Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year!

We had a lovely quiet Chanukah, as we have to enjoy visits from kids as they can get away from work.  Everyone growing up and scattering plays havoc with family holidays!  It's also strange to have sunny weather at Christmastime.  It's a little cooler than normal this year but we still look at sunshine and palm trees most of the time.  I had a vision of what it is supposed to be like, courtesy of a decorated yard nearby that included (fake) snow.

We had our designated shelf for sparkly lights, candles, and the menorah.  I keep it there until Jan. 1 or so because I love the lights.  I also put some blue and white lights on our bushes outside and we've been enjoying them, too.  It doesn't take much to make me happy!  Latkes on the bbq help, too.

We had a surprise visit from the Princess, Prince Charming, and our granddog, Olive. They had a few days off work and decided to spend them with us and we were delighted.  We went on a nice hike,

visited zoo lights at The Living Desert (and rode the carousel!),

played some games, and relaxed.  Someone got a new sweater, too.

Next weekend we get to see Mr. and Ms. Hollywood when they come over to go to a movie with us at the Palm Springs Film Festival.  We won't get to spend much time with them this time because next Saturday we're going on an adventure and driving to Phoenix to attend the Seahawks/Cardinals game.    We're excited because we don't get to see all of the games on TV while we're here in CA and I haven't seen the Seahawks play in person since the 70s.

We missed seeing our Seattle kids, but they're busy growing our new grandbaby.  Things are going great so far...if you look closely you can see the little socks I made for him.  Yes, they're having a boy and he's reported to be big already, so larger socks might be in my knitting plans.

No more finished knitting to report on, but I started a sofa throw in desert colors to have here.  Straight rows of garter stitch will make us a nice, squishy blanket.  I've been messing up things right and left so wanted a truly non-thinking project!

Wishing happy, healthy days for all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Knitting!

Knit, knit, knit, rip, rip, rip....if I just did each project once, I'd be much more prolific.  Oh well, it's the process, right?

So here's the scoop since last month.  I made a pair of baby socks in Seahawks colors for Baby B, who now has been officially revealed as a boy.  Apparently he will be a big boy, though, so I think bigger socks will be on the needles soon.  There are other things I want to make for him (and something I've finished) but I won't post them here until they're done and delivered. Don't want to spoil any surprise (not that his parents read my blog, but you never know.)

I'm making another baby present for a mom-to-be I know here in the desert.  I found some Cascade 128 Superwash  in pinks (she's having a girl) and am making a basketweave pattern for a blanket.  The yarn shop only had four skeins, so I need to hurry and figure out whether I have enough or if I'll need another skein.  This has to be done by the shower date of Jan. 2.  It's quite a bit farther than the photo shows.

I just finished a cowl today that I've been working on and off for awhile.  It's cashmere and so light and soft.  The pattern was very interesting to make and might be a fun one to do again in another yarn.  It's called Foolproof. The colors are a bit darker than they look here.  Darn sunny day in December!

In my last post I mentioned the mystery shawl I was knitting.  Well, after waiting for some yarn to rescue me when I ran out during clue 1, I finished it.  I knit shawls but usually don't wear them....this one sits very nicely on the shoulders and I just might get some use out of it.  It's a Westknits design but not quite as crazy as some of his.  I kind of like it!

I didn't show you the last sweater I finished.  It's called Reine and is a really nice design.  I didn't put the buttons on since I liked it open just fine.  Here's a photo of me wearing it with the Princess at Thanksgiving.  I made it out of a really nice sport weight yarn from The Plucky Knitter.

That's it for now.  I really want to do some spinning but just haven't had the time.  When I get caught up on the baby things, that's the first thing I'll do.  I bought some cool new bobbins for one of my wheels from Akerworks.  He makes them on a 3D printer and the colors are so much fun.  I haven't even had a chance to try them out but they're supposed to be awesome.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Yes, I still spin and knit, even though there hasn't been much evidence of it lately on this much-neglected blog.  I got onto Instagram with the cool kids (lboatsman there) and I got lazy about actually sitting down and writing something, linking photos, etc. etc.

Soooo, I was reminded today when The Princess asked me for photos of our half marathon, which was 5 years ago.  I looked up my recap here and thought, "I should show some knitting."  I'll go figure out what I knit over the last few months and link to my Ravelry project pages.

I made this baby blanket for a shower gift and really enjoyed working with the yarn.  I'm using it again for another blanket.

I knit these socks out of handspun and I can't wait to make some more.  They are slightly big and just perfect for around the house socks.

I wore them a fair amount over the summer, and did the same with these.  The second pair was made as part of a Spin-along organized by some really great dyers.  The event was based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, hence the "Noble Dragon" socks.

