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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Holidazed on Holiday

Finally - I share with you FO #2



Pattern: "Holidazed" by Anne Hanson

Source: Rockin' Sock Club 2009

Yarn: BMFA Lightweight "Muddy Autumn Rainbow"

Method: Magic Loop

Mods: Toe up over 56 stitches rather than cuff down. Worked well except the Diagonal Twill Rib stitch count did not work evenly over 28 stitches per needle. So.... I just added a purl & knit stitches on either side of the 24 stitch pattern.

"Toe Pic"

Time Frame: Well.... Sock #1 was completed during our Thanksgiving Holiday to Hawaii last year. I started sock #2 while we were there, but then returned home, lost my sock mojo & the sock languished in a sock bag until our 2010 summer road trip. I think I actually finished sock #2 somewhere on I-80 in Pennsylvania.

Of course, I neglected to bring the sock pattern with me & didn't have the mental capacity to figure out where I was. So - my wonderful BKFF was also a member of RSC 2009, so she was able to email me the Diagonal Twill Rib pattern. I couldn't remember where I had left off last November (write it down - what a novel idea!), so just had to make my best guess. I don't think I guessed correctly, but oh well - I doubt anyone could really tell unless you were up close and personal. And.... if you're that up close & personal....

Diagonal Twill Rib Pattern Detail

Since this is supposed to be a blog about knitting and traveling, I hope I've upheld the knitting end with this little tidbit. While I'm posting this as FO #2, I think it's actually the 3rd FO completed on the road trip. I still have 2 more to share - as soon as they have their respective photo shoots. And when it's 90°F+, it's hard to put on wool & stand in the sun without looking like a wilted flower. Perhaps I'll suck it up before we drive off.

Until then - Ciao & Happy Travels!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Happy, Happy Birthday to my BKFF!!

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

I just thought I'd take some time to wish my dear friend a very, happy birthday. I'm sorry that I won't be there to celebrate your special day with you in person, but rest assured I'll be thinking of you as we travel north.

For her special day, I thought I'd share some photos of my special friend. Some are a few years old, but it's what I could find at the time. How embarrassing is it that I have more photos of yarn than of my BKFF? :0)

"What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies."
- Aristotle
(Our soul just happens to love cupcakes)

Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. Jennie Jerome Churchill 1854-1921, Anglo-American Mother of Winston Churchill
(get it? It's the closest "friendship" quote I could find associated with Winston Churchill...)

My BKFF hob-nobs with the knitting elite!

My BKFF is not ashamed to knit in public nor wear slightly too large head gear.

"See you and me have a better time than most can dream of, better than the best, so we can pull on through, whatever tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around."
-Dave Matthews Band

Happy Birthday Dear Friend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roaches Day Off in Chicago!

Captain's Log, Star dates July 1 - July 3, 2010
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Distance Traveled: Ummm - a lot! (notebook not nearby for me to check...)

After our brief visit with my aunt in New Jersey, we headed west so Wade could be back in Milwaukee in time for the RUSH concert on July 3. We camped overnight in northern PA where it actually got chilly during the night - a significant change in the weather we've been experiencing during our journey.

Since we were "in the neighborhood", we thought we'd spend a couple of days in Chicago before heading back to the Sivils' homestead in Milwaukee. I've been to Chicago twice before & have had wonderful experiences each time. We decided to splurge & spend 2 nights in a hotel situated downtown within walking distance of the Navy Pier. This was great as we had access to showers, free cook-to-order breakfast, T.V. for viewing World Cup matches, and free Happy Hour drinks. :0)

Museums were not on our agenda for this stop since we'd had plenty of museums in D.C. and NYC. We opted to take advantage of the wonderful bike path around the Lake Shore for some much needed & appreciated exercise:

A Picture Perfect Day!

Along our travels we admired the beautiful skyline of Chicago & stopped at Millennium Park to have a cold, refreshing beverage and hang out at the Bean:

Wade was able to get some fun shots of the boys & the Bean:

And just one I find particularly interesting:

I think it could be used as "What's This" photo contest. Anyhow - I think it's pretty neat...

