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Ah Rhinebeck

How do I adore thee?  Let me count the ways.

1. The trip up on Metro North along the beautiful Hudson River.  All I could think was, “Look!  The trees are turning up here!  There are fields!  Open fields!”  As if I’m not a farm girl who’s been around open fields all her life.  Guess I missed them.
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2. Julibeth, our gracious hostess, and her sweet family.  Here we’re modelling the coats that we bought- yes they are the same! made by Fenwick Manor Farms.  That’s her son in this photo.  He’s such a ham- and a knitter too!  One of my favourite moments in the weekend was when we were being called to dinner Friday night and L said, “I just have to finish this row!”  Julibeth and Pete and their two lovely kiddos opened up their house for the second year in a row to 8 crazy knitters with four others coming and going.  They should be worshipped for their patience.

3.  I get to see all my Girls! (and some Boys too!)  Here are some of us outside of Morehouse Merino at the Fork In The Road.  (Some sculptor is just too clever for their own good.)
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That’s Andrea, me, Hickory, Dawn and Julibeth.  Gosh, we’re cute.  Here’s Bill, (Dawn’s husband, and the only man I know who can give Julibeth’s husband Peter a run for the title of Most Supportive of Knitters.  On a side note, I asked if I could send my husband up to Pete for him to whip into shape, but he said there’s a long line ahead of Ko.  Sigh.)  Anyway, here’s Bill holding forth on some subject or other.
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with Marylin, Debbie, Meredith and Julibeth held wrapt with attention.

4.  Stash enhancement!
Brooks Farms- enough for a sweater.
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Socks That Rock! Socks that Rock!
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Gorgeous Coriedale roving that I will just have to look at for awhile until a spinning wheel magically appears in my apartment.
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5. Real, live animals! (That are not squirrels. We have a lot of squirries down here.) Some sheep:
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Another sheepie
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And yet more sheep. This one is being sheared. The farmers put them into this strange muzzle contraption which lifts their heads up. This one didn’t seem to mind it at all and the owner said, “He’s not sleeping, he’s meditating.” Namaste, dude.
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There were also many many alpaca and llamas, but I apparently didn’t find them as photogenic because I have no photos of them. Sorry.

6. It comes around every year. Can’t wait to see you all next year! Big smooches- sorry to take so long to get this out. We were experiencing technical difficulties with photoshop.

It works!

My sweet friend Bloomlikeflowers taught me how to add youtube video portals to my blog posts- and I am forever grateful!  Here’s another parkour video just to try out the new “skills”. 

Parkour and FreeRunning

No longer exhausted!

I have been getting so much sleep lately that I may never be tired again.  Don’t you wish you could just store sleep up like pennies and break it out when you need it most?  I seem to be one of those people who needs a solid 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but at the same time, I have trouble turning off my brain and falling asleep.  Whenever I hear stories about people who can get by on 4 hours, I get so envious.  If I had even one more hour in my day I could get so much knitting done!

But let me randomly jump over to what I did on Sunday.  As I mentioned in the last post, it was the New Yorker Festival and on Sunday they held this really excellent presentation on Parkour.  Here’s a video of it from one of my fav action movies called B13.  It was French and actually had a plot along with beautiful stylized actions sequences featuring Parkour. One of the main characters is played by David Belle, the founder of parkour and he was the guy that the New Yorker had come to speak at the presentation.

It was great fun, set in front of the Javits Center where they have these enormous concrete pillar things that David and about 20 other traceurs jumped all over.  The basic premise is that you overcome obstacles by leaping and jumping over them.  It looks very much like watching a group of monkeys run through the jungle in the tree tops by swinging from branch to branch.  There’s a kind of bounciness to the landings and they really rely on their arms to get from place to place.  I think it would be a great thing to have taught in elementary school gym class as it teaches you how to fall and roll back up and I think it would give children a lot of physical confidence that I think they just don’t have anymore in a society where we’re always badgering them to “be careful!”  If we were all practitioners I’ll bet insurance rates would go down too!

Here’s another video that shows more of what it’s about.  I think this one really shows the monkey-like movements.

Will you guys let me know if you can see the videos?  (edited to add: They do seem to be coming up!  Yay!)  Also, does anybody know how to insert You Tube videos so that you get the little screen to come up?  I have so much to learn with all this blogging stuff.

Openhouse NY

So here’s how I spent my weekend:

Open house NY

I went last year with my friend Aleeza:

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(She has the most beautiful eyes, no?) who is a friend I made in Ithaca but has lived here in NYC (actually making a living as a pianist and a fine one at that.)  She and I like to get together and play tourist.  We’ve walked all over hell’s half-acre exploring this city and even taken those double decker buses that you see down driving tourists around with some guy talking into a microphone.  I have to say, the downtown and uptown tours were remarkably good.

