The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Knitting has been going on at an almost every day pace, but I haven't seem to have been accomplishing much. Maybe it's the end of winter blahs, maybe it's the tax time funk, maybe it's just because there was too much stuff to do when we were vacationing, but I haven't finished near as much as I've wanted to. Or maybe my expectations have been a bit unrealistic. Anyways, it's time to celebrate several finishings!

I've made my 100 miles for Runagogo!! Buddy and I walked the last mile on Friday night. Now the next goal is to walk another 100 by July 4. I might need some new shoes, though.

Several weeks ago I finished my Fetching Mitts. I love the Malabrigo and I want to knit a hat to match these for autumn.

I finally finished some hats for 40 Days for Others. I used up several leftover bits of yarn and I'm very pleased at being able to put those bits to good use. They will shortly be in the mail and now I am finishing out Lent by knitting preemie hats-- more about that next time.

I just wish I could get my knitting mojo back into gear. I just know it's that tax time funk. My knitting's just been going to the dogs.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Walk In The Jungle Wednesday

Daughter Annie frequently tells me that I take more pictures of scenery (and knitting) than I do of people. There is some truth to this. I love taking pictures of the Grand Canyon, and mountains, and sunsets, and water. To me, getting a digital camera was the greatest thing since sliced bread, since it meant that I could play to my heart's content with light and composition. I've never taken any sort of photography class, just played around until I think I've learned a thing or two about seas and skies and canyons and the sunlight. By the way, the pictures in the last post were: top, pre-dawn at sea; middle, sunset at sea; bottom, mid-morning from shore looking out to sea. Three different days. But when it came to photographing the jungle, I was at a loss. The scenery was too overwhelming for me and my eyes had a hard time visualizing light and subject and composition. Too bad I won't be able to repeat the experience, as I'm sure the jungle teams with photographic opportunities. There was just too much and I had trouble isolating individual features. But I did do my best.

By the way, is this a knitting blog or what? Next time, some finished objects.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March 007

The month of March, at least for the last few years, has been a time when we parched-dusty-earth desert dwellers have run away to the sky and the sea. So March, for me, brings memories of those to mind. Of course, now it will also be the major birthday month as well (Joe, son Michael, my dad, and of course Felicity).

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Thirty One Steps

There are thirty one steps to the plateau. Or maybe there are only twenty seven. Or twenty three. I think there were thirty one. It felt like thirty one. This picture doesn't do justice to the massiveness of the stone steps. I had to be helped up more than a few of them.

One disadvantage to traveling somewhere on a cruise ship -- as if there could be such a thing as a disadvantage -- is that you never really leave the civilization that you are accustomed to. You board the ship in Los Angeles or Miami or Galveston, and you are surrounded 24-7 by the luxury to which you are accustomed. Or would like to be permanently accustomed. Suddenly, sitting on the bottom rows of these steps, listening to our tour guide explain what we were about to experience, I realized that we weren't in Kansas anymore, Toto. Here we were in the jungle, the real jungle with screaming parrots and toucans, and the ever present threat of forty nine different varieties of snakes and large man-eating felines. We had been severly warned not to go off the paths into the brush and certainly not to disturb any piles of dried leaves. Anything that looked like a moving tree root or branch was to be immediately avoided. We were here, ready to enter into ancient (360 A.D.) civilization.

And so we ascended the massive steps to the plateau. The first breathless view was astounding. Photographs cannot do the massive temples justice. There were three large temples that had been fully excavated and the foundations for two more. The temples are so well preserved because they are solid; there were no rooms in them and therefore no walls to crumble and fall. We were one of the early groups of the day and so it was not yet very crowded. (It was by the time we left.)
Each of the large temples could be climbed up to the first level. So the old man finally got to fulfill his wish to climb a temple of an ancient civilization. Here he is climbing the middle-sized temple. See how high the steps are? There are probably many more steps below the ground level here. This is in the area of the city plaza; there are centuries of dirt now covering the original stone plaza that will someday be excavated.
This whole area is extremely undeveloped. They are only now beginning to develop the port area. There are only maybe one or two hotels there, that I could see. The coastal area is very flat and some livestock is being raised. Yes, there were a few sheep. There were also iguanas the size of ponies. Some of the local inhabitants make a living -- such as it is -- by selling fruit, mostly coconuts and pineapples, to the visitors. The land is table flat, which makes it very easy to find ruins. Just look for a mound covered with trees.
Our guide was very knowledgeable, as well he should be. According to him, the descendants of the ancient people are still quite numerous in the area, although the European colonists did destroy nearly all of the vast culture. He told us that every so often, traces of recent ceremonies are still found on and around the temples here. The old culture is definitely still alive.
Everyone in our group from the ship, including the college spring-breakers, was very impressed with the tour. Well, all, that is, except one. Miss B was not impressed at all with the jungle or the piles of old rocks. Can you imagine being 16 years old and taken on vacation to such an exotic, historic place? I would not have even been able to contain the mind-blowing excitement of taking a trip like this when I was in high school. And she didn't even want to have her picture taken on the ruins. I tell you, youth is certainly wasted on the young. Maybe someday she will regret that she didn't appreciate it more. But I did sneak a few pictures of her without her knowing. See Jungle Jane here on the buried city plaza area, where 1700 years ago other young Jungle Janes frolicked. Probably wearing about as much as this modern day miss is wearing here in 2007. And probably just as bored with their parents as she is, too.
At least she was more than willing to take our tourists-at-the-ruins pictures.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ride With Me Wednesday

