Monday, December 29, 2008

More FO's

I finished the baby's sweater, doesn't he look cute in it? I am making great progress on my afghan. I have completed the magnolia medallions which make up the center strip. I have crocheted half of the top portion of the afghan. With the next 4 day weekend coming up, I should be able to finish it. Yay. Although it is warming up, we are in the mid 30s now.

My cake is excellent and everyone LOVED their gifts. The kids said awesome a lot and the adults were speechless. Davi cried when she saw herself in the crocheted portrait. Sydonia and Harmony wanted to started learning to knit right away. Harmony finished her cast on row and one knit row and Sydonia knit 5 or 6 rows of her scarf before they left. Her Mom said she has been knitting non-stop and is very proud of her scarf. I have created a new knitter!!! Courtney and Dominique made their Grandma take them to McDonald's Friday to spend their gift cards. We had two winners in the lottery scratcher game, Mom won $7 and cousin Michael won $3. It was a lot of fun.

I hope this two and half days goes fast at work, I really am looking forward to being at home. I am slowly de-decorating. I have taken down the wall decorations and removed the holly garter from the banisters. We still have too much food leftover, but that's par for the course.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quick Post

It's my Friday - so there, I am taking Christmas Eve off. Our Vanpool is not running tomorrow and the firm closes at noon - didn't make sense for me to commute 3 hours to work 4 - so I am staying home. I have to make two German Chocolate Cakes. I use the recipe for both the cake and the frosting from inside the wrapper of the Baker's German Chocoalate bar. We only cook from scratch in my house so that means separating eggs, whipping egg whites and slowly stirring caramelly frosting on the stove until it is thick and rich. And yes, I make the 3 layer cakes - no flat square cakes or short 2 layers. I have to make two because that's just how we roll.

I created a game in my mind and will try to make it a reality. We dote on the children in our family and oftentimes forget the adults. So I came up with a game for the adults. I am calling it penny smart and pound foolish. I will pass out pennies to all guests over 18 years of age. Then I will pass out one California Lottery Scratcher ticket to each adult. I will allow a one minute trading period. During the trading period they can swap scratchers with someone else. We all have our favorites, I like the Big Spin Scratchers and my Mother likes the Millionnaire Scratchers. My guy at the Lottery Store had 15 different $1.00 scratcher games for sale. I bought 40, we are supposed to have 35 adults, so I got some extra tickets in case we have a few drop ins. Back to the game, after the trading is done everyone will scratch off their tickets and see what they have won. If you traded away a winner you are pound foolish, if you traded for a winner you are penny smart. I will try not to be too upset if I have bought someone a Million Dollar ticket, after all we are all family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wonderful Winter Wonderland

I am so enjoying this rainy stormy weekend. I finished my Austermann Step socks last night, and I finished and wrapped my Sister's scarf. There won't be any finished photos of that project, it's just a longer version of the photo below. I am back onto the Forest Canopy shawl because it is the next project on the sidebar that is almost complete.

I finished something else this weekend, my Commemorative Collector's Book of State Quarters. I got both Alaska and Hawaii quarters yesterday so my book is now complete. 1959 was a very good year !!! I am actually collecting $10 rolls of every state quarter, I finished 4 more states: Delaware, Illinois, Colorado and Michigan. My Mother plays a game called Pokeno with her girlfriends once a month and they bet quarters for different combinations on their playing cards. She got coverall last night and I ended up with $15.25 in state quarters for my collection.

The baby boy dog child has a grooming appointment tomorrow and it is time for his annual shot. I have four 8 row repeats left to finish this FC Shawl, then I will finish his little sweater. I have 3 inches of the body to knit then there is a chest plate which enables you to custom fit your pooch. I am not sure how many rows or inches that will be. But every time the baby comes back in the doggy door he is soaking wet, so I must get his little sweater finished before he gets doggymonia or something. I am making him the Posh Pooches Basic Sweater.

I watched my favorite version of A Christmas Carol last night, the original 1951 black and white version staring Alastair Sim hosted by Patrick MacNee. Tonight I am going to watch the Albert Finney version. Tomorrow night the George C. Scott version, then the night after the Patrick Stewart version. Aw Christmas, I just love it.

I am wrapping green this year, I did not purchase any wrapping paper or gift bags. I am a shopaholic and I have boxes and bags galore, so I recycled and put gifts in what I already had on hand. Hope the recipients aren't too disappointed when they find no Louis Vuitton or Coach items in the bags and boxes. Teehee, I warned my Sister up front because I often give her Coach bags and accessories for Christmas. Did not want to disappoint her, she is getting . . .oops, I almost slipped. My BIL reads my blog and he is a tattler.

I bought myself a sewing machine for Christmas, but for knitting purposes. Let me explain. I bought three of the Knit Picks colorwork kits, the Agouna Laptop Bag Kit in blue which requires steeking; and the Cool and Warm Palette Fingering Yarn Sampler kits with the Sipalu Bag patterns. I also have the Jade Starmore Glenesk sweater kit, more steeking. Steeking is scary enough without trying to do the sewing part by hand. So I bought a little sewing machine to help me over the hurdle. It is a Singer 7470 and it sews alphabetical characters too. I am determined to stitch my username on my Ravelry tote. I wrote my name on another unofficial Ravelry tote from Zazzle, using fabric markers, but it faded very quickly. I also like to put zippers in my tote bags and linings in my knit and crocheted bags, which I have been doing by hand. Now I can do a much better job of finishing.

