Sunday, 29 April 2012

Where Did I Leave My Motivation This Time?

I did find an excellent way to motivate myself to crochet more of them granny squares this morning: Two hours of knitting with cotton yarn barely thicker than double sewing thread, on 1,5mm thick needles, and after that crocheting went like a dream.

On the upside I found out that my gloves (yep, that thin thread is becoming gloves. Maybe. If I can ever finish them.) won't need as many stitches around as I feared, even working that small. That is the difficulty of making my own pattern though: All the experimenting takes a lot of time.

Silme Learns to Crochet: Day 1

Unblocked... and will probably have to grow to become something useful.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Season of Mutinies

Mutiny #1: I have since around X-mas been refusing to take my arthritis medicines. The cortison made me fat (though it helped on my joints) and the quinine makes me so sensitive to sun that I cannot be outdoors (even in winter) in daylight. Since I haven't seen the rheumatologist since august or so, this has so far gone unnoticed, but now she knows. Since my trip to Texas kept me from the worst winter chill here I am doing unreasonably well (one more point in favour of Texas...) and she somewhat grudgingly let me go on without medicines until october but with the order to call her immediately if it starts to hurt.

Mutiny #2: With Daniel in faraway India, Suz and I took over his office. >:-)

Socks!

Toe up socks, knit according to instructions from the book "Socks From the Toe Up" by Wendy D. Johnson.

I am very proud of actually finishing them. Two of them. I was at some point, after knitting the first up until the rib but before beginning on the second one, thinking it would be nice to knit them up to the knee. As it turned out I had to grit my teeth together and force myself to finish them at all. But now I have them! They are a nice dark olive green, not grey like it looks on the photo.


Burying Corpses





Seven bags of debris carried off so far. A few flashes of bright blue, and some tones of pale pink that had survived the winter caught my eye, as well as recognizable zinnia, all bleached and colourless.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Work'n'shit

While one would think I am completely obsessed about Texas since I am still blogging about it almost three months later, in fact the delay has to do with me having prioritised other things in my life, thus not sitting down and making the massive effort to go through all the photos at once. On the other hand, I do enjoy my weekly 30 minute session of reminiscing...

So what the hell is up with Ms. No-life - actually being busy? Basically, I have been slowly promoted at work throughout the years. The past year I have been co-managing the IT dept., and the past few months have been hectic seeing as the CTO is expecting twins any day and any hour now, so there has been a massive handover going on. And now I am on my own... I think it'll be fine, but I haven't found my pace yet. It'll come. 

On my spare time I try to wind down - music, both listening to and singing, a whole lot of knitting, and even drawing some (long time since I did that!). In the autumn I gave up trying to get the puzzle of both having time for hobbies AND doing chores and I now have a regular cleaning lady that comes in twice a month. Bliss. Though she hides my coffee jar in different places every time, which is kind of exciting in the morning when I want it NOW. Still, even with those measures taken, the past two-three months I have not even been able to find the time to read the one book a month I am "supposed" to read with the reading circle. The stack of books is staring threateningly at me from the shelf. Eventually I will hopefully get through the backlog.

And I found time for a little project which I will blog about after the coming long weekend. Ping Aimee! :D

Texas: The Kozy Coach

Having written about the Wagon, I cannot leave the trailer out of it, can I?

So, let's check the same points as we did with the car...

Heating? Not so much of an issue. When Erik got the fridge running, it was almost sufficient to heat the interior on its own, and the electric heater more or less cleverly hidden inside the old heater's shell had much less of a job to do. The main issue I had with the KC was, as with the car - doors.

The doors were notoriously hard to close once you got them opened - especially from the inside. Some violence was needed, which made nighttime excursions to restrooms an exercise in stealth which was not even attempted.

