Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Perceptions, point of view...it's all where you are in your life. The glass half full or half empty. You know what I mean. I just needed to write about the difference between a retired teacher and an actively working teacher.

My newly retired friend and colleague, Toni, retired this past June. This was the last year I would see her in the building. We lucked out and had lunch the same time so we had a daily dose of each other. We bitched and moaned, celebrated each time Ben was accepted into a college, shared concerns about health issues with ourselves and loved ones and enjoyed a cup of tea to make us more "civilized" for the afternoon. I listened while she talked about the paperwork, anniversary dates and tying up loose ends so that she can leave like the consummate professional she has always been. I tried many times to put myself in her shoes but it was too hard. As the last days of the school year approached, I teared up a few times knowing that I will not have my friend in the building with me when I return in September. Here's the where the word perception comes to play: While we were sitting in her beautiful home, I asked her how she felt when July 4th came and went. This is her answer: "In the past, I would freak when Independence Day was over because that meant my summer is slipping away and I would have to be at work in September. Now that I'm retired, no anxiety. Everyday is a vacation day!" Can I call my good friend a bitch? Yes but it's sour grapes on my part. I'm already panicking about how much I need to do before September rolls around and it's the 3rd week of July!

On the very, very bright side, my friend Toni did the smartest thing one could do. She bought a condo in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her gorgeous place is literally a 3 minute ride from WEBS, the best yarn store in the world (as of this moment because there could be others I don't know about!) Once a year, on my son's camp's visiting day weekend, I pay my respects to WEBS and then head over to Toni's to say hi. It happened again last weekend. Neal and I drove up to WEBS. I ran through the back looking for sock yarn for Ben but I was stopped in my tracks by the lack of sock yarn. In the past I had my choice of all different manufacturers and colors. This year the pickins' were quite slim. What happened? I think the May anniversary sale happened! Good for WEBS! Good for the economy! Bad for me! Don't cry for me, fellow knitter. I walked out with yarn to make 3 pairs of socks. I have my shiny white and blue bag emblazoned with the WEBS logo. It will go into my closet (or as my mother likes to call it, my warehouse!) Am I down on WEBS? No way. I love that store. I can walk around and get lost for hours thinking what I could make with this yarn or that yarn. Toni chose a good spot to retire in. It's not that far and I can make a Toni/WEBS run when I really need to.

So I would like to congratulate my friend Toni on her retirement. May it be a very happy, healthy and long one. Congratulations on a fine career and for picking a great place to live. See you soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Amazed and Proud

My son Ben had his freshmen orientation a few days ago. He has chosen a state college about 6 hours away from our home. I knew nothing about this college especially when I went to school many, many years ago. I went to a state university that is the best in the system now. It was pretty good when I went there but now it has an amazing reputation. Ben's school was just a blip on the map when I was applying to colleges. Now, it is the best one in the system. It's harder to get into his school than in the one I attended. It is also much smaller. There are over 5000 students in his. My alma mater has over 14,000. He picked the right one for him.

Since this was my first time seeing the school (Neal was the one who took him since I had to work), I was excited and a bit apprehensive. I've seen pictures on the web but what will it look like in real life? Would it be too small? Where the hell was it anyway? I've never been this far west in our state. How will I get through this 6 hour car ride?

I packed so many knitting projects. I figured I wouldn't be driving and it would be a great time to catch up on all of the projects I started. I packed up my Brooklyn Hipster scarf which is being knitted with Royal Llama Silk that I got from Webs last year.

Then I took my infamous unfinished Catkin. I stopped a few months ago because I couldn't concentrate on the pattern. I was hoping to pick that one up to really get over that proverbial knitting hump.

I also brought the table runner I was knitting with yarn I got from Rhinebeck 2 years ago. This yarn was suppose to be a scarf but seriously, you could rub the calluses off of your feet with this stuff. It is too rough and scratch. Hey, at least I'm using up stash yarn, right?