Last but not least ( I want to get back to my knitting!!), I bought the Knit and Crochet Today DVD set. We no longer get the DIY channel and I wanted to get this set because it comes with a 28 pattern CD-ROM. Pretty cool!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chilly Dilly

I fell down and started two new projects. So much for good restriction intentions. My excuse - it's COLD. We are experiencing temperatures in the 30s and it's SNOWING. This is California after all, what goes on?!?!? So, I fell off the wagon and started two new projects. I am crocheting my sister a scarf and knitting my dogboy a sweater - it's COLD. I must keep the babies healthy!!!

I cast on and knit the cuff of the 2nd Austermann Step Sock. I made some cute ornaments, a stocking, vest, sweater and mitten.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Photo Op

I had some time to snap some shots.

Completed Davi, bordered and backed. It still amazes me that you can get this result with single crochet stitches. The finished piece is larger than I expected. The upholstery fabric I used as a backing is perfect. The loose ends of the yarn ties is not noticeable. The only thing I would do differently is crochet the border from the very beginning. Picking up the stitches on the top and bottom left a very irregular kind of messy row. This can be avoided easily by crocheting the border stitches as you go, there will be no yarns tied on at the top or bottom. That allows for a much neater and finished edge. Todd is currently offering a pattern promo for the holidays which I completely plan to take advantage of. I want to do my Mom and Dad next.

WIP - Candle Flame Scarf in Wollmeise Buxkranzl (box wreath). Love this yarn!!!

The latest Wollmeise Sock Club installment.
1 Hank of Saami
1 Hank of Jultomye
Both are superwash merino, 574 generous yards. There is a star cookie cutter, gummie bears and a special surprise inside the ball of yarn included. The sock pattern is called Little Brother and it looks like a challenge - I have put it aside for now. I think the Saami will become a bag and the Jultomye a neckwarmer.

The four flowers that make up the center panel of the Homespun Magnolia Afghan in the Tudor colorway.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I am on Restriction

I mean really now!!! Every time Renee (Goddess Knits) releases a new pattern or Miriam (MimKnits) has a new pattern available on The Loopy Ewe, there I am hitting the BUY NOW button. It's ridiculous. I have more patterns than I have yarn - and that's saying something!!! My queue is about to max out on Ravelry, it takes me three or four clicks to get to the most recently added to move them to the beginning (temporarily) of the line. Some people have no control - raising both hands. So I am putting myself on restriction.

I just finished my crochet by numbers portrait, including sewing on the backing and adding a cabachon ring for hanging. I finished another pair of socks - which unfortunately does not count towards my 52 pair plunge because they were a pair I finished and had to rip one out and reknit from the heel. I started my magnolia afghan which is a must - it dropped below 30 degrees last night, gotta have my afghan y'all. But other than that I am on a time out.

The terms of my restriction - and public declaration should shame me into sticking to it - (1) no more yarn until I knit up all skeins of a colorway [DONE= Tudor Homespun] (2) no more patterns until I complete a project using a pattern I have never knit or crocheted before [DONE= Magnolia Afghan and Posh Pooches Doggy Sweater, Miniature sweater, vest, mitten and stocking ornaments] (only exception is downloading the weekly clues for the two Mystery Kals I purchased - see I already own them, so they are not technically new ;P) (3) no more needles or hooks until I free two circulars, and 2 crochet hooks from works in progress [DONE= finished socks, sweater, scarf and ornaments] (4) no more books until I read a knitting or crochet book all the way through, AND make the pattern(s) I bought the book for - wow that's a big one for me, I love me some books (5) no more casting on until I finish all of the WIPS currently in the sidebar of this blog - whew, I am starting to sweat. [Finished two projects from the sidebar, but cheated and casted on the ornaments and a scarf for my Sister.]

These may sound more like new year resolutions than a crafting to do list. But really I need to get some control over these areas. I love to knit and crochet, so it is time I started KNITTING and CROCHETING and stopped shopping and searching and browsing for yarn, tools, patterns and such. You know what I mean?

These are not resolutions however, the restrictions only apply until each of them are accomplished. Then I am free to be me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

WIP Attack

Taking a break from my Crochet By Number portrait. I have 17 rows left to do. Almost there . . .

I have some upholstery fabric that I am going to use for a backing. Color #251 or #252 are going to be my crocheted border. I have a ton of it left and I want a solid crocheted border.

I am happy with the way my Tiger Eye scarf is coming out too. I cannot wait to finish it so I can start wearing it. It is freezing here right now, 40's in the mornings - brrrr.

I have gotten about 15 rows of the foot done on my Austermann Step, sock 1. I really like the colors in this yarn. Loverly :D

Last but not least my little leftover Yukon yarn scarf. Another warm accessory that will come in handy. I have never crocheted with Knit Picks sock yarn before, it is developing in an interesting pattern. This picture is not as clear as it could be, but there will be more later.

