Run in the Sun

Monday was the Lions Heuvelloop.  For those who don’t speak Dutch, a “heuvelloop” is a “hill run”.  The course wound into the dunes near Bloemendaal, up and down gentle hills, some loose sand and only some of the route under the shade of trees.  It was sunny and very warm which is not my favorite weather condition for running!

Even so, I managed it in 1 hr 6 minutes and given the warmth, I’m very happy with that time.  DB and I both ran and there were also several friends running too.  4 of us ran the 10k, 1 the 15k, and 4 the 5k.  And 2 of our group didn’t run at all but instead took photos and took care of kids – small excuse for not running guys!

Here’s a photo of some of our group:

Now, don’t they look like a gezellig group?!  #102 and I finished together, sprinting in to the finish.

DB ran a great time – 50 minutes – but it’s kind of ironic.  Now two days later he’s the one who still has muscle pain and I’m not hurting at all!  I came out of this run with no aches or pains to speak of.  Amazing.  He says I just didn’t run fast enough.  Well, if it hadn’t been so warm I would have run faster and would now be hurting.  I think I did the right thing.

After the race we went to an artists work space where a friend and #102 and #263’s mom had set up an Easter brunch for us.  Fabulous.  I drank probably too much champagne and really felt no pain.  Lovely.

What’s next on the running schedule?  Well, keep training of course.  I think I’m going to sign up for the 12km Rock and Run at the end of May.  It’s a run through the Jordan in Amsterdam with band playing all along the route.  #102 is also running the 12k.  She’s become quite the fanatic sporter and boy does it show – she’s looking great!  Hopefully I’ll be looking better soon too.

Home Improvement

Some people take a long weekend, with warm beautiful weather, and go to the beach or to a park or just lay about in the sun.  Not me, and therefore by default, not DB either.  We painted in the attic.  Actually, we should have done this months ago when the two new windows were put in.  Until the sun came out and the days got longer I had no energy or enthusiasm for this job.  Now I had plenty!

I had also wanted to paint that horrible dark green wall in the attic since we moved in almost three years ago.  We ran out of time before moving day and you know how it is when you move in – once you are in lots of things you think you will do later just never get done.  This long Easter weekend we painted the woodwork around the new windows and painted the green wall.  A white wall also in the attic was painted, but I don’t have photos of that change, and it was a pretty subtle change anyway.

Here are the before and after photos of the green wall and one of the windows.  Doesn’t it look so much better?

Before:

And after:

Friday Night in Crazy Town

Last night we went to Amsterdam for dinner and a concert.  I don’t know if it’s ONLY the weather bringing all the people out to Amsterdam, or what is going on, but it’s just crazy crowded these days.

After dinner we had some time to kill before the concert so we thought we’d go for a walk around the Vondelpark.  What day of the year do you think the photo above was taken?  Nope, not Queen’s Day.  Last night around 7pm.  The park was packed with people.  Everywhere.  Just crazy.  Later last night, just before midnight, a fight broke out and the police came and cleared out the park and closed it for a while.  Normally the park is never closed.

We walked half way around the park and then made our way to the Melkweg to see De Staat.  This is the band that was just last week voted the Best Alternative Band by the biggest radio station in the Netherlands.  No, I don’t know who votes.  There’s an award ceremony that is shown on TV.  It’s an only Dutch thing, so you can be a really big fish in a very small pond.  Which is not to say that the bands are not good!

The warm up band was a duo called Death Letters.  They were certainly good musicians, but they were very nervous and it felt more like a college band try out.  The guitar player came out later and played a number with De Staat and he was great!

Finally De Staat played and by then my feet were thankful.  We were standing up in the small side balcony overlooking the stage.  I’m not much good at writing music reviews, but let’s just say that they were great and I’m really glad we went to see them.  They are kind a mash up of Queens of the Stone Age and Infadels.  I took some small movies, which are combined together here on YouTube.

And then we left Crazy Town and came home to Quiet Town.  I’m absolutely loving this warm weather, but man I don’t love all the people who come outside, like me, to enjoy it.

A Very Small Sock

I made a sock for my phone to keep it from getting scratched and banged up.  Isn’t it cute?

I made it from leftover sock yarn and picked a color pattern that would make a dense and thick fabric.  I knit it from the top down so that I could make the ending a 3 needle bind off and I used size 2mm needles.

It only took a few days to make.  It’s easy to stick my fingers in and pull the phone out and the ribbing keeps it securely in there.

It’s a perfect fit!

What Season?

When do you think this photo was taken?  Last summer?  Wrong.  Today.  Yes, mid-April and we are having Summer weather.  Those of us who have been around for a while know what that means – rain in July.  Every year that we’ve had fabulous and strangely warm weather in April, it rains like hell in July/August.  We’ll have to see what happens this year.  But you read it here first!

Today after work we headed to the beach at Zandvoort.  I came home on the train from Amsterdam as usual, but instead of biking home, DB met me on the train and we continued the 10 minutes more to Zandvoort.  We walked along the beach for a little while, then headed up to Bruxelles aan Zee for dinner.  I had a trout.  DB, lamb.  We finished while the sun was still on the horizon and it was still warm.

This heat wave is supposed to continue for another week.  Let’s make hay while the sun shines!

New Socks

Here is a new sock pattern I’m working on.  This is the Spring version.  There is also a Summer version that is ankle length with a picot hem, and a Fall version which is knee length.  They are knit toe-up and the pattern will have a choice between right/left toes or standard symmetrical toes.  The pattern is 90% ready and soon I’ll be looking for test knitters.  I plan to put all 3 socks into one pattern at one price. I’m going to call the pattern “Seasonal Socks – Spring, Summer, Fall”

The socks above are made with Tosh Sock in color Lettuce Leaf.  They fit and feel great!

