Sarah Jane Humke

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

The great sheep drive: Part Two-Denver Airport May 12, 2015

I made it to Denver with plenty of time to spare despite the fact that the pilot himself called it, “The longest ever flight from Des Moines to Denver!” We had been rerouted around bad weather and it added a significant amount of time in the air to our flight. In the Denver airport, I purchased a couple of postcards for some friends and then got some dinner. I found my gate and sat down to wait. Outside the gate windows it was grey and raining and I felt sorry for the ground crew working out in it.


Our plane loaded on time, and that was the last thing that went right for the rest of the evening. It started snowing about the time we got on the plane. This meant that the plane was going to have to be de-iced. They decided to keep us at the gate to wait for the de-icing rather than have us out on the tarmac.


Finally they decided it was our turn to get de-iced and we had just gotten backed out of the gate when the captain came on to tell us our left engine wasn’t turning on and we had to go back to the gate to get it fixed. All the while, the snowstorm is getting worse and worse outside the plane. So back to the gate we go, where a team of mechanics descend upon our poor little plane and manage to fix the problem. At this point we are already over an hour late. So, instead of celebrating by taking off, it starts snowing harder, fiercer. The queue at the de-icing area is quite long now and control doesn’t want us leaving our gate.


Then, at some point, they decide that the line isn’t going to get any shorter so they decide to deplane us. It is just at this point that Denver International Airport is hit with a massive power surge plunging the whole facility into emergency-lit madness. Communications went down and they were not able to make the jet-way move. We kinda decide as a group that it is probably better to stay in the plane where there is light and heat than to go into the darkened airport. Eventually power is restored and we are allowed off the plane where we ravage the one place selling food and drinks still open in our concourse.


I have been calling the person that is coming to get me in Helena all night with updates. At the point where I am pretty sure that we are going to be spending the night in the airport, the desk crew for our flight suddenly calls out that our flight needed to quickly get back on the plane. You have never seen a group hustle faster. We all get on the plane and go through all the pre-departure checklists and actually make it out to the de-icing area and start getting worked on. Then one of the de-icing trucks breaks down and it is snowing so hard that the other one can’t keep up with it. At this point it is nearly 11pm. I think that the captain is about ready to cry as he makes this announcement. But then, they send in the cavalry in the form of 3 more trucks. We finally get de-iced and take-off. We are over 4 hours late. I arrive in Helena at nearly 1 am and I manage to recognize the person there to pick me up straight away. Thankfully my drive to the ranch was quiet and I was quickly able to go to bed.

In spite of all of this, I really want to say a thank you to all the flight and ground crews that eventually got my flight in the air.  I have been in situations where anything that can go wrong did and I know how frustrating it can be.  However everyone with United maintained not just their professionalism but also their humor and that can mean all the difference between a frustrating experience and a horrible one.


The Exodus to Iowa September 24, 2011

On Tuesday at around 2am GMT we awoke to get the proverbial “show on the road”.  The cats were all duly corralled and crated and the car was loaded with baggage and animals.  Driving to Heathrow at that hour of the day is quite easy which is probably a good thing as we had a car full of cats!  We get down to the Heathrow complex and the first one to get dropped-off is Malcolm.  Since he is so big, he had to go cargo in a special custom crate.  The paperwork to go back to the US was laughably easy compared to the ream of paper that I had to manage on the way into the UK.  Anyway, Malcolm’s crate was waiting for us as was promised by the shipping company with everything set-up for him.

The funnels run to little hoses that go down into his 2 water dishes attached inside.  Mal wasn’t happy about us leaving him like this and to tell the truth, I wasn’t all that in love with it myself as the lady at the desk seemed to have never shipped a live animal before and was very unsure of what was going on.

However, we still had 5 more to get checked-in so we kept on going.  At this point, it is a little after 4 am GMT.  We get over to the airport terminal and decide to park and load everyone’s crates onto trolleys and push them into the terminal.  We get a primo parking spot and took a moment to run the 2 little dogs downstairs and let them pee on the grass before making a little caravan of trolleys and rolling suitcases into the airport.  I’m glad that it was so early as it wasn’t nearly as busy as it could have been.  Had it been busy, getting into the airport would have been hell.  As it was, it was just a serious pain-in-the-butt.  So we arrived as instructed by United at around 4:30am GMT only to find the desk where we had to check-in closed.  Doh!  So, we just sort of camped-out for a bit, trying to calm the animals as much as we could in an international airport.

