Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THE ZOO!!! (Or, Penguins are WEIRD.)

Mis Padres
Originally uploaded by moosicalmath
A longstanding family tradition is to spend a day at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. With us kids going here and there all the time, the whole fam hasn't visited the Zoo in several years. Today, under the constant threat of rain, we journeyed across the bridge to see just how much our childhood favorite had changed.

The verdict? The Zoo looks fabulous! ("I want fabulous! That is my simple request. All things fab--" never mind.) My favorite elements are still there, like the metal family (baby got a hat this year!):


the jellyfish and sea anemones:
Dancing light


spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and the Sound:

and the giant shark mouth:

But there were some sweet new additions, too, and some just plain unexpected sights! In the incredibly colorful and bouncy new kids' area, we saw and pet sheep:

Petting a sweater!

We were followed around by several peacocks:
Upside down

The wolf eels (there are two, Senior and Junior) were being fed and were super active:
Puget Sound floor (...recreated.)

The new tiger exhibit is beautiful, and we got the closest to the most active tiger we've seen. The best part? He kept growling/vocalizing in a very, very deep voice. We wanted to give him a hug. (Jenny took this picture.)

We met an elephant who every so often stops what she's doing and does a little dance, off in her own world:
Elephant doing her dance

And then...well...then there were the PENGUINS.
Penguins are WEIRD.

They were sitting there, quacking now and again, just chillin', until a jet flew overhead. They immediately all looked straight up to the sky, flapped their wings, and squawked in the strangest fashion ever. The noises started out in even rhythm, and ended in a long, mournful, chest-cavity-imploding HOOOOOOooooooonk... This continued for a couple minutes after the Great Big Bird in the Sky disappeared. We were a little disturbed. It seemed to us that the penguins were worshiping this huge bird. Perhaps pleading with the jet to give them flight? Poor dears. Prayin' to man-made objects never did us any good, probably won't do them any...

This lovely day ended fabulously, as Amy and I watched High School Musical 2 together (no one else wanted to join us...), and I knit a quarter of the way through Mom's gorgeous Noro Striped Scarf!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas KNITTING.

Finally, I must blog about my Christmas knitting. I must say, I'm very pleased. This was the most gigantic knitting undertaking of my LIFE. But I DID IT.

(Relatives who don't live in Washington: your "Christmas knits" are actually birthday presents this year. Stay tuned. I can't do everything. Yet.)

First, I made David mitts. These weren't really for Christmas, but he wanted them, and I finished them on Christmas, so here you go.

For his actual "gift", I made socks!
David's new socks!

Amy got socks too!

Amy's new socks

So did Boo! Hers are the purple ones from this post.

And Mom!
Mom's new socks!

And Dad!
Dad models his socks and blanket from Aunty Jan

And Nama!
Nama points her toes

And Cindy!


And Kristi!

Aunty Kristi's CHristmas 2008


Mom liked the mitts, so I made her some, too:

Christmas 2008


Now I'm starting the daunting yet beautiful Bayerische Socks with the last of my Lindau yarn. Oh yeah, and Jenny wants mitts, and Mom wants the Noro scarf. I will never, ever be bored. :D

Christmas, part II

Originally uploaded by moosicalmath
Finally it was CHRISTMAS!! Nama, Papa, Aunty Cindy, Aunty Kristi, and Kaylee the little white dog arrived in the Jeep through the still-there mounds of snow. Yes. WE HAD A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! (Sadly, by the time Christmas rolled around, we were all a bit...tired of it. Hmm.)

Kaylee and Maddie love Aunty Kris:
Aunty Kris gets KISSED!

They also really love Papa:
Papa and the Poochies

I have really adorable parents:
Dad and Mum are sooo cute.

My favorites from my pile of loot? A new REI backpack from Amy, a sweet book with my Europe trip pictures and emails from Mom and Dad, and the Yarn Harlot's book The Secret Life of a Knitter from Mom and Dad.

We had a lovely traditional turkey and fixin's dinner, and played Apples-to-Apples. I WON! YES! It was an altogether beautiful and joyful family day. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

Christmas, part I

Aaw Dad and Mumsy.
Originally uploaded by moosicalmath
Leading up to Christmas Day, we had a few family activities (yay togetherness!). Half of the fam LOVES Scrabble. Half of us do not exactly love it. We paired a lover with a hater for our Christmas Eve Eve game...guess who is who?

Worst Scrabble hand EVER.

David is serious...Amy not so much.

We watched family favorites (George of the Jungle with Brendan Fraser, Muppets Christmas Carol...), ate popcorn out of those tins with the three kinds (cheese RULES), drank coffee:
Davey loooves coffee.

played on the computer (except when the power was out):
Dad and his 'puter

and loved on Madeline:
Maddie Dearest

We also DECORATED and DRESSED ourselves all festively:

I model by the tree.

Jenny models Dad's slippers.

Amy is sooo pretty.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home is a Winter Wonderland

Snow snow snow! How INCREDIBLE that the northwest got 1.5 feet (so far!) of the beautiful stuff. A-maze-ing. Of course, it's more amazing for those of us who got home, and don't have to go anywhere really.

I flew home in the window between storms on both ends. New Jersey had freezing rain and slush on Friday and late on Saturday, but Meg and Luc drove me safely to Newark early Saturday morning. Because of the snow storm in Seattle on Friday, my plane was late arriving, so I sat for three hours. That was fine--I had a gingersnap latte, a view of the runway, and Christmas knitting to finish! We landed in SeaTac, I found my family, and we set off for home just as another snowstorm began. Praise the Lord: we arrived safely before the roads got too bad!


