Monday, September 1, 2014

Goals for September

Something is happening around here.  It is something that I haven't encountered in a long time.  It is both strange and wonderful.  This something was caused by the following:  my girls are out of the house and at their respective colleges, my son is busy with school and his part time job and hunting season started today for my husband.  For the first time in 21 years I HAVE TIME FOR MYSELF!!!

Ahem, sorry.  I didn't mean to shout that.  But I am excited.

With the potential of extra time, I am setting some goals for myself during the month of September.

Goal #1:  Finish Trisha's afghan.

I've begun the last row.  I'm averaging a block a week.  Getting it completed by the end of the month is very doable.

Goal #2:  Exercise at least 30 minutes each day.  I have a library of DVDs.  If I can't get myself motivated to go to the gym, I can at least pop one of these in.  Today I did the aerobics workout from this on.  It feels good to start the day with a good sweat.

Goal #3:  Read this behemoth.  I'm working on getting my Project Management certification.  I'm taking an intense boot camp class in October.  It is recommended that I take the exam within two weeks of the class.  This book will preview the concepts for me before the class and hopefully improve my chances of passing the exam on the first try.

Goal #4:  Sit in my sun room and spin.

The red item in the picture above is a travel bag for my spinning wheel.  Later in September, one of my sisters and I will be taking our mother and one brother to Virginia to visit another sister.  The sister in Virginia is the one that taught me to spin.  I'm taking Lena along for some sisterly spinning.  Patty says she has a couple extra wheels that our mom and sister can use.  Maybe we'll make spinners out of them.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doesn't Fell Like Chugging Along Anymore

There must be a psychological theory for what is happening here.  When I was less than half finished with this, knitting on this was a chore.  It felt like it would never end.  Getting myself motivated to pick it up was a daunting task.  

But now that I can 'see the light at the end of the tunnel' I am anxious to sit down with this and knit.  I noticed this phenomenon while knitting the light blue/red square.  It didn't seem as tedious to me.  The brown square I am currently on has flown by.  I'll have that finished today and good progress made on the next square by the time I go to bed tonight.

One of the challenges I'm going to have as I approach the end is the yarn.  The yarn used in the first 8 blocks was purchased last year.  I sent my older daughter to the store a couple weeks ago to pick out more to coordinate.  She was only able to come back with five colors.  I do have leftovers from the original colors, but I'm not sure how far it will get me.  The inset blocks are probably going to end up being a bit larger in the last row.  I know Trisha won't care.  In the end I won't care either, but I do have a touch of OCD in me.  I will notice each time I see it.

Maybe one of the reasons the last couple blocks didn't seem as tedious is the colors.  I really love the red, light blue and brown next to each other.  I had never considered them together, but I think they coordinate quite well.

As I'm getting this finished, I am thinking about my next project.  It will be a shawl for my niece who is getting married next spring.  I am planning my own design, but I am taking inspiration from other patterns.  I have the center section planned. Ideas for the borders are still percolating.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Slowly, Slowly

This morning I made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.  We bought a huge container of blueberries last week and have been eating them with everything.  This is my Go To recipe for berries.  They are fantastic.  This time I made some with blueberries and others with chocolate chips.  I put the pieces in after I spoon the batter into the muffin papers.  That way I know each muffin has an equal distribution of add-ins.  I know this sounds a bit OCD, but I like to get a taste in each bite.

I love these muffins with my tea and Sunday paper.

On the knitting front, I'm slowly making progress on Trisha' blanket.  I've sworn to not work on anything else until this is done. After the current block is completed, I will be halfway there.  I'm estimating each block takes 4 hours. If I don't get this finished by mid-September, I'll get some long stretches of time to work on it while taking a car ride to Virginia.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Maui Part 3

There are a few more pictures of Maui I would like to share.  Then I'll get back to knitting.

One of the sites I wanted to find was the heart in the rocks by the Nakelele blowhole.  Erosion has cut a hole in the rock in the shape of a heart.  I had the impression that it was large, but it is actually only about 12 inches high.

On the day we visited the blowhole was squirting water but not extremely high.  It was still very dangerous to get close.  There are signs warning about the deaths that have occurred by getting sucked down the hole.

When we were watching the sunset from the top of Haleakala, my daughter took a picture as if she were holding the sun.  I really like the photo.

