Sunday, November 29, 2015

More Gift Knitting

The problem with family gatherings is that you can't knit holiday gifts while you're hanging out. For example, I had to keep these hidden away since my brother was around:

I don't think I've had a photo of these for a while. These Blueberry Waffle Socks are supposed to be done in time for my brother's mid-December birthday. I think I can do it.

Over the holiday weekend, I gave the Green Bay Packer socks to my other brother, and he was thrilled.  Even though he lives in Washington, D.C., he has remained loyal to the Green and Gold. The stockinette socks were boring to knit, but it was all worth to see how much he liked them.

It's odd to think that tomorrow morning the alarm will go off at 5:30 and I'll head back into reality. Oh well, at least it was a great weekend!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thankful for Family

It has been a hectic weekend -- in the best possible way. Both my brothers flew in for the holiday from the East Coast with their families. It was amazing to be together. Every minute was precious.

I didn't capture everyone and everything on camera, but here are some of the people that make me grateful.

Up first, are my daughter, Rachel, left, who is home from grad school in Miami, and my niece Rebecca from Washington, D.C.
My brother Mike, more famously known as Rebecca's dad, and my mom (apologies to Mike's wife Mary, who didn't make it into any of my pics):
My dad (can you believe he's 83?):
My nephew and niece (and siblings), Theo and Jennifer. Theo is in 5th grade in Williamsburg, Va., and his sister graduated from Davidson College in May and is now a consultant in Los Angeles:
My brother Eric (a.k.a. Theo and Jenn's dad) and his fiance Nancy:
Nancy and her son, Robbie, who is a high school sophomore, just like Rebecca:
And my ex-husband with my son Seth, who took a few evenings off from veterinary school:
Yes, my ex has Thanksgiving with us. We have a very cordial relationship, he doesn't have any family nearby, and I don't want to have half the Thanksgivings without my kids -- so it works out. Also, I think it's nice for my kids to share the holiday with both their parents.

We had the dinner in room at my parents' retirement community, and everyone pitched in with the cooking. It worked out very well. I only wish I had taken some pictures of Mike's pies. They looked and tasted amazing.

My daughter flew back to Miami yesterday, and everyone else is leaving today -- which leaves me feeling a bit sad.  When Rachel was little, she used to ask if we could all live together in one big house. I share her feelings. I really, really hate being so far from my brothers.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as filled with blessings as mine.

Friday, November 20, 2015

When Better to Learn to Crochet?

Well, I'm off work today, but not in a happy way (despite the rhyming cadence of that sentence!). Injured by a student for the second time in two weeks. The good news is that neither student intended to hurt me. But this second incident reinjured my neck and back -- just when they were starting to heal!

On the up side, I now have an excuse for hosting Thankgiving weekend in a messy house!

Knitting in bed is one of the things I can do without increasing the pain, so I decided that crochet would probably work, too. And it does. Between this book and YouTube, I was able to figure out the basics. But, as you can see, the scarf is not in progress. I realized a couple inches into it that I had the wrong-sized hook. No wonder the scarf looked so narrow.

Hopefully my house-husband will have time to pick up a larger hook today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Apologies, Socks and a Book

I have so much to apologize for today! I am behind on reading your blogs, and I do miss you! I will get caught up in the next couple of days.

Then there are these horrible flash photos. And I am sure you are very tired of the Green Bay Packer socks. I sure am!

Don't get me wrong. Jaala of Knit Circus did a great job with the colors, but I'm not a football fan. These are a gift. I'm happy to make them for my brother, but they are boring to knit! I am also worried about getting them done on time (Hanukkah comes early this year!), so I'm doing two at a time. I know it's not rational, but I feel like they go faster that way.

I'm about 100 pages into The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen, and it's pretty good. Among other themes, it examines the intricacies of a long-term marriage, which I always find interesting.

So many books are about falling in love or breaking up. In some ways, those are the easy parts. Staying together for the long haul...that's an accomplishment!

Don't forget to Yarn Along with Ginny.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Weekend of Gifts

Gifts come in all sorts of forms, don't they? I spent a lot of time organized and wrapping gifts for the upcoming holiday season this weekend. Hanukkah is frightfully early this year, so I focused on them. It doesn't help that my brothers, some of their children, and my own children all have birthdays in November and December.

I am still making gifts, of course! I can't imagine having everything ready to wrap by mid-November. I suppose someone out there has everything under control by now, but that will never be me! One of the projects I've been working on are these button-covered Altoid tins. I think they are perfect for giving gift cards or money. I have quite a few giftees in their teens and 20s, so I'll be putting these to good use.

I'm not sure I can get the Green Bay Packer socks done in time for Hanukkah. My brother will be at my house for almost a full week for Thanksgiving, so that is a whole week I can't work on them. I'm going to have to see how much I can get done this week. There is a chance that these will be gifts for 2016.
I also received a few gifts this weekend. I went to a holiday art show with my mom and her sister, who is visiting from Seattle and my mom bought me this beautiful yarn bowl:

And I had the pleasure of spending time with my Aunt Natalie. On Saturday night, we all went out to dinner -- and my son took time out of his busy studies to join us. This evening, my aunt came to our house for dinner and I tried a new recipe for Butternut Squash Soup, which turned out to be fabulous.
The weather was mild; I make jewelry with my friend Tsela; and did some meal-planning for Thanksgiving. All in all, it was a lovely weekend.

