Sunday, November 27, 2005

More fun than you can poke a stick at.

This past holiday extended weekend has been a blast. Not only did I get to sleep in, stuff my face and knit like crazy, but I got to have the most awesome behind-the-scenes tour of the Seneca Park Zoo by probably the funniest zookeeper known to man.

First off, the knitting. After I finished most of my schoolwork I did nothing but sit on my butt and knit. Friday was one of those marathon knitting days where I just put in movie after movie. Not only did I finish another pair of mittens (which I think I mentioned already), but I finished half a pair of mondo mittens too! Woohoo!
These are the pair I was telling you about. I finished them in just a few days. Don't ask me where I found the time because even I don't know that answer. It's pretty much a mystery.

I'm telling you, as soon as this Christmas knitting is over I am going to be so happy. Don't get me wrong, I love to knit things for other people, but I hate the pressure and having a deadline. No one to blame but myself of course, if I didn't want to knit things for people I wouldn't. Anyway, I'm just really looking forward to knitting a sweater. I haven't in a very long time, probably since the England sweater. That was back in April. Yikes.

So I also had a ton of fun on Saturday. Meet with my knitting buddy and we spent nearly the whole day knitting down at the coffee shop. Too fun. I love it down there. Then Saturday night a friend of mine from my class came down and we went to see that new movie Just Friends. I haven't laughed that hard a movie in such a long time! Sure it was completely unbelievable, but sometimes that's what makes movies good.

And today. Today was completely and utterly fun. Anytime I get to go behind the scenes anywhere is always a great time. First we got a tour of the zoo, complete with hysterical stories and anecdotes. Then we were given some behind the scenes looks at the wolves, mountain lions, polar bears, sea lions and penguins. Too damn cool. I can't upload all my pictures now because I'm working off of dial up (I know, stone-age right?) but I will show you this completely adorable picture of a baby penguin:

The zookeeper is checking to see if it's feet are developing properly, but it just wouldn't walk forward for him no matter how much he tried coaxing it! It's hard not to fall in love with these animals what with how fluffy and cute they are, but judging by the stories he was telling us about them, when they grow up they can bite, and bite hard. This picture is at a funny angle, but that's because the chick was literally by my feet so I could only really get a top-down shot of it. Still very cute.

Going to this zoo and getting a behind the scenes tour was a fantastic way to end my fantastic long weekend. I hope everyone's holiday (for those of you who had one this week) was as excellent as mine!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Turkey Day!

This will probably be my last post before Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has an excellent holiday. Mine looks like it will be fill with projects that need completing before the end of the semester, but I don't mind. I'm still getting a 4 day weekend which is extremely needed at this point.

As for knitting, you're never going to believe this and unfortunately I don't have the pictures to prove it, but I finished another pair of mittens in just three or four days! Ok, well, almost finished. I've completed the outer part of the mittens, I just have to knit the linings. I think all that sock yarn that I bought is calling my name. It's whipped my butt into gear. I was starting to really dislike knitting those mittens, but now I just have one more pair left and I am dying to make a pair of Grumperina's Jaywalker socks. Of course, the pair of mittens I have left to knit are of the mondo variety...I suppose I'll live.

I'm so looking forward to this holiday break. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm so thankful for this break, because for the first time in a long time I get to sleep in for four whole days (for someone who gets up at 5:30am most mornings, this truly is something to be thankful for). Also, on Sunday, a few classmates and I are heading out to the Rochester zoo to get a behind the scenes tour. This isn't an official school trip, but we're a dedicated bunch, so if there's a possibility of going to a zoo we jump on it, even if it's during one of our holiday breaks. Anyway, it should be fun and I should have some great pictures to share when it's over.

Again, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and don't forget to sign my Frappr map!

Updated to Add: Also, if your concerned about global warming and want to take action, join the virtual march to help stop global warming. Stepping off the soapbox now!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Longest Post Ever

This is just a warning that this is going to be a very long, very picture-heavy post. I've been really busy recently and I'm just going to throw it all out here in one post.

Last weekend I was sick as a dog, but that didn't stop me from getting together with my knitting buddies for some much needed knitting/relaxing/coffeeshop time. Though this time was slightly different. Jill wanted to learn how to spin up the roving she bought at Rhinebeck. So I brought along some drop spindles and some practice roving and the spinning fun was had by all!
And when I say all, I mean it. Liz, who swore to us she couldn't start spinning, she didn't want to, she didn't have the time for it and a million other excuses, decided after watching me teach Jill that she just wanted to try it.

Not just try it in fact, but take it home. Yep, she's hooked. And when she found out just how hooked she was, she realized that she was probably going to be spending money on some roving in the near future.
This is how most people react when they learn they're addicted to something. Don't worry Liz, it's perfectly normal!

