I am Good (Enough)!

rockandrollfebruary1976

Yes, that’s me at the piano in my preppy sweater!

A million years ago I stood at a piano in rehearsal for a high school theater production. I was singing “Midnight at the Oasis” (among other things) and it was quite the challenge for me to be sexy and sing at the same time. No, really, it was. My teacher, Frank Best, worked with me a lot. How to walk, how to hold the mic, how to get off the side of the grand piano gracefully …

A couple of weekends ago I attended my 40th high school reunion. I’m not sure how 40 years have passed that quickly, how it’s been 30 years since I stepped foot on the campus. How it’s been 40 years since I’ve seen classmates who meant so much to me. It’s funny how life gets in the way of friendships. And it’s wonderful to pick up where we left off. My theater besties and I returned to the theater all these years later and remembered our shows together and others who didn’t come to reunion this time. It was magical.

Brian back at the old grand piano (that I slid of gracefully.)

Brian back at the old grand piano (that I slid of gracefully.)

Reunited. I wish Sharon had been in this picture, too!

Reunited. I wish Sharon had been in this picture, too!

One classmate shared the picture above and others from the school newspaper on Facebook prior to the reunion. What a good memory this brings forward along with some emotional baggage that I’m ready to discard. A couple of friends commented on how they remembered that show and my song. My number one fan commented that my singing “was one of the true wonders I have witnessed in my life. No lie.” This made me smile. (And blush a little bit.)

It’s difficult for me to accept compliments although I’ve gotten much more adept as I get older. I have come to realize that I really am smart and talented. Back then I certainly could sing. (If I tried, I might still be able to sing today!) “Midnight at the Oasis” was a big hit with the audience. I felt very proud of the performance and yet my father could only say that I’d done “pretty good, Monk”. Falling short of a resounding compliment and making me feel like I’d fallen short of making him proud. So, today I’m dumping that old weight that said I wasn’t quite up to snuff. I did a really good job. If people are still remembering my performance 40 years later, I did a really good job. I can be proud of my performance and know that it was truly a special moment in time. My father’s reaction was more about him coming up short than me.

I did an excellent (memorable) job. I am good! I am smart. I am enough!

Gone Knitting.

Three Cheers (for the Red, White and Blue)

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day learning something new.

The Class Sample … this is what my quilt will look like

The Class Sample … this is what my quilt will look like

I took a Flag Quilt class at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine with a friend and we had a great time. It was my first ever quilt-making class and it was a positive experience for this  once-a-failure sewer!

I’ve made a few other quilts in my life. I made several Amish Tied Quilts back when my children were little. One for each of them and a few others interspersed. They are funny to look at today … my color choices “date” the quilts with the exception of the eldest daughter’s which is red, white and blue. My quilt already shows that I was into the black and yellow “bee colors”. I have all of them here in Maine and one day they’ll go to the kids homes … when they all have room for a quilt.

My Log Cabin Quilt …  finished and on our bed

My Log Cabin Quilt … finished and on our bed

The last two summers I worked on a Log Cabin quilt which I finished and had quilted at Quilt Divas in Rockland. I love it and it’s on our bed.

The quilt that I’m working on for this class is a throw quilt and it’s got several things going on. It’s straight piecing, some appliqué and some curved sewing. I’ve never sewn a curved seam in my life! I felt relatively adept at the cutting and straight sewing although one of my classmates gave me a couple of new tips that I really appreciated. The appliqué I had done once and that was alright. I have a lot more stars to appliqué so I’ll be a professional when they’re all done! The curved sewing will take me awhile … and is my biggest challenge.

Curved seams … I did pretty well. It just takes time

Curved seams … I did pretty well. It just takes time

When I was all done, I was sore and feeling successful … I had only screwed up one star square (and have to cut a few other pieces to be able to finish my quilt) because I hadn’t been warned about making sure the squares were not all facing the same way. Fortunately I have extra fabric!

