Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Getting Ready to Go.

...Carole's prompt this week is about coming home from vacation. And I look forward to all the great advice...in three weeks. Because that's when Sara and I will be back from our post-graduation trip to Paris and Florence. Right now, I'm a lot more interested in getting ready; we leave a week from tomorrow. So in keeping with the Ten on Tuesday spirit, here are ten things I've got to do before we leave:

1. Refresh my French and see if I can learn even a few words of Italian. When Katie and I went to Paris in 2009 (to celebrate her college graduation), I listened to Coffee Break French. This past weekend, I downloaded the introductory season again, and found an Italian 101 podcast with pretty decent reviews. So far so good. "Deux verres du vin s'il vous plait, un rouge et un blanc" (actually, I'm not sure yet if it's "un" or "une"...but I need to find that out soon since Sara's a white wine girl and I'm going to drink red!)

2. Update our phone plans for international texts, and mine for international calls.

3. Get Euros. I placed the order at the bank yesterday and they'll be there to pickup tomorrow.

4. Make copies of our passports and credit cards...just in case.

5. Confirm we are still good for early check-in at our Paris apartment. Our flight lands at 6am local time (hello, jet lag!) and it would be lovely to get settled before we head out to explore the city.

6. Re-read Dan Brown's Inferno. Most of the book is set in Florence and since I've never been there I figured it would be a fun introduction to the sights we'll see.

7. Figure out travel knitting. I'm thinking an easy scarf for the plane and apartment time and socks for when we're out and about.

8. Clean up my iPad so I have room to download photos. This is key if I want to do anything more than share photos on Instagram.

9. Finish the Florence Scarves. The end is definitely in sight...my scarf is about 16" long and the other three are ready to block.

10. Pack. Normally this isn't a big deal for me, but we're not checking any bags. I've really pared down my packing list, but still...I'm not sure it will all fit!

I haven't been to Europe since 2009... welcome any and all suggestions as to what might be missing from my list!
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Choosing Gratitude.


Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
~Psalm 16:9

Yesterday's devotion* struck a chord with me. It talked about how being dissatisfied with what we have, where we are and even who we are is encouraged by our culture. But really, I have what I need. It encouraged me to start a gratitude journal (that's a practice I had for several years...and let go)...and to actively begin each day choosing gratitude.  Here's what I wrote yesterday:

1. a good night's sleep (finally!)

2. up dark early to hear the birds singing (love how Kym calls this "bird joy")

3. Sunday mornings at my church - the liturgy, music, fellowship and message really feed my soul.

It's a daily reminder that I am choosing gratitude.

*My daily devotion is from These Days, a quarterly publication from the Presbyterian Church.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekending.

...this one started on Friday afternoon with a packed and super-fun knit-along session at the shop. There are about a dozen of us participating in Rowan's Afghan Mystery KAL. The first (of ten) clue came out on Thursday, so this was our first group meeting to knit. The KAL continues through June and then we have a few weeks after the last clue to finish up the projects to be eligible for prizes (!!!). There is a great virtual community in the Rowan forum on Ravelry, but I think having in-person support is going to be a good thing...it's more than 3,000 yards of yarn to knit!
...waiting for me when I got home on Friday ♥
Marc and I stayed in all three nights (as usual!) and finally tried out Amazon Prime video. We are huge fans of the Poirot series starring David Suchet. Turns out there are about 12 seasons available on Amazon Prime, and dozens of episodes we've never seen. We watched five over the course of the weekend. Even at that crazy pace, we've got a few more months to enjoy!

Saturday it rained some more, so no long walk. I had an appointment at the Apple Genius bar (my three-year old laptop is running really slow...sadly, it needs more memory!) and then braved Costco. Costco at noon on a rainy Saturday before Easter Sunday, yeah, it was a zoo!

