Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And there was a little knitting too!

I just got back from California and a good time was had by all. This was the third reunion trip with friends from college. We met 40 years ago this fall at UCONN as freshmen: Candy and I were roomates and Donna and Cathy were friends in their dorm. We all pledged ADPi as freshmen and when we moved into the house the following year we were inseparable as a foursome. As things turn out, through the years we went our separate ways, but an internet search brought us all in contact again (actually, I had maintained a casual contact with all) and we decided to get together for a reunion in 2006 for the first time. Struggling to come up with dates is the only hard part. The rest has been pure fun. Donna is now in Santa Barbara, Cathy in the Napa Valley (St Helena), Candy is in Broomfield CO and I am in Centennial CO. One would think, with Candy and I in the same region, it would be easier to meet more regularly, but life seems to get in the way.

This year we went to Carmel California and stayed in a rustic cabin up a canyon about 11 miles south of the city of Carmel. I had been to California several times, but this is the first time I experienced the magnificence of Big Sur.

We drove quite a bit up and down Hwy 1 savoring each vista and view.

We saw the Monterey Aquarium and my favorite part was the Jellyfish exhibits.

We saw nature in the wild: sea otters and sealions and lizards.

The wildflowers were in bloom, especially the sedum, ice plants, and Calla Lilies.

And we had tons of fun, laughing, reminiscing, and drinking good wine. Cathy's husband is in the wine industry and can be counted on for supplying wonderful bottles of wine, far better than I can afford for everyday. It makes our gatherings pretty special!

On Sunday, the four of us walked about a mile to the start of the 10.6 walk of the Big Sur Marathon at the Rocky Point Restaurant. For a bunch of old broads, we are in good shape and each of us excercise regulary. Candy and Donna are really fit, I am ok, and Candy was my prime worry. She has had some problems with her feet and ankles and only felt like she could make it halfway. When she started aching, she stopped at one of the first aid stations and inquired about a lift to the finish line. After being told it may be a few hours, she said, "Hell, I can finish in a few hours by walking!" So we trudged on, slowly, but steady. Donna and Cathy were far ahead of us, but waited for us to catch up every mile or so. I stayed with Candy and it was exciting for the four of us to cross the finish line together. We didn't break any speed records, as our finish time was nearly 4 hours and 3 minutes with over a 22 minute per mile pace, but we all finished....even Candy. Of course, stupid me forgot the camera (I left it by our knitting and forgot to put it back into my fanny pack!) so I will add photos once I get some from Donna, whose camera came along for the walk.

We celebrated by going to the Monterey Plaza Hotel Spa to relax on the penthouse patio, eat lunch, sit in the hot tub and treat ourselves to spa benefits. I had the best massage ever! and was so relaxed, I felt like jelly when done.

And yes, there was some knitting too! I brought some needles and cotton yarn and cast on for a dish cloth. I managed to teach Candy and Donna and they humored me by learning! I believe that they will continue to complete this project and whether they pick it up again in the future is yet to be seen. Cathy wanted nothing to do with this activity at all so I made a cloth for her and forgot to photograph it before handing it over.

Making good progress on the shawl. Making mistakes still, but plodding along.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

California, Here I come!

I have been so excited about my upcoming trip with Mom to Europe, that I haven't even mentioned my trip to Carmel/Monterey California. This is a reunion Girls trip with my friends from college. The 4 of us graduated from U-CONN in 1972 and this is our 3rd annual reunion. The internet is a wonderful thing for reuniting with old friends. A long weekend, actually, it will be 4 days of silliness and wine. Aging as we are, I am bringing knitting needles and Sugar and Cream cotton yarn to teach all how to knit. I figure if I cast on for each, teach garter stitch and monitor their progress, by the end we will each have a wash cloth! :-)

This is us in 2006 in Santa Barbara- our first reunion. L to R: Cathy, Me, Candy, Donna

In 2007, we gathered in Colorado, except for Cathy (in photo) who threw her back out a couple of weeks before. Photo taken after bike ride from Frisco to Breckenridge.

