Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012 Yarn Play

It doesn't feel like I've accomplished much in the way of knitted or crocheted projects this year. I've mainly worked on a couple of afghans. Crocheted afghans. Weird for me but there ya go. When I found this granny square pattern and fell in love with it I knew Cari had to have one for her new apartment. I love the colors and the result: (pics to come)

I also decided Bradley and Emily needed one for a wedding gift. The sunflower themed colors came together quite nicely I think. No, I didn't finish it in time for the wedding but it is what it is. They'll get it soon. :)

I've managed to knit quite a few dishcloths this year. Seems I always have one on the needles. I've fallen in love with this pattern (terrible pic,I know):

I had totally forgotten about this scarf I made for Cari. I think it was probably my first project of the year. I call the Sherbet Chevron Scarf:

Karen, Regina and I all started some toe-up socks late winter, early spring. Someone had the bright idea of trying the afterthought heel - yeah, I think it was me. Not the best idea I've ever had. My pair of socks are finished ... except for those damn heels!! I know Regina's aren't finished and I don't think Karen's are either. I've been putting off starting another pair hoping it would make me finish them. It didn't work. I needed a small, portable project for this latest San Diego trip so I started another one. I'm not sure what heel technique I'll use for this sock but I can tell you it won't be the afterthought heel!

Oh yeah, I started a stashghan sometime this winter/spring. Had to quit working on it when the temperature started creeping up. I'm just using my stash and changing fibers every two rows. So far I'm happy with the results:

I think that's all for now!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Plan ...

I can't believe it's been over a year since I've blogged! I know life gets in the way at times but hell!! Where have I been and what have I done with this past year? I vow to do better. Since this blog is essentially my life's journal it needs to be prioritized into my schedule. I can't even begin to recap an entire year in one post but I can share some highlights.

Let's see, where to begin? I guess I'll just bullet point events as they pop into my head:

  • Heidi's and Mark's wedding - June 9!
  • Heidi's and Mark's baby announcement - shortly thereafter June 9!!
  • Peanut moved on to Rainbow Bridge - May 7
  • Cari completed her 4th year at JMU - May 11
  • Trip to Carlsbad - May 15
  • Morgan turned THREE! - June 15
  • Bradley's and Emily's wedding - June 16
  • Vacation in the Smoky Mountains - June 17-23

I'm sure there's been so much more but I'll just start with those. Needless to say it's been a busy year so far and this fall is going to be just as busy. That's why I need to get my act together and be consistent with blogging.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Was up at 5:45 this morning to catch our 7am shuttle to the train station. The train pulled out at 8:15 and we had to be there an hour prior. It’s a good thing the hotel was only about 5 miles from the station. Bob found Cari’s first set of cards (Alaska Railroad) in the gift shop. I’m sure there will be plenty more.

Meeting other travelers is always an exciting part of vacation for me.  Despite being complete strangers there is that common bond of sharing similar experiences, swapping stories of what you both have planned and done. It didn’t take long to start talking to fellow passengers and hear their experiences. Just having a camera in your hand is an easy opening for conversation. Thirty minutes into shooting off the viewing deck of our car and we were friends for the day.

It was drizzling when we boarded and the during the beginning of the trip. The sky was gray and covered with low hanging clouds. Still the scenery was beautiful. The further north we got, though, the more blue sky peeked through. Imagine our delight when we actually spotted Mount McKinley! I’m hoping this was only the beginning of lucky happenings throughout our trip. Only 30% of travelers to the park get to actually see Mount McKinley. The mountain stands over 20,000 feet into the sky and most of the time is covered in clouds. I heard someone say it hadn’t made an appearance in the last 10-11 days. Wow!!! And not only did we see it, there was a beautiful blue sky as the backdrop!