In the afternoon, I took advantage of Marc golfing (yes, in the rain) to catch up on the TV I've been missing. Mr. Selfridge, Game of Thrones and Mad Men all began new seasons in the past week or two. I had six episodes total to watch and managed four on Saturday and two on Sunday. Of course I'm now behind another three episodes from last night - why are the three shows I watch all on the same night? I know it's early, but I think all three shows are going to have good seasons. I also finished the second Florence scarf and started the third (more on that in another post).

Yesterday was glorious. The rain cleared out Saturday and left behind bright blue skies with just a few clouds. Holly and I enjoyed another long walk in the early morning. Then I went to church with Katie and Rob and they took me to brunch after. It was lovely to celebrate Easter with my favorite couple!
Rob, Katie, me
yay for good mother-daughter photos!! (thank you, Rob!)
Marc played golf late and used the morning to cook - roasted pork loin and brussels sprouts and made a simple fruit salad for dessert. It was all delicious.

Today brought more blue skies and even warmer temperatures. The birds are carrying on a very loud conversation outside the window. I think spring might be here for good. finally. Has it arrived where you live yet?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Choosing to Pay Attention.

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeks in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch 
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway 
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak. 
~Mary Oliver

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beaufort 2014.

...my sister and I spent a lovely weekend away with our mom (and a bit with my dad and a dear family friend). We started the mother-daughter weekend tradition back in 2005 and this was our 6th visit to Beaufort. and maybe the best one yet. the weather was perfect. the food (and wine) was delicious. and of course the company was outstanding.

We share the driving; Karen usually drives down (since she's faster and then we get there sooner!) It's great knitting time for the passenger. I got two repeats of Traveling Woman chart A done before we arrived.

...and the good meals begin. This was our pre-dinner toast at Emily's (which was followed by tapas, six plates!)

Saturday morning we took a leisurely walk through the historic district. Pretty views in all directions.



Saturday lunch at Wren's with all of us (my dad and Charlie join us for Saturday lunch, we attend church together on Sunday and then share brunch after...otherwise, it's just a girl's weekend)

Sunday's weather was even prettier. Slightly cooler with a nice breeze.

Sunday afternoon we pored through the contents of my mom's jewelry box. She wants to be sure everyone gets the pieces they love. Lots of memories there! I added a few prizes to my collection of pins and will share them here soon.

Sunday night we ate at Saltus River Grill and finally had a good dinner photo.

I spent some time last week poring through photos from our five previous trips. And the blog posts  (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) - love that I six of them now!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Favorites from Yesterday.

...yesterday's photo prompt was "My fave part of the day." It was a very hard choice...because it was a very good day! Here's why:

First, dark early quiet time. I have finally adjusted to the time change and was up before 5.

And good thing I was up early - I had to leave the house at 7:40 to pick up Pat and Penny to go to Stitches South. The traffic was light (yay for spring break and blue skies) and we arrived in plenty of time to snag front row seats for Amy Herzog's opening talk. It was terrific (sorry, no photos). All about choosing the right sweater shapes and details to flatter your figure.

Lunch was delicious (again, no photos). Grilled caesar salad and key lime tarts. I cleaned my plate!

I took Amy's Sweater Boot Camp class in the afternoon. And it's a good thing Amy doesn't read my blog. Because here's my favorite part of that class (sorry, Amy - you have a smile on your face nearly all the time - and my one photo doesn't show it!)

Yep, she used the word's hypotenuse and Pythagorean Theorem and armscye. All in one sentence. with illustrations! She's also got me thinking a lot about sweater construction and I think I'm about to convert to loving seams.

The marketplace was really the only disappointment of the whole day. Our LYS is fabulous, so I wasn't planning to buy any yarn, but pretty stitch markers? or a cute project bag? I looked...and found nothing. My only purchase was another set of Kollage square dpn's, size 1, for when I start knitting socks again.

A very helpful security guard snapped this photo of us on the way out. That's Pat on the left, me (in my Tsubasa) and Penny on the right.

We made it back home just in time for a quick Holly walk and then met our friend Becca for dinner. Cheers!

