Sunday, February 28, 2010


We spent the weekend at Shell Cottage, where I was able -- for the first time in weeks -- to have genuine, guilt-free knitting time! And the result?

5.5 rows in 36 hours! That's 6347 stitches! And -- given work demands and the rigors of planning for the bar mitzvah -- I had been averaging half a row a day!

I have 8 rows left before the edging. And I can't begin the (1154 rows) edging until after I learn how to do it. And I won't learn how to do it until April 10th, when I am taking a class on Knitted Lace Edging from Franklin Habit at Loopy Yarns.

So when the body of the shawl is done, I am going to break my "One Project At A Time" rule and cast on a curtain for the front door of Shell Cottage. I have decided to knit Marianne Kinzel's Rose Leaf Curtain (above) in a butter-yellow cotton yarn that will take to starching. Mine will be probably a foot longer than that pictured, but I am going to stick with three repeats of the motif at the bottom. I don't want anything too fussy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Over. Done. He's a Man Now. Whew!

Things went very smoothly, Norbert did an exceptional job. He chanted beautifully -- his voice only cracking 13 times. (I didn't count -- two 16 year old girls did!) But nothing phased him. He didn't even pause. He just kept chanting with precision.

Dinner and services on Friday were spectacular, and the luncheon after the bar mitzvah was well attended and we didn't run out of food. (Always a worry of mine.)

Sunday's boy/girl party went well -- the kids had fun, and that really was the whole point of the party.

There are no pictures from Friday or Saturday -- our synagogue considers cameras (as well as any electronic devices) to be prohibited on the Sabbath. Today we got Norbert to put on his bar mitzvah clothes, ride over to the synagogue, and let us take a few pictures.

He's a good boy.

We are tired, but pleased. It was a lot of work, but we love the kid, and that made it a lot easier. The friends who came to our aid -- cooking, setting tables, delivering things -- touched our hearts in a way I can't describe.

Tonight I pick up the knitting and get cracking! But probably won't get too much in. I'm going to have to turn in early -- tomorrow we are all back to work, and I'm plenty tired still.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To Do List

I have a few things to do. Just a few.


  • Norbert's school play -- two performances.
  • Clean the school kitchen and unload first load of equipment and ingredients.
  • Wash and dry kitchen utensils.
  • Make final lists for market and greengrocer.
  • Go to Target and pick up game for Norbert's class fundraiser.

  • Work. 8 hours. Or maybe more.
  • Phone in final orders to market and greengrocer.
  • Check linens for Friday night dinner for our chavurah and our of town guests.
  • Arrange for someone to pick up food for Friday dinner.
  • While I'm at it, see if I can find someone to pick up the two cakes from Costco on Friday.
  • Photocopy program for the bar mitzvah.

  • Go to Costco. Buy 35 pounds of lox. And 5 crates of clementine oranges. Take to synagogue to refrigerate. Pick up the rest of the stuff we need from Costco.
  • Pick up Decaf at Trader Joe's. (The darker roast, the better.)
  • Buy soda for Friday night.
  • Fold 250 napkins.
  • Pick up orders from the restaurant supply company and the wholesale grocer. Unload at the school kitchen after noon.
  • 8:30 am to 8:30 p.m. -- cooking at the school kitchen. And cleaning up. And labeling everything.
  • Buy 4 mylar (NOT latex) balloons for the kid tables.
  • 5:30 a.m. -- make 2 large batches of challah dough.
  • 8:00 am -- set up 25 round tables and 8 buffet tables. Set up 250 chairs. Put on table linens. Set out the table centerpieces. Put the napkins around. Put the balloons on the kid tables. Carry food over from school. Put wine and soda to chill.
  • 11:30 am -- set up 9 round tables and 90 chairs at site for the Friday night service and dinner. Put the linens around, plates, glasses, and drinks in place.
  • 2:00 p.m. -- back home to bake challah. Bathe. Maybe nap. (Yeah. Right.)
  • 5:30 -- Dress and to the site for service and dinner. Give instructions to the server helping with serving and cleanup.
  • 6:30 -- Relax. Shabbat begins. Singing. Praying. Kvelling. Eating. Singing. Laughing.
  • 10:00 -- cleanup. Load up the car. Go home. Go to bed.

  • 9:00 -- arrive at synagogue. Check with catering company responsible for service.
  • 9:30 -- our boy becomes a man.
  • 12:00 -- lunch
  • 1:00 -- games for the kids. The JCC will be open for free time.
  • 4:00 -- snacks. Then home.
  • 7:30 -- leftovers at our house. Family and friends hang out. No pressure.
  • 11:00 -- I throw family and friends out. To bed. To sleep, perchance to dream.

  • Noon -- Boy/Girl Party. 7th & 8th graders only. One other parent there to protect us from things going all Lord of the Flies.
  • 4:00 -- party over. Repeating the sleep thing.

I don't care if your brother's mother's sister's hairdresser has free backstage passes to Sarah Palin being tarred and feathered by Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow -- don't call me. The phone will be off. I won't be reading my e-mail. I won't be returning messages. I will not be answering the bell. If awake, I expect I will be sitting on the edge of my bed, rocking back and forth, muttering "Oh my dog. Oh my dog. Oh my dog. Oh my dog. Oh my dog. "

Tuesday through Friday Noon: Work

Friday Noon: Leaving for Shell Cottage!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Off the Needles ... err...Boards

I finished this ages and ages ago as a gift for Norbert's bar mitzvah tutor. But -- in classic ME fashion -- waited until the last minute to block it and give it to her.

The Candle Flame shawl knit using Cascade's Alpaca Lace in Flax Heather. The recipient loved it and wore it the night we gave it to an opening at her husband's theater. Many compliments were received. I was pleased.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Crawling. Through. A. Bog. Slowly.

I am not certain I will ever finish the last 17 rows of the Cathedral Window shawl. 1154 stitches per row of lace takes for blooming ever. I'm a little bit concerned that if I don't start knitting faster, the shawl is going to grow moss on its North side!

And then I think about the 1154 rows of edging that need to be knit on...and I spit up in the back of my mouth just a little bit. 1154 rows. Oop. There it goes again.

Let's face it. I'm not going to get much knitting done in the next two weeks. Until the bar mitzvah is over, I doubt I get more than a few stitches a day in before panic or
sleep overtakes me. And I may need a few days off afterward to recover.

If I want to enter this shawl in the Illinois State Fair, I will need
to have it finished, blocked, and in federal express by July 1. And there are 121 days between March 1 and July 1. 30,612 stitches (including bind off) will need to be knit in those 121 days. So I will need to knit 253 stitches each and every day from March 1. And more, if I can, because I expect blocking will be challenging. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Nervous? Who? Me?

In a comment, Sarah asked if I was nervous.

Why would I be nervous? Because in 16 days I am responsible for three events -- every one larger than our entire wedding party? Naw. because I have 350 pounds of linens to launder and fold before that? Nope. Don't be silly. Because my son has decided that THIS is the best time to start acting like a teenager? Pshaw! Because I haven't made the shopping list for the lunch for 250 that I will need to cook in two weeks? Nuh-uh. Because my father-in-law isn't coming for the dinner Friday night because his harridan of a wife doesn't want him to spend $89 on a hotel room and will, instead, drive 3 hours from home the morning of the bar mitzvah, attend, grab a bite at the luncheon and immediately drive home because -- wait for it -- the dog will be in the car? Nope. Not bothering me in the least. That there will be 40 kids in the synagogue running wild until sundown after the bar mitzvah? I won't blink. That my mother-in-law will be here?

Oh, shit.

Shoot. Me. Now.