Monday, 14 July 2014

A prairie girl visits the mountains

At one point in planning this post I thought it might be better to split it up into at least two posts so it wouldn't be so long… And then I thought to myself that I'd never get it done if I try splitting is up.  So here's all of it.  Mostly pictures, not too many words.  If you're just here for the knitting, there are knitting pictures in here too so just bear with me!

A couple of weeks ago, the Enabler and I set out for a mini family reunion in Jasper.  We decided to drive because it would end up being cheaper (thanks to generous and lovely family who let us stay with them!), and we both really love road trips.

I'm a sucker for big dramatic skies, and I've gotta say that the clouds cooperated.  It rained a bit off and on, but it was worth it for the views.

The second day of the drive we made a quick stop in Vegreville to see the Worlds Largest Pysanka.  I'd been there in my youth but the Enabler never had, so he was super excited.

We arrived safely at our little cabin in Jasper, where I quickly had to try on and model my car knitting progress.  The body of my Ease sweater is finished and it fits great!  Please excuse the crummy picture.  I'd blame the Enabler and his shaky hands, but it's probably the poor lighting as much as his picture taking skills.

The next morning we visited the Miette Hot Springs.  I don't have any pictures of the hot springs because it just looked like a pool, which was a little disappointing since I had envisioned something else, I dunno what exactly.  A cave, maybe?  Rocks?  Something that didn't look exactly like a regular hotel pool?  That said, it was very pleasant and warm, although it gave me a bit of a headache after awhile.  Hot tubs can do the same thing to me, so I thought that was all it was.

After drying off and a short walk to see the ruins of the old resort which was closed in 1984, I had to snap a picture of this guy.  I think he looks like a French explorer.  Mais oui?

Upon arriving back at our cars, we were accosted by a wild band of raggedy mountain sheep.  Also at various times on the trip I saw a bald eagle, a wolf, several elk, a very fluffy mountain goat, and its very fluffy baby.  This is the only picture of wildlife I took though, because the Enabler and I decided not to stop our car in the middle of the road to take a million pictures and inconvenience/annoy the traffic behind us.  Memories are good too.

After the hot springs we went to Maligne Canyon which was really cool and very difficult to appropriately capture in pictures.  This picture was taken straight down off a little bridge, and it may not look like it but the water is extremely far down.  Taking this picture made the Enabler very nervous, and he had already crossed the bridge (quickly) and was only watching me bend slightly over the side to take the picture.

I'm really glad I'm not scared of heights because this place was amazing.

Near the parking lot there was a number of small trees with leaves that look like this.  I have no idea what this is or what causes this but I thought it looked neat.

The next day we went to Athabasca Falls.  I took a bunch of pictures here but they all looked the same to me on my phone so I just picked a couple at random.  Yay randomness!

Mountain selfie!!

After Athabasca falls we drove up a very long, very curvy twisty turny switchbacked road to get up to Mount Edith Cavell.  I was driving the car at the time.  It would have been a fun drive, but by that point the headache I had gotten while at the hot springs the day before had started to get a lot worse.  It intensified with each curve and by the time we reached the top I could barely see straight.  I took this picture from the parking lot and that was it.  The greyish white band in the upper right area of the picture I think is part of a glacier, so that's kind of interesting.  It would have been nice to see more of this, but instead I learned something about myself.  Cool cloudy drizzly weather + altitude = Wooloholic gets a migraine.

Then we drove back to the cabin (the Enabler drove, thankfully), and I slept for the rest of the afternoon.  Yay vacations!

When I woke up, the sky had cleared and my headache was gone, proving my crappy weather in the mountains = migraines theory.

That evening I finished the first of a pair of Skyp socks for the Enabler.  It's a great pattern for variegated yarn, even wildly variegated yarn such as this (tosh sock in the Damp colorway).  This pattern is going to go into the regular rotation I think.  It's another one of those perfect socks that's just patterned enough to keep it from being boring.  And it's unisex!

After a good sleep we headed to Jasper for the Canada Day pancake breakfast, stopping to get a quick picture with Jasper the Bear on the way.  Not pictured: the pancake breakfast workers pouring pancake batter onto the giant griddle with a large plastic pitcher, and the lady spreading butter on people's pancakes with a paintbrush.  I kid you not.

After breakfast we all said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.  We stopped in Edmonton for the night and attended my cousin's church league softball game.  It was a lovely evening.

I learned that lawn chairs come with yarn holders.

We struck out very early the next morning as we wanted to get from Edmonton to Winnipeg in one day.  That's over 1300 km (810 miles), not including a detour in Saskatchewan due to the massive amounts of rain causing overland flooding and certain roads to be washed out.

