Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Onto Atlanta, GA

Thursday....arrived in Atlanta, GA. Had our first meeting with MARTA. No, not MARTHA as in Stewart, but MARTA as in the railroad system. It was such a breeze. You get the train outside of the baggage area and it took us to North Springs, where Alison and Michael picked us up. It saved them a long and traffic filled ride to the airport and back.

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We had a wonderful time with the kids. Alison looks beautiful. She has a tummy, not HUGE as she believes it to be, but definitely enough to show she is pregnant. I was so happy to be with her and Michael. Gerry had a ball with Orange and Blue, their two little maltese dogs, and they adored Gerry - especially Orange ("pet me, pet me!").

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On Friday Alison and I went to a big consignment sale of children's items and got a lot of things for the baby. Click here to see what we got. I also picked up a few little things that I can use in my kindergarten class.

Saturday we took MARTA to downtown and went to the GA Aquarium (note the sign...No Fishing Poles!). It's the biggest in the world. It opened in January and is always packed. I had purchased tix in advance, but we still had to wait on lines to get in (though the lines moved rather quickly). It was an amazing place...there was an area to see River life, ocean life, tropical underwater life, and more. We got to watch them feed the sea lions, walked "under" the ocean - the tank is actually above/around you in an arc, and then sat in front of the tank that is about as big as a football field and watched schools of fish, rays, and 4 whale sharks swim by.
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Beluga Whale
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Sea Turtle
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Whale Shark

We went into the cafeteria and as the others sat, I went to get tea and coffee. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and when I turned around, I was looking at a young, very handsome young man with a baby strapped to his chest. I looked at him and he said, "Sorry, but I don't remember your name." I guess I looked very puzzled, so he said, "You are Olivia's friend, aren't you?" and I said, "Olivia V___?" "Yes," he said, "I'm her son!" and then I realized, it was Chris, my principal's son, who I had met only once, at a party the beginning of June. He was in Atlanta with his wife and baby, visiting family. When I got to my table Gerry laughed..."Do you know someone EVERYWHERE you go?" Well, no....but just about!

Sunday we took a walk to Brusters, a yummy ice cream parlor about 1/2 mile from the kids (uphill all the way). The day was REALLY hot but the prize at the end was worth it. A little while later Alison and Mike drove us to the airport. We felt so bad (there's that J. guilt again) cause the traffic for them to return was horrific!!!

After a quick flight, we arrived back in Florida, and my younger daughter Becca was there to pick us up. She had driven down from Ocala to spend a few days with us, and timed it so she could pick us up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Good News!!

We had a nice breakfast buffet today (Wednesday) and then went to see the doctor. He told us that the tests came back ok and that once again, Gerry appears to be cancer free. The next time he goes to MD Anderson in October, he will not need to have a brain MRI....really good news!! To celebrate, we drove to Minute Maid Stadium that night to watch the Astros play the Cincinnati Reds. We had never been in a baseball stadium with a roof before. It was a fun game, all except for the BOOM!!! I had no idea that when the Astros get a homerun, an explosive goes off and then the train that sits atop the outfield wall moves down it's track. Scared the %@#* out of me!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Just Keeping In Touch

I am now in Houston, Texas for a few days with Gerry. It's his quarterly visit to MD Anderson Cancer Center. We arrived last night, he had a full day of tests, and tomorrow he will see the dr. for the results. It was a tough day as his bloodwork was at 8 AM and then an MRI. By the time he was done, he was into the 3 hr window before his series of CT scans so he couldn't eat. Being a good wife, I don't either, so by the time he was finished at 3:40, we were starving. Of COURSE, the onsite cafeteria was closed, the hotel restaurant was too, so we drove to Jason's Deli at Rice (University) Village. We only ate half of what we ordered, to "take the edge off" our hunger, saving the rest for tomorrow. We love the restaurant in the hotel (Jesse Jones Rotary Club - attached to the medical center) and want to have dinner there later on. So for now, he is taking a much needed nap while I catch up on my e-mails. Gerry was amazed that I could sit so patiently for so long while he had his tests. Hey, with a bag full of my knitting and a book on my iPod, I can sit forever. While sitting I finished another sweater for the baby. It's a cardigan knitted with Rowan wool cotto # 958 (see previous post). I was sooo lucky. I worked on it top- down, finished the body and ran out of yarn for the sleeeves. I ordered more from Rosie's Yarn Cellar and when knitted up it looks like a perfect match. The original yarn came from a past secret pal, but I needed one more skein. I ordered two so I will probably make a matching hat. I purchased adorable buttons from a LYS Great Balls of Yarn. I will post a picture of the completed sweater when I get home next week, as I do not have my camera to computer connection. I will also write about our trip to Vegas just prior to Houston. We hope to catch an Astros baseball game tomorrow night, and leave on Thursday afternoon for Atlanta, to spend a few days with Alison and Michael. I have not seen her since her 9th week of pregnancy, and she is now 6 months and "showing" nicely. I can't wait!!! When we get home Sunday night, my other wonderful daughter Becca will be picking us up at the airport, as she is coming for a 4 or 5 day visit. What a GREAT week - two girls in one!!!
Oh, and lest you should worry, now that I have finished the Rowan yarn sweater....I am starting on another...Lion Brand Cotton Ease "Tiny Jester Set." It's LB#30035. I just happen to have plenty of Cotton Ease in Candy Blue & Pineapple (yellow) that was purchased on sale last year at Tuesday Morning. The set also calls for Vanilla (white) but since I don't have any and want to get started tonight (and am not near a yarn store), it will just have to be two white. I'm sure my grandson won't mind!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Little Back Tracking