More photos and info coming soon!

8km Only

We went to the dunes for the Sunday run this morning.  It was warm and the sky was hazy.  I hadn’t felt very good all last week so this was my first run in a week.  I decided to go for 8km instead of the 10 I had planned for today.  Ah well.  That’s enough, right?  Next week is the Lion’s Heuvelloop in Bloemendaal 10k and I’m sure I will be ok for that.

We headed out into the dunes and at about the 3km point the wild horses were gathered right next to the path.  I stopped and took their picture with my new phone.  Not bad for a camera phone!  Can you tell which way the wind was blowing?

I felt pretty good during this run.  Until about km 7.  Then my left knee really started hurting.  It hasn’t ever hurt this much before.  It started to hurt like my right knee hurt before the operation.  Damn.  When we got home I iced it and then after dinner I iced it again.  We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.

The strange warm April weather continues through the week.  It will feel like summer.  I hope we can make it out to the beach after work one night this week.  Dinner at a beach restaurant and watch the sun go down.  If I were a romantic I would think it was. 😉

Zoom Zoom Saturday

It was a busy day yesterday!  First off, I picked up my newly ordered mobile phone, a Sony Ericsson x10 mini pro.  In red.  I bought it from Bol.com since they had the red one in stock and it was the cheapest I could find.  I bought it without a contract.  I’d already done the math and for a one year contract anywhere, you are just as well off buying the phone loose and getting a separate SIM-only contract.  Here’s a picture of my new baby.

Isn’t it cute?  It’s small.  It fits into the palm of my hand.  I’m loving the keyboard.  And it’s Android which makes it small and smart.

I picked it up at the post office at 10:00 and by 10:30 I had it charging and I’d already set up our wireless network and was downloading apps.  Of course since it is so small there’s no point putting video on it, or complicated games.  I have my iPad for that.  But for calling and messaging I’m really loving it so far.  In another week or so I’ll post a longer review.

Saturday was International Record Store Day, and here in the Netherlands that’s a big deal.  People here are big music lovers and there are more record stores per capita than anywhere I’ve ever been.  And you know DB, he is a music fanatic and so of course at 9:00 in the morning he was off to his first record store.  He scored some nice vinyl there, plus a lovely present for me:  Fleetwood Mac Rumors on vinyl.  Nice.

Then we were off to Amsterdam.  More record stores needed to be visited and I wanted to get my SIM card for my new baby so I could actually make phone calls.  I did that at the PhoneHouse, the one on Heiligeweg, just off the Kalverstraat.  They were so nice!  Good customer service is hard to come by here, especially in Amsterdam, but these people were just wonderful to everyone who came in.

After that chore was done, and DB was back from another record store (more vinyl scored), we were off to the Grand Opening of Penelope Craft.  Ms. Malia has set up shop on the Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, not far from Leidseplein.  It was hoping with people, including all the usual suspects (but not Andy nor Ginni – we missed you both!).

Shortly after I took these photos, even more people showed up so that we spilled out into the street.  Malia popped open the champagne and we toasted her success.  It’s great to have another yarn shop in Amsterdam.

By this time my stomach was telling me it was time to eat some dinner, so we headed out to the Spiegelgracht to find a restaurant.  We passed a shop I just couldn’t pass up.  Worse than a yarn shop.  You guessed it.  Chocolate.

We walked into van der Donk, chocolate makers.  Oh man.  Here’s a photo of what we bought:

As you can see, they are small.  Not much bigger than the chocolate covered almonds on the right that we also bought there.  We are rationing them.  Two per night.  That’s all we are allowed.  Savor each one.  They are truly incredible!  Cost?  15 euros for that box of 35 beauties on the left.

We finally did find a place to have dinner, but not where we wanted to go.  It was unbelievably busy in the city and we were lucky to get a table at a small Italian restaurant near Rembrandtplein.  We even had a table at the window and watched the tourist boats go by.

So, that was the busy zoom zoom Saturday.  The weather was really nice!  Here’s the thing.  Every year that we have a beautiful April, July is rainy and terrible.  We’re preparing ourselves already.  Get out there and get the sun while you can! Now THAT should be printed on a Dutch tile!

Shawl Kits in the Shop

Nancy Marchant has designed a beautiful lace shawl using brioche stitch (of course!).  Krista of Pigeonroof Studios has produced amazing hand dyed yarns in a heavy lace weight.  Put the two together and you get Under Dutch Skies brioche lace shawl kits!

Now available from Yarns Apart, kits are available in 5 color sets:  blue, green, gold, burgundy and turquoise.  You should have some experience knitting brioche (you can find information at Nancy’s site here) before starting this shawl.  It looks complicated, but is only a series of increases and decreases in two-color brioche.  The results are stunning!

Here are the colors available:

Breidag 2011

This last Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, Yarns Apart participated in our first market!  This was the Breidag in Nieuwegein.  We set up Thursday night and were ready to open shop Friday morning.  It was so much fun!

There were 40 shops set up in the big meeting hall.  There were classes held all day long, both days.  There was a table set up for “Pattern Doctors”.  There were people meeting up everywhere, some for the first time, some old friends going way back.  Everyone was there because they love knitting and crochet.  It was much better than the Handwerkbeurs because it was so focused.

On Friday afternoon Nancy gave her Beginning Brioche class and I was her assistant.  There were 24 people in the class so having an assistant was almost a requirement!  It was so fun to help teach brioche knitting, which I have really fallen in love with.  Maybe we will do this again soon….

I don’t know yet where or when Yarns Apart will appear in person again, but I hope sooner rather than later.  The Breidag has given me so much energy and enthusiasm to continue to bring you the best yarns in the world!