Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Evil Toad ;0

The Berroco Memoirs Lace Scarf was gifted to friend Sara for her birthday a couple of nights ago. (Sara is EvilToad on Ravelry and my fav Scottish L&D nurse).

3 skeins Berroco Memoirs a 50/50 mohair/wool 2-ply
Pattern "Cream of Spinach" one-row lace pattern free from Ravelry
Size 10 1/2 needles.
Blocked out to 16" x 64"
Supah-fast easy knit with a lotta bang for the effort.

She lurfed it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And Other Fancy Stuff...

Gosh, has it really been almost three weeks? I have been working like a fiend. Lots of work days, few days off and the days off are for sleep and chores and such. Winter has hit. There are 4-6 inches of SNOW covering everything. It's about 21 degrees outside at my house, damp, with cloudy skies. It will likely get up to the high 20s today but we have a chance of more snow.

I also have had an annoying cold that has now progressed to laryngitis. I slept most of the day yesterday and am taking it easy over the weekend in hopes of getting my voice back before hospital Monday.

I've been knitting quite a bit lately. I have finished (except for one last seam that will be sewn this afternoon...and deciding upon which of the 5 sets of buttons I should use to accent) my FABULOUS Debbie Bliss Drop Collar Cable Jacket. I am in hot, panting, love with it.

Here are the button options...your comments would be appreciated.

#1-Dark Shell

#2-Hand Carved Bone

#3-Handwound Same Yarn (my fav's so far)

#4-Light Shell

#5-Silver metal Celtic Knot
Hmmm....I cannot find the'll have to imagine it for yourself.

At this point, I'm leaning toward the hand-wound same yarn buttons. I think none of the others, except maybe the dark shell, work as well.

This will be the last "for me" project for a while. Gotta keep moving on the handknit giftiness. Just hats, scarves, and mitts this year. No big projects. I've already knocked out two in the past week or so.

First... finished, blocked and now awaiting the drying of a simple lace scarf of Berroco Memoires a nice 2-ply wool/mohair fun yarn from a recent stash enhancement. It will be a lovely holiday gift for a friend.

I'm just an earflap away from finishishing another Thorpe. Like the last Thorpe, this one also knit from Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. Only it's the handpaint version this time. I love the way this stuff feels. It always makes me smile when I brush it against my face. This too will be a holiday gift for a friend.

Speaking of friends, I feel so fortunate and grateful to have them in my life. People I can count on. People I trust. And who feel the same about me. I've been focusing the past several months on reconnecting and developing relationships and different personal roles outside of mother and caregiver. It's not easy. I feel somewhat socially inept and awkward. I don't small talk well anymore outside of the professional or the one-on-one environment. I don't really know how to keep light and interesting conversation rolling with strangers anymore, especially in groups. I think I need a social trainer! Luckily, my friends haven't really cared about that. They just seem happy and enthusiastic to have me along and accept me for the nerdy gal that I am. BFF MaryKay has done that for years. Last weekend, work friends of 7 years and more (Holy Cow and I'm JUST NOW beginning to socialize with these treasures?) invited me to attend a local celebration sponsored by Anchorage's Maharlika, Inc.

This delicious prime-rib dinner and dance is a scholarship fundraiser for Anchorage's Philippino community. It was held downtown, at the Egan Convention Center and FORMAL attire was requested. Now, Alaska formal is generally "a bit" different than formal in the lower 48, requiring only the lack of denim, tennis shoes, or Sorrell's. I had been warned, however, that this was an event that strongly encouraged jacket/tie for the men, and sequins, heels and cleavage for the women.

Me and The Man, dressed up again!

Mary T, CNM, Heather RN, me, Solveig RN, JeanMarie RN, Beth RN and Majarlika Board Member. Mary W. RN and longtime neighbor.

As advertised, there indeed was a great deal of sparkle and cleavage. Delicious dinner, fun dancing, a lovely evening out.

