Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monkey Socks

This is for my friends who are NOT on Ravelry...yet. Here are Cookie A's Monkey Socks. I got the pattern from Knitty. Cookie A just came out with her own book of patterns called Sock Innovations. I decided to try one of her patterns before buying the book. This pattern was so much fun and easy to do. I started it on June 13th and finished it today, June 30th. I used KnitPicks Palette in Verdant Heather. It knitted up very nicely. I would like to publicly thank Edie for turning me on to Cookie A. She made these socks during our Knit Out at Panera. (Click on the title to get you to the pattern!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Justice in Mudville (or What Goes Around, Comes Around)

Last night we witnessed the "What goes around, comes around" theory. It was a beautiful moment for Ben and for his baseball team. But first, a little background. Ben started to play baseball when he was in first grade. He was on a team whose coach was his friend's father and this woman S. It wasn't good. She was out to win, win, win. Ben, who was just a beginner, wasn't that great and she never helped him out. He was always the last in the batting line up and was stuck way outfield. At one point, the father felt that Ben was batting the wrong way. At the end of the season, Ben told us that he didn't want to play baseball anymore. That was okay with us since he was playing soccer and basketball.

Fast forward to September, 2008. The day my father died, Ben was in Hebrew School. When he got home, we told him the news and he sat on the couch with me with his arm around my shoulders. As we sat there, he blurted out, "I want to play baseball in the spring." I told him that was fine but why now? He felt that he loves the game and that he shouldn't have let S. ruin it for him. Did I mention that I never liked this woman after this? She's a cut throat who only wants to win. Unfortunately, my friend is good friends with her so I sometimes wonder about that.

I signed Ben up and he was placed in the Pony League. There were only 4 teams and there were 14 boys on each team. The coach was fully aware of Ben's absence from the game for 8 years. Ben was playing with boys who probably played yearly since they were little. When Ben was up at bat, Neal and I hoped that he would make it to a base. When he was in the field, we hoped he would catch whatever ball came his way. The first time he made it to first base, I unfortunately missed it because Elijah had his baseball game at the same time. It was against S.'s team and she came up to congratulate him. He wanted to tell her off but he didn't. They gave him the game ball. He was nicknamed "Base hit Ben."

Last night, after many delays, the championship game was played at 8:15. For this knitter, it was wonderful because the lights on the field made it easy for me to knit while watching the team. Ben's team took an early lead. By the 4th inning, they were ahead 7-2. I held my tongue but others didn't. Many parents do not like S. for the same reasons I do. We sat through a light drizzle and the a very cool breeze. It felt more like the end of August instead of the second day of summer. Ben was walked the first time he was at bat. The team kept scoring and scoring. 9-2, 10-2, 12-2. Then Ben is up at bat again. I said a silent prayer that he would hit the ball. But no. S. called "Mercy". Since our team was up by 10 runs and it was the 7th inning, there was no way they could catch up. Ben's team won the championship! Neal and I laughed about how it took Ben eight years to return to baseball and he ended up on the champion team! The team chanted, "Base hit, Ben" a few times. The coach was very sweet. Ben told us that he was the comic relief on the team but he also told us that he told the team why he was away from baseball for so long. They understood and were very happy that they won against S.'s team. So congratulations to the team. The trophy is beautiful! Justice prevailed in Mudville last night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sock Crazy

I've been into knitting socks lately. I received an e-mail from The Knitters' Brewing Company for Sockaholics and they had a mystery sock KAL (that's knit-a-long for you civilians). I never did one of these things before. I know people who have done mystery shawl KAL's but the sock one really appealed to me. First, socks are quicker to knit than shawls. Secondly, they were going to be beaded socks. I signed on to the Ravelry group and anxiously waited for Clue #1. There was some prep work involved like stringing the beads onto the sock yarn but that was a snap AND I had all of the materials in my stash. I decided to use KnitPicks Palette in Ash (that's an artsy way for saying gray) and clear beads lined in black. I was biting at the bit.

These socks were so much fun to knit. I was jonesing when the clues weren't published fast enough. Plus, there was a contest. Post a picture of one sock by June 10th and I'd be entered into a drawing for sock yarn. Since I didn't use Knitter's Brewing Co. yarn, I wasn't eligible for the Grand Prize. That's okay. I could have bet money on it that I would win. I didn't. Oh well. The best part about this sock was that I was totally psyched to knit the second one. Many times I have dreaded knitting a second sock. Not this time. It was great!

Here's a picture of my beaded sock! This was when I finished the first one and felt it belonged on the flowers my family got me for my birthday.

Now I'm knitting Cookie A's Monkey sock. I got the pattern from knitty.com. I am loving this one as well. What is it about socks? Is is the fun yarn? The fact that one can knit tightly and get such satisfaction with each pull of the yarn? Could it be the compactedness of the whole project-that it fits so nicely in my bookbag for work? Whatever it is, I love it!

Things I Learned From My Dog and Other Ramblings

I had a very significant birthday. I still have a problem saying my age. My good friend Chris, who turned the same age 4 days after me, and I figured out that when we were growing up, people our age looked and acted really old. We realized that since we have young children, we look and act much younger than our chronological age. Plus the fact that when I tell someone how old I am, they are shocked! Even with my gray hair!

It has been a very difficult year for us. Neal was very sick in September, my father passed away right after Neal got out of the hospital, Elijah had his appendix out in March and then was back in the hospital 2 weeks later with an infection. And if that wasn't enough, his nose was broken on Ben's birthday and he had surgery 10 days later to fix it. Now we're dealing with the flu. First Ben woke up with 103 fever last week. Elijah decided this would be a competition so he woke up with 104 fever this morning. Guess who didn't go to work? I am way over my limit of sick days. Family comes first! I can't tell if I get teary-eyed because it's been too much stress or having major hormonal fluctuations! (Speaking of hormones, I had to go for a second Pap Smear because my first one was lost. Unbelievable!)

So what does this have to do with my dog? This animal wakes up everyday with a wagging tail and lots of love to share with everyone. He doesn't carry over baggage from the day before. It's always a clean slate with him. He taught me that touching another living thing is very therapeutic when you have had a very rough day. If you had a good day, it just lifts your spirits even more! It's absolutely amazing how your troubles disappear after petting him for a while.

When I take him out for a walk, I get to appreciate the beautiful weather and my tiredness leaves me. He sees everything up close with his nose to the ground. He inhales the scents of everyone and everything. Luckily, I don't have as sensitive a honker as he does so I choose to smell only the nice smells. Even when it rains, it's still nice to be outside. No one is usually out and it's as if the world belongs to only us at that moment. Also, the scenery looks different in the rain. There are sharper contrasts and deeper colors. I learned to look at that from my dog.

People ask me, "Could you live without the dog?" and I say that I most certainly can. The real question is, "Do I want to?" Today, while Elijah took a long nap and insisted that I sit on the couch with him, Shadow jumped up onto my lap, plopped down and promptly fell asleep. So did I! I guess he taught me that sometimes you have to slow down. I was tired to from waking up half a dozen times seeing if Elijah was okay. (he wasn't) He also kept checking on Elijah by literally walking on him and sniffing him. He knew "his boy" wasn't up to par.

All I can say is "Thanks, Shadow". I'll make you a hipper sweater next time.