Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Well, I was there….and it DOES rain in California!  But that song still keeps repeating over and over in my head!

San Diego was a great place to spend a few days.  And though we did experience their rain and a few overcast days….we also experienced this view!

We stayed in the Crystal Pier Cottages on Pacific Beach. Specifically cottage #15.

They make me think of 1950’s family vacations.  I love that you can drive down the dock and park (though that is parallel park) right in front of your cottage…..our spot….#15.

See those boards.  They also make a fair amount of noisy (and shaking) when you drive down them.  Totally adds to the charm of the whole experience!  After a day you barely notice it when you are trying to sleep.

The pier is open to the public during they day and you can walk out to the end of it and fish (or watch other people fish) and you can be closer to the dophins and surfers.

And since there are fish being caught….these are attracted….

It was a little too up close and personal for me.  I have a huge fear of birds in the house…or in this case..cottage.  Don’t judge….we all have our “things”.

Our deck out the back of our cottage was fully equipped with loungers and a table w/umbrella and chairs.

The loungers had blue & white striped chair pads you could put on them.  Which coordinated with the interior decor.

It had a distinctly beach feel.

A home away from home.

Do you see that black thing on the table.  It’s the binoculars case!  I must say one of the things I was most thrilled to see was that they provide you with binoculars!  Makes watching the ships and dolphins much easier.  But it also makes spying on the beach goers more fun too.  🙂  Again, don’t judge!

By the way, the shutters were great.  The provided privacy, but still allowed a breeze and the sound of the water.  Did I mention how nice it was to open the patio door and be able to hear and see the ocean??  It was fabulous.

One of the most memorable parts of the trip was our takeoff when we were heading home.  We took off towards the ocean.  We flew right over Pacific Beach and we got to see the aerial view of where we had spent the past five days.  The pointe where we visited the Surfer Memoria, our cool hotel, and the old wooden rollercoaster.  Our last view of San Diego was where we had spent the majority of our time there.

I loved our hotel and I took about a million pictures of the ocean.  We had fabulous food and drinks, and it was a much needed break from my real life!  Pictures never do it justice, but San Diego is beautiful!!!


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NYC Recap

Yes, this is where I went last weekend.  I absolutely LOVE New York City and I have the souvenir license plate/stitch marker to prove it!  I am pretty sure I wouldn’t want to live there (well, at least not for longer than a couple of years), but it is a place that is awesome to visit!

One of my co-workers and I have been feeling a titch burned out.  OK, I’m going to tangent for a second…..I had to lookup how to spell “titch” because I say it but have never written it….you get some really odd things with that search!!  Back to being burned out…..so we decided about 6 weeks ago to plan a trip to NYC.  I had been there about 1 1/2 years ago and she had been there about 20 years ago and we both wanted go back.  Tickets, travel book and maps were bought (because I am a geek and the ones from 1 1/2 years ago needed some supplementing) and we were off.

Thursday evening started off with checking into our hotel in Times Square.  The Doubletree is not the most expensive hotel in town, but it had a great location (see it on the corner), 2 beds, 2 rooms (yes a little living room AND a bedroom), and most importantly when 2 women are travelling together….2 sinks.  VERY spacious for NYC.  The lobby had crazy construction going on, but seriously who cares!  We had no intention of hanging out in the lobby!  The guy checking us in recommended a Mexican Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.  Arriba Arriba was a short walk away and a great start to the trip!  The food was good, the people watching was fun, and the margaritas were awesome!  In the excitement of the first evening there might have been a couple too many margaritas…but we were on vacation and what happens in NY stays in NY!

Friday morning required a lot of fresh crisp NY air!  And then we were off to the Financial District.  Our first trip on the subway and I had to stare at the blue dot on the floor since the motion was about to kill me….UGH!  (But, thank you subway!  You saved my feet from lots of walking which result in lots of pain after 3 days!)  Once we arrived at our stop, and since we work in the crazy financial world, the New York Stock Exchange was a given for our 1st sight to see.

