Monday, May 28, 2007

The Drive-in

One of our favorite things to do in the summer - hands down - is going to the drive-in movie. We're really lucky to have several within a half hour from our house. Our favorite - because it's the closest and it's just a great place - is the Fairlee Drive-In. You can also rent a room at the Fairlee Motel - the rooms of the motel look out onto the drive-in!

They still have their original screen, too, as well as speakers. This is Hugh modeling the screen:

And Steve's car modeling the speakers.

The speakers don't always work, so we take "boom boxes" and tune it to the radio station that gets the movie's sound - it works well, especially for our guys given their hearing loss.

One of our favorite activities is getting to the drive-in when it opens and having dinner. Here are Tom and Win chowing down.

and also Hugh and Steve (who's now speaking to me, thanks to some Blackened Voodoo beer)

We love to play badminton before the movie starts, or football or frisbee. Others join in - it's a fun party! I took several pictures of Sam playing badminton but it was too fuzzy... He's too fast!

Oh - we saw the movie the "Meet the Robinsons" which was great!

Author Signing

I really love the author Carla Neggers. She writes mysteries that always seem to have a love story that's part of them. She tells a great tale - and sets many of her books in New England. She lives locally - over in Vermont - so of course a group of us traveled to Massachusetts to see her for a book signing for her new book, Abandon! It was a wonderful day...

I left my house around 8:15 because I had to stop at my office to get Tom's backpack that he *cough cough* accidently left. Then crossed the river over into Vermont and got on the interstate. I was actually on time for once! So it was funny when Kiri called to say they were running late. That gave me time to stop at the Dunkin' Donuts in Brattleboro for a cup of tea (let me tell you, that Dunkin' is *the* place to be on Saturday morning!), then over to Wally-world to get the two of them. I got to meet Kiri's son Shane who is VERY tall and handsome. Shane and her daughter, Kyna look very much alike - I immediately knew who he must be!

We traded books and boxes for Jacqui's upcoming move, then we were off again to the Olive Garden in Springfield. Kiri very cruelly knitted in the front seat (hey - that's MY job in the front seat!) while Jacqui crocheted. We were only going to be a few minutes late but the directions from the website were SO incredibly bad - we ended up going out of our way about 20 min *sigh*. I know, I know - I'm blonde but really, it WAS their directions and NOT us!

And dang, guys - we didn't go to that ice cream stand we passed when we made the wrong turn!

We met up with our southern New England buddies - Sue, Teresa and Nell at Olive Garden and had the best lunch. It was so great to meet up again. I think it's so neat that we all just pick up where we left off. They secretly were coveting my new bumper stucker "Don't come knockin' if your socks ain't rockin'" that's VERY bright - he he he. I just know I could convert them to knitting. Then off to Pam's paperbacks.

Carla is SO nice and SO funny! And doesn't look at all severe in these photos, do you think *grin*? She was signing with another new author, Linda Cardillo.

Here we all are waiting patiently in line for the signing.

Nell scores! Carla is signing her book. Carla is closest to Nell, and Linda Cardillo is on the right. Linda was handing out wonderful biscotti - yum!

Here's the whole motley crew, in the front Nell, me, Carla, Jacqui, Kiri and LOOMING over us all in the back from l-4, Teresa and Sue. T & S are the tall critters!

After the signing, we traded books from the bookmobile (aka my car) and hit the road a

On the way home, we stopped at Table and Vine,which has wines at a great price. I was able to score a case of Blackened Voodoo beer for Steve because I OWE him big time! What did I do, you ask? Well, Thursday was the school's megaconcert. Sam's in both band and chorus this year so would have been in the concert but it also was the evening of the STAR graduation. STAR stands for "steps towards adult responsibility" and it's a program for teens who have a chronic condition or illness. This was the last STAR program of the year so several were "graduating" including Tyler, who's been Tom's mentor. Tyler received his cochlear implant about a year before Tom- I swear Tyler is half the reason either boy has an implant! He's been like a big brother to both boys. And the Dartmouth mentors also were honored. Pamela and Liz both are deaf and have been just wonderful to our boys. So... It was really important I thought that Tom and Sam be there. So i got Sam excused from the concert.

and forgot to tell Steve!

What's worse than sitting through a two hour concert in a hot gym?

sitting in a hot, two hour concert when your nephew is not there!

Hence, the Blackened Voodoo....

He loves me again so all is right with the world!

