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June 28, 2011

Lakes and Pools Rule

February 09, 2011

Having Fun With Snow

I've discovered, much to my chagrin, that sun-soaked beach vacations in the winter leave me crushingly depressed upon my return to the frozen. The solution to this is to take a winter ski vacation and thus change one's mindset towards the inevitable snow and cold.

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A little cross-country ski-skating was just the ticket on a warmish winter day in New Hampshire.

Hey, if I was going to do something called "Coronary Hills", I wanted there to be proof. In the interests of full disclosure, we did this from the easy side with lots of downhill instead of all the uphill.

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We may have been just crazy enough to take a dip in the outdoor pool. I always strive on every vacation to do something I've never done before, and this was it for this mini-vacation. Fun! Except for the getting out of the pool part...brrr.

Now its back to work, but I hope after this small break that I can muster a bit more enthusiasm for what is left of this winter.

November 02, 2010

California Time

This past week found me and the hubby in beautiful Sonoma County visiting with my sister and my mom. I recently bought a new netbook (an Asus eee..I love saying "eeeee!") and I discovered that I had neglected to bookmark my blog publishing page.

So, no on-the-go blogging.

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There was lots of riding up mountains (that is San Francisco you see in the background if you click to embiggen) which somewhat made up for lots of good eatin'.

But the main news that I wanted to share with you is that after more than a year of missing knitting mojo....I actually wanted to knit. Strangely enough, this feeling came over me after I had consciously chosen not to bring a single knitting project to California with me. After all, I brought a sock to Rhinebeck and didn't pick it up once. So I could be forgiven thinking all hope was lost and I should use my carryon bag space for items I would actually use.

So, anyway this feeling that I wanted to knit came over me on a wet, windy, rainy day shortly after we arrived. My hubby was kind enough to head with me through the deluge to the local after a hearty breakfast at a nearby diner.

But, what to make? Silvia had previously pointed out Grumperina's Yulie hat as being very cute, and that had stuck in my head. I have long searched for the perfect hat, and perhaps this was it.

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I ended up with two colors of madelinetosh "Tosh DK" (superwash merino) in Moss and Graphite. So I brought these back to the house, stole some needles from my sister and cast on immediately.

Yesterday on the plane ride home I made it up to the crown shaping. So far it fits me and is indeed quite cute.

The return of the knitting mojo. Here to stay?

We shall see, won't we.

August 23, 2010

Back From Amsterdam and Belgium

To celebrate mine and hubby's 20th wedding anniversary, we decided to revisit one of our favorite places -- Amsterdam -- and explore a new place -- Brussels, Antwerp and Bruges, Belgium. What a fantastic time!

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(Click on any picture for bigger.) Basically what we did was bicycle around Amsterdam, then stop and enjoy the cafe life with a nice cafe latte or a beer, or just some street food. Here I am with my herring snack from the herring stand. I completely love the fact that there are herring stands in Amsterdam.

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We were in Amsterdam for the every-five-years Sail Amsterdam event, where a parade of tall ships and every other boat of all descriptions crowds into the harbor and literally a million people come to watch them. This picture was actually taken from our hotel room window! I didn't know this when I booked the room, but the Moevenpick Hotel was right in the middle of the action. This was a challenge when getting our bags into and out of the hotel because the street was closed to cars, but great the rest of the time.

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For the bicycle-obsessed, there is no better place than Amsterdam where bicycles are the main mode of transportation.

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I love being in Amsterdam, for the beauty of the canals and the atmosphere and the light. Does that even make any sense?

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I did not like Brussels or Antwerp super much. However, a real highlight of our trip was the day we spent in Bruges. It was a beautiful city where we sat at an outdoor cafe and had a delicious lunch. Then we rode along the above canal through the Flemish countryside to Sluis, an extremely picturesque place with a lively cafe scene, of which we again partook.

Belgians apparently have windmills too.

My favorite things about Belgium were food-related: mussels-in-Brussels, fries with mayo, Galler chocolate, and the most delicious thing EVER - Liege waffles. Holy crap, these things are good! If I lived in Belgium I would SO be eating these things every damn day.

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But since one can get delicious Dutch pancakes, good waffles, lovely chocolate and great beer in Amsterdam, and I love it there, guess where we'll be heading back!?!

August 11, 2010

Be Back Soon

Saying it in pictures:

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August 04, 2010

A Story

On Monday morning, my sister Silvia and I had gotten up way before dawn to make the drive from Sonoma County to San Francisco airport to start sitting standby for the 6:00 AM flight. The gate was crowded with people even at that early hour. The monitor showing the standby list and the number of seats available looked crushingly disappointing.

I am bad at math, but even *I* could figure out that I was nowhere near getting on.

That flight left without me, as did the next one.

So, we hustled over to the gate where the next flight was leaving from. Once again, the numbers looked poorly. The later I got started, the less likely it was that I could make the connection in Atlanta for Boston that day.

The lucky people with tickets started boarding. Soon, everyone at the gate was on the flight except for the sorry, hapless, standbys.

Sil and I crossed our fingers.

The gate agent started paging three people to show up to our gate. His messages grew increasingly anxious and foreboding. Finally, he announced "last call or we are giving up your seats". I hung on the edge of my uncomfortable chair.

Three seats.

The gate agent gave the nod to a mother-son couple, and they ran up the jetway gleefully.

One seat.

Sil leaned over to me and said, "if they call your name, run up there and I'll be right behind you with your bag." I cross all my fingers and toes and ask the Universe to get me on that plane.

The gate agent calls my name.

I bolt out of my seat and run up to him, standby ticket outstretched. He quickly prints a boarding pass, hands it to me and tells me to run. Sil hands me my bag, and I sprint down the jetway while hearing the door slam shut behind me. The minute I enter the plane, they shut the door.

Victory is mine!

Sil called me later to tell me that moments after the door shut behind my sprinting ass, that sorry party-of-three ran up to the gate barefoot, holding their shoes. Too late, suckers. A plane door opens for NO ONE.

Trip summary: I got the very last seat from BOS to SLC, the very last seat from SLC to SFO and (obviously) the very last seat from SFO to ATL. Apparently the Universe wanted me to go and support my friend through a difficult time.

Thanks, Universe.

July 28, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Life

It appears that I will be spending this weekend in California attending the memorial service for my good friend's mom who passed away on Friday, too young, from leukemia.

The only good to come of this is that I will spend some time with my mom and my friends from home.

However, to accomplish this I will need extraordinary luck flying across the county on stand-by starting early Friday morning, and flying back starting early Monday morning. Any good knitterly karma and ritual waving of the DPNs to help get my butt into an empty seat, I sure would appreciate.

I'll even knit if it will help.

July 20, 2010

A Good Beach

I have come around to the position that in every summer there must be a beach vacation. An opportunity to smell the salty air (my favorite part), hear the surf, get some sand between my toes and eat the beach food (fried clams, curly fries and soft serve ice-cream) that I wouldn't eat any other time.

