my bland and mostly dull life with knitting thrown in for interest

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fall Soccer 2008 - Brynn Rocks!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

falling for it

Today was a lovely day to take pictures of mother nature's wonderful 'changing of the seasons'. These are just a few of whats happening around Malden, MA. These glimpses will aid me during those "winter blues" come February when my nose and toes are fed up with being cold. I know if I were to extend my area, more species of trees would be aplenty, but I was sticking close to home on today's journey. Oh, how I love fall. The crunch underfoot, the sweet musky smell in the air and all those beautiful colors! What's not to love?


Monday, October 13, 2008

that really pissed me off!

I watched a new documentary on PBS recently "In the Family" made by Chicago filmmaker, Joanna Rudnick, who, at 27, has tested positive for the BRCA gene. The appx. hour and a half is about her personal struggle with the knowledge that she has the mutation for breast/ovarian cancer and trying to come to terms with what that means for her future. She also reaches out to other woman who are survivors as well as others getting their own test results.

This documentary pissed me off! Rudnick has the mutation - OKAY - you're alive and DO NOT HAVE CANCER - but she goes through this entire documentary as if she is going to die at any moment. Doesn't this girl realize that simply testing positive doesn't guarantee that she's going to develop the cancer? PLUS - by having the knowledge that she DOES have the mutation - she's fortunate enough to be able to take PREVENTATIVE steps to decrease her chances of getting cancer? Maybe Rudnick needs to take a look at Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Cancer" and see what a young woman who ACTUALLY HAS CANCER does to improve her life and her situation. Now there was a documentary that made an impression - a good one, to boot - I was in amazement over what someone could do with their lives despite being given a diagnoses of an incurable cancer. Kris Carr is an inspiration - she rose to the challenge of her life and didn't let go!

One of my sisters tested positive for the BRCA gene - I don't want her to see Rudnick's doc. I think it portrays a grim existence and is very negative. I'm sure glad I didn't see it a week or so earlier while I was awaiting my very own BRCA results. I could've been suicidal with Rudnick's negativity. Don't let the fact that you have the BRCA mutation end your life! Take control of your health and your future and take the necessary steps to live a long and fruitful life!

Don't forget that OCTOBER is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH! Be sure to visit The Breast Cancer Site and click to give FREE MAMOGRAMS!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

rainbow of colors

I've been bitten by the color bug AND beautiful hand painted yarns! My recent additions have been 2 skein of Dream in Color Classy - Gothic Rose & Chinatown Apple. Uhhh - to see them in! The colors are so rich and deep and meld into one another like perfection. Gothic Rose is deep burgundy/purple/red & Chinatown Apple deep rust/brown/red/orange. These are going to knit up into beautiful pieces. And then there is the Malabrigo worsted I got in Verde Esperanza - true deep luscious teal green...gorgeous! I've got projects in mind...but not ready to share just yet....

Monday, September 29, 2008

A sigh of relief....

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see an oncologist to have genetic screening, known as BRCA Analysis, done for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. This is done by simple blood draw and sent off to a company named Myriad Genetic Laboratories in Utah. They run a screen and test you for mutations in either BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Be sure to check out Myriad for more info on the BRCA Analysis.

I have strong family history with both types of cancer and more importantly, one of my sisters tested positive on her BRCA1 test done last year. Having a parent or sibling carry a mutation on one of these genes gives you up to a 50% chance of carrying the same mutation. This test is by no means full proof, and simply testing positive is not an indication that you will have either of these cancers in your lifetime. But having the information can aid you in your surveillance of the diseases.

Because my sister tested positive, my insurance covered the FULL cost of a Comprehensive Analysis (that's testing on both BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes) which can cost up to $3,000. I had a full consultation and blood draw with Dr. Rebecca Eisenberg on September 10th. My blood was then sent off to Myriad, tested and returned to MA. Today was the day I went in for my results. Dr. Eisenberg kindly asked if she could sit down and then told me "NO MUTATION DETECTED". We both smiled widely and I said "YEESSSS!" This is good news for me and my children (because they need not worry about carrying the mutation). A sigh of relief, for sure. I will continue to be on top of my health and yearly examinations as well as continue to be aware of the various symptoms of both breast and ovarian cancers.

Be sure to click on The Brest Cancer Site each day to donate a FREE mammograms!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Reeling in the last bits of summer....

