Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekend getaway - day 2

The main point of our trip to Columbus was to see the Mark Rothko exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art. Almost everything I know about art I have learned from my SO. He accompanies me to yarn stores and fiber arts festivals, so traipsing around museums, absorbing works of art, is a non-sacrificial quid pro quo.

The museum is not very big and we were not interested in much besides the Rothko exhibit, so we had plenty of time to check off another item on our to-do list, the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Fortunately, my stomach had settled down enough that I could enjoy a dish of Moroccan quinoa. My SO had a cookie. I kept asking him if he wanted a taste, and he kept saying he wasn't hungry, and I kept saying, That is not the point. It was delicious!

Unfortunately, there was a lot of Dale Chihuly works nestled in amongst the plants. I know Chihuly is very popular, but frankly, if you've seen one Chihuly, you've seen them all, sort of like Thomas Kincade.

On our way to the true highlight of the trip, we had to stop at another yarn store, the Knitters Mercantile. When I visit local yarn stores on our travels, I always ask about local yarn. This one had some hand dyed alpaca that was gorgeous... and sadly out of my price range.

Finally, finally, Ms. Garmin led us to what I truly wanted to see - my childhood neighborhood. We moved away from Worthington shortly before my eighth birthday, so I could not have found my way there without her help, plus a lot has changed since then. We parked at the park where I used to play and walked the nabe.

This is the house my family lived in when I was born. Of course, I have no memory of it. My dad tells me he bought it for $12,000 and sold it for $12,000 a year later.

Then we moved into this house, which my parents built. Dad says he did the painting and finished the upstairs himself. One of my first memories is visiting this house before it was finished and being confused about the stairs that weren't yet stairs. We lived there until after my younger brother was born.

When we moved, I was allowed to ride my tricycle to the new house, accompanied by my older brothers. Dad says he had seen this house while helping my brothers deliver newspapers. He and my mom thought it was a mansion. It must have seemed like that to me, too, as my memory is of a BIG porch and a HUGE yard.

My bedroom was the one above and behind the garage. There was a door that led out onto a balcony, which must have been a flat roof over the den; on at least one occasion, we watched fireworks from there. I had tried to locate this house on Google Maps by looking for that flat roof, but could not find it. Seeing the house from the street, now I could tell my old bedroom had been extended and the balcony eliminated.

The area was more rolling than I remembered, but then it isn't called Colonial Hills for nothing. Here is the elementary school I attended.

Behind the school is a ravine. We first graders used to scare each other with stories of kids who had fallen into the ravine and cracked their heads open on boulders, spilling blood. Looking at it now, it would take some effort to hurt oneself falling over the edge.

My family was not rich by any means, but in some ways my childhood was idyllic. Instead of organized activities, we kids played outside and rode our bikes in the street and sneaked down to the railroad tracks and traveled from yard to yard by alleyways. We had a wonderful amount of freedom.

While my SO and I gazed over the ravine, we saw kids running in the woods, armed with toy shields and swords. It was good to see that some things don't change.

And then we went back to the hotel, where I took a nap while my SO went out with his camera. Not wanting to risk another episode like the night before, we ate supper at the safe P.F. Chang's. The next day, having accomplished all we set out to do, we headed home.

The end.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend getaway - day 1

My SO and I decided we needed to get out of town for a few days. Initially, we planned to go to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, but I've already been there and it is a six hour drive. Then my SO's barber suggested Columbus, Ohio. Three hours on the road is better than six, plus we each had things we wanted to do there.

But first, we had to deal with the weather. My last two trips were cancelled, one due to illness, the other because of Hurricane Sandy. When the forecast for last Friday mentioned sleet and freezing rain, I was a bit perturbed. But we were heading south-ish, plus nice weather was to follow. And we were in no hurry, so we stopped for breakfast in Decatur.

I would have taken a picture of my meal, but we all know what eggs over easy and sausage look like (plus fried potatoes, a short stack of pancakes, and OJ - we did not stop for lunch). Oddly, the menu described my meal as having two eggs, but there were three. Maybe arithmetic is not the cooks' strong suit, or they are just generous.

The restaurant had obviously been a fast food joint in a previous lifetime; the waitress enlightened us as to which one: Hardee's. (Notice the snow - it was really ice covered slush.)

We drove slowly to Dublin, OH, but we still arrived too soon to check into the Hampton Inn. A cup of coffee seemed in order, so we stopped at La Chatelaine, where I discovered that, while I work with people from India, Latvia, and Switzerland, I found a French accent difficult to decipher.

