Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finally on the Left Side

Yeah, I finally got sent on an assignment on the West Coast! I'm working in an office in Turlock, California, in the San Joaquin Valley. It is an interesting, agricultural area and a very conservative/religious island in the middle of very liberal California. The weather has been wonderful and the people are particularly friendly and welcoming. I feel right at home.

I'm definitely enjoying my stay here so far (3 weeks and counting) with a brand new hotel to stay in and plenty of great restaurants and shopping nearby. I'm trying to limit myself to one In-N-Out Burger per week, which is difficult. Anytime I have a drive-thru Starbucks right across the street from my hotel, I'm in heaven...

Since I am so near Oregon in this gig, I've flown up to Portland twice now. I hadn't been back in the state in two years and it was pretty emotional for me. Of course it was typical March rainy weather and I picked up a cold on the first trip, but I embraced it all. I'm determined to get around there now using only the public transit system. So far that has worked out well, although last weekend Jade hauled me around a bit for expediency sake.

Speaking of Jade (my 22 year old middle daughter), it was great to spend time with her. We did some heavy-duty shopping and restauranting packed into two short days last weekend. From the free breakfast at Ikea to Hotpot & Sushi (where the sushi comes by your table on a conveyer belt) we hit as many places as we could.

My knitting has suffered a bit with all the Portland weekend travel. I have 5 projects with me currently and haven't finished a thing. I'm plugging away on two pairs of socks - one with alternating scrap stripes with 6 different leftovers and one pair I'm designing in graphic black and white checks, stripes, circles. I'm plugging away on a cabled baby hoodie in melon, cream bamboo/wool baby mary jane booties and a stuffed teddy bear out of self-striping wool for the Hudsie. I'm hoping to finish up the booties today with a hole-up Sunday in my hotel room.

I did a quick yarn store search up in Modesto yesterday (10 miles north) and found all their former shops had closed. I was left with Michaels, Joanns and Beverlys which had a sad selection. I did score 3 pairs of smaller-sized Clover bamboo SPs at 30% off and 3 skeins of marked down brown wool/silk which will be perfect for a stuffed bunny (maybe the one in the Spring Debbie Bliss magazine).

The EDJ office I'm in here is the first I've worked as a Transition Rep that belongs to a friend. The FA is out on medical leave with debilitating migraines and he and I were in the same training class back in 1995 when we first started with Jones. It is gratifying to be able to help out someone I know but I'm am saddened by his health issues. I could be here awhile.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Texan Fun

I returned February 27th from a 2 week work gig in Fort Worth, TX. I was able to drive my own car & had an awesome hotel downtown so it was good. My birthday was on February 21st (a week ago Saturday). Mike and Sayde drove over from Lindale to hang out so I didn't spend it alone. We went down to "Cowtown" in the oldest part of Fort Worth, wandered around the old west shops and museums and saw the daily longhorn herding (see pics).

It was really cold and windy so eventually we took refuge in the giant Barnes and Noble in the heart of downtown Ft Worth. I found some great knitting books I had to have (hey, it was my birthday). I insisted we go to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame museum which was so kitschy it was cool. The highlight was Sayde riding a mechanical bucking bronco (see pics) which was videotaped and hilarious. I'll get around to posting the short video eventually.

Last but not least, we "toured" Central Market, a Whole Foods wannabe I drove by between my hotel and the office. It was huge and was like a food/wine museum itself. I did get some good brown rice sushi and white cupcakes (yummmm) so my bd was complete.

Now I'm back in Lindale waiting for my next job and knitting obsessively on the Diminishing Rib cardigan (from Interweave Knits Spring '09). I started it several weeks ago and am using "Mohana" yarn which is very hairy and sheds. I'm finishing the tubular bind off on the body today and will pick up and knit the sleeves next. Several other people knitting this sweater have called it a "quick knit". I must be slow because I haven't found it quick at all. Of course, I am simultaneously working on Aran cable slippers, patchwork blocks afghan, a top-down toddler cardigan and many other projects so my knitting time is always diluted by project-jumping. I accept my knitting ADHD as my personal style these days. Hey, whatever works...