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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Y5: Self-Imposed Year of Projects - Update #2 (The Vacation Update)

Happiest of Sundays to you!

Today is the second update to my FIFTH Self-Imposed Year of Projects! I'm kind of amazed with myself, to be honest. I didn't think I'd last beyond four updates, much less four years of updates. So, you know, woohoo for me and all that.

Let's get moving, shall we?

FOs (Finished Objects)
1. Fire Socks: started April 15, 2015; finished January 6, 2016

Why yes, it's true. Second week in and I already have something finished. Unfortunately, as I plan to submit these for publication, I can't show you much of anything but if you're really interested, you can see what little I have shown on the project page...which is basically that it's a sock and that it's orange. Really exciting, I know.

WIPs (Works-In-Progress) - carried over year-to-year
1. Dragon's Egg Socks: started September 2, 2013
2. Snape's Stockings: started August 20, 2014
3. Wink: started January 5, 2015
4. Vanilla Latte Socks: started November 19, 2015
5. Swirl Hat: started December 16, 2015
6. Ice Socks: started January 7, 2016
7. Swatch for Marly Bird class at Stitches West: started January 8, 2016 (no project page)

Truthfully, the only project that saw any action while we were Vanilla Latte Socks. This is due, in part, to only taking two projects with me while we were on our Caribbean Cruise....and one of them wasn't started until this week. So, I worked on my Vanilla Latte Socks while we were gone.

Obviously I've finished the heel flap & turn. I'm actually past the gusset decreases on the first fact, I'm almost to the toe decreases. To be fair, before we left, I had finished the heel flap & turn, had picked up the stitches, and was just ready to start the gusset decreases. In other words, I didn't work on it all that much...but I got a couple inches done.

When things finally started to settle down around here upon arriving home, I finished up the Fire Socks and then I started my new design. It's the companion pair of socks to my Fire Socks, aptly named Ice Socks. I think I've worked out what I want to do and I'm going full scale because, why not?

Also, I remembered that I'm taking a class with Marly Bird at Stitches West at the end of February. I have homework for one of my two classes with her: a 6"x6" swatch. I detest swatching. But, if I'm going to do it....go big or go home? My swatch is probably going to be quite large. I also need to get my current measurements but I'll probably wait until mid-February to do that since I've been the incredible shrinking woman or something.

Anyway, moving along.....

Children's Items
1. George's Vest (for Stormageddon - probably the largest size; fingering in solid or semi-solid)
2. House Hat (one each for Stormageddon and Little Man - worsted, two contrasting colors)
3. Nottingham (one each for Stormageddon and Little Man - worsted, solid or semi-solid)
4. Mirkwood (for Stormageddon - bulky; solid or semi-solid)
5. Smaug (for Little Man - worsted; solid or semi-solid)
6. Arthur the Alien (for Little Man - worsted; any colors)
7. Holiday Countdown Stockings (for the family - Aran/worsted; four colors)
8. Creeper Gonna Creep (for Little Man - DK; green because Creeper)

Items for ME (selfish knitting, FTW!!)
1. Vanillaish Socks (using one of my Harry Potter Yarns)
2. Paradiddle Socks (using a solid or semi-solid sock yarn)
3. Hermione Hearts Ron (sport weight; solid or semi-solid)
4. Hermione Hearts Ron Fingerless Mitts (sport weight; solid or semi-solid)
5. Classic Silk Mayfaire Camisole (Miss Babs from Stitches Midwest)
6. Stormont (worsted; solid or semi-solid)
7. Sockhead Hat (sock; any colors)
8. Moab Shawl (sock; any colors) *need pattern*
9. Prowl (DK; solid or semi-solid) *need pattern*

Secret Sock Club Bags - Pick a bag at random; do pattern with yarn
1. Scotch & Soda Scarf (using Briar Rose Fibers Wistful, leftover from my Icarus Shawl)
2. CashSilk Fern Scarf (using ONline Supersocke 100)
3. Jabberwonky (using KP Felici in Abracadabra)
4. If You Know Where To Go (using KP Felici in Green Veggies)
5. Gardener's Socks (using Malabrigo Sock in Indiacita)

Stranded Knitting
1. University of Wisconsin Ski Hat
2. University of Wisconsin Christmas Stocking
3. University of Wisconsin Button Beanie
4. Xanadu Snowflake Cowl

