Friday, March 30, 2007

The Interview

Heather jumped on the interview bandwagon, and I asked her to interview me. So here are her questions and my answers:

1) Who taught you to knit? How old were you? (Stole this from Mim interviewing Jacquie)
My mother, who used to knit a lot of our clothes. I think I was about 12 or 13. I knit one sweater (which I still have and still wear once in a while), and then gave it up. I started knitting again about 1 1/2 years ago, when I was looking for a fairly portable hobby.

2) How did you meet your husband?
It was a blind date. A woman I work with and her husband lined us up, and took us for a sail on their boat on the Great Salt Lake. I think they figured that since we were both in the computer industry, it should work out. I guess it did.

3) What’s your favorite all-time book? Which author’s books will you always buy? What’s your favorite genre of popular fiction?
Aaargh! I can never choose one favorite. (I should blog an entire post on this issue!) I'm totally a "variety is the spice of life" girl. A total omnivore. I used to read a lot, but really haven't had the time to read much in the past few years. But overall, I probably prefer adventure or mystery novels the best. Some authors who have been "favorites" in past years have been Clive Cussler, Dick Francis, Nelson DeMille, John Grisham, Ken Follett, John Irving. If I judged my "favorite book" by how many times I've read it, it would probably be "All Creatures Great and Small", by James Herriott. But I have to admit that a guilty pleasure I read many times (mostly in High School and College) is "Christy" by Catherine Marshall. I don't know why it appealed to me so much, but I always enjoyed the characterizations. I never watched the TV show, though. I saw bits of it when it first came out, but I didn't really like it. (Ditto for the "All Creatures Great and Small" series.)

4) If you could knit with only one yarn for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
I haven't really knit with a large variety of yarn, so I don't have a good frame of reference. I'd probably have to choose something fairly practical if that's all I'd be able to knit with. So I'd probably go with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It's splitty to work with, but I like the feel and the drape, and knitted items wash really well.

5) What is your favorite hand-knit object? Did you knit it, or is it someone else’s work? (Also stolen! But I love this question)
The item I'm most proud of would be the VLT scarf I made, since I still have a hard time looking at it and believing that I really made it. But the item I like to wear most often is the red "Green Gable" I made. I love the feel and the fit.

So there you go. If you wanna play and be interviewed, leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll give you a list of questions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Greenback, I mean Pink Back

I finished the back of the Dollar and a Half Cardigan. Or at least I think. I'm going to block it and see if I think the fit will be right before I start on the front pieces.

That leaves me free to work on Icarus tonight. Yippee!

Un-Bleched

I will not be defeated. Not by some stupid tasteless strawberries.

Arming myself with the Internet and one of my favorite websites, I searched for strawberry recipes and came up with this one for Strawberry Bread. It sounded pretty good, and I actually had the ingredients on hand (very important - I had no plans to leave the house on this cold, snowy day). Although I really like to cook, I rarely bake. It's not that I don't like to bake, and it's certainly not that I don't like eating baked goods. But they're not exactly healthy. And my willpower is weak - if there are goodies in the house, it's nearly impossible for me to stay away from them. I figure it's better for me to go buy one yummy bakery item occasionally, rather than having a whole recipe full of them in the house staring at me. Calling to me. Singing their siren song. So as a result, I usually don't bake unless it's for other people. But because I don't bake often, I don't always have everything I need on hand, or if I do, it's too old to use. But today I was in luck, so it wasn't long before strawberry bread was in the oven.

The result? Well, it's an okay way to use up strawberries, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make the bread otherwise. But it's good enough, and I'm sure it will be even better with a schmear of cream cheese. (What isn't?)

Unfortunately, it only used 2 cups of the strawberries, leaving me with still another 4 cups to go.

So I decided to just chop and mash them up a bit, sprinkle them with some sugar, and add a splash of Cointreau. Voilà! Strawberry sauce. And pretty damn tasty. Too bad I don't have some of Gwen's lemon sponge cake from last night, this would be fabulous over it. I'd make some shortcake, but I used all my flour in the bread. Well, I guess it will just be ice cream topping. Or maybe I'll warm up some slices of the strawberry bread, and top it with the sauce. Excuse me while I go eat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blech

Don't be fooled by those beautiful, big, red strawberries at Costco. These must be ones that have been genetically modified to be red long before they're ripe. I guess I'll be making something out of them that has a lot of sugar in it.