Sunday and yesterday were much alike. All six of us (and Maddie and Ash) had nowhere to go, so we cozied up to the fire and the tree, drank the family's favorite drink (coffee!), and amused ourselves with computers, books, or knitting (well, I did).

Amy, Dad, Mom, David

Of course, both days, we bundled up, roused the pooch, and trudged out into the SNOW! A foot and a half, I must say again, is INCREDIBLE for our area. Usually, we have to drive three hours to play in such fine precipitation!

Bird Dog!

While our saucers weren't quite right for the type of snow, the runner sled was PERFECT. We zipped our way down a couple hills in the neighborhood, and got our exercise hiking back!


The whole fam explored the wilderness for an hour or so. Maddie LOVED pouncing on snowballs, swimming through snowdrifts, and sniffing ice-covered bushes. She was NOT, however, so fond of ice balls accumulating on her tail and leg feathers! Poor baby!

Dad is a wilderness man.

We all warmed up with lattes and Christmas cookies and family favorite movies. Amy and I played our traditional Christmas piano duets, and traditionally messed them up fabulously. We still got applause from our appreciative parents! I love being home. :)


Monday, December 22, 2008

FIrst Christmas Presents

I'm *this* close to finishing my Christmas knitting. I discovered that I can knit a pair of socks in about 8 hours--thanks to delayed transcontinental flights (thanks to the Northwest's snow and Northeast's ice)! I still have to hide the Washington gifts, but in the mean time, I can show you the Princeton gifts!

Meg got slippers, the Striped Footies from Lion's Brand Yarn: Just Socks book. Using a solid and a variegated yarn to stripe it creates a rather different look than the original.

Rachel got wristwarmers (these are also her birthday gift), the Pixie Warmers on Ravelry. I forgot exactly how much smaller her wrists are than mine, so we might have to adjust when I return:
Rachel's CHristmas Mitts 2008

I'll post about the amazing snow we're having as soon as I upload my pictures!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Nutcracker!

Last night, Rachel, Ben, Audrey, Colin, Justin, Eugene, Erica, Dan, and I saw NYC Ballet's The Nutcracker in the David Koch Theater. Unlike Friday's opera, we arrived about an hour before the show--aah how wonderful it feels to be early. We bought lattes, took pictures, and enjoyed the Christmas beauty of Lincoln Center. Our seats were in the nose bleed section, but at least that meant we saw the overall production quite well!

It was lovely--rather different from Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker, but good. The most interesting difference was that while in PNB's, Clara/Marie and the Nutcracker dancers switch from children to adults either after she defeats the rat king, or right before, and they remain adults throughout the second act. In NYCB's, the girl and prince dancers are children the entire time. There were also more children dancers in the second act in general than I remember in PNB's, and they were phenomenal!

After the ballet, we said goodbye to Eugene and met Andy at Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine near Rockefeller Center. I found it on NY Mag, and it was delicious. The atmosphere was fun, the servers highly attentive (but not suffocating), the food very yummy, and the prices reasonable. Mmmm.

Then, we hugged Erica and Dan goodbye, and walked up to Rockefeller Center to see the tree! So pretty!! We soon realized that if we left NOW we could barely make the 11:40pm train. We walked rather briskly about 15 blocks down to Penn Station, and found seats on the packed train with three minutes to spare.

30 Rock

Now, I am praying that the yucky weather in NJ allows my plane to take off, and the yucky weather in WA allows it to land tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Culture Month

First, I decided to make this blog my main blog. It is not just about knitting anymore! Oh no!

This month is Culture Month: so much music and dancing and Christmas!

Some friends and I bought a four-pack of tickets to this season of the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. (The first was Verdi's La Traviata, on October 31st.) On Friday, we had our second opera of the season: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. We dressed up, ate sandwiches on the train, shoved our way onto the subway, and literally ran into Lincoln Center ten minutes before showtime. We settled into our (close, but uncomfortable) dress circle box seats, watched the crystal chandeliers rise, and enjoyed the five hours of amazing opera. Okay, okay--honestly, it was four hours, with two 30-minute intermissions. And okay fine, I perhaps might have maybe slept soundly for a total of 30-45 minutes. But we practiced our German, empathized with Tristan as he took 1.5 hours to die, and got a lot of use out of my beautiful new opera glasses! They are from the Paris opera, made in 1907. Thank you, Uncle Jimmy! :D

My next cultural event was Sunday, when I attended McCarter Theater's A Christmas Carol. (For free! Yeah Princeton!) Ah! It was anything but a humbug. Great acting, intricate sets (great use of fire), and an extremely good looking young Mr. Scrooge.

Sunday was not over! Oh no! Sunday evening, we supported Luc in his choir concert. He's in the Westminster Choir College community choir. Meg, Josh, and I made faces at him and applauded heartily as they sang in English, Latin, German Latin, Latvian, Ukrainian, French, and...was that all? They sang one of my all time favorites: Carol of the Bells!

Next up: Thursday--The Nutcracker at the NYC Ballet in Lincoln Center and a walk around Rockefeller to see the tree for Rachel's birthday.


In the mean time: I am so very, very close to finishing my Christmas knitting! I knit an entire sock this evening, cast on to cast off! Yes!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Knitting!!!!!

I can't post pictures of the gifts yet, but here's how it's going! ;)

I have seven gifts done, four more to do for sure before Christmas, and two others I'd *like* to get done. We shall see!