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Rua De Santa Maria

February 3rd, 2012 5 comments

The last time I was in Funchal was fall 2007 (the trip with MSC from Genoa to Buenos Aires. The friend I was traveling with and I did a number of the touristy things like take the cable car up the mountain and the sledges down as well as wander around the town looking at this and that before heading back to the ship.

Since then, I have been to/through the Canaries a couple of times but the stops have been on other islands.

This is the first of two posts on Funchal. Too many photos for one post. Two completely disparate things to talk about.

In the last several years there has been a lot of art development which leads me to the street art. Back all those same number of years ago I had a Friday tradition of posting pictures – normally doors or arches. So this is about the doors along Rua de Santa Maria. Not all the doors, mind you – just the ones which I found interesting or could get a decent shot not obscured by all the other tourists with their cameras. I have my older EOS instead of the 7D which was not particularly happy with me. I am feeling the lack of capability (narrower ISO range which decreases the quality of indoor pictures) and the not-quite-as-good lens.

If you are reading the email version of this post with thumbnails – suggest you wander to the blog as the ability to embiggen some of the photos really makes a difference.

Categories: Arches&Doors, Travel Tags:

Mostly Reading

January 22nd, 2012 Comments off

rather than knitting over the weekend. A variety of books, not two things in the same genre. Well, ok, sort of in different sub-genres anyway:

1) Ghost Story – Jim Butcher. The most recent Harry Dresen novel featuring Harry as a soul trying to put right the mess (power vacuum) caused by his complete annihilation of the Red Court. As a Soul? Well, you see, he was murdered immediately afterwards. Sent back to find his murderer, he gets a good look at havoc, unhappy changes and starts to think …

2) The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson. Steampunk in another world -or maybe the Wild West. It doesn’t matter. Some magical talents, a young (well, I think 42 is young) man who has to return home to salvage the family states and fortunes, train robberies and Victorian formalities. Whats not to like?

3) You’ve Got Murder - Karen Tabke & Edie Ramer which I picked up when it was free on Amazon. A on-going writers group picks up a new critique partner and then things begin to unravel. Told completely in email between the characters format (except for the occasional SMS or IM), the authors have done an excellent and credible job of character development. There are enough plots, subplots and twists to keep the story moving along at a fun clip.

4) It’s a Dog’s Life – Dale Mayer. Quick, sweet. Newly employed as an admin in her neighborhood vet practice, the main character discovers that she is not insane, she just hears the occasional dog mentally talking to her. Getting her life together, learning the new job and … well I would hate to spoil the rest.  Again – I picked this one up for free.

5) Taming Mad Max – Theresa Ragan. Couple of friends, toss in some pro football players and let the opinions (and fur) fly. Again, I pulled it when it was free.

6) The Adventures of a Love Investigator – Barbara Silkstone. Divorced and convinced that neither men (nor women) have a clue about love, commitment and relationships – Ms Silkstone sets out to interview a 1000 men (in a year) and see what men [think] about love and relationships. What follows is a pretty funny set of stories drawn from the 526 men she interviewed over the next six years. Some of the men clearly know who they are and their share in the relationship. Others – well it is pretty obvious that there are men (and women) that are obviously not married for a reason. Again – it was free.

7) Dragon Blues – Edie Ramer. A dragon will always defend his horde, won’t he? Even after centuries, even when being hunted for his “secret for prolonged life.” This is a nice urban fantasy and NO vampires. I got it for free. It is now a whopping $0.99.

8) The Care and Feeding of Rubber Chickens. Scott William Carter. Yes, it is a joke – the manual (which includes the first part of the novel.) He’s whacked – and it is pretty funny, especially if you never thought about one as a pet – or when they are actually manufactured.

9) Hidden Summit – Robyn Carr.

Oh, I take it back – I have finished a few more rows on my rainbow jacket. Tomorrow it is back to the audiobooks and knitting.

Categories: Arches&Doors 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:

The Elephant in the room

April 9th, 2010 3 comments

for me is not cancer nor is it heart disease. I can face deploying again with (not at the main bases) the real possibility of weapons being pointed in my direction or directed toward my transportation.

My real fear of failing health is not what can happen body, but what can potentially happen to one’s mind.  Aging is a nebulous process that is just in the future when you are 20 or 30. It has a bit more reality as parents start to age (in most families – grandparents do not count in this respect – they are old when we are children and just get smaller and grayer as part of the natural order of life).

Sometime, perhaps at 40, or 50 or 60, comes this realization that life, as it currently exists, is not going to last forever. The initiating thought might come with grey hair or a few more wrinkles in the morning mirror. Occasionally a spark of thought comes from an innocuous and previously ignored question from a health care provider about advanced directives or living will. Normally you think in terms of accident or traditional illness.

All of that can be ignored as long as you are healthy. But what if, at an age much too young, you start losing your memory, your orientation, yourself? What then?

What is likely my biggest fear  is dealt with compassionately and realistically by Lisa Genova in Still Alice. I picked it off the paperback shelf yesterday at the PX simply because the cover looked interesting and the back cover even more so.

Told from the view point of Alice, a 50 year old Harvard professor,it recounts the story of a brilliant woman who, in the course of just two short years, goes from being internationally acclaimed in her field to not recognizing her family. From initial concerns to marked deterioration, her early onset Alzheimer’s progress affects her job,  her physical well being, and her family. The science and diagnosis provided in sound and in enough detail to lend credibility as well as the novel’s voice changes to reflect the shrinking of Alice’s world.

Thought provoking and occasionally brutally clear, this novel portrays a future that is not one that I want to personally experience.

Highly recommended as a short, thought provoking read.

