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November 2015

October 2015

Right Now . . . October 2015

There it goes!  October . . . 

(Alas.  I feel I hardly knew ye. . . )


Here's what's happening for me . . . Right Now.

Watching . . . Grace and Frankie.  I love it!  Lily Tomlin.  Jane Fonda.  Funny and sweet.

Reading . . . In my ears: The Story of a New Name (Elena Ferrante).  In words: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End  (Atul Gawande).  For my heart: Felicity (Mary Oliver).

Knitting . . . Still plugging away on this sweater.  But taking a break right now for a project I can't really talk about right now.  (Sorry.)  (But you can be certain that knitting continues at a snail's pace.)

Listening to . . . Well.  We had a bit of a windstorm this week.  And the weather-folk kept saying these words: the gales of November are coming early.  Which means THIS song has been stuck in my head. . .

EDITED:  Okay.  Since the link does not appear to work, and I have no time to mess with it today, you're all spared Gordon Lightfoot crooning The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  (But I'll bet it's already stuck in your head.)  (Because that kind of song.)

Planning . . . NaMoBloPo.  Thanksgiving.  (Basically, all the November things.)

Needing to . . . Plant. My. Damn. Bulbs.  (This weekend, or I've wasted them completely.)  (I do this every year.)  (It's almost as bad as doing my taxes.)

Drinking . . . Wine.  (Natch.)

Itching to . . . Have my damn bathroom renovation finished!!!  (It's so close now I can taste it.)  (But still not finished.)


Dreading . . . Longer, darker days.  (I hate time changes; although "fall back" is much preferrable to "spring ahead.")

Wondering . . . Where October went.  (Because I don't seem to remember much of it at all.)


Delighted by . . . My new Not-Hunter rain boots!  Waterproof.  Comfortable.  Stylin.'  Affordable.  Canadian-made Kamiks.

Organizing . . . Well.  Getting ready to re-organize my new-and-improved bathroom.  (But Not. Quite. Yet.)


Celebrating . . . Still basking in wedding joy!

How about YOU? What's happening for you . . . right now?


PS - See you Sunday.




Lucky, Lucky Dogs

My dogs LOVE sweet potatoes.  (Jenny, in particular, loves sweet potatoes.)  

Over the years, I've purchased several types of dehydrated sweet potato snacks for the J-pups, with this one being their hands-down favorite.  But they're expensive.  And a bit oversized.  And despite being made with "all natural" ingredients right here in US, they seem a bit . . . overly preserved.

So I decided to put my dehydrator (purchased primarily for harvesting herbs, but capable of oh-so-much more) to use and try to make some myself.  A little research on the interwebs convinced me it couldn't be more simple.

Wash potatoes.


Slice potatoes.


Place in dehydrator.


Dehydrate for about 12 hours (or so).


And - voilà - sweet potato snacks!

Admittedly, not as "pretty" as the Big Boyz . . . 


But just as welcome by the J-pups!


(Cheap, too.)

Lucky, lucky dogs!

Doing it Their Way . . . Perfectly

Last May, I shared this happy news.

Then, one day in July, I got a text:

Mom, if you didn't see me get married, would it break your heart?

I remember swallowing hard, and then quickly typing:

Absolutely not!

Because . . . I firmly believe that weddings should be whatever the couple wants.  Some brides want a storybook wedding with all the bells and whistles.  And some don't.  Some girls have dreamed of being a bride all their lives.  And some haven't.  Some couples want to pull out all the stops.  And some want to save up for a house.  

I think that weddings should be perfect -- for the couple.

(Even when the couple includes my kid!)

Brian and Lauren (now living in Colorado) decided they wanted a "destination elopement" -- private, romantic, meaningful, and picturesque.


They were married yesterday.


On Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.


Just what they wanted! Absolutely perfect.

(I am thrilled.)


Wedding photographs by Alyssa Mc Elheny Photography.


Start Your Engines

November 1 is this Sunday.

You know what that means?  (And I'm not talking about the time change; although that is happening, too.)  In BlogLand . . . November 1 is the first day of NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Posting Month).


Yep.  During NaBloPoMo, many bloggers commit to blogging every day for the entire month of November!


Who knows.  But it's a Challenge.  (And we all love a Challenge!)


