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And not Sydney either

September 29th, 2014 No comments

It was yesterday just after boarding when the Captain warned us of another cold front ahead. Other than a potential for a bit of rough seas, it doesn’t affect the overnight sailing along the Atlantic Coast.

However, I was up early to the presence of 40+ knot winds and the early realisation that this was going to be another port missed. It is a small harbor without tugs and possessed of a single pier. Where I might really want to hike part of the Cabot Trail, visit the used book shop and buy fiddle CDs on the pier; I don’t want to do it if there is a safety risk.

Yes, there was a lot of whining and moaning. Not among the experienced cruisers but frequent with those dedicated to buying out the junk in very port.

I had time to finish watching more lectures, complete a cowl and have afternoon tea. Not a wasted day at all.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Art Crawl? Meals?

September 19th, 2014 No comments

or Sea Day 3/3. It all blurs together

The “Meal with an Officer” was held as a luncheon with the nice menu providing a choice between filet, blackened salmon and pasta alfredo. I landed at a table with three very pleasant Danes, two name tag wearing Pinnacles, the Hotel Director and his admin (from Scandinavia). The food was excellent, the conversation was mostly cruising geography.
After lunch I couldn’t find any of the knitters since our normal gather location had vanished under an onslaught of card and Mahjongg players. A peak into the Diamond lounge found one of the group. Fortified by a latte, I finished one hat, started another and couched a new knitter through finishing hers.
We have a lacemaker in the group: Bobbin Lace, tatted lace, knitted lace. The kind who also sews, quilts and can make something lovely out of just about anything. If she wasn’t so nice….  Anyway she walked into the lounge. We had been talking about cruising the handwork that was part of the art display on the ship. After mentioning it several mornings and getting no interest it was going to be just the two of us anyway.
We set off with our cameras. There are a couple of beaded pieces, multiple items of embroidery embellished with gold work, lace and one piece of woven paper. It isn’t a lot, but then this ship doesn’t have “art”  every three feet down every corridor.
Tomorrow we dock in St John’s Newfoundland
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Sea Days 2/3

September 18th, 2014 No comments
The 18th was almost but not quite a repeat of yesterday. Hanging out with a dozen or so for the morning knitting. The detour in the afternoon was accompanied by a multiple location search as the ship’s group coordinator relocated a Cruise Critic organized necklace group from the Viking Crown Lounge to the Conference Center to Deck 5 Dining Room.  Now consider that there are two groups co-ocupying the space. The group that has been here daily on sea days are playing duplicate bridge. Today they are having a tournament. We are a group of ~ 20 women making jewelry.
Trust me, it is not a good mix. Not that under normal circumstances all us would get along but in this case, Sue can’t teach without talking. We just don’t operate without chatter and having fun. The bridge group is serious and really, really wants silence.
You see the problem? It doesn’t stop me from playing with my crochet hook, wire and beads. If I had bought more than one clasp I could have made more things…..
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Lerwick

September 12th, 2014 No comments

You are hearing from me early today both so that you know that I am fine and the fact that reasonable WiFi is always easier to find before most of the passengers get off the ship.  For those of you who have forgotten all the Geography you have learned, the Shetlands are off of the coast of & part of Scotland. So yes, there are quiet but firm opinions here on independence. Most here see themselves as much more politically and financially vulnerable than the main land of Scotland and don’t see anywhere the pride of independence balancing the potential costs.

Lerwick is the largest of the towns here. Hardworking and nothing fancy. Much of the industry is directed toward the sea or maintenance of the buildings that are here. Since many seem to date back a century or two (what was good enough for our great grandparents should be good enough for us and our children….)..
Anyway. I was the only one on the upper deck of my tender as it traveled from ship to shore.
When you build your houses of stone or local brick when the clay of your land is has the color of winter seas your buildings are dark, plain and undistinguished against the bright green of nature. The roofs are dark, the chimneys prominent. This is Scotland. You don’t fix that which is not broken. If it worked for your grandparents then it is probably right for wind, wave and sea and strong enough to survive on this isolated location.
I spent the first couple of hours walking around town before finding a nice coffee shop to have tea with milk and WiFi.  I know where I can find the Museum, the knit shops, the Shetland Islands Spinners Guild and the Puffins. 
 
I am off!
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Disguises

August 16th, 2014 No comments

or costumes or masquerades. That is what a lot of the day seemed to be about. However, you will get those tomorrow since Sunday is Hall Costume Day and it is more fun to batch the insanity in one place.

Rather, I am going to detour to talk about pants. For men, the styles haven’t changed much in decades or centuries. It is solely a matter of fabrics and textures, textiles. It is not a matter of length, blousing or tightness. Face it – doublets have been long gone. Instead the only challenge seems to be that of the younger make generation actually managing to keep their pants high enough to cover both essentials and underwear. Most adults don’t want to see sagging, boxer shorts or have a visual of naked buttocks skin burned into their mind. The thought of having a visual as persistent as that jingle which converts to an ear worm is enough to produce shudders.

