Saturday, March 31, 2007

Surrogate Sisters

What an unusual and wonderful few days I've had - totally unexpected, lovely and full of love.

I'd been sort of pining for some female companionship - missing my friends back in NJ, missing just shooting the sh*t with some buddies while knitting (not being 'the teacher') and just needing a woman's touch in my life.

I called my cousin Jan last week, just needing to chat while I was in Wisconsin, but didn't get her in and left a message. Life has been so busy, time has been so short, and reaching out to the new, nice friends I'd made in St. Paul was difficult with the last few weeks of travel.

I hadn't been dwelling on it - but it was nagging in the back of my mind that I'd just like to sit and chat with some women friends. Odd how we need that so much. I can only imagine how much Gerry must be longing for some male companionship.

So imagine my surprise when - after arriving in Cleveland, hurrying to the hotel, checking in and rushing over to the IX center, I turned around in my class to see my cousin Jan and her friend, Theresa. SHOCK!

Well, needless to say I bawled like a baby. Grandma always said about us that we could cry easier than we could piss. Well, she did.

The class was great, it was full (36!) and the fact that my cousin - not really a knitter - drove so far to see me was an exceptional gift. It's funny how much it means to me when folks involved in my life in a non-knitting way cross over to the dark side and attend one of my classes or lectures. I felt the same way when Gerry's friend Mike came to my lecture in Rochester, NY. Join us...

Lily Chin dropped in at the end of the class and we finally got to say more to each other than just "Hi!" - we met up with Shannon Okey in the hallway, Heidi and Shannon's assistant Melissa (who is also Heidi's daughter) and had a brief but pleasant little chat. I could feel the chill around my soul beginning to melt as I spent time with women friends. Jan and Theresa & I had an early dinner and turned in early (all of us had been up since 5:00 am.) I usually am terribly boring at these events; I teach, I eat dinner, I crash. It felt good - but tiring - to be able to catch up with my cousin/sister over dinner - what a treat!

Friday was filled with presentations, classes and a whirlwind tour of parts of Cleveland and a delicious lunch with Shannon Okey - I just love her! She's got such a kind soul, and I feel we share a similar energy. It was also great to have a chance to compare notes with such an excellent knit design / marketing mind and bounce some ideas off of each other. That's worth more than I can say. I feel as though I work in a vacuum, touching base with others who share my lifestyle helps me keep a little perspective.
And I had the additional treat of meeting her mom, her cats and her sweet little doggie.

Both J&T were going to be in my cabling class Friday evening, but we all knew it would be WAAAY over their heads. I hated the idea that they'd feel out of place, but a solution presented itself; Shannon was teaching a felting class at the same time as my class, both Jan & Theresa had mentioned how much they'd like to learn to felt, so we switched them to her class (and Shannon may never forgive me!)

After the classes J&T and I gave Lily a ride back to the hotel. We, uh, got lost. It was my fault, and no more needs to be said about it.

We saw a lot of signs warning about horse & deer crossings, we drove down a road called "No Bottom" and learned all about Lily's German ipod. It was amazingly silly and funny, (and Lily will never forgive me...)

The four of us had dinner, giggling and laughing and acting like fools. I'm the youngest in my generation of my family, and before Max & Hannah were born, we didn't have any kids in the next generation. That's a LOT of time for me to spend as the youngest. Usually being the youngest means being the butt of most family jokes, and my family was no exception. But now it's just Jan and me, and we miss the group bantering dynamic. But it felt good on Friday night to be sitting in a Lone Star Steakhouse with a table of women who found my lack of direction highly amusing. I think I needed this!

Saturday - today - I taught classes for the North Coast Knitters Guild, and I worked them HARD! They were a wonderful bunch, and were very kind to put up with my third-day-of-classes fogginess. The were also an exceptional bunch, grasping quite a bit, and really STRETCHING to figure out more!

Book signing at lunch, then more classes, then dinner with Shannon, Heather, Lily and - surprise! - Stephanie Pearl McPhee! She was in town for a reading and Shannon picked her up to join us. We laughed and laughed and laughed all through dinner at the Great Lakes Brewery (amazing salmon!) and once again the company of women was a balm to my soul. On the way we passed a mural of Switzerland, so we all had to leap out of the car and pose in front of it (okay, Steph and I posed, Lily smoked a cigarette and Shannon took the picture. We were like girls let loose from school for an afternoon. Lily was the cool one.

I love my classes, I love meeting students, but I feel a responsibility to be "on", to present myself in a certain way when I'm with folks who are part of a class. This weekend was filled with so many moments when I didn't have to be anything but Annie.

Silly, lost, Annie. That felt very good.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 10 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Back To Ohio

Hey - and I'm not even that far from Cuyahoga Falls!

I love Cleveland - I lived here briefly on an internship with the Great Lakes Theater Festival my last year in grad school, and - ironically - two of the best women I know and consider my best friends are from Cleveland. Must be something in the water... (of course, the water is Lake Erie, so it could be ANYTHING in the water. Just kidding. It's cleaner now than it was when I was a kid in Toledo.)

Speaking of Toledo, how thoughtful of the hotel to put me in a room that makes me think of my hometown! I wish I had warm, fuzzy memories of the town I grew up in, but leaving it was the best Toledo-related activity I did. I'm sure others have much nicer experiences in the town, but when I was a teen there Toledo was known for having the highest suicide rate for folks 18 and under, which didn't surprise me one bit. I think of my first 16 years as being a long, long depression with a few light moments.

Toledo was a place where there just wasn't anything to DO, except hang at the mall (and that was even more depressing than holing up in my bedroom, singing along to every original cast album I could get my hands on.)

Perhaps it was because of my family's deteriorating financial situation, but it seemed that as I entered adolescence we moved from one ugly place to an uglier place. So when I pulled back the curtain on my room I felt like I was - back home.

On the whole, I'd rather be in St. Paul.

Today I teach a Combination Knitting Class at 2:30 at the IX center for the
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo

I have to take a cab over - that's new for me. Usually it's a 6:00 pm class, I'm wondering how this will impact the number of students... I've been averaging 30-32 folks in my classes. But it WILL be nice to be able to crash here at the hotel this evening, NOT at 10:00 like I normally do!

Friday evening at 6:00 I teach Cabling Without A Cable Needle, also at the IX center.

On Sat I teach two classes (a morning and afternoon class) for the North Coast Knitting Guild (at the IX center) with a book signing at the IX center during lunch.

On Sunday I'll be at Fine Points Yarn in Cleveland for a little talk at 1:00 pm. Then I fly home.


Guilt & Worry, LLC*
I'm worried about Gerry. Worried enough that - even though I reworked the front of the Patina dress (I replaced the bronze silk with a light blue/gold silk georgette that complements the darker skirt magnificently!) I'm considering foregoing the PRW audition if he's not in good shape when I get home on Sunday night. He's lost a LOT of weight in the past 2 months, his clothes are hanging off of him and I can tell he feels like crap. I can tell that Hannah's feeling the strain, too. I should be there. The good news is that after the PRW audition I'll be home for a full month, then away for a few days, then home for SEVERAL months. And, there is a good chance that when he finally gets in to see the endocrinologist we'll be able to do something for the Osteo, which is causing him grief.

