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'Cause sometimes I even surprise the knit out of myself.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wow so much to much to tell

Let's start off with the first order of business, 2 FOs to talk about today. The first is the super secret blog-snooper project of September. It's Sairy's wedding shawl.

Pattern: Summer Lace Shawlette by Sandi Wiseheart (Interweave 2006)
Yarn: 3 balls of Plymouth Royal Bamboo
Needles: 10.5 Addi Turbos
The next FO was literally finished the night before the second day of Rhinebeck. (The first day I wore my Tilted Duster b/c I ruined my Silver Belle. More on that at a later date). I finished the sleeves and seamed the pocket. Voila! Instant FO.
Pattern: Wicked by the Zephry Girls

Yarn: in colorway "poison". I love this yarn!

Needles: Size 6 Addis

As stated in the Rhinebeck poem, Sairy and I bought Schacht Ladybugs and Lazy Kates as evidenced below.
I bought some pencil roving to practice my drafting technique. Now I playing with plying. Here is the BFL pencil roving.

But now I am on to some fluffy, soft salmon colored merino. Yeah! Sorry for the blurry picture.
I can't tell you how much I adore the fall. I love apples, pumpkins, the colors, the slight nip in the air. This is my season for sure. Sugar Maples are my favorite trees followed closely by Japanese Stewartias. Why do I love Acer Saccharum so much? Take a look.
The best part of the weekend was the once in a lifetime photo the hubs let me take of him on my spinning wheel. Would anyone like to clone him? He did pretty good too. He's very supportive of my crafty endeavors, although my excitement over all things fiber cracks him up a bit.
As of tomorrow evening, I will be on a plane to Disney with my SIL, Tammy (aka KubusKrafts) to see my godson, Andrew, friends, Ruth and Joanne, family and later in the week, my friend, Wendy. We are going to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Sunday. Bet you can guess what I am going as this year, huh? Was I too obvious? LOL.

YAAARRRRRRRRRRR Have a good week all!
(P.S. I'll tell Cap'n Jack you said hi)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Rhinebeck Poem - The Weekend Recap

'Twas the Saturday of Rhinebeck, and in the Main Barn,

The Fold was stocked up on all STR yarn.

I grabbed two nice hanks off the hooks with great care,
To buy it all now, it later won't be there.

Jess at Golding and Kristy in the Brooks Farm craze,

Sairy and I wondered about in a fibery daze.

Christine had given us a lesson to learn to drop spin,
To prepare for the wheels we wanted to begin
When what to our fiber-crazed eyes should we see,
But two Ladybugs for sale at Carolina Spinnery

The credit cards ready for the Bugs and Lazy Kate,
My plastic came out as I claimed the Schacht's mate.

On alpacas, on bunnies, on Brooks Farm and more,

On cider, fried artichokes, and fiber galore.

As we trudged through the crowd with all our spinning gear,
The Ravelers all smiled and let out a cheer.
The spinners said congrats and smiled with great pride,
That these two knitter girls had gone to the dark side.
We nestled the Ladybugs, all snug in the car boot,
As we headed back to the booths to bring home more loot.

The parking for the Rav party had the neighbors all pissed,
So the meet-up that night we, unfortunately, missed.
Sairy on her wheel and I casting off Wicked in my lap,

Settled in for the night for a well-deserved nap.
On Sunday, we checked The Fold, who had recently re-stocked,
Sairy, a moment of weakness for the Socks that Rock.
To our dear fiber friends, adieu we do bide,

To start our way home for the 4 hour ride.
We re-count our yarn haul much to our own fear,
The yarn diet begins until Rhinebeck next year!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I feel. the earth. move. under my feet.....(and it wasn't from all of the mojitos I consumed this week)

6.1 earthquake. Seriously. Here's the scenario. It's 6:48 AM EST on Saturday, October 11, 2008 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I am on the 16th floor of the Caribe Hilton Towers, ocean side. I was dreaming I was walking through a hallway on a cruise ship slamming into the hallway walls as I try to keep my balance on the rocking ship, as if to be drunk. I was rolling back and forth on my side in my sleep and the hangers in the closet were swinging and clanging. I thought I may have even heard the distance rumble of thunder. After a few minutes of that, reality kicked in that I was not on the cruise ship in Italy nor was I drunk. I was in a hotel room in Puerto Rico and my hangers were dancing in the closet. Ummm hello? So I opened one eye to see the clock read 6:48 AM, realized I was rolling back and forth on my side pretty badly, heard the rumbling, and started smacking my friend, Wendy to wake up. I needed validation I was not losing my mind or having hypoglycemic tremors. So I jolted her out of sound sleep, where she was being rocked in her slumber by the quake, and both laid in bed wide-eyed for a moment until the waves subsided. We didn't hear any alarms or yelling so we assumed everything was fine. Wendy, not feeling totally spiffy from a sinus cold, fell fast asleep as I lay awake through two more aftershocks lasting another few minutes or so. Eventually, I fell back to sleep myself and then hit the computer to google the quake when I was finally coherent an hour or two later.