On the west side of Maui is an area called Dragon's Teeth.  Millions of years ago a volcanic eruption occurred during a fierce storm.  As the lava flowed down to the see, the waves pushed it upward.  As the lava cooled and hardened, a row of teeth-like rocks were formed along the edge of the water. It is really amazing to see how the forces of nature interplay.

 We spent an afternoon in Paia, an artsy town on the Road to Hana.  A parking lot had a fence made out of old surf boards.

I really miss being in Maui.  I wish I had a machine that could instantly transport me back there.  This was the view from the balcony of the condo.  I hope to witness this view again someday.  This is my 'Happy Place'.

I took a couple knitting projects along on the trip.  I really didn't get as much done as I had hoped.  I worked a little on the airplane ride out.  We were so busy in Maui there wasn't much time to knit.  Most of my down time was spent enjoying the view, drinking wine and napping.

I am working on my Pink Selway.  After making the Linen Top, I decided that summer sweaters are quick wins.  This one is not quite as quick since it has a lace pattern.  It won't get done this summer because of other projects.

This is the main reason Pink Selway isn't going to be worn this summer.  This is a blanket for Trisha to take to college.  It is based on Kay Gardiner's A Light in the Window.  Once I got the hang of the pattern, I decided to go my own way.  I'm also only making it as a 4x4 square.  Trisha is petite and is very anxious to have this with her at college. 

My other distraction from Pink Selway is this scarf, Nymphalidea.  I saw some finished projects on Ravelry and fell in love.  I dove into my stash and pulled out two balls that go very nicely together.  This is my take-along project.  I'll do a little at lunch during the week to relieve some work stress.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maui Part 2

We've been home a week.  It has taken us this long to recover from jet lag.  A friend told me that it takes about a day for every time zone difference.  That is about how it worked for me.  There were a couple nights I couldn't fall asleep until 3 am.  But Thursday night, I went to bed at 10, fell asleep easily and sleep well.  I will admit I drank a cup of SleepyTime tea beforehand.  I'm sure it helped some.

Back to Maui.  We explored the southern edge of the island our first day.  In the morning Trisha, Blake and I took a walk on the beach.  It think Ed and Kristin were exercising.  Wailea beach on the bigger side compared to some of the beaches.  It was about 100 yards or so, bounded at each end by lava rocks.  The rocks were great for snorkeling.  A lot of fish and turtles hang out around them.  The sand at this beach was powdery.  It was so soft on the feet.  Great for exfoliating the feet.

Later that day we went out to Makena state park to see the site of the last volcanic eruption on Maui.  In 1790 an eruption occurred that created an even flow crater.  In the picture below, you can see the layers from the lava flow.

The cinder cone wasn't very high, only about 360 feet.  Ed and Blake considered climbing it until they touched the lava.  It is very crumbly.  Signs warn of the dangers of climbing.  I'm glad they decided against it.  The erosion of the cinder has created a black sand beach.  The sand was coarser than the tan sand on Wailea beach.  And obviously a lot hotter to walk on!  As with all Maui beaches, large lava rocks border the beach.  Here we are on some of the rocks.  Fortunately we didn't try to navigate around the rocks.  We later learned that a nude beach was just around the corner.

From black sand beach we went further down to Big Beach.  Big Beach deserves its name for two reasons.  First, it stretches farther than any other beach on the south shore. Second, the surf there is treacherous.  The shore break is large there.  The waves come crashing and can easily knock a person over.  The life guards announced several times over a loud speaker about the dangers of being in the water.  We had a relaxing afternoon, but stayed out of the water mostly.

Our second full day on Maui was low key.  Kristin wasn't feeling well so we decided to just hang out at the condo for the day.  We did get down to the pool.  It was the only time we all swam at the condo's pool.  I wished we had done that more. Later in the day we visited the Shoppes of Wailea and then went out to dinner.

The third day was our trip along the Road to Hana.  I covered that in the previous post.

July 4 was spent snorkeling at Wailea beach and then a luau.  I think Ed was a little skeptical about the luau at first.  In the end, everyone enjoyed it.

Kalua pig was prepared in an imu.

It was then ceremoniously presented to the guests.

We were given leis.

Had delicious food to eat.

And watched a show which told of the settling of the Hawaiian islands.

On a note about Maui cuisine, I noticed some things are very common:  sweet breads, macaroni salad and banana bread.  They do love their carbs!