Category Archives: family

Vacation 2010 Monday October 18-NC

Sunday night we spent in a hotel just off the interstate in Hendersonville, NC.  We have family nearby and it was a good location to start the next day’s activities.  Dinner was at a nice Italian restaurant on Broad Street and they had the best pesto butter for their bread!  YUM.  As good as the meal was, I could have eaten a meal with bread and that butter and been satisfied.

I am a BIG fan of the Peaches & Creme yarns – the last cotton yarn spun in America from American Cotton, dyed in America by a family owned business.  The factory is located in Old Fort, NC not too far from Asheville.  Sis agreed to let it be our first stop on Monday, and I am so glad we did!

I met a fellow Ravelry member that lives nearby and we were able to see all the colors and different yarns produced by the company and spent some money at the outlet store.

A few of the many colors - too many to choose from!

Here is the yarn we took home.  Sis bought a bagful for the Pink Ladies to knit and crochet baby hats and bibs – I have the rest!

Yarn and thread - what a lovely pile!

Lunch was at Mustard’s nearby and we all enjoyed our meal – then Sis and I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We wanted to get some maps and info and get to the Folk Art Center before it closed.  Success!  Beautiful structure, and just jam packed with all handcrafts you could imagine – pottery, quilting, wood working, weaving. glass work, and more.

Our hotel for the week was a lovely motel right on the river in Chimney Rock, The Carter Lodge.  We could step out on our little balcony and look down on the river and then up to see Chimney Rock!  The room was cozy and the beds were quite comfy and it was a good place to call home for our time in NC.  Believe it or not, it was still light and we ate at a restaurant in town, also overlooking the river.  The food was fantastic – Sis had the chili and it came in a huge bowl and I was a bit jealous I didn’t order it.  She did give me a bit, along with a taste of the cornbread, too.

We watched the sun go down over the mountains and I took one of my favorite photographs

 

Evening sky over the river

 

Vacation 2010 – I’m back!

Hello out there in blog land!  It has been some time since I visited with you and I have traveler’s tales from a vacation the end of October.  Sis and I do enjoy traveling together and have similar views and likes so it goes well.   Stage one was getting out of the house, no mean feat as neither one of us has learned to travel lightly.  Watching travel shows where the host dangles a little pack from his hand containing all the necessities of life for 4 weeks strikes me as odd.

Yes, we can stop and purchase whatever we need at a handy neighborhood Walmart, but why should we have to buy a replacement item when we already have another one right here that can be tucked into the suitcase?  I am also an…ahem…unusual size and have to buy clothing in a couple of stores that aren’t quite as ubiquitous as WM.  So if I need another blouse or pair of slacks, I can’t just run into a nearby chain store and get something off the rack.

Sis has a cute smallish car that is amazingly roomy on the inside so there is always room for one more thing.  Almost always.  No wonder we prefer car vacations.

This was the first year we traveled primarily by GPS.  Sis has an iPhone with the AT&T Navigator app.  It works well, but you have to double check it because if you choose shortest route you may be driving through someone’s back yard on the way to the neighbor’s field to cut off a mile or so from the distance. This happened to us returning home from a visit to our brother.  We wanted off the interstate because I-75 Southbound on the Sunday following a major holiday weekend is not for the faint of heart, or those unwilling to spend a few hours in 3 lanes of a parking lot.  We followed the iPhone and it lead us to a state highway to a county road to a gravel road to a dirt road.  You can imagine our relief when the dirt road ended at a state highway.  We had no idea what might be coming next – a deer path, perhaps?

Fastest means you will be driving interstate.  Even if you have to drive 10 miles in the other direction to get to the interstate and 10 miles to get from the interstate to your destination.   I did learn to use the different features of the GPS to prove that yes, we were following reasonable and logical directions.  Is this sense of victory I felt a bit odd?

The first day of marathon driving finally ended in the northern part of SC and found a motel for a much-needed night of rest.  At breakfast the next morning Sis spotted a baby.  Sis is a Baby Whisperer.  Babies love her and she loves babies.  They are simply enamored with her, and this little boy was no different.  He was with his Dad and we all had a nice visit while the adults finished their breakfast.  Time for getting on the road again!

It wasn’t long and we noticed a roadside sign directing us to the last remaining covered bridge in South Carolina, Campbell’s Covered Bridge.  It was only 11 miles off the highway so we detoured, and so glad we did!  What a lovely little park and covered bridge a short walk from the parking area.

Campbell's Covered Bridge in South Carolina

The goal for the day was Ceasars Head State Park in South Carolina.  It is on a very wind-y road with switchbacks and beautiful views.  Not too many guard rails and the drop off is a bit close to the road for those with altitude issues.  Sis likes to drive in the mountains simply because it DOES bother her and driving helps keep the motion sickness under control.  She also thinks I spend too much time looking at the scenery and not the road.  No problem.  As passenger I get to look at the scenery all the time and take pictures.

Apples were in season and we stopped and bought a small bagful from a man on the side of the road.  Cameo apples were a new variety for us, and they were so good we bought more before heading back to Florida.  YUM.

Since we arrived on a beautiful, clear Sunday and the leaves were changing, there were LOTS of people in the park and finding a parking place was a challenge.  You must get out and walk out on the overlook.  It was a stunning view.

The Overlook at Ceasars Head State Park in South Carolina

Some cousins have a vacation home just over the border into North Carolina and we stopped by to see if they were home- nope.  We missed them by a few hours.  The dam our grandfather and great-grandfather helped build was a few miles farther along the road so that was our next destination.  Here is a picture of the falls over the top of the dam.


Waterfall over the top of the Dam

The end of the first day of sightseeing!  More vacation pictures and stories coming.