Would he be good enough for me to go off for the month or so I'd need to be away for PRW? I have no idea.

Our St. Paul adventure was my idea - I sort of dragged the family there - and now every few days I'm leaving Gerry home alone to deal with everthing. Although I love my job - it makes me wonder if I have to rethink what it is I do for a living.
I love to teach, I like meeting so many knitters, I love the designing - but it's a buttload of work for every dollar that I sock away, and means a lot of time away.

I think that's part of my desire to do PRW. Yes, it would be a blast, it would be fun and cool and I'm a ham, I can't deny any of that. But I would love to get my own line of ready to wear, heavy on the knits (hand knits!), or design a line of hand knits for an established fashion company. Could it happen? Who knows... Obviously I'm of several minds on this.

Did I mention I'll miss the first evening of Pesach by going to Chicago. Please, may I have some more guilt with my tsimmis?

*Speaking of LLC, I want to set myself up as one in Minnesota. I was talking to someone about this, they were going to give me a link to do this easily through the state, and I've TOTALLY forgotten who I was chatting with.

Current Knitting
I'm finishing up a swing coat in Lorna's Laces for the TNNA fashion show, and yarn just arrived for a Vogue piece. I'm waiting to hear about some IK submissions, it's been a long while since I've submitted there - just so darned busy! And in my spare time I continue on a few book proposals I'm interested in shopping around to a few publishers.

But my main knitting this weekend is a corset top for me. Yes, I'm making one for myself! I'm using the same silk I used in the Emmy Dress - Classic Elite Playful Weekend - and I'll wear it with a black skirt and black cardigan with my new black heels for my PRW audition.

Yeah, I'll bet I end up going. This guilt thing is a new experience for me.

I just heard a story on local TV about a fire department in Toledo where all the fire fighters had to move into trailers because there's mold at the fire house - 'nuff said?


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 12 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Feels More Like Home Each Time

As I pulled into my garage I thought, "This really IS feeling like home!"

In NJ we'd had almost 10 years in our home, raised 2 kids from babies (one was born while we lived there) and we had a LOT of history in the house.

This is still new. But it feels good.

I'm home, I had a LOVELY time, Ruth of Knitters Treat (
Knitters Treat, PO Box 544, Monticello, WI 53570-0544) is a lovely hostess and if you live near Monticello, Madison, or any Wisconsin town near there you should get in touch with her and get on her email list for future teachers.

Aside from the gracious hostessing, the FOOD is absolutely AMAZING! I had two of the best lunches I've ever had in the past 2 days - just enough food, not a killer load, and so well balanced for texture and taste. Lovely! And a lesser soul than I might just possibly do real damage for a piece of that amazing chocolate raspberry cake. Fudge. Yum.

I drove home - Wisconsin is really quite beautiful! It makes me think of a slightly wilder Ohio (perhaps even a mix of Ohio and WV but with less folks) and stopped at TJ Maxx on the way home to pick up some clothing basics.

A few nice white shirts, a nice, black knit tank top, and a pair of heels that are loafer styled and actually COMFORTABLE! I usually hate heels, I never buy them, but I want to have a pair for the audition next week (!) and these felt SO good - and looked good, too. I love Aerosoles.

So now I'm off to bed - tomorrow is errand running and preparing for Cleveland. Thurs/Fri/Sat & Sun are Cleveland, then home on Sunday night.

Monday a day of driving to Chicago, then PRW audition on Tues, and home on Wed.

And then I'm home for a sustained period... Yahoo!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 6 Comments Links to this post

Monday, March 26, 2007

Grandfather, Heidi Can Knit!

I'm staying in Swiss Purgatory. Actually, not really, it's not even bad.

But it is doggedly and determinedly decorated with murals of Peter and Clara and Heidi, lots of paintings of mountains and a huge hole in the ice machine. Must have been an avalanche.

I can't get internet unless I go downstairs to the business center (you can tell it's the business center because there's a sign that says, "Business Center" and clip art of a 1950's business-man
with a briefcase on the door) In the business center there's a computer, a lamp and a printer. Biz-ness? Biz-YES!

For some reason - evidently known only to Swiss Businessmen - loud yodeling is piped from the speaker in the ceiling (perhaps these are former guests/businessmen, in the 4th level of hell - the yodeling level?) My personal theory is that the music is used as a guarantee that the biz-ness center will be vacant most of the time. I could take about 20 minutes of it before I fled. Grandfather, GRANDFATHER??

Day 2
... of classes for Knitters Treat were wonderful!

With a few new faces, we went through Mutt Luks this morning (a class mostly on a new toe up cast on, using 2 circs, a new increase, a short row heel and a different kind of quasi-elastic bind off), then we moved on to Embellishments this afternoon. I was VERY proud of the class - after the lunch we had (AMAZING!! RUN, DO NOT WALK, TO THE DINING ROOM AT 209 MAIN STREET!)

I wouldn't have been surprised if the attendees would have laid down and napped after the delicious chicken salad and chocolate cake (Okay, for the record, ONE attendee did lay down, but I would have, too!)

The group kept pace, and since it wasn't a huge group, I was able to give everyone a nice amount of personal time. All in all, one of the most enjoyable classes I've taught - we all had such a comfortable, friendly time!

Ruth has done a lovely job of gathering some excellent knitters & excellent people!

I neglected to display some of the beautiful photographs I've taken lately - so here they are!

This is the Bishop O'Connor center grounds on the foggy morning...

And a few photos of the cloister joined as a photoshop montage.

My nightly cocktail of Emergen-C and Airborne - it's kept me healthy so far this year!

The field by Ruth Syber's daughter's house - they have a beautiful piece of land, and this was a lovely Spring evening!

A horse outside of the New Glarus Brewing Company. I bought a sixpack of Spotted Cow and another mixed of some of their other beers. Yum!


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 1 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Excellent Day & Dinner - Then the Fuzz & downhill...

Today I spoke for the Madison Knitters Guild and what a TERRIFIC group they were! I actually gave two slightly different versions of the same talk - an AM and a PM session - and ended both with my favorite finish, a quickie lesson in cabling without a cable needle. The groups were pretty big and very receptive - the only thing I would have changed would have been to have more light (I think the photographer felt the same way!)

It was such a foggy morning - it's fog season! But the grounds of the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center were so beautiful in the mist and the only problem I had finding it was determining the best place to park so that I could get my books and teaching examples inside with minimum fuss. Of course, I parked as far away as I could possibly get - but luckily my luggage has wheels and I was able to get a full tour of the center as I made my way to the auditorium.

In the break between lectures I sat in the cloister area and had a nice knit, listening to my current book on iPod, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, a nice 20+ hours of rich historic listening pleasure!

After my two sessions with the Madison Knitters Guild were finished, I drove down to New Glarus and checked into the Chateau Landhaus. To be honest, I'm a little sad that I wasn't able to stay at the Concourse in Madison another night. I would have LOVED to have explored Madison, and the hotel and continental breakfast were AMAZING!

