Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 2008 (BC)

Vacation 2008: Days One and Two

We are on vacation!!!!

Friday evening, Cynical and Ragged headed our way in preparation to depart for St. Louis.

Saturday, we went up in the Arch.

Ramblin had never been to the top. Cross that milestone off the list. Two things we learned on this excursion - they will let you take knitting needles into the memorial, but don't you dare try to touch Thomas Jefferson. Then, we were starved and ate at a great little place in Laclede's Landing, Hannegan's Restaurant and Pub. Wonderful, wonderful food. Then, completely stuffed, we headed out of town and stopped in at the Route 66 State Park. The visitor center was closed by the time we got there, but we did walk around a bit.

We spent the evening at Meramac Caverns at their motel. Beautiful setting, and we were the only ones there at first, though later I think we had another intrepid soul join us.

This morning, we drove to Rolla to see a recreation of Stonehenge,

and ate waaaaay too much breakfast at the Huddle House. Rolling ourselves out the door, we were on our way to the ultimate destination - Springfield, MO. This was the weekend for their Artsfest, which was cool, because it was on the street right in front of our bed and breakfast. It was also tricky, because you had to know the secret entrance to the parking area, with all the streets blocked off. Eventually, we found our way, checked in, saw our room, and fell in love. Diane and Shanni, you may have to come get me.

We then went down to walk along Walnut Street, filled with artisan wares and live music. It was great.

And now we're back in our room, soaking up the Internets and resting. Later on we may wander down the street for an appetizing restaurant.

We've needed this for a looooong time.


'A visitor' left this comment on 4 May 08
Sounds wonderfully relaxing. Just what I need. Candy
'A visitor' left this comment on 4 May 08
Wow! I want to come too.

Vacation 2008: Day Three

Whoops, I meant to post this update last night, but I was simply too tired. Yesterday was a day of coffee, yarn shopping (not the boys), and Cinco de Mayo celebrating.

Springfield has many, many great coffee shops, and our goal is to hit as many as we can. We sampled the wares of The Coffee Ethic from their booth at Artsfest, yesterday morning enjoyed vanilla cappuccinos from Oaxacafe (wa-Ha-ca-Fay), and that evening strolled to the Mudhouse for a Mudskipper and a double-shot cappuccino.

What would Cinco de Mayo be without a trip to a Mexican restaurant? We found Maria's Mexican Restaurant on the Interwebs and it looked like the town's best place. After a bit of a wait (seems Mexican restaurants are popular on Cinco de Mayo, who knew? Ha!), we had a very enjoyable meal. I had a chicken enchilada, and a fried taco, on recommendation from our waitress. Fried tacos are very, very good. Ramblin had carne asada, and offered me a taste. The beef had such outstanding flavor, I didn't even mind the heat.

Ah yes, the yarn shopping. Our first yarn stop was She's Crafty, a little shop not too far from where we are staying. It was a very neat shop, very friendly proprietors, and yarns I had not seen in person before. My only purchases were size 5 Addi Turbos and some yarn for an x-mas present.

I forgot to post one of the most important things - the cookies of the day. Each afternoon when we get back, there are four perfect, wonderful cookies waiting for us. Sunday's cookies were peanut butter filled chocolate cookies. Yesterday we were greeted with these.

Yep, we want to live here.


'A visitor' left this comment on 6 May 08
Sorry for the button scare! Hey, save me a cookie!!!

Word is, day day coming soon. They are thinking of one on June 7th, but that's Hoosier Hills.

Vacation 2008: Day Four

Breakfast: Florentine ramekins, bacon, and sliced strawberries and bananas with yogurt. Yum.

Today, we set out to do two of the primary things that brought us to Springfield - Laura Ingalls Wilder's house and Fantastic Caverns.

Check, and check.

The weather had been threatening, but other than a bit of rain during our tour of Laura's home and gravesite and the drive back, it wasn't a bad day at all. We also experienced Lambert's Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls. I had been to both the Springfield and Branson location, and thought my fellow travelers really needed to join in the fun.

