Monthly Archives: August 2008

In which it is revealed that P is not for Polk County, although it certainly could have been

I…

have a way cool Polk County water bottle, given to me by a high mucky-muck in Polk County herself!

With an excellent built-in handle, which you can’t see in this photo, but which is great for those of us who don’t have ham hands big enough to grab some of those water bottles you see. I know how jealous you are. You should be.

Worth driving 3 1/2 hours for all by itself, wouldn’t you say?

Actually, as you heard, my husband and I were stealing some time together — but we ended up spending some of it ‘alone together’ with kmkat and her husband!

The Kat(tm) and I spent part of the afternoon knitting at the Osceola Coffee Connection, which has a delightful deck (no pictures from that afternoon before some rain drove us inside, but here it is the next day from outside).

(That’s OUR umbrella you can see there! Well, it was until it failed to keep off all the rain, not really being designed for that sort of thing.) Her husband wasn’t there yet from work, and when my husband’s eyes glazed over at a bit of knitting esoterica, we sent him off to Wal-Mart and continued with our knitting and chatting. Despite conversation-induced occasional knitting lapses, progress was made on my Spring Forward Socks, and it seemed on the Summer Raglan as well (much further along than shown on the dress form who stuffs; you’ll have to nag Ms. Kat for progress photos!). And I was furthermore gifted with local llama yarn, MMMMM! So soft and pettable. It makes me need to sing the Llama Song. (If you do not know the Llama Song, you need to click that link. You may curse me later. But it is still necessary.)

But then we all convened for a lovely dinner, at which point the Y-chromosomes bonded over Chicago neighborhood stories (they grew up not far from each other, a few years apart, but separated more so by the bussing that my husband was subject to in the 60s, leading to different schools).

Sadly, Osceola is a reasonably fur piece from where The Kat(tm) and spouse live, so they needed to depart near dusk and we headed to our B&B, the St. Croix River Inn.

It overlooks — what else — the St. Croix River, where in the morning, I sat and stitch by stitch, double yarnover by slip-slip-knit, tinked my pink shawl.

And that was even before coffee. Now, I’d hoped to just have to tink two rows. Two reverse rows got rid of the scary loops of lace spaghetti I had trapped on a stitch holder, which I had created in my ill-advised attempt to fix a faggoting mistake. But I realized the mistake would still be there — it was related to some very odd weirdness from the row before, which I couldn’t sort out. So two more rows will be required to reverse the madness completely. Well, I’ve come this far.

So I had some coffee and an excellent breakfast

and tinked some more. (Still not quite there yet, as of this writing.)

Then, after checkout, I had to check out myself – the local yarn shop, Mrs. I’s Yarn Parlor.

I was unprepared. The population of Osceola is 2500. Granted, that’s just the town, not the outlying areas, nor the seasonal population.

So picture me, quite surprised, in a yarn shop which has yarn I’ve never seen in person yet, and some delicious yarn I’ve never heard of!

Also, the owner is a strong advocate of local yarn, so I came back with some Blackberry Hills yarn which is a llama/wool/mohair blend. The animals are all raised by a local woman; she handspins the blended yarn; and then hand-dyes it. Hard to be more local than that! And it’s so cool! I also bought another farm’s Wisconsin alpaca, naturally chocolate brown and so soft. I love local yarn!

But I got my first sight in person of nettle yarn (bought some to make market bags for Christmas presents, though I suspect it will be hard on the hands; it should make great bags), and I found some gorgeous wool from a Michigan mill, Stonehedge Fiber Mill; aran weight, so soft, with some heathered shades, worsted spun. Like Cascade 200, but softer. Apparently, the mill owner has done commercial fiber milling for some time but not long ago developed her own yarn. Today, a friend to whom I showed it, heard it featured on Lime & Violet’s podcast! Wild. I love it. I bought several shades because it cries out for colorwork or something similar.

There was even more I’d never seen in person, and a couple yarn brands I’d never heard of, but I’ll stop now (no pictures, I got home at dusk today — penance for a day’s vacation from work!) But if you happen to be in the Stillwater (Minnesota)/St. Croix Falls/ Interstate Park/ Taylors Falls area, take the short drive to Osceola and check out this LYS — well worth the drive (relocating upstairs to a bit bigger space as of September 1, 2008, also).

Back on the road, more sock and tinking time; then back to reality. Dang. I want to play with yarn and meet up with fellow knitbloggers as fun & nice as kmkat every weekend!

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Pre-Vacation Vacation

So, I need to rest up before Family Camp.

(Actually, I’m mostly taking advantage of being temporarily without children!) My husband and I usually celebrate our May anniversary by going away for a night or two to an area bed and breakfast (usually a different one every time). It didn’t happen earlier this this year because I had to work every weekend around then, including Memorial Day weekend. Thus, we’ll just celebrate a bit late this year!

