Monday, April 30, 2007

...And They're Off!

The WAACO's have officially started the race 'n rally season. Friday night everyone drove over to Muskogee (of Okie From Muskogee fame) for the Flower Power Ride. I was really looking forward to seeing Muskogee's beautiful azaleas, but I had forgotten the terrible ice storm they had this past winter. Honor Heights Park was beautiful, with great fountains and landscaping, but they had lost some 700 trees to the ice, and the combination of the ice and a late freeze didn't leave much in the way of blooming azaleas. We stayed at the Super 8, which was able to provide not only rooms for all, but a bedspread in my room the likes of which I have not seen since 1974, and a close up view of Muskogee's after-prom parties. Or perhaps I should say a close up hearing of the after-prom. Two members of our party had the misfortune to be next door to the party, and ended up moving to the other side of the building after the celebrants started knocking on their door.

Two members of our party were going for their first ride at an organized event, and this one was a great choice. We didn't end up riding very far, not too many hills, and free beer at the finish. I ended up with a massive allergy attack which I am still getting over due to Indian Paintbrush blooming season, but it was still a really fun trip. It was great to see everyone and get out in the open air for a ride together.

I finally got to see Baby Vivian in person last week. She's a cutie, and seems smaller than she looks in her photos. She's a night owl, but not much of a fusspot. Rumor has it Mom, Dad, and Baby were scheduled to get a picture done this week, so we should all experience the pleasure of having a good picture of everyone instead of my rather unflattering snapshots.

The Kimono Shawl is "on the wires" getting a proper blocking, the Monkey socks are within a few rows of being finished (still). I should have pictures for the next post. Next up?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Older by the minute, as far as I can tell. The Amazing Roxanne celebrated my birthday by running off this morning to explore the neighborhood. After cruising by the house a couple of times on her way to check out something new she finally came home all smiles. the Devil. We'll have cake and ice cream tonight, of course, and maybe an official singing of the Happy Birthday Song. Richard thinks we should stay away from candles as the required number will burn down the house. Thanks a lot, Richard.

More Vivian, of course, with The Parents. The picture is a bit too dark, but since the only glimpses I have gotten so far are cell phone pictures from Sam, I'll take what I can get. Thanks Sam!

One Monkey sock completely finished, the second on the needles past the cuff and into the pattern. Crafty goodness continues apace, even though Old Age is breathing down my neck.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Presenting Baby Vivian Octaviana, My first grandchild. Born April 21, 6'9", 19 inches long. Anyone may be pardoned for thinking that she really should have held off for just a very few more hours to be born on my birthday (April 23). Still, she was in a hurry and one must accommodate youthful enthusiasm and impulsivity.

I have not been able to see her in person yet, as I am in Denver until Wednesday, but Samantha emailed me some pictures and I have heard her nice loud voice on the phone. Baby Vivian and Mom are doing fine, Daddy is tired out. Let the spoiling begin!!

For anyone who does not already know what I am doing in Denver again so soon, Mom had a heart attack last Sunday, but is recovering nicely. She's getting stronger every day and in a little while should actually feel much better than she has for a while. She was able to get help quickly, including a helicopter ride which she did not get to enjoy much. A stint was inserted, and she's going to be just fine, although ice cream should be dropping out of her diet, to be replaced by broccoli. She does not think this is a good exchange. If only there was a way to get the goodness of vegetables into some nice, buttery tasting cookies life would be much nicer. I'd go for that too!

I finished Baby Vivian's blanket Friday evening, and the Kimono Shawl last night. I don't have pictures to show yet, but I'll post some next week, if not to the blog then to my Flickr account. I'm almost to the toe decreases on the Monkey sock. It's amazing how much knitting a person can get done when you settle down quietly for a few days.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Homebody Malgre Elle

No camping this weekend. It's just too cold, and rainy besides. Not massive amounts of snow like Western Kansas is enjoying this weekend, but it wasn't even 40 at noon today, and it pretty much rained and drizzled all day and into the evening yesterday. So. I consoled myself with a new issue of Backpacker and a cup of coffee at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks yesterday. When I sat down to read the magazine later at home of course I got a fresh infusion of my bear phobia. This issue had an outdoor skills theme, and of course, as in all issues, bear avoiding skills were highlighted. Apparently you should eat 100 yards from your camp to avoid sharing your tent with a bear. Of course there was a little sidebar article about where to go in Oklahoma to see mountain lions, too. I would rather not see mountain lions.

