Sunday, September 30, 2007

Knitting Retreat

[First of all, I really don't think I was contageous. I'd had this cold for more than a week, as of last Friday when the retreat began. And I tried to stay pretty much off to the side of the great room and away from the rest of the ladies. Except during meals when we all sat together. So if any of you come down with this cold, I am truly, truly sorry.]

A friend of my friend Betty, named Darcy, put together a wonder weekend. She found a lovely lodge north of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, on the eastern shore of Pipe Lake. There were a couple bedrooms upstairs with room for four plus a bunk room downstairs with 3 double bunks. We could see Pipe Lake on two sides of the lodge. There was a large screened porch and a deck in back; a great room upstairs and another downstairs, both of which had large fireplaces. Those would be very nice in the winter.

And there was a large, well equipped kitchen. She got lots of yummy food from a caterer, in Lakeville I think; several lovely meals which she prepared for us. Her husband also fixed a few of the side dishes. Some of the women who attended also brought snacks and things to share. There was cake and pie and cookies, wine, water, soda, assorted breakfast and lunch foods.

In all there were 10 women, Betty, Ann, Ann, Marna, Darcy, Kate, Shauna, Lynn, me, and Pam (in no particular order). I knew some of them from elsewhere and met some of them for the first time at the retreat. All were very nice people, indeed. Knitters are like that; yeah, they are.

When we arrived, there was a lovely bouquet of roses waiting for us. The upstairs great room had many spotlights in the ceiling so we had more than enough light. It rained for most of the weekend, but we didn't mind. We were warm and dry and knitting.

We took a field trip to a local yarn shop and found several kinds and colors of yarns I'd never seen before. The lady who owns the shop opened specially for us. It's not the tourist season any longer. I think we made it worth her while to take a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon.

The bunks down stairs were quite comfortable. Rumor has it the upper bunks were somewhat difficult to get into.

Once or twice the sun came out.

More often it rained. But if you look carefully, you'll see the leaves turning orange across the lake.

Marna brought this jigsaw puzzle of yarn and knitting.

Everyone seemed to get a long well. There were no smokers (yes, I'm prejudiced against smoke--I grew up with a smoking mother and am very sensitive to it). Everyone pitched in at meal time and clean-up time. Those who knew more than the rest were quite willing to share that knowledge with us.

There's probably a lot more to say about this weekend. However, this cold is not responding to the sign-away-your-identity-pseudoephedrine I bought at a 24-hour Walgreens and I think I just need to try to go to bed and get some rest. I forgot to mention the thunder and lightening that kept me awake for quite some time in the middle of the night Saturday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Use for Post-it® Notes

I work in a really nice modern office building. The restrooms have auto-flush capability. Unfortunately, the stools work a bit more like a bad bidet. They splash water up on you but it's used water, if you know what I mean.

And every time I lean just a little bit to get some tissue, the splashing starts. It's gone off as many as 3 times before I was done! Yuck.

I was sitting back at my desk, catching my breath from all the startles I'd gotten (hearing aids make toilet flushing really loud). A glance toward the phone to see if I'd gotten any calls while I was gone showed this pack of Post-it Notes and I had one of those light-bulb moments.

Now when I leave for the restroom, I take a Post-it with me and stick it over the red eye at the back of the stool. Now it only flushes when I take away the Post-it...when I'm done and not before. Ahhhh.

Now I can sit in peace.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tai Chi

Fall is officially here. The weekend after labor day, David hosted a lovely dinner party at the campground. There were two other couples with whom we hadn't socialized much over the years. It was fun to get to know them.

This is the meat he cooked on his grill. It is in the process of being seared here. I didn't get a photo of the finished meat. We were too busy eating and making "yummy" sounds.

Another harbinger of fall is Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong's annual visit to Chinatown Tai Chi Center. That's me in the upper left corner with my head cut off. The next photo is Grandmaster demonstrating Fair Lady Works the Shuttle on Jerry.

This is a photo of Grandmaster holding the snuff bottle I gave to him. He really liked it. He went into great detail telling how these bottles are painted on the inside with tiny little brushes that have a bend in them.

I want to thank my "co-mother-in-law" for finding and acquiring this snuff bottle for me. She collects them and knows several good sources.

Tai Chi is something I really enjoy. I credit tai chi with keeping my joints moving. I'm developing osteoarthritis and have already gotten one shoulder joint replaced. I have full range of motion in that shoulder because of tai chi. When I can, I'll get the other replaced as well. And I know I'll attain full motion in that one, too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Betty and I went to the Minnesota State Fair on Labor Day. Our second order of business, after eating breakfast, was to demonstrate lace making in the Creative Arts building. I had my mystery stole (almost half done) and the beginnings of a nice lace-top sock.

Betty brought her bobbin lace pillow to show a LOT of people how bobbin lace is made. She's incredibly good at helping people understand how it's done. Click on the photo to see her butterfly and not-quite-finished apple.

And a very nice lady named Lara, whose photo I neglected to take, demonstrated tatting. She does very nice work.

After 3 hours of demonstrating we went to the Hippodrome. Oh, I forgot, it's called the Coliseum now. Anyway the first show was Trailer Racing. There were 8 pickups with horse trailers behind them. The object is for the rider to run from the front of his pickup to the back while his partner carries the saddle. The rider takes his/her horse out of the trailer, takes off the halter, puts on the bridle, saddles the horse...

And rides as fast as possible around the arena twice. Then he/she stops behind his/her trailer, gets off, removes saddle and bridle, puts on the halter, stuffs the horse back into the trailer, and runs to the front of his/her pickup to stop the watch. Amazing. Fastest and shortest race I've ever seen.

It looked like the guy driving this tractor might have been a zamboni driver. His tee shirt had a Minnesota Wild logo on it. He was preparing the arena for the Royal Canadian Mounties.

You'll have to click on this one to see the Mounties--all in a row.

That was the only time they were easy to photograph. Look at the video below to see some of their action. It was most elegant to watch. Handsome men and women riding handsome black horses.

In the horse barn we visited with some of the mounties who were preparing their horses for shipping east by truck to their next state fair gig. I saw these black horses and just had to take their picture.

Actually, they are miniature horses. Aren't they cute?

Of course, a trip to the fair isn't complete without deep-fried cheese curds.

Betty's food from Famous Dave's almost looks healthy. Eeew.

We noticed two huge piles of uncut spuds near a French fry stand. It was late in the afternoon on the last day. I hope they had somewhere to use these potatoes.

All in all, it was a very good day. Kinda hot (I think it was over 90F) and fairly humid.

Take a peek at the videos. They're short. The second one shows them performing one of their more intricate routines. (Isn't Betty's laugh contageous?)