Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much.

Thanksgiving is usually a pretty low key holiday around these here parts. It was this year too...for the most part.

We visited my in-laws. Including my 90 year old, 8 weeks post hip-replacement MIL. How's she doing? Well, if dragging her quad cane behind her, like a bad puppy is any indication, pretty damn well. Around the house, other than getting out of bed in the morning, she really doesn't need it at all. She will use convenient furniture to support her if necessary, but she cruises around pretty effortlessly, albeit slowly. She carries the cane out with her, but it almost seems like a security blanket. I, personally, wouldn't care if she carried Gandolf's staff, if it helped.

If any of you watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition on November 29th, you saw my sister-in-law's employer in action. They were the contractor that built the home. She did all the behind the scenes stuff with the producers. I don't know much about it because we were watching the Steelers lose yet again.

The holiday downside was the unwelcome news that a relative, to which my DH was particularly close - a year younger no less, has apparently (I say apparently because we don't have all the details yet) been diagnosed with a vicious cancer. If it is what we've been told, the outlook is grim. It is particularly heartbreaking.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's me...I'm back.

Last week I was in Denver, CO for a conference - a BIG conference. Truthfully, I wasn't delighted to go. I had issues at home that needed to be resolved and managed, and the timing sucked. Well, I'm now glad I went.

The home "issues" while they didn't sort themselves out, at least remained manageable, and I got some "away" time I didn't realize I needed so badly.

The week prior to my trip Denver got FEET of snow. The week I was there the temps were in the high 60s and low 70s without a flake in sight. To say it was bizarre, doesn't quite describe it.

The conference was in the Colorado Conference Center. The upper level is an enormous atrium with stunning views of the Rockies--when they were not fog shrouded.

Outside the Convention Center the designers added a bit of whimsey. See the big BLUE bear peering in the windows?

Seems perfect for Denver. The Denverites I met were all very nice, and friendly! Even, are you sitting down?, the bus drivers. (I'm from Pittsburgh, and the natives are wonderful friendly there, UNLESS they are bus drivers. At least that's my experience....Maybe it has to do with passengers like me who leave their clog in the middle of the street while boarding a bus.....Hummmmm.)

On Wednesday night, I took a bus to The Lamb Shoppe. See this is how I know about bus drivers. I got some info from the hotel concierge about where to actually get a bus. Not only did this gentleman give me information, he walked outside the hotel with me to point me in the correct direction! When I got on the bus, it was dark (Standard Time), and I had no idea where I needed to get off, other than between Madison and Maple. I told the bus driver that I needed to get off at that stop (I knew the bus stop was near the shop because I called them), and would he alert me? He said "Sure!". Well, after about 15 minutes I got antsy, and we were in a VERY residential neighborhood, so I stood up to get a better look. He saw me and said, don't worry, it's another two stops away. He then told me where and when to get the bus back to downtown. When I told him I was going to a yarn store he said, "that's a first"..."it's usually BEAD stores!"

Anyway, another blogger/knitter once described the indecision of a knitter as "monkey mind". Well, I'm the original monkey. It used to happen in bead stores, I'd have a "plan" of sorts....("I'm going to buy Delicas.") Then as soon as I'm surrounded by gorgeous beads, well, forget it. I can't even remember I had a plan to begin with. That's exactly what happened in the Lamb Shoppe. The walls were just loaded with gorgeous yarns....seriously! Yarns that I've only read about. And here I was....with no room in my carry-on. In addition, there was a delightfully rowdy stitch and bitch group meeting up front. A table learning how to crochet, and another table of beginning knitters designing their own mittens...... Action packed doesn't quite describe it. For someone who, for the most part, is a solitary knitter, this was like an oasis.

So I wandered around for about 30 minutes, I bought some cotton sock yarn for my cotton loving mother, some Malabrigo, and a Skacel Zauerbal sock yarn, and herein lies a story.

A colleague of mine, who will soon be retiring (snif), recently took an extended vacation. She had seen a moebius shawl at one of our local arts festivals and was immediately charmed by the concept. In my "go big, or go home" approach to most things I said. I can show you how to knit a moebius. She is barely a beginning knitter by the way..... She bought needles, lovely Lamb's Pride Lanaloft, and I helped her cast on.... At her vacation destination, her knitting attracted the attention of other knitters one of whom introduced her to a skein of Zauerbal. Yet again, she was charmed and tried to describe it to me when she got back. I had never seen the yarn. However, lo and behold, there was Zauerbal, right on the Lamb Shoppe shelf! So I bought one for her as a souvenir from Denver.

Anyway, here is a [bad] photo, of the Malabrigo worsted (Ginger Carrot--has it dawned on anyone yet that I buy yarns because I like the color names?), and the Zauerbal.

I am using the Malabrigo to knit another pair of Fetching mitts. This time for me. They will "match" nothing...but I don't care. Nyah, nyah. I knit an entire pair of mitts while I was in Denver. They were that fast...and travel makes for lots of knitting time. (Not necessarily in the air, however.)

These are for my sister this is a new type of Araucania yarn. Loved it!!

I will definitely make the palms deeper (longer?) for me though.

There's more, but it's late here, and I do want to go home eventually.........

When I began this post it was Veterans Day, and I was going to tell everyone to kiss an available service person to thank them. Even though it isn't Veterans Day, I'm thinking this might be a good idea anyway.