Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcome to the Finger Lakes!

Whew! It's been a long slog, but we finally made it here. Multiple truckloads of household items and workshop items, getting cars from one place to another, getting kids and cats from one place to another, but we've made it!

We're in temporary digs for the next week or so--our house closing was delayed awhile for a number of reasons, but we're lucky enough to have a comfortable place to stay while we're waiting to get into the new place. We're starting to settle in--a few days ago, we took Aidan to visit his new school, and he got to meet the principal and see all the classrooms before the Big Day. Plus, he and Douglas have played at both playgrounds at the elementary school (they have one just for kindergarten and another for the older kids), so they both know there is FUN to be had at school.

And, I've already visited what will be my LYS, which is Finger Lakes Fibers. The women there are so friendly and helpful--just attentive enough to make sure you have the help you need, while allowing you space to browse and soak up the woolliness of it all. (And yes, even though they had a big sale on summer yarns in cotton and linen and bamboo and all sorts, I still was drawn to the wools, even though it was about 95 degrees on the day I visited...)

I needed a project to help me keep my sanity, but my yarn stash and needles and patterns are all in boxes...somewhere...! So, I bought everything I needed to make a lace scarf. First, the pattern: Fiber Trends double fuschia scarf (the pink one on the left). The yarn: Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool in a pale grey. It's my first lace project, and after one false start (complete with gnashing of teeth and a little sulking), I managed to learn the pattern and make quite good progress. Photos to come when I find my camera....

Friday, August 17, 2007

The knitting world

As I sit here on my lawn chair, listening to the crickets and some unidentified summer-time noises outside, I have a rare moment to ponder things that usually escape my notice in the whirlwind of family life.

I think about the brood of Muscovy ducklings we saw on our walk yesterday. There is a pair of Muscovy ducks that live along the shores of our pond, so I took the boys through our "secret passageway" to the spot where the ducks usually hang out. They weren't along the shore or in the grasses nearby. Instead, they were across the street, with their six ducklings, hanging out underneath a parked car in our neighbors' driveway. What a funny sight--six fuzzy yellow quackers huddled together underneath the back bumper of the car, while their pudgy mom and dad (with their distinctive red masks) waddled around keeping guard.

I've also been thinking about the knitting world, though I'm miles away from it at the moment. My knitting stuff is in boxes one state over, and I won't be getting back to it for some time, I'm sure. But I keep up with the blogs I read from around the world, and I'm pleased to see that people around the world are beginning to read mine. Hello, Australia! Hello, Peru and Brazil! Hello, UK and Ireland and Japan and Thailand and Canada! Hi there, Israel and Turkey and Finland and Belgium and Austria! What a fantastic thing that through blogs, I can be in touch with people all over the world, through my own words and through theirs. Wow.

This fascination all comes back to being an exchange student at heart, I suppose. Way back when, in the year between high school and college--back when Reagan was president and massive shoulder pads were in fashion and the Cold War was still going strong, I spent a year as an exchange student in Austria. That was the single most transformative experience of my young adulthood. It was so much more than learning to speak German and living with another family for a year. It completely changed my outlook on the world and on my own life. I'm still discovering things about myself that have their origins in that year. I could write dozens of blog entries about the gifts of that year, but for now, I'll just focus on how that year made me realize how much I am a part of the world community.

That may seem like a no-brainer to those who grew up in more cosmopolitan surroundings, but for me, that was a tremendous revelation. My world, growing up in suburban north Texas, was remarkably insular. Most people I knew didn't look too far afield. Few kept up with world events. Most had never traveled out of the country. No one in my family had gone overseas specifically to learn about another country--as far as I knew, their only international experiences had been in wartime (and 1917 wasn't the best time to visit France, nor was the early 1940s the best time to visit the islands of the south Pacific). People like us weren't cosmopolitan and worldly.

But I had a fabulous French teacher in high school who recognized my budding interest in language and culture, and she encouraged me to consider becoming an exchange student. Looking back, I'm shocked I actually went through with the idea, because I was such a shy, quiet kid. But the experience was the making of me.

By the time my year in Austria was over, I realized that the only thing you need to be "one of those people who travel" is simply money, a passport, and an open mind. You don't have to be born into a certain class or to a certain family. And what a vast level of enlightenment to see myself in a world context! To learn about America through the eyes of others--to see for myself how we are perceived by the outside world. It was so humbling at first--I had been taught a strictly positive view of American history and American foreign policy, in which what we did was for the good of everyone. It was eye-opening to see it all from another perspective. It was also difficult for me, as so many people I met in Austria expected me to explain and defend Reagan's policies (which I couldn't and wouldn't do!).