Categories: Arches&Doors Tags:

In spite of a long drive

March 26th, 2010 1 comment
on the way home

on the way home

There was a rainbow arch to cheer me on the long, slow drive home.

Categories: Arches&Doors Tags:

a find

June 6th, 2009 Comments off

We are all booked into the Hotel La Florida on the hill over looking Barcelona. It looks like it is right above the city. In reality, we are a bus ride to nowhere with polution obscuring the view of the city.

looking over the city

looking over the city

A bit clearer on the weekend

A bit clearer on the weemd

We meandered around the city a bit,

doors and

doors and

arches

arches

and old ceilings

and old ceilings

saw Gaudi architecture

Gaudi House Windows

Gaudi House Windows

Gaudi - balconies and mosaics

Gaudi - balconies and mosaics

and found this:

leading here. Run by Jennifer (kamikazeknits on Ravelery) she has all sorts of goodies in her store. Including the 3.00 mm KnitPro tips…

shop interior

shop interior

This stop made up for dinner which was late and featured dead stuff of both fish and flesh variety. Their alternative for me was Risotto.

slime flavored with mushroom

slime flavored with mushroom

as apposed to yesterday which featured this wonderful custard.


and tomorrow we head home….

.

Categories: Arches&Doors, Travel, yarn Tags:

Change of plans

May 29th, 2009 Comments off

I popped into the office early today as there was to be a leaving breakfast starting at 0730. Sometime while I was out of town, the time was changed to 1230.

And me with late morning plans. Right.

My run to Croughton was moved up in the day a bit (lets see, more than an hour there, nothing opens till 1000, I need to go four places and then be back here by 1230. RIght)

All of this ranked right up there with trying to comunicate with the British Department of Motor vehicle registration. It seems that they still have me listed as the keeper of a car we sold in Jan. Never mind that I called them, or let them know (complete with copies of the German registration for the new owner) that it was no longer my car. It seems they want a late fee for not registering that car on time. By the time I was done attempting to converse with them and had convinced them I was not paying a full late fee, I truly had a migraine

Audio

The Heart of Valour by Tanya Huff. Good, solid, military sci-fi.

Arches

From Ladenburg

From Ladenburg

Categories: Arches&Doors, home Tags:

Near the Thames

May 15th, 2009 Comments off

Lit up at night, this Ferris Wheel is located near the Thames, just behind Windsor Castle. The cars are completely enclosed, increasing safety but really getting in the way of a photo addict. Of course, from the outside it would have been easier with a tripod this late at night.

Categories: Arches&Doors, Travel Tags:

Heidelberg Castle

April 24th, 2009 1 comment

High on the hillside over looking the Neckar sits the Heidelberg Castle. One of these days, I will wander across the river and increase my photo collection.

Meanwhile, here is the castle and the view from the Castle quite early in the morning (avoiding the herds of travelers by tour bus).

You can see age, time frame and the multiple periods of construction by looking at the stones, walls, and multiple layers.

Knitting

Messing around with the Sock cotton – I have no idea what it will look like when completed.

outside, in

outside, in

and the front is now done. On to sewing together the shoulders.

front completely knit

front completely knit

Arches

hello? look above (grin)

Stitch Markers

March 27th, 2009 3 comments

There is something so fun, so appealing about all those bright and shiny dangles. Over the last year, I have collected quite a few and thought briefly about making my own.

I have jewels,

creatures

dragon flies and Loons

dragon flies and Loons

and abstract objects.

And then there are those that I use on a daily basis. They are really simple. They are thin and they have no dangles. There is nothing to get caught in that row, the one below or the one below that. No struggling with a yo increase next to a marker.

I buy another batch every time I place an order with The Loopy Ewe

Phoenix

Finally got to the armhole and 17 rows past it. Two views (with and without flash)

27 March - 165 rows

27 March - 165 rows

172 Rows - 27 March 09

172 Rows - 27 March 09

Watching and listening

more CSI: Miami.
City of Fire – Ellis on audio.

Doors

Finishing things

March 20th, 2009 Comments off

This morning at work, I was finishing up projects while collecting information for a briefing I have to do in a bit under 4 weeks.

This evening, I was finishing projects. It just seemed like the right thing to do – I found I needed to extend the one arm before setting it in

all but one sleeve

all but one sleeve

and after the second was seamed and completed – I have a sweater! Now, I have at least two daughters who might well want it. It is maybe a bit more their thing than mine. But it is so nice, soft and fuzzy. Perhaps if I knit it in hot pink and purple, Ms Copper would be interested.

Drops Cardigan

Drops Cardigan

I made progress as well on the alcapa stripe, completing the middle section and am several rows into the second end.

Alpaca Striped Scarf

Alpaca Striped Scarf

Books

Night and Day by Robert B Parker. Quick read, snappy dialog.

Arches

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

Culture

January 11th, 2009 1 comment

I was up a bit late last night. Between the 8 hours time difference from the UK and getting suckered into “just one more row” on my vest – suddenly it was after 0200.

Not a great idea when you really had planned on being up early to hike around the city. And so it was a bit later than planned when I headed out, camera slung over my shoulder.

Museums

Musuem front

Museum front

The Museum of Craft and Folk Art had a lovely small exhibit on paper cutting/folding from the Asian Tradition called The Shape of Things. And if you are an Origami person and are not familiar with Robert Lang go immediately to his site. You need Treemaker. Nothing like combining math with history to develop the fold-lines for about anything you would like to craft.

Of course, no interior photos were allowed.

