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Archive for July, 2011

Norwegian Star

July 31st, 2011 6 comments

As a day at sea – you are probably expecting a picture show, description of the ship, and finally an update on the knitting. After all – you have read more than one of my cruise trips.

This time brace yourself for a bit of a detour.

Back in 2000, George in a flash of brilliance gave me, as a birthday present, a gift certificate for Ballroom Dancing lessons for the two of us. At the time I was stationed with the Germans who were always having one kind of formal event or another; all of which involved some serious dancing. George, being the normal obtuse American male had finally figured out that the traditional American attitude “real men don’t dance” was, in fact, bullshit. Real, educated German men all danced. Every last flipping one of them along with speaking two or more foreign languages, understanding history, geography, math and physics. It was part of the education package along with music and art.

Some how he managed to get us out of Munich without ever redeeming his promise. Our first couple of years in Heidelberg came and went; so did I to Kuwait and back. Our three youngest all learned dancing with their classmates and he kept saying that we would manage.

The Windstar cruise was small and didn’t have formal lessons or entertainment. I had quietly thought that perhaps on this cruise I could get him to cooperate for at least a couple of evenings.

Now, it is Sat morning and we are on our way to the light rail. As we load the suitcases into the back of the van at the hotel I feel something bright, zinging and breath stealing go snap in my back. Caught with the suitcase half way up, all I can do is gasp and use my upper body strength to boost it in the rest of the way.

I can’t move. Unfortunately for George, I can talk, moan and complain. The light rail gets us to town. He manages the luggage and we cab rather than walk to the Pier. For the first time in my life, I am panicked about being in a crowd and getting bumped.

Shall we just skip ahead to getting on the ship?

We find the cabin. For some miraculous reason we have an accessible cabin. Rather than running perpendicular to the long axis of the ship, it is parallel. There is space on both sides of the bed, the door to the bathroom is wide and there are railings.

So this means that I am not having a really good time, not walking around the ship, not climbing up and down stairs and certainly not dancing……. drugs, not dancing.

Bummer. I am going to think of it as savings! No fancy or expensive excursions for me – just a bit of wander on the pier and photos….

Categories: Travel Tags:

Alaska Cruise

July 30th, 2011 6 comments

This is the plan –

Right now we are at the Coast Hotel, literally over the back fence from SEATAC. It was after 2300 when we arrived relatively exhausted. After a bit of confusion about rooms I don’t remember much after setting down my suitcases and climbing into bed. It was comfortable, I was wiped with it suddenly being morning.

view from the window

view from the window

Day Date Port or Activity Arrive Depart

Sat Jul 30 Seattle, WA 4:00pm
Sun Jul 31 Inside Passage (Cruising)
Mon Aug 1 Ketchikan, AK 7:00am 3:00pm
Tue Aug 2 Juneau, AK 7:00am 1:30pm
Wed Aug 3 Skagway, AK 7:00am 5:00pm
Thu Aug 4 Prince Rupert, BC, Canada 4:00pm 10:00pm
Fri Aug 5 At Sea
Sat Aug 6 Seattle, WA 8:00am

and sailing out ……

the water front 1

the water front 1


the water front 2

the water front 2


and sailing away

and sailing away

Categories: Travel Tags:

Embarcadero

July 29th, 2011 3 comments

San Francisco is beautiful, cosmopolitan, exciting. The weather can be fine or foggy, sunshine reflecting off waves and glass. The architecture is startling in the Embarcadero where in one direction the city stretches out along Mission and in the other you can gaze upon the Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena and Treasure Island.

mid-span Bay Bridge

mid-span Bay Bridge

There is interesting history here – from the founding through the Earthquake of 1906 to the 1934 Longshoreman’s strike.

where they opened fire on the Longshoremen

where they opened fire on the Longshoremen


As I am walking out of the Riccon Center – I looked around at all the tall buildings.

This is San Francisco after all; why on earth would I want to be separated from the ground up 10-20+ stories above the ground. As much as the architects say everything is safe, I simply don’t want to take that kind of chance in a glass and steel building being held fast in Mother Earth’s upset hand. Let me please stay at ground level. Means I need to rethink the BART and Muni doesn’t it?

I will tell you that the small post office there is fantastic. I got in line after picking up packing materials and making up boxes. I get to the desk – my wallet is not there! The lovely man at the window says “well, no one died – leave your stuff here and I will move you to the head of the line when you get back.”

as good as an APO

as good as an APO

Good thing that we were actually in valet parking under the building (which is the only thing they offer since it lets them jam many more cars in the small space). I didn’t have either keys or claim check – but I could tell him where it was and where to find the passport for a positive photo id).