The Lacy Bits

Yipee!! I'm finally into the lacy bits of Icarus. OK, so I'm only one row into Chart 2, but at least I'm finally there. Now I'm energized! Too bad I won't be able to work on it tonight. Maybe if I skip SnB tonight. (Nah, what am I saying?) Besides, I have Dollar and a Half to work on tonight. I guess Icarus will just have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Progress in Pink

I'm making good progress on the Dollar and a Half Cardigan. I decided to go with US-7 needles, and I'm just going to hope it works out okay. So far it seems like it will. It's knitting up quickly, so I'm hoping I'll be wearing it for Easter.

I was planning to work on Icarus last night, but after a couple of glasses of wine, I figured I'd better stick with this. Once you've done the lace pattern the first time and see how it works, it's easy and the knitting goes very quickly.

For anyone who doesn't "get" the "Dollar and a Half" name, or for those who do but would like a little tour down memory lane, here's a little vintage Joni.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Got Mine

The "Margene Sock Kit" is now available at Gardiner Yarn Works. But hurry, there's only a few left.

Cover Girl

Have you been over to Mim's to congratulate her on having Icarus selected for the cover photo of The Best of Interweave Knits? A well-deserved recognition - her designs are awesome. We'll have to have a little celebratory toast (with our latte's) at SnB next week. That's one talented grrrl.

So now, I think I really need to get going on finishing up my Icarus. I really am making progress, only a few more rows to go before the lace begins.

And as for the Dollar and a Half, after comparing swatch 2 with swatch 3, I was in a bit of a quandry as to which one to go with. They're pretty close. I hate trying to deal with gauge for lace. I think I'm going to go with the US7 needles and see how it goes. I'd rather err on the larger side for a cardigan.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Swatch Number 2



I decided to go ahead and try another swatch for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan with larger needles (US6). This one actually came out pretty close - the lace gauge was larger, but the stockinette didn't really change as much as I expected. It was close enough that I started working on one of the fronts pieces, to see how it would come out. I think it will work! But just for fun, I think I'll do one more swatch with US7. It knits up quickly, so it won't take much time.

But I am thinking that I might make the fronts "matching", and do the cable pattern for both sides. I've gone back-and-forth on that. I don't really mind the asymmetrical look, but I really prefer the cable. Maybe I'll just knit the back and decide after I see how it looks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Dollar Short

I swatched for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan, but I'm afraid I've come up a bit short.

The instructions only give the gauge for the lace pattern, not for the reverse stockinette. But certainly the two should be about the same width, and the photos look like the lace and stockinette sections are about the same height. Since they're the same number of rows, I can only "guess" that the gauge for both patterns should be pretty close to the same.

For my swatch, the stockinette is very close to gauge in width and height. But although I can stretch the lace widthwise to match, I'm getting way too many rows per inch. Even if I stretch the swatch lengthwise, I can't stretch it enough to make the row gauge.

I'd go up in size on the needles, but obviously that's going to make my stockinette way off.

Hmmmm. What to do, what to do. I suppose I'll try swatching with a larger needle just to see what happens, but I may have to go with plan B and use the yarn for a different cardi.

Monday, March 19, 2007

007 Snap a Dozen Days - March



THINK SPRING! That's what comes to mind in March. The crocus, snowdrops and daffodils are starting to bloom, the days are longer and warmer, and how can you not start to feel wonderful after the doldrums of Winter. Yes, there will be days that are cold and rainy or snowy, but they don't last long. And the first few flowers in the garden always bring such joy and promise.

Of course, it also means yardwork and needing to start planning the garden, so it isn't all fun and games. But Spring is when I like working in the yard the most. I'm glad to be able to enjoy the warmth and sunshine, but haven't yet gotten tired of the "work". At this point, it's still "play".

iRack

If you don't mind a bit of humorous anti-war sentiment, you may enjoy this. If you do mind it, then sorry, but I have nothing for you here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pinkaboo

Yesterday's catch. Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Pink-a-boo, hopefully to become the Dollar and a Half Cardigan from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. But I have some concerns about getting the two different front halves of the cardi knitted and blocked to match, since they're different patterns. And the suggested yarn for the pattern is a linen blend, so I'm not sure how well the Brown Sheep will work. But if it's a disaster, maybe I'll try using the yarn with two strands together and make this Drops 87-08 cardigan instead.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ah, Paradise

Paradise Bakery finally opened downtown on Thursday. I've been waiting impatiently. I had lunch there on both Thursday and Friday, and breakfast this morning. Yes, overkill I know. There's already one open in Sugarhouse and one in Bountiful, but I was too lazy to get to those when this one was going to be so close. There's also one opening up on Ft. Union in a few months.