Across the street is the Contemporary Jewish Museum which just opened in 2008. Built out of the Jessie Street Power Substation, the history of the building before, during and after the 1906 Earthquake is chronicled on the lobby walls.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

Contemporary Jewish Museum

The outside is glorious and inner design is impressive. Can’t say as much for the three exhibits (local SF – typical of type; Andy Warhol – commercial; upstairs exhibit – neither well posted or presented).

Around the Area

Special parking just for motorcycles, and at a great price!

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Reserved Parking

Reserved Parking

Interesting buildings -

Building Front

Building Front

and those of historical significance. (Guess the Simon Winchester book made more of an impression on me than I thought. It is such a lovely city. To live here? )

SF Chronicle

SF Chronicle

And Fire Station #1 just tucked in, barely visible on what seems to be a side street.

SF Fire Department #1

SF Fire Department #1

Sculpture around the area

Besides lobbies, there were sculptures next to a few buildings and along a pedestrian walk-way.

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculpture

Cheerful

Cheerful

Griffin Vest

The yarn – you can see the shades of natural brown through which the yarn cycles

Vest yarns

Vest yarns

and progress. The lower band is complete (20 rows plus edges) and half way up the first tree repeat

progress - 11 Jan 09

progress - 11 Jan 09

Categories: Arches&Doors, Knitting, Travel Tags:

Old and newer

December 19th, 2008 Comments off

Today was a total loss at work. I think there were a total of five people in the building, most having already left on their holiday. I booked finally about 1230 in order to pick up my DH at Heathrow. His office is allegedly shut down for the holidays as well. What that really means is that he will just be doing conference calls and documents by remote.

Knitting

The quick knit scarf that went to The Singer for her birthday yesterday made out of two skeins of Silk Garden. It is soft and lovely, but really not long enough.

1x1 rib scarf of Silk Garden

1x1 rib scarf of Silk Garden

and then there is the Heartland Lace Scarf out of In the Navy Silke from BFM, that has been completed since August. Since I was updating Ravelry, throught it appropriate to post it here as well.

One Skein Shawl

One Skein Shawl

Arches

Rochester Castle Wall

Rochester Castle Wall

Categories: Arches&Doors, Knitting Tags:

Number 60

July 11th, 2008 3 comments

When you are thirty, what is important is the present. The future is both right now and so distant that it seems inconsequential. Perhaps your perspective stretches out long than when you were a teenager. It might even make it a few months, looking toward the birth of a child. Or perhaps next year or the year after.

But at thirty, it is rare to think of what you are going to to doing, or where you will be at the point that your age doubles. You know that you have an infinite lifetime ahead of you.

Turn around suddenly and those years have just vanished. All that bright and rosey future is now the past. You have triumphed over obstacles, survived the births of your children, moved half way around the world.

Certainly, you are not doing what you planned all those many years ago.

When you turn 40, or perhaps 50, you take stock of your life. Where you have been, where you have yet to go.

60 somehow seems different. Most people can look forward just a few years and see the end of their work lives, plan on retirement, playing with grandchildren. Figuring out how to cope with an aging body and diminished financial resources.

I have to admit, I don’t exactly remember how we celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday, in 1978. I know that we were living in St. Paul Minnesota. His recollection is probably better than mine. I know that he planned a life-time commitment when we married; of our peer group then – all couples are still together. Certainly I think that everyone planned on being around for a long time – certainly another 30 years at a minimum.

Turning sixty is impressive (at least from the point of view of my 57) and he shows no signs of slowing down. I knew few runners when we met; he is still jogging regularly 30 years later. He learned a foreign language, started working in another culture, changed jobs numerous times as the army shifted me around.

I hope I have his grace when I turn sixty in 2010.

-Holly

No fireworks

July 4th, 2008 Comments off

Much to the disappointment of the Brits with whom I am stationed – I bagged the 4th of July celebration at work (BBQ, Softball and Beer) in favor of the weekend outing with my husband. As a result, I sort of forgot about the holiday completely in favor of checking in at the Zurich airport after an easy S-Bahn ride, waiting around in the Senator Lounge (traveling with a gold frequent flyer has its advantages), and a smooth transition to the hotel.

Hotel Castillo Son Vida

Hotel Castillo Son Vida

Complete with outdoor patio and turret.

Patio

Patio

Tower

Tower

Dinner was served for the group on one of the terraces and it was as entertaining to watch the two solo dads try and round up their off-spring (ages 18 months and 5 years) as talking to most of the adults.

Audio Books

My MP3 player lasted through the plane ride and beyond – South Coast by Nathan Lowell.

Knitting

Candle Flame Shawl out of Wollmiesse provided me with an alternative to the even present socks.

Candle Flame Scarf - Debra Bright

Candle Flame Scarf - Debra Bright

Arches

which tonight are furnished by some of the hotel architecture.

Hotel Ceiling

Hotel Ceiling

and gazing down into the lobby

and gazing down into the lobby

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, Knitting, Travel Tags:

Detonators

June 20th, 2008 Comments off

There is the good, and the bad.

Let me do the challenging part first.

After finishing up my errands at RAF Croughton, I stopped by Windsor Great Forest on the way home. One of the other US exchange officers lives in the area. I dropped off a bag from the commissary and stayed a few hours to knit and chat. Sally had been making noises about learning to knit socks. Her challenge was getting the hang of double-pointed needles.

So far so good – right?

Think just getting dark and 2145 as I come around the Jolly Farmer round-a-bout and head down the Maultway aka B3015. There are no lights on this road, it has a lot of curves and the left turn that I need is marked on the right. Directly across from the turn, leaving almost no reaction time.

As I start to slow down looking for the turn this idiot comes screaming up behind me and starts to pass. Did I mention that this is on a short curve and that there are not street lights?

Yes, thought I had.

Picture me sweating as a car comes roaring up from around the curve ahead of us.