Back at the post office – I mailed off Carmen’s birthday present weeks early and some coffee from PEETs back to us in Germany (along with the patterns I picked up). I hope that Denise also likes coffee……

Categories: Travel Tags:

Palo Alto

July 28th, 2011 2 comments

Is home to a lot of high tech and intellectual people. There are start ups galore (which is why we made the trip south) and it was on the reason for heading to SF in the first place.

Unfortunately for me – Purlescense is moving this week. Makes the fourth time in the Bay area since 2007 and I still haven’t managed to get there.

After attending two meetings in the morning I had a planned detour while the DH attended a luncheon meeting.

Palo Alto is home to Alison. We were able to get together the last time I was here – but that was a long time ago meaning it was before I deployed putting it somewhere in the 2010 early time frame. She was kind enough to let me drop into her home which meant we had a lovely few hours just sitting and knitting (except for a detour into a wonderful goat cheese with blueberries that melted in the mouth).

With regret I had to leave to make a 1600 meeting. It was one in which I have a lot of interest and I can’t wait till this fall when the App gets released so that I can play a lot and recommend it to everyone (this is in the Medical education and communication arena – not knitting but still).

Ending the evening with a great dinner at PJ Changs (they have vegetarian and vegan solutions, they have a gluten free menus and most importantly great, educated service), we rolled back to Berkeley well after dark. And well too late to knit in the car.

Categories: Friends, Knitting Tags:

Lacis

July 27th, 2011 2 comments

If you are not aware, there is a Lace Store and Museum in Berkeley.

I have seen the adds and notes on Lacis for years, but it had never struck through to me that it was accessible. When Ruth

of ScrabbleQueen fame

of ScrabbleQueen fame

agreed to head into the area (trains are actually possible)

yep, Amtrak!

yep, Amtrak!

After finding out that Article Pract opens at 1100 (finally found a nice cafe and coffe/tea with a couch for knitting) we cruised through there before arriving at Lacis not long after it opened.

Besides having an extensive historical (and recreation) pattern section, they also have threads, hundreds of books and vintage lace, shoes and clothing. Not only the customer service is terrific, but we got a personal tour of the current exhibit on historical underthings.

(which means you now get pictures!)

You need to visit if you are in the area. If not now, then Sept-Feb when they are having an Estonian Lace exhibit.

At the end of the day – I went back to the courtyard where we had lunch and waited for the DH who was kind enough to take me to K2tog where I found a wonderful yarn shop with extensive yarns (and very little overlap with Article Pract) where I finally found some lovely red…..

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

San Francisco

July 26th, 2011 Comments off

This is what I have seen of San Francisco so far…..
as we head south around the airport area for a meeting…..

 

Categories: Travel Tags:

Good Places to see

July 25th, 2011 Comments off

If you are a knitter that is – (and I wasn’t hauling the camera)

there is Article Prac which is on Telegraph in Oakland. Fabulous collection of yarns – mostly higher end with extensive choices in lace and fingering yarns. The help is cheerful and knowledgeable.

There is Stone Mountain Fabrics on Shattuck in Berkeley. They started discontinuing their yarn section in May and it is pretty well cleaned out although they still have a few hundred knitting titles on the shelf waiting to go home with someone for 1/2 price. But that is not why I stopped here – they have all the major indie designer patterns and an incredible selection of fabrics. (I bought patterns – fabrics are a bit heavier than I want to carry).

And then there is K2tog on Solano in Albany(you should have heard my DH trying to pronounce the store name. Unfortunately, it was closed, so am going to have to attempt this one on another day.

and I don’t remember whether or not I posted this –

Another Volan - this one bright colors

Another Volan - this one bright colors


which I finished up on the weekend.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Wandering the Area

July 24th, 2011 2 comments

I will admit, there are a lot of things to see and do in the Bay Area.

One can find wonderful yarn shops (Article Prat in Oakland) and even better fabric stores (Stone Mountain in Berkeley).

You can have the interesting experience of riding BART to a Peruvian Festival in the City (which turned out to be mostly stands with stuff to eat and two competing stages with music. I was unaware that rapping in Spanish was traditional Peruvian music. The one stand that had lovely alpaca garments unfortunately didn’t have anything that called my name).

You can then go across the street to the Asian Art Museum and wander the special exhibit on Bali before heading upstairs to discover textiles in some of the other galleries.

