My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Always the Bridesmaid....

and never the bride.

It didn't happen for Michael Ballack and the German national team, again. Germany ended up losing 0 - 1 in a lackluster appearance by the German squad. Spain outplayed, out-shot, and out-hustled (hmmm - sounding awfully like Survivor...) the Germans for 90 minutes. Sad, sad, sad.

My man and his teammates just couldn't get the job done. Poor MB - Runner up in their 2002 World Cup loss to Brazil, (although he wasn't able to play in the finals due to a red card), Third Place in 2006 World Cup, and Runner up this year with his club team, Chelsea in the FA and UEFA Champions League cups. Check out this article for more details. I guess his #13 is proving to be unlucky. I wonder if he'll play through to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. At 31 (almost 32) years of age, he is considered an 'older' (groan) player.

However - it's been a great tournament. Tons of last minute goals and excitement. For instance, in the game of Germany vs Turkey - a header caused injury on both sides - the players ran to the sidelines for treatment. How was the Turkish player treated? - A STAPLE GUN!! Yes - a few strategically placed staples into the back of the head & the player was back on the field. How nuts is that?

Oh well - I feel Ballack & Germany's pain, but today, Spain was the better team.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Toothless Joe

Little Iain is growing up & sporting a new grin:

Arghhhh Matey

Date of Incident: Saturday evening, June 28, approximately 10:20 pm

Details: After a couple of days of wiggling and careful chewing off to one side, lower tooth 'popped out' during routine teeth brushing. Only photographic evidence available as tooth fell down the drain.

Tooth Fairy was contacted via a copy of above photo. On the back we wrote a little note:

"Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost my tooth while I was brushing my teeth (emphasizing good oral hygiene - always earns brownie points). I lost my tooth. The tooth went down the sink. I'm leaving a picture so you can see. Thanks, Iain"

Apparently this worked, because when Iain woke up this morning, the photo was gone & he found a dollar under his pillow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vive Le Futbol!!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love soccer/futbol? I have? Really? You know, I'm usually so subtle about such things (ask Mags - I think she might know my thoughts about ham & fruit cake...)

Another highlight of The Roach Road Trip '08 has come & gone. Last Saturday, the Roach clan attended the LA Galaxy vs The Columbus Crew soccer game. For those of you who are unaware, international soccer super star, David Beckham, plays for the LA Galaxy. This is his 2nd season with the team, and by all accounts is doing well.

Orion was in hog-heaven. He's been anticipating this game for quite a while now. He was hoping to get Becks' autograph, but didn't. As you can see from the LA Galaxy swag he's sporting (we did drop a few shekels at the game), he was still pretty happy. Even though the photos aren't the greatest, we did have pretty good seats for the game.

Here is Becks pre-game. You can also see Landon Donovan (#10) who also plays for the US National team. So - 2 big name players on one team - pretty cool. I saw Donovan play for the US during the 2006 World Cup tournament. He scored twice on Saturday. Where were those goals during the Ghana game which knocked the US out of the tournament? Hmmm

The score board after goal #1 - assist from Beckham, goal credited to Donovan. As you can see - the goal came pretty early - within the 1st 4 minutes of play.

The game ended in a 3 - 3 draw (LA gave up a 2 - 0 lead) which was okay. To see 6 goals - 2 of which were PKs (penalty kicks), was pretty incredible. Beckham almost had the winning goal late in the 2nd half, but sent the ball flying over the cross bar. Whooops...
I also want to meet the marketing genius who thought of the idea of selling scarves at soccer games. I purchased one at the 2006 World Cup while Germany was stifling under a crazy heat wave. Also - Saturday night in LA was a scorcher... scarves, indeed. At least I know if they don't become wall decor in the boys' bedrooms at home, they will at least be useful.

It was Ball night, so the 1st 5000 fans to enter the stadium received a #5 LA Galaxy ball. Wade picked up 4 (one for each ticket) and ended up giving 2 away to kids sitting near us who didn't receive a ball. He's so nice, my dear hubby.

Here's a quick glimpse of the game - I guess I don't need to use YouTube after all.

Great game, fun times. I think Wade now understands why I'd love to go to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Although, I think he'd be happy with going to the 2012 European Championships. Yes - the Roach clan lives & breathes soccer. I don't know what we're going to do after Sunday when the Euro 2008 finals are over. We've been in sort of a funk waiting for the semifinal games to begin on Wednesday, GO GERMANY!!

While I can knit during a baseball game, no can do during soccer - too much action. Wade & I were both amazed at how fast 90 minutes + 15 minute half time can go by.