 

And then there is women’s fashion. Pants that go to various lengths, change color, move zippers from front to side to back to more than one of the above. Men at least have the sense to place trouser zippers/buttons in a logical and useful place. Recently, apparently to better show off belly piercing, tattoos and make oversized guts more comfortable, there has been a change in the height of waistlines. Technically referred to as “low rise” many of these items feature 10-15 cm (4-6″ for those stuck on the English system) of height above the crotch of the garment. For comparison, hips are normally measured 9″ (~22cm) below the waist. Unless you are wearing clothing that is a size or more too small, there is a significant risk of clothing going south.  So here we have it – another clothing item designed to create equality  between men and women. And slide off the ass of both.

Can you tell I am not thrilled? What is worse? I found I had inadvertently purchased one of these evil pairs of trousers. Even more fun is that while I purchased my normal size, apparently these either run large or I have shrunk. The second is extremely unlikely so I will continue to grumble about the latter. It couldn’t possibly be my fault for purchasing clothing without trying it on. Not after having been able to do this from Jack Wolfskin for years.  Not accepting any responsibility here, not me. Must be the clothing.   Now, all you need to add to completely understand my joy is airline security. Belts aren’t worth wearing through airports and packing one would mean that you knew you needed a belt.

So there I am, in the middle of a Science Fiction convention surrounded by literally dozens and dozens of young men in jeans popping in and out of the gaming tent. They are wearing various appropriate to the Con T-Shirts. None of them are cool – their pants fit.  And there I am, having to wear my shirt untucked so as to not spend the entire day yanking at my trousers.

Photos

Categories: Books & Tapes, Cons, Knitting Tags:

What is up with all the rain?

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

This is not Hawaii where the temperatures are always the same and it rains every morning between 0200-0400.  This is Germany. It is not supposed to have consistent weather. And it is most certainly not supposed to rain each and every evening complete with frequent enough thunderstorms to interfere with my life. There is enough going on in my life, thank you very much.  I keep thinking that after a day of attempting to deal with house and packing preparations it shouldn’t be too much to ask, a few hours of quiet and nice weather.

I could sit on the terrace after supper and just relax. Ok, with headphones on to drown out George’s high volume NPR from his iPad but still I might just like to sit for a few minutes. Or take a nice walk down the street without having to be drenched, carry an umbrella or have the light coating of dust accumulated from the day turn from light zombie grey as I stagger from sidewalk to shelter to slimy mud. Better to be thought the walking dead than lack of hygiene, never mind that one gets completely filthy when clearing out cupboards from which I am unearthing treasures not seen for years.

A dragon might well be happy here: I have this glass/crystal ship from Kuwait (tucked away in 2004); there are multiple DvDs of TV series from Battlestar Gallactica through Xena, Wonderwoman, MASH and CSI; there are CDs with and without cases; there are records – as in Vinyl dating from the 1960s and 70s. It is our horde of media and I haven’t even told you about the cupboard of movies.

The young man who spent the afternoon on Friday attempting to pack out the back hall and succeeded in boxing audio books and five shelves worth of books is going to find them completely filled again. The downside is him feeling like he has lost ground. The upside is that he isn’t going to have to empty cupboards, balance on ladders to avoid falling into the flatscreen which is strategically placed to block all access to the living storage which just might explain the lack of cleaning. But it is progress.

vinyl, movies, tv series.... on what was empty shelves

vinyl, movies, tv series…. on what was empty shelves

 

In the morning we “simply” need to clear off the dining room table and preposition any/all of the kitchen contents that might be getting packed as well as rounding up the rest of the shelf critters and a thousand and one hedgehogs. I am hoping it takes less than all day.

<h4>Joris = Tabaluga</h4>

I will let you judge for yourself. There is this critter/dragon that I thought might be kind of fun/cute to knit after seeing him at Schoppel. His Dutch Designer has the pattern available in Dutch and English through Ravelry. Apparently if you want him in German, you have to buy the Schoppel Knitting Magazine (which turns out to be cheaper than buying the pattern direct and includes a number of lovely other ideas). Tabaluga is a character designed by Peter Maffay who debuted in 1983. I know we still have a couple of the albums that we got when the Eldest was little.

Head and body down to the arms

Head and body down to the arms

This afternoon when I started, then finished his head I was struck with the similarities. I’m planning on finishing the body tonight, just leaving arms and legs for tomorrow as my reward knitting for being prepared for Tues.

almost finished with the body

almost finished with the body

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, packing out Tags:

Taking a break

August 2nd, 2014 2 comments

Well, sort of. Maybe. Mostly managing three websites, sorting email, downloading files and spending the late afternoon at red*.  There were 8 of us, mostly regulars with a brand new person added. It was the usual conversation: Wollmiese vs Madelyn Tosh and what do you do with 60 kg of sugar.

No, I am not kidding about the sugar. One of our members words at Sudzucker. Apparently there is “distribute free sugar & recipes to employees” on a regular basis and she brought a few kilos to share with the rest of us. A couple members of the group are in the middle of putting up preserves and were more than happy to take bags and boxes of sugar. Me? I just like to add it to my coffee and would rather have brown crystals than white regular sugar.
So mostly I started on a new project and just listened to the conversations.
five fiddly points around the center point

five fiddly points around the center point

 

the yarn is crazy zauberball and the dps are 2.25

Categories: computers, Friends, Knitting Tags:

Comparison

July 31st, 2014 6 comments

This is going to be short – and mostly pictures from the end of today vs what I might have started from or perhaps the all time low of in the middle of the whole mess.