After lunch at the Weber Grill (yum! Note the grill covers they use as heat lamps) we took an Architecture Cruise along the Chicago River. Did you know the city of Chicago actually switched the direction of the river so as to prevent polluting Lake Michigan? Just goes to show how humans can manipulate their environment to suit their needs. 2 Years ago, Wade's mom, the boys, & I took a similar cruise, but one geared more toward the history of Chicago. This particular trip focused on the types of architecture (there are so many!) along the river. Very interesting & informative & hot as the sun was out in full force, there was nary a breeze, and like a dumb-dumb, I wore a black shirt. Duh! Turns out our tour guide did not have any formal training in architecture, but had a degree in Chemistry! I guess now I can tell my students what they can do for a career if they choose to pursue a chemistry degree. JK

I couldn't possible share even a fraction of the photos Wade took along the tour. Picture, tall, sleek, glass-infused buildings & you'll get the idea. I did like these: The Riverwalk Cottages, (I think) which used triangles in unique ways.

We spent the early evening swimming at the hotel's pool, and then walked along Navy Pier. The boys were disappointed with the Pier as they were expecting more of a carnival/fair atmosphere & not so much shopping and food establishments.

We ended our visit to Chicago by watching the Germany vs. Argentina blow out (Go Deutschland!) the morning we drove out. It was pretty cute as the boys were in one room cheering for Argentina (complete with colored Argentina flags) and Wade & I were in the other cheering for the Germans. Too bad it seems that Germany used all of their magic during that game & had nothing left for their match against Spain.

Anyhow - another grand day out for the Roach clan on our Summer 2010 voyage.

Ciao & Happy Travels!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bitten By The Big Apple

After our forays in Washington D.C., the family loaded up the van and headed north to New Jersey. As I've mentioned before, my aunt lives there at "The Shore" which is a beautiful place. No one should judge jersey by the Newark area. My aunt has a swimming pool which was a big hit with the boys. We ended up spending three nights there - 1 day spent visiting the Liberty Science Center (of course - my third time visiting...) and another in New York City.

June 29 - A Day in The Big Apple

There are several choices to travel into the city from New Jersey. You could:

a) Drive your car - but that'd be insane - especially when you want to find parking. So - not an option

b) Take the NJ Transit train into the city which takes about 1.5 hours, or...

c) Take the SeaStreak Ferry like many of the 'suits' do. This is a more expensive option ($23 one way??), but certainly the fastest (only 40 minutes from Atlantic Highlands, NJ to Lower Manhattan) and what felt the most civilized.

We opted to ferry over and then take the train home in the evening. We were able to have the best of all travel possibilities.

You can take advantage of the travel time to knit or read. I'm reading on my Nook - I love this little device & highly recommend it. In fact -the price has come down substantially, especially if you only want the WiFi capabilities instead of WiFi and phone signal. I'm currently reading "The Fiery Cross", book 5 of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I love the series; I'm trying to get caught up (again) so I can be best prepared for the latest release. However - as I remember from the last time I read it, this book takes forever to read. I'm currently on page 800-something out of 1300. Uggg. Okay - I digress from our trip & I'm not being compensated in any way for endorsing this e-product or book.

After disembarking in Lower Manhattan (right at the end of Wall Street), we wanted to do the Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. I'd taken this tour when I traveled here 5 years ago with my BKFF and 12 high school students. However - the tour we wanted was having technical difficulties, so we went on a NYC Water Taxi. Not nearly the same and was crowded with many non-English speaking tourists who spoke so loud you couldn't hear the canned commentary. Oh well. Orion made a friend:

What more could you want from your visit to the U.S.A. - a photo with two iconic images of America: The Statue of Liberty and a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. It was pretty cute.

During the "tour" we saw Lower Manhattan, the area where the Two Towers used to stand, Battery Park, Ellis Island (a very cool museum of the history of immigrants to our country), the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn't sail all the way around & missed other pertinent landmarks. That's okay, perhaps we'll save those for another visit. After the tour we walked up Wall Street for a bit and then rode the subway to Times Square.