We checked into the Princess Wilderness Lodge (Denali) and had a couple of hours to explore before going to dinner at the King Salmon restaurant. We picked up a deck of Mt. McKinley cards and a beautiful pair of handmade glass earrings for Cari and a sweatshirt for me that has a photo of the Mountain with a “30% club” stamp on it. After a browsing some of the other tourist trap shops it was time for our “6:21” reservation – how’s that for being precise? We both decided on the Salmon Salad for dinner. It had spinach, tomatoes, egg, red onion and goat cheese topped with King Salmon and a vinaigrette dressing – it was delicious! Our server suggested a local Shiraz to compliment our choice and we loved it! We were so sad to learn you can’t buy it anywhere else – it really is a local thing. Blueberry ice cream made with local blueberries was the perfect ending to a perfect dinner!

Denali Princess Lodge – A beautiful lodge with lots of amenities, but the rooms (at least ours) left a little to be desired. It was ok, just sparse. No closet space, no dressers, no drawers, nowhere to put anything. So we lived out of our suitcases for a couple of days. Oh and no wifi in the room. We had to go to the lodge for internet. Which isn’t a big deal except I wanted to upload some of my pictures to Facebook. Not gonna happen tonight.

 It’s 9:30pm and while the sun is going down it’s still light outside. Bob’s been out for probably 20 minutes already. I’m thankful he isn’t snoring yet. I’ve looked through my 200+ photos taken today. They’re whittled down to about 170 after the first cut. I’m actually very happy with the results considering the circumstances – shooting from a moving train among more than a dozen others trying, just like you, to get that perfect shot.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be just as beautiful and Mount McKinley will grace us with its appearance for another day. Tomorrow is our Wilderness Tundra bus tour. It should be a good time of year to see lots of different animals too … crossing my fingers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

And we're off!!!

Our morning started early at 4:15am. We left the house at 5:00am for the airport. After checking our bags and going through security we grabbed a bagel sandwich for breakfast. Our first leg left for Miami at 7:30 and it went off without a hitch.  Once we got to Miami the next two legs were first class. Bob and I were really looking forward to that.  We left Miami right on time and had a 2-1/2 hr flight to Dallas. After topping off my phone and Nook batteries, the Bennigan’s Tavern looked mighty inviting for a cold, foamy, adult beverage. The flight from Dallas to Anchorage was a long 6-1/2 hr flight but it was much more bearable in big, soft, cushy seats. It’s been a long day but we’re checked in and ready for bed. I’m sitting here watching The Weather Channel to find out what’s going on back home with Irene. But that’s it for tonight. Turning out the light …

… tomorrow we take the train to Denali!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vacation Prep

We were scheduled to leave Friday morning from Norfolk to Miami to Dallas to Anchorage. Ya gotta love those free miles. God forbid should you be able to schedule a more direct path. Anyway, I happened to have the weather channel on Sunday afternoon and happened to hear about this hurricane that could possibly be heading towards Miami - yup, Thursday to Friday time frame. Of course there were many factors driving the path of what would soon be named "Irene." On Monday it looked as if she would be right over top of Miami Friday morning, so Bob called American Airlines to see what the protocol is for changing flights in these kinds of cases. Basically he was told to wait and see. A day or so out is when they post travel advisories and at that point you can change your flight(s) without any additional charges.

So we waited - and we watched. Sure enough, Irene's path shifted and her speed increased. By Wednesday guess where she was predicted to go? Right over top of us over the weekend. Oh boy. Isn't life grand? It looked like we'd be fine getting out of town Friday morning, thank God. But now in addition to preparing for a two plus week vacation, we had to do some hurricane preparation. All the furniture and plants had to come off of the deck, the bird feeders and bird bath had to come down and in general everything that could be blown around needed to be put into the garage.

Leaving our home knowing bad weather was approaching was a very weird feeling. I've lived in Hampton Roads my entire life and we've been through some hurricanes. We have never left in anticipation of one. Thankfully, we've never had one bad enough we felt we needed to leave. I guess it's human nature to stay and protect what's yours, ya know? Not sure how we think we have enough power to do that but still, it's just what we do. And now this time, we had to leave. All our friends, family and neighbors were telling us they wish they were going with us. Knowing we'd have to rely on their kindness to check on things around here was comforting and frustrating at the same time.

