Friday, March 31, 2006


Yesterday I mentioned a recent trip to Vegas. I had my first coaster trip of the year March 7 - 12 in Vegas and Los Angeles to coincide with what has become a spring kickoff tradition for me: Winter Coaster Solace at Knotts Berry Farm.

I've made several trips to SoCal in the last twelve months, (my boyfriend of just over a year lives out there) and there aren't many coasters in California that I haven't ridden so instead of just sticking to local stuff, I planned 2 1/2 days in Vegas to kick off the trip.

We stayed at the Stratosphere, met up with some local friends and one very much not local friend and hit most of the amusement ride attractions.

The pic to the right is Gary riding Insanity at the Stratosphere. I think of everything we did in Vegas, that was my favorite. I don't generally suffer any ill effects from spinning rides, and this one gave me a touch of vertigo. Was a blast though and definitely something I'd consider doing again.

We spent an evening at the stateline at Buffalo Bills. I spent the morning repeatedly proclaiming "there's a coaster out my window!" How could I not appreciate this view?

And the weekend was spent enjoying visits with friends and just generally relaxing around Knotts.

This has become one of my least frantic trips in the last two years. The first year, I had to do everything, last year we kicked back and relaxed some and this year was more of the same. Ride when we feel like it, take a nap in the afternoon and spent most of our time visiting with friends. Gotta love that.

No more spring coastering for me for a few more weeks, tonight I'm off to drive through thunderstorms for another weekend at my parents house. Hopefully, there will be enough knitting time to finish my Sophie bag so I can sacrifice it to the washing machine gods next week.

There will also be some wedding stuff this weekend (no, I'm not getting married. My brother is). My mom wants to go dress shopping and I need to schedule alterations for my bridesmaid dress. Guess I should get on that, eh?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Creativity Overload

Knitting. Wasn't this supposed to be about knitting?

I'm over run with ideas, and I'm already starting to get into the pattern of starting things that just won't get finished. And I'm ok with that. I finished a handful of things in the first month I've been knitting... (photos to come soon, really). 2 scarves, 2 hats, 2 dishcloths.

I've learned a few new things with each project. One scarf is a long ribbed scarf, the other was a quick garter stitch scarf done with interesting but tricky yarn on really big needles. So, those were good "get used to this crazy knitting stuff and pick up some speed" projects.

The dishcloths were an afterthought. After I learned how to knit, my mom wanted to re-learn. And she remembered that when she was little, she used to make dishcloths. I found the super simple pattern, started one while attempting to walk her through the process over the phone, we argued that it wasn't the right pattern (although now that she's seen one finished, we may try again and agree that I was right), and since I'd started it, I finished it. And did another quick one on the plane to Las Vegas just for something mindless to work on.

After mom fell and started recovering and we realized we were going to need to cover a bald head with a huge incision scar, I started making hats and finished two in a week. So, I learned how to knit on circulars and with double pointed needles, the Grace Beanie I made her even has a little bit of simple eyelet lace-work in it.

I've got a Sophie bag started and I'm making quick progress on that, should have it finished this weekend. Been using it to get better at double pointed needles (not intentionally, I don't have the right length circular for it and I didn't feel like going back to the store after I discovered that I'd bought the wrong length). Plus, it will be my first time making ICord once I get to the handle, as well as my first attempt at felting something.

I've started an Irish Hiking Scarf that has two cable repeats to it so far... hopefully by the time I finish it, I'll be MUCH faster at cables. But it's so far been a good learning tool for that.

And I have a random bigger-needle garter stitch scarf started using up some chunky scrap yarns that were in my crochet stash (when I started crocheting, my great-aunt and grandmother both started sending me estate sale and goodwill yarn).

Then, last week, I started seriously considering socks. I ended up placing a knitpicks order, getting a few skeins of sock yarn and some tiny DPNs. I haven't started yet, but I'm contemplating, reading up on it, and half of me is ready to dive right in while the rest of me is ready to run away screaming.

Plus, my mom has been begging me for years to make stuff for her dolls, and after persuing a few sites yesterday I may have to consider using those tiny needles and some stash scraps to make her something like this. Not that I have any experience constructing a multi-piece garment, let alone one for a 7 1/2-inch doll. And the fact that this can only lead to the sort of requests that my first post on this blog clearly states will drive me insanely away from knitting... but it's worth a shot anyway, right?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Trip Planning 101

I am a geek. Certifiable even.

Coaster trips are my forte, I think I may have been a sadistic travel agent in a former life or something. This year's batch of trips is no exception. Currently, I'm starting to piece together several trips for this summer. Some long and drawn out, some quick weekend jaunts.

