Wednesday, April 30, 2008

30 posts for the month - still going strong on 365!

Here is the last one.


Our favorite and shortest stop - Victoria. We'll make it back there someday.

Two posts shy

Here's another one.

Kevin enjoying the view

Resting in the Observation Lounge and taking in the view of the Columbia River.

Three posts shy for the month

Notebook gremlins really screwed up my posting while we were gone. I'm three shy for the month. I will post three pictures from my trip to make up for it.

Why we called it the Brews Cruise:



Fort George Brewpub, Astoria.

Really need to get back to that town someday.

I finished what was on my needles

Mariner Socks

Two pairs in two days! Three pair for the month. Not too bad. Two more on the needles and I will probably cast on something else, even though I have no business doing so.

This was my souvenir yarn from Seattle. I cast on 4/16 and finished today. In between sock 1 and 2, I knit all of my Jacobean socks except for the ribbing on sock 1. These were such a fast knit. If I hadn't been so obsessed with making sure I was being a considerate worker bee while on vacation, I probably would have them done while we were on the cruise. Fat lotta good that did me. Yes, I am currently bitter about my worklife. I can't talk about it yet. Let's just say that my life took a 180 between Friday and Monday. Again, I wish I could win the lottery already.

Sorry - let's get back to pleasant. Pleasant is good. I can be pleasant.

The yarn was from Caryn's Creations and is called Mariner's Self Striping. I really liked this yarn. It's soft and squishy. The stripes are not entirely even, but that's totally fine. I can hardly wait to wear them. The weather is starting to warm up, so I won't have as many opportunities. If it's sixty degrees, my feet demand sandals. Little piggies like to get some sun and wiggle in unrestricted freedom.

Changing things up this week seems to be a good thing for me. I will not be posting anything finished tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not Friday but still an FO

Jacobean socks

I started these in January!! These were written to be toe up with a short row heel. Yeah, well, that type of sock doesn't fit. Also, I'm not crazy about US 1 needles using the Magic Loop method. Perhaps this is why it took me two months to knit socks.

I decided to knit them cuff down and with a heel flap. They fit as socks should - snug and proper.

This is Jacobean, from the Sock Knitting Pentathlon (skp2008). The yarn is J. Knits in the colorway Los Angeles, my hometown! I love them now that they are done. I made two mistakes, but I'm not saying where.

Worth noting - they traveled with us to Canada. They get to be part of my memories from that trip too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Any place else but here

Coquille River Lighthouse, Oregon

Coquille River Light, Oregon

I wish I were here today. I took this picture on a chilly November afternoon. We decided to drive to Idaho Falls via the Oregon Coast. No, we are not directionally challenged. It remains one of my favorite shots of that trip.

On a day like today, I really wish I could be out on the coast, trying to capture with my camera nature's beauty that we take for granted.

I wish I would just win the lottery already so I wouldn't have to deal with a job. More on that later. No reason to depress everyone.

Time to go knit and avoid thinking about things that really annoy me and stress me out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Quotes

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

Bob Marley (1945 - 1981)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

Our first stop on our cruise was Astoria, Oregon. As the ship was getting ready to leave port, and we were on our way to the observation lounge, we heard the what sounded like a band. Low and behold, the brass section of the Astoria High School Band was seeing us off at dockside. The video isn't great, but I thought it would be fun to share. Honestly, how many times can you say that a band saw you off as your ship sailed away. Very nostalgic.

If you weren't able to make out the audio, they were playing Rock Lobster by the B-52's.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Was On My Needles Wednesday

Last night I got home too late and I was too tired to even try to blog. Some days are like that. Back to semi normal blogging.

This week, on the needles are...

Mariner's Socks

Mariner's Socks! These are the colors of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Team, and I bought the yarn in Seattle at So Much Yarn! (No, I don't follow baseball, but I liked the colors) It's a basic 2x2 rib pattern. I couldn't get too creative, I was vacation. However, I did pack my dpn's just so I could start a pair of socks if I came across something nice! As you can see, I have come a fair distance since a week ago, when I cast them on.

Slippin Strippin Socks

These are the Sock Madness Round 3 socks. You can see how far I got. The lace weight wasn't the issue, really, it was the fact that we were going on a cruise that screwed me up. When I checked the stat list on Monday, and 7 of the alloted 12 were done, I gave up trying to be knitting Wonder Woman. Maybe next year. I do like the way they are turning out though. I'm using Jojoland Harmony and Jaggerspun Zephyr.