Thursday I shared an egg salad sandwich with a friend. Egg salad with artichoke hearts, capers, red onions, red bell peppers, cream cheese, mayo, sprouts, lettuce and tomato on Molasses Bread. Yummy. Yesterday I had the same thing I had when I first went to a Paradise Bakery (in Boston) - the Chicken Walnut salad sandwich. Or more correctly, half a sandwich and a cup of their house "fire-roasted tomato" soup. Mmmmm. And the cookies! Sandwiches come with a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Today we had quiche (very tasty, and the puff pastry crust was very nice), and a vegetarian omelette, which was good, but I didn't like it as much as their Mediterranean omelette. However, the tiny little orange muffin that came with it was to die for. And the toast was also wonderful (served with whipped butter and raspberry jam). Of course, I also had to get a cookie for later today. Coconut chocolate chip.

Inquiring Minds

I haven't had too much time to knit lately, but I've been doing a little bit of test sock knitting, trying to find out what dimensions work best for my feet.

I find that most of the directions I can find on fitting socks are not quite detailed enough for my brain. For example, even just in how to measure your foot. When you measure the circumference of your foot, do you do it while standing, or while your foot is at rest? There's quite a difference. And when you measure the length of your foot, do you measure the "footprint" (from the tip of your toe to where your heel starts to lift from the ground), or the total length of your foot to the farthest point on the back of your heel (for example, stand with your heel against a wall and measure from the wall to the tip of your toes).

And what about negative ease? I like my socks on the snug side so they don't bunch up in my shoes. Most tips I've seen say to calculate the number of stitches as your foot circumference multiplied by your number of stitches per inch, and then reduce the total by 10-15%. (Other instructions I've seen have been to go by the ankle measurement instead of the foot circumference, sometimes subtracting an inch, sometimes not.) But what about the length? That seems to be where I have the most trouble. Mostly I just see instructions to knit until the length is about 2" short of the total desired length. Is that assuming that the length of the sock toe will be around 1 1/2", so that the sock length will be about 1/2" less than your foot measurement? And when measuring your sock to see if it's long enough, do you measure it from your needles to the very farthest point of the heel, or just to the heel turn? (Maybe that depends on how you measured your foot in the first place).

Do you adjust your sizes based on the fiber, depending on whether you expect it to stretch out when worn, or perhaps shrink when washed?

I figure that for my own socks, once I figure out a basic formula that works for a particular yarn gauge, I can modify patterns as needed for the right fit. But if I knit for someone else, especially if I don't have measurements and am working from foot size charts (such as the nice one in "Sensational Knitted Socks"), these questions become more important. I suppose that as I get more experienced with socks, I'll come up with some answers. But if you've got any helpful hints, or special tips that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

SnB Extravaganza

It was a festive night at SnB tonight, with four birthdays to celebrate. Though Debbie and Gwen didn't show up - naughty grrrls! We decided to draw names and give out their gifts. No, just kidding of course. But Margene and Anne had to hire pack mules to haul out their booty.

And of course, there was more food than you can believe. And Susan was the only one who brought something healthy - a nice plate of fruit. The rest of us all went for fat and sugar galore.*

Mim brought her copy of "The Natural Knitter" for us all to view and fondle (see her review on her blog). Eliza brought the cutest little baby cardigan - scroll down her post for "Ramona". I want one of these in my size. Seriously.

And shhhhh... don't tell anyone, but I heard a rumor that Blogless Karen will soon be losing the "Blogless".

*Fat and Sugar Galore:

St Louis Gooey Bars
13x9 pan, or two 8" square pans

1 box Golden Pound Cake mix
4 eggs
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
1 ½ sticks melted butter (3/4 cup)
3 1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the pound cake mix, melted butter, and two of the eggs until smooth. Pour into a 13" x 9" baking pan (or two 8" square pans). Beat cream cheese, 3 cups of the powdered sugar, and the remaining 2 eggs until smooth. Pour on top of cake mix in pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until edges begin to turn light brown. Do not overbake! When cake is partly cooled, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar on top. Serve in small squares - it's VERY rich.

If you can't find pound cake mix (it seems to be a hard item to find these days, at least in Salt Lake City), you can probably use plain yellow cake mix, but I'd suggest not using the kind with pudding in the mix.


