Sunday, October 31, 2004

Plans A'Changin'

Originally I'd planned to go down to the Knitters Review Retreat and stop by to see my cousin afterward. They her surgery was scheduled for Thursday, so I thought I'd go see her first, then go to the retreat.

Then I remembered that the kids don't have school on Thurs or Fri (here in NJ they have a total of about 14 school days in Nov with holidays and teacher conferences, etc.) and - not having a nanny - I figured I'd take them with me to WV then on to VA.

Then I remembered that my cousin's immune system would be drastically reduced (d'uh! I can't believe that slipped my mind) so now, instead of going to WV, I'll just go straight to VA - but with the kids.

The only time I firmly CANNOT be with them is during my class, but they've amused themselves while I've taught before, and I can probably get them to color in charts for me during the class.

So off I go to VA with the kids - actually looking forward to it quite a bit because I've missed them so much this summer in my various trips away. While I'm gone Gerry's promised to either rip out the ceiling in the basement to prepare for my "studio" or to take down the broken light fixture in the kitchen, replace it and paint the kitchen. I vote for the basement, but whatever he does will be fine with me.

The kids had an amazing Halloween - what a night! Balmy, warm and breezy - perfect. I sat on the front steps, knitting and passing out candy, and a neighborhood black cat came and sat next to me (my two cats LOVED that.) Our little visitors were adorable - sweet little princesses and witches, power rangers and vampires and a few M&M's (I made sure to give them little packets of M&M's.) One of the dad's who was taking his brood around stopped to chat and we agreed that this is one of the best nights to be a parent!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Recovery

I was explaining to the kids the other day why sleep is important - that it's necessary to help our bodies store up energy and rebuild cells that get worn out during the day.

I am in need of rest. Moreso than usual, which is to be expected given the Summer / Fall schedule, but it's bumming me out (man).

I found myself having a tremendous meltdown yesterday over silliness - technical silliness. I used to be a little smug (moi?) about my ability to comprehend any kind of electronic or computer problem and - if I couldn't solve it - at least I could dig until I found someone who COULD help me.

Part of that I chalked up to being on a Mac (very intuitive) and it was also partly due to the fact that my undergraduate school insisted that EVERY student take computer programming (this was in 1978) and it was a wonderful grounding for getting through the techno 80's and 90's. I had one of the first "portable" computers - a huge behemoth weighing 28 pounds with a screen the size of a slice of bread. Jeez - remember those huge old cell phones?

But I digress... Back in my day...

I can understand so well what older folks experience as they sense their world is shifting - things just aren't how they used to be. Recently Gerry replaced our cell phones with new ones (photo phones!) but I can't seem to wrap my mind around the new phones and keep turning the ringer off by mistake (therefore missing a lot of calls...) A small annoyance, but part of the whole puzzle.

I miss my family that has gone ahead - I miss being able to send a snapshot of the kids to my brother, or talk to my mother about Hannah's halloween costume. That's another big change this year that has altered my own sense of reality.

My own mind seems so cloudy quite often, I have to fight through a haze just to remember where the car keys are, what time the kids get home from school or if I've showered. Somehow I'm able to shove all of the fogginess away and rise to the occasion when I go away to teach for a weekend or have a class, but then the fog surrounds me again when my "on time" is over. I have ideas for books, and I've been working on them, but suddenly jumping the technical (and personal) hurdles to get them finished seems so much greater than it did a year ago.

I think I need sleep.

The major change in the past week that has me totally upside down is that Gerry upgraded me to OS X.

I asked for it - I wanted to subscribe to audible.com and after I paid my fee and downloaded the software I discovered that I needed to be at OS X or greater if on a mac. I'd been toying with the idea of an upgrade for a while - but I was SO happy with my old OS 9.2 - it was a hard decision to make.

While I was in Rhinebeck Gerry upgraded me, but in the course of the upgrade he somehow dragged some folders somewhere and they were destroyed - he's not really sure what he did and he feels like sh*t over it - but I lost ALL of my email folders for the past year.

I keep pertinent info in my databases - and I back them up every month so I'm okay with that (those files were fine, anyway!) but I had come to rely on my email to a tremendous extent as my mind seems less and less able to recall specific facts. I referred to past emails to double check fees I'd charged to venues, to refresh my memory about print production timelines and for a thousand other things. Now it's almost as if I had a partial lobotomy, or hit my head really hard and lost a chunk of my memory.