This week, Carole asks us for 10 Tips/Ideas/Topics for Daily Blogging in November.  I've done the NaBloPoMo thing a few times in the past (although I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to commit this year).  Here are some tips for making this challenge work for you:

  1. Print out a calendar and plot your posts for the month.  (It's brutal when you're trying to figure out what you're going to say/post at the last moment -- and not much fun, either.  Plan ahead.)
  2. Talk your blog friends into committing along with you.  (Like most challenges, it doesn't feel so hard when you're doing it together.)
  3. Come up with a good mix of longer posts and short posts each week.  (It's not so overwhelming when it's "just a photo" or "just a quote.")
  4. Create patterns for your posting.  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday, and then you have each Tuesday taken care of.  Do Wordless Wednesday ("just a photo") every Wednesday, and #tbt every Thursday.  (If you keep to a pattern, you don't have to feel creative every day.)
  5. Find especially simple and fun weekend topics -- like Saturday Skies (a photo of your sky each Saturday) or Sunday is for Poetry (my personal favorite).  (It's not so daunting to post on the weekend when it's simple -- or something you like anyway.)
  6. Keep to a posting routine.  For example, I prepare my post for the next day each night before I sit down with a glass of wine.  (Oh, who am I tring to kid?  I pour the wine first.)
  7. Carry your camera with you all month so you can capture interesting (or even mundane) things digitally -- and then share them as a blog post.
  8. Combine a weekly topic with something you want to do anyway for maximum impact. (I'm thinking . . . KonMari Monday . . . where I can blog what I cleared out over the weekend.)
  9. Join one of the NaBloPoMo groups for prompts and links and prizes.  (I've never done this as it's just not my thing.  If you like esprit de corps, though, it might be just the ticket!)
  10. Above all, remember -- in the end, it really doesn't matter if you meet the challenge or not.  There are no grades; no prizes; no recognition at all.  It's just for fun -- to get you in the habit of blogging more.  (You might even like it!)

(Oh, geez.  Have I just talked myself into this again?)

How about YOU?  Are you going to participate in NaBloPoMo?  


Join the fun! Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here

The Golden Time (but you know what that means. . .)

We've reached it.


The Golden Time.


Although the neon reds and oranges are really magical, it's the golden color of fall that steals my heart.


My own gardens are glowing gold now.


Pretty much everywhere I look.


It's a melancholy time.  The garden is finished for another season.  It's time to move inside; time to hunker down against darkness and cold.  I'm pretty much ready now.

(Because . . . nothing gold can stay.)


Nothing Gold Can Stay*

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.

               --- Robert Frost



*This was the first poem I ever loved.  (Thanks, Ponyboy.)

Adventures in Rhinebeck


Ask any knitter.  
They'll tell you (whether they've been there or not) that Rhinebeck is all about . . . 






And . . . well . . . now that I've been there,


I can tell you - first hand - that, indeed . . . Rhinebeck is all about . . . 



From the moment you enter (and, really, even before . . . if traffic is heavy over the bridge. . . ) you will encounter lines at Rhinebeck.  Parking.  Entrance gates. Getting IN to a yarn vendor's booth.  PAYING at a yarn vendor's booth.  Bathrooms.  Food.  The lines are endless!  (Really.  People.  You can buy Miss Babs' yarn online.)



It's a Rhinebeck Tradition . . . to knit - and then wear - a new sweater for Rhinebeck.  I did not do this.  Patty did not do this.  (But both of us wore handknit shawls.)  We did see lots of sweaters, though.  Some were really cool.  Some were really horrid.  Some were worn layered with so many other hand knits -- shawls and hats and mitts and socks and scarves -- that you could barely SEE the sweater.  But mostly?  We saw this hat.  It was EVERYWHERE at Rhinebeck this year.



Yeah.  We've all heard about how great the artichokes are at Rhinebeck.  We've also heard that you sometimes need to wait in a line for 45 minutes to get those artichokes.  I'm here to tell you . . . 45 minutes would be a SHORT wait.  We did not try the artichokes.  (Or any other food, for that matter.)  (The lines were ungodly.)  (Just sayin.)



So. Much. Yarn.  So much that even when you SWORE YOU DID NOT NEED ANY YARN . . . you still walk out with yarn.  (You are simply helpless at Rhinebeck.)

Really.  Overwhelming.  After only a few hours, Patty and I felt a little like zombies.


We want yarn!

More yarn.

It was all so much over the top.  

We needed sustenance, so we headed . . . 


Really.  Rhinebeck was a wonderful experience, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to take it all in.  (But, oh man.  I was ready for a beer!)



While in the area, we did a number of other really wonderful things that didn't involve fiber or people or lines (or, sadly, artichokes).

We visited the Eveready Diner for lunch.


We visited the Vanderbilt Mansion . . . where they happened to have gardens.


And we enjoyed unbelievable views of the Hudson River.


What a beautiful part of the world!


Charmed, I'm Sure

After spending a few days with Carole, we met up with Patty (I believe they referred to this as "The Handoff").  The three of us ate lunch at an Indian restaurant in a converted Taco Bell.  (The Taco Bell sign - and the drive-up - were still there.  Which was a bit confusing.)  

Then Patty and I began our Trek to Rhinebeck.


That's Patty, standing at the shore of Lake Dennison -- just down the road from her home in northern Massachusetts.  (Where I also got to meet her wonderful husband, Doug, and Boone, who many of you know already from Patty's blog.  Boone is an absolute sweetheart!)  

