Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gnorm made it to NJ!!

I had a nice little nap at the Hammonton Post Office while I was waiting for Lia to pick me up. Millie, the Postmistress, took good care of me. Saturday morning, I was snoozing when the box started to move. I heard Millie and Lia chatting, and off we went. Lia opened the box, and I jumped out. She introduced me to Daniel, her step-son, and I learned that we were off to pick blackberries - YUM!

We went to Russo's farm and got lots of yummy fruit. Here I am with our haul. Everyone was very interested in me, and Lia told them all about my recent travels. Here I am with the nice lady from the farm.

After the farm, Lia and Daniel took me to Lia's favorite yarn shop, Woolbearers. I got to meet Myra and all the other ladies at the shop. There was a spinning demo going on, and it was very interesting. Daniel had never seen that before, so he asked lots of questions. To be honest, they were the same questions I would have asked, but I just sat there nodding knowledgeably as he asked away! We walked around the store, and I got to pet all of the very soft and yummy yarns. Daniel was on the hunt for something shiny, and Myra helped him find a shiny button. I sat in a cozy loop of Woolbear's hand-dyed yarn while Myra packed up all of Lia's goodies. Then we were off for home.

Lia got busy and made blackberry jam with some of the fat juicy berries we picked. She made some honey oatmeal bread and a mixed berry cake - I can't wait until dessert and breakfast tomorrow! Lia has more excitement planned to tomorrow - we are going to visit her Mom and go to a NJ diner - how fun! After all this, we were tuckered out. Lia will open the rest of the package in the morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gnuman makes the rounds, Part II

After the children were put down to nap, Jennifer said she was finally going to give me the Grand Tour on her way to the market. I think she was really proud she was finally getting her act together.

First, we went by that old house she mentioned earlier; she knows it at Mrs. King's house. She tried to take a photo, but there were too many cars in front, she parked illegally in front of the school and then a police car drove by and she didn't want to get stopped--we had a lot to do! The basic story, as best Jennifer remembers from her middle school project, is that the house was built in the 1600's, supposedly was a tavern during the Revolutionary War, and is supposedly haunted. She had a tour of the home at that time, and the then-owner related several experiences, including the night she heard the sound of a cannon ball rolling across her bedroom floor, and she woke up to see a soldier in Revolutionary War dress standing in her bedroom. Ooooh! Eerie!

She then showed me the house on the other side of the school, which also dates from the 1600's and which she also toured way back when. She even took a photo but...

Ack! Too blurry! At least I look good (that is, the parts she got in the frame).

This is me at the intersection of Main Street (yes, Metuchen has a Main Street!) and Middlesex Avenue (Rte. 27), the main intersection in town.

The building on my left is the newly reconstructed Boro Hall. The building between the tree and me in the background is the Volunteer Fire Department which came to Jennifer's house once when she smelled smoke at the children's bedtime. Everyone sat in the minivan while four fire engines' worth of volunteers left their homes, dinners, etc. to check the house. Jennifer was embarrassed but grateful.

Here is another partial shot of Main Street, one block down.

A few blocks down, Jennifer pulled into a parking spot opposite the post office, in front of the Colonial Cemetery. Here I am:

We then climbed about 10 steps up into the cemetery. We walked around and looked at the old gravestones, and found a few marking the plots of Revolutionary War soldiers.

We both thought it was pretty neat. Purportedly, there was a Revolutionary War skirmish in the area; there is a sign about it by Boro Hall. "Of course," Jennifer said, "New Jersey is the 'Washington slept here' state."

When we left the cemetery, we were directly opposite the Post Office:
(That's me in the corner of the picture)

Jennifer said that inside the Post Office, there is a plaque listing the names of Metuchen residents who fought in the Revolutionary War. She said I won't get to see it, because I'll be in my Priority Mail Box when she brings me there. Although I'm leaving Metuchen either tomorrow or Friday, Jennifer assured me that I'm not traveling too far, and shouldn't spend more than two or three days in transit. She also said that my next destination is interesting and a lot of fun; it has a lot of history and great yarn stores!

Across the street from the Post Office is the train station. On the corner is Freedom Plaza:

It's a memorial/tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Metuchen lost one resident.

