October Knitting Cruise/Retro Post #3…

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Mom met me in Seattle, then we spent the weekend at The Lion’s Paw Inn.  Besides shopping for scrap booking supplies and yarn, we went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The coastline along the way:


The North Head Lighthouse, and my Mom:


The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse:


On Monday, 1 October, we returned to Seattle to board the Celebrity Cruise Line Ship Mercury…

On the first evening, I started my spinning project, some beautiful pink wool from Heidi Parra at The Artful Ewe.  When it got too dark to spin, I worked on my (future felted) laptop sleeve made from needlepoint yarns.  The wheel is my friend Caryn’s Louet Victoria.  It spun a very fine thread very nicely – so nicely and fine that I didn’t finish by the end of the cruise and had to wind it into a ball to ply with more later:


Our first stop was Nanaimo, BC.  My Mom and I went on a nice historic tour of the downtown area.

This is a fillet crochet piece that was gifted to the church we visited:


Here’s an antique saxony spinning wheel on display in the natural history museum:


Then we headed over to Gabriola Island to visit Paradise Island Alpaca Farm.  While we were waiting for the ferry, we met a lovely woman, Jane, who is from about 40 miles from where my family is from Upstate NY.  Since we didn’t see the farm’s van waiting for us on the island, Jane gave us a tour of the island by car and took us to the farm.  Here are some of the alpacas we met…




The farm’s shop was very cozy with a nice selection of different weighted alpaca yarns.  I even got some highly coveted alpaca in black and gray.  Since it was so chilly, I bought a hat crocheted from a white alpaca boucle yarn.  To help artisans in Peru, the farm sends it’s fiber to make items the shop can later sell to further help the artisans.

For dinner, the appetizer I picked was a portabello aspic with goat cheese.  Since I was reading  the totally wonderful book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell, I had to order the aspic, which was pretty tasty after you get over the texture:


And here’s the flan for dessert, complete with caramelized sugar and chocolate ric-rac:


The next day, we went to Victoria, BC.  We started off by doing some yarn and button shopping.  In my rush to buy up lots of Hand Maiden yarns, I forgot to take pictures of the Beehive Wool Shop and the Button & Needlework Boutique.

After we ate lunch on the cruise ship, we went on our planned excursions to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens and Butchart Gardens.

The male Atlas Moth…and the female Atlas Moth…who will only live for about 3-5 days after emerging from their cocoons – long enough to make more Atlas Moths…



A Blue Clipper:


A Common Blue Morpho (female):


A Great Mormon:


A Mocker Swallowtail:


Another Blue Clipper:


An orchid:


One of the many Angels Trumpet trees:


And on to Butchart Gardens…begonias to start:


The Sunken Garden:


The Ross Fountain:


Some dahlias:








The Japanese Garden:


The Star Pond:


Here’s a shot of our cruise ship:


A cool hallway on the ship:


Our last day was one at sea.  I took a free-form knitting and crochet class in the morning with Tatyana Tchibova(concentration not helped by the rolling seas).  In the afternoon, I took Olde English knitting with Jule Castner.  Other classes were taught by Alexandra Immel and Susan Dirk.  That evening, we celebrated Sam’s (early) birthday on the cruise:


After the cruise, we ran all over Kitsap and Mason counties on a search for a size 1, 47″ Addi Turbo Lace needle to no avail and met up for dinner with Spring, Venita, Maria and Kevin at the Outback.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic at dinner.  Spring gave me her clapotis-inspired scarf from her own hand-painted bubblegum silk.  Now I don’t have to covet it from afar!

The next morning, we met up with Maria and newlyweds, Ward and Sharon, for breakfast at Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe:


We went up to The Artful Ewe to see Spring and Heidi.  I wound off my pink fine wool single with Heidi’s ball winder.  Here are some shots of the shop…can you see Spring on her Lendrum?



