Friday, October 21, 2011

Week of Fiber Fun- part 3 - RHINEBECK

Knitters and spinners on Ravelry talk about Rhinebeck like its the best thing in the world. It's full name is New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. After listening to that talk for a while I had to make the journey.  First off, I've been to a few other fiber fests before. Every year I go to our local one at Washington County fairgrounds. I've seen llamas, alpacas, sheep and goats. The critters aren't new to me. I've seen yarn, roving, and all sorts of fiber goodness. So, why the pull to go to Rhinebeck? For me it was a chance to see all sorts of other knitters enjoying a common love, and of course the chance to see more yarn.

My friends and I got there finally after the massively long line of cars and headed toward the critter barns. She isn't big into critters so I had to snap a few quick shots, pet a sheep or 2 and move along.

One thing I learned while taking sheep pics was the numbering system. This cute guy/gal was number 97 but the shoulder mark is a ribbon. This is a winning sheep!

More sheep

People outside the sheep barns.

The hills outside the fairgrounds were alive with fall colors.

Of course there was also alpaca with cute haircuts.

At noon there was a Ravelry meet up on the hill near the main entrance. People were milling around checking out everyone's knitwear- sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, skirts. You name it, people knit it and wore it.

The Ravelry Mom & Dad and Mary Heather were there. Casey was there talking to everyone.

Jess was talking care of the new little one who was incredibly well behaved until I decided to take a picture. Of course there was lots of baby knitwear!

Someone gave Jess and Casey a cute little baby hat and my friend, Susan, just happen to be standing in a perfect spot to get a pic of all three.

Then there was our group. Susan and I met up with a few Rav friends. The month before I made the sweater coat I'm wearing just to bring to Rhinebeck. It's what everyone does.

Barbara's cousin - Barbara - Suzy - Susan - me

There was a dead fish hat .

Man in a kilt (he wasn't the only one)

In the afternoon there was a llama/alpaca parade.

Check out the building in the background. All that glass is the front of one of the barns. They were light and clean and filled with fiber vendors.

A dress all in lace.

After a full day of people watching, shopping and critter watching we headed home the long way. Susan's friend met us with her daughter (a delightful, intelligent and witty young girl) and we drove them home after all of us stopped for pizza. My first pizza since June and IT WAS GOOD!

Sunday Susan and I spent most of the day at her house knitting and chatting. We had a late lunch/early dinner and headed over to a BBQ place in Troy. Dinosaur BBQ You know a BBQ place has to be good if there's a uinch of motorcycles out front. The food was wonderful. It was my first BBQ since before June. Starting to see the big picture here? I decided this would also be a vacation foodwise and I ate pretty much whatever I wanted without eating too much.

After our meal we drove around Troy a little bit and I learned a bit about the town from Susan. Uncle Sam is from here. Sam Wilson was a meat packer from Troy and during the War of 1812 his meat was sent to the troops with the mark U.S. The story goes that the troops started saying the meat was from Uncle Sam and eventually anything marked US was said to be from Uncle Sam.

Sam Wilson statue

Monday morning came too soon and I headed back across Massachusetts to Logan Airport in Boston. Goodbye to mountains and the beautiful countryside.

I wasn't the only one who was tired and just wanted to get home.

The best sign in the world after a fight from Boston to Milwaukee and a 1.5 hr layover was the sign that said our flight would be on time. I was away from Chief and Bert for 5 days and I missed my boys more than I thought.

I finally got home a bit after 11pm and after major hugs and cuddles from the boys I fell into bed so I'd be ready to get up for work the next day.

Would I go to Rhinebeck again? You bet. But I doubt I'll be doing it as a yearly event. It will be a special trip from time to time. You may noticed I still haven't shown you what I bought. I haven't been home during daylight hours all week so I haven't taken pictures yet. Tomorrow I'll get some pictures and let you see what I got.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week of Fiber Fun- part 2 - Heading to Rhinebeck

So, I took off last week and decided to have a little fiber fun. I went to Lila & Claudine's to see their new digs and then on Thursday I got up and an unbelievably early hour to get down to the airport, make it thru security and be on the plane for a 5:45am. I don't "do" morning. I amaze myself everyday that I actually get to work on time. But - there was fiber to see and friends to visit so I got up at 3:45am. UGH!

I landed in Boston, had a minor problem with car rental and headed across Massachusetts toward WEBS.
The closer I got to WEBS the more scenic everything was. Minnesota doesn't have much in the way of mountains or even hills so seeing western Mass. with its fall colors and rolling landscape was a treat to my eyes.

Soon I turned off the freeway and was headed into the WEBS parking lot. I was careful about what I spent because I have a large stash and try to get what I know I'll use within a reasonable length of time. I ended up getting 10 skeins of Valley Yarns Northampton, a skein of a beautiful fingering weight for a shawl, a pair of Knitter's Pride needles to try out their new needles and that's it. Wanna see a picture of the new stash? Tough - you have to wait!

After my time at WEBS I headed west toward New York to get to my friend's house in Troy - just outside Albany. Finally - New York here I come.

Little side note- in Minnesota we have entrance ramps to freeways that know their place. You get on it and within a very brief distance you are on the next freeway. This isn't the way things work in Mass. You get on the ramp and you are taken on a long side tour of the countryside, winding about forever until you finally make it to the next freeway. There's nothing wrong with this its just odd to get used to!

So, I made it to my friends house and we sat around talking for the evening and had a delish pasta/meatball dinner. And yes, there was knitting.

Friday, we headed out to do a little driving tour of Vermont; mostly so I could say I was in Vermont. The day started out rainy on and off and kind of went down hill from there. We drove through hills of wonderful fall colors but a lot of rain and most of the trip looked like this.....

