Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sock Update

We interrupt this vacation blog with a little sock knitting content. Vacation viewers, please come back soon.

The local Socks Without Partners (SWP) support group bade farewell to a dear member not long ago.
Mockery sock #1 ran off (understandably, and on more than one level) with Mockery sock #2, to a happy wooly footy life together.

1.


The SWP board of trustees wished the pair well, but not before accepting new member
Outside In sock #1.

2.


Monkey sock #1 and Cables & Corrugations sock #1 are eager to join upon completion.

3.


4.


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1. Mockery Socks, Conjoined Creations Flat Feet yarn, US#2 dpns. For me. Great pattern + great yarn + much fun = socks I love.

2. Outside In, Creatively Dyed Yarns, US#2 dpns. Bought this yarn at this year's Great Lakes Fiber Fest and could not wait to cast on. Perfect pattern showed up on Knitty mere days later. Coincidence? I think not. For me. MUST take pictures of heel-in-progress on second sock. You will pee a little.

3. Monkey Socks, Misti Alpaca "Birds In Paradise", US#2 dpns. I think I like the pattern/yarn combination. Not for me. Not totally sold yet, but I DO like the picot edge.

4. Cables & Corrugations, Malabrigo Merino Sock, Kollage Yarns square US#2 dpns. LOVE the square needles -- gift from sock clubber Melinda. LOVE the yarn -- bought at Great Yarns in Everett WA. LOVE the pattern -- now that I got past the five inches of stockinette at the beginning of the toe. For me (adapted to 72sts). Too bad the Cat Bordhi knitalong only has one more session
.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mackinac Island Vacation

My mom and I spent the majority of last week (really? it was only just last week?!?) in Michigan, driving to, spending a couple days on, and returning from Mackinac Island. (It's pronounced Mackinaw, btw.) I find it important to tell you now that I fell in love with the Mackinac Bridge, however, since I took 764,285 photos of it, drove over it, and became more and more fascinated and enamored with it, it will get its own post. You lucky dogs.

Knit Knack and Knitasha's wedding was a definite highlight, and the rest of the week was filled with great new experiences, relaxing, and mom/daughter bonding time.

We had to stop in Mackinac City first (Honest! That's where we caught the ferry!) and go to Cynthia's Fine Yarn & Gifts. It had been recommended by one of my yarn shop's patrons, and a fine recommendation it was, indeed. Cynthia's is filled with beautiful yarns, inventive samples, a rainbow of gifts, and surprises in every corner. Cynthia herself is super friendly and knowledgeable, and even sent me a personal email after I got back home. I'm happy to pass on the recommendation to anyone who might find themselves in the area.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the ferry ride. We took Shepler's Ferry out of Mackinac City as part of our resort package. They take care of your car and deliver your luggage and provide a chilly, scenic, and extremely invigorating voyage to the island.

Here's a view of the island from our ferry. Wouldn't it be fun to live in one of those houses along that hill? If anyone is made of money and wants to buy me one, I promise to invite you to stay anytime you want to!

Here's the view from our resort entrance. We stayed at Mission Point Resort, and it was pretty nice. It felt a lot like being at camp! The place was huge and featured long, meandering hallways, three different restaurants, a pool and two spas, its own gift shop, a mini golf course, gorgeous gardens with a variety of brightly colored flowers, and lots more.

One of my favorite parts of the resort was the HUGE lawn right next to Lake Huron. Mom and I spent some quality relaxation time in a couple of those adirondack chairs. There were kites flying, kids and dogs chasing seagulls, people drinking wine, and lots of folks just soaking up the sun. The building in this photo is the main building of our resort.

There's a state highway that travels the perimeter of the island. Since there are no automobiles on the island, lots of people rent bikes (I've never seen so many tandem bicycles in one place!) or walk around the island. There's a bike path just off the highway that travels between the front lawn pictured above and the lake. I walked down to see what I could see, and now you get to see it, too.

An alternative to biking or hiking is riding in a horse-drawn carriage! You can rent your own or find a driver to take you where you need to go. This is our favorite driver, who took us from downtown to the resort and back a few different times. And that's Doc and Dolly, the horses! I can't remember which is which; maybe Mom will know.

Another favorite of the trip was the carriage tour of the island. The majority of the almost four-square-mile island is a state park, and we got to see a lot of it thanks to the carriage tour! Our driver for the middle part of the tour was Dave, and he told us a lot about the history and sights of the island, along with a handful of REALLY bad jokes. These were our horses, Dylan, Blaze and Jimmy. Blaze is in the middle, with Dylan (the slacker) on his left, and Jimmy on the right.

On the tour, we stopped to see Arch Rock, which was really cool, but difficult to get a full picture of. I suppose I could have backed up and gotten a gazillion other tourists in the picture, but it's kind of more fun to pretend I was the only one there. Except for, you know, the tiny people up in the corner.

videoThe horses on the last part of the tour got to go to the pony playground, and we got to watch the new team get hitched up. Those guys are super efficient. With all the carriages on the island, I can't even imagine how many times a day they get to do this.

Here we are on the way back to town after our tour. It's so peaceful! We learned some important basics while on the tour, too. There are between 400 and 500 horses on the island during the peak tourist season. We saw a guy collecting road apples, and wondered how many such workers are on the island. We also learned that there are folks who power wash the streets every night. Every night!

Knit Knack and Knitasha enjoyed their time on the island, too. It wasn't all wedding preparations! Mom and I did a little shopping downtown while the turtles rented bikes and explored the island. How fun!