And yes, the packers should arrive to start the process in the morning. I have no idea if I will still be sane tomorrow evening!

But first – a small hat –
Solid color sock yarn on size 2.25mm needles. 108 Stitches. Smallest size. The original pattern is “berry” so this became Snowberry. Pictured on a doll before being sent off to the newborn it was made for.

smallest size

smallest size

Snowberry, pattern from Drops

Snowberry, pattern from Drops

But what you really need to see is the following:

First – George’s Office –

as it is

as it was

as it is

as it is

The downstairs hall –

partway through before

partway through before

after

after

The back hall –

several days ago

several days ago

today

today

also today

also today

The Studio

Studio last week

Studio last week

studio now

studio now

Then I had to find all my professional books (they don’t count in the weight allowance)

hall

hall

professional books consolidated

professional books consolidated

and while we were at it, rather than take a risk of packers dropping photos – I took a few extra plastic bins….

photos

photos

I’m not bothering at this point with showing you the dining room or living room. Those shelves are sorted, but I will do the “empty shelves and piles of boxes tomorrow….”

Categories: Knitting, packing out Tags:

Found objects

July 28th, 2014 7 comments

It is totally and completely amazing how many treasures appear when one is organizing and cleaning. Now we will completely ignore the yarn, fiber, patterns and fabric treasures. We all know about those hidden jewels, most of which are not all that hidden but easily forgotten: yarn bought by the bag at Ally-Pally because it was such a good deal with no project in mind; the rest of the bolt because it cost the same as 4 meters, those bright pretty braids of hand dyed wool seen hanging at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. All of which tells you how long some of those treasures have been hiding in bags, bins or cabinets.

But some found objects bring back good or interesting memories –

the long missing US pay-as-you-go stateside phone

the long missing US pay-as-you-go stateside phone

For example, there was this phone I purchased in Reno while at Renovation in 2011 which disappeared into the house sometime last fall. So there I was in the US this past Jan without a stateside phone. It turned up in the “important basket” on the dining room ledge. Now I remember putting it there, in a place where I could easily find it.

Then there are the various knitted objects – socks which saw a lot of use and a couple of hats which I think may still be pristine!

There is a princess dress still to be hemmed

costume for one of the girls? some time in the 90s?

costume for one of the girls? some time in the 90s?

A mitten (one of four) which I remember being on small hands that first winter we lived on Schlossberg and the kids went sledding down the cobble stones directly in front of the house.

hand puppet/mitten also mid 90s

hand puppet/mitten also mid 90s

And then there are the treasures which I brought back from various deployments, including handknits from BosFam (Bosnian Family Coop) of which Alison is going to have her pick this coming Decemeber

socks bought at BosFam ~1998

socks bought at BosFam ~1998

Categories: Knitting, packing out Tags:

Finished Forever

July 18th, 2014 3 comments

As it turns out, forever is only a year or two. I started this afghan in Feather and Fan with a plan to use up all those odds and ends of sock yarn that had been hanging out forever. You know the kind – too much left to toss but too little alone to knit any kind of useful thing. And I am all about useful knitting objects – that is why I have two bins of scarves and shawls which are complete but still looking for the right home. Remind me if I ever spend more than 10 days in a row in the US to post them all in the Free/Trade section of my stash in Ravelry.

Back to the Afghan – I cast on a lot of stitches – like hundreds and hundreds to that it would be nice and wide. For a while I knit on it regularly but then it became just to heavy to carry around comfortably. My ability to finish a row or two was limited by an ache in my wrist. Given that there is so much else that I want to knit – it went on hold, for, oh lets say a few months, a year or maybe more.

Now, with cleaning out the house and deciding what yarn moves and which projects stay here it announced it was sulking. I should just finish it already. Taking out my trusty measuring tape in inches since that was the only one I could find in the studio chaos I checked twice. It was 7 feet wide and 4 feet long? Hello? Lets make that four feet wide and seven feet long. Time to finish. A garter bind off doesn’t look pretty but it is functional.

A quick pix –

and a pile of afghan it is

and a pile of afghan it is

just a bit closer

just a bit closer

Now to take care of all those pesky ends. Oh, wait – Strikktreff tomorrow!

Categories: Knitting Tags:

One complete

June 18th, 2014 No comments

Today was a sea day. Time to knit. And watch lectures. And listen to Takedown Twenty-One, but mostly to knit.

Reflections is completed except for the fiddly weaving in of a half-dozen ends and blocking. It badly needs blocking.

Reflections

Reflections

and Downover started and section I completed.

known as Downover

known as Downover

Also a Cheryl Oberle shawl pattern, this one knit in two sections, with the second triangle being picked up from one side of the first. The yarn is Zauberball in two different color combinations. One is shades of blues, the other purples-blues.

