You can't go home again … unless you do

Last week, I took a few days off of work to head back to Lake Charles for a quick visit. I got to see some good friends much too briefly, then I turned around and came home. We still have a lot to do to prepare the baby’s room and get ready for the holidays. I brought a Darrell’s special home for hubby, jalapeno mayo and gravy on the side so it didn’t get soggy.

My craze for this week has been finding a good robe. I threw away my old robe last year because it got a little weird after being washed so many times. It was perfect: long, soft, thick, warm. I don’t know why women’s robes are suddenly only knee length, but it drives me crazy. I ended up turning to the men’s section to find what I wanted. I’d share it with you, but apparently it’s not on the Target web site. I found a dark purple robe that fits just right and meets those criteria I listed.

Then for slippers. I also tossed mine last year. I started last winter with two warm pair but ended with zero. One was on its way out at the beginning of the year. They were really dirty and showing their heavy use over several years. The others were pretty new, but poorly made. They began coming apart. The replacements are a shade of purple very close to my new robe. And they were on sale!

Telling this to a younger friend today, I suddenly felt like a very old woman. So I had to show her my new lipstick/cheek stain (in Portofino).

Waiting for go

I just realized I never did write up my vacation! I’m using the term vacation loosely because it wasn’t a typical “go enjoy yourself” kind of trip.

My husband flew out to Florida first for work. His robot is going to the International Space Station on STS-133, which was set to launch Nov. 1. Needless to say, it didn’t. There were some mechanical and electrical and weather issues, a different thing every day. Thankfully they were able to take care of all of these issues … until the last day we were there. They found a crack in the GUCP and then one in the external tank and then more. Launch scrubbed.

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Hubby was working the whole time; he only got one day off while I was there. We used that one day to go to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure with some friends. It was a blast as you can see on our faces! We were particularly excited to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and Phil rode all the rides. In my condition, I only went on the Forbidden Journey and it made me quesy, but it was totally worth it.

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Here’s me and another Heather with the conductor of the Hogwarts Express. He was an amazingly good sport. I think we were holding him from his lunch break, but he didn’t give any indication of being bothered. As soon as we snapped the picture, he disappeared, though. Almost all of my pictures from this day are in Hogsmeade. The rest of the park was fun, too, but we all enjoyed the Harry Potter section the most. I think the other visitors agreed, because it was by far the most crowded area in the park. Even then, we never had to wait too long for rides. Being there in the middle of a school week really cut down on the lines.

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Another day, I went out to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex by myself. It was amazing. I’ve been to Space Center Houston a number of times (both are independently run visitor centers not administered by NASA), so I thought I knew what to expect. KSC’s visitor area is so much better, though! I went on the bus tour that was included in admission and was on-site for almost 5 hours! And that was without viewing the extra movies they had at the stops. The highlight was definitely the observation gantry where you can see the launch pads. There’s Discovery several miles away. Darn rotating service structure obstructing my view.

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The tour also goes out to the Apollo-era Launch Center. Having been inside the Apollo-era Mission Control in Houston, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, but again, it was great. They play a video above the console desks and light up the consoles as they come into play. They have big status displays, too, so you can watch it light up as they “go” on various systems. It sort of blew my mind.

You exit that area into their Saturn-5 hangar, which once again surprised me. I’ve spent many hours at Houston’s Saturn-5, and while that area has been improving lately, it still doesn’t hold a candle to Kennedy’s display. Plus, Kennedy has a cafeteria, which I sorely needed by that point. There’s also a museum and another movie theater.

While driving on-site, our tour guides were quick to point out the wildlife. KSC is located in a wildlife protection area, so we saw alligators, wild boar (with babies) and an eagle. In fact, the eagle’s nest at KSC is one of the more impressive things I saw. I’ve never viewed one before, and it was so much larger than I expected.

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By the time I made it back to the visitor center, I was exhausted, but I walked out to the astronaut memorial and checked out the orbiter mock-up. I really wanted to see the ISS IMAX movie, but as a 10-week pregnant woman, I wasn’t feeling my best. I did stop by the Astronaut Hall of Fame on my way back to the hotel, but I think I was a little burned out on space by that point. Nothing could’ve lived up to the space bacchanalia I’d just enjoyed.

Here’s Phil’s picture of the official countdown clock as he left work one night. It’s the clock by the pond that you see on the news all the time during launches. That light in the middle of the picture is the shuttle on the launch pad just over 3 miles away. Phil was standing at the second-closest launch viewing spot when he took this. It’s not safe to stand near exploding rockets!

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The whole story

I haven’t had much inclination to knit lately. This led to my poor showing at the craft fair booth my friends and I are doing. For some reason lately, I haven’t had the slightest desire to touch my projects.

And I think it has something to do with me being pregnant. That’s right, pregnant! Several of my friends have pointed out to me that they lost their crafting mojo while knocked up, and that seems to be the case for me, too. I never understood it before; there’s so much to knit for a new baby! Why would my friends stop knitting just when it got exciting? But something about pregnancy – at least for me and some of my friends – just flips off the knitting switch.

