Henri’s Arizona Adventure

I got three hours of sleep last night and then headed out to the Tucson airport at 3:15am.  Therefore, I will post photos for you now and tell the rest of the story later.  You only care about the photos anyway, right?

 Henri discovering his first Cactus.

 Deciding that it looked ‘squooshy’…

 Needing a beer to recover… also a bandaid on his butt!

 Quails are the national bird… he was too scared to get closer…

 Showing that it was almost 90F out! (that translates to around 35C)

 Enjoying a bit of Ukelale serenade

 He decided that the environment was perfect for knitting and playing Ukelale

 Another beer… this time Smithicks from Guiness. He REALY enjoyed that!

 Henri was very excited to meet Grandma herself from Grandma’s Spinning Wheel.  He’s sorry that it looks like he pulled her skirt down…

 Hangin’ out in a basket full of Angelina

 Hiking in Madera Canyon.  He forgot his water tho, so he only went two miles up and then had to come back.

 Henri likes to climb!

 Henri met a friend.

 Henri rescued this little baby bird but decided not to pose in the picture.  The mommy came to get the baby shortly after.

Out for a 7am tee time on the links.
 Too tired to keep golfing, so he rode along

 Henri didn’t get to come to the USA Raceway.  He prefers not to be covered in mud globs!

 After winning $50 at the casino (of which the first $10 he stole out of my purse!)

 Look at all those Ben and Jerry flavors we don’t get in Canada!  What flavor is the cat one?

 Riding down the conveyer belt at Safeway

He wanted a picture with Dad but at 330am, Dad had other ideas!

48 hours in…

I’ve been here for 48 hours now… we’ve consumed a LOT of beer… well… me not so much, but still, more than my usual yearly allotment.
Today was a great day!  It started out with a massage, which was less of a massage and more of a Reiki/Cranial Sacral treatment, which I would have declined if I’d known that’s what she was doing, but it was great.  She asked me what I was there for and I said that I was under an incredible amount of stress and I just wanted to relax.  And relax I did… for the first fourty minutes.  The last twenty minutes were me trying to avoid having a panic attack.  The reason?  Because whatever she was doing, balancing the chi, or whatever, she made my bladder WAKE UP and I was SURE I was going to weee on the table.  Like so sure that I was going to wee that a couple times I almost told her to be done because I was going to freak out.  I have to say that after that, it wasn’t so relaxing, altho once dressed and sufficiently relieved, the feel of relaxation was immense, so I can only imagine what it would have been like if I wasn’t crawling out of my skin at the end!

After that, we started our trek to Tucson to go to Grandma’s Spinning Wheel.  We found it with ease and the second I walked in, I was magnetically drawn to the most amazing skeins of handspun/hand dyed yarn I’ve ever seen! 
Alert!!  If you’re not interested in detailed description of yarn, skip to the next bold red sentance!
I immediately grabbed one gorgeous gray merino with a tiny tiny bit of silver Angelina spun in (a lovely robust two ply) and one purple and gray that was a two ply of merino and merino/silk. They’re going together into something.  I have 208 yards of the purple and 158 of the gray.
Then I found Pagewood Farms Sock Bites, which were tiny little skeins of random yarns from Pagewood.  I pulled out all of this gorgeous electric pink/purple and a matching amount of lime green.  Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet… now that I don’t suck at colorwork, I might put something interesting on the top of a mitten.
THEN!  They told me about the ‘spinning room’ which was an adjoined shop that had all the fibre you can ever imagine.  I bought two bundles of silk hankies (I’ve always wanted silk hankies, ever since Yarnharlot knit mittens out of it raw.  One is lime green and yellow and one is white, pink and light green (as you know, my favorite combination ever!).  THEN!  Even more THEN!  I found the Sari Silk bin and bought 1oz of Sari Silk fibre (all they had in the one color that I loved… plus I don’t know how to spin it, so one packed zipper bag was enough).  That was $3.75.  Is that a good price for Sari Silk fibre?
And then, after I had my sock bites for colorwork, silk hankies, the hand spun yarn and a dozen cedar balls for my stash, I stumbled upon the last thing and pretty much fell down… my wallet sprang from my purse and I ACCIDENTALLY purchased a 550yard skein of the most gorgeous yarn you’ve ever seen!  It’s in my favorite colors and it’s going to make the most beautiful Multnomah you’ve ever seen!  What kind of yarn you ask?  Why $45.50 worth of the most gorgeous yarn you’ve ever seen.  Why am I not telling you what the fibre content is?  Because there are people who read this who I see in real life and I want them to see it before I say.  Don’t worry, it’s not acrylic.
Then, before I could argue, Janet bought me a gorgeous Indonesian shawl pin.  The best part about it is that it goes perfectly with my current obsession with knitting really big lace because it’s REALLY BIG!