Categories: Knitting Tags:

Watching the World Cup

June 15th, 2014 No comments
location is everything

location is everything

It seems, unlike last fall in Australia, that RCI doesn’t have a difficulty recognizing that passengers just might be interested in The World Cup. I mention last fall because the Melbourne Cup wasn’t even on the Radiance’s horizon. Admittedly racing and fuss ball are completely different sport but still. When you are sailing out of Australia it might behove the Cruise Director’s Staff to take note of local/regional main sporting events, celebrations and holidays.

Back to Fussball (aka soccer for the North Americans). However, let us not be completely naive, there is an opportunity for Royal to make money. The previous day’s games are broadcast on Chanel 41 so that anyone who missed them can catch up.

the perfect set up for watching reruns

the perfect set up for watching reruns

Today’s games? Available to you on multiple screens only in specific locations around the ship. Locations where you might just be interested in purchasing some refreshments to improve your viewing pleasure.

My personal favorite

My personal favorite

for when I am hanging out in the CL or DL and have access to the coffee machine. The choices for the World Cup are more limited: the outdoor screen by the Pool Deck for a couple of the games – otherwise a couple of the bars when it is dim, loud and beer is on tap. The choices do not include the DL (Diamond Lounge) on Deck 14 where I could hit happy hour between 1700-2030.

The problem with the pubs is the lighting… can’t easily knit where I don’t have enough light. I did discover while watching Switzerland squeak by Ecuador that the Indy’s new policy of allowing 3 drinks per evening during normal club hours meant getting my Sprite Zero without charge while sitting at the bar in On Air.

Starting another shawl

The shawl is a Cheryl Oberle pattern which starts with a central section, then adds a couple of wings. Written for sport weight yarn… but I don’t have much of that so the blue is an Opal yarn I found in the back of a closet, the multi-color is from my Crazy Zauberball stash. Both are sock weight.

the latest project

the latest project

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

On the Indie

May 5th, 2014 No comments

What counts to me this time is that I have a balcony on which I can sit, knit and relax. Not lie in the sun, unfortunately I wan’t thinking and am below an overhang but still I am on starboard which means warmer side.
the couch and sitting area will be enjoyed by inviting in friends. I am contemplating just a small group of knitters on this cruise.

Then there is the kettle. I have my own. The coffee pot is not much, but then the coffee in the lounge down the hall is so weak that you can clearly see the cup walls through the expresso…

 

IMG_1290

IMG_1289

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Knitting

start of a sleeve

start of a sleeve

On my way out the door Sat morning I was desperately seeking a Rauma stranded project which I didn’t find. This shawl popped up, finished all but the bind off. Now all I have left are all the loose ends and blocking. The yarn is that infinite cone of alpaca. The pattern is one of those mystery shawls which I started intensely disliking after the first three clues and changed the pattern to suit me.

I still don’t like it. I think it needs to find a new home.

that shawl

that shawl

Remember that I mentioned nice cabin? Well here are the pictures…..

Academics

Besides attending the various travel med meetings which are a total blast ..

Hi – my name is Holly and I am a travel junkie…..

I have been completing a series of on-line courses (free) through Coursera. I can download the videos and readings to work at my own speed. Remember I said that I wasn’t taking any more exams? This applies here as well. I am skipping the forums and writing assignments because the ship schedules don’t complement the learning time lines. The other major purveyor of courses is EdX. Their courses don’t work for me simply because of the web layout. Rather than have a clear landing page, you have to forward through each module and attempt to make sure that you have all the videos.

I just completed a Clinical Neurology Review and a Challenges of Diabetes. Partway through both an Art History Course (I know nothing, this is fun) and a Fantasy and Science Fiction (for which I had previously read all the recommendations). On the hard science side – there is Volcanoes, Dynamic Earth and Healthcare Innovations & Entrepreneurship (this last also falls into the professional ed category).

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Wasn’t that our station?

May 3rd, 2014 No comments

I know that you are not going to believe me, but I am really not a magnet for anything and everything that could go wrong on a trip. Really! In spite of some rather definite challenges in the last couple of months, I remain completely and totally optimistic. I plan (usually), I pack (mostly) and I always leave early for the airport.

So imagine my surprise when our train is blasting along after clearing Mannheim through an area that isn’t all that familiar. Then the train comes to a halt. There is a four minute pause before this young voice comes on the tranny. Same young woman who apologized earlier for the seat reservation lights not working – we hope you are understanding and not too inconvenienced. This time she says “we were switched to the wrong track and are bypassing the Airport. The engineer is requesting we back up and get back on the correct route.”

Another wait. No, we have missed the Flughafen and will not be stopping there today. As before we are not stopping at Frankfurt Main Station. For those needing the Flughafen, get off at Frankfurt-Sued and change to the S-Bahn to Frankfurt Main (Tief) then cross the platform to 103 where you can get the S-Bahn to the Airport.

Ok – I check my BahnApp. It says something different. I first go to the wrong platform then figure out that I want to put in Flughafen – not the long distance station as my destination. Yes – better but I now have one minute to get to the correct plan form and collapse against the wall as the door slides shut behind me. I wind up talking to another woman who had been on the same train. She is working in Stuttgart and is on her way to Helsinki to board a Costa Ship (I think the Pacifica) for four days before flying home from Riga. I get the impression that this is a special for Travel Agents as normally there is not any boarding in Helsinki…. It is short notice for her, but “someone had to do it!”