Scarborough Beach, Rhode Island

Well, granted. We rode by lots of beaches on our trip south to Rhode Island for a self-made long-weekend. So I accomplished all of the above except the sand between the toes.

Honestly, I love nice outdoor hotel pools the most for time spent basking in the sun. And basking there was.

The next day, we took the tandem on the ferry to Block Island. A really lovely little place. Not too touristy, lots of wild, natural spaces.

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Block Island Storm, July 2010

We rode all eighteen or so miles of paved road on the island. That thunderstorm didn't get us until the last mile or two, and we arrived back at the ferry pretty well soaked. By the time we reached land again, the sun was back out and after a quick change into dry clothes it was time for fried seafood at Iggy's. Fried clams and scallops and curly fries anyone?

It was just a mini-vacation, but it was a good one.

March 05, 2010

Ski Blogging

Here I sit, blogging from the apres-ski. Life is good.

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Yesterday's ski, with my BIL Chris and friend Jim.

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Today, at the top of my favorite run "Walking Boss" with a clear view of Mt. Washington.

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Groomed corduroy, baby! (Whose skis are orange? That would me MINE!)

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What I ski. Except when there are bumps. These knees are done with bumps forever. Steep and flat? Sign me up!

In exchange for all this goodness, I work the weekend. A fair trade, say I.

August 21, 2009

Perfect Montreal

For all my bitchin' and moaning about how this summer has sucked in various ways, that will all be counterbalanced by a perfect Montreal vacation.

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The view of Mont Royal Park and the buildings of McGill University from the hotel room. I booked the Omni Mont-Royal on Priceline for a good price, but was frankly worried that the actual room would be crap. I worried for nothing, as you can see -- it was beautiful. I wouldn't hesitate to do Priceline again. The hotel location was great, near the hustle and energy and shopping of St. Catherine Street but far enough away to not hear the drunken bachelor parties leave the strip joints at 4 AM. All good!

Considering the cool, wet summer we've had here, I really wasn't expecting to be blasted with heat on my one week off. Wrong! The weather was delightfully hot and sunny the whole trip, making the roof-top pool a favorite destination. I'd imagine the...ahem...view...might be a bit distracting for the workers in that office building in the picture (the actual hotel is on the left).

As for bicycle-riding, it was so much fun to take the big orange tandem around the bike paths and marked (and even sometimes separated) bike lanes through the city. It is always surprising and refreshing to go to a place where bicycles are a normalized part of the transportation scene, rather than the nuisance to car traffic they are treated as where I live.

We did take trips outside of the city, the most memorable being the one suggested by Christine: a car ride to Deux-Montagnes, then a ride from there along the La Vagabonde bicycle trail to Oka, where we loaded up the tandem for the short ferry ride to Hudson.

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A great day to be out on the water.

And now we arrive to the true delight of the trip: the FOOD.

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Mmm. Cafe au lait. I only drink it on vacation in places where I can count on deliciousness.

Damn, was the eating good. Exiled-to-Texas Montrealer Ariane suggested we try Restaurant Provisions.

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This is my halibut sandwich with roasted red peppers and carmelized onions. Easily the most delicious fish sandwich I have EVER had. The iced tea was fruit-infused green tea. Yum. Go there if you are in town.

When I go to a new place, I love to play food tourist -- searching out the local spots that are unique to that city. In this vein, there were delicious meals at Romados (the best chicken EVER...seriously...EVER) and Boustan (the best chicken shawarma ever, served up by Mr. Boustan himself). Highly recommended. For high end dining, I can vouch for the Canadian lobster tails and Beef Wellington at Gibby's.

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Last, but certainly not least, let us discuss Montreal bagels. I did not realize when I gave the word "bagels" as a clue to my destination that so many people knew that Montreal bagels are the last word in bagel delectability. Now granted, New York bagels are also delicious. But there is just nothing like a hot, fresh sesame bagel from Fairmount Bagel. Unless its a hot cinnamon raisin bagel from Fairmount. You get the idea. On the way out of town, I stocked up on bagels for the long ride home and they did not run out until I had gotten almost home.

So, vacation is over. That is sad. However, great times live on in the memory.

July 20, 2009

Getaway Completed

Ah, the weekend getaway....so short, yet so good.

Many, many moons ago, I had the good fortune to receive an acceptance at Williams College located in the beautiful Berkshires region of my fine state of Massachusetts. Being the kid of a union carpenter in small-town California, there wasn't any way in hell I was getting ferried around on a "college tour" 3000 miles away from my home like many of the other kid/parent combos staying at our hotel this weekend.

Nope, I made my college decisions based on pictures in the admissions brochures. No joke, I really did that.

So, another picture won my heart and I turned down my chance to spend four years in Williamstown. And, I never saw the place until this weekend.

There was much riding around the New York/Vermont/Massachusetts borders, with art-moose sightings galore

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There was some sitting by the pool. There was also eating and margarita drinking.

Good times.

And, although it was sure a pretty place, I don't regret my choice to spend my college time elsewhere. Always a comforting thought, the lack of regret for what might have been.

July 17, 2009

The Travel Bug

I've got an itch to go somewhere.

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North End, Boston.

And today I'm scratching. Maybe not so far away from home in miles, but certainly in spirit. Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

January 26, 2009

Re-entry Is My Bitch

I'm back home again. Woo. Hoo.

Single digit temps? Yeah, baby! Bring it on.

Or not.

Moping about how I've lost the following:

- warm sun on my skin
- gentle tropical breezes
- fine, cool, sand squishing between my toes
- the scent of flowers and fruit in the air

will get me nowhere but a crying jag. So onwards.

Since neither you nor I are interested in the snow picture outside of my window, and since there was little to no knitting on this trip, I'll ease us back into reality with a scenic picture of the West Maui cliffs.

On the last day of our trip, the MS Society sponsored a bicycle ride along the beautiful West Maui coastline. This is back-of-bike cam in action.

I am still feeling a bit slow from the long plane ride home, and I am thinking in lists.

Things I did NOT do in Maui

1. Snorkle. I can't stand the mask -- too claustrophobic.
2. See whales. I'm pretty darn blind.
3. Go on a boat. Eh. Land is good.
4. Go to a luau. I won't go out of my way for a manufactured experience put on just for tourists.
5. Knit. Whilst on the beach, all I wanted to do was lounge and soak up the sun like a lizard.

Things I DID do in Maui.

1. Rode the road to Hana on a tandem bicycle in a tropical rain shower.
2. Played in the surf and let a wave knock me over.
3. Picked a hibiscus flower and put it behind my ear. Unfortunately, the flower was about as big as my head, so the look wasn't a good one for me.
4. Ate as much sweet, delicious, juicy pineapple as humanly possible.
5. Visited a black sand beach. It actually was kind of disappointing because black sand looks alot like...dirt. I vastly preferred the white sand beaches.

I would not have been in Maui for this trip if it wasn't for the generosity of the blog, donating such large sums to fight the disease of multiple sclerosis. A really big heartfelt THANK YOU for that.