…and Heidi modeling one of her beautiful shawls…


Then we cleaned the rest of my things out of my house for hopefully the last time (it’s on the market).  Here’s a shot of the newly remodeled kitchen:


Retro Post #2…

Monday, December 3, 2007

Seaworld with Jim, Mary and Juan on 22 September, 2007

The orca show:


The Pacific Ocean from the Bozo Peninsula:


The baby walrus:


Retro post #1…

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Since I am sooo behind on posting, I’m going to work on some retro posts.  Please bear with my extreme tardiness!

9 September, 2007

Here’s a pic of Blue Street, Yokosuka at night.  I wasn’t driving, but it can be a bit scary to drive on this street with all of the hustle.  In my first three weeks of driving in Japan, I turned on my windshield  wipers five times when I meant to use my turn signal.  This really isn’t too bad if you consider the first five hours of driving in the U.S. after moving to Japan, I turned the wipers on five times.  There were witnesses for three of the times…


Here’s a nice Japanese man we met at a local beverage establishment…Kristen, Rich and I learned a lot about Japanese culture and history that night.  I successful example of talking with strangers…


10 September, 2007 

The next day, we visited Yokohama with the intent to shop at a flea market.  We missed the market, but went to Chinatown.  Here I am with Marlys, near the entrance to a shrine. 


11-13 September, 2007

The next week, I moved into my house and had a birthday.  I share the same birthday with Tim, and my boss’s wife, Sherri.  Another friend, Steve,  in Japan has his birthday the day before.  Unfortunately, several people were sick and couldn’t make the dinner to celebrate all four birthdays.  Here I am, cutting the chocolate birthday cake with Tim, Juan and Marlys watching.  We went to Yanchaya for the delicious meal. 


 I’ll probably do a whole post on my house, so hold your horses…

15-16 September, 2007

The following weekend, Kristen and I made the (slightly) harrowing trek to Ikea.  This was my first time driving on toll roads in Japan.  I was very glad to not be doing it alone! 


This trip re-emphasized how much I love my car (RAV4)..and this isn’t with everything out of the carts:


The next day was a pilgramage to the 5-story 100 Yen (Daiso) shop in Machida.  We had to drive instead of taking the train since we knew we were going to practice “professional shopping”.  Next time, we’re going to take my rolling shopping cart instead of dragging hand baskets and bags around.

Here’s Kristen, showing how excited we were to actually find the place after going in the bus station with her car.  We didn’t learn that “buses only” sign very well in our driving course!


Labor Day weekend travels…

Monday, September 3, 2007

Saturday morning, I successfully took the train to the future rental home’s closest station and managed to find said rental home directly, within 10 minutes of easy walking.  By easy, I mean not up a really steep hill…just a little one.  One I could bear pulling two wheeled suitcases up after riding the train for 2+ hours from the airport…but maybe not after eating one of everything at the bakery on the way. 

That afternoon, Jim, Mary and I went to Yokohama to see the Yokohama Bay Stars beat the Tokyo Giants by one run (a home run, actually) in the bottom of the 9th inning…8 to 7.  The game was great, although over 4 hours long.  I got the clapping portions of the cheers, but am still baffled by the words that accompany them!  Here’s a pic of my lunch (first course – I had to have a McD’s cheeseburger later):


For the record, I did try the fish – it was okay, but I was concerned about the bones still inside…that’s my excuse for not finishing it…yeah…

On Sunday, I went with some friends to Hase (by route of Kamakura) to see the Great Buddha.  I managed to get a sunburn on only my right shoulder.  Here I am, pre-sunburn, with the Daibutsu (Great Buddha):


Afterwards, I had the best cantalope melon ice cream ever…and a few hours later had more dessert – a slice of choco-vanilla cake.  Sidebar – I’m looking forward to making small cakes in my small Japanese oven soon.  Despite all the desserts and other carb-infested (not really, actually) foods, I am still shrinking.  Smaller Levis may be on the list of items for care packages. 

We found a Shinto Shrine on our way to the beach in Hase.  I’ve never seen ravens as large as the ones there!   