(Note: In the end it all worked out just fine. The storm damage in our area was minimal for most people and our house and yard (except for normal storm debris) fared well. Maybe we should leave home for every storm, huh?)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Kenny!! 8/4/11

Farm Bureau Live – 8/4/11

Another Kenny concert bites the dust. I think last night was our 16th or 17th Kenny concert in nine years. And just think, he didn’t tour last year! After about six hours of sleep I’m sitting here with bleary eyes trying to put some thoughts together from last night. Can you believe it – Bob went to Kenny AGAIN? Cari and Matt drove down Wednesday night, so it was the four of us. And actually since the yewts got there when the gates opened, we had pretty good lawn seats.

Bob and I were dragging our feet (plus we really didn’t need to see Uncle Kracker again) and got to our seats in time to hear Uncle Kracker’s last couple of songs. Billy Currington took the stage at 7:45 and did his thing. Billy’s always good. Bob doesn’t like him, but we do.  And for an early August evening, the weater was wonderful. It was humid (imagine that!) but the temperature was around 80 and there was an awesome breeze blowing! It could’ve been so much worse.

The lights went down promptly at 9:00pm and Kenny’s music started. He likes to get the crowd pumped up and on their feet before he makes his appearance.  Um, that’s never a problem. He opened with “Live A Little” and by the end of the first song part of his shirt was a darker blue where he was already starting to sweat. By half way through the show it was completely soaked. Of course he told us he’d missed us, and that it wasn’t summer without coming to Virginia Beach last year, etc. I know he tells every audience that kind of stuff but when he says it in your own home town you want to believe you really are that special. LOL

Kenny always has a high-energy show but this one seemed a little more mellow than most we’ve gone to. He did quite a few slower ballads than I remember in the past. Of course we love them and it doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm at all. Most fans remain standing throughout the entire concert, singing their hearts out even through an acoustic ballad. Kenny is Kenny and we love him no matter what he’s singing. We felt very special when he decided to do “Old Blue Chair,” telling us he just couldn’t come to Virginia Beach and not play that song. He looked happy to be back on stage and interacting with his fans again.

I asked Bob as we were walking back to the car if he was glad he came. He said, “Of course I am! I like Kenny!” The man actually stood through a lot of the concert and even applauded with the rest of us at the end of the songs! You don’t understand, that’s very unusual for Bob. It was awesome to see him enjoying Kenny. Cari and I have wanted to be able to share that experience with him for many years now. The next step will be to get him to a show from the second or third row.

Set List:
Live a Little
Beer in Mexico
Woman With You
Big Star
I Go Back
Anything But Mine
There Goes My Life
Old Blue Chair
Living in Fast Forward
Somewhere With You
Don’t Happen Twice
Everybody Wanna Go To Heaven
Never Wanted Nothing More
Out Last Night
You and Tequila
When The Sun Goes Down
Boys of Fall

…. Til next time ….

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keith Urban - 7/26/11

Keith Urban
Hampton Coliseum – 7/26/11

Life has been a bit busy this summer. Exactly one month from this date we leave for our 16-day Alaska trip! Combined with all the other stuff we’ve managed to cram in this summer it’s been quite chaotic.

Cari came home Sunday and since she needed an outfit for an interview on Wednesday and I still needed a couple of tops for the cruise AND I had a 20% off coupon for Kohls (that expired Sunday), we grabbed some lunch and went shopping. Let me just say it was a pretty productive shopping afternoon. We got home just in time to head back out to meet Mike and Paddy for Harry Potter at the new Beach Movie Bistro. It was after 9:30 when we got home.

Monday we met Herb and Jean at Baker’s Crust for lunch and ran some other errands afterwards. Farm Fresh had some wild caught Alaskan for a change so we picked up some for dinner. By the time we got home it was around 4:00. After dinner we watched another boring movie from Netflix. Cari and I played around on our Nooks and another day bit the dust.

Tuesday we dropped Peanut off at the groomer and stopped by Dress Barn to see what kind of clearance deals we could get. We got some. Let me just leave it at that. We managed to get out of there just in time to pick up Peanut and head home to meet Regina for lunch. I put some chicken salad together for dinner and it was time to leave for the concert. I guess my reasoning for putting all this in my Keith journaling is because Cari and I weren’t even excited about the show! We hadn’t had time to even think about it to get excited. I don’t think I have ever gone to a concert before with so little anticipation. It was a weird feeling.

