (and his family) since he was 3, and he's a nice kid and respectable and responsible and all. And Tasha assures me that everyone is on their best behavior and all - which I more or less believe. But the last time she was at one of Sam's events, another girl's attitude was way out of order and there were no adults to be seen in this group of maybe 3 dozen teens. And even if the only thing they were doing was eating lasagna and watching movies, it made me feel uncomfortable. I mean, I know what kind of trouble I was capable of getting into at 17, even though the adults in my life at the time really thought things were under control. So, either she goes to Stephanie's all-girl after-prom party, where both parents will be in residence and the rules state that guests must arrive immediately after the prom and will not leave until the party is over or until picked up - or she goes to Sam's party and I pick her up myself at 1:00 a.m. Her choice.

But doesn't she look beautiful?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Something Different

I really, really need to get photos turned in for the items I'm going to display at this summer's farmer's market. The problem is, I'm still experimenting with the whole "fiber necklace" concept and haven't quite got what I want yet. For instance, eyes right:

This FilAtura Di Crosa Portofino is beautiful to look at and touch. But I swear I did the I-cord on my best Crystal Palace double-points, using a lot of care - and still it's got snags all through it. The snags seems to be coming mostly from the synthetic wrap cord rather than the cotton core, and I seriously considered just waving a lighter gently in its
general direction to see if I could discretely singe the offending fibers away. But if I can't knit the yarn without this kind of problem, how is someone going to wear it without constantly snagging it on their jewelry or buttons or rings or whatever? I can't understand how this yarn could be functional except in very unusual situation. Too bad - it is pretty. But no wonder it was such a bargain.

Anyway, the I-cord has been staring at me for a couple of days now while I try to work out a solution. Maybe the solution is to put the rest of it back in my stash and try the concept on something else. If I strike out again, I may have to come up with another option for that particular farmer's market item. (Too bad, since I found the perfect display rack for my theoretically wonderful fiber necklaces and have had it stored in the corner of my bedroom for a couple of weeks now.)

In other news, the garden continues to bloom and the chickens have not done anything destructive to it yet (fingers crossed).

And Tasha's prom is tomorrow night. The dress has been hemmed (and I've got a thank-you card picked out for Betty, although I have to figure out what kind of gift card to tuck into it). It came back from the cleaners last night, so all is well on that end. And a fuchsia Alstramarius corsage is in work, although it's technically from her best friend (because getting one from her mother would be weird, apparently). Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Late Night

I stayed up late last night for no good reason other than to continue doing something computer-related that amused me. Today, since I am feeling dull and fuzzy as a result, I offer you some images of bright, crisp beauty from the Navy Pier's stained glass museum.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cousins in Chicago

Up until two years ago, Grandma was the center of our family social calendar. We generally gathered within an easy day's drive of the Fremont area, because that way Grandma could join us and still be back at Fountain View on time for her shot. There were two major family holidays - Thanksgiving in the Fall, and Grandma's Birthday in the Spring. And so one of the major concerns some of us had as we adjusted to life without Grandma's physical presence was whether we would continue to gather as an extended family without her as a draw.
We got together the first Thanksgiving after her passing in a somewhat militant fashion, making sure to attend in part because Grandma wasn't there. But the following spring felt pretty blank to me, and I'm sure to others. We had Bill's graduation party in Fremont in June, and I am still in awe of how many made the journey from Michigan to attend our anniversary party last September. Thanksgiving was almost as well attended last year, and Julie G hosted a Huisjen Holiday party in January. Somewhere along the way, some of us "girl cousins" decided we should make a specific effort to get together every three months or so. And so the Cousins in Chicago Spring trip was born.
I've been through Chicago hundreds of times, spent a weekend there doing the museum thing, visited the cows on parade and taken the kids and my sister up to the top of the Sears Tower at different times. But this was my first time with a group of just adults, each of us paying our own way and doing stuff that appealed to us. And it was a blast.

  • LOVED the piano bar, even though the group of Asian guys next to us thought we were crazy for singing along at the tops of our lungs.

