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Temporary Hat

Here’s I am wearing a quickie hat I knit up for my recent visit to cold Washington DC.

pink hat

This bright, bulky, super-girly yarn was a gift from my mom and sisters! I loved working with it. Here’s a picture in progress at my local beach playground, before I left the warm weather.

Pink Yarn

My niece loved the hat, and begged for it unrepentantly every day. So, when I departed, I left it on a chair with a note to say “I love you!” It looked better on her, anyway. Here is the Boogedy and his cousin Miss M on the Metro.

pink hat on metro

For knitters, the technical specs: Araucania Calafquen, color 1501, needle size 15.

M’s Mittens

Zach and the Boogedy and I came to Washington DC to visit family for the week. This cold weather makes me want to knit, and I was really glad I brought some scraps of Koigu pppm on the plane to play around with. My 6-year-old niece flipped over the idea that I might make something just for her. I really only had enough to make some tiny, ribbed fingerless mitts.

Fingerless mittens

She hounded me every day to make sure I finished them! Every little kid should have an aunt who knits something special when she comes to town!

folded hands fingerless mittens

These mittens were even more exciting than the nutella-filled crepes we made the kids for breakfast (which I forgot to wash off before photographing these mitts).

Fingerless mittens

Here are some photos of the cousins piling stuff on top of my brother-in-law while he tried to work last night:

imageimage

January visit to Disney World

In mid-January, we rented a car and drove up to Orlando so that Zach could attend the National Tour Association conference for work. My plan was to entertain the Boogedy for a few days and after the conference, the family would head to Disney World. Our RAINY drive up made me feel a little hopeless about our plan to visit the theme park:

driving to orlando

However, the rain cleared up and left it merely cold and cloudy. The boy and I killed two days by ourselves. We spent a few hours each morning hanging out at the McDonalsds playland, killed some time at the mall, found an arcade with several bouncy castles, and ate at a buffet (which the kid thought was an Amazing Experience).

We putted 36 holes at the Pirate-themed mini-golf course (which was too many holes, by the way). This kid is pleased about his hole-in-one, but not about having to get another picture taken:

mini golf orlando

When the conference finished, we changed hotels and stayed at a Disney resort. They gave the Boogedy his own room key-card, and he was so proud of it. Here we are on Day 1 at DW, on the monorail to go to Magic Kingdom. It was a COLD day (like 58 degrees), so we were all bundled up.

WDW 01-02

I’m still dealing with a fascia injury, so we rented a wheelchair and Zach pushed me around. I liked Main Street USA.

WDW 01-03

I liked this picture of my boys in line for It’s A Small World.

WDW 01-04

We enjoyed sitting around inside the circusy Dumbo tent while the kid played with other children and ignored us completely.

WDW playland

Zach’s first bought of nausea came from his own foul gluttony. He spotted a man eating one of these Meat Shanks from across a bridge in Frontierland and couldn’t rest until he’d bought his own Giant turkey leg. We split it amongst the three of us, but it was Still too much, and we threw a bunch away before hitting Space Mountain (perhaps it is obvious to observers that this was the wrong order to do things).

WDW turkey leg

We rode Space Mountain three times on this day and five times on Day 3. All of our pictures looked something like this, but I still wished we’d bought them all.

space mountain

The most terrifying attraction of all, though, was Zach’s Wheelchair Ride of Terror. This crazy ride involved the operator letting go of the handles whenever on a downward grade, or wildly (and unexpectedly) tipping the wheelchair Way, Way back and running erratically. The operator loved the squealing, I think, and startling the onlookers, and didn’t believe it when the rider said “I hate your guts!!”

WDW 01-05 wheelchair ride of terror

The weather warmed up on Day 2, and we went to Animal Kingdom, where they have Everest, the coolest roller coaster. But at some point I forgot that I own a camera, so you’ll have to settle for this one photo of the boy brushing a goat.

WDW 02 brushing goats

Zach’s second bout with nausea came on Day 3 from this Buzz Lightyear interactive ride (back at Magic Kingdom today). The Boogedy got to spin our car around in circles while we shot lasers at Emperor Zurg. Poor Zach then wasn’t himself for the last few rides on Space Mountain.

buzz 1

Yay! Who wants more cotton candy and a funnel cake?!

Getting off the Rock: Orlando and the Upper Keys

We’ve done a fair bit of in-state traveling this winter:

Back in December, the Boogedy and I went up to Key Largo to go camping with Zach and Daisson during their Keys biking and kayaking trip. Here’s the boy in the mosquito netted hammock:

mosquito hammock

Later, dinner at Num Thai with Zach and Daisson.

thai boys

Chilly morning at the campground!

camping

 

After camping, the day warmed up and the Boogedy and I fed the Indigo Parrotfish at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. This was AWESOME. They swam between our legs and ate from our hands. These were the prettiest fish I have ever seen.

blue fish

In January we went to DisneyWorld in Orlando (details tomorrow). Before heading to the theme park each day, we headed to Starbucks because the coffee at DW was….unsatisfactory.

