Summer 2012

May 23, 2012

Sharing my list of Summer To Do…of course, we will not be doing every single thing on this list, I mean, what is summer but for lazying about? I am damn good at lazy. But, on those days when it is lovely, and we can’t remember all of those things we wanted to ‘get around to doing’ for the summer before Harlan starts kindergarten, we will consult the list, and pick something.  Mostly it involves lots of beach time and outdoor picnics.

What will you be doing this summer??
Take pictures for Harlan’s journal (large, spiral sketch book/include colored pencils in pencil bag/double sided tape for sticking mementos, scissors, construction paper)
*DRAW MAP OF THE APARTMENT and YARD (for treasure hunt)
*WALK AND DRAW A MAP OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD (including new school, walk to school for kindergarten playgroups)
*BIKE RIDE w/ Papa
*MAKE ICE TREASURE (freeze small toys in ice, break open outside)
*FONDUE NIGHT (cheese)
*TIE DYE TSHIRTS, and anything else we can find
*FORT BUILDING!! (inside and out)
*MAKE POSTCARDS FROM BOSTON, mail to friends far away

In the area…
*WADING POOL Cambridge, Artesani Springs
*FARMER’S MARKET (let Harlan pick out veggies to try)
*USS CONSTITUTION SHIP and MUSEUM (passes from library) picnic on the pier
*FIND A NEW PLAYGROUND (esplanade playground) picnic
*AQUARIUM / HARBOR VISIT/ TRAIN RIDE picnic on the Greenway
*CASTLE ISLAND picnic/beach combing
*HIKE UP BUNKER HILL Monument, Charlestown (look up history)
*VISIT BOSTON GARDENS picnic (read Make Way for Ducklings)
*WORLD’S END, hiking / picnic
Short Drive…
*WENHAM MUSEUM (picnic near there)
*NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM (picnic on harbor)
*GO FISHING (check on licensing, places to fish, buy a fishing pole)
*WINGERSHEEK BEACH (early morning,weekday) tide pool exploring
(library book: The Seaside Switch by Kathleen V. Kudlinski)
Long Drive…
*DRIVE IN MOVIE (Mendon Twin, Mendon MA)
*Visit Grandma in NY, go on CAVE TOUR at HOWE CAVERNS


how tired is my blog?

January 3, 2012

Drowning Buddha

i feel like at one point i had some direction with this blog, i had a good direction. it started with knitting and moved to yoga, two things that i am still very much in love with. but then life got in the way, and the blog was forgotten, and started waking up in panicked sweats with horrible anxiety that it couldn’t quite do all of ‘this’ and this was all a mistake and fear and worry and….wait, i think that may have been me. yeah, definitely me.
four weeks until the birth. i am without a doubt, the most anxious and worried i’ve ever been in my entire life. no more zen for me, no way no how. money is a huge issue for us, as it always is, and always will be. living in one of the most expensive cities in the world doesn’t help with that. odd that husband found the perfect job that doesn’t actually pay enough for us to live in the city where he found the job. compounding the stress, the landlord would like us to move in the spring, so he can live in our apartment. an apartment we’ve rented for ten years. do you have any idea the mass of crap that can accumulate in a place that you’ve lived for ten years?? a lot.  it’s going to be emotional, it’s going to be ugly. but, hopefully, the change will be good. you know, downsize, simplify, organize, all those positive things that people write countless books about.

yes, our situation could be exceedingly worse.  i know that.  in 2011 i suffered an ectopic pregnancy with emergency surgery (soon after a miscarriage), my aunt lost her daughter to cancer, my uncle died of liver failure (on christmas day, no less), and our sweet cousin jamie lost her daughter’s father in a motorcycle accident.  i KNOW how precious life and love and family are, and how meaningless all the rest of it is.   still, the anxiety is there, it creeps in, just when you think you’ve figured it all out.  the cold sweats, the mean reds, all of it, come crashing down on you.  and since we can’t control death, and whatever the hell is going on physically within our bodies, we worry about these other ‘things’, the things that don’t really matter to the grand scheme.   survival instinct i’m sure, but it seems counter intuitive to the way things should be.

