Monday, June 30, 2014

Vegas - by the numbers!

(Or as autocorrect has insisted since maybe Thursday afternoon, Begas...)

4 blisters

3 of which are on the bottoms of my feet

1 temporary tattoo

1 pair of shoes

Number of times I want to see those shoes after 5:30pm tomorrow: 0. 

8 sessions attended

No, 10 sessions

2 boxes of books mailed back to work - 38 and 29 pounds each

4 cabs taken

2 bottles of wine for the room (for me)

35 floors up to get this view 

0 dollars spent gambling

4 publisher parties attended 

12 free drinks thanks to those publisher parties

30 minutes to get anywhere - even across the street

1 Dude

Countless authors including Judy Blume, Judith Viorst, Avi, Daniel Handler, Mo Willems, and Eric La Salle

Dozens of new contacts

2 healthy meals the entire time (frustrating!!!)

1 pedicure

1 sunburn

13 hours until I board a flight home

1 - number of times someone motorboated me over FaceTime

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Birthday Camping

This past weekend, Miki flipped another year on his biological calendar. We went camping out at Gifford Pinchot State Park to celebrate.  We'd been out there once before, and it was lovely - campsites that have lake access, two disc golf courses, hiking trails, and more. This time, we had the added bonus of absolutely gorgeous weather. We parked the car at the site and spent the rest of the weekend hiking, resting, or kayaking. It was just what we both needed.

Miki's weekend set-up.

Late afternoon paddle. 

Sunset on the first night. 

Sunrise on day 2. Miki never sleeps late while camping, and I never sleep well the first night away from home. We watched the mist roll off the lake to the left and then get caught up in the breeze, forming the cloud at the other end. It was spectacular.

We took a hike. 

Or, as Miki called it, we took a jike - that's a hike, in jorts. Here he's sporting the goose feather he found in a meadow. 

As usual, we ended up on the wrong trail (or, more precisely, a non-trail), so we had to double back some. Maybe if we hadn't taken the non-trail, I'd've not felt as strongly about hiking through ankle-deep muckity muck. At any rate, this orange turtle didn't care.

As we crossed a small stream, Miki stopped and pointed into the water. There was an empty turtle shell in the streambed. Laying down on the rustic bridge, he snagged it and popped back up to his feet. He carried that the rest of the way. 

Both times we've visited Gifford Pinchot, I have been struck by the beauty of the place. On Sunday afternoon, after nearly everyone else had left, I snuck over to the adjoining campsite and spotted this paddleboarder, and if you look dead center by the treeline, Miki fishing in his kayak.

Both nights we were treated to gorgeous sunsets. The second night, we had the bonus of a calm lake.

I love this photo. I've made it my lock screen, printed a color print and framed it on my desk at work. At the same time, Miki made it his work desktop. It's clearly a picture that makes us both happy.

Our last morning, after running 8 miles, Miki propped the skillet on a log and proceeded to finish off the sausage, egg, and veggie hash I'd fixed up. I call this hobo-style.

It was such a great trip, and we spent some time scoping out sites for our next visit. If I could go tomorrow, I definitely would. There's something to be said for turning off mobile devices and just taking in the world around you.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

I'm a hooker now!

Guess who learned to crochet finally?

Yup, me. 

This is my progress so far on a basic granny square blanket using sumptuous Quince & Co Lark. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

On house parties, hobos, and memories

Many years ago, we held our first house party. It was part housewarming, part open-house. We invited nearly everyone we knew - friends, coworkers, family, neighbors. Every 1,275 sq ft of the house was packed with merry-makers.

I wasn't really a crafter that long ago. I might have been creative, but I definitely didn't knit. Or spin. Or weave. I might've just started cross-stitching... Anyway, the point is, every room was free of the "secret" cache of crafty-bits - no ort jars, no open-this-and-shove-a-half-knit-sock-in-it drawers, no baskets overflowing with spinning fiber, no 36" wide loom looming in the corner of the dining room. Essentially, the house was cleaner, less cluttered, and still had that lingering stale cigarette scent from the previous owner.

The house was decked out for the holidays. In addition to the 1 full-size tree, I had a scattering of smaller trees decorated throughout the house. Every room had Christmas-ness going on! The beginning of my snowman collection was on display, too. Empty step on the staircase? Opportunity for a wintery vignette! Also, tripping hazard.