I will keep plugging along at it and I will show the pictures of the final project …. whenever I get it done (and quilted.) Since it’s a throw, I’ll plan to quilt it myself.

Gone knitting!

CYC Certified Knitting Teacher

I passed my second level of knitting certification and will soon have my certificate and pin to prove that I am a certified knitting teacher! A step up from Certified Knitting Instructor! Yay, me!

It’s amazing to think about spending an hour on the phone talking about knitting and designing knitwear with a stranger, but that’s what the process was. My master teacher, Edie Eckman, received my packet of materials (close to the end of the time frame that I had to complete the work) and reviewed it and we had a lovely chat about my work.

I had not tried several of the techniques that I had to knit swatches for – but I feel as though I am at a place in my knitting career where I am rather fearless and can try anything. Most everything I try, I can do. And I can do it well enough to teach it to someone else. Whether or not I will choose to do a lot of knitting (intarsia and mosaic and fair isle) in some of these styles (?) remains to be seen. But I feel comfortable enough with them.

I would, come to think of it, like to make a pair of fair isle mittens or a hat … some garment to use this technique as I think it’s remarkably pretty. I have a sweater pattern to make for my niece that will give me a chance to try it, too.

So, the Certified Knitting Instructor has grown into the Certified Knitting Teacher … now I have to decide whether to attempt the next level or if I’ll do the Knitting Guild’s Master Knitting. I need to keep learning and stretching in order to grow in my craft. It’s wonderful to that I have choices to invest in for myself.

Gone knitting!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!

Proud Mama!

You can tell I haven’t been knitting enough because I am blogging this week about WIPs, our new Big Brown Dog (Monk) and now being a proud mom. This is supposed to be a place where I write about knitting but it’s also my way of sharing bits and pieces of my life.

I have three big pieces of my life in my three children. The last few years haven’t always been easy. When parents go through a divorce, it directly affects a family and my kids have had some “issues” to deal with which have not been easy. It’s been difficult for me to be perceived as the “strong” parent because I’ve had to live a life without seeing them enough -I ‘m not sure there’s a chance of seeing them enough now that they’re grown and on their own. I have had to find peace living a life that’s radically different than the old one and especially around birthdays and holidays. But I am getting away from the purpose of this post …

Easter Day Daffodils on Fifth Avenue!

Easter Day Daffodils on Fifth Avenue!

We spent a weekend in New York City around Easter time and all three of my kids were there. I was thrilled to have them all in the same city and I am so proud of the people that they’re becoming! My youngest, my son, is in transition now and thinks he’s moving to New York. A terrifying prospect for a mom but he feels it’s time for him to give it a try – and why not try while your sister is there and you have a couch to land on! My younger daughter is my “body double” (maybe not today’s body, but even I see the likeness from when I was young!) and she’s got a real big job at a university in Chicago and seems to be content in her life there. My oldest one is why we were all there …

On January 1, she got engaged to long-time love, Spencer and one of the steps is to meet his family which we did. They’re great people and we will all support this wonderful couple. Our kids!

We also went to see my daughter in her first starring role on Broadway in “Rock of Ages”. The show has been on Broadway for a long time and is in the Helen Hayes Theater which is a small house, intimate and the perfect venue for this 80s rock party. I am proud of my girl who is living her dream and building a career. She’s got an amazing talent – and I’d like to take some credit for having encouraged her to do what she loves … and her beauty, too, of course!

This week I got a text messaged photograph.

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Yes, my kid is on a bus stop poster!

 

Yes, I’m one proud mama!

Gone Knitting!

Giving Back & Getting So Much!

During the school year last year, I started mentoring a little girl who was then in third grade. It seemed like a good idea and the right thing to do for me. A selfish thing to do, actually.

I had no idea that the relationship would become so special. But today it is. For the last year, I have had the privilege of mentoring a most adorable (now) fourth grader and I just wanted to share with you, dear readers, that I was invited to a fourth grade choir concert last week. What fun! And such a special invitation.