My New Vision

I’m sorry things have been a bit quiet around here, but with Ravelry and Face Book there isn’t much computer time left for my blog.

Thought I would let all you in blog land know about my “New Eye.”  As with many of us baby boomers as time passes genetics and sunlight  take their toll.  I have the sun damage to my skin (thanks to working in the environmental field) and a newer event, cataracts.  The doc said “early onset” so I don’t feel totally ancient but cataracts none the less.

As a small child I watched my grandfather and great uncles go through the traditional surgery – days in the hospital with the head propped up in a specific position and no bending over for quite some time.  Not any more – the Interocular Lens they use require the tiniest incision on the eye, a laser to demolish the old lens then replaced that with a tiny scrolled-up corrective lens.  Day surgery and you go home with drops and instructions.  Mine was on Wed morning.  At least not at the break of dawn.

The idea is most people won’t need glasses for general vision.  Except for me. The dratted astigmatism ruined the no glasses plan as I will still need correction.  Return to regular activities as long as comfortable, except for swimming and high velocity racquet sports.   Not A Problem.  Haven’t played racketball or tennis for over 20 years.  And my knees would whine if I even picked up a racquet.

Everything went well and I was assured that I wouldn’t be aware of the procedure.  They were right but I did drift towards awareness at one time and advised them, “I believe I am a little more aware than I choose to be” and then went right out again.  When I mentioned it to the doc the next day he tried to hide his grin…

So I call my improved eye my “new” or “bionic” eye.  The difference in vision is amazing.  The ads on TV showing vision with cataracts is like looking at a fogged bathroom mirror are correct.  My research prepared me for the return of clarity to my vision but not the degree that colors simply GLOW.  Wowza.  I can SEE in the shower (been nearsighted with glasses since 8 years old and seeing ANYTHING without glasses or contacts is …amazing…). Colored soap was my first choice so I would be able to find it a bit easier when dropped against the white tub.  No more searching by feel!

The rest of the story – My Niece (DN1 for Dear Niece #1 – there is a niece-in-law and she is DN2, truly a dear and a niece) was married in a lovely garden ceremony in north Fla over Labor Day weekend.  More about that another day.  We had returned on Monday and I walked into the House of Dustbunnys on Tues to find the bedroom carpet going squish.  Ick.  Never a good thing.  Plumbers out on Wed, not the plumbing.  AC problem!  AC people out on Thurs  and the portable unit I was using instead of the central decided over the weekend to malfunction and pee all over the floor.  The nerve.  The cat has more manners.

New central AC unit going in on Monday.  There is still coolness because I had purchased a tiny window unit but hated the thought of drilling holes in the window and the portable WAS working.

SO…House of Dustbunnys is on the upward spiral now.

Sock progress

Yep, still working on my first pair of socks.

You can see the finished first sock in the upper left, and I’m up to the heel wrap and turn stitches on my second.  I got a lot done last night at knitting group.  We went to a new restaurant, and they have LIGHT.  I could SEE what I was doing!

I like the way the second sock is “pooling,” the pattern that develops with the color changes of the yarn.  It changed abruptly when I had to start increasing for the instep, but that is part of the fun – watching the colors change you make each stitch.

Knitting Nancy or Crochet Part 1

One of the things I enjoy and have done for many years is crochet. Grandmother crocheted beautifully and I remember watching the silver hook flash as she worked on another medallion for a tablecloth. We (sis, bro, and me) started on spools that Daddy had driven four finishing nails into the top. I now know this is called “Spool Knitting” or using a “Knitting Nancy.”

Crafty pod has some illustrated instructions on how to do this

http://www.craftypod.com/?p=100

There is a free e book available at Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/22029

This is a great website. The author is an engineer and brings his willingness to test and evaluate every step of the process. He begins with a detailed history of the various implements and proceeds to reviews of the modern craft and toy tools. A little more than half down the page is a section on using a toilet paper roll, Popsicle sticks, a rubber band and some yarn to make a knitting nancy that is safe to use in school.

http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/knittingnancys.html

If you have some time, check out his other articles. They are fascinating and you can really loose yourself in the analysis. The section on the ultimate super-soaker was memorable…

Back to the main topic. Spool Knitting was fun, and soon we were ready for the next step, actual crochet. The foundation of all crochet is the chain stitch and is very simple to do. We each practiced to become proficient and of course our competitive nature kicked in. Racing to see who could crochet the fastest was our next challenge. I remember sitting there with my eye on the second hand on the clock so I could call time for one of my siblings. Then we started the World’s Longest Chain. Our goal was to crochet a strand of chains long enough to wrap around our house. I remember holding one end and running around the side of the house to see how far we had gotten. It is funny; I remember working on it, and seeing if it went around the house, but not if we ever finished it. The same with racing; I don’t remember who was the fastest. I’ll have to consult Sis, as she seems to remember a lot of these things better than I do.

After we had exhausted these challenges, I was interested in actually making something different. Grandmother taught me single and double crochet. We were using cotton thread so it started tiny. As I progressed I found my tension was loosening and I produced a trapezoid. I used it as a Barbie Doll apron.

I didn’t crochet a lot as a child because I spent as much time as possible reading. I started crocheting again in college and my first project was an afghan for my dorm room bed. It was a lot of fun, and I crocheted one for my sister at Christmas and another for my brother the next year. In the years since then I’ve started a lot of projects and even finished some! Each time I pick up the thread and crochet hook I think of my Grandmother and how she not only taught me a life-time hobby but left a legacy of beautiful crocheted lace tablecloths, bedspreads, and other items she made for family. They are a marvelous and true treasure.