This shawl was also made from handspun during this same Spin-along.  "Maiden's Wish" was the colorway name and I think it came out nicely.

More socks from the same event; these are called "Magrat".  I worked on these on our trip from the desert to the NW last spring and had a terrible time with them.  No matter what I did, what needles I used, they kept being the wrong size.  I finally finished but did afterthought heels and made them too deep.  I never forced myself to rip them back a little so they are still sitting at home unworn.  I did enjoy the spinning process and figuring out how to make them self stripe.

I had fun making this guy.

Mr. Hollywood is a fan of the Sharknado movies (!?) so I made him a Sharknado shark.  I thought the bloody mouth was a nice touch.

I finished my epic Gradient Heirloom Blanket out of Plucky Trusty.  I love this blanket and it matches our new color scheme at the lake perfectly.

Then I went on to a Seahawks color scheme kick: Made a cowl for my sister, a hat for Mr. Hollywood, and a shawl.  Oh, also a baby hat for our new grand baby who is expected in the spring!

I made another baby hat too; more babies coming in March! This one was really quick and fun.

I finished a sweater but don't really like the way it fits :(  It's in time out at home in Seattle and maybe it will fit better when I get back in the spring!

 I made another hat out of some nice red yarn but don't know who will get it.

I have some other things in progress; I've been working on a baby blanket and also a Stephen West Mystery Knitalong, which has been quite fun.  Most of the way through Clue 1 yields this pretty shape.  No idea where it will go from here.

I'll catch you on the flip side.  Keep knitting!

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Did What?

Edited to add:  I started writing this post early in June.....good thing I don't put everything off quite this long.  So finally, here's the saga:

I like to keep myself in pretty good shape.  I eat well, exercise regularly, like to try new things like kickboxing, but I'm no athlete.  So then why, last Saturday morning (June 6th) at 6:30 am, was I pushing my bike along the path to the park where I was registered for a sprint triathlon?  Yes, that's right - triathlon.

Now if you've been reading my sporadic blog for umpteen years, you might remember that I did a half marathon back in 2010 with the Princess.  Setting that goal for myself and achieving it with her at my side was a monumental accomplishment for me.  But I found out that I really don't like running and, despite my best intentions, really didn't keep up any sort of a running program after that.  I do normal stuff like walk and work out at the gym with weights (and tried kickboxing last spring!) but wasn't on any sort of specific training program during the last few years.

We built a new house on the shores of beautiful Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley, WA and moved into it last summer.

At this point, we spend winters in Palm Desert, CA and the summers here.  Shortly after we arrived last summer, we observed a triathlon that was held here at our lake.  The organizer was a woman I met at the gym, so way back then I decided that I might want to participate in the event this year.  After all, I swam in the lake most days during the summer, walked around the lake multiple times a week, and would just have to get my old lady bike dusted off and I'd be set.

I planned for this all year.  In addition to my gym class, I ran, biked (a little), swam and thought about the triathlon.  I read (no, I obsessively studied) a book written by a chubby woman non-athlete (her description) who progressed from no exercise to a sprint triathlon to eventually ironman distance.  (Note:  I will not be doing that.)

Long story short, about a week after we ended our road trip home from CA, I was up early and walking to the park to start the event.  I had purchased some of the gear but by no means all of it.  I didn't want to look like I expected to do well with the tri suit and fancy bike, etc.  This was just an experiment for me.  There were about 400 people there this year, as the event had grown to include not only my sprint tri, but an Olympic distance one and also various distances of runs; 5K, 10K and half marathon.  My SIL, who regularly runs marathons, decided to come out and do the 1/2.  It was great to have her here for the night and for support.  My sis and DH were along as support staff and photographers.  We had a great crew!

Leaving our house to go to the park.  After reading descriptions of most triathlons, being able to walk to the venue in 5 minutes was much appreciated.

My race number was 1.  I think I must have registered first...don't know how that happened.

SIL left before me on the half marathon.  She's incredible; had run a full marathon a couple weeks before and didn't look tired at all when she was done with the half.

Getting ready to swim.  Notice all the fancy-pants outfits and wetsuits.  The water really isn't that cold!

Embarking on the bike ride.  At least I didn't have a basket on my did look totally out of place amongst all the racing bikes.

You have to walk your bike to the finish line.

Done!  I was happy to see the end.

Celebrating with our (tiny) medals.  SIL won her age group and I got second in mine.  Very handy to be older than most of the competitors!  We added champagne to our celebration when we got home.

Here's the paradise where we live from the end of the lake.  We can't see the mountain (Mt. Rainier) from our house.  Photo credit to sis.

