Friday list and Saturday plans

Wait? What, it’s Friday? You mean today? Right now?

What am I going to be doing today?

Well, we can start with a trip to the vet in an hour, with three cats.

Yes. All 3. At once. In crates. In the car. What was I thinking whan I made THIS plan?

After that, it will likely be cleaning up my cat scratches and trying to make peace with the three of them.

Then, as it is raining, probably I will go work in the craft room. Crimson Crow is coming over next week to help me “clean sweep” it and organize it and reduce stashes. I am not sure what will have to go, but it might involve some tough love. It would be nice if we could actually walk into the room, or there was one flat, cleaned off surface on which to work.

Laundry, of course, and the PO. A went to the grocery store last night, so that is not critical.

I also want to do some yarn dying – I did a small tester on Monday while I was home sick, I like how it came out, so I will do the rest of that yarn the same way – it can be simmering in the crock pot while I do other things, right? I used black cherry Kool-Aid and a tiny dab of blue food coloring and got a really pretty burgundy color. The yarn is a fine alpaca that I inherited from Cousin Nancy, in a light creamy/slightly beige colorway. I cake dyed the sample, but might do this one a bit differently. We will see. The good thing is that if I don’t like how the shadings come out on the first try, I can always wind it up and dye the whole thing the dark color.

If it stops raining, I will go out and do some digging on the pool area, I need to work on that every day. Even if it is just a shovel full.

That’s it. Not too exhausting this week! I need time to knit, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow is exciting! We are headed south and west, to the land of conspicuous consumption (Freeport) where A will drop me at the yarn/bead/fabric store I spotted there a few weeks ago. She will continue on to South Portland to her version of a yarn store – Rockler – for wood crafting supplies, and router bits and the like. That will give me at least two hours in the store. Mmmmm. A review will surely follow in the next few days. Then, she will pick me up, and we will explore the shops of Freeport. I don’t really want to go to LL Bean – not because I don’t love it, but because it is so HUGE that if I go there, it takes up all my energy and I don’t feel like shopping any more, and so I have NEVER GO IN ANY OTHER STORES IN FREEPORT. This trip, I mean to see what else is in town. This COULD get expensive, I suppose. Unless everything is for skinny young fashionistas who only wear black and beige. Then I will rush to LL Bean and look at tents and jeans and Adirondack chairs.

Sister-in-law L will be with us, she is searching for that perfect “mother of two grooms at a picnic wedding” outfit to wear to the big shindig in July. I am not sure if she will haunt Freeport while I yarn shop, or visit with her sister on the trip to South Portland. But I hope we find her something in that right blend of “casual day but an important event” I think she is still in a happy state of shock that both boys got married in such a short time frame.

Well, time to go cram cats into crates… wish me luck!

Fun Friday, slow Saturday

Yesterday was just what the doctor ordered.
Always fun to take a road trip with Mom, so we can visit. She drove from her house, so I could knit on my socks – made huge progress on the second sock. Socks with Sarah is going to make a huge difference in me choosing to knit socks and finishing them. I like it.

On the way, we stopped at brother N’s future home – currently a muddy construction site in the woods, but it is already clear that is going to be a really nice place, in a great location. Hard to believe from the state it is currently in that it will be complete in 4 months, but that’s the plan, and I know how construction works – it looks like it is going slowly, then POOF, it is done. Speaking of which, here are a few current photos of the screen porch – almost done until spring when it will get really done. I think it really will look nice, and break up the long boring expanse of the back of the house. These photos also show how dreary things look right now – BUT NOTICE – almost no snow! We have had a good ten days of melting. That’s done with again, it is snowing now, but it gives hope of spring to come.

screen porch jan 17 2014 1

screen porch jan 17 2014

We got to Portland in time for lunch, which as always, was delicious. My sister is really good at making simple food taste delicious, and she always makes it pretty, too. She made a yummy lamb soup and a salad, and it was perfect. We sat chatting and knitting until it was time for her to go to the school to get E. A few minutes later, they returned, and we could hear E at the door downstairs, excited and giggling “I hear chatting” she hollered up the stairs, then erupted into the room, so excited to see us and to be able to join in the knitting. She ran and got hers, and hopped up next to C, and started in on her cheese hole scarf. It has remarkably few cheese holes. She was so cute, with her crazy ponies on top of her head, hair sticking out everywhere, glasses crooked on her nose, clearly feeling so grown up. When she asked Mom why she wasn’t knitting, and Mom said “I was making too many mistakes, I would rather sit and talk to everyone, and hear what they have to say.” She admonished her “You have to concentrate and pay attention” ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a good day.

