Thursday, November 16, 2017

Three on Thursday| Better Day

Yesterday was a day that seemed to get bleaker by the minute.  November 15 is the calendar day that marks the last time Steve and I got to see PJ before he died.  The day started okay, but by the time I got home there was a definitely black cloud hanging over me, and it didn't seem to be letting up. However, things got a lot brighter when Andrew got a very quick follow up phone call from his 3rd phone interview for a job contracted through Amtrak.  We are excited and very proud of him, but of course will miss having him and Cocoa around.  Now things are going to get real crazy as he reports to work on December 4th.  We broke out a bottle of very good bottle of champagne as a way to celebrate.  So my Three on Thursday are  . . .

1. Plan a road trip to find a place for Andrew and Cocoa to live-hopefully somewhere that will allow him to easily commute.  Since we're driving we'll load up the Tahoe with nonessential stuff to go into storage.  We are hoping to go this weekend, otherwise it will be right after Thanksgiving.

2.  Plan some knitting to go with #1-it'll be a long car ride!

3.  Plan some more knitting as it gets cold in DC and since Andrew will be walking to the train station he'll need a few things to keep his head warm!

So glad that Carole has a place where we can put our lists-especially when it's good stuff!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Weekending| Catching up

It's been quite a while since my last blog post, but there has been lots going on, so here's a bit of an update-I've been trying to ride as much as I can on Saturday and Sunday.  It's the only days I feel comfortable riding alongside traffic, but I have to get out early or people just aren't paying attention.  My typical route is 13-ish miles in about 90 minutes.  There are several intersections I have to stop at so that slows me down a bit.  My route includes some serious hills, so I feel like I'm getting a good workout.  My cool new Alaska cycling jersey has provided the perfect inspiration!  Since mid-September I've logged  79.8 cycling miles. 

 There has been a lot of college football games, both on TV and in person. 

I got to go to my first game at Death Valley to watch Clemson play Georgia Tech.   It was sooo wet and soggy, but I had a cool hat with a big a$$ pompom!  It was also fun spending time with Andrew.

We also scattered Roy's ashes on campus, and it was the perfect spot-in view of the Tech Tower and close to the stadium.  We decided the rose bushes would be a good spot as it seemed like an area that would be permanent rather than seasonal.  We were able to do this together and on what would have been Roy's 80th birthday which really made the experience special. 

There has been some serious eating.  We went to the Atlanta Ramen Noodle Fest which is an event that benefits The Giving Kitchen, this was a charity we picked for donations for PJ, so this was another opportunity to contribute to this great [and local] organization.  We had some really great ramen.  We also later we went to the Atlanta Kosher BBQ competition at Brooks Run Park.  We tasted some very good BBQ.  We love having things like this within walking distance from our apartment.

 There has also been some yummy homemade pasta-I'm getting quite spoiled with Andrew doing so much of the cooking.
I've been able to get together with my quilting friends from our old church twice.  We've had to get a little creative with our meet up dates.  This photo was taken at home, but these are the hexagons I've been working on since last year.  I hope to have the last few finished when we get together on Friday so that I can put the blocks together and quilt it before Christmas.  I have some small projects planned for the new year and I'm trying to keep things small and simple.  I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon knitting and having some lovely wine and yummy snacks, with Mary and Karen.  It was so nice getting together before the holidays get here.

 There's been a lot of knitting and the frogging of 3 sweaters.  I'm trying to empty my knitting basket before the end of the year so I can start 2018 with clean needles and fresh projects.  These green sweaters are for my cousin's daughter who had twin boys a couple weeks ago.  These were my travel knitting this summer so they traveled from Atlanta to Alaska and then made a trip to London!  What an adventure.  I also knitted a sweater for my friend Joyce's grandson using the same Antler Cardigan pattern in gray, as requested.