That did not stop us from enjoying some "sugars" with our coffee.

Of course, I had to use my phone to check for local yarn shops, and there was one a few blocks away, called Knitting Temptations.

It was a little embarrassing, but I became the customer of the hour while people admired my scarf and sweater. So, of course, I had to make some purchases: sock yarn, some locking markers (I've been using paper clips), and a copy of The Spinner's Companion.

By now we could check into the hotel, where we took a little nap before foraging for supper. Despite Dublin's Irish heritage, we were not able to find an Irish pub, so we settled for the Dublin Village Tavern.

We just had to try the Irish Egg Roll, which I thought tasted a little fishy, so I am going to blame that for the heartburn that kept me awake most of the night. Ugh. An aside: My SO and I discuss traveling abroad someday, but he is a picky eater and I am not, so he would probably starve while I would be sick the entire time.

After eating, it was still light out, so we explored a bit, finding our way down to the Kiwanis Riverway Park.

It was a bit soggy down there, but enchanting and inviting.

It was made more enchanting by the letterboxes. I don't know much about letterboxing, but this is the second time in recent sojourns that we have come across them. Maybe it can become my new hobby.

(Like I need another hobby.)

On our way down to the river, we passed a house with a tidy garden on the side. They also had a bee hive in the front yard (the photo was too blurry to save).

And thus ended our first day on our trip to Columbus, which we had yet to reach. Dublin has made an effort to revitalize the downtown area, with many of the quaint buildings marked as historic sites. Rock walls abound, making everything look New England-y. We were pleasantly surprised.

More to come.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nada de particular

I don't have much to post about these days. It is time to start the early transplants, like broccoli, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. There is a pile of WIPs that need buttons, and if I would sew those buttons on, there would be posts about finished knitting projects. I've been spinning, but there is a big difference between spinning with good fiber and an expert looking over your shoulder and spinning pilly BFL on one's own; the kind but honest way to describe the result is "art yarn".

On the plus side, everyone is doing well (knock on wood). The tai chi class is over, but yoga continues. I have a new doctor, an internist, who while not warm and friendly, does seem competent and sensible. I'm getting a new kitchen cupboard, so I'll have some place to store all my kitchen toys. My granddaughter has been staying overnight most Saturday nights, to give the 'rents a break. The 'Pubs, inside Congress and out, continue to annoy and amuse.

Otherwise, just trying to wait out winter. Anything new with you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hooded Pullover, warm and toasty

I finally finished the last of the seaming of the Vogue Hooded Pullover. Other than the deterioration of the instructions toward the end, I like this pattern, like the yarn choice (and it was on sale!), like the fit except for the hood, which is too generous. I did not like how deep the V-neck was, so after adding the single crochet edging, I stitched it up a bit. That part could look better, but I am done. And very tired of cables.

Pattern: Vihervaara huppari / GreenGable hoodie
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky, in Bay Harbor
Needles: US11
Modifications: see above

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of acrylic or acrylic blends, but LB's Wool-Ease yarns are warm and sturdy. And a relief to one's plastic compared to what one could be purchasing.

Yesterday I finally sewed up the armpits, the last little bit left to do, so I could wear it to a gathering of friends. Despite the full house, it was a bit chilly there, but I was quite comfortable.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter isn't done with us yet

There are signs of spring - daffodils breaking through frozen soil, a robin at the bird bath, starlings back from their winter vacation - but.

Geese walk on water!

Goose prints

View from a meeting room

Monday, February 11, 2013

That explains it

A woodpecker was pecking the gutters on my house yesterday. Tried for a photo but no luck. Fortunately, the Sunday comics offered an explanation.

Friday, February 8, 2013


My seed orders have been rolling in (and already one item is sold out). Everything is as it should be EXCEPT for the order from Seed Savers Exchange. The package was addressed to me, but the contents (including the invoice) were for someone else. They are resending my order, but meanwhile they want the mistake returned. I marked it "REFUSED" and put it back into the mailbox, but my carrier could tell the package had been opened and would not take it. So now SSE wants me to schlep it down to the post office and they will reimburse me for the postage. Of course, I have no envelopes big enough for the package, so I can either use one of the post office's or I can create a new label for the package. What a PITA! At least the PO is between where I live and where I work, so I don't have to go too far out of my way.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Look what I made

My first wheel-spun, wheel-plied yarn:

And then, after three lessons, I had to buy a wheel. I chose an Ashford Kiwi 2. I also chose to assemble it myself, thinking we would get to know each other better that way.

