Saturday, August 31, 2013

Somebunny's been knitting



KnitnightRuth had some extra white wool she wanted to get rid of. I took it. Super chunky almost roving like. The pattern is Ysolda Teague's Stuffies.

Speaking of knit night. The conversation became a discussion of the weird things men do in preparation for a vacation.

KnitnightGina's main squeeze eschews lists and instead posts stickie notes around the house where there are things he wants to remember. I wonder if he has a stickie note listing all the stickie notes.

More than once Mr. Sophanne (who will from this day forward be known as HusbandBob. I think I will retire the Sophanne moniker now that I know this corner of the Internet is safe.) has to be convinced that he will not need 4 pairs of shoes for a seven day trip. If he were a little man it would be no problem but 8 size 13 boats means a whole extra piece of luggage.

The pièce de résistance however is KnitnightClaires husband. In preparation for a trip to Iceland, Mr. Claire packed a week in advance, very proud of how lightly he packed. And then when he remembered something else he had to take, he'd just ask Claire to add it to her suitcase. Not happy with the 1/2 tube of regular toothpaste AND the two dentist office tubes, he purchased a fourth tube to bring, just in case. (Maybe there's a toothpaste problem in Iceland?) Finally, when Claire peeked into his suitcase she found one pair of jeans, three shirts, and fourteen pairs of socks. Laughed until we cried, we did.


Also, I used the words eschew and moniker in this post. I'm pretty impressed with myself.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sublime Serendipity

Yesterday I met Knitnightgina and saw the knitted Andy Warhol Bridge up close and personal.


It was a sight to behold.




One main event of the afternoon was yoga on the bridge. Not something you see every day.


As we were leaving KKG mentioned that she and husband and mom were going to Hartwood Acres that evening to hear Rickie Lee Jones.


My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. Rickie Lee Jones has been the soundtrack to my life. I can tell you exactly where I was every time I obsessed over a newly released album. As I told KKG, given the choice between a sweater's worth of cashmere and a chance to see her live, I would go for the latter.

I got to join them. My two live music desires have been fulfilled. I've gotten to hear Mozart's Requiem performed live and I heard Rickie Lee Jones in concert.

It made me very happy.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Still love knitting

And I am so happy when I'm able to hook up yarns with no plans and patterns with no yarn and make it happen. These will be Karendipity's Marvelous Mitts. It is a pattern that I purchased seven years ago finally happening. Sometimes I like size 0 needles. What is wrong with me?



Friday, August 16, 2013

Exercise can make you feel better.

are words that I never believed I would say.  This is a post about my exercise.  It might be boring but I would kind of like to bear witness.

When we were in the Alps village near the Matterhorn, everybody walked.  Some of them had two sticks, some of them had one stick, some of them had no sticks.  You might recall I did both some walking and some tumbling.

On this trip I realized that I could walk up and down hills.  (I used to do it all the time in high school)  The road in front of our house goes down the hill and up the hill.  I never walked it because I thought it would be too hard.  After I walked in Switzerland, I realized (and remembered) that I could do it.  I got a walking stick just in case I needed help carrying my lard ass up the hill.  The dog goes with me.  It's a beautiful road that I sometimes pretend has magical creatures living in the nooks and crannies.

This walk always goes faster than I think it will (it's a mile) and it's just the right amount of cardio coming back up the hill to get that energized feeling that comes with the right kind of exercise.  In most exciting news, today I did it without the aid of the walking stick.

In addition to obesity, another (likely related) body issue that I've been having is back pain.  Much of it loosened up through the massages of the summer.  As soon as school started and I began working at my school computer and desk, I could feel everything tightening again.  Significantly, I was aware of what was happening in my body rather than just noticing it later that night.  I also noticed that using the walking stick caused less than upright healthy back walking (which is why I tried sans stick today)

My favorite massage therapist was forced to leave her position (because the business refused to process insurance claims).  Also $60/week (plus a $20 tip cause that's the way I roll) is a little steep.  I am making arrangements to have massage house calls from her but they certainly won't be as frequent.  I am happy to say that the summer of massages was more than just a decadent indulgence.  It was a learning experience that involved getting reacquainted with my body.