The End... (Beckham's that is...)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Celtic Braid Socks - Complete

The Knitting Gods were smiling on me today! I'd forgotten that ribbing and cables really eat up yarn & boy did this hold true for this pattern. Upon completion I had only 26" (out of a 360 yd skein) of yarn left over! Can't cut it much closer than that!

Gory Details:

Pattern: Celtic Braid Socks by Cabin Fever

Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight

Colorway: Oregon Red Clover Honey

Needles: Knit Picks, Size 2 (2.75mm) - Magic Loop

Cast On: June 4, 2008 (Oregon Coast)
Cast Off: June 16, 2008 (San Diego)

Euro 2008 Update: Germany 2nd in Group B - moves on to face Portugal in Quarterfinals. Michael Ballack scored the winning & only goal today (swoon!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Myself in Pictures...

My Mosaic, originally uploaded by Arctic Knitter.

Currently hanging out & escaping the heat of Sacramento. Nothing too exciting to report, so I thought I'd participate in a meme I discovered on Blue Garter's blog. Tag yourself & have fun!

Using fd’s Flickr Toys,

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Can you figure out my answers? Number 11 was particularly difficult....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Welcome to California....

Enough said....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Giants of the Coast

Okay - Redwood trees are HUGE!!! They are the tallest trees in the world (> 300 feet in most cases) and are very old (many > 1000 years old). Alaska is so majestic and beautiful, but our trees back home are put to shame by the mighty Redwood.

After leaving the Oregon Caves we entered California & found a hike within a state park. Boy Scout Tree trail is a 3.1 mile trail (each way) through the majestic giants. The tall trees allow little light to filter through to the forest floor, so the temperature is very comfortable for a nice hike. I was worried about the boys going on such a long jaunt, but they quickly settled into their own game - it was fun listening to them along the way. Orion had a bow and arrow while Iain carried a cross bow. They were on the look out for shadow & tree monsters. Sunlight orbs and Earthquake levers kept us safe. Just following them and listening to their imagination unfold and create a magical world was enlightening. For all the time I spend worrying they are influenced too much by the media, peers, and video games, it's reassuring to know they can easily engage their active imaginations. I must remember - everything in moderation.

We camped at Elk Prairie State Campground. This was the first campground we encountered that was almost at capacity when we arrived. The campground is near the coast & bordered on the east by land frequented by wild Elk. Our camping neighbors were Herman and Candelaria Zapp, the couple who've driven from Argentina to Alaska back in 2003. They are currently on a new journey to Asia. Pretty incredible - their car is a 1928 Graham Paige Model 610 touring car, and they are traveling with their 3 small children (all of whom were born in their car, I overheard). Our road trip pales in comparison to the distance they are covering. They are financing their trip from odd jobs along the way and selling their book, Spark Your Dream.

Wednesday morning, before our departure for the 400 mile drive to Sacramento, the boys participated in the Junior Ranger Program. The focus of the morning's program was banana slugs. We had seen one during our hike the day before, so the boys were anxious to learn more & earn a Junior Ranger badge. The Junior Ranger program is a great way for kids to learn about state and national parks - we try to participate in the program at each park we visit, if possible.
Here's what the kids said they learned about these invertebrates:

1) They breathe and 'poop' out of the same hole. So glad I'm not a banana slug.

2) Raccoons eat them, but first roll the slugs around in dirt. They do this because the slug contains some sort of chemical that numbs the mouth when you eat it. The dirt supposedly helps alleviate this numbness. I think this might explain why some folks lick the banana slug (a popular activity at 6th grade camp, so I hear).

3) The banana slug is the mascot for UC Santa Cruz - ooh, so frightening!!

I also finished a bit of knitting along the way (you knitters out there are soooo patient!) I present Celtic Braid Sock #1:


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oregon Caves

Our first stop after leaving our friends near Portland was the Oregon Caves National Monument. Wade & I had visited this spot after graduation in 1993 & were excited to share this national treasure with our boys.

The caves were just as awesome as we remember. The interior of the caves was around 44°F - cold enough to warrant wearing my newly knit leafling socks & wool hats. One couple opted out of the tour due to the cold - she was wearing a tank top & refused offers of coats & loaner warm gear. Oh well - live & learn.

We are really getting our money's worth from our National Parks Pass we purchased last year. The pass granted us entry (otherwise $8.50 per adult & $6.50 per child) - if you are traveling & considering visiting any of our nations fine parks, I highly recommend purchasing the pass.