After knitting Jill and I went to the mall for a bit of shopping and I found these... Not only are they the most hideous pair of boots I've ever seen, but when you look closer you see they're outer shell is knitted. I don't know about you, but I can think of about a million better uses for knitted fabric than for a pair of quite ugly, ugg-like boots. But then, maybe that's just me...

So I mentioned elephants too didn't I? Yes, elephants were involved this week when my classmates and I took a field trip to the zoo in Syracuse. We all were given a behind the scenes tour of the elephant barn and the tiger holding area. To say that it was awesome, would be an extreme understatement! First we went to the elephant barn and actually got to be in the pen, with the elephant, no bars or anything between us and this huge animal.
You really don't have an understanding of just how huge these awesome animals are, until you're right there, right next to them. A picture just doesn't do it justice.

The keeper was showing us a lot of the different behaviors they have her trained to do so that they can perform basic husbandry. For instance, he had her turn around and lift up her foot to have it worked on, because elephants feet are very sensitive and need care just like horses hooves.

One of the most spectacular moments though was when we each got to go up to her and pet her trunk. Of course, we had to be behind the bars for this because of safety issues. It was the coolest experience and hopefully just the beginning of what I'll experience in this program.

We really had an awesome time. After the elephants, we went to the tiger enclosure and went behind the scenes of where they sleep at night. That was pretty interesting to see.

Then we had a couple of hours to tour around the zoo. We had some fun playing with the tigers through the glass. They were really interested in my friend's umbrella. He would run from one side to the other and the tigers would chase it and get up on the glass. I took some video of it, unfortunately blogger doesn't upload video!

The penguins were incredibly cute too. They were really interested in our fingers and would follow them while we moved them back and forth along the glass. Too cute.

The whole day was such a great experience. It pretty much confirms how much I love this program and that it's definitely the direction I want to go.

So, you want to know where the mondo-mitten comes in? Well, I finally finished them up, including the linings. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of them. But I do have a picture of all the sock yarn I bought from Knitpicks. I went a little sock-yarn-happy. Don't you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Knitblogger Geography

Hey everyone, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and starting up my own knitblogging map. So...where are you guys?

I'll be posting tomorrow about the million and one crazy things I've been doing this whole time I've been neglecting my blog duties! Want to know what I've been up to? I'll give you a hint... It invovled drop spindles, elephants and a mondo-mitten thrown in for good measure! Gotta love the combination!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Last weekend's rewards...

As I said in my last post, I treated myself to an entire day of knitting and spinning last weekend for being such a good student who finished her reports on time. I have to reward myself with something or I think I would go a bit insane with the amount of work I have to do for school.

I finished plying the dyed corridale that I bought at Rhinebeck. I love the color in this yarn. It has all sort of purplish flecks that really make it interesting. I really haven't decided what to do with it yet, but socks are coming to mind. That is as soon as I finish all the Christmas knitting I have to do.

I started spinning up the second color way of the Merino/Tencel I got at Rhinebeck. I'm spinning it very fine (probably because I have socks on the brain and I can't help myself!)

I think what I like best about spinning finely is that the fiber lasts so much longer than it would if you spun it chunkier. That way you guarantee more hours of spinning enjoyment out of less roving. (I'm such a geek....)

I think I'm most excited about the knitting I got finished this past weekend. I'm already to the thumb on the second mondo mitten! As soon as I finish the thumb, it's all downhill from there!
Of course, I haven't gotten a single stitch knitted this entire week. I've just been too busy. Thankfully the weekend starts in just one more day. Good thing too, I feel a cold coming on and I'm going to need to recouperate.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Best Dog in the World

First off, this isn't an obituary or anything, it's actually a story about the best dog in the world, who's name happens to be Shelby. Shelby is our family dog and she's the gentlest, most loving dog who's sole purpose in life is to make her people happy... and occassionally chase some squirrels. She rarely barks, doesn't growl unless she's playing tug-of-war with you and her only fault is that she begs for pizza crust, which she only does because she knows we'll give it to her.

This story is about something that happened this weekend that proves, yet again, that she is truly the best dog in the world. I had a ton of homework to do this weekend, which I was determined to finish by Saturday night. Luckily determination paid off this time and I did finish it by my deadline. So Sunday, I treated myself to a full day of relaxation made up of much neglected knitting and spinning.

I spent hours and hours doing nothing but sitting on my butt, watching movies while I alternated between spinning and knitting. Here's where this all ties into Shelby being the best dog in the world. I was spinning while sitting on the couch with my wheel in between the couch and the coffee table, which just happens to be a high traffic area for pets. On one occassion, Shelby actually tried to get through by squeezing herself through my treadling legs and the wheel. She decided that maybe that wasn't the best route to get to where she wanted to go so she gave up.