The drive to Hampton was really not bad – even in rush hour traffic. The doors opened at 6:30 and we were there waiting in line by about 6:25. Jake Owen opened at 7:30. While I don’t love every one of his songs, I really liked him. I’ll enjoy listening to him even more now. He played for about 40-45 minutes.

Keith took the stage between 8:30-8:45. It was awesome. The whole show was awesome. It’s been so long since we’ve seen him – except in Nashville at Fan Fair. There is definitely a difference in Keith the person and Keith the performer from the last time we saw him in Richmond (2006). I guess between the life changes he’s experienced (marriage, children) and getting clean, he’s just happy. At least it seems that way.

The title of his current CD is “Get Closer.” It’s also the title of this tour. One of the first things he shared with us was his reason for choosing the Hampton Coliseum over the amphitheater. He wanted a smaller feeling venue, something more like a club. He asked us how we liked the new stage, “with all those stupid fences gone that separates us from you.”

This new Keith seems to be all about getting close to his fans. He gave us a taste of that in Nashville when he picked our section to come up in and perform. Talk about the highlight of the entire week! There was a small circle “stage” in the center of the floor that he played several songs on, which gave him the opportunity to see and “get closer” to even more fans. Towards the beginning of the show he was talking to us and reading signs people were holding up. He spotted one that said “Sweet 16.” It was her birthday. Keith said, “Sweet 16 and never been kissed … not by me!” He motioned for her to come up on stage and kissed her on the cheek. Now how stinking cool is that? Towards the end of the show he did exactly what he did in Nashville – picked a spot in the upper section to perform. Since we had experienced that we knew EXACTLY what those fans were feeling! God it was fun! When he finished “You Look Good in My Shirt,” he signed the guitar he was playing and handed it to a little girl nearby. She looked like she was maybe nine years old and talk about being in shock! Can you even imagine?

The entire night was like this. When you see a performer having so much fun interacting with his fans, you can’t help but have an incredible time yourself. I just love watching him. I love watching him get lost in his guitar and just be in the moment. I love watching his body language and mannerisms. He’s just fun. And when he demonstrates that he enjoys us as much as we enjoy him it doesn’t get any better than that.

“Kiss A Girl” was another special moment of the night. After the first verse or so, he stopped playing and picked three random people from the audience to join him on stage. It was like a sing off competition. The people had some brass ones I’ll tell you. However, DJ was pretty damn good – he “won.” The prize was actually singing with Keith. I videoed the entire thing – it was amazing!

He took a moment before it ended to acknowledge that lots of people are dealing with tough economic times these days. There are always a lot of concerts to choose from when deciding which ones you can afford to go to. He thanked us for choosing to spend our Tuesday night with him.

The man played for nearly 2-1/2 hours, performing 23 songs. Here’s the set list:

Put You in a Song
Fly With Me
Boondocks (Little Big Town)
Days Go By
Only You Can Love Me This Way
Long Hot Summer
Stupid Boy
Silly Love Songs
Making Memories of Us
I’m In
Blue Jeans
You’ll Think of Me
Better Half
Georgia Woods
Summer Comes Around
Sweet Thing
Kiss A Girl
Without You
Somebody Like You
Who Wouldn’t Want to be Me
You Look Good In My Shirt
Tonight I’m Gonna Cry (my fave)
Better Life

I didn’t even take my camera so the only shots I got were with my iPhone. I did take lots of videos though. Walking back to the car guess who we ran into? DJ! I told him I got the entire thing on video and he gave me his email to send it to him. He was still on cloud nine! We certainly walked away from this show feeling like we got more than our money from those tickets. That concert is definitely in my top five faves, if not my top two.

... and next week we get to see Kenny again!!! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Big Pool!!"

After sleeping late, Heidi came over for lunch and we all headed over to Regina's for some pool time. Morgan is talking up a storm and parroting any and everything she hears. It's so cute!! I had picked up a float and some water balls (you know the baby loves her some balls). On the way over we were telling her that we were going to a big pool. She knows what a pool is because her MaMaw has an above ground and she loves it. You should've seen her face when she saw the big in-ground pool! So cute!!