Finally the guy that was running the desk shows-up and issues us all the stickers and paperwork that we need and instructs us to go to desk Y at 6:30 to check the pets in.  I get my baggage, in all it’s duct-tapped glory, dropped-off and now it is time to wait.

I decided to get the security stuff going a little early, so I went over to Desk Y at 6:15.  Mind you that my flight was leaving at 7:55am.  So we get over there and I am glad that we started a little early as we had to take each pet out of their crates and they swabbed the inside of the crate with one of those wands that have a little bit of white fabric looking for explosives.  The guy doing it was nice enough, but the room wasn’t secure at all and the pets could have easily gotten away from us into the main airport.  However, no bombs were discovered (they clearly didn’t check Weezy’s butt!) and I left the pets there to go through security myself.

Once through security I discovered that the gate for my flight had already been called.  I had just enough time to find a diet coke in a WHSmith and hustled my butt down to the gate (which was a loooooong ways away [are there any close gates at Heathrow? I swear that some fold in the time/space there makes every single gate at least a mile away from security]) where I barely sat down and they started boarding.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the 747 that I was on was sparsely populated.  I had the entire middle row of 4 seats to myself.  This is probably a good thing as the cough that I had been fighting for the past several days was kicking my ass at this point, with me hacking helplessly every few minutes.  Had the plane been full, I feel that they might have put me in a bubble or something.

The flight was uneventful, marked only by the random meals that they served us every few hours and the one truly horrid movie that they showed us (the rest were ok, there was just one humdinger of a bad one in the mix) which I didn’t catch the title of to warn you off.  My voice was mostly a horse croak by the time I was on the airplane, so the flight attendants all had a hell of a time hearing me in the cabin.

The plane landed more or less on time and I toddled-off down to immigration to get my passport stamped and then to the luggage carousel where the bags were already circling.  I then located the pets, all in a row of crates waiting for me in the over-sized luggage area.  This was great, except for the fact that I couldn’t find a porter anywhere to help me move them!  So I walk away from the 5 little pets to try to snag a porter and they all start yowling.  Weezy was the worst with her high-pitched yips making it sound as though I am murdering her a little bit more with every single step I took away from her.

Finally a porter is located and we load-up all the pets onto the big carts that he had and we go over to the CDC “desk”.  I say “desk” but really it was a door with a doorbell next to it which the porter kindly pushed for me.  Out came a rangy woman with short hair who gave all the pets a cursory look and asked me where I had flown from.  When I replied London, she waved me away stapling a slip of paper to my customs form.  When I asked her if she wanted to see their rabies vaccination stamps in their pet passports, she said that since I was from a rabies free zone it wasn’t necessary.  All of the work that I did to make sure that the dogs were all up to date on their rabies and I didn’t even have to pull-out a single piece of paperwork to get them into the US.

Retrieving my bags and pets in the luggage area took all of 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, I had figured that it would take a couple of hours given the experience that I had on the way into the UK.  Thus, when the porter rolled me through the rest of customs and out into the lovely Chicago morning I was earlyI called my brother only to find out that he was running late. The porter kindly rolled me out to the dog relief area where there was another dog playing that had just flown from Korea.  We parked my bags and all the carriers near the small fenced-in “relief” area and I got Meara and Weezy out.  My brother had said that he was about 40 minutes out, which translated to more like an hour plus by the time he got there.

The two of us got the pets loaded into the cargo van and off we went to find the United cargo terminal which had already called the farm twice.  I had been told that there would be an up to 4 hour processing time for the Malcolm cargo, but like the rest of the pets, he was through within minutes and waiting for me to come get him.  When I got there, they brought him to the loading dock on a forklift with a pallet underneath.  It was funny to see this dog being carried around on a forklift.  I took Mal out of the crate before my brother and one of the cargo guys loaded it into the van so that I could let him pee on some grass nearby.  A more grateful look has never been seen coming from Malcolm nor a longer pee.  However, his time in the crate was only coming to a middle, as it was deemed unsafe to allow him to walk around the back of the van as he could easily have fallen when turning corners or coming to a stop.

The drive home was quiet, marred only by the increasingly frequent barks of my cough.  Since it was pretty loud in the cargo van, and my voice was little more than a croak at that point and as my brother isn’t exactly loquacious at the best of times there wasn’t a lot of chatter.  Meara and Weezy sat on my lap the entire time looking out at the countryside unfolding around us and eventually falling asleep.  The cats pretty much kept quiet, too exhausted and freaked-out at this point to do much more than the occasional yowl.

