Stitching away

I finished the first clue for the MKAL shawl I’ve been (slowly) working on!  It was published last year (I think?) and I started it with gusto but things happened and I can’t remember why not but I frogged it all and set it aside.  I’ve been good and not peeked at the finished projects! I picked it back up not long ago and so far, so good.  I really do love lace knitting, especially with beads!

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I’m not sure I love the yarn for the project and that may be why I abandoned it last year.  It’s a kind of fuzzy alpaca but it’s taming itself as I go along.  Hubs picked it out and hopes I’ll give it to his mother as a gift.  I probably will.  I rarely keep the things I make for fear I’ll be swimming in stuff.

I also seem to have a bit of a helper doubling as a menace.

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My mom has joked that she knows when I’ve made something because it always has cat fur on it.  I’d like to see somebody avoid that in this house.  Joule is insistent on helping with everything!

I had some doubly sad news when I got home from the trip abroad: two of my favorite stores are closing!  😦

One is Kitchen Collection — I loooove going there and finding all sorts of fun cooking goodies.  I’ll have to make a trip to the nearest store this weekend to see if there’s anything left for a last hoorah.

The second is my local quilt shop.  I’m really quite sad about this one as there aren’t many fabric stores around and the owner there is so, so nice.  After this, it’s Walmart or Joann’s for fabric and I’m not thrilled about either.  It’s hard shopping online because you really can’t compare what the fabrics from different lines look like together, so I probably won’t be doing much fabric shopping until something else pops up locally.

I went to the LQS to get my last bit of fabric from them yesterday.  Hub’s sister is pregnant again and he’s asked me to make her newest one a quilt.  I don’t necessarily get along with all of his family but I I won’t play those petty games when it comes to the kids.

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I’m not thrilled with the colors but they’re what they dress the two year old in now, so it’s a color scheme they seem to enjoy.  I chose bunnies because they were always my husband’s thing and the quilt I made his first niece had rabbits as a fabric as well.  I’m just using an older pattern to make something simple (not sure what the name of it is — I’m horrible about knowing what things are called) and quilting it as I go.

I did an EQ8 mockup just to make sure I was getting enough fabric.  It’ll look something like this:

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…and because I can’t resist…

Yoinked from Facebook (and seriously never tire of these — they can be good distractions with minimal effort):

FINALLY, an adult version. Tired of those surveys made by high school kids? Here are 23 questions for Grown Ups!!

1. What bill do you hate the most?

Power/gas bill.  We use a digital utility so we can power our home with clean energy (we subsidize wind with a community solar offset) and they required an autodraft payment. I like micromanaging our finances so having a bill that not only changes month to month by quite a bit (our last one was 50 dollars, in winter with gas included it can be over 200) but posts and draws randomly drives me insane.

2. When was the last time you had a romantic dinner?

Hahaha, oh man.  I don’t have the slightest clue.  We’re not exactly romantic, get dressed up for dinner, and go on a date types.  Maybe 2017?  We went to NYC to see Nightmare Before Christmas live to film (with the original cast!!!) and ate at a Michelin starred tapas place beforehand.  We were dressed up a bit, had to make reservations, and it was a shared plate meal, so it may count.

3. What do you really want to be?

I’d honestly like to have a small farm.  Hubs was afraid of the idea when we first bought a house but now sees that it wouldn’t be much work (and I’d be the one doing it).  Little late now but ugh, some day.  If not that, I’d like to work with wildlife rehabilitation (and have toyed with getting my license) or take in fosters for local shelters until they find their forever homes.  Basically, give me something with animals!

4. How many colleges did you attend?

Three.  I enrolled in community college when I was 16, went to a private college in SC when I was 17, and then when I was 18, I transferred to the university I graduated from.  It was a bit of a mess and not all the credits transferred around.

5. Why did you choose the shirt you have on?

It’s a comfy night shirt, is green, and has Hogwarts on it.  Hard not to choose it.

6. What do you drive?

2019 Toyota Prius

7. First thought when the alarm goes off?

That I need to badger hubs to get ready for work.  He sets his alarm almost two hours early because he makes a morning routine of fighting with it for so long that he’s still late for work.  It’s super aggravating — my dad was military (if you’re on time, you’re late!) so I ended up being one of those that wakes up before the alarm if I ever set one.

8. Last thought you have before you go to bed?

I have anxiety, I basically think myself to sleep.  That embarrassing thing I did when I was four?  Think about it.  The laundry I haven’t washed yet?  Think about it.  That next crafting project I want to do?  Think about it.