MA Green clock in downtown Waterbury, CT/NH gals weekend/Spanky the rascal/CT gals weekend

I've had some serious fun this summer. August was just a busy as July and I put plenty o' miles on my V'dub this summer. The poor thing started sputtering and basically freaking out on me and I had to get er' fixed at good ole Montesi Volkswagen while in North Haven. I sat and knit the 4 1/2 hours I waited. One of the women who work there asked me about my knitting. It happened to be my orange Everlasting Bagstopper from She had never heard of Knitty before and by the time I left the shop, she had already gone online and printed off 4 patterns for various stuff! She was so thankful and excited. She said she hadn't knit in a while and this got her juices flowin'! Gotta love unexpected knitting encounters!

So - back to my great summer. I'm a lucky gal - I had not ONE, but TWO 'girls weekends' in August. The first weekend of the month, I headed North to New Hampshire with my local crew, Kristen D, Maria C & Stacey O. We stayed at the condo of Stacey's father, Charlie. Nice spread - great views, beautiful pool and the air there....oh, so fresh and clean smelling. This was our first trip to NH together, but our 4th year getting away for a kid/spouse free weekend. This trip proved to be a great time. We left there with some hysterical phrases (for example: My biscuits are burnin') and a good time under our belts. These girls are good people.

The last week of the month, I headed down to Stamford, CT with my longtime gal pals, Gretchen M, Tara W and Laurie S. We had one missing due to sinus and back issues...yeah, YOU Jennifer C.! Tara booted her hubby and two tikes so we could take over her place with no distractions! You know, only getting together with these ladies a couple times a year, we wind up having a lot of catching up to do! We hoity toitied it up and had dinner at a very nice restaurant on the water, The Saltwater Grill. It was a very nice meal, but the best was eyein' all the flamboyant richies sitting out on the patio. I guess it's not a requirement to have good taste when you've got a lot of money! Some of the get ups were quite interesting. Tara had wanted to show us beauties off at her local tavern too, but we had enough libations flowing at her place, we never made it over there! "No, really - Tara does have friends!" Ah, she's got a picture to prove it!. We had a great time and are already thinking about where to get together next! They may be Boston bound for the next one!

Now it's September, school has started and life is falling back into the usual routines. We all were in need of our routines again. I'm back to working my two little jobs: laboratory technician in the Artavanis-Tsakonss Lab (check me out on the Lab Members tab) and retail diva at Raspberry Beret. Keepin' myself busy and helpin' the family pocketbook out at the same time! I've gotta get back to my knitting group this month too. I just gotta! I'm knitting things on my commutes and in the evenings hangin' with my knitting pals would be a great addition to my "routine".


Thursday, July 24, 2008

July in a blur

July has brought plenty of road travel our way. We took respite on the shores of Lewes, Delaware, sojourned in exotic gardens and chilly shelter in North Haven, Connecticut, trekked to the Big Apple where heights and crowds were navigated and explored the exhilarating, though wet, amusements in Salem, NH.

Basically, we went to visit my parent's place in DE, where the kid's played in the sun and water every day. They hang out with cousins they haven't seen in years and were in bliss. We've also visited my in-laws in CT where my MIL takes great pride in her beautiful garden and my FIL likes a cool house. An added bonus there was seeing my husband's brother, his wife and their gorgeous 11mo old daughter. NYC was hit up for the Empire State Building (compliments of my BIL, Chris, who took my kids solo on that one) but more importantly, for a Yankee's game. (12-4 Yankees vs Twins - great game!) Plus we hit up Canobie Lake in NH with some friends in the rain. All this and July isn't even over yet!

I have been trying to get back into some kind of creative outlet - KNITTING, of course. I've started an Everlasting Bagstopper in orange after reading a couple of my friends from my knitting group have been blasting them out recently. I gotta say, I didn't pick it up and bust it out in a weekend like some of them. I'm slowly re-introducing myself to positive, enjoyable, self gratifying forms of enjoyment. I would say I'm not fully out of my recent stupor and it's having it's affect on my personal enjoyment. I have found a bunch of great knitting patterns on Ravelry and it's getting my juices flowing. Too bad I'm poor, I'd love to indulge in some luscious fibers and beautiful patterns. What I have in my stash will have to suffice for now.

