Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Catching Up and Saying Hi!

HI!!!!!!!!! Wow! Life has been super busy! School started and we are getting ready for the farm to open. Also, two little baby alpacas were born last weekend! Healthy and easy so my mom is super happy.

So here is a snapshot of my last week....

Spent a fun evening on the water with Liz and Paige, sipped some wine and enjoyed a delicious dinner made by Liz. YUM! She's such a good cook. It's always a good time when we can spend some time with our buddy Paige. She's the best.

Fall baseball is in full swing. Pretty sunset after practice on Friday night.

My son that's in college sends me a selfie of him and his buddy every Friday night. I don't know why they do it, but I love it. So I sent one back....knitting on the couch. Shocker! I'm pretty sure we were both having fun doing our thing. 

The weather was chilly on Saturday morning! I loved it. Reminded me of Rhinebeck. Then of course I got sad about no Rhinebeck....this whole Covid thing STINKS!!!!!!!!!!

I started knitting a new sweater. Basically because I was sad about no Rhinebeck!

I went stash diving and casted on a super simple pullover with stripes. I'm using the Tin Can Knits "Flax" sweater pattern as a blueprint. And of course I'm cuddled up under my newest quilt. Time to make a new one. Next one will be for my son, Garrett. Although Chase is begging for his own...we'll see!

It's so rare that I put makeup on these days! I often forget to look in the mirror! My husband always asks me to send him selfies and this was one of them...just after leaving Walmart to get a few things. 

NEW BABY!!!!!! This little dude is "Top Shelf" aka Tito!
Look at my mom and dad in the back. I love it.

The farm opens this weekend and we thought it was a good time to pick the pumpkins so we can sell them. All hands were on deck to cut the stems and haul them out! 

This is just a sampling. We still have the GIANT ones we have to get out of the field.

Liz and I hadn't recorded a podcast for 3 months! How time flies! So we had some fun Saturday at 4:00 and recorded our new episode: Episode 51, Cheers to Being Happy! You can find it here.

Then I spent some time on the porch with Chase to edit the podcast and get it ready to upload.

It was a beautiful night. Crisp fall favorite!!!!!!!!

Sunday morning, this little girl made her entrance!!! Her name is Arrow Acres Venus. Isn't she beautiful?

She's doing great and I'm happy for my parents. They had a really rough spring so two easy peasy baby deliveries this fall was just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday is always all about football in my house! We watched the Steelers game and they would show aerial views throughout the game. I still can't believe my son lives there. He's so happy. He texted me that he was walking down the street, listening to the "Steelers" song and he felt like he was living in a dream. He's loving every second. He's working so hard and is exhausted from school work. I miss him so much but I love that he's doing so well and loving it. Can't ask for more as a mom.

And of course...a cheers and nice glass of wine to end the weekend.

And can't leave out my little old man....Jeter is almost 15 and whenever I leave my knitting on the couch he jumps right up and lays next to it. We think he's dealing with doggie dementia and it's so sad to watch. 

My baby girls are getting big! They are 2 1/2 months old. They're doing great :)

And one more selfie that Chase wanted to send his big brother at college. He's missing his big bro so much. We all are but I think Chase misses him the most. He wanted to set a place for him at the table the other night for dinner. He's wishing him home. I told him Thanksgiving will be here before he knows it.


That's it for now! I hope everyone is doing well and you're all healthy.

Cheers, friends!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Our first "normal day" in six months

 The alarm went off this morning to start our first "normal day" in six months. That's right...Chase was going back to school today! And I was going to my office for a few hours. My middle guy was virtual, so not "totally normal" yet for him. He goes to school tomorrow.

It felt really good to get up and get ready to GO SOMEWHERE! Chase was a nervous wreck. He didn't settle until we pulled in to school. I think seeing all the kids and his principal helped. Seeing all the kids in masks wasn't as hard as I thought it would be for me. I guess we're used to everyone being covered now. His report when I picked him up was, "I thought it was going to be boring but it was fun." I don't know what he was expecting! I guess no fun and just serious sitting 6 feet apart in masks? Thankfully the teachers made it fun and I think he'll have a great year. He needed this. 

Liz and I took the little boys for some ice cream to celebrate a great day. It felt so good to do normal things.... Let's pray it stays this way.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September Yarn Along

After a whole summer of not-so-great books...I read two good ones in a row!

The first book, This is How it Always Is, was recommended to me by our friend's daughter. A few years ago, her brother opened up to the family to let them know he has always identified as a girl. With their love and support, he has been transitioning to a female. This book takes a look at what a child and their family go through during this time. It was eye-opening and a very good read. I highly recommend it!

I read this while knitting some simple socks. Knitted with Paton's sock yarn and some left-over green, I made a quick pair of socks for fall. Remember when I said I hated knitting socks??!! 

I have been listening to a podcast called, From the Front Porch, for a few months now. The owner of a book shop in Georgia hosts this podcast and recommends books that she has read over the month. 
When she mentioned Musical Chairs, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. It was a fun read. Had a nice mix of family drama, friendships and some romance. I loved it.