I've also completed a Sitka Spruce Hat and the mittens [1 mitten is soaking now] the pattern was so easy and I have enough yarn to do a cowl.  I had a total of 14 skeins of this yarn that my Mom gave me, so I've managed to get a stole, hat, mittens, and a cowl [soon].  That's some serious stash busting!

Our knitting guild hosted Marly Bird who taught classes and spoke at our guild meeting.  I took one of the classes on Saturday, and was fortunate enough to be Marly's driver from the class to her hotel and then to dinner.  We had a pot luck dinner in her honor, and someone brought this very fun (and good) bottle of wine!
 We had dinner in the hostess' sukkah-such a neat experience and some really delicious food.
 As if there wasn't enough on the calendar we saw the first show of the season with Stage Door Players- Dial M for Murder.  We have so enjoyed their productions, and look forward to another one in a couple weeks.
 Over the last few weeks I finally managed to finish the show Turn; which I thoroughly enjoyed and has inspired me to plan a visit to colonial sites in NY, Connecticut and New Jersey.  Steve, Andrew and I have already visited Boston, Concord and Lexington. I purchased the book the series is based on, and am really looking forward to reading it to compare it to the show.  I also managed to get caught up on Sherlock and Call the Midwife.  Now I am in the process of watching Luther which is another British show, so far it's really good.
I've also done some reading: The Paris Spy, News of the World, and Before We Were Yours these were just okay.  A lot of build up only to be let down at the end.  My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, The Underground Railroad, The Boys in the Boat were excellent.  I'm currently reading Fannie Flagg's The Whole Town's Taking, and so far it's turning out to be pretty funny.  I've requested our next book club book which isn't actually due to be discussed until January, but I want to go ahead and get my copy.  We're reading The Girl on Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.  I'm hoping this is as good as her other books.  

I admired some very lovely trees in vibrant fall colors on my bike ride this morning, but stopping for photos proved to be not such a good idea.  This tree is at the back entrance to our complex so I made a point of getting a photo when I was finished riding.

Oh yea, I had to make a trip to the mall to return a couple dresses, and had to pick up something from the M-A-C store.  I also decided it was time to replace my Otter phone case cover, I love the blue which was not available when I bought the red one, but you can see I definitely need a very good and protective case!
I hope your weekends are allowing you to do the things you enjoy the most!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Alaska 2017|Small Plane-Big Views

I agreed to do a flight seeing with Steve during our visit to Talkeetna-when he first suggested it I was verrrrrry hesitant!  We booked through K-2 Aviation, and I have to say I'm glad I did this.  Visit the website to if you'd like to see what the flightseeing tour involved.  This post is going to be more photo heavy, and I have no idea what I was taking pictures of except that we were somewhere between Talkeenta and Mt. Denali.  Originally our flight was supposed to be 2 hours with a glacier landing.  The weather, which by Alaska standards was great, was still not good enough for a glacier landing due to crevices on the glacier the company is permitted to use for landing.  Also, the low cloud cover kept us from seeing the top of Mt. Denali.   It was still pretty cool, and it literally felt like we were gliding through the air.

Here's our plane and pilot- we flew in a Otter- which holds 9 passengers.  Our pilot has been flying for about 20 + years, and has been around small planes all his life. He's an engineer and winters in Arizona.  Apparently, in Alaska there are more people that have pilots licenses than driver's licenses. When he explained the 2 features of the plane that would help find us if necessary, and that there were emergency provision such as blankets, food and water, I wasn't sure whether to be scared or confident that we were prepared.
 Ready for take off-we all had headsets and could hear the pilot speak to the flight tower- no SOS's were secretly communicated to the tower!  Our pilot also did a great job of narrating the tour.  As with the other excursions we did, this one was very informative.
Ground control to Major Tom.
Truly stunning views- the terrain is so diverse and it goes from green marsh-y lands to heavy snow capped mountains.

It was truly an awesome experience, but I have to say when we landed I was pretty glad to be back.  We wrapped up our day at Talkeetna with another stop at the Denali Brewing Company before heading back to the train for the return trip to Anchorage.