still i breathe, i yoga, i knit, i love…i distract myself with nonsense.  i organize, purge, plan and act.  i hide from my friends, and then wonder why no one calls.  i feel strong, i feel weak, i crumble and i triumph.  i cry a lot and laugh as much as i can.  and i expect that 2012 will be much of the same, if i’m lucky.  no resolutions this year.  i wouldn’t even know where to begin.  no losing weight, or learning french.  i want to love my children and my husband.  i want to spend more time with friends and family.  as cheesy as it sounds, my goal for this new year is to just live my life.

and breathe.



hey there

December 14, 2011

after a loooooooooooooooooong blogging hiatus…i’m back.  still plugging along at my grandly laid plans, that seemed to have stalled out, but i’ve had, you know, ‘life stuff’ to contend with.  one of those ‘life things’ being that i’m about eight months pregnant as i write this.  it’s almost christmas, and i’m due at the end of january.  fun city.  actually, i am very excited, but this pregnancy has been less than fun.  much less than fun.

been knitting a bit, doing much yoga (in small doses, here and there), quite a bit of meditation, breathing deeply, slowly, etc.  taking care of my amazingly hilarious but annoyingly stubborn four (almost five) year old.  trying to keep on top of organizing,  cleaning…dealing with major back pain, severe mood swings, fatigue.  trying to be a good wife, and not drive my very patient husband off the deep end of insanity.  (we like to keep things on the shallow end of insanity around here, it seems to just work better for us than full on sanity)

a list, a list…here’s a list for your approval…

file under ‘things i’ve learned during this pregnancy that i definitely knew previously but didn’t care to accept’:

1. i’ve learned that people can be deeply kind and ridiculously insensitive at almost the exact same time (and so can i)

2. i’ve learned that i don’t care for maternity jeans

3. i’ve learned about the most odd things that can happen to your body when you’re pregnant at age 36

4. i’ve learned that my dreams that i dream every night are just my head having a little party while i’m asleep and hold no greater meaning

5. i’ve learned that whining gets nothing done

6. i’ve learned that a baby inside of you can actually scratch your bladder (true story)

7. i’ve learned that i really enjoy ray lamontagne

8. i’ve learned that with the right dishwash liquid, i can actually enjoy washing dishes (well, maybe not ‘enjoy’, but mrs.meyer’s sure makes it nicer)

9. i’ve learned that i love collard greens more than any other food

10. i’ve learned to throw my hands up and smile, or cry, depending on the day/hour/minute.

what will 2012 bring us?  a lot more learning, i’m sure.






Mother’s Day

May 10, 2011

there’s a saying that goes, ‘good mothers are the ones that don’t mind if you forget mother’s day’…i don’t know who said it, but it is complete bunk.  i certainly wouldn’t hold it against my baby or my baby daddy if they forgot mother’s day, but yeah, i’d be pretty ill about it.  while the origins of mother’s day are rooted in war protests and peace, in a mother’s mind, it is a day for massages, and flowers and more than anything, mother’s just want to be noticed and appreciated.  it is a cliche, but it is also a truth, that much of what a mother does in the day to day goes unnoticed in the grand scheme of things.  also, it takes more than just giving birth to be a mother, as everyone knows.

i love flowers, but they die.  i love massages, but the next day, my shoulders feel tight again.  mani/pedi’s are great too, but i’m not much of a girly girl.  so, this year, i opted for a gift that would keep on giving, a more permanent symbol of appreciation.  i got a tattoo for mother’s day.

a string of paper cranes.  it is symbolic for me on many levels, but mostly, i just think it looks really cool.  it was done by a guy named Rus at Fat Ram’s  Pumpkin Tattoo in Jamaica Plain, MA.  it was an absolute splurge, i am well aware of the financial sacrifice for this one, but my sweet man acted like it was no big deal (and it WAS a big deal).  besides the fact that i always feel a little stoned after a tattoo, which i’m assuming is due to the adrenaline surge you get every time they stick the gun to your arm, besides that, i felt completely appreciated and loved.  and i feel that every time i look at it.  cheesy?  you bet, but i love it.  i love it so very much.

