Happy Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  DB and I spent the day with my mom, my aunt, my niece and her husband.  It was perfect!

M. and J. cooked everything except dessert.  They are real foodies and cooked a feast for us.  Thanks guys!  You’re hired again for next year!

J. put the bird on the BBQ after doing it up with a spicy rub.  I’d never had a BBQ’d turkey but I’m totally sold on it now.  It was delicious and tender.  Here’s a before and after, with the chef digging in with the carving knife.
turkey BBQ

carving the bird

M. made most of the side dishes, all by herself!  She’s been practicing all year for this event and I’d say it was time well spent.

Snackin' Mandy

These two brought all the food with them from Chico in a couple of big ice chests.  It’s a good thing they had the chests because there wasn’t enough room in the fridge for the leftovers and we ended up putting food back out in the chests outside the house!  It’s been so cold here that the food kept nice and cold outside.

My aunt, who lives down the street, also came for dinner so the six of us sat down to a feast of amazing food.  The photos just don’t do it justice.
dig in!


Thanksgiving dinner

For dessert we had pumpkin pie (made by yours truly) and a pecan pie from Jantz Cafe.  Oh! and before dinner we had a table full of snacks and beermosas to drink (1/2 orange juice, 1/2 light beer – it sounds nasty but try it, you’ll love it).  We watched the parade in the morning and football all day.

In other words, it was a perfect Thanksgiving and I’m soooooooooooo thankful for my family to share it with and thankful we could be here right now.

Franken-knee

As you may have noticed, I have not been blogging every day in November.  Oh, what optimism I had at the beginning of the month!  I was so silly.

At this moment I’m sitting in my mom’s living room while she is in the bedroom having her knee automatically moved back and forth by a machine.  We’re in California, where it’s the coldest November in memory and the rain is threatening to ruin crops.  We were hoping to leave Dutch weather behind but instead we brought it with us.

But back to the knee and my mom….  Mom had knee replacement surgery on 17 November.  She had no cartilage left and was trying to walk with bone-on-bone in her right leg.  She kept putting off having this done until I convinced her that our visit at Thanksgiving would be the perfect time for such an operation.  We would be here for 2 and a half weeks to be able to take care of her.  Boy are we both glad that DB and I are here!

She was in the hospital for 3 days and then, after showing she could walk 100 steps, she was allowed to come home.  We brought the leg machine with us.  Here’s a photo of it:
knee bending machine

The platform very slowly moves back and forth, up and down, from a flat and straight leg position, to this bent position.  We’ve been cranking up the angle every day with a goal of 90 degrees after a week.  She has to be in this machine 6 hours a day!  We break it up into 3 sessions of 2 hours each.  And then she has exercises to do, pills to take, a shot every morning…. it’s a full day of recovery work!

If you are not squeamish, here’s a photo of her Franken-knee.  Yes, those are staples.  They will come out on December 2nd.  Every day I clean it for her and wrap it back up in gauze.
Frankenknee

The first couple of days that she was home she couldn’t do much of anything for herself, but every day she’s able to do more.  It was a big relief to both of us when she could manage to get in and out of bed by herself.  She uses a walker and practices bending her knee while slowly making her way around the house.   There are physical therapists coming 3 times a week to work with her and to give her more exercises to do.

I’m really proud of her.  I know she’ll be up and walking without that walker in no time.

Muddy Shoes and Sore Muscles

running in mud

Today DB and our friend K. and I ran a 10km race in Amsterdam.  It’s the Stadionloop, which means Stadium run, and it starts and ends in the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium.  This is what our shoes looked like afterwards.

We ran south from the stadium along a small canal to the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam’s Woods).  We actually only ran straight ahead next to the Bosbaan (the straight long body of water used for rowing training and competitions) and then back.  It’s been raining lately and in fact rained this morning, so the path we ran on was full of puddles and soggy grass.  Thus, the shoes.

We were actually really lucky with the weather.  This morning is was raining but it stopped and didn’t rain on us at all during the race.  When we were leaving to come home it started to sprinkle again.

