Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Return of the Prodigal Blogger

I'm back from my road trip to visit the fam in Denver. I was lucky enough to have perfect weather the whole week, even for the drive both ways.

I got a few snaps of everyone in the kitchen one night. You can't tell from the picture but I am sitting on Richard's lap - a dangerous place to be. I think I can fairly say that a good time was had by all. Richard and I went to the movies (Amazing Grace - and it was excellent) shopping, and hit every Starbucks in Brighton Colorado except the one on Bromley Road which has inadequate curb ramps for people with disabilities. Last time I visited we went to that one, and wrote to complain to the company about it. No response, and therefore no visit from us.

I cooked every night, and I must say the menu was a good one. Everyone was pleased except my poor niece, who came for dinner the one night we were having fish, which she did not care for. Oh well, she was just unlucky. Mom stocked her freezer with the leftovers and I had fun cooking in her kitchen.

My niece and nephew were able to arrange their schedules so I got to visit with each of them, and Mom and I had a girly lunch and shopping day in Boulder. Mom and I visited Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins where I scored some urgently needed beautiful purple hand painted sock yarn and some Plymouth Encore in girly shades to make a couple of sweaters for for the soon-to-arrive Baby Vivian, my first grandchild. It's a really nice store with all kinds of goodies. In addition to a comprehensive selection of yarn, they have roving, spindles and wheels, all kinds of classes in fibre arts, and a great selection of publications which included not only how-to and pattern oriented books, but also some art books to inspire creativity.

Over the course of the week we had Chinese food, we had ice cream, we played Rummicube, sat in the park in the sun and told jokes. I had lunch at Richard's place. Mom and I had nice quiet evenings watching TV, visiting, and knitting, and I got all rested up. In short, a good family visit.

I took The Amazing Roxanne with me but of course I have no pictures of her at all because she hides from the camera. She was a good traveler and very well behaved. She had a great time. Richard and I took her everywhere we went. That was much more to her taste than her usual week when she waits around for people to come home from work. There was always someone around who wanted to pet her and tickle her - never a dull moment. She was exhausted by 8:00 every night.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Outdoor Life

At last I got out for a ride on my bike. Shana and I met up with some friends and rode around Lake Overholser. We only went around once, but I feel so much better for having been out riding. It felt so good to be out pedaling in the fresh air again. The beautiful day came in the very nick of time; my mayonnaise white under-the-sea leg is nearly the same color as my car. It's about time I went outside to play. Tomorrow will be rainy, so I won't ride again this weekend. I'll probably try to get to the gym. After my ride was pretty clear I'll need to build up my stamina, so back to the gym I go.

We got to see a white pelican floating on the lake. I don't think I've ever seen one here, and I have to assume it was just resting on the way through from somewhere else. It was too far from shore to get a picture. Riding around the lake it was obvious that the water level is very low. Unless we have an amazingly wet spring I don't know how the levels can recover before the onset of the hot weather. In light of the fact that this lake is a water supply reservoir for the city it's a sobering sight.
After our ride we had to replenish our store of energy at Jim's Diner. As you can see, it's not only my legs that need to be brought back into riding condition. And of course, after our meal we did a little shopping. At the bike store. Shana bought a tire pump, and I admired sunglasses, but made no purchase. Yet. Turns out that the athletic sunglasses of my dreams will not be nearly as expensive as I had feared. If my spring bonus is big enough I'll surely be placing my order when I get back from vacation. Suitable sunglasses will make a big difference for long rides. We had brought a new rider in with us to infect her with bike lust and introduce her to our bike guru. Our favorite bike store is tiny and it was crammed with customers, bikes for sale, and repaired bikes waiting to be picked up by their owners.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sunny Friday

It's a beautiful warm sunny Friday - that will not be at all remarkable in a month or two (in fact we will be whining about the heat), but today it's a treat. I should be outside enjoying it or doing something productive in the yard, but instead I am inside fooling around on the computer, doing laundry and a little housework so I can go outside and play all day tomorrow. The plan is to get everything boring done by noon tomorrow, then meet up at the lake to go out cycling with the WAACO's. We'll ride around the lake once or twice, and maybe stop in for a snack at a local diner. What could be better? I'll squeeze in a little walk for Roxy and me later - a sign of the good behavior to come. I've let the cold weather immobilize me and now I will have to pay the price of getting back into shape for summer fun.

I noticed a curious feature of the demonstrations against W in Sao Paulo this week. Some protesters were carrying signs where W was featured wearing a little mustache to make him look like Adolf Hitler. Odd, in light of how many Nazis took refuge in Brazil after WWII. I suppose they know what a fascist looks like. This is not at all meant to say that I do not approve of demonstrations against W. Quite the contrary.

For one golden moment I thought that if I was right there holding her on my lap instead of running across the room at her I could fool Roxy into believing that the camera is not an evil creature out to steal her soul and kill her, but obviously I am not winning. Instead, the gymnastics required for me to take a picture of us together with the dog facing front have resulted in a series of pictures in which I look like a bald crazy person. Not that there's anything wrong with that... How I envy people all of the sweet doggy pictures with the dog looking into the camera. Roxy has such a funny grin when we get ready to take a walk; I would just love to have a picture of it but that will never happen.

