Knitting.Traveling.Reading.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Catch-up

Knitting

Well, I've finished a few projects - pictured below - some have already been give as gifts; some are destined to be gifts:















The picture on the left is Flower Basket Shawl, E. Clark, done in KnitPicks Merino Shimmer; the middle picture is Rippling Water, Fiddlesticks Knitting, done in New Zealand Merino Laceweight; the projects on the right are scribble lace done with stash yarn and button bags done with stash yarn. The current projects are (still) Bearclaw Blanket, V. Avery in Koigu; Hanne Falkenberg project; Kiri Shawl in KnitPicks Merino laceweight.

Knitting Books - acquired Inspired Cables, Knitting in Nature, Felted Flowers, and Mason-Dixon Knitting. Also just got Fall Interweave Knits - I LOVE E. Clark Shallowtail Shawl pattern.

Have joined knitting group which meets regularly (more so than I can meet). Will probably join them at least twice and perhaps 4x a month. One of the members has a yarn store in her home....gorgeous yarns. Yikes! Might kill my yarn budget.

Went to Lambtown in Dixon, CA, last weekend - bought lots of stuff (needles, yarn, other accessories). Saw the sheepdog demonstrations, the sheep shearing contest...the sheep! Really enjoyed it - wasn't overly crowded and luckily the temperature had dropped from 115+ to the 80's-90's. It was a beautiful northern CA day - the sunflowers are in bloom and the skies were clear - gorgeous.

Traveling

I traveled to Washington DC on business in June. I was able to see some relatives, which was nice. Turns out I was there when all the floods occurred. It was surreal to check my PDA web on the plane while in Denver and see that DC was 'floating' away. I didn't notice anything untoward except for the unrelenting rain. My plane was on time and the metro worked fine for me!

Other 'trips' have been hiking to prepare for our trip this weekend to Zion Park in Utah. We are hoping to hike the Narrows Canyon this weekend. We will be hiking with our friend from last year (the Dolomites hike) and are very excited about this. Our preparatory hikes have been in Point Reyes CA, Briones, Samuel P. Taylor Park and Mt Diablo locally here. Luckily we've started early in the morning as it has been quite hot in the afternoons.

My next big trip after that is tentatively to Europe for work with hopefully a few days of leisure.

Reading

Since it's been so long since the last post, I will definitely not be able to list all of the books. However, the most recent are:

In the tape/CD deck - Destination Unknown - A. Christie, The Man in the Brown Suit - A. Christie.

Book form - Authentic Happiness - M. Seligman, Altered Carbon and Broken Angels and Woken Furies - Richard K. Morgan - definitely interesting - cyber sci-fi mystery genre. Very different and not predictable, which can be a problem when one reads a lot. Also reading A War Like No Other by Victor Davis Hanson - he is writing about the Pelopponesian War from a modern day contextual viewpoint comparing it with what we in this generation of society can understand. His writing is crisp, clean and clear - I'm really enjoying it. Up in the stack is Titan (can't remember author right now).

Misc

Have watched a few DVDs, movies as well - just watched Femme Fatal - amazing movie - very entertaining; The Three Burials of Melquila Estrada - very good 'Mexican Western.' Also watched DVDs on the History of the Medici and the Crusades - wow - fascinating histories and very well done. It definitely helped me to put even more history in context with regard to the inter-relationships between the church and other European governments and how they handled the struggles - fascinating.

I do hope that the times between blog entries isn't as long as it has been, lately. Next time, pics from Zion. Ciao!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Whidbey Island and Hawaii 2006

Knitting

I've been a bit busy (see traveling), however, I have gotten a bit farther on the Mermaid and have re-started a shawl with KnitPicks merino laceweight - I'm doing the Flower Basket Shawl as a gift. I also knitted a bit on a sweater for my cousin (at the request of my aunt), but I just found out she ripped it out and will be making a blanket instead! Oh, well. I liked the pattern enough to obtain it and will add it to my knitting list.

Traveling

Well, my husband and I went to Whidbey Island for Memorial Day to visit said aunt. She and my uncle have a beautiful house out there. We went hiking and just generally relaxed. On our hike we skirted the Pacific Coast.