We are pretty high up, see? We felt it more than folks on the ground since the center of gravity is less the higher you go up. It was the weirdest wave feeling and not the 2 second, like someone switched on a blender kind of feeling you get in California. We were swaying like rough waves going from port to starboard on a cruise ship. What was freaky about this particular quake was that it occurred on the 90th anniversary of the 1918 quake that killed 118 people in Puerto Rico. I also went to the seismic activity website and posted a report of the quake.

Aside from that excitement, I had a really good mini-vacation. I arrived on Wed., October 8, 2008. My status surprisingly had me upgraded to first for both segments which was a nice addition to vacation mode. I had one of those fully-reclinable seats in first that had like 14 freakin' buttons to control the seat. I hated these seats folks. Upright was not really upright. The upright position held you at an odd angle with your back unsupported, which for my back pain lately, was not a good thing. I felt like an adult laying in a baby carrier. It was that kind of angle so be forewarned if you have a bad back and have to sit in those seats. Grab yourself some pillows for extra lumbar support.

I was picked up and brought to the hotel about 2ish. The first thing I do is run smack into Toby Ellis, a bartending, flair, mixologist rockstar in my book on the way to our room. The International Bartender Association was having their annual meeting at the hotel so the place was h.o.p.p.i.n.g. I hit the on-site Starbucks for a quad-shot (yes I really was that tired), fired up the computer to work for the rest of the afternoon while my friend finished monitoring at her doctor's site, and sat out on the balcony for a few minutes. This was my view from the 16th floor, an old Spanish fort at the ocean's edge.

Here is the view of some of the high rise hotels on the beach in San Juan.

That evening the first order of business was to get myself a nice chilled mojito. We went downstairs to the bar before you walk out to the pools and met our mojito man, Jose. People, he makes the best mojitos I've ever had in my life. Hands down. We then went to an Asian fusion restaurant on property surrounded by banion trees, peacocks and koi ponds. The place was called Lemongrass and we had food that mixed puerto rican flavors with asian. It was damn good too. We had another mojito back at the Oasis bar and took in a local 8-piece Puerto Rican salsa band.

On Thursday, I worked up in my hotel room on the balcony, not a bad deal at all, and my friend monitored her other site during the day. For dinner, we returned our rental car to the airport that we no longer needed and met up with Wendy's local friend who took us to Old San Juan for some authentic Puerto Rican cuisine at a place called Raices. The waitstaff were all in traditional Puerto Rican dress.

This is mofongo. It doesn't get anymore Puerto Rican than this as far as home-style, stick-to-your-ribs, Puerto Rican comfort food. That yellow thing is a crispy plantain chip, which I love to begin with. Mofongo is served in a mortar/pestle style bowl. The plantains are mashed to form a bowl of sorts on the inside. In the middle, you can order different things. I had marinated skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Our friend had the traditional pork ribs and Wendy had garlic chicken. People, I will just say YUM and leave it at that. To wet the whistle? Homemade sangria, of course, in super-chilled, peasant-style tin cups. What a yummy night. Vacation has officially started.

After getting back to the hotel, we go back to the Oasis bar to acquire some more mojitos and people-watch, which is like a freaking sport. The bar was virtually empty and Jose was off for the night so we were introduced to Rafael and Aventi. We go find two seats on the backside of the bar that faced out to the rest of the semi-open air venue and watched the activity. Tonight was the last night of the bartender conference and their gala black-tie event was just about over at 10PM. We figured the place will be hopping shortly.

