[travel] Kamloops to Banff

Well, last week a cold that had been going around caught up to me and I spent two days in bed. I am very thankful to have not gotten sick during the Canada trip.

Our 2nd day on the train was also the last day. You may think 2 days on a train isn't that long but they were looooong days. The train car was roomy, you could get up whenever you wanted and go out to the viewing platform but still. It was a long day when we rolled into Banff.

From Kamloops, we left the dry hills and finally reached the Rockies in the late afternoon.





It was dark by the time we rolled into the Banff station, after a stop at Lake Louise to unload several passengers. We all fell into bed exhausted.


[travel] Vancouver to Kamloops

On Tuesday we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer for the first day of travel. It was an extra-special journey called the Train of Heroes with a special welcome ceremony for organ donors and recipients. The train was longer than normal- two engines and more than 20 cars. The train was going to split into two shorter lengths at Kamloops overnight, with half the group going up to Jasper and the other half (our half) going on to Banff the next day.

Our car was awesome- so spacious and since the car wasn't full, my mom, sister and I were able to have a whole row each. We had three hosts in our car that kept us fed, watered and informed on each area we went through.

Leaving Vancouver, the Frasier Valley was very fertile and great for agriculture:


So, all those white UFOs in some of my pictures are a reflection of the overhead lights inside the train car. There was no way to really avoid them when taking pictures inside the car. There was an opening between the cars when you could go for better pictures.

Heading east-north-east through the Cascade Range:



A view of the inside of our car:


As we approached Kamloops, the terrain started to get a bit drier. We would often see other freight trains on the other side of rivers or we'd have to pull over and wait for other trains that used the same tracks as us to pass by. It's kind of scary to think of two trains on the same track, heading straight for one another (especially if you're riding inside one of those trains) but scheduling/timing seemed to work out well. I think the longest we had to wait, completely stopped, was 30 - 40 minutes.



Looking back on our looooooong train:


We arrived at Kamloops Lake as the sun was starting to set:


It was a long day on the train but enjoyable and the time passed quickly. 


[travel] Vancouver

Last week I went on vacation with my mom and sister to western Canada. The trip started in Vancouver and we took a train eastward to Banff. From there, we had a few excursions via coach and finally ended in Calgary.

The first full day in Vancouver, we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge:



I have to say, I was pretty relieved when I saw how nice and wide and sturdy the bridge was. It was still wiggly, for sure, but I was expecting something like this or even this

The only downside was that it was pretty busy. You had to march across the bridge and not stop for fear of holding the line up.

There was a lot to explore in the park other than just the bridge. 


There were lots of bridges and paths up in the trees:


Overall, this place looked a lot like Endor:


It was just missing Ewoks.

More pictures to come the rest of the week.


[misc] Rocky Rabbit

We have a new house guest, Rocky:

House guest for a little while. The cats haven't been introduced yet.

Not sure how long he's going to be staying with us. He came from a multi-cat house, so while he's used to being with cats our cats are not thrilled. Santana doesn't really want to be in the same room with him. Murderface watches from a distance, scowling and hissing. Penny is curious:

Penny meets Rocky

He doesn't like the wood floors because it's slippery. I got a few rugs to put down, so he could roam a bit more:


He's cool. Maybe a little standoffish but he's still getting used to the place. He started exploring the living room more last night, so I think I might have to start rabbit-proofing things like baskets and wires.


[knitting] Aphasia

Finished a green beaded shawl:


Pattern: Aphasia (rav link)

Yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham, 4 skeins

Needles: US 4

Extra: beads


I made the shawl size. I think I would have preferred this to be slightly narrower and longer. Rather than initially working the set-up chart 8 times before the beaded section, cast on only enough stitched to work the set-up chart 6 times. 

The beads were easy to add with a tiny-headed crochet hook. And it kept this project from being boring.


Working on finishing up a couple hats now. Trying to stockpile new accessories to wear this winter.


[vermont] Rock of Ages

Saturday we made a day trip to visit the Rock of Ages quarry in Barre, VT.

Rock of Ages

We timed it well so that we arrived at the visitor center 5 minutes before the tour was leaving. We got onto a school bus with about a dozen other people. We took a bumpy ride up to  one of the quarries and a viewing ledge.

The tour guide was really informative and it was really interesting seeing how the granite is mined from the quarry. 

