Sunday, October 23, 2011


I love rewards, built-in, specified and any size.  Check marks, while small are rewards too as they add up to earning something bigger eventually.

Once our mother was safely enscounced in her new residence on Thursday evening, Ellen and I headed due south, across RI to Newport and my first reward......
I LOVE this bridge.  I have for many years.  I like its lines and the meaning it has for me.  When I see it and go over it I am approaching my sister's home and a lovely vacation for a few days.

Staying with my sister in Newport is so relaxing, peaceful and pleasant.  She is incredible at making small spaces seem large, airy and beautiful.
In the morning I was greeted by lovely sunshine and Maks, the miracle cat.  Maks was hit by a car a couple of years ago, was in ICU for several days, lost the use of one eye, broke his pelvis and still came back so that you really cannot tell he was injured.  Maks now walks with a leash instead of going about the neighborhood on his own but his life is good and he is loved.
Each time I visit he seems to adopt me.  He sleeps on my bed, purrs and asks me to pet him.  My sister gets jealous as he is rather aloof otherwise but, I have hopes that he will transfer some of his attention to her this time.

On Friday, after making sure our mother was doing well we rewarded me with a trip to a Yarn Shop.  The one I picked out was half a mile from Tamarisk so an easy trip.  We went back and forth on its block and the ones next to it, then asked someone for the shop, to no avail.  Then we called Manmade by Jonne and was told he had not been there for 5 years (sheesh, the old one is the address google is giving out!).  Jonne did not seem amenable to giving us directions so we decided to try out the shop in Newport.  It is on Thames Street all the way down.  The time was after 5 but lots of tourists were walking about so we knew it would still be open.  This one was exactly where it was supposed to be with easy parking.  We both went inside as I wanted my sister to choose the color for her new socks.  I immediately found the fingering but it was only acrylic Sirdar so I asked the owner.  She said she had sock yarn right over here on this display.  I looked and found what I already had, wool and more wool. Not acceptable to me or my sister.  Major Darn.  The shop has lots of room but basic yarns and a great selection of novelty yarns, both new and old.  
Alas, the plan for a pair of socks for my sister,  made on this trip, had to be scratched.  I could have been bummed but....

back in the car my sister offered a drive along the Newport shoreline as a substitution. It is also a reward.  Having grown up spending many summer days on an Atlantic beach in Brooklyn, the ocean brings back great memories and feelings of awe at its rawness, majesty and power.

That evening we watched a Hugh Laurie Video of the taping of his album Let Them Talk.  It was a perfect ending to our day, listening to wonderful heartfelt blues.  AAMOF I immediately downloaded the album to my iPod and listened to it on the drive from Newport back here to Southbury.

On Saturday we spent more time at Tamarisk but left before dinner knowing our mother was in excellent hands, safe, secure and occupied with new friends.  We had reservations at our favorite restaurant, The Lobster Pot in Bristol, the final reward to us for a job well done -  Steamers, lobster bisque, lobster salad, dark bread, wine, crackers and cheese and more ocean views. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Filing Cabinet for Seniors

My mother now lives in Rhode Island at the Phyllis Saperstein Tamarisk Residence.  Tuesday we sent the movers on their way.  Wednesday my sister met them at noon and spent the next 12 hours unpacking.

On Thursday I drove her 3 hours north east from Southbury, CT to Warwick, RI.  We were met at the entrance where my mother was invited in. My sister then appeared and took her upstairs to her new space.  Lev who also met us at the door, helped me unload my SUV, load a luggage cart and took the haul upstairs with me being greeted by the concierge and being shown upstairs as well.

Entering my mother's new apartment is a feast of light.
All of the furniture is from her condo in CT but my sister put it together in a such a way that it looks spacious, bright and welcoming.  

Her bedroom is calming with pinks and blue and whites.
Everyone who has visited remarks on how inviting it all looks
especially with her crystal collection glittering on a windowsill overlooking a rose garden.
The physical structure is relatively easy to describe.  The exterior is typical New England clapboard, extremely well maintained, as are all the rooms we visited.  On the ground floor we saw at least 2 rooms for music and community events, plus a wonderful library and sitting room.  They also have a van for almost daily shopping trips and other outside events.