Today I finished the last half-inch of that last sock – first pair done!
socks with sarah pair #1 complete
Next pair will be cast on with Tosh Sock Steam age today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, I continue working on the bulky red sweater. Close to finishing the neck and rejoining the front and back, then it will finish up pretty quickly.

Took a few photos of our new storm doors, all hung up by the contractor. They are cuter than these photos show, the light wasn’t good, and the flash isn’t helpful when taking pictures of glass! The one with the cat cut out is our front door, the one with the sailboat is to the deck in our room – lovers leap as my family calls it. And you can just see Allie watching me, wondering what the heck I am doing out in the cold and snow with no shoes and coat. ๐Ÿ™‚

front door

lovers leap door

Today has been a boring day of chores – we FINALLY got the Christmas tree out – it has been standing around with only the top-most ornaments on it – those I needed the ladder to reach. We tipped the tree over, A held it while I took the last ones off, then we pitched it over the deck rail and down into the woods. Needles everywhere, as you might imagine. I saved a bag full in case I decide to make balsam bags. We also went to the dump, the grocery store, the Post Office, and did laundry. Cleaned the pellet stove, rearranged the living room furniture. Sounds like my usual Friday list huh? That’s what happens when I play on Fridays. ๐Ÿ™‚
Now we are sitting, watching our dvr’d TV shows… Hawaii Five-0 right now… so nice to buzz through the advertising!

Friday list

Dear Mother Nature:

STOP IT! You have completely messed up my great Friday.

Thank you.

Revised Friday List:
Laundry
vacuum
wash floors
shovel
Grocery store
make niece B’s very late birthday card
PO
Library
knit
Order the skein of yarn I can’t live without online.

Here’s what my list USED to look like:
Shovel
Go get Mom
Head off to Bath to Halcyon Yarn for some yummy silk yarn and a few skeins of bulky Lamb’s Pride
continue on to Portland to visit with the knitting family members.

You see how it used to be fun and now it isn’t so much?

Well, the house will be happy to get some long needed attention. And I will be home to keep feeding the fires. Just learned this week that Maine is experiencing a propane shortage. We heat, cook, and dry clothes with propane, so this was a bit of a shock to us. It means we will try to reduce our use, but really, the only way we can put a dent in it is to heat more with alternative sources. We already do our hot water on demand, and do our laundry all at once, so the heat from the dryer is as conserved as possible.

Heating more without propane means we need to acquire more wood for the wood stove and more pellets in the next few weeks. But not today, it is too cold and snowy to even think about dealing with those deliveries. ๐Ÿ™‚

I made it!

Friday was a strange day of travel woes, but I did eventually get home!

Started with a 5 am airport arrival, to sit and wait for the required 90 minutes, listening to a drunk young man and his sober, but pissed off soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend. He got them thrown off one flight, lost his wallet somewhere, and she was (perhaps rightfully) disgusted. They were standby on my flight, and he stunk to high heaven. I pity the person who eventually had to sit next to him for 4 hours. It was bad enough smelling and listening to him at the gate.

Things were pretty uneventful until we were landing in Philadelphia. The cabin was secure, the staff neatly buckled in, flaps working, clearly landing, when a woman decides to get up. “Sit down ma’am! Ma’am take your seat! SIT DOWN!” drew no response. The stewardess flew up the aisle “SIT DOWN!” which got the response “I’m just going to the bathroom.” “You are NOT. We are LANDING.” The woman sat. The plane landed. Literally a minute later.

Usual deal, taxi to the gate, unload first class, everyone else leaping to their feet, grabbing bags. But not moving. Then, the announcement “Is there a doctor or nurse aboard? We have a medical emergency in the jet way.” A woman way in the back jumped up, and everyone scrambled to let her through. A few minutes later,”Please clear the aisle. We need the emergency equipment from the back of the plane.” The stewardess again flew up the aisle, this time carrying two big packs. They advised us of the obvious, that we would not be getting off the plane any time soon, and all I could think of was the poor woman who waited too long to go to the bathroom.

Eventually they told us that the person “was breathing” when they took him away, presumably to the hospital.I hope he made it, and that he had some family with him.

Then began the real exercise in futility.

