Sarah Jane Humke

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

Off Camera September 29, 2014

I’ve not written here for a while. Parts of this had to do with grad school. Being expected to write nearly constantly caused me to avoid it when I could. It wasn’t just this blog that has felt the inattention, but also friends who I would somewhat regularly write too via either snail or email.

Spring break meant a car trip to Florida to visit friends and to introduce a new friend to lots of old sites as well as see some new ones for me.  I finally got a chance to see the American Gothic house in SE Iowa!  Did you know that they have outfits that you can dress up in and pose in front of the house (pitchfork included!)?

It was a little windy that day!

It was a little windy that day!

Of course the obligatory knitting picture in front of it!

Of course the obligatory knitting picture in front of it!

We went to the beach (as one does) as well as a lot of museums and things like that.

She was excited to finally be in Florida!

She was excited to finally be in Florida!

We did do some educational stuff while there!

We did do some educational stuff while there!

Seeing her joy in watching the orange pickers made my trip!

My friend kind of freaked the pickers out with the camera so early in the morning until she explained that  she was just interested, not from the government!

My friend kind of freaked the pickers out with the camera so early in the morning until she explained that she was just interested, not from the government!

Orange pickers

I also had the great joy seeing something that I have had a (small) part in organizing come to fruition.  The 2014 Iowa Federation of Weavers and Spinners annual Spin-in featured Deb Robson as the speaker.  Two years ago when the organizers at my guild mentioned that they needed a speaker for the 2014 Spin-in and I just happened to mention that I knew Deb, I doubt that they expected the amazing turnout that we would get.  It was a pretty full house, which for a spinning event in the Midwest, is no small feat.  It was a great weekend and Deb’s talks were well received as well as her class on rare breed wools taught the next day.  It was great to see Deb again under less stressful circumstances.

Deb giving her rare breeds talk.

Deb giving her rare breeds talk.

Full house!

Full house!

I however have been doing all sorts of things of late not at all related to grad school and I am finally over the writing avoidance. I’ve made a (ahem) lot of jams and jellies and pickled things. A lot. And then I moved. I am not the favorite person of my friends who helped me to move right now. I now fully understand why canning has traditionally been the focus of folks more settled than I am currently as jars of food are heavy and a pain to move since they are not really stackable. However, survive it I did and I have even added to the collection as apple season is in full swing here in Iowa.

These are some of my canned goods selection before the move.

These are some of my canned goods selection before the move.

I have still been knitting. I am attempting my first full-on, adult-sized, honest to blog cardigan sweater. Cables and all. I am making it out of one of the few yarns that I have enough of in my stash to make a sweater from. I got it in England at the John Lewis New Year’s sale and it works beautifully for this pattern. If you would like to check it out, here is a link. So far, it looks like a hot mess of strings and parts but I am told that this is completely normal for this kind of construction. I’ve worked on a few socks and other things over the past few months but nothing big to tell you the truth.

The past couple of days I’ve been helping dad extract the honey that we got this year from the bee hives. It is really amazingly light honey and sweet enough just to eat up. I also decanted some previously harvested honey that is much darker into containers smaller than a five-gallon bucket. I think that this was a time that my folks were happy to have someone who owns a wealth of canning jars as we didn’t really want to load all this darker honey into the honey bears. It was a very sticky learning experience and makes me want to learn more about the bees and beekeeping (collective moan from anybody who helps me move).

The lighter honey on the left was the honey we just extracted.  The darker honey on the right is the previously extracted batch.  It's amazing how much it can vary!

The lighter honey on the left was the honey we just extracted. The darker honey on the right is the previously extracted batch. It’s amazing how much it can vary!

The bees, very busy helping to clean out the combs that we extracted as well as the extractor.  By allowing them that honey we hope that it will help them make it through the winter better.

The bees, very busy helping to clean out the combs that we extracted as well as the extractor. By allowing them that honey we hope that it will help them make it through the winter better.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am living at the farm once again, where we are gearing up for the harvest of more than apples and honey. The corn will be coming out of the fields soon and my brother and father have been trying to get things ready for the annual chaos that is harvest. Already the corn choppers have come and gone, leaving behind a massive tube of silage this year (dad decided not to put it up in the silo).

Preparing for harvest.

Preparing for harvest.