9. Do you miss being a child?

Not really.  I certainly miss some of the people that were present in my childhood and that fearlessness of injuries (I used to jump off of buildings, now I won’t even jump off three steps) but being a kid itself wasn’t always sunshine and roses.

10. What errand/chore do you despise the most?

Folding and putting up clean clothes.  I’ll do laundry all day but I hate actually putting it up!

11. Up early or sleep in?

I’m usually up pretty early unless I mess with my sleep schedule, then I’m not going to bed until hubs wakes up.

12. Found love yet?

I guess?  See not overly romantic thing above.  I’m married and we tolerate each other and share a lot of interests.  Certainly nothing like the dramatized insanity you see in movies.

13. Favorite lunch meat?

Bologna.  Always loved it, still do.

14. What do you get every time at Walmart?

Every time?  Nothing.  I don’t go there a lot but I when I do, I often leave with their store brand cajun trail mix though.  It’s surprisingly tasty.

15. Beach or Lake?

Depends on the location but I usually like beaches more.

16. Is marriage overrated?

I mean, yah, it kind of is.  We lived together for years before getting married and all marriage really did was open up his health care, retirement, and tax deductions…really makes it seem like a financial transaction, doesn’t it?  Weddings are completely overrated.

17. Ever crashed a vehicle?

I did in 2010.  The wheel on my Altima literally came off and passed me on the interstate.  I managed to get out of traffic with an uncontrollable car but did hit the guardrail in the end.  Nothing was hurt but the car and I wasn’t ticketed for it.

18. Name a place you’ve never been but want to go?

Iceland to see the northern lights or New Zealand to see Hobbiton

19. Do you have a go to person?

I do!  Two, actually.  It’s pretty nice to have people you can talk to about anything and somebody that will drag out out of your hole when you’re trying to hide.

20. Are you where you want to be in life right now?

Life’s pretty comfortable but I’d still like some chickens and a cow and a bit more land for privacy, so no. 😛

21. Growing up what were your favorite cartoons?

Gummi Bears, Carebears, My Little Pony.

22. What do you think has changed about you since you got older?

Not much, really.  I’m taller and weigh a lot more but my basic personality is still the same.  I’m not as physically active as I was as a kid, nor as confident.  I also go to way more concerts and am actually halfway decent at cooking and crafting now — I loved them as a kid but was limited to what was on hand, now I can go crazy.  I’m still the same shy, sassy, cynical person that I’ve always been though.

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Montreal and Mallorca

I thought I might as well do a real update about what I’ve been up to lately!  Mostly for my own memory, so it’s a long post.  You were warned. 🙂

So what have I been doing?

The answer is never being at home.

It has been a year, y’all.

Before dropping offline for a few weeks, I casually mentioned that my hubs was pulling an all-nighter.  He ended up working 120 hours that week.  It almost goes without saying that it did some damage to health and home. One of the biggest reasons I was against his job change back in June was that I knew he wouldn’t be able to properly dissociate from work and manage his time.  Who knows their husband?  This gal.  He was miserable to be around from lack of sleep and then he ended up sick right before our trip. It definitely wasn’t the best way to start off a vacation; he didn’t even bother packing until the morning of and that would explain why he ended up short on both shirts and underwear.  D’oh.

There were some other ups and downs on the trip, but for the most part things were a success.

When the Mallorca, Spain trip was being planned, I had a bit of insanity. We were flying out on a Friday.  Two concerts I REALLY wanted to see ended up going on tour around then (it’s called “Rocktober” for a reason!).  Unfortunately, it looked like we were going to have to miss the ones at our normal venue because they were happening during our trip…but then shows ended up popping up in Montreal on Wednesday and Thursday.  The fact that they were back-to-back was a no-brainer.  We decided to go.

The first night was particularly awesome for me.

Years ago, hubs and I made bucket lists of bands we wanted to see.  We had no clue if we were ever going to be able to see them, but they were our 10 favorites at the time.  There have been a few additions to that list of favorites over the years but we remain steady fans of the original bucket-list bands. Wednesday night before the trip, I got to see one!

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Eluvietie (<– link to song on YouTube).  They’re Swiss folk metal and one of the first metal bands I really fell in love with back in the day.  They were touring with a local Montreal band, Gone in April (symphonic and melodic death metal), and a Finnish folk “beer metal” band Korpiklaani.  Last time I saw Korpiklaani, they were too drunk to perform, the mosh pit was the wildest I’ve ever seen during an opener, and my shoulder was dislocated when the bassist from another band unexpectedly tried to pull my lard self on stage.  It was a crazy night and I’m far too old for those shenanigans now, so we happily sat in the balcony.  Korpiklaani was sooo much better this time, thankfully.  We really enjoyed ourselves!