Mojitos in hand, we start chatting. You know when you can feel someone staring at you, like eyes burning through you? Yes, we had noticed we were being pervertedly stared and smiled at by two older gentlemen in suits. I use the term "gentlemen" VERY loosely here. We ignore it and go back to our conversation when one of the younger bartenders, Aventi approaches us. He leans in with this apologetic expression on his face and says, "Ladies, the two guys over there told me to tell you that you are......goddesses." He shrinks back as though one of us would smack him. We looked at him like two deer in headlights. Wha? As if in slow motion, we look over at the two men, who then smile, drunkenly tip their glasses, and say "you are so beau-ti-ful with distinct PR accents. We nod thanking them for the compliment and quickly turn away. Aventi comes back again. "Um, they want to buy the drinks you just ordered." We told him we already paid Rafael and nod with gratitude to the men for the offer. Not wanting to really speak with the men who were already two sheets to the wind, we resume our conversation again. Suddenly, I noticed the men were no longer there and stiffened. A hand was on my back. I turn to Wendy and one man was near Wendy's back and the other was positioned between our two stools. So after dribbling about how we are goddesses (please, whatever drunks!) then start the small talk and we politely and cautiously oblige. Son of a ..grrrrr!. They both worked for pharmaceutical companies local to me which means the odds of me seeing them again are pretty high. So after they finish chatting us up and obnoxiously flirting with women at least 25 years their junior, they mosey back to their seats.

Meanwhile, some more people watching opportunities have established themselves around the bar. There was a wasted radiologist who starts to kiss the face off of a man she doesn't know and then smacks him. I mean, priceless and wildly entertaining. The bar is hopping with bartenders prepared to party it up on their last night in town. Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, UK, Finland....all kinds of countries represented. Fun conversations, the music is playing and the perverts return....crud.

At this point, they are becoming more of an annoyance having dealt with the looks, drunken glass tipping, and smiles for the last two hours. Now this time, it's just the mustached pharmacist guy that kind of stared at us in a creepy, pedophile kind of way. He starts rubbing her back and trying to tickle her while conversing to which she quickly addresses him in a more curt manner than previously polite. He apologizes and then moves on to me. I ignored him until he blatantly put his hand on my right cheek through the back of the chair. I lurched forward, roughly grabbed his hand and addressed him. He apologizes again. Now I am feeling very annoyed and a little threatened. The bartenders had been watching them all night and would give us the eye if we felt they were being aggressive or troublesome, in a protective dad kind of way. Little had I noticed, but the 3 gentlemen next to me had also noticed the in appropriate behavior and caught Wendy's eye. By the time, the mustached pervert stuck his knee through the back of my chair and tried rubbing my butt with it saying something about "if the scenario were different". That was it. It's on beotch. This guy was about to get decked, but I wanted to keep my composure. Wendy addressed him abruptly on my behalf and he finally left. By the time, I felt the next hand on my back, Wendy was like no- no, it's ok it's not him since she saw me stiffen and be on my ready to slug the guy or lay out the law, totally out of character for me. Turns out the 3 guys next to us came over and asked us if we were ok. Once the perverts left the building the whole mood changed and we chatted with our new bodyguards, Icelandic bartenders, and Oasis bartenders for the rest of the night. I think it was 3 AM when our heads finally hit the pillow after all of the fun chatting.

Friday was the first official vacation day. We started the day with a fantastic double rainbow.

That is a smug "I'm on vacation look" if I've ever seen one, huh? So we started the day by heading out to Old San Juan again for some shopping and dining options.

Friday night we ended up eating at a Middle Eastern restaurant at outside tables. We had kibbeh, hummous, falafal, marinated olives, bread, baba ganoush and pistachio flan. Of course, more sangria was in order. Two Arabic gentlemen started a conversation with us and we chatted for a little while. We bid them good evening and got a cab back to the resort.

After the earthquake experience on Saturday morning and a few thunderstorms that rolled through, we hung at the resort and explored some more.
Here is the koi pond outside of the Asian restaurant I was talking about earlier.
They followed us all around as if to say, "Feeeeed me Seymour!"

A pair of black and white swans, who were extremely friendly, mingled with the fish, along with the colored and albino peacocks.

Saturday night was our last night in town. We decided to eat at the Spanish tapas restaurant on -site. We chatted with some folks in the restaurant and ate at the bar. We tried a red and white wine to go along with the tapas which were very tasty. After that, we headed over to the Oasis bar for one last mojito and bid our bartender friends good-bye. I am seriously not a lush. I really don't drink alot. I love mojitos though. It's my drink of choice next to Guinness if I am on vacation. Just like Guinness tasting like crap outside of being in Ireland, mojitos are a latin art form, eventhough the drink is really Cuban, but I digress. I get my fill since I know I won't have any for another year until I go back.
This is Willie. I finally got him to crack a smile. He's a little shy you see.
There was another salsa band and our bartender, Jose, would dance around the bar. He was such a friendly, nice man. He spoke to us as though we were his daughters.