not sure how they’re going to top this one next year. 😉

zen and all that jazz

April 6, 2011

completely random thought process; read with care

the past 10 months have been insane for me.  not that things ever really calm down, i don’t think i’d care too much for it if they did.  but, the past few months, well, they’ve been topsy turvy at best.  i’m kind of getting sea sick.

in order the help my mind process all of it, it seems i’m becoming more zen than i would have ever imagined myself becoming.

mantra: “no expectations, nothing is good, nothing is bad” (thank you zen habits)

mostly i just keep thinking, here is the world, just being the world, it will be the world just the way it is, with or without me…so, with that knowledge, i can very easily not expect anything from it.  it is my own expectations of what the world should be that are wrong, not the way the world is.  the world is what it is.  plain and simple.

(ok, that last thought made me sound a little stoned, i’m not stoned, i promise 🙂

it’s just, i really don’t believe in planned existence, so many things (good and bad) have happened to me over the years that it’s impossible to believe that anything that happens is part of some larger ‘plan’, mine or anyone elses.  thing is, the only way i can process the information constantly bombarding me is to just, not expect anything and not to judge anything that happens as good or bad.  things just happen.  things make me sad, and things make me happy, but my judgement of whether they are good or bad things, needs to cease.  they would happen, with or without me.

granted, i need more time with this.  but it’s getting easier to wrap my mind around (funny that the difference between ‘wrap my mind’ and ‘warp my mind’ is just one little spelling error)



March 29, 2011


call me ishbel

call me ishbel











this little shawl was actually started about the time i started this blog.  MANY things got in the way of my finishing it.  my lace skills were not as advanced as they should have been, and i continually had to rip this out and start over.  but, after realizing that this was not a hard lace pattern, and having lots of time on the couch recently due to illness, i have FINALLY FINISHED!

ahhhh.  i can move on the greener knitting pastures.  i feel like a wispy, lacey weight has been lifted off my shoulders (only to be put back onto my shoulders, and keep me warm).

Yoga Mat Bag Knitting Pattern

February 4, 2011

Some have said it looks like a giant tube sock, I tend to socks rule.

This is more of a yoga mat bag recipe.  I couldn’t find a pattern that was written as easily as I wanted it to be, so I wrote my own.  It is basically a really long hat, with eyelet rows for the closure, and a sewed on long strap.  Keep in mind that I use a fairly thick mat, if you use a very thin travel mat, you may want to decrease your stitches.

Size 10 US 16inch circular needles

Any worsted weight yarn (used Sugar & Cream cotton)

CO 70 stitches, join for knitting in the round

Knit plain for 4 rows

(begin eyelet rows)

Row 5:  K3,*K2, k2tog* repeat from * to *  around

Row 6:  K3, *k2, yo, k1* repeat from * to * around

Continue knitting plain, in the round, until piece measures 23-25  inches  (or about 2 inches longer than your mat when rolled up, you want to be able to cinch the bag and the bag WILL stretch when you put the mat into it)

**here, it is possible to add any amount of decoration to your bag, you could do a striped bag (i chose to add a yellow and red stripe, since that is the color of yarn i happen to have on hand; you could add the OM symbol by using fair aisle technique, or a knit/purl chart pattern, you could add a lace panel in the middle of the bag, etc, etc…you have many inches of plain knitting to use your creativity**

Decrease (this will create a flat bottom to your bag):

K5, k2tog around….

Continue knitting like this (k4, k2tog; k3, k2tog, etc.…)

Until 4 stitches remain…draw yarn through stitches and secure.

Make I-cord or crochet chain for draw string.  Thread drawstring through eyelet holes.  (I prefer an I-cord)

Double your yarn and cast on 6 stitches, knit plain (back and forth) for a long strap.  The strap can be as long as you like it, depending on whether you want a shoulder strap, just a carry strap or a messenger bag style strap.   Again, even with the yarn doubled,  the strap WILL stretch when you attach it to the bag.   Attach strap to the bottom and top of bag using method of choice (pick up stitches and use kitchener stitch, grafting, or just sew it on…I just sewed my on).

If you so desired, you could always knit up a small pocket and sew it onto the bag, for keys, phone, wallet or yogastrap.

