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Hello, Atlantic. September 5, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, Family, kidlet, photography.
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Good day today. Slept in, way in (like Michael and I having a silent contest of wills to see who will get up first while the two children entertain one another unsupervised in the next room – awesome), though the latter half of that was punctuated by various kid tending it was still nice and somewhat restful. We had a birthday party to attend for one of kidlet’s classmates so we went off to do that in the early afternoon and it went pretty well. We left around 3 pm and it was so nice outside that I proposed to Michael that we go on a little adventure – just get in the car and drive for a bit while (hopefully) Margaret got an afternoon nap rather than going home and trying in vain to get her to sleep while looking out the window at the pristine weather.

She did nap, thankfully, and we drove out to Bath where I showed kidlet Bath Iron Works. You can see a good deal of what is going on there from the road, we were able to look at a couple of ships in cross-section being worked on as well as all the cranes out over the water and a giant blue barge. He was very surprised at the size of it all, I guess one doesn’t really think about just how huge your normal everyday destroyer really is until you have to quantify its height including the dangly bit that’s below the water.

We drove over the bridge toward Woolwich, then turned down 127 toward Reid State Park. I haven’t been there since I was a kid, though we were close to there recently for Keith and Misty’s wedding in Georgetown. Beautiful drive down there. We got there around 4:30 which is perfect beach time for us, being combustible and all. The only bummer were there were A LOT of mosquitoes in any shady areas, which meant the bathhouse and the restrooms. Eugh.

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

We let the kids run around the beach and Mim decided throwing sand in the air was the best thing ever. She only ate a small amount and I pulled the stick out of my ass a little bit so it didn’t bother the hell out of me to see her getting so wet and sandy. They are at the beach, they’re supposed to be wet and sandy, I kept telling myself. Kidlet ended up getting himself drenched from the waist down. Oh well. At least I remembered their sandals. The nice thing about going to the beach is that there’s almost always a haze in the air which gets into your airway and cleans everything out – within minutes Mim’s nose was running like crazy and all of us were sneezing and sniffling, purging all the junk. It’s a nice perk along with the sand and the seaweed and stuff.

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

There was a little group of sand pipers dashing from the waves and then chasing them back out, searching the surf for food. They were really adorable and we were able to get pretty close to get a good look at them. There were also lots of tide pools to splash around in and some very cool driftwood structures people had built up on the beach. They looked like an ongoing community project, one of them was particularly large. The weather was sublime. I definitely, definitely have to bring Joy here the next time she comes to Maine. Spectacular. I tried to get some pictures of the waves splashing for her but wasn’t able to get too close with a daredevil toddler trying to swim to England.

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

I am so thankful that we live in a coastal state and that it’s easy enough to pick a road heading generally eastward and within an hour be looking at the Atlantic. I think we take it for granted a lot, so I try to prod us in that direction whenever I can. Just visiting for an hour or two always energizes me, the ocean is such a powerful thing, awe-inspiring and vast.

Not too many nice days like this left, the trees are already starting to turn so I know those days are numbered. Before we know it we’ll be ass-deep in snow again so we need to enjoy this while we can.

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

Reid State Park 09/05/2009

07/29/2009 July 29, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, kidlet, photography, spinning.
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More photos today. Forward momentum, slow but steady.

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things BFL

i make things BFL

I am really loving this yarn, it was an experiment. It involves mixing up a crapton of dye and was very fiddly but I think the results are worth it.

i make things worsted

i make things worsted


Kidlet was particularly handsome today so I made him submit to an impromptu shoot before I took him to camp.

I love this outfit – Jenn got him that shirt and I think it’s hysterical.

Kidlet

Cheesy fake smile.

Kidlet

Kidlet

I’ve never really converted my pictures to black and white before – it’s much, MUCH more forgiving. Why haven’t I done this sooner?!

“Look up. No, higher. Don’t tilt your chin up, just look up with your eyes.”

Kidlet

Kidlet

To try to get him to smile I asked him what would make him happy and he said, “Strawberries!” so I said to him, “Think about strawberries!”

Kidlet

Kidlet

He is truly his mother’s son.


Kidlet

Kidlet

God, I love that kid. More than life itself.

07/28/2009 July 28, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, spinning.
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I managed to take a few pictures today. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

I don’t have any names for these though.

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

I guess I’ll have to drag my motivation back here kicking and screaming.

Joy’s visit! July 7, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, food, spinning.
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It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Joy’s last full day here in Maine. Wahhh! We’ve had a great time even though we’ve only had about a day and a half of not-rain in the entire time she’s been here. Talk about a bummer. I really wanted to make it back to the beach again and do some quality sitting around on the deck around the chimnea but sadly it just isn’t to be. Next time.