Yarn talk over.

After we’d spent as much time as I thought fair in the yarn store, we headed on over to Trader Joe’s where I purchased more than one and less than eleven packages of the Roasted Seaweed Snacks, some treats for Pat, some crackers and dip stuff and a new Peanut Satay sauce that I want to try.  I wanted to buy more sauces, but my suitcase is already SO HEAVY that jars of sauce weren’t in the cards (plus, I’d rather my stuff didn’t smell like Masala, should the jars burst open.)

We decided that we should probably go to Jack in the Box for lunch (do not ask.  It was a moment of weakness but in my defense I didn’t eat french fries, even tho I’m on VACATION!).  Right as we were going to leave the parking lot a lady backed into the rental car and caused all kinds of damage.  From that moment on, Janet was too shaken to drive (and she’s not crazy about driving in new places in the first place) so I drove.  We got home safely, after driving right through the path of an oncoming tornado mere yards away from the road!

After catching up with Dad about his golf game and calling the insurance people for the car, we ingested a few beers (which is why I was a bit drunk at 5:30pm) and then went in search of a birthday party.  We never did find the birthday party, so we went for dinner the three of us and now we’re home. Tomorrow we’re going to Madera Canyon for a walk, some bird watching and then the driving range.  On Saturday Dad and I are going golfing just the two of us.  I can’t wait!

Henri really enjoyed the trip today.  He met ‘Jack’ of Jack in the Box and he met ‘Grandma’ of Grandma’s Spinning Wheel.  He stayed home instead of coming to dinner because he doesn’t really like birthday parties… I won’t let him eat the cake!

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Shop till you drop! (the yarn will be a soft landing)

Good morning!
Only a few moments to let you know that my brain has in fact not really returned, but I prefer to believe that I’ve just given it a well deserved vacation and not that it has taken this opportunity to go on the lam!
Off to a massage today and then to do my best to help out the Arizona economy with my hopefully extravagant yarn purchases, a new wallet, a new carry bag (since I stupidly forgot mine at home) and anythinig else fun I can find.  Oh, and Trader Joes!
You can get somewhat realtime updates on Henri’s desert (not dessert I keep telling him!) adventure on my twitter page (link below).
Tonight I’ll fill you in on the grand happenings of the last couple days and like previous, apologies for no pictures.  When the guy we rented from said ‘wireless’ we thought he meant he had ‘wireless’.  I now believe he just wrote that in because other people write it in their house profiles and he doesn’t actually know what it means.  Like when really old people say ‘LOL’.

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A Traveler without a Brain… By Darcy

Ever seen one of those people in an airport that appears to have never stepped foot inside an airport before?  That MAY almost seem like they were JUST dropped off by a spaceship and left to fend for themselves?  That person may have had a scary resemblance to me yesterday. 

Now, I HAVE actually travelled before.  Quite successfully actually!  I’ve been to Asia twice (transferring in the very complex Hong Kong Airport), the US numerous times and then domestic flights too many to count.  So what the hell happened then?  Allow me to explain.

I decided it would be best to go to the airport over three hours early for my flight, because my dad and his girlfriend were landing from their first flight and I thought it would be nice to catch up… behind customs.  Sadly, their second (of three) flights was from Vancouver to Calgary… you don’t have to go behind customs to get to Calgary… as it exists right inside our very own country!