Another delicious meal (this time with wine) and some very fun girl talk. I'm not sure if this is really a good idea, or just the wine, but we've decided to re-read some of our favorites from the 1970's and 80's. We're starting with Valley of the Dolls. ...stay tuned!

So yes, it was a hard choice...but this morning I settled on that dark early photo. because that's my favorite everyday. I shared the wine toast as a favorite, too, for a "special" day.

How about you - what was your favorite part of yesterday?


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Derailed.

...so I was all set to blog about my upcoming knitting plans last Thursday. The latest issue of Knitscene had arrived in the shop and I was almost finished with Tsubasa and ready to buy yarn for my next sweater. I was planning the Bokeh Tank - not only because I love the design, but also because it suggests a mix of Shibui's Linen and Silk Cloud. My shop was hosting a Shibui Mix party on Friday afternoon...and I had a ticket! I was going to swatch, and buy my yarn, and cast on as soon as I really did get Tsubasa finished. Last Wednesday, I looked at colors...

I made good progress on the finishing (one neckband, two side seams, two arm bands...all that remained was weaving in ends and blocking) before the Mix party - I even bought the magazine and copied the pattern. And then I went to the party. which included a trunk show. And all those best-made plans were...derailed.

Oh yeah. That Bokeh Tank is still in my queue, but it's behind three other projects - none of which were even on my radar before Friday afternoon!  Here's what jumped in front of the Bokeh Tank.

First up, and what I cast-on Sunday, is Coco Knits' Anna. If you're counting, yes, this is my third project in Shibui Heichi's Caffeine and yes, that is what I used to knit Tsubasa. Turns out I had an extra skein and Anna only calls for five...buying just four skeins to make a sweater - which everyone told me looked great - and which will be a perfect traveling piece next month...well it was a no brainer.

Mix No 28 (c) Shibui Knits
Next up, Mix No 28. Again, what sold me was the trunk show. Trying it on (seeing how to wear that buttoned scarf three different ways) and feeling the fabric is something the pictures online just can't do.  I think the Pebble/Linen blend might be my favorite...and it's perfect for Spring/Summer/Fall here. I won the pattern (!!) and bought the yarn in a slightly more gray/beige than what's shown in the pattern photo.

Belle (c) Coco Knits 2012
And finally, Belle. This is another Coco Knits piece that I'd only seen in pictures until Friday. There were two samples in the trunk show - both, I think, are pictured on the Ravelry pattern page (the purple and the apple green in Shibui Linen). Sandy (from Shibui) said it would be a great pattern for their newest Kavo, a cotton silk blend with a bit of texture, and I'm planning to use that. I did not buy the yarn for this one, but it is next up in my queue. Stay tuned. Plans are subject to change :-)


I did get Tsubasa done. It took three days to dry, but this morning I trimmed all the ends and hung it on Madeline for a few quick photos. I'm going to Stitches South on Thursday and if I'm lucky, I'll even get a modeled photo or two! (and no, I am not going to buy any yarn.)

What was the last pattern or yarn or anything else that derailed your knitting plans?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fact or Fiction?

...as promised, here's the truth from Tuesday's very fun and popular topic. But first, a pretty picture. This is one of the trees in the pretty little park in my neighborhood, waterlogued, of course!

Now down to business:

1. I'll start it out easy. I am best friends with an adorable little Schnauzer named Holly, who sported a purple gingham harness for our afternoon walk.
True!

2. I made it to the final rounds of a 6th grade spelling bee and lost on the word "mayonnaise".
False - my best friend Amy lost on the word "mayonnaise"; I lost on "cyst". I'd never heard that word before and spelled it "sist". (this one was tricky...no one got it right - but I wonder if my parents might've remembered?!)

3. I've visited 43 of the 50 states.
True! The seven that I haven't been to are Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. It helps that I've lived in Georgia, Texas, Wyoming and New Jersey, married a guy from Connecticut and worked for a company that had clients and offices all over the country.

4. My best 18-hole golf score was above 100.
True! and probably the best reason I no longer play.

5. I am absolutely and completely terrified of spiders.
False - it's snakes, not spiders (I get scared just typing the word).

