Knit 2 Par 3

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Goodness what a lovely Memorial Day Weekend we had. Plenty of sun up there at the beach in Maine, warm enough to wear shorts and bathing suits which of course we didn't bring. So we went to the mysteriously empty Kohls in Biddeford. Normally I would hesitate to give any free advertising to a big chain store like that, but as Brendan says this Kohls is like shopping at a thrift store where everything has buttons and no mysterious stains. Unfortunately for our family, they stock very little in the way of black clothes, suitable for mourning, or prison. Or the beach.

But I did remember to bring my golf clubs! Yes indeedy! I played golf all by myself at a lovely little par three golf course in Wells - Merriland Farms.

I must say, I was worried about a) being lonely without my posse and b) making a fool out of myself but these little golf courses are full of beginners just thwacking away at the balls. I played behind a 6 year old girl and her father; they were having a great time and of course, I had to interview the girl about her game. She's been playing since she was four, goes to golf camp in the summer, has her own adorable pink clubs. She thought I should try to keep my head down and my eyes on the ball, and try to get my shoulder right under my chin in a swing. Hmm.

While I don't think b) happened I will be honest and say that a) was true. Imagine being a city person, standing here with just your own self:

My score was pretty okay for me, 54 on a par 27. That's like double for each par. I know that's not a "birdy" or a "bogey", but maybe a double par shot can be called a "jokey". I was badly shaken on the eight hole which has a pond. My ball almost went in the water - my last pink ball - but landed on the side and when I was pondering my shot, an enormous bull frog croaked what I swear sounded like "hit it". I asked the little six year old if she had ever heard that; she said she hadn't, but that it is good ettiquite to play a little faster when the course is busy.

So after golf, the beach and serious knitting. For this last pair of socks I am doing some freeform Fair Isle just for the fun of it. I have six or eight different fall colors in alpaca blends that I have collected over the past few months and seeing where the spirit takes me. In the tradition of the Yarn Harlot (see that last link), here is a picture of yes I have to say it, Socks on the Beach.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I started the Memorial Day weekend on Thursday thanks to one of the many paid holidays celebrated at my place of employment, a place that also gives staff paid time off to play golf.

Since we weren't heading up to Maine until Friday, I was able to get in an hour on the driving range in Jersey City, and there I had a golf epiphany. I had been talking to Brendan about being discouraged because even though I can mostly hit the ball every time I swing the club, it doesn't go very far. Maybe 20 yards tops. His advice was to keep my eye on the ball. Read aloud here: keep your eye on the ball. Keep your eye on the ball.

So I hit 140,000 balls in a row where I kept my eye on the ball. When I hit the ball, which was most of the time, it went far! One shot went 100 yards, the farthest I have hit a ball, and straight to boot. My ephipany: keep your eye on the ball.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Big Fun Golf this past Saturday. We played two rounds on that Link 'n Park Par 3 course. Here is the score card; Nancy opted not to keep score. Thank you Emily for scanning this scorecard so I could throw out the original immediately and not clutter up the house with sentimental souveniers:

This is clearly one of those times when a picture is worth a thousand words, right? My total score for both rounds was 164. Brendan did better, total score 85. The 6th hole was very hard for me. It took 11 shots to get 130 yards - that's the equivalent of about two city blocks here in Hoboken. Taking those 11 shots felt an awful lot like trying to walk two blocks with a 3-year old who didn't want to sit in her stroller. You know you'll get there, three feet at a time. I had a very nice shot over a bunker on the 8th hole, though. I used my pitching wedge and really concentrated on bringing it back just enough. One really good shot out of 164. Can you remind me why we play?

The course was more crowded than it had been the last time. There was a group of younger teens learning how to play. It must have been a church group because I did overhear them afterwards, talking about the lessons they learned in patience, cooperation and peer encouragement. The most important lesson I learned on Saturday was to bring a Snickers Bar or something because you get pretty hungry by your 15th hole of golf.

Sadly, after all this golf I missed my knitting groups' Yarn Crawl on Saturday afternoon. I was too wiped out after playing to even watch golf while completely horizontal on the couch, forget about going to yarn stores. This is a crushing example of Golf Interfering with Knitting. The women had plans to hit 5 or 6 yarn stores in Manhattan, with a few fortifying beers in between.

