Monthly Archives: March 2008

Sunday Morning Annoyances

You know what breaks the peaceful Sunday morning silence on Montana Street?

The church vans!

These vans sit outside people’s apartments and HONK HONK HONK until the people come out.

Isn’t there something wrong with church vans ruining quiet Sunday mornings? Couldn’t the horn at least sound like a harp or bells or something church-like?

Picking up Old Things

Since the Tilted Duster is done and I’m not in a rush to make knitted presents for anyone (a co-worker of mine is adopting soon, but I think I have time to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket while she’s traveling to Ethiopia, so no big rush), I’m picking up projects that have been languishing.

I knitted half of an Interlocking Balloons scarf before being distracted by the holidays. So, on Wednesday night, I met Becca at Companion Bakery, wound my next skein of yarn, and picked up where I left off. Of course, it wasn’t so easy because I wrote down the WRONG row number the last time I worked on it. Becca helped me sort out what the real row number was…I think it only took me 20 minutes to make a final decision.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll pick up my Jaywalkers and finally finish them this week. They better fit and wear nicely because I’ve had such trouble with this project. Did I ever write that the size 1 metal DPNs that I picked up in November turned out to be size 0s?? I finally bought another set of bamboo size 1s a few weeks ago for a baby hat, so I can continue again with the socks. I HAVE to finish them…working on such a small project for over a year is a bit embarrassing.

And then there’s the Icarus vs. Muir question.

But, anyway…

Thursday
I spent most of the week still in vacation eating mode, which means I’m shocked that I can’t go out to eat twice a day.

The re-entry has been tough.

I’ve fallen to dinners of grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and red bean ice cream milkshakes.


Keetah is so not amused.


Actually, she’s angry that vacation eating is over for her, too. No more Friskies wet packs!

Friday
I’m still working on finishing up a big data import at work – this is a project that I’ve been working on since the end of January in my “free” time. The IT director and I worked on it together for a couple of hours on Friday. After we thought we were nearly finished, we came across a sort of Big Thing. When some records were moved across instances, a vital piece of information (vital for our center, anyway) was dropped.

ARGH!

By this time, it was after 4:00 and the party to celebrate our school regaining its number one ranking was underway. This was perfect timing, as I needed a drink, and there was wine and beer to be had.

Of course, having a beer made grocery shopping after work not so fun.

And when I had to go to another grocery store at 9:30 for cornstarch, I was super pissed off. I guess I could have waited until today to make cherry-lime jam (from the latest Everyday Food), but I wanted jam and English muffins for breakfast Saturday morning, darn it.

Saturday
I had an English muffin with cherry-lime jam for breakfast.


After breakfast and dish washing and refrigerator cleaning, I went to yoga.

I specifically went to the 11:00 class because my favorite instructor teaches it. So, I was a bit disappointed to learn that she is on vacation this week. The sub started the class by having us assume a restorative yoga pose with a block under our back. This was great until she proceeded to read a poem…a really LONG and annoying poem.

I can usually be down with such things and focus on the positives of such situations, but this poem-reading really ticked me off. I would get so much more out of something like breathing exercises.

Fortunately, the class improved immensely once the poem ended.

After yoga, I cleaned up and made a lunch of chicken-black bean fajitas. After that, there were more chores like balancing the checkbook, paying bills, and taking the recyclables to the sorting site.

I did have a bit more fun when I stopped at Bowood Farms for tomato food and a birthday gift. Oh, but I was so sad to learn that I missed hearing one of the founders of Seed Savers speak by only a couple of hours!

I rounded out my day by stopping at Van Gohz for Suzi’s 30th birthday.

Tomorrow….more yoga, more cleaning, more knitting. The excitement never ends!

C, I think

If a director of information technology tells you that you should train to be a database administrator, do you…

A) Sign up for classes.

B) Laugh at this notion.

C) Cry as you picture your soul dying.

Thoughts

I’m thinking about ripping out my unfinished Icarus to make a Muir. I can see myself wearing a Muir more so than an Icarus.

I want to make Companion Bakery’s Grilled Cheese Thursday someday. Soon. But probably not tomorrow.

I bought red bean ice cream at Jay International Foods on Monday. The good news: they finally carry red bean ice cream. The bad news: it’s $7.95. If I had seen the price before buying it, I probably wouldn’t have. Tomorrow night: red bean smoothie.

My tomato plants are growing quite nicely…partly due to Suzi’s careful sprout tending during my vacation. I hope they don’t die now.

