Friday, October 28, 2011

I know it's Friday but...

Happiness is....grass growning in the front yard! Our front yard just never really came in this year. It has never been a lush, lovely font yard, bu this year, I was mainly weeds. Then we had the water leak and half the front yard became mainly dirt, with the odd weed thrown in there. So, we had it dug up, leveled and reseeded. A little watering, a little sun, a little rain and last night I came home and could see what looked like a green haze on the lawn. Little bitty blades of grass! Now if only the snow that is predicted for tomorrow doesn't scare the new grass away!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rhinebeck Stash

 Top left, some baby blue and darker blue Shepherds Wool, worsted, destined to be herringbone mittens as a gift for someone - don't know who.  Top right and in the next picture down, some trio from Brooks Farm - just loved the color, don't know what it will be, but it will be for me.  Bottom left is some Skinny Bugga! from the Sanguine Gryphon.  I don't think the photos do the colors justice.  They are a lovely combination of yellow, red & orange.  I'm torn between making this into socks and making it into a shawl.  I fear the socks won't do right by the lovely colors as they may not be seen.  Next is some DK from Shelridge Farms which will become a sweater for our little niece.  Last, some Four Play from Brooks Farm which will be a sweater for me.  I'm torn between a couple of patterns, so I won't decide for a while, since I need to get going on some Christmas gift knitting.
 Must say, I think this is my favorite.  I have no idea what it will be yet, but it will be for me.  Likely a shawl or a cowl.  If I make a cowl, I'll probably have enough left for a hat too. 

The photo doesn't really show the colors of this yarn at their best.  I stopped at this booth, not realizing that it was the popular Sanguine Gryphon.  There were many, many beautiful yarns there.  I wish I had purchased more, but didn't have any real projects in mind for them, so resisted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why can't I see it that way?

A friend commented on my post about destination weddings, trying to get me to see it in a different way. How would I look back in this time when I was 70, which, by the way is now only 20 years away! Her point is an excellent one. Would we rather look back and be so happy we spent the money on something to do with the house (she used the garage as an example) or would we rather look back and remember that wonderful wedding. My first thought? I would be looking back pissed that the garage fell down because we couldn't afford to repair it because we spent so much money on the wedding. I wish I could see it the way Brenna suggests. Am I too practical a person? I am sentimental in so many ways, but when it comes to weighing money issues, I tend to be more practical. I think the fact that it is my in-laws weighs into my issues. If it was my sister, I think I would tell her straight out that she's asking an awful lot of us and that we may not go. But this is the in-laws, and though I know that my mother-in-law isn't over the moon about the whole thing, I think part of my resentment is that I feel constrained in voicing my thoughts on the matter. No one wants to be the difficult daughter or sister-in-law. I would like to be the carefree person who can just up and go and not worry about the long term. I wish I could be the person who says "20 years from now we are not going to wax on sentimental about repairing the garage." I wish I had the kind of money that we would not only have no qualms about spending the money to go, but could extend the trip and stay a week or more! No that would be the real solution! I should go buy a lotto ticket today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My thoughts on destination weddings

