Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Years Ago Today...

10 years ago today I was still recovering from finishing my last two grad courses in a whirlwind three weeks of summer classes.

10 years ago today I was anxiously waiting to hear if I had gotten my first real job. (I did. It was teaching 3rd grade in Charlottesville, VA.)

10 years ago today I was waiting to walk down the aisle in a lovely blue bridesmaid dress when I looked back at my dad and my sister and started crying.

10 years ago today I watched my twin sister marry the man she loved in a beautiful ceremony in the church where we grew up.

10 years ago today I was on a trolley driving really fast across town while rain beat against the windows and tree branches blew past.

10 years ago today I didn't have B with me to celebrate (he was still in Scotland finishing his graduate work) so I partied with my best friends instead. (Thanks for always being there, Emily and Nicole.)

10 years ago today I got to watch said friends entertain my uncles while drinking martinis and smoking cigars. (I miss you, Ann.)

10 years ago today I listened as a good friend sang "I Go Walking After Midnight" to my sister and her new husband and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

10 years ago today I watched my sister and her husband drive off in his big red truck as they went off to their honeymoon in the Poconos and the beginning of their lives together.

10 years ago today I realized that I no longer held the highest position in my sister's heart and that someone else's happiness would always come first when it came time for her to make a decision--and I cried.

10 years ago today my family got a new member and we have been blessed with him and his bear hugs and his great sense of humor ever since.

10 years ago today my sister married the man of her dreams and I am so happy for them both.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Cat and Ron!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book List: Death, Divorce and Sex Edition

Here are three more more library finds. These three all include death, divorce and sex--not necessarily in that order. Family also played a big role in the first two. These books were all a bit heavier than my usual chick lit. I found them all to be slightly painful to read at times, but overall enjoyed them.

Who By Fire by Diana Spechler: This novel tells the story of the Kellerman family whose lives are torn apart when their daughter and youngest sister Alena disappears at the age of 6. Now young adults, the two older children continue to struggle with the after effects of this family trauma. Bits deals with her pain through promiscuity. Her younger brother Ash who blames himself for the kidnapping tries to find causes to somehow fill the void and erase the pain--his latest is Orthodox Judaism and he has moved to Jerusalem to live accordingly. This novel tells of the families struggle to save each other and save themselves. An interesting read, this novel has some very powerful moments although the sex scenes were disturbing.

Three Mothers
by Sonia Lambert: Any woman can relate to this novel as we have all experienced a mother-daughter relationship--that strange mix of loving someone, but not always getting along. For me, it's because my mother and I are so much alike that we are either best friends or butting heads--luckily the best friends always wins out in the end. In this novel, we meet Susie, her mother Vera and her grandmother Helene. Vera has just been diagnosed with advanced cancer and Susie is struggling to accept her mother's imminent death. She asks her mother to record her "story." Vera suggests that she get her grandmother to do the same. The novel alternates between current day narrated by Susie and the past narrated by Vera and Helene. The past stories revolve around love, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and eventually divorce. I found it a little confusing at first (not helped by a 10 day break when I went on vacation), but quickly got sucked in. I enjoy multiple narrators and layers. Overall, I thought this was a good read. Again, very powerful at times.

Testimony by Anita Shreve: I have read other novels by Anita Shreve and didn't like them all (I hated The Pilot's Wife) so I wasn't sure about checking this one out, but decided to go for it. This novel takes place at a private high school in Vermont. A tape has just been discovered showing three male students (18 and 19 years-old) having sex with a fourteen year-old female student. When I first started reading this novel, I thought this was a different kind of Anita Shreve--it was not focused on a failing marriage or an affair. But as I got further in to the novel, I realized she hadn't strayed as far as I thought. Another novel told by multiple narrators, I enjoyed the way Shreve let the story unfold in a non-traditional manner. I enjoyed the little clues and nuances that emerged slowly to help the pieces of the story fall into place. However, at times, reading this book felt like watching a car accident about to happen and not being able to turn away even though you really want to. Overall, a good read, but definitely painful at times.

Now I'm ready for some good fluff reading. Maybe a little happier ever after. Is that so much for a girl to ask?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Here!

My Fall 2009 Interweave Knits arrived!

I've been getting Interweave Knits for about 2 years now and I've never been as excited about an issue as I have this one. I checked out the preview the other day and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy ever since. I've never wanted to knit more than one item in a single issue of this magazine before. This time I quickly found at least 4 that I really liked. Here are my favorites:
(sorry for the poor picture quality, click on the links below to see better ones)

Slanting Gretel Tee: I've been wanting to do a fun short-sleeve sweater that had a simple construction but some visual interest. This one seems made to order for what I wanted to do. This is definitely one I am going to knit. I imagine that I will just wear it as a short-sleeve shirt and not layer it over a tee.