So, Pat dropped me off that three hours early and I went to the United Airlines check in pod and scanned my passport… nothing.  Scanned my confirmation sheet… nothing.  Typed in the confirmation number… nothing!!!  Charging up to the ticket counter, I declare that I don’t mean to be a giant pain in the ass (actual quote) but that the scanner on the booth isn’t working, so could he please just check me in himself.  As I was pulling out my passport, he declared that he ‘sees what the problem is’.  I of course panic, thinking I’ve printed off the wrong piece of paper, or my passport is expired (totally rational, I know!).  The ‘problem’ is that I am flying with US Airways, not United.  Sounds the same, but is in fact, different!  I grabbed my paper back from him and declared he should never speak of the situation and then trotted off to the US Airways check in where the woman obviously saw the stupidity in my eyes and proceeded to do the ‘self check in’ on the booth herself… while I stood there stupidly with my arms by my sides staring.

Once they print out the TWENTY FIVE DOLLAR receipt for your checked bag, you go up to the agent where they put the tag on your bag and then send you off to the next part… customs.  But not before they shout ‘Ma’am!  Ma’am!  You have to take your bag WITH you!’ Oh!  Haha… oops!
So with my VERY HEAVY bag, I troddle off to the left on my way to customs.  It’s so not busy that no one else is anywhere near me… and that’s when I wind up at the dead end and a nice maintenance worker asks me what I”m doing.  I say that I clearly have no idea what I”m doing but that I’d please like to go through customs. It’s the other way Ma’am.  OkAY!  I’m now sweating (from stupidity and also my bag is very VERY heavy!).  I get through to the scan part where you dump all your belongings into the tray and unfortunately my alien brain struck again and I walked all the way down a ‘staff only’ hallway to yet another dead end.  Once I got my bearings (but not my brain), I put all my belongings in the tray and moseey’d through the scanner… BEEEEEP!  Ma’am, do you have a cell phone on you? Oh, why yes I do… in my pocket.  So I had to go back through, put my iphone all by itself into a bin (lucky it was not busy at all!) and then go through the scanner again…BEEEEP!  Oh, seriously!  I have change in my pocket, I say.  No, that’s not it, you’ve been randomly selected for secondary screening.  If your phone hadn’t been in your pocket, you would have snuck through.  EXCELLENT!  Knowing that I am now frustrated, sweaty and not even remotely interested in a short, old woman touching me, I ask if I can please get in the xray box.
Xray box is not terrifying at all! I’ll let you know if I grow a third boob from the radiation, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay!

Since I was pretty sure I was done with customs (after all, ten people have looked at my passport and boarding card and at least one person has seen a blurred naked photo of me with my arms over my head).  Sadly, even tho I had already put all my documents away, I was not done.  I got chewed out by an American Customs Agent for not reading the sign.  I told him I hadn’t been looking for a sign, since I thought I ws DONE!  He informed me that the sign I didn’t see read :’Welcome to the United States of America.  Please have all documention ready.’.  Well, failed that one!

When I finally handed my declaration card in and was in the customs secure area, I felt like I’d run a marathon and been in a war.  I was hot, I was sweaty and I was really really confused as to how I turned so dumb!  Also, I must have been more endearingly dumb than annoyingly dumb because the attitude and stupidity that was dripping off me should have been more than enough to make me a ‘suspicious person’ and get me pulled into triplicate security where they strip searched me and demanded to know where I had left my brain!

I won’t bore you with more now, and there are no pictures yet, but today we played with cactus, played with yarn, played with the ukelale and had a nap… and drank beer!  Soon up, bbq hamburgers and fingerling potatoes!

It’s okay to pick and choose!

