Friday, May 30, 2008

Here Comes the SUN!!! Yippy!

The storm clouds moving on to the east.

The Blue Mountains farther south.
Photo is a little sharper with the tripod.

The mountains to the south west, with the sun shining on them.
Brightening up the morning after the past 5 days of rain.

Oh my Gosh...finally a break from the rain, well, at least until 1:45 p.m. today. Yes, we are getting another shower, but hopefully it is not the same kind that just moved out. I got up this morning, and after taking care of the boys...the normal routine, I grabbed my camera to shoot the beautiful, clear sky as it got sunny outside. How beautiful it is and the crisp clearness is worth getting up for. I shot to the west, which is where the clearing after the rains came from. It is amazing that the ones I shot to the east, where the sun was coming up behind the clouds, still show signs of the storm moving out. I am still in awe of the distance I can see, and the blue mountains beyond, which are a little east of direct south. Never lived any where from which I could see so far. I grew up in Montana, and one can see for miles in 'big sky' country, but flat (the eastern part) is different than these beautiful mountains I see here. I remember being able to see quite far when we would go into the park, Makoshika, if I remember the correct spelling. Click the name, for more info. It is located on the edge of Glendive, the town I grew up in, but most of the area is very flat, and is mostly farm land. The road into the park is the 'flash back' I get on some of the roads here, when I have time to think about it. I remember swinging out over a steep cliff, from the door of my dads truck, as it swung open as he took a curve in the road, perhaps a little to fast. Yes, I remember screaming and hanging on for dear life! Those old (antiques they call them now) trucks and cars my dad kept running, were slightly more than barely running sometimes, and it is a wonder they had doors on them. After that experience, I was always more careful to slam the door shut, and double check it again when we were out in the park. My dad use to do some work, he was a handy-man, for a small ranch on the other side of the park. Getting there meant having to drive through the park each time we went there. It still is a pretty rustic park in the "badlands", but not as it use to be, that was the true 'back to nature' experience. They have since paved the roads, straightened and widened them a great deal. And I have not seen them since I was in my 20's. Long time ago.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Friend's Son Gets Married

A Beautiful Couple!

Mom & Son Dance

Congratulations Jen & Matt!

Rain, and Knitting Days

I am hearing that this may be an "El Nino" year, with all the storms they are having in the states, and we sure are having a lot more rain, earlier in the year, than what we had last year. The weather seems to have no pattern, any longer, only does what it must with global warming and all. We have definitely had plenty of rain this past week. I hope it stops, even if only temporarily, long enough for my daughter to visit me. We will have to hit the decks early to get ahead of the rain. One of the best things about the rain, is the clear skies we have when it lifts, and even when it rains, it is not the same darkness I use to associate with rainy days.

I shot some photos early in the morning and the blue mountains you see here, I can only see on the very clear days. I took them on telephoto, so they look closer than they really are. They are miles away, even as the crow flies, and to drive there, well, it takes a long time. It sure is beautiful. They are not as clear a focus as I would like, and I guess I will just have to get out the tripod one of these days.

I have even had to put on a sweater to keep the chill from getting me. Maybe I'll get to use my new sweater and socks sooner than I thought this year.

I finished the Honeymoon Cami for Ines, and see for yourself, she is as cute as can be in it.

Rachel just loves the blanket, and will not lay it down, carries it everywhere she goes. And nap time could not be easier. At 3 years old, her little smiles of excitement are so gratifying. I also made a small crocheted blanket for her doll, to match with left over yarn.

The gray Saucy socks are finished, and I just need to take some pictures to add to the files, and will put it here when I do that. Added, and am happy with them! The pattern shows up nicely, but pictures just don't do them justice. They will keep my feet warm this rainy season.

I started another Cami, called the Bias Corset, and it is coming along well, and has been fun to work out the uniqueness of it. I decided to put a second color in the front ribbing and it is interesting the effect it is having on the lay of the top. I am using a different fiber, than suggested, with a bit of stretch to it, so it will finish slightly differently than the merino suggested. I think it will fit me better with the extra elasticity in it. The ribbing in the back will give it a close fit, and ease as well. Turning out beautiful! The decreases in the lower front have given it the slop in the center that I am loving.

I also started another pair of socks...what you think I would not have a pair going on the sock needles again? I guess I am as addicted to making socks as everyone else who makes them continuously. And I like trying different patterns each time too. Because I love the color variations in yarn, I usually have to try each pattern before I cast on for real. Not every pattern shows in the variations of colored yarns. I just love multi-colors, what can I say. This time, I am doing a vintage fluted pattern, and they are looking good. I had started a different pattern, and even after testing it, and then casting on, I didn't like the result and frogged it. My knitting friends gasped, but I am a process knitter, and I don't finish what I don't like, so I am better off to frog the silly thing and start over, different pattern, different result. And may times, I'll frog if it isn't feeling 'right' in my hands. Don't really even have to look at it to know, there is sometimes it just tells you.This is Cafe Delicias, where we knit.