Our next trip was to Oahu, Hawaii. Neither of us had been to Hawaii before, so this was a nice surprise for us. Our first hotel room was on Waikiki and had the folllowing view:


We hiked Diamond Head:

and went to the Audobon Park on the north shore. There was a beautiful plant - don't know the name but loved the way it looked:


Our last hotel was on the beach - the view from our cabin and the beach just a few yards away was phenomenal.

Reading

Lots of books on the stack - I picked up quite a few from my aunt (she's an English teacher, so she's got stacks!). I'm listening to The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters in the car. I finished Curtain by Agatha Christie in Hawaii. I also finished Inspiration by Wayne Dyer (great book!). I've also got The Greatest Secret (can't remember author right now). On the stack is the latest Lincoln Biography. My last test for the course I've been taking is this week, so after that I'll be able to do some more leisure reading - I'm definitely looking forward to that!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Catch-Up!


Knitting

Long time for no posting, but not a lot has been happening. On the knitting front, I've only finished a scarf for a friend of mine. It's a design by Iris Shreier in Modular Knits done in a hot pink and blue rayon boucle yarn. I did modify the design to add a keyhole opening so that she could pull one end of the scarf through the middle so it would wrap around her neck.



My other project is Mermaid by Hanne Falkenburg in the black/gray/teal color line. I love the way this is knitting up. Her attention to the edge and styling details will make this a beautiful sweater.

I've been good about my yarn diet - I haven't bought any yarn in a long time. However, I have been acquiring knitting books. Inspired Cables by Fiona Ellia, Africa Knits by Marianne Isager and Oddball Knits by Leigh Radford are now gracing my bursting bookshelves. Mason-Dixon Knitting and Knitted Flowers are on their way!

Traveling

I haven't been traveling much lately - except for work. This weekend I'm at Whidbey Island with my aunt and uncle. It has been very nice. My husband and I hiked around Deception Pass and have had a great time with my aunt an uncle. Tomorrow we will go sailing.

Next week we will be leaving for Hawaii - I've only been there once 18 years ago for less than 24 hours and my husband has never been. We are really looking forward to this trip--to snorkel, hike and just be tourists.

We had a great time skiing this spring - the snow in the Sierras was phenomenal. We skied this May in our T-shirts - had a blast, but got burned. I was lucky to get new skis this year (Volkl). I had demo'd three pair from really wide ones to skinnier ones. I got a middle of the road parabolic. They work great on the powder, the steep and OK on the groomed. I have to keep turning on the groomed paths so I don't catch an edge and tumble....

Reading

Where to begin - I don't even remember all I've read or listened to, but I'll try: American Soldier by Tommy Franks, another Cadfael mystery by Ellis Peters (I think I've exhausted all of hers - bummer), Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (great book written in the 1990's which teaches one how to think optimistically), Passionate Nomad (biography of Freya Starks, a solo female traveler through Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia between WWI and WWII - interesting to see how she and the British handled/viewed the different peoples and conflict areas in that regions then - not much has changed - Ms Starks wrote quite a few books about her adventures, so I'll have more to add to my stack), Inspiration by Wayne Dyer and Kronos by Conrad Richter. This reading has been interspersed with national security essays for a correspondence course I've been taking. I have been reading A LOT. Perhaps that's why I haven't knitted a whole lot lately.......

Friday, February 03, 2006

Yikes - February already

Amazing - February already....lots of things have happened between this blog entry and the previous one.

Knitting

Nothing much to say here except I re-knitted a sleeve on a sweater I had almost finished 2 years ago - I still need to do the other sleeve and then put the sweater together. I also bought Hanne Falkenberg's Mermaid - it's awaiting needle time. Knitting bookwise I purchased Scarf Style by Pam Allen. My job has been very demanding lately and there have been some colleagues at work who have helped a lot, so I'm going to be knitting some scarves for them.

