I went to Chicago and all I got was...

sick, and some ribbon.

So, I visited my sister in Chicago for the weekend and it was a lot of fun. I took the train from Jackson, Michigan Friday night, which was an hour late when it picked me up, then eventually became two hours late getting into the city because of other trains being in our way.

Saturday we went shopping and walked around town. We went to a cute little shop in Bucktown called Soutache. It was a little store with a whole wall of ribbons, a wall of buttons and a some other findings and metal clasps and things to make dog collars and key chains and stuff. I bought one yard of this pretty ribbon and a fob attachment to make a key chain. Shannon bought some cute used clothing at an upscale "value world" type place. And I did my big sister job of not letting her spend $250+ on a pair of shoes. Actually, my job was to not let her spend more than $250 over the whole weekend. We had a nice lunch at Silver Cloud and then went home for a rest. Then we hopped onto the El and headed toward downtown with the eventual destination of The Cheesecake Factory. We stopped at a dissappointing "chicago fabric yarn and button" or something or other store that had bolts and bolts of UGLY fabric. Stopped at the BEAN; My sister said we HAD to go see the BEAN and I didn't know what she was talking about and it sure didn't sound too exciting. But it was SO cool.

We did make it to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We did not order dinner. We each had a coffee drink and a piece of cheesecake for our early dinner. Shannon had Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake and I had the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake. If you know anything about me, this should sound weird to you. I am a chocoholic. I didn't order the full on chocolate overload cheesecake because I also ordered a Mocha to drink, which has chocolate in it. I thought it might be too much. I was wrong. I could have handled more chocolate. But I had enough of Shannon's to get my fix and neither of us finished our huge slices.

Sunday we started out early and went to breakfast at the Hollywood Cafe or something. I forget what it was called exactly. Then we took the EL for a while and walked for quite a while to get to the little neighborhood where our Great Grandma grew up. We had an address off of an old postcard, so Shannon mapquested it and we found our way to the house. It was kind of dissappointing to walk what was probably a mile or two from the EL stop to find a house that looks like it was built in the last decade. This is the house, about 20 feet from the railroad tracks. This is significant because Great Grandma had a little sister named Leora. When Leora was 4, she and a friend were walking to the store and had to cross the tracks. The girls walked between the cars of a parked train and stepped out on the other side onto the second set of tracks, just as another train came. Leora was killed. So it was very eery to see how close the house was to the tracks.

One redeeming point during our long walk to the house was this:

We were walking up a city street in a not so wonderful neighborhood very near the freeway when shannon stops and points across the street to this chicken, just mosey-ing on down the sidewalk. It was hilarious.

After we looked at the house we were tired of walking and I was not feeling very good. I had woken up with a migraine and I don't think breakfast was agreeing with me, so we figured out the shortest distance to a bus stop. Our next stop would be "Midwest Discount Yarn". The online description said they had mill ends and discontinued yarns at discounted prices. This place was pretty far away, but it sounded worth it. So we took two busses to find it. Closed. Closed on Sunday. of course. SO we got back on the bus headed for a yarn store that Shannon knew was open and was worth the trip. We were on the second bus when I started to feel a little queasy. I took a couple deep breaths and started worrying about this busload of people who might all get to see me puke soon. I told Shannon I didn't feel good and we got off the bus. I just needed some water and I started to feel better, but wasn't ready to get back on a bus yet. We walked a couple blocks along the bus route so we could just hop on when I was ready. We finally made it home with no puking in public. But without any yarn either. Yes... I felt that bad that I gave up a trip to a new yarn shop.

We had to leave Shannon's apartment at 5:30 to make it to Union Station so I could catch my train home. We got to Union Station at 6:19 or so and strolled toward the monitor to see what gate I should wait at. It wasn't on the monitor. So we found an amtrack employee and asked what gate the detroit train should be leaving from, he told us and we went in that direction, but the people at that gate were not even going to Michigan. I was starting to get nervous because the train was supposed to leave at 6:30. I saw another amtrack employee and whipped out my ticket and just said, "where am I supposed to be?" She said, "that train's already gone. It left at 6:00" as she pointed to the ticket where it says "6:00pm". "IT"S GONE" I mouthed to Shannon across the room. She looked puzzled. I got over to her and showed her the 6:00 on my ticket and we both said F***!. but then Shannon exclaimed, "you get to stay another night!!!" Which would have been great and awesome if I still didn't feel like crap with my stupid migraine. So we exchanged my ticket for the first train out in the morning and of course double and triple checked the time with the ticket lady. When we got outside Shannon stopped for a smoke and said I should call Ryan to tell him he doesn't have to pick me up tonight in Jackson. I just looked at her and started BALLING. I lost it. I was sick and when you're sick you just want to be at home. And honestly after only two days away, I missed Ryan and Bella and was excited about him picking me up at the train station. (Of course it's always more romantic in your head). It ended up being a good thing that I didn't take the train Sunday night. It would have been a long miserable ride with the migraine I had. Especially if I didn't get a seat to myself so I could stretch out.