From the outside I tended to give the door handles one tug, and then leave it to Erik, since I could feel the metal giving under my hands and I didn't want to break the handles. In the end one came right off in Erik's hands after I had moved back, once again having gotten the feeling that it was giving too much. He had a new handle lying about, having intended to exchange it eventually, but that meant an evening of playing locksmith became a more immediate concern.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that it was like sleeping on a small boat - rocky. It meant two things: Another point against moving stealthily about, as any movement made the ship, I mean, the KC, rock wildly. It also meant I slept very well, being rocked to sleep by our movements and the wind - or at least I did until the wind picked up and the movement combined with the sound of an approaching, hooting freight train on the other side of the road was enough to wake us both, the first night in Marathon...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Yarndragon is expanding its hoard

Some new friends. Some of them are from the end of last week - and a pair of needles are thus not pictured. Loverly, huh? 

Texas: Marathon, Thursday Night

Our first Marathon sunset




First pizza, then Snake Bite Saloon (Erik kindly took this photo for me, seeing as I hadn't brought my camera for the evening's outing). After a drink there (Erik might've had more than me), we headed on to the White Buffalo, where I used Erik's camera to take the two pictures of dead critter heads above, and where Erik received a shortened and to my ears somewhat disjointed account of a basketball came (Duke-UNC) that he had missed while we were in Big Bend and very very offline.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Texas/Big Bend: Departure


Two days after the nightly rain shower things were bursting with delicious, lovely green!



Stone slide leaving scars on the mountain. I wonder how long it will take before it is no longer visible. 

At the entrance (or in this case, exit) to the park. Goodbye for now, Big Bend!


Texas: Big Bend - Marathon

Thursday, February 9.: Going to Marathon
Erik suggested we could do some more sightseeing in the morning, and leave for Marathon in the afternoon. I on the other hand had figured one thing out from our trip down from Midland - and that was that we might need the day unless we wanted another midnight arrival. Thus we started out early, and as predicted after having surveyed the landscape both upon arrival and the day before, we had to move at a rather leisurely pace up the hill to Panther Junction. The hill mightn't be steep but the Wagon did not like any kind of incline when pulling that trailer, no matter how unnoticeable to any other car.

That said, we got to P.J. with only two stops, one road side and one at a small grove of cottonwoods that had grown up around a well. Imagine living out here, in this beautiful desolation! I could do it and love it, no doubt, but just as doubtlessly I would become even more eccentric than I am at a rapid pace. And the people that dug this well, set up this windmill, they lived out here without any kind of modern amenities, scraping a living out of the desert. Tough people, no doubt about that.

While rolling slowly up the hill, Erik suddenly asked me if I had eaten breakfast. Somewhat surprised I realised I had forgotten, just having drunk two cups of coffee. He had done the same, so we stopped at P.J. for a sandwich in the trailer (trying to dodge the flies), as well as topping off the gas tank before heading off back to what can, with a little imagination, be called the civilisation.

Rolling down from P.J. towards Marathon we counted mile markers to find out exactly how long the hill was, having come up it at night. 10 miles, where 1 mile in the middle was flat rather than downhill.

The last cool-down stop in Big Bend was at the ranger center at the park entrance, where we waited for a while before rolling out. Now the road took a turn for the hillier, up and down, up and down, and the stops were frequent. Suffice to say I got good close-up looks at a vast number of mailboxes...

During one stop, at a picnic area, a border patrol officer turned around and came back to ask if we were OK, having seen the hood up. We later encountered the same man at the border patrol check point, where they all had a good look at my Norwegian passport. The question if we were both American citizens came out as a statement and an arm was already lifted to wave us on when we spoke up. Interesting...

Back in Marathon we found Marathon Motel, and the space allotted to Erik's stay (the plan being that he would stay for a month). #13. Neighbours: On two sides, none, just a view of the landscape, on another side a hispanic jew (Hey, Erik, did you ever figure that one out?) who sometimes played very load music but were very courteous in his initial admiration of the car and trailer.

We then headed out to have a look at the place, found a grocery store with a small selection of groceries, a larger selection of ice cream, blankets, and other tourist attractions, two bars, a pizzeria and a restaurant that looked (and probably are) expensive. That evening offered pizza and tequila, before walking back to the RV park in the dark, encountering large deer on the way. Another night in the trailer...