When I was in Ohio, one of my friends came to see me - I had taught her and another friend how to knit and we've got an agreement that we will all go to one of the Knitting Camps together someday. In any case, I steered her towards two knitting books, Scarf Style and Altered Knits bu Leigh Radford. I thought that the scarf book had some nice stitch patterns that would allow a knitter to expand their skills. With a scarf, it's a small enough project that the time outlay is not overwhelming-in addition with the different stitch patterns, one can still be challenged. With the Leigh Radford book, the ideas are definitely 'out of the box' and help one think about the different ways knitted fabric can be used.

Traveling

I went to Ohio for work in the beginning of January and then coming home got stuck in Chicago. It's not fun listening to Channel 9 on United Airlines and hearing about the runways closing and the snowplows and planes getting stuck in the snow. Many re-routes later I made it home only to have to go back to Chicago two days later - luckily that trip was uneventful.

I will be leaving for a conference in San Diego next week - it will be a lot of work, but I love San Diego. I lived there ten + years ago and have fond memories of Rubio's fish tacos, running on Mission Beach, playing badminton downtown and my favorite mall of all, Horton Plaza. I'll be back in Ohio in March and I think April will be trip free.

Exciting news is my husband and I have tentatively scheduled a trip to Hawaii this summer and then I'll be going to Germany (hopefully) in September for work.

Reading

As part of a training program I'm in I've been doing a lot of reading on American history, leadership characteristics and strategy formulation. I've tried to squeeze in some more relaxing reading and partially succeeded: Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov - written in the 1950's and amazingly modern in its ideas, also The Lighthouse by PD James - as ever a great mystery book. I see that Ms James has written an autobiography which looks interesting. It will be added to the list.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas and New Year

Knitting

I did finish the sweater in time for Thanksgiving - I really like it although the yarn is felting quite a bit already. I was warned about merino that way - it's still soft, though, and nice to wear. Haven't done any other knitting as you'll see below. I do have goals for 2006: finish the Veronik Avery quilt afghan, finish a Hanne Falkenberg kit, finish the Syvia Harding shawl I started - also, one of my friends is having a baby, so I'll be making a baby blanket for her and her baby.


Traveling

For Thanksgiving, we went to AZ to visit family and friends. While we were there, we went to the ASU/UA game - boy was I glad ASU won. I've had too many years of watching a mediocre UA team smash ASU - the cynicism among my friends and fellow alums is disheartening, especially since I've joined them! My husband and I also got in a hike of vulture mountain. Classic desert views were everywhere and it was great as my husband had never been to Arizona or the Sonoran desert - it's home to me. Trees are odd and cacti are normal :-)



The big trip was to Banff and Lake Louise, Canada, the week before Christmas week. What a beautiful place - but COLD. BRRRR. We skied for five days and then ice skated on Lake Louise and hiked to Sundance Canyon---it was so cold that my legs stung on the hike. There was an inversion so that when we were skiing, it was warmer on top of the mountain than at the bottom. The Canadians are some of the nicest laid back people in the world. All of them loved where they were and were eager to help in any way they could. We skied three areas: Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay. We enjoyed them all, although there could have been a bit more snow towards the latter part of the week. We've decided we want to go back in the summer to do some hiking, although, the bears also seem to like that time of year, too.

Funny story - I was whizzing by on the ski slope trying to get to the lodge and warm up. My husband follows belatedly and starts asking if I saw the sheep - sheep? What sheep? Heck, I'm focused on a hot spiced wine and warm toes. Well, turns out there were five 'bighorn' like sheep one one side of a silly plastic (think police crime tape strength) barrier and they just chewed on whatever they were eating and watched us whiz by - kind of like watching a tennis match and the ball go back and forth. Truly amazing - the wildlife was so close around there - we saw a deer, a herd of elk and more sheep.

Upcoming trips - Ohio for some business in January and Chicago for some business in January. I'm going to be COLD some more.

Reading

I started and finished The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, on DVD - wow, what an epic book and what a wonderful author. She reminds me a lot of Willa Cather, whose style I adore. It's sparse, clean, not overly flowery. In any case, Buck's book was phenomenal. I've also been reading various other books: Fit from Within, Chop Wood, Carry Water, Living Cheaply with Style, S is for Silence (I love Grafton, she's one of the few fiction writers I read anymore and I'm looking forward to PD James' new book, too), Money and the Meaning of Life - I haven't finished American Sphinx yet, but it's still on the stack. I've also picked up A Team of Rivals, by DK Goodwin - it's about Lincoln's cabinet and how there was quite a lot of friction among them. There are several cookbooks, as well, that I've been perusing - just gathering ideas.