We stayed at a cute B&B in downtown Montreal: Auberge Les Bons Matins.  The room was fantastic — had a fireplace and a big whirlpool tub — and we both agreed we’d stay there again if we needed another overnight in Montreal (that wasn’t for the Heavy MTL festival).

Thursday night we managed to knock three Swedish bands off of our want to see list (though not bucket list).  I may need to amend the “live anywhere in the world” answer on the last quiz thingy from Scotland to Sweden — almost all the best bands are Nordic!  Grand Magus (heavy metal), Arch Enemy (melodic death metal), and Amon Amarth (also melodic death metal).  Hubs is a HUGE fan of Arch Enemy and we ended up meeting the band before the show.  The concert was sold out and we were the idiots right on the rail by the stage for two moshing bands.  We were so battered and bruised by the time we left but it was a great time!

That night, I made the 3.5 hour drive back from Montreal to home so you know who could pack.  After a short nap, we drove to Connecticut where one of our friends was a champ and drove us to JFK airport.

First lesson learned: do NOT ride a double decker airbus.

I’m tall.  Hubs is tall.  I knew it was a long flight so upgraded our seats to extra leg room.  The Airbus was sooo crammed and crowded that I walked off with bruises on my hips and knees.  The whole flight was painful.  I’ve never had any particular fascination with Paris but I was so happy to be there for 8 hours because that meant I wasn’t on a plane!

When we finally landed in Mallorca, we stayed the first night at a Franciscan monastery, Santuari de Cura.  Hubs says I get some wild hairs when I travel but, so far, he’s had no complaints when I pick the locations.  The bed was great, the location was beautiful, the food was amazing.  Again, we both agreed that in the future we’d happily stay there if we found ourselves on the island again.

…the next day was for adventure!

We were both probably too excited to keep seeing windmills.  They were in on the joke, quite a few signs on the island had little Quixotes on them pointing the way.

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Hubs likes to call himself a student of antiquity.  He was obsessed with Roman and Greek history as a child and has held on to that as an adult.  So, of course, we had to stop by the Roman ruins of Pollentia!

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I’ll be honest, it was really cool.  It’s still an active excavation site and I literally tripped over some half-buried pottery.  There were several large sections of housing and an amphitheater a short walk away.

Things were great until we tried to leave.  No shitting, the site was literally locked and barred closed in the middle of the day…with probably a few dozen people still inside — us included!  I wasn’t about to curl up in the necropolis for the evening.  We met some other Americans and we organized a bit of a jail break.  Ever help some 70+ year olds climb onto a stone wall, stumble around on it like it’s a high beam, and hop a 6″ tall barbed wire fence into a busy street?  I never thought that was something I’d do either, but we did!

Afterwards, we spent a little time walking Alcudia.  It was gorgeous city, fully walled in and walkable, and a market day, so we had some fun in the area.

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The reason for our trip was a music festival called Full Metal Holiday.  Basically we were going to Spain with a bunch of Germans for a week of partying.  Sounds like a totally normal vacation, right?

We checked into the resort that night.

Second lesson learned: All-inclusive resorts are NOT our thing.  I wouldn’t recommend staying there for anything.  I can’t imagine how bad it was during peak season but it was a lot of meh while we were there.

Our room had a decent view of the Mediterranean and it was clean (other than the ant infestation we had to kill when we first got there).  Other than that, it didn’t have much going for it.

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It was hot.  None of the air conditioning worked — our German neighbors got so frustrated with it that they moved their mattress out onto the balcony.

There were no elevators or transit and the site was really spread out — it took 15 minutes to walk from the room to one of the dining buildings.  Our room was also on the third floor so you can imagine how much my bruised knees looked forward to those 60 steps every time we wanted to go somewhere.

The food was awful.  After the first day of trying things, I settled in to a week of eating watermelon and kiwi.  Hubs survived on coffee and ice cream.  We were SUPER happy to have rented a car because that meant we could drive to a nearby port town and enjoy lunch on the docks several times.  The food there was delightful.

…but there was lots of exploring to do.  We spent the first day scrambling on rocks and swimming.  Not too bad, all in all.

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Our room is somewhere on the other side of those trees.

