Sunday, September 30, 2007

Show and tell

The Amazing E was in town this weekend, and a lot of progress toward the wedding plans. We have a tentative date, we have a reset engagement ring, we have some ceremony details worked out, and we have a ketubah picked out.

My pretty has been reset. It's a size three! I want to thank a special friend for helping us out with the jeweler. Thanks, special friend!
I did start working on those monkeys on Wednesday. Scott wants to show you the progress.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More 4x4 fun: Mauna Kea

After getting the yummy curry, we got onto the real business of the day. We were driving up to the top of Mauna Kea. This is a nearly 14,000 ft volcano with some of the best telescopes in the world on top. To sum up now, we were at sea level at noon in the Waipi'o Valley, and were going to be at over 13,000 feet by sundown. Let the challenge begin!

This adventure started with driving the Saddle Road, and narrow and shitty road that runs between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in the interior of the island that crests at over 6,000 feet above sea level. Most rental car companies specifically forbid taking their cars on this road, but the Jeep was allowed.

We wanted to see the sunset from up there and then attend the nightly astronomy program at the visitors' center back down at 9,000 feet. I get goofy at high altitudes, so my Amazing E did the driving. It's a good thing too, because I did get goofy. (Stop, I can hear the giggles of "How do you know the difference. Believe me, there is one.) Here's me goofy at the top of Mauna Kea.

And E was a champ up there.And this is that sunset we wanted to see, from above the clouds.

Then I said "Uncle" and we drove down. Like I said, I get goofy up there. In fact, we went all the way down to sea level to make me happy. I couldn't stay up there for the show.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My hope, my disappointment


The yarn on the left is my new hope. It is the Gypsy Girl yarn. I will make with it my Monkeys. It now holds my hopes.

Because they have been dashed by the yarn on the right. It's the Trekking. The Trekking is very pretty, but it really sucks. It has no stretchiness of any kind. I just frogged almost an entire sock that I'd knitted of it. Say goodbye to it before it meets its fate. This is a first, a skein of yarn wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. I guess sometimes even little guys like this have to be tried as grown up projects.As for other socks, E's second bribery sock is nearly done and the 100 stitch socks are still coming along one row at a time (although I'm ready to frog them as well).

Hawaii: the 4x4 challenge

We got some training for driving the Jeep on that trip out to the beach, and put it to the test on day 6.

That day, we left Hilo and traveled north along the coast toward the Waipi'o Valley. It's a beautiful, old, and huge valley in the northern part of the island. This is a part of the island that would probably look like the other Hawaiian islands than most of what you've seen so far. There's been a lot of time for erosion up there.

Waipi'o is very secluded. I've visited the overlooks on other trips, but have never been able to go into the valley because the only road down there is a steep, one-lane, nasty thing that requires four wheel drive. But we drove down!And we went to the beach. It was a very nice beach with good sized waves and powdery soft black sand. Then we drove back up that road. Take a look at the horizon in this picture.
Next, we got back on the road and stopped for Thai food in Waimea. Yes! I can eat Thai food again!

A decision

I have made one. How about that.It's the Rheingold Wrap. I want a warm cuddly for this winter.

Bag of crap

Well, I did it. I ordered that bag of crap from Cherry Tree Hill. And guess what I got... yeah, it was crap.There are two large hanks of crazy fringed ribbon. One even has glitter. Also, a large hank of baby mohair loop. HOT PINK! chenille fluff, and a nice little hank of fingering weight alpaca. The alpaca is the only thing I like. I'm sure I can make that into a pretty lace cap for a gift or something. Also, I got a pair of needles, a color card for some crappy yarn, and three lousy patterns.

Yeah, at least I got one thing I like. And the needles are good. I am very disappointed again, however. I mean, why two hanks of lousy fringe? My biggest outrage is that they did so much advertising about a horde of Supersock, and didn't give any. If I'd gotten one skein of that instead of one of the fringes, I would be happy. But NNNOOO. Fringe galore.