Miscellaneous

We decided that we would catch up on our movie watching over Christmas. We watched seven movies: Crash, The Polar Express, The Assassination of President Nixon, Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Spiderman 2, Sin City - still up in the queue are Vera Drake, Hotel Rwanda and more I can't remember offhand. Couple of comments about the movies:

The Polar Express - what an amazing movie - when I was in college, the only way one could do moving graphics with a computer was with an antiquated program called movie.byu. Every year, I see how far we've come - in addition, what a great story. To believe is so important in life.

Crash - a very interesting movie - takes place in LA and all political correctness is thrown out the window. What fascinated me most about this movie was how diverse LA really is - I could relate because I lived in LA over 20 years ago and once while taking the bus from LAX to my car in the parking lot, I noticed that there must have been 6 different nationalities on that bus alone. In the movie, the misunderstandings even among the minorities regarding whom they were dealing with on a cultural basis as well as the stereotyping was both hilarious and outrageous. I do like the director/ writer's message, though, that one has an opportunity to redeem themself as well as absolve themself of their sins. Great flick.

The Assassination - sad movie. I don't relish watching the slow mental decline of anyone and their subsequent actions due to that. However, I can see Sean Penn is still a great actor. His friend, the black actor, was a major actor in Crash and the lead in Hotel Rwanda - he is a great actor, too, and it seems as though he's involved in mostly acclaimed works and not trash.

Kingdom of Heaven - very good movie about the loss of Jerusalem to the Muslims the second time by the Christians between the 2nd and 3rd Crusade. Orlando Bloom is just plain gorgeous - I liked him as a blonde in the Tolkien flicks and I like him as a brunette in this flick. What I really enjoyed, though, was the additional information on the DVD - the A&E special which went over the true history of the time and the characters then, really explained some of the context of the movie otherwise not in the actual movie.

Spiderman 2 - another great flick - a nice good guy/bad guy story with some great special effects and Spidey flying through New York City. I used to watch the Spiderman cartoon after school, so I really liked this movie.

Sahara - plot was boring - just a bunch of action shots. As I told my husband "he'll get the girl and they'll find the bomb - no need to pause it while I run some errands." Best shot in movie was probably the opening pan of the lead actor's workshop - some interesting things he had in there.

Sin City - weird and very violent - and disturbing. I think the critics liked it because of its odd black and white film with color accents. That much violence tends to numb me - thumbs down for me on this one.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

November - Thanksgiving

Knitting and more

I'm slowly trying to finish my sweater I want to wear on Thanksgiving---it's getting boring, but when done, I will have pictures. I ride a train to work sometimes and yesterday I spoke with a lady on the train who loves to knit. During the conversation, I realized I may corrupt her towards yarn blogs, designers, more advanced knitting and buying yarn on-line - very exciting!! In the knitting book category, I asked my husband to get me two books for Christmas: Modular Knitting by Iris Schreier and AlterKnits by Leigh Radford. I've looked at AlterKnits at a few bookstores and am fascinated by the idea of re-using materials for knitting. As for Iris Schreier (very German last name!), I saw a few of her designs while in Europe and really liked them - they reminded me a bit of Hanne Falkenberg (one of my all time favorite designers), so I'm looking forward to reading her book. I also broke down and bought the Vogue Knitting Holiday 2005 magazine. Very disappointing.....Vogue Knitting seems to go through streaks and right now to me it's a bad one. Lastly, I purchased the book Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick - what a beautiful book. The Christmas stocking are one of the first things I'm doing, but as usual I just love perusing the book and the pages and the wonderful photography. She really makes a classy product.