It was especially frustrating yesterday as a billing issue arose over my book - it turns out I do owe a bit more $$ to the printer than I'd anticipated, but not an unreasonable amount. But I lacked the emails that I would usually refer to so that I could wrap my mind around the problem.

As those of you who read my blog know, I've become so visual in my memory that when I'm on the phone I have a tremendously hard time having a conversation unless I take copious notes while talking. My friends laugh that when they call if sounds like they're calling the LL Bean ordering center because they can hear the computer keyboard clicking in the background!

So now I have to re-create that part of my "memory" that is missing. Gerry's been furiously downloading applications that promise to "recover" lost files, and I think he's found a file with a lot of my emails all together in it, but there's so much computer garbage to parse in order to make sense of the file that it's a huge mountain to contemplate. I'm glad I have a few weeks off.

As bad as the loss of the business stuff - which is bad enough but can be recreated somehow - is the loss of the artistic stuff. I'd written chapters of books and had sent them to folks to look at, or just had them as "drafts." I'd spent hours searching for the correct emails for certain editors or illustrators that I want to work with - now they're gone (until I can recover them somehow) I've lost entire threads of correspondence with agents, editors, fans - and it's rough.

I used to rely on the "fan mail" that I'd get every now and then to pep me up when I had a hard day. Now it's all gone, and I miss it. The first email I got after I reinstalled my email was from a woman who was in one of my Rhinebeck classes and purchased my book - and likes it a lot, but wrote in a rather bald way,

"I am particularly glad that I bought your book, even though I did pause at the graphic and aesthetic poverty of the book - Rude, but true."


And she's right. And I can't let it paralyze me.

Part of me feels that this kind of casting off is a good thing in the long run - it keeps me from being too much in the grip of small minded details and forces me to face the big picture - but right now I'm annoyed and overwhelmed. I've lost the chance to rip out and reknit - I have to start all over with a new ball of yarn.

The absolute worst of it is that I had saved all of my mom's emails from the past year - but hadn't archived them or anything. Now they're gone, too. I had a good cry yesterday.

In the midsts of this yet another rejection from Vogue arrived. Rejection, rejection, rejection. Creative knitting sent back all my stuff and I just don't have the heart to submit anywhere for a bit. I'm sure that's why I blanked on Alison's sweater yesterday and said it was in FCEK - my own subconsious sour grapes. My wheels are spinning so hard, but I need some sand or a piece of cardboard so that I can get some traction (those in the midwest will understand the reference...)

But wait...

A very kind reader sent me this photo of the crocheted sweater she made for a friend's daughter. This is the kind of stuff that makes me feel so happy. Her colors are so great - he work is lovely and her friend's daughter is VERY lucky!

Since I've lost so much of my research on fiber fests, etc., if anyone out there has a knitting convention, fiber fest or somewhere else they'd like to recommend that I contact, I'd be happy for the information - email me and let me know the contatct and date info!

Likewise, if anyone has a knitting magazine they feel would benefit from a submission by me (hee hee) drop me a line and jog my memory!

I'm leaving next Wed with both kids to go visit Jan in WV for her surgery, then we'll continue on to the Knitters Review Retreat in VA. The kids have two days off from school, and it will be a good time to give my cousin some support. Gerry will meet us in VA and take the kids so I can teach over the weekend without worrying about watching two wild redheads!

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Monday, October 25, 2004

VERMONT Redux

Finally - after a day of sleeping I can tell the tale of the tremendous weekend retreat in a place called Mad River Glen.

First of all, I was thrilled to be able to travel with Alison (our esteemed instructor of finishing - check out her beautiful lace sweater in the current Vogue Knitting - Karabella yarn section...) and Eileen, a student of mine, up to Vermont. We left on Friday morning and drove up through NJ, NY and into Vermont listening to Elvis, They Might Be Giants and someone's aunt singing along to a karoke mix.

Arriving at the lodge - way up on a mountain outside of Waitsville in northern VT, we discovered Maggie (my co-arranger of the retreat and the member of the Ramapo Ski lodge who allowed us to rent most of the rooms in the building for the weekend) and some of the other attendees had already arrived.

We unloaded the HUGE containers of food that I bought at Trader Joes - yes, I could pretend that I can cook, but why bother? I knit, that's enough...

As more and more folks arrived - some from as far as Oregon and Idaho - we began preparing our dinner and mingling - drinking wine - chowing down on bruschetta and becoming friends.