Jacobean in progress

Actually, since I took this picture Tuesday night, I have since turned the heel on sock number 1! The yarn is from J. Knits and the colorway is Los Angeles. The pattern was much easier than it looked and I am reversing the pattern. It was supposed to be toe up, but I hate how they fit. I can't stand a short row heel either. I am also doing this using the Magic Loop method - one long circular. It really slows me down. But the pattern isn't conducive to dpn's.

Souvenir Yarn Stash Acquisition

My stash acquisition from Victoria at the Beehive Wool Shop. I have to go back there someday! So much stuff to fondle. Anyway, I purchased some Fleece Artist and some Handmaiden. Husband heard the total and I am surprised that he said nothing. Of course, when we were in Seattle, for the first time in my life I heard "$40 for a skein of yarn and a magazine? Seriously?" Let's just say this bag was 2 1/2 times the Seattle purchase.

I didn't get as much knitting time in last week as I had hoped, but it was better than nothing. Since I am posting this on Thursday - I know there is no way that I will have anything done for tomorrow. Next week, just wait!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

By Request

These are the Pubs we visited, in order

Rogue Public House
Tasters included Double Dead Guy Ale and Barleywine Brew, plus two others I failed to write down. One was a red ale. The Kobe Sliders and Kobe Bleu Balls (as in Bleu Cheese) are excellent.

The Wet Dog Cafe
Tasters included Old Red Beard's Amber Ale, Volksweissen Bavaerina Wheat Ale, and Shark's Spit IPA. Beer brats and warm, fresh pretzels are an excellent accompaniment.

Fort George Brewery & Public House
Tasters included Quick Whit, Lovell Lager, Vortex, Cavatica Stout and Mango Wheat. Excellent fresh steak fries.

The Pike Brewery
Tasters included Pike Naughty Nellie, Pike Pale Ale, Pike IPA, Pike Kilt Lifter, Pike XXXXX Stout and Pike Tandem. The chowder was tasty and the Chicken Nachos were a great addition to the experience.

Granville Island Brewery
Tasters included Island Lager, Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale, Robson Street Hefeweizen and Gastown Amber Ale.

Steamworks Brewery
Tasters included Lions Gate Lager, Empress IPA, Signature Pale Ale, Heroica Oatmeal Stout, Nirvana Nut Brown Ale, a seasonal Pilsner, a seasonal Hefeweizen and a seasonal Belgian. The crab and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms were excellent. The beer soup is a must try.

The Swan Inn & Pub
Tasters included Pandora Pale Ale, Old Town Bavarian Lager, Buckerfield Bitter, Arctic Ale, Raspberry Ale, Appleton Brown Ale and Riley's Scotch Ale.

Canoe Brewing Company
Tasters included Siren's Song, Red Canoe Lager, Beaver Brown Ale, River Rock Bitter and Winter Gale Strong Ale (seasonal selection).

In total, we tried 42 beers in 4 days. However, when you consider that an average taster glass in 3 ounces, and the total is split between two people, that's about an average beer bottle per day. See, we're not lushes after all. And we only drank beer before noon once!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Saga Continues - A Day At Sea

Our dinner companions - James and Emily to the left, Heather and Jacob to the right.

And yes I'm still playing catch-up.

Friday was spent at leisure. One thing that we enjoyed during the cruise was a set of lectures by Brent Nixon. He presented four lectures that were very entertaining and - dare I say it - educational. We went to all the lectures, and learned more about Orca's, Humpbacks, Otters and Dolphins than we could have imagined. I had the opportunity to speak with Brent and his wife during afternoon tea on Friday. Mary Amanda, his wife, was working on a piece of needlepoint and I was just too curious to stay away. I shared my crafting history with her and also let Brent know how much we enjoyed his presentations. I hope that we will run across them again in the future. A lovely couple.

Since we didn't have to be anywhere, I slept in. Dragged my lazy ass into the shower at 11 am. I wasn't going to start another morning as a ball of stress, so no battling with the laptop until after lunch and Brent's last lecture. While we sat in the Cafe that afternoon, Kevin reading one of the books we brought, I spent a little over 2 hours on the laptop, mentally preparing myself for what I had to come back too. I scratched the surface of what I needed to review, but at least I had a game plan for Monday.