Christmas/Charity Bin
1. 198 yds. of Heaven (worsted; any colors)
2. Phillip and Mr. Grum (sock yarn; any colors)
3. Comfort Food (Aran; solid)
4. Fine Fella (worsted; solid or semi-solid)
5. November Leaves (Shelter from stash) *need pattern*
6. Skinner Hat (sock; solid or semi-solid) *need pattern*
7. The Shoemaker's Hat (bulky; solid or semi-solid) *need pattern*
8. Roll Out The Barrels (cotton; any colors)
9. Sweeny Todd Scarf (worsted; any colors)
10. Bridal Shower Lace Cloth (cotton; any colors)
11. The Snowmen Cometh (worsted; any colors)
12. Sunburst Dishcloth (cotton; any colors)
13. Starfish Cloth (cotton; any colors)
14. Seamless Circular Cloth (cotton; any colors)
15. Tombreck (Aran/worsted; solid or semi-solid)
16. Premie Spiral Hat (for hospital donations - sport or DK; any colors)

1. Fire Socks (finish prototype and pattern for submission) *half finished*
2. Ice Socks (knit prototype and pattern for submission)
3. Susan's Hat (make proper - photos, pattern, etc.)
4. Little Man's Baby Blanket (make proper - photos, pattern, etc.)
5. Paradiddle Socks (knit prototype - see "Items for ME")

1. Finish up the purple silk/merino blend singles
2. Ply said purple silk/merino blend (probably two-ply)
3. Finish up the remaining Asshole Blue Corriedale that I found in Stormageddon's room a couple weeks ago (don't even get me started on this one!)
4. Start something new (I'm leaning toward some grey wool I bought a few years ago)

I think between the WIPs I've got going on and all the swatching I've got to do, I'll probably dig something out for a smaller project, like a hat or two for the boys. Stormageddon is in need of a proper hat. He's been borrowing ones from Little Man and they are, of course, too big for his head.

So, I expect I'll have something new next week from these lists....

In "real life" events.......well, there was vacation. We took a cruise out of New Orleans with stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman Island; and Cozumel, Mexico. We had an absolutely awful time going out. We were to fly out Christmas morning and have about a day and a half to screw around in New Orleans, relax, and do some sightseeing, then get on the boat and go on our merry way.

Unfortunately, Delta Airlines screwed the pooch on all that. Our (first) flight was scheduled for about 10am that morning but we got a text message around 6:30am saying, "oh hey, your flight's been cancelled." Um......WHAT?! Husband was on the phone until almost 8am, got us on a slightly later flight, and all was well. And then we got a text around 9am that said, "oh hey, your new flight has been delayed by a couple hours, which means you're going to miss your connecting flight." WHAT?! More phone calls, a switch to a United flight and we were off to the airport, and all was well. And then we got to the airport only to discover that United had no record of the transfer, Delta kept saying it was United's problem, and we finally got to an actual Ticket Agent at United who found out what had happened: Delta didn't do the transfer properly and it was only a standby flight. Um....WHAT?! She spent over an hour typing God knows what on the keyboard, got us an official standby ticket, our bags were taken by United, we got through security in almost-record time, raced to the gate....and, of course, the flight was full and we were on standby. I went to visit the United Customer Service Rep, who was fabulous by the way, and Delta rescinded the transfer and got us on an actual flight through Delta....which meant we had to go back out of the terminal, down to the Delta check-in, get our actual tickets, go back through security, find our gate, and hope for the best...which happened. We got on our flight to Los Angeles, our bags somewhere with United on their way to New Orleans, to meet us there when we arrived a few hours later, and all was well. And then we landed in Los Angeles where we sat on the tarmac for almost twenty minutes because there was a traffic jam at the airport. The good news? Our connecting flight was also stuck at their gate, waiting for clearance to back up and go. We passed it on our way to our gate to get off....and it was only four gates down. Husband grabbed Little Man and the pair literally ran to the gate to find no one anywhere around. We missed our connecting flight to New Orleans by less than a minute. The gate agent was down locking the door. All was not well. We went to the Delta Customer Service desk and Husband ripped her a new one. She wanted to put us on a late flight to Atlanta (landing around 10pm, EDT) and then a red eye to New Orleans. With a five year old and a 16 month old.


They put us up in a hotel near the airport, got us on a 9am flight to New Orleans, and we didn't get to do nearly half the stuff we had wanted to do, but we did get a teensy bit of time to do a couple things. United tracked down our bags, which had arrived as scheduled in New Orleans....too bad we were still stuck in Los Angeles. Thankfully I had enough diapers and we could use the hotel soaps...but no one had clean clothes (well, Stormageddon did but that was for poopsplosion emergencies only), toothbrushes, a hairbrush...nothing. Our bags were there when we arrived and Delta picked up the $75 we paid to United to have them shipped.

Getting ready to leave LAX, finally.

