Maine or bust!

Monday, May 27, 2013

My weekend...

I really need to start bringing the camera with me when Rob and I have a fun weekend together :) I don't know how many people who actually read this blog are familiar with long-distance relationships, but distance sucks. Don't let anybody tell you differently. We even got to cheat another night onto our weekend, because Rob left earlier than he normally does and got here late Friday night rather than late Saturday morning! I sent him home about four hours ago, and it really, truly sucks to know that I'm going home to an empty apartment tonight. I know it's not REALLY empty... the two kids will be there, as will the two demons *ahem* I mean cats.

So to cheer myself up from the fact that I'll have an empty bed tonight and nobody to kiss me when I wake up in the morning, you all get to hear about our fantastic weekend! On Saturday, Rob and I went for a walk here:

This is the Shirley's Bay walking trail (this is obviously not my picture, since the leaves don't change in May around here). It's trail # 10 in either the NCC's list of walking trails or Ontario's list. We only did the small one-km loop, since the ground was uneven and kind of boggy in places. Next time, I think we'll hit the 4km loop and see how we do :) We made a quick dinner at home and then we picked up the kids and went to see this:

If you get the chance, see it. It was awesome :) If only the ass who was sitting behind me hadn't felt the need to keep bashing my seat back with his feet through the whole movie. Yes, I said something to him. Several times. The last time, his girlfriend/wife/female companion actually punched him and told him he was being a jerk. Didn't stop him. Ugh. But the movie? AWESOME. So worth it. And now I kind of hope that Iron Man will be relegated to Avengers movies, because I don't think they can top the trilogy as it stands (and I hope they won't try). Thing of beauty :)

Sunday, Rob got the kids to help him move some furniture around - I'd been trying to do this for weeks. He asks them once, and they hop to it. I don't get it. *sigh* But then, we went to my mom's, and we did some of this:

Folks, this was the first time I managed to ride a bike in 20 years. Okay, I wasn't on a two-wheeler. My mom has a trike:

Looks just like that one, except it's got a huge basket on the back that my dad put on for her. She let me ride it! Dudes, first time on a bike in 20 years. I went 2.5 MILES. And I kept a decent pace (I was the slowest rider, so they made me lead, since I'm the only one who knows the neighborhood around my mom's house). I was shocked and amazed that I was even capable of doing it. I think Rob was a bit shocked too :) He's always said he wants to be able to ride with me, and this was the first time. It was pretty fantastic, even with the kids along ;)

Then we went to the driving range and Rob did some of this:

He's always wanted to learn to play golf, and my ENTIRE family (except me, of course), plays. So my aunt offered to take him to the driving range and give him some pointers. He smacked 75 balls all on his own, and was actually doing pretty well by the end of the bucket. I stood by admiringly and hoped they wouldn't ask me to hit any, because I'm pretty sure I'll suck at it. The kids were off playing mini-putt with my parents on that side of the facility. Everybody had a fair bit of fun, we got some outside activity time, and we all slept REALLY well last night.

This morning, Rob and I drove to my office together (that's where we parked his car) and we had breakfast at a local dive before he headed off into the sunset (10am sunset, that is). Tonight is the last class in the Introduction to Judaism class. I have my final meeting with the rabbi this evening, and I'm a bit nervous. Let's hope the answer I give him tonight is acceptable and I get to continue on with the conversion process!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I'm sitting here in my office looking out the window at an absolute downpour under an ugly black sky. LOVE it. This is my weather. I love watching the rain and hearing it drown out all other sound on a busy street. I love seeing the cars turn on their lights and see the streetlights come on in the middle of the day.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I tend to fixate on things. I'll do/eat/listen to/want/crave it until I'm sick of it, and then I'll move on to something else. I do this with music, books, knitting, exercise, plants, etc. It's the one running theme in my life. What's Lynne's fixation this week? So what IS Lynne fixating on this week? Right this moment, it's these things.

Longan berries (also known as Dragon Eyes or longan fruit). They're like lychees but a bit more transparent and with a slightly milder, more mushroomy flavor. Don't let my weird taste buds dissuade you. These are DELICIOUS. I've been prepping a few to bring in my lunch every day, and I can't get enough of them. I bought a bunch of them at the grocery store on a whim, because I didn't know what they were or how to eat them (I do that rather often, actually). All you have to do is peel off the papery skin (use a knife, and watch your fingers) and dispose of the pit, which looks like a blueberry! These would be awesome in a martini, or at least I assume they would be - I can't have martinis, so I can't find out. Someone check for me?

Knitting-wise, it's Project Linus blankets. I'm crocheting granny square blankets for them and knitting hats for Halos of Hope to bring to Chicago with me for Stitches Midwest. It's not like I don't have enough on the needles... I'm just determined to get a few more done. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. I don't even LIKE granny square blankets.

