On the Road Again

Marblehead Light from Fort Sewell, Marblehead, MA

The past week I’ve been living “on the road” which is saying that I’m not home. This is the first road trip that I’ve taken by myself in two years. I found myself very anxious when I was leaving the house. My GPS on my car wouldn’t connect, I couldn’t get it to play my podcasts that I had hoped to listen to, nor would it play my music that “I” downloaded (with lots of help and support from my sweet husband.) Turns out that if you turn the car off and then re-start it, that it works. Phew. I was so grateful for my husband’s suggestion.

First stop was to my “oldest” friend’s house in Connecticut to celebrate the life of her son. He died on Valentine’s day in a one car crash. He was 28 years old. The memorial service or “Irish Wake” was wonderfully well put together for Scudder. He didn’t want a church funeral or, really, any formal service. So, we all ate and drank and remembered the young man who was so loved by his family and friends. His sister’s and mother’s lives will be forever changed. I was lucky to be able to spend the night at my friend’s house and chat for a few hours before heading off to Massachusetts.

Second stop was Salem, Massachusetts. My sister-in-love is house and dog sitting for my niece and her husband who are honeymooning in Italy! We haven’t been able to have a lot of girl time since I moved to Maine (we have plenty of time together with husbands and kids and other siblings but not just the two of us) so I really wanted to visit for a couple of days. And I did … and I extended my visit to a week! One of my wonderful co-workers worked for me on Thursday and I cancelled my class (I know, that’s not normal!) on Friday. Today the husbands arrive and we’ll spend the weekend celebrating my nephew who is off on an excellent adventure to Alaska for a few months.

I am knitting! I finished my Humlebi Shawl by Fiber Tales. I knit this shawl in Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm. I love the oatmealy-gray yarn and the bumble bees that are knitted in around the edge are fabulous! I will block it aggressively rather than gently and I hope it’ll be an ok size for me. I used just over one skein and I’ll weigh the remaining one to figure out how much I used in total. I checked my gauge and I measured 19 sts per inch rather than 17. So, I wasn’t too far off but it probably would have been a bit better for me on a larger needle. It was a fun knit so I may consider knitting it again just to see what happens when I change the gauge to what it’s really supposed to be and I have more yarn.

Humelbi Shawl blocking close-up

I also knitted up a couple of pairs of booties for a new mom (and dad)-to-be. I knitted up the pattern that I found at the store years ago and that I really love to knit. It’s called Sue’s Baby Booties and I knit it up in Cascade Yarn’s FIxation. When I ran out of projects (daughter’s socks are at the toe and I need her foot measurement, Humelbi Shawl was finished except for blocking, and I only had Arne & Carlos’ Advent Jumpers left which take too much concentration to knit in a group) so I cast on another pair for my brother and sister-in-law’s neighbors who just had a baby girl. This pattern makes me so happy! I love all the combinations.

I have reached the toe decreases on the socks for my dear daughter. Plain vanilla socks for the first pair to see how she likes them and how they fit. Since I don’t have her feet to try them on or measure. I sent her a text to trace and measure her foot so I know how long to knit them. We used to have the same shoe size but mine are bigger these days, I guess. Anyway, I’ll put the first sock onto a holder and start on the second sock so I can continue my progress. I’m feeling successful and productive with all these small projects.

Spring in Massachusetts is a couple of weeks ahead of us here in Maine. I can’t wait to see our spring bulbs in bloom. They’re coming!!! The snow in the yard is all gone, the road has already dried up a bit from the muddy mess that it was when I left. The lake is still mostly covered with ice (it’s certainly ice-covered at our house but each end is more open than a week ago) and it’s turning grayer. I’m ready to see the water again.

Gone knitting!

Family Values – Valuing Family

Most of the Family in Marblehead 2009

I know I’ve said this before … but I love my family!

N. and I have spent the last few days and nights visiting my youngest brother and his family in Marblehead, Massachusetts. If you have never visited Marblehead, it’s well worth a visit and I love being there all the time but the fall is a great time. Our visit was precipitated by my Aunt and Uncle from Lake Tahoe, NV who were in town for a couple of days on their annual New England “jaunt” and we decided to join the fun – and it was fun!

Happy Bee-day Aunt Judy!

We ate lobster (fresh-caught from my brother’s boat) and birthday cake – in  honor of said aunt – did a lot of laughing, a lot of walking around town, and experienced a first – a school district RAIN delay on Monday morning. I woke up at 5 a.m. because of an odd flashing of light which I had attributed to my cell phone but it was lightning … and then turned into a frog-strangling rain with thunder and lightning. Roads were flooded and school was delayed for 2 hours! Although my youngest nephew wanted to remember another such delay (much to his parents’ chagrin), I don’t think there has ever been such an event. We even watched (from a waterside restaurant) a sailboat being hoisted out of the harbor for the winter.

Sailboat being lifted out of Marblehead Harbor

In Salem, MA there is the most wonderful museum called the Peabody Essex which we’ve visited on numerous occasions but a cold, formerly rainy Tuesday was good enough reason for another visit. I think I like this museum because it has something for everyone – and who would ever believe that Salem would be home to such a magnificent place. We visited only a couple of the galleries but I liked the Man Ray/ Lee Miller exhibit

My nephew, who was gifted by his mother with a “learning with Auntie Linda” day, said that all the eyes gave him the creeps. I appreciated being able to see and learn about a love story (though not necessarily a healthy or happy one) and the art that was created from it. I’d heard of Man Ray in a French History class that I took which included all sorts of wonderful media references to the period – what a great class and teacher that was!

Nephew at the end of the line ("Red Line" in Salem is the Heritage Trail)

We spent a lot of time in the interactive and child-friendly Ripple Effect exhibit which, considering the weather at the start of the day, seemed timely and appropriate. The kids were particularly at home in this exhibit and I hope they learned a couple of things. They also enjoyed an tiny area in the maritime history/nautical history section nearby where there was a display of ship’s journals … we tried to read the old script handwriting and then tried to interpret what the authors were talking about. It was great – and I could share with them that their grandfather, my father, also journaled about his experience on the seas in WWII. (One day I will scan and post his journals on my family history blog chronicling the Rockwell and Dow genealogy.)

It was a great few days and I always love being with my family!

(Don’t forget to plan your trip to Salem and Marblehead!)

Gone (to do the laundry and then) knitting!