 

You can also be so tired by 2000 that you fall on your nose without processing the photos taken that day…..

-Holly
Claremont Hotel, Berkeley CA

Categories: Travel Tags:

Eating one’s way to San Francisco

July 23rd, 2011 3 comments

It is now totally and completely obvious to me why business men have so much trouble keeping their weight down and staying in shape; at least those who travel frequently.

Airbus 380

Airbus 380

You start off in the Business or Senator Lounge where there is free access to continental breakfast, beverages (juice, booze, coffees, etc) and snacks. People automatically take food and drink.

Then, they get on the plane. The new airbus with the first & business on the upper level comes with classy service. (I love it when you can get an upgrade at a bargain trade of miles).

First there is this nice attendant offering bubbly, orange juice or water. Then the beverage cart comes around almost immediately after take off, not to forget the snacks. This is followed by a served three course meal (third course being various drinkables and eatables). The beverages are brought by about once an hour. Snacks half way through the flight, then another full meal about 2 hours out.

This is a lot of food; and drinks. More than I normally eat in two days, and no – I didn’t eat any where near what I was offered or could have had. Watching those around me, they almost always accepted something every time it was offered.

Ten hours and 40 minutes without exercise and an available caloric intake well over 3000 cal. And there are those who do this all the time.

Even though it was only 1400 local time when we checked into the hotel, I was obviously starting to run down. The hotel at which we are staying has a athletic club which means I feel a little less guilty after time on the tread mill. Still I doubt I will have much interest in food for the foreseeable future. Or maybe tomorrow?

-Holly
Berkeley, California

Categories: Travel Tags:

Amazing

July 22nd, 2011 2 comments

It is just short of midnight. The DH and I have accomplished an incredible amount today.

    We got train tickets
    went to the bank
    picked up Maus’s official Zeugnis translation
    shopped for a wedding present
    picked up groceries
    bought dog food
    cleaned our room completely
    packed.

Never mind we didn’t start till early afternoon.

The end result is that we will head to San Francisco in the morning without being really worried about the state of the house. I managed to jam my stuff in a suitcase (covering the variety of business meetings, visiting with friends and cruising along the Alaska straights), find knitting and be almost organized enough to round up a paperback or two.

The cleaning? Well, Ms Soprano is headed back to Germany next week (golden retriever in tow which explains the dog food). Since there are already three people living downstairs in the three available bedrooms we are stuffing her in our room for the couple of weeks we are gone. There is also the small matter of her broken foot and non-weight bearing cast making stairs a real risk.

Now I am trying to get everyone wound down and headed to bed – we have a 0547 train. That means that George might just finish up the kids puzzle that got knocked over ….. and Mole is busy explaining formula 1 race cars, lift and high winds….

Categories: family Tags:

Knit Update

July 21st, 2011 2 comments

Just so you know that knitting has not fallen completely off the radar – I finished Polo (the original out of the HF kit before I started all the variations).

Polo complete

Polo complete

Knit on 4mm needles in the round with the purl ridges doubled shetland. Next time I do one of these, I will not follow the directions exactly so that both ends will match.

and started – yes – I admit it – another Volan – this time in basic black and some incredibly cheerful Cherry Tree Hill.

the cheerful ruffle

the cheerful ruffle

and partway through the increase rows

and partway through the increase rows

Categories: Knitting Tags:

The Haircut

July 19th, 2011 11 comments

Not me – I went that route in April/May remember? Whacked a good 40cm of hair off by the grabbing the tail – taking the scissors and going chunk.

I am talking about the Mole. Our son, the one usually known by the hoddie pulled down over his face; the one with the really shaggy hair.

in a rare sighting

in a rare sighting


as he dislikes getting his picture taken.

The story goes like this – the Eldest has a friend standing for her Master’s Beauticians Exam. Besides all the written components, she has multiple demonstations to perform for the examiners (cutting, styling, colors, streaks, perms). She is good – she is the one who did Maus’s hair for Saturday.

He got volunteered as Dorrie needed a young man. Dressed up because he had to model the hair cut for the examiners afterwards I dropped him off early afternoon.

This is who I picked up

he has eyes!

he has eyes!


and a rather nice looking appearance if I do say so.
the young man

the young man


This more than made up for my day spent driving everyone else around (to the train station, to appointments, from the train station, noch mals bahnhof….