Or, let's try this sucker again and see how far we get this time.

You all know by now how much we enjoy traveling, seeing new places and revisiting old favorites. Whether cruising or camping, driving or flying, hiking or riding, it's all eagerly anticipated and greatly enjoyed. Traveling has the benefit of allowing one to meet many people from many different countries and cultures, and I never cease to be amazed at how alike we all really are.

Cruising provides an ideal opportunity to meet new people. We always enjoy meeting the staff and learning who they are and what is important to them individually. Last October we had a dining room server named Khan; he was from the very north of India -- literally, from the same area as M.M. Kaye's "The Far Pavilions" -- another book for your list, Ann! He was very intelligent and well educated; he was working towards his degree in hotel and restaurant management and had already worked and studied in Paris and other areas. He told us a lot about his native land and I will never forget the dinner when he sang for us part of a Hindu love song from his particular culture.

On our short cruise last August we had the pleasure of being served by Christian from Chili. He noticed the small crucifix that I wear nearly every day that I'm not at work, and began to talk to us about faith and God and from there to his life back in Chili. We noticed him one evening, when the dining room staff was entertaining us with dancing and singing, that he was dancing with one of the young lady servers and it was obvious that they only had eyes for each other. When he came back to our table, we asked him who he'd been dancing with; his answer, to our great delight, was that she was his wife. They had met aboard ship and had gotten married on Catalina Island. She was from Moscow and he told us about traveling there to meet her family. We insisted on meeting her and he hurried off to get her; she was absolutely charming and sweet and it was obvious that he was very much in love with her. They made a wonderful romantic couple and it was easy to see that they would make wonderful friends and/or neighbors anywhere.

This cruise was no different. We met Tatjana, our server at lunch, who was charmingly pretty and had a wicked sense of humor. She was very lonesome for her native Croatia -- she taught us some Croatian which I have already forgotten -- and was looking forward to returning in a few weeks. We had a fascinating conversation with the cruise director from Brazil, all about the production shows and the entertainment. A grand discussion about what American audiences enjoy and what the Europeans want to see; the difficulties of performing on a moving ship. And then there was David, the pianist who played every evening during dinner. It seemed that everyone was ignoring him, so finally one night I went up to him as he was preparing to start playing -- our table was right by the piano -- and told him how much I was enjoying his music every night. He brightened up immediately, and after I told him how much I enjoyed Rogers and Hammerstein, played nearly the entire dinner hour everything imagineable from R & H. After about half an hour a young lady at the next table was heard to say that she was getting bored with the music; I mightily resisted the temptation to go over and tell her that if she would express some politeness and appreciation, she too could probably hear the music she enjoyed. But it probably would have gone over her head; after all, on formal night, the guys in her group showed up for dinner in shorts, flipflops, and cowboy hats.

Last Wednesday we docked at Cozumel. There must have been eight or nine cruise ships in port, a regular cruise convention. We opted for the horseback riding tour, riding past ancient Mayan ruins and sites. These ruins were not anywhere near as grand as the ones we were to visit the next day; however, it was intriguing to see the old structures and the caves that had been unearthed.