I had to attend many meetings at work today and needed to look very involved by writing down a lot of things while nodding my head, so I was able to come up with a Golf Horoscope. Since I generally read the horoscopes for all the signs, and then pick out the one I like the best for me, I thought it would be more practical to have just one horoscope that can apply to everyone reading the blog. So here is the Golf Horoscope for Right Now through Next Time:

" Chances are, with work, travel, family committments and really crappy weather you won't get to play as much golf as you would like during this period. Drinking plenty of box wine and cleaning your golf shoes with an old toothbrush will help ease your feelings of despair about this state of affairs. At social events, ask others if they play golf - you will be surprised at their replies if your feelings are not too badly hurt by their laughter. Your efforts to finish the last pair of socks or to clear a fire exit path in the basement will be rewarded."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Golf and knitting have one important thing in common: lots of magazines. Like everyone else in America, I work not to far from a Big Chain bookstore and a particularly favorite lunchtime activity is to pick up greek salad and tuna fish from the deli, and settle in at the Big Chain bookstore for a good hour's worth of free magazine reading.

I think the best knitting magazine is Interweave Knits. I've been a reader since about 2001 and I save every issue, and rotate them for bathroom reading because they never get stale! In the most recent Harry Potter book, Dumbledore spends some time in a muggle bathroom and when asked if he had an upset stomach he replies: "No, I was merely reading the muggle magazines. I do love knitting patterns." If I had a complaint about Interweave, it's that they don't show enough back views of the garments unless there is a pattern element to it. Even if it's plain, you need to get a sense of the whole garment for the best construction.

I'm not so keen on Vogue Knitting. I appreciate that they have been around for 20 years, and I once got a great sock pattern in the magazine, but frankly their patterns are bad fits. I really don't care for their new, trendy spinoffs - Knit 1 and Knit Simple. Although there is a very cute sweater in the most recent issue of Knit 1 that I would consider making for Emily! These magazines are for dabblers with no interest in the craft.

I was thrilled to find Golf For Women amidst all the testosterone fueled men's golf magazines. Now this has fashion (sort of), travel, skills building and lots of ads for sun screen. I bought it and keep it in my desk at work for those conference call emergencies. I think I may get a subscription, unless anyone from the magazine is reading this blog and would like to maybe be a sponsor? Then I imagine I would at least get a subscription for free.

What Golf For Women needs is Horoscopes. I'll read every horoscope I come across, with hope in my heart for a better tomorrow. It would be good to have a golf horoscope. Send me your sign and I will work on one for you.

I am just at the point in my life where it's hard to find a magazine that really speaks to me like Glamour magazine did 25 years ago. I knitted an "off to college" sweater from the August 1978 issue of Glamour that I wore for about 10 years. I also got a great pork chop recipe from Glamour that I made on Sunday for dinner. I think Bust magazine comes close to Glamour for me. It certainly has plenty of knitting! Bust doesn't have horoscopes, but Glamour didn't have the one handed read either.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Well, I didn't play golf yesterday at the work event but I had many golf lessons. Plus since it was a work event, I got some fab swag for me and the posse.

It rained and rained and rained, just like I had hoped, but the golfers got a chance to play when the rain stopped at about one o'clock. This was a very fancy golf course at a fancy country club, with a course as smooth and green as Kermit's behind. They actually had two 18 hole courses, and we (the royal we) played on the course that is usually reserved for PGA tournaments.

I struck up a conversation with pro shop worker Ned, who upon retiring from his insurance job took a job at the country club. I could groove on this, as I would get a job in a yarn store in a minute if I either won the lottery or retired, neither of which is likely to happen. (Ever). The main benefit of the job for Ned was that he got to play two times a week on the course.

You never know when a golf lesson is going to land right at your feet. One of the prizes at this event was a new car to the person who got a hole in one at the 10th hole. Now, this hole was "only" 180 yars from the tee, so maybe someone could get a hole in one, maybe. My special job was to be a Hole Watcher - to verify that the ball did indeed go in the hole. But, as an officer of my company, I had to have a watcher watch me watch the hole. So I asked this Ned guy to be my watcher.

