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Yes, I’m actually back – again.  I’m still knitting and I still have cats (more on that later), I still travel more than I’d like, but have just not made time for the blog in a long time.

One of my new interests actually stems from some of the work travel I’ve done in the last few years.  Four years ago, I had (oh, the horror, I was forced to do this!!!)  to go to Japan for a meeting on one of my projects.  I really enjoyed it, and felt very welcomed by people in Japan even though we had few words in common and even though I was obviously “not from around here”.  My last day in Tokyo, I wore a sweater I had knitted, and went to Rokugien Park to see the fall color and sit in the sunshine and knit a bit.  I ended up sharing a park bench with some ladies of a certain age, who had no English to go with my lack of Japanese, but we still admired each other’s sweaters and exchanged smiles.  So – I decided to learn Japanese!  I’ve now been studying it with a teacher for two years, although “study” means a 90-minute lesson each week and not really doing my homework until a few hours before my lesson.  I start the intermediate text book soon, though, and I’m hoping I can improve my study habits with the new book.  I’m also going to be posting the odd blog entry in Japanese, just to practice my use of the language.

Other major travel I’ve done has been a trip to China three years ago for the same project, and another trip to Japan two years ago again for the same project.

Next year is a big birthday for me, and I’m buying myself a tourism trip to Japan.  At the moment, I’m thinking about the spring during cherry blossom time, but I’m not sure that’s going to work because I’m going to be in the US for two weeks in March to attend a congress and a departmental meeting, and I’m not sure I can then take two weeks the following month to go to Japan!  But we’ll see.

Knitting – I’m still knitting.  I made the mistake of taking Princess off the needles several years ago to spread her out for someone who wanted to see her, and I haven’t touched her since.  One day…  Other than that, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting!  Not really very many shawls, but lots and lots of sweaters, most of which actually fit.

Cats – three and a half years ago, my little calico girl was diagnosed with advanced kidney disease, and started on blood pressure meds and special diet.  In feline kidney disease, the kidneys lose their ability to hold water back, so the cats just lose water like mad.  Blood pressure meds reduce the load on the kidneys and extend their lifespan “a little bit”.  I figured I would lose her first, but she’s still going strong!  Unfortunately, in March 2016 her big fluffy brother developed a carcinoma under his tongue.  Cortisol kept it from growing too fast, although it was growing, but in July 2016 it just got to be too much and I had to say goodbye.  In October, I adopted an 8-month old tiger boy who VERY rapidly made himself at home!   Here he is, about 48 hours after moving in.

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Sophie had settled on my lap to “help” me knit, and he decided that he wanted to help too!  Sophie didn’t stay on my lap for very long after he did this, for some strange reason…

So that’s me.  Anybody still out there?  🙂

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I’m ba-ack

So you may remember (probably not! 🙂 ) that I was scheduled to fly DUS-ORD-PHL on Monday 21 Dec, then PHL-small town on Tuesday? Well, believe it or not, that actually happened! Flight to ORD left a bit late, actually turned out to be the same aircraft I was supposed to take Sunday on DUS-EWR, so of course it was covered in snow and ice. The de-icing solution they were using on the plane was orange, so it felt like we were sitting inside an orange slushy for a while; there were probably two inches of snow and ice on for example the wings and engines that all had to come off.

Got to the PHL airport Hilton (my brand of choice) at about 11 at night, only to find that the hotel restaurant had closed at 10, and “room service” consisted of sandwiches from the bar. Ha ha. Went down to the desk, where they had a flyer from Domino’s Pizza, handed the information to all the other starving guests I met (there were a lot of us who were very unhappy with the PHL Hilton that night), and called Domino’s. Man, does American pizza hit the spot sometimes!

Coming back was nowhere near the drama that getting to the US had been. Shall I just leave it at that? Got to take my knitting on the plane, didn’t have any major delays, I’m a happy bunny. And oh, the civilized niceties of traveling “at the front of the bus” as I call it! Arrive in Frankfurt, clear immigration, and you’re automaticlly dumped out into the land-side terminal so have to clear security again. But… Lufthansa has put in an “arrivals lounge” for all their business-class guests arriving from overseas. With SHOWERS!!! I rarely carry liquids or gels in my carry-on because it’s just not worth the hassle, but this time I did. The only thing I really needed to have with me was toothpaste, though, as each separate little bathroom-shower room has huge dispensers of L’Occitane shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and hand soap. My favorite brand!

Progress on Princess continues, although slowly. I am now done with pattern row 90, knitting row 100, so I am at 14.58% completion (I think I can go into Ravelry tonight and bump it up to 15%, don’t you?).

How’s your knitting?

Trying it again

Remember yesterday I was supposed to fly Dusseldorf – Newark – Philadelphia? Yeah, well… it snowed. All day. They finally cancelled our flight at 5 pm when the crew ran out of legal work time, and sent us all of to hotels or back home, saying “we’ll rebook you and call you when we have a new itinerary.”

So today I’m flying Dusseldorf – Chicago – Philadelphia.

Anyone want to place any bets???

Who woulda thunk it, eh? But what else is one to do while trapped at an airport, but go and whinge to the blog?

Christmas vacation started out with such promise… flights Nice to Frankfurt to Philadelphia, overnight at Philadelphia, then fly to the town closest to my parents. Ha ha ha. Continue Reading »

But you are forgiven if you’ve wondered, lately!

No, I’ve not quit knitting either. I’m suffering from a combination of a lack of interest in Princess (bad news, that!), an upsurge of interest in something else I’m working on and NO, I’m not going to show you yet, and now feeling like I don’t have time to do anything, let alone knit. Which is silly, I do have plenty of time, I just don’t do much of it. Continue Reading »

No, I haven’t forgotten my blog! I’ve been busy, and sad to say I set Princess aside for a bit. Something about hitting the milestone of finishing a page of the chart acted as a brake to forward progress. Well, I’ve still got time to get it done.

And, I’m off to Germany today, including a 3-hour layover in Zurich airport. So that will give me some good knitting time.

Hope your knitting is going well!

I am pleased to announce that I have FINISHED the first border chart of Princess and am slowly steaming my way up the second chart! Chart 1 had 62 rows on it, and I finally finished row 62 yesterday afternoon, working through row 64 before finally putting it aside for the day. Which puts me at 74 rows of knitting, or 10.8% of the way done with the whole shawl, or 31% of the way done with the border. And I’m still only on my first ball of “yarn”!

Spent most of Saturday in the village of La Turbie. Originally I had planned to photograph the Trophy of Augustus, but I went down there with only my digital camera (that was deliberate) and no memory card in the camera (that WASN’T deliberate). So I spent the time scouting the site, figuring where I might be able to get good photographs from, and having a delicious lunch (perfectly cooked lamb, sweet and almost-overcooked mange-tout, and frites, creme brulee for afters, and a good glass of red wine). I get to go back this weekend with the film camera. Hopefully I’ll remember the film!