Just a quick knitting and crocheting update. In previewing this post, I notice I am getting my BLUE on. Wait until you see the afghan I am planning. Blue lovers are going to drool. Back to my project.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I am thankful for my family, friends, job, home, dog-child, and bit of remaining sanity.

I got to actually knit this weekend. I checked on my Ravelry messages but I stayed away from the forums, yarns and patterns. You know, it's great to have all of that there within the click of a mouse - but once I fall down that rabbit hole I don't get any knitting done ;} I did spend quite a bit of time in the iTunes podcast listings this weekend however. I searched for new knitting podcasts, some I'd heard about from my current favorite podcasters. Guess what I found, a bunch of CROCHET podcasts. Cool!!!! I will have to update my sidebar with links when I choose my favorites. I had just selected the Lion Brand Magnolia Afghan for my winter cover up so it is very appropo that I found some new Crochetcasts. A couple of them are video podcast at that.

Digression - my Michael the wonderful just put a bag on my desk. L'Occitane En Provence Lavender Shower Gel. He wanted something to soften his hands so I gave him one of my L'Occitane lotions (they come in a generous 3 -pack). I told him that I love the Amande Almond Shower Oil (thanks Miss Adrienne), but that I was dying to try the Lavender Shower Gel and voila. He bought me some. He is a wonder and a joy.

Ok, back to crafting. I am about 60 percent through my crochet portrait and I plan to finish it over the 4 day weekend (we get the Friday after Thanksgiving off). I finished quite a bit of the Tiger Eye in Sundara scarf, the current length is about a third of the length I want the scarf to be. Tonight I must finish turning the heel of my Austermann Step sock. I love the striping on this sock, I cannot wait to wear them!! I would love to share pictures, but every time I say I am going to post pictures at a certain time something happens and I don't get to. So lets just say you'll see it all eventually.

In other news, I just ordered about 20 Knitting, Crochet and Needlecraft Mystery books from Edward R Hamilton Bookseller. If you have never shopped with him, I highly recommend you check out his listings. I am not paying more than $6.95 for any of the titles and he has a flat shipping rate of $3.50. Check him out!!! Seriously !!! {whispering behind my hand} He even has two Alice Starmore books in stock for less than $20.00 each! I have been shopping with him since the 1980's, when I was a poor college student. I am a faithful customer. I always order something every year, I don't want him to go out of business - EVER.

My lunch time is over by 3 minutes, gotta skeddadle.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Rest of The Cruise

October 29, 2008 Cruising

Whohooo I picked up my jewelry from the Parfum shop, the gold by the inch, and my Ring from Shannon. I also got my going ashore pics from the photo gallery. The ring fits perfectly, I wore it to dinner. I had to pass it around the dinner table, what woman can resist handling a big beautiful diamond. No pressure on the husbands we dine with though, cause Rita’s ring (she sits next to me) is 3 karats if it’s a carat. But they appreciated the beauty, you know. The rest of the day was spent doing more ship exploring and knitting in the Champagne Bar. Please note that the bar was closed at the time, I do not knit and drink at the same time. I cast on my Yukon socks, my last Knit Picks Yukon yarn. I grabbed my Sudoku puzzle. Had lunch in the Windjammer, with the lady from Germany we met at Breakfast a couple days ago. Her name is Margaret, but they call her Gretel. She is traveling with a group from Germany near Berlin, but she likes doing things alone. They are doing tours, but she just wants to hang out on the ship. She has promised to translate the ball band on my Austermann Step for me. I still want to know how they get the Aloe Vera and Jojoba on the yarn.

October 30, 2008 Acapulco, Mexico

Okay, 7,000 degrees is not my idea of a good time so I shopped at the marketplace at the pier where the ship docked instead of taking a cab to the town center. Mom stayed onboard again. I did purchase the two souvenirs I want to commemorate this cruise. A wood carving hand painted with a native theme and a hand woven shawl from Guerrero, just outside of Acapulco. I bought postcards, magnets, and such as well. Then I got back onboard and found Mom in the Windjammer with her new friends, a couple from Philadelphia - Yogiwanda and Gilbert (Yogi for short). I grabbed something cold to drink and went to the stateroom to put on a dry top. Speaking of cold drinks, they are serving the best lemonade, fruit punch and iced tea on this cruise.
Then I went to the Champagne bar and knit while watching TV shows on my iPod. Slow and easy day.

October 31, 2008 Huatulco, Mexico

I loved this place. This has been my very favorite port so far. The people were not aggressive. They were warm and welcoming and the stores were bright clean and friendly. I patronized every store along the center of the little town. A few postcards here, a magnet or key chain there. I bought my sister a crazy t-shirt. I have to remember to take a picture of it before I give it to her. Also the temperature was very nice, 80 degrees with a breeze.
Today was Johnny’s birthday so the dining room wait staff and everyone at our table sang happy birthday to him. We were served a really excellent chocolate birthday cake - Yumm!!

November 1, 2008 Cruising

I needed a nap today. I am almost finished with the gusset decreases of my second sock. We have our first tour tomorrow. Mom will finally be getting off the ship. I picked up my formal night photos from the photo gallery. I discarded most of them, but two of them came out very nicely. I was disappointed that we did not have a towel animal tonight. I don’t know what happened to our stateroom attendant. I had to call the desk to get a copy of the daily compass so we know when we are docking, etc. We also decided to order room service because our tour leaves at 8:15 am and we have been sleeping in late so far each day.