Yesterday we did a whole lot of dyeing – we took advantage of the nice weather Monday afforded and the empty counter tops in my kitchen thanks to the ant invasion. Poor Joy – she’s had to deal with ants and all of my kitchen appliances sitting out on the floor in the extension while we battle them. I tried the greenish way of getting rid of them by putting Borax out for them to presumably eat and carry back to the nest, eradicating the whole mess of them, but after a week there were even more ants partying down on the counters than there were before so Michael bought some sort of highly toxic ant bait that resulted in scores of dead ants piled around them the next morning. Hmph, fine.

Joy just pointed out that in their zeal to escape the toxic poison, the ants actually crawled up into the Borax traps and expired there. What an insult.

Anyway. Dyeing. We scored a couple of bags of yarnz from the LYS, I guess I can say she’s my supplier now as she gives me a sweet discount if I buy in bulk. We also cracked open the 22# bump of Falkland I’ve had stashed for a couple of months awaiting Joy’s arrival. I’ve weighed out at least thirty 4-ounce bundles and the damned thing is still bigger than Margaret.

We set up a couple of kettles on the stove, a few crock pots and I have a lidded enamel turkey roasting pan that fits two skeins of yarn or four ounces of roving. We started a bit late around 3pm as I was anal retentive about setting everything up and in the next 3-4 hours dyed around 25 skeins of yarn and at least 10 bundles of roving. Honestly I’ve lost count. They were hanging outside on the clothes dryer, warming happily in the late day sunlight so we left them overnight figuring they could finish fluffing in the morning. Sadly we woke to find it pouring outside so we’re considering adding the descriptor “rinsed in pure Maine rainwater” when we list them to sell. My house is currently filled with hung up bits of wool dripping water all over the place. It’s sort of homey in a “crazy yarn lady” way.

For further confirmation that someday we will indeed take over the world, Joy and I discovered that we have very distinct and different methods of dyeing that yield unique results. It’s kind of cool – the stuff I prefer to do isn’t what she prefers to do and vice versa. It sure made it easier as we weren’t fighting over resources. She also brought her Cushing’s dyes with which I had very much fun. If we could accomplish what we did in just a few concentrated hours, I can’t even imagine what we could get done in a permanent dye studio 2-3 times a week for, say, five hours at a time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that invisible trans-US bridge from Montana to Maine.

I am tippy tapping away on Joy’s swanky laptop (of which I am covetous) while she sits beside me on the couch knitting a really giant bag. No, it’s really giant. Like I could fit both of my kids in it giant, with room for the cat. She’s going to felt it when she’s done knitting (it has to get to three FEET long, like whoa) and I feel bad for her washing machine. Maybe I’ll recommend she go to the laundromat.

Another yay fiber thing was finding some amazing waste roving at the fiber gallery – they had a huge trash bag full for 0.75 an ounce, I’m not sure what it is but it’s snow white and so soft. It’s from the Jagger mill so it’s not perfect like combed top, but I combined some of it with some colorful silk/cashmere mill waste and it spun up in a super soft, nubbly and wonderful yarn. So wonderful in fact that we went back today so I could buy three more pounds of the stuff. It was even cheaper with the volume discount.

I used the studio’s drum carder to card up a bunch of it – I had sat and hand carded probably about twenty batts last week and was tired of it. I really need a drum carder someday, talk about useful. Anyway I got a huge bag of the stuff for a song and I love it. I’ll have to see if it felts, I’m pretty sure it will.

After visiting the fiber gallery we headed back to Kennebunkport as we were on a mission to find Cushing’s. I had to call for directions as the rain started coming down so hard I couldn’t see the lines on the road. We did make it there and now I know exactly where it is so I can finagle a visit there when we bring the kids (“Oh look honey! Cushing’s just so happens to be right there! I’ll just be a minute.”).

We rang the doorbell and I wasn’t sure what to expect – it was housed in a gorgeous old farmhouse and barn in a very swanky part of town. The woman who answered the door, Jillian, was probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was so happy to help us find dye and talk about dye and show us the sample book and talk about dye some more, not to mention she called us “girls” which instantly make me like her because I’m shallow.