(We won't mention the fact that it was snowing just moments before I took this photo.  No.  We won't.)

Before I get to our Rhinebeck Adventure, though (tune in tomorrow. . . ), I must pause to show you the MOST CHARMING rental house ever.  


Patty found it using airbnb -- months and months and months ago.

This house, located in Woodstock (yeah, that Woodstock), was billed on airbnb as "an artist's paradise." And . . . it was!

Here's the studio . . . 


Seriously, this place felt like we had stepped into a photo shoot!

The comfortable and inviting living room (where we DID knit, by the way) . . . 


The unbelievably wonderful kitchen (especially once we figured out how to make french press coffee) (thank you, YouTube) . . . 


My bedroom upstairs (no photos of either of the claw-foot bathtubs, though; not because I didn't try - but because they didn't turn out) (man, those tubs are hard to get in and out of ) . . .


And a screened in porch off the back of the house (but, sadly, it was too frickin' cold to spend any time out there) . . .


Really.  Everywhere we looked, there was loveliness . . . 


Sweet little vignettes . . . 


and whimsical touches.


The placed DRIPPED with charm!  (And, yeah.  That's a garden shed out back.)  (Of course.)


I just kept repeating, "It's so charming!

Over and over and over again.  (I'm pretty sure Patty was ready to choke me if I said it again.)

We were so comfortable in - and so charmed by - this house, I'm surprised we made it to Rhinebeck at all.  (But we did.)

So. Charmed.



Not One Stitch

Back in 2009, when I first started to blog, I never (not in a million years) expected to actually meet other bloggers.  

Over the past couple of years, though, I've had the great fortune of meeting several blog friends in real life.  What is fascinating to me - when I spend real time with these virtual friends - is how true their blogs are to their personalities.  The way they talk; the way they look at life; the stories they tell.  When you meet them, well . . . you're just not surprised.

Last week, I got to spend a few days with Carole.  What a treat!  Carole-in-real-life is just like Carole-on-her-blog.  Warm.  Inviting.  Funny.  Thoughtful.  (With wicked-mad Pie-Skillz.)

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We had a great time together.  We talked and talked and talked.  We shared stories.  We laughed.  We laughed some more.  We had a drink (or two).  And we talked shared more stories.  

I got to meet Dale.  And Hannah.


I got to see a cranberry bog up close.  (So. Cool.)


I got to see the beautiful fall colors along the Satucket River.  I saw Frank Harlow's grave.  I got to ride in Carole's new Mustang (with the top down!).


I got to visit Plymouth Rock.  (The Mayflower did NOT "crash" into it.)  (Just sayin.) 


I got to watch Carole's pie-making magic in action -- and then I got to taste.  (Oh. Man.)
Carole's pot roast, too.  (Let me just say . . . melt-in-your-mouth!)


I got to learn about Civil War history -- and the ins and outs of re-enactment -- directly from Dale.  I got to sit on the deck and sip a dirty martini.  


I had a fabulous time - every single minute.  Thanks, Carole.  So glad you're a real friend . . . from a virtual world.

(But you know what we didn't do?)  

(Knit.)  (Seriously.)

(Not one stitch!)



I'm ba-a-ck!

I'll share stories and photos from my recent adventures later this week.  For today?  I'm going to be busy unpacking and settling into "real life."


This week, Carole wonders what we take with us in a travel tote bag.  Since I'm unpacking mine today, this one is kind of a no-brainer for me.  Here are 10 Things I'm Taking OUT of my Travel Tote Bag today:

  1. Passport (even when doing "domestic" travel; it speeds the security process and means I don't have to dig my driver's license out of my wallet)
  2. Wallet (which has a strap, so I can wear it, too, if I want)
  3. Phone (there's a place for it in my tote bag, but mostly I just carry it around)
  4. "Cheaters" (because I cannot read without them)
  5. iPad (because books, knitting instructions, and endless hours of entertainment; mine's a "mini" so it can fit easily)
  6. Bottled water (it's important to keep hydrated, and especially when you travel)
  7. Knitting project (even if I never take it out of the tote bag, I know it's there)
  8. Shawl (for chilly airplanes, or as an extra layer to wear when the weather turns)  (as it does)
  9. Umbrella (something you need when you need it, y'know?)
  10. Chapstick (because I don't leave home without it)

How about YOU?  What do you take with you in a travel tote bag?


Join the fun! Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here

Rhinebeck or Bust

Rhinebeck . . .

something that is on most knitters' "bucket list."

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Thanks to Patty . . . this is my year!

I leave today, with a pitstop first to visit Carole.

I'll tell you all about it when I return.  


For the non-knitters who read my blog, "Rhinebeck" is the short name for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival -- the largest fiber festival in the land.  It's a sort of Mecca thing . . . for knitters.