We crossed the Mighty Mississippi in the afternoon.  Some day I am going to have to explore the area around there some more as it looked quite interesting.

We made it home after nightfall where mom had dinner waiting.  The dogs were happy to be out of the van and eventually the cats got settled into my brother’s basement with a full complement of cat food, water and liter to keep them happy.  All three cats hid as soon as released from their kennels, which is totally normal.  The dogs and I then went back out to the farm for the night.

One of the things that I was happy to see was the performance of the quickly improvised water dishes that we made for the pets.  On the way to the UK the airline had only required 1 water dish per crate.  United required 2, one with the water frozen in it and one that was empty for filling right before the flight.  Unfortunately, we found out that pet travel dishes are not a common thing in UK pets stores for some reason.  We were told, “order it on the internet” which didn’t help us at all as there was no time.  So, off to B&Q (a home improvement store much like Home Depot) we went and finally came up with this:

On the right is the store-bought water dish and on the left is the improvised one out of a pasta sauce container.

We used cable ties to secure an adjustable hose clamp to the side.  Our thinking was that if the clamp was too big for the container we could just adjust it down to fit.  Alas, these clamps fit the sauce containers perfectly straight off the shelf so no adjustment was needed.  If anything, I think that the rigged water bowls worked maybe a little bit better than the manufactured ones!

Things are going ok here.  The dogs have been up quite early every morning.  The first night they were up at 2am, the next 3.  Last night they allowed me to sleep until 5am.  One doesn’t think about animals having jet lag but mine have absolutely been dealing with it and thus so have I.  Hopefully someday in the near future they will allow me to sleep until 7am once again.  I think it will be heaven:-)  The dogs are also adjusting to new rules and to other animals.  There are farm cats roaming outside the house that Malcolm thinks have been sent to torment him.  Standing on the back of the couch, he whined to get at those audacious cats for an entire day and a half.  My dad isn’t terribly keen on having the dogs here, so we have to stay out of his way as much as is possible.  Weezy is absolutely baffled by the fact that someone doesn’t love her and want her on their lap!  She sort of looks at my dad with a cocked head as if to say, “What is wrong with you?!  I am adorable! Love me! Love me! Love me NOW!”  Meara rolled in stinkyness two days in a row which I then had to shower-off of her.  Today was the first day that I’ve managed to not have to bathe her.  I’ve been taking them on mini walks several times a day out into the grove and back.  The fields all around us still have their corn and beans in them so there isn’t really a wide open space that I can let Malcolm really run yet.  However, they started chopping corn in the field across the road so I think that by the weekend we will have a place for him to run.

I’m happy to be home, but it’s also been rough.  I’m looking forward to a time when I have a job and a place of my own again.  I know that transitions are always difficult and that I will get through this eventually, but it doesn’t make the here and now any more fun.


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.



Going, going……. August 20, 2009

Last day here.  Tomorrow I will be getting up ass-early to haul my sorry carcass out to Heathrow airport (at least it isn’t Gatwick which is even further) to get onto an airplane to go to Dusseldorf.  I’m flying Lufthansa all the way there and United on the way home.  I am so excited that I am practically vibrating!  Which, is not such a good thing when one is trying to KNIT LACE!!!  

Anyway, my bags are packed and triple weighed and waiting in the entryway.


However, I’m a little sad to be going as well.  I’m going to be missing the bulk of my first Autumn here and I have a lot of plants that are looking very nice and are beginning to bloom.

My streptocarpus has one or two blossoms open and smells fantastic.


My dipladenia hasn’t yet stopped blooming.


I moved nearly everything that I don’t want to freeze back into the conservatory so it sort of looks like conservatories in the movies do.


I have finally figured out how to make the passion vine happy.


The best litter box screen EVER!

The best litter box screen EVER!

I have lots of happy flowers on the windowsills.


And I finally got the african violets sorted out!


For the astute IKEA fans out there these are the cheapy shelves connected by grow-bag trays.

For the astute IKEA fans out there these are the cheapy shelves connected by grow-bag trays.

My lemon tree has LEMONS on it!!


Honey, please don’t kill them!!!


13 hours and counting……..