Trips Trips Trips

I’m drafting this post as I wait in the Dallas-Forth Worth for my flight to St. Louis, which has been delayed an hour. The DFW airport is pleasant, with Apple and Sony vending machines, lots of smoothie stands, and a Dyson Airblade in the restroom. However, I’d rather be boarding the plane right now.

Entering the security line in Albuquerque was a sad, sad, sad event, but only a few tears slipped out of my eyes.

Porkchop and I had a great trip. There were some surprises and a couple of disappointments, but we had a lot of quality time together. Time enough to do nothing but play crossword puzzles and Yahtzee and think about next year.

Here is my trip report…

Friday
Worked a half day and left for an afternoon flight. After a layover, it was on to Albuquerque! Alas, the airline made me sit on the tarmac for nearly a half hour before pulling up to the gate. And when we did, we had a “special security inspection” during which one of the travelers was escorted off the plane.

After finally deplaning, Porkchop and I picked up our ride for the week. Unfortunately, the compact car we reserved through Hotwire was not available. Our options were either a 12-passenger van or a mid-size car for an additional $5 per day. We were a bit suspicious of this, but coughed up the extra money because we really didn’t need a huge-ass van.

Porkchop surprised me with a hotel room (her apartment is a bit small and only has a twin bed) and presents. One gift was a nifty map of NPR stations!

Dinner was pizza at Il Vicino (yeah, the same that’s in Clayton) and then gelato at Eco. We had chai and orange-chocolate. Yum.

Saturday
We left bright and early for Durango, Colorado, where we met my college roommate Jenni and her 6-month-old baby boy for lunch at Steamworks. Afterwards, we walked along the river for a bit and then left for Jenni’s house. Jenni and her husband (who I also knew in college because Jenni worked as a barista at Lakota and her now-husband was a regular) live atop a mesa outside of a little town not too far from Durango. Their driveway is a crazy steep, curvy dirt road, and they only have 4 groups of neighbors. During snow season, they ski and snowshoe around their A-frame house.

This is a view from their driveway:


Jenni made a terrific dinner and we caught up while the baby played and slept.

Sunday
Jenni also made a yummy breakfast of french toast and turkey bacon. Afterwards, Porkchop and I started on our drive to Tropic, Utah, which is just outside the entrance to Bryce Canyon.

The drive through Colorado and part of eastern Utah was a bit nondescript, albeit windy. Soon, however, the Utah road entered canyon and slickrock country. The scenery was beautiful, the sky sunny, and the company jovial.


Snow outside of Hanksville, a bit more than halfway through, put a damper on things. But then the sky was clear again…and then the Clouds of Doom converged again.


When our path entered the Dixie National Forest, a sinking feeling was all around. Snow on the road and more snow falling from the sky.


The road wasn’t completely empty, which was reassuring. But when we stopped to clear the windshield and the car wouldn’t budge when we finished, I think we were both a bit worried. However, Porkchop summoned up super-human kidney-donor strength and pushed the car through the ice and snow. Then, while I kept the speed up a bit, she ran by the car and jumped in, like it was a movie. I helped by steering to the left while she yelled, “right, right right!” Sometimes, when under pressure, I confuse my right and my left (you’d think I’d remember because I’m left-handed, but sometimes I forget and think I’m right-handed).

The road and the wether cleared up a bit after we left the forest, but it was still spotty. While Porkchop drove, I occupied the post of Worrier. When we passed a pull-off overlooking one of the canyons in Escalante National Monument, Porkchop started to pull over for a picture (it really was a grand view), I yelled, “NOOOOOOO!” followed by, “I just want to get there!”

Later, we pulled off for Porkchop to reenact her car pushing.


After more spotty weather, we FINALLY reached our cabin in Tropic. Since we had shared a wrap and juice at the Peace Tree so long away in Monticello, we were super hungry. Of course, Tropic isn’t very busy in the off-season, especially late on a Sunday night. So, thank goodness for Ruby’s Inn. Call it a bit of a tourist trap, but at least the restaurant was still busy and full of German and French tourists. Thank you, Ruby’s Inn!

Monday
We had originally planned to hike down into Bryce Canyon, but the weather had different plans. The snow system on Sunday left lots of snow and ice on the trails. And, it was cold. Very cold. But, pretty.


Since I left my gloves in St. Louis, I picked up some sweet mittens at Ruby’s Inn on our way to the park. Although equipped with new mittens, even I realized that it was too cold and windy for us to attempt the trails. Instead, we drove through the park and admired the views from the shorter paths near overlooks.


Given our abbreviated visit, we have to go back later so that we can enjoy the hoodoos from up close.