Does the idiot pull back in?

No, he speeds up and starts to cut right back in. Only issue is that I am already occupying that space.

Wrenching over to the left, I hit the curb, then pop up on it while the idiot pulls away into the dark. I didn’t get his license plate number. As I drive shakily on, I realize that I now have a front left flat tire.

Why should I not be surprised? Good thing that I am only about 200 meters from my destination.

It is now 2200 as I come knocking on John’s door. Luckily, they were not yet in bed and had a flash light. John is taller and out weighs me by a good 30 kilo. Maybe I should have objected more when he took over the majority of the tire changing, but I was pretty well wiped at that point.

After all of that, I had hardly anything for mail.

The Package

There was, however a package from Roseann, marking my death in Sock Wars III.

The contents of the package

there were of course, the Detonators -

The Detonators

along with a lovely hand woven pouch, some knitter wristlets, tea bags and the balance of the yarn.

On the feet

I tried them on. They are lovely. Knit so tightly that her fingers must have bled. I have narrow feet and I have never had a pair of socks fit that were knit on 72 stitches (usually about 56 is my number). The toes are a bit big but this is an issue with the pattern. Since they are a lovely cotton blend sock yarn, it won’t matter in summer sandals a bit. They are bright, cheerful and a great pair for summer.

Podiobooks

On to Full Share by Nathan Lowell.

Arches

And sometimes it is just a whimsy of seeing a bit of brickwork set into a regular hedge that gets my fancy. Made ordinary by the usual refuse containers. Even if it is located in Windsor Forest – whic is property of the British Royal Family.

Property GateAnd through the arch

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, Knitting, socks Tags:

What to do

June 13th, 2008 Comments off

Goals and Priorities for the summer. Hummm.

The KnitWit brought up the idea of setting some knitting and spinning ones for the summer.

It is summer out there, isn’t it? Given that it has been cloudy and a whole 15 degrees. I really need something to concentrate on other than the back garden which is rapidly going to seed.

Unfortunately, my goals for knitting and spinning may need to take a backseat to three work related tasks that have actual deadlines.

I had submitted for a couple of presentations at an August Conference. [Un]fortunately, they were both accepted and I now have to put them together. Unlike the good old days where you could finish up your talk the morning of, the new rules require that all presentations have been vetted by the security folks and are uploaded by 25 July. Takes the pressure off me at the last minute, but I really should have more than the abstracts at this point.

The other project is a bit larger. Several months ago I became involved in a review of materials for teaching Catastrophic Medicine and Disaster Operations to Military Officers. As a side bar, I half jokingly suggested that I turn the work into a thesis for a Diploma at Apothecaries. I have to write the requesting letter (which pretty much commits me to the project) and then have it finished by the first week in August so that I can sit Parts I & II of the exam in Oct (on my birthday no less). The High Holidays don’t even interfere this year.

See the problem?

Work or knit? Or perhaps work and knit. But all my outside reading is going to have to stop along with design work, housework (hey!) and the garden.

Never mind about the garden.

Arches

From last Saturday at Winchester

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Knitting, military, Spinning, Travel Tags:

Can’t eat it

June 6th, 2008 Comments off

Around the office today was the usual collection of watchers -
The Spaniel, hard at work
and
Tiger Skin

Then there was the chance to briefly enter the Medal Room
The Medal Room
with walls lined with paintings, photos and shadow boxes of medals. Some are originals, donated by families, others are reproductions of the military awards of various key British Army Medical Personnel over the centuries.

Sock Wars III

Sent off this pair of Detonators knit out of STR Silky Tide Pool -
Detonators for Peety
toward the US while at the Mailroom this afternoon. Best I can figure, since I sent them out regular priority mail is that they will take at least a week and probably longer to arrive. This is fine with Peety, she is not in a hurry to be killed off. I admire her dedication, since she has finished up four kills. For what ever reason, I had so many flaking out around me that most of my time was spent doing little but chatting on the forums and waiting.

Arches

A Faux Chocolate Tunnel
From Wednesday’s adventures in Bournville. Passing under the chocolate arch, there was no point in taking a bite.

Oxford Pix

June 1st, 2008 Comments off

More pictures from Oxford.

Books

Iron Kissed – Patricia Briggs.
Grimspace – Ann Aguirre
Predatory Game – Christine Feehan

But after looking at the garden, I decided that the best thing I could do today was sleep.

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Travel Tags:

Oops, so this is Reading

May 16th, 2008 Comments off

Sometimes one’s day just does not go as planned.

Right before bed, I had reminded the Mole that we needed to leave NLT 0700 since I really wanted to make dental sick call. At just a few minutes before I wanted to leave, I realized that I had not heard a sound from upstairs.

No surprise, he was sound asleep. Very unhappy when woken to find that he did not have an hour to get ready. And you think teenage girls can take a long time?

It was drizzling, trucks were doing strange things on the roadways, and we were listening to Wiskey Sour. The upshot was that I zigged when I should have zagged and didn’t notice till I saw the exit for Reading. To compound things, instead of just heading around the traffic circle and getting back on the M4 in the correct direction, I decided to attempt a short cut through Reading.

Two times around downtown Reading before we could get out of there (would you believe that there is rush hour traffic in Reading?) and we finally got back to the A33 and found the M4. Lost an hour literally driving in circles.

Needless to say, by the time we got to Croughton, it was after dental sick call hours. They took pity on me. Said I could wait, or have a real appointment time at 1300. I opted for the appointment and we headed off to run errands. Just as I went into the PX, the fire alarm went off. 20 minutes later, they let us back in, all still clueless as to why it rang.