What to do?

I bought a yoga mat.  I started using the yoga app that I purchased not for the mobile device but for the mac laptop.  I'm pretty sure all I'm doing in the most basic series of movements are sun salutations, broken down for the yoga-retarded.  When I am finished, my back feels better.

Two forms of exercise that make me feel better.  One that I can even do in the wintertime.    And I'm just getting the feeling (because my body craves the idea of feeling better) that it's something I'm going to stick with.

This, my friends is monumental...MONUMENTAL!

People post so many inspirational things on facebook.  There's that guy that is walking normally after being told he'd never walk again.  He used yoga to get there.  The video shows his struggles including regularly falling down. It was an amazing video.  I have friends and acquaintances who are committing themselves to healthiness and looking better every day.

I might be trying to join that party.  When Mr. Sophanne was gone, I realized that much of my evening eating was anxiety related.  He doesn't make me anxious but the whole watching tv, always changing the channels, violence on the shows does make me anxious.  I think maybe going to the kitchen is a way to escape that interaction.

Also I think that I may be the introvertiest introvert there ever was.  I do gain my personal energy from within.  Interaction with others is enjoyable to me but leaves me exhausted.  Walk time and yoga time give me a chance to recover.

Mr. Sophanne has said he prefers that to me dumping him and the dog and living the life of a hermit,  so I think we'll be able to work it out.

I didn't write about it but feel like I should let you know that school has started. I am so happy to be at one school all week long.  It makes being head teacher so much more manageable and I can't quit smiling. ( It has only been one week though and 2 actual days with students)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Bunny


Image from

The name of the lure bunny at the greyhound races is Spunky. At the start of every race, the announcer says "Here comes Spunky" so that everyone knows the race is to begin. The following questions/statements happened over the course of an hour as the youngest tried to process what she was seeing.

Is the bunny just getting dragged?

Do the dogs think its a real bunny?

What's the name of the bunny?



Where do they start the bunny?

But it's not a real bunny.

It also took some time to realize that number seven in race five is not the same number seven as in race three. It wasn't until the following statement that we realized it was even an issue.

The seven could lose. It's a different dog. It could be a really bad dog.

Grandfather is somewhere in the air between Houston and Seattle delivering kids home. I'm not with him because teachers go back on Monday. Just a little secret between you and me..... I'm feeling kind of lucky.


Friday, August 09, 2013

ETA... Again

But then, as you lie on the floor, reading Hans Christian Anderson stories to giggling girls, properly scolding them because they have to get up early and catch a plane, and ignoring the "jackass" videos the boy is watching on his iPad, you get the following email from the daughter-in-law who was once upon a time less than friendly and trusting in your direction...




Day the Last

Sadly the bickering has begun. Two and a half weeks with relatives and away from home have taken their toll. We had one last field trip today.

It started at the fountain in Bridgeport, Ohio where many moons ago, Mr. Sophanne was on city council when they built a fountain and his name is on the plaque.

The next stop was in front of the house where their mama grew up. You may or may not be able to tell that the thirteen was feeling thirteen today. Still, that slips away at bedtime when she won't go to sleep without a story and one of us in the room.



The last stop was the dog races. Really, each of us should have picked a number and then bet on the three remaining dogs because that's how it turned out. The younger two maintained interest, the older one, not so much

I'm officially a little weary. Grandfather much more so. And tomorrow he flies with them back home (across the entire country) and stays there for a week. I believe that I am grateful to only have to be going back to school!


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Day Three.

Too bad there's not a squiggly font to show the tiredness of the camp counselors.

Yesterday was a trip to the cousin's house in the Bigburg. He's the one who lives mere blocks away from The Greatest LYS ever. I am now convinced I can get myself there the next time I want a solo field trip.

We finished at cousins too early for the game but too late for anything else so we took a ride on the T.

We went to the other side of town to a small shopping mall that had restrooms and gambling claw games.


I'm not sure who to point the finger at for lack of planning. The boy for not realizing he would have to find a way to get those stuffed toys on the plane or us for not realizing that he would go for the biggest toys!