The Silage tube

The Silage tube

But really, what has mostly been going on is living a life. A life that may go through more sugar and sock yarn than is typical, but one that is typical for me. I hope that I can share more with you in the coming weeks than I have been. Lately I keep finding myself reading blogs and Ravelry again which I had stopped doing in the depths of grad school.


Already the maples are flaunting their colors.


Finished! January 31, 2012

I have been working on Althea by Dutch Knitting Design otherwise known as my friend Marleen Van der Vorst.  I started this at Woolfest on either the 24th or the 25th of June.  Well, that’s not exactly correct as I started this yarn as a different pattern but quickly decided to use Marleen‘s pattern instead.  I hauled this shawlette to Knit Nation with me where very little got done on it.  However, I felt that I needed to show Marleen the progress that I was making on one of her patterns.  Then I am pretty sure that I didn’t show it to her at all.

This project rode in my checked baggage on the airplane home, only to be ignored for weeks on end in favor of Christmas projects and spinning.  I packed it into the big white van and it rode to Florida with me to deal with the house and not one stitch was added to it.  Finally (finally!) it got packed to go to Sticks and String this past weekend with me which is where we made a connection.

I know everyone always says this, but it’s amazing how fast a project goes when you actually work on it!

At the beginning of the weekend, it still looked more or less like this:

By the end of last night it looked like this:

The finish was exciting on this one.  I had this tiny ball of only 3 grams left over and that was after deciding to not do the last row of patterned knitting!

I gave it a bath in Soak last night and pinned it out early this morning.  My blocking board is packed somewhere in the storage unit along with my pins so I sort of had to improvise.  That’s ok, I’m pretty good at improvising!  This is a cedar chest that is under about 10 layers of blankets with a non-slip rug pad under them all.  This princess and the pea set-up is to keep Malcolm and the rest of the crew from scratching the top as they look out the window.  On top of all these blankets is a massive towel that my mom sewed out of 3 smaller towels way back in the day to put on the seat of a couch (which we no longer have).  I usually use it as a dog towel, but it was pressed into service as a pinning base today.   There was no way I was getting a picture of this shawl today without Sweetie Pie in the picture in all of her adolescent glory.  She’s actually waiting for me to throw her toy so that she can go fetch it.  For real, this cat plays fetch.

I didn’t have my fancy quilting pins (in storage as well) so I used a random pack of safety pins.  They worked ok!  The little gold ones were the best for pinning out the points.  When I have all of my blocking supplies together I will give this puppy a much stricter blocking, but this works for now!

And here is what it looks like now, blocked and fully finished!  It turned out much larger than I expected.  I knit and knit and knit on this and it took 97 grams out of 100 in the skein and I, for some crazy reason, thought that it was going to be a lot smaller than it turned out to be.  You would think that by now I would have a goodly grasp on the idea that more yarn (usually)=More knitted item.  I’m actually quite pleased with how large it is.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one aspect of Marleen’s patterns that I just love!  She makes them in these little booklets that fit perfectly inside the plastic bags that they come in.  This means that you can just turn to the proper page in the pattern and pop it back into the bag.  My patterns usually end-up looking (quite frankly) like a hot mess by the time that I am done knitting the project.  They’ve been folded and refolded and stuffed into a bag so the ends are all curly, you get the idea!  This particular pattern has more than a few miles on it.  It’s been stuffed into my purse for weeks on end (never a good thing!), packed into suitcases and carry-on bags, the works.  It still looks wonderful all protected by the plastic bag even after a LOT of abuse.  The pattern contains both charted and fully written-out directions as well as multiple color pictures of various aspects of the garment.  How many times have you knit something and wished that you could see how it was put together, not just on a super skinny model?  Well, Marleen’s patterns have them!  I know I sound all gushy about a pattern, but really, when you see something like this done the way it should be done it’s hard not to get a little verklempt!

So here, with no more ado, are the glamor shots of the finished and blocked shawl!

Obviously no pictures of me wearing it as it is difficult (to say the least) to take a flattering shot of yourself by yourself from behind.  However, it goes all the way down my back to the top of my jeans.

Pattern: Althea by Dutch Knitting Design

Yarn: Supreme Sock by Yarn Addict in Earth.  50% Merino, 50% Silk. 97 grams used.


Clearly on the “Naughty” list December 21, 2011

So yeah, not a lot coming from this corner for a bit.  I’ve been, you know, busy y’all!

