Monday, November 29, 2010

Here and gone - Now with captions!

No time to write right now, but here are some photos from my recent trip to MN. I had a wonderful time and am really blessed.

Here's the table. It ALWAYS looks nice and really sets the mood for a good experience.

Here's the crowd. My brother and SIL are on the right, and a couple of their friends were there as well. There were also two dogs, who, unlike my sassy-pants dog, totally left the people food alone. See that coffee table? There was food on it ALL NIGHT! My dog would have made a run for the appetizers within the first five minutes of them being set down. We gotta work on that.

Aren't these adorable? Cream cheese, and other savory stuff, rolled in paprika. Delightful!

OK, on second glance, this isn't as appetizing as I thought it would be, but there is the duck confit in the back, and it was amazing! If you ever have the opportunity to try confit, take it!

And this was about how I felt the entire time I was there. Cozy, warm, happy. The goodbye was almost totally balanced by the fact that I'll see J and M again after Christmas, this time at my other brother and SIL's house. We'll have us a time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In that place

Happy Thanksgiving from snowy Minnesota! I squeaked in as the rain was turning to snow, and am now happily having coffee and chatting about matters big and small with some of my favorite people.

I miss my dog!! I miss my kid, too, but I know he's doing something that is still part of his routine. Sally will be fine, but taking her to the kennel Tuesday made me realize how much I've grown attached to her in this year of traveling less (since I'm not traveling for a long distance relationship).

My brother and SIL are teachers, so it's always good to get their perspective on things. Mr W's been doing so-so work in school lately, and it's food for thought whether the system is serving him, or promoting the "we'll feed you this, you spit it back out" model of education. That's another post, but something I'm thinking about.

We are having turkey, scalloped carrots, spuds, stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, and something my brother is very excited about - Duck Confit. Duck simmered in duck fat - wow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Go ahead, scan me

Tomorrow at this time, I'll be on my way to the airport to fly to MN to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and SIL. I'm going to bring my knitting, breathe deeply, and try to be patient on the busiest travel day of the year.

I'm not bringing my computer, so may or may not post anything here. I wanted to wish everyone who reads this little blog a happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you get to spend the day the way you really want to.

Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Proper tools

Here is my Liesl sweater, on the blocking board. The sweater's been done for a couple of weeks, and I've been looking around at thrift stores and kids' consignment stores for some of these foam tiles to use for blocking. I didn't have any luck, and finally just ordered these from Knitpicks. They were $20, stack into 1 square foot pieces, and there's nine of them.

What a difference the right tool makes. I have an old carpet remnant in the basement I had used in the past, and it just didn't work like this. I could use some longer pins, but the little ones I had are fine. I'm a little disappointed that the sweater is taking so long to dry (I should have given it a spin in the dryer when it was rolled in its towel), but it will be dry in plenty of time to wear it when I travel to MN on Wednesday.

I have extolled the virtues of this sweater before, but I love this sweater!! I love how it is knit with thick yarn, on big needles, and has a simple construction. I didn't even put button holes on; I'll buy a dark brown ribbon and tie it closed at the top. I'm going to knit another one this winter yet. If you've never knit a sweater, I would highly recommend this one.

The sun's out today - I simply MUST rake leaves. I've consoled myself with the idea that I'll just rake them onto a tarp (no bagging, which I hate) and make a leaf compost pile in the corner of the yard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Tribe

I have an old friend who apparently saves a lot of stuff, and the right stuff too, because he scanned a couple of contact sheets from 1983 and put them on Facebook the other day. He's a friend of the family, he and my brother have been friends since second grade, and I've been friends with his sister forever as well. I was over at their mom's house a few Christmases ago and he said, "Wait here", while he went down into her basement and got (he's an artist) a painting he did of me around the same time. I now have several "Jimmys" and think it's cool to own original art. I'll post pictures of them one of these days.

The above picture is of his sister, our friend Jordan, and myself at Edgewater park in downtown Cleveland. For the life of me, I only vaguely remember this trip, but there I am. Without sunglasses, because you didn't need them in Ohio as much as you do in Colorado. Anyway, there's a couple of things that this picture made me think about.

I got more than a little nostalgic for those times. For the last couple of years of high school and the first year of college, I was part of a tribe. A group of people with whom it was just assumed I would get together with on the weekends, and we'd do all sorts of stuff. Artsy stuff, outside stuff, city stuff. It made me yearn hard for those days when I was part of something like that. Nowadays, I guess you could say my tribe is scattered. I count myself lucky to have several close friends and a wonderful family that I love dearly. But it's not quite the same, where the tribe was more than the sum of its parts, local, and active. It makes me want to cultivate a new tribe, or at least expand my local circle of interesting friends, beyond the few close friends I've made/kept after my divorce.

