I was fortunate to be able to sneak away for a couple of days to Saint Louis, Missouri to see my eldest daughter star as Maria in the Sound of Music at the MUNT theater. Wow! What a venue! This theater can (and does) hold 11,000 people and it was full even on closing night in the heat!
The performance was incredible! I was so proud of all the hard work that this cast did to bring the show to the stage in just a few short days. Six performance in an outdoor venue in the heat of the St. Lewis summer. Can you imagine wearing a wig and two layers of costumes (one of them a nun’s black habit) in 80 or 90 or 100 degree heat and 100% humidity? It was difficult enough to sit in the audience in the heat! There were, obviously, a bunch of kids in the performance and Missouri is having a COVID surge so their safety and health was a huge concern and the MUNY did a phenomenal job. Everyone stayed healthy for the three weeks that the cast was in rehearsal and doing the show.
And because my kid was in the performance, can I please mention how incredibly proud I am of her. Kate has worked so hard to get into and stay in this business. She makes what she does look effortless … kind of like the best athletes, gymnasts, and yes, knitters. I know that it’s not as easy as she makes it look and I really admire her talent and determination, her persistence, too. She’s incredible and she was the best Maria yet. (There, I said it!)
This trip was also a bit of a reunion with a dear Cincinnati friend! She grew up in St. Louis and was a wonderful tour guide. We picked up where we left off way too many years ago.It was wonderful. We were able to see the Sound of Music twice in the two evenings that we were there. We found a downpour when we tried to meet with my daughter and her husband for coffee and ended up making a quick exit to the car. We spent a lot of time in the incredible park that houses the theater and was the model for Central Park in New York City. What a phenomenal resource for the citizens of St. Louis!
I’ll just be over here recovering from all the fun, late hours, lots of chatting and catching up!
Look at me, writing twice in two days! LOL! Gone knitting.
We always have trouble leaving home (and we were both a little cranky packing on Thursday night) but we really wanted to see N’s eldest daughter’s “new” home in suburban DC. So … off we went on Friday morning. Traffic was HORRIBLE and turned a 7-8 hours trip to southern New Jersey and our stop for the first night into 11 1/2 hours. It was a long day but it afforded us to get a glimpse of the new Tappanzee/Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge and wave toward my three kiddos in New York City. I finished N’s birthday socks and he’s happy about them. Thank you Yankee Knitter for the wonderful pattern. We were traveling with our dogs and have always liked staying at LaQuinta Hotels that are dog friendly (dogs stay for free!) Cheers at the end of the day in plastic hotel cups and a nearby restaurant for to-go food eaten in the hotel.
Day two we made it to Maryland early (it was only a couple of hours to Robin’s house.) As is my habit, I completely forgot to take photographs of the kids or their house or their cats who were mostly invisible. I mentioned that we traveled with our dogs, right? Needless to say, though, we had a wonderful time!
Part two was three days with the kids and adventures in the Greater Washington, DC area. N lived here as a young child and my grandparents are buried here. Go figure. A walk down memory lane led us to Oak Hill Cemetery where my Rockwell family is buried. Oak Hill is an historic cemetery and parts of it, including where my family rests, is very old.
You can’t see the names of my grandmother, Elizabeth Sheldon Dow Rockwell (June 1887 – March 1984), or my grandfather, Horace Lewis Rockwell (August 1886 – December 1942) without zooming in, but they share the side of the monument with Sarah Alice Rockwell who died at 18 months of age.
According to my family genealogy, my great-great-grandfather, Henry Ensign Rockwell (3/24/1811 – 1/22/1882) was the Secretary of the US Fish Commission. In 1867 he was a Representative in the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from Millbury. He is buried here with his second wife, Sarah Jemima Hathaway Rockwell (9/25/1824 – 2/6/1898). They were married in Boston on September 25, 1824. She lived a good long life, passing at age 73. Henry and Sarah had three children: Julius Ensign, Sarah Alice and Julia Lee all buried here. Julius and his wife Mabel Rose had two sons: Henry Ensign and Horace Lewis (my grandfather) who was a patent attorney and a Second Lieutenant in WW I. When he died, my grandmother had a “nervous breakdown” and was institutionalized at the Institute for Living in Hartford, CT. The children, my father included, were sent to live with friends of the family.