Arrived in Vegas late last night. When we got out of the airport to find a taxi, we were shocked. There was a huge line that was like a maze, but each leg of the line was soooo long. Luckily, it moved very quickly as there was no end to the amount of taxis. We were just surprised to see such a long line at 11PM. And man, it was hot!!! I know you folks in that part of the States are used to it, but as hot as it gets here in Florida, coming out of A/C at 11PM and walking into an oven was unbelievable for us.

We stayed at the Luxor hotel.
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It was beautiful, and in spite of the LONG check in lines daily, didn't seem that crowded. They also had a really good and reasonable buffet called Pharoah's Pheast. I was happily surprised at check in to be given a coupon for $10 in slots and 1/2 off the buffet lunch.

Today we were in the casino losing money playing the slots. I had won a little on Friday after we arrived and that was the extent of my gambling. I wasn't about to give it back! cause I'm too cheap! Gerry had given me $20 which I parlayed into $100 - I held it and gave it back to him AFTER we left town (in the end, Gerry broke even, so it was a successful playtime).

At night we took the nice A/C double decker bus down the strip to Treasure Island to see Cirque du Soleil Mystere. It was so good! We had great seats, tho I think you can see well wherever you sit. Then we walked thru the Venetian, saw the volcano erupt in front of the Mirage, and went "home."

Sunday we took the bus again down the strip and visited the Bellagio. The ceiling in the lobby is covered with crystal flowers. Beyond is the garden area that had an entire "mountain" area with trains going in and out and recognizable buildings carved from wood - the Capital, the Jefferson Memorial, storybook houses, etc. Then to MGM, New York New York, Excaliber, Mandalay Bay. After a good nap we went back to the Mirage for the late seating of LOVE, a Cirque Du Soleil that tells the story of the Beatles. Once again, an amazing show. We left Monday, having had a really fun time and looking forward to our next trip to Vegas.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who's the Alpha Now???

I just had to include a picture of two of my dogs (Rusty, my dacshund, was in his own bed). Cocktail is 16 this month. He's a shepard/chow, very sweet and docile (now). He struggles to walk on my wood floors, slipping and sliding all the time. When he came in from "doing his business," he wanted to lie down on his bed, but "someone was sleeping in his bed!" God forbid he should nudge Tiemann to get off. No, Cocktail slid over to Tiemann's bed(which is less than half the size of his own) and went to sleep there. How funny is this?


Another completed project. Thanks to Penny, I used the book that she told me about, Creature Comforts (see my post June 5, 2006) to make a sweater using intarsia method. Now I admit that I not that talented when it comes to intarsia...I really need someone to sit with me and guide me along, but I don't think I did too badly. Somehow the word COW came out to the side, although I followed it to the letter. Good thing my grandson won't he able to read it when he wears it. I used Caron's Simply Soft yarn - I LOVE that yarn! It works up like a dream, using US 6 and 7 needles, washes well and holds up through repeated washings. This should fit him when he is about 9 - 12 months.

Knitting Away

As I wrote before, I got a lot of knitting done on my OKC trip. And it continued in Florida. Alison told me that she had made all feminine sweaters and since she is not up to knitting she didn't think she would be making any more sweaters for now. So....I made two newborn sweaters. The first is a white cardigan. I used a pattern from a Coats and Clark Knit & Crochet for Baby book, Tiny Tykes # 0142 (TLC Baby). The pattern is called Baby Stipes, but I decided to do it in a solid. I had made this pattern once before using Sidar DK yarn and wasn't happy with the outcome. This time I wasn't thrilled either. Penelope's, a local yarn shop in Delray Beach, is closing, so I purchased some yarn on sale. For the sweater I used Tencel Wool by Cleckheaton. It's made in Australia, and is 70% Tencel/30% wool. It felt soooo soft in the skein and was easy to work with, and while the finished product is still soft, it has a shine to it that I prefer it didn't have. However, my grandson will wear it for such a short time that I don't think it matters much at all.
Next I made a very small but darling blue cardigan. The pattern is in Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight. The pattern is Chunky Knit Cardigan and hat. I used Caron's Simply Soft, color soft blue. It's really small but really nice. My complaint....I hated sewing all the pieces together and then picking up stitches to make the front/neck bands. I really, really like top-down knitting, but since I am not adept at adjusting patterns to different sizes, I had no choice. I still have to get 3 buttons for it, but looks so cute:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What A Long, Hard Trip It's Been

