Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Who needs therapy when you have hookers? October 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:39 pm
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I keep not wanting to go to crochet group and then go knowing that I would regret not going if I didn’t.  Seriously, they are my prozac.  I feel depression trying to edge in on me and I know that I need “my people” now more than usual, but it also makes me just want to curl-up in bed with the pets.  I have very little structure in my life of late and I know that I need that.  My Thursday night group has been the most structured thing around for a while now.  Who needs therapy when you have hookers? They say that laughing is a natural way to avoid going on happy drugs and I totally agree.  If more people had a once a week laugh fest there would be some drug executives saying things like, “we don’t need to develop another depression medication, let’s cure cancer/lupus/MS!  I think that, in many ways, depression is a disease that has flourished in this country because we have all become so disconnected from other people.  The years that were the worst for me were the ones that I would go to work, go to the grocery store and then go home.  I could go for days without having an interaction with another person other than those at work. Humans are social animals which is also the reason that I think that the internet is so popular, it is a close substitute for actually being around other people.

This was all a very long winded way of saying that I had a lot of fun as usual.

I dropped the hubby off at the airport right before group.  That is never fun and was worse than usual for some reason today.  He is on his way to Italy for a truffle festival with some friends of his, one of which is a native Italian.  It is so hard to be him right now….

This morning, while he was working from home, I cuddled-up to him and promptly fell asleep.  He took pictures…

 

In this picture, leg of hubby (in plaid), Jiji and Sarah (Both asleep)

In this picture, leg of hubby (in plaid), Jiji and Sarah (Both asleep)

 

Oh my God we are so CUTE!

Oh my God we are so CUTE!

They were taken with a camera phone, but turned out pretty well nevertheless.  We were like that for about an hour or so.  His leg was COMPLETELY asleep by the time that we awoke.  Still, he wasn’t complaining….

He also sent me a picture of, what looks like some crazy yarn sculpture.  He was in new airport “lounges” so who knows where he saw this.  I will update if I find out anything more about it (he is somewhere over the Atlantic as I write this so I can’t just ring him up and ask).

 

Self-striping yarn dude.

Self-striping yarn dude.

And, last but not least, I bought a four gallon Ball jar tonight.  Seriously.  Four gallons!  It’s fucking huge! It is about 20 inches tall.  I have no idea what I will put in it but it is seriously cool.  Maybe I will put yarn?  Anyway, had to share….

 

MCO-ORD, ORD-MCO October 29, 2008

This is what my weekend was about:

 

MH Rockin the toys

MH Rockin the toys

 

Joel toasting!

Joel rockin' the toast!

 

 

 

The table

The table

 

It was all about babies and friends getting married and drinking and eating.

 

Wedding antics

Wedding antics

 

This is why I love to visit Chicago.

It holds most of those nearest and dearest to me.

 

Keith and Riad "cuddling"

Keith and Riad "cuddling"

 

Sarah & Dan & Riad

Sarah & Dan & Riad

 

Sarah and Keith

Sarah and Keith

 

The Gang

The Gang

Even the newest ones are fun!

 

What a hunka-hunka man!

What a hunka-hunka man!

MH and I had a turn around the dance floor to some rockin Prince.  As usual, Keith was able to get me out there as well for a little bit.  Heck!  My hubby even danced with me for a little bit!

We also went to the infamous Sonny Farm’s Fall Festival the next day that Dan’s family has been holding since the early 80’s.  The weather wasn’t great, in fact it was so windy that we feared some trees may come crashing down on us.  But we had some tasty fresh roasted sweet corn and all manner of fried foods (cheese sticks, green beans and sweet potatoes).  I even got to sit on the “Love Log”.

 

Sarah meets her match!

Sarah meets her match!

Mostly it was about hanging out with friends, maybe a little shopping, maybe a little Jimmy Johns, you know how it is.  Not a lot of picture worthy stuff to speak of but it was a seriously restorative time for my spirit.  Being around folks who knew me when I was a decade younger (and probably 40 pounds lighter [and so were they on both counts!]) always makes me feel younger for some reason.  I am enormously  glad that I got to attend this wedding now before I move.  For the last several years, I have flown to Chicago for my birthday to hang-out with the gang.  It was always my birthday present to myself (and a reminder of why it sucks to live in the Midwest.  My birthday is at the end of January, you do the math!).  This year I will probably not be able to do that since I will be elbow deep in moving to the UK.  So it was good that I got to see everyone this time around.