I also knit a hat to sell in the Coop. Using Sierra Yarn, I made the On the C Train hat.
It was a really easy knit especially with the thicker yarn. It's cute "slouchy" hat and I think it should sell right away in the farm store. I'm going to make a few more in neutral colors because I think a guy would look good in it too.


I have a new book on hold for me at the library. It's a Kristin Hannah of my favorite authors.

Happy making everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I miss band

Many of you know that I play flute in a community band. We practice every Tuesday night and have the summers off. Well, COVID put a grinding halt on that! I miss it. I don't think I realized how much until today. I woke up this morning and my first thought was, it's Tuesday...I have band :). Quickly I was snapped back to reality. Our fall season is cancelled. I am missing that outlet where I go and play for two hours. Even when I'm exhausted after a full day of work and being a mom, I would let every worry and thought go right out of my head and just play music. It's truly the only time that I don't think about anything else. I only concentrate on the notes in front of me. I always walk out happy and full of energy. We're a great group and I miss sitting with them all and playing music together.

Here is a story I wrote before we played Carnegie Hall in 2017...

 My story is an interesting one...a story about timing, unfulfilled desire and a passion for music. I've learned that everything happens when the time is right...and when you’re really ready for it, but least expect it, it will come.
As a child, I was surrounded by music. Music of all kinds. My mom sang in the church choir, was a member of the hand bell choir and enjoyed playing the organ as well. Many of my cousins played instruments and sang, and some even grew up to teach music. My first love was in fourth grade when I picked up the flute, and never wanted to put it down! I loved it from the start and actually looked forward to practicing. As my sister Liz likes to remind me, she thought I practiced too much! Practice, practice, practice...
The more I practiced, the better I played. I enjoyed playing all through middle school, and although I was selected for first chair in high school, I became so involved in sports, I found that I didn't have time for both. Sports won and my flute took a back seat. I put it away in the closet. For twenty years...

I always wanted to play music again, but life got a bit busy. My husband and I were raising three little boys while I was working as a freelance graphic designer and juggling all the responsibilities of a young family and home. Playing in a band seemed like a far off dream, but always in the back of my mind. I wasn't even sure if I would remember how to play! There are only so many hours in a day, and the time just wasn't right, but the ache to play kept tugging at me and the feeling wasn't going away.
My cousin, Michael performed in local theater when he was younger, but when he became an elementary school music teacher, he too, had little time to pursue his love of acting. After 20 years of being off-stage, he amazed us all and joined the cast of Les Miserables at the Axelrod Performance Center in Deal, NJ in November of 2013. I attended the performance and as I listened to the beautiful sounds coming from the pit band, I was once again inspired to play my flute. I thought to myself, "If he can perform after a 20 year break, so can I". But where? I had no idea how to make this happen, but I knew I had to figure it out. It's funny how life works out.
The next day, I was enjoying the Les Miserables soundtrack as I was working in the gift shop on my family's alpaca farm. I was still so inspired by my cousin’s performance the night before, and I just kept thinking that I needed to play the flute again. As the Les Mis music played softly in the background, a nice woman came in with her mother. She commented on the music, saying how much she loved Les Mis and that she played selections from the musical with her band the year before. My mind started racing.
I thought, "What did she just say??!!" I jumped up and said, "You're in a band? I used to play the flute and I want to play again!"
She said, "I play the flute too! I am a member of the Greater Shore Concert Band. Have you heard of us? The director is Jim Bast."
"Jim Bast?! He was my middle school director and I loved playing for him!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing! This was too good to be true.
This woman, who fortuitously just walked into my life, said that I could probably join if I wanted because a member of the flute section had just moved away. She encouraged me to get out my flute, dust it off, practice a bit and come to a rehearsal. We chatted for a while, exchanged contact information and when she and her mom left, I was SO excited! My heart was racing!
I wondered, "Could I really play again?"
"Would I remember how to play?!"
"Where IS my flute?!"
Although I hadn't played in almost 20 years, I knew it was still at my parent’s house. I wasted no time at all. I raced to their house, found it in the closet, took out some sheet music and I played… I played like I had never stopped. It felt as if I had played only yesterday. I was thrilled that I remembered everything...

That woman, Jeanne Fasano, who came into my life at the perfect time has become my friend and fellow musician. Each Tuesday, we drive to rehearsal together, we sit next to each other and play beautiful music with the band. As the band publicist, she has even asked me to share my graphic art talents as we prepare for the band's 50th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall this coming Spring. Jim Bast, my former band director is once again my band director, and just like in middle school, he still threatens to "sit on us" if we mess up. I guess we're pretty good because he has yet to do it!
I just wanted to play my flute again. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be performing on the stage of Carnegie Hall. So, this is all icing on the cake and truly a dream come true. I am thankful for my cousin getting back on the stage, inspiring me to pursue my passion for music, and the following day when a stranger walked into my life, giving me the opportunity I had dreamed of for so long. It's really true: everything happens when the time is right...and when you’re really ready for it, but least expect it, it will come.

(This is me and Jeanne...where we first met and the rest is history)

(Carnegie Hall performance)

A typical Tuesday night rehearsal...

(I miss these two!!!!! Luke on bassoon and Stephanie on Bass Clarinet. They're so talented)

I know we will be back together some day. I'm so ready!