Knitting projects

I've had a productive weekend knitting-wise. As always, I have several WIPs (works in progress) and some I've finished. I finished the Menehune Cobblestones pattern in Reynolds Swizzle yarn for my buddy, Nell. I'm really pleased with them and she seemed to like them. I had to laugh - she thought they were "loud" socks. As I was knitting them, I was thinking how conservative they were! It was a really fun pattern to knit - thanks, Adrienne, as usual for your wonderful designs!

Speaking of Adrienne, I finished 1776 sock #1 in the Rainbow pattern and am onto sock #2. Other knitters have spoken of SSS (second sock syndrome) where you don't knit a second sock. I've not ever had that problem - I'm sure I will at some point. I always cast-on and knit a bit of the second sock and that seems to do the trick for me. This is one of my favorite designs - it's so pretty and lacy and is actually quite an easy design - it's a four row repeat; two of the rows are knit - so it works up quickly. I'd hoped to have them done for this weekend - oh well. Fourth of July for sure!

I'm part of a Sock of the Month (SOTM) club at The Knitter. They started a knitalong (that's called a KAL - we all love our acronyms!) to ask questions, etc. I got my new sock pattern on Friday - it's lovely! It's a lacy sock knit using Tofutsies yarn. I've done the cuff of the first sock.

ALSO - thanks to Adrienne - I won some gorgeous Panda Wool yarn that I'm using now with Jeanie Townsend's Lilac socks pattern. The pattern is pretty intricate. There's a group on the Knitter KAL who are helping each other knit two socks on one long circular needle so I'm giving it a try. After some misgivings in the first two or three rows, I find I'm liking it. I didn't have to count rows on the cuff because you knit them at the same time. I do of course count rows on the sock itself because it's a 12 row repeat but it's a gorgeous sock. This one is mine, mine, mine!

I have a Very Boring Vest that I work on in movies, etc. (when I want to knit but it can't be a pattern of any sort). This fits the bill. I got the pattern from Patternworks because it is really simple - and a good way to use up some leftover stash yarn. I really like wearing vests at work during the winter and fall - they're warm without being so bulky. So my Very Boring Vest pattern will get done and I know I'll love it!

That's it from projectland - I think I have enough to keep me busy and out of trouble. Sam has a baseball game today so I should get some good work done *grin*.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Three Pitch Tournament

I mentioned before that Hugh and Sam's baseball team, the Seawolves, were involved in a 3 Pitch baseball tournament this weekend. 3 pitch baseball is very different from a regular baseball game or tournament. Rather than 3 strikes per batter (or 4 balls), each batter starts with 2 balls and 1 strike; foul balls count as real strikes, a batter can have an at-bat end on a foul ball, and a team can only score 3 runs per inning. There's a time limit too - 65 minutes per game - so it goes really fast! Our guys WON the three pitch tourney, winning 6 games and no losses while scoring 56 runs to our opponents' 10! Some really excellent baseball happened this weekend - it was fun, fun, fun and we managed to not get rained on (well, at least not too much!). Sam hit his first ever out of the park homerun in the semi-final game - he scored 3 runs on that one.

Here's a picture of our team:

And here they are in front of the scoreboard - the home team has a real scoreboard!

As part of the 3 pitch tourney, they also held a homerun derby. Two kids from our town won first and second place! Here's Daniel, Carl and Cody, who's from another team we play:

Big Papi I think should be worried about these guys!

And here's Sam "modeling" the two trophies. The smaller trophy was awarded to each kid on the winning team; the larger trophy is awarded to the winning team.

Keith is the Lebanon dad who put this whole tournament together - what a great job he did! It was very organized and seemed go off without a hitch. And Mother Nature cooperated too.

All in all, a fun weekend. Oh, did I mention getting LOTS of knitting done? he he I have the leg of Nell's second sock done - I'm on the heel turn now so I'm very optimistic that I'll be able to hand them over to her this coming weekend!

Enjoy your week this week!

Friday, May 18, 2007


It's been a busy week - aren't they all? We're gearing up for a busy time at work with graduation in another month, lots of new computer hardware, and then new faculty coming onboard later in the summer. I like what I do - it's interesting - and I really enjoy the people I work with. It would be nice if things were stretched out a bit more, though.

This is a big party weekend at the college. So it's a really GOOD time to avoid going into town. But then I learned that the Grandmasters of Funk were performing at the block party today - wow! Cyril Neville, of the Neville Brothers, is in this group, along with Leo Nocentelli, Bernie Worrell, Doug Wimbish and Tony Mason. The Nevilles have to be one of my top three favorite groups. In all the years we lived in New Orleans, we were never that close to Cyril Neville! And it was outside my building at work... free... Amazing... I'm still in a bit of shock.