I just got back from 4 days in Oklahoma. I fly there every summer to visit my father and his wife Jan and my youngest brother Dusty (16) , and as a bonus I get to see my older brother Randy, his wife Darla and their two kids JT (26) and Skylar (16). I love to see my dad because, well, I love him dearly, and he always tells great stories of famous people he knew or things that happened in his/our past (of course, I have heard many of these stories MANY times). My dad is a pretty remarkable man as he is almost 84, had double kidney failure almost two years ago, still teaches Tai Chi and loves to go swing dancing. He also puts on shows about WWII, with music and reminiscing from that era. My stepmother Jan is just 3 years older than me, but we get along really well. We come from very different backgrounds and lifestyles, but she is very nice to talk to, very sweet nature. I did nothing this trip but spend time with them, and one evening with Randy and family. My nephew JT just made Dean's List for being second in his class at law school. Darla, my sister-in-law, graduated last year with a 4.0 GPA and top honors, and one year of her MS under her belt. Way to go, Darla!!! Randy will get his BS this coming spring. Skylar, who I don't know very well, is a lovely young girl, quiet, polite and not at all streetwise, which I say as a good thing. I really enjoyed myself with my little brother Dusty. For a 16 year old, he is so polite, caring and cute, too.
Between the time I spent in the house (too hot to hang out outside) and time spent either in transit or watching my dad teach Tai Chi, I got a lot of knitting done. I worked on a white newborn baby sweater, but I'll display and describe it in a later post.
The trip home was "something else." I took a bump in OKC for which I received a modest $150 travel voucher, and first class seating on the flights to Dallas and FL. The flight to Dallas was short, so first class consisted of just a wide bulkhead seat and free orange juice before we took off. The next flight started good, same wide leather seats (no movie or radio, but luckily I had my iPod Nano) and....Houston (sorry...DALLAS) we have a problem! There was a mechanical problem with the cargo hold, so we had to deplane and wait for another plane. Almost 90 minutes later, our next plane (same kind as before) took off. First class is sooo drinks - I'm not really a drinker, but hey, who could pass up a free wine?...warm cloths to clean your hands...choice of dinner entres with chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Mmmmmm! We got in at 1 AM and by the time I got my car, I got home and to bed by 2AM. LONG DAY, but being alone, it was no big thing to deal with!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Have Patience & It Will Work

HERE are the things I bought at Bells (Bealls). I knew if I waited and tried again later, it would work. OK, Alison....I think you are set with newborn nighties!!

Yup, Still Knitting

Well, while I am putting the finishing touches on the "cow" sweater, I decided to start the baby cardigan pattern that I found on line. I still think it will be a bit big for a newborn - it's supposed to be size 0 - 3 months. I am using Rowan Wool Cotton (received from one of my secret pals). I only have two 50g balls, and now that I have just started the second ball, I am pretty sure I'll need a third. My luck, the color will be off...but, I am going to say a little prayer and perhaps it will be ok. This is another top-down pattern...I LOVE them! sewing involved if you do the sleeves with dpns.
Oh, and as an FYI - that beautiful dog that Becca and Phil found has been given a home....a coworker of Becca's took her. Becca said that the guy has other dogs and that they all get along really well. Ok, I feel much better now!!

Move Movies

This was a good weekend for movies. Last night we got to the movie theater early, and was at the front of the line to see Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest. I loved the first one and couldn't wait to see this one. I wasn't disappointed. The movie is long - 2 1/2 hours - but fun to watch. I was a little more enthralled with the main characters the first time around, probably because everything they did or said was new and so a surprise. But they were still funny, endearing and kept my attention the entire film. The best part, however, was the costume/makeup. Davie Jones's face was so lifelike (ok, so he had tentacles, but they breathed and moved as if real), as were the faces and bodies of his workers. I can't wait to see the third installment, due out next summer.
Tonight we saw The Devil Wears Prada. I had not read the book and so only knew what I had seen in the trailers. Meryl Streep plays the "Dragon Lady" controlling employer so very well...reminds me of a principal I once worked for. And Ann Hathaway is the perfect innocent employee. She personifies anyone who has ever wanted to do a job right but was stuck with an overbearing, controlling, horrible boss.
Now all we have to do is see Superman and we'll be caught up with the movies (till next week).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Saw a great movie last night. It's a foreign film called Water. Here is the synopsis:
Following the sudden and unexpected death of her husband, a widowed child bride lashes out against her fate in the Hindu ashram where she is expected to atone for her sins in this humanistic drama, the third installment of filmmaker Deepa Mehta's Elemental Trilogy. Chuyia's (Sarala) husband has died, and religious doctrine dictates that she now retire to an ashram to atone for the sins that caused her husband's untimely death. As Chuyia bides her time among widows both young an old -- some accepting of their fate and some bitterly resentful -- the preadolescent widow's spirit remains unbroken and hopeful for a brighter future.
Chuyia is only 7 years old....this takes place in 1938, but the custom still goes on in parts of India today. It was so enlightening and so very, very sad. It has subtitles, and I recommend it to all women and their husbands (if they are into foreign films).