Commissary, then a run by the library which was still officially closed. They are supposed to be finished with the relocation by Wednesday. Since I will be out of town next week figured it would be nice to return the new best sellers and at least some of the DVDs.

Got the tooth looked at. We decided to hold off on drilling a little while longer. I don’t mind a bit.

Came home. The rain is good for somethings.
Rain does some things well.

with the occasional glimpse of sky

Evening Sky

Sock Wars III

I am still watching the forums and howling with laughter. The dead are mounting and the obits are a hoot:

The Dead Dulcinea wrote:
Here lies Dulcinea Quixote de la Mancha, cruelly felled by a fatal case of Sox Pox!

She leaves behind her loving husband, Don (a good guy but seriously delusional), and their children Aldonza Duet, Don Dos, Juan, Pedro, Miguel, Angel and Sam (who bears a striking resemblence to Sancho, Don’s faithful but apparently not so trusty sidekick).

She also leaves behind her best friend Aldonza (the barmaid and part-time hooker), Sancho (we know what kind of friend he was) and a pet dragon, Spike.

Dulcinea loved the outdoors in the frozen tundra called Wisconsin, especially tilting at windmills. She pretty much tilted at everything else after Aldonza poured another one. When not tilting, she was known to wage war with socks.

She’ll be buried in the family plot, wearing her beautiful, Sox Pox Socks!

She leaves her craftroom of wondrous yarns to her knitting friends, figuring they’ll duke it out over who gets what.

Please feed Spike on your way out… you don’t want to walk past a hungry dragon!

and Tiny Tyrant:

Interred May 14, 2008 by Knit Picks Memories in Rocky Mountain Dusk
Tiny is survived by her husband who refused to get the mail that
day and spare her from her fate. Her three dogs, Cliff the Mutt,
Oscar the Dog and Scrat the Brat, who all allowed the mail man
to deliver the package and four felines who simply worry about
where their next meal is coming from since dad is absent minded
about set meals. Her stash is not available as she intends to
come back from the dead and haunt her husband and leave yarn in
all the rooms of the house and needles in the most unsuspecting
places.

I am sure that I will be “dead” sometime early next week. Must think of something to say.

Audio Books

Finished up Whisky Sour and started on Bloody Mary, both by J A Konrath. They are funny and Dick Hill is perhaps my favorite reader of all time.

Arches

No idea why this is hereand from the back

Right near the end of my road, a trail winds back into the woods. This arch, made of long dead greenery wound around a frame stands by itself. No clue how long it has been standing, nor why. Only near object is this strange looking shelter, tucked between two huge trees with toes dug deep in the earth.

tree feet

Sock Wars III

May 9th, 2008 Comments off

What is Sock Wars III? you ask.

Well, obviously it is battle 3, following Sock Wars I and Sock Wars II.

It is the usual insane suspects scattered around the globe who all start with a pattern and target at the same time. Knitting as fast as they can, they post off their completed pair to their target, effectively forcing the recipient out of play. The idea is to knock off as many people (playing it forward so to speak) as possible before being “killed” by receiving a pair of socks from your assassin.

It has made a few papers – showing up on Reuters, and elicited some wonderful photos.

A lot of success obviously depends on the post. If your target is local, it is easy. If your assassin is from half way around the world, you might just be golden.

It was supposed to start off at 1200 GMT. Thought I had lucked out because the Supreme Commander lives in Northern Ireland.

The fates were against all of us. Not only had the SC suffered a major death in her family immediately preceding D= 0 , T= 0, but her email conspired against her as well. Large number of posts with mail merge seemed to equal a server hitch on her side. Perhaps the numbers hit the “gee, it must be spam trigger.”

End result was that almost no one had either pattern or target as the minutes of Friday ticked away. Only the fact that she placed the pattern up on the website saved the whole battle from crashing and burning.

My sense of humour is still intact. After all, I signed up late not knowing if I was still going to be playing in Sock Madness and with a pattern I can at least get started.

Would have been nice to have had everything, I could have probably posted off socks by noon tomorrow.

The View

Green Leaves on my favorite Tree

Arches

I just could not resist. Land Rover provided me with such a great opportunity at the Tattoo the other night. It isn’t just the US that is into SUVs.

LandRover DisplayOnly way out

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, home, socks Tags: ,

Traditions

May 2nd, 2008 Comments off

You don’t talk at breakfast it seems in the British Officer’s Mess. Squeaking into the dining room five minutes before the end of morning serving time, I was greated by a wall of silence. Carefully spaced out around the table with at least one space between each person, everyone had their eyes down reading the paper and eating.

Custom it seems is all important. Unlike other Messes, you don’t need to wear your hat here to be left completely alone.

Having a warm breakfast was nice. The most energetic I will ever get at home is oatmeal. I still clearly don’t understand toast racks; just appear to be a device destined to make your toast get cold immediately.

Knitting

The mail run this afternoon turned out to be a good deal. The four boxes that I had mailed to myself all showed up.

So once again, I can get back to the Hodge Podge,

Hodge Podge

adding a few more rows to the upper section.

Socks

And it was on to finishing the foot shaping on the Barcelona socks.

Going down the foot on Barcelona

SKP2008 pattern also came out. I had forgotten completely. Since it was a 1900 or so last night US release, I could have pulled it this morning. Dropping out of competition on Sock Madness made me sensibly look at the projects I want to do and where I am going to spend my time over the next few months. I will knit all the pairs for SKP2008 (as long as they are not too stupid) but I am reserving the right to bail, just like I am skipping the optional pattern for Madness.

Anyway…

Spinning

There is also this project which had been at a standstill for a while.