My boarding pass said my next gate was B-8, and as we were at B-4, I was happy. But just to be sure, I checked the video screen. Nope, B-16. Still, not bad. I headed down there, and when I got there, the sign said “Kansas City” So I asked, and was told “Been a gate change – C-18.” Ok. Well, as you might imagine, C is not near B. So I hoofed it over there, found the gate, went to the bathroom, picked up a boxed sandwich and went over to the gate. Kansas City? What’s this? Gate change. B-16. Now I was getting steamed as I ran all the way back over there, thinking I would be late for my flight. The flight that originally was leaving 2 hours after my landing. But given the lengthy wait on the plane and all the gate changes, I was now about 15 minutes from scheduled departure. I got to the gate, it said Portland! Yeah! It also said “4:28” which was not the scheduled take off time. I double checked, yes right flight, just delayed. OK! I ate my very late lunch or breakfast or whatever it was and sat down to wait.

Loaded onto the flight just fine, took off, and noticed it getting a little more bumpy. Then they said there was some weather, and they would try to avoid it, but eventually, we would have to turn into it. It was really odd, as I could see this huge pile of solid gray out my window, even though I could see the ground. When we turned into it, I could see nothing, and it was so bouncy that the staff had to sit down for the last half of the flight, I couldn’t read, it was too rough. So, I just sat, trying to be calm while we were jounced all over the place. We did land safely, as you can tell because I ma here to write this, and I was really glad to be back on the ground. It was pouring rain, and it rained hard the whole way home, so it took me an extra hour (I guess it averaged out since I made good time going to the airport last Monday…)

Home never looked so good as it did when I pulled in and A had all the lights lit for me. The house just glowed through the dark. My own bed felt wonderful. Good to be home. A and the cats WERE glad to see me.

Friday list

sorry gang, it’s boring list for you but great for me!

Leave hotel by 5 am to go to the Phoenix airport and begin the long journey home.
Land in Portland ME around 6 pm and drive home, arriving around 9, I expect. Kiss A, pat cats, fall into bed.

Phoenix Arizona Day 1

I guess the title is really a misnomer, it should maybe read โ€œAirplanes Day 1โ€ because that is where I spent most of the day.

Got up at 2 am, was out of the house by 2:30. I hated getting up, but traveling that time of day sure is nice โ€“ I cut half an hour off the drive time to Portland, simply because I could go the speed limit the whole way. I was parked and in the terminal by 4:45, bag checked, nothing to do but grab a bite and sit and wait.

Flew US Air (or some partner thereof) to Philly. Plane was full, but it was comfortable, relatively short flight. Of course where we landed and where I had to go were pretty far apart โ€“ I felt like I walked half way to Phoenix just getting to the gate. But I made it in plenty of time to sit and knit a bit. My only complaint? I paid $25 to check a bag, but as the plane was full, they were checking bags for free at the gate, because they wouldn’t all fit in the overhead compartments. I think I will give that a shot on the way home, and ask for a refund for today, while I am at it. What is up with that??? Pretty lousy policy, if you ask me. The whole charging to check bags drives me nuts anyway. I can see charging for HEAVY bags, or MANY bags, but it seems that one should be free.

The plane from Philadelphia to Phoenix was also full โ€“ not so nice, it was bigger and it seemed like the seats were smaller, so the poor middle seat guy wasnโ€™t very comfortable. I tried to snooze, but it is hard to sit still for 4.5 hours, yet getting up was not a choice for me, too many crowded people. This is why I dislike traveling alone. I would have bugged A and stood up if she had been with me. ๏Š

Most of the way across the country, we had beautiful weather, but the pilot warned us light rain in Phoenix. It was a pretty rough descent, but a very smooth landing. One of those ones where you are in the clouds until the last minute, and you hope like heck that the instruments really are working, and that the runway is dead ahead. They were and it was.

So, got my bag back, and found a taxi. Was pleased that the driver was listening to a local NPR affiliate, so I got some world news. And the local weather โ€“ heavy rain and flash flood warnings! Now, for crying out loud, this is the desert!!!! Must my rainy weather follow me everywhere?

I was able to check into my room, which is pleasant enough, nothing special, no fridge, but otherwise has everything I need, and got settled, then went downstairs to get some lunch, which was very nice indeed at the hotel restaurant โ€“ I had a simple salad with chicken, but the veggies were all locally sourced, and it showed. Yum. Called A, who was just getting home from work, and realized I had not reset my watch. So, my body thinks it is nearly 7, but here it is nearly 4. This is going to really stink around 2 am local timeโ€ฆ.