Categories: family Tags:

Tunnels

July 18th, 2011 3 comments

Have I mentioned how I absolutely detest driving through tunnels? There I sit in the passenger’s seat – two 3.00 mm needles, each with knitted ruffle of slippery yarn valiantly trying to escape as I attempt to join the two into one when darkness abruptly falls and the stitches sing in joy as they fly off the needle.

That is an incredibly long tunnel thought which the 81 leaving Stuttgart bores through a rather significant mountain. I experienced somewhat similar joy earlier Sun morning when staying left meant a trip through one of the hills surrounding Stuttgart on our way to picking up Ms Maus and cousin.

For whatever reason, the driver was anxious to get home. After delaying him as much as I could, we stopped to get the girls. It was early and of course they were not ready having gotten home so late that it was morning from graduation celebrations. Traffic was horrendous on the way home with getting stuck in Staus here and there till we were almost home.

Did I mention the tunnel? Of course I did. Still managed to get one scarf finished and a second one started.

Finish Volan

Finish Volan

Volan #4

Volan #4

Still, these are nothing like the tunnels of Switzerland or Austria through the Alps where you swear you have become a gnome never to see the light of day again as kilometer after kilometer passes. I have managed a few of those, preferably asleep so that I can not feel tons of mountain over my head.

Being on a ship, inside, under the water line doesn’t bother me – there are clearly marked escape routes which might/might not work but you are never more than 150 meters in worst case from the open air. A tunnel? Forever from the open air and kilometers of stairs facing you. That is, of course, if the stairs were actually available for it seems to me that whatever would take out the tunnel should effectively trash the escape routes.

Does that explain why I never have taken the Chunnel?

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Abi Ball

July 17th, 2011 13 comments

Miriam’s Abi Ball was last evening.

For those not familiar with Germany and its’ education system, the Abitür is what you achieve after all of your studies provided you are successful in your courses (the last two years are counted together) and pass your cumulative written and oral exams. The exams are State wide (in this case we are discussing Baden-Würtemberg) and the schedule was early this year. Maus was essentially finished with school by early June.

The Ball is a combination of graduations ceremonies and a diner with parents and friends. Yes, everyone gets quite dressed up and there can be dancing. But it is not a Prom and a date is not required. The event was held in Ludwigsburg, north of Stuttgart.

This post is picture heavy. On the blog – clicking on the picture will get you a larger version

Merz Abi - 2011

Merz Abi - 2011

All the students arrive early (or at least were supposed to for class photos). After that we hung out (George, Noah and I) while Maus went thither and yon since she had been dropped off early as one of the organizers.

the youngest two

the youngest two

The program

the plan

the plan

was placed on the table with exactly what you would expect – Welcomes, speeches, various expressions of thanks. The introduction of each student was accompanied by a slide show –

Maus growing up

Maus growing up

with all of them

lining up on the stage

lining up on the stage

there were several musical performances

performing "You've got a Friend"

performing "You've got a Friend"

The thank you’s to the faculty included roses

and a rather humorous Oscar Presentation

and a rather humorous Oscar Presentation

I think she had a good evening

Maus

They ended by releasing ballons carrying aloft wishes for the future

gathering to release the balloons

gathering all the graduates with their balloons

only a few of which didn’t make the sky

the Balloon eating Tree

the Balloon Eating Tree (a la Charlie Brown)

It was a lovely night to stand outside and talk

after the balloon release

after the balloon release

and visit with friends

and visit with friends

before heading home, realizing that yet another milestone has been passed.

with a full moon hanging in the sky

with a full moon hanging in the sky

Categories: family Tags:

Feuerwehr

July 16th, 2011 1 comment

Sometimes you just hit it right – serendipity when visiting a town. We were in Ludwigsburg today because of the Abi Ball tonight which Maus’s class is holding at the Forum. After dropping her off, the remaining three of us walked into town just to see what we could see.

On the one side of time is an obelisk to four famous [men] individuals who the town claims since they were born here. I remember that from before, otherwise since the last time I was here it seems like the whole downtown area has undergone renovation. It is bright, clean, and frankly pretty sterile. Probably just as well for me, I staying in the pedestrian zones to the one side of the main drag through town completely missing both fabric and yarn stores.

Seems like on Saturdays they have been having occupation demonstrations and today it just happened to be the Fire Departments.

Both old trucks and new were on display. The line was hours long to get up in the Cherry Picker so I don’t have pictures from on high.

Categories: Travel Tags:

Doors

July 15th, 2011 Comments off

I just remembered this is Friday (all days are now Saturdays to me, but that is another post) and it is a day for photos.