Of course, that’s the little inlet were I was stung by a jelly fish. The swollen skin all sloughed off last night and it looks deep red now but it’s not itching or patchy now! I do think I’m going to be one of those special people that gets a scar from their stings.

The event itself was pretty amazing and well organized.  There were concerts most of the day — the resort did have both a stage on the beach and one at the pools.  If you haven’t watched a concert while swimming, you’re missing out.  It’s loads of fun and the people we were with were endlessly entertaining.  Imagine a whole lot of big, hairy, tattooed, German guys riding unicorn floats while metal blasts in the background.  That’s the event in a nutshell.  There were also lots of things to do around the resort like sports (including archery) and the event had things going on like metal yoga sessions (which reminded me of Klingons doing ballet).

I was happy to impart Lesson #3 on hubs the first night of concerts: always be extra nice to people with the jobs you wouldn’t want.  The desk staff deals with everybody’s nonsense, it’s the people taking care of things that are worth noticing.  Don’t get me wrong, hubs treats everybody with respect (which isn’t something he learned from his family when they travel — I spend almost all of my trips with them apologizing behind the scenes) but he learned a little bit about being actively helpful.

The pool areas closed at 6 p.m. while most people are at dinner.  The towels are whisked away, the chairs are stacked up, the area is chained off.  I figure a lot of it is to keep drunk people from falling in the pools.  It still happened, but it helps contain a lot it.

I had found a fantastic little corner on the 3rd tier of the pools.  The birds didn’t flock there, there was a clear view of the stage, and it was out of the way.  It was my perfect kind of location.  That day, I’d set up two lounge chairs and an umbrella in that little spot and had enjoyed all of the early shows without sunburn, rain, or aggravation.

There was an older guy that couldn’t speak English or German responsible for shutting down the pools and picking everything up — you could tell shooing everybody away was difficult with the language barriers.  When he got to our tier, instead of ignoring him or getting frustrated with him trying to put up stuff, I turned in our towels and put up all of the chairs and umbrellas left in the area.  It wasn’t anything I even really thought about — my dad was always very helpful with anybody he met so it’s just something we did everywhere.  Nobody grows up dreaming of being an old pool boy, they’re just doing their job and there’s no reason at all to make it harder on them.  In broken, limited Spanish, I wished him a good evening and didn’t think much more of it.

The next night as we were leaving dinner, the pool guy waved.  I waved back and he ended up motioning us to come over.  Sure, why not?

The pools were all closed off (and we’d put up our stuff again) but he’d set up two loungers and an umbrella back up where I’d had them before.  He finally got it across that he thought we were nice and he knew we’d put things up and not make a mess, so we could stay there all night for the concerts if we wanted.  Of course we were delighted!  Every day for the rest of the week went the same.  We’d leave dinner, he’d have the awesome area set up for us, and we’d put everything up before we left.

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We thought maybe we were just getting away with things because we were kind of hidden and quiet, but see the chairs in the photo?  Security came and made them leave the closed area and just nodded to us like we were some ridiculous special gentry up in the stands.  The lifeguards said the old guy had told everybody to leave us alone because we were in his territory.  Sweet!

The view of the stage was great — there were no heads or cellphones in our line of sight.  We were far enough away that I didn’t need to wear earplugs (I have small ear canals so even the foam ones hurt after a few hours).  We were away from the smoke, so husband was ecstatic…and we avoided the crowds, so my anxiety was happy.  We also had sweet lounge chairs instead of sitting on the stone steps or standing at the stage for hours.  It was pretty awesome.  I certainly don’t have to be front row to enjoy a concert.  It’s the whole experience of -feeling- it that makes it fun.

…and speaking of which, the real reason for the trip:

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Powerwolf (another YouTube link there!) was #2 on my bucket-list.  They’ve never traveled to the United States and have expressed no desire to perform here for various reasons.  They’re power metal based out of Germany…with a distinct Catholic and Transylvanian mythos slant to their music. They perform as werewolves who’ve transformed from bloodlust to religiously enlightened.  It’s a wild concept but it’s fantastically entertaining.

I fan-girled. It was amazing and worth every bit of kiwi and watermelon I ate on the trip.  I’d do it again in a heart-beat to see them perform!

There were lots of other good shows, including one from Twilight Force (a favorite of hubs).  The festival itself was well worth it.  There’s no way we could’ve been able to pull off a trip like that for the price we did otherwise.

After the festival drew to a close, we had decided to spend an extra few days on the island to take advantage of already being there.