There has been a fair amount of work done on Baby Vivian's afghan. I am more than half done. I'll still have to hustle up, because she is expected on or before next Wednesday. Still, I think there is hope. It is turning out to be very pretty and soft. The pattern is so open I think I'll be a lot happier with it after the border is on. That will give it more body and structure. I've been out to do a little shopping for the baby this week, now that I have a little better idea of what is needed. Alex came by to get his old crib, on his way from Target where they purchased a car seat/stroller combo. That covered most of the needed "hardware". I hit him with a flurry of text messages from Target to find out what Vivian has so far. Vivian has a nice swing and enough blankets, but only one crib sheet. I got her a boppy with two covers, a couple of extra crib sheets, cute outfit, a few basic everyday onsies, and a package of receiving blankets. I'll need to think about some kind of crib to have here when/if she comes over, but I think I'll just check out garage sales for a playpen or port-a-crib. If I can pick up a nice playpen Alex can keep it at home and I can bring it here when she comes.

The Kimono Shawl is nearly done. It may actually be close to long enough now, but I think I will be pulling it sideways quite a lot in the blocking which may shorten it a bit, so I am going to do a few more repeats before I knit the garter edge on the end. I want to be sure it is good and long because I know that if it is even a little too short I will not use it much. That would be a shame in the light of the amount of time that has already gone into it. It has to be long enough for the weight of the ends to keep it from falling off when I wear it so I won't have to be fidgeting around and pulling on it all the time. Also I'd like it long enough to be able to wrap it around my shoulders with a long enough tail that it will stay put. I was tempted to finish it up today so I could have the pleasure of wearing it to church tomorrow, but better to put in a little extra time now to get the shawl I want rather then something I'll never be happy with. Besides, I still have plenty of yarn left. Too bad the color photographs so poorly, because it is actually very nice in person. I think I will really enjoy it. Will the next shawl be Icarus or Peacock Feathers? Only time will tell, although I am leaning toward Icarus because it is a lot simpler although similar in structure. I'm planning to bring along a shawl in progress for the drive to and from Florida next month and this is one that might travel well. The body of the shawl is pretty simple.

As soon as either one of these projects is done I will be able to give more love to my Monkey Socks. I still have not touched them since Denver, even though the pattern is really very nice to knit. They are in a beautiful shade of Koigu. This yarn really is very nice to knit with. I may not even mind the hand washing because these socks will be so pretty. I thought that after I came home from Denver I would be putting my hand knits away for the season, but I am still wearing my wool socks. I wish I had finished these so I could wear them today! I'd like to have these finished before I go on vacation next month. I'll be bringing socks to knit in the car, but I'm thinking something with a nice rib, not too complicated. I've got a couple of patterns in mind from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road that I'd like to try.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Oklahoma Spring

We're experiencing a real Oklahoma Spring this year. Last weekend and the week before we reached the mid-eighties. This week highs have been in the 50's, with snow flurries yesterday afternoon. The azaleas, tulips, and daffodils are blooming all over town. We may get a hard freeze tonight, although then again we may not. We'll be hosting an Easter luncheon for Shana's family tomorrow. Nancy was planning to have one, but they have been in the throes of kitchen renovations and she decided we'd better have it. Twelve people for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits. We're going with three tables in the sun room, which I will make up tonight. We won't have time tomorrow.