Rain of the windshield and minimal traffic. When the rain stopped the colors were fantastic. It really is true, fall in this area is something to see! The river in this picture is much higher level than usual as the water from the August hurricane Irene.

The valleys were so foggy the long hanging clouds and fog made it look very mystical.

We drove into Bennington, VT ready to eat lunch but had to stop and enjoy several painted moose first. The restaurant across the street that says "Fine Ales" was our destination. I don't know about the Ale but the Reuben sandwich was perfect!

What's a trip thru Vermont without spotting at least one covered bridge. This one was just sitting at the side of the road with a gravel pathway going up to it. No cars going thru this one any more.

One of the truly frightening/sad/amazing sights was the small town of Wilmington, VT. They were hit hard by the hurricane and most of the town had major damage. We were cruising the Internet the night before the trip so knew things were going to look "not right" but seeing it was totally different from viewing it on youtube.
Wilmington one month after the hurricane.

I didn't get any pictures of Wilmington or the rest of the drive because the rain got so bad all my pics are just raindrops on the windshield. For a while the rain was so bad we could barely see the road. But we made it home and went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Chicken Korma was delish!

Then came Saturday. Rhinebeck. The word makes knitters and fiber people all excited and they dream of the fun they'll have, the yarn they'll buy and the fiber critters they'll see.

We headed out for our hour long drive down the Hudson River with clearer skies and great views.

About a mile from the fairgrounds traffic came to a halt. The last mile to get into the grounds and park took us almost a hour! Could this many people actually be going to a Sheep and Fiber Festival? YUP!

We survived the drive in - found a parking place - got thru the gate and headed into the first barn we saw to check out the critters. I love the happy faces on the sheep. They just know they're here for something special and that all these people are here to thank them for the wool they grow that gives us all the hours of pleasure.

So - we made it to Boston - drove thru Mass - visited WEBS - made it to New York - drove thru Vermont flood zone - drove to Rhinebeck and survived the traffic to get in and now.......

you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the Ravelry people - critters on parade - and some knitwear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week of Fiber Fun- Part 1

The past week has been filled with all sorts of fiber fun. Last Wednesday a couple friends and I headed over to Lila & Claudine's to check out the new rooms. The company that was on main level of their building left and they took over. There's now 5 new rooms of goodies to wander thru besides the lower level where they have always been. This is a shop that can not be described - you have to see it to believe it.

Thursday I headed to Boston and drove across Massachusetts to Albany, NY to visit a friend and go to Rhinebeck Saturday. Next post I'll tell you about that part of the week.

In the mean time - enjoy the pictures of L&Cs new digs. If you live in the Twin Cities area and have not been to visit, you must make a trip up to Mahtomedi.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am a unicorn

They say robots will one day take over the world - today is not that day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Denise in China - this one's for you

A few posts back I mentioned the mall near my house (Brookdale) was no more. Back in 1955 Southdale mall (in Edina, Minnesota) became the first indoor mall in the world. Over the next few years 4 more "Dales" followed. Brookdale was the one in Brooklyn Center. The other 2 Rosedale (in Roseville) and Ridgedale (in Minnetonka) are still around. But - alas - Brookdale is no more. It's going to become a new shopping complex with Sears still there but, my childhood shopping mall will never be the same again.

When I posted about Brookdale I got a comment back from someone in China who grew up in this area and knew Brookdale well. After a few messages back and forth we figured out she went to my high school and was only a couple years behind me. What's that old story about going half way around the world to meet the person next door? Kind of freaky feeling to have it happen to you!

So - Denise in China - these pictures are for you!

This is where Dayton's used to be

From the Sears parking lot looking toward what was JC Penny

This was JC Penny's parking lot where the car repair store was in the middle of the parking lot.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cinnamon - who knew....

Time to go off the yarn - kitty path for a little bit. As I mentioned before I'm finally working at having a healthier lifestyle. I've discovered a few things along the way and decided to share them with you.

1. Never say you're on a diet.
A diet is the some total of everything you eat - good or bad. Therefore, everyone is on a diet. Better to say I'm making healthier choices or something similar. Talking this way makes is a "forever" thing. I'm not on a diet till I lose xx lbs and then go back to the way I used to eat and live. That's sets you up for failure.

2. Keep your life close to the same - make small changes and they will become part of your life easier than making big changes.
One typical cheeseburger and fries/catsup and regular cola will clog the arteries; put you in unbalanced sugar levels; and make it harder to breathe without giving you vitamins and minerals your body needs. Change that up for a side salad; small burger (plain) and ice tea or diet cola (if you must) and suddenly you've added the goodness of veggies while decreasing the bulk of fries, cheese and sugary pop. Same fast food restaurant and no one needs to know you're eating different. Besides - isn't a nice big side salad prettier to look and more fun to crunch at then greasy fries? Try a huge bowl of air popped corn. It's cheaper, healthier and eco-friendly compared to microwave bags of popcorn with fake butter stuff.

3. Just like they tell you - journal your food.
Some things I didn't think were so bad are really bad. Sometimes I end up thinking I've had a good day but the results tell me different. I've gone low on protein or even low on carbs. Your body needs a balance function to its best. (Notice I didn't mention calories because they're just a small part of eating healthy.)

4. Cinnamon is a really good thing.
WHAT? I've done a lot of hunting around the Internet and being very careful which sites I believe in. In the process I discovered cinnamon has a lot of health benefits. So, what does it do?
Cinnamon contains a chemical - cinnamaldehyde - which appears to work as an antibacterial and antifungal. It's used for gas, muscle spasms, nausea, helps with the common cold, may lower BP, have antioxidant effects, and several other benefits. Who knew!
Want something good for you and tasty to start your day? Instead of jelly on your toast try making a mixture of 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp honey.  - Good stuff!