After our short drive through the park (most of the roads were closed), we left for Springdale and Zion National Park. The snowy scenery soon gave way to non-snow and a bit warmer weather.

Entering Zion from the east is grand. You go through two tunnels, including one that is a mile long. And then you enter the canyon via a series of switchbacks. Nothing but prettiness surrounds you!

We saved the scenic drive for after we checked into our hotel, the Majestic Lodge, and after a late lunch at Oscar’s Cafe (sweet potato fries – yum!). During the drive, we enjoyed the view of the Court of the Patriarchs, and we went on the Emerald Pools Trail (all the way up to the upper pool, a bit inadvertently). We also speculated about which huge rock was Angels Landing.



Dinner was a small snack at the hotel restaurant – potato soup for Porkchop and a piece of blueberry pie for me. Mmmm….pie.

Tuesday
Porkchop was a big, stressed-out worryhead Tuesday morning. She was worried about hiking up Angels Landing while I played it cool.

Luckily, Porkchop loosened up on the trail.


The hike up to Scout Lookout, which is on the saddle for Angels Landing proper was steep but very manageable. The most strenuous part is Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 steep switchbacks that lead up to Scout Lookout. We took a snack break at the overlook and enjoyed the antics of the ground squirrels.


When we started climbing up the first part of Angels Landing, I knew I was at my edge and turned back. Maybe if people hadn’t been behind me, I would have felt a bit more comfortable looking for hand and foot holds and using the support chains. But I didn’t.

Porkchop continued on, and I was surprised when she returned rather quickly. She turned around because it would have taken her quite some time to reach the top of the landing. After seeing her pictures, I was kind of glad that I turned back when I did.


After breaking for a late lunch and a brief respite at the hotel, we went on the Watchman Trail. Then it was leftovers for dinner and Yahtzee.

By the end of the day, we had climbed a total of around 1,600-1,800 vertical feet.


Wednesday
We were sore.

Walking was hard, but we did the easy Riverwalk so that our legs wouldn’t totally stiffen up. Several people were suited up to go through the Narrows. I think the Narrows would be pretty neat in warmer weather, but it seemed so cold while we were there. Next time!

Next time, I will also try to make it all the way up Angels Landing.

After our easy walk, it was onwards to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is a bit nuts. Seriously, it’s crazy how many people wear high heels and/or leave the rim trail for a closer view over the edge. During a ranger program that night, we learned that many such people don’t survive their attempts at a closer look. Seriously, SO many people go over the edge, it’s crazy.

After the ranger program, we settled into our cell block hotel room at the Yavapai Lodge.

Thursday
In the morning, I awoke ready to trek down the Bright Angel trail and partially down the canyon. But, the Bright Angel trail was icy in many stretches, and the park service was recommending crampons. After going through a couple of icy stretches, I couldn’t handle it when we reached another. Sure, other people were slip-sliding down the trail, but the ranger’s presentation on death in the canyon was fresh on my mind. The Bright Angel trail hugs the canyon on one side and is a steep drop-off on the other. This time, Porkchop turned around with me.


Even though we didn’t even reach Mile-and-a-Half House, we were still hungry enough for a suprisingly yummy lunch at the Arizona Room. We split cranberry BBQ chicken dinner, complete with cranberry dressing and creamed corn and chicken-corn chowder.

After hitting a couple of gift shops and a bit more of the rim trail, we left for Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is a neat little mountain town. On my previous trip to Arizona, I had enjoyed my stay at the Grand Canyon International Hostel, so we stayed there again. The rooms and the shared bathrooms are neat and clean, and the staff is really nice. There’s also a TV room, so we were able to watch Lost with a few other travelers. We also had a yummy dinner at the Thai restaurant across the street. The only drawbacks of the hostel are the night noises – trains, a bar across the street, and a few loud guests. My earplugs helped me (free at the front desk), but Porkchop didn’t get much sleep at all.

Friday
I woke up and showered super early before 7 am and then waited for Porkchop to wake up. After she did, we went to La Bellavia for breakfast. I had the trout and eggs (a whole pan-fried trout, 2 eggs, country potatoes, and an English muffin), and everything else looked delicious. SO many types of eggs benedict, Scottish oat cakes, waffles….I could eat there all the time.

The drive back to Albuquerque was a bit boring. The most exciting part was the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert…which really says a lot.


Saturday
Porkchop and I hung out and did more crossword puzzles and watched movies and ate ice cream. Porkchop made an awesome dinner of porkchops with cranberry-orange sauce and mashed potatoes.

I also enjoyed a Mexican Latte from Satellite Coffee.