Ragged and I also got to visit yet another yarn shop, One City Market. We may be seeing Lisa in the very near future too, as she offered to bring by a Spunky Eclectic shipment she's expecting. To the Inn. Oh my. She's got a wonderful selection of goodies. Suddenly, it becomes very apparent to me that I do not need any more yarn shops near me. If I had this kind of access all the time, it would be trouble. But, neither vacation calories nor vacation yarn count, so it's all good.

This evening, after our big day, we picked up Panera Bread yummies and ate on the back deck at the Inn. Nice.

Cookie of the Day: cinnamony chocolate chip

And a very Happy Birthday to my momma!

Vacation 2008: Day Five

Breakfast: Spring herb egg strudel, sausage and fresh fruit - grapes, kiwi and watermelon. A girl could get used to this.

Sadly, we didn't get as many pictures today, because it has rained, rained, and rained some more. The day's activities included a stop at the Bass Pro Shop, where Ramblin hit the motherlode for clothes. We also dined at Hemingway's Cafe in Bass Pro, enjoying their buffet. Three out of the four of us completely missed the 30,000 gallon aquarium they are famous for. We also mooshed some pennies for keepsakes and tried our hand at the laser shooting gallery. Ramblin says with a little more practice, I'll be ready to go hunting with him. Great, as long as I can bring my knitting with me in the tree stand.

Then we made our way to Simply Fibers, while the guys perused a book store and a comic and game shop. Ragged and I had been very excited, because it was going to be Malabrigo Day. I had researched Simply Fibers and discovered they sold Malabrigo. We were both going to buy sweater quantities of it. Unfortunately, it was not to be, only a few skeins of chunky yarn remained in the store. :( However, I did locate the perfect buttons for Jeremy's Jacket at half price, five skeins of Louet Gems to be overdyed, and the Austrian Stitch Cardigan pattern that I had been wanting, but not wanting to pay more in shipping than the pattern cost. Even though I couldn't get my Malabrigo, I was very pleased with my finds.

Next, we visited the Springfield Visitor Information Center, hoping to snag a few souvenirs. Nope, but we did get more information about possible activities to fill our final day. Then we needed coffee, so we tried out Cassils Coffee Cafe. Still raining, we decided to go back to the Inn and make our battle plans. It was Ragged's turn to pick the restaurant, and she selected the Springfield Brewing Company. I had a very good grilled salmon salad. After dinner, we decided we needed more coffee, so it was back to Mudhouse, of which we are becoming very fond.

Do you notice the theme? We are all about the food. The sights we have seen are great, but finding restaurants to try has been fun. Especially when it's not your turn to pick. I'm up for the lunch call tomorrow.

Something else worth mentioning - being in the attic room, we've been entertained by NASCAR squirrel racing. There's a couple of squirrels that have been having a grand ol' time doing laps on the roof.

Cookies of the Day: Peanut Butter. Big peanut butter.


'A visitor' left this comment on 7 May 08
Unless you plan on sharing, you must cease and desist in showing cookies!!! You are making my life a horrible place to be without home made cookies at hand. I guess it could be worse. You could be showing yarn too!

Dye Day in Evansville July 12th???

Vacation 2008: Day Six

Chris, you're going to have to avert your eyes, because there's yarn AND cookies in this post.

Breakfast: applesauce pancakes, bacon, and fruit - mandarin oranges, strawberries, and bananas.

After breakfast, we tried to squeeze in some geocaching and wandering downtown. However, it started sprinkling and we cut our meanderings short to head back to the Inn. They did have a lovely park downtown we visited before the rain.

Not wanting to venture out again, I picked up pizza from Garbo's and we dined in our room.

However, our afternoon was not entirely uneventful, because Lisa from One City Market brought her latest shipment of Spunky Eclectic right to the parlor. That's right - yarn delivery. You can't beat it.

From that, believe it or not, I whittled my pile down to this.

From left to right, two BFL in Rocky Mountain High, Skinny Socks in How Very Berry, Tough Socks in Blue Moon, and two BFL in Thunderstorm. And then there are the shirts.

We chatted the afternoon away with Lisa. That's how vacations should spent, in the company of good folks in good conversation.

Now, on our last evening in Springfield, we have yet to decide what our supper plans will be. But the sun has finally peeked out.

