Friday, February 26, 2010

Shaun says:

A. One of these products removes nail polish. One of these products removes eye makeup.

B. Be careful which one you grab.

Trust him on this.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pura Vida

In Spanish "pura vida" literally means "pure life" but in Costa Rica it seems to have many meanings, from "pure/good life" to "cool." We saw the words in many places, used many ways, but the only time we heard it was when we were short by a few colones to pay for some pottery and since the vendor let us take the pottery, we assumed that her saying "pura vida" meant something along the lines of "no problem." Except for the roads, everything about Costa Rica is definitely pura vida!

It is a breathtakingly beautiful country.

Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano

and the beautiful sunset, seen from our porch:

There are beautiful birds everywhere.
(These two are from a postcard, but we actually DID see two toucans together in a tree along a road out in the country. They were too far away to get a good photo of.)

During the week were were in Costa Rica, we saw over one-hundred species of birds!

The cattle are as often in the roads as in the endless pastures. No one seems to mind and traffic, when there is any, just slowly moves ahead, giving the cattle time to get off the road.

The iguana are, well, not beautiful, but plentiful. They are everywhere!

Even on tops of buildings:

During the first part of our visit, every sighting of an iguana was cause for a stop to take photographs. By the end of the week, every sighting was ...yawn...oh, another iguana.

At Palo Verde, a national park where we saw howler monkeys and white-faced capucin monkeys, we came across herds? flocks? families of coatamundi.

I loved all of the animals. Costa Ricans still use horses for transportation, so we saw lots of horses on the roads and grazing along the roads. Oxen are still work animals. As we left Tamarindo for a day's exploring, we saw these two, ready for work.

And hours later on our way back into town, we saw them at work:
There are interesting contrasts in Costa Rica. The roads are beyond horrible. Most of them are not paved, just covered with rocks - not crushed gravel - rocks! The highest posted speed limit that we saw was 60 kph, which is equivalent to about 36 mph. It was really, really rare that we could even approach going that fast and as a result, going anywhere took much longer than we anticipated, and that limited our tourism.

The country doesn't appear to place a high value on road-building, but it does, unlike Mexico, have drinkable water. It also seems to highly value its natural assets and beauty. There are many national parks and preserves that bring lots of eco-tourists back to visit. At Lake Arenal, a man made lake that provides hydro-electric power, there are vast wind farms along mountain peaks to produce electricity. It's startling to see people travelling by horseback and on old, single-speed bicycles, and then to suddenly see miles of modern windmills.

One of my fellow travellers had been to Tamarindo, where we stayed, years ago, when the town was just a tiny fishing village. It has now been discovered by north Americans and is being developed; formerly empty beaches are being filled with condos, resorts and hotels. Costa Rica will have a fine line to trace to keep over-development from destroying the beauty everyone comes there to enjoy. I hope they can do this because........

I think it would be a shame to go there and not be able to stumble across this view:

and find a restaurant on the beach:

where the seafood is great, and the pina colada is the best EVER!!!

Friends ask me if I would like to go back, and YES! I would. I would love to have the time to go up higher into the cloud forests where there are even more birds and the chance to see the tops of volcanoes. I was told that the Arenal Volcano, which we partly ascended, still blows off steam and smoke regularly. It was obscured by the clouds the day we were there, but I would love to go back and explore the area.

So I will!

Anyone interested???

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rhonda has been exactly no help at all.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have a bit of a problem with The Real Housewives of Orange County. A problem, as in, I CAN'T STOP WATCHING! So I watch it and then I call older daughter, who CAN'T STOP WATCHING either (Sorry, H, for outing you) and we go over the OMG events of the current show.

These women are...I can't even describe them, but Really!!!??? Lynne's daughters are home when the eviction notice comes. Lynne's husband admits he never paid the $10,000 deposit. (yikes!) He didn't tell her there was a deposit in order to protect her. (huh?) She whines, cries, tells him she is leaving him, but then goes with the housewives to San Francisco for fun and while she is there, buys a $1,200 leather jacket? She's already wearing a leather jacket. C'mon. Is anyone really that dumb?


And so I try to not watch. And once I actually gave it up for a season....but then the re-runs showed up and I was there.

But now only the mean girls are left, so maybe it will be easier to stop this time. (Says the addict.)

(photo from Bravo official site; opinions added by knittergran)

Bobbles Hat

I have finished the Bobbles Hat to go with the Bobbles Blanket from Pipsqueak Knits. I made the blanket before Christmas, and just finished the hat in time for the new baby, Lea Elise, born on the tenth of February. She weighed nine pounds, four ounces (poor Mom) and is quite healthy and ready for action.

I'm re-washing the blanket in soak; it just didn't feel soft enough yet, and I hope this second soak in soak works!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Finished, in more ways than one!

In other words, I probably won't be making any more of these little sweaters. The knitting is easy; the putting-together is a challenge for someone as un-gifted as I in doing so. And I discovered - too late - that there is a mistake in the purple one.

Oh well. I will just assume that Ginny Weasley will be polite and say nothing. If she does notice, I'm telling older daughter to teach Ginny the concept of "design element."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Immediate Gratification

Here it is, the first of two American Girl Doll sweaters. And they are an immediate gratification project, although I don't know how gratified I am. There's a bit of a notch or something on the sleeve on the left where it is sewn into the sweater, and I'm not entirely happy with the neckband. The directions don't specify how many stitches to pick up along the neckline. They just trust the knitter to figure it out. Right...