We bought dye, of course, and since we came to the studio she put my name in their files so I will now and forever receive the volume discount even if I’m just ordering one packet of dye. That totally rocks! While we were chatting Jillian said, “Hey! Let me get you some dye technique handouts!” and came back with a sheaf of paper covering eighteen different methods. We both stood there with our eyes wide and thanked her. I practically clicked my heels together. I also wanted to try rug hooking so I bought a very small kit and asked if I could have a different background color and she said, “Sure!” and swapped out the wool strips and cut me a new backing on the spot. Talk about customer service! This place could be very dangerous – less than an hour away and super nice. Definitely worth the trip, Joy and I couldn’t stop talking about it as we drove away.

By this point we were ready to gnaw off our own arms out of hunger so we drove up Route 1 and discovered there are a hell damn shit lot of antique stores on Route 1. And tires. And dentists. And storage facilities. DO THESE PEOPLE NOT EAT?! We nearly stopped at a “saloon” (no shit, it was really called a saloon) until we saw a creepy middle aged gentleman leaning out of the open porch in the pouring rain staring at us. Joy held her arms out in front of her with her hands splayed open and said, “No!” Then we saw the attached seedy motel and the signs “no burnouts – no loud acceleration” and decided that perhaps this wasn’t the kind of place for us.

We ended up in a shitty little joint in Biddeford that proudly advertised “PIZZA – SANDWICHES – FRIED FOODS” on the sign outside and discovered that chicken takes a long time to cook. Either that or the dude behind the counter just didn’t want to make chicken right now. I mean, come on, it’s a fucking fryolator for cripes’ sake. We ate something edible and drank something potable and used a bathroom that was nasty (no, not together) and then hit the road.

On the way back we stopped in Portland to pick up our mugs from the paint-your-own-ceramics place, which was cool, then came home. I got one of those befrigged culinary chain letter “Amish Friendship Bread” starters from Jenn and had finally gotten around to baking the bread this morning so we had some of that, which was good (the kids friggin loved it) and I sneaked a bag of starter into Joy’s stuff to take home, heh heh. She said later, “You know, I’ll take one of those starters if you want me to,” and I replied, “Yeah…I already put it in your stuff.” Hopefully it won’t explode all over her suitcase on the plane.

Whew. Well, that’s a lot of what we’ve been up to. I’m going to relinquish Joy’s laptop back to her and I’ll probably update again once I’m back to work on Thursday (wah) since I’ll have to turn my computer on again eventually.

The times, they are a-changin’. June 13, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, kidlet, photography.
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Last week the traveling carnival was in town, the kind assembled by drunk guys with screwdrivers and then crammed into a tiny parking lot. I’m always fascinated by them, the portability of such a huge and elaborate setup, the way they’re able to shoehorn everything into small and/or awkwardly-shaped spaces. There was a whole village of RVs parked out behind the carnival where we would see the carnies sitting out on their steps in the evenings before the show opened, entire families of them. I wonder what those children think of their nomadic existence?

I don’t trust the big rides, never go on em. The kids’ rides are kind of a joke, too, with safety restraints like pieces of rope loosely cinched around them. We put Michael and Katy on the motorcycle ride which just went round and round for three minutes – kidlet wasn’t too pleased to have some other strange kid seated right behind him. The strange kid looked perplexed, too. He spent most of the ride trying to look too cool to be riding it. Katy seemed mildly pleased at first, and by the end she was so psyched by the whole experience!

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Neither of the kids were interested in the bounce house – I can’t imagine why.

Bounce house

Mim was a little out of it, suffering from a food coma after a long day playing.

Zoney Mim

Zoney Mim

Would I ever get on this? Not on your life.

1000 Nachts

Kidlet turned down the uppy-downy-spinny plane ride, which had charming machine guns mounted on the front and back for each child.

1_DSC_0085

Kidlet watching the Zipper.

1_DSC_0093

1_DSC_0096

The last time I ever rode this ride was when I was eleven and had just ingested a large sausage sandwich piled high with fried peppers and onions. I spent the entire ride home staring miserably out the window thinking, “Don’t throw up, don’t throw up,” to myself over and over again.

Zipper

1_DSC_0105

It was a momentous day – kidlet is finally tall enough to go on rides by himself.

A momentous occasion!

1_DSC_0109

Lamest. Slide. Ever. Not a single rider was able to make it to the bottom without having to push themselves with their hands. This sucker needed a liberal application of Pledge, stat.

Lamest. Slide. Ever.

Leonard thought lying down would make things go faster. Wrong.

Lamest. Slide. Ever.

Bumper cars

Bumper cars

Fishin

I would love to have a job finding and replacing all the burned out light bulbs on carnival rides.

I am so excited that Joy will be here in two weeks. I can’t believe that the last time we saw her, Mim looked like this:

Teh Bebeh gets into stuff.

And now she looks like this:

Mim, cute yet incredulous

The times, they are a-changin’.

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