Saturday, August 30, 2008

Promised Pictures

Man, has it been a busy first week of school! I think it's going well, though, so who cares. It's been a very nice first week, actually, particularly since an angel walked through my doors on the first day - a classroom aide!!!! I could NOT believe it! I knew I was supposed to have one assigned for a student with an IEP, but I totally wasn't thinking the county would have it together enough to have her there the first day, and she is just a dream. Very helpful, nice as can be, and we get along very well. I forsee a wonderful school year ahead! Yay!!!

If Blogger cooperates, I plan to continue telling about our cruise, and catch everyone up on our last shore excursion with a picture post. Here goes nothin' -

Halifax Harbour had bagpipes, a drummer, and a town crier to greet us as we docked.

On our Lighthouses and Lobster tour, the knowledgeable tourguides let us in on a secret - Hillary Swank (I do believe) is filming a movie aboard this ship. Course, it may be the girl that's married to Ben Affleck. I get those two confused. Sorry. It's one of them!
Lighthouse #1

Lighthouse #2 - rumored to be haunted. Canadians apparently love a good ghost story!!

Lighthouse #3 - the island it sits on holds more snakes than you can shake a stick at. Rest assured, I'll never be setting foot on that island!!

The kids on our boat tour were enthralled with the lobster. The tour guide - I swear to goodness - put the lobster to sleep by rubbing it's back. I'll be trying this the next time we cook lobsters here in our kitchen and get a lively one!

The boy found rock-climbing and a moon bounce on the harborwalk when we were finished with our tour/lunch.

He looks refreshed here in front of the town clock, but I was beat - we had just hiked up the hill you see behind him. NOT a small task, let me assure you. The cruise ship is down there, hidden behind those buildings, just to give you an idea of how steep a climb we had to make. You totally can't see the ship!

The Boy LOVES a nice historic fort (maybe it's the big guns?), and the Citadel in Halifax was EXCELLENT. From appearances, the troops never left the place. We have a fort here in the Washington, DC area from about the same time period, and it's a mess from vandals. This one was lovely, and men in kilted uniforms went about their daily military business.

All that hiking up hills and exploring historic forts made us hungry and thirsty. I normally don't drink beer, but when in Rome, ya know. . . I just had to try some for this knitblogger. Along with the fries and gravy, it was a very refreshing snack!

We were very lucky that the Busker's Festival was just starting on our way back to the ship. Here's the opening act - Rudi Macaggi - a lovely tap dancer with a great sense of humor. Not bad on the eyes, either (notice HIS cannons!!)
This guy's name is Peter Rabbit - he was in Bring in Da Noise. . . you know which one I mean!
AWESOME break-dancers, "Ill Abilities". Each one of them has some type of limiting disability, but you'd never know it. They ROCKED!
My personal favorite - Victor Rubilar - a juggler who was so amazing, I put my camera down and forgot to pick it back up!

We also saw The Calypso Tumblers (hilarious), and a crazy-man who ate fire (but I can't remember his name!).

After this, we hightailed it back to the ship, and made it back on board with only 10 minutes to spare! That was cutting it close, but the performers were so great, we couldn't tear ourselves away!

Tomorrow - pictures of the great fiber, yarn, and hardware I got. It's good - I promise!


Monday, August 18, 2008

First Shore Day

The other day, I posted this post, but Blogger had other ideas about adding my photos (as in, they didn't think they needed to do that on that day!) Here are the promised photos!

This is entering the harbor - there is one lone guy standing there near the humongous planters, watching the ship turn and dock. Note that I did no cropping of this picture. The harbor was a tight fit for that big ole' ship!

Zac with a moose statue outside the farmer's market area.

We found (free!) beach volleyball on our way back to the docking area.

This is "slack tide" on the reversing falls. Notice the boat trying to get through. He'd been there for about 30 minutes, trying unsuccessfully (not a powerful enough engine to go against the massive forces here). He made it through about 5 minutes after this shot, as the tides began to work against his motor less. Hence, "reversing" rapids!

A carved statue of Glooskap - the Indian god who was responsible for the reverse of the tides, according to legend. On a different note - where are The Boy's hands going?

And here is the original post, for more details:

Day Three of our trip the ship stopped in Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada). Thanks to the great balcony, we watched the ship pull into the harbor and get tied up by the pilot boats awaiting our arrival. It was very entertaining, and we watched people on the shore watching the boat maneuver around in that small space. I would have DEFINITELY been watching had I been on land!

Since our shore excursion wasn't until later in morning, we took our time, watched the docking, then made our way to the restaurant for breakfast this time. Yum-o to the french toast (one of the only yum-o's from the restaurants, which I don't rank quite as highly as the one I experienced on Royal Caribbean) and the bottomless coffee urns!!