I was amazed at the spread we had on Friday - I expected folks to bring some pot luck stuff, but everything dovetailed so nicely. It was a great evening, topped off with amazing apple pie (Maggie's) and the worlds most delicious raspberry brownies (Marna's) One of the continuing glories of the weekend was the fact that Marna - a trained chef - stepped in repeatedly to whip up some delicious vinagrette or toss something together that brought the meals to completion. Thank you!

Friday night we sat and (guess what?) KNIT! While we knit, we played a lying/truth telling game. For the record, I have NOT met President Clinton. And Mary Louise is NOT a nudist. The rest you'll have to worm out of the attendees. More wine was drunk, more tea was made, more chai was imbibed.

Saturday we had a bread, yogurt, granola type of breakfast and a full day of sock knitting classes (challenging) and knitting with wire class (fun!) with just about everyone finishing their baubels that afternoon. I'd figured that Saturday night most folks would want to investigate the local restaurants and get out, so I hadn't made plans for dinner. However, my frugal and thoughtful attendees determined that we had just TOO MUCH good food to waste, so we put together a dinner of leftovers, soup and more bread. Lovely!

Afterward we had some chocolate chip cookies, knit some more, finished up necklaces and just became better friends. I have to say I was gratified and a bit amazed (as always) at what wonderful people knitters are - how well we all seem to get together when our hands our busy and our mouths are full!

Sunday I was finished teaching - it was Alison's turn to demonstrate finishing techniques in a type of hands on workshop while I packed up the car after making some scones (they were great - thank you King Arthur Scone mix!) It was wonderful to realize that I had about half of what I'd brought - we'd eaten the other half! THIS is the way to pack for a return trip!

One by one folks left to drive home, or go off to a hotel to stay overnight before flying back to the West Coast. I wasn't the last to leave - I left that distinction to Maggie and her ski buddies - I was chomping on the bit to get started because I wanted Alison to be able to catch a train at a decent time to get home to Queens.

The one sad part was that one of our attendees wasn't able to make it due to a family emergency. I certainly understand those! We missed her - and I spent some time on Friday night worrying that she was lost on the mountain! I'm hoping that we'll be able to see her at future retreats, and I'll be sending her the materials from this retreat so she can fix a big pot of soup, make some raspberry brownies, pour a glass of wine and try to recreate our fabulous weekend!

It was so much better than I had any right to believe it would be - and it was entirely due to the wonderful attendees! Thank you - all of you - so much!
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Sunday, October 24, 2004

HELP!

I've spent a good part of the last week trying to recover email files that have been deleted in a system upgrade (Gerry was being a sweetie, but trashed some very valuable files that I rely on to a tremendous extent...)

Anyway, if I've had any business dealings with you in the past year, the chances are good that I've lost your emails - and even worse, I've lost your email address...

If you're reading this and you've emailed me in the past year - and it was an email that was substantive in a business sense (not just, 'Hey - how are you - love your sweater!') PLEASE send me a copy of that email (or if you don't have the original, send a new email) so I can snag your address, add it to my address book so I'll have some way to get back in touch with you!

NOTE: If I'm scheduled to teach at your yarn shop or fiber festival in the next few months, please EMAIL ME or get in touch with me, just to verify! I keep all of my information in my datebook, but some info may have not been transferred from email to calendar before the surprise loss of data.

Pass it along - thanks!

Retreat

It was spectacular! What a lovely group of women, what a great lodge, what WEATHER! We knit a lot - ate a LOT - walked a bit and saw some shooting stars! HUGE Thanks to the Ramapo Ski Lodge for hosting us, and for Margaret for helping put all of this together - THANKS!! I arrived home this evening after dropping off one of the teachers (okay, I was the OTHER teacher...) and one of the attendees who rode up with me, and BOY was I glad to see my kids and husband!

Being away so much takes it's toll - and it seems that when I get home I'm in such an enervated state that I am jumpy, ill-tempered and exhausted. I need a few days to get back on track. The email garbage has NOT come at a good time, but I'm hoping I can at least recreate my address book.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Touchy touchy...

Yes,the yarn in question is Touch Me - and I haven't really had the worming and bias problems that others have had when I've worked with it in the past.