I am very proud of myself for setting this new goal and accomplishing it.  Despite all of my training, I had a lot of trouble breathing during the swim and run portions, which worried me and slowed me down quite a bit.  I think it's turning out to be a vocal chord disfunction, but why it just turned up during the race and wouldn't go away is beyond me.  Even with that really bothering my running, I never considered not finishing.  It was a beautiful morning and my lovely SIL walked/ran the last mile or so with me even after finishing her 13.1.

I'm still swimming most days, a 1/2 mile or so and planning to work up to a mile soon.  Next year we might put together some relay teams, or I might do an individual race again.  The fact that this one is fairly low key and unofficial makes it just a good time.

On to the next thing!

Triathlon info:  The sprint triathlon is the shortest;  the one I did included a 1/4 mile swim, a 14.3 mile bike ride, and a 5.5K (3.47 mile) run.  The Olympic distance involved a 0.93 mile swim, 26.04 mile bike ride, and a 10K (6.2 mile) run.  If you want to do more, there's the 1/2 ironman (about 70 total miles) and the full ironman, which seems totally crazy to me at about 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and then a full marathon (26.2 miles).  I'm sure there are ultra- type things if you really want to torture yourself, but that's not my idea of a good time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

On The Road Again Last Chapter

We left our hotel in West Yellowstone fairly early in the morning.  We didn't have a really long drive, but we could not abide the annoying (Chinese) tourists in the hotel for another minute.  Someone needs to teach these guys how to behave before they go traveling internationally.  Rant over.

Anyway, we hit the road for Butte, MT.  Before we had gone too far, we ran across Quake Lake.  This is a lake that was formed due to a massive earthquake/landslide that occurred in 1959.  An entire campground full of people was swept away and the river valley was turned into a lake.  Dead trees protrude up from the water in a ghostly way.  Reminder:  Click photos to enlarge.

The drive was nice; we enjoyed seeing wide open spaces and beautiful mountains as a backdrop.  Now these guys have big yards!

We stopped along the way in Ennis to have breakfast and did a little shopping for some Montana products but pressed on as DH was scheduled for dialysis in Butte in the mid-afternoon.  I have to say that Butte really surprised me.  We had scheduled it as a dialysis stop and I hadn't thought of it as a place that would really be interesting.  I was pleasantly surprised.

While DH was busy, I checked into our B&B, which was very nice, and took a long walk around the neighborhood.  There seemed to be snow-capped mountains on every side.  Lovely to see.

The weather was great for my walk, which was a nice surprise after the rain/snow/sleet we had run into the day before.  We found a nice restaurant for dinner and then went to see a memorial to some miners who had died in a mining disaster.  The memorial was at the top of a hill and was very tasteful.  You could also look over the edge to see the open pit mine that took the place of the shaft that had been there originally.  Learning about the mining history of Butte was fascinating, since we hadn't really been exposed to that industry before.  Seeing the pits that continue to be mined reminded us how lucky we are to live in an environment that isn't dug out and scarred like that.

The next day, we visited some other local sights we found out about.  The Clark Mansion was fascinating; I recently read Empty Mansions, which recounted the history of the Clark family.  William Clark, Senator, banker, and investor in copper mines, built the house originally.  Most of the furnishings are not original, but the architecture and details are amazing, as is the size.  The "tour" signs take away something from the elegance, however.

We went on to the campus of Montana Tech (go Orediggers!)  Isn't that a great name?

It's built right beside an abandoned mine shaft, the Orphan Girl.  There are preserved buildings from the former camp, and you can walk around the old equipment and see what life would have been like to work there.  They also offer an underground tour of the mine shaft, but we passed.  Hello, can you say claustrophobia?  We finished our tour of the yard right before the sky opened up with another cloudburst of rain and hail.

We pressed on then, to Coeur d'Alene, ID.  It was nice to get back to some more familiar Northwest scenery, and the right time zone!  The weather was beautiful here and we had a very long walk on a nice, new trail that is being finished along the river and lake.

Then it was finally the day to go home!  We had a wonderful trip and saw so many amazing things, but two weeks on the road is a long time.  As we drove from Idaho into Washington, the sights became more familiar.  There was still range land and prairie, but farms, too.

The Columbia river:

We neared Central Washington where Mr. Hollywood went to school and stopped at a favorite restaurant there for lunch.

Then it was less than two hours to home.  Our little house made it through the winter and looked great.  We were happy to unload the car (and make it possible again to see out of the rear-view mirror.)

Then we had to check out the back.  The yard was hardly finished when we left last fall and we're looking forward to a great summer here.

And now I sit here writing this on the patio and looking out at this great view.  It doesn't get much better than this!