She was a bit clingy in the beginning. I think she was just overwhelmed. It didn't take her long to get over it though. She absolutely LOVED when Regina turned on the fountains. It's hysterical how she loves to get under them and get her head all wet! Heidi put her floaties on and before long she was jumping off the stairs, the side of the pool and even the diving board. She was fearless!! We'd be playing in the water and she'd look at me and say, "Jump?" LOL When I said, "Sure, go ahead!" she'd go up the stairs and walk around to the side and jump to me. I can't even begin to tell you how many times she did that. Regina called her the little energizer bunny because she did not stop the entire afternoon. She wasn't the only one who was gonna sleep good that night.

Regina made these incredible chicken nachos for us to snack on (should've taken a pic of those too). It was the perfect afternoon! We have to do that again before the end of the summer. It was heaven!!

Heidi said Morgan fell asleep in the car on the way home, around 4:30. She had to wake her up to try and get some dinner in her and Morgan cried through it. Went back to sleep and didn't get up until almost 7am Saturday morning. I think we wore her out! :)

So sad ...

The anticipation for the final Harry Potter film had been building for months, years actually. I think many of us had conflicting emotions about this film. I was so excited about seeing it, but at the same time was so sad that it's over. We had to say goodbye to Harry, Hermoine, Ron and the rest of the gang.

Cari and Matt drove down on Thursday and we met at PMS Deli for lunch. From there we ran some errands and the rest of the afternoon and evening flew by! We left here around 10:00pm to pick up Regina and get to the theater a little early (or so we thought) so we could make sure we got a good seat. R-I-G-H-T ... There were 18 theaters (some large, some small) showing the movie at midnight. You could sit anywhere you could find a seat - with the exception of the 3D theater. We went through most of them an even 90 minuets early we couldn't find four seats in any upper section. It was crazy!! We ended up sitting in the back row of a lower section - closer than we'd have liked but it was the best we could find. The time passed fairly quickly (playing Angry Birds - LOL) and soon the lights went down and it was time ... for previews. After 20, or more, minutes of previews the movie finally started!

Those two hours went by fast. I loved the movie and thought they did a good job (mostly) of portraying the book correctly. They did change a few things but for the most part it was accurate. It was a late night. I think we got to bed around 3:00-3:30am. But it was awesome.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

25 Years!!

I guess I'm just getting bloody old. Bob and I have been married for TWENTY FIVE YEARS!!! Wow! It still blows me away! I'm so lucky to have found a man who puts up with me day in and day out. I know I'm not the easiest person to live with some days - especially with this hormone deprived, menopausal body now. There are days even I don't want to be around me. They suck. Still he loves me anyway. He may not like me some days but he still loves me. There are so many instabilities in life it's comforting to have a partner who is stable. I've always said he's my rock, my grounding rod. We are so very different, Bob and I. Like night and day on lots of things. But where it counts, home, family, core values and such, we meld pretty well.

He surprised me with my very own new Nook Color reader!! I was so excited!! I still have my issues with not being able to share digital books I buy but I guess I'll learn to work around it. At least with the Nook I can borrow books from the library and read them for free. You still can't do that on the Kindle. (On a side note, Dad is loving his Kindle!) I was in the middle of reading Iris Johansen's "On The Run" and immediately went to the library to see if I could check it out and finish it on my Nook. I could!! That was pretty cool! It's going to be so nice traveling with it! I'll really get that experience on our trip to Alaska.

We went to Burton's Grill at Hilltop for dinner. It was one of the best dinners we've ever had! Bob and I split their Mediterranean Salad for an appetizer and it's always good (with a nice bottle of wine of course). For our main course they had fresh Alaskan Sockeye Salmon that was to die for! It was over some kind of fresh corn salsa (and you know I love corn!) and slices of fresh tomatoes from Pungo. We ordered Creme Brulee that finished it off nicely! We waddled back to our car. What a wonderful day!!