Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Latitudes October 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 9:06 am
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Have you ever really looked at a map?  I mean really looked at one?  It’s fascinating the things that you tend to notice when you really sit down and take a good long look at a map.  When I got back to The Old Chapel I noticed that the sun was in the sky a significantly shorter period of time than it had been even in the middle of New York.  Being sometimes less than quick on the uptake it took me about a week to figure out that this must mean that England is further North than even my dear progressive Iowa.  Now, in my defense, I was seriously asleep for nearly a week, I wasn’t joking about that.  Still, I hauled out the atlas and checked it out to satisfy my curiosity.  The area of England that I live in is about 10 degrees further North than most of the contiguous United States.  So, not only am I living on an island off of another continent for the first time in my life but I am also living significantly further North than I ever have in the past.

You know what Jimmy says, “Change your latitude, change your attitude.”

I am so there.


Insanity Wrap-up October 27, 2009

I’m sure that some of you have noticed that I haven’t been on here in a while.  That is because, my dear readers, I have been asleep or catching up on things that needed catching up on here in The Old Chapel.  Mostly sleeping though to tell you the truth.  I turned into sleeping beauty without the spinning wheel (or being a teenager for that matter!!!).  The hubby had to leave for France the morning after I got home which was probably good for him in all reality as I was a very boring person to be around for the first few days back, I don’t even snore (I just always look a bit angry when I sleep for some reason [I think it’s really a look of concentration, I take sleeping very seriously!]).

Anyway, I realize that I haven’t posted about the tail-end of my trip so here it goes:

While in Florida still, I had sort-of a crazy last day getting to see everyone that I hadn’t seen up to that point.  I was booked for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Wednesday.  It was sort of insane but very fun to get to see everyone.

On Thursday I flew out from Orlando to White Plains on AirTran.  Everything went well though I lost my sunglasses somewhere in transit (it was ok, the weather in New York was less than sunglass weather!).  I met my roommate Malin at the White Plains train station after a few navigational delays and we headed North towards Rhinebeck.  Once again I am super happy that I used Ravelry as a way to share room/rides as Malin and I hit it off amazingly well.  Well, I guess that isn’t too big of a surprise since we both traveled thousands of miles to go to a sheep and wool festival (crazy likes crazy).  The drive-up to the Hudson Valley was not as pretty as in years past as we had first rain, then sleet, then (I kid you not) snow.  As I have not driven in falling snow with insane New York drivers passing me like I’m road kill in a while (read: ever) it was a sort of disturbing drive for parts of it.  Also, because of the weather, the beautiful fall colors the area is known for were obscured.  However, we made it to our hotel without incident and went shopping.  Yes, you read that right, we went shopping.  Malin had never been to a T.J. Maxx or Marshalls or any store like that before so we went to the Marshalls nearby and she liked it (a lot).  I got a few things for home as well.  We also went to Target where I checked-off a bunch of things on my very odd list of things to get in the US including 2 extra value sized bottles of Pepto (it’s really expensive here).

On Friday Malin and I both had workshops that went all day.  It was nice to be there before the whole festival opened up as it gave both of us a chance to see just how really big the place is.  We checked-in and went off to our individual workshops.  This year they had fun goodie bags for all of the workshop participants with a pen and a button that featured Leicester Longwools, this year’s breed of sheep on it along with some candy bars and coupons for various booths.  My classes were both with Annie Modesitt who is an awesome instructor.  She’s a really fun teacher that I highly suggest that taking her classes is a must to anyone even if you think you already know everything!!!  Annie battled the noise in the building all day long and mostly kept her temper about it (I would have been about 10 bajillion times more bitchy.  I would have turned into a fire breathing knitting Godzilla of doom!!)  Malin’s class was a little less, uh, good.  The instructor for the class was ill  (a very common thing I found as I traveled, the flu was early this year) so a replacement was found a half an hour prior to the class starting.  Now, trying to set up a class on designing lace patterns on the fly cannot be easy.  I’m hoping that the committee will refund the folks in that class their money like they discussed.  Though, from what I gathered, the lady that stepped-in to teach it did as good of a job as possible on such short notice.  Anyway, at the end of the day I bought two of Annie’s books and had them signed by her.  If you haven’t already checked them out, I would totally suggest it.  They are: Knit with Courage, Live with Hope and Confessions of a Knitting Heretic.  They can both be purchased in the normal channels or via Annie’s Website.  The first class of the day I also got a copy of one of her awesome flip books detailing how to do “Grandma” knit and purl increases.

