Homeward Bound

This is a photo of Gare du Nord, where the ‘grand lignes’ depart. We are now sitting again on the Thalys heading home, already in NL.

I WILL have real Paris photos to show you later this week. I’d like to say it was a fabulous trip, but I spent most of it sick and all day Friday in bed. We thought it was food poisoning from Thursday night’s dinner of sushi (based on the projectile way I got rid of it at both ends) but this morning DB started with a lighter version himself.

All this illness really limited what we did and saw and certainly wasn’t good for the spirits. Luckily we can both laugh at poop and puke jokes.

Having said that, we will both be happy to be home near own toilet.

I’ll be back soon with the happier side of the weekend to tell you about and show in photos.

Sunday in the Dunes

Here’s the photo of my turn-around-point during today’s run.  It was a new route through the dunes, all sandy trails with lots of hills.  It was a tough run!  I only managed 7.6km when I had aimed for 8km.  Running through the dunes can be disorienting (for me anyway) and I was afraid of getting lost.  I only saw 2 other people during my time in the dunes.  There were a lot of forks in the trail, without signs, so I kept taking the left fork which would make it easy to get back.  Then I came to THIS fork in the road which looked like I should take the RIGHT fork.  That was just too much for my non-navigating brain to deal with comfortably.  It was only 1/2 km from my expected turn around, so I just cut it short and came back.  What’s a 1/2 km among friends?

Part of this trail was thick sand, and heading uphill.  Ugh!  Part of it had downed trees:

It was sunny above the trees, but mostly I was shaded and protected from wind.

My legs were still suffering from the 10k the week before.  I felt better than I did during my Wednesday or Friday runs (each one 4km) but still, I wasn’t running on fresh legs at all.

I had a ton of gear with me.  Good grief.  I start to feel like a running tech support person rather than just a runner.  I had my Garmin 305, my iPhone, my little camera, AND my Nike+ sportband.  Oh yeah, and a small water bottle.  Why the Nike+ thing?  Well, there’s a new challenge going on at work between the men and the women.  The women runners were looking for more of us to join in the challenge, which only runs through August.  I already had the gear so I said I’d do it.  What’s one more sensor?  I still find it amazing that this little thing on my wrist is communicating with satellites circling the earth and keeping track of my every move.  Creepy really.

Part of my route today took me past this old ruin of a castle.  It was originally built in the 13th century.  It’s called the Ruïne van Brederode and it is in Santpoort Noord.  The only info I can find online is in Dutch, so if you are interested, just Google it and see what you can find.  It was cool to just stumble on it.  You never know what you’ll find when you are running.

When I got home my electronic challenges really began.  For some reason neither of my gadgets wanted to sync their information on the computer.  I spent 2 hours to finally get everything loaded.  This is NOT the idea!  I want to enjoy RUNNING not all this other nonsense.  Sigh.  We are slaves to our devices.  Or at least I am.

Next week we’ll be in Paris for 4 days so I’ll have to find a running route for 2 days.  THAT will be interesting!  Stay tuned for PARIS running photos!

A Whole Lotta Swatchin’ Goin’ On

I had the luxury of time to myself Saturday to do just what I wanted, and so I swatched.  Having just finished a sweater, and still working on a 2nd sock, I’m looking around for the next big thing.

I started a baby hat that I’m test knitting for Andy.  It’s his original pattern.  I got about 12 rows done and then stopped.  It will make a perfect train project for the trip to Paris next week.

Then I made a test swatch with the black cotton that I won at N.’s house a few weeks ago.  Oh man I really love how it came out!  I have a sweater idea all in my head for this.  It’s going to be GREAT!

Last but not least, I tried out the Noro stainless steel and silk thread.  Oh man, this is some weird stuff.  It is really hard to work with and took some time to get used to just normal knitting stitches, much less lace!  It’s about the size of a spider web.  This swatch was made on size 5 needles.  What I WANT to make with it is Muir, and I really will give it a try, but I reserve the right to change my mind entirely and make something else.

What is really obvious to me after this little bit of knitting is that I have to buy some size 5 lace needles.  Even these pointy KnitPicks needles aren’t pointy enough.

I want to have this shawl done for M.’s wedding in October, so given the difficulty of working with this stuff, here’s my game plan:  make the baby hat in Paris; finish the sock in the next few weeks; in the meantime order some lace needles; then immediately start Muir.  I just hope that I don’t absolutely hate making it.  I think the end result will be amazing.

And the black lace?  It will just have to wait.

Geslaagd!

Geslaagd!
Geslaagd!

In the Netherlands, when a student has passed his/her exams and has graduated from whatever level of schooling they were in, they hang their school bags out the top floor window as a sign that they are geslaagd, or graduated or passed their exams.  Don’t try to pronounce the word.  It sounds like throat clearing on the first and last syllables and a long nasal aaaa in between.

You know its June when you start seeing these bags hanging out of windows all over town.

FO Alert: Primrose Path

Primrose Path is finished!  Yesterday I had the day off and besides doing chores around the house, I sewed on the sleeves and wove in the end and steamed my new sweater.  I really love it.  It fits perfectly I think.

I started it on Queen’s Day and finished it 6 weeks later.  Not bad considering that I was also working on other stuff now and then.  But then, it’s not a race, is it?

Here some other photos DB was nice enough to take tonight when I got home from work.  Of course I had to wear it to work today!

I also wore it last night (finished JUST in time) to our SnB night out at the movies.  We went to see Coraline.  What a well made, beautiful movie, but not one for small children!  It’s too scary for them I think.  Imagine Tim Burton doing fairy tales.  I highly recommend the movie to anyone who likes the art of movie making, crafts, or just plain likes a nice story.  We all gave it a thumbs up.