Let’s see, what have we done since?  Well, we got back on Monday night and y’all know what that means now don’t you?!?!?!  Margaritias!  So we drove straight there from the airport and got us some chow.  

Last night we went to our anniversary restaurant, Silvano’s,  to celebrate 3 years together.  It was a day early, but tonight we are having dinner with some friends so we figured it would be ok….

Mostly we have been enjoying being home with our furry family together.

I leave you with a picture of the Swedish yarn that my most amazing husband brought back from the grocery store for me.

 

Swedish Yarn

Swedish Yarn

Honey, I am so glad that we are together.  Happy Anniversary (this doesn’t get you out of mowing the lawn however…….)

 

Our Wedding

Our Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swedish anyone? October 23, 2008

So, I am finally able to show you a picture of one of the super secret projects that I have been working on for a while.

Blanket on Cal King bed

Blanket on Cal King bed

 

This is on a Cal. King sized bed.  It is about 100″X100″.  It made me really hot working on it towards the end (imagine, having that ENTIRE THING on your lap.  In July.  In Florida.).  I made it for my friend Cesar’s 50th birthday.  We celebrated last night (even though his actual birthday was over the weekend) with dinner and presents.  He also got a beautiful Arts and Crafts rocking chair from his wife Pam.  So we were joking that he was set now that he had his blanket and his rocking chair.

An "old man" with his rocker and blanket

An "old man" with his rocker and blanket

 

It was a fun night and it was good to see everybody that was there again.  

Last night Tech Support started off a conversation with, “You will never believe what I found in the grocery store here.”  I should, perhaps explain, that the Hubby is currently in Sweden for work, so that start to a conversation could lead in a lot of different directions.  So I made a few guesses and of course I didn’t guess correctly.  So finally he spills.  He found YARN in the grocery store.  Yep, YARN.  I think that I want to move to Sweden.  I told him that he had to get a picture of this and last night he obliged.

 

Yarn in the Swedish Grocery Store

Yarn in the Swedish Grocery Store

It looks as though the bread section is just down the aisle from it.  How cool is that?  I got very excited over the though of being able to buy your groceries and your yarn in the same store.  This is why the Swedes are the bomb.  Seriously. 

When I got back from the wool spectacular in New York, I had a lot of mail waiting for me at my little post office.  One of the items was a clear cover for my Macbook (Finally!).  I also got some Wedgewood china that I bought on ebay a little bit before I left.  Let me explain.  Wedgewood had a pattern from 1997 until around 2002 I think called Sarah’s Garden.  Hello!  I am Sarah and I am a horticulturalist.  PERFECT!  Of course, it was discontinued before I got married, but I already had some pieces and I got a few from the wedding and I have been hunting it on ebay ever since.  Well, it’s been a good hunting season!

I got a lasagna pan.

A set of nesting serving bowls

and 8 of these bread and butter plates from 2 different sellers.

I am guessing that somebody got divorced as there was a pretty complete set up for auction and because of that the prices stayed pretty low.

Now I am preparing mentally and packingly for the next trip tomorrow.  It feels as though I just got home!

 

Round-up from Rhinebeck October 22, 2008

So, I thought that I would recap my goals and see how well I did with them….

 

1.) Will not spend more money than have.  Did ok on this one.  I worked pretty much as a cash only thing so I couldn’t spend more than I had.

2.) Will not get drunk and diss and/or start fights with knitters at the Ravelry party.  I ended-up not drinking at all and finding a very nice mother/daughter team that both knit and crocheted to talk to.  So, no fights started (I might have ruined my hybrid mittens!).

3.) Will try not to run around screaming, “Ooo! Ooo! Look at that! Ooo! Look at THAT! Ooo!”. Utterly failed here.

4.) Will not roll naked in the Alpaca yarn and/or on the poor alpaca.  Too damn cold.  Still, wanted to pack one of the cute alpacas in my suitcase.

5.) Will try to actually take pictures.  I think that I did pretty good for me.

6.) Will not bring home a sheep. So, no sheep but 3 fleeces?  This one will have to be called by the judges….

7.)  Will not buy more yarn than can pack.  Didn’t buy ANY yarn, just fibers, so a resounding success on this one!