Four different doors. Different periods in time (hundreds of years to the last few). Different styles (temp, permanent, wood, stone), countries (Spain, France, Italy and Afghanistan) and uses. Well, they all are doors, but some more to keep people in than out or avoid sand.

Categories: Arches&Doors Tags:

not grumpy old men

July 14th, 2011 5 comments

There is a noisy bunch of old dudes – excuse me – mature men having a good time on our terrace. George celebrates his birthday every year by inviting the members of his Stammtisch (read Thursday night men’s discussion group) over to grill.

They start with snacks, wine and beer. They progress to salads, more snacks, vegetables and things from the grill (steaks, burgers) with more wine and beer. At 2200 the sun has finally dropped below the horizon and the group is more jovial with passing time and years.

the dudes relaxing

the dudes relaxing - note the grey hair.....

Since he started this tradition (Maus and I think this celebration dates from the summer after we bought this house which would put it around 2002). It is a good way to celebrate. For whatever lucky reason, the weather is nicer and warmer this evening than it was this afternoon when rain with cold and grey threatened to spoil a good time.

We had an alternate plan and the living room was set up for either the initial party or whenever they chose to move inside.

Sewing

The basic skirt

the basic skirt

Paired with the top she is planning on wearing – the skirt is done except for

all the ties

all the ties on the inside so

now all the it needs

now all the it needs

is the hemming!

Knitting

and the MTV Group which means every couple of weeks on Thursday morning has a couple of members knitting these –

a few mini mittens

a few mini mittens

Categories: family, Knitting, Sewing Tags:

Fancy Phones

July 13th, 2011 9 comments

As a child, we had a phone whose last four digits were 1101. Not a good thing as it was close in numbers to a couple of business resulting in more than one late night drunk getting us instead of his intended target. That was my introduction to wrong numbers as well as rotary phones.

Remember the Princess Line phone? Or the first phones that were not nailed to the kitchen wall?

What a concept – a house with more than one phone increasing a person’s privacy so that the kitchen did not have to be cleared every time the phone rang while creating the side effect of “hang up the phone” yells from one end of the house to the other. And slim phones; and in color! Wow! A serious interior design effect after years of black, black and more utilitarian black phones.

The only thing more important was the shift from Party line (with everyone listening in) to private phone lines.

There progress sat for years. You can Google if you want – but most of the articles about Telephones and History devote themselves to the early development of the actual first instrument. Wikipedia does address briefly some of the improvements in the 20th Century. The most fun site is here – on antique phones, collections and current collectors.

The next major step was the change to push buttons – more choices in phone designs and less painful fingers. My Eldest may have seen rotary phones (we certainly still had them on the all military bases in the early 90s) but I don’t think my younger three have any familiarity with the actual practice of dialing a phone numbers. Never the less – dialing up someone, or dialing a number is still in common usage only more recently superseded by “phoning.”

Remember the development of private phone lines where you could actually talk to someone without all of your neighbors and family listening in? Well, here we are in 2011 – everyone has a cell phone with their words being broadcast and bounced through relay towers providing a great chance for eavesdropping. It isn’t necessary though – all you have to do is sit anywhere in public and all those around you will happily let you in on the most intimate details of their lives as they sit and chat within a pretend bubble of privacy.

I am on this rant again because, after a wasted a couple of hours (by one technologically quite competent individual and his father) we have discovered why our expensive, fancy phones (bells, whistles, answering capability, programable rings, a call log and a contact register.) don’t work.

There is a problem with the line. Not the whole line – Telekom informs us – just the voice portion.

So here I sit on my computer, able to email to the world, post to this blog, and dial internationally on the VoIP phone but can’t make a local call or a Germany call on the regular phone. The reset that was tried also wipes the phone memory which means my alternative of calling people on my handi is limited since I don’t have any numbers…….

Categories: computers Tags:

Above Lake Zurich

July 12th, 2011 5 comments

We went to dinner at the Restaurant Luegeten for the birthday dinner. Situated high on the hills over looking Lake Zurich,

looking down on Lake Zurich

looking down on Lake Zurich

you can hear the cows in fields above us with traditional bells on their necks as they graze the fields.

cows with bells

cows with bells

If you would rather have your cows a bit more tame

and the other cow

and the other cow

there is always that possibility.

Unlike others –

waiting for their table

waiting for their table

we had a reservation and were seated promptly. The evening was perfect, the weather just wonderful. I loved the company and the food was excellent. Much better in fact than either meal we had in Monaco (or Mallorca for that matter) and significantly more reasonable.