Put yoga mat in bag, get to your local yoga studio and Aaaauuuuuuuummmmmm.

snow-mageddon knitting

February 1, 2011

i want sunshine, i want it now

LYS Review: The WoolPack in Acton, MA

January 25, 2011

it’s been a long and tiresome winter thus far, and i for one, am getting the winter blues.  again.  happens every year, usually around the time that it gets too cold for the 3 feet of snow on the ground to actually melt and you’re left with the stunning realization that you probably won’t see grass (or anything green) until mid march.  add to this, not being able to leave your house without the warmth of many layers of clothing, gloves, hats, scarves, boots (and if you have children, constanly wrestling to either get them INTO their gloves, coats, hats, boots, or constantly wrestling to get them OUT of gloves, coats, hat, boots, ugh.)

the one good thing about weather this time of year, it’s a knitter’s paradise.  many of my vegan friends would dispute this, but there is honestly nothing as warm as a hand knit wool hat (possibly an alpaca hat, but still, animal fiber is where it’s at).   so many cute hats, insane amounts of scarves, shawls, sweaters, wooly socks, mittens, gloves, hot water bottle covers (yes, hot water bottle covers, people still use them and knitter’s still invariably, knit them).   the possibilities are boundless and the winter weather is prime motivation to sit around and knit until your fingers ache.

it was this same motivation (and winter blues) that caused me to stop at The WoolPack, the local yarn store in acton, ma, on my way home from dropping hubby off in harvard.  snow covered the farm lands out there like thick white fondant on a giant wedding cake.   it’s almost blinding.   it was serendipitus that i missed my turn onto Rt.2 and ended up on Rt.2A, where the yarn shop is located.  i had to stop and get gas anyway, harlan was really sick of being in the car already, so i thought, why not.

when i walked in, the first thing that struck me was how huge the store was.  just giant, compared to most yarn shops.   the selection was outstanding.  i noticed they even carried the hard to find, deeply coveted 9 inch circular needles (good for socks and baby hats for those of us that HATE dpn’s).   they carried buttons, and needles, and swifts, and ball winders, felting supplies, raw wool, dyed wool, pattern books, single patterns, crochet supplies, and yarn, yarn, so much lovely warm yarn.   there were tables and chairs to lounge in, if you just couldn’t help yourself and had to start a project right then and there, they were ready.  i noticed a good amount of kid’s books on knitting, and was pleasantly suprised when, as i argued with harlan over why we don’t pull the strings at then end of every ball of yarn (as enticing as that is), one of the women who worked at the shop came over and showed him where the ‘kid’s table’ was, tucked nicely in the back of the store, with blocks and coloring books and crayons.  he kept busy, and i went about my business fondling yarn and drooling over lace charts and hat patterns (and just being all around giddy to be there).  i found some Berocco Vintage in a nice color, and then wondered if they had a Ysolda Teague pattern i had been wanting to knit for quite some time (the snapdragon tam, lace and cable awesomeness).  the woman had never heard of her, which was odd, but not everyone knows who EVERY knit designer is, i suppose.  regardless of whether or not she knew who she was, she went out of her way to find the pattern for me.  first finding it online, then looking in their library, then finally physically looking through the hat patterns until she found it.  i bought the pattern, and the yarn, and the woman ringing it up asked if i needed it wound into a ball (for the uninitiated, you have to wind most yarn up into a ball before you can knit with it), i said no, i have my own swift and winder, but it was SO nice of her to ask.   whenever i am amazed that small local places like this stay in business, i am reminded of why; ASTOUNDING customer service!  really, MOST of the country could take lesson.

in short; i will definitely be back here, even though it is completely out of my way.  it is well worth the drive for the selection alone, and the service makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (much like the yarn).


The WoolPack, 340 Great Rd., Acton, MA 01720  (in the shopping plaza)

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm

Thursday: 10am – 8pm

Sunday: 12pm – 5pm







hello new year, how goes it?