This hotel is okay - a little Motel 6-ish (I hate it when you can't turn on the light in the bathroom without a loud fan coming on at the same time, and thin shower curtains take a lot of the joy out of a nice, hot scrub) but they have wi-fi (if I go downstairs and sit in the lobby) so I can check my email. I can't send any email, the wifi signal doesn't seem to be strong enough, but I can blog and can always use my webmail if an emergency arises. I'm here for 3 nights, so I'd better settle in...

Today I teach one class for Knitters Treat - the class will be held at the owner's daughter's restaurant, The Dining Room at 209 Main Street in Monticello. We had dinner there last night with some local knitters, Ruth and her son. It was an exceptional meal - so wonderful!

I hadn't realized how hungry I was, but thinking back I skipped lunch, and when I left Madison for Glarus I was so tired that I napped at the hotel and didn't get a bite until dinner. I think I scarfed down my beef (I have beef so seldom - this was AMAZING!) so fast that I shocked the other diners. Thankfully, no one mentioned it... They were probably afraid I turn to one of them next.

As I said, I was just exhasted, so I was happy to drive back to Glarus and wanted to get there soon and pull the blankets up over my head and SNOOZE. Unfortunately, Monticello's finest had other plans for me. When I pulled out from the restaurant (which was near a few bars) I noticed a police car but figured, "I've had exactly one beer and I'm driving safely, I should be fine..."

But as I've learned,
a car with Jersey plates tends to arouse the interest of local police.

So about 100 feet after turning toward the highway I was pulled over by the cop I'd seen earlier, and she informed me that one of my tail lights was out. (
Last summer at the Great Lakes Fiber Show I backed into a wooden barricade and had a minor fender bender. We replaced the tail light that week, and the new one worked fine, but apparently in the past few days it's become disconnected or something. Can there be just ONE detail that I can let slide, please?)

- Oh, right - I'm sorry officer. I noticed that a few days ago, but I had to drive here from Minneapolis - er, St. Paul - yesterday and haven't had time to get it fixed...
- Minneapolis or St. Paul
- St. Paul
- Are you aware that you have New Jersey plates?
- Yes, we just moved from New Jersey to Minneapolis, er, St. Paul.


- May I see your drivers' license and registration?

So I sat in my car for over 20 minutes while the cop, er, officer ran my plates.

- Okay, you can go. You should get that light taken care of.
- [silence]
- Well, have a good night.
- [silence]

I was so pissed that I thought if I said anything the tone in my voice would be harsh. Not pissed about being pulled over as much as having to sit there from 9:10 to 9:37 waiting to be cleared. And I was so tired. Eh, in the scheme of life, not a long time...

So the cop, er, officer got back in her car, I got back in my car, and she followed me almost all the way back to my hotel.

Welcome to Wisconsin.

I've been stopped by the police exactly 3 times in the past 2 years, once in Michigan, once in Ohio and now in Wisconsin. No one can tell me that Jersey plates aren't a red flag to the officers out here. I understand about checking out suspicious vehicles, but jeeze, where was the cop when the huge red truck was tailgating me all the way down Rt. 69 yesterday because I wouldn't go faster than the speed limit on a country road?
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 14 Comments Links to this post

Friday, March 23, 2007

Peace Seeking Missile

I feel like I'm busier than I've been in a long, long time - but most of the business is just the work of keeping the house going, unpacking, moving in, getting settled - you all know the drill - and the knitting business is taking a back seat.

I guess this is how it "should" be - how it usually is for folks - except the knitting business is also the mortgage business. Life throws us curve balls, I guess.

And, as silly as it seems (it would certainly seem silly to me if it weren't happening to me) I also feel tremendously guilty that I'm not able to do it all. I think guilt is non-productive, useless - absolutely no good to anyone. Yet here I am feeling that I'm not doing enough.

And, of course, that kind of thinking just leads to wheel spinning (not the fun kind where you make yarn, either - sidenote: I'm watching ROME on HBO and I notice that one of the women seemed to be using a spinning wheel. Nu??? Her dad just beat her up - probably for time traveling.)

And even less productive? Forcing you folks to read about me feeling guilty for not being more productive. It's a mania, I tells ya, and this is the point when the blog becomes therapist.

Grandma Car
I'm in Madison, WI - and if it weren't so overcast I'd see the beautiful city I've heard so much about. Even WITH the overcast I can tell that it's a wonderful place. Of course, I wasn't aware they were having the festival of one-way streets this weekn (Apparently I've been crowned the one-way princess! Kneel before my lane shifting prowess!)

On the way I stopped at a Wendy's for a chicken sandwich and the girl at the window said, "Wow - my grandma has the same car! Or maybe it's my great-grandma - one of them..." Lovely. God forbid I tell her I knit for a living. I wonder if I can package up this mass-produced pity and sell it on ebay?

I haven't gotten started on the projects I hoped to - the video, the proposal for the new books - I feel so far behind.

So I'm staying at a lovely hotel - the Madison Concourse - I was upgraded because they're full, so I got to go to the Governor's Closet or the Governor's suite or something like that on the 12th floor for some free appetizers and drinks. No more appetizers, but lots of gin and tonic. While I drank I stumbled wandered over to the business center on the same floor and printed out some stuff and called Gerry ("There's a computer in the BAR?" he asks...)

While I was on the computer a group of half-fried business folk staggered past and one asked me archly, "Looking at PORN?" Oh, if only they knew. Knitter's porn - checking out expensive fibers and luxurious knitting cruises. Another guy reached around and peering over my shoulder said, "Hey, she IS! This guy has the biggest - "

- crochet hook.

Worry follows me like that bowl of Cream of Wheat that used to chase the kids on the ads. If you're over 40 you know what I mean - raise your feeble, arthritic hands (if you can) and there's nothing to do but put it to bed. Worry and guilt, two of the most useless things in the world.

I've ordered a really delicious salad - it goes with the gin & tonic - and I'll settle in for some knitting and some Bill Maher before bed. Tomorrow I teach two classes on Combination Knitting, then I drive down to Knitters Treat in Monticello to teach there on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Then home. Then Cleveland. Then Home. Then Chicago (PRW Audition.) Then Home until May. Home.

Hannah REALLY misses me these days, and I miss her, too. She's at that rough pre-teen age when she knows she's being irritating, but needs continual reinforcement that even if she IS irritating, I love her just as much as ever. Which I do. I remember that age so well - it's a hard time.

So here I am in my peaceful hotel room, trying to enjoy my solitude and wishing like all get-out that the kids and Gerry were here making a racket.

It looks like our time here is up...


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 10 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sew Busy

So I decided to go with the entirely sewn dress - of course - because I don't want them to think that I use knitting as a crutch.

I wanted to see how quickly I could get the dress finished, so I timed myself. I started yesterday morning, cut, sewed, basted and gathered while watching the MOST amusing white house press conference.