Day 6 cookies: butter pecan (I have no idea what the real names of the cookies are)


'A visitor' left this comment on 9 May 08
You are evil, evil I say! I wonder if Lisa would make a trek to Evansville?
'A visitor' left this comment on 8 May 08
I had a great time with you both today, so glad we got to spend quiet quality time together on a rainy day. Thanks for all the spinning tips, that's my next great adventure. Glad to find more sister-knitters (wink, wink).

I hope your trip to Missouri was memorable, your trip home safe and uneventful, and your knitting time plentiful. Stay in touch, great to meet you (still forgot to get your autograph for the shop). It's just mean to show me those cookies I had to smell baking all afternoon :) Lisa.

'A visitor' left this comment on 8 May 08
Uncle Rudy went to take care of your catto's this evening. Hope he did a good job! Looks like you guys have been having a great time!

Vacation 2008: Day Seven

Breakfast: Omelet souffle, raisin bran muffin, and watermelon.

We is home.

We is tired.

Wrap up post to follow.

Some time.


'A visitor' left this comment on 10 May 08
No cookies?

Vacation 2008: Wrap-up

Sadly, we left the Inn before it was cookie time on Friday. We so looked forward to cookie time.

Friday, after our lovely breakfast, we packed up and headed out. The trip out was broken up with lots of stops; the trip back was straight through to St. Louis, where we stopped for lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, and this one yarn place. Let's see, what was the name of it?


There's more to this picture, but it has been altered to protect the innocent.

It's been a long time since I've been overwhelmed by yarn, but let me tell you, this place will do it to you. I found some Claudia Handpaint I had been wanting, then wandered aimlessly, making laps around the aisles, clutching the two skeins. Ramblin thought I'd had a stroke. It was complete overload. He had to prompt me to get a t-shirt, so dazed was I by All. That. Sock. Yarn. What did I finally purchase?

What you see is the Red Sock Kit, the third order gift one of the elves (I did not get her name, very, very sorry!) noticed I missed out on, since that order was a gift certificate for Ragged; the aforementioned t-shirt; five skeins of Dream in Color Classy in Dusky Aurora; Claudia Handpaint in Antique Jeans; and a Loopy Ewe stitch marker for my Loopy Goody; all tucked into a Loopy shopping bag. They put all of my stuff back in there; I hope I was supposed to leave with it.

I now feel more prepared for the online shopping, as I got to feel lots of yarns in person. Now if I can just remember which was which.

We got home, did our laundry, Ramblin mowed the yard, and have been fairly useless after that. Here's a few pics of the flowers that greeted our return.


'A visitor' left this comment on 12 May 08
Squeeeeee! The Loopy Ewe!

I just found Classy this winter. I love that yarn.

'A visitor' left this comment on 12 May 08
Your white iris is gorgeous!! I am waiting to see if Philip took out my white and peach ones. So far only the purples are blooming. Remind me to never let him go in my garden!

If the shoe fits . . . .

. . . . it will be a miracle.

I needed shoes. Desperately. As in, I had worn through my work shoes to the sole. From the inside.

Obtaining shoes shouldn't be a problem for someone of my gender. However, as in many areas, I'm not typical for my gender. I hate most shoes. Hate them. But, since I can't go walking around sock-footed (that would wear out the socks too fast), I had to find some.

I found some online that would do, but I wanted to see if I could find some around here. Penney's - nope. Payless - what the heck?! Kohl's - uh-uh. Shoe Show - nada. Walmart (I've already told you I was desperate) - almost thankfully, no. And, after seeing the dismal selections available in my area, the shoes I had found online looked even better.

So tonight, instead of making lots of purchases from The Loopy Ewe's latest Sneak-up, I bought shoes. Two pair for work (on clearance, no less), and one pair of sandals. Then, I can get rid of the current work shoes and two pair of ill-fitting sandals. The sandals are from Lands End and the work shoes are from FootSmart . If you are into shoes that are good for your feet, FootSmart is the place to find them. I printed off a foot chart, and hope that with my orthotics (yes, I was born an old woman), the shoes will fit.

Be good to your feet, because they can get you back. Why else do you think I bribe them with all the hand-knit socks?