The other thing that struck me about this picture was that I wasn't fat. Our view of ourselves is so subjective. My recollection was that I was chunkier at that time. Now, I look at myself in the picture and see that I could have toned and tightened up, but that I wasn't as heavy as I thought I was. After all this time, my thought was something like, "I'm OK, why have I spent so much time worrying about how fat I feel?" I don't worry so much anymore, I think it's an effect of being in my mid-40's and FINALLY just accepting this particular balance between eating and activity.

Musing about this picture comes at a good time. I'm leaving for MN in a few days to spend time with some of my favorite people, and that always recharges my emotional batteries so I feel like I can take on anything. I feel blessed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This and That

There's a metaphor here somewhere. Something about being able to thrive outside one's comfort zone or something like that. These are some Black Eyed Susans that volunteered to be alongside my garden this summer. The one has an interesting double flowered-ness to it that I liked. I think BES are some of my favorite flowers - so hardy, long lasting, beautiful.

As I've mentioned, we are approaching holiday travel and I'm making trips for both Thanksgiving and after Christmas. Mr W and I will be together from Christmas Eve through New Years, so that will be nice. He'll appreciate not having to be in the all-day day care that is available for folks that have to work. I'll put up my little Charlie Brown tree and some lights in front of the house and am looking forward to that.

Air travel is expensive. And added to it is that I need to board Sally when I go away. She does fine, although she'll hesitate that third time she's got to go in at the end of December. I feel bad, but I'm not going to not travel because of my dog, who has a pretty cushy existence otherwise. For whatever reason, flying from Denver to South Carolina has always been expensive, and there are simply no direct flights available.

I knew this when I started looking for tickets, and ended up paying a lot, but we'll fly at something like 9 am instead of 6 am. As it is a 90 minute trip to the airport in the best weather, having to get to the airport at 4 am is a big deal. We'll have all of our stuff in two carry-ons, and I've chosen seats towards the back of the plane to ensure that there will be room in the overhead bins for our stuff.

And the best bit? My brother and SIL chipped in toward our tickets. I just got the check, and am so grateful. It makes a big difference, and I didn't have to ask for the money; they just sent it. A class act, those two.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shiny Things

With the weather turning cooler, it's time to pull out the winter coats. I have an old down parka for when it's below 20 degrees or so, and then my Bemidji Woolen Mills man-jacket that my brother and SIL gave me last year for the rest of the time.

I love that coat. It's warm and retro and I like that I can add my own touches, like a hand-knit scarf. When I was in my late teens- early twenties, I had a thing for vintage and retro clothing. I (much to my mother's chagrin) wore a wool overcoat that belonged to a friend's grandfather as my winter coat, and collected some pins to make it a little snazzier. I found the pins the other day, and they are shown above.

All of them are pretty beat up, and were that way when I came across them. But they have a charm to them that I still really like. I'm going to pick one or two and put them on my man-jacket.

In other news, I've been on and am (already) going to back away a little bit. My profile's been up for a couple of weeks, and I've been, well, kind of obsessive about seeing who has viewed it. This drains me, and I don't know why I fixate on it, so I'm leaving the profile up, but not going to check on the site for a few days. That sounds so trivial, but there you go.

I forget how many people (single men and otherwise) I meet during the course of a day. Yesterday, I took Sally out to the foothills trail that we've been hiking the last few weekends. There were probably a dozen people also out on the trail that day, many with dogs, and I said hello to all of them. It's good for me to remember this.

Also yesterday, I visited with a friend who just got a new puppy. She's had a bunch of stuff going on in her life right now, like having her old dog die suddenly, and the visit left me feeling like I've got NOTHING to complain about, thank you very much. But I did think about how, yes, I still want and need to find a partner for the next chapter of my life. I'm trying to live my life well in the meantime. Balance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Current knitting

I started this little scarf to have something to wrap around my neck to ward off the chill. It's called the One Row Lace scarf (the link is to a Ravelry page). It's going pretty fast, which is good because I've got a bit of holiday knitting to do. Not much, but a few things that I'm fairly certain will be appreciated.

It's going to be a good Saturday. Going out to lunch with my former MIL, on the hunt for some good thrift store items, cooking (cookies, soup, chili), and we'll see what else happens. We've got some snow on the ground, and it's some of our first wintery weather we've had yet this season.