And now, back to regularly scheduled Life.

January 23, 2009

Friday is a Beach Day

Today's beautiful beach shot is courtesy of Wailea Beach in South Maui.

And the most delicious and beautiful pina colada ever made, overlooking Wailea Beach

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I have to leave paradise tomorrow night, and I am very sad.

January 22, 2009

Pictures From Paradise - Thursday Edition

A self-portrait on the beach.

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While waiting for the sunset.

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I came here not much of a beach fan. But fine sand, warm water and gentle tropical breezes have turned my head.

January 21, 2009

Pool Time

There was some serious lying around the pool here in Maui.

There may have been a Mai Tai.

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January 20, 2009

Pictures From Paradise - Tuesday Edition

A walk on the beach right after sunset.

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Click for bigger. You know you want to.

What would happen if I stood in the middle of the surf for the picture?

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Wet feet, but the water was warm.

January 19, 2009

Maui, Baby

The good news: I'm in Maui! But, people. That was not easy.

When I awoke on Sunday morning, the snow was falling fast and furious.

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Things were no better at the airport. We got on this plane.

And sat. I knitted nervously on a sock.

The plane got de-iced -- which sounds like when you take your car through a car wash. I knitted nervously on a sock.

We taxied out to the runway...and sat. stiitch, stitch, stitch.

Our de-icing expires. We go back to the gate.

They close the runways to plow them. Knit. Nervously.

Rinse. Repeat. I call up the reservations agent when it becomes clear we'll miss the Maui connection in San Francisco. Oops...no more flights to Maui that day.

So, at that point I had to decide. Would I continue to fervently, uselessly rail against the fates? Or would I put the question of my trip to Maui in the hands of the Universe? Knowing that many of you had answered my plea on Friday to send good thoughts/prayers/trip karma to me on Sunday morning, I decided to say "screw it" to the pointless worrying. Universe, if you want me to go to Maui today, then OK. If not, then OK too.

I continue knitting on my sock, sort of relaxed in fact.

And, do you know what happened? The runway opened, the plane taxied and...it took off! Above the grey, nasty, snowy clouds, there was bright sunshine. We got to sunny San Francisco and sprinted to the Maui plane with moments to spare.

And this morning?

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Yoga, at sunrise, on the grassy knoll overlooking this beach.

Life is good, people. Life is good.

January 14, 2009

Aloha

On Monday I asked you guys to guess where I was going on vacation next week. Creativity abounded in the comments and I thank you for the entertainment.

The answer is that I will be going to beautiful Maui!

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Mmmm...sun, beach, bicycling. The winner of the fabulous Maui souvenier, as picked by the random number generator, is Kandy! Kandy guessed half-right: that the trip I'm going on is a prize for the MS Ride fundraising. So, the connection between this trip and the blog is that I sure as heck wouldn't be going anywhere without the generosity of the hundreds of knitters who donated to this year's MS Ride.

So, thanks. I'll admit that I really am needing a break right about now, and I'm looking very forward to seeing this beautiful place that I've never been. The big orange tandem will be coming along, as will a couple of cameras and my laptop. For the many folks who are shivering in January chill, I'm hoping to provide some sunny entertainment next week.

If anyone has suggestions or recommendations for things to do/eat/see in Maui, bring 'em on baby!

September 05, 2008

The Blogger Who Ate Switzerland

Well, knock me over with a flower but what I thought was the one-of-a-kind Flower Clock of Geneva has a Canadian cousin near Niagara Falls. Faking out many of you who guessed in the comments to the last entry that I was in Canada, not noticing the tippy-top of the Jet d'Eau which you can read more about here. As much as I love the Canada, this time I was lucky enough to travel to beautiful Switzerland!

Behold, the word's coolest Coke can rooting (in three languages) for the Swiss national soccer team in the (now-concluded) Euro 2008.

Me, the hubster, the big orange tandem, my mom and sister headed home to the motherland for a lovely visit with the Swiss family members. Now this is MY kind of country. Why?

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In part because this is the chocolate aisle at the local supermarket. And there was more chocolate on offer that wouldn't fit into the picture. Before going, I set my mind to one goal: eat as much cheese, chocolate and as many baked goods as humanly possible.

And I succeeded.

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Me in front of the giant fork stuck in Lake Geneva at Vevey. I'd say this picture sums up my trip pretty darn well.

On the menu was fondue (no less than three times), delicious fresh-baked weggli (rolls) and gipfeli (croissants) every morning, and chocolate at any time of the day or night. Good times, people. Good times.

Luckily for me, the healed-up hubster and I were able to log many kilometers on the tandem to burn off some of the excess feed. And, I'll be honest -- I haven't wanted cheese since coming home. That, I'm sure, will pass since a nice Gruyere cheese is my desert island food.**

If you'd like to see a few more pictures from my Swiss vacation, click here to view my Flickr set.

To conclude, here are some random thoughts about my travels:

1. A huge, huge pleasure when traveling in Switzerland is that you literally can walk into any place that serves food, no matter how humble -- a food court in a shopping mall in Geneva, a small hotel cafe in tiny Aarberg, a cafeteria-type Thai buffet in Lausanne or a pizzeria on the shores of Lake Geneva in tony Montreux and get a good meal. Not merely an EDIBLE meal, but something truly tasty that didn't arrive to the kitchen frozen and visited the microwave before landing on your plate. My fellow Americans, when we are on the road in the U.S. odds are that you and I are eating greasy fast food or something equally as disappointing. Why, oh why must it be this way?

2. Probably the main reason we save our pennies to go to Europe on vacation every year (other than the great family we have over there) is the bike lanes, the bicyclists that are everywhere, and the total acceptance that bicycling is a legitimate, normal mode of travel. Not once during our trip did I suspiciously eye an SUV that looked like it was going to kill us, hear angry words shouted from a moving car filled with teens or the impatient blare of a pickup truck's horn as it passes us with inches to spare -- on purpose.

3. I really need to learn better German. My freaking-five-year-old cousin speaks three times as many languages as I do, making me feel pretty lame-assed in that department.

4. To the powers that Be: please let me stop waking up at 4:30 AM. Thanks in advance.


**If asked the question, "what one food would I bring if marooned on a desert island" it would totally be a lifetime's supply of Gruyere cheese. If you haven't tried some, you really should.

August 29, 2008

Where in the World?

Where in the world is Claudia?

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And, what deliciousness has been on the menu?

January 07, 2008

Destination -- NYC

Instead of the ice-encrusted forest, today you get the urban landscape outside the window of my hotel room in New York City this weekend.

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(click for the big version)

In case you are confused (as I was) which building is which, the cool Art Deco one on the right is the Chrysler Building, and the pointy one to the left is the Empire State Building.

Amazingly, despite being on the 31st floor, the windows in the room actually OPENED ALL THE WAY. So imagine me leaning out there with the big-ass camera trying not to drop it (or me) to the pavement far below. Afraid of heights? Apparently, not me. Good times, both day...

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And night.

