Children's Journals

This is my journal, with posts mainly about myself. If you want to see posts specifically about Maia or Liam, check out the links to their journals under the "My Interests" section on the right side of my blog page.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Super Storm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy, also known as Super Storm Sandy, pounded the northeast coast of the US from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning. Sunday and Tuesday weren't too bad, but Monday was pretty crazy. I managed to make it into work in the morning on Monday despite the gusts and occasional rain, but by the afternoon the winds were really picking up and the rain was coming down harder. And at 2pm they closed my workplace (and let me tell you, it takes a very serious situation for my workplace to close down), so I headed home in the growing wind and rain.
And spent the rest of the evening listening to the wind gust at the house violently, dealing with the grill crashing over (we left it broadside in the wind screaming across the patio), wrestling with the pool cover which was flapping like a huge ungainly bird and threatening to take off, getting soaked in the process and also witness some big branches cracking off the half-dead tree in the corner of the yard and go flying into our neighbor's yard. I also discovered leaking in the attic when I went to check on the chimney, which is prone to leaking.

It was still leaking, and more than it had before. Wonderful.

And joy of joys, I discovered new leaking under the window vent. *sigh*

The rest of these pictures were taken on Tuesday, the day after the worst of the storm, when I was assessing the damage done.

The wind was so strong that it pushed the heavy solar cover from the corner of the patio (up against the house) to where you see it below. I am surprised the blue recycling bin stayed upright.

The back storm door was also caught by the wind and thrown open a few times before we managed to tie it closed. The grill being in that corner (after we had picked it up) probably saved the door from being flung open completely and ripped off it's hinges, but unfortunately the corner of the grill gouged a large hole in the screen.

Our biggest damage was the lattice panels we had put up in the corner of the yard to give the garden a nice backdrop and provide some privacy in the backyard. I didn't think this was such a big deal until I took a closer look and realized just how we had put them together.

 We hadn't yet gotten a chance to winterize and store the solar heater for the pool, and since only one end was tied down, it got pushed off it's platform in all the cross wind. The fence saved it from falling off completely.

 A rather large branch/side trunk, broke off the Bradford that hangs over our pool. Thankfully it didn't land on the pool...the wind blew it right into our neighbor's yard. Though I feel bad about that, considering there were already several other branches from our trees having been flung into their yard. And I like Bradfords, so it sucks that it took damage. (at the very least, it should have been the branch that hangs over the pool and drops the nuts in every year)

There were several other branches down in the yard, but they missed anything crucial.

On my way into work, I saw a lot of trees down. It was a bit hard to get good pictures, given that I was trying to drive.  There is one on the left in this picture.

More here to the left of the sign.

Another near the VFW.

But the largest was the one that crashed across Rancocas Road. I had to detour around it. These pictures are taken on the other side of the detour. You can see where it crashed over the person's fence on the left, and the fact that it's on TOP of the power lines (that double line coming down almost perpendicular to the telephone pole).

I also saw a lot of fence sections that had fallen off. I got this picture a little later, when the fence sections had been picked up already, but you can see how there are so many missing. That yard had been completely enclosed by fencing. Now it's wide open.

And then, when I finally got to work, there was a road closure just past my work entrance (there on the left), due to a dangerous low-hanging tree that was threatening to crash onto the road. Crazy.

And besides just causing physical damage, the storm has also managed to mess with Halloween. So much damage was caused, so many places are without power, etc...that Halloween has been postponed. Oh sure, there might be a few townships still holding Halloween tonight, the 31st. But most have moved Trick-or-Treating off until Friday, Saturday, or even Monday. In fact, Governor Chris Christie has released a mandate urging all townships to schedule Halloween for Monday and to definitely avoid any such celebration tonight. Most townships have complied with this. Mine moved Halloween to Saturday afternoon and has stuck with this. There is confusion all over, as townships are choosing different days and then changing them around more. And not everyone is probably getting the message. (though I didn't have any trick-or-treaters stopping by tonight) Regardless, Halloween isn't on Halloween. I can't recall that EVER happening. It's crazy. An entire holiday, uprooted and changed because of weather. *sigh* Mother nature can be a cranky bitch.