The caves were created by the power of water acting upon marble. If I remember correctly, the caves were first discovered in the early 1800s. We learned that it takes approximately 1000 years for an inch of deposition on the stalagmites/stalactites. Before that fact was known, visitors to the caves would break off a piece of the formations to take home as a souvenir! It was a great lesson to the boys why we don't bring home every cool plant/rock/critter we encounter along our journey. Imagine if everyone had done that - nothing left for future visitors to experience! In one part of the cave you could see 'historic graffiti'. Visitors in the 1800s would use a pencil & write a brief note on the wall of the caves - a historic guest book if you will. Park officials tried to erase the writing with a pencil, but the writing was covered by Calcite & would not come off. Calcite is transparent in it's pure form, so provided a sort of window into visitors of the past. I'm glad this practice has ceased - although it was still pretty neat to see writing over 100 years old. We were wondering why handwriting from 'back in the day' is so neat?

The boys did very well on the 90 minute tour (the only way to have access to the cave) and the 526 steps (they counted...). Minimum height requirement is 42" - they both made it. :0) I think the height requirement is because you have to climb so many stairs. It is certainly an advantage to be short - less ducking while you're walking through the caves.
This is a creature called a "Fairy Bus" - the common name for this millipede. The name is due to the yellow spots near it's legs. The spots look like the lit windows of a bus/train as it travels in the night. A nifty fact about the Fairy Bus is it emits HCN (Hydrocyanic acid) which smells like cherries - apparently cherry trees contain this same chemical. This is a defensive mechanism for the millipede - if a bird eats it, the bird will die due to the poison. So warning coloration (the yellow spots) and the smell warn predators not to snack on the Fairy Bus.

We camped at a state campground surrounded by gorgeous trees. Tall trees mean less sunlight to permeate to the ground & resulted in a chilly morning - 34°F when we woke up! Brrrrrr - Again - the Leaflings came in handy. :0)

Next stop: Redwood National Park in California...


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Castles and Dragons

Now - if we'd encountered any Dungeons along our trip, the title of this post would have been much [cough] cooler. My apologies to the D&D fans...

As it turns out the annual Sand Castle competition was happening this weekend in Cannon Beach. Now I think they use the word 'castle' very loosely here as you can see from the photo at the left. I don't know about you out there, but when I build sand castles at the beach - they look nothing like the works d'art we saw. I think Sand Sculptures might be more apropos. The event started at 5:30 am when the tide was low. We were down at the beach around 11:30 & most entries were near completion. The sculptures stay up until the high tide returns around 5-ish this afternoon.

This entry was named "Temple of Bloom" - perhaps a combo of the latest Indiana Jones & Pirates of the Caribbean flicks? The figure on the right reminded me of the octopus/squid creature in the last Pirates movie. I'm so terrible - I can't even remember the darned character's name.

How about this creation: "Frank n Stein" - These Oregon people are so punny. Perhaps that's why I like it here. Except for the eternal rain - it's no secret why it's so green here. I mean - take a look at this:

The branches are covered in moss. Now - I'm no Dendrologist (a scientist who studies trees - I had to look that up), but dang - I think that's darned hard evidence that it's wet here a lot of the time. Karen insists that the rain and extremely cloudy weather they've been having is a bit unusual. Oh well - we'll get plenty of sun & heat when we get down to CA.

We returned to Portland so we could watch Ross compete in the 20th annual Dragon Boat Races. As many of my friends know, I was on the Rowing Team (or Crew) for UCSD from '89 - '93 (we were the Pacific Coast Lightweight 4 champions) so I find rowing of any sort to be interesting. I was the coxswain which meant due to my small size (and loud voice) I sat in the stern (back) of the boat, steered the boat, and yelled at the rowers to row harder & faster. (I don't like to call it yelling - I prefer to call it persuading/encouraging them very loudly - not far off from high school teaching, really) The Dragon Boat Races are similar except there are far more rowers (like 16??) and face the direction they are going. In crew - the max. number of rowers is 8 and the coxswain is the only person who faces the direction the boat is traveling. Probably a good thing since this person is also steering the boat. In Dragon Boat racing, it looks like glorified canoe paddling - rowers use their upper body to propel the boat while w/crew the entire body is used - made capable by sliding seats. The course for Dragon Boat racing is also much shorter - not quite sure, but Ross' team completed the course in 2 minutes & 45 seconds. A speedy women's crew rows for 2000m in approx. 7 minutes.