We get off the S-Bahn at the Main (Underground) Station. Sure enough, we are on Platform 104 and just a few steps away from 103. Much easier than going up to the main station and taking a regional train back. From then on it was easy, check in, go to lounge. Drink lots of coffee.

One of the interesting things I noted yesterday is that the SAS Lounge has a kids room. If parents/kids are anywhere else and disturbing others – they are asked to remove themselves to this area. With Lufthansa had the same. I honestly don’t know why they sell children’s fares in business class, but it kind of defeats the purpose.

There was this family with a small screaming girl. You know the type of parent “please honey be quiet…” Yes, in business class and a couple of rows behind me. Worse, the child screamed, howled and had temper tantrums all the way across the Atlantic. Even worse, older (late 40s) German dad and early 30s (maybe) French mom. I was wrong about one major thing. It wasn’t a child making all that noise, it was twins of age about 18 months complete with a 4-5 year old sister who would poke, pride and tease when either of them finally shut up for five minutes.

Glad I arrived without killing anyone but it was close. In reality, I think I would have had to take a number. The cabin attendants were fielding continuous complaints. I know the airline wants to make money, but this is not the way to do it.

This just might be the way

The new comfort pack

The new comfort pack

I did get some progress made on the sweater….

the front - the sun

the front – the sun

the back - the moon

the back – the moon

 

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Knit, Needle and Hook – Day 3

April 18th, 2014 No comments

Well, looks like we are initially organized. Jenny, the lovely stuckee from the ship has given us usage of the conference room on Deck 3 from 0900-1000. After that we had thought about the Viking Crown Lounge but looks like it is pretty much booked. Our fall back (and original suggestion from Tye) was the Solarium. So up we moved at 1000 after a lovely hour of chat combined with a lot of catching up.  Turns out the Solarium is not a bad choice. There is water, coffee, tea and the Park Cafe opens at noon. Well, 1300 but that is another story related to the fact that the ship is making the time zone changes in the middle of the day.

 

From what I can tell, there is Jewel of the Seas (Spring 2012), Vision of the Seas (fall 2012), Mariner of the Seas (Spring 2013) overlap between me and half the group. The rest of the group seems to have overlaps between them as well to include Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Whichever of the Seas. My head started to ache. Guess we don’t need any six degrees of separation, so far it seems to be two degrees at max.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Seems like old home week

April 17th, 2014 No comments

Yesterday morning I took the hotel shuttle to the airport and purchased a bus transfer from RCI. My intensions were to wait in the Military lounge (been there while awaiting my flight to Phoenix on the 4th). The “gentleman’ manning the desk informed me since I was not in “air transport” mode today, he could not allow me into the lounge. This was of course after he informed me that I had to tuck my luggage into one of the closets including my backpack. When I informed him that I wasn’t going to do that with my electronics, he simply said I could store the backpack after I took out my computer? What the heck?

I didn’t even bother with asking to see the rules. Heaven forbid I should sully his completely empty lounge or tell him that I had inquired the last time I was there and had been told it wasn’t a problem to wait for a shuttle bus. In transit, from the previous staffers point of view was in transit.

Anyway, there were only two of us on the bus to Port Everglade. In fact, it seemed that there weren’t any ships going out of Miami today and only two out of FLL. Since I wasn’t taking the Queen Victoria, Legend OTS was the obvious other destination.

We arrived about 1230 and slid right through security and check-in. Since I had had enough sun in the last few days I figured to wait in one of the lounges on Deck 9 where it rapidly became old home week. With in the first hour, I found friends from Key Largo with whom I have been on two transatlantics, three other cruisers from past on-board knitting groups and several of those on the BCC: line of this note. And then there was Betty who said she had just been waiting to meet me in person after reading the blog for the last several months.

Ok, now I have to finish editing all those pictures and upload them to the blog. And, it looks like set up a knitting/whatever group on this cruise since so far I have run into over a dozen who have been on one TA or another in these last two years.

For those that have an interest in such things (Crown&Anchor) it appears to be 24 Pinnacles, 225 D+, 600+ D, and all the rest but for the rare few are in the Platinum, Gold or Emerald category.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Chilean Towns

March 18th, 2014 No comments

Sunday there were two Aalparasios. There was the port town at Sunday rest with homeless dogs and men sleeping piled in dirty rags along building that have been long closed. There was a bustling vegetable market feature fresh produce, watermelons being prominent. A few buildings sported traces of their former glory, but mostly it was cement accented with grilled windows and barred doors.

Then there was the old city, seen through the eyes of some friends who did a walking tour. Featured were gloried of the past. The city had been modern and and rapidly expanding at the turn of 1900. There were docks, chandleries, hotel supporting the sux months of sailing around the Horn. The future was bright. A hotel stands today that was built in 1913.

But it never opened. Almost from one day to the next growth was stopped and the future was gone. In 1914 the Panama Canal was opened. Eliminating the risk of months at sea, dangers of ice flows and speeding goods.

So when we talk of the new canal being opened one should not think of greatness and speed of cheap goods from china being delivered sooner without also acknowledging e unforeseen consequences on many lives in multiple countries.