Federal Hall, Trinity Church, and the Brooklyn Bridge were all also seen and appreciated and then we were on to Lady Liberty.

We had purchased our tickets ahead of time which I highly recommend! We didn’t have to wait in line to buy a ferry ticket, our ferry ticket line was quicker (like a FastPass at Disney World), and we got to go into her base…..so close we could look up her skirt!

We ran out of time (and energy) so we didn’t stop on Ellis Island where I could have seen where my great-grandfather signed the book when he arrived.  It gives me a good excuse to go back.

That night we got to see the skaters at Rockefeller Center.  I would love to go back at Christmas and see it all decked out!  This just gave me a tease for what it must be like!

And one of my favorite sites at night is Radio City Music Hall.  It fits in with my love of old movies and old musical movie stars!

Saturday started with visiting my favorite skyscraper in NY.  The Flatiron Building.

The building’s shape fascinates me, and Madison Square Park is right across the street where you can catch glimpses of the building while you watch the dogs in the dog park.  I think we got the most laughs trying to match the dogs playing together with the owners talking together.  We then tried to go to Purl….for my yarn fix.  Unfortunately it doesn’t open until noon on Saturdays and we were there at 11.  WAY BUMMED!!!  I stood outside with my face plastered against the window drooling over yarn I couldn’t touch.  My co-worker does not understand my “knitting thing” and threatened to walk off and leave me there.  Next time I will get pretty New York yarn!

The day ended with the musical Chicago which was fabulous!  I want to be a teensy bit as talented as those people are!

Sunday started with Central Park and the Met.








There was ice cream at Serendipity.  Then the day ended with Grand Central Station and the top of the Chrysler Building (I always think of the song from Annie… “You’ll stay up until this dump shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!”).

The trip was fabulous and I came home tired and happy.  The next trip will involve WAY more shopping (I discovered my friend is not a big shopper), but that just means there will need to be a next time!

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Instead of seeing Fields of Dreams as I was driving down to Iowa I saw fields of these (not a bad photo since I took it out of my side window as I was driving down I-35)

Growing up in western Iowa the big state rivalry was Nebtraska and Iowa.

Why does all of the corn in Iowa lean to the West…..Nebraska sucks.

You get the idea.

Since I have lived in MN, I realize that Minnesota feels about Iowa the way my part of Iowa felt about Nebraska.  When asked where I grew up, I know that I will start hearing the Iowa jokes.  Upon first moving up here my parents and I were visiting a local church and had met the minister prior to the service.  Yep, he then cracked an Iowa joke from the pulpit.  I never went back (though that had more to do with other parts of the service…healing people with a touch….that were a little out of my comfort zone).

So when asked what I did for the weekend I am leery of admitting I went to the Iowa State Fair.  The competitive spirit is immediately kindled.

“Is it as fun as the MN State Fair?”  “Is it as big as the MN State Fair?”  “Is the food as good as the MN State Fair?”

Honestly, makes me laugh!  For me personally I love the Iowa State Fair and do prefer it over the MN State Fair.  It is more agriculturally based and has a different feel than the MN State Fair (hard to put into words.  maybe more rural rather than urban?).  I also have personal connections at the Iowa State Fair.  My college roommate’s family is actively involved. 

They camp (her family, her sister’s family, and her parents) all 10 days at the campgrounds and enter all kinds of entries in the competitions.  A large part of my visit at the Fair is spent visiting the different buildings to see if I can find their entries and see what ribbons they won.  I then follow up through the remainder of the Fair keeping up with what the family ribbon count is.  My college roommate’s youngest boy got 3 blue ribbons and 2 rosettes this year.  He thinks he is pretty cool (as do I), and that slew of ribbons is not too bad for a 5 year old!  Her parents met at the Fair and have a sincere love for the activities and traditions they have established for their family.  I keep threatening to enter my own entries to “give them some competition”.  And maybe next year I will actually stay organized and send in my entry requests.  But I am kind of afraid the competition in the knitting category might be a little stiff for me. 