As for the more - I've taken up spinning. I signed up for a class at the local university here and have gone to three classes. It's fun but at times frustrating. About the only issue is the spinning wheels we are using -they have got to be the cheapest ones ever: made out of PVC pipe and a plastic bicycle wheel rim. However, I will be making a trip to San Francisco the weekend before Thanksgiving and hope to get to Carolina Homespun to try out and maybe purchase my own wheel! Yeah. I really like my instructor - she's funny and is giving me good tips. My own spun yarn isn't very good yet, but hopefully with practice it will get better. In any case, it's nice to have another hobby to pursue.

Travel

I went to Atlanta for a conference - turned out to very cold that week and my hotel room was very far away from the World Congress Center. However, I did visit Strings and Strands, a local yarn shop. The owner was very nice and very experienced. She had a fairly good selection of yarns, although like many yarn stores nowadays, a lot of the frou-frou stuff was on display along with the scarf and shrug models. We talked, however, about knitting and it seemed as if she was a very good one and understood how to do many things. One other disadvantage I would see is that her store is in Atlanta....very warm place most of the time, so wools are not a big seller unless she gets a big out-of-town customer base. Most of her sweaters on display were t-shirt types...just what would be needed in Atlanta. In any case, a very nice store to go see if you are there.

Upcoming trips are to Dallas for another conference (getting sick of this) and Canada for a week of snow skiing - I'm really excited about going the Banff to ski. I haven't skied in Canada yet and have heard it is beautiful as well as open - yeah! Also, for Thanksgiving, I will be going to Arizona - while there, my husband and I have gotten tickets to see the ASU/UA game. It's been many years since I've been to a game at my alma mater and it should be a lot of fun.

Books

Finally finished the Alexander Hamilton book on tape - outstanding. It is very sad that there was some type of character issue with Hamilton that somehow drove him to make a few mistakes in judgement. Otherwise, very interesting, intelligent man - and it is lucky he helped create our nation. I've also finished the Doctor and the Soul - Frankl; Power versus Force - Hawkins; Abridged The Seven Storey Nation - Merton; almost finished with the Power of Intention - Dwyer. Have started American Sphinx, Thomas Jefferson by Ellis. I've also got Mercury 13 in the stack - I'm looking forward to that book as it's about 13 women who competed to be astronauts on the Mercury program. I'm a private pilot with and instrument rating myself and I love reading about the female pilot pioneers. In fact, I think the only people I would be jealous of right now would be the women fighter pilots. Flying is fun and they get to do the cool really fast kind!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Whoops - October is almost over!



Knitting

It's been a long time since I posted and sadly, I haven't done too much knitting -mainly reading and traveling. The knitting I do have to report is a sweater I started from and old Interweave Knits which is knit in the round and uses increases on either side of a 2 stitch cable to shape the shoulder/etc. It is knit in garter stitch and I'm definitely enjoying the design as I knit it. I also finally finished the pillow for my friend - I knit the tops with the Sea Ranch wool in the Bird's Foot pattern by A. Starmore. The back was knit in a blue slub yarn and when crocheted the two pieces together, the back was a bit larger than the front giving a piped look to the pillow overall. My friend really liked it and enjoyed watching me finish it in front of her. I also finished the socks for my friend in front of her. It's neat to spend the time making the gift in front of the receiver. We usually talk about what I am doing and they learn a bit about the craft. They also get to see the investment of time needed for something hand knitted as I usually spend 1-2 hours just finishing it up.

I just bought Holiday Knitting by Melanie Falick - another excellent book by her. Beautifully done with outstanding pictures, nice layouts, nice paper and some really unique projects by great designers. I've already picked out the Christmas stockings in cables as one of my next projects.

Pictures are of the Bird's Foot pattern and the uneven rib sweater by Teva Durham in progress

Traveling

I leave tomorrow for a conference in Atlanta - it will be the first time I've spent anytime there other than transferring planes. I was in Washington DC a few weeks ago for another conference and while there got the chance to visit Knit Happens - I met Holly - what a very nice person - she even stayed open a bit later for me while I quizzed her on the different Rowan magazines. It was a very nice store and didn't just cater to the fuzzy scarf crowd. I really liked that.