On Monday, Jim and Mary and I met up with a friend-of-a-friend and her friend – both visiting for a conference in Japan (she a Canadian from Boston and he from Ireland).  We went to Hakone and bought weekday passes that allowed us to pay one fee to ride several modes of public transit – including trains, buses, cable cars and pirate ships.  It was a great day for talking to strangers – from the young Japanese boy singing his ABC’s (the English version) to two gentlemen in the train station – one visited many cities in the U.S., the other lived in Kentucky and Tennessee for over two decades.  We all took turns helping to snap pictures of people for them on our travels.  I also added 14 years to my life by eating two black eggs hard-boiled at the sulphur springs of Owakudani.  You could only buy them six at a time, so it was fun sharing them, including with a young Japanese couple whom I refused payment – I thought being brave enough to ask in English for one was enough!

All-in-all, a great weekend.  I only ended up with four new cell phone charms and three packs or origami paper. 

Here are some pictures from Monday:






A quick update…

Friday, August 31, 2007

Somehow, in the midst of looking for a rental house, preparing an old one to sell, moving 4700 miles, and passing a written driving test in Japan, and getting invited to Ravelry.com, I’ve been sorted (85% Hufflepuff, 81% Ravenclaw, 69% Gryffindor, 47% Slytherin):

The sorting hat says that I belong in Hufflepuff!

Said Hufflepuff, "I’ll teach the lot, and treat them just the same."

Hufflepuff students are friendly, fair-minded, modest, and hard-working. A well-known member was Cedric Digory, who represented Hogwarts in the most recent Triwizard Tournament.


Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Quick trip to Japan…

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So I’m only in country for a few days, but have had a great time.  Unfortunately, I took the world’s worst pictures at dinner last night…at least, I thought they were fun and artistic last night, but now they make me dizzy.  Six of us went to dinner (Jim, Mary, Richard, Tim, Ken and myself) at a place I’m hoping to be able to find again.  It was such good food!  From sashimi, omelet, fried cheese (with mayo for dipping, of course), kimchi, fries to pizza, we tried everything.   I should have taken some pictures of the food before we ate it!  I don’t think I’ve figured out my pixelation problems, though…sorry.



Back home, my kitchen countertops are (hopfully) getting finished.  Over the last trip (and for a bit longer) the outside of the house was painted.  While the tan (a.k.a. latte) isn’t that far from the peachy color the house was before, the new green door and fresh paint makes everything look so much better! 


While I’m going back in time, the weekend before I flew here, I spent the majority of Saturday typing as fast as I could while preparing for the Luminary Ceremony at the Central Kitsap Relay for Life.  The ceremony was great – big thanks are owed to the volunteers from Girl Scout Troops 144 and 612, the three Jim’s from Peninsula Pipes & Drums, Nose Ormsby and Angela Martin, as well as all of our name readers!  My personal kudos goes to Lori Carlson for volunteering to co-chair with me.  With all my work committments, it wouldn’t have been successful without her!  It was a dreary weekend, but the heavy rain held out until the awards ceremony on Sunday.  I have been told there are a few Relay for Life events here in Japan, too.  Here’s a quick shot of the Surivors releasing their balloons before walking the first lap of the 24-hour relay. 


 …and here’s how tired you feel after the event – so tired, you don’t sleep in the tent, you fall onto it.  Actually, Jacob is attempting to pack up the tent at the end of the event.  Incidentally, his Japanese studies are two years more in-depth than my own…


Weeks two and three…

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sorry for the apparent pixelation of some of my photos.  I think I changed a setting on my new camera and that’s where things went wrong. 

I’m back in the US, but I wanted to post some of the other pics from the trip.  Apology stands…

While I was in Japan, I tried several drinks from the many drink vending machines.  This is one of the machines in a JR station – you can use your train pass proximity reader to make purchases. 

And a close-up of one I just don’t think I’ll ever try…

The flower exhibit at the National Museum of Science in Tokyo was amazing – even if we couldn’t read 99% of the signs!  The exhibit included information about reproduction, pigmentation, dyeing, arranging, sped up video of many flowers blooming, etc.  There was a gift shop.  I just realized I left the magnet I bought on the fridge in the hotel room.  Bummer! 