Next we were on to visit N’s special place, the Tastee Diner, that his father started in the 1940s. It has been moved from its original location but it remains very similar … including the original countertop in the diner section. Our “snack” became dinner … the dinner of champions! LOL
One of Robin’s requests was to make a pie. We ended up making a galette with fresh blueberries after a visit to a huge and wonderful Wegman’s grocery store! Galettes are so simple because you don’t need a special pan or other baking utensils. A little flour, sugar and butter, add fruit and voila! I hope she’ll try to make another galette when her mom visits!
Too soon we were back on the road back home and leg three of our trip. This time through Hartford, CT and the LaQuinta in Windsor Locks. We visited my parents who are buried at the Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford. The last time I visited the area was for my 40th high school reunion and I couldn’t find the plot. I’ve decided that I have to claim having the very worst sense of direction of any human on this planet. Thankfully, my sweet husband has a good sense of direction and we did manage to find them this time!
We had dinner with two dear high school friends on Tuesday night in Windsor, CT. The only time I remember visiting the Windsor area was to go to the airport but it’s a lovely area and there are some wonderful sculptures. It was a wonderful reunion.
Wednesday morning we got up early again and headed to East Cemetery in Manchester where I needed to find my grandmother Barnard who was my favorite person in my family when she was alive. I have so many wonderful memories of doing things with Gram. She didn’t have a lot of money but she spent time with me and that’s what I will always treasure.
I don’t know who all the “players” in the Robb family are so I will do some research one day. But I found my grandmother, Maude Elizabeth Robb Barnard and her husband, my grandfather, Irwin Henry “Jack” Barnard. We found them first. I had assumed that Gram would be buried by her sister Ethel and was surprised to see that they’re actually at opposite ends of the cemetery.
We hunted for my great-aunt, Ethel May Robb next. Aunt Ethel was the principal at Wadsworth Elementary School in Manchester and we spent a lot of time with her, too, as children. Aunt Ethel took me on my college visits. Ethel is buried with the rest of the Robb family near the Robb Monument. I’ll assume that Josiah Robb and his wife, Eliza Jackson (?) are the parents of Ethel, Maude, Willard and Gladys. I remember Aunt Violet who I believe was married to Willard. Gladys died young and I never met her. More work to be done on this part of the family!
The last couple of days I focused on my Fine Sand Cardigan and made great progress with it. I’m closing in on the bottom of the body – woo! hoo! When we arrived at home, we found that the resident woodchucks had decimated my hollyhocks which were nearly six feet high when we left. The rubble left from them is above right. It’s war, now! They also ate every single petunia in the pot on our front steps. Grrr.
Yesterday morning, we woke up to a little fog on the ice and more open water than we’ve seen in what seems forever! Knowing that it was going to be sunny, we figured that the fog would go away and we’d have less ice at the end of the day.
Before we left to go take a Sunday drive, this is what it was looking like. There were a couple of times when the ice came right up to the land and sounded like crystals being rolled around. The sound was so unique! I tried to get a video of the sounds but I didn’t think any of the three were audible enough to translate. Suffice it to say, it was really great!
We wanted to head to Skowhegan today to see if the Maine Grains “cafe” was open and if we could get a bite to eat and buy some oatmeal. It was not open, but it was a pretty drive.
My husband heard about a sculpture at his volunteer job at Colby College Art Museum. Colby Art Museum has a few pieces by this artist. Apparently when he died, his widow spread his works around the state and two are found in Skowhegan!
The Indian statue is HUGE! He is easily the world’s tallest Indian. It’s sixty-two feet tall atop a 20 foot tall base, He was erected in 1969 and dedicated, as you can read in the picture above, to Maine’s Abenaki Indians. The play area, which they now ask you to stay off of, is a two-sided stair-step of farm animals. Please don’t climb on them! These sculptures are a little gem of art and Maine history along the way. You can find this guy on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and High Street behind the Cumberland Farms food mart. It’s free and worth a detour!