So, where were we last?  Oh yeah!  I went to Florida to deal with house and storage unit and to catch up with my wonderful Florida peeps.  The damage to my house wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but bad enough that it is going to be a P.I.T.A. to fix.  I think that the people who broke into the house weren’t of the same gang that has been going around to vacant houses and completely cleaning them out of everything including the wiring, appliances and fixtures for which I am glad.  I think that the people who took the A/C unit just needed an A/C.  I guess I can understand this but at the same time (and this is probably a tad on the mean-spirited side) I hope that you get it all installed and working and then it leaks all over your drywall causing many expensive repairs.  I mean, that would be pretty much perfect karma there!  So here are some pictures of the damage I was (and still am) dealing with.

This was the air intake vent where the air was recycled into the air handler.

They broke my damn sink!

Where my thermostat used to be...

And tried to step through my ceiling!


I drove my father’s monster van down there.  He gets irritated with me when I say that as he doesn’t think that it is all that big.  But when you are looking down at all the pickups and nearly all the other vans on the road and can look in at the truckers nearly on their level then I think it pretty safe to say that it’s a bloody big van!

The reason that I drove the beast down there (other than wanting to look like a bad-ass [not sure how much I succeeded on that front!]) was that there was a storage unit that we still had stuff in that needed to be cleaned-out.  We had left a lot of appliances and electronics behind as they don’t work over there and (if you’ve been reading the blog for a while you already know this) we were worried it wasn’t all going to fit in a 40′ container.  So I got to clean-out a 10’X10′ storage unit with over 2 years worth of dead black widows in it.  Yeah, there was a black widow spider infestation at some point (I’m told that this was normal for the entire area) and it was all sorts of fun figuring-out if any of them were still alive.  Now normally these spiders don’t bother me too much.  I mean really, they are truly a “live and let live” sort of creature.  But in this case there were just so many of them that I was afraid that I was going to just “bump” into a web a little too forcefully and piss-off it’s inhabitant.  Luckily, there only seemed to be one that was alive in the whole unit and I set it free in the great outdoors.  Anyway, by the time I left, the unit looked like this:

Clean and EMPTY!

Since I was down there I got to spend a goodly amount of time with the Hookers.  I made it to 2 meet-ups and the Christmas party.  I didn’t take a lot of photos at these as I never ever remember to take my camera out until it is too late.  But at the Christmas party we did a group shot which I had the presence of mind to throw my camera at one of the photographers to get a couple of shots.

My favorite Hookers in the whole wide world!

I was also well booked for lunches and dinners meeting with folks I’ve not seen in a couple of years.  It was great to get to hang out with friends and catch-up with what is going on in their lives.  We get such a fragmented picture of what is happening from things like Facebook and twitter that it really shows just how much live, in-person communication is still a needed and necessary thing.

Plus it’s still hard to get hugs over the internet.

I drove the same route back as I did down with the minor exception of taking the Atlanta bypass around the city rather than going straight through it as my lovely Georgiana instructed on the way down.  She was still quite insistent that downtown was the best way to go on the way back but I turned her off until she could come to her senses.

Welcome to Kentucky!

I just love this store. It is in the middle of the interstate!

The Florida state line and an ad for a retirement community. There are some things I really do not miss:-)

Luck or fate or Mother Nature or whatever you want to call it was on my side throughout this entire trip.  I didn’t have any severe weather going in either direction (for which I am extremely thankful) and really it was just a heck-of a lot of driving.

Since I’ve been home it’s been all about getting ready for Christmas.  There was a tree to set-up and decorate and the presents to wrap (this has been a task delegated to me since early childhood) and dogs to wash.  Ok, so that last one isn’t strictly a Christmas thing, but you know, stinky dogs do bring down the holiday spirit:-)

I’ve been trying to get things ready for my new job which starts in January.  I’m not going to say much about it except that it will have me all over the state of Iowa so be ready for lots more of my photos from behind the wheel (don’t try that at home!).  I’ll also be traveling to South Carolina for a bout of training so there might be some more travel pictures too.


“The Family” March 22, 2011

For all of the new members of the Task Force, we’ve made a cheat sheet for surveillance purposes.  This is, for all intents and purposes, a cast of characters seen entering and leaving The Old Chapel.  Some of them have only been seen through windows from the outside.  Many of these photos came from an inside informant.  Others were taken on the daily territory marking rounds that members of the security team make.    This list is for identification purposes only.