Unfortunately we had no warm up time before the race.  OK, we didn’t TAKE the time to warm up.  The gun went off and off we went.  And 30 seconds later I felt my right calf muscle seize up.  Damn.  Do I stop or carry on?  I continued to see if it would just warm up and work itself out.  It didn’t, but it didn’t get any worse either.  So on I ran.  In fact, I finished in 1 hour, ONE MINUTE, my fastest 10k ever.  I was hoping to finish within an hour but with a knot forming in my calf that just wasn’t going to happen.  Damn.  One minute too late.

We went back into the canteen area and sat for a few minutes and when I got up again I was limping.  The muscle is good and knotted and it will take a week before it’s better (I’m guessing).  I’m sitting now on the couch with a hot pack on my calf hoping to get it to relax.

Other than this stupid muscle, it was a really good run!  It’s not a crowded run, which is nice for a change.  You really had room to find your own pace.  The weather was perfect.  And sitting with friends afterwards in the canteen is gezellig.  HOWEVER, I learned something today.  I learned that warming up is not just for top sporters and I also learned that running alone isn’t enough.  I need to continue to strengthen my right leg muscles, to support my knee and to make that side as strong as the left side.  I’ll get there.

Katy’s

Katy's Cozy Crafty Corner

One Thursday night every month, Katy hosts Katy’s Cozy Crafty Corner at the Nieuwe Anita in Amsterdam.  All kinds of crafters are welcome and this last Thursday night there were some non-crafters also there.  The place was packed!  The photo above is the front of the space, with the best light.  The bar area on the right serves coffee and tea and the most amazing cupcakes ever.

There’s also a room behind the camera, and a bar serving craftinis.  I didn’t partake of the hard beverages, but they sure looked good.  That room was also full.  The place was so full that we ran out of chairs and people started sitting on the floor.

This was only the second time I’ve been to Katy’s.  It’s usually late for me since the party really gets hopping after 9 and I still have to get back to Haarlem afterwards.  I will certainly try to go more often as it was echt gezellig.  If you are in the Amsterdam area and are interested in coming by, drop me a message in the comments and I’ll send your email address to Katy.

Monday nights

Every Monday night I go to de Jaren and knit with the Stitch ‘n Bitch group.  I love our group.  This last Monday we took up two big tables and I took photos.  If you are in Amsterdam on a Monday night, come by and join us.  Since we put our group on Ravelry we’ve had a lot of tourists and travelers stop by and join in.  Don’t be shy!

Here are some photos from Monday night.  You can click on them to see larger versions.

Monday night 4

Monday night 6

Monday night 5

Monday night 3

Monday night 2

Monday night 1

Another Birthday Party

HOW do those needles work?

Today was my MIL’s birthday party.  If you’ve ever been to a traditional Dutch birthday party (and if you live here, you know how OFTEN these events occur so surely you’ve been to one), you will recognize the above arrangement of chairs, in a circle, and the cups of coffee on the table.

What may be different for you is the knitting being held up.  How often to you see knitting in progress being held up and explained?

Actually, my MIL, the woman with the knitting, is explaining her new birthday present (from DB and me), which is a set of KnitPro interchangeable screw on needles.  The Aunties just couldn’t understand the concept of circular needles for non-circular knitting and they had never heard of interchangeable needles.  MIL tried to explain by showing them her knitting.

Then DB got out the needles and tried to explain by way of demonstrating the screwing on and off of the tips.  It’s a great photo.

new KnitPro salesman

How many non-knitting men would know so much about knitting needles?  He’s definitely a keeper.

Actually we went to the in-laws yesterday, Saturday, and stayed over night.  This morning we got up and went running, along with DB’s sister.  Did you know that Den Helder is the sunniest place in the Netherlands?  It is.  But how can that be, you ask, since it sits on the far northwest coast on the continent, poking out into the North Sea?  Precisely because it sits out in the sea, it is always windy, and because it’s always windy the clouds generally blow by and don’t stay long enough to cause gray days.  And let me tell you, it was SO WINDY today it almost blew ME away.

