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Archive for November, 2010


Paradise found…

Dear Jan,

7.jpgI’ll try not to bore with 1,000 trivial details, but I have to share what a joy on so many fronts our trip to the Big Island was.  We were traveling with W’s parents, alone with them for the first extended period since we moved to Minnesota over 13 years ago, and that was a large part of the joy.  Having the opportunity to really talk, to carry on a conversation over many days and take it to deeper levels, to have the time to not talk and just feel our connections – that was truly paradise.

12.jpg51.jpgHawaii itself wasn’t half bad, either.  From the very start of the trip when we received our leis upon landing to the luau hours before boarding our red eye home, we packed the week with fun and adventure and exotic experiences and exotic food (shave ice is, too, exotic!).

5.jpg6.jpgHigh on our list of activities – volcano viewing from the caldera during the day and watching the glow of lava reflected on steam plumes from the sea entry at night (See that orange smudge? Way more impressive through binoculars.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.)

33.jpg41.jpgWe both saw sea turtles and swam with them.  And we saw honeycreepers! But they are way too fast for photos. I will distract you with a very handsome picture of Wilson.

22.jpg13.jpgWe ate local – locally grown from the farmer’s market in Hilo and also local favorites.  I never thought I’d see Helen eat a loco moco, but she was seriously on vacation and abandoned her usual healthy eating to indulge me.  (And perhaps to indulge herself in more than one macadamia nut toffee cookie.)   I believe we tried about 9 new fruits and loved at least 7 of them. (We were pro on longan, rambutan, passion fruit, rainbow lemon, rainbow papaya, solo papaya, strawberry papaya and con on guava (may not have been ripe enough), cherymoya, and soursop. We also had local limes and pineapple, but weren’t counting them as new types or varieties.)

32.jpg310.jpgBotany took a prominent spot in our hiking – so many gorgeous blooms, even the non-native ones had to be acknowledged as beautiful.  This naughty ginger is an invasive, but the hibiscus is a beautiful native. 4.jpg And the o’hia tree, as you probably know, is the state tree.  (O-H!  I-A!)

23.jpgYou know us, a family of do-gooders.  Here Wilson is trying to seed the newly forming volcanic island to the south of the Big Island with its first coconut.  Don’t disappoint him by informing him that the coconut is unlikely to germinate after the 1,000’s of years it will take the new island to break the surface of the ocean.

61.jpgBut finally the fun had to end, and we headed home on the red eye.  Our flight into Minneapolis was delayed, for which we were grateful in that it wasn’t outright canceled, as many were during the 10″ of heavy snow that fell on Saturday.  Wilson had to hunt a bit for the snow brush, but we managed to clear the car and headed home to find happy kitties, but no power.

Lucky us.  Out of the 180,000 customers who lost power on Saturday, we were in the last 17,000 to get power back – on Monday.  The house got cold, which made our laps that much more attractive to the kittens, and the freezer and refrigerator got warm.  I figure it was Nature’s way of telling me it really was time to throw out that turkey casserole left over from last Thanksgiving.  Happily the pie cherries from our backyard tree were deep enough in the chest freezer that they stayed cold, but I pitched the top layer of food and have yet to get up the nerve to taste the milk.

71.jpgIt does make memories of Hawai’i all that much sweeter.  And sure makes me appreciate the Thanksgiving cactus coming into bloom, too.

I hope you have a power-full week!

Love,

Ellen

A successful (knitting) trip…

Dear Jan,

The recent trip to Hawai’i with W and my dear in-laws was a success on all counts.  Arriving home, not so much, but that will be the story of a future post as I have very limited blogging time right now, and that will be spent on…wait for it…ACTUAL KNITTING.

11.jpg31.jpg21.jpgLong flights plus Wilson playing chauffeur on our many trips let me make substantial progress.  We have a nearly complete sock, over 50% done on my scarfy shawlette out of handspun, and well below the armscye on my top-down eyelette cardi, also out of handspun.

Time to go home to a dark house now (foreshadowing for a future post).

Love,

Ellen

Rapid Fire Catch Up

Dear Ellen,

dsc01192.JPGI have to be honest…if I wait till I have time to tell you everything, it will be forever before I get another post up, so I’ll do the very abbreviated Cliff notes version and at least tick off the events that have happened recently.

I went to Philadelphia to take part in Vision 2020 where all the delegates worked to craft an agenda to advance women’s equality and signed a declaration of same.

dsc01199.JPGWe celebrated sale of the townhouse in Vienna and getting the construction loan approved for building our future home at Fair Winds.

dsc01202.JPGWe had a great time with neighbors while passing out candy to the neighborkids on Halloween…(note that Alexandria sticks with Halloween, not Beggar’s Night).

dsc01431.JPGI traveled to Australia on business. That’s where I am now.

Yes, I have been knitting…no, I don’t have pictures…but I did finish the first gigantic sock for Dale, have started a Noro sock yarn sock (note to self, NEVER buy Noro sock yarn again — the colors are great, but good grief it is SO unpleasant to knit with!), am halfway through a beautiful, simple, Estonian lace patterned scarf out of handspun lace weight alpaca.  I did buy a sweater’s worth of BFL both sourced and milled in Australia for one of my fine souvenirs.  Pictures to come…really.

Love, Jan

Beginning to be ready…

Dear Jan,

The last few days have been a flurry of trying to get caught up at work while trying to get ready to fly to Hawaii while trying to not leave spinning undone.  I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of the last two pieces, but I suspect I am disappointing a few folks at work.  Maybe a few of the things will have resolved on their own while I’m gone?

1.jpgSemi-worsted singles, all spun up within about a week so of each other to maximize consistency.  I really didn’t want to leave one bobbin’s-worth to spin after Hawaii – what if I relaxed so much that my gauge went all wonky on my?  Plying them can wait.

2.jpgA new travel sock cast on, with a tubular cast-on method from Techknitter that is quite easy to execute.  You do a provisionsal cast on over a thin yarn and then basically double knit for 4 rows, then convert to in-the-round 1×1 ribbing.  Pull out the initial provisional yarn and you’ve got yourself a lovely stretchy cuff.  Tecknitter is a genius, IMHO.  One tiny bit that didn’t make sense to me in this one is how she has you hold your yarn for the double knitting.  I put mine in front while I slipped the back stitches purlwise and it worked brilliantly.

3.jpgAnd what’s this?  In case a pair of socks (and my handspun Saroyan which is about half done and my Umeshu which is about 20% done) isn’t enough knitting for a week, something else sneaked into my bag.  I settled on the Eyelet Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns of Chic Knits as the sweater for my gray handspun.  I’m hoping to swatch yet tonight so I don’t have to take a whole bag full of needles.  Hmmm, if I did take all those needles, I guess I’d have a good palette from which to choose in case some Hawaiian yarn ends up in my possession.  I guess I’d better think this through.

And go to bed to catch that early flight!  I may post a bit from Hawaii, but only if I feel like it.  Until then, have a great week.

Love,

Ellen