Rock of Ages

Since we were there during the weekend, no one was working but all the tools and machines were pointed out and their functions described. It might seem like a boring thing to go see but it was really cool. Highly recommend if you're in the area. 

After to tour, we went down into Barre for lunch at the Cornerstone Pub and Kitchen. This place has a great beer selection, including Header Topper in cans.

[crafts] Eucalyptus Wreath

Last summer I ripped down a patch of vines, stripped the leaves and wound them into a wreath. I used to do this all the time when I was a kid and it was nice to do again. Over the past year, the woody wreath has hung in the garage, drying. I took it down this weekend and stuck in some colored eucalyptus branches that I picked up at the craft store:


I bought one bunch of orange eucalyptus, which was the foundation inserted around first. The other bunch was green/purple/magenta. I used a just few pieces of these colors as accents (I even even have a little leftover for a future project).

The wreath is huge but it makes a nice statement on the front door. And it smells great. I would have loved to hang it on the front entryway but Penny was far too interested in the smell and I'm worried that the cats would end up eating some of it. Murderface in the past, after throwing up, has eaten some of a plastic plant that I had to settle his tummy. Then he threw that up. So I can't have anything in the house that even resembles a plant. 


[misc] Vet x 3

Penny had a surprise trip to the vet Wednesday evening:

Took Penny to the vet last night for her wonky eye. She's okay, just pink eye.

Pink eye, again. We had terramycin ointment to apply twice a day but I think it's taking longer to heal than with the ointment we've had in the past. Penny rubs her eye after we apply this stuff and I feel like she's rubbing it all off. She didn't do that with the previous stuff.

The next day Murderface went:

Murderface at the vet today for annual exam and shots. And guess who goes tomorrow?

He was a perfect angel, as always.

Then Santana Friday morning:

Santana puts in her appearance at the vet. 3 cats in 3 days.

That's her face listening to a howling cat in the back lab area. I gotta say, I wouldn't like visiting the hospital if all I heard was screaming people behind closed doors. Santana's healthy, she's just getting old. We got a few dasuquin pills to add to her food to see if it helps with her joints- she's starting to have trouble jumping.

Three vet visits in three days. 


[misc] Murderface Wednesday


Murderface and Santana have vet appts tomorrow and Friday. Nothing alarming, just an annual visit for an exam and shots. Penny's starting to go all squinty in one eye so she may have pink eye again. I'll asked for more ointment, which I hope they'll give me without needing to bring her in. 


[vermont] Deer in the back yard

Two deer in the back yard

Not sure when a fawn stops being a fawn, but the little one still has spots:

Little one still has spots

I don't mind the deer as much as the woodchucks. I walked around the corner of the house yesterday and startled a huge woodchuck. The stupid thing went loping from a bush, across my path, down a bank. It was so close I could have kicked it as it ran by at 0.00004 miles an hour. Instead, I stomped after it, shouting, "Git out o' here yousonofabitch!!" Wow, so threatening, much terror. I'm sure it was laughing at me as it waddled back into it's rock wall. Siiiigh.


[misc] Festival of Fireworks

This past weekend we went down to Cheshire Fairgrounds for the Atlas Pyro's Festival of Fireworks. The grounds opened at 3pm but we didn't arrive until 5pm. The show began at 9 pm, with live bands and some skydivers providing entertainment in between.

The fireworks were spec. tac. u. lar. First was a short pyro display to the star spangled banner. Then the main Rock show.

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Pictures don't do it justice. Here are videos:

It was a great show- 30 minutes and it went by quite fast. The fireworks were SO HUGE. They filled up the entire sky. Greatest fireworks display I've ever seen in my life.

This is the first year that the show is being held at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, NH. A couple things we didn't really like:

A. No alcohol. I'm sure they want to cut down on drunk drivers but since I was the designated driver, I know Dollar would have liked to have some beer since we had FOUR HOURS to kill from the time we got there to the time the show started. They said there's a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol, but people brought coolers and we saw some majorly wasted people when we were trying to leave. Which brings me to-

B. Trying to leave. This was so epically screwed up. The cars are parked side-by-side, nose-to-rear. So it is literally impossible to leave when you want. You have to wait for everyone to get back to their car (or at least all the cars directly in front of you) before you can even move. Which made me wonder- what happens if you had an emergency and wanted to leave early? Too bad. What happens if the person in front of you never comes back to their car? Too bad. Plus, it took an hour for any of the event people to come and start directing cars. We all just sat there in our cars, locked in, for an hour. It was seriously so f'ed up. I asked Dollar if he wanted to come back in October for Kaboomfest and the parking situation was bad enough to put us on the fence. Maybe they'll have a better system by then? Maybe we can find somewhere else to park? 