So, that was my trip to Chicago where all I got was a neat piece of ribbon.


few and far between

I just thought I'd stop by my own blog and drop a line. Once every two months seems to be my limit on posting. Not that there isn't "blog worthy" stuff going on around here. I've been sock knitting like crazy. I'm just stuck in a sock rut, and every sock I've worked on, including starting new ones have all been my old stand-by, not toe-up. I was just not in the mood to learn something new I guess.

I've been working on this sock for quite a while. I think I cast on last summer after we moved into the house. I'm getting pretty far on these, despite the needles being stolen and eaten right out of the stitches back in January. Luckily Bella was only interested in the bamboo, not the yarn. Maybe she doesn't like wool... I think in this case that is a good thing.

I have one more 16-row lace repeat to do before I start the toe. This is only sock 1 of the pair. hmmmm that kind of makes me want to go finish it right now.

So after my last pair was finished I cast on this sock. I think the yarn is Trekking, it came from my grandma's stash without a ball band. It seemed like it was a little smaller guage than usual sock yarn, so I was using size 0 needles. I was going along and after 6 inches of 2x2 ribbing and the heel flap and turn heel and even a few gusset decreases, I tried it on.... way too small. So, I stared at it for a couple days, then finally pulled the needles out of it. and there it sits. I'll eventually re-wind the ball and RRRRRRip the sock, but I just can't do it yet.

So after that, I started on my favorite yarn from my stash. My Trekking. I just love these colors. These are for me. I just finished the gussett decreases last night and heading toward the toe on sock one.

And of course I am still working on this pink silk/wool tank top from the cover of Interweave Knits (don't know what issue, magazine is upstairs and I'm lazy). Last time I worked on it, I had an extra stitch in the last row and just did a k2tog with the two stitches before the marker. So now I'm discouraged and think it will mess up the alignment in the lace.

I have not even started working yet today. I have the rest of today, most of tomorrow and all Monday to do almost 20 hours of work. I should be getting it done today and saving myself the stress of finishing 12 hours of work on Monday, but, that's how I do things I guess. Procrastination. Instead of working I have been ADD cleaning, packing, unpacking, doing laundry and snuggling with Bella. Oh, and washed a sink full of dishes. Which included a whole lotta stuff that we got yesterday at IKEA. It was the first time either of us had been there and we (well, I) went nuts; throwing things in the cart left and right. It was all a birthday present to myself. I told Ryan, in lieu of a birthday present this year, I just wanted us to spend a day together and go to IKEA and do some other fun stuff. So that's what we did yesterday.

Then we went to my parents' house for dinner (Seafood quiche, salad and yummy homemade bread), presents and cake. No singing. We don't sing. Except for my sister Shannon, I got a quite lovely saranade over the phone of an off key, out of tune, exuberant Happy Birthday song from Shannon. And since Shannon couldn't come here on a wednesday for my birthday, I am going to take the train tomorrow night to Chicago to see her and spend the weekend. I am SOOOOOOO excited. and kinda nervous. I've never ridden the train alone before. So I have to pack up a big bag of knitting and stuff to keep me busy for at least 4 hours. I am really excited about having 4 hours of knitting time though.

Here's some other stuff I got for my birthday from my parents.

I also got a 10 piece set of CALPHALON pans. Yeah. They are AWESOME. They are all washed and ready to use. I just want to go upstairs and cook a HUGE meal.

And of course, here's another picture of Bella. She has a little raw spot on the top of her nose from burying bones and treats in the couch cushions and in the bed. It's so cute how she pretends there is dirt there to cover the bone up with.

Ok, I think I have gotten all the non-work stuff out of my system. Now I need to get a start on this week's load of work.

Next post (hopefully some time before June) will have some Quilting/sewing content.