If you read along, you know A & I recently went to a destination wedding.  We had planned and budgeted to take a vacation this year to celebrate my 50th birthday, the idea was some all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico.  When this wedding in the Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive resort came up, it fit right into those plans and we went.  Would we have gone otherwise?  I don't know.  It's a lot of money.  We have another one coming up next year, this time in Italy.  If we both go, it will cost us between $3,000 and $4,000 to go - and that's for only four days!  I would say we don't have a lot of choose over whether or not to go - the groom is A's brother - but we may not be able to afford to both go.  We will do our best to insure that at least A goes, but for both of us - well - that's a big nut to swallow.  I think that weddings should be what the bride and groom want, but I hope they consider what all the implications are of that.  I'm hoping that, in making the decision to marry in Italy, they recognize that not many people will be able to attend.  I would say that it's a good bet that most of their cousins will be unable to attend and likely only one uncle.  That's okay - if they understand that.  As long as they don't get upset that people can't go - then that's fine, have the wedding the way you want.  It's your day.  I have to admit that I'm a bit resentful about this whole Italy wedding.  Neither the bride nor groom are Italian born.  I think it's just that it's pretty and different.  For us though - to spend that much money to go means other things won't be happening.  We are aggressively paying down our credit card debt and I don't want to change that.  We need new windows for the house.  We need to upgrade the service.  We just had a water leak in the pipe in the front yard that was partially insured, but still cost us $1,200 to fix.  Our garage needs to be rebuilt, we need to redo the bathroom.  There are a lot of things that $3-4k could go towards.  And we wouldn't even be getting a vacation out of it.  That only covers arriving two days before the wedding and leaving the day after.  Add several hundred dollars more - probably another grand actually - if we want to extend it.  We're not talking about an all-inclusive resort here, we're talking hotel, car rental, meals - all of it.  So, now the money I saved per month when I leased my new car is I guess going towards the wedding in Italy.  Not the house cleaning help I wanted to hire.  Not windows, not paying down debt, not the electric service upgrade.  Not the new furniture we could use in the living room.  (Don't by Raymour & Flanigan, it doesn't last.)  And you know what else - it's not the vacation I would have chose to take if we had planned to take a big one this year.  We have already decided we can't go to Vegas for a weekend with friends like we did last year.  We are hoping that if a miracle happens and UCONN becomes bowl eligible, it's the Pinstripe Bowl so it will only cost us a ticket and a train ride - otherwise our streak of bowl attendance is likely done.  So, going back to my previous statement - it's their day, it should be what they want, but I do wish they had considered the loved ones that will feel obligated to attend and what that will cost them.  And I hope that they are understanding of the other loved ones and the friends who will be unable to afford to attend.  And I hope that they get that someone who spends $3k or $4k just to be at the wedding - well their presence is the present.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happiness is...

....yummy yarn and lots of it!  This past weekend was the Duchess County Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck.  I went up on Sunday, hooked up with my friend A, her husband S, adorable daughter L and some of their friends.  I had already been through several buildings and snagged some yarn when I met up with them.  Then I bought some more.  I could have bought even more - I really could have - but resisted.  While I had projects in mind that needed yarn, I decided I really needed to knit my stash down some before I bought even more.  So, I've made a semi-resolution - no new yarn until I knit at least two projects off my Rhinebeck stash.  Seeing as how I haven't touched last year's stash yet, I think two is a reasonable start.  Since some of the yarn I bought this year is destined for a little sweater for my niece for Christmas and some of the other stash is for mittens for me or maybe someone I like, I think I may actually be able to stick to my resolution.  I may even try to post some pictures of the stash on Friday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am the 98%

Yes, you read that right - 98%.  I'm not the 1% that makes all the money and I'm not the 1% protesting that the other 1% makes all the money.  I went to a small school that provided an excellent education, but didn't cost an arm & a leg.  I got scholarships and student loans that I was able to pay off within a few years.  I didn't go to a big name school - or even a medium name school that cost more than we could afford without burdensome loans.  I got a degree in something I liked, was good at and which - shockingly apparently - prepared me to get a job.  I got a degree in accounting, not history, philosophy.  I have a mortgage.  I have a mortgage that I can afford to pay every month.  My house is under water, but I can afford my mortgage because we did the math before buying.  We only bought as much as we can afford.  There's no evil bank here, there are only responsible home owners in this story.  I am lucky to have a good job, a stable job, as does my husband.  I know some people were smart about everything, education, mortgage and got unlucky in the job area.  I recognize that there are some things the protesters suffered that they couldn't control.  But what are they protesting?  That some people make too much money?  I'm not opposed to people making a lot of money.  I chose not to go into the lines of work that would have put me in the top 1%.  Are some of the 1% grossly overcompensated - you bet.  But you can't just protest that they are overpaid.  Do they pay their fair share in taxes - everything I read says no.  So protest for changes in the tax regulations.  Protest for changes in the regulations which allow them to create situations like synthetic debt which helped caused the mortgage crisis and protest the lax mortgage regulations.  You can't just protest that you have a lot of student loans and no job.  You did that to yourself.  You chose the expensive college instead of the local one - or instead of a trade school.  Protest for or against something specific - not just that someone else has more than you and that's not fair.  And remember this - to a certain extent, it is fair that some have more.  We are not a communist society.  We are a free market based society.  You don't like that concept - move to Cuba.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vacation in the Dominican Republic