November 2, 2008 Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The TAM tour package vendor sucks. They had tours for our ship and the Serenade of the Seas all scheduled to leave the pier at the same time. The buses were not marked and the first tours to leave were the poor people they had lined up in the back the furthest from the transportation. Seriously - it was 195 degrees in Puntarenas, 98 in the morning and 97 in the afternoon. And there was no where to sit while you waited for your tour to leave in the midst of all the exhaust fumes from the ships and the buses leaving. Then at almost 9 am they tell us and the poor people from the Serenade that they have overbooked the Oxcart Factory Shopping Tour and they need volunteers to take another tour instead. They shed four people. Then instead of our transportation coming down the pier like all of the other ones, we had to walk about a mile to the town and wait in the dirt on the side of the road until our van shows up, and they still have 3 too many passengers. So they put these three people in fold down seats in the center of the van for this 1 hour 30 minute trip up into the mountains to Sarchi. All I can say is the factory and shopping were wonderful, but the disorganization and discomfort sucked. I was very happy to get back aboard. VERY HAPPY.

November 3, 2008 Cruising

You know I am getting very fond of these cruising days. I finished my socks. I somehow managed to make a pair out only one skein of yarn so I started crocheting a scarf with the other skein. I love the way the color blocks are developing. I have met another knitter named Gwen, she is from Boulder Colorado. She is knitting a beautiful white baby blanket. It used the same chevron/ripple stitch in the monkey socks. It has a simple garter stitch border. This lucky lady is retired from owning her own yarn store. She worked in it, then bought it from the owner and then she sold it and retired. She now works a few hours in the college bookstore she live near, ah what a perfect life. Tomorrow we reach the Panama Canal. I went to the lecture today. It was fascinating. The only bummer is that we will reach the first Locke at 5:45 am. I just cannot get up at the time. I will have to wait until we get to the second locke around 7 am. More on that tomorrow.

November 4, 2008 Panama Canal Cruising and Cristobal Pier, Panama

Amazing, the Canal was truly amazing. The mules are actually electric trains that keep the ship from scrapping the sides of the canal walls. Watching the water rush in to raise us to the next level was cool. it’s too hard to describe.

November 5, 2008 Cruising

Nice quiet day. I cast on my Austermann Step socks and Margaret/Gretel translated the ball band for me. Very interesting process that they treated the wool nylon blend yarn to hold the Aloe and Jojoba for at least 40 washings. Margaret had never heard of this type of yarn and said she will be trying to find a store that sells it when she gets home. I told her about the Wollmeise and the Handgefaerbt yarns too. But I don’t think she is into computers. Yogi is somewhat into computers so I have promised to send her links to the free patterns for the shawls I brought with me. She thought they were lovely. Although I got them through Ravelry the designers still offer the free patterns on their web sites or blogs. I will have to send her an invitation to join Ravelry.
I got an e-mail from some of my yarn dealers, I mean suppliers. I missed a Loopy Ewe sneak up and WoolGirl had a sale too. I have some comments from you all to moderate too. But at .55 per minute I fear I will have to wait until I get home. I sent a quick reply to an e-mail from my Sister and just scanned the name of senders and it cost $11.65. But that is still a gazillion dollars cheaper than phone calls from the ship. Linda and Chris called his Mum to check on the kids and the call was $169.00. We have another tour tomorrow in Cartegena, Colombia. I have already romanced my stone so I will just be looking for a hat for Leon and the usual keepsakes - keychain, magnets, postcards. We are taking the City Drive Tour to the Palace, Dungeons and Marketplace. More on that tomorrow.
Congratulations and Condolences to President Elect Obama.
Condolences to the family of Michael Crichton. I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton and own and have read all of his books. I will miss his creativity and brilliance.

November 6, 2008 Cartegena Colombia

We took the City Drive, Shopping and Palace of the Inquisition Tour. It was extremely well organized. Each passenger was given a blue tooth receiver and fan. The driver and tour guide could find passengers via GPS if they got lost. We saw a lot of Cartegena and did a lot of shopping. The street people were too aggressive and it was hard to fight them off. I was glad to get back to the ship. We met a previous Ms. Colombia at one of the jewelry stores. I bought some Aztec style earrings of 18K gold, beautiful. Our friends Chris and Linda won the Love and Marriage game show in the Aurora Theater, it was a hoot. They showed it on the stateroom televisions all day. We did not see Margaret today, I hope she is okay.
We had some pretty disappointing meals again today. Even the Windjammer did not have much to offer. The so called Key Lime Pie was a Jello Pudding Custard type pie. They had nothing on the dessert menu and the spinach dip was just some cooked spinach with cheddar cheese melted on it. Horrible.
Being on a cruise is like being in a small town like Mayberry RFD or Petticoat Junction. You know the people you see every day at the coffee shop or local café. Then there are the folks you see every now and then around town and you say hello and ask how their day has been. When you are out in the ports you look for and are comforted by familiar faces from your hometown/cruise ship. After all it is a foreign country in which many of us don’t speak the language. There is an instant artificial bond with these people because you are all in the same boat.