In conclusion, the Cherry Tree Hill Orphan sale used to be good. But now it surely sucks. I'll not be ordering it again.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hawaii day five: MB, Amazing E, and Pu'u O'o

Day five greeted us with a beautiful sunrise. We got up early on the east side of the island and walked over to the shore to see the sun come up, and we were not disappointed. This is a sunrise double rainbow over Mauna Kea. Aww. Very romantic.
Then we headed to Volcanoes National Park for real. First we stopped by the rim of Helemaumau, Kiluaea's from the 1800's up until the 1960's. Mark Twain was here, and saw this thing seething with lava. Smoke and steam still come out of the floor, and they let you walk around down there. We stopped for a while to let E get some rest.
The day's delay in going to the park allowed us to collect some intelligence about chances of seeing lava. You see, for most of my lifetime lava has been erupting out of the Pu'u O'o vent. The eruption is building a smoking cone that can be seen for miles. BTW, the name of the vent sounds like Poo-ooh Oh-oh. The opening of the vent faces toward the sea, and lava tends to flow down that way and into the water. It's quite a sight to see, and E and I had planned on hiking to wherever that would be visible.

However, sometime this summer a new vent formed on the other side of Pu'u O'o from which lava is flowing inland. You can't get to the lava right now. However, we heard that there was a chance of seeing it from a hill in the middle of the lava field that was formed back in the 1980's. That was only a short hike, so we decided to do it. Boy was it worth it. With the help of some binoculars I picked up on clearance right before we left, we were able to see lava coming out of the new vent. Now, this was not lava flowing on the ground. This was lava spraying out of the earth into the air. Fireworks for the new year! From left to right, that's me, E, and Pu'u O'o.

Next we drove down to see the sea. That's a natural arch of lava.
Lastly, this is the recent area of lava flow going down to the sea. I am presenting it to you with my best Vanna White pose.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Regularaly scheduled programming

I'm taking a break from the vacation engagement story to bring you some regularly scheduled knitting programming. I can't guarantee that this won't be interrupted by wedding mishegas.

Well, it already has. I was sort of having a bride "moment" (okay, it was a day) the other day. It wasn't a bad one. Mostly, it had to do with not having any idea what we're doing about a wedding yet. I'll feel better once some things are actually nailed down. You know, little things like when.

In my "moment" I got a hold of Tzurriz. Her solution, of course, was yarn shopping. For therapeutic purposes only. She took me to Nana's Knitting Shop in Oak Lawn. And she is an enabler. Oh, and did you know that this yarn store is in the middle of all the wedding vendors in the southwest suburbs? Yeah.

I bought yarn. I was powerless before the yarn in that condition, but I only bought sock yarn. And now I have to go on a yarn diet. (Stop it. I can hear you sniggering now.)It's Gypsy Girl in Winter Solstice. Sigh. You know, I think I know my problem. I'm not knitting enough. I'm sure I'd be more relaxed if I went back to knitting more.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day four: feral chickens attack

Sorry it took so long to continue here. Wedding planning, jetlag, and work have stolen my brain.

Could day four really have been half way through the trip? We were having soooo much fun. Especially considering the engagement, it felt like an early honeymoon.

Like I said, we spent the night at an inn near the Volcanoes National Park. Going to that park was one of our priorities, so we stayed nearby and planned to spend the whole day there. However, our huge plans for day four were foiled. But we had fun anyway.

Most of the park is fairly high up in altitude and has very few water or other facilities. Additionally, we were planning a day hike across the lava field to see if lava could be seen entering the ocean. I've done this hike before, and it's a serious one. So I packed for serious hiking and we got in the car and headed over there.

Dun dun dun.

It was not to be. We got up near the park entrance and E turned green. I suppose we'll never know why. Perhaps it was the sudden change of altitude, or the jetlag catching up, or both. Anyway, we made a planned stop for breakfast to see if that would help him. He ordered some bacon and eggs and stuff, but had to pack it up and take it with him. And back down to sea level we went.

Poor guy. He needed to rest, but it was two early for checking into the next place and couldn't go back to last night's accommodations. So I took him to Lava Tree State Park, a nice quiet spot were he could nap on a park bench while I walked around.

The interesting thing about this place is that (guess what?) lava flowed here once. If flowed through the forest and hit trees. When that happened, a pillar of lava formed on the side of the tree facing upstream, with a mold of the burning tree forming on the other side. It's kind of a neat thing to see.
The Amazing E took a nap on a picnic table while I walked around. When I returned, he as being stalked by a half dozen wild chickens. Really. Stray chickens were surrounding my future husband. They looked pretty serious, too.I guess he felt like he had to placate them somehow, so he fed them some of his breakfast bacon. And eggs. Somehow I think that idea is wrong on many levels.