Then I got word that the books I've ordered from a local printer were ready EARLY (hooray) so I scooted over to Minneapolis and picked up my print order.
I'm so thrilled with the quality of this new printer! It's very good, and the price is pretty much what I'd been paying. I was prompted to look for a new printer because my old printer raised their rates over 30%. This was bad enough, but there have been continual quality problems with that printer, so my new printer that I love is Bookmobile in Minneapolis.

Extra bonus; my CSR is a cute hippy dude - Hannah'd be in heaven - I should take her over the next time I pick up books.

But obviously that cut into my sewing time... I had other errands to run (I know folks here complain about traffic, but driving around here is a pure joy to me!) and got home around 3:00.

I spent the evening sewing, got up this morning and put another few hours into finishing, and now the dress is done. Voila!

The skirt and back are a sheer woven stripe (I think it's a poly/rayon blend, it pulls more than I thought it would...) and the bust area is dupioni silk, which I bought yesterday down the street*. I did a bit of crocheted edging to do some criss-crossing and binding. I pleated the back along the stripes, and gathered the front just below the bust.

Off Time

I don't know how I did it, but I'd convinced myself I had to leave TODAY for an engagement this weekend. Well, I don't. So I have another day here - another day to get stuff arranged for Gerry before I go.

More than his back pain, now I worry about his boredom. He's getting sad, he's in pain, he doesn't have a lot to do - and he doesn't have knitting. Damn. I've tried to teach him in the past, maybe I'll have more success now? Or maybe it will make him feel like an invalid?

He's at that point in bad health when you think you'll NEVER get better, and just getting out of bed seems like a huge deal. I'm glad he's resting, though - it's VERY good for his back to just let it relax - he tends to do too much when he's up.

I wish I could conjure up a good friend for him and Hannah. Max seems to be taking care of himself in that regard with a bus-stop friend who has been over a few times, and the son of a very nice woman I met at Caribou Coffee my first Sunday here. That was a very nice and lucky meeting, as I feel that our whole family made a friend that day! Being out of commission in a new town is really rough - I can tell that Gerry misses his family, too.

I'd ordered a few photo books from Lulu, but I'm not thrilled with them. I am debating going to kinkos and getting nice sized color printouts to put in my portfolio - but the expense is troubling. We don't have a good color printer (I actually don't have my printer hooked up yet...) At any rate, I have time to think about it, and I have several of these photo books which will do in a pinch.

I'm trying to figure what the best thing to wear would be. I don't have much knitted stuff I've made that I wear myself, but I do have that nice vest from Men Who Knit (the grey one) I'm thinking about wearing a black skirt, a white shirt, and that vest. Simple.

I've been trying to get out every morning - taking the dog out. Since he just got a haircut I've been sweatering him up (although today it's supposed to get to 50 degrees - SPRING!) He really likes the sweater, I think - he gets excited when I pull it off the shelf!

*While at the fabric shop I overheard conversation about knitting. One woman, who pooh-poohed the idea of doing a gauge swatch, was irate that a yarn shop had sold her yarn and told her it would be fine for a certain sweater, but when she it was done she found it was so huge it would fit no one she knew. There are SO many things she could have done to help herself, starting with a gauge swatch, continuing on to measuring the sweater as she knit it. But she was really irritated with the shop that sold her the yarn, she felt it was their fault. Yarn shop owners, I feel your pain.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 14 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Watchin' The Clothes Go 'Round

I'm at the laundromat - everyone's having fun...

I'm felting the mitered jacket, and it is coming out beautifully! It's actually not losing much wool at all, but I wanted to do it in a top loader (we just bought a front loader) and, to be honest, I needed to get away to clear my mind.

To further clear, cleanse and clarify, today I underwent a magnificent facial - I think it's my first (at least my first since before I was married...) but it will NOT be my last. Yes, I had a student esthetetist (sp?) from Aveda do it, it was much cheaper than I thought it would be, and I am feeling peaceful and strangely sassy. Could it be the peppermint?

Here at Spin Cycle in St. Paul they have free Wi-Fi - how civilized for a laundry! There are some Somali women folding large pieces of very colorful fabric - beautiful weaves - and they're shrouded form head to toe in similar fabrics so I guess this is their wardrobe.

I was just thinking of that the other day - what must it have been like when the world was such that most garments had 4 corners and you folded them to create your look. What we do now is both easier, and unnecessarily complicated. I'm into the simplification these days - black pants, grey or white shirt, simple shoes. All the better to accessorize, my dear...

Time to run some errands and head home!

Emmy Redux
I arrived home to find the Emmy Dress waiting for me - Thanks Ami! - and when I put it on the mannequin it looked as good as I remembered. It's SO lightweight - much airier than I'd remembered (silk ribbon - lovely!)

I'm debating whether to bring a model with me to the audition, or just drag my mannequin. I don't really know of anyone I could ask in Chicago, and I hate to make someone spend a whole day (hours at least) just waiting to be a clothes hanger. The dummy would be a bit cumbersome to carry, but it's not terribly heavy. Clothing - especially knits - really NEED to be displayed on a body.

Felting Groovy
I did a little blocking on the felted jacket, stitched together a wacky collar shaping and tossed it in the dryer for a few more minutes. It's still wet enough to be much heavier than it should be.

I'm going to let it dry on the mannequin. I'm not sure if I want to take it as my third piece, or if it's just too odd... Knitters get it - but would non-knitters think it's just a clunky, wacky, too-colorful shmata?

The steeking was fun - I stitched before I cut, I don't have THAT much nerve. I need to figure a good closure for the jacket - something silver would be pretty - and I want to add cuffs to the sleeves to bell them out. Decisions, decisions...

After the felting the colors looked so much richer and more - blended (dur...) which was very appealing. I'm not NUTS about the green I chose for the edging - damn.

It's going to take me some hard thinking to diagram the back neck treatment. In the photo the blue lines with the green line running between it is actually the shoulder seam, the diamond shapes with the golden tips pointing toward each other is the collar.

Number Three?
I bought fabric last October that I thought I'd work up as a pleated dress for this audition. A sheer, blue-ish, greenish, silverish, striped fabric with a nice drape. Tomorrow is my day to figure out exactly WHAT I'd like to do with it. I'd envisioned making a knitted bust/bodice for the dress, but I don't want anyone to think that ALL I can do is knit. How vital is it to have one entirely, 100% sewn piece? I'm going to watch "Road To The Runwway" again - thank heavens for iTunes!

Running errands today felt good - mailing packages, making deposits, picking up stuff. It was good to be out. I'm trying to tie up loose ends before I leave on Thursday - with Gerry on restricted activity and the kids still settling in, I hate to be leaving town.

I've decided instead of leaving for a solid 2 weeks, I'll return home between engagements for a quick 12-hour check-in with the husband and wacky redheads. What it costs me in travel time will be more than made up for in peace of mind!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 22 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I've been so consumed with finishing the mitered jacket that I didn't even read email yesterday, let alone reply or blog... Bad on me.

I really SHOULD have, because I had the most enjoyable and welcoming evening on Friday at the Yarnery on Grand street!

I honestly can't remember ever living THIS CLOSE to a yarn shop - and WHAt a yarn shop!