January 11, 2011

amazing, amazing.  a whole new year for us to play with.  i have to say, even with the extreme downs of this past year, i am very positive about the new one.  as it’s been discussed, nothing ever comes from negativity, but not only that, i just feel deep down, very positive.

christmas was a storm of knitting activity.   i finished a blanket for the MIL, finished many hats, (even one for myself…selfish me), and put into action a knitting plan for the next year.  it seems though, knitting isn’t giving me the same spark that it used to.  i realized that knitting for me, will be a hobby at best.  it is, without a doubt, a great stress reducer in my life.  i love finished product, i love creating something both lovely and functional, but (BUT), i am not obsessed with knitting.  i don’t live and breathe knitting.  (for god’s sakes april, please tell us this is not leading to ANOTHER blog that you won’t update ever)

this year, i’m working on something that will sustain me, and my family, both physically and spiritually (and possibly financially, but probably not).   here is a note i wrote detailing my plan, and it is still something that i hope to accomplish.

Very roughly, this is my new plan…

It is my plan to change my life up a little, if nothing else, and ultimately, I would like to teach yoga one day in the near future, to people who need it (because everyone does).  For a few years now, I have had a dream of one day teaching yoga to returning war veterans as a treatment for PTSD.  More and more research is being done on this, and it is becoming more clear that there are ways we need to help the men and women returning from the battlefields (20% of all soldiers returning home have some form of PTSD, with the numbers rising higher daily), and studies are showing that yoga is one simple, drug free way that we can help them.   Unfortunately,  as I do more and more research on that subject, I realize that I may need training beyond simple yoga teacher training, but I have to start somewhere.

So, to begin, I need to steady my practice.  For ten years, I’ve been an on and off again disciple of yoga.  I’ve randomly taken classes, and never really had more than a 20 minute home practice, that only really included sun salute A and sometimes B.  Seems like life (and my lack of motivation) were always getting in my way.  In my small, but long experience with the practice, it has helped me in ways that I find hard to put into words.  I have come to truly believe that yoga is beneficial for everyone.  I feel that if I could teach, I would have a bigger understanding of my body, my life, and build my compassion for the world around me (which, if I’m being completely honest, could use a ‘re-tooling’ every now and then).  Just maybe, I could also help others understand their bodies, and by helping the individual, benefit the entire community.  My goal is to make yoga not only physically available to everyone, but also, emotionally available to everyone, regardless of religious denomination, or spiritual belief system.  You do not need to be (or think) that you are highly spiritual, nor do you need to be in touch with eastern philosophy.  It can be beneficial to all.  It is not a unique, or original approach to teaching yoga, but it is one that I think is under utilized in the community.

My immediate beginning would be to take 3-4 classes a week to improve my form, and strength, and to steady my at home practice of at least an hour a day (when not taking classes).

The Plan

In the next six months I will be writing a blog about my experiences with visiting many various yoga studios in the Boston area.  The reason for visiting many different studios is this:

1. Since I will eventually be teaching, I would like to explore as many different styles of yoga, styles of teaching, and styles of studio settings as possible…talking with teachers, exploring all of my options before I pick a program for my training and stick to it.  Individuals are just that, individual.  Each individual needs to be taught appropriately, exploring different teaching styles, I feel, will help me be open to many ideas and styles in my own practice.

2.  Very simply, I’m broke, and classes are expensive.  I’ve noticed that most studios have new member special pricing, and as my husband and I do not have jobs at the moment, these new member discounts will be the best way for me to keep my practice going in a studio setting.

3. My blog will be a place to go if you decide to take a class in the Boston area, for examples of styles, names of recommended teachers of those styles, and overall reviews of the studios (although, I will post no ‘bad’ reviews of any of the studios, because, let’s face it, even if it’s the worst yoga studio ever, they are still bringing a beautiful practice into the world, and that’s a good thing).  Also, most of these studios are small businesses, and I’m sure that they, as I am, are struggling in this economy.  Hopefully my blog will provide a little free advertising for them.  I will not only be posting about the studios, but also posting my personal experience with trying to keep up with yoga, while also trying to raise a young child, and not letting other aspects of my life fall to the side.

so, that’s it.  a new blog.  a new journey.  but this one will not be forgotten.  the knitting will go on.  and on and on.  and eventually, i will knit and yoga, and raise my little family with ferver.  i think i have two readers, i hope you will come with me. 🙂

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Gautama Buddha