Another video

Here's another video. This one is about sound, which isn't something I think about a lot, but my lab is noisy, and I do use headphones. The speaker mentions that a significant portion of teens have sustained permanent hearing loss because of the use of head phones.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why? Because it's Thursday night

People in their mid-40's or so that watched Sesame Street might remember this one. I still remember how I was a little taken aback by the audacity of the guy in the middle. I have my grade-school friend Priscilla to thank for this gem.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gearing up

I realized yesterday that I'm going to be taking three trips by plane before the end of the year. I am excited, as two are family trips and the third is work training that I'm interested in. Too bad I have to board the dog for those times. I'm a fan of traveling light, and won't check bags for any of these trips, including the last one, where Mr W and I will fly to South Carolina to meet up with my siblings and maybe my dad after Christmas. I remember when Mr W was small, which was back in the day before they charged so much to check a bag, we'd pack him a suitcase of toys that would get checked.

Nowadays, he's got his hand-held electronic thing-a-ma-bob, and can go for a loooonnnggg time without food, drink or restroom breaks. It's the perfect travel accessory, really. But he does get squirrelly if he's on it for too long, so I'll bring some other things for him to do as well. I thought perhaps we'd make a trip to the local library, so he could get some books. And he'll have Christmas gifts to open there as well.

I'm still thinking I want to try to go to Europe next summer. I think that I want to start in London, and visit Paris and maybe Amsterdam. In 10 days - two weeks. Must read more about it.

Lately, it's been easy for me to appreciate how lucky I am in this life. I feel like the kid who just ditched her training wheels and is DOING it. After being divorced for almost 5 years now, it's high time, but as my SIL says, "you sometimes have to do your emotional work before you can move on to the next thing". The prospect of being alone used to really scare me. Now I've sort of shifted it, so that I'm alone at the moment, but not forever. It's a difference in perspective, but it works for me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another good weekend

I had another good weekend. OK, this isn't really news, as none of them totally suck, but the last two weekends have felt quite good. Productive. Pleasant. I think the difference is that I've not been as anxious about the end of the relationship with B and the fact that the search is on again. That book really helped.

Mr W, his friend and I went to the the Free Day at the Denver Zoo yesterday. It was fun, but way too crowded and I'll happily pay to get in next time on a less crowded day. It was a nice day, though, and we did see some good stuff.

This situation caused a bit of anxiety for Mr W. These are two molting peacocks, with the zoo train bearing down slowly on them. Mr W was quite concerned that they were going to get hit by the train. So much so that we couldn't leave until the train had passed. From my perspective, the train and the birds do this all the time, so they know to get out of the way. From his perspective, those poor birds were going to get hit! You should have seen the look on the face of the conductor; he had a loooonnnnggg way to go before his shift was over and he was not about to slow down for a couple of stupid birds.

The peacocks got out of the way, but the train missed the one by about a foot as it went by, so they got closer than I thought they would.

We caught the sea lion show, and I actually got a decent picture of the action.

And there were babies! I've heard somewhere that babies are what bring people to zoos. These were 10' tall babies, but you get the idea. I liked how the giraffes were close and easy to see. They are such odd creatures. We also saw tiger cubs.

All in all a good day.

On Saturday, Mr W's dad asked if he could come over for a dinner they were having because a couple of his cousins were in town. My former MIL was there, and I've known these cousins for 20 years, so I looked forward to saying hello briefly when I dropped him off. They are all such gracious people, and were likewise pleased to see me. It was a little weird to also have the x's girlfriend there, but good to see these folks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An F.O.

Well, it's really an A.F.O., an Almost Finished Object in knitspeak. This is my Liesl, and I need to block it yet. And of course, weave in all those ends. This has been a quick, easy and satisfying project, and I will likely make another one at some point. The only downside is that I think I may have made this one a little too small. I was one stitch over gauge (14 stitches per 4", versus 13), and thought that would let me make the smaller size. The lace is supposed to relax when it's blocked (where I will soak it in warm water with special no-rinse soap and pin on a foam board to size), so those arms might fit me, but if not, I'll give it away.

In other news, I'm back on It's not as big of a deal this time, as I'm certain that I have a match out there, he just might not be on So, I've lurked and looked, and seen that B has already posted his profile (about the same time I posted mine, no hard feelings). Stay tuned, but there's one thing I'll say. I've got NO interest in having coffee with someone who is "Currently Separated". Doesn't that mean one is still married? Yikes.