When we got home (after a stop at Giffords for a bit of ice cream) the ice was moving by our house again. And before sunset, it was gone. Ice out!
We heard our first loons on the lake, too. It brought tears to my eyes. I love living in this place and feel so fortunate to be here.
I’m a little bit afraid to put it out there but being fearful just holds me back. So, with that said, I am putting it out there that I am thinking about hosting some weekend knitting excursions/retreats at our home in Central Maine.
I am privileged to live in a beautiful place. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful place. Our house is five feet from a clean, clear lake and all the wonder that comes with it – loons, fishing, swimming, water skiing, boats, canoes, bald eagles, ducks, and more.
We have a little cabin on our property where we’ve been living for the past six months with our three dogs. It’s not fancy but it’s comfortable. When I am done with the cabin renovation, it will sleep three or four comfortably with a shared bath and a little kitchenette. My thought is to have guests rent the guest cabin and we’ll do a lesson or two on our porch. I’ll provide a simple continental breakfast each day and then you’ll be on your own for dinner. I will provide you with a fiber map of great fiber-y places to visit while you’re here and great places to eat. Everything is within reach in about an hour and a half.
I’m thinking that a group of friends would have a ball up here. I know I have a ball with my friends and family here! Cocktail cruise in our boat one night, a road trip one day and some knitting on our porch with a lesson or two from me. It’ll probably be a year or so away … maybe more on the “so” end because we have to build a garage next year and the cabin will likely be following that project. So, unless you want to come and be really camp-y, it’s a way off. But I’m putting it out there.
Sunrise on Messalonskee
I want to share this beautiful place and all the fiber-y goodness that Maine has to share. Prime weekends will be the Maine Fiber Frolic weekend in June or the Common Ground Fair in September. Not that we can’t do it for more than a weekend.
Pricing is yet to be worked out, but I’m thinking and dreaming. If you’re interested, let me know. Have any ideas or suggestions? I’m all ears!
It must be an unwritten rule that knitters (ok, fiber people?) pack their yarn first when going on a trip. I know that’s my process for packing. So, when preparing for a move, the first thing I did was plan what yarn I would take and with what patterns. Makes sense, right?
My yarn is safely packed in the car with my swift and winder and all of my needles. My WIPs are on my desk, just in case there is some time today for knitting. I will make some time.
Movers arrive at 8am.
We’re moving to Maine!
Gone knitting. (OK, I’m getting dressed and drinking some coffee.)
You may know that we are moving from Florida to Maine later this week.
So, this weekend is focused on finishing our packing. We’ve packed our master bedroom closet except for the clothes that we’ll take with us. I will have one suitcase full of my hand knits, of course!
Next on my packing agenda was my atelier. When the yarn is in its bins, it doesn’t look like a bunch. But what I forget is that the bins lie! I filled one “extra large” moving box full of my worsted and bulky yarns. I have another big plastic bin of fingering weight and several bags and boxes of the rest. It’s going to be like Christmas again when I get to sort the big mess back into their bins!
I dare not think about what I have invested in all the yarn! I’m going to try to stick to my strict yarn diet and knit from my stash for awhile more. I’ve pulled out several sweaters worth of yarn for knitting this summer and some socks and various other patterns and yarn. I just know that my Maine knitting friends are going to have projects that they’re working on that I want to knit … and all my stash will be in storage.
I’m eager to get started with the move to Maine and the building of our house so I can set up my new atelier!
I travel with two adorable and helpful dogs. They are both Registered Service Animals. I don’t want to go into a lot of personal details but they are my little helpers. All sorts of animals provide services to people with disabilities … visible and invisible … dogs, cats, rats, snakes, horses and others, too.
Yesterday, like every time I fly, I started by presenting my ID and documentation for my dogs. The good people at Jet Blue held me at the ticketing desk for at least 20-25 minutes. Questioning me and, at the end, telling me that I could take them both on the plane “this time” but that in the future I needed additional documentation. Jet Blue will allow me to have one dog per “affliction”. I’ve been traveling with the two dogs. both registered (I provided a doctor’s note and veterinary note to get them registered) in the same bag for eight years with no problems … until yesterday. Apparently Jet Blue holds sway over the ADA who says that I can travel with my documented Registered Service Dogs.