However, a little while later she tried again. I just kept spinning away, thinking that she'd give up again. She really looked like she had given up, but she just kept standing there with her head under the flyer. After a minute this seemed really odd to me so I stopped spinning and told her to go lie down. But she just stood there. Thinking that maybe she needed a little encouragement I pet on the head and told her what a silly dog she was being, and that's when I felt it...

While trying to get through while I was spinning, she managed to get a wad of her hair caught and I just kept spinning! To say I felt horrible would be the understatement of the year! I quickly grabbed the scissors and set her free... The reason I say she is the best dog in the world is that she just sat there, patiently waiting for me to realize that her hair was caught. She didn't yelp, she didn't bark or growl or act strange in any way other than just standing there. And then, once I'd cut her free she ran and got her rope toy so that we could play together. Honestly, in my eyes, she is the greatest dog in the entire world!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ok, time for the pictures

As promised here are some pictures from the Zoo Boo.

This is our fantastic mascot Lutra the Otter doing a little dance for the camera.

And then, of course, Lutra had to join us for a little photo op. (I wasn't kidding about my wings not matching my coat! Hey, it was warmth that counted right?)

I have to say, after eating the amount of candy that I did, seeing a giant M&M didn't exactly do wonders for my stomach!

And I couldn't exclude the Shark! All of these pictures look a little devoid of trick or treaters and that's because I took these early in the morning before they got there.

So, I'm sure you're all dying for some knitting content and apparently the universe saw fit to give me enough time to actually work on the mondo-mitten. I've dubbed it the mondo mitten because, let's face it... the thing is huge, not just huge... MONDO!

One mondo-mitten down, one to go... Oh wait, I have two uncles, both with huge hands... crap, three more mondo-mittens to go.

So in this picture the mondo-mitten doesn't look so mondo does it? Well, you don't have anything in the picture to give you perspective. I've decided you all need a little perspective on what makes this mitten so mondo.

Notice that you can't even see the full size of the mitten. The cuff ends about a third of the way down my forearm! Can we say MONDO?!?!? It hasn't even been blocked yet.... we all know that blocking makes fairisle slightly bigger...

My saving grace here is that I had my brother try it on... He said it was tight....ummmm, do I have giants in the family that I wasn't aware of? Or is it that I'm just that small? Tough call there.

I'll be putting a lining in too so I think by the time it's all said and done, it'll fit just fine...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Zoo Boo 2005

The Zoo Boo was a ton of fun this weekend! (I'll have to post pictures on Thurs. please be patient with me!)

My main concern when choosing a costume was, will it be able to fit over my coat? It wasn't that it was all that cold this weekend (in the 50's or so) but when you're outside for hours at a time in those tempertures, it can get a bit chilly. So I got myself a pair of butterfly wings that fit over the coat (but, incidentally didn't match the coat in any way) and a headband with antennae. Throw in a pair of my angora-lined mittens and I was good to go.

I wasn't all the certain of what I'd be doing exactly, but it turns out my job was to stand by the butterfly house and hand out candy. I had so much fun!

There has never been a Halloween in all of existence when I actually got to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. My entire life, with every house I've lived in (which is only three, but still), there has always been a really long driveway leading up to my house. Even when my family and I lived in a neighborhood, we still had the longest driveway there. These long driveways of mine have always been lined with trees. You could say my family has always liked having their space and that always involved a long drive way and a lot of forest around it.

Now you can imagine the little kids with their buckets and bags, dressed in their best halloween costumes ready to trick-or-treat till their teeth fell out coming to my driveway with it's spooky forest and god knows what sort of unimaginable monsters in it. So, needless to say, I've never had a trick-or-treater (or their parents for that matter) brave enough to walk down to the house to ask for candy! This is somewhat a blessing in disguise because we never bought Halloween candy and therefore were never tempted to eat any of it. This was not the case on Saturday. I never want to see another piece of Halloween candy if I can at all help it.

Despite being tempted and giving in to the call of the candy, the part where I actually got to hand it out was great fun. Especially seeing what all the kids were dressed as and getting to act all excited about how scary, or pretty or cool their costumes were. That part was awesome. Oh and the babies all dressed up in costumes were almost as cute as my kitten picture....almost.

However, the kid that was the cutest wasn't cute because of his costume, but because of what he said. I was dutifully manning my post handing out candy, when this kid dressed up as a football player comes walking up to me. He must have been 8 or 9 years old. I looked at him and asked "Are you the quarterback?" thinking that the quarterback is the most glorified position so surely that's what he was. He looked at me quite confused, almost as if I were speaking another language, then his face abruptly changed as if he finally realized what I said and swiftly turned around and ran up to his mom where he said "Mom, I need a quarter for the candy!" We all had a good laugh when it was explained that I didn't ask him for a quarter, I asked him if he was the quarterback. Too funny!