There has been a little bit of crafty goodness this week. I finished some little socks for Baby Vivian. I used about half of the leftovers from one pair of adult socks and just kind of made a pattern up. I have leftovers of quite a few different colors, so I may turn out a few more. I also did a little work on her crocheted blanket. My hands are still sore after my bike wreck, especially my right thumb. Crochet is not too comfortable, so I have not done as much as I had hoped. I've got most of three repeats of nine done. Then it gets a picot border. I guess that makes it about 25% complete. The Kimono Shawl now measures a little over 5' long. In another foot or so I may call it a day and get it finished and blocked. The monkey socks are still just a few inches into the first cuff. I haven't even picked them up since I got back from Denver. My main excuse for that is that I really thought when I got back I would not be wearing my wool socks again until fall, so I was not in a hurry to get them done. Ha Ha - I am wearing them this weekend. Also I wanted to have something done for the baby before the middle of the month.
I doubt that I will get any of my projects finished this week. We may camp again next weekend, which will give me about four hours of car knitting. Unless I bring a really simple sock with me I probably won't do any knitting once we arrive. The main plan is to get in some cycling miles (without a wreck) and a good hike while we are there. The next week will be the Flower Power Bike Ride in Muskogee (I need to give our entrance forms to a friend tomorrow and I have not even decided on a distance yet), so I will have a few hours of car knitting time but probably won't have any other time during the weekend. We'll be coming back Saturday night because some of our group will be participating in a marathon on the day after. The rest will be going out to cheer. I will have a little knitting time during the week, if my hands feel OK.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cycling With the Stars

In celebration of spring (yay) Shana and I took a weekend camping trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. The plan was to drive down on Friday afternoon and come back Sunday but that was not to be. The entire state got a drought-ending rain (5" in Oklahoma City in one day) Friday, with liberal lashings of tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds. We thought it may not be quite comfortable in a tent. We decided to drive down Saturday morning instead. There is a new tent, which I christened The Taj M'Shana. It's the Coleman Ozone, which features excellent ventilation options and what seem to be very well thought out water protection strategies. Also it has an inside center height of 73" compared to my Timberline's 4"10. The floor space is 15' x12', compared to the Timberline's 8"9" x 7'. To be fair, the Timberline weights just over 7 lbs, while the Ozone weighs 18 lbs. Different tents for different purposes. The Ozone would be nearly impossible to put up alone, but it was not designed to be a one man tent.

Once we got our camp set up we rode our cycles over to Meers (a little under 10 miles) for a burger. About halfway there I had a little wreck involving a cattle grate and some shadows - I did not see it until the last minute and the grate was not of a design that felt comfortable riding over. I jammed on both breaks, locked the wheels, and skidded to a stop sideways and on the ground. A couple of cyclists came to see if I was OK - of course I jumped off the ground saying "I'm good". Shana and I went on to Meers, where I cleaned up my leg in the Ladies' Room and iced down both hands before and during lunch. My knee and leg look pretty bad, but my hands got the worst of it. My left hand is swollen and one bruise from wrist to first knuckle of my middle two fingers, and my right thumb is about the same. At first I thought I might have broken a bone in my left hand, but I think it should be just fine, although yoga and knitting will have to wait a bit. And oh yeah - if you know you'll be cycling back from Meers don't order the onoion rings. A word to the wise.

Otherwise the weekend was great. We went for a hike on Sunday, enjoying the beautiful clear skies and the wonderful scenery. On the way to the trailhead we saw longhorn cattle, Elk, Bison, and prairie dogs from the car. We hiked to Post Oak Falls, which is kind of a seasonal thing. The falls is small, but lovely. It's about a 40 foot drop of water into a pretty pool. After a hot walk through the canyon the area around the falls is an oasis of coolness. It's only there in the rainy season, so we were fortunate to be there this weekend when there was plenty of water. We went a little astray on the way there and were almost ready to give up, thinking we may not be on the right trail and not wanting to get any more lost than we were. In the Wichita Wildlife Refuge the ground is so stony that a trail can be very hard to see. I'm glad we kept on going. On the way back we were relaxed and chatting on the trail, when we came around a corner and I heard something "puffing" behind a bush. It was a male bison just a few feet from the trail, and none to glad to see us. I called to Shana behind me to be careful, and we moved right along, stopping to take this picture only after we had gotten a bit farther away, and he had turned and walked a little ways up the hill.