I also visited a few museums while in DC. The Textile Museum unfortunately did not have its normal exhibition, just two rooms of special exhibitions. I then went to the National Gallery of Art and saw some Winslow Homer, pretty good; Illuminated manuscripts, fair compared to what I saw while in Europe-the Musee d'Cluny or Moyen Age in Paris and Dublin, Ireland; and etchings mainly from Germany, different and interesting in that they had political etchings, the quality was a bit poorer than that of Duhrer his mentor, whose name I am blanking on right now, but there are many of his original etchings in Colmar, France.

Reading

Here I've been pretty productive - I finally finished An Army at Dawn - phenomenal book, just very long. I also listened to The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin - what an amazing book and man. It definitely underscored the fact that if one takes the middle ground, one can be scorned by those on either side. His humiliation at the hands of the British before the Revolutionary War and then the under-appreciation by the Americans of his diplomatic efforts with France during the Revolutionary War (France paid for a significant amount of the arms/etc, and we probably wouldn't have won without that support) was fascinating. American appreciation of him did not occur until much later. In addition, his autobiography was one-of-a-kind. What's really amazing is that he was probably one of the richest men in the world and self-made before he retired at age 42 to work in government matters. He definitely set the stage for that aspect of American culture and values emanating to the future.

I also finished the book on CD of Into the Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose - yet another great book. The statistics cited for numbers of planes, pilots and bombs was staggering. And then it was all scrapped afterwards. What also amazed me was the extent of the bombing in terms of geographical scope. I did not know that Czech, Romania and Austria were extensively bombed by the 15th Air Force, I just though mainly Germany had been bombed. In the CD player now is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow - already it is a good read, especially the description of the West Indies economics around the time of Alexander Hamilton's birth. The British at that time had thought of trading all of Canada for the island of Guadalupe for the sugar trade. Wow!

I also am reading The Doctor and the Soul by Viktor Frankl - I love it. He advocated logotherapy for treatment of impasses of the soul. He also advocates that it is every man's responsibility to determine what their unique quest here is in life and on earth and set about doing it. His definition of freedom is clarified as freedom to and action versus freedom from something. I really like his approach. I'm only halfway through as it is very profound and dense reading. Every sentence is of value.

For light fiction I've picked up Sara Paretsky's latest. VI Warshawski is really scrappy and I admire her tenacity.

Well, I'm off to Atlanta - more when I get back. Ciao!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The rest of August

Knitting

I've been very bad at knitting - just not motivated for some reason - perhaps the 100+ degree temperatures aren't helping. I did, though, start one project, a sweater from an earlier Interweave Knits magazine using more merino wool from KnitPicks in a dark jade green. It's knit in the round in a garter stitch pattern but uses two stitch cables as 'area borders' as one increases down the yoke. I am modifying the pattern to be a crew neck and not a turtleneck as well as short or three-quarter sleeve. I've also added contrasting edges in cinnamon brown.

While I was in Florida, I visited a yarn store, but frankly was disappointed as most of the yarn was the very trendy fuzzy crap that's sort of popular now. In addition, their book selection was a bit sparse. Guess I'll have to keep using my internet and catalog sources.

Traveling

I've just returned from a business trip to New York and Boston. It was interesting to go back there after so many years. I lived in Connecticut during graduate school over ten years ago and used to drive on I-84 all the time----I was amazed at how it is still a 2-lane highway each way and very definitely jammed most of the time. What was interesting was realizing that I had made a very similar drive in 1989 when moving from CA to CT to go to graduate school. So much has happened in my life since then. In any case, it was nice still to revisit New England---and compare and contrast it to my recent time in Europe, that which much of the architecture and people of new England were derived. I see the similarities and dissimilarities very clearly now---seeing where the common European culture veers off into the distinct American culture.

This weekend I will be going to the CA state fair, another place I haven't been in years. One of the things I love about state fairs is seeing the different contest winners for knitting, art, wood shop. Too bad I can't taste the winning jams! Plus I love seeing all the animal and the gardening areas and demos. I still remember seeing a VERY pregnant cow at the fair last time thinking I was so glad I wasn't her. It was close to 100 degrees outside and her belly barely missed the floor. She also moaned a mournful moo at times. Yow - that's the definition of uncomfortable! Plus in CA, they have the winners of the wine contests - and that is a big deal out here.