They made me feel like one of the family on Friday (better than one of the family - I didn't have to do any dishes or bring food to the Welcome Party!) and I can't thank the staff at The Yarnery enough for their kindness, for their care and thoughtfulness

And for the GIFTS that they showered on me!! I was absolutely GIDDY with delight walking home wearing my NEW felted mittens! (the pattern is for sale at the shop - I'll find out more about it and post the details here on the blog)

I can't remember when I've been given a hand knit pair of mittens - never? And they are appreciated, necessary and already dearly loved. And they match 2 of my shirts perfectly!

The Yarni yarn is soft, beautiful and SUPERWASH, the Sudoku book made Hannah scream (she LOVES sudoku, I'll have to hide this...), the Blue Sky Guide is right up my alley and the Exploring the Twin Cities with Children seems to be about the best guide we could have received. And a map. LOVE the map!

Thank you so much! I'm only sorry that I was so tired I can't seem to recall names (I'll learn them, I promise - I'm SO darned bad with names! I remember colors of yarn, faces, patterns, even interesting details about each person - but no names...)

The Friday night knitting seems to be a regular occasion, so I'll be there whenever I'm able and I'm in town (which will not be for the next 3 weeks - I'm leaving on Thurs for Madison, Cleveland and Chicago on the way home...)

Time Consuming
Oy, this mitered knitting thing is a time hog and it's annoying me. But it's soooo beautiful. Oh, I can't stay made at you, mitered jacket!
Also, I'm not the biggest garter stitch fan - so much knitting, no purling (which I love) - and it just goes on FOREVER...

I usually don't feel this way about a project, but I've set a deadline for myself of this weekend for this jacket - it's just been hanging over my head for so long - so I'm pushing it. But it IS so darned soft and pretty...
I need to knit like the wind!

Back Redux
So far Gerry's not feeling a lot of relief. A little - I can tell from his demeanor, from the way that he's moving a bit easier and the fact that he's just doing more. But when I ask him, he says that his back still feels about the same. I can tell he's very disappointed - we're both still waiting, but he was hopeful for a more immediate end to the pain.

This whole project runway dream may be coming at a bad time. I was talking with Gerry this week about not doing the audition because of his ongoing health concerns. He says to go ahead, audition, and if the absolute outside possibility comes true and we have to consider the maniac show schedule then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm grateful that he's supportive - but the most important thing is family health.

Craig Is My Friend
For those of you who have followed my love affair with my chaise lounge and sofa set, they are now party of Landy History. After seeing how slowly Gerry's back seems to want to heal, and realizing that not only are the pieces WAAAY too big for our living/dining room, but Gerry can't sit on them, I took some photos of them and put them for sale up on Craig's List.

Within an hour I had 5 folks interested, and by 5:00 money had changed hands and the items were sold. The new owners picked them up this morning.

They're happy, and I'll use the cash from the sale to buy a nice, firm chair for Gerry (we'll bring in our loveseat from the front porch - we're lousy with sofas!) and I'll use the rest of the sale $ to buy some nice upholstery fabric and make slipcovers for the chair, loveseat and rocker. It will look like a million bucks!


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 14 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I received such a nice surprise in the mail today that I cried.

Seriously - I opened it, saw it, and just wept.

Joe - thank you. I cannot say how much this
gift touched me - it's perfect. I love Amish boxes and we all know how much I love copper.

This is the absolutely perfect touch for our living room. Thank you, Joe!

The box was made by Andy Jackson of Harrisonburg, VA (lajax2 at verizon dot net)

It was a gift of Joe Z, On The Lamb Yarns, Staunton, VA (I'll be there in November!)

Backing Up
So far Gerry says he feels no difference in his back. It's only been a day, and they say that although some folks leap out of bed with no pain immediately, usually there's about 3 days of relaxing that the muscles have to do in order to feel the release of pressure.

They also say that the procedure works about 70% of the time.

The doctor wanted to do the procedure by inserting a balloon into a vertebrae and then expanding it, but that wasn't covered by the insurance, so he did the vertebroplasty procedure on both the affected verts. He also said that in about 50% of the cases the balloon doesn't inflate as hoped and the difference in relief may not be measurable.

So we're continuing on our wait-and-see attitude - waiting and seeing and hoping!

I didn't get a heck of a lot done today - I picked up a lot of doggie poop, rearranged where we put our garbage outside - which made me insanely happy, funny how those small things mean a lot - I also finally unpacked the sewing machine. Guess what THAT'S for...

Yarnery Signing
Tomorrow the Yarnery on Grand Avenue (a nice walk from my home!) is having me for a book signing event! I'm so happy and flattered that they're doing this - please do stop by if you're in the area because I LOVE meeting the new St. Paul & Minneapolis knitters! They're hosting Stephanie Pearl McFee in April - I hope I'm around! - I love to hear her speak!

Cut & Color
I had enough of the terrible hair and the wearing o' the bandanas, so today I toddled down to the Aveda Institute (!) and had a nice student haircut and color. It was better than hoped, much better than I expected, and except for the fact that my stylist called Sigourney Weaver an "old time movie star" (!) it was a delightful experience.

Now I look better than I did before I went in. Who could ask for more?

I think my hair goes with my new Amish Box. Just look at the grain on the magnificent box, and how it goes with the woodwork in the house... I'm kvelling...

(oh, and the Land O Lakes box is supposed to be animated so you get a petite peep...)
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 6 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Whilst We Wait

A little peek-a-boo from the land of 10,000 lakes...

Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 6 Comments Links to this post

Wait & See

Gerry's procedure today (it seems odd to call it a surgery) seemed to go pretty well, he was up and walking around a few hours afterward, and now we're home, he's resting, and we'll see in the next few days whether it's had a strong impact on his pain. We certainly hope so.

It's so odd to face this - as minor as it is (I know, pain is NEVER minor - but in the scheme of illnesses there are other folks hurting more...) but what we both have to realize is that Gerry will probably never be the lifting and carrying guy he's always been. Selfishly, I'm thinking about how it affects me - Gerry's the one with the pain.

The experience at St. Joseph's Hospital was so great! Everyone was - no surprise - very nice. The registration process was so different from registrations at St. B's back in NJ for my procedures - the main difference being that we felt like human beings.

After Gerry was settled and had his IV put in, they directed me to a special surgical waiting room which was the nicest waiting room I'd ever seen. It was divided into small room-lets, largeish cubicles, nicely lit and with comfortable-yet-slightly-corporate furniture. Some of the cubicles had recliners, some had TV's, some had kids toys.

We had to be 'on the list' to be allowed to wait in that room - but what a nice and humane thing, to allow folks do NOT want to leave the hospital while their loved ones are in surgery a comfortable place to sort of camp out. I watched a bit of Nurse Betty on TV, then the doctor - who looked 12 - came in to tell me that everything had gone well and we could go home after Gerry'd rested for a few hours.

Did I mention the Valet parking? The $3 Valet parking? The $3 Valet parking which was FREE when they validated the card up in surgery? AND they brought the car around to a different door (the nurse called down for me) that was easier for Gerry to manage.