It was a very large ranch and had about 150 horses. I have never seen a trail riding ranch that had such well trained horses. I rode a little mare named "Isadora" who was very responsive and willing to go anywhere. Joe's horse was named "Electrico" and was also very responsive; however, Joe had problems with the old wooden saddle and ended up with some interesting saddle chafing. Barbara's horse, although one for beginners, also responded well for her. Our trail guide, Clinton, was very good about matching horses to the rider's abilities. He told one very nervous lady, "You'll be okay on this horse. He's almost dead, anyways".
Clinton was very knowledgeable about the island and it's history. All the trail guides we saw on this ranch were very much "born to the saddle" and excellent horsemen. Clinton was telling us that he had spent the night in the hospital with his wife; their daughter was born at 3:00 am and he was back at work first thing in the morning, meeting us at the port and taking us for our ride. I can't speak much Spanish but I do understand a fair bit; the other trail guides were coming over to Clinton to ask about the baby and he was proudly announcing the news. There were smiles and congratulations and handshakes all around. (We gave him $10 later "for the new baby".)
Part of our trail ride, after seeing the ruins, was taking a good gallop across the savannah. Isidora was ready for a run and we took off through the underbrush. Joe was not far behind and even Barbara got in a bit of a gallop. When we got back to the ranch, we were all invited to the cantina for sodas or Coronas as part of the tour package. It wasn't quite noon yet, but after the dusty gallop we were more than ready for a few beers. (Poor Barbara had to settle for an orange soda and a bag of chips.) I talked to Clinton about the beautiful horses in a separate corral; he told me that they were the owner's prize stallions that he, the ranch owner, trained and rode and showed himself. Clinton told me that when hurricanes came, the horses were all turned loose to fend for themselves. But I would be willing to bet that the prize horses were evacuated well away from the storms.
We went back to the ship for a late lunch and a spell in the jacuzzi. And to treat Joe's saddle sores. Not to worry, he's thoroughly recovered from the discomfort.
On the way back and forth to the ranch, we passed what I would say is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Wild, rough, and absolutely amazing in the sunlight.
Next time, Costa Maya and some experiences of a lifetime.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Down The Tubes

I had a totally wonderful post here, with oodles of pictures, that took me an hour and a half to compose. Then I hit publish, Blogger told me there was a html error, and deleted the entire thing. Am I the only one that this has happened to? The old Blogger would tell me there was an error, then I could find it and fix it. Now it just canned well over an hour's worth of work. Grrr!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just A Few Pictures

Just a couple pictures to tantalize you with.
A better post tomorrow, when perhaps the headache I have had since returning (and faced with Mt Laundry and the imminent return to the office) may ease up.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

spring Hiatus

The Trekking II Sock is going on spring break! It hopes to have many adventures in the next week, and is taking me along with the camera to document all the stops on its' journey.

See you next weekend!

(The sock hopes there won't be too many college kids hanging around and taking up all the seats at the bars.)


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Walk With Me Wednesday

When Buddy and I went for a walk before work this morning, everything looked the same as it has for the past few weeks.

But oh, when I got home ten hours later, what a difference one warm day made!

To top things off, the evening melted into a perfect sunset.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Felicity was the name of my great-grandmother, up through my father's side, making her the new Felicity's great-great-great-grandmother. Felicity, or Felisty, as she was commonly known, was born in 1847, and lived to be 96. She was a direct descendant of the founding French settlers of Detroit (in the year 1701); if you are familiar with the downtown Detroit area and all the streets named for the early settlers, then you are familiar with the family tree.

She grew up at a time when Indians still lived on family property. Her father built the lighthouses around the Great Lakes, as well as other edifices in the Detroit area. Felisty and her husband also contributed to the Detroit architecture of their day, and their names can be found inscribed in at least on historic building to this day. Some now well-known areas in downtown Detroit used to be family property many, many years ago. The family tree has been traced back through the sixteen hundreds to Quebec and Normandy. Every so often we hear from a long-lost branch of the family (Felisty had nine children) who is searching out the family tree.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on the last post. The new Blogger makes it very difficult to respond directly to your comments, which is the one thing that really irks me about it. Little Felicity and her mom are now home from the hospital and doing very well.

Little Felicity will also have a new blanket soon (I hope). On Sunday night I quickly cast on for the Moderne Baby Blanket, just so that Felicity will one day be able to say that her grandma started her blanket the day she was born.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

New Shoots

It's Joe's birthday today. Spring is here. There are new shoots on the trees and shrubs.

It's Joe's birthday today. There are new shoots everywhere. At 4:45 this morning the phone rang. (I thought I was being called in to work.) It seems that Grandpa Joe's birthday present arrived early this morning on the east coast.

Felicity Elizabeth, 9 lbs, 2 oz, 19 inches. Dad (eldest son), Mom (dear DIL), and baby are doing fine.
Grandpa Joe is very happy with his present. Grandma Pat is very happy, too, that little Felicity decided to share her birthday with Grandpa.
Spring is here.

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