I've still got fun to enjoy for the remaining summer. 2 separate "Girls Weekends" - one in NH with my local BFFs and another in CT with my childhood BFFs. There's also potential to see our B&SIL and baby again too. Plus, each of my babes have their own week in CT with my ILs while they attend a 7 day day camp. My daughter has already done her week, and it appears she greatly enjoyed being the "only child" so much that she's having a hard time dealing with a sibling again. But my son goes off for his week this coming weekend, so it'll be just her and I and she can soak up all the attention once again. It has been a strange experience only having one child at a time like that. I've never left just one at a time like this before. It's a nice break from the daily headache of having 2 kids going at each other all day long.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

suddenly summer

I haven't posted since March? What the heck have I been doing all this time? Well, I generally don't like to spread my misery - so I took a hiatus while I pissed an' moaned privately for a couple of months. Good enough, right? But, gee, considering I last posted about an amazing trip to Paris with my husband, it seems absurd to think I could be sulking about anything. But unfortunately, life deals shitty cards sometimes and I couldn't help myself from getting swallowed up. I'm not saying all is peachy and great, cuz' it's not - but I've accepted my situation and am trying my best to "deal with it". My only venting at the present time will be that the world of the sciences SUCKS! Doesn't matter if you've busted your ass for a decade bettering yourself and obtaining degree after degree - you simply don't get anywhere or anything for all the effort. It just isn't fair. There...I should feel better....nope, not yet:(

This is a beautiful CT native flower, Pink Lady's Slipper, we saw at Miller's Pond State Park in Durham, CT in May. The park ranger's there told us it's endangered. Isn't that just awful? If you see such a beauty, just take a picture, don't pick it - okay?

This Father's Day was lovely. We attended a brunch at Water's Edge in Westbrook, CT with some extended family. Notice the attempts at a "normal" smile as we face into the brightness? Not bad Mom & Dad, kids need some work. I must have eaten 2 pineapples and a cantalope that day! Thank goodness for elastic waists!

My kids are out of school and I've been suddenly thrust into summer. Funny though, it doesn't quite feel summery yet up here in Boston...I guess it'll come like a hammer one of these days. At least I'm saving on my electric bill and helping Mother Earth with the lack of air conditioning use...yay for me! Oh yeah, I'm quite the "earth friendly" natzi these days. Please help by doing a part in maintaining this planet we share. Here are 10 little things that you can do to help. I know I'd sure appreciate it!

This nice little shard of rock almost destroyed my teeth when I came within millimeters of chomping it along with the stewed tomatoes it was canned up with. Good thing I LOOK before I put things into my mouth! Don't worry - the company sent me LOTS of vouchers for FREE goods after showing them this one.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

ohh...the worth it!

Paris was wonderful! It is such a beautiful city. No matter where you looked, there was something amazing to see. I could see, though, that the locals don't notice or appreciate it...our friends live in a flat directly across from St. Paul - St. Louis Cathedral in the Marais - what a view - but they aren't impressed. They've become so used to the beauty that they can't see it anymore. Too bad for them - I thought it was spectacular. My absolutely favorite moment was a dinner out at a fabulous restaurant named L'ecurie in the Latin Quarter by the Pantheon. 16th century stables below ground - dark rustic setting - served Sangria as you sat down - which was DELICIOUS! I enjoyed a Tomato Salad, Bavette Naturale (grilled beef) and Chocolate Mousse. Oh, good stuff - you're then served cognac to round out your meal. It was overall a very enjoyable meal. Good food, great decor and good company. It was a highlight for me, for sure. Of course, we went to the typical tourist destinations: Notre Dame, The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musee D'Orsay, Sacre Coeur Bascilica, Pompidou Centre, Pablo Picasso Museum, Musee d'Cluny and the Seine - all wonderful. Each night my feet ached and I slept very soundly but was ready to hit the pavement the next day. 7 full days was great - but you could use more time to see areas outside the city. I guess that'll have to be for next time. And by the way, if you're going to Paris and need a place to say - check out the hotel chain IBIS. We stayed at two different locations within the city and they were perfect. Clean, not too small and nicely priced (best deals are found when booked 30+ days in advance online).

My hubby did a wonderful job on his talk at College de France. He's a geneticist who does research on the fruit fly - his talk was part of a day long symposium regarding specific methods of genetic manipulation used in researching development. I actually learned quite a bit and can use some of my new knowledge when I go to work at the lab maintaining the labs stocks of fruit flys. (Yes - I have been swallowed into science despite my lack of qualifications - and we're now even training the kids too! Can we say lab techs for dad's lab someday?) Anyway - he did very well and came off so relaxed to the attendees.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, but the return to the US was hard on my body. I caught some kind of cold virus plus I've been sooo tired. It's been a week today that we've been back and I can finally say I feel "back to normal". YEAH!
Knitting and crocheting are back on my agenda. I'm going to get back on track and make some stuff! Happy crafting!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Off and away!