Spring Colours Merino

Books & all

The RAF Croughton Library is being returned to its old, renovated quarters. Since it will be closing for a couple of weeks, the librarian increased the length of time one could check out A/V materials. ANd the number, that is also important. Not only is this great for some of us at a distance, but it makes good logistical sense; the more items are out on loan, the fewer to get moved and shelved in the wrong place.
In my bag heading out the door were several Miss Marples, two Inspector Morse and a Hamish McBeth. Never let it be said that I have anything against British Programming.

Arches

Last Friday morning I was in Munich. Not having enough sense to come in out of the rain, I went prowling around the Rathaus. Some of entry ways are arches set with metal gates, going in or coming out.

Munich RathausMunich Rathaus

Washed by rain

April 25th, 2008 2 comments

Munich this morning felt washed by rain. At 0730 there are fewer people on the streets. It still took almost half an hour to get a picture of the Toy Museum unencumbered by too many buses or trucks.

Toy Musem in Tower

And Karlstor still appeals to me

Karlstor

The right side never cleared out, but the left
Left tower in Karlstor

Golden Shadows

Obviously I had yarn left over from Sock Madness. Enough that knitting at least one Kippah was a necessity. The challenge was to take the leaf pattern and convert it so that the numbers and the shape came out correctly. I think I have it – four doubles (31 stitches on each of four sides) but have to really see how the X on the top appears once it is blocked. I also have to finish writing it up.

Golden Shadow Set

Socks

Facing a train ride home, it was easier to start a new sock than to work with the bulk of the Hodge-Podge. Regia in Barcelona of the City Colour Series. I am adapting a stitch patten and will see if it is worth posting when finished.

first sock leg

It feels nice and springy I bought this ball and one of Stahl yesterday. The other will be used for the next up Sock Madness.

Books in various formats

Finished Poison Sleep. Enjoyed it enough to go back and purchase the first book in the series.

Finished Time Crime (H. Beam Piper) in Podiobook. Written in the mid 50s – some of the technology used seems extremely old fashion today – and then some of it seems wildly predictive of the present. A quick and fun listen, the reader could have been better.

Started Serve it Cold by Ronnie Blackwell- produced at the Dancing Cat Studios. I haven’t decided whether or not I like the story – but the production is fantastic. A veritable audio play, but not hokey like some of the old time radio programs.

Reserving a seat next to a plug on the train turned out not to be of much benefit. Lovely old man next to me plus a lot of glare proved to be more than enough in the way of watching a DvD while I knit so Disk 2 of Charmed Third Season will just have to wait.

Arches

There are not all that many buildings where you drive through …..
Under the museum building

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, socks, Travel Tags:

Panic preparations

April 18th, 2008 2 comments

Sometimes I don’t mind daylight savings time. It was lovely, having that extra hour of daylight this evening. I didn’t even realize that it had gotten late till my computer told me that it was 8 pm. After all, I had rolled in before sundown, had lit candles and had eaten while it was still light out.

It was about then that I decided to do an on-line check in for tomorrow’s flight.

Oh. Now it makes sense that I wanted to arrive in Germany in plenty of time to pitch in on Seder preparations. But what exactly made me think that I wanted to catch a train at 0618 in the morning? Insanity or a brief attack of the stupids? Perhaps I was confused with weekdays where the 0648 (and another 30 minutes of sleep) would be a possibility.

I thought about it – 0718 train takes 47 minutes to get to Feltham followed by a bus for 20 minutes. Boarding is at 0920 (or you could lose your seat). Not much time for security, much less waiting for, or missing connections.

Nah, I will be crabby, cold and on the 0618.

Which means that this is not going to be a long or interesting post with blogging, knitting or other erudite discussions. Just the above, I am afraid, along with the lovely list of what came in the mail. Mail is such a thrill when you only collect it every 10-14 days.

Books

Professional Reading:

    Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (The Sphere Project)
    Refugee Health – An approach to emergency situations. Medecins San Frontieres.

Fiber Related Mysteries

    Sins and Needles – Monica Ferris
    Died in the Wool – Mary Kruger
    Murder Most Crafty – Maggie Bruce, ed.

Yarn

Following links from Ravelry may not always be a good idea. My lace weight yarn (remember those socks last weekend?) arrived.
Misti Alpaca lace
along with some nice merino Artyarn.
Merino Art Yarn
and some Sandes Smart for a couple of projects.

Fiber

I thought I was decreasing both the yarn and the fiber stash when I managed to spin and send off some BFL to Isobel. As a thank you, revenge or request – this showed up in my mailbox.
Merino roving

It is lovely, soft merino. Now, where in the queue does it go?

Sock Madness

The next round of Sock Madness is released next Monday. Calling for a light solid or semi-solid yarn, I pulled out some sunshine, this time I am planning ahead.
Golden Ticket
Golden Ticket is left from a Sweet Sheep Project Spectrum shipment. Must have been waiting just for this.

Arches

or, rather another hallway. One I could have sworn was level at the time.
Sinfonia Hall

Shabbat Shalom (and hope that your chametz was easy to find and clean out this year….)

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, Fiber Tags:

Build it, they will shop

April 11th, 2008 2 comments

A day spent at the Mall of America.

Mall of America

(all pictures were added once home and on my own computer. (my DH has this really weird keyboard that is driving me nuts. It has no touch pad; instead one of those little red rubber things in the middle of the keyboard making navigating on the page totally insane)

But first – last evening. Arriving at the hotel, I checked us all in and was left with the problem of how to find my planned entertainment. Knitters are generous, one had offered to give me a ride to O’Shaunessy auditorium. She was felled by what ever is going around along with her entire family.

I managed to get to Summit Ave in St Paul, a nice Gold Star cab with GPS solved the problem.

