Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cleverness Via Holiday

“What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy.
"I shall lie abed and do nothing", replied Meg.” --Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
It's been so nice to be on holiday. I've been away from work more than normal this year for family emergencies, and while it's nice to see your family in those situations, this is the first true holiday we've actually had since a short break in California in January. And while we're still doing a lot of visiting and catching up with family and friends, it's been a very, very good brain break for me.

We've been in Belfast since last Sunday, and so far, it's been a lovely visit with the hubby's mum. It took me a couple of days longer to get over my jet lag this time, but even as I lay awake in the middle of the night trying to convince my brain that it really was night time, it felt good to know that I had nowhere to be in the morning anyway.

I have a very bad habit of hurtling towards my vacations in a mad rush of things to do and things to deal with at work, until I come crashing home, where I throw whatever is on my briefly written packing list into a suitcase, and then jump into the car for the airport. I managed to pack a swimsuit, a party dress, two pairs of heels, my gym clothes, and a couple of sets of everyday jeans and tshirts. No pyjamas. Tons of underwear. Two knitting projects. Barely managed to remember my toothbrush. But I had a passport, a ticket, and my credit cards, so it was not a bad job in the end, really. And it gave me an excuse to go shopping for some pyjamas, even if it was at Primark (the exchange rate is crap for me, ok?).

My most favourite thing to do on holiday is to get up and have a warm drink and sit on the couch with nowhere to be and no one to answer to. Cindy-cat joined me this morning. She hates getting her photos taken, but seemed to tolerate my presence while she did her Sunday morning crosswords:

Morrisey, the neighbour's cat, makes his ghostly appearance at the kitchen door each morning, hoping to mooch a bit of food while we're not looking. He hasn't managed it yet since we've been here, but persistence can be rewarding:

The weather has been decidedly... Irish, shall we say? I lived in Belfast for six years with the hubby, and I can't remember the summer being THIS wet and cool. Apparently it has been a cold, wet summer, even for Northern Ireland. We had a nice day yesterday, though, and went out for a walk in Botanic Gardens, where the flower beds are just finishing up for the year:

It's also been nice to get a break to really daydream about my projects. I walked past this sweater in the window of a souvenir shop in town the other day, then turned back to go and look at it again. It's quite a clever design, with an assymetric front and two shades of grey that highlight the lines. I was half-tempted to go in and buy it for myself, but my knitter's guilt and crappy exchange rate prevented me from pulling out the credit card.

And my own projects... well, they're sort of moving along, albeit slowly and gingerly. I was halfway through the second side of my top, when I realized that if been working the decreases wrong. The two, neat rectangles that I was trying to make are actually two floppy kite shapes, which explains why the first side wouldn't block properly for me. I made this realization mid-stitch one day... I froze still as my mistake dawned on me, kind of like when you realize a bird just pooped on your head. I lifted each piece up and looked carefully at the dimensions, and then I shrugged and kept knitting. What more could I do? I had already sewn the ends into the first side, and there was no way I was going to rip all of that out and start again.

I finished the second side the other day, and spent all morning trying  to put it together yesterday, but I think that might be easier to do when I'm at home with all my tools near me. This one is going to be a heck of a hack, I think.

In the meantime, I dove into my second knitting project to keep me going, which is going to be a wrap of some sort, I think. I'm using a beautiful hand-dyed skein of alpaca that I bought on a trip to L.A. a few years ago that has been begging to be made into something. I'm struggling a bit with it, because I forgot how fuzzy alpaca yarn can be, which means that anything remotely intricate is out of the question. The subtle shades of brown, red, and green in the dye job deserve a simpler pattern anyway. It's interesting how the yarn tells you what it was made to be, even when you're trying to force it to be something else.

We could take a lesson from yarn sometimes, couldn't we?

Anyway, we're here until Wednesday morning, and then we'll fly to Stockholm, Sweden for a break on our own, and also to visit with a friend of mine who lives there. I may have mapped out a few yarn shops in the vicinity. Who was it that said that souvenir yarn doesn't count as yarn stash? A wise person, I'm sure... someone with the name E. Nabler or something like that.

Oooo, I'm so clever when I'm rested, aren't I? Wait'll you see how clever I am by the end of my second week off. I bet you'll be amazed...

Ahem, I'll shut up now and get a cup of coffee...

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