Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Motivation, Lost

I tell you. . . when Jake goes out of town, my motivation goes with him. I have both a G & H to share about our trip to California and give you all the gory details of the wedding, but I'm entirely too lazy to get it up tonite. Instead, I'll give you some photos :)

Short slideshow our photographer put together here.

All the professional photos here. (you have to register to see them, though!)

I ADORE our photos. .. . they really capture just how happy the day was!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

F is for Fantastic Feat of Engineering

OK, admittedly this one is a bit of a stretch. . .. . but how else do I incorporate the fantastic Golden Gate Bridge (and don't tell me I could use it for G, I've got another for that!)??

We flew into San Francisco for the trip to Sonoma. Jake has a very kind friend from school who happens to live in San Francisco who let us stay at her place so no paying for a hotel or the ridiculous parking rates (and subsequent parking tax) hotels charge. We got in around 6 on Thursday night, and we were both pretty beat. We didn't end up doing much of anything that was 'San Francisco'. . . Unless you count driving through the city.. . . because let me tell you, I was glad the car wasn't a standard!!! Thursday night we just went out for Thai and a cocktail and called it a night.

Friday, I met up with some MalGals from Ravelry - trumom, darlingfloy, firegirlpj and sleep2dreamher. I'd link to blogs, but they aren't active, so you can check them out on Rav if you want ;) And we had SUCH a great time! How fun to meet a bunch of great knitters from the innernets in real life! And where did we go? Imagiknit, of course!!
Isn't Jake a trooper?
TOTAL.YARN.WONDERLAND!! Definitely one of the best yarn shops I've been to, though I may be biased due to the HUGE amount of Malabrigo in EVERY weight. I left with 8 skeins of Dos in two complimentary colors for a yet to be determined colorwork project, and 2 skeins of Chunky. Overall, my spending was quite tame :) The ladies also took us out to lunch, which was beyond sweet of them, no?! Friday night we met up with the family in town and had an early dinner at Fisherman's Wharf. (that's Jake's parents, my mom, Jakes brother & SIL, and sister hiding in the back)
I would have liked to do the more touristy things, but my mind was kind of elsewhere. Next trip, though, we'll do the cable car and all that jazz :)

The one thing I wouldn't NOT do is check out the Golden Gate. I'm a nerd for stuff like that. Of course, we had to drive over it to go to Sonoma, but I wanted to stop and see it, so after Muir Woods Saturday morning, we drove back down to check out the Vista Point. We made a slight detour thinking we could go to Golden Gate National Recreation area to see the bridge.. . . . but you can't (you can, however, sit at a very long light to go through a one lane tunnel!).

Instead, we checked out the old battery there and admired the view of the Pacific.

Then we realized to get to the viewing area, we'd have to cross the bridge, pay the toll and turn back Northbound. So we did!
Thankfully it wasn't crazy crowded or anything, so we had no trouble parking and getting up to the wall to take some photos & watch the ferry to Alcatraz, and get an obligatory photo to prove we were there :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

E is for Enormous

When Jake's dad found out we were going to get married in Sonoma, he was very excited about being able to visit Muir Woods. He has always wanted to see the Redwoods and especially wanted to go with his kids. All those years working in the woods and doing lumberjack shows, you know :) We weren't sure we were going to be able to swing going as a group, mostly because Jake & I had appointments in Sonoma on Saturday, and as nice as it would be to do 'family stuff', the wedding was kind of priority #1! When we saw the park opened at 8am, though, we were able to arrange a 'as soon as the gates open' visit. Amazingly, everyone was even (almost) on time :) It was SO COLD!!!! 8am + elevation + little sun = FREEZING! My mom was totally unprepared for 'not warm' in California, she was not so much enjoying the walk through the woods, but she pretended OK.

Jake's dad was kind of like a little kid. I'm not sure I've seen him that excited before. And the trees, definitely ENORMOUS! I can't imagine the Sequoias that are even bigger!
Why yes, that is Jake's dad (roughly 6", for scale) who brought a tape measure with him :) (And also ignored the 'stay on path' signs).

We didn't go on any of the 'hiking' trails, just the main loop when you enter the park. I wouldn't mind going back sometime when it was a little warmer and going on the hike to the beach.

There were plenty of empty trees big enough to fit in, but most were off the trail and we're rule followers :) This one was made for going in, though. The picture also makes me chuckle because I think it looks like a small bear or a giant chipmunk is trying to eat through the tree and get Jake!

And, because we're cheesy, we bought a sapling "so we can watch it can grow just like our love". barf, I know :) Jake wasn't really serious with that as the rational for purchasing it, but I like to tease him about it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

D is for Dining

One of my favorite parts of travelling is eating out (for a while, at least, by the end of the trip I sometimes just want to cook something at home already!). California absolutely did not disappoint with the food offerings. In San Francisco I had the most delicious pineapple fried rice at Thai Stick. Really, everything we ordered there was delicious but the rice was over the top!