Dinner in New Orleans

When we got to New Orleans, we all took a shower, and then we took a walk to the French Quarter for dinner (it was only a mile away from our hotel). We had dinner at a place called Pierre Maspero's, which has been in existence since 1788, when New Orleans was part of the land claims of the Spanish. The original building burned in 1794 and the current building was (probably) built between 1795 and 1810. It was originally a slave exchange that operated under the guise of a cafe/coffee house. I don't necessarily know if it was a slave exchange that was outright disguised as a coffee house or if it was just a place where slaves were exchanged while the slaveholders sipped their coffee. I've seen it both ways and I'm not sure which one is the real history. But, the establishment has a lot of local history, regardless. It was the place where Andrew Jackson met with Jean Lafitte in late 1814 to plan the defenses of New Orleans during the War of 1812...supposedly. There's another establishment in the French Quarter that also lays claim to this legend. So, the plaque above is not a National Historical Location marker.

The place was lovely and the food was fantastic. I had the Crescent City Sampler, which had Cajun Jambalaya (back left), Crawfish Étouffée (front, I believe), and Chicken & Andouille Gumbo (back right). Husband had a Muffaletta (which you can see a little bit of on the left).

I've always loved the street signs in New Orleans. I used to have a touristy one with my name on it but it disappeared, sadly. Also, this was the corner where Pierre Maspero's was located.

The next morning, we got up, showered, got our stuff together, and left it in the hotel while we got breakfast. The plan was to go to the famous Cafe du Monde and have beignets....but the line was far too long to wait with two small children. While we tried to decide what to do, we went to Jackson Square, which is basically across the street.

After some deliberation, we went a block away to New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee, where the line appeared to be much shorter than the one at Cafe du Monde....but was probably the same length. Either way, I had my beignets.

We still had some time to kill before we needed to be out the hotel and on our way to the boat so we went here:

Central Grocery. It's the home of the original Muffuletta. Husband had another one before we headed back to the hotel to get our luggage and such.

And then, we got on a boat for a week!

Our cruise was a seven-day cruise that made three stops throughout the Caribbean.

Safety briefings suck.
We strongly dislike safety briefings because they talk about scary things, which yes, we need to know what to do but at the same time, small, we took a selfie showing our dislike.

On our first day at sea, an event happened for the kids called Seuss on the Loose. Carnival has some sort of licensing agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and they have a bunch of Dr. Seuss-related things going on. Seuss on the Loose was a parade that went through the Promenade Deck (Deck 5), down the Atrium Stairs to Deck 3, and then to one of the theaters for a live-action rendition of The Cat in the Hat, complete with Thing 1, Thing 2, The Cat, Sam-I-Am, and several other helpers. The kids carry signs and pompoms and such and walk through the ship changing, "Seuss on the Loose," until they get to the theater for the reading.

Seuss on the Loose!

At the reading for The Cat in the Hat
 Once we got to the theater, the kids (and their adult(s)) can go up on stage to sit for the reading. Little Man and I sat on the stage while Stormageddon and Husband were down in the audience.

Later in the week, we also went to a Green Eggs & Ham breakfast. Husband has a couple photos but silly me, I left my camera in our room to charge. ::sigh:: There were also a couple photos taken by one of the ship's photographers from the Seuss-related events. I have one of Little Man and Husband from the parade, one of Little Man, Stormageddon, the Cat in the Hat, and I from the book reading, and we had one with Thing 1 and Thing 2 from the Green Eggs & Ham breakfast.

In addition to that, we had our room decorated (for a fee, of course) with the Dr. Seuss stuff. We had some banners and wall stickers. We also got a stuffed Cat in the Hat (which went to Stormageddon), a Dr. Seuss backpack & water bottle (which went to Little Man), and a copy of The Cat in the Hat (which the boys can share, for now).

One of the parental highlights: Little Man actually went to Camp Carnival (well, now it's called Camp Ocean but it's the same thing: on-site daycare). This was probably his fifth cruise and this was the first we could get him to go. He loved it. Like, he got mad when we told him he couldn't go because the staff needed to eat their own dinner.

They did all sorts of things and we had all sorts of projects come home.

Little Man is a pirate!

Further proof of his pirateness :)

Our first shore stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica. I've not been to Montego Bay since 2002, when I went during spring break on a mission trip (back when I was still questioning whether religion was right for me or not - turns out, it's not). We got off the boat and there was........nothing. I think it's a new stop for Carnival and it needs some work. But there was a little food shop right off the boat where we could get jerk chicken, jerk sausage, beer, and, for me TING! I fell in love with Ting way back in 2002 and it's extremely difficult to find in the US. It's similar to Squirt but it's a grapefruit base. Husband and I shared some jerk chicken, he had Red Stripe beer, and I had my Ting. The boys were at Camp Ocean.