This is a picture of Cyril Neville that we took today - we were that close!

I arrived home this evening to all SORTS of goodies in the mail!

Isn't the yarn beautiful? It's Panda Wool that I won in a contest on Adrienne's blog. I've never worked with it before. It's wonderfully soft - the yarn is a mixture of bamboo, wool, and nylon. Red is my favorite color! How *did* you know this, Adrienne?! Of course, she has a couple of beautiful patterns designed just for this yarn that I will have to check out. I also got my copy of Friendly Socks (the first book) AND Janet Evanovich's second audiobook in her Stephanie Plum series. Hugh and I love to listen to books in the car and really enjoyed the first book in this series. It was a good story - a good mystery - and funny as all get out. Janet lives in our town, which is kind of cool although I haven't had any sitings...

So between the yarn, the sock book, and the book on tape - I'm all set for the weekend!

I'm moving along nicely with (still) my three socks in progress. I'm knitting at least ten rows a day on DH's socks - I'm hoping to have them done by Father's Day! My 1776 socks are coming along nicely - I'm really liking how the striped pattern of the yarn is complimented by Adrienne's Rainbow pattern. This pattern was the June 2006 Sock of the Month club offering by theknitter dot com. It's one of my favorites - it knits up fast and the pattern is easy to memorize. I've made it at least three times.

This is also an Adrienne pattern (I'm not a groupie, I swear, just a very happy knitter with her patterns!). Menehune Cobblestones is for my friend, Nell. Nell and I have boys who are the same age with so much in common it's almost scary. They read like crazy, they both are black belts, each has a hearing loss.... And they've never met each other! It's pretty cute how they have a book club via Nell and me. Tom will say "Tell Mikey about this book...." which I will pass along to Nell. Then Mikey always returns the favor! It's not often you run into another mom with a kid with hearing loss - we take care of each other in that regard.

Both socks have deadlines of next weekend! I work well on deadline - no problem!

Tom finished my Mother's Day present and it was well worth the wait. Tom, in addition to his many other talents, is a metalsmither. Aren't these earrings beautiful? They are his own design.

Sam and Hugh are involved in a 3 pitch tournament this weekend. Unlike regular baseball, a 3 pitch tournament involves 3 pitches per batter. So the batter starts out with two balls and one strike so you either walk, get a hit, or you're out. It moves very fast and is a lot of fun. Our guys won this evening 17-7. They have two games tomorrow, along with a home run derby and at least one game on Sunday morning.

Sam and Hugh's Little League team is doing really well! We're 7-0 so far this season. Most of the kids on the team are good and really love playing baseball - so there's not a lot of goofing off. The parents are really nice as well so it's been a lot of fun for me watching the kids play (and of course knitting) and hanging out with the other parents.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! It’s a beautiful day here today – not a cloud in the sky and cool (about 60 degrees). The sun makes it feel warmer. This is our big backyard - we live on six acres and we abut about 1,000 acres of conserved land. It's like living in a state forest! Everything is greening up beautifully.

These are the daffodils that line our driveway. I just planted them last fall and they've done well.

As every Mother’s Day, I think of my own mom. Her name was Lenora Thomas. She was funny, creative, tiny, and cute. She loved golf passionately and was an amazing bridge player. She and her twin, Aunt Gussie, were unbeatable. I used to tease them that they could read each other’s minds and so had an unfair advantage. I also remember my older sister, Dee Harrold. Dee was 14 years older than I – she’s the best big sister imaginable. She taught me how to knit! So to you both, I have such warm, happy thoughts and miss you very much. We're so very lucky that Hugh's mom is doing so well - she's 79 this year, as vibrant as ever. We love you, Grandma Bertie! Ditto for my wonderful stepmom, Joyce. We love you, Grandma Joyce!

My mom's favorite flowers were pansies. I always smile when I see them and always plant them year after year with Mom in mind.

My Mother’s Day has been lovely! The boys got me two beautiful hanging baskets with flowers of all my favorite colors. And I got to knit this morning for a long stretch – ahhh, heaven!

I finished my Diamonds are Forever socks. The yarn is Jawoll and the color is so interesting! Sometimes it looks purple, sometimes a dark blue. The pattern was easy to memorize but fun to knit.