Sonoma was amazing. Nothing like wine country to have dozens of fabulous restaurants all in walking distance from your hotel. We at at Deuce, Harvest Moon Cafe, Meritage & Cafe LaHaye. The wedding dinner was at Meritage, so really not fair to judge the restaurant overall by what they will offer as a catering menu, but in comparison to 'normal' catering, they were fantastic. . . . particularly the desserts! The award for introducing me to a food I've never heard of and now adore goes to Harvest Moon. We ordered a beet & fennel salad that was topped with Kampachi. I didn't even notice the kampachi in the description, I just jumped at beet & fennel, but when it came, there was clearly sushi on top and OMG! It was ridiculously fantastic. We asked the waiter what it was, and turns out it's a type of yellow-fin tuna. Delicious!

The overall, blow every other fabulous restaurant out of the water restaurant has to be Cafe LaHaye. It is a tiny little restaurant off the square in Sonoma. It was slam packed on a Tuesday night, which is always the sign of a great restaurant. The kitchen is tiny, staffed with just the Executive Chef & a sous chef. It was fantastic to watch them work in the kitchen, very quiet and calm and measured, none of the banging and swearing I am used to from my restaurant days. It's a very small menu, as well, I believe 6 entrees + 2 specials and the same number of starters. We shared soup & salad. The soup was califlower & celery root topped with cashews & golden raisins. The soup was sooooo yummy & smooth, though I could have done without the cashews. The salad - butter lettuce with avocado, boiled egg, bacon & blue cheese. YUM - so many of my favorite things all on one plate!! For dinner, Jake got a mustard braised pork chop served over mushrooms and corona beans and I got the rissoto of the day, which was green garlic & balsamic grilled radicchio. There aren't enough adjectives to do the food justice. And the serving sizes were incredibly generous, which was unexpected. In such a 'foodie' place, I would by no means have been surprised for a 6 bite serving to show up on my plate, yet it barely looked like I touched my rissoto when I was done! We finished off the meal with meyer lemon cheesecake, coffee & port. I wish I didn't live 3000 miles from this restaurant, because I'd be there as much as I could! And it was even affordable. .. . everything we ate plus wine, and our bill barely made it to $100.

I can't take credit for this photo, but I'm using it for my ABC-along, anyway. Jake is dabbling in photography and this was his 'artsy' shot at dinner. I think it's pretty cool.

And finally, here's a shot of us at Cafe LaHaye (note the wedding ring on Jake!). We had spent the rest of our time in Cali with friends and family, we got to go out Tuesday night, just the two of us, and we couldn't have picked a better place to do it!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm back, I'm married, and I'm behind!

Wow. . . it's been a while :)

A LOT has been going on, most notably that I'm MARRIED :) My goal over this week is to get caught up with ABC-Along-ing and tell you all about our trip to California and the most perfect wedding we could have hoped for!

I hope all is well with you all and you enjoy your Easter weekend!

Fill you all in on the details soon !

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Someone's looking out!

I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. When we were little and went to Church, our teachers would make us sit in the pews, reach our hands out and only let us sit as close to the next person as our finger tips would touch. This was to try and discourage talking, of course, but they told us it was to make sure our Guardian Angels had space to sit next to us.

While we never learned much about the patron saints in school beyond whomever we chose our Confirmation names after, my family was big on praying to whomever the appropriate saint was for a given situation. I spent a lot of time talking to St Anthony, since I misplace a lot of stuff! And while I never necessarily prayed to him, on my 16th Birthday along with my license I was given a St Christopher medallion for my car. I've had several vehicles and the same medallion has come with me in them all. I got in an accident 2 months after having my license - broadsided by a steel hauler going 45MPH. The driver was certain he killed us in the car, since he pushed us nearly 1/4 mile down the road before we twisted up an embankment. All 3 of us in the car walked away with no injuries. The police had sent a traffic fatality reconstruction team to the site when the trucker called in the accident, everyone was amazed that we were fine. In 2004, I hydroplaned on the 401 outside Toronto in a terrible rain storm. I ran into the cement embankment which spun me back into oncoming traffic, hit the embankment again spinning me back 180 degrees and leaving my car half in the left traffic lane with no real visibility. No one else hit my vehicle and it turned out to be drivable so I could get home to Michigan. I've been pretty lucky.

Yesterday, en route home during rush hour with my wedding dress in tow, I got in another accident. A driver cut across 2 lanes of traffic cutting into the exit lane, causing the line of cars to jam on the brakes. The result was a small Toyota rear ending me and my car hitting the car in front of me. I have no recollection of hitting the car in front of me, so I honestly don't know if that happened first or if the vehicle hitting me pushed me into that car. Nevertheless, it set off the airbags, which is quite shocking if you've never experienced it before. They smell really badly and your car fills with (what looks like) smoke, but apparently is some sort of powder. The good news is no one in any of the 3 vehicles was hurt. I have a small abrasion on my chin from the airbag, but that seems to be the worst of it. Hopefully it goes away or is light enough to be covered by makeup for the wedding. The bad news is that my car is 8 years old and airbags are expensive, so there is a very real possibility my Escape will be totaled, despite very little damage (basically just a new bumper and fender). I'm hoping not, since I'd really prefer not to have a car payment all of a sudden, but if so, there are worse things that could happen.

