Monday, August 31, 2009

IRELAND. Part One of Many!

Let’s see. Where should I begin? I guess I should start at the beginning. A very good place to start...

Day 1 – which is really day 1 and 2, but we are just going to call it day 1 .The flight to Dublin was awful. None of us slept for more than 5 minutes. I sat next to an obviously troubled older woman with a jerky husband. He complained loudly that the light above him wouldn’t turn off. He kept complaining, even after they offered to move them to two seats elsewhere in the plane. But no, they stayed where they were. Mrs. JerkyMan divided her time between a) commenting on my knitting and saying – at least 100 times – that she only knit wash clothes and only knit them out of “crochet cotton”, as well as giving me a price history for the price of crochet cotton at Wallmart stores in Virginia over the last 10 years; b) leaning over he tray table and whimpering and/or sobbing; and c) twitching in her sleep – especially when her feet were touching mine. (She twitched so actively, if we’d wrapped her in copper we could have generated electricity.)

Our first day in Dublin was exciting, but exhausting. Our hotel – the Ballsbridge Towers, one of the D4 hotels -- was lovely, and our accommodations were definitely first class. Both Myfanwe and I have live in (several) apartments that were smaller! Our suite had a living room and a dining room! (That sat 8, no less!) And a kitchenette. And 3 – count ‘em – THREE flat-screen televisions! We even had a television in the master bath! We LOVED the bathrooms. Norbert had his own, and ours had a great shower and a spectacular soaking tub (with said television). I didn't think we'd use the tub at first, but you'd be surprised how many times we used it. (Our feet hurt a LOT over the week!) The pics don’t really do the hotel room justice, as we always seemed to explode crap all over the room the minute we walked in, but it we certainly couldn’t have asked for more or better or more comfortable. (Myfanwe loved the duvet so much, I think she will miss it most of all!)

Sunday night we were supposed to meet my friend Sinead and her partner, Malachy, for a pint a bite, but along about 4:00 I called and asked if we could reschedule for the next night. I only did this when Myfanwe and I had both fallen asleep at the National Museum of Decorative Arts. (An excellent museum, BTW. Norbert loved the arms and armor exhibit.) We both fell asleep so soundly that, when we woke up, neither of us had a good idea of how long we’d been asleep. Sinead was kind enough to reschedule, and we went home to the hotel where we had every intention of ordering a pizza from D4Pizza in the hotel. Instead, we all passed out. Norbert with his clothes on. End of Day 1.

Knitting. Let's see. This isn't limited to Day 1, but I'll cover my knitting stuff all at once. I took three projects, and I knit on all three. On the way there I mostly knit on the Koigu scarf I'm knitting for myself. Stockinette can be terribly boring, after a while. But I put about 2.5 feet behind me. I also got half a repeat or so knit on the Lace Dream shawl. And I -- drum roll please -- finished the Ishbel I was knitting for Myfanwe. (Only just barely. I finished casting off in the air somewhere east of Wawa, Ontario on the flight home.) I went to a lovely shop, This is Knit, while in Dublin. -- see the pic, above . I didn't purchase anything, but I had a lovely time looking and talking to the staff.

Places I knit: Dublin Castle, Malaheide Castle, Kilmainom Gaol, on the train, on the bus, at the Guiness Storehouse, a couple of museums, a cemetary, Trinity College, seaside at Dun Laoghaire and at Sandycove.

Friday, August 21, 2009


We leave for Ireland tomorrow!

Our bags are packed -- for the most part. I still have to decide which knitting project to take with me. I have the Lace Dream shawl on the needles, the Ishbel I'm knitting for Myfanwe, and a scarf I'm knitting for myself out of Koigu KPPPM in #P710. (I loved the yarn in a skein, bought it, then hated it once it was wound into a ball. But now that it is on the needles, knitting up, I'm completely in love with it.) I don't normally knit for myself, but I really do love the way this looks knit.

Anyway, in the morning we will do some last minute tidying -- Lil Myfanwe and Gale are staying with the kitty -- and then leave for synagogue for a bat mitzvah. We'll leave the bat mitzvah 15 minutes early to meet our ride to the airport. And from there? Dublin, Ireland!

