Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weekend at the Cabin

If you live in Minnesota or grew up here, you know that few things are as quintessentially “summer” as going “to the cabin”, “up north”, or “to the lake” during the summer. Call it what you want, it all means the same thing: escaping the city for the weekend and heading someplace where the pace is a little slower, the breezes a little cooler, and drinking beer all day long is a little more acceptable.

D and I headed to Chippewa Falls, WI for a weekend of doing nothing with many friends, their many children, and a couple dogs. It’s nice to have a weekend where the most difficult decision you make is what kind of chips to buy (Tostitos Hint of Lime) and if you should take a nap before lunch or after (After).

In addition to napping, drinking beer, eating a lot of cheese, and generally being lazy, I kayaked for the first time! I have to say: I loved it. Now I want a kayak. This will be added to the list of “big things” I want, which currently includes a scooter.

People enjoyed themselves tubing, knee boarding, riding on the boat, swimming, playing SuperMarioKart on the Wii and much more. Personally, I rather enjoyed the “Dog vs Man” competition to retrieve the ball thrown in to the lake. I think the dog won…at least once.

While there we celebrated two birthdays…David and Lindsey’s. I made D a cake that looked a little odd.

Apparently, you need more than one tube of frosting to write out “Happy Birthday David”…or perhaps you just need to write smaller. And Katie made a lovely cake that we put some sparkler candles in. It almost made up for the fact that I didn’t see any fireworks on the 4th of July.

Before we all headed home on Sunday, we enjoyed scrambled eggs and bratwurst. We were in Wisconsin after all. It seemed appropriate.


I think I can speak for everyone when I say that by the time we went home, we were all dog-tired.

Ha ha ha...aren't I clever?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Latest on the Nothing But a T-Shirt

I have many pictures from the Cabin Weekend which I hope to get out of my camera and on to the interweb soon. "Soon" is one of the Little Guy's favorite words. I've noticed Gretchen telling him something like, "We have to go inside now" and he'll say, "No...soon". Heh...he's learned that one well.

I've decided to rip out the collar for the Nothing but a T-Shirt. I tried it on the other day and really didn't like the way it looked. I'm going to follow what fathom harvill did and not only pick up my stitches in the main color, but also decrease a few stitches before the turning row and then increase a few after. She said this helped the collar to lay flat around her neck.

No pictures today. I've got a very busy week ahead of me so I don't know when I'll post next.

Right now, I'm off to play Lego: Indiana Jones!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods

Remember when I went to the cabin? I'm headed there again for the Summer Cabin Weekend. And, I am bringing with me the long-neglected Petroleum Blanket.


I'll post about my adventures on Monday. Have a good weekend, ya'll!

O'Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night was "Luck-0-the-Irish" night at the Saint Paul Saints game. The festivities included:

Green bases Green jerseys for the players
Green beer for the fans

And...William Hung?

I'm not sure how he fits in with the Irish theme, but he sang "Achy Breaky Heart" and "She Bangs, She Bangs". The crowd went wild.

Saints won 9-4, thanks to a strong second inning where they scored 6 runs off of 5 hits. Go Saints!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

100 Things About Me...Part 4

Well, this is it. The last of the 100 things about me. Perhaps I could have written things that were more interesting, or gave more insight in to my psyche, but it was difficult enough to come up with what I did. At some point I'll put all 100 on one post and make a link to it on my side bar...just in case you are ever sitting at home wondering what vegetable to serve me (#5) or why you haven't heard from me in months (#95).

Enjoy!