I was a wreck. Anxious that they would not let me fly home without paying for an additional seat for my “extra” dog to sit under. Or that they would refuse me the right to board the plane. Or that I would miss my flight because of their delays.
Fortunately, I will not have to fly again for awhile, and when I do fly again, it will probably be on good old Delta where, when I show my documentation, I am not delayed and discussed everywhere I go. If only these people at the gates were better trained to be compassionate, life would be so much less embarrassing.
We left Florida on December 20. Three dogs in the back seat and the truck loaded up with presents and a Honey Baked Ham … New York City and Christmas with two of my three children. We planned to spend one night in Richmond, VA on our way and then a night just shy of the city. Only one wrong turn which sent us into Washington, DC … at least we weren’t towing the boat! Smooth sailing!
With my daughter’s help, and having made good time, we ended up in Washington Heights and our little sub-let one night early.
The little apartment we rented was about mid-way between my son’s and my daughter’s apartments. Allowing for adjustments for all the dogs and super convenient for us – not to mention really reasonable rates!
Christmas eve was spent eating (mimosas started off our day) and baking cookies. Our family tradition is Spritz cookies. It’s still more fun to make them when you have someone else to decorate them. I love that my kids all value that tradition – started by my mother – it’s simply not Christmas without Spritz! A lobster feast for dinner, with thanks to my brother the lobsterman, had us all a mess and very happy. Christmas movies and lots of laughs … or was it the wine? I almost forgot to have the kids open their Christmas Eve gifts from Santa.
Christmas Day was low key – relaxing over coffee and muffins, Skyped with the missing daughter and her father in Chicago. The NY kids had to work but we hung with my boy and all the dogs. Ditto on Boxing Day.
Our big outing into mid-town was dinner and going to Kate’s show. We went to Qi for dinner and I love their food. Seeing my girl one more time as the star of Rock of Ages was a special treat for me – and my boy went with his old mom. N decided to skip the show and visited the Strand Bookstore at Union Square which he adored despite a couple of wrong turns and perhaps a wrong address (hence the wrong turn!)
On the 27th we packed up the dogs and presents and tearfully kissed the kids goodbye. Heading north in our truck to our “camp” in Maine.
camp /kamp/ n. A place usually away from urban places where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter or temporary residence.
Think primitive. No running water. No plumbing. Think outhouse with a very (VERY) cold seat. And melting snow on the wood stove to wash dishes. Our mattress on the floor in the living room. Windows frozen with condensation. We carried all of our stuff in from the street with our Christmas snowshoes! A simple dinner in front of the wood stove and I was ready for bed. Too many late nights and I was ready for bed … probably long before I actually climbed in. Despite the “camping” and the cold, I wasn’t ready to leave when we heard that there was a Nor’ Easter coming in! I can’t wait until we are there for all the winter storms!
Next to Marblehead and a visit with my youngest brother and his family. We’ve loved getting to know their friends and love any chance to visit this charming town full of friends and family. So much so that I forgot to take any photos of the visit!
New Year’s Eve day we headed to Connecticut … a trip down memory lane for me at Shady Glen in Manchester and then a visit to the cemetery to check on the headstone for my parents. Then on to Westport to my college roommate’s new apartment … had to check on my “roomie” since we were so close!
What a wonderful trip! I am so grateful that my N loves my family as much as I do and that he’s willing to drive all the way to Maine and back so I can knit!
It could have been such an awkward experience and I probably wouldn’t have considered going on a day-long road trip with new friends (or mostly strangers) in my younger days. But I took a chance yesterday and went road tripping with eight of the women in my new Friday knitting group. All were knitters and some are bi-stitchual and they quilt, too. So, what better than heading out on the road to see what we can see?!