If you happen to have a few extra million Swiss Francs lying around –

Or you can own an Island

Or you can own an Island

But I might much rather have this jewel –

and the old Rolls Royce

and the old Rolls Royce

Categories: family, Travel Tags:

63rd Birthday

July 11th, 2011 7 comments

If I claimed to be a loving wife would you believe me? George turns 63 today so here I am with him in Switzerland so that he will not be alone on his birthday. Alone – with a day in the office just chocked full of people who know that today is his birthday. (birthday greetings if you want to gr AT aeris-capital DOT com . Since he is a Crackberry addict, that ought to make his day a bit more challenging, especially given the time zones).

Rather than hang out there today, I stayed in the apartment with great wifi access, a basket or two full of handwork projects and a camera loaded with the rest of the Mallorca pictures. Of course, that is about all there is here. The guys rented this place at least three, and I think really four years ago. Kitchen area which has the normal cupboards, a few dishes, fridge, microwave and coffee pot. The common area has a rectangular table with four chairs serving as both eating and work space. Additionally there is this squared edge orange couch of the IKEA variety and a small table with flat screen TV. In keeping with the low cost method of living – it is about an 18″ diagonal augmented with two old PC speakers.

Otherwise there are two bedrooms, each with a bed and a lamp. There is nothing on the walls. There are wires dangling from the ceiling because they would have to buy light fixtures if they wanted overhead lights. The closets are bare. The bathroom sports a small cabinet – each of them having a shelf.

My plan for the day is progressing nicely. I have managed finally to get the pictures for 2-3 July posted, have done the finish work on three scarves,

two cowls, one scarf

two cowls, one scarf

and the hand sewing on two jackets

jacket

jacket

purple shrug and flowered dress, mint green skirt

purple shrug and flowered dress, mint green skirt

with another scarf in progress

another Volan

another Volan

and the waistband of a Maus skirt to go, but I am going to take a break since we are headed out to dinner tonight!

Categories: family, Knitting, Sewing Tags:

naming tunnels

July 10th, 2011 9 comments

It was when I saw the sign on the particular A3 Autobahn Tunnel in Switzerland on our way to Wollerau that I started thinking, something that can border on aggravating or dangerous for those around me.

Now, I grew up in Minnesota. We had towns, cities, and spots on the road which might be inhabited by five people and a gas pump. All of them had names known to one and all. Lakes were names, rivers were named. Streams? Not unless they were big enough to be navigable. Given the area and the ethnic background of those providing the names (Native American or Scandinavian) the patterns were fairly simple. Long words not properly spelled or pronounced by any of the white folks wandering around who also had not a clue as to what the name meant; people and places from home being the other favorite option. Tunnels weren’t a question. I don’t think there were any mountains in Minnesota large enough to require a tunnel. That leaves bridges, most of which seemed to be named for the river that flowed underneath. Perhaps some of them had other names (including X Memorial Bridge) but most of us never learned those. Freeway bridges and over passes did not have names.

Maybe they do now and any Minnesotan reading this can certainly pipe up.

When I think about Washington, DC, I have the impression that many of the large freeway bridges have names, but then – those self same bridges are not crossing deep valleys but connecting two riverbank sides and many are named for the River.

Europeans seem to name everything. Of course, all Europeans take extensive amounts of geography in school so that they can locate all those places with interesting names.  The Autobahn bridges have names; usually but not always for the valley they cross, or the river or someone who needs to be remembered or more than one of the above. In Switzerland, the tunnels are named for the mountains through which they bore. This fact leads me to the problem then of who named the mountain and why.

The particular sign said “Habsburg” which I misread as “Hapsburg”  was above the entrance as we headed in at relatively good speed and me with mindless knitting on rather slippery metal needles. A little bit of research netted me the information that the particular peek was only 1540m tall and that, indeed Habsburg is an alternate spelling for Hapsburg.

By the time we were done arguing –  excuse me – discussing whether or not the US named things as often as is the case in Europe we had driven three more tunnels, exited the A3, wound around a number of hills and were parking the car. The thunder, lightening and rain trying to become hail that had been 15 minutes behind us the whole trip came crashing down around us just after we settled in. More than glad not be be driving in such conditions but you would have been spared  since there is no way I could have possibly read the name of  anything through the sheets of water.