So, what else on the cruise....the floor show wasn't great. The singers were good, the dancers were not well matched. There was one tall girl who was taller than the partner. It made for interesting lifts and combinations. It was awkward to look at. We went to the first show and didn't return for a repeat. But this is targeted to an older crowd, which I am sure thought was it nicely done. We also had two comedians, one appealed to the over 50 set and other didn't as much. Guess which one we liked? We went to all three comedy nights.

Celebrity jokes that Bingo is the official sport of cruising. I don't agree - it's eating. I had to laugh when I got home because I gained nothing! Nothing!! During the week I sit on my ass all day. The only exercise I get is what I'm doing now - typing. I walked so much last week that the calories didn't stand a chance. I also didn't eat a lot of empty carbs and sugar, which I'm sure also helped. I tried to make sure that I ate complex carbs, good proteins and as many veggie's as I could. Kevin wasn't as fortunate, and he worked out every day.

We had some charming dinner companions - James and Emily for Idaho and Heather and Jacob the Bay Area. Heather works in San Francisco too. This was the first time that we have been the "oldest" couple. Ouch. Emily graduated from the same high school as Kevin - and she was born when he was in college! Double ouch. Same world. Heather and Jacob were great to sit and chat with, and we shared an after dinner cocktail with them one evening. It was the only liquor we bought on the ship. They may sell duty free to take home, but I know of few bars on the mainland that charge those prices! We exchanged email addresses with the promise to get together for dinner in the near future.

And speaking of dinner, oh they were good. Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Braised Beef, Lamb Shank, and Veal Cutlets perfectly cooked, perfectly paired and happily consumed. The portions were perfect. Kevin had fish five of the seven evenings, with roast turkey and roast chicken for the other two. They served chilled soups, escargot and frog legs. In addition to the sweet treats for desert, they had sugar free offerings and what I have come to love - cheese and fruit plate. I did deviate twice and enjoyed Baked Alaska and Poached Pears. Overall, I think I did well for working with my Diabetes and keeping my blood sugar near normal. I did well with the beer, which was a pleasant surprise. The night we had after dinner cocktails, I had a pretty good spike with the Scotch. Good to know.

It's getting late and I have to get up early. I still have catching up to do. Maybe I can squeeze in a couple of posts tomorrow.

By the way - we took over 700 pictures.




Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Day In Victoria

I might as well finish what I started....

This was our shortest time in port. We arrived at 7 am and left at 2 pm. Kevin and I both wished we had more time here. It is a beautiful city and we barely scratched the surface of what there was to experience. We passed a Worldmark resort (our timeshare company) on the way back to the ship. At least we have an inexpensive place to stay when we come back.

We started off at the information center to decide what we needed to do first and plan our strategy for maximum benefit of time. We determined we could squeeze in two breweries while we were here. There are about 7 or so to choose from. Because it was still so early, and we aren't lushes, we did the sight seeing thing first.

The Empress Hotel, Victoria BC

Did I mention this was the first day we had that started out sunny? Makes for lovely washed out photos. Anyhoo....we strolled around the Empress and then went in to check it out. Very cool place. It's celebrating it's 100 anniversary this year. I picked up a tea mug with the hotel's signature pattern, a tin of their signature tea and a couple of other souvenirs.

Next we headed across the street to the RC Museum. We didn't go in, because there simply wasn't time to do it justice. This was on the outside, however....

Totems, RC Museum, Victoria BC

I love Native American crafted works. The Canadians call them First Nations. I think I like that title better. This is a place I have to come back to and spend some time. There was a house totem inside the museum that was representative of Raven- the beak was 30 feet long! It was over 100 years old and absolutely amazing.

We next stopped at the Legislature

The Legislature, Victoria, BC

and actually sat in on a live session for a bit. They were speaking of ethanol and the pro's and con's of production and how it impacted food supply. It was very interesting. I wish I had the opportunity to sit in on a session of Congress when I was in DC all those years ago. Next time.

It was 11 am by this point and we had to get back on the bus at 1 pm to get back to the ship in time. We ran off to find the beer. Our first stop was Swan's Inn and Pub.

Enjoying the tasters at Swan's, Victoria BC

We split 7 tasters here. Why do I have a pen in my hand? Because I am taking notes of what we are having - so we'll remember. Finished these off and then headed to Canoe's Brewing Company.

Canoe Brewing Compnay, Victoria BC

For ambiance, this place was great. We sat at the bar, had 5 more tasters and some peanuts. Of the two, we liked this one better overall and the beer was more to our liking here.