I continue on with Hugh’s Maze socks *sigh* - I’ll get them done for Father’s Day… maybe? They are so complicated - I try to do ten rows a day. I am on the second sock so maybe by fall *grin*. And I'm continuing on with Nell’s Menehene Cobblestones socks as well. I started a new pair of socks this morning in a pattern I’ve made several times. It initially was a SOTM club offering by Judy at theknitter dot com – and of course it’s an Adrienne Fong design. It’s called Rainbow over Lahaina. I’m not sure Adrienne or Judy envisioned it being done in the 1776 yarn by Fortissima Colori but I think it’s kind of fun! I made an earlier “plain vanilla” sock out of this yarn and it turned out great. The yarn itself is responsible for the stars and stripes. I'm hoping to have these done by Memorial day.

On the home front, lots has been happening! First and foremost, the school talent show! It was Friday night. Both boys entered. Tom has a sketch comedy group called “Not Gum”. They did a takeoff on “Who’s Line is It Anyway” – it was hysterical! There are five guys in the group – Tom, Kitch, Mike, Ethan and Connor, although on Friday, night there was no Connor but another kid named Jacob. They did a nice job and got a special award – a Vermonster! For those of you who don’t have a local Ben and Jerry’s, a Vermonster is a bucket o’ ice cream with 20 scoops of ice cream. Hopefully they will invite friends when they celebrate their Vermonster.

Tom's in the front in the striped short - they're listening to the awards presentation.

My younger son, Sam, did board breaking for the talent show. Both Tom and Sam have earned black belts in taekwondo at the Blue Wave Taekwondo school. Board breaking is a requirement to earn higher belts – plus it’s pretty cool to watch! Sam did five breaks – and ended up winning the grand prize! Sam is $30 richer today… It was a fun evening. One of his breaks involves jumping over three people (who are crouching) and breaking a board. It's pretty fun! Here's Sam accepting his award from Kitch. Kitch was the emcee, is part of Not Gum and did a fine job all the way around - he's also one of Tom's best friends.

You might ask why Sam's belt is red and black and not just black. An under-13 black belt is called a poom and is designated by having a red/black belt and uniform. Pooms take the same test as everyone else with the exception of self-defense. That doesn't start until they are over 13. Son Tom's belt is all black, although he too started as a poom.

We’ve been doing lots and lots of baseball. Hugh is president of our local Little League; he and Joe coach the majors team that Sam’s part of. They currently are the only team at 5-0 – they’re doing really well so far. Several of these kids have played together for awhile – they get along well and play well. The parents are a nice group too.

We're having dinner here tonight. Steve is coming over and we're barbequing pork tenderloin and tuna. We'll have fresh asparagus from our yard, corn on the cob, salads and strawberry shortcut for desert. I'd better take my walk NOW!

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day and a great week...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Knitting projects

As always, I've been knitting a lot and have several projects I've finished plus several OTN (that's on the needle for your muggles - er, non-knitters out there!). I remain passionate about knitting socks - dunno why but they're fun little works of art. I'm in the home stretch with my Bunny Paint cable sweater. I'm also knitting a vest with odds and ends of yarn that I have.

I've finished and mailed several pairs - 5 in all, although two pairs were for my little twin nephews down in Georgia and all of their socks probably don't add up to one adult! Here's the finished pre-mailing collection.

This is my Tidal Wave sock. It's made from Tofusies # 731 yarn, which was SO fun to knit with. It's a little thinner than Trekking or Opal yarns but perfect for wearing in Oklahoma where's it being sent to to my evil twin Barbara. I hope you enjoy, ET! *mwah*

This sock is called the Road to Hana by my favorite sock designer, Adrienne Fong. Isn't it gorgeous? It's the March offering from the Knitter's sock of the month (SOTM) club. This pair of socks is for me, me, me! This sock was made using Trekking XXL sock yarn - the band is history so I'm not 100% sure the colorway.

I finished Mirm's Monkey socks. Monkey is a sock pattern by another favorite sock designer, Cookie A. Mirm's a critter buddy who lives in NC. She scored an autographed Susan Elizabeth Phillips book for me - woo hoo! Thanks SO much, Mirm! The yarn for these socks is Knitpicks Dancing.

Multiply these socks by two! I made these for my little nephews, Connor and Brodie, who live in Georgia. I hope you enjoy these, guys - I can't wait to meet you in person!

I have three socks in progress. This is for another critter buddy, Nell, that I've just started. She loves sapphire blue - I thought this yarn would be fun. It's knitted in Reynolds Swizzle #4003. The pattern is another Adrienne Fong pattern - Menehune Cobblestone. I love Adrienne's patterns - they "fit" so well and are so fun to knit.

This is's April SOTM offering. It's called Diamonds are Forever. After a couple of fits and starts, I'm finally making good progress with it - I got the heel turned last night during Sam's soccer game (*snork* - if only he knew). I'm really liking the pattern and I LOVE the color. The yarn is Jawoll, I believe the colorway number is 83.0145. I've not knit with this yarn before either but I'm liking it. It's very soft. The cuff actually sews down to make a picot edge which I think will be really pretty.

