Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On the Road Again...

Off to Durango tomorrow for a business/road trip. We are driving tomorrow to Albuquerque and staying the night then driving Thursday morning to Durango (about 3 hours.) Looks like it's snowing like crazy in sporadic places, so we'll see how it turns out. May be a long drive. But I'm really excited, I love Colorado and it sounds like there's a lot of cool stuff to do in Durango.

Found a really cool looking yarn store in downtown Durango called Yarn! that we really want to visit. Looks like there's a tea bar and a cool yarn selection, might be fun.

We are also going to ride on the Durango/Silverton Railroad and visit these hot springs. Sounds fun, I've never been to natural hot springs before.

Trying to pack and decide what projects to take... Haven't decided yet. I started a scarf, simple garter/yarn over pattern out of chunky Wool Ease. I really want to make a summer tank, looking at possibly Soleil from Knitty. I just saw Erica's blog today (dangerous, by the way, she makes gorgeous stuff very quickly) and she has started a really cute version of it. I actually bought several skeins of Paton's grace then I swatched it, it came out grossly off measure (22 stitches, 33 rows should have been 4" square but was more like 3 x 5.) So I'm not sure what the solution is, if the yarn's just not right for it or what. Any advice, seasoned knitters?

Monday, March 20, 2006

More Tokyo...

Just as I'm sure you were hoping to see,
I just realized reading back over yesterday's post that it must have sounded incredibly stupid to those of you who are somewhat familiar with Japanese culture and religion. So please pardon this, the (once) Baptist white Girl's pictorial guide to Tokyo.

The pictures today are of the fish market at Tsukiji. Let me tell ya, they love their tuna.
The big frozen fish on the left had just come in from the coast of Ireland and were worth about $20,000 each! The fresh ones, which were chilled, were worth twice that. It was such an amazing site, a whole building of wall to wall fish.

This pic is the actual auction, you can see the auctioneer in the back with his hand up.

There was another whole building of rows and rows of vendors selling all kinds of sea life. The aisles were so tiny I could barely turn around with my backpack on and people were whizzing by us carrying tons of boxes and riding little carts.

Just a bit of the vendors' fare, there was stuff crawling all over the place! It was really amazing to see, quite overwhelming at 6AM.

So we took a break and went to the rows of restuarants behind these buildings and had sushi and chicken yakatori for breakfast. Mmm....

That's all for now before Blogger snatches more pictures back.

The octapus were really cute, you just have to
take my word for it

P.S. Thanks Sue, you're brilliant! The pics worked much better that way.
I thought...
Ugh, they looked fine until they went up and now I try to change things and they disappear. It took an hour for this gorgeous spread!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finally, Tokyo Pictures

Okay, I think I figured it out. Blogger just doesn't like pictures to go where there are already words. Hopefully this will work...
The first pic on the left was the view from our hotel room. We were on the 34th floor of the Hotel New Hankyu in Tsukiji. The rooms started on the 32nd floor and under that was mostly businesses and in the first floor there was a 7-11 and Starbucks.
The picture on the right is of Ginza, a high-end shopping district. This picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice, most streets were so bright and busy they gave Vegas a run for it's money. This is the area where the 5 story Sony building was.

Our first full day there, we went to the Meiji-Jingu shrine in Harajuku.
This is a tori, a big archway symbolizing the entrance to a shrine. You can see the tiny people for scale, this thing was huge!
The next picture (I have better shots of these) is the first stop for worshippers before going into the temple. The little dippers are used to pour water onto hands and into the mouths of worshippers for purity before entering the
temple to pray.

It was Sunday and we just happened to catch a wedding ceremony (not sure exactly what part of the ceremony this was).

Harajuku is also the place where teenagers get together on Sundays and dress in really elaborate, goth-like costumes and stand around in this area off the street. Pretty interesting...

Hope you've enjoyed these, Blogger has cooperated for quite a while and I don't want to push my luck.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Joys of Adulthood

I was so excited to finally have a weekend with nothing to do. How dull is that?

I realized last night, Friday night, at 11:30PM, I was sitting on the couch in my sweats, knitting away, having a Gilmore Girls marathon of all of this season's episodes that I've had to record because I've been working Tues. nights, and I was utterly content. It was almost blissful.
And it's been raining (yes, rain!) most of the weekend, which makes it easier to just relax and enjoy things. I think I heard on the news this week that the last time we had a 1/4 inch of consecutive rainfall was January, and the last time we had a 1/2 inch was last October! Anyway, enough about OK weather patterns...