Last stop was Beehive Wool Shop. Now, you wouldn't think that my only yarn purchase would be in Seattle, would you?

Beehive Wool Shop, Victoria BC

This is half of the shop - that I spent maybe 15 minutes in. We had 20 minutes to get to the bus, and we were 14 or so blocks away. I don't walk fast and my feet hurt from days of walking. At least I can say I bought Fleece Artist in Canada. Yes, pictures will be up soon. I didn't take pictures of the swag yet.

We sailed away from Victoria shortly after 2pm. Kevin and I had a nice lunch on board the ship, since we really hadn't had the time to eat in town.

Next post I will cover what we did on the ship and a bit about the evening dining mates and the staff.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Brief Update

We're at sea and heading home. Supposedly, we're off the Mendocino Coast, so we're not too far away. Still, we get in at 7 am and will be disembarking around 9:30 am.

I'll update when I get home, and post some pictures. My battery is almost dead and I've spent the last couple of hours just getting through email from work.

I had the best of intentions when I started on this trip that it would go smoothly. It has in the past. Trying to balance the responsibilities from my job and trying to insure that it wouldn't overly impact my husband can be a fine line. I managed in the past. The computer problems were not something I could account for. With the help of some great tech staff here on board, it seems we finely got it resolved today. That figures - it's the last day.

The problems I encountered had a very negative impact on a co-worker, and that's what is most troubling. I didn't want this trip to be bad for anyone, and I can't say that anymore. Apologizing doesn't make up for it.

There has been a cloud hanging over me all week. Nervous, agitated and on edge. Even now, Kevin has spent these last 2+ hours sitting across for me in the cafe reading a book. He hasn't said much, but I realize that my less than usual exuberance of being on a trip has impacted his enjoyment as well. I disappointed a lot of people this week, including myself. God, I hate this feeling.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Day In Vancouver

Technically, I’m writing this the next day. When I tried to boot up the laptop yesterday – immediate BSOD. Got it through recovery and didn’t have time to deal with it any further. Long-suffering husband has been very patient this week, but even he has his limits. I’ve been on the laptop when he’s working out and then getting ready for the day, or when he’s been in the gym in the afternoon. This trip was meant to spend some quality time together after all, and I don’t want to remind him of the 3+ hours he’s home before I get there Monday-Friday. Even trying to get this done today has been a b*&!h. Outlook is failing to send. As one kind person commented on this blog, it isn't Vista, it's Witless.

Cruise ship at Canada Place, Vancouver

We had another long day in Port yesterday. We had arranged seats on the Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley that loops around Vancouver’s major points of interest. There is more we would have liked to have seen, but I can’t take as much as I used to. I was pretty exhausted coming into this, and with trying to keep up with what we had pre-arranged, getting some work done outside of the computer issues and 8:30 dinner seating (meaning we’re not in bed before midnight – can’t go to sleep on a full stomach), I’m getting a little less sleep than I was at home. We’re at sea tomorrow, so I will be sleeping in. I have managed to sneak in two naps since we set sail, but that’s not quite enough. But, I digress.

There were some pretty cool things to see around downtown. They’re getting ready for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The tour guide was less than thrilled with the construction – and costs. Stanley Park was quite lovely, but we wanted to spend some time on Granville Island, in Chinatown and then Gastown. Maybe next time.

Granville Island, Vancouver

Our stop on Granville Island allowed me to find some Olympic pins for my on-going Winter Olympic pin collection. I purchased a couple in Salt Lake, but other than that, the bulk of my acquisitions have been via eBay. I love eBay – but not so much now. I’ve gotten better – more discriminating – have less time for such things (No. 1 reason). We walked around and saw some interesting things. It used to be called Industrial Island, the City’s source of building materials and such. There are still some industrial businesses, such as a cement company and a foundry, but it’s now the home of the city’s farmer’s market, similar to Pike’s in Seattle, and Emily Carr Art Institute. There are also breweries. By now, you had to know this was coming.

Granville Island Brewing Company is located in the heart of the district. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room on the tour for us, but we enjoyed some tasters and ran into a brother and sister that were on our Ale Trail excursion the other day. After have our refreshments, we got back on the bus and headed over to Chinatown.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, Vancouver

Vancouver’s Chinatown is very different from San Francisco’s, though I think it is bigger in actually land mass. The streets are wider, the businesses have larger spaces and there simply aren’t as many people. There were a number of markets that sold herbs, vegetables and traditional Chinese ingredients. From this aspect, it was really different. It reminded me a little of Oakland’s Chinatown, as far as the fresh food are concerned. We stopped at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings.