Harvest Pumpkin Bread
(Hey, it's got pumpkin in it. Doesn't that make it healthy?)

3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz pkg)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 (29-oz) can Libbby's pumpkin (without spices)

Cream together sugar and margarine. Add eggs and spices. Alternate adding pumpkin and flour. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Makes 2 loaves. Bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Fever

So what do you do when you come home from work after the new, earlier Daylight Savings time is in place, and it's beautiful, sunny, and in the mid-60's? Why yardwork, of course. No digging in the dirt yet, of course, but since I have no lawn and lots of perennials, I have a lot of cleanup to do. I don't bother doing much cleanup in the fall, so there's always lots of dead leaves, stems and branches to get rid of in the spring when the first green shoots start appearing.

Before


After



After filling up a 90-gallon garbage can with yard waste, I decided it was time to call it a day. Not to mention that it was time for dinner:

One great "tuna" sandwich...

DH likes tuna, but has an aversion to canned tuna because he's convinced it's contaminated with rat hairs after some report he read a hundred dozen years ago. But I came up with a solution to the problem. Take leftover cooked Blue Marlin steaks (from Costco, of course), chop finely and mix with celery, mayo, salt, pepper, and whatever you like in your tuna salad. Place on incredible fresh crusty Jewish Rye direct from the Avenues Bakery, and top with lettuce and sliced tomato. Mmmmm. No canned tuna ever tasted like this!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Not So Fast, Young Lady

Here I was, all excited that I'd finally completed the first chart of Icaraus and was ready to start the lace, only to take a look at the instructions and see that I still need to work rows 19-34 one more time. Darn. All that anticipation! I didn't really get bored with doing the main section, it was more "relaxing". But after thinking I was so close, these last 16 rows are going to be hard to get through. I've gotten a taste of the lace, and now I'm chomping at the bit.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Swatching

Nothing much to report today. I only have 2 more rows of Chart A on Icarus, so I'm anxious to get moving on that. But I really need a project I can work on at SnB. I have a few lace projects I want to work on, but the coffee shop is just too dark and I'm too distracted for that. So I'm swatching some of the yarn in my stash to see what I can come up with.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Awesome.

That's the pizza at Setebello, the new pizza place just south of Red Rock Brewing Co. Their pizza is Napoli style, and made to the exacting standards of the Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN), an international non-profit trade association, whose objective is to promote and protect the authentic Neapolitan pizza. At the present time, Setebello is one of only 16 VPN members in the U.S.

If you're a fan of Neapolitan or New York style pizza, be sure to give this a try. It's definitely our new favorite pizza place. The crust is light, thin, and properly charred from the oven. (Those little burnt bits on the bottom are almost our favorite part!) The salad (Insalata Grande) was fantastic, too. Beautifully dressed with a nice vinaigrette, and topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. We split one salad and one pizza, and although we certainly could have stuffed ourselves with more, it was just right for the two of us. Accompanied by a couple of glasses of wine, of course.

Not that we don't still love Tommy Angelo's (unfortunately located very inconveniently for us on Hill Air Force base), and our old standby, Rusted Sun. But I'm afraid they'll be taking a back seat, at least for a while. Sorry guys, but there's a new kid in town. Ed è molto bello.

Secrets

A few days ago, Margene asked people to share their secrets with her. I left a comment with one secret, but here's another. Every time Rabbitch says in her blog "At least my vagina didn't fall out", I cringe. Because one of my secrets is that I'm afraid of that happening. Truly.

It all started years ago when I first read "All Creatures Great and Small", one of my all-time favorite books. If you like animals and haven't ever read this book, get thee to a book store or Internet site post-haste. It'll make you laugh till you cry. And I'm only referring to the book, not the TV series.

Early in the book, the vet has to handle an eversion of the uterus in a cow (this is when after a cow gives birth, the uterus gets pushed out of the body). For some reason, this particular scene always stuck with me. When I'm knitting from a center-pull skein of yarn, sometimes a whole chunk of the center pulls out, and I can't help but think of it as a uterus popping out.

Then when I had to have a hysterectomy last year, one of the things they warn you about is the possibility of vaginal prolapse (having your vagina "fall out"), since it no longer has the uterus to hold it in place. The thought of it nearly kept me from having the operation, no matter how much trouble I was having with bleeding. But I went ahead with it, and I'm really glad I did. But still, sometimes I just can't help thinking... what if my vagina falls out?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Icarus Progress

OK, I know it doesn't look like much. Yet. But I finally was able to make some good progress on Icarus. This was a great project for the airplane, because the body of the shawl is so easy and I didn't need to have a chart. So I finally have hope that someday it will grow up to look like this. Same yarn, same color. And hopefully, just as gorgeous.