Bentos!!!! Mine aren't quite this fancy. But I really LOVE the idea of little portions of things all packed together to make an awesome lunch/dinner/whatever. This week for my lunches at work, I've been all about the bentos. I made a big pot of quinoa/bulghur, and so far I've had that with fried tofu and NY strip steak (had half on Tuesday, the other half today), a bit of fruit (strawberries & longan berries), steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli & cauliflower), yogurt and other little bits and pieces. I'm out of steak now, so tomorrow might be boiled shrimp. 

And this song. Yes. I'm stuck on Michael Bublé lately. Get over it. I defy anyone to feel bad during this song. It is the most happy, bouncy breakup song I have ever heard, and I love it! (try to contain your gagging during the kissy scene at the beginning - I have trouble). It just makes me want to get up and dance :)

Borrowed from
And of course, yoga. I've been DYING for yoga. I tried to do some in my kitchen the other day, but the nylon-covered exercise mat I purchased wasn't the greatest idea I ever had (it slid out from under me during the first sun salutation position!). Unless I can convince my kids to go with me (and pay for 3 participants - yikes), I'm stuck with finding a class that runs on Sunday mornings. I need yoga! And blocks. I can't find the bloody blocks ANYWHERE. If you've seen them hanging out in a store anywhere, let me know, because I'd like to buy a couple (mobility-challenged, so they really help for getting down into floor poses and then back up again LOL). 

Oh.... and these guys:

I don't care how badly they played last night (actually, they didn't... Pittsburgh just skated circles around us), they're still my boys and I love them!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring days...

It's been a busy long weekend! Hope everyone had a safe and happy May 2-4 (even though the 24th is tomorrow...) On Saturday, Kari and I headed out to go to Temple, but there was a Bar Mitzvah going on, so we quietly ducked out. I don't mind sitting through them once in a while - especially if I know the child or the family, but in this case, we were packed into a lobby of over a hundred people I didn't recognize, and these things tend to be LONG. So off we went to Wool Tyme instead. I was good! I didn't buy yarn! I bought a few ergonomic Prym crochet hooks (dirt cheap), a tape measure and some beeswax votive candles. Then we had Pho for lunch (YUM) and headed off to Sue's to record the podcast.

Podcast over, we went to a couple of garden centres and bought some plants. Two roma tomatoes, two golden roma tomatoes, one sandwich tomato plant (I think it's called Sunshine), six cherry tomatoes (YIKES), two bell peppers, one chocolate mint, one rhubarb plant, and a few house plants (I got aloe, jade and wandering Jew) and a bunch of pots and soil. I took a picture of our finished product yesterday (Kari's balcony garden) but I can't get the pictures off the small camera easily, so I'll add it back in tonight after I get home. We added two basil plants to our little garden yesterday when we went to buy more soil. I planted some chives, marjoram, cilantro and parsley in jiffy pellets at home, and once those have sprouted, we'll transplant them to go live with the rest. I also harvested several pounds of rhubarb from my mom's yard (the patch was a bit out-of-control and already bolting and it's not even JUNE!)

Apparently this is what my teeny tiny Wandering Jew will become!

Food - I got ambitious last night and decided to prepare a bento for lunch today. I think a bit more planning will have to go into grocery shopping this week - the pickings were slim :) I made a big pot of quinoa & bulghur with tamarind sauce and a tiny bit of Valentina's thrown in, daikon radish seeds and soy beans. DELISH. I fried up three slices of tofu, cut those into strips, and put that in, with a container of sesame ginger sauce for dipping, added a polish cucumber pickle and some pickled turnip (which I'm discovering I don't like on its own), a little container of longan berries and strawberries, and a peach/passionfruit greek yogurt. Totally awesome. Next time though, I need to make myself a small breakfast bento too so I don't end up noshing on my lunch at 9am. Tomorrow, I may tried some shrimp and broccoli with the quinoa stuff.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Blank Page...

That's what I'm faced with every time I want to post something on the blog. What am I going to fill it with? Is anybody even going to read it? (yes, I'm a bit paranoid and emo when it comes to the blog.) My dreams have been very fractured and strange lately - moreso than usual. And through them flows a constant parade of my ex-boyfriends and friends long left behind. It's really disturbing sometimes - although it was comforting to note in last night's episodes that I'm no more fond of the jerk from Indiana in dreams than I am I my waking life.