Last year Aleeza indulged me by coming with me to see a bunch of buildings that were “built green”, using sustainable materials- as a house inspector this is good stuff to keep up with!  This year neither of us really got our act together and scouted out the sites ahead of time, so at the last minute we decided to go to the ferry building at Ellis Island that’s been newly renovated.  Both of us have always wanted to get to Ellis Island, and in fact, the photo above is us last year at Clinton Castle where the ferry departs for the island.  We managed to get there on the one day (besides Christmas) that is was closed because it was too stormy.  In the photo you see us just before we got drenched in the downpour that immediately opened up.  It was like standing under a waterfall.

So anyway, we decided to try again, and again, we failed.  We  forgot that it was Columbus Day weekend and apparentyl so did the MTA.  The metro system was just berserk this weekend and it took me a full hour and a half to get from 110th St down to South Ferry Station at which point we were going to have to wait in line for one and a half hours just to get on the ferry that goes to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Of course, by then we would have been over two hours late for the tour we had reserved for.  Argh!  How can I leave my house at 10:30am and not be able to make a 1pm tour of Ellis Island.  Ah the joys of city living.  Incidentally, Aleeza lives in Brooklyn and was able to spend exactly 3 minutes on the train + a 10 minute walk to the venue.  What’s wrong with this picture?

After deciding that we need to make a yearly event of not going to Ellis Island, we decided to head up to the Masonic Lodge on 23rd St.  So cool.  We got the whole talking to about how they’re a very historical association that raises lots of money for charities, etc, etc.  Someone brought up that they don’t let in women and isn’t that a mysoginist thing to do and they of course didn’t really give very good reasons for keeping us out- well, you be the judge of that:  When the question was brought up, the gentleman speaking said something like this:  “We have centuries of tradition behind us and we want to keep the traditions of our forefathers and, at the moment, that means that we don’t let women in.  Will that change in the future?  I’m quite sure that it will, but at this point we still don’t accept women as members.”  Hmm…

Anyway, there was one woman on the tour who was very vocal about how she despises any mysogonistic society, particularly this one, blah, blah, blah, and I found her a little bit upsetting.  Not so much that I didn’t agree with her point of view, because there were opinions that she held that I agreed with, but more the fact that she felt we were all just sheep being shepherded through this tour of the temple without questioning the underlying values inherent in the organization, and she needed to be the one to educate us.  Please.  I am a 36 year old woman with my own values formed both by nuture and real thought to how the world works and I really don’t need a “young whippersnapper” forcing her opinions on me.  I’m sure it’s a reaction to my Baptist upbringing that I really hate anybody who attempts to proselytize and tell me how I should think.  Fanatics, be they on the left or the right of the issues bother me- and that’s not to say that I’m a middle of the road kind of girl, because those of you who know me know that that is not my style.  No, it’s really that there are people out there who believe that their way is the only way, and there’s no room for compromise.  Of course, writing that I immediately think of some things I wouldn’t compromise on, but let’s say where has the spirit of cooperation gone?  Where is debate in this society now?  We all seem to hold our opinions and argue about them, but we don’t debate anymore.  We don’t present well reasoned rarguments to each other and discuss things and really try to see the other person’s point of view.  I’m not saying that we should then give up our own point of view and embrace the other’s, but there has to be some advantage to understanding where that other person is coming from.

Last night we went to a real debate.  Not only is it Open House NY weekend, it’s also the weekend of The New Yorker Fest.  (So much to do here!)  So, Ko being a professor one of the schools of the Ivy League, (and also having gotten all his education at another,) we decided to attend “should the Ivy League be abolished?” (scroll down) a debate between Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik with Simon Schama presiding.   What a blast!  I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Didn’t we do that whole debate thing in English class in high school and it really sucked?”  Well, yah.  Probably, but I enjoyed a couple of them.  But a real debate between skilled orators and some entertaining and funny men is a sight to behold.  It was fantastic and apparently it was decided (by a show of hands,) that the ivy league should not actually be abolished but should actually be reformed in many ways.

More about this weekend coming soon…

Here are some photos of my former LYS, a store that I miss so much that I get all misty eyed whenever I think of it.  It’s a huge place with tons of yarn- a really good selection too, not just one of those stores that’s like, “Well, I can fit it in here, so we might as well have it.”  Hickory and her husband Steven are really good at ferreting oout the best in yarns and displaying them attractively.  They also have the most comprehensive library of books that I’ve ever come across.  But really, all of that is great, but I think it’s the people I miss most.  I’ve only managed to get to one knit night since I’ve been down here in the city and those women were great, but of course, I’m just getting to know them.  What I really miss is having a place to come to every Thursday where we’ve all mostly known each other for at least two years and we just relax into the knitting and all the juicy details of everybody’s lives.  We can quiz each other on how we’re doing with our projects, what’s new in our lives.  It’s really the laughter I miss the most.  Knitting and laughing and just really enjoying each other’s company.  This was a really diverse group of women (with Steven coming in to join us occassionally- and yes, he knits beautifully,) and I have to say, if it hadn’t been for knitting, I just wouldn’t have really known them at all.  Many of them are older or younger than me, and not working in jobs that would bring our worlds together.  A lot of them are mothers- and a surprising number are nurses!  So really, the only thing we had in common was knitting.  And then we had in common that we were knitters who knit together on thursday nights.  And then we had in common that we really cared about each other.  I’ve put up some photos of my girls who happened to be at Knitting Etc on my last night when they threw me a lovely going away party, but I won’t put in the names because I forgot to ask them whether or not they wanted to be named on my blog.  Here are some of my favourite people in the world:  I miss you guys.