Talkeenta is definitely a place I'd like to visit again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

3 on Thursday| Puppies, a Picnic and Presents

Andrew and I had plans to see my Mom today, so we combined the visit with a trip to the lab for blood work, a stop at the drug store, and a picnic.  Her apartment complex has a rule about visiting dogs, so we have to make other arrangements for her to visit with Sophie and Cocoa.  There is a nice park nearby with a pavilion.
I couldn't convince Andrew to be in the picture, so he played photographer.  I made a egg-cheese casserole and a cranberry orange breakfast bread for us, and we also stopped at Starbucks since I had only 1/2 a cup of coffee, and Mom and Andrew hadn't gotten that far!  We had a nice long visit before we take her back to her place, and Andrew and I head home.

So my 3 things on Thursday are:

1.  Puppies that get to ride in the car [one of Cocoa's favorite things] and a visit with their Nana-there was no way to get 2 dogs and my Mom photographed at the same time!
2.  Picnics-the temperature was fantastic a lovely 70 degrees and no bugs!  The only thing missing were mimosas, but I had to go to work later in the day.
3.  Presents- we brought back some goodies from Alaska which Mom really liked.  I had fun picking out socks, earrings, and a moose bobble head [among other things].

It might seem like a lot of work, but these 2 were very happy to see each other, and really-isn't that what it's all about anyway?!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weekending with Irma

My weekend plans pretty much consisted of a birthday party, a meet up with friends, long walks and football.  We had a great time celebrating Charlie's 3rd birthday [I forgot to take photos].  A couple weeks ago Katie mentioned there would  be make your own trail mix and mimosas-I was sold, then Mary blogged about the cupcakes- so yea-jackpot!  The weather was glorious and we spent most of the time on the back deck.  Andrew kindly let me nibble on the wonderful biscuits from this place, along with some delicious berries.  Saturday afternoon Sophie and I did something we haven't done in quite a while- an afternoon walk!  She managed 1.6 miles before she was ready to head home.  I went out again so as to hit my target of 4 miles total. Sunday morning brought the same brisk temperatures, winds, and loads of sunshine.  I headed out for a walk before meeting up with Brenda and Joyce for our monthly sewing get together.  Another 4 mile loop- sans Sophie, so I've now established a good route for cycling and walking around my neighborhood.

While Irma brought us lovely weather for Saturday and Sunday, it also brought 2 days off from work as south Georgia and the metro Atlanta area braced for high winds and rain.   Before bed we made sure everything was charged and our camp stove was at the ready.  Fortunately for our area of DeKalb County we only lost power for about 20 minutes Monday morning, after the coffee was ready-that was good timing.  There were some serious high winds intermittently throughout the day, but I don't think they ever reached the predicted strength.  Andrew, Steve and I, plus the dogs spent the day hanging out, talking, and watching TV.   I did manage to finish listening to The Boys in the Boat and binge watch several episodes of Turn.
I got the baby sweaters finished-or so I though and blocked [after multiple re-does of the button bands on the green ones!]  While I was completing the green ones I kept thing that something just looked off about them, and then when I was switching out the towels it dawned on me what I forgot to do.  I re-read the pattern, and yep- I forgot a whole set of decreases at the yoke- ugh!  So the grown up knitter in me is going to unweave the ends for the button band AGAIN and finish the yoke decreases, and reknit the button bands AGAIN.  These sweaters are going to the UK, so it's not like their sweater weather is going to end anytime soon.  However, since these are a gift, I want them to be as near to perfect as I can get them.   Since I know what I did wrong, and can fix it, I'm going to be a good knitter and invest the time.