We checked into a very nice hotel (Hotel Negresco) in the capital, Palma.

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That was the view from the room, which you could see from bed.  The accommodations were great and the included meals were tasty too!

We spent our final day of the trip driving on the road to Sa Calobra.  It’s 13km and both beautiful and terrifying.

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The road itself looks like you’ve dropped a piece of spaghetti or let Harold and his purple crayon go a bit wild.  It was all built by hand, no machinery, and there is only one bridge in an area where the road crosses under itself in a loop – it’s supposedly one of the most dangerous roads in Spain (and we drove it when it was raining, of course!) but the views were amazing.  Aside from the concerts, hubs was a bit surprised to decide this road was his favorite part of the trip.  He was sure it’d be the Roman ruins.

The flight back was much nicer than the one over, customs was insane and took hours, and our friend picked us up and let us crash at his place for the night.  Jet lag is real and horrible.

All in all, it was fun.  I’m not sure we’ll ever find a reason to go back but who knows what will happen when the festival announces next year’s line-up?  😛

Itchy. I am not okay.

Fun fact: I’ve found my one (so far) real downfall in nature.

I’m not allergic to hardly anything. Bee stings hurt but only one has ever swollen up even a little – I mustered through 23 stings at once as a kid just fine other than some tears. Poison oak and ivy don’t affect me at all. My parents used to have me pull it around the house because my dad was severely allergic and I’ve never had a rash from it. I rolled around in stinging nettle in Denmark and nothing happened. Mosquitoes don’t bite me. When tested for non-food allergies, the only thing that showed any activity was mouse pee and only barely.

I heal quickly from most physical injuries without complications.

…but oh my gosh, guys.

I can’t sleep right now because I’m about to scratch my arm off.

Last Friday, as in the one over a week ago, I was stung by a Compass jellyfish.

This Friday, I started having a “delayed hypersensitivity reaction”.  Swelling, itching, pain, rashy, new welts appeared at the ends of the original ones, and blisters popped up on the original sting.

Day of the sting versus tonight, nine days later.

Send help! …because nothing is helping. Not antihistamines, not steroid creams, not topical benedryl.

The lifeguard was surprised I handled the sting so well while he was cleaning it for me. No tears or an ouch, just “well damn, now what?” He warned me those jellies are typically super painful (gimme pain over itching!!!) and it could be a month or more before the welt goes away. Nothing about this delayed itching and swelling nonsense.

I was not prepared.

…so here’s a survey thingy to distract me from scratching a hole through my arm!

CAN YOU FILL THIS OUT WITHOUT LYING?
Here I go!!!!

1. What was the last food you ate? Jalapeño pretzels

2. Do you sleep with socks on? Only on a plane or in a car

3. Worst physical pain you’ve had? Organ failure

4. Favourite place you have ever been? I really loved Scotland

5. How late did you stay up last night? 8:30 pm 😂

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be? I have no national loyalty. Given the chance, I’d move to Scotland.

7. What is your favourite sport? Tennis 

8. When was the last time you cried? Oh crap. I have no clue. A few weeks ago, maybe? I’m not much of a crier but it was pretty stressful then. I could see myself angry crying then

9. Who took your profile pic? Moi. It’s a good, old selfie with one if my dogs

10. Two of your favourite movies? The Nightmare Before Christmas and Rocky Horror Picture Show

11. What’s your favourite season? Spring or Fall. They both have their good points

12. If you could have any career what would it be? Wildlife rehabilitater

13. What was the last book you read? The One Kingdom

14. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be? Dad or sister. It’s often one of those two

15. Are you a good influence on other people? I have no clue. Depends on the person? I’m not purposely influential but I am pretty opinionated and relatively persuasive when I want to be

16. Does pineapple belong on a pizza? Not my thing

17. You have the remote, what show is on? Netflix? 😅 I haven’t watched “real” TV in so long that I don’t know any modern programming. I guess I’d default to BBC or PBS, maybe the Science Channel if it’s not all gone to crack like TLC and History did

18. Last text message: “Put umbrella on wishlist”

19. What’s the last concert you’ve been to? Full Metal Holiday – a seven day festival in Spain

20. Favorite food: Pickles

21. Favorite album all-time? Falconer’s self-titled album

22. Favorite day of the week? Friday 

23. Have you ever drank alcohol? Yes

24. Did you go to college? Yes

25. Have you ever experienced depression? Often. I’ve been medically diagnosed with it

Join in. Tag someone. Why not? Chicken??