Categories: Travel Tags:

Projects update

July 9th, 2011 Comments off

Finally got around to taking pictures of a couple of knit projects – the first is a Hanne Falkenberg pattern which is obviously not knit with her yarn. Rather – I grabbed a skein of wool/bamboo blend sock yarn and paired it with a skein of lilac bamboo of a slightly heavier weight that I purchased at Downtown Yarns in NYC. It is about 120 stitches around with 10 rows of stockinette in the sock yarn followed by four rows of the bamboo in reverse stockinette. All of which were knit till one of the yarns ran out. Beginning and end are the bamboo. Having no particular love for purling – I flipped the cowl and knit it inside out for the reverse stockinette areas

Polo

Polo

Volan is the second project.

Knit from two skeins of sock yarn – again bamboo blend it has small paired ruffles on the upper edge, a steadily increasing body, then ends with two larger ruffles. After messing around, I found that one solid paired with a multi-color yarn gives the best contrast. Add in a couple of extremely long 3.00 mm needles and I was all set. Other than a couple of rows where I am either knitting together the first set of ruffles or the row which splits the body into the bottom ruffles, this makes for great mindless knitting.

Volan

Volan

Other than that – the weather was wonderful – there were only three of us at Red this afternoon for the Heidelberg knit get together. None the less, it was a lovely time. I am not going to be able to make it again till August. At least one of the other women is also a Book Crosser. We were lamenting the demise of the Heidelberg Treffs. It occurs to me that it would not be a bad idea to bring along a bunch of books the next time…. just in case there are any takers.

We had friends over for supper. Being able to eat out on the terrace was great, so was talking to another adult (while the guys just had to watch soccer championships).

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:

helping me

July 6th, 2011 Comments off
someone is tired

someone is tired

The theory of my making some particular clothes for the Maus is that she puts in some time and assistance. To a large extent, this has happened. When she vanished partway through the day, I went to find her. All this clipping, pinning, snipping and ironing apparently has taken more out of her than planned.

Knitting

Just to show of totally and complete pictures of the City Sweater ….

the City Sweater

the City Sweater


A Vivan Hoxbro pattern that came in a kit – I substituted the red for the two shades of yellow/gold that were supposed to be the contrast trim. Knit in Harrisville Shetland on 3.00 mm needles in a very dark charcoal and natural, the Shadow knitting make the pattern. Not exactly garter stitch but close, there is a lot of back and forth – more knit rows than purls and, since each section is worked from the outside in, one has the pleasure of each row getting shorter and faster.
looking at 1/2 the sweater back

looking at 1/2 the sweater back

Books and Audio Books

I have been doing well in various Bookcrossing Virtual Book Boxes having been able to send off several books to people who are interested and picking up a few more that I would like to read. That takes care of the Dead Tree side of things. Unfortunately, Audible has another sale, so my “to be heard” queue is actually longer than my TBR pile is high. Go figure.

Categories: Books & Tapes, family, Knitting, Sewing Tags:

Sewing

July 5th, 2011 Comments off

The Maus and I have been sewing. There are three jackets, two dresses, a skirt and a robe on the list for her. Being a smart mom – I went for the easiest first!

dorm wear

dorm wear

Categories: Sewing Tags:

the usual return

July 4th, 2011 2 comments

We arrive home very late last night. By the time the plane had landed and we had corralled our luggage the sun was dipping low in the sky. Add in the time it takes to manage the maze that is Frankfurt Airports parking garage which can take years to navigate and the drive home and it was barely the 3rd.

Other than one nameless member of the family who I think drifted toward the television before being stopped by the short hairs – everyone seemed to
1) complain that there was no food in the house
2) crash.

The first was sort of true. The cupboards are full of all those strange things that are left over when you are done with menus: soups that no one likes, rice, noodles (but no sauce), canned pumpkin and salsa. The fridge is packed with partially opened jars of preservatives and condiments. What I don’t get is why I came home to the same left overs that were inhabiting the shelves before I left.

It is not like 10 days is going to improve either rice or Indian food. There may be a market for 100 year old Scotch, but trust me – you don’t want 2 week old green curry chicken. Or maybe you do if multiple colors of green turn you on…..

Is it that hard to throw things out? Dead things, disgusting things, unidentifiable concoctions? Probably since that would have required first that the garbage be taken out. To empty containers means that the bio-bucket under the sink has to have space unless you can get up the strength to walk down the fall with the intention of flushing organic waste. Must fall into the too hard to do category. Since I am not a fan of smells, fruit flys or trash, the whole encounter did not leave me in the world’s best mood.

