Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've moved

The blog has moved! If you are still interested in following our antics, you can find us here:

Irish Clover Knits, the adventure continues

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On the lawn there arose a sound

A few nights ago while Italian worked late, Little Clover and I settled in for a movie night. Getting into the Halloween spirit, we decided to watch a classic, Monster Squad. The setting inside was perfect. We turned the lights off and popped some popcorn. At one point, I got the creepy feeling one feels of eyes watching or someone being present who shouldn't be. I looked at Spot, happily grooming himself at our feet. He usually can sense when something is out of the ordinary. Then I looked at the door and noticed shadows on our porch, people shaped shadows, and an unlocked door. I tiptoed to the door, bolted the lock, and flipped on the porch light. The shadows scattered and I jumped back to catch my breathe. Peeking out of the window, I saw a maroon truck speed by and honk. Looking further, I noticed shadows in the trees. I opened the door and burst out laughing. We had been TP! Toliet paper streamed from our trees, covered our bushes, showered down from my car! I had interrupted the pranksters while they were in the middle of covering our porch.

From Irish Clover

Little Clover and I stepped out and admired the quality workmanship and had a big laugh. We walked back in and settled back into the movie. After a few minutes, I bolted up and yelled, "The sheep!" Running back outside, we found him.

From Irish Clover

He had been mummified!

We did find out who the skilled pranksters were, but we aren't suppose to know. A few girls from Little Clover's class were having a sleep over when they decided to roll our house. Trust me when I saw we feel honored! The best part of it, one of the moms was the driver for the girls. I love his classmates.

In Silence

There is much activity

So much activity, in fact, that the blog has been silent for almost two months. What's been going on, you ask (or don't ask because you are no longer reading)? Well, pull up a chair and pour a brew and I'll tell you.

I started a new job, sorta. I still work for the same company, in the same department, but I'm now on a new team and I've switched from being an "individual contributor," as we call it, to a manager. The switch took place while we were in Ireland and became official when we returned. Work greeted me with a new team, new responsibilities, and two weeks of backlog. I'm finally feeling somewhat back in control, but I still have plenty of days when I feel as if I have no idea what I'm doing and someone is going to walk into my office, ask if I had fun, and tell me it's time to go back to my old job now. I'm also still trying to figure out what being a manger means, so if any of you have any pointers, please, please, please send them my way. Fortunately for me, my team is extremely patient and kind and they are taking good care of me. They even gave me a card for Boss's Day!

In addition to starting a new job, Little Clover and I turned another year older. This is the last (gulp) pre-teen year for us. Already, Little Clover is meeting up with friends at the movies, with the expectation Italian and I will just drop him off. We're all working through this. I'll let you know how it goes. He is also asking for his own phone. I asked who he would call and text. He repsonded with his "You know, my friends." He's been practicing his texting skills with Mrs. Soprano's phone, texting away with his uncle and me, his mama.

For my birthday, my family spoiled me yet again by chipping in for this:

From Irish Clover

It is the Schacht Sidekick traveling wheel, and it is awesome. It's like my very own transformer and I don't have to share her. She does spin very well and her bobbins are interchangeable with the Matchless, making her a perfect companion. With some luck, she'll rack up a couple of frequent flyer miles sometime in the future.

Next to the wheel is our very own sheep. We've named him Shaun. Shaun has quite a few adventures. He wanders across our yard, grazing from spot to spot. When I walk out in the morning, I'm never sure where he's going to be. One day, he even broke free from the pasture and made it all the way to the driveway. Another day, we returned from a weekend trip and he was in the flowerbeds. The neighborhood dogs have finally become accustomed to him and no longer growl when they walk by. The neighborhood kids, still pop out to check his location. His biggest adventure occured one night when Little Clover and I were home alone.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about Shaun's biggest adventure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rainbows in the UK

I've been staring at my calendar for most of today trying to figure out what in the world I was missing. A nagging feeling of forgetfulness loomed over me. Finally, after lunch, I realized the importance of today: the anniversary of my mom's death. I sat stunned for a bit, then relieved and happy. After 12 years, I don't dread this day, and I miss my mom less, but not because I don't think about her, but because I'm finally accustomed to interacting with her in a new way. She is still very much a part of my life and still very much a part of Little Clover's. We still talk about her and tell her story, and in little ways, we still include her. In fact, in this installment of our vacation recap, you'll see how she was a part of our Ireland vacation.

We tackled London with an intensity for our two and a half day stay. Because Little Clover is a future zookeeper, we visit zoos, and London was no exception. At the zoo, we visited the location for the zoo scene in the first Harry Potter film:
From Ireland Trip 2011

After spending most of the day at the zoo, we rushed back to London and walked through the Westminster Abbey cloister.
From Ireland Trip 2011

We also had the good fortune of attending a prayer service the next day and seeing the graves of some of our favorite authors in Poet's Corner. Praying in a chapel built in the early 1200s fills one with awe.

After visiting the Abbey, we stumbled upon a London food festival where Little Clover had a dinner of ox tongue with salsa verde and a chunk of foccasia from a Northern Italian farm. Yes, ox tongue. He loved it. Italian and I opted to peruse the vendors from mainland Europe and the UK for local beer, cured meats, and cheeses, then dine al fresco.