Texas/Big Bend: Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail/Oasis.



Windmill = well = green.
These things are pretty awesome, many of them have been there for generations and are still working! 






A flock of javelinas came trotting across the road as we were leaving, there were around 15 of them, coming across one and two at a time. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Texas: The Ranch Wagon

The Wagon has a personality, and she has some issues that range from annoying to funny, depending on your mood that particular day, the weather, and how fast you want to go from point A to B.

She is a beautiful girl, no doubt about that, but hey.. let's talk about what was NOT so great about her (mainly to give y'all some more detail of my trip, the things that were repetitive and thus are not being mentioned often - or at all).

Erik was late coming up to Midessa - and missed meeting up with his friends the weekend before - due to the Wagon overheating and thus having to go slow. She was mostly doing fine without the trailer at this point, but with the trailer the temperature would slowly creep upwards until it was bumping 250F and the need to stop and let her cool off was apparent. When she got hot, she was happy to blow hot air at our feet, which was a feature that ranged from lovely to exasperating as it got hotter in the car.

The driver side door wouldn't open from the inside, and it was thus necessary to roll down the window to open the door and get out. Not too much a hassle, until, as we were crawling south from Midland/Odessa towards Fort Stockton (with frequent stops to let her cool off), the window decided to not go back up. So, now we had hot feet and cool heads. Later that day, after the sun went down, she suddenly stopped overheating and rolled along happily from somewhere between Ft Stockton, past Marathon and until somewhere around the entrance to the park. Unfortunately, that meant she refused to blow hot air at MY feet just as the temperature was dropping (apparently she was still warming Erik's side up). My arthritic joints soon protested the chill (by sending bursts of intense pain up my nerves) and I spent the rest of that night's drive huddled under a blanket which Erik kindly dug out of the trailer for me when I timidly mentioned that I was getting cold.

So, there we were, driving along in the pitch black desert night, now with a car that was temporarily not overheating, window down, Erik warm, me cold, when the lights suddenly went out. Noone knows which speed we were actually driving at, since the speedometer was not hooked up, but we stopped quickly enough as Erik hit the brakes. This happened once or twice more before we determined for sure that it was the brights that would suddenly turn themselves off, and so we drove without them, only flashing them on now and then. I developed a temporary fear of curves in the road due to this... it passed, but that evening any turn we had to make had my pulse going up.

Driving without the trailer was fine out in Big Bend, even going up some at times rather steep hills. Hooking the trailer back on to leave for Marathon meant frequent stops again. I swear, that car needs to stop and breathe more often than I do. She was doing fine for a couple of days, trailer-less, but when we left for El Paso to fly out (Erik back to Ft. Worth for drill, I going home) at the end of the week she was going hot even without the trailer. From what I hear, this was getting worse and at the end of the month she was apparently overheating without the trailer too..  What measures Erik was taking to try to solve the problem did not work out. If she has been fixed since then I do not yet know - the saga continues...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Selbu-mitten for my phone

The colours did not turn out right in the photos - the blue is a dark turquoise almost sea green in colour, while the black is, well, black (not dark grey). 

A one-night project which means I got something finished, rather than adding to the heap of ufos (unfinished objects). 



Shawl

Knitting from knitty!

Blocking...

The Berroco yarn turned out to be the first of the souvenir yarns to become a finished item.

Shawlette - with so long a span that its main use will be more scarf like.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Texas/Big Bend: On the Lost Mine Trail

Off to a good start. Child-free area!



One of the many holes in the mountain. Swiss cheese, I tell you. 




She seemed to like the clicking of my camera, she kept looking at me and coming closer when it clicked, then another deer moving uphill spooked her - and she stopped again when my camera clicked some more. So, in this photo she was spooked and running 15 seconds ago. Curious little creature.

We walked up a forested mountainside (above)  only to crest the ridge and see desert on the other side (below), a clean cut line along the ridge. 







And the photo Erik took of the deer that snuck up behind the guy that was telling us about it (and exaggerating about its size):