Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The View From Bourne's Pond Road

We're back in Falmouth and went over to City Hall to proofread our marriage license. Typically, my 2's were read as 8's for my zip code, and Mom's maiden name received an undeserved H. Otherwise all looked correct, and it was exciting to see the first version of our official document. All that remains now is to plan when to play our music. Thanksgiving dinner prep is underway - the house already smells deliciously festive.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fly By Post

We're having a blast in Massachusetts. After a visit to Falmouth City Hall to apply for our marriage liscense we rode in to Boston on the bus, then lunch and shopping on Newbury Street. We started our evening with a delicious Italian dinner at Giacomo's followed up with a trip to Mike's Pastry. Not only does Mike's have the most delicious canolis, but their case of marzipan is so beautiful you could hang a picture of it on the wall. A quick walk and an after dinner drink at an Irish pub across the street from our hotel made for a perfect evening.

Off to bed, with a visit to Boston's Aquarium planned for the morning. We are staying at the Harborside Inn, which I thoroughly recommend. The location is great: walking distance from Faneuil and the North End (and a couple a great pubs). The rates are great and the rooms are nice, including very nice firm beds.

Tuesday was rainy, so indoor activities were the order of the day. We went to the New England Aquarium first, where we enjoyed the penguins and a terrific display of jellyfish, then on to the Imaxx program on dolphins and whales. After seeing the sea life it was time to eat some of it - a delicious lunch at Legal Seafood where I revised my standard for clams upward. Next on our list was the new Institute of Contemporary Art. It is not a very big gallery, but very interesting and the way the various pieces were displayed with plenty of breathing space allowed showed them off to great advantage. I seldom have a chance to see installations, so this was a treat. There was an interesting exhibition of Tara Donovan's work that Shana and I both loved. Philistine that I am I did snap a quick picture of Shana with an installation featuring thousands of plastic cups before the guards told me "no".

Friday, November 21, 2008

On My Way Out of Town

I leave for Cape Cod tomorrow, but I hate to head out for the week without a peek at Miss Vivian. I stopped by this afternoon for a visit in the middle of my round of travel related errands and took a couple of pictures. This was a really good thing, as without trying to take a few pictures of Vivian I would not have realized that I had left the memory card for my camera in the computer. I would have been limited to a (very) few pictures of my trip and the wedding, or be doomed to go to Walmart while on vacation. This is something I try very hard to avoid. While in Florida we do tend to make a daily pilgrimage to CVS, but in Massachusetts we seldom go to any store we can visit at home.

I arrived at the end of lunch time and she was in a great mood. Vivian knows a fair number of words, but apparently only uses them for her daddy. Mom and I get smiles, kisses, giggles, and all sorts of fun stuff, but almost no talking. Jamie told me she has to hide around the corner and listen to hear any of her words.

Logan got his first real pair of shoes and he is not happy. Looks like he had intended to continue as Mommy's Barefoot Boy forever! Too bad. He'll have to be civilized. Of course it's possible he just does not like those shoes. Vivian was much happier to wear sparkly pink shoes!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Counting down to Cape Cod

We'll be on Cape Cod in less than a week. This will mean a much longed for vacation, in addition to our wedding. I think all the plans are (more or less) in place, excepting only dinner reservations for Friday night. We've started checking the weather reports for Falmouth and comparing them to available clothing items. I'll be making little piles on my bed all week, adding and subtracting from them as my mood and plans change. What I do know for sure is that I will not end up packing what I need. If I pack jeans I will want to wear sweats. If I pack sweats I will want something dressy. I'm an experienced traveler, and I really can pack a carry on bag to serve my needs for a week. It's when I pack a little more that I get into trouble. Luckily we'll be staying with family, and anything I do not bring Inace will be good enough to loan me.