This is not knitting related by any stretch of the imagination… unless you consider that I was thinking it while I was knitting yesterday.
You know how they say that you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends?  Those are assuredly some wise words, aren’t they!  Before I go any further, I should mention that I wouldn’t trade my family for the world, so this is definitely not about that. ( and I wouldn’t trade my friends for the world either!) It’s about that choice you make with your friends.  About that choice you make OF your friends.
Before you can make a good and proper friend… someone that both fulfills and enriches you (and you them), you need to know what it is you want/need out of a friend and what it is that you’re willing and able to provide.
You need to know what boundaries you’re willing to push a little and what boundaries you need to hold on to in order to keep you sane and healthy!
Personally, what I look for in a friend is summed up in one word.  Comfortable.  You need more words?  Okay… Easy… calm… relaxing… supportive… comfortable.  Like the perfectly worn in pair of jeans or your favorite yoga pants… (because lets face it, I LOVE me a pair of yoga pants… never done yoga in my life though…).  They make you feel good, they’re comfortable and they don’t try and pretend they’re something other than what they are.  They are not a formal evening dress.  They are not sexy(ual) lingerie.  They are not a punk rock, trying too hard, loud patterned crazy outfit covered in diagonal stripes and neon.  No. They are not.  They are well fitting, warm and comfortable… supportive when you need them.  They are perfect.
THIS is what I look for in a friend.  Someone who knows who they are, who they want to be and is comfortable in their own skin.  Not someone pretending to be comfortable in their own skin.  Pretenders generally come across as highly insecure to me.  Every once in a while, the pretending isn’t strong enough and the ‘real’ person comes out.  It’s usually at that point that I turn and run in the other direction.  Because in my world, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real.  Honest.  Comfortable.  You can be someone with low self esteem, or someone who doesn’t really have a distinct direction.  You can be in emotional turmoil, or going through a huge bout of depression.  You can have good days and bad days and terrible days.  We all have them.  All I need to know is that you’re honest and real and fair about who you actually are.
So what happens when you find a pretender in your circle?  Well, no person is exactly like the one sitting beside them, so maybe that person fesses up to the pretending and starts to become real.  That’s someone that has the basic concept of ‘real’ and knows that while it’s also work to be true to who you are, it’s much more rewarding than pretending to be someone you’re not.  What most often happens is the pretender is caught in a pretending moment (I’d hate to call it a lie) and they spend a little more time pretending in order to cover it up… If you’re committed to yourself and your boundaries and you have a well defined sense of what you want and need out of a friendship (obviously a balanced one, where you’re also held to the fire), then you can make an honest decision about the toxicity of all that pretending.
And that’s where the choice of your friends comes in.  Obviously we all make immediate choices about people. We like them or we don’t.  We find them funny or we don’t.  We want to explore a relationship with them or not.  The real choice… the choice that we make as a well adjusted adult is whether we continue to choose them or not.  And don’t get me wrong.  If your ‘friend’ continually calls you up and asks you to do something and you say yes when you want to say no, then that’s a choice. 
And believe me, it’s hard to start believing that the playground mentality of ‘you like him more than me’ is okay!  It is!  It’s okay to choose your friends.  And it’s okay to choose who you do NOT want to be friends with.
Maybe this is all random and cryptic and a mish-mash of nonsense that doesn’t make any sense at all… But the over-reaching question that you should ask yourself is:
Are there people that I have in my life right now that I’ve chosen by not making a choice?  Would I prefer that they weren’t so deeply embedded in my life?  Would I be happier if I never went for another dinner with this person?  Would I really be happier on my own sofa BY MYSELF than out somewhere with this person?
It’s okay to answer yes to any of those questions.  And it’s okay to do something about it once you realize!  Really, it is!

Shooting Visitors!

