Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Meital

Thank you to all who wrote asking how I am doing. I simply haven't had much to share with you lately. But today I do!

My little girl turned eleven today, and we've been enjoying a lovely day.

Yesterday, Avi took the girls to Jerusalem so that I could finish up today's surprises. First, I finished up the bee toy I made, based on a Jean Greenhowe pattern:

I planned out the traditional Treasure Hunt for the Gifts. Then I baked a plain, unfrosted cake (per Meital's request) for her birthday breakfast. Last night, after Meital finally fell asleep, I snuck in and decorated her room with balloons, crepe paper streamers, heart and star cut outs, and the felt wall hanging we have have been using for years. The main part of the hanging says Happy Birthday, and at the bottom I pin little banners, each with a letter of the birthday girl's name.

Meital loved her gifts, which also included a couple of ePets and some art supplies from her uncle, a kids' cookbook in Hebrew from her sister, and two science project books from Avi and me. She and I made chocolate mousse, which we will eat after her spaghetti dinner.

Happy birthday, my sweet Meitali!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Oh, Yuck

The knee sock, she is giving me fits!

Today we went to Jerusalem, and we all know what that means. All the way there, I knit diligently on the knee sock for my niece (yup, I'm still working on the first one). By the time we arrived, I had added at least another inch to the length.

Had lunch with the family. Fabulous time. Had a nice chat with my newly-returned BIL. Sat down to work some more on the sock. And was blindsided by the fact that I have been Yarn Harlotting myself with this dad-blamed sock. No matter how much or how fast I knit it, it is still turning out butt-ugly. Self-denial at its finest, as it were.

Even my increases looked bass-akwards.

Shoved the thing back into my bag and worked on my back-up project (good old garter stitch washcloth) all the way home. It's nearly done.

Once I was safely ensconced at home (and no longer in a moving vehicle) I called out my favorite singing group, the Caribbean Amphibians (anyone out there remember that Sesame Street song?) who sang a rip-roaring chorus of Bye-Bye Knee Sock. (For those of you who don't knit, ripping out large portions of knitting is known as frogging "rip it, rip it". Wildly clever, no?). Now I'm back where purple meets teal blue.

But I fear not. I've got a new plan (and a new way to walk).

Friday, July 18, 2008


I've been knitting. Really. I've put in several rows on Liat's Shetland Shorty, and done quite a bit on the surprise I am making for Meital's birthday (as I'm sure you realize, photos will follow after The Big Day).

But, like many of you out there, I get the newsletter, and I made the mistake (though I don't really consider it an actual mistake, maybe more of a miscalculation. But then, I am nothing if not forthright and honest.) of showing Liat this pattern. Of course, she loved it. She asked me again today when I would make it for her. I told her as soon as I finished the Shetland Shorty, I would order the yarn. But I am weak. I went ahead and order it just this minute. And, I printed out the pattern (at least that was free - except for the paper and ink...).

What can I say? That makes three hobbies I've spent money on this month (reading, stamping, and now this). Wait. I forgot my one-month membership at So that makes four. Oh well. I will try to restrain myself in August, because you and I both know that I will certainly buy myself some treats in honor of my birthday in September!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Dream of Jeanie Ology

Have you ever seen the stage show or movie of Fiddler on the Roof? There's a scene in which the main character, Tevye, describes to his wife a nightmare he is pretending to have had. Lots of ghosts, confusion, and screaming ancestors. That's what the last few nights have felt like. I close my eyes to go to sleep and names and dates swirl through my head.

In an attempt to make full use of my limited-time membership in, one of the leading genealogy websites on the Internet, I have devoted about 90% of my recent waking hours to researching my relatives. When I feel I've exhausted the resources for one branch, I switch to another one. I've been creating files on my computer with family trees, historical facts, and citations for as many of those facts as possible. I've started manila file folders, labelled and sorted. Alphabetically. Of course.

It's been fascinating, frustrating and exhausting. Frankly, at the moment, I'm sick of doing it!

That won't last, but I have to say I welcomed the chance to take a break today when Meital had a friend over to swim. I sat outside, one eye on the girls, and the other on a great book my neighbor Ellen loaned me: The Woods, by Harlan Coben. I couldn't put it down, and just finished it about twenty minutes ago. I also found time today to start yet another washcloth. That's about all I can manage these days: small, made of cotton, garter stitch. I still haven't finished Liat's Shetland Shorty, and while I have worked on my niece's knee sock, it hasn't seen much action for the last couple of days. It just feels too hot to knit (heresy, I know, but there it is).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Still Alive

Sorry, no photo today. It has been an awfully long time since my last, I mean post, so here is one with no photos, just to let you know I'm still here and thinking of all of you.

Much of my time lately has been consumed with taking up carpet (finished the stairs and the upstairs hallway today, whoo hoo!) and genealogy. Mostly, my days are like this: get up, drink one cup of coffee. Start attacking the carpet. Fall into the swimming pool to cool off. Dry off, take a nap. Do genealogy research. Bedtime.

Thrilling, ain't it? Welcome to my life.

Actually, in recent days I also managed to finish another dishcloth for the kitchen, figure out (one can only hope!) the math on my niece's knee sock, and start knitting that again.

The genealogy research is coming along. An online friend I've made says genealogy work is 80% frustration and 20% excitement. I would put it more at 90/10 myself, but maybe I'm just feeling a bit cranky right now...

The great thing about all of this research is finding out that old Uncle Soandso was extremely successful financially, a devoted volunteer in his community, and... "too full of himself" to be much involved with his family! That last item can only be learned through relatives, and that's what makes a picture, don't you think?

Not much more to report today. I hope to have actual photos and real things to tell you about next time. Meanwhile, keep cool.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Step by Step

Well, some of us are busy having fun, and others are slaving away removing carpet from the stairs. Tomorrow, when I get back to work on the stairs (actually, I cleaned off two stairs today), I will think of Joansie enjoying her new spinning wheel.

I had a very busy day today, aside from attacking the carpet on the stairs. Meital and I washed my car (actually a pretty darn big minivan). After I worked on the stairs, she and I went for a swim, then worked in a brand-new spelling workbook. Later, we swam again, and I signed up at and spent a few hours looking through records. I found a lot of interesting material, but when I tried to do narrower searches I started having trouble. I have a lot to learn about how to get the most out of that website.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, may I present the Altered Barbie?

It was a worthwhile experience, but one I will probably not be repeating. I did stumble across the website of an artist who uses dolls in her altered books. It was interesting, but not something I want to try right now. As for this Barbie, I painted her with liquid acrylic paint (think Delta brand), then sponged on some silver paint through a piece of mesh that originally was wrapped around a few heads of garlic. I sprayed adhesive all over her, then sprinkled on sand from our local beach and some glitter. I tried dyeing her hair with ink, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, that didn't work very well. I dyed a length of organdy ribbon with ink, then wrapped it around her hips and glued tiny seashells onto it. She's sort of like one of those slaves on Davy Jones' ship, The Flying Dutchman, from Pirates 2. Though I dismissed the idea of cutting into her face and sticking some shells part way in. Yuck.

For now, Altered Barbie is lounging in front of my Haunted House (remember the infamous milk carton project?). More than likely, at some point both will end up in the trash. I give it until the end of the summer; by then I'll probably be tired of looking at both of them!