I got so busy looking at everything, picking up free stuff (lots of reusable grocery bags this year), and eating that I didn’t take one picture at the Fair.  But trust me the weather was gorgeous, the people were friendly, and I went home bone-weary….another successful year at the Fair!

Since I don’t have any other visual aids in this post, I will post the pictures of my Pie Wedge Shawl that I finally got around to taking.  i don’t think it came out too bad if I do say so myself!!

And this one kind of looks like I’m trying to fly

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A little over a year ago one of my girlfriend’s and I started picking up little souvenir license plate key rings/zipper pulls whenever we went somewhere.  It reminded us of when we were kids and we had the license plates on the back of our bikes with our names on them.  It was also a good solution for me because I was getting way too many t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, etc.  I couldn’t stick with one kind of souvenir to “collect” and honestly don’t need many things with a state or city emblazoned across them.  This was the perfect solution! Small, under $5, and fun.

After a few trips my key ring started to resemble a gawdy, heavy, noisy, and annoying thing that was too big for some of my small bags.  So how do you repurpose such cute little memories??  Stitch markers of course!  It gives me something to hunt for on vacation (because I really do love a good shopping hunt), and makes me smile everytime I use them.

As you can see, I don’t have all that many (it’s only been about 18 months).  And I can’t always find my name.   But they are fun.  And as I do with anything that I really like, I get excited and tell all of my friends of my new excitement (most of the fun is in the sharing!).

I go to lunch almost every day with one of my coworkers.  He is one of those unusual guys that can listen to me chatter about just about anything and still goes to lunch with me every day!  He and his wife just went on an Alaska Cruise with her family last week and they had a blast.  When he came in today I jokingly asked what he had brought me….and what does he come up with…

I was so happy!  He actually does listen when I ramble about crazy inane things!  It was a small surprise that makes me very happy to have good friends that encourage and support my odd little habits.

On the knitting front I have taken my first steps toward blocking.  OK, I actually attempted it, but I have been afraid to unpin it yet to see if it worked.

I finished the Pie Wedge Shawl back in April, but have been putting off blocking it, because I had no idea what I was doing.  Finally on Sunday I just got the whole thing wet and laid it out and started pinning it.  When I started one side (the side I had cast on) was much longer than my cast off side.  I was assuming this was because my cast off was not as loose as my cast on.

I had no idea blocking would fix this!  It was crazy!  In pulling the thing so that each pie wedge edge (say that 3 times fast) was straight it became symmetrical again!  Sometimes the whole knitting process is just a wonder to me.  So it is now dry and I will probably unpin it later tonight, and see if I can do some self photos with the finished product. 

Have I mentioned recently how much I love silk?  This thing feels like a dream and I can’t wait to work on another silk project.

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It’s been a busy week.  I finished it last night by going to Mystic Lake with A to see…..

Hmmmm.  Who is he?

Yep, we went and saw Rick Springfield.  It was a fun show.  I realized I was evidently not a big fan in the 80’s because the beginning of the show was a bit slow for me…’cause I didn’t know many of the songs.  I did, however, remember watching him as Dr. Drake on General Hospital, so appreciated the pictures and comments regarding that.

He spent a large part of the 2nd half of the show doing this….

At first his walking on the chairs in the crowd was fun.  However, he is getting older and we began to wonder if he was going to hurt himself.  He thanked the people around him several times for balancing him.  And it slowed the pace of the show down a lot since he did it a lot and obviously cannot sing while doing it.

It was, however, a fun show and a fun night.  I haven’t been to a casino in  years and we played the slots a bit before we left….I came out $40 ahead!!  YAY!  The security guard did not appreciate us trying to document our outing by the backlit sign (which obviously was causing us many camera issues since you can’t really see A), but we did it anyway.

Earlier in the week I had family here.  We hit many of the highlights in town.