There wasn't much cooking as there wasn't anything in the freezer to cook!  I did bake some pumpkin cupcakes which were delicious.  Not too sweet and just the right amount of fall-y spices.
Tuesday was pretty much a repeat of Monday except taking the dogs out for their potty breaks wasn't nearly as miserable as Monday.  I devoted all my knitting time to working on this project, Shells and Tide, which is a Christmas gift for my Mom.  She bought the yarn a long time ago, and was going to make a shrug.   When she cleared out her yarn stash she gave the yarn to me.  It's an aran weight merino/silk blend I couldn't find anything to knit for myself, and since she is always cold this will be the perfect thing for her to wrap up in.  I'm maybe 1/2 way finished, and I plan to use up all 12 skeins.  This is pretty much all I'm working on right now, I have some socks that are in various stages of completion which I hope to tackle this weekend to give myself a break from the shawl, but don't want to start anything else until the big project is finished.  Our families made it through the tropical storm with no significant damage aside from losing power which was no fun for them.  My hope and prayer is for all of those who are having to re-build and re-group are able to do so soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Alaska 2017- Peeps

Any great trip requires the best company, and we had that in spades. Thanks to Mary for this group photo taken one night before dinner during the cruise.  There were 6 of us on this adventure: my mother in law- Polly, sisters in law Mary and Karen, my husband and Karen's husband Ron.  On the cruise Mary and Polly had a cabin together and the rest of us were a couple decks below and side by side.  Ron and Karen were the perfect neighbors.  I can't say enough good things about Silversea Cruise Lines, I've been on a couple other cruises, but this one was just amazing.    The food, staff, accommodations, etc., absolutely no complaints, well except one-no bourbon-whaaat?!  We rocked it at team trivia, and came sooooo close to finishing in first place.

There was plenty of laughs through out the trip, and a couple times we had to hold each other up when the boat was really swaying, and there's a reason why those hand rails are along the hall ways on a cruise ship.

We encountered so many wonderful people both on the ship and in the cities where we stopped.  I'm sure the people and the surprisingly wonderful weather were what contributed to an overall excellent experience.  Now a few photos, Mary and I did a photo safari with the Gastineau Guiding Company which included whale watching and a short hike to Mendenhall glacier in Juneau.  Our tour guide was Skip and Jen captained our boat-both did a fantastic job.  Skip is native to Juneau and seasoned photographer.  He took the time to give advice and help everyone who need to reset their cameras to get the best photos and maximize their camera's capability.  He also knew ALOT about the city and state.  I have to say Jen certainly knows how to handle a boat-it was waaaaay smaller than I thought it would be.  For the trip I rented a 55mm-300mm telephoto lens.  It took some great photos and was also pretty heavy, but I think was totally worth it.

FYI- whales do not pose for photos and they are quick!
Mendenhall Glacier in the Tongass National Forest.

I was so surprised at how green Alaska was and that there is such a thing as a temperate rain-forest-who knew?!.  We learned about the eating habits of bears, the life cycle of salmon and how glaciers are formed-so much science!  And this was just the beginning. . . .

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Three Things on Thursday-To Do

I always have a to do list, and sometimes I have a to do list for my to do list which is typically un-deleted emails that I use as reminders!  Maybe Carole's prompt and this post will help keep me on track to at least get a couple of these things marked off and deleted.

1- finish these 3 baby sweaters.  This was my Alaska knitting, and I have 2 that need ends woven in, blocking, ribbon and buttons added.  1 needs to have the neckband finished and then the button bands, etc.  The green sweaters are for a cousin's daughter who is having twins in October, and the gray is for a friend's first grandchild.  I figured the gray sweater might not be usable until much later in the year, the baby was born in August, but with the current temps it'll be perfect timing.

2- Delete and edit photos from our Alaska trip.  I'd love to get this done before the end of September so I can decide on what photos to have put into a photo book.  I also need to do some other electronic cleaning up as well.

3-do my planned blog posts on said trip.  I want to add links as I know how many people do their research on-line and I want to give shout outs to the wonderful tour guide groups and business owners we encountered on our trip.

I like to use September as my finish up summer month, so I have a couple other things on the needles I'd like to have done, and then focus on fall/winter knits.  What's on your list?