The Harlot was worth the trip.

picture taking a picture

Even better there are Cathy-Cate and Deb . The first managed, in spite of the weather to make the trip from Eau Claire, bringing along lace weight Nit Picks so that I could do this round of Sock Madness. Kilos of yarn I have in the stash and nothing that is even remotely lace weight. Deb, saving me a seat and making me feel a part of her whole circle of knitting friends. And then there is the wonderful Stella (I don’t have either her Ravelry name or Url) who gave me, a total stranger, a ride back to the hotel on this windy snowing, sleeting really weather ugly night.

None of us stayed for the book signing, there was just a little bit of a line with weather getting worse by the moment.

too many people to stand in line

Which leads me to this morning – or the whole day actually. Mall of America. Building this huge, insane maze of a place and the shoppers come. Completely indoors (this is Minnesota, it is freaking cold. April and it is snowing – go figure) it sports over 450 constantly changing stores and amusement park rides. Enough eateries that anyone should be able to find food along with screaming kids.

We did the family meet up regularly. I bagged the place about 1800. IHOP was the hands down favorite since it was right next to the hotel.

Crashing was next on my list, since I had been up since rather early. Like well before 0500 early. You see, I had this pattern, and lovely, lace weight (ack) yarn for Sock Madness – round three.

0420 in the morning

Winding yarn (400 yds of one and only half the skein of the other).
Only 400 yds blue to windSomething like 800 yrds here

by 0930 I was here -

half way through the first sock

and finished the first sock today; the second half of the sock taking all afternoon due to the shopping interuptions. It is a fast pattern and I probably could have finished this one up and gotten at least of the second sock done if I could have just knit…. (But really, this is only a sock knitting contest. And it was Mall of America and the kids were interested in shopping).
and the first sock

Which reminds me – you know serendipity? It is when you go into the Ritz Camera Store on level three to replace the lens cover you lost yesterday and get waited on by a pleasant young man in his early 30s. I looked at his first name on his tag and the neurons fired. I don’t think I had seen him since his Bar Mitzvah, his parents and I knowing each other since we were all students at the U of MN. In fact, this particular young man was borrowed at age not 4 to be the ring bearer in our wedding…

Arches

{Imaging the picture – till it was uploaded}.
Marquette Hotel - hallway 13
Marquette Hotel – Hallway 13

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, socks, Travel Tags:

It might be spring!

April 4th, 2008 Comments off

There was sunshine today. The window washer was by yesterday on a cherry-picker. The view is rather a nice one.
out the office window

Out on the grounds – the set up for next week’s Sovereign’s Day Parade seems to be complete.
parade grounds

The geese are out in pairs
canadian geese

and my garden is starting to bloom. There are buds on trees which I thought were dead.
Old Treetree buds
spring is here

Kippahs

After all those socks, I had been thinking about quick and portable projects. You see, I aways have sock yarn left. Sock yarn is just the right weight. Both Jen Tocker and Caroline (Soxpixie) have free patterns. Kippahs to match my socks, that would be nice.
Kippah 1 - knit in the round on dps
Knit in the round on dps (why use a circular and have to go to dps anyway for the decreases?) starting with 120 stitches. Eight pattern rows, a couple of garter ridges and then the decreases. Easy as pie!
Bowls are great for blocking
blocking yarmulka one
The British have these lovely places called airing cupboards. Even with the heat turned off, this small room is still warm and dry.
Matching Cherry Hill Socks
Sitting with those matching Cherry Tree Hill Wild Berry Chain socks.

Books

Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper from the library. The latest in her FBI Special Crimes Unit series.
The Last Twilight by Marjorie M Liu in paperback. A Dirk & Steele, set in Africa.

Arches

Simple Arch

Even a simple view from the back of FASC has sun and green.

-Holly

Huddled

March 28th, 2008 1 comment

as I am, in my bed wrapped in comforters, I am really regretting not having knit any handwarmers. I just can’t manage to type wearing mittens.

Heat? What heat? What plumber? Modern Housing Solutions has so pleasantly lied to me each and every time that I have spoken with them today.

0800 – given job number, told that someone should be there with 3-4 hours. The key word is should.

1250 – call back. Oh, they are working their way down the emergencies. Shouldn’t take more than three more hours.

1700 – they should be right there. But after waiting around all day – I can’t be there for the next two hours. I have to take my son to the airport. Well – you could reschedule for another day.
What! I already lost today from work. Can’t they just come, I don’t care if I am not there.

But they do, they may be bonded but apparently they are not trusted to be in the house alone.

It is the usual insane Friday traffic on the M25 with Staus up to 7 miles. Of course, we are going to have to drive through the worst of it. As we are merging in the clockwise direction, the traffic report notes that there are flight delays and numerous cancellations from Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The brand new terminal apparently is having some teething problems. The preprinted boarding card does not have an information phone number. Ok, we take the chance and it turns out that his flight is fine.

70 minutes to get there, 25 to get home (hint – I avoided the motorway completely).

1910 – Where are they? Can they still come? I am really cold.
Will send them over.

2210….still waiting.

My toes are warm, my nose is not. Wool socks are really great; my turtleneck falls down from over the lower half of my face. . My hands are aching and we are all sick of listening to me whine.

Do I call again in the morning and lose the whole day waiting? Or do I just bag it till Monday and do another day of telecommuting?

Knitting

The guy has knit about 4″ done on his scarf. It is mostly stockinette except for when he wasn’t paying attention. We decided that the random purl rows here and there are a design element. He took it with him in his backpack; I swapped out my good enameled Inoxs for Denise Needles just in case airport security decides to be dumb. No room in his suitcase (shoes in size huge take up a lot of space) but doubt he will knit on the plane. After all, he is 17.