I have lived in New Jersey just about all of my life, so 30+ years. I don't recall ever having hurricanes make it up this far, at least ones that stayed strong enough to cause damage. Not until last year when Irene made landfall near us. And year later, a second hurricane makes landfall in the north...this time in New Jersey, in Atlantic City. So close to home. I wonder if we will experience one next year. I always felt safe from the hurricane season. The most it ever did was throw some annoying rain our way, with maybe some extra wind if it got closer. But I am not so sure that it going to be the case anymore. I don't believe it's the end of the world, as some say...but things are definitely changing climate-wise. *sigh*

Hope you and your loved ones came out safe in the aftermath of this storm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yarn Tasting

Last night, I attended my first ever Yarn Tasting. And it was awesome!

For those unfamiliar with a yarn tasting, it is much like a wine tasting...but with yarn. You get many samples of yarn to knit with, in an effort to entice you to buy more of it. You knit little swatches with them and see how you like the feel of them. Definitely very enticing. Here are the samples that I got in my little fabric sachet.

This is a snapshot of our table, all enjoying playing with their yarn samples. 

 Along with the yarn, we also got desert. Besides hot tea, I also had this delicious pumpkin spice cake. Mmmmmmm....

I definitely can't wait until the next one. I want more yarn to play with, and want to try more of the yummy deserts.
(FYI, this was hosted by Woolbearers and was held at the Robin's Next in Mount Holly)

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I attended knitter heaven this week (well, at least it felt that way for now...the retreat coming up in November will probably be a lot more heavenly), along with my friends Danamarie and Suzie. The name of this particular heaven?
Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival! Tons and tons of yarn and fiber and knitting needles and spinning implements and knitting/fiber related crafts was AWESOME!!!

I encountered the Ella Coat again (I bought the pattern at Maryland Sheep and Wool), both at the vendor that sells the pattern, and in passing random festival-goers.

While I would not make this sock for myself, I thought it was very cute and had to show it off

There were rows and rows of "art yarn"...lots of colors, textures, and thicknesses. Since I know what I end up spinning will definitely vary in thickness and texture and will be considered art yarn, I am really hoping it looks half as nice.

There were many animals there, and not just sheep. This was a large rabbit, with a neck roll big enough to serve as a pillow.

I loved these musicians. They played constantly as far as I could tell, moving from one song to another without a break. Completely instrumental, they are called Epiritu Andino.

THAT, my friends, is NOT roving or batting...nope, not wool at all. It is Maple Cotton Candy! Yes, such a heavenly thing exists...and it's wonderfully yummy!

This was one of the vendor buildings on-site. I had to take a few pictures of it because I loved that it was paneled in so much wood. It smelled awesome, being cedar, and was very cozy.

And of course, there was colorful yarns and fibers...

...rainbows of yarn...

...flowing out of baskets...

...tumbling out of crates...

...braided for enticing display.

There were a lot of wonderful fiber-related items as well. I really liked this hand-made spindles, especially the wood-burned ones.

Check out the spiderweb spindle

Several artisans were at work. This is not a very good picture of a really awesome piece of weaving (which I totally plan to take up, as soon as I get a small table loom)

I really like the pattern of this cardigan and I am going to make sure the book that contains it ends up on my Amazon wishlist.

Here was another pattern that I really liked. I totally would have bought the pattern if it had existed, but only the glove itself was for sale. I am hoping I can remember the name of the vendor so that I can see if there IS a pattern available for sale.

And yet another pattern that I found interesting. This is HER pattern and it's for sale. I have her card (if anyone is interested).

Okay, this is not knitting related, but we saw it on our way out of Rhinebeck, sitting in traffic. It's the office of an acupuncturist and I thought it looked pretty neat, especially the sign. 

And the final damage? Not much. I managed to keep myself in line. Aside from the maple cotton candy, I purchased a simple drop spindle as planned, and in a moment of weakness I also bought top that I will spin up into hopefully some nice yarn that I can knit with. It's 4.3oz of superfine merino and it's so amazingly soft that I just want to sleep with it. (don't tell Matt). I am going to be good and make myself finish spinning the green romney that I bought last month, so that it gets used and so that I am better by the time I get to spinning this.

The only negative to Rhinebeck (well, besides not having tons of money and house space to buy so much more yarn and stuff...and one day not being enough time to see all the vendors) is that I never saw Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I was hoping to meet this woman whose blog I read daily/weekly, have her sign one of the awesome books she has written, and maybe show her my first pair of socks (it's a thing with her blog and you'll get it). But apparently she wasn't signing any books this year...which means that she must have been wondering around the fairgrounds enjoying herself like the rest of us. Which is great...but obviously I never ran into her. Ah well. I'll have to wait for the retreat in November.