Steamworks Flight of Beer

Hopping back on the Trolley, we headed over to Gastown and Steamworks Brewery. Very cool place. We’re used to asking for a flight of taster’s and typically this means 4-6 small glasses of beer. The glasses are usually between 2 to 3 ounces. Steamworks gave us 8 glasses and they were probably 3 oz. each. Holy intoxication, Batman. We decided to have some appetizers here, since we hadn’t had any food since early in the morning, so we ordered Tandoori Chicken Skewers, Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and snow crab, and Beer Soup. All of it was wonderful! We need to start checking out microbrews around the SF Bay Area and see if we can find a place as cool as this one. In the basement, they had pool tables and the bar had to at least 30 ft. long. Beautiful dark woods and a view of the Harbor. Excellent.

We were just a couple of blocks away from the Cruise Terminal at that point, so we headed back. Once we got on board, Kevin headed off to the gym and I slept for a while. I was done.

We had a comedian for the evenings’ entertainment, and we had to see him before dinner. He was on Home Improvement as an occasional character. His name was Jim Labriola and he was pretty funny. Off to dinner and then off to bed, because we arrive in Victoria at 7am and we leave again at 2pm – not a whole lotta time.

I’ll check in with today’s entry later. I have to get ready for our last formal night of the cruise. I hadn't planned on spending two hours downloading email and re-entering a blog entry.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day In Seattle

We are back onboard the ship. It’s cold and rainy. The morning started with some sun, but, it didn’t last.

As my last post revealed, I have had some issues with my laptop. When I start it up now, I fear it just not doing anything. After the lovely Windows icon and associated tune have loaded, the screen is black with a cursor. It stays that way for about 5 minutes. I fear the BSOD. So far, only twice today. Whoopee. My other choice is to log on to the internets in the iCafe, which is not time efficient – or economical. I prepaid for an access package that would give me 240 minutes. I subsequently won an additional 60 minutes. However, that means I’m getting Internet access for $0.38 per minute! If I go over, it’s $0.65 per minute! God, they give it to you for stuff like this onboard. They claim you can use your cell phones at see, but the satellite has been down. This also means no CNN or any type of live news feed. I feel like I’m on a deserted island. Add to that the gremlins also showing their snarky selves in my cell phone (charged it - turned it on - low battery) and SLR (light sensor is whacked, need to reset the defaults and start all over), it's been a perfectly stressed out mess. Tears were eminent as least half a dozen times today. I can be such a girl sometimes. I so hate that.

I am trying to use my Outlook program to take care of emails – and posts – because I can work offline. This will obviously save on connected time. It worked ok this morning. It had a few hiccups, but overall it did ok.

So, for our day in Seattle. Our first stop was So Much Yarn at the corner of First and Bell. Pretty little store. Nothing local, or stuff I haven’t seen. The clerk showed me a few new things in the store that she thought I may not have encountered, but dear husband commented when we left that her claim was more than likely way off the mark. It was. How well he knows me. I have to admit I was good – one skein of sock yarn and the latest issue of Vogue Knitting. The sock yarn will remind me of Seattle.

We then headed for Pioneer square, and the Underground Tour. Very cool. I would highly recommend it to anyone coming to town. Don’t have much time to go into detail, besides you can always Google it. Found a few cool souvenirs and then decided to head back to the ship.

I had to do the goofy thing – I bought a Carmel Macchiato at Starbucks. I also got some money at the ATM at WAMU. I bought a book about Seattle. I smooshed a souvenir penny. Ok – all tourist type things done.

On the way back, we stopped at The Pike Brewing Company for a snack and some tasters. It’s official, this has become the brew cruise, I picked up a book called the Pacific Northwest Passport to Beer. At least that way will we know where to drink in Vancouver and Victoria. This was discussed over tasters today – Pike’s Double Ale was the winner (malty with a tobacco and molasses finish). We must try beer in BC, eh.

After walking through Pike Place we got back on the ship. Kevin is up at the gym doing God knows what and working up a sweat. I am working away at the computer, occasionally asking it to be nice and not screw with me again. At lease the keyboard hasn’t stopped working – that happened this morning too.

I regret that my knitting has suffered. I remember all the time we had on the Alaskan Cruise, so I packed a bunch of stuff (socks, Mystic Light Shawl, etc.) and I haven’t even turned the heel on the sock I started on Saturday. I’m out of Sock Madness, that’s for sure.