Traveling knitting will probably be socks in progress for the very few who will be lucky enough to receive Christmas knitting. A lot of what would have been gift knitting time was devoted to the Peacock Feathers Shawl, and I think this year I will not attempt to kill myself with gift projects. I have a few started, and those few I will finish, but I'm going to take it easy on myself. Also I have yarn in my stash I bought last year for a pretty new scarf for myself. I'll be taking that, or the scarf itself (in progress now), to the cape with me. I've got yarn stashed for a sweater, three shawls: two lacy masterpieces, and one destined to be a simple pattern made up in exceptionally beautiful yarn. I don't see any way I will get to these as long as I devote months and months to gift knitting. There is also the matter of a baby blanket or two to churn out before next spring for which I think I have enough yarn. I'm just not fast. My yarn stash is not large by the standard of most knitters. It's generous in sock yarn, and there are a few skeins of Wool-Ease purchased on extreme clearance and stashed in expectation of turning it into hats and mitts. The yarn pictured here does not include a paper grocery bag of acrylic destined to turn into baby blankets and amigurumi and about half that amount of sock yarn leftovers too good to throw away which will probably make its way into some kind of a scrap afghan, amigurumi, or baby hats. Still, I picked up most of it in eager anticipation of starting some really nice projects and I am ready to get them under way.

Now that the election is over I'm stepping away from politics for a minute, and have been especially interested in websites and podcasts of a scientific nature. Some of the concepts make my head hurt, but the ideas are fascinating. If you have time to spare click on over to The Daily Galaxy for a very cool smorgasbord of interesting scientific topics. For varied content less scientific and more pop culture, try Boing Boing for interesting articles and links (some, I must admit, are of a low and vulgar nature, but you'll have a warning before you click on any NSFW links).
In other news of general interest, Furnace Wars has ended at my house. The temperature inside the house had finally dropped below 60 and the dog was cold. I took pity on her old and cranky self and let Shana turn on the heat at last. I surrendered.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainy Monday at home

Last weekend was a busy one, and I had planned to put up a post on Sunday to detail the festivities but I was prevented by what appeared to be a terrible case of food poisoning. Instead of posting I spent the day in bed listening to movies with one ear and sleeping. Out of Africa is a favorite for that kind of day. It's long, not too loud, and I've seen it so often I don't really need to look at it. I did not feel well enough to read anything except magazines. I'm staying at home today just in case - I don't feel great yet and I don't want a repetition of yesterday's experience.

Vivian came to spend the night Friday. I must admit I was a little dubious, as she's only been here overnight once before, and that ended up being a night with very little sleep for either of us. My plan this time was to set up her portacrib in my craft room so that I would not disturb her sleep, nor she mine. I put her down early; she shrieked for 3 minutes, then quiet reigned until Roxy woke her up in the morning a bit earlier than her usual time. Vivian took a little nap on my lap later in the morning to make up for the short night. It was fun to have her over, and a nice distraction for Rita, who was otherwise obsessing over the wedding to take place later in the weekend. I was able to get Shana's pants pinned up while Vivian was there (no one would believe how fast a child who just saw scissors can move), and got back from taking her home in plenty of time to get the pants hemmed and for all of us to get ready for Kate Humphries' wedding.

The wedding was beautiful, and the reception a lot of fun. It was fun to see everyone dressed up for the occasion. Typical of Oklahoma weddings, there were periodic announcements of the evening's college football scores, and the groom's cake was a representation of Pistol Pete, mascot of Oklahoma State University.

Like all weddings, or other family gatherings, it's a combination of happiness and sadness to see everyone. Some are looking good and doing well, others have suffered sad reverses in health since the last time we met. It's a little hard to believe that Katie is all grown up now; I can all too easily remember her as a pre teen.

Now that all wedding projects are done I can turn to the combination of Christmas projects and other plans that have been set aside. The blue baby blanket is finished and wrapped around the intended recipient.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cast Off From Peacock Island

The epic knitting of the Peacock Feathers shawl, including cast off, was completed Sunday night at 11 pm. I blocked it last night, and it's gorgeous.

I washed it last night and rolled it up in a towel to get some of the water out of it. I left it rolled up at the back of my bathroom counter out of reach of the wet-wool-loving- dog until I was ready to pin it out. Imagine my distress when I went into the bathroom to find it unwrapped and laying on the floor. The Evil Wild Dog of the Prairie had gotten it down. My heart sank - would it have a big hole in it like she left in my slouch hat?