I think partly this may be due to the way that I knit (I tend to twist and wrap my yarn less than a Western knitter, perhaps extra twisting contributes to the worming?) I also knit Touch Me rather tightly (I'm working this garment on size 6 & 7's when the label calls for needle size 7 - 9) and I'm careful to work up Touch Me in a stitch pattern that corresponds to my Commandment of Flat Fabric

"Thou Shalt work in a stitch pattern has the same number of knit & purl stitches over any 2 rows when viewed from the public side."


So, having said all that, I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath that there's no worming, sliding, biasing or other unattractive results of my work.

Retreat!

The car is being packed up, I'm getting ready for the trip - today I check the fluids, clean the car and send out last minute emails to attendees. I'm so excited I could plotz (check Yentela's blog for assistance)

It looks as though we'll have 15, which is the number I was aiming for - so I'm very happy! I like the smaller groups - more chances to get to know folks, more bonding, less chance of being lost in a crowd.

I'm also in the process of filling out forms submitting class proposals to <TNNA and TKGA. If any of you who have taken classes with me feel I'd be an asset to these venues, please contact them and let them know you'd like to take a class from me. It couldn't hurt!

Tonight is my beginning class - the extra large one - and we'll be starting some of the students with their technique sampler bags. Wahoo! This is always such a great project, and so much fun for those who don't quite understand how much they really CAN already do! Once they have the knit and purl down, the possibilities are endless!
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Touchy touchy...

Yes,the yarn in question is Touch Me - and I haven't really had the worming and bias problems that others have had when I've worked with it in the past.

I think partly this may be due to the way that I knit (I tend to twist and wrap my yarn less than a Western knitter, perhaps extra twisting contributes to the worming?) I also knit Touch Me rather tightly (I'm working this garment on size 6 & 7's when the label calls for needle size 7 - 9) and I'm careful to work up Touch Me in a stitch pattern that corresponds to my Commandment of Flat Fabric

"Thou Shalt work in a stitch pattern has the same number of knit & purl stitches over any 2 rows when viewed from the public side."


So, having said all that, I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath that there's no worming, sliding, biasing or other unattractive results of my work.

Retreat!

The car is being packed up, I'm getting ready for the trip - today I check the fluids, clean the car and send out last minute emails to attendees. I'm so excited I could plotz (check Yentela's blog for assistance)

It looks as though we'll have 15, which is the number I was aiming for - so I'm very happy! I like the smaller groups - more chances to get to know folks, more bonding, less chance of being lost in a crowd.

I'm also in the process of filling out forms submitting class proposals to <TNNA and TKGA. If any of you who have taken classes with me feel I'd be an asset to these venues, please contact them and let them know you'd like to take a class from me. It couldn't hurt!

Tonight is my beginning class - the extra large one - and we'll be starting some of the students with their technique sampler bags. Wahoo! This is always such a great project, and so much fun for those who don't quite understand how much they really CAN already do! Once they have the knit and purl down, the possibilities are endless!
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Knitting Cocoa

Here's what arrived yesterday. I'm working up a sort of opera wrap with sleeves (based on an 19th C design) for Interweave. It's like knitting with chocolate velvet. Yum.

I'm working it up in a cool texture pattern I made up - it's reversible, and after washing I'm hoping it will have the feeling of antique velvet (without the dry rot.)

Today is devoted to organizing food for the retreat - off to some of my favorite shops for some goodies. Yum.

I just made cream of wheat for Hannah for breakfast. She's home today, so she'll be accompanying me on my travels. Cream of wheat - Yum!

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Late Monday Update...

I won't be making it to Starbucks tonight as Hannah is not well and I need to be with her. I've been away all weekend, I teach tomorrow, I have a meeting on Wed and I teach on Thurs. Leaving on Friday morning, so I can't in good conscious be away this evening with my girlie not feeling well!

I'm BAAA-aaack!

It's really good to be home - but what a great weekend we had!

Rhinebeck was just lovely this weekend - my favorite kind of weather. Crisp, cool, breezy and rainy at night. LOVE it!

I stayed in a very nice B&B in Red Hook, spent lots of time with my friends from Spirit Trail Fibers and taught 5 very fun classes.

The largest class had 16, the smallest only 4, but most of the classes had 12 or more students. I think 99% of the students had a great time (one woman left my colorwork class - I found out later she'd been expecting a class in Domino Knitting - oh, well!)

Now I have to gear up for Vermont - and also make this week's classes interesting and fun. I'm happier than ever that I made the decision to spring for a cleaning lady as it's one less thing to worry about as I prepare to be away for 3 weekends this month.

