Thursday, May 29, 2008

And now... a knitting post!

I finished some projects, and it's been a long time since I posted about knitting... over a year, in fact! Since then, I've been a busy little beaver. Not so much this spring, since I started the term in January with all my projects at a point where they needed a lot of calculations and TLC. That was silly of me. However, I've had some time to work on projects in the last month, and I finished a number of things! So, here we go...

I made Ilene a sparkly red and black shawl for Christmas. It all started when I was shopping for yarn for Colin's blanket, and she was ogling this particular yarn... so Rebecca and I went back secretly and bought it! The shawl was done about last May, but I didn't want to post any pictures until after Christmas, of course!

Then I decided that I liked the pattern so much (not to mention I didn't have enough yarn during our trip to Hawaii to keep me busy), that I made one for myself, with some awesome bamboo yarn I found in Hanalei. It looks like ocean waves, so it's very appropriate for a project started in Hawaii! I finished it today.

Here's an out-of-focus picture of Dad wearing one of his Christmas froggie sox. They weren't quite done yet. I wish I had gotten a closeup on the froggie pattern on the sides.

This doily was a belated wedding gift for Steph and Johannes. I made the same one for Keith for Christmas. It is perfect for keeping various knick-knacks we received as wedding presents from scratching our piano.

I finally finished Michael's sweater and hat! This was supposed to be a birth/baptism present, but now he's 6 months old... and so cute! Luckily it looks like the sweater will fit him well in the fall.

Now some updates... I've gotten pictures of people wearing the projects I made for them!

We had a surprise visit from Alan and Libby and Anna, wearing the hat I made her! Normally they are in New Zealand. Anna loves to take her hat off and swing it around by the tassel. Fabi has one of these hats too (in Germany), but I don't have a picture of him wearing it.

Elizabeth put on her sweater for me when we came to visit last week. She can't wait to learn how to knit and crochet, just like Mommy and Grandma and Aunt Celia... and she loves to help right now! (Note the mess Mommy is untangling...) We call her the little yarn monster.

Elaine wore her sweater starting when she was 3 months old, until she was over a year old!

Leila wore her hat when she went to the pumpkin patch!

I presently have a few projects going: a fisherman sweater for Keith (which I am about to start over, since it's 6 inches too small), a sweater for me, which just needs to be assembled, and there's a baby sweater of my own design, but I don't know who it will be for. Given the rate of childbirth among my friends and relations lately, I doubt it will be without an owner for long!

Monday, May 26, 2008


What a contrast... in less than a week, we traveled from Hawaii to the Badlands of North Dakota... from the center of the Pacific Ocean to the center or North America! We're on a road trip, and one of the stops was Teddy Roosevelt National Park. We found bison as soon as we reached the campground. They were entirely unperturbed by our presence there. We laughed as we read the signs that said we were to stay at least 100 yards away from them... that was impossible anywhere in the campground. They approached us!

We drove around the scenic loop, with frequent stops.

At night, after dinner, roasting marshmallow peeps was the thing to do.

We went on a hike, which took us through about 3 enormous prairie dog towns! We enjoyed seeing the crazy rock formations and hills at a slow pace. It was absolutely silent except for the wind and the barking of the prairie dogs. We saw no other people.

That night we watched the sunset from Buck Hill overlook. There were bison there too. It was very windy.

On the way to Grand Forks, it seemed fitting to stop and visit the World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND. This picture is for you, Joe Ellis.

More pictures soon of fun times with the fam...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greetings from Hawaii! (after the fact)

I had intended to actually post some pictures and fun stories while we were in Hawaii, to gloat and whatnot, but didn't get around to it, since I was busy loafing on the beach and swimming and eating tropical fruit and hiking. So, we are back on the mainland now (North Dakota at present), so I'm finally getting around to posting.

By the way, we both survived the semester. Both of us did well in language classes, and I'm waiting to hear back on my Exegesis paper. Hopefully it will be graded by the time we get back from Vancouver in early June. Anyhoo, on the the stuff from Hawaii...

We visited the island of Kauai. There was an unexpected visit to Oahu as well... more on that later. Kauai was much more easy-going than Maui--still a lot of tourists, but a lot less ritzy and very friendly. It's a smaller island, but there's still lots of stuff to do.