It's sad that such wonderful treatment is a source of amazement to me, but it is.

And I'm SO glad that we're here to experience it. I'm still sort of burned up that the back SPECIALIST in NJ didn't catch this, and even had Gerry do a few weeks of Physical Therapy (which would NOT have helped this condition) before we moved out here. Sheesh.

I did get a LOT of knitting done while waiting - it's true that you do knit much faster in a hospital. I have to dig out my sewing machine and make up a suit I'm envisioning and an evening dress. I figure for the Project Runway audition I'll bring a sewn garment, a knit garment, and a blended garment with both knit and stitching involved. I SO need a haircut.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 14 Comments Links to this post

Monday, March 12, 2007

Making It Work

Pam's out, Eunny's In

I think it's a very cool choice, although I'm sorry to see Pam go...

It may be hard to remember how frightened folks were when Melanie left for greener, bookish pastures - and how exciting it was to see the change Pam brought - but I remember it well. I love what Pam's done, I love working with Pam - heck, I just love Pam.

I feel very old.
Very, very, very old.
Maybe I'm just getting a cold,
or maybe I'm really, really old.

But obviously not TOO old to bust a rhyme.

Lord help me, I'm delirious. Must be the orange cold medicine. Let's ask Sarah Silverman. (See? A youthful reference!)

So now a new editor to meet, with whom to develop a relationship, something I anticipate with both excitement and a little fear. I'm not exactly a designer that one considers dispassionately - folks either tend to love my work or hate it (which is fine, passion is the soul of knitting!)

But all day the unspoken thought has whispered through my brain, "What if the new editor hates my stuff?"

Continuing on our tour of the overtired, slightly insecure knit designer's brain, on our left we see a pile of half thought out finishing elements. Too bad they couldn't be used on SOME needy design... One our right we see the black hole of Tax deadlines - don't get too close, you may get sucked into an entirely new dimension!

Back Procedure Scheduled
It's amazing how quickly things can happen. Just last Thursday Gerry saw the Intervention Radiologist (it seemed that the room should have been filled with family and friends telling Gerry he had hit rock bottom and HAD to get the procedure), and the actual act is scheduled for this Wednesday morning.

I told Gerry we shouldn't tell the kids exactly what it entails until after it's over - it's the kind of thing that Hannah will worry over and over in her mind - and after hearing about her distraction in school from her teacher today, she doesn't NEED any new worries.

I'll do the worrying for both of us, thankyouverymuch.

Oy. I only run through my worries like this when my energy level isn't high enough to give myself a good, solid 'snap out of it' slap.


Or should I say, Sa - NAP!?
Big news - not quite as big as the IK news, but still big in my own little world - PROJECT RUNWAY WILL BE HOLDING THEIR CASTING CALL!

The closest call to me will be in Chicago on April 3rd (my brother's birthday - a sign?) so I have a scant few weeks to get the sewing machine out and stitch like a madwoman. Maybe I can get the gown I knit for Ami last year...

Probably just as vital would be my portfolio - I have to go dust that off somewhere - or maybe I'll do something high-techy like creating a nice glossy portfolio/brochure and have it printed at Cafepress or something... That might be a nice touch - and actually easier and quicker than trying to FIND all of my tearsheets and get them organized nicely in a folio format. Hmmmm - I may just be up all night...

Well, at any rate, wish me luck! I feel that after so many months of threatening to audition, it would be craven of me to back out now. Let's see if I can actually get anything DONE, though...

It's A Miracle!
Both my daughter and I practically share an eyeglass prescription - go figure. (She, however, does not need bifocals. Have I mentioned that I'm old?)

We found this out when Hannah kept missing writing down her homework and I lost my glasses again (AWOL for a week now), so off we both went to the eyeglass-mart today to get exams and pick out frames. It's been over a year since my last exam, at any rate.

We should have our new specs in 2 weeks (and can I just say that mine are incredibly fashion-designer-esqe) Hannah's not so keen on the idea of wearing them. I could tell she was slightly excited, pushing the, "I will NOT be caught DEAD in glasses!" riff a little too hard.

She liked 2 different pair, it was almost as cheap to get two as one, so I got both and we'll lock one away for that day when she loses pair #1.

She is my daughter, after all...

Fini for Now
I just turned in the last of the crochet patterns I had to write, I'm sure there will be some follow up questions and additional artwork, but now I can devote myself to some book proposals I've been trying to work up - and maybe throw in a little knitting for me?

I was able to get in some solid hours on the long neglected Malabrigo Jacket over the weekend - it's turning into better traveling knitting than I would have thought. It's just so darned BIG! Once again, thanks to Linda at Yarnzilla for help with the huge color picking festival.

One side is warm tones, the other is cool. Which will be the front? Who knows... I'm knitting it as a tube with the sleeves coming off of it, I'll decided which side looks better when I'm finished, steek the darned thing, add some placket-y treatment and then felt it. Long live the supersized washer at the laun-dro-mat.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 16 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lessons Learned in Atlanta

I haven't blogged for a few days - so busy, I'm sorry. But this morning I fly back to St. Paul from Atlanta and I'm so excited to see Gerry and the kids, and I thought I'd finally take 5 minutes to post.

It's been very nice to be back in Atlanta, but I feel like I've hardly left this Gwinnet Center complex for 3 days. Here are some things I've realized while in Atlanta this time around:

  • Folks in Atlanta are very nice
  • Folks here are terrific knitters
  • Lou, Doug and James are great guys
  • Fiona is a most excellent roommate
  • Drivers here are a little - well - distracted
  • Tiredness has a way of catching up
  • I like to teach in pants
  • I need more than a haircut, I need a style
  • Lugging the Men Who Knit trunk show up and down hills with no sidewalks sucks
  • iPod makes traveling much better
  • (I'm currently listening to A Needle in the Right Hand of God)
  • I love biscuits
  • It's hard to teach in low light
  • Gerry officially has Osteoporosis (see below)
  • His doctor feels that Vertebroplasty is the best treatment
  • We're both nervous
  • I can't wait to get home
And that's what I know this morning.

My bags are packed - I just have to get myself down to the breakfast and the shuttle at 8:35. I took a cab here ($80!) so I'm taking a shuttle back to the airport. Then I have another 2 hour trip to get to my terminal (not quite, it just feels like it...) and finally home at 1:45.

The kids both had playdates in the past few days, and from what I've heard on the phone they had very good times. That's a wonderful feeling - I'm glad the kids are making good friends.

I'll post more later when I don't feel so stunned with exhaustion. I'm glad I get to sleep in tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis which don't apply to Gerry
Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:

  • Being female
  • Advanced age
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Being past menopause
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • A diet low in calcium
  • Long-term use of medications such as corticosteroids or anticonvulsants
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 18 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Knitting Clinic

I went to my doctor yesterday - I like her very much. It was a great visit, she feels that aside from some burcitis (how DO you spell that??) on my left knee and perhaps an electrolyte imbalance, I'm probably A-OK. They took blood to check my electrolyte levels, she gave me some exercises to do for my leg pain, and as the amount of physical work here subsides I'm certain that my leg pains will, too!