The dining hall has wooden tables that are cloth covered for dinner.  Across from the dining room is a Tavern where you can purchase wine by the glass and next to it is the Bistro which always has free hot coffee, hot water, snacks and a fridge full of little milks of all kinds.   Oh and the majority of the residents are using walkers so aisles are wider than usual and there are 3 elevators to keep walking to a minimum.

We had 2 lunches and a dinner at Tamarisk.  At each meal someone came to take our order, recited the choices, re-recited the choices and then offered alternatives.  Portions can be made smaller or larger while diet sodas, fresh brewed iced tea and coffees are graciously brought out.  My mother had an egg salad sandwich that was delicious, delicately spiced, not a lot of mayo yet full of flavor.
Side salads are always available too.  At the first lunch my sister asked for a fried egg on toast, as she had read that breakfast food was always available, and received hers nice and hot with lovely toast (actually that is what she ate for both lunches) while I had ravioli and my mother had hers without sauce and we all had grilled fresh baby asparagus.  Oh did I tell you this place is kosher?  Yup.  At dinner my mother and I had chicken with dumplings while my sister had an egg salad sandwich.  All was brought to us with smiles and thoughtfulness.  People stopped by our table to greet and meet our mother and invite her to different happenings and let her know how they liked their residence.

One of the main things that makes this place so different from others is the atmosphere of caring and love.  All the people we met are not only polite but really care about the elderly without being condescending.  On my mother's first morning, she opened her door to get her paper, was greeted by a CNA and asked if she wanted help getting dressed.  The night before a CNA assisted her with a shower and getting ready for bed.  Staff is everywhere, always agreeable and gracious.

As we left Thursday evening we heard a wonderful jazz pianist playing in one of the community rooms with almost a full house audience.  Activities abound as do mah jongg games, canasta and bridge.  There are small areas on each floor with upholstered or leather furniture.  On the 3rd floor is the Brain room with a closet full of games and several computers.  On the 2nd is a TV room and sunrooms.  A massage therapist is available 3 days a week as is a hair stylist and manicurist.  A podiatrist visits every Friday and a nurse is always available.

Lev the Program Director, who has been involved since Tamarisk's inception 12 years ago, stopped by yesterday to take our mother's picture and just to chat.  After he found out that she has done lots of community service he invited her to a happening tomorrow afternoon involving URI freshmen and assisting the local poor.

This place is like a hotel but one that is personally invested in their clients.  I could move in tomorrow and be very satisfied.  Our mother has only called twice in 48 hours instead of 15 as is her norm as she is being not only well cared for but already getting involved in her new life and making new friends.  We left her yesterday walking over to a mah jongg game in the sunroom.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Start of another phase

My mother is moving to assisted living.   We grew up in Brooklyn, then my mother moved to Heritage Retirement Village in CT 20 years ago.  Now she is going to RI which is closer to my sister.  We started the process about a month ago.  My sister interviewed residences in Rhode Island and we chose Tamarisk over any of them.  Then the checklists started.  Moving is traumatic at anytime but going smaller is hard.  Whittling clothes and belongings can be difficult but Bonnie, who has been helping my mother for years, is amazing with her.  So patient, full of humor and really loves her.  They spent the last 3 weeks going through everything.

When I arrived yesterday they were almost done with the pantry.  I got to help with clearing off surfaces into boxes, deciding which artwork was coming and communicating with my sister on the check list, marking boxes with contents and making some last minute furniture and coat decisions.
My sister and I are both very much into lists and crossing things off.  She is jealous of the √ mark I can make on my mac but she cannot on her PC so I made her a really big red one in Photoshop.
The movers were supposed to come at 11.  Nice guys who even took the plants.  Actually they were unavoidably delayed almost an hour so Bonnie took mother out for lunch and bought her a couple of pairs of sneakers on a credit that needed to be used up.  It was way easier to proceed with only me here directing and I think less stressful to my mother.  The place is really empty now.  The carpeting which looked great before now needs to be shampooed.