November 7, Cruising

First day at sea after all the ports of call. Our tour yesterday was very well organized and we really enjoyed it. Cartegena was not scary at all. Some of the vendors were a little aggressive but it wasn’t too too bad. The sellers liked making deals which made it a fun shopping day. I got 3 pairs of silver earrings for $5, 3 key chains for $5, nuff said!! We did not see Margaret today. We went to the Windjammer a little late. Tonight is Lobster, finally.

November 8, 2008 Cruising

Last night aboard. We finished our packing before we went to dinner so all we have to do is pack our clothes we wore tonight and put our bags out. I am going to go to the Windjammer for coffee and donuts so I can take my medications before we get off the ship. I am glad I will be back in my own bed soon

November 9, 2008 Traveling
We leave in group 4 at 9:15 Hopefully it will flow smoothly. They were out of donuts, glad I am getting off the ship today - otherwise I would have to start a mutiny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 3 Cabo San Lucas

Day 3

October 28, 2008
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I picked up today’s Sudoku puzzle on the way to the stateroom after breakfast in the dining room. Breakfast was open seating and we met some nice people. I cannot remember any of the names however because we were all carrying on various conversations and did not really introduce ourselves properly. That’s what tends to happen at open seatings. I just remember there was a lady from Germany eating solo, a couple from Ottawa Canada, a couple from Minnesota wearing McCain-Palin buttons. I can’t remember anyone else’s hometowns. I dropped off my Sudoku puzzle sheet and Mom and went to the Colony Club room to get a tender ticket to go ashore early. The tenders are reserved for passengers taking tours, then general tendering begins at 1 pm.

My number was 10 and I was able to leave the ship and tender to Cabo San Lucas at 11:30 am, not bad. Tendering is always an experience. I was balancing precariously on the last seat in a row hoping to stay seated as we dipped through the waves and back wash from the speed boats and jet skiers flying around us. Anywho I reached Cabo safely and left the pier with a crowd of other cruisers. There were three other RCCL ships in Cabo the same time we arrived. We were immediately bombarded by cabbies and private boat and tour operators. There were lots and lots of women and children selling silver jewelry, whistles, dolls, dresses, etc. I just kept walking past all of them. Not interested. The first stand that caught my eye, at which I immediately stopped was the snake handler. Yep, there was a young woman who was offering to take pictures with her 8 foot long python named Syd. I took two pictures with Syd. She was not charging for taking the pictures, she just had a basket in her stand that said tips welcome. I dropped a couple of bucks in her basket. There were also who women had iguanas and lizards, but they just weren’t as interesting as Syd.

I proceeded from there to town where the shopping area was. I stopped at the Tesoro Hotel to mop my face and cool off. It was about 3,000 degrees in Cabo. I drank some water then moved on. Oh I almost forgot, I saw the biggest Roach I have ever seen in my life - including the flying ones I saw in St. Thomas. It’s legs were about two inches high and it was at least six inches long. It walked across the sidewalk in front of me. I could not get my camera out in time to take a photo, but I will never forget that puppy. Moving on.

I finally made it to Diamonds International. I must have looked pretty pathetic, they got me a chair and Kleenex and a soft drink. It also could have been the VIP card I presented them with thanks to Shannon. Then we started working on my dream earrings and ring. The earrings were easy. I got a pair of studs totaling .84 karats and they will be just lovely in my second holes. Then the real fun started. I told them I was interested in a chocolate diamond, they had none in stock but they had some other rare colored diamonds. Of course she brought me an outrageously gorgeous 2 karat brilliant diamond that was about $10K over my budget. We looked at many diamonds and I ended up purchasing a beautiful canary yellow diamond with a very high Egl rating because it is naturally colored not treated. It is just under a karat .99 and I LOVE IT. I picked a simple gold setting and they made me a perfect ring. Shannon picks up all of the jewelry for the ship and I did not have to wait two hours for it in the 5,000 degree heat.
I found a souvenir store a few doors down. I purchased a few things and met a really nice family. The owner started speaking to me in rapid fire Spanish. I was like, whoa - mas despacio por favor. He said in English, your Spanish is so good, Mexicali Spanish I thought you were fluent. I was very pleased to hear that - kudos to Rosetta Stone South American lessons. Yay!!
That was all I could take I headed back to the tender station. Said Gracias, No another 500 times and made it to the pier just as a tender for our ship was about to leave. Thank goodness, it was 8,000 degrees by then. I got back to the stateroom stripped and jumped in the shower. I even had to wash my hair. Only the couple from Calgary, Shannon and Kim made it to dinner. I set the safe combination and put my earrings away. All in all I enjoyed our first port of call.

RCCL Spotlight on Cabo San Lucas
Location - Los Cabos located on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is the the nickname for the two neighboring "capes" of San Jose del Cabo and the cruise ship destination, Cabo San Lucas.
Population 41,000 people.
Languages Spanish and English.
Currencies are pesos, US dollars, travelers checks and credit cards.
Time Zone Mountain Standard Time.
For centuries the Baja peninsula was an isolated area inhabited by Cochimi Indians. In the 16th century, lured by rumors of Aztec gold, the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez sent ships to explore the area. The first ships landed at what is now La Paz, where many crew members were slain by the Cochimis. Though the survivors found no gold, they did discover a bounty in pearls. Aside from the pearl trade, the Baja Peninsula held no wealth for the Spaniards. In the 17th century, the Jesuits arrived and founded the first mission at Loreto in 1697. In all, 30 missions were founded by Jesuits and later by Franciscans and Dominicans. By the 1850s, as disease depopulated the peninsula, all were abandoned.