On this sunny morning, we sat outside the coffee shop while the Boogedy pulled pennies from the fountain. He handed them to this baby so that she could have fun throwing them back in. Such a nice boy.

orlando fountain

The McDonalds in Orlando had an awesome playland, which the our kid saw from the car and begged to visit. Here is Zach, asleep near the shoe  cubbies.

asleep in playland

And here is the Boogedy, in the coolest McDonalds bathroom ever.

mcdonals bathroom

On our way home from Orlando, we stopped at an Alligator Farm in the everglades and snapped a couple of pictures:

alligator skin

When I saw these alligator babies (maybe 2 ft long) I thought of my niece, Rachel. As a young teenager, she once expressed the absolute WILLIES about the koi store where the fish swam slick and slippery all over each other! She couldn’t control the shudders.

alligator babies

Then just last weekend, while on our own kayaking trip in the upper Keys, we stopped for lunch at Habanos, a yummy Cuban restaurant in Islamorada. This is the view of the marina and mural from our table. I love the fence.

habanos

Here is the view of my boys, horsing around at the table. I love these goofballs.

habanos boys 1

Key West Winter 2013

Some random photos from, oh, the last few months…

I volunteered to go to Key West Botanical Garden on a kindergarten field trip with my kids’ class. I didn’t realize we were going so the children could look for and identify native SPIDERS. I found one with the back of my neck. *shudder* I hope you’ll forgive my shaky camera work.

spiders

Here I am, out for a morning ride last week or so. Gorgeous weather, getting my thighs tan again…

out for a ride

The Atlantic Ocean was like a lake that day. Here is the view down into the rocks of the White Street Pier. I saw a dad with a little boy; the kid  was on a cell phone telling his mom about all the kinds of sea creatures he could see from the pier today.

pier water

Winter means that Debby comes down from Maryland and gives me classes in glass beadmaking! Here’s the view of my workspace with the blowtorch, mandrils, glass rods, and all kinds of cool supplies she was showing off!

glass bead making

Unrelated: somehow I blew a blood vessel in my eye. Didn’t hurt, but it looked like it did.

blood vessel

The Boogedy rides for joy, now, and wants to use the bike to go everywhere. He got this new big-boy bike for xmas and I just bought him his own rear- and headlights as well as a cable lock. He was thrilled that he got to choose his own combination.

riding for joy

 

 

Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels

paddle family

Part of Zach’s job with his adventure travel company is tour development and research. So Saturday Zach and I took the Boogedy up to mile marker 77 to Robbie’s to experience a true Keys Adventure: kayaking through the mangrove tunnels.

mangrove toes

Even though I’ve lived in the Keys for 2 years, this is the first time I have gone! Mostly I just let Zach paddle while I relaxed and tried not to think about the crabs crawling on the branches overhead.

The tide was really low and we saw purple squishy sea sponges growing amongst the roots.

mangrove sea sponge

I snapped a bunch of pictures, only to find that most contained two whole boys and half of my own face.

mangrove family

I caused a bunch of anxiety for this beautiful bird by standing up in my kayak to take his photo, but he never flew away.

mangrove bird

Oh look, just half of Zach’s face!

mangrove portrait

We caught sight of a small (4.5 ft) endangered American crocodile. We followed him through the mangroves, while he gave us the side-eye. Then, he bumped into a root and spooked himself and submerged with a splash.

IMG_2474

I hadn’t been on the water since we capsized a hobie cat way back in September, and it was NICE. Truly relaxing, sunny, warm. All the things people come to the Keys to experience at this time of year.

relaxing in the kayak

We bought several buckets of fish to feed to the Tarpon, massive (5-8 ft long) game fish that live near the marina. You have to be careful because they jump out of the water and open their huge mouths and they will bite your hands. They don’t have teeth, but Zach can testify that they still scrape.

IMG_2525

After kayaking, we headed back toward Key West and stopped to check out a hotel that Zach may have guests stay at during their Keys Adventure. We laid in their hammock for quite a while, while the Boogedy played on the playground. I love the palm trees reflected in our sunglasses.

hammock portrait 1

We stopped for a round of night-golf at Boondocks. I love the landscaping here. Mini-golf has become a staple for family activities and we usually hit a course whenever we travel.

mini golf kid

On Sunday, our neighbors had organized a community barbeque in our shared garden. J&B grilled ribs and a whole chicken, as well as some herbed veggies. I brought a huge salad with red onions, pears, and blue cheese, and made a balsamic vinaigrette with shallot and mustard. There were lots of other potluck items, and I think everyone was a little surprised at how much of the cherry pie I ate! That fakey ruby red cherry pie filling is some kind of a weakness for me, and I just can’t resist.

It was such a lovely weekend!

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

*******

Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!


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