I finished a rolled brimmed hat last night with Noro Kureyon (love that stuff!) that I got in Tokyo and hoped to get some fingerless gloves done with it too but the double points I have are too long and just flop around so I'll have to find some that work.

Finally have some travel pictures ready to post, hope to get them loaded soon.
And, Blogger isn't letting me load them. I should get to try again tomorrow.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm Ba-ack!

Okay, I've been back for two weeks and I've just been too busy and lazy to post.

Tokyo Stuff:
Japan was absolutely amazing. As you probably guessed, I also don't have pictures downloaded yet but I got some great ones. Tokyo was so cool, I have never seen so much organized chaos in my life.
We were at one subway station in Shibuya, where one million people travel in and out of every day. And we crossed an intersection there where about 1,500 people cross every time the light changes.
Everything there was so clean and everyone was quiet and very respectful. There weren't even a lot of people chatting on cell phones (really, anywhere) and the subway was almost always really quiet, even when it was packed.
Businesses and people there couldn't have made things any easier for tourists (especially ones that stood out like sore thumbs and only spoke enough Japanese to order basic food and ask for the toilets. And say please and thank you. And excuse me.) Most restaurants had a glass case out front with a huge selection of dishes of food made entirely of plastic, but were all perfect replicas of the dish. So if we didn't know how to say what we wanted they'd just take us outside and have us point to the food we wanted. That worked out well every night except one when I thought I was getting a big plate of rice and chicken. They brought it out and it was jiggly. Turns out it was tofu. Jiggly tofu. I took a big bite of it before I realized. It was not yummy.
The food was so good. We had the best gyoza (little pork-filled, fried dumplings). And when we went to the fish market we had sushi and yakitori for breakfast. And met the nicest Japanese guy who gave us Japanese lessons. We got some hilarious pictures with him.
We got to go to this cool hangout in Harajuku where a lot of high school students get together on Sundays and dress up in these funky, elaborate goth costumes (Kev got some great pictures of that).
One of my favorite places was Kamakura, with the big Buddha statue. It was the coolest place. Got some great pictures there too.
But I won't blabber on and on about it, I'll try to break it up. But I can't wait to share everything.

More TMJ Stuff:
Got back from Tokyo and had a week to catch up at work and recover, then my husband and I went to Dallas weekend before last to see a TMJD surgeon who came highly recommended. I had to jump through a thousand hoops to get in, but he took a lot of time and explained exactly what was wrong and why my jaw wasn't working.
He said we have two options:
1) This artificial ligament called a Mytec Anchor, which they pin to the bone and wrap it around so it holds the disc in place, but he didn't know if the disc would ever be able to function like it should. He said there was about a 60% chance that it would be successful and the cost is about $60,000.
2.) A complete joint replacement on both sides with titanium prosetetics, called TMJ Concepts, which you can see on their website if you scroll down. Freaky looking. The procedure would involve amputating the condyle and removing the disc and the little crook up close to the ear that it all fits into and replacing it all with titanium pieces. He said there was a 90% chance that I would be pain free with almost full function (the joints don't move side to side, other than that they move like normal joints.) Oh, and estimated cost= $90,000.
Holy crap. The shock has worn off, I definitely wasn't thinking they would want to cut off part of my face! Things have been really bad the last two years and for most of the past year I've been on a very soft diet and in a lot of pain.
I meet with my dentist tomorrow and I hope we can discuss it and go from there. I have no clue what insurance will even cover.

Family Stuff:
My little sister is getting married! (Did I say that already?) I'm really excited for her. She's planning an outdoor wedding in August. She and Mom and I went to Dallas this past weekend to pick out a dress. And (this is so her) she liked the second one she tried on. Of two. And it comes with a little matching set with bridesmaid dresses and everything. It was good to spend the weekend with them, we don't get to do that much anymore. Have pics of that too I hope to post soon.

On the hooks:
Still joining the 63 squares ghan. I'm quite possibly the world's slowest joiner. I think people have joined the crochet along and finished since I have been joining squares, I swear. But I finally have a free weekend, after, like, seven weekends crammed full of plans, so I hope to get some work done on it then. I'd love to finish.

Crochetville's new round of Secret Pals started this month, I was so excited I got to join. My secret pal is someone I don't know very well but I'm learning more about her and have exciting things planned for her. And my secret to me pal has been really kind, I've gotten some sweet e-cards and emails from her.

More to come later this week....