My next trip will be to Washington DC for business - still looking forward to that as I will try and see some friends while there as well as hopefully sneak a peak in my favorite museums.

Reading

Since my last entry, I've finished a few books: Empire Falls, The Art of Generalship, In a Sun-Burned Country as well as a few others. I'm awaiting the book Blink as I really liked The Tipping Point. Empire Falls was pretty good - although it seemed as though the author was in a hurry to finish at the end. I've noticed that many books lately don't do a good job of finishing, they just hurry up and tie up the loose ends--the pace is abruptly changed. The Art of Generalship was great as well as In a Sun-Burned Country. I really liked Bill Bryson's book about his trek through the Appalachians, tried to read his book about coming back to the US and driving through it and found it very arrogant. His Sun-Burned Country about Australia was very good, though, and when I go there, I plan on seeing a few of the obscure things he wrote about.

In the tape deck is a mystery by Anne Perry called No Graves Yet - it's a quick read and good at distracting my from the traffic as I commute. I've cracked and made a dent in the book An Army at Dawn. It is superb. It is about the North African campaign in WWII. The author has obviously done extensive research as he is able to get some amazing anecdotes about the leaders on both sides as well as expertly describe the bumbling about that occurred. The Allies have captured Algeria and weathered the Darlan affair and are trying to capture Tunisia. The Germans and Italians have built an impressive counter defense and offense in Tunis. Some of the passages are hilarious such as the letter written by one soldier which passed the censors with an "Amen." It starts out as "We traveled here today from where we were tomorrow and we will be traveling where we need to be tomorrow from where we are here today....." The other sobering passage was when some American troops were captured by the Germans outside Tunis and bussed to Tunis to then be shipped to a POW camp in Italy. They saw a burnt out plane on the runway be picked up by a crane and moved aside, another plane landed and begun to be unloaded. The burnt out plane was then unloaded of its dead and wounded troops and supplies. I.e., getting the live troops off and supplies unloaded before dealing with the dead troops and unusable supplies was the priority. The comment made was that it would be hard to beat a force that operates that way. Discipline, discipline, discipline. I'm really enjoying this book as it is very well written--the author took at times dry history and makes it come alive. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

Until next time - Ciao - Bridget

Monday, August 08, 2005

August 2005 - What I did on my summer vacation

Knitting

I finally finished the socks by Debbie New for my friend....with her watching. I've also started a shawl for my cousin - it's interesting how the variegated color scheme is playing out as the shawl grows. Otherwise, I've been knitting-less for the last few weeks as I was traveling. More info on that below.

Traveling




The Dolomiti and Via Ferrate were awesome. The pictures are above. We wore climbing harnesses and then a special Via Ferrate attachment which has two caribeeners attached to separate ropes. As you walk along the ledge, you click into and out of the cable which has been magically placed there in the rock of the mountain by the 'cable guy.' Well, a couple of times, we wondered where the cable guy was as it was a bit scary hugging the rock tiptoeing on the ledge with a 30-40 lb backpack hoping you wouldn't fall over backward into the abyss! The other part was the iron ladders - going down wasn't too bad, but the 51 rung ladder up was tiring. All-in-all, though, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Lots of fun and the views are phenomenal. It's very mind-clearing, too. You cannot think about anything else except the next foot and hand placement.

We spent a day in Madonna di Campiglio (want to go do some skiing there someday) and Trento. Trento had a free classical concert on one of their small streets between buildings near the tourist information center. Was wonderful to sit there in an old city and listen to live classical music and watch all the Trentinos enjoy it (and run for gelato as the temperature/humidity combination was sweltering). Of course, we did several gelato runs.

Slovenia was beautiful as well. The Julian Alps were gorgeous and the Soca river is the most beautiful clear aquamarine color. I love it there. We also met very interesting people at our "tourist farm" hotel near Lake Bled (Zgornje Gorje to be exact). We hiked the Vintgar Gorge, too. We met some cool Belgians and did Flemish crosswords (?!?) The church bell was just outside our window, so there was certainly no need for an alarm clock....there were two donkeys who liked to play with each other, chickens running around and a cow, bull and calf. A small farm, but they made their own cheese and meat products. The majority of the visitors were German or Italian.

