Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My little leprechaun and the Zombie Prom Queen 2008 as they went off to school this morning....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rhinebeck Recap

I've already posted about my birthday, but there was so much more to the weekend. Linda, Tamara and I left early Thursday morning, drove up to Pt. Huron and across the bridge into Canada. The drive was just beautiful. It was a crisp, clear fall day. The further east we got, the more the landscape changed. Soon we were in the rolling hills, and they were covered in autumn's splendor of colors.

It was a very long drive, but I knit for several hours of it, thinking I might be able to actually finish my Rhinebeck sweater, but it wasn't to be. The chatter and laughter made the time fly by and before we knew it we were checking in to our hotel.

Frankie had arrived just before us. Frankie was a friend of ours, and was a member of our knitting group before she moved to NY a while back. She and Linda knew each other before they joined our knitting group. It was great to see her again! 

We all had some dinner and caught up a bit with Frankie, then got some sleep.

On Friday we enjoyed the fall colors some more, and the big event of the day was visiting the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park.  Click the link for lots of info, and photos of the interior. 

I loved hearing the guide tell the all about the Vanderbilt family, and the history of the magnificent home that we were touring. (Magnificent, but the smallest of their many homes). We were not allowed to take photos inside, but I got some great shots (with my new camera) of the grounds, and the mansion from outside. Here is just one of them:

After the tour, we went into Red Hook to find some lunch. We ended up at Bread Alone Bakery. Yum. After that we visited a winery, and then the indulgence of the day, we found Taste Budds, which is all about chocolate. Here's what I ended up with. I told myself all along that I was not holding back this weekend. Whether it was food, or drink, or fiber...I was going for it!

Isn't it pretty? It was sooo good. It's called Life By Chocolate (better than Death By Chocolate, right?)  Chocolate graham crust, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate glaze. Here's a peek at the inside. Mmmmm... And yes, I ate the whole thing. 

When we were done poking around in Red Hook, we headed back to our hotel for a bit, then went back out, tried to find a Geocache but Tam's phone wasn't able to pinpoint close enough. In trying to find it, we did enjoy driving through a neighborhood with some beautiful old homes. The architecture in the area just oozes history. The girls decided to get a light dinner from Panera Bread, but I still was filled up with the above chocolately goodness. We went back to the hotel and knit in the lobby, watching TV, while they ate. Eventually I walked across the parking lot and grabbed some Taco Bell when I got hungry. There were several other knitters in the lobby. It was nice to just relax before the craziness was to begin. 

I've already posted about most of my day on Saturday.  Sunday was more of the same.... walking and browsing and fondling and desiring and deciding and buying and eating and spending time with friends and enjoying the animals, etc.  I think a future post will highlight all of the purchases. 

We were back on the road early Monday morning. We left the hotel at 7am, when it was 28 degrees and there was a thick layer of frost on everything. It was actually several hours later before we saw the last of the frost. It took a long time for the sun to warm things up enough to melt it off. Enjoyed the scenery all the way home, but it was very anti-climactic.... The excitement was gone, we were exhausted, the landscape became more and more flat as we left the mountains and rolling hills behind. Before we knew it we were sitting in a long line of cars to cross the bridge back into Michigan from Sarnia, Ontario. 

I arrived back on my doorstep at 7pm, and fell into bed shortly afterwards. After a wonderful whirlwind birthday weekend, it was great to be back in my own bed. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What a day!

Oh my goodness, how much fun did I have on my 50th birthday today! 

It started early, and my first gift was on my bed when I got out of the shower, from Tam. It was a skein of pretty green Socks that Rock yarn, and the book It's Not Easy Being Green. Cool gifts, thanks Tam!

Rhinebeck was fabulous.... SO much to see, and about a gazillion people all sharing the same fun. I loved watching all the beautiful handknits walking by. That was really fun. 

I  got to meet Jane today. We've known each other only online for several years now, and finally meeting her in person and spending time with her was wonderful. It was not awkward in the least, and we really had fun. We spent some time going through a few vendor barns and then split up again, making plans to meet for dinner later. 

Tam and I continued on and bought some goodies. There was some fiber (chocolate-colored alpaca roving, beautiful autumn colored roving, black alpaca yarn and some beautiful autumn colored yarn... I wanted my fiber purchases to remind me of the beautiful landscape of the changing colors on the mountains near Rhinebeck, hence the 2 purchases of autumn colors!) and I bought a number of other fun items. The PERFECT button for my sweater (no, it did NOT get finished, but I'm still plugging away) I really could have used that sweater today. It was a bit chilly, especially when the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up a bit. I got a few Christmas gifts for Diane (neener neener, Diane!). I bought a beautiful handmade lucet.   