But we still couldn't resist a trip to Mundare to check out the World's Largest Sausage.  Unfortunately we weren't able to fit in a trip to see the World's Largest Perogy on a fork.

Still though… sausage.  We ended up buying some of the famed sausage in the Esso across the street because, well… sausage.  It was delicious.

The majority of the rest of day was uneventful.  We did have to take a short (30-60 minute) detour due to the aforementioned flooding.  We saw some pretty wet fields, but I think this one might have been nearly this wet all the time.  Those white blobs are all pelicans.

Most importantly for that day, I discovered that I can knit lace in the car!  As long as the road isn't too bumpy, that is.

We made it home late that night safe and sound, and the kitties were very angry happy to see us, and us them.

Now that we're home with no other major trips planned this year, the next post will be back to all things knitting (and probably spinning, since we're 10 days into the tour de fleece!).

Back to life, back to reality.  It's not so bad.  At least I just get normal (manageable) headaches from the crummy weather on the prairies, not migraines!  Reason #157 why I will never live in the mountains.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Oh, fun!

Once again I've fallen off the blog wagon.  This time it's not really due to a lack of things to write about, but rather too much.  A lot has happened since my last post, I just haven't had the time/energy to try to write about all of it!  I didn't even check when my last post was.  I don't really want to know.

The Enabler and I took a little trip down to Minneapolis for a concert on the summer solstice… which doesn't seem like that long ago but I guess it's like three weeks ago already (whaaaat).  

Upon our arrival with all of our luggage in downtown Minneapolis, we happened to share an elevator with a couple of local women.  The subsequent conversation was roughly as follows:
Woman 1: It looks like you're visiting from out of town.  Where are you from?
Us: Yeah, we're from Winnipeg.
Woman 1: Oh, fun!
Woman 2 (not hearing properly): Where did you say you were from?
Us: Winnipeg.
Woman 2: Oh, fun!
I'm not sure why, but it struck me as very funny that these two women had the exact same response to finding out where we were from.  It could very well have been genuine, but it could also be one of those polite responses that one gives when one doesn't know what else to say.  Regardless, I do think Winnipeg is fun… But I'm not going to lie, so is Minneapolis.  It's one of my favourite American cities that I have visited, and I plan to visit many more times.

We drove down specifically for the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds concert which was at the State Theatre.  The theatre is one of these old theatres that is decorated in over the top renaissance/rococo themed tableaus and carvings, with fake gilt everywhere.  I hope it never changes, because I really doubt that style will ever come back into fashion.  It's ridiculous and I love it.

It was the perfect venue for an artist like Nick Cave, who is also completely over the top.  He has a style that only he could get away with.

Seriously, nobody rocks the combed back hair and shiny shirt like Nick Cave does.  And nobody else should.

It was one of the most incredible shows I've ever been to.  He's a very compelling performer, and the Bad Seeds were pretty amazing as well.  It also must be noted that one of the Bad Seeds, Warren Ellis, has one of the most amazing beards.

Ok, since this is primarily a knitting blog, of course I have to talk about knitting a bit.

In the car on the way to Minneapolis, this is the progress I made on my Ease sweater.  Further updates to come in future posts.

We also made an obligatory visit to StevenBe.  I was just planning on stopping in to take advantage of the opportunity to get some Stephen and Steven (this would be Stephen West, knitting rockstar and one of my favourite designers, and Steven Berg himself, the owner of StevenBe) tour exclusive yarn (since the tour included a stop at StevenBe on the very day that we were in Minneapolis with time to kill, what are the chances??).  But then I fell down accidentally on purpose several times and ended up buying all of the yarn that I had fallen on… okay not really but honestly I blame the Enabler partially for this one.  He earned his nickname this day, oh yes he did.  Now that all of this yarn has found a home in my stash, the yarn diet is officially back on.

So as I mentioned, I was theoretically in the shop just to get the tour exclusive yarn (which is the green yarn in the bottom right of the above picture, plucky knitter yarn in the "with a PH" colorway.  The very helpful and persuasive shop assistant insisted that we also go to the upstairs area to actually meet Stephen West who was teaching a class on how to make swants (pants made out of an old sweater).  So we went upstairs to meet him and I fangirled a bit and we chatted for a few moments and then he said that I should stay and make some swants too!  The Enabler (being the lovely, patient, enabling husband that he is) said that he didn't mind.

So I stayed.

And this happened.

Wooloholic's bucket list:

- Make swants with Stephen West - CHECK

That's it.  I'm done.  I can die knowing I've lived a full life.