We’re pretty thrilled about the impending baby. S/he is due in May, so be on the look out for more updates. Hopefully I’ll finish a blanket or something for the little one before s/he gets here.

Final deadline approaching

I’ve managed to finish everything else on time so far, but the ice cream cozies for the craft sale are dragging. I just don’t feel like knitting. I finished two last week and am about halfway through another. That brings the grand total to 4.5. I may have some other unused models sitting around the house.

And the thing is, I’ve had plenty of time to knit. In fact, I spent two days this week sitting in a hotel room by myself watching cable like a starved woman.

Meanwhile, just two weeks to finish as many ice cream cozies as possible. I even packed about six skeins of yarn. It’s insane.

The pictures are of my sock for the sock contest. I hand dyed the yarn with Wilton cake dye. It was my first time doing that, and I was really happy with the outcome. The pattern is Ellington by Cookie A. I love her patterns.

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Too much!

After finishing Girasole, I took a break from knitting for a little bit. My brain was a bit fried; I had some reading to catch up; I just wasn’t interested in holding needles again. I churned out that Amazon cozy for my friend pretty quickly and then went back on hiatus.

The shop I knit the shawl for pushed back the dates for a sock contest, so I realized I needed to work on an entry. I had 3 weeks to finish then. I knit the first sock in just a week. There were a few days I didn’t feel so well after that, though, so now I’m just onto the foot of the second. I have 3 days to finish now and I’m getting a little stressed out! I know I can do it, but now I feel like I should stop typing and go work now!

After this, I need to start serious production of ice cream cozies for an upcoming craft sale. And then there’s Christmas. I feel like everything I’ve knit in the past few months has been a deadline project and it’s taking the fun out of it for me. I have a sweater that’s been stuffed in my purse forever, a vest that I need to frog and redo plus a cardi that I cast on in a post-Girasole haze. I want to finish something fun soon!

Garage Sale the Sequel

We are exhausted. Today was our second garage sale. It wasn’t nearly as much work this time around because we had less stuff and new the game a bit better. Last time, I think I took out almost $100 in change and bills so I could break anything. This year, we used $40 of quarters, ones, fives and tens. The things you learn.

Like last year, we invited our friends to bring their stuff over for us to sell, or to come hang out with us and sip mimosas and coffee. We had a few takers, and it was a good time. Friends help pass the time!

We were pretty successful at getting rid of our junk and clearing out our garage just a little bit more. One more garage sale, and we may be able to get both cars inside! It’s really motivated Hubby to clean and organize. Hubby who’s asleep on the floor right now because he’s so exhausted. I’m trying to keep him up until at least 9 so he doesn’t get too off schedule.

I don’t feel bad for him lying on the floor, because I’m sitting on the floor. One of our “big ticket” sells was our couch and love seat. It seemed like a great idea at the time since our new couch and love seat (that we ordered over two months ago) will be delivered on Monday. Now, not so much.

The woman who bought them got a great deal and was very excited. We got to talking a bit, and she said the furniture was for her son who just got a new apartment but was currently in the hospital after a double lung transplant. I asked, and he has cystic fibrosis, like American Press reporter Brian Guilbeau did. It’s an awful condition, but this mom was really hopeful and excited to be helping her son set up his new place. She came back with her whole family and a moving van later to get the couches. They gave us some yummy cookies.

This is sort of a ramble, but by coincidence some of my friends from the American Press participated in the Great Strides walk today to benefit cystic fibrosis research. It’s a great cause, and if you’d like to consider donating, you can do so here.

A gift

KindleCozy

KindleCozy

Friendship is a gift. I have a dear friend who’s moving away for a few years. I’ve known her for 6 years now, and I used to see her at least once a month. For the past 2-3 years, it’s been more like once a year or so. But sometimes you recognize a kindred soul and that’s all that matters. Facebook has been a real boon to communication, and she recently began a film and book blog where a great group of people swap recommendations and opinions. I think we’re more in touch now than we’ve ever been.

As a big reader, she recently invested in a Kindle. I searched and searched for a way to gift an e-book on Amazon, but apparently it’s impossible. You can give an Amazon giftcard and the person can use it as they choose, but there’s no way to pick a title and send it along. Knowing that she couldn’t bring much on the plane with her overseas, I brainstormed for another portable gift, and I somehow ended up searching Ravelry for a Kindle cozy. Voila!

The pattern called for about 4 more repeats of the cable pattern than I did. I was about one repeat short when I looked down and realized that it was ridiculously long. I looked up the Kindle’s dimensions and unraveled a lot of work and then skipped straight to the seed stitch edging. I added a button and loop closure because I would want a way to keep it secure if it was me. You may recognize the yarn as my Tour de Fleece merino/silk blend.

I love knitting for people who appreciate it. My friend was so pleased with her cozy that she took this picture (which thrilled me because I’d forgotten to photograph it myself) and even posted it on Facebook. I’m going to miss her dearly while she’s gone, even though I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch in person. Somehow it’s been a comfort knowing that such a wonderful spirit was in the same state/continent. I know she’ll have an amazing experience, and I’m looking forward to hearing about her adventures.

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