At one point she asked what I did for a living and I started explaining. Usually when I tell a doctor or some other professional what I do either their eyes glaze over (mostly men) or they get a look on their face like they're talking to the village idiot and say, "That's so NICE that you can make a little money knitting..." Yeah.

But yesterday the reaction was pretty cool. She was actually interested. I showed her one of the flip books and she went and got several other folks at the clinic who are knitters (if you were left sitting half naked in waiting room #3, I apologize) and they all ooo-ed and ahhh-ed over the books and my latest project. That's a totally new reaction for me, and it was, I must admit, quite nice.

Some of them promised to come to the Yarnery on 3/16 when they're having a "welcome to the neighborhood" event for me - cool! It's so great of them - and I still haven't gotten my sad knitting butt to ANY of the yarn shops in town in the past 2 weeks - let alone the one that is now a short walk from my house! (I'm sorry Linda - I promise I'll get out to Yarnzilla soon and show you the progress on the Malabrigo jacket!)

If anyone wants to come by the
Yarnery on Friday, 3/16 in the evening (I think around 6:30 - I'm not sure...) please do! It will be great to see you / meet you in person!

And now I'm off to figure out the inns and outs of my new bank account. I hope I don't humiliate myself by breaking out into the Wells Fargo Wagon song while I'm on line!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 10 Comments Links to this post

Monday, March 05, 2007

Flippin' Brilliant!

(yeah, so I'm shamelessly self promotional - well, it's a damned good idea!)

I figured that flip books would be a common thing, but I'm discovering that a lot of folks have never played with them - so I wanted to make a little video to show how they work. Here it is if you'd like to see it.

Not bad for a little over 3 hours work! I was going to take the sound out, but I sort of like it in the background, so I left it in. I'm also taking the plunge and purchasing ad space in a few magazines and some online sites - it pays to advertise! It would be nice if it weren't true, but sometimes word of mouth needs a gentle nudge. Given my budget, it's pretty much a light tap on the shoulder.

Bones and Other Dense Things
This morning was the first time that all of us really felt like we were sinking into our new routine. The kids got up, got ready, fixed their breakfasts. Hannah checked her new watch and left for school on time, Max checked his new watch and told me when it was time to walk to the bus.

What a good feeling - to begin to be part of the routine. As soon as this cold snap ends at the end of the week we'll take Atticus to get his Spring cut (we have sweaters if it gets cold again...) and get him a checkup at the local vet - his birthday is in April.

There is still SO much unpacking to be done, but it's the kind of stuff that has to be done delicately - I can't unpack it until I actually have a place to PUT it! I did put up a shelf unit in the bathroom, so now our shampoo has a home.

Gerry had a bone density scan this morning - I drove him because his back was really killing him. I never would have thought that my husband would have one before I did, but there it is. We're
getting spoiled by Minnesota. We showed up a bit early for the appointment, he filled out the forms, everyone was so nice, he was in and out much quicker than he'd expected, and we were done. Now we just wait for the results. Tomorrow is my turn with the MN health system, and I'm looking forward to it!

Back home, lots of pattern writing work, catching up on emails, working up a print ad for Flip Knits (to the right - que pense?) a trip to the Post Office, another trip to Ikea, and yet I still found time to make my pre-teen daughter's life a living hell. My work here is done.

So tonight is Heroes - does anyone else think Mr. Nuclear looked like the Geico Caveman? Apparently ABC has a deal in the works to create a sitcom based on the caveman concept. They're going to be living in Atlanta. I'm not kidding.

I'm forcing myself to knit on something that I like - something for ME or a gift item - at least an hour every evening. Gerry took one of his brand spaking new pain pills at lunch and seemed like a new man in the afternoon - yay!

The small things make life good.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 31 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Pax Is Up (long live the Pax)

I got the units both finished, with drawers and clothes racks, at aroundd 3:30. I put as much clothing as I could in Gerry's, and started on mine, but just became so tired around 5:00 that I had to stop. Downstairs for a little TV (Cider House Rules was on - what a lovely movie!) and I took my tired old body off to bed early.

Little by little it's seeming more like home, but today I realized as I was filling up my monthly pill holder that I have no idea where my drugs are! YIKES! I've been living off of my montly pre-sorted supply, just sort of figuring the big bottles of drugs would be where they've always been. Guess not. We'll have some major unpacking today, I guess...

Max was up early with me, we took Atticus out for a walk, picked up muffins at Caribou and some kitchen stuff at CVS, did a little window shopping, then home for Meet The Press.

As I was walking around the neighborhood it stuck me that this area has - at least to me, in my vast 2 weeks of experience - a feeling not unlike Brooklyn Heights. I loved Brooklyn - living there was wonderful, and if we could have afforded it, we would have remained. But we were sort of priced out of it, and then - ironically - priced out of NJ, too. Hmmmm.

This week we'll begin looking into congregations. The two front runners seem to be Mount Zion (nearby, kids could WALK to Hebrew School) and Shir Tikvah (farther away in Minneapolis, but it seems very much like our old beloved Brooklyn congregation) Today - Purim - there's a Megillah reading at both temples and Purimspiels. We may visit both - or just the one nearby. It will feel good to be settled into a Jewish community again.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 4 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I just got the final proofs for the Flip Knits in the mail - they'd been mis-sent to my old address so it took an extra two weeks to get them.


They're SO much nicer than the original proofs (the ones I took to TNNA, which weren't bad - but these are stellar!) and with the exception of one small glitch (the Knit cover and the Grandma Increase covers have been switched - a VERY easy fix in the bindery!) we're ready to roll! HOO-AH!

It's 11:00 and I'm taking a break. I was up early and tore open the PAX wardrobe system to dig out the instructions so I could read them over breakfast. After a walk with Atticus to Wuollets for muffins in the 15 degree morning, and a quick cup of tea, I settled into my job. The scenery, this morning, was stunning. Snow is lovely.

I had the 19" wide frame almost fully assembled before Gerry got out of bed (I think he was just enjoying laying there listening to me grunt and swear - I'd rather have him rest his back anyway!) With some help from Max that frame was finished, and the second started. It took me about an hour each for the frames. The second 38" wide frame was a bit harder, but I knew what I was doing. At one point everyone in the family was in the bedroom supporting some portion of the project (Gerry was supporting me) and we got the thing together.

Now the empty frames sit against the wall, looking for all the world like oversized coffins. I need to make the drawers and install the shelves and clothes rods and we'll be ready to EMPTY THE FRIGGIN' BOXES THAT ARE FILLING OUR BEDROOM! Huzzah.

Rudeness, or Rush?
I LOVE New Jersey. I do. Honest. As I re-read my last post I realized that folks may have the idea that I think it's a state full of rude clerks.

Not at all - it's just a very highly populated area. Folks are in a rush, the average person behind whatever counter has seen dozens and dozens of faces in a day (many of which are probably not so happy) and emotionally it's draining to have contact with so many different energies.