Times Square is pretty overwhelming with all of the neon lights and billboards, but pretty spectacular none the less. There was a giant screen dedicated to World Cup Matches. It would have been fun to watch a US game there - especially the one where the US scored in the 91st minute to advance out of the group stage.

This was a fun "interactive" billboard. It captured live images of the street across from it. Then, a young woman would walk into the screen and take a Polaroid photo. If you were standing in the correct area, you could have been the subject of the photo. At least once the boys and I were in the photo. At one time, the woman "picked-up"people in the image by their hair. It was pretty fun.

We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe where in hindsight our trip took a turn for the worse - although we wouldn't know it until several days later. It seems that when we paid for our meal & our credit card was out of our immediate control (as in the waitress will be your cashier) - someone made off with our credit card number & charged hundreds of dollars to our account over several days. Fortunately I noticed it when we arrived here in CA & our credit card company has sent us new cards and negated all of the fraudulent charges. To the company's credit, they did freeze our account when Wade tried to use the card back in Wisconsin, but we told them we had been in NYC, so we weren't aware of any unauthorized purchases. Turns out upon close inspection of our statement, someone had been purchasing liquor (lots of it!) and such using our number. So lesson learned - pay close attention to your credit statements and keep a close eye on your card at all times!!

Other highlights of the Big Apple Included:

Grand Central Station (where a t.v. was set up to watch the World Cup)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Picasso and Bamboo Exhibits

A view from the Top of the Empire State Building (I hadn't done this on my previous trip)

and dinner at an Italian Restaurant with a college buddy who now lives and works outside of Manhattan.

It was a long, busy, and fun-filled day. The kids were troopers - but here's what they looked like as we pulled out of Penn Station for our 1.5 hour train ride back to Jersey:

I'm sure even with the credit card set back we'll still take a trip back to the Big Apple. So much more to see and do that you couldn't possibly squeeze into one day.

Ciao & Happy Travels!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Timing is Everything!

We interrupt our cross country travels to show you what I've been up to while dear Wado is driving. Because I've been blessed with the ability to read, knit, etc in a car w/o getting motion sickness, I've been able to get lots of knitting accomplished. I recently reported that I have 2 projects to share with you, but since that post, I'm please to announce that I have FOUR (yeah!) finished objects. I'll intersperse my travel posts with reports of knitting just to spice it up a bit.

Because my timing is impeccable, I chose a nice hot, sunny day (perhaps 90°F in the sun?) in Sacramento for the finished photo shoot. I think I actually finished this project while driving from my aunt's home in New Jersey back to our friend's home in Wisconsin. It's been sitting in my knitting bag and occasionally balled up on the dashboard of the van until now.

This is a project inspired by my friend Sandy (not blogless, but hasn't blogged in many moons...). She's knit quite a few & they just look so fun, especially when they're rolled up along the waviness of the scarf.


Pattern: Sea Lettuce Scarf by Lucy Neatby. A fun lesson in the skill of short rows and picot edges. I've mentioned before that I don't knit many scarves because my knitting attention span is that of a flea with ADHD, so I didn't knit it until the yarn ran out. I figure I'll probably just use this as an accessory rather than a piece of functional winter wear. It is a fun knit and the directions are easy to follow. Lucy has provided directions for different weights of yarn depending on your preference.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Twisted" in Jubilation colorway; less than 1 skein. I think I have enough left over to knit a small hat. Perhaps something for my new nephew expected to make his debut in September? I know that natural occurring Sea Lettuce is not purple (as Wade kept pointing out - "Sea Lettuce isn't purple, it's green!!"), but I was attracted to this color way (as I often am to purples) & that was that.

Needles: US7 The pattern recommends a US2, but I figure that's for those using fingering weight yarn. Also - since scarves are very forgiving in terms of fit, I just used a needle that was close to that suggested by BMFA and what I thought produced a nice looking fabric.

Overall: Very fun project!

I'll share more FO's later (they're drying in the warm, dry Sacramento air) & more of our travel adventures soon. Tonight - Wade & I are going to see Carbon Leaf in concert - should be fun!

Ciao & Happy Travels!