Freyja Pullover: Again, I love the simple shape with the visual interest of the colorwork in the yoke. I think I would definitely wear this although not as much here in Texas. The main thing that may stop me from doing this one is the amount of yarn (11 skeins) and the size of needles (size 2 and 4). I think this would be a lot of stockinette which may be boring, but I love the finished project so I may just have to go for it if it's not too hugely expensive to buy all that yarn.

Berry and Bramble Cardigan: I love this little short-sleeved cardigan and I think I would get a lot of use out of it here in Texas. I think it would be cute with jeans and a simple t-shirt (long-sleeve or short-sleeve). It would be different from anything I have in my wardrobe which would be nice. I also like all the fun texture. I generally like to knit simpler things, but I think this would be a nice challenge.

Rosamund's Cardigan: This one I would use in a similar fashion to the Berry and Bramble Cardigan. This one may be a little fashion forward for me with it's asymmetrical front, but I am drawn to it so I'm going to keep as a possibility. I used to think short-sleeved sweaters were so stupid, but now that I live in Texas I see how they can be the perfect thing for layering over a long-sleeve t-shirt.

So excited! So do you have any favorites? Got to go work on my Petal Halter so I can then try one of these lovely patterns. Happy Knitting, everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hmmm...Not sure how this one's going to turn out

I started my Petal Halter. I did the first two of six petals. I joined them together and tried them on. They were way too big to be the top of my halter, but they fit nicely on my hips.

I think I'll try to make the next two smaller and leave these as is for now. Maybe I'll make my top kind of a bell shape--getting gradually larger from top to bottom. My stitch gauge is slightly off (on the small side). I tried to compensate for this by casting on a few extra stitches. I think if I do this band of petals on my hips that I will have to make four rows of petals instead of three. I hope I have enough yarn. Not sure how this one is going to turn out, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. We will see...

A Wonderful Visit with Wonderful Friends

This weekend my good friend Nicole and her son Will came to visit. Will is only two weeks younger than J and they had such a blast together!

On Friday, we went to a huge local park. This part of the playground was the boys' favorite.

We also had fun playing in our sprinkler pool in the backyard.

On Saturday, we went to a fire safety program in our neighborhood.

After the Fire Safety talk, we went to the pool which was a lot of fun for both boys.

And some bonus pictures of our sweet Pepper girl:

N LOVES to give Pepper hugs.

J and N love to make "nests" with pillows and blankets. Pepper loves them too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cat's Textured Circle Shrug: FO pictures

My sister was kind enough to wear her Textured Circle Shrug to N's baptism. Here are some pictures:

For more info, see this post.

N's Baptism

On Sunday, July 19, 2009, N finally got baptized. We did the baptism at my church in Virginia so we could have family there. My parents, brother and his family, and sister and her family were all there since they live there. B's parents drove in from Ohio to be there for the baptism. It was wonderful to have so much family there for this important occasion. We also had some really good family friends who joined us for a small celebration afterwards. I know it was stressful for my mom to do it all the day after we returned from the beach, but with help from the good family friends she did an amazing job. The service was really nice and it was wonderful to be back in the church I grew up in. Being there just reminded me how much I need to find a good church here. Anyway, here are some photos from N's big day:

N with our minister.

My brother arriving with his family.
Madeline, Shelley, Joe, Reed, Mary and John

N with one set of his godparents, my brother John and his wife Shelley. N's other set of godparents are B's sister Kristin and her husband Chris. They couldn't make it all the way from Oregon, but they were there in spirit.

N in his adorable baptism outfit.

Doing important business :).

My sister Cat and her family:
Lizzie, Cat, Michael and Ron.

Beach Pictures: The Rest of the Family Edition

Here are more pictures from our beach trip.

My brother's children...



Reed and Mary


Mary, Reed and Madeline

My sister's children...Lizzie and Michael


Lizzie and Michael (Seaweed Heads)

Michael, Seaweed Moosehead

I wonder where they get it from? (My sister Cat, Seaweed Head)

Some of each family...
My brother John with Lizzie and Joe

Joe and Michael

And some group shots...
Building a huge sand fort thing with lots of pools.

Posing for family photos. This one includes my sister Cat and her two children, and me, B, N and J.

The little ones take a juice break on the beach.

I have lots more photos, but I'll stop here. Enjoy!