I had a problem sewing in the sleeve on the right, and as a result, there is a little puckering, but not as much as there was before I blocked it a bit. When my mother taught me how to sew, she referred to the process of putting in a set-in sleeve as "worrying it in," and that was right. I can't really say precisely how that worked, but I think the knitting version is about the same, along with a great deal of faith in the magic of blocking.

The second sweater, which I am making in garter stitch, is already on the needles, so I hope to have both ready to mail out to Hermoine and Ginny, maybe on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In a Fit of Temporary Insanity

I decided to knit little, bitty parts...of American Girl Doll sweaters. I hope the insanity is temporary-I'm sure I'm going to hate sewing the bitty parts together.

This all started last week when a childhood friend, whom I've known since kindergarten ( I think it's great that we're still in touch, since we've both moved well away from where we grew up-Hi Susan!) e-mailed a link to pictures of matching outfits she had sewn for her two granddaughters and their American girl dolls. They were adorable! And I thought "No way!"

But the idea kept pestering me and I gave in. So the first sweater is almost finished; I just have to pick up stitches around the neck (no fun there) after I sew the pieces together. And then, since I have two granddaughters with American Girl Dolls, I have to make the second sweater. I must cast it on very, very soon - maybe as soon as I post this - or this could turn into the doll clothing version of the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome!

And H, don't tell the girls. If I finish both sweaters, it will be a surprise (for them as well as for me, possibly).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I think this may be just too much information...

As I have mentioned before, I like to check out the engagement/wedding announcements in the Sunday New York Times. The Times now tries to be more democratic in the announcements they choose to publish; people don't have to be famous, or have a famous lineage, or be ungodly wealthy, or have an ungodly wealthy lineage to have their announcements published in the Times. And because of the goal to be more inclusive and friendly, the Times chooses announcements that sometimes include all sorts of things that wouldn't have been included in the past, things like previous marriages, how couples met and so on.

But a wedding announcement in today's paper may just have crossed the TMI line.

The bride is forty, the groom is fifty-two, and they have a seven-month old daughter. From the announcement:

Their decision to have a child as soon as they could fit perfectly with their adventurous spirit. "Our priority was to have a child, because D's biological clock was ticking," said Mr. G, who had an earlier vasectomy reversed so that he could father a child.

Well, alrighty, then.

Thanks for sharing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Aw C'mon

Leave us alone.

Haven't they heard that fifty-five is the new....well, fifty-five, but that doesn't mean we need to be institutionalized.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stash: It's a Good Thing

I just need to remember to check mine more than once or twice a year.

I've been desperate, DESPERATE I tell you, to find two sock yarns that I can mix together to make the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, a pattern that older daughter (the one with the smooth forehead) recommended. I've forgotten where she got it, but it's easy and it's colorful with the right yarns. I've been going through the sock yarns I have in a wicker basket and haven't been able to put two different skeins together that would work.

So I looked in my stash and found this:

It's perfect! It's two different colorways of Koigu - and I do love Koigu -and a skein of Colinette that will work well with the Koigu.

And yes, I could have just gone to the LYS and gotten something for the pattern but

a. it's gray and rainy
b. it's cold
c. I feel crummy. I think I may have gotten Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a wood tick I provided a couple of days of room and board to while I was in Costa Rica. Bleah......
(Does anyone know the symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? I'm guessing they include an actual fever, which I don't have, so who knows what this is.)

Going through my stash seemed like a better idea than going out in the cold and rain, and not only did I find the yarn for the shawl, I found this:

Debby Bliss cashmerino aran

and this:

Blue Sky Worsted hand dyed. Ooooooh.....

I don't have much stash. In fact, except for sock yarn, this is pretty much all of my stash. Most knitters would scoff at my stash. But I have a problem with having things around that I don't use. My family complains about my habit of taking everything I can find to Goodwill or throwing things out, and tells me that there are drugs for my behavior, but I'm perfectly happy to be the way I am (well, until I run out of stash).

And---does anyone know how to get the date off of my photos? I somehow got it there, and I don't know how I got it there, so I don't know how to get rid of it. %^&*() camera elves.

And---really, I will post about Costa Rica, as soon as this tick-illness leaves me. It is a gorgeous country!

Note: The Simple Yet Effective Shawl pattern is a download from Ravelry for $3.50.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Am I a Great Mom or What?

"Why?" you might wonder.

Why, it's because I offered to buy my daughters their first Botox injections!

Yes, they are both thirty-something and have NO wrinkles that I've ever noticed. So why?

They both have incapacitating migraines and are on all sorts of (to me) scary drugs: to prevent the migraines; to stop the migraines once they begin; and to deaden the excruciating pain when nothing else works.

I have read about the discovery by doctors who kept hearing from their Botox patients (who were treating wrinkles) that those who had suffered from migraine pain were not suffering from it when they had had Botox injections. So more and more doctors are using it for migraines. It is not yet DEA approved, but some insurance companies cover Botox for use for migraines when the doctors apply for permission to use it as a medical necessity. So far, neither of my daughter's insurance companies has made a decision, but older daughter's neurologist told her that he would rather have her use Botox than be on all of the strong medications she currently needs to treat the migraines.

She has an appointment on Friday. My fingers are crossed that this will at least mitigate some of the problems. Botox doesn't cure migraines; so far there is no cure. But it does treat the pain portion of migraines, and that's a big deal.

But really, how many mothers offer to buy Botox for their daughters???

photo from

Also, I thank everyone who has left comments or sent e-mails about my cat. You have been really kind. I keep looking out the back door, expecting to see Lewis patiently waiting to be let back in.......