Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

I managed to give my poor bunny head a body on the drive home yesterday. I'm planning to make her a dress, but I've had to re-start a couple of times. I need to think about it a little more before I give it another try. I, of course, want to do something "Chirstmas-y and will probably resort to copying one of Julie's dresses.."I love that knitting keeps getting more and more popular. Yesterday moring before we left Fortuna, we stopped at Starbucks, and there was evidence that knitting has truly become mainstream. Not only were there wreaths made out of ball of yarn everywhere, the cups themselves show a faint knit pattern on them. Starbucks, there is a reason that you and "Google" are two of the only coprorations I intentionally choose to support. We dutifully gave Gidget her anti-nausea medicine before we left....and as soon as we hit the first set of curves, she promptly threw up...on my shoes. You can't just stop along Hyw. 101 in the mountains since much of it is in a rock slide area, but luckily we weren't too far from Laytonville.She eventually just fell asleep. It wasn't that bad, but maybe we should think twice about taking her with us next time...Nah!. Still, we all appreciate what an "easy" dog Rowdy, our older beagle, is. We stopped in Healdsburg again for a break, and the beagles got a lot of attention. Of course, Gidget barked at all of the other dogs, especially a rather large, "wolf-dog," while Rowdy was quietly dignified or possibly was simply scared stiff.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in Humboldt

Ever since my sister and her family moved to the Midwest, we've usually spent Thanksgiving with just ourselves. It sometimes feels a tiny bit sad just to have the four of us, but we go all out with cooking and still totally enjoy the day. This year, I thought that we should go up to my mom and dad's since we had a whole week off for Thanksgiving. On a good traveling day, we can get up to Humboldt County, where they live, in less than eleven hours. It took us longer this year, but it was worth it. We had lunch in Healdsburg on the way up and had turkey/cranberry sandwiches.
I got to knit for most of the trip, and started one of my favorite projects---yes, another bunny. I let the bunny head absorb the scenery, which my kids found slightly unselttling.We spent most of Tuesday in Eureka, eating at one of our favorite restaurants, Hurricane Kate's.We've gone there since the kids were little, and love both the food, which is touted as "World Fusion Cuisine," and the atmosphere. They have butcher paper on the tables, so Kai is particularly happy since he can draw while we wait to eat. He drew a musketeer this time because we are listening to The Three Musketeers on the trip up. Russ and I are also particularly happy while we wait for our food because we always have French press coffee in indivudal presses with brown sugar cubes and cream. I had a falafel sandwich with sweet potato fritters. I'm a little annoyed remembering this fact because last night I was anticipating having the leftovers as a little snack, and I discovered that one has totally fessed up...had eaten it. The kids had Cajun chicken soup, which was spicy and delicious; and Russ had an "Angry Samoan," which was pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapple, red bell pappers, basil, and something that made it hot, but not unbearably so.We also made a stop at Euerka Books because we decided that listening to The Three Musketeers is fun, but we need a text for reference or if one wants to cheat and read ahead as Russ was doing last night.
We spend Thanksgiving at some friends of my parents, who are dairy farmers outside of Ferndale. They have a beautiful one-hundred-year-old house. They must have had twenty people or so comfortably crammed in their dining room. Our families go way back, plus we all love travel, reading, music, and share similar political beliefs; so the conversations were great. We all agreed that it is wonderful to have someone about to enter the White House, who is one of our own know, the kind who read books, speak in complex sentences, and can think analytically.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hearst Castle Once Again

My Thanksgiving vacation began a little early with our annual Honors fieldtrip to Heart Castle. Paige, who is in my Honors English class this year, has probably been to Heart Castle ten times and so have many of her friends, but they still had a great time. After we go up to the Visiter's Center to see the movie that "convinces" us that W.R. Hearst was not an egocentric, war mongoring, yellow journalist, we go back to the village of Cambria and give the kids a couple of hours to walk around, eat, and shop before we head up for the evening tour. One of my favorite yarn shops is in Cambria, The Ball and Skein, but they're in the East Village and we go to the West Village, too far for me to walk in the time we have. Happily for me, though, Flying Fuzzies was open. It's mainly a cross stitch shop, but she has yarn too, and I always enjoy seeing the unique variety of "handcraft" items she carries. I ended up buying a bookmark counted cross stitch kit to make for my mom for Christmas; and, although I've mentioned innumerable times that I don't need more yarn for years, I couldn't resist some Fiesta Alpaca/Tencil yarn. The color is "African violet," and it's just beautiful. I don't think forty-six is least for me. I've seen lots of "old" forty-six-year-olds, but I don't act or feel old most of the time. Still, I have to admit that riding on a school bus for several hours has never been comfortable for me, and it gets more uncomfortable every year; however, I do get some good knitting done during those long drives. I finished my socks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back Again

I guess I'll begin with the knitting blogger's cliche: "I've been knitting; I just haven't been blogging." It is my choice to teach college classes, so I shouldn't complain, but I do sometimes feel like I'm being a bit of a sell-out to my values by working so much. On the other hand, it's pretty rewarding...and I get paid well, which means we can do more special family things, so I should just "put up and shut up." As one of my friends at work would say, "That's a good rationalization."

I've been knitting some saguaro socks, using Colinette Jitterbug. It's a free pttern from Ravelry, and I love it. I also love Jitterbug. It's so cushy and soft. It ws nearly 80 degrees today, so I won't be wearing them for a while still, but I'm enjoying working on them.

I have lots of projects in the works. The main reason for this is that I had an "extreme knitting" Saturday with a couple of my friends. We spent the day visiting local yarn shops. There are three in Bakersfield: Bead and Yarn Studio, which has recently moved to District Blvd. across from the Dreyer's Plant, ABCs of Creative Pursuits, and Classy Knits and Yarns. We had a wonderful time browsing, buying, and just enjoying each other's company. Add a nice lunch at the Sequoia Sandwich shop, and we had a perfect day.

I had a nice opportunity to knit endlessly last weekend. We drove seven plus hours up to Chico State to look at the campus with Paige and her best friend. Russ and I loved it up there, lots of beautiful, old trees, and a lush park with a stream running through the center of town. We stopped at U.C. Davis on the way home too, which is "only" five hours away from home. Russ and I have always liked Davis. We have a good friend who went to school there, and we, of course, appreciate the great natural food choices. Paige and Kai are used to going to Co-ops to find lunch when we're in "healthy" towns. Paige's friend, Melissa was a good sport about it, but I noticed that she didn't try any of the hummus or tofu that we bought....Paige really surprised me a couple of days ago though, saying that maybe she'd prefer to be closer to home. I'd love to see her go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which is barely two hours from us, so I guess I better pretend that I don't care. (LOL)

This has nothing to do with knitting either; in fact, it kind of is an "anti-knitting" thing since it kept me from knitting a lot of the time for four years. I sent a chapter of my thesis to the Polish American Studies Journal for consideration for publication last month, and. they accepted it, which is really exciting for me. I read on their site that last year that they accepted 26 percent of the articles submitted to them, so I feel quite academic. My friends have been appropriately impressed, and then they ask if I'm getting paid .