Friday, June 29, 2007

Rewards for working overtime...

Exercise out of the way first - I biked 30 minutes on the exercise bike before heading out to the yarn shop. Don't worry, you'll hear about that in a minute. I have five days off with the DH and we have outdoor fun planned as long as the weather cooperates!

OK - now the yarn shop. I've worked some overtime lately and decided some non-sock projects were in order. goes! First, a beautifully simple cardigan in 2nd Time cotton. This yarn is made from new textile waste orginating in the apparel and textile industry. The women at the shop (Needle in the Square)raved about it and showed me a soft little sweater on display knitted in the 2nd Time cotton. Second, a mock cable pullover from Ann McCauley's The Pleasures of Knitting in a soft 100% bamboo by Stella. This bamboo is tightly woven and does not appear to easily split like other bamboo yarn I've used. The cardigan will be a quick knit; the pullover will be a challenging one.You know you've spent plenty at the yarn store when they put your purchases in a nice cloth bag imprinted with the shop's name. Virginia is planning her yarn attack....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another great day...

Early start today watching the first of two episodes of Knitty Gritty while sewing together the much overdue Bookcrossing afghan. A little later, we headed out to Craigs Creek to set up the camper and unload our new canoe for a fun fourth weekend with a group of dh's friends. Some tough flowers are able to brave this humid weather...

a purple bloom I find scattered around the wood pile...

a tiny white flower growing in the direct sunlight of the newly mowed field...

a brilliant yellow dandelion with a humble bowed head...

One can still find authentic country stores in SW Va - I love the sign for nightcrawlers. Stepping inside, we were blasted with the smell of frying bacon and encountered one central aisle and two walls of canned foods and cold beverages. I had to buy a Orange Crush in a glass bottle - I haven't seen one of those in years.

Yes, the refrigerators were stocked with cold beer - what a wonderful beverage to gulp down after a hot day on the river!

Back home, I was able to catch a second episode of Knitty Gritty and whipped up a quick lunch of fresh guacamole with

flat leaf parsley and a hot pepper from my little garden.

Thirty minutes on the exercise bike while watching Andy Griffith - just too hot to run outside.
I finished out the day by preparing a pasta dish of sauteed mango, garlic, onion, sweet red pepper with a generous amount of cumin and several dashes of crushed red pepper. Just the right amount of sweet and savory and plenty left over for lunch tomorrow at work. Goodnight....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Early Sunday morning run and afternoon knitting

Decided to get out early this AM before the heat arrives - already 69 degrees at 8am. Ran ~3 miles in the neighborhood winding up and down the hills....walked a little but forced myself to run all the inclines and,hey,it wasn't even too terribly bad. I suppose those 12 hours shifts on my feet and the 10,000+ steps I take are helping me stay fit!

On my run I saw this portulaca growing out of a crack in the asphalt - apparently a seed or two escaped from the nearby patch.

I also passed this field of chicory - chicory has a blue flower in a shade I've not seen in other plant. Too bad they're considered weeds. BTW, the ground roots are used as a coffee substitute or a coffee additive and is a tasty accompaniment to beignets in New Orleans. Luzianne coffee with chicory is also available in the local grocery stores. I sometimes have the craving for coffee but not enough to use a whole pound of it. Hummm, some would taste good now...maybe the local coffee shop sells bulk coffee with chicory.....need to check.

For three hours this afternoon, I meet several others knitters at the local yarn shop, Needle on the Square, for the monthly knitting group meeting. What fun sitting around with other knitters and browsing in the shop - I bought Universal Classic Worsted in Rose Garden color to knit into a baby blanket. I used this yarn in a black/gray/beige color scheme for the wrap I wore all over Paris. This yarn knits up nicely, is machine washable and is inexpensive. With all the young women I work with, I know someone will be announcing a pregnancy soon. Oh, one more thing, I have succumbed to the Crocs cult - I bought a pair of the Mary Janes today. I figure they're a good way to show off all my handknit socks!