KIKA Run!

Yesterday I ran the 10 km KIKA run and boy am I happy!  Do a happy dance with me!

I ran it in 1:03:54!!!  I was hoping to finish in 1:10 so doing it 6 minutes faster is HUGE.  I could have done even a little better except that the first 10 minutes of the race was so jam packed with runners that you couldn’t run your own pace at all.  It was a traffic jam on the narrow walking path.

Here’s a map of the course (the blue line).  It was in the Spaarnwoude park, just 10 minutes drive from my house:

It was a beautiful day and almost too warm for me and running.  I was really thankful for the 2 water stands where most of the water from the cup went onto the top of my head to cool me off.

The run is a fund raiser for children’s cancer research.  I got some sponsors to raise some cash for the cause.  In total yesterday they raised 140,856 euros!  There were 2,800 runners.

DB came along to act as cheerleader, photographer, and pack mule for I., G. and I.  Here are some photos from the day:

 

Is it me?
Is it me?

 

The Scene
The Scene

 

KIKA mascot and kids
KIKA mascot and kids

 

Inges finish
Inge's finish

 

Proof That I Did It!
Proof That I Did It!

 

Georgettes finish
Georgette's finish

Next up:  Dam to Dam (16 km)!!

KIPping in Amsterdam

Yesterday was WWKIPD, or, if you didn’t know, World Wide Knit in Public Day.  Our little intrepid band of Monday night knitters organized a picnic/BBQ in the Westerpark in Amsterdam.  There were people there that I didn’t know at all, and some I’d only met before online, plus the usual suspects from our Stitch ‘n Bitch group, PLUS a couple of my colleagues came!   It’s always so interesting to see colleagues in their native habitat.

What a great day it was!  Andy, of course, beat me to punch and posted all my favorite photos (MY photos too, you thief! :-)) so you’ll just have to put up with seeing them again here.

Luckily the weather cooperated.  I actually came home sunburned on my shoulders and neck and I really tried to sit in the shade most of the day.  I also came home with really sore hips and knees from sitting indian style ALL DAY.  Ugh!  I’m too old for that!  N. was smart and brought her own chair, while Marjan just moved around a lot to be comfortable:

 

Marjan and Nancy
Marjan and Nancy

Several people were learning to drop spin from Chris.  It looked really hard.  

We tried to help my Colleague, D. relearn knitting, but she’s left handed and the only one who could seem to wrap their head around that and actually help her was Malia.  Here’s Andy, trying to help.  They are both from Texas.  They nodded at each other knowingly when talking about certain neighborhoods they both knew.  It’s really a small world.

I finally got a look at C.’s amazing Sea Tangles sweater.  She started out making it with the stainless steel/silk yarn that the pattern calls for, but had so much trouble with it that she ended up adding an extra thread of silk to it.  It’s really beautiful.

Dagmar and Malia had a drawing and gave away Penelope Craft “door” prizes.  

 

Dagmar & Malia
Dagmar & Malia

I think that at the high point there were 20 people there.  I thought there might be more, but this was kind of the perfect number.  Here’s the group in the morning, the early arrivers:

And we had more food than we could all eat.  It was a perfect day and we all want to do it again this summer – maybe in August.  I think we’ll have to be kind of spur of the moment to catch a day with good weather.

Oh, by the way, we have a new Group on Ravelry for our Amsterdam Central Stitch ‘n Bitch group.  The link is here.

Birthday Dinner

Yes, last Thursday was my birthday.  It wasn’t such a big day since I had to work.  Working on your birthday should be illegal.  There should be a national holiday every day for each person’s birthday.

The one thing that WAS really special was our dinner that night.  DB found a very nice restaurant, called ML.  What lovely food we had!  I was a little sad that I didn’t have my camera with me so I could take pictures of it.  We had the 4 course set menu with wine arrangement.  We had a different glass of wine with every course.  Most of it was fish or shellfish, but the last was beef.  No, the VERY last was dessert of course.  The most surprising thing we ate was the dessert amuse which was a small glass with pineapple mousse on the bottom, then a layer of creamy something, then a layer of drop (licorice) foam!  I loved it.

If you are in Haarlem with some cash to spend on dinner, definitely go to ML.  And if you want to have a small wedding or special event, it would be perfect for that too.

Knitters are the BEST

Last Monday night our little SnB club had a special event at N. house.  I don’t have any photos myself, but C. took a load of photos, and posted about the event, here on her blog.  Really, go have a look.  We had SUCH a good time.  

We played the dice game, similar to what we did back in Jan (gosh, was it THAT long ago?) but since it was N.’s house, we played by her rules.  I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.  I came away with 10 balls of black cotton (typical crochet) thread/yarn and 6 skeins of undyed cotton (LOADs of yardage per skein) that Dutch kids used to learn to knit in schools many years ago.  I promise to take photos soon and post here.  The labels are nice and nostalgic.  

I’m just now catching up with this story (it’s Saturday morning) because it’s been a busy week.  I was supposed to have Friday off, but ended up working anyway, which totally threw off my schedule.  You see, today is KIP day and I’m leaving very shortly for Amsterdam with my knitting and food and wine.  We’re meeting in the Westerpark.  I will CERTAINLY have photos after today to share with you.  The weather is even cooperating today so all is going to plan!  There are people coming that I don’t even know, so this should be very interesting.

Anyway, sorry I have no photos, but I wanted to catch up here before I left it too long.  It’s a conundrum.  When I’m busy I therefore have a lot to blog about, but I also have very little time to actually blog!  Must do more live blogging on my iPhone…. tot morgen (til tomorrow)