The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Roses Bloom

The roses are blooming. Spring must really be here! Everywhere you look the flowers are going mad. Now, if only the wind would stop blowing. It dries out the buds before they can even bloom. But enough roses still bloom to make a wonderful sight.

Knitting has been hit and miss. I am just about through with thank you cards and organizing paperwork, etc. I've started the second Norwegian mitten, but it's slow going. I'm just not very fast with this two-color pattern business. But I really like the result, so I'll continue to plod away. I get a kick out of looking at the finished mitten and thinking, Wow, I really made this.

Work has been pretty busy the last couple weeks. I've been very careful with the arm and only get a few twinges in the elbow once in a while. But I haven't been able to knit much with very little down time available, so the Entrelac scarf is only growing slowly.

Joe and I are taking the weekend off and heading for the coast for a couple days. We wanted some time alone just to relax and regroup after the last month. Fatigue has been a big issue, especially for him, and a few days of wining and dining and ocean breezes sounds like the very ticket. The weather promises to be perfect, so it's time to grab a suitcase and head out. See you next week!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

F is for...


There are many ghost towns in Arizona, most of them barely recognizable on the landscape. One that is not a far drive for us is Fairbank. Fairbank, in it's day, was a town every bit as important as Tombstone or Tucson, because it was the railhead for this part of Arizona. It was centrally located to numerous mines and ore processing mills, and was a fairly good sized town for it's time. Of course, nowadays everyone knows the town of Tombstone, which has long been an important tourist destination. But very few people know that without Fairbank and it's railway, Tombstone would not have become as important as it was.

Nowadays there are only a few of Fairbank's buildings still standing. Most of the ruins were destroyed when a state highway was built through the old center of town. The few buildings that remain are not safe to enter, especially as they have become a home for snakes and other desert dwellers.

The town itself was not finally abandoned until sometime in the 1940's. Up until then there were a few families that still hung on to the old homesteads. Nowadays the only person who lives there is a volunteer with the Bureau of Land Management. The buildings are being restored, however, as time and funds permit. Just this year the old schoolhouse was reopened as a bookstore and museum. A list is maintained there of all recent bird, reptile, and wildlife sitings. I was particularly enamored of an entry that read "smushed lizard".

Up until a few years ago, visitors could wander through the old post office and it's adjacent offices. Now the building is roped off because the walls are in danger of collapsing. Hopefully the building can be saved and restored to it's former glory.

Before we hit the road again, potty stop, anyone? Watch out for the rattlesnakes and scorpions.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Warning. Pictureless post ahead. Rats.

Things are getting semi back to normal chez Pumpkinknitter. I knew there was a lot involved in planning funerals and everything associated with that, but the situation did get rather overwhelming at times. Everything did go well, as it turned out. Many friends and relatives attended; isn't it too bad that one only sees some of the cousins when there's a death in the family? The situation was complicated by the fact that we all had to fly back to Michigan so that Nana could be buried next to her husband. The weather in Michigan was pretty nasty; wind, cold, damp, and rain. Dirty soggy snow in spots, dry brown grass in others. But the day of the interment was sunny and clear, although colder than we would have liked. What a blessing! We refused to complain about the filthy weather the other days. That is, until we flew home and got stuck in Chicago for a few hours waiting for our plane to arrive. Rats. Thirteen hours after leaving my parents' house to go to the airport, we finally walked in our front door at midnight; at eight a.m. I was in the office. I only took time to unpack a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and clean underwear. It took until yesterday to finally unpack everything, wash two weeks worth of laundry, and clean up the house.

One un-sought benefit of this trip to Michigan was that we were present for my Dad's eighty third birthday. My Mom managed to set up a surprise party at a marvelous Italian restaurant, and the evening was quite a success. It was good to relax and enjoy some great cooking and excellent wines, as well as to celebrate Dad's big day.

There was some stash enhancement that went on. I couldn't fly all the way out to Michigan and not stop in at the LYS to pick up some yarn to tuck in the suitcases going home. Mom went with me again and she stopped cold at the display of a shawl knit in seven or eight different yarns: garter stitch in pinks, reds, and purples with yarn changes every two rows. She wondered how it had been done and I showed her how the different novelty and luxury fibers had been combined to make the shawl. She had been watching me work on the entrelac scarf (travel knitting of choice) and was amazed at the colors in the yarn and the entrelac construction. ("What? You're knitting backwards??") She wandered the shop and watching me paw through Noro Silk Garden, Malabrigo, and Claudia Handpaint. I could see that she was tempted by it all and later she did say that perhaps it was time to start knitting again. I mean, who could resist all that color and texture?

I didn't knit too much over the last couple weeks. I did get a good bit done on the Entrelac scarf; sitting and waiting for a plane to show up needs something to fill the time. The scarf also drew a bit of attention from the other travelers. I haven't been doing much with posting (duh.) or Bloglines either, as there simply was too much to do and family had to come first, of course. One good thing about avoiding the computer and not being at work for ten days was that the soreness in my arm from too much computer work has pretty much disappeared. It was also obvious that the soreness was not caused by knitting too much, as all the knitting I did do didn't bother the arm in the least. Now that I am back at work I am avoiding the computer unless necessary, and trying to be very conscious about ergonomics and all that. But a tiny bit of soreness is creeping back. Rats.

The first Norwegian mitten has been finished and, although it does fit me, it is a tad snugger than I would like. (Rats.) So this pair will go to Maria and the next pair will be knit on needles a size or two larger. I told Joe that he was going to get a pair of mittens for our Alaska trip and he said that he would rather have gloves. I said that, in that case, I would make him a Norwegian style hat instead. "But", he said, "a hat won't keep my hands warm."

And I replied, "Neither will a pair of mittens that you won't wear."

And that was the end of that burning discussion.

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