Our knitting group is going great, and this past Thursday was no exception. We get more and more traffic just stopping by to say 'hi' and introduce themselves. We are a 'chatty' bunch, and anyone speaking English, is drawn to our table. We met several ladies this week, one wonderful lady who has lived here for 14 years, and who was 'uuuhhhing' over our beautiful yarns, wondering where we got them. Costa Rica has many crafts and many small shops with items for sale, but yarn is not one of the best items offered. I never considered myself a 'yarn snob' but I guess, I am and may as well defend my tastes. Polyester and I are not on friendly terms since I long ago found knitting with real wools, cottons and silks to be so much more of a pleasant experience. Not only does it make a difference in the construction process, but the finished garment is miles ahead of the look poly affords one. So, the internet is my friend too. Living on a global basis is not a big stretch, if you know it is there. I am amazed at the number of people who are still "computer-phobic" and will never have the pleasure of this wonderful tool. Even here in Costa Rica, where most of the population still do not have personal computers, there are Internet Cafes on every block. They may even last, time wise, longer here as a business than they did in the states. The income level is much lower here, so it is not a high priority of things to buy for ones home. The youth are growing up with more desire to have technology and are learning it quickly. The next generation will be very computer literate.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Knitting: 2 Completions, and 2 new WIP

As I am learning more about myself, than I ever did when I worked...I am finding I love being retired! I can now finish what I start, and they no longer turn into UFOs (UnFinished Objects). I am finding out that I really do love to cook, and have the time to do that also. My only dilemma, is what do I do when I finish one project, and which of the next 1000+ ideas I have, gets my undivided attention next. Oh, what fun!

I finished my Top-Down Sweater, several weeks ago, just needed to sew in the ends of the yarn, and block it. Now, it is finished, and I will be warm come the October chilly rains. It fits perfectly, and I love the colors.

Then, I also finished, in 2 weeks time (a record for me), a pair of Slipped-Stitched Rib Socks. I started them for myself, and a friend saw them at our Knit-Ins and she fell in love with them. I have another skien of the same yarn,
so I will make another pair for myself. The Fly Dyed
Monarch Merino was so great to work with, like butter in my hands. Not all wools are created equal.

I started the Saucy Socks pattern on Sisu yarn, and it is working up nicely, but not as wonderful a feel in my hands. I like the pattern, and only one row out of 12 rows in the pattern, the cable row, is difficult to maneuver on the magic loop. I am using one dbl point needle to hold the cabling stitches on from the opposite sides, makes it easier. I know, you have to be a knitter to understand the lingo.

On the trip to San Jose, I started a small coverlet for Rachel, the neighbor girl. She is 3 years old, and can hardly wait for me to finish it. I decided to just make rows of different stitch patterns for a variety in each skein of yarn. She loves the bright colors. Will post it when finished too.

A day at the Teatro de la Danza

The performance was spectacular! Sunday was a Cultural Arts Day in San Jose, and yes, I forgot my camera, but enjoyed the day in spite of my forgetfulness. There were displays of artistic design in the form of cows, placed around town, and the ones I saw were great. The cows are a part of the Cow Parade, and they will be around until sometime in August. Here is a site with photos, and more photos, and the story behind the cows. Photos taken by Perry DeSaint and Erin at "Gringuitica".

Steve and Kathy asked me to go with them to the dance performance, and I am so glad I did. There was such a variety of style and intensity. Traditional Costa Rica dance with the peasant costumes, ballet, tango, flapper, modern, and self expression were just some of the entertainment. My favorites, because I have to say two of them were so fantastic, were the ballet, and the tango. I have always loved the intensity of the tango, and this proved to be just as exciting. It so emphasized the emotion of the dance. The performers included 2 men and 1 women, dancing together, and then the presentation of the challenge between the men, which was a dance also. Complete with the RED back lighting, the emotion of the moment could have been cut with a knife. How fascinating! The ballet was superb also. The strength of the male performer was amazing! It was beauty and grace each step of the way. I must say, the self interpretation performances showed skill and creativity in as much of a professional realm, as I have ever witnessed. One performance reminded me of the live Cirque de Soleil performance I saw in FL. Practice and dedication account for such precision and demiurge. Now I know I can enjoy performances every bit as interesting as ones I visited at the Fox, and for much less money too. The price for admission was $2.00, can you believe it!