Keep your fingers crossed that the gremlins find a new home. The Ale Trail continues tomorrow!

A Day In Astoria

We spent Monday in Astoria – it was cold and rainy when we started and it was cold and sunny when we left.


I’ll have to elaborate later, because yesterday and this morning my Compaq Presario V6000 Vista Enhanced piece of electronic crap crashed on me again, and again and again. Just what I wanted to do on my vacation – deal with the blue screen of death and recovery. Argh. I had planned on spending a couple of hours working, just to make sure certain things were handled, but that didn’t happen as I had planned on Monday. We’ll see if today is any better.


We did the Astoria Ale Trail, which meant we had beer! Our stops included Roque Ale, which is best known for Dead Guy’s Ale. We had three tasters and a free pint there, along with Kobe beef Sliders and Kobe Blue Cheese Balls. Mmm, mmm, good. Kevin had the artichoke dip, which he said was good.


Next stop was the Wet Dog Café, where we met the brew master, got free swag, and enjoyed 3 tasters and beer brats and warm pretzels. We liked this place a lot!


Last stop was Fort George Ale House, where we had 4 tasters and we liked these tasters a little bit better than Rogue. Not the Rogue is bad, they’re just more hoppy, and we like a higher malt ratio. The higher hop ratio causes some more bitterness, which is what we don’t like.


Well, I’m going to try to send emails again, which is what started this whole mess yesterday. I’ve been working on the laptop for about an hour getting the settings back to something Vista will work with. I do so hate the BSOD.


If this morning ends like yesterday, then we may have to find ourselves another Ale Trail.





Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 1 - At Sea

Greetings dear blog readers!

Yesterday, we sailed out of San Francisco on a 7-day cruise to the ports of Astoria, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria British Columbia. The first full day on the ship is being spent at sea. We arrive in Astoria early Monday morning, where we have the morning to ourselves before joining a Microbrew tour of the town. Yes, we’re going pub hopping!

I thought I would give a quick update as we are enjoying afternoon snacks. Kevin is enjoying a sampling of European pastries while I had some finger sandwiches, including the all-time standard cucumber and watercress.

Tonight is formal night and we’re ready for it. Though not crazy about the stodgy formality on this type of cruise, we’ll play along. Of course, since our first cruise was with NCL, and their amazing freestyle cruising program spoiled us terribly, we are trying our best to follow the rules.

Our dinner companions are a couple from Redwood City (south of San Francisco) and one from Boise, ID. The wife of the Boise couple is originally from Pocatello, and had the choir teacher as Kevin. However, we had our “senior moment” in that she was born after Kevin had graduated from high school. Ouch. They spoke briefly of “choir tour” and that brought back some memories.

I leave you with a picture from our departure yesterday. Other than the ship, and endless ocean with grey cloudy skies, there isn’t all that much to share. Tomorrow will be different, however.

Going under the Gate 4/12/08

Friday, April 11, 2008

FO Friday

Well, as I assumed would be the case, I finished my Noro socks. I will upload a picture of them later.

I am in the middle of getting ready for a big event that starts tomorrow, and I have a zillion things to do.

Check back to see what we're up to over the next few days.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Chip's - I love chip's. But I can't eat potato chips like I used to. They're not good for me anymore. Now I have to eat multi-grain snacks, complex carbs. Sun Chips makes a pretty tasty multigrain chip. It's not Lay's Sour Cream and Onion or Crunchy Cheetos, but it will have to do.

I love tortilla chips too - with queso or guacamole. I can still have those things, just no tortilla chips. What is a meal at a Mexican restaurant without chips and salsa? Or rice and egg rolls at a Chinese restaurant? I finally come around to the fact that sushi is delicious, and I can't have the rice!?!?! Well, I can, just not much of it.

I miss my world of starchy, simple carbs. Giving them up was harder than quiting smoking.

If they took Diet Coke away from me, the world would be over as I know it.

Oh well, back to my Sun Chips and dreaming of plate after plate of nigiri and maki, with a chips and salsa chaser.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What's On The Needles

Is it Wednesday already? Gee, times flies when you do nothing but sleep and work. And squeeze in some knitting.

Not too much progress since last week. I did finish Part 2 of the Mystic Light Shawl. It's turning into something very pretty.

Mystic Light KAL Part Two

Then there are the Noro socks still in progress.