In 1834, US President James Polk sided with Texans who were tired of paying taxes to Mexican generals. Troops marched on La Paz and San Jose del Cabo. At the bargaining table, Americans conceded they didn't need any more desert than they already had. Baja was thus left to the Mexicans. Today, Cabo San Lucas is unspoiled and is one of the world's best fishing areas. It remains Los Cabos' primary tourist attraction with beautiful white sand beaches, great shopping and a large American retiree population.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vacation Journal 2008 Day 1 & 2

October 26, 2008 San Francisco to San Diego

We left Antioch at 5:30 am with our very friendly driver Wanda. There was little or no traffic which was a blessing because W was driving a rental and did not know how to control the sound system. It scanned through stations for the entire hour from home to airport. So annoying. Our flight actually left on time and we had decent seats. We were met at the baggage area by Royal Caribbean representatives that whisked our luggage off to the bus loading area. We still had about 40 minutes before we could go to the ship, enough time to hit the restroom and get some coffee.

We reached the pier in about 15 minutes and the lines were moving very fast. We boarded the ship and went directly to the Windjammer Café for lunch. For those of you who have never taken a RCCL cruise, the Windjammer is the informal dining room at the top of the ship where you can enjoy buffet style dining from about 6 am to 11 pm every day. We had an excellent lunch and met our first new friends, Linda and Chris from a small town just outside of London. They were delightful and we chatted and ate until we were able to go to our staterooms.

Our stateroom on deck 8 is nice enough and we have a private balcony and refrigerator and a safe. Good enough. Our first night in the dining room is casual. Our dining table mates consist of a couple from Calgary Canada, Shannon and Kim. A couple from Oahu, Hawaii, Marcie and Vick. Two couples from Baton Rouge, Louisiana Johnny and Rita, Brad and Myrna. All very nice people. Our wait staff are both rookies, Annette from Jamaica and Carlos from Puerto Rico. They are so sweet, we are being very patient with them and they learn more each day.

October 27, 2008 Cruising

We are at sea all day. I have explored the ship from deck 12 down to deck 4. I went to the library and checked out two books and picked up the daily Sudoku puzzle. We received coupon books as Gold Members of the Crown & Anchor society. I will check out some of the offerings. I will definitely get the $5.00 credit for wifi internet usage. The bar credit for buy one get one free bottled water. I also plan to get a new bracelet for a $1.00 per inch of gold chains. I never like the style of the $1 chains, and end up with the $4 or $5 per inch gold and silver jewelry instead. We visited the photo gallery to purchase our welcome aboard photos, but the computer was down. We will have to get them tomorrow.

I attended the Shopping seminar where we were given the maps and tips for all of the ports of call by Shannon the RCCL professional/personal shopper. I have been envious - lets make that Extremely Envious of my friend Julie's Chocolate/Champagne diamond ring. She bought a loose stone in New York and they created a setting for her. The ring is gorgeous. So I decided I must see if I can find something just as lovely in a country in which I can buy it without duty fees or sales taxes. Therefore, I attended the shopping seminar. Shannon invited us to her desk to get VIP cards to take with us shopping. I got one for Diamonds International (owned by Debeers) to find the diamond studs I want and one from Milano Jewelers to find a chocolate/champagne diamond for a ring.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh My Blog!

Do you ever read your blog? I was just looking for a picture I knew was in an old post - 2006 or 2007 - and I scrolled back through my posts looking for it. I was amazed at how many swaps, yarn purchases, patterns, projects and so forth I have gone through in the last 2 plus years. Really amazed!!! It makes me miss swaps a little, but I had two bummers in a row and have sworn off of them. I miss Harry Potter a little now too. There was so much going on in the Potterverse this time last year and in 2006. My yarn tastes have completely evolved also, from Webs to Wollmeise. Lastly is the podcasters that no longer broadcast. I truly miss them, I hope they are all well and crafting.

One more day, then I will have the whole weekend to catch up on my posts and photos. I have socks to take pictures of and some wips I really want to make some progress on. It is freezing in San Francisco - quite a difference from the 95 - 98 degree temps in Mexico and South America. The first wip I want to finish is a scarf. I can also start using my Adamas and Japanese Feather & Fan shawls every day, since the cruise nights I saved them for are past. I still need to put my one time use cameras in to be developed. I cannot wait to see the pictures I took with the python named Syd.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Where in The World am I

I went on vacation. I actually volunteered to lock myself in a small room with my Mother for 14 days. I entrusted my Indy and his belly to my Sister, and sailed away South. The next several posts will be a retrospective look at those 14 days. Towel animals and all. Some knitting got done and a bit of crochet. Some posts may take some time, but all will be shared that can be remembered or recalled via photographic assistance.