After that, we took a drive to the Puna coast and did some snorkeling. The trees were lovely there, so I'll show you.
By mid-afternoon, we were both beat. So we headed into Hilo, ate early dinner, and went to the hotel and stayed in all night.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day three: Jeep tricks

There was a reason for renting the Jeep Wrangler. It's an uncomfortable tin can of a vehicle, but it beats all shit off road.

We started off early and went to Pu'uhonaunau National Historical Park, the Place of Refuge. Not only is it an interesting historical site, but IMHO it has the best snorkeling on the island.
E apparently likes to take pictures of flowers. Here is an artistic flower picture he took at the park.

We also went snorkeling, of course, and had a great time. The reef there is deeper and hard to access (you got to just from a ledge into the waves), but it was worth it.

Next we went to the beach. Possibly the remotest beach on the island. To get there, you have to drive over a lava field for several miles until the "road" becomes too rough even for the Jeep, and then hoof it the last 1/3 mile. This is where we left the Jeep at the end of the road. I think the 4 or 5 mile drive took an hour each way.Then we climbed to the top of a hill and saw this:
It might be the prettiest beach I've ever seen. And almost no one goes there. That might be why it's so pretty. In fact, it's so remote and unused that green sea turtles nest there. And do you see what else is interesting about it? Look at the sand near the bottom of the picture. It looks green. That's because it is green. There is a large olivine deposit there that is eroding into sand. Awesome!

After spending some time gawking, we drove back on that some road. And Dude, people stay along that road in Tee Pees.
Lastly, we went to the southernmost point in the United States. It's windy there. That night we stayed near Volcano National Park.

I found this picture

This is me right before I became the future Mrs. E.

The rest of day two: the snorkel challenge

Okay. After the proposal we had a whole day ahead of us, so we drove down to Kona town. The city wraps around a bay and most of the restaurants seem to have balconies with views of the water (and the sunset at the right part of the day). We headed down there for breakfast at one of those restaurants. Basically, we ate and mooned at each other for an hour before carrying on with the day.

The next item of business was getting snorkeling gear and going in the water. E had never been out for snorkeling, so this was going to be an adventure. We got the gear (I had to rent a prescription mask) and headed to a shallow reef that is easy for beginners. He was a little nervous, which is very understandable. Sticking your face in the water and breathing at the same time is an unnatural act. But he was a champ, and in no time we were having fun. Afterward, he declared it his favorite past time.

The rest of the day had a lot to do with dealing with jet lag and tiredness. We lay about a lot, ate dinner, and got to bed early.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Day two: what you've been waiting to hear

Let me start the description of this day off by saying that the Amazing E talked about going to the Cloud Forest for three weeks before we left on the trip. He wanted to go to the cloud forest, and he wanted to go the first morning. It was the only thing we wanted to do at a specific time. And it was really cool. And he really, really wanted to go.

OK, E. I get you.

The "Cloud Forest" is most of the way up the Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii's third active volcano. It makes up the western point of the island, and last erupted in 1801. It rises about 8,000 feet above the nearby coast. We went, what, 4,000 or 5,000 feet up. E told me that he's read about the place, that there was a nice winding road up there with forests and views of the sea below. Also, it's an interesting place because being a big old mountain jutting out into the sea, it creates its own weather and is often covered in mist. When we went, the view was clear at the elevation where we were but the mist was hanging a bit above us. Another interesting thing I heard about it was that the Marines who stormed Iwo Jima (you know, that famous battle WWII battle with the tear jerking picture of men raising the American flag on top of a mountain) practiced the operation here because the size and shape of the two volcanoes is very similar.

So we drove up there and got our first views of the island. Here's what you see.
Where we were is a lava field with these interesting dead looking trees all about. It seems like these trees live primarily on recent lava flows. So the area is rocky, like rocky with sharp rocks. We walked around there for a while. I kinda had a suspicion that himself had some plan for up there, but he was walking around and talking and acting tired and nervous. So I thought that I must be wrong about my suspicion, and decided that he wasn't going to do anything interesting except look at the view. So I sat down on a rock and started telling E about the trees.
That's a blossom from the trees. There's a romantic story about them, so I thought I'd tell it. The flowers represent one of the volcano goddess's, Pele's, lovers. While I was telling the story, E started walking around in little circles sort of behind me with his hands in his pockets and sighing. So I ask, "Dude, what's up?"