How was yours?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Short and Sweet Update

It's a crazy busy week: a couple of 12-hour days at school and my aunt is flying in from Seattle tomorrow, so I want to do some cooking.

Zuzu's Petals knits up pretty quickly, as other bloggers have noted. The lace pattern is quite easy to follow on the chart. You can't tell from its current state, but I have just two more rows and cast-off left to do.
I'm doing some more serious reading this days, research for the work I'm planning for the Jewish Artists' Lab, which runs through May, when we'll have a show. Emancipation is about the Jews' battle for citizenship rights in Europe during and after the Enlightenment. I'm addicted to those sticky notes. I love being able to mark pages without writing on them.

I'm joining up with Ginny at Yarn Along.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lazy Weekend with FO

I had a pretty lazy weekend, and I know I am not alone when I say that is an unusual even for me. So many of us are juggling many different demands, even on the weekend. Usually, I judge a weekend by how much I accomplish. By that standard, this weekend was a failure. 

My back and neck are still pretty sore after the accident at school last week, so I didn't actually choose to do so little. I should have been getting the house ready for Thanksgiving, but instead I read, napped, and knit. I did go to an art exhibit with a friend on Saturday afternoon and out for coffee Sunday morning. Mostly, though, I just rested -- and that felt pretty good.

I do have an FO: a finished pair of socks in Over the Rainbow, a gradient stripe yarn by Knit Circus, which just happens to be right here in Madison:
You can knit these, as I did, so that are different -- or start on the same color range so they match.
I love the way the color gradient stripes work out. It made the knitting go quickly!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

From Big to Small

Some weeks are just harder than others. Monday morning, I received a significant neck/back injury at school -- by a student, completely by accident. The student felt really bad and apologized very sweetly. Nonetheless teaching with pain isn't the easiest thing I've ever done.

I am almost done with the Pelerine Shawl that is going to be gift. I feel like I've been knitting it forever.

Even though I haven't quite cast-off, I couldn't resist casting on for a much smaller project, ZuZu's Petals, which is a cowl that looks like a small shawl. I'm using a beautiful ombre yarn from Knit Circus, which has cashmere in it -- hey, my neck is sensitive!
I picked up a novel last night that I think I might be able finish. The first few pages, at least, are written in stunningly beautiful prose.
The Grief of Others is about the effect on a family of a disabled newborn who dies a few days after birth. If the writing stays this strong, I think I'll be able to stick with it regardless of the plot!

I'm joining up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Missed You Dear Digital Friends

It's been about 10 days since I last blogged, a long time for me, and I have missed you all! I promise to get caught up in my blog reading in the next few days. I should have time as I have been laid low by a sinus infection. I'm planning to work all week, but no 10- or 12-hour days!

I can't seem to keep up with the paperwork at school, so that is one reason I've had a hard time finding time to blog. But there have also been some more exciting things going on. For one, I'm part of a year-long project called the Jewish Artists' Lab, and we had a retreat in Milwaukee, which included a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It's such a great building:
There were 65 artists from Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas City. Everyone was friendly and interesting and our schedule was jam-packed. Another place we visited was a new synagogue that's at the very edges of the metropolitan area, which is where I took this beautiful fall photo:

I'm still waiting to get some photos of the group, but at this point I don't have any people photos to share. There were tons of talented people and I felt very humbled to be part of the group.

There was a fun Halloween party on Friday night thrown by the parents of this little beauty:
That is the elegant Ma'ayan, tolerating her dinosaur hat for a few moments as she contemplates my friend Mimi. We had appetizers and desserts and watched "Inside Out." There is something so amazing about going to a party thrown by Ilana (baby's mom) who is the same age as my son! I met Ilana's moms in Lamaze birthing classes so I've watched her grow up.

For Halloween, Keith and I went out to see the movie, "Bridge of Spies," which is good. The recreation of post-WWII East Berlin is amazing. Although the story is predictable, the twists and turns kept us interested. My daughter had a much more exciting evening. She sent this photo:
If you can't tell, the leggings are green and scaly. Her favorite Disney princess has always been Ariel from "The Little Mermaid." As a feminist, I've always been appalled. Did she really have to pick the princess who gave up her voice for a man? There's no accounting for taste! Fortunately she is pretty feminist herself, so I got a kick out of the costume.

I've been doing nothing but garter and stockinette stitching. Thank goodness for Sunday night on PBS!
I was hoping to get the Green Bay Packer socks done by Hanukkah for my brother, but this is how far I am on the first sock. I was done with the leg a few weeks ago, but then I noticed that I had dropped a stitch up near the cuff, so I picked it up for a lot of rows and found out that is not a good idea. It made for a funny-looking, tight line of stitches. I ripped most of the leg out and started again.

So, that's where I've been. Can't wait to catch up with the rest of you!