Sunday, August 31, 2008

MN State Fair, Part II

CAUTION! Possible cute child photo overload ahead.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and was at the MN State Fair with Gretchen and the Little Guy before 8 a.m. He was excited to see "chickens! bunnies!" and G wanted him to ride the carousel.

The scene in the early hours is much different than at 6 p.m. Where are all the people?

Being there so early allowed me to fulfill a State Fair dream of mine...breakfast at the Fair at one of the breakfast-lunch diner/counters. We enjoyed a big breakfast at the Epiphany Diner. The Little Guy had been talking about pancakes for a couple days.

Not much is open at the Fair that early, but the Little Farm Hands exhibit opens at 8 a.m., so up to Machinery Hill we headed.

If you are going to the Fair with a child, you must head to the Little Farm Hands. What a great hands-on exhibit for the little kids, and full of photo-ops. The kids get little buckets and get to do several "tasks" on the farm before going to market and "buying" a prize.

The Little Guy got to "plant" some "seeds"...

and "sheer" a sheep.

The Little Guy loved it and got lots of comments on his shirt from the Nowthen Threshing Show.

Two events were not so successful. The poor little guy was terrified of the butterflies in the butterfly building and no amount of coaxing could get him on the carousel. There was $13 for those two events wasted. Such is the price of taking a 2-year old to the Fair.

The rest of the day was spent in the animal buildings. Look! Calves!

The Little Guy was so much fun at the Fair. Nearly everything he saw prompted him to shout, "Look, Mimi! Look, Mimi!" Sure, the stroller was a pain, and I might have made a bad decision about going in that butterfly building, but he was so excited about everything, it didn't really matter.

And look what I found!

Pig Lickers!

Gretchen says, "Yummy!"

They were the perfect combo of sweet and salty. They win my "Best New Fair Food Prize" and I will be adding these to my "must eat" list for next year.

Overall, we all had a good time. How can you argue with a smile like this?

Today D and I are headed to Valleyfair. We've got free tickets. Tomorrow I think we will have had enough of fairs and will head to St. Paul for a circus...a media circus, that is. We're planning to ride downtown and check out the RNC. Heh heh heh...should be interesting.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Great Minnesota Get Together, Part 1

After work Friday, D and I headed to the Great Minnesota Get Together, also known as the MN State Fair. More people attend the MN State Fair than any other state fair in the country and there is also more food on a stick there than anywhere else in the country.

This is the scene that awaited us.

And we immediately enjoyed some food on a stick.

We spent the rest of the night looking for the "Pig Lickers" - bacon covered in dark chocolate.

While we did that, we also enjoyed Tater Tots on a Stick, shakes from the University of MN Dairy Club, cheese curds, mini-donuts, and "Big Fat Bacon" - a thick-cut slab of bacon (on a stick, of course) covered in maple syrup. MMMMM.

This year, I think we focused a bit more on rides than food. We rode on the Sky Glider across the fair grounds...
and then headed over to Ye Old Mill...it's been running at the MN State Fair for 95 years and is one of the oldest "Tunnels of Love" in the country.

Here is what it looks like inside.

Yeah. It's pitch black in there. Perfect for making out.

And then it was off to my favorite...the Big Slide. No trip to the fair is complete until you've grabbed your burlap sack and enjoyed a trip down the slide.

No luck finding the Pig Lickers...although we did find the Mediterranean Lemonade (quite minty and refreshing) and the Produce Exchange with the yummiest peaches ever. All they need to do is put them on a stick and they'll be perfect.

I'll leave you with this wisdom I learned at the Fair.


I headed back to the Fair with Gretchen and the Little Guy Saturday morning. Did I find the Pig Lickers? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When You Are Sick...

....people buy you flowers.

Those are flowers from D and my mom. So sweet.

My mother, God bless her, drove all the way to my place in St. Paul from New Hope last week to bring me chicken soup and cold medicine. I whined that I was too tired to walk 10 minutes to the drug store, so she drove a half-hour to my place. When she got here, she gave me all sorts of goodies, asked me what else I needed, and then headed out to the store for more.

Where would we all be without our Moms?

And D is no slacker either...he brought me dinner twice last week when I was feeling especially sickly. Boyfriends...they come in handy sometimes too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

G-L-O-R-I-A! GLORIA!

I finished my Gloria Cowl! Yay! Completed while watching the Little League World Series.