I took a day off tomorrow, and today we’re driving Up North a few hours to the lovely St. Croix River Inn. This is a place we’ve stayed a few times, actually, over the 25 + years we’ve been together; more often when we lived in the Twin Cities. So it will be nostalgic. It’s really beautiful; and breakfast is amazing, too.

AND — double bonus — upon realizing that Osceola was in Polk County, Wisconsin, and upon that triggering a recollection about who was a newly elected governing official of said Polk County, I fired off an email; with the result that a knitblogger meet-up is in the works for later today with kmkat! W00t! and Woo-hoo! Having met her IRL before, and having lived with my husband all these years, I’m looking forward to them meeting (I promised him we wouldn’t just talk about knitting — no fear!)

I ran across the Polk County info in some random Google search. But, above and beyond this allowing us a rendezvous, I was glad to get the county info. The last time we stayed at the St. Croix RIver Inn, there was a tornado somewhere in the vicinity. We could see black and green clouds (no funnel, granted) from the huge picture window in our room (picture THAT imploding into the room), and turned on the radio; well, the tornado warning information is by county, and we had NO clue what county we were in! There is no innkeeper on premises in this particular inn. So we went into the hallway of the lower level of the inn for some time, and hoped for the best.

I already know what knitting I’m taking — now to throw some clothes together. Priorities, after all.

Here’s yesterday’s Saturday Sky with bonus bird (much more photogenic than today’s gray sky, which just started sprinkling as I typed this; ah well, perhaps we’ll just have to plan on more indoor-type activities….)

And last week’s Saturday Sky, which never got shared with you as such (I guess I did show you a close-up of the sunset bee on echinacea) .

And, lastly, how about a flower picture, since I didn’t really give you my usual Flower Eye Candy Friday?

Phlox in yesterday’s early morning sun.

See you when I return, hopefully with knitting progress to report!

O is for Camp Olson

Very timely that O came up right now in the ABC-Along schedule.

Camp Olson is the YMCA camp in Northern Minnesota which I went to every year I could as a camper, and where I also was a CIT (Counselor-in-Training). Now my kids are old enough to be campers, and we have gone to Family Camp for the last several years as well, which has been awesome. It’s a special place for us — beautiful, with its thousands of acres enclosing near-wilderness, and with people who make being at camp the unforgettable experience that it always is. It’s named Olson after the farmer who donated thousands of acres of land to make a camp in the early 1950s, so that kids could experience Northern Minnesota outdoors.

It’s hard to pick out one picture of Camp Olson to show you. It takes a gallery. So I cheated again and made a collage, because camp is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

(If you have high-speed internet, here’s the collage bigger amd much more clear. I’m the photographer for all but one picture, but you can find me tucked away in one of them!) This shows most of our favorite activities, except I seem to have neglected photos of the rifle range (I always have to go test my skills and get my bullseye) and archery, as well as the swimming beach & sauna….

Why do I mention that O is so timely?

The daughters just went off to regular “camper camp” at Camp Olson yesterday. (Actually starts tomorrow, but the Preteen’s friend’s mother drove them to the Twin Cities yesterday to shorten the bus ride and have city fun before camp fun.)

And we go to Family Camp the following week!

I am so looking forward to this, our family vacation. It’s the fourth year we’ve gone together. My husband was extremely dubious to begin with, but is now a convert, due to the indescribable and wonderful nature of the place and the people. It’s a week out of time for us, and we all have a wonderful time. We’ll miss my parents this year, however, who have gone with us in prior years; my mother’s foot is acting up (still or again), and walking is unavoidable at camp, where both meals and the bathroom are a short walk away.

If you’d like to see more (for the hard core), the below links are posts & pictures from last year. Or just click on those that interest you.

Eye Candy Friday Courtesy of Camp

Fauna of Camp

What We Did At Camp

Eye Candy Friday (from Camp again)

Flora of Camp

Final Glimpses of Camp

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just after the amazing fun and friendship and family time of Camp Olson ended last year, we were all brought up terribly short. Please, because I need to remind myself of what I wrote in this post every so often, and I want to tell you again, too — even if you were a reader last year — please click on this last link and read the short post.

In the Midst of Life

Puts a different perspective on the fact that The Preteen went out the door on the heels of a fight about whether she was going to take her hair straightener and her iPod (guess the outcome of those discussions).

I hope you all have the chance to experience your own version of Camp Olson at some point. (Or if you’re looking for a great kid or family camp in the Midwest, follow that link above! No need to be a Y member!)

O is for Camp Olson.

Ice Cream Friday

Wait till I tell my husband that I am the perfect blend of sweetness and seduction.

Some days, he might take issue with the sweetness part.

But I do love me some chocolate, so I’m not arguing with the quiz results!

Thanks to Nora, on whose blog I saw the quiz.

It’s hot and humid — Dog Days — maybe I need some of the chocolate ice cream right now.  Never mind sweet and seductive. . . it’s Too Darn Hot.