After all this sightseeing, Jennifer rushed to the market to do her food shopping and get everything unloaded and put away before the children woke up from nap. And once they did, I got to meet Crocus!

Margery bought Crocus for Boy M after he watched a Thomas the Tank Engine episode that had lots of gnomes. He could not stop talking about the gnomes for weeks! Easily understandable, I say.

The boys were very curious about our conversation. "Gnome business," I told them. But Crocus asked me to tell everyone that he is not caged, he is very happy in the garden with the flowers and his mushroom, and that the yard was fenced that way long before he arrived (to keep triplets from escaping).

This may very well be my last post from Metuchen. Jennifer says that if you want more information about Metuchen, you can find it here. I'm certainly looking forward to my next adventure!

Gnuman makes the rounds

For the past few days, I've been hanging around the house. We've had some child craziness (i.e., Jennifer had to give the kids her undivided attention and couldn't get to the Grand Tour) and a summer Nor'easter (Jennifer did not want me to get wet). So today, I got to hit the local roads with her.

First, Jennifer took the boys to camp and came back to drop off Baby Girl for a walk. Our plans for the tour were again delayed as Jennifer had to pick up three full changes of clothes, shoes and bathing suits because the boys played in water on the playground before camp began and used up their clothing changes. This is why Jennifer did not take me to camp. I went with her on the clothing run. Then we went to Jennifer's mother's house to help with a yarn project. Here is the house Jennifer grew up in:

The two windows in the upper left corner are in Jennifer's bedroom. It's still a bedroom, but it also houses her mother's stash.

On a side note, Jennifer pointed out the house two doors down. Those neighbors had a son Jennifer's age and were friendly with David Copperfield's parents. Yes, the magician David Copperfield grew up in Metuchen! Jennifer actually remembers a birthday party where he performed magic for the children! Also, when she was in high school, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous filmed part of a segment on David Copperfield in her chemistry class. Her chemistry teacher notably told David Copperfield to give up the magic because it wouldn't get him anywhere.

Back to the yarn project. Jennifer's mother, Margery, decided she wanted open bins to store her stash. So now, the bins (bookshelves) were assembled and we watched as Margery began to sort and store the yarn:

That's me snuggled in with the cashmere; Jennifer and Margery say I have good taste in yarn. Here's a close up:

It looks like a yarn store in there! I heard Jennifer ask her mother for a house account. It was approved. Lucky Jennifer!

We then went home to take Baby Girl to her swim lesson and lunch, and then back to camp to retrieve the boys. Here I am in the car:

That pouch with the numbers is Jennifer's most favorite knitting accessory (a brilliantly designed sock project pouch with an accessory/notions pouch from Piddleloop) and contains a sock in progress. The boys were excited to see me. On the way home, they insisted I see the diggers and bulldozers doing construction at Metuchen High School:

Before nap, they promised to introduce me to Crocus the gnome! I'll tell you about the afternoon in the next post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gnorm's Last Day in MN

I had such a full last day in Minnesota. Our final yarn shop visit was to Creative Fibers in Minneapolis. Lorraine had been visiting the Fiberit blog for a long time and was thrilled to finally put a face to a blogger.

What made the visit extra special for Lorraine was the fact that the shop owner is moving to her neck of the woods and they talked about starting a knitting/spinning group at a local coffee shop. To say she's excited by the prospect is an understatement.

As for me, I loved hanging out with the Colinette model. Isn't she gorgeous!!! I think I'm in love.

Last stop before shipping off for my next destination was a charming little ice cream/chocolate shop called It's Just Perfect. It is housed in an historic railway station in downtown Chaska. I enjoyed visiting with the owner and an employee while Lorraine browsed the gift store. She found some double-dipped peanuts to bring home for her hubby and a great photo card to send along with me to the next destination.

We enjoyed a single scoop of mocha almond ice cream. The bench outside the shop was the perfect place to kick back and share a few friendly moments before I had to leave.

From here, we headed to the post office to ship out to my next destination. My lips are sealed as to the exact destination but East Coast, here I come!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gnorm goes Shop Hopping

I so rock as a shopping companion. First of all, all the yarn shop owners think I'm the most charming fella they've ever seen. It is so much fun to be fussed over.