No Driving Saturday

I try to have a no driving day once a week when my schedule allows. My husband and I ride together when we have the same schedule (which is most of the time) but we are both guilty of driving big gas guzzlers. Hence....I try to keep my Xterra in the driveway as much as possible. Saturday was a beautifully warm summer day - I spent the morning cleaning house (husband was working) and I spent the evening reading and knitting outside. We needed a few items from the grocery store so I walked the mile or so to pick them up and have a quick lunch at the Italian restaurant adjacent to the Food Lion. Lentini's veggie sub and eggplant parmesan are tasty and inexpensive - I'm glad to have them close by.On my walk home I snapped several pictures of this beautifully restored old house.

I saw wild berry vines here and there along the road - the berries are not quite ripe - I tried one! We picked buckets of these when I was a kid...

Cleaned house, finished reading Water for Elephants, and had some exercise - nice day!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday musings and observations

Virginia enjoys stalking the squirrels and birds roaming in the backyard and is always looking for a hideout. An overturned fertilizer dispenser provides a shady place to peer out at her prey. Don't worry, she is only allowed outdoors under supervision :-).

My husband rescued several unwanted hostas from a landscaping job he did with a friend a couple of years ago. They are madly growing under the trees in our backyard - What a wonderful free gift!

I grew up hanging clothes on a clothesline - my parents did not have a dryer until all of us left home. My mom still uses her clothesline even though they now have a dryer. I remember school morningswhen I frantically tried to dry my favorite pair of jeans by putting them in the oven. Now clotheslines are not allowed in many neighborhoods - I'm happy to see many clotheslines in use in our neighborhood. I read somewhere that drying one load of clothes cost approximately one dollar - seems like a good enough reason for me to keep using that clothesline!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

More socks?

I enjoy making socks because
*I wear them regularly to work with my wooden clogs.
*Socks in progress are small and easy to carry along to work on during any free time.
*They are inexpensive to make compared to many projects.
*They are challenging enough to keep you interested but not so much that you become frustrated.

Any other reasons? I'll ponder that as I cast on another pair using Lorna's Shepard sock yarn in the gorgeous Iris Garden colors!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Bella, a magazine for women, by women, about women, is distributed gratis around the Roanoke area. I pick up a copy most every month to catch up on shopping and cooking news AND to enter the contests for free stuff. I won a tshirt this month - a cute one with a flattering woman's cut....this is one I'll actually wear outside the house! What a nice little treat to receive after a trying day at work...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out and about

During my after breakfast walk today I noticed this weeping willow thriving in the neighborhood and mentioned to my husband that these trees need moist soil - that's why they're most often seen growing along creek banks. Growing up in this neighborhood, he recalls that the area where this tree is located often flooded during a hard rain ... the drainage was diverted years back - so that explains it...
Tuesday is trash/recycling day in the neighborhood. Roanoke has a reasonable curb side recycling program but I was saddened to see a bin curbside at only a few houses. I've recycling since the days you had to pack up the papers and cans and drop them into the bins at Cycle Systems so I appreciate the curbside convenience. One of the moments that convinced me that my DH was a keeper was when he started putting his Diet Coke cans in the bin rather than me fishing them out of the trash.....he still won't go near the compost bin....

We took a drive to Philpott Lake to scout out camp sites - what a beautiful,quiet area. We found several sites overlooking the water that would be perfect for our camper and only $18.00 dollars a night!
Henry County has been hard hit by numerous textile and furniture factory closings the past few years. I spotted this vacant storefront near the train tracks adjacent to an abandoned factory. I would love to know the stories captured in these walls...

Running in the Heat

Had a brisk walk to the post office ~1.5 miles away and ran back winding back and forth over the neighborhood streets - wow - it's hot at 11:30 in the morning! I did carry a bottle of water with me...good thing because I drank it all. Think I need to use my Zoom! membership when it is so hot and humid outside.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Quick Knit

I knitted up these two cotton dishclothes for a friend with a pink retro kitchen while watching my husband play in a Texas Hold'em tournament the other night. My next project is to finish the Bookcrossing afghan and send it on it's way - I'm off work the next two days...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Last Knit

when you just can't stop...

