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Friday, May 30, 2014

San Antonio Yarn

Here are those yarn pictures, as promised. The yarn shop had lots of lovely yarns, but I think that Middleford in Medford, OR still wins for being the best, most knitter friendly, welcoming, everyone knows your name, sort of yarn shop I've ever visited.

Because we didn't rent a car (we were on the Riverwalk, and most of our events were there, as were many restaurants and the Alamo and other sites), I had to brave the bus. When I got change at a CVS for the bus, and the lady heard why I needed it, she told me I was brave, because there were lots of creepy people on the bus and even she, a local, never took it. That built my confidence right up. But, it wasn't too bad at all. We made it there and back with only one real creep sighting, and he was fixated on someone else.

In any case, there were two yarn stores there that I could find, but I only went to one. I wish I had taken the effort and time to visit the second one, which was a little closer to our hotel, but I had limited time and was reliant on public transportation, so it just didn't happen. The first yarn shop looked a little more promising, but now I'm wondering what the other would have been like. Maybe on our next trip.

Here is the most beautiful blue sock yarn. I used to hate it when styles or colors or songs or whatever I liked were popular, because it meant that it looked like I was following the crowd. Now, I'm just glad that it makes them more widely accessible.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yarn Along: Travel Knitting and Crocheting

I didn't get as much knitting and crocheting done on our trips as I had hoped, and I was just too exhausted on the latter trips to do much in the car. Nejat and I found that when there weren't other siblings there for her to talk to or pick her up when she didn't want to be alone, there wasn't much time left for me to even use the facilities, let alone do something like knit or crochet. I did get some work done on the free burp cloth design which coordinates my April Hat and Vest. I'm also finished with crocheting the tacky tie bookmark for Rich's Father's Day gift, though I still have to sew it together and weave in ends. My design for my own little jacket did get some progress made while I was on planes, but not as much as I thought I would. Right now, I am planning on getting my rough pattern for just my size posted for free, once I finish the knitting and writing. Then, I will do the calculations for other sizes and offer the full pattern for sale a bit after that. If anyone wants a free copy of the pattern in exchange for test knitting for me, once it is finished, I would really appreciate it. Contact me via comments, or through the sidebar link to e-mail me if you are interested.

While we were in San Antonio, I braved the local transit system and rode with Nejat across town to visit one of the yarn shops there. I bought some lovely yarn packs from Wonderland Yarns, one in their sock weight and one in their sport weight, to make some shawls and blankets. I also picked up some gorgeous royal blue sock yarn for me. If they had more of it, I would have bought more. So beautiful. I'll post pictures soon. Yarn is nearly always my souvenir of choice when visiting someplace. It's pretty, useful, and reminds of wherever we were as I work with it or use the item made from it.

Still reading Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting and Christ in His Saints. They were perfect for reading on the plane, or quick snatches while Nejat let me in the hotel room. I read some of it aloud to Rich while we were driving on certain legs of our trip, too.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yarn Along: Ring Around the Rosy!

Today is a day for blurry photographs, evidently. I will try to get a better picture taken of this, but I wanted to show my lovely Ring Around the Rosy Scarf that is finished! I wish I had made it about two inches shorter, but I am happy with it. I am still contemplating making another scarf with charcoal, grey, and wine colored yarn as the contrast to the ruffled roses at the end.

Here is a blurry, dark photo of Nejat in her Saint Catherine. I want to get a nice, outdoor picture of her in it, but was impatient. It isn't her birthday yet, but that's okay, because she doesn't know when her birthday is.

Lovely buttons!

My other knitting is pretty mundane; I'm working on the burp cloth for the free pattern to be given out when my April Hat and Vest are published. I'm also crocheting a silly, little gift for Rich for Father's Day. I have plans to crochet a long distance hug for a friend of mine from high school and college who recently lost her husband of 16 1/2 years. We don't live near her, so I thought I could send her something that she could feel that would show her our love. She is only a year older than I am, and could use your prayers.

After seeing another person in the yarn along reading Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, I put it on hold at our library. It is nice, easily digested, small bites of stories. Which is my speed right now. I can pick it up, read a vignette and put it down again. I don't care for each story, but I also don't feel obligated to read stories I don't find interesting or compelling. So, this and Christ in His Saints are my main reading right now.

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Monday, May 12, 2014


1. Jerome has inherited my CDO. I'm so proud. Even my Mother's Day gift he laid out at my place at the table in order of size and color. He made a point of letting me know that.

2. Rich and I have been sleeping mostly on the couches in the living room since Nejat started being able to sleep through the night. She isn't quite ready to be in the room with her sisters, and she still sleeps more soundly when we are (I am) not in the room. We started with using the hide-a-bed, but honestly, the couches are more comfortable, so we just do that now. If we time it right, though, we can get her to sleep and go to bed in our own bed and be comfortable. This doesn't happen most of the time. The other night, we were talking about how Nejat probably needed one more feeding, so we might be able to sleep in our own bed. Rich said "If we can get in our own bed by 11:00, and sleep all night, that has to be worth 12 couch hours!"