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Well, not all the time, but I’ve been here just over two weeks and I’d say that 90% of those days have been spent feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck.  I’ve been thinking about why moving is so exhausting and I think, (and this will be a surprise to no one,) that it’s just all the newness.  Where can I buy groceries?  Curtains?  Yarn?  WherecaI go for a good cup of coffee?  Where the hell is my toothbrush, (underwear, cat food,) that I’m sure I packed in that box/put in that drawer/bought yesterday?  I feel like a little mouse running around a vast maze where any button I push will produce either an electric shock or a nice little treat with no indication on the dial to give me a clue as to which is more likely.

Thank god for knitting.  My needles are always there for me.  I just finished the Afric Cape from Rowan magazine #42 and I almost like it.  It’s very warm and I think the shoulders are very flattering but it does this wierd poochy thing across my belly that I’m just not sure about.  I think I’ll try to wear it out tonight to dinner with my guy and see if it passes muster.  I’ll also take a picture and get it up here and onto Ravelry.  Are you on Ravelry yet?  It’s my new addiction.  If you’re a fiber freak you need to be there.

The background above is of my very favouritest knitting store ever, Knitting Etc in Ithaca.  Still looking for a fav in NYC, but I can tell you that Yarntopia and Purl are way high on the list.

(edit: I wrote this back in July and apparently forgot to post it. So here it is a day late and a dollar short.)gratuitus yarn pic

And it’s been moving very fast lately.  The first week of July Ko and I went up to Montreal for the Jazz Fest- what a fab time.  I love that city and may even post some photos/stories about it later in the week.  Of course, I only brought one battery for the camera and left the charger at home, so my pics are of the first few days.  Then Ko and I were getting ready to move, which meant that I would see Ko walking around the house pointing the camera at all our furniture and then it would disappear the next day to someone on Craig’s list.  We had the “real” move yesterday to a storage unit until we get an address in NYC, so the house is completely empty.  It feels surreal in a kind of William Gibson novel kind of way because I still have my desk and office set up like normal, but the rest of the house is empty.  I feel like my desk is a little bit of focus in an otherwise blurry house.  A site coming out of the ether. 

I forgot to mention that I did a little work for a group called Impact Development- you can read about their work here.  It’s complicated to explain, but I was working with another teacher and a group of 12 volunteers and we built wigwams for a children’ summer camp.  The other teacher had the job of asking them (and they were new hires for a big corporation,) “what are we learning from this?  How will we use this in the future?” (and I must say she did an excellent job!)  I had the job of saying, “Don’t cut your finger off with that saw!”  Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but it wouldn’t be off the mark to say that I was supposed to think about every possible way a person could hurt themselves on my worksite and then prevent that from happening.  I was sometimes known as the voice of doom and gloom, but for the most part my peeps were  really thoughtful about how they might maim themselves and adjusted accordingly.

So now that I’ve moved and I only have to clean up the house  I’ve started reading the new Harry Potter book which I got last Saturday, and Have forced myself not to read because I knew I’d never get anything done- and I know a couple of you out there have moved recently and YOU KNOW how much has to be done.  Oh my god, I thought I’d never get all that stuff into boxes.  It was just incredible to get the movers in here and see them make such short work of the boxes that I worried I’d packed too heavily.  I had trouble moving just one of those boxes and these guys whipped through carrying three at a time.  They were like machines!  Very friendly, animated, and funny machines.  We might even have them do the “big move” down to NYC.  What impressed me most about our move: we managed to cull everything down to a 10’x10′ storage unit.  Ok, ok I admit that we got rid of most of our furniture, so we’ll have nothing but office chairs to sit on when we get there, but if any of you ever saw my book collection, you’d know that this was really an amazing feat.

Ok, last but not least, now that I’m all packed up and I have access only to a little bit of yarn, I got my invite to Ravelry.  Wheeeeeeee!  I’ve been hopping up and down with joy all morning!  but that joy is tempered by the fact that even though I’m going to have all sorts of time in the coming month, I won’t be able to get my stash set up there in Ravelry because it’s hard to get to.  I admit that I’m making little plans to take the camera out to the storage unit and go to town there photographing.  Yarn would look good in an industrial setting right?

That photo at the top shows a huge ball of Brooks Farms mohair/wool/silk yarn that I just got done knitting into a scarf for my sweet mummy.  It was her birthday on the 21st.  So knitting has happened lately.  I just don’t have any photos of it!