On another note, I picked up a ticket for the Kaffe Fassett lecture today. I had the opportunity to go to Nepenthe a few years ago, and of course enjoyed looking at all the goodies in the Phoenix shop. I wasn't knitting at the time, but I had done some quilting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cleaning your "Lady Parts"

And now a break from our regularly scheduled programming.

My stepmother sent me this video, which was evidently a skit from SNL. I'm thinking I should get one of these. Well, on second thought, maybe not.

Warning: it's a bit "naughty", so clickers beware.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Victorian Lace Today Scarf with No. 20 Edging

I was able to spend a lot of my vacation relaxing and knitting. Most of the time I was working on the VLT scarf. I'd originally hoped to have it done BEFORE the trip, but when I could see there was no way that was going to happen, I saved it to work on during the cruise. And I managed to finish it the very last day, so I could wear it on the last night. Whew - I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I did "cheat" a little, because I didn't get the crocheted edging done, and of course it wasn't blocked. But it still looked nice. You wouldn't believe all of the people who kept coming by to check my progress during the trip. Even some of the waiters were fascinated by it and wanted to touch it.

I thought it looked great before blocking - but now that it's been blocked, I keep looking at it and thinking that I couldn't possibly have knitted such an etherial thing. It's so delicate and intricate-looking. This is truly the most beautiful thing I've knitted so far.

I was quite challenged by this pattern at the beginning. For the first few repeats, I kept managing to drop stitches in the faggoting. I don't know what I was doing, but I suppose I must have been mistaking "fuzz" for the actual strand of yarn. After having the lace fall apart in my hands a few times, I started putting in lifelines. Of course, once I did that, I didn't have any more problems. So after I got about halfway through the first border, I stopped bothering with them. I actually did drop some stitches near the end of the scarf, but only because I accidentally pulled the needle out of the stitches. Fortunately I was able to pick them all up correctly.

I had a small moment of panic on the cruise when I had to pick up stitches along the edge of the first border. I had only photocopied the main instruction page to take with me, since I didn't want to lug along the whole book. When I got to the "pick up stitches" part, I wasn't sure if she meant to JUST pick up, or pick up and knit. I was assuming that it was 'only' pick up, since I was starting from the end opposite where my working yarn was, but I wanted to make sure. Fortunately, we had purchased a bit of Internet time on the ship (INCREDIBLY slow), so I posted a cry for help on the VLT KAL group, and fortunately Lori and Brenda came to my rescue and let me know that it really was just "pick up".

I did have one other issue - when I finished the center panel and was going to cast on for the second border, I kept thinking that something must be wrong because I was going to be working on the wrong side of the scarf. But no matter how many times I looked at the instructions, I was sure that I'd worked the right number of rows (actually I added 4, but that wouldn't make a difference). I don't know if this is really a problem with the pattern or just how I interpreted the instructions. It's probably just me, since nobody else who's done this scarf in the KAL has mentioned it. But I finally decided there was no way it would work without adding or subtracting a row, and since from my calculations it looked like one row too many, I just ripped back a row and did the cast-on for the second border.

I'm really looking forward to doing another project from this book, but I think I'll take a break and work on some of my other projects first.

Pattern: "Scarf with the No. 20 edging from The Knitted Lace Pattern Book, 1850" from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze in "Khaki", about 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 balls.

Needles: 4.55mm/US 7

Modifications: I did 4 extra rows of the center part of the scarf for extra width, but it ended up blocking to the pattern dimensions anyway. (Which is fine, the width is quite generous.)

What I Learned:

  • How to do a knitted-on border

  • Although I like Kidsilk Haze, I much prefer Douceur et Soie

  • Knitting lace with a fuzzy yarn is a pain in the butt

007 Snap a Dozen Days - February

OK, I know this post is a little late. I'd planned on posting it right before leaving town on vacation, but with my unexpected ISP problems, I wasn't able to. The good news is that the problem was taken care of and I've got my DSL access back tonight.

Anyway, February is my favorite Winter month in Utah, because the coldest weather is over, and you can see signs of Spring. We may still get lots of snow, but it's usually gone pretty quickly in the valley. I can't describe how beautiful it is after a Winter snowstorm when the sun comes out, the skies turn dark blue, and any remaining snow sparkles like diamonds.