8.) Will try to not freak the Muggle in-laws out.  Ok, not so good on this one.  When their dogs were trying to marry my suitcases and break into the guest bedroom, I think that it freaked them out a little.

9.) Try to sweet talk someone into teaching/showing me how to spin with a drop spindle.  Ok, so I got to see lots of people and listen to lots of demonstrations on how this was done, so I think that I get it.  At least the concept of it…

 

 

I also realized that I forgot to post a picture of the fun bumper stickers that I got while I was up there.

 

Good for freaking out the muggles

Good for freaking out the muggles

From top to bottom: Fiberho, Flock on!, My Other Vehicle is a Spinning Wheel, The Surgeon General has determined that fiber is good for your health…Got Yarn?, Make Gloves Not War, and Agriculture Keeps New Jersey Green.

One of the things that I forgot to write about was that on day one I literally bumped into the Yarn Harlot while walking around looking at yarns.  It was hard not to bump into people, it was ass to elbow pretty much everywhere that day.  Anyway, she bumped into me with my back turned and said excuse me and I recognized her from her voice!  (That’s what you get for making an audio book I think!)  I turn around and there she is talking about how she always gets the same color (so true) to Juno.  I had to quickly walk away so that I could start laughing like a maniac.  I mean, I got to see her in her natural environment!  I’m sure that she didn’t hear the hysterical laughing or she would have had security called on me at the book signing.

So now I am back to normal life.  Cleaning-out the cat litters, doing laundry and buying groceries before the next round of flights (once again to O’Hell airport).  Luckily the flights are both non-stops, so hopefully it will be pretty straight forward.  This is for (hopefully) the last wedding of the year.  If anyone else wants to get married, they just need to wait until, oh, I don’t know…….June.

 

Goodies! October 21, 2008

 

So, I am now going to show-and-tell so to speak.  So this will probably be another pretty picture heavy post.  If you have slow Internet connection, I apologize in advance.  This will take a while…..

 

 

So, first off, I promised pictures of my glove/mitten hybrid.  They are 100% alpaca and were hand knitted (by whom, I don’t know).  They were a life saver both days and especially during the Ravelry party.

 

Hybrid with fingers exposed, palm towards camera

Hybrid with fingers exposed, palm towards camera

 

Fingers covered

Fingers covered

 

Back of hand

Back of hand

I also definitely won the “weird neighbor of the year” (as if I didn’t have nailed already, I may be working on weird neighbor of the decade now:-)) by taking all of my Rhinebeck goodies out on the front lawn and taking pictures of them.  Imagine if you were a muggle and see your neighbor pulling these bags of what looks like dead animals out on her front lawn and taking pictures of it.  I got some looks….

 

Three fucking bags full!

Three fucking bags full!

 

Closer view of fleece

Closer view of fleece

 

Chico's Fleece!

Chico's Fleece!

There are also a bunch of rovings and batts…

 

Do you think that the fall colors inspired me at all?

Do you think that the fall colors inspired me at all?

 

Some other pretty colors

Some other pretty colors

There is also the fun goodies from the Ravelry party.

 

The back of the goodie bag and some of the goodies.

The back of the goodie bag and some of the goodies.

In the bag was a Ravelry sticker, a “Got Bob?” button, a skein of yarn and a lot of fun coupons (I didn’t take pictures of those…..). There were people walking around handing out the small samples of Soak, a washing liquid for your fine fibered items as well as the Della Q project bags (pretty damn good swag if you ask me!).

 

" Ravelry button.

I also got my own "Hello my name is:" button from Ravelry.

 

The sock yarn that I won at the party

The sock yarn that I won at the party

 The sock yarn is from Classic Elite Yarns and it is called Summer Sox in the colorway Huckleberry  I think that it is going to be the straw that pushes me over the edge into learning how to knit socks!

 

The yarn that was in the goodie bag.

The yarn that was in the goodie bag.

 

 

 

Here are some of the books that I got.  I didn’t take a picture of the Yarn Harlot book as, well, we’ve gone over that one…..

 

Signed books

Signed books

 

The bag that I got with the books

The bag that I got with the books

 

My

My "learning" drop spindle

 This hook case was one of the few crochet-centric items that I found at Rhinebeck.  Really, it was knitting or weaving for most everything.  Oh, and felting.  Can’t forget felting.  Anyway, this lovely, handmade case is from Crippen Works.  She works in fabric remnants and vintage buttons.  Very cool stuff. I highly suggest checking out her stuff.  