There were a few other purchases, and I may get a few more things tomorrow. But I enjoyed the experience so much. Seeing all the animals, all the various vendors, and like I said before, just the wide variety of handknits on everyone from infants and toddlers, as well as women and men of all ages.  

We watched the Frisbee-catching dogs, we watched the sheep-herding dogs. We wanted to hug all the alpacas, and laughed at the long bottom teeth on the llamas (I had never noticed that trait before). 

Mid-afternoon I looked at Tam and said "stick a fork in me, I am DONE!" I was so exhausted. My feet hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurt. So we joined the other hundreds of people who seemed to have had the same thought at the same moment, and slowly made our way back to the hotel. 

I iced my back, then got in the bath to soak for a while, and rejuvenated myself. We rested a bit, and then Jane and her cousin came and met us and we went out to dinner. We ended up at Ship To Shore and had a really good dinner, but mostly a really great conversation. 

Oh, and there was the matter of the BEAUTIFUL green scarf knit for me by the lovely Jane. It's Kid Silk Haze. So soft, so light, yet warm. I just love it. Thanks again Jane!

The plan originally was to go to the Ravelry party in Red Hook after dinner, but we talked for hours and ended up missing it. Oh well, I was very happy to have spent the time with Jane to get to know her a little better. Jane's cousin Gail was great to be with too. Such a nice time.

Tomorrow morning we'll get up a little slower and arrive at Rhinebeck a little later. We'll revisit some of the places we took notes to go back and look again, or decide on (or against) some things we couldn't decide on today. I don't know if it will be more or less crowded (or the same) but I'm hoping maybe a little less crowded. There were a heck of a lot of people there today. I mean... seriously, a boat load of people. 

But...what fun it was~

Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who made this day very special for me!

Pictures tomorrow or when I get home.

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm off to buy "some" wool! It's a beautiful fall day in New York....we're gonna have some big fun!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Note to self: Tomorrow, go to Rhinebeck

YIPPEE! The time has finally come. I've been planning this trip for close to a year, and it's time to go! I'm jumping out of my skin with the anticipation of it all! 

Ok, back to packing! 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fabulous Fall Foliage

What a beautiful weekend! It's been quite chilly, especially in the mornings when the temps have been down in the 30s and we've seen quite a bit of frost already. But this weekend was in the mid to upper 70s and sunny.

Saturday we had a bash here to celebrate Kim's college graduation. She now has a Bachelor degree in Business Administration. Her major was Management. She did most of her classes while working full time, so it took her a few extra years, but the hard work paid off and I can now say I am the proud mother of a college graduate.

Before the main group of guests arrived, we had a little tiny celebration for my birthday, since I won't be here on "the day". Mike wanted to give me my gift early, so I could familiarize myself with it, and take it with me when I leave on Thursday to go to RHINEBECK! OMG can it really be less than 3 days til I leave???

I got this for my birthday. I took the above photo (and those below) with it yesterday afternoon. I have a lot to learn about how it works. Right now I'm shooting mostly on automatic. Whew, those 12.2 megapixels blow me away! 

Do you know about Geocaching? I had heard about it several years ago and thought it would be so much fun, a nice family activity, and a way to get some fresh air and exercise as well as seeing some sites we might never have seen otherwise. The whole "digital treasure hunt" idea just sounded exciting! We didn't have a GPS at the time, and just recently got one. We created our account, found some nearby caches on the website, and off we went! We have found 7 of the 8 caches that we searched for over the past 2 weekends (that 8th one we've looked for 3 times and still haven't found it. It is very nearby our home so we will keep trying!) What a blast. We took advantage of the above-average temperatures yesterday and went to a nearby Metropark for a hike and to scope out a few more "treasures". Some of them are "micro" size and often difficult to find (size, terrain, and difficulty of each cache are listed on the website) Here are a few pix of Jake with a micro (in his left hand in the first picture--click for a bigger look-see) and 2 bigger caches, which are usually filled with toys or other small items for you to trade with, as well as a log book that you sign with your Geocaching name and the date. Micros are usually tiny little tubes with a piece of paper rolled up in them. You have to bring your own pen for those, and no treasures are inside to trade.

