My Denise needles are packed away, the stitch markers are stashed, the spare yarn is stored in the box, and my grafting needle is back in the Chibi. Lace Leaf Pullover is finally finished 😀 It has many poorly parts – some oopsies on the grafting of the body are there, but not too obvious, and the neck seems slightly odd, although that could be due to the lack of button. Despite this, I love it. It is warm and cosy and pretty, and the yarn is soft and cushy. Pics later when it is light enough (which would mean next weekend probably)… Sue and Sam were over so it is thanks to Sue that I finished it, and tried some entrelac, and have the initial triangles knitted. Sam sat and ate biccies and watched telly, while we knitted and chatted and watched telly. We were happy 🙂
Also, I’ll post news later this week on the fabulousness that was the Knitting and Stitching show. Needless to say I made purchases, but I was very good, and came back with only one carrier bag, and the already brimming storage boxes are not bursting anymore than they were before the show (even tho yarn was included in the purchasing). It was ace 🙂


I actually managed some knitting last night, albeit only about 10 rows of the first lace leaf jumper sleeve. I had a bit of a tweak of the body, and realised that leaving it to one side while we were away was good, as the stitches had relaxed on their own, and the line was no longer so obvious when I put it on – DB didn’t notice a thing (but he is a boy, so I’m going to ask Sue on Sunday). I’ve also calculated that I will have enough Polar to make another one when I’m done 😀 That meanst that if I get desperate and decide I hate the mistakes I made in the first, I can make another one, and rip up a little of the original at a time. Sleeves = homeward stretch which is v good. Soon have another finished object, studying allowing… And this one will look quite good, mistakes and all, as long as the sleeves are ok… 🙂

Back to reality

Well, after a grim week of jetlag (no energy, no concept of what day it is nevermind what time, poor sleep), washing, sub zero temperatures, more washing, food shopping in said sub zero temperatures and waiting far more than is necessary for a taxi, even more washing, trying to organise stuff in the house to throw out, give to charity or keep, and then where to store it to save it from the damp that was here when we returned home (DB had set the heating to come on, but no air, and a limited heat time, plus no dehumidifier meant dew on the stone walls when we got the heating back on, and a little mould round the front door where the heat doesn’t reach when it isn’t on long. I’m not complaining – this is normal for an old stone house, particularly built into the hill, but we have to make better plans for this in future), some more washing, and visits from family, we’ve had no time to spare. I need another holiday just to get back into a system. The jetlag has gone, but a dodgy tum arrived this weekend too. For both of us. That’s always lovely 😉 My boss is away in Tenerife (why didn’t CODI pick somewhere warm?!) so I had to get straight back into it. Luckily my colleagues are really understanding, and we work well together, so they were good when I started to look a bit bozzy/run down/confused and bewildered 🙂 Bless them, they put up with a lot last week 😀 We barely knew what day it was – I knew jetlag would be a bit rough, but I never realised I would be so befuddled, or that I’d have such bizarre twists of clarity and perfect awareness to total knackeredness and dizzy stupidity. I managed to do mental arithmatic to a degree I can’t normally manage (which seems to have diminished since then 😀 Surprise surprise!), and then would have problems working out what 70p plus 50p was. The latter is pretty normal 😉 (and I did A-level maths, but I seemed to have the same thing going on while I studied – I was predicted an A and got a D).
But now I’m just about back together again, if I ignore a couple of incidents that I won’t go into here! Next weekend I’m visiting the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate, which will be very cool. I’m going with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in quite a while, so that will make it doubly nice 😀 I shall have to be careful about what I buy though. In the sort out we bought two plastic chests with flip locks on them, and my yarn has filled both of them. But I’ll allow myself something special though, or sewing related 😀
Needless to say that it isn’t just this that makes me look forward to having at least one day with no visitors, no work, and no other major obligations. Woot!