The first (unless I can find a cheap flight somewhere for the second to last weekend in April) will be an 11-day trip through 10 or 11 parks in 7 states starting memorial day weekend. This should add anywhere from 40 to 50 new coasters to my count (yes, I count... I'm a geek). It will also cover one of the last big spans of parks that I haven't yet visited, the south. Beyond that, there are really just a handful of hit and miss parks scattered around the country left for me to conquer.

I'll likely catch a few repeat parks in July around my brother's weddding. And I'm still hoping for quick weekend trips to Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma/Kansas for later in the summer. If I catch everything that's "new to me" in all those places and maybe sneak in an extra park or two, I may just eek out my 500th coaster this year. Have I mentioned my geekiness?

Friday, March 24, 2006


I've been making my mom hats this week. Knitting up a storm with my first round needle/dpn projects and my first eyelet lace project. I finished the second one last night, and they both resemble hats and fit a human head and turned out just fine.

I won't get into all the details on why I made my mom two hats in a week, but she came home from the hospital today and I'm driving there tonight for a celebratory weekend. We're having friends and family over tomorrow to do some work on their house and just rejoice that she's a million times better than she was two weeks ago.

The short version of the story, that I'm sure once I can get through it without sobbing I'll get around to posting a longer version, is that two and a half weeks ago my mom fell and hit her head. She'd been sick for a while with other things, and this fall caused 4 skull fractures and bleeding inside her brain. We almost lost her.

Miraculously, she was conscious the next day, out of the ICU within a week, and has progressed so quickly with the therapists in the rehab unit that they decided to discharge her today. So she's back home again and will continue to work with the speech therapists on the few areas where she had the most brain damage. Primarilly short term memory function and math, as well as multi-tasking and reading comprehension. Not bad considering how much worse it could have been.

So, I've been making my mom hats because when they did surgery, they shaved half her head. A few days later my dad and I shaved the rest. The hats will cover her massive healing scar (they litterally opened up half of her head) and my dad's really poor head-shaving job.

For now, I'm off to deliver and enjoy a weekend at home with my parents. For as often as I used to grumble about them wanting me to drive and visit all the time (at least once a month), it hasn't felt like nearly as much of a chore to make the trip these last few weeks. We'll see how far that lasts once coaster season starts up fully, but for now, I'm just grateful she's there to visit.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why not?

I've been crocheting since college. One month ago, my friend Rachel's mom taught me how to knit. I've been going crazy every since.

My coaster friends have noticed, they tell me I'm too quiet on our forums. It's because I'm reading knitting blogs instead of the forums.

I don't participate as much as I used to in chat, because I can't type and knit at the same time.

When I crocheted, it was almost always afghans. I attempted a hat once, but I wasn't concious of the concept of guage and it was a little floppier than I would have liked. I got into crochet thread and doilys for a while. I even made my mom a tablecloth. Then, the thing that always seems to happen when I try a craft and learn that I'm good at it happened.

People started requesting things.

This has always been my failure point. Always. As soon as something starts to feel like "work", its not fun anymore. When I was in elementary school I learned how to make those knotted friendship bracelets. The ones that require a ton of work, knotting embroidery thread in certain ways to create various patterns. I was good at them. I could do them quickly, I've made some really elaborate ones. I learned about color matching and contrast. I became obsessed with the intricacies of turning a bunch of embroidery thread into a bracelet through the use of knots. I dreamed of selling them at craft fairs when my mom was selling stuff at craft fairs. Turning this cute little hobby into a sustaining business for a 10-year-old.

And then people started making requests. Then it became a chore. I was no longer taking on this task because it was fun and I enjoyed it, I was doing this because someone else wanted something. There were deadlines and expectations. So I stopped, and moved on.

In college, it was crochet. Again, once more requests started coming it (and I got a cat who enjoyed the yarn too much), I stopped for a while. But recently, I'd picked it up again. I had reason and I wanted to do it. Now, I've learned how to knit, and I have the enthusiastic drive of a new hobby. I'm learning things, I'm figuring new techniques out. In the month since I learned, I've finished 2 scarves and started a third. In the last week I've finished one hat and started a second (which means I already have material for finshed object posts, this thrills me to no end). I'm feeling the pulls of supplies again, I've pulled out and explored my stash from crochet again. And I'm really really hoping no one decides to sabotage this one by asking for anything.

So, no expectations and we'll get along just fine. :)

P.S. Oh, the only hobby I've never had this problem with -- Roller Coasters. It's almost purely selfish. I plan my escapes, I book hotels, I find deals, I bargain, and I travel. I drive or fly somewhere, spend one or several days at a park, and I have fun. No work involved. The one part of the hobby that started to feel like work were the trip reports, and I've found ways around that by not writing them, or only writing them for certain trips or writing them in different styles. It's beautiful and sustainable. My coworkers think I'm crazy.