We also went to Colmar, France, as well as other Alsatian towns for shopping. I've found the outlets for some pottery as well as beautiful French linens. Lastly, we spent a few days in Germany seeing friends and relaxing - our friend Phyllis let us stay at her house (she was also the one who convinced us that dangling from iron ropes off of Italian rocks would be fun!) Phyllis, you are great and we miss you!

It was a very busy vacation, but I loved it. I realized that I really miss living in Europe and hope to live there again.

Reading

My hiking friend had started reading Empire Falls by Russo, so I read it after her. I'm almost done. I've also started the Crisis of Islam. I'll read more now that I'm home. Most of the reading done in Europe was of maps for driving across unknown roads as well trekking hiking paths.

Ciao - Bridget

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lace Picture


Knitting

Pattern from Lavish Lace using KnitPicks Alapca/Silk Laceweight in Shimmer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 2005

Knitting

I've started a pair of Debbie new designed garter stitch socks - I had made a pair before, but now before I go to Europe, I'm trying to quickly make a pair for my friend. I'm using KnitPicks Merino in cinnamon. I also finished a very pretty scarf as a gift using the KnitPicks Alpaca/Silk laceweight blend. The design was from Lavish Lace and when my new camera driver gets loaded, I'll be able to post more pictures.

Traveling

I travel around the northern CA Bay and Valley area for my job and last week I had the opportunity to hike near Stinson Beach and in the Muir Woods. It was a great hike that started at Stinson Beach, went up towards the Atoll Ranger Station via the Steep Ravine Trail. We turned around in a Sequoia forest with ferns and waterfalls and then ended up coming back down over rolling hills to Stinson Beach at sunset. The fog bank was still over the water and the sunset and beach were beautiful.

I'm also gearing up for my European hiking trip--the Dolomiti in Italy. I'm also going to do a bit of hiking near Lake Bled in Slovenia and Appenzell in Switzerland. I've also got side trips planned to Colmar, Gerard Mer (part of the Tour Du France!) and Aachen. I'm really looking forward to this trip as I miss Europe.

Reading

I read a book about Viktor Frankl's Principles being used in the Workplace called Prisoners of our Thoughts. I really relate to Logotherapy and the main tenet of one being able to choose one's attitude to any situation. Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning is one of my favorites and I always remember that even in the case of a Nazi Death Camp, one could choose to decide their attitude towards that situation. Reminds me of the British response to the dastardly bombing last week. They choose to move on and not allow that event to set them back. I really admire their pluck.

I'm also listening on tape to Cadfael's Penance by Ellis Peters. This may become one of my favorite books of hers, and I really like all of the Cadfael books. She is exploring relationships between fathers and sons in an interesting setting. She is careful about her characterizations and delves into inner thoughts that drive her characters. This is like two other favorite authors of mine: PD James (Adam Dalgleish) and Colin Dester (Inspector Morse - I cried when reading the last book of the series).

In the stack are: American Generalship: Character is Everything: The Art of Command (Puryear), The Crisis of Islam (Bernard Lewis), and An Army at Dawn (Rick Atkinson). Waiting on the CD and Tape deck are: Patagonia Express, Paul Theroux, and Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pictures!


Blocked FlowerBasket Shawl from Interweave Kints - used KnitPicks Merino in Cinnamon. Will be packed up and sent to Mom as a gift.












Work in progress - BearClaw by Veronik Avery from Interweave Knits - uses leftover Koigu I had.














Finished my design socks with some help from Lucy Neatby's book on socks. I really like the garter stitch heels and here 'chimney' addition for ease of Kitchener stitch is great. I used KnitPicks Merino in Storm.











Laceweight Yarns by Knitpicks which will become lace scarves for gifting. The light blue and purplish-green are the laceweight. The darker blue is actually dyed sock yarn in merino. The purplish-green will become a shawl (70% Alpaca, 30% Silk blend - Hyacinth).









Happy Fourth of July to all - after having traveled the world, I realize we are lucky to have had the Founding Fathers (and a few wives, too) that we did. I will happily celebrate my country's birthday.

Cheers - Bridget