Second, I love helping the lovely ladies who are hosting me pick wonderful yarns, and then helping them justify the expenditure.

My first yarn shop stop in Minnesota was at Coldwater Collaborative in Excelsior. The interior of this shop was so cozy and delightful. I loved the fireplace and old woodwork.

I managed to convince Lorraine she just couldn't live without trying the popular Noro Silk Garden Lite. She also just needed to get a pair of the new Addi Turbo Lace needles and a 40" cable for her Denise Interchangeable set. The other two cakes of yarn are additional colors of Summer Tweed, to go with the hank she received when I arrived.

Our next stop was Zandy's Yarn Etc. This shop is in Burnsville and also carries needlework supplies. Once again, I was the center of attention. I basked in the adoration, while Lorraine found this yarn for a pair of socks for her DH and located the sock blockers she found out she desperately needs, right now, this minute, 'cause she just can't live without them. Of course, I didn't have anything to do with her sudden, overwhelming need for these but was happy to endorse them as a prudent purchase.

More shop hopping in the next installment.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gnorm Update

Whew, after a very full and busy day with Lorraine, we're heading out to go to her family's home in Iowa for the weekend. I'm getting two states for the price of one, this time around.

If you're interested in photos of my first day in Minnesota, check out these pics on Flickr.

See ya'll Monday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gnuman in NJ - Day 1

I met the children this morning. Guess what! Jennifer has triplets! And then she had a daughter! The triplets are three years old, all boys, and all boy, which is what I guess all that wrestling and tussling was about. Her daughter is 23 months old (going on 40, Jennifer says) and thinks she's one of the boys. She took a liking to me right away:

Boy E (Jennifer asked me not to use their names) took a liking to me right away, too, and tried to tackle Baby Girl in order to reach me.

That's Boy E in the green shirt. Fortunately, Jennifer dropped the camera and intervened none too soon--I didn't want to be in the middle of that!

We then hit the road for the Grand Tour. Boy E wanted to show me the sights:

He spent a few minutes feeling my nose and then said, "I like his nose." Thank you, Boy E!

It was a traditional NJ summer day, hazy, hot and humid, or as Boy M said, "hot and steamy." It didn't hold us back, though. We took a walk down Main Street to a playground that is fenced in and backs onto the train station. The boys complained if we tried to stop and take pictures, so we're going to try to do the Grand Tour tomorrow when they're in camp.

Metuchen sits right on the Northeast Corridor train line, which runs from Boston, MA to Washington, DC; it's used by NJ Transit, Amtrak (Metroliners and Acela) and the occasional freight train. There are a lot of commuters in town, which is approximately 25 miles south of New York City (Jennifer's two sisters, both knitters, live in Manhattan). The boys love trains and like to watch them as they go by. Boy E took me to see one:

It was so cool! I also had snack with Boy J (on the left) and Boy M:

The boys even let me drive the car!

Then Boy J took a fall, scraped his chin and cut his mouth. He was ok, but he was done with the playground. So we took a long walk to Jennifer's mother's house. She also lives in Metuchen (in the house where Jennifer grew up). The house is two houses from "The Woods," which is formally known as Woodwild Park. That's me at one of the entrances:

The children love to run through the paths, but we stayed in the strollers this time.

Jennifer's mom (the original knitter in the family) was really excited to meet me. She bought my pattern online about a year ago in a crazy bidding thing from eBay. She was totally impressed, too, and examined everything, even my seams! Unfortunately, we didn't get to take any pictures there. But she made lunch for all of us, and then we walked home. Or actually, everyone but me walked home and I was left behind. Bad Jennifer! But after she put the children down for a nap, she came back for me and brought me home. I was pooped! So Jennifer let me take a nap, too:

But before napping, I couldn't resist snuggling her WIP, a Monkey Sock in Shelby B's Nymphadora Tonks colorway:

Jennifer is making it for her sister in honor of the release of the last Harry Potter book. Obviously, she's behind schedule, but her sister understands. And Jennifer promised to share Book 7 with me when it arrives on Saturday. I'm glad I won't miss out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gnuman Arrives in NJ!