In crafty news, I have taken a baby step towards starting my Phoebe sweater. I went to my local yarn store to get needles. I do try to give them the turn instead of ordering on line, but as often as not I am disappointed. I wanted size 6 & 7 24" bamboo circs, but they did not have any in stock. I settled for some Bryspuns in the right size (which I actually think I will really like), and bamboo DPN's in the correct sizes for the sleeves. I hope I am not sorry, as my gauge may change with different kinds of needles. I may still order the bamboo circs on line, or maybe order the Bryspun double points from Elann. I do understand that my local store cannot be expected to have all sizes of all needles in stock at all times, but it's hard to be a loyal customer when they seldom have the sizes I want. They do seem to have lots and lots of size 10+ and 49" circs, giant needles in all kinds of materials, and even the needles that light up (grouse, whine, sulk). If I don't start the sweater this weekend I will still bring it to Denver to play with while I am there.

I've started on my Denver traveling list. If I don't stop soon there will not be room for me and Roxy in the car. Between the possible extremes of weather and all possible choices of projects/reading material I think I am seriously overestimating what I might possibly by any stretch of the imagination use. It's funny, because when I fly I pack quite lightly and seldom wish I had brought any additional items. Plus not only am I going to a civilized area where I can surely buy whatever I forget, but I will also be able to borrow most of what I might need from Mom. We are not so different in size that I could not find something to suit me in her wardrobe. I guess it's just a manifestation of my usual "trip anxiety". I keep standard lists of needed items for my frequent destinations so I won't leave without something, but most of those trips are bike events or camping where the list of needed items is long and leaving something behind could be very inconvenient.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Yee Haw

This week I had the pleasure of being treated to lunch at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. My whole department got to go at company expense because we've been working like crazy people and meeting our monthly deadlines in spite of being down one whole person for the last 2 months (plus some) at the same time as we picked up a massive acquisition and ran 1099's. The museum has a world class collection of western art, along with cowboy and rodeo memorabilia. Some years ago it had a major renovation which not only improved the galleries tremendously, but also added several meeting rooms in various sizes and kitchen facilities. A lot of fancy local functions and benefits are held here, but I did not know you could have lunch at the museum, and tea later in the afternoon. The menu includes a variety of salads and sandwiches, plus a nice buffet. We had the buffet, in the interests of having a fairly brief luncheon. I think I'll be back another time, maybe for a Sunday lunch. Shana was very interested in checking it out and we'll surely meet for lunch some time, if we don't get out there for the Sunday Brunch.
Today's adventures included a trip to Pets Mart with Roxy - too bad I didn't bring my camera along today. I shopped the cats up for adoption and Shana shopped the birds. Cats and birds are not on our shopping list due to allergies, but we do like to admire them and indulge in the fantasy. We both admired the variety of tiny dwarf hamsters they had, which are not really on the wish list for either of us in spite of being the cutest things ever. Roxy got a new squawky duck, some of her favorite food, and a bag of chews. It's her favorite store.
The rest of the day will be devoted to cooking - Aunt Rita is here and after church tomorrow we will be going to visit Shana's Aunt Anne. We will not be welcome without cookies! This time it will be Paula Deen's White Chocolate Chunkies . They are really easy to make and just yummy.
For the after church potluck tomorrow I am making a Banana Cake with Quick Caramel Icing from the Cake Mix Doctor. Shana is bringing some spicy glazed chicken legs and a pan of "overnight" chicken enchilada casserole. I'll also be shopping around the web this weekend and next week for some fun recipes to take to Denver for my annual family visit. While I am there I get to do some family cooking, which I don't do much of anymore, and Mom gets to eat someone else's cooking. It's only fair - when I was a kid I had free run of the kitchen at all skill levels. Mom should have some of the benefit of the resulting passable cooking skills. Who really knows how she lived through my early experiments! I do remember she pointed out to me that garlic salt was not a good addition to scrambled eggs, although in general I think she pretty much let me experiment at will.
My crafty efforts are still going into the same three projects, none of which are showing enough photogenic progress to warrant another picture. This would not be the case if I was working on one project at a time, but too bad. I'm not. I think tonight I'll get the gusset and part of the foot done on the second striped sock, and tomorrow evening maybe get the heel turned on the second Parting Ways sock. I'm not loving the heel flap on this one because it's patterned going both ways and I have to read every line. It's a six line repeat as it is, and for the heel that makes it a twelve line repeat. With no charts, so I can't just glance at it and get the sequence for the row. This seem a lot of work for a sock. I still think I'll make it again, and in a plain color which will highlight the pattern because it is very pretty, but I can't imagine ever getting to enjoy this heel. On the other hand, the Phoebe sweater has cable patterning down the sleeves and I think this is a valuable bit of experience for it, even though it is faux cabling. The Kimono Shawl does not look substantially different from the last picture. I think I've only added about three inches to it this week. It's slow, but so far I am not bored with it, and it is still good TV knitting. I keep wrapping it around my neck to see if I am at the halfway point yet. Have I started my sweater yet? No, I have not. This week I am going to check the needle size, pick up the ones I need if they are not already in the arsenal, and start swatching. I feel Fear of Project breathing down my neck, so I'd better get on with it before I lose my nerve. I definitely want to have this started before I leave for Denver.