In the blink of an eye, we go from this:



To this:



To this:


That last photo is tulips coming up in the yard. If I'd been here for the end of February, you'd have a photo of crocuses blooming instead, or my mother's daffodils covered with buds.

February is also one of my favorite months for... cruising! (See previous post!)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Let's Go Cruising


We just got back from the most wonderful cruise we've been on so far - an 11-night Caribbean Cruise on Celebrity Cruiseline's Constellation. The destinations were supposed to be Grand Cayman, Aruba, Panama, Costa Rica, and Cozumel. However, the day we were scheduled to dock in Costa Rica was the day they were having strikes and demonstrations regarding Free Trade agreements, not to mention the fact that a tourist had killed a would-be mugger the week before. So instead, the captain made the decision to skip Costa Rica and go to Playa del Carmen Mexico instead (right by Cozumel). We were a bit disappointed as we had booked a zipline excursion through the rainforest canopy, but of course, the safety of the passengers is more important.

We had an amazing snorkeling adventure in Aruba at Boca Catalina (just took a taxi to the beach). The number and variety of fish were astounding. And Larry even saw a whole school of squid or cuttlefish, which were changing colors as they swam by.

The sailing itself was the smoothest of any cruise I've been on. There were only a few times that we really felt any motion. And the weather couldn't have been more perfect. We made more use of our verandah on this cruise than any other. On our other cruises, it was often too hot, too cold, or too windy to enjoy being on the balcony, but this time it was perfect.

The food, of course, was incredible. We had all of our breakfasts and lunches in the Aquaspa cafe instead of at the buffet or in the dining room. They serve much smaller and healthier meals, and the fruit was far superior to anything on the buffet. The fresh papaya every morning was amazing - the best I've ever had - must be the peak of season. Here's a sample of one of their lunch plates.

After eating pretty well during the day, we didn't feel quite so bad about stuffing ourselves at dinner. But neither of us will be getting on the scale any time soon, since I know we both gained a few pounds. Of course, the canapes we got in our rooms every afternoon right before dinner didn't help, but they sure were cute. And the wine tastings are always fun and educational.



Although we spent a few days lounging in the sun, we spent most of our time in the Aquaspa. The Thalassotherapy pool is wonderful - salt water (warm like bathwater), and with various jets and bubblers to soothe any aching muscles. There are four giant "faucets" that pour water into the pool - great for massaging your shoulders and back. Then there are the "loungers" - metal bars formed into lounge-chair-shaped sections, with bubbles coming up between the bars. You can just lie back and let the bubbles soothe your whole body. There are also jets in the sides of the pool at various heights to massage your back, thighs, calves, (or whatever you choose to put in front of them). Or, if you prefer hotter water, there are two hot tubs flanking the pool. All of this in a glass-covered, climate-controlled, wind-free environment:

The entertainment on the ship was also very good. We especially liked singer Lindsay Hamilton (West End Star of Evita and Les Miserables), Bob Brizendine (the "Magic Cat"), and the comedian Jeff Nease.

But mostly we just enjoyed relaxing and destressing. And of course, there was knitting. Lots of knitting. Stay tuned.

Back Online (Mostly)

I have the misfortune of using a local ISP that was evicted from their office on February 16th due to some sort of dispute with their landlord. Unfortunately, that was a few days before I left for a 2-week cruise. We hoped that the service would be back in place by the time we got home. And it was, sort of. The company is back online, but our DSL modem won't connect. And of course, there aren't any engineers working on the weekends to help solve the problem. And even when the engineers are back, who knows how long it will take to figure out the problem. It's an old DSL modem with its own scripting language. Could be ugly.

Both my husband and I rely heavily on the Internet - email, web page support, etc. So we've got tons and tons of work piling up. We were running over to our neighbor's house to use his computer to connect and take care of urgent email, but that was getting to be a pain. Fortunately, the light finally dawned last night, and I realized that since the problem was just our DSL modem, we should still be able to use the dial-up connection. Not that either of us has used a dial-up connection for years, and in fact, my computer didn't even have a modem. But we got my husband's computer connected okay, and once we made sure it worked, he found an extra modem in one of our many boxes of spare computer parts - so in 10 minutes, my computer was set up to go too.

Of course, only one of us can be connected at a time... so now the battle begins!

Hopefully I'll be getting caught up with my postings soon.