76. My sister taught me how to knit.
77. I have a bad tendency to walk out into traffic.
78. It is bad because I don’t have a car and I walk a lot.
79. Fortunately, there is usually someone around to pull me back.
80. I love a good steak cooked medium-rare.
81. I love cheese.
82. I am a Libra.
83. Last summer I was knocked over by a 130 pound Newfoundland (the breed of dog…not some random Canadian wandering in Minnesota) while I was rollerblading along East River Road in Minneapolis. Miraculously, I skated away relatively unscathed. Although I could not lift my arms above my head for the rest of the day, which made trying on clothes at the Gap that afternoon difficult.
84. My earliest memory is probably having my chin x-rayed when I was about 3 or 4 after I fell off a chair and landed on my chin.
85. I distinctly remember my dad being there wearing one of those heavy lead aprons, having my head placed between two blocks to keep it steady, and seeing the x-ray machine above me. The room was dark.
86. I don’t remember being scared.
87. I was scared, however, as an 8 or 9 year old when my dad put me on his shoulders so I could see the dolphins at the zoo. I freaked out.
88. My first job was at a frozen yogurt shop called “Humphrey Yogarts”.
89. When I was a kid, I collected Teddy Bears. My room was packed with bears.
90. I often skip ahead when reading a book to see how it ends.
91. My favorite word is “brewery”.
92. I get grumpy when I am hungry or too warm.
93. When I was a kid and stayed home from school sick, I used to make jello. I’d put it in the freezer so it would set and I could eat it before my mom came home.
94. I once drove in Al Gore’s motorcade, when he was the Vice President.
95. I am not very good at keeping in touch with friends, but I am trying to be better at it.
96. My favorite movies are “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Singles”.
97. My favorite band is Wilco.
98. A few years ago, I rescued three salamanders from the window well and kept them as pets over the winter. I named them Mulder, Scully, and Skinner.
99. Despite their names, I have never been a big X-Files fan.
100. It’s really hard to think of 100 things to say about myself.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stitch-n-Pitch

My mom and I went to the Minnesota Twins Stitch-n-Pitch Sunday afternoon.

She stitched...And I kept track of pitches.
When it came right down to it, I wanted to watch the game and fill out my scorecard. Scott Baker pitched 5 perfect innings for the Twins...and 3 more nearly perfect ones. He only gave up two hits...one of which happened to be a homerun. It's too bad the Twins offense wasn't able to back him up and score some runs so Baker could get a win. Sigh.

For people who aren't up on their baseball lingo, "perfect" means he gave up no hits. He retired those Ranger batters in "1,2,3" fashion! Here's a close-up of the plays.

You can see in the 6th and 7th innings where he stumbled a bit.

In other news, there was a proposal at the top of the 5th.

I did knit a little on my Gloria Cowl before the game started, but I don't have any pictures to show.

After the game, I headed to my mom's where there was a big family gathering, with 13 of my nieces and nephews present. They all swam around in this:

Gross, huh? I'm sure at the beginning of the day it was much cleaner.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For You Republicans Coming to St. Paul for the RNC

Here is a preview of what you can enjoy...

Peanuts characters in Rice Park.


Science Museum of Minnesota.


Burgers at Salut Bar Americain.

Beer tour and tasting at the Summit Brewery.

Lions, Tigers, and Giraffes...Oh My! at the Como Zoo.

These are all activities I packed in to one day, topped off with a visit to a bar/restaurant filled with retirees and then a backyard cook-out...all without ever setting foot in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow But Steady Progress

Here is the latest progress on the Nothing But a T-Shirt. I whip-stitched the collar down last night while watching the beginning of the All-Star Game. As I told D, I hate the sewing up of a sweater so much, that I can pretty much do one seam at a time and then I'm done for the night.

Stitching the collar down helped a lot with the "fangs", but I read about another solution yesterday that I am sharing here for The Lumpy Sweater and Sarah Winchester of Fiber Arts. I read about this on fathom harvill, although I can no longer locate the exact post.

She is so clever...know what she did? She picked up the stitches for the collar in the MAIN color. This way, any "choppiness" of picked up stitches was not visible since it matched! Then, she switched to the contrasting color with the next row. Smart, Smart, Smart.

So, I watched enough of the All-Star Game to see each of the Twins play a bit...Mauer, Nathan, and Morneau. The game went to 15 innings and I was long asleep by then, but I was happy to see that the American League won.