In the process, I did learn a thing or two about the Kiwi. But really, the main thing was to start spinning.

I already had accumulated a fair amount of roving. The original intent was to spin it using a spindle. And I did that, for a while. But after spinning, spindling feels like something that requires three hands.

The spindles will now be relegated to decor - I'm hooked on spinning!

Monday, February 4, 2013

More phone rage, tamed

I have this expensive phone with a cheap plan, which has worked out well until the past couple of days, when service has been intermittent. Last call received was Saturday, I can make no outgoing calls except to 911 (and I don't think this is qualifies as an emergency); my attempts to send messages fail, then later succeed; I cannot even access my account through the phone.

I'm about to start a "live chat" with a customer service rep. That is plan A. Plan B is to call the local store (they don't know much about prepay plans since they cannot sell them). Plan C, try the menu hell they call customer service. Plan D, contact their sales department. Let's see how well this works out.

I went from being 14 in the queue to being second, but my wait time fluctuates between 4 to 6, 2 to 4, 4 to 6 minutes. Oops here we go...

Well, I was hoping for a rant here, but the live chat was actually helpful. It turns out I am in a "known impaired service area" and crews are working on it. I am glad it is not my phone. Or me. I also received a $5 credit for my inconvenience. Next time I will try the local store first, as they should know about impaired service areas.

We had a lovely snow last night/this morning, although not enough for cross country skiing. Shoveling the driveway will be my exercise for the day. Then off to pick up my wheel!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I can't keep up

A while back, I combined my three blogs into one and I'm still not posting very often. It's not that I don't have anything to say, I just seem to be too busy doing to do any writing. I suppose that is a good thing, although one of my goals with working part-time was to have more time for writing.

So what have I been up to? For one thing, tai chi. My SO and I signed up for a class, ostensibly called "Tai Chi for Health" but it is really "Tai Chi for Arthritis" per Paul Lam. It is taught by a former co-worker of mine, through the local parks department. We are both enjoying it. We are also taking yoga again as our Wednesday night "date night" followed by a light dinner out.

If that weren't enough learning, I also learned to spin yarn on a spinning wheel during the month of January. The first lesson was fun, but between the first and second lesson, I convinced myself I did not have time for one more hobby. The second lesson was even more fun, and who would not want to have fun? So my final question at the end of lesson three was "Will you sell me a wheel?" I pick it up tomorrow.

Besides exercise classes, I've been fairly resolute about exercising regularly: jogging two or three times a week, doing my shoulder and hip PT exercises twice a week, practicing yoga at home, doing the core exercises the chiropractor gave me almost daily, walking when the weather allows, riding the stationary bicycle occasionally, etc. All in an effort to keep up with my granddaughter, who is in the midst of the terrific/terrible twos. I decided to give her mom and dad a break by keeping her overnight most Saturday nights. In fact, she is sleeping in the guest room right now.

Then there is the knitting. I have been working on two sweaters for myself. Sweater number one, which we shall call Blue Denim, is from a Vogue pattern that I actually paid money for, which is really bugging me because the closer to the end I got, the more vague the instructions became, until they were just plain WRONG. I muddled along best I could, but am not satisfied with the last little bit. That has not stopped me from wearing the sweater around the house, loose ends dangling, because it is quite comfy and warm. Maybe I'll get it figured out today. The other sweater, Big Pink, is about 25% done. I hope its instructions are more robust.

I am also trying to develop the habit of processing my milk delivery sooner rather than later. I get two gallons bi-weekly. The cream I've been turning into ice cream, but that may have to stop - my homemade product is about 300 calories per half cup - no wonder it is so satisfying! A good portion becomes yogurt, plus I make some kind of cheese with the rest. This week it was queso blanco, which is like paneer, a cheese that does not melt and can be used as a substitute for tofu in recipes. In fact, I will be using this cheese to make vegetarian chili for our Super Bowl meal tonight.

There is still time to veg in front of the TV some nights. I am hooked on "The Good Wife" and have just finished the third season (thanks to Netflix). Season four won't be available for a while, as it is the current season and I don't want to jump into the middle of it by watching in "real time", and football season is ending today, so I foresee less TV in my immediate future. Just in time to start garden seedlings inside.

And I read! In the midst of listening to Metatropolis on CD. Just finished Die a Stranger, by Steve Hamilton, and Home Ground, by Allen Lacey. Starting The Paris Wife.

All this, and work too. I can't wait to retire. Someday....