Here’s one of the signs:


We also went to Yunessen.  I’ve realized that no one is very photogenic when relaxing in hot springs…but here’s a picture of the creepy one where these little fish come and eat the dead skin off your feet.  The feet with the fish – Juan’s on his second trip.  The pale one on the right with no fish – mine.  Guess I exfoliated my feet enough walking on stones that day or jumped too much for the fish to hold on!


One Friday after work, Frank and I spotted the sculpture in Chuo Park and figured out (with the help of a nice elementary school teacher) how to get there:

…and a small sample of one of the many hydrangeas we saw:

I met Juan in Machida to drag him yarn shopping.  This was my first time taking the train by myself.  A stranger found me on my way to a connection train to ensure I made it to the right one, since she’d seen me check my map while riding next to me.  On the way to the shop recommended, we found an even better store – Okadaya (blue and white sign in the center).  They had entire floors dedicated to different handicrafts, and a discount card.  I bought 15 of the 21 skeins needed for making a Lizard Ridge blanket.  I figured out that I’m saving over $60 by buying it there than in the US.  While yarn is cheaper, accessories (needles, hooks, counters) are often more expensive.  No Addi Turbos to be found, either.  (Something else to stock up on besides Levi’s and shoes.)

That’s about it for pictures.  As for other tidbits: I won one game of bingo (along with 4 other people) and Mary won a door prize.  I happened upon a great deal on a RAV4, so I bought it and am very grateful to co-workers keeping it for me until I move.  I got answers to questions I had on a crochet pattern – in a mix of Japanese and English.  I used a traditional Japanese toilet only once, while in the Yokohama JR train station.  I didn’t eat sushi for all three weeks.  I’m told this is a crime, especially for me, since I love sushi.  My first meal when I got home – Applebee’s Quesadilla Burger. 

My first week in Japan…

Monday, May 28, 2007

So you might have heard by now that I’m moving back east – but to the Far East.  In preps for the move, I’m in Japan for two weeks. 

I started off my stay by finishing a pair of socks for a friend’s grandaughter – Kitchner stiches performed in the “Meeting Area” at Narita.


I’ve been lucky to have good friends also in town (and they’ll be here when I move, too).  I met Jim and Mary through church and I couldn’t ask for better friends in a new place!  They’ve been over here for a while and have the public transportation system down.

The following events are not all-inclusive of my stay…just what I can stay up to type tonight.

About 3 blocks from my hotel (and future office) is a yarn shop:


(On a Sunday night stroll, another shop around the corner was discovered – I’m bound to visit soon.)


After getting acquanted with the area, we did some preliminary rental house searching.  Mary, my co-worker-Jason (who is also moving with his family to Japan) and I got to see a newly listed rental house in Zushi.  I’d like to note that it does have an oven, but for Thanksgiving dinner, it would have to be Cornish game hen, given it’s size!



We then went to Tokyo to pick up some things at Hard Rock Cafe for our US boss:


I want you to know, I will not be without some American “ammenities” while in Japan.  Spring, do a happy dance with me:


Besides Lush, there’s also an Outback Steakhouse and Cold Stone Creamery in Roppongi. 


The long weekend was a ton of fun…a couple of things to share…

Roses in Verny Park:

Jim and Mary among the roses in Verny Park:


That’s it for now…I’ll have to tell more about the flower exhibit at The National Science Museum and Yunessen later…

A sunny day in Seattle…

Saturday, April 28, 2007

…is a great time to visit the Japanese Gardens, eat Dim Sum, meet a talkative two-year-old on a bus, and share wine, seaweed and red bean paste with a new friend.


Orange and Maroon at UVA…

Thursday, April 19, 2007

For those who didn’t know…I went to the University of Virginia…the rival school to Virginia Tech.  I’ve spent some great times at SUUSI while it’s been held for one week each summer at VT. 

 Beta Bridge

The picture above is of one side of Beta Bridge.  It’s about 1 block from my old sorority house.  I painted it a few times while I was in school at UVA.  Each side gets painted several times a week with various messages.  I hope that side is left untouched for a long time, not that the emotions of many have been granted that privilege this week.