Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hectic Holiday

Well, I’m finally home, clean, and relaxed. What a couple of weeks this has been.

On the way to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, I started the second helmet cap for my oldest daughter. I had finished the one for my youngest daughter, and my goal was to get the earflaps connected to the cap before we arrived. No problem. I got a lot further than I had planned.

My brother makes lampwork beads, and my sister-in-law turns them into beautiful jewelry that they sell at local art fairs. Last year I had tried to tell them that they could make some money making knitting markers, but they didn’t really believe me. This year was different. I showed them some online examples, and they were excited. Making knitting markers would be a great way for them to use leftover beads. On Saturday, Amy took me to a local yarn shop called Pine Needles (what a PERFECT name for an “up-north” yarn shop). It’s located between Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin, right on the highway. It had just opened three months earlier, or really, they had moved from their old location across the highway three months before. Let me tell you, this woman knows how to set up a great yarn shop. She and her husband are retired, and this has become their project. I talked to her husband for awhile, he told me that she tells him how she wants the shop to look, and he builds it. I sure could use him around my house! Amy told the shop owner about her stitch markers, and the woman said that she had been trying to find exactly what Amy made online, but without much luck. She would prefer to sell markers in her shop from someone local, so Amy will be taking some of her samples over there. That night Tom, Amy, and I sat around discussing what they would need to make good markers. How big of a ring? Should it be soldered closed or would a small opening be ok? How long would be too long? and so on. The next day, they bought some materials and made five samples for me. I was in heaven! I use one on every project, even if I don’t need to mark anything. It is knitting jewelry. I will post some pictures in about three weeks when I have access to a digital camera again. They are beautiful!

We left my brother and sister-in-law’s place on Sunday after a wonderful visit. After eyeing up my current project, my nieces gave me their Christmas knitting requests. My Christmas knitting list looks something like this:

1. Dishcloths for Amy (they are almost done now, and I will give them to her when she comes down here for her nephew’s funeral)
2. Another knit helmet cap for my niece.
3. A Harry Potter scarf for my older niece.
4. Three sets of baby gifts for my friend in New Zealand, my cousin in Germany, and another friend from work.
5. Two pairs of Fuzzy Feet (one for my mother and one for my mother-in-law; this will be their second pair).
6. If there is time, a Weasley sweater to go with the Harry Potter scarf – but only if there is time.

Looks like I will be busy. My wrists are already a little sore!

On Sunday night (a week ago), we left Hayward, Wisconsin and drove the six hours to our house. We dropped off the camper, repacked a few necessary items, and began driving to Florida at 7:00 p.m. DH drove just past Indianapolis and at about 1:00 am, we switched and I drove through the night, arriving at Chattanooga, TN at 7:00 am. DH took another turn, and after hitting TERRIBLE traffic in Atlanta, we took an ice cream break, and we switched shortly after that again. We ended up finding a hotel in Daytona Beach, FL RIGHT ON THE OCEAN for a great deal. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. EDT. We had an almost 24 hour drive without more than a 30 minute break in temperatures that stayed at 95 during the day and only went down to 78 at night. It was hot. So hot that you couldn’t sit comfortably in the back of the van without feeling woozy.

When we arrived, we took a quick swim in the ocean, a little swim in the pool, ate supper and went to bed. The next morning was the launch, and we needed to get up at 5:00am to make sure we would get into the park that only accepted 600 cars before closing. After a sleep that was way too short, we got up, rubbed our eyes, and headed out. It was already 82 degrees, and we had really seen enough heat, but there was nothing you could do. We packed water, soda, fruit, and sandwich makings for the wait. After getting lost (the park was NOT labeled very well), we finally arrived at the park, and we were actually early enough to get close parking. We sat on the beach and waited. You could feel the excitement in the air. A man near us blared his NASA radio, so we could hear exactly what was happening. At the final countdown, everyone cheered, and you could hear the lumps in people's throats as they shouted and pointed, “There it is!” I tried to videotape the launch, but my excitement meant that the beginning of my footage became nervous, excited shots of my feet and the crowd until I calmed down enough to catch the space shuttle. It was an experience none of us will forget. It was so wonderful to see the shuttle go off again, and especially wonderful to hear people in the crowd speaking in German and Italian on their cell phones to people back home, describing what they were seeing.

The next day we played in the ocean all day. Daytona Beach is awesome! The beach becomes a community with ice cream trucks, T-shirt vendors, bike rentals, and an actual street where people drive their vehicles to find a parking spot and set up their spot. I had so much fun teaching my family how to swim in the ocean. It was their first time, and ocean swimming is completely different from swimming in any lake around here – even Lake Michigan. We played with tiny jellyfish, bodysurfed, and just floated. It was perfect. After supper at Shell’s seafood restaurant, we began the drive home, again at 7:00pm. We arrived home the next day at 9:30pm. The trip home took a little longer because we were so tired. We ended up taking a 30-minute nap in a gas station parking lot, and stopping to eat a REAL breakfast instead of a quick McDonald’s breakfast.

It turns out that we brought the heat home with us. This past weekend my oldest daughter played in the Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball tournament and it was HOT. Florida HOT. We all came home from the tournament with sunburn, although swimming in the ocean for an entire day didn’t leave us red at all. Go figure! Sunday night left us all exhausted, but Monday was a packing day so that I could chaperone a Girl Scout’s camping trip until Wednesday. Monday was still hot. So was Tuesday. It cooled down a little on Wednesday, but by the time I got home, I didn’t care anymore. I slept. And slept. And slept some more. Then I watched some movies and napped. Today, I managed to do laundry, nap, and knit. That’s it.

Tomorrow we are off to a pig roast.

I’m ready for school to start so that I can relax a little bit more!

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