Sock Saturday

These were a quick project, a nice palate-cleaning pair of stockinette socks coming on the heels (sock pun!) of two patterned pair. Now, I believe I need to start in on the Spunky Eclectic from vacation. Blue or red? Stay tuned.

One of the aforementioned patterned socks was the Punkin Vine socks. I finally got a picture of them.

I'm going to try to finish the pink lace cardi, so that I can dive into the Dream in Color Classy I got on our trip. No way I'm letting that marinate in the stash.

Crisis averted

So, I was sitting in the break room at work, when a panicked feeling came over me. Dread rose up from the pit of my stomach. My worst fear appeared to be happening . . . . .

. . . . . my socks were going to match.

You see, I was binding off the top of one, and I looked at the color just starting to peek from the center of the skein. Then I looked to the toe of my current sock. Yep, it was a match. Cr*p!

However . . . .

Whew! That was close. Note the blue at the tippy-toe on the right is indeed the same as the one on the left, but fortunately it was a different color repeat. (Left toe is placed where the color repeat is on the first sock.) I am all about serendipitous socks, and just as I would never string out a bunch of yarn to make them match, I wouldn't string out a bunch of yarn just to make them not match. But I would have been sad. :)

Anyhoo, here is the sock in all its glory.

This is Opal Lollipop #1011. I have four colors or so of the lollipop. I'm a fan.

Mark another long-standing UFO off the list.

And I love it. This is my own design, out of Plymouth Cotton Soft. I *might* write this one up as a pattern.

It's actually stayed spring for more than two days in our area, and I am loving it. Here's another picture of beautiful flowers, to celebrate this extended break from the h-e-double-toothpicks that is summer in the Midwest. You know the saying "it's not the heat, it's the humidity"? Doesn't matter, we have both. Anyway, lovely azaleas from Ramblin's parents' house.

Even though we just took a vacation, I am so looking forward to the long weekend.


'A visitor' left this comment on 22 May 08
Shew! That was close. It was touch and go for awhile...

We got the beef

Yeah, we got it.

These two containers held this much stuff.

That is about 130 pounds of beef and pork, plus 50 pounds of chicken and vegetables. The chest freezer is full. The freezer in the fridge is full. We didn't have spill over into a backup freezer, but it was close. Choice angus. I'm in heaven.

You may hear some women delicately say that they really don't like much beef. I am not one of those women. Real women drive trucks (or a Charger, once the higher gas prices kicked in) and we love beef. My grandparents raised cattle, and early on I learned what real beef is. So right now, I am a very content girl.

The above sirloin was prepared by my dearest while I was out wrangling the yarn room into shape. Today, I am incredibly sore. When you have enough yarn to hurt you, that's a sign you have a lot of yarn. However, I found at least five big plastic totes of yarn to be rid of. It's stuff I'm never going to use, stuff that was given to me by people that had yarn stashes (sadly, mostly acrylic) that didn't knit or crochet anymore. So, much of it is being moved on to other knitters and crocheters, with my blessing.

Interestingly, during my rooting around, I found some yarn that is clearly handspun, but I have no recollection of spinning it. I suspect it spun itself. I wish more of it would do that, and the fiber stash wouldn't be the state that it is in. Of course, then it would just make the yarn stash bigger. Also, I found a partially knit baby blanket. It's in my favorite standard blankie pattern, but I have no idea who it was going to be for, or even when I started knitting it. It's a nice green, a very gender-neutral shade. I dunno. Those are merely two anecdotes that illustrate why I need to get a handle on the stash.

Scrolling through my Ravelry stash, it becomes clear I really like purples and greens. If I veer off from that, it's usually for a red shade that caught my eye. Which makes the Greencastle purchase of the tangerine fiber all the more shocking.

Tonight could involve some swatching and calculating. I have a yarn I bought for a pattern that doesn't match gauge. However, I don't have any other yarn for that pattern, and I can't imagine what else I would use the yarn for, so I will finagle the best I can.

Hope everybody is having a great weekend!


'A visitor' left this comment on 26 May 08
I admit to liking my beef in moderation, but very expensive (aka, the best grade).
'A visitor' left this comment on 25 May 08
Suppose I can still be a real woman and drive a Honda? I do love beef.
'A visitor' left this comment on 25 May 08
Where's the beef?....Oh, there it is!

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