(in Alphabetical order)

Belle (AKA Belly)

Seldom seen outside of The Old Chapel, it is thought that this member of the family may be on drugs given how often seen asleep.  Overly fastidious with her grooming, is often seen cleaning herself obsessively.  Transplanted here with the bulk of the family in 2009 is the (twin) sister to Willma.  May have ended-up in the family via a pimp (not confirmed).

Brompton (AKA The Bike)

This hunk of metal is seldom away from The Hubby’s side when he is away from The Old Chapel.  It is very transformers-like, unfolding to become a ride-able bike only to origami back up into a heavy, vaguely box-like mess of gears and spokes.  It can go very fast.  Joined “The Family” in 2010.

Fluffy (AKA Fluffs)

This aloof blond is also a neighbor next door.  Often seen walking with “The Family”, her alliance is unknown.  Has been known to spend nights at The Old Chapel.  Not much is known about her origins except to say that this is not the first home that she has had.  Not known to be dangerous, but will not inform on “The Family” as is deeply suspicious of strangers.

Hubby (AKA Tech Support)

Seldom photographed in the wild, this is the heart of the operation.  This is the best photograph of The Hubby that we have been able to get since a random fluke of chance in 2005 in Amsterdam.  Taking out The Hubby would take out the entire operation, but he is very hard to get to.  Tends to keep to an evil lair in London or The Old Chapel where he is protected by the rest of the gang.  Not particularly dangerous on his own but is well protected by the rest of “The Family”.  Transplanted here from Florida in 2009, but origins prior to this confused and unknown.  Often seen riding The Brompton to the train.

Jiji (AKA The Pain in the Ass, Large and in Charge)

Runs the daily operations at the house.  Extremely dangerous, has been known to stab and cut at associates for no other reason than to make a point.  Her origins are lost to history, but she joined the family in 2004 when The Hubby joined.  Is diabetic and on a special diet because of it, she is extremely ill-tempered. Only seen leaving the house for medical visits.

Kali (AKA Snow Queen, Mud Queen)

Girlfriend of Malcolm, she is a local who lives next door.  Is extremely dangerous, approach with caution.  Has been known to take out multiple kneecaps and to tackle unknown people approaching.  Has also used gas warfare to neutralize threats.  Is frequently spotted completely covered in mud carrying a big stick.  Do not underestimate this bitch, she can mess you up.

Malcolm (AKA Mr Beautiful, Mal)

Malcolm is the social man of the group.  He is frequently seen making contacts with other families for unknown purposes.  His charm and beauty will disarm you from suspecting him of ill-doing, but be warned, he can go from 0 to 60 in a few seconds flat.  He has no patience for sneaks and informants, preferring to keep his group under tight rein.  Though appearing to be in charge, he is actually subordinate to Meara.  His origins are murky having simply showed-up with Sarah Jane one night in 2009.  We suspect Romany roots.  Often likes to woo the women with his impressive…tail.

Meara (AKA Peanut, Potato)

An older member of “The Family” Meara is also one of the most dangerous.  The other members may “talk the talk” but Meara doesn’t need to since she “walks the walk”.  Another of the transplanted group, arrived on our shores in 2009 from Florida.  Definitely the head of the lower minions, she only answers to Sarah Jane.  Do not approach this one.  Run if she comes after you.

Micheal (AKA Tubby)

The American branch of “The Family”, Micheal lives in Iowa.  He has been known to greet men by running up to them and kicking them in the nads.  Not seen at all in The Old Chapel due to passport issues.

Milo (AKA Trouble, Destructo-puss)

Not particularly dangerous to people, Milo has a known knack for destroying equipment.  We have not been able to discern if this is accidental or on purpose.  However, this member of the family is the primary reason all audio and video wiretapping has failed.  Bugs bug her and then she destroys them with gusto.  Transplanted with the bulk of “The Family” in 2009, Milo comes from extremely humble origins.  Her siblings were all eaten by a large snake as infants, her mother then ran away in a blind panic only to be run over by a car.  It was only by blind chance that she ended-up with “The Family” where her illnesses were taken care of and she was nurtured.  She has a strong attachment to Sarah Jane and will not rat-out the family.

Sarah Jane (AKA Me)

Often found in The Old Chapel or harassing the nearby hoods with much of “The Family”.  Quite often carries dangerous pointy sticks with a garroting wire between them.  Has a bizarre obsession with sheep.  Is the brains of the operation.  Approach with caution.  Transplanted here in 2009 from Florida, though was raised on a farm in Iowa.  Has many special skills due-to this unique background.  Do not underestimate.