Holy heck!  I finally did an update to the style of the ol’ blog!  Score!  Take a look over on the right hand side and you’ll see that I’ve entered the 21st (that’s right, right?) century and put an rss feed of my favorite blogs on the side… sorted by the most recent updates!  Yes, yes, I know, you all had that already… I’m slow!
If you have a blog that you just love that you think I need on that list there (the more often it’s updated, the better to hold my short attention span!), let me know!  Also, if I somehow missed you but you know I read you… let me know… I definitely haven’t excluded anyone on purpose!
So today I sent an email to the Pima County Natural Resources – Parks and Recreation.  It was a difficult email to send because I was attempting to not sound like an insane lunatic  (For those of you that are wondering, Pima County is in Arizona, where I am about to go and spend some time).  The title of my email did not portray that of a stable woman (more about the woman part in a minute), as it was entitled ‘Visitor Shooting’ and the query that I was trying to make not sound insane was ‘if I was a tourist in Pima County, how would I go about getting hold of a gun to shoot’.  Obviously I said it more effectively than that, but what I’m really trying to figure out is if I can go shooting somewhere while we’re in AZ.  The County forwarded my email to a range and said the following : Hey guys.  Can you respond to him please.  Thanks, Greg’.  Uh… really?  Him?  My email address has the word princess in it.  Is it entirely uncommon in AZ for a woman to want to shoot a gun?  Do you think that this sexist stereotyping makes it more or less likely that I’d want to shoot you a gun? Doofus!  Anyway, more investigation is necessary and apparently you can RENT firearms from a local Marksman shop.  WTF rent?  Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me!
In other news, yet another one of my KP cables snapped, so a bunch of stitches for the hat for my sister came flying off, I don’t have a longer cable to finish and I want to chuck the whole thing in the bin at this point.  Stupid Knit Picks!  I love you but why must you let me down like this?
I also ripped back on a friend’s sock in order to fix dog damage and it seems to be going well… I’ve never knit a sock and luckily this is the cuff, so it doesn’t involve anything past K3P1 ribbing and a bind off.
I’m now off to research other things to do on my trip… because while it’s my opinion that spending six days napping/knitting/drinking is a good idea, it’s probably going to bore me, so I should have something to do.  We’re going to go to Tucson to go yarn shopping and a visit to TJ’s on one of those days… maybe that, and the massage I have booked is all I need?

Curried Kitty!

Another weekend gone… when you only have one actual day off, that goes really fast!  Especially when your one day is started off with a cranking headache and you have to take your kitty to the vet 😦
Last year when he went, the vet couldn’t get a full checkup done on him because he freaked out and the were afraid he was going to hurt himself, so they declared him ‘fine’ and sent him home.  This year, it had to be a bit more thourough of an examination… which was horrible!  I’ve never seen an animal fight like that… as tho he thought he was fighting for his life.  Even when he gets into really bad fights, I’ve never heard him scream like that… His eyes were completely dilated and he was biting and hissing and chewing and writhing around.  It’s actually burned into my mind and it was REALLY upsetting. I knew they weren’t hurting him, because besides the tech holding him down, they were barely touching him, but he was so upset… I’m pretty sure that he didn’t really even recognize me, even tho I was talking to him and he could see me… I think the most upsetting thing was that I couldn’t comfort him 😦

Does THIS look like a wild beast?  No, I don’t think so either.  He’s such a little sweetheart with us and a terrified, adreneline ridden lunatic when he goes to the vet!  Next year he’s being sedated!  It took him a whole day to recover from his experience, complete with following me around, having wobbly legs and not being able to sleep for longer than 90 seconds at a time.  I eventually took him to our bed and we had a nap together, which seemed to help him (and really, I would do anything for the kitty, including napping!).
On Saturday night, after our nap, the kitty and I made a huge pot of chicken curry/masala (two jars of sauce, mixed because evidently they’re the exact same thing!) with two kinds of mushrooms, onions and peas!  We had it over rice… it was very yummy!  We also had it for dinner last night and I’m having it for lunch today and probably a bite to eat before knitting tonight!  Breaking down the costs, it was $14 for the chicken (bone in by accident, but cheaper), $6 for the sauces, $6 for the mushrooms and onions, $2 for the frozen peas and whatever the nominal cost of the rice was.  $28 and it’s broken down into 6 meals… that’s $4.66 per serving!  Not bad!

I knit on my Alpaca shawl again last night, after having drank a beer… I’ve decided to take up drinking, but Patrick doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea.  It’ll only last until the beer in the fridge is gone and since there were three and then Saturday night I had one and Sunday night I had one, that just leaves one left for my drinking career.  What will I drink in the states?  I understand American beer sucks… someone enlighten me so I don’t have to drink crappy beer!
Sister, your hat will probably be done tonight… I’ll take it to knitting… I have to put it on a longer cable to do the decreases and quite frankly, I’ve been lazy!  I’ve also got to fix the sock at knitting too, so hopefully someone will help me (and hopefully I’ll remember to bring it)
Five more work days (at the day job) until I leave for AZ!  Between now and then I need to go to the fabric store and find some fabric to make myself a sun dress or two and then I’m going to go to Dressew and buy the cupcake fabric for my pajama scrubs.