3. We live in a small town. In the middle of nowhere. Really.

In case you haven't seen this.

There are many wonderful things about where we live, not least being the people here. However, it is the middle of nowhere, and it is populated mostly by white people and Mexicans. So, when people find out that my origins are in the Middle East, they tell me about one of the few people in town who also come from that area. When they find out that I am a Christian with an Eastern bent, they tell me about John and Sarah.

John and Sarah own a gas station in town, are from Egypt originally, and are either Orthodox or Coptic. They go to church in Seattle, or something like that. Every. Single. Time.

So, when Rich went to that part of town, near that gas station, I asked him if he saw John and Sarah (even though we live in this tiny town, I am not positive that we have met, though it is possible that they are the couple I have stalked and talked to in the Grocery Outlet a couple times). Then I asked something about what their experience in this town must be like, and he answered that people probably tell them about Ranée with all those kids every time they see them.

4. I keep seeing cars in town with the word Zabala/Zabbala on the rear window. What does this mean in Spanish? Because in Arabic it means garbage.

5. We went on a field trip to hike in some caves recently. Another thing about living in a small town is that a homeschool field trip makes the local paper. Twice. This time, our kids were mentioned by reference, not name, and they were in the picture.

This is not the photo from the paper, but a different one.

Here they are before we started our hike. They are facing the sun, which is why they are squinting.

6. On this field trip, as we were heading back down toward the cars, Dominic looked at me and said he was glad for his Arab side, because it meant that he didn't get sunburned. He is our fairest child. And burns more than any of them. Even when we lived on the west side, rather than the desert. To be fair, he usually just burns once and then tans.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Menu Plan: May 11 - May 17

I keep saying this, as though it were out of the ordinary, but we have a busy week this week. Nejat will be one on Friday, which is impossible to believe. My Mother's Day was wonderful! Rich made nachos for linner, the kids were able to play and let me nap for almost three hours, which I desperately needed, they had made cards and gathered flowers for me, and we ate double fudge dipped caramel ice cream bars for dinner.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Yarn Along: Ring Around the Rosy and Nejat's Saint Catherine

I love this scarf. It is too warm by magnitudes for our weather, I won't get a chance to wear it until the fall, at the earliest, the Solo yarn is a huge PITA to work with (it took me three days to do the ruffle on the first half and four days to knit the entirety of the rest of that half), but it is so pretty when you are finished, that I'm already contemplating another scarf like this in darker, more vibrant colors. And I hate knitting scarves. And knitting the same thing twice. If you want to keep up with more detailed progress, you can look here.

Here we have a couple shots of Nejat's Saint Catherine, finished. I was hoping to get some pictures in natural light, but this may have to wait until she receives it for her birthday.

I deliberately took this photo without showing the buttons. I've changed my mind about the buttons and have another set due to arrive here on Monday or so, when I will replace these.

As for reading, I finished Austenland: A Novel, last night, and while it is most definitely better than the movie, I did not find myself disappointed with the changes made for film, as I usually do. They make sense given the different constraints and limitations of film versus literature. I have so many books on my "to read" list that I'm a little at a loss at which to choose next.

Christ in His Saints forms my spiritual reading still. I cannot recommend it enough. Each section and profile is short enough that you can read snippets of it at a time, but you will find yourself thinking deeply and in different ways about those people and wanting to read more. Keep your Bible handy to look up references and cross references. I use The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World, which has incredible study notes, commentary by the Church Fathers, information about sacraments, beautiful icons. I highly recommend it, as well. There is a free, online source for the Catena Aurea, or Golden Chain, which is St. Thomas Aquinas' compilation on the Fathers' commentary on the Gospels. I would love to have a leather bound edition for each of the four Gospels, Catena Aurea (4 Volumes), but it is nice to have it available online also.

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Menu Plan: May 4 - 9

T-ball started last week. So, we have ballet at least four days a week, t-ball two days a week, this week there is the Lego club, fencing once a week, plus school, work, church, and family activities. Oh, and Alexander started his first job (besides babysitting, pet sitting, house sitting). He's mowing the lawn for our neighborhood social club. Fortunately for us, he can ride his bike there and back and the lawn mower and other equipment is stored there, so we don't have to drive for that. This leaves exactly no days this week in which we aren't going somewhere after school/work even on the weekends. And ballet recital rehearsals are coming up, too. It's a busy time for us, trying to finish up end of school year work, field trips, getting the garden in, and so on. It's fun, but exhausting.

So, we have some repeats this week. We still have about 15 pounds of asparagus, so we're eating that a lot. Our meals this week are mostly planned to use what we have already.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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