For the soccer buddies back home - here's a video of Ross making the winning flag grab for his team today. His team won both their heats today, so they continue in some capacity tomorrow. Finally - a reason to use one of the gazillion video DH takes w/our camera.

**Edited at 9:00 pm - YouTube is not cooperating w/the video upload. I'll add the video when I can.**

And lastly - I leave you w/a quick photo of me & Mags rockin' out at RUSH concert #2. I totally nabbed this photo from her blog - Thanks Mags! Great time!!

Celtic Braid Sock Update: At heel flap of sock #1. :0)

Friday, June 6, 2008


After attending the two RUSH concerts, we've spent a fair number of days with our good friends who live in Lake Oswego, OR. We've known these friends since forever. While reminiscing, we determined we've known each other for 15 years. We played on the same co-ed soccer team when we had both moved to Anchorage. Ross was the best man at our wedding. Great friends who've been too kind & let us mooch, stay with them.

Yesterday, we drove about 1.5 hours to the coast to visit Cannon Beach. Luck would have it that the best parking spot we could find was in front of their local knitting store, Coastal Yarns. So - the boys & Ross were sent running to the beach & I helped stimulate the local economy.

Who could resist yarn named after a local treat? On our way to Sacramento (where my May Rockin' Sock Club kit awaits) I'll knit this up into a pair of Celtic Braid Socks (see right photo) a pattern by Cabin Fever. Very cute - but using a cable needle w/socks is a bit 'fiddly'. I do need to master the cabling without a cable needle technique. I tried & failed miserably on a pair of Firestarter socks. Oh well - some time....

Cannon Beach was so cute - we decided to return & spend a couple of days here. Of course - now that we're here there are gale force winds & rain. Oh well - doesn't matter - we'll have plenty of beach time when we get down to San Diego. I'm able to sit & relax w/my new yarn & pattern while watching the surf crash on the shore. Yes - the freedom as teachers to pick up & go wherever is quite nice.

We ate lunch at this log cabin restaurant. Yummy food - the kids were thrilled they could order a PB&J on white bread. Yucko.... I recommend the bay shrimp & avocado sandwich. :0) What we found to be pretty cool were the drainage spouts around the outside of the building:

A Crane

A Frog

After our visit here, we'll return to Portland to watch Ross compete in the Dragon Boat races. The Dragon Boat races are part of the Rose Festival currently taking place in Portland. Ross is the 'flag catcher'. I guess his job is to stand at the bow of the boat & lean over & grab the flag at the end of the race. Last year they made it to the finals & ended up losing to a 'blind' team. Hmmm - Perhaps the rowers were visually impaired & the flag catcher was able to see? Monday morning our plan is to head south & visit the Oregon Caves National Monument. Wade & I went there on our drive up after graduating from college in 1993 (yikes!). We plan to roll into Sacramento sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Well - back to knitting. Ciao~

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Since the RUSH concerts are over, we really don't have any pressing commitments until the June 21's LA Galaxy MLS game down in LA. So - we've decided to hang out a bit in Portland and see what the City of Roses has to offer. Our first stop was to hook up w/Winston's Mom & her hubby and meet Sandy's wonderful daughter, Katie. Katie lives in the Alphabet District of Portland - a very cute part of town. Many a conversation turned toward "we could live here... what kind of salary is available to veteran teachers?" While traveling we are constantly reminded what little variety Anchorage has to offer. However - Anchorage is a beautiful place to live - not very crowded, picturesque, etc. I have a hard time envision us actually moving away. (However, after a set back at work, it is a bit tempting...)

First stop: Lunch. Funny how traveling often revolves around places to eat. Katie took us to a local pub called the Ram's Head. Good eats. The kids were thrilled with a PB&J on white bread - a treat for them as I insist on whole wheat/multigrain at home. I had the curried tuna fish - yummy!!
Next Stop: A trolley ride (kids loved that!!) down to visit Knit/Purl and Powell's book store. The folks at Knit/Purl were fabulous. I did not stimulate their economy (Margaret did) on this visit as I'd already ordered yarn & patterns from them before departing Anchorage. They were kind enough to help me decipher a pattern translated from Dutch which had some words missing. Wade & the boys found some books at Powell's - not difficult as it is billed as the largest independent used & new book store in the world. Very cool - the Roach clan loves book stores. I think we could move to Portland based upon this store alone. The fact that it happens to be a block or so away from a knitting store is a nice perk. :0)

Anchoragites Take Portland By Storm
photo by Iain

The Gadsden clan had to drive back to Tacoma for Sandy's Monday Night Dinner. We drove back to Lake Oswego & then spent the next day visiting OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) - a no brainer visit for a family enamoured with science.
We toured the naval submarine, the USS Blueback. This sub is not a nuclear powered sub, but runs on battery power & diesel engines.
Periscope up! Captain Iain takes a look at what lies above at the surface.