Pattern: Gloria Cowl by Orinda 5 (who I am proud to say I went to high school with and was in the orchestra and yearbook staff with!!!)

Yarn: Louisa Harding Grace Silk and Wool, Ruby

I LOVE IT! I can't wait for the weather to get cooler so I can wear it. The picture above does not really show off the color very well. I'll try to get a picture somewhere other than my bathroom soon. Or you can go here if you are on Ravelry and see the color a little better.

In other news, we made over $300 at the garage sale! That'll be at least one night at the cottage, or a couple nights at the pub!

And...I have a sinus infection. Sigh. At least now I have some drugs that should make me feel better.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coming to You LIVE from Our Yard Sale

Today me and the rest of the group,"On Tap", (the group of us heading to Ireland in the spring) are having a yard sale to raise funds for our Irish cottage! So, if you happen to be heading up or down Randolph Avenue in St. Paul, in the vicinity of the College of St. Catherine, stop by. I've got some knitting books for sale!
Sadly, I'm still feeling quite under the weather. I stayed home the last two days from work, watched a lot of Sex and the City, slept, and did a little knitting. I completed the heel turn on my step-mom's socks (I don't have a picture unfortunately) and would like to show you the sad state of the Nothing But A T-Shirt.

Remember my plan to rip out JUST the collar? Yeah, that didn't go so well. I wound up ripping back the all the way to where the armhole shaping begins on both the front and back of the sweater. Sigh. It was kind of sad. But, I know I'll be a lot happier with it once it is done. If it is ever done.

Well, back o the Yard Sale. We've got lots of stuff to sell!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sniffle Sniffle

Blah. Once again I have another of my horrible colds. Just in time for the beginning of classes, the MN State Fair, my friend Carrie's birthday, and about a million other things I'd rather be doing than spending money on cold remedies and sitting on the couch.

This should give me some time to actually knit this summer. I'm just about done with the increases on the heel of the sock I'm working on. Yippee! The one thing about the Strong Heel is that it seems to take forever.

Went to the Nowthen Threshing Show on Sunday with my dad, sister, and the Little Guy. We saw a lot of tractors.

Red ones...

Black ones...And the Little Guy couldn't sit on any of them.

I guess the Little Guy has a cold too, so I think I know who to blame. I guess it isn't very nice to blame a two-year old though.

Here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Farm

I headed up to Pine City with some of the family today to celebrate the birthdays of the Almond and the Walnut (my brother's pet names for his boys). Katy's mom runs a dairy farm, so Gigi, the Peanut, the Walnut, the Little Guy and I headed over there to check out the cows.
The Little Guy was too scared to go into the dairy barn, but the Peanut and the Walnut did a great job showing me around.
And explaining to all of us how you milk cows.
The Almond stayed home and looked cute.
I looked fashionable in some boots for mucking around in the muck.
Tomorrow morning we are heading to the Nowthen Threshing Show. Exciting weekend, eh? It's like a crash course in farming for this city gal.

At the moment, the little guy is outside running around buck naked and I am missing it. So, I'm off like his diaper.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Knitting Update

Before I left for the West Coast, I started a pair of socks for my step-mom. Here is the progress so far.
The yarn is Cinnamons Dyepot in the Wineberries colorway. I'm doing a garter-rib stitch...something easy for the plane. I used a German-Twisted cast-on. I learned it a few years ago and struggled a bit to get it down this time. I'll have to check on YouTube to see if I did it right, but is certainly is a nice stretchy edge which is the important thing.

I'll be doing a Strong Heel. I think this website describes it quite well. It isn't necessarily a sturdier heel. I believe it is named for the person who created it.

I'm not 100% sure I like the way the colors are pooling, but we'll see what Kathy thinks.

I just got home Tuesday night, and tonight I head over to my sister's place to spend tonight through Sunday with her and the Little Guy while her hubby is out of town. Of course it will be a wonderful time.

Speaking of my sister, we are planning to run a 5K together the first weekend of September. Considering that I haven't run anything other than errands in the last 10 years, this may be a challenge. I've been out running and it seems to be going okay...I just don't know if I'll make it 5K. I'll keep ya posted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Lovely Day in Canada

The really interesting thing about being here is being able to watch Canadian coverage of the Olympics (or as one guy at the park said, "Have you been watching the Beijing?). Not only have we watched some coverage in French, but the Canadian station broadcasts events at different times that NBC. For instance, they broadcast the men's 4X1oo meter relay several hours before NBC did. So, we saw the Americans win, and then switched over to NBC where Bob Costas was still going on about the French talking smack about the Americans and would we be able to win? Why yes! We would! (EDIT: I think there must be a delay on the West Coast. Watching the Olympics last night at home in the Central Time Zone, things were broadcast live around 10 p.m. It was probably about 10 p.m. in Vancouver when NBC was broadcasting the men's 4X100 relay "live" and we had seen it shortly after dinner "live" on CBC).