Random-assed Friday August 14, 2009

I am now into serious packing, you know, making a list and checking it twice kinda stuff.  My suitcases are curiously devoid of clothing.  I’m not taking a lot as I plan on getting some stuff while I am home.  I will also be staying a lot with friends and family and that means access to normal American washing machines!  You have no idea just how exciting that thought is.  Honestly, it makes me want to pack my entire wardrobe just so that I can wash and dry it in a normal washer and dryer.  The miniature washing machine that we have in this house just plain ol’ sucks.  It makes the laundry smell funny and takes forever to clean it.  

Anyway, the suitcases are still fairly full.  Oddly enough, there is a lot of electronic stuff in them given the fact that I’m about one step away from being the Unabomber.  It’s odd.  But one suitcase is half-full of dog biscuts that are gifts for all the dogs that I will be seeing and the other is half-full of blankets.  And these are big suitcases!!!  


The Big Black Suitcase

The Big Black Suitcase


The Orange Monster

The Orange Monster



I have this very strong urge to cast on something lace.  I have no idea where this lace urge is coming from, and really it’s not the greatest time for me to want to cast-on lace knitting but I think that I may actually give in and do it.  So if you see someone cursing their way across the Atlantic on a United flight or cussing their way across Canada with some alpaca/nylon trailing out the window of a silver SUV crossover, say hi!


Look ma!  Lace!! I made LACE!!!  Woo hoo!!!

Look ma! Lace!! I made LACE!!! Woo hoo!!!



So, some oddball things that are added to the To Get list:

Marshmallow Fluff  The holiday season is soon upon us and fudge here is seriously lacking in the fluff.  

Plastic Roaches  I bought a gross of these little buggers several years ago at a party supply store in the town that I lived in.  I have put these in packages and letters, hidden them in desk and silverware drawers and generally made a nuisance of myself with them and I am nearly out.  Gotta restock my fake bugs!

King Sized Pillow  I’m not planning on bringing this one back with me.  I had the brilliant idea of maybe getting a cheap one of these somewhere before I start out on the road.  I know my dad will not be pleased with me taking up this much space, but I know that I’ll sleep a ton better in the myriad of hotel rooms that I’ll be laying my head down in if I have one good pillow that I can use.  A $10 investment in sleeping a lot better for 2 months, I’d call that a deal!

Ok, have to go get stuff at the store now (the Jiji cat is out of her special food and she gets pissy when she is hungry!!!).


Almost fraking done! August 1, 2009

So, the Flower Power blanket, otherwise known as the blanket for Cesar and Pam, is very nearly done.  I finished sewing it together this week (thank the Gods) and am working on putting the edging on it.  I’m so happy that this project is done I could (and have) done a little dance.  It’s not that I didn’t like making it.  I really liked crocheting this one up.  Well, except for that whole unexpectedly ran out of the yarn that I needed for the center of the flowers when I’m several thousand miles away from a place that sells it thing.  That kinda sucked (thanks again Lily!).  Honestly, it wasn’t even the sewing.  It was the headaches that I got from the sewing.  I know that I should go see an eye doctor but I just can’t bring myself to go through all of that until I am back from my big trip to the states.


Speaking of the trip.  I realized that I haven’t yet put up an itinerary for where all I am going and roughly when (I don’t even know all of it yet!).  So, here it goes:

I start off flying from London, Heathrow to Chicago on the 21st of August.  I will be staying in Chicago from the 21st until the 26th when I take the California Zephyr (Amtrak train) to Osceola, IA where my mother is going to be picking me up.  I will then be staying in Iowa until the 28th or the 29th when my parents and I are leaving by car for Alaska.  We will be gone on this part of the trip for anywhere from 4-6 weeks, not really sure yet.  So when we get back, sometime in the end of September or beginning of October, I will then make my way down to Florida for a few weeks.  There is a trip in the planning for Key West with a bunch of hookers the weekend of the 10-11th of October.  The next Friday, the 16th, I’ll be making my way up to Rhinebeck for the NY Sheep and Wool festival.  On the 18th, I fly from White Plains to DC and then back to London, Heathrow.  I will have been gone approximately 60 days.  I will also be spending a LOT of time on United Airlines (gag).  I wish that I could take Amtrak a little more (luggage restrictions and all of that are easier) but it really wasn’t feasible at all.  Now, a few things in this itinerary…  I plan on being at the Ravelry party on Saturday night so if anybody wanted to meet me this would be a good place to do it.  I may or may not make it to the Ravelry meet-ups at Rhinebeck as I always mean to and then get too excited about everything going on and totally forget.  Maybe I’ll have more control this year (snort!).  I’m also thinking about taking a class at Rhinebeck if I get in early enough on Friday.  Annie Modesitt is teaching several classes this year and, shockingly, they aren’t sold out yet.  (I think that this is sort of a Sock Summit “shadow”.  It will be interesting to see if the crowds at Rhinebeck are thinner this year because of it as well since so many people only have enough money to do either one or the other…)

