Adventures in driving

I joined a couple of friends on a road trip to Minnesota this past weekend. We took the looong way there, too. Generally if I want to go to the Twin Cities, I’ll just drive north for about 5 hours. This time, though, I drove east to the Quad Cities area. Then we drove north up the eastern side of Iowa, dropped off a dog with her, er, “grandparents”, and trekked back west to the interstate — the very same one I’d usually take directly north. I think the trip took about 7 hours from the Quad Cities to the Twin Cities. Lots of car knitting time for me.

We got a chance to get rush tickets for La bohéme at the Minnesota Opera (the Ordway — so pretty!) on Friday, and we really enjoyed the show. One of the performers was a classmate of ours in undergrad, and it was really fantastic to see him perform in a professional show. (We decided that he was third male, which is a pretty sizable part. He got his own aria and everything.)

Mario hats

Bandbabe and Aramad were happy to model the hats.

Generally we just spent the rest of the weekend hanging out, drinking champagne, and catching up. I also got to give the above hats (Chain Chomp and Goomba) to their intended recipients, and I think they really liked them. Bandbabe and Aramad were more than happy to model them for me before I gave them away. I’m really happy with how the knitting turned out on them both.

Meanwhile I’m knitting hard on Glimfeather, and I really hope I can manage to finish it by the end of the month. That’s not very far from now, and I’m officially halfway through the rows. I’ve got a new 47-inch circular needle, which is really excellent. The stitches were getting really crowded on the other, which was 32 inches or something like that. I should probably take another photo now that I can actually give an idea of the size, since the stitches can be all spread out at the moment.

That’s all for now; I’ve got knitting to do.


Then, now, and points in between

Are you looking for me? I am here! I am Turkish Delight man!

The above quote? True story. Five years ago (and how it can possibly be so long is beyond me) I was part of a study abroad group leaving Ephesus. I wish I had the means to return. It was a truly magical trip.


Celsus Library, Ephesus

The Celsus Library photo is one of my favorites. Such a beautiful building it must have been, back in its heyday.

But back to the present. Or rather, the more recent past.

My hands are warmer now.

Colorful woolly wrist warmers: nice in the cold.

I’ve been steadily knitting and crocheting for the House Cup. In January I knit a pair of wrist warmers (among other fun items). They’re really very lovely, and I wore them every day for quite a while – sometimes with mittens when it was extra cold. (We’ve had a very cold, snowy winter. Not that we should be surprised by such things in Iowa, but still.)

I also participated in the Ravelympics again this year. I knit another pair of socks, and a fun mustachioed cowl, which I sent off to a friend. I’m pretty proud of the socks, which are Beatrix by Monkey Toes. I just don’t have quite the right pair of shoes to wear them with – the design is all along the back, as you can see here.

These would be great for clogs...

Beatrix socks for the Ravelympics.

I’m really happy with them; I knit them toe up, so they fit smashingly. I like being able to try them on as I go.

And the present: I’m knitting on Glimfeather, which is a phenomenally huge shawl. I think I’m about 1/3 through, and I’m pretty sure it’s madness to expect to get it completed by month’s end. But if I continue, knitting at a rate of roughly 5 rows a day, I think I’ll make it. (Five rows sounds like a pittance, but the cabled sides take around 20 minutes each and will only get longer. I think the wrong side rows are 15 minutes or so. That’s a solid couple of hours a day just on this project.) I’m also working on two other shawls, which are much, much smaller. One’s about 40% completed and the other is, well yet to be cast on.

Hopefully my fingers won’t fall off. But I’ve got my iPod queued up with a lot of great music, podcasts and audio books, so it’s not like I’m just knitting. Filling the brain with knowledge, too. Cheers to that!

Take to the road

I took a road trip with a friend last week to the Twin Cities. The goal? A concert. Not just any concert: Tori Amos. It pretty much rocked my face off. To make matters even more exciting, it was my cohort’s birthday, so of course we had to go see Tori. No matter it was the middle of the week; Wednesdays, it turns out, are the best days for adventures and road trips.

When my cohort and I first arrived in the Cities, we decided to wander the sculpture garden at Walker. Aside from the giant cherry on a spoon (ahem, “Spoonbridge and Cherry”), and the wacky iron and bronze sculptures outdoors, there’s also a humongous glass fish inside the Cowles Conservatory. It’s pretty amazing, and it had been awhile since I got to wander the sculpture garden, so it was a nice pre-concert diversion.

Spoonbridge and Cherry is a traditional sight-seeing spot when you visit Minneapolis.

Spoonbridge and Cherry is a traditional sight-seeing spot when you visit Minneapolis.

The concert itself: brilliant. I failed to take a camera, but Opal in the rough over on Flickr got some very nice photos: the traditional Oh, I’m just playing two different pianos on opposite sides, no big deal shot, and a lovely, classic Tori face. The concert was at the State Theater on Hennepin. Our seats were pretty kick-ass: row Q, on the far right, is pretty much perfect for a performer who tends to favor her Bösendorfer (the one she’s playing in the second link). And with my new specs, I could actually see Tori’s face and not just a haze of wonderful music. It was phenomenal. As my cohort said, “Best. Birthday. Ever!”

Afterward, we zig-zagged (with much more zig than necessary) our way back to her brother’s pad in a suburb east of St. Paul, where we crashed for the night. Or at least that was the intention; in actuality, there was talking and wine and sleeping very small amounts. We met up with a Luther chum of mine (whom I refer to in my head as HoJo, but is not, in fact, a hotel chain [which first I learned of back when I read the Babysitter’s Club series; I always thought it was an ice cream shop or something]) for breakfast at a coffee shop where he said he’s spent a lot of time studying. (Delicious food, and they had Reed’s Ginger Brew, which is my favorite ginger ale.) I might mention here that I successfully drove to meet with HoJo, and managed to get both my cohort and I back on the road to central Iowa in once piece. (First time driving in the Twin Cities, that. I’ve been there a few times of course, but I tend to occupy the passenger seat.)

It was a beautiful couple of days, and a pretty perfect road trip.