My hubbz and I are heading to Paris today. I'd been reserved about this trip, pretty much, up until today. Now I feel the excitement and anticipation. Grandma came from CT to watch my rugrats, which is tremendously generous of her to do. The kids adore her and they're going to have a grand time this week. I've tucked a little stuffed animal of theirs and a picture of them to help me stay connected. We'll have no phone contact - but hope to email each other as much as we can. I'm going to miss my babes...maybe more than I thought!

Bon jour!

Friday, March 07, 2008

I'm DONE!!!

I can't believe it - I'm sewing up the final seam of my Minimalist Cardigan and it'll be ready for wearing later today! YEAH! I'm glad to be finished. I got a little off track on this one. Everyone at knitting group finished theirs at least a week ago and I wanted to be just like them! Plus, I didn't want it to go into my UFO basket (UnFinished Objects) because then it would NEVER get finished.... Well, maybe not NEVER, but it wouldn't be any time soon. But, I gotta tell you - I went out and got those 50 pc Foam Alphabet Play Mats that you would buy for your kids - but instead of for my kids - they're AWESOME for blocking! I assembled a few and pinned out and blocked each piece of the sweater and was able to move them around until they were completely dry. Usually, I would use my bed for this and well, you gotta go to sleep at some point, right? These interlocking pieces are great. I highly recommend them for blocking.

Now what? I've begun a few rounds of the crocheted pincushion from Lacy is it tough. It's lace weight thread, which means super thin, and the hook is like a minuscule steel talon that'll take a sliver of flesh out of your finger if you're not careful. But it's so delicate and beautiful. The patterns in this book remind me of vintage pieces, which I am very drawn to. Never thought I'd be this into crochet! Hope the girls at knitting don't kick me out!

Galaxy socks, Central Park Hoodie/Cabled Hoodie, Babette, vintage inspired tiny crochet...these are all in the forefront of my crafting thoughts. And which'll be the lucky project to join me in Paris? Maybe socks and tiny crochet? Could be...

Friday, February 29, 2008

updated, finally!

I'm a slacker - I know! But I'm back!

Had a great President's Day weekend with my longtime girlfriends from CT - Jen C, Tara W & Laurie S. We hit up Mohegan Sun, mommy style! What that means is, we were all so excited to be away from our kids - we DRANK like fish and were too occupied to even gamble! YES - that's right - we were at a casino for hours on end and we didn't gamble. We had dinner and then found ourselves a "quiet" lounge that sat up above the casino with a beautiful changing sky above us. It would change from morning to night, the stars would twinkle and there would even be a random shooting star. We were in a little alcove with a view and 4 red big chairs - PLUS a great waitress who just kept em' coming. It was a delight. Before we knew it - we had to find our way back to the bus depot and get our shuttle back to our hotel. Mind you - we all had a lot of catching up to do - that had everything to do with keeping up busy. Next time - we'll have to make it a long weekend if we want to try to lose our money! Anyway - thanks girls - I had a blast!

I'm torn at the moment....I've got to finish my Minimalist Cardigan - and we're talking about 8 inches of a sleeve and seaming - yeah - that's it!

But I want ever so badly to make more squares on my Babette,
plus start a Central Park Hoodie (with heavy Cabled Hoodie influences) and make a few crocheted pincushions from Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Lacy Crochet, now in my library of books. UGGHH - I'm basically paralyzed from all that's swirling in my head. I've had some time to knit/crochet - but nothing...I might be in a bit of a funk here...

PLUS - I've got traveling on my mind...what to pack, how to pack it, what project(s) to bring along, etc. My daughter just got a retainer (and anyone who knows her knows that means drama. My hubby is in NYC on a job interview (and anyone who knows him knows that means STRESS, IRRITABILITY, MORE STRESS, SOME PESSIMISM and a dash more irritability - on his part, of course). I'm just waiting for the week to be over, I guess. Maybe next week I'll be in a better state of mind to knit/crochet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 to you say that in French?

Uhhhh...I was working on the Minimalist Cardigan, wasn't I? But my brain is constantly thinking "squares, squares, squares". Ever since the yarn came in for the Babette Blanket - it's all I want to work on. I'm not the fastest crocheter - but I'm making some progress. I'm working all the 4 row squares first (that's 49 of them!), then maybe I'll do some of the big ones.