  • This concept of martinis bears closer investigation.

  • Not everything on the Miracle Mile is priced outrageously.

  • The stained glass museum at the Navy Pier is just stunning.

  • Kate's preference for sleeping with the TV on nicely masks my tendency to snore.

  • The Cheesecake Factory also serves actual food and drinks - good ones!

  • With thanks to Christy's roommate for the tip, the view from the 96th floor women's bathroom at Hancock Tower is, in deed, stunning.

Most importantly, it was wonderful to spend the weekend doing silly things with Mary, Kate and Christy, and we've pledged to do it again next year. Maybe Julie will take a break from pregnancy and lactation to join us? Heidi, any chance you can come? I promise, a good time will be had by all.

Meanwhile, the next event will be Luc's graduation gathering in late June, possibly followed by a "girl cousin" trip down the St. Joe winery trail. (We're trying to get Tasha to come along as chauffeur, although she's not sounding enthusiastic so far.) And we'll always have Thanksgiving.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shawl Update

As the updates continue, it's time to show you the latest on the Tree of Life anniversary prayer shawl. I'm down to 2 and a half balls of the variegated yarn, so I expect to finish the last of the leaf lace within the next few days. My plan is to use up the 4 balls I had allotted for the right "wing" of the shawl, measure it, and then probably pull out a few rows on the left wing to make sure the distances match. (If I'd really been thinking, it would have occurred to me that I only have 10 balls total in that dye lot, including the 1 and a half or so I used above and below the cable panel. Therefore, I should have weighed out what I had left when I started the left wing, then split it in half so as to end up with evenly sized wings without the excess counting and tinking I've now committed myself to. Hindsight, and all that.) Then, I just have to make "wingtip" strips of the orchid lace in the yellow for each end, and a leaf-type border from Barbara Walker #2 (my new favorite book in the world) in yellow to go around the whole thing.

And for those who are playing the home game - this whole project was due on Saturday. I'm told the party was great, although I was out of town with family and didn't get there myself. New deadline: Memorial Day!

One more shawl-based comment: I'm definitely conflicted over this Crystal Palace Merino. It's light and soft and springy and the colors are great - but at least half of the balls I've knat up so far have a knotted break in somewhere in the middle. I'm not great at weaving in ends anyway, and I do not want extra chances to practice this particular skill. And with a fairly limited amount of this not-very-cheap yarn, my cold Dutch heart just won't let me waste a bunch of it by only switching to a new skein at the end of a row. So, Crystal Palace, please try to do better, for my sake? (I did complain to my LYS and showed Jody, the nice owner-lady, the problem. She's going to relay my concerns to Crystal Palace, with a few extra comments of her own, but that seriously doesn't do me much good at this point. Oh, well.)

And under the category of E-Bay, I'm working to recreate Lora J's favorite amber earrings after she lost one in an unexpected manner. I needed amber for this, obviously, and while purchasing the supplies needed I also impulsively purchased a copper pendant for a whopping $1.99. I figured it was semi-cute, and at that price I'd find a use for it eventually. Unfortunately, I didn't look closely at the actual dimensions. Can you believe this sucker is 4 inches long?!! And the workmanship is not great - I think the bail is soldered on crooked.

I can't see myself actually wearing it. My first thoughts were "Children's Theater prop" and "Christmas Ornament." But if you want it, drop me a line. If you're local or plan to see me at a family event, I'll just bring it to you. If you're a friend that I've not yet met, send me a couple of bucks to cover shipping and I'll put it in the mail to you. First come, first serve - there's got to be someone who can make use of this gem.

I leave you for today with another image of spring, taken in the garden this morning. (I know - I'll have to pull it out of the garden tonight. But I like dandelions in principle, even those with poor sense of location.) Next time, I'll tell you about the Cousins in Chicago weekend, and how the view from the 96th floor women's room of the Hancock Tower really is just as good as the one from the Sears Tower Observation Deck.