A little bit of heaven in this little shop on School Street. Chock-a-block full of wonderful yarn from well-known national and international companies and a nice selection of Maine yarns, too. When I travel, it’s the small local yarn companies that I look for as a souvenir of my travels. There were multiple yarns to choose from here … Darn Good Yarn, Swans Island Yarn, are the ones I can remember that they carried. I’m in love with the Swans Island Yarns. The next time we go there as a group, they said they’d bake us a cake if we let them know we’re coming! I could easily see going there to knit and visit with the DGY knitters! DGY has been open just over a year and I’d suggest you add it as a great stop on your Maine yarn tour!
Another fun stop in Rockland was Quilt Divas.
Quilt Divas has both yarn and fabrics (maybe mostly fabrics) but I found some Noro yarn on sale there which made me happy. And they have an amazing machine for quilting quilts that I enjoyed watching. I’m very tempted to take Helen’s (N’s mother’s) old Singer machine to be serviced and start learning how to sew so I can quilt – these girls make it sound so fun! I’d best be careful or I may have a new creative outlet that will want to share my time with knitting … uh oh!
Stop three was our picnic lunch along the way to the third shop in Camden. Route 1 from Rockland to Camden is a straight shot but we were told about a picnic area road-side (we missed it on the first pass) where the picnic table accommodated all nine of us and we shared a meal of sandwiches and laughter. And the sweet smell of wild roses in bloom. There was a beautiful bush of white wild roses that smelled so fragrant. Amazing Mother Nature! The rest area had a beautiful view of the ocean, too … you just had to find the spot to stand where you could look over the plants and bushes.
Back on the road again, to Camden we went. Isabel said several times that she loves Camden and I can understand why. It’s a bustling, thriving town and becomes quite touristy in the summer months. Lots of shops and restaurants and B&Bs to visit. And there’s an exquisite yarn shop called the Cashmere Goat on Bayview Street.
What I think I liked best about this shop was that it was such a cozy shop. It’s large, don’t get me wrong, and open and the wood floors were beautiful. They had a lovely selection of yarns and quite a few yarns that we’d not seen in the previous shops. Another amazing selection of the Swans Island yarns and even a couple of their amazing blankets on display. Swans Island is a little island off the coast of Maine that you get to by boat. The yarn company is all organic … a visit there is on my bucket list. But you can’t really get there and back in a day. Bummer. Anyway, back to the Cashmere Goat … it was very nice to visit and I could easily have spent my last penny buying some yarn there. I liked their samples in the shop and the two ladies working there were very friendly.
I have some history in Camden, too. My aunt and uncle had a summer home there. My cousin was married there. I went out there with my sweetie when we were teenagers and we were dating (the first time.) I probably could spend a day there wandering but I have to admit to liking it better during the “off-season” when it’s a bit more sparsely populated.
Needing a little sustenance (yes, we did have lunch), we stopped at Fresh, a bakery and restaurant just below the yarn shop for a bit of sugar. I had a pretty good carrot cake whoopie pie. We all had a bit of something sweet which we enjoyed outside before heading to our last shop. By now, one of the cars in our caravan was suspected of imbibing a bit of whiskey … surely they were having too much fun to be without alcohol? LOL. Maybe it was simply a sugar high. None-the-less, we did have fun!
Another of my favorite shops, Halcyon Yarn in Bath. I’ve posted about Halcyon before in my blog and I’d just been here less than a month ago (and when I spent a bit of money on some new yarns!) I love wandering in shops and touching yarns and this is a great place to do just that. While the ladies shopped, I wandered. I’d love to have a loom for weaving one day. I understand that setting up the loom is a bit challenging (or maybe boring), I think the process of weaving is probably very meditative as is knitting. They have a great selection of looms and wheels and the most wonderful wooden stools. Some more “tools” to think about and dream about … in my future atelier!
A last stop at Dairy Queen because ice cream was promised, after all and then we were on our way back home. Dropping off first Laura and then Linda at their respective homes and then back to my lake and my loves both two- and four-legged!