6. I have only seven sweaters worth of yarn in my stash (and one more "waiting in the wings" ... not ready to count that one as stash yet).
True! and I'm reminded I do need to post about my stash (I promised that to Margene weeks ago). Oh, and that doesn't mean I don't have a lot of other stash...sock yarn and other onesie-twosie quantities that I could use for hats, mitts, cowls and shawls.

7. Breakfast is my favorite meal and if I'm going to splurge, it's eggs benedict.
False - I don't like most breakfast foods and I really dislike eggs unless they're really well-done.

8. I've never poached an egg.
True! (what's the point if I don't want to eat it?!)

9. Before Marc retires, I really hope to visit Asia with him.
False - I love good coffee, nice wine and lots of fresh air. Marc says I'm better off here (or in Europe!)

10. After our May trip to Europe, the number of countries I've visited (outside the US) will grow from nine to 10.
True! I've been to Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, England, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. I'll add Italy to the list next month.

This was a fun way to share a little bit more about myself. Thanks for playing along!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Looking Back | March.

...again through the lens of my daily photos (and the fatmumslim prompts). Here's what March looked like.

::There is definitely more color (and no black and white!)...lots of pink and even a little bit of blue sky.
::I'm getting out and about more. Five of the photos were inside my parents' house and 10 were inside mine, so over half were taken elsewhere.
::And I'm taking the photos throughout the day. One of the challenges I've had with following prompts is that I don't find anything that works and then I force it just before I go to bed. I think that happened only once, back on March 3 (the pink bag with my name embroidered on it).
::Also, I'm using more perspectives. There are photos looking up, and down, getting on the ground, close-up and far away.

Taking a closer look:
::From Where I Stand (2 photos) - rain (no more flip flops!) and back to the gym for Pilates.
::Other Selfies (3 photos) - all hands (!!!). It's been two months now since I've shared my face and must fix that.
::Knitting (8 photos) - six WIPs and two FOs...I'm definitely getting more creative about applying the prompts here! Last Saturday's purple linen lace on wooden needles was "sticky".
::Holly (2 photos) - she's always a popular subject; the one from two Monday's ago garnered 23 likes on Instagram (that's a lot for me!)
::Food & Drink (3 photos) - only three... probably because flowers and spring took up eight!

There were also three photos from my dad's hospital room; thankfully we won't be repeating that again!

Unfortunately, there is still no Project Life or One Little Word! I am definitely going to work on that this month. May is going to be crazy with graduation, Europe and a family get-together over Memorial Day. I'm afraid if I let those projects go another month, I'll never get caught up.

Also, still no people. That's another focus for this month. Starting today (yesterday is already done and you saw it...Holly!)

So - there you have it. I'll be back tomorrow with the truth about yesterday's post. In the meantime, have a great day...and if you want to leave a comment, please tell me: what was the best part about your March?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Fact or Fiction.

...Carole's prompt this week is a bit of April Fool's fun. We're sharing ten things about ourselves that may - or may not! - be true. Here's my list:
today's fmsphotoaday - "something purple"
1. I'll start it out easy. I am best friends with an adorable little Schnauzer named Holly, who sported a purple gingham harness for our afternoon walk.

2. I made it to the final rounds of a 6th grade spelling bee and lost on the word "mayonnaise".

3. I've visited 43 of the 50 states.

4. My best 18-hole golf score was above 100.

5. I am absolutely and completely terrified of spiders.

6. I have only seven sweaters worth of yarn in my stash (and one more "waiting in the wings" ... not ready to count that one as stash yet).

7. Breakfast is my favorite meal and if I'm going to splurge, it's eggs benedict.

8. I've never poached an egg.

9. Before Marc retires, I really hope to visit Asia with him.

10. After our May trip to Europe, the number of countries I've visited (outside the US) will grow from nine to 10.

Please leave a comment with the things you think are fiction (I'll share the real answers later this week). Happy Guessing!

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