If that weren't spectacular enough, leaning out the window to the left, got me this view:

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THe United Nations building, reflecting midtown Manhattan.

However, the NYC fun was just beginning. Next up was the comedy of getting myself downtown via the subway to The Point to hang out and knit with my people. Hot tip: instead of taking a picture of a train before getting on it, it is much more useful to check to be sure that its the RIGHT train. (it was the right train, but I was sweating it)

The Point was super crowded on a Saturday, but we had a prime table for snacking and chatting and knittin'. There may even have been yarn buying both there, and at the next yarn-crawl location, Purl. After saying goodbye to the crew, it was time for some amazing wedding fun before collapsing into bed, completely exhausted. The Big City sure is a blast, but it takes alot out of a girl.

I did get some souveniers.

My freezer is now stocked with a supply of delicious bagels. Mmmm. Bagels. I think I'll have one now.

October 22, 2007

Rhinebeck in Pictures

If you'd like to start out your Monday with a restful and refreshing set of Rhinebeck animal-and-leaf pictures, this is your place. WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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The always cute Blue-Faced Leicester. Love the nose.

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Goat, with horns.

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Sil has a moment with a Blue Faced Leicester, the featured Rhinebeck breed this year.

Someone is in a sheepy beauty pageant and isn't so thrilled.

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The leaves of Rhinebeck.

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Even the parking lot is leaf-decorated.

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Two horses, one dude riding both of them and some leaves in the background. I don't know what else I can offer here if this pic doesn't satisfy. This little girl loved horse dude.

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Lastly, here is the highest-flying pumpkin you'll ever see. Frankly, I was so shocked that a flying pumpkin picture came out in focus, I had to show it. This apparition is a product of Pumpkin Chunking. Who knew?

August 20, 2007

Urban Assault

I'll admit. I almost had a finished Monkey sock to show here today, but I spent my lone half-hour of potential knitting time this weekend looking at new bicycles on-line instead of grafting the toe.

Ooops.

How about I show you a few pictures from our tandem bicycle ride around Boston this weekend. Turns out, there are many places in my hometown that I've never seen. It seems kind of strange to have seen more of Amsterdam or Copenhagen by bicycle, than Boston. That is common, I think: many of you never go to the "attractions" in your own areas either, I'm betting.

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I never get tired of the Old State House and the way it sits, perfectly comfortably, in the midst of the modern buildings of the financial district. This is about as historic as a building gets in the U.S., which I'm sure is hard for the Europeans to fathom with their far, far older cool stuff.

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None of my back-of-bike cam pictures of the North End came out, but here is a shot of the delicious cappuccino I had during our stop at Mike's Pastry. I gobbled down the almond croissant too fast for a picture.

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I have lived here for a long, long time but had never been to the Arnold Arboretum. This is the high point of the park, with a great view of Boston.

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One of the most amazing things I saw there was the Bonsai House. Many of these plants were started in the 1700's and the 1800's. WOW! And so pretty. I'd love a bonsai house plant (are there such things?), but I'm guessing that Igor and Kimba might love one too...a little too much.

Duty calls, my friends. If I don't emerge from work hell by Wednesday, send a Saint Bernard with a little cask of whiskey for me.

EDITED TO ADD: Here's one more picture courtesy of my friend PK:

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Goin' down the road near the Fenway Citgo sign.

August 13, 2007

Ah....Vacation

Even twelve lovely days of vacation must end sometime. And end it did yesterday evening when our plane from Amsterdam touched down in Boston. As many people correctly guessed, we went to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and had a brief stopover in Hamburg, Germany.

Its terribly easy to be rather depressed on one's first day back, but instead I'm focusing on how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel to different countries. Although I have lots of pictures, my time to process them is limited right now. I've picked a few pictures of Copenhagen, Denmark at random and figured we'd go with Danske Random Monday story-telling here today.

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This picture was taken from a boat cruising the many canals and waterways surrounding Copenhagen on a brilliantly sunny and warm day. I like it because it shows the architecture of this city (lots of stone), the boatsboatsboats everywhere, and it has cyclists in it.

Now, as you might know, I spend alot of time on a bicycle. Here in the United States, bicycling is NOT a form of transportation. Although some folks do cycle to work or to do errands, frankly that is the exception. Its not NORMAL. Bicycles are an annoyance to cars on the road, and believe me that is how we are treated.

So, when choosing vacation destinations, the hubster and I choose places where bicycles and bicycle paths are everywhere. Ah, the feeling of being in the majority.

On vacation, I really love seeing new places by bicycle. I really feel that I get a sense of the place, as it looks to the people who live there, when I ride through the city neighborhoods or suburban bicycle paths. Ride a little, park the bike at an outdoor cafe and have a nosh, ride some more. That is vacation chez Claudia's Blog.

What is the first thing people in the U.S. think when someone says "Danish"? Perhaps its this:

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Mmmm. Danish pastry, called "wienerbrod" in Denmark. Clearly we ate plenty since all that bike riding makes one a hungry monkey.

Because the hubster has family members in Denmark, we had really great opportunities to see and do things that your average tourist might not. For example, our cousin is a fan of the ballet and knew that the Royal Danish Ballet was doing an outdoor performance at Fredensborg Palace.

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Ballet, a palace, a picnic and a beautiful warm Danish summer evening. Life gets no better.

Although my big-ass camera has a loud, loud shutter noise and I didn't take too many pix of the performance, here is some dancing in front of the palace.

Have a great Monday, and keep the faith that knitting and perhaps some Netherlands pictures will be forthcoming here soon.

August 05, 2007

Where in the World?

Where have I been?

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Here is another hint.

Then here:

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And finally, here:

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Want another hint on that last one? You got it.

Gotta go....


May 07, 2007

Maryland S&W; in Pictures

Sorry to those of you who read on dial-up, but today I've got my story of Maryland Sheep & Wool in lots of pictures.

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Who can resist a cute sheepy face?

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When we say Maryland is crowded, THIS is what we mean.

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But where else is this a normal sight?

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Wonder twins, ACTIVATE! Or, Silvia and Carolyn holding their matching sock yarn from Spirit Trail.

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I love the haircuts on the alpacas.

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One sees some unusual things in the booths, and just out and about.

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If you like Fleece Shows, then Maryland must be your mecca. There was alot more than this.

The Karakul sheep are some of the cutest ones.

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The Moving Mud glass artisans always have lovely buttons and closures. Recall that they made a beautiful button for an yet-unfinished sweater of mine.

Sheep on parade.

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Some beautiful dyed wool at Spinner's Hill.

I've got your cute lambie right here.

My sister bought yarn (I did buy something for myself, but its small and one color).

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Check out the horn on this one.

As for deep fried Twinkies, well I was SKUNKED. There was no-one selling that...um...delicacy that I could find. Saved from myself, I was.

I bought some lovely items as prizes for my upcoming MS Ride fundraising. So stay tuned to see the little pieces of Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival that will be up for grabs starting Wednesday!