The next day, we left London and had a frantic episode on the train to Wales. For a brief instance, even though there were only two trains in the station - the one we deboard and the one we boarded- we believed we boarded the wrong train. The panic spread to the two ladies who boarded after us. Little Clover, the two ladies and I scrambled to pull our luggage as the doors shut and the train pulled out of the station. The train announcement came on in Welsh, then English, at which point, we realized we were on the correct train afterall! At that point, all we could do was laugh! Once in Wales, we fly fished on the River Dee in the traditional way. Although the fishing was tough, it was beautiful and we had a most brilliant time.
From Ireland Trip 2011

The next day found us on the way to Holyhead to catch a ferry. In Holyhead, my mom and Little Clover's recently lost guinea pig said hello in the form of a rainbow.
From Ireland Trip 2011

It has become quite natural for me now to reply "Hi, Mom!" when I see a rainbow. I had actually begun to notice the lack of rainbows when this one appeared while we walked back to our hotel from dinner. The best part, it hadn't rained. Instead, we stopped to cross the street, looked up, and saw it over the chimney of the house across the street, as if she just wanted to let us know she was with us, and she was. I love you, Mom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home again

Summer is officially over, and not just because we returned from vacation, but because of this:

From Family

The annual first day of school picture.

This year, when I completed registration, I realized there is only one grade ahead of him at school. Just one. At parent orientation, the teachers spoke of preparing for high school. High School!!!! Don't they realize he's way to young to go to high school? I had a hard enough time dropping him off at the welcome back dance; I'm not even remotely ready enough to discuss high school. At least he still gives me hugs, as long as none of his friends are around, especially any of the girls. Oh, I'm so in trouble.

Since returning home from vacation, we've been busy reestablishing our routines. School was relatively easy to pick up again, in spite of the change in grade and the addition of honors classes. Work also hasn't been to difficult. What has been hard is leaving Ireland behind. We miss the sites, we miss the pubs, we miss the music, and we even miss the food. Since I miss Ireland terribly and I haven't had a chance to catch everyone up on the vacation, the next few blog posts will include vacation recaps at the end. Grab a cuppa and come along.

Rocking in the UK
We learned a lot with our first international flight as a family. We learned to avoid Atlanta if one can because the length of delays almost make it worthwhile to just drive to Atlanta (and oh, I wish I was kidding). If you do have to fly to Atlanta and get delayed, change your connecting international flight while still in your destination airport. Bring an eyemask, a blanket, and noise cancelling headphones, and try to land at your destination around noon. Those headphones are handy when the flight crew starts feeding people dinner around midnight.

We also learned that the train stations are beautiful.
From Ireland Trip 2011

In fact, most of London is beautiful.

Especially at night:
From Ireland Trip 2011

From Ireland Trip 2011

We rode the London Eye at sunset at the recommendation of a co-worker. If you ever have the chance to ride the eye, try to time it at sunset. The view was amazing.
From Ireland Trip 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

London calling

Hello from the UK! There might be radio silence as I try to figuire out how to post photos while mobile. Don't panic (the answer is 42), the blog will resume and be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Knit like the wind

What does one do when binding off over 500 stitches on a shawl and one realizes with growing gloom there is not enough yarn to make it to the end? I don't know what you do, but I keep binding off, run out of yarn with 12 stitches left, rip back the bind off by a couple of inchecs, run out yarn with 5 stitches left, rip back the bind off even further, make it to the end with two inches left to spare, and then I ask Italian to pour me a pint.

From 2011 Finished Objects

The pint was an excellent victory pint, and the victory wasn't just showing the yarn that if it worked with me, it could make it to the end of the shawl, but it was also a pint to celebrate the completion of the shawl before the Camp Loopy project 1 deadline. Never have my hands worked so quickly. I even had to dust of the wrist brace to wear inbetween bouts of knitting. In the end though, it was worth the pain.

From 2011 Finished Objects

The yarn is Tosh Sock in Ivy and Moss. The Moss weighed in heavy so I thought I could add two rows of stockinette at the end of the second chart. Those two rows would be my almost fatal flaw. Jennybuttons supplied the beautifully handcrafted brass buttons. The pattern, Catkin, is beautifully written. I'm placing the shawl in the suitcase to accompany me on my next great adventure.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Time Warp

Isn't summer the time of the year when time slows to a crawl and one relaxes in a hammock with a nice cool drink? Maybe it's the lack of hammock in our lives, but summer has sped up the rate of time, not slowed it. Even though my calendar clearly states the month is July, I can't completely comprehend it. We've had so few weekends at home or unschedule this summer and we've been blessed by visits from family and friends, I haven't really had the time or the energy to blog, but I've had the time to snap a few shots.

The Little Princess has been growing since her introduction to the world in early June.
From Family

Little Clover is completely enamoured with her and has claimed her as his. He's already started a list of "Things to teach the Princess." His list includes but is not excluded to:

  • How to throw a baseball

  • How to throw a football

  • How to catch a frog

  • How to fly fish

Princess or not, he doesn't want her to be "useless" when she gets bigger.

Italian and I had the chance for a grown-up night in the city with some friends. We attended a Farmer's Market dinner on the rooftop of the The Madison. Not only was the food prepared from local ingredients wonderfully delicious, but we had a spectacular view of the sunsetting on the Mississippi.
From Irish Clover

It's things like these that remind me of how great Memphis can be. The Madison hotel offers valet parking, which I think may be free for dinners at the restaurant. They take their valet service seriously. When we left the hotel, our friend turned in his valet slip. Even though the car was parked directly across the street from us, in plain view, a mere walk of 20 feet, the valet attended insisted we stay put and drove the car to our spot on the sidewalk. Now that is service.

Finally, we had an awesome Fourth at the cabin on the lake. We saw fireworks, spent time with friends and family, and I got some knitting time in. Now we are resting up before our next and last great adventure for the summer.