This morning in the paper, someone wrote in to Dear Abby asking if she thought knitting, crocheting, or piecing a quilt during a meeting or other gathering was rude. Abby (who isn't really Abby...she's Abby's daughter) thinks it us rude, as your full attention should be on the meeting or gathering, and she expects to hear from many people who will say they can multi-task. She has no idea.

There is already a Raverly discussion thread about it. Personally, I think it depends on the situation. I do a lot of public speaking, and when I see someone knitting I don't mind. But I would never knit during a meeting or something where I needed to be actively engaged. It just doesn't work for me. If I were leading a meeting, and people needed to be actively engaged, I would expect that they would not be knitting, doodling, texting, or anything else for that matter. Maybe they can multi-task very well, but I would still appreciate if their full attention was on the matter at hand, not in their hands.

All right...enough of my opinion. Except to say, I see social gatherings differently. I think that's okay. For the most part, I can stay engaged in a social situation while knitting, and if I can't, I put the knitting away.

The real test for me will the the Stitch-n-Pitch Sunday. I love watching baseball, and I know I won't be able to knit and pay attention to the game. What will I do?!?!?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Not So Sure About This

I am now on Twitter. I don't even know the lingo for this...am I "tweeting"? Am I "on Twitter" "using Twitter"?

Mostly I did it because I'm curious about it. We'll see how long it lasts.

Blog...Facebook...Twitter...what's next?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's A Girl!

Just found out my brother and his wife will be having a baby girl! They have one girl and two boys, and I'm so excited for them to even out the count! Yay!

There's been a flurry of boy babies lately. I'm so so so excited to knit something for a little girl baby. There are some great girly hats in Itty Bitty Knits I haven't tried yet and I've been wanting to try Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise jacket. It's a classic after all.

And for anyone keeping track, I believe this will be my 18th niece/nephew.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And Now...Some Knitting Content

Last night I started on the collar of the "Nothing But a T-Shirt". I was pretty nervous about this, as it requires picking up stitches, which always makes me nervous. The pattern specifically says to pick them up as neatly as possible for a seamless look.

Okay. Took a deep breath and got started. Here's the progress so far.

I'm not sure of you can tell from this photo...but it looks pretty good all around except for two little "fangs" (that's what I think they look like) hanging down.

Here's a close-up of one.

What happened there? I know exactly what happened there. That is where the collar switches from being bound off stitches (the sides of the shoulders) to the stitches I left live (my brilliant plan) around the collar. Yeah, it seemed brilliant at the time, but now my sweater has fangs.

There was a large gap between bound-off and live stitches, and this is what happened. Argh. I'm so frustrated because it looks bad. I really, really don't want to pull it out and start all over because I did such a nice job everywhere else and I'm scared when I re-do it, I'll get rid of the fangs but the rest of it will look icky.

The fangs are on the back too.

I played around with it a little this morning and I think I may be able to do some finagling and get it to look okay. We'll see. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Monday, July 7, 2008

And Now...Some Transit News...

Some months ago, I posted about "Small Kindnesses, Weather Permitting", a public artwork for the Hiawatha Light Rail Line in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Basically, these are metal kiosks placed at various LRT stations. Some are audio, some have video, some are broken. Each kiosk delivers commentary on two Minnesota cliches: "Minnesota Nice" and the weather. Click on the link there. The explanation is better than mine, and you can see some photos.

I've been wanting to go and check these out. This weekend, D and I decided to do just that. We didn't go see every kiosk...there are 35 in all and we were distracted by roller coasters and ice cream. We did check out the kiosks at the Fort Snelling Station and Lake Street Station. There are no Kiosks at the Bloomington Central Station (we got off the train and were very disappointed), nor the airport stations, MOA, or the 28th Street Station (we just looked out the window). I guess Bloomington didn't want to get in on the action.

We spent the most time exploring the kiosks at the Fort Snelling station. We were not yet worn out by the roller coasters. The first one was a bit of a disappointment.

