Sunday, August 27, 2006

Amazing Lace! Please vote for me!

Please vote for my Alaska photos here!

Pretty Please? With sugar on top? And a cherry? And hot fudge?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We Interrupt this Blog for an Important Stress Fit

Knitting is happening, but not very swiftly. I am now working on the border of the Shaped Triangle Shawl and am 75.87% finished with the entire shawl. (Note to self: crochet edgings are much faster than knitted-on edgings.)

Craziness is happening at home that's making me stressed and scatterbrained. It’s also sucking up a lot of my time. So I haven’t been answering my emails or responding to comments or leaving many comments on blogs--it’s not because I don’t love you.

In fact, we are getting ready to move. We are looking for a new house and putting our house on the market. We had a "professional stager" come in yesterday. She’s someone who comes in and tells you how to arrange all your stuff so that it looks like a place that no one lives in that a person would want to live in.

Before she came, I made an effort to tidy up our many bookshelves and managed to get almost all of our books on bookshelves. Remember what it looked like before? We have since bought another bookshelf and a cleared off the few "trinket shelves." So I was proud of myself to have every book off the floor. What's the first thing that the stager says? "Too many books." She instructed us to pack away 3/4 of the books. Apparently, full bookshelves make people think that we don't have enough storage space.

She also changed everything in my kitchen so that it looks like no one ever cooks there. She was quite disappointed that I didn't have any "decorative food" to place around the kitchen. Sorry lady, I eat my food, not decorate with it. I also have an unacceptably low number of "pretty perfume bottles and pretty toiletry items."

The worst part was that she wanted to get rid of all traces of the cats.
Stager: Can you get rid of the cat tree?
Me: No. The cats are stressed enough as it is, I will not take away their "safe spot."
Stager: Can you move the cat tree to the garage during viewings?
Me: It weighs more than 200 pounds! It can’t be moved easily.
Stager: Do you really need 3 litter boxes? Do you really have to have a litter box in the master bathroom?
Me: If I got rid of any of the litter boxes, the youngest cat will use the rest of the house as her litter box. I assume that’s worse than 3 litter boxes.
Stager: Pick up all the cat toys. Put away the cat beds.
Me (through teeth): Right.
Stager: You have to put away all these cat photos. But the dog photos can stay there. They’re cute and everyone likes dogs.
Me (out loud): Uh, okay.
Me (to myself): What the *beep*?!

(The cat photos are snapshots that I took of my pound kitties. The dog photos are professionally taken studio photos of the purebred dogs that Peter’s family has.)

Regularly scheduled blogging, complete with photos of pretty knitting and cute cats, will return as soon as possible.

Friday, August 18, 2006

You Got to Have Friends!

Although my trip to Alaska was my biggest adventure of the year (or of many years), returning home was not a let down.

First, I went to the grocery store and found Dark Chocolate M&Ms stocked on the shelves. I promptly celebrated and patted myself on the back because I’m certain that the appearance of this product is a direct result of my constant whining about the absence of it ever since the Sith/Jedi M&Ms disappeared a couple of years ago. Of course, my whines were obviously not specific enough because I really wanted Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms.

Cryptic CardsThen, I went to my mailbox and discovered that many Knittyheads were scheming during my absence from the chat room. Cards! Many cards! Even Christmas cards and a birthday card (though my birthday was in June). Some of the cards were for the cats and Sarah of Morg’s card even contained a cat toy for my kitties. I am quite certain that Monkee instigated this scheme and devised a way to drive me batty.

Each card contains a "clue" or "hint" and the hints don't seem to be related in any way (other than being odd). I'm been trying to figure out these clues, but my attempts are not yielding anything worthwhile. I've tried anagrams and other silly things. So let's see if you can do any better:
From etcgirl: Asteroid
From Barbie*: Armadillo
From Sarah: Hamustar (not Hamster!)
From Karen: Peach and Equal (2 hints)
From Valerie: Hamburger and Fluff Puppy (2 hints)
From Monkee: Bends, Before, and Any (3 hints)

Is this my best side? asks ScoutThe mailbox contained even more goodies the next day: Cotton Ease!** Yes, that's the Lion Brand discontinued Cotton Ease! Ten balls in pink from my beloved, newly blog-enabled Barbie*. She must have heard me sighing over the softness of Cotton Ease and wishing that I could lay my grubby paws on some. (I couldn't find any in the stores around here before it was discontinued.) I was giddy with happiness when I opened the box. I also knew immediately what the yarn will be used for--the sweater that Meredith is making from Inspired Cable Knits. (Peter says, "Won't it look just like that other pink sweater that you made?" I responded, "That was a cardigan! This is a pullover!" Peter: "I must have said something stupid.")