Nothing to say

That’s probably untrue and I’ll get to the end of this post and find that I’ve said a lot… LOL!

I haven’t knit much in the last couple days.  After finishing Terra and then the baby blanket and then starting and finishing Guernsey Wrap and finishing the Magic Carpet and then starting and finishing the hot water bottle cover (still in love!), I’ve knit A LOT in the last little while… More than I’m used to and so when I started the hat for my sister at the same time as the cover, after all that finish it up knitting, I found my hands hurting. I think because I had to do the ribbing for the hottie cover on 16″ circs and that makes me hold my hand funny for some reason… made my pinky all stiff and my hand feel funny…

Anyway, I’m going to pick up the hat again right now and hopefully get it finished.  I was working on my Tree of Light shawl yesterday.  The pattern is engaging (altho it’s printed out TINY so I have to do something about that!  Also, the cat was kind enough to sit on the paper when he was a bit wet from outside, so large parts of it are very smudged and I’m sort of guessing my way through… I should do something about that too!) and the yarn is a dream!  I love how it looks like a completely different stitch pattern in large yarn and almost can’t wait to get it blocked.  I keep thinking I should take it off the needles and do a partial block to see how big it’s going to get, but then I remember I like surprises!

I’m going to Arizona next week and have decided to make myself a souvenir so I’m going to make Jared Flood’s new Rock Island.  Have you seen this yet?  It’s AMAZING! 

Here’s a photo off his blog! Go over there and see it!

I’m going to knit it out of Handmaiden Mini Maiden in the Salt Spray colorway, which is a gorgeous iceblue and cream 50/50 silk/wool combo!  Not sure exactly how much I’ll get done, but I’m willing to work for it!  The other option is to take some Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3ply in Fire Opal and make another feather and fan scarf. Last time I went for a holiday at my dad’s by myself (last march), I made a feather and fan stole out of Fleece Artist Nyoni.  I never wear it but it’s gorgeous!  (I partly never wear it because the first time I wore it, I snagged it on a spiral ring notebook and ripped a hole in it… I fixed it but now I’m scared!)

Just got back from dinner at a local sushi restaurant where I had really good chicken teryiaki!
Photo evidence. 

I’m now full and no longer feeling guilt toward the ol’ blog… so I will now knit hat.

Nothing if not random… and What are you Playing?

I’ve been at work since 7:40… I have a coffee and a ginger ale on my desk… What I really need are stronger uppers because I’m EXHAUSTED today!
Raisins are never more obvious that they used to be grapes as when you put them in a Thermos full of boiling water for 12 hours… It’s actually an unsettling feeling!
It’s 13 days until I go on my much needed and well deserved vacation!  I get there on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday I plan to sit by the alleged pool under an umbrella and knit and nap.  On the Thursday I’m going to the spa!
I found out today that a friend of mine, who is a terribly sweet kid (well, he’s 22, but that makes him a kid) was kicked in the head last year and has lasting head injury symptoms which have prevented him from going to school, working a steady job and he’s no longer ‘himself’.  I didn’t know him a year ago… that was heart breaking to find out.
This is how people in Vancouver queue for transit.  You will not find this anywhere else in the world (except maybe the UK… let me know in the comments how people queue where YOU live!)  We’re very polite. 
And now for the feature: What are you playing?
A work collegue has turned me on to many iphone games that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.  I don’t have a lot of iphone friends and therefore don’t get a lot of app referrals.  Which is why I want to start this feature.  Use the comments to toute your favorite iphone app (game, useful task item etc…).  It can be free or pay, just let us know which!
Today I’m playing iassociate2.  It’s a free word association game available for iphone and Facebook.  It doesn’t appear to be available for iPad just yet, but it’s pretty popular, so I figure it can’t be long!  If you don’t have an iphone, don’t fear, you can actually play on facebook.  Just search iassociate2 on facebook or in the app store.  You won’t regret it!  Follow along on the tutorial and you’ll be associating in no time!
What are YOU playing?