Noro nearly done

Not too bad on the stripes, huh? I'm having a Wile E. Coyote moment (as in "super genius" - ongoing inside joke). Once I wash these, I hope the yarn will "blossom" as rumored. I love Noro colors, but I was disappointed with this combo. I have another skein in que, with blues and purples. I'm really going to have to spend some time swatching for stitch patterns. Can you tell I'm generally displeased with the product so far? I try to remain hopeful.

Reversai redux

I'm calling this Reversai Redux. I am re-knitting the first sock on smaller needles. I also re-knitted the toe on the second sock. I had them done for Round 2 of Sock Madness, tried them on again and figured I would not wear them unless they were fixed. I'm not looking forward to Round 3 - it's lace weight and I refuse to go buy anymore yarn. I will have to make do, which should be interesting.

I doubt that I will have anything but the Noro's done by Friday, unless I catch the dishcloth bug again. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

My grandmother-in-law passed away last week. She was very dear to me and I had come to love her very much. When my grandma passed away in 1996, before my husband and I married, she offered to be my grandma too. It still makes me well up just thinking about it.

She hadn't been well the last few years, dementia having taken it's toll. I don't do well in these situations. I feel completely helpless and extremely uncomfortable. It's the type of situation I want to avoid. Anytime a nursing home, or anything like it, is involved I will avoid it like the plague. My mom worked in them for many years, and to me it became a place for old people to go die. Much like hospitals, they totally creep me out. I had the opportunity to go see Grandma last Thanksgiving and totally chickened out. Then again, that would have been my last memory of her. and I'm glad it isn't. To this day, I deeply regret viewing my Dad at the funeral home. I would have been better off having the last memory be of his last words to me, seeing the love and understanding shining brightly from his sky blue eyes. It's the cold, empty shell that comes to me in my dreams more than his smiling face. I didn't want that with Grandma.

She's at peace now. That's what matters. I still hate death, though, and all the crap that goes with it. Everyday we have in this world is a gift. Share it with as many as you can. To those that you treasure most in life - tell them you love them more often. Call up a friend you haven't talked to in a while and just let them know you were thinking of them. Smile at a stranger every once in while. Next time you see your mailperson, thank them for the job their doing. Call a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or a parent for that matter to see how their day is going. In this case, it truly is the thought that counts.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Memorable Moments

I had some trouble coming up with an item for today, but it seemed simple enough after I listened to my iPod this afternoon while at work. Concerts. I like going to them. Many of my memories have specific songs associated with them, and concerts have played a substantial role in reinforcing some of those memories.

The first concert I ever went to was the Vienna Boys Choir. My Dad thought it would be a good experience for me, as I was learning the violin at that point. In retrospect, it was probably a very good concert, but my stint as a violinist lasted about 6 months and watching a bunch of boys sing was pretty boring. At 11, it's hard to keep interested in anything that keeps one in an uncomfortable seat for over an hour.

The first concert I went to that was of my choosing was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Even better, it was the Born in the USA tour, and as a "first concert" experience, there is none better. I saw him twice that tour, first in Los Angles and then in Sweden. We (as in Mom, Dad and I) moved to Norway for a while. I was 19 and felt bereft of country and identity. Oddly enough, that album, that tour, the force that is Springsteen, brought me to a new realization, a different level of self awareness. In truth, an acceptance of who I was. It took me a couple more years to flesh out that new me, but it was the beginning of understanding that I was an American with a long and full Nordic heritage, and that was something to be proud of.

I've seen Springsteen 4 more times since then. He's still my favorite, but U2 and Rush are tied for 2nd place. I've also seen BB King and Ray Charles, both wonderful and enriching experiences. I wish I could have seen Tina Turner before she retired. Cher was amazing - especially all the costume changes. I was close enough to Guns'n Roses to recoil from Slash's ash and sweat spray. Bon Jovi rocked it pretty well. I would love to see Prince again. Iron Maiden was totally awesome, a head bangers ball if there ever was one. I love Stevie Nicks, and I've seen her twice. Others like Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Judas Priest were all good, but not necessarily leaving me clamoring for more. I was amazed how much I have enjoyed artists such as Weird Al, Meatloaf and Cyndi Lauper. I would pay to see them again, and as far as Weird Al in concerned, have repeatedly done so.