You turn the crank, the windshield wiper goes back and forth, and in theory, there should be a video displayed on the screen. No such luck. It was broken.

The second kiosk was very entertaining. It had a snowglobe with a little man inside. You can't tell from this picture, but there was also a little mirror so you can see yourself reflected in the snowglobe.

You turned the handle and the snowglobe would turn over, thus letting it snow! The first thing we heard was what sounded like Johnny Cash singing about Minnesota, but it was actually "The Man in Dark Gray" (whoever that is). Then we heard a nice commentary about the cold and how it is the cold air that makes Minnesotans what they are "polite, layered, inscrutable". Next up was a humorous poem about summer that referred to "the breeding ground that is your underarm". I think it was read by Beth Gilleland. And best of all...a series of commentary by transplants to Minnesota...the best comment of which was:
"It's not that bad but it's horrible overall"
referring to the weather.

We also checked out the kiosks at the Lake Street Station, but I did not find myself as entertained. Apparently, someone else felt the same way.

There was a fun one that you pulled and a ball traveled up a long chute to ring a bell. That was kind of cool.
Plus, I like the long, skinny picture.

So, of 30 some kiosks, we saw #3, #13, #14, #20, #22, and #30. I'll post about the others as we explore them.

Whew!

Wow. My 4th of July weekend was so jam packed of fun and excitement, I hardly know where to begin without sounding like I am reading off a child's summer camp itinerary.

Over the weekend, I touched a shark.

Rode a roller coaster.

Played Pin the Tail on the Donkey at a museum. It was part of this exhibit.

Rode a lot of buses and trains.

Watched a baseball game.

Avoided a windsurfer.

And ate a lot of food.
Am I tired? You Betcha!

I'll post about the most exciting parts in bits and pieces over the week (and if you hadn't noticed...I got a new camera!)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The 2nd of July

Jenn and Sara both made it to MN safe and sound! Jenn arrived very late Tuesday night, and then Wednesday morning we headed to the airport to get Sara. It was the first time Sara and Jenn had ridden the LRT. They were very excited.

We spent the day on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Of course, this meant we went to The Yarnery, where I talked Jenn in to buying some Yarni as "souvenir yarn". We also had lunch at Cafe Latte. The two of them were pretty much in heaven over that. A lovely summer day is not complete without ice cream, so we meandered on down to the Grand Ole Creamery. Mmmm.

Eventually we had to head back to my place and get ready to cross the river to the other half of the Twin Cities for dinner at Spoonriver, where I saw Osmo Vanska, the conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. Local celeb!

I have no photos of the fun we had because I still haven't gotten a camera, although I think I may be doing that tomorrow.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

And the Winner is....

Jason! Capturing 53% of the vote, Jason wins the "Who Looks Hottest In Emily's Shades?" contest.

I am also a winner because I finished my Synesthesia socks last night. Here is a lovely photo taken with my cellphone. Nope. Still haven't gotten a camera yet.

I love them! They are soft, fit perfectly, and are done just in time for the sweltering heat of Minnesota in July! It's supposed to be 91 degrees today. Woo-hoo!

Here are the specs:

Pattern: Synesthesia Socks by Sarah Fama. Available free on Ravelry.

Yarn: Aisha Celia Designs Hand-Dyed

I had to go down to size zero needles to get these to fit on my feet. Were I better at math or something (less lazy perhaps?), maybe I could have adjusted the pattern. If you look at my socks compared to her socks, you'll see mine are a bit more "stretched out", but I still really, really like them. Really. A lot. You can see a better picture I took of one sock when I still had a camera if you go to my Ravely projects page. And anyone who wants to see what else I've knit, I'm AuntieMimi on Ravelry.

In other exciting news, my friends Sara and Jenn are coming to visit for varying lengths of time this week. Jenn arrives tonight and Sara tomorrow. They will be my first houseguests ever in my apartment. I'm so excited. Sara is arriving from Scranton, PA (no, she doesn't watch The Office) and Jenn from Chicago. Woo-hoo!