I peeked - I have 3000 unread e-mails waiting at work - the maximum allowed. About 300 messages for my various personal e-mail accounts. A huge packet of snail mail with new yarn catalogs from Yarn Market, Halcyon, Patternworks and Herrschners. Wish I was still on vacation!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I just printed our boarding passes. My Cousin Deb is here to house sit. My Indy has gone to stay with my Sister and keep her solo doggie company. So we are ready to sail. I am so excited. I keep trying to remember my last vacation. I can't. This year my vacation time has been spent recovering from surgery. Last year my vacation was spent caring for my Mother after her surgery. The family reunion in Las Vegas was a ton of work, from the registration day through the end of the banquet. I always take as many classes and sessions as I can at the conferences I attend. So I have not had a vacation on which I did not have to do anything but enjoy myself in over two years. Sad sad sad.

Working my life away. I get up at 4:50 am in the morning and get home at 6:30 pm every night. I have a few short hours to enjoy my roomie's, television, podcasts, knitting, books and movies. I do have an excellent yarn collection however. And - if I ever get to thoroughly read all of my knitting and crochet books I will be the most prolific needlecrafter in my little world.

Next year I must make more time for me. I want to take at least two weeks of my vacation to stay home and read and knit and just do nothing.

Adios navego mañana a Suramérica.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Busy

I had a busy weekend!! I did laundry, being sick for two weeks is not good for the chores. I had furniture to rearrange in the guest room and some yarn bins had to be relocated. I moved my chaise lounge back into the master bedroom. During all of this I managed to select the clothes for my trip, febreeze the new luggage smell from my bags, pack my knitting projects and supplies, and catch up on all of my podcasts. I am now loading a few audiobooks onto my laptop. I need to download a few games and my Rosetta Stone needs to be installed on the laptop I am taking with me. I am excited about having a webcam to record video in the cabin and at each port. I will have a vlog, since I won't be blogging. We tentatively have wifi onboard, but I will have to wait and see if it's convenient or if I will just vlog and then write up blog posts after I get home.

It is getting very cold here, 46 degrees in SF this morning. I am looking forward to the warm temperatures in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Even Florida, for the brief time we will be there. I am sure the work week will go quickly, I have lots of meetings and writing to do. Yay!! It should fly by.

I finished my Koigu socks. I am happy to be off of the size 1 needles. Mystic ICE KAL will be starting soon after I get back from vacation. I want to actually knit along for a change. I have so many projects to work on, but I like knitting the hints with everyone else.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Here - Still Knitting

I turned the heel of the second Koigu sock and started on the foot. I had a bad headache though and went to bed quite early. I am excited about my Austermann Step yarn. I need to pamper my feet and I was able to try this yarn with my Loopy Groupie $25 gift bonus. I am saving the yarn for my cruise sock project. It only takes one skein for a pair of socks. I did my WIP review and I only frogged one project. I love my projects and the yarn I am using. I will keep going on all of them until they are done.

I finished my Smores socks and will finish the Koigu socks tonight. I need to get through a couple more pages of the Crochet Portrait pattern. My Hollerstaud'n Forest Canopy shawl is almost finished, I have completed 10 pattern repeats, and because of the size needle and sock yarn weight it is already large.

Since I was taking stock I sorted out my patterns too. I bought some inexpensive folders at Target during the back to school sale. I made sure I had printed copies of all of my Mystery Knit Along hints and clues. I archived the digital patterns off onto disks. What I discovered is that there are some designers I am a big fan of: Monika Eckert, Anna Davi, Renee Leverington, Susan Lawrence, Melanie Gibbons and Miriam Felton. I have several patterns written by each of them. My favorite KAL designer is the Nautical Knitter - I love the way she structures her hints, prizes, interactions. There is so much to learn in Knit Alongs and the patterns are wonderful. I have on occasion cast on more than I could knit, and been unable to finish a KAL because I have not achieved the level of skills needed to succeed. But each lace project I complete gets me closer to being able to knit those patterns. There still Be a Sharon Winsauer Dragone in my future!!

Then there are the designers I love that scare me to death. I have many many Cookie A socks in my future, when I get up the nerve to cable without a needle. My Alice & Jade Starmore Glenesk Sweater Kit when I feel confident enough to cut a steek in my knitting. And of course the previously mentioned Sharan Winsauer's Heere Be Dragone, Estonian Potpourri and Flight of Fantasy patterns in lace.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh My - It's MONDAY

Well what has the world come to? We had a mad bomber in our building today. Yes if you heard on the news about the office building in the SF Financial District being evacuated because of a bomb threat - that was us. Some man who wanted desperately to be on the Price Is Right decided to sue them for not letting him play. The firm he tried to hire would not take his case so he comes in today threatening to blow up the 30th floor of our building where said firm is located. NUTS.

Then at the same time there is a double shooting at the BART station in Hayward so the trains are bypassing the station. This is my Sister's BART station. So while I was being held captive in my office building by SWAT teams her car was being held captive in the BART Station because it is now a crime scene. BIZARRE.

Thank goodness my Mother is on a bus in Sonoma County somewhere and cannot see the news.

Our building has been cleared, and hopefully by the time my sister leaves work her car will also be free.

See why I like Fridays better!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Friday

THANK GOODNESS!!!! One more good nights sleep and I should be able to pick up the needles again. I did work a few rows of the leg of my second Koigu sock and took pictures of the 100purewool yarns, but I have not wanted to turn on the laptop all week. Just barely making it through the days here at work.

