Knitting news first: I finished my friend Jen’s sweater (Christmas present ’06). It’s a basic V-neck raglan, knit in the round (I’m in love), from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. And, gosh, kids! It really is handy! Worked like a charm… The yarn is Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Winter Blue, in case you’re wondering… I had a little yarn left, so knit up a little matching beanie to go with the sweater. I thought this was a huge step toward keeping the stash at bay. (Smug smile of self-congratulation.)
I cast on right away for the last undone Christmas gift of ’06, a sweater for my pal Gloria. (You may recall that I’m determined to finish last Christmas’ knitting by July 4, 2007.) I’m almost finished with the back, and already I’m pining for the ease of knitting in the round. It’s going to be a nice piece, though — the Poinsettia sweater from Knitscene awhile back, but I’m making it all one color – coral. Also on the needles are Hedera socks from Knitty, in Panda Cotton, Strawberries and Limes colorway (yum).
On to the travel section — Orestes and I took a little anniversary trip to Grand Cayman Island over Memorial Day weekend. We were there for four nights and what a lovely place it is! We stayed at the wonderful Turtle Nest Inn, right on the beach in a quiet area of the island. Four nights of pure relaxation: snorkelling by day, finding great fish restaurants by night. Ahhhhh! Despite the tremendous hit the island took from Hurricane Ivan in 2006, things have been rebuilt on land, and in the sea the coral is growing back. We had amazing biodiversity in the reef right off our inn’s beach. One morning I swam with a school of about 100 blue tangs, Orestes swam with a ray one day. I saw a baby octopus and swam along with him for a bit, and there were dozens and dozens of beautiful fish and a variety of coral, including huge brain coral. Awesome, in the truest sense of the word. We did the Stingray City boat trip — I can’t believe how warmly I feel toward these strange creatures! It’s the second time we’ve swum with them and they are just remarkable animals. (I prefer to swim with and around them, not pick them up. Orestes, on the other hand, must hold and cuddle them. They do seem to like it, and come back for more, even if you’re not feeding them.) I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, “But isn’t one of these the thing that killed the Crocodile Hunter?” They are so gentle, it is hard to imagine what went wrong… Here are a few pix from the trip: our inn and its beach, Orestes in the water (no, it’s not a swimming pool, it’s the sea – so clear!).
Trip #2: The first weekend in June, my friend Jan and I took off for a little getaway in the beautiful Arcadia Valley of southeastern Missouri. We stayed in a great B&B – had a whole suite – (the Plain & Fancy B&B, if you ever get to Ironton, Missouri) – the highlight of which is a large outdoor hot tub which faces a pretty creek lined by beautiful trees (oh, and the yum breakfasts). We hiked and talked, ate amazing BBQ at BayleeJo’s, talked some more, shopped at a very cool pottery works (Chanticleer Pottery), and even saw a cowboy music show at Bobby Powell’s Country Jamboree (how could we resist?). The show was terrific — the house band at the club had worked up an entire evening of classic cowboy songs, all done in gorgeous harmonies.
Hmmm… I seem to be plugging a lot of businesses in this post. I hope it’s not too tiresome, but I really want to support the independent businesses in the area who’ve been hit so hard by the Johnson’s Shut-Ins area being closed for 2 seasons. (Thank you, AmerenUE – you’ve done a fine job of nearly destroying one of our most beautiful natural areas in the state. I hope Jay Nixon sues your ass off.)
Well, I’m feeling better now. Nothing like a little vent to get your blood going on a Saturday morning. A couple of pix from Arcadia Valley: Jan worshipping nature at Taum Sauk Mountain and the sign for BayleeJo’s, just so you know what you’re looking for.
Trip #3 For Father’s Day we headed down to visit Dad at the Boy Scout camp where he works as quartermaster. Dad has been involved in scouting since my brother was a Cub, which makes about 40+ years of volunteering for that great organization. He’s the chairman of the camp committee that helps take care of facility maintenance (has been for a loooooong time), and does the summer job just for fun. He gave us a tour of the camp, which I hadn’t seen since I was about 9 or 10 years old — it’s grown and developed so much! It really looks great. We were so proud to see the building with Dad’s name on it. Now you can see it, too, plus a pic of Dad in full regalia.