Snorkeling and Swimming

We went snorkeling almost every day! There's such an amazing variety of sea life! I didn't spring for the underwater disposable camera this time, so you just have to believe me on this one. Keith enjoyed seeing the fish, but not having salt water in his mouth. I guess it takes getting used to. I got to swim with sea turtles! That was a major highlight.

Usually after swimming in the ocean, a rinse in the pool or hot tub was nice to get the salt off. Although a lot of other people had the same idea... the pools at our hotel had a very high salt and sand content!


We went on two major hikes, and a number of shorter walks. The first hike was along the wild and rugged Na Pali Coastline, and up to a spectacular waterfall. It was amazing how hearty we felt because of the oxygen-rich rainforest air... until we ran out of water.

The path took us over spectacular headlands to a beach...

...then up through a forest where coffee trees were growing wild. We met some people along the trail who taught us how to gather coffee beans! We've yet to see if the beans we collected are any good.

At this point, we were extremely hot and sticky, so the waterfall and pool were most welcome. Dad looked for frogs while I got pummeled by the waterfall.

Our other hike was into the world's highest swamp, near Waimea Canyon. We experienced some of Kauai's famous red dirt, some fog, some small lizards sunning themselves on the path, and eventually a great view, albeit still a bit foggy! Keith and I tried to take the shorter, better trail back, but found out at the end of the trail that it came out at a 4 mile long 4-wheel-drive only road. Whoops. Our hike ended up being longer (and possibly muddier) than everyone else's.

We also went on a lovely walk down the coast near our hotel at Poipu Beach.


We took a catamaran along the Na Pali coast, which is not accessible by car. We went snorkeling, saw beautiful scenery and some interesting sea creatures (dolphins, sea turtles, and a shark), and (most of us) enjoyed the wild ride on the way back... sitting at the front of the boat was like constantly having buckets of water dumped over our heads! Unfortunately Dad got rather seasick...


In addition to an abundance of tropical fish, we saw spinner dolphins...

...sea turtles...


...a big nasty centipede...

...and... chickens?! A bunch of chicken coops blew open during a hurricane a few years ago, and they thrived in the wild. They were everywhere, even on the beach and on our porch.

We have a tradition of "frog hunting" while in Hawaii. A favorite evening activity for Colin and I when we were younger was to search for frogs in the garden of our hotel.

Cooking and Eating

This was a big part of our trip! Most of the time we made our own meals, using fresh, local ingredients. We started with a trip to the farmer's market, fighting the crowd for the freshest pineapples! We sometimes had a list, but often our menu would revolve around what was available at the market.

Sometimes unusual things were at the market, such as raw macadamia nuts in the shell. We quickly discovered that our kitchen was not very well equipped... no nutcracker! Dad and Colin improvised.

Keith was our grillmeister (as usual). Highlights were kalbi chicken, fresh fish (wahoo and mahi mahi), and grilled pineapple.

Our best/most elaborate meal featured mahi mahi with fruit salsa, grilled pineapple, purple coconut rice, grilled corn, and salad!

Colin and Dad picked wild strawberry guavas on a hike, which I made into jam.

Waikiki Detour

So, we thought we were leaving... but the plane on our flight from Honolulu to Seattle decided we would stay for a few more hours. I noted that we did not seem to be climbing... that was because the flaps refused to retract completely. So, we circled for a couple of hours in order to lighten the plane by dumping and burning off fuel (meanwhile we became more and more nervous, the more the pilot tried to reassure us), then returned to Honolulu. Due to what happened next, I would heartily recommend Hawaiian Airlines... They shuttled us to Waikiki Beach (here we are waiting for the shuttle) and fed us dinner at a hotel! Meanwhile, our plane got fixed.

We had several hours to wander around the beach.

Keith enjoyed the Banyan trees... and the Japanese tourists! All the signs were bilingual.

So, the second try (on the same plane) got us all the way home, albeit 11 hours later than expected. After a couple of days to recover (and can some of the pineapple we brought home), we set out for the geographical center of North America... more on that soon! :)