May 04, 2007

Sheepandwool

There is a little chant that my sister and I sing to each other as sheepandwool season approaches. Its lyrics are simple, the melody sing-song. "Sheep and wool. Sheep and wool. We are going to. Sheep and wool."

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What I'll be shopping for: Prizes to give away in the all-out, take-no-prisoners raffle/fundraising effort for my MS Ride which will start for real next week. A special thanks to those knitters who ALREADY donated even though I haven't officially started asking. If anyone is interested in donating prizes, email me, comment or talk to me at Maryland!

What I'll have in my hand: My big-ass camera. I want some nice sheep pictures, dammit.

What I'll be eating: For years I've looked warily at the deep-fried Twinkie booth, and decided against it. Maybe this will be the year?

What I'll be wearing: something other than Thermal. I did sew both sleeves in, but the chances that I'll be able to knit the neckband before the weekend are exactly zero. Maybe (if its sweater weather) I'll take Copper Jacke or maybe Crinkle.

What I'll be knitting: socks, baby! Its the only way to travel.

Have a great weekend!

February 26, 2007

Breaking News...Knitters Take Disneyworld

Two knitters went to Disneyworld to represent all the generous knitters who read here that donated to fight Multiple Sclerosis.

Keep an eye on those silver mouse ears.

In case you were skeptical that knitbloggers are everywhere, well. They really are.

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Found on the Finding Nemo ride at Epcot: Amy and her sister Sandi. Apparently, knitters can always find their people....even in the enormity that is Disney. And thanks to Invisible Iris for giving us some DELICIOUS restaurant recommendations in Orlando (Little Saigon for Vietnamese and Lam's Garden for Chinese).

A knitter's trip to Disneyworld would not be complete without this:

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It had to be done.

I'll have more to say on my Disneyworld/Universal Studios experience in my next post when I'm a bit less pressed for time. But as a thank you to all youse guys who made this trip possible through your generous past support (and hopefully future support) of my MS Society fundraising, I am giving away my silver sequinned Minnie Mouse ears. If you want these ears (and frankly, who wouldn't?) simply leave me a comment with a captiion for the following picture wherein I am asking Mickey to hold my sock as Goofy Pluto looks on:

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I'll select the winner using a random number generator from all comments received by Wednesday, February 28th at 9:00 AM EST.


February 16, 2007

Gone Skiing

Twelve degrees F, a bit of wind and a foot or two of new snow.

There is only one thing to be done.

This was taken prior to the putting-on of the face mask.

While I'm on the slopes, click on over to the Photo-A-Day Project to see what I've been up to this week.

October 12, 2006

Finally, Something About Knitting

How lucky I am to be in the Bay Area for the grand opening this Saturday of Purlescence Yarns, Nathania's new venture. Silvia and I will be headed to the grand opening party (go here for location info) around noontime to support one of our favorite knitbloggers and, well...you know. To see what yarn goodness might be there. Come join us!

So, riding to Glen Ellen yesterday resulted in a bit of a surprise. We ran smack into this:

Never a good sign. But would we turn around? Not a chance.

Finally, here again is Back-of-Bike Cam:

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Fall in Sonoma County means the grape vines turn an amazing shade of yellow. For some reason, this makes me want to drink some delicious local wine now....

October 11, 2006

A Stop in the City

The knittin' (don't give up, there will be some) and the cycling that is Claudia's Blog has moved north to the city by the bay.

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This is the beautiful view from the Marin Headlands, a nice little climb that we did on our ride around the bay to Tiburon yesterday.** Here is another shot of the view with me standing in the way.

Now, all who are familiar with the usual weather at the Golden Gate Bridge (read, foggy, windy and damp) will agree that we got damn lucky for this little jaunt. In all the years I lived here, I never rode or walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Mission accomplished.


**See, the original ride plan was to take the ferry back to San Francisco from Tiburon. Yet upon arrival, we were saddened to see a little ferry, lots of bicycles already waiting and a 25-bike limit. Ooops. We turned right around and rode back around the bay and over the bridge again. So in 41 years of life I never rode across this bridge, and in one day I did it twice. Just sayin'.

October 10, 2006

A Stop At the Beach

Just a quick hello from beautiful Santa Cruz, California.

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Wish you were here.

Hittin' the road again.....

August 14, 2006

Home From Amsterdam

The worst part about vacations is that they end. We got onto the plane yesterday not wanting to leave the Netherlands quite yet. The hallmark of a great vacation.

I've got lots of things to say about Amsterdam and not much time, so let's get started. I choose Amsterdam for a vacation because of its status as world's best bicycling city. In the Netherlands, bicycles are respected as a superior form of transportation, and cars and pedestrians are lower on the food chain. Bicycles are KING, baby.

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This is the bicycle parking garage at Centraal Station in Amsterdam. We rode to Haarlem and found a similar situation at its train statiion.

In the United States, bicycles are oddities and nuisances on the road, and people who ride them are regularly honked at, yelled at and generally disrepected by drivers. Having a big-ass SUV actively try to kill you because your bicycle is sharing its road-- well, not fun. Ask me how I know.

So, how incredibly refreshing to find not only well-marked and maintained bicycle paths and bike lanes everywhere we went in the Netherlands, but that bicycles were the universal transportation. Businessmen in suits heading to work, ladies wearing high heeled pumps headed out on the town, moms with one kid on the handlebars and one in a seat behind AND carrying groceries....all riding their bikes, and we saw this time and time again.

Its like when you are a knitter, and you knit by yourself and your family and friends look at you funny because they think knitting is boring or just an odd activity. Then you go to a sheep and wool festival and see hundreds of fellow knitters. And you know you are not alone.

Well, the Netherlands is to bicyclists what Maryland Sheep and Wool is to knitters and spinners. Its where your people are.

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Now, granted we looked a little odd riding an enormous orange bicycle (with bicycle helmets on, no less) in a country where most people ride non-descript grandma bikes (due to the prevalence of bike theft) in street clothes. Details, details.

After our trip to Utrecht memoralized in the previous entry, the weather turned against us. Amsterdam has alot to offer including great food and drink and fantastic canals with picturesque views at every turn. But the weather isn't its top draw.

Not understanding the Dutch language, viewing the weather forecast on the TV news was a bit of a trick. When the picture forecast came on it had a sun, clouds, rain and thunder all together. At first we thought that the weatherman was simply punting on a forecast. Come to find out, the weatherman was RIGHT. Every day there was sun, clouds, then at least one vicious downpour.

As a result, we ended up doing mostly urban assault rides through Amsterdam, and succeeded in seeing almost every part of it, including the not-so-picturesque massive apartment blocks in the parts of the city where the tourists don't usually go. This is the very best part of seeing a new place by bicycle. There is simply no way we could have covered the city as we did on foot or public transport alone.

We did however ride the tandem out to Zandvoort so that we could say we saw the North Sea.

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Many of the "major" attractions of Amsterdam will have to be covered the next time we visit. I did see the Fashion DNA exhibit at the Nieuwe Kerk, which was fabulous. Both for the stunning chuch in which the exhibition was staged, and the diverse mix of fashions, shoes, accessories collected throughout the ages.