After taking the T back, and the prizes to the car, we went into the ball field where things looked a little ominous. Our seats were three rows back under the eaves. When the downpour began, we were high and dry. It's the little things that mean the most.


We got some cotton candy when the ice cream was gone.


And the only fan more enthusiastic than the Pirate Parrot was the boy.

In the crowd of fans, he became the puppy everyone wanted to play with. He would start a chant and the great group of college-aged kids in front of us would pick it up and run with it. When the game was over and the Pirates had won, he stood on his aisle seat and high-fived everyone leaving the stadium.


Today we slept in. Four of us had Chinese food for lunch and one had..... Wait for it..... Subway. Mr. Sophanne is leading an expedition to the movie theater for Smurfs 2 this afternoon while I do laundry and round things up around the house. Tomorrow, to the dog races, where there will be no underaged gambling.




Tuesday, August 06, 2013

ETA (edited to add)


Because you can't wait until the next day when you have the puppy guarding the "baby."


Summercation at Grandcamp. Day 2

Mr. Sophanne has relaxed a great deal. I'm so happy. Today he realized that just being here and having us say yes to nearly everything means as much as any planned activity.

This morning oldest and I made some pasta. She was less interested in it when she found out that there was no pasta machine to roll and cut the dough. Everyone ate and go figure, I haven't freaked out about feeding everyone yet. It helps that they have asked if we could eat at Subway every day. By saying yes to that, they will think of us every time they pass one.

Mr. Sophanne took them to the farm,




while I prepared festivities...



Ice cream, it's what's for dinner.

This was followed by a water balloon fight.


Picking ammunition

Which quickly disintegrated into an out and out water battle.


And after convincing the boy that he could NOT disrobe and just have a shower with the hose, I am expecting some knitting, a little star watching, and a good nights sleep. Lunch with a cousin, Carnegie Science Center and a sold out Pirate game in the Big City tomorrow.

The best part? Mama of the other three grandkids, after seeing all the fun, has booked an advanced reservation for grandparent camp for next year!


Monday, August 05, 2013

Summer Camp

Some kids go to ballet camp. Some kids go to basketball camp. This week these kids are at Grandparents Camp.


After blueberry pancakes and a game of Yahtzee, the day began with the youngest (who has never been here) giving us a tour of the grounds. This included the wagon, the shed, the lawnmower, the birdhouses her siblings made years ago, and the back acreage.





This was followed by a trip to the local box craft store for birdhouses. A family tradition. Add a little flarp and a Beatle's sing-a-long and the 30 minute drive flies by.



The birdhouse adventure went freestyle as the oldest began painting our gate, the middle one wanted to mow grass and the youngest kept at her birdhouse.


The next bit of entertainment came in the form of the laundry chute. I can remember my fascination with Aunt of Sophanne's laundry chute but hers went from the second floor to the basement as opposed to just being a hole in the floor/ceiling.





Then the knitting session commenced.




I declare Day Three of Grandparent Camp a smashing success with pasta making, four wheel rides and a giant birthday party on tomorrow's agenda.



Pleasant Dreams!


Staycation or what we did instead of going to the beach this year.

We retrieved the grandkids from the other set of gp's on Saturday. Four hours to meeting place and another four hours to family in upstate NY. I believe that I can call them my grandchildren now, as one of them wrote we are visiting "our grandparents" in an Instagram photo of us.


Little Liza Jane cozied up in the rented minivan

Excitement number one... At first I wanted to get a limo for our Big City Adventure later in the week but found out that it was cheaper to buy them each a mini iPad (16g no 4G) to make the ride home across the great state of Pennsylvania a little easier.


Spot the iPad?

They were so happy to discover that I am a secret hoarder of game apps and had 80+ games for the ride home. They can sync with their home computer when they return home.

Let's talk about the ride home, shall we? In spite of the best of intentions, it turned into another one of our famous -let's see what the most ridiculous travel option is and then do it-trips.