These are the 3 caches we found yesterday. Once you get to the coordinates, you never know where it might be... even up in a tree! 

If you have a handheld GPS, or have the capability on your cell phone, check out this fun activity! I just wish we had started this at the beginning of the summer instead of now, when winter will soon cut off the fun. We could have hunted outside of our local area as we traveled during our vacations.

One of the caches we found yesterday had a Geocoin in it. Geocoins and Travel Bugs have registration numbers are trackable on the website. Whoever places them in the cache wants someone to take them out and move them to another cache. Sometimes they are supposed to move to a certain destination. The one we found came from WA and wanted to move as far east as possible before heading back to the west coast. I plan on taking it with me and dropping it in a cache somewhere in Ontario or NY on my way to Rhinebeck.

Speaking of plans have changed a bit. My dear, generous friend Christine, who was going to pick me up from the airport and whisk me a way to WEBS on Thursday (and take me to NYC on Friday, and accompany me to Rhinebeck, and provide me with bed and breakfast while there) is suddenly having medical issues and will not be able to do any of these things for or with me this weekend. I am sad, and worried, and hoping she will have a full recovery without too much more pain and suffering. FEEL BETTER CHRISTINE!

SO.... I have canceled my flights, and will now be going by car with my friends Tamara and Linda (members of my knitting group for several years). Tam has so generously let me squeeze into her room since there was not a bed to be found in the Rhinebeck area at this short notice. THANKS TAM.  I have to admit I would prefer to not be in a car for all of those hours there and back, but at this point am very happy to have that option.

So there will not be a trip to WEBS or a trip to NYC this weekend, but....we will stop at Niagara Falls on our way east, and Friday will be spent moseying around, taking pictures of what I hope will be some beautiful fall colors, and some scenery I haven't seen since my last time in NY which was oh....about 30 years ago! Tam loves photography, and has a camera that is very similar to mine, so I'm hoping she can give me some pointers as we are out and about taking pictures that day. 

The trip is changed, but except for my constant concern for Christine, will be just as much fun, I'm sure. The time in the car will give me an opportunity to finish my sweater if I haven't done so by then. I'm on my way up the sleeves right now. I may be seaming and blocking in the hotel room Thursday night or Friday, but here's hoping my Hot Cocoa Jacket will make its debut on Saturday (MY BIRTHDAY!) at Rhinebeck. 

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 06, 2008


Well, I gave it a good shot... almost 4 weeks, and no less than 13 CRT lenses, including a pair that was custom made for my own eyeballs. But my eyes were stubborn. The eye that was being corrected for close vision was fine but we just couldn't get the distance vision to be clear. We even switched which eye was being corrected for close and made that the far eye, to no avail.

I was really hopeful, especially when I got the custom made lenses, that I would wake up one morning and really see clearly. It just never happened. I could tell a difference, that things had improved, but it just never was good enough. I've been walking around in a haze for most of 4 weeks. It's been very frustrating. Today, I called it quits. 

I've gotten used to no glasses though, so I am going to keep wearing contacts. I haven't worn contacts in a long time, and even then, it was only occasionally. I'm hoping I can do monovision with the soft lenses. Right now I'm transitioning again, letting my eyes go back to their "real" shape, so I can get the right prescription. It will take a few days, and meanwhile I have 3 pairs of lenses to mix and match for the best vision each day until I'm back to where I started. 

I have never been one to put makeup on every day, but I find myself doing so now. I had my eye (pun intended) on the Bare Minerals products for a couple years, and recently bought a starter kit, and have added a few more items since then. I'm getting used to putting eye makeup on every day too, now that my eyes are hanging out for all to see instead of hiding behind glasses. 

I guess I'm liking the compliments I've been getting the past few weeks. It helps that I have a haircut (and color) that I really love right now. Looks like I'm spending my last few weeks in my 40s looking better than I have in a while. If I could only miraculously lose a bunch of weight, I'd really be happy! But I haven't done the work to make it happen, so I have no one to blame but myself for that.

10 days from now I'll be enjoying the first day of my 50th Birthday Weekend with my friend Christine in CT.  I'm so excited that it is getting so close. I'm looking forward to meeting up with good friends from all over, a trip to NYC (my first ever), and of course RHINEBECK! I've been plugging away on my sweater...I am still hoping to have it done in time. We'll see! (NO pun intended that time! LOL)