Working diligently on the shawl, but I seem to be doing as much unknitting as I am knitting, which is ridiculous for such a simple pattern. There are only 4 rows to the feather and fan pattern and only one with anything to count! I am ready to scream as I unknit 2 rows here and 3 rows there. It sure is putting a damper on my forward progress. I will have lots of airport and flight time tomorrow and hopefully, I can concentrate enough to get a lot done this weekend.

I am very excited that I have a partner-in-crime so to speak for the Estes Park Wool Festival on June 14. I have taken a few classes with Stacy and she has agreed to drive up with me. I am holding off on any purchases before then so I can spend freely. Some year I hope to go up for a few days and take some workshops. From the Ravelry boards, there may be opportunities to meet lots of new friends who will also be there.

Talk to you all when I return.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Almost Time to Get Excited

Next month my Mom and I are taking a break-the-bank trip to Europe. Mom is turning 81 on May 4 and since my husband doesn't like to travel and my Dad passed away last year, we thought a fun thing to do would be to take a major vacation together. We began planning this last August and decided on a Viking River Cruise/tour which starts in Prague- 2 nights, then a 7 night cruise though southern Germany from Nuremberg to Trier, then ending with 2 nights in Paris. It is now less than a month away and today we received our vouchers and a travel kit with luggage tags and lots of info.

Better get back to knitting my shawl which I want to take with me. I have about 10 inches knit and I think I will need 60" at least! Glad to report, it is looking beautiful as it develops some weight and the pattern is showing up some more.

I also strung beads on yarn for another Odessa hat, this time for Amanda's friend Mary. If I make a lot of progress on the scarf, I will begin this before I leave on my trip. Otherwise, it can wait since spring is certainly arriving in NYC and as the days warm up, there is less need for this hat. Again the yarn is Rowan Cashsoft DK, this time in a soft pretty shade of pale grey. The beads are a variegated bronze color and the effect together should be nice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Project- Feather and Fan Shawl

In between several loads of laundry, I cast on this new project that would be great to take with me on my trip to Europe next month. It will be great to dress up a casual outfit for evening, especially in Paris. Oooh la la! Not to put any pressure on myself, I have only one month to finish it. I am not so great with lace yet, and my needles are a little blunt and the yarn a little slippery, so lets see how far I get. I am using Rick Rack II from Interlacements in color 120, Mountain Jewel. If I don't work on any other project for this month, it may be doable and I do have the trip to California next weekend, with flights and airport waiting time.
This afternoon, I met my knitting friend Stacy at the Tattered Cover coffee shop for a couple of hours of coffee, knitting and chatter. We took a couple of classes together at the knitting shop this winter and I wore my Kauni sweater for the first time. I half expected her to wear hers as well. I had been worried it was too warm already, but today it snowed again and was perfect. I will test it out on the work crowd as well tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Back to knitting

All the girl energy that enlivened the house for the last week has gone. Alison drove back to KC today and it is just Gary and me again. But before she left, I finished the socks started several months ago.

See how happy she is, especially since they are not wool.

Actually, I really didn't enjoy knitting them because of the yarn. It was Fixation, which is a blend of cotton and elastic, and it was pretty hard on the hands.

I also finished the Kauni Cardigan too. It had been virtually done for several weeks, but I kept putting off the finishing details- tacking down the steeks inside and weaving in the loose ends. But I tackled it, washed and blocked it, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope it doesn't get too warm in the next week, so I can wear it.

The other big news is that I have entered the IPOD world. My new 8GB Nano is so cute- don't you think so. While Alison was here, we set up Itunes and loaded lots of music. It is a really eclectic mix of rock, folk, showtunes, easy listening. Tomorrow morning I will be walking and giving it a real tryout.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Springtime in Colorado

It is April 10, for goodness sake. Sunshine and 50 yesterday and look what today brings!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Family Gathering

On Sunday, we gathered at Mt Nebo Cemetery for the unveiling of the headstone on the one year anniversary of my father's death. What a year it has been....it seems like just yesterday. In addition to the kids, my brother, Steve, also flew in from New York to honor Dad's memory. We read psalms, a passage from Ecclesiastes (remember Turn Turn Turn??) and the mourner's Kaddish. Short and sweet, we were all moved by the classic words of tradition.