Oh, he says, I would appreciate a ride to the train station in the morning. But it is not the 0615 train, I thought the 0830 would be better.

Yes, definitely it would be better – and take the garbage with you on your way down the stairs?

Categories: home Tags:

and they play golf

July 3rd, 2011 Comments off

It is a sport which I have never understood – this chasing of a small ball around with sticks by an otherwise reasonable group of people. Rather than enjoy a walk or stroll they stand hunched and grim with club in hand lashing the air multiple times before whacking a divot of turf into the air. The more fortunate hear a crack – and the ball flies through the air in a direction approxiamately that which was intended. A few others see their ball take an indignant little hop, almost wiggling in delight as it comes to rest less than 10 meters from the tee.

Not dumb, the organizer of this travesty had signed everyone up in teams (allegedly seven of them) to play 9 holes on one of the executive course. I guess it translates to 100 meters between holes and a par 3 for each hole. Somewhere between normal golf and mini-golf. I think I much prefer the grinning clowns and windmills – none of the players take any of it with so much seriousness as was seen in this group.

I took a few pictures, then went back to relax for the rest of the morning before lunch and before the bus to the airport since we are headed back to Germany this evening.

Categories: Travel Tags:

on the Beach

July 2nd, 2011 Comments off

For those who did not want to take advantage of alternate activities (golf or horseback riding) the bus headed to the Beach Club. Brillant blue ocean, blinding sun, scorching sand, banana boat, lounge chairs and umbrellas with lunch originally scheduled at 1300.

All of my crew was by far more interested in the beach than in the alternate activities. The Mole was the only one who spent any significant time in the sun, the girls by far preferring the loungers and umbrellas.

After a wander around the city in the afternoon and the discovery that everything closed at 1315 in the afternoon. Shops, museums, and the cathedrals that others wanted to see.   It was formal dinner time again in the evening…..

 

Categories: Travel Tags:

Mallorca – Palma

July 1st, 2011 4 comments

As the various personnel from George’s office arrive and check in, I am astonished by how many are seeking me out to say hello and to express how glad they are that I have returned safely from Afghanistan.

The kids are completely amused by me. Of course Papa has talked about you at the office. Of course everyone knows where you have been and what you are doing. Huh? It would never have occurred to me to discuss much of my family, their occupations and doings with colleagues on a deployment. Perhaps it was because I was an augmentee to the unit or perhaps it is because I am senior. As such, if I want to talk, it forces other to listen whether or not they have any interest in the subject. In trying to not inflict myself and my interests on others when it is not relevant to the task at hand it seems that I don’t spend a lot of time talking about the family. There is also the compartmentalising factor: when away for a long time it is easier to assume that everyone is fine than spend a lot of time fretting or talking about them. I concentrate on the “now” and leave to those who can effect short term family issues.

The official program started today with a couple of optional activities:
1) Golf. Forget that noise – absolutely the best way to ruin a perfectly good walk.
2) Marineland. So there I was – one of eight adults in a group outnumbered by those under 120 cm. In fact, I was the only adult in the group not accompanied by small fry. We got to see the dolphin show, the parrot show, walk through a small aquarium, observe some shore birds, seals and reptiles. I am not sure why the monkeys – but they certainly were cute.

Knitting

Four projects have occupied me since I headed out on vacation.

1) The City Sweater. When I packed it the only portions remaining to be completed were the one side section, the collar and the sewing. I can report that it was all finished on the final sea day.

all but the collar and finishing

all but the collar and finishing


collar detail

collar detail


2) The Downtown scarf. Named because it is a take off on a scarf I saw in Downtown Yarns I took slightly less than 100gm of a self-striping long repeat sock yarn and came up with this lovely, flirtatious scarf. I will post directions as soon as I can get Maus to hold still for proper photos.
narrow scarf with flared ends

narrow scarf with flared ends


3) Volane – English instructions for a fun ruffled scarf by a Finnish Designer. Not a planned project, but it just seemed like the thing to do with the yarn I had on hand. Of course if I had read through the instructions to the amount needed I would not have started. I did some adjusting as I went, but still ran out before completely the second bottom ruffle. Since the white with pink and grey is pretty specific, I am going to have to go on a yarn hunt for another ball…..
lots of ruffles

lots of ruffles


4) Chess. Casting on just before I left – I am just a couple rows short of the neck in the front and started the back since it was easier to take along on the Marineland jaunt.
Chess - most of the way up the front

Chess - most of the way up the front

Now – on to the partly fancy dinner tonight!

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:
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