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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Menu Along: First Sunday in Lent

See the hearts! I love the magic, UV color changing yarn!

It's another menu along, because of a pretty long and fast road trip to the Bay Area this weekend. We were on the road at least eight hours a day, including the first night when we had our alternator quit on the side of a busy highway in the middle of central Oregon, two hours before our hotel. We were blessed that Rich had a friend in the area who could recommend a good mechanic to have our van towed to and that it was 25 minutes north of another hotel where we had stayed before and they had rooms for us, and the towing company sent out another vehicle to transport us all to the hotel so nobody would be stuck at the side of the road (in the dark and rain, by the way), and a mechanic who came in early on a Saturday even though his shop was normally closed. I'll write up a post about our adventures this week. There are a couple relevant bits I'll mention here, though, too.

This is the fourth time I cast on for this little, child's hat. I don't know what the deal was, but each time it was just too small, no matter what I did with st count or needle size. I was worried it would be lacy if I went up any higher on the needle, even with the stranding, so I just cast on a bunch more sts. The project page doesn't have all the information on it, but I'm using the graph from one hat, and the measurements from another, but I've modified the st count and changed the edging on it. It's a mash up of two designs and my own ideas. I didn't make much progress on the surprise heart hat, mostly because on day two of our trip, one of my dpns slipped out of my lap into the step where the door shuts into our van. I asked everyone to remind me to get out carefully at the next stop, and to make sure I retrieved the needle. By the time we got there, though, we were running so late because of waiting for the repair and starting two hours north of where we intended, that I jumped out to shuttle kids in and out of the bathroom at the gas station, and completely forgot. I remembered about an exit after we got back on the freeway, but told Rich to forget about it, and to press on. The next day, on our return, he asked if I wanted him to see if it was still there. He said he wouldn't even stop the van, just drive in, open the door and look around. Sure, enough, it was. It was chewed up and pitted, but it was there. It's on circular needles now, as you can see. I'm thankful for Brittany Needles' replacement policy.

This was also another way that Rich showed his love for me. Even though he knew it was an extra stop, and even though we weren't sure it would be there, he wanted to make sure to try to get it. The whole trip was an example of that, actually. We went to attend a friend's surprise 40th birthday party, and we wouldn't have gone if Rich hadn't made sure we did. I received the invitation, was touched that they were including us, told Rich and then pretty much said, "That's sweet. It's too bad we can't go." He asked why not, and started looking for airfare for the two of us right away. We found some decent fares, but didn't know if we'd have a place to stay, so before we pulled the trigger on the flights, I called in a favor from another friend in the area to see if she'd put us up for a night. By the time I'd heard back from her, the rates had gone up, and I was back on the fence about it. Rich said that for the same price as the airfare, we could drive with all the kids and stay at hotels, and so we did it. He already had Monday off because of Presidents' Day, and I made sure he took Tuesday off to rest and get some things done at home that he wanted. I got up and took Alexander to his college classes, so Rich could sleep in, and he was able to rest most of the morning.

The area where our friends live and go to church also had a yarn shop with its semi-annual yarn and book sale going on, but after we attended church with our friends, they invited us over to their home for lunch, so we did that instead. It says how much I admire them and their family, that I gave up all souvenir yarn purchases. I went to high school with both the husband and wife, but even though we knew each other then, we didn't really become friends until our 10 year high school reunion. They were married with several children, as were we, we were both religious families who had and wanted many children, and we hit it off. I was so touched to receive the invitation to the birthday party, and have always admired his wife's generosity of time, talent, and hospitality, as well as her ability to manage her time and home and family so well. We have kept in touch since then, and we're among the earlier people to get the news of any new babies due to arrive in their family (they have one more to go to beat us!). They came to our house for a Paschal feast one year, and he asked me what I thought of him in high school. I tried to answer diplomatically, and just said that I thought he was a typical jock, and left it there. I have never been brave enough to ask him the same question. Don't ask a question if you aren't sure you want the answer, and all that.

While we were there, I finally gave my friend the scarf I made last year for her, but I completely forgot to take a picture of her in it. And I forgot to get a picture of their family with ours (Rich and I talked about doing that after church).

Here is my own Amira in progress - I did get some knitting done on it over the drive. I have the pattern just about ready for publishing and am hoping that folks who want a chance at a preview of the pattern before it is for sale will give it a whirl and tell me what they think.

I'll put out one more appeal for preview knitters, if you can knit a 29"/30" or a 49"/50" bust Amira with us as we do our preview KAL, let me know! I'm waiting on those two sizes. I have two knitters for almost every other size, so even if I can get just one more knitter for each of those sizes, that would be grand. Thank you so much for considering it! There isn't much besides that to share right now, so here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. Thank you!

Rich and I did some reading in the car. Or, rather, I read aloud to him in the car and we had a great time discussing it. We haven't done a whole lot of other reading this week, however. I'm hoping to rectify that. The kids read a lot, though.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

So, last week, in order to make absolutely sure we didn't ruin our friend's surprise, I even made up a meal plan for a couple days that we would be traveling, just on the off chance that he took a look at the blog and asked where we were going. We did have some meals on the road, and our breakfasts were at the hotels where we stayed, plus we stopped at Saint John the Forerunner Monastery to get snacks and pick up some dinner for our hotel room that first night, as well as for a mid trip snack on our last day of driving back up into Washington. I was able to replenish our coffee stores, and pick up some lovely candles for our Paschal table as well. We meant to keep the fast on Friday, and only break it for the day of the party and Sunday, but accidentally ended up with meat in our grape leaves (I thought being Greek style, they would be vegetarian), which we simply saw as a blessing to us on a particularly challenging day. The oldest four kids and I stayed up until almost 1:00 a.m. finishing laundry and packing, and I stayed up until around 3:00 finishing the rest and doing some preparations for our day, so Rich could sleep up in preparation for a long weekend of driving.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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