I've also felt somewhat stifled by the "structured" format I adopted previously. So I've decided to shake thing up a bit. There will be a bit of stream-of-consciousness crap at the top here, and then, if I have anything to say about the structured stuff, I will toss that in afterward. I woke up determined that today would be better than the rest of the week had been. I've been getting very frustrated and angry (I was swearing at the spinning wheel last night - loudly) and unpleasant to be around, and that's not who I want to be. So today, only good things are happening and I'm actually being productive and pleasant. And tired. SO freaking tired. I wish I could curl up under my desk (there's room!) and take a nap.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out with Kari and I picked up some Reflections CDs from the drugstore. You know, those displays with a speaker where you can choose which CD you want to hear an excerpt from? I bought three - one was Reiki something or other, one was Spirit Earth and the third was Zen Tranquility (sorry, the Reiki one is in my car!). I bought them to be able to do yoga along to - because yoga without background music is boring. Have I done any yoga? Not yet... but I've been having major yoga URGES, which is a step in the right direction. I will get there. Soon. I hope? I often get urges to get up and go for a walk too - my calves will start pinging (muscle twinges) and aching and I've actually been managing to get myself up off my ass once in a while when that happens now. I'm still a lazy ass, but I'm less of a lazy ass than I *was*, and I like to see that as progress. Sort of.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An exercise in frustration...

I won't lie. The last couple of days have been extremely frustrating. I started my day off feeling fantastic yesterday. I had this dream. I don't remember the rest of it, but I was with this man. And we were in love. And just before I woke up, we walked along a beach and sat down at the edge of a crumbling concrete bleacher and laid down on the ground. I put my head on his chest, looked up at him and said, "I love you..." The man's face is not familiar to me, but he looked down at me, amused, and said, "I love you too. Are you being adorably romantic right now, or just needy?"

"I don't know," I said. He looked confused. "I just never want this to end..." I explained. And as we kissed, I awoke. In a few minutes of dreaming, I rediscovered my wonder at being in love. It felt amazing. It felt fantastic. I woke up in a great mood that followed me throughout most of the day.

I had Judaism class last night, and it was my third meeting with the Rabbi. He seemed a bit standoffish and I was very uncomfortable. I tried explaining that I had clearly had some preconceived notions before our last meeting, and I wasn't sure what he expected of me. He said he needed clarification. I answered his questions as best I could, and then he asked one I couldn't answer. "What do you expect will change if you convert to Judaism?" Well.... I can't really know, can I, never having been Jewish before. But that wasn't what he wanted to hear. And I was frustrated and tearful and afraid that I would not be allowed to convert, that I wouldn't be allowed to join the cool kids' table (I'm using a joke for effect here, I don't think that becoming Jewish will make me one of the "cool kids").

So then I had to go back to class, unable to keep the tears at bay, and try to muddle through Hebrew class while thoughts churned in my head. What do I expect will change? What am I expecting conversion to do for me? I was raised Roman Catholic. French Roman Catholic. I was an altar girl, I was in all the youth groups, I was pretty involved. And then I discovered some things about the Roman Catholic Church that I didn't agree with. We won't go into that, but I ended up leaving the Church. And I felt that a piece of me had been lost. I felt as though a piece of my identity before God was missing. I have searched long and hard for that missing piece, and I believe I have found it in Judaism. That's what I expect will change, I suppose. I will once again become a whole being before God. I was not born Jewish, but it is who I have become - it is the path I have chosen to follow - and I would like that to be acknowledged by becoming a Bat Mitzvah.

I apologize for all the religious discussion. I normally keep my beliefs pretty close to the vest, and I don't like to subject others to them (or be subjected to other people's beliefs), but this issue has caused me much consternation over the last few days and I needed to get my thoughts in order. And writing them out seemed like the best way to do that.

Today, I actually got quite a bit done at work - considerably more than I had anticipated. I left to do groceries with a small, developing headache that, by the time I had reached the grocery store, had turned into a raging migraine, complete with upset stomach and aural vision. Joy. It's gone now, but didn't do much for my mood earlier. Poor Zachary brought the spinning wheel up from the car and it fell apart on him as he walked through the back door. I panicked and yelled at him, and he got quite upset about it, winning me the Mom of the Year award *sigh* We did get it all put back together (gotta love eccentric antiques), and it works. I couldn't figure out how to tie a leader cord onto the second bobbin, and Kari actually made me a video to show how to do it, but I couldn't get the laptop to play sound, and I was getting more and more irritated... Until I took a step back, cleared my head, and looked down. And this is what I saw:

That right there is an entire bobbin of my very own handspun. It's ugly and uneven and overspun in some places and underspun in others, and it's nowhere near perfect or even usable, but it's mine. I made it and I love it :) And now I'm going to bed with a smile on my face. Hopefully Rob's sitting on a concrete bleacher by the beach waiting for me!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


So I'm getting ready for my spinning class (not that kind of spinning, Rob...) and I made myself "dinner for breakfast" - NY Strip loin steak and fiddleheads. I had some laundry going, I was knitting on a sock, and messing around on the computer, so I wasn't focusing much on eating. After half the steak and a few fiddleheads, I noticed I wasn't really hungry anymore. But I KEPT. EATING. I ate most of the steak and about 3/4 of the fiddleheads before really cluing into the fact that HEY DUMBASS, YOU'RE NOT HUNGRY! WHY ARE YOU EATING?

