Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Forever ago (one million years in internet time, or 2 months in human time) I went to California. My mom, sister, and I (girls' trip!) looked at many large and interesting items, mostly in Yosemite National Park, a.ka. The Death Trap. There were many completely unimpressive views, like this one:
Yosemite Valley
There were also some really small trees that were frankly pretty stupid to look at. We have like, 5 of these in our backyard at home.

We stayed overnight in Curry Village. I was a little bit nervous about staying in a canvas tent because bears love me. If Yellowstone was about a 7 on a scale of 1 to "definitely you will die of a bear attack", Yosemite is a 10. (But only signage wise. Actual bear murder-wise, Yellowstone is currently ahead 2-0 this year.)

The next morning we got up early to hike the Mist Trail. If I give you only one tip for visiting Yosemite, it's to get up early. We were up and down by the time the stroller/flip flop/funny hat crowd started in. The trail is kind of odd. The first segment is fairly wide and paved, and continues up to a bridge below the first waterfall, Vernal Falls. After that, things rapidly take a turn for the rugged, which is nice, but is not really posted anywhere. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but many people seem to saunter up the paved portion and think, "no problem, I'll keep going. And take this stroller, tripod, backpack, and small travel refrigerator with me."

Then you come to this: a stone staircase, about 4 feet wide, with a sheer drop off at one side. Because we were here in June, water was pouring off the waterfall like a torrential downpour, and the stairs were slick. There were portions where I hugged the wall a little as I climbed. My sister and I were both completely soaked by the time we reached the top.

We decided to come back down via a secondary trail, and that was a good decision. We got to see Vernal Falls from above, as well as avoided having to walk down the slippery staircase on the non-wall side. The only downside to this trail is that it is several MILES longer than the straight-shooter trail up.

We drove out via the Tioga Road (towards the east), where there was a ridiculous amount of snow for it being late June. (I know this picture doesn't show a lot of snow, but it was still piled several feet deep along the edge of the road. I had to stop and touch some, because for some reason I expected it not to be cold. I don't know why. It was cold, of course.)

Our next stop was Lake Tahoe. I was expecting it to be more of a sleepy mountain town, but it was more like Vegas-lite. While the lake was beautiful, it was freezing cold. I mostly stayed on the beach in the shade as not to mar my translucent complexion. My sister tells me that it's much more crowded in the winter, when all the coastal Californians visit to enjoy the snow. If anyone wants to come to my house during winter and "enjoy" the snow, you're welcome to, as long as you dig out my car.

We rounded out the trip with a visit to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose (completing a giant 700-mile circle.) If anyone ever accuses me of having a home remodeling addiction, I refer you to to this house. The owner, Sarah Winchester (also 4'10", a fact that the tour guide really played up as if she was some sort of freak show, when I was standing right there being 4'10" the whole time) built on to the house for 38 years, adding staircases that went nowhere, doors that opened out to a drop off, 47 fireplaces (but only 17 chimneys), and 160 rooms. It's basically a maze inside, and pretty neat to tour if you get the chance.

Aaaaand then I came home. The end.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scarf Parade

A while ago I realized that I was a slow knitter, and that if I wanted new warm things to wear in the winter, I best get started while it's still warm out. That logic makes sense, until you get the part where it's 100 degrees outside and you're stuck with a lapfull of wool. So, no sweaters here, but it's looking like my neck will be warm, at least, and protected from vampires!

First up is the Cotton Seeds cowl, if I can even call it that. I did cast on the proscribed number, but after about 10 rows I gave up on 205-stitch rounds of seed stitch. Even though I tried to keep at the stitches straight when I joined in the round, I ended up with an unintentional double-mobius. Oh well, it's hard to tell when it's all scrunched up anyway. The yarn was a gift from a friend (and a non-knitting friend at that!) and is Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica. This is what it looks like looped twice around:

And three times around:

I would show you 4 times around, but no one was around to revive me after I fainted due to constricted blood flow to the brain.

Next is the Boneyard Shawl, which I actually finished back in (coughcough) February. While those dinky shawlettes that are all the rage in knitting-land can be cute, they don't really cut it when it comes to actually providing warmth. I used two whole skeins of Cascade Heritage Paints sock yarn.

And stylishly thrown around my neck like all the kids are wearing scarves these days:

Finally, there is the Greyhaven cowl, which is eating my face!

I survived. It's made out of Berocco Ultra Alpaca that I bought in Little Rock. I also did an extra repeat for maximum scrunchability.

All of this should not be taken to mean that I actually want it to be cold. I am so OVER cold. I am over snow. But apparently the climate does not take my wishes into consideration (although it should), and so I will cocoon myself in knits until I emerge, pasty white, sometime next April.

Monday, August 15, 2011

County Fair

It's funny that I lived in rural Kansas and New Mexico for several years, but never went to a county or state fair. (I DID go to the Roswell UFO Festival though.) Several members of my knitting group have entered items in the fair in the past, so this year I thought I'd give it a go myself. This is ironic because of how non-competitive I am. (Yeah right! I WILL BEAT YOU ALL.) I may have done a little happy dance when I saw this:

I wrote about my spinning here, and the socks have yet to be blogged. I'm not sure who won this category, because it was combined socks and gloves. But when I find out, I will go to her house and steal all her yarn. (Not really. I don't know where she lives.)

Next year, should I enter the toilet decorating contest? This was a hit among the kids who were passing by. "HAHA it says POOP."

Next we took a turn through the animal barns, and saw these three little pigs.

And this cow. I was not aware cows could bend their necks like this. Also, cows are really big; I also was not aware of that.

The poultry barn featured more kinds of chickens than I ever knew existed, and a little incubator where you could watch newborn chicks. We almost saw a chick hatch, but got tired of waiting for him to break through the shell. Come on chicken, time's a wastin'!

A little further down were many stands where you could actually eat the adorable animals you just saw!

After that, you could take a ride on something that would (a) probably kill you, or (b) make you throw up your deep-fried oreos.

Finally, there was Sampson the GIANT HORSE. A dollar, really? Don't these people know that the internet exists?

Next year: Best in Show. I'm coming for you, purple ribbon.
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