 

My sexy new hook case

My sexy new hook case

I’m sure that you have probably noticed that I didn’t buy any yarn at all while I was there.  I certainly looked at a lot of yarns.  A LOT of yarns.  But, I don’t have a whole lot of chances to buy fiber, and I have a lot of chances to buy yarn, so I bought fibers.  Part of the reason that I found myself not buying yarns was that there were just too many choices.  I know that that may sound funny, but how often have you been stymied by all the choices standing in front of say, salad dressings, in the grocery store.  Multiply that feeling by , oh, say, 10,000 and you’ve got the Rhinebeck yarn selection.  I mean, I bought 4 fleeces for God’s sake!  Hopefully that will equal a LOT of yarn:-)

In non-Rhinebeck news…  I saw a pair of Bald Eagles today, as well as a whole passel of kites flying over where I was working.  They all flew low enough for me to be able to ID them.  I’ve seen Bald Eagles before, but it is always a thrill to see our national bird.  They are really beautiful and these two were no exception.

Also, this is not a scientific thing by any means, but the early voting here in Florida is going gangbusters.  I have been to the local library two days in a row and it was bedlam both days so far.  People were lined-up around the building.  I am kinda nervous about how bad it will be on the actual day.  Luckily, I live about a block from my polling station, so I usually make it into a walk for Weezy.  The folks at the polling station all love giving her attention and she loves receiving it too!

I will finish this post with some pictures that I took while driving up to Rhinebeck and walking around on Sunday.  DO NOT DO THIS IT IS DANGEROUS!!!!!!  Enjoy!

 

Rhinebeck: Day Two

I’m sitting here in the Newark airport writing this.  It is 9 o’clock Monday morning, always a sober slap of reality, more so today more than usual.  I am not used to rush hour traffic going into New York City.  Hell, I’m not used to rush hour traffic at all!  So getting here was more than a little stressful for me, but my trusty GPS got me here with a minimum of fuss.  Of course I forgot to put gas in the rental before I returned it, but that even turned out to not be that bad as it only ended-up being a little more than it would have been if I filled it up myself.

I’m transferring the pictures from yesterday as I am typing so I end-up with these corners of pictures behind the area where I’m typing.  I am itching to look at them all. I have the 2 hand stamps from the festival still on my right hand.  You can’t read then so it sorta looks like I may have been in the city all weekend clubbing (except for the fact that I am a 30 year-old woman wearing all Land’s End and Target.  I’m pretty sure that clubbing hipsters don’t wear Land’s End corduroy jackets!)


Their boy dog was positively making-out with one of the bags.  There are 2 fleece and a pair of shoes in one of the bags and 2 fleece, a bunch of  bags of rovings and batts , all of my clothes, all of the books (I’m ruing that decision bigtime right about now!) and all of the goodies and stuff that I got.  So, yesterday, I gave you a little teaser about how I suddenly had another fleece in the stable so to speak.  Late on Saturday I found an alpaca fleece that I absolutely fell in love with.  It was a “low graded” one, it got a “C”.  The alpaca fleeces are judged a little differently than the sheep fleeces.  The sheep either get a blue sticker (really good fleece) or a red sticker (a perfectly acceptable fleece but it has some fault somewhere and there would be notes as to the fault) or, I think, no sticker.  All of the fleeces that I bought were blues, though none of them had earned ribbons (that’s a blue that is the top of it’s class).  So the alpacas are graded A, B, C, just like in (my) school.  So, like I said, this was a “C” grade.  So I asked one of the people manning the tent why.  She explained to me about the grading and how that wasn’t a terribly good alpaca fleece because it didn’t have a lot of definition and crimp and, well, all the stuff that you look for in a sheep’s fleece.  She admitted to me that the fleece was one of hers, and I really appreciated her honesty in disclosure.  But I was totally enamored with the color (it is  silver) and the price and when I asked her if it would be appropriate for blending (I was imagining it with the grey sheep’s fleece that I had already gotten that day) she said that it would.  Since it was running late (I had a party to get to after all!) and I had not enough cash on hand to get it, I said that I would get it if it was still there when I got to it on Sunday.

 

This is the alpaca sale was. (Ummmm...alpaca.)

This is the alpaca sale was. (Ummmm...alpaca.)

The mohair sale next to it.

The mohair sale next to it.