Yes, I do think that a lot of clerks I've met in NJ could have been nicer, but often times I could have been nicer, too. And I think most of them had a pretty valid reason for being so overwhelmed that they couldn't pull out the 'have a nice day' with the same ease folks in less populated areas might be able to.

I just want to make it clear that some of the kindest, most generous and most pleasant folks I've met in my life are living in NJ. I thoroughly enjoyed living in that state, but the feeling that I had to steele myself for any kind of town government exchange, or to deal with many stores, is such a stark contrast to my dealings (so far) with the St. Paul government, the school system, the local shops, the bank, etc.

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

It's easy to damn the NY area as a place of rude folks, but I prefer to think of it as a place of rushed folks. When they take the time (when they HAVE the time) NY'ers are as pleasant and generous and kind as anyone else in the country. Some might argue that with the huge financial burden many carry, and all that is demanded from living in such a busy place, they're actually more pleasant than other folks might be if dropped into the same situation.

I'm glad I got that out.

NJ, I will ALWAYS love you, ya big dope!

Cool Digs
The kids decided to build an igloo, Hannah devised a plan, Max "helped", and now we have a half dug out snow pile in the front yard.
What the heck, it makes the neighbors smile...

Too bad Hannah didn't see what was coming a few seconds after this was snapped. It's payback for the 'snow bath' she and a friend gave Max last winter in NJ.

Now STOP IT, Max, you've had your revenge...


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 7 Comments Links to this post

Friday, March 02, 2007

Warm in the Cold

After 22" of snow in the past few days, the roads are a lot better than I would have thought. They REALLY do know how to deal with the white stuff up here in the Great Frozen North!

I've done a lot of shoveling and digging the car out, but when we looked out the door this morning we were SO thrilled that our kind, kind neighbor had plowed our sidewalk and walkway up to the door. THANK YOU!

The morning was devoted to some computer catching up, making airline reservations and shifting money from one account to another to cover credit card bills. I called Gerry's doctor's office and asked them to please prescribe him something for the pain, which they did, so I ran over and picked it up, did some grocery shopping, dropped off the prescription at the local CVS (where the Scunci is on sale for $29 - I'm so bummed that I bought a stupid old Shark yesterday at Target, I just don't like it as much...) and after only 10 minutes the prescription was filled. Amazing.

Then 6 blocks down the street to the hardware store for some wood screws, then back 2 blocks to the restoration hardware for my favorite hand cream (No Crack in shore, I've been saving up this purchase for a day when I wanted to treat myself!) and home with my treasures. I practically SHOVED the pain pill down Gerry's throat - I hope he can feel a little relief soon.

Hannah's such a help - she met me at the door and carried in my groceries, did the dishes and is just in general so great to have around. Both kids are pulling their weight with the extra work.

Throughout the whole day, every interaction I had with folks was so pleasant, so great! It occurred to me that for 2 weeks now the erosive frustration of trying to foresee what idiotic thing is going to PO some clerk (so that they'd hold up an order or just heave and sigh with annoyance as they helped me) is missing in our lives here. Dealing with annoyed folks was just such a regular excercise in frustration in NJ.

Viva la pleasasnt Minnesotan!

Tomorrow I tackle
the PAX system in our room - oh, and I'll fix the bed that fell today...
Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 11 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 01, 2007

All Home Safe

Max was the last to arrive home on this snowy day, and now we're all in for the evening. We're taking bets on whether there will be school tomorrow (after school stuff was canceled today) but either way I have a doctor appt tomorrow at 10:00 and I'm going to make it.

And we miss Butkis so much. Gigi misses him terribly - Atticus keeps looking for him. Gerry's mom said that he was an "institution"

Gerry's back continues to be a concern. Apparently he has very brittle bones, and Monday they want him to go for a bone density test. He's been told by several folks now that they never (seldom?) see this in someone so young, and a man to boot. He says it's because he's become a house-husband. Who knows...?

At any rate, I can tell he's concerned - I am, too - but more than anything else is the wrenching pain that envelopes him. He didn't ask the doctor for any pain stuff, which I admire - but which I also sort of regret. I don't want him running around doped up, and both of us have substance abuse in our families (so we're on the wary side) but he's really hurting.

What this means in realistic terms for the time being is that I'm doing a lot, and there's a LOT to be done!

I finished two crocheted pieces for a book and took notes on them before I sent them off to the publisher. They're a day late (and the guy at the post office told Gerry that if the airport is snowed in they may be 2 days late...) and I feel bad about that. The stitch pattern is very nice on the surplice top, and when it was finished it had a very 1918 feel about it (fitting in our new 1918 home!) and I tacked the yoke of the dress up a bit in the back in case the model they use is smaller than I anticipated (it will be easy to un-tack if she's a tall model)

Then I shoveled the walkway in front of the house, dug out our car - it's parked in front of the garage, the PT is IN the garage - and got it warmed up for Gerry so he could take the package to the PO (I felt bad asking him, but he said it was one thing that he could do!)

Then I finally tackled Max's bedroom.

Yesterday I took an early trip to IKEA to order wardrobe and storage for our room and Max's room, and we were stunned with the really NICE guys arrived in the driving snow with all of our Bjrgd and Kgrhhhb's and carried them upstairs for us. Max's bed wasn't terrible to fit together, but the new storage unit I got was a b*tch to put together. Oy. It probably had a lot to do with the size of the room (small)

Tomorrow I'll attack our own storage unit - I got one of those piece by piece PAX units - the woman who helped me was SO great - we're getting white doors and drawers to match the trim in our room. This should give us some nice, extra storage and wardrobe space.

I've loved IKEA since it opened in NJ in 1992 - I was there the first day - and I still have the bed and armchair to prove it!

Max has a flair for assembling IKEA items, and last night he put together one of the new bedside tables that I bought. Gerry put the other together today - it took him about twice as long as Max, but he was working entirely on his knees and resting his back a LOT.

I also have a hanging shelf to put up in the bathroom, and I REALLY want to replace the medicine chest with a better one with more shelves on either side. The bathroom is cute, but a pedestal sink with no counter space is NOT the most useful for a family of four!

In the midst of all of this work I don't know WHAT I'd do without Hannah. She's such an incredibly helpful girl, she so much wants to get our house as homey as possible, and I find myself depending on her quite a bit. In some ways she's a young 10, but in others she's beyond her years.

One of these days we'll have to tackle the office - then the kids will have a place to go watch their own TV shows, do their homework and play on the computer. And now, with cable, I'm seeing that we'll have to start thinking about how to block certain show. Oy.

As I'm doing all of this stuff I KNOW that I need to get some submissions out to magazines, get some of my book ideas fleshed out so I can send them to a publisher and get going on something NEW, and spend some quality time with my bookkeeping. I also have to do some marketing strategies for the flip books and get my other books reprinted.

So much to do - I hadn't figured on doing it alone (not really alone, but just sort of solo-for-a-bit) and it probably is time for me to get that assistant I keep talking about...


Bookmark and Share
posted by Annie at 18 Comments Links to this post

Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

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


advanced web statistics