I just found out I'm going to Paris with my hubby in March! How freakin' exciting is that? Hubby is teaching a 1 day course at the University of Paris and we've decided to take advantage of this opportunity and make it a trip for just the two of us. I am sooo excited. I've got to figure out what project(s) to bring with me! I could bring the squares - but I have 17 colors of yarn...that would be space consuming...maybe I could do socks...I do LOVE the Regia Galaxy yarn in Jupiter Anthrazit. I could do those - but something else too, I think...I'll have to check my queue and patterns on Ravelry!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Babette under construction

my Elann Sonata solid yarn has arrived! I took out all the beautiful colors and took quick pics of them. I'm liking what I chose and am now mapping out how I want to match them up. No worries about my Minimalist's coming along. As of right now, I have completed the back and right front and am currently working on the left front. I've been amazed at how much slower it seems the front pieces are to knit compared to the larger back piece. I want to finish that by the end of February and think I'm definitely on track for that.

So it's Babette Away! Wish me luck! As I've confessed, I'm not a skilled crocheter - but I bet I will be after this!

ssk, k2tog :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Minimalist Away!!!!!!

I'm slowly, but surely chugging away at my Minimalist Cardigan. (I've done more than pictured - but nothing photographed yet) I thought I was going to HATE moss stitch, but it's really not so bad. My mind has completely wrapped itself around the k1,p1 repeat and, as suggested by a fellow knitting friend, my mind might have a difficult time NOT doing it when I'm done! I really think this cardigan is going to be a beautiful addition to my wardrobe when it's done. I can't wait!

In the meantime - I've gotten a crush on another pattern. This time it's a crocheted blanket. You all know I'm not really a crocheter. I've tried my hand at it and it hurts! But beauty sometimes requires pain to achieve it! Have you seen the Babette Blanket by Kathy Merrick? Ohh - it's just gorgeous and I MUST MAKE ONE! I'd been keeping an eye out for the Interweave Crochet Spring 2006 issue it was published in - but it's nowhere to be found. Fortunatley - just this week - it was put up on Knitting Daily's website for purchase as a PDF! I just happened to email them the very day they put it up! If that's not fate, I don't know what it is! AHHHEHAHH! I went ahead today and purchased 22 balls of Elann Sonata in 17 colors and a nice Addi crochet hook and I'm going crochet! I'll post my progress - although this one is going to take some serious time. There are 50/2 squares, 49/4 squares, 16/6 squares, 7/8 squares, 2/10 squares and 2/12 squares! Thats 126 squares to be crocheted! It seems intimidating - but done in pieces it's totally doable. I'm excited - can't you tell?

Happy Knitting (& crocheting!)
ssk,k2tog ;)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 is off & running!

Am I the only one who thinks that 2008 came up awfully sudden? Man, I barely had time to enjoy myself on holiday in CT! I'd say as soon as Christmas day came, it was all over. Despite the fact that the fam and I didn't return to MA until yesterday - our visit in CT is a blur already.

I did get some very good knitting done, however. One bummer was that I ran out of yarn about 12 rows short on my Gretel hat. Yeah - I'll admit it...I knew I was short on yardage before I even started - but - I thought maybe I could squeak it out. I should'a known! Anyway - I tried finding the yarn in CT - but no one carried the color I had. Thankfully, my LYS in MA agreed to hold one ball for me so I can finish up once I got back.

I charged forward with Fanning the Flames Mittens - am I in love or what?! I have to admit it took me 3-4 tries to get the 1st one going - I kept ripping out the 1st 2 fan - but once I got it took off. I love these mittens and am so close to being finished with BOTH that I could scream. I thought "Second Mitten Syndrome", aka SMS, might come into play. You know, where you finish the 1st one then the second seems like too much so you put it off for a while and move on to newer things - next thing you know you only have 1 mitten and still 2 hands! Not this time - the second is almost done! Yes! I'll only show you the measly beginnings...

Next Monday is the start of the Minimalist Cardigan knit a long I've committed to. I'm a little nervous about it. I've read maybe too much of what others who have already knit it have said and I just hope I don't run into problems. Plus - it's primarily SEED STITCH! Another knitter will understand that is basically insanity in knitting. K1,P1 across the row then alternate on the next. We'll see how it goes!

I'm rearing to go with 2008 knitting. Oh the projects I have in store! I'm going to be majorly stylin' this year!