I came home to my improved mac, with a bit more memory and OSX installed. Thta means a re-work of MANY applications, including my email application. This part is rough - we're hoping that all of my previous emails haven't been deleted, as well as my address book, etc., but there's a chance that it happened as my husband was installing the new stuff. I'm also furiously trying to get the SMTP server to work so I can send mail. Receiving, not a problem - sending, more of a difficulty.

I'm using Eudora (switched back from Outlook) so if any mac-heads out there on OSX with Eudora have SMTP tips, I'd be happy to hear them. Except, I can't write back - at least not for the time being...
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Friday, October 15, 2004

I'm OFF!

Last night was a REALLY good class at the adult school! I am not ashamed to say I was filled with trepidation, fearing that only 4 students would actually come back - or that everyone would come in with knotted balls of yarn and no knitting done!

Out of 17 students, 13 came back - this was after a first class where I barely had 10 minutes with each student and then a skipped week due to the odd Adult School arrangement (last Thursday was 'back to school' night at the middle school, so we couldn't meet). Of course, I didn't KNOW that we weren't going to meet for the 2nd class until I showed up to teach the first class. As a friend said, it was giving the students a license to flee and never come back.

But they did! And everyone knitted over the break! Many purled! Some even ribbed!!! Last night I showed 3 how to cable without a cable needle, I assigned them to show 2 more. I assigned 2 of the good ribbers to show 3 others how to rib and matched up a good, confident purler with a very good but less confident purler so they could both benefit. Everyone left having learned a lot, and the enthusiasm was palpable!

I'm literally on my way out the door (standing as I write this) to go up to Rhinebeck. I cannot wait! I'm seeing good friends tonight from Knitters Review (including Jen from Spirit Trail Fibers) and other mid-atlantic cohorts. I'm hoping to see two good friends who have had babies since I last taught or saw them - BABIES! And I have all day Friday after I arrive to stroll with no teaching duties!

The only thing I'm vaguely concerned about is that my increasing/decreasing class only has 1 student. Bummer. It's going to be a REALLY good class - I just rewrote the booklet and it will be fabulous. I hope a lot of folks sign up at the site. I need to think of a sexier name for the class!

While I'm gone, check this out!
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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Breaking 15,000!

Okay, so it's not earth shaking, but my Amazon Rating is now 14,101. I started below 36,000 a few months ago.

It's not as terrific as Stich & Bitch, but it's better than a lot of books (14,100 to be exact...) and many of them are knitting books!

Ah, it's the small things that make my day. Of to mail some books, pick up some class handouts and enjoy the autumn weather!
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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Beautiful Weekend!

Gerry was away this weekend, and we missed him - but the kids and I had a great weekend even though he wasn't here to enjoy it with us!

We went toWaterloo Village - an historic village in western New Jersey - and although we loved the buildings, the canal, the grounds and especially the sheep and the spinning/knitting docent, we had a hard time hearing ourselves think over the rock band that was playing. They'd advertised a "Harvest Festival" on the internet - silly me, I thought that meant candle dipping, pumpkin carving and maybe corn husk doll making. Little did I know it really meant inane FM Radio "soft rock" station sponsored trivia quizzes, rock bands and competing canned music from the aforementioned soft rock station van.

Soft, but not quiet.

Both Hannah and I started to get a headache from the noise - and I hated the fact that all these guys were chugging beer and making unnecessary comments about some of the girls strolling around - not really what I'd expected when I drove the kids up there. Having said that, it's an amazingly beautiful place - and when we were out of range of the rock music (it was impossible to get totally away from it) then it was a more peaceful visit.

I love rock - don't get me wrong - although my tastes are probably a little dated (The Pretenders, Joan Armatrading, Elvis Costello and TMBG are my faves) But it wasn't what we'd expected. Oh, well!

We also saw Shark Tale this weekend, which I thought was cute - the kids really loved it. We hung around together on Sunday and I knitted quite a bit over the weekend. I finished a poncho for Hannah for her birthday, and I'm making one for her best friend down the street whose mother is always dropping off boots, shoes, outgrown pants and other boy stuff for Max from her nephew. We reciprocate as we can!

POLITICAL
As a teacher I deal with a lot of different folks with different political outlooks, so I avoid being as political as I'm inclined because I don't want to put a student (or myself) in an uncomfortable position. However, after the first prez debate I overheard a commentator calling the prez Furious George, so I worked up this little political cartoon doodle thingie. I'm not selling it, I'm not putting it on T shirts, but it is a free expression of my own twisted little form of speech.