I asked at the desk about what I could see on a rainy day within walking distance. Apparently โ€“ nothing. No shopping, parks arenโ€™t an option as I didnโ€™t bring a rain coat. I can hardly believe it. I wonder who usually stays at all these hotels? There are a lot of them right around me. Is there that much call for business travelers here? Interesting. Maybe they all rent cars. I am too cheap to do that when I will be in workshops until 5 every day.

Another sad thing is that the Phoenix Mercury (professional womenโ€™s basketball team) are not playing at home this week. Here I am all the way in Arizona, and they are playing a couple of road games. Sigh.

But I did check out the license plates on the way over from the airport, and see that Arizona has some really pretty, different ones. Not the one we always see at home. Now, to spot a Wyoming or Idaho plate. I might have to go cruising somehow.

And I do have a list of yarn shops for potential exploration …

But first, I think a nap is in order.

How on earth have I missed this most of my life?

Yesterday was our big day in Portland, and it went off pretty much as planned – we spent an hour or so (and $75) at Rockler, A got all sorts of things that excite her for her workshop. Then it was over to the Cryptozoology Museum to excite L.

I can now tell you what it is. Apparently, cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals. Like mermaids, Loch Ness monster, and abominable snow men, among others. The good news is that the approach is one of science and debunking myths, but the museum seemed full of myths and stuffed animals. As A and I said, we are glad to have gone, so L can say she did it (she loved it, has several new T-shirts, post cards, etc) and we never have to go again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it was off to Papier Gourmet. This was a bit disappointing as they have vacated their large store for renovations, and are in a very small space, with very limited stock, no special sales or overstocks. And while there was much there that I liked, I was not in a mood to spend $30 on a calendar. But I saw enough to know that I will go back when renovations are complete, and they are back in their big store.

Next up – lunch. Here, things got dicey. Where we wanted to go was down on the water on Commercial Street. Well, it was mobbed, there was absolutely no place to park, and A was getting crankier and crankier, and so, in response, was I. Finally, we gave up, and went over to our next stop, in my sister’s neighborhood, the Knit Wits yarn store. As expected, there was on-street parking, and we found a pizza place that turned out to be absolutely heavenly – Otto’s on Congress street, in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood. After lunch, we headed to the yarn store, and my sister and niece came down – for some reason, no school Friday. It is always good to see them, but when E is there, it is nearly impossible to have a whole conversation with C.

I did, however, get to play with yarn, and as expected, I could not resist buying some. I got Quince brand Finch, in the color dogwood, which is soft a nice, soft pink with a touch of beige or gray or something to keep it from being baby pink.

quince skein

quince skein and balls

I also got Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Almanac, mostly so I could get the pattern for the Pi shawl I have been reading about on blogs and Ravelry.

How have I avoided reading anything by EZ? Of course I have heard of her, and some of her patterns (surprise jacket, percentage system for sweaters) but I have never been tempted to really read anything she wrote.

Well, now I MUST have it all. I just love her! I don’t know that I could make a thing she describes without her “pithy” instructions, but the way she mixes life lessons and her personal world into her knitting tales is simply wonderful. It is like having my grandmother B back – very funny and sharp observances, right on target. I read most of the book before we got home, and I cast on the Pi shawl in the Quince this morning. As recommended by EZ, it will travel with me to Phoenix on MOnday, so I want to get it big enough to get onto one circular needle. I think I am almost there. I can see I will have more of these, as I am already doing what EZ says I will do with it – thinking about how to embellish the big knit spaces. ๐Ÿ™‚

So. Before I could read all the way home, we had to get back up the hill to the truck, and in making that trip, I stepped wrong on a broken brick, and fell down. Embarrassing! I twisted my ankle, which was no fun. It happened when I noticed niece E run off into a shop to talk to a little boy, and as I was the trailing adult, I turned to make sure she didn’t disappear on us. I was focused on the store front, and did not look where I was going. Duh. E came right out and wanted to know why I was lying down, and as I got up, she told me I scraped my knee. I said it was ok, she informed me, no, it is fat. Observant little dolly. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I hobbled up to the truck, we said good-bye to everyone, then went off to Trader Joe’s. A was humiliated when I hopped into a wheelchair cart, but I knew I would no way be able to hobble around the whole store, and driving was fun. We got lots of little odds and ends there, including parmesan crisps, English toffee, a birthday card and cinnamon cereal – eclectic shopping trip!

Then it was time to head toward home. We stopped for a gelato in Brunswick, and a grocery store for a bag of frozen peas for my ankle, and then we continued on our way, with me ensconced in the back seat, leg up, peas in place, and Elizabeth Zimmerman to entertain me.