To Race or Not to Race

Saturday the 1st we drove to Daytona for our annual day at the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race. I swore I would not attend anymore in July as the last two years it rained and delayed the race by a few hours. I was sweaty, hot, cold, icky, irritable, not having fun. But this year I thought I'd be a good wife, in light of what Gerry has been going thru, it was the least I could do. However, HE wasn't thrilled with going and the thought of a rain delay. We decided to drive up and go by the weather, the parking, etc. We got there at 6 instead of the usual 3 PM. We were fortunate to get parking behind the backstretch and get taken to the stands by tram. It wasn't crowded as most had already gotten to their seats. We didn't have to wait on line for the bathroom or for food (for Gerry - I wouldn't eat the sausage, hot dogs or hamburgers - too greasy). The race started on time, the weather was beautiful, and we were doing fine. After about 65 laps (the whole race is 160) we decided to leave as G was getting tired and we had a really long ride ahead of us. We were supposed to stay with our friends at their timeshare in Cocoa Beach, but then head to Ocala for a BBQ on Monday. The thought of driving 45 -60 min further southeast, just to see our friends for a few hrs the next day, then drive to Ocala (and coming from Cocoa Beach added another hour to the drive), knowing Gerry had to take his treatment that morning and wouldn't be feeling well, made us decide last minute NOT to go to Cocoa, but to go from the race to The Villages in Leesburg, FL, where my in-laws have a house (that is not being used at the moment). I am afraid we were not very thoughtful of our friends, giving them the news as we drove up to the race. It was selfish, but we had to think of Gerry and how he felt physically. took us two hrs from Daytona to get to the house....I had to take over the driving 3/4 of the way as G was falling asleep. We enjoyed the peace and quiet Sunday, went to visit my cousins later in the day (who I had not seen since they moved to FL last year) and had a nice quiet evening, me knitting, him watching TV. Monday, after several naps on his part, Gerry and I drove to Ocala to stay with Becca and Phil. We had such a lovely visit. We went to my ex in-laws for BBQ on Tuesday, had a nice time, and went back to Becca's to watch the Macy's fireworks show from NY. Wed was back to home and the doggies. Speaking of dogs...Becca and Phil have 3 - two they bought and one they found. This week another found it's way to their house. She's so beautiful (so sorry I don't have a pix of her). She's young, looks like a white or yellow lab (sandy colored), trained, housebroken, loving, playful. We SO wanted to take her home, but we already have 3 in our small house (Gerry was dying to take home the little black dachshund/Chihuahua Lucky Girl). Becca and Phil will keep the lab until they find a home for her, as we found out that the Humane Society only keeps them for a while and then puts them down. None of us could stand knowing that!!! Gee, if it was that hard leaving those doggies, how the heck am I gonna say goodbye to my grandson when we part??

Saturday, July 01, 2006

YEA - Finished at Last

Here are the socks that I started in late May for my not-so-secret pal at work. When the "big day" to reveal ourselves with the "big gift" arrived, I gave her some goodies and one sock...that was all I had finished! Then I took it back with the promise to make the matching one and....I did! I finished it on my trip to NY last week. It's the Broad ripple pattern make with Sock Landscape yarn (Cape Cod) from
Next I made a sweater from Creature Comforts for my coming grandson. I had a slightly tough time with the intasia. I really need to have someone sit and show me how to do it without making it tight or puckery. But I think it came out fairly well. I used Simply Soft by Caron...I LOVE that yarn for babies. It's so soft, washable and the color is perfect for a little boy. Alison informed me, however, that she has a closet full of her hand knitted sweaters for little girls....oh, oh! ...and that she needs some sweaters for newborn, as the baby will be born in November. She has one sweater that my mom's friend made when I was pregnant with Alison. It looks as if it was made using a zero or 1 needle. If Alison's baby is more than 7 1/2 pounds, he'll wear it twice and she'll have to put it away. Grandma to the rescue. I found a pattern for a simple top-down cardigan and will attempt to make it using my Rowan wool-cotton. Luckily, it's small so it won't take long and if I hate it I can frog it and do another. If you have a simple cardigan pattern that you love, please let me know.