Fourth Grade Choir Concert for Veterans Day

 

I have been to fourth grade choir concerts before … my own children were always performing. It was easy to go to see my own children. It was also easy to go to see this little girl who I have grown to care so deeply for – she is adorable, sweet, and smarter than her years. And despite some pretty big challenges in her young life, she is happy and so much fun to be around. And she did a great job in her concert!

Parents were so proud and excited. Siblings were falling off cafeteria benches and itching to be anywhere else. But this mentor was really proud of one little girl who is very special to me!

Gone knitting!

The Roadtrip Reason

My son, my “baby”, graduated on Saturday from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. That makes three college graduates! Yay!

The graduate and his Broadway-bound big sister!

P.S. We didn’t know what the red sash around his neck was for either … turns out he liked the way it looked and “borrowed” it from his friend! That’s my boy! 🙂

My Trip to the Windy? City

Sunset from the "el"

It may have been windy but it was not chilly at all at the end of March. In fact, it was downright warm … Ok, let’s be totally honest and call it freaking hot! 85 degrees in Chicago? In March? Absurdly warm … and I brought long sleeves. Thank God for Target!

No particularly flattering but my chins are smiling!

Despite my actor daughter’s mysterious illness that kept her out of three shows, including the one I – and theater house manager daughter – was to attend, we had lots of time together and it was wonderful. Got to see my son briefly on his way to Michigan on Spring Break (his last). What a treat. Met daughter #2’s new beau … and like him very much.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as leaving your child knowing that there’s someone that she loves and who loves her. Someone who’s got her back. Someone who she can talk to and someone who puts up with the crazy family drama and still hangs around. My approval stamp was already taken out, used and put away. Welcome to the family, M! Thank you for loving my daughter. Daughter #1 has a man in her life who’s really special, too. I feel very grateful that they both have someone to share the ups and downs of life with  and that they don’t have to deal with “it” alone. It makes my heart feel full and calm.

We did a ton of walking and eating and talking and walking and eating. We may have had a couple of glasses of wine or a martini or two. Saw the Marilyn statue on Michigan Avenue on the way to the urgent care clinic. Went to the beach and buried Mabel – my grand-dog – in the sand. Shopped at Target and Whole Foods. Threw away a couple of organic mangoes two days later. (Boo!) Drank tea, coffee, water, rode busses and the “el”, walked and ate some more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishy Tree on the Magnificent Stinky Mile

The flowering trees were all in bloom as were the tulips and daffodils… some smelled sweet and some, not so much! (What tree is this that smells like rotten fish?! And why did anyone think they are good trees to plant along city streets?) I can’t imagine how those who have the fortune (or misfortune) to have one of these trees outside their apartment windows survive this time of year!

Mom's Bad Hair Day - by the (used-to-be-green) Chicago River

It’s always great to spend time with my kids and this trip was no exception. I’m so proud of them all and I’m so happy to be their mom.

What a wonderful trip to Chicago – thanks, L. for letting me sleep in your bed and sharing your space with me. I love seeing you grow and spread your wings! And, K., when was the last time I got to take you to the doctor? 🙂 And my boy – you’re almost done. A couple of months of college work and you’ll have to find a real job or come and live with your mom. I’ll take care of you! 🙂 Ha! Like that’ll happen … the live with mom part, I mean!

We needed to deal with some serious family stuff that reared its ugly head while I was there. I’m full of gratitude that this stuff is coming up now when I’m feeling stronger and more capable so that I can offer support to my children as they deal with some very difficult stuff. I am so lucky to have been given the gift of these three kids.

Gone knitting (with a grateful heart).

 

100 Years of Colorful

Yesterday I went to the Central Florida Fair which is celebrating its 100th year. Wow! 100 Years! Quite an accomplishment for a little regional fair. I’d never been to the fair before but my knitting girls brought it into my awareness and I decided to give it a try – trying new things is good for me!