I will finish up Thorpe tonight, then pull another random pattern from the gift queue to cast on. Tomorrow, I may try to post up some FO shots. I have a date with BFF MaryKay, in the afternoon, for pedicures. I love to knit while getting a pedicure! Just have to be careful to keep the yarncake/ball under control. It tends to want to jump into the warm swirling waters!

Well, that's all I have for today. Until next time.....
Cyberhug or phycical hug....send out the good stuff to YOUR FRIENDS...and KNIT ON!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Beer Train! All Aboard!

Yesterday afternoon, the man and I boarded the 2008 Great Alaska Beer Train! Whoo! Too much fun. Sponsored by the Alaska Railroad and the Glacier Brewhouse, "Beer Train" is an annual Oktoberfest celebration for several Alaskans.

Jeff, JeanMarie and Tom in silhouette in front of Turnagain Arm.

We had to board the 6-car train beginning at 2:45pm for a 4:00pm departure. Once aboard, we traversed through passenger, bar, bistro and dining cars to the atrium passenger car in the back. Fellow midwives and L&D nurses saved us seats so we could enjoy the trip together.

Midwife Zelda and husband Dave are experienced Beer Train participants.

Karen and Marlena's husband.

Sassy Nurse Heather who made quite a name for herself on last year's Beer Train!

Each passenger was given a menu describing the beers and accompanying food courses, along with 6 tickets to exchange, 1 per beer. You didn't have to stick with the progression and were truly unlimited in the number of beers and food servings you could obtain.

Solveig and Jeff sample the first beer offering.

Each table was equipped with a Quart size Chinese Take Out bucket of mixed wrapped candies. Railroad waitstaff zoomed back and forth to provide appetizers, water, coffee, and of

The train pulled out of the Anchorage depot promptly at 4:00pm. We traveled along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet all the way to Portage and had lovely views of the inlet, mountains and forest along the way. (As you are probably noticing from the backgrounds!)

The turnaround point was just past Spencer Glacier, of which we had a lovely view from the train.

The beers included the following:
Bavarian Heveweizen (not my fav...too light and fruity for my tastes!): a wheat beer with banana and clove aromas.

Rasberry Wheat (ditto): a red colored unfiltered wheat beer that was VERY fruity.

Blonde Ale: light malt and hop flavors/aromas. enh.

These were served with assorted German Style sausages, meats, cheeses, crackers, bread, gravlax, smoked salmon, delicious large caper berries and marinated veggies. Yum.

Kimmy's partner Shane shows Midwife Stephanie the Beer Train ropes.

The "Bocktoberfest" beer was a delicious Jim Beam barrel aged malty lager with flavors of vanilla, bourbon and chocolate. I loved this! It really had a lot of tooth to it!. It was served with Beer Braised Bratworst sausages over white beans with horseradish and chives, with a caramelized onion brown mustard sauce.

Again. Totally yummy!

The Brewhouse's IPA (India Pale Ale) was hoppy and bitter with a fruity aroma...again..not so happy with the fruityness of the beers. just my preference. This was paired with Smoked Birch Glazed Quail with mushroom cracker stuffing, sea-salt roasted peanut potatoes and Craft Brew Jus. I've never had quail before and frankly trying to slip the meat off those teeny tiny little bones was just all a bit too dainty for me. I had a second helping of the brat instead ;0

JeanMarie and Tom enjoyed the little birds quite well!

The dessert course (Glacier Brewhouse's "World Famous" Bread Pudding with Yukon Jack sauce. Swooon!) was paired with my absolute favorite libation...Oatmeal Stout! The full bodied black ale has a rich roasted caramel and malt flavor. so very yummy. I think I had 3...or maybe 4 of these throughout the trip. Very mellow return ride yes indeed.

Me and The Man doing a little Beer Train.

Kimmy & Heather enjoying Beer Train camaraderie!

As you can see, good times were had by all. I will definately be doing the Beer Train again next year!

Oh, and yes, I did knit on the train, almost finishing the back of the Drop Collar Cable Sweater. Should finish that project this week. Hope you are all enjoying your Octoberfest weekend. Knit On!