My niece-dog Lexie had to be put to sleep Monday, very tough to let her go. She had cancer and was beginning to suffer. We could not allow her to be in pain so we said goodbye to her. My pup is acting very strange this week, he has made friends with a squirrel and spends a lot of time in the yard. But he has been more clingy than usual. He sits on my feet, and gets under my desk. Very odd behavior.

Counting down to our cruise, I have new luggage, locks and shoes. I am READY!!! Choosing a knitting project is going to be the only problem. With all of the new airline charges for luggage I am trying to travel light so I will have to choose a small project that does not require too many tools. I could start a new pair of socks, but socks don't take 2 weeks to knit. I need something a little bigger. I was thinking about designing a shawl and only taking Swatch amounts of yarn and my Harmony interchangeable needles. Then I could play around with stitch patterns and needle sizes and still feel like I am knitting. Yeah, that might be the way to go. I can chart the stitch patterns I want to try, then play around with placement and edgings. Maybe knit a miniature version as a swatch.

I am behind on my Podcasts and Ravelry Forums again. I think I will do a WIP review this weekend, while I listen to podcasts. Lay everything out on my blocking boards and see if there is anything that needs to be frogged and what can be finished within a reasonable amount of time. I have only one deadline project, the Crochet by Numbers portrait. That must be done by Christmas. Other than that everything else is pleasure knitting/crocheting, or for me. My scarves are moving up in priority because it is getting windy and cold in San Francisco. I need the warmth and protection. I also want a really big afghan for upstairs. I am probably going to make some crazy freeform afghan with the 100purewool since the colors won't work for my intended projects - more on that when I post the pictures. But it is lightweight and it will be lap sized. I will probably use it in the van or at work. Another incentive to finish the Crochet Portrait - the leftover yarns will make a beautiful afghan.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Befuddled and Bemused

I am befuddled at how bemused I am. I love words. I used to read the dictionary when I was a kid (but that's another Oprah-Dr. Phil episode ;}) I have a change of weather/dusty book and magazine/allergy head cold. I am on DRUGS. I started with Theraflu now I am taking Coricidin. As a devout card carrying member of Knitters Anonymous I am sworn to never knit while under the influence of alcohol or drugs - or just plain under the weather. So no progress on any projects. Just napping no knitting.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Okay, really now. I just got a box of yarn from Uruguay - what?!? Uruguay!! Who ordered all this yarn I wonder? It is from And even though it is 950 yards per hank of lace weight @ $8.50 per skein- which is a superb deal, I have no idea how it was ordered and sent to me. Do I have Yarn-Amnesia?? Could I have possibly put 7 skeins of pure merino yarn into a shopping cart and hit the paypal button without any recollection of having done so? Hmph, I would have to say NOOOOOo - if it hadn't happened before ;P

Just one caveat - the colors on the website are not even close to the real yarns. I will take pics this weekend (time permitted) so you can see the real deal. Nope - I am not returning it, since I would not know who to return it to (giggles).

I made some serious progress on my Hollerstaud'n Forest Canopy Shawl and I finished a Koigu Sock. I am turning the heel on the second Smores sock, so all in all a pretty good knitting weekend.

Click to enlarge, the colors are awesome!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hmm, a Quirky Meme

From CiCi

The Rules

1) Link to the person who tagged me
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself
4) Tag as many bloggers as you want by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

6 quirky yet boring things about me:

#1 I have to give the dog a treat every day or I feel like I am neglecting him.

#2 I have superior hearing - I can hear dog whistles and sonic pest repellers.

#3 I cannot stop reading a book even if I am not enjoying it.

#4 I like riding public transportation.

#5 I like to bake, but I don't like to cook.

#6 I like to fish, but I don't eat fish.

I don't do meme's - but CiCi has really been there so I did this one, but I am not going to tag anyone. However, if you would like to do this meme anyway please follow the rules above and feel free to link to me.

Me 8-D

Monday, September 22, 2008


I cast on three new projects - I had to use the Wollmeise.

1. Forest Canopy Shawl in Hollerstaud'n
2. Tiger Eye Scarf in Sundara Black over Violet
3. Candle Flame Scarf in Buxkranzl

My neck is always cold so I figured it is time I got some coverage. The candle flame pattern is slow developing, 36 rows in one repeat. I also had to go up a needle size to a US 5, 3.75 mm to get the lacey affect I want. The Tiger Eye scarf will not require much blocking, it is coming out very nicely. Planned modification on the Tiger Eye scarf - fringe, I like running my fingers through fringe on skinny scarves and I have more than enough yarn. The Forest Canopy Shawl is the same, and the colors are coming out in interesting places. It is strange though, the beautiful midnight blue in the Hollerstaud'n is all but invisible. I cannot wait to see what this shawl looks like after a dozen or so repeats.

Other WIPS have not been ignored. I am working on the toe of my Smores sock. I am half way through the foot of the Koigu sock. I have completed another 25 rows on the Crochet by Numbers portrait, the face is starting to show. I completed the border on the Celtic Knot Stole, so I can return to the body now, I have three more knots and the other border to knit. The only project I did not get back to was the Spring Thing Shawl, I will work on that tonight.