Sleeping quarters for the crew. The USS Blueback had a crew of 85 sailors. Sleeping quarters were cramped to say the least. 3 sailors were assigned to 2 bunks - they didn't have to share, but rotated throughout their shifts. Since I get claustrophobic, I can't imagine living in such a confined space for 6 - 8 weeks at a time. Recycled air, no windows, intense heat from the engines, fellow soldiers who only shower 1x per week. No Thanks. After the tour, the guide asked who would want to volunteer for Submarine service - Iain quickly raised his hand. I think it may have been due to the torpedo room or the all-you-can-eat vanilla ice cream.

The physics room was pretty fun. Here Orion learns about static electricity and the Van de Graff generator. Electricity scares the bejeezus out of me - isn't it grand to be ignorant of what to expect? Really, as long as you keep one hand on the generator & stand on an insulated box, there isn't anything to worry about. While Wade turns the crank, static charge builds up & travels through Orion. You can sort of see the tin pie plates flying off his left hand. It was pretty cool. I've used one in class several times - kids get a kick out of it.

I didn't take any photos inside the chemistry room. Iain happend to wear his East High Mole Day Shirt, and the staff member thought that was pretty cool & gave the kids a couple of Monty Mole Stickers. I explained I was a chemistry teacher & they left me to run the demos & explain the concepts. We explored acid/base indicators, acid rain, the mole, separation due to density, and rheoscopic fluids. Pretty fun.

While in Portland we also went to a Pink Martini concert. The opening act was 3 Leg Torso - great as well. They are from Portland and Sandy's favorite band. They were playing four different nights to help with the KBOO (a local community radio station) fund raiser. What a great, fun show!! Thanks Katie for bringing us into the Pink Martini fold.

What an amazing city!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Weekend With RUSH

The Canadian rock band, that is - NOT Mr. Right of the Atilla-the-Hun man.
As stated earlier, we tore out of Anchorage soon after school let out so we could travel 2400 miles (and change) to see RUSH at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. We were about 29 rows back - not too bad considering this is the 10th RUSH show I've attended (I think...) Wade is still waiting to be in the front row.

We arrived in Washington on Friday, May 30th with hopes of meeting Wade's brother Ryan (far right) and Ryan's best bud, Doug (2nd from right) at SeaTac from their flight from San Diego. Of course, traffic entering Seattle from the north was insane, so they met us downtown at Pike's market.
Since George is about a 2.5 hour drive from Wendi's place in Bonney Lake, we opted for the "premiere" camping at the Gorge. Don't let the name fool you. Premiere really means an enclosed grassy area - no designated camping spots. Now, in all fairness the portapotties ("Honey Buckets") did have running water. :0) So - before the 8:00 show time you can set up camp & enjoy a cool, refreshing beverage. No time to knit, however....
Here is Neil Peart's drum set he uses for the Snakes and Arrows tour. Pretty cool. Near the end of the 2nd set he launches into an 8 minute drum solo. He's a pretty amazing drummer. According to my good pal, Winston's Mom - we should really refer to him as Dr. Peart as he holds a PhD in percussion. Wowza!
The show was fantastic. It was different from the two shows we saw last summer. They still opened with Limelight (a personal fave) but added a few more tunes such as Ghost of a Chance, Red Barchetta, and the Trees. My only wish was that Geddy Lee & Co. would be more spontaneous. Doug & Ryan said most of their pre-song comments, etc were very similar to the shows they had seen in Hollywood & Irvine. But - great, rockin' sound!
The venue is great, but I do laugh at their seated area. You would think that at such a gorgeous venue the seated area would be more posh. The seats consisted of 55 rows of metal folding chairs!! The seats were numbered w/what looked like numbers written with a sharpie on athletic tape. So high tech....
Okay - I think I'll have to edit this post later - I know we have more photos. Winston's Mom'd DH almost was escorted out of concert #2 for taking too many photos with a high tech digital camera. I'll have to get a hold of a couple of those.

Knitting connection: Geddy Lee was wearing a knit scarf (that I knit for him & threw up on stage. JK!!) during the "Portland" show. (Portland is in quotes as the show was across the river in Vancouver, Washington.)