Friday night we went out to eat with a bunch of the other Rodeway Inn Raveler’s at the restaurant that is right by the hotel.  It was surprisingly nice with several birthday parties and, I think, a wedding reception going on.  The group was super fun and the food was excellent.  I got a calamari pizza that was surprisingly tasty, even cold the next day!  We left the restaurant full and pleased and really ready for bed!



Most of the "Rodeway Gang" on Friday night.


Saturday was the opening day of Rhinebeck.  Malin and I got up early and got a great parking spot close to the 4-H gate.  I can definitely say that this year wasn’t as busy as last year was.  There was only really a couple of hours that you had to fight the crowds off whereas last year it was the majority of the day.  I think that the fact that it was not the nicest weather this year had something to do with it all.  It was overcast and cold and constantly feeling as though it was going to to break into a storm at any minute for most of the day.  However, it was still the glorious insanity that is Rhinebeck and lots of goodies were bought and even more were fondled and oohed and ahhed over.   A few really fun things that we both did were knitting on the big sock (they are trying for a Guinness World Record [it’s a FREAKING big sock]) and getting to meet and have her new book “The Knitter’s Book of Wool” signed by Clara Parkes.



Still some lovely fall colors despite the rain





Goats are always fun!



One of the parking lots



The Saturday Ravelry Meet-up


Yes, there were even kangaroos there!!!


Aflac!!! Aflac!! A couple of the actual Aflac ducks.

By the end of the day, we were both pretty zonked so we stopped at the grocery store that is near the fairgrounds for some provisions and headed-out towards the Ravelry party in nearby Red Hook.  We got mildly lost (didn’t bring the parking instructions) but it was ok as we were really early still.  The parking lot at the nearby school was pretty empty when we got there and we were on the first bus.  The party was great!  With-out the parking hassles, everything went so much smoother this year compared to last.  The food was yummy the goodie bags were, well, goodie and the company was fantastic.  Malin and I were on the first bus in and the last bus out!!!  Woot woot!! Party girls!!!!  Major props to the Ravelry crew for putting together such an awesome event once again!


On Sunday we didn’t get up nearly as early nor were we out the door as fast.  Since we were checking out of the hotel, we needed to make sure that we packed everything and had it all loaded in the car for that afternoon.   Even with the later start, we got an even better parking spot on day two!  It was significantly colder than it had been on Saturday.  We kept hearing rumors about bad weather in the city which made us both nervous about getting home in a timely manner.  Plus, we were both pretty exhausted.  We went around to a few of the places that we weren’t able to get to easily on Saturday.  It was so quiet that The Fold (home of Socks that Rock) didn’t have a line.  At all.  It was amazingly quiet.  We got a few more things and watched some of the Sheep to Shawl competition and did some of the food tastings and left around 1pm.



Some of the ladies in the Sheep to Shawl competition


Blue Ribboned entries.


There was a guy there doing these awesome pumpkin carvings!