Whenever I see pictures of Minneapolis, the Cherry and the Spoon sculpture usually is one of them.  I do forget that it is a fountain too.  The sculpture garden has many other interesting things, even if we can’t always figure them out.  The Cherry and Spoon is my favorite and is celebrating it’s 20 year birthday this year.

In St Paul we have many cool sculptures of the Peanuts gang.  The Detention Center was our “fun” picture for the parents that were not along.

And, finally Minnehaha Falls.  I love waterfalls and it is such a beautiful park along with being a really nice waterfall right here in town.

After all of the activity this week I have had a very quiet Saturday and made really good progress on the baby blanket.  This is what summer is all about!

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This past weekend was Mother’s Day, and I headed down to Iowa.  The drive down has been vastly improved over the past few years since Iowa has made the road that I use 4-lane.  I *heart* 4-lane roads!  Until you drive 4 hours on a 2-lane road, you forget how annoying it is to not be able to pass, AND to have to do 55 mph!

One of my favorite parts of the drive is heading down into the Minnesota River Valley.  It’s gorgeous and the trees are just now starting to come to life.  So everything has a green twinge to it.  But the one thing that makes me smile no matter how many times I see it is…

You round a curve to start your descent into the valley, and there are the Jolly Green Giant and Sprout standing huge on top of the hill!  It takes me back to tv commercials when I was little that I enjoyed almost as much as the shows we watched….I definitely remember the commercials and their jingles better than the shows!

So if you headed down to Le Sueur, MN, from the Twin Cities, make sure and watch for them!

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I am back from my long weekend adventure to the East Coast!  I didn’t get to see the ocean this time, but there was lots of yarn and great company!  Some girls and I got together to do a yarn crawl through Amish Country in Pennsylvania.  We loaded up into the RV and headed out for a day of knitting, yarn shopping, and fun!

I must say one of the most interesting things for me was the names of the towns!  We started off at Labadie Looms in Bird-in-Hand, PA.  It was probably the best stop of the day simply because it had a large selection of locally spun and hand-dyed yarns.  The lady working was so nice and really wanted to take off and come with us!

We then hit the Farmer’s Market in Bird-in-Hand for breakfast.  Our lovely “tour guide” gave us 1/2 hour to catch the local flavor before heading off to Intercourse (yes, we were 11 and laughed everytime we said it out loud).  Unfortunately the small shop there had closed, so we toodled off to Lancaster to visit Kitnit.  We referred to this stop as the “helpful lady” when we couldn’t remember the name.  The shopkeeper was quite knowledgable and so happy to help us find anything we were looking for…and find things we did!

While in Lancaster we also hit Oh Susanna.  I don’t think anyone could have possibly described this particular store to me….meaning, you had to see it to believe it.  An older house where the first floor is PACKED with yarn.  There is simply a narrow path going from room to room.  We decided it could be described as a stash gone crazy.  There is a large selection, but it is literally screaming for organization.  This one could be summarized as “extremely overwhelming”.

Our coziest stop was at Wool Gathering in Kennett Square, PA.  The owner was knitting with a group at the table.  There are times when I walk into a store with a group of women knitting and feel like I am intruding on “their time”.  Not these ladies.  The entire group was comfortably friendly.  More than happy to answer questions, but also let you shop while feeling you were included in their social time.  They are hosting the 1,000 Knitters photo shoot next weekend, and I am so sorry we missed it by 1 week!

Our final stop was at A Garden of Yarn in Chadds Ford, PA. Unfortunately we had had a long day, and they didn’t wait for us….

We will try and get there earlier next year!

There was not only shopping on this trip.  There was also knitting….

This is the beginning of a child’s Easy Striped Cardigan.  I am modifying it a bit by knitting the front and back as one to try and cut down on my seaming.  Hopefully I can handle converting the binding off for the armholes without any major confusion!  I had picked up this yarn and free pattern at Michael’s ages ago.  Since I am having trouble focusing on finishing adult sweaters, I decided to tackle a smaller one.  The recipient is still a little up in the air, but I know 2 little boys that are good candidates.


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