The Old Chapel (AKA The House, Headquarters)

This became The Family’s headquarters in 2009.  A former Wesleyan Chapel, it was abandoned for many years before being renovated in 2000.  With views of fields of sheep and horses, this is the perfect place for The Family to carry out its work.

Weezy (AKA Weasel, Wiener)

Don’t let the subject’s small size fool you, this is among the most dangerous members of “The Family”.  What she lacks in stature, she makes up for in ferocity.  This bitch has been spotted going after horses screaming threats at the top of her lungs.  Is considered Sarah Jane’s bodyguard and can almost always be found (literally) in her shadow.  Small size means that escape is a prime problem with this member.  Transplanted here in 2009 from Florida, this little dog is a survivor having lived through hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, her birthplace.

Willma (AKA Miss Independent)

A rare photo of the twins together

Willma is not often seen outside, except from the window behind her in this rare photo.  We aren’t sure if she is a captive or is willingly being kept in The Old Chapel.  Is the (twin) sister of Belle.  Transplanted in 2009, she was a Florida street kitten brought into “The Family” by Sarah Jane.





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.



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.


Shopping List August 7, 2009

Here is my shopping list for the US so far*:

Kool-Aid Believe it or not they don’t sell this paragon of sugary virtue here at all.  However, I don’t want it to drink, I want it to dye with as apparently it makes an excellent wool acid dye that doesn’t smell bad and it pretty non-toxic.  It is also something that is good to trade with other fiber freaks (sort of like smokes in the “big house”, ya know?).

Fritos They don’t have Fritos here.  This makes it rather difficult to have the chili-with-cheese-and-sour-cream-eaten-with-Fritos meal.

Jeans Everything is sized so differently here.  I swear, given the sizing of the jeans, no one has an ass here.  They are just sitting on the back of their legs.

Orchid Basket I need this for one of the orchids that they have.  I guess maybe I just got used to being in Florida where these are sold at Home Depot.  Then again, orchids grow like weeds in the trees there too….

Beads, Buttons and Fabric  JoAnn’s, here I come!!!!

IKEA Cat Scratchers I guess that cats here don’t scratch, much like they don’t pee or poop either as evidenced by the lack of clumping cat litter.

Underwear See “Jeans” above.

Yarn/Fiber Duh.  I’m going to Rhinebeck dudes.

Lysol  I guess that they don’t have germs here either.

Charmin On-The-Go  This is a little roll of Charmin that has a hard plastic case.  It’s great for traveling.  I carried on of these in my purse for a year and it saved my ass many times!  Alas, the version that they sell here has a plastic bag type of covering for it and I fear that when the roll gets a little smaller it will be less sturdy and in need of the protection.

Plastic Baggies  The baggie culture here isn’t nearly as sophisticated as in the US.

Pepto-Bismol  This stuff costs a small treasury here.  Seriously, it is mucho expensivo.  For what folks living in the States (I’ve become more sensitive to saying “Americans” since I got here.  I mean, there are lots and lots of Americans and only some of them come from the US) would consider a “travel sized” bottle you pay something like $20.  Dude, this is on the list for Costco!!!!

A Cheap DVD Player  Our US DVD player bit the dust a few weeks after we got here.  So we got one that would play UK DVDs (yes, they are different, doesn’t that suck on so many levels???) and Tech Support thought that he would be able to break  I mean hack it so that it would play all the different DVDs no problem.  Alas and alack, it has proven more difficult than that and I have not been able to watch any of my favorite DVDs except on my computer.  Doh, suck.

Black Beans  There is also not a whole lot of Mexican cooking here.  Go figure.


I know this sounds like a hell of a shopping list, but I have 2 large suitcases that are going to be filled mostly with things that are not coming back with me.  I’ll give you a hint, there are 2 afghans, a throw blanket, 4 small travel pillows and a passel of large books that aren’t coming back with me.  I’m not taking a lot of clothes with me (see “jeans” and “underwear” above) as it is obvious by the length of this trip that I am going to need to hunt down a laundromat at some point in the trip.

*List is subject to change.  Change may occur because the writer saw something that she did not think of in the UK or merely because it was “way cool” or “so fraking cheap!”