The last night we were on the island was a little chilly, which left the pool and spas empty, just for us! We found a shortcut from our room which took us down this little hill straight to the pool. Too bad we couldn't bring one of the spas home with us as a souvenir.

Thank you, Mom, for buying your own birthday getaway (and, uh, destination wedding...) and for inviting me along. I had such a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful, relaxing time. I can't wait to go back for the Lilac Festival in a couple years!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Destination Wedding

In celebration of my mom's birthday yesterday,

Knitasha
and
Knit Knack
joyfully announce
their marriage
which took place
July 9, 2009
On Mackinac Island





Officiated by the Right Reverend Chip
Witnessed by Best Man Meekins
Witnessed by Maid of Honor Floxie







In lieu of gifts, the bride and groom ask that you leave your congratulations in the comments. The newlyweds celebrated their honeymoon on Mackinac Island and will continue to live with Drunken Monkey's mom in Ohio.

(More Mackinac vacation photos in coming posts.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekending in Wyoming

(click any of the pictures for bigger, clearer wyoming goodness)

At the end of May, I got an invitation from my friend Brenda to come to Wyoming. The new Transformers movie was coming out (we went to see the first one in Michigan two years ago), and she needed me to fly out there so I could go see it with her. She offered to pay half my travel. How could I resist?

I found a ticket for $168, packed my bags, then unpacked them because it was going to be another month before I left. But last weekend, I repacked them and flew from Columbus to Salt Lake City (picture is outside the plane window just before landing in SLC) where I was met in the airport by my favorite Brenda in the whole world! She had her folder o' plans in her bag and we were off!

First stop: Star of India restaurant, featuring chicken tikka masala on the lunch buffet, and an excellent green monkey god on the wall.

We walked downtown a little, and Brenda pointed out the Mormon Temple, which is cleverly disguised as City Hall, since it says "City Hall" right there on the side of the building. Clever.

We went to Zim's (a craft store right out of an old lady's basement circa 1950), a yarn store called Blazing Needles that had an excellent patio garden off the back, and a quilting/knitting shop where everything had adamant "DO NOT TOUCH!" signs, which made it difficult for us to enjoy ourselves besides sneakily touching all of the off-limits items. The Bohemian Yarn Shop was closed by the time we found it, since "33rd Street", "3300 Street", and "33" all mean the same thing to SLCers.

It came time for us to drive the two and a half hours to Green River, Wyoming, and we set off. I took a gazillion pictures on the drive, because the scenery was outrageous, and considerably more mountain-y than Southwestern Ohio is.

The view off of Brenda's back porch ain't bad, either. She says it's the ugliest part of Wyoming, but if that's true, the ugliest part of Wyoming is still pretty beautiful.

Brenda's husband James took us to Arctic Circle for lunch. We had penguin poppers, broiled baby seal steaks, polar bear potato cakes, and iceberg shakes for dessert. (Attention PETA: this is a joke. Arctic Circle is comparable to Dairy Queen.)

Then James and his Toyota Tundra accepted the challenge to take us up to see the GR on the side of one of the hills surrounding the town of Green River. Pay special attention to the tower on the right with the gigantic arrow pointing at it.

That's the same tower on the right in this picture, with me standing next to it. Oh yeah. King of the world, baby. Or... something.

It was so awesome to hang out with Brenda... and see Green River from above.

After the trek up and down the hill, we went prairie dog hunting! James usually shoots them with guns, but we only shot them with the camera. They're cute little buggers, but they're pests; scrambling all over the place, ruining the landscaping, spreading diseases, and selling drugs outside the Tasty Freeze.





Then we went to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. SPLOSIONS! And more SPLOSIONS! And robots! And SPLOSIONS!

The next day we went out and played on James' ATV. There are some trails really close to their house down by the river, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! Here's James and Katherine (their 2.5 year old) ready to go for the first ride.

Here I come!

There was an eagle living in a nest on top of a pole near the ATV trails. She let us get pretty close on the ATV, but not without getting a little irritated.

I took this photo from the top of one of the hills. If you squint, you can see the truck in the distance, where everyone was waiting.

After the ATV rides, James took me to the shooting range, which is just across the river from where we had been riding.

I'd never even touched a real gun, let alone shot one before going to Wyoming. I told James and Brenda that I'd be coming back to Ohio as a real woman! James set up little bright orange clay pigeons on the ground for me to shoot. The first gun I tried was his 22 long rifle. The first time I aimed and shot, I hit one of the clay pigeons. Some of the other pigeons took more tries, but it was really fun! James was a good teacher, showing me how to load the rifle and release any bad shells.

I also got to try shooting the pistol. (James says now I can keep up with Michael Westen and the other characters on Burn Notice!!) I can't remember what size it was, but it was a lot harder to aim than the rifle, although I also hit a pigeon on my first shot with the pistol. I learned how to load and change out the magazines, how to cock the pistol, and how best to aim. And, that no matter how cool it looks, it's less efficient to hold a pistol sideways when shooting it.

Then it was time to say goodbye. I got hugs and kisses from Katherine...

Took pictures of the Welcome to Green River sign (admittedly, taking pictures of the "welcome" sign on the way home seems somewhat out of logical order)...

And headed back to SLC. We found our hotel (did you know there are two different Redwood Roads in Salt Lake City? And if you get on the wrong one, you won't be able to find your hotel?), had dinner at Dee's Restaurant (best. dinner. ever.), and my plane left early the next morning.

Thanks to James, Brenda, Katherine and Sally (the dog!) for a WONDERFUL weekend full of excellent experiences and good times. Is it too soon to come back next weekend??? I love you!!