We ran just below the top of the dike that runs along in front of the red lighthouse.  We ran 5km against the wind, turned around, and ran 5km back.  The wind was so strong that it blew my earphones out of my ears.  Twice.  I couldn’t hear anything over the roar of the wind anyway.  When I turned around to head back it was like being in a different place altogether.  I could run LIKE the wind.  I could hear the surf to my right and music in my ears.  Unfortunately, during my last kilometer the one dark cloud in the sky found me and dumped it’s load of water on my head.  I got back to the car 6 minutes later soaking wet.  Thank goodness for the car.  And thank goodness for the hot shower back at the in-laws house.  And then the Aunties arrived and the party began….

Fall

leaves

I took this photo from out my window in the attic.  Our street is lined with these trees, all turning color and dropping their leaves.  The bike lanes are full of leaves, which will eventually be picked up by the city street cleaners.  It’s really pretty outside, but it won’t last long.  The trees are quickly becoming bare.

I was up in the attic this morning putting the finishing touches to my Lisse sock pattern (Ravelry link).  The photos are done, the text is done, the charts are done!  All that needs to be done now is some nice layout, which my good friend N. has volunteered to do for me.  So, as soon as she has put her magic into it, I can publish it on this blog, and on Ravelry, and it will be DONE and out in the world!  I can’t wait!

Here’s a closeup of one of the finished socks.  I’ll be sure to post here when the pattern is released.

Lisse closeup

This Morning

runmap

This morning I ran a rectangle.  The red rectangle above in the map to be precise.  That was 6km of rectangle.  At 6:30am.

I got up at 6:05am thinking that I’d be out the door by 6:20.  I made the mistake however of opening my computer and peeking at Ravelry while my watch searched for satellites.  You know what happens when you start looking at Ravelry.  It’s suddenly hours later and you’re late for whatever you were going to do for real.  OK, I was only sucked in for 20 minutes, but still, sucked in.

I headed out the door at 6:30am into a wildly windy dark world.  I was wearing the glow in the dark running vest that DB and I recently bought.  I felt surprising good, although I felt pretty hungry too.  After about 3km I got over the hunger and just carried on.

I listened to Brenda Dayne while I ran.  Oh it’s so nostalgic for me to run while listening to Cast On!  I really became a runner while listening to this pod cast and I’m so happy that Brenda has started pod casting again.  I had to turn the volume up loud to hear her over the sound of the wind in the trees!

I really need to start running with my camera again.  I saw some things that would have been nice photos for this blog.  On this route is the ice rink in Haarlem.  This is an old-ish ice rink where they used to hold international skating events.  It’s too small for that now, but boy is this place popular in the winter time.  This morning at 7:00am, while the world was still dark, inside the ice rink the lights were blazing and the Zamboni was busy smoothing ice.  There are no solid walls on the street side of the rink so this view was clear to see from my running path.  It would have been a great photo.

I also saw sheep sleeping in fields and streets lights reflected in canals.  All nice photos.  All for next time when I have the camera.

Anyway, I finished the 6km stroll through north of Haarlem in 40 minutes.  Not fast but not slow either.  My legs felt good, the breathing was steady and my brain drifted away with Brenda and her nice music choices.  I’m getting used to winter again.

WIP Mitt

twisted stitches

I’ve been knitting mittens!  Flip top mittens to be precise.

flip top

The cap flips back.  The loop you see will wrap around a button that hasn’t yet been sewn on.  I made them up myself and actually just cast on 44 stitches and kept going, seeing what they would become as I went along.  The twisted stitch design on the back of the hand is an old Austrian pattern that I found in a book by Maria Erlbacher.

flip top mitten

fingerless mitts

The yarn is Supreme Possum Merino, 8ply, from my shop.  Super soft and super warm.  I’m going to write up the pattern and put it on Ravelry for FREE!  Yippee!

Oh and by the way, these photos were taken at night under my lovely new daylight lamp.  Isn’t it great!