I wanted to make a pair of socks for my sister for taking the lion's share of the work. I also did not want to make yet another pair of Jeans or Paynes grey socks (she has lots of them) so allowed myself to purchase some denim, taupe and grey JaWoll sock yarn right before I left.  I was excited that the skein contained reinforcement yarn.  I immediately started the toes and got rather enthused that I might just be able to make a pair of plain socks to present to her before I left to come home.

However as I got more into the toes I realized that these socks were not going to pass my sister's princess test for softness.  I finally noticed that the yarn was superwash WOOL and nylon, not superwash anything specific.  Arghhh wool pool yarn = yarn from meat sheep, old rams, cheese sheep, old ewes, etc. Many many people who find wool itchy have never worn pure merino, only wool pool yarn. If you think I am a micron snob, she makes me look like Miss Scratchy.

Oh and Yarndex quotes Lang on this yarn ""Jawoll" is so soft & fine that it can also be used to create beautiful sweaters, gloves, hats, shawls, really any fingering-weight project. "  so I kept on knitting hoping it would soften up.

I love the way the colors are coming out but the feel of the socks as they are being knit is not passing MY softness tests so I can't imagine how it will pass hers.
I googled Warwick, RI yarn shops and found one very close to Tamarisk.  Yippee!  I will go there Thursday afternoon.

The onliest problem is the socks will then be 4 days behind schedule.  
Repeat after me..."I will not pull a Yarn Harlot Rhinebeck stunt....I will not pull a Yarn Harlot Rhinebeck stunt....I will not pull a Yarn Harlot Rhinebeck stunt...."

Uh oh.  I found the yarn shop's website, who look really interesting BTW, BUT they have the audacity to be closed on Thursdays.  Soooo do I order from WEBS right now? And will I need to pay a small fortune to get yarn to my sister's house by Thursday? or take my chances on having time to go to another shop?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Right on Time

What with all the rain and flooding then incredible dryness I thought the leaves would just shrivel and die. However for the last 2 days we have been having the most colorful snow of leaves I haven't seen in years. I go outside and the leaves are gently coming down and coating everything with a fine layer of gold and orange.  So perfect.  So uplifting.  So classic.  And right on schedule too.

And you are asking why I have not been reporting on my knitting.  
OK I have been very quiet but only because I am not allowed to show it to you--------------- yet.
Yes, secret knitting.
I had a piece for Knit Picks to get done (actually 2 of the same but in different weight yarns) and then, the greatest thing happened.
I got an email from Knitter's Magazine with an acceptance of one of my patterns!  

When I came back down I realized I had a very short time in which to do the redesign, receive the scrumptious yarn, find beads and then knit the sample and get it in on time.  

The Knit Picks samples went in late last week with the pattern.  They should be up in about 3 weeks.  I will let you know.

I got the beads I wanted at AC Moore but they only had 2 tubes.  I knew I needed at least 3 but counted on them getting more in soon.  Ha!  Then I counted 950 beads needed and there are about 280 per tube. So right before I panicked I ordered more online.   I ran out of beads a little over halfway through the piece over the weekend.  The beads were being delivered by UPS.  But Monday was a holiday and I had to have it in the mail by Wed. 
Surprisingly about 4pm on Monday that brown truck arrived.

UPS is my latest hero.

  I immediately sat down to complete the piece. It was so close to the deadline. I was so nervous as I didn't want my very first national magazine design to be late and rejected. Knitting went on past midnight on Monday and not much else got done on Tuesday except take breaks when my hands hurt.  The mystery knit was completed at 11pm.  whew!
Then it was blocked.

Wednesday morning it was dry so I tucked in the ends and added the  4 x 4 gauge area outlined in waste yarn.  
Then I packed it all up and sent it off.  After that I sent in the pattern and chart and anything else they wanted by email.

I am so looking forward to seeing this in print and being able to share it with you all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

United States of Britain

I found this on Facebook from Diana Christova and just had to share.

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.'Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.' '

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.)

8.You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!