We came back from the DR a week ago.  We had gone down there for a vacation/friend's wedding.  We had talked with my cousin K, who is 4 months older than me, about he and his wife and A and I going on vacation together sometime this year to celebrate our 50th birthdays.  Then A's friend P & his fiance announced their plans to get married in the DR in September.  Since that fell just days after our anniversary and a month after my birthday, we decided to make that the big trip.  It was so much fun!  The country is beautiful.  It is clearly poor, with some more well to do areas. We stayed at an all inclusive resort, in the adults only section.  There were about 45 people there for the wedding - great turnout.  We were among the earlier arrivals.  That was determined by our using frequent flier miles to get there.  We had a 6:30 am flight out of JFK.  That doesn't sound too bad until you realize that you need to be there 2 hours early for an international flight.  And that means leaving your home about 45 minutes before that, so getting up about 45 minutes before that!!  We got up at 2:30.  The limo was a little early, but we were ready.  When you get to JFK at 4 am, going through security is a BREEZE!  Downside - nothing, but nothing was open.  As we sat in the gate area, there were other people on our flight who were chatting at a volume that was a little louder than necessary - and worse - they were speaking Spanish and too fast for me to understand, so I couldn't even eavesdrop!  ( I do that at airports sometimes.  :D )  So, we get to the DR, get in our shuttle, head off to the resort.  Our shuttle driver likes baseball.  He named all the Dominicans who play in the majors.  First off - Robinson Cano - one of my favorites!  The resort is lovely.  We were shown an upgrade room and then our assigned room.  Aside from the huge patio with bed style lounges and a second jacuzzi, the upgrade room had the distinct advantage of being on the other side of the resort from the three rather overweight men sitting at the pool bar in their speedos, one of them graciously sharing his butt crack with the world.  I said Si! to the upgrade.  There were several pools at the resort, two of them restricted to the adults only guests.  There was also a section of the that was adults only, but topless sunbathing was everywhere.  The worst was leather lady.  She is seriously anorexic.  You could count her ribs.  Her legs were the size of my forearm and she was topless with these little prunes sticking up off her chest.  Ugh.  The ocean water was not as warm as I expected, but definitely better than the Cape.  And it was a lovely blue.  There was lots of wave activity, which was fun.  But we spent more time in the pool.  A decent number of the wedding guests did not do the adults only, so we spent a lot of time at that pool.  Plus it had the swim up bar!  We had so much fun hanging out with everyone.  The wedding was a blast.  It was kind of warm and we were all soaked, sweating from dancing.  We went to karaoke one night, a Michael Jackson show another and to a Circ du Soleil type show another night.  We met some other couples who hung out with us and even crashed the wedding, much to the delight - seriously - of the bride.  We ate Japanese one night, Italian another, barbecue on the beach and the steakhouse 3 nights!  The wedding dinner was surf and turf.  A gave away his lobster tail because of my allergy.  The friend he gave it to was beside himself with joy at a second lobster tail.  There are so many stories - from Grandma, to the gay guy who is the only one who doesn't know he's gay, to the two firemen we swear never slept in their own room, to Applauso!  Applauso!  to the beer barge, the tramp stamp and Johnny Bravo.  So much fun!  It got sadder day by day as people left.  We want to go again.  And now, the newly married couple, the best man & his wife (who officiated at the wedding) and A& I all have anniversaries within a two week period - I see mutual anniversary trips back to the DR in our future!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Photos

Some flowers, some knitting, some Boomer.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Happiness is....

....sleeping in your own bed.  Boomer and I both feel the same way.  Our vacation in the Dominican Republic was fabulous, but it was good to be home yesterday.  Will post soon on my thoughts on the DR