And speaking of debates, Paul Krugman has an excellent short piece in the NYTimes today on what to watch for in the debate on Wednesday, and what facts to have checked in advanced to keep from being hoodwinked. Want some wood? Enjoy!
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Friday, October 08, 2004

Gearing Up

I'm getting myself prepared for the marathon that will be late October / early November.

First I have Rhinebeck. I'm revamping the books I use for my classes (I always do corrections on them after a class when I realize that a certain point can be clarified, but this time I'm reworking them visually, too!)

I'm making an executive decision to have the booklets printed at Kinkos so THEY can do the stapling. It's a few more cents a booklet, but it will be a huge weight off of my mind!

Then I have the retreat! I'm sending final numbers into the lodge to reserve space. We still have some openings in case anyone's interested. My thinking was that as October rolled around folks would begin to yearn for a get-away, and those who hadn't planned for Rhinebeck, Stitches East or Knitters Review Retreat would like an option. If this is you, check out the information on the retreat!

After the retreat I have the Knitters Review Retreat and the subject is chart reading. A subject near and dear to my heart, as many folks know. I love the democritization of knitting through the use of charts (it doesn't matter HOW you knit as long as you follow the chart symbols!)

But I also realize that charts are a great stumbling block to many knitters who are used to written out instructions. This will be a chance to guide some of those very good knitters over this hill so they can open up their knitting vista!

Then on to West Virginia to be with my cousin for her surgery. I'm not sure how long I'll be there, but I must be there.

Halloween comes in somewhere - and I have to think of costumes for the kids. Max wants to be a dementor from Harry Potter (easy!) and Hannah wants to be - shoot, I have to ask her!

Cold report - still here. Still sneezing. A-choo!
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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Biz Cards!

I ordered some cards - I figured it was time to eschew the home printed on vellum ones I'd been using for a while.

Here they are...
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Monday, October 04, 2004

Grand Day!

Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes for Hannah - and who encouraged me to take Maxie with us - what an AMAZING DAY we had!

We walked to the train station so we wouldn't have to deal with parking (and a possible ticket...) It was a lovely Autumn Day - cool and sunny - and we stopped for a donut and chocolate milk (coffee for mom) before we caught the train to NYC.

On the way we met a lovely family, the two kids attend Solomon Schecter Day School, which was closed for Sukkot. Han and Max had a great time bonding with the two kids, reading to each other, looking out the window - kids stuff. We exchanged emails so hopefully we'll be getting together soon!

Our first stop in the city was to a bead store to buy some elastic and a few items I needed. The kids were so well behaved! Then we took a cab down to the bowling alley (what fun THAT was - the kids loved the mini-van taxi that stopped for us!)

Bowling was incredibly fun! I sat back and let the kids bowl while I knitted - it was actually a lot more fun for all of us that way (they got more bowling time, I got more watching my kids time!) The lunch at the lanes was terrific, just the kind of food an 8 year old wants on her birthday. A private party came in just as we were finishing our meal, and that delayed our dessert by abot 40 minutes (bummer) but overall a great experience!

Then we took a cab up to the Plaza for the special surprise that Hannah didn't know about! Daddy met us there (he works on the East Side these days and gets off work at 2:30 on Fridays) and we strolled over to where the carriages are for rent. On the way a woman from the Disney store asked Hannah if she'd like a tiara and scepter (free - as a promotion) which made her feel like a Queen! When Hannah thanked the woman she told her it was her birthday, at which point she asked us to wait a few minutes, left - then returned with some amazing gifts for Hannah (Princess Barbie, Princess drawing kit, ticket to the "Princess Experience" at the Disney Store.)

To be honest, it's the type of stuff Hannah knows NOT to ask me for at this point - not the biggest fan of the whole Princess/Disney thing. But what an amazing thing to happen to a little girl on her 8th (almost) birthday! It was so great because it was totally unexpected - and not too much, just right.

Then we picked out a horse and cab, climbed in and had such a lovely ride around the bottom part of Central Park. It was so great - I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it! So touristy, and so much fun! To be in that carriage on a beautiful day with my kids and Gerry was a very special thing.

A walk through the zoo, then a ride home in our car (Gerry has to be at work at 4:00 am, so he drives in) ended a remarkable day!

Every 8 year old should have so much fun - I'm so happy for her!
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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf


Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho



Chullo-licious


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