We took one last picture with Jose before bidding him goodnight. Maybe next time, Wendy and I won't be so shy to take him up on that Salsa lesson. Thanks Jose!

Next up: RHINEBECK AND RAVELRY PARTIES! Where my stitches at yo???

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Tom Jones Effect and NJ Fiber Festivals- Weekend Picture-Heavy Wrap-Up

Wow, still crazy busy over here at Chez Knitballs. I had a packed weekend and then just got home from a business trip tonight. Phew! Anyway, let's get to the details, shall we?

My Mom LOVES Patrizio Buanne, a young Italian crooner from Naples, Italy, who's style is reminiscent of the Sinatra, Dean Martin, big band and swing era. Certainly, as any Italian who's family elders grew up in the 40s, I was raised knowing the words to the Italian songs. Attend a few Italian weddings and tell me you don't hear Volare and An Evening in Roma. One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey" by Lou Monte. Yep, I drug that one from the vault, didn't I?

So anyhooo, I drove my parents to Atlantic City back in April for a show, from which now on in the is post will be A.C. as us Jerseyans refer to it. They loved it. I, however, sat agape most of the show in observing the severe Tom Jones Effect that had overcome the female audience members. I watched in horror waiting for the bras to get launched onto the stage. LOL. Patrizio is really good, don't get me wrong, but the people-watchin' is wildly entertaining.

My mom had checked his MySpace page a few months ago and saw that he added an A.C. show for this weekend, for which we promptly ordered tickets and I prepared to chauffeur "the rents". So I went to the NJ Fiber Festival in the morning to help Jessica set up and then went home to pick the parents up by 11AM and headed off to the shore. Ironically, on the way down, I recognized the person behind me in stopped traffic on the Garden State Parkway as my godmother. So I ran her cell phone and stated, "So do you always make it a habit to follow your god-daughter to Atlantic City?" She then realized it was me and the 4 of us had a full-on conversation in accident-haulted traffic.

We ate lunch over at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Taj Mahal once we arrived. Another dose of irony, is that I sat in disbelief as my mom proceeding to repeat the storyline of the Guns n Roses "November Rain" video that had just popped up onto the screen and commented that this was the song I used to play on piano. Wow. Impressive there, mommers.

Oh and mom is also part of this Buanne Babes club for Patrizio and my dad had this um...well 'very colorful' T-shirt made up for her that says, "I love my Patrizio." The paint splatters...well um I just don't' know what dad was thinking, but it's the thought that counts right, even the thought occurred oh say circa 1985? *shakes head* LOL.

Le Pole Cat.

So while I am at it, I guess I should provide proof of the Tom Jones Effect. Exhibit A proves he is, in fact, quite easy on the eyes. BTW, his eyes are the color of that ocean shot above.

Happy Pre-Birthday Mom. I hope you enjoyed the show.

Now...grab your coffee and spinning. On to the good stuff... NJ Sheep and Wool!

So on Sunday, after 3 hours sleep, I drug my sorry butt back out of bed to prepare for what would be a super fun day full of good friends, laughs, baaaaaaaaaaaa sheeeeep, and lots of fiber.

Sairy is representin'. Where my stitches at, yo? Here we have Cheeky Redhead, Christine and Sairy hamming it up for the camera. People, it was a quad-shot espresso day so the silliness began pretty early on. And Susan, was literally a walking billboard for Jessica's fiber. She can drop spindle like mad. People were fascinated watching her. She truly can "sell fiber to the devil" as was stated throughout the day.
Here is Jessica, ready for Day 2 of the fiber festival!
Ok, now bring out the tissues for the drool. This is only half of the wall she had. Look at the colorways. Are they not gorgeous? I bought some for myself too, fo shizzle.

"stoner sheep" as I refer to them.

This guy was like a fluffy teddy bear.

Don't let this angelic phase fool you. This is a ferocious sock-eating wee beastie, the infamous "Ozzy", my parent's dog.

Yoga dog demonstrating "downward-facing dog"

Eye See Ewe! I love me some Alpaca.

We had so much fun. Look out Rhinebeck!
Oh and as of this time tomorrow, I will be sipping a mojito in Puerto Rico........finally.

Knitballs OUT!