After breakfast, we headed off the boat, asked about a cab ride to the town, and paid a measley $7.00 to go into town and be dropped off directly where we (I) wanted to (yarn shop). I didn't want to waste time trying to find our way on foot there and back, so I thought the cab was a good way to go. Come to find out, we could totally see the ship when we came out of the mall (more on that later), so we did walk back to the pier to catch up with our tour. This worked out perfectly, and I was able to get in some good shopping at Cricket Cove, which was an amazingly nice shop INSIDE A MALL. That never happens here in the states, so I'm not sure if this is a normal occurrence or not. I wasn't that impressed with the fibers in the shop, so I stuck to yarn, and wound up coming out with some sock yarn containing aloe for my mom, a kit for a Fleece Artist hat, and about 400 yards of some lovely, lovely alpaca that I can't seem to put my hand on here at home or find online either!

So, with packages in hand, we strolled back through (part of) the town to the pier again, stopping long enough for The Boy to take a picture with a moose and (try to) play a little beach volleyball. It's a good thing my little guy has an athletic dad, 'cause his momma's hopeless. I was trying to show him how to serve, with my 8th grade gym class serve (I'm noticing that serve is NOT seen on the beach at the Olympic Games!!), and not quite "hitting the mark" as the saying goes! Oh well, we had fun anyway.

Back at the pier, we managed to get sucked into buying a trinket or two at the pier shops while waiting for our tour to take off. We are such suckers! The tour was informative and took us to all the major points of the city - the great market, the Reversing Falls (which we saw at "slack" tide, which happens only for about 20 minutes each day - just as the tides are beginning to reverse), and gave lots of historic and factual information in-between. Overall, though, the stops the bus made were too quick to get a good feel for each place. We got only 20 minutes in the market (good thing we'd already been earlier, looking for yarn). We stopped for the bathroom and to get a snack - an asian pear/chinese apple that was so huge, we shared it and had a nice treat. At the reversing rapids, one of the major attractions for this shore stop, we only had about 10 minutes. The last spot, a park situated up on a hill where there were wood carvings depicting Indian legends, we had about "5 minutes" although The Boy and I ran out, took a picture of him at the feet of Glooskap (supposedly responsible for the reversing rapids), and were promptly ushered back on the bus. Boo.

After the tour I wanted to walk a path that ran alongside the water, to a historic point where they used to hang people, but The Boy was worn out, and we got back on the ship. It was a morbid thought, anyway, but looked like a nice walk and would have been a different vantage point for seeing the tiny city. Saint John is a nice city, but not very big at all. I did love all the references to the Native/Indian culture there, and the fact that their beliefs/stories seem to be known by the average person there, such as the reversing rapids being a creation of Glooskap - the Indian "god" who created the reversing falls so that his people could have an easy time going up the river for 20 minutes each day - he didn't want to be too easy on them! Being so tiny, though, it was a good starting point for our "adventures" and let me know that The Boy would be up for the bigger city and all it's sites the next day.

Tomorrow, I'll get to Halifax, which was the next stop, but for now I'll just show pics from Saint John.

Scratch that, BLOGGER!!!! I'll post pics when this site gets it's act together!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our Trip - Part One

I know I'm late posting about the cruise that The Boy and I took, but here we go! In my defense, I have been sicker than a dog the past three days - I don't know what hit me, but I've been asleep for approximately the last48 hours STRAIGHT. Finally, I feel able to move about, and I've plied some yarn this afternoon while listening to LimeNViolet and Socks In The City, so I think I just may live!

So, for our trip, I think we accomplished our main goal of seeing whether or not we would survive a trip by ourselves. There was a bit of huffing and puffing over waiting in lines, but I quickly got over that. No, seriously, The Boy DOES NOT like to wait around for anything at all. The cruise-ship put him to the test! I'm hoping he gets the idea that when we go to visit Auntie Jenn and Uncle Scott, there will be lots of waiting. Lots. And no free, 24-hour pizza bar at the end! HA!
The first day of our trip was basically just travel. We took Amtrak from Union Station here in DC and it took us right to Penn Station in NY, about 6 blocks from the cruise ship pier. It was perfect, and much more manageable than the airport!! Wow - why hassle with the airport for all that time for a 1 hour flight to NY when you can spend equal (or less) time on getting yourself there by train! YES! One word of caution is to take a heavy sweater or jacket, though, because the train cars were FREEZING! I had to dig both our sweaters out of our packed bags and we cuddled up and read stories for the last half of the trip because we were so frozen!

We caught a cab to the pier, left our bags with an attendant as SOON as we got out of the cab, then got in line (yay) to wait our turn checking into the ship. All in all it wasn't bad, and we were on the ship in no time. We located our cabin, then headed off to explore. We checked out the pools and outside decks, wove our way in through the gym and spa areas (I signed up for a yoga class, but more on that later), and wound up outside again just as the ship started moving. I got some great pictures of Manhattan from the water, but the pics of the Statue of Liberty weren't too clear - we were actually a bit too far for good pictures (with my camera, at least!).