I have at least finished one thing this week.  The traveling baby blanket that I made out of leftover Cottontots is completely finished, even the ends are woven in.  I plan in taking it over to my neighbor sometime next week for her church to use as a fundraising tool.  Here it is:


Today has been…rough.  I couldn’t sleep last night at all.  I was still perky and awake when the birds started singing this morning.  At around 7am I took the dogs out for a good walk.  I wasn’t tired for any of it and the Hubby got up and joined me.  I then abruptly became really tired and more or less passed-out for about 4 or 5 hours.  Ugh.  Then I got up and made banana bars and managed to overbake them.  I won’t say burnt as they are really only just a tad too brown.  Still, it was annoying.  Then I made banana bread (are you seeing a theme here?) where half of the batter went into a normal sized loaf pan and the other half went into 4 tiny little pans.  The little ones turned out ok, the big one, not quite so.  I’m not sure what happened there but I guess I’ll just have to try again!

Last night while I wasn’t sleeping, I designed and ordered some mini “business” cards with Moo.  I saw a lot of these at Woolfest and thought that they seemed much cooler than traditional business cards.  I decided to get some for myself as I noticed that at gatherings of fibery folks I was always asking what folks Ravelry names were and then forgetting it before I had even gotten home.  I put my electronic contacts on these cards and then an assortment of photographs on the other side of them.  I figured that I will probably be meeting a lot of folks on my trip and pulling out one of these cute little cards was way easier than trying to record things on napkins or scraps of paper that always get lost.  I totally suggest checking out the site as you can order 10 normal business sized cards for free.

One cool thing that happened today was that I finally got my actual paper degree from UF.  It looks quite official and fancy.  I was surprised that they put a little thing on the actual degree that said “Cum Laude”.  How cool is that?!!?  Now I just need to find a frame for it!


It Is (for the most part) DONE! January 12, 2009

EndWe have done the insane, the impossible, the fuzzy and bulky.  We have cataloged my yarn stash.  Note that I did not say “my entire yarn stash”.  That will have to wait for the UK as there were a LOT with no labels or with labels that were so, well, mysterious, or in other languages so they will need some research.  The main bulk of the yarn, however, is in my Ravelry notebook though with no pictures or really any details to speak of.  Chris helped a LOT.  In fact, he really entered most of the yarns since he was just so much faster at typing them in.  So, this means, I have been truly been laid naked before my husband.  He now knows, in very graphic detail just how large the stash actually is.  Oh, I have been so cut-off from Hobby Lobby and eBay.  So. Cut. Off. (But then again, he isn’t home this week…..:-))

I want to extend some kudos to a company that has really rocked for me.  I ordered the Charcoal Walking Coat from them a few weeks before Christmas in order that I could wear it home over the (frigid) holidays.  At the end of the 5 days that I wore it, there was a small hole in the seam directly below the right pocket.  I called Land’s End a few days before I got home.  The phone was answered on the 2nd ring by an actual human (and a very sweet one to boot who had a fabulous Wisconsin/Swedish accent) and the whole process took a total of 15 minutes and I only talked to 2 people and they were sending the coat out straight away and I can send the defective one back in the new one’s packaging postage paid.  It was the easiest customer service that I have received in a long time.  It makes me want to buy more things from them just because I know that this is what I will get if I have a problem.  There is a lesson there for a LOT of companies (namely United Airlines).

I took some pictures of some of the much talked about violets over the weekend.


This one is called Spectacular and it really is.  It give you some perspective as to how large that flower is, the pot it is in is about 4″ across. The flower is nearly 2″ and it is really amazing.




It’s getting harder to fill boxes as the office is nearly full and we will need to get into it still so I can’t put too much more in there.  The books are almost completely packed, just a few here and there, maybe 3 more boxes.  I’ve also packed most of my Wedgewood china as well as most of the fragile stuff.  I’ve even started to pack clothes.  I really need to get up in the attic and start pulling whatever is left up there down and sorting through it.  Alas, I will need Chris’ help with this and he just went off to London today for a week.  Ugh.  Packing is starting to wind down a little and thank goodness as I am exhausted!