I did not buy any fat pigs, but there were many cute marzipan ones available for sale in the Brussels Confectioneries. I did, however, buy Belgian chocolate. I was grateful that the confectioneries were among the few shops that were open late, as our daily business kept us in Mons till the evening hours. The thought of making it to Belgium and leaving without paying homage to the cocoa bean is simply too frightening. I’m glad it didn’t come to that.
I did have a very good trip. Unlike many NATO senior meetings, we actually made some progress on some key issues. I also had the chance to become more closely acquainted with colleagues from the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff and with some of the other nations. I head to London in 2 weeks and will meet with several of them then, so the added familiarity will make that meeting go more smoothly. The food, the drink, the good time with my staff were all superb. Site seeing was limited due to the business hours we kept, but we did get to spot one of the two famous “maniken pissen” — you can buy replicas in chocolate if you like. I chose not to. The Grand Place was beautiful at night. Next time we’ll plan for an extra day to get some culture…other than the maniken.
Right before leaving I finished up Midnight Moth. I took it with me and wore it several times. It was very gratifying to have a Flemish woman (very stylishly dressed!) make a comment on how beautiful my shawl was. Almost as gratifying as that little “Squee!” one always experiences when first spreading out the damp lump of fabric for blocking and the real pattern emerges. Did you know they are very concerned about H1N1 in Belgium? They are having a hard time telling who might be infected as they are all quite a bit phlegmish. (Har! Har!)
Marie was here when I left. Dale picked her up on Friday and took her back Tuesday. I finished up the cast cozy the first night she was here and she wore it quite a bit through the remainder of her stay. I was glad to see she was so pleased with it. She said her toes had been getting chilly and she certainly appreciated having something to cover up the bandages and make her feel a bit more secure. Our big outing was a trip to Costco. I knew they had the electric carts and wanted to give Marie a bit of mobility, even if it was inside a warehouse store. She did enjoy the samples as well.
I put the travel time to good use. On the flight over I cast-on for a pair of socks I’m calling Yarn Over the Atlantic. The stitch is called a yarn over cable and is very easy. Over 5 stitches you P1, K3, P1; P1, Sl1, K2tog, PSSO, P1; P1, K1 YO K1 in same stitch, P1; P1, K3, P1. Makes for a very textured fabric. I made them using Lane Cervinia Calzetteria yarn…not really a fingering, but not quite a sport weight. I got 8 stitches to an inch with size two’s in stockinette, so you know I was keeping a good tension. The resulting stockinette portions are very sproingy and cushy. These were toe up with a slipped stitch gusseted heel, probably my preferred sock form. I finished them today while doing the jet lag recuperation bit.
Now I need to go put my feet up and spend some time with Dale who was out sailing all day. It’s almost 7:30 PM and I’m ready for bed already! I hope I recover fast…I’d like to spend part of the time before I leave for the UK awake!