It's good to be home again. Our trip was very enjoyable (except for the food), but there's nothing quite like the comforts of home. I admit to being a very particular person, one who likes her stuff her way.
For the last part of our trip, my SIL and her family came to stay at the beach with us. SIL has a son, M., the same age as Jr. Jr., and a step-daughter, J., who's a year older than Sr. Jr. The kids get along famously. The boys don't get to see their cousin M. too often, but when they do, it's like they were never apart. J. is a really neat girl, too, so it was fun to have her around. There was some definite flirty-flirty stuff going on between her and Sr. Jr. His chest puffed out and he got all macho. It was very cute.
Here are some pics of the kids at play:
And the grownups at rest:
While we were there, I stopped at the little yarn store on the island, the Courtyard. The Courtyard sells yarn and knitting supplies, as well as used books. It's a cute little place, and the owner (if that's who was working there that day) was very nice. It doesn't have a huge selection of yarns, but what it does have is lovely, including a selection of Aracaunia hand-dyed yarns that I hadn't seen before. So one of the rights that I retroactively reserved for myself as part of my birthday "year of stash" pledge was to be able to buy some souvenir yarn while on vacation. Thus, I came home with --
Five balls of Elsbeth Lavold's Hempathy, to make a nice lacy summer scarf/shawl.
I have only one repeat left (plus the top edging) to complete the Star of Evening shawl. It's the loooooong top rows, however, so it may take a while in these knit-free summer days. I'm beginning to feel the pull of the sweater yarn... it's been a while since I made myself a nice aran... hmmm... I think my next project will be an aran that I design. Don't look for it anytime soon, though, with the aforementioned knit-free-ness hanging over my head. I hope to have that done by the beginning of Fall, just in time for Nancy Bush's new book, Knitted Lace of Estonia, to arrive. If you haven't picked up the latest issue of Piecework to see the previews of this book, go NOW and look. I'm sure I will be itching to get one of those shawls on my needles when I get my grubby little hands on that book.
One of the best things about traveling, especially to the beach, is the added reading time. I don't knit on planes, I read. I'm happy to be on a beach with the wind in my hair and a book in my hands. I finished three books this vacation, all of them varying degrees of good. First there was The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard. This was a very low-key book, but a marvelous look at love, compassion, and forgiveness. Next up was The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards. I resisted this one for a while, perhaps because it seemed very Oprah's book club-like. Overall, I really liked it. Parts were a bit too obvious in pointing out the significance of social changes at the time the book was taking place, but the story was engrossing and the characters were fleshed out and real. The novel explored the consequences of secret-keeping and fear on a marriage. Finally, I read Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I first heard about this book at one of the kids' baseball games, when another spectator mentioned that she never read books, but couldn't put this one down. Again, I hesitated, because, really, how good a recommendation is that? But this was beach reading, so I gave it a shot. I ended up enjoying it a lot. The book deals with an old man's memories of his days as the veterinarian for a second-tier traveling circus during the Depression. The social aspects of the Depression were woven into the novel nicely, without the "look! social context!" that I felt while reading Memory Keeper's Daughter. It's not quite as powerful as Geek Love was, but an engrossing story nonetheless. I gave it to Mr. T when I was done.
And now I get to console myself with laundry, mammogram appointments, dentist appointments, and running the kids around to camps and pools. This week is baseball for Jr. Jr. and tennis for Sr. Jr. I love tennis, so it will be nice to be able to play with the kids.