To cut a long story short--and to bring it back to the topic of knitting--some of my most treasured memories of that year are about making connections with people. We speak different languages, eat different foods, live in different kinds of houses. We may have different politics and different views on the world. But somewhere, there is something we all have in common. So I love to see that people in so many nations have stopped by here--just as I stop by the blogs of many people in nations I've never visited yet. We may connect over knitting, then find we have other things in common too.

And if more people would realize how much we have in comon, the world would be a much safer place.

How long is it until January 20, 2009?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eye of the hurricane

My aching back can attest to the fact that it is definitely moving time. We've had days and days of packing boxes, hauling out the trash and recycling, driving to the Goodwill drop-off point, and ordering more boxes...and more boxes. Yesterday was the big day--loading the truck. We hired the most excellent Zeke and Johnny of Intelligent Labor and Moving to load the truck. Those guys were amazing! They worked quickly, smartly, and kept a sense of humor the whole long, hot day. (If you are moving in the Boston area and are looking for responsible, efficient, and friendly movers on a budget, I highly recommend these guys! Give them a call!!)

It probably didn't help that we were still packing when they got there--I have to admit that I'm absolutely embarrassed about that. I've never been less than ready for moving day--I've always been so compulsive that I'm ready a day or two early. But not this time. This was the first time that I've been involved in moving a whole house, with children, and even though Tim and I shared the work, there was

But in a "short" ten hours, the truck was loaded, and this morning off it went to the wilds of the Finger Lakes. Meanwhile, we're camping in our house--the closing for our new house has been delayed, so we decided to stay here in the Boston area until the closing on the house we're selling. It's a quick reminder of my college days, with lawn chairs in the living room and boxes serving as chairs, tables, and desks. But what are these children doing in my dorm room...? They're enjoying our in-home camping trip (complete with air mattresses) and love the space to run around and chase each other without fear of being impaled on the furniture.

It's going to be an interesting week. We're taking it easy, relatively speaking--we have the final cleaning of the house to do before we turn it over to the new owners, but for the most part, we're just hanging out. I'll actually be working from home next week before we leave town--good thing I don't do video conferences, because it would be hard to keep up a professional editorial presence when I'm sitting on the living room carpet in my shorts and t-shirt with my computer propped up on a box.

Ah, but then this is the eye of the hurricane. At the end of next week, we'll have the other half of the saga. Moving into the new house. Going from a cramped 4-room bungalow to a spacious two-story house with garage and workshop. I won't know where to put anything....

Now, let's just hope my back holds up!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

blogging break

With our upcoming move and all the chaos that comes along with it, this may be my last chance to blog for a little while.

First, some knitting news. Some actual knitting news! I'm making good progress with my new tam, using the yarn from Bear Farm in Burdett, NY. The colors are so gorgeous in their natural woolly brown and woolly tan, with a touch of red to spice it up. Pictures to come....when I find my camera again.

Other knitting news--I was in the mall the other day and wandered through the Discovery Channel Store. The store is closing soon and is selling everything at rock-bottom prices. They had a toy knitting machine similar to this one:

...for $6, so how could I resist? I took it home, wrestled with the nasty eyelash novelty yarn in the kit, gave up and started using some variegated yarn I'd bought in England years ago, and before I knew it, I had knit a 6-foot tube!

Now, I don't know what I'm going to do with tubes--they're too small for hats (despite the fact that the instructions say you can make hats--they'd be too small even for infants.) But I could make lots of skinny scarves, or perhaps braid a bunch of skinny scarves together? Wind them up as a turban? Whatever, it's fun, and boy, is it fast!

Of course, there will be no substitute for hand knitting. Never!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

stress, but a good kind

There's no such thing as moving house without stress. Especially when you're selling a house in one state, buying a house in another state, and coordinating a move from one state to another, while working a corporate job and taking care of kids and cats.

Deep breaths. Take lots of deep breaths.

We're heading into the final days of the house-buying journey. All we need is for the title work to be done and the closing to be scheduled. But then I found out today about a 2-week delay in the title work that makes our schedule just a little too tight for comfort.

Need to find out more information, take more deep breaths, and remember that it will all work out.

We're also so close on selling our house here. After lengthy negotiations with the buyers, we should be signing the purchase and sale agreement today.

Knock wood, cross fingers, more of those deep breaths.

Then there is all that packing to do. We have ordered and received our packing materials--boxes of all sizes, packing paper, etc. Now, of course, those materials are in the middle of the living room, making the house feel even smaller and cramped. I've packed a whopping six boxes so far...

It'll happen. We have time. Not much, but we do have time.

And today? My going-away lunch at work, then Douglas's checkup, then dinner at the Rainforest Cafe (my kids' favorite). Somewhere in there, I need to figure out how to go sign the purchase and sale agreement, which is due today. I need a few extra hours in this day....

It will be so nice once we've moved and settled in.
It will be so nice once we've moved and settled in.
It will be so nice once we've moved and settled in...