(Update: Photos have been added; thanks for your patience!)
I'm home! Home, home, home. Where there's a cat to sleep on my legs at night, and no drunken college students shouting outside from 2-3:30 every morning, and coffee before I have to take a shower and walk to campus. You know, the small things.
We made the drive back down the state in good time yesterday, and were home by about 8:00, even including a stop in Westwood for dinner. I realized how blase we've become about making this long drive when we said something to the server about how we always stop at his place for Indian food on our drive from Sacramento (or Berkeley) to San Diego, and he just gaped at us. He insisted that we were joking, and we assured him that we were not. (It's true, too; on the way home, we usually end up hitting Westwood right about dinner time, and who wouldn't rather have really good Indian food than a fast food burger? Shudder with me now...) I later heard him talking to another server about it. They clearly thought we were nuts.
I wore my new skirt, which I am delighted with. I need to wear a slip under it, and I do have one, but I may put together a lining in a thin cotton (it is impossible to find a dark slip in cotton, I tell you), which would be more comfortable, and more in keeping with the whole "cool in summer" theme of the skirt. I ended up going with an i-cord drawstring waist, and I've left annoying little dangly bits of yarn, as I'm considering putting beads on the ends of the i-cord, but haven't decided yet. Meanwhile, the hemp/cotton/modal mix did, indeed, wash and dry beautifully as advertised, and I think this one is a keeper. Older Daughter and Younger Daughter have both politely and insistently begun the campaign for their own versions. I've said that Older Daughter's will come first, as she is out of uniform for the first time ever this fall, and will use it more. However, if I knit one in navy blue for Younger Daughter, she could wear it to school (I'm sure they didn't have hemp in mind when they described the dress code, but all they actually said was, "navy blue skirt, skort, or pants"; hooray for subversion!).
I got some good knitting time in the car, even though I did most of the drive (after all, Rick had driven up all by himself on Friday, and it was Father's Day). I finished the main part of the first of Anne's new mitts (these are for Older Daughter); there's just the thumb to go. These are knit out of my own handspun yarn (go, me!), and I'm delighted with how well they're turning out.
The yarn isn't perfect, but it's not that far off from other yarns I've knit with. And I love the way the color changes have come out; I couldn't have planned it. (Honestly, I couldn't have. I know some of you out there could have, but not I.)
I'm also working on the Brambler scarf, which is good fun. The pattern is small and short (six rows), so it's easy to just keep doing one more repeat, and then one more... The yarn ended up being more the color in this picture than it looked like in Anne's photos, but I like it in any case, and the way the yarn feels is wonderful -- warm and soft and crisp all at once.
My goal is to have both of these projects done before June 28th. Why, you ask? Well, because I'm leaving town again then. Where am I going, you ask?
(I'm so excited, I'm giggling over here.) Why, New Zealand, I answer.
A while ago, I saw a call for papers for a conference that I've wanted to go to for a while, and noticed that it was to be in New Zealand this year, which made it really, really tempting (Rick and I spent a month in NZ for our honeymoon, and loved it truly, madly, deeply). I dithered for quite some time about it, but with encouragement from various quarters (of whom more in a moment), I decided to go for it. The paper was accepted, and next thing I knew, I had plans to go to New Zealand. Rick can't take quite so much time off work right now (and, as much as he loved NZ in the summertime -- which would be December -- he wasn't too excited about going in the winter; as you might imagine, I don't get that at all), and I knew that I couldn't handle both girls while I go to a conference, but I decided to take Older Daughter. It was a tough call, as I don't like to do something this big with just one girl, and as much as I intend to take Younger Daughter on a similar trip when she leaves grade school for middle school, I've seen how that doesn't always work out for younger siblings. A lot of things can change in three years.
That encouragement I mentioned earlier is part of the reason why I decided to take OD along, though. See, Stella and I have been emailing back and forth for quite some time, having met through the world of blogging, and a while ago, we facilitated the starting of a pen pal relationship between her son and Older Daughter (of course, the modern world being what it is, "pen pal" means "email pal"). Stella was hugely encouraging when I was dithering about sending in the abstract (thank you, Stella -- I'm so glad you were!), so Older Daughter and I are going to inundate her whilst we're there. We're going for ten days, which means, more or less, three days in Auckland, three in Wellington, and nearly four on the South Island with Stella and her family (I hear that a stop at Ashford is on the list). Have I mentioned that I'm a little giddy?
For those who have been keeping track, this is the trip I'm writing the paper for. It's also why I want the paper completely put to bed before I leave; Older Daughter and I have our days in Auckland before we go to Wellington for the conference, and I just don't want to be thinking about presentations while we're going around doing fun touristy things. I also am thinking that I won't be bringing my computer, so I'd like the presentation done and burned to CD (and copied to a thumb drive as a backup), and handouts made in case of electronic emergency, before we go.
It will be winter there, and very cold (hence the mitts for OD and the scarf for me), so I'm already working on the packing list. Of course, I'm also working on the "what to bring to knit" list -- any ideas? Socks for sure, as they're small and light, but how many pairs? As we fly overnight on the way there (and arrive at 5:15 in the morning)(!!), I probably won't be knitting the whole 12-hour flight, but then there's the way back, but I might have gotten more yarn by then (OK, that "might" should probably be changed to a "will"), so there's always that to knit... Decisions, decisions.