La Serena was similar in that it was a working port town. You could hike from the ship through the fish market + local artisans market which featured a lot of locally made handicrafts of various skill levels and almost nothing from China. Postcards and magnets weren’t options, but lots of things from string, shells, copper colored wire and alpaca were on offer.

I hike along a major street under construction along the port front stopping to watch the sea lions. Not a zoo location you understand but just a bunch out for a free lunch of heads and guts from the fish market. Like most port towns situated in a bowl shaped inlet the streets climb the hill with the upper part being mostly accessible on foot by stairs that zig-zag back and forth. The main street served both pedestrians and traffic. Like most of the other South American towns we have visited, all the streets were one way which helped a bit.

I looked in various stores, found several that featured yarns and sewing supplies. One woman (she with her Spanish and my with hand signs) told me that all the yarns for sale were acrylic, mostly novelty yarns. No one wants anything fine but the grandmothers who crochet. The younger women don’t buy either wool or alpaca so she had neither.

I had a delightful time just walking around and looking at buildings that obviously dated from the turn of the last century when wooden doors were common and signs handpainted. Many of the merchants had commissioned murals on their outer back and side walls. Apparently the best way to avoid the graffiti!

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Montevideo – Manos del Uruguay

March 4th, 2014 No comments

It is raining. Not that I remembered to bring an umbrella or anything. No longer being in an Aqua Class cabin it turns out that there is not a free umbrella in the closet. But as the lovely lady in the leather store says – I am not exactly made out of sugar. One of the leather shops offered a free van from the port. According to the woman in the store, about 1:5 wind up buying something so it is not exactly a hardship on their part to introduce the extras to their leather goods. Nice jackets etc, but not as nice as I found in Buenos Aires. I looked around the shop anyway and we discussed the Wizard of Oz (not the Wicked Witch of the West either) and then I headed down San Jose toward Manos del Uruguay which I proceeded to not find.

Having passed a cafe/bar with an open door and a WiFi sign in the window you can guess where I am for the moment.

The directions from the website are clear, so I think the store must be one of those with the metal shutters clamped down tight to avoid nighttime visitors.

So I am about to head out again and will try to update this post once I both find the store and ….. buy an umbrella….

1215 –
1214 Update.

Well, Carnival is starting soon. And the Manos del Uruguay Outlet is closed for the day. Following the instructions given to me by the lovely lady at Tannat Restuarant I boarded the 121 Bus and rode it out to Puntas Carretas which is one of the major shopping centers. They also have a Manos del Uruguay store which I found most easily. Lots of hand knit sweaters and scarves, but no yarn. They are out, which is why the outlet is also closed at the moment. I looked up the location of the other two stores but they are a significant distance from the port. I don’t need yarn badly enough to spend more on a taxi than on the yarn itself….

1400 –

so I walked back to the lovely restaurant where I started. It was about an hour. Humidity high but the rain held off. Am treating myself to a late lunch….

p.s.

oh, and don’t get in the middle of a French tour group trying to get off the ship. Apparently chatting is much more important than a steady flow down the stairs or having ship’s cards in hand when checking out…..

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Oops – yet another schedule change

February 20th, 2014 No comments

BTW – a group of penguins can be called a huddle. A large group is a rookery…. according to the Web gurus anyway.

I guess it goes without saying that the only thing you can count on as far as the weather in this region is that it is going to change. Plus the entertainment last night with the crumpled metal davit (the device that raises and lowers the tenders) means that our schedule is a bit different.

Thurs Feb 20 at Sea
Fri Feb 21 – Beagle Channel Glaciers (cruising 1130-1630)
Ushuaia, Argentina (overnight – 2200 on
Sat Feb 22 – Ushuaia, Argentina till 2000
Sun Feb 23 Cape Horn (Cruising (0600-0800)
Mon Feb 24 – Schollert Channel, Antarctica (1100-1300)
Paradise Bay (1400-1600)
Tues Feb 25 cruising – Elephant Island – 1400-1800
Wed Feb 26 at sea
Thurs Feb 27 at sea
Friday Feb 28 at sea
Sat, March 1, Montevideo, Uruguay
Sun – March 2 – Back to Buenos Aires.

as you can see -back to the original number of ports with the schedule in a slightly different order. The only thing that really matters is that the all antarctic locations are back on the list.

So literally – we are at sea.

Oh, and there are a small group of us getting together for knitting, etc in the morning up in the Constellation Lounge on 11. At 1015 we can be entertained by the Morning Brain Waker’s Trivia
and at 1115 by the Progressive Trivia. Besides Chere and I, we have found an Australian woman – Meg – who is knitting the most beautiful shawl out of fingering weight yarn (her own handspun) and Sharon who was part of the Transatlantic knitting group on the Vision (Fall 2012).

I have just about finished up the Zimmerman baby surprise jacket and need to go back and finish the two shawls in progress.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Third day home

February 8th, 2014 1 comment

And my head is still spinning a bit. Nothing has changed, but it does feel like I have distanced myself even that much more from all the “stuff” in the house which is a great thing. If  I can live without everything for 3 months at a time, I probably don’t need it.