I'm not really a laid back person, so I have no idea why I'm so relaxed about the whole incident. I barely even cried after I was sure nothing happened to my wedding dress (I'm not going to lie, I was super upset at first!). It took the state troopers over an hour to get there to do an accident report, Jake came down to wait with me and we called AAA and had the tow truck there to move my car and then went out for a beer and pizza. I had dropped rental coverage from my insurance since I worked at home, but luckily we have two friends who offered use of their extra vehicles so I'm covered there. Maybe this is a new leaf for me to not get so stressed out and worked up over things, so I'm trying to stay positive. And I don't know if it was St Christopher or my Guardian Angel or something else that has made sure I've made it through these accidents unharmed, but THANKS to all of them for looking out for me :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Up for air. . ..

Sort of. . . .

Having to drive to a job and actually do the whole shower/hair/makeup routine. . . well that really puts a cramp in the day! New job is going as well as can be expected for day 5. Bit of a shift from having a manager who was very much a micromanager to a new boss who trusts me despite my short 5 days of tenure and throws me projects already!

I'm already behind on ABC-Along, and have resigned myself that I won't catch up until post-wedding. Check back later :)

Oh, yeah, that wedding thing. . .. 3 weeks from today! And because I'm crazy, I'm reworing the itinerary, which is adding just a wee bit of stress. At least my dress is finally finished and fitting properly. Score one for me :)

Knitting? What's that? The rest of my hectic-ness leaves little time for knitting. Which, of course, is slightly stressful as I still have to finish a second Wisp for the aforementioned wedding :) Knit-wise, I finally have a photo of my first official original design. Nothing fancy, just a rib, but I wanted a top down hat and in the depths of Ravelry, there was only ONE pattern tagged a top down hat. I'm considering writing it up, what 'cha think?

(why yes, yes I am bitter Jake has such long eyelashes)

The increase pattern is pretty, though, no?

So that's all I've got. . . . I can't promise much by way of posting until things settle down a bit, though :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No, really, don't be Sorry!

Today was my last day at the first 'real' job I ever had - you know, the kind you 'resign' from and don't quit :) It was the job I accepted coming out of college that made everyone so proud of me. (My starting salary was more than my mom made.) It feels kind of weird. My office phone is disconnected, my computer is boxed up waiting for the UPS man to pick it up and deliver it back to my boss. The weirdest thing, EVERYONE (and their brother) assumes I lost my job. I had to call to cancel a lot of services. . . I say 'I need to cancel, I'm leaving my job today' and I get a 'Oh, I'm so sorry'. I'm tired of telling people 'Nothing to be sorry about, I quit - I have a new job!' Not sure why I feel the need to tell random customer service people this, but I do!

So now, I have 4 days off. I start the new job Tuesday. My plan is to close anything open for the wedding in my couple days off. That mostly includes choosing the wines we'll be tasting, and selecting the appetizers and desserts for dinner. And hopefully, having a FINAL dress fitting. You are only supposed to have two fittings. . . an initial and a final. I went for my 'final' and the dress was ALL effed up! The hem was like 2 inches short, the straps gouged my arm pits. . . it was bad news. The seamstress ripped out her work (thank GOD she didn't cut any fabric off yet!) and repinned things and I went back yesterday for another 'final' fitting. The hem was corrected, but the bodice is still not quite right, so the seamstress ripped again and I'm going back Monday. I really hope it's right, because (a) the wedding is barely 4 weeks away and (b) the seamstress works only 10-5 M-Th and with the new job, I'm not sure how much 'I need to leave' I want to do in my first few weeks :) The dress is awesome now that it's fitting better, though. I love it! If you want to see, you can check it out on my flickr here.

I swear, there is knitting, but I've been wrapped up cleaning up things with the old job and my bachelorette party last weekend that blogging just isn't making it to the top of the list!

Hope you all are well!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prize Disclosure :)

OK, it's a terrible photo, because it's COLD outside today and I wasn't about to take outdoor photos :) These are the prizes I decided on for my contest winners. I won't tell you what is going where, though!
SOMEONE is getting a Cookie A pattern and sock yarn. SOMEONE else is getting some super-soft merino and a Ysolda Teague pattern and the OTHER someone is getting a bag of Debbie Bliss yarn! I hope everyone enjoys! The two of you who get patterns, I have the PDFs for you, so let me know when you get your packages!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Three Winners!

So I had the trusty electrons at select 3 winners this morning.

Drumroll. . . . . . . . . .

#9 - Valerie

#12 - Kate

#20 - Desiree

Congratulations winners! I know who you all are on Ravelry, so I'm going to spend tonite figuring out what I think you all would like.

Valerie - I'll see you in person & Kate, I have your address, so Desiree I'll email you to get yours.

Thanks to everyone for playing! I think I'll post pictures of what I decide to send, but not tell you who gets what :)