Paris - Random Thoughts

I enjoy cities that are easy to navigate by foot or public transportation - Paris is certainly one. I hope to perhaps retire to a city where I don't need to have a car ...
New York City is first on my list - Is Paris too much a dream? Speaking of cars, I was intrigued by the Smart cars I saw all over Paris.

When I returned to work a friend said she had found just the car she wanted and guess what it was a Smart car! Do I put down a deposit for one when they're available in the U.S. next year? Hummmm.... I loved all the parks tucked away throughout Paris and seeing people enjoying them. Eating,napping,reading,studying,visiting,playing were all common park activities. I wish our green spaces were appreciated as much.

Finally, the key system at the hotel was energy conserving - I'll explain...The card key is attached to a heavy metal fob. After you open the door you slide the card into a slot just inside the door and your electricity is turned on. When you leave you remoe the card from the slot and the electricity is turned off. Smart huh? You then turn in the key to the front desk and pick it back up when you return. We plan to rent an apartment in Paris next year for a month .... it can easily be done and is less expensive than staying in a hotel. I'll also get to shop the markets and cook! Working the overtime now and saving up - Paris, France I'm coming back...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Paris - Pere Lachaise Cemetery

On our last full day in Paris, I decided to venture into the 20th arrondissement to explore Pere Lachaise cemetery. Many people probably know that Jim Morrison is buried there even though hundreds of other well known people make this tranquil area their eternal home including Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde. I particularly like the story of Victor Noir's bronze statue at his grave site - I'll look for that one when I go back. The cemetery is easily found close by several metro stations and a map is located just inside the main gates. The cobblestone walkways were wide enough for vehicles since it continues to be an active burial area. The tombstones were so close in most areas that grass could not grow between them. Most were large, ornate tombstones with many designed as small palaces or other grand structures. I found Jim Morrison's site with little trouble....I left a book near his site that seemed to be rather appropriate...

Throughout the area were small parks with benches where people were reading, eating lunch or just having contemplative time. I plan to go back another time packing a lunch and having plenty of time to wander and take pictures.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Paris - Le Marais and the Islands of the Seine

This walk began at the Place de la Bastille. We had a little trouble figuring out directions but soon enough found Rue St. Antoine and headed on our way. Place des Vosges is the oldest square in Paris and houses shops, art galleries and cafes around the perimeter under the arcades. We saw younger children playing together and adolescents lounging on the grass in small groups talking and smoking. I was amazed at the number of young people I saw smoking. Most of the teenagers wore blue denim jeans and black pullover snug fitted shirts - I didn't see any of the immensely oversized clothing that seems to be the style here in the States. Soon enough we found Rue des Francs Bourgeois to seek out Pelote - a yarn shop I had read about and was eager to visit. Pelote carried a wide variety of Anny Blatt yarns and I chose a varigated pink to knit up into another wrap.
Musee Picasso is in this area and I plan to visit it during my next trip to Paris. We didn't visit any art museums this trip - just felt like we didn't have enough time. I enjoyed exploring Rue des Rosiers which is the Jewish/Eastern European part of the Marais. I noted the many falafel shops in this area and planned to return another day.
The gardens of the Hotel de Sens were beautifully tended
and the fortress like buildings surrounding the gardens were built in 1475! We crossed the Seine via the 17th century Pont Marie to reach the Ile St Louis - a small island in the midst of busy Paris and in the shadow of the magnificent Notre Dame.
Hundreds of people were waiting in line to visit Notre Dame -
we'll save this exploration for another time...

Saturday, June 02, 2007


This morning was a great time for one of the biggest 5k/10k in the valley - this run is held in association with the annual Festival in the Park. Festival in the Park is an art show and music festival that encompasses Elmwood Park and the Downtown Market area. I have attended the festival since I was in high school and have ran the race the last three years.Was my number a predictor of my speed today? Well, I ran the 5k at a slow 39 (ouch) minutes which is equivalent to a thirteen minute mile. At least my number wasn't 20! I'm OK with my time since I have just recovered from a left foot strain....will have a better time next year...