There are many that I would like to see, those that are on the "gotta see before they die" list.
Hey, I'm not getting any younger either! I have regrets for those I didn't get to see, like Freddie Mercury with Queen or Steve Perry with Journey. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. At least I still have their music to listen to.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Quotes

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Nelson Mandela

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

I've been listening to Queen quite a bit this week, and I kept thinking back to the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. David Bowie and Annie Lenox did a wonderful job with Under Pressure, and I have never forgotten Annie's look from that night. She is a stunningly beautiful woman, and her dress was fabulous. I'm glad I found this on YouTube.

But this, in my opinion, is their greatest song. It brings me close to tears every time I hear it.

Freddie was an amazing vocalist and performer. Like all those we have lost to HIV/AIDS, he was taken from us far too soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008

FO Friday

Reversai Done

Reversai is done! I've washed my hands three times and my fingers are still black. I will be redoing the toes to a squarer finish. Way too much bulk. I will also be redoing sock 1 on the size US 0 needles. Sock 2 fits slightly better, but other than changing the pattern stitch count, I don't see improving the fit by much. At least I can say that I am moving on to Round 3 of Sock Madness. I'm also going to have to put these into a vinegar bath to improve the dye set on these. I don't want black feet.

This is a first for me - I actually considered ripping these socks back completely. The pattern is very attractive, and from that stand point I have no issues. I used Socks That Rock Lenore, which is a lighweight (8-10 stitches per inch on US 1 needles). The gauge was 8.5 spi on US 1, and I got that. However, I should have considered the garter stitch quality to this, which spreads out more. I did my typical stockinette base surrounded by garter. Live and learn.

Another first for me - this pattern killed my wrists. OMG they hurt. I seriously didn't think I was going to get these done today, because I had to keep taking breaks. Not a pleasant experience overall.

We'll see what Round 3 brings us.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Sunset at Tahoe

There is something extraordinary about Lake Tahoe. Something almost magical. I wish we could visit more often.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What's On My Needles Wednesday

I've been a busy bee this week. Let's start with the longer term project.

Mystic Light Shawl Part One

This is part one of the Mystic Light Shawl KAL. It's a great pattern and I actually got part 1 finished in a couple days. Part 2 comes out today. The yarn in Dream In Color Smooshy in the colrowar Dusky Aurora. I discovered that when I wound these skeins into center pull cakes, that even though they claim to be the same dyelot, there is a difference in color. When I start part two, I will have to alternate every two rows to accommodate the color variation. Why not use another yarn? Because I'm stubborn, I don't want to rip back part 1 and buying more yarn at this point is out of the question. I purchased this as Stitches West, and don't have much recourse to remedy this easily.

Reversai Sock No. 1

Sock Madness Round 2 - Reversai. I am using Socks That Rock Lenore, a sock club shipment from last year. First, OMG this yarns bleeds. May fingers are black! Second, this pattern has a great design, but I hate a rounded toe and, even though I got gauge, these are huge! I'm going to have to do something different for sock 2, with the understanding that I will be ripping this one back once I have completed this round.

Noro Sock No. 1

A plain ribbed sock is such a nice respite from intricate patterns. I'm using Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, and this better soften in the wash. It is so scratchy, but the colors are amazing. I've cast on #2, and had to rip it back to try to match the stripes. I feel like being a genius again! At least these fit.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I ran into an old co-worker today. I was rather surprised to see him, even more so when I found out what he was doing.

There are a lot of people that are out of work right now due to the credit market and real estate decline. I've been in the Real Estate and Mortgage industry since 1992. Regardless of how you feel about people in this industry, let me assure you there were many of us who made a decent living, but never got rich. We weren't profiting from having swindled unsuspecting homeowners. A lot of good people that worked back office jobs are out of work. Wage earners that didn't make bonuses or commission are finding it hard to get jobs in other sectors, because of the "taint" of having worked in the mortgage industry. Times are tough in general.

This particular co-worker had entered into a service job. He had been a loan officer. He never had a big book of business, but he treated his clients well, ethically and professionally. His change of circumstance was surprising. He is smart and clever and I would have expected him to move towards something more professional, a sales position perhaps. He told me about another co-worker of ours that had also changed professions, and that was surprising too.

I'm lucky that I'm able to do what I know best. I struggled to get here and had my own span of a little better than a year when I wasn't sure what my next step would be. Can we change our fate? There have been many great people that I have known throughout my career that I would like to work with again. Can I impact their fate? Change the course of their life? I hope that with the opportunities presented where I am now, that I can make positive change. I can always dream.