Once we headed out, The Boy started getting antsy and we both realized we were hungry. They were to start serving dinner at 6:00, but when we got there and saw the lines, we decided we'd do the serve-yourself walk-up buffet, and headed down to get some dinner. After a bit more exploring of the ship and an orientation for Camp Carnival (free babysitting!), we headed back to our cabin, checked out a movie on TV and CRASHED. That was a lot of traveling for two rookies like us!!

The next day was an "at sea" day for the ship. Basically, the ship took it's time getting to the first port, and we all got to relax and act like we were on vacation! The Boy was excited to check out Camp Carnival, so after we ate our breakfast (room service bagels, fruit, and coffee on our balcony), he took off into camp without even looking back at his mommy! Unfortunately, the yoga class I'd wanted to take started at the same exact time as the camp opened up, so I wound up missing it. I headed back to the room to try to yoga on the balcony, but wound up being bitten repeatedly by biting flies, so I finished in the room, which was not really ideal.

In the afternoon, I picked up The Boy, we ate lunch and then enjoyed the POOL! He got a big kick out of the fact that the pool was filled with ocean water, and that the water moved with the ship. With the depth of the pool, he could stand up just barely, until the wave of water moved back to his end of the pool. We hung out there for a while, then headed back to get dressed, because it was one of the formal nights in the dining room. What an experience! The food was great, but remember that little problem I mentioned about waiting. Yeah. Try in a dining room filled with other people trying to have a nice meal. He actually wasn't that bad - no one was disturbed by him and he didn't get loud, but I had to be "Mommy" and tell him that he could not have 10 pieces of bread while waiting for his dinner to be served (cause you KNOW they'd give it to him if he asked!!), and that no, he could not drink 5 glasses of cranberry juice IN HIS WINE GLASS!!! Whew. Good thing the food was tasty and he looked cute in his shirt and tie!

Before going into the dining room, we met a really nice family from South Carolina. We caught up with them again later, at the stage-show, and they wound up being our "cruise friends" that we seemed to run into everywhere we went! The show was a big hit with everyone (although I could have done without being on floor-level looking at a bunch of thongs!!!!) and we were all excited to have a shore day the next day!

Once we got back to our room, The Boy went out like a light, I knit on my Sasha skirt for a while, after making sure we were ready to leave the ship early in the morning.

Here's some pictures from what I've mentioned so far:

Our cabin, from The Boy's point of view. Beds to the right, balcony behind.

"I'm so excited the ship is MOVING, Mommy!"

The Boy on our balcony.

The Statue of Liberty

Manhattan from the water.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Apparently . . .

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

I learned to Andean ply my singles yarns into a double plied yarn! Wahoo! I'm loving it, and turning a lovely pencil roving with GREAT watery-type colors into a two-ply yarn for a giftie. It's classified Super-Secret, though, so no more disclosures!

Here's me (well, my hand) as I plied some coopworth that I picked up in Saint John, NB (that's Canada, in case you're wondering!):

And here's some shots of the watery pencil roving:

It's named "Shala" and I can only think that it's a hint back to the Carribbean/islands, cause that's what it makes me think of. How about you? It's GORGEOUS either way, though! By the way, DON'T click on that link until you've hidden your wallet - they're having a sale!!!! OMG!!! Must. Have. Self. Control. GAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

I'm loving my new skill, and plan to spin a nice, full spindle each night, to be plied up the next night. Should get this present knocked out quickly, and plying is a great thing to do while watching the olympics, since you're doing a lot of waiting for the twist to settle!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fire! Fire! Fire!

As much as I hate to create a new post and remove the picture of the lovely Jason Taylor from the top of my blog, I need to update!

I'm back from vacation and have finished objects and pictures to share, so remove I must. Maybe later, I'll put that lovely picture on the sidebar, just so no one (like me) suffers from withdrawals! Hee!

So, the first picture/post I want to share is the picture of my "Fire" socks that I started waaaaaaay back at the beginning of Project Spectrum and A Year in Socks. I closed the toe on them in Penn Station (New York) yesterday morning, while waiting for the train back home. The kitchener stitch isn't perfect because of this, but hey - they're going on my own feet, not out as a gift, so who cares?

Here they are:

I think the Yarn Harlot talked about this colorway (Newspaper, from Spritely Goods - link is for roving, the sock yarn is long gone) on her blog , which led to my buying it, and I absolutely LOVE the colors in it! I want to sneek back over to the website and buy some of the roving now, to make my own yarn from these colors. . . maybe one day!

I didn't do too, too much knitting on the trip - we were very entertained by the cruise ship, and had lots of fun. I got to knit at night while The Boy was sleeping, but not in the mornings, and not on the balcony like I'd hoped. Who'd of thunk that there would be biting flies (that look just like houseflies, by the way!) out in the middle of the ocean? At least on the first leg of our trip, and then it was too cold and windy to sit out there comfortably, so I just didn't. Hrmph!

I'll post progress pics of the rest of my knitting later, but wanted to get this posted, say "Hi, I'm back!", enter this picture for the Project Spectrum and Ravelympics, and get to uploading the tons of pictures from the trip.