So he walks around next to me and tries to kneel next to where I'm sitting. Now, this is crunchy lava and he was wearing shorts, so I ask again, "Dude, what are you doing? That's sharp." Or something to that effect.

Next, he looks at me with the cutest face and says something like that he was trying to get comfortable. And then he goes "and ask you to marry me." Then he said something like, "I have this ring," and showed it to me.

I dissolved into a blubbering mass of jelly. I believe I took the ring and clutched it in my hand while I collapsed into his arms and laughed with tears shooting out of my eyes for several minutes. I suppose he was dying for an actual answer and what was going through his head while I was out of mine. After letting me bawl and laugh for a while, he says that he'd need an answer soon. Of course I said "Yes."

After that I pulled back and asked if I still had the ring and I showed him that it was still in my hand. He's so cute. E took it and said that he wanted to tell me about it. The diamond is a family heirloom that has been in his family for about 130 years. The ring is in a simple solitaire setting now, but he wants to reset it for me. To make it mine. We'll do that soon.

I'm so happy that I'm going to be Mrs. E. I'm also honored that his family has welcomed me in such a touching way. Thank you.

Hawai'i: Day One

Here I'm gonna tell you about my trip, day by day. There will even be pictures on most of the posts. I'm 100% exhausted right now, so this will come over the next day or so as I recover. I'm sorry I can't come to knitting this week to tell everything in person. Tonight I am dead, and Wednesday I have Shakespeare tickets. Some of you will hear the stories in person on Yom Kippur this weekend. The rest of you have to wait!

First let me say that things started off sucky. I worked 12 hours on Friday and was pissed off as all hell by the time I was done. I was so crazed that I forgot it was Shabbat (!) and went to bed. Go up Saturday morning and delivered the kitties to my Grandpa's for cat sitting (thanks, Grandpa!) and called the taxi for the airport.

The first flight was to Dallas. The Amazing E got in just after me, and after a short layover we left for LAX, and then Kona. We got into Kona at around 9:30 local time, both of us exhausted. After a small meltdown, we got our luggage and Jeep and left for the hotel, 20 miles to the south.

End day one, tired but in two pieces.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's a little too big

Here's a picture of me still knitting that Green Tea Raglan. See?

It's a little big. Probably more than expected. I'll have to find a way to make it smaller so I can wear it properly on my tiny little self.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A few pictures

Here are a few pictures for now. I'll post a long and boring day by day journal of the trip when I get home.

This one is the Waipi'o Valley. We drove down there. All the way down to that beach.

This is us at the volcano. E needed a nap and someone thought we were really cute.

Romantic sunrise over Mauna Kea, complete with rainbow.

This is were we had to leave the Jeep behind on the way to a green sand beach. Not even the 4x4 could make the rest of the way.

I'll tell you about this flower later.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Crispy critter

The Amazing E and I have been fairly far off the map for the last several days, and time back in the world is short now.

Suffice it to day that we're having a great time in the sun and sea. It's utterly awesome here. The computer I'm using doesn't allow me to upload my photos, so I'll have to post them when we return.

See you soon.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Sorry for the scare. Somehow this got published before I was ready.

I can't find my other Panda Cotton sock! They're my favorite socks, and I wanted to wear them on the plane. I'm worried about its well being. See, I went shopping the other day for the trip and was sitting in the middle of my living room floor taking tags off things and packing them. One thing I wanted to do was to try on my new store bought socks. So I pulled off one of the Panda Cotton socks to try it on. Then I walked around the house with one sock off for about an hour. I don't know where I took the second one off. It is entirely possible that I took if off in the middle of my floor. And that one of the socks got scooped up with the trash. I hope not.

I get in the taxi to O'Hare in 24 hours. Yeeee!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


38 hours from now, I am scheduled to be on the airplane. However, what is likely to be in my seat is some shredded bits of myself because I believe I will plotz before then.

I have come here at this time to bitch.