This makes up for the fact that the ribbing was done and two pattern repeats of the English Slipover. We both looked at it.

It now looks like this.

Artful Yarns - Shakespeare

He really wants ordinary, guy gray. Nothing fancy, nothing confusing, nothing with stripes or splotches. Just a simple vest he can wear for somewhat dressed up. Since I don’t have anything at all that meets his requirements, a trip to a yarn store is in order (see comment above about not wanting to hang out all day for the little man who is not coming).

The March Sweater Madness Group has UFOs for April. I have this sweater started.
Cardigan Fronthalf the back

It has several issues: it is too big, I am out of white, I don’t like the way it looks and the sleeves have a long way to go. OTOH it is going to be a pain to frog because of all the short lengths of handspun.

If I take it down by a good 8″, I should at least have enough for a decent vest. Or probably a sweater if I do more handspun and less white.
Yarn left for sweater finishing.

Or I could give it away to an unsuspecting stranger!

Computers

For those of you using WordPress, 2.5 should be out soon. I am using what is likely the last major beta build. Upgrade as soon as you can. There are improvements galore including a re-do of the interface, better media handling and a built in gallery maker. Not all the old plug-ins work and you will need widgets. I already have found a couple that are critical to my sanity.

Arches

The Bridge at Henley on Thames

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, computers, home, Knitting Tags:

More Zombie

March 14th, 2008 Comments off

Course finished today, car fog light is repaired and I had a lot of packages at the mail room. Also managed to get refills, dental appointment scheduled for the youngest and dipping chocolate & fresh berries at the commissary.

Zombie Socks

The trouble with driving places and being in classes is that it all cuts into my knitting time. Never the less, I managed to finish up the first Zombie completely and get a couple of repeats done on the second. The dropped stitch pattern looks ok, but for really strangeness, I actually like the parts with the stitch loops sticking out.
onepluszombie.jpg
zombiedetail.jpg

Audio Books

A Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg. I am still not sure what to think about this book. At the core, it is the reflections of an extremely self-centered, immature woman of mid-fifties who becomes a widow. The prose and ideas at times are flowing and as brilliant as a clear stream under summer skies. At other times, you wonder just how many ways there are to say that this character is having problems coping. Nah, und?

I am having more fun with Dead Like Me – the library had the second season on its shelves and The Dead Zone, both of which are excellent as movies to watch while knitting Zombies. The first is actually good at times- looking at the issues of growing up for those just leaving the nest and the second (other than one character who you just really want to smack and say “make up your flipping mind – your idiocy is messing up everyone elses life).

If I start talking to the screen, does it mean definitely too much time alone?

Arches

Passing through locks at night along the Yangtze River, there is spookiness of camera shots without flash. Almost as bad as what is happening to the river itself (if you want scary…).

locksarch.jpg

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, socks Tags:

Birthday for more than one

March 7th, 2008 Comments off

The youngest and our son had birthday’s this week. Since they were at school on the 5th and 6th, we are taking them out for their birthday dinners a day late or so. They also elected to celebrate together so that neither would have to wait an extra day for presents.

One of them was in an extremely good mood, mugging it up for the camera.

The Mole

the other was my photography but was captured by her oldest sister.

Mausie

We ate at a cafe downtown Heidelberg just off Fredrichs-Eberts-Anlage that has lovely, fresh Italian style food. It is a place where a vegetarian can even get soup, salad and a nice main course.

There was actually some lighting in the place
Chandelier

which looked like this

or better yet with flash
pieces of this and that

Once home, the interplay continued. I think soccer goalie gloves trumps hand knit socks?

the two

Doors

Almost a fairy tale tower, the door in this building feels like it should lead some place special. Tallin, Estonia, August 2004.

Talin Tower Door
-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, home Tags:

Sour Cream Onion Bread

February 15th, 2008 1 comment

Recipe (bread machine)

Dry Ingredients

3 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
one TBS yeast

Wet Ingredients (add all into a 2-4 cup liquid measuring cup)

one egg
3 TBS of oil
3/4 cup no fat sour cream
2TBS of onion relish OR 2 TBS reconstituted onion flake
fill the remaining balance to the 2 cup mark with no fat milk
stir well

Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the required sequence
(mine wants dry, then liquids. This varies by manufacture)

Set for large loaf (white), turn on and relax.

A few hours later, you have this lovely loaf of bread

bread1.jpgbread2.jpg

which slices up, showing bits of onion

bread3.jpg
and leads to dinner complete with spicy squash soup, tomato-lime chutney and a pomegranate.

dinner.jpg

Socks

There was definite progress on the art sock
art5.jpg
The second JaWoll Sock is now complete
cottoneyelet.jpg
with the pattern simple, but looking nice even up close
sockdetail15feb08.jpg

Audio Books

Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller.

Arches

Obviously Caerphilly Castle, taken in Wales 9 Feb 08
caerphilly2.jpg

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, bread, socks Tags:

Back to Croughton

February 8th, 2008 1 comment

Perhaps we should skip the part about getting stuck on the M40 behind a major accident and having to bail off on the A40 to do a short cross country parallel universe jaunt?

Or the part where we managed to get everyone through the dental clinic, with only the youngest needing residual dental work. And no more sweets, at all. Much to the betterment of her teeth even though it is going to wrack changes in her eating habits.

UK traffic is not fun. Especially with all the round-a-bouts, in the dark when you can’t see the signs till you are too late to change lanes. Anyway, we did make it home safely.

I would rather have been at work.

Socks

A few more rows on the purple, then looking through my various yarns to see what comes next. I am thinking blues with purple

Arches

rowofstones.jpg

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, home, socks Tags:
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