I'll post pictures when I can. Until them, here is a topic to discuss in the comments: I wish President Obama would say the following in public: "Sarah Palin is a liar. If you believe her, you deserve to be lied to. Don't ask me to comment on Sarah Palin again. I don't have time for lightweights -- we have serious problems and we need serious minds. And that ain't Sarah."

Saturday, August 15, 2009



Norbert's best friend from camp, Woodrow, was called to the Torah as a bar mitvah this morning, and Norbert was invited. While I love a good bar mitzvah luncheon as much as anyone, normally this wouldn't be anything to blog about. Except that Woodrow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, which is several blocks from beautiful Hyde Park, Chicago.

I want to have something to counter with when Norbert comes home from therapy and says I never cared for him. So I immediately said, "Great! I'd love to drive to Omaha! This will be fun!"

Mapquest says that Omaha is 7 hours, 52 minutes from our doorstep. And it is. As long as you can hold your water for 7:52, it might even be a minute or two more than you need. But no more. If you are middle-aged, have had a child, or worry about deep tissue thrombosis, it takes 9 hours.

I would venture, though, that it was well worth the drive.

In addition to two synagogue services -- no camera allowed -- a dinner last night and a luncheon this afternoon, we took a little walk on the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. See below.

The Kerry Bridge spans the Missouri River between Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. It's a pretty cool bridge. I don't know that I have ever seen a curved suspension bridge.

We walked to Iowa and back.

After the bridge, we went looking for a Starbucks on the way back to the hotel. Myfanwe was feeling a need. And we came upon a Starbucks in a lovely retail development -- lots of lovely shops clustered together. Myfanwe, bless her, suggested I drive around the shops to see if there was a yarn shop. And there was.

The shop is called String of Purls. And it might well be the most beautiful, comfortable, spacious yarn shop I have ever set foot into. This is just one room.

The owners and staff are incredibly nice women. They obviously love what they do, and they do it well. The shop, for lack of a better description, is sort of a Palace of Yarn. I could easily have spent an entire afternoon there. Everyone was so genuinely nice. If you are ever in Omaha, do yourself a favor and put String of Purl on your itinerary. You won't be sorry.

Don't ask me why I photographed this scarf. The best reason I can come up with is that I loved the whimsy. And I wondered how they made the i-cord off the edge of the scarf. It was pretty cool. I think I'd put some bells at the ends.

I have had a really good week at work. I feel like I'm getting back to my normal work again. (Which I really, really like.) My office no longer looks like the place used paper goes to die.

Blogging may be a rarity the next two weeks. Monday through Friday will, I imagine, be working hard at work, then coming home to get packed for Ireland. (And we will need to tidy up the house -- Li'l Myfanwe and Gale are house sitting for us.) I'll try to blog from Ireland, but I don't know how good the connection to the interwebs will be at the hotel. If the connection isn't good, or if we are having such a wickedly good time that I can't pause for a mo to block, I promise lots of pictures and a travelogue when we return.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I have been fretting over the Lace Dream Shawl for weeks. I have never been able to get past the 17th row -- which I have ripped back and re-knit at least 10 times. Each time taking pains to knit exactly as my lace book told me to. Several times referring back to the original patter (instead of my lace book) to make sure the instructions I had typed and printed in large type were accurate. I did this repeatedly. WEEKS. And if I wasn't re-working the row, I was feeling bad about my inadequacy and inability to complete a simple row of knitting.

Well, it turns out that I HAD typed the pattern wrong. And each time I went back to the original pattern, I continued to read it wrong. WEEKS!

Well this morning I have finally made progress. It hasn't made me happy yet -- I'm still slathered in my own stupidity. But eventually I will make enough progress to force the frustration from my mind.

In the meantime, here are a couple of pics that make me happy. This is our beloved cat, Liffey. Liffey adores me. The feeling is mutual. Liffey obviously doesn't hold on to stress like I do.

Oh. Speaking of stress. Have I mentioned that I have put away the Ishbel shawl for a couple of days because the first row of Chart C doesn't come out right for me?

Calgon, take me away.