*not her real name

** I am highly embarrassed to be posting this today because Rachel just accused me of receiving yarn from other people "all the time" when in fact and rarely receive yarn from other people and when I do get yarn I'm very happy about it because getting yarn from others is such a special treat and I always wish that I had the correct send-me-yarn aura that Monkee seems to have because people send her really nice yarn out of the blue all the time and it's just not fair that the people who send out yarn to other people aren't sharing the wealth with people other than Monkee but never mind about Monkee for the moment the real issue here is that Rachel is spreading lies about me again and she still claims to be my friend even though she supposedly took away part of my soul.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Amazing Lace Challenge #6: Unlikely Model

I took the Shaped Triangle Shawl with me to Alaska thinking that I would get a lot of knitting done. As it turned out, I knit more in the airports than I did during the actual vacation. But, the shawl accompanied me almost everywhere I went during the vacation. The shawl went on boat rides, bike rides, and on many hikes, popping out for photo ops whenever possible. Lucky for me, unlikely models were easy to find.

Some models were inanimate objects:

A giant ship's wheel and compass
big wheel keep on turning

A tower of flowers
pretty pansies!

A totem pole
Why am I the low man on the totem pole?

A stump on the beach overlooking Kachemak Bay
A beach in Alaska?

The deck of the Kenai Princess Wilderness lodge. (Do you see the teepee?)
Enjoying the view

The top of a 3,400-foot mountain overlooking the Harding Icefield. (This icefield is larger than Rhode Island!)
You could lose a state under that ice

Some models were animals that indigenous to Alaska:

The skull of a fin whale (yes, it's a real skull)
whales are big

A fearsome bear
Growl! Feed me!

A giant salmon
You should have seen the one that got away!

A former Iditarod winner and veteran racer.
Watch out or I'll run away with this shawl!

(Lest you think that this dog is a pet and is therefore disqualified, take a look at where he lives. These dogs are working dogs, not pets. They live outside and are not spoiled. They are well cared for and are not mistreated. You can see that I wasn't about to let go of the knitting or the dog when having the photo taken.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

I’m home and slowly settling back into regular life. The trip was excellent and far exceeded my expectations. Alaska is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

During the first part of our trip, we traveled with Backroads on their Alaska Multisport Trip. It was our first tour-group type trip and it was extremely well organized and well run. Our trip leaders were knowledgeable and were able to handle problems with ease and speed.

You can see foreverThe big event of the Backroads trip was the hike up to the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Fjords National Park. This was the hike that I was most looking forward to and most dreading. Even the National Park Service calls the trail strenuous (in bold letters with an exclamation mark). Yes, I hiked up that 3,400 foot mountain! It was hard but completely worth it. The views were incredible and it was an experience that I will never forget.

mama and baby otterAnother great day with Backroads was the kayaking trip around Yukon Island. It was a wet and rainy day so I didn’t take very many photos. But we saw bald eagles, a seal, peregrine flacons, jellyfish, and otters--including several mama and baby otters. We got to use an extra-long fancy fiberglass kayak because Peter is extra-tall. (You have to click on that photo to make it huge. That otter is just too cute!)

The big bike riding day was not quite as much fun for me, but Peter really loved it. He was the only one of the group that completed the entire 33-mile trip. The day was very rainy and cold and I opted to be shuttled to the top of the mountain instead of attempting to climb it with the bike. I met Peter at the top and we rode down the slippery, steep, and scary mountain together. I ended up riding about 15 miles that day.

Orca!The day after our Backroads trip ended, we went on an amazing whale-watching trip. During the morning of the trip, we followed a pod of orcas around and during the afternoon we watched a small group of humpback whales. The boat that we were on got very close to the whales and I took a ton of photos. We also saw the one thing that I really wanted to see in Alaska--puffins! We saw both tufted and horned puffins. We also saw five volcanoes including one that was steaming. Then, to make our whale-watching day even more whale-filled, we saw another group of orcas swimming behind our hotel later that evening!

qiviut!The trip was not without some fiberly goodness. Although I was unsuccessful at finding some qiviut yarn, I did find some qiviut fiber at a tiny store on the Homer Spit called Local Showcase. I bought 3 oz. figuring that I could find someone to spin it for me. It’s so amazingly soft. If you’re interested, the store owner has more and I’m sure you could contact her to purchase some. (However, one has to wonder how 1 oz. could NOT be measured "by weight.")

More photos from my trip are here including two photos just for Monkee.