I think I have a tendency to prepare way more food than I need to be eating - and in many cases, way more than I'm hungry for. And then? Then I don't want to have to deal with the leftovers, so I just keep eating it until it's gone.

Today, I ate more than I should have because I didn't want to put it away and because I wasn't paying attention to my food or my body. I pushed the plate away, but it was still sitting in front of me while I did other things. I REALLY wasn't hungry anymore, and I actually feel kind of overly full now, so I picked the plate up, walked into the kitchen, put some plastic wrap over the plate and stuck it in the fridge. This small thing, this tiny thing that most people take for granted, was a HUGE step for me. I can't tell you the last time I put leftovers in the fridge. It's just not something I'm conditioned to do.

Go me :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hey... is this thing on?

Sorry about that. I fully intended on blogging before we left for Maryland, and I flubbed it.

The girls and I left bright and early Friday morning to head for MDSW. It's a long drive. Not as long as the drive to Chicago, but pretty long, nonetheless! There was road trip food (we're becoming masters at this), there was music, there was caffeine. Our hotel was quiet, clean, and FULL of MDSW attendees - as we were checking in, we met knitters :D

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Waffle House (okay food, way dirty restaurant though - there was a PUDDLE in the kitchen that servers and cooks kept stepping in and tracking all over the damn place - hork!) and then we headed to the fairgrounds. The Howard County fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD are located in such a picturesque neighborhood, we could hardly stand it. It took every bit of willpower we had not to pool our money and buy a nearby property that was for sale. I'm being facetious... there was no way we could afford a property there! The tiny one we saw right across from the fairground entrance was $400,000 ;)

We dropped our camp chair and yoga mat off at Hoar Base Camp and off we went to peruse the vendor booths! Fortunately, Cloverhill was one of the earlier vendors we came across, but even so, they were almost entirely out of the one-pound Three Irish Girls bundles we were looking for. I snagged one that's all gorgeous reds - four skeins of sock yarn and two mini-skeins of what looks like sport weight. SO pretty!

I also picked up a skein of Wild Hare Fiber Studio Pinnacle sock yarn in black, grey and hot pink :) I had put Rob's sock in the naughty corner - oh, let's face it, I frogged it again - and I needed sock yarn to start a sock, so the black and pink got elected!

I also managed to pick up a 4-oz bump of superwash BFL from Bullen's Wullens (who don't yet have a website... o.O) that is so soft and wonderful and I'm in love with it (and it was $10!). Pics to follow once I get home tonight and upload them.

I bought the fiber because.... Drum roll please.... I have acquired a spinning wheel :D My friend Denise sort of has a bit of a hobby of buying used wheels, drum carders, etc., fixing them up and reselling them. So when she got her hands on this beauty, she offered to sell it to me, knowing that I was looking but that my budget was very limited:

That right there is a Haldane Shetland wheel (Denise was about to give it a coat of Dutch wood oil so the band is off and it looks a bit wonky). I got it for pennies, and I pick it up to bring it home tomorrow! I am SOOOO excited!!! Now I just need to take a spinning class, since I've never spun before. Now maybe I'll be able to help the girls get on with the fleece I bought them last year! Millie is still sitting in Sue's craft room in the corner because nobody has the heart to keep working on her - Kari used the drum carder she borrowed from a friend of ours to process a bit of it, but there's SO much left. It's kind of insane.

I also picked up a bunch of little odds and ends (including some really pretty little apple-sized bumps of colored fiber, cookie cutters, and some other little unique items) as a prize care package for people who met us at the festival and had their pictures taken with Sue and Kari. If you met with us and took a picture, go over to the Two Tangled Skeins group on Ravelry and post them for your chance to win!

There was a podcasters' meetup on Saturday afternoon, and I sat there winding my skein of black & pink yarn into a ball and casting on the sock... and apparently burning to a crisp, which did not become apparent until many hours later. Kari went out after we got back to the hotel for the night to get some aloe because Sue and I had both burned ourselves silly. We missed the LSG meetup at the Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City because we were all too wiped out to be personable. The drive home on Sunday was pretty brutal because we were all still really tired, and starting to get cranky about the lack of sleep, but we made it :)

Next up is Stitches Midwest, but that's not until the beginning of August, so there will be a lot more going on between now and then. Right now, I'm attempting to initiate a purge of my home because there's wayyyyy too much crap in there right now. I may take Kari up on her offer to help some time this week ;)