I'd like to see another show now that I know what to expect. I brought a picnic blanket for us to sit on but the real way to go is camping chairs. Oh man, this one couple in front of us had these awesome hammock chairs that reclined and they brought pillows/blankets. They looked so comfy cosy. THAT is the way to see the show. Bring a little folding table and some cards to play while you kill time. And a cooler with drinks/snacks.


[misc] Penny Friday

Double-dose of Penny this week because I have no new crafty stuff to show.

Penny enjoys a blanket straight from the dryer.

I just got a bottle cutter in the mail, so I'm exited to try turning some beer bottles into drinking glasses. Still slogging along on the beaded shawl. Thinking ahead to the VT Sheep and Wool Festival, they're going to showcase handmade items for hands, so I'm brainstorming a project for that. 


[gardening] Sunflower

I winter sowed some red salvia this spring and one of the seedlings did exceptionally well. It was huge. I planted all the salvia in a semi-circle in the back yard, just below the deck. This one large plant just kept getting larger and larger. It became apparent that it wasn't like the others but was it a weed? I had no idea so I just let it grow. This past week it finally revealed itself to be:

Mystery plant finally revealed itself- it's a #sunflower! No idea how it got there but I'm glad I let it grow all summer.

A sunflower. WTF. How did that get into the same milk jug as the salvia? Who knows but I'm glad I let it grow. 


[cross-stitching] Snoop D - O - double G

Finished the mystery Steotchalong over the weekend:

Late to the finish line but I finally completed this year's #steotchalong. #crossstitch #funkyassshit

A couple minor errors here and there but overall, it came out well. You can't even tell Snoopy's body is all white stitches, but it is. Lots and lots and lots of white stitches. I wish I had chosen a darker aida cloth.

I like it. It's a good reminder to keep coming up with funky ass shit. Like, every single day.


[crochet] Doily #31

The last of the small crochet doilies:

Doily #31

After I completed the 8-petaled flower in the center, I could have stopped there for a pretty coaster. And that's only something like 4 or five rounds. I may do that to use up very small amounts of yarn.

After these doilies, I was ready to move on to something larger. I'm about halfway through a dark green beaded shawl. Annnnnd, I think I'll be ready to go back to smaller projects after this large one is over :)


[crochet] Doily #10

Last of the red doilies I made- and this is the smallest. It's coaster-sized:

Doily #10


[crochet] Doily #83

Another small doily in red:

Doily #83

This is my favorite. I love scalloped edges to doilies like this. 


[misc] Pinstrosity

Thanks so much to Pinstrosity for posting my Pin-win: Gold Toy Lamp! It was a fun project and I'll definitely be making more. 

[crochet] Doily #85

I picked up 99 Little Doilies some years ago and I've even made a couple. Recently I wanted some small, easy and fast projects to work on and these doilies are just the thing. This is pattern #85 from the book:

Doily #85

Yarn: Aunt Lidia's Crochet Thread, size 3.

I like this doily in non-traditional red rather than white. Project is easy to complete in a day or over a couple nights of tv-watching.


[misc] Penny Monday

Penny watches a hummingbird at the feeder:

Penny watching hummingbird

I can't tell if having a feeder so close to the window is entertaining or torture for the cats.

Had a craft weekend, finally. Blocked the small doilies I've been crocheting. Started a new knitting project- gasp! With beads and everything! And I started in on the final text portion of a mystery cross-stitch-along. 


[gardening] Hostas

The largest, fullest hostas I have are getting ready to bloom soon:

Large Hosta

I haven't posted any knitting/crochet here in ages. Once spring sprung, I spent nearly all my free time outside- weeding, planting, watering, weeding... more weeding. The plants are mostly under control and I've entered into "Meh, just let the perennials do their thing" mentality of gardening. 

This past week I've been crocheting doilies in the evenings and have a few to share after they've been washed/blocked this weekend. Nothing like small, instant-gratification projects to get back into the swing of things.