And Today
Was sad. The one happy point was getting two Yahtzees in one game.

And my flight is SO delayed.

Tomorrow will suck extra-hard.

P.S.
Monday DID suck. My flight was delayed by more than two hours, so I didn’t arrive home until after midnight and couldn’t sleep at all. Murrr! And, I miss Porkchop.

Oh, also, you can read Porkchop’s version of our trip and see more pictures on her blog.

I Like to Make Extra Work

Tonight, I finished the Foliage hat.

It is beautiful.

And the bind-off is way too freaking tight – not good on a top-down hat. So, guess what I shall be doing tomorrow night at knitting?

I’m a bit stressed out because I need to do lots of things before I leave on my trip Friday afternoon, everything is happening all at once at work, and I still have to finish a hat and fix the Foliage bind-off!

Oh my gosh, I leave in two and a half days! Excited, stressed out, and tired is what I am.

Look at these Things

I have sprouts!


Fourteen out of forty-seven are sprouting…with more to come, hopefully.

Here are some hats that I’ve been working on…

The Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap, shown here from two angles:



The pattern calls for ties, but I think I will leave them off because they could be a choking hazard, they could just be chewed upon by the baby, and I’m lazy.

Here’s a shot of the Foliage hat in Malabrigo Sealing Wax (pretty!):


And this hat is less interesting photo-wise and knit-wise. It has been my bus knitting – I even did a Russian join on it this morning while riding the bus! The Cousteau hat:


My downstairs neighbors are playing super loud music right now. I kind of hate them right now because I want to go to sleep. But I’m trying to be yoga-like and not let it bother me. But I really do wish their stereo would break and that their pot would turn into dirt.

Calling This Done

Besides starting 47 tomato and red bell pepper seeds over the weekend, I did some blocking.


The duster is still just the tiniest bit tight at the shoulders, and I know I messed up the shoulder seams a little bit, but overall I’m happy with the finished product.

I don’t look happy here, but only because this was my fiftieth try to get a decent shot using the camera timer.

Really, I’m happy.


So, I’m calling this done, even though I technically need to add a hook and eye closure at the V below the buttons.

I’m off the Caffeine and Wide Awake

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my body needs a reset, so I’ve been off the black tea for 5 days now.

And, oh my gosh, I’m so awake, I can’t sleep at night! Apparently, I need the caffeine crash in order to settle into a deep slumber.

*sigh*

And that’s Exactly what Happened

So….my evening was a bit interesting.

First, I had my hair cut down to 2 inches (yay!). Second, I knitted on a baby hat. Third, I talked to my parents and learned that my dad needs back surgery pronto (murrrr!). Fourth, I talked to Porkchop. Fifth, a dually pickup smashed up a half dozen cars on my street and then a guy across the street came out with a gun and shot at the pickup. And then there were police cars and the police helicopter.

No, seriously, that’s what happened. Here’s a shot of a couple of the cars from my porch. Notice how much the pickup in the picture was moved – it was originally parked parallel to the curb. Also, the car behind the pickup has been pushed up onto the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the curb.


Yeah, this happened REALLY close to my apartment. Also, I nearly parked on that part of the street, but decided at the last moment to take a spot on the upper part of the street. So glad I did.

Porkchop and I were Skyping, and she was starting to read me her letter of application for the second year of Tamarind. She was a few sentences into it when I heard: VROOOMMMMMSMASSSHHHHSMASSSHHHHHVROOOOOOM SMASSSHHHHHHHVROOOOOOMMMMM

A bit distracted, I turned my head at the noise, trying to figure it out. Porkchop asked what was going on, to which I replied, “I don’t know, it sounds like a truck is running into all the cars on the street.”

Porkchop started reading again, and then we heard, ” POP….POP ….POP….POP… POP…POP.” Porkchop said, “Are those gunshots?!” And I said, “I don’t know, maybe.”

Porkchop started reading again, but I had to cut her off because I could hear lots of people talking outside and I wanted to go see what happened.

I was floored to realize that a truck HAD gone down the street, smashing cars, and that a guy came out of one of the 4-flat buildings and started shooting at the truck.

WHAT?!???!!!!

Police cars arrived quite quickly, and the police asked us to stand on our porches because they were bringing in a canine cop (why, I don’t know. Is the dog going to pick up the scent of the TRUCK? Of course, maybe they’re sniffing for drugs.)

Not too long afterwards, the police helicopter started searching the area. And now nearly our entire block is cordoned off.

Crazy! CRAZY!!!!

After finishing talking to Porkchop, I had to call Beth and Katie so that I could hear Beth say, “What?! WHAT?!”