Mind you, this is not the pre-plotz state that I used to get into while I worked at the very stupid government job. That is the good news here. This is induced merely by having too much to do, and not by crisis. I'm just exhausted; I am earning that vacation this week. Yeah, there isn't enough time in the day lately. But that's what vacation is for.

I haven't had time to knit, so I'll not be able to wear the Green Tea Raglan on the plane. Boo. I guess I'll see if I can finish it on the plane.

In other Hawaii related knitting news, I have located a yarn store in Hilo. I will go there and check it out when I need a break from my travelling company.

Since you asked, I will try to update the blog at least once or twice while I'm there. And I'll try to put pictures up.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Almost ready...

The time has almost come. I've been there twice before, you know. The Big Island of Hawaii is my favorite place in the whole world, and I'm going there with the love of my life. So excited. Right now I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

The trip will be 10 hours of flying time in each direction. This is plus the layovers. What can I say, I bought the tickets on my frequent flyer account, so direct flights were out. Fortunately, the Amazing E will be in the seat next to me for all but the first and last couple of hours. Despite all his amazingness, I expect to need something to do on the planes. I'm not the greatest flyer. Not that I get scared (have tons of trans-oceanic flying experience). I'm just uncomfortable and bored in that small flying tin can. And I can't sleep.

Of course, knitting will be on the in-flight agenda. I'll bring the Green Tea Raglan, if it's not done. Also, I'm thinking of the Oriel Lace Blouse. With that much knitting time on my hands, I feel like working on larger sized, flexible needles is in the interest of my hands. Also, I will bring E's second Bribery Sock.

The front of the Green Tea Raglan is done up to the raglan decreases. Take a look. Check out where the current needle line is compare to the back. After the front is done, only one sleeve will remain. If my PM doesn't kill me with crazy work, I might still get it done before the plane.
I've also finished packing, for the most part:Does Scott TC want to come with in that bag because he'll miss me, or because he likes to sleep in the sun?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No, not really. Don't try to go there.

But we did get together last Friday night at Nadia's lovely new home in Carol Stream (whilst her husband was out with the dudes). A gracious host, she fed us cheese pizza and a super yummy artichoke dip. My sister, Cheeez, who taught me how to knit, was also in attendance. She was in town on a visit from her super secret job. It was a fun evening of knitting and being women. Much like SnB, but with way more comfortable chairs and better food.

This is a snap of the SNBWB group. Nobody seems to have thought to take any at Nadia's.
BTW, keep voting! I find it amusing that so far you all want to see me as a burrito.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Is it noodle kugel?

No, it's yarn. Back when , you remember that day when we ransacked The Fold? Well, that day I bought 8 ounces of single ply undyed Icelandic wool. It's a bulky weight, and will be used to make myself a lovely winter ensemble. Hat, mitten, etc. I dyed it today.

It started with three colors of acid dyes. There was some idea in my brain of doing a hand painting thing with a plastic bottle and the dyes. I wanted a rich, purple-y blue with flashes of yellow. It came out like this:
In other words, crappy. Where were my rich colors? Where was my beautiful yarn?

So I mixed up some double strength dye, poured it over the yarn, and popped it in the oven for a half hour. Now my yarn is dyed with TRIPLE STRENGTH! And has the richness of a noodle kugel without the calories.
You'll know me this winter because I'll be the one looking like a Smurf after the first sleet storm.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Winter projects

September. Could it be here already? I guess it is. I will be finishing up my two spring/autumn garmet projects, the Green Tea Raglan and the Oriel Lace Blouse, soon enough. I mean, I have 20 hours of airplane time coming up shortly.

So, I'm thinking. What winter projects should I do? One has to be easy; it will be the black and sari silk jacket I tried to do last year. It's frogged. The pattern was crappy, so I need a new one. But I also want a hard project. After looking at Knitterary's books over the last year, I've determined that the hard project has to be an Alice Starmore creation.

Which one? There are so many that are just so stunning that I'm having a hard time picking. So I'm putting it up for a vote. (Not that the voting results will be binding.) Here are the candidates from Herself's website.




Rheingold Wrap

I bought the crap!

Well, I did despite your advice on the matter. Keep looking here for the Cherry Tree Hill yarn Pr0n. You know, even bad pr0n is still Pr0n.

Oh, and hello New York.