Sunday, March 8, 2015

Road Trip

Kristin had her spring break this past week.  Instead of heading to a warm climate, she and I went to Milwaukee and Chicago to check out a couple dental schools.  Wednesday was spent in Milwaukee touring Marquette University.  Thursday and Friday were spent in Chicago.  On Friday, after a quick tour of Midwestern University, we headed downtown to check out the Art Institute of Chicago.  I wished we had had more time.  You could spend days in that museum.  We did a fairly quick walk-through and hit most of the galleries.  We skipped the modern art ones since that genre doesn't appeal to us.  Here are some highlights.

A seated Buddha

The Spinner (my personal favorite!)

American Gothic 

One of Monet's Waterlilies 

St. George Slaying the Dragon 

After the museum, we headed out into the cold to find the bean.  We didn't realize it until we found it that we walked right past is as we went from the parking garage to the Art Institute.  Like true tourists, we took a picture of ourselves reflected in it.  We sort of look like 'Umpa-loompas' because of the angle of reflection.

The sky was clear on Friday which made for some great photos of the Chicago skyline reflected in the Bean.

After that we trekked up Michigan Avenue.  We didn't buy anything but I did see an outfit I'd like to recreate.  I'm not that skinny, but I think I could still pull it off.

After that we headed up Lake Shore Dr to visit one of Kristin's friends from college who went home to Chicago for Spring Break.  Kristin took this picture as we passed Navy Pier.

We'll have to make another trip there in the summer when the weather is warmer.  There is a lot more to explore.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Polar Bear Snow Dance

This winter has not been as severe as last winter.  January was actually quite mild.  February, however, is making up for it.  Last year was the Polar Vortex.  This year is the Siberian Express.  Temperatures have been near or below 0 deg F this week.  I don't completely mind.  I have a warm hat and gloves.  And my new car has heated seats (Oh! Why hadn't I had those before?)  But if it going to be cold, I prefer to also have snow.  My polar bear flag has been out front since the Christmas decorations came down.  (Yes, those are Christmas lights in the background.  They are staying there until spring and the ground is thawed.)

The polar bear snow dance finally worked.  About 4 inches fell overnight and another couple inches are due our way through the day.  My plans are to hibernate inside and occupy my time with spinning and knitting. 

One project I'm not sure I have the patience to deal with is fixing this shawl.  I wore it to work yesterday.  While rearranging it I discovered a couple moth holes.  While darning them I discovered a few more.  My darning skills are not the best and seeing more holes has just made me very disheartened.  I will repair it.  It just won't look as nice anymore.

I am in the 7th of the eight center repeats on my niece's shawl.  This will be my main project this weekend.  With any luck I'll be starting the edging with two weeks.

My basic cardi is slowly moving along.  The back is done and I'm on one of the front panels.  I'll get back to this after the center panel of the shawl is complete.

Time now to reheat my tea and get to knitting.  Stay warm!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weekend At Home

My mom now has full-time professional care, so I no longer have to travel every weekend to help my siblings with her care.  I'm going to adopt an every-other weekend routine.  That will give me some much needed time at home to get things done around my house.  I'll admit I'm feeling a little guilty about not being with her today.  But then I remember that I've not been with my own family much the past few months, so then the guilt goes away.

I made good use of today.  After cleaning the kitchen, I spent some yarn time.

I finished the 5th repeat of the center motif of my niece's shawl.  Three more repeats to go, then the border and edging. The center moves along quickly so I'm not in panic mode.  Yet.  I just have to keep up the pace. My plan is to have the center finished by March.  That just leaves the edging and blocking.

In between that project is my basic cardi.  I wound a few balls of yarn to get them ready when needed.

And I cataloged my recent yarn purchases.  There are three brands represented here:  Madelinetosh, Malabrigo and Fiber Optic.  It is all fingering weight.  Some will become gloves.  Others will be socks.  And the rest will be scarves/shawls.  In among the pile is a set of Karbonz double pointed needles.  A friend loves them.  I decided to buy a set to see how I like them.

A big snowstorm is due to hit tomorrow.  It should be a good day to get more knitting done.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Latest Activity

Just a quick update on my currently active projects.  The personal life is in a state of chaos right now.  I'm in one of those modes where I just have to occasionally close my eyes, breath slowly and tell myself that I'll get through these days.

Making progress on the shawl for my niece.  The center panel is more than half done.  My plan is to get the center panel completed by the end of February.  That gives me March and April to complete the border.  Still doable.

I frogged the Custom Black Cardi and started over.  I didn't like the cast on I used.  I'm at the decreases for the arm holes.  It is a very fast knit.

I'm also still plugging away at a pair of socks for my husband.  In true fashion for me, I will get these finished after hunting season is over.  Ed will just have to tuck these away until next duck season.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Recap

Christmas is over and the New Year is approaching.  This year has flown by. Overall, it has been a good year.  It's just ending on a sour note.  My mom isn't doing well.  If she doesn't show improvement by the end of January, she and her children will have to make decisions about her care. It's not something I'm looking forward to, but I'm preparing myself.  It is part of life.

For now, though, I'm trying to recoup my energy.  The past couple weeks were very busy.

We hosted Christmas Eve for my husband's family.  Because my father-in-law doesn't like to drive at night anymore, we had an early dinner. It actually worked out quite nicely.  The guests left early enough for us to go to the 6:30 mass.  After mass we drove around looking at Christmas lights.  This was a tradition my dad had when I was young.  Of course, my favorite lights were the ones on our house. When we got home, the five of use watched a movie together.

Christmas morning we opened our gifts to each other.  The kids still like to have Santa bring their gifts.  It is a little extra work for me to keep them out of sight until Christmas morning, but I didn't mind.  Santa wraps each child's gifts in the same paper but doesn't put on any tags.  The piles are identified by the stocking placed with the pile.  This year the stockings weren't filled with candy.  Sure, there was a little candy, but since the kids are young adults, some of their favorite foods were inside:  tea, coffee, cocoa mix, scone mixes and gnocchi.  I little different, but they liked the idea.

After lunch we headed to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with my family.  I gave my siblings mug cozies, reusable travel mugs and coffee.  

Mom was able to join us for the evening.  She was very tired, but sat quietly and listened to the festivities.  The crowd was mostly adults, but there was one little guy there.

I'm back home now.  I'm not going into the office this week.  Resting and knitting are on the agenda.

Getting back to my niece's shawl is the my first priority.  Her wedding is in about 4 months.  Time to get moving!