And, in honor of Kimba and Igor we found the Cat Boat on one of our bike rides through the city!

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These homeless kitties live on a houseboat, and visitors who miss their own kitties can come right on in and love on them a little bit while in Amsterdam (and a donation towards food and cat toys would also be good). When we saw this on the boat's roof, we knew we'd found the Cat Boat.

Random thoughts:

-- Whoever thought up putting mayonaise on french fries/Flemish fries/Belgian fries was an evil genius. Heart attack in a paper cone, but delicious.

-- Chocolate covered Belgian waffles. Need I say more?

-- When you rent a houseboat, be prepared for a duck alarm clock. QUACK!

-- Thanks to Jeannine (a reader originally from the US who is living in Amsterdam) for her tips and hospitality. It was great meeting you, and I'm extremely green with jealousy that you get to live there!

Amsterdam is an amazingly fun place to visit. Go if you can!

August 08, 2006

Let's Go...Amsterdam!

It’s true. Claudia’s Blog has relocated for the week to beautiful Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We are here, together with our big orange tandem bicycle, to see Holland by bicycle. YEAH!

Home, sweet boat. Our base of operations is a houseboat moored on the Amstel River. This beats a hotel room by a kilometer. Why?

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Prime knitting area. With a view of the Dutch boat parade. Seriously, there was a huge amount of boat traffic on a Sunday afternoon to distract me from my Icarus. Yep, the lovely Sundara yarn is destined to become an Icarus Shawl, from the Summer 2006 IK.

This project seems to be raging around the Net like a wildfire. Usually a reason for me NOT to knit it. But I was looking for a pattern idea that would show off Sundara’s beautiful colorwork with a lace motif that wasn’t too busy. In my opinion, complicated lace is best worked with a completely solid color yarn, so as not to detract from the patterning. This pattern has simple rows of eyelet on a stockinette background for most of the shawl, then a fancy-schmancy border. I think it will show very well in this yarn. Here is what I’ve got so far.

Not much progress because we’ve spent most of our time on the bicycle traveling around or walking around this fabulous city. Yesterday we took a tandem ride to Utrecht from Amsterdam, around a 60 mile ride round trip. All on dedicated bike paths or bike lanes. It doesn’t get much better than that, if you ride a bicycle.

Dutch sheep and a windmill.

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The fabulous tower in Utrecht, courtesy of back-of-the-bike cam.

Granted, we did manage to get ourselves a wee bit lost on the way home and somehow ended up at a Metro station in suburban south-east Amsterdam. It was late and it had started to rain a bit, and after a bit of persuading of the front-of-bike, we.....wait for it.....took an enormous tandem bike on the subway back into the city. And no-one in this bike-crazy country thought this was the least bit unusual.

Damn, I love this place.

December 23, 2005

Happy Mid-Winter Festival

To everyone who stops by here that also celebrates a holiday this weekend:


Happy Holidays!


And just because, here is a picture of the top of my favorite ski run:


See where it drops off? Seriously, going over that edge is the best part.


Perhaps after the weekend there will be knitting to show.

October 28, 2005

Your Regularly Scheduled Knitting Blog.....

.......will return on Monday. For now, you get this:


A view of the switchbacks and the ocean on Route 1 near Jenner. Yes we rode down on the tandem just as fast as we could.


Just in case you ever need to know, when your spouse suggests you ride "King Ridge", you should really stop for a moment and contemplate what this means. King = big-assed. Ridge = freaking huge ole mountain. Oh. It doesn't help matters when half-way through the huffing and the puffing, the spouse happens to mention that the ride is ACTUALLY called the "King Ridge Challenge". See, "challenge" means there is a strong possibility of death or serious bodily injury from the over 5000 feet of upwards climbing. For those of you wanting to ride a big-assed freaking huge ole mountain, where there is a strong possibility of death or serious bodily injury, I suggest Duncan's Mills - Cazadero - Fort Ross - Jenner - Duncan's Mills. If such suffering doesn't appeal, you can view the natural beauty of this ride here.

Perhaps fine wines are more your thing than extreme bicycle riding? Yesterday we had a fabulous tour of the Robert Mondavi Winery in beautiful Napa Valley. Now, although I like drinking wine I don't know alot about wines, unlike certain people I could name. This tour was a great education, plus an excellent opportunity to taste four fine Robert Mondavi wines. Then, of course, we got on the bike for a tour of the Napa Valley by tandem. For pictures of a sunny California today among the grape vines, go here.

As I contemplate a return to...well...WINTER, I'm kind of forgetting why I ever moved away from here.

October 26, 2005

The San Francisco Treat

Who would think that I, normally a denizen of New England, would be meeting up with Marie (who hails from Wales) in San Francisco? True evidence of a world-wide knit-blogger conspiracy if you ask me.


Marie and Claudia in the happy place: Imagiknit.


It was delightful to meet the knitter behind the voice of the fabulous Knitcasts and her husband Andy, who was entirely self-entertaining in the yarn store. Love that. Imagiknit is the type of yarn store I'd be happy to have right in my neighborhood. Welcoming, friendly and stocking a ton of delicious yarnly goods. Yup, I bought something. Yup, it is only sock yarn. Nope, don't have a picture, but imagine a Trekking skein in pink and brown and cream. As an aside, does anyone else get on color jags? -- I mean, I've bought lots of pink and brown stuff this week and I NEVER buy those colors.

Now comes the part of this post where I throw up random vacation pictures on this here blog to take certain people's minds off of snow, rain and cold nasty-weather misery. You know who you are. Check out an arty picture of Mission Dolores church in San Francisco which unsurprisingly is a short walk from Imaginknit. As a kid in elementary school we studied the history of the California missions, and I always like seeing a new one. I earned my day off the bike after a big ride to Tomales Bay. With a stop for a snack, and a celebratory photograph at rides end.

Want to know what I'm knitting on now? All will be revealed in the fullness of time, but I will say that Rowan All Season's Cotton is my new drug of choice. Where has this yarn been all my life?

October 25, 2005

Beer/Cosmos, Women and Song

Warning: there isn�t much knitting in this post. I�ll put the little there is up front, so that you can move right along if you need to. This being a knit-surf-friendly blog and all.


The skill set we are displaying here is knitting in a totally dark bar. Disregard the flash - it was seriously dark.


The always incredibly cute Rachael invited us to the Saturday night Whoreshoes show in Oakland, and who could resist? Certainly not me, as I�m a big fan and needed to buy their new CD. Check out my paparazzi shot of the band in action. Also be sure to click and see Rachael and Lala posing for a pre-show pic. It was a great show and oh so fine to catch up with Ms. Yarn-A-Go-Go in between the singing along and the whooping it up.

But before the foray down to Oakland, it was time to build up the tandem bicycle out of its two traveling suitcases, get on it and check out beautiful Sonoma County by human pedal power.