About 3 p.m. today, I was deposited on Jennifer's doorstep in Metuchen, NJ. It was hot, muggy, and there was a gentle thud of another box being placed on top of me. Jennifer didn't open me until about 5 p.m., but I did hear her "Wow!" of surprise when she lifted my box and realized how heavy it was. As she lifted out the layers to find me, I heard her exclaiming about how Kelli just outdid herself! Being as Jennifer's children were out of the house, she immediately brought me outside for photos; we didn't have much time, though, because she had to make dinner for the crew.

Here's a picture of me getting my first airing in Jennifer's backyard:

As you can see, I have a new companion to keep me company in my travel box, so the trip wasn't as lonely or dull as it could have been. Jennifer tells me that at the base of the (barely visible) fence post to the left of the rabbit is Crocus the Gnome, who has been anxiously awaiting my arrival all summer. She didn't introduce me tonight because the ground was too wet from a rainstorm.

Jennifer asked me to tell you just how generous Kelli was: she sent 3 skeins of Lamb's Pride in a lovely shade of pink; one skein of Alpaca With A Twist Fino in a slightly darker shade of pink; Amish Country Midnight Blue Popcorn for popping; a sheep journal; and Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial hand soap in Country Apple scent. From what Jennifer tells me, they can really use the soap, and I'll she what she means tomorrow. We didn't have time to take pictures of the treats, but we'll get to it soon.

We have an early start tomorrow: I'm going to surprise the children at breakfast and join them on their day (Jennifer's a "retired" lawyer who's now a stay-at-home mom to four children). We have swim class tomorrow at 8:15 a.m. I may go along for the ride, but I'm definitely not joining them in the pool! Rain is in the forecast, but if it's not raining, we'll take a walk around town and see the "sights". Jennifer says that Metuchen has been around since the late 1600's, and there's even a house that was supposedly a tavern during the Revolutionary War and is reported to be haunted.

Oh, and that other box: Jennifer's Yarn Pirate Booty Club package. It was a big day for yarn!

Warm welcome to the Land of 10,000 Lakes

After a whirlwind flight from Washington, D.C., I arrived safely on the doorstep of Lorraine in Minnesota. As usual, I traveled in fragrant luxury, snuggled up with Rowan Summer Tweed and enjoying the heavenly aroma of Peppermint Tea and an Orange Peel Chocolate Bar. Yummy!

I came bearing some pretty snazzy gifts, too. Beads that coordinate with the Rowan Summer Tweed, lovely beaded stitch markers in a hand-made gift box, and a black sheep tape measure were the knitterly items. Also included was a souvenir deck of cards from D.C., an exquisite hand-painted pin and a sweet die-cut notebook.

I am constantly amazed at how excited my hostesses get when I arrive. Before I was even liberated from my travel accommodations, I could hear the squeals of happiness. Lorraine was beside herself with joy as she dove into the pile of gifts that accompanied me. It seems that she was just telling a friend how she wished I would arrive before her upcoming yarn shop hop, so she could show me off on her spending spree. First stop tomorrow morning is the Sidewalk Sale at Coldwater Collaborative.

Honestly, I felt like a genie instead of a gnome, making such wishes come true. More pictures to come!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gnorm is En Route

Gnorm is on his way to his next destination. I mistakenly sealed the package without the card introducing myself, but, it's Gnorm, so he'll introduce himself. He was a great guest.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gnorm - More Adventures

Next Gnorm and I swung by the National Building Museum for a look.

And then it was on to the Verizon Center, which, as with most sports centers, used to be called other things.

These are the teams that play there.
Gnorm at the Verizon Center
As it turned out, just a few blocks away, there was an event for the WNBA All-Stars going on, so we checked that out.
Gnorm checks out the WNBA celebration
It was getting a bit toasty, so we ducked into a shop where Gnorm found some friends.
Gnorm finds some friends
We stopped by the Friendship Archway in Chinatown.
Gnorm at the Friendship Gate
After that we were both tired, so we headed back to my place.
Gnorm relaxes after a long day