The drive back down to White Plains was pretty uneventful.  It was rainy and blowy but otherwise, no big surprises.  I dropped Malin off at the train station and made my way back to the White Plains airport where I dropped my car off and struggled to get all three of my very large bags into the airport.  I had just gotten into the door after a massive struggle when a very kind lady asked if I needed any help.  She didn’t work there, she must have just seen the look of near desperation on my face.  This kind stranger got me to the United check-in area where something even stranger faced me.  A really nice United gate worker.  He took one look at my face and had me just chill and breathe for a few minutes.  (I must’ve really looked like hell is all that  I can think!)  He then checked me in for my flights and even helped me carry my bags over to security!!!  Going through security was a breeze and I was left to chill in the airport as I was a couple of hours early.
However, as the time approached for my flight to start boarding, there was no notice anywhere.  I went over to the United counter and there was a sign saying that my flight to DC was delayed an hour.  This is seriously not good as I only had about a 50 minute transfer.  Speaking with the girl behind the counter, it pretty quickly became apparent that I was going to be spending the night somewhere that was not in the air London bound.  So, when the puddle jumper finally arrived, I got on it with a sense of resignation knowing that I either A.) would have to run like a bat out of hell for my gate or B.) would have a night in DC.  It was the latter as I missed my flight by about 10 minutes.  So, I walked over to the customer service area and amazingly my luck held as I got another very nice (though harassed) United employee who set me up for the night in a really nice resort hotel on the Potomac.  Luckily, the pub in the hotel was open until midnight so I was able to get some excellent food before going to bed.
My flight left the next morning at 9:30am and since my luggage was still in the bowels of Dulles airport, checking in was a cinch.  Everything left on time and we arrived at Heathrow a little bit early.  Really, the whole thing wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the hubby hadn’t taken the day off to hang-out with me.  I was more upset by that than anything else.  As it ended-up, I got in at around 9pm and it takes a good hour plus to get home from that airport.  The hubby had to leave for a business trip to Paris the next morning at 5am so we didn’t get a whole lot of time to spend together.



My nice room courtesy of United Airlines


See, really can't complain.

I then proceeded to sleep for the better part of the week while he was gone with at least 3 animals touching me at all times.




Milo giving me some love while I sleep

It’s good to be home.



Out of Air October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 9:40 am
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So, this morning, I get-up, ready to tackle some not so fun things that need to be done here (dealing with the move still) and I walk out to the pimp-mobile that I was rented only to find this:


Here is a better shot (I just had to let you all see the expansiveness that is my rental car!):


Happy Monday to you too!!!


Bad Blogger, No Cookie! October 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 3:26 pm
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Yeah yeah, I know I haven’t been up here very much in the past couple of weeks.  I have a few very good reasons for this actually.  A.) I was tired of posting all the time.  B.) Internets were iffy a lot of the time C.) Iowa was pretty boring and D.) I have been really busy since I got Florida.

Good excuses huh?

Anyway, since I have gotten to Florida, as I said, I have been busy.  I’ve been booked for dinner or something almost every night since I got here.  Of course I went to the Happy Hookers on Thursday night and it was as great as usual.  However, they decided  it wasn’t enough “Sarah time” and a plan for dinner on Friday night was hatched!  We went to Nonna on Edgewater and it was EXCELLENT!  I would highly suggest it to anyone wanting a great place to eat in the area.  Anyway, afterward a few of the hookers still hadn’t had enough “Sarah time” and kidnapped me (that’s my story at least and I’m sticking to it!) to the Drunken Monkey, a great indie coffee place near Bumby and Colonial.   We hung out until nearly midnight!!  Yesterday I went with Cesar and Pam to IKEA and the millenia mall.  Not a whole lot of time to hang-out and write blogs posts…

So, Florida weather has been intent on reminding me why exactly I’m kinda glad not to be living here anymore.  It’s been extremely freaking hot the entire time that I have been here.  It’s been so hot that even the people who like it hot are complaining.  Hot and muggy have been the words of the day around here.  I feel like I need to grow gills in order to take a walk outside!

There are so many things that I miss about Florida, but the weather is soooooo not one of them.  I miss my friends here all the time.  I miss the ease of, well, everything here.  Want to go out to eat?  Hop in the car and run to what ever kind of food you have a hankering for.  Need some yarn for a project on a Sunday night?  Run to Jo-Anns before it closes.  In England everything has to be planned and plotted before you can really do anything anywhere.  Admittedly, it has made us better at conserving the car and resources but it is a pain-in-the-ass at times.  I don’t miss the aggressive traffic that seems to follow you with the nose of their cars up your tailpipe.  And I don’t miss the HEAT!!!

Honestly, I now know that this trip has been just about 10 days too long.  So, for future reference, if I am ever planning a 60 day trip again would someone remind me of this before I leave?  I’m really happy to see everyone but I’m kinda done.  I want to be home in my own bed with my own pets.

Yes, I’ll take some cheese with that whine.

However, I get to go to Rhinebeck in less than a week.

I know, I suck.