New Trekking Color 100 socks in action on the husband at 2200 feet.


Sonoma Mountain is a big mountain close to home base, so of course it was necessary to climb it.** Now, tandem bicycles aren't really known for their climbing ability. Flat or rolling terrain is where two people/one bike really shine. So perhaps the perspective down Sonoma Mountain will give you the idea of the pain of the experience.

Or not. Maybe you had to be there.

More riding and knitting to come, for thems that are interested in the life and times of Claudia's Blog on Vacation.


**Those of you who are acquainted with the front of my bike may nod knowingly at this point.

October 23, 2005

Artfibers Love

Oh, Artfibers, how do I love thee?


That is a happy knitter.


Check out the shelves of deliciousness especially all the alluring tussah silk Chai you can fondle. There is a lovely swatching/hang out area that Silvia is enjoying. And, look! Blog friends too!


The lovely Stella plays hooky to hang with us.


Funny thing, but Stella ended up buying the same yarn that I did. Great minds think alike, hmmm?

From Artfibers, it was on to a delicious french lunch at a bistro with an irresistible name. Thusly fortified, Nordstrom's called me, and incredible collateral damage was wrought the extent of which remains a guarded secret but includes these.**

The yarn haul from Artfibers isn't at all a secret:


A happy assemblage of good yarn.

There were so many interesting choices, but I went with lots of Liana, an 80% cotton, 20% Extrafine wool blend. It swatched up with beautiful drape and elasticity on U.S. size 3's and I was in love. A thin strand of wool is plied with a thicker strand of cotton to achieve this miracle -- a yarn construction that I've never worked with before. I'm looking forward to interpreting one of the sweaters out of the new Phildar Automne (the one on the left). The lovely and incredibly helpful Kira (Artfibers guru) made me up a custom pattern to my Liana gauge that gets most of the shaping from this sweater.

A bit more Kyoto (a silk/mohair blend that ensnared an ardent mohair hater) also came home with me. I've got a bunch of this from my last visit, that still needs to be dyed up and knit up. I asked Kira's advice on this yarn and she led me to swatches done in ribs and cables that looked fabulous. I've got my eye on something like the one on the right for my Kyoto stash.
Of course, now that our tandem bicycle has arrived, who has time to knit?

**Theresa, I totally blame you for this one babe.

October 17, 2005

Rhinebeck, In Words and Pictures

To pick up where I left off last time, Rhinebeck 2005 started out with a trip to the CIA and a detour to Hawaii:


Sorbet balls decorated with a butter cookie palm tree. Food cam courtesy of Julia


The food festival continued with a trip to El Bracero, a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Poughkeepsie�s less...um...showy neighborhoods, for utterly delicious authentic Mexican cooking served by a lovely non-English speaking lady who still managed to get the orders for twelve people perfectly correct. Were the average English-speaking server able to do the same, hmm?. The last food review (OK, so I�m a little bit hungry right now) concerns the breakfast at the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, NY. See, Leigh needs a �real breakfast� and the Starbucks routine wasn�t cutting it. So Sunday morning it was a festival of malted waffle, eggs, hash, pancakes, bacon and sausage. And a root-beer float. Guess who had that...hint, the same person who bought a �Slap the Monkey: 25�� sticker from the gumball machine on the way out.

Honestly, I could go for some of that there breakfast now but the CIC (Culinary Institute of Claudia) meal plan runs more to Cheerios today. I digress. Onwards to the main event: festival!

It should come as no shock that the alluring goods shown by the multitudes of vendors are not what attracts me to the sheep-n�-wools these days. It�s the hanging out and the meeting up and the..well...hanging out. Yet, I grow increasingly reluctant to shove the camera into the faces of my friends at every turn. Seriously, in any given shot not all the chick-a-dees are going to be looking their most fabulous all at the same time.** That said, let�s see what treasures the camera holds.

We call this one �Salome Meets Birch�, photo courtesy of Laurie.


From left to right, the vivacious Valentina, moi and the beautiful Julia, all looking fashionable in our Birches. Keep in mind that after two days of hard shopping and partying and not much sleep, this is a perfectly appropriate pose.

As always, there is incredible cuteness at Rhinebeck. There is Lara cuteness and alpaca cuteness. But my absolute favorite cuteness this year was this:


Cassie and Jenn learned to spin, and it was love at first sight.


They made yarn! And liked it! This, my friends, is what fiber festivals are all about.

We now take time out to acknowledge the trees


The leaves seem a bit late this year, but Rhinebeck was beautiful as always.


Sadly, besides my lovely sister who was missed (but not bought for -- hey ARTFIBERS next week, OK?) the highly decorative and amusing Cari was also MIA. She, of course, is off making a novel at an artists colony (and certainly isn�t wasting time hitting the refresh button on her browser, no siree Bob), but Regina, the queen of cool t-shirts brought Cari in spirit.

So note that here we all are at the end of this lengthy post and there is no fiber yet. None (unless you count the alpaca, and I don�t). Well, I�ve got only one picture but it�s a good one.

Too Much Wool Cassie�s red vest next to some stunning fiber that went home with her.


It was getting to be Sunday afternoon and the festival was winding down when I realized that I hadn�t yet been by to see Lisa at Spinner�s Hill (no website -- Spinner's Hill Shop, 1377 County Rd 17, Bainbridge, NY 13733; (607) 967-8325)). So Cassie and I headed off to do just that.

It is no blog-secret that I�m a big fan of Lisa�s dyeing. Both my green Ribby Cardi and my Butterfly started out as Lisa�s dyed fiber. For a picture of Lisa herself, click here. Usually Lisa is overrun with customers and can�t chat, but we caught her with mostly empty shelves and a moment to breathe. Turns out that not only does Lisa have a magical way with subtle and sophisticated color blends, but she also raises the sheep, shears them herself and processes the batts too. I am truly impressed, and think that she should charge way more than she does. I will add that during the course of our conversation, Cassie who knows a good thing when she sees one, decided to buy more of that luscious fiber you see above. This is totally not my fault.

Perhaps tomorrow I will try to wring a interesting post out of my meager Rhinebeck purchases. However, if you really need to see the spoils of some serious fiber festival shopping I would suggest haunting the blogs of Cassandra and Laurie.

Just sayin�.



**If you are gullible enough to think that the �regular� pictures on this blog aren�t taken and re-taken and cropped and picked over in order to show the proprietress at her best, well I own a bridge in Brooklyn that�s for sale, babe.

October 15, 2005

A Disneyland of Flavor

So, the beginning of the Rhinebeck weekend saw us arriving at the C.I.A. for a dinner prepared by the cute little chef-students.

A Disneyland of flavor and the lines to the rides were short.

While waiting for Girlreaction Carolyn and Woolflowers Leigh to arrive, Etherknitter Laurie, Moth Heaven Julia, Alice and I shared a cheese tray. Six cheeses plus honey for dipping and dried fruit and salted delectable almonds. Oh, and wine. When the baby-faced-boy waiter brings over 9 glasses of wine for 4 people (tasting flights, OK?), you know there's a party goin' down.

