Monday, July 28, 2008

What I've Been Up To...

Alas, my blogging has suffered while my eleven-year-old nephew visited us from Phoenix. While this blog has been woefully empty of posts, I have been helping Michael blog his Minnesota vacation. If you'd like to see what we've been doing, visit his blog at: http://michaelsminnesotaadventure.blogspot.com
Here is a picture of Michael and me. We were out on the ATV's on this day. It was his first time driving, and he did a great job!

It will be obvious if you visit Michael's blog that we have been extremely busy, without much time for knitting. I am approximately halfway done with the lace portion of Katie's sweater. I have signed up for the Olympic competition hosted on Ravelry.com in which I am knitting for two teams. The requirements of the Olympics are that I need to cast on a new project during the opening ceremony, so Katie's sweater will take a bit of a back seat for a couple of weeks.

I am planning on knitting a fair isle cardigan for my Olympic project. This cardigan has a steek up the front. For the non-knitting reader, a steek is when you completely knit your sweater, and then take scissors and cut the darned thing right up the middle. One would think that cutting knitting would lead to a complete unraveling of said sweater. Under normal circumstances, cutting is not recommended. The gist is that you knit a pattern in which cutting in a straight line is assisted, and you sew with thread on either side before the cut is made. In spite of all precautions before cutting, I am a bit nervous about this, but also looking forward to making my first steeked sweater. Thanks to good friend, Doreen, for helping me pick out the colors for this project. I will have to knit like the wind to finish a complete sweater for myself in 17 days.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Independence Days 2008

The Fourth has come and gone for this summer. Since the 4th was on a Friday, and it was more of a three day holiday, I'm calling it Independence Days. It was our first summer in which we had no children at home. It really didn't feel much like the Fourth of July without the kids around. We followed Bob's family's 4th of July traditions, and didn't do any of the things I used to do when my kids were at home. We had a nice weekend, but it wasn't the same.

We spent Friday, the 4th out at the lake. There was the usual pontoon ride, water skiing, sauna, barbecue and fireworks. A good time was had by all. I enjoyed our nieces, Sam and Sarah, and nephew, Spencer.

Bob worked part of the day on Saturday. After he was done with work, we took a drive into Wisconsin and Michigan. We were searching for waterfalls for me to photograph. Here is a picture of Kimball Falls in Wisconsin. We had Jack and Hunter with us and they enjoyed romping through the woods all day. We saw lots of trees that looked like this. We are reminded, on hot humid days such as this, of why we tolerate our bitterly cold, snowy winter days. We learned that dogs are not allowed on the trails of Wisconsin State Parks, so off we headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.Our next stop was the Conglomerate Falls on the Black River. Bob had brought his kids here when they were little. It was a 3/4 mile hike DOWN to get to the falls. They were very beautiful, with lots of green algae growing on the red rocks under the falls.
The trip back UP from the falls was not too much fun for either Jack or myself. Nothing like reminding oneself of how painfully out-of-shape a body can be. Both Jack and I needed several rest stops and a cool-down period once we made it back to the truck. Bob had Jack short-leashed (his seat belt) in the back of the truck when Jack decided he needed to get out of the truck. The result was he tumbled, and split his lip in his fall. It was fine after a few minutes, but he scared us almost as much as he scared himself!We went back out to the lake on Sunday for more pontooning, skiing, barbecue, and visiting. My mother-in-law has an amazing green thumb, of which I am very envious. She grows orchids like nobody's business. Here are the orchids she has blooming on her picnic table. She also has lemons and limes growing on their deck.... in northern Minnesota..... I am in awe.
I have been doing more reading than knitting. Here is the progress on Katie's sweater:

The waist shaping on the back is complete on the back, but it is a slow go. This pattern makes me want to put my knitting away. 1-2-3, 1-2-3 drives me insane. The girls in the knitting group assure me that it will look nice if I ever finish the bloody thing. Here is a close up of the lace pattern, just in case anyone ever wants to count to three about ten thousand times.

In my reading endeavors, I am on the 4th book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This book is called Drums of Autumn, and begins with our heroes in Charleston, SC in the late 1700's. I'm loving the start, as we were just in Charleston over Spring Break. I've also been doing some reading about job burnout, designing a web site, and "artful" blogging.
If you are one of my faithful readers of this blog, please comment and let me know how I'm doing. My intent is to make my blog more interesting and visually appealing. I will close with my favorite picture from our weekend. In the midst of the traffic, company, bangs and booms of the holiday weekend, sometimes the quietest, simplest things are overlooked. Take a moment to reflect on a quiet gem from your weekend.