But wait, I think, what happens when I can’t travel. If I ditch everything then I won’t have yarn and needles and patterns and fabric or a sewing machine or spinning wheels. What about all my books. Since I am not a clothes horse – that part of the equation doesn’t even exist. Nor are shoes high on my list of importance. In fact, my husband has a lot more shoes than I do. Never mind that all of his look the same, it is the principle of the thing.  I have my stock four pairs (flip-flops, keens, sandals and running shoes) on the road and two pairs of heeled shoes, one pair of flats , a pair of white sandals and an extra pair of sport shoes. That is my entire shoe wardrobe. I haven’t even had hiking shoes for years since my Keens have become my do-all shoes for just about anything other than the treadmill, the shower or a dressy evening (which is where those two pairs of sandals come into play).

It still was extremely easy when packing up for the Saturday Strikktreff to toss in some yarn and fiber in hopes that it would go home with someone else.  It was lovely seeing everyone and it was even nicer being able to handover all those magazines that I have been lugging around since Hawaii (yes, early Oct for those who are counting).

Now, if I could figure out when to sleep…….

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:

Rocky Seas

December 11th, 2013 No comments

again which is no surprise since the Tasman sea is know for that. Me? I got caught up on a bit of sleep after an early morning visit to the gym.

Hat Update

just a standard exeter

just a standard exeter

in standard guy colors of grey, and lighter grey. Morris & Sons estate yarn (4 ply australian wool) knit on 2.5 mm needles

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Last Day again ….

December 9th, 2013 No comments

Just to let you know, I have still not uploaded the photos – need to find an affordable way to do so. The ship is not it, just in case you had not figured that out….

 

Today is another pack up day. I am moving to my last of six cabins (five cruises + one change in the middle of the first). Headed down to deck 4, outside this time to see how it goes. I have booked fairly far forward so hopefully will out of the worst of the noise.

 

Tomorrow is early arrival in Sydney and hopefully access to upload some photos….

 

(Made a hat for one of the crew, he is headed to NYC and home and I didn’t need him to arrive and have a cold head. Not a bad exchange for mailing a package of three hats to upstate NY).

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Adelaide

November 14th, 2013 No comments

Or Adelaide, as laid back.

Since Maus & I were here for several days in 2010, my goal this time was simply to spend time with friends. If I saw anything at all, it would be a benefit.

So there I was, standing by the train station and waiting for a ride. My friends Helen and Kath bailed me out of Port Adelaide (not exactly next door to the city) and took me off with them for the day. We had a marvelous breakfast (now if I could just figure out how to order coffee in Australian, I would be just fine. What the heck is a “flat white” anyway? What if I just want a cup of coffee, non-instant?)

Any way, I had the best day in the whole world. Sat and chatted with friends. Got caught up on a number of on-line courses. Finished the exam for my CME module and started the patient simulation. Which of course has to be completed within the next seven days or it times out. Probably should have finished but I was freaking out.

Sent my post cards from Port Adelaide, then watched the wind/kite/para surfers on the beach before boarding the ship (less all the goodies I was able to pass off!)

ER2C4201

It was still light out when we sailed out past waving crowds on the shore. The next time I come back, it won’t be with deadlines hanging over me which will leave me more time with great friends.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

knit update *

October 17th, 2013 2 comments

* yes – not very brilliant with blog post titles at the present

hat for Ms Soprano (it is Zauberball, Exeter pattern and is really stretchy)

Exeter Hat

Exeter Hat

Both of the following are also from yarn gained on the last Schoppel run as is the hat.
Baby Jacket completed

Which means that I started another baby jacket (larger size this time) Which is knit in two halves then joined

So given that I was sick of baby stuff – it was time to start something for me.

The pattern is in Interweave Knitscene. Although sport/dk weight is called for – I am using fingering. Alpaca blend grey and part of some zauberball called Kleiner Fuchs for the contrast.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

yes, hats

September 26th, 2013 Comments off

Just to let you know that I am knitting

another baby hat

another baby hat

as well as reading – starting with The Color of Magic since Amazon had a nice deal on the first five Discworld books.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

yes, knitting

September 19th, 2013 2 comments

It wouldn’t be a good idea to let a week go by without saying something about knitting.

Two projects complete since the last time I think I posted anything:

A hitchhat for me (70 stitches, size 2.5 needles

Crazy Zauberball

Crazy Zauberball

The matching scarf

scarf messy

scarf messy

scarf neat

scarf neat

which has the distinction of being a full 42 thumbs.

Somewhere along the line I managed to misplace a cloth bag containing three hats for Dani. I still had one that needed the ends woven in. Now I am just searching vainly for which box, room, location is hiding them from me. Could be Seattle but I am thinking San Francisco.

purple #4

purple #4

Now on the needles:
have a cruise companion who’s daughter is presenting her with the first grandchild in Nov. She is just starting to knit so I thought I might contribute a jacket to the critter.

drops pattern - all garter

drops pattern – all garter

I like the pattern but it is coming out a bit denser than I had planned. Also I calculated the yarn and don’t think there is enough given this is mill ends from Schoppel. Might just frog and alternate bands of garter with plain.