Husband in Montego Bay

Our second shore stop was George Town, on Grand Cayman Island. The last time we took this particular cruise, Little Man was all of 10 months old, so it's been a good four years. It was right before the banking industry went under in the Cayman Islands. Some of you may be aware of this but for those of you that aren't, the Cayman Islands was the place you banked if you wanted to evade taxes and partake in money laundering, much like Switzerland used to be. The term "offshore account," was a direct reference to the Cayman Islands (as well as the Bahamas). Anyway, a couple years ago, the United States and several other countries started putting forth some pretty harsh laws for people and corporations that hid money in offshore accounts to evade taxes, which basically decimated the islands when those companies and individuals started pulling their money out. When we were there just over four years ago, there were banks left, right, center, and behind. This time? Not so much. Yes, there are still banks but not like there used to be. So they're trying to turn themselves into a tourist destination (which I'm okay with - it's absolutely gorgeous in the Cayman Islands).

Anyway, our shore excursion was to the Cayman Turtle Farm, which is the only sea turtle farm in the world. They have a breeding pond, hatchery, education center, beach, a place to snorkel with the sea turtles, a crocodile, some sharks, and several other things. Iguanas and chickens roam free but you don't want to mess with the iguanas.

The Breeding Pond 

Little Man held a leatherback sea turtle. 

Stormageddon just got a stuffed one

Iguanas at the Sea Turtle Farm

Our last shore day was in Cozumel, Mexico. Our shore excursion was to an all-inclusive resort. We could swim in the ocean, eat food, drink all the liquor, swim in a pool, see a sea lion show, visit replica Mayan ruins, do a tequila tasting, and a bunch of other stuff. We started out on the beach but trying to wrangle two small children against ocean currents.....not happening. Plus, fire ants were all over the damn beach. So, we moved to the pool, which worked out to our advantage. Little Man was able to swim around in the pool with his wings on, Husband and I sat in the water at the bar (yes, there's a bar in the pool), Stormageddon hung out with us....until he fell asleep in his stroller. While he slept, I worked on the Vanilla Latte Sock (the photo way up above). 

Sleepy baby in Cozumel



I'm particularly proud of this fish face. Little Man has been trying forever to make a fish face and has been quite unsuccessful.....until our day in Cozumel, where he showed me this little number.

On our way back to the ship, we stopped in the shops along the way. Some guy (someone else traveling on our cruise) gave Little Man a bunch of balloon creations that he'd been given along the way. While we were walking through one of the shops, I spotted a little girl, around Little Man's age, and gave her one. We didn't need three of them. Honestly, we didn't need any of them but Little Man was elated.

Balloon hat?

One night at dinner, Stormageddon decided that, rather than eat his cookie, he was going to wear it. I mean, what could go wrong?

Why eat it when you can wear it?!

Our flight home was uneventful, other than Stormageddon being sick. He started getting sick while we were in Cozumel, probably before. By the time we were flying home, he was coughing, snotting out his nose, running a fever off and on, wheezing, and just generally unhappy. He slept most of both flights (a total of 7.5 hours), which were during the day, and then when we got home, he slept through the night.

Little Man was somewhat disappointed that there wasn't any snow in Detroit, not that you can tell from this photo.

Heading home (via Detroit, MI)

Qdoba chips are yummy (Detroit, MI)

So, aside from the WTFery that was our flight situation on our way out to New Orleans, the trip was quite lovely.

Upon our arrival at home, Stormageddon was quite plainly sick and a trip to the doctor on Monday resulted in a double-diagnosis: pneumonia and asthma. So, he's on a nebulizer and antibiotics. He's feeling much better but is still wheezing here and there. And then Little Man spiked a fever on Wednesday night. He spent Thursday & Friday at home, mostly fine and driving me nuts.....::sigh:: If it's not one, it's the other.

Little Man taught Stormageddon how to do this (via "monkey see, monkey do").

Big Brother taught me this one!

I expect this is plenty of information to be getting on with this week. I hope you're all having a lovely week!


  1. Well done on a finish so early on, a great sign for this year and I'm intrigued by the Fire socks and the Ice socks, cool! Glad after the disastrous flight start the holiday went well and you all enjoyed it, loved seeing the pics! Hope both little men are better soon.

  2. Wow, that sounds like a lot of stress, at least you had a lovely holiday to help you relax after all that nonsense :)

  3. OMG that whole flight nonsense would've pushed me straight off the deep end! So glad you got it all figured out and had a good vacation nonetheless. The kids look like they did a billion different things so very successful! I've been wanting to go to New Orleans for a while ... maybe this year or next :) In the meantime I'll just enjoy your photos!

  4. Sorry to hear about all the hassle involved with getting to your vacation, but glad it was enjoyable in the end.

  5. oh wow, that is such a stressful start toy our vacation! I'm glad it got salvaged in the end and was still lots of fun, and so many great family photos! Sorry to hear about poor little stormageddon, I hope he is on the mend soon! And asthma, ooh boy.

  6. Whatta trip. Glad you had some fun and good eats despite the hassles getting there.