Believe me, there was no hole in one and Ned and I had plenty of time to talk about golf. We had to watch the guys tee off, then take a cart down to the green to see if anything had gone in the hole. After the tee off, I would ask Ned which guy was a better golfer, and why. I also asked him if he could tell which personality disorders they had based on the shot - and he was on the mark with that every time. Some golf lessons I learned:
  • John Daly may be a fat slot playing drunk, but he utilizes his wrist in a shot to give him that distance, and that's something anyone can learn how to do.
  • Michele Wie will have to wait until a lot of old retired guys are dead before she will be allowed to play on the PGA, Hey, that's Miss Michelle Wie to you Ned!
  • That man in our finance department has a lot of workplace rage based on the way he hits that golf ball.
After my tour of duty was over, Ned took me to the pro shop to observe my swing and he gave me a few pointers, including what to do with my wrist so I can be (more) like John Daly. If only the rain would stop so we could go out and hit balls you guys would be impressed! And then we could go to Hooters.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nancy and I took a little break from golf this weekend for some Mother's Day yarn and fabric shopping at Purl in Soho on Sunday morning. I have long thought that Purl is the best yarn store in NYC, but their new fabric store, down the street, has an equally spectacular stock. Emily came along with us and I treated her to some beautiful fat quarters - she's sitting there right now, watching some god-awful show staring Brittny Spear's little sister, and making a patchwork top. Nancy got some fabric for bedroom curtains and dining room chair covers, here is a picture of something like what she bought:

With great happiness I was able to overcome the self imposed yarn celibacy at Purl with the purchase of some lovely Blue Sky Alpaca . I'm not a giant alpaca fan generally, but this yarn is very soft, beautifully dyed and completely impractical for socks, which is why I bought these two skeins, for socks that will finish off the last pair of socks for the Sockstravaganza.

Tomorrow, I have my first work related golf event at some fancy place in Westchester. I hope it rains and rains and rains and rains. I'm just not ready for golf on my own, out there with the office predators and without the protection of loved ones, even though I did also buy myself a new purple golf bag and some nice pink and purple golf balls. On sale at Target!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Golf This Weekend, Part II

After hitting so many wild shots on Saturday, I needed an activity that demonstrated I was competent so I sat down to some serious knitting. I'm just about hitting the finale of the Sockstravaganza so I was ready to pop in a DVD and get to work on the argyle socks. But when I took the finished one out of the special Ziplock bag, I saw that it was - ugly.

When I was younger, I would have perservered through an ugly project and I would have given the thing to someone on the B list for gifts. Or if it was really ugly, I'd check it into the Craft Motel - crafts go in, but they don't come out out. But the one completed argyle had the look of a sock that was too tight in the calf, or pinchy in the toe, and maybe had already lost it's mate in the sock drawer. I did something I never did, and I can't recall hearing that many knitters do either - I threw it out. I didn't even make a sock puppet out of it. Just right in the trash.

I started a new pair right away, not argyle but the new pair does have fancy clocks. I got right back in the saddle. I got another club and took another shot. Isn't that what you are supposed to do after a sorry disappointment? Nobody's perfect.

I had hoped to get up real early again on Sunday and go to the gym and go hit golf balls at the driving range in Jersey City, but I only got to the gym. I actually only got to the gym for like 20 minutes of exercise time and 40 minutes of time in the fancy gym shower with the four shower heads. They have the best bathrooms! Like a spa!

I had to get home quick after the shower because Nancy and I took our respective teen girls to a massive loud concert in the Meadowlands Arena parking lot. Lots of barely post teen boys in bands with a formula: every band had a really pale guy, a fat guy, a latin guy, and a guy with Cure derivative hair and makeup. For variation, some bands had the sensitive guy with glasses and fluffy hair. I liked those guys the best. We were there for about 17 hours enjoying songs like: I Set My Fuckin Friend on Fire.

I was so tired when I got home, though, I could only throw myself on Nancy's couch and put my feet up a thoughtfully provided ottoman and watch a tiny bit of golf, some He-Man classic, until the pizza guy came to the rescue.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Golf this Weekend Part I

Wasn't the weather beautiful on Saturday? And Sunday too. I got a little sunburn on my nose both days, and my knees are killing me, but I had a lot of adventures. I only got my strength back today.

We played golf at a new place on Saturday morning, Twin Willows Par 3 Golf course in Lincoln Park. I don't think that's where that band Linkin Park comes from, but I remembered that Lincoln Park is the home of Heartbeat Road, a Weird NJ staple. Only about 5 miles from the golf course too! According to locals, if you drive down Heartbeat Road at night you hear an unexplained ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump that sounds like (duh!) a spectral heart beating deep underground.

Don't be so impressed, though! My town has a better Weird NJ story: the Hoboken Monkey Man. Spectulating about the whereabouts of the Monkey Man is big in our house. It's just not a full day unless John makes some mention of the Hoboken Monkey Man, or Richard Nixon. That's a picture of Richard Nixon up there for you John, since he was a golfer.