Categories: Knitting Tags:

CalTrain

September 16th, 2013 Comments off

It was a lovely morning – I went to the post office on Pine Street. On the way over I followed the Bell Captain’s directions. And went up the hill and down the hill and …. (and on the way way I just hiked down Larkin to Sutter and completely skipped the big hill).

Since my time here is limited, I mailed out packages – two to a fellow BookCrosser, yarn (what else?) to the ScrabbleQueen who can just post when it arrives giving her an excuse for her third blog post this year – hats to a couple of friends, and of course hats plus treats to Maus & Co. At this point, my mind is blank which means that there could have been another package there completely slipping the mind.

A nice long walk down 4th after a stop at the hotel to grab the goodie bag for Alison and I managed to arrive at the Cal Train station exactly 2 minutes after the train left. Since the next one was leaving at 1107 with a 1203 arrival in Palo Alto I figured I was ok since we had agreed on a noon meet-up.

(and here I will skip the Alison not having my email address, me not having a stateside phone and needed to find wifi resulting in about a 30 minute scramble till we found each other). After a short debate – we wound up at Tava which was a lovely find. Sort of fast food, but not. You pick your rice, your dish, your sauce, toppings, spice level. Of course there is both Raita and Chutney to tempt the palate. Meat eaters can get chicken and lamb, the rest of us have a variety of choices.

So there we were, tying up a table and chatting for almost three hours. I have this lovely skein of red malbrigo for me, just the right amount for a hat. And I (sneaky woman that I am) managed to gift out a bunch more from my stash which makes me quite happy. Follow the above link to her blog if you want a pix. At this point the duffle bag is almost 1/2 empty having the cruise, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand friends to go.

A ride back to the train station, CalTrain north to SF. A stop at Macy’s and I was back at the hotel in plenty of time to miss happy hour. Morning I am off to Chicago.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Calgary – here I come

September 6th, 2013 2 comments

It was not with enough sleep on board this morning when I caught the 0547 train to Frankfurt airport. It wasn’t that I stayed up and packed – except for a few odds and ends that had been done for over a day.

It was all the other things – like trash and garbage and wondering why I hadn’t remembered to leave my keys where I could reach them rather than in the bottom of the backpack.  And talking to kids, and making sure bills were paid and …. you get the idea.

So I made the airport then had to wait till Air Canada was able to get computers up and running. They don’t have a lounge, so the Lufthansa one did just fine. At the gate I made an interesting discovery – Air Canada is willing to fill extra business class seats with its top ranking frequent flyers.  Air Canada’s frequent flyers and not Star Alliance. Lufthansa status didn’t count.

It would have been nice. Coach was almost full (10 seat belonging to those now sitting/laying in business class. But I wound up with a nice seat companion returning from time in Italy spent with her father and all the Italian relatives. Her husband was still in a good mood after being overwhelmed by in-laws.

I finished the purple hat and did 3/4 of a hitchhiker. Snoozing off and on, but not sleeping. Might as well knit!

Canadian immigration asks a lot of questions including the Why are you here? Hello? Don’t you want tourists to come, look and leave money? So after 25 minutes in line for my five minutes of grilling I collected my luggage and headed toward the exit.

On the other side was Marise. She and her husband Mike met me and gave me a ride to the hotel. We then proceeded to go for an early lunch.

I am now dead on my feet and going to sleep. With any luck I can meet up with Richard and Donna tomorrow (Granduer TA 2011) for coffee before meeting George at the airport mid-afternoon for our ride to Banff.

 

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Hat of the Day

September 3rd, 2013 2 comments

Since packing is boring – there is also this hat which was knit out of mills ends of Schoppels Zauberball.

IMG_0792IMG_0793

by casting on 120 stitches, increasing to 150 when the ribbing was completed (k3,kfb) then decreasing ten evenly distributed locations around the crown when it was time. Oh yes, 2,5 mm needles followed by dps.

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Postcards

August 31st, 2013 Comments off

I have been watching the post – all but one of the cards which I mailed from the Med have shown up –

Spain is prompt

Spain is prompt

The one that is missing is from France – Marseille on the 19th of August. Now those cards were mailed from the post office which I found following a long and arduous (ok, not so hard) hike around town and up into the city overlooking the east side of the harbor. I bought the stamps and mailed them right there. I think all the rest have shown up in the US but I still need to check. I would have thought Germany would take less time but one never knows.

My afternoon and early evening were spent at Red. Saturday knit crowd of course and I had a fun time. Managed to pass off a couple of more books but wasn’t able to drop off at the Neugasse bookshelf as planned. It seems like there are those who are not using common sense. If a book has been sitting on your shelves for, lets say 30-40 years, what makes you think anyone else is going to want to read it?

Anyway, the shelves were seriously overloaded with oldy, moldy books and tattered magazines. I didn’t have the energy to spend time cleaning so just let it go. There are supposed to be other bookshelves around.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

That purple hat

August 30th, 2013 Comments off

turned out like this!

partway done

partway done

completed

completed

which was a lot more fun than the other things that I was supposed to be doing (cleaning, sorting books, contemplating next weeks departure…..

Categories: Knitting Tags:
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