 

 

It was still there.

I now own Chico’s former covering (Chico is the alpaca, not the lady).

It was still there even though I didn’t get to get to it until well after they had opened because I was busy making a fool of myself in front of the Yarn Harlot.  Yep, I got my book signed by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee herself!  And I have the picture to prove it!

Me with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!

Me with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!Proof that I don't just sign them myself

Me doing a "Sarah" and giving her...wait for it...VIOLETS!  (I am such a dork!!!)

Me doing a total "Sarah" and giving her....wait for it...VIOLETS! (I am SUCH a DORK!)

 

 

I also got a book signed by Doris Chan the author of Everyday Crochet and Amazing Crochet Lace.  She was super nice and a pleasure to talk to.

Sarah Jane and Doris Chan!

Sarah Jane and Doris Chan! Crocheters representing!

 

 

I also got signed books from Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker the author and photographer of Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn (which is an absolutely beautiful book and I would highly suggest it as a Christmas or birthday gift to any fiber enthusiast in your life) as well as Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant.  I spent a very fast $100 in the book both in the morning;-)  But it was very cool to meet these people face to face and well worth it.  I like to support independent bookstores wherever I can and this was obviously a family run operation (the kids were manning the cash registers!) and the owners were so very accomidating and very, very nice. 

Just an aside, I almost forgot to mention that I also got a copy of “It Itches” signed by the author and artist himself, Franklin Habit (check out his blog if you haven’t, some very funny stuff….) yesterday.  It was total happenstance (even though I knew he was going to be there [hey, it was pretty overwhelming, give me a break already!]).  Anyway, the book is super cute and would make a really great gift for any fiber enthusiast in your life (Christmas is coming…..)

Then I went through all of the barns and buildings again at a much more leisurely pace.  There were not nearly as many people there so the booths were much easier to look around in and talk to the owners of.  I took a lot of pictures of the various booths just so everyone could get an idea of what it was like.  However, there is no way that I could take pictures of all of them as there were just way too many. 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got to watch part of an Alpaca show.  Alpaca and lamas seem to be pretty natural comedians.  It was fun to watch, but it was cold sitting still, so I kept moving.


I stumbled upon some sheep (go figure, right?!).


And even some goats.


Some were more friendly than others…..

Animals and wool weren’t the only things on display at the show.  There was also a photography contest.

There was also a fleece to shawl contest which is missed most of.  It is a team event where they take a washed fleece and spin it and then weave it into a shawl.  It is very amusing to watch.

There were also examples of peoples spinning as well as finished projects like sweaters and blankets being judged.

I also got to see an angora rabbit get sheared.  It was pretty crazy, it was so calm while it was going on, just sitting there on the ladies lap. 


Then I just wandered around for a while.  But I knew that I now had four fleeces to get into my suitcases at home as well as a bunch of books and other stuff and a 2-hour car ride in order to do it.  So I reluctantly packed-up my car and said good-bye to the gate guy who, at this point, didn’t require me to take my glove off to show my stamp when I would come back in (this is something akin to the salespeople at your favorite store knowing your name) and got into my rental and headed back South.  It was around 2:30.

My instincts in leaving early were good as traffic heading back towards the city was pretty bad in some parts.  I made it back to Flanders in time for dinner.  The dogs had been trying to get into my room all day and the father–in-law (who I had not seen the night before as he was already asleep when I got there) was a little baffled as to why!  When he saw the dogs reactions to the fleece, it all became abundantly clear!  They really wanted to do something to the alpaca fleece.  I took out a few locks to show him what I had and the dogs actually nipped him trying to get to them!

All in all, it was a really full and fun day.  I still have more pictures, so just be patient!

 

 

Doh. Tired and REALLY smell like sheep. October 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 9:44 pm

I am really tired and y’all are just going to have to wait until tomorrow night for more excitement from Rhinebeck!  I will tell you though, I took a TON of pictures.  You will thank me for keeping this one short as the next one will be long.  REALLY long.  I took over a hundred photos today, so I am so not kidding about it being long.  There are so many things that I want to share with y’all, but you are just going to have to wait.  I had less than 4 hours of sleep last night and I have driven a lot lately as well.  But, I will tell you, it looks as though all four, yes you read that right, four fleeces will fit into my two suitcases.  You will not find out where the fourth fleece came from until tomorrow, so stay tuned in!  I’m such a tease!!!