Well, nearing the end of another day today, and I am shattered. I went back to Target to look for some rumoured bargain yarn (25c a ball), but sadly they didn’t have any 🙁 But they did have some Hello Kitty stuff in the dollar section, which more than made up for it! I also found something rather surreal – they have a section in the cosmetics bit called the British Aisle, with nothing but Boots stuff 😀 Lots of Botanics and Number 7 stuff, and at pretty reasonable prices considering 🙂 Still not cheaper than buying in the UK, but they certainly matched most prices, which was impressive. Still a bit surreal to find that in the US tho! Then I went to Borders and had a browse of the lovely knitting books and magazines, and made a couple of purchases (nothing too exciting – a magazine for Sue as a gift, and a book of finishing techniques that I’ve had on loan from Uni for ages because it is sooooo good and is essential, and a calendar that my mum asked me to get because it was cheaper in dollars than pounds. Then I nipped into Gap to see if I could grab a nice pair of jeans, and failed miserably. Apparently in the US they only sell the regular length of larger sizes in store and you have to buy the ankle length online. I tried a few longer leg ones and found some that I liked the fit of on my waist and hips, but I just couldn’t justify buying them when the leg is way too long (and the cut of the leg can’t be shortened i.e. flares/bootcut). Poo. And I could only fit into a larger size than I normally do from Gap, which was doubly poo. Lesson learnt – american jeans are cheaper, but fit differently and are harder to get in the right fit.
You’d think that would have saved me money, but nooooo. I dropped off my purchases at the hotel, and set off to catch the light rail (more like a tram than a train) and got off at Cedar Avenue to look for Depth of Field. Wow. That is how yarn shops should be everywhere. It was beautiful. I spent a little while just browsing the aisles to get an idea of their stock. Then I asked for some assistance with small projects I could work on and bring back in the suitcase, and ended up spending more than I planned (but when does that not happen for me?!) but I bought some stuff I’ve wanted for a while, plus some gorgeous stuff I could never get in the UK. I’ll tell you more another time, but for now I’ll keep it short as we go for dinner soon. After that I got back on the rail and went back to the Mall of America, but I was too tired to shop properly, and the dollar stuff at Target made me more controlled in the Sanrio shop, which was a good thing. I managed to get a gift for my mum (a medium brown bag from Bloomingdales, which was promptly wrapped in a big brown bag :D), and case some DVD prices for Dave (Target is still the most reasonably priced, which is good, as it is close!). Forgot to have lunch in all the fuss, so I’m extra tired now :/ Good job the meal is a buffet tonight!
No squirrels today, but DB has sorted the pics, and will be uploading them soon. Trust me, there are some goodies… 😀

Another day, another dollar…

Today is the first day of DB’s conference, so I have to make my own plans to entertain myself. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m heading out to Depth of Field and the Mall, but I’ll also pop into Target and Borders in the city first. And I have to find some breakfast on my own too. The weather out the window is looking good anyway, so I should have a nice time 😀 And I’ve realised that I may have short changed myself bringing just two pairs of trousers for 8 nights, so I think I’ll try out the cheaper prices in Gap – when I peeped through the window on Saturday, it looks like the prices are the same in dollars as they are in pounds in the UK, which will make a BIG BIG saving… Yum.
Yesterday we headed back to Loring Park to feed the squirrels again, and it was lovely 🙂 Again 🙂 Lots of them were hanging around, and this time DB managed to get one eating out of his hand, although it was a bit eager, and thought his fingers were tasty things, so he got nipped a couple of times. No skin broken though 🙂 One was also interested in sniffing him while he took pics, so he got a fabby pic of one looking right into the camera 😀 I don’t think there will be any problem using up all the squirrel food 😀 We also went to the Sculpture Garden so DB could see some of the stuff, and as I hadn’t been round the whole gardens, it was rather nice. The weather had improved quite a bit by then – still chilly, but we had a beautiful winter sun. It was so good I actually needed to wear sunglasses… 😉 He’s taken a few pics, but I don’t think they are up yet on his site, so you’ll have to wait to look at them! Some very kind Minneapoleans (???!!) were hanging around and asked us to take a pic of them at the Spoonbridge, so we chatted a little. Before we came here, we’d heard that the residents of Minnesota, and particularaly Minneapolis are quite reserved as far as Americans go, but we’ve found them nothing but polite, friendly and very civilised. They’ve all been willing to chat, and have enquired about our accents (although one lady yesterday asked if we were Danish… Slightly ironic given DB’s brother living there!). The family we spoke to yesterday was asking about why we were here, and saying that they were visiting the Garden as a birthday expedition – the dad was the birthday boy, and he was clearly taking advantage of it by taking lots of pics and getting his young daughters (not quite teens by the look of it) to pose in comedy photographer style speak – ‘turn your shoulder a little… Beautiful, that’s it! Work it!’ and also embarrassing them a bit 🙂 But they were happy to indulge their dad on his birthday 🙂 He also very kindly offered to take a pic of us in front of the Spoonbridge, and cracked jokes about Minneapolis being home of the Cherry 🙂 He took a very good pic actually – an eager and accomplished amateur.
Then, last night, we met another very pleasant resident, who has moved here from Jamaica. He was on the bar in the hotel – we’d gone there deciding what to do for dinner, and trying to perk ourselves up a bit (apparently the jet lag is still loitering a bit as we were sleepy at 7pm, but still not too bad – we may be ok by the time we come home!). He asked us how we found the city and the US, and we told him how impressed we were by the residents, and he agreed. He said that Minnesota is a more more polite society, and even if we have got some of our opinions from Jerry Springer and bad US TV, a lot of people elsewhere can be aggressive and over the top, while Minnesota is somewhere much more comfortable and civilised 🙂 He also complained about Bush, told us he loved the BBC news, because he gets the real reasons behind events on there compared to US news channels, and also loves the plummy voices 😀 And he gave us a good tip for somewhere to eat. We were feeling a bit sleepy so didn’t fancy eating out, so he got us a pizza menu for the best pizza place in the city 🙂 Pizza Luca – they deliver directly to the hotel room, which was cool. Unfortunately they got the wrong room, but when we called again to find out what had happened, it was only a minute before they arrived at the door. And the food was good 🙂 Dave had his first taste of american pizza, and he liked it 🙂 I got a Mock Chicken Parmigiano Hoagie (apparently they don’t do things wheat free here 🙁 ), which was yummy yummy, and a lovely spinach, walnut and raisin salad, which was also yummy, but I was too full to eat much of it. I think we might order again from them if we are tired or need some lunch.
Anyway, I better get ready! I’m typing this up in bed and have still to get ready for breakfast and shopping, but I would also like to point out that it isn’t even 8am here yet, so I think I’m allowed to laze a little. And we have a free copy of the USA Today paper, which I may skim while I’m at breakfast. But one last thing. Yesterday I learnt that there are at least 3 different versions of low calorie Coke… I haven’t quite worked out the difference yet. We are definitely in the USA now 😉