Anyway. I woke up very early on Saturday because I was very excited about playing on this golf course, it has sand traps and water. It even had a lovely lilac bush right by the 5th hole. It was around that hole I was wishing it had a little place to nap for a few minutes. Even though it was only half a golf course I was totally beat by that time, what with getting up early and chasing so many wild balls. The course had longer distances between the tee and the hole, so it was good practise for choosing what kind of club works for different shots, even though I only have three clubs and it isn't so much of a choice.

I also hit the ball further than I had before on at least one hole. Brendan gave me a good tip on lining up your shoulder and your chin when you hit the ball, keeping your left arm straight and your wrist a little bent, and I found that gave more more power in the swing and the ball went further. After we played the nine holes we went to a little coffee shop near the Wayne train station, I think it was called the Crossings. I was revitalized by my egg sandwich and I could have played another nine holes.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A few months ago I posted a postcard on Postcardx asking knitters to send me leftover yarn and a description of the project they used it for. I am so surprised at all the yarn I have gotten. Every few weeks, and sometimes even a few times a week, I get an envelop with yarn and a story. So far all of the stories are about a new knitter's discovery of knitting and the one I got this week has been my favorite. It's from a kid named Cody, who seems to be just the kind of boy I adored when I was a girl these many decades ago, not just a type of boy but an actual boy. That long ago boy was groovy looking (like a Jewish David Cassidy) and arty, and he would slip these exquistly written notes - with quotes from Patti Smith poems - into my locker that would talk about what he was writing or painting or most excitingly, why our relationship was doomed. He was always surrounded by a cloud of freshman girls but he liked me the best. (Reader, I am still friends with this boy, now a forty something man. He grew up to be a child psychiatrist but unlike the 50 something David Cassidy, he does not play golf).

So here is what Cody had to say. I added pictures for illustrative purposes; his drawings were much better.

"I saw your request for yarn scraps at Postcardx and decided to send some along, even though I haven't been knitting very long. I am a17 year old boy - I had to learn for an independent art class I'm taking where I pick my own projects one month, and the next, the teacher picks.

Ms. Gregory, my teacher, decided I'd knit for a month. At first I thought she was kidding, but alas (after she unraveled my scarf close to three times... I kept dropping stitches) I did learn.

The green yarn is what I started with. I made a scarf that had this general shape (to me, his scarf looked like the Chrysler Building, imagine the windows as dropped stitch holes) . Needless to say, it has not left my room (though I got an A on the project). Last month, for Ms. Gregory, I had to create a piece of apparel. So I made a fedora hat, but I knitted it. Thats the brown string. It's not comfortable to wear, but it looks cool. I did a band of the blue around the fedora. It's a yarn I'll probably knit more with, it's pretty cool looking.

So now you know the history of my yarn. "

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sunday Sunday Sunday! (Okay if you didn't grow up in New Jersey you might not get that reference) After I got home on Sunday, home from playing actual golf at Anchor Golf Land in Whippany I had a three-hour, face-down- drool- on-the- pillow nap and dreamed of my one good shot.

It's a Par 3 course with 18 holes and I was surprised at how tired I got walking around, carrying my little borrowed bag and wearing my rockabilly golf shoes. I have only ever been on a golf course one other time before, and that was last year at a work event, where my job was to be a hole measurer. At that event at that particular hole, the Richie Rich event attndee who got closest to the hole on the green won a Sub Zero refrigerator and I got to measure who was closest.

So this was exciting to be playing actual golf but I will admit I was apprehensive. Brendan had mentioned more than one time that he was concerned that as beginners, Nancy and I would bean people with golf balls. Luckily, St. Barnabas Hospital, a designated Trauma Center, is just about 5 miles from the golf course so if we inadvertenly caused golf ball head trauma the victim could easily be airlifted by helicopter to safety. Some of the shots were wild, but I am glad to report there were no casualties.

Also there was a lot of staring in actual golf- being stared at as well as staring. And you could stare freely at other golfers besides those in your party. Our little group stared with kind and encouraging looks - hey! it's only a game! Every shot is practise! But I could see where you might feel these stares turn intimidating if it took you a long time to set up a shot or get the ball in the hole, like the kind of stare you would give to someone, for example, who takes too long to discard during card games. In our world we call that Card Fondling but I'd hate to extend that metaphor to golf balls or clubs.

We didn't keep score, which was good for a person like me who is generally always keeping score. If I had to guess I think my score for the day would be about 785, which I checked and is not comparable with, say, Ben Hogan (the picture at the top of this post is Ben Hogan, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis from The Caddy. I did have one great shot, at the beginning, straight onto the green and my heart did sing. I didn't win a Sub Zero refrigerator, but I did find a few balls and Brendan gave us some very nice putt markers as a prize.