For an appetizer I had a foie gras dish so beautiful that I made Julia take a picture of it. Onwards to the soup sampler -- three delicious soups including a lobster corn chowder. Then the duck breast entree with beets and a delectable sauce.

At this point, I was done -- busting out of my silk corset done. But Evil Carolyn ordered us one of every dessert, then passed clockwise around the table for one bite and then onwards. The Plum Tarte was the most popular, followed by a fried dough/apple sort of thing. There is a picture of a Hawaiian scene made of sorbet and butter cookie palm tree, but that's on Julia's camera too.

Twelve thumbs up on the CIA.

This whole CIA thing was Silvia's idea in the first place when we stayed here in Poughkeepsie last year. But we couldn't get a reservation then. This year Etherknitter Laurie made us reservations months ago.

Sorry Sil. Maybe next year?

Next stop for this posse is the Starbucks for some caffeine (any typos in this post are so not my fault dudes). Then its Rhinebeck time!

October 06, 2005

Sometimes There is No Knitting

Sometimes there is no knitting. There, however, could be ducks.


Which way is the guy with food?


And even especially cheeky ducks. There also could be a lake, shrouded in morning fog. Although I can honestly not recommend the camping necessary to see it at this hour. Frankly, my idea of camping is the Marriott.

And maybe there could even be a tandem mountain bike.

Imagine the double-takes as this comes flying past folks on the trail. heh heh heh


But no knitting.

P.S. Happy Birthday to Claudia's & Silvia's Mom!

September 12, 2005

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Not to make those of you who stayed home this weekend feel bad or anything. But I had the best weekend ever.

So, if you are easily made jealous (not that I know anyone like that), best stop reading now and move on. Otherwise, let's embark upon the Virtual Best Weekend Ever, shall we?

For me, a weekend off the bike in September is a rare and beautiful event. We went to NYC ostensibly so that hubby could ride this. The *real* reason was so that I could yarn crawl (and other sundry shopping) through two boroughs with my girls.


A stealth picture taken at Purl of Cassandra, Jackie, Em, Cassie and Cari eyeing the giant wall o'yarn. Blog-less Regina was elsewhere in the store, buying it up like a trooper.


So, to back up to the beginning, I was dropped off for my adventure at The Point, which is a killer-good business plan of combining a cafe and a yarn store. Why isn't there a The Point in Boston? Someone out there, make one please. There is no decadence like noshing on a delectable apple brie sandwich (think slices of apple & brie on raisin nut bread) and an iced chai tea while surrounded by pet-able yarn.

Now, here is the part of this post that is all about Cari. Organizer/instigator of my crawl, I am a much hipper and cooler person by simply having been in her company. She will deny this truth, but ignore her. Check out the fabulous footwear and fall-colors yarn head. I am refraining from posting other photos of Cari, for which I want credit.

The Point: knitting, chatting, eating, Joe-impressions all around the famous Drafty Table. When the itch to move on struck, from The Point we walked over to Purl. Walked! To another yarn store! I do believe that was a first for me, cause the yarn stores are far between here in the 'burbs. I loved Purl. Great yarn selection, great colors, friendly folks. All was good. Yes, I bought something. No I can't show it, as that item is Classified due to Gift-age.

The onwards crawl continued down into the subway for a short ride to Habu. Now, those that have shopped with me know that I am sufficiently jaded regarding yarn purchases to only get excited about truly unusual wares. Enter, Habu - home of the unusual.


I hope this picture sufficiently captures the Zen-nature of Habu.


Habu is art-yarn more than yarn-store yarn. One must have vision to see the possibilities in odd textures and materials. For Cari and Cassandra, their vision pulled them quickly into temptation. My vision pulled me straight towards the bamboo yarn. Bamboo! This I must try:


About 8 oz. of DK weight bamboo yarn, and mice souveniers from Brooklyn for my cat-friends.


Bamboo yarn has the feel, luster and drape of silk. Read more about the properties of bamboo yarn here. Immediately I was thinking, how can I dye this? The plan is a soda ash soak and then crockpot with my handy-dandy Sabracron F dyes. My first thought was an indigo-y blue. Today I'm leaning towards light copper. Either way, we will all soon know the answer to the burning question, "how do you dye bamboo?"

Back to the food and drink log: All the NYC bartenders this weekend knew the secrets of a stunning Grey Goose Cosmopolitan. After a particularly fine one, Too Much Wool Cassie (worriedly) and Juno Cassandra (not-so-worriedly) sent me alone off in the general direction of the subway uptown to my hotel.* Worriedly because, well, I'm pretty oblivious as I walk around. As in needing my compatriots on occasion to save my life from speeding vehicles as I move to step off of a curb that perhaps I shouldn't. So clearly an enormous shot of vodka wouldn't help matters.

Not to worry -- after a stop off at the 34th & Broadway Lush for bubble bath bars I had an uneventful but truely sardine-like New York subway ride experience up to 79th Street Station to meet the hubster at the hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed the On the Ave. Hotel (77th at Broadway). The bed was super comfortable with a nice white down comforter, there was a plasma TV (boys love this) and I dug the modern decor. The Upper West Side is a great neighborhood to hang out in. Sadly other than a delicious burger-and-yucca-fries dinner at Citrus, we didn't have enough time to really look around. Next time.

The next morning it was time for Brooklyn! For proof of my subway knitting, go here. Like magic, two Cassies and a Cari appeared in this station like magic and off we went for another day of fun times with Jackie, who appeared like magic at the restaurant.

Being all about the food at this blog today, I will give you taste-o-vision of the utterly divine brunch at Beso in Brooklyn.


Feast your eyes on a breakfast empanada with spinach, eggs and cheese topped with salsa and yucca hash browns together with a giant bowl of cafe con leche. Cassandra's Latin Eggs Benedict are in the background.
.

Thusly fortified, we embarked on a walking tour of Brooklyn. Or, more precisely, a walking tour of yarn shop/bead shop/clothing boutiques of Brooklyn. Vignettes of the day: no-one laughed and pointed at me frantically pawing through a lingerie boutique for my elusive bra size, Cassandra has uncanny bra-finding abilities, no there is no picture of the resulting bra, but how could anyone resist buying nether garments at a place named "Andie Woo"? The most beautiful carnelian ever was waiting for me in Brooklyn Beads Boutique (Smith Street near Douglass St.). Locally made accessories galore at Flirt made me think I should sew myself a bag. (Or maybe bribe my sister to sew me a bag.)

The sock wanted its spotlight, since after all, socks need love too. So in the backyard terrace of the Flying Saucer Cafe (Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn), I bring you:

A sock grows in Brooklyn.
.

Seriously, this was the best weekend ever. Having friends show you the fibery goodness in the city they love is just the best. The. Best.

And I still have three rides left on my Metrocard. Just sayin'.

*Cassie is totally the Queen of Subway Directions. This clarity resulted in me riding off into the unknown boroughs completely unconcerned with potential disaster.