Greetings from Minneapolis!

Yay! We are on our third day in the Twin Cities, and I’m really enjoying the place 🙂 The hotel is gorgeous – the Minneapolis Hilton in the Downtown area of the city, with gorgeous rooms, the comfiest bed ever, and lovely views over the city. We are on the 22nd floor facing towards Loring Park, but we can’t quite see it for the massive buildings in front of it. I thought we were high up, but compared to some next to us…
The flights over weren’t too bad – just dull. We were horrendously jet lagged tho when we got here – we arrived at the hotel 4pm local time, and had been travelling for about 17 hours, so we were pretty knackered, but had to stay up to catch up to US time 🙁 We are just about settled now tho. We weren’t quite sure what to do for openers yesterday, so we just had a wander around to find somewhere for breakfast and to have a nosy about. Ended up in a Starbucks, naturally, although I wish we’d had the brains to go into Hell’s Kitchen while there was no queue (we went to try it this morning and ended up leaving because we didn’t have a reservation – something totally new to us for breakfast!). We were pretty surprised that it was so quiet on a Saturday morning, and that shops didn’t open in general till 10am – and place local to us at home would be heaving by 10am! It took us a while to realise that the skyways might be used when it is chilly, hence no jostling on the pavements… We ended up going to the Mall of America and were suitably impressed by its hugeness. We were pretty knackered again by lunchtime though which made it hard to be responsive to the friendly chefs at Tiger Sushi. Poor chefs must have thought us a bit, well, English 🙂 Went to Loring Park, the Sculpture Gardens, and the Walker Art Center while DB was busy yesterday, and had a lovely time wandering around. LOVED the Art Center – I didn’t have enough time to look round the whole place so I’ll go again during the week I think, but all I need say is Rothko and Warhol. Yummy. I was also impressed by the tame squirrels, so after breakfast today, we went to Target and got some critter feed, and took some back to the park. DB was suitably happy and took lots of pics of the happy squirrels who are clearly now our best friends. At one point we had about 30 of them surrounding us happily scoffing away, and one or two were brave enough to eat out of our hands. One even got rather happy and leaned on my fingers while he had a good scoff 😀 Although he did get mixed between monkey nuts and my finger tip, but he did no harm – he just want to pic up something to take with him to eat so it was the lightest nip and didn’t even redden my finger. DB is all excited to go back now, and we’ll wander round the sculpture garden too this time – in fact right now he is wandering around like an impatient child waiting to go, so I’ll sign off with this. His website has some lovely pics of the past couple of days, so go have a nosy –
Incidentally – I’m planning on visiting the yarn shops tomorrow and going back to the Mall for Hello Kitty stuff and Bloomindales goodies for my mum 😀 Can’t wait to see what the US has in yarns for me 😀 YAY!