And last but not least, socks for DH, also known as LH (laundry hunk). I have the first sock done. It's the Maze pattern from the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. This is maybe the most difficult pair of socks I've made. The top "maze" pattern is easier - it's a mosaic pattern. The feet are kind of a pain to knit because it alternates the two colors but I'm really liking the way it's knitting up. Hugh has very sensitive skin, so I'm knitting this in Regia Silk (the charcoal color) and Dale Baby Ull (the cream color).

For those of you who want to see LH in the flesh, here you go!

Cute, no?! He says it's very soft and not scratchy - whew!

I am SO excited - at the end of the month a couple of critter buddies (Kiri and Jacqui) and I are journeying down to Webs in Northampton MA to see the Yarn Harlot speak! I can't wait - I'm not sure if I'm more excited about hearing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak or getting to have dinner with Kiri and Jacqui! More about our journey later.

I'm off to work in the garden on this beautiful Sunday!

Happy birthday, Hugh!

Hugh's birthday was Friday, May 4. Despite having to be out of the house in time for a 7:00 (gawk!) meeting, he had a nice day. A friend of his, George, gave Hugh a key lime pie from Lou's bakery - heavenly! We finally made opening night at the Fairlee Drive-in! We saw "Blades of Glory" - very funny movie (just the perfect movie to see at the drive-in.

Happy birthday, sweetie!

Catching up

I'm going to try and post once a week - I've been bad about posting of late! Things as usual have been very busy. My younger son and husband are involved in lots and lots of baseball. DH is president of our local town's Little League and my younger son is on a majors team. DH is coach for that as well as "Coach Joe" who also was the boys' anesthesiologist for the cochlear implant surgeries. The team of kids is a really nice group as are their parents - I just love baseball season!

Our Easter Sunday dinner was just lovely. We had 13 people total for dinner, including 6 kids. I didn't get pictures of Seth, Kelly or Steve but got everybody else.

Here you have Mike, Tom, Sam, and Owen

These happy guys are Denise (Owen's mom), Hugh (DH) and Mila (Mike's mom)

THESE are all the crazy kids - all boys. Sam, Mike, Tom, Owen, Owen, and Sawyer

The food was great - the fellowship even better. Thanks, guys, for sharing our day!

THEN the Nor'easter of 2007 rolled through. Wow! It was April 16 - we knew we were in for some strong winds but wow! Talk about strong winds!

This is what greeted us when we woke up that morning - trees were down everywhere.

On closer inspection, we discovered Hugh's truck took a pretty good hit


Our street has a north and south entrance; both were blocked:

Our neighbors took a HUGE hit - I'll bet they have 100 trees down. You used to not be able to see their house from the street.

Power was restored amazingly fast - within 6 or 7 hours. Other parts of the state didn't fare nearly as well, including our friend Steve. He was out for 3 days; others were out for longer than that. Steve stayed with us two nights - it was sort of like a slumber party. On Tuesday night, after taekwondo, we went to Ben and Jerry's free cone night. Hugh was the last person in the door before they locked up. He got this great shirt!

I want him to wear it while he teaches his spinning class but he won't (in case you can't read what it says in the picture, it says "Body by Ben and Jerrys"

The boys have been busy this spring as always. They both now are involved in the STAR program and love it. Last weekend they did a ropes course up in Fairlee, VT at Hulbert Outdoor Center. This is a picture with Sam and his buddy, Rowan, who also is in STAR

Here's Sam, Rowan, Jon and Tom. Jon's a medical student with an interest in kids with chronic health conditions - he's wonderful! Mark, the director of STAR, always says "can you find the medical student in this picture"?!

The boys (and Hugh and me as well) were invited by the STAR director, Mark, to chat with the second year medical students at Dartmouth Medical School this past week. Tom and Sam did most of the talking - color me a proud mom! They did GREAT! The students asked great questions and seemed to be very interested in Tom and Sam, their experiences as the only deaf kids in their school, etc. Tom gave an amazingly succinct telling of what's involved with a cochlear implant; Sam talked a lot about doing sports with implant/hearing aids and some of the challenges that it presents. They both were funny and articulate - I know, I know - I'm really prejudiced! It was a wonderful experience for all of us.

It's a beautiful Sunday morning - we have many chores planned today (reference the ugly YARD pictures above!). Steve's coming over and we'll cook out later. Enjoy your week!