A good day – we each got hobby supplies, we discovered a new pizza place, L got to her museum, and we had good gelato as well. And, got a short visit with C and E, which is always nice.

And I found Elizabeth Zimmerman. Holy cow. A great day.

And before you worry, my ankle is doing much better today, I think the peas did the trick. I should be in good shape to deal with traveling on Monday.

Vacation Friday list

This week, A and I are planning a road trip with L. We have spent a lot of time with her this week, I think she will miss us when we go back to work next week!

We leave around 7:30 am and head to Portland. This is an excursion we promised her for her birthday last month. The main focus of the trip is the Cryptozoology Museum, but we will do lots of other things while we are there. Not really sure what a Cryptozoology Museum is all about, but L has been wanting to go. I’ll post and let you know more when I find out!

While we are there, we will go to Rockler so A can scope out a few more things, including router bits and clamps (on sale). So exciting as the more she spends, the more I can maneuver into craft supplies. lol.

We will go to the yarn store there that carries Quince yarn so I can see it, touch it, drool over it, and be able to order it by mail, with a clue what I am getting. I MIGHT have to buy just a little bit…

And we will go out to lunch somewhere in the Old Port, and then we will do a bit of shopping (probably the window variety) there and make sure we stop in at Papier Gourmet. L heard that they often have odd envelopes and things on sale. So we will probably buy things in there. ๐Ÿ™‚

I emailed my sister to see if she can join us – no answer yet, but we will call her when we know about lunch, and see if she can join us. I think little E will be in school, so she may just be wallowing in peace, and not want to leave the house. But maybe she will want to visit with grown-ups and no 6 year olds. ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way out of town, we will go to Trader Joe’s. I have never been there, so it will be a fun experience. We will have a cooler in the truck, so we can get almost anything we want.

Yes, you saw that right – truck. A has finally gotten the vehicle she wanted to rent last weekend – her 4 door Toyota Tacoma truck. She is excited to be able to go on such a long road trip with it, and not just to the dump and back 50 times. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sadly, it has to go back on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. As she said “poof, the magic will be over, it will turn back into a Corolla”

That’s what Friday is all about this week – lots of fun! And lots of knitting, I will get to keep quite busy with 5 hours in the car. Can’t wait to show you what I am working on now, but that is another post.

2 more days, and NOW we are getting stressed!

This week has been absolutely wild, unless all you wanted to do was go to work. A was traveling 5 days, overnight Monday night. She was home fewer than 8 hours a day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and worked 8 hours by noon today. Needless to say, she is exhausted. I was home MOnday and Tuesday, left early Wednesday for the New England Community Action Conference in Portland (which was GREAT, invigorating) and got home around 3 this afternoon.

So, while the yard is neat and tidy, the house is a complete disaster. We decided to “just” do laundry today (we probably have 6 loads, since neither of us was home this week to do any), and rest up to be in a cleaning frenzy tomorrow.

Then it will be Day Zero.

Can’t wait! How nice it will be to be married and have that gold band on our fingers. And have a clean house, a tidy yard and a day off.
But before that, we have to reconnect with each other. the cats, and our real lives.

knitting this week

It hasn’t been a particularly productive week on the needles – I made a couple of hats – one I made three times, trying to get the pattern right, only to run out of yarn! It is a great cabled slouch hat I picked up from allnightknits. I finally pulled it all out and knit my old standby beanie. But I liked the pattern, so I will be doing again, but make sure I have enough yarn. I also finished my socks – tried to get a photo, but none came out well – Allie was helping me in the process, so I got a lot of photos of her shiny black fur. And these few blurry shots. Not sure why all my photos are coming out blurry these days but I apologize for it.
sox and allie

While Allie helped with photos, Zumba took a nap. She loves her basket, even though she doesn’t fit in it anymore.

In this photo, you can see that her bare little belly is finally growing hair! I hope we have sorted out the food problem, and her itchy days are over.

Zumba working hard

This week I have a conference in Portland, so will be away a couple of days – I plan to bring LOTS of knitting – so many hats to make while sitting in workshops. And I hope by the time I get back, the yarn for the CAL will be in – if it isn’t, I am afraid that I will start another big project and won’t want to put it down. ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to make a few more pairs of socks for myself, and a lace scarf or two…and there is still the big red cabled sweater ready to roll again. The sad part is that I already have all of the yarn for these projects, so no yarn shopping required. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And the Maine Fiber Frolic is coming up in a few weeks. I’ll have to think of a few more projects before then! There is always such wonderful yarn there.