Finally, I brought cotton yarn and my size 13 needles to make a market bag. It's fast and easy and satisfying. I ended up making one on the ride up and starting one during a lecture. I can only doodle so much during these meetings. I finished it on the way home. You can find the pattern here

Monday and Tuesday were so busy. We attended seminar separate from the students. Neal and I were constantly checking our schedule to see where and when we had to be somewhere. It was amazing. I enjoyed every single minute. The campus is absolutely gorgeous. The views are breathtaking. One big thing to do is to watch the sunset from the gazebo on campus. The sunset is beautiful no matter where you are. The campus has ivy-covered buildings. You think you are in a private New England college. That's how picturesque the campus is. Finally, the people. We met the nicest people there-professors, deans, orientation advisors and the parents. Oh my God. Neal and I met the loveliest people. Granted we all are going through the same emotions and feelings but how nice everyone was. There was a great feeling of belonging to a wonderful club of some sorts. I came away from those busy days knowing that Ben made the right choice. I am so proud of him and if he ever reads his mom's blog, I want to say to you Ben: I am very, very proud of you!

Back to the knitting: I never touched the Catkin. I made 2 market bags. I knitted 8 rows of the table runner. I knitted 20" of the 25" of the scarf. Then I realized that it's not reversible. What did I do wrong? I'll tell you. I somehow decided that Reverse Stockinette stitch was the Garter stitch. So I frogged that sucker and started all over again. I wasn't even the least bit disturbed. It's only 29 stitches and it works up quickly.

In about 6 weeks, we will be making the trip to drop Ben off. Besides focusing on what we need to take for him and how I'm not going to cry until I get in the car and drive off, I'm starting to think about what knitting projects I'll be bringing with me. Hey, priorities, right?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Laundromat

It's been a rough senior year for me. My son graduated high school but it wasn't smooth sailing. We had the girlfriend, stupid decisions, missing schoolwork more than once and then "I am 18 now so I am an adult" attitude. I tried very hard not to laugh when he said this. But the kid graduated with an advanced diploma, picked up a ton of AP credit along the way, endeared himself the his principal and the entire school and we all breathed a sigh of relief, for a while. The girlfriend is still in his life and I would be a wonderful patient if Sigmund Freud was still around. It's really the stupid decisions he has been making that were getting to me.

This past weekend, the girlfriend was here. Ben had a few graduation parties to go to and instead of going with the girlfriend (who didn't go to his high school), he went by himself to drop off gifts and came back. Then there was the one we were invited to as well as Ben. We went ahead and told the girlfriend, "See you at the party!" Ben showed up by himself. "Where's Molly?" I asked. I told him to go get her. Really! What's up with that? He went home (a 5 minute trip) and called me to tell me that I made her feel uncomfortable. I don't know how but he told me that she had to go home and was late. Fine. The party was for his friend, not him or his girlfriend. Neal and I had a wonderful time and Ben went into the city to his girlfriend's house. He stayed there until this morning.

I was a bit apprehensive about how we were going to relate to each other. I was mad. He was mad. I feel that we need to have some family time together. This is the summer where he is the only child in the house. Elijah is at camp. I told him that we were going to go to the laundromat and do his wash. This child, who I sometimes think came from a family of pigs, hadn't done his laundry in ages. We had 4 giant bags as well as 2 hampers full. We took the bags to the laundromat so that we could do them all at once

and filled 5 triple loaders and one double loader. Then we sat and chatted like old times. After we were done, I took him out for a bite to eat. Maybe the laundromat was the place we needed to relieve the tension and anger that was building up between us? The tension of his upcoming departure to college (it makes me happy and sad at the same time) and the anger that he listens to the girlfriend more than to us, his parents. (normal yet frustrating). The laundromat "washed" our bad feelings away. We're starting anew. Fresh. Clean. Wrinkle-free. It was a good day at the laundromat.