That was our first Christmas in the house, and I don't think we've decorated to that extent since. Sure, there were a couple of years when we had the artificial (but super-realistic) tree in the bedroom and installed a live tree downstairs. But mostly, we've scaled back on the Christmas decorations since we end up spending the holiday driving around and visiting nearby family. We've also spent more than one winter elbow-deep in some renovation or another - bathroom, electric, basement, bedroom, other bedroom, dining room...When we brought LucyCat into the house, I was more hesitant than usual to decorate, especially with any type of tree, simply because she was so super-skittish, uncoordinated, and I was sure there would be a Christmas decor massacre every morning. And night. I've fortunately been proven wrong the last few years - she's as uninterested in the decorations as she is uninterested in being held.

If I recall correctly, I did all of the food prep myself. No caterers for me! My mom came up and helped, and my dad was put in charge of spinning tunes in the basement as well as minding the chimenea outside. He came prepared for the night wearing a Carhartt one-piece. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground from earlier snowstorms, and the temperatures were definitely January-esque. The basement is unheated, and even more so when the Bilco door is propped open all afternoon and into the evening.

Throughout the party, people were invited to tour the house. By this point, we'd redecorated every living space. In each room, we had before and after pictures to show what we'd done. It was set up to be self-guided, and we definitely encouraged everyone to wander around. Having the whole house open to partying definitely helped with the crowd - I never felt like we had more than 25 folks in the house, but I know we had closer to 50. It was nice to see each room full of friends and family. Even the bathroom got some party action - I think we had 6 people in there at once!

At some point in the evening, Mike's bosses arrived. Their wives paired off and explored on their own, and I found them in the kitchen just before they left. They were talking to my mom about how lovely the house was, and how great of a job we'd done with the redecorating. The one wife was particularly impressed, though, with what we'd done for the homeless.

Boss 1's wife: "I didn't realize how selfless Mike and Heather were!"
Boss 2's wife: "It's very admirable what they are doing."
My mom, looking perhaps a little confused....
Boss 1's wife: "You know, because they've opened their house to a homeless man..."
Boss 2's wife: "...the man that lives in the basement?"
Me: "You mean my dad?"

Turns out, while everyone was traipsing through the house, anyone that braved the basement was told by my record-spinning, fire-poking father that he wasn't allowed upstairs, he lived in the basement, and he was homeless. And I imagine with him wearing the Carhartt oversuit and scuffed winter boots and a ratty knit hat, he very much looked the part of someone down on their luck.

I think it's time we throw another house party!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A very long swap

I have the best friends! A long time ago, I whined about having cold hands and no squirrel mittens. My friend Anj suggested she knit me mitts and I spin her a sweater's worth of fiber. Deal? Deal!

I'm still chugging along on the fiber (crafting ADD), but she's delivered on her end of the bargain!!! And just in time for more single-digit lows and a foot of snow....

Pattern is Hello Yarn, yarn is Quince & Co, and lining is handspun alpaca/yak/qiviut blend. 

Wherever I go, I will have two hands full of nuts!!!

Thanks, Anj!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's my life

I'm laying belly-down across the bed, waiting my turn to shower, and PennyCat decides that my rear is the best place ever to nap. When Miki comes out of the bathroom, I slowly roll to the left and right to dislodge the cat. Instead of jumping off, she instead scoots to whatever end is up, as if she's log rolling. 

Miki: did I ever tell you about what I used to do with the barrels my brother would bring home?
Me: no....
Miki: wait, yesterday my boss told me he got a rain barrel for Christmas, and that it was under the tree. I said, did you know what it was before you unwrapped it? And he said, it was kinda obvious, and was only under a blanket. I said, well it could've been a rodeo clown in a barrel. He just walked away... Anyway, my brother would bring home these barrels, 55 gallon drums really, from work.
Me: yeah, that sounds about right....
Miki: and they were full of that super scrub stuff mechanics use, so my brothers and my dad would gothrough  one of those in a surprisingly short period of time. I mean, they didn't live at home anymore, but they had cars in the yard that they would work on-
Me: so, redneck times, yes?
Miki: yeah, redneck times. Whenever they emptied a barrel, though, I'd practice barrel rolling all over the back yard.
Me: now here is something I did not know about you!
Miki: and when I got really good at it, I'd barrel roll out front to show the neighbors. I could go from one side of the front yard to the other!
Me: you are a man of many talents...
Miki: is this going on the internet?
Me: yup.