It's late...I am going to go fondle some fiber and get ready for bed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Natural Beauty

(need I say more?)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


10 years ago today, my husband and I got married. It's been a crazy ride since then, with a lot of ups and downs. While I would rather have done without the downs, I am glad he was the person I got to share them with. And the ups have definitely made it all worthwhile. I am looking forward to seeing how the next 10 years turn out (though I wouldn't mind have a lot more ups than downs this next stretch).

To celebrate, we tossed the kids at our parents for an extended weekend and headed up to Connecticut to take in the scenery. It was a random choice, but I am very glad we did it because I loved the area. We drove up Thursday (4th) and returned to reality on Sunday (7th).

We stayed in the Hyatt Place in Milford, just west of New Haven Connecticut. The hotel was awesome. It's only 5 years old and has updated decor that is several steps above the generic flowery decor that I really despise in most hotels.  Below are a few pictures from the room. I guess you would say that it's retro? Modern? The screen divider reminds me of something Asian, though, so I really loved it. Oh, and EVERY room is a suite room, with either king-size bed or two doubles.
the king suite, with divider

the office/bar area (and huge flat screen tv)

loved the sectional couch

it was slightly odd to have the bathroom outside the sink but didn't mind it

comfy king-sized bed

Bonus! The hotel has an oversized spa tub (no pool)

this is the cute breakfast nook where breakfast was served complimentary each morning (not a huge selection but enough to make me happy, and it was darn tasty)

this is just outside the breakfast nook, with more seating (and functions as a bar at night)

I loved the leaf print on the overhead lights

Our first day, we went walking around downtown Milford to take in the sights. There were various monuments, statues, bridges, and waterfalls. I loved the area around the waterfall the most. And there was an awesome restaurant we ate at, called The Rainbow Garden. I definitely recommend the chocolate cake desert.


(9/11 memorial)

(loved this waterfall)

Our second day in Connecticut, we drove into New Haven to check out the Natural History Museum and see more sights. This is the statue outside the museum.

This is the museum's entrance

I loved the architecture of the stairwell

I mainly took this picture for Liam, since he loves krakens and this is close

This was a colony of leaf cutter ants. They were amazing to watch.

They carried the pieces up the branch...

 and through the tube (notice the condensation starting to collect)

they break down the leaves and build colonies of fungus

they apparently also have a "landfill" where they take all the waste and dead ants

I had to take a picture of one of the dioramas...can YOU tell where the painted background begins?

I wonder if most teens know where Abercombie & Fitch got their start

We were on our way to lunch, trying to find Anna Liffey's Irish Pub/Bar, when I happened to look across the street. And there it was!
Knit New Haven

Naturally I had to stop in after lunch to check it out. I bought stitch markers and Matt bought me an awesome book.

We spent the afternoon walking around New Haven, taking in scenery and taking pictures of architecture, etc.

This was in an art museum...had to take a picture since this is my zodiac sign and username

Our third day in Connecticut, we went over to Madison for an art festival, which was very nice. There were a lot of different artisans there, though jewelry made out of sea glass seems to have been the most popular choice of the artists. There were also a lot of prints of paintings and photographs. We actually meet the photographer that took the picture of his dog jumping in mid-air (for a pig's ear), that was featured in National Geographic and used on the front of a Weezer album (Raditude). Matt shook his hand. He was pretty cool to talk to.  (sadly, there was only one artist with actual yarn, though someone else had felted hats and another had woven items)

While there, I had the best grilled cheese ever in my life (cheddar and bacon on rye, with caramelized onions)

After we had looked at all the vendors, we took a walk to check out what Long Island Sound looked like, since we were so close to the water. Along the way we passed a really huge hydrangea (didn't realize they could grow into trees) and REALLY rich houses!

There was quite a view of the sound from where we encountered it. There were small little islands just out in the water. The first was only large enough for birds to land on. The second was larger and looked like it might have a light post on it?

Couples shot before we left

We ate dinner at an awesome hibachi grill called Tengda. We recommend it.

This was my all-time favorite presentation of coleslaw

After dinner we just had to stop by a bakery recommended by a friend, since it was only right down the road. I was pretty please with the chocolate cake/brownie I got.

I have no pictures from Sunday, when we returned home, though we did stop a few places. I was tired and feeling crappy, and it was rainy and cold. We had a few false stops at places that weren't what we thought (or they were closed), and really only managed to look at a small art gallery on a college campus before we gave up and just ate at a nearby diner.

It was a very awesome trip. I would love to go back up there again. I definitely would stay at the same place. There were so many other places we could have seen, so there wouldn't be a lack of things to do. Maybe next year.