Mr. Sophanne was orphaned at an early age. He scratched his way through life without "taking anything from anybuddy" (insert Brooklyn twang). I made arrangements for us to stay with the step daughter of his deceased brother. So she's a niece but not officially but has been his niece since she was 5 years old. We got there after 8 hours of driving, had a cookout, visited with cousins, woke up the next day and drove home that afternoon around 4:00, spending 18 of 48 hours in the car and leaving them with 14 marinated chicken breasts to freeze for another day. Why did we leave so quickly? Not because the kids hated this...


The step niece's private swimming pool

But because MrS didn't want to impose or "take anything" from anybody. They are family and have joined us for our summer vacations at the Jersey shore before, but he just could not convince himself of the idea that they were happy to have us there and were as sad to see us leave as we are when they leave. It makes me feel a little sad for him.


With mini iPads and a minivan, the trip home was long but painless.


These kids are crazy awesome. It was 2:00 am when we got home and the oldest was helping put sheets on the bed. The little one is a Drew Barrymore clone. I'll try to capture that before the week is over. The boy, who once reminded me of Bart Simpson has figured out what power there can be in middle childness and is hilarious!

Mr. Overplan Sophanne is trying so hard to have my laissez-faireishness. The only wisdom I can offer him is to be mindful that he doesn't miss the fun while he's trying to make sure everyone's having a good time.

We don't need to go out to eat, we want the house to smell like breakfast in the morning, we want to have that empty time just to see what can happen next. The time spent is so much more than the things done. All I can do is project that vibe, pick my battles and, as someone from a non-snuggling background, accept the fact that even when a 13 year old is tired and homesick and overwhelmed, a little bedtime snuggling is all that's needed to find peace.

Stay tuned...


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Phoning it in

Sometimes this blog is so predictable it could write itself.

In the never changing order of summer occurrences, it goes a little something like this:

Crazy Laziness which involved a full season of Orange is the New Black and four seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix.

Reading for fun which involved sending fan mail to Wally Lamb

Experimental Cooking- seriously, flour and egg make noodles!  Who knew?

Cut the grass once- My dr. asked me if I was getting plenty of sunshine.  I said "that one day I did."

Paint the Nails- I'm liking the Cover Girl brand sold at the local grocery store.  Firstly I am not overwhelmed by options and secondly it seems to be lasting longer than most.

Get interested in making music again (which is always ironic given that the strong painted nails are in direct conflict with this step)  This usually happens right before school starts when the house is clean and I can easily get to whatever instruments strike my fancy.

Knit some stuff and forget about it.  I finished a Noro stripey scarf.  I knitted a cute lamb that I"m not sure if I love or not.  I've got another scarf and a sock on the needles.  That sweater really sucked the knitting life out of me and may have led to a more monogamous way of knitting.

For the past 10 years some kind of get away has always been planned, often involving planes, trains and automobiles.  With the Alaskan cruise, this summer was no exception.

What is unusual about this summer is that the adventurous part happened at the beginning and now the Mr. Sophanne's family part is happening at the end.  We greet them on Saturday, Mr. Sophanne flies back to Seattle with them the following Saturday and while he is visiting for a week, I will be back to school.

As is always the case, there is usually a big house cleaning just before school starts (or this year before family arrives) just in time to not have time to enjoy it fully.

The next week should be fun filled with exciting jam packed adventure that I may or may not get posted here.  When we saw the whales, I knew enough to stop taking pictures and soak it in because there was no way that documenting would capture the magical.  That may just happen again.

Next week will also be a nice break in the routine because I can tell I'm also a little weary of this retired husband business.  Everyone here knows how much I adore Mr. Sophanne.  He is perfect in so many ways and always has a smile on his face.

Yesterday I had to fight feelings of screaming at him for chewing, and also sucking air between his teeth for fun.

 I harbored ill will when he started hanging up all of these pictures to freshen up the downstairs area. I mean really, who decided HE gets to decide what gets hung on the walls. (It was a copy of Van Gogh's Sunflowers, seriously self, what's your freakin' problem?)

So I guess really, the problem isn't with him, it's with the irrational crazy person that occasionally pops in my head.  A change in routine where we have to work together to keep three kids happy and then work apart while he's away is probably just the penance I need after such a confession.