The Knit or Knot Guild was doing demonstrations in the Creative Arts Building – which was air conditioned … for which I am eternally grateful as it was near 90 degrees outside. We demonstrated and taught knitting, crochet and spinning to fair-goers young and old. And enjoyed an afternoon of knitting together. As usual, I made a mistake in my knitting while my jaw was exercising and had to “frog” a dozen or so rows this morning. But it was such a fun afternoon!

We ate fair food.

My sugar-coated sweetie!

We saw horses, calves, 4H calf roping contests, bunnies, colorful people and chickens. Lots of wonderful chickens … a few of which were happy to pose for me!

               

I posted before about submitting knitted items to the fair, didn’t I? Without expectation, I submitted the Señorita Lolita sweater in the “Other” Knitting category and won a second place ribbon. I also submitted my Cambridge Shawl in the “Shawls/Scarves” Knitting category and won a third place ribbon. Yay for me!!! I also will be receiving a check for $30 which, as one of my knitting gals said, I can use for buying more yarn. (Like I need more yarn!?)

I feel very proud that my knitting was acknowledged by a judge and am already thinking ahead to next year’s fair and what I can submit … especially since I know better what the categories are and what gets submitted! Look out world, the Queen Bee’s on the prowl!

Gone Knitting!

UFOs No More!

Woo! Hoo! I’m wrapping up some (long overdue?) projects … it feels really good to get them off the needles and into use. Socks from hell. These are the ones that I tried (and won’t try again – at least for awhile) to do two socks on one needle. It was a struggle to get the hang of knitting two socks on one needle but I’m always open to a new knitting challenge. This one was OK until I came to turning the heel. I asked Betty (my Maine knitting teacher) who couldn’t explain her method to me and did it for me. I’m sure there are others  – perhaps one person who is in my new knitting group – who like to have their socks exactly the same and that’s what this method is best known for. Perhaps, after a while, I’ll decide to give it another shot. For now, I am glad that these socks are off the needles and I may just have to put them on my feet today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Bag Blue. I have had this yarn hanging around in my stash (yes, I have a pretty amazing stash … what’s the big deal?) since my eldest daughter (now 27 1/2) was around two. My son got quite a giggle about this this morning on the phone and pointed out that the yarn has been traveling around with me for more than two decades. Well, yeah, and so?! 🙂 Anyway, this project grew out of needing a properly-fitting bag for my new Mac. I used a seed stitch for the main body of the bag and then used a more stretchable 2×2 rib (in two colors because I ran out of blue) for the pouch on front that holds the cord. I think it came out well. The black leather button seals it all up and adds a pop – different texture and different color family. I am really proud of the end result and now I need somewhere to travel!

Prima Dogma Bulky Turtle(neck) This is the first half of my first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits first order. It’s based loosely on a design that I’ve made before but needed to change quite a bit in order to fit a teeny-weeny dog. Truthfully, I’ve knit this sweater twice and “frogged” it twice before I got it right. Now, I have to type up the pattern and will likely start offering these for sale in my Etsy shop. My client asked me to make it pink with grey stripes … I love the colors that I chose and I hope she will like them, too. The sweater is styled to look like you’re wearing your boyfriend’s sweater … a bit big and bulky but oh so very warm and cozy. Yarn is a bulky baby alpaca – super soft and it will also be super warm! Before I block it, Lola will model and I’ll post photos.

Next on the needles… Prima Dogma for Queen Bee Knits Señorita Lolita sweater in a pretty peachy pink wool. Not sure what the flower will be yet. Stay tuned! Also, a hat for my son. Another custom pattern in specific stripes – black, grey and orange – with cables and earflaps. Also black socks (they’re started but haven’t gotten very far) for my son.

Left to finish … my Noni felted bag. Knitting and felting is done but the lining and handles need to be added so I can tote it around. It’s so pretty … maybe tomorrow? I’m not a super-sewer!

We’re off to get outside in this beautiful cooler-but-warming-up weather! It’s already past noon! How does that happen!

Gone knitting!