We went to brunch afterwards at Yia Yia's and the mood was upbeat. How sad it is that we live so far apart from family, because we always have such a good time when we get together.

Steve and Mom

Alison, Amanda, and Mary strike a pose

left to right: Me, Mom, Steve, Mary, Alison, Gary and Amanda

On Monday night, the kid's watched old home movies from about 20 years ago. How sweet it was to see videos of Dad when he was younger and vital and lively. And also, there was video of Maggie, whom we also lost last year, sadly after a long battle with breast cancer. How wonderful that these moments are captured to share years later.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wild Week in the Neighborhood

The Kids are in town, which always shakes things up around here. Wednesday, Amanda flew to Kansas City and then the two girls drove to Denver on Thursday, arriving around 3 pm. They surprised me at work and I really enjoyed showing them off to my co-workers. Alison, who also works at Crate, got to see all her old friends from 722.
Amanda then picked up the car, drove to DIA to pickup her friend, Mary, and the two of them headed up to Casper WY, to visit a friend who had recently moved there from NYC where the girls live! Like she didn't drive enough that day....oh to be young again. I didn't know whether Casper was ready or able to survive these 3 metropolitan girls getting together again.

Amanda and Mary

On Friday night, since Alison ditched me to get together with an old friend and Amanda was two-stepping in Wyoming, I had the perfect opportunity to get to see the Yarn Harlot again, appearing at the Tattered Cover, this time in Highlands Ranch. I arrived at about 5:30 pm, bought my book, and found a stool to sit on in line and knit as I was knitting. Friendly knitters were all around and helped pass the time as we waited for the tickets to be passed out.

I had an opportunity to chat with Connie who was spinning some of the finest, as in thin, yarn I have ever seen spun on a spindle. I watched her nimble fingers pass the roving to its twists and become yarn....Amazing. She graciously allowed me to photograph her spindle and yarn. It is something to aspire to.
As expected there were more than two hundred knitters, knitting supporters, and a few muggles (people who don't get knitting) and at 6:30 when numbers for seats were handed out, I headed right to the front of the seating looking for a random open seat and scored a center aisle seat in the 2nd row. Check out the Harlot's blog on April 5 to see me in the green sweater.Last year I

(see my empty chair in the second row.)

was in the front row, but I am not complaining. I worked on the Booby Sock and enjoyed all the
wonderful ladies (mostly) around me.

(The Booby sock will need some serious blocking.)

The talk was hysterical covering the zen of knitting, the Canadian cabin episode and the lack of air in Denver. Someone should invite her to stay for more than 24 hours next time, so she can acclimate! Consider yourself invited, Stephanie!!

She talks like she writes and writes like she talks...it is a very dry and deadpan sort of humor, but you all know that! Once the talk was over, the book signing began and since I held number 94, I knew it would be a bit of a wait to get me chance to get my book signed and a few words with Stephanie. She complimented me on my Nantucket Jacket, loved my booby socks, which grew by a few inches during the evening, and she was very grateful for the few pieces of chocolate I gave her while she signed my book. What is so amazing is that she is just as gracious with the last people in the line as she was with those in front. There were nearly endless photos with socks, babies, projects of all shapes and sizes, knitters galore and Stephanie herself. I sat next to Katherine and we took photos for each other when it was our turn. I checked out Katherine's blog and she used a couple, so I was glad they came out. Here are a few she took of me:
Sharing the Sock Mojo Checking out the Booby Sock Pattern
Signing my copy of her latest book. She liked my Nantucket Jacket!

A good time was had by all, except the staff of the Tattered Cover who really wanted to go home hours earlier. There were still about 50 people in line when I left at 10:00 pm.