I pinned it out on my bedroom floor. Shana watched the process with interest as my beautiful shawl emerged from the mass of wet wool. She had to leave the room several times because my tugging on it was making her nervous. No giant chewed up hole appeared. This is why Roxy was still alive this morning.

Instead of the straight bottom edge it's generally blocked out to I went with a more scalloped edge that I think brings out the "feathery" look more. I think it worked out well, and I can always reblock it without the scallops if I change my mind. Watching the blocking, Shana now understands why I don't make lace shawls as gifts. They simply take too long to knit, and have to be blocked out with 55,000 pins any time you wash them. No matter how appreciative a recipient may be of their beauty, I think she would be cursing my name when she tried to pin one out.

Some final thoughts on the project: I do have errors that I did not go back and fix. In a few rows my decreases did not line up exactly. I was concerned that they would be really obvious, but not enough to tink back to them. I generally corrected the position in the next repeat and went on. In the blocking I was able to "fake" them into line a little better where they were obvious. I can see them when I am looking for them, but are otherwise not obtrusive. I counted every repeat every time on both sides, and had the stitch numbers on a sticky above every row through the whole shawl. I have come to terms with my inability to memorize lace repeats, and in any event every row was different on this particular project. The yarn, Super Due Merino from Madil, is very fine and did not bloom noticeably on washing. It shows off the pattern beautifully.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Running By, Chased by a Peacock

I have been sucked into the black hole of knitting that is my Peacock Feathers Shawl to the exclusion of every other activity. Every night I am at it for (at least) two hours, lots more on the weekend, accompanied by repeated viewings of all nine hours of LOTR. I do not understand how those happy few who have knit it in only two weeks accomplished it. I cast on August 16. To be fair I restarted after a disastrous beginning, then set it aside for a bit after my cycling crash. For at least a month I have had it broken down by how many rows a day I had to churn out to meet my deadline. I'm sticking to it, with next Thursday night being the the "drop dead" date. Today I finally hit the single digits in rows yet to go, which I celebrated by knitting two repeats of the pattern backwards after the center point. I am now tinking back to where I was when it was last going the right way. Lucky for me (not) I was knitting a row with lots of yarn overs and left leaning decreases. My favorites to rip out. I was thinking that I might be able to finish the knitting by tomorrow evening, and might still be able to reach that goal if the ripping and restarting of this half row does not take too long.

I did take a couple of days off of my knitting last weekend to go camping. We'll be out of the season for it soon enough, and Shana and I have both really wanted the quiet time away from everything. Last weekend the weather was just about perfect, so we took advantage of it to get away from town. I went down right after work Friday to be sure of getting a campsite, which gave me ample opportunity to walk around on the bluff by myself. It's so refreshing to be up there in the afternoon by myself, when the loudest sound to be heard is birdsong and wind. We got to hear lots of elk bugling at night, and not only did we hear coyotes, we even saw one. She was on her way to the Coyote Cafe, otherwise known as "Prairie Dog Village". We took our mountain bikes with us this time, and although we did not do any offroad cycling I was glad to have a little time to get used to that bike. We had the clear starry nights that I love so much out away from the light pollution of the city. Saturday afternoon instead of motoring into town to watch football we took a hike on Elk Mountain. The combination of exercise and sunlight boosted our spirits, as always.

Samantha came over with Vivian last night to trick or treat. Vivian was wrapped up as a mummy. Samantha did not dress up. Alex claims Vivian can whistle, but although she did pucker up for me she would not whistle.

We are all eager for the election to come. For myself, I am creeped out by advertising for candidates I consider to be crooks or worse. Amazingly James Inhofe, who famously announced that global warming is a hoax, is favored to win by a large margin. His television advertising has been almost uniformly negative. One ad in particular intersperses pictures of felons with those of his opposing candidate and Barack Obama. I've given up on civil discourse at the office with anyone aside from the three or four Democrats in the building. It's not that I am reluctant to press my point, but I have arrived at the point where I can't listen to any more Republican b******t and still maintain the respect I want to have for my co-workers. I'm hoping for a Democratic landslide, and have a lovely Cotes du Rhone ready to toast the exit of the Republicans January 20th. Like many Democrats, I have my fingers and toes crossed that we will really be having this celebration.