Okay, maybe that isn't the most interesting thing. I also had the best bagel EVER at the Granville Island Public Market.

Then we bought some yummy salami, pasta salad, bread, and a blueberry tart and headed over to Stanley Park for the rest of the day.

Stanley Park is lovely. Beautiful views of the water, pretty gardens, and the weather was perfect. There was even a raccoon.

We ended the day having dinner at a restaurant along the beach, and then I dipped my toes in the water. Brrr....cold.

We head home tomorrow. It's been fun, but I'm looking forward to the plan ride to get some knitting done. :-)

Gotta run...got to watch more of "The Beijing".

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On to Vancouver...

I'll always remember Seattle as the city where I could never find a public restroom when I really needed one and where a homeless guy playing guitar on the street told D and I that our souls were dead.

Picture caption: CAUTION! Dead souls ahead!

Being as that was the case, we decided to leave.

Okay, fine. We were leaving anyway. In fact, we were in the cab on the way to get the rental car when the homeless man let us know the state of our souls. Apparently, cab drivers from Africa are good; Caucasians...not so much.

Friday morning we headed up north for the wedding of D's sister. What a beautiful wedding. It was held on a bluff at at Rosario Beach. The weather was absolutely perfect and the ceremony was touching. I don't think they could have asked for a better day.

The food was wonderful as well, and there was plenty of beer and wine to go around. In fact, since my water glass mysteriously disappeared towards the end of the evening, I was left with no choice but to drink beer. This was fine.

Saturday morning, we all met and headed up to Sauk Mountain for a hike (in the rain).

It was about 4 miles round trip up a steep mountain with 26 switchbacks. I'm sure the view was beautiful, but it was pretty cloudy at the top. The mountainside was covered in the most beautiful wildflowers. Unfortunately, my camera battery died, so I can't show you any of those. I can show you a picture of the outhouse though.

After the hike, we all felt a bit parched, so we stopped at a couple wineries. I think I like D's family!

I can't remember a vacation where I have been so tired! In a good way, of course. Today we drove to Vancouver. Oh, Canada!

We watched a bit of the Olympics in the lobby of the hotel after dinner. It was the men's 4X100 freestyle relay. The US team pulled ahead in the last few seconds and D and I cheered! Wa-hoo! And the people walking through the lobby asked hopefully, "Did the Canadians win?"

I felt really bad telling them, "No, it was the Americans...but it sure was exciting!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Seattle, Day 1

Ah, Seattle! After doing tequila shots at the airport, D and I had an uneventful airplane ride to the west coast. I worked a little bit on my sock, D read "Murder on the Orient Express", and before we knew it Mount Rainier was in the distance and we were touching down.

Yesterday was busy, busy, busy. Of course we went to the Pike Place Market, saw those guys throw fish around, saw that pig everyone sits on (including me), and saw lots of fruit and veggies.

Look at all the people and food.

I really wanted to see the Seattle Public Library since it inspired the Koolhaus hat, which I hope to knit one day. D and I spent some time relaxing on the 8th floor. I relived my childhood by reading old Doonsbury cartoons. Hmmm...what kind of childhood did I have?

We headed over to Pioneer Square for the Seattle Underground Tour (there is a whole section of Seattle built over the first floors of older buildings. Who knew? Oh yeah...the people of Seattle).

After that, we were both pretty tired, but we had one more event for the day planned, so we hopped on a bus and to...

A Mariner's Game! Of course we went to see a baseball game!

Safeco Field rocks. First of all, the ticket guy was one of the friendliest people ever. Second of all, it was Stitch-n-Pitch night and a knitter threw out the first pitch! They also sell these awesome Garlic French Fries there.

AND! You can get sushi and Sake there, which of course we had to do, since there is nothing even remotely that classy at the Metrodome. In fact, after being at Coors Field in May and now Safeco Field...well, let's just say I can't wait for the new Twins stadium.

And to end the day, I caught a fly ball! Woo-hoo!