It was a wonderful day with my new friends from Friday knitting. I can’t wait to see them all again in a couple of days! I’ve always said that I haven’t met a knitter that I didn’t like. Today, as I sit here writing about our road trip day, I am even more sure that’s true. I’m so grateful for the women who have embraced me because we share a love of knitting and fiber arts. You know who you are. I feel so blessed to be a fiber artist and look forward to meeting those of you who I’ve not yet met! I’m sure that I’ll enjoy your company, too!
Yesterday we decided to take a drive. It’s an old-fashioned idea, I know. My dad used to take us on a drive on Sundays. We’d all climb into the back seat of his car (sometimes with the top down) and, though there was always some “Mom, he’s over the line” bickering, off we’d go. Once I recall my brother letting go of a cloth diaper when the convertible top was down. Not sure how he survived that one!
Anyway, I’ve wandered from my purpose here.
Yesterday we decided to take a drive. We had a slow, lazy start to the day with coffee on the front porch and then packed up the dogs and headed to Bath.
My plan was to visit Halcyon Yarns. (N had his cameras and can always keep himself busy for a couple of hours while waiting for me to shop for yarn. And it was cool enough for the dogs to come with us rather than be crated in the house.)
Part of why I love to visit Halcyon Yarns is because it’s not just a knitting shop. I can while away hours imagining learning all the crafts that they carry the stuff for – needle felting, spinning, rug hooking, tatting, weaving, and crochet. I’ve probably missed a few. Aisles and aisles of fiber from warp (or is it weft?) to cotton, and wool and alpaca and silk threads and many different weights of each. Some are actually Halcyon yarns and some are from well-known companies like Noro and Cascade. And a room full of pattern books and mugs and yarn bowls and … well, you get my drift.
I carefully paced myself as it can be a dangerous thing, shopping for yarn. But this time I was “good”. I only bought a few things …
Noro Taiyo Sock – Color S17 Lot D Cotton, Wool, Polyamide & Silk 24-26 sts x 36-38 rows = 4 inches on US 2-3 needles
Two skeins of Noro Taiyo Sock yarn (in Color S17-D) for another (more colorful) Bermuda Shawl. And, yes, the two skeins are the same colorway! I can’t wait to start knitting with this yarn!
Noro Taiyo – Color 35 Lot A 100 grams, 200 meters Cotton, Silk, Wool & Nylon
One skein of Noro Taiyo (Color 35-A which was on sale) for a knitted lamb from the new Noro (Spring/Summer) Magazine. I also bought the magazine.
Hlacyon Gemstone Soft Twist Silk – Lot 15989 – 240 yards 100% silk, Sport weight 5-7 sts = 1 inch on US 3-5 needles
I bought a hank of Halcyon’s Gemstone Soft Twist Silk in a silver color (not sure what the gemstone is … diamond? I like diamonds!) This is to knit a necklace that I saw online … on Facebook, if my memory serves.
Indulgence Sock Yarn – Color 105 Lot 18411 426 yards, 21 sts x 27 rows = 4 inches on size US 3-6 needles Merino wool & Polyamide
And last, a ball of Indulgence 6-ply (also on sale) Sock Yarn with which I’ll make socks. I just loved the colors in the yarn (and it’s really soft, too.) The sample that was on the table was a tubular scarf knitted in all of the different colorways … I almost bought one of each. Almost.
Halcyon also has a bunch of wonderful-sounding classes available if you’re looking to take one! And the people who work there are very friendly and helpful … if you don’t mind wandering aimlessly, you can do it for hours at Halcyon Yarn! You’re going to enjoy the ever-changing samples at Halcyon, too! I saw no fewer than three sweaters that I would like to knit. Too bad I brought three projects with me from Florida!
And while you’re visiting Bath, it’s worth your while to visit the Bath Iron Works and the Maine Maritime Museum. For $27 (adults) you’ll get admission to both a 1-hour tour of the place where our US naval warships are being built. Some are so super secret that you’re not allowed to take photographs! Really fascinating! You can also visit Popham Beach (beware, the water in Maine is wicked cold!) and Reid State Park.
Parks, new things to learn and fiber. Just a few of the reasons that I return to the area every year!